Mary Poppins Returns

There is a lot of hype surrounding the new Disney movie Mary Poppins Returns, which is to be released December 19, 2018, and the Aurora Public Library District is here to help you jump on the bandwagon! Keep a lookout for an Author Biographies blog featuring P.L. Travers, the creator of Mary Poppins and all of her adventures. In the meantime, check out Saving Mr. Banks to hold you over.

The first book in the Mary Poppins universe, Mary Poppins, was released in 1934, with subsequent adventures periodically released all the way up to 1988. We have several of these titles available both digitally and physically to check out.

Mary Poppins Returns is actually intended to be a sequel to the popular 1964 film Mary Poppins, starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. And while the film is similar to the books created by Travers, it has become its own entity entirely. In other words, you don’t have to read the books in order to watch and understand the film, which is definitely still one of my favorites. The sequel promises to deliver all of the magical realism elements present in the original, as well as new musical numbers. I have high hopes that this new movie will be able to bridge the gap between generations; maybe it will even become as iconic as the childhood staple that is the original!

Starring Emily Blunt as the titular Mary Poppins, and including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Angela Lansbury, Colin Firth, and Meryl Streep, Mary Poppins Returns has been anticipated since its announcement in September 2015. Dan Van Dyke is also going to make an appearance in the new film, so we can only hope that the Queen of Genovia herself (Julie Andrews) will follow suit!

Watch the trailer here.

Can you tell I’m more than a little excited? It’s bound to be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

After Harry Potter and Percy Jackson

What to do when your child has read Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, but can’t seem to get hooked on anything else?

Here are some other juvenile fantasy series, both old and new, that might be just what you need. Because these great series have been around for a few years, we may not have all the books at both branches. Just ask at the circulation desk if you need help locating a book!

Children of the Red King is a series of eight children’s fantasy school and adventure novels written by British author Jenny Nimmo. It is sometimes called “The Charlie Bone series” after its main character. In the first novel, 10-year-old Charlie Bone discovers that he has a special power. After accidentally encountering a photograph of a missing baby, Charlie begins to hear the voices of people in photographs and he discovers that he is a descendant of the Red King, an ancient magician.

Midnighht for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo

Septimus Heap is a series of fantasy novels by Angie Sage. The series follows the adventures of Septimus Heap who, as a seventh son of a seventh son, has extraordinary magical powers.

Magyk by Angie Sage

The Keys to the Kingdom is a fantasy–adventure book series written by Garth Nix, published in seven books between 2003 and 2010. The series chronicles the adventures of Arthur Penhaligon, an asthmatic 12-year-old boy who is chosen to become the Rightful Heir of the House, the center of the universe.

Mister Monday by Garth Nix

Written by P.B. Kerr, Children of the Lamp tells the story of twins John and Philippa, as they discover how to act in the world of djinn (genies). The story has a variety of themes including family, adventure, and loyalty.

The Akhenaten Adventure by P.B. Kerr

The Pegasus series by Kate O’Hearn would be a great fit for Percy Jackson fans. In the first book, Pegasus crashes onto a Manhattan roof during a terrible storm, and thirteen-year-old Emily’s life changes forever. Suddenly allied with a winged horse she’d always thought was mythical, Emily is thrust into the center of a fierce battle between the Roman gods and a terrifying race of multi-armed stone warriors called the Nirads.

Pegasus: The Flame of Olympus by Kate O'Hearn

Fablehaven is a secret nature preserve protecting mythical creatures from the outside world. As the series begins, Kendra and  Seth Sorenson are given a complex puzzle involving six keys and a locked journal. Once Kendra unlocks the mostly blank journal, she discovers the words “drink the milk”. She and Seth drink the magical milk  set outside in their yard every morning, opening their eyes to a whole new, mystical world full of the magical beings of Fablehaven.

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

The Tapestry, written and illustrated by Henry Neff is a fantasy series following the life of Max McDaniels. These books are notable for combining a range of genres, including fantasy, history, mythology, folklore, and science fiction. In The Hound of Rowan, Max stumbles on a mysterious Celtic tapestry which leads him to the secret Rowan Academy.

The Hound of Rowan by Henry Neff

Happy reading!

Series Starters: The Trials of Apollo

If you’ve read any of my blogs before, you’ll already know that I am a giant fan of Rick Riordan and everything he writes. The newest series he’s working on, along with his Magnus Chase series, is The Trials of Apollo.

Apollo, the Greek god of music, healing, prophecy, and the sun, has angered his father Zeus enough to be exiled as a human to Earth. Without his powers, Apollo has been transformed into a weak, dorky human who must now figure out how to survive long enough to get back in his father’s good graces. Of course, Apollo — whose new name is Lester Papadopolous — has many mortal and immortal enemies who would love to get their hands on him, so a trip to Camp Half Blood is the only option. Some familiar faces from Riordan’s other series appear– like Percy Jackson and more (I can’t tell you because it will spoil it!), so fans will appreciate the appearances.

I was wary to read this series because I didn’t want the beloved voice of Percy Jackson to sound anything like the god Apollo, but I needn’t have worried because Riordan had it mastered. Apollo’s voice in the novels has been compared to Gilderoy Lockhart, which is perfect and hilarious. The second book in the series just came out on May 2nd with a third book to be released early next year.

Happy Reading!

Rick Riordan: The Ultimate Character/Universe Crossover Author

Have you ever loved a character so much that you wished he or she was real? You loved them so much that you devoured every short story or theory about your character on the Internet and got lost? No? Is that just me? Oh.

Well, Percy Jackson is my favorite character ever written by my favorite author Rick Riordan. Percy’s five-book series was never enough for me, so you can imagine how excited I was to read Riordan’s other series and find that Percy just kept popping up when you least expected him to. That’s part of the reason why I keep reading and re-reading Riordan’s various series, but the main reason is that of Riordan’s writing itself. Sure, the main theme of each series is the same — inexperienced demigods from various cultures are sent on quests to save the world from sure destruction — but I never can grow tired of his words, and I have never been bored for one minute.

If you want to read the various series in chronological order, definitely read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series first. Percy is a young boy from New York City who finds out that his dad is actually a Greek god. Next, you’ll want to read The Kane Chronicles. Brother and sister, Carter and Sadie Kane, find out that they possess the power of the ancient Egyptian magicians. There are also three short stories involving Percy Jackson, Annabeth Chase, and Carter and Sadie Kane.

Next is The Heroes of Olympus series, which involves new characters descended from Roman gods as well as old characters from the Greek side. Each book is more intense than the last! Riordan’s newest series takes place simultaneously, but the first Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard — which is about the descendants of Old Norse gods — the book was released before the first The Trials of Apollo book — which revisits Greek and Roman myths — was. The final books for these two series will be released at the end of 2017 and at the beginning of 2018, respectively.

If you’re like me and just can’t let old characters go, then the books in Rick Riordan’s little universe are the ones for you. I might be biased, though, but I think these books are great for all ages. You can find the series in the Juvenile Fiction section of the library, or you can download every title from the Indiana Digital Download Center. You won’t regret it!

Happy Reading!

Trilogies for Everyone!

Do you ever get started reading a new series only to find that you’re eager to switch gears after a few books? Trilogies may be the answer for you! Trilogies allow the author plenty of space to create a sweeping story, but they also keep the author from being forever locked into the same characters. No matter what your age and interests are, there are great possibilities just waiting for you on our library shelves! The trilogies that I am going to highlight have the advantage of being complete, because there is nothing worse than waiting for years for the author to finish the story.

For adult readers, I chose a variety of genres to highlight. One of my favorites from many years ago is the Merlin Trilogy by Mary Stewart. This is one of the most enduring sagas of Merlin and King Arthur, and the copy on our shelf at the Dillsboro Public Library has the advantage of containing all 3 novels in one binding.

My son can’t stop raving about the The Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown. Set in the future on a colonized Mars, the trilogy follows lowborn miner Darrow as he infiltrates the ranks of the elite Golds. A movie adaptation is currently in development.

     

For historical fiction, I can recommend the Last Hundred Years Trilogy by Jane Smiley. Beginning with Some Luck, these books cover the time period from 1920 to 2019 and focus on societal changes, particularly to farming communities. For an in-depth summary of the trilogy, read this review by Heller McAlpin, written for the L.A. Times.

     

Our Teen area has many trilogies that are popular with teens and adults. Some  examples of YA books with adult appeal are the Hunger Games, Divergent, and Matched books. The Looking Glass Wars, although several years old, is part of an ongoing trend of revisiting characters from classic literature. The Graceling books by Kristin Cashore are not, strictly speaking. a trilogy; they were written as companion books.

     

The Jenna Fox Chronicles explore questions of identity and medical ethics.

     

There are also lots of trilogy choices in the juvenile fiction area. For all lovers of superheroes, check out the Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy by William Boniface.

     

Can you imagine a world where characters hop in and out of books? Try these three books by Cornelia Funke!

     

If historical fiction is your favorite way to learn, the Seeds of America trilogy by Laurie Halse Anderson brings the American Revolution to life through the perspective of American slaves. These books have been critically acclaimed, but due to the subject matter, are probably best for upper elementary students or older.

     

Trilogies are very rare among picture books, but here are a couple outstanding exceptions. Notice the shiny medals on the covers of the first two by Jon Klassen!

     

This trio of books by Aaron Becker illustrates everything that is magical and thought-provoking about wordless picture books. Writing for School Library Journal, Yelena Alekseyeva-Popova wrote: “Becker’s stunning watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations depict a breathtaking world that captivates without a written narrative.”

   

Happy reading!