Alex Rider Will Ride Again

Great news for Alex Rider fans!  Author Anthony Horowitz says that there will probably be three more books to follow the just-released Snakehead, the seventh book in the series.  However, it looks like there will be no film series, because of earning issues with the first film which Horowitz puts down to distribution issues.

Purge This

Get ready to be a little ticked off.  Or a lot, if you are like me.

Publishers in the UK are censoring children’s books not for sexual content or violence, but for real evil.  Brace yourself.  Ready?  They are protecting your children from (gasp) sharp objects and walking alone – IN BOOKS.  Yup. 

So, no child in Britain will be exposed to the horror of sharp sticks, fire-breathing dragons, perching on ladders, or heating elements glowing red. 

Well, thank goodness that someone is protecting my children!  I mean, silly mother that I am, I might have read them books about dragons, swords, painting the stars on ladders, or any number of things.

Now let’s understand what the real enemy is here:  IMAGINATION!  GASP!

Wouldn’t want those kids to start thinking, dreaming, learning!  Just turn the TV back on.  They won’t see anything bad there.  It’s the books that are dangerous.  You could lose an eye!

Orange in January

Orange in January by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Julie Maren.

Reading like a poem, this picture book follows an orange from the blossom to the hands of a child.  The language of the book is beautiful, creating a very mellow and deep view of the world, just the right type of voice for a book about fruit. 

Here is one page, after the boy brings the orange home:

That night,
as ice gleamed on the branches,
he dreamed
of a land that shone
in summer light.

But there are so many pages with that sort of lovely language on them.  And do you see how child-friendly it is, but still emotionally deep and speaking volumes? 

And let’s talk about the illustrations.  Maren has created images that echo the depth of the words, filled with rich colors of deep blues, bright oranges, and in the same way the illustrations are child-friendly but somehow deeper and richer than most. 

Highly recommended as a perfect intro to poetry for children.  Share it in storytimes, it reads aloud almost magically and the illustrations are perfect for sharing.  Or it is also a perfect book to curl up and read on a snowy evening, while snacking on an orange of course!

Diary of a Fly



Diary of a Fly
by Doreen Cronin, pictures by Harry Bliss.

Continuing the series that started with Diary of a Worm and Diary of a Spider, Cronin has once again written a seriously funny book that children will adore.

This is the story of a fly who is headed to school for the first time.  She has many of the usual worries of a child.  Why can’t she have her own room?  Will everyone eat the same food at lunch?  What do her class pictures look like?  But she is also purely a fly, much to the joy of the reader. 

The art is lots of fun and carries the jokes in the text forward.  The two together form a winning and humorous pairing.  Because of the humor, even 8 and 9 year olds will enjoy this series of books.

Highly recommended for a good laugh, this can be used with a fairly small group of children, but shouldn’t be used for a big group.  Part of the fun of the book is the detail of the illustrations and you don’t want that to get lost.  Appropriate for ages 5-9.

PW Best Books of 2007

One more list, just in case your to-be-read list has bloated enough with the previous lists!  Publisher’s Weekly has released their list of the Best Children’s Books of 2007.  Again, I see a lot of my favorites and others that are already patiently waiting to be read on my list. 

One book that will even bump the Cybil’s books off of the top of my pile is the conclusion of Libba Bray’s trilogy.  I can’t wait to see how she ends it and just go along for the ride in her Victorian fantasy. 

Best Books of the Year Lists

Tis the season for Best of the Year lists!

School Library Journal has posted their favorite titles of the year.  Their list includes 63 books.  Lots of lovely picture books, great teen reads and wonderful middle grade books.  Many of my favorites of the year made their list.


Amazon also has their Best 0f 2007.  You’ll have to scroll down to find their lists for picture books, middle readers and teens.  Each list has a full top ten.  And again some of my favorites are there.

How about you?