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Meet 10-year-old May Bird, who lives with her mother and a hairless  
rex cat named Somber Kitty at the edge of a woods in a place called  
Briery Swamp.  She spends much of her time with her cat in the woods,  
dreaming of being a warrior princess or in her room drawing pictures  
of strange creatures.  She's not like the other kids in her class,  
who think she's just plain weird.  May Bird's mother, concerned and  
coming to her wits' end with May's "strange" behavior, is talking  
about sending her away to a boarding school in New York.  Even though  
May Bird has reason to be scared now that she's started seeing ghosts  
in the woods and in her home, she's more scared of leaving her  
beloved West Virginia woods.  Things become stranger still when, in  
the ruins of an old post office, she finds a mysterious letter,  
postmarked from 50 years ago, but addressed to May Bird at her  
address.  The letter leads her into a world that is even further away  
than New York where being different--being "a live one", might just  
be deadly for her--a world where the Bogeyman is real; where ghosts  
are afraid of "people like her." It is a complex story with many  
layers, some humorous (ghosts of thieves playing practical jokes on  
one another) and some frightening (ghosts having their souls sucked  
into nothingness by the evil Bo Cleevil). In this strange and  
frightening world, May learns that, just maybe, she isn't as alone as  
she thought she was, and she just might find that she's more of a  
warrior princess than she ever dreamt.

Some sources list this story as being at a reading level of Ages 9  
and up, others at Grades 5 and up.  Because of the complexity and  
possible fright factor for some, I would tend to agree with the  
latter.  That said, I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next  
as May Bird ventures through the land of the dead in an attempt to  
find answers, to find her way home, and to find herself.  The series  
so far is:

<li>May Bird and the Ever After (Book 1)</li>
<li>May Bird Among the Stars (Book 2)</li>

Ronda Y. Foust
School Media Specialist in Training, UTK
Oak Ridge, TN

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