Brendan Wenzel

Author/illustrator Brendan Wenzel’s newest book is “They All Saw a Cat.”  In a recent interview in “The Horn Book,” Wenzel discussed his writing/illustrating process.

“They All Saw a Cat” is about perceptions.  The child in the story sees the cat in a very different way than the dog or the mouse or the bee.  Wenzel says he decided to tell this story of differing perceptions by using a cat because people tend to react strongly to cats, one way or another.

He did a fair amount of research studying as much as he could about how animals see things.9781452150130_p0_v2_s192x300.jpgAfter that part of the process, he let him imagination soar.

The text is a bit like a folktale. The author admits that he loves folktales, and he hopes his readers get the sense of folklore traditions from the story.


“The Riviera, Food, and Picasso”

When an author combines a great location, the South of France, fantastic food, Provencal cooking, and the legendary Pablo Picasso, she has the ingredients for a interesting plot.  “Cooking for Picasso” written by Camille Aubray, whose background is in writing for daytime dramas,  has created a fanciful, yet entertaining novel.

Aubray has created three interesting female characters.  Beginning in 1936, we meet the seventeen-year-old Ondine, who works in her parents’ cafe in the seaside village of Juan-les-Pins. Ondine has learned to cook from her mother.  When a reclusive visitor to the village asks that lunch be delivered each day to his villa, Ondine’s parents send her.  The mysterious strange is, of course, Picasso, who at the time was experiencing difficulties in his personal and artistic life.

9780399177651_p0_v1_s192x300.jpg  After a brief affair between Ondine and Picasso, he abruptly leaves the village but not before he has immortalized her in a painting.  A painting he promised to her, but did not leave for her.  Ondine, of course, learns she is pregnant.  When her young boyfriend, Luc, returns from several years at sea, they run away to America.

Ondine’s daughter Julie does not know about her parentage, and Ondine promised Luc that she would never tell her.  When circumstances force Julie and Ondine to return to France after WWII, Ondine seizes the opportunity to confront the aging Picasso and demand her portrait.

The third important character is Celine, Ondine’s granddaughter and Julie’s only child.  When her mother falls ill, she carries out Julie’s dream to return to Ondine’s village.

The plot sound very much like episodes of a television soap and knowing  the author’s background in writing for daytime dramas, it is not difficult to figure out how it will all end.  But, in spite of being a very contrived plot, “Cooking for Picasso” is a fun read.  It combines intrigue, some good, some bad characters and a definite touch of glamour.



Adult Summer Reading Book Review: Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast

617lsz642xl-_sx258_bo1204203200_5 stars (loved it!). This book spoke to me in many ways. My parents are getting old and much of the trials she has gone through with hers folks aging smacks of my current reality. She puts a funny, but honest spin on a very hard subject, arguably the hardest, with her fantastically expressive drawings and her uncannily familiar-sounding observations. [I have always LOVED Roz Chast’s work in the New Yorker and have felt a kinship with her since I too am an illustrator and we attended the same school, both lived and worked in the city, etc. but I don’t know if I would have read this book if it hadn’t been on the Bingo list as a graphic novel-so thanks!] – 2016 Adult Summer Reading Participant

Pokemon GO

index.aspxThis game is a big hit this summer, and it has certainly attracted the attention of users of all ages, especially the college-age crowd that is tough to attract. The Libraries Transform Newsletter Back-to-School issue features an article that explains how to use the game to attract users of all ages to your library. Here are 10 ideas that you can use to promote your library as a home for Pokemon GO players.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (review)

I almost didn’t want to read this book. I was nervous about reading a play. I was nervous that Harry Potter would lose its magic. I was afraid that I would hate it and that Harry Potter would be ruined for me. I mean, why mess with a good thing?index.jpg

And, OK, it was nothing compared to the actual Harry Potter books, but that does not mean that it is not worth reading!

The story is set in the present. Harry is now 40 years old and Head of Magical Law Enforcement. Hermione is the Minister of Magic. Ron runs the joke shop. All is well (if you don’t get that Harry potter reference, then just….)

Harry and Ginny are dropping their children off at the train to Hogwarts. We have a few time jumps here and there, and then complications arise because Harry – Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement – seized an illegal Time-Turner from Theodore Nott and has kept it.

Meanwhile, Albus gets sorted into Slytherin and struggles with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted.
Harry tries to reach out to Albus but finds that he has difficulty understanding someone different. And their connection wobbles from year to year because of it. To top it all off Albus is best friends with none other than Scorpious Malfoy, who actually is a sweet and sensitive boy.

In an act of defiance after a fight with his father, Albus steals the Time-Turner and decides to go back in time to save Cedric Diggory’s life from what he sees as an unnecessary death at the hands of his father. He goes back in time and chaos (obviously) ensues.

The play touched on some things that I really loved. There is a touching scene where Harry and Dumbledore’s portrait reminisce about the past. Ron is still as goofy as he always was. And it is revealed that Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange TOTALLY HAD AN AFFAIR.

My only complaint (if I have to have one) is that the ending is wrapped up WAY too perfectly. I could have used some more reality there. But overall I think that any Harry Potter fan will enjoy it- so don’t be afraid to read it!