Thursday, December 15, 2016

December Recommendations


I continue to enjoy the most excellent JACKABY series, by William Ritter. The title character, Mr. R. F. Jackaby, is a detective and a Seer of supernatural beings. In book three, called GHOSTLY ECHOES, narrator Abigail Rook and her boss, Jackaby, are investigating the decade-old murder case of their landlady, Jenny Cavanaugh, who is now a ghost. This world contains beings of all sorts, from vampires to chameleomorphs to Abigail’s half-man, half-hound boyfriend, Charlie. (YA)

THE INQUISITOR’S TALE, by Adam Gidwitz, is a loose adaptation of the Joan of Arc story, told by multiple narrators in the style of The Canterbury Tales for kids. It features Jeanne, a peasant girl who has visions of the future (and a resurrected dog), William, a young monk with extraordinary strength, and Jacob, a Jewish boy who is a miraculous healer. This clever, engaging tale is also populated by good monks, bad monks, King Louis IX of France, an angel, and a farting dragon. It’s an excellent read!! (MG)

HEARTLESS, by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles), is a prequel to Alice in Wonderland, telling the backstory of the Queen of Hearts. Catherine is a noble young lady, who has caught the eye of the King of Hearts, but all she wants is to open a bakery, where she can sell her delectable treats to the kingdom. When she meets the mysterious and sexy Jester, things get even more complicated. Fun and absurdist, as it should be. (YA)

Picture books:

OWL SEES OWL, by Laura Godwin, illustrated by Rob Dunlavey, is a sweet, spare reverso poem, accompanied by rich illustrations of a young owl's nighttime flight. It’s a cozy read, and a literary treat.

THE UNCORKER OF OCEAN BOTTLES, by Michelle Cuevas, illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Erin Stead, tells the story of the gentle man who watches the waves. He is tasked with opening any bottle found at sea, and making sure to deliver it. He loves his job, but wonders if he will ever receive a message himself. Stead perfectly evokes the dreamy text with her signature woodblock print, oil pastel, and pencil art.

And, finally, VIRGINIA WOLF by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, is a fantastically creative take on depression, inspired by the writer Virginia Woolf and her sister, painter Vanessa Bell. One day, young Virginia wakes feeling wolfish. Her older sister tries to make everything better, but nothing works until Virginia growls that she wants to fly to Bloomsbury, a perfect place to defy the doldrums. Art is the answer!


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