Monday, June 23, 2014

Darth Vader and son by Jeffrey Brown

Darth Vader and Son

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

What if Darth Vader took an active role in raising his son? What if "Luke, I am your father" was just a stern admonishment from an annoyed dad? In this hilarious and sweet comic reimagining, Darth Vader is a dad like any other—except with all the baggage of being the Dark Lord of the Sith. Celebrated artist Jeffrey Brown's delightful illustrations give classic Star Wars® moments a fresh twist, presenting the trials and joys of parenting through the lens of a galaxy far, far away. Life lessons include lightsaber batting practice, using the Force to raid the cookie jar, Take Your Child to Work Day on the Death Star ("Er, he looks just like you, Lord Vader!"), and the special bond shared between any father and son.
Winner of the 2013 Eisner Award for Best Humor Publication
My thoughts:
This was a fun library find.  A quick, funny, entertaining read that appealed to all of my children, even though they are different ages and reading levels.  I love finding something new on the shelf at the library.  Some weeks we are looking for something in particular, but I find we discover unexpected gems when we just go to a shelf and see what jumps out on that day.  I love our Kindles and my family uses them a lot, but I would miss having the opportunity to walk up to a shelf of books and pick one out that way if libraries were to disappear.  I think having all those books available makes it more likely that children and adults will branch out and discover something new, perhaps they enjoy graphic novels when they always thought they were silly or that memoirs can be a fun way to read nonfiction.  I am very much looking forward to this summer and weekly library visits with my children.  I wonder what we will discover next week?

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781452106557
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 4/18/2012
  • Pages: 64

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Brown is the author of numerous graphic novels and comics, including Cat Getting Out of a Bag and Cats Are Weird. A lifelong Star Wars fan, he lives in Chicago with his wife and five-year-old son.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Peeps: A Candy Coated Tale by Mark Masyga and Martin Ohlin

Peeps: A Candy-Coated Tale

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

Part whodunit, part pop culture craziness, Peep Fiction is a testament to the unbelievable popularity of and goofiness surrounding America's #1 selling non-chocolate candy.

Alert the media-a prominent Peepsville family of marshmallow Peeps has gone missing! Told primarily through newspaper and magazine stories, their mysterious disappearance provides the basis for this weird and hilarious whodunit. How did the Peeps family find themselves in such a predicament? Who is responsible? And more importantly, can they be rescued before their sell-by dates?

Clues (and some crafty characters) abound as you peep through the pages of the Peepsville local newspaper, an old Peepsville High School yearbook, and of course, the infamous Peeple Magazine. With craft ideas included throughout-because, after all, 1/3 of all peeps are purchased for purposes other than eating-this goofy book, sure to be a big hit with Peeps fans everywhere, celebrates the zaniness of peep culture while offering up something all its own. Sweet, silly, and immensely popular all over the country, Peeps have finally found a book to call their own!
My thoughts:
This was a fun mash up and pop culture parody.  Meryl Peep the actress and parents of the septuplet peeps who become celebrities through their parenthood, Rose O'Doughnut and Hillary Puff are part of the pages along with a family whop has disappeared on a reality show trip to Easter Island.  There are crafts to make with Peeps and all sorts of facts about the candy.  I loved the last few pages with pictures from when the Peeps were made by hand and the workers in the 1950's who made them.  This was our library find of the week last week!  A mystery in pictures, faux newspaper and magazine articles and some real facts about this popular candy. 

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810959958
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2006
  • Pages: 112

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Stitch and a Prayer by Eva Gibson (Quilts of Love) Litfuse Blog Tour

About the book:

New from Quilts of Love | A Stitch and a Prayer

A quilt becomes a labor of love for a lonely wife mysteriously separated from her young husband.
After her fiancé returns from the Klondike gold rush in 1897, Florence Harms sets about building a new life in her new marriage—even though the lingering effects of illness have left her weak and vulnerable. She and her young husband, Will, work tirelessly to clear the land around their Northwest cabin, content with their modest life.

But then a stranger comes knocking and Florence suddenly senses a restlessness in Will’s spirit that she had never seen before. When he leaves her with only a note that tells her he will return before their baby’s birth, she is devastated, and the illness that stiffened her joints returns. Counting the days until Will walks back through her door, Florence busies herself with a Tree of Life quilt displaying a map of the farm they call home. Doubts claw at her heart as Florence struggles to believe Will’s promise to return to her. Will her labor of love-and faith in God—sustain her as she waits to see her beloved once again?

Learn more about this book and the series at the Quilts of Love website.

Landing page: 

About the Author: 

Eva Gibson is the author of twenty books, including The Gift of Forgiveness and The Three Marys. She currently teaches "writing your life story" classes for Portland Community College and is an active member of Oregon Christian Writers. She has lived most of her life on the family farm in Wilsonville, Oregon, which is the setting for A Stitch and a Prayer.

My thoughts:
I usually really enjoy the Quilts of Love series, but this one was a slow read for me.  The author kept referring to events that happened prior to the start of the book, but as far as I know this is not part of a series by the same author, the Quilts of Love books usually stand alone.  So I was thrown often by references to the past.  I loved the quilt idea and the work that was done on it, when the story focused on the quilt and on the plan for it and what was happening in the present, I really enjoyed the book, I found the references to the past a bit jarring and felt that they took away from the storyline.

The themes of hope, trust, prayer and family were very strong and I felt that was a plus for this novel.  I loved the idea of taking a quilt pattern and then building in some personal details that correspond to life events in that family. It would have been great if a sketch of the quilt from the book could have been included at the end, although I like the picture I got for myself from reading.


Smile by Raina Telgemeier


Overview from Barnes and Noble:

From the artist of BSC Graphix comes this humorous coming-of-age true story about the dental drama that ensues after a trip-and-fall mishap.
Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth. What follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there's still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.
Winner of the 2011 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Teens
My thoughts:
Middle school can be such a hard time for kids in general.  Finding a group of friends, being comfortable in ones own skin, being able to figure out who you are.  Then add in the emerging idea of boyfriends and girlfriends and it can be uncomfortable and scary and tricky at the same time.  I love how Telgemeier shared her own experience in this book and showed how it all worked out in the end.  I wasn't expecting it to be a graphic novel when I opened the front cover, but I found that I really enjoyed it!  I think showing the growing pains she had with friends who turned out to not be so great could help younger readers look at their own friendships to see if they seem healthy or not.  If you are always being teased is that person your friend?  If you are left out of group plans are those people your friends?  Just because you came from elementary school together and were friends there, does that mean that you still have common interests and enjoy spending time together?  Do you have other talents that might blossom if you were not afraid of being teased if you show them?  I also like how she showed how focused she was on her appearance and how, for her true friends, it really didn't matter.  True friends like you for you, not how you look or what you have or what you can do, so if you have a friend who does not accept one of those things about you, they may not be a real friend.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545132060
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/1/2010
  • Pages: 224

Meet the Author

Raina Telgemeier grew up in San Francisco, then moved to New York City, where she earned an illustration degree at the School of Visual Arts. She is the creator of SMILE, a critically acclaimed graphic memoir based on her childhood, which was a NEW YORK TIMES bestseller and winner of the Will Eisner Award for Best Publication for Teens, and received a BOSTON GLOBE-HORN BOOK Honor. Raina also adapted and illustrated The Baby-sitters Club graphic novels, which were selected for YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens list and BOOKLIST’s Top 10 Graphic Novels for Youth list. Her new graphic novel for Scholastic is titled DRAMA. Raina lives in Astoria, New York, with her husband, Dave Roman. To learn more, visit her online at

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Lookaway, Lookaway by Wilton Barnhardt (audio)

Lookaway, Lookaway: A Novel


Overview from Barnes and Noble:

Steely and formidable, Jerene Jarvis Johnston sits near the apex of society in contemporary Charlotte, North Carolina, where old Southern money and older family skeletons meet the new wealth of bankers, land speculators, and social climbers. Jerene and her Civil War reenactor husband, Duke, have four adult children—sexually reckless real estate broker Annie; earnest minister Bo; gay-but-don’t-tell-anyone Joshua; and naive, impressionable college freshman Jerilyn. Jerene’s brother, Gaston, is an infamously dissolute novelist and gossip who knows her secrets and Duke’s; while her sister, Dillard, is a reclusive prisoner of her own unfortunate choices. When a scandal threatens the Johnston family’s status and dwindling finances, Jerene swings into action...and she will stop at nothing to keep what she has and preserve her legacy. Wilton Barnhardt's Lookaway, Lookaway is a headlong, hilarious narrative of a family coming apart on the edge of the old South and the new, and an unforgettable woman striving to hold it together.
My thoughts:
As I so often do, I did not read the synopsis when I borrowed this audio book from the library.  I love starting a book with no preconceived idea of what it will be about.  All I had to go on was the cover art and the title.  My guess was that it was set in the South and in the past.  I was right about it being the South, but not about the time period exactly.  While it starts in the past, it is a more contemporary past than I expected.
I was also thrown by how the characters were all going to tie together.  It starts with Jerilyn going off to college and her mother telling her not to join a sorority, then Gaston the writer makes an appearance, and then each of the characters has a piece of the story so that the point of view changes.  I wasn't sure at first how the college freshman and the drunk writer were going to fit together.  I would listen while running and as scenes unfolded and characters were together the pieces just started to click together.
This is a family full of secrets, some known by all but not spoken of, and some that are truly and deeply secrets.  What do you do when your own family can't be counted on to be there for you?  How much hurt and pain could be adverted by just taking the time to have honest conversations and how much do appearances really matter?  And how long does one spend trying to break out of childhood roles and examples that were set at home?

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250022288
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 6/24/2014
  • Pages: 384

Meet the Author

Wilton Barnhardt
Wilton Barnhardt is the author of three previous novels: Emma Who Saved My Life, Gospel, and Show World.  A native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, he teaches fiction in the masters of fine arts in the creative writing program at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, where he lives.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich

Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum Series #20)

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

Stephanie Plum has her sights set on catching a notorious mob boss. If she doesn’t take him down, he may take her out.
New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum knows better than to mess with family. But when powerful mobster Salvatore “Uncle Sunny” Sunucchi goes on the lam in Trenton, it’s up to Stephanie to find him. Uncle Sunny is charged with murder for running over a guy (twice), and nobody wants to turn him in—not his poker buddies, not his bimbo girlfriend, not his two right-hand men, Shorty and Moe. Even Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, has skin in the game, because—just Stephanie’s luck—the godfather is his actual godfather. And while Morelli understands that the law is the law, his old-world grandmother, Bella, is doing everything she can to throw Stephanie off the trail.

It’s not just Uncle Sunny giving Stephanie the run-around. Security specialist Ranger needs her help to solve the bizarre death of a top client’s mother, a woman who happened to play bingo with Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur. Before Stephanie knows it, she’s working side by side with Ranger and Grandma at the senior center, trying to catch a killer on the loose—and the bingo balls are not rolling in their favor.

With bullet holes in her car, henchmen on her tail, and a giraffe named Kevin running wild in the streets of Trenton, Stephanie will have to up her game for the ultimate take down.

My thoughts:
I love taking the time to relax with Stephanie Plum and see what sort of jams she manages to get herself into.  A few books ago I got frustrated with how things always seem to be the same, she can't decide between Joe Morelli and Ranger, she has car trouble, Grandma is up to something and Lula is wearing spandex and eating a lot of Cluck-in-the-Bucket.  I even contemplated not reading anymore of the series, but then I decided that the books are fun.  If Stephanie ever decided on one guy, I would miss whoever she didn't pick and if she ever got good at doing her job it would stop being fun to read about.  Sometimes you need a klutzy heroine who makes mo0re mistakes and bad choices than one would expect to bring some lightheartedness to your day.

Stephanie can't seem to catch Uncle Sunny, so she agrees to help Ranger catch a killer who is targeting older women and leaving their bodies in dumpsters.  She finds connections between the women with belonging to the Senior Discount Program and playing Bingo, but she knows she is missing something.  With Bella giving her the eye, Vinny breathing down her neck to bring in some skips, Lula obsessed with fining Kevin the giraffe Stephanie even contemplates a career change, but when it all comes together at the end it all makes sense. 

Luckily it too me so long to get around to reading this installment that it already time for book 21 to come out!

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345542892
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/17/2014
  • Series: Stephanie Plum Series , #20
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 352

Meet the Author

Janet  Evanovich
Janet Evanovich is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum novels, twelve romance novels, the Alexandra Barnaby novels, the Lizzy and Diesel series, How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author, and The Heist, the first book in the Fox and O’Hare series with co-author Lee Goldberg.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Secret of the Fortune Wookie by Tom Angleberger

The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee (Origami Yoda Series #3)

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

With Dwight attending Tippett Academy this semester, the kids of McQuarrie Middle School are on their own—no Origami Yoda to give advice and help them navigate the treacherous waters of middle school. Then Sara gets a gift she says is from Dwight—a paper fortune-teller in the form of Chewbacca. It’s a Fortune Wookiee, and it seems to give advice that’s just as good as Yoda’s—even if, in the hands of the girls, it seems too preoccupied with romance. In the meantime, Dwight is fitting in a little too well at Tippett. Has the unimaginable happened? Has Dwight become normal? It’s up to his old friends at McQuarrie to remind their kooky friend that it’s in his weirdness that his greatness lies.

 With his proven knack for humorously exploring the intrigues, fads, and dramas of middle school, Tom Angleberger has crafted a worthy follow-up to his breakout bestsellers The Strange Case of Origami Yoda and Darth Paper Strikes Back.
My thoughts:
With the students wondering if Origami Yoda can be replaced by the Fortune Wookie and his translator, Han Foldo, and wondering if Dwight was just perpetuating an act the drama of middle school continues.  Taking the focus off the academics and onto the personal relationships between the students.  This book keeps kids reading and gets them excited about it.  My children love that there are directions in the back to make an origami character all on your own.  I'd love to pick this series back up this summer with my children.  They were really into it at one point and then we got to the end of the books the library had and stopped.  With summer right around the corner it is time to find out if our local libraries have more of the titles from this series.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781419703928
  • Publisher: Amulet Books
  • Publication date: 8/7/2012
  • Series: Origami Yoda Series , #3
  • Pages: 208

Meet the Author

Tom Angleberger
Tom Angleberger is the bestselling author of the Origami Yoda series, which includes The Strange Case of Origami Yoda and Darth Paper Strikes Back. He is also the author of Horton Halfpott and Fake Mustache. Visit him online at He lives in Christiansburg, Virginia, with his wife, the author-illustrator Cece Bell.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler

The Beginner's Goodbye: A Novel

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

Pulitzer Prize–winning author Anne Tyler gives us a wise, haunting, and deeply moving new novel about loss and recovery, pierced throughout with her humor, wisdom, and always penetrating look at human foibles.

Crippled in his right arm and leg, Aaron grew up fending off a sister who constantly wanted to manage him. So when he meets Dorothy, an outspoken, independent young woman, she’s like a breath of fresh air. He marries her without hesitation, and they have a relatively happy, unremarkable marriage. Aaron works at his family’s vanity-publishing business, turning out titles that presume to guide beginners through the trials of life. But when a tree crashes into their house and Dorothy is killed, Aaron feels as though he has been erased forever. Only Dorothy’s unexpected appearances from the dead—in their house, on the roadway, in the market—help him to live in the moment and to find some peace. Gradually, Aaron discovers that maybe for this beginner there is indeed a way to say goodbye.

My thoughts:
This is an odd couple from the beginning, Aaron with his physical limitations and Dorothy with her career drive and independence.  After a short courtship the two marry and seem to spend a happy ten years together, until a tree falls into their house killing Dorothy and setting Aaron adrift.  Coming to terms with their last words to each other and the loss of his wife is compounded by the destruction to their home and leaves him adrift and wondering.  His words with authors whop are willing to pay to publish books that may be of no interest to anyone and his inability to let go.  Aaron learns how to let go and say goodbye to his wife and the life they had little by little, seeing her here and there.  This was my first Tyler book, but I must admit that I did not fully enjoy it.  It took quite awhile for me to feel like I could like Aaron, his mannerisms and way of speaking to others were a bit off putting to me, but people deal with grief differently so that may have been done purposefully.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345533357
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/29/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224

Meet the Author

Anne Tyler
Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. This is her nineteenth novel; her eleventh, Breathing Lessons, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Friday, June 13, 2014

That is NOT a good idea! by Mo Willems

That Is Not a Good Idea!

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

One day, a very hungry fox meets a very plump goose.
A dinner invitation is offered.
Will dinner go as planned? Or do the dinner plans involve a secret ingredient . . . ?
(Don't forget to listen to the baby geese!)
From the brilliant mind of Mo Willems comes a surprising lesson about listening to your inner gosling.

My thoughts:
This was a library favorite for my children this week.  We love Elephant and Piggie, Knuffle Bunny and the Pigeon, so we always check on the shelf to see if there are any other books by Willems for us to check out.  I even read this book at a Cub Scout meeting.  The book is fast paced, there are few words which make it good for new readers, and it always makes someone laugh.  Those chicks sure know what they are talking about, it is not a good idea!

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062203090
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/23/2013
  • Pages: 48

Meet the Author

Mo Willems
Mo Willems knows a Good Idea when he sees one. A three-time Caldecott Honor winner (for Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny, and Knuffle Bunny Too), he also won two Geisel Medals and two Geisel Honors for his Elephant and Piggie books. His books are perennial New York Times bestsellers, including Knuffle Bunny Free, Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator!, and the Cat the Cat series. Before he turned to making picture books, Mo was a writer and animator on Sesame Street, where he won six Emmys. Mo lives with his family in Massachusetts.
Mo Willems knows a Good Idea when he sees one. A three-time Caldecott Honor winner (for Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny, and Knuffle Bunny Too), he also won two Geisel Medals and two Geisel Honors for his Elephant and Piggie books. His books are perennial New York Times bestsellers, including Knuffle Bunny Free, Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator!, and the Cat the Cat series. Before he turned to making picture books, Mo was a writer and animator on Sesame Street, where he won six Emmys. Mo lives with his family in Massachusetts.

  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years