“'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

Thursday, April 7, 2011


One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street
April 1, 2011 Abrams/Amulet   • Ages 8 - 12
Story:  When a mysterious man arrives one day on Orange Street, the children who live on the block try to find out who he is and why he’s there. Little do they know that his story—and the story of a very old orange tree—connects to each of their personal worries in ways they never could have imagined. From impressing friends to dealing with an expanding family to understanding a younger sibling’s illness, the characters’ storylines come together around that orange tree.

Taking place over the course of a day and a half, Joanne Rocklin’s masterful novel deftly builds a story about family, childhood anxieties, and the importance of connection. In the end the fate of the tree (and the kids who care for it) reminds us of the magic of the everyday and of the rich history all around us.

Story behind the story:   A note from author Joanne Rocklin: 
"I wanted to write about the magic of the ordinary.  So I began with an old orange tree, like the one in my L.A. backyard.
I wanted to write about kids with secrets.  I myself was once a kid with secrets.

I wanted to write about pets, birds, insects, rodents.   About forgetting, and remembering again.

I wanted to write about the history of a place, how a street is like a book of stories, all different, yet bound together.

Surprise!  One amazing morning, these stories became intertwined.  A surprise to me, too, which is what makes writing itself so magical."

★“Fully realized characters and setting definitely make this one morning on Orange Street amazing." -- KIRKUS REVIEWS, starred

"...realistic, evocative novel, which features a warm and believable community of adults and children... culminating in a confrontation that resolves several mysteries and brings out the best in everyone." -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"In one marvelous chapter the tree tells its own history...This deceptively simple book reminds us how important the things we sometimes take for granted are: friendship, family, love, and the interconnectedness of our everyday world." -- NEW YORK JOURNAL OF BOOKS

Just for fun, here's a recipe from the book (perfect for book groups!):

Slice your sweetest oranges.Layer dried coconut and sugar in between them.
Let the whole thing sit for a while, so all the tastes come together, infrangibly.
(If you feel especially celebratory, add some whipped cream.)

FYI:  All the review copies for this title have been sent.  Please check back and see the "comments" link to read what your colleagues have to say...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Hogg, Hogg, and Hog • Picture Book

Hogg, Hogg, and Hog 
written and illustrated by Margie Palatini
Available now Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Ages 4 and up
Get your oink on!  A modern fable of right and wrong, honesty and character.  
Story: Hogg Hogg and Hog have everyone in the Big City OINKING! These three city pigs are the trendsetters of the city--but when oinking loses its luster, they need to come up with the next big thing...and fast.  What will happen when they run out of fashionable ideas? 
Story behind the story:  "Is HOGG, HOGG, & HOG what happened to The Three Little Pigs when they grew up? One thing for sure …  HOGG, HOGG, & HOG are very big pigs.  They have fame!  They have fortune!  They’re walking the ‘Pink Carpet!’ These three pigs have everyone oinking!," says author Margie Palatini."But, fame and fortune can be fleeting, and one day everyone just gets plain old tired of saying “oink”. Those three pigs aren’t so very big any more.

How they get back their ”mojo” and the lessons they learn about honesty, character, working together with others, and sharing makes for some very teachable moments, as well as laughs and knowing grins.

HOGG, HOGG & HOG is a modern fable of ‘right and wrong’, dedicated to everyone who not only dreams big, but understands the best way to get there."

“…a satire of contemporary pop culture…exudes physical comedy and urban glitz.” - Publishers Weekly

“…digital collage is eye-catching, if not exceptional.” - Kirkus 

FYI:  All the review copies for this title have been sent.  Please check back and see the "comments" link to read what your colleagues have to say...