Sunday, November 10, 2019

Picture Book - Encyclopedia of Grannies by Eric Veille

Translated by Daniel Hahn (translated from French?)
2019, Gecko Press, New Zealand
HC. $17.99
28 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  3.46 - 24 ratings
My rating:  3
Thick cardboard covers, thick pages with rounded corners.

1st line/s:  "The world's first encyclopedia devoted entirely to grannies."

My comments:  2/3 of the book seemed intended for the entertainment of grandmothers, if they're not easily offended.  Not actually sure who the intended audience of this book actually is....but I enjoyed most of it with a wry smile throughout....

Goodreads:  Why do grannies always tell us to speak up? Why do they have creases on their faces? Are grannies flexible? How do you cheer up a sad granny? How old are grannies, actually?
          Eric Veill� explains it all in this offbeat book for the extended family to chuckle over--no matter what kind of grandma you have, are, or would like to be. From the author of My Pictures after the Storm, which received three starred reviews and which School Library Journal proclaimed "may be the funniest book of the year."

Picture Book - Blooming Beneath the Sun

Poems by Christina Rossetti
Cut Paper Illustrated by Ashley Bryan
2019 Atheneum Books for Young Readers
HC $17.99
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  3.67
My rating:  4
Endpapers: orange with cut paper daisies (like the daisies that accompany "Where Innocent Bright-Eyed Daisies Are."

Fourteen poems by Christina Rossetti, three follow

My comments: Anything that has anything to do with Ashley Bryan makes my heart pound.  The illustrations are bold and beautiful!  And I've ALWAYS loved the simplicity of Christina Rossetti's beautiful words, although there are a few poems in this collection that I'm not overly fond of....

GoodreadsNewbery Award honoree Ashley Bryan has hand-selected a collection of celebrated English poet Christina Rossetti’s poems to illustrate with his inimitable flourish.  
          The world changes so quickly, but the joy and fun of being a child always remains. Christina Rossetti’s classic nursery rhymes have embodied the simple essence of childhood for centuries, and now award-winning illustrator Ashley Bryan brings new life to them with this wonderfully illustrated selection of Rossetti’s poetry.
          Bryan’s bright and intricate collage art perfectly complement Rossetti’s simple text, and together they create a vibrant book for both kids—and kids at heart.

Who Has Seen the Wind?

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you;
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads
The wind is passing by.

Hurt No Living Thing

Hurt No living Thing
Ladybird, not butterfly
Nor moth with dusty wing,
nor cricket chirping cheerily
Nor grasshopper so light of leap,
Nor dancing gnat, nor beetle fat,
Nor harmless worms that creep.

Where Innocent Bright-Eyed Daisies Are

Where innocent bright-eyed daisies are,
With blades of grass between,
Each daisy stands up like a star

Out of a sky of green.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Hanukkah Picture Book Quickies

It's Hanukkah!
Jeanne Modesitt
Ill. Robin Spowart
GR: 3.50- 12 ratings
My rating:  2
Mouse family, some is irrelevant just to rhyme:"We all dance the horah, even Great-Grandma Laura."  Don't really like the story or the illustrations, but the addendums about the holiday, menorah, and dreidels are useful.

It's Hanukkah Time!
Latita Berry Kropf
Photographs by Tod Cohen
GR:  3.22 - 9 ratings
My rating:  4 - Perfect for Toddlers
I plan to use this for a toddler storytime (18 - 35 months)  It's simple, and photographs accentuate each idea that's presented.  (Note: Instead of latkes, they fry sufganiyot, and include a recipe in the back).

Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah
Susan L. Roth
GR: 3.63 - 43 ratings
Mice again.  Super simple: the words to a song.  Cut paper collage. Not a great read-aloud, IMO, but might accompany a recording of the song.
"Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah, come light the menorah.
Let's have a party, we'll all dance the hora.
And while we are playing,
The candles are all burning low.
One for each night, they shed a sweet light.
To remind us of day long ago.
    (Repeat twice)

Hanukkah Lights, Hanukkah Nights
Leslie Kimmelman
Ill. John Himmelman
GR:  3.52 - 21 ratings
My rating:  3
Very simple story of how a family celebrates Hanukkah.  A bit misleading in that it might be interpreted that specific things are done on specific nights.  If it's made clear that there's no particular order of when to celebrate in each way, it works just fine.

One Night, One Hanukkah Night
Aidel Backman
GR:  2.00 - 1 rating
My rating:  3
Great premise, one page contemporary, the next historical - but didn't quite pull it off.  As a read-aloud with explanation it would probably be fine.  Each page has a different traditions, a menorah with the correct amount of candles, and simple explanations if needed.

Hooray for Hanukkah!
Fran Manushkin
Ill. Carolyn Croll
GR:  2.94 - 18 ratings
my rating:  2/5
Another simple way to show the eight nights of Hanukkah and share the different holiday traditions.  It's from the P-o-v of the menorah.  Old-fashioned clothing, though it's set in contemporary times - this bothered me.  And the repetition of "I am bright, but I could be brighter" became very tiring very quickly.
It's a Miracle! A Hanukkah Storybook
Stephanie Spinner
ill. Jill McElmurry
3.92 - 36 ratings
A grandmother tells a different story on every one of the eight nights of Hanukkah.  All end up being a true story about family members she not only knows, but who will attend the family meal. Within the stories she tells are Hanukkah traditions.  Although the story is longish, it's delightful.  The book ends with "The Hanukkah Legend," a glossary, and the three Hanukkah blessings.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Picture Book - Our Eight Nights of Hanukkah by Michael J. Rosen

Illustrated by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan
2000, Holiday House
Seems to be out-of-print
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  3.92 - 25 ratings
My rating:  5
Endpapers: azure

1st line/s:  "The very first night of Hanukkah, we polish the silver menorah that was my great-grandma's.  She brought it from Russia maybe a hundred years ago!  It's the oldest thing in the house, I think.  We all say the prayers together as we light the shammash -- that's the tallest candle -- and touch it to the first night's candle."

My comments:  A child tells of his family's traditional "doings" on each of the eight nights of Hanukkah.  Not only does it include all sorts of Hanukkah traditions, it includes how they celebrate with theiri non-Jewish friends so that Christmas is not ignored, but included slightly in three different places in this excellent story.  A bit long for 3-year-olds, but great for 4 and up.

Goodreads:   For Jewish families around the world, the eight nights of Hanukkah are unlike any others. For this family each night is an occasion to share cherished traditions such as lighting the menorah with family and friends. It's also a time to have fun dancing at the temple's big Hanukkah party, playing with dreidels and chocolate coins, and eating delicious latkes. This joyful celebration of Hanukkah miracles, great and small, presents a heartwarming picture of one family's festivities from the first night of the Festival of Lights to the last.

Picture Book - Pippa's Passover Plate by Vivian Kirkfield

Illustrated by Jill Weber
2019, Holiday House
HC $17.99
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.26 - 87 ratings
My rating:  3
Endpapers:  simple line drawings of Passover and Jewish-related items (red on peach)

1st line/s:  'Hurry, scurry, Pippa Mouse, .
washing, scrubbing, cleaning house.
Passover starts at six tonight,
Seder meal by candlelight."

My comments:  The story is cute, rhyming, and fun!  But other than cleaning the house and talking about the Seder plate in general, the book tells nothing more of Passover.  It's written for very young kids, but even for Jewish kids, there's not very much about Passover or even why you'd need a seder plate.  And I have one huge unsolved question - how did the Seder plate get in the water?
     I also love the alliteration of the book title!

Goodreads:   An irresistibly adorable mouse tries to find her Passover plate before sundown when the Seder begins in this colorful Jewish holiday story.
          An enchanting mouse scours her cozy, miniature home for her Passover Seder plate with no luck. Sundown is near and the Passover celebration will begin soon. Pippa Mouse must venture out and be brave to ask a cat, a snake, and an owl for help. To her surprise not only are the animals helpful in tracing her plate to the pond, they become her Passover Seder guests. A spread at the end of the book shows the Passover plate with its six essential symbolic items: zeroah (a roasted bone), beitzah, (an egg), maror and charoset (bitter herbs), chazeret (mortar or paste), and karpas (a spring vegetable). 

Friday, October 25, 2019

Picture Book - Ode to an Onion: Pablo Neruda and his Muse by Alexandria Giardino

Illustrated by Felicita Sala
2018 Cameron Kids, Petaluma, CA
HC $17.95
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.27 - 128 ratings
My rating:  5 Love, love, love...
Endpapers: Thick ONION SKIN!

1st line/s:  "Pablo was hard at work, writing a long, sad poem.  His pen whirled.  the pages piled high."

My comments: Within this very cool picture book is the story of a friendship/relationship, how to begin thinking about a poem, and beautiful words.  It ends with Neruda's actual "ode to the Onon" (in both English and Spanish!) and a paragraph about Pablo and Matilde's relationship.  Outstanding biography!

Goodreads: A poetic, beautifully illustrated picture book inspired by Ode to the Onion by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (1904–1973).  Pablo has a lunch date with his friend Matilde, who shows the moody poet her garden. Where Pablo sees conflict and sadness, Matilde sees love and hope. The story is less a biography of Neruda and his muse, Matilde Urrutia (1912–1985), and more a simple ode to a vegetable that is humble and luminous, dark and light, gloomy and glad, full of grief and full of joy—just like life.
A Junior Library Guild Selection.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Books About Muslim Life and Experience

Picture Books:

Clever Ali (Farmer) 2006 (4.5) folktale
Four Feet, Two Sandals (Williams & Mohammed) 2007 (4)
Malala's Magic Pencil (Yousafzai) 2017 (5)
My First Ramadan (Katz) 2007 (4)
My Name is Bilal (Mobin-Uddin) 2005 (3)
Night of the Moon (Khan) 2008 (5) Ramadan
One Green Apple (Bunting) 2006 (5)
A Party in Ramadan (Mobin-Uddin) 2009 (4)
Silent Music (Rumford) 2008 (4.5)
Snow in Jerusalem (daCosta) 2001 (4)
Time to Pray (Addasi) 2010 (4.5)
Under My Hijab (Khan) 2019 (5)

Middle Grades:

Other Words for Home (Warga) 2019 (3)
Shadows of Ghadames (Stolz) 2005 (5)
Under the Persimmon Tree (Staples) 2005 (4)

Young Adult:

Internment (Ahmed) 2019 (2)
A Very Large Expanse of Sea (Mafi) 2018 (4.5)




A Most Wanted Man (set in Germany) 2014 (5.5)
Mustang (set in Turkey) 2015 (5)
Sabah, A Love Story (set in Canada) 2005

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Picture Book - Under My Hijab by Hena Khan

Illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel
2019, Lee & Low Books
HC $17.95
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.37 - 597 ratings
My rating:  5!!!
Endpapers: Bright Pink
Written in quatrains with the second and fourth lines rhyming.

1st line/s:  "Grandma peeks into the oven
as a brown loaf of bread starts to rise
Her hijab is carefully folded,
like the crusts on my favorite pies."

My comments:  A more-than-excellent book, probably one of my favorites so far this year.  Should be read to all kids AND ADULTS!!!

Goodreads:  Grandma wears it clasped under her chin. Aunty pins hers up with a beautiful brooch. Jenna puts it under a sun hat when she hikes. Zara styles hers to match her outfit. As a young girl observes six very different women in her life who each wear the hijab in a unique way, she also dreams of the rich possibilities of her own future, and how she will express her own personality through her hijab. Written in sprightly rhyme and illustrated by a talented newcomer, Under My Hijab honors the diverse lives of contemporary Muslim women and girls, their love for each other, and their pride in their culture and faith.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Picture Book Biography - Yayoi Kusama From Here to Infinity by Sarah Suzuki

Illustrated by Ellen Weinstein
with reproductions of works by Yayoi Kusama
2017, Museum of Modern Art, NY
HC $19.95
Not in Cumberland County Library system, Interlibrary Loan from Dauphin County
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  3.82 - 182 ratings
My rating:  4
Endpapers:  The title page is the opening endpaper and the copyright information and list of MOMA trustees is the ending endpaper.
1st line/s:  "Yayoi Kusama was born in the country of Japan, on the island of Honshu, in a town called Matsumoto City."

My comments: Although the author says "She is widely considered to be the most popular artist in the world,"  I was completely unaware of Yayoi Kusama and her work!  I feel like a have a pretty decent grip on art and artists, but this has shown me that I have to check out more contemporary artists.  This is the story of her artistic life -born in 1929 in Japan, moved to NYC in the 1950's, and still going strong today, She is famous for her dots and squiggles, installations, and even fabric.  The text of the book was pretty basic, and I didn't get any sense of time, and none was mentioned.  When I read, "It was her first airplane trip.  There were only four other passengers, and the weather was stormy, with rain and lightning.  The airplane wobbled and dipped as it flew to America." I was like....what? ..... until reading the added bibliographic information at the end I realized this would have been in the 1950s.  No sense of that from the text, or even illustrations.The illustrations are pretty cool, and the reproductions of actual work are a great addition to the story.

Goodreads:  Growing up in the mountains of Japan, Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929) dreamed of becoming an artist. One day, she had a vision in which the world and everything in it—the plants, the people, the sky—were covered in polka dots. She began to cover her paintings, drawings, sculptures, and even her body with dots. As she grew up, she traveled all around the world, from Tokyo to Seattle, New York to Venice, and brought her dots with her. Different people saw these dots in different ways—some thought they were tiny, like cells, and others imagined them enormous, like planets. Every year, Kusama sees more of the world, covering it with dots and offering people a way to experience it the way she does.
           Written by Sarah Suzuki, a curator at The Museum of Modern Art, and featuring reproductions of Kusama’s instantly recognizable artworks, this colorful book tells the story of an artist whose work will not be complete until her dots cover the world, from here to infinity

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

90. House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

listened on eAudio, borrowed from Bosler
narrated by Emily Lawrence
Unabridged audio (12:50)
2019 Delacorte
416 pgs.
YA Fantasy
Finished  9/18/19
Goodreads rating: 4.00 - 9215 ratings
My rating: 4.5

First line/s:  "Candlelight reflected off the silver anchor etched onto my sister's necklace."

My comments:  A little slow-paced in that there was a lot of description in the world building (a fascinating world with its own sets of gods and goddesses, holidays, and traditions and in time spent between the twelve sisters).  But it was well worth it, setting us up for a really powerful, mind-blowing climax, which takes place for at least the last quarter of the book.  It's also deliciously creepy.  I thing the thing that bothered me most was the Annaleigh was strong and smart, but screamed and whimpered and shrieked much more easily that I would have expected her to.  And I have mixed feelings about the ending.  It was read beautifully by Emily Lawrence, which added to its charm.

Goodreads synopsis:  In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.
          Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls' lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.
          Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn't sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?
          When Annaleigh's involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it's a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

Monday, September 16, 2019

89. The Line Between by Tosca Lee

Listened to the audio via CHIRP
read by Cassandra Campbell
Unabridged audio (10:07)
2019, Howard Books
389 pgs.
Adult Dystopia
Finished 9/16/19
Goodreads rating:  4.22 - 1373 ratings
My rating:  5
Setting: Dystopian US/Colorado mid-country area, some on-the-road

First line/s: "The farmer moved into the woods looking for his pigs."

My comments:  This contemporary dystopian thriller set in a cult enclave and the area between Iowa and Colorado is an excellent thriller with the range of unsettling events between a religious cult and the end of the world being brought about by a deadly flue - quick death with no cure.  The protagonist, Wynter, was one pretty cool, strong, smart female.  Couldn't put it down.
     The sequel to this book, which comes out at the end of thew week, believe it or not, sounds like another really tnese ride.  I think I'm gonna have to wait awhile to get over this one before I read that one!

Goodreads synopsis:  In this frighteningly believable thriller from New York Times bestselling author Tosca Lee, an extinct disease re-emerges from the melting Alaskan permafrost to cause madness in its victims. For recent apocalyptic cult escapee Wynter Roth, it’s the end she’d always been told was coming.
          When Wynter Roth is turned out of New Earth, a self-contained doomsday cult on the American prairie, she emerges into a world poised on the brink of madness as a mysterious outbreak of rapid early onset dementia spreads across the nation.
          As Wynter struggles to start over in a world she’s been taught to regard as evil, she finds herself face-to-face with the apocalypse she’s feared all her life—until the night her sister shows up at her doorstep with a set of medical samples. That night, Wynter learns there’s something far more sinister at play and that these samples are key to understanding the disease.
         Now, as the power grid fails and the nation descends into chaos, Wynter must find a way to get the samples to a lab in Colorado. Uncertain who to trust, she takes up with former military man Chase Miller, who has his own reasons for wanting to get close to the samples in her possession, and to Wynter herself.
          Filled with action, conspiracy, romance, and questions of whom—and what—to believe, THE LINE BETWEEN is a high-octane story of survival and love in a world on the brink of madness.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

88. Lessons from a One Night Stand by Piper Rayne

listened to Audio / Chirp
read by Tanya Eby and Tim Paige
Unabridged audio (7:43)
2019 Audible
340 pgs.
Adult Romance
Goodreads rating:  4.17 - 1227 ratings
My rating: 3.5  Steam:  1.75/4
Setting:  Contemporary biggish small-town Alaska

First line/s: "The handsome guy on stage with his jaw hanging wide open, shock and awe in his eyes?  That'd be me.  Austin Bailey."

My comments:  Okay, this is the perfect romance for people who are into light romances that includes a little bit of the naughty stuff.  Too good-to-be-true hot teacher who's the patriarch of a tribe of siblings is also the much-loved coach and biology teacher in a medium-sized town in Alaska.  The "she" part of the story is the new substitute principal.  Heavy on story and character development with a spattering of the X-rated stuff, too.

Goodreads synopsis:  If you’re a guy like me, and you find yourself having banged your sexy new boss—the school principal—in the back of your Jeep one drunken night, here’s a few takeaways based on my experience...
          Lesson One: Always get her FULL name.
          Lesson Two: Consider asking what she does for a living.
          Lesson Three: Find out why she’s moved to town. Get details. Details are crucial.
          Lesson Four: Don’t alter her bio in front of an auditorium of high school students unless you know she has a sense of humor for that sort of thing.
          Lesson Five: If you ignore Lesson Four, apologize instead of flirt when you’re sent to the principal’s office.
          Lesson Six: NEVER sleep with her again.
          Lesson Seven: Pay attention to this one—it’s the most important of them all.          

          Don’t fall for your one-night stand.
          Class dismissed.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

87. A Borrowing of Bones by Paula Munier

(#1 Mercy Carr & Elvis/ Vermont)/
listened to audio / Chirp
read by Kathleen McInerney
Unabridged audio (11:58)
2018 Minotaur Books
342 pgs.
Contemporary Adult Mystery/Murder Mystery
Finished 9/10/2019
Goodreads rating: 3.96 - 908 ratings
My rating:3.5
Setting: Contemporary southern Verment

First line/s:   "Grief and guilt are the ghosts that haunt you when you survive what others do not."

My comments:   Greatly enjoyed the setting, contemporary small town southern Vermont.  The two protagonists, a fresh-out-of-the-service in Afghanistan army vet female and a male Vermont game warden both own K-9 dogs and much of the story revolves around their partnerships.   Another central character, Mercy's grandmother, is the local vet.  It's just all a little to doggy for me.  It was an interesting mystery, though a little unbelievable in places.  I enjoyed listening to it.  It's the same narrator that reads the Kate Burkholder Amish mystery series, a wonderful reader.

Goodreads synopsis:  First in a gripping new mystery series about a retired MP and her bomb-sniffing dog who become embroiled in an investigation in the beautiful Vermont wilderness
It may be the Fourth of July weekend, but for retired soldiers Mercy Carr and Belgian Malinois Elvis, it’s just another walk in the remote Lye Brook Wilderness—until the former bomb-sniffing dog alerts to explosives and they find a squalling baby abandoned near a shallow grave filled with what appear to be human bones. U.S. Game Warden Troy Warner and his search-and rescue Newfoundland Susie Bear respond to Mercy’s 911 call, and the four must work together to track down a missing mother, solve a cold-case murder, and keep the citizens of Vermont safe on potentially the most incendiary Independence Day since the American Revolution.
          A Borrowing of Bones is full of complex twists and real details about search-and-rescue dog training that Paula learned through the training of her own dog. With its canine sidekicks and rich, dramatic story, this debut will be a must-have for mystery fans.

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)


Sunday, September 8, 2019

86. Run Away by Harlan Coben

listened to on Audible
read by Steven Webber (yes, THAT Steven Webber!)
Unabridged audio (10:20)
2019 Grand Central Publishing
385 pgs.
Adult Mystery
Finished 9/8/2019
Goodreads rating: 4.09 - 21,689 ratings
My rating: 4
Setting:  Contemporary NYC

First line/s:  "Simon sat on a bench in Central Park - in Strawberry Fields to be more precise - and felt his heart shatter."

My comments:  This book was one heck of a roller coaster ride!  And I'm not even sure how I feel about it as I finish, because some of the relationships just seemed a little bit off.  Simon's love for his wife, Ingrid, was pure and would never waiver, but I still don't understand exactly why.  Because she was beautiful?  That part wasn't made clear at all, he just idolized and adored her.  In a way that was the crux of the whole story, which is what's leaving me a little off.  You're just supposed to understand this without any explanation.  Oh well.  It was a great whodunnit and Harlan Coben sure can spin a tale!  I LOVED listening to Steven Weber's flawless reading.  Of course, in my mind, Simon now looks exactly like Mr. Weber.   Yum.

Goodreads synopsis:  She's addicted to drugs and to an abusive boyfriend. And she's made it clear that she doesn't want to be found.
          Then, quite by chance, you see her busking in New York's Central Park.
          but she's not the girl you remember. This woman is wasted, frightened and clearly in trouble.
          You don't stop to think. You approach her, beg her to come home.
          She runs. 
          And you follow her into a dark and dangerous world you never knew existed. Where criminal gangs rule, where drugs are the main currency, and murder is commonplace.
          Now it's your life on the line. And nowhere and no one is safe.