“The Real Boy” by Anne Ursu; Walden Pond Press, 352 pages, $16.99.

Oscar is a shop hand for Caleb, the most powerful magician in a village called the Barrow in the land of Asteri. Asteri is protected by magic from a terrible plague that once threatened the land. Oscar spends his days in the cellar of Caleb’s shop, grinding herbs for medicines. Oscar, who is extremely shy, knows all about which plants heal what ailment. But then children start falling ill, and while Caleb is away, Oscar discovers something sinister lurking in the forest. He and his new, and only friend, Callie must come to the rescue.

This book with its surprising secret at the core turns the fairy tale of “Pinocchio” inside out and upside down. Ursu’s 2011 book, “Breadcrumbs,” was a School Library Journal and Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2011.

– Jean Westmoore


The Young Audiences Second Saturday Series continues at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Central Library, Lafayette Square, with Gretchen Murray Sepik as Naomi Brown, an early 19th century storyteller. The program is for all ages. For more information, call 858-8900 or visit


Planets revolve around the sun in elliptical, or oval-like, orbits. The sun’s gravitational pull tugs the planets one way, while the other plants tug each other in other ways. This planetary tug-of-war, along with the speed and time it takes a planet to orbit the sun, causes an eccentric orbit.

Time For Kids Big Book of Why