We're winding down 2010 with some terrific books. There's so many that I want to tell you about, so I will break this into two posts. Here's a sampling of the latest books in our children's/YA collections:
The Adventures of Nanny Piggins
A widowed father searches for a competent nanny for his children. For reasons yet unknown to me, he ends up with a pig. A pig who considers school cruel and unusual punishment and eats only sweets for dinner. Recommended on James Patterson's Read Kiddo Read site, School Library Journal also recommends this for "reluctant and avid readers alike." That's pretty cool.
Animal Crackers Fly the Coop
"Why didn't the skeleton cross the road? He didn't have the guts!" If you know a kid who loves that kind of humor (hey, I think it's funny, too), you'll want to check out this take on the Bremen Town Musicians by the Brothers Grimm. No musicians in this story, though; the animals go into the stand-up comedy business. Yuk, yuk.
Arlington: The Story of Our Nation's Cemetery
I try to pick up any new Virginia or DC-related books that catch my eye. This looked intriguing.
Around the World in 100 Days
Now, THIS looks cool. The main character is the son of Phileas Fogg, the hero of Around the World in 80 Days. Young Harry wants to circle the Earth in a steam-powered automobile; his father, reluctant at first, wagers a bet with him: if he succeeds, he can pursue his automobile passion. If not, he has to join the family business. Kirkus calls this a " thrilling, thoroughly road-worthy joy ride" and School Library Journal says its "touch of humor and a great deal of heart" will make readers "feverishly turn pages." Harry is also multiracial, which you don't often see in historical fiction set during this era.
Clever Jack Takes the Cake
Candace Fleming is one of those few authors who create superb picture books, children's novels, and nonfiction. Jack bakes a cake in honor of the princess's birthday. On his way to bring the cake to the princess, however, various animals nibble at it until only the berry remains (to which the princess is known to be allergic). Upon his arrival at the castle, Jack has only the story of his cake's demise--to the princess's delight. Aww....all about the gift of storytelling. Can't wait.
(I also can't wait for Fleming's Spring 2011 biography of Amelia Earhart. Have you been following the latest news about Earhart?)
The Dark Game: True Spy Stories
This is a finalist for YALSA's Award in Excellence for Nonfiction. Looks intriguing, and reviews have been quite positive.
Don't Stop Believin': The Unofficial Guide to Glee
Gleeks unite! I've looked through several Glee-related books, and this one seems the best.
The Hardy Boys: The New Case Files I: Crawling With Zombies
The Hardy Boys are back, this time starring in their very own graphic novel series.
Hip Hop Dog
Kirkus Reviews says that this tale of a streetwise stray "begs to be read aloud," while Publishers Weekly praises its "upbeat, noncorny" rhymes.
When Holler Loudly was born, he cried so loudly that pecans fell from pecan trees. His enormous lung power ruins fishing trips, gets him escorted out of the movie theater, gets him in trouble at the library, and causes a stampede at the county fair. A barber shop concert teaches him that quiet times "could be just fine," but when a monstrous tornado threatens the town, Holler's the only one who can save the day. Reviews have been excellent.
Honda: The Boy Who Dreamed of Cars
Children's biographies of prominent Asians are difficult to find, which is why I was pleased to find this picture book biography of Soichiro Honda. Library Media Connection calls it "interesting and personable."
How to Grow Up and Rule the World
Written for those who want to be Darth Vadar over Luke Skywalker, The Joker over Batman, Lex Luthor over Superman, or The Green Goblin over Spiderman, How to Grow Up and Rule the World is a tongue-in-cheek guide for the aspiring supervillain. From choosing your costume, tips on evil laughter, and how to recruit enough people for your evil empire, Vordak the Incomprehensible tells all (even though he's not exactly the world's most successful supervillain). Sounds like major fun.
I Survived the Shark Attacks of 1916
Dun Dun DUN. Great white sharks terrorize the Jersey Shore in 1916. If you need a quick historical fiction read, I'll bet this would be a good one to grab. School Library Journal says that this is a "gripping story that will hold the interest of reluctant readers."
Lafayette and the American Revolution
Why did a French nobleman risk everything to fight for American freedom? Russell Freedman, a giant in the field of children's nonfiction, explains how this young aristocrat played an enormously important rule in the American Revolution as well as the French Revolution (for which he was exiled) and the anti-slavery movement.
Love You to Death: The Unofficial Companion to the Vampire Diaries
Fans of the CW Network television program (based upon the YA series of the same name) will chomp at the bit to read this guide to the hit television series.
Lunch Lady and the Bake Sale Bandit
Everyone's favorite crime-solving cafeteria lady is back in her latest adventure. If you're not familiar with this series, you are missing out! There was talk last summer of a movie version starring Amy Poehler, but I haven't heard anything recently about it (hope that Poehler is still signed for the movie; she'd be great).
Mars Needs Moms
I don't know much about this other than a movie version is set to be released next year. In 3-D, of course.
Miss Brooks Loves Books! (And I Don't)
School librarians, this one's for you. Miss Brooks is the costume-wearing free spirited school librarian. Missy is not enthusiastic about reading; worst of all, it's BOOK WEEK, for goodness sakes, and she has to read a book, wear a costume, and tell her class why she likes the book. As a librarian who loves a challenge, Miss Brooks fills Missy's bookbag with books. Missy informs her mother that she doesn't like any books that are too "flowery" or anything girly. But look what Miss Brooks has put in Missy's bag....a copy of Shrek (yes, the movie is *loosely* based on William Steig's picture book of the same name). Reviews say that this is a hilarious read; really excited about reading it.