As Leslie and I get ready for our next webcast--you have signed up for it?--, I'm trying to read her choices and research all 30 books for the Spring LiveBinder. Today's book of choice is The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox. First of all, it has a creepy cover that screams the answer to "Where are the scary books?" Dozens of rooks swarm the castle's towers while a tiny beam of light streams from the narrow doorway far below. There's nothing except that small glow that remotely indicates that the children are welcome there. Glad the light is on in my office, I plunge into the book where I first encounter a drawing of what appears to be a charm holder. At the head is a circled number 13. The opposing page indicates that it's a chatelaine: A set of short chains attached to a woman’s belt, used for carrying keys or other items (Oxford English Dictionary). The next page is a poem, which surely must be a magical chant, that ends in By rock and bone, By blood and stone, Not life, nor death, But lost, Alone. I'll charm, I'll claim With chatelaine. Then it's on to chapter 1. It is 1863. Last sentence reads: "Even the sneaking stoat hunkers in terror as the boy cries with the ripping pain of losing his very soul." I'm hooked, so I move on. Fast forward to 1940 England in Chapter 2. Three children are being sent away to the country for safety. After the London Blitz when 1 of 10 children were lost, parents began to send their kids to the country where they were believed to be safer (Read The War that Saved my Life.). Right away, we know things are not what they seem. And magic always comes with a price. Enter the computer. I'm reading at work in my office. First I want to know about the author: where did the story come from, what else did she write, is she on social media. Fox has a great About Me section on her website. True/False questions tell that she once lived in a haunted house and saw "ghostly happenings." This is her debut middle grade novel, but she's written YA novels and many other published writings. You can follow her on many different social media: Twitter, Facebook, Good Reads and more. Then I got to thinking about the removal of the children from the cities. I did some research about that. I found videos and news articles. I added my research to the book tab in the Spring 2016 LiveBinder. I got hooked on chatelaines. The historical ones are just gorgeous! I found some really interesting ones in a search on Pinterest. You can also buy them in Etsy. ( I bet you can see where I'm going here.) I found myself in a rabbit hole, but got saved by the timer. ( I break up my reading with typing in 30 minute increments.) The timer went off just as I was deciding which chatelaine to buy. Before I reached for my credit card, I followed Fox on Pinterest. I marked my favorites on Etsy. My credit card is safely in its wallet. (Literally saved by the bell!) Then I went back to reading. These kids are in so much trouble! That Lady Lenore is not who she says she is. I'm sure there are ghosts about. And Kat better keep her great aunt's chatelaine to herself. Mr. Storm (if that's really his name) is up to something! If you want to know how it ends, you'll have to read it yourself. It's in MM (Mystery Middle) June selection. You have that coming, yes? No? Time to add! And magic comes with a price. Now who said that first?!
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