Ah, there you are. Back for more? Fantastic!
For the past two Fridays, we've celebrated two installments full of books with wonderfully weird characters:
This week's theme:
She Marches to the Beat of a Different Drummer
That's right: Girl Power! The girls/ladies in these books may not fit what other folks around them would call "normal," but they don't let that stop them from being who they are and doing things their own way.
Lucky Trimble never goes anywhere without her survival-kit backpack, to try and be prepared for anything. Having lost her mom in a freak accident, she has been abandoned by her dad, who left her in the care of his French ex-wife, Brigitte. They live in three aluminum trailers, connected by soldered passageways, in the hardscrabble town of Hard Pan, California: population 43. Life is not easy there, and money is scarce.
Lucky worries that Brigitte will tire of her and of life in Hard Pan and move back to France, making Lucky have to move to a foster home, because "The difference between a Guardian and an actual mom is that a mom can't resign." To ward off this situation, Lucky spends her time eavesdropping on the 12-step meetings of the "anonymous people" at the Found Objects Wind Chime Museum and Visitor Center, hoping to discover the key to finding her Higher Power, so she can take control over her life.
Savvy, by Ingrid Law
Ages 8 and up
Ages 8 and up
Thirteenth birthdays are a big deal in the Beaumont family, because that's the day their savvy first shows itself. For Mibs Beaumont, that day was nearly here. Her oldest brother, seventeen-year-old Rocket, could spark electricity. Her fourteen-year-old brother Fish could control the weather. And Grandpa Bomba could move mountains! Mibs is sure her own savvy will be something just as wild and wonderful as theirs, and she can't wait to find out what it is.
But just before her big day, Poppa is in a serious car accident. Mrs. Beaumont and Rocket rush to the hospital to be with him, leaving Mibs, Fish, and their seven-year-old brother Samson at home. The preacher's wife, Mrs. Meeks, finds out what's happened, and comes over to take charge. When she realizes Mibs' birthday is nearly here, Mrs. Meeks is determined to throw her a very public party - not a good thing for a Beaumont about to turn thirteen. But Mibs is determined to find a way to get to the hospital. She's given up thinking her savvy will be something big and powerful, and instead is convinced that it will be something that will save Poppa.
Silly Sally, written and illustrated by Audrey Wood
Ages 4 to 7
Silly Sally is on her way to town, but she has a funny way of getting there. She walks, yes, but Silly Sally walks backwards...and upside down. Along the way she meets a few new friends, and together, they dance, leapfrog, sing and even sleep on their way to town.
Oh my! How will Silly Sally ever get to town sleeping backwards, upside down?
The Amelia Bedelia Treasury: Three Books by Peggy Parish, illustrated by Fritz Siebel and Barbara Siebel Thomas
Ages 5 to 7
Amelia Bedelia is Mr. and Mrs. Rogers' new housekeeper. Before going out for the day with her husband, Mrs. Rogers gives Amelia Bedelia a list of things to do. Wanting to do something nice for her employers, Amelia Bedelia first makes a special surprise for them. And then, she reads Mrs. Rogers' list, and follows it precisely as written.
When she sees, "Change the towels in the green bathroom," Amelia Bedelia grabs some scissors, and she changes those towels. When she sees, "Dust the furniture," she grabs a box of dusting powder from the bathroom counter, and Amelia Bedelia dusts that furniture. And she keeps going until she's finished every job on the list.
When Mrs. Rogers gets home and sees just how precisely Amelia Bedelia followed her instructions, she is ready to fire this new housekeeper on the spot. But just as Mrs. Rogers opens her mouth to say so, Mr. Rogers pops a spoonful of a most delicious dessert in his wife's mouth. It is the special surprise Amelia Bedelia had made for them that morning. But is it delicious enough to make Mrs. Rogers change her mind?
The Mousehunter, written and illustrated by Alex Milway
Ages 10 to 12
Twelve-year-old Emiline Orelia is mousekeeper for Isiah Lovelock, Old Town's most famous mouse collector and one of its wealthiest citizens. Emiline cares for her own Grey Mouse, named Portly, as well as all of the mice in Lovelock's vast collection. It's not a glamorous job, but Emiline is very good at it, and hopes one day to become a mousehunter, so she can go out and discover new and interesting mice.
In Emiline's world, collecting and trading mice is valued above all else - but these are no ordinary field mice. There is the Sharpclaw Mouse: a sneaky, mischievous mouse with huge, dagger-like claws on its front paws that can slice through even wood and metal with ease. Or the Magnetical Mouse: prized by sailors for their bulletlike nose that always points due north. Or the Howling Moon Mouse: best known of all the howler mice, it howls only on nights with a full moon. And this is only to name a few.
When Mousebeard, the most feared pirate on the Seventeen Seas, sinks Lovelock's merchant ship, Lovelock hires Captain Devlin Drewshank to hunt him down and capture him. Emiline overhears the deal and, seeing this as the chance of a lifetime, runs away and boards Drewshank's ship, excited to be on the adventure. The journey is a dangerous one, filled with pirates, and battles, and even sea monsters. And Emiline soon comes to realize that all is not exactly as she thought it was, and that no one she's met is exactly who she thought they were.
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Thanks for joining me for this 10th installment of the Third Annual Bugs and Bunnies Wonderful Weirdos of Literature Series. Please come back next week, for some characters who've got somethin' to believe in...
Until then, I'll leave you with this:
We could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others bright, some have weird names, but they all have learned to live together in the same box.
- Robert Fulghum