Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

Did you know dragons love tacos? No? Well, they do and they also love parties. Why not host a taco party for dragons? Just remember...dragons HATE spicy salsa.

What I thought: Another dragon book...I've noticed quite a few of them in the past few months. I'm even doing a dragons story time this fall as a result of all the great books. Dragons Love Tacos is funny, but I think it might be too long for my preschoolers. I'll maybe use it with older kids. I like the illustrations. My favorite is the dragons breathing fire.

(Illus. Daniel Salmieri. Dial, 2012.)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Two Little Monkeys by Mem Fox

Two little monkeys are playing when something makes them hide in a tree. What are they hiding from?

What I thought: This is a fun book. The language is great. My story time kids always notice rhyming books. If I don't mention that a book rhymes before I start reading, at least one kid will say, "This book rhymes!" Not knowing what the monkeys are hiding from adds suspense to the story. I know my kids will enjoy guessing. I like the illustrations. The monkeys look just right...playful! My favorite illustrations are the leopard and the monkeys eating berries.

Story Time Themes: Monkeys, Jungle Animals, Rhyming Books

(Illus. Jill Barton. Beach Lane Books, 2012)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gem by Holly Hobbie

One winter, Holly Hobbie started to wonder about a toad her granddaughter once found in the garden. Her wondering led to this book. Readers will find out how the toad came to be in the garden in the first place.

What I thought: I always enjoy wordless picture books and Gem is a great one. I can predict the fun I'll have during story time with this book. I love to give the children an opportunity to tell me the story. The illustrations are fantastic. Watercolor is one of my favorite mediums. (Beatrix Potter gets the credit for my love of watercolor.) I love the soft vibrancy of the colors and the excellent use of white space. I also like hoe the illustrations all show some movement.

Story Time Themes: Wordless Books, Toads, Spring

(Little, Brown, & Company, 2012)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen

Will Scarlet is just another member of Robin Hood's band. Scarlet is good at stealing and fighting with knives. No one ever notices him and Scarlet likes it that way. If people look too closely, they might see what she's hiding. That's right. Will is a girl with unusual skills and a painful past she won't mention. Her life in Nottingham is predictable if not pleasant, but that all changes when Gisborne arrives. The thief taker is the one person Scarlet fears. Can she trust Robin and his band with her secrets?

What I thought: Wow! I can see why Scarlet was chosen as a 2012 Teens' Top Ten Nomination. The two items that struck me most...Will Scarlet is a girl and the language. This book begs to be read aloud. I also enjoyed that reader's are kept in the dark right along with Robin and his men about Scarlet's secrets. The ending was fantastic. I would love there to be a sequel. I checked out the author's website. Scarlet is a standalone novel, but she's not saying she'll never write a sequel. I think readers will want a sequel (I know I do) and they may even write their own. On a side note, I'm as equally fascinated with the Robin Hood legend as A. C. Gaughen.

(Walker and Company, 2012)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Secret Letters by Leah Scheier

Dora Joyce is too observant and questioning to be a proper young lady. She also suspects the infamous detective Sherlock Holmes is her father. Her identity quest comes to a screeching halt when she finds out Holmes is dead. However, all is not lost. She meets Peter Cartwright, a budding detective, who will help her cousin and give Dora a chance to prove herself.

What I thought: An enjoyable book, but I wasn't drawn into Secret Letters as much as I was the Enola Holmes series by Nancy Springer. Dora's interactions with Peter are the best bits of the book. I love how plucky she is. Dare I hope there might be another book? Give this to fans of historical mysteries (think the Mary Quinn series by Y. S. Lee).

(Hyperion, 2012)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl

The only way for Althea Crawley to feed her family and maintain the family home is to marry well. Althea's very nature is against her. She's too unconventional and blunt speaking to hold a suitor's attraction. Could the new neighbor, Lord Boring, be her Prince Charming? Althea thinks so if only his bumbling cousin Mr. Fredericks wold keep out of the way.

What I thought: I liked Patrice Kindl's novel Goose Chase and I wasn't disappointed with her latest novel although it is very different from the former. Keeping the Castle was a fun read. Althea is a wonderful narrator. Her stepsisters were truly horrible. The story is a bit Cinderella-esque. I'm just glad Althea gets her happy ending (though not the one she envisioned). Give Keeping the Castle to fans of Jane Austen and Downton Abbey.

(Viking, 2012)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mirage by Kristi Cook

Sequel to Haven

Senior year at Winterhaven begins much more auspiciously for Violet than her junior year did. She has friends, a boyfriend, and is beginning to understand her gift. The only problem she and her vampire boyfriend Aidan face is the fact that she's a vampire slayer. Aidan continues to search for a cure for vampirism while Violet continues to develop her precognitive gift. Terrifying visions and supposed killer vampire only add to the tension.

What I thought: Another second book that I really liked! Maybe I'm losing my antipathy for sequels, Mirage had a lot going for it. Violet and Aidan's romance is only the start. New characters and problems keep the novel moving at a steady pace. It was interesting to find out more about Violet's slayer heritage. A definite surprise at the end--I so wasn't expecting that--and quite a cliffhanger ending.

According to Kristi Cook's website, the third and final book, Eternal, will be released Fall 2013.

(Simon Pulse, 2012)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Until I Die by Amy Plum

Revenants Trilogy #2

Vincent and Kate are very much in love. There's only one problem. Vincent's a revenant. He feels compelled to save people from death by dying himself. Each time he dies, he reverts to the age he was when he first became a revenant. Kate doesn't enjoy seeing her boyfriend die repeatedly. For her sake, he's promised not to die. Kate knows how hard it is for Vincent not to die so she begins to search for another solution to his mortality issue.

What I thought: Normally I'm not a fan of second books, but Until I Die surprised me. I stayed up way too late reading it and had to drag myself out of bed the next morning. Vincent maintains his aura of mystery despite the big reveal in Die for Me. I found it so poignant that both Vincent and Kate are searching for a cure for their predicament. Until I Die had quite a few surprises (character, plot, etc.) and ended with much suspense. I can't believe I have to wait until May 2013 for the last book. The Revenants Trilogy is at the top of my "So Better Than Twilight" list.

(Harper 2012)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I Know a Wee Piggy by Kim Norman

At the fair, a piglet has all sorts of fun adding different colors to his skin. Along the way, he causes havoc. Will his owner ever catch him?

What I thought: This is a fun book. I can't wait to use it for story time. I Know a Wee Piggy will be a great addition to my colors story time theme. I love Henry Cole's illustrations--such detail, bright colors, and good use of white space. I can't pick a favorite illustration. The repetition in the text is great...I can hear my kids repeating it with me.

Story Time Themes: Colors, Pigs, Fairs

(Illus. Henry Cole. Dial Books, 2012)