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Chappaqua Librarians Target Top Book Choices

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – The Chappaqua Library assisted The Daily Chappaqua in bringing adults, teens and children the top literary choices for the week. The books were chosen by adult reference librarians Martha Alcott and Vicki Fuqua, head of the children's department Miriam Budin, and new teen librarian, Donna Pesce.

Visit the Chappaqua Library online for more information or visit at 195 South Greeley Ave.

Adult Fiction “The House at Tyneford" by Natasha SolomonsISBN: 978-0452297648What the book's about: "Fans of Downton Abbey will enjoy this vividly written tale of hope, loss and reinvention. In a world being transformed by war, a 19-year-old Viennese girl forced to leave her glittering life behind to become a parlor maid at a great house in England."

Adult Nonfiction "Robertson's Book of Firsts: Who Did What for the First Time" by Patrick RobertsonISBN: 978-1596915794What the book's about: “Did you know that garbage bags, frozen fish and synchronized swimming were all invented in Canada? And that the first jigsaw puzzles were created by a French nanny in the mid 1700s to help teach the children of King George III geography?"

Teen Non-Fiction "Cleopatra Rules! The Amazing Life of the Original Teen Queen" by Vicky Alvear ShecterISBN: 978-1590787182Review by Pesce: “The popular image of Queen Cleopatra calls to mind a seductress with kohl-rimmed eyes, formfitting robes and gleaming gold accessories. Cleopatra Rules offers an alternate view of a savvy and knowledgeable leader, who carefully projected her image.

Cleopatra’s family, originally from Greece, had ruled Egypt for generations. Her immediate family ruthlessly vied for the throne as Cleopatra grew up. She learned from the intrigue and rose to the throne at age 17.

Her reputation in Egypt was quite a bit different than the Roman image of that evil temptress who cast spells on the Caesar and Mark Antony. In Egypt, she was known as a brilliant scholar. She read widely, studying scrolls on the renowned library of Alexandria. She was devoted to Egypt and her marriages were likely made to form alliances between Rome and Egypt. She was loyal to her husbands and children, supporting them and negotiating for their lives at the expense of her own.

This information, and much more, is packaged in a fun, fast-moving work, laden with images. Cleopatra’s popular reputation is used as a draw with a photo of a heavily made up eye and gold bracelet on the cover. The chapters are short and move quickly, with subheadings like 'Greece is the Word' and 'Liar, Liar, Pants of Fire.' Each page is enhanced with historical images and captions. Sidebars are used generously to good humor and add information while keeping the text concise.

The format is fun, but this book contains very serious information. Just look to the back! There are six pages of endnotes, a timeline, glossary and index, and pages of both primary and secondary sources.

Like Cleopatra herself, Cleopatra Rules is substance with a shiny, irresistible style."

Teen Fiction "Cleopatra’s Moon" by Vicky Alvear ShecterISBN: 978-0545221306Review by Pesce: “ Cleopatra’s Moon is the exotic and intriguing tale of Cleopatra’s heir to the throne. It begins with young Cleopatra Selene, the daughter of Queen Cleopatra and Mark Antony, enjoying the life of a royal child in Egypt. Cleopatra Selene plays with her twin and younger brothers, and her older half-brother, the son of Caesar and Cleopatra. She has access to the library at Alexandra and can converse with the worldly scholars there. Like her mother, she wants the best for Egypt.

Cleopatra Selene’s world is shaken when Rome invades Egypt. Her parents commit suicide, in part to spare the lives of their children. She learns that her half-brother has been killed. Cleopatra Selene and her two brothers are transported to Rome as prisoners and paraded through the streets. They are taken into the ruling households in Rome and raised with the Roman royal families, the whole time, fearing for their lives.

In the midst of all this, romances develop among the royal children.

Cleopatra’s Moon , gives a glimpse of life in Ancient Egypt and Rome and offers insight into the gods, a topic popular with teens. The story is told in Cleopatra Selene’s voice. She is smart, well-read and speaks her mind. There are some violence and romance which keep it interesting.

As a librarian I love it because it is well-researched and there is a helpful list of fictional and real characters in the front.  Best of all, the characters make great use of libraries!"

Children's Fiction "Wild Wings" by Gill LewisISBN: 978-1442414457What the book's about: "Callum and Iona vow to keep the ospreys nest on his farm a secret in order to protect them, but before long they find it can take more than one village to rescue a bird that migrates thousands of miles every year."

Children's Non-Fiction "Who Has What? All About Girls' Bodies and Boys' Bodies" by Robbie HarrisISBN: 978-1846862267What the book's about: "In a cheerful, easy tone, Harris explains who's got what body parts, their similarities or differences. Animals, girls, boys and adults of many ethnicities are included in the loose-lined illustrations depicting the 'bare' facts."

Children's Picture Book "A New Year's Reunion" by Li-Qiong YuISBN: 978-0763658816What the book's about: "The little narrator's father works so far away, coming home for just a few days during Chinese New Year, that she barely remembers him.  So much must be packed into his brief visit!  A lovely window into the lives of modern Chinese families, illustrated in vibrant, thickly-brushed gouache."

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