Fairy Tale Matchmaker – ARC Giveaway

The last few months have been crazy busy and I have neglected this blog for way too long. So, to get things going again I thought I would post a review and give away my ARC copy of the book. E.D. Baker is one of my favorite middle grade, fantasy writers. Her books are clever and feature strong female characters that lots of girls and boys can relate to. She is one of my go-to authors when recommending books for tweens in the library. Her newest series is a clever take on the fairy-tales we all know and love.

 

Cory hates being a Tooth fairy. The hours are horrible, the human world is dangerous, and the pay is a joke. After one last attempt to collect teeth and being chased by a pack of dogs, she quits. She tries other jobs including babysitting Humpty Dumpty and ridding her friends house of giant spiders. None of these jobs seem quite right. As she tries to find her true purpose in life she discovers that quitting the Tooth Fairy Guild is not as easy as it seems. They will try anything to get her back including fairynapping!

E.D. Baker is back with a new middle grade series set in the vast fairy tale world. The characters are familiar but the story has a few twists and turns that will keep readers turning the pages.

Cory the Tooth Fairy and her pet groundhog Nibbles are likable characters and have some pretty fun adventures as she finds out what her gifts really are. The story tends to drag in a few places and there is not as much action and adventure as I would have expected. It’s a cute concept and I think diehard Baker fans will enjoy this new series.

My only big issue was the ending. It wraps up really quick and ends in a really awkward way. There is no cliffhanger and I was left wanting more but not exactly sure what “more” would be. Since it is a series and this was an ARC copy I am hoping that there might be a few changes or at least an expectation of what the next book in the series might be.

I would suggest this title to tween readers who are fans of authors like Jessica Day George, Shannon Hale, and Anne Barrows. It is a cute book and one that has lots of promise.

 

Want your own copy? Post a comment below and I will choose a winner. This book has already been published. The copy I am giving away is an ARC copy that I received at the ALA Convention this year.

 

I’m not ashamed to read YA

A recent article on Slate suggests that as an adult, I should be embarrassed that I am still reading and enjoying YA literature. (click the picture above for the story)  This article quite frankly chaps my hide. As a librarian I feel that one should read whatever the h*** suits their fancy. If you want to read the Magic Tree House and you are 50 years old.. go for it! If you want to read the latest YA fantasy and you happen to be a 33 year old Youth Services Librarian then who cares. Get over yourself Ms. Graham. In a world where getting people to read at any age is an increasing challenge, we don’t need the shaming. Many adults stop reading after college and never pick up anything again for pleasure. Why make anyone feel embarrassed because they love Divergent or Winnie the Pooh?

I had a lovely elderly lady come in with fond memories of “Little House on the Prairie.” Did I turn her away to the adult section for books “suited to her advance adult status?” No way! I took her to the shelf and we had a wonderful chat about the characters and why we both loved rereading this series. Life is too short to worry about whether or not you’re reading in your supposed age group.

The author goes on to write about the dreamy love stories and sappy teenage angst. She states the following :

When chapter after chapter in Eleanor & Park ends with some version of “He’d never get enough of her,” the reader seems to be expected to swoon. But how can a grown-up, even one happy to be reminded of the shivers of first love, not also roll her eyes?

Most importantly, these books consistently indulge in the kind of endings that teenagers want to see, but which adult readers ought to reject as far too simple. YA endings are uniformly satisfying, whether that satisfaction comes through weeping or cheering. These endings are emblematic of the fact that the emotional and moral ambiguity of adult fiction—of the real world—is nowhere in evidence in YA fiction. These endings are for readers who prefer things to be wrapped up neatly, our heroes married or dead or happily grasping hands, looking to the future. But wanting endings like this is no more ambitious than only wanting to read books with “likable” protagonists.

Ruth Graham – Against YA

So as an adult I am only allowed to read “not so simple books” and books with more ambitious endings? Really??? Because that sucks! I read to escape. So do many of my patrons (of all ages). Sometimes you crave the happy endings and the simple story. Sometimes you crave more sophistication. Why is this a problem?

In the end, this article is just one opinion. She is entitled to it even though I 1000% disagree. It also looks like many librarians and other commentators feel that she is vastly missing the boat. I encourage you to read a few. Kudos to my fellow librarians who call her to task very gently and admirably.

People read what you like. Enjoy life and enjoy the books that bring you happiness. Teach your children to enjoy books from all genres and ages. Reading is not for shaming. It’s for exploration, joy, hope, laughter, tears, and hundreds of other emotions that flow from the pages.

2014 Newbery and Caldecott Winners announced!

The American Library Association has just announced the 2014 Youth Media Awards. I am very excited that one of my favorite titles won the Newbery. I thought I would share the list with my readers and my thoughts on the winners. Congrats to the Authors and Illustrators! Also, a shout out to the men and women on the awards committees. You had an extremely difficult task. The long months of reading, deciding, and agonizing are over. You chose the best of the best so don’t listen to the negatives! Well done!

Link to the list of 2014 award winners

Newbery 2014 Winner–  

Flora and Ulyssess: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo and K.G. Campbell (illustrations)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you get when you mix a superhero squirrel and a young cynic? You get another brilliant story from the author Kate DiCamillo. Flora is a young cynic who would rather read her favorite comic series “Terrible things can happen to you” than deal with her Mother, a typewriter crazed romance novelist. One fateful day she rescues a squirrel after he is sucked up by a vacuum cleaner and her world forever changes. Ulysses is not just a squirrel but a budding superhero/poet in the making. Will their friendship last? Will Ulysses ever get a doughnut?

I highly recommend this book. I love how it is a story and graphic novel wrapped into one beautiful book. The illustrations are charming and the story is quirky with lots of heart.

Newbery Honor books:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doll Bones,” written by Holly Black and published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Year of Billy Miller,” written by Kevin Henkes and published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Came Home,” written by Amy Timberlake and published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paperboy,” written by Vince Vawter and published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

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We did a Mock Caldecott at the Public Library where I work a few weeks back. We chose Journey by Aaron Becker as the winner. Our honor choices were The Dark  by Lemony Snicket, Jon Klassen (Illustrations) and The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywelt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers.

I honestly was surprised that Journey didn’t take the award this year. However, I am very pleased with the winner. It is a visually stunning book. The illustrations are vivid and bold. I also love that the fonts for the text are as beautiful as the illustrations. It is a great choice.

Caldecott Winner 2014-

Locomotive by Brian Floca (Author & Illustrator) 

Hop on board a train to the west! Learn all about Locomotives in this visually stunning book. Read all about steam engines, workers, train tracks and more in this fast moving picture book by Brian Floca. Not only are the illustrations a joy, the text is artistic and fun. This is a great book for all ages and a perfect fit for kids who are crazy about trains.

Caldecott Honor books-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journey,” written and illustrated by Aaron Becker and published by Candlewick Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flora and the Flamingo,” written and illustrated by Molly Idle and published by Chronicle Books LLC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Wuffles!” written and illustrated by David Wiesner and published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with the winners or do you think that there were better choices? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Book Review- Privateer’s Apprentice

Privateer’s Apprentice- Susan Verrico

Thirteen year old Jameson Cooper is left alone when his parents die from a horrible illness. The son of a well known Printer, Jameson’s dreams are over and he is left to live on the street. During an unfortunate encounter with the baker he is accused of stealing and sent to prison. Before he can start working off his crimes he is kidnapped by the infamous Attack Jack and taken to sea. There he learns how to keep a secret and stay alive on the dangerous waters.

This book reminds me of Treasure Island and Bloody Jack with the high adventure aspect of the story. The day to day life of the crew is interesting and realistic. Jameson has both friends and enemies aboard the ship and has to grow up fairly quickly. However, he does a fair share of complaining which took away from some of the story. The plot is a bit hazy and I am not sure what the author was trying to achieve. There is a building conflict between a few characters that really doesn’t go anywhere either.

Other than that it is a fun book with a little bit of adventure to keep the pages turning. I would recommend it to children and teens that are fans of Treasure Island or sea adventure stories. Unfortunately for me it was a bit forgettable.

This book is on the Missouri Mark Twain Nominee list for 2014-2015.

Similar Reads:

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy (Bloody Jack #1)
by L.A. Meyer

Treasure Island
by Robert Louis Stevenson

A Little free Library date!

The Mister and I recently discovered that our town has Little Free libraries! We found one by chance on the way home from the comic book store. It is super cute with bright flowers painted on the sides and filled to the brim  with books. If you have never heard of the Little Free Library movement check them out at http://www.littlefreelibrary.org/

We decided to look up and see if there were more around the city. We ended up finding four and made it part of our weekly date night. I dug through my shelves for books to trade at each stop while he plotted everything out using our trusty GPS. Most of the libraries were in neighborhood yards. However, one was located in an office complex! I thought that was a brilliant idea. Hey, even business people need books.  It was a super fun night and now I am saving money for a Little Free Library in our yard! Here is our tour with an explaination of each stop. Enjoy!

Stop #1- Center city

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This Library is the traditional design that is featured on the website. It is painted bright blue on the sides and had a decent selection for kids and adults.

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Here are the contents that we found. I left the book “A room with a view” and just took a few pictures. They also had a little grey tube with a pencil and some paper where you could leave notes.

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I really liked the bright blue sides that looked like paneling. Everything looked durable and weatherproof.

Stop #2– Another blue box (I forgot to snap a picture of the sides)

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This library had some pretty flowers planted all around the base and was full of books from top to bottom!

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This one had a good mix of fantasy, adult fiction, mystery, romance, children’s books and some magazines. I love the burgundy paint on the inside. I think they might need a bigger box!!

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I decided to leave little notes at each library. I really want people to know that this is a wonderful thing! Lots of people don’t have access to literature and being able to grab a book to read for free is encouraging.

Stop #3- My favorite little Library!

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This one is my favorite. It has two shelves for books, LED lights that use solar energy, a cute notebook for suggestions, decorations on the windows and pretty flowers at the base. This is the first library we spotted and it is what motivated our date. I really like the design.

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This one is really organized well! A librarians dream. I like the inside colors and the suggestion notebook. It looks like the owners answer each message that is left. They had a decent mix of adult, children’s and teen fiction. None of the others had YA books so this was a welcome change.

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I love the outside! The cheerful flowers and sun makes it really welcoming and eye catching. You could see it as you drove by.

Stop # 4- The Mister’s favorite library. Books for Business people!

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This little library is located in a business park. It has a very classy design and even has shingles!! The mister loved that it was not in a neighborhood. It is located near the mailboxes so everyone can see it.

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This has a very Carnegie feel to it!! It also has been really taken care of. There were lots of books for adults along with magazines like Forbes and Time. I think it is one of the prettiest in the city. The design is very classy.

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We had lots of fun on our date and were able to unload some books from our shelves. I only ended up taking one book out of all the stops. We mainly just wanted to see what others had created and how accessible they were to the general public. I am happy to report that we found them all very easily and each one had a good mix of things for all kinds of readers.

I cannot wait to order my kit and set one up in our yard! How can I not have a little free library when I am a librarian? We have lots of kids and teens in our neighborhood so ours will be very kid friendly. I thought about adding recipe books, gardening and possibly the newspaper along with the books. The Mister wants it to be two stories and very colorful. Once we get it finished I will be sure to update and post lots of pictures.

Do you have a Little Free Library in your neighborhood?

~VEB