Here are books that speak not just to children, but to the child in all of us.
Instructions by Neil Gaiman (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $8.99)
From Publishers Weekly:
“Touch the wooden gate in the wall you never saw before,” invites Gaiman’s poem, first published in A Wolf at the Door (2000), reborn as a lavishly illustrated small-format picture book. A bipedal, bushy-tailed cat, wearing attire befitting Robin Hood, enters a fairy tale landscape filled with subtle and obvious allusions to familiar characters and stories. A cottage door leads him into a hallway of dramatic arches where a cat with an injured paw becomes his companion (“if any creature tells you that it hungers, feed it. If it tells you that it is dirty, clean it”). The wanderers press on, encountering a castle containing three sequestered princesses (“Do not trust the youngest. Walk on”), a ghostly ferryman, and other creatures.
Recalling his work on Gaiman’s Blueberry Girl, Vess’s compositions are distinguished by elegant, winding lines–gnarled vines, plumes of smoke, dragon tails–and intimate frames that evoke moments of gentle wisdom. Young readers should relish the chimerical vision while older Gaiman fans should grasp the underlying suggestion that the compass used to navigate fairy tales can also guide us in the real world. All ages.
In this delightfully gruesome collection, renowned monstrologist Johan Olander guides you through the world between reality and fantasy, where the creatures of your worst nightmares appear—even in your sock drawer!
With this essential field guide, you’ll:
*learn about monster habitats, life cycles, and how to avoid the most dangerous creatures
*see historical evidence of monster sightings (from claw prints to cave carvings)
*read about chilling monster encounters
*find out how you can become a monstrologist, too
A Field Guide to Monsters profiles more than twenty-five previously undocumented monsters. Olander will stretch your imagination to new limits with his impressive research, colorful observations, and eye-popping ink-and-digital artwork that reveal a madness unsurpassed.
While vacationing on an island with her parents, a young girl must overcome her greatest fear in order to rescue the local animals and sea life from the magical curse of a villainous toad. Beloved by fans for her beautifully written stories and interesting characters, Rusalka Reh has penned yet another fun and fantastical tale that is sure to enchant young readers the world over.
When Kat’s mom suggests a family vacation to the beach, her ten-year-old daughter is less than thrilled. In fact, the idea sounds downright lousy, considering the fact that Kat is terrified of the water. Yet from the moment they arrive, Kat senses there is something very unusual about the island. Her hunch turns out to be right: moments after discovering a strange whistle in the surf, she realizes she can hear the island’s animals talking to her. She doesn’t understand why…until a dolphin known as the Water Knight tells her about a curse cast upon the island by a villainous toad. Only a child can break the spell and only during a special full moon that shines once every forty years. The dolphin tells Kat that just such a night is rapidly approaching, and it’s up to her to free the island from the curse. But to do so, she must dive down into the toad’s lair, deep beneath the ocean’s dark waters. Packed with adventure and suspense, this story about a plucky girl conquering her greatest fear makes for a rousing—and heartwarming—read.
A worthy follow-up to her novel Pizzicato: the Abduction of the Magic Violin (currently discounted to just $1), Rusalka Reh’s newest tale, The Secret of the Water Knight, is sure to be praised for its excitement and suspense and hailed as a “compelling story of adventure…in the vein of a classic story, enjoyable by young and old alike.”
Amazon Vine Reviewer Apache Pearl says:
“I can’t wait to read this book to my grandchildren. It is full of interesting creatures, intrigue and mystery. “Kat” the 10 year heroine is like most typical 10 year olds. She is afraid of the water, embarrassed by her fear of swimming and feelings of inadequacy. She conquers her fears and shows incredible bravery. This is a must read for any young person (and those of us who are young at heart). It has a surprise ending.”