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Monday Book Review — What’s New on My Nightstand: “Willa of the Wood,” by Robert Beatty; “Nothing Happened,” by Molly Booth; “Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen,” by Candace Fleming & Eric Rohmann

July 30th, 2018

“Willa of the Wood,” by Robert Beatty (Disney-Hyperion, 2018, 376 pages, $16.99) feels a bit like “The Borrowers,” which is cool. Set in 1900 in the Great Smoky Mountains, the book tells the story of Willa, a “night spirit” who borrows things from humans in order to ensure her clan’s survival. The novel is different, offbeat and has lots of adventures. Beatty is also the author of the Serafina fantasy series.

I’m enjoying reading “Nothing Happened,” (“what happens at camp stays at camp”) a twist on Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” (written by Molly Booth, Hyperion Books, 2018, 325 pages). Camp Dogberry, the year-round home of sisters Bea and Hana Leonoto and their parents, welcomes back counselors Claudia, Ben, John and the younguns who attend as campers. Book contains teen sexuality, some curse words, and dialogue that is funny, honest and real. Great summer read.

Another good read is “Strongheart, Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen,” written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann. (Random House Children’s Books, 2018, ages 8-12, 256 pages, $17.99.) The book is based on the true story of Strongheart and Lady Jule, canine movie stars of the 1920s. These German Shepherds were something else (if you google you can find some old clips on YouTube.) Kids like dog books, and “true” books (“Did this really happen? In real life?”), so I’m thinking “Strongheart” will be a hit. The illustrations are graphic novel-style — tip of the hat to Brian Selznick (“Hugo Cabret,” “Wonder”).

Bon appetit, babies.

WM

Saturday Book Review: So Many Summer Titles, Happy! “Miles Morales: Spider-Man,” by Jason Reynolds, cover by Kadir Nelson; “Hilo: Waking the Monsters,” written & illustrated by Judd Winick; “Grow up, Ant-Man!” written by Brandon T. Snider, illustrated by Jessika von Innerebner

July 21st, 2018

When someone sends me a case of books… oh, my gosh. The exhilaration, the joy, the goofiness that is involved, daily, with being a book geek… yeah. I loved when those Scholastic Book Club orders would show up, when I was a kid (and later, there were the Scholastic Book Fairs with my own kids, and my own fairs that I ran when I was a librarian). Ah, books. So that’s how I have felt a lot lately, when the mail shows up. :)

All photos by me :) Except I think the butterfly pic is by B, because how could I take my own pic with a butterfly on my arm? Lol.

Coronado Shores, Corvallis, chickens n dogs 💜
That’s a blue butterfly on Marys Peak in Corvallis. One of the endangered Fender’s Blues? Or one of the less-endangered ones? Who knows. Pretty, though.

First up: A review I needed to do months ago when this awesome cool book landed in the mailbox. “Miles Morales: Spider-Man,” by Jason Reynolds, cover by Kadir Nelson (Marvel, 2017, 261 pages, $17.99). Great book about a school-age young man who is smart, funny, loves his family, has fun with his best friend, is crushing out on a pretty poet in his class, puts up with school and the drama there and oh, yeah. He’s Spider-Man. Which is kind of a pain.

This book is a mystery, a story about a superhero, a love story, a family drama, and it’s all about poetry, too. It is poetry. Also? Brooklyn! (I like the Brooklyn/New York kid books. You know.) (And the cover is one beautiful work of art. Love Kadir Nelson, love.) You’ll like it. Reynolds’ other books include “When I Was the Greatest,” “The Boy in the Black Suit,” “All American Boys” and several others.

Coronado Shores, Corvallis, chickens n dogs 💜

That’s a lovely sunset at Coronado Shores, Gleneden Beach, Oregon coast. I miss living there, but you can’t have it all, babies. Where would you put it?

“Hilo: Waking the Monsters,” written and illustrated by Judd Winik (Random House Children’s Books, 2018, ages 8-12, 208 pages, $9.99). If you like the “Bone” series (or “Big Nate,” or “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”) you are going to love this graphic novel (this is Book 4 in the series). Hilo and his sidekick Gina are going to save the world, so watch out.

Coronado Shores, Corvallis, chickens n dogs 💜

My old front yard at the beach house, with gunnera plant (elephant ears) on front right.

Marvel’s “Grow Up, Ant-Man!” (written by Brandon T. Snider, illustrated by Jessika von Innerebner, Marvel, 2018, $12.99) is a picture book for the littles. Super fun, bright colors, and will hold the kiddos’ interest. Cassie’s dad, Ant-Man, is a little wild. She’d like him to grow up, but she would also like him to play in her dollhouse and have a tea party with her. So there’s some conflict. Lol.

All for now, babies.

WM

plant list

July 9th, 2018

Trees and firewood

(“Boots’s Alberta Spruce & friends” — Photo by Nancy Ellen Row Rawley)

Here’s a partial list of everything I’ve planted in the past year (all successes, except for the clematis, and the cuke). I’m putting tomato cages around everything, and the chickens are mostly leaving stuff alone.

Vegetables
* tomato “Bush Early Girl” — surviving in spite of the deer
* tomato — Roma, ditto
* “Golden Cross Bantam Hybrid” corn — not so much. V. popular with deers.
* squash, yellow summer
* “Kentucky Wonder” pole beans
* a big, healthy artichoke — “Green Globe”
* sweet bell pepper “California Wonder”
* “Lunchbox Orange” sweet snacking pepper — the chickens keep digging it up; I keep replanting. We’ll see…
* Ferry-Morse Pumpkin “Jack O’Lantern”
* “Slicemaster Select” cuke (a goner)
* Bush Blue Lake Beans (yum. They’re good.)

Flowers
* Lupine “Russell’s Mixture”
* Laurentia Fluviatilis “Blue Star Creeper”
* Nasturtium (Mahogany)
* Baby’s Breath “Covent Garden”
* Lobelia “Color Cascade/Trailing Mixed Colors”
* Delphinium “Pacific Giants Mixture”
* Mexican Sunflower “Tithonia” — these took awhile to get going, but eventually got 10 feet tall and were just glorious
* Clematis “Jackmannii” (short-lived, due to chickens picking)

Boots’s Plants
* Alberta Spruce — several of these babies. They appreciate water.
* Begonia “Elatior”
* One sweet little lone fuchsia
* Raspberries! Marionberries! One of the chickens, Ludell, jumps straight up, snatches a berry, lands, gobbles it, and jumps straight up again. Rinse & repeat. I get that song stuck in my head when I see her doing this — “jump around! jump around! jump up jump up and get down!” Yeah, that’s her song.

All for now, loves.

WM

Thursday Book Review: For the Children! — “The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley,” by April Stevens; “Annie’s Life in Lists,” by Kristin Mahoney; “Star Wars: Are You Scared, Darth Vader?”, by Adam Rex; and Danica McKellar’s “Bathtime Mathtime” & “Do Not Open This Math Book”

July 5th, 2018

June 2018

I love books. But I also love sleep. And social mores dictate that I must at least “make an effort” around the house and yard, and work, and cook sometimes and there you have it. I am vowing this summer to take two blocks a week — a morning, an afternoon, an evening, whatever combo works — shirk all responsibility and read, instead.

“The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley,” by April Stevens (Schwartz & Wade, 2018, ages 8-12, 197 pages, $16.99). I am enamored with this book, and dear Frances, aka Figgrotten, and her desire to understand nature, anthropology, and her big sister, Christinia. The author has made some brave choices with this book. I like that, too.

“Often, at dinner, she’d ask questions that seemed to confuse her family. Things like, ‘I read that Margaret Mead used to hang up the phone when she was done talking to people. She didn’t even say goodbye. Just clunk, put the receiver down. Do you think that was because the people she studied didn’t have telephones?’”

This is a delightful and insightful read. Ditto for the next one:

“Annie’s Life in Lists,” by Kristin Mahoney (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2018, ages 8-12, 261 pages, $16.99). Do you like making lists? I do. So does Annie. But sometimes she makes lists, sees patterns, remembers details that other people don’t, and this makes her stand out. When she moves from Brooklyn, N.Y., to Clover Gap, population 8,432, she has to make some adjustments. Engaging story, believable characters, such a good book.

Now for something entirely different…

A Star Wars book: “Are You Scared, Darth Vader?” by Adam Rex (Disney/LucasFilm Press, 2018, $17.99). Have you read “Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich”? You should, because it is really good and very funny. So is this one. Darth Vader (surprise) isn’t scared of one thing — not witches, not bats, not public speaking, not spiders, not… children. Wait. Read the book and see what happens. It’s a good one, and the illustrations are a lot of fun. Yes, that’s right, I said “fun” and “Darth Vader” in the same paragraph.

Last but not least, two new math books from children’s author, math whiz and actress Danica McKellar: “Bathtime Mathtime” and “Do Not Open This Math Book” (Crown Books for Young Readers, 2018, ages 2-5, 20 pages, $8.99, and ages 6-9, 160 pages, $18.99). The first is a sweet little board book, with counting games and bright, colorful illustrations. The second is chock-full of addition + subtraction math games that are so fun and innovative that it might take the kids awhile to realize that they’re learning. So much fun. Get them comfortable with numbers, you won’t regret it. And you might even learn a little something, too.

Bon appetit, babies!

WM