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Showing posts from July, 2011

A Goal for books4yourkids.com

Books to the ceiling,  Books to the sky,  My pile of books is a mile high! How I love them! How I need them! I'll have a long beard  by the time I read them.
Arnold Lobel from Whiskers & Rhymes
Since I have been working with, reading and loving kid's books for much longer than I have been writing about them, my hope when I started this blog was to introduce readers to older books that might not be getting the shelf space and attention at your local bookstores and libraries that the newer books always demand. Despite my lofty ideals, I frequently find myself both starstruck and awestruck by the new books that arrive on the shelves at the bookstore where I work (and on my doorstep when I am fortunate enough to receive review copies.) And, I must admit that my sense of wonder for the new has kept me from reading as much of the old as I had originally intended to. The piles of books in my house are constantly growing, but lately I have noticed that the piles of older books I want to…

The Chalice of Immortality: Book 3 of The Magickeepers, by Erica Kirov, 174, RL 4

With The Chalice of Immortality, Erica Kirov completes her Magickeepers Trilogy. Book one, The Eternal Hourglass, introduces us to Nick Rostov, a thirteen year old skateboarder living in Las Vegas with his second-rate magician father. Thinking he has a whole summer of skateboarding and playing video games ahead of him, he instead learns that, through his mother who died when he was a baby, he is related to the master magician Damian and the rest of his performing family who reside at the Winter Palace, the grandest hotel in Las Vegas designed to look just like the home of the Russian Tsars that the family is descended from. The family lives on the top floor which is always blanketed in a magical snow that melts long before it reaches the ground. Because the Shadowkeepers, the dark branch of the family tree headed up by Rasputin, are after him, Nick is taken into the fold, despite the fact that his mother broke away from them. Nick meets his cousin, Isabella, who, like all the women i…

Sidekicks, by Dan Santat, 216 pp, RL 3

Sidekicks by the amazing Dan Santat is awesome!! I was vaguely familiar with Santat's cover illustrations and the few picture books he had done, but it took Mac Barnett'sOH NO!, published in 2010, for me to truly tune into his artistic storytelling genius. A wonder of a book, both for text and illustrations, OH NO! was definitely a harbinger of great things to come from both Barnett and Santat. And, here we are, a year later, graced with this vibrant, funny, exciting graphic novel, Sidekicks. If there is anyone in your life, you who likes (or liked) superheroes, both the comic and television/movie variety, you MUST buy him/her this book! If there is anyone else in your life who just likes a great story and fabulous artwork, Sidekicks is also a must. If you need anymore convincing, the book trailer, while a bit more intense in presentation that the book itself, which is frequently very humorous, is a better presentation of Santat's book than I anything I can write or show b…

Page by Paige, written and illustrated by Laura Lee Gulledge, RL: Middle Grade

When I read and reviewed my first graphic novel, Rapunzel's Revenge, written by Shannon and Dean Hale and illustrated by Nathan Hale, back in January of 2009 I was skeptical of the importance of the genre but fully aware of its growing popularity and presence among readers. Drawn to the often amazing artwork (Shaun Tan's The Arrival, Kazu Kibuishi's Amuletseries) and vibrant characters (Barry Deustch's Mirka, sword wielding Orthodox Jewish girl and star of the Hereville series and Ben Hatke's determined Zita the Space Girl) I have slowly continued to navigate my way through this new territory and am always pleased with what I read. However, I have not been able to answer the question I often find myself asking, "Amazing artwork aside, what is this graphic novel doing that a traditional novel can not do?" Page by Paige, written and illustrated by Laura Lee Gulledge answers this question for me. Gulledge is a superb story teller who excels, through her art…

StoryWorld Create-A-Story-Kit: Fairy Magic, by John and Caitlín Matthews, 28 Cards, RL: ALL AGES

If you remember my review of StoryWorld: Create-a-Story-Kit, then you know how much I love it and you also know that there are several different StoryWorld kits available in England and though some online resources in the US. For those of you happy to wait for Candlewick Press to release them on at a time, your wait for StoryWorld: Fairy Magicis over! Also, there is a new website, storyworldcards.com that is an added resource with more ideas, if you really need them...







Magnificent illustrators Wayne Anderson and Tomislav Tomićreturn along withMatilda HarrisonIan PenneyDebra McFarlane. As before, each card comes with a title and description as well as a few story prompts on the back. Once again, a booklet is included to guide and inspire, suggesting games to play with the cards as well as providing a list of the clues that are hidden within the intricate artwork that adorns each card. 








The Valley Beyond Time: Where Time Never Passes presents the story-maker with the questions, "Why…

StoryWorld Create-A-Story-Kit: Legends of the Sea, by John and Caitlín Matthews, 28 Cards, RL: ALL AGES

If you remember my review of StoryWorld: Create-a-Story-Kit, then you know how much I love it and you also know that there are several different StoryWorld kits that are slowly being released here in the US.For those of you with pirate loving treasure hunters, those intrigued by mermaid magic or anyone who wants to learn more about selkies and krakens, StoryWorld: Legends of the Sea is a MUST! Magnificent illustratorsWayne Anderson and Tomislav Tomićreturn along with Philip Hood, Virginia Leeand Nicki Palin to creates these watery scenes. Also, there is a new website, storyworldcards.com that is an added resource with more ideas, if you really need them...

As always, a booklet is included with the cards that gives an introduction, prompts, games and a list of the clues hidden within the cards, linking their stories.
The Selkies card, illustrated by Virginia Lee, shows these seal-people who live in the sea but can walk on the land. The back of the card asks storytellers, "What ha…

Nurse, Soldier, Spy: The Story of Sarah Edmonds, A Civil War Hero written by Marissa Moss and John Hendrix

Nurse, Soldier, Spy: The Story of Sarah Edmonds, A Civil War Hero written by Marissa Moss and illustrated by John Hendrix is one amazing book. The incredible story of Sarah Edmonds and her service to the nation alone will make your jaw drop and the dynamically detailed illustrations of Hendrix will take your breath away. My singular complaint about this book is that it is too short. Not only do I want to know more about the life of Sarah Edmonds as told by Moss, who is a thoughtful and precise writer, but I want to see more of her life and her adventures illuminated by Hendrix. Happily, Marissa Moss is currently working on a middle-grade novel about the life of Sarah Emma Edmonds to be published by Abrams/Amulet Books, publishers of this beautiful book!  And, if all goes well, John Hendrix should be doing the cover art and chapter headings. Can't wait to read it!
Sarah Edmonds was born in Canada and raised on a farm, doing many of the same chores that her brothers did. In order to…