Friday, September 28, 2012

The Town Mouse & the Country Mouse

by Helen Ward
Helen Ward sets her retelling of the Town Mouse and the Country Mouse in 1930s New York City during Christmas. While this is an interesting variation, it is Helen's illustrations that make the book a masterpiece. Exquisite details, interesting mouse-eye views, and vibrant colors can be found on every page. These breath-taking illustrations make Helen Ward's retelling worthy of any child's library.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fun fairytale twist

Goldilocks & Just One Bear by Leigh Hodgkinson
In this fun, fresh twist on Goldilocks, Little Bear, now grown, finds himself in the Big City. Escaping the bustle and noise, Little Bear finds his way into an apartment where he tries to find something just right to eat and a comfy place to sleep. When he wakes up, the golden-haired family has returned-- and one of them looks familiar... Leigh Hodgkinson's picture book is an absolute delight perfect for storytimes.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Stunning illustrations

Land of Neverbelieve by Norman Messenger
Norman Messenger introduces readers to the stunning flora and fauna of Neverbelieve in his fantastical atlas. Exquisitely detailed illustrations, diagrams, and maps invite readers to take a trip to another world. This stunning book for imaginative readers is sure to be poured over by lovers of the fantastic and may inspire readers to use the guide for their own pretend adventures.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Adorable dog picturebook

Charley's First Night by Amy Hest, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Charley is Henry's new puppy and on his first day home, Henry shows Charley every room in the house. Henry's parents also lay down the rules of when and where Charley will be walked and fed and go to sleep. But on Charley's first night, sleeping alone in the kitchen may be too difficult and Henry will have to help him through his first night. Amy Hest and Helen Oxenbury are the perfect pair for this sweet story.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Splendors & Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz
Clara's four siblings died when she was little and their deaths still consume her family's house. Cassandra holds a powerful stone containing a magic fire that consumes her. Clara and Cassandra are drawn together by Grisini, whose skill at manipulating puppet strings carries over into manipulating people. Grisini's apprentices, Parsefall and Lizzie Rose, are pulled into the dark web as well, and the three children must find a way of manipulating their own strings before they find themselves completely tied up. Newbery Medal-winning Laura Amy Schlitz has crafted an intricate tale that will keep readers frantically turning pages as they try to discover what splendors and glooms await each character.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dark & Hysterical

Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs by J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen, illustrated by Jeffery Stewart Timmins
Looking for a dark, grim, and absolutely hilarious book? Look no further! J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen have written a series of posthumous poems, each commemorating the demise of a different animal. Dark, detailed illustrations by Jeffery Stewart Timmins show moments before, during, or after each unpleasant death, sometimes combining elements from different poems into one fantastically funny illustration. Last Laughs is simply fabulous. Read one epitaph and you'll be hooked.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Little Tug

by Stephen Savage
This fall, Little Tug will join the ranks of beloved vehicular characters like Thomas the Tank Engine, the Little Engine That Could, and Otis the Tractor. Stephen Savage follows up Where's Walrus with a certain classic. Little Tug may not be the biggest, the fastest, or the tallest, but when other boats need assistance, Little Tug is there to help. Stephen's bold shapes and a limited palettes are reminiscent of art deco travel posters, each illustration worthy of hanging on a child's wall. Now, can Little Tug please have his own series?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

In a Glass Grimmly by Adam Gidwitz
Bloody, tragic, and dark...fairy tales shouldn't be bedtime stories. As with A Tale Dark & Grimm, Adam Gidwitz has borrowed from numerous fairy tales, threading the dark and dangerous aspects together to form a brand new story. Jack and Jill are cousins and while they do go up a hill, they also climb a magic beanstalk and hang out with a talking frog. With a snarky narrator and a fairytale moral, In a Glass Grimmly is sure to entice reluctant readers and thrill those who know their fairy tales.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Stellar Stempunk

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
Sophronia would much rather take apart mechanicals and spy on guests from the dumbwaiter than be a proper lady. Despairing, her mother sends her off to Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. But Mademoiselle Geraldine's is not an ordinary finishing school. Oh, there are etiquette lessons (from a vampire) but there's another sort finishing, too-- one that involves espionage. As would be expected at a school for espionage, there's more going on than meets the eye. Sophronia finds herself in the thick of things and it'll take her friends and her skills to find answers. Etiquette & Espionage is Steampunk at its best and an absolute delight from beginning to end. 

My roommate (an indie bookseller) and I agree that this book is more fun than the Parasol Protectorate. It's as if Gail has allowed herself to have a little more fun and freedom in writing for YA audiences. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

New YA Series from Juliet Marillier

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier
Neryn is alone in a country ruled by a king who has outlawed gifted individuals. Anything seeming magical or fey is outlawed, and those possessing such gifts are killed. Neryn can see the Good Folk, talk to them, and they'll even come to her aid. Starving and alone, with soldiers out to capture her, Neryn sets out for Shadowfell, a place that supposedly hides rebels and would welcome her and her gift. But getting to Shadowfell is no easy task. The Good Folk are testing her and a mysterious man is following her and she's not sure who means her harm and who's helping. Juliet Marillier is a masterful fantasy writer whose books mix folktales, courage, and romance; the result is captivating. That being said, I think this is not as strong as many of her adult books. The concept is wonderful, but the plot lags in the middle.