Wishing for Tomorrow

Wishing for Tomorrow: The Sequel to A Little Princess by Hilary McKay

I have been a huge fan of A Little Princess since I was a little girl.  It was my favorite book for years and have read it so many times that I can’t count.  My favorite version was the one with the illustrations by Tasha Tudor.  The pictures matched the ones in my head so beautifully.  I am also an enormous fan of Hilary McKay and her Casson family series.  So how would one of my favorite authors do with a sequel to one of my favorite books?

Now that Sara has left Miss Minchin’s school, things are very different, especially for Ermengarde who misses Sara very much.  One thing though has bothered Ermengarde ever since she got a glimpse of Sara’s attic cell after the magic transformed it.  Why did Sara never tell her of how her world had changed?  With Sara gone, Lottie returns to her mischief and Lavinia once again is the leader of the girls.  A new maid replaces Becky.  She brings with her a fresh attitude and a no-nonsense point of view that is soon beloved by the girls.  When a boy moves in next door with a wandering cat, everything is poised to change again. 

When I first heard of a sequel to A Little Princess, I assumed that it would focus once again on Sara Crewe.  Then I was disappointed, now I am delighted.  Continuing the story of the girls we met in the first book was a great choice.  McKay lets us see into the other girls in the book and each girl is surprising and interesting.  McKay’s writing pays homage to the original but has a wry humor that keeps the book from ever becoming sentimental.  I would compare this book to your best friend moving away and realizing that other girls that were there all along are also wonderful companions. 

Bravo to the very brave McKay for taking on such a challenge and creating a winning story that both honors the past and takes its own direction.  Well done!  It is a book just like the first that I intend to read again and again.  Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from copy received from publisher.

Also reviewed by Charlotte’s Library, Nayu’s Reading Corner, and So Many Books.

Henry in Love


Henry in Love by Peter McCarty

How do you create a great romantic picture book?  Well, first it must include fresh-baked blueberry muffins.

Henry woke up to the smell of muffins baking and was given one to take to school for snack.  Henry thought Chloe was the loveliest girl in his class.  Whenever he looked at her the wind started to blow and he saw poppies, flowers and grass.  At recess, Henry decided to go up to Chloe even though his friends thought it was a bad idea to talk to a girl.  After Henry demonstrated his best somersault, Chloe showed him her perfect cartwheel.  Then a game of tag started and Henry chased after Chloe.  Back in class, the teacher rearranged their desks and guess who Henry got to sit right next to?  Just in time to share his blueberry muffin.  Now that’s true romance!

A large part of the reason this book is so successful is the art.  As you can see from the cover it is done in inks with touches of watercolor.  Color is used subtly here to great effect. Even the slightest color is magnified by the bare backgrounds.  The result is a book that is modern and charming.  McCarty includes small moments in the book that really make it a treat.  It made the book difficult to summarize because it is the collection of the small moments of Henry’s day that make this book such a delight.  Just as with color, words are used sparingly and offer just the right amount of story to carry the book forward.

A very sweet, honesty picture book, this story captures childhood crushes with dignity and appeal.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from library copy.

2009 Aurealis Award Winners

The winners of the Aurealis Awards have been announced.  These are the awards for the best in Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Best Science Fiction Novel

Wonders of a Godless World by Andrew McGahan

Best Fantasy Novel

Magician’s Apprentice by Trudi Canavan

Best Young Adult Novel

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Best Children’s Novel

A Ghost in My Suitcase by Gabrielle Wang

Best Children’s Short Story/Illustrated Work/Picture Book

Victor’s Challenge by Pamela Freeman, illustrated by Kim Gamble

Hugo Cabret – The Movie

Amazing news that Martin Scorsese will be directing the film version of The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  Shooting is scheduled to start in June.

I will be interested to see how his style works in a family film.

Graveyard Book – The Movie?

According to FirstShowing.net, the adaptation of The Graveyard book has been declared by dead project by Neil Gaiman.  On top of the demise of Miramax, the lack of funding for films right now has ended the project.

Perhaps sometime in the future?  We will see.

2010 Rainbow Books

ALA has released their list of the best GLBTQ books for children and teens: The Rainbow Books.

Several of the books were marked as exceptional:

Daddy, Papa and Me by Leslea Newman

Mommy, Mama and Me by Leslea Newman

How Beautiful the Ordinary: Twelve Stories of Identity

Ash by Malinda Lo

Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea


Thanks to The Goddess of YA Literature for the link.

2010 Great Graphic Novels for Teens

YALSA has announced their picks for the top graphic novels of the year for 12-18 year olds.  There are 73 titles on the list and the committee selected a Top Ten:


The Helm by Jim Hardison and Bart Sears

Children of the Sea, Vol. 1 by Daisuke Igarashi


Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer by Van Jenson and Dusty Higgins

I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Nimura


Omega the Unknown by Jonathan Lethem and Farel Dalrymple

Bayou by Jeremy Love

A.D.: New Orleans after the Deluge by Josh Neufeld

Gunnerkrigg Court, Vol. 1: Orientation by Tom Siddell

Pluto by Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki

Ooku: The Inner Chambers, Vol. 1 by Fumi Yoshinaga

The Beatitudes

The Beatitudes: From Slavery to Civil Rights by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Tim Ladwig

Weatherford has taken Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and created a poem that follows African-American history from slavery through to the election of Barack Obama.  The poem affirms that God has been with people even in slavery, during the Civil War, during the civil rights movement, and continues to be with them now.  Readers will discover historical figures from various times in the book, including Rosa Parks, Emmett Till, Ruby Bridges and Martin Luther King, Jr.  There are a wealth of heroes here, all surrounded by the strength of faith.

Weatherford’s words are strong and ringing.  They both celebrate and mourn, moving ever onward to a brighter future.  The book shines with a beautiful combination of faith and history.  Ladwig’s illustrations add to that shine with strong people shown in moments of strength.  Many of his paintings have interesting perspectives that make the book even more lovely.

Highly recommended, this is a book that truly captures the strength of a people.  Appropriate for ages 6-10.

Reviewed from copy received from publisher.

Visit Carole Boston Weatherford’s website  and Tim Ladwig’s website.