Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Last chance for Seuss

Yesterday I went to see "Doctor Seuss Goes to War... And More" at the Breman Jewish Heritage Museum.  It's the last chance to see the exhibit, as it ends today, August 31.
Before he was a children's illustrator and author, Theodore Geisel (later, better known under his pen name, Doctor Seuss) worked as a political cartoonist, and many of his cartoons criticized America's lack of involvement in the early days of World War II.

What an interesting display this was.  You could definitely see that Seuss had already developed his trademark style. Here's one of his political cartoons.  Pencilled in, too faint to see in this photo, is the caption, "Stop wringing the hands that should wring Hitler's neck!"

Here's another.  The caption for this one read, "...and the Wolf chewed up the children and spit out their bones... but those were Foreign Children and it really didn't matter."

Here's something you don't see often.  A young, unbearded Theodore Geisel!

There was a fantastic Seuss playground, featuring some of the characters from his books most famous for promoting social justice: Horton Hears a Who, The Sneetches, The Butter Battle Book and Yertle the Turtle. Fun stuff!  McBean's machine from The Sneetches was really something else... it has a flashing light and sound effects when you go through it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Orangutans are Ticklish review

Orangutans are Ticklish: Fun Facts From an Animal Photographer

I was drawn to this book by the mischievous looking orangutan on the cover. Inside, there's a combination of wonderful close-up portraits of animals, a main text with interesting facts about each animal and tiny sidebars with comments from the photographer on how he managed to get the shot. The most dramatic of these side notes was about how the tiger got loose from it's handlers at one point, forcing Grubman to make a mad dash out of the room! Grubman's photos, which feature many animals' direct gaze to the camera, capture so much personality and expression and are truly what makes this book amazing for any animal lover. A wide variety of creatures including aardvarks, grizzly bears, giraffes, alligators, hippos and more, are mostly photographed framed against white or jewel-toned backgrounds, and in a few cases, shown with multiple photos side by side depicting their different moods. My favorite section was the jam-packed appendix which included tons of additional facts as well as few more photos. With an attractive layout featuring large, easy to read font, and relatively simple vocabulary, this book will be a pleasure for preschoolers and kindergarten
age children.

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Check out more non-fiction titles featured on thebooknosher this week.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Suwanee Festival of Books

There's nothing I love more than a good book festival, and during my many years in Los Angeles I was a regular at the Los Angeles Festival of Books and the West Hollywood Book Fair. Georgia, of course, has the Decatur Book Festival (scheduled the same weekend as the legendary Dragon*Con.) But it looks like a number of other places are yearning to put together their own literary celebrations. Yesterday, I had the chance to check out the first annual Suwanee Festival of Books, hosted in the Suwanee Town Center Park.

It was a nice day for it. Rather warm, a little humid, but not overly muggy with a pleasant breeze.

Ah, the familiar sight of book tents!


I popped in briefly to Peter Bowerman's writer's workshop, where he advised hopefuls on "How to be a Well-Fed Writer". He quizzed attendees on ways to maximize their PR. There were audible gasps from the room when he recommended his own personal secret: hiring an intern to handle much of the legwork for you.

I also got a quick look at a presentation by local illustrator Michael Montgomery, who was demonstrating some of his drawing skills at one of the authors' tents.

I was on the lookout for Laurel Snyder (author of Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains, and the recently released Baxter the Pig Who Wanted to be Kosher) but didn't see her.  There was plenty going on in the children's area though.  Craft tables manned by local teen beauty pageant winners.  Giveaways from the American Girls doll company.  Pony rides.  Hula-hooping. A special guest visit from Spiderman.  Best of all, I got to talk to R. Gregory Christie, the New York illustrator of Jazz Baby, Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves Deputy U.S. Marshall and Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth as well as many others.  He told me that he is in the area doing research for one of his newest projects.

Considering the heat though, probably one of the most popular attractions was the interactive fountain in Town Square.

This was a pretty impressive effort for the Festival's first year.  Smaller, easier to manage and less crowded than some of the other "big" book festivals out there, I think people were having a really wonderful time.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Star Wars Yoga

Am I totally crazy, or would this make an AWESOME Teen Program? Somebody should book this guy immediately.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Night Fairy review

The Night Fairy

I've been hearing lots and lots of Newbery buzz about this book, and decided to check it out for myself. This story, about a tiny but tough fairy named Flory and her adventures in a suburban garden wilderness reads like an instant classic. The language is beautiful and expressive -- it feels like an old-fashioned fairy-tale.

Flory faces many trials and tribulations after a bat mistakenly crushes her wings, leaving her flightless, but not defenseless. She temporarily switches her allegiance and attempts to live as a day fairy, carving out an existence for herself in a tree trunk, learning minor magic spells by instinct more than anything else, and corralling a greedy lug of a squirrel, named Skuggle, into serving as her roommate and traveling steed.

Schlitz says that she was "motivated by the girls who come into the library where she works, seeking books about fairies. They adore the prettiness of fairies, the miniature-ness." This book delivers on that score. While many books about fairies seem to set their scale as being about Barbie-doll height or perhaps a little shorter, Flory is probably only as tall as an acorn. The gorgeous full-color illustrations show her dwarfed by the squirrel and even the praying mantis and spider that she battles with, tower over her.

My immediate reaction was that this is exactly the sort of book that teachers and parents desperately wish would win the Newbery. It has everything to charm and delight, and nothing to offend. There are difficulties to be overcome, but no one dies. There is no love interest or coarse language. The Night Fairy is simply a sweet, readable fairy-tale, without straying into pablum. It's a solidly middle-grade read, with no reason to class it with YA (which has it's own Printz award).  I'd say The Night Fairy is appropriate for grades 2-4, although it would work well as a read-aloud for younger children as well. What's my verdict? Will it win? Schlitz has won before for her collection of medieval reader's theatre, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village.  The Night Fairy is so unique... I can't think of another book quite like it.  I could definitely see this garnering an Honor nod, at least.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Read or review?

Remember that picture of ARCs I snagged a while back?  I've been busy reading, reading, reading, and now I've got a backlog of a jillion (okay, more like five) reviews to do.  I like to get them on my blog relatively quickly, when everything from the story is still fresh in my mind.
The worst part of it all, is that I'm totally not in the mood for working on reviews!  I just want to curl up in a cozy chair and keep on reading!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Boys Over Flowers review

Boys Over Flowers
by Yoko Kamio

Viz Media

Tsukushi, a middle class student at an elite prep school, struggles to fit in until the F4 a.k.a. Flower Four, a popular gang of boys decide to "red flag" her locker thus marking her for social ostracization. Unable to request a school transfer, which would let down her family, Tsukushi is forced to make the best of things... but wait! Does one of the F4 have a secret crush on her? This book is unapologetically light-hearted and fun.

The name of the series is a play on words from a Japanese saying, which basically makes fun of people who go to ornamental flower gardens (a popular pasttime) and lacking sophistication or cultural taste, skip by all the sights and head directly to the food court. The word for boys in Japanese sounds similar to the word for food.

The plot does not move along too quickly, but the characters' emotional journey in this realistic fiction graphic novel is fun to follow.

I borrowed this book from the library.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mockingjay released today

Today's the day! Excited? I am.

Are you rooting for Team Gale or Team Peeta? I like Peeta better, but unfortunately, I don't think Katniss will choose him. There is, of course, a small contingent rooting for Team Katniss!

Aside from curling up and reading, are you doing any activities at your library?  I've got my Hunger Games Name: courtesy of Forever YA: Terless D. Hoppine.  Or for less teen-friendly activities, they've also got a list of Mockingjay-inspired drinks.  The Head Cardigan over at Cardigan Nation suggests creating a Mockingjay-themed word puzzle; I'm partial to the word searches, myself.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dead-Tossed Waves review

The Dead-Tossed Waves
by Carrie Ryan
Delacorte Books for Young Readers


This sequel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth takes place a generation after the events of the first novel. Timid Gabrielle has grown up in the lighthouse at the edge of town of Vista. Her mother Mary has always been an outsider. As teens are often wont to do, Gabry's friends Cira and Catcher like to tempt fate by slipping past the town's protective wall into the edge of the woods near an old abandoned amusement park. On the one night that Gabry finally gives in to peer pressure and breaks the rules, they are attacked by zombies called Mudo. Catcher is infected, and after a harrowing escape, Cira is taken in to face trial. Sentenced to join The Recruiters, the town's protective guard, with no possibility of emigrating to the larger city up the shore, Cira loses all hope. Gabry feels wracked with guilt.

In such a grim post-apocolyptic world, you have to wonder how people manage to go on. The book addresses that, with Cira becoming determinedly suicidal. The plot thickens when it turns out that Catcher has a super-rare immunity, allowing him to walk amongst the normally murderous Mudo with ease. In the meantime, Gabry meets Elias, a mysterious young man who has been living on the edge of what is left of civilization, with a bizarre religious cult of zombie-worshippers, people who believe that allowing themselves to become infected is their ticket to immortality.

Gabry struggles with her doubts, as she wonders if the infected retain any of their humanity, or if they can be cured. She is also stunned to learn that she's adopted -- a secret that her adoptive mother Mary has kept from her.  She's torn between Catcher and Elias, who each offer completely different opportunities for her.  A terrifying return to Mary's village raises the stakes (if that were possible!) with a buffalo-stampede horde of zombies in pursuit.

Scary, grim, and fast-paced, this is a solid return to the world of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, which unearths a few more tantalizing clues on how the post-apocolyptic world order came to be shaped after the devastating zombie invasion.

borrowed this book from the library.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010

YA Top 100

I grabbed this list from Persnickety Snarks List of Top 100 YA Novels (based on reader poll). Let's see how it looks.  I see lots of current favorites, and not too many classics. I'm seeing a lot of Sarah Dessen on this list -- clearly I should take a closer look at what she's written.  I've bolded everything that I've read, italicized things I started reading but didn't finish, and linked to things I've reviewed.

1. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J.K. Rowling
3. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
4. Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson

5. Northern Lights - Philip Pullman
6. The Truth About Forever - Sarah Dessen
7. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
8. The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton
9. Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
10. This Lullaby - Sarah Dessen
11. Looking for Alaska - John Green
12. Just Listen - Sarah Dessen
13. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
14. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott

15. City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
16. On the Jellicoe Road - Melina Marchetta
17. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
19. The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky

20. Along for the Ride - Sarah Dessen
21. Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater
22. Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead
23. Graceling - Kristin Cashore

24. Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher
25. Sloppy Firsts - Megan McCafferty
26. The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
27. Alanna: The First Adventure - Tamora Pierce
28. Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
29. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
30. Uglies - Scott Westerfeld
31. A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray

32. Tomorrow, When the War Began - John Marsden
33. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks - E. Lockhart
34. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
35. The Westing Game - Ellen Raskin

36. Paper Towns - John Green
37. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling
38. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins

39. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn - Betty Smith
40. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie
41. Lock and Key - Sarah Dessen
42. The Amber Spyglass - Philip Pullman (I read the His Dark Materials series out of order... a terrible mistake.)
43. Evernight - Claudia Gray
44. Sabriel - Garth Nix
45. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling
46. Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl (Just finished reading this... it was so good!)
47. Forever - Judy Blume
48. I Capture the Castle - Dodie Smith (True confession: I only read this because I heard it was one of J.K. Rowling's favorite books. I loved it, though.)
49. Ella Enchanted - Gail Carson Levine
50. The Princess Diaries - Meg Cabot
51. Stargirl - Jerry Spinelli
52. Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones
53. The Dark is Rising - Susan Cooper

54. Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick (Started this one and just couldn't get into it, not sure why, as it really seems like the kind of thing I usually read. I'll probably give it another try at some point.)
55. Saving Francesca - Melina Marchetta
56. Second Helpings - Megan McCafferty
57. Dreamland - Sarah Dessen
58. Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer
59. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist - Rachel Cohn, David Levithan
60. Fire - Kristin Cashore
61. The Chocolate War - Robert Cormier
62. Weetzie Bat - Francesca Lia Block
63. The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank

64. Looking for Alibrandi - Melina Marchetta
65. How I Live Now - Meg Rosoff
66. City of Glass - Cassandra Clare (It is on my "to be read" list, though.)
67. Keeping the Moon - Sarah Dessen
68. Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer
69. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging - Louise Rennison
70. If I Stay - Gayle Forman
71. The King of Attolia - Megan Whalen Turner (I read The Thief and always meant to get back to the rest of the series)
72. Wintergirls - Laurie Halse Anderson (Another item on my "to be read" list. I saw Laurie Halse Anderson give a wonderful talk about the book, and her other writing.)
73. Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast - Robin McKinley
74. The Blue Sword - Robin McKinley
75. Feed - M.T. Anderson
76. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants - Ann Brashares
77. Go Ask Alice - Anonymous (Having grown up in an era of "Just Say No" and helicopter parenting, I found the premise of lots of unsupervised time and easy access to drugs difficult if not impossible to wrap my head around, still, a very interesting read)
78. Wicked Lovely - Melissa Marr
79. Lord of the Flies - William Golding

80. Someone Like You - Sarah Dessen
81. The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Carrie Ryan
82. Jacob Have I Loved - Katherine Paterson
83. The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness (Just finished reading this... it was so good!)
84. Poison Study - Maria V. Snyder
85. Shadow Kiss - Richelle Mead
86. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle - Avi
87. An Abundance of Katherines - John Green
(Started reading this and just couldn't get into it... I have yet to join the cult of John Green.)
88. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
89. A Ring of Endless Light - Madeleine L'Engle
90. Glass Houses - Rachel Caine
91. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party - M.T. Anderson
92. Walk Two Moons - Sharon Creech
93. Whale Talk - Chris Crutcher
94. Perfect Chemistry - Simone Elkeles
95. Going Too Far - Jennifer Echols
96. The Last Song - Nicholas Sparks (Very surprised to see this one on the list!)
97. Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver
98. Hatchet - Gary Paulsen
99. The Pigman - Paul Zindel
100. The Hero and the Crown - Robin McKinley

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Summoning review

I picked this book up because I loved the cover.  I heard it was about a girl who has some psychic abilities, and I love fantasy, so I thought I'd give it a try.  Chloe Saunders has the ability to see dead people.  This book veers solidly into horror territory right away, with a flashback to malevolent ghosts from Chloe's childhood that doesn't shy away from the suspenseful or grotesque.  

After Chloe collapses at school after another particularly horrific sighting, her often-absent father and aunt decide to commit her to an institution, Lyle House, which is where the bulk of the story plays out.  Once there, Chloe meets up with other patients, Rae, Simon and his hulking brother Derek, her roommate Liz and catty Tori.

Simon hints to her that everything at Lyle House isn't what it seems.  All of the teens have special powers and they're being locked up as part of an adult conspiracy. Simon describes himself as a wizard; Chloe is, of course, a necromancer. Simon's adopted brother Derek has superstrength and the ability to shift into a wolf form, something which causes him to barf excessively.  Liz has the ability to make objects move, seemingly of their own accord, and when she freaks out and creates a mess, levitating and exploding shampoo bottles in the bathroom, she is taken to a different facility and not heard from again.  Only Chloe, via her special ability, knows that Liz is dead, and therefore knows that all of their lives are in danger.  Chloe, Simon, Derek and Rae all make a break for it, and the book ends on a tremendous cliffhanger, after Chloe realizes her trusted aunt is also in on the conspiracy.  With nowhere left to turn, she summons Liz's ghost for advice on what to do next.

There are plenty of descriptions of the teens acne, which at first I took as a sign of realism, but quickly realized was just something else that was added for more gross-out factor.  To be honest, I was hoping for a book with a more mystical, romantic feel.  While this book was interesting, I don't think I'll be returning to read the rest of the series.  Anybody want to convince me differently?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Book art posters

Wow! This is one of the coolest things I've ever seen. Postertext has released a series of posters, based on classic books, each with an iconic image, formed with the complete text of the original book in the background. Not too expensive either, they are all under $35.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Free Audiobooks!

Check it out. is offering free teen audiobooks for a limited time.

This week they are offering Beastly by Alix Flinn, read by Chris Patton, as well as The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, read by Scott Brick.

They use Overdrive software, which is also free to download.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Darklight review


This book picks up right where Wondrous Strange left off. Struggling teen actress Kelley Winslow is coping with her newly discovered fairy heritage in New York. Her relationship with changeling member of the Janus Guard, Sonny Flannery, is on hold as he seeks out the supernatural Hunters who are linked to dangerous Queen Mabh. Kelley is working on a production of Romeo and Juliet, and there are a few parallels to her relationship with Sonny, who is aligned with a competing clan of fairy folk. While Sonny is away he grows increasingly jealous of fellow Janus Guard Fennrys, whom he'd specifically asked to watch over Kelley while he was gone.

While Shakespeare aficionadoes will see a lot of allegory in this story, a knowledge of the classics isn't necessary. Any reader of YA fantasy will find lots here to enjoy: magic, action, romance. This sequel has many Romeo and Juliet references, and because it's so closely tied to the previous book, plenty of references to characters and events from A Midsummer Night's Dream as well. The creepiest addition were the leprechauns, who unlike the diminutive fun-loving tricksters of legend, tend to be compulsive drinkers (even slurping spilled booze out of the mud, if neccesary) and prone to violence. They are described as exceptionally lanky, wearing distinctive boots, mean-looking and evil-tempered. Definitely not the sort you'd want to run into in a dark alley.

By the end of the story, Kelley discovers she has that rarest of all gifts among fairies... she is able to lie. Most of the fey get around this with careful use of language. Kelley and Sonny each feel that they are endangering each other, and therefore "must" protect each other by staying apart. I was surprised and disappointed by Kelley's immaturity at times. The lack of communication between Kelley and Sonny leads to their seeming break-up by the end of the novel. The upcoming third book in the trilogy will almost certainly be about they work this out and get back together.

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side review

Here's another addition to the vampire-mania that has so recently swept the nation.  This book stands out for it's sardonic, haughty and hilarious vampire, Lucius Vladescu.  High school student Jessica is shocked to learn that she's actually adopted, and is ancestrally a vampire.  Because of their noble bloodlines and a tremendous financial inheritance, Lucius and Jessica have been promised in marriage (unbeknownst to Jessica) since birth.  Since Jessica's been raised as an all-American girl, naturally she finds the idea of an arranged marriage distasteful.  To try and change her mind, Lucius registers as an exchange student at her school and takes up residence in her parent's barn.  As the story unfolds we begin to see another side of Lucius.  Frequently beaten by his harsh uncle during his Dickensian childhood, he begins to relax a bit and enjoy what he sees as a decadent suburban lifestyle.  I found the idea that Jessica's adopted parents would keep her entire adoption a secret for all these years very difficult to credit, and was a little surprised to see her parents continually trying to push the two teens together.

In Fantaskey's world, female vampires only develop their full powers after being bitten by a male.  Male vampires develop their powers (and limitations) naturally as they age.  Something about this inequality of the sexes bothered me.  Not a very feminist take, I guess.  Another thing which worried me was the callous disregard Lucius has for Jessica's name.  He constantly calls her "Anastasia," the name her birth parents would have chosen for her, which seemed a bit pompous, overbearing and creepy to me.  Then again, that sort of behavior does seem par for the course for most male vamps these days. 

The ending of this book was also a bit of a disappointment to me.  Jessica decides to embrace her destiny and goes to Romania where she meets a few of the key players of the vampire world before finally allowing Lucius to bite her.  You can practically hear the music swell, fade to black, and "they lived happily ever after."  It was anticlimactic, to say the least.  Still, this was a light, fun read, and when he isn't being infuriating, the Lucius character adds a lot of humor to the story.

Vampire aficionados might want to give this stand-alone novel a try. For the juxtaposition of suburbia and creatures of the night, along with a girl who is desperately wishing to just stay normal, I would compare Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side to You are So Undead to Me by Stacey Jay.

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Moon & Sun: The Ruby Key review

Moon & Sun: The Ruby Key
by Holly Lisle
Orchard Books

I picked up this book because of the intriguing cover. I love the sense of movement it implies with the crouching elf and the cat perched parrot-like on the heroine's shoulder. This richly detailed fantasy takes place in a world where elves and humans hold an uneasy truce. Much of the symbolism was a bit heavy-handed, Sun/Moon, Day/Night, Humans/Elves, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Genna and her brother Dan are driven to desperate measures when their traditional village herbal treatments won't help their mother's illness. They sneak out at night (a dangerous time for humans) to steal some taandu tree sap, hoping to cure her. This is technically a breach of their truce with the nightlings, but justified when it's revealed that their evil Uncle Banris has made a magical bargain with the equally corrupt Elf King, Letrin. Letrin has agreed to grant Banris immortality... if he manages to kill all the children in his care. At this point, the stakes are raised so very high, Genna and Will literally have no choice. Of course, they must continue their fight, even if they'd rather give up, because to stop would mean simply letting Banris murder them and their whole family. I was disinclined to feel sympathetic for the way the siblings desperately feel they must protect their young siblings who are vaguely drawn characters at best. Still, their quest to travel the night roads with their guide Yarri and a talking cat provided lots of adventure as the siblings fend off various magical traps. Lisle's magic system didn't always operate with clockwork precision but the culture and rich history of the Nightlings showed solid worldbuilding. With the reveal of the Sun Wizards this feels like a universe where the humans access to magic is on the upswing after a long absence, and that's always fun to read about.

There is
a sequel, The Silver Door, released earlier this year, for the planned trilogy.

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Trucker review

The Trucker
by Barbara Samuels
Farrar Straus Giroux

This picture book has one thing that I just love: lots and lots of minute details hidden in the illustrations, making this ideal for one-on-one sharing with a little one. I liked the endpapers which repeat, "Beep beep! Honk Honk! Vroom!" and so on with other appropriately truck-like noises. Anyone who's ever had a transportation-obsessed youngster in their lives will be able to relate to this story. "Leo was a trucker. No doubt about it." His mom indulgently looks on as he crawls with his trucks as a baby. When Leo matures into a busy redheaded toddler, she tiredly sprawls on an easy chair, drinking tea, a book on a nearby endtable How to Raise a Sensitive Boy, surrounded by an elaborate play construction site that Leo is overseeing.  She appears to have a penchant for colorful, busy patterned socks, which I had fun hunting for in the following pages.

The story really takes off when "Leo asked his Mama to read his favorite story over and over and over..." (and here the words trail away to the edge of the page.)  They go for a walk, and as Mama enjoys the variety of people and activities they see in their urban neighborhood, Leo has eyes only for trucks.  Thinking that she is asking him if he wants the toy firetruck that he's gazing at, Leo answers in the affirmative and ends up with a pet kitten instead.  What initially seems like a disaster turns to everyone's advantage when it's discovered that Lola, the fat orange tabby, is quite a truck aficionado herself, making Lola and Leo inseparable buddies.

Large colorful illustrations, with effective use of white space, should make this book a favorite for transportation-themed storytimes.  I'd recommend this for children aged 3 to 8.

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Wimpy Kid 5

Yes! After months of seeing this placeholder, the cover and title for Wimpy Kid 5 have been revealed. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney is being released by Amulet Books on November 9. Did the publisher move the release date up a little? I'm thinking yes. Kids are already eagerly clamoring for the newest adventure of beleagered middle-child Greg Heffley. I got a request for it the other day from a kid who was combing the shelves looking for it, and after explaining that it wouldn't be out until November, she said, "Yes, I know. I was just hoping." As if somehow I could get it earlier, using my librarian superpowers. Ah, I wish I could. Sadly, I'll have to wait another few months, just like everybody else.


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