Friday, April 18, 2014

The Thief and the Beanstalk

If you like dark fairytale retellings full of mystery and adventure, you will LOVE P.W. Catanese. Calvin just tried this for the first time and he's hooked. Lucy has loved these. I love these. I'm working on Mary. Great for kids ten and up.



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From Amazon:


Everyone knows the story of Jack and the beanstalk. Everyone also knows that Jack's little adventure made him a very rich man. But what they don't know is what happened a long time after Jack....
That's where Nick comes in. Orphaned and desperate, Nick joins a rugged band of thieves in hopes of a warm meal and a little protection. In exchange Nick must help them break into the lavish white castle rumored to belong to an old man named Jack. Legend says it's full of riches from Jack's quest up a magical beanstalk decades ago.
When Nick's dangerous mission leads him straight to Jack, he sees a chance to climb the famed beanstalk himself. But what Nick doesn't know is that things are different from when Jack made his climb. There are new foes at the top now. Ones with cruel weapons and foul plans -- plans that could destroy the world as Nick knows it. Will Nick come down the beanstalk a hero? Will he come down at all?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Star Crossed

This is a great fantasy series for your teen. Only the first two books are out so far—you may want to wait until the third arrives because it is hard to stop reading, I'll tell you that!

Ages 14 and up.


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From Amazon:

The 2nd novel from the winner of the ALA's YA Debut Award is Tamora Pierce meets THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER -- a thrilling fantasy about a thief at a snowbound castle, caught in a simmering rebellion .

In a glamorous castle full of Llyvraneth's elite, Celyn Contrare serves as a lady-in-waiting to shy young Merista Nemair. Her days are spent dressing in velvet, attending Lady Merista, navigating court gossip, and charming noblemen over lavish feasts.

And at night, she picks locks, steals jewels, forges documents, and collects secrets. Because Celyn isn't really a lady-in-waiting; she's not even really Celyn Contrare. She's Digger, a sneak-thief on the run from the king's Inquisition, desperate to escape its cruel instruments and hatred of magic. If she's discovered, it will mean her certain death.

But life as a lady-in-waiting isn't safe either. The devious Lord Daul knows her secret, and he's blackmailing her to serve as his personal spy in the castle. What she discovers-about Daul, about the Nemair, even about her own Lady Merista -- could signal civil war in Llyvraneth. And for a thief trained never to get involved, taking sides could be the most dangerous job yet.

Friday, April 11, 2014

All the Truth That's In Me

Please ignore this cover. It is one of the worst I've seen—I suppose it's meant to capture the attention of teenagers, but it just put me off reading the book, though I'd had it on my shelf for a long time.

But then this book won award after award. And friend after friend encouraged me to read it. 

It's worth it. Give this book a read, or give it to your teen. It will make you think and feel in a way you may not have for some time. 


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From Amazon:

Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. A YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Top Ten title. A 2014 Edgar Award nominee for YA. A Kids' Indie Next List Top Ten Pick -- #5, Best Books of Winter '13-'14. A School Library Journal Best Book of 2013. A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book for 2013. A Horn Book Fanfare 2013 title. A Junior Library Guild Selection. A 2014 TAYSHAS Top Ten Pick.  
 
Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by those who were once her friends and family.
 
Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home, silently pouring out her thoughts to the boy who's owned her heart as long as she can remember--even if he doesn't know it--her childhood friend, Lucas.
 
But when Roswell Station is attacked, long-buried secrets come to light, and Judith is forced to choose: continue to live in silence, or recover her voice, even if it means changing her world, and the lives around her, forever.
 
This startlingly original novel will shock and disturb you; it will fill you with Judith's passion and longing; and its mysteries will keep you feverishly turning the pages until the very last.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals Lives

This is such a beautiful book. We love it. LOVE it. Perfect for your young children learning how to count or your older naturalist. Calvin is writing his own book like this, because it is interesting to think about the connection between numbers and nature. Combine these ideas with the texture of the pages and the gorgeous illustrations, and you have a family keepsake, not just a book.

Ages 3 and up.

Product Details


From Amazon:

In one lifetime, a caribou will shed 10 sets of antlers, a woodpecker will drill 30 roosting holes, a giraffe will wear 200 spots, a seahorse will birth 1,000 babies.

Count each one and many more while learning about the wondrous things that can happen in just one lifetime. This extraordinary book collects animal information not available anywhere else—and shows all 30 roosting holes, all 200 spots, and, yes!, all 1,000 baby seahorses in eye-catching illustrations. A book about picturing numbers and considering the endlessly fascinating lives all around us, Lifetime is sure to delight young nature lovers.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Aviary Wonders Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual

We're into the absurd here lately. This catalog is completely absurd, completely absurd and lovely. It will also make you think a lot about what the world might look like as more and more of its animals and birds go extinct.


Product Details



From Amazon:

Since 2031, Aviary Wonders Inc. has offered bird lovers a unique opportunity: Assemble your own bird from stunningly beautiful and carefully hand-crafted parts. The birds can even be taught to fly and to sing! This slyly satirical crafter's delight is offered as the perfect antidote to extinction of birds in the wild.
Brilliantly illustrated with oil paintings and filled with laugh-aloud asides as well as sobering facts about extinct species, this mock catalog is a clever send-up of contemporary sales spin and a thought-provoking look into an all-too-possible future.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cold Fusion

That's right, you read the title right. Cold Fusion. This is a completely absurd fact book about Cold Fusion written by the fabulous team at The Haggis-On-Whey World of Unbelievable Brilliance. This book makes no sense. There is a timeline of the history of cold fusion followed by a timeline of timelines.

Read the description below and you'll get a good idea of exactly what this book is about. Sort of.

Ages 8 and up.  (Forgive the terrible picture—check this out for yourself on Amazon)


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From Amazon:


For many years the scientific and educational communities have wondered and worried about the possibility that semi-sane scholar-pretenders would find the means to publish a series of reference books aimed at children but filled with ludicrous misinformation. These books would be distributed through respectable channels and would inevitably find their way into the hands and households of well-meaning families, who would go to them for facts but instead find bizarre untruths. The books would look normal enough but would read as if written by people who should not have written them. Sadly, that day is upon us. The fourth book in the HOW series, Cold Fusion, is to be feared. Like its predecessors, Giraffes? Giraffes! and Animals of the Ocean, Cold Fusion must also be kept far from the young people in your life. This book reveals the secrets of cold fusion, one of the most controversial scientific pursuits that can be conducted in a bathtub.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

I hate to give away the fact that I pretty much hated Frozen, but okay, I will. I pretty much hated Frozen. Nothing happens in that story. Nothing! A retelling of the Snow Queen. What???

Anyway, that is not important here. This book is a retelling of the Snow Queen that is clever and intriguing, and it's a great story all on its own. I was totally absorbed. A story within a story—I love those when they're done well. 

Ages 10 and up.



Product Details


From Amazon:

A luminous retelling of the Snow Queen, this is the story of unlikely heroine Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard who doesn't believe in anything that can't be proven by science. She and her sister Alice are still grieving for their dead mother when their father takes a job in a strange museum in a city where it always snows. On her very first day in the museum Ophelia discovers a boy locked away in a long forgotten room.  He is a prisoner of Her Majesty the Snow Queen.  And he has been waiting for Ophelia's help.

As Ophelia embarks on an incredible journey to rescue the boy everything that she believes will be tested.  Along the way she learns more and more about the boy's own remarkable journey to reach her and save the world.

A story within a story, this a modern day fairytale about the power of friendship, courage and love, and never ever giving up.