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Emma Thompson Channels Beatrix Potter Beautifully

The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit  ($20, Frederick Warne, ages 5 and up) written by Emma Thompson and illustrated by Eleanor Taylor is reviewed by Ronna Mandel. 

110 years on and Beatrix Potter’s characters are still bringing smiles to children around the world, this child included! Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson has captured the voice, pace and perfect plotting of Potter’s mischievous rabbit in both the newly imagined picture book and the included CD recording. Taylor’s charming illustrations are an additional delight.

The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit takes Peter – ever in search of something interesting to occupy his time and against the cautions of Benjamin Bunny – back into the off-limits world known as Mr. McGregor’s garden. What ensues is both a surprise and an adventure, as Peter ends up nodding out in a picnic basket and finds himself in the back of the McGregor’s cart, a wee bit far from home; in Scotland to be precise.

Fortunately cousin Finlay McBurney chances upon the lost lad and, in safe surroundings and no time at all, Peter’s up to his shenanigans in a radical way. Without spoiling the plot, suffice it to say that a radish hollowed out by Peter in a fit of hunger plays an important role in a shot put-like competition that will leave readers reeling. Not only was this a totally satisfying read, but a fun one bound to become a bedtime favorite.

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The Battle for Duncragglin

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Count on avid reader and guest reviewer Vinny to find the most fascinating fiction for Middle Schoolers. Today’s book is recommended for ages 11 and up and is published by Tundra Books.

9781770490253I thought that the book The Battle for Duncragglin by Andrew H. Vanderwal was a fantastic story that tells how Scottish descendents, Alex Macpherson and three of his friends, Annie, Willie, and Craig, managed to go back in time through underwater caves below the cliffs of Scotland. Both Alex and his friends had reasons why they wanted to go inside the caves. Alex’s goal was to find his missing parents, and his friends’ goal was to find their missing mother, all were said to have disappeared in the village where the crushed remains of Duncragglin castle once stood, brave and proud. When they awoke from what seemed like a terrible dream in the caves, from getting lost, to seeing unreal visions, they find themselves back in the time of medieval Scotland, where there were castles and guards and war.

Throughout the story, Alex and his three friends learn what it means to be a part of history, from being held captive, to eating stale bread, to fighting in war. Meanwhile the battle for the Scottish castle, Duncragglin, rages on, and the feeling of war is traveling and spreading through the medieval air. It affected everyone, including Alex and his friends. Will Alex rescue his captive friends before they are hung at the guillotine? Will Alex and William Wallace’s team be able to defeat Lord Husselrige’s? Alex, Willie, Annie, and Craig ever be able to reach the portal back home? Will Alex stay back and search for his long-lost parents? Will his friends find their mother? You have to read to find out! You’ll want to because this novel has its twists and turns like any great book. I do recommend this book; it was a plate of historical fiction. I wanted seconds.

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