“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams • Middle-grade fiction

Just out! Dial Books for Young Readers Ages 8 - 12
“Don’t think that it didn’t cross my mind to cast a little spell or two to get me out of trouble, because it did.”
Story:  Abbie Adams and her family come from a long line of witches, and she’s having a tough time keeping it a secret from her best friend and the rest of her school.  Especially the day her little brother morphs into a wolf and tries to eat his teacher. 
That’s also the day her father brings home a kitten.  Abbie’s been begging for a cat for months, and she falls in love with that fluffy fuzzball right away.  But there’s something peculiar about this kitten, and it just might take a witch like Abbie to figure out what it is.
Story behind the story:  "When I was a kid," says author Rhonda Hayter, "I hated when somebody tried to teach me something in a book. I wanted to read for fun, I didn’t want education.  I got enough of that in school! When I wrote The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams, I made it a funny, breezy read. So nobody minds when they learn about a great American, pick up interesting vocabulary and get introduced to other books.  That’s because I snuck it all into a fast-paced romp about a normal fifth grader who happens to be a witch, with problems like a little brother who melts down, turns into a werewolf and tries to eat his teacher."

Praise: Kirkus calls it “light as cotton candy and just as tasty.”  Library Media Connection says, “a humorous book with lots of excitement”.
Rhonda Hayter was an actress and now works as a story analyst for a famous movie producer.  When she and her husband found themselves with two little boys, one of whom morphed into a werewolf one day, The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams was born.

FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent; please check back on the "comments" link to read what your colleagues have to say.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Time to meet the authors...

This week, 5 new books from KidsBuzz.  Meet the authors and enter to win free books -- and even a free custom surfboard (I'm not kidding, a real surfboard!). This week, books about telling stories and new siblings, asking questions, magic and possibilities, action adventure, and the drama and trauma of high school, from Sarah Sullivan (ONCE UPON A BABY BROTHER, ages 5-8), Deborah Hopkinson (THE HUMBLEBEE HUNTER, ages 4-8), Jennifer Cervantes (TORTILLA SUN, ages 8-12), Sue Wyshynski, (POSER, ages 12 and up), and Charlie Higson, (THE ENEMY, ages 14 and up). Surf's up anyone?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Katie Helps Mom / Kevin Helps Dad • Picture books

Katie Helps Mom and Kevin Helps Dad
written and illustrated by Liesbet Slegers
Just out! Spring 2010 Published by Clavis Books / distributed by IPG   Ages 3-6
Stories for children ages 30 months and up about special days and helping others -- with a special focus on the child's world.
Story:  On their special day home alone together, Katie and her mother have many things planned:  washing the windows, lunching in the garden, buying new shoes. Katie is so grateful that she makes her mother a beautiful drawing. Kevin and his dad spend the day together using the drill, washing the car, making dinner for mother, and taking time to play together with Kevin’s toys.With fun and colorful illustrations, children will share the excitement that a day home alone with a parent can bring. 

That these books are so seemingly simple is just right for the kindergarten and under set.  Katie and Kevin's activities (helping around the house, for instance) are perfect for young children:  they mirror their world as they take steps to be independent and "do it" themselves.  Perhaps these stories could be used to prompt kids to think about and share what they would do to help their teacher, neighbor, friend, sister/brother, grandparent? Or what they would like to do if they had special time with a special someone?
Story behind the story:  Based in Belgium, Clavis Books is an independent children's book publisher that has been publishing books for kids (and only kids) for over thirty years.  They believe "the world of tomorrow will resemble the dreams of today's children" and so they "owe it to the future generation to do their best to provide today's children with an imaginative, stimulating and safe environment.  Books that are close to kids and their emotions are a perfect tool to achieve this goal and this mission informs everything we publish."  While they've sold books internationally for many years (and many of their authors and illustrators have been published in the US before), Clavis has just started to release their titles here and looks forward to hearing from school and library professionals.  Feel free to share your thoughts (and keep up with special promotions from the publisher) by following them on Twitter (@clavisbooks).

Liesbet Slegers is a graphic designer, a children's book illustrator, and the author of Guess What I'm Doing, Guess Where I Am, Katie Moves, Kevin Discovers Spring, and Kevin Goes to School, among many others.  Here she's painting a mural of another of her characters at a local school.

FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent; please check back on the "comments" link to read what your colleagues have to say.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia • Picture book

BIBLIOBURRO:  A True Story from Colombia
written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter
Just out! June 2010 Beach Lane Books (Simon & Schuster) Ages 4 - 9
"A vibrant reminder of the pleasures of books and the difference one individual can make." -- Booklist, starred review
 Story: “Deep in the jungles of Colombia, there lives a man who loves books.  His name is Luis. As soon as he reads one book, he brings home another. Soon his house is filled with books…”
Join Luis and his trusty burros, Alfa and Beta, as they travel far and wide to bring treasured books to eager children in the remote villages of rural Colombia.  Based on the inspiring life of a real man and his devoted burro team, here is a book to remind us of the immense power stories have to connect us all.
Story behind the story:  Author Jeanette Winter based BIBLIOBURRO on the true story of schoolteacher Luis Soriana and shares information about him and his desire to share his love of reading and the transformative power of story with children who had none.  “Luis and his two burros began bringing books to the [isolated] villages [in the distant hills] in 2000.  He started with a collection of 70 books that has grown to over 2,800.  Now the Biblioburro travels to the hills every weekend.  Three hundred people, more or less, look forward to borrowing the books Luis brings.”

Want to see the Biblioburro in action?  Watch this video

Author-illustrator JEANETTE WINTER lives in New York City, where she has written and illustrated many books for children based on true-life stories, including the highly acclaimed NASREEN’S SECRET SCHOOL, MAMA, WANGARI’S TREES OF PEACE and THE LIBRARIAN OF BASRA (an ALA Notable Children’s Book and a winner of the Bank Street College of Education Flora Stieglitz Straus Award for Nonfiction.


"Winter once again tells an inspiring story about an untraditional library....captivating paintings evoke a South American feel in their brilliant palette and dense, green tropical scenes teeming with creatures, including large, orange-winged butterflies on every page. And Winter offers fresh, visual surprises.....Both understated and full of life, this satisfying story is a vibrant reminder of the pleasures of books and the difference one individual can make." -- Booklist, starred review

"Winter’s account of his story targets young children and joins several other recent books about traveling libraries around the world. The author’s cheery acrylics present the flora and fauna of the tropical forest in bright colors and naïve style...Sweet and uplifting."
-- Kirkus Reviews 

FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent; please check back on the "comments" link to read what your colleagues have to say.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Enter to win a free set of books for your kids/teen book club or group

In the June 1st issue of KidsBuzz's e-newsletter for book groups, featuring book giveaways and behind-the-scenes stories from top kids' authors, you'll meet:
- Jennifer Cervantes, author of TORTILLA SUN, a book that will have readers thinking about magic and all sorts of possibilities (and tortillas, too!). Ages 8 - 12.
- Charlie Higson, author of the YOUNG BOND series, who brings us a terrifying (but terribly exciting) action adventure story in THE ENEMY.  Ages 14 and up.
- and Cindy Martinusen-Coloma who serves up a Romeo and Juliet story and gets readers thinking about what true love really is in CALEB + KATE.  Ages 12 and up.
Click here to hear from the authors and enter to win a free set of books for your kids/teen book club or group.  Yes, free books.  What are you waiting for?