Adventure fuels this month’s top picks

THE MAGICIAN (The Secrets of The Immortal Nicholas Flamel), by Michael Scott, Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $16.99; ages 12 and up.

In this sequel to The Alchemist (The Secrets of The Immortal Nicholas Flamel), 15-year-old twins Sophie and Josh have escaped California and are transported to Paris, Nicholas Flamel’s old home. Sophie’s powers had been awakened by the goddess Hekate, who teaches her the power over air. In Paris, they are pursued by Nicollo Maciavelli who wants the book in which Sophie and Josh are part of a 10,0000-year-old prophecy. It is time to teach Sophie the power over fire.

But Josh is jealous of Sophie’s powers and jealousy makes him easier prey for the bad guys.

 HECK: WHERE THE BAD KIDS GO, by Dale E. Basye, Random House Children's Books, $16.99; ages 9-12.

Too bad for heaven and too good for Hell, these kids find themselves in Heck. The ethics teacher is Richard Nixon, the home economics teacher is Lizzie Borden, biology is Typhoid Mary and the choir director is Mrs. Von Trapp. The girls wear sack dresses and Birkenstocks, the boys wear Lederhosen and their pajamas are made out of wool.

They got to Heck because they blew up the giant marshmallow statue in the mall and died when covered in flaming marshmallow. Now, how are they going to get out of Heck?

 THE DRAGON IN THE SOCK DRAWER, by Kate Klimo, Random House Children's Books, $14.99; ages 9-12.

Jessie spends every summer with his favorite cousin Daisy, Uncle Joe and Aunt Maggie. Jessie and Daisy are always on the lookout for a big adventure. When Uncle Joe and the kids spend a day rock hunting on High Peak, Jessie finds a thunder rock. Is he really hearing a voice from inside the rock or is it just his imagination? The voice turns out to be a baby dragon. First they have to convince Aunt Maggie to let them keep their new pet “lizard” and then they have to figure out how to care for a dragon.

They discover that being dragon keepers isn’t easy, especially when the creepy Saint George comes after them and their dragon.

 QUANTUM PROPHECY: THE GATHERING #2, by Michael Carroll, Philomel Books, $16.99; ages 11-13.

In this book, Colin and Renata still have their powers, but Danny lost his. Kid Titan (Colin hates that name) and Diamond are doing a good job fighting crime in London until their true identities are leaked to the media. All of our heroes take off to the U.S. to figure out their new enemy. They must work together to make this right.

I anxiously await book three.

 GRK AND THE HOT DOG TRAIL, by Joshua Doder, Delacorte Press, $16.99; ages 9-12.

This book is the third in the series for our friends Max, Natascha, Tim and Tim’s dog, Grk. In this adventure, the two families are on vacation in New York. They plan to see the Empire State Building, the Staten Island Ferry and the Golden Dachshund at the National Museum. When the Golden Dachshund goes missing, Tim and Grk go after the real thief. The only clue they have is a trail of hot dogs.

Sandi Pedersen is the mom of four and the Web mistress for Chicago Parent. 

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