1999 Shoppe Talk
San Marino Toy&Book Shoppe
are journeys into knowledge, entertainment and imagination. Come explore
our shelves brimming with books to offer you up the summer travels of your
(And yes, the second Harry
Potter has officially arrived!)
"There is no Frigate like a Book..." Emily
Going Camping, Anyone?
Just in time for summer, comes Ashley
Wolff’s new picture book, STELLA AND ROY GO CAMPING. Big sister
and younger brother join their mother on an overnight camping trip. As
they hike to their campsite, Stella, consulting her new animal tracks book,
assures Roy that none of the tracks he discovers were made by a bear. After
a long day Mother and Stella fall sound asleep in their snug tent, but
night noises keep Roy awake. And the sound of the bear barrel clunking
around outside sends him looking out the tent flap where he finally gets
to see his first bear. Wolff’s text and art weave valuable information
for young campers into this satisfying family story.
Venture into Art
||If you are going camping this summer,
or to sleep away camp, or to the beach, or staying right at home, or visiting
Grandparents, former neighbors, cousins by the dozens or flying to the
moon, you need Klutz’s latest hands-on activity book,
DRAWING FOR THE
ARTISTICALLY UNDISCOVERED by Quentin Blake and John Cassidy.
It offers an irreverent but effective approach to drawing. In fact the
two watercolor pencils and the black ink sketch pen supplied with this
nifty spiral bound book come with NO ERASERS. The authors’ philosophy is
that there are no mistakes, just some bigger successes than others. In
spite of their professed informality, there are some basic lessons couched
in the playful pointers on shading, perspective, and sketching the human
body. Every page has some drawing tip with illustrated examples and an
invitation for the student to do his own drawing. Any child old enough
to read, and any grown-up young enough to be a kid at heart will truly
enjoy the humor and encouragement in this unique how-to-draw book.
(Ages 7+++, $19.95)
More Summertime Travel Adventures
Travel back in time
Great Bargains! Two new tours. See Paris in
all its glory. Marvel at the wonders of Ancient Egypt. All for the price
of $8.95 each we can send you on a “Sightseers Essential Guide to the Past.”
1789 “is both an exciting and dangerous place to visit” according to
our guidebook author, Rachel Wright. However the sights are incomparable.
Visit the Louvre with its recently installed overhead glass windows. A
trip to the lovely Palace at Versailles is a mere two hour trip by coach
and horse. For livelier entertainment, plan to spend some time strolling
the boulevards observing the entertainment.
||If antiquities are more your cup
of mead, time slip back beyond the common era to 332 BC to ANCIENT EGYPT;
A Guide to Egypt in the Time of the Pharaohs. A trip along the Nile
River will reveal small cargo boats packed with all manner of goods. A
sightseers tip advises renting a donkey if you are planning a longer excursion
into the desert, but day trips with a reliable guide are also suggested
by expert Sally Tagholm. Both guides offer notes on accommodations
and advice on dining and shopping and each supplies its own foldout map.
These two companion titles offer a clever approach to teaching a piece
of world history.
Travel to all the corners of our
The NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC WORLD ATLAS
FOR YOUNG EXPLORERS; A Complete World Reference for Adventurous Minds
will help set the course for this generation that promises to become as
adventurous a group of travelers as any before them. Its generously sized
pages are filled with colorful illustrations, clearly labeled maps, and
pertinent and interesting bits of information. One two-paged spread, for
example, shows population density. Three illustrations are used. One is
a world map, the second a chart and the third is a photograph of city lights
across the earth. Continents are pictured in both physical and political
maps. Regions within each continent are shown in greater detail. In addition
to clearly marked place names, flags are depicted. This is such an inviting
volume that it will lure the entire family to browse the world together.
Its application for classroom use is manifold.
Setting the course for travel in
||Author Ian Graham’s THE BEST BOOK OF THE
MOON chronicles mankind’s timeless fascination with the moon from earliest
folklore and legends to this waning century’s Apollo space projects. He
concludes with predictions for moon bases as stopovers enroute to exploration
of distant planets and man’s potential use of the moon’s mineral resources.
His straightforward text is logically organized and the abundant illustrations
are as useful as they are attractive. One series of eight pictures demonstrates
the phases of the moon, showing not only how the moon appears from earth
but also where, in its orbit of the earth, the moon is positioned for each
phase. Another page has a graphic depiction of current scientific theory
on the moon’s formation. Graham presents an uncluttered look at
our best explored neighbor in space.
(Ages 5-11, $10.95)
|The Apollo space project, Voyager’s missions,
the Hubble Space Telescope, and the US Pathfinder’s landing a camera on
the surface of Mars in 1997 had their beginnings long before the twentieth
century. Young readers will discover when reading THE HISTORY NEWS IN
SPACE that man’s first steps into space began with the earliest astronomers,
particularly one brave Polish priest, Nicolaus Copernicus in the middle
of the sixteenth century. His idea that the earth was a moving planet disputed
the long-accepted theory that the earth was the center of the universe.
All milestone events are presented in journalistic style, written as contemporary
to the times covered. Galileo’s trial for heresy for example, is written
by an observing “courtroom reporter.” The illustrated format is upbeat
and slightly informal, accessible and appealing to kids. Coverage of the
“space news” begins in 145 C.E. with the publication of Ptolemy’s view
of the universe and brings the reader up to the present space probes and
plans for the future.
(Ages 8-12, $16.99)
Travel into Once Upon a Time
||THE ONCE UPON A TIME MAP BOOK offers
a tour to The Enchanted Forest, The Giant’s Kingdom, The Land of Oz and
three other magical places. B. J. Hennessy’s imaginative premise
is that Prince Charming and Cinderella’s honeymoon takes them to six “once-upon-a-time
lands.” Each location has its own map with its own itinerary that the reader
must follow. At each stop there is a wedding present to be discovered along
with other hidden challenges. The clever payoff for this book is that it
teaches a myriad of map skills in a most creative way. Kids will learn
to use a key, and a compass to follow directions. It’s a way also to extend
a literature experience, finding Peter’s hideout in “Never-Never Land,”
and the March Hare’s house in “Wonderland.” Peter Joyce supplies
the art for this well-conceived “honeymoon” tour.
(Ages 6-11, $14.99)
It's Never Too Early to
Begin the Reading Adventure
Babies! Babies! Babies!
By the look of things we think there is
a bit of a baby boomlet. Witness the bumper crop of new baby related books,
two with almost the same title so note the punctuation. It’s important
here. First off, there’s BABY! TALK!, Penny Gentieu’s inviting photo
montage designed to share with baby (or anyone else who gets all mushy
looking at appealing baby pictures). This colorful first words book reinforces
those classic call and response interactions like “How Big is Baby? Soooo
Big!” The endpapers give toddlers an opportunity to show off a rapidly
increasing basic vocabulary.
to two years, $13.00)
||The second BABY TALK is by Fred
Hiatt with rich oil paintings by Mark Graham. The new baby is
a puzzle for his brother, Joey. His crying sometimes means he is hungry,
needs a dry diaper, or a nap. Joey can’t seem to figure it out until he
starts responding to baby’s funny sounding noises and provides his own
translations. The virtue of this book is its showing an older sibling a
way of interacting positively with a new arrival. It’s a good addition
to the many fine books written to sidestep the slippery slope of sibling
|THE BABY DANCES absolutely danced
its way into our hearts. Kathy Henderson’s lyrical text and Tony
Kerins’s endearing pastels record the changes a year brings. Baby is
born, sleeps and sleeps, smiles, rolls and rolls herself over, sits, crawls
and stands. And finally “she takes her first lurching steps.” “Safe in
her brother’s arms, THE BABY DANCES.” What makes this book so important
is its unspoken reminder of the how each milestone in a baby’s first year
is its own special miracle. This is just an exquisite treasure of a book.
(All ages, $15.99)
||Put MY FIRST WORD BATH BOOK into your
diaper bag (we aren’t so keen on books in bathtubs, actually—rubber duckies
yes, books well… ). This one is plastic, designed for that major drooly
teething time (and yes, for bathtime) with clear and bright photo reproductions.
This and other early toddler books certainly make the waiting time in the
pediatrician’s office go more easily.
|MRS. WISHY-WASHY is a new hard
paged book you don’t want to miss. Its previous incarnation was as an early
reader sold exclusively to schools. Joy Cowley’s simple text about
the animals rolling in the mud and Mrs. Wishy-Washy scrubbing them
clean again is just the sort of romp that will appeal to a toddler whose
sense of humor is growing as quickly as his vocabulary.
(Ages 6 mos.-3,
||It’s clean-up time in Matt’s room, filled
with TRUCKS, TRUCKS, TRUCKS. Trucks for digging, pushing and plowing;
scooping, loading and hauling. As Matt handles each truck, his imagination
grows and soon he is the equipment driver, rolling the road, sweeping the
street and lifting the load (his sock—after all he is cleaning his room.)
Sis is the artful foreman on this altogether satisfying project that
moves the young reader from reality to fantasy and back again.
(Ages 1-4, $14.95)
Getting Ready for Kindergarten
|LOOK OUT KINDERGARTEN, HERE I COME!
One mouse child’s eager anticipation of the first day of kindergarten carries
him through the early morning routine and all the way to the front steps
of the school where suddenly he feels very small. “What if I get lost?”
he asks his wise mother. She reminds him of their kindergarten orientation
visit and assures him that he can always ask a teacher for help. At the
door of the classroom, he panics. Nancy Carlson’s artwork shows
him in tears as he rushes into his mother’s arms. The understanding teacher
invites him inside to look around. There in the classroom he finds all
the things his mother told him would be there. Carlson’s deceptively
simple text gives youngsters (and their grownups!) a giant step of readiness
for their big milestone day.
||You will find yourself cheering for a most
unlikely hero in Helen Lester’s delicious read-aloud, HOOWAY
FOR WODNEY WAT. Rodney is the butt of his rodent classmates teasing
because he can’t pronounce his “r’s.” Because of all the teasing, he is
the shyest rodent in his elementary school. One day a very large rodent
named Camilla Capybara joins the class. She announces to the class that
she is the biggest, meanest and smartest, of them all. We also discover
she is the rudest. All the other classmates feel very uncomfortable. Then
one recess Rodney, in his most unassuming way, saves the day. Chosen to
be leader for their favorite game, “Simon Says,” Rodney inadvertently discovers
Camilla’s weakness. She is literal to a fault. When he tells his fellow
rodents to “wead the sign”, Camilla “weeds the sign.” When he tells them
to “wake the leaves,” they rake. She picks a leaf and yells, “wake up!”
We won’t spoil the punch line, but the kids will love it. Lester teams
up once again with illustrator Lynn Munsinger whose previous pairings
have brought us the likes of that colorful individualist, Tacky the
(Ages 4-8, $15.00)
and In Celebration of the Book
—With a nod to the Fine Arts
Learning the alphabet is one of the first
major accomplishments for children on their quest for literacy. We were
delighted to discover the reissue of one of our favorites designed for
that noble pursuit, Robert Crowther’s MOST AMAZING HIDE-AND-SEEK
ALPHABET BOOK. Its clean white pages sport bold black lower case letters.
Each letter hides a surprise which is uncovered by pulling tabs up or down.
An easy pull up on letter “a” reveals an ape appearing alongside the word
“ape.” One of our favorites is the mouse that flits through the letter
“m”, making only the briefest appearance as the tab is pulled. Snake uncoils
itself behind its letter, and owl opens and then closes his eyes inside
letter “o”, too sleepy to join in. The most active youngsters are bound
to sit still for this kinetic wonder. Use it as a reward at bedtime or
in a storytime circle. Launch your beginners on their reading journeys
with this well-crafted pop-up book, still as fresh as it ever was when
we first found it over twenty years ago.
(Ages 3-6, $14.99)
||READING GROWS from the earliest moments
of a child’s life when “baby reads with mommy,” looks at pictures, learns
colors and shapes, listens to stories, decodes the alphabet, develops word
recognition, reads sentences, and finally successfully tackles entire books.
All of these steps are beautifully chronicled in Ellen Senisi’s
photo essay that we hope will encourage a youngster who is impatient, give
confidence to one who is reluctant, or perhaps even stimulate one who might
(Ages 3-6, $15.95)
|Luscious word images send the reader into
his own imagination in George Ella Lyon’s BOOK. Certainly
Catalanotto, the illustrator of her lovely poem, created the most intriguing
watercolors to match her lyric praise to the BOOK. They are joyful
and filled with playful images, mirrored writing, books flying and a child
soaring into the universe through the pages of the book. Readers will re-enter
the pages of this treasure time after time for the comfort of kindred connections
and to study its intriguing images.
(Ages 4+++, $16.95)
||A hungry WOLF blows into town but
can’t seem to stir the local farm animals. They are too busy reading to
get worked up over his arrival. The wolf does not like being ignored by
“educated animals” so he goes to school to learn to read as well. His slow-paced
reading aloud doesn’t impress the animals. They tell him to get more practice.
He works hard, gets faster, but reads with no expression. Finally he goes
to a bookstore (a good independent one of course) where he invests the
last of his money in a “splendid new storybook.” After much practice he
reappears once again at the farm (this time politely ringing the bell at
the farm gate). So improved is he that the pig, duck and cow keep him reading
aloud until it’s time for their picnic to which he is invited. Becky
Bloom’s amusing tale is illustrated with a light touch by Pascal
Biet’s watercolors. We love the “before and after” in the end papers.
One can see in Biet’s panoramas how reading aloud has transformed the townspeople
from frowning grumps to eager listeners.
|And if a literate wolf isn’t enough this
summer, we offer you up one who dances. Another hungry wolf, finding himself
in a strange part of town, stumbles upon an appearance of the “Boarshoi
Ballet” performing “SWINE LAKE.” Plumper and juicier looking than
he could have ever imagined, the performers are an “entrancing spectacle.”
In spite of his ravenous appetite, a strange thing seems to overcome the
wolf. He becomes engrossed by the ballet itself. Afterwards he staggers
home, takes a long nap, and once again returns to the theater for the evening
performance. At just the appropriate moment he leaps unto the stage … we
just won’t tell you the rest. Perhaps the beauty of the music and dance
can soothe a savage heart. But what we will reveal is that Maurice Sendak
paid a great honor to his late friend James Marshall’s entertaining
text. His artwork is as lively as the story itself, with Sendakian visual
asides and puns incorporated into the paintings to give us an extra chuckle.
(Ages 5++, $15.95)
One for Good Luck and One For Goodbye
||Mrs. Kempczinsi (“Say it Kemp-chin-ski!”)
is everyone’s dream teacher. Her third graders know how special she is
and how lucky they are to have a teacher who celebrates worm day and dances
when everyone turns in their homework and teaches them sign language. But
then Mrs. K isn’t there one day, and then not for weeks. The principal
tells the class that Mrs. K has cancer and when one of the children asks
how many operations it takes to cure cancer, he says “there are some answers
even principals don’t know.” The children write to Mrs. K and she writes
back, telling them she is feeling better. The day after school lets out
for summer the class is invited back to school for a special surprise.
Mrs. K visits to tell the children how proud she is of all their third
grade work and that she hopes “to be back next fall.” Louise Borden’s
LUCK, MRS. K.! is a gem of a book. Written with a warm humor that is
reflected in Adam Gustavson’s watercolors, children are presented with
a real life situation that gives them hope and some models for coping.
|GOODBYE, HOUSE is another book that
helps children cope with transition. This one offers a big assist in overcoming
the trauma of moving. Designed in a journal format, there are pages of
advice and places for a child to fill in the blanks to express thoughts
and feelings. The authors, Ann Banks and Nancy Evans, suggest
things like saying good riddance to the things a child might be glad to
be leaving behind, and another page has places to write down the things
she can hardly wait to do in the new house. The authors talk about things
people worry about when they are moving and suggests ways a child can help
the family in the moving process. True Kelley’s black and white
drawings can be colored in to cheer up the pages so if you are thinking
of making this a gift to a child who is moving, add a box of colored pencils
to the package. There are colored stickers at the back to be put on the
appropriate packed cartons.
(Ages 6-11, with
a guide for parents, $9.95 paperback)
Out in the Garden
and into the Pond
||When Jody’s Granda came to visit he brought
her a packet of runner beans. Together they planted them in a circle and
when he went back home, she tended them carefully. JODY’S BEANS
grew so well that when Granda came again, he built a teepee of poles to
support them. Jody watched as they snaked up the teepee and finally it
was time to pick the first beans for eating. All summer they grew and in
the fall, when the growing season ended, the biggest seeds were saved for
planting next year. Judith Allibone’s charming illustrations in
ink and watercolor are a wonderful accompaniment to Malachy Doyle’s
(Ages 4-8, $15.99)
|IT’S A FROG’S LIFE is a new wrinkle
on the popular journal style. Frog, with a big assist from Steve Parker
keeps a very personal and detailed accounting of his life at the pond.
He is a proud papa to a clutch of “frog spawn” that hatch into little tadpole
wrigglers and finally, fifteen weeks after hatching, into full-on froglets.
Avoiding enemies like herons takes serious attention as does finding food.
He says he is on a “see-food” diet. Frog is a funny fellow but this handsomely
illustrated and informative book offers much more than light entertainment.
(But you could even read it aloud.)
(Ages 5-9, $9.99)
Marking the Millennium
||Author Betsy Maestro and illustrator
Maestro tell THE STORY OF CLOCKS AND CALENDARS: Marking a Millennium.
This timely and fact-filled book certainly helps set the stage for all
the hoopla to come, putting these next years into their proper historical
perspective and significance. Children may be surprised to learn that other
cultures have been recording historical events for longer than the Gregorian
Calendar has been in common use. According to the Hebrew calendar, the
year 2000 is actually 5760. The Chinese calendar will be celebrating 4698.
For those ancient civilizations, this millenium milestone may be very old
news. The Maestros offer a survey of how time has been measured, from ancient
sundials to modern atomic clocks. A useful illustration of the world indicates
time zones and another depicts the Chinese calendar. Guess when we celebrate
another “Year of the Dragon?” Yup, it’s 2000.
(Ages 6-12, $16.00)
of American History
Two stories about coming to America
|In 1894, Mary Antin arrived in America. Although
the streets were not lined with gold, what was even better for a girl like
Mary was the free education offered to all children. In Russia, only boys
with short noses were permitted to attend school. In America her parents
could work and Mary could become a noted poet and writer. Rosemary Wells
has based her STREETS OF GOLD on Mary Antin’s memoir, This Promised
Land. For a child who didn’t even begin to speak English until she
was twelve, Antin’s prose is poetic. Wells includes snippets of
her writing in each episode of this lovely picture book. Dan Andreasen’s
oil paintings on gessoed board capture the feeling of what life must have
been like at the beginning of the twentieth century.
(Ages 5-9, $15.99)
Orphaned Grisha had come to live with his
cousin Rachel’s family in their little shtetl in Russia at the beginning
of the twentieth century. The two cousins were great friends and Rachel
helped Grisha who was still mourning the loss of his mother. Times were
hard for Jewish families suffering under the harsh anti-Jewish decrees
of the tsar and the life-threatening pogroms that terrorized their little
villages. When their family fled to the safety of America, Grisha insisted
on taking his tattered coat because his mother had sewn it for him, using
the wool of her own coat for the lining of her son’s. After an arduous
journey, the family finally arrived on Ellis Island for the last hurdle
before being allowed to enter America. Grisha accidentally bruised his
eye and the health inspector chalked an “E” on his back. The family was
panicked, afraid that the failed medical exam would prevent his coming
with them. Rachel saved the day by turning his coat inside-out. A more
sympathetic health inspector recognized Grisha’s eye injury as temporary
and this time he passed. Elvira Woodruff’s THE MEMORY COAT
was inspired by her own visit to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Although
hers is a work of fiction, it could be one of the millions of possible
stories of the people who came to America with hope for a better life.
Dooling’s paintings also reflect their historical origins as he says
he pored over hundreds of turn-of-the-century photographs to get a sense
of the setting and people in Woodruff’s story.
(Ages 5-9, $15.95)
The California Gold Rush
|When the astounding news of gold discoveries
in California reached out into the world, GOLD FEVER became epidemic.
After touring the remnants of that turbulent decade, illustrator Rosalyn
Schanzer collected word nuggets and set them to painted acrylics as
she tells “Tales from the California Gold Rush.” She depicts the various
journeys taken by sea and land. From the diggings she quotes miners like
E.G. Buffram describing the effects of scurvy, and Charles Bush who complains
“there’s not a woman within nineteen miles of us.” (He was bemoaning the
fact that they had to do their own laundry!) Miners’ pleasures and pastimes
in the city offer exotic foods and entertainment. Young Lotta Crabtree
reports that at the finish of her first stage performance she was thrown
nuggets of gold. Basics foods like fresh milk and vegetables are “rarely
heard of.” And ultimately we learn that the best value in California is
not the gold to be dug from the ground, but the rich ground itself. Miner
Buffram says of California, “her fertile valleys and rich plains are capable
of producing untold agricultural wealth.” Schanzer’s GOLD FEVER!
is a lively resource to accompany classroom curriculum with its personal
glimpses of those colorful times in early California history.
(Ages 8-12, $17.95)
Books for Good Summer Reading
||ABIGAIL TAKES THE WHEEL in Avi’s
latest addition to the I Can Read Chapter Book series for newly
independent readers. Avi has written about spunky heroines aboard
ships before, in fact he was awarded a Newbery Honor in 1991 for True
Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. This story is set in the 1880’s aboard
a side paddling freight boat Neptune, that not only delivers produce from
the farmers in New Jersey to the people of New York City but is also home
to Abigail and Tom Bates whose father is captain of the Neptune. When two
larger sailing ships collide enroute to the City, Captain Bates is asked
to tow one of the disabled ships back to port and must board it in order
to steer it behind the towline. The first mate takes over but becomes too
ill to continue and so the job falls to Abigail to bring the Neptune safely
into port. Short action-packed chapters coupled with colored illustrations
by Don Bolognese make this a good reading choice.
(Ages 5-8, $14.95)
Note: There are enough title
choices and reading levels available mostly in paperback in the I Can
Read Series to keep you reading all summer.
Going to the Dogs! (And one for Cats too!)
|Well not really going to the dogs, but
certainly you’ll give two paws up to these treasures. Start with this utterly
appealing delight, BUSTER, THE VERY SHY DOG written and illustrated
by an award-winning independent filmmaker and former animator, Lisze
Bechtold. We can only hope she begins to devote her considerable talent
to more children’s books because Buster is about the most appealing
dog you will meet in a lifetime of dog years. He watches the world from
every convenient hiding place, admiring brave and amazing Phoebe from safe
distances. Happily he manages to find his own place in the household when
his master Roger discovers and praises Buster’s special talent. Bechtold’s
vocabulary is simple enough for a beginning reader to decode and it’s elegant
and humorous text makes this a pleasure to read aloud. Her artwork is appropriately
spare and eloquent and is much in the tradition of the late Arnold Lobel’s
classic Frog and Toad series.
(Ages 4-8, $15.00)
||Ellie Martin has wanted a puppy
for almost as long as she was old. And always her parents have promised
she could have one when she turned nine. Then unexpectedly an elderly relative
asks the family to take her own beloved dog Preston since she is moving
into an apartment that won’t permit dogs. Ellie is terribly disappointed.
This is not the puppy she has been dreaming of for years and years. Preston
is a “square, boring brown dog”, not the cute little fluffy puppy she was
going to train to sit and stay. When her friends see him she insists he’s
MY DOG. Gradually Ellie begins to recognize Preston’s virtues, his
quiet companionship and good nature. And she really appreciates him after
he helps her find her way home. Colby Rodowsky’s young chapter book,
illustrated with pictures by Thomas F. Yezerski, gets to the heart
of one child’s disappointment and her gradual acceptance and making the
best of an unavoidable life situation.
(Ages 7-11, $15.00)
|Lest cat lovers think we have abandoned
you, worry not. We want to let you know that THREE STORIES YOU CAN READ
TO YOUR CAT by Sara Swan Miller with fetching illustrations
by True Kelley is now available in paperback. In its introduction
the reader is reminded that in order to get a cat to listen to these stories
it must be invited nicely and be petted frequently while being read to.
And we add that even if your cat is less than enamored with these tales,
you will certainly enjoy them, especially if this is the first summer you
are ready to read first chapter books that still have lots of neat colored
pictures on every page.
And don’t forget that if
you have a dog too, who might feel left out, the same team as above has
written Three Stories You Can Read to Your Dog.
New Books from Two of our Favorite Authors
||It took a long time and a lot of
patience before Tomie de Paola and his family could move into their
new house on 26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE. In fact it is the saga of building
this house that occupies much of his delightful new autobiography. This
is Tomie’s first chapter book in what promises to be a series we trust
will be as charming as this first. One of the funniest moments in the book
occurs when his mother takes him to see Walt Disney’s “Snow White.” He
is incensed at the liberties Disney takes with the Grimm’s fairy tale as
he knows it. Readers familiar with Tomie’s stories have encountered many
of his immediate family in such books as Nana Upstairs and Nana
Downstairs, Tom (about his grandfather), and The Art Lesson.
They are like antipasto for this fuller course.
|Welcome to RAMONA’S WORLD. Beverly
Cleary’s irrepressible Ramona is now in fourth grade. There’s a new
baby sister in the house and big sister Beezus is in high school. Ramona
is still struggling with spelling and isn’t sure she is going to like her
new teacher who gives “reward words” to good spellers. Ramona can’t imagine
how getting more words to spell can possibly be considered a “reward.”
Her success with friendships far outweighs any temporary academic disappointments
as she negotiates an optimistic course through life. It delights us to
know that this fresh look into RAMONA’S WORLD will open a world
of reading for a new generation, eager to meet Beverly Cleary’s
wonderful cast of characters appearing in her award winning novels. Cleary
has the magic touch still.
Arriving in the store on
August 25. Reserve your copy.
Tales of Mystery and Imagination
If mystery is your secret wish for a summer read, then dig into a trio
by the talented Wendelin Van Draanen winner of this year’s Mystery
Writers of America’s Edgar Award for the best mystery written for children.
Draanen’s fictional detective is a feisty and likeable seventh grader
named Samantha Keyes. In her first story, SAMMY KEYES AND THE HOTEL
THIEF, Sammy peering through her binoculars, observes a man digging
through a purse wearing black gloves, and then she realizes that he has
seen her. But that’s not even the beginning of all scrapes she manages
to get into and out of. An innocent evening of trick or treating on Halloween
night is the opening gambit of her second appearance, SAMMY KEYES AND
THE SKELETON MAN. This time Sammy and her friends find themselves inside
the spookiest house in their neighborhood and they have walked into the
scene of a crime. The newest in the trio,
SAMMY KEYES AND THE SISTERS
OF MERCY, finds Sammy working off a school detention helping the sisters
and Father Mayhew in the church’s soup kitchen. When valuable church artifacts
begin to disappear, Sammy suspects a homeless runaway is responsible. Van
Draanen fills her books with a central cast of characters and villains
appropriate for children’s fiction—mostly of the not too violent thieving
9-13, $4.99 paperbacks; newest is $15.00 hardcover only)
There isn’t a more talented and versatile
writer of children books than Paul Fleischman. He has explored a
variety of topics from insects expressed in poetry for two voices to the
civil war told by a cast of fictional participants in the battle of Bull
Run. And now comes his amazing picture book, WESLANDIA, a startling
celebration of independent and creative thinking. Wesley was a loner. “He
had no friends, but plenty of tormentors.” Now that school was over for
the summer, he had to find a good summer project. Marking out a spot in
his yard he decided to grow his own staple food crop and found his own
civilization. The key to his success, along with his own industrious imagination,
was a remarkable plant that found a welcome in his garden. Its fruit and
root provided nourishment. Oil from the crushed seeds repelled insects.
Its bark was converted to fiber and then cloth. With a staple food crop
assured, the natural evolution was to devise his own civilization, WESLANDIA,
complete with its own eighty-letter alphabet and a new set of sports and
“games rich with strategy and complex scoring systems” which attracted
the other kids to WESLANDIA. And by the time Wesley returned to
school in the fall, “he had no shortage of friends.” Kevin Hawkes’s
illustrations are as rich as the story he paints. Fleischman offers
us a book as juicy and as versatile as the riches of Wesley’s garden.
(Ages 4+++, $15.99)
Yes, Yes! A new Harry Potter!!
||What could be even better than Harry
Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone? What about HARRY POTTER AND THE
CHAMBER OF SECRETS? Yep, the secret is out. Harry is back. Year II
is beginning soon at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry but Harry
has been locked in his bedroom by his “muggle” relatives, forbidding him
to return for his second year. They haven’t counted on Ron Weasley coming
to his rescue. Harry has been warned that he will be in mortal danger if
he returns to Hogwarts. A terrible evil is afoot at the school and ultimately
Harry must be the one to confront it. Between the auspicious warning and
the final breathtaking denouement there sits a delicious story. J. K.
Rowling’s second Harry Potter is as imaginative and compelling a read
as was the first.
Book Reviews courtesy of Jody Fickes
Shapiro, Adventures for Kids. All Rights Reserved
3437 Telegraph Road, Ventura, CA