Roundup of new children’s books
May 25, 2017
Both history and mystery, this robust novel begins in an English sea town in 1724. Melcombe Regis is not quaint but rather riddled with cruelty and corruption as 12-year-old Oliver learns. (His lovely sister has already left.) One dark November morn, he awakens after a horrific storm to find his house in ruins and his father gone. The prickly elder Pitts has an enemies list. Where is he? His “abandoned and unaided” son steals 23 shillings, survives the poorhouse, hangs out with thieves (not by choice), foils danger and doggedly journeys to London, looking for answers. Colorful rogues, highwaymen and rotten magistrates populate the Dickensian plot, punctuated with clever cliffhangers, endless close calls and bits of wisdom. Here a Newbery Medalist again delivers a page-turner, steeped in provocative moral questions. First in a series.
By Jason Chin
(Roaring Brook; 56 pages; $19.99; ages 7-12)
Stream Ferde Grofé’s “Grand Canyon Suite,” and pore over this glorious natural history. Thesis: The Grand Canyon is “much more…