Reviews

ARC Alert! Elizabeth and Zenobia

Miller, Jessica. Elizabeth and Zenobia. Amulet Books. 208 pages, 2017. Hardcover $14.60, ISBN 978-1-41972-724-5

Elizabeth and ZenobiaTL;DR: Do I recommend this? Yes

Anticipated Publication: September 2017

Genre: Horror

Part of a series? No

Plot Summary:

When her father decides it is time to move back to his childhood home, Elizabeth and her friend Zenobia have no other choice but to go along. (Father isn’t so pleased that Zenobia is coming along since she is, after all, imaginary — well, maybe not quite imaginary, but not quite real, either.) Elizabeth is afraid of everything — ghosts, the dark, gloves without hands in them — and Zenobia loves EVERYTHING creepy or disturbing. Poisons? Check. Ghosts — oh, excuse me, Spirit Presences? Check. Edgar Allan Poe? Check. Something is … off in Witheringe House, and to Zenobia’s delight, the conditions are PERFECT for a haunting. Add to that the fact that the East Wing of the house is forbidden to the girls, the eeriness increases the longer the girls are there. As more secrets are revealed, more seances are performed, and more bizarre midnight happenings occur, it becomes clear that something is truly and deeply wrong at Witheringe House. Will Elizabeth be brave enough to uncover the truth, and will she be strong enough to vanquish the evil that lurks in the house?

Critical Evaluation/Reader’s Comments:

The book’s description refers to it as “middle grade gothic horror,” and that is a perfect description. That creeping weirdness so critical in a good gothic novel is here in full force. Plants that seem a little too alive, a house with many secrets, silent and seemingly ubiquitous housekeepers, and a governess contending with mysterious forces all feature here. The book moves quickly, but it’s a page-turner, meaning that readers are going to enjoy this scary story enough not to want to put it down.

It’s a great read-alike for fans of Coraline, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. (Doll Bones is also similar with regards to creepy ghost factors!) Edgar Allan Poe is mentioned several times as he has the honor of being Zenobia’s favorite author. The book also draws upon gothic classics; Witheringe House of course reminds us of the title of Wuthering Heights; the governess plot smacks of Jane Eyre; the nursery’s walls are reminiscent of “The Yellow Wall-Paper,” and the whole “don’t go in the East Wing” situation is VERY Bluebeard. There’s something here for every gothic fan!

 

Grade Level: 4-8

 

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Reviews

Grow your greens: Garden to Table

Hengel, Katherine. Garden To Table: A Kid’s Guide to Planting, Growing, and Preparing Food. Scarletta Junior Readers, 2014. 144 pages. Tr. $13.61, ISBN 978-1-938063-42-8

Interest Level: 3-6

Cuisine: American New – NOT vegetarian

This book not only provides recipes for foods kids can make, but it also gives detailed instructions as to how kids can plant, nurture, and grow different herbs and vegetables. “Farm to Table” is something that I know many California schools are trying to teach their students more about, and having a book in the collection that will give students a “garden to table” experience can help kids figure out what goes into growing your own food and feeding your family. The photographs are amazing and give quite a bit of detail, and the instructions for both the planting and food preparation activities are clear and easy to follow. Each “planting” section includes graphics that show how deep seeds should be planted and how one’s pot should look inside (i.e., layers of soil, plant food, etc.). This book also includes allergy warnings where appropriate, explaining to readers what allergies are and why it is important to be aware of others’ allergies when preparing food for other people. Recipes in this book include ideas for Basil Parmesan Dip, Caprese Melts, Green Bean Salad, Potato Cakes, and more. This book leans towards savory dishes, but some cake recipes are included, so our young farmers can also make themselves some dessert. The reason that I chose this book was that it includes information not only on how to cook but also how to grow things that you can cook.

 

Reviews referenced:

Booklist. (2014, Feb. 15). (untitled) (Review of the book Garden To Table: A Kid’s Guide to Planting, Growing, and Preparing Food).   Booklist, 110(12). Retrieved from http://www.booklistonline.com/

Gueorguiev, R. (2014, June 1). Garden to table: A kid’s guide to planting, growing, and     preparing food (Review of the book Garden To Table: A Kid’s Guide to Planting, Growing, and Preparing Food). School Library Journal, 60(6). Retrieved from http://www.slj.com/

Kirkus Reviews. (2014, May 1). Garden to table: A kid’s guide to planting, growing, and   preparing food (Review of the book Garden To Table: A Kid’s Guide to Planting, Growing, and Preparing Food). Library Media Connection. Retrieved from       https://www.kirkusreviews.com/

Library Media Connection. (2015, March/April). (untitled) (Review of the book    Garden To Table: A Kid’s Guide to Planting, Growing, and Preparing Food). Library Media Connection, 33(5). Retrieved from http://www.abc- clio.com/LibrariesUnlimited.aspx