Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Algonquin Young Readers: Somebody Up There Hates You

Somebody Up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon 
Richard Casey is in hospice, in a place people only go when they're going to die. Down the hall is Sylvie, another teen whose bulletin board shows her in her pre-sickness life, beautiful, surrounded by friends...completely different from Richard, pre-sickness. Sylvia is still beautiful in Richard's eyes and romance blossoms. But how can two sick teens, overseen by nurses and families 24-7, ever really be together? Well, with death literally next door, drastic measures can't hurt. Throw in a crazy uncle and already bereft parents for the full range of drama and comedy. Though Richard knows he's going to die, he's going to do a bit of living first. This debut novel made me laugh and cry. Readers who enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars should pick this up. While the premise may be similar, Richard's voice is engaging and wholly original.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Make way for the third Invisible Inkling book!


Invisible Inkling: The Whoopie Pie War by Emily Jenkins Illustrations by Harry Bliss
Hank and his invisible bandapat, Inkling, are back in their third adventure. Hank's mother is forcing him to take swim lessons, which is hard when you're the oldest kid in the most basic level. Meanwhile, Hank's dad is trying (and continually failing) to make pumpkin ice cream in an attempt to win back business stolen by a whoopie pie truck. Luckily, Hank has Inkling to help and just maybe a friend or two. Emily Jenkins writes honestly about the trials of being a fourth grader, adding a sprinkling of humor to the top. Even if you've never read an Invisible Inkling book, pick this up! Oh, and maybe an ice cream cone (with sprinkles) to enjoy it with.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Another great graphic novel from First Second!

Battling Boy by Paul Pope
Humanity is plagued by monsters. Some snatch children and others eat metal. When the hero Haggard West dies trying to fight the monsters, the hero world on high sends down Battling Boy for his rambling (test), giving him only a place to stay and twelve t-shirts, each with a different trait. Battling Boy may be superhuman, but he's still just a kid. Quickly paced, readers will be pulled into the story only to linger over Pope's stunning drawings and original monsters. While I've already started to reread, the sequel can't come soon enough.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

This Fall: A New Graphic Novel from Matt Phelan

Bluffton: My Summers with Buster by Matt Phelan
As with his two previous books, Phelan bases Bluffton on actual events. In this case, the childhood summers of actor, filmmaker, and comedian Buster Keaton. Keaton and his family summered by a lake in Michigan, where he and his fellow vaudevillians pulled pranks, told rousing stories, and played lots of baseball. Through the eyes of Henry, a normal turn-of-the-century boy, readers are introduced to Buster's early life and the magic of summers in which the circus came right to one's door. Phelan's sprightly line and fluid watercolor captures the exuberant movements of his characters and the glowing light of summer. Those who enjoy Phelan's past work or historical fiction and teachers shifting to the Common Core will want to snag a copy! 

*Unfortunatelythe digital review copy was in black and white and the final print version will be in full-color. I'll have to pick up a copy when it pubs! 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

I procrastinated by reading Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl...

 * And yes, the cover is illustrated by the creator of "Nimona," Noelle Stevenson. If you don't know Nimona, go check it out!
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Cather's completely different from her twin sister Wren. While Wren parties and tries new things at college, Cather doesn't want to leave her dorm room and her comfort zone. Besides, she needs to stay in and write the latest chapter of her Simon Snow (think Harry Potter) Fanfic as thousands of fans are waiting for her post. But Cather's upperclassman roommate and her ex-boyfriend both fall for Cather's nerdy quiet, pushing her to try something (anything) new. Meanwhile, Wren's lifestyle is catching up with her, Cather's mother, who's been absent 10 years, is trying to establish contact and her dad isn't adjusting to an empty nest. With empathy and balance Rainbow Rowell writes of the realistic problems, revelations, and sweet moments of a college freshman in a novel that will hook anyone who grew up with Harry Potter mid-night release parties.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Remember Nursery Rhyme Comics?

Fairy Tale Comics edited by Chris Duffy
From familiar tales with a new twist to old tales you've never discovered, Fairy Tale Comics gathers new interpretations of fairy tales from around the world. The list of contributors is studded with stars from both adult and children's comics. Highlights include Luke Pearson's “The Boy Who Drew Cats,” and Jillian Tamaki's “Baba Yaga.” I also love the palette of Emily Carroll's "Twelve Dancing Princesses"! Editor Chis Duffy has done a magnificent job of selecting illustrators with a range of styles, making each new story a delightfully fresh surprise. Pick this up to read the illustrator you love, and stay to discover someone new. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Fabulous Illustrated Book for All Ages

Mouse Bird Snake Wolf by David Almond and Dave McKean
In a new world a bit like ours lives Ben, Harry, and Sue. One day, while they're playing, they look into themselves and find new, interesting animals. Using sticks and grass and clay, they make their creatures and give them life, much as the gods do above them. A small mouse, a beautiful bird, and a slithering snake have now come to the world. But instead of stopping to rest like the gods, Harry and Sue find within themselves a large, hairy, wolfish thing. A growling, howling, wolfy wolf. Despite Ben's protestations, they make it and as soon a it's begun to run and howl, they are gobbled up. 

Almond's story feels like a classic creation tale, with all the light and darkness, innocence and experience you might expect. The tale is timeless and McKean's illustrations capture the full range and scope of the story. A dark and timeless tale at once cautionary and inspiring. Perfect for recent graduates of all ages!

If you're a bookseller, put this on your graduation table!