Sunday, October 22, 2006

Weekend Reviews (1-2)

It was a busy, busy day yesterday, so the weekend review roundup comes in only one part this time.

Susan Perren reviews a variety to titles for Toronto's Globe and Mail. Books reviewed include:
  • Abby's Birds, by Ellen Schwartz (ill. by Sima Elizabeth Sheftin) (Big quote here: "Ellen Schwartz's cut-paper illustrations-- ingenious and most appealing to the eye --are the perfect medium for this exquisitely subtle picture book, in which origami, the Japanese art of folding paper to make various objects and shapes, is both theme and message.")
  • A Crash of Rhinos, A Party of Jays: The Wacky Way We Name Animal Groups, by Diane Swanson (ill. by Mariko Ando Spencer) ("a cheerfully educational vantage point from which to view the natural world and its denizens")
  • Creatures Great and Small, by Karen Patkau ("starkly beautiful renderings of representatives from the insect, fish mammal, reptile, amphibian, bird, sea jelly, crustacean, arachnid and mollusk kingdoms")
  • Fire! The Renewal of a Forest, by Celia Godkin ("That forest fires are a necessity is the premise of Godkin's picture book, one admirably supported by watercolour illustrations geared to the young reader. ")
  • Odd Man Out, by Sarah Ellis (a "richly textured and involving novel")

Henry Alford reviews Lemony Snicket's The End for the New York Times. ( and finds it "more suspenseful than the other books, largely because we want to know if the vile Olaf will finally get his comeuppance, and whether there is any more information about the Baudelaires’ parents")

Jenny Nimmo's The Snow Spider is the Book of the Week in the Washington Post. ("the magical first book in a trilogy by the author of the Charlie Bone series")

The Getaway, by Ed Vere (a picture book), is the Children's Book of the Week in the Times (reviewed by Nicolette Jones).

Horrid Henry’s Christmas Cracker, by Francesca Simon, is discussed, not reviewed, at the Times. I can't wait for this one.

Mary Harris Russell reviews many a new book for the Chicago Tribune. Let's see if I can get them all:

  • Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct, by Mo Willems
  • Chowder, by Peter Brown
  • Pancakes for Supper, by Anne Issacs, ill. by Mark Teague ("Mark Teague's slightly larger-than-life figures give just the right atmosphere.")
  • I'm Not a Baby, by Jill McElmurry ("Child readers will delight in feeling smarter than Leo's family")
  • I'm Dirty, by Kate and Jim McMullan ("Only such a well-chosen hero could conclude by wishing us 'a dirty day!'")
  • Winter Is the Warmest Season, by Lauren Stringer. I find this assertion highly debatable, but Harris Russell says, "Winter's cold is a terrific incentive to assemble all the warmth you can think of: fuzzy boots, earflap hats, hot chocolate. " Off topic: This is why I'm a Californian at heart. I dislike all those things from boots to hot chocolate.
  • The End, by Lemony Snicket ("Don't miss it!")
  • Crispin: At the Edge of the World, by Avi ("Crispin also struggles to figure out what acting like a man will be, and the novel ends with an episode in France that leaves no doubt that war is hell designed by human greed.")
  • Horns and Wrinkles, by Joseph Helgerson ("a journey worth following")
  • Wintersmith, by Terry Pratchett ("For all the fun, it's about taking responsibility")
  • The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: Vol. I: The Pox Party, by M.T. Anderson ("The reading starts slowly, the vocabulary is demanding, but then, after not so long, you're unable to put it down.")
  • This Is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn, by Aidan Chambers ("This book is not for a young or impatient reader. Through it, however, Cordelia blazes into life, sometimes annoying, honest, vulnerable")