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Newbery Honor-winning author Alan Armstrong's latest book! Eleven-year-old Mark's anthropologist father has disappeared in the Gobi desert while tracing Marco Polo's ancient route from Venice to China. His mother decides they must go to Venice to petition the agency that sent Mark's father to send out a search party. Anxious about his father and upset about spending Christmas away from home, Mark gets a bad asthma attack in the middle of the night. That's when Doc Hornaday, an old friend of Mark's father, makes a house call, along with a massive black Tibetan mastiff called Boss. To distract Mark from his wheezing and to pass the long Venetian night, the Doc starts to spin for Mark the tale of Marco Polo. Doc describes Marco's travels and the boy finds himself falling under the spell of the story that has transfixed the world for centuries. Marco's journey bolsters Mark's courage and whets his appetite for risk and adventure, and for exposure to life in all its immense and fascinating variety. From the Hardcover edition.
An adventurous new work from Newbery Honor-Winning author, Alan Armstrong.In the spring of 1947, outer space was an unexplored realm. But eleven year-old Alexis (Alex) Heart and her impulsive brother, Chuck, believe that the stars are within reach. In the midst of building their own rocket, Alex befriends Captain Ebbs, and an army scientist who is working to create food for future space travelers, and who is also a descendent of Captain John Smith. Alex soon introduces Chuck to her new friend, and the trio's shared interest in space travel sets off a series of adventures that the three will never forget. From meeting pioneering German rocket scientist Dr. Wenher von Braun, and a thrilling sailing trip down the Potomac to an island on the Chesapeake where a top secret rocket launch is about to take place, Alex and Chuck are about to have their lives forever changed.From the Hardcover edition.
Andrew has grown up near the Plymouth docks hearing the sailors talk about America. Knowing that Andrew's heart is set on going to the new world, his father sends him up to London to serve as page in the house of Walter Raleigh. In Queen Elizabeth's court, Raleigh's the strongest voice in favor of fighting with Spain for a position in the New World, and everyone knows that it's just a matter of time before Her Majesty agrees to an expedition. Can Andrew prove himself fit to go on an expedition to the New World? Meticulously researched and brilliantly crafted, combining fictional characters with historical, Andrew's tale offers up a vivid look at the cloak-and-dagger politics of the time and a genuine feel for what it must have been like for the first Europeans to set foot on the beautiful, bountiful, savage shores of America.
Bernie keeps a barn full of animals the rest of the world has no use for-two retired trotters, a rooster, some banty hens, and a Muscovy duck with clipped wings who calls herself The Lady. When the cat called Whittington shows up one day, it is to the Lady that he makes an appeal to secure a place in the barn. The Lady's a little hesitant at first, but when the cat claims to be a master ratter, that clinches it. Bernie's orphaned grandkids, Abby and Ben, come to the barn every day to help feed the animals. Abby shares her worry that Ben can't really read yet and that he refuses to go to Special Ed. Whittington and the Lady decide that Abby should give Ben reading lessons in the barn. It is a balm for Ben when, having toughed out the daily lesson, Whittington comes to tell, in tantalizing installments, the story handed down to him from his nameless forebearer, Dick Whittington's cat-the legend of the lad born into poverty in rural England during the Black Death, who runs away to London to seek his fortune. This is an unforgettable tale about how learning to read saves one little boy. It is about the healing, transcendent power of storytelling and how, if you have loved ones surrounding you and good stories to tell, to listen to, and to read, you have just about everything of value in this world.
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