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Kim Tomsic

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Great Hibernation by Tara Dairman

Author Tara Dairman (All Four Stars series) has another great book coming out this fall. 
In The Great Hibernation, (Wendy Lamb Books/Random House Kids, September 12, 2017) all the parents and teens in the town of St. Polonius fall fast asleep in a mysterious state of hibernation, and science-minded Jean Huddy can’t help but wonder if there’s a strange illness…or worse, a curse—a curse that Jean has brought upon the town.

With parents and teens out for the count, Magnus, the son of the Mayor, proclaims the town charter requires the children of St. Polonius must take over their parents’ jobs, especially since St. Polonius is remotely located on a fjord and a blizzard has hit thereby preventing access to help. Naturally, the twelve and under crowd step up and start running things.

Almost everyone is excited: The daughter of the librarian wants to throw out the Dewey Decimal system and file books by color; Axel Gorson, who is only eight, now drives the snowplow; and six-year-old Annemarie Hammerstein (the daughter of the local doctor) starts practicing stitches on her dollies! But it’s not all fun and games, because Magnus the Mayor is ready to run things with a Mafia-esque iron fist.

Jean, her brother Micah, and a sheep named Rambo lead this story in adventure and hilarity, but also woven in are a handful of beautiful yet subtle devices in which this story deals with cultural differences and prejudices. For example, after a horrible kitchen incident where Jean doesn’t know what to do or how to act, Isara, the now proprietor of the restaurant whose family moved to St. Polonius from Thailand, comes to rescue. He offers a kind hand and says he knows what it’s like to, “be in a place where nothing makes sense. Were you don't know the rules. Sometimes, you need someone to show you the way.”

The Great Hibernation delivers page-turning doses of intrigue, adventure, and humor with one fun-filled complication after another, a truly can’t-put-downable book!

Buying Links listed alphabetically:
BookBar (a beautiful independent bookstore)
Second Star to the Right (a beautiful independent bookstore)
Boulder Book Store (signing event at this bookstore in September!) 

The Great Hibernation fall book tour
Books of Wonder – New York, NY
Sunday, September 17, 1 pm
Middle-grade panel and launch party! (with Jessica Lawson, Tracey Baptiste,  & Allison Cherry)
The Voracious Reader  – Larchmont, NY
Monday, September 18, evening (time TBA)
Science & magic! A middle grade event with Sarah Albee, & Corey Ann Haydu

Trident Booksellers & Cafe
Boston, MA
Tuesday, September 19, 6:30 pm
Super middle-grade panel! (with Debbi Michiko Florence, Ammi-Joan Paquette, Jen Malone, & Katie Slivensky, moderated by Dana Alison Levy)

One More Page Books
 – Arlington, VA
Saturday, September 23, 3pm
Kidlit panel! (with Tracey Baptiste, Caroline Carlson, & Jessica Lawson, moderated by Madelyn Rosenberg)
Boulder Book Store – Boulder, CO
Tuesday, September 26, 6:30 pm
Middle-grade book launch party! (with Jeannie Mobley & Melanie Crowder)
BookPeople – Austin, TX
Sunday, October 8, 2 pm
A Triple Launch Party! (with Christina Soontornvat & Jeannie Mobley)

Author:Tara Dairman
Publisher:Wendy Lamb Books / Random House Childrens Books
Date Published:September 12, 2017
Street Date:September 12, 2017
Length:272 pages
ISBN:1524717851 / 9781524717858
Categories:Kids & Teens / Fiction & Literature / Family & Social Issues / General
Kids & Teens / Fiction & Literature / Health / Illness & Injuries
Kids & Teens / Fiction & Literature / Family & Social Issues / Friendship
Audience:Children's - Grade 4-6, Age 9-11

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Two Picture Books with Great Page Turns

Fact: The page turn is important. Librarians and story time readers select books that are engaging to their little listeners. Tired parents and grandparents often select books that don’t seem daunting and wordy, especially when they’ve promised three stories. And children and publishers select books they want to read over and over again. Key to everyone’s taste, cue the page turn: Did something happen on the page you’re reading that makes you excited to flip to the next page?

Two releases (one just a week old, and the other from 2016) that master the art of the page turn include WHOBERT WHOVER Owl Detective (Margaret K McElderry books  July 18, 2017) written by Jason Gallaher and illustrated by Jess Pauwels; and DEAR DRAGON (Viking Books for Young Readers, 2016)written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo.

WHOBERT WHOVER:  Whobert is a bumbling detective always on the search of his next case. And since he's searching for a clue, so is the picture book audience who is alerted (a-la Find Waldo) to figure out what's wrong starting on the very first page. Here, illustrator Jess Pauwels offers a lovely smorgasbord for the eyes. Throughout the story, she delivers colorful creatures with delightful expressions—art that truly inspires the reread. Book-lovers will want to comb the pages over and over again to search for what they might’ve missed—a worthwhile effort, especially when you find the spider and the crawdad!

Adding to the reread is the text, of course! Gallaher's mystery has page turns to guide readers through the necessary qualities of a good detective (find a clue, follow a trail, etc.), plus the fun play on colloquialisms make the story twice is fun to hear aloud (of course a fish says "Glurgle blurp").  Each page turn engages the child to be part of solving this mystery.

In short, it's sparse text, adorable illustrations, and the audience engagement factor makes WHOBERT WHOVER Owl Detective a winner!

DEAR DRAGON (Viking Books for Young Readers, 2016)written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo is another must-have for your personal library.

From the book jacket:

A sweet and clever friendship story in rhyme, about looking past physical differences to appreciate the person (or dragon) underneath.
"George and Blaise are pen pals, and they write letters to each other about everything: their pets, birthdays, favorite sports, and science fair projects. There’s just one thing that the two friends don’t know: George is a human, while Blaise is a dragon! What will happen when these pen pals finally meet face-to-face?"

"When I was a kid, my best friend was Josh Funk. Now he's becoming a friend to a whole new generation.”--B.J. Novak, author of The New York Times bestseller The Book With No Pictures

Dear Dragon may have more words than Whobert, still every single word matters. Furthermore, Dear Dragon's has an absorbing play between the words and the art; between what the pen pal reader assumes vs. what's really happening. The misunderstandings make the pages in the story flip faster and faster as excitement builds and readers wonder how this will resolve in the end.

Not only is Dear Dragon a fun read, but according to an Amazon reviewer, “The book is a good way to talk to children about finding similarities where we might otherwise only see differences.

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