Friday, May 29, 2015

Queen of the Diamond by Emily Arnold McCully

Queen of the Diamond:
The Lizzie Murphy Story
by Emily Arnold McCully 
32 pages
Picture Book
February 2015

Book Jacket Summary
Lizzie Murphy was good at baseball. In fact, she was better than most of the boys. But she was born in 1900, and back then baseball was not a game for girls. Lizzie practiced with her brother anyway, and then she talked her way onto the local boys’ team, first as a batboy, then as a player. Everyone was impressed by her hard catches and fast pitches. By the time she turned fifteen, she was playing for two different amateur boys’ teams. When she turned eighteen, Lizzie did something else that women weren’t supposed to do: she signed up with a professional baseball team, determined to earn her living playing the game.

My Thoughts
I always feel like I come away with something when I read a nonfiction picture book. It seems that adults forget about them as they grow up but I find them fascinating because you can learn about obscure history facts that you never knew about. Just like Lizzie Murphy and her baseball playing days on both major league all-star teams. It is a snapshot into the past that children can see and learn.
Lizzie Murphy loved baseball and wanted to play all her life. She got that chance and stood up to those who thought that she could not earn a living playing a "man's game." Equal pay and all. She seems like such an hard working individual and in the Author Notes you learn that she made her own baseball cards and sold them to the fans between innings.
The drawings look old fashioned,  more like what you would have seen drawn in Lizzie's time period. It is a good picture book and I enjoyed hearing Lizzie's story. One I would never have heard if I did not pick up this picture book. Don't be afraid to poke around int he nonfiction picture book section in your library or bookstore. You never know what story you may find. 

Book Pairings
Mama Played Baseball by David A. Adler
Mighty Jackie: The Strike-Out Queen by Marissa Moss
Just Like Josh Gibson by Angela Johnson

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki

This One Summer
This One Summer
written by Mariko Tamaki
illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
Library ILL
First Second  
May 2014

Book Jacket Summary
Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It's their getaway, their refuge. Rosie's friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose's mom and dad won't stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. It's a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up, and it's a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

In This One Summer two stellar creators redefine the teen graphic novel. Cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, the team behind Skim, have collaborated on this gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about a girl on the cusp of her teen age—a story of renewal and revelation.

My Thoughts
This book has been a subject of controversy on many of the librarian listservs I have been reading because it was a Caldecott Honor book. It was also a Printz Nominee and that should tell you something about the subject manner. It is a bit odd to think of a book that deals with teen pregnancy, depression, suicide attempts, and slut shaming would end up in the Caldecott Honor list but the drawing are amazing and makes one feel.
I have seen many reviews that make a big deal about the main character Rose being unlikeable but I also remember being unlikable at that age. I wanted to be cool and try to understand how the world worked by reading more adult books or magazines. I also thought my parents were awful in that sulky teenage way. This is Rose all over. Characters don't always have to be likable to have a story to tell. I do agree that the story doesn't seem to go anywhere but in a way it doesn't have to. There is almost a nostalgia glasses on this one and it seems that it is meant more for an adult audience. There were parts were I felt that things dragged but it is a very slow moving story where observation is the key.
I would probably recommend this one to 8th grade and above. It is a good story about growing up and learning that our heroes or crushes are not always infallible.     

Book Pairings
Tomboy by Liz Prince
El Deafo by Cece Bell
Blankets by Craig  Thompson 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer Reads

May 26: Ten Books I Plan To Have In My Beach Bag This Summer or Ten Books I Think Make Great Beach Reads

1. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Sarah Dessen gets an automatic place in my Beach Bag whenever she has a new book come out!

2. Ink and Ashes by Valynne Maetani
Gotta have a good mystery by the pool!

3.I am Princess X by Cherie Priest
A mystery with clues in a web comic! Count me in!

4. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Speaking of web comics, here is the perfect on for my bag!

5. In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang
Online gaming and avatars are just the thing for summer reads!

6.None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio
Expand your mind this Summer with a book about a girl finding out she is intersex.

7. The Girl of Midnight by Melissa Grey
A race of people who live under the streets of New York? Awesome!

8. Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George.
Like Sarah Dessen, Jessica Day George is a must read. I have to read every book when they come out!

9. Rebel Mechanics by Shana Swendson
A alternative history and a girl who becomes a spy? Must read!

10. A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin
I was begging for an ARC at TLA but was unable to get one. Guess I will have to pick it up for a Summer read!


Monday, May 25, 2015

Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea

Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret 
by Bob Shea 
56 pages
NetGalley- Disney-Hyperion 
Picture Book
May 5th 2015 

Book Jacket Summary
Ballet Cat and Sparkles the Pony are trying to decide what to play today. Nothing that Sparkles suggests--making crafts, playing checkers, and selling lemonade--goes well with the leaping, spinning, and twirling that Ballet Cat likes to do. When Sparkles's leaps, spins, and twirls seem halfhearted, Ballet Cat asks him what's wrong. Sparkles doesn't want to say. He has a secret that Ballet Cat won't want to hear. What Sparkles doesn't know is that Ballet Cat has a secret of her own, a totally secret secret. Once their secrets are shared, will their friendship end, or be stronger than ever?

My Thoughts
A lesson book that does not feel preachy? With a pink kitten and a spotted horse? Sign me up!
This book is just adorable with a message that not everyone wants to do what you want to do all the time. That one is a hard one for little kids and this book is very good about making that message clear. The pony doesn't want to dance all day and keeps suggesting other things but Ballet Cat just wants to dance. Sparkles the Pony feels that Ballet Cat will no longer be his friend if he tells her that he really doesn't want to dance. However things wrap up neatly and Ballet Cat and Sparkles are better friends than ever!
I like the bright bold colors in this book and the simplicity of the characters. Bob Shea did a wonder job with this on! I already know there is another one in the works and I cannot wait!

Book Pairings
Flora's Very Windy Day by Jeanne Birdsall 
Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker by Christianne C. Jones 
Cheetah Can't Lose by Bob Shea


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Yes Please! by Amy Poehler

Yes Please! 
by Amy Poehler  
Harper Audio
October 2014

Book Summary
Amy Poehler is hosting a dinner party and you're invited! Welcome to the audiobook edition of Amy Poehler's Yes Please. The guest list is star-studded with vocal appearances from Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Michael Schur, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner, and even Amy's parents—Yes Please is the ultimate audiobook extravaganza.

Also included? A one night only live performance at Poehler's Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Hear Amy read a chapter live in front of a young and attractive Los Angeles audience.

While listening to Yes Please, you'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll become convinced that your phone is trying to kill you. Don't miss this collection of stories, thoughts, ideas, lists, and haikus from the mind of one of our most beloved entertainers. Offering Amy's thoughts on everything from her "too safe" childhood outside of Boston to her early days in New York City, her ideas about Hollywood and "the biz," the demon that looks back at all of us in the mirror, and her joy at being told she has a "face for wigs"—Yes Please is chock-full of words, and wisdom, to live by.

My Thoughts
Amy Poehler is hilarious and I have always loved her on SNL and Parks and Rec. I have been wanting to read her book for a few months but then I saw she narrated her audiobook and decided that I had to listen to it. Now it is hit or miss when an author reads their own book but I am glad to say that Amy was amazing. It was more like having a conversation with a close friend and having them tell you an extended story of their life. Amy Poehler is nothing if not interesting and this audiobook made me respect her even more.  
It was a bit haphazard but it all connected in the end. Plus this is an adult book with cussing and frank talk about sex. I laughed out loud several times but tried to keep it quiet because I listened to it at work. You might want to listen to it on a road trip because it will keep you entertain throughout. There are several guest appearances with Patrick Stewart reading haikus and Kathleen Turner reading the chapter titles but I especially love Seth Myers chapter on his love for Amy Poehler. You can tell they have a special relationship and it is cute how many times she mentions him in the book.
This was a great book and I feel like I learned a bot more about inprov and the way SNL works behind the scenes. Go ahead and listen to this one and have a laugh!

Book Pairings
Bossy Pants by Tina Fey
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Monday, May 4, 2015

Vader's Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown

Vader's Little Princess 
by Jeffrey Brown 
64 pages
Kindle Book
Chronicle Books 
April 23rd 2013

Book Jacket Summary
In this irresistibly funny follow-up to the breakout bestseller Darth Vader and Son, Vader--Sith Lord and leader of the Galactic Empire--now faces the trials, joys, and mood swings of raising his daughter Leia as she grows from a sweet little girl into a rebellious teenager.

Smart and funny illustrations by artist Jeffrey Brown give classic Star Wars moments a twist by bringing these iconic family relations together under one roof. From tea parties to teaching Leia how to fly a TIE fighter, regulating the time she spends talking with friends via R2-D2's hologram, and making sure Leia doesn't leave the house wearing only a skirted metal bikini, Vader's parenting skills are put hilariously to the test.

My Thoughts
Vader's Little Princess is a hoot! I figured what better way to celebrate May 4th than to review a Star Wars book. Well, graphic novel. This is a funny look into the life of Darth Vader if he ended up raising Luke and Leia in the Imperial Army. It is strange thinking of Darth Vader as a loving father and he comes of quite awkward but that is the charm. It was nice to see Leia explored as a child and seeing her go through different childhood stages. The funniest is asking him for a school essay about what he actually does. Several lines are used out of context to form a pun or sill moment. I do like that Leia isn't "princessy" in the strict sense but instead a rough and tumble kid of girl. This is more in following with the movies where she has no qualms getting involved. Thank you for that. Although she does has boyfriend problems with Han but who didn't as a teenager.  
I would not recommend this one for kids even though it looks more like a picture book than a graphic novel. It more for the adult demographic or teens who love the series and want to see a parody AU (alternate universe). The concept it quite clever and Jeffrey Brown has found a niche in the Star Wars genre that has not been thoroughly explored. I want to check out his Jedi Academy series next and see if it is as good in a longer format. 

Book Pairings
Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by

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