Hello there, and happy Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl where there is a topic and you make a list that best fits that topic! This week’s topic is Books That Make Me Smile.
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
The Penderwick sisters busily discover the summertime magic of Arundel estate’s sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts. Best of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel’s owner, the perfect companion for their adventures. Icy-hearted Mrs. Tifton is less pleased with the Penderwicks than Jeffrey, and warns the new friends to stay out of trouble. Is that any fun? For sure the summer will be unforgettable.
This book is indeed a summer tale of four sisters, two rabbits, and a very interesting boy, and this book makes me smile and laugh out loud every single time I read it. The entire series is so funny, and interesting, and overall wonderful that every time I read the books they make me smile so much!
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse – Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena – Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.
To be honest, all of the Percy Jackson books make me smile so much. The Lightning Thief, however, is just so good. Watching Percy getting thrown into everything, and meeting Annabeth for the first time, and standing by while Grover munches on tin cans. I love that book.
Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
In this Newbery Honor-winning novel, Gary D. Schmidt offers an unforgettable antihero. The Wednesday Wars is a wonderfully witty and compelling story about a teenage boy’s mishaps and adventures over the course of the 1967–68 school year in Long Island, New York.
Meet Holling Hoodhood, a seventh-grader at Camillo Junior High, who must spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, while the rest of the class has religious instruction. Mrs. Baker doesn’t like Holling—he’s sure of it. Why else would she make him read the plays of William Shakespeare outside class? But everyone has bigger things to worry about, like Vietnam. His father wants Holling and his sister to be on their best behavior: the success of his business depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has so much to contend with? A bully demanding cream puffs; angry rats; and a baseball hero signing autographs the very same night Holling has to appear in a play in yellow tights! As fate sneaks up on him again and again, Holling finds Motivation—the Big M—in the most unexpected places and musters up the courage to embrace his destiny, in spite of himself.
The Wednesday Wars is one of my favorite books in the world, and it is a hilarious book. Really. It is. It was actually the very first book that I ever reviewed on my blog, but the review wasn’t that great 😦
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
At birth, Ella is inadvertently cursed by an imprudent young fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the “gift” of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey. Another girl might have been cowed by this affliction, but not feisty Ella: “Instead of making me docile, Lucinda’s curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally.” When her beloved mother dies, leaving her in the care of a mostly absent and avaricious father, and later, a loathsome stepmother and two treacherous stepsisters, Ella’s life and well-being seem to be in grave peril. But her intelligence and saucy nature keep her in good stead as she sets out on a quest for freedom and self-discovery as she tries to track down Lucinda to undo the curse, fending off ogres, befriending elves, and falling in love with a prince along the way. Yes, there is a pumpkin coach, a glass slipper, and a happily ever after, but this is the most remarkable, delightful, and profound version of Cinderella you’ll ever read.
Gail Carson Levine’s examination of traditional female roles in fairy tales takes some satisfying twists and deviations from the original. Ella is bound by obedience against her will, and takes matters in her own hands with ambition and verve. Her relationship with the prince is balanced and based on humor and mutual respect; in fact, it is she who ultimately rescues him. Ella Enchanted has won many well-deserved awards, including a Newbery Honor.
I haven’t read this book in a while, but I do remember loving it a lot! Ella is so wonderful, and the story itself is so great that it always makes me smile to read it.
Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick
An unsent letter in a first edition copy of Charlotte’s Web leads to a hunt for treasure in this heartwarming middle grade mystery from the author of The Mother-Daughter Book Club.
Now that Truly Lovejoy’s father has been injured by an IED in Afghanistan and is having trouble finding work back home, the family moves from Texas to tiny Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire, to take over Lovejoy’s Books, a struggling bookstore that’s been in the family for one hundred years.
With two older brothers and two younger sisters clamoring for attention, her mother back in school, and everyone up to their eyebrows trying to keep Lovejoy’s Books afloat, Truly feels more overlooked than usual. So she pours herself into uncovering the mystery of an undelivered letter she finds stuck in a valuable autographed first edition of Charlotte’s Web, which subsequently goes missing from the bookshop. What’s inside the envelope leads Truly and her new Pumpkin Falls friends on a madcap treasure hunt around town, chasing clues that could spell danger.
I love the book Absolutely Truly so much, for so many reasons. The characters are so fun, and interesting, and the mystery is so entertaining! Reading (and rereading) this book always brings a smile to my face!
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
Introducing an extraordinary new voice—a magical debut that will make your skin tingle, your eyes glisten . . .and your heart sing.
Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place, a town where people could sing up thunderstorms and dance up sunflowers. But that was long ago, before a curse drove the magic away. Twelve-year-old Felicity knows all about things like that; her nomadic mother is cursed with a wandering heart.
But when she arrives in Midnight Gulch, Felicity thinks her luck’s about to change. A “word collector,” Felicity sees words everywhere—shining above strangers, tucked into church eves, and tangled up her dog’s floppy ears—but Midnight Gulch is the first place she’s ever seen the word “home.” And then there’s Jonah, a mysterious, spiky-haired do-gooder who shimmers with words Felicity’s never seen before, words that make Felicity’s heart beat a little faster.
Felicity wants to stay in Midnight Gulch more than anything, but first, she’ll need to figure out how to bring back the magic, breaking the spell that’s been cast over the town . . . and her mother’s broken heart.
A Snicker of Magic is such a fantastic book! Felicity uses the word ‘spindiddly’ to describe just about everything, and I find it so fun, and the book as a whole is so enchanting and wonderful.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
Kyle Keeley is the class clown, popular with most kids, (if not the teachers), and an ardent fan of all games: board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the building of the new town library.
Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot to be one of the first 12 kids in the library for an overnight of fun, food, and lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors remain locked. Kyle and the other winners must solve every clue and every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route. And the stakes are very high.
In this cross between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and A Night in the Museum, Agatha Award winner Chris Grabenstein uses rib-tickling humor to create the perfect tale for his quirky characters. Old fans and new readers will become enthralled with the crafty twists and turns of this ultimate library experience.
I haven’t read this book in a few years, but it takes place in a library. It takes place in a wonderful amazing incredible library. How couldn’t that make me smile?
Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper
When the Ku Klux Klan’s unwelcome reappearance rattles Stella’s segregated southern town, bravery battles prejudice in this Depression-era tour de force from Sharon Draper, the New York Times bestselling author of Out of My Mind.
Stella lives in the segregated South; in Bumblebee, North Carolina, to be exact about it. Some stores she can go into. Some stores she can’t. Some folks are right pleasant. Others are a lot less so. To Stella, it sort of evens out, and heck, the Klan hasn’t bothered them for years. But one late night, later than she should ever be up, much less wandering around outside, Stella and her little brother see something they’re never supposed to see, something that is the first flicker of change to come, unwelcome change by any stretch of the imagination. As Stella’s community – her world – is upended, she decides to fight fire with fire. And she learns that ashes don’t necessarily signify an end.
I know that the description doesn’t exactly scream ‘this is a book that makes me smile’, and there are definitely intense and not so happy moments in the book. However, this middle grade novel doesn’t only focus on the bad things that were happening during that historical era, but also the good things. Stella’s community is upended, however, it also is close-knit and sticks together through hardship, and we read about that in the book.
Like the Willow Tree by Lois Lowry
Two-time Newbery Award-winning author Lois Lowry brings a brand-new, beautiful diary to the Dear America series!
Suddenly orphaned by the Spanish flu epidemic in the fall of 1918, eleven-year-old Lydia Pierce and her fourteen-year-old brother, Daniel, of Portland, Maine, are taken by their uncle to be raised in the Shaker community at Sabbathday Lake. Thrust into the Shakers’ unfamiliar way of life, Lydia must grapple with a new world that is nothing like the one she used to know.
Now separated from her beloved brother, for men and women do not mix in this community, Lydia must adjust to many changes. But in time, and with her courageous spirit, she learns to find the joy in life again.
I got a copy of this book at my school book fair in elementary school, and since then, it has been one of my favorites. It is historical fiction, which I love, and although the synopsis makes it look quite sad, the book is about following Lydia as she understands her new life, and there are many many parts that make me smile.
A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck
Mary Alice remembers childhood summers packed with drama. At fifteen, she faces a whole long year with Grandma Dowdel, well known for shaking up her neighbors-and everyone else. All Mary Alice can know for certain is this: when trying to predict how life with Grandma might turn out . . . better not.
I first read A Year Down Yonder when I was eight or nine, and since then, it has made me laugh countless times (and smile too, since that’s what this post is about. Though can you laugh without smiling?) Richard Peck’s writing is always witty and entertaining, and A Year Down Yonder, the first of his books that I read, certainly set a high bar for the books to follow.
Also, considering that it’s one of my favorite books, I was shocked to see that this was the first time that I have ever talked about it on my blog! Really, that’s kinda weird. What other books am I missing?
Did anyone else notice that there were 10 whole books there? I don’t know when the last time I did a top ten Tuesday with 10 whole books… anyway, this was very fun to write, and I enjoyed finding these books.
Also, my last post was exactly 1234 words. I just thought that was worth mentioning. I couldn’t exactly put it in the last post, because then it wouldn’t be exactly 1234 words, but it was very satisfying to see.