Sometimes flies get in the honey, making for sticky situations. It happens to the best of us. “Bridging Obstacles” in life requires that we be of good courage, act to right the wrong, and discover new paths to solve our problems. The characters in Newsbee’s February Picks take the high road in their endeavors and serve as an example to us all.
‘Tinyville Town Gets to Work’
By Brian Biggs
Author Brian Biggs kicks off a series of books set in a small, friendly community with “Tinyville Town Gets to Work.” Normally things run smoothly in Tinyville, but one morning they don’t — there are no donuts in the donut shop, the bus that’s always prompt runs late, and people’s trash piles up because the garbage truck hasn’t been by. Leave it up to the mayor to figure things out.
The hitches have happened on Tinyville’s bridge, where a massive jam has traffic stopped, halting the citizens’ smooth-running life. The bridge is outdated and not as safe as it once was; it needs replacing. So what are the citizens to do? Put the pedal to the metal, don construction hats and team up to get a new bridge built.
Fun ensues as the project gets underway, the busy townspeople introduced with Biggs’ winning, comic-strip-like illustrations.
‘No Truth Without Ruth’
By Kathleen Krull
She’s a wonder — Ruth Bader Ginsberg — still seated on the Supreme Court at age 84, with no plans to turn in her black judge’s robe and retire. “No Truth Without Ruth,” by Katheen Krull spotlights this gritty, “whip smart” woman who has dedicated her days to serving her country.
The seeds for Ginsberg’s tenacity were sown by her mother, who stressed to Ruth that she could be anything she wanted to be — instilling in her daughter the importance of an education. Sadly, Ruth’s mother died too young, the day before Ruth graduated from high school.
Ginsberg finished college, married and went to law school with her new husband, also studying law; she was only one of nine female students in a class of more than 500. In those days, many opportunities were still restricted to females, but it didn’t stop Ginsberg from becoming a “change-maker.”
She persevered, had much success in the courtroom, and in 1980 President Jimmy Carter appointed her a Supreme Court judge. The thrilling story of this “fierce fighter for fairness and truth” makes for an inspirational, timely read. German artist Nancy Zhang highlights Ginsberg’s life in spot-on illustrations that convey her actions and emotions.
‘The Secret of Nightingale Wood’
By Lucy Strange
“The Secret of Nightingale Wood,” by British author Lucy Strange, is set in England in 1919 and borrows themes from gothic stories and classic fairytales. The result is an adrenaline rush with eerie sightings, a possible witch and an evil doctor.
The last thing Henrietta Georgina Abbott, known as Henry, wants is more trouble. Her parents and baby sister Piglet have moved to Hope House after the death of Henry’s older brother. Henry’s mother hasn’t been well since her son died. She takes to her room when the family moves to the dilapidated home near the woods.
Shortly after the move, Henry’s father must travel for an extended time on business, leaving his family in the care of Nanny Jane, who places too much trust in Dr. Hardy. His answer to Henry’s mother’s affliction is to lock her away and sedate her.
When Henry is allowed to see her mother, the woman is unable to respond, hardly the affectionate woman Henry once knew. For solace, Henry seeks out a reclusive lady she discovers in the woods, Moth, a wise, mother-figure but one with secrets, like others in this page-turner that keeps you guessing.
There’s much to enjoy in this fast-paced mystery with its admirable protagonist, a sensitive 13-year-old. With both her mother and father unavailable, Henry is vulnerable, only has herself to depend on. She must mine all of her resources to be happy once again and bring peace back to her family.