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

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.

Monday, July 8, 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 If He Had Been with Me by Laura Nowlin for her upcoming author event.  I really liked the writing and the characters.  The mood of dread and anticipation created throughout was palpable.  I did not, however, like the resolution at all.

Next I starting Inheritance, the first book of the Southern Son: The Saga of Doc Holliday trilogy by Victoria Wilcox for her upcoming author event.  (This one is for adults.)  Historical fiction isn't really my genre, but the story is interesting enough and it reads fairly easily.

I also read a random picture book, Monsters Eat Whiny Children by Bruce Eric Kaplan.  This is really funny and should appeal to both kids and adults.  I'm definitely keeping an eye on this author.

This week I'll be finishing Inheritance, then starting Twerp by Mark Goldblatt.

What are you reading?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Event Preview: If He Had Been with Me with Laura Nowlin


Join us at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 13, 2013, at St. Louis Public Library--Central when Laura Nowlin will discuss her debut young adult novel, If He Had Been with Me.

Autumn and Finn have been friends since they were born.  Their mothers consider each other family and they even live next door to each other.  That made the two inseparable.  At least until high school.  Autumn and Finn just grew apart.  That's natural, right?  But when Finn is killed in a car accident the summer after senior year, Autumn is left to review their relationship and her feelings for him to find out if it could have turned out any differently for the two.

Copies of If He Had Been with Me 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, July 1, 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 began with finishing Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish: A Novel by David Rakoff (an adult book).  It's simply amazing how deeply developed these characters are while being written entirely in rhymed couplets.  And there are so many of them!  At only 120-some pages, Rakoff shouldn't be able to accomplish what he did.  I kept wondering how it was all going to tie together, then it did, and it was so beautiful I cried.  I read an ARC from Doubleday.


Next I started If He Had Been with Me by Laura Nowlin for her upcoming author event.  This is not an easy read.  Not that it's dense or hard to understand.  The short chapters actually make it very readable in that sense.  It's just heartbreaking.  It's a book that has you rooting so hard for something you know won't happen that it just leaves you with a sense of dread.  Now, despite that, I still think it's a very good book so far.  Just one you have to be in the mood to read.

This week I'll be finishing If He Had Been with Me, then starting Twerp by Mark Goldblatt.

What are you reading?