As Jean-Luc, the duck, observes: “Unfortunately, it’s not in the way of human beings to go away well enough on their own. That’s why we’re going to stop them.”
Phelan includes historical figures such as French chemist Antoine Lavoisier, Mozart (who met Franklin and composed music for Franklin’s glass armonica), even British-American spy Edward Bancroft. Franz Mesmer’s use of suggestion to put someone into a trance-like state is also cleverly incorporated into the plot. Fun cartoon panels capture the action and bring Phelan’s colorful characters to life, adding so much to this smart and charming gem of a novel.
Dream, Annie, Dream by Waka T. Brown; Quill Tree books, 337 pages ($16.99) Ages 8-12.
This engaging debut novel by Waka Brown, inspired by her experience growing up in 1980s Kansas as the daughter of Japanese immigrants, follows her memoir “While I Was Away,” also for this age group.
Since no one in Topeka seems able or willing to pronounce her first name correctly, 12-year-old American-born daughter of Japanese immigrants Aoi Inoue now goes by the name Annie.
Annie’s father is chairman of the math department at the local university. Her mother, a former flight attendant, is now a stay-at-home mom who speaks Japanese at home with Annie and her younger son Tak.