One of the gardening goals I find most elusive is to create a garden that is more than just a collection of plants but actually a cohesive whole. The Collector’s Garden: Designing With Extraordinary Plants by Ken Druse demonstrates that even obsessed collectors can also create gardens that are beautifully designed.
Before you take your children to pick pumpkins or enjoy a hayride this fall, be sure to check out picture books showcasing farm life.
What, another dystopian YA novel? Yes, but Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi is so fresh and involving that even the most jaded reader is sure to enjoy it.
It’s no fair, Isabel complains, that the porcupines don’t get to have balloons at their class’s Graduation Day, as the raccoons, possums and other animals do. But balloons are not safe around the porcupines’ prickly quills, Isabel’s porcupine teacher gently explains. The porcupines will get bookmarks instead.
Isabel and her friend Walter are not happy. “I heard that after a few days a balloon floats halfway between the ceiling and the floor…it just hangs there like a ghost,” Walter says longingly. So Isabel makes a plan to do something about it in Deborah Underwood’s new picture book, “A Balloon for Isabel.”
Duncan and Samantha, our newest library babies, are just a few months old, but they’re not too young for books. Board books, made of heavy cardboard with just a few words on each page, fit babies’ interests and attention spans perfectly. They are just the right size for lap sharing, and their sturdy construction means you can safely prop them up next to a baby who’s too little to hold them but big enough to pick up her head and enjoy the pictures.
My favorite board book to give to babies is Tana Hoban’s “Black & White.” First published as two separate board books, “Black on White” and “White on Black,” the new edition includes both books in an unfolding accordion-style format, just right for standing up in the crib of a curious infant.
What have the thousands of kids in our summer reading club been reading all summer long? A quick look at our Book Match service, which connects readers with book recommendations via email, shows that series books continue to be popular. (Find Book Match here.)
What makes good bedside reading? I’m talking about that particular kind of reading that consists of paying close attention for about ten minutes, dozing for ten more, then waking with a jerk as the book crashes to the floor. This is not the place for “War and Peace.”
My newest addition to the bedside table is of the second sort. Geoff Nicholson’s “The Lost Art of Walking: The History, Science, Philosophy, and Literature of Pedestrianism,” despite its daunting title, is really a series of personal essays on walking.
This is Week 12 of a 12-Week series of blog posts reviewing new young adult books. To see all of the reviews, click here.
In Kathryn Erskine's "Mockingbird," Caitlin’s world is black and white, and she likes it that way, whether it’s her view of life or her meticulous monotone drawings. Since The Day Our Life Fell Apart when her brother Devon was killed in a school shooting, she and her widowed father keep to simple routines. This is important to kids like Caitlin, a fifth grader with Asperger’s Syndrome. Clear boundaries make it easier to cope, especially when she’s trying hard to follow her counselor’s advice to Look At The Person and Mind Your Manners.
A friend witnessed the future of the book on the Metro the other day. A mother and daughter were sitting side by side, reading. Nothing unusual there – but my friend was amused to see that the mother was reading a book on her Kindle, the e-book reader from Amazon, while the daughter was listening to “Black Beauty” on her MP3 player. At one point, the girl’s face crumpled and tears sprang to her eyes as she listened, prompting the mother to reach out and pat her daughter’s hand. Clearly, “Black Beauty” can still reduce readers – and listeners – to tears, whether they are reading a physical book or listening to a digital audio edition.
You know how, once in a great while, you finish a book and it was so good that you want to start reading it all over again? That’s what happened to me with Frank Cottrell Boyce’s “Cosmic.”