Annal: 2005 Young Reader’s Choice Award Junior Division

Results of the Young Reader’s Choice Award in the year 2005.

Book:The Thief Lord

The Thief Lord

Cornelia Funke, Oliver Latsch

Prosper and Bo are orphans on the run from their cruel aunt and uncle. The brothers decide to hide out in Venice, where they meet a mysterious character who calls himself the “Thief Lord.” Brilliant and charismatic, the Thief Lord leads a ring of street children who dabble in petty crimes. Prosper and Bo relish being part of this colorful new family. But the Thief Lord has secrets of his own. And soon the boys are thrust into circumstances that will lead them, and readers, to a fantastic, spellbinding conclusion.

Book:Runt

Runt

Marion Dane Bauer

Deep in the Minnesota forest, where only the strong survive, four regular-sized pups—Leader, Sniffer, Runner, and Thinker—are pushed into the world. Then one last, very small pup is born into the wolf pack. He is called Runt.

From the very start, Runt struggles in the harsh wild world of the wolves. He tries learning along with his brothers and sisters, but makes serious mistakes. It’s hard pleasing his father, King, and the other wolves. If only Runt could prove himself to his powerful father and family….

Book:Hoot (Carl Hiaasen)

Hoot

Carl Hiaasen

Unfortunately, Roy’s first acquaintance in Florida is Dana Matherson, a well-known bully. Then again, if Dana hadn’t been sinking his thumbs into Roy’s temples and mashing his face against the school-bus window, Roy might never have spotted the running boy. And the running boy is intriguing: he was running away from the school bus, carried no books, and-here’s the odd part-wore no shoes. Sensing a mystery, Roy sets himself on the boy’s trail. The chase introduces him to potty-trained alligators, a fake-fart champion, some burrowing owls, a renegade eco-avenger, and several extremely poisonous snakes with unnaturally sparkling tails.

Roy has most definitely arrived in Carl Hiaasen’s Florida.

Book:The Beloved Dearly

The Beloved Dearly

Doug Cooney, Tony DiTerlizzi

Ernie is a twelve-year-old tycoon, always on the lookout for a fast buck. This time he stumbles onto a money-making bonanza: pet funerals. He hires Dusty to decorate the burial boxes and Tony to dig the holes, but his prize find is Swimming Pool, a tomboy who delivers a crying jag not to be missed.

Business goes through the roof—until Ernie loses Swimming Pool over a raise and the whole venture unravels. Here is a rollicking, fun-spirited novel about friendship, loss, business—and how we learn to express our feelings.

Book:Camp X

Camp X

Eric Walters

It’s 1943, and nearly-12-year-old George and his older brother Jack are spending a restless wartime summer in Whitby, Ontario, where their mom is working at a munitions plant while their dad is off fighting the Germans. One afternoon, the boys stumble across Canada’s top-secret spy camp-and so begins an exciting and terrifying adventure as George and Jack get caught up in the covert activities of Camp X.

Fascinated by Camp X and its secrets, the boys begin to suspect local townspeople of being spies. Unable to resist the camp’s allure, the boys keep going back to find out more details of what’s going on-they even meet William Stephenson, the Man Called Intrepid himself. They also attract the attention of a very sinister character, someone who is determined to use George and Jack’s knowledge against the Allies, no matter the consequences…or the casualties.

Book:Coraline

Coraline

Neil Gaiman

The day after they moved in, Coraline went exploring….

In Coraline’s family’s new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close. The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.

Only it’s different.

At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there’s another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to change…[more]

Book:Saffy's Angel

Saffy's Angel

Hilary McKay

Those of you who have read Hilary McKay’s earlier books, among which are The Exiles, Dog Friday, and Dolphin Luck, will happily welcome her new story, Saffy’s Angel. Whether you have read her work or not, you have a special treat in store in Saffy’s Angel.

You’ll meet the four Casson children, whose mother, Eve, a fine-arts painter, has given them the names of paint colors. Cadmium, called Caddy, is the eldest; then comes Saffron, known as Saffy; Indigo, the only boy; and Rose, the youngest. When Saffy discovers quite by accident that she has been adopted, she is deeply upset, though the others assure her it makes no difference at all. Saffy is the daughter of Eve’s twin sister, who lived in Siena, Italy, and died in a car crash. Grandad brought Saffy, as a very small child, back from Siena. …[more]

Book:Secret Life of Owen Skye

Secret Life of Owen Skye

Alan Cumyn

Owen Skye lives in a small village with his brothers Andy and Leonard, their parents, and their weird Uncle Lorne. The Skye boys have a knack for turning innocent events into full-blown escapades.

An argument about girls and God leads to a ruckus, and Leonard loses his glasses in the river. This induces the boys to skinny-dip, and they are promptly discovered by girls who chase them home. There they break out in a mysterious rash that confines them to bed for a week and subjects them to their mother’s homemade poultices. Another time, the boys sneak out on a winter night to listen for aliens on the crystal radio in their snow fort, which necessitates a rescue by Uncle Lorne. On another occasion, a plan to sell old comics leads to a melee with bullies, a boxing lesson from their father, and an eerie moment of truth at the site of a tragic train accident.

Owen’s days are magical and full of adventures with his brothers as they observe the curious world of adults and ponder the secret mysteries of life, death, and love.

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