Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain Introduction by Darren Shan

About a year ago I was shopping (well really just window shopping) when I came across a set of books that looked old but were just repackaged new editions of classics.   It always amazes me how some stores can get so creative about what they sell.  It is fun to find books in unusual places.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain with an introduction by Darren Shan was the first title I picked up from the display. As it is Mark Twain's birthday or should I say Samuel Clemons birthday I thought it was a good time to suggest these books.   I loved the feel of the book and the cover art.   When I opened it up and noticed the beautiful endpapers I felt like I had found a treasure.   It may look old and retro but it has a freshness about it that begs to be bought, read and placed on a shelf to be enjoyed for years to come.  There are 8 books in total repackaged in this beautiful manner....each with a distinct cover with endpapers and introductions by noted authors and illustrators.  

Here are the other titles from Puffin Classics that are sure to be a perfect gift for anyone this holiday season:

Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, introduction by Brian Jacques
The Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger  Green, introduction by John Boyne
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, introduction by Sophie Dahl
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, introduction by Meg Rosoff
The Call of the Wild by Jack London, introduction by Melvin Burgess
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, introduction by Tony DiTerlizzi

and finally because it is also L.M. Montgomery's birthday (two literary giants on the same day) an all time favorite of my childhood:

Anne of Green Gables introduction by Lauren Child~ I just love this cover too!

As I said these would make beautiful gifts that will be treasured forever....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Flashback Tuesday: The 20th Century Children's Book Treasury by Janet Shulman

The 20th Century Children's Book Treasury by Janet Shulman is still a perfect family gift.   I remember so clearly when this book came out.   The discussions that went into how it should look and whether or not it would have a lasting appeal.   We are over ten years into a new century but this book is timeless.   I have always loved anthologies especially when I worked in the stores and a customer needed a gift for a family.   Janet Shulman really picked the perfect picture books to be included as they are classic and must have titles. It has something of interest for a range of ages.   So if you are looking for a great gift for a family that doesn't break the bank this is a perfect choice to give.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Reference Sunday: Ancient Egypt: Tales of Gods and Pharaohs by Marcia Williams

I can't believe the holiday season is upon us.   It has already been a busy few weeks.   Hopefully I will be able to post some great gift ideas for the children in your lives....starting with something I would have wanted as a gift when I a kid.

Ancient Egypt: Tales of Gods and Pharaohs written and illustrated by Marcia Williams is a wonderfully illustrated book retelling nine stories of Ancient Egypt.  I am not usually a person who likes comic strip type storytelling but this one works for me.   I think it is because the illustrations remind me of hieroglyphics,  which is a very appropriate way to tell stories about Ancient Egypt.  It is a very accessible and fun way to learn history.   Like I said I would have loved to get this as a gift when I was young....(oh who am I kidding I would love it now!)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Flashback Tuesday: Mary Poppins in the Kitchen by P.L. Travers

According to Anita Silvey's Book a Day Almanac it has been 85 years since Mary Poppins first came on the scene.   

When I was a little girl I got for Christmas one year my one and only Mary Poppins book.  

Mary Poppins in the Kitchen A Cookery Book with a Story by P.L Travers, illustrations by Mary Shepard and Culinary Consultant Maurice Moore-Betty is  one of my favorite childhood books .   I only knew Mary Poppins from the movie so when I got the book I was intrigued to read that there were more children and that Mary Poppins was actually a part of the household for more than a couple of days.   I loved reading the story and reading the recipes.   I can still see myself making the roast chicken with the help of my Mother.  I still have my copy with food stains all over it and my Mother's handwriting where she had inscribed it with my name and year of the gift.   It is something I will always treasure.   

It is actually a great little cookbook....the recipes aren't hard and the story is sweet.   I perfect little gift to share.   

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Reference Sunday: This is the Feast by Diane Z. Shore illust by Megan Lloyd

This is the Feast by Diane Z. Shore and illustrated by Megan Lloyd is a perfect way to get a child ready for  Thanksgiving.   While it isn't necessarily a reference book, it does tell the story of the pilgrims from the time they step on the Mayflower to the first harvest in their new land.  It is written in verse so it is easy to understand and the illustrations really capture the hardships and joys of these adventurous people.   This is a must have book for the child who is just starting to understand what Thanksgiving is all about.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet

Thanksgiving is two weeks from today.   It seems like the years are going by so fast.   When I was a kid I loved watching the Thanksgiving day parade...the balloons always amazed me.   On my bucket list is going to seeing the balloons inflated the night before Thanksgiving.   This seems more exciting then the parade itself.

Balloons Over Broadway written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet tells the story of Tony Sarg a German immigrant who was also a puppeteer who worked for Macy's in NYC and decorated their windows.   When the annual parade decided to take out the live animals that were usually in the parade, Mr Sarg developed the idea of using balloons.   This is a special book with wonderfully rich illustrations that is a great way to get into the Thanksgiving holiday spirit.    I wish I had this book when I was a kid because I always wondered who got the idea to make these huge and incredible balloons. This is a great picture book biography that is totally easy to read.   I have always been a fan of Melissa Sweet's illustrations and this book is no exception.   A truly must have Thanksgiving story book that should be read every year.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy Birthday Bette Bao Lord!

It has been a while since I posted....freak October snowstorms can certainly throw off anyone's timing.  

Today is Bette Bao Lord's many know her from her book In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson  which is wonderful but not the book I think of when I hear her name.

When I was young and had started reading voraciously I would grab any book that we had on our bookshelves.   One day I discovered a book that was my sister Ann's and was mesmerized by it.   It was Bette Bao Lord's first book as told to her by her sister Sansan called Eighth Moon: The True Story of a Young Girl's Life in Communist China.   I loved this book, I didn't really understand communism I just knew that it was about a beautiful little girl who got left behind and the struggles that she had.   I loved Sansan and always wondered (and still do) what happened to her.   I know that the book is basically out of print  but I think it should be back in print. It still has lessons to teach the world today.  Every student who is learning about China and communism should be required to read it.   It would also make a great companion piece to In the Year of the Boar so that children can see the juxtaposition of two sisters and how different their lives were.   Eighth Moon is one of my fondest book memories....