In 1903, 14-year-old Martin Gunnarsson and his family travel to the Goodhue County, MN farm that his Swedish grandparents had homesteaded during the Civil War. The Gunnarssons hope for a new start after the death of their eldest son. Missing Stillwater and his friends, Martin finds solace in a diary that he finds hidden in the barn and his secret friendship with a boy from a gypsy encampment. Ann Treacy’s The Search for the Homestead Treasure offers both history and mystery. In September, young people, like Martin, are facing new chapters in their lives and they will relate to his trials and triumphs. // Available at a Hennepin County Library
Maureen Millea Smith is a librarian at the Edina Library and a Minnesota Book Award-winning novelist.
From koalas and penguins to kangaroos, Australians once managed to louse up a good majority of the world’s retail wine presence with bulk juiced wines labeled with furry critters. Over the past decade, the fur baby wine section has slowly faded. But there’s a new critter label in town that may just surprise you. Today, one of the top ten estates in the Pfalz region of Germany, known as the Pfeffingen Winery, bears the imprint of a unicorn head on the label and, honestly, the wine is stunning! While I’m pretty sure we’re past most “critter label” cringe, there’s nothing to shy away from in this gorgeously created dry Riesling. Succulent and lively, this wine delivers a clean line of fresh limeade and green apple, flavors that will have you dreaming of unicorns and rainbows for days. // Look for similar selections at Edina Liquor.
Leslee Miller is a certified sommelier and owner of local wine consulting firm, Amusee.
A song that has stood the test of time regarding school is “My Old School” from Steely Dan’s Countdown To Ecstasy album that came out in July 1973–the year I graduated. It was so good, numerous bands just had to learn it. I sang with a group called Open Road and we played it, right down to the exact guitar parts that we can all sing along with to this day. Can you? I played my cowbell, singing away… it was magic. Talk about Reeling In The Years, Countdown To Ecstasy was a classic album that featured the band’s newest singer, Donald Fagan. It was his debut as the vocalist for Steely Dan. The album was well received with perfect scores from music critics in many categories. Take it out. Dust it off, and have a listen. I bet you will be transported back, too. // Available on iTunes
Patty Peterson, award winning vocalist and Jazz 88, KBEM radio host.