Tuesday, September 10, 2019

LGBTQ - Books about Gender, or Where Some Sort of LGBTQ is Represented

Picture Books

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo - Jill Twiss - gay bunny owned by US VP
A Tale of Two Daddies - Vaneta Oelschlager
I am J - Cris Beam
I am Jazz - Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings

Middle Grades

GEORGE - Alex Gino
Zenobia July - Lisa Bunker, the Ppotagonist, Zenobia July (6th grade?) her married aunts, her closest friend....


Being Jazz:  My Life as a (Transgender) Teen - Jazz Jennings
Cycler - Lauren McLaughlin
Revenge of the Girl with a Great Personality - Elizabeth Eulberg
Songs for a Teenage Nomad - Kim Culbertson
Talk - Kathe Koja (gay YA)


Thursday, September 5, 2019

85. All the Greys on Greene Street by Laura Tucker

listened to audio - borrowed from the library
read by Taylor Miskimen beautifully
Unabridged audio (8:28)
2019 Viking Books for Young Readers
320 pgs.
HF (sort of...) MidGrades
Finished 9/5/2019
Goodreads rating: 3.91 - 2646 ratings
My rating:  4.5
Setting: 1981 Soho, NYC - artist community, in an artist's loft....

First line/s:   "May Day is the first day of May.  'Mayday' is a radio signal used by ships and aircraft in distress.  This spring, May Day was the first day that my mom didn't get out of bed."

My comments:  This is a book about color and art and being part of an artist community in Soho, NYC, in 1981.  There is both innocence and maturity in Ollie that makes her a really interesting protagonist.  Character development, setting, and plot were all very strong in the wonderful book.  Exceptionally well narrated.  There's an afterward talking about depression in parents and helping to explain a bit about it to a middle grade reader, telling where they could get help for themselves and the parent who may suffer from it.

Goodreads synopsis:  SoHo, 1981. Twelve-year-old Olympia is an artist—and in her neighborhood, that's normal. Her dad and his business partner Apollo bring antique paintings back to life, while her mother makes intricate sculptures in a corner of their loft, leaving Ollie to roam the streets of New York with her best friends Richard and Alex, drawing everything that catches her eye.
          Then everything falls apart. Ollie's dad disappears in the middle of the night, leaving her only a cryptic note and instructions to destroy it. Her mom has gone to bed, and she's not getting up. Apollo is hiding something, Alex is acting strange, and Richard has questions about the mysterious stranger he saw outside. And someone keeps calling, looking for a missing piece of art. . . .
          Olympia knows her dad is the key--but first, she has to find him, and time is running out.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Picture Book Biography - Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library by Barb Rosenstock

Illustrated by John O'Brien
2013, Calkins Creek, An Imprint of Highlights, Honesdale, PA
HC $16.95
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.23 - 738 ratings
My rating:  4.5
Endpapers:  Solid Rust
1st line/s:  "Thomas learned to read.  And then, he never stopped.  He sat and he read.  He walked and he read.  Any lying in bed, instead of sleeping, her read."

My comments: The only reason I rated down .5 was because the wonderfully interesting facts and quotes, written in little books placed on different parts of the page, were written in such teeny, tiny font that you almost didn't read them.  They were great, and read well along with the text of the story.  The Author's Note at the end DID address Thomas Jefferson as a slaveholder, which was another positive.  A truly fascinating look at history, and the life and obsession of a favorite politician and historical figure.

Goodreads:  As soon as Thomas Jefferson learned to read, he found his passion: books, books, and more books! Before, during, and after the American Revolution, Jefferson collected thousands of books on hundreds of subjects. In fact, his massive collection eventually helped rebuild the Library of Congress—now the largest library in the world. Barb Rosenstock’s rhythmic words and John O’Brien’s whimsical illustrations capture Jefferson’s passion for the written word as well as little-known details about book collecting. Author and artist worked closely with experts to create the first picture book on Jefferson’s love of reading, writing, and books. An author’s note, bibliography, and source notes for quotations are also included.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Handmade Cards

1250.  India
"And in that moment I swear we were infinite."
This is an illustrations of a quote from a book I'm reading now!  The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  Hope you like it.  Sheethal.

495. HAND DRAWN CARD!!!  Praha, Ceska Replublika
Hello Chris,
Your post was first time I heard about jackalopes.  Buyt I find tghem terribly cute.
Wish you a great summer,

The "Wild" West

1250.  Two Women and a Mule
These two women are moving up the Bright Angel Trail toward the rim of Grand Canyon National Park.  In this whimsical photograph, one of the women appears to be trying to convince the mule to keep moving upwards with her friend.  
This was a swap...I sent them a card that I wanted mailed to me.  I sent this card because I love it and didn't want to send it to someone else.  It was mailed back to me from Belgium:
Advice from a mule from Ilan Shamin:  "Be sure-footed, follow your path, work hard, pack life with great memories.  It's okay to be a little stubborn.  Get a kick out of life."

Picture Book Biography - The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse by Patricia MacLachlan

Illustrated by Hadley Hooper
2014, Roaring Book Pres/ A Neal Porter Book
HC $17.99
40 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.06 - 1586 ratings
My rating:  4.5
Endpapers:  bright, solid orange-red
1st line/s:  The book appears to all be one sentence!!!!   "If you were a boy named Henri Matisse who lived in a dreary town in northern France where the skies were gray/ And the days were cold/ And you wanted color and light/ And sun, / And your mother, to brighten your days,/ Painted plates to hang on the walls/ With picture of meadows and trees,/ Rivers and birds, ...."

My comments: Patricia MacLachlan, one of my favorite authors, has written a simple book about Henri Matisse and where his artistic inspiration came from.  Hadley Hooper has used simple, beautiful illustrations to accentuate the story that MacLachlan tells.  This book is totally charming, especially if you are an admirer of Matisse's art.  Yup, he's also one of my favorites...

Goodreads:  If you were a boy named Henri Matisse who lived in a dreary town in northern France, what would your life be like? Would it be full of color and art? Full of lines and dancing figures?
          Find out in this beautiful, unusual picture book about one of the world's most famous and influential artists by acclaimed author and Newbery Medal-winning Patricia MacLachlan and innovative illustrator Hadley Hooper.

Picture Book Biography - A Stroll with Mr. Gaudi by Pau Estrada

Illustrated by the author
2013, Editorial Juventud
40 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.40 - 25 ratings
My rating:  5
Endpapers:  Solid corally-red
1st line/s:  "Mr. Gaudi leaves home early for work, as he does every morning."

My comments: What's not to like about this beautifully illustrated biography of Antoni Gaudi?  This one tells of one life of "Mr. Gaudi" as an elderly gentleman, touring the city of Barcelona and checking up on his current building projects.  We learn so much about his personality ... his daydreaminess, his eccentric building ideas, his "different" way of planning, his dreams of the future.  We also learn that the people of the time did NOT like his architecture!  The story is interesting and gives us a real feel for the man.  The illustrations are amazing, not only are the grand buidling uniquely drawn, but the whimsical illustrations of the people are a lot of fun to peruse.  A keeper!  The three pages of "afterward" are full of facts and interesting to read as well.

Goodreads:  There is no summary on Goodreads!

Monday, September 2, 2019

Audible Readers/Narrators

Arndt, AndiLucky Suit (Blakely) co reader
Ayyar, PriyaA Very Large Expanse of Sea (Mafi)
Baker, HeidiOn the Island (Graves)
Barrow, Anthony MarkField Notes on Love (Smith) co readers
Beaton, Eilidh - Vanishing Girls (Regan) HORRIBLE!!!!! Couldn't stand her pronunciations or her 12-year old voice!
Bentley, Amy Melissa Starry Eyes (Bennett)
Bray, R. C. The Others (Robinson)
Campbell, CassandraWhere the Crawdads Sing (Owens) beautifully read
Church, ImogenThe Lost for Words Bookshop (Butland) reader's voice sounded too old for the character
Cole, Jonathan R. - Beautiful Stranger (Lauren) co reader
Cosham, Ralph A Fatal Grace (Gamache #2) (Penny) super reader, great accents
Craden, Abby Recursion (Crouch) co reader
Delaine, ChristinaSpider Woman's Daughter (Hillerman) read too slowly, didn't enjoy
Dukehart, CrisThree Mages and a Margarita (Marie)
Ezzo, Lauren Where the Forest Meets the Stars (Vanderah)
Feathers, Sarah The Stranger Diaries (Griffiths) co reader
Garcia, KylaWe Set the Dark on Fire (Majia)
Gavin, Marguerite The Shunning  (Lewis)
Glenister, Robert Lethal White (Strike #4) (Galbraith) Love him!
Grant, GraceBeautiful Stranger (Lauren) co reader
Green, Caitlyn Hush Hush (Fitzpatrick)
Greenfield, LanceManeuver (Bliss) co reader
Grimsley, Steven RoyA Shroud of Tattered Sails (Garrison Gage #4) (Carter)
Hazlett, DeborahOpen Season (Howard) great reader
Heybourne, Kirby Letters to the Lost (Kemmerer) co reader
Jackson, JoshilynSomeone Else's Love Story read by the author and LOVE her reading!!!
Jackson, SuzySkyward (#1 Skyward) (Sanderson) great narrator
Kreinik, BarrieAn Anonymous Girl (Pekkanen) co reader, great job
Larnia, JennaThe Line Tender (Allen) excellent
Leyva, Henry -  The Precipice (#6 Bowditch) (Doiron)
.........................Widowmaker (#7 Mike Bowditch) (Doiron)
..........................Knife Creek (#8 Mike Bowditch) (Doiron)
Lindstrom, JonRecursion (Crouch) co reader
Maarleveld, SaskiaTime's Convert (Harkness)
Mallon, ErinManeuver (Bliss) co reader
........................Reasonable Doubt (Whitney G.) co reader
McInerney, KathleenShamed (#11 Kate Burkholder) (Castillo)
Meskimen, TaylorZenobia July (Bunker)
Nankanee, SoleelaInternment (Ahmed)
Parenteau, TanisTrail of Lightning  (Roanhorse) great job
Peakes, KarenDon't Even Breathe (Houghton)
Plummer, Therese This Fallen Prey (#3 Rockton)  (Armstrong)
................................Watcher in the Woods (#4 Rockton) (Armstrong)
Pressley, BrittanyLetters to the Lost (Kemmerer) co reader
Ross, RebekkahThe Simple Wild (Tucker) excellent
Rudd, Kat The Vanishing Stair (Johnson) so-so, didn't like the flat tone she gave the narrator
Sastre, ElizabethThe Au Pair (Rous) read beautifully
Shapiro, DaniInheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love read by the author
Strole, PhoebeNeverworld Wake (Pessl) excellent
Sutton-Smith - Emily The Body Counter (#2 Jude Fontaine) (Frasier)
.....................................The Body Keeper (#3 Jude Fontaine) (Frasier)
Syal, MyraErotic Stories for Punjabi Widows (Jaswal) gorgeous, lilting reading that I could easily understand
Tamron, Will Murder Theory (#3 Theo Cray) (Mayne)
Turpin, BahniDread Nation (Ireland) great job
Vacker, KarissaField Notes on Love (Smith) co readers
Vason, AnjanaThe Stranger Diaries (Griffiths) co reader
Wane, Esther The Stranger Diaries (Griffiths) co reader
Webber, Zachary Lucky Suit (Blakely) co reader
Whelan, JulieAn Anonymous Girl (Pekkanen) co reader, great job
Wilhoite, KathleenWhere'd You Go Bernadette (Semple) didn't really enjoy---ultra-theatrical
Wincott, AndrewThe Stranger Diaries (Griffiths) co reader
York, SebastianReasonable Doubt (Whitney G.) co reader

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Birds (of the non-penguin type) Postcards Receivedl

1979.  GR PC August
Dear Chris, Yep, I've found and read some great  books this year!  From the nonfiction section:  Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men.  It's shocking and dismaying and really a book that people should read.  And I read all the James Herriot All Creatures Great and Small series, which was def a comfort read, since I watched the British TV show as a kid.  And now I'm just dipping into Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, which seems like it's going to be one of those fun, eye-opening reads!
     New author, and new genre (fantasy):  N. K. Jemisin.  I read her The Fifth Season series last year, and have no read all of her books.  And they are all page turners, I just can't put them down!  And some great scifi: Ancillary Justice series by Ann Leckie, Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, and To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers.  All of these are just WOW! 
Hope you've discovered some great books as well
Happy Day, Rift

Goodreads Postcards

1980.  GR PC August
I haven't read any good books lately but I did read one terrible book that I would like to warn you away from.  Don't read Flame in the Mist.  It's awful and a waste of time.  Have a great day!  Angie

1979.  GR PC August
Dear Chris, Yep, I've found and read some great  books this year!  From the nonfiction section:  Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men.  It's shocking and dismaying and really a book that people should read.  And I read all the James Herriot All Creatures Great and Small series, which was def a comfort read, since I watched the British TV show as a kid.  And now I'm just dipping into Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, which seems like it's going to be one of those fun, eye-opening reads!
     New author, and new genre (fantasy):  N. K. Jemisin.  I read her The Fifth Season series last year, and have no read all of her books.  And they are all page turners, I just can't put them down!  And some great scifi: Ancillary Justice series by Ann Leckie, Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, and To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers.  All of these are just WOW! 
Hope you've discovered some great books as well
Happy Day, Rift

84. Dear Lily by Drew Davies

read on my iPhone
2019 Bookouture
276 pgs.
Adult CRF-Epistolary
Finished September 1, 2019
Goodreads rating:  3.77 - 493 ratings
My rating: 2
Setting:  contemporary Copenhagen, Denmark

My comments:   I had to force myself to finish this one, not even sure why I didn't.  Darn, I even paid full price for it, it sounded that good.  It's pretty depressing and meandering and always made me feel gloomy.  It's about a young woman whose life in her mid 30s is not at all what she had thought it would be.  So after losing her much-loved sister she moves to Copenhagen, Denmark to "start new."  She smokes too much and drinks too much, becomes a hermit and lies around all day, and is just plain unhappy and depressed.  The she "sees the light" and begins to change.  Yes, there were dabs of humor, but just little dabs.  This one didn't do it for me at all.  Bummer.

Goodreads synopsis:  Dear Lily, 
          It’s me, Joy, your much wiser and (very slightly) older sister. I thought I’d start a new tradition of letter writing – now that we’re long distance. 
          On the plane over here, I began to cry in seat 21C. I think the magnitude of it finally hit me, after everything that happened… 
          I haven’t even unpacked yet – the only thing I’ve taken out of my suitcase is Harville, your beloved childhood teddy. Sorry for stealing him, but I need him more than you do. Every time I look at that little brown bear I think about our childhood. Remember that dance we made up to Annie’s ‘It’s a Hard Knock Life’? (Remember the broom choreography?) 
          I’m also sorry for abandoning you – I’ve always been your agony aunt, and a buffer in your infamous shouting matches with Mum. But I had to leave, Lily, I had to. 
          Anyway, I’m here now. I’m here to start over, and to face up to the past. I want to learn to laugh again, and to find someone to love who will maybe even love me back. You always told me I was just getting by, not actually living, so I’m finally doing it. Wish me luck, little sister. 
          Joy x 

A beautiful book-club read for anyone who has ever hit rock bottom, longed for a fresh start, or needed to heal a broken, aching heart.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Postcards from New Mexico

835.  Hello from New Mexico!  
I hope this card finds you happy and healthy.  Megan

Friday, August 30, 2019

Postcards of Interesting People

1923.  Molodechno, Belarus
Hello Chris.  My name's Olga.  I'm originally from Molodechno, a town with over 90 thousand inhabitants, 75 km from Minsk, the capital of Belarus.  I like art, reading, watching movies, travelling, and cooking (but not so often :) Hope you like this card.  Have fun with postcrossing!  Best wishes, Olga

909.  The Netherlands
My name is Eber and I'm writing from the Netherlands.
I'm sending you a postcard of Anne Frank.  I thought it would suit your current job as librarian in youth services - kids and young people need to hear about Anne and her diary, so that the horrors of war and prejudice do not spread anymore.  Cheers, Eber.

906.  Houston, Texas
May-Britt Moser: Psyhologist and Neuroscientist
I just moved here with my family last year.  And now I've seen the heaviest rain i've ever been through!  You know, Hurricane Harvey.  It's crazy!  Best wishes, Amelie, August 2017

814. Russia 
Ivan Bilibin, Russian Artist (1876 - 1942)
On postcard illustration of the famous Russian artist Bilibin.  he created wonderful illustrations of fairy tales.  It is possible that you library has a book with his illustrations.

757.  Itzig, Luxembourg
I am Dan, 52, lives in a little town called Itzig in Luxembourg/Europe.  Best wishes and Happy Postcrossing with Stan and Ollie!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Picture Book - We Are Grateful Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell

A Seibert Honor Book
Illustrated by Frank Lessac
2018 Charlesbridge
HC $17.99
32 thick pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.28 - 671 ratings
My rating:  5
Endpapers:  Deep, luscious dark purple/eggplant

1st line/s:  "Cherokee people say otsaliheligs (oh-jah-LEE-gah/we are grateful) to express gratitude.  It is a reminder to celebrate our blessings and reflect on struggles - daily, throughout the year, and across the seasons."

My comments: This book is GORGEOUS.  It details the lives of the Cherokee Nation through the seasons, giving the Cherokee words (and pronunciations right on the page, hooray!!), and the simple writing is beautiful.  You close the book with a good feeling, and you want to SHARE! I want to put some of these illustrations on my walls!

Goodreads:  A look at modern Native American life as told by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation
          The word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is used by members of the Cherokee Nation to express gratitude. Beginning in the fall with the new year and ending in summer, follow a full Cherokee year of celebrations and experiences. 
          Appended with a glossary and the complete Cherokee syllabary, originally created by Sequoyah.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Picture Book Biography - Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre by Anika Aldamuy Denise

Illustrated by Paola Escobar
2019, Harper Collins
HC $17.99
Goodreads rating:  4.42 - 790 ratings
My rating:  5
Endpapers:  These are the BEST - Candles, Daisies, Mouse groom and Cockroach bride from her stories, books, all on page sage green..
1st line/s:  "It is 1921.  Pura Teresa Belpre leaves her home in San Juan for a visit to Nueva York."

My comments: Pura Belpre, whose name I know because of the awards given yearly in her memory, moved from Puerto Rico to New York City when she was 22 years old. Speaking three languages - Spanish, English, and French - she was hired to work in the library. When she realized there were no book in Spanish, and no stories like the ones she'd always heard her grandmother tell, she began to share the stories during storytime, along with puppets she made. Wonderful story. I particularly like the folky illustrations, I'd love to have some fabric that looks like the endpapers!

Goodreads:  Follow la vida y legado of Pura Belpr√©, the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York City.
          When she came to America in 1921, Pura carried the cuentos folkl√≥ricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular stories into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and cuentistas continue to share her stories and celebrate Pura’s legacy.
          This portrait of the influential librarian, author, and puppeteer reminds us of the power of storytelling and the extraordinary woman who opened doors and championed bilingual literature.

Picture Book Biography - The Crayon Man: The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons by Natascha Biebow

Illustrated by Steven Salerno
Biography of Edwin Binney
2019, Houghton Mifflin
HC $17.99
40 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.35 - 365 ratings
My rating:  4
Endpapers:  many colored pencils without wrappers going horizontally on the page
1st line/s:  "Once there was a man who saw color EVERYWHERE."

My comments: Another good picture book biography!  Great illustrations.

Goodreads:  Celebrating the inventor of the Crayola crayon! This picture book biography tells the story of Edwin Binney, the inventor of one of the world's most beloved stationary supplies. 
           purple mountains’ majesty, mauvelous, jungle green, razzmatazz…
          What child doesn't love to hold a crayon in their hands?  But children didn't always have such magical boxes of crayons. Here’s the true story of an inventor who so loved nature’s vibrant colors that he found a way to bring the outside world to children – in a box for only a nickel!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Poetry Picture Book - Superlative Birds by Leslie Bulion

Illustrated by Robert Meganck
J 598 Bulion (Simpson Library)
2019 Peachtree 
HC $15.95m 
56 pgs.
Goodreads rating: 3.66 - 53 ratings
My rating:  4.5
Endpapers:  hand drawn birds in mustard , black, and white, on pale mustard

My comments: 20 poems about superlative birds - the biggest, the smallest, the most numerous, the ones with the longest toes, the fanciest courtships.....all sorts of delightful birds with superlatives of one kind or another!  With each poem is a paragraph or two of "Science Notes," interesting science facts about the bird and their habitat which includes their scientific name.  Illustrations of the birds are great, and there's a chickadee that gives information with illustrations that are almost a little too "cutesy" for me. (Oh well.) This is a great book for the older-than-preschool crowd, and would make a super exemplar for a writing project.  She also includes, at the end of the book, an explanation about some of the poetic forms she uses for each of the poems, as well as an excellent glossary.

Goodreads:  Explore the fascinating world of superlative birds--from the bee hummingbird, the tiniest bird in the world, to the peregrine falcon, the fastest creature on Earth.
Ever wonder which bird has the loudest voice? Which one builds the biggest nest or has the most feathers? Get to know all about the best and brightest--and smelliest!--denizens of the bird world with this collection of nonfiction science verses. You won't need your binoculars to observe the superlative characteristics of these avian wonders.
Author Leslie Bulion includes a science glossary, notes on poetry forms, and resources for information about these extraordinary birds in the back of the book. Witty drawings by Robert Meganck add another layer of fun to this humorous and informative gallery of the world's most accomplished birds.

This is about an Emperor Penguin in Antarctica:

The Flying Leap

to swim
not too slim
we don’t fly
wouldn’t try
waddle stop
belly-flop, slip
slide toboggan
glide - icy dash ends
with SPLASH! Wings
are fins for twirls and
spins, we plunge
pack ice and snow for
fish for krill for squid until
we’ve fished our fill.  Our
young ones will be overjoyed
if we avoid becoming meals
for leopard seals lurking grim
at ice floe’s rim.  We know they’re there
we’re well aware so we prepare:  our feathers trap air.
When we release bubbles our
swimming speed DOUBLES!
We jet from the sea
we catch air – wheeeee!

Monday, August 26, 2019

81. The Ghost Manuscript by Kris Frieswick

Listened to Audible (Chirp)
read by Carrington MacDuffie
Unabridged audio (13:32)
2019 Post Hill Press
432 pgs.
Adult Mystery/Thriller with Fantastic aspects
Finished 8/26/2019
Goodreads rating:  3.83 - 117 ratings
My rating: 2.5
Setting:  contemporary Boston, Ma PLUS

First line/s:  (from preface) "The fear pierced Carys Jones's abdomen, and every other sensation she'd been feeling was consumed."  (from Ch. 1) "The sight of the envelope on Carys's desk set her left eyelid twitching."

My comments:  What an unrewarding ending.  All that buildup and then...blah.  Not enough resolution.  Lots of improbabilities.  The most disappointing for me was the reader - she read flawlessly, it wasn't that.  Her voice iss what put me off, it was too old and mannish, not suited for the character.  And of all the Bostonians depicted in the story, she only gave one a (BAD!!!) New England accent.  The two men from Wales had not even the slightest Welsh accent.  I've heard so many readers that can pull off accents,, whoever chose this reader didn't choose the right one, not even close.  That can make or break storytelling, and it certainly didn't make it for me.  So many thwarted possibilities,, what a bummer.

Goodreads synopsis:  Rare book authenticator Carys Jones wanted nothing more than to be left alone to pursue her obsession with ancient manuscripts. But when her biggest client is committed to an asylum, he gives Carys an offer she cannot refuse. In exchange for his entire library of priceless, Dark Age manuscripts, Carys must track the clues hidden in a previously unknown journal, clues that lead to a tomb that could rewrite the history of Western civilization.
          But there are people who would do anything to stop Carys from finding what she seeks—for reasons both noble and evil. The hunt takes Carys to places she never thought she’d go, physically and emotionally; first to Wales, her estranged father’s homeland, then to bed with Dafydd, a mysterious Welshman who agrees to help her with the search, and finally, deep inside her own psyche, when the monk who wrote the journal 1,500 years ago appears and assists her in her search.

Poetry Picture Book - When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano

Illustrated by Julie Morstad
2016, Roaring Brook Press
HC $18.99
56 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.27 - 1341 ratings
My rating:  5
Endpapers: solid red

My comments:  47 exquisite poems, truly exquisite.  No matter how short, each one really packs a punch!  Thoughtful, creative, and incredibly insightful, they are perfect for a bit of reflection, a small smile, and a whimsical look at life through the seasons.  There's no punctuation or capitalizationg, so it's easy to make beautiful pictures in your mind!  My only drawback is that each one is titled with a date, and for me it limits their usage a bit....if I want to use the "september 10" poem in April, it might be a bit disconcerting for the listener's imagination....

 december 29

and i woke to a morning
that was quiet and white
the first snow
(just like magic) came on tip toes

          Flowers blooming in sheets of snow make way for happy frogs dancing in the rain. Summer swims move over for autumn sweaters until the snow comes back again. In Julie Fogliano's skilled hand and illustrated by Julie Morstad's charming pictures, the seasons come to life in this gorgeous and comprehensive book of poetry.

march 20

from a snow-covered tree
one bird singing
each tweet poking
a tiny  hole
through the edge of winter
and landing carefully
balancing gently
on the tip of spring

april 3

the sky was too busy sulking
to rain
and the sun was exhausted from trying
and everyone
it seemed
had decided
to wear their sadness
on the outside
and even the birds
and all their singing
sounded brokenhearted
inside of all that gray

august 3

if you want to be sure
that your are nothing more than small
stand at the edge of the ocean
looking out

september 10

a star is someone else’s sun
more flicker glow than blinding
a speck of light too far for bright
and too small to make a morning

october 15

because they know
they cannot stay
they fade and fall
then blow away
because they know
they cannot stay
they leave 
and leave
and leave

february 3

with snowy arms sagging
the spruce seemed to know
that beautiful outweighs the snow


Sunday, August 25, 2019

Postcards Received from Indiana

990.  Indiana
Edward Gorey:  Mysterious Messages, Cryptic Cards, Coded Conundrums, Anonymous Notes
Greetings from Indiana.  This Edward Gorey Postcard is the closest thing I have to what you requested on your profile.  I hope you like it.  I'm a big fan of Edward Gorey.
     I used to live in Sierra Vista, AZ.  It was nice weather there.  Pretty country.  Julia

Postcards Received from Virginia

1947.  Virginia
We Are Tied, 2014 Ben Giles
I couldn't find a penguin postcard, so hepefully one of these birds is cool enough.  :)  I'm in Virginia and it's starting to warm up here.  I think we're aobut two weeks from it going from "nice" to too hot.  Kate.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Finnish Artist Inge Look

These are Inge Look postcards I've received.  I really love them, I want to figure out which one I like best and see if i can get a larger print!
Card #36 
sent from Emmen, Holland
Card #34
sent from Germany

Card #27
received from Germany

Card #16
received from Finland

Card # 11
sent to me from Finland

Card #2 
mailed to me from Germany

Postcards Received from Azerbaijan

1978.  Javadkhan Mausoleum
Ganja, Azerbaijan
My research tells me that Javadkhan was killed in 1804 in the battle protecting Ganja from foreign invaders.  The Mausoleum was built recently using the style from 200 years ago, and Javadkhan's body was moved from the local cemetery at the turn of this century.
Salam from Baku (the capital), Azerbaijan!  I hope you like this card.  All the best, Elvina

Monday, August 19, 2019

Poetry Picture Book - Bark in the Park! Poems for Dog Lovers by Avery Corman

Illustrated by Hyewon Yum
2019, Orchard Books
HC $17.99
40 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  3.79
My rating:  4
Endpapers:A drawing of each of the different dogs in the book, on cream background

My comments:  39 rhymes about 38 different kinds of dogs fill this book.  They're short poems.  Very short.  Two lines, , three lines, or four lines.  They all rhyme.  Most are really cute.  A few are a bit forced to make them rhyme.  But they're fun! (See a few below.)  I like the illustrations a lot.

Goodreads:  Go on a walk to the park with all different kinds of dogs and their owners in this funny and charming poetry picture book.
Enjoy Avery Corman's canine poetry for an Afghan hound, basset hound, beagle, bloodhound, Daschshund, boxer, greyhound, and more as they stroll with their owners to the park.

Is the Pug cute?
Or is the Pug ugh?
Mostly, people love
The little Pug's mug

Hyewon Yum captures the unique characteristics of the owner and his pet as she beautifully illustrates the humorous walk from each dog's home to the park and back.

Basset Hound
For things she can smell,
She's a comer and goer.
She's much like a Begle,
But longer and lower.

Super frisky, never whiny,
Even though he's teeny tiny.

She's a happy, little squat dog
Who looks like she's a hot dog.

German Shepherd
He's a police dog for some
Because he's so clever,
And a most loyal chum
Forever and ever.

The Poodle is quick to learn a trick.
You might say a Poodle can use her noodle.

She's not an easy dog to chase
Because she'll beat you in a race.

Poetry Picture Book - by Fred Rogers

The Poetry of Mr. Rogers
Illustrated by Luke Flowers
2019, The Fred Rogers Company
HC $19/99
143 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  
My rating:  3
Endpapers:  pale blue with scrolling words from his poetry.

My comments:  Well.....this is going to be a wonderful book for a lot of people.  IMHO the illustrations are rather bland and old-fashioned, and Mr. Rogers' poetry wasn't exactly the gretest.  But it keeps alive the memory of the man and his wonderful television show.  However, his poetry from the show doesn't translate into book form in the best way.

Goodreads:  The New York Times Best Seller 
           For the first time ever, 75 beloved songs from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and The Children's Corner are collected in this charmingly illustrated treasury, sure to be cherished by generations of children as well as the millions of adults who grew up with Mister Rogers

Things Are Different

You never know the story
By the cover of the book.
you can't tell what a dinner's like
by simply looking at the cook.
It's something everybody needs to know
way down deep inside
that things are often different
than the way they look.

When I put on a costume
to play a fancy part
that costume changes just my looks,
it doesn't change my heart.
You cannot know what someone's thinking
by the picture you just took
'cause things are often different
from the way they look.

I can totally imagine chanting and acting the following out at a Toddler Time or a Preschool Storytime:
Doing Song

Clap your hands
Blow a kiss
Make a face
Like this!

Snap your thumbs
Shake your head
You're in bed.

Blink your eyes
Stretch your arms
Stank up straight
Look for farms.

Her's the horse (Neigh!)
Here's the cow (Mooo!)
Here's the sheep (Baaa!)
You can bow.

Here's the duck (Quack, quack!)
Here's the cat (Meow!)
Here's the dog (Bark!)
Here's your hat.

Wave goodbye
Drive the car
Throw the ball
Throw it far.

Eat your meal
Sing a song
Brush your teeth
Hear ding-dong!

Hug your pillow
Click the light
Hug youself
Say goodnight.  (Goodnight!)

It's an Ugly Day

It's an ugly day
made of mugly gray
it's a sit-down-by-the-fire
and be snuggly day

It's a cloudy day
and a dowdy day
It's a play-some-Chinese-checkers
read-out-loud day.

It's a day to cuddle up
with chocolate cookie
hook a rug or knit --
'Cause it's an ugly day
made of mugly gray
it's a better-wear-your-sweater
and by snuggly day.

If we pop us some corn
and have cinnamon toast
I'd say we'd made the most
Of an ugly day.

POETRY - The Poetry of US - Edited by J. Patrick Lewis -

More than 200 Poems That Celebrate the People, Places, and Passions of the United States
Illustrated by National Geographic Photographs 
2018, National Geographic
HC $24.99
192 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.67
My rating:  5
Endpapers:  BRIGHT yellow, almost a yellow orange

My comments:  Divided into sections of the U. S. (New England; Mid-Atlantic; Southeast; Midwest; Great Plains; Rocky Mountain West; Pacific Coast, and Territories) this gorgeously photographed book of poetry for kids is right-on and really fun!  I read this a couple of days after the shootings in Gilroy, CA and El Paso, TX, and there were poems about each of those places in here!  I really enjoyed reading them and discovering some new poets as well.  There are three separate indexes - by title, poet, and first line and a resource list.  A few new-to-me poems about places and things I care about follow after Goodreads synopsis.

GoodreadsIt's all about us! Join former U.S. Children's Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis on a lyrical journey through the United States to experience the wonders of America's people and places through 200+ inspiring poems and stunning photographs.
          Celebrate the gift of language and the vibrant culture of the United States with this collection of classic and never-before-published poetry. Poems are arranged by region, from coast to coast, and among them you'll find works by Langston Hughes, Dorothy Parker, Robert Frost, Naomi Shihab Nye, Walt Whitman, and more. From the familiar to the surprising, subjects include people, places, landmarks, monuments, nature, and celebrations. Designed for sharing, but geared to younger readers, this beautifully illustrated treasury is a must-have for the whole family.

                 Punxsutawney, PA
                 February 2nd

Gobbler’s Knob lies blanketed in February snow,
but even in the biting cold, people’s faces glow.

They’ve travelled here from far and wide to celebrate together
and listen as the groundhog gives his verdict on the weather.

They join in festivities as bands play on for hours,
while Punxsutawney Phil warms up his shadow-reading powers.

Finally, the main event – the “groundhognostication!”
Mittened fingers cross in hopes of spring’s initiation.

Will they suffer six more weeks of winter’s frigid gloom?
Maybe yes, or maybe no, but soon bright buds will bloom.

                                                F. J. Lee
                                                from The Poetry of US (Edited by J. Patrick Lewis)

Silent Sentinel
     Battle of Gettysburg

At field’s edge atop Cemetery Ridge, an old,
battered tree stands – split down the middle like
so many families whose sons
went separate ways in war.

Silent sentinel, it saw that costliest of campaigns –
an eternity of suffering in three days’ time.
Unmovable witness, it watched Pickett’s charge,
counted up its colossal casualties

With roots bathed in bloodshed –
did it break at once or over time, riven by
the weight of sorrow, torn apart by conflicting
passions of thousands injured and dead?

Still it stands, an aged, living monument
in a park full of granite and bronze markers.
One by one, in time, witness trees fall,
the last living veterans who survived it all.

                                    Kelly Fineman
                                    from The Poetry of US (Edited by J. Patrick Lewis)

The Jackalope
            Douglas, Wyoming

The oddest thing you’ve never seen
are antlered hares.  They’re very mean,
or so you’ll hear if you pop in
to Douglas diners now and then.

A cry is heard up in the hills,
the kind of cry that gives you chills.
“The jackalope,” townsfolk explain –
but if you look, you’ll look in vain.

For no one’s ever seen up close
that warrior rabbit.  No one knows
just where it sleeps, how fierce its fight,
how high it leaps, how sharp its bite.

Indeed, this creature’s very rare:
The only actual antlered hare
is mounted on a wall – a prop
made by a taxidermy shop.

Some taxidermists though it fun
to sew two creatures into one –
but still at night it gives you chills
when lonely cries rise from those hills.

                                    Abigail Carroll
                                    from The Poetry of US (Edited by J. Patrick Lewis)

Legends of the Sonoran Desert

My mom left Tucson twice in her life.
Both times she came back fast and said,
“I like it better here.”

She lets tarantulas walk up her arm.  She says
all the collared lizard needs is a tie
and he can go to dinner anywhere.

She favors saguaro and chaparral.  She blows
kisses at the unlovely javelin but she adores

the remorseless gila monster because,
“It looks like a fancy beaded purse your father
almost bought me.”

                                    Ron Koertge
                                    from The Poetry of US (Edited by J. Patrick Lewis)

Golden Gate Bridge

Rising above
            the fog,
I am an aria
            of orange,
a symphony
            of steel –
a remembered
            I span the
Golden Gate Strait,
            from shore to
shore, with a
            chorus of cars.
What song will you
On the other side?

                                    Joan Bransfield Graham