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1. Fusenews: Hear the beat, of literary feet.

Hi ho.  Time to round-up what Jules and I have been up to over at our Wild Things blog (book promotion for bloggers means more blogging, you see).  Here’s the long and short of what you may have missed:

Whew!  We’re busy little bees, aren’t we?

  • Tra la!  It’s coming!  The greatest conference of children’s and YA literary bloggers is coming!  And Liz Burns not only has the info but also the reason such an event is cool.  Quoth she: “What I love about KidLitCon is it’s about the bloggers. Full stop. That is the primary purpose and mission of KidLitCon. It’s about what the bloggers care about. Oh, there may be authors and publishers there, presenting, and that can be great and amazing. But it’s not about them. They are there to support the blogging community: they are not there saying, what can the blogging community do for us.”  Amen, sister.  Preach!  By the way, the theme this year is Blogging Diversity in Young Adult and Children’s Lit: What’s Next?  Be there or be square.
  • So there’s a new Children’s Book Review Editor at the New York Times and by some strange quirk of fate her name is NOT alliterative (note Julie Just, Pamela Paul, and Sarah Smith).  Her name?  Maria Russo.  Which pretty much means I’ll be tracking her like a bloodhound at the next Eric Carle Honors event.  Trouble is, we don’t wear nametags at that event so I’ll probably be the crazy lady grabbing all the women, staring intently into their eyes.  Wouldn’t be the first time.

LewisTolkien 300x186 Fusenews: Hear the beat, of literary feet. I blame Saving Mr. Banks.  One little children’s writer biopic comes out where the writer isn’t seen as all kittens and sunshine (I still loathe you Miss Potter and Finding Neverland) and all hell breaks loose.  Now we hear that McG is going to do a Shel Silverstein biopic on the one hand and that there are plans to examine the relationship between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien on the other.  I’m just counting the minutes until someone tackles Margaret Wise Brown or the whole Anne-Carroll-Moore-didn’t-like-Stuart-Little story (which you just KNOW is in the works somewhere).

  • Speaking of films, when I heard that Alan Snow’s delightful Here Be Monsters was being turned into a film called The Boxtrolls I was incredulous.  That book?  The one I couldn’t get kids to even look at until they made a blue paperback version?  I mean I liked it (it came out in a year when sentient cheese was all the rage in children’s literature) but how long was this film in production for crying out loud?  Doesn’t matter because according to iO9 it’s brilliant.  Good to know.
  • So Phil Nel, our ever intrepid professor with a hankering for children’s literature, went to ComicCon.  Best of all, he’s willing to report his findings to us (so that we don’t have to go!).  Read up on Part 1, Part 2 (my favorite for the cameo of Bananaman), Part 3, and Part 4.  Phil was there promoting his Barnaby books (which he co-edited with Eric Reynolds). These include Barnaby Volume One: 1942-1943 (2013) and Barnaby Volume Two: 1944-1945 (2014).
  • Did I know that Amanda Palmer wrote a song about what she owes to Judy Blume?  I do now.
  • This is what separates the true fangirls from the poseurs.  Thanks to the CBC for the link.
  • Two Little Free Libraries have sprung up near my home across the street from the Harlem branch of NYPL.  I couldn’t be more pleased because they mean just one thing to me . . . a place to give away my books!!!  Culling books is terribly enjoyable.  It’s also part of BookRiot’s incredibly useful post 8 Tips for Moving When You Have a Ton of Books.
  • Daily Image:

Two words. Bookish shoes.  My personal favorites include . . .

Little Prince Shoes Fusenews: Hear the beat, of literary feet.

Sherlock Shoes 500x335 Fusenews: Hear the beat, of literary feet.

Book Spine heels Fusenews: Hear the beat, of literary feet.

Remember, by the way, that my sister told you how to make some of these yourself.  Thanks to Mom for the link.

share save 171 16 Fusenews: Hear the beat, of literary feet.

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2. Review: Second Star

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel. Farrar Straus Giroux. 2014. Review copy from publishers.

The Plot: Six months ago, Wendy's younger brothers disappeared. Everyone is convinced they are dead. Not Wendy. She doesn't care what the police, her parents, or her best friends think.

John and Michael loved surfing; and when Wendy meets Pete, a surfer, her instinct tells her following Pete may lead her to her missing brothers. She'll do whatever it takes to find John and Michael, including leaving home to join Pete and his band of carefree surfers.

The Good: Of course it's a retelling of Peter Pan!

I love the story of Peter Pan and what it has to say about embracing and rejecting adulthood and growing up. Sheinmel doesn't shy away from her source material: Wendy Darling is looking for her missing brothers. She has a dog named Nana. Pete's name, is, well -- Pete. Pete's girlfriend is Belle. And Pete's nemesis is Jas.

Surfing is the stand in for flying away to Neverland. Michael and John, like Pete and his friends, believe that the only thing that matters is the next wave. Wendy, the good daughter and good student -- she's on her way to Stanford after graduation -- didn't share her brothers' obsession and passion. In trying to find out what happened to her brothers, she enters their world -- and Pete's world.

Jas is the local drug dealer, dealing in "fairy dust", and Wendy's journey, her following in her brothers' path, brings her into Jas's world. Pete and Jas used to be friends, but the friendship ended when Jas started selling drugs.

As I said, I love the story of Peter Pan. I adore the 2003 film. I also love what Once Upon a Time did with their Peter Pan retelling: making Peter the villain, full stop. For the most part, thought, I've stayed away from sequels and retellings because of some of the elements of the original story, particularly Tiger Lily. Sheinmel's version avoids those problems by using Peter Pan as an inspiration, not a blueprint, and omits those parts of the story.

The essential part of the story is about growing up, yes -- and Second Star explores what it means to grow up, to embrace adulthood. Pete and Jas and the others have decided that there is only one particular way of moving forward, and that is to build their world around surfing. For Pete, that's living in abandoned homes and stealing to eat; for Jas, it's dealing drugs to buy surfboards and get money to travel.

Wendy is in search of her missing brothers, but she's also in search of herself. There is the pathway she has always been on, the one leading to Stanford. She jumps into Pete's world, into the world of her brothers -- and finds she loves surfing. Later, she finds herself with Jas, and finds herself falling for him, as she fell for Pete, and is confused by her emotions and desires. She's seeing two different pathways for her future, and has to figure out what is right for her, not her parents, not her brothers, not Pete and Jas. Those struggles are complicated, of course, and not simple -- and it's not as simple as "be a boring grown up" or "be self indulgent."

What else? There is a lot about surfing in this book. It's not just a device; it's a critical part of the story. I love that the "pirates" are drug dealers. Addiction and mental health issues are also touched on, especially as it becomes unclear how much of Wendy's search is real and how much is wish fulfillment.

Other reviews: Book Swoon; Beauty and the Bookshelf.






Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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3. Sleep Tight, Anna Banana! by Dominique Roques, illustrated by Alexis Dormal

Sleep Tight, Anna Banana! by Dominique Roques illustrated by Alexis Dormal marks the debut picture book from the premier publisher of graphic novels for readers of all ages, FirstSecond and it is a gem! Both the wry storytelling and the energetic illustrations call to mind one of my favorite picture book author and illustrators, Jules Feiffer, who has written his own bedtime story, which has

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4. WRITE. SHARE. GIVE. IT’S SOL TIME.

“Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver

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5. China Dolls (2014)

China Dolls. Lisa See. 2014. Random House. 376 pages. [Source: Library]

China Dolls is historical fiction. The novel follows three women through the latter days of the 1930s through the 1940s. Three very different women I might add. The friendship between these three women is not quite pure or ideal. Grace, one of the heroines, is running away from an abusive father. Her dream is to sing and dance and to go into show business. Ruby, another heroine, is also a dancer and performer. Helen is the third heroine. Before a chance meeting with Ruby and Grace, Helen had no big dreams of show business. In fact, Helen could not even dance! Yet, a chance meeting one day led all three women to audition for an Oriental nightclub. (For the record, Oriental is the term used throughout China Dolls.) Talent is only half of what is required, they learn. Appearance is super important. It is more important to be beautiful and amazing and be somewhat teachable than to be incredibly talented. Helen and Grace are hired to be essentially part of a chorus. (They're called Ponies.) But Ruby remains a part of their lives. For better or worse.

While each woman is given a back story and/or a sob story, I had a hard time liking any of the characters. Helen, Grace, and Ruby may spend time together, but, that doesn't mean they like each other and want each other to succeed. Helen, Ruby, and Grace could be quite mean and awful to each other.

The history is interesting. The story is certainly full of drama. The characters are incredibly flawed and remain consistently selfish.

I liked it fine, but, I definitely did not love it.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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6. MIDDLE-GRADE FANTASY (for the beach AND the classroom)

Looking for some recommendations for a middle grader who loves fantasy? Well, we’ve got just the list for you!

Here are some stellar picks for the kid looking for magical powers, mysterious forests, heros, and villains to take to the beach with him.

The Thickety

THE THICKETY, by J. A. White, is the start of a new fantasy series set in a world where magic is forbidden but exists in the dark woods called the Thickety. This book would be a great recommendation for fans of the Septimus Heap series, and here’s a book talk prepared by librarian, author, and Common Core workshop presenter Kathleen Odean:

How would you like to have the power to summon amazing creatures to do your will? When Kara finds a book in the Thickety, a dangerous forest, it awakens her magical powers. Local villagers view magic as evil but for Kara, it’s a connection to her mother, who was executed as a witch. The spells thrill Kara until the magic starts to change her in frightening ways. Is Kara in control of the magic—or is it in control of her? If she doesn’t figure it out soon, she could lose everyone and everything she loves.

There’s even a Common Core-aligned discussion guide with activities written by the author, J. A. White—an elementary school teacher! (You may not want to send this to the beach, though. Maybe save it for September.)

 

The Castle Behind Thorns

THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS, by Schneider Award winner Merrie Haskell, is a magical adventure set in an enchanted castle that will appeal to fans of Gail Carson Levine, Karen Cushman, and Shannon Hale.

When Sand wakes up alone in a long-abandoned castle, he has no idea how he got there. Everything in the castle—from dishes to candles to apples—is torn in half or slashed to bits. Nothing lives here and nothing grows, except the vicious, thorny bramble that prevents Sand from leaving. To survive, Sand does what he knows best—he fires up the castle’s forge to mend what he needs to live. But the things he fixes work somehow better than they ought to. Is there magic in the mending, granted by the saints who once guarded this place? With gorgeous language and breathtaking magic, THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS tells of the power of memory and story, forgiveness and strength, and the true gifts of craft and imagination.

Thinking ahead to the new school year, Common Core applications include: Comparing and contrasting texts in different forms or genres; determining the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; and analyzing the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.

The Dyerville Tales

THE DYERVILLE TALES, by M. P. Kozlowsky, tells the story of a young orphan who searches for his family and the meaning in his grandfather’s book of lost fairy tales.

Vince Elgin is an orphan, having lost his mother and father in a fire when he was young. With only a senile grandfather he barely knows to call family, Vince was interned in a group home, dreaming that his father, whose body was never found, might one day return for him. When a letter arrives telling Vince his grandfather has passed away, he is convinced that if his father is still alive, he’ll find him at the funeral. He strikes out for the small town of Dyerville carrying only one thing with him: his grandfather’s journal. The journal tells a fantastical story of witches and giants and magic, one that can’t be true. But as Vince reads on, he finds that his very real adventure may have more in common with his grandfather’s than he ever could have known.

If you’d like to bring this one into your classroom next year, Common Core applications include: Determining the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text; analyzing the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone; describing how a particular story’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes; and describing how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw

THE HERO’S GUIDE TO BEING AN OUTLAW, by Christopher Healy, is the hilarious and action-packed conclusion to the acclaimed hit series that began with THE HERO’S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR KINGDOM.

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You think you know those guys pretty well by now, don’t you? Well, think again. Posters plastered across the thirteen kingdoms are saying that Briar Rose has been murdered—and the four Princes Charming are the prime suspects. Now they’re on the run in a desperate attempt to clear their names. Along the way, however, they discover that Briar’s murder is just one part of a nefarious plot to take control of all thirteen kingdoms—a plot that will lead to the doorstep of an eerily familiar fortress for a final showdown with an eerily familiar enemy.

And Common Core applications for this one include: Explaining how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text; comparing and contrasting texts in different forms or genres; and analyzing how differences in the points of view of the characters and the reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor.

Happy reading!

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7. In which I receive a lesson in book reviewing ...

If you'd like a good laugh for the day, hop over to the ALSC Blog, where I'm featuring a "best of" list for book reviews written by children.

"A Lesson in Writing Book Reviews"


You can see all of my book reviews (even the ones that haven't made it to the blog) on my LibraryThing account. 


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8. Book Review: My Country 'Tis of Thee: How One Song Reveals the History of Civil Rights, by Claire Rudolf Murphy (Henry Holt, 2014)

Recommended for ages 8 to adult.

NOTE:  A guest post from author Claire Rudolf Murphy will appear in this blog on Wednesday!

Most of us don't really think much about the "patriotic" songs we are taught back in elementary school.  Before reading this fascinating account, all I knew about the song "America," more commonly known by its first line "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," was that it was sung to the same tune as "God Save the Queen."

In a stunning new picture book by Claire Rudolf Murphy, we are able to follow the history of this iconic American song, which has morphed over the years with new lyrics and versions sung in different times, as our country struggled with different issues of freedom and civil rights.

The book traces the song from its earliest version in 1740's England, when it was sung by supporters of the British monarch George II, to the inauguration of President Obama.  Murphy paints the history of the United States in broad strokes; in an interesting layout choice, the information about the song is in a smaller font, while the outlines of the historical context, written in a terse one sentence format, are in a much larger, old-fashioned font that recalls the look of early printed books and newspapers.  From a special version of the song for Washington's inauguration, to versions that call for liberty for women, slaves, and Native Americans, the song evolved to address the continual quest for freedom and justice in America.

The book is greatly enhanced by striking two-page illustrations from award-winning illustrator Bryan Collier, featuring his signature style, a mix of vibrant watercolor and collage.

Extensive back matter includes the music and lyrics for the song America, source notes, a bibliography, and further resources, including musical links.

Inspired by the book, Murphy has created the My Country Tis of Thee Music Project, which offers a play list with all the different versions of the song mentioned in the book.  In addition, choirs "of all ages and abilities" are invited to upload their own versions of the song, including new lyrics.

With the advent of Common Core around the country, teachers, parents and librarians will be looking for more outstanding nonfiction books to integrate into the curriculum.  My Country 'Tis of Thee is an outstanding book to recommend to teachers and families, particularly of children in elementary school.

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9. App of the Week: Leafsnap

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 9.39.43 AM
Name: Leafsnap
Platform: iOS
Cost: Free

Leafsnap has languished for years on my phone. The app represents the sort of big audacious online project that we as librarians need to know about. Merging geographic location with image recognition, it combines reports from the field to produce an interactive electronic guide.

For the end user, Leafsnap is designed to make a “best guess” about the species of a plant, based on an image of a leaf you upload or input through the camera. I hadn’t been able to use it before last week. It’s limitation? Spearheaded by the Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution, Leafsnap is crowd-sourced, and a caveat warns that the database best reflects the northeasten U.S. for the time being (though there is a U.K. version, too). When I heard someone speculating about the name of a specific tree while I was in Massachusetts, I was happy to put the tool to work.

One word on technique: I had better success when I photographed and cropped around a leaf beforehand, and you will need a “true white” background — the reverse side of an index card works fine. The app converts your image into an “x ray” of the leaf, queries the database and returns with a series of options, all of which contain Leafsnaps as well as more holistic images of matching plants.

photo (1)

Using the apps involves creating an account in Leafsnap’s user-driven botanical database to track your scanning and positive identifications. Inside the app, you’re creating your own log book, marking each species with a swipe, with a geographic distribution as well.

photo 1 (2)

The process of collecting and marking specimens can be addictive; even your most tender-hearted teen will respect the do-no-harm approach to nature the app represents. Within the database, the specimens link to the Encyclopedia of Life, another ambitious, crowd-sourced online project, and there’s an integrated program designed to improve your recognition skills.

photo 2

It only occurred to me after the fact that leafsnap enables a twenty-first century manifestation of the very nineteenth century impulse for classification among amateur botanists. For contrast, you can see a digitized version of Emily Dickinson’s old school herbarium here.

Leafsnap offers a fun, mobile way to involve the natural world in your summer STEM programming. And while the geographic scope of the database might seem to limit its utility, I’ve found that it works just fine beyond the specified region.

Have a suggestion for App of the Week? Let us know. And find more great Apps in the YALSA Blog’s App of the Week Archive.

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10. Photobooth Program

Planning programs that will appeal to 12-14 year olds is really, really hard for me.  This is the age where kids start to get busy, where they start having to balance school and extracurriculars with other things: like library time.  If I’m being totally honest, this is where I start losing them.

So this summer, my amazing staff came up with an incredible program that all of my teens loved–especially that middle school demographic: an in-library photo booth.  If your tweens and teens are anything like mine, they’re glued to their smartphones with Instagram and Snapchat constantly open.  This program just gave them an opportunity to have some fun with their photos. We asked them to tag their pictures with the hashtag we usually use for our library stuff, and then let them loose on these fun props:

S S IMG_0214

It could not have been more fun! It was so simple–we made the props from paper and lollipop sticks, which you can get at any craft store. We didn’t have time to make a booth, so we just put up a crepe paper background. We printed out clip art, used scrapbook paper, and there were even some superhero masks that everyone loved. It was a hit beyond anything we could have imagined, and we’ll definitely be doing this one again (we laminated the props for easy reuse).  The kids loved not only the fact that it was fun, but also the freedom that they had to personalize it and own their pictures the way they wanted to. I’ve been having a lot of success in programs for tweens that aren’t overscheduled, that allow them to enjoy some of the freedom that’s starting to come with their age.

Have you tried anything similar at your library?

*
Our cross-poster from YALSA today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a youth services librarian in Mississippi, and has worked with ages birth-18 for the last 5 years.

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11. And Here is the Winning Doodle!

KidLitReviews:

Check it Out!!

Originally posted on heylookawriterfellow:

Last week, the lovely and talented Kid Lit Reviews won my second Win a Doodle Contest. So she gets a doodle on the subject of her choice.

Kid Lit, who, it turns out, is a devoted animal rights activist, gave me her request:

How about a Great Dane standing guard over a few dogs that are behind him? The Dane is the rescuer and has rescued these other dogs from the mean streets and bad homes and now refuses to let anyone else harm them.

Okee doke, Kid Lit; your wish is my command.

great dane the protector

View original


Filed under: Children's Books

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12. Number One Sam, by Greg Pizzoli (ages 3-6)

Kids love racing against each other -- but how do we help them learn to have fun racing without hurting their friendships? It's a delicate line that kids, especially competitive ones, need to learn. Here's a book you'll love sharing with your kids, because it will make them laugh, but it will also help them think.
Number One Sam
Disney Hyperion, 2014
ages 3-6
Sam is the number one racer, always coming in first place. Just look how happy he is racing around the curves -- he's a guy that kids will love cheering on. I love Greg Pizzoli's artwork, full of dramatic lines and curves, but imbued with such bright, happy colors.


But one race day Sam's friend Maggie comes in first place, and Sam is devastated. "The night before the next race, Sam didn't sleep one wink." Little kids will know just how nervous he is. Sam works hard not to be a sore loser, and to do his best to win the next day.


Pizzoli throws a delightfully unexpected twist in the story--Sam is driving his best, passing all his friends and confident that he will win the race again. But, oh no!!!, he sees five adorable little chicks crossing the road.
"Sam could steer around the chicks,
but would the other racers see them in time?"
I can't wait to read this to little kids and see how they react to Sam's dilemma! Pizzoli creates a situation that kids will be able to relate to: how they can be competitive but also good friends. What makes this book so great is that it will help families share an experience and create conversations. And Pizzoli does this while keeping the story trimmed down to its essence: dynamic yet spare, easy to read yet captivating.

Just take a look at the Kirkus starred review of Number One Sam:
"No. 1 takes on a whole new meaning. Pizzoli’s story is a simple class act. Do the right thing—you can’t lose, ever. And most of the time, the right thing is no great philosophical conundrum but as clear as the checkered flag.
A polished work, from the words to the finish on the race cars."
Number one in my book. I'll be sharing this with our kindergarteners as we talk about what it means to be a friend.

If you like this story, you might enjoy checking out:


The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Disney Hyperion Books. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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13. A Perfect Place for Ted by Leila Rudge

A Perfect Place for Ted is Leila Rudge's delightfuldebut as a picture book author and illustrator. She has worked, wonderfully, with Meg McKinlay on the fantastic No Bears and two illustrated chapter books (see below for links to my reviews.)On her own, Rudge's book exhibits a sense of humor and illustration style that reminds me of a favorite, Emily Gravett. Ted is a "smart dog with

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14. The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc

The Lion and the BirdAs lion is working in his garden on autumn day he notices a little injured bird and decides to help the little creature. For the duration of autumn and all through winter, the lion cares for the bird. He tends to the bird’s injury and shares his home, food and even his hat throughout the cold winter months. As spring returns, so does the birds flock. The lion sadly, but stoically, bids his new friend farewell and spends the rest of the spring, summer and early autumn quietly tending to his home and garden alone. The autumn winds bring colder weather and the faintest hope that perhaps the bird will return to spend time with the lion and, much to the lion’s delight, the bird does return to his friend.

This gentle story of friendship and kindness is impeccably composed by author and illustrator Marianne Dubuc. Minimal text provides for numerous opportunities to engage little ones with questions about emotions, seasons, and predictions of what is to come. Dubuc’s soft, endearing illustrations not only compliment the text, but also further the story seamlessly. Additionally, the clever use of blank pages quietly denotes the passage of time and accentuates the spot on pacing of the story. One particularly outstanding instance of storytelling occurs when the lion is hoping for a return visit from his feathered friend. An initially crestfallen lion is followed by two blank pages. Then a single music note then appears to fly into the page, signifying the bird’s homecoming, and is followed by a wordless two page spread illustrating the reunion. It is pure happiness!

This charming and gentle book would be a lovely bedtime story to share with young children ages two and up.

Posted by: Staci


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15. #621 – Can’t Wait to Show You: A Celebration for Mothers-to-Be by Jacqueline Boyle and Susan Lupone Stonis

cover1Can’t Wait to Show You: A Celebration for Mothers-to-Be

by Jacqueline Boyle and Susan Lupone Stonis

Preliteracy Partners / Belly-Books          3/01/2014

978-0-9860511-0-4

14 page, 8 x 8 Board Book

Age:  last trimester to 3+

.

“Exciting results rom recent studies show the powerful effects of reading to babies in utero: a rhythmic, repetitive story read regularly during the last trimester will soothe your baby after he or she is born. It’s also been sown that sharing storied with pretern aies familiarizes them with the voices of their parents and other family members, and that babies can even absorb elements of language while in the womb. Such discoveries inspire the Belly Book Collection.”

Opening

“Hello in there, baby! I’m thinking of you

As you’re curled up inside me so small

Every joy we share

All my loving care

And I can’t wait to show you it all!”

Review

Can’t Wait to Show You consists of one poem of 10 5-line stanzas. The poem begins with one stanza on the first spread, two stanzas on the second spread, and alternates from there until the final one stanza spread. The rhyming scheme notation is a-b-c-c-b. If not for the first line standing alone, the 5-line stanzas are close to the limerick form.

The authors base their book on the idea that in the last trimester, the child can hear the voices outside of the womb and can remember those voices. This familiarity helps the child relax, find a happy mood, and may help the child at birth. Singing the poem will intensify this, as newborns can recognize repeated songs, which also has a calming effect. The process of reading to their yet-to-be-born child also helps the parents’ transition into parenthood and enjoy the nine-month gestation period.

1

The poem is event centered. Parents anxious to meet their child is the on-going theme consistently stated in the fifth line.

“Oh, I can’t wait to show you the . . . “

In the second stanza, they cannot wait to show their child the light of the sun through rainbows, suncatchers, and sunbeams. In the final stanza, the parents cannot wait to show the child their love. The poem is easy to find a nice consistent rhythm by which to sing the verses or simply read them aloud with ease. The meter is consistently perfect.

One of the most interesting features of Can’t Wait to Show You is the book’s shape. The edges and corners curve making the rounded book smooth and perfect for a baby-belly. The book is designed to comfortably sit atop the pregnant woman’s belly and, later, the child, as she or he sit in mom or dad’s lap listening to the now familiar poem.

22

The illustrations are beautiful. Each new spread advances the age of the child from third-trimester to toddler and then flows full-circle back to a newborn on the final spread. The babies and toddlers are happy bundles of baby fat and smiles; images that will be irresistible to most. The pages are thick, perfect for children’s grips. The weight of the book as a whole should help it stay in the given belly position.

I love the poem Can’t Wait to Show You. Here is my favorite spread; the fourth spread:

“If you try some bananas and peaches

Lick the spoon so they don’t go to waste

For your birthday I’ll make

Chocolate angelfood cake

Oh, I can’t wait to show you the taste!

 .

“Your blanky is warm, soft and snuggly

The splashy bath suds make you squeal

A kitten will purr

When you snuggle her fur

Oh, I can’t wait to show you the feel!”

The love of reading is acquired best when started early. Reading to your child in the womb is the best start, as long as reading to your child continues through the years. The beauty of the words and illustrations make Can’t Wait to Show You the perfect baby shower gift. It would also be a unique gift as unique as the poem inside the pages.

useCan’t Wait to Show You is not a novelty book. Nor is it just for mothers. Fathers can and should read to their baby; getting to know the one person who will wrap him around their finger for a lifetime. Can’t Wait to Show You is destined to become a family favorite that lasts many years, and then becomes a cherished heirloom passed down to succeeding generations.

CAN’T WAIT TO SHOW YOU:  A CELEBRATION FOR MOTHERS-TO-BE. Text and illustrations copyright © 2013 by Jacqueline Boyle and Susan Lupone Stonis. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Preliteracy Partners / Belly-Books.

Purchase Can’t Wait to Show You: A Celebration for Mothers-to-Be at AmazonBelly-Booksyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Can’t Wait to Show You: A Celebration for Mothers-to-Be and Belly-Button Bookss HERE.

Meet author Jacquelilne Boyle at her website:    http://jacquelineboyle.wordpress.com/

Meet author, Susan Lupone Stonis, at her website:   https://thereadingwomb.wordpress.com/

Find Belly-Books at the website:   http://belly-books.com/

.

Also by Jacqueline Boyle

Dead Drop

Dead Drop

 

 

 

cant wait to show you


Filed under: 5stars, Board Books, Book Excerpt, Children's Books, Debut Author, Debut Illustrator, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Poetry Tagged: baby books, baby shower gifts, board book, children's book reviews, in utero book, Jacqueline Boyle, poetry, read to baby in utero, Susan Lupone Stonis

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16. The Summer Life of a School Librarian

While many of my public library colleagues are in the midst of their busiest season, I’ve only stepped in my library once since the school year ended (and even then I promptly stepped back out, since the library has no air conditioning). Summers “off” are one of the biggest perks to working in a school, but as any teacher will tell you it’s not all piña coladas and sunscreen. For many of us, summers are the only time we can do vital professional development, including summer courses; for others, summer is a time to pick up another job to make ends meet.

So what does summer look like for this school librarian? 1. Reading. I never feel like I have enough time to read. It’s very rare that I’m reading while I’m at work (it usually only happens when the library is taken over for testing, and even then I’m usually too worried about getting the sideye from colleagues), so summer is usually my biggest reading season. This year for the first time I’ll be working with middle school students along with high schoolers, so I’m trying to take my own crash course in middle grade fiction. One tip if you’re moving into a new age group or just trying to stay current: check out your local schools’ summer reading lists. I like to load my Nook up thanks to the Boston Public Schools lists, conveniently located on the Boston Public Library’s Overdrive catalog.

2. Spending. My district’s budget was frozen last year, which meant I stopped buying new books in February–and unfortunately didn’t spend my entire budget. I’m not about to make that mistake again. I put in my first book order early so that the high school students will be able to walk in the doors to new books, and my predecessor at the middle school was gracious enough to get the first order ready to go so that I could ease my way into buying for the younger audience.

3. Interviewing. While some of my friends are looking for new jobs, I’m looking for a new paraprofessional to support me at both libraries. I’m still a little anxious about the evolution of my job, but interviewing para candidates with assistant principals from both schools has given me a valuable opportunity to have real discussions with my administration about the future of libraries and the role I can play working with this broader range of students. I’m particularly excited about the chance to start the conversations I already have with high school students about research and information literacy with the younger grades.

4. Getting married. Okay, so this one doesn’t happen every summer–hopefully never again!–but planning a wedding has really put my research skills to the test. What’s the market price for oysters? How many tables do you need for 80 guests? In a true testament to my librarian temperament, I put together a massive list of things to do in Boston that lives on our wedding website, complete with color coding for the various T stops.

What does your summer look like? Are you knee-deep in summer programming and reading incentives? Are you still in the classroom at a school with a year-round schedule? Or are you like me, trying to cram all your reading and vet appointments into two months?

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17. Guest Post by Author Claire Rudolf Murphy: My Country 'Tis of Thee: Matching Subject to Style



My Country ‘Tis of Thee: Matching Subject to Style


Author Claire Rudolf Murphy
Writing my new book My Country ‘Tis of Thee: How One Song Tells the Story of Civil Rights taught me a craft lesson that I am working to replicate again in other nonfiction projects, matching subject to style. When writing for young readers, it is a great challenge how to share one’s research in a style that connects with their lives and brings clarity and enjoyment to new, complex subjects. Stephen J. Pyne’s wonderful nonfiction craft book Voice and Vision: A Guide to Writing History and Other Serious Nonfiction discusses the importance of identifying a vision for one’s book and that finding the right style and structure to carry it out.

For many years I had been conducting research on civil rights activists throughout American history. I wanted to tell this larger story that began when the colonists first began protesting against the English taxes and continues today in areas like immigration and gay rights. But that is a great deal of material to cover in one book. As Pyne says, “If you’re lucky you have an epiphany (on what structure to use.) But if unlucky, your manuscript crawls and sprawls and never comes together.”

For many years I had been researching people of color and women who had fought for equal rights throughout our country’s history. I wanted to write a collection of stories about them. But editors kept saying the profiles were too dense, not riveting enough and wouldn’t connect enough with younger readers. For several years my project sprawled every which way, growing more unwieldy every week, with new activists and events I had uncovered, but no structure to carry the load.

Until I was knee deep into research on the women’s suffrage movement for my 2011 book Marching With Aunt Susan: Susan B. Anthony and the Fight for Women’s Suffrage. I ran across suffrage verses set to the song “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” Like many protest movements, the suffragists had written verses to well known tunes to support their cause and sing at meetings and rallies. I’ve long known that music can convince and connect with people in a way that words alone cannot.

When I found their verse (that ended up in Marching With Aunt Susan,) something clicked in me. I had that epiphany Pyne talks about. I wondered - did other movements use this same song to promote their cause? Some quick research uncovered several examples. I found more and more, until I found my climax with Martin Luther King, Jr. quoting the song in his “I Have a Dream” speech and the resolution of Aretha Franklin singing the song at President Obama’s first inauguration.



I knew immediately that all my years of research had brought me to this place where I could put this history together for young readers in a format that would connect with them in an inventive way because they already knew the melody. Everybody does. I knew immediately that I had finally discovered the structure I needed, possibly the best structure I’ve ever used in a nonfiction book.  And it brought double pleasure because it also tied into my love of music. Because I had done all that research for so many years it allowed me to realize how this song truly did represent the history of civil rights in our country. I wouldn’t have realized how important these verses were if I didn’t already understand the power and depth and breadth of protest throughout our country’s two hundred plus years. Most of my research doesn’t appear in the book, but it holds up, gives gravitas to the verses I feature, even if the reader doesn’t fully understand it. They get it. And Bryan Collier’s stunning illustrations bring these protest verses to life in a new way, too, for readers to pore over.

I am delighted that I end the book with the line: “Now it’s your turn. Write a verse for a cause you believe in.” Because this invitation to young readers has become the focus of my promotion as I help launch this book. With the support of my publisher, I have started a contest, inviting students across the country to submit new verses. I have books and posters to send to the winners.

Second graders in Spokane wrote this verse:

Schools should be bully-free,
Full of our honesty,
Friends should be kind.
Include us in your game,
Please treat us all the same,
Stop calling us those names,
Friends should be kind.


A 5th/6th grade class wrote this one:

My country ‘tis of thee
So sad the poverty
Homeless abound
God keep them in your sight
Help us relieve their plight
Shelter them for the night
New hope is found
                      
My hope is that teachers will grab onto this way to teach history and music and use it as a writing activity in class. New verses can be submitted on my web site and musical recordings of the verses can be found there too.

Let freedom ring!

Thanks so much, Claire, for writing this insightful and inspirational post for The Fourth Musketeer's readers.  


0 Comments on Guest Post by Author Claire Rudolf Murphy: My Country 'Tis of Thee: Matching Subject to Style as of 7/30/2014 10:32:00 AM
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18. A Bevy of YA Books!

Along with other things this summer, I have been reading and what I want even more is to write a full review for each one, but I read more than I can chew.  So, this time, I'm giving my "booktalk" version, two books at a time...quick, simple and hopefully addictive.  So here goes:


 Elizabeth lives on the East Coast and can't wait to get away from her annoying mother and loser boyfriend (who just broke up with her).  As an only child, she's ready for an adventure!
Lauren lives on the West Coast and can't wait to get away either.  She wants to escape the stress and noise of a houseful of brothers and sisters and find peace and calm.  She's never had a boyfriend, but little does she know romance is blossoming.
Elizabeth and Lauren will be roomies and their email exchange begins.  But as people say, you can't read emotions in text, you can only assume, which is what happens to these two girls.  Miles apart and out of context, they aren't sure if they're the perfect roomies or frenemies.  Their lives are so different, and while each girl peels away the layers, they sometimes find something they don't exactly agree on.
And when they finally arrive on campus...
What a great story about two teens' lives after high school!  They're in that transition period between high school graduation and college move-in day, and Sara Zarr captures those emotions perfectly!  The two voices blend together but are distinctly different not only in life, but in emails, which makes this novel not only endearing, but hitting that unknown so many teens are facing this summer.  Little Brown, 2013


Amy Gumm doesn't have many friends.  Living in the state of Kansas in a trailer park, she navigates through high school as best as she can, which includes taking care of herself when her mother's on a bender.  But that's all about to change...
A tornado blows into town and Amy's trailer is lifted out of Kansas and plunked down in the middle of Oz.  And when Amy opens the door, she doesn't even recognize the place.  Everything looks faded and dead.  The only thing vibrant is the yellow brick road, but it's not a road anyone travels on much anymore...it's too dangerous.
Finally when finding friends, she discovers the true reason Oz is so faded and lifeless.  Dorothy's stealing as much magic as she can to feed her addiction to it.  Every life is in jeopardy, but how does Amy stop it?
With the help of the witches from almost all points on the compass, Amy goes into full-on magical battle training so she can face not only Dorothy, but the bloodthirsty lion and the mechanized and mutilated Tin Woodsmen (you'll have to read it to find out about the scarecrow.
Urban fantasy meets classic fantasy with a twist that is both imaginative and unique. Danielle Paige takes the reader further into Oz and the horror that's happened from the flying monkeys to the munchkins.  HarperCollins, 2014




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19. Never Be Lost for Words

How likely are you to talk to a stranger? Of course, it may be determined by the time of day, where you are, and how relaxed you are. But for some people it’s just not natural for them to be chatty, especially with strangers. The good news is that those who are shy talkers can overcome their fear of speaking. It’s a matter of increasing one’s confidence in the fine art of communicating one-to-one.

Gaining confidence

Gaining confidence is the key to being in one’s comfort zone while sharing verbal thoughts with another person. You should strive to act as natural as possible. You don’t want to memorize what you’re going to say. That would be too artificial. Talking about the weather is always a good icebreaker. Be sure to take an interest in the person who you are talking to, and really listen to what they have to say. Good listeners are as important as good talkers.

Practice Small Talk

You can practice making “small talk” in the mirror until it starts to feel more natural. People enjoy genuine compliments about what they are wear. (So be observant and kind when in the presence of friends or strangers.) We all want to be appreciated. When I was teaching, I used to cut through the library to get to my classroom faster. Invariable I would cross paths with the librarian. She was a very pleasant lady. Periodically I used to compliment her on her smile, new outfit or on having good hair day. When she retired, she said that she always enjoyed running into me because my compliments “made her day.”

Be Yourself 

Be authentic. Be real, and people will like you wherever you go. Look people in the eye when you talk to them. Your eyes speak volumes when you are talking. Be sure to have smiling eyes. It will make everyone feel comfortable and interested in your presence among them. Laugh, if something is truly funny. Just be yourself, and others will want to hear what you have to say, even if it doesn’t spill out as smooth as honey.

Be a Risk-Taker

When I was in college taking my first speech class, I was nervous as heck about giving my first speech. It was an introductory speech, and you had to write your full name on the board. I wondered how I was going to relax my audience, and get them thinking positively about me. I knew that humor is like a gust of fresh air in a stale room. So I went up to the board, and I spelled out my last name in twenty wrong versions. By the time I turned around most students in the class were laughing hysterically, and they did pay keen attention to my speech.

 

 

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20. The Girl From The Tar Paper School (2014)

The Girl From the Tar Paper School. Teri Kanefield. 2014. Abrams. 56 pages. [Source: Library]

The Girl From the Tar Paper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the Advent of the Civil Rights Movement is a quick nonfiction read for young(er) readers. Set in 1950-1951 in Farmville, Virginia, the book tells the story of Barbara Rose Johns and the student strike she inspires, perhaps one of the first of its kind. The heroine, Barbara Rose Johns, is tired of the inequality between the white school and the black school. The conditions of the black school are truly pathetic and shocking. Instead of believing that nothing will change, that nothing can change, that this is just how things are and how things will always be, Barbara decides to put her mind to it. Barbara contemplates everything carefully. Once she makes up her mind, she organizes and acts. She finds supporters; she turns reluctant hesitate-to-act listeners into full supporters. By the end, her case is combined with several other cases--all from different states--into Brown v. Board of Education.

I found this an informative, thought-provoking read. I thought it was well-researched. I liked the personal approach. I would definitely recommend this one.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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21. A lesson in writing book reviews

I write book reviews.  I write them for magazines, my blog, my co-workers. I also spend quite a bit of time crafting them — tweaking this sentence, editing that.  Well, apparently, I’ve been doing it all wrong.  Perhaps it’s best just to shoot from the hip and tell it like you feel it, as the following children have done.

Enjoy this selection of entertaining book reviews. All appeared online and were written (without byline) by children participating in New Jersey’s Collaborative Summer Reading Program, “Fizz, Boom, Read!”

“Most Honest”

SpongeBob Sqaure [sic] Pants
Review
I hated it…!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Rating

(Don’t hold back, tell us what you really think!)

“Best Use of a Spelling Error”

Olivia The Princess
Author
Natalie Shaw
Review
It wasn’t the best book ever but it’s okay. I enjoyed it and it interested me a lot. I just can’t help to say I love that it retaliates to princesses and castles. I know kindergarten and 1st graders will definitely enjoy this magical princess book and the rest of the series. It was sort of challenging but with some help I can read it just fine.
Rating

(Take that, princesses and castles!)

“Sounds Kind of Creepy to Me”

Baby Unicorn
Author
Jean and Claudio Marzollo
Review
Read to me by big brother. I like that she lets all the other unicorns, even her father, touch her horn.
Rating

(I don’t know what to think about this one.)

“Yes, You can Judge a Book by its Cover”

At the Beach, Postcards from Crabby Spit
Author
Roland Harvey
Review
This book was funny because of the silly title!
Rating

(I’m guilty of choosing a book by its title, too!)

“Most Complimentary”

The Goose’s Gold
Author
Ron Roy
Review
I liked this book a lot. It was very real to me.
Rating

(What author wouldn’t appreciate this review?)

“Biggest Spoiler”

Two Bad Ants
Author
Chris Van Allsburg
Review
Those ants shouldn’t have made that decision. :(
Rating

(Guess I don’t need to read that one.)

“Highest-rated”

I’d Really Like to Eat a Child
Author
Sylviane Donnio
Review
I like this one. It was really funny. This book is an 8.
Rating

(On a scale of 1-5, this one received an 8.  I’ll put it on my TBR pile.)

 

I hope you enjoyed them!  I’ll keep an eye out for other gems. :)

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22. Guest Reviewer: The Laura Line

I recently posted an interview with Crystal Allen (who happens to blog at The BrownBooksShelf) and I felt bad that I hadn’t read The Laura Line and couldn’t review it. So, I reached out to Olugbemisola Amusashonubi-Perkovich (who also blogs at The BrownBookShelf) and she helped me find a most skilled young lady to write a review. Thanks Gbemi and Ms. ARP!  I’d say we all need to rush out and buy this book!

51O8GYjCtrL._AA160_Title: The Laura Line

author: Crystal Allen

Date: Balzer + Bray; 2013

main character: Laura Dyson

guest review: ARP

 

Laura Dyson is a fashionista, she plays baseball, and is good at it too, and she has a crush on the school’s baseball star! However,arpphoto she believes she also has a super embarrassing family history, which she is worried will drive him away. So, she keeps it a secret, and sticks with her best buddy Sage, her only friend at school (besides her teacher, of course.) Just like any other middle schooler, she has a big bully, who apparently thinks that she can’t go a day without a candy. NOT POSSIBLE! She always has a couple of Almond Joys in her pocket, even if they are a little squished, and she tries to keep her special “CHUNKY HUNKY” (a.k.a, her crush, Troy Bailey,) in sight at all times. Unfortunately for Laura, he won’t even give her a second glance.
But then, Laura and her class have to write an assignment, and Laura is pushed on all sides to learn about her long family line of strong, black women. And by doing this, she discovers they might not be so embarrassing after all….
After a few sticky situations like accidentally damaging something important to her family, and more Almond Joys, this funny story comes to an end, and we say goodbye to the wonderful, amazing, baseball player, fashionista Laura Dyson.
This book helped me understand how important it is to stay true to your culture and heritage, and most of all your family. I also liked the way that Ms. Allen showed that appearance isn’t everything.
I would recommend this book to anyone, but if you like realistic fiction, this book is especially for you!

Filed under: Book Reviews Tagged: ARP, Crystal Allen, Geust Reviewer

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23. Photobooth Program

Planning programs that will appeal to 12-14 year olds is really, really hard for me.  This is the age where kids start to get busy, where they start having to balance school and extracurriculars with other things: like library time.  If I’m being totally honest, this is where I start losing them.

So this summer, my amazing staff came up with an incredible program that all of my teens loved–especially that middle school demographic: an in-library photo booth.  If your tweens and teens are anything like mine, they’re glued to their smartphones with Instagram and Snapchat constantly open.  This program just gave them an opportunity to have some fun with their photos. We asked them to tag their pictures with the hashtag we usually use for our library stuff, and then let them loose on these fun props:

IMG_0214 SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It could not have been more fun! It was so simple–we made the props from paper and lollipop sticks, which you can get at any craft store. We didn’t have time to make a booth, so we just put up a crepe paper background. We printed out clip art, used scrapbook paper, and there were even some superhero masks that everyone loved. It was a hit beyond anything we could have imagined, and we’ll definitely be doing this one again (we laminated the props for easy reuse).  The kids loved not only the fact that it was fun, but also the freedom that they had to personalize it and own their pictures the way they wanted to. I’ve been having a lot of success in programs for tweens that aren’t overscheduled, that allow them to enjoy some of the freedom that’s starting to come with their age.

Have you tried anything similar at your library?

*
Our cross-poster from ALSC today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a youth services librarian in Mississippi, and has worked with ages birth-18 for the last 5 years.

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24. Dualed (2013)

Dualed. Elsie Chapman. 2013. Random House. 304 pages. [Source: Library]

My second attempt at reading Dualed went much better than my first. The second time I picked it up, it was an easy read. Easy meaning that I read almost all of it in one sitting. The content itself, well, easy doesn't really describe the world Chapman created in her novel.

West, the heroine, has known her whole life that she'll have to kill or be killed in order to take a place in the community. That's just how things are now. Every person has an alt--a genetic clone of sorts. Every alt poses a threat. When an assignment goes active, both know it's kill or be killed. And both also know that timing is key. They have exactly one month to complete their assignment or both will be killed. West is the only one left in her family. It's a dangerous world, a violent world. Many people are PK's peripheral kills--being killed "accidentally" during the fight between two alts. No street or neighborhood is really safe because of it. There will always be teens who have gone active and are in survival mode. Though West does not have any family in her life--readers do briefly meet Luc, her brother--she is not truly alone. Her brother's friend, Chord, cares about her a great deal. The book opens with Chord receiving his assignment; readers get a brief glimpse of what the book will be like. His assignment is completed very quickly and dramatically. Though some of the drama is lost since readers barely know the characters and haven't come to care yet. Effective for letting readers know that death, violent death, is what this book is all about perhaps.

Some

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West. I didn't like or dislike her really. I had a hard time understanding her, why, she would be completely fine being an assassin and murdering others on almost a daily or at least weekly basis. Yet be so anxious about facing her own alt. After all, the risks to her own life are the same. The fact that she was an assassin meant that she was capable of killing. It also meant that she was not afraid to put her own life in danger. Every job she took, there was risk that she could die if it went bad. Yet West does the opposite of what you'd expect: she hides and waits and hides and waits and hides and waits and mopes a bit.

Chord was a good guy, well, as good a guy as you're going to get in this crazy society where all adults have committed murder at least once. I did get the sense that he cared about West and wanted a relationship with her that was based more on them and less on Luc.

Overall, Dualed is a not-for-me book. Others may enjoy it more, of course.
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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25. WRITE. SHARE. GIVE. IT’S SOL TIME.

“Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver

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