Monthly Archives: June 2008

Don’t “ewe” want it too?

Yesterday I was at the local bookshop trying to be good (“No books for you, only for Dad. No books for you, only for Dad…”). I came across this:

A sheep detective story? Quel genius! The premise: a flock of sheep works to discover who killed their shepherd. There is only one word for this: awesome. Then, just as I was about to put the book down and step away from temptation, I saw that in the lower corner of every page there was a comic-like drawing of a friendly sheep, creating the coolest frolicking sheep flipbook as a delightful bonus. Somehow, in spite of the glory of the ovine flipbook, I found strength and wrote the title into my little wish list book and grumped off.

I want it. You’ll want it too, I think. Read this interview of author Leonie Swann in the meantime.



Ashley Hannigan is just about the last girl in her high school to give a crap that the math teacher has stolen all the prom money about a week before the big night. Ash wasn’t even planning on going, and she certainly couldn’t care less about the prom paraphernalia (dress, shoes, purse, corsage, car… blah blah blah). But her BFF Natalia, the head of the prom committee, is crushed, and since Ashley is an excellent best friend, she gets roped into saving the party.

There’s tons to like about Laurie Halse Anderson’s Prom. This title happens to be the readergirlz selection for this month, the theme being, “risk-taking.” Ashley is a risk-taker in a very real, “this could be a girl I know” kind of way. She just steps up, because no one else will, and for this reason (along with many others), she is an entirely likeable, truthful character. Of course, since it’s prom season, it makes sense to highlight this novel at the moment. I would like each and every prom-crazy teenaged-girl to read Anderson’s book, because I think it reveals and celebrates the true value of this oft-over hyped right of passage: celebrating friendship. This might really help to put the prom extravaganza into focus. I love the fact that in her acknowledgments, Anderson offers up a “loud, rowdy shout out” to the “normal kids” who inspired this story. She has certainly succeeded in telling their stories. It’s a treat to read a YA novel that is about normal kids, with day-to-day issues. This one’s poignant, grounded in reality and often funny. Now I’m eager to read Speak and Twisted, two other Anderson titles that I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve not yet read. Which first?

Poetry Friday: Baby Ate a Microchip


This one cracks me up. It’s report time, so I can’t help but wonder if this strategy might work for older kids too? Don’t we all need a bit of help to “think deep” this time of year?

Baby Ate a Microchip – by Neal Levin

Baby ate a microchip,
Then grabbed a bottle, took a sip.
He swallowed it and made a beep,
And now he’s thinking pretty deep.

He’s downloading his ABCs
And calculating 1-2-3s.
He’s memorizing useless facts
While doing Daddy’s income tax.

He’s processing, and now he thrives
On feeding his internal drives.
He’s throwing fits, and now he fights
With ruthless bits and toothless bytes…

To complete this morning’s smile, head over to Poetry Foundation.

(photo © Darren Hester for CC:Attribution-NonCommercial)


Guys Lit Wire

Launched on Monday, June 2nd, Guys Lit Wire  is bound to be a fantastic new presence in the litosphere. The idea was born in the creative brain of Colleen Mondor, of Chasing Ray fame. Guys Lit Wire aims to bring all kinds of literary news, reviews and opinions to teenage boys and all those who care about what teen boys read. The idea is to highlight great reads, some new and some older, on all topics imaginable, that will likely have broad appeal to teen boy readers. Every day of the week there will be at least one new post, offered up by one of a team of bloggers from all over the (kids)litosophere. I’m on the team, and I’m super excited to be involved. See who else is along for the ride at the contributor’s list. Impressive! I think you’ll find that the site is already filling up with super interesting reading. 

Oh yes… and the blog design (isn’t it spiffy?) is the masterwork of Sarah, of Finding Wonderland. Fantastic. I think we’ve got the whole package here.    

Writing hidey-holes

There has been some talk of backyard writing retreats about the kidlitosphere lately. It seems that having your own little mini-writing house in the garden is very of the moment. Take a gander at Sarah’s, for instance.

Well, if there are any writers out there who do not yet possess their own cottage of delight, I suggest you head straight over to Shedworking, a blog devoted completely to the wonders of shed retreats. Prepared to be super envious. How about something like this:

 (The work of one talented fellow: Guy Martin. Wow).


Nonfiction Monday: 3-D ABC A Sculptural Alphabet

I cannot resist a great art book, and Bob Raczka’s 3-D ABC: A Sculptural Alphabet is certainly great. The book is an ABC book, and for every letter of the alphabet there’s a photograph of a groovy sculpture inspired by or connected to that letter. The photography really pops, the text is simple and reads well aloud, and you can tell that the sculptures were selected for real “wow” factor for readers. (Just check out that cover image: Spoonbridge and Cherry. Cool). It shouldn’t be any surprise that Raczka has come up with a winner here, as he is the mastermind behind other great art books for kids such as No One Saw: Ordinary things through the eyes of an Artist (a brilliant book for all art teachers), Art is, and Unlikely Pairs. I want them all!

I really like the fact that Raczka focuses on how everyone experiences sculptures (and by extension, art) differently. It’s a personal experience that should be enchanting and inspiring. He writes: “A sculpture can mean different things to different people, or it can mean different things to the same person on different days.”

This one is made for teachers, and for any art-loving family. Just the book to inspire closer attention to the beauty of sculptures in galleries and outdoor spaces.