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Bri Meets Books

Children's and YA literature reviews.

Category Archives: blog tour

Today’s my stop of the Brain Finds a Leg blog tour and I asked author Martin Chatterton to write a guest post on comedy. I asked him a few questions, such as the funniest word in the English language, favorite comedy movies, etc.

Mr. Chatterton is a very very funny man. A quick look at his website and this is evident. He’s also written a  quite few (undoubtedly hilarious) books.

Guest Post: Comedy by Martin Chatterton

It’s a difficult thing, trying to pin down what makes comedy writing ‘funny’. Better people than me have tried and failed. I think if you examine it too much it’s a bit like explaining the punchline to a joke; you understand it but in understanding it, it stops being funny.
Wow, heavy.

I’ll move onto easier territory.

What makes me laugh? In writing it usually comes back to PG Wodehouse. He’s still my favourite comic writer. And knowing how hard he worked to make his books appear lighter than air only adds to the admiration.  Other than Wodehouse, there are few writers who make me laugh (Mark Haddon’s ‘A Spot of Bother’ being a recent exception). I think that’s mainly because a lot of the best comic writers are working in television and film. ‘Literature’ does not have much use for comedy unfortunately. Personally I find my breakfast rising whenever I approach a book that takes itself too seriously (which is pretty much most of them). So writers like Larry David, Woody Allen, Ricky Gervais, Steve Merchant, are people who I look at and think  ‘I wish I’d done that’.

Three things I find funny?

I watched the recent ‘Seinfeld Reunion’ show and the scene where Larry David falls backwards off a roof and is saved by grabbing hold of his assistant’s ‘muffin’ (a roll of belly fat) made me cry with laughter. It was so beautifully crafted and utterly surprising.
What else?

I loved the British TV series ‘The Mighty Boosh’. This is completely different from the Larry David/Ricky Gervais type of comedy in that it taps into a kind of English surrealism that I love. I think ‘The Brain Finds A Leg’ has a fair amount of that kind of thinking in it. Monty Python and Spike Milligan are also favourites.

I find death funny. That sounds morbid but I can explain, honest. Mel Brooks said that ‘Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.’ I wrote a book a few years back called ‘Michigan Moorcroft’ which was inspired by my love for strange (true) death stories, the favourite being one in which a tango teacher danced out of his fifth story studio and off the balcony while demonstrating to the class. Or how about the guy who slipped off a cliff trying to retrieve a lucky four-leaf clover? Tragic for them, funny for us.

Favourite comedy movies? Anchorman. Armageddon. The Life of Brian.

Funniest word in the English language?  Erect.

_________________________

My thanks to Martin Chatterton for this guest post, and to Peachtree Publishers for letting me participate in the The Brain Finds a Leg Blog Tour! Check out all other stops!    …And Armageddon?!!

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Halloween.inddIt’s almost Halloween, and one of my favorite things about working at a bookstore is seeing all the new Halloween titles come in! There’s always quite a few, and so once I learned about The 13 Days of Halloween, I accepted the invitation to the blog tour.

Carol Greene’s 13 Days of Halloween is a picture book written in verse about a persistent (and peculiarly green-skinned) suitor and his object of affection. It’s a parody of the classic “12 Days of Christmas” song but these gifts are much, much more macabre. Also more fun.

The first day brings not a partridge, but a vulture in a dead tree. The second, two hissing cats. The third, three fat toads. All throughout the strange courting, the female ignores her would-be suitor, until the thirteenth day when she gives him a present. The ending of 13 Days of Halloween takes you by surprise. Judging by this, the title could easily become a crowd favorite, with scary voices, and a dramatic flourish at the clever ending. I think kids will ask for this story over and over, because of its catchy verse and ghoulish content.

The illustrations by Tim Raglin (The Wolf Who Cried Boy) add the perfect element of creepiness to the story: things are definitely not living in his haunted world, but they’re not too terrifying for a toddler either. Flipping through the book, the little touches Raglin makes stand out  – the skeleton of a pink poodle, with little tufts of fur still remaining, or the angry toads dressed in bonnets a few pages later, and sipping magic potion. My favorite: the spider who weaves a web next to the opening words, and as the story progresses, she winds her way up and down the pages. It’s little touches such as this and the fun sing-song rhyming that make 13 Days of Halloween a treat.

Thanks go to Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for sending me a copy for review and for the blog tour invitation.

Title: The 13 Days of Halloween
Author:  Carol Greene (Illus. by Tim Raglin)
Date: September 2009
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Pages: 32
Format:  Hardback

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In 1918, in a Russian cellar, Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov was murdered with the rest of her family.  Or so history tells us.  Thanks to old magics, Anastasia was rescued by the witch Baba Yaga and now spends her days confined in a tiny hut perched on chicken legs. With only the witch and a doll for company, Anastasia writes letters to her family, and waits.
Meanwhile, in present day Chicago, Anne Michaelson’s plagued by disturbing dreams of a girl in a white dress. Still dealing with the death of her brother, David,  she finds herself haunted by a mysterious boy, who she first glimpses staring at her during a Swan Lake performance. 
In the dreams, the two girls’ worlds converge. And each discovers, that despite the decades between them, they’re more deeply connected than anyone would ever guess.
I was first intrigued by this title because of the mystery surrounding the Romanovs, and most notably, Anastasia. To take the story of Anastasia, and weave a fantasy around it within dreams, seemed a most impossible task.  Then I read the world Joy Preble created, and was lost.  From the very first meeting of Ethan and Anne, you’re hooked.   Non-stop action, mixed with a bit of romance and fantasy, Dreaming Anastasia takes you from modern-day Chicago to Tzar Nicholas’ Russia, and the world in between.
There’s a fusion of elements and genres at work here, it’s hard to categorize Dreaming Anastasia. One of the strengths of the novel is its genre-wide appeal.  I’d recommend it to adults and teens, fans of fantasy, historical romance and fiction.  My favorite part was Preble’s use of the Russian fairy tale of Baba Yaga.   Before reading Dreaming Anastasia, I wasn’t familiar with Baba Yaga, and really enjoyed the moments where Baba Yaga featured heavily.
A few bloggers’ have commented on the small amount of time focused on Anne and her family’s reactions to her brother’s death, and mention they would like to see it explored a little more. I have to disagree. I felt the scenes regarding David illustrated perfectly the grief families face, such as Anne’s mother not eating and her tired demeanor.
Joy Preble has mentioned this won’t be the last readers see of Ethan and Anne.  I, for one, can’t wait. 
Copy for review provided by the publisher.
Title: Dreaming Anastasia
Author: Joy Preble
Date: September 1, 2009
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Pages: 320  
Format: Trade paperback
As part of Dreaming Anastasia‘s blog tour, I interviewed the author. You’ll find her answers below.

The story of Anastasia and the Romanovs has been the
subject of various works throughout the years – including the 1956 movie
starring Ingrid Bergman and the 1997 animated version. Are there any
depictions of the Romanovs that are a particular favorite of yours?
 

You know,
you are the first person to ask me that question! And the answer is an easy one
– I’m definitely a fan of the 1997 20
th Century Fox Animation
version by Don Bluth. It had romance and magic and Rasputin – lots of good
stuff. In fact, since you did ask, I will tell you a secret! My Happy Meal
Anastasia figure (or maybe it was from Burger King – I don’t really know at
this point!) has sat on my desk the entire time I was working on this project!
Now let me say that the
Dreaming Anastasia version of Anastasia is in no
way based on the animated film version, and in fact definitely doesn’t have the
film’s cheery outlook on things (can’t say any more or I would get all
spoilery), but I still liked the idea that some visual form of Anastasia was
watching over me as I wrote. Plus I love Meg Ryan, and I think she did
Anastasia’s voice in the film, didn’t she? And John Cusak – he was Dimitri, I
think. Love him, too! 
 

With such an intricate plot spanning centuries, and
weaving in Russian fairy tales, historical elements, and magic, Dreaming
Anastasia
appears to have required a good deal of research. How much
research and what kind did Dreaming Anastasia entail?
 

I
definitely did a lot of research. When you’re dealing with the creation of an
alternate history, you better know the real version first. So I spent a lot of
time reading about the Romanovs in books and on line at sites like www.alexanderpalace.org
, which links to numerous Russian resources, including some great primary
sources. I also studied up on Russian folk lore and fairy tales – the Baba Yaga
stories specifically, but also a variety of tales so I could get a true feel
for how the Russian folklore differed from, say, Grimm’s Brothers. I discovered
that a lot of people are fascinated with Baba Yaga – everyone from gamers to
fantasy lovers to new age feminists who embrace the “reclaiming the crone”
concept. It was actually very eye-opening to me and the more I studied, the
more I wanted to use Baba Yaga in a way that reflected a variety of those
aspects. And the magical elements really found their grounding in all of the
above, so that flowed out of everything else. It sounds like a lot of work, and
it was, but I have to say I really enjoyed it! 
 
One of Dreaming Anastasia’s themes is dreaming.
What’s the strangest dream you ever had?
 
Ooh!
Another question that no one else has thought of. (Let me say that when one is
on a 59 stop blog tour, this is actually rather remarkable, so yay!) I am one
of those people who actually does remember many, many of her dreams. I dream in
color and I am not always me when I dream, which is something that I gave to
Anne in the novel. A lot of the time when I dream, it’s like watching TV and
being one of the characters! Kind of crazy, but it certainly helps the whole
storytelling thing. Of the dreams I remember that I would choose to relate
here, I will tell you that I actually remember a dream I had when I was five
years old. I’d been sick and I had a sore throat and I dreamed that this bird
had walked into my mouth and I’d swallowed it! I woke up convinced that this
had really happened. Ick! 
 
You’re currently an English teacher, so I have to ask.
What are your top five favorite books?
 
I am such
an avid reader that that is actually a very hard question for me. It generally
depends on the year, my mood, what life is bringing my way. But if I can twist
the question a little to read “What five books do I think everyone should read
at some point?” I would say the following: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott
Fitzgerald; A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle; The World
According to Garp
by John Irving; Hamlet by Shakespeare (a play not
a book, but hey it’s my answer!); and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper
Lee. Those are five that have resonated with me over the years and five which I
have re-read. Although like I say, it’s just the tip of the iceberg!   
 


If you could live inside any children’s book, which title would it be, and why?

I love this question. I’m going to take
“children’s title” as excluding YA, which would be another answer entirely. But
right this second, I’m going to pick one that I read over and over as a little
girl and say that I’d love to live inside the world of Sydney Taylor’s All
of a Kind Family
. I loved the gentle adventures of those turn of the 20th
century sisters – buying penny candy and taking books out the library and
playing this game where the mom hid buttons for them to find while they were
doing chores like dusting. I really did want to live in that book when I was
like seven!
 
 

Visit the other stops on the tour, they’re listed below!

Class
of 2k9
(8/29)
Story Siren (8/31)
EVEREAD (9/1)
Shelf Elf (9/8)
Book Journey (9/16)
Bildungsroman (9/17)
Booking Mama (9/18)
Book Nut (9/20)
Galleysmith (9/22)
My Friend Amy (9/23; 9pm
EST author chat)
Ms. Bookish (9/24)
BookLoons.com (9/28)

I’m the last stop on Tilbury Press and The Elephant Sanctuary’s virtual book tour to promote Elephant Sanctuary co-founder Carol Buckley’s wonderful books, Just for Elephants and Travels with Tarra.

Located in Hohenwald, Tennesse, The Elephant Sanctuary is a non-profit habitat-refuge for endangered rescued African and Asian elephants. Spanning over 2,700 acres, it’s been home to twenty four elephants, and the size of the sanctuary is enough to provide a home for one hundred elephants.

Travels with Tarra

This is Tarra.  The subject of the first book, Travels with Tarra, and the reason Carol Buckley and her partner, Scott Blais founded The Elephant Sanctuary in 1995.  

While in college, Carol Buckley had the chance to purchase a baby elephant, Tarra, formerly used as a tire salesman’s gimmick, after helping care for the animal.  She trained Tarra (pronounced Tar-rah) to perform tricks, including play the xylophone, ring a bell, even roller skate.  The two traveled the around the world performing in shows and  appearing in movies such as Annie.

Their career continued for several years, until Carol began worrying about Tarra’s happiness and health.  She dreamed of a safe place for captive elephants to roam and live together. With the help of Scott Blais, she began searching for land to establish the Sanctuary.

Travels with Tarra is a beautifully done book.  I’ve had it for a few months and re-read it several times. The inside holds numerous black and white photographs from Carol, depicting Tarra throughout the years, from the various stages of her life.  I love this design choice, with the muted cover and coordinating scheme inside – similar to the grays of an elephant. The story shows why Carol and her partner Scott were declared “Heroes of the Planet” by Time Magazine for their tremendous work at the Sanctuary.


Just for Elephants

The story continues in Carol Buckley’s second book, Just for Elephants.  We’re introduced to Shirley (learn about her at the Sanctuary’s site) as she arrives at the sanctuary, her permanent new home.  Color photographs illustrate her journey from circus to Tennessee, and accompanying text tells of Shirley’s first experiences at the Sanctuary.  Since the Sanctuary is closed to the public (hence the title “Just for Elephants”), the book offers a great look at the lives of the elephants.  We see their swimming holes, the pastures, the barns.  Carol offers elephant anecdotes, such as they lie down, covering their bodies with mud to protect their skin, or how they greet each other using special trumpets and touches. 


Just for Elephants and Travels with Tarra offer children  and adults a great lesson in animal conservation, and the classroom resources located at elephants.com have curriculum available, one for grades K-3 and 4-8. Publisher Tilbury House has a list of suggestions for classroom activities as well.  They’ll inspire some tears over the elephants’ plights before arriving at the Sanctuary, but also some awareness.



Copies for review provided by the publisher.


Tarra and Bella: The Elephant and Dog Who Became Best Friends

 
Carol’s third book started with an animal named Bella.  Bella’s quite famous beyond the Sanctuary gates.  But Bella’s not a elephant.  She’s a dog. A stray dog who shares an extraordinary friendship with Tarra.   The two became fast friends, going everywhere together.   Then Bella was injured with a spinal cord injury and had to be rehabilitated.  Tarra kept watch outside the office where Bella was being kept for three weeks, until they brought Bella out to see her.  And the two animals had a joyous reunion.  Eventually, Bella healed.  


CBS and Oprah did features on the unlikely pair.  You can view the CBS feature below, courtesy of their Youtube page.



Their story is told for young readers in Tarra and Bella: The Elephant and Dog Who Became Friends, out today.  With bright and colorful photographs, readers see a typical day for the two, and hear how Tarra kept a constant vigil for Bella while she recuperated.   The last pages offer some additional information about the Sanctuary, their work, and the elephants they help.  

A very sweet book, Tarra and Bella is a powerful read that both educates and entertains, while imparting a important message of friendship and acceptance. 




Title: Travels with Tarra
Author: Carol Buckley
Date: July 2002
Publisher: Tilbury House
Pages: 40
Format: Hardback
Title: Just for Elephants
Author: Carol Buckley
Date: November 2006
Publisher: Tilbury House
Pages: 32
Format: Hardback

Title: Tarra and Bella:  The Elephant and Dog Who Became Best Friends

Author: Carol Buckley
Date: September 2009
Publisher: G.P Putnam’s Sons

Pages: 32
Format: Hardback

But I’m not done!  Anybody who visits the stops on the tour and leaves a comment will be entered to win the following, with three winners drawn September 10. These books make great gifts for a teacher or a library.
 
– Copy of Just for Elephants signed by Sanctuary co-founder Carol Buckley
– Copy of Travels With Tarra signed by Carol and stamped by Tarra the Elephant!
– A package of Tilbury House animal books — The Goat Lady, Thanks to the Animals, and an advance copy of Bear-ly There

You can learn about all the elephant currently residing at the Sanctuary by visiting their website at Elephants.com.  While there, read the biography pages of each animal, sponsor an elephant, check out the newest Sanctuary happenings, and view the 24/7 elephant cam to see them out in the wild!
And for every 100 copies of Just for Elephants and Travels with Tarra sold, Tilbury House will sponsor an item off the Sanctuary’s wishlist.  The books are available at Elephants.com, Amazon.com and major bookstores such as Borders, Books-A-Million, etc.

Check out the other stops on the tour below.

Tuesday, Sept. 1:  Reading Rumpus
Wednesday, Sept. 2: Sacred Elephants
Thursday, Sept. 3:  Read These Books and Use Them!
Friday, Sept. 4: Maw Books
Saturday, Sept. 5:  Shelf Elf
Sunday, Sept. 6:  Bees Knees
Monday, Sept. 7:  Through the Looking Glass 
 


When he was six years old, a child was found in a locked bank vault in the city of Dunce. He’s suffering from amnesia and only a small scrap of paper offers a clue: his name, Bran Hambric. His parents’ whereabouts are unknown, and so according to Dunce law, whoever found him is responsible for his welfare. The task is entrusted to Sewey and Mabel Wilomas. But nobody, not even Bran, realizes how important the boy’s survival is, and his connection to the titular Farfield Curse.

Reading Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse, the similarities of Harry Potter will occur. However, after the publishing of the Potter series, such comparisons were inevitable. Literature throughout the ages has been littered with the archetype of the hero, a boy of extraordinary power and living in ordinary circumstances. Bran Hambric has another thing in common with Mr. Potter: A sharply written novel with engaging characters, a twisting storyline, and equal dashes of humor and action.

Author Kaleb Nation started Bran Hambric when he was fourteen years old. He completed the novel in 2007. It all started with his imagining a boy and a banker waiting on a rooftop for a burglar to arrive. As Nation tells it, he wrote five hundred pages in six to nine months. The result is a novel meant for middle grades but enjoyable by all ages.

Starting in on Bran Hambric, once I was invested in the story, I didn’t want to leave. You know a book is good when you’ll torture yourself on an elliptical for another thirty minutes to read it! The characterization is great, from the curmudgeonly yet likable Sewey Wilomas (my favorite) his health-obsessed wife Mabel to the characters who aid Bran Hambric in his search for the truth – Adi and Astara. The book is filled with scenes of Bran’s family life, Sewey’s outlandish behavior, the mysterious world of gnomes, mages, and etc. This wait for more action, however, might bore younger readers. With so many wild incidents (odd occurences at a town fair, an unusual bookstore visit), older readers should be entertained nonetheless. The villain, Baslyn, is amiss for a good deal of the book, but his evil presence still fills the novel, making the confrontation of him and Bran thoroughly creepy, and worthwhile.

Nation has mentioned he has enough material written by five more sequels, and hopefully, Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse leaves readers anticipating more, as Bran is a promising new character whose story has much left to tell.

Copy for review received from the publisher.

Title: Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse
Author:
Kaleb Nation
Date: September 9, 2009
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Pages: 336
Format: Hardback

I conducted an interview with Kaleb Nation as part of the blog tour, with the help of Sourcebooks. You’ll find it below!

The world of Bran Hambric is inventive, with a variety of magical creatures, items, and beings. If there could be one magic-related item, creature, or person from your novel that was in the real world, who or what it would be? Why?

I think (as most people probably already expect!) I would really enjoy having a gnome around! Gnomes are such wonderful creatures and can do so many things, and I think a gnome would be a wonderful friend to have as well.


We learn in Bran Hambric there’s several different types of mages. Into which category do you think you’d fall?


I think I would most likely be an Illian. Illians are drawn towards books and writing, and I think that I can relate to Adi in that way as well!

Who have been your greatest writing inspirations? What advice would you give to other aspiring young authors?

I think one of my greatest writing inspirations has been Stephenie Meyer, not so much of her writing style but because of the way that she interacts with her readers. She has an interesting way of making her readers feel as if she’s talking directly to them, even if there might be 500 or 1000 people at the event. I always want to have a connection with readers the way she does.

I think that the advice I would give to other young writers is to really stick with it and make sure that you enjoy what you are writing. There are a lot of rough times when you’re writing a book with little hope of it being published, so it’s important that you’re writing a story that you enjoy, not just something you think will sell!

One of my favorite elements of the novel is the diverse cast of the characters. Each of them was compelling in their own way, from Mabel’s constant paranoia about imaginary germs to the curmudgeonly yet still oddly likable Sewey. Do any of the characters within your book have facets to their personality that you’ve drawn from yourself or other people you know?

I think that every character in the book draws upon certain aspects of myself or people that I have met in real life. I think that Bran’s interest in drawing is very much his version of my interest in writing. Some of Sewey’s crazy driving was directly inspired by my early driving lessons! And my family went through some sort of a health craze for a year or two a long time ago, so I think that Mabel’s health obsession might have been inspired by that somewhat (though greatly exaggerated in her case!).

I know from your website you’re a composer yourself. A good deal of authors sometimes mention particular songs or genres that have influenced them, such as Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight and the band Blue October. Is this the case with you and Bran Hambric?

There were many songs and bands that I found over the years to fit with writing Bran Hambric. But since I wrote the book between ages 14 and 20, my musical interests naturally changed a lot over the years. At the beginning of writing, I almost entirely wrote with Enya playing in the background. Closer to the end though, I switched to a more random assortment or rock, with a lot of Anberlin and Shiny Toy Guns. Nowadays, it’s a mix of those bands and a lot of movie soundtracks, especially from the Lemony Snicket movie and Finding Neverland.

If you could live inside any children’s book, what title would it be and why?

I think I’d love to live in the world of Lemony Snicket, as dreary as it might seem! It’s so quirky and strange I’d have a wonderful time exploring it.

My thanks to Kaleb and Sourcebooks for letting me participate in the blog tour. You’ll find the rest of the stops on the tour below. There’s some great stops, be sure to visit them all! Also check out Kaleb Nation’s Official Site, BranHambric (where you’ll find music composed by Kaleb for the novel), and Sourcebooks’ Bran Hambric page. You can download the first four chapters here and enter Sourcebooks’ contests for signed soundtrack CDs, Bran’s necklace, and more.

Blog Tour Schedule

Sunday, August 30th

Jenn’s Bookshelf

Homespun Light

Monday, August 31st

StevenTill.com

Dolce Bellezza

Bobbi’s Book Nook

Tuesday, September 1st

The Looking Glass Review

Edward-Cullen.net

Beth Fish Reads

SMS Book Reviews

James Holder’s YouTube Channel

Wednesday, September 2nd

Bookalicio.us

Reading Rumpus

Katie’s Literature Lounge

Ultimate Bookhound

Thursday, September 3rd

Brimful Curiosities

Charlotte’s Library

Friday, September 4th

BriMeetsBooks.com

Bran Hambric by Kaleb Nation

Saturday, September 5th

Library Lounge Lizard

Sarah’s Random Musings

Saulchichas

GreenFyr.com

Sunday, September 6th

Cindy’s Love of Books

Monday, September 7th

Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf

Grasping for the Wind

Life After Twilight vlog channel

Tuesday, September 8th

Shooting Stars Magazine

Mrs. Magoo Reads

Lori Calabrese Writes

Wednesday, September 9th

The Brain Lair

Dulemba.com

The Children’s Book Review

TV Watch Online

Thursday, September 10th

The Friendly Book Nook

Book Journey

Stephanie’s Written Word

Home School Buzz

Spidurmunkey.com

Friday, September 11th

The Inside Scoop With Chandelle

Booking Mama

Saturday, September 12th

Zoe’s Book Reviews

Lit for Kids

Sunday, September 13th

Never Jam Today

A Bibliophile’s Reverie

Monday, September 14th

Café of Dreams

Marta’s Meanderings

Galleysmith.com

A Book Blogger’s Diary

The Reader’s Quill

Tuesday, September 15th

a book in hand

MistiSchindele.com

Not Just for Kids

Wednesday, September 16th

Write for a Reader

CumpulsiveReader.com

Thursday, September 17th

Howling Good Books

The Written World

Friday, September 18th

Always Riddikulus

YA Books Central

Saturday, September 19th

Ms. Bookish

Into the Wardrobe


Horrid Henry
is the #1 bestselling chapter book series in the UK, and he’s now in the USA! So far there’s four collections of Horrid Henry stories. Each book has four stories about Horrid Henry. All of them are fairly short.

Horrid Henry is a little boy who definitely lives up to his name. He constantly teases his brother, Perfect Peter, who subscribes to magazines such as “Best Boy” and delights in eating his vegetables.

Author Francesca Simon has created a character that is mischievous and fun, and just a little bit devilish. But all of his pranks and antics are fairly harmless, and just funny. My favorite scene is in Horrid Henry and the Mega-Mean Time Machine, where Henry has tricked his brother, Perfect Peter, into thinking a cardboard box in the living room is really a time machine. And Peter can travel in time, if he dresses like the boys in the future do.. in dresses and lipstick.

I loved the titles of all of the characters mentioned in the books – not just Horrid Henry has an alliterative adjective describing him, but there’s a slew of other characters – Lazy Linda, Moody Margaret, Prissy Polly, etc.



Tony Ross’ illustrations are a perfect fit for a series like Horrid Henry. The slightly manic style reflects the silly and impish sides of the Henry stories. Ross has illustrated books for Paula Danzinger and Roald Dahl as well.

There is no order to the series (but I’d recommend you read Horrid Henry first, as it introduces his family), and the playful language makes it perfect for a read-a-loud session. As I said before on an In My Mailbox post, this series is excellent for a reluctant reader. Reading just “one more page” won’t seem daunting after kids read how Henry himself pulls a fast one to win a reading contest..and ends up getting more than he bargained for!

Horrid Henry features the first Henry story, his and Moody Margaret’s quest to make the most disgusting gloppiest glop ever, and two others, including his quest to be perfect for an entire day.

Horrid Henry Tricks the Tooth Fairy has Henry devising ways to make the tooth fairy think he lost a tooth, as well as three other stories, such as how Moody Marget moves in and is a most unpleasant house guest.

Horrid Henry’s Stinkbomb
involves a wicked plan to get the girls’ club back, plus three stories, like disastrous sleepover.

Horrid Henry and the Mega-Mean Time Machine features the time machine prank I mentioned above, plus Peter’s revenge, and two more stories.


There’s a nice bit of resources to accompany the Sourcebooks series as well! And soon, Horrid Henry will be a videogame. The official site has a ton of materials able to be downloaded for free as well. You can find a list of them below.

Teacher Guides
Games
Libraries Activities

Check out the other stops on the Horrid Henry blog tour!

YA Books Central

Vaboomer.com

Jean Little Library blog

Kidz Book Nook

A Bookworm Reads

Provo City Library Children’s Book Review

Lazy Gal Reads

Jana’s Book List

Ian Chong, “Fun Kid”

Great Kid Books

Bri Meets Books (6/16)

Lit for Kids (6/17)

Moms Inspire Learning (6/18)

Karin’s Book Nook (6/19)

Not Just for Kids (6/20)

Book Advice (6/21)

The Excelsior File (6/22)

Brimful Curiosities (6/25)

SMS Book Reviews (6/26)

Book Aunt (6/27)

Chronicle of an Infant Bibliofile (6/28)

In the Pages (6/29)

Lori Calabrese Writes (6/30)


Talk about a coincidence. Just yesterday, I was visiting with my mentor and we discussed what charities we’d donated to this Christmas. She mentioned her family of six participated in Heifer International two years in a row, and as luck would have it, I was scheduled to review today: Give a Goat, a picture book from Heifer International founder’s daughter, Jan West Schrock, and illustrated by Aileen Darragh.

Give a Goat is a true story about a fifth grade class who set out to help give a goat to a needy family. The children are inspired by a story read aloud by their teacher, and get together to hold fund raising to make enough to purchase a goat for a needy family so they may have a better life.

I won’t reveal the ending, but one thing the book taught me about Heifer International was “passing on the gift”: how one family receives an animal that eventually gives birth, the owners give the baby animal to another family, so they can too can experience an improved life.

As, The Well-Read Child points out, the book isn’t a blatant shilling for Heifer International., While the organization features heavily in the storybook, the result is a sweet story about giving, and how anybody – even children – can change the world, and the children inspired others in their school to give to other charities.

The language employed is a child’s vocabulary, with the occasional “cool!” – the tale related as if a child were really telling it, and the sketched, watercolor-like illustrations evoke a child-like feel, with mischievous goats populating the pages.

Tour Schedule

Monday, Dec. 8: The Well-Read Child
Tuesday, Dec. 9: Mitali’s Fire Escape
Thursday, Dec. 11: On My Bookshelf
Friday, Dec. 12: The
Wild Rumpus Starts
Saturday, Dec. 13: The Well-Read Child (author interview)
Sunday, Dec. 14: In the Pages
Wednesday, Dec. 17: Through the Looking Glass
Thursday, Dec. 18: Tea Leaves

Friday, Dec. 19: Becky’s Book Reviews
Saturday, Dec. 20 – Crazy 4 Kids Books
Sunday, Dec. 21: Read These Books and Use Them

Other visits recommended:

School Library journal: Interview with the author
Just One More Book: Podcast on Give a Goat
Give a Goat mentioned by Chasing Ray’s Colleen @ Bookslut

Copy for review provided by the publisher.