Charley Harper's ABCs is one of many board books to proclaim “D is for dog,” but one of few to do it so beautifully that adults will be as captivatedCharley Harper's ABCs is one of many board books to proclaim “D is for dog,” but one of few to do it so beautifully that adults will be as captivated as children. Published just after the artist's death, the book is as much a tribute to his art as an alphabet primer, with pictures that, though they still illustrate the words chosen for each letter, span a range of styles and will definitely merit second glances. The large text and vibrant colors will captivate small children, while the fine detail will make the books a rewarding experience for parents. Recommended for toddlers, and everyone else.
Tags: board book, alphabet, illustration, artist book, babies ...more
Walk in the Woods is an enjoyable, interactive board book for parents and children to experience together. The story follows Pooh and Piglet as they wWalk in the Woods is an enjoyable, interactive board book for parents and children to experience together. The story follows Pooh and Piglet as they wander through the Hundred Acre Wood, encountering a number of creatures who hide behind bushes and under rowboats that fold out of the page to reveal them to the child. This book is ideal for interactive reading: parents can tell the story while the child can open the flaps (perfectly sized for small fingers) and interact with the classic characters, who retain familiar traits like Piglet's distinctive stutter and Pooh's endless quest for sweets. This board book favors the parent with plenty of narrative and descriptive text, while offering the child a tactile opportunity and lots to explore. The books is small enough for a child to grab onto and hold comfortably, but sturdy enough to stand some rough handling. 20 pages. Best for babies and one-on-one reading.
Tags: Winnie the Pooh, storytime, lift-the-flaps, board books, adventure, babies, hide and seek...more
Mo Willems' Edwina: The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct is a sweet and funny picture book that will make both children and adults laugh out lMo Willems' Edwina: The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct is a sweet and funny picture book that will make both children and adults laugh out loud. The story follows Reginald von Hoobie-Doobie, a pessimistic little boy who is determined to point out to everyone in town that Edwina, the benevolent, cookie-baking local dinosaur, is extinct. Despite his best efforts, he fails to make anyone else see his point—except for Edwina, who swiftly decides that extinction is just not going to upset her, and subsequently charms Reginald into not caring either. Though most of the book features Reginald's angry quest, the humor of the illustrations balances the negativity and depicts the book's message of kindness and optimism over negativity all the way through. Willems' characters are reminiscent of old Peanuts cartoons, with expressive faces and pastels. Recommended for ages 5 to 8.
Tags: picture books, dinosaurs, school, conflict, early readers, anthropomorphic dinosaur...more
Eight Days: A Story of Haiti is a collaboration between lauded writer Edwidge Danticat and illustrator Alix Delinois that was published on the heels oEight Days: A Story of Haiti is a collaboration between lauded writer Edwidge Danticat and illustrator Alix Delinois that was published on the heels of the deadly earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010. The story is narrated by Junior, a young boy who was trapped in the ruins of his home for eight days, imagining a different happy scenario for what he would have been doing each day. Though his friend Oscar, with whom he was trapped, does not survive the disaster, Junior is reunited with his parents and sister at the end. The saturated, lovingly painted illustrations give a vivid depiction of life in Haiti before the earthquake, and make a very simple and sad story into an engaging read. The language of the book is simple and clear, and, though it may be a bit dense for very young readers, will capture the attention of children old enough to be aware of the events in Haiti. There is little background information, so Junior's circumstances will have to be explained either by a news story or by a parent. The sadness of the story and circumstances are, however, softened by the overall optimism and the happy ending of the book. Recommended for ages 7 to 11.
**spoiler alert** In the final installment of the Hunger Games trilogy, the budding insurgency of the earlier two books takes action, showing both the**spoiler alert** In the final installment of the Hunger Games trilogy, the budding insurgency of the earlier two books takes action, showing both the righteous and the nasty sides of rebellion. Katniss and her family are now members of District 13, the community long thought to have been destroyed at the Panem government's order. Still battling her own celebrity, Katniss reluctantly agrees to become the Mockingjay, rebel leader and symbolic heart of the revolution. Ultimately, she accepts her role on the condition that she be allowed to kill President Snow, the sinister leader of Panem, a mission that takes her into the heart of the Capitol itself.
Mockingjay gives readers insight into several parts of the Hunger Games world previously left untouched, including the day-to-day life of the Capitol. It also takes an interesting perspective regarding Katniss' celebrity status--for which she is outfitted and filmed just as any action heroine would be in Hollywood--but quickly drops this in favor of a gritty, adventuresome crawl through sewers and abandon buildings as she pursues President Snow. Once again, the tragic events come thick and fast, leaving the ending of the novel a bit unsatisfying, as is a frequent danger in a series of action-packed books. The moral ambiguity surrounding both the rebel and government forces is fascinatingly set up, but loses its impact by being based entirely around Katniss and her reactions to it. Whatever its flaws, however, the book is a must for all the readers who couldn't put the first two down. Recommended for ages 13 to adult.
**spoiler alert** This installment of the Hunger Games trilogy once again finds Katniss Everdeen in the midst of battle, but without the benefit of he**spoiler alert** This installment of the Hunger Games trilogy once again finds Katniss Everdeen in the midst of battle, but without the benefit of her previous naïveté. After an eye-opening tour of the Panem istricts in which they have become unwilling celebrities, Katniss and Peeta are thrust back into the Hunger Games ring by a government that seems twice as determined to destroy them. Outside the walls of the arena, a rebellion begins, with Katniss and her mockingjay pin as its icon. Both in and out of the arena, her celebrity status becomes her most powerful tool, but also her most dangerous quality.
Catching Fire gives an in-depth look at Panem's society that is satisfying after the fast-paced glimpses given in the previous book. It also spends time exploring the relationships formed in the first novel, focusing largely on Katniss' struggle between affection and independence. The novel's new characters, mainly previous Hunger Games winners with whom Katniss and Peeta team up in their second round of battle, are given much more depth than their counterparts in the first novel, but end up seeming more like narrative tools than human beings. Similarly, the novel's twists are somewhat predictable, each one more tragic than the last and designed to emphasize the sheer unfairness of the Panem government. Nevertheless, the book moves swiftly and is sure to please readers of The Hunger Games who crave more of Katniss' story. Recommended for ages 13 and up, as well as adult fans of the first novel.
Tags: distopia, female protagonist, corrupt government, violence, adolescent relationships, social uprising, speculative fiction, series, young adult...more
The Hunger Games is one of the few novels of the YA boom that stands up to the hype. The heroine is Katniss Everdeen, a resourceful young girl in a woThe Hunger Games is one of the few novels of the YA boom that stands up to the hype. The heroine is Katniss Everdeen, a resourceful young girl in a world reshaped by human and ecological disaster. Chosen to compete in the Hunger Games, a brutal fight-to-the-death that aids in the corrupt government's control over the starving outer districts, Katniss manages to compete while still retaining her humanity, a feat that begins the subversion of the government that is the subject of the trilogy's second and third books. The main character and those closest to her are well-painted and generally believable, particularly as Katniss is not heroically devoid of the anger and despair her situation seems to warrant. The violence of the novel is frank but not especially graphic, while the emotional components are vividly described. Though Collins is occasionally heavy-handed with the novel's tragedies, they serve to build the emotional impact of the ending. The book is very reminiscent of the classic Ender's Game, which set the standard for this type of novel. Fans of either book would be well-advised to read the other. Recommended for ages 13 and above. Though aimed at young adult readers, this book's popularity among adults is well-earned.
Tags: speculative fiction, series, young adult, female protagonist, violence, distopian society, young adult...more
Lynne Reid Banks' The Farthest Away Mountain is a fairy tale story with engaging peeks behind the scenes. The plot follows Dakin, an adolescent girl fLynne Reid Banks' The Farthest Away Mountain is a fairy tale story with engaging peeks behind the scenes. The plot follows Dakin, an adolescent girl from a quaint village who wakes one morning certain that the nearby mountain has called her by name. Despite the fact that no one has visited it in living memory, she sets off to uncover its secrets, meeting a strange and often very funny set of creatures along the way. Many traditional fairy tale elements—an enchanted frog, a giant's castle—are reinvented for the story, and Dakin herself is a clever and sympathetic heroine, creating a classic story with modern sensibilities. Certain parts of the story are skimmed over with fairy tale-like jumps, but overall the short novel is smoothly paced and fulfilling to read. The handful of illustrations are an excellent companion to the descriptions of some of the outlandish creatures Dakin encounters. Overall, the book will captivate new readers and fans of Banks' The Indian in the Cupboard alike. Recommended for ages 9-12.