Friday, April 28, 2017

The Glass Town Game

The nice Riveted rep that sent me a box of ARCs (for the KUCLC event about a month ago) referred to Catherynne M. Valente's The Glass Town Game as a brick.  It is that - over 500 pages.  But, oh, what a brick it is!

When Emily and Charlotte Bronte are sent back to Cowan Bridge school, the boarding school where their older sisters died, their brother, Branwell, and youngest sister, Anne, walk them to the train station.  It is the Beastliest of Days and they play one of their favorite games on the way, the Game of And.  Not as complicated as the Glass Town Game which employed all of Branwell's wooden soldiers, the Game of And was played by imagining the most delightful or nonsensical things and challenging the other players to match or top them.

When they get to the station, the things they imagined on the way, and things they imagined in the past, have become real!  All four children board the train, using buttons as tickets, and ride to Glass Town with the wooden soldiers, come alive.  Glass Town is at war.  The forces of Wellie (the Duke of Wellington) and Boney (Napoleon Bonaparte) fight and die and come to life again. 

When Anne and Branwell are stolen away by one of Boney's spies - made of magazines and newspapers - Emily and Charlotte must find them.  Meanwhile, Anne and Branwell find the kidnapped Princess Victoria, the cause of this awful war.

At first, everything they see comes from one of their play adventures. As the story progresses, the adventures spin out of control.  The four wonder if they will ever be reunited and if they will ever see their father and home again.

As I read, I was reminded of Alice in Wonderland, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,  and The Wizard of Oz.  Each town in Glass Town has peculiarities and a specific type of resident.  The publishers and book sellers in Ochropolis deliver some of the funniest dialogue in the book.  Valente uses fanciful descriptions and eccentric language that adds a sense of time and place.  I can't wait to see the book when it comes out in September.  I hope for illustration - just a few - that are as whimsical as the story is.

I am giving this book away (with others).    Click here to learn more about this giveaway.   And to enter.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

New YA imprint

 Kids Can Press, the Canadian publisher that is home to Scaredy Squirrel and Franklin the Turtle, has just launched a YA imprint, KCP Loft.

Expect thought-provoking, socially conscious books.  From the trailer below, you can also look for books that empower young people, especially young women.

Saturday, April 22, 2017


I promised a giveaway by the end of the week.  And this is the end of the week.

Click here to enter.  Read below for MORE ways to earn entries.

The titles you see above will go to ONE lucky reader. They are;

  1. an ARC of The Glass Town Game  by Catherynne M. Valenti.  The four Brontes climb aboard a train and find themselves in their own imaginary play land. This is a great adventure book and a fascinating look at the four Brontes as children.  (Remember to put the little diacritical mark over the "e".  I can't figure out how to do it.)  Due out in September.
  2. a signed copy of A Bandit's Tale by Deborah Hopkinson (hard bound).  An historical fiction about life for immigrants (this lad is Italian) in 1880s NYC.
  3. a hardbound copy of Speed of Life by Carol Weston. Sofia misses her mother who died suddenly and finds comfort in writing to "Dear Kate", an advice columnist.  Guess who her father decides to date?  This got 4 starred reviews.
  4. an ARC of Double Cross: Deception Techniques in War by Paul B. Janeczko.  Treachery, deception, covert opps from the Civil War forward.  This came out this month.
  5. One Good Thing About America by Ruth Freeman.  Anais writes letters to her Oma in Kenya describing life as an immigrant in America.
  6. Lug: Blast from the North by David Zeltser.  Lug and his friends rescue a strange boy named Blast, who lives on a huge moving glacier.  Blast seems nice but Lug is not so sure.  This is the second entry into a series about Ice Age pre-teen Lug and his friends.

Here's how to earn extra entries.  Comment on this blog post.  I don't need your name or address BUT I do need a nickname or identifier of some kind.  If you have a Blogger account, your user name is good enough. Blogger likes people to join in order to comment but you can comment as Anonymous - which is why I need an identifier.

AND follow me and comment "I followed".

AND share this post on Facebook and comment "I shared." 

On Friday, May 5th, I will post the winner's identity here and email the winner so said winner can send me a name and snail mail address.

It's been awhile since my last giveaway so I hope this works.  Thanks, all.  

Happy Earth Day!

I got married in 1974, the year that Big Blue Marble debuted on PBS.  Our son was born in 1976.  He was a PBS baby, toddler, child.

Big Blue Marble was one of our favorite shows.  It was dedicated to introducing children from all around the world to children here in the USA.  My husband and I argue over which theme song was best.  Big Blue Marble or the one shown here, Floating in Space.  I like them both.

We have only one home - a big blue marble.  We are only one race - one family.  Please remember that.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

More gifts from the USPS

The Speed of Life by Carol Weston showed up between my front doors yesterday.   This book has received FOUR starred reviews.  I anticipate a quick read.  BTW, this will be part of the giveaway due by the end of the week.

Speed of Life

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter morning

Oh, Holiday House! You made my Easter so fine. This is what my husband found on our porch on Easter morning.

Thank you, Easter Bunny! 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Books Out Loud

Storyline Online does it again.  This time Viola Davis reads Rent Party Jazz by William Miller.  If you miss watching Reading Rainbow on PBS - and I do! - Storyline Online, brought to us by the SAG-AFTRA foundation, helps fill the gap.  BTW, the Reading Rainbow site has a lot to offer, too.

Brightly also offers read-alouds for Growing Readers.  During their read-alouds, each word is highlighted as the reader says it, allowing young readers to follow along.  The reading is expressive but rather slow.  Here's Miss Maple Seeds by Eliza Wheeler, read by one of Brightly's online readers, Miss Linda.

Check out Eliza Wheeler's website for some printables and other activities, based on this book.

Check back later to find out what we found on the front porch on Easter morning!!  Is The Easter Bunny real?  And, I have the details of my first ARC/signed book giveaway of 2017.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Addendum and other stuff

Before last weekend's orgy of Kids' Book Wonder and Wow, I read as many of the ARCs - that I received to hand out - as I could.  I read;

Cyclone by Doreen Cronin.  Named for the roller coaster on Coney Island, this is the story of two cousins - one who ends up in the hospital after a fateful ride and the other who blames herself for her cousin's illness.  At times scary, at times funny, this book is an exciting read.  (Notice that I did not use an amusement park reference.  You are welcome.)

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson.  A young artist is commissioned to paint the Autumn Prince, since the fair folk cannot create any art of their own.  And, her painting unleashes a world of hurt, hunt and hunger!

A Properly Unhaunted Place by William Alexander.  Rosa’s mother is Librarian ghost appeasement specialist.  They have just moved to a town that has no ghosts.  Well, we all know what THAT means.  A local Ren Faire is the site of some serious paranormal activity.

I am reading The Glass Town Game by Catherynne M. Valente.  Emily and Charlotte Bronte are sentenced to return to the horrible boarding school where their sisters died.  And Branwell and Anne walk them to the train station to see them off.  But the train that arrives is one created by the Brontes' wild imagination.  Valente's whimsical language suits this story perfectly.

I have also finished Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth.  It's the beginning of a new Sci-Fi battle series and although I like the characters, I doubt that I will read the sequels. Roth fans will LOVE it, I am sure.

If you want to see my addendum, here it is.  I posted it on Scribd.  If you have trouble reading it, or if Scribd asks for info you prefer not to give, please comment below.

HEADS UP! I have leftover ARCs and, at least, one signed book that I plan to give away in a future post.  So check back - or sign up for email notifications over there in the right hand sidebar.