The Book Thief–The Movie

The Book Thief

The release date for the film version of The Book Thief has been moved up.  Originally set for January 2014, it will now have a limited run in November of this year.  It’s all about positioning for the Oscars.  I look forward to seeing Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson in it.

Thanks to EarlyWord for the news.

Review: Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff

boy nobody

Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff

Boy Nobody enters schools, follows his orders, identifies his target, and completes his mission.  He is a soldier, working for The Program.  He is invisible, just another teen, but he is so much more.  His life changed when he was taken into The Program at age 11.  The Program fixed him, turning him into someone who can notice the smallest things, who can kill silently, and who has no emotions.  But when Boy Nobody is asked to do the fastest and most dangerous mission of his life, he discovers that he does have emotions.  And that is perhaps the most dangerous thing of all.

I have deliberately given a vague summary above, since a large part of the pleasure of this read is piecing things together.  Written in the first person, the reader gets to see the world from Boy Nobody’s skewed point of view.  This adds to the immediacy of the read, making it all personal, particularly the violence.  And there is violence, fights and murder, done with a coldness that makes it all the more sinister.  Throughout, you have Boy Nobody’s voice explaining just why it is all alright and how his life works.  Then as he begins to feel again, that voice changes and expands.  It is subtle but also powerful. 

This book is written with pacing in mind, the entire book reading like a movie script that plays before your eyes.  There is no hesitation here, little lengthy prose, just vibrant details that are necessary to hurtle the novel forward.  It makes for a read that is riveting and a joy to read. 

The ideal beach read for teens, this book has a thrilling combination of contract killing, subterfuge, and intelligence.  Appropriate for ages 14-17.

Reviewed from ARC received from Little, Brown.

Review: Flood by Alvaro F. Villa


Flood by Alvaro F. Vila

This wordless picture book shows the impact of a flood on a family.  The book starts with a sunny day at a house along the river.  The children are playing outside, the house is wrapped by a picket fence, and the windows are being replaced.  It is idyllic, beautiful and peaceful.  The storm front arrives along with the rain.  Sandbags are brought to the house and the family builds a wall of them to protect their home.  The new windows are boarded up and the family leaves their house behind.  Water quickly surrounds the house and soon it breaches the sandbags, rushing violently into the house.  The waters recede and the house is left, broken and damaged, filled with mud and muck.  But all is not lost, as the family rebuilds.

Though wordless, this book tells a powerful story of family, floods, loss and rebuilding.  The illustrations range from those colorful images of the perfect family home to images of destruction.  Vila captures the violence of these storms and the water itself.  There are several images that are very powerful including the first glimpse of the large storm front coming across the landscape to the close up of the water entering the home.  These natural images have a beauty to them but also a sense of foreboding.

This is a wordless book that will work well with a range of ages.  It is a timely read as well as weather systems grow more powerful and more families are facing natural disasters.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from library copy.

PW’s Spring 2014 Sneak Previews

Publisher’s Weekly gives us a glimpse into the children’s titles coming next spring.  Hot picks will include:

The fifth book in the Origami Yoda series

The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems

W.A.R.P. Book Two: The Hangman’s Revolution by Eoin Colfer

Fancy Nancy and the Wedding of the Century by Jane O’Connor

Chu’s First Day of School by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex

Pete the Cat: Big Easter Adventure by James Dean

Panic by Lauren Oliver

The final book in the Hero’s Guide Series: The Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw

Rupert Can Dance by Jules Feiffer


What can you spot on the list that would make your must-read pile for next year?