Showing posts from March, 2011

Rocket Town by Bob Logan

I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!   Rocket Town by Bob Logan , who's day job is working as a story artist on feature animations for Dreamworks like Madagascar , Open Season and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs . Logan joins the good company of another animator/illustrator TonyFucile , author and illustrator of the picture book, Let's Do Nothing and illustrator (co-creator, really) of the beginning reader book by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, Bink and Gollie . I have often found that illustrators who also write have a tendency to produce really great books, perhaps because they can think visually and texturally (think Chris Van Allsburg , David Wiesner , David Selznick , Emily Gravett ). An artist who comes from the world of animation has even more to bring to the world of picture books when it comes to visual story telling. Logan definitely exhibits this quality in his second book,  Rocket Town , which is a BOARD BOOK! Yes, a board book! While I have seen plenty of gorgeous artwork

The Orange Trees of Versailles, written by Annie Pietri, translated by Catherine Temerson, 138 pp, RL 4

The Orange Trees of Versailles by Annie Petri is a treat to read - a historical fiction amuse-bouche just right for young readers. Besides the fascinating trait of the main character - fourteen-year old Marion Dutilleul is a "nose," a creator of perfumes with a photographic olfactory memory -she is also the daughter of the gardener in charge of the orange trees at Versailles. Marion is quickly caught up in palace intrigue when she becomes the servant of the Marquise de Montespan, the favorite of Louis XIV. While this is a short book and not too difficult to read, once you get over all the French names, there are a few mature themes, such as "favorites" of the king and use of witchcraft by superstitious members of the court that make it more suitable for older readers. As with any historical fiction for young readers, there are hardships, cruelties and sometimes brutalities that make up essential parts of the plot because that is how society functioned at the t

Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French, 350 pp, Reading Level 4

JUST IN TIME FOR EARTH DAY! OPERATION REDWOOD  is now in PAPERBACK!   Set in San Francisco and Willits, CA, Operation Redwood , the debut novel by S Terrell French , is impossible to write about without the giving significant page time to the serious environmental issues raised in the book, indicated by the title and excellent cover illustration by the superb, hard working Greg Swearingen . But, before I launch into that I want to tell you about the wonderfully drawn main character, Julian Carter-Li and the engrossing plot he stumbles into. At the start of the story Julian a conflicted, ambivalent, compliant twelve year old who's best interests are often secondary to those of the adults around him. His father has died before resolving a family feud that has kept Julian from knowing his paternal relatives for almost all of his life. Julian's mother has a strained relationship with her own mother, a hard working journalist who lives in Sacramento, and they see her

April is National Poetry Month

April is just around the corner and I need YOU  to share your favorite poems for me to post! Last year, I posted a poem a day and it was a lot of work but also a pleasure. I have decided to celebrate National Poetry Month again and while a few things will change, some will stay the same. Some of the poems and books of poetry I featured last year will return and some will be new. I also hope to read and review some of the many children's books (and maybe even a teen book or two) that are being written in verse. And, of course, we will celebrate POEM IN YOUR POCKET DAY which falls on APRIL 14 this year! Be sure to visit for tons of great poetry and super ideas on how to make your own poetry month or poem-in-your-pocket day a huge success! Last year I featured this amazing, incredible, magnificent book from ABRAMS :  Poem in your Pocket This year, I am SO THRILLED that they have published a kid's version!!!  Poem in Your Pocket for Young Poets:  100 Poems to Rip

The Last Series, written and illustrated by Harry Horse, 104 pp, RL 2

In this epistolary quartet of books by Harry Horse, Grandfather and his intrepid dog Roo are always off on one adventure or another, sending letters home to his grandchild, all accompanied by Horse's wonderful pen and ink illustrations that are reminiscent of Ernest H Shepherd's work. Every book includes a map of the region that Grandfather and Roo are scouring, always on a new quest. Below are the endpapers from  The Last of the Polar Bears , giving readers a little taste of what is to come. In  The Last of the Gold Diggers: Being as it were, an Account of a Small Dog's Adventures Down Under , Grandfather and Roo head to the Outback to find Great Uncle Vincent, who went there years ago to seek his fortune. Grandfather and Roo are always traveling by some sort of rundown, rickety form of transportation and this time it is Quality Airlines. Like his picture book illustrations, Horse's stories are filled with all sorts of interesting little details. Quality Airlines has n

Little Rabbit Series written and illustrated by Harry Horse

Even though he can be willful and petulant and not always kind, I love Little Rabbit   (be sure to check out the website where there are some great games & puzzles ) probably because, at one time or another, he is exactly like almost every toddler I have ever known. And, while my son and I get a kick out of Little Rabbit (we started checking these out of the library over and over years ago and I am so happy to finally own a couple) what I really love is the attention to detail and the fantastic color palette Horse uses for each book. Working with vibrant blues, oranges and purples, the forest world of Little Rabbit and his family is equally evocative of the illustrations of Erenest H Shepherd and the paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe. While the stories in all the books are wonderful - Harry Horse is magnificent at capturing the mindset of a young child - the real treat is rambling through this colorful world, from the giant hollow tree where the rabbit family lives, to Grand