Bulldog Library

The Ice Dragon

JF Martin    •    Fantasy

Ice DragonAdara is a winter child.  They say that when she was born, a winter chill entered her very soul leaving her cold and distant.  It is true that Adara is different from other children.  The cold does not bother her.  She loves the winter.  Her greatest joy is the Ice Dragon that visits her every year.

Then, one summer, Adara’s village is beset by an invading hoard of vicious dragons.  Adara’s family must flee from the only home they have ever known, but how will the Ice Dragon find Adara if she leaves her family’s farm?

The Ice Dragon is a diminutive book.  With only 106 pages, large print, and many illustrations, The Ice Dragon reads more like a short story or fairy tale than a novel.  This is a book for readers who love fantasy and want a book that can be read quickly.

Interest Level: grades 3-5  •  Lexile: 960L  •  AR: 5.4

Martin, G. R. R. (2006). The Ice Dragon.  New York, NY: Starscape.

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The Neverending Story

FIC Ende    •    Fantasy

Jacket.aspxBastian Balthazar Bux is a pudgy young boy who is bullied at school and mostly ignored at home.  He finds solace from his hardships and escape from his troubles through reading.  Reading is his great joy.

One fortuitous day, Bastian takes shelter in bookstore.  In the store, he sees a book covered in copper silk and emblazoned with the symbol of two snakes biting each other’s tales.  He knows that he must read this book.  So, when the shop owner is not looking, Bastian steals the book.  Little does Bastian suspect that what he has taken is far more than a mere book.  Contained with in the covers of The Neverending Story, lays a whole world: Fantastica.

Fantastica is in dire trouble.  A great nothing is ravaging the land.  Atreyu, a young hunter is chosen by the Childlike Empress to embark on a dangerous mission to learn how to stop the nothing.  He is Fantastica’s only hope.

This book is a must read for anyone who has loved the classic movie adaptation of The Neverending Story.  It begins with the familiar story of Bastian and Atreyu, but it delves far deeper into Bastian’s adventures in Fantastica than the limited movie format allows.  The movie focuses on Atreyu’s journey through Fantastica and only briefly says that Bastian had many adventures in Fantastica.  The book also tells Atreyu’s story; however, the majority of the book focuses on Bastian’s adventures after he has saved the Childlike Empress.  If you have loved the movie, you owe it to yourself to read the rest of the story.  It is every bit as filled with fantasy and wonder as is Atreyu’s adventure.

As with Howl’s Moving CastleThe Neverending Story is a fantasy book that is rated for teen readers; however, there is no romance or violence, and there is only one swear word.  This is a more complex novel than most tween books, but a mature tween reader who loves the fantasy genre may find The Neverending Story to be a perfect fit.

Interest Level:  grades 9-12  •  Lexile: 930L  •  AR: 5.9

Ende, M. (1997). The Neverending Story.  New York, NY: Puffin Books.

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Faith, Hope, and Ivy June

YA F Naylor

Jacket.aspxCatherine comes from an affluent home.  She lives in a large house and wants for nothing.

Ivy June is a coal-miner’s granddaughter.  Her family is far from wealthy.  She lives in a small house and does not even have indoor plumbing.

These two girls might never have met if it had not been for an exchange program that both girls won the opportunity to participate in.  For two weeks, Ivy June will live with Kathryn in the city.  Then Catherine will go to Ivy June’s home in the mountains for two week.  During this time, each girl will experience a life that she has never know before.

Faith, Hope, and Ivy June offers readers a very interesting premise, but this alone does not make the book such a delight to read.  What makes this book truly intriguing, is the way in which Naylor has chosen to present the story.  Naylor allows the reader to see the story from three different points of view.  The story is first told in a third person narrative.  Through this readers experience the days events along side Cathrine and Ivy June.  The author then allows readers to glimpse the day’s events through the eyes of Cathrin and Ivy June by including journal entries written by each of the girls.  The inclusion of these journal articles adds a depth and complexity to the story that would not be possible without these inclusions.  They also  allow for stronger emotional connection for readers who are able to experience the emotional highs and lows that the girls go through on this once-on-a-lifetime experience.

Faith, Hope, and Ivy June is a book that readers won’t want to put down.

Interest Level: grades 5-8  • Lexile: 900L  • AR: 5.8

2014 California Young Reader Nominee

Naylor, P. R. (2009). Faith, Hope, and Ivy June. New York, NY: Delacorte Press.

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Anne of Green Gables

YA F Montgomery    •    Classic Literature

Jacket.aspxMatthew and Marillia Cuthbert have decide to adopt a boy to help Matthew around the farm.  However, the Cuthberts receive a serendipitous surprise when a talkative orphan girl named Anne arrives at Green Gables rather than boy they expected.

Anne is full of life and imagination.  She is overcome with the beauty of Green Gables and longs to make it her home, but can she win the love of Matthew and Marilla?  Has Anne found her home?  Or will the Cuthberts send Anne away to get a boy instead?

Anne of Green Gables tells the story of Anne’s life at Green Gables.  It tells of her great joys and of her unforgettable mistakes.  This is a classic of tween literature and is a book that all young girls should have the opportunity to read and fall in love with.

Joyful.  Humorous.  Hugely imaginative.  Anne will capture the hearts of all kindred spirits who read her story.

Interest Level: grades 4 and up  •  Lexile: 970L  •  AR: 7.3

Montgomery, L.M. (2013). Anne of Green Gables. London, England: Vintage Books.

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