Friday, September 22, 2017

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #177

- You can't judge a book by its cover - which is very true.
 But you can like one cover version better than another....

US cover
UK cover
Another debut novel that caught my eye - The Visitors by Catherine Burns. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Two pretty different looks this week. The UK cover employs a very dark tone, in cover image, tagline and colour. Very ominous. And yet, I have to say, that I would be inclined to pick up the US cover. I would be curious as to who The Visitors are. I like the cover shot a lot - that peeling wallpaper is a great image. So, I'm going to go with the US cover this week. I find the UK cover just too lurid. Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read The Visitors?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Over the Counter #384

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Such a small, simple idea...but so very big....

I Wish My Teacher Knew: How One Question Can Change Everything for Our Kids by Kyle Schwartz.

From Da Capo Press:

"One day, third-grade teacher Kyle Schwartz asked her students to fill-in-the-blank in this sentence: "I wish my teacher knew _____."

The results astounded her. Some answers were humorous, others were heartbreaking-all were profoundly moving and enlightening. The results opened her eyes to the need for educators to understand the unique realities their students face in order to create an open, safe and supportive place in the classroom. When Schwartz shared her experience online, #IWishMyTeacherKnew became an immediate worldwide viral phenomenon. Schwartz's book tells the story of #IWishMyTeacherKnew, including many students' emotional and insightful responses, and ultimately provides an invaluable guide for teachers, parents, and communities."

(Over the Counter is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World. I've sadly come the realization that I cannot physically read every book that catches my interest as it crosses over my counter at the library. But... I can mention them and maybe one of them will catch your eye as well. See if your local library has them on their shelves!)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Littlest Train - Eric Gall

Ahh trains - Little Guy loves his trains. So Gramma thought that The Littlest Train by Chris Gall might appeal to him....and it did!

He first noticed the 'nice' face (no scary faces for Little Guy) on the larger train and then spied the little train riding atop. He was definitely interested, so we turned the cover and started to read.

The Littlest Train lives on a train table until he is knocked off one day. He then goes exploring and is helped along the way by other, bigger trains to find his way back home.

The illustrations are quite lovely, done in muted, soothing colours. The introduction of lines and cross hatching throughout each item give the illustrations depth and texture. Those friendly faces extend to all the toys, trains and characters that populate the story. The little boy who owns the train table is named Mr. Fingers. Which makes sense from the train's point of view I suppose. But perhaps a name like Bobby would have been easier for a little one, with no explanation needed as to why he was called Mr. Fingers. We enjoyed looking at the pictures and places that the Littlest Train got to visit outside of his train table home. This did spark Little Guy to show his trains some new places in his home. Gramma quite liked the mouse's home. (The Borrowers came to mind!) The trains that help him find his way back are all different. (A description of each is included on the last page.) They have names that match their build - Farley Freighter, Sara Speedster etc.

I did like that some pages did not have dialogue. Instead, Little Guy was able to tell that part of the story himself by deducing what was happening from the illustrations. Discussions around exploring, helping and missing something or someone could be started from this story.

The setting, characters and plot will be somewhat familiar to those who have read or played with another well known train and his friends. And after closing the book, Gramma and Little Guy had to go play trains of course!



"Chris Gall is the award-winning author and illustrator of Dinotrux, a Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book which inspired a Netflix original TV series, and the other books in the series, including Dinotrux Dig the Beach and Revenge of the Dinotrux. His other picture books include Nanobots, Dog vs. Cat, Awesome Dawson, Substitute Creacher, and America the Beautiful, another Publisher's Weekly Best Children's Book. He lives in Tucson, Arizona."

Monday, September 18, 2017

Something Like Happy - Eva Woods

I was really intrigued by the inspiration for Eva Woods' new novel  Something Like Happy. I hadn't heard about the #100happydays challenge before this. (You can find out more at the website and on Twitter.)

In Something Like Happy, we meet Annie - who is definitely not happy. Her mother is ill, she hates her job, lives in a grubby flat, her marriage has broken up and there's a tragedy in her past that has crippled her moving forward. A chance meeting with Polly, a woman who is dying, changes her life. Polly has been given three months to live - and she has decided to not to waste a single day or opportunity - and to touch and involve as many people as she can in feeling happy. Every day for 100 days.

"I don't want to just...go through the motions of dying. I want to really try and change things. I have to make some kind of mark, you see, before I disappear forever. I want to show it's possible to be happy and enjoy life even if things seem awful."

It's impossible not to like Polly as her enthusiasm is infectious. On the flip side, it's very hard to celebrate each day as she does, knowing that she literally has one hundred days left. Doubly hard if you know someone who is terminally ill. But the message at the heart of the book is important. We truly do need to find something or someone to enjoy every day - whatever that may be. Happy is different for everyone.

Annie was a great foil for Polly. When we meet her, she is grumpy, depressed and simply existing. And although the reader is pretty sure how things will progress, her 'transformation' is still a pleasure to follow. I enjoyed the supporting cast, especially Costas, Annie's lodger. Dr. McGrumpy is a close second. He's also the romantic lead in Something Like Happy.

Woods takes some literary license with some of her plotting. Many scenes and developments take place in the hospital. And in 'real life' many of them just wouldn't happen. (Such as sharing other patient's diagnosis with volunteers) As with the romance, these plotlines have the feel of a chick lit read.

Something Like Happy is a double edged read. On one hand it's a feel-good, inspirational read. On the other, it is tinged with sadness and will have the reader perhaps recalling loss in their own lives. But, I think the takeaway will be inspirational as well. Even if you don't formally participate in the challenge, the idea of finding something to be happy for every day is a worthwhile goal.

"The thing about happiness, Annie - sometimes it's in the contrasts. Hot bath on a cold day. Cool drink in the sun. That feeling when your car almost skids on the ice for a second and you're fine - it's hard to appreciate things unless you know what it's like without them." Read an excerpt of Something Like Happy.

"Eva Woods was inspired to write SOMETHING LIKE HAPPY after surviving her own brush with cancer and the breakdown of her marriage. Woods lives in London, where she teaches creative writing and regularly contributes to Marie Claire UK, xoJane, and other publications."You can connect with Eva Woods on her website, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

(And on a final note - "At the moment, the challenge has been taken by more than 8 000 000 people from 160 countries and territories around the world...")

Friday, September 15, 2017

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #176

- You can't judge a book by its cover - which is very true.
 But you can like one cover version better than another....

US cover
Canadian cover
I adored The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, so I was quite excited to find out that Gabrielle Zevin had a new book - Young Jane Young. The US cover is on the left and the Canadian cover is on the right. So this is interesting this week....same image and title font on both covers. But....in case you hadn't noticed, the background colour has been changed. That and the size of the font used for the author's name and the taglines. I have to say, that having read her previous book, the larger author name font on the US cover may catch my eye quicker that the Canadian cover. I wonder about that background colour - does that yellow cover seem warmer than the blue? Although they're very similar, I'm going to go with the Canadian cover this week. I find the blue crisper and better defined if that makes sense. Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read Young Jane Young?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Over the Counter #383

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Truly, I am in awe of how many cat craft books there are....here's another one....

Cattastic Crafts: DIY Project for Cats and Cat People by Mariko Ishikawa.

From Zakka Workshop:

"Cat-Tactic Crafts contains over 30 amusing and easy craft projects to make for cats and cat people.

Build your cat the condo of his dreams, complete with scratching posts and canopies. Drive your kitty mad with delight with a handcrafted teaser on a string. Or sew your feline a one-of-a-kind costume for special holidays. These designs require only basic craft skills, so cat lovers of all abilities will be able to make and enjoy these fun projects. Cat-Tactic Crafts contains over 30 amusing and easy craft projects to make for cats and cat people.

Build your cat the condo of his dreams, complete with scratching posts and canopies. Drive your kitty mad with delight with a handcrafted teaser on a string. Or sew your feline a one-of-a-kind costume for special holidays. These designs require only basic craft skills, so cat lovers of all abilities will be able to make and enjoy these fun projects."

(Over the Counter is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World. I've sadly come the realization that I cannot physically read every book that catches my interest as it crosses over my counter at the library. But... I can mention them and maybe one of them will catch your eye as well. See if your local library has them on their shelves!)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

There's a Monster in Your Book - Tom Fletcher

There's a Monster in Your Book is newly released from Tom Fletcher. 

Now, with Little Guy, it's important that any 'monsters' have 'nice' faces and be 'not scary'. Greg Abbot's illustration of Tom's monster was approved by Little Guy, so Gramma started to read....

Well, Gramma can read the words, but There's a Monster in Your Book is an interactive experience. Young readers and listeners are encouraged to help shake, shout, spin, tickle, tilt and blow to get the monster out of the book. There was lots of silliness as we both participated in the actions needed

When the monster does get out of the book, he lands in the child's bedroom. Mom said she would have preferred the monster to land in any other room besides the bedroom. This opened up a good discussion - and of course the book reinforced that everything was okay. (There is a way to put the monster back in the book)

I think we read it together about three or four times and then Little Guy decided to read it to Gramma. The illustrations of each action are colorful, perfectly suited and allowed him to easily tell the story as well.

There's a Monster in Your Book was a fun, engaging read. Thumbs up from Little Guy and Gramma. See for yourself - here's an excerpt. While recommended for ages 3-7, I think the younger crowd would appreciate this book more than school aged.

Tom Fletcher is an award-winning songwriter, as well as a children’s author, YouTube star, daddy,
and McFly band member. He has 1+ million followers on Twitter and Instagram: @TomFletcher and on YouTube as tommcflytwitter. He has a huge social-media presence and his viral videos, including “Buzz and the Dandelions” and “My Wedding Speech,” have been featured on Good Morning America. He and his bandmate Dougie Poynter are the co-authors of the Dinosaur That Pooped picture books, which have sold over one million copies in England. Tom is married to the author Giovanna Fletcher, and they have two children.

Greg Abbott is an illustrator and graphic designer based in West Sussex, England. In addition to children’s books, he has created prints, apparel, toys, greeting cards, and other merchandise. Visit him on Tumblr or follow him on Twitter.