Mondays are a day to celebrate ever since I joined #IMWAYR. Jen at MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers host this event where readers of kidlit get together to share what they have read in the past week.
It was a hard week for me. Grief got in the way of settling into a book and reading. I ended up binging on Murdoch Mysteries and knitting. It wasn't a complete literary loss because I did finish up those books I was reading last week, and I listened to books while out and about and cleaning house. I found enough focus to read some great picture books and one remarkable graphic novel.
Since May is here, and with Mother's Day coming up next weekend, I went searching for books to set up a display highlighting strong mothers. I found plenty of picture books. I even found a few YA novels with strong mothers, but for the most part, what I discovered is that while there is a plethora of books with missing and or absent mothers in middle grade fiction, there is also a dearth of strong supportive ones. Can you come up with any suggestions? I'm open to 'mother substitutes,' like in One For the Murphys.
What an inspiring story this is for young women with all kinds of plans for their future. Mary Garber was a sports reporter who learned how to handle discrimination from watching how Jackie Robinson dealt with it. C.F. Payne's illustrations have a vintage feel to them that captures the time and Mary's character perfectly. I especially love the quote at the end, "That's Miss Mary Garber. And she doesn't care who you are, or where you're from, or what you are. If you do something, she's going to write about you."
OMG these illustrations!! I can't help but wonder if this book, created by two brothers, born in America, but now residing in Canada, will be eligible for the Caldecott award. A young boy is captivated when a topiary gardener comes during the night and transforms trees into all kinds of different creatures. I was a little bit creeped out by this because I mostly like trees just as they are, and am not sure I would appreciate someone coming and doing this to the trees in my yard. My other niggle is that I once did research on creating topiary. Fabricating them on this scale overnight just isn't plausible.
I read this once and was so stunned I went and read it again to see if it could really be that good. It is. I adore these vintage style illustrations. I'm not always a fan of rhyming text, but I didn't realize until halfway through that it does have a rhyming pattern, so it didn't get in the way. By the end I was completely enjoying it.
I enjoyed these updated illustrations, but the whole text felt disingenuous: a superficial look at death and dying.
This is a sweet picture book that celebrates the everyday life of aboriginal children. Julie Flett's illustrations are, as usual, gorgeous. I don't usually bring board books into the library, but didn't realize until it arrived what it was. I wish it were available as a larger format picture book.
I enjoyed this third book in the Mister Max series, but not as much as the first two. In this one, Max comes up with a plan to save his mother and father who are being held captive in Andesia, a country somewhere in South America. This story has adventure, suspense and is a fitting finale for the series, but I missed Max being The Solutioneer and solving the many problems in his own community.
I thought this would be a fluffy, fun book dealing with magical mishaps. I didn't expect much more, but should have known better with these authors at the helm. It is the story of Nory, a young girl who is unable to control her magic. It isn't as straightforward as that of her siblings and father's. When she fails her entrance exam to attend Sage Academy, she is sent away to live with her Aunt Margo. (now here is an interesting motherish figure) She ends up in a special class with other students with UDM. (upside down magic)
There is so much more going on here than just the hilarious mishaps that the UDM students cause because of their magic. It is a story of prejudice, friendship and being accepted for who and what you are. What I liked most is that these students with UDM are revealed as not just being different, but maybe, because of this, having more going for them than the so called normal students.
This powerful book, written in verse, is based on Sones' experiences of her older sister's descent into madness and the aftermath. It is a very emotional work. From what she reveals about her sister's actions, it seemed to me that she might be bipolar. Historically shock treatment was the option for many different kinds of mental disorders. Thankfully, It isn't the treatment these days, at least not for a member of my family with this diagnosis.
I was left with two strong impressions upon finishing this book.
First, these illustrations are not just beautiful. Drop dead gorgeous is closer to the truth.
Second, I really hate this cliffhanger ending.
Still, this take on Jack and The Beanstalk is visually and creatively stunning.
I guarantee my readers will love this one!
(longer review in the works)
I've just started reading Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Bagar, and I'm listening to Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz
I have I Am Princess X ready to download to my device, but I'm having trouble with it. I'll be reading that if I ever get it to work properly. I've got a whole mess of other books that I expect will arrive from the library all at once, so I'll just wait and see what happens.