Saturday, May 21, 2011

From the creator of Hugo Cabret....

comes pure and utter brilliance.
by Brian Selznick
Scholastic, September 13, 2011 (Pre-order from your favorite indie. Really, these will fly.)

Selznick expertly weaves together two stories, one told in pictures, and other in words. Ben's textual story begins in 1977, in Minnesota. An orphan living with his relatives, Ben collects interesting objects in a special box and dreams of wolves. Rose lives in New Jersey in 1927. She collects articles about actress Lillian Mayhew and crafts paper buildings. Lillian is deaf and takes joy in silent films, Ben is deaf in one ear and teased by his cousin.

Right from the beginning there are connections between the two. A drawing of a lightning bolt strikes through both stories, hitting Ben's textual story and Rose's visual one. A sign proclaiming "New York" breaks in as both characters, decades apart, enter the overwhelming city, both deaf it to its sounds, but not its striking visuals and pushing people. Selznick continually draws Rose and Ben together, their lives overlapping and passing--separated only by time. And then, at the height of Ben's adventure, he breaks from the written narrative into the drawn one in a stunning portrait, and the stories finally merge.

Like Rose and Ben, readers are pulled into a purely visual world, a story created exclusively through written and drawn imagery. Selznick's detailed illustrations possess secrets, references, and odes to visual and Deaf culture. Wonderstruck is not a book that should simply be read, rather poured over, considered, discussed, and shared.

A true masterpiece that will have readers, jumping, crying, signing, cheering, and writing, in an attempt to express the wonder that has stuck them.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Summer Board Books

Hello, Friends! Puddle Jumping & Let’s Play House by Emma Quay and Anna Walker
This new four book series stars Panda, Owl, and Sheep as they go puddle jumping, play house, eat icecream, and go to sleep. The three friends are each different, but they all love one another and their sweet adventures are the perfect length for a board book.

SWING! Like a Monkey & WIGGLE! Like an Octopus
by Harriet Ziefert & Simms Taback
Learn some animals and some verbs with these brightly colored books. Simms Taback is the master of board books and his two newest will have little ones scurrying and prancing while you read.

At the Beach
by Salina Yoon
Shovels, pails, umbrellas...all sorts of objects a baby at the beach should have words for are included in this book. Each page includes a cut-out, so with a page turn a ball becomes a pail or an umbrella becomes a fish. A bright, bold, boardbook with fun, sparkly pieces on each page.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Time to read again

The semester is done and I finally have time to dig into the cascading piles of books again. Here are a few quick blurbs to tide you over....

Ladder to the Moon
by Maya Soetoro-Ng, illustrated by Yuyi Morales
One night Suhaila’s grandmother Annie appears on a golden ladder outside her window. Together they take a magical journey to the moon where Suhaila learns about people around the world. Annie and Suhaila give help to those in need, and love to all they see. Yuyi Morales’ rich illustrations bring life to this meaningful tale.

Marty McGuire
by Kate Messner, illustrated by Brian Floca
Marty Maguire is a spunky heroine who would much rather play Jane Goodall, explorer, than dancing princesses. When Marty is cast as the princess in her class play, she know there must be a mistake. But frogs, princess gowns, good friends, and improvisation come together in surprising ways and maybe Marty can be an intrepid explorer and a princess after all.

Patrick in A Teddy Bear’s Picnic & other stories
By Geoffrey Hayes
Toon Books are leveled beginning readers that use a comic book format. Comics, like true picturebooks, rely on both words and pictures in tandem to tell a story, allowing strength in one to foster comprehension in the other. Beginning readers will bond with Patrick, a little bear who knows that life is much too interesting for naps. Patrick’s adventures, run-ins with the frightening Big Bear, and family life are similar to the experiences of many children, yet hold many delightfully silly moments. Geoffrey Hayes packs Patrick with four stories- call the last three a sweet reward for making it all the way through the first one!

Horton Halfpott or the Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor
by Tom Angleburger
Written by the author of The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, this new mystery is certain to bring laughs. Smugwick Manor is in an uproar when M’Lady Luggertuck decides to change her morning routine. Then the priceless Lump jewel goes missing- along with M’Lady Luggertuck’s best wig– pirates are sighted in the neighborhood, and a most ridiculous detective comes to town. It’s up to Horton Halfpott, the insignificant kitchen boy, to discover the truth when no one else can in this zany mystery.

World Without Fish
by Mark Kurlansky
illustrated by Frank Stockton
History, science and comics combine to give a glimpse of what the world might be like without fish, and the startling impact it would have on other organisms including ourselves. With suggestions and projections, World Without Fish is a startling look into the oceans and how they connect to our lives. Ages 10+.

Don't forget my favorite book for the summer, out May 24th...

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
What happens when Teen Dream beauty queens, corrupt dictators, a powerful corporation, and sexy pirates all end up on a so-called deserted island? A hysterical adventure filled with romance, survival stories, product placement, and pitch-perfect satire. A brilliant summer read perfect for book groups.