Monday, February 25, 2013

Kiki Strike: The Darkness Dwellers

I absolutely love this series!  I came across the first Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City quite by accident one Saturday while working at the Nanuet Library and have been a huge fan ever since! 

 Ananka, Betty, Luz, Oona and Kiki Strike make up the Irregulars, a group of talented, creative geniuses.  In Book one, the girls ventured deep underground to save New York City.  Book two features Oona's evil twin and an exhibit at the Met. Now in book three, the girls are thrust into a fast paced international mystery with Betty and Kiki jetting of Paris and Kiki traveling to her home country of Pokrovia to attempt once again that her aunt murdered her parents and that she is the rightful princess of their homeland.  

I love that Ananka's witty commentary and continuity of all five girls flows superbly through all three novels. Kirsten Miller has created all of the Irregulars to be funny, smart, well developed characters, learning from their mistakes, sometimes struggling to get along and kicking butt to get the job done!

I recommend this series to both girls and guys who appreciate humor, action, smart people, sarcasm, espionage, teenage masterminds and a good story!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Picture Book Round up!

Here are some of the picture books I have enjoyed recently!

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri is so, so fun!  I can't wait to pair this with David LaRochelle's The Best Pet of All for storytime!

Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead,illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Sweet, sweet bear!  He has something so important to share.  But all his friends are too busy preparing for winter to listen.  Wonderfully illustrated, this is another gem of a story from the team that gave us Sick Day for Amos McGee.

Red Knit Cap Girl by Naoko Stoop 

Red Knit Cap Girl wants to meet the moon.  A sweet story about a curious girl with a dream.

  What's the time, Mr. Wolf?

I love the work of Debi Gliori for baby time and toddler time. I would use this one for preschoolers and older and its a nice addition to use with traditional folk tales like  my favorite Galdones, Three Bears, Three Pigs, Little Red Hen and other fractured tales too. Also, a great book for the birthday theme which are harder to find than one might think!

Bedtime in the Jungle by John Butler

I love all the Butler books for baby and toddler time and this is no exception. Sweet illustrations and rhymes! 

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead

When George and his dad move into a Brooklyn apartment building, George meets Safer and his unusual family.  Safer is a spy, currently embroiled in a mystery involving their seldom seen neighbor, Mr. X.  George is strong armed into becoming Safer's assistant and the plot thickens.  As Safer's requests become less fun and more scary, George starts to question this game.  How far is too far for fun?  What is the truth and what is a lie?  What is the truth behind Safer's story and where is George's mother?  All of these questions will keep the reader wondering.   

I really like Rebecca Stead's style of writing and I really loved When You Reach Me, her 2010 Newbery Award novel and this book is a strong, lovely second effort.  George, Safer and their families are all well drawn characters. I continue to be intrigued by stories about growing up in New York City and in Stead's hands the city is indeed a character, adding a layer of life to the story.  

This weekend I was able to attend a panel discussion at NYPL about the current onslaught and popularity of YA Fiction and the toll it is taken on middle grade fiction and middle grade fiction readers.  The talk was fun and thought provoking and Stead was delightful.  I am confident middle grade fiction is safe in her hands for years to come.