Saving Lucas Biggs by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague
When Margaret’s father is sentenced to death, she can’t believe it since she is certain he is innocent. But this is what happens when someone tries to stand up to the company that owns the entire town. It’s also the company that owns Judge Biggs. The only way that Margaret can see to save her father is to change Judge Biggs’ mind. According to Grandpa Josh, her best friend’s grandfather, Judge Biggs used to be a good person until his father was accused of murder and hung himself. The only person who can change the course of time is Margaret who has to use her family’s forbidden power of time travel. But history resists change and Margaret only has a few days before history rejects her to make the necessary changes to save her father.
De los Santos and Teague have written a book that takes on time travel in a very refreshing way. The idea that history actively resists change and that there is a physical toll on the time travelers makes for frustrating time travel. Yet it feels right and also creates tension in the story at just the right moment. The authors also explore company towns and how workers tried to stand up to unfair business practices. Here there is plenty of action in that fight, including murder and gunfire as well as quiet desperation.
Margaret is a winning character, one who travels in time very reluctantly but is given little choice when she is the sole person who has a chance of saving her father. The story dives into complexity, never making things easy or simple. One aspect of this is the way that redemption is viewed. Characters are seen as changeable, able to be rescued from what happened to them even in their elder years. This book is about getting chances to make the right choice in the end, forgiveness for poor choices earlier, and friendships that stand through time and betrayal.
A rich and vibrant look at time travel, this fantasy will also appeal to history buffs. Appropriate for ages 9-12.
Reviewed from copy received from HarperCollins.
Swim, Duck, Swim! by Susan Lurie, illustrated by Murray Head
Told in rhyme, this picture book illustrated with large photographs explores one day in the life of a duckling who just won’t get into the water. His parents are with him, encouraging him to try and so are all of the other fuzzy ducklings that are already swimming around. But he is not sure that swimming is for him. He might sink! He hates to be wet! And this might just be the perfect time for a nap. But with his parents encouraging him to keep on trying, there is suddenly a splash and he is swimming around merry and proud.
Lurie’s rhymes have just the right amount of bounce and energy. She captures the obstinate toddler who just won’t do what his parents are pushing him to try. Children and parents alike will relate to this battle of wills where patient and positive parenting wins out in the end. The text is simple and jaunty, keeping the duckling clearly an animal but giving words and emotions to his actions.
I’m a huge fan of photographs in children’s picture books. Particularly when they are done as beautifully as Head’s. The large format of all of the illustrations works beautifully, and I appreciate that they run all the way to the edge of the page rather than being framed in white. The effect is an expansive one, these are pictures that pull you in until you too are pond-side and cheering on the duckling.
A great pick for kids heading to their first swimming lessons, this book would also make a nice addition to story times on ducks or trying something new. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from library copy.
Here are the links I shared on my Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr accounts this week that I think are cool:
10 Questions With…Illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi | ALL THE WRITE NOTES http://buff.ly/1o9O5vN
BEA 2014: Diversity in Children’s Publishing http://buff.ly/1pIRK5P
BEA Buzz: Five graphic novels to look forward to this year — Good Comics for Kids http://buff.ly/1jQyECV
Cameron McAllister’s top 10 amazing machines in children’s books | Children’s books http://buff.ly/1ulw6o4
Harry Potter And The Forbidden Books : NPR http://buff.ly/1pIWLbH
Here’s What Would Happen If Your Favorite Childhood Books Were Written Today http://buff.ly/1oS19I6
Judy Blume: Parents worry too much about what children read – Telegraph http://buff.ly/1ob6xUM
Librarian Preview: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group (Fall 2014) —
@fuseeight A Fuse #8 Production http://buff.ly/1pIQ9gv #kidlit
Predictions! 2014 NYT Best Illustrated Children’s Books —
@100scopenotes 100 Scope Notes http://buff.ly/1jRdi8D #kidlit
RAISING A READER Organization Offers Tips for Getting Children to Read During Summer Vacation – BWWBooksWorld http://buff.ly/1pPTWWw
Robert Sabuda’s top 10 pop-up books | Children’s books http://buff.ly/1oS0S84
Welcome, Little One | Great Books about Babies | School Library Journal http://buff.ly/1jQxirY
Writing advice from Roald Dahl | Simon Read http://buff.ly/1jR7BHL
#writing #authors #kidlit
5 Ways Libraries Cultivate Community Art| Erinn Batykefer | http://buff.ly/1jQxCXG
Check Out the Internet: Libraries Lending Internet Access http://buff.ly/1oG5FJG
How your library can get a gig – District Dispatch http://buff.ly/1kyzBWC
Libraries see light after years of cuts http://buff.ly/1ulvqiq
TechFiat – Decentralized Economics • Today is the day we Reset the Net http://buff.ly/1pIM2RB
I Say Awkward Things To Authors: BEA 2014 Edition | BOOK RIOT http://buff.ly/1oa1y74
#bea – I thought I was the only one who did this!
The Muscle-Flexing, Mind-Blowing Book Girls Will Inherit The Earth : Monkey See : NPR http://buff.ly/1jVUHIn