Museum of Thieves

Museum of ThievesMuseum of Thieves (The Keepers, #1)

by Lian Tanner

312 pages of survival in dystopian Jewel

Museum of Thieves takes places in the renamed city of Jewel, a fearful, depraved society where young children are kept on short leashes for their safety. The city is run by a Grand Protector who knows more about the past and the present than the rest of her people. She is working to bring balance back to the city, but know she must move slowly to maintain calm.  The corrupt Fugleman (willing to gain power and control at all cost) and the Blessed Guardians will have none of that.  The Blessed Guardians, supposedly kind and gentle souls, are anything but. They enforce the cruel laws stating that chain children to the authorities at all times. Care is a jail for children. The citizens have been brainwashed into thinking that all children must never be exposed to the dangers of the world and so they allow this lesser of two evils to define their lives.

Goldie Roth is twelve. It is her Separation Day.  Her guardchain is about to be severed.  Her life is upon her and she will be free to walk through the city alone for the first time.  Just before her ceremonial release, the Fugleman halts the proceedings with news of the unthinkable – the murder of children, an attack from outside.  He claims no one is safe and that the children cannot be freed. Goldie is faced with a choice: remain tied to her childhood, or cut the chain herself and run. Fuelled by desperation, she cuts and runs.

Goldie flees through the dark and daunting streets.  At first she regrets her decision; she sees nowhere to go and winds up at the mysterious Museum of Dunt.  This museum houses the records of her city.  Why was the name changed?  What happened to bring on so much fear?  What does it mean to have past and present collide?  Once in the museum, Goldie discovers it is alive. The rooms are ever-changing and maintained by an odd group. Goldie joins them and to learn the ways of the Museum.  There is trouble brewing beneath the surface, as there always is when power is abused and dishonesty prevails. This trouble could destroy the entire city.  Goldie, with the other keepers must find a way to save it…if it’s not too late.

The Museum of Thieves is the first book in the Keepers Trilogy. It is cleverly crafted and well written. When I finished I had so many questions I can’t wait to get the second, The City of Lies.  I need to find out how Goldie’s story continues with the Keepers and if Jewel is able to become morally secure and trustingly productive city…that may not happen yet because the evil still lurks.  It seems it has only temporarily been washed away.  The Keeper Trilogy is definitely one to read – you won’t be able to put it down once you begin.


The Humming Room

The Humming RoomThe Humming Room

by  Ellen Potter

magical realism

Hearing my mother read The Secret Garden was magical.  I lived in rural New Hampshire and I thought she had too, but when she read aloud to me she used a Yorkshire accent.  She brought the book to life and from then on I knew that other people’s lives were very different from mine.  She seemed to know what it was like to run through the heather.  She even knew how Mary would sound differently – my mother?!?!  That’s the first time I knew at 7 that books could open the world to you and take you places you never knew were there.  I’ve loved that The the Secret Garden forever  because of that.  I have cherished the wick branches and the bramblely garden that comes to life and beauty.

When I read “inspired by The Secret Garden” on the cover of The Humming Room  I knew it was a book I should explore.  (Besides I had come to like Ellen Potter from the quirky Kneebone Boy and I wondered how those two things might come together.)

Roo Fanshaw’s secret skill is hiding.  Her life has been a hard one and becoming invisible is a skill she has needed to perfect.  It is what saves her when her parents are murdered and it is what allows her to notice what others do not see once she moves to Cough Rock Island to stay at her eccentric uncle’s home.

This home is full of ghosts and secrets.  Roo does not believe in either and uncovers them all with the help of Jack, a gentle island boy who helps her learn island ways and life.  Roo finds the sadness hidden in the house and carefully brings it light and life and care.  With this help the sadness blossoms into life and that’s what all things need if you are going be part of the world.

I liked how the extras, the postman and the tutor added interesting twist to the story.  I liked  how the history of the setting – a tuberculosus sanitorium – added to the mystery and the magic.  I appreciated how determination and observation, care and commitment bring life back to those who are fragile.  I think you will too.  After you’ve discovered  The Humming Room  pass it on.  It is a story to share.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies AgainChitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again

by Frank Cottrell Boyce

212 pages of car adventuring fun

In 1967 one of my favorite Christmas presents was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Flemming.  I loved the Potts.  I loved the whistling sweets.  I thought Joe the Monster and his gang were terribly wonderful crooks.  And of course, I loved Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with “her first two CHITTY sneezes and the two soft BANGS, the bangs ran on and into each other so as to make a delicious purring rumble.”   I thought her amazing dashboard with knobs that glow and flash urgently as the need arose had just the perfect balance of efficiency and irreverence.  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – a magical car with a mind of it’s own.  I loved everything about that book – right down to the secret recipe at the end!

Next came the movie.  What a major disappointment!  The car wasn’t even the right color.  To me, it was silly, dull and boring.  Frank Cottrell Boyce had a totally different experience.  He saw the movie first and loved it.  Then he read the book.  He writes that this was the first time he knew that “films and books  – even when they’re telling the same story – each had a different kind of enchantment.”

Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again does indeed have its own kind of enchantment.  It takes the best pieces from the original, mixes them together with new ideas and creates a wholly unique story that has the Tooting family traveling the world, escaping the clutches of greedy crooks (Man Mountain Fink’s son from the original gang) and learning all about their amazingly wonderful Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.   Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is part of the family now and is teaching the Tootings to pay attention to each other, listen carefully and have trust in the power of family.

What a terrifically satisfying sequel!

May B.

May B.May B.

By Caroline Starr Rose

225 pages written in verse

What is it like to love words but not able to gain command over them?  May wants to be a teacher, but she is not be able to stand and read on command in her one room school house where memorization and recitation are key.  What is it like to be asked to help your family by leaving home the only place you feel truly safe? That is what May does.  She moves to the next sod house to be a companion and housekeeper to the new wife who isn’t used to the hardships and loneliness of prairie living.  Not only is May alone, but Mrs. Oblinger seems to despise her as much as the sod walls, dirt floor and endless nothingness out the door.

After being forced to sit in the front row with the little kids because she can’t read well, May is taken from school and her dream of being a teacher. Schooling seems useless for her and she is asked to move to the neighboring homestead.  May agrees to  try this new life for six month.  At Christmas her father will check on her to see how it is going.  Isolated from her family and neighbors, the unthinkable happens.  She is abandoned – totally alone and then she is trapped in the soddy by a snowstorm that completely covers the house.

May might not be able to  read or recite from her reader, but she is an amazing person –  strong, determined, resourceful and knowledgeable. Having students in may classroom who worked as hard as May does would be a joy. I wish we could all be so inspired and follow lead through difficulty and failure to achieve our goals.

I wonder how thing will go for May as her story continues.  I hope she find the courage and support to achieve her dreams.  Certainly with her as a teacher, no child would feel the sting of humiliation and shame in that room.

Happy 101!!

 We are celebrating our 101st post on Kid’s Books 101 by sharing our first 101 books! Look closely at the picture and you’ll see some familiar titles.

Choose your favorite books, and start reading! 🙂 We look forward to sharing our next 101 titles! Let us know what you think and/or share a favorite title of your own. There can never be enough great books!


If you would like to explore the number 101, here are some books for fun!

101 Doodle Definitions101 Things to Do with Bacon101 Ways to Become a Superhero . . . Or an Evil Genius

And a book especially for Mrs. Eaves…

101 Things to Do Before You're Old and Boring

(She says “It’s not too late yet”)

I don’t know…maybe you should read it.