Junior Book Club
Previous Reading

The War That Saved My Life
by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Ten-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him.

So begins a new adventure for Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother?

-Margaret

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The Ransom of Mercy Carter
by Caroline B. Cooney
(2017 Greenwich Reads Together companion title)
In 1704, the height of the French and Indian War, Mohawk Indians attack 11-year-old Mercy Carter’s home in Deerfield, Massachusetts. Forcibly led by their attackers, Mercy and the other surviving settlers set off on a perilous 300-mile trip to Canada, where the “English” will be ransomed, sold, or adopted by French and Indian families. On arrival, Mercy is sent to live with a Mohawk family, and her new life begins as an adopted Indian daughter. As Mercy wavers between her birth culture and her adopted one, she raises excellent questions about notions of “savagery” and family that make this vivid, dramatic novel an excellent discussion book.
-Margaret

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Took
by Mary Downing Hahn
Thirteen-year-old Daniel Anderson doesn’t believe Brody Mason’s crazy stories about the ghost witch who lives up on Brewster’s Hill with Bloody Bones, her man-eating razorback hog. He figures Brody’s probably just trying to scare him since he’s the new kid . . . a “stuck-up snot” from Connecticut. But Daniel’s seven-year-old sister Erica has become more and more withdrawn, talking to her lookalike doll. When she disappears into the woods one day, he knows something is terribly wrong. Did the witch strike? Has Erica been “took”?

-Margaret

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The Tapper Twins Go to War (with Each Other)
by Geoff Rodkey
Twelve-year-old twins Claudia and Reese couldn’t be more different…except in their determination to come out on top in a vicious prank war. But when the competition escalates into an all-out battle that’s fought from the cafeteria of their New York City private school all the way to the fictional universe of an online video game, the twins have to decide if their efforts to destroy each other are worth the price. Told as a colorful “oral history” with photos, screenshots, text messages, chat logs, and online gaming digital art.

-Margaret

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Scat
by Carl Hiaasen

When their unpopular biology teacher goes missing in a suspicious fire during a field trip to the Black Vine Swamp, Nick and Marta don’t buy the headmaster’s excuse for her absence and decide to do some investigating of their own. Eco-avengers; an endangered, hunted panther; illegal pipelines in the Everglades; and an underachieving student with the nickname “Smoke” all play a part in this gripping novel. From the first sentence, readers will be hooked!

-Margaret

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Space Case
by Stuart Gibbs

Like his fellow lunarnauts—otherwise known as Moonies—living on Moon Base Alpha, twelve-year-old Dashiell Gibson is famous the world over for being one of the first humans to live on the moon.

And he’s bored out of his mind. Kids aren’t allowed on the lunar surface, meaning they’re trapped inside the tiny moon base with next to nothing to occupy their time—and the only other kid Dash’s age spends all his time hooked into virtual reality games.

Then Moon Base Alpha’s top scientist turns up dead. Dash senses there’s foul play afoot, but no one believes him. Everyone agrees Dr. Holtz went onto the lunar surface without his helmet properly affixed, simple as that. But Dr. Holtz was on the verge of an important new discovery, Dash finds out, and it’s a secret that could change everything for the Moonies—a secret someone just might kill to keep…

-Margaret

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The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher
by Dana Alison Levy

Meet the Fletcher Family… a family of four adopted boys, their two dads and a menagerie of pets!
The start of the school year is not going as the Fletcher brothers hoped. Each boy finds his plans for success veering off in unexpected and sometimes disastrous directions. When home, their miserable new neighbor complains about everything! As the year continues, the boys learn the hard and often hilarious lesson that sometimes what you least expect is what you come to care about the most.

-Margaret

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A Snicker of Magic
by Natalie Lloyd

Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place, a town where people could sing up thunderstorms and dance up sunflowers. But that was long ago, before a curse drove the magic away. Twelve-year-old Felicity knows all about things like that; her nomadic mother is cursed with a wandering heart.

But when she arrives in Midnight Gulch, Felicity thinks her luck’s about to change. A “word collector,” Felicity sees words everywhere—shining above strangers, tucked into church eves, and tangled up her dog’s floppy ears—but Midnight Gulch is the first place she’s ever seen the word “home.” And then there’s Jonah, a mysterious, spiky-haired do-gooder who shimmers with words Felicity’s never seen before, words that make Felicity’s heart beat a little faster.

Felicity wants to stay in Midnight Gulch more than anything, but first, she’ll need to figure out how to bring back the magic, breaking the spell that’s been cast over the town . . . and her mother’s broken heart.

-Margaret

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Eddie Red Undercover; Mystery on Museum Mile
by Marcia Wells

Sixth grader Edmund Xavier Lonnrot, codename “Eddie Red,” has a photographic memory and talent for drawing anything he sees. When the NYPD is stumped by a mastermind art thief, Eddie becomes their secret weapon to solve the case, drawing Eddie deeper into New York’s famous Museum Mile and closer to a dangerous criminal group known as The Picasso Gang. Art, mystery, fun and friendship all rolled into one adventure!

-Margaret

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The Boundless
by Kenneth Oppel

The Boundless, the greatest train ever built, is on its maiden voyage across the country, and first-class passenger Will Everett is about to embark on the adventure of his life!

When Will ends up in possession of the key to a train car containing priceless treasures, he becomes the target of sinister figures from his past. In order to survive, Will must join a traveling circus, enlisting the aid of Mr. Dorian, the ringmaster and leader of the troupe, and Maren, a girl his age who is an expert escape artist. With villains fast on their heels, can Will and Maren reach Will’s father and save “The Boundless” before someone winds up dead?
All aboard for an exciting tale of steam-powered automatons, a bloodthirsty Sasquatch, colorful circuses, and magical paintings!

-Margaret

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The Kid Who Ran for President
by Dan Gutman

Denouncing the grownups that have messed up the world , twelve-year-old Judson Moon sets out to become President of the United States. With his friend as campaign manager and his former babysitter as running mate, Moon enjoys unexpected success and wonders if he actually could win the election.

-Margaret

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The City of Ember
by Jeanne DuPrau

The city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race. Two hundred years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she’s sure it holds a secret that will save the city. She and her friend Doon must decipher the message before the lights go out on Ember forever!

-Margaret

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The Worst Years Of My Life
by James Patterson

Rafe Khatchadorian has enough problems at home without throwing his first year of middle school into the mix. Luckily, he’s got an ace plan for the best year ever, if only he can pull it off: With his best friend Leonardo the Silent awarding him points, Rafe tries to break every rule in his school’s oppressive Code of Conduct. Chewing gum in class-5,000 points! Running in the hallway-10,000 points! Pulling the fire alarm-50,000 points! But when Rafe’s game starts to catch up with him, he’ll have to decide if winning is all that matters, or if he’s finally ready to face the rules, bullies, and truths he’s been avoiding.

-Margaret

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Roller Girl
by Victoria Jamieson

For most of her twelve years, Astrid has done everything with her best friend Nicole. But after Astrid falls in love with roller derby and signs up for derby camp, Nicole decides to go to dance camp instead. And so begins the most difficult summer of Astrid’s life as she struggles to keep up with the older girls at camp, hang on to the friend she feels slipping away, and cautiously embark on a new friendship. As the end of summer nears and her first roller derby bout (and junior high!) draws closer, Astrid realizes that maybe she is strong enough to handle the bout, a lost friendship, and middle school in short, strong enough to be a roller girl.

In her graphic novel debut, real-life derby girl Victoria Jamieson has created an inspiring coming-of-age story about friendship, perseverance, and girl power!

-Margaret

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Navigating Early
by Clare Vanderpool

When Jack Baker’s father sends him from his home in Kansas to attend a boys’ boarding school in Maine, Jack doesn’t know what to expect. Certainly not Early Auden, the strangest of boys. Early keeps to himself, reads the number pi as a story, and refuses to accept truths others take for granted. Jack, feeling lonely and out of place, connects with Early, and the two become friends.

During a break from school, the boys set out for the Appalachian Trail on a quest for a great black bear. As Jack and Early travel deeper into the mountains, they meet peculiar and dangerous characters, and they make some shocking discoveries. But their adventure is only just beginning. Will Jack’s and Early’s friendship last the journey? Can the boys make it home alive?

-Margaret

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Maniac Magee
by Jerry Spinelli

Jeffrey Lionel “Maniac” Magee might have lived a normal life if a trolley accident hadn’t made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run-and not just run away, but run. And this is where the myth of Maniac Magee begins, as he changes the lives of a racially divided small town with his amazing and legendary feats.

-Margaret

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Masterminds
by Gordon Korman

In the first book we are introduced to Eli Friedin and his friends. They live in the most perfect town in the world: Serenity, New Mexico. In this idyllic place, every lawn is perfectly manicured and everyone has a pool and a tree house. Honesty and integrity are valued above all else. The thirty kids who live there never lie—they know it’s a short leap from that to the awful problems of other, less fortunate places.

Eli has never left Serenity . . . Why would he ever want to? Then one day he bikes to the edge of the city limits and something so crazy and unexpected happens, it changes everything. Eli convinces his friends to help him investigate further, and soon it becomes clear that nothing is as it seems in Serenity. The clues mount to reveal a shocking discovery, connecting their ideal crime-free community to some of the greatest criminal masterminds ever known. The kids realize they can trust no one—least of all their own parents.

-Margaret

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Liesl & Po Book Cover
by Lauren Oliver

In this original fairy-tale, characters converge thanks to an accidental mix-up between boxes, one holding an evil alchemist’s greatest spell–“The Most Powerful Magic in the World”–and one holding the ashes of a little girl’s beloved father. Locked in the attic by her greedy stepmother, Liesl desperately mourns her father’s death, but she has reason to hope when two ghosts, Po and Bundle, visit from the Other Side. After they deliver a message from her father, who wishes Liesl to bury him under the willow tree where her mother rests, they steal the box containing his ashes. On their journey, they meet Will, the alchemist’s ill-used apprentice, who has been on the run ever since he misplaced the alchemist’s spell.
-Margaret

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The Great Trouble book cover
by Deborah Hopkinson
Twelve-year-old Eel has troubles of his own: As an orphan and a “mudlark,” he spends his days in the filthy River Thames, searching for bits of things to sell. He’s being hunted by Fisheye Bill Tyler, and a nastier man never walked the streets of London. And he’s got a secret that costs him four precious shillings a week to keep safe. But even for Eel, things aren’t so bad until that fateful August day in 1854–the day the deadly cholera (“blue death”) comes to Broad Street.

Everyone believes that cholera is spread through poisonous air. But one man, Dr. John Snow, has a different theory. As the epidemic surges, it’s up to Eel and his best friend, Florrie, to gather evidence to prove Dr. Snow’s theory–before the entire neighborhood is wiped out.
-Margaret

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Gregor the Overlander
by Suzanne Collins

When Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building, he hurtles into the dark Underland, where spiders, rats, and cockroaches coexist uneasily with humans. This world is on the brink of war, and Gregor’s arrival is no accident. A prophecy foretells that Gregor has a role to play in the Underland’s uncertain future. Gregor wants no part of it — until he realizes it’s the only way to solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance. Reluctantly, Gregor embarks on a dangerous adventure that will change both him and the Underland forever.
-Margaret

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Breadcrumbs
by Anne Ursu

Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. But that was before the accident with the magical mirror, before Jack stopped talking to Hazel and before he disappeared into the forest with a mysterious woman made of ice. Now it’s up to Hazel to go in after him. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, Breadcrumbs is a stunningly original fairy tale and a sweet tale about the love and loss of growing up.
-Margaret

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The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
by Tom Angleberger

Unpopular Dwight talks to his classmates via an origami finger puppet of Yoda. If that weren’t strange enough, the puppet is uncannily wise. Origami Yoda predicts the date of a pop quiz, guesses who stole the classroom Shakespeare bust, and saves a classmate from popularity-crushing embarrassment with some well-timed advice. Dwight’s classmate Tommy wonders how Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. With contributions from his puzzled classmates, he assembles the case file that forms this funny novel.
-Margaret

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Elvis and the Underdogs
by Jenny Lee

Benji Wendell Barnsworth is a small ten-year-old boy with a big personality. Born premature, Benji is sickly, accident-prone, and at the hospital so often he even has his own punch card. So when Benji wakes up one day from a particularly bad spell, his doctors take the radical step of suggesting he get a therapy dog. But when a massive crate arrives at Benji’s house, out walks a two-hundred-pound Newfoundland who can talk! And boy, is he bossy!
-Margaret

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The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing
by Sheila Turnage

Small towns have rules. One is, you got to stay who you are — no matter how many murders you solve.

When Miss Lana makes an Accidental Bid at the Tupelo auction and winds up the mortified owner of an old inn, she doesn’t realize there’s a ghost in the fine print. Naturally, Desperado Detective Agency (aka Mo and Dale) opens a paranormal division to solve the mystery of the ghost’s identity. They’ve got to figure out who the ghost is so they can interview it for their history assignment (extra credit). But Mo and Dale start to realize that the Inn isn’t the only haunted place in Tupelo Landing. People can also be haunted by their own past. As Mo and Dale handily track down the truth about the ghost (with some help from the new kid in town), they discover the truth about a great many other people, too.

A laugh out loud, ghostly, Southern mystery.
-Margaret

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The One and Only Ivan
by Katherine Applegate

This stirring and unforgettable novel from renowned author Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendships. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated novel is told from the point-of-view of Ivan himself.
Having spent 27 years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes.
In the tradition of timeless stories like Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.
-Margaret

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El Deafo
by CeCe Bell

Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful–and very awkward–hearing aid. The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear–sometimes things she shouldn’t–but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become “El Deafo, Listener for All.” And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she’s longed for.
-Margaret

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Public School Superhero
by James Patterson

Kenny Wright is a kid with a secret identity. In his mind, he’s Stainlezz Steel, super-powered defender of the weak. In reality, he’s a chess club devotee known as a “Grandma’s Boy,” a label that makes him an easy target for bullies. Kenny wants to bring a little more Steel to the real world, but the question is: can he recognize his own true strength before peer pressure forces him to make the worst choice of his life? Featuring more than 150 pieces of line art and comic-style sequences, this novel is a genuinely funny yet poignant look at middle school in a challenging urban setting, where a kid’s life can depend on the everyday decisions he makes.
-Margaret

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White Fur Flying
by Patricia MacLachlan

Zoe’s father is a vet, and her mom has a passion for rescuing dogs in need, especially Great Pyrenees. The family provides a loving home for them until new owners can be found. With the dogs, a talking parrot and a family which enjoys animals, Zoe’s house in the country is a lively, happy home. Next door is a home which is silent and sad. An unhappy young boy, Philip, is staying there for a time with his aunt and uncle while his parents “work on some difficulties”. His aunt and uncle are well-meaning but awkward with children, and Philip has stopped speaking. Zoe, her sister, Alice, and Philip become friends. Gradually Philip comes out of his shell. A special rapport is established between the boy and Jack, the youngest and newest dog to be rescued by Zoe’s family. Perhaps each senses the other’s need for love and acceptance in the temporary homes in which they have been placed.

Zoe knows that saving dogs and saving boys are different jobs, but she learns that some parts are the same. Both take attention and care, understanding and time. And maybe just a bit of white fur flying.
-Margaret

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Walls within Walls
by Maureen Sherry

After their father, a video-game inventor, strikes it rich, the Smithfork kids find they hate their new life. They move from their cozy Brooklyn neighborhood to a swanky apartment on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. They have no friends, a nanny who takes the place of their parents, and a school year looming ahead that promises to be miserable.

And then, one day, Brid, CJ, and Patrick discover an astonishing secret about their apartment: The original owner, the deceased multimillionaire Mr. Post, long ago turned the apartment itself into a giant puzzle containing a mysterious book and hidden panels–a puzzle that, with some luck, courage, and brainpower, will lead to discovering the Post family fortune. Unraveling the mystery causes them to race through today’s New York City–and to uncover some long-hidden secrets of the past.
-Margaret

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Liar and Spy
by Rebecca Stead

Seventh grader Georges moves into a Brooklyn apartment building and meets Safer, a twelve-year-old self-appointed spy. Georges becomes Safer’s first spy recruit. His assignment? Tracking the mysterious Mr. X, who lives in the apartment upstairs. But as Safer becomes more demanding, Georges starts to wonder: what is a lie and what is a game? How far is too far to go for your only friend?

This story about secrets, spies, and friendship will keep readers guessing until the end.
-Margaret

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Joshua Dread
by Lee Bacon

For Joshua Dread, middle school is proving to be, well, awkward. Not only do bullies pick on him, but do you see those super-villains over there trying to flood the world? The ones that everyone, including his best friend Milton, are rooting for Captain Justice to take down? They’re the Dread Duo, and they just happen to be his parents. As if trying to hide his identity wasn’t hard enough, Joshua has started leaving a trail of exploding pencils and scorched handprints in his wake, and only Sophie, the new girl in town with a mysterious past, seems unsurprised. When a violent attack at the Vile Fair makes it clear someone is abducting super-villains, and that his parents may very well be next, Joshua must enlist both Sophie and Milton’s help to save them.
-Margaret

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Shadow
by Michael Morpurgo

Surviving in a cave in war-torn Afghanistan, Aman and his mother are separated from Aman’s beloved dog, Shadow, when they flee for the safety of England. Just as they are getting settled as free citizens in England, they are imprisoned in a camp with locked doors and a barbed wire fence. Their only hope is Aman’s classmate Matt, his grandpa, and the dream of finding his lost dog. After all, you never lose your shadow.)
-Margaret

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Tuesdays at the Castle
by Jessica Day George

Tuesdays at Castle Glower are Princess Celie’s favorite days. That’s because on Tuesdays the castle adds a new room, a turret, or sometimes even an entire wing. No one ever knows what the castle will do next, and no one-other than Celie, that is-takes the time to map out the new additions. But when King and Queen Glower are ambushed and their fate is unknown, it’s up to Celie, with her secret knowledge of the castle’s never-ending twists and turns, to protect their home and save their kingdom. This delightful book from a fan- and bookseller-favorite kicks off a brand-new series sure to become a modern classic.
-Deirdre

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A Strong Right Arm
by Michelle Y. Green

Motivated by her love for the game and inspired by the legendary Jackie Robinson, Mamie Johnson is determined to be a professional baseball pitcher. In a sport that’s determined by white men, there is no place for a black woman. Mamie doesn’t give up-from the time she insists on trying out for the all-male, all-white Police Athletic League until she realizes her dream and becomes one of three women to play in the Negro Leagues. Mamie Johnson’s life shows that with courage and perseverance one can overcome even the greatest challenges.
-Deirdre

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No Talking
by Andrew Clements

The 5th graders at Laketon Elementary are the noisiest class in history, so when Dave Packer challenges Lynsey Burgess to a boys vs. girls “no talking” contest, it’s not going to be easy. Who will win, the boys or the girls? Read this funny, thought-provoking tale from a master of school stories.
-Deirdre

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Regarding the Fountain
by Kate Klise

The Dry Creek Middle School drinking fountain has sprung a leak, so Principal Russ requests a new one from Flowing Waters Fountains, Etc. The designer responds that all fountains are custom made. Soon the fountain project takes on a life of its own, one chronicled in letters, postcards, memos, transcripts, and official documents. The school board president is up in arms. So is Dee Eel, of the water-supply company. A scandal is brewing, and Mr. Sam N.’s fifth grade class is turning up a host of hilarious secrets buried deep beneath the fountain.
-Deirdre

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Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat
by Lynne Jonell

A lonely girl, a cantankerous Rat, and a Nanny who is doing very, very bad things.
-Alice

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