Thursday, August 15, 2019

August Recommendations


Book One, CHANGELING, introduces a new series called THE ODDMIRE, by William Ritter. In the town of Endsborough, near the dense Wild Wood, a goblin tries to switch Annie Burton’s newborn with a changeling. When she startles him in the act, the frightened goblin runs away, leaving her with two identical babies. As they grow, the boys Cole and Tinn have no way of knowing which of them is human and which is goblin. It never mattered to Annie. But now, almost 13 years later, with magic in the Wood fading, the true goblin boy must return to the forest for a reckoning, or die. The author of the YA Jackaby series now turns to middle grade with this exuberant adventure story featuring goblins, witches, hinkypunks, and a hope-crushing, monstrous Thing. (MG)

LOVELY WAR, by Julie Berry, is truly a masterpiece. In December of 1942, Hephaestus, “god of fires, blacksmiths, and tornadoes," traps his wife, Aphrodite, in the midst of a tryst with her lover, Ares, and puts the pair on trial. To explain her guilt in matters of infidelity and contempt (which she freely admits to), Aphrodite spins a detailed story of Love in the time of War, specifically the difficult yet deeply romantic experiences of two intertwined couples, Hazel and James, Aubrey and Collette, as they try to survive during World War l. Sophisticated and lovely, do yourself a favor and read this book. (YA)

Picture Books:

In HOME IS A WINDOW, by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard, with illustrations by Chris Sasaki, the spare, poetic text shares with readers that “home is a window,/ a doorway,/ a rug,/ a basket for your shoes,” and yet it’s so much more. Home is all the little things, plus—especially when you have to move to a new one—home is “the people gathered near.” The beautifully rendered digital art is pretty masterful—it feels like a cross between the work of Christian Robinson and Jon Klassen, but with more detail.

A LIFE MADE BY HAND: THE STORY OF RUTH ASAWA, by Andrea D’Aquino, tells the story of a remarkable artist who found inspiration by “[looking] carefully at everything around her." Always busy, Ruth trained and experimented with many mediums, but she's most famous for her unique wire sculptures. The story is illustrated with striking mixed media collages, both bold and delicate. The author’s endnotes provide context for Asawa’s life, and instructions for making a paper dragonfly are included.

In THE IMPORTANT THING ABOUT MARGARET WISE BROWN, by Mac Barnett and Sarah Jacoby, the author acknowledges that “you can’t fit somebody’s life into 42 pages, so I’m just going to tell you some important things.” He tells a good number of anecdotes that relate to Brown's life in a completely satisfying, swirling, rambly sort of way, but, after all is said and done, the important thing is that Margaret Wise Brown wrote books, “important” books that "feel true.” This book feels true, too. Watercolor, Nupastel, and Photoshop illustrations contain plenty of whimsy-- this is a wonderfully creative endeavor and a beautiful book.

THE LITTLE GUYS, by Vera Brosgol (who also wrote and illustrated Leave Me Alone!), stars those fearless beings, the Little Guys--tiny acorn-capped beings who inhabit the forest, pillaging at will. Because they are strong and there are a lot of them, they "can get all [they] need.” Illustrations show the other animals becoming increasingly annoyed, until finally the Little Guys go too far. Art is “drawn with dip pen and acrylic ink and painted in watercolor, with some Adobe Photoshop shenanigans afterwards.”


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