Sunday, August 14, 2011

#119 Sidekicks

Sidekicks is the first graphic novel by Dan Santat - a popular illustrator in his own right. It seems that Captain Amazing, the hero of Metro City, is getting too old to fight crime.

He has ordered a new pet, a chameleon, to keep him company while he rests up and selects a new sidekick. Of course, his dog and mouse are very jealous of the strange new visitor, so there is some rivalry right away.

His pets each decide that they should apply to work as his sidekick, in order to help him out and, more importantly, to get to spend more time with him. They even find a former pet, Static Cat, who has been off chasing criminals, but is willing to coach them.

What follows is an adventurous ride where they all try to fight crime and impress Captain Amazing.

You can catch Dan Santat here at his website: Enjoy!

Monday, August 8, 2011

#118 Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Practicing the Piano

...but she does love Being in Recitals!

My mom was a piano teacher. I will never forget waking up Saturday mornings listening to other kids play our piano...and hearing my mother telling them what they missed, or how to make the song sound better. I took piano lessons too - but never from my own mother!

Moxy Maxwell is getting ready for her first piano recital, where she is playing a duet with her little sister. This fun, short story really brought me back to the days of piano lessons and recitals.

I didn't think Moxy would be afraid at all: in fact, I thought she would just keep banging out her part and never want to stop. That's what Moxy's teacher things will happen too. You'll need to read this fun book to find out if it does!

Here is author Peggy Gifford's website:

#117 The Last Invisible Boy

The Last Invisible Boy touched something deep inside me. Although there are funny, gross and just plain silly parts to this book, overall it is just an exceedingly sad story of Finn Garret...and how he becomes invisible. Rather than tell you all about it, I think you'll get the idea by watching this video.

When I finished reading it I was feeling better, so it's not one of those that just makes you cry outloud - but if you're feeling sad, or if you've had to go something really awful, (like losing someone you love - like Finn), then reading this book just might make you feel a little better. At least it will help you figure out how to move on again.

You can find out more about author Evan Kuhlman on his website here:

#116 Drizzle

While wandering through the Oakridge media center I found this great new fantasy by Kathleen Van Cleve and just had to check it out! I am so glad I did - and you can bet I'll be ordering it for the PME library right away!

You'll read my favorite paragraph on page 46. Here Polly (who lives with her family on a magical rhubarb farm) has just entered the library with her Aunt. Aunt Edith has shared with her an incredible room filled with books, and she says this to Polly:

"I'm jealous...To be able to read these books for the first time? What better cause for jealousy? You have hours of joy ahead of you. But at least I have the honor of bringing these treasures to you. That's something."

Is there any librarian who wouldn't feel the same way?

Then later in the book Aunt Edith gives Polly more wonderful words of advice - about feeling good when you've achieved something:

"There's a feeling you get when you achieve something all by yourself that will bring you more peace and contentment than anything money or love can provide. Men or women, it's all the same. It is that moment when you can look around and say 'I did it' - and know no one can take it away from you. You don't need to brag about it, you don't need to try to get credit for it, because it is you, who you are, who you are meant to be."

Drizzle is a marvelous book - with one of the greatest endings any fantasy could ever hope to have! It is filled with likeable characters, incredible insects, amazing plants, and a farm that can make your dreams come true!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

#115 Young Fredle

Fredle and Axle, young kitchen mice, love adventures. One day on their travels through the kitchen cupboards they find the most incredible food - a peppermint patti! They begin to nibble it, and find it to be the most delectable food they've ever eaten. However, they eat until they're stuffed and can barely crawl back to their nests. Suddenly Fredle finds himself pushed out of his nest (which is what happens to sick little mice) and carried outside by the Missus.

Once outside, Fredle finds a place to hide and begins to discover all of the amazing things in the world. He meets new mice who live differently than his family: the cellar mice, the field mice and mice who live in the woodshed. He even meets the wild raccoons (and cleverly escapes from them!) and he becomes friends with the dogs, who help protect Fredle from the cats.

This is a marvelous adventure! It think it helps all of us realize how much we love our own homes, but also how valuable it is for us to learn about how others live, and to see that there are similarities as well as differences in our families and lives.

Young Fredle was written by newbery medalist Cynthia Voigt. Learn more about her, and her other books, at