Viminy Crowe's Comic Book

“…and that’s when the hullabaloo began.”

Viminy Crowe’s Comic Book by Marthe Jocelyn & Richard Scrimger; comics by Caludia Dávila

Viminy Crowe's Comic Book

When chubby, geeky Wylder Wallace spills lunch on cool and aloof Addy Crowe at Toronto’s ComiCon, she dashes to the bathroom, leaving behind the latest issue of her uncle’s steampunk comic hit: FLYNN GOSTER in GOLD RUSH TRAIN. Wylder, a fan of the Flynn comics, opens this new one eagerly, astounded to see the girl who was just yelling at him inside the comic. Fascinated, he follows Addy into the bathroom, and the adventure begins…

Flynn Goster and Gold Rush Train

This is undoubtedly one of the funniest and amazing stories that I’ve read in a good long time. From the moment I was introduced to Wylder and Addy, I wanted to be there with them. Alas, I was only and observer and had to live vicariously through them. I’m a comic book fan myself (Superman!) and often wish I could be a part of the story, and not just in the comics I read. The Man of Steel helps Wylder out at a fast food joint to choose between onion rings or French fries. Big smile on my face when I read this. Great way to open the story.

Behind a cardboard display of Flynn Goster in Gold Rush Train at the Toronto ComicFest lies an unexpected adventure for Wylder and Addy. Wylder relishes the moments of freedom from his mother (despite her incessant text messages) and Addy just wants to be (more…)

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

A Beautiful, Lyrical, Magical Story

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye WaltonThis is, without question, one of the best and most beautifully written books I’ve read in several years. Ava Lavender is a normal girl in many respects but with one major difference: she was born with wings. In an effort to determine where she came from, she recounts her family history and in doing so spans continents and generations. Love is gained and then lost, moments turn from thrills to devastation, and families break apart and come together again. Through four generations of women Ava comes to her own story in a stunning coming-of-age novel that embraces humanity in all it’s beauty and fragility. Walton’s use of lyricism, historical detail, powerful and unique characters, and magical realism combines to create a hearbreaking and unforgettable narrative. And though it was published as a young adult novel, its emotional maturity and expressive narrative make it an appealing read for both teens and adults. (more…)

keep-calm-it-s-jenny-s-birthday-9

Happy Birthday, Jenny!

 

 

 

 

 

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“Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.” ― Larry Lorenzoni

Jozi First Bday (24 of 48)

Keep Calm Image from http://bit.ly/1mb8vGu

Corgi Image from http://bit.ly/1rDIuN8

Under the Egg

A great art history mystery…

Under the Egg by Laura Marx FitzgeraldUnder the Egg

Only two people know about the masterpiece hidden in the Tenpenny home — and one of them is dead. The other is Theodora Tenpenny. Theo is responsible for tending to the family’s two-hundred-year-old town house, caring for the flock of unwieldy chickens, and supporting her fragile mother, all on her grandfather’s legacy of $463. So, when Theo discovers a painting in the house that looks like a priceless masterpiece, she should be happy about it, but Theo’s late grandfather was a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and if the painting is as valuable as she thinks it is, then her grandfather wasn’t who she thought he was.

When Theo’s grandfather passes away, he leaves her with a mystery to figure out…”Look under the egg.” When she discovers what she thinks is an unknown, perhaps lost or stolen masterpiece, Theo discovers a completely different side to her grandfather. Armed with her knowledge of art history and a new best friend, Theo sets out to the museums of New York to find what’s really “under the egg”. The answer is closer than she knows. (more…)

The Glass Casket

Love, Death, and Magic

The Glass Casket by McCormick TemplemanThe Glass Casket

Death hasn’t visited Rowan Rose since it took her mother when Rowan was only a little girl. But that changes one bleak morning, when five horses and their riders thunder into her village and through the forest, disappearing into the hills. Days later, the riders’ bodies are found, and though no one can say for certain what happened in their final hours, their remains prove that whatever it was must have been brutal. Rowan’s village was once a tranquil place, but now things have changed. Something has followed the path those riders made and has come down from the hills, through the forest, and into the village. Beast or man, it has brought death to Rowan’s door once again. And this time, its appetite is insatiable.

This was a fantastic read from start to finish. The storyline itself has a very dark, fairy tale-like quality to it. Templeman’s writing is very vivid, splashing across the pages in vivid whites and reds. Definitely not for the faint of heart, but something to read well into the night. Despite being a very dark horror/fantasy driven plot, there’s a love story at its heart. Which begs the question…how far would you go to be with the one you love? All in all a very engaging read. This is Templeman’s second novel and I’ve read great reviews about her debut novel The Little Woods. It’s so hard to find great mysteries for young adults, so I’m looking forward to reading that as well. On a side note, I don’t know why it’s called The Glass Casket. From the cover and the title I expected a darker Snow White-ish retelling, but the glass casket does not factor in that much of the plot. If anyone else who reads this has any insight, let me know.

Age 13+

Publisher: Delacorte Press (February 2014)

ISBN: 9780385743457

Available as an eBook

Image from www.goodreads.com

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from the publisher.

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Happy 3rd Birthday OTIJ!!

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. — C.S.Lewis

Today OTIJ is three years old, and like any youngster, we’re still trying to find our feet. Life has brought us new challenges and adventures, but both Jenny and I are still avid readers (like that’ll ever change!). Hopefully (fingers crossed), we’ll have some new reviews to post to the site soon. Until then…

Image from http://bit.ly/NBh9hT

Earth Day

Celebrate Earth Day!!

Earth Day by Jane Yolen

I am the Earth

And the Earth is me.

Each blade of grass,

Each honey tree,

Each bit of mud,

And stick and stone

Is blood and muscle,

Skin and bone.

And just as I

Need every bit

Of me to make

My body fit,

So Earth needs

Grass and stone and tree

And things that grow here

Naturally.

That’s why we

Celebrate this day.

That’s why across

The world we say:

As long as life,

As dear, as free,

I am the Earth

And the Earth is me. 

Poem from http://bit.ly/Z4WHIw

Earth Day Image from http://bit.ly/11iXi98


The Sun in My Belly book cover

Buddhist Teachings in a Lovely Picture Book

The Sun in My Belly by Sister Susan; illustrations by Sister Rain

Jenny and Molly are two young girls playing ball in a field. They begin to argue and finally walk away from one another, both angry and sad. Jenny cries, but the warmth of the sun on her head gives her comfort, and she begins to realize that everything is connected and thus inside of her. As she reflects on the beauty of the natural world around her—and subsequently the beauty in herself—she is happy and no longer feels alone. When Jenny encounters Molly again, they both apologize for their behavior and begin to share their thoughts on the world and its many wonders.

Inspired by the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, The Sun in My Belly introduces readers to the Buddhist practice of mindfulness and connectedness. Sister Susan and Sister Rain, both ordained nuns in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, wrote this book to share a philosophical concept: we are never alone because everything is a part of us, from the rain and sun to the plants and animals with which we share our world. (more…)

"The Dragon's Tooth" book cover

Action-packed Fantasy (with a bit of history and mythology, too)

The Dragon’s Tooth by N. D. Wilson

In the middle of America (Wisconsin, to be precise), twelve-year-old Cyrus Smith and his older siblings Antigone and Daniel are living their everyday hum-drum lives. Of course, their version of “hum drum” involves living parent-less, managing a run-down motel, and eating pancakes for just about every meal while pretending to the outside world that all is well. But when a strange tattooed man claiming to know their deceased father shows up, a strange turn of events (and one wild taxi ride) takes them to Ashtown and the steps of the Order of Brendan, the secret society of famous explorers throughout history. Thrown headfirst into a world of conspiracy, secrets, and adventure, they fight to prove themselves and stay alive in what is a sometimes crazy, sometimes scary, and always entertaining journey.

N. D. Wilson, author of the 100 Cupboards series, has created an adventurous and magical world that could almost exist in your own backyard. Think Harry Potter but in America and with real historical people as characters. (more…)

What's So Special About Planet Earth? by Robert E. Wells

Planet Earth Is Home

What’s So Special About Planet Earth? by Robert E. Wells

Sometimes Earth can be uncomfortable with weather that’s either too hot or too cold, and huge storms seem to come out of nowhere. In this introductory book about the planets, author Wells invites kids to pretend they’re visiting each of the planets in our solar system to find a new place to live. (As he says, “If you’re thinking about moving, you’d want to visit first, to see if the planet was right for you.”) The journey brings us to all eight planets in our solar system, Earth included, and at each we learn about distance from the sun, planet diameter, orbit time, number of moons, temperatures, and more. Each planet is interesting, but none seem to quite fit the bill for what humans, plants, and animals need in a home. When we finally travel back home to “our” planet, Wells explains why Earth is just right for us and the animals and plants we live with. He also tells us that we haven’t always taken good care of our home (pollution, etc.) and there are ways to make it better. He talks about recycling, reducing use of resources, and reusable energy. After all, planet Earth is pretty special–we’d better take care of it!

Bright, cartoon-like illustrations make the book fun, and some pages are written and drawn at different angles so readers have to rotate the book, which makes it interesting. In some ways, What’s So Special reminds me of The Magic School Bus series (more…)

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