Flashback November 2009

And now, a look back at what I reviewed in November 2009:

Only A Witch Can Fly by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo. From my review: “On the surface, this is a story of try, try again, similar to stories of learning how to ride a bike or swim. But, this is flight. Something so much more than just riding or swimming; flying is about growing up and leaving childhood behind, it’s about not accepting limitations, and it’s about freedom.

Gracias Thanks (English and Spanish Edition) by Pat Mora. Illustrations by John Parra. From my review: “A young boy gives thanks for the people and things in his life, starting with “for the sun that wakes me up so I don’t sleep for years and years and grow a long, white beard, thanks.” In both English and Spanish: “Por el sol que me despierta y no permite que siga durmiendo por anos y anos, y que me crezca una larga barba blanca, gracias.””

Turkey Troubles by Wendi Silvano. Illustrated by Lee Harper. From my review: “Thanksgiving is coming. Turkey realizes that he is in trouble. What to do? Turkey is a bird of a zillion disguises. First a horse… a cow… a pig. But are any of those farm animals safe? What’s a turkey to do?

The Hanging Gale From my review: “1846, County Donegal, Ireland. The Phelan family struggle against the Irish Famine and the English policies and politics that turned a potato blight into deaths of one million men, women and children. . . . As things go from bad and worse, the question isn’t whether someone will die, but rather when and how. Emigration (forced or voluntary) is also a possibility. Obviously, someone has to survive — people did. But the Phelans are farmers, those whose lives were entirely dependent on the potato crop. The repercussions of the crop failure and English reaction (and inaction) is played out over four heartbreaking episodes as the Phelans lose the little they have.

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl / Boy Toy. The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga. Boy Toy by Barry Lyga. From my review: “The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl is about a fifteen year old unnamed narrator and his hellish experience at high school. . . . It’s just another typical day at school (either being ignored by the world or treated as dirt by jocks) when he notices someone – a girl. Black clothes, pale face, Goth Girl. And: she sees him. He’s not so invisible. And thus the Astonishing! Adventures! Of Fanboy and Goth Girl (aka Kyra) begin. Kyra notices his being bullied and asks him, Why do you put up with it? Next thing you know, the two are friends. Kyra also loves comic books and graphic novels but she is a Gaiman girl (like you had to ask?) while Fanboy is all about Brian Michael Bendis. This book is full of comic book references. Understanding them is fun; but not getting it is OK, too.”


Boy Toy: “Josh is a senior. What’s on his mind? Baseball is important. So are grades. Between the two, he’s hoping for a scholarship to Stanford. Or MIT. Or Yale. Bottom line: he wants out of town. And then there is the news: Eve is back. It’s been five years. Eve is Evelyn Sherman. Mrs. Sherman; Josh’s seventh grade History teacher. In seventh grade, Eve and Josh . . . . And now, five years later, Eve is out of prison. . . .  Told in flashbacks, this is a detailed and graphic exploration of how a child molester seduces her victim, including convincing the child that he is a willing, knowing, participant in the actions. When, in fact, the child is being molested.

Pigeon & Pigeonette by Dirk Derom, illustrated by Sarah Verroken. From my review: “Pigeonette, small, can see but not fly; Pigeon, large, can fly but cannot see. What will happen when these two become friends?”

The Witch’s Guide to Cooking with Children by Keith McGowan; illustrated by Yoko Tanaka. From my review: “A modern retelling of Hansel and Gretel. Sol and Connie Blink’s father and stepmother have decided they don’t want their children around anymore; luckily, there’s a witch who will take care of the children for them. “I love children. Eating them, that is.” So begins the tale of Faye Holaderry, witch. Hansel and Gretel is one of the more disturbing of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales. What’s worse, the witch eating children or the ultimate betrayal, that it’s your parents who abandon you?

Assassination of a High School President. From my review: “Bobby Funke, sophomore, journalist for his High School paper. An assignment to profile the school president becomes something more when the SATs are stolen. Don’t worry; Funke is on it! A black comedy; Funke narrates this as if he is a New York Times reporter, tracking the big story. Pretty much everyone is a target. If you’re looking for who is “good” or who is “bad”, who is “right” or who is “wrong,” look elsewhere.

Posh and Prejudice by Grace Dent. From my review: “Shiraz Bailey Wood, 16, is waiting to hear about her exam results. Shiraz isn’t sure what she wants — but a dead end job, and a living the life her mother wants her to is NOT what she wants. So it’s off to Mayflower Academy, AKA Superchav Academy, for another year of studies. Shiraz is hysterical. I love her, I love her world view.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. From my review: “Ethan Wate wants out of his small, sleepy, South Carolina town, where nothing ever changes and only “the stupid and the stuck” stay. It’s a town where any “new girl” is the subject of much attention. All the more so when the new girl is Lena Duchannes, niece of Old Man Ravenwood, the town recluse who lives in a run-down plantation house. She is pale in a town where the girls are tan; wears black; and has numbers scrawled on her hands. Weird; but Ethan cannot stop thinking about her, even dreaming about her. Odd thing is; the dreams started even before she moved to town.”

This Blog’s For You. OK, so not a “review” but a chance to revisit the infamous cover girls of SLJ!

Mayflower 1620 A New Look At A Pilgrim Voyage by Plimoth Plantation with Peter Arenstram, John Kemp and Catherine O’Neill Grace; Photographs by Sisse Brimberg and Cotton Coulson. From my review: “A look at the myths and legends of the Mayflower voyage and founding of Plymouth. Full of gorgeous photos from some of the sailing done by the Mayflower II.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. From my review: “It’s a story as old as time. Girl meets Wolf. Wolf meets Girl. Wolf turns into Boy. Girl and Boy fall in love. But Boy has to turn back into Wolf, eventually.”

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