Monday, December 8, 2014

Books and Chocolate Chip Cookies

O my! How can I have just one favorite book with all the marvelous, marvelous treats that came out this year – and every year! I think books are like chocolate chip cookies: I can’t have just ONE!

Monica Kulling’s Great Idea Series is one of my favorite nonfiction series for young readers. The books showcase inventors, some more known than others, and how they were inspired to create their inventions that, in many ways, changed the course of history. Monica excels at taking a moment in history, oftentimes a forgotten moment, and fashioning a story that is both compelling and informative. Her poetic narrative makes the book the perfect read aloud. Her newest book is “Spic-And-Span: Lillian Gilbreth’s Wonder Kitchen.”  This book follows the amazing story of Lillian Gilbreth, the inspiration for the matriarch in the movie and book, Cheaper By The Dozen.

I am a huge fan of western movies as well as classic western reads. Erin Johnson's (Laurie J. Edwards ) book,  “Grace and the Guiltless,”  is written in the same vein as Zane Gray’s classic westerns. In fact, I am reminded of Gray’s two books in particular, Riders of the Purple Sage and Wildfire. The detailed imagery of Tombstone, Arizona and the surrounding western desert sets the tone of the story.

 Christina Banach’s book, “Minty,” is a gripping, mystical story of love and loss, told from Minty’s point of view, reminiscent of one of my favorite movies, Ghost. An engrossing character-driven tale that combines unfailing heartbreak, perfectly timed humor, and an obsession of all things Roman.

Given current events, Yvonne Ventresca's new novel, “Pandemic,” is less
science fiction/dystopian and more of a harrowing prophecy. An outbreak of a strange new flu is spreading quickly with deadly results. Her parents out of town on business, Lil finds herself alone as tragedy strikes. The plot is fast-paced and thoroughly engrossing as she struggles to find hope and trust amidst a terrifying life and death ordeal.

Marcia Strykowski’s book, “Call Me Amy,”  is set in a quaint coastal town in Maine, in a coming-of-age story that presents a timeless tale of friendship, teamwork and community responsibility. This book reminds me in many ways of Hoot, the 2003 Newbery Honor by Carl Hiaasen. I’m currently reading its sequel, Amy’s Choice!

I also revisited Eric Kimmel’s “Moby Dick,”
A great, great read aloud! Can’t we just hear the booming baritone foreshadowing doom as Captain Ahab comes on deck! The sailors' fate is sealed as the Captain and the Pequod chase the great white, Moby Dick.  With the rhythm of a sea shanty, the narrative rises and falls and rises with the action, in tune with the lush, rich oil and pencil illustrations by Andrew Glass. And then, the great white whale, Moby Dick, rises out of the depths in a dynamic two-page spread. The Pequod faces its destiny and the narrator ends with a   warning, "The moral of this story is,/ as my sad tale has shown:/ Respect all creatures, great and small,/ and leave the whales alone!” Ahoy!

And finally -- but certainly not the last of my favorites -- Donna Marie Merritt’s “Her House”  is a splendid poetry collection, made all the more splendid by Wendell Minor’s cover art depicting seagulls at sunset, an open invitation for readers to take a walk along the beach to see life in a glorious new light.

Keep reading. It's one of the most marvelous adventures that anyone can have!"  -- Lloyd Alexander.

 Time for another chocolate chip cookie and a new adventure!  

 Bobbi Miller


Linda B said...

Thanks for the book list. I have Spic and Span, a terrific one from the series. Will look for the others, especially Pandemic. My students (middle school) love that sort of book!

Anonymous said...

Nice post, Bobbi. Thanks for including Call Me Amy and Amy's Choice!

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks for sharing these titles, Bobbi. I hadn't heard of any of them!

Laurie J. Edwards said...

Some great titles here, Bobbi! Thanks so much for the shout-out for Grace & the Guiltless. I appreciate it. And your Girls of Gettysburg should definitely be on the list. :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks MUCH for including HER HOUSE, Bobbi, on such a fine list!

Rosi said...

This is great. Thanks for such a nice list. I've only read one of these, so I have much work to do.

Kim P said...

Cannot wait to read "Spic and Span". "Pandemic" I bought and love it!! Yvonne Ventresca had me covering my eyes and reading between my fingers a few times but I couldn't put it down!

Thanks for sharing such a wonderful list!

Christina Banach said...

Thank you for including Minty on such a wonderful list, Bobbi. It's much appreciated.

Bobbi Miller said...

Laurie, thank you for your kind words about GIRLS. And Donna, Marcia, Christina: All of you, THANK YOU for your grand, grand adventures!

Bobbi Miller said...

Linda: I LOVE Spic and Span. The illustrations are superb, as they are in every book of the series. Kim, you are in for a real treat!!

Bobbi Miller said...

Carmela, discovering new treasures, new stories, new ideas, is the best part of the business. Thank YOU for sharing this adventure with me!

Rosi: You are in for such a treat when you read these books. Lucky you!

jan godown annino said...

Just at a perfect time of season to be wanting new titles in a variety of genres for various ages - Appreciations to Bobbi & Teaching Authors.

Bobbi Miller said...

Thank you, Jan, for stopping by. And you are so right about books making great gifts!