Books by Lynne Jonell

TIME SIGHT by Lynne Jonell
Released: May 14, 2019

"Gripping and thoughtful; readers will be left pondering their own connections to the past. (Fantasy. 9-13)"
A time-travel adventure incorporates reflections on human nature in this middle-grade stand-alone. Read full book review >
THE SIGN OF THE CAT by Lynne Jonell
Released: June 16, 2015

"Intriguing, well-drawn characters, evocatively described settings, plenty of action, and touches of humor combine to create an utterly satisfying adventure. (Fantasy. 9-13)"
The ability to communicate with cats allows young Duncan McKay to survive an abduction, rescue a lost princess, and triumph over a wily enemy. Read full book review >
Released: May 28, 2013

"With Celia, Derek and Abner all having played starring roles in the series, fans will be eager for Tate's turn. (Magical adventure. 6-9)"
Hollowstone Hill's magic (Lawn Mower Magic, 2012, etc.) returns in grasshoppers that, when fried and eaten, give Abner Willow an unexpected bounce. Read full book review >
LAWN MOWER MAGIC by Lynne Jonell
Released: Feb. 28, 2012

"Second in a promising series that began with Hamster Magic (2010) this is a good stepping stone to more challenging reading. (Fantasy. 6-9)"
The four Willow children attempt to tame an old-fashioned reel lawn mower with an enormous appetite for grass. Read full book review >
Released: July 5, 2011

"Fans of Emmy and Raston will welcome their latest escapades. (Fantasy. 9-12)"
Ten-year-old Emmy Addison returns with rodent pal Raston Rat to prove she's a responsible kid who still has what it takes to outwit her former nanny, the devious Jane Barmy, in this fast-paced sequel to Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls (2008). Read full book review >
THE SECRET OF ZOOM by Lynne Jonell
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

A plucky little girl literally rises to the occasion, rescuing a passel of exploited orphans and solving the mystery of her mother's death. Isolated and lonely, ten-year-old Christina lives in a fortress-like mansion next to the fenced-in forests that surround Loompski Labs, where her scientist father works and her geologist mother supposedly died. The overprotected Christina can't attend school, play with other kids or leave the yard. However, life changes after she meets a boy from the neighboring orphanage. She discovers an underground passage leading to the outside world, where she learns malevolent Lenny Loompski is using orphans like slaves to extract volatile, valuable "zoom" from the mountains. Flying a miniature plane fueled by "zoom," Christina risks all to save the orphans. Like her equally spunky counterpart in Jonell's Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat (2007) and Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls (2008), Christina moves far beyond her safe, secure world to make hard but right decisions. Her character provides ballast for the fast-paced, far-fetched plot and quirky supporting characters. Eccentric and entertaining. (Adventure. 9-12) Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

Emmy Addison and her friends Joe (a boy) and Raston (a magic rat) return in this whirlwind sequel that picks up weeks after Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat (2007) ended. School's out and Emmy wants to avoid her new rodent pals and "do regular ten-year-old things," so she can start fifth grade with lots of friends. But when her former nanny, the devious, despicable Miss Barmy, and Miss Barmy's adoring sidekick, Cheswick Vole, surface in Rodent City as ingratiating rats, Emmy senses trouble brewing: Miss Barmy plans to steal the Addison family jewels using five doll-sized little girls whom she has held prisoner in her parents' attic. Determined to save the missing miniature girls, Emmy and Joe shrink, transform into rats and enlist Raston and other rodent chums in sometimes hilarious, often breathtaking capers to thwart Miss Barmy. En route, Emmy learns the hard way the importance of being true to your friends, whether human or rat. More clever, rodent-filled fantasy featuring the irascible, irresistible Raston Rat and the extraordinary Emmy—and Bean's flip-book wizardry. (Fantasy. 9-12) Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 2007

Ten-year-old Emmy lived happily with her parents in an apartment above their bookstore until an unexpected inheritance changed their lives. Now Emmy's parents spend their time jet-setting, leaving Emmy in the not-so-loving hands of her very strange nanny, Miss Barmy. Miss Barmy pretends to act in Emmy's best interests, but something's rotten in her rigid regimen. Emmy tries to be so good, but no one notices her except the talking Rat who lives in her classroom. Rat warns Emmy that she's "a big nothing" and urges her to stand up for herself and "try being bad." Emmy frees the Rat, triggering a landslide of fantastical events featuring the conniving Miss Barmy, cunning Professor Vole and The Antique Rat, his mysterious shop filled with rare rodents. As a transformed Emmy and some new four-legged friends try to outwit Miss Barmy and outrun Professor Vole, the irascible Rat turns the tide. Fun and funny, this fast-paced page turner appropriately begins and ends with the unforgettable Rat in an acrobatic flip-book feature. (Fiction. 9-12)Read full book review >
BRAVEMOLE by Lynne Jonell
Released: Aug. 1, 2002

He was an ordinary mole—digging, tunneling, moving dirt—who loved his family, and was strong, brave, and steady. At times Mole was envious of the Smartmoles, Bigmoles, and Starmoles and he wished he weren't so ordinary. At bedtime when Babymole wants to have a dragon story read to him, he asks if dragons are real. Mole answers yes, his great-grandmoles had fought them. The next day, when dragons attack the Mountains where Mole works, all moles became Moles Afraid. As the Mountains crumble, Mole knows he has a job to do and he digs and digs, rescuing moles. The other moles dub him "Bravemole." Now they become Moles All Together, determined to fight dragons to protect all babymoles and to build a world without dragons. Water-soluble crayon illustrations suitably characterize Mole in a red vest and blue helmet with intense blue dominating background scenes. Extremely text-heavy, this will have to be read in a one-to-one sitting and adults should first read it for themselves. Back flap copy contains a message from the author explaining that she wrote the story for children affected by September 11 who need a story to feel safe. On the front flap: "A modern-day fable inspired by the tragedy that honors the extraordinary capacity of ordinary people to make a difference in the world." Purposeful and honorable. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2001

Christopher and Robbie (Mommy Pie, 2001, etc.) return to the scene on a bad day for Mommy. They're wondering why she is banging pots and pans around, not giving dad a goodbye kiss, and generally radiating bad vibes. At first, the boys are willing to tiptoe about, giving her a wide berth, afraid they have committed some unacknowledged wrong. Then they try a soft approach, hoping for a smile, but get the cold shoulder. Finally, Robbie (with his tonsure of orange hair) gets a bit miffed and starts butting up against his mom, claiming to be a "borkupine," an unhappy borkupine. Turns out that Mommy is feeling a bit prickly herself, but Robbie has disarmed her. And when kiss-less Dad returns that evening, a little dark cloud hovering over his head, he gets a soft hug rather than a nose full of spines. Mama said there'd be days like this; they're not the end of the world, but it sure is a relief to be lifted out of them. Mathers takes the term "stick figure" to a whole new level with her characterization of this family. They have egg heads and stick arms, but complete personalities that are perfectly captured with a measure of adorability that is unseemly. And when Robbie takes Mommy's face in his three-stick hands and explains, "First you sniff noses to make friends. Then you smooth down the prickles," readers will smile along with them. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
MOM PIE by Lynne Jonell
Released: March 1, 2001

Jonell's (It's My Birthday, Too!, 1999, etc.) latest adventure involving siblings Robbie and Christopher comically captures that classic conundrum: when moms are at their busiest, their children are at their neediest. As the imminent arrival of company looms, Mommy is in a frenzy of activity. Distraught after their offerings of assistance are summarily declined, Robbie laments to his brother that not even the tantalizing prospect of three different types of pie is worth the loss of their mom's attention. Thus, Christopher devises a plan to create a "Mom Pie" a hodgepodge of items conveying the essence of mom. A helping of something soft, a pinch of something snuggly, a stray earring stirred in, and the addition of Mom's perfume completes the recipe. When the pair proudly places their creation on the table, their mom is exasperated and baffled until the boys explain, " ‘Mom pie is not good to eat . . . It is good to touch and smell.' ‘And to snuggle with,' said Robbie, ‘when you are too busy.' " Jonell's sympathetic tale is on the mark; parents will appreciate the wry humor of the mother's harried responses while the child-like prose aptly expresses a little one's perspective. Mathers's colorful, cartoon-like drawings are the perfect accompaniment. Framed vignettes highlight the action and the humor—hilarious glimpses of Mom frantically scurrying about, as reflected in a mirror or racing down the hall, are cleverly inserted into the illustrations. Poignant, but funny, this one is sure to resonate with readers, both adult and child. A touching and astute tale about keeping the important things in perspective for frazzled moms and their bewildered offspring. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
IT'S MY BIRTHDAY, TOO! by Lynne Jonell
Released: March 1, 1999

From Jonell and Mathers (I Need a Snake, 1998, etc.), an immensely appealing story of brotherly dynamics, and the sparks they throw off. Once again, the artwork is a major player, showing Christopher, the older brother (whose birthday it is), with stick arms and legs, and an egg-shaped head; and Robbie, the younger boy (whose birthday it isn't), with similar arms and legs and a round head topped with an orange pat of hair. Christopher doesn't want Robbie at his party; Robbie retaliates by saying that perhaps he won't be Christopher's brother anymore. Christopher's declaration that he'd rather have a puppy produces Robbie's offer to be that puppy. But when too much doggy behavior earns a disparaging comment from one of Christopher's friends, the older brother rescues the younger. It's all familiar but lovely in this format—boiled down to the essentials and gleeful in its simplicity. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
I NEED A SNAKE by Lynne Jonell
Released: May 18, 1998

From Jonell and Mathers (Mommy Go Away!, 1997), a charming solution to the age-old dilemma of convincing parents that snakes are good pets; unfortunately, it also promotes the stereotype of female ophidiophobia. Robbie yearns to have a pet snake, and gazes at them longingly at the museum or the pet store. His mother refuses to let a snake into the house. The compromise is that Robbie creates his own snake menagerie from a jump rope, a white string scrap, and an especially fierce leather belt; his mother still thinks snakes are scary, but Robbie gallantly tells her "That's why you need me." Done in a style identical to these collaborators' first book, this one lacks the original approach readers will expect. Nevertheless, Mathers's drawings have the appropriate feel of a child's own scenes, and if Robbie's enthusiasm doesn't rub off on his mother, it will certainly convince readers. (Picture book. 4-6) Read full book review >
MOMMY GO AWAY! by Lynne Jonell
Released: Oct. 13, 1997

Jonell turns the tables on parental authority and childlike obedience in a terrific story of a boy and his mother. ``Pick up your blocks,'' ``No more T.V.,'' and ``Time for your bath'' are the phrases that set off a small boy's protests. Christopher declares, ``Go away, Mommy!'' and offers his toy boat for her to ride in. She protests that she's too large, and so, ``Be small,'' he commands. She obligingly shrinks and is set afloat in the tub, where she expresses a list of fears about what's happening to her. Several other mothers appear in a small motorboat on the bathwater horizon, and Christopher admonishes her to have a good time, remember her manners, and don't hit the others. He endearingly reassures her that he will help her; the mother, once restored to size, sighs that it is hard to be small. ``I know that already,'' Christopher replies. Mathers uses the simplest of illustration styles: The people are almost stick figures—but their postures are wonderfully expressive—and the scenes, intentionally naive yet showing intelligent composition, resemble children's crayon scrawls, done with flat perspectives. A highly original book that will strike a chord in every child's experience, and one that parents will enjoy immensely. (Picture book. 2-6) Read full book review >