Sunday, July 29, 2012

A companion book to I Want My Hat Back!

This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
Candlewick, October 9th, 2012

Jon Klassen follows I Want My Hat Back with another hat tale but in this one, we hear the story from the point of view of the thief. A little fish has snatched a stylish blue bowler hat from an enormous sleeping fish. Though the little fish assures us that the big fish will not wake up, will not follow him, and will not know which way he went, the illustrations tell a different story. Humorous, smart, and with beautiful illustrations, This is Not My Hat is absolutely stellar. I wonder what hat will be stolen next-- cowboy? top hat? Baseball? I just hope it isn't mine.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Search & Find


Look! Another Book! by Bob Staake
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, December 2012

Finally! a follow up to Look! A Book! Bob Staake has created a series of zany illustrations with tons of objects for readers to search and find. From an art museum to recess to outer space, each scene is bursting with funny characters and hidden objects. Also be on the lookout for the funniest book dedication I've ever seen.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sweet Halloween Story

The Monster's Monster by Patrick McDonnell
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, September 4th, 2012

Grouch, Grump, and little Gloom 'n' Doom may think they're terrifying monsters, but it must be said that they all look a little cute. Determined to be the baddest of the bad, they build the biggest baddest monster ever, a monster whose first words are..."Dank you!" accompanied by a hug. Whatever will Grouch, Grump, and Gloom 'n' Doom do? Caldecott honor-winner Patrick McDonnell's spirited illustrations will charm readers. A great pick for your own monsters-- whether or not they're the biggest and baddest.

Saturday, July 21, 2012



Sky Color by Peter Reynolds 
Candlewick, August 28th, 2012

"Take a breath and look around you" seems to be what Peter Reynolds is telling readers. In Sky Color, the last book in his Creatrilogy (along with The Dot and Ish), Marisol must paint the sky without the color blue. A dilemma posed by many an art teacher, Marisol ultimately comes up with a solution, one arrived at by examining the world around her. Simple and inspiring, Sky Color shows readers just how much of art is perception.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

From the author/illustrator of Smile...

Drama by Raina Telgemeier 
Graphix, Scholastic, September 1st, 2012

Fuchsia-haired Callie loves theatre. She can't sing so she puts her energy into designing sets and working stage crew. But drama kids tend to create drama. This year Callie's good friend is ignoring her after she kissed his brother, there are two cute twins in town, oh, and Callie has to figure out how to create a working cannon (okay, confetti instead of flames) before the show opens. Of course, there are additional bumps along the way, but no matter what, the show must go on. With Drama, Rania has shown (yet again) her ability to write funny, dramatic, and emotionally truthful graphic novels that tap into the middle school experience; I can't wait to see what she does next.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Great gothic


The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
Scholastic, September 2012

Katharine Tulman is an orphan whose survival depends on her ability to figure accounts for her aunt. Hearing that her uncle may be squandering her cousin's inheritance, Katharine is sent to his estate to declare him insane and have him committed. But what she finds is a childlike man with a genius for creating clockwork and an entire village rescued from the poorhouses who support him. Katharine must choose between her future and that of the village, and on the estate, she's experiencing the first days of freedom she's ever known. Madness and mystery, fortunes and romance, The Dark Unwinding is the fantastic result of mixing clockwork and Jane Eyre-- steampunk fans will cry for more.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Brilliant Debut

The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann
Greenwillow Books, HarperCollins, September 2012

Bartholomew is a Peculiar, a changeling, not fairy nor human, and therefore must spend his days hidden in his mother's dirty flat. It's dangerous to be a changeling, especially since the murders began. But when his sister goes missing, Bartholomew knows she'll end up dead, too, if he doesn't do something. Mr. Jelliby lives a posh, comfortable life, with a job in government. But when he accidentally sees something he shouldn't in a fairy's house, he must go out and right a wrong. Each trying to solve the murder of the Peculiars, these two unlikely heroes (and even more unlikely friends) end up in places they never dreamed of doing things they never wished to imagine. A beautifully written debut novel, The Peculiar combines steampunk, fairies, and dark magic, creating something wholly original. Most notable is Bachman's ability to weave the tales of both a young boy and that of a middle-aged man together, and have them both be intriguing.

The fairies in this book remind me of those in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell-- a book I adore.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Teen Zombies!

Undead by Kirsty McKay
Scholastic, September 2012

Bobby just wants her school trip to be over. She's sick of the bus and the fact that she's out of place as the only American. When the bus stops for a break, everyone but Bobby and the trouble-making Smitty get off. Bobby may have thought her classmates couldn't get any worse, but when they come back with a hunger for brains, there is no mercy. Undead is a teen zombie adventure in the Scottish wilderness chock-full of action adventure and teen drama, all doused in dark humor. It's thoroughly enjoyable, especially if you love Shaun of the Dead.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Wordless picturebook

Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole
Scholastic, November

Set during the Civil War, Unspoken follows a young girl as she discovers the secrets of her family's farm. Though we never see who is hiding in the hen house, the illustrations carry the protagonist's urgency to protect and care for whomever is using this stop on the underground railroad. Henry Cole's graphite illustrations capture details and carry powerful emotions. Though wordless, Henry has included an author's note at the end that tells his story and encourages readers to "write the words and make this story your own-- filling in all that has been unspoken." A wordless masterpiece on the underground railroad, Unspoken will appeal to those who pour over Brian Selznick's work.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Literary chocolate bar

The Lynburn Legacy #1: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Random House, September 11th, 2012

This is the most enjoyable young adult novel I've read (thus far) this year. Kami Glass has always had a best friend whom no one has ever met-- she hears his voice in her head. She hides it well enough until he actually shows up, and it turns out they have more of a connection than simple communication. But this boy is a member of the Lynburn family who has protected the people of Sorry-in-the-Wale for centuries while also requiring certain sacrifices. When bodies start showing up and mysterious attempts are made on Kami's life, she decides to investigate with the aid of two lovestruck Lynburn boys, her sarcastic best friend, and the school's residence bombshell. With a stellar cast and a bold and witty heroine, Sarah Rees Brennan will win your heart from the first page. The perfect combination of dark and funny, I couldn't put Unspoken down. When can I have the sequel?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Realistic coming of age novel

Fish in the Sky by Fridrik Erlings
Candlewick, September 11th, 2012

When Josh turns thirteen, his father sends him a stuffed falcon. Besides his aunt's pear tart, it is the only good thing that happens. His seventeen-year-old female cousin moves into the storage room connected to his room, he thinks he's in love, his best friend seems babyish, and his body begins changing-- making school unbearable. So Josh stops going to school. He wanders, trying to figure out who this terrible person is that he's becoming. Erling portrays Josh's emotions with brutal honestly, capturing the confusion of becoming a teen with realistic detail. Young teens will see a reflection of themselves in Josh while their parents (who should be required to read the book) will be reminded of the difficulties of coming-of-age.