Moving right along...
Miss Lina's Ballerinas
8 little girls take ballet with Miss Lina: Christina, Marina, Edwina, Nina, and friends walk in four lines of two everywhere they go. Everything is perfectly aligned. Trouble ensues when a ninth girl, Regina, joins the troupe. Eventually, the girls learn that "everything's perfect now there are nine/because dancing in three rows of three is divine." (You get a little math lesson thrown in, too.) If you're getting a Madeline-vibe, you're not alone, as reviewers have also pointed this out (not in a negative way; it's received lovely reviews). It looks like everything a ballet-obsessed little girl could want (it's also multicultural).
Mr. Elephanter spends his days caring for the elephants. He feeds them breakfast (banana pancakes) and takes them on field trips to the pool and the park. Kirkus Reviews says that the pages "melt with charm" and School Library Journal declares it "oddly charming." I need an elephant book for an elephant themed story time, so I'm eager to read this book.
A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea
Why is a pig parade such a terrible idea? Michael Ian Black will explain it to us: the only floats they really care about are root beer floats, and they prefer weepy country ballads to Sousa marches. Reviews call this book absolutely hilarious.
Ever since I heard about this book set in Clear Lake, TX in the days before and after the Challenger explosion, I've been on pins and needles waiting for this book (the release date should be early January). Clear Lake is the home of the Johnson Space Center; it's also where my cousins grew up. NASA influences a great deal of the area, and many NASA families also live in the community. Annie is more interested in poetry than space, and although her mother and her boyfriend are encouraging her to make plans for her future, Annie isn't really sure what she wants to do. Through an introduction by a friend, Annie meets Christa McAuliffe, training to be the First Teacher in Space. Annie, inspired by McAuliffe, and her father travel to Florida, her first trip outside of Texas, to cheer on McAuliffe.
Jenny Moss, author of the excellent Winnie's War, trained crew members for the Challenger launch. Her immediacy to the events makes this truly special. On a lighter note, Kirkus Reviews also notes her evocation of the 1980s. Very nice.
The Rooster Prince of Breslov
The Horn Book Magazine praises this Yiddish folktale for its "subtlety and humor" and its "witty, dialogue-based storytelling." I love folktales, so I'm happy when I come across some real finds.
A Sick Day For Amos McGee
Amos McGee takes very good care of the animals in the zoo; when he falls ill, the animals return the favor. Awwww.
The Simpsons Futurama Crossover Crisis
Futurama's crew gets trapped in a Simpsons comic book. D'oh! Publishers Weekly calls this a "funny, intricately detailed story."
The Star Maker
Laurence Yep is one of my favorites; his depictions of Chinese-American history are gripping, occasionally heartbreaking, and magical. This looks like another winner; set in San Francisco's Chinatown during the 1950s, a young boy brags to a bully that he'll be able to buy Chinese New Year fireworks for his entire family, even though money is really tight.
Sugar and Ice
A rural girl with promising skating talent wins the chance to train with the elites, who look down on her country ways. Wait a minute; isn't that how Ice Castles starts out? (That movie is AWESOME. I don't care what anybody says, although it's a little disconcerting to hear Marilla from Anne of Green Gables swear like a sailor.) I'm guessing Claire doesn't go skating on a rink cluttered with tables and chairs (!) and go blind, though. It's received very nice reviews and praise for its realistic
depiction of competitive skating (Sugar and Ice did, that is. Not Ice Castles.) Books about competitive ice skaters are right up my alley, so I'm looking forward to this one! We just need something for gymnastics (or bring The Little Gymnast back in print)
Superheroes on a Medical Mission: Medikidz Explain Autism
I've been really curious about the Medikidz series for some time; when I finally had enough room in an order to include a Medikidz title, I decided to order the autism title. There's a bunch of these graphic novels, explaining everything from breast cancer to depression. The series originated in Britain, so I'm interested to see how much this affects terminology and whatnot.
Who Was Jim Henson?
I discovered the "Who Was...?" biography series while serving on the Jefferson Cup Committee. I really like these simple and chatty biographies.
Fantastic! What a great set of books. Happy reading!