Gaiman Wins Carnegie Medal

File this under Unsurprising News of the Decade.  Neil Gaiman has won the Carnegie Medal for The Graveyard Book.  I’m a great lover of the book, but really, enough already.  Isn’t this getting to be a bit much?

The Greenaway Medal for illustration (which thankfully The Graveyard book did not win – seriously, it was nominated) went to Freya Blackwood for Harry & Hopper

Check out the news in the Guardian for a full scoop on the awards and much less snark.  I know, I should be being much nicer about it because Gaiman truly is a super hero for libraries.

That Cat Can’t Stay

That Cat Can’t Stay by Thad Krasnesky, illustrated by David Parkins

When Mom rescued the the black and white cat from the downpour, Dad insisted that it not be allowed in the house.  Then he relented and let it stay until the rain stopped.  After the rain stopped, it was too late and they had a cat.  Then Mom found a calico cat. And the story is the same, Dad said no, gives in a little, and finds himself owning another cat.  Dad came up with very funny reasons why the cats can’t stay, but one after another, he found himself allowing the cats to be their pets.  In the end, the family discovered Dad’s soft spot.  Dogs!

Krasnesky’s rhyming text is very funny with a great rollicking flow to it.  It begs to be read aloud, especially Dad’s litany of reasons he doesn’t like cats, which are sure to have children giggling since they all rhyme with one another: “They eat my cheese.  They hairball-wheeze.  Their licking makes my stomach quease.”  Parkins’ art adds a lot to the story, ensuring that the reader is charmed by the cats thanks to their friendly furriness.  He uses white space with skill, changing the illustrations for Dad’s litany of cat complaints to make each one a bit more frenzied and dynamic. 

Recommended for cat storytimes.  This is a purr-fect readaloud for any family that finds that they too seem to collect animals.  I’d even recommend it happily to dog lovers.  Appropriate for ages 3-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Flashlight Press.

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Drum City

Drum City by Thea Guidone, illustrated by Vanessa Newton

A great choice for a musical story time, this book offer charming illustrations and a dynamite beat.  The beat starts with one child banging on a pot with a whisk and spoon.   Soon children take to the streets with all sorts of objects to drum with: pots and pans, kettles and cans.  They march down the street, surprising grown ups with their music.  The parade of people grows and grows, turning the entire city into a city of drums.  Not only does this book offer a catchy beat, but it also shows the delight of music and its ability to bring people together.  Drum!

Guidone’s words create all sorts of rhythm, never hesitating to be jazzy or complex.  This makes the book far more interesting to read aloud than a sedate or steady beat.  She begins most stanzas of her poem with the word “drum” and ends most with that word too.  This gives everyone a chance to stop and restart with another rhythm.  Purely infectious! 

Newton’s illustrations, done in Photoshop, are filled with a city of people of all colors, ages, and occupations.  Interestingly, they incorporate not only digital art but a collage effect with word clippings in unlikely places.  Sharp-eyed children will also spot postage marks in the pictures. The illustrations nicely capture the busyness of an urban setting along with the excitement of the music.

Recommended, this book is one you must try with children.  Just go with the rhythm, hand everyone different things to drum with, and everyone is sure to have a bang up time.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Tricycle Press.

Midnight Sun Is Staked

WESTWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 17:  Actress Nikki Ree...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Author Stephanie Meyer has stopped her work on the next installment of the Twilight saga, Midnight Sun. 

According to an article in Digital Spy, she says she is “burnt out on vampires” and will take a break for awhile before completing the book, hoping that it will come more naturally with some time off.

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