Monday, March 30, 2015

Rhyming Pick: Monkey and Duck Quack Up!

Monkey and Duck Quack Up!
by Jennifer Hamburg
Illustrations by Edwin Fotheringham
Scholastic Press
32 pages
ISBN: 9780545645140

Monkey gets a great idea. He wants to enter a rhyme contest and he asks Duck to help him win. If they win, they go on a cruise. Monkey can't wait to board that ship. He tries everything to get Duck to rhyme. Monkey begins: "Beat! Sheet! Meet! Greet!/Eat some wheat,/Then wash your feet!/Have a seat!/Trick or treat!/Hear a finch go tweet, tweet" and Duck says "Quack." Monkey really wants to win, so he devises a brilliant plan. What do you think Monkey has planned?

Readers will be delighted with Monkey's cheerful friendship and Duck's lack of language or rhyming skills. Just when you think you know what the Duck will say, he astonishes! Fun and cute, Monkey and Duck Quack Up! is a great book for teaching beginners  rhyme. The surprise ending will have young readers squealing with delight.

This book is bound to bring a smile to every adult who reads it for a child.

Edwin Fotheringham captures each animal's expressions of surprise, elation, "aha" expression, and satisfied expression.

Highly recommended for young readers and beginning rhymers.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the F & G from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at

Friday, March 27, 2015

YA Cover Reveal and Sneak Peek: The Keeper

Cover reveal just revealed March 27, 2015
The Keeper, book 2 in the Vega Jane series

Read an excerpt here

From the publisher:

About The Keeper:
Vega Jane was always told no one could leave the town of Wormwood. She was told there was nothing outside but the Quag, a wilderness filled with danger and death. And she believed it - until the night she stumbled across a secret that proved that everything she knew was a lie.
Now just one thing stands between Vega Jane and freedom - the Quag. In order to leave Wormwood and discover the truth about her world, Vega and her best friend Delph must find a way to make it across a terrifying land of bloodthirsty creatures and sinister magic. But the Quag is worse than Vega Jane's darkest imagining. It's a living, breathing prison designed to keep enemies out and the villagers of Wormwood in.
The Quag will throw everything at Vega Jane. It will try to break her. It will try to kill her. And survival might come at a price not even Vega Jane is willing to pay.
Master storyteller David Baldacci unleashes a hurricane of action and adrenaline that takes readers to the breaking point.
Happy reading!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Early Peek: The Marvels by Brian Selznick

The Marvels
by Brian Selznick
Scholastic Press
640 pages
ISBN: 9780545448680

Available September 15, 2015

From the publisher:

"Caldecott Award winner and bookmaking trailblazer Brian Selznick once again plays with the form he invented and takes readers on an awe-inspiring voyage!

Two seemingly unrelated stories-one in words, the other in pictures-come together with spellbinding synergy! The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle's puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries. How the picture and word stories intersect will leave readers marveling over Selznick's storytelling prowess.Filled with mystery, vibrant characters, surprise twists, and heartrending beauty, and featuring Selznick's most arresting art to date, The Marvels is a moving tribute to the power of story. "

My Thoughts:

I got the first peek with a mailing of the "Sneak Peek" in March 2015. A smidgeon of the much larger tome arrived and I was mesmerized by the beauty of the illustrations! Just 18 pages of illustrations and I got the feel of the story. The publisher will send the ARCs out in May and I honestly can't wait until it arrives. It's pretty tricky to send a small taste of something so wonderful, so otherworldly, so broadly beautiful and so anticipated.

"Innovative storytelling" with first Selznick's fantastic art and then the prose story which seems at first not related to the first story. In 1766 a young boy is shipwrecked and later rescued. Billy ends up in London and grows up in a theatre. Many years later, another young outsider arrives at the theater and begins to discover its mysteries.

An animated book trailer is in the works and the publisher will feature a classroom guide and a special "World of Brian Selznick" area on its website.

This book is sure to cause a frenzy in the middle grades market and is likely to win even more fans for Selznick. If your readers loved The Invention of Hugo Cabret, they are bound to love The Marvels.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I did not receive monetary compensation for the review of this first peek.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

YA Pick: Mosquitoland

by David Arnold
342 pages
ISBN: 9780451470775


Kids' Indie Next List "Top Ten" Pick (Spring 2015)

ABA Indies Introduce Debut Authors and New Voices title

A Junior Library Guild selection

"In Mosquitoland, David Arnold has created one of the most unique narrative voices to show up in the world of young adult fiction. I don't remember life before Mim, and I don't want to. Mosquitoland is equal parts sharp, sad, and surreal.  This book is genius, war paint and all."

—John Corey Whaley, National Book Award Finalist and Printz-winning author of Where Things Come Back and Noggin

“David Arnold’s writing is both heartfelt and hilarious. You will fall in love with Mim, even as her grand journey will keep you guessing. Mosquitoland reminds us that sometimes imperfect is just perfect.”

—Ruta Sepetys, New York Times bestselling author of Between Shades of Gray

"Wholly enjoyable... There is no shortage of humor in Mim’s musings, interspersed with tender scenes and a few heart-pounding surprises. Mim’s triumphant evolution is well worth the journey. "
-- Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

"Arnold pens a stunning debut, showcasing a cast of dynamic characters... Mesmerizing." -- Kirkus, STARRED review

"Arnold boldly tackles mental illness and despair, and sexual assault and sexual identity, without ever once losing the bigheartedness of the story. . . In the words of one of Mim's Greyhound seatmates, Mosquitoland has pizzazz--lots and lots of it." -- Booklist, STARRED review

It's a breath of fresh air when a novel like David Arnold's Mosquitoland bucks the usual classifications and stands defiantly alone. . . like any odyssey worth embarking on, what the heroine—and the reader—finds along the way is far more interesting than we ever could have expected.” —Entertainment Weekly (full review)

“A YA road trip novel that takes you across the country, with a protagonist on her way to visit her hospitalized mother. And can we talk about that gorgeous cover for a second? My goodness. Get me a poster, right now.” —The Huffington Post

“A wacky road trip... [Mim's] voice is so singular and full of heart.” —The Horn Book

“This book makes me wish I were a school librarian, just so I could buy ten copies for my collection.” —Barnes & Noble Teen Blog

My Review:

Mosquitoland is that one road trip book that will change your thinking! Mim Malone is at a crossroads in every facet of her life. Uprooted from her mother, taken to live in rural Mississippi, aka, Mosquitoland, Mim hates living with her father and her newly acquired and newly pregnant step-mother. Something bad has happened to her mother in Ohio. The adults won't tell Mim what is going on, but Mim is going to find out. Having made the decision to split Mosquitoland, Mim "steals" money from her stepmother's hidden coffee can cache and buys a bus ticket.

Everything that can go wrong does. As the story unravels, so does Mim, literally. Fighting off mental illness is no joke, but Mim doesn't want to take any more drugs for her "condition." Her parents have tried to get her help in the past. She liked her first doctor but doesn't trust the next one. He just wants to medicate the problem, not cure it. The beauty of this story is in its telling. Mim is one unforgettable character; her voice is strong and true, albeit sometimes off kilter and sometimes wonderfully warped.

The passengers of the bus are laughable. Mim is at her poetic best when describing her traveling counterparts. Several near death experiences, rotten con men, a scary rapist, a maybe, someday hero, a special homeless kid with a knack for the Rubik's cube  and a meeting with her mother will cause Mim to come to terms with her own illness. Readers will root for Mim, a not-so-strong, not-so-brainiac, not-so-wonderful, not-so-normal Everygirl. Mim may not be the normal heroine, but she's got moxie and spunk! There should be more Mims in YA fiction. David Arnold, you are a character genius!

You will love this book for its every quirky turn.

Highly, highly recommended grade 9-up. Mature content, language, rape, but laughter, lots of laughter.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Picture Book Pick: Glamourpuss

by Sarah Weeks
illustrations by David Small
Scholastic Press
40 pages
ISBN: 9780545609548

This beautiful cover will glitter off of the shelf. Glamourpuss has arrived and in high fashion, too!

Glamourpuss is a spoiled, coddled cat who lives in the lap of luxury with her millionaire "parents" in a huge mansion. She has her own diva-licious room complete with canopy bed. She eats at the dinner table off of china and crystal. Glamourpuss is much too fabulous to chase mice and instead of saying "Meow" like every other run of the mill cat, she says "ME!" She hasn't a care in the world...that is, until her owner's sister comes to visit from Houston with her spoiled little Chihuahua.

Bluebelle has a wardrobe! Imagine! A dog with a wardrobe. Not only that, she does tricks which the humans applaud. While Bluebelle is getting all the human affection, Glamourpuss begins to sulk, to slink, to become depressed and even begins to doubt herself. A funny turn of events causes the cat and dog to become friends and Glamourpuss learns to adapt.

Vocabulary is introduced with humor. Young readers will learn new words: "precious, dislike, haughty, disdain, luxury, descended, reclined, and extended" among many others.  Glamourpuss is one over-the-top diva who is all about her exterior and may remind even young readers of recent media celebrities.

Highly, highly recommended. Glamourpuss is one character you simply cannot miss and you will never forget! Age 3-up.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the F & G from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at