Showing posts from September, 2015

Little Red Gliding Hood - Tara Lazar (Author) and Troy Cummings (Illustrator)

Little Red Riding Hood straps on her ice skates in this fractured fairy tale! A figure skating enthusiast, Little Red has worn her skates right out and must win a pairs competition to earn new ones. But who will be her partner? The Dish is already dancing with the Spoon, and Hansel is spinning Gretel like sugar. You won’t believe what big eyes, sharp teeth, and long snout her partner has…all the better to spin her with!

This is a really fun take on the Little Red Riding Hood story with the inclusion of a variety of nursery rhymes and other fairy tale allusions. The illustrations are beautiful, full of colour and character, cartoonish but giving a sense of liveliness. In some ways, the illustrations are reminiscent of Dexter's Lab and other related children's cartoons. There are anthropomorphized animals, and other adorable human characters.

This is a really fun read-aloud for the whole family, whether young or old. I Highly Recommend this book for your winter reading list or for…

Float - Daniel Miyares

This. Book. Is. Gorgeous!

A little boy takes a boat made of newspaper out for a rainy-day adventure. The boy and his boat dance in the downpour and play in the puddles, but when the boy sends his boat floating down a gutter stream, it quickly gets away from him.

So of course the little boy goes on the hunt for his beloved boat, and when the rain lets up, he finds himself on a new adventure altogether.

If there is one thing I love in a picture book (though not the only thing) it's clean lines and spare use of colour, and this book uses both to tell a story about playing in the rain that is both emotionally poignant and uplifting. This tale reminds readers that childhood, as much as we associate it with play and care-free attitudes, is just as full of tragedies that we, as adults, sometimes consider inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but which affect children to a great degree.

The use of yellow is a key element of the illustrations, boldly filling in the boy's rain coat…

Sidewalk Flowers - JonArno Lawson & Sydney Smith

In this wordless picture book, a little girl collects wildflowers while her distracted father pays her little attention. Each flower becomes a gift, and whether the gift is noticed or ignored, both giver and recipient are transformed by their encounter. 

"Written" by award-winning poet JonArno Lawson and brought to life by illustrator Sydney Smith, Sidewalk Flowers is an ode to the importance of small things, small people, and small gestures.

Lawson and Smith's book is gorgeous. I can't even fully describe how it makes me feel. This beautiful story "written" by JonAarno Lawson--I say "written" because this is, after all, a completely wordless picture book--and illustrated by Syndey Smith reminds readers (both adult and child alike) to slow down and "smell the roses." While there are components of little red riding hood sewn into the overall narrative--the little girl is the most obvious character in the story due to her red hoodie--the st…

Scenes from the Epic Life of a Total Genius - Stacey Matson

Lights. Camera. Action! Arthur Bean’s life has taken a turn for the adventurous — two girlfriends to deal with, and a blockbuster film to co-write, produce and direct. How crazy can one school year get?

Arthur and Robbie have called a truce now that the writing contest and school play are over…but plans go astray when Arthur’s new girlfriend Anila gets jealous of his friendship with Kennedy. And then there’s that little problem of the movie camera Arthur and Robbie borrowed to film their upcoming blockbuster movie.

As Arthur’s life goes off the rails all over again, laughs for the reader are right on track. Emails, doodles, texts, newspaper articles, AV Club rules (which Arthur and Robbie usually break) give the story the same engaging look as
A Year in the Life of a (Total and Complete) Genius.

This is the sequel to Stacey Matson's first novel, A Year in the Life of a Total and Complete Genius (you can read my review of it here). Arthur continues to be self-absorbed, and still fails…

Adam - Ariel Schrag

When Adam Freedman -- a skinny, awkward, inexperienced teenager from Piedmont, California -- goes to stay with his older sister Casey in New York City, he is hopeful that his life is about to change. And it sure does. 
It is the Summer of 2006. Gay marriage and transgender rights are in the air, and Casey has thrust herself into a wild lesbian subculture. Soon Adam is tagging along to underground clubs, where there are hot older women everywhere he turns. It takes some time for him to realize that many in this new crowd assume he is trans -- a boy who was born a girl. Why else would this baby-faced guy always be around?

Then Adam meets Gillian, the girl of his dreams -- but she couldn't possibly be interested in him. Unless passing as a trans guy might actually work in his favor...

This is a novel I had a hard time with. While I thought the subject might actually be pretty funny and, as the back cover says, "scathing," I was left feeling unsure and uncomforta…