Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The sun has finally come out and it is warming up so, of course, I remembered to call the repair guys to come figure out why our gas fireplace isn't working. Now that we won't need it anymore! The driveway is bare of snow and the dried grass is already peeking through on the lawn. We could have rain by the end of the week so our snow will be totally gone soon.

I can't multitask worth a darn these days and with two repair guys in and out of the house as they try to figure out where the leak is in the gas line I may as well blog for a bit. Or, I may just be procrastinating from starting the grant report I have to write. I love writing about literature but when it comes to budgets and agency reports - blech!!

The spring 2010 publisher catalogs are arriving and I am in second heaven. It is like being a kid again when the Sears Christmas Wish Book arrived and we circled things we wanted. But, the cool thing is I will get copies of the books to share with y'all on this blog, in reviews, and with my students. I rarely ever got anything I circled in the old Wish Books! I was busy dog-earing pages in the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt catalog – it is like visiting with "old friends" - authors I have met personally, like Jackie Ogburn – as I read the book blurbs and author information. Jackie spoke at a workshop I set up last summer and the attendees and I have been waiting for her latest - A Dignity of Dragons: Collective Nouns for Magical Beasts. www.barnesandnoble.com/A-Dignity-of-Dragons/Jacqueline-K-Ogburn/e/9780618862542/?itm=1&USRI=dignity+of+dragons No cover art yet on B&N and Nicolett Ceccoli’s gorgeous art helps make the illustrations as intriguing as intriguing and mystical as the content. The book addresses different creatures and what a group of them is referred to as, such as flurry of yeti. Fantasy readers will love this book. B&N has ages 5-8 on this – no way! I know teens who will love this book. More like - all ages as far, at least as I’m concerned. It will be interesting to see what the reviewers suggest for age range. I also have debut novels and picture books marked in the catalog as I hope to do a follow up article on the multitalented new authors joining youth literature.

The Abrams/Amulet catalog arrived too and I am so excited to see a new title, Anxious Hearts by Tucker Shaw. http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Anxious-Hearts/Tucker-Shaw/e/9780810987180/?itm=1&usri=anxious+hearts+tucker+shaw The cover art on this retelling of Longfellow’s “Evangeline” will pique teenage girls’ attention for sure. Let’s see if Anxious Hearts knocks Flavor of the Week http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/results.asp?ATH=Tucker+Shaw out of first place as my favorite Shaw YA novel.

Most elementary school librarians recognize Capstone Press as a leader in brightly illustrated (mostly beautiful color photographs) nonfiction titles. The controlled vocabulary of many of their series make these fly off the shelves with even the most resistant young reader. I have one of their A+ books in front of me – A is for Arrr!: A Pirate Alphabet by Laura Purdie Salas http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Is-for-Arrr/Laura-Purdie-Salas/e/9781429632911/?itm=1&USRI=a+is+for+arrr+salas . Great cover art, bringing to life a wide range of multicultural pirates. A pirate ship crew was a mix of cultures and then some! If you don’t chuckle over “E is for eye patch. Did pirates really have eye patches? Well, they did lead dangerous lives. Remember those sharp daggers?” then you aren’t a vicarious pirate lover! And, I am delighted to read that “Many ships kept cats aboard to hunt the rats.” J Boys will love the Fun Facts about Pirates including that Blackbeard would place slow-burin matches in his beard during battles so it looked like smoke was coming out of his head while the matches glowed red. Now I have some trivia to share with my pirate loving husband who often wears the T-shirt I gave him that says “To err is human, but to ARRRR is pirate!”

Staying with the nonfiction focus, I love Scholastic’s annual almanacs. I have the Scholastic 2010 Almanac for Kids: Facts, Figures, & Stats http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Scholastic-Almanac-For-Kids-2010-Edition/Scholastic/e/9780545160636/?itm=3&usri=2010+almanac+for+kids in front of me. It is an almanac that should be in the regular circulating collection as kids, teens, and adults will love browsing the cool facts accompanied by graphics, charts and color photographs. A great source to keep in ready reference. It includes color illustrations of the maps of the world along with a list of the capital, population, area, language(s), money, and government as well as a short fact. Those who don’t know the Caribbean well often mix up Dominica and the Dominican Republic. But if you ever visit the beautiful mountainous island of Dominica with only 72,514 people on only 291 square miles you won’t forget it – the most unspoiled island we have visited. We stayed at an eco-lodge and Steve is still talking about the fresh fruit we had. YUM!! The almanac has lots of just silly facts too – did you know that September 19th is National Butterscotch Pudding Day, or that October 9th is Moldy Cheese Day? Buy two copies of all the Scholastic almanacs, especially Scholastic Year in Sports 2010 http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Scholastic-Year-In-Sports-2010/Scholastic/e/9780545160612/?itm=1&usri=scholastic+almanac+of+sports Not sure a kid bringing this one home from school will get it out of his older brother or Dad’s hands. J

Well, almost $200 later and still a non-working fireplace. Looks like we need to replace the gas logs. Well, at least it should be cheaper this time of year to buy those. Growl!!