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We are excited about the upcoming IBBY Regional Conference in St. Louis, October 18-20, 2013. Early bird registration ends June 16. Please spread the word so people can save $35-$40 if you are a member or non-member. The line up of general session speakers is quite amazing and includes: Ashley Bryan, Pat Mora, Katherine Paterson, Siobhan Parkinson, Peter Sis, Klass Verplancke, Mem Fox, Jacqueline Woodson, Bryan Collier, Gregory Maguire and more. Conference details and registration/hotel information can be found at: http://www.usbby.org
This month we wanted to share information about children’s book awards in Canada. Here are some of the highlights from the 2012 Canadian children’s book awards.
The Governor General’s Literary Awards are given by the Canada Council of the Arts. A text and illustration award is given each year in both French and English. The 2012 recipients:
Children’s Text Winner
Nielsen, Susin. The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen (Tundra)
Daigle, France. Pour sûr (Éditions du Boréal)
Children’s Illustration Winner
Maclear, Kyo. Virginia Wolf. Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault (Kids Can)
Gravel, Élise. La clé à molette (Éditions de la courte échelle)
The Canadian Children’s Book Center awarded six major children’s book awards in 2012.
TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award: Kent, Trilby. Stones for my Father (Tundra)
Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. Côté, Geneviève. Without You (Kids Can)
Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction: Vande Griek, Susan. Loon (Groundwood)
Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People: Cayley, Kate. The Hangman in the Mirror (Annick)
John Spray Mystery Award: Mills, Rob. Charlie’s Key (Orca)
Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy: Collins, P. J. Sara. What Happened to Serenity? (Red Deer Press)
The most recent recipient of the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children is: Pearson, Kit. The Whole Truth (HarperCollins; awarded April 2012).
This content originally appeared in an email from USBBY to Edith Campbell.
Filed under: USBBY
Continuing our week of Epic artists, we take a look at the designs of Blue Sky visual development artist Sandeep Menon.
Sandeep works as a designer, drawing and painting concepts for objects, vehicles, environments and structures.
Sandeep studied at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California where for one project he developed concept art about a future India which included flying elephant cars and robots designed with traditional Indian motifs integrated into their structures.
Sandeep previously worked as a product designer in India, which gives him practical experience in designing functional, real objects that he can apply to his current work designing fantasy worlds. See Sandeep’s animation design work on his blog.
On 9-10 May 2013, we had a fantastic workshop facilitated by Joan Rankin.
We each received a file containing a number of exercises. On day 1 we drew with pencil.
We shared and discussed the work.
And worked some more!
Joan inspired us with her "Hat story".
To be continued ....
Bee Ridgway grew up in Amherst, Massachusetts.
She attended Oberlin College (B.A.), then worked for a year as an editorial
assistant at Elle magazine. She studied literature at Cornell University (M.A. and Ph.D.) and has
worked at Bryn Mawr College
since 2001. She lives in Philadelphia,
PA. The River of No Return is Bee's debut novel. It publishes today.
The River of No Return - Bee Ridgway
So yep, I’m an American. In fact, thinking
about being American is how I make my living.
I’m a professor of American literature, and I spend my days teaching Moby-Dick to young Americans. But about two years ago I sat down and
started writing The River of No Return.
It’s a big, busty time travel novel, a genre mash-up that combines
adventure, romance, spy thriller, mystery.
It’s set in Vermont, in contemporary London and in Georgian
England. Its two main characters are
British. I surprised myself: shouldn’t a scholar of American history and
literature write an American novel?
Instead, a frothy tale of time-traveling Regency aristocrats, beautiful
medieval beet farmers and faceless corporate heavies from an ominous future was
flowing from my fingers.
I had tossed my academic hat aside, my hair
had come tumbling down, and I was tapping into fantasy. And if there’s anything Americans love to
fantasize about, it’s England
(not Britain – England). Of
course you fantasize about us right back, and always have. Brits have more to say about Yanks than Yanks
do, and Americans are fiercely protective of an idealized England that no British person
would recognize. The number of times an
American has yelled at my British partner for not enjoying tea would astonish
This used to tick me off. I’ve spent years in both countries, I have a
pretty good grasp of the “real” Britain
and the “real” US, and I used to roll my eyes at the notions each nation
harbors about the other.
But that was a humorless mood. The fact is, fantasy is pleasurable and
admitting it keeps us honest and makes us more generous, in art and in
life. The fun house mirror that someone
else holds up teaches you to laugh at yourself. I am now a thoroughgoing fan of
the fictional versions of our two nations that we dream up between us. And there are always new ones. Remember that amazing Dr. Who episode where Britain
is zooming through outer space on the back of a white whale? Remember how I told you that I teach Moby-Dick? Our mutual and often absurd
fascination may not have had particularly savory effects on the world stage,
but the“special relationship” has made for some terrific popular fiction, going
back a long way.
If I may put my academic chapeau back on
for a moment, and regale you with some literary history? Some of the most archetypically “English”
writers bounced their portraits of Albion off America. Arthur Conan Doyle grew up reading American
penny dreadfuls: the first Sherlock Holmes story is largely set in Utah. Agatha Christie’s
father was American. P.G. Wodehouse spent vast portions of his adult life in America.
Frances Hodgson Burnett immigrated to the U.S. when she was sixteen. Rudyard Kipling married an American and lived
for four years – he adored it and was wildly prolific while there, writing The Jungle Book and reams of poetry.
I’ve chosen the “popular” writers of yesteryear to make this point, because
it’s the “popular” fantasies that we swap back and forth to this day. The Hollywood
and BBC portraits of one another that we love to hate . . . and hate to love.
I’m an American, and I’ve written a fantastical novel about Britain.
My time-travelly Britain is
also – through a side window and around some corners – a portrait of America. I wrote the novel because it was incredibly
fun to do so. I enjoyed myself
thoroughly, wallowing in the alternative versions of reality that I had given
myself permission to explore. I offer it to you with a grain of salt (for
flavor), and I hope that you enjoy it, too.
The River of No Return is out today. For a gentle introduction to the novel, here's Bee talking about it on Penguin YouTube.
By: Paul Schmid,
Blog: Paul Schmid studio
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I am delighted to announce that I will be illustrating a new book for editor Janine O'Malley at Farrar, Strous and Giroux. The author of this wonderful story (which I fell in love with before I had even read more than 3 or 4 lines into it,) is the great Laurie Thompson
. The illustration above is just a very early preliminary sketch, it should be interesting to see how it looks six or eight months from now!
|Materials ready for one of our small branch libraries|
The time is nearly here. The supplies are laid in, the publicity out, the school promo visits just about complete, the database ready, contacts made with groups who come with kids-in-care to get them oriented and staff keen-eyed (or steely-eyed as the case may be). But as prepared as we are, I still like to see what's out there that you all are doing.
As I was reading my feeds (here we pause for the image and book
that inevitably pops into my head when I think about my RSS feeds), I came across a colleague's description of her summer reading programs
. While it was pretty darn nice to see that she had adapted two of the formats we have been using over the years there was a better bonus for me: she shared two other designs for programs (daycares and super readers) that were new to me and that I like quite a bit.
I really appreciate hearing and reading about what other librarians are doing to make summer fun for kids - and staff! Besides reading blog posts, I am lucky enough to travel widely when wearing my hat as an itinerate workshop presenter around my state and region*. And while I share ideas we have tried, I also pick up ideas others have used to make their summer reading or library programs better and more effective.
And how do we get at effectiveness - especially during summer when our days are filled with families, kids, daycares, slp and programs, programs, programs?
I look for posts or listen to people who tell me about how:
- a decision has resulted in more participation by the kids
- registration has been simplified or tossed out and the result
- how prizes have been considered and the results of any change
- strategies that have providing staffing relief really worked
- active programming has been de-emphasized in favor of a true stealth program: SLP
- they include transliteracy into their SLP format
- they innovate in any way and what happens
- new audiences have been reached
- value has been added to a program through a simple innovation
You, my friends, are my guides to change and making SLP more fun and less onerous. These 8-12 weeks should not over-run our thoughts, energies, and ability to create powerful children's and teen services magic year-round. When we share our stuff, we make it easier to keep summer in perspective and bring great joy to the process.
Here's hoping you summer is joy-filled, kid-filled and a time to rise above the chaos to see just what good work you are doing for your communities. Now let's dig in!*In the spirit of May's 30 Days of Awesome posts started by Sophie Brookover, Kelly Jensen and Liz Burns, I share that I present half and full day workshops and presentations for systems and at conferences that include Rethinking Summer Reading; Programming Mojo; The Big Link: Successful School Public Library Partnerships; Stealth Programming; Everyday Advocacy; Creating Amazing Youth Services; Undoing Dewey and anything else that helps me guide participants in the Marge-way of delving deep into why we do what we do and how to do it better.
And suddenly, I am so excited to see this movie:
I haven't been able to find anything about who started Lucky Penny Day, or why.
Which leads me to realize that creating these "national days" is a pretty serious free-for-all. CLEARLY WE NEED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT AND COME UP WITH SOME NEW ONES.
Anyway, despite the dubious nature of this "holiday", I shall point you back to my old post about Jennifer L. Holm's Penny from Heaven anyway, because I'll use any old excuse to highlight a good book:
My affection for Holm's characters just sort of crept up on me—I hadn't realized how much I cared about them until Something Bad Happened and I found myself crying.
The story itself starts off quiet and lightly comic: Penny tells the reader about her various family members and has some adventures with her cousin Frankie. She does mention the fact that her mother hardly ever talks about her father, and never talks about the circumstances of his death—that in itself was enough to alert me to the fact that there was Rough Stuff Ahead.
Our children are fascinated by the world around them, soaking up information about so many different things. I clearly remember how excited my daughter was to learn that birds, snakes and crocodiles are all oviparous, or egg-bearing animals. We can foster this sort of enthusiasm by reading aloud picture books that delve into different nonfiction topics. As the Common Core standards state in ELA Standard 10,
"Children in the early grades (particularly K–2) should participate in rich, structured conversations with an adult in response to the written texts that are read aloud, orally comparing and contrasting as well as analyzing and synthesizing, in the manner called for by the Standards."
Lucy Calkins develops this idea further, writing in her Curricular Plan for the Reading Workshop
"One cannot stress enough the importance of reading aloud. You will want to read aloud to teach children discipline-based concepts that are integral to social studies and science.You’ll also read aloud to create a sense of community and to show children why people love to read. And you’ll read aloud to teach children vocabulary and higher-level comprehension skills. As you conduct a read-aloud session be sure that it includes opportunities for accountable talk." grade 2, page 6
As part of our new series the Common Core IRL: In Real Libraries
, we would like to suggest two excellent nonfiction picture books all about frogs that we like to read aloud to students. These books will have different language and text features than those we provide to children to read independently. They might use more figurative language, longer sentences, higher vocabulary. But they will engage students, laying important background for their own reading, and lead to many discussions about these interesting animals.
by Brenda Guiberson
illustrated by Gennady Spirin
Henry Holt / Macmillan, 2013
read aloud: grades 1-3
independent reading: grades 4-5
Lexile 950 AD (adult directed)
your local library
This gorgeous picture book explores eleven different frog species from around the world, from Australia to Borneo to Chile. Each spread focuses on a different species, with a wonderful illustration and an engaging description that focuses on one interesting aspect of that species. Guiberson uses descriptive text to hook readers:
"In Chile, the Darwin's frog sings in the beech forest. Chirp-Chweet! The male guards 30 eggs in the damp leaves for three weeks. When the tadpoles wiggle, he scoops them into his mouth. Slurp! They slither into his vocal sacs, where he keeps them safe and moist for 7 weeks. Then he gives a big yawn, and little froglets pop out."
This book would work very well as a read aloud for 1st through 3rd grade, either to a whole class or a small group. Older children might love reading this as they explore different types of frogs, but I really see this as working best as a read aloud. Guiberson ends the book with an interesting summary of the different species, and a note about how frogs are in trouble from environmental pressures or pollution. I do wish that she included a map identifying where the different species live, providing that geographical context for young readers.
Teachers and school librarians will be interested in this helpful reading guide
for Frog Song
. Another book for reading aloud that would complement Frog Song
is Hip-Pocket Papa
, by Sandra Markle.
Hip-Pocket PapaSandra Markle
by Sandra Markle
illustrated by Alan Marks
read aloud: grades 2-4
independent reading: grades 4-5
Lexile 1060 AD (adult directed)
your public library
and Alan Marks
have teamed up to write several engaging narrative nonfiction books about animals throughout the world. These books follow one animal, telling the story of that animal's life. Readers can clearly identify the beginning, middle and end of the story, much like they do in fiction.
Set in an Australian rain forest, Hip-Pocket Papa follows this tiny frog as they watch over and protect their eggs, and then the babies from tadpoles through maturity. Once the eggs hatch, the male scoops the tadpoles up and keeps them safe in hip pockets until they have developed lungs and turned into froglets. The text is both poetic and fascinating, as it follows one father's hazardous journey raising his young. Markle uses long sentences with complex vocabulary to paint a picture with her words:
"Finally, the eggs hatch!The jelly surrounding them turns to liquid -- a birth puddle for the twelve teeny, tiny tadpoles, swimming up and out onto the surface of the forest floor. Her job done, the female crawls away. The male stays. He has an even bigger job to do."
Alan Marks' detailed, realistic watercolor-and-pencil illustrations are perfect for showing to a whole group. The rich colors and close-up scenes draw readers into the forest setting, focusing close up on the tiny frogs and the miniature drama happening each moment. The only problem I had is really getting a sense of the true size of the frogs. Since narrative nonfiction books usually do not have text features like diagrams or labeled illustrations, readers must use the descriptive text to figure out this information.
Check out this preview of Hip-Pocket Papa available through Google Books:
Common Core Standards
Below you can see how standard 3 for reading informational text develops from 1st grade through 3rd grade, as students describe a process like the metamorphosis of a frog, or comparing two different frog species. Both of these books could be used to have students delve into a discussion about frogs' development, either examining the development of one species step-by-step, or comparing and contrasting different species.CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.3
Describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.3
Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text.CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.3
Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.
This post is part our first feature the Common Core IRL: In Real Libraries
, we're focusing on frogs. Frogs are fascinating animals, from their amazing metamorphosis as they turn from tadpole to frog, to the sheer variety in their colors, habitats and sizes. Head over to these blogs to read about:
The review copies come from my school library. Many thanks to Travis Jonker, Cathy Potter, Alyson Beecher, and Louise Capizzo for taking this journey to talk about what the Common Core means for us in real life! We look forward to this recurring series.Review ©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books
Little Brown, 2011
Min is mad, but more than that, her heart is broken...
Min doesn't have a lot of friends, but the ones she does have are loyal and close, with Al being her closest friend. Between him and the avant-garde movies she loves, her life is really good. Until Ed Slaterton showed up....
She was "arty;" he was an athlete. She had a free-spirit; his was defined by his friends. Min was under the radar; Ed was the one girls wanted to be with and guys wanted to hang with. Her lifestyle was nostalgic; his was trendy. Both of them showed each other a new world.
It was a complete accident, their meeting. She searched for him, he handed her a beer (which Min poured out discreetly). They talked that night and soon, this led to another meeting, then another...and then they became a couple.
And everyone wondered why they were together. But Ed knew, with all of his heart, that Min was different and he loved the fact that she wasn't just another pretty face. Min was secretly, than openly, thrilled about being Ed Slaterton's girlfriend, even if it meant she had to sacrifice some things, including her favorite coffee shop.
But today, she wants no part of Ed. Nothing about him in her life is the cleansing she needs. So she takes everything they ever shared, including a:
oily kitchen towel....and so much, so many more.
They go in a box, along with her story of why they broke up.
The premise of this book is simple. Each chapter contains an item and the story that goes along with it in chronological order. Told from Min's point of view, the reader becomes entangled in her story and the curiosity quotient is raised of how, not especially why, Min broke up with him. But this book is unique in another very different way. Daniel Handler writes with dangling participles galore. It will take a reader to fine tune the voice in their head to follow the pattern his writing takes on, including the ever important comma pauses he uses. It is also because of his stylized writing that Min's character truly comes out, filled with emotion and packed with meaning. Handler also creates the town Min lives in and the world of film she loves, not with the branded names of coffee houses, Hollywood, and music, but with care, choosing imaginative names to convey the feeling each name evokes.
Simple book, intricate writing....two very different styles that compliment and run alongside the two main characters in this book that reflect Handler's writing. Interspersed throughout are deft, well-spaced illustrations of each item Min discards. Recommended for high school (9-12).
Sidenote: it has been a long time since I've read a book that was actually sewn. Also, this is a heavy book (literally, not figuratively) with glossy thick pages. Not your typical YA book, and one that definitely stands out.
I'm enrolled in Katie Davis's Video Idiot Boot Camp. And while I haven't had time to dive into a larger project, I've had a little fun with some quick and easy tools introduced in her class.
Here's a little Animoto gem created in about 15 minutes for FREE.
For more information on Katie's fabulous online Video Idiot Boot Camp, check outhttp://videoidiotbootcamp.com/
Although it might not feel like it, spring is here. One of my favorite springtime stories to share is Fran’s Flower. In this story, a little girl finds a plant and decides she wants to make it grow. Unfortunately, she decides it needs food and feeds it a piece of cheeseburger, some spaghetti, ice cream and even a chocolate chip cookie. Of course, this doesn’t help the plant grow and fed up with the flower she throws it out the door. Once outside, the flower gets all the things it needs, and it grows! The colorful illustrations add to the fun. Before you start planting, share this one along with The Carrot Seed by Krauss.
Posted by: Liz
Veteran visual effects supervisor John Knoll has been promoted to the position of chief creative officer at Disney-owned Industrial Light & Magic, reports Variety.
Working directly with ILM president Lynwen Brennan, Knoll will ensure creative consistency throughout the planning and production stages of ILM projects. The move is similar to John Lasseter becoming chief creative officer at Pixar following Disney’s purchase of the company.
Knoll is held in high regard throughout the visual effects industry. He was a visual effects supervisor on the Star Wars prequels as well as the first three Pirates of the Carribean films. He has worked on countless other major projects at ILM stretching back to Willow and The Abyss, and including films in the Star Trek and Mission: Impossible franchises. Knoll is also known as the creator of the software package Adobe Photoshop, which he developed with his brother Thomas in the late-1980s.
Besides serving as a creative voice in the production process, Knoll told Variety that he will leverage the company’s talent pool by encouraging interaction between crews working on different projects. He also said that he will remain hands-off in many instances:
“We have well-established supervisors here that certainly don’t need me to interfere with their project. Michael Bay comes because he wants to work with Scott Farrar. J.J. [Abrams] comes to ILM because he has a great relationship with Roger Guyett. These things are already working and I don’t need to interfere. [My role] is just to help from a facilities standpoint to make sure they get the resources they need, and to troubleshoot problems.”
If you’re planning to launch independent writing projects in your class during the final weeks of school, then you’ll most likely have several students who might want to write a book about a… Read More
In a 3/18/13 New Yorker “Talk of the Town” piece by Rebecca Mead resides this gem:
The books of Dr. Seuss, the pen name of Theodor Geisel, depend on what Donald Pease, a professor of English literature at Dartmouth, refers to in his biography of Geisel as “plausible nonsense.” “Children will grant you any premise, but after that—you’ve got to stay on the same key,” Geisel told one interviewer.
So much more could be written about this, but I don’t know that I yet have the experience to be one to do so. However, I’m shopping around a manuscript that may set me on that path. It’s a departure for me—picture book yes, nonfiction no.
It’s funny, too. I need some way to redirect the energy I am not putting into cartooning at the moment.
I hope to be able to elaborate here soon.
You—or someone—may be shocked…
As of November 20, 2012 (that is, Midnight Eastern Time tonight) I am closed to queries. I will reopen to queries January 7, 2013.
If I already have your work, you should hear from me by January 7. (That's the point of taking the break, I have to catch up!)
I'm sorry to say that I cannot respond to new queries sent during this time.
The exceptions will be: work that I've requested -- conference material -- client or editor referrals -- and people I actually know in real life. If this is you, please be sure you've said so, along with the word Query, IN THE SUBJECT LINE of your email. Otherwise, your query will be deleted.
For all other regular queries, please feel free to try any of my colleagues at Andrea Brown Lit, or else try me again in January.
Thanks again for thinking of me in regard to your work.
Wishing you all the best, and Happy Holidays,
Andrea Brown Literary Agency
Unleash your Cereal Super Hero today! Stay Crunchy!
The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) has teamed up with LEGO® DUPLO® to expand the Read! Build! Play initiative by creating the LEGO® DUPLO® Read! Build! Play! 2013 Summer Reading List. This reading list features recommended titles that inspire play for children age 5 and under and is free to download.
To accompany the Read! Build! Play! 2013 Summer Reading List, LEGO® DUPLO® has created a free downloadable parent activity guide. This guide includes inspirational building instructions matched with each book for children and their caregivers. Doors in the Air (Orca Book Publishers, 2012) by David Weale and illustrated by Pierre Pratt is one of five titles featured in the Summer Activity Guide for children ages 3-5.
Visit www.readbuildplay.com to download free Summer Activity Guides today. Or click here to direct download the Activity Guide featuring Doors in the Air.
More About Doors in the Air
Doors in the Air is the story of a boy who is fascinated by doors. He marvels at how stepping through a doorway can take him from one world to another. He is especially enthralled by the doors of his imagination, which he refers to as “doors in the air.” He delights in discovering that when he passes through these doors, he leaves behind all feelings of boredom, fear and unpleasantness. Doors in the Air is a lilting journey through house doors, dream doors and, best of all, doors in the air.
“Surreal in its effect, this celebration of the creative mind encourages young readers and listeners to open doors of their own.” —Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2012
“Written in Seussian rhyming couplets…[and] employing alliteration that makes reading it aloud a pleasure…Doors in the Air is a fantastical triumph, celebrating the spaces in which the ordinary and the extraordinary intersect.” —Quill & Quire, May 1, 2012
While I can’t show you Robert Byrd‘s gorgeous interior art for Africa is My Home, I can show you the cover in the following book trailer. (And if you are at BEA, do stop by the Candlewick Press booth for a more comprehensive look or, even better, come to my Thursday 3:30 signing of F&Gs of the complete 64 page book.)
Author: Prudence Breitrose
Illustrator: Stephanie Yue
Age Range: 8 and up
Mousenet is a middle grade novel written by Prudence Breitrose and lightly illustrated by Stephanie Yue. The premise has oodles of kid-appeal. Mice have learned to read, and to use human computers (though it takes a whole team of mice to accomplish anything using a full-size PC). When a quirky inventor in Cleveland invents a teeny, tiny laptop (dubbed the Thumbtop), mice spring into action. They enlist the inventor's niece, Megan, in their quest to put "a Thumbtop in every mousehole" so that they can stand beside humans as the next intelligent species.
The mouse society and hierarchy in Mousenet is fully fleshed out, and quite entertaining. The mice have figured out a way to travel by Greyhound bus (though this remains rare). They use sign language to communicate. Because they have eyes everywhere, they are able to intervene with humans in surprising ways. They have their own, hidden internet (Mousenet). They are based in Silicon Valley, for a completely logical reason. This whole shadow society of secretly smart rodents calls to mind books like Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (which I now want to re-read) and Malcolm at Midnight.
The early part of the book is told from a third person (er, mouse) mouse perspective, which I particularly enjoyed. In fact, I found it a bit jarring when, in the middle of chapter two, things shifted to Megan's perspective. After that, things shift back and forth between mouse and human viewpoints. Here's an example of the mouse point of view:
"The mice felt more hopeful about picking up clues to the megging's wildness later that afternoon, after the big female had spent some time doing things to food that they'd never seen happen in this kitchen--slicing, steaming, chopping, mixing. When the girl and her uncle came in to eat, the mice looked anxiously at their inventor to see how he'd react, because the dishes that the big female had put on the table didn't look at all like his usual dinner, which tended to be either delivered or thawed." (Chapter 2)
I understand that it wouldn't have been possible to tell the entire story from the perspective of the mice (or certainly it would have been quite difficult), but I personally enjoyed the mouse point of view more than Megan's. Megan is a perfectly nice character, with passions and quirks of her own, but the mouse viewpoint is more unique.
Anyway, the plot in Mousenet moves along quickly. There isn't really a bad guy in the book, but Breitrose finds other sources of conflict (like the need to keep the existence of the mouse society hidden). I particularly liked the way the author developed the relationship between Megan and her step-cousin Joey, slowly and with friction along the way.
My one complaint, story-wise, is that I felt that the author's anti-global warming message came on a bit too strong at times. Not that there's anything wrong with the message itself, but towards the end of the book it comes perilously close to dominating the story. By making environmentalism a central trait of Megan's character, the author keeps things in hand, but only just barely. But I have admittedly very finely honed radar when it comes to messages inserted into fiction. Most young readers delving into Mousenet today will probably be fine with this aspect of the book.
Yue's black and white pencil illustrations are generally small in size, and are found about once per chapter. I found them helpful in visualizing Megan (who has unusual hair that's hard to describe), and of course in picturing the intrepid mice. There are also mouse silhouettes included atop the large-format first letter of each chapter. Emails integrated in with the text also add visual variety. Together, these visual elements of the book help make it non-intimidating to younger middle grade readers.
Mousenet has a premise that kids will find hard to resist, coupled with strong characters, and a "working together to save the world" ethos. There is humor as well as high tech. Oh, and there's a sequel, Mousemobile, coming this fall. Kids who enjoy stories about secretly intelligent animals, and/or who find the idea of a mouse using a computer delightful, will definitely want to give this one a look. Suitable for ages 8 and up (or younger, especially if read aloud).
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children (@DisneyHyperion)
Publication Date: November 8, 2011 (picture book edition released February of 2013)
Source of Book: Review copy from the author
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This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).
© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.
Forget all blog-related "schedules". I will post what I want when I want. This week's KBWT is KBWThursday. (I was off doing something else on Tuesday.)
Barefoot Books has been one of my favorite publishers since they arrived on the scene. Their folklore anthologies are attractive and fun to read. Barefoot Books is committed to providing colorful books that provide children with access to diverse cultures and activities.
Visit their Kids page to download craft activities, watch videos and listen to stories.
We are the sandcastles.
Life is the sea.
In the end each wave strips everything away.
I had a dream on Sunday of a giant cloud of fire spreading on the horizon- like a pyroclastic cloud- but fire. I could see how fast it was travelling and I knew we had to find shelter but of course there is none. But what is interesting is how real the vision was-considering I haven't seen anything like it really.
Like when I was about 4 having a dream of waking up and going to the front glass door and seeing the skeleton of a horse walk up stop and look at me then keep going- but very real and I remember it still,
I think I might have sleepwalked as a child which could explain why walking to the door was so real- doesn't explain the dead horse or how I could know what its skeleton looked like.
Or when I was twelve- a dream of a nuclear strike on a city- I and everyone killed but transformed into points of light in a kind of 'out of phase'/'out of plane' view of the destroyed city- and these strange creatures hoovering up the 'souls'. But they were not angels or devils,not a religious vision - but weird sort of energy vampire things that fed on suffering or life energy- like parasites that provoke war in our world so they can feed.
But again very real. (Unlike the usual sort of dream which I normally sabotage mid dream by realising they're not real.)
I'll post some more work in progress.
Possibly once I finish these last books I can rebuild my web presence, my blog, and my social life as I have neglected my friends and people I'd hoped to befriend as I've staggered to the finish line the last 8 months.
Actually sometimes when I'm drawing in public people ask if I was always good at it. Having found the drawings of mine that my mother had conscientiously hoarded the answer is "No", and possibly "never", but a constant has been the drive to keep going. that seems to be all there is.
It looks like it was all good until about 5 yrs old .........then this patch until now. When I start my own stuff again I will try to regain what I lost when I was 5
...with BookMooch and PaperbackSwap (and some nice shout-outs to Flux and Orca, too) at Maine Crime Writers:
I’m still operating on the same material budget I had when I took on the job as Hartland Public librarian in 2006. I don’t need to tell anyone what inflation has done to book prices, etc. since then. One of the first things I discovered when looking for better ways to build a collection was online swapping sites.
I love it.
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...I wrote about Aaron Hartzler's Rapture Practice:
Capital-b Belief is something that I have immense respect for, but I’ve never felt like I’ve succeeded in completely wrapping my mind around it. Maybe it’s one of those You Know It If You Feel It things? But this book, despite the vastly different life experience that it depicts—...when I say we believe that Jesus is coming back, I don’t mean metaphorically, like someday in the distant future when the lion lies down with the lamb and there is peace on earth. I mean literally, like glance out the car window and, “Oh, hey, there’s Jesus in the sky.” There will be a trumpet blast, an archangel will shout, and Jesus Christ will appear in the clouds.— has come the closest to helping me understand something that I’ve spent years trying to grasp.