The Book Shelf – May 9
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May 09, 2013  |  Vote 0    0

The Book Shelf – May 9

Stratford Gazette

Mira’s Diary: Lost in Paris,

By Marissa Moss,

210 pages.

@ SPL: J FIC Moss

The first book in a new series by Marissa Moss, Mira’s Diary: Lost in Paris, could be described as “mystery meets history in an unusual time-travel story with a smattering of romance”.

Intrigued? Read on ....

When Mira receives a puzzling postcard sent from Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris from her missing mother, she, her father and her brother travel to the French city in hopes of finding her.

While at Notre Dame, Mira sees the same gargoyle that was featured on her mother’s postcard. She touches the gargoyle and is whisked back to the late 19th Century.

Mira knows now that she has inherited her mother’s ability of time-travel. Guided by a series of notes with clues from her mother, she visits various moments in time between 1881 and 1899, a period when the “Dreyfus Trial” was stirring up intense reaction in Paris.

She soon realizes that her mother has been secretly investigating the truth behind the trial in order to obtain justice for Alfred Dreyfus - a Jewish military officer who was wrongly accused of a crime and branded as a traitor. She also realizes that her mother needs her help.

As she searches for her mother, Mira meets various artists and writers of late 19th Century Paris – people such as Monet, Degas, Renoir, Mary Cassatt and Emile Zola, and she becomes involved in their lives. She visits Giverny, Montmartre, the Impressionists Exhibition, and a number of Parisian salons, giving readers a taste of the vibrant City of Paris at that time.

With questions left unanswered at the end of this intriguing story, readers will anticipate the next book in the “Mira’s Diary” series.

Written in the form of a journal/diary, this unusual, well-written mystery is beautifully infused with French history and culture, enhanced by the small pencil sketches which appear throughout.

** Recommended for ages 10-13.

Facing the Mountain,

By Wendy Orr,

144 pages.

@ SPL: J FIC Orr

Eleven-year-old Raven isn’t happy about moving to a different city near the Rocky Mountains with her mom and older sister to join her new stepfather. She’ll be leaving her school and all of her friends behind.

Raven also wants to stay in Cottonwood Bluffs in case her biological father should ever decide to return home.

Soon after their move, the girls and their stepfather, Scott, embark on a mountain climbing trip while their mother is at work.  Unenthusiastic at first, the girls soon experience the majestic peace and beauty of the Rockies and the local wildlife. They stand under a waterfall, reach the mountain summit, come close to a bear and watch mountain goats scampering among the rocks.

They also come to accept and respect Scott, who is acting as guide.

Then a sudden avalanche pulls Raven down the mountain in a shower of rocks. She emerges bruised, injured and terrified. Hours later, she discovers that the avalanche has trapped Lily and Scott in a cave behind a huge boulder. It’s up to Raven to go for help. The survival of all three depends on her.

Without food, without her glasses, and in danger from the treacherous terrain and the bears, Raven somehow conjures up the determination and the incredible courage to journey through the unknown wilderness alone to bring help to Lily and Scott.

A gripping survival story, told from Raven’s point of view, Facing the Mountain features realistic characters and dialogue.  The author’s love and knowledge of the Rockies are evident.

** Recommended for ages nine to 12.

– Sally Hengeveld, librarian

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