Fortunately, the Milk, by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Skottie Young

 

This short novel is a twisting, tangled, time-travel tall tale that makes a great read-aloud and would also be a good choice for kids new to reading chapter books. It’s pretty entertaining for older readers too! The nameless narrator’s mother is off to a conference, leaving Dad in charge. When there’s no milk for the breakfast cereal, Dad pops down to the shop to get some … and the kids wait, and wait, and wait. His excuse for why he has taken so long, when he returns, involves a flying saucer, alien abduction, the queen of the pirates, almost getting sacrificed to a volcano god, and most of all Dad’s companion through space and time, dinosaur scientist Professor Steg and her Floaty-Ball-Person-Carrier with its Really Good Moves Around in Time Machine. The milk, in the end, was instrumental in saving the world. Or so Dad claims.

Advertisements

Motorcycles and Sweetgrass, by Drew Hayden Taylor

 

Reviewed by Kayla Nye

Motorcycles and Sweetgrass is a fictional story based on an Anishnawbe legend. When a stranger rolls into town on his motorcycle before the death of an elder, the little Anishnawbe community becomes less settled, as drama begins to unfold. The band council purchased a piece of land and the community goes wild. The chief is bombarded with suggestions on what to do with the newly purchased land; however she is less focused on that than the new stranger on his motorcycle. The chief’s son discovers a trait about the motorcyclist who has won his mother’s heart, and he tries his best to save his mother, with the help of his uncle. This story is guaranteed to give you a chuckle.

Postscript by Library Manager – This is a real laugh-out-loud story full of vivid characters with an important message about the necessity of a bit of spontaneity and even chaos in your life to shake you up and give you a new perspective on things. Highly recommended by both of us!

Clarice Bean and Ghost Knight

At the Summer Reading Club this year we are reading two books. The younger group is listening to Lauren Child’s Clarice Bean, Don’t Look Now. The story is off to a rousing start as older sister Marcie overflows the bath. First the ceiling begins to drip on Grandpa. Then it collapses – and crushes the television. Oh no! Luckily Clarice Bean has words of wisdom from her favourite literary character, girl spy Ruby Redfort, to guide her: When you lose an important piece of equipment, improvise or seek out an alternative. Even more luckily, her best friend Betty Moody has her own tv in her bedroom. Problem solved! Except the stove was crushed too, and the family is going to have to live on toast forever.

The older group is hearing Cornelia Funke’s Ghost Knight, in which Jon, jealous of his new stepfather, makes himself so sulky and unpleasant at home that his mother sends him away to his late father’s boarding school in a famous cathedral town just dripping with history. Jon is determined to be as miserable as possible, but when the ghosts of three malevolent knights began haunting him, he finds himself drawn into a dark tragedy that unfolded around the cathedral back in the middle ages.

Four by Wodehouse

Four by Wodehouse

We’ve had a LOT of new books come into the library lately, especially lots of new fiction for teens and adults. We also have some new editions of great classics: several new volumes of P.G. Wodehouse, one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. You might know him best as the author of the Jeeves and Wooster stories, but in his very, very long career he wrote very, very many books. We have a new edition of The Code of the Woosters, in which Bertie’s Aunt Dahlia sends him to steal a silver cow creamer from Totleigh Towers, where the extremely soppy Madeline Bassett, quite wrongly convinced Bertie is pining for love of her, lies in wait. Spode, the amateur dictator, is on hand too, ready to tie Bertie in knots for Madeline’s sake, while Stiffy Byng is willing to try blackmail against Bertie to further her romance with the curate, Stinker Pinker.

Pigs Have Wings is a Blandings Castle book, in which the Empress of Blandings, two-time winner of the Silver Medal in the Fat Pigs competition, is kidnapped by a rival, while an assorted gaggle of young men are in love with young women who are in love with completely different young men …

Psmith, Journalist, is not only a book about boxing, but social reform in New York City before the First World War, in which Rupert Psmith encourages a discouraged young journalist to highjack the agenda of the sentimental and improving family magazine of which he has temporarily been left in charge, both to boost the career of an up-and-coming boxer and to campaign against corrupt tenement slumlords.

Love Among the Chickens tells of the irrepressible Ukridge, the world’s greatest sponger, and his attempt to make a fortune by chicken farming. He ropes his friend, the writer Jeremy Garnett, into helping him out. Garnett falls in love with the daughter of a neighbouring professor, whom Ukridge promptly insults, so that the girl is forbidden to have anything to do with any of them. Garnett’s scheme to win his way back into the professor’s good graces only sends his courtship situation from bad to worse, while Ukridge’s debts mount and the chickens do their own part to keep life interesting.

The Leaky Establishment, by David Langford

The Leaky Establishment was originally published back in 1984, but was reissued a few years ago with a new foreword by Terry Pratchett, which says “This was the book I meant to write,” and, more worryingly, “The book is practically a documentary.” (Pratchett, author of the Discworld books, was once a press officer for the British atomic power industry.) Anyway, Pratchett praises it: you have fair warning, then, that this is a book both humorous and intelligent. The setting is a British nuclear research facility in the Thatcher era, the hero, Roy Tappen, a young scientist drowning in a sea of bureaucracy. The plot involves Tappen’s ever-more complicated efforts to return a warhead core of which he inadvertently finds himself possessed after smuggling home an unused filing cabinet. Unfortunately, although nobody seems to notice it’s missing, smuggling the core back becomes rather more difficult as security measures are increased prior to a royal visit. Anyone who has ever worked in a university science lab, anyone suffering the toils of bureaucracy in any form, will find something familiar in the labs and office-huts of the Nuclear-Utilization Technology Centre. No one does satire like the British and this portrayal of the lunatic impersonality of a government facility is a prime example.