Bulldog Library

The School for Good and Evil

JF Chainani    •    Fairy Tale & Friendship

school-for-good-and-evil

Every year two children are taken by the School Master.  One is sent to the School for Good to become a princess or prince.  The other is sent to the School for Evil to become a villain.  When best friends Sophie and Agatha are taken, they could not have guessed what destiny had in store for them.  Now they are on opposite sides of good and evil.  One will become a princess.  The other will become a witch.  Can their friendship survive?

The School for Good and Evil is an engrossing story of friendship and destiny.  Fans of fantasy books like The Sister’s GrimmFablehaven, and Harry Potter will very likely enjoy this magical fantasy adventure.

Interest Level: grades 4-8  •  Lexile: 830L  •  AR: 5.2

Chainani, S. (2013). School for Good and Evil.  New York, NY : Harper.

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Bad Unicorn

JF Clark    •    Fantasy & Humor

bad unicorn

Princess is a bad unicorn, and she has just made a deal with an evil wizard.  She has agreed to retrieve The Codex of Infinite Knowability, the most powerful book in all of the three realms.  Her reward if she succeeds?  An all-you-can-eat Texan buffet.

Max is a normal kid, chubby & nerdy, but otherwise normal.  He has a weird old book called The Codex of Infinite Knowability that he just found laying under his bed.  Little does he know that this is no ordinary book, nor could he ever imagine the epic adventure that would unfold after bringing it to school for show-and-tell.  If he had known, he would have undoubtedly left the book hidden safely under his bed.

Bad Unicorn is an uproariously funny fantasy book.  It has mint wielding frobbits, zombie ducks, and an army of squirrels bent of world domination.  If you enjoy over the top humor, like Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail, than you need to try Bad Unicorn.

Interest Level: grades 4-8  •  Lexile: 870L  •  AR: 6.1

Clark, P. (2013). Bad Unicorn. New York, NY: Aladdin.

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The Alchemyst

YA F Scott    •    Fantasy

Jacket.aspxSophie and Josh live perfectly ordinary lives.  How could they ever guess that taking two summer jobs at the mall would shatter their ordinary lives and embroil them in an ancient battle for the survival of the human race?   With the immortal Nicholas Flamel as their guide and protector, Sophie and Josh will need to awaken their latent magical abilities in order to survive in this dangerous world of legend and myth.

Alchemysts.  Sorcerers.  Necromancers.  Golems.  Ancient deities.  Werewolves.  Vampires.  Ghosts.  Zombies.  The Alchemist has it all.

This is a fairly complex fantasy world populated with fierce and terrible denizens of ancient lore.  For that reason, it is recommended for older tween and teen readers.  If you have previously enjoyed Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson or Kane Chronicles series, and you are looking for an engrossing fantasy adventure, Michael Scott’s The Alchemist just may be the perfect book for you.

Interest Level: grades 6-10  •  Lexile: 890L  •  AR: 6.4

Scott, M. (2007). The Alchemyst. New York, NY : Delacorte Press.

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Wonderstruck

JF Selznick    •    Historical Fiction    •    Graphic Hybrid

Jacket.aspxMinnesota, 1977:  Following his mother’s death in a tragic car accident, Ben has been sent to live with his aunt and uncle.  Despite the fact that his aunt’s cabin is only 83 steps away from the home that he lived in with his mother, this new house is a world away from the life he once knew.  Then one fateful stormy night, Ben sees a light in his mother’s room.  Following this light becomes the first step in a journey to find the home where he truly belongs.

Hoboken, 1925:  Alone, with no one who she can talk to, Rose feels trapped in her tiny bedroom.  She looks out across the river to the lights of New York City and longs for someone to save her from the oppressive solitude.  Following these lights becomes the first step in a journey to find the home where she truly belongs.

Wonderstruck is told using the same innovative graphic-hybrid format and stunning rendering skill as Selznick’s award winning book The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  It tells two intertwining stories.  Ben’s story, told entirely through text, is brilliantly paralleled by Rose’s story, told entirely through images.  As Ben is trapped in a thunderstorm, Rose watches a thunderstorm in a silent movie.  As Ben journeys through the natural history museaum, so too does Rose.  The exhibits being described in Ben’s story are seen in Rose’s.

In addition to being a poignant novel about two children’s search for love and family, Wonderstruck  introduces readers to deaf history and culture.  Wonderstruck is innovative and brilliantly told.  This is a book that is highly recommended for all readers!

Interest Level: grades 5-8  •  Lexile: 830L  •  AR: 5.4

2014 California Young Reader Winner

Selznick, B. (2011).  Wonderstruck.  New York, NY: Scholastic.

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Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

JF Lin    •    Fantasy/Fairy-tale

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Minli lives in a poor village in the shadow of Fruitless Mountain.  According to the old stories, Fruitless Mountain is the broken heart of Jade Dragon and nothing will grow on it until Jade Dragon is reunited with her children.

Minli’s family ekes out a meager living of rice, but there is not even enough food to feed Minli’s goldfish, so Minli must release her goldfish into the river.  When Minli releases her goldfish she is very supprised when her goldfish speaks to her.

The goldfish thanks Minli for her freedom and in thanks she tells Minli how to find the Old Man of the Moon.  According to the old stories, the Old Man of the Moon can answer any question.  Minli decides to journey to the Old Man of the Moon to ask how she can change her family’s fortune.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon tells the story of Minli’s amazing journey, but within this story are many ‘folk-tales’.  These ‘folk-tales’ are told to Minli by nearly everyone that she meets on her quest.  They explain the history and magic of the land and the background of the people that she meets.  These ‘folk-tales’ are as engrossing as the main story.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is beautifully told and a delight to read.

Interest Level: grades 4-8  •  Lexile: 810L  •  AR: 5.5

2010 Newbery Honor Book

2013 California Young Reader Nominee

Lin, G. (2009). Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Co.

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