The Water Gift and the Pig of the Pig

The Water Gift and the Pig of the Pig by Jacqueline Briggs Martin (0-618-07436-8)
What a title! And what a great read aloud story. The text has a rolling feeling, rather like ocean swells, that carry the reader forward. This strange combination of animal story, history and the gift of dousing, creates a magical story in a gentle way.
This book is not one that will fly off the shelves without some pushing, but children who do have it read to them will be amazed by dousing and will want to immediately head out and find a forked stick to try it out with. I would use it at a storytime for older children, probably as the first book while they are open to more quiet titles. Match it with other more energetic sea and water books.

The City of Ember

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau (0-375-82273-9)
Enter an incredibly detailed world filled with decay and darkness, the City of Ember. Ember is a city surrounded by darkness and the people of Ember are starting to realize that the generator is failing and their supplies are running out. Are they the only people in the world?
When Lina, a 12-year-old girl, and her friend Doon, a 12-year-old boy discover a message from the past, will they be able to decipher it before the lights go out forever?
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the setting and how lovingly detailed it was. The characters were believable and fallable. Though the two main characters are of opposite sexes, there is not even a touch of romance, which a lot of kids this age will appreciate. I would recommend it to most boys and girls, since though it could be considered fantasy, it reads more like general fiction. Lovers of fantasy will enjoy it as well. A sequel is in the works.