A picture book about Pride that *feels* PROUD, with dazzling, festive illustrations and a simple rhyming text:
This day in June Parade starts soon! RainA picture book about Pride that *feels* PROUD, with dazzling, festive illustrations and a simple rhyming text:
This day in June Parade starts soon! Rainbow arches Joyful Marches Motors roaring Spirits soaring... Clad in leather Perfect weather (etc.)
The one reference that might be obscure to a good number of readers is "Artists painting / Sisters sainting" (there's a reading guide in the back that explains each couplet--these sisters are the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, out of San Francisco). It's lovely to see that the sister portrayed has beard stubble. Nothing is shied away from in this book, which doesn't pretend to be anything other than the openhearted celebration it is ("Clad in leather"!). Though I didn't love every couplet ("Sidewalk shaking/tummies aching" kind of takes the joy down a notch), I loved most, and the illustrations couldn't be more vibrant and gorgeous. Wonderful....more
2.5 This is a Maud Hart Lovelace selection and a title I've seen on lots of library's summer book club lists. It's entertaining, fast-paced, wacky, an2.5 This is a Maud Hart Lovelace selection and a title I've seen on lots of library's summer book club lists. It's entertaining, fast-paced, wacky, and violent in a campy Walking-Dead way (up to and including the head of a zombie cow used as a hood ornament) (the graphic-though-campy violence might bother a few readers). It may raise kids' awareness of factory farm practices, how power works in a capitalist society, and what it's like to live under the constant threat of deportation (all of which will make for good discussion in those summer book clubs). Some of the issue-y-ness, particularly around immigration, feels forced/overdone after a while--for example, there is a joke or two that didn't sit right with me (as when Joe, a friend of Miguel [who is facing possible deportation], says in the middle of a zombie baseball battle, "I'd totally go for a deportation right about now"). I'm torn between "It was okay" and "I liked it."...more
I love the concept here--a general book about self-esteem and our different physical features, using animals, not people, and set at a zoo. The concluI love the concept here--a general book about self-esteem and our different physical features, using animals, not people, and set at a zoo. The concluding lines are great:
"We're glad we're all different! It would be such a shame if you came to the zoo...[page turn] and we all looked the same!"
...and the book begins well
"I'm Warty Warthog! Can't be who I'm not. I am who I am, and I've got what I've got. I have tusks! I have warts! But I like what I see! In my own special way, I'm as cute as can be."
None of the other animals speak directly to the reader--we don't see first-person again (unless the book's narrated by the warthog, in which case it would only be clear if he was visually included on each page--and he isn't on any). The tone shifts a bit from embracing difference to a little accusing: "Would you dare tell Flamingo he shouldn't be pink? Or Potbellied Pig she's too plump, do you think?" and scolding, if you're anxious about your difference: "Does Porcupine care that she can't curl her hair? Is Leopard upset he has spots everywhere?"
Despite some good couplets, the tonal shift was not for me. I wanted this book, about an important topic, to be stronger than it is, particularly because I'd have liked to use it in storytime. I won't. ...more
Doesn't hang together well--loose ends, hasty finish, ups & downs (the second "surprise" did not seem earned or warranted) that give a feeling ofDoesn't hang together well--loose ends, hasty finish, ups & downs (the second "surprise" did not seem earned or warranted) that give a feeling of "throw something at the plot and see if it sticks." "Her perfect life is a perfect lie," the marketing tagline on the book's cover, doesn't actually seem to describe the book at all. Selling like hotcakes, with a long wait list at the library and a cover blurb that suggests it for Gillian Flynn fans--I'll redirect Gone Girl fans to Peter Swanson's recent The Kind Worth Killing. ...more
There are too many unforgettable poems and lines in Prelude to Bruise for me to give it anything but five stars. "Guernica on all fours." Guernica onThere are too many unforgettable poems and lines in Prelude to Bruise for me to give it anything but five stars. "Guernica on all fours." Guernica on all fours!
"Bloated with want, I'm the man who waits
for the moon to drown before I let the lake grab my ankles & take me into its muddy mouth.
They say a city is at the bottom of all that water. Oh, marauder. Make me a drink. I'm on my way."
"How the jasmine vine rests its hands on the abandoned sill for a month, then pulls itself into the cool dark."
And one that's almost too good-- "Even a peacock feather comes to a point" --the kind of good that you're not even sure you can like, overgood.
"Smile, ride, quiet."
I loved and gaped at--in a poem about his father's illness and death--"but let's not get ahead of ourselves, goner." Goner. More anger and lifetime-of-hurt and fuck-you in using that word than in all the other poems on his father combined.
All this said, in the weaker poems, I feel almost like Jones is unintentionally parodying himself. Blood, moons, jewels, hunger, tongues! I felt like this about "Eclipse of My Third Life," for ex, and some others (or portions of others): they felt like juvenilia. Even if they were the last ones written, they make reading the book feel like watching a poet grow (or seeing clearly where he still needs to grow). ...more
Several novels have been marketed as "The Next Gone Girl" (The Dinner, The Girl on the Train...). I don't think this one was marketed that way, and ISeveral novels have been marketed as "The Next Gone Girl" (The Dinner, The Girl on the Train...). I don't think this one was marketed that way, and I don't think this one is, but it's by far the worthiest successor I've read to date. Concept-wise (not style-wise), Swanson pays homage to Patricia Highsmith in a psychological thriller with good pacing, one I was eager to return to when I'd had to put it down for a while, and one that completely surprised me at least once. I'll recommend it to patrons looking for a great plot-driven-but-not-dumbed-down suspenseful read (beach read, cabin read, plane read, anytime read for thriller lovers), and certainly anyone who mentions Gone Girl as a favorite....more
"One Thursday on Bonnie Bumble's farm, everyone was thirsty--especially the flowers. The snapdragons snapped. The tiger lilies growled. The johnny-jum"One Thursday on Bonnie Bumble's farm, everyone was thirsty--especially the flowers. The snapdragons snapped. The tiger lilies growled. The johnny-jump-ups jumped up and down. And the black-eyed Susans were spoiling for a fight." Well-written, classic-seeming storyline; quietly and charmingly illustrated; well-paced for storytime (weather, flowers, gardens, spring) (do first, with "louder" books to follow). Wish dimensions were a bit larger for sharing illustrations (they're 8" by 8"). Cute to share one-on-one, too, before going out to water the garden together....more
3.5. 5 stars for the over-the-top-gorgeous illustrations, great active verbs/vocabulary (perch, lurch, scamper, dash, skim, scurry, etc), and recurrin3.5. 5 stars for the over-the-top-gorgeous illustrations, great active verbs/vocabulary (perch, lurch, scamper, dash, skim, scurry, etc), and recurring line "But the six silent turtles sit still as stones" (which kids can deliver in storytime). But
"Fern fronds rustle. Butterflies bustle. And the six startled turtles... suddenly speed away!"
felt disappointing and anticlimactic (2 stars for that!). Taking the time to say "suddenly" almost always makes things feel less sudden. "Speed" isn't as strong an "s" verb as I'd like for an ending. "Splash" is obvious but could pack more punch. Others?
Could be lovely to share one-on-one or in small group before nature walk. Note to self: the book's set in summer (summer storytime? Outdoors storytime?)....more
SPOILER ALERT (seems funny for a picture book, but there you go)
"The darkness of midnight is all around me. But I fly through it as quick as a shootiSPOILER ALERT (seems funny for a picture book, but there you go)
"The darkness of midnight is all around me. But I fly through it as quick as a shooting star. And look there...a tasty rabbit for me to eat. Soon my sharp beak will be gobbling that rabbit up! Everyone knows owls are wise. But as well as being wise, I am a master of disguise. I devise a costume. Look--I disguise myself as...a delicious carrot. It is the perfect way to catch a rabbit. I wait. It doesn't work." And so on through a few more animals, until the hoot owl spots some final possible prey: A PIZZA!
I wasn't sold on this one until that pizza. The book came recommended for storytime, and I'm all about repetition, but the repetitive parts (as seen above--all that for one animal) were a bit long for a young-skewing storytime. For a silly-owl-with-delusions-of-grandeur-storytime-picture-book, Jonathan Allen's I'm Not Cute seems better paced/aware of younger kids' attention spans. Echoes of that and Shh! We Have a Plan give this book the feel of having been heavily influenced/inspired by the success of those two.
The pizza's pretty great, though, so I'll definitely try this one, but will clip some pages together to skip over (I'm thinking the possible-prey pigeon can go). I'll ask kids to do a seated power pose and yell out "MASTER OF DISGUISE!" every time that phrase comes up. ...more
Yikes, didn't do it for me. The refrain and things smashed reminded me of a less skilled Dinosaur Vs... book (or Tyrannosarus Wrecks, or Dino Kisses,Yikes, didn't do it for me. The refrain and things smashed reminded me of a less skilled Dinosaur Vs... book (or Tyrannosarus Wrecks, or Dino Kisses, or Hug Machine). The content of the pixelated illustrations, once I got to Smashing Robot's fantasies about Super-Smashy Girl Robot, was tough to make out at first and second glance--so I won't use this in storytime, where a large crowd dissuades me from slowing down momentum enough that all have a chance to make out challenging illustrations....more
Seeing how frequently my librarian friends suggest this book to those looking for picture books addressing divorce, I checked it out. While it doesn'tSeeing how frequently my librarian friends suggest this book to those looking for picture books addressing divorce, I checked it out. While it doesn't quite have the cover/illustration appeal of Melanie Walsh's Living with Mom and Living with Dad--this one's done in a red/brown/gold palette that strikes me as 70s-ish, despite coming out in 2007--the text is really nice:
"Sometimes I live with my mom. Sometimes I live with my dad. My dog, Fred, stays with me. I still go to the same school. I still have the same friends. But in one of my rooms I have a bunk bed and in my other room I have a regular one. Fred sleeps on the floor. ...Sometimes my mom drives us to the park. On others days my dad takes us to the lake. Fred likes to ride in the car. Fred shakes park mud all over the seats of my mom's car... Fred shakes lake water all over the seat of my dad's pants."
When Fred starts to get on each parent's nerves, both say "Fred can't stay with me!", and our (girl--good to know if potential reader is a child who won't touch books with a girl protagonist) protagonist self-asserts: "Excuse me...Fred doesn't stay with either of you. Fred stays with ME!" Our protagonist and her mom come up with a plan to handle Fred's behavior at her mom's house; our protagonist and her dad come up with a plan to handle Fred's behavior at her dad's house, and the book ends "Sometimes I live with my mom. Sometimes I live with my dad. But Fred stays with me."
I liked that the descriptions of how life is different and similar at both houses are mostly (after the bunk bed/bed) about Fred's experience...showing that our protagonist is not the only one having new and different experiences, that she has a companion in that. A healthy pet is usually a happy, reassuring thing for kids, so Fred's presence (and the partial focus on him) in a book about a tough topic helps diffuse the "toughness" and sadness, too. The protagonist self-asserting and coming up with empowering solutions that work for both households is fantastic. My only hang-up is possible friction if adults reading the book to their child/ren don't *want* shared pet custody, or don't want to get a pet if there isn't one, etc. I can certainly imagine kids arguing/bargaining for one after reading this!--and know that divorcing parents can feel guilty and especially vulnerable to their children's wants.
As with Living with Mom and Living with Dad, the word "divorce" isn't mentioned anywhere in the text--just on the inner jacket flap. ...more
Wow, interesting to see all the variations in reviews on this one--lots of 5s, lots of 2s; lots of people it spoke to, lots of people it didn't. I'm oWow, interesting to see all the variations in reviews on this one--lots of 5s, lots of 2s; lots of people it spoke to, lots of people it didn't. I'm one of the latter. The last few pages gripped and made something click in me, but the bulk of the story (and tedious protagonist) didn't. Like many others, I raced to read The Sculptor having loved McCloud's graphic nonfiction on understanding, reinventing, and making comics: with the depth of insight and knowledge displayed in those, how could this graphic novel do anything but rock? The answer, for me, was the story.
(I was also happy to see a review that articulated something that had quietly bothered me without my realizing it: "I'm not convinced that a sculptor who chooses to work in stone would find it a gift to be able to mold it like clay. If David wanted to work in clay, he'd have worked in clay, damnit.")...more
The Dullards--at least Mr. and Mrs.--couldn't be more boring, but they do try very hard to be. Their dessert orde3.5 Light, quick, quietly funny read.
The Dullards--at least Mr. and Mrs.--couldn't be more boring, but they do try very hard to be. Their dessert order? "Five vanilla cones, please. Hold the cones. And extract the vanilla." Beige and gray seem like risky paint colors, so they mix the two when painting their walls. A snail crossing the road is an "upsetting commotion." My favorite bit's when they meet a new neighbor:
"'Welcome to the neighborhood,' she said. 'I baked you an applesauce cake!' 'Please don't use exclamation marks in front of our children.'"
Part of me wishes this had been packaged as a slightly advanced easy reader, as some of the humor will be lost on the youngest listeners--and I always worry that picture books geared to slightly older kids won't be found by their intended audience.
Oh, golly, I loved this. I haven't been so moved (I want "swooned" to be the word) by an exploration of the surprising, dazzling, freaky forms love taOh, golly, I loved this. I haven't been so moved (I want "swooned" to be the word) by an exploration of the surprising, dazzling, freaky forms love takes since reading Carson McCullers's Ballad of the Sad Cafe. Towards the end, just about every page broke my heart. And I dreamt of hacking myself out of the closet with a machete....more