Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Barbie: Friendship, Not for Sale (Barbie & Friends Book Club)

The 13 Words!: Caterpillers are boring. Even more boring when they become a costume for four.

The Creature from the Back Cover!: "Halloween is coming, and Stacie and her friends can't wait to showoff their caterpillar costume built for four. But when one of the girls announces she's moving, it's hard to get into the spirit. Barbie reminds the girls what being bests friends is all about."

The Facts that Attacked Mars!: This book is part of a series of Barbie books in a book club that as far as I can tell is no longer around.

The Monster Speaks!: Not too exciting. It's a pretty gentle Halloween read with no scares or anything of the sort. It's mostly a friendship story.
While it's not my favorite book in my collection, I do enjoy the photographs even though they are marginally Halloween related. I've always been fascinated by doll houses, and the photographs are sorta like a glimpse into a doll house in a way.

What Lurks Between These Covers?

Costume Making

The Party

--My only question: where are Barbie and Stacie's parents? Are they orphans?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ultimate Hidden Pictures on Halloween by Tony and Tony Tallarico

The 13 Words!: Ever wondered where Dracula would hide an umbrella? This book holds the answer.

The Creature from the Back Cover!: "Ultimate Hidden Pictures is the ultimate in hidden picture fun. And in Ultimate Hidden Pictures on Halloween there are so many things going bump in the night that the trick will be to find all of the treats."

The Facts that Attacked Mars!: Ultimate Hidden Pictures on Halloween was published in 2003 by Price Stern Sloan. Tony Tallarico (not sure which one out of the two listed on the cover as Tony and Tony) besides illustrating children's books, is also a comic book artist. He co-created Lobo which only lasted two issues (1965 and 1966). In 2006 he received the Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Comics and Books Industries from Temple University. The award recognized his creation of the first comic book to star an African American.

The Monster Speaks!: I've always loved hidden picture books. Though, I was never a huge Where's Waldo fan. Look for Lisa was always my favorite (and coincidentally was also illustrated by Tony Tallarico). My favorite part was never really finding the hidden pictures. I could sit for hours just looking at the scenes depicted. I would scan every inch of the drawings looking for funny and clever things. This book didn't disappoint. The depicted scenes were interesting and highly detailed and full of shout outs to classic horror movies and television shows.
I guess my only complaint is that I wish the illustrations were done in color, but even in black and white there is plenty of visual stimuli to keep someone busy.

What Lurks Between These Covers?

The Marvels!:

(click on images to view larger size)

New Halloween Book Releases

The past few weeks (and especially the past 3 days) have seen quite a few Halloween book releases. I've listed most of them here.

Pop-up and Play Spooky Shadows by Richard Fowler

Tucker's Spooky Halloween by Leslie McGuirk

Halloweentown: Witch's Amulet by Lucy Ruggers

Hannah Montana: Nightmare on Hannah Street

Halloween Surprise by DK

Baby Strawberry's First Halloween

Halloween is Here, Corduroy

Strawberry Shortcake Friendship Club: Halloween Hideout by Bryant

The Three Bears Halloween by Kathy Duval

Darlene Halloween and the Great Fire by Peter Willing

Witches' Night Before Halloween by Lesley Bannatyne

The Witches' Ball by David Steinberg

Disney Princess: Sweet & Spooky Halloween

Halloween Makes Me Batty by Fran Posner

Happy Halloween Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt

Disney's Haunted Mansion book

The Restless Dead: 10 Original Stories of the Supernatural edited by Deborah Noyes

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Karen's Ghost (Baby-Sitters Little Sister #12) by Ann M. Martin

[I had this post almost ready to go yesterday, but soon found myself in Eclipse land. So, blame the wonderful author Stephenie Meyer for the lack of posts. Edward and Bella will also win out over the bratty Karen Brewer. Always.]

The 13 Words!:
I still hope that Ben Brewer's ghost will turn out to be malevolent.

The Creature from the Back Cover!
"Karen thinks there's a ghost in her house! But she's never really seen the ghost of Old Ben Brewer---until now.
Karen and her stepsister Kristy have found out that Ben Brewer and his spooky friends are going to have a birthday party in her attic on Halloween night!
It used to be fun having a ghost around. But now Karen's not so sure!"

The Facts that Attacked Mars!: Baby-Sitters little sister is a series created by Ann M. Martin as a spin off of the Baby-Sitters Club books. Karen Brewer is Kristy Thomas' step sister. Her father is Watson Brewer (Millionaire). He married Kristy's mother.
This series had quite a few Halloween related titles, certainly more than the BSC ever had.

The Monster Speaks!: What is there really to say? I hate Karen Brewer. I hate her in the BSC books. I hate her in these books. She's a brat. But I'm a sick, sad individual and have quite a few Little Sister Halloween books. The plot of this one is pretty straight forward (and boring). The back cover pretty much tells the whole thing.

What Lurks Between These Covers?

The Marvels!:
  • "Honk! Honk! Mommy was here. It was time to go back to the little house" (p 51). I always imagine Karen's mother as a goose during this part.
The Horror!:
  • it's Karen Brewer
  • the stupid slang terms. especially gigundo. ugh
  • I have never understood why the Brewers refuse to use the third floor of the house. So much just doesn't make sense about it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Junie B., First Grader : Boo...and I MEAN IT! by Barbara Park

The 13 Words!: A fun book that portrays Halloween through a child's eyes, fears, and words.

The Creature from the Back Cover!:
"It's Halloween! Only here's the trouble. Junie B. Jones is afraid to go tick-or-treating. 'Cause what if witches and monsters are really real? And what if pumpkins with sharp teeth and eat your feet? And don't even get her started on the candy corn problem. So how is Junie B. supposed to even enjoy this holiday? But then---with a little help from a friend---she gets an idea for a costume guaranteed to outscare even the creepiest competition. And so maybe Halloween will turn out to be a real scream after all!"

The Facts that Attacked Mars!: Junie B. Jones is a series created by Barbara Park. The series debuted in 1992 with the first book, Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus. So far, 26 other books have been published. There has also been theatrical productions based on the series.
The books have been challenged in Wisconsin and North Carolina school districts. Despite this, the series continues to be extremely popular among young readers.

The Monster Speaks!: I figured this was an appropriate choice considering the recent NY Times article that asks: Is Junie B. Jones Talking Trash?. I'm not a grammarian, parent, or a child, so my view of Junie B. Jones is quite neutral. I suppose I fall into the at least kids are choosing to read books camp. I attend a college where far too many students are proud to proclaim they have not read a book in 5 or 10 years. Some even boast of never having finished a book. (saddest part- many of these "students" are education majors aiming to teach in elementary schools) But, that's another story for another day.

I found Boo...and I MEAN IT! a very enjoyable read. It obviously, isn't high literary fiction for children. But, it never pretended to be or I would venture to say, aimed to be. I laughed at quite a few occasions, and grew to like the characters.

As far as Halloween books go, this is one of the better ones published in the past 5 years. It has the perfect tone for the target age group--not very scary, but illustrating real fears that many children do have.

What Lurks Between These Covers?
The Marvels!:
  • the 5 scary secrets that Paulie Allen Puffer told Junie are, in my opinion, very realistic details of a child's imagination. I can imagine my 6 year old self either hearing these "secrets" or telling them to my friends at school.
    1. real witches and monsters go trick-or-treating on Halloween
    2. pumpkins with pointy teeth eat feet
    3. bats wll swoop down and live in hair
    4. black cats can claw someone into "shreddle"
    5. candy corn isn't really corn

The Horror!:
  • I don't really have anything bad to say about this book, but I'm sure others have plenty to say.