Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute

Have you ever thought about what might really be going on in the life of your Lunch Lady?

Most people don't think about it, but Hector, Terrence and Dee have recently started to wonder. "Maybe she has a family to take care of"..."I bet she has like a hundred cats!"..."Maybe she's some sort of secret-agent spy or something...".

Lunch Lady and her side-kick Betty do have something going on after all. Beneath the cafeteria is a lab of sorts where ordinary kitchen utensils and sundries are altered into gadgets and weaponry.

But why would a school need Lunch Lady superheroes?

Because the teachers aren't necessarily who they seem to be. Previously unknown substitute Mr. Pasteur is suddenly stepping in for popular teacher Mr. O'Connell who hasn't been sick in 20 years. Sound fishy? It should!

Jarrett J. Krosoczka has written a laugh-out-loud funny graphic novel that is sure to have kids talking. From the familiar school angst that Hector, Terrence and Dee are facing, to the wise cracking maintenance man, readers will recognize their own lives. Add in an over the top dash of superhero action, and readers will be passing these hand to hand without checking them back in to the library! The black, white and yellow illustrations are effective and lend not only to instant recognition of the series (a la Babymouse), but are clean yet filled with movement at the same time.

Jarrett. J. Krosoczka gets funny and he gets what kids like. Look for Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute, and Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians on shelves in summer '09!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Twenty One Balloons

Professor William Waterman Sherman has just been fished out of the Atlantic Ocean by the crew of the S.S. Cunningham. They found the Professor floating among the detritus of some twenty deflated balloons. Obviously the Captain and crew of the ship were anxious to know the Professor's story, but he simply refuses to tell insisting that "This tale of mine shall first be heard in the auditorium of the Western American Explorers' Club in San Fransisco, of which I am an honorary member!" (p.11)

The Professor is then whisked cross country in none other than the President's very own train. Everyone, it seems, is awaiting the details of the Professor's round-the-world balloon trip.

Once the Professor is ensconced in a comfy bed on the stage in the auditorium of the Explorers' Club, he begins to tell his tale. And quite a tale it is! A tale including crash landings, shark infested waters, secret island habitations, diamond mines, international food, and escape plans!

This is a Newbery blast from the past of the very best sort. The pacing is perfect, the story is action packed, the people of Krakatoa and their "gourmet government" are hilarious, and the Professor is a great storyteller. William Pene du Bois definitely understood what kids want in a story. Readers will easily be able to see this turned into a film of the Willy Wonka variety if only in their minds.

Irrepressible fun!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Newbery Project of Sorts

So you may be wondering why the posts seem to have slowed down around here. I am knee deep in a course offered by ALA's Continuing Education program entitled The Newbery: Past, Present and Future, led by none other than K.T. Horning. In this course, students are expected to read oodles of articles and at least one Newbery winner from each decade. So far I have read The Trumpeter of Krakow, The Cat Who Went to Heaven, The Twenty-One Balloons, and I am currently in the middle of The Wheel on the School.

This has been an amazing experience that has led me to some books that I might otherwise have kept passing by, and I also have a much deeper understanding of the history of the Newbery Award than I did before. The students in the class come from all different walks of life, and the lively forums are filled with diverse opinions.

Don't despair! I will be blogging some of these titles as well as some current books soon...I promise! Thanks for hanging in!

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Head on over to the Cybils site to check out the winners! The graphic novel judges came together to select Rapunzel's Revenge, and Emiko Superstar as winners.

Also check out the winner in the YA category. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks, by E. Lockhart. Nominated by yours truly! Yay!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Who are the Tweens?

A question that gets asked again and again. My husband sent me this Today Show link, and surprisingly in the media eyes Tween is attached to Twilight. And Twilight (in the movie version) is the only book related thing spoken about in the blurb. Where are the books?

Here's a question. What are the hot books your tweens are reading?