Two Crafty Criminals (And How They Were Captured By the Daring Detectives of the New Cut Gang is the latest offering by Philip Pullman-(author of The Golden Compass). This charming and sophisticated caper is perfect for grades 3-6, (and beyond!). Benny and Thunderbolt are the leaders of a street gang in late 19th century London that solves crimes and has loads of fun. Things turn more serious when Thunderbolt’s father is arrested for coin counterfeiting and Thunderbolt worries his father might be behind the crime. But his friends in the gang devise a way to catch the real criminal and clear his father’s name–in turns funny and serious, this will be a big hit with lovers of both humor and mystery.
For those who prefer adventure and historical fiction, we have The Unfortunate Son by Constance Leeds. This beautifully written novel is the story of Luc, a boy from France born with only one ear, who is raised by a cruel father. Apprenticed to a fisherman, then kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery in northern Africa-Luc’s life seems to be most unfortunate. With great description and dialogue, you will be transported into the fifteenth century and entirely wrapped up in Luc’s story. The lovely Beatrice, who met Luc when he was a lowly fisherman, never gives up trying to find him. This is an excellent read and will capture the reader beginning on page one!
I am only the Chickadee/Yet small things have great power/I speak the truth
Chickadee by Louise Erdrich is the story of two Ojibwe boys, twin brothers and best friends who are cruelly separated. Set in Minnesota in 1866, Chickadee and his brother, Makoons, have a series of adventures while trying to find each other again. Moving from Minnesota to the cold, snowy great plains, they meet white settlers, a priest who wants to save the savages’ souls and a terrible plague of mosquitos. All through the story Chickadee learns that, like his namesake, small things have great power. This unforgettable story will move you from heartache to happiness.