Books for Younguns, Young Adults and the Young-at-Heart

Monday, August 26, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Book Journey with a children's/YA version at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

I did it.  I finished The Last Dragonslayer, the first book in the Chronicles of Kazam by Jasper Fforde for Middle Grade Mania.  Despite being included in Middle Grade Mania, I would classify this on the young end of YA.  It has an awesomely unique fantasy world, a great sense of humor, really colorful and memorable characters and no romance, which is refreshing.  The plot stayed fresh throughout, despite some moments where I thought I was being set up for disappointment.  (I was wrong.)

This week I'll be starting on The Song of the Quarkbeast, the second book in the series.

What are you reading?

Monday, August 19, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Book Journey with a children's/YA version at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

So it turns out when I'm deep in rehearsal for a show, I'm terrible at reading.  Something about already being immersed in another world and having no free time, I'm sure.  Anyway, I got a bit deeper into The Last Dragonslayer, the first book in the Chronicles of Kazam by Jasper Fforde for the upcoming Middle Grade Mania event.  I'm really enjoying it.  The world is very unique; a take on fantasy I haven't quite seen before.  I love the characters and I'm really looking forward to seeing how everything plays out.

This week I hope to finish The Last Dragonslayer and move on to the sequel, The Song of the Quarkbeast.

What are you reading?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Event Preview: You Are My Little Pumpkin Pie with Amy E. Sklansky


Join us at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 24, 2013, at Left Bank Books--Downtown for a special Storytime when St. Louis author Amy E. Sklansky will read her newest book, You Are My Little Pumpkin Pie (illustrated by Talitha Shipman, who will not be present).  There will even be real pumpkin pie!

Every baby deserves to feel special and loved.  This book highlights the delight parents take in their children, making every moment with them one to remember.  This read-aloud gives lots of opportunities for cuddles and kisses!

Copies of Amy's books (which also include My Daddy and Me (illustrated by Ard Hoyt), You Are My Little Cupcake (illustrated by Talitha Shipman), Out of This World: Poems and Facts About Space (illustrated by Stacey Schuett) and Where Do Chicks Come From? (illustrated by Pam Paparone)) will be available for purchase and signing.  If you can't make it to the event, call Left Bank Books at 314-367-6731, ext. 2, to order signed, personalized copies.

Monday, August 12, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Book Journey with a children's/YA version at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

Last week I finished A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, inspired by an idea from Soibhan Dowd, illustrated by Jim Kay for Ness's upcoming author event.  This is a lovely parable that will probably resonate with lots of people.  It's heartbreaking and beautiful, especially when paired with the total book design of Kay.

Next I read The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett, the fourth Origami Yoda book by Tom Angleberger.  If you liked the previous books, you'll enjoy this one as well.  I'm continually surprised by how deep these books go and the issues addressed.  They are definitely more than immediately meets the eye.

Finally, I started The Last Dragonslayer, the first book in the Chronicles of Kazam by Jasper Fforde, for the Middle Grade Mania event.  I'm barely into this at all, but I can already tell I'll enjoy the worldbuilding and eclectic characters.

This week I'll be finishing The Last Dragonslayer, then starting its sequel, The Song of the Quarkbeast.

What are you reading?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Event Preview: Robot+Bike=Kitten with Joe Mohr


Join us at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 17, 2013, at Left Bank Books--Central West End for a special Storytime when St. Louis author and illustrator Joe Mohr will discuss his new poetry book, Robot+Bike=Kitten.

This collection of 34 poems will have kids rolling in the aisles while adults will appreciate the subtle messages being picked up along the way.  You'll learn everything from why to care about the environment to why you should pick your nose.  The colorful illustrations round out this entertaining and educational package.

Copies of Robot+Bike=Kitten will be available for purchase and signing.  If you can't make it to the event, call Left Bank Books at 314-367-6731, ext. 1, to order signed personalized copies.

Monday, August 5, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Book Journey with a children's/YA version at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

First up this week was finishing The Whatnot, the sequel to The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann.  This steampunk fairy tale was surprising at every turn, not so much in a plot twist way, but in that I could never predict where the story was going to take me next.  It was certainly a fun ride, and I liked that we picked up years after the first book, in order to see the evolution of the characters, but I feel cheated that we didn't get more Mr. Jelliby.  I read an ARC from Greenwillow Books.

Next was Rasl by Jeff Smith.  This is a decidedly adult tale from Smith, with no shortage of profanity, sex and violence.  Still, fans of Smith world-building will find plenty to like in this contemporary science fiction story while those who are unfamiliar will almost certainly get sucked in.  I read it in one sitting.  I read an ARC from Cartoon Books.

Then I started A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, inspired by an idea from Soibhan Dowd, illustrated by Jim Kay for Ness's upcoming author event.  I'm really intrigued by the story so far; it's both heartbreaking and beautiful.  I am also continually in awe of the beautiful works of art Candlewick makes out of their books.









This week also saw me filling is as Storytime lady.  The kids and I read:

--Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton.  I love Haughton's illustrations, but hadn't read the book yet.  This is perfect for read-alouds with lots of cues for the audience and repetition the kids can pick up on easily.  We read a complementary copy from Candlewick.

--Fancy Nancy: The Fanciest Doll in the Universe by Jane O'Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser.  I'm a Fancy Nancy fan already, and this is a cute story about getting along with younger siblings.

--Crankee Doodle by Tom Angleberger, illustrated by Cece Bell.  This was a little long for the younger ones, but they had fun with the histrionics of it.









This week I'll be finishing A Monster Calls, then continuing my Newbery reading with The Dark Frigate by Charles Boardman Hawes.

What are you reading?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Event Preview: The Surprise Attack of the Jabba the Puppett with Tom Angleberger


Join us at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 8, 2013, at Left Bank Books--Downtown when Tom Angleberger will discuss his latest book in the Origami Yoda series, The Attack of Jabba the Puppett.  We will also make crafts based on the books.

In this latest installment of the popular series following the kids of McQuarrie Middle School, arts funding and extracurriculars have been cut in order to allow more time and resources to standardized testing.  Luckily, Dwight is back at school and his Force-filled friends can help take down the FunTime Menace prep program.  But when Jabba the Puppett makes a surprise appearance, will it be more than they can handle?

Copies of Tom's books, including the Origami Yoda series (The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, Darth Paper Strikes Back, The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett and Art2-D2's Guide to Folding and Doodling), Crankee DoodleFake Mustache and Horton Halfpott will be available for purchase and signing.  If you can't make it to the event, call Left Bank Books at 314-367-6731, ext. 2, to order signed, personalized copies.

Monday, July 29, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Book Journey with a children's/YA version at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

Last week I finished The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting as part of my quest to read the Newbery winners.  This is the 1923 winner, and it does come off a bit dated.  There is a lot of cultural insensitivity (mostly of the colonialist variety, but with a few racial slurs from one character), but there is both a forward (by Jerry Griswold) and afterward (by Gary D. Schmidt) to put things in context.  The adventures are appropriately fantastical, but there's a lot less "talk to the animals" than I expected.  Having no experience with Doctor Dolittle outside of seeing the old movie when I was a kid, I was surprised by how scientific his language skills are and how commonplace his abilities become after only a short time.

Afterwards, I started The Whatnot, the sequel to The Peculiar, by Stefan Bachmann.  Just like the first installment, this is a wildly original tale, with lots of wonderful world-building and constantly surprising innovations in the settings and characters.  So far, the main characters from The Peculiar have barely appeared, leaving us with a new cast.  I have a feeling we'll see our old favorites soon, though.  I'm reading an ARC from Greenwillow Books.

This week, I'll be finishing The Whatnot, then moving on to Rasl by Jeff Smith.

What are you reading?

Monday, July 22, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Book Journey with a children's/YA version at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

Last week I finished Inheritance, the first book in the Southern Son: The Saga of Doc Holliday trilogy by Victoria Wilcox.  (This is an adult title.)  While I certainly learned some interesting things about his life, I didn't come away with a very positive impression of Doc Holliday.  I don't know that I'll be continuing with this series.

Next I read Twerp by Mark Goldblatt.  This had been recommended to me as similar to Wonder by R.J. Palacio, which I loved, so I was very excited to read it.  I definitely see why the comp was made, but it lacked that little bit of magic that made Wonder really special.  It's still something I'd recommend without hesitation, though.  It's an excellent look at bullying from a slightly different point of view (the kid who means well, but gives in easily to pressure).  It also comps nicely to Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt, especially since they share a late-1960s setting.  I read a complimentary copy from Random House Books for Young Readers.

Finally, I continued my quest to read through the Newbery Medal with the 1923 winner, The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting.  I wasn't aware when I started it that it was actually the sequel to The Story of Doctor Dolittle, but it doesn't seem you need to have read one to enjoy the other.  So far, this one is interesting, though definitely dated.  It's heavily rooted in a time when travel and education were beyond the reach of all but the most privileged.  There are also some racial slurs and stereotyping in the original text version I'm reading.

This week I'll be finishing The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle and starting The Whatnot, the sequel to The Peculiar, by Stefan Bachmann.

What are you reading?

Monday, July 15, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Book Journey with a children's/YA version at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

This week I continued Inheritance, the first book in the Southern Son: The Saga of Doc Holliday series, by Victoria Wilcox.  I'm having trouble getting through this one.  It's not bad once I'm reading it.  I'm just having trouble motivating myself to pick it up.











I also read plenty of upcoming picture books from the Fall season.

When Charlie Met Grampa by Amy Hest, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
A cute follow-up about making new friends.
I read an F&G from Candlewick.

Journey by Aaron Becker
A beautiful wordless book that leaves lots of room for imagination.
I read an F&G from Candlewick.

Paul Meets Bernadette by Rosy Lamb
I loved this whimsical tale about meeting that person (or fish) who makes you look at the world differently.
I read an F&G from Candlewick.

Captain Cat by Inga Moore
A bizarre story that goes on perhaps a bit long.  Pretty though.
I read an F&G from Candlewick.

Amy's Three Best Things by Philippa Pearce, illustrated by Helen Craig
A comforting tale about being away from home for the first time.
I read an F&G from Candlewick.

The Nowhere Box by Sam Zuppardi
What kid doesn't love playing with boxes?
I read an F&G from Candlewick.

Maude the Not-So-Noticeable Shrimpton by Lauren Child, illustrated by Trisha Krauss
Weird in the best way.  Loved this.
I read an F&G from Candlewick.

Baby and Me by Emma Dodd
Ultra-cute interactive about siblings.
I read a sample copy from Nosy Crow.

Whizz! Pop! Granny, Stop! by Tracey Corderoy, illustrated by Joe Berger
A fun look at when to be different and when to blend in.
I read an F&G from Nosy Crow.

And the Cars Go... by William Bee
Kids will have fun guessing the outcomes of this cumulative story.
I read an F&G from Candlewick.

Pip and Posy: The Snowy Day by Axel Scheffler
They're back with another conflict resolution title.
I read an F&G from Nosy Crow.

Cheese Belongs to You! by Alexis Deacon, illustrated by Viviane Schwarz
I loved it.  I suppose it depends on how you feel about rats.
I read an F&G from Candlewick.

Stick! by Andy Pritchett
Super-cute one-word book.  Fun as a read-aloud.
I read an F&G from Candlewick.

DragonQuest by Allan Baillie, illustrated by Wayne Harris
Lovely and magical book with unique second-person narration.
I read a sample copy from Candlewick.

I Spy Pets by Edward Gibbs
Another cute I Spy title.
I read a sample copy from Templar.

Sidney, Stella and the Moon by Emma Yarlett
Very pretty book with a nice teamwork message and just enough strange to keep it from being too sweet.
I read an F&G from Templar.

Olive and the Bad Mood by Tor Freeman
Nice title about being nice.
I read an F&G from Templar.

The Tiny King by Taro Miura
Bizarre story with a really cool look.
I read an F&G from Candlewick.

Animal Opposites by Petr Horacek
Well-constructed pop-up concept book.
I read a sample copy from Candlewick.

The Race for the Chinese Zodiac by Gabrielle Wang, illustrated by Sally Rippin
Beautiful illustrations for the traditional tale.
I read a sample copy from Candlewick.

Laika: Astronaut Dog by Owen Davey
Such a strange topic, but I really love it.
I read an F&G from Templar.

Peppa Pig and the Perfect Day
Another well-constructed pop-up.
I read a sample copy from Candlewick.

Dinosaur Rescue by Penny Dale
Dinosaurs in vehicles are back!
I read an F&G from Nosy Crow.

Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam by Tracey Corderoy, illustrated by Steven Lenton
Robber dogs have never been so endearing.
I read an F&G from Nosy Crow.

Welcome to Mamoko by Aleksandra Mizielinska, illustrated by Daniel Mizielinski
Great concept for a seek-and-find with many simultaneous storylines.
I read an F&G from Big Picture Press.

Artcards: Accessorize by Hennie Haworth
Fun concept for an activity book.  Don't care much for the subject.
I read a sample copy from Big Picture Press.

Nina's Book of Little Things by Keith Haring
Great activity/scrapbook.
I read a sample copy from Big Picture Press.

Princess Penelope and the Runaway Kitten by Alison Murray
It has a kitten and every page is sparkly.  Need I say more?
I read a sample copy from Nosy Crow.

Guess How Much I Love You: After the Storm by Sam McBratney
Well, this has gotten a bit merchy, no?
I read a F&G from Candlewick.

Guess How Much I Love You: Snow Magic by Sam McBratney
Same.
I read an F&G from Candlewick.

The Big Wet Balloon by Liniers
Surprisingly good character development for this sparse book.
I read a sample copy from Toon Books.

Otto's Backwards Day by Frank Cammuso, illustrated by Jay Lynch
Learn about holidays and what's you really need to celebrate a birthday.
I read a sample copy from Toon Books.

Patrick Eats His Peas and Other Stories by Geoffrey Hayes
Parents and kids alike will identify with these stories.
I read a sample copy from Toon Books.