Libri Dilectio: January 2010

28 January 2010

Book Review: Babymouse Burns Rubber

Babymouse Burns Rubber, Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
(All ages!)

Babymouse’s imagination has taken her to the racetrack this time and she can see herself in the driver’s seat. When Wilson tells her about an upcoming soap box derby race she knows it’s her chance to be a real race car driver. Too bad she’s not the best at making things – like soap box derby cars! Good thing she has a friend like Wilson, who’s always willing to lend a helpful hand…I mean paw.

My love for this perfectly pink and frosted little graphic novel series really knows no bounds. I can’t stop handing it out like candy…or cupcakes to all the kids at the library. In this book, Babymouse learns the value of a good friend and that aliens are afraid of fractions, hey, me too! This series never fails to make me laugh!

I was trolling the internet for fun Babymouse things and I stumbled upon this video from Random House! Check it out for the inside scoop on my favorite graphic novel heroine (and probably yours too!).

p.s. if the Death Star was a cupcake, I would have liked Star Wars a lot more.

22 January 2010

Another Movie that I Can’t Wait to See!

The trailer for the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie was released the other day. It looks like it will be pretty cute, but a lot of middle school boy humor (as it should be!). I’m excited for this one, it doesn’t come out until April, but we’re already planning a Wimpy Kid party at the library to celebrate the release!

Fanfare Friday: And Now It’s Time for Silly Songs with Larry

And Now it’s Time for Silly Songs with Larry, Veggie Tales, Big Idea.

I used to babysit…a lot. One of the families I sat for had an extensive collection of Veggie Tales tapes (yes tapes, as in VHS) and I think I liked them as much as the kids! We used to listen to the silly songs with Larry and dance about on rainy afternoons. I liked the songs so much that I kept singing them at home, ultimately getting my whole family singing them as well. My dad now owns a copy of the silly songs DVD, and my whole family loves “The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything.” What a great song. These songs are exactly what children’s music should be, ridiculous!

I can also say, that the guys at Big Idea are awesome! Big Idea studios used to be at Yorktown Mall in Lombard, IL and one of my neighbors worked for them. He invited me and my dad to the studio for a visit a few years ago and we got to see them working on the animation for Jonah. This is a great studio, filled with nice people, that produces really fun music and videos for kids!

 My personal favorite is “The Song of the Cebu,” check out the video and you’ll see why.

21 January 2010

Harry Potter Reading Challenge: January Update

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, JK Rowling
(all ages)

Harry Potter’s fifth year at Hogwarts is not his best. Almost everyone in the wizarding world belives that he’s crazy. No one believes that Lord Voldemort has returned, his friends think he’s just an attention seeker, Dumbledore won’t even look at him, and, worst of all, the ministry of magic has started trying to control Hogwarts. Harry must stand strong; with Ron, Hermione, and the few friends he has left. He has to be the one voice that isn’t afraid to tell the world to truth and to prepare them all for the worst. The rise of Lord Voldemort.

As I’ve said before, I’ve decided to participate in this challenge 100% through listening to the audiobooks, and I am LOVING it! Listening to these books is amazing. I got the distinct feeling during this one, that I’d never actually read this book at all! Between the speed at which I devoured it, the movie, and my lack of re-reading, I have forgotten pretty much everything that happened in book 5.

I completely forgot that Ron and Hermione become prefects in this book. I actually forgot that that happens at all. I also forgot that Ron actually joins the Quidditch team in year five, not year six, as the movies would have us believe. AND that Harry was banned from playing Quidditch…AND that Hermione tried to free all the Hogwarts house elves…AND that Firenze starts teaching Divination…ANDAND, most importantly, I’d forgotten just how bad Umbridge really is. I feel that her character was downplayed for the movie. I remembered feeling really angry the whole time I read this book, but I couldn’t remember why until now.

This re-reading is also reintroducing me to my favorite characters, who just don’t get enough notice. For example, I am obsessed with Professor McGonagall. She is so many different kinds of amazing. She’s a strict, no nonsense teacher, who cares about all her students and puts their well being before everything else. Also, she wears a lot of tartan.

Oh Harry Potter, just as good (if not better) the second time. JK Rowling, you are a genius.

Check out Galleysmith for more challenge news/updates.

18 January 2010

ALA: Youth Media Awards (2010)

The winners of the ALA Youth Media Awards were announced this morning and (for the first time ever) I actually picked both the winners of the Newbery AND Caldecott! I’d be more excited about this, but (also for the first time ever) I’m pretty sure everyone picked these two! =) Congratulations to ALL the winners – my reading list just got a lot longer.

2010 Newbery Award Winner
When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead
2010 Caldecott Award Winner
The Lion and the Mouse, Jerry Pinkney
A big well done to the commitee members! Choosing the winners cannot be an easy job and I think they all did a great job this year! I haven’t read a lot of the other winners, but definitely want to. I do own a copy of Libba Bray’s Printz Award winning Going Bovine and I think I’ll be taking that one along with me to work today! Yay for another year of great books!!

16 January 2010

Book Review: The Goose Girl

The Goose Girl, Shannon Hale
(Gr 6-12)

Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, is born with a word on her tongue. Her aunt nurtures her and her ability to speak to animals, but when those abilities make the people of Kildenree lose faith in her, she is sent away to the country of Bayern to marry a stranger. With her home behind her and nothing but strange people and places ahead, Ani tries to be strong for her family. The magical bond she shares with her horse, Falada, keeps her safe, but also frightens those who guard her.

When her lady in waiting turns on her, Ani must find her own way in the world. She becomes a goose girl at the court of the King whose son she was betrothed to. Her way with animals saves her life and opens the door to her first real friendships.

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to start reading Shannon Hale’s books! This was first published by in 2003 and somehow I haven’t even picked it up until now. I told you that my RA skills were seriously lacking in fairy tale re-tellings!

This is a wonderful story, based on a Grimm’s fairy tale, that I devoured in one sitting (alright, I read 40 pages at work, but the rest of it in one night). The setting was beautifully written. I could easily visualize every inch of the forest, the castle, and the city. The characterization was wonderful. I loved Ani right away, but the other castle workers all had strong personalities that made me love them too. Even the animals were individuals in this story.

The writing strongly reminded me of Kristin Cashore. Not really the storyline or characterization, but the sense of place felt very similar to The Seven Kingdoms of Graceling and the Dells of Fire. I kept expecting Ani to bump into Fire or Katsa.

Shannon Hale has officially trapped me. I can’t wait to read EVERYTHING else that she’s written, and pass it along to all the junior high girls who don’t know what to read next. I think I have a few grown up friends who I will also be harassing/strongly recommending that they read this book.

15 January 2010

Fanfare Friday: The Princess and The Frog

The Princess and the Frog, Randy Newman/Disney

Okay, so this probably doesn’t need my plug to be on everyone’s radar, but I’m just so happy that Disney finally went back to their roots (hand drawn musicals) that I had to share this one! Also, I love Randy Newman. He has such a unique style that just cannot be duplicated.

Like all the classic Disney soundtracks, this is one that the whole family will like to listen to. I remember my mom blasting Disney soundtracks while she did work around the house when I was little. This could be another one for her to throw on the stereo and dust to. At the same time, I think the songs are fun and upbeat enough for little girls to want to dress up and stand on their fireplaces/stages and put on a lipsynch show (not that I ever did that).

Pick up a copy of this soundtrack and dance about to the New Orleans jazzy songs!

p.s. Yes, I’ve seen the movie, and I really liked it. My fiance’s opinion was, “It’s no Aladdin,” but what is really?

14 January 2010

Book Review: Stop in the Name of Pants

Stop in the Name of Pants!, Louise Rennison
(Gr 7+)

Georgia Nicolson is forever in the cakeshop of love. She’s finally the girlfriend of Masimo, the Italian Luuuurve God, and is happily snogging her way into the sunset. SO why did she accidently snog Dave the Laugh in a pond?!

In typical Georgia fashion, and with the Ace Gang in tow, she’ll muddle her way through the summer hols, try to avoid the Swiss Family Mad, and find a way to get to Pizza-a-go-go Land to finally see her Luuurve God. Hilariousity and comedy ensue.

I love Georgia Nicolson. And Jas, Ellen, Mabs, Rosie, Jools, Hons, Soph, Dave the Laugh, Sven, Robbie, Masimo, ADM, Nauseating P. Green, Miss Stamp, Elvis, Slim, Wet Lindsey, Libby, Vati, Mutti, Uncle Eddie, Naomi, Gordy, and ANGUS!! This is one of those series that is completely impossible to pick up in the middle. They need to be read in order or not at all. Otherwise, you won’t understand ninety percent of what Georgia is talking about.

This series never fails to make me laugh out loud, which can be problematic when you’re having lunch at work in a small staff room with lots of real adults. I mean, with lines like, “Rosie get off your desk, and please put your beard away,” (p. 222) how can you lose? I love the way that Georgia looks at the world. She finds the humor in everything, even if she doesn’t want to.

The relationships between the girls are really what keep me coming back to this series so obsessively. I love their friendships. The Ace Gang is always together, having mildly ridiculous fun. They really know each other and love each other (Oo-er). Yes, the boys in the series are nice too…especially Dave the Laugh and Sven, but it’s the fact that the girls are so tight knit that makes it special. I want to hang out with the Ace Gang (and, nerdily enough, started referring to my friends as such back in high school. Angus Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging came out in spring of 2000, when I was a freshman. I was instantly hooked.).

This is a hilarious series that I would recommend to pretty much every girl.lady.female ever! I’ve even made some of my male friends and my fiance read it, and yes, they liked it. Even though some of them don’t want to admit it…ahem…you know who you are…B$. Long story short, having a bad day, turn it around with a little Georgia Nicolson, you won’t regret it.

12 January 2010

Bust a Gut: Picture Books Part Deux

I love a good picture book, especially if it’s funny. There are several groups of school kids who see me on a monthly basis for storytime and they all know that Becky is not going to be bringing any pretty stories. I like stories filled with prat falls, goo, and unexpected surprises! Here are the books I can’t wait to share with my favorite kids next month!

The Book That Eats People, John Perry Illustrated by Mark Fearing

Just got this one in at the library this afternoon and I already LOVE it! The illustrations are hysterical and the story is fun, original, and just the right amount of gruesome. At one point the book eats a kid and then spits out their bones. Might be a little gross for a grown up, but just perfect and darkly humorous for a kid. Actually, it reminded me of The Monster Book of Monsters from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban! I can’t wait to read this one to a group of kindergarteners with a great sense of humor.
(my favorite part is when the librarians give the book a new cover/title to make it circulate!)

Want to have a very different themed storytime? Tired of always doing, “bears,” “mice,” “things that go,” “snow stories,” etc? Why not pair this hilarious story with The Book That Eats People and Read it Don’t Eat it by Ian Schoenherr for a storytime theme that kids can really sink their teeth into. Tee hee. I bet you could even use graham crackers to make edible book snacks! This is sounding more and more like a really fun program to me. Anyway, I will definitely be reading The Incredible Book Eating Boy to my kindergarteners as well. Not only is it one of my all time favorites, but I figure, if I’m going to read about a book that eats kids, may as well also read about a kid who eats books!
Jeremy Draws a Monster, Peter McCarty
I love a story that can deliver a message with humor! Jeremy is a creative little boy who loves to draw. He never leaves his room because he can just draw anything he wants. Until the day he decides to draw a monster for a friend and things don’t go exactly as he hoped. Yes, he learns to go outside and make real friends, but not before some hilarious hijinks ensue with his drawn to life monster.
I already loved Lauren Child. Her illustrations are so unique, her stories are adorable, and I just can’t get enough Charlie and Lola. Then she comes out with this! The little girls just can’t resisit it! That pink cover, the floofy little puppy, the (can’t see it in the picture) sparkly little diamond in the collar! They have to have it! Then, she hits them with a surprise. This is not your typical pink and sparkly book. Trixie Twinkle Toes does not want to be a pretty, pampered poodle. She hates her name and she wants to be able to step in the mud like other dogs. This is not really a storytime book, the text is too twisty, but it is definitely a good lap book for little girls who like pink things…AND getting dirty!

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