Flashback: January 2006

A look at what I reviewed in January 2006.

Boy Proof by Cecil Castelluci. From my review: “Victoria, 16, prefers to be called “Egg” like the character in her favorite science fiction movie. She’s smart, she’s confident, she’s not afraid to dress like the character she loves. . . . Egg is vocal and strong in her likes and dislikes and her passions. Slowly, she begins to see that she is using her passion as a shield, to keep people out. This is not a book about someone giving up on passion; rather, the realization that its OK to need friends, and to be a friend, and use that passion to include others rather than exclude. It’s OK to be alone and solitary; but not when it’s the result of fear. And not when it’s the result of being excluded. Egg find the balance between being herself and being part of a community, and never loses her integrity.”

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of 4 Sisters, 2 Rabbits and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall. From my review: “This is an old-fashioned style book about siblings having fun together. Oh, they fight sometimes and are jealous, but at the heart of it they are a group of sisters who love each other fiercely. Their adventures are important to them, but they are not outlandish or overly dramatic; instead, this book captures the fun of the little things that really happen. How they spend the summer is typical; yet, despite being “typical”, Birdsall makes the tale and the sisters compelling. This book has kids you want to know, doing things you want to do.”

mocking birdies by Annette Simon. From my review: “One of my ALA treasures is this picture book, written and illustrated by Annette Simon. A blue bird sings in blue text; a red bird copies that singing in red text. Stop singing my song! Stop singing my song! But after the initial copycat dialogue, the two begin talking: i sing red as the dawn, when the sun peeps hello” i sing blue as the noon, when the sun calls to play” Next thing you know, the two birds are singing together. And red and blue voices overlap to make purpleAnd then the purple bird shows up! And then there’s a green cat. “Skit scat” “copycat” “copycat cat CAT.

Once Upon … 1001 Stories by Lila Prap. From my review:How much time do you have? The story starts with the little girl on her way to her grandmother’s house. Do you want to find out what happens to the girl? Or do you want to find out what happens to a rude little boy? That’s the first in umpteen decisions to make, before reaching the end. “Have you had enough? Then close the book and turn to the back cover,” or decide to go further with the story.

Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot. From my review: “Heather Wells used to be a pop-idol to tweens. But her Mom stole all her money and left the country; her record label dropped her; she lost her boyfriend; and she’s gone up a size or two. Heather’s current life includes being happy being a size 12 (size 12 is not fat!) and working as an assistant dorm director for a New York college, hoping to be able to go back to school and be a doctor. She’s also started writing her own songs so maybe that’s what she’ll do…. She also has a crush on her ex boyfriend’s brother (she’s already named the children: Jack, Emily, Charlotte.) Then one of the girls dies in the dorm, the result of an elevator surfing accident. Heather is convinced that something happened and soon takes up another new career: girl detective.

Babymouse: Queen of the World and Babymouse: Our Hero by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm. From my review: “Babymouse is the first of the GNs aimed at the younger set that I’ve read, and it’s fantastic. It has exactly what I like about GNs — good dialogue, pictures that add to the story, and references to books and movies. Babymouse is like an older Olivia. She is a quirky mouse with an active imagination; in Babymouse’s case, it is fueled by books and movies. The plots are the typical school stories: in QotW, Babymouse wants to be invited to Felicia Furrypaw’s sleepover party because Felicia is “queen of the world.” In OH, Babymouse faces that most dreaded of school sports: dodgeball. While not the most popular kid in school, she does have good friends, a funny way of looking at things, and an active dream life. You know when one of Babymouse’s daydreams is happening because of all the pink. (The book is black and white, with the occasional splash of pink; except, as noted, when the Walter Mitty daydreams begin.)

Over and Over You by Amy McAuley. From my review: “Penny has her fortune told, and finds out she’s been in love with the same guy for a thousand years. And she’s going to meet him again, soon. Penny doesn’t believe it. Then the strange dreams start, giving her glimpses of her past lives. And in each dream, her best friend dies. With Penny-in-the-past being responsible. And her best friend in her dreams looks exactly like her real best friend Diana. Even if Penny does believe, can she save Diana? It doesn’t help that Penny is falling in love with Ryan; and it’s Diana’s boyfriend, Rick, who looks like Penny’s dream guy. It’s a love story! With reincarnation! Of course it’s good. The past lives include the famous and not so famous, with the history part being well researched. McAuley also gives a clever reason why the history stuff may not be a hundred percent correct (and why its always in English): “When you remember [the past lives], you’re stuck seeing things through Penny’s eyes, which includes her experiences and preconceived ideas.” I also love that while it’s about Destiny and Fate, it’s also about the ability to make choices and to not be trapped by the past.”

Why? by Lila Prap. From my review: “Why? is an interactive nonfiction picture book about animals that is fun. . . . Each page has a picture of an animal, a question about that animal, silly answers and a real answer. The layout of each page includes a picture of the animal, bordered by the question and silly answers; the questions and answers are in different fonts, which adds to the silliness. The real answer has a star. An example: “Why do crocodiles cry?” “They’re spoiled.” “They cry when they’re sleepy.” “They’re afraid of water.” “Because nobody wants to play with them.” And then, the real answer: “Crocodiles are not sad, and they don’t really cry, but they do like to lie in the sun. Their eyes can dry out when they are not in the water, and the tears help to keep their eyes wet and comfortable.



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