Home Entertainment: Hitting the Books

Pingo By Brandon Mull, Illustated by Brandon Dorman Shadow Mountain; $17.95

Written by the author of the New York Times best-selling Fablehaven series, Pingo is a charming story that teaches children that imagination has no limits and no age. Chad and his imaginary friend, Pingo, are best friends - until Chad decides he's too old to keep Pingo around. Trouble ensues when the loveable and mischievous imaginary friend refuses to leave. With delightful illustrations to accompany this one-of-a-kind tale, Pingo is a must-read. Now available.

The Boy Who Dared: A Novel Based on the True Story of a Hitler Youth By Susan Campbell Bartoletti Scholastic; $16.99

Based on a true account, this book tells the story of sixteen-year-old Helmuth Hubner, who is LDS. When he discovers that Germany is lying to the people, he tries to expose the truth with leaflets, but is caught and tried for treason. This inspirational story showcases a brave hero from World War II.

Burn My Heart By Beverley Naidoo Amistad; $15.99

Burn My Heart is a historical fiction set in Kenya in the early 1950s. The difficult era finds British families settled on land originally owned by the Kikuyu, but the real story showcases a friendship that transcends color of skin and bigotry. An eleven-year-old son of a white landowner enjoys the companionship of a thirteen-year-old Kikuyu whose family, until the British came, owned the land. As the story unfolds, you begin to see the great beauty that surrounds these two boys, like "the cluster of thorn trees" and an impala "with a magnificent set of curving, curling horns." However, they don't escape the problems that befall this country as the Kikuyu attempt to retrieve their birthright. In this powerful story, the lives of both boys change forever.

Obi, Gerbil on the Loose! By Michael Delaney Dutton Juvenile; $16.99

Obi, Gerbil on the Loose! is a delightful tale about a small and spoiled gerbil left, along with the other house pets, alone in the house when the family leaves for a vacation. Unfortunately, the teen paid to take care of all the pets forgets about Obi. So Obi must escape his cage in search of sustenance, in spite of the three mean cats who also live there. Obi encounters many exciting adventures as he searches for food, making this book a good segue into longer chapter books. Each chapter heading includes an ink drawing highlighting an upcoming event.

Lucky Breaks By Susan Patron Ginee Seo Books; $16.99

Susan Patron continues her Newbery Award-winning story, The Higher Power of Lucky, once again illustrating life in a small California desert town, where ten-year-old Lucky is about to learn the importance of family and friends. Lucky meets Paloma, with whom she immediately becomes best friends. But problems arise as she deals with other members of the town and leads Paloma on an adventure that gets them both in trouble.

Science Fair By Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson Disney Editions; $18.99

If you've not read any of Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson's books, you're missing out! Their three books about the beginning adventures of Peter Pan are wonderful. On another vein, Science Fair is their latest collaboration. Eighth-grader Toby and his geeky friends are about to uncover a plot involving the science fair that goes way beyond the deceitful student competitors. A made-up country is planning on taking over the U.S. by infiltrating the school's science fair and using the students to build their projects. The underlying humor in the book, along with the inventive plot, makes this a definite page-turner.

Wishworks Inc. By Stephanie Tolan, Illustrated By Amy June Eates Arthur A. Levine Books; $15.99

This chapter book is rich in imagination, with great pencil etchings sprinkled throughout. Max has to deal with moving to a new neighborhood and new school where he meets kids that pick on him. He imagines that he has a dog that helps out when the need arises. But when he encounters a store with a sign that says "Wishes Guaranteed," he's about to get more than he bargained for.

Holly Newton is a national children's book reviewer who recommends only books with content and ideas fitting an LDS audience. She is a past recipient of the International Reading Association Literacy Award and has reviewed children's books in newspapers and television for the past eleven years.
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