Friday, September 28, 2012

Missed it!!!

Did YOU know that September 26th was Lumberjack Day??  Why didn't you tell me??  I would wear a felt beard and eat pancakes!  Man....
Click here for info and be prepared for next year!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

KBWT - Happy Birthday, Clifford!

Clifford, the Big Red Dog, is 50 years old!  Yikes!!! That is one old puppy - to say nothing of BIG!  So go to and send Clifford a birthday card.  Play Clifford-y games.  Print out Clifford coloring pages.  Enter the Clifford Sweepstakes.  That's our Kids Book Website for today.

Scholastic Publishers had a BIG birthday party yesterday for the best dog ever!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


"The first time Taemon's brother tried to kill him was the night Uncle Fierre came over with his unisphere." 

Uh - oh.  That's the first sentence of Freakling by Lana Krumwiede.  12 year old Taemon can look inside things to see how they work.  This is a form of "psi" that is not appreciated in his city.  It might even be considered dangerous.  His older brother, Yens, considers Taemon a "Weakling" or person with little "psi", the power to move things through thought - telekenesis.  The entire City is run by psi. Children born without psi are sent away.  People in the City cannot open doors with their hands, button their own clothes, hold forks.  Even musical instruments are played psychically.

An accident at the seashore brings the animosity between the brothers to a boil. Suddenly, Taemon has no psi at all and Yens' power has grown exponentially.  All this happens just as the High Priest has decided to choose the True Son from the ranks of the most gifted young citizens, even though this is against the teachings of the prophet Nathan.

Hmmm, methinks the High Priest is up to something.  Taemon and his parents attempt to hide his lack of psi but eventually Taemon is banished and finds a new life and a treasure trove.  And then he does something to endanger everyone in the country. 

Krumwiede creates a credible world where extrasensory abilities are given way too much power.  The heroes in this story may not be the magic wielders after all.  What a refreshing change!  Someone who is different because of what he can NOT do! 

Things move quickly in this book making it accessible to middle grade readers.  The concepts of power, greed, egotism, and the tension between using one's talents carefully or wildly  - these are all great topics for discussion and exploration.

This book is #1 in a proposed series.  Freakling is on sale starting October 9th, 2012.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Those pesky rectangles

Some people have crafty squares or hexagons or recipes using delicious materials.  I have that dwindling - thank heavens - stash of crocheted squares.

Do you remember the Mug Shrug??  (See above) Well, I've redesigned it.  Forget the pesky buttons.  Here is the New!  Improved!  Mug Shrug! (patent pending or whatever).

Yes!  Now, all you have to do is slip the Mug Shrug over your mug, slide the handle through the opening and fold back the top for an insulated drink!!!  Or leave the top up if you have to abandon your mug for a while and your drink will stay warm even longer. 


Rachee Fagg!  You have won the First Fall Giveaway!!  I need an address from you.  Please leave a comment with your address (I won't publish it) or email me at and your package of books will be on the way by the end of the week!  THIS week!

Rachee!  This is you!  WooHoo! (I have to read this book.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

KBWT - Lititz Kid-Lit Festival

So today I am featuring a local - sort of - Children's Book Festival - the Lititz Kid Lit Festival.

The line-up of authors showing up for this event is awesome - Nick Bruel, A. S. King, Daniel Kirk, Amy Ignatow, Michael Beil and more.  Saturday looks like the day to attend.  Guess who is working at my very part-time job that weekend?   Sigh.  

For people unfamiliar with PA, that's where Lititz is - in Lancaster County, Amish Country.  While in Lititz, visit the Wilbur Chocolate factory and the Sturgis pretzel factory.   The festival is sponsored by Aaron's Books on Main Street in Lititz.  Stop by and say thank you!

If you decide to attend the whole weekend, I'd like to suggest the Forgotten Seasons B and B, about a mile out of town.  It's so cozy and welcoming. 

BTW, for actual book related websites - it is Tuesday, you know - check out Nick Bruel's website(s) and Daniel Kirk's website (for the picture book crowd) to say nothing of Amy's, A. S.'s and Michael's websites (for middle grade and YA readers).  They all offer something fun and cool.

It's Over

The First Fall Giveaway ended last night at 11:59 pm.  I am preparing to pick a winner.  Check back tomorrow to find out who won.

Cool!  A book about a winner.  If you entered FFG, this could be you!  Check back tomorrow.

Monday, September 17, 2012

First Fall Giveaway - Final Hours

You have less than eight hours to win the First Fall Giveaway!  4 YA ARCs and 1 YA hardback book.  They are:

Safekeeping by Karen Hesse

The Inquisitor's Apprentice by Chris Moriarty

The Agency : The Traitor in the Tunnel by Y. S. Lee

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron


The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison.

For details and to enter, click here.

Best of luck.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Best parody ever.

Except maybe for this one....

So, read.  No maybes!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Storytelling Thursday - Bears


Last night, at a meeting that had not a lot to do with storytelling, a friend told me a bear story.  That's how she introduced it.  "I have to tell a bear story."

And her story was true - or so the person she heard it from claimed.  (That's the way it is, you know. ) Anyway, it appears that bear bags are no longer safe from the bears in a nearby National Park.  Now backwoods hikers need bear SAFES.  (I don't know the difference.  Anyone?)

The rangers had no idea why so many bear bags were torn open.  The bags were hung high above the reach of an adult bear.  So they laid a photo trap and here's what they found.

A mother bear stood on her hind legs beneath a hanging bear bag and reached one front paw up in the air.  Her cub scrambled up to the outstretched paw, balanced there and snagged the bear bag.  The thing is, soon all the mother bears were teaching their cubs to snag bear bags.  Bears are pretty smart where food is concerned.

 Everyone loves to tell stories about bears.  Listen to Old Man Mac as he tells of his adventures with a whole mess of bears. 

The very first story I ever told in public was Sody Sallyratus, a bear story you can find in Margaret Read MacDonald's Twenty Tellable TalesHere is a video of Richard Chase telling that selfsame story.

Back to Book Stuff

First, I know it's Thursday and I will post a storytelling thingie before midnight.  I promise - but...

Over on A Fuse #8 Production, Betsy Bird is popping up with all kinds of awesome links.  Check out Jarrett Krosoczka's double-dog dare to guys...(Hi, Jarrett!  Remember when you came to the Parkland Community Library back around the time of Baghead and Annie Was Warned?  That YS librarian?  That was I!) 
Nerds are the new In Crowd!

So here is Jarrett's mind-blowing dare!  Do it, guys!!  What??!!!  Don't be a wuss.  Just do it.

Wrecked Angles

Get it??  Hahahaha  I crack myself up.  The latest addition to the gallery of rectangle creativity is above - buttoned fingerless mitts.

And here I am, modeling one of the mitts.  I am having a great deal of fun with this pile of rectangles.  Whatever will I do when I have used them all up?

Book Trailer!!! Bob Balaban

Today, The Creature from the Seventh Grade by Bob Balaban arrives on the shelves.  I haven't read it but Bob's book trailer is fun to watch.  The book is on my list of books to read.

The First Fall Giveaway is still on! Click here for details.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Everything Goes

I know I featured this website when it first appeared but it is new and improved!  Check it out.  Everything Goes by Brian Biggs!
(This is the image from an earlier website.)  The website now has an adorable search-and-find game, downloadable activity sheets and more books! Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

KBWT - The Inquisitor's Apprentice

My First Fall Giveaway is still on!  5 YA books can be yours - FREE!  See my post from Sept. 9th for details.

In honor of that giveaway, my KBWT this week is the home of The Inquisitor's Apprentice by Chris Moriarty.  The book is, as Betsy Bird has proclaimed, "awesome".  But the website is awesome, too, with historical notes and background on the characters and the setting.
Just one of Mark Edward Geyer's illustrations.

Sacha lives in the tenements of NYC at the turn of the 20th Century and he can see magic when it is cast.  This makes him a perfect candidate as an apprentice to the energetic and enigmatic Inquisitor, NYPD's Number One investigator into Magical Crimes.  Sacha's Jewish background, the ethnic potpourri that make up the tenements, the realistic social hierarchy and inequities of that time and place all support a truly suspenseful first book in what, I hope, will be a long-lived series.  The ending leaves us all hanging because Sacha's first case has endangered all he loves.  I can't wait for the second book.

Moriarty incorporates some very well-known early 20th century historical characters in this book, casting some as villains and others as puppets or heroes.  Historical fantasy is a wonderful way to feed readers some facts with their fiction.

Check out the website!  Moriarty provides a lot of background on the site.  Teachers and parents will appreciate the historical research into the time period AND into the historical figures featured in the book.  Young readers can find out about the structure behind the magic workers that populate Sacha's world.  The illustrations by Mark Edward Geyer are awesome as well.  The work AWESOME should be described like this;  "adj. Read The Inquisitor's Apprentice to fully understand what this word means."

The second book, The Watcher in the Shadows comes out in April of 2013.  So hard to wait!!!

Want to win an Advanced Reader's Copy of The Inquisitor's Apprentice?   Click here for details.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Safekeeping - a review

As part of my First Fall Giveaway - I hope there will be a Second Fall Giveaway - I am giving away my ARE of Safekeeping by Newbery Award winner, Karen Hesse

Hesse's writing is so smooth, reading this book was effortless.  And I don't mean that I didn't think about this book.  I mean the description of what the main character sees and hears unfold in a seamless way.  To me, this is the best way to write fiction.  When the reader notices the writer's words and craft, I find it detracts from the story.  But, this is a discussion for a day when I have nothing better to type about.

Radley, our protagonist, returns home from volunteering in Haiti when an assassination has thrown America into a panic.  Radley's parents have not answered their phones since she insisted on leaving Haiti.  But Radley expects them to be there when she gets off her plane, even though she has been routed through Philadelphia.  They are not.

In the airport, panic and paranoia reign.  People are dragged off by armed military.  Radley has to walk from the airport in Philadelphia to her home in New Hampshire - a trip made perilous since her money is in her checked backpack in another airport and her cell phone is dead.  And when she finally gets home, her house is empty.  And the police are looking for Radley.

Set in a not-so-distant future, in a not-so-implausible America, Radley's story brings to the foreground just what fear can do to a society.  When Radley and a stranger travel together to Canada and hide out there, fear is gradually replaced with grudging trust as the two struggle to survive.

Safekeeping stands out from the crowd of dystopian novels that crowd the YA shelves, because it is believable.  We experience similar, though not as drastic, security measures when we travel.  Stories of people behaving badly when faced with trauma flood the news.  There is a touch too much of NOW in this book.  The ending, however, is suffused with hope.  It buoyed me up.

So, comment on this post - or on yesterday's post - if you want to win my copy of Safekeeping.  Or pick a copy up at your local bookstore or library.  You will not be sorry.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

First Fall Giveaway

A teetering tower of titles
My collection of paperback galleys is reaching critical mass.   Worst thing?  I can't stop myself from clicking on the "Click here to receive a free galley" buttons. 
What's left of my BEA stash!
And then there are the e-galleys.  But we are not really talking about them right now.

I am prepared to part with the following galleys:
The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
Safekeeping by Karen Hesse
The Inquisitor's Apprentice by Chris Moriarty
The Traitor in the Tunnel by Y. S. Lee (The Agency #3)
AND This is the piece de resistance!
 a NON-galley HARD BACK copy of The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison.
These are all Young Adult novels and I have read and enjoyed them, each and every one.  So the books are "lightly used".
BTW, these books are now available for sale in your bookstore.  But the store won't send them to you for nothing!!!

Expect a review of Safekeeping by Karen Hesse tomorrow.  And I apologize for not reviewing The Inquisitor's Apprentice.  I know it made my booklists for a number of review sessions.  It is an awesome book.

SO HOW DO YOU WIN????  Simple.  Post a comment on this blog asking to win.  You get another entry if you share this post on Facebook and come back and comment by saying Shared! or some such thing.  Please use an identifiable user name somewhere in your comment.  If you already belong to Blogger, no worries.  I will put all entrants' usernames into the Chobani Oracle Cup and Announce the Winner (and request an email with mailing address) on Wednesday, Sept. 19th.  The Deadline is Monday, September 17th at 11:59 pm. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Rectangles to the Rescue

I get Artizen Magazine in my inbox.  It is very artsy.  I found some conical knit alien thingies in one of the recent issues and they reminded me of my rectangles.  Remember those crocheted rectangles?  The ones that I don't know what to do with?

Today I did something with three of them - something so simple and so commonplace that I am embarassed it took me so long to come up with this plan.

Thing #1:
My son called me today to tell me that I kept calling him.  I was purse calling him, it appears.  That happens when the outside pocket of my purse - where I put my cell phone - bumps against my hip as I walk and my phone calls someone.  So, I decided to move everything to my Fall/Winter purse and I decided to make a cell phone cozy to protect my phone!  So simple!  Here it is.
That only used up ONE rectangle.  The blue stripe was already on the rectangle.  But it looks like I did it on purpose.  Just a bonus.

Thing #2
My Fall/Winter purse is big.  Actually, it is capacious!  So capacious is this purse that more than once I thought I lost my wallet because it slid to the very bottom of the purse.  I wanted to get something to  hold my wallet and pens and my calendar and change purse - those things I need to find in a hurry.  Rectangles to the Rescue!!
This little purse-in-a-purse used up two rectangles, one of which was two-toned, sort of.

Those knit conical aliens were so cute, I wish I could make something like that with my rectangles.  Hmmm, I must work on that.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Confession time

I skipped to the end of a book last night.... I HAD to!  It was 1 am and today is babysitting day.  I had to get some rest.  But I needed to know so many things about the book before I could go to sleep.

The book is The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron.  Just think of that title.  Does it bring up images of shadows and gothic towers and icy fingers?  Put a synonym for dark into your title and, whoosh!, interest will soar.

One of the reasons I couldn't sleep is that the blurb on the back of the galley hinted at a lurking evil.  There were lots of noises in the night and things mislaid and forgetfulness and awful nightmares but a little past the halfway mark - and midnight - I began to suspect a good old fashioned conspiracy.  So I skipped to the end.

And I can't tell you what I found there.  But I will tell you my questions:

Is this the beginning of a series?  Well, there are a couple of threads that could  be followed but this book can stand alone. In other words, wait and see.

Is there magic in this book?  I will have to go back and read what I skipped. 

Is character X a good guy or a bad guy?  Ah, now that would be telling, wouldn't it?

Does our heroine follow her heart and best impulses or fall back on "only doing what I was told" as an excuse?  What do you think?

Who was running around the empty mansion?  ??? IDK  Why do the portraits move around?  IDK  Where did all the hair come from?  I don't know, I tell you.

Is Uncle Tully really an idiot savant of clockwork creations or is he faking it?  I have to read what I skipped.  He's adorable, either way.

Does a certain nasty aunt get what she deserves?  Well, I do know the answer to that one.

Does the path of true love run smooth?  This book is not a fairytale, hints of magic notwithstanding.

For a darkly (that word again) atmospheric look at a magical early Victorian country estate and a story of family dysfunction and loyalty, you have to read this book.  The characters are quirky, genuine and mysterious. Except for the villains...they are just awful.  Well, to give them the benefit of the doubt, the villains are products of their time and culture.  There.  Now, I have to go back and fill in the blanks. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012


The Applewhites at Wit's End by Stephanie S. Tolan. 
The world has ended.  At least, that is how Randall Applewhite announces the family's recent  disaster.  When their financial planner absconds with their money, the artistic Applewhite family and their lone non-family student, Jake Semple, are faced with losing Wit's End, the motel-turned-artist's-colony that they so love.

But Randall is not the Head of the Family for nothing.  His plan to turn Wit's End into a camp for creative children will save them all.  He's sure of it. 

When Randall refuses to admit the daughter of a local arts patron to the camp, letters threatening to close the camp appear surreptitiously.  Compound this with a small group of headstrong kid campers and the Applewhite family's own oddities and this just might be the longest summer in the lives of Edie Applewhite, the non-artistic organized one, and Jake Semple, whose former life as a juvenile delinquent stands him in good stead. You know that these two get stuck with most of the problems.  And maybe they can admit they like each other - a little?

Via the Applewhites!  May they return with more crazy, artful, outside-the-box adventures.  And may they put on a show at the end of every book! 

Book Fountain

I want one of these.
Thanks to Betsy Bird and A Fuse #8 Production.  She posts the BEST stuff.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

3+ for KBWT

From Jama's Alphabet Soup's blog. I love the little feet!
 This is such a pretty blog!  Excellent lay-out, lovely photos and scads and scads of book reviews.  Add Jama's Alphabet Soup to your list of Kids Book Websites.  You won't be sorry.

I found Jama's blog by looking at THIS site, 100 Best Book Blogs for Kids, Tweens and Teens.  What a treasure trove of literary superb-ity!  BTW, while you are looking at all those amazing blogs, click on Study Hall to find ALL kinds of education related links - about nutrition and Twitter feeds and history blogs and websites and teacher resources. looks pretty darn interesting.  I must investigate further.

Jama's blog appears to concentrate on picture books.  (On a closer look, I realize it covers a lot of different things.) Onlineschools concentrates on everything.   For book reviews of elementary through high school titles, check out BooksForKids.  This blog features excerpts of the books, an excellent marketing device.  Picture books for primary grades, "chapter" books (is that actually a literary designation, or just what kids call them?) for older readers, the blogger offers a potpourri of book selections. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Heavenly Days

Yesterday was a heavenly day!  Hub and I got our granddaughter to ourselves for almost four hours.  Such a pretty, smart, funny and just perfect little girl!!  How very, very lucky we - her parents and grandparents - are.

So, when I saw this video posted over on GottaBook, I had to share it.  Every child is beautiful.  Every parent feels challenged.  But some of us have been "blessed" with more challenges than others.  My heart goes out to parents with differently-abled children and I doff my virtual hat to them in respect.

Cherish each joyful moment no matter how fleeting.  Fill your memories with those patches of brightness to carry you through any long dark days.  Love, peace and courage to parents everywhere.