Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Platypus Police Squad Blog Tour and Artwork Reveal

To celebrate the debut of Jarrett J. Krosoczka's middle grade mystery - Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked - which comes out on Tuesday, May 7, 2013, Walden Pond Press is hosting a Blog Tour featuring exclusive artwork from the book.

From HarperCollins' website:
Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked is the first in a series of zany, action-packed middle-grade mysteries featuring platypus police detectives Rick Zengo and Corey O’Malley.

When a call comes in about a crime down at the docks involving a missing schoolteacher and a duffle bag full of illegal fish, Zengo and O’Malley are going to have to learn to set their differences aside if they want to get to the bottom of this. Especially when the clues all point to Frank Pandini Jr., Kallamazoo’s first son and its most powerful, well-respected businessman.

Fans of Adam Rex, Jon Scieszka, and Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s own Lunch Lady graphic novels will flip for Jarrett’s new series of illustrated middle-grade novels.

Book Description
From the Files of the Platypus Police Squad

Case #1138
Detectives of record: Rick Zengo and Corey O'Malley

Case brief: A local schoolteacher is missing, and the only thing fishier than the circumstances surrounding his disappearance is the smell coming from the bag he left behind. All clues point to billionaire businessman Frank Pandini Jr.—but why would Pandini get his paws into the illegal fish trade?

And now I am excited to reveal several pieces of the finished artwork from Platypus Police Squad:

Zengo's first time with O'Malley in the squad car. 

O'Malley's boys get a ride in the squad car.

Zengo and O'Malley checking out suspects' pictures. 

Zengo outside of the Roar (owned by Pandini).

The new Kal East Football Stadium.

Doesn't this make you want to read the book?  Pick up a copy of Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked by Jarrett J. Krosoczka at your favorite bookstore, and shop Indie whenever possible.

All artwork copyright © 2013 by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

For more information on author/illustrator, Jarrett J. Krosoczka: website | blog | facebook | twitter

To download the Zengo and O'Malley's Rookie Rules Activity Kit, click here

Join in on the Platypus Police Squad Virtual Launch Party on May 23, 2013 - click here for the link.

Check out the official book trailer for Platypus Police Squad:

Walden Pond Press is providing one lucky reader with a signed copy of Platypus Police Squad.  Enter below for a chance to win a copy:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 29, 2013

Home Sweet Rome Blog Tour - Author Interview - Marissa Moss & Giveaway

As part of the Home Sweet Rome Blog Tour, author Marissa Moss graciously offered to answer some questions for readers.  In addition, the good folks over at Sourcebook offered a copy of Moss's newest book Mira's Diary: Home Sweet Rome for giveaway to one lucky reader.

What was your inspiration for writing Mira’s Diary?

I love both history and the diary format, a combination I've played with before. This time I wanted to add the element of time travel to make the historical aspects more vivid, more engaging for readers.

You have an amazing list of books that you have written, both picture books and novels? Do you enjoy writing one type of book over another? Is it harder to write a picture book than a novel or the other way around?

You'd think a picture book would be easier because it's shorter, but that's what makes it harder. Every word counts and you don't have any room to make mistakes. Still, I love the way picture books tell the story equally through words and images. With novels, I love the chance to go deeper into a subject. I even have one case where I wrote about the same historical subject (a true story about a woman who dressed as a man and fought in the Civil War) first as a picture book -- Nurse, Soldier, Spy -- and then as a YA novel, A Soldier's Secret. I loved doing both!

When did you decide you wanted to write books? Do you write a lot of stories as a child?

I've always told stories and drawn pictures to go with them, ever since I could hold a crayon. I sent my first picture book to publishers when I was nine, but it was pretty terrible and they didn't publish it. I didn't try again until I was a grown-up and then it took me five years of sending out stories, getting them rejected, revising them, and sending them back again and again and again until I got my first book.

What book would you identify as being the book that turned you into a reader or inspired you to become a writer?

I was a voracious reader from early on, starting with Dr. Seuss. I loved how he played with words and drew these amazing creatures.

One thing I am always curious about is the writing habits and writing space of authors? Some work in their home or a writing space, and others in coffee shops. Some like music playing in the background and others have special snacks or beverages. Tell us a little bit about your writing space and habits.

I'm pretty boring and basic. I write in my studio -- no music (too distracting), no snacks (ditto). When I'm drawing, I listen to music, but not while writing. Early in my career, I wrote on the dining room table, in parks while watching my kids, even in pediatricians' waiting rooms, whenever I could squeeze in time. Now I have the luxury of a room of my own where I can make a mess and close the door.

If you could spend the day with your favorite character (from any book – doesn’t have to be one of your own characters), who would it be and what would you do for the day?

It's not so much the characters I'd want to spend time with, but the places. I'd love to explore Narnia, the Hundred-Acre-Wood, Hogwarts, the Shire.

What is the question that you most frequently get asked by children who write to you?

The most common question is whether Amelia (from the Amelia's Notebook series) is based on a real person. The answer is she is -- me!

If we were to get a peek at your “To-be-read” pile, what titles would be see in the stack of books?

It's a huge stack of books for the research I'm doing on WWI and Women's suffrage in England (for Mira #3). For pleasure, I'm sneaking in novels when I can. I just finished Karen Cushman's latest book and I loved it!

Is there any question that I didn’t ask that you wished I had asked?

Why history? What's the draw there? What makes specific periods in history interesting to you, worth writing about?

For more information on Marissa Moss: website | facebook | twitter 

Thank you to Sourcebook for offering up a copy of Mira's Diary: Home Sweet Rome for a giveaway.  Please complete the form below to enter to win a copy.   a Rafflecopter giveaway

It's Monday! What are you reading? From Picture Books to YA - 4/29/13

It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila of Book Journey. Jen & Kellee from Teach Mentor Texts have adapted this to focus on Picture Books to Young Adult Books.

This past week was picture catch up week.  I read over 25 picture books.  However, it wasn't a stellar week for picture books.  There were few that jumped out of the pile and demanded my attention.  Hardly any that made me laugh or cry or feel something.  Almost none that I wanted to take home and place on a shelf.  I have made a pact with myself that I only post those that jumped out at me.  If you want to see everything check out my GoodReads list for this past week.

Here is what jumped out at me...

That is Not a Good Idea by Mo Willems (HarperCollins, April 23, 2013) - I can always count on Mo Willems to make me laugh. 

Thunderstorm by Arthur Geisert (Enchanted Lion Books, April 30, 2013) - Geisert fans will love this nearly wordless picture book about a storm.

Peanut and Fifi Have a Ball by Randall de Seve; Illustrated by Paul Schmid (Dial Books, April 18, 2013) - This one made me smile and for a week without too many reading smiles this was a lot of fun.

On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne (Chronicle Books, April 23, 2013) - One of the best children's picture books about Albert Einstein that I have seen.

Glasswings: A Butterfly's Story by Elisa Kleven (Dial Books, April 18, 2013) - The illustrations in this book are amazing.

Giant Dance Party by Betsy Bird; Illustrated by Brandon Dorman (HarperCollins, April 23, 2013) - Not what I expected for a first book by Betsy Bird but it is certainly fun and has a great message.

Giveaways - I am hosting several giveaways this week.  If you live in the United States or Canada, consider entering them.



So, what are you reading?    

Sunday, April 28, 2013

School Visit - Author, Tim Federle

About a month ago, I received an email from Once Upon a Time Bookstore asking if we wanted to host Tim Federle at one of our schools. My immediate reaction - well of course!  Then I looked at the date and wanted to cry. It was right at the beginning of testing.  So, after a few more emails and some logistical tweaking, we worked it out that Tim would come after school and meet with the Middle School Drama Class at Marshall Fundamental. Phew! 

By the way, for those of you who don't know, Tim is the debut author of BETTER NATE THAN EVER.  I love seeing all those copies of his book just waiting to be picked up. 

I knew that the fantastic teacher/librarian - Mr. Butler - had read the book and would do his best to prep the students.  Finally, the day arrived and Tim would be visiting.

We met at the library at the school.  Since it was a small group, we just pulled up chairs and hung out.

I had never done an author visit with Middle School students before.  They're a bit different from those elementary kids I normally work with.  But Tim was great with them.

He read some from his book BETTER NATE THAN EVER

He shared all kinds of stuff from his dance and theater experience to writing advice.  I think the students really enjoyed it.  A few of the students bought books and had them signed.

And though I don't have any pictures of this, the after event chat with Tim and a few folks was definitely the highlight on my afternoon.

Thanks Tim for coming out and hanging with the students at Marshall Fundamental.  And thank you to Once Upon a Time and Simon & Schuster for making the visit possible.       

Check out Tim Federle talking about BETTER NATE THAN EVER.

Enter to win a signed hard cover of BETTER NATE THAN EVER a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, April 27, 2013

School Visit - Fancy Nancy's Robin Preiss Glasser

Last school year, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Robin Preiss Glasser at Vroman's Bookstore.  We chatted and talked about her visiting my school for an illustrator visit.  This past February, I ran into Robin again at the SoCal Independent Bookseller's Association Literacy Dinner.  Over dinner, we reconnected and agreed to work out a time for a school visit.  Well, the wait was finally over this past Thursday.  I had the wonderful honor to host Robin at two of our Pasadena Unified School District Elementary Schools.

Robin kicked off the morning visiting 300+ Kindergarten to Second Graders at Willard Elementary.  I love her boa and tiara.

Kris (Once Upon a Time Bookstore) and Karen (Willard Librarian) organized all of the order forms for books at a very fancy table.  There were a lot of book orders. 

The kindergarteners were dressed up in some very fancy clothes. 

Robin taught the boys the proper way to bow. 

Then she proceeded to instruct the girls in how to curtsy.

The visit ended with a question and answer time. 

Next stop, Cleveland Elementary.  This was their first author/illustrator event.  Damaris Raya the school librarian welcomed some very excited little girls into the library to celebrate Fancy Nancy.

Here is Damaris with Robin.  I think this was a dream come true for Damaris.

Robin is fantastic at explaining her work with author Jane O'Connor, and how she is the boss of the pictures whereas Jane is the boss of the words.

Robin explained to students that she modeled Fancy Nancy's dog after her own dog Boo. 

Robin had the girls work on their posture by balancing a banana on their heads.  It was so cute.

Thank you Robin Preiss Glasser for coming and visiting Willard and Cleveland.  We loved our time with you.  And thanks to Harper Collins for sending bookmarks, and stickers to share with students.

I, also, want to thank Kris from Once Upon a Time for arranging for the book sales and for all the logistics that went into it.

Thank you everyone for giving such a wonderful experience to so many students!!!!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Book Review - Mira's Diary: Home Sweet Rome

Author: Marissa Moss
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (March 1, 2013)
Source: Copy for Review/Netgalley ARC
Audience: Ages 10 to 13
Fiction * Time Travel * 16th Century Rome

Description from GoodReads:
As if traveling to a new country in search of her missing mother weren't difficult enough, Mira has to do it dressed as a boy. In a different century.

A new postcard from her time-traveling mother points Mira to the 16th century Rome. But before she can rescue her mom, she must follow the clues left around the city to find Giordano Bruno, a famous thinker and mathematician, who discovered something so shocking that important Italian officials don't want it revealed. All the while avoiding the Watchers--time-traveling police who want Mira back in her own time.

It's another whirlwind adventure for Mira, and this time she is determined to bring her mother out of the past.

My thoughts on the book:
Mira's Diary: Home Sweet Rome is a follow-up to Mira's Diary: Lost in Paris.  In book 1, Mira has learned that her mother can time travel and has disappeared into the past.  It turns out that Mira seems to also have the same gift.  In this adventure, Mira's mother has sent her a message that will bring her into 16th Century Rome and an encounter with some very forward thinkers.  

Mira's Diary is certainly a book for Middle Grade readers who are fascinated with history and time-travel. The story is heavily seeped with historical figures and events that actually did occur, though the premise of the book and many of the character are fictional.  Readers are introduced to a number of important individuals from late 1500's to the early 1600's as Mira is brought back and forth between present day Rome to past Rome.  With only a few messages from her mother, Mira has to put the pieces together for herself as to what her purpose is in the past.  

As I read Mira's Diary, I realized that this is one of those times that as an adult reader, I might have more difficulty with the book than the average reader within the targeted audience.  When I considered the book from the perspective of my 12 year old self, I realized that some of the technical questions I had about time-travel (not so much the issue of could you time-travel - I could accept this as part of the story - but more so the rules of time-travel and how it is explained here) as an adult would not have even come up as a child.  Once I could settle that piece in my mind, then the ability to just go with the flow of the story worked.  

The other element that I questioned in the story was related to how Mira's mother seems to be stuck in the past but Mira herself came back and forth between the past and the present at least 3 times in the book.  Again, children may question, but it wouldn't detract from the story.  I won't give anything about the ending away other than to say that Moss has left readers with an anticipation of another book/adventure to come.   

Mira's Diary: Home Sweet Rome is a book that I would select with specific students in mind, particularly those children who enjoy history mixed with a sense of adventure.  For these students with a fascination of past people and events, Moss provides readers with wonderful details and an amazing author note at the end with even more facts and background information.    
Check back in on Monday for an interview with author Marissa Moss and a chance to win a copy of Mira's Diary: Home Sweet Rome

Thursday, April 25, 2013

National Screen Free Week - Almost Here!

National Screen Free Week (April 29 - May 5, 2013) is almost here and Random House Unplugs is celebrating big time.  Check out this cool video featuring Dan Yaccarino, Tad Hills, Bob Staake, and Chris Raschka.

Also, check out the following resources:

Screen Free Week on Facebook

Press Release for National Screen Free Week on School Library Journal

PW shares "Random House Unplugs" Supports Screen Free Week

Huffington Post Unplug for National Screen Free Week

So, how will you unplug?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Gandhi: A March to the Sea

Author: Alice B. McGinty
Illustrator: Thomas Gonzalez
Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing (April 2, 2013)
Source: Copy for Review
Nonfiction * Biographical * Polictical Activitst

Description from Amazon:
Mohandas Gandhi’s 24-day March to the Sea, from March 12 to April 5, 1930, was a pivotal moment in India’s quest to become an independent country no longer ruled by Great Britain. With over 70 marchers, Gandhi walked from his hometown near Ahmedabad to the seacoast near Dandi. The march was a non-violent means to protest the taxes that Great Britain had imposed on salt-not the salt that the Indians could get from the sea, but the salt that Great Britain forced them to buy. Gandhi believed that peaceful protests were an effective way to challenge British law, and his peaceful but ultimately successful movement became known as Satyagraha.

My thoughts on the book:
In  Gandhi: A March to the Sea, McGinty has written about one of the most significant events in India's history with a special spotlight on the brave leadership provided by Mohandas Gandhi when he embarked on a 24 day march that proved instrumental in India's fight for independence from British rule.  The story is not meant to be a comprehensive biography on Gandhi nor a detailed report of all of his civil rights work in India.  However, with that said, young readers will be able to form some idea of who Gandhi was and what he believed from reading the story. 

I truly appreciated that way this story highlights the important elements of Gandhi's march.  The text and illustrations communicated the power of Gandhi's message as well as the work of others who joined Gandhi. 

Readers will recognize the Thomas Gonzalez' distinct illustrative style from his beautiful work in 14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy.  His paintings depicting Gandhi's march and the format of the book places this squarely alongside the works of fellow painters, Kadir Nelson and Bryan Collier.    

The end of the book provides readers with a few source notes and some additional books.  Though there are not extensive facts at the end of the book, the curriculum guide mentioned below does contain additional information.

This book definitely earns its place on the shelves of school and classroom libraries, and should be read to children.  

Amazon Children's Publishing has created a curriculum guide.  Click here to check it out.

Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews below:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Picture Book Review - Bluebird

Author/Illustrator: Bob Staake
Publisher: Random House (April 9, 2013)
Source: Purchased Copy
Audience: Ages 4 to 10
Wordless * Friendship * Bullying

Description from the publisher:
In his most beautiful and moving work to date, Bob Staake explores the universal themes of loneliness, bullying, and the importance of friendship. In this emotional picture book, readers will be captivated as they follow the journey of a bluebird as he develops a friendship with a young boy and ultimately risks his life to save the boy from harm. Both simple and evocative, this timeless and profound story will resonate with readers young and old.

Bob Staake has been working on this book for 10 years, and he believes it is the story he was born to write. 

My thoughts on this book:
Each year, I look for what I can say is the best of the best in picture books.  Some years, the Caldecott Committee and I are in sync on the choices of outstanding picture books and other years we diverge and travel down different paths.  We are about one-third of the way through 2013 and I have already looked at a few hundred picture books.  Some are beautifully illustrated but lack the strength of a powerful story.  Other books have amazing text, but fail to wow readers with their pictures.  A few have text and illustrations that compliment and enhance one another.  Yet, for me, the leader of the pack is a book that tells a powerful story without a single word.

Bluebird by Bob Staake is one of the most powerful picture books that I have seen in a long time.  I first saw this book as an F & G (folded and gathered) and knew that I had to have it.  I have looked at it multiple times since and with each reading I see a new element that I missed in a previous read through.

I lack the words or the technical understanding to express what Staake communicates through a limited, but intentional color palette.  How do I convey the subtle but important details revealed in each frame? Staake is brilliant in his artistic layout and storytelling that for the observant reader the lack of words is never an issue.

Staake's story of a lonely boy, a small bluebird, a special friendship, and how the choices of various individuals can have significant impacts on the lives of others is a story that won't be quickly forgotten.  I, seriously, hope that this year's Caldecott committee will agree with me that Bluebird deserves to be recognized with a shiny medal.  If not, I am going to make my own shiny medal for this powerful story that will move every reader young and old.
Check out the official book trailer:

Interview with Bob Staake on Random Acts of Reading, click here

More information about Bob Staake: website | twitter | facebook |

Monday, April 22, 2013

It's Monday! What are you reading? From Picture Books to YA - 4/22/13

It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila of Book Journey. Jen & Kellee from Teach Mentor Texts have adapted this to focus on Picture Books to Young Adult Books.

I had a strange reading week.  I wasn't able to get to the library or to Vroman's to check out the latest picture books.  And for the first time in several years, I didn't even make it to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.  It was just one of those weeks.

However, I did read 3 books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series (an adult urban fantasy/paranormal series by J.R. Ward).  I am blaming @fishgirl182 for my current addiction.  

I am very close to finishing Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry (Harlequin Teen, May 28, 2013 - ARC courtesy of NetGalley) - Contemporary Young Adult fiction is not my usual reading choice but I had heard good things about McGarry and thought I would give it a try.  This is definitely a book for older teens.  I'll post my review in the near future.

I am just about to start Al Capone Does My Homework by Gennifer Choldenko (Penguin, August 2013)

I am also interested in meeting Kate Atkinson this week at Vroman's and reading her new book Life After Life (Reagan Arthur Books, April 2, 2013) - The reviews for this one sounded amazing.

I am certainly looking forward to a better reading week and dying to get back to a stack of picture books.

So, what are you reading?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Best Part of Me...Poetry Project by Jan Tappan

This past weekend, Jan Tappan, a teacher friend of mine shared about a class poetry project that she did recently with her 4th graders. 

From Jan...

I got the idea for the "Best Part of Me" poems from Carol Raby, an Elementary Librarian & a source of a great number of really terrific ideas. Hope Anita Smith visited Carol's school to conduct poetry workshops with the students there. The poetry project I was interested in was the one where the students used paint colors as metaphors for aspects of themselves (physical characteristics, emotions: "When I'm mad, I'm Maine Lobster," for example) and then illustrated the poems with torn white core scrapbook paper collage.

When Readers (a monthly book group comprised of teachers and librarians) visited her school, Carol showed me her photo album of the paint color poems, and I had great success with those last year. As I looked through her scrapbook, I found the photos (see example above) with poems displayed in a very unusual way. The sign on that bulletin board said that the poems had been inspired by Hope Anita Smith, but I later learned about the Wendy Ewald book, The Best Part of Me: Children Talk About Their Bodies in Pictures and Words and Literacy and Justice Through Photography: A Classroom Guide, the source for the original idea. Carol told me that the poems celebrated the "best part" of each student and that they used one metaphor, one simile, and one other kind of figurative language. The poems started and ended with "The best part of me is.."

I asked my students to write poems about what they felt was their best visible feature. The kids had a great time thinking up similes and metaphors to go with the body part that they had chosen, a process they found not as easy as they first thought! They shared their poems with each other for help with editing, revising, and ideas for metaphors and the "other figurative language" line. We took closeup photos of the kids' faces and of the body parts they wrote about. The kids used our word processors to type their poems, we formatted them so they looked the same and mounted them so the photos stood out from the board. It was a great success at our open house!

Mounting directions: Fold the 8 1/2" ends of letter size paper to the center line, creating two side flaps. Glue the student's face picture to the outside of the right flap, and the student's body part photo on the side facing the center line so the two photos are glued back to back with the body part photo facing the poem. Mount the poem's final copy in the center between the two flaps. I laminated the poem/photo display to make the photos stand out and to protect the display which is in a crowded hallway. When I put the bulletin board up, I backed each of the poems with a contrasting paper and re-folded the flaps on the poetry frame.

Additional Resources:

Check out this "Best Part of Me..." Resource on Scholastic.

Click here for an article about Wendy Ewald's work.

Thanks Jan for sharing about this great project...I can't wait to try it with students. - Alyson

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny)

Authors: Kathleen Krull; Paul Brewer
Illustrator: Stacy Innerst
Publisher: Harcourt Childrens (March 19, 2013)
Source: Bought
Audience: Grades 2nd to 5th
Biographical * Rock Musicians * England

Description from GoodReads:
Q: How do you find all this business of having screaming girls following you all over the place?
George: Well, we feel flattered . . .
John: . . . and flattened. 

When the Beatles burst onto the music scene in the early 1960s, they were just four unknown lads from Liverpool. But soon their off-the-charts talent and offbeat humor made them the most famous band on both sides of the Atlantic. Lively, informative text and expressive, quirky paintings chronicle the phenomenal rise of Beatlemania, showing how the Fab Four’s sense of humor helped the the lads weather everything that was thrown their way—including jelly beans.

My thoughts on the book:
When I saw that there was a picture book biography on The Beatles, I thought that someone was being a bit gutsy.  Of course, until I saw that it was Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer.  At that point, I figured if anyone could pull it off, then they could, and I wasn't wrong.  I read this book on an evening where there was little excitement radiating out of the stack of picture books that I was reading.  However, The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny) shone as brightly as its vibrant yellow cover.

Krull and Brewer take readers on a journey that begins with how the Beatles formed through their rise in fame in England and then the United States and beyond.  The text provides young readers with the highlights of the Beatles career that one would expect and does so in a readable manner mixed with just the right amount of detail and a twist of humor.  The question and answer section was particularly funny with a page dedicated to each one of the Beatles demonstrating something unique about that individual.  

Stacy Innerst's paintings compliment and expand the text in a way that brings the book to the next level.  His attention to detail, and the small touches on many of the pages reflect the personality and music of the Beatles.  Resulting in a book that not only works on a written level, but can be enjoyed just as thoroughly from its images.  

There are important dates in Beatles History and additional sources listed at the end of the book.  The only thing that I might have wished for was an author's note or even an illustrator's note.  Regardless, this book is outstanding and would be a great gift for any fan of Rock Music history or for a classroom or school library collection.      

Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews:

Monday, April 15, 2013

It's Monday! What are you reading? From Picture Books to YA - 4/15/13

It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila of Book Journey. Jen & Kellee from Teach Mentor Texts have adapted this to focus on Picture Books to Young Adult Books.

I read through a stack of picture books this week and re-read a few that are finally out in the wild that I may have mentioned before and I am going to mention again because they really are just that good.

New reads and new favorites:

The Black Rabbit by Philippa Leathers (Candlewick, January 22, 2013) - A fun read about a rabbit, a wolf, and a surprising hero.  I enjoyed this a lot.

Tea Rex by Molly Idle (Viking Juvenile, April 9, 2013) - Click on the title of this one to check out my post about having Tea with Molly Idle.

Re-reads (first read was as an F&G) and finally available for purchase:

Bluebird by Bob Staake (Random House, April 9, 2013) - OMG! I LOVE THIS BOOK!  It is going on my early Mock-Caldecott list.

Snippet the Early Riser by Bethanie Murguia (Random House, March 12, 2013) - I just love anything that Murguia does. 

Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? by Eve Bunting; Illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier (Clarion, March 5, 2013) - I had the unique opportunity this weekend to hang out with Eve Bunting - okay, I had to share her for part of the time, but I did drive her back and forth from a meeting - I am always in "awe" when I see her.  During our book group, Eve read her new book to us.  Maybe a 2014 Geisel award for this one?

The Dark by Lemony Snicket; Illustrated by Jon Klassen (Little, Brown Books for Young Children, April 2, 2013) - What a pairing of talent and what a book!

For my monthly book club meeting, we read...

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor  (Viking Childrens, 2011) - A fantasy story set in West Africa.  Though the characters in the story are approximately 12 years old, the content is a bit mature.  I would recommend this for teens.