Saturday, October 15, 1pm: Kurtis Scaletta
We have a soft spot in our collective hearts for Kurtis Scaletta, and it's not because he lives in Minneapolis. At least, it's not ONLY because of that. We also love the mixture of magical realism, humor, and plain good writing that he brings to the plate.
But what you may not know about Kurtis is that he shares a love of Manx cats with us. How can you not appreciate a guy who appreciates tailless cats? You can't.
Oh, and did we mention that Mr. Scaletta has a new book out? Our BLLOG book club read The Tanglewood Terror and can't stop talking (joyfully) about it (read their review here). You can't get a better endorsement than the one that comes from a group of 11-13 year olds. These kids are tough critics.
When 13-year-old Eric Parrish comes across glowing mushrooms in the woods behind his house, he's sure there's a scientific explanation. But when they start encroaching on the town—covering the football field and popping up from beneath the floorboards—Eric knows something's seriously wrong. Not that much else is going right: his parents are fighting, his little brother Brian is a little pill, and he's had a falling-out with his football team—over a pig.
Then a runaway girl from a nearby boarding school warns Eric that the fungus could portend the town's doom and leave it in rubble—just like the village that inexplicably disappeared in the exact same spot over 200 years ago. Eric, Brian, and Mandy set out to solve a very old mystery and save the town of Tanglewood.
Welcome to Moundville, where it’s been raining for longer than Roy McGuire has been alive. Most people say the town is cursed—right in the middle of their big baseball game against rival town Sinister Bend, black clouds crept across the sky and it started to rain. That was 22 years ago . . . and it’s still pouring. Baseball camp is over, and Roy knows he’s in for a dreary, soggy summer. But when he returns home, he finds a foster kid named Sturgis sprawled out on his couch. As if this isn’t weird enough, just a few days after Sturgis’s arrival, the sun comes out. No one can explain why the rain has finally stopped, but as far as Roy’s concerned, it’s time to play some baseball. It’s time to get a Moundville team together and finish what was started 22 years ago. It’s time for a rematch.
From BooklistAfter his family moves from Dayton to Liberia for his father's American Embassy job, 12-year-old Linus sees an opportunity to reinvent himself and become more confident, less fearful. Although he is initially scared when a rare, deadly black mamba appears, the snake doesn't harm him, and Linus soon finds himself increasingly attached to it. After secretly bringing it home, he finds himself growing more assertive. Then the snake escapes from his room, and the near-tragedy that ensues reminds Linus that the mamba is still a wild animal, and he must do what's right and admit responsibility, despite the difficult consequences. Scaletta (Mudville, 2009) has created an appealing, well-written protagonist whose everyday and extraordinary experiences—from sibling and adjustment issues to his intriguing, mysterious connection with the snake—change his life in unexpected, positive ways. With lively, sometimes droll touches and a well-constructed 1980s setting, the engaging first-person narrative and array of diversely drawn characters further enliven the novel, which concludes with a personal author's note that provides more story background. Grades 5-8.