Sunday, 18 December 2011

Bookish Gifts For the Pre-Teen

Kids who are middle school age can be tricky to buy for. Here are some books for the ones who love to read and for the ones that (usually) don't.

1. The Mysterious Benedict Society Box-set by Trenton Lee Stewart
When Reynie Muldroon sees a newspaper advertisement looking for gifted children, he is one of the many children who take a series of challenging tests to determine if they have what it takes. In the end, Reynie is one of the four children selected, along with Sticky, Kate and Constance. Mr. Benedict created the tests to find capable children who are willing to help him save the world. The foursome will have to go under cover at The Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened to stop the scheming Mr. Curtain. As the four children encounter the unimaginable evil taking place at The Leaning Institute, they will have to rely on one another and their own special talents to save the day. Thus begins The Mysterious Benedict Society series. The series is told in three books: The Mysterious Benedict SocietyThe Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey and The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma.

2. The Invention of Hugo Cabret  by Brian Selznick 
Read the book than watch the movie! From Goodreads: "Orphan Hugo Cabret lives in a wall. His secret home is etched out in the crevices of a busy Paris train station. Part-time clock keeper, part-time thief, he leads a life of quiet routine until he gets involved with an eccentric, bookish young girl and an angry old man who runs a toy booth in the station. The Invention of Hugo Cabret unfolds its cryptic, magical story in a format that blends elements of picture book, novel, graphic novel, and film. Caldecott Honor-winning author-illustrator Brian Selznick has fashioned an intricate puzzle story that binds the reader like a mesmerist's spell."

When Miss Penelope Lumley graduates from Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, she immediately applies for a position as a governess at Ashton Place. When the advertisement specifies that “experience with animals is strongly preferred,” Penelope assumes that the children have ponies, or another sort of animal. Instead, she is greeted by the three children that Lord Ashton found in the forest. The children appear to have been raised by wolves, and are now the Ashton foster children. Named Alexander, Beowulf and Cassiopeia Incorrigible, the children enjoy chasing squirrels, baying at the moon and climbing trees. Though Miss Lumley knows she has her work set out for her, she sets out at once to teach the children language, poetry, etiquette and mathematics. After considerable improvement, the children must prepare for Lady Constance’s Christmas dinner party. How will children who act like animals be able to act maturely at a respectable gathering? As Miss Lumley attempts to raise the three Incorrigible children, she also tries to understand the many mysteries of Ashton Place. Full review here.

4. Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
Liesl has been locked in her attic bedroom by her stepmother ever since her father became ill months ago. A few days after his death, Liesl encounters a ghost in her bedroom. The ghost, Po, is neither male nor female and both at the same time. When Po goes to the Other Side to look for Liesl’s father, he learns that he doesn’t feel he will be able to move to the Beyond until his ashes are scattered with his wife’s. Liesl and Po set out to bring the box holding his ashes to the house where Liesl grew up. Meanwhile, Will, the Alchemist’s apprentice, is making an important delivery and accidentally misplaces the most important magic in the world. The Alchemist has created a complicated spell that involved bottling the sun. Due to his magic, the whole world is a dull grey colour. Will’s mistake leads him to join Liesl and Po in their quest. As the children and the ghost set out to help Liesl’s father move on, they inadvertently bring colour back to their world. Full review here

These beautiful clothbound hardcovers are a great addition to a growing library. These editions are available for Peter Pan, Anne of Green Gables, The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Wind in the Willows, The Secret Garden, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Black Beauty and The Call of the Wild. 

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read any of these, but I will without a doubt be reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret, The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place (1, 2 & 3), Liesl & Poe and a few of the Children's Classics (though not clothbound) next year.



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