BUSHNELL ON BOOKS: A trio of books for kids

LucY’s IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: A Novel of Maine by David M. Carew; Maine Authors Publishing, 2022; 169 pages, $16.95; ISBN 978-1-63381-313-7.

LucY’s IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: A Novel of Maine

It’s 2020, and 64-year-old unmarried Lucy Bouchier owns and operates a Waterville pizza and sandwich joint called “Lucy’s in the Neighborhood.” She is a beloved character in the village. And then one night after closing, she sees a mysterious man in the street, someone she recognizes from her past. She could not believe her eyes, the image disappeared and then the memory returned.

Author David Carew lives in Waterville and this is his third novel, a well-structured and carefully crafted combination of murder mystery, adolescence and social commentary. Carew brilliantly tells this story in alternating flashbacks mixed with 1972 and 2020, as the mysterious man on the street inspires Lucy’s long-lasting memories of high school and the embarrassing events that happened in 1972.

Carew’s movement from 2020 back to 1972 is smooth, almost seamless, as Lucy confides in her best friend Jasmine, tells about her high school sweetheart Will, her friendship with Mo, a black student, and the crimes that shock the city, confuse the police and bring racism and big action to Waterville.

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Lucy tells Jasmine everything she remembers from those years, especially her tender teenage love for Will and his desire for social justice; Mo’s struggle with prejudice and accusations; Mo’s father who hates white people; the obnoxious shopkeeper who loves George Wallace and hates everyone else; And dedicated police detectives try to solve crimes that have no clues, no evidence, no reason and no real suspects.

She remembers what’s worse for everyone when someone plants evidence to frame an innocent person, and someone else sends the police in the wrong direction. The year 1972 ends badly for everyone, meaning sadness, disappointment and separation, but Lucy finally meets a mysterious man in the street. Or is she?

The man who recorded the book

Mr. Pottle is the scavenger in town, always trying to repurpose useful things that people throw away. He saves every book that is thrown away, believing that: “Books are treasures. You did not throw away the treasure!”

This heartwarming children’s book (for ages 6-8) is by award-winning Winthrop author Lynn Plourde, and illustrated by Walpole artist Mary Beth Owens. Mr. Pottle is right – no one should throw away a book! He rescues books from landfills and creates his own lending library available to everyone in the city.

Adults worry about his love of books, but children love him for it. One day he was injured giving books to the needy, and was laid on a bed to recover. Parents and children brought him food to cook and many books, but were surprised to find that he could not read. . Children have an answer for that, showing the power of kindness, friendship and book

Hector Fox and the Revenge of the Raven

Astrid Sheckels is a rare combination of successful writer and illustrator of award-winning children’s books, producing exciting, exciting stories and full-length illustrations with beautiful details for ages 4-8. This is the second book in her Hector Fox series.

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Hector Fox and his forest friends, Lucy Skunk, Mo Marten, Charlie Chipmunk and Jeremiah Rabbit receive an urgent plea for help from the three mice who guard the Stone Tower deep in the green wood. The only clue is a single black feather and a reference to Raven’s fearsome revenge.

Ravens fill the sky when the five friends arrive at the stone tower, and hear the rat tell a terrifying tale of Raven’s revenge. Hector Fox and friends investigate strange noises and other black feathers in the tower, but everyone quickly learns that often things are never as bad as they seem. Very fun.

Hector Fox and the Revenge of the Raven by Astrid Sheckels; Islandport Press, 2022; 32 pages, $18.95; ISBN 978-1-952143-34-2.

Bill Bushnell lives and writes in Harpswell.

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