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1. Thursday Review: THE NAMELESS CITY by Faith Erin Hicks

Synopsis: If you keep up with Finding Wonderland, you'll know I already have plenty of awe and amazement for graphic novelist Faith Erin Hicks. (See reviews here, here, and here, and interview here.) Her latest contribution—officially to be... Read the rest of this post

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2. Etymology gleanings for March 2016

Preparation for the Spelling Congress is underway. The more people will send in their proposals, the better. On the other hand (or so it seems to me), the fewer people participate in this event and the less it costs in terms of labor/labour and money, the more successful it will turn out to be. The fate of English spelling has been discussed in passionate terms since at least the 1840s.

The post Etymology gleanings for March 2016 appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. The Genius Factor: How to Capture an Invisible Cat

invisiblecatcover Utterly bonkers and enormously fun for all that, full of wackiness, crazy inventions, tight corners and one seriously big (and invisible) problem to solve, The Genius Factor: How to Capture an Invisible Cat by Paul Tobin (@PaulTobin) with illustrations by Thierry Lafontaine (@ThierryArt) has had me and my eleven year old giggling with delight.

It’s a madcap tale of one bright Nate Bannister, who – rather admirably – makes a conscious effort to keep his life interesting; every Friday the 13th he chooses to do three things which are either a challenge or likely to bring some adventure. This year this includes creating an enormous, invisible cat who does indeed make life rather more exciting… by going on the rampage.

Fortunately Nate has a loyal friend (indeed, his only friend), Delphine, and together they try all sorts of things to stop the crazy cat from destroying their neighbourhood. Inventions galore and smart thinking abound, but it’s not at all straight forward, because the Red Death Tea Society (ominous baddies of the most evil variety, who just happen to have astonishing tea brewing skills) are set on preventing Nate and Delphine from saving the day.

This riotous book, ideal for 9-12s, celebrates being a little bit different and being curious and clever. Brilliantly, it does this with a great dose of silliness and laughter, so it always feels exhilarating and never sanctimonious. Pacey, eccentric, highly imaginative and with characters and a story line likely to appeal to both boys and girls, I’d suggest How to Capture an Invisible Cat to anyone who loves off-the-wall adventure and thinking outside the box.

There’s something very mysterious about the Red Death Tea Society and so we couldn’t resist having a go at making up some tea they might enjoy. We gathered our tea making ingredients; a mixture of warm spices (cinammon, cardomum, cloves, star anise), fresh herbs (rosemary, sage mint), citrus zest (lemon and orange) and sugar lumps, plus small muslin squares to make the teabags (alternatively you could make teabags out of coffee filters using these instructions, or be inspired by this tea bag themed pinterest board).

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Deciding on tea flavours was a bit like mixing up magic potions.

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Once the flavours were carefully selected, the muslin squares (about 12cm long on each side) were tied up with red thread, and a tea bag label was stapled onto the thread (using a knot to hold it in place).

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M designed the logo for the teabags, but if you’d like to use them you can download them here (pdf).

Once all our teabags were ready, we made boxes for them:

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(Again, if you’d like to re-use the logo, here it is in a large size, idea for using on boxes.)

We filled some our boxes up (you’d better watch out, in case you find one on your doorstep!)…

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But we also had to brew some tea for ourselves:

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And of course, a cup of tea without a biscuit is no good, so we made some invisible cat cookies.

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Yes, you may be able to see them, but this is only because they contain that magical invisible cat de-cloaking device (spoiler alert): peanut butter. (Here’s the recipe we used.)

Whilst making tea and eating peanut butter cat biscuits we listened to:

  • Scat Cat by Eric Herman and the Invisible Band
  • Peanut Butter by The Liverbirds (do watch this!)
  • Invisible Friends by Dog On Fleas

  • Other activities which might work well alongside reading How to Capture an Invisible Cat include:

  • Making inventions! You could design them using carbon paper to get the look (that old fashioned blue ink), or in 3D with lots of junk salvaged from your recycling bins.
  • Playing around with invisibility. I’ve gathered some crafts and activities which explore invisibility here.
  • Thinking of three things which would make your life more interesting and attempting to achieve one of them! They don’t need to be quite as crazy as Nate’s ideas – you could decide as a family to learn a new language or skill, try a new cafe or just asking your local librarian for a book recommendation. And if you want to know when all the Friday the 13ths are – here’s a handy table.

  • If you liked this post you might like these other posts by me:

  • Picture books about tea parties
  • A rather less ominous cat/tea party (how to make a cat cafe)
  • A selection of family friendly books about tinkering – great for inspiring inventions!
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    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher and this post is the final part of a blog tour that’s been travelling around the world:

    Monday, March 21 — Daddy Mojo (US)

    Tuesday, March 22 — Nerdy Book Club (US)

    Wednesday, March 23 — Jenuine Cupcakes (US)

    Thursday, March 24 — This Kid Reviews Books (US)

    Friday, March 25 — Fiction Fascination (UK)

    Monday, March 28 — Gobblefunked (ANZ)

    Tuesday, March 29 — MumtoFive.com (ANZ)

    Wednesday, March 30 — Playing by the Book (UK)

    InvisibleCat_TourBanner (00000002)

    4 Comments on The Genius Factor: How to Capture an Invisible Cat, last added: 3/30/2016
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    4. Turning Pages Reads: SOUNDLESS by Richelle Mead

    Welcome to another session of Turning Pages! Synopsis: Long ago, Fei's community of hearing impaired people was cut off from others by a huge rockslide. Their mining community continued to mine, and to send down their wealth of metals via zipline... Read the rest of this post

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    5. Thursday Review: THE FOG DIVER by Joel Ross

    Check it out--no whitewashing here!Synopsis: The Fog Diver was this year's Cybils Award winner for Elementary and Middle-Grade Speculative Fiction, and I've been intending to read it for several months now—so when it won the Cybils I made a... Read the rest of this post

    0 Comments on Thursday Review: THE FOG DIVER by Joel Ross as of 3/17/2016 11:54:00 AM
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    6. Turning Pages Reads: TRUTHWITCH by Susan Dennard

    Welcome to another session of Turning Pages! Synopsis: Safiya fon Hasstrel is a Truthwitch, who can discern the truth in all situations, and of the upper class. Though she usually doesn't look or act like it, as her uncle has drank away much of the... Read the rest of this post

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    7. Read Out Loud | Steve Light Reads Swap!

    READ OUT LOUD - Steve Light Swap Featured Image

    StoryMakers guest Steve Light returned to KidLit TV HQ to read his latest book, Swap! A young first-time pirate barters his way around the port to help a friend in need.

    Swap! is one of several new books Steve Light will have published in 2016. Steve revisits his signature illustration style; black and white drawings — with a pop of color — and tons of detail. Steve continues to encourage young readers to explore and collaborate with the aid of friendly and helpful characters.

    KidLit TV’s Read Out Loud series is perfect for parents, teachers, and librarians. Use these readings for nap time, story time, bedtime … anytime!

    Watch Steve on StoryMakers and download activity kits for his previous books.

    StoryMakers - Steve Light

    Swap CoverSwap!

    ABOUT SWAP!

    Swap Cover IndieboundSwap!
    Written and illustrated by Steve Light
    Published by Candlewick Press

    An old ship. A sad friend. A button … An idea. Let’s SWAP! In a young scalawag’s first tale of bartering, a peg-legged youngster sets out to help his captain repair his vessel. One button for three teacups. SWAP two teacups for four coils of rope. SWAP and so it goes, until the little swashbuckler secures sails, anchors, a ship’s wheel, and more … including a happy friend. Steve Light’s intricate pen-and-ink illustrations, punctuated by brilliant blue and other hues, anchor this clever tale of friendship and ingenuity.

    ABOUT STEVE LIGHT

    Steve Light is the author and illustrator of several books for children. When he isn’t writing, he’s teaching pre-k students in New York City. Steve is a collector of fountain pens; he has more than 80. When Steve isn’t writing and illustrating he can be found creating models — some of which are inspired by his books –, or carving storyboxes; wood dolls and props that fit in a box, which can be used to tell stories. Steve lives in New York City with his wife.

    CONNECT WITH STEVE LIGHT
    Website | Instagram | Twitter

    CONNECT WITH KidLit TV
    Facebook Group | Facebook Page | Instagram | Newsletter | Pinterest | Twitter | YouTube

    Read Out Loud
    Executive Producer: Julie Gribble | Producer: Kassia Graham

    LIKE IT? PIN IT!
    Read Out Loud - Steve Light (Swap!)

     

    This post contains affiliate links.

    The post Read Out Loud | Steve Light Reads Swap! appeared first on KidLit.TV.

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    8. Turning Pages Reads: THE RAVEN AND THE REINDEER by T. Kingfisher

    Welcome to another session of Turning Pages! Synopsis: This book was my Valentine's gift to myself. upon a time in Hans Christian Andersonland, an evil troll creates a mirror which reflects things as they are not. Facing beauty, it regardless shows... Read the rest of this post

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    9. Quick Monday Reviews: THE SHEPHERD'S CROWN and THE DETOUR

    Two very different titles (genre- and style-wise) to cross my desk this past week were Terry Pratchett's final Tiffany Aching book and S.A. Bodeen's latest action-packed suspense tale. The Shepherd's Crown brings to a close that subset of the... Read the rest of this post

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    10. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle | Book Review

    A Wrinkle in Time is a classic novel from award-winning novelist Madeleine L'Engle.

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    11. Johnny Foolish, by Julian Ledlin | Book Review

    Complete with bush walks and a vegemite sandwich, Johnny Foolish is an Australian tale worthy of a read—too right!

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    12. New sketches for preschool picture book that celebrates the wonders of Springtime!







    0 Comments on New sketches for preschool picture book that celebrates the wonders of Springtime! as of 2/22/2016 1:28:00 PM
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    13. Monday Review: THE DARK DAYS CLUB by Alison Goodman

    Summary: Calling all Regency period enthusiasts! Historical fantasy fans! Fans of books like A Dark and Terrible Beauty, the Stoker and Holmes books, anything by Robin LaFevers—I know those aren't Regency period, but you will definitely want to... Read the rest of this post

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    14. Sky Jumpers, by Peggy Eddleman | Book Review

    Sky Jumpers depicts a post-apocalyptic world after World War III. Its spunky heroine, Hope Toriella, her best friend, Aaren, and their acquaintance, Brock, are risk-takers who like to climb the cliff at the town’s edge, hold their breaths, and jump through the Bomb’s Breath.

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    15. Turning Pages Reads: HOLDING COURT by K.C. Held

    Welcome to another session of Turning Pages! Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Jules Verity - whose last name does indeed mean "truth" can't stop herself from blurting the truth. All of it. All the time. The weird thing is, though, that she can't exactly... Read the rest of this post

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    16. Turning Pages Reads: PULL by Anne Riley

    Welcome to another session of Turning Pages!Synopsis: It was pretty well going to be the most depressing visit to Blackheath 17-year-old Rosie Clayton had ever taken. Though she visited her grandparents in the London neighborhood from Nashville... Read the rest of this post

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    17. #820 – Greatest Guru in All the World by Jojo Wood

    Today is Take Your Child to the Library Day! Get out those library cards at get thy self and children (don’t have any, borrow one or more from a mom needing a break), and get to the library. Check out the new books, the old books, storyhour, and everything else your local library offers. Today’s …

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    18. Thursday Review: SECRET CODERS by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes

    Summary: I've been meaning to review this one for an embarrassingly long time. I had looked forward to reading it ever since first hearing about it—we are huge fans of our own (relatively) local Gene Yang here at FW and have not only interviewed... Read the rest of this post

    0 Comments on Thursday Review: SECRET CODERS by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes as of 2/4/2016 5:44:00 PM
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    19. The Shadows of Sherwood, by Kekla Magoon

    Robyn is a tinkerer.  She loves building things with her dad, but since her dad's job has taken up most of his time lately, Robyn is on her own.  One night after Robyn sneaks out as usual to head to the junkyard to find a voltage adapter for a project, things seem a bit off.  Usually dodging the guards and scaling the fence are fun endeavors, but this night the guards are more soldier-esque than usual.  And this time when she made it over the fence, there was a dog.

    Luckily Robyn is a prepared girl, and has a pocket full of bacon to keep the dog at bay. True, the bacon was orignally for Robyn's friend Barclay who calls the junkyard his home, but Robyn is thankful she packed it.

    It turns out that changes are afoot in a much more far ranging way than just upped security in the junkyard.  This night comes to be called the Night of Shadows, and what it is is a coup.  The standing government and all of the members of parliament are rounded up and/or killed. Robyn's father works for the government.

    When she races home, she finds a horrifying sight.  Her empty house is in shambles and her parents are gone.  All that is left is a puddle of blood in the kitchen. Robyn is a wanted girl.

    Now Robyn is forced to try to remember all of the warnings her father gave her that she only half listened to.  The ones that started with "If anything ever happens to me and your mother...".  Upon hearing strangers back in her house she takes the few items from her safe and takes off into the forest.

    What comes next is an adventure that will keep readers up well into the night.  Solitary Robyn must learn that sometimes it's okay (and necessary) to trust others. Her group of friends must learn to live by their wits and manage to help others who may not be so resourceful along the way.

    Magoon has reimagined the world of Robin Hood in an alternate time period and has woven in technology and the idea of the big brother very well.  Readers do not need to be familiar with the original tale to have a rip roaring time, but the ones who are familiar will likely be pleased with the reimagining of many of the main characters.  Magoon has also woven in moon lore as an aspect of the world building that brings an air of fantasy to the whole story.

    I cannot wait for the next installment of this exciting story!

    0 Comments on The Shadows of Sherwood, by Kekla Magoon as of 1/17/2016 12:01:00 PM
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    20. Andrew S. Chilton, Author of The Goblin’s Puzzle | Selfie and a Shelfie

    Brimming with dragons, goblins, and logic puzzles, this middle-grade fantasy adventure is perfect for readers who enjoyed The Princess Bride or Rump.

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    21. INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE END OF THE WORLD By Jamie Kain // Really Quick Read With Some Great Characters..

    Review by Krista... INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE END OF THE WORLD By Jamie Kain Hardcover: 224 pages Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (December 8, 2015) Language: English Goodreads | Amazon  He prepared their family for every natural disaster known to man—except for the one that struck.When Nicole Reed’s father forces her family to move to a remote area of the Sierra Foothills, one without any modern

    0 Comments on INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE END OF THE WORLD By Jamie Kain // Really Quick Read With Some Great Characters.. as of 1/24/2016 2:15:00 AM
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    22. THE GOLDEN YARN By Cornelia Funke // More Of A "Like" Than A "LOVE"

    Review by Elisa THE GOLDEN YARN By Cornelia Funke Series: MirrorWorld #3 Hardcover: 464 pages Publisher: Breathing Books (December 1, 2015) Language: English Goodreads | Amazon  Jacob Reckless continues to travel the portal in his father's abandoned study. His name has continued to be famous on the other side of the mirror, as a finder of enchanted items and buried secrets. His family and

    0 Comments on THE GOLDEN YARN By Cornelia Funke // More Of A "Like" Than A "LOVE" as of 1/25/2016 1:22:00 AM
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    23. The Defiant, by M. Quint | Book Review

    The Defiant will appeal to middle grade and young adult readers interested in adventure, mystery, and eerie situations.

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    24. Where my feet go?

    wheremyfeetgofrontcoverA joyous celebration of a child’s imaginative, intrepid and open-hearted take on the world, Where My Feet Go by Birgitta Sif (@birgittasif) follows one young panda recounting what they’ve been up to that day.

    From exploring outside and playing in the sandpit to using their parent as a climbing frame before bedtime, we read and hear that Panda has had a very happy day getting up to all sorts of adventures, traversing jungles and even meeting with dinosaurs. Yet the illustrations show a slightly different story, one apparently much more like a normal day that anybody might experience, involving puddles, sticks and feeding the birds. This funny mismatch between words and images is bound to create conversations and spark listeners’ own re-imaginings of the world around them.

    Whimsical, upbeat and wide-eyed, Panda (who could be either a boy or a girl, for the gender is never mentioned, opening out this heartwarming story so really anyone can identify with Panda) reminds me a little of Charlie’s Lola. Sif’s subdued palette and the natural story arc heading for bedtime make this a calm, relaxing and uplifting read about a child’s ability to think big and embrace adventure, reminding us adults to open our eyes to the joy and delights we might otherwise overlook in the everyday world around us.

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    Inspired by Panda’s adventurous feet we decided we’d try making plaster of paris casts of our footprints. I made a batch of playdough which, when cooled, the kids stepped into:

    feet1

    (If you’ve never made homemade playdough before it’s super easy. For this activity we used 4 cups of flour, 2 cups of salt, 8 tablespoons of Cream of Tarter, 4 tablespoons of oil and 4 cups of boiling water, mixed all together over a low heat on the hob, until the ingredients combined and came away from the edge of the pan without sticking to our fingers when we touched it.)

    feet2

    In an old icecream tub we mixed up some plaster of paris as per the instructions on the packet and then poured the thick gloop into the impressions left by the kids’ feet in the playdough.

    feet3

    After a couple of hours the “feet” were dry enough to be taken out of their moulds. The playdough is perfectly fine to re-use to make more casts – we reused ours 4 times and it was still good for more play.

    We left or “feet” to dry out completely for a couple of days before painting and decorating them.

    decoratingfeet

    Now (perhaps slightly channelling Hans Solo given all the Star Wars stuff that is in the air at the moment), J’s feet are of on an adventure of their own…

    walkingfeet

    Whilst making our footprints we listened to:

  • Dirty Feet by Bobs & Lolo
  • Foot Stomping by The Flares
  • 500 miles by The Proclaimers – it’s all about walking! My very favourite cover of this classic is the crazy accordion fuelled version by Billy McIntyre and his All Star Ceilidh Band (you can hear a sample here)

  • Other activities which might work well alongside reading Where My Feet Go include:

  • Personalizing a pair of wellies. Nail varnish (!) and acrylic paint both work pretty well on welly rubber/plastic. Here’s an example on the Royal Horticultural Society’s blog.
  • Updating your dressing-up box with a few new (old) pairs of shoes. There’s nothing like experiencing what it’s like to be someone else when you literally put your feet into their shoes. Charity shops, jumble sales, old relatives, older siblings/cousins are all good sources of shoes for dressing up in.
  • Making a paper plate frog inspired by Little Panda’s green friend. Danielle’s Place has several different ideas you could try.
  • Reading Where my Wellies Take Me by Michael Morpurgo, Clare Morpurgo and Olivia Lomenech Gill.

  • If you liked this post you might like these other posts by me:

  • Learning about fish who evolved feet with One Smart Fish by Chris Wormell
  • The Birthday Cake Mystery by Thé Tjong-Khing and how we painted our patio with our feet
  • Books to encourage family adventures outdoors
  • feetextensions

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    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.

    2 Comments on Where my feet go?, last added: 1/28/2016
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    25. Books for Boys - Magnificent Matt is underway!

    Cover sketch  
    Pencil dust is beginning to pile up with the sketch work for picture book Magnificent Matt....
    .


    You may find that what really makes Matt magnificent is not his cape, goggles or his lightening speed ......  

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