Friday, November 29, 2013

The Wizard of Oz: The Official 75th Anniversary Companion by Jay Scarfone, William Stillman, Caren Marsh-Doll

Since the holiday season has officially begun I thought I would recommend a book for the whole family.  I loved watching the Wizard of Oz on TV when I was young.  It is one of my favorite memories growing up.  In fact I loved it so much it took me years to read the actual book.  When I did read it --- one slow Saturday night in the bookstore----I was amazed that except for a few details (silver shoes instead of ruby slippers and a few different  characters) the film was pretty close to the book.

The Wizard of Oz: The Official 75th Anniversary Companion by Jay Scarfone, William Stillman and Caren Marsh- Doll is a commemorative collectible book that has new stories from cast and crew plus beautiful stills from the film and previously unpublished information and photos from the making of the film.  This is a must have for any Wizard of Oz fan.  

If there is a child who loves the movie this would be a great time to introduce the original Frank L. Baum is one my favorite editions that I have written about before:

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum and illustrated by W.W. Denslow

There is also this favorite of mine that I wrote about from the master Pop-Up artist Robert Sabuda:

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum art by Robert Sabuda 

These make great gifts and would be a wonderful way to help with Small Business Saturday tomorrow....bookstores are like home to me which makes me think of Dorothy her famous line:

"There's no place like home...." 

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Eighth Menorah by Lauren L. Wohl illustrator Laura Hughes

Hanukkah is just a few days away.  Not only is it early this year but it coincides with Thanksgiving.  Today's book, while not about the duel holiday,  is a wonderful book about family and sharing.

The Eighth Menorah by Lauren L. Wohl  and illustrated by Laura Hughes is the sweet story of a little boy who is making a Menorah in Sunday School.  He wants to give it to his family but is worried that they already have too many.  He ends up doing a beautiful thing by giving it his Grandmother for her new home.  Not only does he share it with her but with her new community.  I love the this little boy, he is so sweet I wished I could hug him myself.  The illustrations are wonderful and match the text perfectly.  This is a great book to read to children as it shows them how to share and how giving can be better than receiving.  In old adage but one that really bears repeating.   A must have new Hanukkah book for children to treasure.  

Count 1, 2, 3 With Me by Connie Arnold illustrated by Ginger Nielson

Count 1, 2, 3 With Me by Connie Arnold and illustrated by Ginger Nielson is a cute little rhyming book for the preschool set.  I learned about Connie Arnold when she wrote to me about her first children's book Animal Sound Mix-Up a few years ago.  She has now introduced me to her second children's book.  I like this because it is a great book to read aloud to children and the illustrations are sweet and accessible. I especially love the sleeping "cats".  This is a great way to teach counting to children that can be read over and over again.  This makes a great gift for showers and 1st birthdays...or just something to bring during the holidays when visiting.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Mischievians by William Joyce

Today was an exciting day for me at the bookstore.  Anyone who knows me knows I love all things William Joyce....the man is pure genius in my book.  I have loved his illustrations and books for what seems like forever.  Which is why I got embarrassingly giddy when I came across his new picture book at the store today.  I opened it immediately to read it --- more embarrassment ensued when I snorted and laughed out loud while reading it.  My co-worker probably thought I was nuts.  Especially since we had just had a civilized discussion with a customer about the distinguished author Pat Conroy.  

The Mischievians by William Joyce is one of the funniest books I have read in a long time.  Not your typical picture book but then nothing Mr Joyce does is typical.  This is the book for the child (or grown-up) who have the usual questions, such as: Where's my homework? What happened to the remote? Where does belly button lint come from? and of course Why do socks go missing?

This book answers them all in the quirkiest way....we learn about The Mischievians who are "a race of global mischief makers"....

This is a must have new book----as I think all of William Joyce's books are must have books----but this one will make the child in your life giggle and laugh---which is always a lovely sound.  

I love the book trailer too!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dot by Randi Zuckerberg illustrated by Joe Berger

Dot by Randi Zuckerberg  and illustrated by Joe Berger is the story of a little girl who loves all her technological gadgets.  How many of us know a child who is so much better at programming the DVR (I was going to say VCR--which dates me) or setting up apps on our phones.  I know I had to have my nephew upgrade my phone for me because I couldn't figure it out.  This is a cute picture book with an adorable new character who is sure to charm parents and children alike.  I like the illustrations because they have a retro feel but are obviously very contemporary.  I like the message of making time to go outside and play but still understanding that most children gravitate to computers etc.  This is a great book for the inquisitive child in your life.

Oh and the author Randi Zuckerberg has also written a book for grown-ups called Dot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives--- on the same subject---and apparently she is the sister of Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame.  So I guess who better to help us use technology and social media without losing sight of the world around us.

Monday, November 11, 2013

For Veteran's Day--Book revisit: All the Broken Pieces by Ann Burg

All the Broken Pieces by Ann Burg (my sister) was published in 2009.  It was the first book I ever wrote about on this blog but I would like to revisit it again today---for Veteran's Day. It is the story of a boy from Vietnam who is adopted into an American family.  It deals with how he  comes to terms with his past.  It also deals with Vietnam Veterans and their experiences when they came home from the war...and much more.  this book is the perfect way to talk about Vietnam Veterans and their role in history.   My sister always speaks about how it is a very personal story for her because of what she witnessed of the Vietnam War as she was growing up.  I myself just remember images from the TV and how angry everyone was about the war.  Even though the book came out a few years ago she is still getting positive responses to the novel.  She recently wrote her monthly blog post about her most vivid memories of a Vietnam War Veteran.  She talks about seeing him in Washington Square Park in NYC and describes the feelings she felt that never went away and changed her perspective on history.  Below is an excerpt from her posting, to read the whole blog posting just click on the title below it is worth the read:

The Veteran of Washington Square ~ An Open Letter to Veterans Everywhere by Ann Burg

.....His appearance in my novel, All the Broken Pieces, was my way of honoring and thanking the Veteran of  Washington Square for sacrificing his youth and his innocence.
We lost a big piece
of ourselves in Vietnam,
and none of us will
ever be the same,
but we did some good too.
We made a difference.
  I wish my Washington Square Veteran could see this post or read my book. I hope that he has found some measure of peace. Whatever one’s opinion about Vietnam, or any war for that matter, all veterans deserve our respect and gratitude. From the deepest recesses of my heart, I wish them peace. 

To all who have sacrificed for our country---Thank You! -- RM