Monday, October 31, 2011

A Not Scary Book About Big Scary Things

A Not Scary Book About Big Scary Things
by C.K. Williams
illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska
Picture Book

Book Jacket Summary
A boy walks through a forest full of snakes and wolves and bears, but this boy isn't afraid because he knows they'll stay out of his way. The scary monster in this forest won't stay out of his way, though. He pops out at the boy and growls! But the brave boy just keeps walking along because he doesn't believe in monsters. This sets the monster to begging and begging for the boy to believe in him, even just a smidge. Will the boy ever agree?
This unusual monster story, with thrills and fangs and growls, shows that a little confidence and a lot of courage can shrink fears to a size that might even be a little cuddly.

My Thoughts
Here is one extra book today that is perfect for Halloween! The illustrations in this book are slightly creepy, especially the montage of screaming children at the beginning. I was leafing through it thinking that the art style looked familiar and I found that the illustrator drew the Yoon books. Her art style is very unique and I suggest checking out her other books.
The title says it all when it comes to the story line, it is a not scary book about big scary things. I would read this one to any child who is scared of things that go bump in the night. I really do not want to spoil the ending but the monster is not what it seems, although I know plenty of these that think they are big scary monsters. I especially like the authors call back to many fairy tales that are set in a big scary forrest. However, in this story commen sense wins over fear and monsters. It feels like a modern day fairy tale with a boy who knows that wild animals tend to stay away from humans in the deep dark forrest. I hope all of you check this one out because it really has a great story.
A big thanks to Kerri for bringing this one to my attention! You know how to find the good ones!
Book Pairings
Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems
Boogie Knights by Lisa Wheeler
How the Nobble Was Finally Found by C.K. Williams

Hocus Pocus by Sylvie Desrosiers

Hocus Pocus
by Sylvie Desrosiers
illustrated by Remy Simard
Graphic Novel

Book Jacket Summary
This zany tale pits a grouchy pooch against Hocus Pocus, a mischievous blue bunny who lives in a magician's hat. When Hocus Pocus spots a bunch of tantalizing carrots poking out of a shopping bag, he decides he must have them. But to reach the kitchen counter, he must risk waking Dog, a pet canine who snoozes nearby. Tiptoeing in a pair of bunny slippers works beautifully at first -- until a peanut shell gets crunched loudly underfoot. Soon, Dog is wide awake, and the two begin a hilarious battle, trading victories and defeats and ultimately attracting the attention of the none-too-pleased magician.A classic retro feel gives the illustrations and story a fun punch.

My Thoughts
This is an elaborate Tom and Jerry type book starring a dog and rabbit. Typically I am not a fan of this genre because it always seems like on animal is getting in trouble for something someone else does. I always feel sorry for that animal and in this book I feel sorry for the dog. He is just trying to keep his house safe... I'm not sure the owner even knows about the rabbit that is hopping out of the hat. It is completely wordless and plays up the dog getting in trouble for the rabbits actions- spilled milk, ketchup all over the dog. I know all the rabbit wants is a carrot but I can't help but feel sorry for the dog. For all my complaining, it is a cute book with bright colors and an engaging plot (for those who like it). I would recommend this one to children who are a bit young for Tom and Jerry, I know I never liked all that violence as a kid.

Book Pairings
The Secret Box by Barbra Lehman
Where's Walrus? by Stephen Savage
The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney

Friday, October 28, 2011

Aggie Gets Lost by Lori Ries

Aggie Gets Lost
by Lori Ries
Illustrated by Frank W. Dormer
48 pages
Early Reader

Book Jacket Summary
Aggie and Ben are back with another adventure in three short chapters just right for beginning readers. Ben and Aggie are playing fetch in the park. When Ben throws too far, Aggie doesn't come back! Ben looks and looks, but he cannot find her. It is the worst day ever. Ben's sadness turns into determination as he retraces his steps, makes posters, and enlists other people to help turn Aggie from a lost pup to a found one.

My Thoughts
A cute early reader that uses short sentences and three chapters to engage a young reader. I need to check out the rest of the Aggie and Ben books because a boy and his dog is a classic genre that can never be told enough. There is something special about owning a pet and when that pet is lost there is a void that fills Ben's life. However, like most children's books, there is a happy ending. Ben is encouraged to use all five senses during his search by his blind friend. Ben is ble to hear Aggie howling and then able to smell her overnight adventures. It was a humorous ending with all the search helpers holding their noses due to Aggie's smell.
The illustrations were simple and helped show the action on the page for early readers. This will be a great addition to any early reader collection.

Book Pairings
Aggie and Ben: Three Stories by Lori Ries
Elephant and Piggie: There is a Bird on His Head by Mo Willems
Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Time to Sleep by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

Time to Sleep
by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page 
Picture Book
Book Jacket Summary
It’s time to sleep! Who dozes standing on one leg without falling over, snores while flying, or snuggles together in a big sleepy pile?

My Quick Thoughts
An adorable picture book that depicts animals sleeping in different ways! I love the illustrations that accompany each fact or description. Each animal is sleeping and my favorite is the walrus hanging by his tusks. I never knew they did that! It is funny how you can still learn from picture books.
There are even more facts on the last page of the book. It was a great touch because to much information in the actual book would have disrupted the gentle flow that Jenkins and Page set up. I would recommend this one to parents who are looking for a nice bed time book to read with their children. Preferably snuggled up with a stuffed animal.

Book Pairings
Sleep Book by Dr Seuss
Time to Sleep, Sheep the Sheep! by Mo Willems
Time to Eat by Robin Page

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bride Story by Karou Mori

Bride Story
volume 1
by Karou Mori
192 pages
Graphic Novel

Book Jacket Summary
Amira is twenty years old when she marries her husband, a boy named Karluk from a neighboring village. Adjusting to life in a new household can be trying for any young bride, but Amira's husband is eight years her junior! Amira was a strong, sophisticated hunter and horsewoman in her village, but though their villages were next to each other, their customs are very different. As Amira introduces Karluk to the foods and pastimes that were popular among her comrades back home, the warmth she feels for her young husband grows.

My Thoughts
If the thought of a twenty year old woman marrying a twelve year old boy has not scared you away already then you know that Karou Mori is a beautiful storyteller. Her work with Emma, the Victorian romance manga always makes me nostalgic and her artwork is so detailed that find myself starring at a particular scene for longer than most graphic novels. I knew Mori would take this difficult subject and make it her own. I am intrigued by her choice but I think she likes delving into the social mores of a society and exploring them in a realistic fashion. She did this with Victorian England and now with the nomadic life of Central Asia. I have to say that I enjoyed it in that context and found the story interesting. It took a while for me to shake off my Western ideals but as nothing really "happened" in the story I relaxed and just went with the flow. 
Amira is an interesting character who has a lot going on that we do not know about and I am eager to find out her back story. Karluk is still a child but is thought of as an adult in his culture. The age difference seems odd even to the family but does not seem to be unheard of and once they get to know Amira they are willing to fight to keep her. I am looking forward to volume two and hope that it continues on its current story line. I am not sure how I will feel as the romance between Amria and Karluk grows throughout the series but I will let you know as I figure that one out. 

Book Pairings
The Story of Saiunkoku by Kairi Yura
Bride of the Water God by Mi-Kyung Yun
Emma by Karou Mori

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer

Through Her Eyes 
by Jennifer Archer
377 pages

Book Jacket Summary
Every ghost has a story to tell.
The last place Tansy Piper wants to be is stuck in Cedar Canyon, Texas, in the middle of nowhere, with a bunch of small-town kids. But when her mother decides to move to the desolate West Texas town, Tansy has no choice but to go along. Once there, Tansy is immediately drawn to the turret of their rickety old house, a place she soon learns has a disturbing history. But it's the strange artifacts she finds in the cellar—a pocket watch, a journal of poetry, and a tiny crystal—that have the most chilling impact on her.
Tansy soon finds that through the lens of her camera, she can become part of a surreal black-and-white world where her life is intertwined with that of mysterious, troubled Henry, who lived in the same house and died decades earlier. It seems their lives are linked by fate and the artifacts she found, but as Tansy begins spending more and more time in the past, her present world starts to fade away. Tansy must untangle herself from Henry's dangerous reality—before she loses touch with her own life forever.

My Thoughts
Wow, two ghost stories set in Texas in one year. I am so lucky! I love a well written ghost story and when they are set in my own state of Texas it is doubly sweet. I really liked Archer's depiction of small town Texas and that it could have taken place anywhere once the story started (outside of all the denim, but that of course is true). The story starts off with Tansy, her mother, and Grandpa Dan moving to Cedar Canyon, TX. Tansy is used to moving around due to her mother's need to move every time she starts a new book. Tansy feels like an outsider in the close knit community and feels even more isolated when she starts slipping into visions of another girls life.
I really felt Tansy's pain and anguish. Her feelings of being of of control and her fear of mental illness made me afraid for her. Questioning her sanity was something that a lot of other books lack when it comes to supernatural occurrences. Many of the characters readily accept what is happening but Archer gives it that extra edge of doubt creeping in Tansy's mind. There are people who want to help Tansy. The gorgeous Tate, who may know more than he is saying about the haunting poems and amber pendant Tansy found. There is Bethyl Ann, the only person reaching out to Tansy on her new school. These are great characters and I really wanted to reach out to the strange and quirky Bethyl Ann. She is a hoot and always quoting Shakespeare. Tate is also a conundrum at first but he is such a great guy that Tansy can rely on. Plus there is a restless spirit that is pulling Tansy deeper into the past and may not let her go back. The small details of Tansy's real world fading to gray and the past becoming more colorful are amazing touches. I cannot wait to read more by Jennifer Archer! 
This is recommended to those who enjoy a good ghost story and with Halloween coming up we all need a good one!

Book Pairings
Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen
The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot

Monday, October 24, 2011

Press Here by Hevre Tullet

Press Here
By Hevre Tullet
Picture Book
56 pages

Book Jacket Summary

Press the yellow dot on the cover of this book, follow the instructions within, and embark upon a magical journey! Each page of this surprising book instructs the reader to press the dots, shake the pages, tilt the book, and who knows what will happen next! Children and adults alike will giggle with delight as the dots multiply, change direction, and grow in size! Especially remarkable because the adventure occurs on the flat surface of the simple, printed page, this unique picture book about the power of imagination and interactivity will provide read-aloud fun for all ages!

My Quick Thoughts
Love, love, love, love this book! It is such a clever interactive book that does not need electronics to amuse children or adults. I have been hearing such good things about this one and I have to say all the rumors are true! Not to say that e-books and apps do not have their place but it is nice to see a real book compete with them and win. Go check this picture book out and enjoy playing like you were a child again.

Book Pairs
Perfect Square by Michael Hall
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Reading List: Coffee House Reads

Coffee House Reads:

Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors

Triple Shot Betty by Jody Gehrman

The Espressologist by Kristina Springer

Better Latte Than Never by Catherine Clark

Happy Café by Kou Matsuzuki

My Lost and Found Life by Melodie Bowsher

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

The Running Dream 
by Wendelin Van Draanen
336 pages

Book Jacket Summary
Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident. She's not comforted by the news that she'll be able to walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Who cares about walking when you live to run?
As she struggles to cope with crutches and a first cyborg-like prosthetic, Jessica feels oddly both in the spotlight and invisible. People who don't know what to say, act like she's not there. Which she could handle better if she weren't now keenly aware that she'd done the same thing herself to a girl with CP named Rosa. A girl who is going to tutor her through all the math she's missed. A girl who sees right into the heart of her.
With the support of family, friends, a coach, and her track teammates, Jessica may actually be able to run again. But that's not enough for her now. She doesn't just want to cross finish lines herself—she wants to take Rosa with her.

My Thoughts
The Running Dream is a look into the mind of a girl who has become a BTK (below the knee) amputee. Van Draanen really did her homework on this one. I know I learned a lot about the world of prosthetics and how people deal with losing a limb. It really makes me want to read Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton to see her real life experience.
Jessica is a character I can believe in and care about. She spends the first part of the book wallowing in her own misery and even tries to block the mental pain with drugs. Thank goodness her parents are on the ball with that one and throw away the pills. That is another good thing about the book. The parents do not just fade into the background, instead they are fighting right along side Jessica, especially her mom. Her dad is hard at work trying to pay the bill because of Jessica's lack of insurance. It really makes me want to check and see that everyone I know have insurance because I do not want them to go through what Jessica's family goes through. This however gives her track team the initiative to start a fund raising campaign to buy Jessica a racing prosthetic racing leg. The team really pulls together and supports Jessica, especially her best friend Fiona. Fiona is a friend that I want right now! She helps Jessica and also pushes (not just her wheelchair) her to be more! 
There is also a story line that involves a girl in her class that has cerebral palsy. Rosa is also an awesome friend that helps Jessica with her own tidbits of wisdom. Jessica dreams of being able to race with Rosa and show her what it is like to run. This is an inspiring story and made me cheer throughout. It is a bit predictable but that is part of its charm. I would recommend it to anyone who needs an inspiring tale!

Book Pairings
Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board
 by Bethany Hamilton
Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham
Izzy, Willy-Nilly by Cynthia Voight
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Me & My Brothers by Hari Tokeino

Me & My Brothers
by Hari Tokeino
vol. 1 & 2

Book Jacket Summary
One Lost Girl + Four Confused Brothers = A Whole Lotta Wackiness! When Sakura, a fourteen-year-old orphaned girl, discovers she has four half-brothers, her world is turned upside down as they're all forced to live under one roof... From international manga-ka Hari Tokeino comes a manga series that shows you can't choose your family--even though sometimes you might want to!

My Thoughts
Silly and cute are the words that come to mind when describing this manga but I think that is what is it going for in the end. It plays many of the shoujo cliches through out the first two volumes but it has lots of funny and quirky characters that will keep you entertained. Like in Dengeki Daisy, there is a hint of a very May/December romance but that is not all that strange in manga. I wonder if that is more of a cultural thing over there? You find out early on that the four brothers are not blood related to Sakura and you know she will probably choose one in the end. The family dynamic is sweet and it would be a shock to suddenly have four brothers!
This series is published by TokyoPop, so it might be hard to find. I found it at my local library and the entire series is published. You could probably find it at a used bookstore or on the amazon shop. It is worth a looksee even if it is a bit cliched. Nothing wrong with a bit of giggles after a long day. It has an age rating of Teen 13+ but I do not think it is that bad. However I have only read the first two volumes. There are elven in total and I think I will have to check them out.

Book Pairings
Dengeki Daisy by Kyousuke Motomi
Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori
The Wallflower by Tomoko Hayakawa

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Falling In by Frances O'Roark Dowell

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens!

Falling In
by Frances O'Roark Dowell
245 pages
Middle School

Book Jacket Summary
B z z z z z z z
The buzzing sound?
Do you hear that?
There it is again.
B z z z z z z z
No? Well, I really shouldn't have asked. Most people can't hear it, anyway. But, if you could, you'd think it sounds like you're teetering on the edge of the universe. That's what Isabelle Bean thinks...and she's not that far from the truth.
B z z z z z z z
You really don't hear that?
Well, it's actually not that great to have a buzzing in your ear. It's distracting for one thing. And when Isabelle starts listening to the buzz instead of, say, her boring teacher, strange things happen. She gets sent to the principal's office (that's not so strange), but then while awaiting her punishment, she tumbles into an adventure—into another world that's a little bit different, a little bit Hansel & Gretel-y, a little bit like a fairy tale, which would be great, but...did I mention that Isabelle is an unusual dresser? When she shows up in fairy-tale land wearing her favorite high, pointy boots, the fairy-tale people start thinking that Isabelle is a witch — and not just any witch, but the witch!
From Edgar Award-winning author Frances O'Roark Dowell comes the unlikely story of Isabelle Bean—an ultimate misfit, an outsider extraordinaire, and not a witch!

My Thoughts
This one is a fast fun read about Isabelle Bean, a girl that just does not fit in. When she follows a squeaking sound she falls into another world. There she finds that children are sent away because there is a wicked witch that comes after them once a year. Isabelle seems strange even here and many of the children she meets think she is a witch. However, one girl, Hen goes with her to find the witch. Hen wants retribution for the years of suffering while Isabelle thinks it would be interesting to meet a witch. They do find the witch but she is not what they expect. Isabelle also has a connection to Grete, the witch, that may be the cause of her "falling in".

This was a fun book with interesting characters and a parallel world much like our own. Each chapter has a line drawing a plant and the healing properties that it has in the healers world. It is a good way to incorporate the story line into the readers imagination. I would recommend this one to children who are felling a bit odd in the real world and want to "fall in" another world. The characters were engaging and I wish Isabelle could have stayed forever with her new friends.

Book Pairings
Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Keeper by Kathy Applet
Stolen by Vivian Vande Velde

Monday, October 17, 2011

True (...Sort Of) by Katherine Hannigan

True (...Sort Of)
by Katherine Hannigan
360 pages
Middle School

Book Jacket Summary
True: Delly Pattison likes surpresents (presents that are a surprise). The day the Boyds come to town, Delly's sure a special surpresent is on its way. But lately, everything that she thinks will be good and fun turns into trouble. She's never needed a surpresent more than now.
True: Brud Kinney wants to play basketball like nothing anybody's ever seen. When the Boyds arrive, though, Brud meets someone who plays like nothing he's ever seen.
True: Ferris Boyd isn't like anyone Delly or Brud have ever met. Ferris is a real mysturiosity (an extremely curious mystery).
True: Katherine Hannigan's first novel since her acclaimed Ida B is a compelling look at the ways friendships and truths are discovered.
It's all true ( . . . sort of).
My Thoughts
Like Keeper, this book kept me guessing where it was going through out. I fell in love with Delly and her desire to have fun. It usually backfired but her ideas started in a good place. Her feeling of being "bad" stemmed from these events, the label the adults gave her impacted how she thought and acted. If everyone already thinks I'm bad- why not just be bad. Poor Delly. She is given one last chance at school. to shape up or be placed in an alternative school. She takes advice from her little brother RB but nothing clicks until she meets Ferris Boyd. Ferris Boyd is an enigma to Delly, she neither speaks nor is to be touched. How does Ferris Boyd attract the animals that sit around her at lunch. Through Ferris Boyd, Delly learns to ask questions before acting and gets in less trouble but it is really Delly who needs to save Ferris Boyd.
This book is more than it seems.
I went into this book blind and would recommend you do too but I do have to say that this book does deal with physical child abuse. It is rough but very well done. It is interesting seeing this topic through the eyes of a child and the way Delly sees that Ferris Boyd needs protecting but is not sure how to proceed. Delly and RB try to help but are unsure who they can trust with this large secret. Delly is scared because she still has the label of "bad" with so many people.
I would highly recommend this book to those looking to discuss child abuse with their children. It is something that can manifest in everyday life. This story seems simple on the surface but is multi-layered. Please check it out soon!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Good Night iPad Trailer

If only we could throw technology out the window some days! I know my family has moments of being alone together. I seem to be running a bit behind on my book reviews. I'm reading, just not reviewing. I blame technology... Enjoy!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why
by Jay Asher
288 pages

Book Jacket Summary
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.
Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

My Thoughts
What can I say that hasn't already been said? This is a powerful book and it packs such an emotional punch. You get to know Clay and Hannah on such a deep level that it is hard to accept that Hannah is already dead and that Clay is grieving for a girl who was so far gone. It definitely is a book that everyone should read: teens, parents, and teachers. But it is more than that because everyone knows someone who is struggling.

A excellent article from states that eighty-three percent of girls and 79 percent of boys report having experienced sexual harassment. For many students, sexual harassment is an ongoing experience: over one in four students experience it “often.” These numbers do not differ by whether the school is urban, suburban, or rural. That is way too much!

There has been a lot said about this book and all I want to add is that everyone should read this book. It will make you evaluate the small actions/nonactions it takes to be a bystander. I know I would change many things I did back in high school if I could. We all have those moments. Hopefully for teens this will help them not have to look back with regret.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Book Blogger Hop: 10/7-10/10

Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!

This week's question is:

“It’s time to spread some love beyond the borders of the Book Blogger Hop! This week, we aren’t answering a question. We are spotlighting our fellow bloggers. Find your favorite(s) author interview(s), guest post(s), book review(s), or bookish article(s) that ANOTHER BOOK BLOGGER featured on their site recently and tell us why you love it/them! As an additional challenge, find your favorite one of EACH of the categories above and spotlight all 4 (interview, guest post, review, article).”

Yay! Research time!

I really liked GreenBeanTeenQueen's review of Past Perfect by Leila Sales. This is a book that I did not know I neeed until I saw it there! I trust GBTQ's reviews. If she likes it then I am 90% sure I will enjoy it!

One of my favorite bookish article of the week came from DJL and her experience at the Austin Teen Book Festival. I really wanted to go!

The best gues post goest to The O.W.L's Tess Hilmo: Music that influenced With a Name Like Love. I really like knowing what music inspired authors. I like to see what playlists they came up with when writing or a song that their character would enjoy. Music really tells a lot about a person!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

You Wish by Mandy Hubbard

You Wish
by Mandy Hubbard
284 pages
Book Jacket Summary
Kayla McHenry's sweet sixteen sucks! Her dad left, her grades dropped, and her BFF is dating the boy Kayla's secretly loved for years. Blowing out her candles, Kayla thinks: I wish my birthday wishes actually came true. Because they never freakin do.
Kayla wakes the next day to a life-sized, bright pink My Little Pony outside her window. Then a year's supply of gumballs arrives. A boy named Ken with a disturbing resemblance to the doll of the same name stalks her. As the ghosts of Kayla's wishes-past appear, they take her on a wild ride . . . but they MUST STOP. Because when she was fifteen? She wished Ben Mackenzie would kiss her. And Ben is her best friend's boyfriend.

My Thoughts
Things keep getting worse and worse for Kayla on her sixteenth birthday. Her best friend ditches her for a date, she is in love with said date, her mother it throwing her a huge party to show off her business, she hasn't heard from her father in ten years, and she knows absolutley no one at this monstrosity of a party. So when she is forced to blow out her birthday candles, she wishes- I wish my birthday wishes actually came true. Because they never freakin do. This sets off a chain reaction that forces Kayla deal not only with a pink pony, a living raggedy Ann doll, and a room full of gumballs but to examine her own attitude.

I really liked Kayla and how she grew throughout the book. It was not a sudden change nor a drastic change, just a shift in a way of thinking. She does not become an entirely different peson but nicer, less caustic version. It also helps that the supporting characters are so funny! I love Ann and how she only knows what ten year old Kayla knew or what she overheard in the closet. Ken was hilariously into himself and made one of the funniest scenes in the book. Ben was sweet and a great love interest. I especially appricate how Hubbard handled the best friend's boyfirend angle. Nichole is also growing in her own right and doesn't quite know how to tell Kayla.

This is an excellent example of a great humor book for teens. There have been complaints that everything is dark and grim but this book proves that there is still a selection for light hearted literature. Not to say that there is not any weight to the book, there are several story lines that made me think and evaluate how things are going in my life. How can I be a supportive friend? Will anything ever go my way? Why do birthdays suck? Those kind of questions. All I know is that I finished the book with a smile and would recommend it to anyone. There were several scenes where I could not hold the giggles in... much like Kayla.

Book Pairings
Teen Idol by Meg Cabot
How to be Popular by Meg Cabot
Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe
Geektastic by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Charlie the Ranch Dog by Ree Drummond

Charlie the Ranch Dog
by Ree Drummond
illustrated by Diane deGroat
Picture Book

Book Jacket Summary
Meet Charlie.
He's a ranch dog. Breakfast is his life, especially when bacon is involved. Charlie has dangly ears, floppy skin, and big fat paws. And he loves living in the country. That's because he works like a dog...fixing fences, gardening, and helping his family out on the range.
Yep, it's all work, all the time for Charlie the ranch dog. In fact, he's probably working right now...
A ranch dog's work is never done!
Come along as Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, introduces us to her beloved short-legged pioneer dog named Charlie.

My Thoughts

The Pioneer Woman is tackling a new adventure- instead of frying up chicken fried steak she is cooking up a children's story. This book focuses on her do Charlie and a working dogs day on the ranch. It is a cute story with Charlie doing his daily tasks with Suzie. Suzie is a bit more energetic than Charlie but he doesn't let that stop him! Although he does catch the occasional nap, Charlie is always there to keep cows out of the garden.
Keep an eye out for the chipmunk on each page! Overall this is a cute book that could work in many story time themes- dogs, ranches, farms, food, etc... Plus Ree's recipes are always delish! This on has The Pioneer Woman's (and Charlie's) Favorite Lasagna. Ree reminds children to always cook with an adult and to wash hands before and after. Nice colorful artwork make life on a ranch look like a lot of fun!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Wolf Who Cried Boy by Bob Hartman

The Wolf Who Cried Boy
by Bob Hartman
illustrated by Tim Raglin
Picture Book

Book Jacket Summary
Little Wolf is tired of his mom's cooking! It's the same old thing night after night, Lamburgers and Sloppy Does. How he wishes his mother would serve up a nice platter of his favorite dish: Boy! But Boy is hard to come by these days. As Little Wolf trudges home from school one day, he decides to postpone his boring dinner by shouting "Boy! Boy!" But what will happen when a real boy finally comes along? In this hilarious twisted tale, Little Wolf learns the same timeless lesson that the boy who cried "Wolf!" did so many years ago.

My Thoughts
I have not delved into the realm of picture books in a while and what better way than to review a fractured fairy tale. Now, The Boy Who Cried Wolf is not my favorite fairy tale but it is a great one to play around with, like Betsy Who Cried Wolf by Gail Carson Levine. This book gives the wolf a chance to cry "boy"!
The food reversal also worked really well! There were lamburgers, sloppy does, three-pig salad, boys-n-berry pie, and my favorite chocolate moose, which "looks just like-". A little humor for everyone! This is a fun book with detailed illustrations. I especially like the wolf parent's excitement as the race out of their cave to look for the boy in the forest. You can practically see them salivating.
This book would be perfect for a fractured fairy tale storytelling. Maybe a wolf themed one?

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker
by Leanna Renee Hieber
324 pages
Adult Romance/Teen Crossover

Book Jacket Summary
What fortune awaited sweet, timid Percy Parker at Athens Academy? Considering how few of Queen Victoria’s Londoners knew of it, the great Romanesque fortress was dreadfully imposing, and little could Percy guess what lay inside. She had never met the powerful and mysterious Professor Alexi Rychman, knew nothing of the growing shadow, the Ripper and other supernatural terrors against which his coterie stood guard. She knew simply that she was different, haunted, with her snow-white hair, pearlescent skin and uncanny gifts. But this arched stone doorway offered a portal to a new life, an education far from the convent—and an invitation to an intimate yet dangerous dance at the threshold of life and death…

My Thoughts
Every once in a while I need a good romance book that I can giggle with and just have a fun time. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker fits the bill and adds an element of fantasy and Greek myth that made it better than your average Victorian romance.

Percy is an orphan and has grown up in a convent but has embarked on an adventurous term at the Athens Academy. Her ear for languages is highly valued but her albino status makes her uncomfortable around her fellow students. She is more drawn to the ghosts she resembles. Professor Alexi is part of the Guard who are waiting for a Prophecy to come true after eighteen years. I really like how Percy and Alexi really get to know each other and take several weeks to finally get together (no real surprise there, it is a romance).

It is not a masterpiece but a great rainy day read! There are a few sections that give into the purple prose but that makes it all the more fun! It is a call back to many other gothic romances that were written in that time. This book had a lot of teen crossover appeal. Teens that enjoy steam punk will like the Victorian flair and costuming, romance readers will like the tragic romance, and fantasy fans will get a kick out of the powers that the Guard uses on their spectral opponents. For an adult romance there is not a lot of sexual situations. There is passionate kissing but the Victorian sensibilities of the characters make for a better teen book. I would gladly hand this one over to a teen looking for a bit more. There is a second book and I am searching for it through ILL. It is a little hard to find but worth the looking.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

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