Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kel Gilligan's Daredevil Stunt Show

by Michael Buckley, illustrated by Dan Santat
Young Kel Gilligan is out to show the world that he can overcome terrifying obstacles like trying new foods, using the potty, and -horror of horrors- taking a bath. Kel Gilligan is not afraid of anything! Except, maybe, that monster under the bed... Dan Santat's illustrations capture the astonishment of Kel's family while posing Kel in dynamic superhero poses. A laugh out loud book for anyone who's had to face the obstacles of childhood, Kel Gilligan will have the whole family gearing up for their own daredevil stunts- like waiting very patiently for your turn to read this book!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Baseball in Japan & the US: a picturebook comparison

Take Me Out to the Yakyu by Aaron Meshon
Simon & Schuster, February 19, 2013
Baseball is often called the great American pastime, but it's also popular in Japan. In Take Me Out to the Yakyu, Aaron Meshon looks at the similarities and differences between baseball games in the United States and Japan. The games are presented in parallel narratives, the child narrator introducing young readers to a handful of Japanese words as well as making a cultural comparison. Aaron Meshon's illustration style combines the the quirky gouache work of Giselle Potter with (the currently popular) 50s and 60s retro, plus a touch of Japanese cute. For those interested in more information, backmatter includes a glossary and additional facts. As someone who's not a baseball fan, I was amazed at how much I enjoyed this book. Young baseball enthusiasts will gobble it up.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Metafictive picturebook

Again! by Emily Gravett
Simon & Schuster, April 23, 2013
There's a hole burned in the back of this book, but you have to read to find out why. A little dragon wants his favorite book read again and again and again before bed. His parent, of course, falls asleep before the book has been read enough times. So little dragon, turning red with anger, lets loose...causing a little damage to his favorite book (and yours). Emily Gravett has created a dynamic picturebook in which the characters break from the page. Again! is sure to have young readers calling "read it again!"

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Could win the Caldecott...

Bluebird by Bob Staake
Schwartz & Wade, Random House, April 9, 2013

In Bluebird, Bob Staake tells a story of loss, friendship, pain, and beauty. A young boy befriends a bluebird. They find ways to experience the world together until the unthinkable happens. Using a very limited palette of greys, white, and blues, Staake captures a range of emotions, from friendship to pain, to the release of flight.Bluebird is a moving wordless picture book that proves sometimes, words only get in the way of a good story.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lucy Knisley!!!

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley
First Second, April 2, 2013
I've been following Lucy Knisley's blog for years and was excited when she mentioned she was working on a graphic novel for First Second. Finally, it's here! Raised by a caterer and a gourmand, food has always been important to Lucy Knisley. In Relish, Lucy examines moments of her life in which food played an important role. From discovering foie gras to working at a cheese counter to helping her mom at farmer's markets, each stage of her life is defined by food. Included are a series of illustrated recipes, which are necessary to have on hand as you are certain to become ravenous while reading. Relish is a delectable graphic memoir for anyone who enjoys food- whether that be fine cheeses or doughnuts. 

I've been following Lucy's blog since college and love her work. Can't wait for the event at Oblong Books! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Wintery Gem

Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed, illustrated by Barbara McClintock
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, November 6, 2012
As someone who anticipates a first snow, I reveled in Obed's descriptions of ice. While some grumble about the cold, others wait for their breath to become frosty, for the air to feel silver with ice and cold. Obed captures this feeling, distilling the essence of winter into poetic prose. She traces winter by marking each type of ice that occurs, and the fun one can have on it. Every sentence begs to be read aloud and Barbara McClintock's accompanying illustrations are exquisite. Twelve Kinds of Ice is a wintertime gem perfect for slipping into a mittened hand, curling up with beside a fire, or tucking into a stocking.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Just what is a Stardine?

Stardines Swim High Across the Sky and Other Poems 
by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Carin Berger
Greenwillow, HarperCollins, February 2013
Have you heard of a Tattlesnake or a Braindeer? How about a Magpipe? In Stardines, poet Jack Prelutsky introduces readers to sixteen strange creatures, writing a poem about each. Berger's collage illustrations accompany each poem, displaying Prelutsky's creatures in scenes inspired by the work of Joseph Cornell.  Absurd, creative, and funny, Prelutsky's poems will spark imaginations.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Kevin Henkes' Penny Series

Penny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes
Greenwillow, HarperCollins, February 2013
Penny, of Penny and Her Song and Penny and Her Doll, is back! This time, Penny ventures down the block where she finds a beautiful blue marble lying on Mrs. Goodwin's lawn. Penny takes the marble, but as the day goes on, Penny begins to worry that Mrs. Goodwin might miss it. Is the marble Penny's, or Mrs. Goodwin's? Penny's worry consumes her, until she decides to take action. Yet again Kevin Henkes has crafted a beautiful book that explores a very real problem faced by young readers.

Friday, October 12, 2012

New from Neil Gaiman

Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Adam Rex
Little Panda Chu has legendary sneezes, and his parents worry about the smell of books, pepper, and other things that might make Chu ah-choo. But what happens when Chu finally does sneeze? Neil Gaiman has written a hilarious story for young readers, vibrantly illustrated by Adam Rex.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Terry Pratchett

Dodger by Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett weaves together mystery, fantasy, and history into a dark and humorous novel set in an alternative Victorian London. This rags to riches story features Dodger, a tosher who makes his living finding things in the sewers. Out one night, Dodger hears men beating a young woman and intervenes, rescuing her. The act will change his life forever and is the first in a series of events that bring Dodger to the attention of a Mr. Charles Dickens, newspaper man. Mr. Dickens is one of many borrowed characters to appear in Dodger, and I found myself greeting each one with delight. Readers intimidated by Pratchett's Discworld novels may find Dodger is the perfect introduction to Pratchett's many books.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Lunar Chronicles, Book 2

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Macmillan, February 5, 2013
The sequel to the best-selling Cinder, Scarlet finds Cinder trying to escape the Commonwealth's prison. Meanwhile, in France, Scarlet is searching for her grandmother, who recently disappeared. Scarlet (who always wears a red hoodie) runs into Wolf, a street fighter who may have information about her grandmother. Intent on rescuing her grandmother, Scarlet travels to Paris with Wolf and romance blossoms along the way. Cinder and Scarlet's stories gradually weave together as the stakes continue to rise.  Together, Cinder and Scarlet will have to work to thwart the Lunar Queen Levana, who is more devious than they thought, in order to save the Earth and Emperor Kai. Those who loved Cinder will devour Scarlet and howl for more. 

*My fantastic Macmillan rep, Bob, ran this ARC over to me the day he received it-- and he wasn't even back from vacation until the following day. I finished the book a few days later (this was back in July). But it just goes to show how amazing publisher reps can be.

Friday, October 5, 2012


Sailor Twain or The Mermaid in the Hudson by Mark Siegel
First Second, Macmillan
Siegal has an incredible ability to combine realistic drawings with stylized characters, yet make them feel of the same world. Twain captains the riverboat Lorelei, owned by the Frenchman Lafayette, who never leaves the boat. Lafayette's brother went missing not long ago and ever since Lafayette has been pursuing women and corresponding with the author of "Secrets and Mysteries of the River Hudson." Lafayette's particular interest is mermaids. When Twain finds a wounded mermaid, he doesn't know whom to trust, or who's already involved. The story shifts between past and present, mythology mixing with life on a riverboat. Siegal crafts a complex story with twists, turns and revelations you won't see coming. The result is nothing short of a masterpiece.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Madeline Parody

Frankenstein: A Monstrous Parody by Ludworst Bemonster
There's been a host of children's book parodies in the past few years, but Frankenstein is sure to make you laugh. A play on Madeline, Rick Walton has mirrored the form of both text and story while illustrator Nathan Hale captures the feel of Bemelman's classic illustrations, even limiting the palette of some illustrations to black, white, and Halloween orange. Frankenstein is for kids or adults, but especially those for whom Madeline is a favorite.Try pairing it with the classic for a kooky Halloween story time.

Monday, October 1, 2012

TOON Books + Frank Vivia = swooning illustrators

A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse by Frank Viva
Frank Viva's first children's book, Along a Long Road, was one of the New York Times Ten Best Illustrated Books of 2011. In Frank's new book, a boy and a mouse take a boat to Antarctica. Readers will be swept up by the sights they see and the adventures they have. Frank's limited palette and graphic style will entice both young readers and design enthusiasts. Though A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse is a Toon beginning reader, don't let that stop you from sharing it with picture book audiences!