Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Booklover in Training

This is Miss Hailey Woods, who really loved the 10 Little Ladybugs book mentioned in an earlier post.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Just Hit The Shelves!

A couple of fantastic paperbacks just came in!
Elizabeth Noble, author of "The Reading Group" and several other well
received books, is back with another winner. "The Girl Next Door"
involves an ensemble cast and seems very much like a reasonably
intelligent soap opera. We get to see bits of the lives of several
people in one building in Manhattan--relationships begin and end and
have everything in between happen to them as well. There is birth and
death, love and hate, fear and joy. This isn't a fluff read--Noble
weaves some pretty powerful emotions into these neighbors' tales (I
required a tissue late last night at one particularly intense scene).
You'll want to know what happens--with everyone!
This is a story told twice--once by Nora and once by Timothy. It is a love story. It is
a murder mystery. It keeps you guessing to the very end because it is extremely cleverly
written. The character development is deft, and the story moves along quickly with no
small touch of humor running throughout. I had TREMENDOUS difficulty putting this book
down. Trust me--you want to read this book.

I also love her earlier book

This really could be called "Murder on Wisteria Lane" and is a great read for the Desperate Housewife fan. Upscale suburbia is stunned when one of their own is killed--and suspicion runs rampant. It's kind of funny (especially the digs it takes at reading groups and cookie cutter wives of urban professionals) and actually a decent mystery with some VERY interesting twists at the end. One of the main sleuths is a former bookseller, which is a lot of fun as well.

There are lots of great books coming out in January, so stay tuned for more news and reviews!

Happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

For The Kid You Once Were (and that's hiding in you somewhere)

The holiday season always makes me nostalgic for the childhood book loves--probably because I'm lurking in the kids' section trying to find THE book to give the kinder in my life. But I'm not the only one thinking about all of that. Two great books have come out recently that cover some of that same ground.

Shelf Discovery By Lizzie Skurnick Shurnick talks about various young adult novels over the years in themed essays such as memorable narrators, teens on the verge, etc. She writes with a flair for the funny, so this a really entertaining read in it's own right that will bring back to mind lots of forgotten favorites.

Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children's Book
By Anita Silvey
Silvey asked one question of over one hundred movers, shakers and shapers of society:"What children's book changed the way you see the world?" The result is a delightful book full of treasured memories of books that transformed these people, at least in part, into who they are today. This is truly a fabulous book that people will be talking about for years.

This all brings several books to my mind. For instance, Winnie the Pooh, who turned 80 this year!
By A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard

I brought him into my adult life with Benjamin Hoff's delightful
Tao of Pooh.

Another that's gotten a lot of renewed attention these days is Maurice Sendek's unforgettable glimpse into an angry young boys imagination
Where the Wild Things Are

If you'd like a bit more grownup perspective on the book,
try Making Mischief: A Maurice Sendak Appreciation By Gregory Maguire (author of Wicked)

And last, but by means least, are some of my own personal favorites:

Little Bear 50th Anniversary Edition
By Else Holmelund Minarik, Maurice Sendak

The Giving Tree 40th Anniversary Edition
By Shel Silverstein

The Velveteen Rabbit
By William Nicholson, Margery Williams

Happy Holidays Everyone!!!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gift Ideas for the 3-8 Crowd

My friends and family are of an age that I have a substantial portion of my gift list that is in the 3-10 range, and I am loathe to get them faddish toys (unless, of course, they make lots of noise and will drive the parents nuts--I do have an evil streak that leans that way, lol). Generally, I try for books that will make an impression, because the love of books will be a forever thing.

Bad Dog Marley ( was a HUGE hit last year, so this year the Marley fans are getting Marley Goes To School
Of course it's funny--John Grogan has a talent for that, even for the kiddies, and the illustrations by Richard Cowdrey, are lots of fun.

Staying in the doggie vein, I really like The Dog Who Loved Tortillas ( because it talks about getting along with siblings, taking responsibility, and is written bilingually. Plus the claymation illustrations are sooooooo cute!

I've got a HUGE car fan on my list, so I was extremely pleased to
stumble upon Jon Scieszka's Trucktown Truckery Rhymes
( These are all
redone nursery rhymes and familiar kids songs with a hilarious truck
theme (Pop Goes The Diesel, Wrecker Rosie Sat On A Wall, etc), and the
illustrations are adorable.
Because my car fan is also a budding artist, I got her the
Trucktown Fun At the Junkyard coloring/activity/sticker book too

Anyone who has spent any time whatsoever around me this past year
knows that I fell HARD for Judy Schachner's Skippyjon Jones
(, the Siamese
kittenboy who likes to pretend that he is the superhero Chihuahua
Skippito who has amazing and daring adventures. Often with a song or
few involved. These books are hilarious, so I've got several under
the tree this year:
Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones

Skippyjon Jones In The Doghouse
Skippyjon Jones in Mummy Trouble
(, all of which come with bonus CDs.
I also snagged Skippyjon Jones A Surprise for Mama
(, his first stickerstorybook (and what kid doesn't love stickers, eh?). There are SEVERAL more Skippyjon themed books on our shelves for wee little tots on up-- "Aunty Claus" just couldn't afford to get them ALL this year! lol!

Stay tuned--I've got more book ideas for the kid in all of us!

Ho ho ho!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Ideas for Ages 3 and Under

Since there isn't much chance of them reading this blog, I'm going to
tell you about the books that caught my eye for the 3 and under set on my holiday list.

For the babies:

Workman Publishing has come out with these great books called
"Indestructibles" since babies "read" with their hands and mouths.
They are made of a kind of paper that won't tear or rip and is 100%
washable. The illustrations are bright and lots of fun to look at.
There are three books in the series now, all by Kaaren Pixton:
Wiggle! March! (

Flutter! Fly! (

Creep! Crawl! (

I also picked up Sleep,Baby,Sleep, illustrated by Teri Weidner. It's
a board book with lovely watercolors and cute farm animal
illustrations to go along with the lullaby and just the right thing
for a wee one's bedtime ritual.

Picture books:

I just discovered Stephen Parlato books and I am COMPLETELY blown away
by them. Dragons Love (
is enchanting. The illustrations are all collages cut into different
shapes to fit the simple but profound stories. You better believe
I'll be looking for more from Parlato in the future. Forget the kids,
I want this for myself! lol

Another truly beautiful book is The Lion and The Mouse by Jerry
Pinkney ( There are
no words, but the pictures are so amazing it's easy to get completely
lost in this book. I wouldn't mind having framed copies of any of
them, frankly. Pinkney puts a depth into each picture that is
impossible to describe and simply must be experienced.
And then there is my all time favorite, Graeme Base's Animalia
( This is
another book of such fantastic illustrations that I can loose myself
for hours at a time just looking at all the marvelous details.
Fun Books for Young Learners
I found THE cutest counting books for the 3 year olds in my life. Ten
Little Racing Cars (

and Ten Little Ladybugs

Both have colorful, tactile, 3D characters that appear and disapper through
cutouts in the pages of these board books. They are going to in
irresistible to kids! The rhyming text will go over well too.

I'll be posting ideas for older kids soon!


Ho! Ho! Ho! Woof! Woof! Woof!

While shopping for my dog loving friends, I stumbled upon two FANTASTIC books that I want
to bring to your attention.

First, at perfect stocking stuffer size, is "Christmas Is Good" by Trixie Koontz, who is
author Dean Koontz's dog, a retired service dog. It is hilarious--I"m talking rib
aching, tears in the eyes, can't breathe because you are laughing too hard hilarious. It
even contains a recipe, from Three Dog Bakery (which is a fabulous shop. There was one
in Cherry Creek North, but I haven't looked to see if it's still there.), for Peanut
Butter dog treats. The best part is that Trixie is donating all of her royalties from
this book to Canine Companions for Independence, the organization who originally raised
and trained her.

The other fab find is a trade paperback copy of "Bad To The Bone: Memoir of a Rebel
Doggie Blogger", by Bo Hoefinger of's "For The Love of Dog" blog. Reading it
a bit on the bus on the way home today tells me that I'm going to have to get my own copy
because it's absolutely irresistible!

Happy Barking Holidays!!!!


Friday, December 11, 2009

Top 10

It's that time of year when all of the "Best of 2009" lists are happening. I created my list with less difficulty than I would have thought, mostly because I belong to a couple of reading challenge groups that I had to keep a list of what I read for. Here it is:

10. The Kids Are All Right by Diana Welch and family
9. The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett
8. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Kathering Howe... See More
7. Coop by Michael Perry
6. The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips
5. Goat Song by Brad Kessler
4. Stitches by David Small
3. Wag by Patrick McDonnell
2. Shiver by Maggie Steifvater
1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Now it's your turn. What were your favorite reads this year? If you don't have 10 or the ones you want to list didn't come out this year, that's no problem--we still want to hear about them! Also, if anyone is interested in participating in a 2010 reading challenge, give us a shout and we'll create a group.

I hope December is treating you all kindly.