On the blog:
- A cat slice about our new cat, Oliver
Hard not to have a serious reading hangover after finishing Naomi Novik’s fantasy novel, Spinning Silver. Incredible world-building and such rich character creation. Her characters are not always entirely likeable, yet I can’t help rooting for them. Structurally, this one is quite interesting, as perspectives shift among several first-person narrators but nothing within the text signals the shift. At first, I found it very strange not to start a new chapter with some kind of cue for the reader–a label or a different font–to let us know another “I” has taken over the narration. But these characters have such strong voices, it wasn’t difficult to tell them apart, even as the narrators shifted multiple times within a chapter, and I ended up admiring the unusual technique.
Carole Maurel’s Luisa Now and Then is a graphic novel about thirty-two-year-old Luisa, who’s unhappy with her love life and her family and her job and her noisy new neighbor. The story takes a turn for the magical and the complicated when her fifteen-year-old self shows up. The two of them can’t figure out how the younger Luisa has traveled across time to Paris, and the magic is never really explained, but it doesn’t matter. The story’s true focus is what happens when family and society lead a person to deny and suppress their true feelings and true self, as Luisa has done for years, ever since she first felt attraction to one of her girl friends when she was fifteen.
The Fourth Goldfish was one of my son’s very favorite read-alouds (he adores cranky elderly people–so bring on the book recommendations if you know of some good middle-grade or YA featuring old curmudgeons in significant roles), so he was excited to read The Third Mushroom. Neither of us thought it was quite as good as The Fourth Goldfish, but it was still very enjoyable, and I loved the focus on friendship and what Holm had to say about how few novels place as much of a focus on friendship as they do on romance.
Another helpful history title from Jean Fritz. I watched so many videos and read so many articles online about the writing of the Constitution, searching for one that would be comprehensible and also at least mildly engaging for my son, and this short book was definitely the winner.
A Big Mooncake for Little Star is an original origin tale explaining the lunar cycles. The story is creative and entertaining, and it’s so beautifully illustrated–absolutely dazzling.
Actually, there were several dazzlers this week, because The Fan Brothers’ Ocean and Sky definitely qualifies too. So many stunning images here as a young boy, missing his grandfather, goes in search of the magical stories his grandfather used to tell him.
I’m going to have to look at The Stuff of Stars a second time. Ekua Holmes’s work is incredible, but I found an early reference to God in the text quite off-putting and struggled to enter the world of the picture book because I was too busy wondering about the wisdom of that early reference.
Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse has a strong message about imagination and acceptance, though I thought it needed one or two more spreads to make the girl’s transformation from considering Adrian a liar to considering him imaginative believable. Corinna Luyken’s illustrations are really strong.
There’s something so endearing and wonderful about the scale of figures in Dad By My Side: the little girl is so very tiny, and her dad is so very large. This is a charming, touching story about the special connection between father and daughter.
Excellent picture book biography of fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated (wonderfully so!) by Julie Morstad.