Friday, May 1, 2009

Lucky Breaks by Susan Patron

Lucky returns in this sequel to Newbery winner The Higher Power of Lucky. This time she has a new friend, Paloma, who comes visiting Hard Pan with her geologist uncle. While Lucky is still friends with Miles and Lincoln, she loves having a girlfriend who she can laugh with till their sides hurt. Of course, Lucky stays true to form from the first book and there is an adventure and a crisis to be overcome, and she has to deal with her relationship with Lincoln becoming different as they grow older. Lucky continues to grow, as does Lincoln, and their friendship faces the changes that come with impending adolescence. Patron's characterization is just as strong as in the first book, and Paloma and Lucky's newfound friendship is delightful to read about. A strong follow-up, and highly recommended for ages 9 to 12.

(And yes, there is another mention of poor Roy and his snake-bitten scrotum. I wonder if Patron put it in there just to make a point. I hope so.)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sutton interviews Gaiman for SLJ

Just found a great Roger Sutton interview of Neil Gaiman in the online version of School Library Journal.  They discuss Gaiman's profanity-laced tweet after he won the Newbery, which was apparently spun into a controversy by some people.  I hadn't heard that though.  Who tried to drum up controversy?  I thought it was kind of awesome.

Gaiman also compliments librarians, saying of the ALA awards banquet, "Librarians know how to wear gowns."  At least he's not bought in to the shushing librarian stereotype. 

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I must have this book

I need, need, need to read this book.

Tales for Little Rebels: a Collection of Radical Children's Literature by Julia Mickenberg and Philip Nel. I just read Betsy Bird's review on GoodReads and this has jumped to the top of my "must read" list. Just look at the section topics:

"R is for Rebel, Subversive Science and the Dramas of Ecology, Work Workers and Money, Organize, Imagine, History and Heroes, A Person's a Person, and Peace."

R is for Rebel - that sounds to me like a kids' t-shirt that is just screaming to be made.

What do you mean that wasn't Nellie's real hair?!

One thing you should know about me is that I LOVED the Little House on the Prairie series of books as a kid. I also loved the tv show (not having yet come into that purist tendency mentioned in my previous post). I used to secretly think that my mom had named me after Laura Ingalls Wilder (my name being Laura and all). But, she didn't.

Anyway, one of my favorite sites,, recently ran a little trivia post on the Little House tv series. My favorite tidbits were that those cute curls on evil Nellie were a wig, and that the woman who played Ma got so tired of "wrapping her hair into a bun and being subservient to Charles" that she co-wrote and starred in a gritty TV movie called Battered that dealt with domestic violence. Plus, the actress that played good girl Mary went on to star in a TV movie where she played a suburban gang-banger. Classic!

These tabs are mocking me.

A couple of quick tabs to close here, and I'll hopefully get some reviews up later today as well.

First up, the 2009 Cybils awards have been announced! Hooray for The Graveyard Book and The Hunger Games! I keep meaning to read Rapunzel's Revenge and The London Eye Mystery as well - maybe this will motivate me to actually go get them off of the shelf and add them to my stack of stuff waiting to be read.

Next, some not so good news, at least to me. I've been called a purist when it comes to movie adaptations of my favorite books. There are certain movies that I've stayed away from because I love the books so much (see: The Golden Compass). So, when I saw that there are plans to make a movie out of Beezus and Ramona my heart sunk. I love Ramona to pieces, and now my son is reading Ramona in his kindergarten class and he loves her, and I dread what this movie will do to her. My fears weren't allayed when I read this article and the young girl playing Ramona (who I'm sure is a lovely girl) described herself as wacky. There's so much more to the Ramona series than wackiness. *sigh* Thanks to Leila for the link.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Savvy - Ingrid Law

Mississippi Beaumont, or Mibs, isn't a typical twelve year old. She's got a brother who can make lightning strike, a brother who can cause hurricanes, a mom who's just perfect, and Mibs is about to turn thirteen and find out what her secret talent (or her Savvy) is. When her dad is in an awful car crash the day before her birthday she stows away on a big pink bus along with her storm-causing brother Fish, her silent brother Samson, and the local preacher's kids to try to get to her Poppa and save him. Along the way she and her band of mischief-makers learn a lot about themselves and their relationships with each other.

The most striking thing about this novel is the voice. Mibs and her brothers have to learn to "scumble their savvies" and Law describes Mibs' Grandpa as such: "When Grandpa wasn't a grandpa and was just instead a small-fry, hobbledehoy boy blowing out thirteen dripping candles on a lopsided cake, his savvy hit him hard and sudden...and the entire state of Idaho got made. At least, that's the way Grandpa Bomba always told the story." The relationships between Mibs and her brothers, as well as between the Beaumont siblings and their newfound friends are authentic and well-formed. Savvy is an extremely enjoyable read, and is a fine pick for a 2009 Newbery Honor. Highly recommended for ages 9 to 12.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Quick Thoughts on the ALA Awards

Newbery:  So happy that Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book won this.  I'm a big fan of his books, and I really enjoyed this one.  I so wish I could have been in the room when this one was announced.  Wondering if this will draw some of the readers of his adult titles over to his juvenile/YA titles now (and possibly further into the juvenile/YA sections)? I haven't read the others, but I have Savvy at home now and will be trying to get my hands on the rest as soon as I can to check them out.

Printz:  I need to get a hold of Jellicoe Road as soon as possible to read it.  
I'd heard good things about it but haven't gotten to it yet.  But, I am absolutely THRILLED to see Nation on the honor list.  It was my favorite book of 2008, and was my pick to win the Printz.  I've got Tender Morsels and Octavian Nothing vol. II here at home and need to move them to the top of my to-read pile now.

And as a side note, yay to my awesome friend Peter and his Arbuthnot committee for choosing K.T. Horning as the 2010 Arbuthnot lecturer!  They couldn't have made a better choice!

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