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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Librarian Preview: Penguin Young Readers Group (Summer 2010)

All right.  Technically I can still call this a preview since it covers May through August and the date today is April 20th.  Posted with ten days to spare!  What’s got two thumbs and is posting this pretty close to the wire?  This guy.

Yes, it’s time for yet another betcher-bottom-dollar-you’ll-want-something Penguin Young Readers Group preview.  Aw sure, you’ve seen the catalog before now.  But what about hearing from someone who spoke to the editors and marketing folks themselves?  That’s right, baby.  Is all about zee fuse.

Yet again, I was late for this preview.  I’ve been late for everything this year.  2010 is my late year.  Not sure what that says about me.  Probably nothing good.  In any case, folks were already seated when I picked my way across the room to enjoy some good old-fashioned book hawking.  So let’s start at the top!

Dial Books for Young Readers

By the way, the next preview I attend I am bringing my laptop with me.  I do think these events would be much easier to write up if I already had something typed and ready to go once all was said and done.

First up, Name That Dog by Peggy Archer, illustrated by Stephanie Buscema.  Two words: puppy poems.  Twenty-six puppy poems.  Anyone who hears the magical words "twenty-six" and works in the realm of children’s literature instantly knows what that means.  Yup.  It’s an alphabet book.  There was a time when my children’s room used to put a little "ABC" label on the spine of each alphabet picture book so that we could spot and hand them to our abecedarian-seeking patrons more easily.  We haven’t done it lately.  Probably should start that up again.  In any case, the book looks cute.  At first I thought it might be a book on dog breeds, which my branch desperately needs copies of.  Note to Authors: Please write one book of cat breeds and one book of dog breeds when you get the chance.  Kids are constantly asking for these kinds of books and it would be nice to hand them something hip, new and classy.  But I am off point, I suspect.

You know who’s popular in my library?  Julie Bowe.  Girls just adore her My New Best Friend and My Last Best Friend.  I don’t even have to recommend them.  They just go out.  Now her newest book My Best Frenemy is coming out in May.  I see that I’ve written the words "new branding" on my notes, which I thought might mean that they’d change the cursive author’s name on the cover.  Peter Sieruta pinpointed the problem with this cursive beautifully once.  It’s sometimes difficult to read, leading folks to think that the author’s name might be Julie Bowie or Julie Boue.  Tis Bowe.

Now it’s time to get purdy.  David Soman and Jackie Davis’s Ladybug Girl book series is pretty popular when all is said and done.  My patrons get a bit confused by the fact that we shelve them under "Davis" rather than "Soman" but them’s the breaks (we also shelve The Spiderwick Chronicles under "DiTerlizzi" rather than "Black", so in the end we’re utterly inconsistent).  Now there’s a third Ladybug Girl title coming out as Ladybug Girl at the Beach.  This is good.  In New York City parents walk up to me each Spring and Summer and say, "Where are your beach books?  I’m taking my child there and I want to show her what it is first."  There are certain staples I hand over.  Wave by Suzy Lee.  Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach by Melanie Watt.  Beach by Elisha Cooper.  Now I’ll be able to add this newest little Davis/Soman title as well.  And check out this lovely two-page spread:


I love Ginny Rorby.  Ginny Rorby wrote Hurt Go Happy which I absolutely adore (though right now I’m worried because I don’t think I’ve seen my library’s copy in a while).  Now Rorby has followed that up with The Outside of a Horse.  The story follows a girl with a father who has returned from the Iraq War as an amputee.  She volunteers at a horse stable and believes that physical therapy with these horses would aid in his recovery immensely.  It sounds good, but every time I read the title I think of that old Groucho Marx joke.  You know the one.  "Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend.  Inside a dog it’s too dark to read."  Also, as I noted during a recent Simon & Schuster preview, this book has a doppelganger out there cover-wise.  They’re a rather attractive pair when taken together too:

I’ve never quite found the Kate and M. Sarah Klise that I could call truly mine . . . until now.  Where I find the visual elements in their chapter fiction a bit too much for my senses, it’s a perfect complement to this all-new picture book biography Stand Straight, Ella Kate: The Story of a Real Giant.  Ella Kate was born in 1872 and became a real-life giant.  Rather than hide herself away, she performed but also became a savvy businesswoman.  I’m a sucker for new biographies of people who haven’t been done umpteen bazillion times in picture book form before.  The illustrations have a kind of Barbara Cooney appeal to them, which fits the subject matter well.  The endpapers are pretty awesome too.  Very Steve Jenkins Actual Size, if you know what I mean.

My preschool storytime staple = I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry.  Also a very good title to hand to teachers looking for sea creature readalouds for their classes.  You’d be surprised how often that comes up.  Now it’s in a board book form (minus the lift-the-flap elements) and I’m cruising along reading the entry on it in my catalog until I catch a picture of Mr. Sherry.  Young.  Young man.  Young young young man.  How young?  Impossible to say.  The internet is mum on the subject.  However, he seems to have his own business making clothing with his art on it.  How cool would you be to walk around a conference wearing a Kevin Sherry shirt?  Pretty cool, I think.  Strange that more illustrators don’t go this route.

A middle grade spin-off of a young adult trilogy?  THAT’s something you don’t see every day.  I don’t read much YA but I did enjoy Sorcery & Cecelia when it first came out.  Now Caroline Stevermer is following that trilogy up with the far younger Magic Below Stairs.  I do believe someone at my table at this preview had already read this book and said that it reminded them of Diana Wynne Jones.  High praise indeed.  And with blurbs from Holly Black, Jane Yolen, Tamora Pierce, AND Sarah Prineas you know it’s gotta be pretty okay.

Word on the street has it that Emily Horner, author of the new YA novel A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend, is a Brooklyn librarian.  This makes me infinitely curious, and not just because the title of her book is catchy.  Or the fact that it’s about a group of kids who decide to put on the show their dead friend wrote which is called (and I’m so glad it was included in the catalog copy) "Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad".  In this Glee-inspired world this is definitely something a certain brand of teen can get behind.  It’s been compared to the work of John Green AND contains a nice lesbian crush between our heroine and the mean girl who used to tease her in middle school.  Aw.  It’s nice to see more of these coming out.  We get to avoid the boring already-done-it tropes.

Penguin’s all hepped up and excited about The Books of Elsewhere by author Jacqueline West.  So much so that they gave the book a two-page spread for her first book in the series The Shadows AND it gets to be on the cover of the catalog.  I’ve read it already and I can attest that it’s a very fun slightly dark novel.  The ideal reader would be someone who likes their scares mixed with laughter.  Really, the tone reminded me the most of Elizabeth Cody Kimmel’s Suddenly Supernatural book series (which I also enjoyed very much).  They’d pair together well.  A good one for the ghostly set.

I swear to you that I wrote that note about Elizabeth Cody Kimmel in my notes before I turned the page and found myself staring at her latest book The Reinvention of Moxie Roosevelt.  It’s about a girl that reinvents herself (or at least tries to) at boarding school.  Travis at 100 Scope Notes?  This cover would fit in beautifully with your series:

Hey, man.  Beats fishnets.

I took pleasure in the sound of Betti on the High Wire partly because it almost contains my first name, partly because I like the cover, and partly because the plot sounds like The Great Gilly Hopkins at the circus.  What’s not to love?

By the way, does the girl on the new Paisley Hanover covers reminds anyone else of Penny from LOST?  Or am I alone in this one?


Generally speaking, Razorbill is a YA outfit and they don’t do much to grab my attention.  However, this time there was something middle grade-ish to notice and it’s a title from author Kevin Bolger.  In the past Bolger has put out titles like Sir Fartsalot Hunts the Booger.  Now he’s cleaned up his act to bring us a tale of good old-fashioned zombiefication just like mama used to make.  A fourth grader named Stanley Nudelman one day finds a toy being sold by his neighbor Old Lady Imavitch (both adults and kids can titter for different reasons over that particular moniker).  It’s a teddy.  A ghastly teddy.  A teddy named Zombiekins.  As the catalog copy reads (and this is quite well done, so kudos to its author), "He’s a little big teddy, a little bit bunny, and a whole lotta ZOMBIE!"  Which wouldn’t be that big of a problem, except that now Stanley’s class is being turned into zombies.  Zombies for kids.  Why is this not more common?  It’s what they want, for heavens sake.

In other "why hasn’t anyone thought to do this yet?" news they’ve turned the good old Secret Language of Birthdays (which I myself owned as a teen) into The Secret Language of Birthdays: Teen Edition.  Geez, whatever happened to my old hardcover edition?  I had it in college.  That and Secrets of the Cube WHICH, if someone wants to make a million dollars, I suggest y’all publish immediately in a YA edition if not sooner.  That was the number one party book I owned as a teen and it continued to be fun in college.  Make the cover look black and mysterious and you’ll find copies ah-flyin’ off the shelves.  Those amongst you who look into this, you’re welcome.

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June caught my eye partly because it was written by Robin Benway who is represented by the same agency as me (go, Foundry!).  In this book there are three sisters who have had secret powers since their parents’ divorce when they were young.  It kind of sounded like a Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants deal, only with real sisters.  It may or may not also be middle grade friendly.  I’ll need to read some reviews before that question gets settled.  At any rate, looks like fun.

In terms of concepts, I rather liked the one behind Mandy Hubbard’s You Wish.  A sixteen-year-old girl blows out her birthday candle and thinks, "I wish my birthday wishes actually came true.  Because they never freakin’ do."  Next thing she knows, she gets a life size My Little Pony.  Then gumballs.  It becomes increasingly clear that her past wishes are coming true, one by one.  But now she’s got to make them stop before everything goes horribly wrong.  It both fun and creepy at the same time.  And Hubbard was the author of Prada and Prejudice too, so already she has a built in fanbase.  Well played, madam.


I came to author Lauren Myracle through her Winnie books.  You know the ones I mean.  ElevenTwelveThirteen.  I pretty much figured that they were done, since you get any older and you have to go the Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Alice route and go YA.  Myracle has solved this problem by creating Thirteen Plus One instead.  Winnie is indeed fourteen, but the book cover shows clearly that the titles can still skew younger.  No photographs on the jackets here (yet).  And since I love the Winnie titles, I’m thrilled with this update.  Even better news?  Myracle’s planning on doing a younger series about Winnie’s little brother.  Score!  By the way, there are lots of series where a popular older character that is female gets a spin-off little brother series (Anastasia Krupnik to Sam, Judy Moody to Stink).  Has a popular boy character ever had a spin-off little sister series?  It would be an interesting notion.  Don’t know who you’d do, though.  Tootsie to Fudge?

Oh, hot dogs.  You really are the world’s funniest food.  Late night comics love you.  New Yorkers love you.  And now author Adrienne Sylver and illustrator Elwood H. Smith love you too.  Hot Diggity Dog: The History of the Hot Dog leads to one inevitable question: How much do they give away about what’s inside a hot dog?  Smith is the illustrator on The Truth About Poop and Gee Whiz! It’s All About Pee, so in an odd way this book sort of marks the third title in an unexpected trilogy.  I just liked the fact that the page in the catalog proclaims that Judy is National Hot Dog Month!  Can’t imagine what other books I’d put on display for that.

One gets the impression that Dolly Parton doesn’t go about blurbing every other book that walks down the pike.  She blurbed Suzanne Supplee’s Somebody Everybody Listens To, though.  It’s a YA novel for the Taylor Swift fans of a the world.  In this book a girl is determined to make it in Nashville.  Says Dutton this is, "Wish fulfillment with its feet on the ground."

You know what book series has the smartest covers out there?  The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod.  Just smart.  Smart smart smart.  Every time I see them I enjoy them.  Don’t know how well the hoodie on the earlier books will age in twenty years time, but they’re still clever.  The penultimate book in the series Eleventh Grade Burns is out now, but we heard at the preview that Heather Brewer is working on a series spinoff called The Slayer Journals.  Fun Fact: Ms. Brewer sports a New York Times tattoo on her leg from the time she got on the NYT bestseller list.


Joosse!  Jutte!  Back together at last by popular demand!  If you missed Roawr!, this duo’s previous title, then you should probably go back and discover it.  That done, take a good long look at Sleepover at Gramma’s House.  Jan Jutte is an illustrator from the Netherlands with a penchant for putting tiny stories within his stories.  I suspect that there may be more than one Babar ode in this particular title hidden in the details too.  Barbara Joosse, on the other hand, is the author of one of my favorite picture books, Nikolai, the Only Bear, which is the sweetest, strangest adoption pbs I’ve encountered.  I adore it.  Glad to see she’s got a new one out about a sleepover at a grandmother’s house.  Fun idea for a book, that.

Note: As titles go, The Adventures of Hotsy Totsy is awesome.  Fair play to Clive Cussler.  And I’ve never seen catalog copy compare a book to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang before.  Fleming, you have been referenced.

Truth be told, I read the final chapter in the Enola Holmes series The Case of the Gypsy Good-Bye by Nancy Springer months and months and months ago.  It was deeply satisfying and deeply depressing because now I know that I’ll never get another Enola Holmes story again.  Unless *cough* there were *cough cough* overwhelming public support *hack* that FORCED Nancy Springer *wink* to write more.  Failing that, I’ll be willing to read books about Nero Wolfe’s little sister instead.  I’m easy.  And if the good people of Philomel feel like republishing these books with all new covers (not that I don’t like the current ones, but kids don’t grab ’em like they might) that would be okay too.

Some book jackets have bylines that resemble movie posters.  That was probably the thinking behind Michael Carroll’s latest.  Super Human carries the byline "The time has come for a new generation of heroes" which is okay, but the cover image itself sort of trumps it in terms of being wicked awesome.  Black and red are great jacket colors.  In this book a super human from the past that was stopped is being brought to the present where some new heroes aren’t as powerful and certainly don’t have as strong a grasp on their own abilities.

I don’t know this Alex Williams fellow, but I sort of like what he does.  His new book The Talent Thief has been described as "a cross between Roald Dahl and Alex Rider."  I find it interesting that Dahl is the go-to funny guy standard.  I’m not arguing, mind you.  I just find it interesting.  In this book a twelve-year-old boy’s older sister is a singing sensation.  Unfortunately, her talent is stolen by a mysterious creature (sounds like Powerless, eh?) and it’s up to the boy to get it back.  Also, because he is British you get to have fun comparing Williams’s British edition of this book to the American.  Philomel got rather creative on their end. It’s cartoony, but I like it.

A show of hands.  Who likes Patricia Polacco’s Thank You, Mr. Falker?  Nice.  Well, good news and bad news time, folks.  On the good news side of the equation, Patricia Polacco has written The Junkyard Wonders which acts as a kind of companion piece to her previous book.  The bad news?  It appears that she has retired.  This fact was related to us by someone saying "Patricia’s no longer with us," which raised more than one gasp until it was explained a little more fully.  Apparently Ms. Polacco would like to spend more time with her family.  Ach weel.  In any case, in this semi-autobiographical title a girl is dyslexic (or something along those lines) and is sent to a special class referred to by her sniggering peers as "the junkyard".  There her teacher takes the kids to an actual junkyard where the girl and her friends find a broken airplane that they decide to repair in time for the next science fair.

As with every preview I pull out the old "Geez, why haven’t I read the first book in this series?" question.  Usually it’s about the Gilda Joyce books.  This time it was about the Ranger’s Apprentice series.  Book 8 or The Kings of Clonmel is due out on shelves in May and I’ve still yet to read numero uno.  September will yield #9: Halt’s Peril, and author John Flanagan is also writing a different trilogy on the side.  There was some discussion made about the fact that the covers of these books are as popular as they are partly because kids think that they look like adult books.  Probably true.  Note to self: READ THEM!


Ah.  My favorite cover of the preview.  I don’t quite know why, but there was something about this next book that spoke to me.  I had the unnerving experience of suddenly looking at the book as a sixteen-year-old girl.  And my sixteen-year-old girlself was staring at the cover of Illyria by Elizabeth Hand while saying, "Gimme."  I ignored her, partly because the book is older YA.  One of those titles that is right on the cusp of teen and adult.  As the title might suggest it’s a book about two teens cast in a production of Twelfth Night.  Big time recommendations came from the YA librarians at my table that had already read and fallen in love with the book.  It also appears to carry with it a recommendation from Francesca Lia Block, and she blurbs nothing, folks.  Nothing at all. Until now.

Been a while since we saw a verse novel come out, eh?  For a while there you couldn’t throw a dead cat without hitting one.  Then came the lull and now Pat Brisson’s come out with The Best and Hardest Thing which is a verse novel written in actual poems.  And different poetic forms too, for that matter.  Think of it as Keesha’s House-ish.  The story is about a good girl who gets pregnant and has to make hard choices.  Said Viking, it’s a tough subject but not a tough book.  More of an it-could-happen-to-you title.

Illyria may have struck me as the best jacket this preview, but Wolves, Boys & Other Things That Might Kill Me was the best title, bar none.  Apparently the sales reps at Penguin have gone goofy for this book.  In it a girl’s father is a ranger and wolves are being reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park.  Teen, for that matter.  FYI.

Then you get to the Max and Ruby board books by Rosemary Wells.  As someone said at the time, "Max is the bunny Ramona."  Boy, that’s true, isn’t it?  And Ruby is Beezus.  Someone quickly go out and write some middle grade novels of teen Ruby trying to get a date while Max gets in the way.  I’ll read that.

Even though it’s been out for a while my library is still bereft of any and all Diary of a Wimpy Kid books.  It’s the doggone movie.  So each and every day at least one sad-faced nine-year-old comes up to my reference desk asking for a copy.  What do I do?  I find them other books to read instead.  Thinks like Max Quigley, Technically Not a Bully and the Raymond and Graham series by Mike Knudson, illustrated by Stacy Curtis (who is a dude).  There’s a new Raymond and Graham book out this may called Cool Campers, which is pretty much what it sounds like.  Nice.

Now kids may be asking for Wimpy Kid stuff, but it’s the parents and teachers who ask me for lists.  Like any good children’s librarian, I make lists of frequently requested books for easy printing.  And one of the most requested topics is bullies and bullying.  In the past I’ve always been able to rely on Nancy Carlson’s Loudmouth George and the Sixth Grade Bully.  Now Carlson has a SECOND bully book coming out and it’s called Henry and the Bully.  A girl bully at that.  Aside from Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester and Tomie dePaola’s Trouble in the Barker’s Class, I don’t know that many girl bully books.  Noted.

I am thirty kinds of thrilled about Nina Kiriki Hoffman’s new book, by the way.  Do you know, Ms. Hoffman?  She’s the author of titles like A Stir of Bones and Spirits That Walk in Shadow (which, for the record, has a fantastic cover).  They’re YA, so I really hadn’t read much of her (though I admit to trying a bit of A Stir of Bones and enjoying it).  Now she’s gone middle grade, which I think is a very wise move.  Thresholds is due out in August, but I’ll be reviewing it long before that, you betcha.  Think of it as Ingrid Law’s Savvy crossed with Ray Bradbury.  It’s one of those nice real world tales where the fantasy seeps into the story in a realistic fashion.  I’d tell you more, but I’m saving it for my review.  In any case, Tamora Pierce is a fan and the cover (which, I think you’ll agree, is also quite fantastically gorgeous) is by the same person who did The Ruby Key n’ such.  Very exciting.

G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Aussie Fiona Robertson.  I know not this Fiona Robertson.  This may have something to do with the fact that Wanted: The Perfect Pet is her first picture book published in the United States.  As it stands, Roberston has a kind of Oliver Jeffers quality to her books.  In this one, a boy wants a dog and a duck wants a boy.  The solution?  The duck disguises itself as a dog to win its way into the boy’s heart.  Things do not, however, go according to plan.  They end happily, though, and I was intrigued to hear that in the sequel there is also an actual dog involved.  The book kind of charmed me on a first glance.  Wouldn’t mind taking a further glance at it when I got the chance.

There’s not much to say about Furious George Goes Bananas: A Primate Parody by Michael Rex except (A) What has already been said and (B) That it’s awesome.  Which it is.  Nuff said.

One book that didn’t get discussed at my particular table but that has garnered the resident husband’s seal of approval on is Jeff Weigel’s Thunder from the Sea: Adventure on Board the HMS Defender.  Weigel, oh ye librarians in the field, is the author of the Atomic Ace picture books.  They’re the ones you pull out when you find yourself knee to nose with a four-year-old obsessed with superheroes.  In a bit of a departure Weigel has created a kind of graphic novel historical picture book chock full of facts about ship fighting on the high seas.  Napoleonic Wars type stuff.  On my To Read list it is, you bet.

I think I may have managed to get this far in the preview without mentioning any dystopian literature.  Fortunately Restoring Harmony puts an end to all that.  Written by Canadian author Joelle Anthony, the story has a kind of Life As We Knew It / How I Live Now vibe.  Year: 2041.  Place: Canada.  A girl worries about her grandparents in their Portland (Maine?) suburb and travels south to save them after a global economic collapse occurs.  To me it sounded a little more brainy than the usual futuristic fare.  Joelle Anthony also happens to be the recipient of my new Publisher Preview Award: Best Author Photo.  Cast thine eyes upon this beauty and WEEP, my pretties.

There is nothing in this photograph I do not like.

My Double Life by Janette Rallison brought to my attention an interesting new trend in child and YA lit: famous siblings and consequent rivalry.  Consider the plots of the previously mentioned The Talent Thief and Yours Truly, Lucy B. Parker: Girl Vs. Superstar by Robin Palmer, in which a girl finds that her new stepsister is the fictional equivalent of Hannah Montana.  Rallison’s book is a YA version of that, though it’s probably a little more similar to The Princess Plot by Kirsten Boie than anything else.  A girl is cast as a famous actresses body double, then discovers (or at least the byline in the catalog suggested this) that the girl is actually her sister.

You know who I like a whole heckuva lot?  That Dave Horowitz fellow.  I find him funny.  You can’t read about a man who writes something called Five Little Gefiltes and not be amused.  His newest title is sort of a Caps for Sale on steroids.  Buy My Hats! is just your average bear/carp buddy comedy.  Frank and Carl (the bear and carp in question) can’t get anyone to buy their hats in spite of the fact that even things like Mister Pig’s Cup o’ Mud are getting sold.  That’s the gist of it.  Sometimes I suspect that I just have a craving for the picture book weirdness that Mr. Horowitz is happy enough to provide.  Apparently he’s working on a narcissistic bunny story next.  Bliss.

The previously monikered The Grimm Collection has now been renamed The Grimm Legacy which, admittedly, is better.  Written by a Polly Shulman, the hero in this book is a library page.   Word on the street (and since I can’t remember who told me this, it may be a complete lie) is that Ms. Shulman was once a page for the rare books division of my very own main branch of New York Public Library.  Privy to their secrets she has now written a book where a fictional library contains magical objects that are part of a "Grimm Collection".  These are objects straight out of fairy tales and, soon enough, they start to disappear.  It has equal middle grade and YA potential (particularly since they removed the age of the main character, the smarties).  Best Authorial Information?  "She lives in New York City, where she collects Victorian jewelry made of human hair."  And how come the Steampunk jewelry industry hasn’t started making THAT a new trend, huh?  Shulman is reported to be working on something involving the book Middlemarch next.


They called The Great Wide Sea by M.H. Herlong "Hatchet on the sea."  Nice.

I think we all love those gorgeous Puffin Books reprints of classic novels to a certain degree.  Now two newbies are out and I am quite fond of them.  The first is the new Anne of Avonlea with a Lauren Child cover and a Budge Wilson introduction.  There is also a similar but different British edition.  See if you can tell which is which:

The second is a little more complex.  I wish that Jan Pienkowski was better known in the States.  Thus far, I feel as if the name "Jan Pienkowski" does not garner the right amount of appreciation from the masses.  Well now there’s a Pienkowski introduced and illustrated Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales (note the interesting drop of the "Christian" in his name).  Love me that cover:


Janet Fox’s new YA novel Faithful could be fun.  Sort of timely too.  Because her father has lost all their money, sixteen-year-old Maggie Bennet will never have a fancy debut.  Worse still, she’s dragged to Yellowstone, where she takes notice of a hot geologist’s son.  The cover has elements of Hattie Big Sky to it, but everyone at my table found the strange costume to be the center of attention.  By all accounts this is a story that takes place at the turn of the century.  Whence the Anthropologie dress then?  Not that it isn’t pretty, of course.  Anachronistic clothing aside, the book also has a bit of a mystery to it.  Should be fun.

I’m a fan of the new Lauren Myracle cover for Peace, Love and Baby Ducks.  The jacket is strangely enticing now.  This is a good thing.  I am pleased.

Grosset & Dunlap

The thing I liked about the Frankly, Frannie marketing campaign was that in promoting the book, librarians around the country were sent the main character’s resume.  This is a middle grade series about a girl who desperately wants to be a grown-up with a job.  It’s an early chapter book, and it’s kind of a relief to read one that has a premise I haven’t read a million times before.  Besides, talk about a great concept for girls.  I can relate to this character too.  When I was a kid I thought it was imperative to get a job ASAP post-college or you would obviously end up homeless or something.  It’s a kid logic thing.  This book seems to get that.  The author, AJ Stern, may also be Fiona Rosenbloom of You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah.  Woman of a thousand pseudonyms, that one.

Remember when I spoke earlier about girl series that spawn boy characters in their own series?  Here’s another.  Fans of Katie Kazoo may be intrigued by Katie’s fellow student George Brown.  George has a strange power of his own, it seems.  When he belches, things around him are magically affected.  Fans of the idea will be able to attach a burp widget to their blogs as well.  Sidenote: Burp Widget would be a great name for a children’s punk rock band.  Just sayin’.

I confess to being a bit of a fan of the "Who Was?" biography series.  They’ve already done Walt Disney and folks like that.  Now they’ve a new Who Was Jim Henson? bio that, I hope, eventually leads to some serious Jim Henson biographies for kids.  The cover is interesting, by the way.  Not a Muppet in sight.  I suspect that has something to do with copyright issues.  More’s the pity.

And that, as they say, is that.  But what’s a good preview without a Meets to close it out?  Goodnight, everybody!

Best Meets: "If A Clockwork Orange were to meet The Outsiders, Blade would be the result." – For Blade Book 2: Out of the Shadows by Tim Bowler

Runner-Up: "Edward Scissorhands meets Catcher in the Rye." – The Replacements by Brenna Yovanoff.

Thanks to Emily Heddleson for these covers!

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Nooo Joe, say it ain’t so! No more Enola? I’ve just treated myself to the entire series and I’m sure Amazon will have the last one on my doorstep at midnight of the release date, right? I also just splurged and bought the Lauren Child’s Annes.

    The Ranger’s Apprentice is rollikin’ fun. You will enjoy.

  2. Scope Notes says:

    Thanks for your keen eye. This preview beats a couple dead cover horses for me – socks/tights with MOXIE ROOSEVELT(which also fits into the emerging sub-genre of mismatched feet) and staring off into the distance with FAITHFUL. Looks like there’s some good books in this bunch too – an all around winner.

  3. Oh dear, I don’t think I like those Anne covers. I don’t think Anne would like them either — she so self-conscious about her looks.

  4. About the dog breeds … have you seen Little Lions, Bull Baiters & Hunting Hounds: A History of Dog Breeds by Jeff Crosby? If only it had little sidebars with the basic data on each breed next to the narrative. Then it would be perfect!