Feb 14, 2013

Happy February 14th!!!

Oh what a day today is!

International Book Giving Day? Yes!

Valentine's Day? Yes!

Traditional P&G family fondue day? Yes!

But the most exciting of all...

Cybils Presentation Day!

That's right, the best book awards on the planet are being announced today. This year I am not just salivating at the thought of finding out which children's books were the best of 2012, I had a small hand in picking them.

I had so much fun on the Round 2 Judging Panel for Nonfiction Picture Books, mostly because of my amazing colleagues and our esteemed moderator. Plus we picked a fantastic book. Don't know what it is yet? Hurry up and get over to the Cybils site right now!

Feb 12, 2013

The Lives We Lost

The Lives We Lost (CAN, JP, US, INT)

Written by: Megan Crewe

Published by: Disney Hyperion

Published on: February 12, 2012

Ages: YA

Provided by the publisher for review through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

The first book in this series was one of the best YA books I read last year. In The Way We Fall, Kaelyn's island is hit by a plague which devastates them and makes basic survival very difficult. Kaelyn survived her bout with the plague and gives her all into keeping the island running for other survivors.

In this sequel, Kaelyn and her friends go to bring important information to the scientists on the mainland who are trying to fight this plague. They have lost contact with everyone on the mainland, including Kaelyn's older brother, and have no idea how bad things have gotten until Kaelyn's estranged best friend, Leo, makes his way back from New York bearing bad news.

The friends set off on a road trip to save the world- but things never go as smoothly as they need it to. Desparate people, gangs, competing interests, and their own teenage drama work against them. Kaelyn has some serious ethical dilemmas. But somehow it is her hope and determination that binds the group together through their journey.

I think this proves that Crewe is not suffering from sophomore slump- the pacing in this book is better and she delves deeper into the psyche of her protagonist. I really enjoyed that this one seemed more Canadian than the previous one as they drove across the Maritimes and Eastern Canada. The only bone I could pick in this one was the fledgling love triangle- something I really hate in YA books. But since that didn't overpower the interesting plot and other human drama, it didn't take away from my enjoyment of this book.

Feb 7, 2013

International Book Giving Day: Giveaway!

It's only a week until the best holiday of the year for kidlit bloggers: International Book Giving Day!!!

Have you already figured out how you will get books into other people's hands?

I would like to give a book...to you!

Fill in your deets on this handy dandy form to enter my giveaway for a copy of Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems.

My son chose this book for the giveaway because, he says, it's about sharing which is the point of book giving day, and it's about ice cream, which is kind of like chocolate, which is what Valentine's Day is all about. Also because he read it all by himself and he wants the internet to know.

Okay then. Let's roll with that.

Enter below, and don't forget to tell me in the comments how you will celebrate Valentine's International Book Giving Day. No need to post your email address/personal contact info in your comment, Rafflecopter takes care of that privately. Yay!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Feb 6, 2013

What are you reading Wednesday?

What is on your reader this cold February day?

I've started a new YA post-apocalyptic series, the Matched series by Ally Condie. It's about a society where most choices, like work, meals, and spouse are made by the government.  It's not bad but there's a threat of a love triangle which annoys me to no end.

I'm reading Magic Tree House #28: High Tide in Hawaii to my kids. It's a lot more complicated than the earlier books in the series we have read so it's a challenge but so far we are enjoying it.

 What book is open in your lap today?

Feb 4, 2013

The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau

The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau (CAN, JP, US, INT)

Written by: Michelle Markel

Illustrated by:  Amanda Hall

Published by: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

Published on: June 11, 2012

Ages: 5+

Henri Rousseau is such an inspiration to desk-jockeys who have a passion for something creative. He proves that it is never too late to do what you love, and that listening to your inner voice is more important than critical voices that surround you. I'm not sure that kids will relate as much to the first message as their parents will. But every kid will experience peer pressure at some point so knowing that others have not only had to deal with that but also have been able to be a success is good to know.

The star of this book is definitely the art. It must be intimidating to illustrate a biography of an artist, as the balance between the original art and the story that needs to be told is delicate. It must be more intimidating when the subject's art is so famous. But Hall strikes the perfect balance.

Hall's homage to Henri is reflected best in the Paris spread, where you can see shadows of some of Rousseau's most famous landscapes, including my favourite, Notre Dame View of the Ile Saint Louis from the Quai Henri IV, as well as Landscape with Bridge and others. She includes Rousseau the same way he included himself- but there are many more as he journeys through the city and through the art world.

To young kids what might be most fascinating is the animals. My son loved the tiger (Surprised!) of course. More sensitive children might be disturbed by the spread of Rousseau painting The Hungry Lion Throws Itself on the Antelope. It was of course a favourite of both my kids ("mama, that looks delicious, can we eat antelope sashimi?")

This was an amazing introduction to the naïve art style, which is really appealing to kids with its vibrant colours and visible passion.

This post is for Nonfiction Monday, hosted this week by Apples with Many Seeds.