Final Hunger Games Tributes Cast


Lionsgate has announced the final two tributes in the upcoming Hunger Games movie.  If you missed any, you can check out their Facebook page.  These final two are tributes who have a large role in the games, Cato and Clove. 

Cato will be played by Alexander Ludwig who appeared in Race to Witch Mountain.  Clove will be played by Isabelle Fuhrman who appeared in Orphan. 

Now we just have more adult casting to look forward to.

Book Review: The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred by Samantha R. Vamos


The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred by Samantha R. Vamos, illustrated by Rafael Lopez

This is a fresh, fabulous cumulative tale that is made spicier and more interesting thanks to the Spanish sprinkled liberally throughout.  It is the story of a farm maiden who stirred a pot.  Once she started stirring, all of the animals wanted to help with what she was cooking.  The cow gave milk, the hen gave eggs and zested the lime which was picked by the donkey who was carrying the duck to the market.  Eventually everyone is waiting for the treat to be finished until they started playing music and dancing.  Then no one was watching or stirring the pot!  Thank goodness that they returned just in time to enjoy the arroz con leche that they had all cooked together.

When I read this book to myself silently it really didn’t work, but read aloud it merrily dances along, even with my very imperfect Spanish pronunciation.  For classes in our community, the blend of Spanish and English is very desirable.  Happily, the Spanish here forms the real foundation of the story rather than just being extra words that are thrown in.

Lopez’s art is so vibrant and warm.  The sun shines when you open the book, thanks to the use of a beautiful yellow for the majority of the background.  Add to it the purple clouds tinged with red, the orange ground, and the vibrant green of the plants, and you have a book where the colors are filled with heat and spice.

A rollicking picture book that celebrates Spanish and English mixed together sweetly, just like the perfect arroz con leche.  Appropriate for ages 3-5, and in language classes for older children.

Reviewed from copy received from Charlesbridge.

Check out the book trailer to get a feel for the book and the illustrations:

Book Review: The Little Plant Doctor by Jean Marzollo


The Little Plant Doctor: A Story about George Washington Carver by Jean Marzollo, illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max

An old tree in Diamond, Missouri recounts its favorite story, a tale about George Washington Carver as a little boy.  When the tree met George, they were the same height, and George planted wildflowers around the tree.  He watched the flowers closely, moving them from sun to shade if they drooped.  George was bright, but was not allowed to go to school because he was African-American.  So he stayed home, continuing to study plants on his own.  Eventually, George did get to go to school and then to college.  Now the tree stands in the George Washington Carver National Monument, helping to tell the story of a young George Washington Carver who became one of the most famous scientists in history.

Marzollo has chosen a unique perspective from which to tell the story of George Washington Carver.  It makes it less of a biography, but still firmly roots the story in reality.  At times, the wording in the text can feel clunky and the use of the tree as narrator cumbersome.  This is especially true in the last part of the book.

Wilson-Max’s illustrations bring the book to life with their bright, deep colors that speak to the beauty of the plants, the strength of the tree, and the dedication of George to his pursuit of science.  They have a pleasing rustic quality to them that speaks to the natural setting.

This friendly book about George Washington Carver will entertain young children and is also educational about the famous scientist.  Appropriate for ages 5-8.

Reviewed from ARC received from Holiday House.

Judy Moody Movie Trailer

I hadn’t seen the trailer for Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer film that is due out on June 10, 2011.

It’s the first film based on the Judy Moody series that has sold 14 million copies in 23 languages.

So what do you think?  Looking forward to seeing it?  Or looking forward to being disappointed by it?