Monday, July 31, 2023

It's Monday - Books To Discover


    Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they and others have been reading! Your TBR lists will grow!

Thanks to Charlesbridge for this copy,
out mid-July!

          This is a tale like no other you might read in a while. An 11-year-old boy, Dawz, lives in a town named Morsh, one with a tourism reputation for once having been home to monsters. The creatures are a constant reminder to Dawz of his monster-obsessed mother who left him. He and his younger sister, Jayla, are adopted by the mother's brother, whom they call Pop. Dawz and his friend, Atlas, love baking and continually try new ideas to prepare for the annual baking competition, wanting a win, like Pop in his younger years. The story becomes much more when Dawz discovers a monster with gray fur and purple scales in his bedroom closet whose name is Mim. The adventure begins with his terrible scream as Mim escapes into the unknown, wondering how she will manage. Though it seems they hate each other, both are struggling with changes. Dawz doesn't want anyone to think he's weird. (Who else has found a monster in their closet?) And Mim is growing larger, wondering about this new world she's found "outside". Deep layers of self-examination happen as the chapters alternate between the thoughts and adventures of both Dawz and Mim. And, I enjoyed the support of others, especially Pop, but also Atlas' mother, little sister Jayla, a pest-control guy, and a policewoman. It's intriguing to imagine oneself in this story and I imagine middle-grade readers will enjoy the same, but different, worlds of Monster and Boy.

         This sweet story is a debut picture book by a Facebook friend, Ellen Ramsay. We see Bear listening to young Ellen read book after book and he loves them all. The problem is he really, really wants a book of his own! With Ellen's help and a few disguises, they try to find just the book he wants, a raspberry-red one, but in school, the library, and a bookstore, they're discovered, "No bears allowed!" How Bear does get his book and with Ellen's kind help makes a lovely ending, showing both a great idea by Ellen and a kind friend who won't give up for Bear. On every page, MacKenzie Haley's colorful illustrations beautifully show author Ellen's story of friendship and the happiness shared because of their love for books. She gives some chuckles, too, with Bear in his disguises. What a fun and loving book for young readers!

         The Skull is an old Tyrolean folktale that Jon Klassen read while visiting an Alaskan library for a presentation. If it seems a bit scary even from the cover, it is, and somewhat scary to see this young girl, Otilla, running away from home through dark and cold woods. However, Otilla, while taking charge of her life, one might say, by leaving home, appears to be unafraid and as readers will discover, she's both unafraid even of a skull, but kind. Klassen's dark and brooding illustrations are like many he's done but feel just right for this "dark and brooding" story. I imagine it could be kept for Halloween but there are surprises in it that I never imagined and think others won't either. They'll simply like it and want to re-read and look again.  It is NOT just another scary story and will inspire questions. Wait till you find out what Klassen writes in his author's note! 

for adults

         From Madeline Martin, who gave readers the fascinating tale, "The Last Bookshop in London", comes another from World War II, about two different women who end up connected through a fight for a mother and her child who are desperate to escape to America. One is in the resistance in Lyons, France, helping to publish clandestine newspapers that help fight the Nazis; the other is recruited from the Library of Congress, sent to Lisbon, Portugal, a neutral country, to aid in gathering news (like the papers from Lyons) then sending to the Allies to aid in the fight. Each of their co-workers and family members play important parts in their lives (and in this story) in a tale filled with courageous acts, terrifying scenes, and historical information important to the Allied victory. Madeline Martin's research gives another peek at the myriad of people's actions that are less known from that time, but so important in that war. I enjoyed it very much.

Now reading: The Tryout: A Graphic Novel, Christina Soontornvat


  1. Love how you divided your reading week up into representative samples of several different age groups! Hope you enjoy The Tryout!

  2. I also enjoyed A Book for Bear this week, too. I love a good book about books! I am eager to read The Skull, but my library still does not have a copy yet which is very surprising to me!

  3. What a wonderful set of books, Linda! The spookiness of Monster vs. Boy and The Skull make those two seem like a good pair, and Monster vs. Boy in particular sounds like a really original and intriguing story. A Book for Bear is also one I keep hearing praise for! Thanks so much for the thoughtful reviews, and enjoy your week!

  4. Thanks, Karen, Lisa, & Max! I've been having some computer issues so late to read your posts, going over now. I hope you'll enjoy some of these books when you can!

  5. A Book for Bear sounds like a great read. Like Lisa, I love a good book about books, and ones that feature libraries too. A Book for Bear’s also similiar to a book I shared this week: Books Aren’t for Bears! It’s fun when things like that happened unplanned. :)

    1. Yes, your book & A Book for Bear go together beautifully! Thanks!

  6. Monster and Boy sounds like an intriguing story that might be a metaphor for adolescence. I read about The Skull a bit ago and already have it on reserve at my library. The Librarian Spy is already on my list. I just don't know when I will find time for it.
    I will have to try and remember to read your blog next weekend to find out what you think of The Tryout. I loved it!

  7. I need to read more of Christina Soontornvat's books. Enjoy The Tryout.

  8. Thanks, Cheriee & Earl. I hope I can finish The Tryout! I have a busy week this week, but will do my best!


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