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1. Seuss on Saturday #18

Green Eggs and Ham. Dr. Seuss. 1960. Random House. 62 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence:
I am Sam
Sam I am
That Sam-I-am!
That Sam-I-am!
I do not like that Sam-I-am!
Do you like green eggs and ham?
I do not like them,
Sam-I-am.
I do not like
green eggs and ham.
Plot/Premise: Sam-I-am tries to convince the narrator to try something new: green eggs and ham. Sam I am is definitely persistent! He stays calm while the narrator doesn't! Who will prove more stubborn?!

My thoughts: Green Eggs and Ham is one I've read dozens of times. It's fun and playful. It's repetitive. What's not to love?!

Have you read Green Eggs and Ham? What did you think of it? Did you like it? love it? hate it? Is it one you grew up reading?

If you'd like to join me in reading or rereading Dr. Seuss (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me! The next book I'll be reviewing is The Sneetches and Other Stories. 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2. Reading Roundup: April 2015

By the Numbers
Teen: 7
Tween: 5
Children: 3

Sources
Review Copies: 6
Library: 7

Standouts
Teen: Dead to Me by Mary McCoy
When the hospital calls, Alice is beyond astonished, because she hasn't seen or heard from her idolized sister Annie in four years. This was the very best kind of Hollywood noir mystery and I felt like I should be reading it with a cigarette and a bottle of scotch at my elbow.
Tween: P.S. Be Eleven / Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia
Okay, these are two different books, but I have to count them together, if only because I picked up the second as soon as I was done with the first, just to spend more time with the Gauthier sisters as they learn more about themselves, their family, and their world.
Children: Knock Knock: My Dad's Dream for Me by Daniel Beaty
Sniffle. I teared up over this meditation on fathers and sons, and growing up without each other.

Because I Want To Awards
Eye-Opening: None of the Above by IW Gregorio
While it could veer into the clinical (every so often it sounded like a pamphlet on AIS, the biological trait that makes Kristin intersex), this was also notable for the way that friends and family reacted, and not always in the way that you'd think.
Fascinatingly Flawed: Lauren in Endangered by Lamar Giles
This one stayed on my TBR list because of the biracial main character, but I tore through it because of what was going on inside her. While Lauren thinks she's a Robin Hood, her actions were almost as reprehensible as those of her "secret admirer." Part of the fascination of this book was how she came to understand that.
How Did I Not Know This?: Candy Bomber by Michael O. Tunnell
First off, I didn't know anything about the Berlin Airlift, an audacious campaign to feed the people of West Berlin in the face of Russian blockades in 1948 and 1949. Second of all, I had no idea about the pilots who dropped candy and chocolate for the children of West Berlin. I loved this story, and even more so for being true.
Still Gathering My Thoughts: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
I just finished this last night and it's one of those that has to sit for awhile. Initial thoughts? Dark, sexy, tangled, and with some fascinating riffs on belief and religion.

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3. Take action with #VLLD 15, and let your voice be heard!

As most of us can’t physically travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in National Library Legislative Day (NLLD)ALSC’s Advocacy and Legislation Committee has developed resources so you can contact Congressional leaders from home!

Check out these easy-to-use resources for taking action from your library community during the week of May 4-8, 2015.

Creating a Better Future Button

Image courtesy of ALSC

Contact Your U.S. Senators and Representatives 

Talking Points to Use with Legislators 

Letter to Congress Template 

Sample VLLD 15 Tweets

The post Take action with #VLLD 15, and let your voice be heard! appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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4. May 4-8, 2015 Celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week


Yes, April 2015 is over now, but that doesn’t mean we’re “done” with poetry! Not in my corner of the cybersphere!  First, I have one more video created by my hard-working graduate students. This one is by Jennifer M. and she has taped two young boys reading “A Teacher Knows” by Eric Ode (pronounced O-Dee) in celebration of National Teacher Appreciation Week. They are absolutely adorable and they taught me something I’ve never noticed before—that understanding poetry is in the EYES, not just the VOICE. When you watch these boys, you can really tell they GET it! And it’s not just their expressive reading—which is great—but it’s in their faces. Watch and see:


What a lovely way to celebrate teachers during National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 4-8, 2015)! If you’d like to know more about this special week, click HERE.

And for an extra treat, here's the poet Eric Ode SINGING his poem in this video here:


Or if you prefer accessing a Vimeo copy of this video, click HERE.

For the full text of this poem and 150+ more (all in English AND Spanish), order your own copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations HERE and for more Poetry Celebrations fun, click HERE

Thanks for joining me in celebrating National Poetry Month (and beyond) with homemade videos of young people reading and reciting poetry. It reminds me of Robert Pinsky’s “Favorite Poem Project” and I think it will be wonderful in years to come for these young people to see themselves when they were children, hear their young voices, and revisit the poems they enjoyed while growing up before our eyes!

Now head on over to Ellen’s place at SpaceCityScribes for more Poetry Friday sharing.

Next, I’ll be sharing more “Poet to Poet” interviews, clips from the 11th annual Poetry Round Up at the recent Texas Library Association conference, excerpts from my BOOK LINKS article on verse memoirs, and much more! Stay tuned...


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5. Meet Phryne Fisher

Cocaine Blues. (Phryne Fisher #1) Kerry Greenwood. 1989/2007. Poisoned Pen Press. 175 pages. [Source: Library]

I wanted to like Cocaine Blues. I did. There were a few things about this mystery that I did enjoy. I enjoyed the setting. Australia in the 1920s. I enjoyed the fact that there were several story lines going on at once: how Phryne Fisher had several cases, or potential cases, that she was looking into. On the surface, at least, these are all unconnected interests. The first is perhaps the least entertaining, the "case" that brought her to Australia to begin with: a concerned father wanting to check up on his daughter. He thinks she's being poisoned. One story, as you might have guessed, is about cocaine. One of Phryne's new acquaintances is searching for 'the king' of cocaine. There's a third story as well, though I hesitate to tell you too much about ANY of the stories. The fact that there were multiple stories to follow or cases to solve helped the book a good deal. I also appreciated getting to know Phyrne's new maid. There were a few minor characters that I just liked almost from the start.

But what I didn't like is the amount of smut. Cocaine Blues is far from "clean" let's just say. There will be plenty of readers who will enjoy ALL the aspects of the mystery, but, I was not one of them.

Flying Too High. Kerry Greenwood. 1990/2006. Poisoned Pen Press. 156 pages. [Source: Library]

Did I enjoy Flying Too High? Yes and no. Once I started, I felt I had to finish it. For better or worse. I'm disappointed with some of the content. I expect certain types of romance novels to have smut, but, I don't like the blending of smut into mysteries. I enjoy mysteries very much, smut not so much. (Some readers probably enjoy both, so this series will probably have fans.)

What I liked most about Flying Too High were the multiple mysteries involved. I liked following all three stories. I liked Phryne best when she was actively working on a case, and keeping her mind focused on the case. Sometimes she got TOO distracted. I thought she acted a bit unprofessional at times too.

I will probably not continue on with the series.


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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6. Color Us Thrilled!


Like most of you, we look closely at our collections, their arrangement and their kid-friendliness. We successfully morphed our Picture Book collection into Picture Book City "neighborhoods" and stopped fighting board books and made them 100% browseable in easy-to-access bins - both great "accessibility" decisions.

Since Alan, our new head of Collection Management (CM), started two years ago - and we changed our ILS - these types of changes have been far easier. Why? He has two kids and he really "gets" youth services. He knows how challenging big collections are for children seeking information and favorite books. The Dewey Decimal and multiple fiction collections with strange letters and symbols sitting atop author's last names and so.many.books.everywhere. can make a library visit overwhelming.

Our newest collection update was something that Al suggested as soon as he started working here. "Why," he mused, "don't you just color code the spine labels for your different fiction collections (early readers, graphic novels, chapter books, illustrated fiction)?" Why indeed. This coincided with an observation I made when I had first started. Since our catalog clearly spells out what particular fiction collection a book is located in (thank you automation), why do we need to even have a suffix (+, P, E, jgn or jif) as part of the call number in the catalog? We could save cataloging time by simply going suffix-less in the call number field.

Then, like peanut butter and chocolate running into each other and producing a peanut butter cup, we realized that if we took our two ideas (colored labels and no call number suffix on both books and in the catalog) we would save a ton of processing time and reach a hoped for goal- easy kids access. Al's idea sparked us!

We designated unique colors for each of our fiction collections - and while we were at it divided out our chapter book collection into tween and chapter books: early readers = pink; jgn = red; illustrated fiction = purple; chapter = green; tween =orange. Then we simply added the appropriately colored overlays to our existing collections and did global changes to wipe out the suffixes in the catalog's call number field (there's that slick new ILS!). All new books come down from CM without a suffix ((E, +, jgn, jif)  - the spine label simply has the first three letters of the author's last name or main entry. YS staff quickly determines which fiction collection each belongs in, puts on a colored overlay and batch updates the catalog.

Colored overlays show what collection books belong to. Top three books display sleek new suffix-less labels!
The results?




  • Kids (and shelvers!) more easily can spot the types of books they are looking for. 
  • The colored collections make a quick shorthand way for desk staffers to direct kids to books ("Let's find that in the red section where graphic novels are.") ,
  • Our Collection Management catalogers and processors no longer have to agonize over exactly which collection a book fits in or do small batch processing to cope with the differences between fiction collection labels. 
  • If we think a book would be better in a different collection, we simply make a quick change in overlays and a catalog update. 
  • The overlays themselves - which we have used on other collections around the library - are long lasting but still peel-offable if we want to do a reclass of individual books.
Left: Illustrated fiction (purple labels). Right: Graphic Novels
A strong partnership with a visionary CM manager and a willing YS team made the difference in making this user friendly and more efficient library workflow change.

I think simplifying Dewey numbers may be next!




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7. Completely Clementine (2015)

Completely Clementine. Sara Pennypacker. 2015. Disney-Hyperion. 192 pages. [Source: Library]

Completely Clementine is the seventh book in the series. Clementine is just as lovable as in earlier books. I continue to like the series very much. It's interesting to read Clementine so soon after reading all the Ramona books. I definitely love, love, love the Ramona books. But I solidly like the Clementine ones. I think I definitely would have liked them as a kid.

In this book:
  • Clementine struggles with saying goodbye to her favorite teacher
  • Clementine worries about if she's really ready for fourth grade like her teacher, her parents, and her principal say she is
  • Clementine nurtures her anger at her father for not suddenly becoming vegetarian; she refuses to speak to him for most of the book
  • Clementine anxiously waits for the birth of her baby sister
I perhaps could have done without the vegetarian element in the story. I'm not sure it's fair for a child to dictate what her parents eat in their own home. And I think she carries the silent treatment a bit too far.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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8. Putting Into Practice What I Learned about Authentic Information Writing From Ralph Fletcher

The Monday morning after Ralph Fletcher’s presentation on Authentic Information Writing at Vassar College, I gathered my sixth graders at our reading area and shared what I had heard and learned....

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9. 10 Ways to Make Your Summer Reading Program Inclusive

Youth services library staff have summer reading on the brain this time of year. My library is always looking for ways to make our summer reading program  as accessible and inclusive as possible. Renee Grassi’s post inspired me to create this list, 10 Ways to Make Your Summer Reading Program Inclusive!

  1. Start by becoming familiar with materials in alternative formats. Examples include large print books or braille and audio materials.

  2. For patrons seeking sensory experiences while reading, look into having volunteers create tactile books. This can even be a craft program during the summer so that kids can create their own original books to interact with.

  3. Allow flexibility within the program when measuring success. For some readers, it may be more encouraging to define each “level” not by number of books read but amount of time spent reading or being read to.

  4. Determine if you can provide your summer reading program through the mail. My library mails braille and audio materials via the USPS to all our patrons. For our summer reading program, we send prizes, event calendars and more to the youth who have registered. This way, patrons who can’t visit the library can still take part in the program.

  5. Communicate with special education staff  at your local schools to see about outreach opportunities. These contacts will benefit you long after the conclusion of your summer reading program.

  6. Think of ways the summer reading program’s theme can be inclusive. This year, we’re focusing on heroes of all kinds. For the children at my library, we took this idea beyond Hollywood superheroes. For our patrons, a hero may be a teacher of the visually impaired, a service animal or the postal carrier who delivers their books to them.

  7. Review the way that participants report their progress. Are they using a log? Is there a website online they can make updates to? Make sure you provide options so that all kids feel comfortable registering and updating you on their progress!

  8. If your summer reading program involves storytimes, select books for an inclusive audience. There are many posts on the blog with great suggestions (here and here for starters) and also lists on Goodreads, like this one.

  9. When selecting the prizes your library uses for summer reading, make sure they are as inclusive as possible. In the past, my library has taken into consideration how tactile a prize is, if the object is high contrast and if it suits a wide age range.

  10. Communication is key. Use flyers and word of mouth to spread the word. Make sure your community knows that your library is a place where children of all abilities can take in the fun of summer reading.

  11. Bonus tip: Make sure you have fun while making your programs inclusive! :)

Do you have any suggestions to add to the list? What does your library do to increase its inclusiveness?

*************************************************************

Courtesy photo from Jordan Boaz

Jordan Boaz is the Children’s Librarian for the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library, a branch of the New York Public Library. She regularly plans innovative, inclusive programming and outreach for children with disabilities. Jordan is experienced with story times, summer reading programs and reader advisory. She currently serves on the Library Service to Special Population Children and their Caregivers committee. She can be reached at jordanboaz@nypl.org.

 

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

The post 10 Ways to Make Your Summer Reading Program Inclusive appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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10. Library Loot: First Trip in May

New Loot:
  • Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Timothy Keller 
Leftover Loot:
  • The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights by John Steinbeck
  • The Midwife's Tale by Sam Thomas
  • Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas, translated by Richard Pevear
  • Murder at Mullings by Dorothy Cannell
  • Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
  • Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George
  • Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George
  • The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander
  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, translated by Christine Donougher
  • Cursed in the Act by Raymond Buckland
  • Here There Be Dragons by James A. Owen
  • The Search for the Red Dragon by James A. Owen
  • Indigo King by James A. Owen
  • The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
  • Enchantress from the Stars by Sylvia Louise Engdahl
  • The Far Side of Evil by Sylvia Louise Engdahl
  • The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 by Margaret MacMillan
  • The Infernal Device & Others by Michael Kurland 
  • The Empress of India by Michael Kurland
  • Who Thinks Evil by Michael Kurland
  • The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
  • One Summer by David Baldacci
  • Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Dr. Seuss's ABC
  • Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book
  • King's Cross by Timothy Keller
  • Ten Apples Up On Top by Dr. Seuss
  • The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss
  • Onion John by Joseph Krumgold  

      Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.  

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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11. The Flight of Sons; a pantoum

This month my Poetry Sisters and I are working on writing Pantoums. Pantoums are an old form of poetry with four line stanzas, where the second and fourth line of each stanza is repeated as the first and third lines of the next stanza. They can be any length, and don't have a set rhyme scheme. The last stanza reapeats the third and first lines of the first as the second and fourth lines. The

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12. Spring is here!

It's springtime! In Mississippi, at least, it's been spring for quite some time and actually hit 80 degrees last week. In celebration, let's highlight some springtime tales for your displays! These books either have or are coming out this spring!

It's the latest Penderwicks book! These are so lovely and the latest one is no exception. Available now, the fourth book in the Penderwicks series has a lot of heart and surprises for each family member. Your kids that have loved the last three books won't be disappointed by this one.

Listen, Slowly is a gorgeous tale of a California girl who spends her summer with her grandmother in Vietnam. She must learn to find the balance between her two worlds. An excellent follow-up to Lai's National Book Award Winning Inside Out and Back Again, this one is gorgeous and evocative. Your students that love to read about other places will devour this one.

Astrid and her best friend Nicole have always done everything together...until Astrid discovers roller derby. Derby is amazing and Astrid is learning so much...but what does this mean for her relationship with Nicole? An excellent addition to the growing canon of upper middle grade graphic novels that is so wonderful.

The first book in an exciting new series! Horace is absentmindedly looking out the window of the bus...when he sees a sign with his name on it.  What he finds under the sign will change his life forever. Gifts! Magic! New friends! Perfect for the fantasy lovers in your library.

Out next month, Murder is Bad Manners is a charming tale of murder and Mayhem at an English boarding school in the 1930s. Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong have formed their own secret detective agency...but they never thought they'd have a real murder to investigate! This one hits all the high points: historical fiction, mystery, and friendship.

*

Our guest blogger from ALSC today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a Library Consultant at the Mississippi Library Commission.

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13. Revisiting Lady Thief

Lady Thief. A.C. Gaughen. 2014. Walker Books. 304 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I wanted to reread Scarlet and Lady Thief in anticipation of the release of the third book, Lion Heart, this May. I read Scarlet and Lady Thief last spring and for the most part LOVED them. Particularly Lady Thief.

The heroine of Lady Thief is Marian (aka Scarlet). She's still very much in love with Robin Hood, but, she's been tempted with an offer almost too good to refuse. Her (abusive) husband will annul their marriage and let her go, if and only if, she plays the role of his wife while Prince John and his wife Isabel visit Nottingham. (A new sheriff needs to be appointed.) Also traveling with the royal family: Eleanor of Aquitaine, the queen mother. There's definite risk involved. But the idea of being free from him forever and ever and getting to have a happily ever after ending with her one true love blinds her for a bit. She agrees. What follows is a LOT of drama and angst and heartbreak. It's exciting and intense and emotional.

I love this adaptation of Robin Hood, a young Robin Hood. I love most all the characters. Robin Hood. John Little. Scarlet/Marian. Much. Tuck. And a few new characters as well: particularly Alan a Dale, Winchester, and Eleanor of Aquitaine. It's oh so easy to hate Prince John and Guy Gisbourne.

It's easy to recommend this series. I am eager to read the third book!


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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14. Ice Cream Summer (2015)

Ice Cream Summer. Peter Sis. 2015. [May] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Dear Grandpa, Thank you for your letter. So far, it's been a delicious summer. I am very busy. But don't worry, I am not forgetting about school. I read every day. I am conquering big words like tornado and explosion!

Premise/Plot: A young boy assures his grandpa--via letter--that his summer is going well, and that he's still hard at work learning many things (math, history, cartography, to name just a few). Readers see that all relates back to ice cream in one way or another making Ice Cream Summer a fitting title for the book. This young boy LOVES his ice cream.

My thoughts: I like this one very much! Though I can't enjoy ice cream, I am glad that others can. And the hero of Ice Cream Summer certainly ADORES ice cream. I imagine that every day of his summer involves ice cream. The word play was cute and fun, for the most part. For example, "As you can see, Grandpa, I've been working hard all summer (though I always take a break on sundaes)."

Rating: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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15. Stink Moody in Master of Disaster by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Erwin Madrid, 64 pp, RL 2

It is rare that I review more than one book in a series, but sometimes I love a series so much that I want to review a book again, just in case anyone missed it the first time around. Last year I reviewed Jessica Finch in Pig Trouble, the first book in this new sibling (in more ways than one) series featuring the characters from Megan McDonald's Judy Moody series, which spawned the  Stink

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16. Added to the List: The Great Good Summer by Liz Garton Scanlon

Yesterday I got this book in the mail.  I had read the synopsis of this on Edelweiss and put it on my fall order for my library, but didn't add it to my TBR list because it just didn't seem to click for me.

There is just something that changes when you have the physical book in your hands.

First of all, it is a really amazing cover...illustrated by Marla Frazee, one of my favorite illustrators.  I love the colors and the font.  The cover reminds me a bit of Love Ruby Lavender, one of my favorite middle grade reads.  That script font is used throughout the book and I just love how it looks!
Re-reading the synopsis made me tear up a little bit so this book got added to my TBR and moved way up to the top!

Here's the synopsis from GoodReads:

Ivy and Paul hatch a secret plan to find Ivy’s missing mom and say good-bye to the space shuttle in this evocative, heartfelt novel reminiscent of Each Little Bird that Sings and Because of Winn-Dixie. Ivy Green’s mama has gone off with a charismatic preacher called Hallelujah Dave to The Great Good Bible Church of Panhandle Florida. At least that’s where Ivy and her dad think Mama is. But since the church has no website or phone number and Mama left no forwarding address, Ivy’s not entirely sure. She does know she’s missing Mama. And she’s starting to get just a little worried about her, too. Paul Dobbs, one of Ivy’s schoolmates, is also having a crummy summer. Paul has always wanted to be an astronaut, and now that NASA’s space shuttle program has been scrapped, it looks like his dream will never get off the ground. Although Ivy and Paul are an unlikely pair, it turns out they are the perfect allies for a runaway road trip to Florida—to look for Mama, to kiss the Space Shuttle good-bye, and maybe, just maybe, regain their faith in the things in life that are most important.

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17. #686 – Dragon and Captain by P. R. Allabach & Lucas Turnbloom – Flashlight Press

I cannot recall so many 6-star reviews in such a short period of time (5 of 7 current titles). I didn’t hand-pick them, it was simply their turn. I hope you have a chance to read each of these books, and any other that might make the list this year. Today, another winner arrives today. Debut author Allabach and award-winning cartoonist Turnbloom blend the picture book with the graphic novel for a unique experience.
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d&c-cover30x
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Dragon and Captain

Written by P. R. Allabach
Illustrated by Lucas Turnbloomtop book of 2015 general
Flashlight Press            4/01/2015
978-1-9362613-3-8
32 pages               Age 5—7
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“What is Captain doing in Dragon’s sandbox? He’s moping over his lost ship. Dragon is a boy in a robe and pajamas. Captain is a boy with a three-sided hat. But when they set off on a backyard adventure to find the lost ship, they become . . . DRAGON AND CAPTAIN, FEARLESS EXPLORERS! Together they trek through a dark forest, climb down a cliff, and hike all the way to the sea to outsmart a band of evil pirates! Can dragon and Captain rescue the missing ship . . . before lunch?” [book jacket]

Review
Imagine a picture book partially written as a graphic novel. That image is Dragon and Captain, the story of two little boys who wake up one morning to confront a mystery—where is the Captain’s ship. Did the sea grab hold, dragging it far away, or did something more nefarious occur?

While enjoying his breakfast, a blue-hued Dragon spies a red-haired pirate trespassing in his sandbox. Rushing out, Dragon confronts the intruder,

“Hey, pirate. What are you doing in my sandbox?”
“I’m not a pirate, good sir. I’m the captain of a ship.”
“You look like a pirate.”

Thus begins the wonderfully witty and whimsical, fantasy-filled, backyard adventure. Turnbloom’s graphite, ink, and digitally painted illustrations alternate between the boys’ imagination—told as a comic strip—and their reality—seen in traditional picture book spreads. The process enhances the story with vivid action, and gives the reader direct access to the young boy’s right-brained imagination and creativity.

Bear

Captain and Dragon’s world is void of technology. A crayon drawing, a paper-towel tube, and a toy watch respectively become a map, a telescope, and a compass. What would your imagination do with green bushes, a water sprinkler, and a stone walkway? How would your creativity re-claim the Captain’s ship using only toy sandbox shovels, paper, and a bicycle? Why must the duo sneak past the one-eyed teddy bear? Captain, and his new friend Dragon, trek through a dangerously dark forest and scale a cliff to reach the sea, never leaving the backyard and finding all the above items valuable to their journey.

I love that Dragon and Captain could ignite a child’s innate imagination, sans technology. I love that after reading Dragon and Captain, kids might see their surroundings as an adventure; everyday objects as imaginatively malleable; and reading as exciting and essential. Parents will enjoy reading Dragon and Captain to their children, especially after hearing their cries of,

“I’m bored. There’s nothing to do around here.”

Yes, there is something to do and Dragon and Captain will show the way. Kids will love the brightly colored illustrations by award-winning cartoonist Turnbloom, and the backyard fantasy-adventure, smartly written by debut author Allabach. Dragon and Captain is a terrific book for any “Books for Boys” list, yet girls will love it, too. Aye, matey, this girl adores both the Dragon and the Captain.

DRAGON AND CAPTAIN. Text copyright © 2015 by P. R. Allabach. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Lucas Turnbloom. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Flashlight Press, Brooklyn, NY.

Purchase Dragon and Captain at AmazonBook DepositoryFlashlight Press.

Learn more about Dragon and Captain HERE.
Dragon and Captain Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/DragonandCaptain
Meet the author, P. R. Allabach, at his/her website:  http://prallabach.blogspot.com/
Meet the illustrator, Lucas Turnbloom, at his/her facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/lucas.turnbloom
Find more picture books at the Flashlight Press website:  http://www.flashlightpress.com/

AWARDS
2015 Literary Classics Seal of Approval

Review Section: word count = 389

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
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dragon and captain allabach and turnbloom - flashlight press 2015


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Debut Author, Favorites, Graphic Novel, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Top 10 of 2015 Tagged: backyard adventure, creativity, Dragon and Captain, dragons, fantasy-adventure, Flashlight Press, imagination, Lucas Turnbloom, P. R. Allabach, pirates

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18. Week in Review: April 26 - May 2

From May:

Lady Thief. A.C. Gaughen. 2014. Walker Books. 304 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
Green Eggs and Ham. Dr. Seuss. 1960. Random House. 62 pages. [Source: Library]
Ice Cream Summer. Peter Sis. 2015. [May] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Completely Clementine. Sara Pennypacker. 2015. Disney-Hyperion. 192 pages. [Source: Library]
 
From April:
Scarlet. A.C. Gaughen. 2012. Walker. 292 pages. [Source: Library]
Charlotte's Web. E.B. White. Illustrated by Garth Williams. 1952. HarperCollins. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Gone Away Lake. Elizabeth Enright. 1957. 256 pages. [Source: Library]
The Devil's Arithmetic. Jane Yolen. 1988. Penguin. 170 pages. [Source: Bought]
17 Carnations: The Royals, the Nazis, and the Biggest Cover-Up in History. Andrew Morton. 2015. 384 pages. [Source: Library]
Dragon Spear. Jessica Day George. 2009. Bloomsbury USA. 248 pages. [Source: Library]A Travelogue of the Interior: Finding Your Voice and God's Heart in the Psalms. Karen Dabaghian. 2015. David C. Cook. 274 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Experiencing the New Birth: Studies in John 3. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. 2015. Crossway. 400 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Prince Caspian. C.S. Lewis. 1951. HarperCollins. 240 pages. [Source: Bought]

This week's recommendation(s):

I loved rereading Scarlet and Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen. My review of the third book will be coming soon!

I loved rereading Charlotte's Web.

Devil's Arithmetic is a compelling read; I loved it more than Number the Stars. A lot more. So I definitely recommend it.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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19. Cover Reveal: Sweatherweather by Sara Varon

Cover Reveal Day is here once more!  This time it’s a true doozy.  A Sara Varon (and you know how the kids clamor for her).  Here’s a bit of a description and the book itself.  And I know my mom would approve of how they’re holding their knitting needles:

Back before Odd Duck, before Robot Dreams, Sara Varon created Sweaterweather. This endearing, quirky volume is a captivating look into Varon’s creative process. It combines short comics stories, essays, and journal entries, and invites the reader into the world of Sara Varon: where adorable, awkward anthropomorphic animals walk the streets of Brooklyn and a surprising, sideways revelation is waiting around every corner.

First Second is proud to introduce Sweaterweather to a new generation of readers in this gorgeous jacketed hardcover, with a new cover and plenty of new content.

Many thanks to the good folks at First Second for this sneaky peek!

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20. Fog Diver Giveaway

This has been the Week of ARCs.  I received TWO copies of Fog Diver by Joel Ross and I'd love to gift one to somebody.

Chess is a tether diver.  He dives from an airborne salvage raft into the Fog that covers the earth. The Fog eventually poisons humans exposed to it, forcing people to live on the sides and tops of mountains.  The remains of human civilization lie beneath the Fog, just waiting to be retrieved by tether divers like Chess.  But Chess is different.  One of his eyes has Fog swirling inside it.  He hides this disfigurement the best he can with the help of the salvage raft's crew - Hazel, bossy, clever and brave; Swedish, the best pilot a raft could have but a wee bit paranoid; and Bea, the sweetest little gearhead around.  Chess's eye makes him the prey of the evil Lord Kodoc of the Roof-toppers and puts his crew mates and their foster mother, Mrs. E, in danger of capture, slavery or worse.

Set far in the future - the origin of the Fog is technical and strained this reader's credulity - the crew's conversation is peppered with pop culture references from the 20th and 21st centuries.  Ross mixes facts and fiction in these references in a humorous diversion from the fast paced action of the plot.

The crew flies, crashes and tumbles from one dangerous situation to another for the ENTIRE book.  And there are enough questions left at the end of the book to make a sequel, maybe more than, one a probability.  I say, a sequel is a necessity.

Ross designs a clever future world, laid waste by technology run amok.  Chess and his crew are a likeable close-knit family and Ross gives each character specific talents and personalities. 

Young readers won't care how the Fog began.  They WILL LOVE all the action and last-second escapes in this book.

If you'd like a copy of Fog Diver, which, alas, does not have any art or cover design on it, please comment below.   The book is due out on May 26th.  I will do my best to get it to you before then.

This giveaway offer ends on May 18th.  Remember, I choose the winner by putting your comments in the Oracular Yogurt Container and picking one.  So comment away!!

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21. #687 – The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake by Robin Newman & Deborah Zemke

Quick note: Not surprisingly, the motherboard died one last time, just days after arriving home from its last death. I am at the library and running out of time. Please excuse the unfinished post. I will get all images and links up as son as I can. I hope you enjoy the review, such as it is. ~Sue
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The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake
Written by Robin Newman
Illustrated by Deborah Zemke
Creston Books          2015
978-1-939547-17-0
40 pages            Age 7—9
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“When food goes missing on Ed’s farm, Detectives Wilcox and Griswold do what it takes to track down the thieves. In this case, Miss Rabbit’s carrot cake has disappeared. Has it been stolen? Or eaten? Or both? Who dunnit?” [publisher]

Review
Oh, my, a carrot cake has gone missing and Miss Rabbit, besides being crumbed by cake from head to toe (she did bake the now missing carrot cake), is hopping mad. Good thing the MFI’s are on the case, with Captain Griswold and Detective Wilcox as lead investigators. These two small Missing Food Investigator mice may have experience, but the layered Case of the Missing Carrot Cake just might be unsolvable.

I know detectives do not want to be viewed as cute, but cute is an apt word. From their gruff-looking MFI badge pictures, to their droll 1950’s cop-speech—think Friday of Dragnet—Griswold and Wilcox are all business, but adorable. The two made me laugh each time they spoke. Kids may not know who Sargent Friday was, but if a parent were to channel Sargent Friday while reading Detective Wilcox’s story, their children will at least get part of the joke.

“It was 10:00 Monday morning. The captain and I were working the day shift when we got our first call . . . Every day food goes missing from the farm. Sometimes it’s lost. Sometimes it’s stolen. Sometimes it just runs away.”

The first four chapters introduce the usual suspects: Fowler, the Owl (Alibi. He was picking up his dinner in the field); Porcini, the Pig (a convicted corn robber, he was with Miss Rabbit—she refused a refreshing hot cup of slop); Hot Dog, a dog (evidence is found! Hot Dog is, according to Wilcox, “in as pickle”); and . . . uh, oh. Where did suspect number four hide? I know there is a fourth, but, unlike Detective Wilcox, I am no missing food investigator.

The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake will delight readers. Kids will love the goofy characters, the illustrations, and the oft-used humor. Adults will also laugh, and sometimes groan, but always appreciate the humor and Wilcox’s Dragnet performance.

“Just give us the facts and nothing but the facts . . . “

The illustrations enhance the story on every page. The short chapters, just right for readers learning to read on their own, and illustrations that make each page come alive, kids will begin viewing reading as entertainment, rather than something one only does in school. Each of the seven characters is well-developed with distinctive personalities. I love Hot Dog, who towers over the detectives, yet gives them all due respect. Twists do occur, so do not get cozy with your solution to this case.

Will the MFI solve The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake? Will the residents of Ed’s Farm ever be safe from bakery thieves? To find out, check out Newman’s debut chapter book. I hope there are more cases to solve. The MFI detectives can delight readers again and again . . . they just need missing food to find.

THE CASE OF THE MISSING CARROT CAKE. Text copyright © 2015 by Robin Newman. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Deborah Zemke. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Creston Books,

Purchase The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake at Amazon—Book Depository—iTunes—Creston Books.

Learn more about The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake HERE.
Meet the author, Robin Newman, at her website:
Meet the illustrator, Deborah Zemke, at her website:
Find more chapter books at publisher, Creston Books, website: http://www.crestonbooks.com

Review Section: word count = 473

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
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Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Chapter Book, Debut Illustrator, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Reluctant Readers Tagged: beginning to read on your own, book for boys, Creston Books, Deborah Zemke, Dragnet, mystery, Robin Newman, The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake, whimsical, witty

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22. What should I teach next?

There are a few weeks left in the school year. Here are some tips for working through the If... Then... books if you'd like to plan your own unit of study.

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23. Nightbird by Alice Hoffman

  Twig is an only child as far as the townspeople know.  They don't realize that her older brother James lives in the attic, out at Fowler Farm.  Twig's mother returned to the family farm late at night when Twig was small.  The rules were set right then and there.  The Fowlers kept to themselves; made no friends; excepted no visitors.  200 years before, Agnes Early, who lived in abandoned Mourning Dove Cottage, put a curse on all the men in the Fowler family.

The town of Sidwell accepts their own, no matter how strange they behave.  Besides, with a series of small thefts, reports of strange things flying at night and weird graffiti, the townsfolk can't worry about the Fowler women.

Then, one day, Mourning Dove Cottage is no longer abandoned.  Twig finds a friend.  James finds a reason to come out of hiding.  And the Fowler family finds themselves in the spotlight.

The story is compelling.  The characters well-drawn and sympathetic.  The dilemma faced by all the young people in this book is troublesome.  How do they protect James from people who might misunderstand his differences?  How can they break the curse?

I never felt that the book was written for young people.  There was a measured pace - not that things didn't happen quickly enough.  They did.  But the pace seemed better suited to more seasoned readers.  As things became complicated, though, I felt the author explained feelings too much.  I wasn't sure she trusted her audience.  These two things made a stellar book a little less starry.

The story is the kind we fall asleep dreaming of - possibilities, hopes and moonlight.  Enjoy.

0 Comments on Nightbird by Alice Hoffman as of 5/3/2015 5:23:00 PM
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24. YALSA Member Town Hall - May 14th

I hope you will join me from 8:00 – 9:00pm, eastern, on Thursday May 14th for the next YALSA Member Virtual Town Hall!

I’ll be providing an update on what YALSA leaders and staff have been doing to realign YALSA’s programs and services towards the Futures Report in order to better serve members.  Some exciting new resources are coming, so don’t miss the chance to get the inside scoop!  I’ll also build in lots of time so members can share their thoughts on other actions you’d like YALSA to take to better support you in your efforts to implement the recommendations in the report.

Advance registration is not required and the event will be held via YALSA’s webinar platform, Adobe Connect.  The event will be recorded for anyone who cannot attend some or all of the live session.

Looking forward to chatting with you soon!

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25. YALSABLOG TWEETS OF THE WEEK - MAY 1, 2015

A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between May 1 and 7 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.

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