Showing posts from March, 2015

Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of The Man Who Sold The Eiffel Tower by Greg Pizzoli

You may know Greg Pizzoli from his fantastic picture books, but his highly readable, crazy fun first non-fiction picture book, Tricky Vic: The  Impossibly True Story of The Man Who Sold The Eiffel Tower will knock your socks off. The story of Robert Miller and the brilliant way in which Pizzoli tells his story with words and pictures is superb. Apologies now for the frequent use of exclamation points...
In 1890 in what is now the Czech Republic, Robert Miller was born the year after the Eiffel Tower opened (on March 31st!) Miller moved to Paris for university but dropped out when he discovered he was a gifted gambler. He renamed himself Count Victor Lustig and spent time conning wealthy passengers on ocean liners before WWI put and end to his industry. Several arrests in Europe led Miller to the United States where he conned Al Capone himself and earned the right to work his way around the country with the Romanian Money Box scam, which is hilarious now, but understandably believable b…

Ball, word and pictures by Mary Sullivan

Winner of the 2014 Theodore Seuss Geisel honor award, BALL (note the clever credit of word and pictures) by Mary Sullivan is newly, perfectly available in board book format. Presented in a graphic novel style with multiple illustrations per page, BALLis a simple, yet highly entertaining and engaging story told with a single word - ball.

With BALL, we get to spend the day with an enthusiastic, single minded dog who has a very rich, active dream life. The day starts off perfectly with a great game of ball. But soon enough, the ball thrower, and equally enthusiastic little girl, is out the door and off to school leaving the dog to find a new playmate or entertain himself.

There is a very funny scene where the dog unsuccessfully tries to get mom, who is meditating, to engage. The baby in the bouncy chair just starts crying and the cat has a hissy fit. The laundry basket seems like a potential playmate, but the dog eventually ends up back on the bed and asleep.

Sullivan is such a talented sto…

The Babies & Doggies book by John & Molly

Honestly, I should just type the name of this superb new book by John & Molly and leave it at that. The Babies & Doggies Book - it says it all. But there is an added brilliance to The Babies & Doggies Bookthat must be noted. As a parent and a bookseller, I have long known that babies LOVE looking at pictures of other babies. I have also long bemoaned the lack of quality board books with pictures of babies in them. And, while there are always (thanks to DK's my first board book series) great board books with superb pictures of animals that babies love, this is the first time that I have seen babies and dogs brought together like this.

The Babies & Doggies Bookisn't just a collection of pictures of babies and doggies, which would be fine by me. In The Babies & Doggies Book, babies are compared to doggies. Babies reading this book will delight in seeing the dogs doing the same things as the babies, from eating and running to kissing and cuddling, the text is ge…

Rutabaga the Adventure Chef #1 by Eric Colossal, 128 pp, RL 3

Rutabaga the Adventure Chef by Eric Colossalbegan life as an online and is now available in book form and in full color! I absolutely love the character of Rutabaga and the world that Colossal has created for him to wander in. When we first meet him, he is trekking through the wilds with a huge pack on his back (it turns out to be a pop-up kitchen) and a walking cauldron named Pot at his side. 

On a quest to find rare ingredients and cook amazing things that no one has ever eaten before, Rutabaga has just discovered the legendary "Bell Topped Mushroom." Unbeknownst to him, this mushroom is growing on the hilt of a legendary sword-in-a-stone that will allow the retriever to vanquish a dragon.

Rutabaga meets a ragtag group of warriors - Winn, Manny and Beef - who are after the sword and hoping to rid their kingdom of the dragon. When Rutabaga makes a "Perfect Pep Potion," (recipes are included in the story, including two at the end of the book that do not include magic…

Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle

Two years ago I fell in love with Flora, her flippers and her fantastic dance with a flamingo. I was thrilled to learn when author and illustrator Molly Idle had a second dance - I mean book - in the works. Idle follows up the fabulous, Caldecott Honor winning Flora and the Flamingo with Flora and the Penguin
For this outing, it's wintertime and Flora has some skates to put on. Idle adds to the story with a view under the ice, Flora's partner, piqued by curiosity, peeks out through a hole in the ice and a friendship begins!

Part of what Idle did so wonderfully in Flora and the Flamingo and again with Flora and the Penguin comes with her use of of flaps to add action to the story.

Add to this a misunderstanding between dance partners and some hurt feelings that are soon attended to and Flora and the Penguin proves a perfect partner for Flora and the Flamingo. Be sure not to miss Molly Idle's interview at Seven Impossible Things and get a glimpse at how she makes the magic hap…

Telephone by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jen Corace

Telephone, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jen Corace (two of my absolute favorites) is one of those books that makes you wonder why no one has jumped on this idea before. It's also one of those deceptively simple picture books that has so much more going on. Taking the old game that kids still love to play as inspiration, Barnett sets the story in motion when a mother pigeon asks another young, baseball bat toting cardinal to tell her son Peter to "Fly home for dinner." The message passes from bird to bird, all sitting on a telephone wire, changing with each passing. 

Sharp observers will notice that the message changes to fit the interest of the bird passing it on and listeners will be increasingly amused by the silly iterations that occur. The story peaks when a hysterical pigeon passes the message to an owl, combining all of the craziness into one long, loopy missive.

Wise and cool, the owl is unflappable. Even in the face of the pigeon's party blower, my …

The Fairy-Tale Handbook: An Interactive Adventure Through the Magical World of Fairy Tales by Libby Hamilton, illustrated by Tomislav Tomić

The Fairy-Tale Handbook: An Interactive Adventure Through the Magical World of Fairy Tales is the work of illustrator Tomislav Tomić, contributor to the fantastic StoryWorld series of detailed cards that encourage creativity and storytelling in kids and adults, and Libby Hamilton, contributor to the encyclopedically awesome The Monstrous Book of Monsters.

The Fairy-Tale Handbook: An Interactive Adventure Through the Magical World of Fairy Tales is made up of only nine two-page spreads, but it holds a surprising wealth of information and detail. The first spread features the Forest of Stories and a Map of the Great Forest where houses are flaps that reveal the names of the fairy tale characters who live there. Other pages feature the baddies who make the stories interesting and the "Dangerous Things," like candy, glass slippers and a red hood that get good characters into trouble. There are also "Extraordinary Aniamls," with a booklet telling the story of the Frog Pr…

Where is Curious George? A Look-And-Find-Book - Around Town

I am a huge fan of look-and-find books, especially if they are geared towards the preschool crowd. Good look-and-find books at this level seem to be hard to find, but Curious George? Where is Curious George: Around the Town, which follows Where is Curious George?, are perfectly geared toward the toddler crowd. And who doesn't love Curious George? 

Each page has rhyming couplets that sets the scene and sets up the items for little eyes to look for on each page. Because this book is for younger kids, the items to find are shown along with the text listing them, one of the nicer features of look-and-find books for preschoolers. 

George, who is also hiding on every page, visits the playground, school, the firehouse, the farmer's market, the library, the ice cream parlor, the toy store and many more places kids will love. The illustration style imitates Margaret and H.A. Rey's original style while adding great new touches!

Source: Review Copy

The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein, 235 pp, RL 4

Back in 2013 I read and loved Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein. Besides being a book about books, which of course I adore, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library is written in a style that will attract a wide range of readers, from the avid to the unsure. In The Island of Dr. Libris, Grabbenstein once again creates an everyman main character, astutely weaving in aspects of contemporary life like gaming and role-playing game cards, then sends him on a book-based adventure. The kids in Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library were invited to spend the night in a newly built, not yet opened multi-million dollar state of the art library, solving riddles and puzzles that incorporate titles of actual kid's books and works for adults. With The Island of Dr. Libris, as you might expect by the title, Grabenstein again infuses literature into the plot of his book, taking classics like Robin Hood, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Pollyanna, to name a few, and m…