Yikes! It's been way too long since I've updated this blog. This time of year gets busier than usual due to summer reading program preparations, so those have taken precedence.
I've been looking forward to telling you about the great books coming in May. There are several late May titles, so not all will be available just yet.
Aliens on Vacation
David is not looking forward to the summer. He's been shipped off to Grandma's house in Washington. Grandma's an unusual gal; she runs the Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast for people who pretend that they are from outer space. Actually, it turns out that not everyone is pretending, and the neighbors are getting rather suspicious. Kirkus Reviews called this "[I]deal for upper-elementary readers dabbling in sci-fi." Excellent. Cover is really cool, too.
A Ball For Daisy
Word on the street (well, blogosphere) is that this nearly wordless book about a dog and her favorite ball (and what happens when a bigger dog destroys it) is one to watch for the Caldecott.
Libba Bray definitely knows how to bring the weird to YA fiction, and I say that with the utmost admiration. I've been waiting for months to read this, and early word is that it's worth the wait. 13 teen beauty pageant contestants must stay alive on a (sort of) deserted island after their plane crashes. It's a satire on many things in popular culture and the media (they have to deal with contestants on a pirate-based reality show), looks, the media, etc, but Publishers Weekly wants us to know that "[T]here's a lot of message, but every time the story veers toward sermonizing, Bray corrects with another crack about our media-saturated, appearance-obsessed, consumer-driven society."
Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake
This is a story about love at first bite (no, not a vampire story). When Betty Bunny gets her first taste of chocolate cake, she immediately loves it (naturally). So much, in fact, that she wants to marry it, which her older siblings find hilarious. Kirkus Reviews praises Michael Kaplan's "exquisite sense of dramatic pacing and comedic timing, as well as a deep understanding of a 5-year-old bunny girl's emotions."
Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition
I have to confess that I don't know that much about the Prohibition Era, so I am really looking forward to reading Karen Blumenthal's latest book. I'm a big fan of her books on Title IX and the stock market crash, and reviews have been very positive. Unraveling Freedom made the argument that some aspects of the Prohibition movement were marked with anti-German American sentiment, so I'm curious if Blumenthal discusses that.
A Butterfly is Patient
Reviews have said that this follow-up to An Egg is Quiet and A Seed is Sleepy is just as stunning as its predecessors.
Earth to Clunk
I think this picture book about a boy and his alien pen pal will be popular.
The Friendship Doll
I'm not a fan of doll-oriented stories. At all. However, I can't resist a new book by Kirby Larson. The premise sounds really neat too: In 1927, 58 dolls were sent from Japan to the States as tokens of friendships. This is the story of the dolls' lives in America, set against the turbulent events of the Depression. Larson was inspired to write this when, during the course of her research for her Newbery Honor book, Hattie Big Sky, she discovered a picture of a Montana farm girl with an elaborate Japanese doll.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
This one also has an interesting history, for this was originally published online in 2009 and won the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, becoming the first ebook to do so. This fantasy about a 12 year old girl living in World War II era Omaha and her adventures in Fairyland has received amazing reviews from The Horn Book ("amusing, wretching, and thought-provoking"), Kirkus Reviews ("...a heroine as curious, resourceful, and brave as any Alice or Dorothy") and Publishers Weekly ("...it's the sort of book one doesn't want to end.").
The Glorious Adventures of the Sunshine Queen
Oh, wow. When I heard that Geraldine McCaughrean's latest book was set on a riverboat theater company, I was immediately hooked. One of my favorite musicals is Show Boat, after all (which is about more than a riverboat theater company, but you get what I mean). This promises to be full of hijinks, adventures, and villains. Awesome. Kirkus Reviews thinks so, at least: "This one has a bit of a Huck Finn feel, and those readers who like their adventures with a heavy dose of plot twists and tomfoolery will be smitten." As this is a companion novel to Stop The Train, several reviewers have noted that it's helpful if you have read that one first.
The Grand Plan to Fix Everything
When 11 year old Indian-American Dini's mother receives a two year grant to work at a rural clinic in India, Dini is distraught. Not only will she miss Bollywood dance camp, but she'll have to leave behind her best friend, Maddie. It sounds absolutely lovely and charming, like many of the "girly" middle-grade chapter books out there, but its unusual setting and multicultural aspect makes it unique. It's getting very nice reviews. Sounds like a winner.
Huck Runs Amuck!
All goats love to eat. Huck is no exception. His fondness for flowers in particular causes him to get into all sorts of trouble. When a mad dash to devour the flowers on Mrs. Spooner's hat is mistaken for a valiant rescue attempt, Huck has to face an ethical dilemma. School Library Journal loved the "clever perspectives, appealing colors, and [a] large dose of humor," while Kirkus Reviews deemed it "hilarious, laugh out loud fun."
The Last Day of Kindergarten
There are plenty of "first day of kindergarten" stories, but this may be the first one about the last day of kindergarten. While waiting for her kindergarten graduation ceremony to begin, a young girl remembers the fun of her kindergarten year, the relatively mundane yet still exciting end-of-the-year tasks, and the nervous anticipation of first grade.
My World, My Story: Life Stories From Around the World
I'm a big fan of cross-cultural books (A School Like Mine, My Friends' Beliefs), and DK's recent forays into this field have been successful. My World, My Story takes a look at 23 teens from Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, the United States, Mexico, and other countries to find out what makes them unique and what makes them similar to teens in other countries.
The Neighborhood Sing-Along
The Neighborhood Mother Goose is probably my favorite Mother Goose collection; its multicultural photographs make it a standout in the crowded field of nursery rhyme collections.
Saving Audie: A Pit Bull Puppy Gets a Second Chance
Saving Audie is the story of little Audie, a pit bull puppy rescued from Michael Vick's dogfighting ring. Audie waited several months at a shelter until he underwent behavior evaluation in order to determine if he was suitable for rehabilitation. After passing the tests and being placed in a home, Audie underwent knee surgery and started agility training, at which he excelled. Not only is Audie an agility pro, but he also helps to socialize fearful and shy dogs. What a champ. The book also contains information about pit bulls and a timeline of the Michael Vick case.
Smells Like Treasure
I predict that this mystery/adventure story involving a boy and his dog will be popular. We also ordered its predecessor, Smells Like Dog.
A Tale of Two Castles
Hold on to your hats. Gail Carson Levine has a new book out. And if you know anything about Levine's books, you know that it involves a terrific heroine, lots of adventure, and of course, royal intrigue. Elodie intends to be an apprentice to an actor, but ends up being an apprentice to a dragon. You can see how that can happen. Great reviews, as usual.
12 year old twins discover that they are "trouble twisters"-apprentice magicians just realizing their powers. Yes, it's another case of supernatural children saving the world book, but kids love that stuff. It's also by a fine author. Not only that, Grandma is in charge of showing the kids the ropes, which is a nice touch. First in a series.
Titanic fever may have cooled, but I'm confident that there's still enough interest that will make this book fairly popular. This is also the first in a planned series (a trilogy) focusing on passengers aboard the doomed steamship. I'm a fan of Korman's books, so I'm eager to read this.
This is only a handful of the great stuff coming our way!