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Horses, Bikes and Trains: New Books for Older Readers

Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli
Hokey Pokey is a land where kids spend their days “running, leaping, playing, chasing, shrieking, hopscotching, footballing, hide-and-seeking, razzing, dazzing, run-amucking and chuckleducking.” Taking place over the course of the day when Jack, a Big Kid, wakes up to find his precious bike has been stolen, Hokey Pokey is a gorgeous, sunny, and nostalgic evocation of childhood. Spinelli’s playful and imaginative vocabulary and phrasing take a little time to get used to, but the reader is richly rewarded with this fable about growing up. (Grades 5 – 7)

Jinx by Sage Blackwood
When young Jinx is abandoned in the mysterious Urwald forest, he is taken in by Simon Magus. Simon is a powerful wizard, but he has many secrets and Jinx is never quite sure if he should trust him. So when Simon performs a extraordinary spell on Jinx, it looks like Jinx was right to be suspicious. But things (and people) are never quite what they seem in this exciting and original fantasy. (Grades 4 – 8 )

Look…Look Again! cartoons by John O’Brien
Whimsical visual  and verbal jokes are scattered throughout – whether it’s a white cow being milked black or a TV set like a sunset – and O’Brien’s muted color pointillist illustrations enhance the smiles. O’Brien contributes cartoons to The New Yorker and his deceptively sly and sophisticated wit engage both your brain and your funny bone.  (Grades 3 and up)

Who is J. K. Rowling? by Pam Pollack and Meg Belviso; illustrated by Stephen Marchesi
Well, I think we all know who J. K. Rowling’s most famous creation is – Harry Potter! This biography for younger readers tells the story of how Jo Rowling came to be one of the most famous and beloved authors of our time. It’s almost a rags to riches fairytale, and though the myth of Rowling suggests she just sat down on a train and wrote a book, the reality is much more complex. (Grades 3 – 6)

Wild Horse Scientists by Kay Frydenborg
Readers may have come across the wild horses of Assateague Island through Marguerite Henry’s Misty of Chincoteague books. This book, in the always excellent Scientists in the Field series, looks at the scientists who are working to protect and maintain the real horses on the island. Though they are not always successful, their care and commitment to the horses shines through. A must for budding scientists and horse-lovers.  (Grades 5 – 8 )

– Hayley

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