Friday, June 27, 2008

Mock Printz: Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Author:Margaret Peterson Haddix
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Three teens, one Jewish, one Italian and one wealthy, all meet each other during a strike at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. Yetta speaks Yiddish, Bella speaks only Italian and Jane doesn't know how to do her own hair because servants do it for her. It is 1910 and these young women are living when all women are just property with no legal rights. As a reader, you get to know their stories-- Yetta who left her parent behind in Russia, Belaa, who can't read or write and does not know that her family all died back in Italy and then there is Jane, who had the saddest story since her mother died and her father is mainly interested in his business. Their lives intersect in this one period of time and the fire ultimately ties them together permanently. I loved this book !!! The characters are so enjoyable and the book was great. There are some brief historical notes in the back about the union, the fire and the suffragette movement. It was very touching and memorable.

Susan Rappaport, Rutherford Public Library

Mock Printz: Madapple by Christina Meldrum

Title: Madapple
Author:Christina Meldrum
Madapple is strange and exotic, perhaps a little too strange and exotic. Aslaug lives a highly isolated life with her mom, a fundamentalist and herbologist. Aslaug is home-schooled, spending all of her time with her mother. When her mother unexpectedly dies, Aslaug is exposed to society when she is accused of poisoning her mother. When authorities perform the autopsy, they learn the woman had cancer. That first brush with the law sets up the main suspense of the book. Aslaug searches for her father, even though her mom claims it was a virgin birth. Aslaug discovers her real family composed of two cousins and an aunt/pastor. From them she learns more of her origins. Eventually she gets pregnant herself by her cousin and "herbs" snuck into her food. The dream-like quality of the time with her cousin makes her think that her pregnancy is virginal also. Eventually she is accused of killing her other cousin and aunt. To cite the occurrences in this book sound very far-fetched but the book is written so well and paced so beautifully that it is captivating. The structure of the book is alternating chapters between the murder trial and the story behind it. This framework makes it very suspenseful and the writing itself is good. Ultimately the book is about incest and drugs and sets up a conflict between religion/mythology and then plays around with different realities. Who knew all this could exist in a Young Adult novel. Although I enjoyed the book while reading it, the values are odd, the content is peculiar....There is a lot of Danish mythology...

Susan Rappaport, Rutherford Public Library

Monday, June 02, 2008

Mock Caldecott: Notes from the committee

The Mock Caldecott committee is reading a ton of picture books. Here are some notes on what they've read:

Tadpole Rex
by Kurt Cyrus (9780152059903) is the book we all thought was truly remarkable. The illustrations seem to vibrate and want to jump off the page. Cyrus uses scratch board and digital colorization so well the claws look like they could leave a mark. Unique and exciting.

We Are the Ship
by Kadir Nelson (9780786808328). The vivid illustrations are from oil paintings done by the author. You can feel the respect and admiration he feels for his subject and lets their strength and dignity shine through his art.

Scoot! by Cathryn Falwell (9780061288821). The lives and adventures of "six silent turtles" is brought vividly to life by the use of paper collages. The blues and greens capture the lush world the creatures inhabit and there is a "Printing Textures" page for readers with information on creating different effects by the use of found things such as bubble wrap or a broccoli flower. Very lively and fun use of collage. Illustrated by the author.

Wave by Suzy Lee (9780811859240). This is a wordless picture book, illustrated by the author in charcoal and acrylics. There are only two characters, the ocean and the little girl and very few colors but all the playfulness and excitement of a child's first encounter with the ocean is evident.

I'm Bad! by Kate McMullan, illustrations by Jim McMullan (9780061229718). This is by far the book that had the whole group saying "I love this book." The review in SLJ calls it a "wonderfully illustrated psychedelic spread" and it is. The greens, oranges and violets are as bold and vibrant as the T-rex himself.

Mock Printz:Bewitching Season

Title: Bewitching Season
Author: Marissa Doyle
Publisher: Holt, 2008
Starred Reviews:Booklist, Kirkus
This historical fiction taking place in 1837 London involves twin sisters who are about to make their debut with the queen. Just when they arrive in London for the beginning of the social season, their governess is kidnapped. Add to this mystery that the girls have magical powers and the kidnapped governess is their magical mentor. As the twins become the toast of the town and fall in and out of love, their suitors, families, the governess' family all become enmeshed with a plot to overthrow a young Princess Victoria. The book is fun with good characters you care about and a storyline that crosses genres. Unfortunately, the book got a bit overlong for me and I wish she had a better editor. The end leaves it obvious that a sequel is following. Even though it has gotten two stars and I did like it, I would not consider it a top contender for the Printz.

Susan Rappaport, Rutherford Public Library