Book Crush

Nancy Pearl, the famous model for the Librarian Action Figure and wonderful speaker on behalf of reading, has published a new book.  Previously she had done a couple of books for adults filled with recommended reads.  Now she has written Book Crush, a book filled with over 1,000 recommended reads for children and adults. 

We can all cheer one paragraph in the article about the book:

“There’s no rhyme or reason” why some books become best-sellers while
other, better contenders languish, she said. She prefers to highlight
“books under the radar that if life were fair, would be read.”

Don’t we all have examples of that!

At the Firefly Gate

At the Firefly Gate by Linda Newbery.

Henry and his mother and father move from London to a small village in Suffolk.  Henry worries that he won’t make any friends and that he will be bored as can be compared to his life in the big city.  The first night that he spends in his new room, Henry sees glowing fireflies at the end of the garden and a shadowy figure standing there looking at him.  As Henry meets people in the village, he forms a close connection with an elderly lady who lives next door.  Dottie seems to recognize Henry and Henry finds himself dreaming and experiencing things that are the memories of a man killed in World War II who was Dottie’s fiance. 

The book is a magical juxtaposition of history, dreams and real-life childhood.  Henry is a winning protagonist who is down-to-earth but experiencing amazing things.  His counterpart and neighbor, Grace, is equally as well drawn as a sulky teen with a soft side she rarely shows.  And the wonderful character of Dottie makes us all wish to enter the garden and spend some time playing Scrabble and having afternoon tea.

Recommend this to boys who enjoy World War II stories, but also to kids who like historical fiction.  With its meshing of history and modern life, it will also be a good bridge book to introduce children to historical fiction.

The Scallywags

The Scallywags by David Melling.

David Melling is unparalleled for cartoon antics caught in picture-book form.  I love that his illustrations invite children in, surprise them, get them giggling and make them see that reading can be a very silly thing to do.

In his new book, Melling has told the story of a family of wolves who are lazy, inconsiderate, messy, and rude to the point where the rest of the animals decide to no longer include them.  The wolves decide that they are too messy and rude and set out to change themselves.  First, they spy on the other animals to find out what they should change.  But could the wolves take the change too far and become too obsessed with manners and politeness?

Wonderful laughs are in store for children and families reading this book.  Like most of Melling’s work, this one is a better lap-read than group-read, because the humor is in the illustrations.  The final illustration of the entire group posing for a picture after a food fight is priceless.