The Chaos King

The Chaos King by Laura Ruby.

This sequel to The Wall and the Wing is a great read all on its own, though readers will want to find out the details of the first book after reading this one.  Georgie is the Richest Girl in the World, but she is learning that wealth doesn’t solve all of her problems.  She is shunned and teased in her new school and her friendship with Bug is disintegrating.  Georgie would feel all alone, but before she can dwell on it, she finds herself once again in the middle of an adventure where a giant octopus, a pen that can alter the world, and a chocolate-loving sloth feature prominently.

Ruby has managed to take the world we are familiar with and change it into something wondrous and amazing.  The city library has secrets galore, some people can fly, and there are incredible creatures at every turn.  The book is fast paced and fun.  It is certainly an adventure worth embarking on, I guarantee you will never see cats or budgies in the same way again.

Recommended for fantasy lovers from age 10-12. 

Rabbit's Gift

Rabbit’s Gift: a Fable from China by George Shannon, illustrated by Laura Dronzek.

Rabbit smells more snow coming and dashes out to find food.  He finds two turnips and leaves one at Donkey’s door in case she hadn’t found any food.  Donkey takes the extra turnip to Goat, who takes it to Deer, who returns it to Rabbit.  Rabbit finds it at his doorstep by tripping over it and decides to share it with everyone.

A very simple book about sharing and the power of community.  This book is not preachy at all, just an easy tale of friendship.  With the emphasis on snow and sharing, this could easily be used during the holiday season as a non-holiday specific book that showcases the feeling of the season without alienating diverse audiences. 

Highly recommended for adding to preschool story times focused on snow or the holidays.  The gentleness of the story will work well with preschoolers who will also not see the circular nature of the story coming. 

The latke who couldn't stop screaming

The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: a Christmas Story by Lemony Snicket.

Who doesn’t need a subversive book in the middle of all of the holiday carols, glam and glitz?  Snicket has created a Christmas book that speaks to those of us who don’t celebrate Christmas and those of us who celebrate it with a lot fewer lights, inflatable Santas on motorcycles and blasting carols.  I too have felt the need to start screaming, but knew if I did I would never be able to stop again. 

This book mixes Hanukkah and Christmas with a splash of sarcasm and lot of nerve.  It features the disrespect we show other faiths and customs with our blaring of Christmas everywhere.  The illustrations are fifties-style with simplicity and a sense of fun.  They mix well with the text that is the real winner here.  Some of the passages are so funny that I was unable to read aloud for awhile because I was laughing so hard.

While this book is appropriate for children, I think that adults will enjoy it the most.  If you have someone on your Christmas list who celebrates Hanukkah, get them off of that list and buy them this book!  And don’t wrap it in red and green paper either!  Don’t make me start screaming!

Anne Turns 100

Anne of Green Gables is celebrating 100 years!  They have a great website filled with details about the celebration, vacationing in Prince Edward Island, educational resources, and much more. 

With regret, I must admit that I love the films, but really don’t enjoy the books.  I know!  I know!  You don’t know how I have tried to love the books!  But I don’t.  The films on the other hand capture me every time and I can watch them again and again. 

Any other freaks out there like me?  Or perhaps you can persuade me to try one more time?