Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hearing music with your heart

Ever since my interview with Natalie Lloyd where she talked about hearing a song for the first time with your heart before your ears, I have become much more attuned to this idea. Music has always had such a deep impact on my life. There's nothing like that moment of hearing a song for the first time that you absolutely love.

I just had that experience as I was listening to Ingrid Michaelson's new album Lights Out when the song "Over You" came on. I was bouncing back and forth between windows on my computer when about midway through this song, I just had to stop and listen because I was so moved. It wasn't even about the words. It was the melody, vocal harmonies, and the arrangement. Music really is feeling personified through sound. So, my question to you is, what songs did you hear for the first time with your heart before your ears? I've talked about heartprint books before. Now I want to know your heartprint songs.

Monday, May 26, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading? 5-26-14

Originally hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, Jen over at Teach Mentor Texts along with Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers also host a kidlit version of It's Monday! What are You Reading?

Happy Memorial Day! Long weekends mean more time for reading!


Last week I reviewed:

The Soccer Fence by Phil Bildner


I finished reading:

The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw by Christopher Healy 
A bit longer than I would have liked and it was difficult to keep track of all the characters, but otherwise a great conclusion to this hilarious trilogy. 


I also finished reading with my ears:

Moon Over Manifest by Claire Vanderpool 

Liked it. Didn't love it. Will most likely have forgotten most of it in a few days. Jenna Lamia was a perfect fit to narrate the audiobook. She definitely made me enjoy the book more than if I had read it on my own.   


Picture books I really enjoyed last week:

The Night Riders by Matt Furie 
Odd and wonderful at the same time. A frog and a rat go on a bike ride at night and meet many strange, fantastical creatures along the way. A wordless picture book perfect for middle grade readers. 


Duck, Duck, Moose! by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, illustrated by Noah Z. Jones 
Fans of Z is for Moose will love this picture book about a big galoot of a moose who has trouble not (accidentally) destroying everything in his wake. But that's OK. The ducks love him anyway. This is one of those books that you like more and more as time goes on.

 
The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett
I loved this one even more than The Boy and the Airplane. It's amazing how much emotion can be conveyed with no words at all. I especially love that the airplane even makes a cameo appearance in this story.    


Currently reading: 

Nerd Camp by Elissa Brent Weissman


Currently reading with my ears:

The Selection by Kiera Cass


Also, last week on my teaching blog I posted:
Existentialism on a Weeknight 
May 2014 #nctechat Storify on Summer Reading 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tara Altebrando interview: author of The Battle of Darcy Lane

 A few weeks ago I read and reviewed Tara Altebrando's middle grade debut novel The Battle of Darcy Lane. I thought it was a wonderful, realistic portrayal of middle school mean girls behavior and is a book I think deserves to be in classrooms and school libraries all over the country.

Recently, Tara sat down and answered some questions about her new book and her life as a writer:

My favorite quote from this interview is: "If I show up, then good things will happen," which refers to her very business-like writing process where she says she writes every day from 9 a.m. till 2 p.m. whether she feels inspired or not.

Visit Tara's website
Follow Tara on Twitter and Pinterest
Like Tara on Facebook

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Soccer Fence by Phil Bildner, illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson

Hector dreams of playing professional soccer, but as a black child growing up in apartheid South Africa, he experiences frequent denied opportunities because of the color of his skin. But as apartheid comes to an end in South Africa and Nelson Mandela is elected president, Hector both sees and experiences the power of sport to heal a nation.

Beautiful and poignant, Phil Bildner's words and Jesse Joshua Watson's illustrations take the reader on an emotional journey of highs and lows and leave you with a joyous lump in the throat by the last page.

No doubt fans of the movie Invictus with Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon will draw some comparisons to Bildner's story, as Mandela used the universal language of sport early in his presidency to try to help heal racial wounds in his country.


The Soccer Fence: A Story of Friendship, Hope, and Apartheid in South Africa by Phil Bildner, illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson
Published: March 13, 2014
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Pages: 40
Genre: Picture Book/Historical Fiction
Audience: Middle Grade
Disclosure: Library Copy

If you buy this book or any book through Amazon, it is my hope that you also regularly patronize independent bookstores, which are important centerpieces of thriving communities. While I am an Amazon Affiliate, that by no means implies that I only buy my books through their website. Please make sure you are still helping small, independent bookstores thrive in your community. To locate an independent bookstore near you, visit IndieBound.

Monday, May 19, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading? 5-19-14

Originally hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, Jen over at Teach Mentor Texts along with Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers also host a kidlit version of It's Monday! What are You Reading?

Ever since my early American lit class ended in April, I've been having consistently great reading weeks -- because I can read what I want and not what someone else tells me to read. Go figure!

I also received some really exciting news last week. I took my test to get certified to teach high school English and I passed! So now my teaching certificate goes from K-12, though 6th grade is the lowest I will go (thus my reason for wanting to get certified to teach high school).


Last week I reviewed:

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Mayim's Vegan Table by Mayim Bialik


Last week I finished reading:

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
I finished this one sooner than I thought but I did so by powering through this past weekend. I didn't love this one as much as so many others did.  


Graphic novel/picture books I enjoyed last week:

Eighth Grade is Making Me Sick: Ginny Davis's Year in Stuff by Jennifer L. Holm, illustrated by Elicia Castaldi
I didn't care for Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf, but Eighth Grade is Making Me Sick was really enjoyable to me. I don't know if it's a better book or I'm just a different reader now and see these books with different eyes. I'll have to go back and read the first one to see which one it is. 

 
It's Our Garden: From Seeds to Harvest in a School Garden by George Ancona
I wish all schools had gardens. Talk about real-world lessons -- and not just about science, but about community building and working together for the common good.

 
The Crocodile Who Didn't Like Water by Gemma Merino
Adorable story and illustrations that urges readers to be OK with who you are -- even if who you are is different from everybody else.  


Currently (still) reading:

The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw by Christopher Healy 


Currently (still) reading with my ears:

Moon Over Manifest by Claire Vanderpool 

I'm almost done with this one, and I probably would have finished it too but I had a busy weekend so I'll undoubtedly finish it today.  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mayim's Vegan Table by Mayim Bialik

I have been tackling many vegan cookbooks as of late, not because I want to become a full-time vegan, but because I am looking for more ways to add plant-based main dishes into my diet. Out of all the vegan cookbooks I've read and tried, I have to say that Mayim's Vegan Table is my favorite thus far. Bialik and Dr. Jay Gordon spend a lot of time in the introduction talking about the vegan lifestyle and dispelling some of the myths that go along with it. Unlike previous vegan cookbooks I've read, Bialik and Gordon don't gloss over and/or dismiss the fact that making the decision to become vegan is a difficult one. They are candid and straightforward about what a difficult and time-consuming decision this can be in those first few months. So the fact that they were real about it rather than trying to sweep the elephant in the room under the rug, to mix my metaphors here, was refreshing to say the least.

But more important than their candidness was whether their recipes could stand up to my scrutiny. I've always said if this were a straight up food blog I would call it "The Finicky Foodie" because, while I love good food and trying new things, I'm still a picky eater at heart. Well I'm here to say that the recipes in Mayim's Vegan Table are quite good and definitely worth a try. I've had a few misses, but on the whole, most of the recipes I tried not only turned out successful, but were ones that I'll make again.

One such recipe is Bialik's Quinoa Burgers. I'm here to tell you that I really dislike anything that tries to be something it's not. And while this recipe has burger in  the name, it's really more of a quinoa patty. You can eat it like a burger with a bun and all the fixins, but it's not really going to fool anyone into believing it's an actual burger. The difference between this burger and those frozen fake meat burgers at the grocery store is that with ingredients like potato and quinoa, this isn't trying to be a meat substitute. It's a sturdier version of a potato pancake more than a burger, truth be told. And that's when vegan recipes are more successful and delicious in my mind: when they celebrate what they are rather than what they're not. So with that said, I don't recommend the mac and "cheese" recipe. It mimicked the creamy texture of something along the lines of Velveeta shells and cheese, but the taste was much too earthy and sour to feel like you were eating an acceptable substitute to real mac and cheese.
quinoa burgers
quinoa "burgers"

I also gave one of Bialik's desserts a try, her chocolate fudge cake that used silken tofu for the frosting. The cupcakes were good at first, but the longer they sat (and I'm talking hours here, not days), the stranger the texture became. A few people who tried the cake even commented on the fact that it dried out your mouth after a few minutes. It was also shinier and had a much bigger crumble than a traditional cake. And while it was pretty good hot out of the oven, I have to say, the quality of the taste and texture deteriorated after a few hours, so I'm not going to recommend this chocolate cake recipe to anyone any time soon.
Vegan choc cupcakes
These vegan chocolate cupcakes are good out of the oven, but the texture gets less appealing the longer they set


I will, however, highly recommend the quinoa burgers, and will post the recipe right now:

Quinoa "Burgers" 

Serves: 4

1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon tried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 350. Place the potato in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil and then simmer for 12 minutes or until tender. Drain.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa and 3 cups of water and bring to boil. Lower the heat to low and simmer, covered, until all the water is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, mix the cooked potato and quinoa with all the remaining ingredients except the oil. Shape into four 3-inch diameter patties.
4. In a 10-inch skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Place each patty in the oil and fry until browned on both sides, about 2 minutes. Remove the patties and place them in an oven-safe dish. Pat the patties with a paper towel to remove excess oil.
5. Bake for 10 minutes.


Mayim's Vegan Table by Mayim Bialik with Dr. Jay Gordon
Published: February 11, 2014
Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books
Pages: 256
Genre: Cookery
Audience: Adults
Disclosure: Purchased Copy

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

We are not quite novels...
We are not quite short stories...
 In the end, we are collected works.


In the two years since his wife Nicole's death, A.J. Fikry has grown hard and distant. As the owner of Island Books, he has all but let the store go, choosing only to buy books that suit his tastes, and pretty much ignoring any opportunity to help make the store any money. If it weren't for the people in his life -- the good-hearted local police chief, his loyal sister-in-law, and even his philandering brother-in-law, A.J. might have drunk himself into oblivion by now.

One night as he is passed out drunk at home, someone steals a priceless collection of Edgar Allan Poe poems that was his ticket into retirement. But now that he has to resort to plan B, he realizes he doesn't know what plan B is. That is until one day while he is out running, someone leaves a special delivery in the children's section of the bookstore with the following note:

To the Owner of This Bookstore:

This is Maya. She is twenty-five months old. She is VERY SMART, exceptionally verbal for her age, and a sweet, good girl. I want her to grow up to be a reader. I want her to grow up in a place with books and among people who care about those kinds of things. I love her very much, but I can no longer take care of her. The father cannot be in her life, and I no not have a family that can help. I am desperate. 

Yours,
Maya's Mother

At first A.J. does what anyone would do if they found an abandoned baby: call the police and then contact social services. But the more time A.J. spends with Maya, the more he realizes they share a special bond.What happens next is a celebration of love, books, and unconventional families. As Maya helps A.J. climb out from the depths of despair, he shares his love of reading with her and soon, A.J.'s bookstore becomes an active part of the community again. 

Zevin What made the desire to read The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry so strong for me was when Zevin, at her event at Schuler Books in East Lansing last week, talked how the inspiration for this book came from the notion that if her parents had ever left her alone in a bookstore when she was a kid, they knew she'd be okay. One of Zevin's most quotable lines from the evening was, "Children who read grow into adults you want to know." I think that deserves to go on a poster to hang in classrooms and libraries all over the world.

Each chapter begins with a short story recommendation from A.J.to Maya, since short story collections are his favorite type of book. That in and of itself speaks volumes about A.J. as a character since short story collections are notorious for being difficult to sell. Which is the catalyst for another rich conversation that The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry will inevitably lead to: what do our favorite books say about us as people?

While The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry does have a touch of romance, this is not a traditional love story. Instead of focusing on the love between a man and a woman, Fikry is a love story to books, bookstores, and book people. As you arrive at the last few pages of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, one thing becomes very clear: our lives are so much better and richer because of the books we read and the bookstores we spend time lingering in. As Chief Lambaise says at the end of the novel, "A place ain't a place without a bookstore."

Ain't that the truth?

I have a feeling that there are many people like me who will finish The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and have many places where they flagged passages so they could remember all the beautiful, loving words Zevin penned as a tribute to bookishness:
Zevin


The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin 
Published: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Algonquin
Pages: 260
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Audience: Adults
Disclosure: Purchased Copy

If you buy this book or any book through Amazon, it is my hope that you also regularly patronize independent bookstores, which are important centerpieces of thriving communities. While I am an Amazon Affiliate, that by no means implies that I only buy my books through their website. Please make sure you are still helping small, independent bookstores thrive in your community. To locate an independent bookstore near you, visit IndieBound.

Monday, May 12, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading? 5-12-14

Originally hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, Jen over at Teach Mentor Texts along with Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers also host a kidlit version of It's Monday! What are You Reading?

I had a great blogging and reading week last week. First though, I wanted to share a post I wrote on my teaching blog last week about my friend Danielle who uses her dog Tonka as a therapy dog in her classroom. Talk about inspiring! I wish more teachers could bring therapy dogs into their classrooms!


Check out what I reviewed last week:

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat
A Year in Japan by Kate T. Williamson
The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West by Sid Fleischman


I've currently got three giveaways going on right now:
 
When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds (for teachers and librarians only - low entries - if you're a teacher or librarian you have a good chance of winning if you enter)
The Dyerville Tales by M.P. Kozlowsky (signed)
The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw by Christopher Healy (signed)


Last week I finished reading:

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
This is a love story to books, bookstores, and book people. This one is a must-read! I'll be writing a longer review of this one soon, but in the mean time, put this one at the top of your TBR pile! For my Nerdy Book Club friends, I know the Nerdy awards are only for children's and YA lit, but I feel like this one needs to win an honorary Nerdy award because it speaks to our very condition as lovers of books and book people. It is everything we are about in novel form.


I finished reading with my ears:

Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe by Bill Bryson
Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle
Really enjoyed the Lauren Myracle book; the Bill Bryson one, not so much. While certainly funny in places, I found myself more embarrassed by Bryson than amused by him. He spends most of this book complaining about the cultures he's visiting and writes stories so exaggerated it's difficult to know what actually happened on his trip and what he's just writing (in an attempt) to be funny. Neither Here Nor There reads like a book from a writer that never grew out of the potty humor that grade schoolers and middle schoolers find so hilarious. On an adult, however, it's just immature and unflattering.


Graphic novel and picture books I enjoyed last week:

Happy Birthday Babymouse by Jennifer L. and Matthew Holm
Poor Babymouse. She always seems to be down and out. Babymouse's dilemma in this installment: Felicia Furrypaws is throwing her birthday party the same day as Babymouse. You can imagine which of the two is going to get the whole class to come to HER party. Typical.

 
The Almost Fearless Hamilton Squidlegger by Timothy Basil Ering
Fun book with a great message about facing your fears. When the monsters in your dreams scare you, just make friends with them. This would be a good ladder to "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll due to some of the nonsense words in the story.


Peggy by Anna Walker 
Beautiful watercolor illustrations and a fun story about a hen that gets blown away from her home and into the big city. Apropos of nothing, every time I see the cover of this book I always say in my head (and sometimes out loud) "My name is Peggy" just like this guy. Don't ask me why I felt the need to share that. ;) 


Currently (still) reading:

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay  
The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw by Christopher Healy 
It has been extremely slow-going with The Sea of Tranquility. It's not that I dislike it, I'm just not finding myself motivated to read it. I have a feeling it's going to be another month before I finish it. I just started The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw though and just like the other two books in the trilogy, I an loving the humor. I'm so glad I was able to listen to the audio of the first book in the series because I hear Bronson Pinchot's hilarious narration in my head when I read it now. :)


Currently reading with my ears:

Moon Over Manifest by Claire Vanderpool
I wasn't planning to ever read this book, but based on the polarizing opinions of teachers and librarians on my Goodreads feed, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I have to admit, I'm enjoying it so far. It's no more boring than any other slow-moving historical fiction I've read, and from some of the dissenting opinions I've seen, they've made it sound like watching paint dry would be more entertaining. I happen to disagree at the moment but we'll see if my favorable opinion continues.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw blog tour: character introduction + giveaway

I am so excited to be one of the stops on The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw blog tour. I hosted a stop on the Hero's Guide tour last year for book two, The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle, and I also reviewed the audiobook of the first book, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom. Needless to say, I am a huge fan of this trilogy and am sad that Christopher Healy is stopping at three books. I wish this series would go on and on. I love fractured fairy tales (I'm a fan of subversion, what can I say?) and the nonsensical humor Healy has exhibited in our four buffonish heroes.


Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You think you know those guys pretty well by now, don’t you? Well, think again. The Princes Charming, along with Ella, Snow, Rapunzel, and Princess Lila are caught and arrested for the murder of Briar Rose. The heroes are simultaneously shocked and sad to hear of this news. But a series of suspicious events leads them to believe that not only is Briar still alive, but some unseen evil is working its way into the throne rooms of all thirteen kingdoms. It’s up to the League to break out of prison, find Briar, and uncover the nefarious plot before the entire country is destroyed. 

About the author:
Christopher Healy is the author of the Hero's Guide trilogy: The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle, and coming in spring 2014, The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw. The series is a comedic adventure that follows the exploits of four different Princes Charming in the aftermath of their not-quite-accurate fairy-tale fame. It was first published on May 1st, 2012 by Walden Pond Press, an imprint of HarperCollins. A film version is currently in development at Fox Animation/Blue Sky Studios. Chris lives in New Jersey with his wife, two children, and a dog named Duncan. Visit him at ChristopherHealy.com. And learn more about the Hero's Guide universe at OfficialHerosGuide.com.


Today the character I'm pleased(?) to introduce to you is:

Thursday, May 8, 2014

My favorite quotes from The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West by Sid Fleischman

Mark Twain is by far my favorite canonical author of American literature. Or just literature in general. He is so incredibly quotable and subverts the status quo, which makes his larger-than-life persona a biographer's dream. To this day, my favorite quote of all time is a Mark Twain quote from his book The Innocents Abroad, which meshes perfectly with the theme of this blog:

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."

 I enjoyed this book for the most part. I did, however, think it was hard to distinguish whether this was a book for kids or adults. Yes, I found it in the juvenile section of the library, but there were many occasions where I thought to myself that this book would fare better marketed to adults than kids. There are, however, snatches of text that I would use with students either as close readings or mentor texts. So there's that.

Instead of writing a full-review, I thought I would just share some of my favorite quotes from the book:


"Mark Twain was born fully grown, with a cheap cigar clamped between his teeth." (That's a way to start a story!)

"He changed literature forever. He scraped earth under its fingernails and taught it to spit. He slipped in a subversive American sense of humor. He made laughing out loud as respectable as afternoon tea." (6)

"His name went up in lights even before Edison invented the lightbulb." (161)

"He was so quotable that a critic styled him 'the American Shakespeare, only funnier.'" (174)

"When Mark Twain published [The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County] in book form, he dedicated it to John Smith. He didn't know any of the multitude of John Smiths at large. His playful theory was that anyone to whom a book is dedicated would go out and buy a copy." (181)



The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West by Sid Fleischman 
Published: July 28, 2009
Publisher: Greenwillow
Pages: 224
Genre: biography
Audience: Middle Grade/Young Adult
Disclosure: Library Copy

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Year in Japan by Kate T. Williamson

Rather than writing and illustrating a general summary of Japanese culture from her American perspective, Kate T. Williamson hones in on the lesser-known, smaller perplexities and observations of the place she called home for a year. Things like heated rugs and other creative devices used to warm homes with no central heating, the fleeting beauty of cherry blossoms, and sumo wrestlers dressed in kimono using the ATM, are but a few of the small but fascinating moments that Williamson chronicles in this travelogue of her year living in Japan.  

While there are illustrations on almost every page, this is more of a travel journal than the paneled, sequential art you think of when you think of a graphic novel. Whatever you call it though, it is certainly unique and intriguing. Illustrations and text are done in a minimalist style that complement the sacred, zen-like aura of the city of Kyoto where Williamson lived during her time in Japan. If she had lived in Tokyo, I have a feeling her art might be more frenetic and colorful. I get the sense, however, that Williamson uses the frequent white space in this book very strategically. The text is handwritten in a small but breezy style, and the watercolor illustrations are both bold and minimal at the same time. Anyone looking to soak up the culture of Japan will appreciate the small, detailed observations that Williamson chronicles in A Year in Japan. Better yet, her work might even inspire readers to go out and observe and chronicle the small nuances in their own culture. 


A Year in Japan by Kate T. Williamson
Published: Feburary 2, 2006
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
Pages: 192
Genre: Travelogue
Audience: Adults
Disclosure: Library Copy

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat

Beekle is from an island far away where imaginary friends are born. Every night he waits for his special child to come and snatch him up as her friend, but sadly, that night never comes. Beekle is impatient to find his unimaginary friend so rather than wait his turn, he sets out on a quest to find his special child.

He sailed through unknown waters and faced many scary things. But thinking about his friend gave him the courage to journey on...



After I finished The Adventures of Beekle, I just had to sit and let it linger for a while before I could do anything else. The illustrations are bright and vibrant and the story will warm your heart and tickle the back of your throat as you choke back a few tears. There are so many little details in the illustrations that bring new delights in a second, third, or fourth reading. For example, the beautiful tree of stars in the middle of the story clearly stands out upon the first reading, but a second read through might cause you to stumble upon something a little lower and to the right. 
Beekle

In my first read through, Beekle's dejected posture is what I noticed as he sits lonely up in the tree full of falling stars. But as I gaze upon this illustration a second time, I hone in on the fact that Beekle's crown must be made of paper because it is fastened together with two pieces of scotch tape. Of course his crown is made of paper. Why wouldn't it be? We all fashion crowns made of paper as children.Why would a child's imaginary friend be any different?
Beekle

It's little details like those, along with the vibrant mixed media illustrations that give me high hopes for The Adventures of Beekle during award season. I just feel it in my gut that this is a book the Caldecott committee will be discussing at great length. But even if it doesn't get a Caldecott nod in January (which it SHOULD. Just sayin'.), Beekle will be a permanent fixture in kids' hearts all over the world. The Adventures of Beekle reminds us not only that imagination is still important in the lives of kids, but that it has a heart. 

Watch the trailer for The Adventures of Beekle and just try not to tear up:

It's hard to believe that a guy who made this trailer also made this one too. ;)  Both certainly force you to emote that's for sure, but in much different ways. And that's what I love about the timing of the publication of The Adventures of Beekle. For some time now my impression of Dan Santat has been the class clown of illustrators since all of his previous books have tickled the funny bone in some way. Beekle shows how versatile he can be, that he doesn't always have to be the funny guy, and that there's a sensitive artist at work here.


Also, check out Margie Myers-Culver's beautiful review of The Adventures of Beekle


The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat
Published: April 8, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown
Pages: 40
Genre: Picture Book
Audience: Primary
Disclosure: Library Copy