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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Cybils, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 476 - 500 of 956
476. Cybils 2008: Final days and my picks!

In less than a week, on January 1, the 2008 finalists will be announced in eight categories for the Children's and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards, better known as the Cybils. This year, I wasn't able to serve on the Fantasy and Science Fiction committee as I have in the previous two years, due to a conflict of interest, so I'm on the outside looking in. Like everyone else, I'm eagerly waiting to find out the finalists in all of the categories, but especially in the Fantasy and Science Fiction categories. I'm so excited with anticipation that I feel like it's Christmas Eve all over again.

You can follow the Cybils on their web site. All updates, including announcements of finalists and winners, will be posted there. Even better, add the blog to your blog reader and get the updates automatically.

While we're waiting, I thought I'd post my picks for finalists in the SFF category. Keep in mind that I am NOT on the committee this year, and I have no idea what books they're moving towards for finalists. I'll be as surprised as anyone else. But these are the books that I'd be voting for, if I were on the committee.

In looking at the nominees in the SFF middle/elementary category, I discovered that I haven't read enough of them to be able to pick a shortlist. This surprised me a bit, because for the first part of the year, before I knew I wouldn't be able to be on the committee, I made a real effort to read as many books that I thought might be nominated as possible. But I must have been reading older, because I have read a number of the teen books, although no where near as many as I would have if I'd actually been on the committee. (You can go through a lot of books in two months of concentrated reading).

I'm not even going to attempt to choose a shortlist in the middle/elementary category, but here are the books that I'd like to see as finalists in the teen category:

Ratha's Courage
Disclaimer: Let me be clear up front that I'm not unbiased about this book, because I published it. However, if I didn't love it, I wouldn't have published it, and I still think it's one of the best books of the year. Ratha's Courage is the reason that I couldn't serve on the SFF committee; it would have been a conflict of interest.

The Hunger Games
Children from conquered provinces are forced to compete in a reality TV-esque fight to the death. Read my review

in the company of whispers cover.jpg In the Company of Whispers
This is an amazing, unique, and genre-bending book. A frightening and poignant love story set in a dystopian society is complemented with old photographs, letters, and mementos from Burma. Read my review

51DP3KqlRcL._SL160_.jpg Little Brother
An exciting story about a teenager using technology to resist the Department of Homeland Security in a techno-thriller set in a near future close enough to our present to be frightening. Read my review

215sVGiXP0L._SL160_.jpg Lonely Werewolf Girl
A wild, humorous, and outrageous story of two hapless and naive humans who are caught up in a battle for succession in the werewolf royal family. This was the book I nominated in the SFF category. I actually never reviewed it, but you can Read some of my thoughts about it here.

51saresqz4L._SL160_.jpg Nation
I just finished this book and loved it. After a tsunami wipes out an entire island nation, two young people try to find a way to survive and to make sense of the tragedy, and, as other refugees start trickling in, to rebuild civilization. It's hilarious and poignant and incredibly profound. Read my review.

2 Comments on Cybils 2008: Final days and my picks!, last added: 1/4/2009
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477. Misc. musings, mainly related to my Cybils reading

One good thing about the children growing is that more of Mama's books can be put in their backpacks. We flew down to Virgina from Rhode Island, bring eight books with us, for Mama's holiday reading (I still have about fifty books to read for the Cybils before Dec. 30th). My eight-year old is now able to carry three books, my five-year old two. More books arrived when my husband drove down a few days later. Now all I need is the time to read them in...fortunately, other family members are more enthusiastic about cookie making then I am.

And waiting for me here was a copy of Jenny Davidson's book, The Explosionist, which I had bought on ebay. It was described as a hardcover, so I planned to pass it along to my public library when I was finished with it. I was incredibly vexed to find that it was, in fact, an ARC. I am not a happy shopper.

On a different note, I realized that in my last post, on Give the Gift of Ghosts, I was guilty of an embarrassing omission--I left out The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman, in which virtually every character is a ghost. In my defense, these ghosts are the most substantially real dead people I've ever encountered in a book (one forgets they aren't alive anymore)...but anyway, I've added it to my list.

2 Comments on Misc. musings, mainly related to my Cybils reading, last added: 12/24/2008
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478. FYI

Prinz Honor book and Cybils Poetry finalist Your Own, Sylvia is now out in trade paperback, published by Knopf. ISBN 978-0-440-23968-0 $7.99.

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479. Review: Houndsley and Catina in the Quiet Time

By James Howe, illustrated by Marie Louise Gay. Candlewick Press, 2008. Cybils Easy Reader nominee. I love this book. Houndsley and his best friend Catina are snowed in on the day of the big concert they've been preparing for over the last month. Catina is frantic with anxiety about the shopping and prepping they won't be able to do, but Houndsley is happy to sit and watch the snow fall. Howe's

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480. Give the gift of a very different New York

Maybe you have a someone on your present buying list who just happens to be from New York City. Maybe they might like to look at their home in a whole new way...and here are three 2008 books, all excellent reads in their own ways, that do just that.

Masterpiece by Elise Broach, is a lovely book about a young beetle who shares a New York apartment with a lonely boy. On his birthday, the boy gets a pen and ink set, but has no interest in drawing...not so the beetle, whose new found artistic talent leads not only to friendship with the boy, but to an exiting adventure in the dangerous world of art theft! For the younger reader (say, 6th grade-ish), this would make a lovely present, an even better one paired with a pen and ink set, with possible add-ons including a book of Old Master etchings, a promise of a trip to the local gallery, an original pen and ink sketch by Da Vinci, etc. Or perhaps a book about beetles!

Maybe you think you know Manhattan. But this book, by Scott Mebus, offers a New York that will knock your socks off, because it is filled with gods--hence the title, Gods of Manhattan! Small gods, like the God of the Good China, and big gods, like seventeenth-century Dutch governors, 19th-century socialites, and the spirits of the Native Americans, cruelly imprisoned as part of the plot of one particularly nasty divinity to take total control of the city...and standing against that evil god is a young boy, who can see things most kids can't. Like small warriors disguised as cockroaches. Great fun, and a very good one for the 12+ year old who likes action-packed fantasy.

Maybe you've wondered what New York City would be like if there were fewer people in it. Maybe, after you read this book--The Dead and the Gone, by Susan Beth Pfeffer, you will be glad for all the people whose shoulders you bump on your morning subway ride. Because (as the title, um, subtly hints at) most of the folks are not there anymore. Leaving one teenage boy struggling to look after his sisters and to stay alive in a post apocalyptic nightmare. This is a follow up to Life as We Knew It, but since it tells of different characters in a different place, it is a true stand alone. Not exactly festive reading (Young Adult rated, on account of death, disease, and destruction), but it should make your giftee appreciate having family, which is, after all, one of the points of the holiday season.

And here is a Free Wrapping Tip, Worthy of Martha Stewart, if I say so who shouldn't--you could use an old tourist map of the city, with an apple ornament tied festively to the ribbon! Or not.

All three of these books have been nominated for the Cybils in Science Fiction and Fantasy--please feel free to use the Amazon link thingy at right, to support these wonderful blog-given awards.

4 Comments on Give the gift of a very different New York, last added: 12/12/2008
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481. Give the Gift of Demon Lovers

This holiday season, why not give the gift of a demon lover? (or more accurately, wanna-be lover). It's been a great year for them! Here are four that I enjoyed. Please note: none of the people described as "fairies" in these books are in any way "pink" or "glittery." Or "nice." Any of these would make a great gift for a teenage girl who likes Twilight, but is perhaps ready to more on...Forget about vampires--bad-ass fairy books are much cooler.

Impossible, by Nancy Werlin (Here's are reviews from my co-Cybilians at The Puck In the Midden, and at The Compulsive Reader).

I loved this novelization of the lyrics of Scarborough Fair. Lucy must complete three impossible tasks (as given in the song), or go mad and end up enslaved to a vengeful fairy lover...

Lament, by Maggie Stiefvater (reviewed by me, and The Compulsive Reader)

The people who published this story of a teen-aged girl becoming entangled with the fairy realm called it the "soulless fairy assassin book." But the assassin has much more to offer than his ability to kill...

Ink Exchange, by Melissa Marr (reviewed at Em's Bookshelf, and at Becky's Book Reviews)

Another fairy entanglement, with complexity of plot and character that impressed me. This is the sequel, in a way, to Wicked Lovely, but it focuses on a different character and is, after a first bit of awkwardness, a stand alone read.

Need, by Carrie Jones (here are a few reviews--by Kate Messner, by The Story Siren, and me)

And finally, here's one that isn't even quite out yet, but you can still get it in time for Christmas. I especially recommend this one for gift giving because of the festive gold sparkle lip gloss. The setting--cold snowy woods of Maine--is also seasonally appropriate, and provides an interesting background to the scheming of a baaddd pixie...

Did I miss any 2008 demon lovers? Let me know!

All these books but Need have been nominated for the Cybils in the Science Fiction/Fantasy Category (Need has to wait till next year). I'll be offering more gift recommendations from our list of nominees in the next week or so... Read the rest of this post

4 Comments on Give the Gift of Demon Lovers, last added: 12/15/2008
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482. Easy Reader Review: Journey of a Pioneer by Patricia J. Murphy

As the only Cybil nominated title in the Easy Reader category that could be classified as non-fiction, Journey of a Pioneer tells the story of Olivia Clark, a young girl living in Elk Grove, Missouri in 1845. The story is told in diary format. On March 23, Olivia learns that she and her parents are going to head out west to the Oregon Territory where land is plentiful. From April 10 to September

0 Comments on Easy Reader Review: Journey of a Pioneer by Patricia J. Murphy as of 12/9/2008 9:13:00 AM
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483. Review: Yours For Justice, Ida B. Wells

The Daring Life of a Crusading Journalist. By Philip Dray, illustreated by Stephen Alcorn. Peachtree, 2008. A Cybils nonfiction picturebook nominee. Library copy. Ida B. Wells, born in Mississippi in 1862 in slavery and freed at the end of the Civil War. Her father was a carpenter. Her mother learned to read by attending school with her children. When Ida was 16 both parents died of yellow

1 Comments on Review: Yours For Justice, Ida B. Wells, last added: 12/8/2008
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484. Cybils, oh, Cybils, where are you?

It occurred to me that since I'm not on the Nonfiction Picture Book Nominating Panel this year, I haven't been updating regularly about nominated books (so many yummy ones!). As the category organizer, I'm happy to report the panelists are reading, reading, reading, and are deliberating behind closed doors as I type. The judges are on deck, stretching and rubbing their hands together in anticipation of receiving the shortlist at the end of December.

If you're curious about this year's nomination list, be sure to drop into the blogs of panelists who are reviewing:

Jone's posts at Check It Out
Becky's posts at In the Pages
Debbie's posts at Readerbuzz
Tricia's posts at The Miss Rumphius Effect

And this post on Tricia's blog is full of linky-goodness to other reviews around the kidlitosphere, too.

Can't wait to see the shortlist!

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485. Cybils Book Review - Flip, Float, Fly: Seeds on the Move

In spring of 2007, I wrote a thematic book list on seeds and growing things. When I update the list, Flip, Float, Fly!: Seeds on the Move, written by JoAnn Early Macken and illustrated by Pam Paparone, will most certainly be added.

It begins:
Take a breath and blow
on a fuzzy dandelion. Whee!
One puff sends seeds soaring.
Like small, soft feathers,
they parachute up in the sky.
I love the alliteration and the poetry of this first page. It provides a great hint at what's to come. This opening page faces the copyright information, and is covered with a double-page spread of a young girl gently blowing on a seeded dandelion.

The text continues:
Maple seeds whirl and twirl in a breeze.
   FLIP, flutter, float!
      The wind lifts them up and off of the tree.
         Away they fly like shiny green helicopters,
            spinning and spinning.
I can't do justice to the font and form of the text here. It is simply lovely. Each illustration that accompanies the text covers a full double-page spread. Readers learn about specific plants and how their seeds are spread, from tumbleweeds (why did it never occur to me that this was how they disperse their seeds?) to coconuts. In some instances, a "microscope view" (round circle containing a close-up image) shows the fruit, flower and leaves of the plant described. The illustrations are soft, quiet and beautiful. Even the picture of a bat "passing" seeds (after it has feasted on a fig) is charming.

Readers will not only learn about the ingenious ways that seeds disperse themselves, but also how they use wind, water, and animals to help them move and survive. The description of burdock seeds and the illustrations reminded me of the hours spent as a child pulling them off my socks and brushing them out of my dog's coat after long walks in the fields near home.

The last spread in the text depicts a beautiful bouquet of flowers and reads:
People plant seeds
in gardens and flowerpots.
They tend the seedlings and watch them grow.

Sprouts! Shoots! Leaves and roots!
Flowers bloom and new seeds form,
beginning the cycle again.
The next double-page spread serves as an illustrated glossary, depicting and defining seedpod, fruit, seed, shoot, sprout, seedling, nut, flower, leaves, stem and roots. The final page of the text includes a few notes about seeds.

This is an imaginative and informative pairing of science and poetry, accompanied by thoroughly striking illustrations. I highly recommend it.

Book: Flip, Float, Fly!: Seeds on the Move
Author: JoAnn Early Macken
Illustrator: Pam Paparone
Publisher: Holiday House
Date Published:
32 pages
Source of Book:
Local public library

This post was written for Nonfiction Monday. Head on over to Anastasia Suen’s blog and check out all the great posts highlighting nonfiction this week.

0 Comments on Cybils Book Review - Flip, Float, Fly: Seeds on the Move as of 12/1/2008 9:05:00 PM
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486. Cybils Book Review - Underwear: What We Wear Under There

My mother called them unmentionables. My son calls them skivvies. Seeing them hanging out of a person's pants often prompts a smile. Why does underwear spark such interest? Is it the needless giggles that erupt around it's mention, or is it something to do with knowing the tortuous nature of apparel of old? No matter the reason, kids and adults seem to love learning about the fascinating history of undergarments.
Underwear: What We Wear Under There, written by Ruth Freeman Swain and illustrated by John O'Brien, looks at underwear through the years. It begins:
People have giggled about it, snickered about it, whispered about it (shhh) for hundreds of years. They've made jokes; they've teased. They've been too embarrassed to talk about it out loud, even though they have a pretty good idea what's under there.

What is it? What is so funny about underwear?
And ends:
Will underwear still be funny in the future? Maybe it always will be. There's just something about it. Is it because underwear is usually hidden? Because it's the layer between being dressed and undressed? Because it's colorful, silly, skimpy, or just because it's . . . under there?

Can you say it in a whisper? Can you say it out loud? Can you say it without a smile?
"I see London,
I see France,
I see Laura's under ____?"
In between, a skillfully written, engaging text, accompanied by clever, cartoon-style illustrations describes the evolution of underwear from early days to the present. There is much to learn and enjoy here. The illustrations are downright funny. While much of the humor may escape young readers, adults will enjoy every bit of it. For example, one illustration shows shows a woman catapulting into a hoop skirt, while the opposite page shows women fully dressed and parachuting to the floor instead of taking the staircase. Another illustration shows a group of men, women and children dressed in "union suits," skating on a pond. Below them, a bull chases a family dressed in red union suits out of a field. There is also a wonderful illustration of a soldier parachuting out of the sky with what appears to be a nylon stocking.

Here are some of the interesting things I learned while reading this book.
  • Loincloths were the earliest form of underpants and were worn in all parts of the ancient world, including Africa, China, Rome and the Incan empire.
  • Knights wore padded underwear to protect their bodies from their suits of armor.
  • In sixteenth century England, underwear was alive with fleas, ticks and mites because people rarely bathed.
  • A "bum roll" was a cushion a woman wore tied around her waist to hold her skirts out away from her body.
  • Ruffled pantalettes were worn beneath dresses and eventually morphed (shrunk) into drawers, bloomers, and finally the underpants women wear today.
  • Corsets so changed a woman's body that they not only altered the position of internal organs, but made digestion and childbearing difficult.
  • In 1911, with the introduction of the tango, came the need for more flexible "bust supporters" to replace corsets. These supporters eventually led to the invention of the brassiere.
  • On the first day nylon stockings were sold in America, three quarters of a millions pairs sold out immediately.
In addition to the history of underwear, there is a bit of an introduction to the history of diapers. There is also information about what happens to old underwear.
Instead of going into a landfill, the used clothing may be sold at a Goodwill store, or sold to a recycling company that converts it back into cotton fibers to be used in new ways, such as stuffing for dolls. Used clothes are also shipped in large bales to countries such as Zambia in Africa.
The book ends with a timeline on the history of underwear, and includes a list of books and web sites where readers can get additional information.

My son and I had a great deal of fun reading this book. There were oohs and aahs, guffaws, and giggles galore. Upon finishing the text there were several sections we went back to reread. Overall, this is a fascinating read that is well-written and fancifully illustrated. I highly recommend it.

Book: Underwear: What We Wear Under There
Ruth Freeman Swain
Illustrator: John O'Brien
Holiday House
Date Published:
32 pages
Source of Book:
Interlibrary loan (Thank you Alexandria library!)

4 Comments on Cybils Book Review - Underwear: What We Wear Under There, last added: 11/30/2008
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487. Review: I Love My New Toy

by Mo Willems. Hyperion Books for Children, 2008. This is an Elephant and Piggie book for beginning readers. The really wonderful thing about these books is the amount of complexity Willams manages to portray with simple line drawings and minimal text. Gerald the Elephant and Piggie show an amazing range of emotion revealing all the varied interactions of a really deep friendship; affection,

6 Comments on Review: I Love My New Toy, last added: 12/1/2008
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488. The Cybils nominees:

Picture books
cover illustration by Sergio Ruzzier

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489. My reading life

My stack of Cybils nominated books waiting to be reviewed is growing larger...the stack of beautiful books I haven't read doesn't seem to be growing appreciably smaller. This despite the fact that I seem to have lost several books somewhere inside the house. I have been reading in every room we have (we have an old Victorian house, so there are quite a few), and rather than go and find the same book over and over again, loosing valuable reading time (it seems to take at least 10 minutes to go upstairs and retrieve a book, partly because, ala Poe's Purloined Letter, the book I want is hiding in a pile of books, partly because I am easily distracted and go off on tangents, and start to put laundry away etc). So rather than do all that, I have simply been manically starting new books. This is also a help in evaluating the books I'm reading--I figure if I love it I will go upstairs and get it, even at the risk of meeting odd socks.

But anyway, so far I have "lost" Moonstone and The Crimson Thread. Sigh. It was not as good a reading weekend as I had hoped it would be. Saturday was lovely--Bliss (Lauren Myracle) in the early morning (nothing like a bit of horror with the breakfast coffee), followed by Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (Nahoko Uehashi) in the later morning (a very good adventure story), and then a large chunk of Moonstone (Marilee Brothers), which I have now (see above) misplaced. Heaven forbid it should have been put on a shelf (where it is always hard to find books), but this is sadly possible because we had Company on Sunday. Which was all very well and good, but it meant that instead of reading I had to a. clean the house b. talk to the guests. Oh well, they were lovely people and the house is cleaner, which means there are beautiful clear surfaces (coffee table, dining room table, windowsills) on which to put spread books out, so that they don't become en-piled.

But at any event, Sunday I only got one read--Thornspell (Helen Lowe), and I looked for Moonstone, but couldn't find it, so started Crimson Thread which I looked for this morning and can't find either, but I bet it's in the computer room/room of unmatched socks.

And I also on Sunday manged to read my oldest a few chapters of the first Fablehaven book (because a later book has been nominated), and I read a bit more of the Alchemist (Michael Scott) whose sequel has been nominated (there are lots of sequels nominated this year, which is a bit vexing, because of not having read many of the earlier books). I would have finished The Alchemist earlier, because I'm enjoying it a lot, only it had gotten lost (under the passenger seat of the car. A bad, bad, place).

This weekend I also read The Last Basselope (three times), Sergio Makes a Splash, Dr. Seuss' Sleep book, The Happy Hockey Family Move to the Country, and other picture books, as well as a random book for young readers about heredity. I refused to read several craft books that were pushed in my direction. One of my children really enjoys having craft books read out loud to him. The crafts themselves, not so much. But it is hard to really care, to really lose oneself in the text, when one is reading--"attach two pipe cleaners to each end of the cardboard tube....."

Sergio Makes a Splash, by Edel Rodriguez, on the other hand, is a fun read. And it deserves a detailed review...just as soon as I'm caught up.

2 Comments on My reading life, last added: 11/25/2008
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490. Lazy reading day

I just got the Blackbringer paperback cover in the mail -- so exciting! It looks gorgeous, the same illustration as the hardcover but with different colors and an awesome new type design and "special effects" (making the type and figures shiny). So beautiful! (Ooh, and there's a quote from Holly Black on the front, which is vurry nice :-) I'm really excited about next year! First the paperback (in May), then Silksinger and Lips Touch in the fall. Yippeeee! What a year!

Oh, this is wayyyyy preliminary, but potentially much fun: I might be teaching a workshop on writing fairy tale retellings at a gorgeous lakeside retreat in New Hampshire in June (as part of an arts retreat with lots of other cool workshops). I'll have more info by and by. Here's the lake from up above:

Let's see. . . the writing goes well. I tried Jolie and Holly's 5,000 word challenge on Friday, and I wrote. . . 7,086 words!! WOWZA! Which brought me past the 50,000 word mark, but I have not "won" NaNo yet because the story is not complete yet. Much still to happen. This will be a busy week in "Bad-Ass Sci-Fi" land as I try to bring the events to their conclusion. Wish me luck!

Given the word glut of Friday, I figured I could mostly take Saturday off to loll and read (I did write for a few hours in the morning first!) I really need to crank some Cybils nominees through my brain, as you will see by this photo of unread books:
Caramba! How am I supposed to read all those??? Well, I wish I could, but that is obviously not possible, which is why there are seven panelists to divide up the work. Even so, I must read as many of them as I possibly can, so it was the couch for me most of yesterday, wrapped in the one blanket I have ever knitted (alpaca). There was an interruption in the afternoon to make vegetable soup with Jim -- something we do about once a week, and could probably compete in a husband-and-wife-mind-reading-soup-making competition, we're so good at it (new reality show!), and then there was a 10 pm trip to the very empty-on-a-Saturday-night gym. But otherwise, I read.

It reminded me of days back in college where, as an English major taking 3 or 4 lit classes simultaneously, I just had to read read read all the time. There was one memorable weekend when I was quite ill and alternately slept and read Gargantua and Pantagruel. All I remember of it is that I had a fever and the book gave me very strange dreams. There was apparently a healthy respect for fart humor in the 16th Century! Who knew? Well, anyway, reading all day yesterday was like college. . . but the books were more fun! Not that Wittgenstein's Nephew and The Sonnets of Petrarch aren't a hoot, y'all, but I'll take fairy tale retellings and zombies and kissing and fighting, please.

I read the very lovely and magical The City in the Lake by Rachel Neumeier, as well as a Rumpelstiltskin retelling called The Crimson Thread by Suzanne Weyn, and there was another book that I'm not going to mention by name because I didn't care for it and gave up half way through. And then I started Ever by Gail Carson Levine, which I have not yet finished (but really like). I feel like I should have read more than three books (well, two and a half), but I'm not a speed reader. I want to slip into a little crack in between minutes and live there all cozy until I've read all these books, shifted them one by one to the "read" stack (which is in another room and is less impressive than the above photo!)

This Cybils process has been SO MUCH FUN! First, there's the joy of getting books in the mail, lovely lovely lovely books, all the time. And stacking them. And sorting them. And trying to choose what to read next. It's seriously like a box of chocolates (I wish you could say that without hearing the voice of Forrest Gump!), and I never know what I'll be in the mood for. Sometimes I pick five and then decide based on the first paragraph. Lately I've been trying to read all the fairy tale retellings together (blog post upcoming). The Fantasy/Sci-Fi category is great because we have fairy tales, vampires, post-apocalyptics, ghost stories, swords and sorcery, space ships, dragons, alternate history, distant planets, hidden kingdoms, time travel, gypsies, monks, evil corporations, zombie cheerleaders, kisses, murders, betrayals, curses, cloning, talking polar bears, lonely werewolves, evil tattoos, totalitarian regimes, slaves, samurais, beheadings, and more. Can you imagine? It makes me shake my head with sadness for people who have closed their minds to all the wonders of fantasy and science fiction.

I want to sit on the floor and pet all the pretty books like they're a basket of puppies. I am such a nerd for books.

Before the end I will have more to say about what I am learning, reading this slew of books, about how some books emerge from the pack, and how a book makes you love it, as opposed to merely liking it. It's a great learning experience, for sure.

13 Comments on Lazy reading day, last added: 11/25/2008
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491. Cybils Book Reviews - Two Heartwarming Tales of Survival

Two of the books on our list of nonfiction picture book nominees are stories of survival in the wake of Katrina. The fact that they both depict animals wins them big points in the kid appeal department.

Molly the Pony: A True Story, written by Pam Kaster, is the story of a small pony of the Americas (a cross between a Shetland and an Appaloosa) that opens with Molly being left alone in her barn to ride out hurricane Katrina. The pony survived on hay and puddles of water while she waited for someone to come for her. Two weeks after Katrina, she was found in her barn, the door having been blocked by a tree. Workers had to cut a hole in the side of the barn to get her out. Molly was taken to Ms. Kaye's farm until her owners could come and get her. Three months later, Molly became a permanent resident on Ms. Kaye's farm.

This, however, is only the beginning of the story. One day while Molly was napping in the pasture, a large Pit Bull ran into the pasture and bit her. Molly fell and kicked the dog, but it would not go away. The mauling left Molly with a badly damaged front leg.
At first the veterinarians thought they could not do anything to help Molly. Then they watched her closely for a few days. They were happy to see that she rested her healthy front leg by shifting her weight onto her back legs.

"Molly is a smart pony with a great attitude," said one veterinarian. "I think she could learn to walk with a prosthetic limb.* She knows how to take care of herself."

The veterinarians decided it would be best for Molly to go to the animal hospital at nearby Louisiana State University for the special surgery. They amputated* the injured leg below the knee and attached a stiff white cast. Molly stayed at the animal hospital for four days. Then Ms. Kay took her home.
The rest of the text follows Molly through her recovery and new role as an ambassador to children in hospitals and the elderly in retirement homes. Molly not brings smiles to the faces of all she meets, but she also leaves them behind, for the rubber hoof on the end of her prosthetic limb bears a smiley face.

The book uses photos of Molly to help tell the story. Challenging vocabulary words are printed in bold and marked with an asterisk. At the bottom of the page, readers find the words defined. An author's note at the end provides a bit more information about Molly, as well as resources to learn more about her story.

Just as Molly was left behind as families evacuated New Orleans before Katrina hit, so too were a dog and cat, both without tails, and both named Bobbi. Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival, written Kirby Larson and Mary Nethery and illustrated by Jean Cassels, tells how these two friends survived the storm and the harrowing months that followed. It also tells of the national effort made to find them a permanent home.

When Katrina hit, Bobbi was tethered to a porch with a length of chain. Bob Cat stayed by her side. There they rode out the storm and waited for help. Even though many were rescued, no one came for the Two Bobbies. Bobbi finally broke loose, and with Bob Cat at her side, the two tried to make their way around the city. The amount of damage caused by the hurricane made it impossible for them to find a home. For months the two wandered the city, often chased by packs of hungry and homeless dogs. After a time, Bobbi's ribs began to show, and Bob Cat's markings began to fade.

Four months later, the Two Bobbies found their way to a construction site. A worker's dog rushed over to greet them. The worker, named Rich, saw how thin they were and began to feed them. However, after a week of caring for the two friends, his boss came to the job site and told him the strays had to go. Rich took the two to a temporary shelter run by the Best Friends Animal Society. When the Two Bobbies were placed in separate rooms, Bobbi howled all night long, and Bob Cat paced back and forth. It wasn't until the were placed in the same cage that they were happy.

It was at this point that workers in the shelter realized that Bob Cat was blind. All those months wandering homeless in the city, Bobbi had been keeping Bob Cat safe. The volunteers at the shelter began to look for their family, but they were never found. When it was time for the shelter to close its doors, the Two Bobbies still had no home. Desperate to find them a family, the volunteers arranged for the two friends to appeared on CNN.
The very next day, the Best Friends volunteers left New Orleans. One of them drove Bobbi and Bob Cat to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah, where they would stay until a new family could be found. They were on their way west when the news came in.

Hundreds of people wanted to adopt them!
Yes, the story has a happy ending, and I dare you to keep a dry eye when you read it. I've read this a number of times with my son and every time he asks, "Mom, are you crying again?" ("Why yes son, your mother's a sap.") I wish I could find some word other than heartwarming, but it's absolutely the best one to describe this incredible tale. You'll not only feel good reading it, but also buying it, as the authors are donating a portion of their proceeds to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

Book: Molly the Pony: A True Story
Pam Kaster
Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
Date Published:
36 pages
Source of Book: Interlibrary loan (Thank you Sweet Briar College!)

Book: Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurrican Katrina, Friendship, and Survival
Kirby Larson and Mary Nethery
Jean Cassels
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Date Published:
32 pages
Source of Book: Copy received from publisher for Cybils consideration.

6 Comments on Cybils Book Reviews - Two Heartwarming Tales of Survival, last added: 11/24/2008
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492. Cybils Book Review - Little Green Frogs

I've seen my fair share of frog life cycle books, as this topic is a staple in the elementary curriculum. Egg . . . tadpole . . . froglet . . . frog . . . egg . . . Well, you get the idea. What I haven't seen recently is a fresh approach to this story. Until now.

Little Green Frogs
, written and illustrated by Frances Barry, is what Candlewick calls a "Fold Out and Find Out" book. Not nearly as fragile as a pop-up book, it is constructed in such a way that I consider it a novelty book. Translation - Great for read aloud, but if you want it last (particularly in a classroom), I wouldn't recommend putting it in the hands of the very readers it's aimed at! The pages in this book don't simply open to the left, they unfold in a circular fashion until the pages resemble the petals of a flower that has opened. Here's a view of the book partially opened.
The first page reads:
Frog eggs, frog eggs,
floating in the pond,
how will you grow?
The illustration shows five jellied eggs with a black mass in the center. Opening/unfolding the page reveals a lily pad and fish on the reverse. The next page reads:
Frog eggs, frog eggs,
hatching in the pond,
how will you grow?
The illustration nows show five eggs with tiny tadpoles emerging. The back side of this page reveals another lily pad, flowers, and insects.

And so it goes. Each page moves the story of the frog life cycle forward in text and illustrations. It also grows the reader's view of the pond, adding more lily pads, fish, flowers, rocks and more. The final page show five frogs climbing on some rocks, one with its long tongue darting towards an insect. It reads:
Green frogs, green frogs,
crawling from the pond,
read, steady, hop, hop.
When the book is completely open, five grown frogs are hopping off the pages to the words "Off you go!" The words "Lift here" appear at the top of the octagon that serves as the book's center. Lift here really means fold down. Upon doing so, readers will find information on how to raise tadpoles at home.

The metamorphosis as displayed in this format brings the magic of this change to life. The presentation is lovely and livens up the life cycle story. It does take some care to fold the pages back into the binding, but it is well worth the effort. I recommend this one for adding a hint of wonder and surprise to your life cycle lessons.

Book: Little Green Frogs
Frances Barry
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Date Published:
22 pages
Source of Book: Interlibrary loan (Thank you Alachua County Library District!)

**NOTE - Frances Barry has another Fold Out and Find Out book entitled Sunflower. I'm sure you can imagine how this seed to flower story unfolds.

3 Comments on Cybils Book Review - Little Green Frogs, last added: 11/22/2008
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493. Cybils NFPB: Checking Out the Reviews

I am slowly making my way through the Cybils nominees in the category of nonfiction picture books. Here is the list of nominated titles I have reviewed so far.
10 Things I Can Do to Help My World: Fun and Easy Eco-Tips, written and illustrated by Melanie Walsh

Astronaut Handbook, written and illustrated by Meghan McCarthy

Ballots for Belva: The True Story of a Woman's Race for the Presidency, written by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and illustrated by Courtney Martin

Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman, written by Marc Tyler Nobleman and illustrated by Ross MacDonald

Eggs, written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Emma Stevenson

Fabulous Fishes, written and illustrated by Susan Stockdale

It's Moving Day!, written by Pamela Hickman and illustrated by Geraldo Valéro

Johnny Appleseed: The Legend and the Truth, written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Jim Burke

Looking Closely: Inside the Garden, written and illustrated by Frank Serafini

Nic Bishop Frogs, written and illustrated by Nic Bishop

Wangari's Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa, written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter
That's a paltry 18.6% of the titles. WOW! I have a lot of work to do! My esteemed colleagues on the nominating panel have also been hard at work reviewing titles. Take a look at some of their posts.
A few of the titles have been reviewed in depth elsewhere. If you are looking for the buzz on other Cybils NFPB titles, check out these reviews.
As Good as Anybody: Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel's Amazing March Toward Freedom, written by Richard Michelson and illustrated by Raul Colón (Reviewed at Seven Imp)

Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Sean Qualls (Reviewed at A Fuse#8 Production)

Duel! Burr and Hamilton's Deadly War of Words, written by Dennis Brindell Fradin and illustrated by Larry Day (Reviewed at the excelsior file)

Gone Fishing: Ocean Life by the Numbers, written and illustrated by David McLimans (Reviewed at A Patchwork of Books)

Keep Your Eye on the Kid: The Early Years of Buster Keaton, written and illustrated by Catherine Brighton (Reviewed at A Fuse#8 Production)

Lady Liberty: A Biography, written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Matt Tavares (Reviewed at Writing and Ruminating) - **Also listen to the podcast review at Just One More Book!!

The Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby: The Story of Jimmy Winkfield, written by Crystal Hubbard and illustrated by Robert McGuire (Reviewed at Write for a Reader)

Manfish: The Story of Jacques Cousteau, written by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Éric Puybaret (Reviewed at The Well-Read Child)

"Mrs. Riley Bought Five Itchy Aardvarks" and Other Painless Tricks for Memorizing Science Facts, written by Brian Cleary and illustrated by J. P. Sandy (Reviewed at Crazy For Kids Books)

Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai, written and illustrated by Claire Nivola (Reviewed at Kids Lit)

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams, written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet (Reviewed at A Fuse#8 Production)

The Road to Oz: Twists, Turns, Bumps, and Triumphs in the Life of L. Frank Baum, written by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes (Reviewed at Seven Imp)

Seven Miles to Freedom: The Robert Smalls Story, written by Janet Halfmann and illustrated by Duane Smith (Reviewed at a wrung sponge)

Sisters and Brothers: Sibling Relationships in the Animal World, written by Robin Page and illustrated by Steve Jenkins (Reviewed at the excelsior file)

This is the Feast, written by Diane Z. Shore and illustrated by Megan Lloyd (Reviewed at BooksForKidsBlog)

Trout are Made of Trees, written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Kate Endle (Reviewed at A Year of Reading)

Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival, written by Kirby Larson and Mary Methery and illustrated by Jean Cassels (Reviewed at Chasing Ray)

Wanda Gág: The Girl Who Lived to Draw, written by Deborah Kogan and illustrated by Wanda Gág (Reviewed at Young Readers)

What to Do About Alice?: How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy!, written by Barbara Kerley and illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham (Reviewed at Wild Rose Reader)

What's Inside Your Tummy, Mommy?, written and illustrated by Abby Cocovini (Reviewed at The Well-Read Child)

Yours for Justice Ida B. Wells: The Daring Life of a Crusading Journalist, written by Philip Dray and illustrated by Stephen Alcorn (Reviewed at Abby (the) Librarian)
Finally, here is a book trailer you must see!

3 Comments on Cybils NFPB: Checking Out the Reviews, last added: 11/20/2008
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494. Kids's graphic novel day with my pals

Ricky Ricotta and his Mighty Robot by Dav Pilkey
Magic Pickle by Scott Morse
Korgi by Christian Slade
Little Vampire by Joann Sfar
Knights of the Lunch Table by Frank Cammuso
Kaput & Zosky by Lewis Trondheim with Eric Cartier
Stinky by Eleanor Davis

Well, hello guys.
Prosper (8), Mao (7), Zhou (5), and Wendy Darling (5): Hello.
YNL: Happy Professional Development Day to you.
Prosper: Thank you.
YNL: So, you guys have been reading ALL DAY. Anything you've noticed about the books you've been reading?
Wendy Darling: They're comic books.
Prosper: They're all chapter books.
Mao: ANNND... the Ricky Ricotta books, all of them have the last line "That's what friends are for"!
Zhou: I noticed that they're all good. Magic Pickle is good.
YNL: Which one did you like the best?
Zhou: All the Ricky Ricotta books that we read.
Wendy Darling: The Ricky Ricotta.
Mao: I'd really say Ricky Ricotta's Might Robot vs. the Jurassic Jackrabbits.
Zhou: I would say two things: Ricky Ricotta's Might Robot vs. the Jurassic Jackrabbits and Magic Pickle.
Prosper: I kind of liked Kaput and Zosky.

YNL: What do you think about the art?
Prosper: The what?
Wendy Darling (his little sister): The pictures!
Mao: The art in Magic Pickle is really good. Because it's like comics and I like comics because they have like little squares of action.
YNL: Do the little squares do anything for you?
Mao: It's just like saying "Here's this, here's that, in this order."
Prosper: I like it because it really looks like a pickle.
YNL: So more realistic is better?
Mao: Speaking of pickles, can we have one?
Prosper: The drawings in Kaput & Zosky are pretty good but they're not perfect, but they don't have to be perfect to be a really good comic. I think the words have to be perfect.
YNL: So the words in Kaput & Zosky are perfect?
Prosper: Kind of. [lost reading again]

YNL: Hey, [Prosper], that page doesn't have words at all!
Prosper: Actually doesn't have to have words to be great. Look at this, [Mao] - he's walking along he meets this guy he shoots him, he's walking along he meets this guy he shoots him, he's walking along he meets this guy he shoots him, he's walking along he meets this guy he shoots him, he's walking along he meets this guy he shoots him...
Boys: Aww haww haww! That's great!
YNL: And that's funny.
Mao: Yeah
Prosper: Uh huh
YNL: How come?
Mao: Because it's like he keeps on shooting people and then someone else shoots HIM. that's the funny part.
Prosper: Look at this: [narrates a wordless page] Yay! Ha la lala, and then he gets out and he's like 'What the?' and dee dee dee, BLAM [hee hee hee] and then Oooh! Weee!

YNL: Ok guys. Here's Korgi.
Wendy Darling: I liked Korgi.
YNL: What did you like about it, little girl?
Wendy Darling: Because the girl was brave.
YNL: What about they way she's drawn? here's Kaput & Zosky, which art do you like better?
Wendy Darling: Kaput & Zosky. I like the color.

Mao: Little Vampire was good, because he threw up the guy that the monsters ate when he wanted to do kung fu to him, and in the end he was brung back to life and he was giant.
YNL: So you liked that there was a lot of surprises?
Mao: And I liked that there was chemicals involved, and the chemicals, they made him forget about what's happened, and they made him normal size again.
YNL: Do you wish you had a chemical like that?
Mao: Yeah!
Prosper: Why?
Mao: So I could make people forget everything and become tiny.
Prosper: What about if you shrunk somebody who was only this big, then they'd be a milliperson!
YNL: Hey, Kaput & Zosky: It seems like these guys are kind of mean.
Prosper: Why?
YNL: Why? Because they shoot everyone all the time?
Prosper: Heh heh
Mao: Actually that never occurred to me, because the red guy is always like SHOOT SOMEBODY! and the other guy is always like 'Wait, first we have to make sure nobody's around' - so they're really opposite!
YNL: Is that opposite?
Mao: Wellll, they THINK opposite but they have the same goals.
YNL: What's their goal?
Mao: Their goal is to go in charge of every single planet.

YNL: How about Stinky: did you like it?
Everyone: Yes.
YNL: There's no shooting in it...
Mao: No. But there is trying to get rid in it.
[And they're lost again. Prosper has Stinky, Wendy Darling is reading Korgi, Zhou has Ricky Ricotta, and Mao is into Kaput & Zosky]
YNL: Should I leave you guys alone to read?
Prosper: Yes.
Mao: Yes.
Zhou: Yes.

2 Comments on Kids's graphic novel day with my pals, last added: 11/19/2008
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495. Cybils 2008 Nominees: Fantasy and Science Fiction - middle/elementary

Although I'm not a part of the Cybils Fantasy/Science Fiction team this year, I'm still following it closely, and not just because a book I published (Ratha's Courage) is a nominee. As anyone who reads this blog knows, I love YA fantasy and science fiction, and I love the Cybils, so I'm watching this with more excitement and anticipation than Christmas Eve. I've read so many of these books, and there are others that I'd love to read. The nominating panelists have a really tough job ahead of them!

Here are the 2008 nominees for Fantasy and Science Fiction in the middle/elementary age group:

39 Clues
written by Rick Riordan

Reviewed by: AmandaBlau |

written by Eoin Colfer

Best Friend for Claudia
written by Beatrice Weinberg Katz

Boots and Pieces
written by Emily Ecton
Simon & Schuster

Boy of All Time
written by Che Dee
Calderwood Books

Cabinet of Wonders
written by Marie Rutkoski

Reviewed by: Nettle |

Dark Legacy
written by K. G. McAbee
Calderwood Books

Dark Whispers
written by Bruce Coville

Diamond of Darkhold
written by Jeanne DuPrau
Random House Children's Books

Dinosaur Blackout
written by Judith Silverthorne

Dragon Flight
written by Jessica Day George
Bloomsbury USA

Escape the Mask
written by David Ward

written by Gail Carson Levine

Reviewed by: tcr |

Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague
written by Brandon Mull
Shadow Mountain

written by Jason Carter Eaton

Family Matters
written by Kristin Sheley

Farworld: Water Keep
written by J. Scott Savage
Shadow Mountain

Fish and Sphinx
written by Rae Bridgman
Great Plains Publications

Flora's Dare
written by Ysabeau S. Wilce

Girl Who Could Fly
written by Victoria Forester
Feiwel & Friends

Reviewed by: AmandaBlau | Charlotte |

Gods of Manhattan
written by Scott Mebus
Dutton Juvenile

Graveyard Book
written by Neil Gaiman

Reviewed by: EmsBookshelf |

Grim Hill: The Secret Deepens
written by Linda DeMeulemeester
Lobster Press

Gypsy Crown
written by Kate Forsyth

Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go
written by Dale E. Basye
Random House Children's Books

House of Many Ways
written by Diana Wynne Jones
Greenwillow Books

written by Cornelia Funke

Kaimira: The Sky Village
written by Monk Ashland
and Nigel Ashland
Candlewick Press

written by D. M. Cornish
Penguin USA

Land Beyond the Clouds
written by Valerie Bishop
Light Publishing

Magic and Other Misdemeanors (The Sisters Grimm, Book 5)
written by Michael Buckley

Magic Thief
written by Sarah Prineas

Reviewed by: Charlotte | Nettle |

Mary Lamb Enters the World of Maze
written by F. T. Botham

written by Elise Broach
Henry Holt

Reviewed by: EmsBookshelf |

Misty Forest Fables
written by Acrid Hermit
Fauna Trek

Monks in Space
written by David Jones
Annick Press

Once Upon a Time in the North
written by Philip Pullman
Knopf Books for Young Readers

Order of Odd-Fish
written by James Kennedy
Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers

Other Side of the Island
written by Allegra Goodman
Penguin USA

Ottoline and the Yellow Cat
written by Chris Riddell

Out of the Wild
written by Sarah Beth Durst
Penguin USA

Reviewed by: Nettle |

Palace of Mirrors
written by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Simon & Schuster

Philippa Fisher's Fairy Godsister
written by Liz Kessler
Candlewick Press

written by Jaqlyn Von Eger

written by Angie Sage

Remarkable and Very True Story of Lucy and Snowcap
written by H. M. Bouwman
Marshall Cavendish Children's Books

Ring Dragonz
written by Mister Rengerz
Helm Publishing

Robe of Skulls
written by Vivian French
Candlewick Press

Reviewed by: Charlotte | Nettle |

written by Joanne Harris
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

written by Ingrid Law
Penguin USA

Reviewed by: AmandaBlau |

Seer of Shadows
written by Avi

Reviewed by: AmandaBlau |

Shadow Diamond
written by S Brooke

Sisters of the Sword
written by Maya Snow

Reviewed by: AmandaBlau |

Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing with Fire
written by Derek Landy

Softwire: Betrayal on Orbis 2
written by PJ Haarsma
Candlewick Press

The Curse of Cuddles McGee

Things That Are
written by Andrew Clements

written by Helen Lowe
Knopf Books for Young Readers

Reviewed by: Nettle |

Travelers Market
written by Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Idylls Press

Tygrine Cat
written by Inbali Iserles
Candlewick Press

written by Ellen Booraem

Warriors Power of Three: Eclipse
written by Erin Hunter

Well Witched
written by Frances Hardinge

Wild Magic
written by Cat Weatherill
Walker Books for Young Readers

Winter Wood
written by Steve Augarde
Random House Children's Books

2 Comments on Cybils 2008 Nominees: Fantasy and Science Fiction - middle/elementary, last added: 11/16/2008
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496. Cybils 2008 Nominees: Fantasy and Science Fiction: Teen

I just posted the list of Cybils 2008 nominees for Fantasy and Science Fiction: middle and elementary here. Now, here's the list of nominees for Fantasy and Science Fiction: Teen:

Adoration of Jenna Fox
written by Mary E. Pearson

Reviewed by: lainitaylor | Nettle |

written by Cliff McNish
Lerner Publishing Group

Reviewed by: Charlotte |

written by Heather Tomlinson
Henry Holt

Battle of the Labyrinth
written by Rick Riordan

Bewitching Season
written by Marissa Doyle
Henry Holt

Bite Me
written by Parker Blue
Bell Bridge

written by Lauren Myracle
Abrams for Young Readers

Reviewed by: EmsBookshelf | Nettle |

Book of Names
written by D. Barkley Briggs
NavPress Publishing Group

Breaking Dawn
written by Stephanie Meyer
Little, Brown

Reviewed by: EmsBookshelf | tcr |

written by Christopher Paolini
Random House Children's Books

Reviewed by: AmandaBlau |

written by Robin McKinley
Penguin USA

Reviewed by: Charlotte |

Charm for a Unicorn
written by Jennifer Macaire
Calderwood Books

Cherry Heaven
written by L. J. Adlington

Reviewed by: tcr |

City in the Lake
written by Rachel Neumeier
Random House Children's Books

City of Ashes
written by Cassandra Clare
Simon & Schuster

Reviewed by: AmandaBlau | tcr |

Crimson Thread
written by Suzanne Weyn
Simon & Schuster

Reviewed by: EmsBookshelf |

Curse Dark as Gold
written by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Reviewed by: EmsBookshelf | Nettle | tcr |

Cybele's Secret
written by Juliet Marillier
Knopf Books for Young Readers

written by Lauren McLaughlin
Random House Children's Books

Reviewed by: EmsBookshelf |

written by Stephanie Spinner
Knopf Books for Young Readers

Reviewed by: Nettle |

Dead and the Gone
written by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Dead Girl Walking
written by Linda Singleton

Reviewed by: Charlotte |

Dead Is the New Black
written by Marlene Perez

written by Simon Holt
Little, Brown

Reviewed by: Nettle |

written by Charles de Lint
Penguin USA

Dragon Heir, The
written by Cinda Williams Chima

Dream Girl
written by Lauren Mechling
Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers

Reviewed by: Nettle |

written by Claudia Gray

written by Jenny Davidson

First Duty
written by Marva Dasef
Sam's Dot Publishing

written by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Simon & Schuster

Reviewed by: Charlotte |

Generation Dead
written by Daniel Waters

Reviewed by: AmandaBlau | Nettle | tcr |

Ghosts of Kerfol
written by Deborah Noyes
Candlewick Press

written by Kristin Cashore

Reviewed by: AmandaBlau |

How to Ditch Your Fairy
written by Justine Larbalestier
Bloomsbury USA

Reviewed by: AmandaBlau | Charlotte |

Humming of Numbers
written by Joni Sensel
Henry Holt

Hunger Games, The
written by Suzanne Collins

Reviewed by: AmandaBlau | tcr |

written by Nancy Werlin
Penguin USA

Reviewed by: Nettle | tcr |

Penguin USA

In the Company of Whispers
written by Sally Lowenstein
Lion Stone Books

Ink Exchange
written by Melissa Marr

Invisible Touch
written by Kelly Parra

Knife of Never Letting Go
written by Patrick Ness
Candlewick Press

Lament:The Faerie Queen's Deception
written by Maggie Stiefvater

Last of the High Kings, The
written by Kate Thompson

written by Tom Becker
Franklin Watts

Little Brother
written by Cory Doctorow

Reviewed by: AmandaBlau | Nettle |

Lonely Werewolf Girl
written by Martin Millar
Soft Skull Press

Reviewed by: AmandaBlau |

Magician: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel
written by Michael Scott
Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers

Masks Rise of Heroes
written by Haydon Thorne

Melting Stones
written by Tamora Pierce

written by Marilee Brothers
Bell Bridge

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit
written by Nahoko Uehashi

Must Love Black
written by Kelly McClymer
Simon & Schuster

written by Terry Pratchett

Night Road
written by A. M. Jenkins

Night World No. 1 : Secret Vampire/Daughters of Darkness/Spellbinder
Simon & Schuster

Reviewed by: tcr |

Nobody's Prize
written by Esther Friesner
Random House Children's Books

written by William Nicholson

Oh. My. Gods.
written by Tera Lynn Childs
Penguin USA

Reviewed by: tcr |

Other Book
written by Philip Womack
Bloomsbury USA

written by Obert Skye
Shadow Mountain

Poison Ink
written by Christopher Golden
Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers

Reviewed by: Nettle |

Posse of Princesses
written by Sherwood Smith
Norilana Books

Pretty Monsters
written by Kelly Link
illustrated by Shaun Tan
Penguin USA

Reviewed by: tcr |

Princess Ben
written by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Houghton Mifflin

Reviewed by: EmsBookshelf |

Ranger's Apprentice: The Battle for Skandia
written by John Flanagan
Penguin USA

Ratha's Courage
written by Clare Bell
Imaginator Press

Reviewed by: Charlotte |

Red Necklace
written by Sally Gardner

written by Gemma Malley
Bloomsbury USA

written by Amanda Marrone
Simon & Schuster

Reviewed by: Nettle | tcr |

written by Catherine Fisher
Hodder Children's Books

Saving Juliet
written by Suzanne Selfors
Walker Books for Young Readers

Reviewed by: Charlotte |

Secret of Bailey's Chase
written by Marlis Day
Echelon Press

Secrets of the Survivors
written by Mark L. Eastburn

Sky Inside
written by Clare Dunkle
Simon & Schuster

written by Kenneth Oppel
Harper Collins Canada

Stone Crown
written by Malcolm Walker
Walker Books Australia

Stowaway: Stone of Tymora, Book I
written by R.A. Salvatore
and Geno Salvatore

Stranger to Command
written by Sherwood Smith
Norilana Books

Sucks to Be Me
written by Kimberly Pauley

Reviewed by: EmsBookshelf | tcr |

Summoning, The
written by Kelly Armstrong

Reviewed by: EmsBookshelf |

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow
written by Jessica Day George
Bloomsbury USA

Reviewed by: Charlotte |

Swan Kingdom
written by Zoe Marriott
Candlewick Press

written by Carol Snow

Reviewed by: EmsBookshelf |

Tender Morsels
written by Margo Lanagan
Random House Children's Books

Tim, Defender of the Earth
written by Sam Enthoven
Penguin USA

Time Paradox
written by Eoin Colfer

Treason in Eswy
written by K. V. Johansen
Orca Books

Twelve Kingdoms, Volume 2: Sea of Wind
written by Fuyumi Ono

Two Pearls of Wisdom
written by Alison Goodman

Untamed: A House of Night Novel
written by PC Cast
and Kristin Cast
St. Martin's Griffin

Vampire Academy: Frostbite
written by Richelle Mead
Penguin USA

Reviewed by: tcr |

written by Lisa McMann
Simon & Schuster

Reviewed by: tcr |

Wild Talent

Reviewed by: Charlotte |

Worldweavers: Spellspam
written by Alma Alexander

Zoe's Tale
written by John Scalzi

Zombie Blondes
written by Brian James
Feiwel & Friends

1 Comments on Cybils 2008 Nominees: Fantasy and Science Fiction: Teen, last added: 11/16/2008
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497. The City in the Lake

http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif The City in the Lake, by Rachel Neumeier (2008, Alfred A. Knopf, 294 pp).

There is a city on the shores of a lake, where live a king and his beloved son, the heart of the country. Within the waters of the lake lies another city, much more than a reflection of what is real. And Neill, the bastard, the king's other, older, son, stops one evening on the bridge, to watch for its appearance...to see if the carved stone tigers come alive in the water.

In a village far from the city, Timou has grown up in peace, learning to be a mage from her distant but loving father. But her peace is shattered when her father disappears, echoing the mysterious disappearance of the king's own son and the desolation that has befallen the kingdom. She leaves her home to find answers, journying through the Forest, into the city, and past its walls into the city in the lake. And the answers she finds, that bind her to Neill and to the fate of the kingdom, are a maze of magic and danger spun by an ancient sorceress--"an echo in a old story. A name in a history older than the Kingdom."

But another young man, who loves Timou, has followed her into the enchanted forest. There he faces a power strong enough to defeat the ancient evil that has awoken, a power that might claim him forever.

This is a lovely story, beautifully told. It is a slow read, in the best sense of the term, because to rush through it would be to waste its wealth of detail. Fans of Patricia McKillip, in particular, will love it; the cadence of the prose, and the sense of history, mystery, old magic, and things seen at the edge of sight that characterize McKillip are also to be found here.

As well as all that, one of the things that I personally really liked about the book is that the main characters are all people I would enjoy knowing in real life. This could be a sign of my own mental weakness, but I so much prefer to read about people I can care deeply about. So in a nutshell, here you have lovely world-making, people I like, and a satisfying plot.

The City in the Lake has been nominated for the Cybils Awards in the Science Fiction/Fantasy category. My co-panelist Nettle also this book today (I just read it, wanting to wait until after I wrote my own). And here are a few more reviews, at The Well Read Child, at Book Obsession, and at Elizabeth Bunce's blog

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498. Cybils Book Review - Boys of Steel

What does it take to bring superhero to life? In Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman, readers learn that imagination and perseverance both were essential in giving America, and the world, its very first superhero.

Superman debuted in 1938, at a time when the Great Depression had lasted nearly a decade, and the world was teetering on the brink of war. If there was ever a time when people were looking for a fantasy hero, this was it. However, Superman's story began long before that date of publication.

When the book opens we meet Jerry Siegel, a shy kid with glasses who preferred books, and movies to the real world.
But Tarzan, Flash Gordon, and Buck Rogers were fictional characters. They saved other fictional characters in pulp magazines and comic strips. They couldn't save anyone in the real world, where millions of people were struggling to find jobs during the Great Depression of the 1930s. They couldn't save Jerry's father, who died of heart failure during an after-hours robbery in his clothing store in Cleveland.
Not only did Jerry immerse himself in these fantastical worlds, but he also let his imagination wander, writing his own adventure and fiction stories. The retro- comic-style illustrations by MacDonald perfectly fit the subject matter. In the page that describes Jerry's love for writing, he is depicted working at his typewriter, while a group of boys plays ball outside his window. It's clear that Jerry doesn't fit in. He doesn't share the interests of other boys. However, there is one boy who is so like him that they "could've passed for brothers."

Joe Shuster was also a boy who enjoyed the worlds found in comic strips and pulp fiction. Like Jerry he was shy and not athletic. While Jerry created stories with words, Joe created them with pictures. He often spent his time at the kitchen table, drawing his ideas. Like Jerry, he had a difficult home life. When his family couldn't afford art paper, he made due with the back discarded wallpaper or wrapping paper from the butcher shop. In the winter when the family's apartment was cold because it had no heat, he drew "while bundled in several sweaters, one or two coats--even gloves."

Joe often illustrated Jerry's stories. Joe had a plan to to work with Jerry to develop a new character and comic strip, one that they could perhaps sell to a newspaper. Their first attempt centered on a man who fought for truth and justice. When the first publisher said no to the idea, Joe tore up the pages in disappointment.

In 1934, during a fitful night of sleep, Jerry woke to record his ideas for a new hero. A double page spread with a series of story boxes (4 on a page) shows Jerry in his pajamas while the hero in his head begins to take form. The hero would be strong, an alien (though he would look human), capable of leaping so high it would look as though he were flying, full of confidence, and a man with a secret identity. Early in the morning, Jerry ran to Joe's house to share his ideas. He looked over Joe's shoulder as he sketched. Jerry sketched all day, and finally their hero was created on paper. They put an "S" on his costume, for super, but also for Siegel and Shuster.

Joe and Jerry spent more than three years trying to sell their Superman idea. Finally, a man who was publishing a new type of magazine (a comic book), said yes. The Superman comic book was an enormous success. Joe and Jerry's superhero moved from comic books to radio, cartoons, books and movies. He even ended up on television.

The story ends this way.
Some people look up in the sky and see a bird or a plane, but nothing beyond. In the trying days of yesteryear, Jerry and Joe looked up and saw a star that no one had discovered before. They brought him to Earth and watched him become a superstar.

And today, on every story where his name appears, theirs do, too.
While the text itself ends on a happy note, Joe and Jerry's story is not nearly as rosy. Because they believed they might not have another chance to publish their story, they sold it and all the rights to the character for $130.00. Joe and Jerry did not get profits from the continuing sale of Superman stories, though they were employees of the company that is now DC comics and were well paid. When they asked for royalties, they were denied. In 1947, they sued DC for 5 million dollars and the rights to Superman and lost their suit. DC did offer them $100,000 to surrender all claims, which they did. Upon doing so, they were fired.

The author's note is extensive and continues to describe the difficulties that Joe and Jerry faced. In 1975, upon hearing that Warner Bros. Studies has paid DC 3 million dollars for the rights to make a Superman movie, Jerry began a letter-writing campaign. He told the story of how DC ruined their lives and got rich off their creation. There's more to the story, and to this day, negotiations with the families are still ongoing.

This dark part of their story is not told in the illustrated text, but it needn't be. Readers will be inspired enough by the story of how two young men came to create one of the greatest superheroes of all time. Overall, this biography is well-written, perfectly illustrated, and quite engaging. I highly recommend it.

Book: Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman
Marc Tyler Nobleman
Ross MacDonald
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Date Published:
40 pages
Source of Book:
Copy received from publisher for Cybils consideration.

This post was written for Nonfiction Monday. Head on over to Anastasia Suen’s blog and check out all the great posts highlighting nonfiction this week.

If you want to use this in the classroom, don't miss the teachers guide. (Hey, I know it looks wrong (it IS wrong), but that's how Random House spells it!)

Other Reviews - Fuse #8
Interviews - Read this fab interview with Nobleman at Guys Lit Wire. (Thanks, Jules!)

4 Comments on Cybils Book Review - Boys of Steel, last added: 12/1/2008
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499. Easy Reader Review: Spring is Here! A Story About Seeds by Joan Holub

Another book up for consideration in the Cybils Easy Reader category is this pre-level 1 offering by Joan Holub. According to the level chart on the back of the book, a Pre-Level 1 reader (as defined by publisher Simon and Schuster) is as easy reading as one can get, focusing on word repetition, familiar words and phrases, and simple sentences. With only 21 pages and 97 words, author Joan Holub

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500. Unicorns vs Zombies

So you might already have heard that Simon and Schuster is putting out a book (in 2010, a long ways away), entitled, catchily, "Zombies vs Unicorns."

Unicorns. John Green calls them "horned beasts of suck." How this would have hurt my 11 year old self, who loved them passionately (although strangely my unicorn rug, book ends, unwritten in journals, pillowcase, cushion, etc. all failed to make it inside my grown-up house. I think my poor mother is still trying to use up unicorn notepads back at home). Heading up Team Unicorn is Holly Black--here's just one of her arguments: "Unicorns are interesting because there is something to subvert, something to transgress. No one wants to see the zombie transgressed. Well, only crazy people."

Zombies. I just don't much care for the undead. Possibly because, before Pet Cemetery was even written, I had recurring nightmares (well, at least 2) about digging up my dead cat. In the Zombie camp is Justine Larbalestier ("Why Zombies Rule"): "You can fight them off. You can get away. But in the end? Not so much."

Read more about this epic battle here.

2010 is a long time to wait to see which side will prevail. So what, you might ask, is the status of Zombies vs Unicorns this year, now, 2008? Thanks to my position as reader of the 168 or whatever books nominated for the Science Fiction Fantasy Awards, I can answer that question with Hard Data.

In the zombie camp are Zombie Blondes, by Brian James, and Generation Dead, by Daniel Waters. If you are a reader who craves books about Zombie Cheerleaders, 2008 was great great great and will probably never be surpassed. Then there's Playing With Fire, by Derek Landy, the second Skulduggery Pleasant book (is a sentient, "living" skeletal creature a zombie?) There is also an undead hamster from hell (The Curse of Cuddles McGee, by Emily Ecton). He is perhaps more ghost than zombie, although his bones move, instead of staying sweetly in one place, the way a ghost's do, and I have now decided (mainly so that I can include this book) that if your bones move, you're a zombie.

Final count: 4 zombie books (I have read 2)

Unicorns are represented by Dark Whispers, the third book of the Unicorn Chronicles, by Bruce Coville, and Charm for a Unicorn, by Jennifer Macaire. I haven't read either of these; once I do, if I have anything interesting to add, I'll come back and say it.

Final count: 2 unicorn books (I have read 0)

In general, I am on Team Unicorn (although I will of course read the zombie books on the Cybils list with respect and careful consideration). How can one not be. Think of some of the classic books with unicorns, like Elidor, by Alan Garner, or The Last Battle, by C.S. Lewis, or even (although it's not really a favorite of mine) The Last Unicorn, by Peter Beagle. Now think of the powerful, beautiful, moving books with zombies, books destined never to fall out of print. I can't think of any. But maybe my parents, busily buying me unicorn notepaper, kept such darkness from me... Read the rest of this post

7 Comments on Unicorns vs Zombies, last added: 11/28/2008
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