I have read three books this week or so, each so different from another.

The Song From Somewhere Else

A.F. Harrold’s The Song From Somewhere Else was such a neat book.

Set in the present, I assume somewhere in Britain, we meet Frank, a young girl who is being bullied by the neighbourhood boys. Well, one boy with his “friends” not being as terrible, but doing nothing to stop it either. IT’s summer vacation and Frank is looking for her lost cat when she runs into the boys who are torrenting her. She is helped by Nicholas, a giant-like boy who is bullied by the entire class rather than just three. Frank and Nicholas escapes to Nicholas house where Frank hears the strangest, most beautiful music she has ever heard coming from the basement of Nicholas’ home.

Soon Frank is doing things she would never do – such as continue to visit Nicholas at his house (what would her friends and the bully say about that) and exploring his house without permission, seeing things she is not sure actually exists.

The Song From Somewhere Else was so different than what I was expecting. I liked it. I had a hard time with the bullying as it wasn’t bullying, but assault. I hope that type of behaviour doesn’t actually happen and if does, children speak to their parents about it to have it stopped. I also hope parents aren’t actually that obtuse. I liked Nicholas and his dad and the story that develops after we figure out what happens in Nicholas’ house.

The Song From Soemwhere Else is from Bloomsbury Kids and Raincoast Books.

Louder than Words

Louder than Words is part of Annick Press’ Heroes Quartet Series, which includes Masters of Silence and The Sound of Freedom.

In this book, based on a true story, we meet Dina, 12, and her younger sisters living in Ukraine during the start of the Second World War. Their father has passed away and their mom, a high school teacher, goes back to work, hiring a house keeper, Nina, who looks after the children and the house.

“When the Nazis invade and begin to round up the Jews, Nina sacrifices her own safety to safeguard the children. Will Nina’s heroic actions be enough to save Dina and her sisters from the clutches of the Nazis?”

While the book talked about the changes in people and rules for Jewish people during the Second World War, because it is directed at the middle grade set, the horrors aren’t as detailed as what you would read in a young adult or adult book. I also liked that you got to see Nina’s life before and watch as life changes so terribly for the children and other Jewish people.

At the end, Kacer talks about the real Nina Pukas and her willingness to help her new family:

“Nina Pukas is a role model for all of us
and an example of what is possible.”

Louder Than Words costs $18.95.

Snazzy Cat Capers, Meow and Never

This is the third book in Deanna Kent and Neil Hooson’s Cat Capers series about Ophelia von Hairball V, the world’s No. 1 cat burglar who works for the FFBI (Furry Feline Burglary Institute), and her inventor sidekick (because Ophelia works alone) Oscar F. Gold. I read the first book in the series, Snazzy Cat Capers.

The pair are preparing for the MEOW Competition, where they must steal the most valuable treasure in order to remain the best in the FFBI.

“The fur-and-fin duo show up with the most valuable treasure they can find – and Ophelia’s cousin Pierre von Rascal beats them to the punch with a priceless painting that puts their loot to shame. But Ophelia is certain the expensive artwork is an elaborate fake. Ophelia will need every pawful fo her singular style, winning wit, and purr-fect poise to prove Pierre’s nothing but a wannabe cheetah – before he steals her prize.”

There were a lot of cat puns and cat speak (Hiss-tory, un-fur-gettable) in this book as always, which made reading difficult, but my son loved it. While still…Ophelia, the cat burglar seemed a little nicer to Oscar and appreciative of his talents, which get to shine in this book. The book is a mix of story and graphic novel.

Meow or Never is $17.99 and is from imprint and Raincoast Books.

A copy of these books are from Annick Press
and Raincoast Books for an honest review. The opinions are my own.