Four Fantastic Adventures: New Books for Older Readers

THE GREAT TROUBLE_cover imageThe Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel by Deborah Hopkinson

Based on actual events that occurred during the 1854 cholera outbreak, The Great Trouble transports readers back in time to a bleak 19th century London. The story follows Eel, a down on his luck orphan who is struggling to get by on honest work and the kindness of others. When people in his neighborhood start to get sick, he seeks the help of one of his employers, Dr. Snow, to look into the cases. While gathering evidence with Dr. Snow gather that shows how cholera is spread, Eel must also keep a huge secret while staying away from Fisheye Bill, a dangerous man out to get him. The Great Trouble is a highly successful blend of historical fact, historical fiction, and mystery that is sure to please many readers. (ages 10-14)

RooftoppersRooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

In the aftermath of a shipwreck off the coast of England, a man discovers a baby floating in a cello case. He decides to keep her as his own and names her Sophie. Sophie grows up under the loving, albeit odd care, of Charles, a scholarly old bachelor that lets her wear trousers and skip brushing her hair. When social services decides that Charles is unfit to raise a young lady, Sophie and Charles flee England in search of her biological mother in Paris. With no information to go on other than a gut feeling and the label on the inside of her cello case, she and Charles have no one to turn to for help until Sophie discovers a secret world on the rooftops of Paris. Matteo and the other rooftop dwellers lead Sophie on a whirlwind adventure to track down the sound of Sophie’s mother’s cello. A charming story of friendship, love, and above all things hope, Rooftoppers will whisk readers off to an almost fairytale-like Paris that they will not want to leave. (ages 8-12)

southpolepigThe Adventures of a South Pole Pig by Chris Kurtz

For a spirited pig named Flora, life trapped in a pigpen is unbearable. A barn cat named Luna serves as Flora’s only source of news from the outside world until she finds a loose board in her pen and escapes! After running through a cornfield she spies sled dogs training and decides that she is destined to join them. Flora believes that she is getting her wish when she is sold to the captain of a ship on its way to Antarctica but instead of becoming a sled pig she has been brought along as dinner. Flora must rely on her friends and her own courage to escape the knife and find a way to prove her worth before it is too late. Readers will be rooting for Flora every step of her adventure. This is a pig that proves that dreams can come true if only we are brave enough to reach for them. (ages 9-12)

eastsunEast of the Sun, West of the Moon by Jackie Morris 

In this magical new take on an old fairytale, Berneen and her family are refugees living in poverty when the white bear from Berneen’s dreams comes to take her away. When Berneen goes to live with the bear in an enchanted palace the story moves from the real world to a fairytale world. Berneen and the bear become great friends but what she doesn’t know is that the bear has been put under a magic spell by a troll whom he refused to marry. When Berneen accidently breaks the spell, the bear, now turned back into a prince, must return to the troll’s castle to marry her. With only the directions that the castle is east of the sun, west of the moon, she sets off on a quest to find the bear and save him from his fate. Fairy tale lovers will find this rendition beautifully written and simply magical. (ages 9-11)

-Sarah Beth