Wicked Lovely Coming to Film!

Universal Pictures has purchased the film rights to Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr.  Caroline Thompson, screenwriter of Edward Scissorhands, will be adapting it for the screen. 

How soon can we start speculating on cast members?

Lousy Rotten Stinkin’ Grapes

Lousy Rotten Stinkin’ Grapes by Margie Palatini, illustrated by Barry Moser

The pair who collaborated on The Three Silly Billies is back with a twist on Aesop’s fable this time.  When fox can’t reach the grapes on his own, he asks bear to help.  Fox stands on bear’s head, but that doesn’t work either.  Beaver is added to the quest for the grapes, but his tail flip doesn’t help.  Porcupine arrives and joins the stack of animals to no avail.  All of the animals try to offer advice, but fox will have none of it.  Possum is finally added to the tip of fox’s nose, but that doesn’t work either.  In the end, the other animals are full of ideas of they alone could have gotten the grapes.  But fox is such a snit by that point that he marches off, leaving the others to enjoy the “lousy, rotten, stinkin’ grapes” without him.

Palatini’s tone is spot on.  The lumbering bear is written in a way that makes him a delight to read aloud, the voice bumbling along slowly.  Fox is frenzied, the other animals befuddled.  The juxtaposition of all of the voices is great fun to read aloud.  The writing is perfectly paced as well with each idea building on the next and the anticipation of success a great tension builder.  Moser’s illustrations are large and funny.  Fox being launched into the air again and again is a real hoot, as are the doubtful looks on the other animals’ faces. He uses white space with great effect to emphasize the distance between fox and grapes.

A read aloud with action, humor and animals!  What more could anyone want?  Appropriate for ages 4-8.

Reviewed from copy received from publisher.

Travel Game

The Travel Game by John Grandits, illustrated by R. W. Alley

A little boy lives in Buffalo, New York over the tailor shop his family owns.  He is still expected to take a nap in the afternoon, which angers him.  Seeing his frustration, his Aunt Hattie offers to play the Travel Game with him.  It’s a wonderful game, but the problem is that every time they play, he falls fast asleep right at the end.  This time he is determined it will be different.  To play the travel game you need two things:  a globe and a copy of 1001 Pictures from Around the World by George P. Smithers.  Aunt Hattie spins the globe and he puts his finger down.  First, they land in the Atlantic Ocean, but he gets to try again.  This time it lands on Hong Kong.  The book has four pictures and the two of them pretend that they are right there experiencing what it shows in the pictures.  But on the way to the pagoda in a boat taxi, Aunt Hattie falls asleep!  Now he can head back to the shop and help out instead of napping himself.

This book depicts a warm extended family who work and live together.  Small details make the book especially enticing, from the minutiae of their lunch meal to the functioning of the shop.  Grandits has created a world that is friendly, safe and filled with imagination.  I especially appreciate a story that brings the power of books to transport you to another part of the world so vividly to life.  Alley’s art is equally delightful.  His art is all about the small details, from a crowded street outside the shop to the small touches in the boy’s bedroom.  These are illustrations you will want to linger over.

This book may inspire a travel game of your own, perhaps with photographs from the Internet to fuel your imagination.  A great concept, well executed and delightfully done.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from library copy.