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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Midwinterblood
by Marcus Sedgwick

Book list *Starred Review* In the year 2073, a reporter named Eric is sent to Blessed Island to research a rare flower called the Dragon Orchid. There he finds an insular community of mysterious villagers, a delicious tea that has him losing days at a time, and a beguiling girl named Merle. In just 50 pages, we reach a shattering conclusion and then start anew in 2011. An archaeologist is digging on Blessed Island, where he meets a quiet boy named Eric and his mother, Merle. So begins this graceful, confounding, and stirring seven-part suite about two characters whose identities shift as they are reborn throughout the ages. Sedgwick tells the story in reverse, introducing us to a stranded WWII pilot, a painter trying to resurrect his career in 1901, two children being told a ghost story in 1848, and more, all the way back to a king and queen in a Time Unknown. It is a wildly chancy gambit with little in the way of a solid throughline, but Sedgwick handles each story with such stylistic control that interest is not just renewed each time but intensified. Part love story, part mystery, part horror, this is as much about the twisting hand of fate as it is about the mutability of folktales. Its strange spell will capture you.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Beginning in July 2073, Sedgwick's new novel makes its way backward through time, drawing readers into seven stories from different eras. Whether it is a 21st-century archaeologist, a World War II pilot, or a Viking king, there are subtle but tell-tale signs of the threads that bind them together over the centuries-the echoes of particular names and phrases, the persistence of a mysterious dragon orchid, and other seemingly innocuous moments that all hint at the dark mystery at the center of this lyrical yet horrifying tale. The plot is reminiscent of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas (Sceptre, 2004), with its themes of love and reincarnation, as well as of the cult-movie-turned-book Robin Hardy's Wicker Man (Crown, 1978), with its setting of remote and sinister island inhabitants. The many characters are vividly real and distinct from one another, despite making only brief appearances. Each of these vignettes seem rich enough to be worthy of a novel of its own, and readers might almost wish they could pause in each fascinating, detailed moment rather than be swept through time-and the novel-on the current of a cursed love. Although fans of the author's Revolver (Roaring Brook, 2010) will likely flock to this book to relish more of Sedgwick's stark, suspenseful writing, new readers might find that there are more questions left unanswered than are resolved.-Evelyn Khoo Schwartz, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly "I always prefer a walk that goes in a circle.... Don't you?" a woman named Bridget says to her daughter, Merle, at one point in this heady mystery that joins the remote northern setting of Sedgwick's Revolver with the multigenerational scope of his White Crow. Sedgwick appears to share Bridget's sentiment: as he moves backward through time in seven interconnected stories-from the late 21st century to an unspecified ancient era-character names, spoken phrases, and references to hares, dragons, and sacrifice reverberate, mutate, and reappear. Set on a mysterious and isolated Nordic island, the stories all include characters with variations on the names of Eric and Merle. In a present-day story about an archeological dig, Eric is a oddly strong, brain-damaged teenager and Merle his mother; in the 10th century, when the island was inhabited by Vikings, Eirek and Melle are young twins, whose story answers questions raised by what the archeologists discover. Teenage characters are few and far between, but a story that's simultaneously romantic, tragic, horrifying, and transcendental is more than enough to hold readers' attention, no matter their age. Ages 12-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog I Yam a Donkey!
by Cece Bell

Publishers Weekly Newbery Honoree Bell (El Deafo) creates a laugh-out-loud dialogue in the tradition of "Who's on First?" or Lane Smith's It's a Book. "I yam a donkey!" a googly-eyed donkey proclaims. A bespectacled yam objects. "What did you say? `I yam a donkey?' The proper way to say that is `I am a donkey.' " "You is a donkey, too?" the donkey asks. "You is a funny-looking donkey." The yam tries to educate the donkey, while the donkey demonstrates only hopeless thickheadedness. The appearance of a carrot, a turnip, and some green beans allows the yam to review conjugations of the verb "to be." The donkey, however, spies a meal. "Oh!" he cries, finally getting it. "You is lunch!" In a linguistic landscape where literally can mean figuratively and flammable and inflammable are interchangeable, Bell's story celebrates the idea that language changes, and pedants who can't adapt will be left in the dust (or in a donkey's belly). The ending sends a message that any child can endorse: "If you is going to be eaten, good grammar don't matter." Ages 4-8. Agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (June) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 1-3-The cartoon illustrations of Bell's stab at eliminating a grammatical error are more engaging than her text, and it is probable that the intended audience will not grasp the lesson she's put forward. A donkey states, "I yam a donkey!" and a yam protests the improper use of the word yam. In the ensuing conversation, the donkey repeatedly uses yam when he should be saying am and the tuber becomes increasingly perturbed. Bell's drawings, done in china marker and acrylic, are lively and convey emotion through her judicious use of line, but the grammatical issue is less common now than in Popeye's heyday, and the joke goes on so long that it becomes tiresome. VERDICT Despite its inviting illustrations, this book misses the mark.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Library, NY Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

British Crime Writers' Assoc.
Click to search this book in our catalog Free Falling As If in a Dream:
by Leif GW Persson

Library Journal Persson concludes his trilogy (Another Time, Another Life; Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End) about the assassination of Swedish prime minister Olof Palme on February 28, 1986, a case that was never solved but now is, though only as fiction. It is a meticulous reconstruction of the investigation of a highly sensitive case, long since past but now reopened. More than any other series of police procedurals today, Persson's exceptional novels show how cops actually pursue a difficult investigation, the thousands of steps and missteps that occur en route. The detectives are competent and human, with interesting quirks; their boss Lars Martin Johannsson, chief of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, is a veritable bloodhound once he gets a notion in his head. In the process of narrating this fascinating tale, Persson makes telling comments about the pernicious influence of the police presence in Sweden and paints an uproariously funny portrait of a very bad cop-venal, xenophobic, work-averse, and a liar-who attempts to force his way into the case with disastrous consequences. (For himself, of course.) Verdict Readers who enjoy Scandinavian crime fiction will love Persson's climactic volume in a series that may be the best around. [Interestingly, the late Swedish journalist and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo author Stieg Larsson may have cracked the case; according to the Guardian (bit.ly/1fLJ3Sg), a Swedish newspaper recently reported that Larsson left 15 boxes of papers for the police supporting his claim that South African security forces were involved in the crime.-Ed.]-David Keymer, Modesto, CA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Swedish crime fiction had a solid fan base in North America even before Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy hit the shelves, but since then the onslaught of new authors has become a tidal wave. Persson's trilogy of crime novels featuring Lars Martin Johansson (introduced in the author's first novel, 1978's The Pig Party) was originally published from 2002 through 2007 but didn't start appearing in English translation until 2010. Here, in the concluding volume, Lars Martin is now the head of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation. He remains obsessed with the still-unsolved 1986 assassination of Prime Minister Olof Palme, and now he has taken the highly unusual and politically unwise step of reopening the investigation. How much of his own life and career (not to mention sanity) is he willing to sacrifice to find, more than two decades later, Palme's killer? A gripping novel and a fitting conclusion to a trilogy that, in many ways, is nearly as powerful as Larsson's blockbusters.--Pitt, David Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog The Hello, Goodbye Window
by Norton Juster

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 1-The window in Nanna and Poppy's kitchen is no ordinary window-it is the place where love and magic happens. It's where the girl and her doting grandparents watch stars, play games, and, most importantly, say hello and goodbye. The first-person text is both simple and sophisticated, conjuring a perfectly child-centered world. Sentences such as "When I get tired I come in and take my nap and nothing happens until I get up" typify the girl's happy, imaginative world. While the language is bouncy and fun, it is the visual interpretation of this sweet story that sings. Using a bright rainbow palette of saturated color, Raschka's impressionistic, mixed-media illustrations portray a loving, mixed-race family. The artwork is at once lively and energetic, without crowding the story or the words on the page; the simple lines and squiggles of color suggest a child's own drawings, but this is the art of a masterful hand. Perfect for lap-sharing, this book will find favor with children and adults alike.-Angela J. Reynolds, Washington County Cooperative Library Services, Hillsboro, OR Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Juster (The Phantom Tollbooth) crafts a cozy portrait of a grandchild and her grandparents in this endearing book, illustrated in paintbox colors by Raschka (Be Boy Buzz). A curly haired girl-who dances with wiggly energy in Raschka's lush paintings-describes playful visits to her Nanna and Poppy, whose kitchen window provides the perfect venue to say hello and goodbye. "You can climb up on the flower barrel and tap," she says, "then duck down and they won't know who did it." Her grandparents welcome her into a sunlit, spacious kitchen filled with plants, where she doodles and listens to Poppy play "Oh, Susannah" on the harmonica. At night, the "Hello, Goodbye Window" functions as a mirror, and the girl jokes about being outside looking in: "Poppy says, `What are you doing out there? You come right in and have your dinner.' And I say, `But I'm here with you, Poppy,' and then he looks at me in his funny way." Juster departs from the over-the-top punning of his earlier works to create a gently humorous account of a family's conversations and games, all centered on the special window. Raschka warms the pages with glowing yellow, emerald, sapphire and golden brown, and he pictures the garden and trees in emphatic midsummer greens. The characters smile at one another with a doting twinkle in their eyes, and grandparents especially will be charmed by this relaxed account of how a child's visit occasions everyday magic. Ages 2-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list PreS-Gr. 2. Two well-known names come together in a book that speaks to the real lives of children and their experiences. The young narrator visits her grandparents, Nanna and Poppy, in their big house. They explore Nanna's garden, and Poppy plays his harmonica. The narrator rides her bike and takes a nap, and nothing happens till I get up. Looking out the picture window, the hello, goodbye window, she sees the pizza guy, and, more fancifully, a dinosaur. She also spots her parents coming to pick her up. The curly-haired girl is happy to see them, but sad because it means the end of the visit. The window imagery is less important than the title would make it seem. More intrinsic is Juster's honest portrayal of a child's perceptions (a striped cat in the yard is a tiger) and emotions (being happy and sad at the same time just happens that way sometimes ). Raschka's swirling lines, swaths, and dabs of fruity colors seem especially vibrant, particularly in the double-page spreads, which have ample room to capture both the tender moments between members of the interracial family and the exuberance of spending time in the pulsating outdoors, all flowers, grass, and sky. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2005 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Horn Book Picture Book Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Big Momma Makes the World
by Phyllis Root

Publishers Weekly : In this sassy creation myth that tweaks the first chapter of Genesis, Big Momma "roll[s] up her sleeves" and gets down to business ("Wasn't easy, either, with that little baby sitting on her hip"). " `Light,' said Big Momma. And you better believe there was light.' " Here Oxenbury shows mother and child jubilantly emerging from a watery world ("There was water, water everywhere") to greet the light at the surface. At the close of each day, a pleased Big Momma views her handiwork and pronounces a refrain that echoes the King James Bible "That's good. That's real good." On the sixth day, in a sly nod to another take on the world's beginnings, Big Momma "finish[es] things off in one big bang"-fashioning a host of creatures. As a final touch, the matriarch uses "leftover mud" to shape "some folks to keep me company" and charges them with caring for her creation. Root infuses her tale with a joyful spirit, and her lyrical vernacular trips off the tongue. Zaftig Big Momma and her chubby cherub are equally winning, and Oxenbury playfully tracks the creation process with compositions that move through subtle shades of blue and black and then transform with the addition of the golden shades of sunshine, the verdant greens of earth and an explosion of hues as birds, fish and more multiply across the pages. A gentle spin on the Genesis story sure to get youngsters talking. Ages 4-8.

Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : PreS-Gr 2-Here's a creation myth that casts the creator as a full-figured, down-home Big Momma, with a baby on her hip and a pile of laundry and dishes to do. Oxenbury's luminous, oversized acrylics perfectly capture the strong, no-nonsense personality of this barefoot creator capable of making and moving mountains. Big Momma doesn't mess around, as she commands each part of the world to appear: "`Earth,' said Big Momma, `get over here.'" Then, at the end of each day, she looks around and says, "That's good. That's real good." By the sixth day, she still doesn't have anyone to talk to or keep her company, so she makes folks in all colors, shapes, and sizes to sit on her front porch and swap stories. Before resting on the seventh day, Big Momma tells her people to take good care of the world she made for them. She keeps an eye on them from her perch in the sky, occasionally interrupting her chores to warn, "Better straighten up down there," but is ultimately pleased with her handiwork. This book's interpretation may offend many who take the biblical creation story literally, but for those who are open to variations on a theme, Big Momma's tale is an utter delight.-Laurie von Mehren, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma, OH

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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Click to search this book in our catalog Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead
by Sheryl Sandberg

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