Saturday, June 30, 2012

Way to Go by Tom Ryan

Danny's life is going nowhere. He's not confident like his friend Kierce, who has a rule for every situation. He's not laid-back like his friend Jay, who's in danger of not graduating but doesn't really care. Danny wants to be confident and he wants to be above caring about what people think...but he's not. He's pretty sure that he's gay but doesn't want to tell anyone; he's not prepared to deal with the reaction in his small town. He gets a summer job working in the kitchen of a new restaurant. That's where he meets Lisa, a complicated New York City girl with a love for making mixed tapes. If he would fall in love with any girl, it'd be Lisa...maybe it could be Lisa. In a summer of discovery, Danny will come to terms with who he really is and what that means for the rest of his life.

Aside from a few references (like the mixed tape on the cover), it was easy to forget that the book took place in 1994. One thing that kept reminding me was the hateful language and fear that accompanied any mention of gayness. I know that this language didn't end in 1994 (and that it - and worse - continues today), but the language that Danny's classmates use (particularly Kierce) is just...unreal. Except that it was and is real, which is so awful that awful can't even begin to describe it. There were also a few phrases throughout the book that stuck out as sounding more present-day, but since I'm not a linguist (is that even what linguists do? date phrases to a certain time period? If not linguists, who does that? is that a job?), I can't say for sure that they weren't around in 1994. Anyway. Danny's coming of age summer is about more than just his sexuality; he's also discovering who he wants to be as a person and what he wants to do as a career. His relationship with his father is going through changes as Danny becomes closer to being an adult; at the restaurant (and in his off hours), he learns about what friendship is and what he wants for himself. (His younger sister has one of those Vanessa Pike-esque language afflictions that I'm sure must exist in real life but I've only seen in books - she talks mostly in movie quotes. I do like, though, their sibling relationship). This book's Canadian-ness sets it apart from a lot of other coming of age novels, and that's important, because while Canada shares a lot of culture with America, there are some differences. I'm really excited to read more from Tom Ryan in the future.

Check out Tom's website, Tom Wrote That.

Find it at IndieBound. 

Read it with:
Gravity by Leanne Lieberman
Mercury by Hope Larson
The Screwed-Up Life of Charlie the Second by Drew Ferguson

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Last Titanic Story by Chris Angus

Laura Engalls has made what she believes to be an incredible discovery. An anthropologist working in Greenland, she's uncovered evidence linking an unknown part of Titanic history to a local tribe of Inuit people. She enlists the help of a journalist and author of a book about the Titanic, Matt Mosher. Intrigued what Laura is proposing, he agrees to join her on her quest. A terrible storm hampers their entry into Greenland and what began as a journey to find the truth quickly turns into a quest for survival. Further complicating their actions are the mysterious persons who are following them - and attempting to kill them. Just what sort of information has Laura Engalls uncovered? And is it information worth dying for?

Sometimes when I'm talking about books, I feel a bit like Stefon from Saturday Night Live. This is one of those books that would lend itself to a Stefon-esque update. It has Nazis and Titanic survivors, stolen treasure and gunfire, action, adventure and even a touch of romance. The story jumps between different time periods: one starting in 1912, one during the time of World War II, and one in the present day. I was quite curious about how all of these strands would come together, but ultimately they did fit into a single coherent story. There were several masterful cuts between chapters/time periods that were almost cinematic in feel. There were a few things that puzzled me (having unprotected sex, even if it's "I'm glad we're alive and I'm attracted to you" sex, doesn't seem like the smartest move if you're trapped in the wilderness with no idea if rescue is possible) but since I've never been in a life-or-death exploration setting, I have no idea if this behaviour is as strange as I found it. And, of course, this is relatively minor compared to the forward momentum that the action and adventure of the novel provide. If you read only one book this year that combines the Titanic, World War II, modern day neo-Nazis, and a high stakes treasure hunt across Greenland - let it be this one.

Find out more about author Chris Angus.

I received a review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Iguana Books. 

Read it with:
The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel
Titanic: Shipwrecks and Sunken Treasure by John Malam
Iceberg Right Ahead! by Stephanie Sammartino McPherson
Shattered Hopes: Canada's Boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games by Sheila Hurtig Robertson

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Margaret and the Moth Tree by Brit Trogen and Kari Trogen

Once upon a time, Margaret had two parents. They were wonderful parents who loved her and took great care of her. Then they died, and Margaret lived with different relatives until they all died, too, and there was no one else to look after her. Margaret was sent to the Hopeton Orphanage by the women of the Concerned Ladies Club, but what seemed like a cheerful place upon arrival was, as Margaret quickly found out, a terrible place ruled by a terrible woman named Miss Switch. Miss Switch kept all the money and the good things for herself and divided the children into two groups: the Pets and the dregs. The Pets are her favourites while the dregs...well, it's not good to be a dreg. Margaret spends her days being quiet, so quiet that she's able to hear things that other people can't. That's how she discovers the moths and the moth tree, a discovery that will change her life (and the lives of the other children at the orphanage).

I almost feel like I should put up some sort of disclaimer; the authors are friends of a friend of mine, although we've never met (though that is how I first discovered the book). While the moths are included in the title (and on the cover) my favourite parts of the book focused on Margaret in the orphanage; they read like a cross between Annie and Matilda (with, although probably from only my perspective, a touch of The Cider House Rules). Margaret is a great character. She's a smart girl who has had an extraordinarily difficult life. My heart broke for her and all of the children who are treated so poorly.  This is a fantasy book but a mild one; rather than turning to the common supernatural characters it looks toward nature and connecting with the living creatures around you.  Margaret and the Moth Tree could easily do for moths what Charlotte's Web did for spiders - take some ordinary insect commonly thought to be a bit icky and fill it with the possibility of magic and wonder.

Visit Kari Trogen's website for more info about her and Brit Trogen's website for more info about her.

Margaret and the Moth Tree is published by Kids Can Press.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

One Moment by Kristina McBride

Maggie has been looking forward to the summer for a long time. She's sure that it's going to be full of great days hanging out with her friends and her boyfriend, Joey. But Memorial Day weekend changes everything. Joey dies in a horrible accident, and Maggie is the only one who knows what happens in his last moments. But her memory has blocked out those events, and she has no answers for her friends, Joey's parents, or herself. As she tries to discover what went on in those final moments, she uncovers a number of secrets being kept by people she thought were her closest friends. One moment can change everything...and Maggie isn't sure what to do next.

(Mild spoilers below)

Kristina McBride is very skilled at writing about the death of a teen who was so full of life. His closest friends experience the horror of watching him die, his family searches for answers, and there's a rush to remember him as a perfect person (followed by a tentative emergence of their less-than-ideal qualities). This comes out so well in Maggie's descriptions of Joey and how, when you think about them, you can see some jerkish qualities (or, to put it less harshly, some human qualities) in her glowing description of him. At times it felt like the book was framed as a mystery (with 'what happened?' being the unanswered question), but that approach didn't quite work for me because I felt like if it was going for mystery the first part of the book gave too much away. I had a pretty good idea of what happened between Maggie and Joey, and so rather than information being revealed I felt the story unfolded. I found it more useful to keep coming back to the the idea of "one moment." One moment Joey was alive... and then he wasn't. One moment Maggie had everything she wanted...and then she didn't. One moment really can change things, even when it's not strictly a matter of life and death.

Check out Kristina McBride's website.

I received an advance review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Egmont USA.

Find it at IndieBound. 

Read it with:
The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride
Freefall by Ariela Anhalt
Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Passion for Victory by Benson Bobrick

Every Olympic cycle, there's a new crop of hungry athletes looking to make their golden dreams come true; there's also a new crop of books about the International sporting event. Schools and libraries in particular need to make sure their collections are current and relevant and cover not only today's athletes but also athletes from games past. What sets A Passion for Victory apart from other books is that it explores the area that other books often skip over: the origins of the Ancient Olympics and the first Modern Olympic Games. Sure, many books talk about the ancient traditions or talk about Pierre de Coubertin, but it's often just a cursory look on the way to focusing on today's sports stars. This book looks closely at the Greek traditions and the people who shaped the development of the Olympics. It also stops around mid-20th century in terms of the Modern Olympics. Because of this focus, it wouldn't make sense for this to be the only book on the Olympics that you have (particularly if you're looking for something that will discuss the games to the present day), but it would make an excellent addition to any sports collection.

I received a review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Random House.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
The Battle of Nashville by Benson Bobrick
Rush For Gold: Mystery at the Olympics by John Feinstein
The 2012 London Olympics by Nick Hunter

Monday, June 25, 2012

Purity by Jackson Pearce

Before Shelby's mother passed away, she gave her daughter three rules to live by: listen to your father, love as much as possible, and live a life without restraint. Shelby has always kept her word to her mother, but this time she's up against something different. Her father is organizing the annual Princess Ball, which means that Shelby is going to be one of the princesses on display...and she will have to make a vow (to her father) to live a pure life. Shelby doesn't want to remain a virgin until she's married, and so she finds a loophole in her mom's rules - if she's already had sex before the vow, she can't promise her purity to her father. Time is running out for her to find someone to sleep with...but is this going to be more difficult than she anticipated?

I love the questions that Jackson Pearce raises and addresses in her writing. The idea of purity (and purity balls and rings and promises) is a very interesting one: Is purity something that you can promise to someone else? Why would you? What does purity mean? Is it only about being a virgin? It's strange to say that the honesty is something that I love about this book, because the characters spend so much time keeping things to themselves. But there's an honesty in the writing that comes through in the characters. The characters lives are messy; the characters make good decisions and bad decisions but it was always clear to me why they were making the decisions. I did struggle with the initial premise a little bit - not the Princess Ball aspect but Shelby's interpretation of her mother's rule. I didn't think that "listen to your father" necessarily meant "obey your father, no matter what he says," which is how Shelby lives it. But after awhile I could see that part of the promise was contextual. Agreeing to the promises was one of the last things that Shelby ever said to her mother; they were some of the only guidance that Shelby's mom ever gave her about her teen years. Being in that situation meant that Shelby had a different perspective on it than I would, and I didn't have the emotional connection to the situation to influence my interpretation. (And, of course, there is a little bit of the 'well, if she didn't do it that way, there wouldn't be much of a story.) This is a great book for teen readers - particularly for teen girls and young women as it provides a bit of a framework for thinking about your life, your sexuality, and the relationships that you have with people in your life.

Check out Jackson Pearce's website.

Find it at IndieBound. 

Read it with:
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Sweetly by Jackson Pearce
The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti
Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers

Sunday, June 24, 2012

There Are Cats In This Book by Viviane Schwarz

There are cats in this book. Three cats, to be exact. They love to play and sleep and have adventures, and they're happy that you're here now, too, because you can help them to turn pages and do other stuff. Join them as they go on an adventure, but be careful - they might need your help to get them out of a jam!

There's something I love about understated book titles. There are cats in this book: fact.  But that tells you nothing about how fun these cats are. The cats are frequently on little flaps that can move from side to side. This is how they jump from page to page across the book's gutter and ask you to help them out with things like blankets and changing the page. This is a book that will be magical for a child at just the right age: old enough not to rip the pages (and there are many little flaps), but young enough to find delight in the way the cats speak directly to the reader (and how the reader can follow the cats' directions). And, if you like this book, make sure to check out There Are No Cats in This Book.

Check out Viviane Schwarz's website to see more of her art and her work.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
There Are No Cats in This Book by Viviane Schwarz
Square Cat by Elizabeth Schoonmaker
Cat Secrets by Jef Czekaj

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Big Bear Hug by Nicholas Oldland

There is a bear who lives in the forest. He loves to give hugs to the other animals. He specializes in bear hugs, because, well, he's a bear. But his favourite things to hug are trees. One day he sees a man staring at a tree. He thinks that this must mean that the man loves trees as much as he does! But if that's true, then why does the man have a chainsaw...?

I've only recently found Nicholas Oldland's picture books, and I'm having my usual reaction when I come across something that's so awesome: where have I been all this time? I love the dry writing style and the solid art style; I love the expressions on the animals faces and the small touches on every page.  This book has a lovely pro-nature, pro-hugs agenda, and it should be read by a lot of people who need to hear this message. It's a great book to use with kids as a springboard for discussion questions: why would someone want to cut down trees? is it okay to hug people who might not want to be hugged? how can you help someone who is hurt to feel better? Don't make the same mistake that I did; don't wait to read this book.

Find it at IndieBound. 

Read it with:
Making the Moose Out of Life by Nicholas Oldland
The Busy Beaver by Nicholas Oldland
You Will Be My Friend! by Peter Brown

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Emerson sees things that no one else can see. They're not ghosts, exactly, but more like representations of people from the past - southern belles, soldiers, musicians. When you touch them they pop and disappear, which is an unsettling experience. Emerson has been seeing them for years - since around the time that her parents died in a terrible accident. Now she lives with her brother and sister-in-law and is trying to keep everything under control. That's when Michael Weaver enters her life. He says he can help her, but what does that mean? How does he understand her so well? And what is Emerson supposed to do about the deep attraction that she feels toward him?

Once I got into this book, I had a very hard time putting it down. Luckily, I read it during the 48 Hour Reading Challenge, so I was able to read it all in one sitting. It had come highly recommended by a librarian colleague of mine, and I can see why. It's a great mix of the supernatural and science fiction, romance and adventure. I have no idea if the science put forward in this book is even possible, but that's so besides the point (at least for me, and probably for most readers who pick it up). The southern setting, the characters, and the storyline make it a natural for a screen adaptation of some kind. I'm looking forward to picking up the sequel, Timepiece, particularly because I want to know more about Kaleb, one of the minor (but important) characters from Hourglass.

Check out Myra McEntire's website.

Find it at IndieBound. 

Read it with:
Timepiece by Myra McEntire
The Time-Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Best Mistake Ever! and Other Stories by Richard Scarry

New readers have three stories by Richard Scarry to explore on their own in The Best Mistake Ever! And Other Stories. In one, Huckle and Lowly mix up a grocery list but end up getting exactly what they need. In another, a bicycle bell and a cuckoo clock have a terrible accident that leads to a very surprising present. And in the third story, Huckle is sad when Lowly stops spending time with him at school...until he finds out what's really going on. Don't miss these familiar characters as they learn that sometimes mistakes have happy endings!

I grew up with Richard Scarry books, and I'm glad that they are still around and in print in different formats (like this Step Into Reading book that I read as an e-title). One of my favourite things about oversized books like What Do People Do All Day? was scouring the pages and picking out all of the details. That's not something you'll really find here, but what you will find is a book that's perfectly structured for kids to read on their own. The pages have classic Scarry illustrations but also large print, lots of white space, and visual cues to help with harder vocabulary words. The book has a copyright date of 1984, but instead of reading as dated, it appears as timeless (at least to me - I'd love to know what kids think of this or if they even notice). This is a great choice for young readers and a solid choice for schools and libraries to have in their collections.

Find it at IndieBound. 

Read it with:
Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day? by Richard Scarry
Little Witch Goes to School by Deborah Hautzig
The Worst Helper Ever by Richard Scarry

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Glimpse by Claire Merle

In 2018, the world as it was known collapsed. Society was thrown into chaos. In order to rise from the ashes and rebuild, London instituted a new policy: every person would have to undergo a DNA test, and anyone who had the gene for one of the Big3 (Depression, Schizophrenia, Anxiety) was immediately dealt with. The "Pures" were given a much different life from the "Crazies," and much emphasis was placed on binding and joining two Pures together so that they could have Pure children. Just before she's ready for her own joining, Ana discovers that she isn't who she thinks she is. Her mother wasn't Pure, and neither is she. How could the test make such an error? Or did it? It casts suspicion on her father, the creator of the test. As Ana tries to figure out who she is and what she wants, she gets drawn into a deadly game of power, truth, and politics.

The strongest futuristic books are the ones that seem outlandish at first but also completely believable. Medicating children, scapegoating, and the focus on an ideal purity all seem like things that could happen in this way. Ana is a smart, resourceful girl whose world is crashing around her. Her father isn't who she thought he was; her fiance is a mystery to her, too. She makes dangerous moves because she's desperate. There's a lot of action and a few twists about what is really going on, both in the city and in the Pures' own walled community. And, rounding out the action, is a romance that emphasizes questions of attraction, fate, and doing the right thing. The Glimpse is book one in a two book series, so look for the story to continue sometime in the near future.

See more at Claire Merle's website.

I received a review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Faber and Faber.

Read it with:
Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Matched by Ally Condie

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hamsters Holding Hands by Kass Reich

Hamsters can do many different things. They can play together and they can eat together. They can enjoy the sun and jump in the air.  Count from one to ten with these friendly hamsters and they will show you all the things that they love to do. Hamsters can do a lot of different things, but they have the most fun when they're together.

There's a lovely quiet charm about this board book. It outwardly looks very simple: a counting book from 1-10, featuring hamsters doing different activities. And yet, there's something in its design that transcends this description. The look of the book uses lots of oranges, yellows, and greens; it doesn't feel like your traditional picture book palatte. The back cover of the book promises hamsters that are cute and loveable, and I totally agree.  They're just so happy about everything that they're doing. The text rhymes between the numbers (the line for 1 rhymes with the line for 2), and it's set up so that the numbers themselves aren't rhyming with words (which is good because seven is always very tricky to rhyme). Definitely check this book out for young readers or kids practicing their numbers (and libraries should add it to their board book collections).

See more of Kass Reich's work at her website.

Find it at IndieBound. 

Read it with:
One Grey Mouse by Katherine Burton
Ones and Twos by Marthe Jocelyn
Canada 1-2-3 by Per-Henrik Gurth

Monday, June 18, 2012

Animals should definitely not wear clothing by Judi Barrett and drawn by Ron Barrett

There are many reasons why animals should not wear clothing. A kangaroo, for example, already has pockets. Neckties would look silly on giraffes. A walrus would get his clothes wet.  But what's the biggest reason why animals should definitely not wear clothing? You'll have to read this book and see.

Where has this book been all my life? I have no idea why I only read it for the first time recently. I love its dry, straightforward style. It's just so logical. Of COURSE a snake couldn't wear pants. Of COURSE a hat is too big for a mouse. The words and the pictures are given equal weight; this book is a perfect balance of both and just wouldn't be the same if either was changed. There's something wonderful about the way this book works the page flip; it gently builds the suspense as you wonder what animal and what reason will be on the next page. I highly recommend this book to anyone who hasn't read it, and if you already have, give it another look.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed by Mo Willems
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
The Underpants Zoo by Brian Sendelbach

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Big Brave Daddy by Smiljana Coh

 Charlie is a little boy. He loves his Dad, and his Dad can do some amazing things. Charlie only swims in the bathtub, but his Dad can go deep sea diving. Charlie can sled down the hill, but his Dad can go skiing down mountains. There are so many things that Charlie's big brave Daddy can do - and one day they are going to do those things together.

 This is a lovely, funny book about how children often look up to their parents through adoring eyes. I love how the book doesn't just catalog all of the things that Daddy can do; it also looks forward to the day when Charlie and his Daddy can do them together. Being a father isn't just about being able to do amazing things - it also involves teaching and nurturing your children. This is a great addition to any collection of books that look at positive relationships between parents and children. 

See more of Smiljana Coh's illustrations at her website

I received a review copy from Edelweiss courtesy of Blue Apple Books.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
Just Me and My Dad by Mercer Mayer
Tyrannosaurus Dad by Liz Rosenberg
Mitchell's License by Hallie Durand

Saturday, June 16, 2012

All Alone with Daddy by Joan Fassler illustrated by Dorothy Lake Gregory

Ellen's mom is going out of town. That means that Ellen is going to be all alone with her father. She's looking forward to taking care of him. She tries to be like her mother. She has a lot of fun and loves getting all of his attention. When her mom comes home, though, she's not sure how she feels about sharing Daddy again.

I came across this book in a thrift store, and I knew I wouldn't be leaving without it. It's apparently part of a series that looks at psychological issues through picture books ("Children's Series on Psychologically Relevant Themes"). It was originally published in 1969, which means that even aside from the subject matter I like looking at the illustrations of the fashions of the day. I've had it for a few years now, and I still don't even know what really to say about it. Ellen's feelings are presented as normal and no one tries to make her feel bad for having them. In fact, no one tries to do anything about them at all; she deals with them all on her own. It's hard to say whether or not her parents know anything about her feelings (although dressing herself up in her mom's clothes might have given her dad a clue, neither of them now about her dream where daughters marry their fathers and have children with them). The ending of the book is a bit too retro for me (Ellen deciding to grow up to be just like her mom and marry someone just like her Dad, complete with the image of her running towards a boy) but I do find this book to be a fascinating glimpse into so many things including child psychology, gender norms, and 1969.

Read it with: 
Billy and Our New Baby by Helen S. Arnstein
I Have Feelings by Terry Berger
Things I Hate by Harriet Wittels and Joan Griesman
The Man of the House by Joan Fassler 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Star Trek FAQ by Mark Clark

Much has been written about Star Trek in the more than forty years since the Starship Enterprise first appeared on television. People have looked at its science and its ethics; the stars have written about their behind the scene experiences. Novels expand on what was shown on screen and reviews place it in the context of popular culture. Star Trek FAQ bills itself as "Everything left to know about the first voyages of the Starship Enterprise," and that's what it puts forward. It has chapters dedicated to the creators, writers, actors, directors, guest stars, and anyone else who came in contact with the show. It discusses the sources that came before the show and the revivals that came afterward. If you have a question about Star Trek, this book probably has the answer.

There is a part of me that wonders if there's still a market for books like this. Couldn't you just look at a wikipedia page? Wouldn't you get the same information? And while I think you can, there is something so satisfyingly authoritative about a thick book that brings together so many different sources and topics. There was probably more that I needed about the actors previous roles, but it was helpful for filling in information about their lives before Star Trek. I don't know if the book is designed to be read straight through, like I did; some of the sections are repetitive, even down to the same phrasing. But if you're just starting where you're curious, this probably is less noticeable. What this book did quite well was get me excited about Star Trek. Talking about the episodes and the storylines made me curious to see more. I know a bit about the show, but only culturally; I know I've seen some episodes but I've never really sat down and watched one (although I was quite into Star Trek: The Next Generation) and I've only seen a few of the movies. Now, though, I feel like I have a deeper understanding of the series and want to actually experience it. Super fans (Trekkies, if you will), won't likely find too much new in here, but fans of television and pop culture (as well as library non-fiction collections) should definitely give it a look.

I received a review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Hal Leonard Books.

Find it at IndieBound. 

Read it with:
I Am Spock by Leonard Nimoy
To The Stars by George Takei
Beyond Uhura by Nichelle Nichols
Beam Me Up, Scotty by James Doohan
Inside Star Trek by Herbert F. Solow and Robert H. Justman
Star Trek Memories by William Shatner

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Keep Holding On by Susanne Colasanti

For Noelle, high school is hell. She's had to put up with bullying from her classmates for years. Her teachers can't - or won't - do anything to help her. Her home life isn't any better. Her mom never buys groceries, takes the money that Noelle is saving for college, and has shut herself off from Noelle emotionally...unless the emotion is anger. Noelle has heard the message that she's worthless so many times that she fully believes it. When Julian seems interested in her, she can't believe it. Why would a great guy like him be interested in her? It will take a lot for Noelle to convince herself that she's worthy of attention, respect...and happiness.

(Spoilers below)

There were times in this book that Noelle just broke my heart. She way that she sabotages her own chances at happiness are so hard to see. Her sense of self worth is so warped because of the information she's been taking in about herself: her mother doesn't take care of her, her classmates think she's garbage, her 'boyfriend' doesn't want anyone to know that they hook up. The book struck a great note in terms of being realistic while still providing (spoiler alert) a story that ends on a positive note. I didn't think that it necessarily was going to end so positively; the countdown that runs throughout the book made me nervous that perhaps it was more than just a countdown to the end of school. But the end does take the idea of "it gets better" and reshapes it a bit into "it can start getting better now." I'm glad that the ending looks at more than just good friendships and a possible romance; it also focuses on Noelle starting to think about herself differently and going to therapy. The idea that going to college (or leaving high school) will make everything better doesn't always come true if you bring along your issues with you, so it made me very happy to see Noelle work on the damage that the bullying and neglect has caused. This book is topical but not sensationalized and fans of Deb Caletti and Sarah Dessen should definitely check it out.

See more information at Susane Colasanti's website.

I received a review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Penguin Young Readers/Viking.

Find it at IndieBound. 

Read it with:
The Taming by Eric Walters and Teresa Toten
Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu
Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Summer at Forsaken Lake by Michael D. Beil

Nicholas isn't sure how great his summer is going to be. His parents (recently divorced) have sent him and his sisters to their Great-Uncle Nick's place on Forsaken Lake. After living all of his life in New York, Nicholas isn't convinced that small-town life will have anything to offer him. Of course, that's before he discovers his love of sailing, the girl with an amazing pitching arm, and all of his father's secrets. Nicholas' dad spent his summers with Uncle Nick, and now Nicholas is uncovering a part of his dad's life that he never knew about. Secrets have a way of coming to the surface...but are some things better left hidden?

As much as I enjoyed this book as an adult (and I did), I think I might have loved it even more if I'd read it as a child. Yes, that would involve a bit of time traveling, but I can see it really appealing to a younger me. The possibility and excitement of a new life, even temporarily, is one of the great things about a summer setting. Nicholas, as a character, is engaging and strong; Charlie, the girl with the great arm, shines as a girl who can do anything that the boys can do (and, in many cases, do it a lot better). Their growing friendship strikes the right notes of affection and awkwardness. While I loved where this book ended (and think it ended on just the right note), I wouldn't be sad to see a sequel. Something tells me that Forsaken Lake has enough secrets and mysteries (and character) to sustain a few more summer adventures.

(The review copy I read didn't have the final artwork in it, so I'm looking forward to seeing what the illustrations look like.)

Check out Michael D. Beil's website and see his own version of "The Seaweed Strangler."

I received an advance review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Random House.

Find it at IndieBound. 

Read it with:
The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamodour by Michael D. Beil
One Crazy Summer by Rita Garcia-Williams
Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bink and Gollie: Two for One by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee and illustrated by Tony Fucile

Best friends Bink and Gollie are back! This time they're exploring adventures at the State Fair. Will Bink win the world's largest donut? Will Gollie find fame, fortune, and prizes in the talent competiton? And what mysteries will the fortune teller share? All will be revealed in Bink and Gollie: Two for One.

I feel like I've barely stopped talking about Bink and Gollie since I first read it. It's a funny, smart book with great characters and beautiful illustrations that's such a great read for beginning readers. I was so excited to see that now there's a second Bink and Gollie book and not only do I love it just as much as the first, but (if I may admit this), I might even love it a tiny bit more. The first story, "Whack a Duck," features Bink's seemingly unending determination and Gollie's dry observations. "You're Special, Aren't You?" has an incredible series of spreads that manage to convey just what stage fright feels like (and is topped with a lovely demonstration of friendship). The third story concerns questions about the future, a natural curiosity for children and adults alike. Whatever you do, don't miss this book, and expect to find it on many Best of 2012 lists at the end of the year.

Learn more about Bink and Gollie at their website

Check out the websites of Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee.

I received an advance review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Candlewick Press

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo
Making a Friend by Alison McGhee
Let's Do Nothing! by Tony Fucile

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Boy and a Bear in a Boat by Dave Shelton

There's a boy. He hires a bear, who has a boat, to take him to his destination. He gets a bit sleepy, so he goes to sleep, expecting to be there when he wakes up. But when he does wake up, he finds that he's nowhere near where he wanted to be - and that the only thing he can see, apart from sea and sky, is the bear. And the boat. Which is named Harriet. This is going to be a long trip.

This is quite an odd book. Sometimes it's wonderfully odd, sometimes frustratingly odd, and ultimately, I think, satisfyingly odd. I wondered at times if I was reading some sort of parable or metaphor, given the small number of characters and the strange situations that they find themselves in. And although I think it's 'just a story,'  it's the kind of story that I can see people pouring over, sucking meaning out of, and writing long academic papers about. At its essence, it's exactly what the title says it is: a boy and a bear in a boat. It's a reading experience unlike any that I've had in a long time, and urge people to experience this book for themselves. I'd love to see it read in a book club for kids and adults and see what their reactions to the book are.

See more about Dave Shelton (and an alternate cover for A Boy and a Bear in a Boat) at his website. (I think I prefer the other one, although I do like the one shown here, too.)

I received a review copy from NetGalley courtesy of David Fickling Books.

Find it at IndieBound. 

Read it with:
The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Good Dog, Bad Dog by Dave Shelton
Oddfellow's Orphanage by Emily Winfield Martin

Sunday, June 10, 2012

48 Hour Book Challenge 2012: Finish Line

Total time spent reading: 14 hours 27 minute
Total time spent listening to audiobooks: 1 hour 12 minutes
Total time spent blogging: 1 hour 1 minute
Total time spent networking: 30 minutes
Total total: 17 hours 10 min

Books Finished During 48 Hour Book Challenge: 10
Hourglass by Myra McEntire (390 pages)
The Little Woods by McCormick Templeman (261 pages read during 48HBC)
Margaret and the Moth Tree by Brit Trogen and Kari Trogen (176 Pages)
Purity by Jackson Pearce (157 pages read during 48HBC)
Don't You Wish by Roxanne St. Clair (367 pages)
Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead (190 pages)
The Mount Rushmore Face That Couldn't See by Steve Brezenoff (90 pages)
My Name is Olivia and I Can't Do Anything About It by Jowi Schmitz (144 pages)
The No-Dogs-Allowed Rule by Kashmira Sheth (128 pages)
The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner (201 pages)

Books Started But Not Finished During 48 Hour Book Challenge: 1
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (1 hour 12 minutes)

Total Pages/Audio Minutes Read: 
2104 pages and 72 audio minutes

Well, I have reached the finish line. I feel okay about how I did. I fell short of 20 hours, which was my goal (although secretly I was hoping or 24 hours). Did I have 3 more hours (or 7 more hours) of reading in me? Maybe. I spent a bit too much time last night not reading, and then this afternoon I fell asleep for a rather long nap. Everything - time spent reading, number of books, number of pages - is down compared to least year, but I think I'm okay with that. I got through some books on NetGalley that I've been meaning to read and polished off some library books. I still have a massive pile of books in my house left to read (including the one I bought on Friday to celebrate the challenge), but I've read more than I think I would have on a "regular" weekend.

In order to mark the challenge, I have made a $20 (rounding up from my total reading time) to Reading is Fundamental. I also made a $20.00 donation to the Canadian Red Cross. It's not exactly a reading organization, but they do important work and I'm happy to use this occasion to make a donation.

A big thank you to Mother Reader for this great weekend.

My Every Single Thought: What I Think About Being Single by Corinne Mucha

What does it mean to be single? Is it enough to say that you're not in a relationship? What does it mean when you're in a relationship? How do you meet new people? How do you deal with not wanting to meet new people? These are some of the questions that flow through Corinne's brain. Single seems like it would be clear enough: one thing. Is that it? How can that be an adequate answer? If you've ever pondered a future alone with books and cats - and you don't even like cats - then you might have already had some of these thoughts. But I guarantee you haven't experienced them like this.

I first discovered this book while browsing on the Buy Olympia website. I was hungry for some zines and bought it along with one by Ed Choy Moorman...and then it sat on the arm of my couch for a long time. Why? I don't know. Maybe I wasn't in the right mood. Maybe I was waiting for the day where I would get up from my other couch (yes, I have two couches; yes, I spend a lot of time sitting) with purpose and grab it and not want to let it go. I didn't just read this; I devoured it. I laughed, I thought, I said "ouch" when things got too close. I loved the idea of a single Barbie. I love the exploration of words that rhyme with "single" and the interview with the single sock. I loved the ending. I loved all of it. If you are single, you need to read this. Period. I love the humour, I love the art, and I love Corinne Mucha's voice.  I can't wait to get my hands on more of her work. Could this have been the best $5 (American) I've ever spent? Quite possibly...yes.

See more of Corinne Mucha's work at her website Maidenhousefly.

Read it with:
Freshman: Tales of 9th Grade Obsessions, Revelations, and Other Nonsense by Corinne Mucha
Stitching Together by Ed Choy Moorman
My Alaskan Summer by Corinne Mucha

Saturday, June 9, 2012

48 Hour Book Challenge 2012

I'm about eight minutes away from starting my 48 Hour Book Challenge.

I know I probably won't read as much as last year - I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow and then, weather permitting, I'll be checking out the local Pride parade. But the rest of the time will be all about reading.

My "To Read" pile is massive. Check back soon for pictures and updates.

For more information about the 48 Hour Book Challenge, check out MotherReader's blog.

Update #1: 10:20PM on Friday June 8

Time spent reading: 2 hours 40 minutes
Time spent blogging: 0 minutes (I will count this blogging time in my next update)

Books completed:
Hourglass by Myra McEntire (390 pages)

Books started but not yet completed:
Margaret and the Moth Tree by Brit Trogen and Kari Trogen (70 pages)

It feels good to have one completed book under my belt. I'd been meaning to read Hourglass for a long time, and I'm hoping to read the sequel Timepiece before it disappears from NetGalley (I hope I'm not already too late!)

Here's a look at the pile of books I've corralled onto my couch to pick from for the next 48 hours:

I had it as one stack, but then that stack started to topple over so I put it in two. It looks a little less threatening this way, I think. I thought that it represents a pretty good mix of middle grade, teen, and adult as well as fiction and a bit of non-fiction, but it wasn't long before I realized that there was one big thing missing: graphic novels! Maybe this is okay, because it will push me to catch up on word (prose?) novels and books.

Of course, this isn't all I have to choose from. The third book from the bottom is actually my Kobo, and there's about 50 books I have on there right now. I toyed with the idea of making this a physical book only challenge, but my NetGalley list is so close to being somewhat manageable and I would love to read a few more of those this weekend. So my rule (for now) is that the Kobo will only be for reading in bed, while physical books can be for reading in the living room, bedroom, or outside. I'm hoping to find an audiobook that I can put on my iPhone for tomorrow.

Update #2: 1:58pm Saturday Afternoon

Total time spent reading: 5 hours 12 minuts
Total time spent listening to audiobooks: 1 hour 12 minutes
Total time spent blogging: 14 minutes
Total time spent networking: 0 hours
Total total: 6 hours 38 minutes

Books completed since last update:
The Little Woods by McCormick Templeman  (261 pages read during 48HBC)

Books started since last update:
Purity by Jackson Pearce (18 pages read during 48HBC)
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (audiobook, 1 hour and 12 minutes)

The good news is that all of my weekend commitments are now over. The not-so-good news is that my reading time isn't as high as I'd like it to be. I haven't said too much about a goal, but I had somewhere around 20 hours in mind.

I don't think I'm going to list the total books that I finish here (although that could change) - I think I'll save the big list for the finish line post. 

I'm enjoying The Scorpio Races so far, I'm having a bit of a hard time getting into it but I know that there's a lot of story left (and I'm a bit out of practice in listening to audiobooks). The Little Woods was one I got from NetGalley; it's set to be published in July. It's a mystery/thriller with a bit of supernatural mixed in, all set in a boarding school.

The plan is to now spend some time networking and seeing what other people are reading.  And then go read some more.

Update #3: 7:16pm on Saturday

Total time spent reading: 7 hours 1 minute
Total time spent listening to audiobooks: 1 hour 12 minutes
Total time spent blogging: 42 minutes
Total time spent networking: 30 minutes
Total total:9 hours 25 minutes

 Books competed since last update:
Margaret and the Moth Tree by Brit Trogen and Kari Trogen (176 pages)
Purity by Jackson Pearce (157 pages read during 48HBC)

At just over 24 hours into the challenge, I've completed four books,  read just under 1000 pages, and have 9 hours of reading/blogging/networking time in. That's not too bad! I'm reaching a temporary limit on teen angst, so I think I might switch over to some non-fiction

Poopy Claws by Gene Ambaum and Sophie Goldstein

One little boy loves his cat; his cat loves poop. Well, it's not so much that Stinky loves poop, he just doesn't always poop in the best places...or clean off all the poop. The boy's mother (a bit of a neat freak) isn't happy about the whole cat/poop situation, but it gets even worse when her finicky Auntie comes for dinner... and Auntie is on her way! This dinner is on a course for disaster!

This book is disgusting, and I mean that as a compliment, because I think that that's one of the things that the author and illustrator were going for.  I'm not at all the book's audience: I don't have a cat, I'm not really an animal person, and I don't overly like reading about poop. But I am a fan of Gene Ambaum (particularly his Unshelved comic) and while I don't know her work quite as well, I really, really like what I've seen of Sophie Goldstein's work. Those parts didn't disappoint at all. The story is sweet and funny and, well, disgusting; the art is colourful, energetic, detailed (I particularly lingered the montage of litter boxes) and, at times, disgusting. Seriously, I gagged while reading it. But I also think that in that perfect space where people who want to read about poop also want to read about a boy who loves his cat, this is just the book that they're looking for.

See more about the book (including a hilarious picture of someone reading it).

Check out Sophie Goldstein's other work, her Esty shop, and the online comic Darwin Carmichael is Going to Hell.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
Mother Ship Blues by Sophie Goldstein
Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Mystery of the Silly Goose by Elspeth Campbell Murphy

Timothy, Sarah-Jane, and Titus are more than just cousins; they also solve mysteries around their neighbourhood. They've created the Three Cousins Detective Club (TCDC) and often find themselves in the middle of one mystery or another. When Lyddie, an older girl who isn't always very nice to the three of them, tells them that she needs their help, they have no idea what to expect. Lawn ornaments have gone missing from lawns all over the neighbourhood, including Lyddie's grandmother's darling goose. She wants the TCDC to find out what happened and bring the goose back. The TCDC isn't sure where to start, but the lawn ornaments won't be gone for long once they're on the case!

Years ago, when I was a young girl, I read a series of books that were based on the Ten Commandments. Years later this information surfaced to the front of my brain and I discovered the work of Elspeth Campbell Murphy. I don't think that I read any of the Three Cousins Detective Club books as a child, but there was something about them that seemed like it could have been familiar. The book started with a Biblical quote from Proverbs, but that was really the only overt mention of The Bible or religion in the book. There were themes of living an honest life and being true and fair with your actions, but it was worked into the life and behaviours of the characters. The mystery isn't too scary and the kids are never in danger; they use their head to piece information together and never do anything that goes against their moral compass. This series is, I believe, out of print, but if you are looking for Bible-inspired titles or books like that for young readers, do look up the work of Elspeth Campbell Murphy.

Find out more about Elspeth Campbell Murphy at her website.

Find it at Amazon. 

Read it with:
The Mystery of the White Elephant by Elspeth Campbell Murphy
The Mystery of the Silent Nightingale by Elspeth Campbell Murphy
The Mystery of Wrong Dog by Elspeth Campbell Murphy

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Nick and Amy have been married for five years. It's the day of their fifth wedding, in fact, when Amy goes missing. Their house is a mess and shows signs of a struggle...and Nick can't account for his whereabouts. Over the next few hours family, police, and the media get involved and Nick and Amy's seemingly-perfect life starts to crack away. Told in two voices (Nick's increasingly unbelievable one and Amy's diary entries), this is not the story you think you know.

This is going to be a terrible post (or, at the very least, a short post), because I don't want to say anything. The less you know about this book, the better it is to discover as you're reading. I knew very little going into to and was glad because I could experience the twists as they came (and boy are there twists). Once I started reading, I couldn't put the book down. So go, read it, and then tell other people to read it so you can talk about it.

See more about Gillian Flynn at her website.

I received an advance review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Crown Publishing Group/Random House.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

All The Things You'll Do by Kevin Glavin illustrated by Sarah Grepo

Children are so full of possibilities. And for first time parents in particular, there are going to be a lot of firsts. First time going outside. First time crawling, walking, running. First day of school, first time reading a book together, first time riding a bike. There will be a lot of firsts, some big and some small. There will be so many things that a child will do...and his parents will be right there beside him, behind him, and watching him while he does them.

The first part of this book is a celebration of possibilities in an abstract way. There are pictures and text (although, in the galley that I read, the words and images that you see at the same time don't match up; you have to flip the page to find the matching picture, which I found a bit confusing - I have heard that this is not the case for the finished book.) that talk about all of the many things that children do as they grow up. The second part of the book looks specifically at the reader and all the things that he or she might do. Pages invite the reader (and the parents, particularly for young kids) to personalize the book by including individual details like pictures, goals, and information about their lives. There are lists to record goals and firsts for each of the child's first ten years (poor seven gets stuck with the clunky "closer to Heaven," not really what I want to be thinking about if I was also thinking about my child), spaces to reflect, and room to talk about lifetime goals. It'll be a neat keepsake for families and a way to remember someone's childhood. Because of the personal aspects and the space to make it about you and your child, this is a book to buy rather than borrow, and one that would make a good present for new parents.

I received an advance review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Kevin Glavin Publishing.

Find out more information about the book at its website.

Read it with:
I Can Be Anything! by Jerry Spinelli
Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss
Walk On! by Marla Frazee
Grow Up by Sandy Turner

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Death by Petticoat by Mary Miley Theobald

There are some things about history that everyone knows, right? People were shorter back then. People were painted hiding their fingers and limbs because painters gave a discount if they didn't have to paint those body parts. Apprenticeships lasted seven years, pregnant women never went outside, there was a nail tax in Colonial America - these are all thoughts that are commonly passed along as fact. This book examines those history myths and separates truth from myth, misconception, and outright falsehood.

This is such a smart idea for a book. Myths and misconceptions abound in many parts of popular culture, and of course there will be those that persist about American history. I loved learning about the truth behind custom, clothing, trades, and American life in a number of different time periods. I was amazed at how many myths are shared between different time periods and different locations worldwide. There are a number of myths here that I hadn't heard before, particularly those that pertain to specific parts of American history, but it was still fascinating to hear how the ideas have come to be a part of common knowledge and what - if any - kernel of truth is found in those myths. I also love the design of the cover. Check out those cool skulls!

Check out Mary Miley Theobald's website for a list of her other publications.

I received an advance review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Andrews McMeel.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
Colonial Williamsburg: The First 75 Years by Mary Miley Theobald
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
Legends, Lies, and Cherished Myths of American History by Richard Shenkman

Monday, June 4, 2012

Murder, She Wrote: Trouble at High Tide by Donald Bain

Jessica Fletcher, world-famous mystery novelist and occasional real-life mystery solver, is ready for a bit of vacation. She accepts the invitation of a high powered judge (someone who shares her publisher) to spend some time at his Bermuda estate. Sun, sand, and solitude - that's just what Jessica is looking forward to. But she's barely been there 24 hours before a murder is discovered: the judge's beloved niece. Even worse, Bermuda is experiencing a wave of Jack the Ripper-inspired murders. Could the same killer have attacked the judge's niece? Or is the murderer much closer at hand?

After a long week at work, I was so ready to curl up with the latest Murder, She Wrote novel. I slipped quickly into the pages and surrounded myself with Jessica Fletcher's gentle judgement and moral compass. The murder came quickly and a number of people were reasonable suspects with believable motives. I liked learning about the details of life in Bermuda (like families are only allowed to have one car), although I did pause at the mention of "Wikipedia" in the resource acknowledgements. As an added bonus Jessica's frequent investigative partner and sometime beau Chief Inspector George Sullivan of Soctland Yard makes an appearance in this book (tied into the Jack the Ripper investigation aspect). I enjoy him, and a part of me hopes that in an upcoming book he and Jessica will finally take a step forward with their circling romance.

Find it at IndieBound. 

Read it with:
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Murder, She Wrote: The Fine Art of Murder by Donald Bain
Murder, She Wrote: Majoring in Murder by Donald Bain
Murder, She Wrote: Dying to Retire by Donald Bain

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Samantha on a Roll by Linda Ashman with pictures by Christine Davenier

Samantha has a brand new pair of roller skates. She's super excited to try them out, but her mom has said "Not now." But Samantha doesn't want to wait - she wants to go, go, go! What harm could there be in just trying them on? Before long she's speeding through town and causing all kinds of havoc. Who knew that roller skates could go so fast?

This book is utterly charming. The rhyming story has a lovely lilt and keeps the momentum of the story building and building. Rhyming text sometimes feels forced to my ear, but this read in a very natural way. The illustrations were fresh and colourful and had just the right amount of whimsy. I like Samantha, a girl who's so filled with excitement and determination that she dives headfirst (or skates first) into an adventure. As a reader I had a pretty good idea that everything was going to turn out okay, but I had no idea how that was going to happen. I was a little late in finding this book (it came out in 2011), but better late than never; definitely check this one out and share it with some children who would like a vicarious adventure.

Check out Linda Ashman's website to see more of her work.

Find it at IndieBound. 

Read it with:
I Will Not Read This Book by Cece Meng
No Dogs Allowed! by Linda Ashman
Miss Lina's Ballerinas by Grace Maccarone
Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Uncle John's Kid-Topia Bathroom Read for Kids Only

A Tyrannosaurus Rex would have had terrible breath. There's a restaurant in Taiwan where diners sit on toilets instead of chairs...and eat food out of miniature toilets. The Saxons would go to battle with wildly coloured hair in order to scare their enemies. The University of CA - Santa Cruz has a sports team named the Banana Slugs. A thief was arrested because he broke into a house, logged on to his Facebook page..and then forgot to log out before he left! These are just some of the amazing things that kids can learn in Uncle John's Kid-topia Bathroom Reader for Kids Only.

I don't remember the first time I read one of Uncle John's Bathroom Readers, but I know that I've been a fan for a long time. I like the short entries and the wide-ranging topics that the books cover. This book has special content to appeal to kids: food, science, art, animals, and (of course) bathrooms. There are also word games and quizzes for people who want to do more than just read. The review copy that I was reading looked there was some space left for later additions of graphics and details, so the finished product should have lots of high-interest eye-grabbers to keep kids reading. Don't think of this book just in terms of bathroom reading. It would also be a great book to pick up before a long car trip; the games, stories, and fun facts could keep young readers (and the young at heart) occupied for ages.

I received a review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Baker and Taylor/Portable Press.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
Uncle John's Creature Feature Bathroom Reader for Kids Only
Uncle John's Book of Fun Bathroom Reader for Kids Only
Uncle John's Top Secret Bathroom Reader for Kids Only

Friday, June 1, 2012

Arnie the Doughnut by Laurie Keller

Arnie has a wonderful purpose in life. He's a doughnut! That means that he gets to wear some awesomely coloured sprinkles, hang out at a cool bakery, and make friends with all of the other baked goods. He's done a lot since he was first created, and his adventure isn't over yet, because someone has just selected him from the bakery counter. He's very excited but has no idea what's in store for him. Is this the end for Arnie the Doughnut?

This book completely won me over. I was skeptical at the start; the art style wasn't one that grabbed me right away, and there was so much going on: the little pictures, the words, the main story. I felt distracted and a bit overwhelmed. Then, as Arnie came into focus as a character, I was grabbed by his enthusiasm and zest for life. (Add him to my list of picture book characters that I would like a stuffed toy version of - maybe I need to add this as a tag?) I loved his outrage at learning that people eat doughnuts and the (spoiler alert?) twist that the other doughnuts know this - and are okay with it! I know that this will just illustrate my ignorance, but I had never heard of this book until it appeared on the new SLJ Top 100 Picture Books Poll (A Fuse #8 Production); if you're like me and this is a new book for you, I highly recommend tracking down a copy. You'll never look at doughnuts the same way again!

Also make sure to check out A Fuse #8 Production, where you can see interior spreads as well as other versions of the book.

Find it at IndieBound. 

Read it with:
Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller
Grandpa Gazillion's Number Yard by Laurie Keller
The Great Doughnut Parade by Rebecca Bond
If You Give A Dog a Donut by Laura Joffe Numeroff