Thursday, March 28, 2013

One Year in Coal Harbor by Polly Horvath

Sequel to Everything on a Waffle (link to my booktalk)

With her parents returned from being lost at sea, Primrose Squarp is more than a little surprised that her life is not back to normal. Her former foster parents have a new kid, an older boy named Ked. Primrose takes him under her wing and includes him her plan to publish a cookbook. Try as her might, a romance between her friend Ms. Bowzer and her Uncle Jack is not forthcoming. Primrose is her usual quirky self.

What I thought: It's been about 4 years since I read Everything On a Waffle and met Primrose Squarp for the first time. I remember liking the book but not much detail. Reading the sequel, One Year in Coal Harbor, has renewed my interest in Polly Horvath. Primrose is a wonderful heroine. Her voice is fresh and inviting. I would liken her to Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. Her interest in cooking and collecting recipes was quite fun. I copied three of the recipes and have already tried one (Tater Tot Casserole). Primrose's attempts at matchmaking are hilarious.

It seems to me that there are a lot of middle grade and young adult books that have cooking as a theme. Here's a partial list with links to my reviews:
Close to Famous by Joan Bauer
Pie by Sarah Weeks
The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler
It's Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder
The Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer
The Secret Ingredient by Laura Schaefer
Eggs over Evie by Alison Jackson
Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer

Feel free to leave a comment and tell me if I missed any titles.

Other Books by Polly Horvath (links to my reviews)
The Vacation
My One Hundred Adventures
An Occasional Cow

(Schwartz & Wade, 2012)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Let's Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy by Jan Thomas

The brave cowboy is actually scared. His lullaby for the cows keeps being interrupted because he sees scary things. A fun book with a surprise ending.

What I thought: I've found you can't go wrong with Jan Thomas for preschool story time. My Jan Thomas themed preschool story time was a tremendous hit. Her newest book is great. I can't wait to use it when I have another stuffed animal sleepover. The ending is fantastic, but I won't give it away here.

Story Time Themes: Jan Thomas, Bedtime, Cowboys, Cows

(Beach Lane Books, 2012)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

In a Glass Grimmly by Adam Gidwitz

Companion to A Tale Dark & Grimm

Jack and Jill did more than go up a hill and tumble back down. Here is the true adventure they had in all its unvarnished glory complete with blood, gore, and goblins.

What I thought: I still marvel at the skill Adam Gidwitz possesses to successfully weave together different tales into a cohesive novel. I didn't find In a Glass Grimmly as gory as A Tale Dark and Grimm. Perhaps because I survived reading the first one. The frog was quite a humorous addition. I still love the intrusive narrator. Urging the reader to stop reading will only entice her to read more. I loved Adam's essay "Where Do These Stories Come From?" at the end of the book. One day, I might just attempt what he's dome with his fairy tale books.

(Dutton, 2012)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit by Emma Thompson

Peter Rabbit is off on a new adventure and this one may prove more exciting than his visit to Mr. McGregor's garden and his escapade with Cousin Benjamin Bunny. Peter takes a nap in a picnic basket and ends up in Scotland.

What I Thought: Beatrix Potter and her books have long fascinated me. so much so that I undertook a Beatrix Potter Reading Project in 2010-2011. Emma Thompson and Eleanor Taylor's The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit is charming. Thompson stays true to the character Potter created over 100 years ago. Her reading of the book (included on an audio CD) is fantastic. I'm tentatively planning a Peter Rabbit Party for the summer reading program and would love to use this new tale along with the old favorite. Eleanor Taylor's illustrations are faithful to the original and, like the story, utterly charming. Well done, ladies!

(Illus. Eleanor Taylor. Frederick Warne, 2012)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Far West by Patricia C. Wrede

Frontier Magic #3

Eff is till a thirteenth child although she thinks less of it now. She perfecting and practicing her magic daily. Her job at the college menagerie keeps her occupied but not much more. Her mind often wanders beyond the Great Barrier spell. When the government organizes an expedition into the Far West, Eff longs to go. As luck (or fate) would have it, Professor Torgeson asks her to come as her assistant. As with her other journeys, Eff helps prevent another disaster.

What I thought: Just as riveting as the first two books in the series. Eff definitely comes into her own in this last book. She's never conventional which I applaud. I liked the ending. I'm just sad that the series has ended. I've never read a book by Patricia C. Wrede that I didn't like. In fact, I'm re-reading her Enchanted Forest Chronicles right now.

Other Books in the Frontier Magic Series (links to my reviews):
1. Thirteenth Child
2. Across the Great Barrier

(Scholastic, 2012)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mossy by Jan Brett

This is the tale of a turtle that grew a garden on her back. Her name is Mossy.

What I Thought: Another beautiful book from Jan Brett. Mossy is enchanting--both the story and the illustrations. Reading Mossy made me want to know more about Eastern box turtles. My favorite illustration is the last page (Mossy, Scoot, and family). I scanned the QR code on the dust jacket and had a great time watching Jan Brett teach me how to draw Mossy. I so need to plan a Jan Brett story time for older kids.

Story Time Themes: Turtles, Jan Brett, Reptiles

(G. P. Putman's Sons, 2012)

Friday, March 8, 2013

#FlannelFriday: What Flannel Friday Means to Me

I don't have anything new to share this week, but I did want to answer the question "What Flannel Friday Means to Me" in honor of Flannel Friday's two year anniversary.

First, a little history on my involvement in Flannel Friday. My first Flannel Friday contribution appeared on May 6, 2011. To date, I've contributed 31 times. My most viewed Flannel Friday post at the moment is my Five Little Pandas.

When my first Flannel Friday post went live, I'd had my degree right at 2 years and I'd been in my current position for only 7 months. I was also getting ready for my first ever summer reading program.

As a solo youth services librarian (I am the only one for 4 branches) in rural western North Carolina, Flannel Friday provides me with a way to connect with other librarians, get new ideas, and share ideas I've had. The Flannel Friday Facebook page is my go-to site for new story time and program ideas. It's the place I ask questions and know I'll receive a response. In short, I love Flannel Friday!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Raven Cycle #1

Blue Sargent is going to kill her true love. At least that's what everyone keeps telling her. Living in a family of psychics isn't easy. Despite the numerous repetitive warnings and her own views about the boys who attend the local private school, Blue finds herself drawn into a group of Raven Boys--Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah.

What I thought: The Raven Boys is definitely like nothing Maggie's ever written least I think so and I've read everything. I find myself missing the multiple points-of-view she used with her other books. There wasn't as much action as I would expect in a first book. It also didn't have the ending I expected, but that's the author's prerogative. Blue and Gansey's relationship is still young. I don't think they've even hit romance yet. I'll definitely be reading the next book. I expect big things to happen. Hand this to fans of Maggie as well as paranormal fiction readers who are looking for something different.

Other Books by Maggie Stiefvater (links to my reviews):
The Scorpio Races

(Scholastic, 2012)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds

Marisol needs to paint the sky in a mural, but she doesn't have the right color. She gets inspirations from nature and a dream. Ultimately, she decides that skies aren't just one color--they are sky colored.

What I thought: Sky Color is such a fun book about art and creativity. I would love to use Sky Color along with Reynolds other two artsy titles, Ish and The Dot, for an art program. It could be great fun! I love the illustrations--so colorful with defined outlines and good use of white space.

(Candlewick, 2012)

Friday, March 1, 2013

#FlannelFriday: Fairy Tale Guessing Game

February 26 was Tell a Fairy Tale Day so I decided to do a fairy tales story time this week. I decided to bring the duck back and make a fairy tale guessing game. I used Microsoft Office Clipart for patterns, puff paint for details, and made 12 fairy tale objects.

Bear- Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Apple- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Pea- The Princess and the Pea
Rose- Beauty and the Beast
Egg- The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg
Boot- Puss 'n' Boots

Pig- The Three Little Pigs
Wall with Hair- Rapunzel
Glass Slipper- Cinderella
Picnic Basket- Little Red Riding Hood
Swan- The Ugly Duckling
Lily pad- The Frog Prince
First I had the kids identify the fairy tales and then try to find the duck.
The duck also had a fall adventure and a winter one.