The Children's Book Compass

Posts Tagged ‘Clarion

Tales for Very Picky Eaters by Josh Schneider.  (2011).  47 pages.  Clarion Books.  Ages 5-9.  Beginning Reader.

Josh Schneider has created a fun and inventive story about kids who are picky eaters.  James is the  picky eater and when he objects to foods like broccoli, he is clear about how he feels about it – “It’s disgusting.”  When James asks, “What else is there?”  his father tells him about alternatives – dirt “mixed by specially trained earthworms…,”  Or, “fine gum carefully chewed one thousand times by special children with very clean teeth, …”  Or, a “…very sweaty sock, soaked in sweat sweated by the world’s fastest and tastiest runner who was fed nothing but apples and cinnamon for three months before running a marathon in this very sock.”  …”  Each of the five chapters features father’s hilarious suggestions of alternatives to the foods James doesn’t like.  Finally, James discovers that if he tries the foods he objects to, he just might like them.  The sprightly illustrations add to the fun and enjoyment of this book.  Winner of The Geisel (Dr. Seuss) Award given for the most distinguished American beginning reader.

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I have been sick for most of the last month, and haven’t been able to post any reviews.  However, I have been reading and found some terrific books to recommend.  Since there are so many, I will just give a brief reviews over the next few days.  Please note that most of these books have a wide age appeal.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, inspired by an idea from Slobhan Dowd.  Illustrated by Jim Kay.  (2011).  204 pages.  Candlewick Press.  Ages 11-adult.

This powerful book enthralled me from the first pages.  I think it is one of the most compelling and honest novels I have ever read.  Colin’s mother is dying of cancer and he is haunted by a monster.  Is the monster part of a nightmare or, is it real?  Will the monster help Colin face the truth of his mother’s situation?  The ending is tremendously moving and brought me to tears.

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu.  (2011).  312 pages.  Walden Pond Press.  Ages 9-12.  Fantasy.

Breadcrumbs is an intriguing mix of realistic fiction and fantasy with the theme of the power of friendship.  Eleven-year-old Hazel and Jack are the best of friends in our contemporary world.  They love to read fantasies.  When Jack suddenly disappears, Hazel goes into a magic wood to rescue him from a white witch who has frozen his heart.  The story is enriched by many references to beloved fantasies.

Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt.  (2011).  360 pages.  Clarion.  Ages 11-15.  Historical/Realistic Fiction.

Eighth grader, Doug Swieteck surmounts difficult challenges in 1968 when his family moves to a new home in upstate New York.  Doug’s perseverance, hard work, discoveries in art and kindness to others blesses himself his family and the people in his new community.  Schmidt tells the story in Doug’s voice which is humorous and endearing.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson.  (2011)..  422 pages.  Greenwillow.  Ages 12-adult.  Fantasy.

What a captivating, fantastic romance and adventure.  The heroine is a princess who has always believed that she is nothing compared to her older sister.  How she discovers her own strength, intelligence and ability to lead makes an engrossing  and enchanting story.

Soldier Bear by Bibi Dumon Tak.  Illustrated by Philip Hopman.  (2011).  145 pages.  Eerdmans.  Ages 10-adult.

Here is a story based on real events of a troop of Polish soldiers in World War II.  The soldiers discover a small bear cub and adopt him.  The bear travels with the soldiers from Iran to Egypt and finally to Scotland at the end of the war.  In the midst of war, the bear provides a relief from tragedy with his humorous antics.  Maps of the soldiers’ journey and photographs at the end enrich the story.  Winner of the Mildred Batchelder Award which is given to book originally published in another country in a language other than English.

The Lily Pond by Annika Thor.  (2011).  217 pages.  Delacorte Press.  Ages 10-14.

A sequel to A Faraway Island, winner of the Mildred Batchelder Award in 2010.  This book follows thirteen year old Stephie Steiner, as she goes to school on the mainland.  Her Jewish parents have sent Stephie and her sister to Sweden to protect them from the Nazi persecution.  Stephie must please her foster parents, navigate through the difficulties of a new school and the responsibilities of being a scholarship student while she experiences her first love.

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: 14 Amazing Authors Tell the Tales by Chris Van Allsburg.  (2011).  221 pages.  Houghton Mifflin.  Ages 11-adult.  Short Stories.

When I last taught sixth grade my students were inspired to tell the stories they saw in the gripping pictures of The Chronicles of Harris Burdick.  Now fourteen talented authors have created their own stories that are evoked by each the pictures.  The original pictures are included with each short story.  Young people will enjoy the stories and want to compare them with their own versions.  Read the some of the stories aloud to hook listeners who will want to read more who will want to read more on their own.

Emma Dilemma by Kristine O’Connell George.  Illus. by Nancy Carpenter.  Clarion.  Grades K-5.  Poetry.

Big sister, Jessica, tells about her little sister, Emma in a series of humorous and sometimes poignant poems.  O’Connell George is a gifted poet and she accurately captures of the conflicting emotions of having a little sister who is sometimes a monster and sometimes a darling.

 Emma Dilemma

 Sometimes Dad

calls my sister

Emma Dilemma

 Dad says

a dilemma is

an interesting problem.

 I know Dad’s joking,

but sometimes

Emma is my dilemma.

Carpenter’s pen and ink and digital media illustrations heighten the enjoyment of this wonderful tribute to the bonds of sisterly love.


Pointing the Direction to New Books for Children and Teens

Marilyn Carpenter, PhD.

Contact Marilyn

e-mail: MarilynCaz@aol.com
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