Monday, July 26, 2010

Well, I made it through 2 1/2 days without Steve and I haven't fallen on my face! The knee brace is on when I'm not in bed and the cane is in my left hand. He's calling to check on me in the a.m. and p.m. and via email so I think I am going to be okay. I don't know who is more disconcerted by being alone, Sophie or me! It is going to be an early night as I am exhausted. Who knew a person sleeps better when someone is snoring next to you? :-)

Since we will most likely be moving to Plantation, Florida soon (near Ft. Lauderdale) I couldn't resist the debut novel, Candor, by Pam Bachorz which is set in a fictitious Florida town. The plot came from the author's time in a "model" small town in Florida. I've always found Florida towns to be very unique, but it may be the ones we love to spend our time in as Steve and I are both quite unique if I do say so myself! :-)

Candor is a dystopian tale set in current day Florida. The town has been created for families who want to control their wayward children. Oscar's father created the town and controls/micro-manages everything - including how much orange juice Oscar drinks for breakfast by marking the level of fluid with a pencil. For some reason that one really made the hair on my arms stand up. But, it is a little thing compared to the Messages - the subliminal messages that flow from every nook and crannie of Candor, especially the schools. Residents who must leave Candor take subliminal tapes with them. If they don't - suicide. What Oscar's father doesn't know is that his son is blocking the Messages with his own subliminal messages and if he catches a new teen resident before the programming is set, he can give them his tapes and stop the process long enough to secret them out of town. Oscar is making a lot of money with his scheme and then Nia shows up. He knows he should get her out of Candor before she loses her uniqueness and her artistic ability but, selfishly, he wants her near him. I am about 1/3 of the way through and I am intrigued and then some. The Publishers Weekly review hints at a chilling ending - I can't wait!! Egmont has really cool books!! Offer this one to the teens who liked M.T. Anderson's Feed

On a much lighter tone is Elizabeth Eulberg's debut The Lonely Hearts Club Offer this one to every Beatles' fan you know as well as the females who are dealing with a broken heart and swearing to give up guys forever. It doesn't matter if you are a teen, like 16-year-old Penny, or an adult woman, the feelings Penny is dealing with are all too real. But, Eulberg knows how to add just the right amount of humor so this is not a teen angst fest. I found myself laughing out loud at her parents - rabid Beatles fans who name their children after Beatles' songs - hence Penny Lane. Their doorbell is even a Beatles song! Don't know when it will be published but I wrote a review for this book for VOYA. Check out the cover art - if you are a Beatles fan you will recognize the album cover that is supposed to come to mind! :-) Adults will recognize it but I am not sure how many teens will. Albums? What are those?

Certainly not a debut author, but one I always pay attention to when a new book comes out is Leslea Newman. Can you believe there is a 20th anniversary edition of Heather Has Two Mommies now available? You would think this wonderful book about a loving family would not still be causing controversy but it is.

When the Abrams' review books arrived I immediately opened up Newman's Miss Tutu's Star and found my laughing out loud at Carey Armstrong Ellis' illustrations that tell their own sub-story about the moms and dads who attend their children's ballet lessons. In rhyming text, Newman shares the story of Selena who doesn't walk, she prances, so Mom puts her in ballet classes. Selena ends up on her tush more than a few times but she keeps at it and finally she has her debut stage performance. The parents are in the audience including the mom who was busy knitting a scarf at lessons that now went around the neck of more than a few parents in the audience. :-) As a cat lover I delighted in Miss Tutu's cat who was an active participant in the ballet lessons but hooted over the final illustration - it shows Selena taking a bow - from behind. This is a must have for all primary level collections and for any mom/daughter pair who just have to dance. I say to Selena - Dance like no one is watching!!

Did you have an imaginary friend as a child? I don't remember having one as I had all my "book friends" as I read so much. But lots of kids do and their sidekicks become a bit of a problem in school. Erica S. Perl's Dotty is the perfect first day at school book for story time in Preschool or Kindergarten. Julia Denos' illustrations bring the imaginary friends of the kids to life. Oh yeah - and even the teacher's sidekick! Ida starts her first day at school with confidence, a new lunch box and her blue string that connects to Dotty, her imaginary (perhaps more real than we realize) friend. The other kids come back after the holiday break and there are less buddies along with them, but not Ida - Dotty is still there. The next year of school starts and Ida arrives with a new lunchbox and the blue string. No one else has a buddy anymore and they are teasing Ida about hers. But, not the teacher who walks out with Gert, on a red string. I wish I had Ms. Raymond had been my teacher!

That's it for today.