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[Sunday 22nd November 2009 at 10:58 pm]

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Reasons for visiting your local library: finding excellent books that you wouldn't have otherwise read.

The local library had a flyer recommending books to read before secondary school. Now, I don't feel that having grown up suddenly means that I can't read children's books anymore, so I picked it up and had a quick flick through it. It's got some books by authors that I've read and enjoyed - Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising, Phillip Pullman's Northern Lights, and Malorie Blackman's Cloud Busting (not read that one) - so I picked a book slightly at random from it (concept looks interesting, by a local author, and yay it's on the shelf in front of me) to try thinking that if it sucks I can always try something else.

Well, it turned out to be a great book and I recommend you go read Ali Sparkes' the Shapeshifter: Finding the Fox. It's about a boy who discovers that he can shape-shift into a fox. It's not like in Animorphs where it's a deliberate shape change, but more a sort of casual thing, with the realisation that he's changed shape only occurring a few minutes later. It's spontaneous to begin with - the first time is when he's accidentally locked in the garden shed, the second is when the local bullies lure a friend of his to a basement in the school (giving rise to a newspaper report on "The Beast of Bark's End"). He gets found by a school dedicated to people with supernatural powers, and joins that to learn more about it. Of course, it doesn't all go well and it turns out the new headmaster takes keeping it secret a bit too seriously, but it all works out in the end.
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