Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer

Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer. Illustrated by Douglas Holgate. 240 p. Feiwel and Friends, January 31, 2017. 9781250078261.

Goodreads synopsis: In her first graphic novel, bestselling author Marissa Meyer extends the world of the Lunar Chronicles with a brand-new, action-packed story about Iko, the android with a heart of (mechanized) gold. When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers' leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the bestselling series.

My students and I are great fans of The Lunar Chronicles. Personally, I adore Iko and am so happy for this spin-off. A 240 page graphic novel? Wow! I am sure fans won't bat an eye; but that sure seems long for a gn.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

What's New? Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Hop on over there to ogle what other bloggers got this week.


Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.  Anniversary Edition. 304 p. Random House Children's Books, May, 2016. 9780399551239.

Publisher synopsis: This classic about a ten-year-old boy growing up in the Ozark mountains with his inseparable pair of coonhounds — will warm the hearts of young and old alike. Winner of the Great Stone Face Award.

This is one of my favorites and I'm donating it to my school library because our edition is an old, tatty, unattractive hard cover paperback with yellowed pages. I bought one for my home library as well. 

Heartless by Marissa Meyer. Unabridged audiobook on 12 compact discs. 14.5 hours. Read by Rebecca Soler.  A Macmillan Audiobook, November, 2016. 9781427267948.

Publisher synopsis: Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.
Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

In Heartless, Marissa Meyer's stand-alone novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. 

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. Six of Crows book 2. Unabridged audiobook on 2 MP3 CDs. 17 hours, 59 minutes. Read by Brandon Rubin, Jay Snyder, Elizabeth Evans, Fred Berman, Peter Ganim, Lauren Fortgang, Roger Clark, & Kevin T. Collings. Brilliance Audio, November, 2016. 9781491589267.

Publisher synopsis: The highly anticipated sequel to the thrilling #1 New York Times-bestselling Six of Crows.

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets—a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

That's what's new with me. What's new with you?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Review: Nightmare Escape by Greg Grunberg

Nightmare Escape by Greg Grunberg. Book one of the Dream Jumper series. Illustrated by Lucas Turnbloom. Color by Guy Major. Graphix/ Scholastic Inc.,June, 2016. 9780545826044. (Review courtesy of finished copy provided by the publisher.)

Ten-year-old Ben hasn't been getting much sleep lately. Nearly every night, he finds himself not only having his own terrifying nightmares, but jumping into the nightmares of friends and acquaintances as well. It is only when he becomes totally exhausted that he agrees to visit a sleep clinic with his concerned single-parent mom. 

There, he discovers the aptly named, Ward Z, filled with people stuck in REM sleep and unable to awaken. He finds his friends and some old guy who looks vaguely familiar. Ben's vivid dream quickly turns into a nightmare during his own sleep test. He encounters frightening monsters who attack him and has to rescue the very friends who are stuck in Ward Z. He also meets a rabbit who looks vaguely familiar. 

This parallel universe is rife with evil and good people with the power to keep the evil at bay are far and few between. Ben discovers that he has a rare power - the ability to dream jump and might be the key to defeating this evil. 

This debut was an fast-paced, engaging middle-grade-friendly graphic novel. It is book one of a series. While it does not end in a cliffhanger, there is enough unfinished business to keep the reader interested in the next book. 

The art is gorgeous with crisp, clear, uncluttered panels. The color is intense. Ben is a winning main character. There's an interesting and diverse crew of supporting characters as well as humor, action and adventure. All-in-all, a great addition to the middle grade graphic novel section.

Waiting on Wednesday: Cyclone by Doreen Cronin

 I learned about this courtesy of Travis Jonker @ 100 Scope Notes last week.

Cyclone by Doreen Cronin. 256 p. Atheneum/ Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, May 16, 2017. 9781481435253.

Publisher synopsis: Nora’s whole world plummets faster than the Cyclone roller coaster when her cousin Riley falls into a coma that Nora thinks is her fault in this warm, big-hearted debut middle grade novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Doreen Cronin.

The F-bomb. That’s the last thing that Nora hears her cousin Riley say before she falls to the ground in front of the Coney Island roller coaster, Cyclone. Nora had begged and dragged Riley onto the ride, and no matter what the doctors say, that Riley was diabetic, that it could have happened at any time, Nora knows it was her fault. And as Riley comes out of her coma, she’s not really Riley at all. The cousin who used to be loud and funny and unafraid now can’t talk, let alone go to the bathroom by herself. No, she’s only 10% Riley. Nora, guilt gnawing at her, thinks she knows how to help, how to get Riley back to her 100% self. But what Nora doesn’t realize is that the guilt will only get worse as Riley’s recovery progresses and she starts to remember the very thing that Nora feels so guilty about.

I just adore Cronin's work. Her picture book, Diary of a Worm is just a hoot. So are the books featuring Farmer Brown's rambunctious livestock.Then there's the J.J. Tully series beginning with The Trouble with Chickens. And now, she's moving up to middle grade fiction with Cyclone.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Gratitude

The theme over at Broke and Bookish is gratitude. I decided to write about the gratitude I feel for all things children's literature.

1. I love my job. It's the best job in the world. I love working with children and helping them discover their next favorite book.

2. I work with the best, most brilliant and creative colleagues.

3. I love reviewing for School Library Journal. My editors are so helpful and supportive. I've been reviewing for over four years there and I am still thrilled to see my name in print.

4. I am thankful for the publishers that I have been able to form working relationship with, who send me books to review and invite me to previews.

5. I am thankful to my husband who has been nothing but supportive from the moment I decided to pursue a masters in library science and teaching credentials at the same time I worked full time. He also doesn't mind my traveling to ALA twice a year. (He even came once when it was in Seattle and had a grand old time touring while I conventioneer.) (He's coming to Denver with me next year.)

6. Ditto for my four sons who put up with all that plus attending the school where their mom worked.

7. I am thankful for authors who write for children. The depth and breadth of children's literature is amazing. Creative, caring and approachable. 

8. I am thankful that I still enjoy posting to my blog. While my review output has significantly decreased over the years, I enjoy what I do put up and refuse to stress over it.

9. I am thankful for my professional community of bloggers and other children's lit professionals in my blog feed and social media. I learn so much from everyone.

10. I am thankful to have a large family to celebrate the holidays with. Even if they all can't be with me in person, I know they are with me in spirit.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

What's New? Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Hop on over there to ogle what other bloggers got this week.

For review: 

The Ones by Daniel Sweren-Becker. 294 p. Imprint/ Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, September, 2016. 9781250083142.

Publisher synopsis: We are not all created equal.
Seventeen-year-old Cody and her boyfriend, James, were two of the lucky ones randomly selected before birth to receive genetic engineering.

Known as the Ones, this one percent of the population is healthy, beautiful, and talented…and to some that's not fair. Mounting fear and jealousy of the Ones’ success leads to the creation of the Equality Movement, which quickly gains enough political traction to demote Cody, James, and others like them to second-class citizens.

Cody knows even before the brick smashes through her window that it's going to be bad. As their school, the government, and even family and friends turn against them, Cody begins to believe they have no other choice but to protect their own. She draws closer to a group of radical Ones led by the passionate and fevered Kai, and James begins to question just how far she is willing to go for the cause…

Themes of justice, discrimination and terrorism mix with actual science to create a frightening version of our near future in Daniel Sweren-Becker's pulse-pounding thriller.

The Goat by Ann Fleming. 168 p. Groundwood Books, March14, 2017. 9781554989164.

Publisher synopsis: When Kid accompanies her parents to New York City for a six-month stint of dog-sitting and home-schooling, she sees what looks like a tiny white cloud on top of their apartment building.

Rumor says there’s a goat living on the roof, but how can that be?


We are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson. 464 p. Simon Pulse, January, 2016. 9781481449632.

Publisher synopsis: Henry Denton has spent years being periodically abducted by aliens. Then the aliens give him an ultimatum: The world will end in 144 days, and all Henry has to do to stop it is push a big red button.
Only he isn’t sure he wants to.
After all, life hasn’t been great for Henry. His mom is a struggling waitress held together by a thin layer of cigarette smoke. His brother is a jobless dropout who just knocked someone up. His grandmother is slowly losing herself to Alzheimer’s. And Henry is still dealing with the grief of his boyfriend’s suicide last year.
Wiping the slate clean sounds like a pretty good choice to him.
But Henry is a scientist first, and facing the question thoroughly and logically, he begins to look for pros and cons: in the bully who is his perpetual one-night stand, in the best friend who betrayed him, in the brilliant and mysterious boy who walked into the wrong class. Weighing the pain and the joy that surrounds him, Henry is left with the ultimate choice: push the button and save the planet and everyone on it…or let the world—and his pain—be destroyed forever.

That's what's new with me. What's new with you?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Cover Coincidence

Cover Coincidence is the occasional post generated by a, "Where have I seen this before?" thought usually while cataloging books. This time, it was a blog post featuring The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge, which made me think of The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz. While not the most remarkable of cover coincidences, I think it counts. 

Can you think of any other covers featuring an apple?

Waiting on Wednesday: RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

RoseBlood by A.G. Howard. 432 p. Amulet Books/ Abrams, January 10, 2017. 9781419719097.

Publisher synopsis: This YA novel from New York Times bestselling author A. G. Howard marks the beginning of a new era for fans of the Splintered series. Rune Germain moves to a boarding school outside of Paris, only to discover that at this opera-house-turned-music-conservatory, phantoms really do exist. RoseBlood is a Phantom of the Opera–inspired retelling in which Rune’s biggest talent—her voice—is also her biggest curse. Fans of Daughter of Smoke and Bone and the Splintered series will find themselves captivated by this pulse-pounding spin on a classic tale.
Rune, whose voice has been compared to that of an angel, has a mysterious affliction linked to her talent that leaves her sick and drained at the end of every performance. Convinced creative direction will cure her, her mother ships her off to a French boarding school for the arts, rumored to have a haunted past.
Shortly after arriving at RoseBlood conservatory, Rune starts to believe something otherworldly is indeed afoot. The mystery boy she’s seen frequenting the graveyard beside the opera house doesn’t have any classes at the school, and vanishes almost as quickly as he appears. When Rune begins to develop a secret friendship with the elusive Thorn, who dresses in clothing straight out of the 19th century, she realizes that in his presence she feels cured. Thorn may be falling for Rune, but the phantom haunting RoseBlood wants her for a very specific and dangerous purpose. As their love continues to grow, Thorn is faced with an impossible choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or save her and face the wrath of the phantom, the only father he’s ever known.
A. G. Howard brings the romantic storytelling that Splintered fans adore to France—and an entirely new world filled with lavish romance and intrigue—in a retelling inspired by a story that has captivated generations. Fans of both the Phantom of the Opera musical and novel, as well as YA retellings such as Marissa Meyer’s Cinder, will devour RoseBlood.

I enjoyed Splintered well enough to read the sequels. While certain aspects of the main character as well as that whole love-triangle drove me bonkers, I knew that teens would love it. I enjoy reworked fairy tales and liked the idea of the reworking of Alice. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Friday Memes: Wish by Barbara O'Connor

Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader and Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.

Wish by Barbara O'Connor. 227 p. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, August, 2016. 9780374302733.

Publisher synopsis: Eleven-year-old Charlie Reese has been making the same secret wish every day since fourth grade. She even has a list of all the ways there are to make the wish, such as cutting off the pointed end of a slice of pie and wishing on it as she takes the last bite. But when she is sent to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to live with family she barely knows, it seems unlikely that her wish will ever come true. That is until she meets 
Wishbone, a skinny stray dog who captures her heart, and Howard, a neighbor boy who proves surprising in lots of ways. Suddenly Charlie is in serious danger of discovering that what she thought she wanted may not be what she needs at all.
From award-winning author Barbara O'Connor comes a middle-grade novel about a girl who, with the help of a true-blue friend, a big-hearted aunt and uncle, and the dog of her dreams, unexpectedly learns the true meaning of family in the least likely of places.

First Line: I looked down at the paper on my desk.

Page 56: When had this gap-toothed little girl turned into that sad woman in her dark bedroom in Raleigh?
     "Did y'all love each other?" I asked Bertha.
     "We sure din." Then she showed me some more photographs. Mama opening a present beside a Christmas tree. The two of them playing with a puppy in the snow. Bertha pulling Mama in a wagon on a dirt road.
     "Why don't y'all see each other anymore? I said.
     Bertha let out a big sigh and shook her head. "We grew up," she said. "When you grow up, sometimes life gets complicated."

I adore Barbara O'Connor's books. I finished this one in two big gulps and hope to review it this weekend. 

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz. 464 p. Clarion Books/ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, March 7, 2017. 9780544586506.

Publisher synopsis: Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he? 

      This humor-infused, warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging is a triumph.
I adored Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe and am so looking forward to this. The cover of this new one is evocative of the cover of Aristotle and Dante. (Check out all those medals!)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Non-Fiction Monday: The Alphabet from the Sky by Benedikt Gross & Joey Lee

The Alphabet from the Sky by Benedikt Gross & Joey Lee. 64 p. Price Stern Sloan/ Penguin Random House, September, 2016. 9781101995815. (Review from copy borrowed from public library)

Even though alphabet books are usually catalogued and shelved in the picture book section, technically, they are part of languages and should be found in the 400s. Exceptions are always made to cater to the needs of each particular library. Alphabet concept books might be more likely found by a parent or child browsing the picture book section. Personally, I lean toward cataloging them all as 400 so that a patron might see the variety and scope of choices. I happen to collect alphabet books and while my home library is not strictly ordered by the Dewey Decimal System, I have all my alphabet books together on the shelf.

I am definitely adding this one to my home library and probably to my school's.

Who isn't fascinated by aerial views? When do we really have the opportunity for bird's eye views? Even if we fly frequently, the view out of the tiny porthole window of a plane is tiny and relatively fleeting. And, except for take off and landing, really too high to identify much. 

This book is the result of a Kickstarter campaign by the co-authors, who want to map the Earth's typography. Yes. Typography. That's no typo. Not topography. What letters do roads, buildings, rivers and landforms make?

The result of Gross and Lee's inquiry is this beautiful book. Other than the introduction, there are very few words in this book. Readers are invited to "read the landscape." Each double-page spread has the words, "Find the __" in the upper left hand side of the spread and a small yellow box containing the name of each town, state and latitude and longitude over a map of the US on which the town is located. There are many towns in Florida, two in New Jersey, several from Pennsylvania, a couple from Michigan and Illinois, several from California and Wisconsin, Georgia and Texas are represented with one.

Each photograph is crisp and colorful and startling in clarity. The first entry was photographed over Lake Work, Florida. The reader is asked to find the "A." It's easy enough but one is also distracted by possibilities for other letters. Indeed, the A is part of a neighborhood in which the streets also seem to form the letters, U, F, L, E, J, Y, M, B, O, Q and N. Upon closer inspection of the photo, the neighborhoods appear to float on water!

The children you share this with might want to rush through the book in the excitement of the scavenger hunt. You should let them; but leave time and an invitation to return to each spread to linger. Build inferencing skills by asking, "What do you see?" 

Our small group of readers had trouble finding the L. They consulted the handy answer key at the end. Of course! Why hadn't they seen it? The final four pages contain a series of slightly-larger-than-thumbnail photos of additional letters. 

This book was great fun and I can see its use in a variety of ways. I would've loved a bit more information about each spot, like what actually is that Q-shaped building? Then again, what better way to spur research than a mystery? 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

What's New? Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Hop on over there to ogle what other bloggers got this week.

For review:

WooHoo! This showed up in a sparkly bubble envelop on November 1!

Double Down by Jeff Kinney. Diary of a Wimpy Kid #11. 218 p. Amulet Books/ Abrams, November 1, 2016. 9781419723445.

Publisher synopsis: The pressure’s really piling up on Greg Heffley. The only thing he’s good at is playing video games, but his mother wants him to broaden his horizons by doing something—anything!—else.

When Greg finds an old video camera in his basement, he thinks he may have discovered just the thing to prove he’s got big-time talent. With the help of his best friend, Rowley, Greg hatches a plan to make a scary movie . . . and to become rich and famous in the process.
But is doubling down on moviemaking a smart plan? Or is it just a recipe for doubling Greg’s troubles?

Does Wimpy Kid need a publisher synopsis? Really. Not only is it an automatic purchase but I usually get one to review but need to order multiple copies of each book because they are loved and loved to death. 

That's what's new with me, what's new with you?

Friday, November 4, 2016

Friday Memes: Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader and Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan. 296 p. Dial Books for Young Readers/ penguin Young Readers Group, January 31, 2017. 9780399186219.

Publisher synopsis: Julia is very short for her age, but by the end of the summer run of The Wizard of Oz, she’ll realize how big she is inside, where it counts. She hasn’t ever thought of herself as a performer, but when the wonderful director of Oz casts her as a Munchkin, she begins to see herself in a new way. As Julia becomes friendly with the poised and wise Olive—one of the adults with dwarfism who’ve joined the production’s motley crew of Munchkins—and with her deeply artistic neighbor, Mrs. Chang, Julia’s own sense of self as an artist grows. Soon, she doesn’t want to fade into the background—and it’s a good thing, because her director has more big plans for Julia!
Bubbling over with humor and tenderness, this is an irresistible story of self-discovery and of the role models who forever change us.

First Line: I spend a lot of time looking up.

Page 56: Shawn Barr has explained hat artists are observers. i don't think I'm any kind of artist, but I do like to know what's going on around me. I also listen when people are talking privately, which according to our director means I'm not a snoop; I'm a careful observer. I used to think observers were people with binoculars.

I am beyond tickled to have this arc. The author's last book, Counting by 7s is one of my absolute faves.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Picture Book Month: Barnacle is Bored by Jonathan Fenske

Barnacle is Bored by Jonathan Fenske. unpgd. Scholastic Press/ Scholastic Inc., May, 2016. 9780545865043. (Review from finished copy courtesy of publisher.)

Sometimes picture books can be sly. You think you have its number. You might even go into the book with a bit of an attitude, a kind of blasé,"Whatever, impress me." Then that book might just suck you in, turn on the charm and disarm you. Just as soon as you settle in, whoosh, out comes the chair you are sitting on or the rug you might be standing on. Tables are turned. Humor turns dark. 

The first time that happened to me was in 2005. I came upon a book called Tadpole's Promise. Luckily, I pre-read the book. (I have been known to occasionally read aloud cold.) Warily, I decided to read the book aloud to my youngest students. With class after class, there was this beat of something after the "punchline," perhaps it was surprise, perhaps dismay, perhaps confusion, followed by a variety of laughter from hearty to not-so-sure. I decided to read it all the way up to my eighth graders, who were mostly delighted with a side of shock. They didn't think a picture book could do that!

My next encounter with dark humor came with Jon Klassen's brilliant, I Want My Hat Back in 2011. Truth be told, I didn't totally appreciate it the first run through but soon became a fan. I Want My Hat Back won a Geisel Honor, a NYT Best Book Award and was an ALA Notable Book. He followed with This is Not My Hat in 2012, and nabbed a Caldecott Medal for his efforts. 2016 brings this picture book trilogy to a close with We Found a Hat

Back to our bored barnacle. Is he bored or having an existential crisis? Both maybe? Barnacle appears as a single, fleshy, tentacled blob hanging upside down under a dock. The pale blue water is calm and the dock is empty. Indeed, barnacle is quite alone as the tide comes in and makes him cold and wet; then the tide goes out and he's hot and dry. A simple change in eye-shape is oh-so expressive as insult is added to injury in the forms of rolling waves and errant seaweed. But wait, there's a new googly eye in the water along with a flash of yellow. A sunny yellow fish swims into view and barnacle is sure that guy is living the good life. He imagines all kinds of fun, diving, soaring, flipping and flopping until something dreadful happens.

Again, when I read this aloud to my fifth and sixth graders, there was that pause, that slight confusion as that sunny yellow fish disappears into the belly of an eel and barnacle decides he's not so bored after all. The rear end-pages reveal a twist in the story so don't skip them.

Kids today seem to be so easily bored. This playful book gently coaxes them to reflect. The cartoon style and colors are pleasing. The speech bubbles contain a single sentence and the large, bold, simple font is perfect for new readers. Barnacle is Bored is a fun read aloud and a great way to celebrate Picture Book Month!

Waiting on Wednesday: Felix Yz by Lisa Bunker

Felix Yz by Lisa Bunker. 304 p. Penguin Young Readers Group, June 4, 2017. 978045288504.

Publisher synopsis: When Felix Yz was three years old, a hyperintelligent fourth-dimensional being became fused inside him after one of his father’s science experiments went terribly wrong. The creature is friendly, but Felix—now thirteen—won’t be able to grow to adulthood while they’re still melded together. So a risky Procedure is planned to separate them . . . but it may end up killing them both instead. 
This book is Felix’s secret blog, a chronicle of the days leading up to the Procedure. Some days it’s business as usual—time with his close-knit family, run-ins with a bully at school, anxiety about his crush. But life becomes more out of the ordinary with the arrival of an Estonian chess Grandmaster, the revelation of family secrets, and a train-hopping journey. When it all might be over in a few days, what matters most?
Told in an unforgettable voice full of heart and humor, Felix Yz is a groundbreaking story about how we are all separate, but all connected too.

I learned about this last week when the author penned a guest post and cover reveal on The Nerdy Book Club. If this thoughtful, newsy blog about all things children's literature isn't in your feed, it should be. 

I have always been interested in diversity in my school library collection, including books with lgbtq characters. I worked in a K-8 school my first ten years as a school librarian and a 5 - 8 grade middle school for the last nine. In the early days, the available titles seemed more geared to a high school audience. Thankfully, the last five or ten years have brought us some wonderful titles such as, The Misfits by James Howe; So Hard to Say by Alex Sanchez, Five, Six, Seven, Nate! and its sequel, Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle; Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky; George by Alex Gino; Drama by Raina Telegemeier; and Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart. There's always room for more quality literature.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Picture Book Month: The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat

The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat. 64 p. Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! Series. Disney Press, September, 2016. 9781484726365. (Review from purchased copy.)

Elephant and Piggie are BACK! Sorta. Mo Willems and Disney have launched an early reader imprint and Dan Santat is the author of its inaugural title. And what fun it is.

We all know that Elephant & Piggie love to read. Here, the front end-pages feature E & P sharing the book,The Cookie Fiasco and an introductory letter to "Dear Reader" from Mo Willems. Gerald wants to read a funny book and so does Piggie. On the first four pages, Gerald worries about how 2 people can read 1 book but Piggie is pragmatic. It is not until then that the Title Page for The Cookie Fiasco appears!

Hippo bellows, "Hey guys! It's COOKIE TIME!" and the fun starts in earnest because there are 3 cookies and 4 friends. As Squirrel, Croc and Monkey discuss possible iterations of sharing out the 3 cookies, Hippo gets more and more nervous. When Hippo gets nervous, she(?) he(?) breaks things, in this case the cookies. The other friends freak out as the three friends worry the cookies will be reduced to crumbs.

The Cookie Fiasco is a recipe for rollicking read aloud fun. I had the privilege and pleasure of listening to Dan Santat and friends read this aloud in Orlando at ALA Annual.

My listeners anticipated the end-pages, where they used their eagle eyes to spot Pigeon in a trice! I look forward to reading more in this early reader series.

November is Picture Book Month!

Did you know that November is Picture Book Month? This is an International Literacy Initiative and is meant to celebrate picture books for everyone. I am not sure how long this has been celebrated. I went back to 2011 on my live journal blog and I couldn't find the answer on the FAQ page.

One of my mantras is, "never too old for picture books" and I feature my favorites throughout the year every year. I always try to feature a picture book a day in November and usually end up failing. I failed miserably last year posting a measly four picture book posts. I will try harder this year.

Taking Stock - October

Total posts this month: 18
Total books read this month: 26
Total books read this year: 314

Audio: 9/88

Debut: 0/11

The Good: Read a few more books than September.

The Bad: Reviewed only one of the books I read in a timely fashion.

The Books: *=favorite
289. Jackaby by William Ritter (10/2)*
290. The Oodlethunks: Oona Finds an Egg by Adele Griffin (10/3)
291. The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner (10/8)
292. Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older (10/8)*
293. The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (10/10)*
294. This is the House That Monsters Built by Steve Metzger (10/11)
295. Tony Baloney: Yo Ho Ho Halloween by Pam Muñoz Ryan (10/11)
296. Chee-Kee by Sujean Rim (10/12)
297. So Few of Me by Peter H. Reynolds (10/12)
298. The Best Man by Richard Peck (10/13)
299. Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to (Not) Growing Up by Tommy Greenwald (10/14)
300. The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork (10/16)
301. Bad Kitty Scaredy Cat by Nick Bruel (10/16)
302. King of the Bench: No Fear! by Steve Moore (10/17) (SLJ review)
303. Footloose by Kenny Loggins (10/19)
304. Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.k. Johnston (10/22)
305. Moo by Sharon Creech (10/23)*
306. Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet (10/23)
307. Steg-o-normous by Adele Griffin (10/26)
308. Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton (10/27)
309. What's Up, Chuck? by Leo Landry (10/28)
310. What Color is a Kiss? by (10/28) 
311. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (10/29)*
312. Luther's Halloween by Cari Meister (10/31)
313. By the Light of a Halloween Moon (10/31)
314. The Water Princess by Susan Verde (10/31)*