Thursday, November 12, 2015

November Recommendations


In I CRAWL THROUGH IT, by A. S. King, Stanzi won't take off her lab coat and dissects frogs with a clinical passion. She's in love with Gustav, who builds a helicopter that is not technically invisible, but Stanzi can only see it on Tuesdays. China, Stanzi's best friend, repeatedly turns herself inside out due to a nasty encounter with a weatherman—on any given day, she might be an esophagus or a stomach as she walks down the street. Everyone is aware of this. The dangerous bush man sells letters for a kiss. The brilliance of this novel is that everything makes sense! (YA)

THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH, by Ali Benjamin, has a classic mid-grade feel to it. Seventh grader Suzy Swanson hasn’t spoken since she learned of the death of her former best friend, Franny Jackson. Suzy is convinced that Franny died from a poisonous jellyfish sting and not from drowning, like everyone else thinks. Suzy uses her love of science to help work through her grief and to understand her complicated relationship with Franny. This debut novel explores the power of friendship, jellyfish, and the importance of moving on. (MG)

ZEROES, by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti, is the first in a promising new series about a small group of teens who have strange “superpowers”—Ethan has the Voice, which speaks for him whenever he is in a jam (which sometimes makes things WAY worse), Kelsie, can control a crowd’s emotions (until she is carried away by them herself), Blind Flicker can see through everyone else’s eyes, Chizara can control technology, Anonymous is extremely hard to keep track of, and finally there is Nate/Glorious Leader, who melds them into a group.  Together, they are drawn into a mission to save Ethan, while evading murderous drug dealers and Ethan’s DA mom. This is great action enhanced by awesome-yet-marginal superhero-ness, and harkens back to Westerfelds early work on his Midnighters series.  (YA)

Picture Books (coincidentally, all by author/illustrators this time) :

In WE FORGOT BROCK, by Carter Goodrich, Phillip and his best friend Brock (who Phillip's parents insist is invisible) spend all their time together goofing around together. When Phillip falls asleep at the Big Fair, Brock slips off to ride the Brain Shaker and gets left behind! The art is pitch-perfect, with Brock and Princess Sparkle Dust rendered in a flat, crayony style, while the rest of the world uses more nuanced watercolor paintings.

GET OUT OF MY BATH, by Britta Teckentrup, joins a small but growing sub-genre of interactive picture books, along the lines of Herve Tullet’s Press Here. A narrator invites readers to help elephant Ellie make some waves by shaking the book from side to side, as well as to shake out the other animals who have found there way into the now-crowded tub. Hooray! we are told. This is fun! And it is. The illustrations are bold and bright, the text large and engaging.

WAITING, by Kevin Henkes, is a lovely, quiet (yes, quiet!) picture book full of the wonder of the world, and of the secret life of toys. Spare text, beautiful design, and mostly minimal illustrations bring great heft to this understated picture book. It's a great choice for readers who want to slow down, cuddle up, and enjoy.


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