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Check It Out

Courier Article by Carol Banks
Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Three Authors Invite All Ages Along for Adventure

Looking for some good "reads" that the whole family can enjoy this summer? Here are three feel good tales written by award-winning authors suitable for all ages.

Edward Tulane was a rabbit—a three-foot-tall china rabbit with a resplendent wardrobe of handmade suits and luxurious leather shoes. He was the darling of a little girl named Abilene but he never paid particular attention to what Abilene or anyone else said to him. He would rather reflect upon his own importance. Edward was, I'm afraid, a snob. And so it was that Edward found himself on an ocean voyage to London with Abilene and her family. When two young bullies taunted Abilene about her fancy rabbit, a bit of mean-spirited horseplay ensued and Edward (sans wardrobe) was tossed overboard. As the ship and Abilene steamed away, Edward sank deeper and deeper in the water and his own despair. Thus The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (written by Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo) truly begins. Weeks passed. It wasn't until a squall churned the waters that Edward resurfaced only to be snagged in an old fisherman's net. It would be the beginning of many new lifetimes for Edward. Years passed and Edward eventually belonged to many different people: not only the old fisherman and his wife, Nellie, but a hobo called Bull and his pup, Lucy; an old lady who turned Edward into a scarecrow; young Bryce and his little sister, Sarah Ruth; and finally Lucius Clarke, the doll mender. Each offered Edward companionship and love and in time Edward learned how to love in return. To divulge the ending of this book would deprive readers of the finest final chapter I have read in a very long time. Keep a hanky close by. Not the paper, disposable kind. No, for Edward's story it must be a crisp linen hanky. It's only fitting.

Let the war begin! The Lemonade War, that is. What would summer be without a cold glass of lemonade? And what would childhood be without a lemonade stand in the neighborhood? Author Jacqueline Davies takes those ideas a step further as she explores a brother-sister relationship that quickly escalates into out-and-out warfare with rival lemonade stands and a bet to be the first to earn $100.00 before school starts (in just five days!). Will big brother Evan with his people-savvy ways be the winner? Or will it be younger sister Jessie, a math and business whiz? As the marketing gimmicks take a backseat to common sense, readers are first in line to witness the cold beverage entrepreneurs do battle…but it may be a cold day in August before either gives up. You'll rate this book a refreshing summertime treat.

Meet Lumphy, Stingray, and Plastic, the stars of Emily Jenkins' Toys Go Out, Being the Adventures of a Knowledgeable Stingray, a Toughy Little Buffalo, and Someone Called Plastic. In six short stories readers meet "the little girl" and her three very special friends. Each toy is loved and cherished and knows so and reciprocates that love. You'll chuckle with Plastic as she discovers what kind of toy she really is (hint: bouncy, bouncy); you'll cheer for Lumphy, the Toughy Little Buffalo, as he overcomes his fear of a "bath" in the Washing Machine; and you'll attend a very special birthday party for the little girl, where the toys try to decide what kind of present she would like. With comfy-cozy illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Paul O. Zelinsky, these stories are endearing and beg to be read aloud, perfect for bedtime after a full day of summertime activities.