Peeta and Gale Cast


Entertainment Weekly has the news that Josh Hutcherson has been cast as Peeta in the upcoming Hunger Games film.  Liam Hemsworth has been cast at Gale.  So we have our two male leads.  I’m very interested now in who will be playing some of the secondary but vital characters.

Anna Hibiscus Series Continues to Offer a Charming Glimpse into Africa

goodluckanna havefunanna

Good Luck Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke

Have Fun Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke

In the first two books about Anna Hibiscus, readers were treated to a glimpse into life in Africa among a large extended family.  But Anna Hibiscus has even more family, a grandmother who lives in Canada.  Book three in the series tells the story of Anna Hibiscus’ preparations for heading to Canada for the first time.  The first few stories reintroduce Anna Hibiscus’ family, including her baby brothers who get into all sorts of trouble.  The other stories tell of trying to find warm clothes suitable for a Canadian winter in Africa and how her family gives her a send off.  Book Four follows Anna Hibiscus to Canada starting with her plane trip.  Those of us in North America will see snow with fresh eyes, enjoy Anna Hibiscus’ first attempt at ice skating, and will enjoy getting to know her grandmother’s dog too.  This series continues to be a celebration of family, expanding now to far-flung families and new adventures.

Atinuke tells all of her stories with a storytellers structure and tone.  There is repetition that echoes throughout the series, tying them all together nicely.  At the same time, her structure remains easy and friendly, offering an inviting cadence to old and new readers alike. 

The entire series is illustrated by Lauren Tobia.  The illustrations weave throughout the book, creating a window into the cultures shown in the stories.  They make the book welcoming for newer readers who will find a great friend in Anna Hibiscus.

If you were a fan of the first two Anna Hibiscus books, make sure to check out these two as well.  They are just as lovely as the first.  Appropriate for ages 6-9.

Reviewed from copies received from Kane Miller.

Book Review – Lost & Found: A Graphic Novel Wonderland


Lost & Found by Shaun Tan

This collection of three stories by Tan which were previously published in Australia as separate stories combine to create an incredible experience.  Tan wrote two of the stories himself and did the art for all three.  The three stories are unique and different, though they are all about loneliness, discovering what is right in front of us, and unexpected beauty. 

The Red Tree tells the story of a woman trapped in darkness, though if you look closely you will see a sign of hope that continues through the images.  The illustrations are filled with large urban buildings, strange mechanical beings, and empty curving landscapes.  Until finally, the red tree is found where you least expect it. 

The Lost Thing is the story of a man who discovers something strange on the beach.  It was something odd, unusual and completely out of place.  The man searches for where the lost thing belongs, eventually taking it home with him and figuring out what it eats.  But this is not a story of a lost and new pet.  It is a story of secret places, unusual beings, and discovering what you were once blind to.

The Rabbits is a story written by John Marsden, who is also from Australia.  The story takes a look at the colonization of Australia through the story of the rabbits entering and taking over the continent.  Marsden and Tan create a story that tells the tale of take over, theft and oppression through animals, at once making it a story that can be told clearly and coolly but also one that echoes with tragedy on a larger scale.  For me, this was the story in the book that resonated and continues to linger.

Tan pays close attention to details throughout the book.  The transitional pages between the stories create a unified feel to the book, tying the stories together as if they are hand-in-hand.  The effect of the three stories is one of uniqueness and universal themes. 

Beautifully created, these stories are a treasure for graphic novel fans who will find out that graphic novels can be artistic, deep, compassionate and amazing.  Appropriate for ages 12-15.

Reviewed from copy received from Scholastic.

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