I waited a while to read Pony by R. J. Palacio.  I’m not sure why.  If you haven’t read it yet, don’t wait.   It’s different and special ~ a hero’s journey and Wild West tale rolled into one.

Silas is different.  He has a special relationship with his dad – a boot maker for a living, an engraver and photographer too.  Both Silas and his dad read widely and deeply.  They know many things that others do not.  Silas realizes he may not know things that most most everyone knows.  He just hasn’t needed to know them yet.  He will as the need arises.  Silas love to read and discover right along with Pa.  He helps with the chores around the house.  Hunting is a challenge.  He does not like the woods.  They speak to him in a way that makes him very afraid.  He passed out the first time he tried to go in with his father.  He’s not gone back since.

Silas is special.  He can see ghosts.  One, Mittenwool, has been with him since birth.  They are best friends.   It’s Mittenwool who woke him up on the night the gang came and took Pa.    That was how Silas heard all that was said and saw the three men and the horses.  It’s Mittenwool who agreed to go with him to see if they can find Pa and bring him home. That is how Silas found the courage to overcome his panic and push on.

At the edge of the wood, one of the gang’s horses, the pony finds them.  Silas takes this as a sign.  He must go into the fearsome wood, find his father, and bring him home.  And so their journey begins – Silas, Mittenwool and Pony.

It’s not an easy journey.  Terrible things have happened in those woods – and while you and I might feel the ominous energy, Silas can see the horrific ghostly proof.  There are others traveling through the wood – and while you and I might be skeptical and suspicious, Silas hasn’t had much experience with others in the world and trusts them.

I would have turned back many times, but Silas continues.  He is pushed forward by his love of family, the kindness of friends and his courage to do the right thing.  It is an amazing story that will stay with me long after the cover has been closed.

The book is illustrated with old daguerrotypes, tintypes and other photographs Pa may have taken.  And is further enriched by quotes and passages from books, likely to have been in Pa and Silas’ library

What a story!

Happy Reading! 📚

Cold-Blooded Myrtle

Myrtle Hardcastle— twelve-year-old amateur detective—is back in her third book.  This time she is solving a string of murders in her hometown of Swinburne.

On the morning of the annual Christmas reveal, with the whole town gathered outside the window, the proprietor of Leighton’s Mercantile is found dead.  Perhaps the poor man has had a stroke, but Myrtle suspects more.  The tableau has some alarming references, and seems connected to the long ago disappearance of a student named Olive Blackwell. 

But who would want to kill the local dry-goods merchant? Perhaps someone who remembers the mysterious scandal that destroyed his career as a professor and archaeologist. Myrtle, along with her tutor, Miss Judson begin their investigation.  The more Myrtle looks, the more she discovers about her mother (who passed away from cancer when Myrtle was younger), a secret society, and a past wrongdoing.

Her investigation lead Myrtle through Swinburne.  She talks to Leah, the new carillonist, who shows her around the the tower and explains how the bells are played.   Leah will be holding the first concert of the bells since Olive’s mysterious disappearance. She invites Myrtle to come. Myrtle attends the opening of Leighton Museum and talks to the curator about the artifacts and scenes donated by Professor Leighton before his death.  She also talks to newspaper reporters who seems quite interested in the twists and turns of this particular mystery.  Myrtle observes and notices.  She wonders and questions.

When the killer strikes again, the figures in the Leighton tableau are rearranged foretelling the crime. Myrtle finds herself racing to uncover the long-buried facts of a cold case and the motivations of a modern murderer.

You’ll have a great time solving the case with Myrtle.  Sherlock Holmes has nothing on her.

Happy Reading!📚

PS – If you want to learn more about pneumatic subway systems, check this book out.

Another Great Book in the Greenglass series

The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book by Phineas Amalgam is Kate Milford’s fifth book featuring the magical town of Nagspeak situated on the Skidwrack River. Each book is skillfully mysterious ~ real and unreal, magical and ordinary, everyday and unique all at once.  Curious readers can’t help but be intrigued.  

Lexio, an online dictionary, defines a raconteur as a person who tells anecdotes in a skillful and amusing way.  Phineas Amalgam is such a collector of tales.   When he and his fellow guests find themselves waylaid at the Blue Vein Tavern by unrelenting rain, he suggests they pass the evenings sharing stories.  Each story is original and personal.  Over the course of days and tellings, it becomes apparent that the stories and their tellers are connected.  Are the guests at the Blue Vein Tavern there by chance, or is there something this particular group of people must do to put their stories together and face the truth?   Fate seems to rest in their collective hands.

I think you’ll enjoy this collection of tales.  If you’re already a reader of the Greenglass Series, I think you’ll be completely satisfied.  If you’re new to the series, please make time to enjoy the rest.   This series is one to be savored and reread – I missed so many details and clues the first time through.  It was fun to find them later.




Happy Reading!📚

PS – I kept a paper in my book while I was reading so I could keep track of new words.  There were a lot for me.  I don’t think I’ll use them, but it was fun to see how they perfectly fit into this story.