Friday, July 30, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
A lift-the-flap book with three playful cats... yay! This picture book from British author/illustrator Viviane Schwarz has some similarities to Melanie Watt's Chester books - the watercolour cats; the tongue-in-cheek humour playing with book as artifact - and it will certainly appeal to Watt's fans, but the best thing is that it is great for very young children. The bright primary colours, simple lines and comic-style word balloons work well together. And then there are the flaps and the partly-cut pages revealing details from the page beyond. It is delightful!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Fernandez Britten is a dour and depressed man with huge dark circles around his eyes. He and his partner, Stewart Brulightly, have run a detective agency for a decade. Their clients are mostly jealous lovers or vengeful lovers out to get back at jealous lovers. This ugly kind of work has earned Britten the nickname "Heartbreaker." Britten agrees with his partner's suggestion that they be more discriminating in the future. "Nowadays, I don't get out of bed for less than a murder. I don't get out of bed much."
Monday, July 26, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
The steampunk genre isn't new; it's been around for about 30 years. A recent upsurge in publishing alternate history pseudo-Victorian tales for younger readers is, however, like a tail wind pushing the steampunk dirigible into a new spotlight. Kenneth Oppel's Airborn and its sequels, Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan, Arthur Slade's Hunchback Assignments and Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines series are examples I've read.
Irish author Eoin Colfer is an author I can rely on for an entertaining read, so I was willing to give him the 80 pages it took before I became truly hooked on Airman. Once hooked, I didn't put it down until the satisfying conclusion. Grade 5 and up.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
A good friend was angry and appalled when her daughter was forbidden by an art teacher to use hearts in an art project. She was told that hearts do not make for serious art. My friend's reaction (in addition to giving the teacher a piece of her mind) was to create a fabulous poem about heart shapes found in nature. That incident was also the catalyst for my sweetie's series of abstract paintings of hearts.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I found a lot of similarities to Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, but I liked Ship Breaker better, mostly because the scenario seemed more realistic. Bacigalupi has torn environmental elements from today's headlines: oil tankers in the Gulf; coastal cities drowned by rising sea levels; shipping routes across the ice-free North Pole; New Orleans destroyed by hurricanes several times; and tarsands oil development. There's plenty of action and suspense, but, unlike The Hunger Games, I never found it implausible. Grade 7 - up to adult.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Kids being put to bed probably already suspected that all the fun happens after dark. This suspicion is confirmed by John Burningham's It's a Secret and Caroline Stutson's Cats' Night Out. Nighttime is party time for hip cats.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
The cover image on this book led me to believe it might be something like those Summer Share or Au Pair teen chick lit series. The title led me to believe it was strictly for older teens. Wrong on both counts. Lots of humour, yet not as fluffy as I expected, with an interesting 17-year-old protagonist puzzling out the mystery of her family origins. Aside from some passionate kissing and a baby born out of wedlock, it is quite chaste.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Once in a long long milli somepod writes a kronking book using invented language. It prolly took me 50 pages to decide it was worth the effort to unscramble the words rather than deplug from the story entirely. By then, I was emotionally invested in the pod of female warriors: Shona, Roku, Rustle, Solomon and Loo. As fetid truths are revealed about their alien masters, the ScanMans, the warriors have every reason to be full-on paranoidal. “ScanMans have been using us all – stealing us from our biological nests, deleting our human and ancestral rememories, training and tuning and modifying us into their own perfect, elite bodyguards. Using us up, one generation of brainwashed Warriors at a time.”
Loo and Rustle are romantically involved. Rustle describes their first full fusion nuzzle: “Loo kissed me, blaaty well kissed me through and through, tingled my spinecore, fused my mind, melded it, set my wires aflame.” Precious blocks of tender time are few, however. This tough pod is on the run and fighting to survive. I didn’t leak any eye juice over their dreary woes, but I was dandystill freaking on their adventures and cheering them on. Suckle it up and enjoy. Grade 8 - up