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If it's leisure choices that are needed for elementary through middle school readers, be sure to check out these latest publications from Random: diverse plots and strong characterization make them recommended picks above others. Ian Bone's Fast Forward (0385732112, $14.95) is Book 2 in the 'Time Trap' series, and tells of Kaz, who finds a special DVD in the library which involves her in part of the movie to be sure the good guy wins. Her involvement in a fictional character's life and game belays the fact her own real world is in chaos in this dramatic story. Another Akiko is presented by Mark Crilley in Akiko: The Training Master (038-5730438, $9.95): Akiko is tired of her daily routine, and in the mood for some excitement when she discovers the beloved King Froptoppit has enrolled her and the gang in the Intergalactic Space Patrollers Training Camp. They may be the planet's last hope--but unfortunate events seem to show it'll continue to be impossible for an Earthian to graduate from Space Camp. Dick King-Smith's Babe The Gallant Pig (0375829709, $16.95) is lovingly reprinted in a fine 20th anniversary edition with its lovely black and white drawings by Maggie Keen, and is a recommended pick for libraries seeking quality replacements for worn holdings--as well as for parents looking for keepsake editions of classics. And fans of Dick King-Smith's animal world will also relish The Golden Goose (0375829849, $15.95), with Ann Kronheimer providing the engaging drawings to accompany a story of a farmer fallen on hard times until Joy the Golden Goose is born. But Joy may be bringing something other than pleasure! Mary Pope Osborne's new Carnival At Candlelight (0375830-332, $11.95) provides Magic Tree House #33 in the ongoing saga, here presenting a new Merlin mission for jack and Annie: to save the Grand Lady of the Lagoon from a terrible disaster by traveling back in time. But Merlin's instructions are confusing, leaving Jack and Annie in a strange world with an uncertain destiny--unless magic can help them.Morris Gleitzman's Toad Heaven (0375827641, $14.95) presents the second adventure of a toad on a quest to locate toad heaven: a place where cane toads will be free. Limpy is on his way to find such a haven--as soon as he can escape his bucket. A zany, fun fantasy evolves. Paul Stewart and Chris Tiddell's The Edge Chronicles: Beyond The Deep Woods (0385750684, $12.95) joins other Edge stories: this telling of young Twig, abandoned at birth in the dangerous Deepwoods, raised by trolls, and who strays from the set path to discover a new world. Twig's uncertain discovery of his real roots leads to many revelations--and a fast-paced fantasy thrill. Few who love a good ghost story will be able to resist Joan Lowery Nixon's The Haunting (0440420-024, $5.50): set in an old plantation inherited by a family seeking to adopt a large family. Everything would be perfect--but Lia enjoys her status as an only child, and when they discover the picturesque old mansion is haunted, Lia hopes this will deter her parents from their mission. An effort to encourage ghosts turns into a surprising effort to be rid of them with unexpected results in The Haunting's gripping story line. Narinder Dhami's Bollywood Babes (0385731787, $14.95) follows her successful Bindi Babes, continuing the story of three headstrong sisters who try to earn the good graces of their Indian Auntie, with disastrous results. Issues of freedom and cross-cultural communication are brought into play in Bollywood Babes, a fine story of Indian culture and American norms. Christopher Paul Curtis' Bucking The Sarge (038532- 3077, $15.95) is set in Flint, Michigan and tells of Luther's mother, aka the Sarge, who has built an empire of slum housing and group homes where neglect makes her a winner. Luther wants to escape his mother's evil: if he can win the science fair he'll have potentials for a future and getting away to college. But his rival is his own beautiful love Shayla--can he escape at her cost? An intriguing story of abuse and freedom. Anjali Banerjee's May Running (0385746563, $15.95) tells of an Indian girl who is the only brown-skinned middle schooler in her Manitoba town. Maya doesn't fit into either culture, with her roots in India and her upbringing in Canada: when a beautiful cousin arrives to steal her unrequited love, Maya finds herself appealing to old Indian idols for help. The new 'Girls in Pants' story by Ann Brashares, The Third Summer Of The Sisterhood (0385729359, $16.95), tells of the last summer before they depart for college: their last summer together before adult-hood. The Pants magic affects Tibby, Carmen, Bridget and Lerna differently, encouraging each to try to prepare for the future and understand underlying reasons for changes and decisions. A thought-provoking story of changes and near-adulthood. Sharon Dennis Wyeth's Orphea Proud (0385324979, $15.95) provides an almost poetic account of one Orphea Proud, who not only has discovered her identity as a lesbian, but is sharing it with an audience. Orphea can't help who she loves, and discovers ways to understand it in this novel for mature teens. E. Lockhart's The Boyfriend List (0385732-066, $15.95) follows the stormy path of teen Ruby, who has a shrink and whose whole life has changed in the space of ten days, as she's had arguments with boys, suffered through anxiety attacks and losses of friendships, and makes lists to try to gain control of her life. Markus Zusak's I Am The Messenger (0375830995, $16.95) is also recommended for older readers: protagonist Ed is an underage cab driver with no future, in love with his best friend and living a life of routine--until he stops a bank robbery, by accident. His inadvertent heroism leads him to become a messenger, helping and hurting through town, until the truth behind his new mission in life becomes clear. Tammar Stein's Light Years (0375830235, $15.95) tells of Maya, who leaves Israel to study at the University of Virginia, escaping the violence of her past in the process. Maya's stint in the Israeli army and her love for a boyfriend kille in a suicide bombing for which she has some responsibility are all unusual facets explored in a novel which tells of her attempts to reconcile her Israeli past with a new future. Kim Ablon Whitney's See You Down The Road (03758-24677, $15.95) tells of a teen who has been promised in marriage, and whose parents wish her to quit school early so she can help in the family business. Her whole future seems decided--but Bridget is about to set off on a new adventure which may leave her family behind in this moving story of change. Elisa Carbone's Last Dance On Holladay Street (0375-828966, $15.95) is set in 1878, when pre-teen Eva has lost her entire family, and sets out to find an unknown birth mother in Denver. But Eva's discovery of her mother's dangerous world in a house of ill repute brings with it a heavy price, and Eva comes to realize her new home in the frontier West brings new dangers. Victoria McKerman's Shackleton's Stowaway (03-75826912, $15.95) is set in 1914 and tells of a teen stowaway on the crossing of the Antarctic. A stranded crew months later faces their greatest challenge for survival in this moving story, based on the facts of Perce Blackborrow and the Endurance's voyage to the South Pole. Isobelle Carmody's Night Gate (0375830162, $16.95) is Book One of 'The Gateway Trilogy' : here a girl whose mother lies in a coma turns into a fantasy involving a forest magic gate and four animal friends transformed by the gate to real warriors, animals, and changed companions. Rage enters a world where a dark city's magic is dying, prompting her and her companions to undertake a journey which will have consequences for her own family. Libba Bray's A Great And Terrible Beauty (0385732- 317, $8.95) is the perfect book of choice for teens who enjoy a good Gothic horror story. Teen Gemma is sent to a London academy when tragedy strikes her family in India: there she has a hard time adjusting, and has vision of a dangerous future which may come all too true. Real-life concerns blend with supernatural overtones n an exciting thriller. Patricia Reilly Giff's Maggie's Door (0385326580, $15.95) provides an Irish immigrant's story from two perspectives: that of Nory and her neighbor Sean. Each is journeying to life with Nory's sister Maggie in New York: each will find a very different set of experiences between Galway and America in this companion to Nory Ryan's Song.
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|Date:||May 1, 2005|
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