Friday, January 27, 2012

Traction Man is Here! by Mini Grey

It has been Traction Man city in our household lately. I have to read both the original Traction Man is Here! and the sequel Traction Man Meets Turbodog on a daily basis to my almost 4 year old. He. Is. Obsessed.

He loves the adventures that Traction Man gets into. And I love the subtle encouragement he gets to use his imagination when playing with his own toys. Need a villain? Have pillows handy? Voila! You’ve got some evil pillows that can take your toys captive! Have to wash the dishes? Surely that dishcloth has nefarious intentions! Even your toes can get involved!

The best part is that I often overhear him talking to himself about an all-in-one knitted green romper suit with matching bonnet. Then I hear him giggle. He immediately recognized that Traction Man was not impressed with his present. I think he finds the embarrassment that Traction Man feels wearing such an ignoble outfit quite hilarious.

He also enjoys the sequel quite a bit – especially the bin-things that I like to make sound like Gollum (All those esses! They were made for that voice.).

I am pretty darned thrilled that in May there will be a third entry into the series, Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey.

In my online searches I did come across a few fun finds. There is an awesome printable paper doll that the UK Random House has on their website. I think it is amusing how they are called "Activity sheets" when they are so obviously paper dress up dolls. Heh.

Book Source = Library Copies

Once a Teen Librarian, Always a Scoundrel

Another fall happening was that Patti and I were interviewed by the Texas Sweethearts and Scoundrels. I am sad to say that the posting of the interview slipped by in November and we missed linking to it.

So here it is. Thanks for inviting us!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pink Smog by Francesca Lia Block

Two amazing things happened this past fall. The first, I was sent an ARC of Francesca Lia Block's Pink Smog. The second was attending a wedding of 2 librarians. But wait, here's the connection! What do marrying librarians offer guests as favors? BOOKS! The incredible union of their marriage also unified their vast book collections. All books that were duplicates (dozens) were offered on tables all over the reception. I walked away with the first volume of Bone for my son and Weetzie Bat for myself. A double Weetzie and Joanna reunion!

I've talked about Weetzie before. She and Witch Baby hold a special place in my heart. I even love her as an adult in Necklace of Kisses. Pink Smog (HarperTeen 1/12), a prequel, tells the story of a 15 year old Louise whose father just walked out and who is deep in the confusion of early high school. Add to that mysterious poem clues delivered by strangers, a guardian angel, and a load of voodoo.

I will admit that the story dragged through the middle. As much as I loved learning about Louise and what helped shape her into the character I so adore, I found myself bored with the ongoing Winter/Staci saga as well as what is behind all the notes. But all in all, by the end when things are wrapped up and Weetzie peeks her bedazzled head out, I embraced the story.

Prequels may be a mixed bag and we do certainly have some of that here. This novel does not contain as much as the fun magic realism as the others, but that is to be expected because Weetzie is not Weetzie just yet. So while this is a must for collections, I would hesitate to have a new Dangerous Angels reader start with this one. Perhaps try it after the original classic Weetzie Bat.

Now, when is FLB going to work on another middle grade story? I loved House of Dolls.

me in my official work pic from 2007. we were asked to pose with books.

Monday, January 23, 2012

ALA Youth Media Awards 2012

As promised, our yearly ALA Youth Media Awards Chat. Go to the ALA site for a complete list of winners.

8:36 AM (EST)
Patti:  Good morning!
Joanna:  Mornin' sunshine!
Patti:  I'm not sure I can get behind their choice of pre-announcement muzak!
Joanna:  It's so funny. I wonder if they hear it in the hall?
Patti:  I hope for their sakes - no. How did making the eggs go?
Joanna:  Great! It almost didn't happen as I have a bit of a cold. Too much Disney running around this weekend. But I feel better this morning. Coffee and Greg's leftover bday cake really help.
Patti:  "too much Disney" and birthday cake. Sounds like a good morning. lol
Joanna:  Yes. I have to agree. Disney hangover? So what are you doing this am? Are you home alone?
Patti:  I am, they just left after an enormous struggle. The days we run out of chocolate yogurt are days when you would think the world is going to end. It is so dramatic.
Joanna:  Wow. Chocolate yogurt? That would make me sad too.
Patti:  It is Brown Cow. I figure the chocolate flavor is no worse than the other flavors!
Joanna:  Sounds great to me.
Patti:  Although, add that to Nutella on toast and you start to see a disturbing
Joanna:  Ah hah hahaha! Yes. that would do it. We have Nutella as well. The boys mostly forget about it, although James won't eat a muffin w/o asking first for chocolate frosting on it.
Patti:  So I'm trying to think of adult books that I've read this year that might be Alex contenders. The Night Circus? When She Woke (I hope not!)
Joanna:  I also really liked In Zanesville by JoAnn Beard
Patti:  Robopocolypse? I almost picked up Zanesville because I remembered you talking about it. But then I picked up D is for Deadbeat instead.
Joanna:  Your mystery kick. We'll see. Do  you remember what they start with first? Or do they switch each year?
Patti:  I don't. But I think it is bigwig speeches right? ALEX!!!
Joanna:  Can you see anything?
Patti:  Silver Sparrow was also good.
Joanna:  I just have the title image!
Patti:  (and no, can't see a thing except the screen saver - must be part of the pre-show?) Big Girl Small - never heard of it
Joanna:  Wait!
Patti:  YOU GOT IT!
Joanna: Why can't I see this? GRRRR
Patti:  WTF? Why is there no picture? (Glad to see the Night Circus make it!) ROBOPOCOLYPSE!
Joanna:  So far so good. Ah! Finally images.
Patti:  I couldn't read the one set in New Orleans (Salvage the Bones) I knew it would be waaaay too depressing. I put it down. I guess the Alex Awards are not as popular? Take a back seat Alex Awards!
Joanna:  Really. Seems like it. I'll have to check the list later. Did Swamplandia! make it?
Patti:  No. But In Zanesville did.
Joanna:  Huh. Okay. Time for welcome.
Patti:  Blah Blah Blah heh.
Joanna:  I know. Take advantage of the audience to give your speech.
Patti:  They should get a celebrity author to announce. It would be way more exciting. And make it a surprise.
Joanna:  Oh interesting. But I think this is one of the biggest reasons to be a committee chair.
Patti:  Oh yeah, I know. I just have trouble paying attention to speeches. I'm sure other people are more responsible.
Joanna:  Me too. I'm following on Twitter, too.
Patti:  Schneider Family Book Awards
Patti:  NO AWARD!!!!
Joanna:  OH SMACK
Patti:  NONE WERE WORTHY! What balls!
Joanna:  Totally!
Patti:  Amazing!
Joanna:  Two chapter books, though.
Patti:  yes. And Joan Bauer at that ! wow.
Joanna:  WHOA. I hadn't thought of Wonderstruck as a contender for this.
Patti:  Ahhh, that's nice. I never read it, but people say it is really good.
Joanna:  Best Teen Book
Patti:  Teen Book: The Running Dream.
Joanna:  Wendelin Van Draanen
Patti:  I have heard of it - but haven't read it.
Joanna:  Hold on. Thomas the Tank video over.
Patti:  Stonewall Book Award: GLBT: 4 honors: a + e forever. A graphic novel? cool.
Money Boy - never heard of it. Pink. I have read this one and it was super cute and fun.
Joanna:  Okay. Back. Bob the Builder on.
Patti:  With or Without You - I've seen it. Winner: Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy. I love that title.
Joanna:  It is!
Patti:  There's a Joanna on the committee!
Joanna:  We are awesome.
Patti:  you are!
Joanna:  Coretta Scott King Book Awards
Patti:  It is going to be that guy who wins every year (I can't remember his name)
Joanna:  Kadir Nelson
Patti:  The illustrator - YES!
Joanna:  He's so good.
Patti:  Good looking and talented!
Joanna:  I really liked Heart and Soul. I find his art amazing. And the story for that was very good as well.
Patti:  It is amazing. Everything he does is amazing. What is nice is that people haven't gotten blase about it. Lifetime Achievement. Ashley Bryan
Joanna:  Oh! Ashley Bryan!
Patti:  (i don't know who that is!) (how embarrassing!)
Joanna:  He came to APL one year. I missed him and regretted it.
Joanna:  I totally missed that you called Kadir Nelson good looking!
Patti:  Of course and he wins! Way to go Kadir! Well, an honor anyway.
Joanna:  But an honor. So the winner is ...
Patti:  Oh. I liked this one. BEAUTIFUL.
Joanna:  I'll have to check it out. Looks great.
Patti:  Authors: The Great Migration - Eloise Greenfield. Never Forgotten - Patricia McKissack
Joanna:  (you're so fast!) It didn't even occur to me that he would get the author!
Patti:  DANG!!! Kadir! an honor and a winner for AUTHOR! Very cool. You know there were probably some terse conversations until they were like f&*^ it. He can win both.
Joanna : Good for him. I agree. Makes me want to be in the Schneider committee room, too!
THAT musta been crazy.
Patti:  Oh yeah. Drama!
Joanna:  First two eyebrow-raising surprises.
Patti:  Oh how nice. The red-headed step children get a little recognition. lol. Which award is this now?
Joanna:  EDWARDS - Someone mentioned Tamora Pierce.
Patti:  hmmm. Quick. Guess. Yes. Yayayas. Susan Cooper!
Joanna:  Good gravy I need to read her!
Patti:  You know, it is really impossible to guess this one. There are too many people to choose from. I read a couple of them a few years ago. They were very old fashioned. Fun, but I didn't love them enough to finish. The movie was pretty awful.
Joanna:  Oh I remember that movie. I didn't see it. But it had Pacey from Dawson's Creek.
Patti:  Morris!!!! John Corey Whaley!!!! lol
Joanna:  Let's go!
Patti:  I have a copy of the Girl of Fire and Thorns - I'll read it if it wins. But only then.
Joanna:  You know, I appreciate that we have the Morris Award. I like giving recognition to new authors. Oh, Between Shades of Gray... also a Printz hottie.
Patti:  (crap my leg is falling asleep) this chair sucks.
Joanna:  ....
Patti:  YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Joanna:  Hurrah!
Patti:  I feel such happiness!!!!
Joanna:  Recognition.
Patti:  Yay yay yay yay!
Joanna:  It's like, you hugged it and let it go for the Mock Printz... AND IT CAME BACK!
(I am awesome)
Patti:  HAHAHAHAHA. So true! oh jeez. I can't stop laughing.
Joanna:  I'm feeling quite smug. Whoops, non-fiction
Patti:  (cramp in other leg - what is going on with this chair???) I think Michelle liked Bootleg.
Joanna:  I have to read more nf.
Patti:  I bet Wheels of Change wins because I like the cover.
Joanna:  I really like it when I do.
Patti:  I like those pops of red.
Joanna:  Okay, I do not like the cover for Music Was IT.
Patti:  Me neither. It looks crazy.
Joanna:  Like a school project.
Patti:  Snap!
Joanna:  The Notorious Benedict Arnold FTW
Patti:  "history as mystery" it won only so they could say that.
Joanna:  I'm sure they were almost as smug about it as I was for my When Things Come Back.
Patti:  PRINTZ!!! I really have no idea, but a predict maybe a left-field win. Either that or A Monster Calls. At least an honor for that. 4 honors!
Joanna:  Shades of Gray?
Patti:  Well way to go Mr. Handler.
Joanna:  WOW! I have that on reserve. Why We Broke Up
Patti:  The Returning - that was a favorite of "my Printz will come" Jasper Jones - never heard of it.
Joanna:  Okay, 2 I have no idea about. Huh. 4 honors. That's indecision.
Patti:  Michelle also liked the Scorpio Races. I can not read horse books. No matter how worthy.
Joanna:  SHOCK!
Joanna:  SHOCK!
Patti:  Where Things Come Back for the win! LOVED that book!
Patti:  Now I regret not being able to find a better argument to convince people. I should have just been stubborn and said, "because" Wow. I'm not sure there has ever been a double winner before. Has there? Morris is pretty new.
Joanna:  Yeah. But it is wonderful. He's also young.
Patti:  And it was on the National Book Award list too right?
Joanna:  Move over John Green!
Patti:  2012 might be John Green's year though - we just got his book at the library. I need to put it on hold.
Joanna:  He was honored as one of their 5 under 35. The ONLY YA author on the list.
Patti:  Yeah, just double checked. Not on the 5 listed for teen books. Pura Belpre honor for illustration: Cazuela - oh that was a pretty book.
Joanna:  Rafael Lopez - The Cazuela, Sara Palacios - Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match - looks adorable!
Patti:  It does. Abrams has had a lot of books awarded this year.
Joanna:  Winner - Duncan Tonatiuh - Diego Rivera: His World and Ours.
Patti:  or so it seems.
Joanna:  I think these illustrators are new. Good for Abrams.
Patti:  I love the name Diego. It is such a cool name. I knew a kid named Diego and he was such a cool cat.
Patti:  Oh nice. Xavier Garza is such a nice man. Good for him.
Joanna:  And of course, a Margarita Engle book. But way to go Xavier. He is a good guy.
Patti:  Well, well. Under the Mesquite didn't go home empty handed then.
Joanna:  Nope!
Patti:  Odyssey: No idea.
Joanna:  Me neither. I haven't listened to a book since I left Austin.
Patti:  You listen to some though - any particularly good ones? Love the title: Ghetto Cowboy
omg it is so cold in my house.
Joanna:  The previous narrator for Gary D. Schmidt books was my favorite.  I"ll have to look his name up. [Joel Johnstone] Honor for Okay for Now. Winner - Best Audio Book Produced for Children and Young Adult
Patti:  Oh wow! I read Rotters It was a seriously gross book. Very original. I liked it a lot - despite the fact I wondered why they didn't shower more.
Joanna:  So funny. You know, last year we knew several people on the committees. This year, not so much. May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture - Michael Morpurgo. Speaking of horses. No interest in War Horse.
Patti:  Isn't that a movie now?
Joanna:  Yes.
Patti:  Dogs and Horses. The eternal popular subjects. I wonder if you want to win something if you should just write a book about a dog/horse loving librarian.
Joanna:  Bingo.
Patti:  Wow: What a boring cover. Right out of the 80s (sorry) Is there blood coming from Soldier Bear's eye?
Joanna:  The Batchelder Award. I missed it
Patti:  It was kinda wild. I'm going to choose to believe it was blood.
Joanna:  I can follow that. Sibert - Most Distinguished Information Book
for Children
Patti:  what is the difference between non-fiction or informational?
Joanna:  Good heavens - 4 honors! Black & White
Patti:  Does non-fiction not have to be informational?
Joanna:  Drawing from Memory. Interesting.
Patti:  I'm confused on the difference.
Joanna:  Maybe it's just what sounds better? Oh Witches. I need to see if I can get that at my library. [edit: Nope. They don't have it. Hop to it, JPL!] LOVE BALLOONS OVER BROADWAY! It's in my library bag right now. I thought it was beautiful.
Patti:  It looks really neat. Love those parades.
Joanna:  There's great collage and puppet mixed media for the illustrations as well as drawing.
Patti:  (or the balloons to be more exact)
Joanna:  Yes! Carnegie for video.
Patti:  Video: Will Mo Win again?
Joanna:  I hope they show us!
Patti:  OH WOW!
Joanna:  Children Make Terrible Pets
Patti:  I love that book - so cute.
Joanna:  Totally. SHOW US THE VIDEO
Patti:  And the illustration is so charming.
Joanna:  C'mon.
Patti:  They totally should show us the video.
Joanna:  Yay! Video! Is the narrator from the show Modern Family?
Patti:  Excellent! Lucy! I forgot her name was Lucy! (that is the name we're thinking of)
Joanna:  Oh fun! Greg wanted that name too!
Patti:  Awesome!
Patti:  So the daughter on Modern Family? [narrator is Emily Eiden]
Joanna:  Yes, the younger one. [edited: Ariel Winter]
Patti:  Sounds like it could be. Love her voice - perfect! Whoever it is.
Joanna:  Yep. Super cute. Geisel. We should already type Mo Willems.
Patti:  heh. yadda yadda yadda
Joanna:  And there we go. I Broke My Trunk. Seriously, though, my kids love them. Even my 8 yo. I WANT MY HAT BACK.
Patti:  Cute! I haven't seen Tales for Very Picky Eaters before.
Joanna:  Me neither. I'd like to check it out. Sounds cute. Goodness knows any help getting my kids to eat something new is a good thing.
Patti:  Me too. I don't know what happened. All of a sudden - he wouldn't eat anything.
Joanna:  Such a wide field. Harder to guess this year.
3 honors: Blackout - John Rocco
Patti:  Our library seems to get very few picture books - I have to request all the "best of"s this year.
Joanna:  WOW. Grandpa Green by Lane Smith (many a mock #1) I also really liked Me...Jane by McDonnell. Winner is.. WOW. A Ball for Daisy. I wasn't blown away by that one.
Patti:  A Ball for Daisy. I remember flipping through that. Not much else.
Joanna:  Totally. I flipped as well! I do love Raschka, though.
Patti:  Newbery:
Joanna:  2 Honors - nice. I like a short list.
Patti:  only 2 honors! WOW. Look at that.
Joanna:  Whoa - Inside Out and Back Again. I so enjoyed this one. I'm happy for it.
Patti:  that was on tons of lists.
Joanna:  Wha? Breaking Stalin's Nose?
Patti:  ?
Joanna:  ??? Winner -
Patti:  heh.
Joanna:  Well!
Patti:  Oh Wow!
Joanna:  Dead End in Norvelt!
Patti:  I met him at ALA this summer. What a weird and cool dude.
Joanna:  Checked this one out but never got to it.
Patti:  Seriously weird and seriously cool. I haven't read it either.
Joanna:  Oh funny. A book about reading wins. Whaddya know?
Patti:  I'm glad he won. He seems a bit risque - just because it is Gantos. Like they took a chance or something.
Joanna:  Yeah, Rotten Ralph FTW!
Patti:  Oh man how about the mother love book?!? That one was twisted. And really good.
Joanna:  I have no idea bout that one.
Patti:  The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs
Joanna:  Oh, didn't read it.
Patti:  SO WEIRD. Very good.
Joanna:  I remember it though. So Between Shades of Gray. NOTHING. [edited: It was a Morris Finalist.]
Patti:  Well, Ms. Joanna - it was lovely chatting with you!
Joanna:  It was! I looked forward to this so much.
Patti:  Nothing! Shut out! how interesting! Also nothing for A Monster Calls - which was sad.
Joanna:  OH!!
Patti:  Poor Patrick Ness. When will your day come?
Joanna:  Right!! Maybe the two author thing was a problem?
Patti:  Maybe he'll never win anything and then will show up on the Margaret Edward award.
Joanna:  Stranger things have happened.
Patti:  That is what someone suggested (the two authors) but compilations aren't a problem for the Printz.
Joanna:  Right.
Patti:  Who knows. Some people thought the boy acted too young for his purported age. And some people thought the bully was a little over the top. I can see both points.
Joanna:  True. I kind of hated most of the adults in the book. Tell the boy the truth! Help him out!
Patti:  Yeah.
Joanna:  It's the problem I'm having with Everybody Sees the Ants. My god - help Lucky!
Patti:  Right.
Joanna:  Also just saw on Twitter that Amelia Lost - lost. I thought that was an excellent NF/Informational book.
Patti:  I haven't read it.
Joanna:  So suspenseful even though you know the ending.
Patti:  Alrighty! Must get to work!
Joanna:  Yes! Bring home the bacon. Have a great Monday!
Patti:  Super! Thanks!
Joanna:  Bye Patti!
Patti:  And you too! Bye!
Sent at 9:55 AM on Monday