Every Exquisite Thing

This book is Matthew Quick’s (author of Silver Linings Playbook) first venture into YA land.

index.jpgNanette O’Hare, a star student and athlete, is given a mysterious out-of-print cult classic novel by her beloved teacher that sparks the rebel within her, but as she befriends the reclusive author and attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, Nanette learns the hard way that sometimes rebellion comes at a high price.

This book was great, but slightly odd. There is something off about Nanette’s personality, but, that is part of what made reading this book so refreshing to me. It was unlike any YA book that I’ve read of late. I would recommend this book for middle school and up!

Election Season and Young Readers

Young children cannot escape the fact that this is an election year.  They, like their parents, may be overwhelmed with the information they see and hear on a daily basis.  They, like their parents, may also be confused about the election process.

Never fear! The Cat in the Hat is here to help clarify what goes on during an election season.  In a new book from “The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library” comes “One Vote, Two Votes, I Vote, You Vote” by Bonnie Worth with illustrations by Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu.9780399555985_p0_v1_s192x300.jpg

“The Cat” leads young readers through every phase of an election.  Beginning with how important it is to vote, “The Cat” explains what a democracy is, gives a short history of voting legislation in our country, introduces the concept of political parties, and discusses how people physically vote.

Key terms like campaigning, absentee ballots, debates, and rallies are included in the story.  A glossary is included defining these terms and a bibliography of other books on the topic is included.

There is a great deal of information presented to the reader, but the cartoon-like illustrations as well as the appearance of “The Cat” and Thing One and Thing Two lighten the text.

“One Vote, Two Votes, I Vote, You Vote” would appeal to a broad audience from first graders to older students.


Middle Grade Reads

Well-known, award-winning authors Patricia MacLachlan and Sharon Creech have each  recently published new books for middle grade readers.

MacLachlan, Newbery Medal winner for “Sarah, Plain and Tall,” has written “Poet’s Dog” about two children and an Irish wolfhound.  Teddy was rescued from a shelter and taken by his owner Sylvan to a secluded cabin. His owner is a lover of words, and Teddy has grown up with words and learns to use them himself.  Sylvan teaches him that there are only two kinds of people who will be able to understand him:  poets and children.9780062292629_p0_v2_s192x300.jpg  One day during a snowstorm, Teddy finds two stranded children.  He tells Nickel and Flora that just like Sylvan rescued him, he will rescue them.  At the cabin the children learn to heal themselves through interacting with Teddy and Sylvan.

This heartwarming story is told in simple prose and will appeal to readers ages 6-10.

Sharon Creech’s newest title is “Moo.”  Narrated by twelve-year old Reena, the story is told in verse–a series of poems.  Some poems are strictly narrative, while others are more abstract.

Reena and her younger brother Luke are surprised when their parents move them to a remote coastal town in Maine.  Excited, yet nervous, the children are eager to explore their new surroundings.  9780062415240_p0_v1_s118x184.jpgSoon they learn that their parents have volunteered them to work with Mrs. Falala, who lives with a variety of animals.  The children learn very quickly that Mrs. Falala needs help from both children.  Luke teaches Mrs. Falala to draw and Reena readies Zora, a stubborn cow, for the fair.

“Moo” will appeal to young readers ages 8-12 who are up to the challenge of reading a novel-in-verse.

Mother’s Day

mothers-dayIf you are in the mood for a comedy, check this film out. It stars Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts and Kate Hudson, and follows the relationships we have with our mothers and our children. Julia Roberts has a daughter that she gave up for adoption when she was just 17, Jennifer A. is a mother whose ex-husband has just announced that he has remarried a much younger woman, and Kate’s character is constantly tested by her relentlessly outspoken mother, who disapproves of her choice of boyfriend/husband. The supporting characters do a good job of rounding out the comedic cast, and the laughs just keep coming. Directed by Gary Marshall, the film is PG-13, and is about an hour and 20 minutes in length.

“Razor Girl”

Carl Hiaasen is a very fun author.  A native Floridian, he sets his stories in a small community in the Florida Keys.  “Razor Girl” is his second novel featuring Andrew Yancy.  Yancy has been put on permanent leave from the local police force because of an incident involving his girl friend’s husband detailed in Hiaasen’s previous novel “Bad Monkey.”  Yancy has been demoted to the Health Department.  His main job is to investigate reports at local restaurants dealing with unsanitary food preparation and sightings of rats, bugs, etc. sighted in restaurant dining rooms.

Yancy continues to try to be reinstated to his old job.  He continually gets involved with investigating criminal activities.  “Razor Girl” features a disreputable, inane cast of characters.  Razor Girl is Merry, like Merry Christmas, Mansfield.  She is a scam artist who is contracted to ram into cars and cheat the gullible drivers.  How she is able to con these drivers is fully explained in the first few pages of the book.  Needless to say, it involves driving and shaving.

In addition, the other characters are a mob enforcer, Dominick “Big Noogie” Aeola, Buck Nance and his family, who are reality television stars, their agent Lane Coolman, and a product-liability lawyer, who is using the product involved in the class-action suit he is prosecuting with very bad results.  There are also several girl friends, wives,  and ex-wives of these characters.

9780385349741_p0_v1_s118x184.jpg  The plot involves the kidnapping of Buck Nance and Lane Coolman by an unhinged, street-smart criminal named Blister.  Eventually all of the characters get involved in the kidnapping and or trying to locate a diamond ring lost by one of the characters.  How this all unfolds makes for a hilarious read.

We hope that Hiaasen has more adventures awaiting Andrew Yancy, but it is inconceivable that they could be any more zany that what happens in “Razor Girl.”