A very satisfying read by the author of The Clockwork Three. Over 300 pages, but I read it in a couple hours. Solveig, her brother the crown prince, and her beautiful older sister are trapped in a hidden fortress built on a glacier. With them are a few trusted servants, a small army of berserkers...and a traitor. A little romance, quite a bit of mystery, and mostly a discovering-who-you-are novel. I thought I knew who the traitor was, then I discovered I was wrong, then I discovered I really wasn't. The ending was perhaps to tidy, but satisfying.
Gift Idea: Pair with some good nonfiction about the Vikings or Norse gods, particularly Odin. If you are feeling especially brave, give your little berserker a spear or hammer...or maybe just a stuffed raven:)
This is an older book, and obviously a sleeper - it sits on the sale table here, and I almost didn't pick it up. Very cute story, disembowlings and beheadings aside. Sort of a humorous medieval adventure-slash-love triangle. I wasn't happy with the ending, but a younger teenage girl probably would be.
Gift Idea: Hmm. Well, you probably wouldn't want to gift your 13yo the tools of a hangman's trade. There is much talk of medieval clothing, though, and you can definitely have fun with that. Hats - and hatboxes - figure in rather prominently, and would make a fun present, either for wearing or for decorating.
This one comes with a CD, but that's kind of missing the point, isn't it? This collection of favorite stories and poems will give you plenty of read-alouds for bedtime or any time, and have enough variety to keep from getting stale too soon.
Gift Idea: This one needs to be paired with your TIME. A card promising a story every night without fail. A gift certificate for one rainy afternoon of cuddling and reading. A plan to act out a story or two, using the CD as your background.
Do you know a young lady who is at times a bit overexhuberant, or perhaps, erm, a little overbearing (no pun intended)? Then she may identify with Lucy, who sets out one day determined to make a new friend - one way or another. I'm not sure that any sort of lesson is learned, but I think it's going to make a great read-aloud.
Gift Idea: Stuffed animals (particularly bears and flamingos) come to mind, or a gift certificate for a special day with your little reader and one of her friends.
We have a whole table full of holiday books, some new and some traditional. This is definitely one of the prettiest. As you explore the beautiful, jewel-colored illustrations, you'll start finding hidden images of some of the previous gifts.
Gift Idea: One parent has already mentioned how this book might inspire some artwork - in her husband! Pair the book with some good oil paints and canvas, and see what kinds of masterpieces your young artist can come up with.
I always let the kids pick out a book or two at each book fair, and then grab some more later as gifts. S. was in today with Grandma, and spent quite some time picking things up and putting them back down (somewhere other than where they went, of course.) I was quite proud of the fact that she skipped over all the princessy books and went first to one with a komodo dragon on the cover, but I'm especially happy that this is the one she settled on. She probably just liked the colors, but if you know anything about Alice Roosevelt - and about S. - you know why this is a perfect match.
Gift Idea: The book talks a lot about Alice wanting to "gobble up the world", and about the fact that she was laregly self-taught. Use this book as a springboard to find out what your young lady dreams of doing someday, and gift appropriately from there. Oh, and get her a green garden snake. Or a monkey. Probably a snake would be better. And more legal.