Riordan, Rick. The Red Pyramid.
Broke down and bought my OWN copy, because I couldn't stand to wait. I was not disappointed! Carter Kane travels the world with his Egyptologist father; Sadie lives in London with her grandparents and sees him twice a year. This year, their visit includes a trip to the British Museum, where the father blows up the Rosetta Stone, summons the gods, and disappears. Sadie and Carter, helped by the human manifestation of Sadie's cat, Muffin, are plunged into an epic battle to keep the god Set from destroying the world.
No one does epic battles like Riordan, but what was truly impressive was the amount of Egyptian mythology that is covered. The Lightning Thief was easy for me, since I know my Greek myths cold, but this story managed to explain the different gods and their functions without bogging down the narrative. Add Riordan's wonderful style that has me chuckling to myself over some clever turn of phrase every couple of pages, and I think I liked this one almost better than Percy! The alternating viewpoints of the two characters are easy to follow, the different locations to which they travel fun, and the veiled references to troubles with other gods leaves way for this story to eventually connect to The Lightning Thief if need be. My only complaint? I think Sadie's name should have been Sophie, after Heinrich Schliemann's wife. I knew right away for whom Carter was named!
Telgemeier, Raina. Smile.
If all graphic novels were this well done, librarians would buy more of them. Like Hope Larson's Mercury, this book is well bound and has a compelling, unusual story. Picky Reader adored this one! Based on the author's own experiences, Smile tells the story of her fall that causes her two front teeth to be knocked out. Braces don't adequately fix the problem, so there is surgery and other interventions over a three year period. The effect of the disfigurement and braces shapes Raina's personality, friendships, and interests. Middle school problems such as crushes, family issues, changing friendships, and schoolwork are also covered. Telgemeier's work will be familiar to anyone who has read The Babysitters' Club graphic novels.
Atkins, Jeannine. Borrowed Names: Poems about Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C.J. Walker, Marie Curie, and their daughters.
This was one of those books that won't fly off the shelf, but is so well done that I had to buy it. The three women named in the title were all born in 1867, and had such divergent experiences, but shared many qualities. Students who are familiar with these figures will learn something new, and this is fine for an introduction as well. The poetry is not that great (but I am extremely strict about rhyme and meter, and harsh when poems do not include this), but the stories are interesting. It's even got a beautiful cover. This will take some hand selling, but I have several girls who are on a Wilder kick who are sure to pick this up.