Middle Grade

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

Featuring toothy cows, hidden secrets, crazy sockmen, books, Fangs, ridgerunners, and sea dragons; On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is a rip-roaring tale of adventures, intrigues, and three children-Janner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby. These children, living in a little house in the Glipwood Township have perfectly ordinary lives, or so they think-until a series of strange events occur that lead them to believe that perhaps their lives aren’t quite as ordinary as they thought. The ferocious Fangs of Dang are seeking for the lost jewels of Anniera, which are somehow tangled up in the history of the three Igiby children, their mother, and their ex-pirate grandfather; and the Fangs are determined to find the Igiby’s at any cost.

I would highly recommend On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, written by Andrew Peterson and published in 2008 by Waterbrook Press, for ages 10+. It’s witty, fun, fast-paced, and the plot twists will leave you on the edge of your seat. There is some minor violence to watch out for with younger readers. All in all, a well-written, wholesome book with unique characters and a twisty storyline. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Professor Diggins’ Dragons

“For everyone, young or old,

who has ever had a crock of butter

to carry around a mountain…

and met a dragon.”*

Professor Diggins from the University is a little cracked, or so the board of Directors believe. Any respectable marine biology professor should keep fantasies out of the classroom, according to the Directors; so when Diggins begins to teach his devoted students about dragons and dragon-hunting and rumors start spreading, there’s only one course of action the University can take. They must retire Professor Diggins. That course of action is not popular with anyone, however; and especially not with the children who walk the Professor to his class every day. When the Directors insist on the Professor having at least a vacation to clear his head of these dragon fantasies; he takes a group of these children with him to the beach for a camping trip, where they will meet the Professor’s dragons for themselves.

I would highly recommend Professor Diggins’ Dragons by Felice Holman for ages 8+. This is a fun, lighthearted children’s book, with excellent themes and eccentric, memorable characters; well written and humorous. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

“ ‘Oh dear!’ said Lydia. ‘Is this the end?’

‘Indeed not!’ said Professor Diggins. ‘Just a stopping place.’ ”*

*Excerpts taken from Professor Diggins’ Dragons, written by Felice Holman and published in 1996 by The Macmillan Company

Keeper of the Lost Cities

Sophie Foster is an extraordinary 12-year-old girl. Ever since she was 5 years old, she’s had a very special ability-she can hear people’s thoughts. Because of this unexplainable talent, she never fits in anywhere, and never really feels like she belongs. When she meets a boy named Fitz who can do the same thing she can, she finds out that she’s not all that she thought, and that there is somewhere for her to belong. She has to leave everything behind and embark on a wild adventure in a new place, with new rules to learn and a new culture to experience. Learning to control her massive powers and abilities is just part of her new life. When her new friends discover that there are hidden secrets inside of her head, they have to endeavor to keep her safe; for there are things inside of her that people would kill for. Sophie has to discover who she really is, and why she was hidden with the humans; for she might be the key to unraveling her new world…unless her enemies reach her first.
Keeper of the Lost Cities, written by Shannon Messenger and published in 2012 by Aladdin, an imprint of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, is a riveting story of new beginnings, belonging, and a fantastical world. This book would fall under the middle grade fantasy genre.
I would highly recommend this book for ages 12+. There is some violence and romance to watch out for, but it is a very well written book with memorable characters and fun world building details. All in all, a book well worth the read. 4 out of 5 stars.