Friday, June 23, 2017

On the Spot: Countless Funny Stories by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Lea Redmond, illustrated by Sanne Te Loo

Perhaps you may know  the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, where a book could have a wide variety of endings. ON THE SPOT: COUNTLESS FUNNY STORIES by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Lea Redmond, and illustrated by Sanne te Loo is a “choose your own adventure” story for readers ages 4 to 7, where no two tellings will be the same. Even better? It’s a book the reader can play as a game. To play ON THE SPOT, the reader must gather an assortment of objects. No object is too mundane. A button can be just as exciting as a plastic dinosaur. On each page is a blank “spot”. This is where the reader places the object of their choice, making for an equally hilarious read.

For example: “I headed to the kitchen to fill my rumbling tummy. I poured a big bowl of…(PENNIES) Super-duper yummy!”

The penny could be substituted for a big-bowl of crayons, or a big bowl of legos. But it doesn’t matter what is actually on the spot because it will ensure giggles from everyone reading. The book follows the adventures of a little girl throughout her day as she eats, runs, and plays, but as it is written in the first-person, will have all readers identifying as the main character. With each reading, and with each object placed “on the spot,” the reader becomes the character in the story, choosing the direction the story will go. If found objects are not readily available, there are reusable stickers in the back of the book.

So now that you KNOW you can choose your own adventure, go, read and play, ON THE SPOT!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder

Laurel Snyder has written a middle grade novel that is equal parts mystery and coming-of-age story. Nine orphans live on the island. No more. No less. And they don't know how they came to be on this island, except for the changing ceremony once a year. The story follows Jinny, the eldest orphan on this idyllic island where food is plentiful and the snakes don’t bite. The only clue to an outside world is the library cabin, where Jinny reads books that used to be owned by a girl named Abigail. That, and the fact that each year, at the changing ceremony, a small child arrives in a boat to stay on the island, while the Elder steps into the boat to be whisked away over the horizon and into the unknown. Jinny knows she is supposed to leave, but she does not believe that Ess (the child she is charged to care for) is ready to be on her own. So when the boat arrives with a new child...Jinny doesn’t step into the boat. When she refuses to leave the island, there is no longer enough food, the snakes are no longer docile, and the cliffs and the calm water provide real danger.

How did these children come to be on this island? Who is controlling the mysterious boat? And why can there only be nine children, or the balance is upset? With gorgeous imagery and beautiful language, Snyder creates an atmosphere that is both enchanting and eerie. Part summer camp without adults, part survivor for kids, kids ages 10 and up will enjoy this read.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley is one of the best Young Adult books I have read this year. Gorgeous prose, great characters, and an incredible setting, you will be unable to put this book down.
Before the opening of the novel, the reader is informed that three years prior, Rachel wrote a love letter to her best friend, Henry. And she put this love letter inside of a book inside Howling Books, in the Letter Library, where patrons of the secondhand bookshop write letters to each other, leaving them inside the books, or they underline favorite passages. That letter never got delivered. So she moved away to the coast of Australia. But when tragedy strikes her family, and she loses her brother Cal, she fails her 12th year, and instead of going to college, moves to the city to live with her aunt and work. She finds herself, after three years of silence between her and Henry, her former best friend, back at Howling Books, which is the bookshop that Henry’s family owns. What happened to the letter she wrote all those years ago? What will happen to Henry and his family, and the patrons of the Letter Library, if the bookshop goes out of business?
Words in Deep Blue is an ode to the written word, to books, to everything people who are a little book crazy (like you and me) love.

When you love a story, you return to the lines that you love, to the well-worn pages that hold your heart. This book will hold the hearts of its readers. For the readers who underline, highlight, write notes, and pass along their favorite books--this story is for you.