New books for young readers


Just For Kids

August 27, 1998|By Amanda Vogt | Amanda Vogt,Chicago Tribune

If you're into dramatic rescues, George Sullivan's "Trapped" ($4, Scholastic) is for you. It tells the true stories of people who have been trapped in caves, elevators, abandoned wells, mines, on mountains, submarines and planes. The author digs up some juicy tidbits linked to headline-making rescues.

In one chapter, Sullivan recounts a class-trip nightmare: During the World Trade Center bombing, 72 kindergartners and their teachers got caught in an elevator. What was supposed to be a 90-second ride turned into a five-hour ordeal. **1/2 (out of four)

"The Clearing" by Dorothy Reynolds Miller ($4, Yearling) is about the unsolved disappearance of 5-year-old Bucky Mead and the impact it has on the people in a small Pennsylvania town. Cynthia, 14, knows what happened to Bucky and has kept her secret for 10 years. When Cynthia tells new friend Amanda, 11, her secret, Amanda is torn between remaining silent or revealing the truth about Bucky's disappearance.

Miller's characters are complex and vividly drawn. They're not perfect, but then neither is the world they live in. **1/2

"Garfield's Pet Force: The Outrageous Origin" and "Book 2: Pie-Rat's Revenge" by Jim Davis ($4, Scholastic) cast fat-cat Garfield and his pals as superheroes in a parallel universe. Unfortunately, the stories work neither as comic books nor as science fiction.

The same old jokes about food (there were lots of gags involving lasagna) made us want to take a catnap. Skip these snoozers. **

When we saw the newest book by award-winning kids' author Gary Paulsen, we could not wait to get flipping pages. "The Schernoff Discoveries" ($4.50, Yearling) doesn't disappoint.

It's about the unusual friendship that forms between two 14-year-old boys. One is a brilliant nerd; the other is a scrawny kid from a messed-up family.

The two dream up ways to meet girls, defeat the town bully and put the entire varsity football team out of commission.

Paulsen's tale of "Revenge of the Nerds" is lots of fun. It also provides a gentle lesson in surviving adolescence. ***

1997 Chicago Tribune. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune/Tribune Inc.

Pub date: 8/27/98

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