"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book." Cornelia Funke

"Everything puts me in mind of a story." Ben Franklin

Friday, April 23, 2010

Top 100 Children's books quiz

I don't know where this originated from, but I stole it from my friend and colleague The Floating Lush.

Top 100 children's books; bold the ones you've read.

100. The Egypt Game - Snyder (1967) C

99. The Indian in the Cupboard - Banks (1980)

98. Children of Green Knowe - Boston (1954)

97. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane - DiCamillo (2006) I plan to read it.

96. The Witches - Dahl (1983)

95. Pippi Longstocking - Lindgren (1950) C

94. Swallows and Amazons - Ransome (1930)

93. Caddie Woodlawn - Brink (1935) C

92. Ella Enchanted - Levine (1997)

91. Sideways Stories from Wayside School - Sachar (1978)

90. Sarah, Plain and Tall - MacLachlan (1985)

89. Ramona and Her Father - Cleary (1977)

88. The High King - Alexander (1968) C

87. The View from Saturday - Konigsburg (1996)

86. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Rowling (1999)

85. On the Banks of Plum Creek - Wilder (1937) C

84. The Little White Horse - Goudge (1946)

83. The Thief - Turner (1997)

82. The Book of Three - Alexander (1964) C

81. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon - Lin (2009) Plan to read.

80. The Graveyard Book - Gaiman (2008)

79. All-of-a-Kind-Family - Taylor (1951) C

78. Johnny Tremain - Forbes (1943)

77. The City of Ember - DuPrau (2003)

76. Out of the Dust - Hesse (1997) Own it.

75. Love That Dog - Creech (2001)

74. The Borrowers - Norton (1953) C

73. My Side of the Mountain - George (1959)

72. My Father's Dragon - Gannett (1948)

71. The Bad Beginning - Snicket (1999)

70. Betsy-Tacy - Lovelace (1940) C

69. The Mysterious Benedict Society - Stewart (2007)

68. Walk Two Moons - Creech (1994)

67. Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher - Coville (1991)

66. Henry Huggins - Cleary (1950) C

65. Ballet Shoes - Stratfeild (1936) C

64. A Long Way from Chicago - Peck (1998)

63. Gone-Away Lake - Enright (1957) C

62. The Secret of the Old Clock - Keene (1959) C

61. Stargirl - Spinelli (2000)

60. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle - Avi (1990)

59. Inkheart - Funke (2003)

58. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase - Aiken (1962) C

57. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 - Cleary (1981)

56. Number the Stars - Lowry (1989)

55. The Great Gilly Hopkins - Paterson (1978)

54. The BFG - Dahl (1982)

53. Wind in the Willows - Grahame (1908)

52. The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007)

51. The Saturdays - Enright (1941) C

50. Island of the Blue Dolphins - O'Dell (1960)

49. Frindle - Clements (1996)

48. The Penderwicks - Birdsall (2005)

47. Bud, Not Buddy - Curtis (1999)

46. Where the Red Fern Grows - Rawls (1961)

45. The Golden Compass - Pullman (1995)

44. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing - Blume (1972)

43. Ramona the Pest - Cleary (1968) C

42. Little House on the Prairie - Wilder (1935) C

41. The Witch of Blackbird Pond - Speare (1958) C

40. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - Baum (1900) C

39. When You Reach Me - Stead (2009)

38. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Rowling (2003)

37. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry - Taylor (1976) C=teen

36. Are You there, God? It's Me, Margaret - Blume (1970) Just the "good" parts. :)

35. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Rowling (2000)

34. The Watson's Go to Birmingham 1963 - Curtis (1995)

33. James and the Giant Peach - Dahl (1961) C

32. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH - O'Brian (1971) C

31. Half Magic - Eager (1954) C

30. Winnie-the-Pooh - Milne (1926) C

29. The Dark Is Rising - Cooper (1973)

28. A Little Princess - Burnett (1905) C

27. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass - Carroll (1865/72) C

26. Hatchet - Paulsen (1989)

25. Little Women - Alcott (1868/9) C

24. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Rowling (2007)

23. Little House in the Big Woods - Wilder (1932) C

22. The Tale of Despereaux - DiCamillo (2003) Own it.

21. The Lightening Thief - Riordan (2005)

20. Tuck Everlasting - Babbitt (1975)

19. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Dahl (1964) C

18. Matilda - Dahl (1988)

17. Maniac Magee - Spinelli (1990)

16. Harriet the Spy - Fitzhugh (1964) C

15. Because of Winn-Dixie - DiCamillo (2000)

14. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Rowling (1999)

13. Bridge to Terabithia - Paterson (1977)

12. The Hobbit - Tolkien (1938) C=teen

11. The Westing Game - Raskin (1978) Just read half.

10. The Phantom Tollbooth - Juster (1961)

9. Anne of Green Gables - Montgomery (1908)

8. The Secret Garden - Burnett (1911) C

7. The Giver - Lowry (1993)

6. Holes - Sachar (1998)

5. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - Koningsburg (1967) C

4. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - Lewis (1950) C

3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - Rowling (1997)

2. A Wrinkle in Time - L'Engle (1962) C

1. Charlotte's Web - White (1952) C

I think that's 72/100 for me. C= read when I was actually a child.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor

Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor was a National Book Award finalist in the Young People's Literature category in 2009. I had read and enjoyed Taylor's Blackbringer (Dreamdark), so I've been eager to read this latest, especially with the critical acclaim that it has received. It didn't disappoint me.

Taylor's book is actually three separate stories: "Goblin Fruit", "Spicy Little Curses Such as These" and "Hatchling." Each tale is preceded by illustrations by Jim Di Bartolo and each contains an important kiss. "Goblin Fruit" has its roots in Christina Rosetti's poem "Goblin Market," in which two sisters are tempted by the rare offerings of Goblin men, with near disastrous results. Taylor's story centers around the grandaughter of the more prudent of these sisters, who, like her elders, runs smack into some wicked temptation.

In "Spicy Little Curses..." We meet an elderly widow who has spent her life bargaining with a demon from a hell beyond the Judeo-Christian understanding, saving innocents from premature deaths. This insistent fellow jockeys to get his best deal, trading many lives for the demonic pleasure of a curse placed on one baby girl. She will have an incredibly lovely voice, but all those who hear it will die. This child's fate is the crux of this fairy tale and myth infused story.

The longest tale in the collection, "Hatchling," offers multiple points of view in a story of shapeshifting, souless Drujs (demons), their beautiful, blankly cruel queen, and the unfortunate humans whose lives she has roughly shaped. The Druj queen lives in a rocky domain surrounded by hungry, grasping beasts, and keeps a string of human girls for pets. It takes a Druj unlike any other to offer the possibility of a different future for the Druj race and the humans that they use for entertainment. This complex story explores abuse, betrayal, unwise choices and eventual healing.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Truck Time!

Here are some possibilities to read to families:

Big Truck And Little Truck by Jann Carr, Illus. by Ivan Bates
Little Dump Truck, The by Margie Cuyler, Illus. by Bob Kolar
Dinotrux by Chris Gall
Hansel and Diesel by David Gordon
Trucks: Whizz! Zoom! Rumble! by Patricia Hubbell, Illus. by Megan Halsey
Trash Trucks by Daniel Kirk
My Truck Is Stuck by Kevin Lewis and Daniel Kirk
My Big Rig (Board Buddies) by Jonathon London, Illus. by Viviana Garofoli
A Truck Goes Rattley-Bumpa by Jonathan London, Illus. by Denis Roche
I Stink! by Kate & Jim McMullan
Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle, Illus. by Jill McElmway
Melvin Might? (Trucktown) by Scieszka, Shannon, Long & Gordon
Smash! Crash! (Jon Scieszka's Trucktown) by Scieszka, Shannon, Long & Gordon
Preschool to the Rescue by Judy Sierra, Illus. by Will Hillenbrand
Minerva Louise and the Red Truck by Janet Morgan Stoeke

Monday, April 12, 2010

Best Fiction for Young Adults Nominations

Meanwhile, back at the Clueless Ranch... I just learned that the BBYA list is now the BFYA list. Here are the most recent nominees (info. and book summaries from: Best Fiction for Young Adults ). The titles that I'm anxious to read are in red.

Best Fiction for Young Adults Nominations
Updated April 2, 2010

Almond, David. Raven Summer.
Being led by a raven to discover an abandoned baby and a jarful of money is just the beginning of Liam’s remarkable summer.

Avasthi, Swati. Split. Jace, 16, fights back against his abusive father and is thrown out of the house. He finds his older brother which begins a journey toward healing for both brothers.

Bacigalupi, Paolo. Ship Breaker. Nailer is a light crew scavenger tearing up old hulks of ships, living day to day, until a rich girl and her gleaming ship run ashore in a storm on the beach and his life gets more dangerous.

Christopher, Lucy. Stolen. Gemma, 16, writes to the young man who kidnapped her and held her captive in the Australian outback, revealing the complexity of her feelings for both Ty and the land.

Dashner, James. The Maze Runner. Thomas’ memories don’t serve him well when he wakes on an elevator, only to find himself in the Glade, trapped by monsters and a maze that changes daily.

Edwardson, Debby Dahl. Blessing’s Bead. This book is a beautifully written account of life in Alaska through the eyes of an Inupiaq family. One child is given a special bead which threads the generations together.

Erskine, Kathryn. Mockingbird. Ten-year-old Caitlin has to figure out how to make the world work now that her brother Devon has died.

Fisher, Catherine. Incarceron. Trapped in the massive prison world of Incarceron, Finn searches for his true identity; outside, Claudia searches for the truth about Incarceron and its warden, her father.

Koertge, Ron. Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs. Fourteen-year-old Kevin Boland’s biggest problem isn’t the baseball playoffs: it’s what to do when he’s dating one girl but emailing poems to another.

Marchetta, Melina. Finnikin of the Rock. Finnikin and his fellow exiles from Lumatere wish to return to their cursed homeland. Finnikin must go on an epic journey with a mute novice named Evanjalin to return home.

McCaughrean, Geraldine. The Death-Defying Pepper Roux. When Pepper Roux was born his aunt had a vision from Saint Constance that the boy would die on his fourteenth birthday, but Pepper Roux has other ideas.

Myers, Walter Dean. Lockdown. With a few months remaining on his sentence in a juvenile detention facility, Reese struggles to overcome racism, prejudice and his volatile personality to cope with life on the outside.

Nelson, Jandy. The Sky is Everywhere. When Lennie's beloved big sister suddenly dies, she gets help pushing past her grief from two very different boys.

Oliver, Lauren. Before I Fall. Sam’s seemingly perfect life has ended in a terrible crash. But, it turns out she has to relive the last day of her life seven times to get it right.

Paulsen, Gary. Woods Runner. In 1776, 13-year-old Samuel returns home from hunting in the woods to find the settlement burned and most of the settlers murdered.

Peters, Julie Anne. By the Time You Read This I’ll be Dead. Determined to get her death right this time, Daelyn Rice logs onto a website for “completers” and starts the countdown of the last 23 days of her life.

Saenz, Benjamin. Last Night I Sang to the Monster. Weeks in therapy go by and 18-year-old Zach is still unable to remember the monstrous events that left him alone and haunted by nightmares.

Scott, Elizabeth. The Unwritten Rule.
Sarah missed her chance with Ryan long ago, before he started dating her best friend Brianna – or did she? Guilt about an unexpected kiss threatens her friendship with both.

Simner, Janni Lee. Thief Eyes. On a trip to Iceland to discover what happened to her mother Haley runs away and disappears. She and new friend Ari are caught in the spell of an ancient curse.

Stork, Francisco X. The Last Summer of the Death Warriors. Seventeen-year-old Pancho grapples with the mysterious death of his sister while accompanying his new friend, D.Q, on his own quest to face down death.

Summers, Courtney. Some Girls Are. Regina used to be a member of the Fearless Five but is now being frozen out by her friends and must find acceptance among the peers she used to terrorize.

Ward, Rachel. Numbers. Jem, a British girl of 15, is on the run with her erstwhile boyfriend Spider, because of complications from her "talent" of seeing the date that people will die when she looks in their eyes.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Honestly, I'm weary of the vampire, werewolf, and zombie trend in books of late. I guess that they're just not my supernatural cup of tea, since I'm still interested in books about the faerie world, especially urban faerie stories. I wasn't sure about City of Bones (Mortal Instruments) by Cassandra Clare, because I saw that it's about demon hunters, but it came highly recommended from strangers whose reading taste I trust. Also, I loved The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding, which featured a "wych-hunter", so I wanted to give this a chance. And guess what, I really like it and I'm on to the next in the Mortal Instruments series, City of Ashes.

Every day I drive back and forth an hour each day to get to work, so I like to have an audio book to pass the time. When I find one that I especially like, it's a great pleasure. When it's a series, it's a bonus. I borrowed City of Bones, read by Ari Graynor, from my library and it's just fun! The enjoyment reminds me of when I listened to all of Libba Bray's series about Gemma Doyle, read by Josephine Bailey. Sometimes it's very satisfying to just glut yourself on certain characters' stories.

In City of Bones, fifteen year old Clary and her best friend Simon go out to a nightclub, and Clary experiences some weird goings on and meets some maddening but fascinating teens. When Clary returns to her home to find her mother missing, her apartment destroyed and a nasty demon creature hungry for her flesh, she learns some alarming information about her new friends and herself. This leads her to dealings with warlocks, fortune tellers, an enchanted rat, various night creatures and a sarcastic and appealing guy named Jace.

I found the story exciting, enjoyed the various surprises in the plot, and appreciated gutsy Clary.
Since I'm not on the cutting edge here, Clare has finished City of Ashes and City of Glass, and apparently will release one more book in the series, as well as a new series, the Infernal Devices, due in August, beginning with Clockwork Angel. Learn more at: http://cassandraclare.com/ .

Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher

To my knowledge, their are very few books written for teens with transgender characters. I have read Luna by Julie Anne Peters, told by the sister of a M to F girl and Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger, from the point of view of a F to M guy, and appreciated both, for their excellent writing and the authors' willingness to break new ground and tell the stories of people we haven't before met on the page. Brian Katcher continues this work, introducing us to high school senior Sage, a girl with a big secret, and Logan, her classmate and friend who falls for her.

This is Logan's story, as he struggles with his complicated relationship with Sage. Living in a small Missouri town, Logan has recently been betrayed and dumped after a three year relationship, and is wary of females. Then Sage shows up in his biology class. She is living as pretty, fun-filled girl, and no one, Logan included, has any idea that she was born biologically male. He likes her and then hopes to date her. After Sage reveals her secret to Logan, he struggles with the truth. What does his attraction to Sage say about him? Can he continue to be her friend and lend her support when her parents won't? Could Logan and Sage possibly still be more than friends? And what if her secret is discovered by others?

Katcher has created characters that you enjoy one minute and want to shake the next, but that you always care about. In Sage, he shows the courage that transgender people must have just to live their lives being true to who they are. Though Sage's road is rough and sometimes dangerous and Logan is shaken out his comfort zone, they continue to grow. They work through issues of trust, love, honesty and beginning anew in this bittersweet novel.