Sunday, August 28, 2011

Back to School

I first heard about Masterpiece by Elise Broach from my friend Eileen who told me that she was reading it to her girls at night and had to keep reading after they fell asleep. I understand why--this book is aptly named. The main character is a very artistic rodent (think Ratatouille) who accidentally discovers his ability while tryng to make a birthday present for the boy in the apartment where he lives. This is a delightful story of a friendship that is set behind the scenes of an art museum. Her other book, Shakespeare's Secret is also a fun read. The best book I've read recently is Moon Over Manifest by Claire Vanderpool. I think it ended up being the Newberry winner, and that honor is well deserved. The story is about Abilene who has been living on the road with her father since her mother's death. Her father sends her on a train to the town where he grew up (Manifiest,Kansas) for the summer. The summer leads her to many discoveries about the history of this interesting small town and the lives of the people who still live there. The story is loosely based upon some of the author's relatives. She is a remarkable storyteller who weaves two parallel storylines of past and present. A fortune teller, a cigar box filled with mementoes, and newspaper stories help Abilene learn about her newest home. The story also gives a moving glimpse into the lives of coal miners during the depression.
Don't take my word for it. Patricia Reilly Giff calls it "the best book I've read in years".

Thursday, June 16, 2011

School's out

I hope you have already lost yourself in the pages of a book this summer. I have enjoyed some great new finds. The new series by Maryrose Wood about those wild children( I mean this literally; they were found in the woods) at Ashton Place is a parody of those melodramatic Victorian novels with an unlikely heroine. The book is a treasure trove of puns and silly references. Who could resist?
I also read Gary Schmidt's new book Okay for Now. He never fails to disappoint; I am enamoured with the characters from almost the first page. The plot of the book revolves around the works of Audubon--yes, the bird guy, and the illustrations referenced are in the book. The plot is a little far fetched, but his writing is so good that you will want to believe. A book with a similar plot is Blue Balliett's newest called The Danger Box.  This book also centers on a relationship formed at the library and involves the work of someone famous. Like the other books (Chasing Vermeer, The Wright Three) there is some sleuthing involved, but I found the characters in this story much more interesting.
Happy summertime.

Monday, January 10, 2011

library trip...

I went to the Main Library with John's class on Friday, and I was checking on the new releases bookshelf up front. There were many temptations. Kathy Appfelt (author of  The Underneath) has a new book called Keeper that is about mermaids. I also saw a wonderfully illustrated version of Randall Jarrell's story The Bat-Poet-- a favorite story of mine about a bat who can't sleep during the day and ends up observing the daytime creatures and writing poems about them.