Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Tundra Turns 50!

Tundra Books is celebrating its 50th year! They have Instagram reps sharing in the fun, and I was lucky enough to be one for spring!

Check out my short reviews of some of Tundra's amazing books:
If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur by Linda Bailey and Colin Jack
Sam Sorts by Marthe Jocelyn
It's Great Being a Dad by Dan Bar-el, illustrated by Gina Perry
Little Blue Chair by Cary Fagan, illustrated by Madeline Kloepper
Count Your Chickens by Jo Ellen Bogart and Lori Joy Smith
Wolfie & Fly by Cary Fagan, illustrated by Zoe Si

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Warren the 13th and the Whispering Woods

Warren the 13th and the Whispering Woods
by Tania del Rio and Will Staehle

The Warren Hotel has been traveling for several months now, but exploring new terrain means Warren the 13th has to stay on his game to keep everything in tip-top shape, especially since the hotel is nearing the Malwoods. Witches and other dangerous creatures live there, so Warren needs to make sure he can change the hotel's path to ensure he doesn't put his hotel guests in harm's way.

But everyone wants a little bit of what the Warren Hotel possesses, whether it's the fame of the hotel itself, or someone staying inside it. And those villains aren't going to stop until they get what they want!

What is especially wonderful about this book is how Warren the 13th isn't the only "main" character - Petula and Sketchy get into their own troubles and really develop as strong characters. It's engrossing to have separate suspenseful storylines going on at the same time.

This book is just as gorgeous as the first, with green as the highlight color, compared to the first book's red. There are beautiful, expressive illustrations on every page; even the table of contents is no exception!

The graphic designer in me can't get enough of these beautiful books. They're so unique in look, layout, and story that I haven't stopped recommending it to kids (and adults, let's be honest). I love a lot of books and love to share those favorites with others, but this is one series that I am so eager to share with my son, because I know he's going to love soaking in the visuals and the story as much as I have.

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of Warren the 13th and the Whispering Woods by Quirk Books, but the review is my own.

Thank you to my husband (LightBoxArt) for letting me use two of his paintings as backdrops for book photos! They fit so perfectly with Warren the 13th!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Piper Perish

Piper Perish
by Kayla Cagan

Piper Perish is an artist obsessed with Andy Warhol. She dresses in fantastic styles, inspired by Warhol. She has short silver hair, in tribute to Warhol. And she's determined to go to art school in New York City and try to live like Warhol.

Piper isn't going to New York alone; she's been planning this dream with her boyfriend Enzo and her best friend Kit for years. But when Enzo breaks up with Piper at a New Year's Eve party their senior year, Piper isn't so sure the dream will happen.

Told in diary entries and doodles, this book is a compelling story about friendship and following dreams. The family dynamic in the book was a little strange and felt unrealistic, but the main storyline really drove the book.

I read this novel in a single sitting. I absolutely could not put it down. It made me feel like a teenager again - being obsessed with an artistic person (mine was Steven Tyler - I wanted to BE him! Don't laugh! Ok, you can laugh), being so confident in your passion, feeling like the world is your oyster. This book is so inspirational, and I've already recommended it to several teens at my library. I think it's an important book for adults to read, too - never forget your passion!

Monday, February 27, 2017

10 Things I Can See From Here

10 Things I Can See From Here
by Carrie Mac
Publication Date: February 28, 2017

Maeve deals with extreme anxiety, and it doesn't help that her mom is traveling to Haiti and sending Maeve to live with her father for six months. Her father who is a recovering alcoholic, and whose wife is seven months pregnant and planning a home birth - Maeve can't even begin to list all of the possible problems with that situation! Maeve's life seems to be spiraling out of control little by little, getting derailed by things that might not necessarily throw anyone else off track.

When Maeve meets Salix, she's nervous, but ready for her first real relationship with a girl. But then again, Salix is another person for Maeve for worry about while she struggles to balance her family's other problems.

This book was very engaging and easy to read - I finished it in two sitings because I couldn't put it down. Even now, the characters keep popping into my mind. They are all very realistic and well-rounded. No one is "good"" or "bad" - everyone is flawed, and Mac addresses this wonderfully. I especially loved that Maeve's family is supportive of her orientation, which is nice (and unfortunately rare) to see represented in young adult fiction. 

My only problem with this book is something of a backhanded compliment - it ended too soon. I would have loved to see more of the characters, but also I feel like the serious, important part of the story is yet to come. It is said over and over that Maeve is only staying with her father for six months, but she is embarking on her first serious relationship and growing closer to her family and neighbors, especially when compared with the isolated life she and her mother seemed to lead in another town. I think this novel had great character development, but they weren't necessarily thrown into the fire as I would have liked to see.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White

Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White
by Melissa Sweet

I've read a lot of E.B. White's work, but I didn't know much about him. This book was an incredibly enjoyable way to learn about him, and is probably my favorite biography read so far.

I loved this book because it really pulls the reader in. It goes beyond words on a page; it is presented as a scrapbook of E.B. White's life. Snippets of letters and White's early work are beautifully laid out on the pages. Sweet adds a lot of color and character with bright illustrations, giving readers visual insight into the author's life.

Some quotes I could especially relate to:

- "'There is a secret joy in discovering a blunder in the public prints,' Andy wrote. 'Almost every person has a little proofreader in him'" (44).

- "To a writer, a child is an alibi. If I should never write anything worth reading, I can always explain that by pointing to my child" (50).

- "A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell" (102, also from The Elements of Style).