Wednesday, May 15, 2013

a good book.

It's been way too long since I did a book review (or any real consistent blogging.) I have some big announcements coming up as I've already hinted to but I'm still not quite in a position to say anything public just yet. But that's my excuse. Despite the nutsiness of life I have been doing a bit of reading (though not nearly as much I'd like!) Here are a few of my recent favorites.

Benjamin Bear in Bright Ideas!

Author: Philippe Courdray
Pages: 32
Age Range: 7-12
Published: 2013
Genre: Graphic Novel
Cover Score: ***
Overall Score: ****
Rating: PG

Fans of Benjamin Bear in Fuzzy Thinking, rejoice! The bear is back with more hilarious situations and not-so-obvious solutions to the scrapes he finds himself in. Whether he’s crossing rivers, herding sheep, trying to rid himself of fleas, or catching squirrels Benjamin’s unique way of doing things is sure to bring a smile to the face of the reader. Each paneled story takes just one page to play out and relies on the perfect blend of visual cues and sparse text to deliver the punch lines. The length makes this volume ideal for newly independent readers yet to truly appreciate the jokes requires some higher-level thinking skills, thus a more advanced reader crowd is simultaneously pulled into the audience as well. Bright and richly colored illustrations expertly draw the eye to the pictorial puns and subtle subversive humor. These brilliant cartoons are sure to appeal to readers of all ages. Highly recommended! 

Kid Pickers: How to Turn Junk into Treasure
Author: Mike Wolfe
Pages: 113
Age Range: 9-12
Published: 2013
Genre: Non-fiction
Cover Score: ***
Overall Score: ****
Rating: G

Taking a leap from the small screen to the printed page, History Channel’s American Pickers host, Mike Wolfe, adapts his treasure hunting secrets and obsessions for a young audience of up and coming pickers. Covering such topics as the thrill of the hunt, where to begin and how to develop your own picking style, kids with a beginning interest in picking will have plenty to work with. Wolfe also ties in green trends like repurposing and sustainability, uncovering your own family history, making a profit, and using various resources to discover an item’s story, widening the appeal to those not necessarily looking to dig through endless flea markets and dumps. The orange, black and white palette give it an appropriately vintage feel and the lively layouts sprinkled with photos, real kid-picker profiles, and picking pointers adds to the book’s accessibility. This is a surprisingly versatile resource that would be a fine addition to any library.

Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Pages: 356
Age Range: 13 up
Published: 2012
Genre: Fantasy/YA
Cover Score: ****
Overall Score: ****
Rating: PG-13

Orphans Alina and Mal have only each other to rely on growing up and when they go off to fight for the fate of their kingdom together that loyalty is tested beyond anything they could have imagined. On a journey through the dark and dangerous Fold, Alina saves Mal’s life from a deadly vulcra by unleashing an unknown power. Targeted by the Darkling for her newly discovered ability she’s conscripted into the Grisha (the magical elite) and after rigorous training, introduced to court as the hoped-for Sun Summoner who will conquer the darkness of the Fold once and for all. Alina, however, is not used to magic or the intricacies and intrigues of court life and only when it’s nearly too late does she realize that things, and people, aren’t always as they seem. Hand this to fans of Graceling and Daughter of Smoke and Bone or anyone looking for a well-developed magical romance. Dripping with rich atmosphere and fascinating characters, this is a world readers will be loath to leave.

What have you been reading?

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