Category Archives: Bedtime Stories
Bedtime Stories: Eleanor & Park
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.
Happy Monday! Some people are all a-twitter about the upcoming Superbowl game; others are talking about the Grammys. And then there are those who have been awaiting the REAL big news. I’m talking (as if you don’t know) about the ALA Midwinter Conference, at which all the literary awards are announced: Newbery, Printz, Coretta Scott King, Caldecott, and many others. Nothing quite as vindicating as having read a book just before it is awarded a medal. That proves real youth librarian stuff. Well, I’m not really a youth librarian and the book I just read didn’t win, HOWEVER I have just learned that Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell just won a Printz Honor! Yayyyy!
The place: Omaha, Nebraska. The time: 1986. Eleanor is the new kids. She’s fat, poor, has vibrant red hair and pale skin. She would love to be invisible but instead she is highly visible. Park is the only Asian kid in school, half Korean. He’s just cool enough to be left alone. And despite whatever damage may be done to his standing, he is the only one who makes space for Eleanor to sit down on the bus. So it begins.
Told in alternating voices of the two main characters, we watch the awkward, emotional and painful blossoming of a relationship. Built initially on interest in comics and all the alt bands of the 80s, Joy Division, The Smiths, U2, it’s a sweet and upsetting and funny novel for teens. The audio version is fun as it has two narrators, one for each point of view. Definitely worth a read/listen.
Bedtime Stories: Chomp
Chomp by Carl Hiaasen.
I’ve heard a lot about Carl Hiaasen. Lots of monosyllabic titles. Darling of the state of Florida. Hoot, Flush, Chomp, Scat are among his children’s titles. I read Chomp because it was what happened to be available. The story tells of a boy by the name of Wahoo Cray. He and his father Mickey are professional animal wranglers. Since a head injury involving a dead iguana falling from a tree, Mickey has been unable to work and Wahoo has been taking up the slack. As you can imagine, animal wrangling is not a very financially stable career so when Derek Badger, the obnoxious, chubby star of a reality survival series shows up needing a gator and a snake to “encounter” Wahoo is more than happy to comply.
Although he has always faked the show, Derek’s encounter with the gator, in which he almost dies, is inspired to make this show for real and hires the two to lead him into the Everglades. Accompanied by Wahoo’s friend Tuna (their immediate bond is their unfortunate fish-related names) their short trip to the swamps turns into a real survival show, as well as a manhunt and much more.
Hiaasen is a pretty funny writer and clearly knows his home state, not to mention its flora and fauna, very well. I’m going to go read Flush next. I’ll let you know how it is.
Bedtime Stories: Big Appetites
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Big Appetites: tiny people in a world of big food by Christopher Boffoli.
My favorite, and also the most challenging part of the whole Christmas shopping thing is taking my 5.5-year-old out to pick out presents for his mom. It’s funny: he never wanted to go to the perfume counter or look at jewelry; I guess he knows his mother too well. He felt most inspired at the book store. Although I put the kibosh on the book of poetry supposedly written by a cat (it was even worse than you might imagine; this cat is not only not real, but a terrible poet to boot. Think of someone who is not a poet trying to sound poetic. And then filter that through the lens of a cat. You get the idea) his next selection was definitely worth a look.
Perhaps you have the the art of Christopher Boffoli. Microsculptures of all kinds of people doing all kinds of everyday activities placed in an environment of food. The cover depicts a tiny person “mowing” an enormous orange. Suddenly, such a pedestrian task as cutting a green bean becomes as big a job as cutting a fallen tree. Two lumberjacks toil over the bean. A little crawdad become a beast on the loose.Someone must have told the artist to add captions to the pictures, maybe to beef up the size of the book. Personally, I think these take away any open-ended interpretations of the images. I prefer to ignore them and let the pictures speak for themselves. Big Appetites is a funny and easy coffee table book.
Bedtime Stories for the Brave: Lockwood & Co.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Lockwood & Co., book one: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud.
Happy Christmas Eve, Everyone! I know that maybe I should be reading heartwarming books of sharing, caring, and snow. But I ain’t. I’m afraid that the last book I read was NOT about Holiday warmth, or family, or gift-giving. It was a young adult novel about scary ghosts and the children who fight them.
London, some time in the future. The Problem first arose a few decades ago. Ghosts began appearing in huge numbers. And unlike the wispy specters of days gone by, these ghosts are dangerous; just a little ectoplasmic caress and you’ve been “ghost touched” which can be fatal. Interestingly, children are more sensitive to these spectral forces; adults cannot see or hear them. So it is children who work as ghost hunters.
The story surrounds Lucy Carlyle, who has joined the team of Anthony Lockwood and George Cubbins. Unlike most teams, they have no adult supervisor which makes them sometimes a little careless but always exciting. When a wealthy iron worker hires them to rid the most haunted house in England of spirits, they are in way over their heads but eager to prove their worth.
Totally scary and very engaging, this is a great read for older kids or childish adult who enjoy a good shiver. It just occurred to me: A Christmas Carol is totally a ghost story and it’s seasonally appropriate, so maybe I’m not totally off-base on this! Merry Christmas!