Hurrah it's Monday again and the official countdown for June is in place. After today, only two more Mondays until we measure out the days of the last week. I'm ready for holidays. Never mind April, June is the cruelest month, breeding cranky idiots out of once brilliant, kind teachers. I keep reading just to keep me from thinking of all the work I have to do. In the meantime, I'm thankful that Jen From Mentor Texts and Kellee and Rickie from Unleashing Readers are hosting #IMWAYR and the rest of the world continues as it should.
The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex
How could I not have read this book before? I am so thankful that it was on my to read list for this year. It's narrated by 11 year old Gratuity (Tip) Tucci. She begins by writing a school assignment on what happened during the alien invasion. It turns into a story involving a wild road trip with one of these aliens, a Boov named J. Lo, and a cat named Pig. As they travel from Pennsylvania to Arizona in search of Tip's mother, they bond while having adventures aplenty. It turns out that this is both a sweet story about cross cultural friendship and a political satire on colonization. It's really funny too. Debbie Reese has articulated some problematic issues with this title here. I get them, but also think that this book has the potential to open readers minds up to what white people have done to indigenous peoples here in the Americas, especially if done as a read aloud with opportunities for discussion. I listened to this one as an audiobook. Let me tell you that Bahni Turpin's narration was just stunning. Tip's voice is authentic, but her interpretation of J. Lo is just priceless. The only downside to listening to this book is missing the illustrations that accompany it. I'll make sure to have a look at it when our library copy arrives. To be honest, I'm a bit worried about reading Smek for President. How can a sequel live up to a book like this?
The Entirely True Story of the Unbelievable FIB by Adam Shaughnessy (from netgalley - available in September)
Overall I enjoyed this adventure about a Prue, a young girl caught up in the midst of mythical conflict playing out in her small town. It is a strong debut novel that will appeal to readers who like stories that feature ancient gods. It looks like there is a sequel in the offing so that will be good too.
The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party by Shannon and Bruce Hale and LeUyen Pham (illustrator) (from netgalley - available in October)
The kindle copy I had was kind of wonky and the illustrations and text didn't jive. Once I transferred to book over to Bluefire Reader everything showed up the way it was supposed to. I was a bit disappointed by this sequel because I had anticipated the goat boy joining the princess. In this story it's the Princess' birthday and she has a big party planned. Unfortunately there is a rash of monsters attacking her kingdom and she ends up getting pretty harried what with all the transformations into Princess in Black and battling them into submission. My Princess in Black fans will be delighted with this one.
I think it was Earl Dizon who introduced me to this book way back in March. A young boy is giving his teacher fantastical reasons why he didn't get his homework finished. This book is all about the illustrations which is where the real story takes place. The text was fine, but I wasn't impressed by the font that was used.
Big Red Kangaroo by Claire Saxby and Graham Byrne (illustrator)
Thanks to Carrie Gelson for turning me on to this one. It is gloriously illustrated with separate chunks of text on each page spread. The narrative text reads like poetry. The information sections are clear and straightforward. I appreciated the index at the back of the book so that it can be used by readers doing research and just searching for specific ideas. I'm not generally a big fan of narrative nonfiction, but I can see how this title will make a fabulous addition to our collection about marsupials. I've ordered this one and Emu (sight unseen) for our library!
The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 objects selected by Paul B. Janeczko and Chris Raschka (illustrator)
I enjoyed this one. Some of the poems resonated more profoundly than others. I think I am more a fan of modern poetry than the earlier ones. Raschka's watercolour illustrations are delightful no matter the era the poem is from.
Harvey by Herve Bouchard and Janice Nadeau
I have no idea how I got turned onto this title, but I'm sure glad I did. It won the Governor General's Award for both text and illustration in 2011. It's a powerful graphic novel of two boys who come home from school only to find that their father has died of a heart attack. The text is often sparse, but this just serves to make the images themselves more potent. After I finished the book I went back to spend more time appreciating these illustrations. What struck me were the illustrations showing Mother Bouillon and how the patterns in her clothing extended
beyond the limits of them. I haven't returned it to the library because my partner picked it up and wants a chance to go through it. There is nothing in this book that makes it inappropriate for my readers, but it really deserves an older reader to make the most of it.
Currently I'm listening to All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. This line is haunting me, "In this house there's no such thing as being sick unless you can measure it with a thermometer." I've just started reading, in book form, Finding the Worm by Mark Goldblatt. I have that feeling of opening it and just falling in. I enjoyed Twerp and expect to be transfixed by this one as well.
Up next I've got All Four Stars by Tara Dairman and then hopefully, more from my 2015 to read list. I've got so many audiobooks checked out from the VPL and none of them are from THE LIST!