Sunday, June 16, 2013

Polly Horvath

I was recently given copies of a couple of Polly Horvath's books to read, and I'm rather delighted with the outcome. One Year in Coal Harbor made me smile repeatedly. In fact, that's what I've been doing for the last two hours, sitting on my deck, enjoying the breeze and bird chatter, while smiling incessantly at the cleverness of Primrose Squarp.

One Year in Coal Harbor is listed as a companion to Everything on a Waffle. Insightful and observant, Primrose worries about finding the right person to call "best friend". She pals around with many of the grownups in town, but none of the other kids seem to understand her witty jokes. Until a foster kid named Ked comes to town...

With a great cast of characters, including a hot-headed restauranteur, a caring foster mother who thinks every dish is better with mini marshmallows, fishermen, and even a seer, there's never a dull moment.

Previous to One Year in Coal Harbor, Horvath's Mr. and Mrs. Bunny -- Detectives Extraordinaire graced my bedside table. What a quirky read! Madeline and parents, Mildred and Flo, are celebrating the holiday Luminaria, when suddenly Mildred and Flo are kidnapped by foxes! The foxes want a secret recipe decoded and are in search of Madeline's uncle, a top secret government decoder. Unfortunately and due to the foxes' limited English, they leave too criptive a note. Madeline brings the note to her uncle, of course, but finds him in bad health just as he slips into a coma. What's a girl to do?

Enter Mr. and Mrs. Bunny who have recently decided to become detectives. Madeline hires the Bunnys and with some help from a marmot, some extremely high platform shoes, and stylin' fedoras, the Bunnys lead her to...

Well, maybe you should just read the book. :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Who doesn't need more time in their day? My youngest of three children will be celebrating his first birthday next week. Which means, it's time to get back into blogging and hope I have a minute or two here and there to write down thoughts and book reviews.  I've continued to read for the Maud Hart Lovelace Award committee, and have now joined in to read for the newly made Star of the North Award, a MN choice award geared for readers aged 5 - 8 years old.

My next task: update my Maud Hart reads on Shelfari and start adding Star of the North reads to my Goodreads account. Also, continue unpacking/organizing (we moved) and plan a birthday party.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Still neglecting the blog, but I'm reading, so...

Trying to get back into writing on the blog, but not doing so well... obviously. Have to say, we went to the bookstore yesterday with the kids, and Leo pointed out the new Pout-Pout Fish book on the shelf in his two-year-old way, "Mommy, fishy book." We went on to other things. It was mostly me chasing one or the other of the kids and trying to keep them all in one place until the hubby showed up and said, "Hey! It's the new Pout-Pout Fish book!" We didn't buy it, unfortunately, because it got put down quickly in order to chase a runaway Leo. And after all that, I check my blog tonight (after not being on for, um, a few months) and there's a comment from Deborah Diesen!!!! Awesome!!

So here's the cover of the new Pout-Pout Fish book:

The Pout-Pout Fish and the Big Big Dark
by Deborah Diesen
illustrated by Dan Hanna
ISBN: 0374307989

On a side note, I decided to check into my blog because I'm a wimp when it comes to scary stories. I'm trying to read Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman. It's in journal form, and there are videos online that you can watch as you read through the book. Very Blair Witch Project-like. So, at the point where I heard a sound and looked behind me to see if anyone might be on our deck outside, I realized it was time to just read this book during the day. Good thing I have my Boston Terrier, Homer, to protect me. Wonder where he got off to...

Skeleton Creek
by Patrick Carman
ISBN: 1765043549

Friday, February 19, 2010

Jumping for joy

Yep. I'm jumping up and down right now. Although, it's hard to type and do that at the same time, so I think I'll sit down a bit. But, the reason! Aha! I got a cool little newsletter today about all the COOL books that are coming out this fall and I'm so EXCITED! A new Knuffle Bunny book! A new Llama Llama book! And a new Pout-Pout Fish book!

Well, that last one might not be as popular right now as it should be. But my kids LOVE it. Because my husband does these great voices for the characters, and well, it's really just a great book with some catchy rhyming. You should check it out. It's about, um, a pout-pout fish that pouts all the time because... he's a pout-pout fish and that's what they do, you know. In the end, he meets someone special and doesn't feel so pouty anymore. Go get it. Like, right now. If you can find it. Quickly, now. :) Go!

The Pout-Pout Fish
by Deborah Diesen
ISBN: 0374360960

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Re-emerged from dropping off the face of the earth...

I'm not sure what happened to the last few months. I think they may have disappeared in the vacuum, or maybe into that black hole that sucks up all the books that we can't find at the library when they should be there. Regardless, I'm back!

I have to talk about one of our favorite author/illustrators right now, Jan Thomas. We LOVE her books. I think we've read Rhyming Dust Bunnies, maybe 20 times now. I kid you not! My two-year-old brought it to me last night. I even think he might have said please, although it went more like "peeeez". So, if you haven't read it, please get it, and then make a run on all Jan Thomas' other books, because they are EQUALLY AWESOME!

Rhyming Dust Bunnies

by Jan Thomas

ISBN: 141697976X

Bonus: It rhymes, short words, so my 4 year-old was able to read a good portion of the book. Yes!

P.S. I spent a good chunk of break time this morning running around the library trying to find her newest book, which was supposed to be on display, only to find that it had already been snatched up within an hour of being put out. Yep, that good.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Still alive

I realize I haven't posted in forever. I got a little busy with our Maud Hart Lovelace Award committee and all the reading involved. I think in the last week I've read the following books:

Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything by Lenore Look
Jack Plank Tells Tales by Natalie Babbitt
Me and the Pumpkin Queen by Marlane Kennedy
Secret of the Painted House by Marion Dane Bauer
Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix

That's a lot of reading, folks! And just in one week. So, maybe with the holidays coming, I'll get a little more with it and post some more reviews.

My kiddos' favorite book right now:

I Spy Spooky Mansion

They love just looking at everything in the pictures!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Graphic Novels

I've been reading graphic novels of late and thought I'd comment on some of them. There's such a range, whether that's age level or seriousness. I've found it to be an interesting genre altogether.

Bone: Out from Boneville

by Jeff Smith

ISBN: 0963660993

Bone. What do I say about Bone? I've heard so much about this series and was pretty excited to finally get to read it. The illustrations play a key role in this graphic novel extraordinaire. What amazing art for simple line work! And I'm going to really get into the illustrations a bit here because I had a unique experience. Upon seeing that my library's copy was going to be out for a while, I had mentioned waiting for it in front of a librarian friend who volunteered her personal copy. Not more than a day or two had gone by and the library copy showed up on my desk. But they were different, way different. The personal copy had color illustrations, the library copy, black and white. I kept one at home and one on my desk at work for breaks. There was such a difference between the two, and I found myself enjoying the black and white copy so much more. I'm usually into rich texture and color, so was surprised by my reaction. I found that in the color illustrations, the backgro
und became just that: background. In the black and white, I noticed everything, especially some of the little details in the background. My reaction was just a resounding, "Huh!". And I don't have a better word now, either. Just that. I do have to say, although there were some really great humorous moments in the book (like the snow), I wasn't that blown away by the plot. It wasn't that complex, not that it needed to be. And maybe that's just it. Who needs complexity? Maybe for this book simple black and white and a simple plot makes it just perfect. After I got done, I wanted to go talk to the people that I knew had read the book just to get their reactions. Mine: "Huh!" Yours: Please let me know.

Babymouse: Queen of the World

by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

ISBN: 0375832297

Babymouse is tired of her same-old boring life. She wants fame! She wants fortune! She wants tasty snacks!!! And the way to do that is to get in good standing with Felicia Furrypaws. How far will she go to be “Queen of the World”? The Babymouse series is a graphic novel series. I love the
simple black and white pictures with a little pink sprinkled here and there. And Babymouse has a great imagination, like when she imagines she's taking on the giant squid from a movie. This is the first in the series. There's a whole bunch more!

The Arrival

by Shaun Tan

ISBN: 0439895294

The Arrival is a totally wordless graphic novel. So, what the story is about is totally up to what the "reader" sees and thinks is happening in the pictures. I think it's about a man who has to leave his family because war (or some other bad thing) has come to their town. He goes to another place, totally foreign to him, to find a way to help his family. He meets people along the way who tell him their story, even though he doesn't know the language well, and he finds out that this strange land

isn't as strange as he thought it was. There are a lot of people like him.

I really want to know what other people think about this book. Since there are no words, I think 10 different people could read this book and come up with a different story of sorts. I interpreted the wavy monster arms as "war" but I wonder what others would see it as. It truly could be anything. The pictures make

me think of sci-fi movies, but they have a rustic feel too that makes me think of earlier times in our country, like in a time period when so many people were coming to the United States from Europe. The author gives us a true idea of what it might be like as an immigrant. And there are pets. I like the pets. At first, I thought the pet that found the man was more like a cat. But later in the book, I decided it seemed more like a dog to me. What do you think?

Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute

by Jarrett J Krosoczka


I just about died laughing while I read this book. And then I toted it around for a couple of weeks and approached people with a goofy grin on my face saying, "You have to read this book! Hee hee hee!" with book outstretched in offering. I'm sure they thought I needed to visit the loony bin, but if you read this book, you just might find yourself doing the exact same thing.

"What do you suppose she does? You know, when she's not a lunch lady?"
"Maybe she has a family to take care of."
"I bet she has like a hundred cats!"
"Maybe she's some sort of super-secret agent spy or something..."
This last statement is met with unbelieving looks that translate to "Yeah, right."

But little do they know, that the Lunch Lady turns superheroine in her spare time, with the help of her super-savvy lunch lady assistant, Betty, who sets her up with gadgets such as the spatu-copter she is "Serving justice! And serving lunch!" As the Lunch Lady serves up chicken patty pizza, she notices that something's not quite right about the substitute teacher in for Mr. O'Connell. And isn't it odd that Mr. O'Connell is ill after 20 years of no sick days? So, after a bit of surveillance in her Boiler Room lair, Lunch Lady is on the case!

You seriously just have to pick up this book!!! Go! Now! And ask your library to buy it, if they haven't already.


About Me

I'm a children's librarian and mother of two preschoolers. On the side, I play soccer, bike, scrapbook, crochet, and read an obscene amount of children's books.