Every Monday, it's a pleasure to link up with a group that reviews books they want to share with others. Come discover new books!
Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up.
Thanks to Candlewick Press for a copy of this book, out September 13th. The writing is good, offering a look into teenage thoughts as seven tell the story of three hours on a day, really like any other day, but not this time. It is harsh with strong language, and not a surprise that teens think and talk this way. Some of these seven we meet have connected online to commiserate with each other's tough lives, but it goes further, and ends in a plot for each to complete some kind of school shooting and then suicide. It's alarming and scary, and held together by one girl, April, whose birthday is April 19th, "the day". I would recommend this for older teens and their parents and teachers!
This is the quietest book that begins to squeeze your heart, slowly, slowly, until you realize that you are looking for things to wish on just like Charlie, but just for Charlie! Charlie has been taken to her Aunt Bertha and Uncle Gus's home after it's been determined that she is no longer in a stable environment. Her father is in jail and her mother doesn't get out of bed. Her sister is about to graduate from high school so gets to move in with a friend. Charlie is alone in what she thinks of as a sad house in the Blue Ridge mountains, among those "awful" hillbillies. She must finish her fifth grade year, and it's not a friendly place. But Charlie doesn't exactly know how to make friends, and is also in trouble with the teacher quite a bit. Sadly, this is not a sympathetic teacher, although I kept hoping! It's after school is out that the story deepens. I loved that Barbara O'Connor keeps Charlie surrounded with love, from Bertha and Gus, from her only friend, Howard's family, from the setting and finally from a stray dog, Wishbone. That's part of the sweet story too. A dog's love cures a lot of things, and he helps Charlie, too. Without telling all the story, just know that as others have said, it's worth reading and learning from the inside out what a child who also feels like a stray wishes for every single day.
Finally I have had the pleasure of reading this beautiful book. All the delight of reading as a young girl takes a young boy on a journey through a sea of words. I too loved the journey between the covers, through the spare text, but especially via Jeffers’ and Winston’s imaginative illustrations. One can look and look and still not see it all. Some pictures include parts of the text of favorite children’s books, in roads, on trees, up mountains and more. The end splashes out into a burst of color, just like our feelings when reading!
According to the author/illustrator Helga Bansch, her art is “a collage of pencil drawing, acrylic paint, monotype and old maps”, and it is marvelous to see in this quirky story of four ravens born and one, little girl? Yes, it’s a little girl who tells her story, a happy one that is easy to tell by the terrific expressions. There is one wonderful double-page spread showing a line of animals which come to stare. They don’t say nice things and have lots of advice. She tries to follow all the directions to make her feathers come in, like rub with birch leaves, but nothing works. She’s always cold so her father gets her a dress and a hat, yes, he did! I love the imagination and the pages filled with caring ravens, accepting this different child, adapting to make life work as best they can. It’s a fun story that will be good to start conversations.
There have been a number of babies born recently to blogging and FB friends, some grandparents, too, so I saw this at the library and brought it home. It is a text in rhyme, written after the older cumulative tale "This Is The House That Jack Built", so sweetly done. It should be a new baby gift book to remember! The illustrations by Eliza Wheeler (Miss Maple's Seeds) are lovely, soft black-outlined watercolor as mother and baby move all through the day watching the new one greeted by family and friends, bathing in a lagoon, chattered about by monkeys, and finally greeting the stars. The author personally connects to elephants in a letter at the back that tells of a special carved one in her family, plus sharing a bit about the dwindling elephant population since her great-grandmother's time.
With a combination of cutouts and paint, and some conversation between two good friends, a story is told of what each experiences and what each one is sorry that is missed. In Hole's case, it misses the sun rising; in Hill's case, hearing the earth breathe. With the help of Mole, they trade places, and find that after a while, being what they were before wasn't so bad after all. The ending wraps up a story for conversation, that one about being satisfied with yourself!
FYI - These two, writer and illustrator, are well known and loved for their work from New Zealand! The book was first published in NZ in 2010 but this year in the US.
Now Reading: Gerite's Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley