Monday, March 12, 2012

Oh When the Books Come Marching In

We just sent off our March children's/YA books order, and I am so stoked to tell you about the marvelous things that will soon be on our shelves.  Our new books will be CROWDED with fabulous reads, because many of our remaining February books are just now being placed on the shelf (many February books had a mid-February publishing date). In between this lull, I had hoped to catch up on some 2011 reads and to get some adult fiction read, but that's going to be put on the backburner for now!

One Dog and His Boy

One Dog and His Boy, Eva Ibbotson's posthumous novel, is one that I've been itching to read for some time. I do love a good dog story, and judging from the reviews, Eva Ibbotson delivers the goods.  A ten year old boy wants a dog more than anything.  His parents think that using a dog-rental service will get it out of his system.  If you're familiar with Ibbotson (and if you're not, you should be!), you know that grand adventures are in store for both boy and the dog. 

After the Snow

Dystopian sci fi! Not really my thing, but it's the in thing right now. A good story is a good story, though, and this debut novel has already picked up some rave reviews, including several starred reviews.  It's after the great snows of 2059, which catapulted the UK and much of the US into a new ice age.  Brrrr. 15 year old Willo comes home one day, after trapping, to find his entire family gone.  Some reviews have noted that the violence can get graphic, but Publishers Weekly opines that "[D]espite its grim take on humanity's willingness to do evil, it also demonstrates that, even under the most straitened circumstances, people are capable of unexpected kindness and altruism."   I can see this being paired with Trapped and The Winter Pony for a "chilly reads" bundle. 

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again

Confession: I've never read Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I've never even seen the movie, which is weird, because I grew up watching many of the classic family movies from the 60s and 70s.  I'm planning to remedy that very soon (at least reading the book), because I'm a Boyce fan, and this is getting awesome reviews.

The Crazy Case of Missing Thunder

Yay, a new easy chapter book! I so wish this would be a niche that would catch on fire like picture books did in the 90s and YA has done in the past decade (and 500+ page children's novels ever since Harry Potter came out). And not just ones about spunky girls--although I do love the spunky girls stories.  Ordering The Crazy Case of Missing Thunder (first in a series) was a no-brainer.  It has mystery, humor, and features a cast of multicultural boys and girls. In their first outing, the Goofballs (their club name) are sleuthing the disappearance of a pony.

Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip

Happy dance! Happy dance! Jordan Sonnenblick has a new book out. Peter Friedman's pitching days are over. He was able to hide his injury and pain throughout the eighth grade season, but no more.  To make matters worse, his grandfather has developed Alzheimer's.  Trying to keep his career-ending news from his best friend and his grandfather's news from his mother gets more difficult as time goes on, until the secrets cannot be hidden any longer.  Sonnenblick excells in combining pathos and humor in his novels; the reviews reflect that his talents are very much evident in Curveball.

The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict

Well, whaddya know. Trenton Lee Stewart has written a prequel to his enormously popular The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict. Get your hold requests in quickly.

The Fairy Ring

Oh, HOLD UP. I saw this in Candlewick's Spring 2012 catalog several months ago and have been dying to read this.  This is an account of the fairy hoax involving two little girls at the turn of the 20th century. It's a fascinating tale very much of a time in which England was shell-shocked by the brutality of World War I, and an age in which the cult of the supernatural and the worship of childhood innocence were at their peaks. It's getting fine reviews (including a starred review from The Horn Book); cannot wait.

The Final Four

The Final Four

This fictional look at four players in the NCAA Final Four has received promising reviews for its "solid sports action" (Kirkus Reviews); although this "gritty, realistic, and riveting novel" (School Library Journal) involves college players, the age recommendations are for eighth grade and up (I usually trust School Library Journal's age recommendations). It also touches on (financial) controversial aspects of high-profile college sports, so this could open up good discussions around sports ethics.


As a huge fan of Laura Vaccaro Seeger's brilliant concept books ( I read Lemons Are Not Red to my Baby Steps class several weeks ago, and they were mesmerized), I an eager to get my hands on Green.  It's racked up several starred reviews, naturally; School Library Journal proclaimed it "picture book making at its very best." Wow!


It's becoming a cliche that a YA cover must feature a girl in a fancy dress; it's unfortunate that Illuminate has such a standard cover (although it's definitely an attention grabber for teen girls), because this debut novel is getting superb reviews.  Harcourt (its publisher) is gaga over this book; they featured it heavily in their catalog and have booktalked it in several recent webcasts featuring spring YA titles.  Angels and demons are huge in YA (vampires may never die, and YA vampire books will never die, but the vampire trend is not nearly as white-hot as it was in years past), so I have great expectations that this book (first in a planned trilogy) will be very popular.  Shy, intelligent Haven is interning at a swanky hotel, where she discovers that the hotel staff has diabolical plans for her school's prom night. Eeek! It's set in Chicago, which is a nice change from New York-centric glam YA novels.  Of course, an evil prom book naturally brings to mind Carrie, the ultimate in prom horror stories (literally and figuratively, although I see no evidence of Carrie sparking an industry of prom horror novels now or in its day).  Being that this is YA, and Carrie is decidedly not (although many readers encounter Stephen King's books in their adolescence, and Carrie is often their first King novel), I'm banking on the assumption that Haven saves the day (plus, Haven, I gather, is not out for revenge on her classmates).

No Go Sleep

I am loving the Feiffer collaborations; this outstanding daughter-father team created the funny and darling My Side of the Car, and I have every expectation that their latest will be just as fun and heartwarming as that one. A baby is fighting sleep, although everyone (mom, dad, animals) and everything (the moon, baby's toys) is telling him that everything's fine and that they will watch over him while he sleeps.  Publishers Weekly says that "it has nightly must-read written all over it." Awesome.


Ah, the baseball books are in full swing (pun intended).  Sixth grader Jack's minor concussion turned out to not be a big deal physically, but it rattled him mentally.  Jack is on edge every time a throw comes his way, and it's messing up his mojo.  Plunked is getting attention for its depiction of high-stakes youth sports. "An uncommonly thoughtful baseball novel," according to Publishers Weekly. Kirkus agrees, tagging Jack as a "likable young player....readers will empathize with him and cheer him on."


I'm enormously curious about this one; I plan to read it as soon as we receive it (mainly because it sounds like a unique story, and to get a feel to the amount of violence in the story).  14 year old Carver is an orphan growing up in 1895's New York City;  he is chosen as an apprentice to a detective agency, which is trying to catch a serial killer terrorizing New York City.  It's getting sensational reviews, The Horn Book Magazine in particular: "This exhilarating, history-bending, non-stop action story crowded with mind puzzles, chases, fight scenes, and intricate plot twists will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the last chapter's revelation."

Superman vs. the Ku Klux Klan

Superman turns 80 this year. For whatever reason, Superman doesn't seem to have the longstanding cool factor of Batman and Spiderman; Superman seems to be more of a product of his time, and its popular movie franchise came years ago.  Rick Bowers's account of how Superman (on his radio show) battled the Ku Klux Klan may be the key to reintroducing him to new fans. It's certainly a story I've never heard, and one I'm impatiently anticipating.  It's published by National Geographic, so I'm looking forward to an impressive layout. I love, love, love the National Geographic franchise, so any day there's a new book (or magazine issue) from them is a good day in my book.   School Library Journal hails it "engrossing" and "brilliant."

Who Was Steve Jobs?

Believe it or not, there are already several children's biographies published (after Jobs's death) about Steve Jobs.  I held off until I found this one; being already familiar with the Who Was? series, I trusted its content and presentation (as good as the others may be, they are more of the "strictly for reports" type of books).  I'm sure this will be popular.

Oh. My. Goodness.  I am overwhelmed just looking at this post--and I didn't include every title that I would like to highlight! The 2012 publishing year is on a roll!


Ms. Yingling said...

It's SO hard to put in the last order of the school year. There's always at least one book I forget, and when some are back ordered... argh! I'm waiting to read the Ripper one, but it does look good. The Sonnenblick is beyond excellent. You will be happy.

Jennifer Schultz said...

Thanks, Ms. Yingling!