Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Review: Firehouse! by Mark Teague

Firehouse! is the newest book from author/illustrator Mark Teague.  

In Firehouse!, we join Edward and his cousin Judy as they spend a hilarious day learning how to be firefighters. From a fire drill that leads to a slippery slide down a fire pole, to a hysterical battle with an out-of-control fire hose, Edward is in for an action-packed adventure. And when faced with a real emergency, can Edward save the day?

Firehouse! will be a great read aloud for primary grade classrooms. Children will laugh and cheer for Edward as he figures out that being a firefighter is hard work. During a fire drill, he learns to hold on for dear life as the fire engine speeds away.

But Edward isn't a quitter, and when the fire fighters are called to save a kitten stuck in a tree, he volunteers to to rescue her and saves the day!

Teague uses perspective in interesting ways to keep the reader engaged throughout the story. Small details such as mice dressed as fire fighters add interest and humor. The action and antics of Edward will bring delight to children.

View more great illustrations from the book on this book trailer:

Mark Teague is an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator. His books include Funny Farm, a 2009 Parents’ Choice Silver Award Picture Book; Dear Mrs. Larue, the 2002 Book Sense Illustrated Book of the Year; Detective Larue; Larue for Mayor; and Pigsty. He is also the illustrator of the New York Times bestselling How Do Dinosaurs series by Jane Yolen. Mark lives in New York State with his wife and daughters.

The Top 100 Children's Novels

Give yourself a treat today and watch this animoto presentation of the top 100 children's novels based on the survey conducted by Fuse#8.

The Top 100 Children's Novels

Friday, May 21, 2010

Free for all--reading treasures from the past!

Free for all--reading treasures from the past!

For a special treat, especially during the summer vacation months, visit Children's Literature: Digitized Print Materials, a free Federal Resources for Educational Excellence website that provides 50 digitized texts of rare books: The Arabian Nights, A Child's Garden of Verses, Ballad of the Lost Hare, A Christmas Carol, Humpty Dumpty, The Grasshopper Stories, Mother Goose Finger Plays, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, The Rocket Book, The Secret Garden, Stories from Hans Andersen, The Three Bears, Three Little Pigs, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and others from the Library of Congress.

If there is a PDF link, you can use the Acrobat viewer to peruse the material, and print it in its entirety. The bibliographic information link will query the Library's online catalog and display the catalog record for the item.

Booklist Audiobook Webinar

I am a huge fan of audiobooks, so the following free webinar by Booklist looks good to me:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

3:00 Eastern / 2:00 Central / 12:00 Pacific

In this informative hourlong webinar, Booklist Media editor Sue-Ellen Beauregard and school librarian, Booklist columnist, and Booklist Online audiobook blogger Mary Burkey will be joined by representatives from Books on Tape/Listening Library, BBC Audiobooks America, and HighBridge Audio for an exciting discussion of audiobooks from A to Z, including the latest titles featuring popular readers, how to integrate audiobooks into book club promotions and discussions, finding backlist and crossover titles that fit the bill for summer listening, and much, much more.

Register here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Video response to "Chains"

Yesterday, I posted a wonderful book trailer for Instructions narrated by Neil Gaiman. Today, I'm posting another wonderful book trailer posted by Laurie Anderson and created by a young reader of Chains. What a creative way to respond to literature and share it with others. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Book Trailer: Instructions by Neil Gaiman

In Neil Gaiman's new picturebook, Instructions, illustrated by Charles Vess, he reminds us to "Trust dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story." What a great book to introduce kids to the fantasy genre and to think deeply about what makes fantasy so unique and wonderful. Listen to Neil read Instructions in its entirety in this new book trailer below. I love to hear him read -- what a treat!

Monday, May 17, 2010

PW's Starred Reviews

Publisher's Weekly May/June

The Pirate of Kindergarten by George Ella Lyon, illus. by Lynne Avril, Atheneum/Jackson, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4169-5024-0

Ginny has double vision, although she doesn't receive that diagnosis (and a treatment plan) until the final pages of this vividly empathetic book. Without lecturing or making Ginny the object of pity, Lyons (Sleepsong) and Avril (Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse), who works in cheery but remarkably expressive pastels, show how disorientating and alienating it feels when something as fundamental as visual perception goes awry. "If she didn't keep her mind tied tight when Ms. Cleo gave them rabbit pictures, she might cut out one ear and another and another. Once she got so mad, she stuck the scissors in the paste." The arrival of a vision screener at school is a little gem of narrative tension: since Ginny can see fine when one eye is covered, will her problem be caught? Readers will be reassured and gratified to know that the answer is yes ("Do you see two of me?" asks the nurse kindly. "Do you know... that most people see only one?") Even those with 20/20 vision will feel Ginny's sense of relief, and close the book confident of her progress. Ages 4–8. (June)

The Dancing Pancake by Eileen Spinelli, illus. by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff, Knopf, $12.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-375-85870-3

Spinelli (who collaborated with Lew-Vriethoff on Summerhouse Time) again effectively employs free verse in this series of poems told by 11-year-old Bindi, whose parents' recent separation has thrown her life into upheaval. With her father gone, money is tight, so her mother and aunt open a diner, the Dancing Pancake. Bindi runs the gamut of expected emotions--from pretended indifference through sorrow and anger to tentative joy at her parents' possible reunion--in a fresh, unadorned voice that is always believable and sympathetic: "I have to say,/ I'm starting to think/ maybe it will be/ fun, being in/ the restaurant business./ Did I say that?/ (Not out loud)." The short sentences and straightforward expression of often complex feelings make the book accessible to younger or reluctant readers. Spinelli's secondary characters are affectionately drawn, from Bindi's diverse school friends to the teenage waitress, shy foreign dishwasher, and diner guests, including a homeless woman whom Bindi befriends. Bindi's struggles are credible and moving; while nothing is easily resolved, readers will be more than content with the hopeful conclusion. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. (May)
The Last Best Days of Summer by Valerie Hobbs, FSG/Foster, $16.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-374-34670-6

Like the final stretch of freedom before school begins, there's something quietly magical--and bittersweet--about Hobbs's (Anything but Ordinary) latest novel. Hidden beneath the ordinary anxieties of a 12-year-old starting middle school (Will she be popular? Will her clothes be the right style?), lies a tearjerker that is both insightful and penetrating. When Lucy embarks on her annual trip to her grandmother's lake cabin, she couldn't be more excited to escape her overprotective parents and do all her favorite things (bake cookies, go on canoe adventures). But nothing goes as planned. Eddie, a neighborhood kid, shows up unexpectedly and ruins Lucy's precious alone time with her grandmother, who isn't acting like herself. The portrayals of serious illnesses (Alzheimer's, Down syndrome) are handled with a delicate touch, and Lucy's inner conflicts will readily hit home with readers. Despite her condition, Grams's advice to Lucy is priceless: "Centering? It's that place you go to when you want to know what to do, the best and right thing. It will always be there inside you when you need it." Ages 10–14. (May)
Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin, illus. by Lisa Brown, Sourcebooks Fire, $14.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4022-3712-6

In this smartly restrained ghost story, orphan Jennie has already lost her twin brother to the Civil War, but when her brooding cousin, Quinn, returns wounded to their Massachusetts home, she learns that Will--Quinn's brother and Jennie's fiancé--is also dead. Displaced and treated like a servant by her miserly aunt, Jennie succumbs to Quinn's romantic advances, in spite of a ghostly recurring sensation that she is being choked, and her sense that something's amiss with Will's death. Integrated letters, scrawled notes, and Brown's (How to Be) digital portraits (based on daguerreotypes) provide foreshadowing, while contributing to the unease that gnaws at Jennie's stark yet beautiful narration. Through her association with a spirit photographer, Mr. Geist, Jennie presumes that Will is jealous over her engagement to Quinn, but Griffin's (the Vampire Island series) house of mirrors unveils secrets more sinister. Despite the powerful conclusion, it's moments of quiet perception that should most resonate, as when Mr. Geist distinguishes between memory and haunting: "For if memory is the wave that buoys our grief, haunting is the undertow that drags us to its troubled source." Ages 12–up. (May)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Children's Choice Book Awards Announced

The Children’s Book Council (CBC) in association with Every Child a Reader, Inc. (the CBC Foundation), announced the winners of the third annual Children’s Choice Book Awards at a gala in New York City this evening. Children across the country voted for their favorite books, author, and illustrator at bookstores, school libraries, and at http://www.bookweekonline.com/, casting over 115,000 votes.

The Children’s Choice Book Award winners are as follows:

Author of the Year

James Patterson for Max (A Maximum Ride Novel) (Little, Brown)

Illustrator of the Year

Peter Brown for The Curious Garden (Little, Brown)

Kindergarten to Second Grade Book of the Year

Lulu the Big Little Chick by Paulette Bogan (Bloomsbury USA)

Third Grade to Fourth Grade Book of the Year

Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Knopf/Random House)

Fifth Grade to Sixth Grade Book of the Year

Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renée Russell (Aladdin/Simon & Schuster)

Teen Choice Book of the Year

Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Monsters of Men: Chaos Walking Book 3

When I returned from the International Reading Association's Annual Conference in Chicago on Thursday, my copy of Monsters of Men, the third book in the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness, was waiting for me and  I was sooooooooooo thrilled!! I ordered it from the UK since it will not be released in the US until the end of September. A little treat for myself...and I'm loving every minute of it.

Below is the book trailer. If you haven't read the first two books in the series (The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer), I highly recommend them!