bookspacePhoto of readerProfile
 home > bookspace > profile
Display Name: Emily Lloyd
About me: I'm an Associate Librarian at Eden Prairie Library, and I live, read, and write in South Minneapolis.

Emily Lloyd's Book Lists
Not Just Martin: Books on Civil Rights Struggles for Young Children (7 titles)

Everyday Diversity in Picture Books (53 titles)
I use "everyday diversity" to mean books with diverse protagonists (nonwhite, or non-ablebodied, or with GLBTQ parents, etc) that are simply about playing in the snow or losing a tooth or cooking a meal--not focusing specifically on identity.
Beginning Chapter Books for Animal Lovers (16 titles)

Fables & Folktales: Simple Versions for Youngest Listeners (9 titles)
When you search for a fairy or folk tale, you'll often find umpteen retellings & modernizations & "fractured" versions in the library catalog. Here are my picks for which to choose when you want the plain, classic tale told simply enough for a preschooler. All have a good number of colorful illustrations and a simple, unembellished text.
Colors! Lines! Shapes! Patterns! Art! (13 titles)
Great but simple picture books about artistic concepts, and making and appreciating glorious art.
Show all 17 booklists by Emily Lloyd

Emily Lloyd's Comments    
Cover ArtHow the dinosaur got to the museum
by Hartland, Jessie.
Wonderfully-drawn, brilliantly-written, this supercool easy nonfiction book would be a great read-aloud before visiting a natural history museum (either individually or on a class field trip). It anticipates and satisfies kids' curiosity, and introduces not just the most well-known dino-related occupation (paleontologist), but all the others that contribute to the process of getting a dinosaur's bones to a museum, and reassembled and exhibited there (preparators, welders, curators, excavators, riggers, exhibits team, cleaners, etc). It's chock-full of great vocabulary words (stabilizes, restored, authenticated, acquisition, etc) and Hartland's bright, colorful illustrations will keep even audiences who aren't particularly into dinos (like myself) engaged where actual realistic photos might not have. Good stuff!   posted Feb 2, 2014 at 10:41AM

Cover ArtLittle fish : a memoir from a different kind of year
by Ramsey Beyer
Doubt. Wistfulness. Growing consciousness. Growing confidence. Homesickness while at school, schoolsickness while at home. Actively trying to grow and carefully examining one’s growth. Meeting people your age with convictions. Not having convictions yet. Deciding who you are and what you like. In a skillfully put-together book that feels effortlessly put-together (and includes many lists and blurbs from the zine she made when she was first beginning art school), Ramsey Beyer evokes the big weirdnesses and small wonderfulnesses of one’s first year away from home and in school (in her case, art school, but more broadly, college). As an adult reader, it made me nostalgic--especially Beyer’s cataloging of the seemingly mundane new traditions (weekly dates to pile into someone’s room and watch The OC, getting Chinese from a restaurant called Eat Must Be First every Saturday) and experiments (let’s all straighten our hair--even the boys--and take pictures on a lazy afternoon) with new friends that cumulatively add up to deeper levels of intimacy. I feel like I would’ve been interested in reading it if I could have before leaving for school--but I still need to recommend it to teens (it’s marketed as a YA book) in that position and see how it speaks to them. The last page could not be more perfect.   posted Feb 2, 2014 at 7:37AM

Cover ArtShrinking mouse
by Hutchins, Pat, 1942-
The perfect book for introducing perspective: a bunch of animal friends notice that when of them leaves their wood and travels across the field, she "shrinks"--and are very relieved that she grows "normal-sized" again upon her return.   posted Dec 26, 2013 at 9:11AM

Cover ArtThe ugly duckling
by Isadora, Rachel.
A little long--though I haven't found a shorter retelling--but the language is nice and the illustrations are outstanding. In one spot, Isadora reserves a full two-page spread for a tiny bit of text--"At night the ugly duckling would cry himself to sleep"--beautifully capturing the loneliness, isolation, and sadness of the "duckling" who has far too much space to himself.   posted Dec 23, 2013 at 7:52PM

Cover ArtThe ugly duckling
by Isadora, Rachel.
A little long--though I haven't fouind a shorter retelling--but the language is nice and the illustrations are outstanding. In one spot, Isadora reserves a full two-page spread for a tiny bit of text--"At night the ugly duckling would cry himself to sleep"--beautifully capturing the loneliness, isolation, and sadness of the "duckling" who has far too much space to himself.   posted Dec 23, 2013 at 7:51PM

Cover ArtLittle Red Riding Hood
by Ford, Bernette G.
A very clean, simple text with letters printed in a nice, big point size; friendly cartoonish illustrations. This version has the gentlest ending I've seen for this story--a woodsman "knocks out" the wolf and "unzips" his stomach (there's a cartoonish zipper down his middle, as if he were a pair of footy pajamas) to find Grandma inside.   posted Dec 23, 2013 at 6:46PM

Cover ArtThe name of the star
by Johnson, Maureen
This fits the bill perfectly for a good-but-not-taxing YA winter’s weekend read: an easy to get into (I imagine even for reluctant readers), creepy and occasionally terrifying ghost story set in London, mainly around a boarding school attended by American protagonist Rory. Premise: after having a near-death experience (in Rory’s case, embarrassingly choking in the dining hall on one of the first nights at her new school), some people are able to see ghosts--that at first they might not realize are ghosts. Right around the time Rory gains this sight, there happens to be a serial-killing ghost haunting London: corporeal enough to commit gruesome murders, but invisible to security cameras. The police, looking for a non-ghost perp, aren’t ever going to catch him. And, having seen her eyes register him in a crowd, he knows that Rory can see him. Fun, spooky, and strong enough that I immediately requested the sequel after finishing.   posted Dec 22, 2013 at 7:56AM

Cover ArtFlight of the phoenix
by LaFevers, R. L.
A chapter book series I can wholeheartedly recommend to folks who say "We finished and loved Magic Tree House. What next?" Like Magic Tree House, it involves travel, missions, and adventure; the reading is a little bit more challenging, but not too much (perfect for kids who have finished MTH); and there’s a friendly ratio of illustrations to text.   posted Nov 29, 2013 at 9:09AM

Cover ArtLulu and the duck in the park
by McKay, Hilary.
Lulu is "famous for loving animals"--all the way down to spiders. So when her 3rd grade class witnesses, on a field trip, two large dogs ruin a nest of duck eggs and Lulu finds that one egg has survived, what can she do but tuck it inside her sweater and hope it doesn't hatch before the end of the school day? A short, Ramona-like book about having a well-intentioned secret, with a happy ending.   posted Nov 25, 2013 at 12:59PM

Cover ArtDaisy Dawson is on her way!
by Voake, Steve.
Walking to school one day, animal lover Daisy Dawson suddenly hears and understands a dog speaking to her. In school, she suddenly understands what the class gerbils are saying--and they understand her back! Soon, even ants are conversing with Daisy, and she finds herself counseling animals-- and occasionally getting into trouble while trying to get them out of it.   posted Nov 25, 2013 at 12:58PM

Cover ArtSpunky tells all
by Cameron, Ann, 1943-
"Spunky"'s a wonderful read that would also make a great classroom read-aloud. It's certainly the closest I've ever felt to being inside a dog's head. Cameron uses the beginning-chapters-level vocabulary to give Spunky a voice that's funny, thoughtful, and true. "Spunky Tells All" is related to Ann Cameron's "Julian" and "Huey" books--he's their dog, and they're the family in "Spunky Tells All", but it's not at all necessary to have read those in order to enjoy it.   posted Nov 25, 2013 at 12:57PM

Cover ArtDog diaries : secret writings of the WOOF Society
by Byars, Betsy Cromer.
A treat for storytelling-lovers as well as dog lovers (I don't count myself among the latter), Dog Diaries covers a meeting of the WOOF (Words Of Our Friends) Society, dogs devoted to growing an awareness of dogs' storytelling talents. The meeting is the frame for a series of monologues/stories from dogs both historical and contemporary. We hear from Abu, a dog of Ancient Egypt; Tidbit, a dog at the Grand Ol' Opry in the late 50s who's given his name by a nice lady named Dolly; Jip, who accompanies his human to the Civil War and leads him home when he's blinded in battle; Mimi, a contemporary dog living in Paris who shares the finer points of dog toilet etiquette (when it's cold, feel free to go inside, as long as you can hide it--under the bed in a guest room is ideal), and more. Often hilarious, sometimes moving, not every story hit the mark for me but most well exceeded it. I recommend it!   posted Nov 25, 2013 at 12:57PM

Cover ArtThe gingerbread man
by Kimmel, Eric A.
A simple, classic retelling. I love this particular sly fox, the epitome of stranger danger ("Why, Gingerbread Man, you don't have to run from me. I am your friend. I want to help you.") Will work with preschoolers and up.   posted Nov 16, 2013 at 5:09PM

Cover ArtGoldilocks and the three bears
by Spirin, Gennady
A simple, not-too-wordy "Goldilocks" that will work with both preschool and older audiences. Detailed but not visually overwhelming illustrations--both the bears and Goldilocks seemed to be dressed for Renaissance Italy. Spirin's bears look seriously fierce when they learn G's been messing with their stuff, so a child with a pre-existing fear of bears or animals might quake a little, but they're ultimately harmless, and bid Goldilocks "Bye" cheerfully enough at the end.   posted Nov 16, 2013 at 5:09PM

Cover ArtThe city mouse and the country mouse
by Percy, Graham.
A nice, clear telling of the classic story that isn't too wordy and will work for preschoolers. I dislike that the moral is printed in large letters on a page at the *beginning* of the book before the story opens--were I reading this to children I'd skip that page. It's printed again at the end of the story. The book isn't large--about 8.5" x 7.5--so best for reading to a smaller group, not a storytime of 60 kids.   posted Nov 16, 2013 at 5:08PM

Cover ArtThe three bears
by Galdone, Paul.
Galdone's versions of folk & fairy tales are usually great choices when you want a simple telling for a young audience, and the Three Bears is no exception. Interestingly, here the bears are called not Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear, but Great Big Bear, Middle-Sized Bear, and Little Wee Bear, which also makes it a good choice for families that don't include a mother and a father (though "Great Big Bear" is occasionally referred to as "he" and "Middle-Sized Bear" as "she", the bears look like bears--naked--and aren't in gendered outfits).   posted Nov 16, 2013 at 5:08PM

Cover ArtThe three billy goats Gruff
by Galdone, Paul.
Perfect, classic version, and man, is Galdone's troll ugly.   posted Nov 16, 2013 at 5:08PM

Cover ArtThe little red hen
by Galdone, Paul.
The classic, well-done. In some versions, the hen shares the bread or cake (here it's cake) with her chicks; in this one, she eats it by herself (has no chicks).   posted Nov 16, 2013 at 5:07PM

Cover ArtThe three bears
by Barton, Byron.
Barton's bright, very simple illustrations and bare bones text make this version a perfect choice to read to 2-4-yr olds. If you're looking for a similarly simple text but more sumptuous illustrations, Paul Galdone's "The Three Bears" is the one to get.   posted Nov 16, 2013 at 5:06PM

Cover ArtThe great art treasure hunt : I spy red, yellow, and blue
by Kutschbach, Doris.
An I-Spy-like pore-over book that asks kids to look closely at several well-known works of art, and briefly addresses how different colors work in art ("yellow is warm")   posted Nov 16, 2013 at 4:03PM

Cover ArtMousterpiece
by Zalben, Jane Breskin.
Janson is a mouse who lives in a museum, and one day she wanders into the modern art section..."and her little world open[s]." "Mousterpiece" introduces (but doesn't name, except in the back matter) a good number (22!) of famous modern artists and techniques in a friendly way: Janson paints her own pictures in styles inspired by the art she sees ("in dots"=a portrait of a mouse, Seurat-style; "in squares, circles, triangles"=Picasso, etc). The very simple language describing movements and artists without naming them is really nice--it means the text doesn't get bogged down, instead focusing on Janson's joy in discovering all the different ways to make visual art (she develops her own style by the end!). The end notes are good jumping-off pieces to studying individual artists and movements.   posted Nov 16, 2013 at 3:58PM

Cover ArtAn eye for color : the story of Josef Albers
by Wing, Natasha.
Imagine an artist who was so intrigued by and in love with color that he decided to paint almost nothing but squares for the rest of his life! "In 1933, Josef was invited to teach in America. His goal was 'to open eyes'..." "One color stepped away...another popped forward..." Unsurprisingly but happily vivid illustrations introduce the concept of how colors impact (or speak to) each other.   posted Nov 16, 2013 at 3:54PM

Cover ArtLook! look! look! at sculpture
by Wallace, Nancy Elizabeth
A group of mice investigate an abstract sculpture. They look at the sides and the back, because it's important to see all sides of a sculpture. They talk about the different ways it makes them feel, and the shapes they see in it. They talk about the texture, and how it looks like it's made with heavy slate. A good intro to encountering abstract art in other mediums, too.   posted Nov 16, 2013 at 3:54PM

Cover ArtThe dot
by Reynolds, Peter, 1961-
The cover makes it look a little "precious" or cheesily inspirational, but The Dot is a solid classic about the way we see ourselves and the art we make. Vashti, who says she can't draw, is shown in a breathtakingly simple and kind way by her art teacher that she can. She passes the lesson on.   posted Nov 16, 2013 at 3:54PM

Cover ArtMy dog is as smelly as dirty socks : and other funny family portraits
by Piven, Hanoch, 1963-
This one is sure to inspire an art project in your little one (also great to read to a classroom for an art project, preschool-2nd grade). Pivens's portraits are part-drawing, part-object-assortments: since the dog is as smelly as dirty socks, a dirty sock stands in for his ear, etc. Smart and fun.   posted Nov 16, 2013 at 3:53PM

Cover ArtOooh! Picasso
by Niepold, Mil.
A bit more challenging and abstract than the others on this list, but will still work with young ones. It looks at Picasso's sculptures, not paintings, and it does so bit by bit--"What is this?" it asks, showing a portion of a sculpture, then "What is this?", showing another portion, until it reveals the whole. The text is simple but imaginative and poetic: "What is this? I am a tin moon hooked to the night sky...I am a lollipop dreaming." Niepold also has an "Oooh! Matisse" book, but it's a little obtuse for this age group (or mine).   posted Nov 16, 2013 at 3:53PM

Cover ArtIf rocks could sing : a discovered alphabet
by McGuirk, Leslie.
Sometimes art is about the way we choose to see things, about having new eyes. Leslie McGuirk found rocks shaped like every letter of the alphabet! A great read before a nature walk to hunt for good rocks (another great one is "If You Find a Rock," but that's more rocky than arty).   posted Nov 16, 2013 at 3:52PM

Cover ArtPerfect square
by Hall, Michael, 1954-
"Perfect Square"=perfect book. Hall's square is perfect on Monday, then gets holes punched in it...and is perfect again, transformed into something new (a fountain!). Then it gets torn...and is perfect again, and so on. A beautiful book about change and transformation and how there are no mistakes in art (and life?), just new opportunities to reimagine.   posted Nov 16, 2013 at 3:52PM

Cover ArtSpot it! : find the hidden creatures
by Chedru, Delphine
This is an "I spy" book like no other. Instead of looking for something in a pile of stuff, it asks the reader to find something hiding inside a repeating pattern...which requires even closer looking. It's a challenge and a joy, clever, bright, and vivid. (See also: Spot It Again, a second helping--though it includes lift-the-flaps which I think detract from the experience of being immersed in patterns a bit)   posted Nov 16, 2013 at 3:52PM

Cover ArtSpiky, slimy, smooth : what is texture?
by Brocket, Jane.
This book's lush photo close-ups will inspire readers to spend a whole afternoon (or preschool class) together exploring amazing textures. A solid preschool-level intro packed with good vocab ("Look at all these different squash! Some are plain and smooth. Some are knobbly and warty. And some are curvy and lumpy"..."Raw eggs are wobbly and runny and slimy". Read it, then touch ALL the things!   posted Nov 16, 2013 at 3:51PM

Cover ArtTo be an artist
by Ajmera, Maya.
"To be an artist means expressing yourself in many different ways...to be an artist means drawing and designing..." A short book with pictures of children around the world making and sharing art, whether drumming and dancing, weaving baskets, painting, or acting in a play.   posted Nov 16, 2013 at 3:51PM

Cover ArtDaisy Dawson is on her way!
by Voake, Steve.
Walking to school one day, animal lover Daisy Dawson suddenly hears and understands a dog speaking to her. In school, she suddenly understands what the class gerbils are saying--and they understand her back! Soon, even ants are conversing with Daisy, and she finds herself counseling animals-- and occasionally getting into trouble while trying to get them out of it.   posted Nov 4, 2013 at 5:45PM

Cover ArtLulu and the duck in the park
by McKay, Hilary.
Lulu is "famous for loving animals"--all the way down to spiders. So when her 3rd grade class witnesses, on a field trip, two large dogs ruin a nest of duck eggs and Lulu finds that one egg has survived, what can she do but tuck it inside her sweater and hope it doesn't hatch before the end of the school day? A short, Ramona-like book about having a well-intentioned secret, with a happy ending.   posted Sep 10, 2013 at 8:55AM

Cover ArtMake way for Dyamonde Daniel
by Grimes, Nikki.
I love Dyamonde Daniel: she's smart, thoughtful, self-aware, and not overly concerned with what others think of her. In "Make Way," Dyamonde, just beginning at a new school herself, watches another new kid scowl and stomp and mope for a week. Everyone else avoids Free, but Dyamonde knows there's got to be more to this story. She decides to straight-up ask him: "Why are you so mad?", and a new friendship slowly begins. Dyamonde lives in a city (New York), and it's a nice change from the frequent suburban settings in beginning chapter books. Her parents are recently divorced, and she's comfortable feeling both sad about it and relieved that there isn't so much yelling and fighting going on in her life any more. A great beginning chapter book with a memorable lead, excellent writing, and fabulous illustrations.   posted Sep 10, 2013 at 8:55AM

Cover ArtMake way for Dyamonde Daniel
by Grimes, Nikki.
I love Dyamonde Daniel: she's smart, thoughtful, self-aware, and not overly concerned with what others think of her. In "Make Way," Dyamonde, just beginning at a new school herself, watches another new kid scowl and stomp and mope for a week. Everyone else avoids Free, but Dyamonde knows there's got to be more to this story. She decides to straight-up ask him: "Why are you so mad?", and a new friendship slowly begins. Dyamonde lives in a city (New York), and it's a nice change from the frequent suburban settings in beginning chapter books. Her parents are recently divorced, and she's comfortable feeling both sad about it and relieved that there isn't so much yelling and fighting going on in her life any more. A great beginning chapter book with a memorable lead, excellent writing, and fabulous illustrations.   posted Sep 10, 2013 at 8:54AM

Cover ArtDaisy Dawson is on her way!
by Voake, Steve.
Walking to school one day, animal lover Daisy Dawson suddenly hears and understands a dog speaking to her. In school, she suddenly understands what the class gerbils are saying--and they understand her back! Soon, even ants are conversing with Daisy, and she finds herself counseling animals-- and occasionally getting into trouble while trying to get them out of it.   posted Sep 10, 2013 at 8:54AM

Cover ArtLulu and the duck in the park
by McKay, Hilary.
Lulu is "famous for loving animals"--all the way down to spiders. So when her 3rd grade class witnesses, on a field trip, two large dogs ruin a nest of duck eggs and Lulu finds that one egg has survived, what can she do but tuck it inside her sweater and hope it doesn't hatch before the end of the school day? A short, Ramona-like book about having a well-intentioned secret, with a happy ending.   posted Sep 4, 2013 at 1:25PM

Cover ArtDog diaries : secret writings of the WOOF Society
by Byars, Betsy Cromer.
A treat for storytelling-lovers as well as dog lovers (I don't count myself among the latter), Dog Diaries covers a meeting of the WOOF (Words Of Our Friends) Society, dogs devoted to growing an awareness of dogs' storytelling talents. The meeting is the frame for a series of monologues/stories from dogs both historical and contemporary. We hear from Abu, a dog of Ancient Egypt; Tidbit, a dog at the Grand Ol' Opry in the late 50s who's given his name by a nice lady named Dolly; Jip, who accompanies his human to the Civil War and leads him home when he's blinded in battle; Mimi, a contemporary dog living in Paris who shares the finer points of dog toilet etiquette (when it's cold, feel free to go inside, as long as you can hide it--under the bed in a guest room is ideal), and more. Often hilarious, sometimes moving, not every story hit the mark for me but most well exceeded it. I recommend it!   posted Sep 4, 2013 at 1:19PM

Cover ArtSpunky tells all
by Cameron, Ann, 1943-
"Spunky"'s a wonderful read that would also make a great classroom read-aloud. It's certainly the closest I've ever felt to being inside a dog's head. Cameron uses the beginning-chapters-level vocabulary to give Spunky a voice that's funny, thoughtful, and true. "Spunky Tells All" is related to Ann Cameron's "Julian" and "Huey" books--he's their dog, and they're the family in "Spunky Tells All", but it's not at all necessary to have read those in order to enjoy it.   posted Sep 4, 2013 at 1:17PM

Cover ArtThe stories Huey tells
by Cameron, Ann, 1943-
In which Huey invents banana spaghetti for a Mother's Day breakfast-in-bed and fools his older brother Julian marvelously, among other things. When Julian gets a book on animal tracks and dismisses Huey's request to look at it because, J says, Huey isn't old enough, Huey sneaks peeks at the book, replicates the tracks of a zebra and an elephant leading up to the house, and has Julian agog for days and setting up zebra traps. When Huey isn't happy with the way his invention, banana spaghetti, looks and tastes and doesn't want to serve it to his mom for Mother's Day, Huey's dad (I love the parents in this book--firm with rules, patient with mistakes and concerns) praises the idea and helps him alter the execution, resulting in something the whole household finds tasty. One mark of a good beginning chapter book for me is, if it's a series, whether I'm inspired to go read more. With many I'm not, but with Huey (and, recently, Dyamonde Daniel and Anna Hibiscus) I am.   posted Sep 3, 2013 at 10:36AM

Cover ArtRich : a Dyamonde Daniel book
by Grimes, Nikki.
Bravo to Grimes for addressing some tougher topics so matter-of-factly and non-pityingly (this is not trauma lit) in a beginning chapter book that she makes it look easy. The first: one many might not think of as a tough topic, but one that I know is fraught with meaning for many who have grown up poor: shopping in secondhand stores. Dyamonde enjoys it, calls it treasure hunting, and can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want your clothes to have a past; her best friend, Free, is skeptical, but comes around after finding his idea of a treasure (not clothes, but a jar of marbles for 50 cents). The second: the fact that some schoolkids live in shelters, like Grimes’s character Damaris, who runs from Dyamonde the day Dyamonde sees her walking out of a homeless shelter. Dyamonde’s a thoughtful kid, while at the same time a direct one, never pretending away something she’s observed. As she was at getting Free to open up about his anger in book one, in "Rich" Dyamonde’s a natural at finding a way that feels safe for Damaris (who’s tired of hiding but averse to anyone feeling sorry for her) to talk about her current life at the shelter. I liked this second book in the Dyamonde Daniel series even better than the first.   posted Aug 29, 2013 at 2:42PM

Cover ArtMake way for Dyamonde Daniel
by Grimes, Nikki.
I love Dyamonde Daniel: she's smart, thoughtful, self-aware, and not overly concerned with what others think of her. In "Make Way," Dyamonde, just beginning at a new school herself, watches another new kid scowl and stomp and mope for a week. Everyone else avoids Free, but Dyamonde knows there's got to be more to this story. She decides to straight-up ask him: "Why are you so mad?", and a new friendship slowly begins. Dyamonde lives in a city (New York), and it's a nice change from the frequent suburban settings in beginning chapter books. Her parents are recently divorced, and she's comfortable feeling both sad about it and relieved that there isn't so much yelling and fighting going on in her life any more. A great beginning chapter book with a memorable lead, excellent writing, and fabulous illustrations.   posted Aug 29, 2013 at 1:51PM

Cover ArtThis is my family : a first look at same-sex parents
by Thomas, Pat, 1959-
I really like this one! It's especially useful for introducing kids *without* same-sex parents to the concept of same-sex parenting. "There are gay men and lesbian women in every community. They work and teach and help others and make friends...same-sex parents love and protect and take care of their children just like all parents do. They take you to school or the doctor. They teach you respect for others and the difference between right and wrong. They also do fun stuff, too, like play with you, cuddle with you, and read with you."   posted Jul 22, 2013 at 8:07PM

Cover ArtWhat makes a baby
by Silverberg, Cory.
"When grown ups want to make a baby they need to get an egg from one body and sperm from another body"...this book about what makes a baby without any "mommy" or "daddy" or family assumptions made originated as a Kickstarter project.   posted Jul 22, 2013 at 8:02PM

Cover ArtIf rocks could sing : a discovered alphabet
by McGuirk, Leslie.
Sometimes art is about the way we choose to see things, about having new eyes. Leslie McGuirk found rocks shaped like every letter of the alphabet! A great read before a nature walk to hunt for good rocks (another great one is "If You Find a Rock," but that's more rocky than arty).   posted Jul 16, 2013 at 6:28PM

Cover ArtSpiky, slimy, smooth : what is texture?
by Brocket, Jane.
This book's lush photo close-ups will inspire readers to spend a whole afternoon (or preschool class) together exploring amazing textures. A solid preschool-level intro packed with good vocab ("Look at all these different squash! Some are plain and smooth. Some are knobbly and warty. And some are curvy and lumpy"..."Raw eggs are wobbly and runny and slimy". Read it, then touch ALL the things!   posted Jul 7, 2013 at 12:38PM

Cover ArtAn eye for color : the story of Josef Albers
by Wing, Natasha.
Imagine an artist who was so intrigued by and in love with color that he decided to paint almost nothing but squares for the rest of his life! "In 1933, Josef was invited to teach in America. His goal was 'to open eyes'..." "One color stepped away...another popped forward..." Unsurprisingly but happily vivid illustrations introduce the concept of how colors impact (or speak to) each other.   posted Jul 7, 2013 at 12:31PM

Cover ArtUnderground
by Fleming, Denise, 1950-
"Underground/creatures dig...past squirm-ways and worm-ways..." A minimal but powerful text & intimate, close-up illustrations follow moles, chipmunks, grubs, earthworms, and other creatures that spend their time underground.   posted Jul 7, 2013 at 12:21PM

Cover ArtEmma's friendwich : social skills, making friends
by Murphy, Stuart J., 1942-
A short, simple book that sees main character Emma, who's just moved to a new town and does not yet have any friends, working out the steps she can take to meet, be invited to play with, and break through awkward silences with a neighbor her own age. "Maybe if I smile...Maybe if I ask...Maybe if I help..."   posted May 24, 2013 at 11:57AM

Cover ArtEveryone matters : a first look at respect for others
by Thomas, Pat, 1959-
Explores what respect means and how to be respectful, and has suggested questions for kids throughout the text. A little "instructional" feeling--kids will be aware that they're being taught something--but well-done and not dry.   posted Apr 26, 2013 at 5:00PM

Cover ArtFeynman
by Ottaviani, Jim.
Feynman’s an interesting guy; the book is well-written and drawn; these together made for a good read. Concentrates less on Feynman’s physics (although there a few 2-3-page illustrated "lectures"), and more on his life: working at Los Alamos on the bomb a mere month before it was dropped on Hiroshima (during this time, his first wife passed away; he mourned but came back to work immediately and made it clear he didn’t want anyone’s sympathy to interfere with the work), finding out at the last minute before presenting as a grad student that his prof had invited Einstein, Fermi, and other big names to sit in (and they came), finding a topless bar more conducive to getting work done than an office (and defending, in court, as a world-famous physicist, the topless bar’s right to exist when none of the other customers would dare show their faces to testify), pretty much figuring out what went wrong with the Challenger and having no one be too pleased with that, etc. This book is being reviewed as a good one for young adults as well as adults, and I agree...it’s neat and eye-opening seeing some key 20th-century history through the lens of Feynman’s life, as well some different things physicists might do (in topless bars or out). Before reading it, I already regretted never having taken physics; now, I do a little more so, and plan to read some of Feynman’s own books. I should say that the portrayal of Feynman doesn’t exactly make you want to throw hero-worshiping arms around him...he comes off as self-centered and arrogant (not having read much, but knowing much of the content was drawn from Feynman’s own books, I can only assume that, well, he was these things) as well as brilliant and strange. From what I’d heard of Feynman, I’d expected to come out of this book admiring him. I didn’t. But I did come out still interested.   posted Apr 8, 2013 at 4:40PM

Cover ArtMarbles : mania, depression, Michelangelo, & me : a graphic memoir
by Forney, Ellen.
So good. One of the best graphic-format memoirs I’ve read, and one of the best books on mental illness. Forney makes brilliant use of comix to capture the poles of manic depression and explore "Club Van Gogh"--the high incidence of bipolar disorder in artists, the hell of a choice one has to make as a mentally ill artist between what feels like "keeping one’s edge", the overflow of ideas and creative energy and productivity during mania if one remains unmedicated, and of functioning more responsibly, medicated, where managing to bring even one full idea to the surface is a struggle like dredging a lake with a spoon. And her coining of "cra-dar" (rhymes with ’gaydar’)--a mentally ill person’s real or imagined ability to recognize other mentally ill people--cracked me up (no pun intended).   posted Apr 8, 2013 at 4:37PM

Cover ArtWake up, it's spring!
by Ernst, Lisa Campbell.
"'Wake up, old friend, it's Spring!' whispered the sun. And the warmed earth woke up." The earth wakes the earthworm, the earthworm the seed, the seed the ladybug, and so on. Exuberant and bright--my favorite spring-themed picture book after Mary Lyn Ray's 'Mud'.   posted Apr 5, 2013 at 3:24PM

Cover ArtFlip, flap, fly!
by Root, Phyllis.
A buoyant rhyme full of great movement-related verbs follows a series of baby animals doing what they love to do. From Booklist: "The rhyming text pauses before the page turn where the tip of a tail is pictured and the next spread reveals the new creature. For instance: “So mama helps the baby fish, splish, splash, swim through the weeds and the reeds in the green, green lake. ‘Look,’ blurps the baby fish, ‘I see a . . . [page turn] SNAKE!’” This gives the reader/listener a chance to fill in the rhyme on his or her own.   posted Apr 5, 2013 at 3:17PM

Cover ArtEverybody needs a rock
by Baylor, Byrd.
Granted, the two-tone illustrations from a book published in 1974 are probably not going to engage today's kids. But the text remains fantastically fresh and exciting. Read it, especially to a group of kids before going on a hunt for the perfect rocks for them. "The size must be perfect. It has to feel easy in your hand when you close your fingers over it. It has to feel jumpy in your pocket when you run. Some people touch a rock a thousand times a day. There aren't many things that feel as good as a rock--if the rock is perfect." Charming, magical, and kid-like.   posted Apr 5, 2013 at 2:56PM

Cover ArtSwirl by swirl : spirals in nature
by Sidman, Joyce.
"A spiral is a growing shape. It starts small and gets bigger, swirl by swirl. It unwraps itself, one curl at a time." A perfect text and amazing woodcut (I think) illustrations invite us to consider a shape that recurs over and over in the natural world.   posted Apr 5, 2013 at 1:36PM

Cover ArtLittle white rabbit
by Henkes, Kevin
The soft, fresh yellows, pinks, and especially greens of Henkes's illustrations make this book feel like a Spring morning. "Little White Rabbit hopped along. When he hopped through the high grass, he wondered what it would be like to be green...when he hopped over the rock, he wondered what it would be like not to be able to move." While you read, make sure to wonder about the same things Little Rabbit does--then go outside and wonder about the things you see as you hop along.   posted Apr 5, 2013 at 12:49PM

Cover ArtIf rocks could sing : a discovered alphabet
by McGuirk, Leslie.
Leslie McGuirk, rock observer extraordinaire, found rocks that look like each letter of the alphabet. The perfect read right before a nature walk with preschoolers through second graders--what shapes will they find in the rocks they see today?   posted Apr 5, 2013 at 12:34PM

Cover ArtMud
by Ray, Mary Lyn.
Get dressed in old clothes before you read this one to a child, because you'll immediately want to go outside and play together in the mud afterwards. One of my all-time favorite picture books, 'Mud' has a simple, lovely, reverent text and lush illustrations that immerse the reader in the gorgeous transition from Winter to Spring, when "Winter will squish, squck, sop, splat, slurp, melt in mud." Its closing words: "Come spring. Come grass. Come green." Take your socks off, too.   posted Apr 5, 2013 at 11:48AM

Cover ArtThe little red hen
by Galdone, Paul.
The classic, well-done. In some versions, the hen shares the bread or cake (here it's cake) with her chicks; in this one, she eats it by herself (has no chicks).   posted Mar 3, 2013 at 12:38PM

Cover ArtThe three bears
by Barton, Byron.
Barton's bright, very simple illustrations and bare bones text make this version a perfect choice to read to 2-4-yr olds. If you're looking for a similarly simple text but more sumptuous illustrations, Paul Galdone's "The Three Bears" is the one to get.   posted Feb 1, 2013 at 4:57PM

Cover ArtThe gingerbread man
by Kimmel, Eric A.
A simple, classic retelling. I love this particular sly fox, the epitome of stranger danger ("Why, Gingerbread Man, you don't have to run from me. I am your friend. I want to help you.") Will work with preschoolers and up.   posted Jan 30, 2013 at 3:56PM

Cover ArtThe three billy goats Gruff
by Galdone, Paul.
Perfect, classic version, and man, is Galdone's troll ugly.   posted Jan 30, 2013 at 3:52PM

Cover ArtGoldilocks and the three bears
by Spirin, Gennady
A simple, not-too-wordy "Goldilocks" that will work with both preschool and older audiences. Detailed but not visually overwhelming illustrations--both the bears and Goldilocks seemed to be dressed for Renaissance Italy. Spirin's bears look seriously fierce when they learn G's been messing with their stuff, so a child with a pre-existing fear of bears or animals might quake a little, but they're ultimately harmless, and bid Goldilocks "Bye" cheerfully enough at the end.   posted Jan 30, 2013 at 3:39PM

Cover ArtThe three bears
by Galdone, Paul.
Galdone's versions of folk & fairy tales are usually great choices when you want a simple telling for a young audience, and the Three Bears is no exception. Interestingly, here the bears are called not Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear, but Great Big Bear, Middle-Sized Bear, and Little Wee Bear, which also makes it a good choice for families that don't include a mother and a father (though "Great Big Bear" is occasionally referred to as "he" and "Middle-Sized Bear" as "she", the bears look like bears--naked--and aren't in gendered outfits).   posted Jan 30, 2013 at 3:00PM

Cover ArtThe three bears
by Galdone, Paul.
Galdone's versions of folk & fairy tales are usually great choices when you want a simple telling for a young audiences, and the Three Bears is no exception. Interestingly, here the bears are called not Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear, but Great Big Bear, Middle-Sized Bear, and Little Wee Bear, which also makes it a good choice for families that don't include a mother and a father (though "Great Big Bear" is occasionally referred to as "he" and "Middle-Sized Bear" as "she", the bears look like bears--naked--and aren't in gendered outfits).   posted Jan 30, 2013 at 3:00PM

Cover ArtDaughter of smoke and bone
by Taylor, Laini.
Prague! Marrakech! Seraphim! Chimaera! Art school! Portals! A fun YA romance with good worldbuilding and some lovely writing about desire; adults into YA romance will like this, too.   posted Jan 27, 2013 at 12:53PM

Cover ArtLook! look! look! at sculpture
by Wallace, Nancy Elizabeth
A group of mice investigate an abstract sculpture. They look at the sides and the back, because it's important to see all sides of a sculpture. They talk about the different ways it makes them feel, and the shapes they see in it. They talk about the texture, and how it looks like it's made with heavy slate. A good intro to encountering abstract art in other mediums, too.   posted Nov 23, 2012 at 1:41PM

Cover ArtLiving with Mom and living with Dad
by Walsh, Melanie.
This is the nicest book about divorce and living sometimes with one parent, sometimes with another I’ve seen--brightly-colored, simple illustrations with fun lift-the-flaps that "convert" mom’s house to dad’s apartment building, the panda nightlight at mom’s to the butterfly light string at dad’s, etc. Beautifully done, it never feels creepy or dreary like some children’s books about tough subjects. It acknowledges the changes (in addition to living arrangements) in the child’s life ("On my birthday, my mom made me a cake...and my dad took me bowling. My mom always used to pick me up from school...now my mom and dad take turns"). The child is shown in the empowered position of knowing what to do when she misses the parent she isn’t currently with (phone call). The book is so attractive that kids who aren’t experiencing a similar situation will be drawn to it, too. This will be my go-to recommendation for parents looking for books about the life changes that come with divorce to read to young children. Will work for preschoolers up to age 8 or so.   posted Nov 23, 2012 at 1:29PM

Cover ArtA mighty long way : my journey to justice at Little Rock Central High School
by Lanier, Carlotta Walls
If I were a high school history teacher, all my students would read this book. Lanier was the youngest of the Little Rock Nine—the nine black kids who went to Central high school after it was forcibly integrated. As a high-achieving, captain of this, queen of that 8th grader, when she heard that Central was opening to black kids, signing up was a no-brainer: it was a much better school, with much nicer equipment and labs, and it was closer to her house than the all-black-by-default high school. She had no idea what was coming. When she showed up to Central the first day, the National Guard was there—to keep the Nine safe, she thought, because crowds were jeering and spitting at them—but the state governor had actually called out the Guard to prevent the black kids from entering (it was the President who integrated the school, not the governor). The Nine were not allowed to participate in any sports or extracurriculars, a shock to the usually-involved-in-everything Carlotta. Many of the Nine didn’t return to Central after the first year. Carlotta, the youngest, entering as a freshman, survived all four years and was the first black female graduate of the school. Fantastic and eye-opening, with a forward by Bill Clinton.   posted Nov 3, 2012 at 1:08PM

Cover ArtCity of thieves : a novel
by Benioff, David.
A short (250 pages), wonderful novel set in Russia during the siege of Leningrad. Lev is 17, an awkward Jewish virgin, picked up by the Russian police for "looting" (searching a dead German soldier he finds in the street for food--everyone’s starving--or other valuables). Kolya is 20 or so, a cocky, handsome, literature-loving Russian soldier, picked up by the cops for desertion. The two are thrown together in a cell for the night and expect to be executed in the morning. Instead, a colonel gives them a task on a whim: if they can find a dozen eggs for his daughter’s wedding cake in one week (in a country where people have taken to eating rats to survive, where no one’s seen an egg in months, and that’s currently under siege by Germans who would kill them on sight), they’ll be allowed to live. The boys set off. In the space of the next week, Lev will make his best friend, witness brutalities of war he could never have imagined, meet the girl he’ll end up marrying, and kill a man--but the best part of the book might just be the banter between him and Kolya as they slog through the frozen countryside. City of Thieves was published in 2008. I consider it a new classic.   posted Nov 3, 2012 at 1:00PM

Cover ArtThe lacemaker and the Princess
by Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker.
I picked up The Lacemaker and the Princess and decided to read it after liking the opening: "When the Princess of Lamballe’s lace was ready, Grand-mere decided that I should deliver it. Not because I was responsible--I was not, as she often reminded me. Not because she trusted me--she did not, as I well knew. It was because I was worthless..." I really enjoyed the book. Isabelle, an 11-yr-old lacemaker, catches the eye of Marie Antoinette after being pushed around and brushed off by a crowd eager to catch a glimpse of her, and the queen cleans her up, feeds her, and offers her as the day’s playmate for her lonely 9-yr-old daughter, Therese. There’s a historical basis to the story: Therese did have a "hired friend" whose parents were poor, Ernestine (not her real name, but what the queen and Therese insisted on calling her, because it was more fashionable). Ernestine’s in the book, but is absent on the day Isabelle (who becomes "Clochette" when she’s at Versailles, as it, too, is more fashionable) is introduced to Therese--and the three become the strange sort of friends one might become when two are poor and one is the daughter of a queen. The girls are treated like royalty (dressed in finery, feasted) while at the palace, and their loyalty is hugely important to Therese, who insists they not talk about their lives outside lest she be reminded that their "friendship" did not come about naturally. Over the course of the book, Isabelle’s class consciousness grows--at first, she’s dazzled by and in love with the wild extravagance that she now gets to partake of at times. But revolution is brewing, her groomsman brother George warns her, and it turns out that Isabelle is with the king and his family in the palace during the Women’s March on Versailles. I enjoyed & think kids will enjoy the description of life in Versailles--the palace stench, the 40 servants whose only job is to replace guttering candles with fresh ones--and will add this book to my list of go-to historical fiction titles to recommend when kids come in with an assignment to read some.   posted Nov 3, 2012 at 12:56PM

Cover ArtDaemon : a novel
by Suarez, Daniel
A library patron recommended "Daemon" to me and I owe him a thanks: it was a blast to read, and I likely wouldn’t have found it otherwise. I think I enjoyed this book the way some enjoyed Ernest Cline’s "Ready Player One" (which was full of insurmountable holes for me--though I see from other reviews on GoodReads that some had the same feeling about "Daemon"). Similarly to "Ready Player One", "Daemon" starts with the death of a programming and game-writing titan who’s devised a little surprise for humankind. But instead of a contest, Matthew Sobol’s left behind a daemon--a program that, once set in motion, needs no human interference to keep running. Sobol’s daemon is designed to expose and exploit all the weaknesses of society as we know it--perhaps to "prove" that democracy is outmoded in a time when a free individual has access to enough technology and computer power to wreak huge havoc. It was a fun, fast-paced read with lots of things I usually don’t go for (at least not at the movies): explosions, automated vehicles, etc--and it was also smart and full of psychological insights that worked, at least, for me. While it might not be quite as brainy as "Snow Crash" or "Neuromancer", my enjoyment of it felt similar to my enjoyment of those. And it was much, much brainier and more well-thought-out than "Ready Player One".   posted Nov 3, 2012 at 12:43PM

Cover ArtThe unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry : a novel
by Joyce, Rachel
A lovely book, concerned with regret and the way our lives can drift away from us and turn out so very, very differently than our basically-well-intentioned hearts had hoped. One morning, retired and married Harold Fry receives a note from a woman he knew decades ago, indicating that she is in hospice and saying farewell. He knows no reply will be adequate, but jots a brief, meaningless one down anyway, and walks to the mail box to send it--but then, not quite knowing why, doesn’t send it. He just keeps walking, thinking he’ll mail it at the next mailbox, and instead, on a whim that feels right, decides to walk to the hospice itself, 600 miles away. Reviews have called this premise "twee". Well, okay, but the book didn’t feel cute to me. I loved the first half (the latter less so, but still liked it), and the novel contained the most indelible empty-clothes scene since Gatsby’s shirts. This book would be neat paired with Cheryl Strayed’s "Wild" in a book club--I got drawn in to the rhythm of walking when I read each of them, each time feeling like I wanted to remain on the trail.   posted Nov 3, 2012 at 12:41PM

Cover ArtThe doll people [sound recording]
by Martin, Ann M.
Lynn Redgrave’s wry delivery makes this a fabulous listen--I laughed out loud in the car several times--and Ann Martin’s text about an old family of dolls passed down through generations meeting, trying to understand, and befriending a new, plastic family of dolls called The Funcrafts (when their owner’s 4-yr-old sister gets her own dollhouse) is classic. Very fun listen for adults, kids, or whole families, etc., especially if you have a tendency to like books like The Borrowers and The Indian in the Cupboard (but not necessarily dolls--never played with ’em myself, and I hugely enjoyed it).   posted Nov 3, 2012 at 12:40PM

Cover ArtDrip! drop! : how water gets to your tap
by Seuling, Barbara.
Bravo for a very simple, uncluttered text about the water cycle, reservoirs, waterworks, etc--this could potentially even be used in preschool! And certainly in K-2.   posted Sep 28, 2012 at 9:18AM

Cover ArtGone girl : a novel
by Flynn, Gillian
This is the most well-written thriller-type book I’ve read in a long time--as soon as I finished, even knowing how all of the twists and turns had worked out, I started reading it a second time to watch it happen again. Last summer’s similarly-hyped books, Before I Go To Sleep and Turn Of Mind, pale hugely in comparison. Gone Girl is probably more comparable to The Secret History or Mr. Peanut, though I ultimately liked it better than those and it’s a much less challenging, though no less well-composed, read. Great beach read, great weekend read, pure addictive fun you gulp down like cold water, one I can recommend equally to those who keep to bestseller lists and those who prefer ’literary’ fiction. I’ve heard the audiobook is excellent, too. So fun!   posted Aug 11, 2012 at 8:15AM

Cover ArtYou and me ABC
by Gillis, Jennifer Blizin, 1950-
A basic A-Z of manners, good citizenship, etc, that happily doesn't come off as preachy. Doesn't target any specific issue, but gives a quick gloss on a variety of social skills. Would work one-on-one or as a classroom read aloud (preK, K--1st grade max)   posted Apr 5, 2012 at 4:06PM

Cover ArtHow humans make friends
by Leedy, Loreen.
A good book to share one-on-one with a child--little details make it too much for a group read. By observing humans, an alien explains to an alien audience about human friendships. What sorts of things do friends talk about? What sorts of things do friends do to get along well together? What sorts of things can lead to conflict in friendships (being bossy or selfish, breaking promises, being untrustworthy, etc)? What helps to end the conflict (admitting mistakes: with examples, apologizing: with examples)? What are some different kinds of friends (casual, activity, close, long-distance)? A good, practical guide that should be really helpful for kids who don't automatically grok friendship.   posted Apr 5, 2012 at 3:40PM

Cover ArtRhyming dust bunnies
by Thomas, Jan, 1958-
Dust bunny Bob has a tin ear when it comes to rhyme, to the chagrin of the other rhyming dust bunnies. But when they're so caught up in the raptures of rhyming that they don't see a vacuum cleaner coming for them, Bob proves that he has other talents worth admiring. Goofy fun.   posted Apr 1, 2012 at 3:53PM

Cover ArtTo market, to market
by Miranda, Anne.
This ain't your grandma's "To Market, To Market"--a silly, fun twist on the well-known nursery rhyme (especially fun for vegetarian families).   posted Apr 1, 2012 at 2:43PM

Cover ArtOctopus, oyster, hermit crab, snail : a poem of the sea
by Anderson, Sara.
A simple poem and power-packing vocabulary-builder (cerulean, canopy, briny). Great vivid artwork, too.   posted Apr 1, 2012 at 2:34PM

Cover ArtThe genie in the jar
by Giovanni, Nikki.
A whirling, rhythmic poem, great to read aloud, with art by Chris Raschka, my favorite children's illustrator working today. Win!   posted Apr 1, 2012 at 2:32PM

Cover ArtMy people
by Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967.
A very short Hughes poem accompanied by wonderful photos.   posted Apr 1, 2012 at 2:26PM

Cover ArtFlicker flash : poems
by Graham, Joan Bransfield.
Bright concrete poems, a treat for little eyes to follow.   posted Apr 1, 2012 at 2:25PM

Cover ArtOne leaf rides the wind : counting in a Japanese garden
by Mannis, Celeste Davidson.
Quiet but lovely illustrations accompany 10 haiku, each one including a number from 1-10. "What do flowers dream?/Adrift on eight pond pillows,/pink-cheeked blossoms rest."   posted Apr 1, 2012 at 2:20PM

Cover ArtToday and today
by Kobayashi, Issa, 1763-1827.
Issa is one of my favorite haiku writers. This is a short selection for kids, with haiku arranged by season. ("So many breezes/wander through my summer room:/but never enough.")   posted Apr 1, 2012 at 2:09PM

Cover ArtChicken scratches : Grade A poultry poetry and rooster rhymes
by Shannon, George.
"Neither my kid nor I have any particular love for chickens. Will we really like a whole book of chicken poems?" "Yes, when they're this good, absolutely."   posted Apr 1, 2012 at 2:02PM

Cover ArtChicken soup with rice : a book of months
by Sendak, Maurice.
The ultimate lilting sticks-in-your-head childhood rhyme.   posted Apr 1, 2012 at 2:01PM

Cover ArtThis is a poem that heals fish
by Simeon, Jean-Pierre, 1950-
Arthur asks friends, neighbors, and family members what a poem is, and gets a different definition from each--all in beautiful figurative language ("A poem is when you hear the heartbeat of a stone").   posted Apr 1, 2012 at 1:13PM

Cover ArtThere is a flower at the tip of my nose smelling me
by Walker, Alice, 1944-
I love the idea that the things we experience with our senses also experience us with theirs. Quietly mindblowing.   posted Apr 1, 2012 at 1:09PM

Cover ArtOne fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish
by Seuss, Dr.
Dr Seuss's rhymes can't be beat. For the youngest children, I stick to his easy readers (like One Fish, Hop On Pop, There's a Wocket in My Pocket, etc) & avoid most of the longer, more complicated picture books.   posted Apr 1, 2012 at 1:04PM

Cover ArtBig cat, small cat
by Rubinger, Ami
A good one for children learning to rhyme (and learning their opposites)--every other page the "audience" is asked to supply the rhyming opposite: "Big cat, small cat, short cat, ______ cat."   posted Apr 1, 2012 at 12:58PM

Cover ArtTo be an artist
by Ajmera, Maya.
"To be an artist means expressing yourself in many different ways...to be an artist means drawing and designing..." A short book with pictures of children around the world making and sharing art, whether drumming and dancing, weaving baskets, painting, or acting in a play.   posted Mar 3, 2012 at 11:43AM

Cover ArtPerfect square
by Hall, Michael, 1954-
"Perfect Square"=perfect book. Hall's square is perfect on Monday, then gets holes punched in it...and is perfect again, transformed into something new (a fountain!). Then it gets torn...and is perfect again, and so on. A beautiful book about change and transformation and how there are no mistakes in art (and life?), just new opportunities to reimagine.   posted Mar 3, 2012 at 10:46AM

Cover ArtSpot it! : find the hidden creatures
by Chedru, Delphine
This is an "I spy" book like no other. Instead of looking for something in a pile of stuff, it asks the reader to find something hiding inside a repeating pattern...which requires even closer looking. It's a challenge and a joy, clever, bright, and vivid. (See also: Spot It Again, a second helping--though it includes lift-the-flaps which I think detract from the experience of being immersed in patterns a bit)   posted Mar 3, 2012 at 10:32AM

Cover ArtI call my hand gentle
by Haan, Amanda.
Nice, simple text and illustrations about the wonderful things hands can do and the not-so-good things we won't choose to do with our hands. Would be a good read-aloud for a teacher on the first day of preschool or kindergarten, and equally good to share with a child one on one.   posted Mar 2, 2012 at 12:05PM

Cover ArtOn those runaway days
by Feigh, Alison.
In this book, the protagonist identifies his feelings and goes through specific steps to soothe and calm himself down and get ready to talk about them. I think this could be an effective read even with kids as old as 9. I love how naturally and non-stiltedly it models the process for readers. In this book, the protagonist identifies his feelings and goes through specific steps to soothe and calm himself down and get ready to talk about them. I think this could be an effective read even with kids as old as 9. I love how naturally and non-stiltedly it models the process for readers.   posted Mar 2, 2012 at 12:04PM

Cover ArtDonovan's big day /
by Newman, Leslea
Donovan's Big Day is a book about being a kid entrusted with a Very Important Task on a special day. Donovan wakes up excited, washes like crazy, gobbles his pancakes without making a mess, and puts on all his special new clothes. Newman captures the Big Day excitement very well. Only towards the end of the book do we learn that today Donovan will be a ring-bearer in the wedding of his two mothers. Search this one out--it's been (erroneously, in my opinion) cataloged as children's fiction instead of with the picture books.   posted Nov 18, 2011 at 4:11PM

Cover ArtThe hero revealed
by Boniface, William.
Ordinary Boy lives in Superopolis, a town where everyone has a superpower--except him. Not all superpowers are especially attractive, though: OB’s friend Stench can make himself stink really badly whenever he wants to; SpongeGirl’s head absorbs everything from rain to the molecules of a nearby sneeze and needs to be wrung out regularly. Written at about a 5th grade level, this is a smart, funny send-up of comics and consumer culture, and a mystery/quest, too. I’ll be recommending it to kids at the library who appreciate   posted Aug 8, 2011 at 6:36PM

Cover ArtMr. Peanut [electronic resource]
A character in "Mr Peanut" asks, "Can marriage save your life, or is it just the beginning of a long double homicide?" Adam Ross can *write*.   posted Jan 7, 2011 at 10:57AM

Cover ArtBig machine [electronic resource] : a novel
Strange, singular, and suspenseful as all get-out, "Big Machine" redefines the idea of a literary pageturner.   posted Jan 7, 2011 at 10:52AM

Cover ArtI, robot [electronic resource]
Asimov's lightly mindbending classic doesn't feel dated. I read it for the first time in 2010 and found it clever and thought-provoking.   posted Jan 7, 2011 at 10:50AM

Cover ArtBlind descent [electronic resource]
A look at the dangerous, fascinating work (and obsession) of exploring supercaves. Other galaxies aren't the only places "where no man has gone before."   posted Jan 7, 2011 at 10:48AM

Cover ArtThe immortal life of Henrietta Lacks [electronic resource]
Boy, did Skloot get the story of a lifetime here. I think others might have written it better, but kudos to her for pursuing it. It's absolutely mindblowing that a huge portion (majority?) of medical research has been performed on the cell tissue of one woman, a young black mother who died at 31--and that her children never knew that modern medicine was built upon their mother's back.   posted Jan 7, 2011 at 10:43AM

Cover ArtKraken [electronic resource] : an anatomy
There is nothing like reading China Mieville. His invention, world-building, and use of language and image are thrillingly smart. "The City and the City," his most popular book (and the book he wrote just before "Kraken")--was an anomaly (a stab at a more conventional police novel) and left me at "Eh." "Kraken" is more like his earlier stuff, "Perdido Street Station" and "The Scar"--not Urban Fantasy so much as Urban Myth, layer upon layer of allusion and wordplay and just plain great ideas. As soon as I finished "Kraken," I started again from page 1.   posted Jan 7, 2011 at 10:37AM

Cover ArtWar [electronic resource]
Sebastian Junger's account of accompanying a single platoon through their tour of duty in Afghanistan. The basis for the movie "Restrepo." Salvatore Giunta, the first living person to receive the Medal of Honor since Vietnam, is a member of the platoon Junger stayed with--and the rescue that earned him the medal is included in the book.   posted Jan 7, 2011 at 10:18AM

Cover ArtCrooked letter, crooked letter [electronic resource]
Rather than racing, the suspense slowly simmers in the background of this novel of two childhood friends, one black, one white, whose lives are changed forever when one is accused of killing a girl in their small town. The writing is reminiscent of Dennis Lehane or Stephen King when he's not writing horror. Larry Ott, the accused young man who grows old while the whole town silently convicts him (and calls him "Scary Larry")--whose mother prays every night that he will someday have "a special friend"--is an unforgettable character.   posted Jan 7, 2011 at 10:10AM

Cover ArtPinky and Rex
by Howe, James, 1946-
Pinky's favorite color is pink. He has a pink bike, and he loooves his stuffed animals. His best friend, Rex, is a girl who loves dinosaurs. This particular book has them squabbling over a pink dinosaur souvenir at a museum. Not technically picture books, the Pinky and Rex tales are somewhere between challenging easy readers and very basic chapter books. Pinky's affinity for pink and stuffed animals are presented simply, just as an obsession with baseball would be. "Pinky and Rex and the Bully," a later book in the series, addresses what it's like to be bullied for liking things not popularly considered cool for your gender nicely. Pinky *really* gets bullied in that book, called a "girl" and a "sissy" and told he "might turn into a girl." Everyone around him, bully excepted, is supportive and assures him it's okay to be who he is. Will work just fine as a read-aloud to the 5-yr-old crowd. These are by the same "James Howe" who writes the Bunnicula books. He's pure awesome.   posted Sep 8, 2010 at 3:19PM

Cover ArtSum : forty tales from the afterlives
by Eagleman, David.
Thought-provoking sketches, one after another, reminiscent of Alan Lightman’s *Einstein’s Dreams.*   posted Aug 16, 2010 at 6:51PM

Cover ArtRed without blue [videorecording]
This film follows a pair of gay twin brothers--both of whom came out as gay at 14--as one of them transitions from male to female. An award-winner at the San Francisco LGBT Film Festival, the Toronto LGBT Film Festival, the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and more. The Advocate commented: "Only honesty like this can still startle us."   posted May 25, 2010 at 11:24AM

Cover ArtYossi & Jagger [videorecording]
A brief, instense, and beautiful film from Israel about two soldiers who fall in love on a military base near Lebanon: spirited Lior (called "Jagger" by his fellow soldiers for his rock-star looks), and the company's brooding, overburdened commander Yossi, who only lets his guard down when alone with Jagger.   posted May 21, 2010 at 4:50PM

Cover ArtCounting coup : becoming a Crow chief on the reservation and beyond
by Medicine Crow, Joseph
Some really great details & stories in here. Medicine Crow accomplished the four war deeds that make one a Crow chief, for ex, without consciously realizing it while fighting in WWII (the only Indian in his unit)--and first learned to use a bow & arrow and canoe as a summer camp counselor in New Hampshire. Many of his grandfathers were present at the battle of Little Big Horn, and he describes his elders’ transition to the reservation life imposed on them in their later years. Medicine Crow was the first male Crow to graduate from college (a female Crow graduated two years before him!). Clear simple prose, an engaging & rewarding read.   posted May 13, 2010 at 7:03AM

Cover ArtFireboy to the rescue! : a fire safety book
by Miller, Edward, 1964-
Exuberant illustrations make this fire safety book stand out from others. The info is purely practical--this isn't a story, and the text isn't any more exciting than most fire safety lectures--but if you WANT to read a fire safety book to a kid, the design of this one almost makes fire safety compelling, and should retain its audience's interest.   posted Apr 11, 2010 at 2:44PM

Cover ArtApe
by Magloff, Lisa.
I like the whole "Watch Me Grow" animals series by DK--the books follow an animal from birth to adulthood, including plenty of "action" photographs and pointing out milestones along the way (I was surprised to learn that baby gorillas are born without hair). The text is simple--these would be good for very young researchers, but don't into enough depth for later elementary school reports. Great for kids curious about animals and their lives.   posted Apr 11, 2010 at 2:20PM

Cover ArtWalking to Martha's Vineyard : poems
by Wright, Franz, 1953-
Franz Wright is incredibly gifted at saying something interesting in the simplest and most common of words, the sparest of poems. Flowery he is not. Many of these poems concern their speaker's--a person suffering from clinical depression or something similar, a person I can't help picturing in a hospital gown and scuffs, fragile but grateful that his heavy misery is lifting in little gulps--experience of God. They made me think, also, of Rilke's Book of Hours.   posted Mar 10, 2010 at 3:23PM

Cover ArtModern life : poems
by Harvey, Matthea, 1973-
I saw Harvey read from this book at the Loft a year or so ago and was blown away. It's wickedly, gasp-out-loud smart. Neither of her first two books entirely rocked my world (though they were decent, and the library carries them, too), so I was surprised at how much I liked this--I feel like Harvey's really hit her stride.   posted Mar 10, 2010 at 2:35PM

Cover ArtOne crazy summer
by Rita Williams-garcia
Stellar. Best realistic children’s fiction book I’ve read in ages, with all the power of a book like *The Great Gilly Hopkins* against an intriguing historical backdrop. Read this one!   posted Mar 7, 2010 at 9:35AM

Cover ArtEverything ravaged, everything burned
by Tower, Wells, 1973-
Richly deserving of all the hype. Towers ratchets up more suspense in the frame of one literary short story than you'd find in a dozen thrillers combined. "Retreat" was my favorite. You're in good hands here, hands with a very solid grip.   posted Jan 18, 2010 at 1:31PM

Cover ArtKatie loves the kittens
by John Himmelman
Katie the dog struggles with her exuberant love for her family’s three new kittens--she wants to smell them vigorously, chase them playfully, etc., but her lack of restraint scares them, making her sad. Finally she learns to approach them quietly and with gentleness. Good book to read to kids (or grownups, for that matter) who might be   posted Dec 13, 2009 at 9:02AM

Cover ArtMarching for freedom : walk together, children, and don’t you grow weary
by Elizabeth Partridge
Absolutely gripping, and gorgeously illustrated with eye-opening photos on almost every page. I recommend *Marching for Freedom* for both adults and children--it would also make a good classroom read-aloud for teachers (5th-6th grade & up). Just incredible, really. I loved this book.   posted Dec 11, 2009 at 1:12PM

Cover ArtThe safety of objects
by Homes, A. M.
A good, solid 3-star collection bracketed by two absolute 5-star stories: "Adults Alone" and "A Real Doll." Definitely hit those two.   posted Nov 1, 2009 at 4:40PM

Cover Art10,000 dresses
by Ewert, Marcus.
Bailey dreams of dresses, beautiful dresses unlike any other. But when she tells her mother, father, and brother about her dreams, they insist that she is a boy ("But...I don't feel like a boy," Bailey answers) and that dresses are not for her. Bailey takes a walk and finds a frustrated girl sitting on a porch, trying to sew a dress--and Bailey helps her by sharing details from the dreams. The girl ultimately tells Bailey, "You're the coolest girl I've ever met." This book actually made my eyebrows raise, and not much does. The matter-of-fact way in which Bailey is referred to by the narrator as "she," phrases like "Together the two girls made two new dresses"--it's astonishing, really, how cool this book is. As far as the narrator, Bailey, and the other girl are concerned, Bailey is a girl--none of them ever think or suggest otherwise. Quite something, really. Surprising.   posted Oct 27, 2009 at 11:24AM

Cover ArtThe search for signs of intelligent life in the universe
by Wagner, Jane, 1935-
I re-read this every couple of years, it's so good. I would've loved to have seen Lily Tomlin perform it on Broadway. Written by Tomlin's partner Jane Wagner, "The Search" is smart and funny and insightful on everything from Andy Warhol to teen angst to Howard Johnson's to 70s-era feminism, cotton drawstring pants, and geodesic domes.   posted Oct 14, 2009 at 12:25PM

Cover ArtEquus
by Shaffer, Peter, 1926-
I've never seen this play performed, but I've read it at least 4 times: as a psychological investigation, it's just that intriguing.   posted Oct 14, 2009 at 11:43AM

Cover ArtWho's afraid of Virginia Woolf? : a play
by Albee, Edward, 1928-
You thought "Revolutionary Road" was a portrait of a complicated, cruel marriage? Oh, step back, and behold this devastation. This is hot on the page, and was made into a brilliant film with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor playing the main roles perfectly.   posted Oct 14, 2009 at 11:36AM

Cover ArtNovember : a play
by Mamet, David.
A quick, hilarious read that should appeal to fans of Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, and/or the Onion.   posted Oct 14, 2009 at 11:33AM

Cover ArtDrinking coffee elsewhere
by Packer, ZZ
"Brownies" and "The Ant of the Self" are two must-reads for short story fans (and writers studying the craft).   posted Oct 14, 2009 at 11:09AM

Cover ArtTales designed to thrizzle. Volume one
by Kupperman, Michael, 1966-
I was thrizzled to the point that I might actually have to buy a copy--if not for me, than as a present for someone else. A brilliant love letter to comic books. Definitely plan on reading this one more than once: it's so packed with funny, you can't absorb it all in one round.   posted Oct 8, 2009 at 10:50AM

Cover ArtThe McSweeney's joke book of book jokes
"Social Security Denies Gregor Samsa's Disability Claim" and "Following My Creative Writing Teacher's Advice to Write 'Like My Parents Are Dead'" are not to be missed.   posted Oct 7, 2009 at 2:26PM

Cover ArtUncle Bobby's wedding
by Brannen, Sarah S.
A bit bland, but does the job. Chloe's sad and confused when her uncle announces that he's marrying Jamie--not because Jamie is another male, but because she's afraid it means her uncle will have less time for her. After spending time with both of them, she realizes she's gaining an uncle, not losing one. All characters are furry creatures (guinea pigs?), not humans.   posted Sep 29, 2009 at 11:56AM

Cover ArtKing & King
by Haan, Linda de, 1965-
The queen is fed up with her single son; she wants him to marry a princess and become king. He rejects princess after princess, until a final princess walks in accompanied by her prince brother...and the brother stirs the first prince's heart. Wonderful illustrations, sweet story, and the two princes marry and live happily ever after (with no objection from the queen)--however, I'm not completely thrilled with the depictions of the stereotypically "unattractive" princesses the prince rejects. I'd rather it be made clear repeatedly that NO princess, however beautiful, could move our prince.   posted Sep 25, 2009 at 1:14PM

Cover ArtThe paper bag princess
by Munsch, Robert N., 1945-
It just doesn't get any better than this! When a dragon burns down her castle and clothes and takes her fiance, Prince Ronald, captive, Princess Elizabeth sets out to save her fiance in a paper-bag dress. The surprise at the ending is priceless. (Must admit I skip the pages in which Elizabeth, in order to tire out the dragon, challenges him to burn down 50 forests, then 100 forests. The book was written in a less eco-aware time [not that that's a good excuse]).   posted Sep 25, 2009 at 11:20AM

Cover ArtPugdog
by U'Ren, Andrea.
Yes, this pug is a female, but that doesn't mean she wants to be dressed up in dainty ribbons--she wants to play in the dirt & wear a spiked collar! How can she convince her owner that she's not a girly-girl just because she was born female, and shouldn't have to be?   posted Sep 25, 2009 at 10:28AM

Cover ArtCatching fire
by Suzanne Collins
You’ve heard the buzz, and it’s true: this is even better than The Hunger Games. Collins comes up with some twists that had my mouth literally hanging open. If you expect sequels to disappoint, Catching Fire is out to rock your expectations. Oh--and Team Peeta, big time.   posted Sep 2, 2009 at 2:37PM

Cover ArtHeat
by Mike Lupica
I was really surprised by this book, expecting a decent sports story and finding not just very good sports fiction, but good fiction, period--not just about baseball, but about the experience of being an undocumented kid in the U.S. Well done!   posted Sep 2, 2009 at 2:25PM

Cover ArtA hero ain't nothin' but a sandwich.
by Childress, Alice
I must've read this 20 times since I first discovered it in 5th grade. It covers a 13-yr-old's descent into heroin addiction from the p.o.v.s of the boy, his mother, his teachers, his former best friend, his dealer, and his stepfather--each chapter written in each character's own (seemingly effortlessly captured) voice. An absolute classic. Childress is masterful.   posted Aug 27, 2009 at 2:47PM

Cover ArtIron thunder : the battle between the Monitor & the Merrimac : a Civil War novel
by Avi, 1937-
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book, one of the best I read all summer. Good story, fascinating historical detail from the p.o.v. of a boy who works on the ironclad battleship The Monitor--from its earliest days in construction (when it was the laughingstock of most, who thought it would never float) right up to the famous battle with the Merrimac. Definitely one I'll highly recommend to kids looking for riveting historical fiction.   posted Aug 27, 2009 at 2:39PM

Cover ArtThe hunger games [sound recording]
by Collins, Suzanne.
This is also a great listen, if you get the audiobook. The narrator was wonderful.   posted Aug 15, 2009 at 11:13AM

Cover ArtA crooked kind of perfect
by Urban, Linda
Zoe wants a piano more than anything, but her father purchases a giant hokey Perfectone organ with preset rhythms and voices. Now she must scale the mountain known as Neil Diamond's "Forever in Blue Jeans" to perform in a Perfectone competition, all while trying to keep the peace between her sweet, agoraphobic shut-in father and her overworked, always-at-the-office mother. I listened to this on CD and really enjoyed it.   posted Aug 15, 2009 at 11:10AM

Cover ArtEverything in this country must : a novella and two stories
by McCann, Colum, 1965-
Fear, loss, and violence are as elemental as air and water in the lives of the three teenagers featured, one by one, in these short, brilliant selections. They are growing up in Northern Ireland, where everything from death to a difference of opinion can irretrievably cut families off from one another. McCann uses simple words in simple sentences, each as clear and pure as if carved in ice. Their restraint is palpable, skillfully reflecting the uneasy restraint of the teenagers as they struggle not to choke on the daily news.   posted May 10, 2009 at 2:25PM

Cover ArtElla Minnow Pea : a novel in letters
by Dunn, Mark, 1956-
With shades of Kurt Vonnegut, George Orwell, and William Pene du Bois, Ella Minnow Pea is delightfully clever from start to finish. It's also hilarious, insightful, and progressively lipogrammatic. As one reviewer said, "There's a whiff of the classic about Ella Minnow Pea."   posted Jul 8, 2008 at 1:48PM

Cover ArtYou're an animal, Viskovitz!
by Boffa, Alessandro
Simply put: hysterical, and like nothing you've read before.   posted Jul 8, 2008 at 1:45PM

Cover ArtThe miracle life of Edgar Mint : a novel
by Udall, Brady
With Dickensian flair and mastery, Udall gives readers an underdog child protagonist, surrounds him with a cast of half-funny and half-tragic characters, and immerses them all in a plot full of staggering setbacks and occasional, hard-won moments of peace. When his head is crushed by a mail truck at age seven, Edgar is left for dead by his alcoholic, disinterested mother, who doesn't stick around to learn that he is later "brought back" by a shady doctor and whisked away to a hospital to recuperate...   posted Jul 8, 2008 at 1:33PM

Cover ArtThe portrait of Mrs. Charbuque
by Ford, Jeffrey, 1955-
A true literary thriller. In New York City at the turn of the 20th century, Piambo is a young artist earning his bread painting "corrective" portraits of plain society wives, beautifying them for the canvas and their husbands. He has a crisis of conscience when one woman, standing under her portrait, leans close and whispers, "I hope you die." As he restlessly wanders the streets that night, a blind man approaches, claiming to know him by his dishonest smell, and offers him the commission of a lifetime: paint a portrait of his employer and receive compensation so grand that he will never have to paint another wife. The catch? Piambo will not be permitted to see Mrs. Charbuque. She will sit behind a screen, and he may ask her questions; from the answers he is to divine her essence. If he captures her likeness, compensation will triple. From this irresistible premise, Ford devilishly spins his story in prose so controlled-yet so dark with underlying fever and inevitability-that it calls to mind Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The philosophical and psychological aspects loom large, and Mrs. Charbuque is a near-masterpiece-part sphinx, part hydra, the stuff of the most potent myths.   posted Jul 8, 2008 at 1:31PM

Cover ArtThe death of sweet mister : a novel
by Woodrell, Daniel.
Woodrell is an absolute master at building tension in relaxed prose, and this novel has a haunting and wonderful force. "Sweet mister"'s [the title comes from his mother's pet name for the protagonist, 13-yr-old Shug] death is a figurative one, yet it feels more tragic than a literal one.   posted Jul 8, 2008 at 1:28PM

Cover ArtThe child in time
by McEwan, Ian
McEwan's other books have received a lot of praise and notice, of course--but this more subtle, perfectly constructed novel may be my favorite by him.   posted Jul 7, 2008 at 4:25PM

Cover ArtWhen Charlotte comes home
by Smith, Maureen Millea.
I was bowled over by this book, which has the feel of having been written in some time when books weren’t rushed or pushed to fall into some marketing category. Really, really fine--a perfect novel.   posted Oct 26, 2007 at 9:50AM

Cover ArtHarry Potter and the deathly hallows
by J. K. Rowling
Note to Emcat89: I bet you’re right! I’d forgotten all about Andromeda--I’m sure she did raise Teddy. Great detail--thanks.   posted Aug 15, 2007 at 3:18PM

Cover ArtBoneyard. Volume one
by Moore, Richard
Don't let the low-budgetish, a bit kiddie-cartoonish look of Boneyard fool you--it's a great light read packed with dialogue reminiscent of a Joss Whedon show, and it's hard not to fall in love with the two main characters.   posted Aug 4, 2007 at 10:04AM

Cover ArtEx machina. Book 1, The first hundred days
by Vaughan, Brian K.
If Y, The Last Man is checked out, Ex Machina is a fine placeholder for those in need of a Vaughan fix.   posted Jul 30, 2007 at 6:58PM

Cover ArtSkinwalker
by Defilippis, Nunzio
A perfect crime thriller and exploration of racial tension and identity and gender politics. One of the best.   posted Jul 30, 2007 at 6:55PM

Cover ArtDavid Boring
by Clowes, Daniel
Not boring.   posted Jul 30, 2007 at 6:53PM

Cover ArtMake lemonade
by Wolff, Virginia Euwer
A short novel in free verse, exploring a college-bound 14-yr-old babysitter's experience sitting for a teenage mom. Wolff has an excellent ear for language and line breaks; she isn't just chopping up prose into lines. One of my favorites on this list, for Wolff's great craft.   posted Jul 23, 2007 at 5:15PM

Cover ArtThe Van Gogh Cafe
by Rylant, Cynthia
Very slim, very powerful. A quiet book that feels a little holy. Linked brief stories that take place at a special cafe.   posted Jul 23, 2007 at 5:08PM

Cover ArtHarry Potter and the deathly hallows
by J. K. Rowling
I think Rowling did a great job with this one. I was surprised that I didn’t miss Hogwarts, that I actually found Hermione, Ron, & Harry rambling around the countryside as engaging. One loose end: who does Teddy live with? I would’ve assumed he’d live with his godfather, Harry--with Harry intentionally embracing the caregiving role that Sirius was unable to fulfill for him. One wish: that Draco’s wife had been...a Muggle.   posted Jul 23, 2007 at 2:48PM

Cover ArtFrindle
by Clements, Andrew, 1949-
It's bizarre that this wasn't even a Newbery Honor book, because it's definitely a classic--a 1996 book about who invents the words that go into the dictionary...that is, us.   posted Jul 12, 2007 at 7:17PM

Cover ArtSeedfolks
by Fleischman, Paul
So short it's practically a pamphlet, Seedfolks manages to be an incredibly insightful book about community, stereotyping, and the suspicion with which we can regard those neighbors of ours that "aren't like us."   posted Jul 12, 2007 at 7:11PM

Cover ArtLord of the Nutcracker men
by Lawrence, Iain, 1955-
Part of me wants to call this a "good, old-fashioned boys' novel"--but I'm neither a boy, nor particularly old-fashioned, and I loved it. Story of a boy who's shipped from London to live in the country while his father, a toymaker, fights in WWI...this father carves the boy soldiers & sends them to him from the trenches--and slowly the soldiers get more and more realistic (one's face is contorted in a scream of pain, for ex.), and less fun to play with.   posted Jul 12, 2007 at 7:10PM

Cover ArtSeedfolks
by Fleischman, Paul
So short it's practically a pamphlet, Seedfolks manages to be an incredibly powerful, insightful book about community, stereotyping, and the suspicion with which we can regard those neighbors of ours that "aren't like us."   posted Jul 12, 2007 at 7:05PM

Cover ArtThe Van Gogh Cafe
by Rylant, Cynthia
Very slim, very powerful. A quiet book that feels a little holy.   posted Jul 12, 2007 at 6:54PM

Cover ArtThe great good thing : a novel
by Townley, Rod
I don't know why this book wasn't raved about more when it came out in 2001...it's smart and wonderful metafiction about a book character's feelings for her Reader.   posted Jul 12, 2007 at 6:54PM

Cover ArtThe Van Gogh Cafe
by Rylant, Cynthia
Very slim, very powerful. A quiet book that feels a little sacred.   posted Jul 12, 2007 at 6:50PM

Cover ArtRegarding the fountain : a tale, in letters, of Liars and Leaks
by Klise, Kate
Kate Klise is a riot--a quick, funny read for fans of arch humor.   posted Jul 12, 2007 at 6:49PM

Cover ArtWhat hearts
by Brooks, Bruce.
Bruce Brooks writes beautifully...just amazingly beautifully. What Hearts is a linked series of stories about a boy named Asa, who's moved seven times in three years. The last story--where the title comes from--slayed me as much as any great short story ever has. Also see Brooks's The Moves Make the Man, another brilliant read.   posted Jul 12, 2007 at 6:48PM

Cover ArtAltered English : surprising meanings of familiar words
by Kacirk, Jeffrey
For example, "sarcasm" used to mean "a flaying or plucking off of the skin" (from the Greek "sarkazo," to flay). And "boudoir" "a place to sulk in," from the French "bouder," to sulk...   posted Jun 15, 2007 at 8:39AM

Cover ArtYou say tomato : an amusing and irreverent guide to the most often mispronounced
by Jackson, R. W. 1939-
Yikes. All these years I'd been saying ACK-u-men for "acumen"...   posted Jun 15, 2007 at 8:32AM

Cover ArtSpoken here : travels among threatened languages
by Abley, Mark
Talk Boro to me.   posted Jun 14, 2007 at 12:04PM

Cover ArtNever let a fool kiss you or a kiss fool you : chiasmus and a world of quotation
by Grothe, Mardy.
Ah, chiasmus...my favorite trope, after zeugma.   posted Jun 14, 2007 at 12:01PM

Cover ArtDead memory
Kafka. Camus. Marc-Antoine Mathieu. Yep, it's that good.   posted Jun 14, 2007 at 10:02AM

Cover ArtEpileptic
by B., David, 1959-
With Expressionist woodcut-like black and white illustrations, here's a riveting memoir of growing up with a severely epileptic brother (and parents who frequently relocate the family, searching for the perfect cure) with a Cabinet of Dr. Caligari-like feel.   posted May 30, 2007 at 11:05AM

Cover ArtChiaroscuro : the private lives of Leonardo da Vinci
by McGreal, Pat
A fictionalized account of Da Vinci's life, told from the p.o.v. of arrogant Salai--the boy Da Vinci adopted and saw as his muse.   posted May 29, 2007 at 11:04AM

Cover ArtPedro and me : friendship, loss, and what I learned
by Winick, Judd
Winick's recounting of being part of MTV's Real World season 3 cast with Pedro Zamora--a Cuban immigrant and AIDS educator who died at age 22, shortly after the show was filmed.   posted May 29, 2007 at 10:58AM

Cover ArtMaus : a survivor's tale
by Spiegelman, Art.
A classic--gorgeously done, and a stellar example of how the graphic format can add more than "just pictures" to a story. You'll also want MAUS II: And Here My Troubles Began.   posted May 29, 2007 at 10:53AM

Cover ArtPersepolis
by Satrapi, Marjane, 1969-
See as well Satrapi's other autobiographical graphic novels: Embroideries, Chicken With Plums, and Persepolis II.   posted May 29, 2007 at 10:50AM

Cover ArtMaus : a survivor's tale
by Spiegelman, Art.
A classic--gorgeously done. You'll also want MAUS II: And Here My Troubles Began.   posted May 29, 2007 at 10:49AM

Cover ArtPyongyang : a journey in North Korea
by Delisle, Guy
A glimpse into modern North Korea by a French animator who worked there for two months under such strict observation that he was reminded of Orwell's 1984.   posted May 29, 2007 at 10:48AM

Cover ArtFun home : a family tragicomic
by Bechdel, Alison, 1960-
A memoir of growing up with a closeted gay father by the author of the popular lesbian comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For   posted May 29, 2007 at 10:48AM

Cover ArtMaus : a survivor's tale
by Spiegelman, Art.
A classic--gorgeously done. Don't miss MAUS II: And Here My Troubles Began.   posted May 29, 2007 at 10:44AM

Cover ArtMaus : a survivor's tale
by Spiegelman, Art.
A classic--gorgeously done. Don't miss MAUS II: And Here My Trouble Began.   posted May 29, 2007 at 10:43AM

Cover ArtBlankets : an illustrated novel
by Thompson, Craig, 1975-
A sweet, well-written story of first love, told from the male point of view. Very accessible, great for folks who "don't like graphic novels" (...yet)   posted May 26, 2007 at 4:55PM

Cover ArtAmerican born Chinese
by Yang, Gene Luen
06).   posted May 9, 2007 at 11:41AM

Cover ArtCocktails
by Powell, D. A.
Snap! Powell's work crackles with as much assonance and consonance as an Eminem song and burns with momentum.   posted May 9, 2007 at 11:36AM

Cover ArtCrush
by Siken, Richard, 1967-
When is reading poetry like watching a Gregg Araki film? When you're reading Siken's debut. A Yale Younger Poet award winner.   posted May 9, 2007 at 11:33AM

Cover ArtMaus : a survivor's tale
by Spiegelman, Art.
A classic. Beautifully done. Don't forget to read part two, "And Here My Troubles Began"   posted May 9, 2007 at 11:29AM

Cover ArtY, the last man. 1, Unmanned
by Vaughan, Brian K.
My favorite graphic novel series, period. Supersmart dialogue and concept. Highly, highly recommended and also a good place to start if you "don't like graphic novels" (I converted my life partner with this one!)   posted May 9, 2007 at 11:27AM

Cover ArtFables. Legends in exile
by Willingham, Bill
Honestly? I'm NOT that crazy about the Fables series...but many other non-superhero-reading graphic novel fans are. They praise it for being well-written and clever. Try it and judge for yourself.   posted May 9, 2007 at 11:24AM

Cover ArtBlankets : an illustrated novel
by Thompson, Craig, 1975-
A sweet, well-written story of first love, told from the male point of view. Very accessible, great for folks who "don't like graphic novels" (yet...)   posted May 9, 2007 at 11:20AM

Cover ArtWhiteout
by Rucka, Greg
Wonderfully atmospheric and tense--imagine film noir set in Antarctica--and featuring a brilliant and strong female protagonist.   posted May 9, 2007 at 11:18AM


recent profiles
Jody W.
Interests: I'm a big speculative fiction ...
Ryan P.
 
 
Tricia M.
Interests: I love nonfiction.
heya
Interests: cook books
booklion246
Interests: I like basically anything that...
Rachel C
 
 
Olivia Torgerson
 
 
zombifypanacea
 
 
Sinee
 
 
Freckles818
 
 

hcl mobile app
hclib
mobile
app
Facebook Twitter Tumblr YouTube Vimeo Flickr Federal Depository Library Federal
Depository
Library
Hennepin County Government Hennepin
County
Government
© 2014  Hennepin County Library12601 Ridgedale Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55305 Comments and Feedback    |    RSS