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Kids and Teen Blog

Book Reviews

by monique t
Fiction / April 14, 2006

Bookstore Girl at Cantstopreading recently posted about a couple of Raincoast-distributed titles:

Goose Girl by Shannon Hale and Marie, Dancing by Carolyn Meyer

Here's an excerpt of her review of Goose Girl by Shannon Hale: "I picked it up when I read Leila (from Bookshelves of Doom)'s excitement over a new book by Hale being published ... It is apparently based on a Grimm Brothers' fairy tale, though I don't think I ever heard this particular story. It's the story of Ani, who is not a very good Crown Princess, though she does have a rather uncanny ability to speak with animals. Mostly birds, as they are the most talkative animals. Ani's mother arranges to have her married off to the neighbouring country's prince, in order to prevent war, and that's when things start to go wrong. Ani does arrive in the new country, though not with her escort, and not as a princess. She has to make a living, and so becomes a goose girl. Eventually Ani learns of the plots of the imposter who has taken her place. And she must find the courage to stand up to her and make herself known. Although there were a few predictable bits in this book, they were predictable in the same way that all fairy tales are. Obviously there's going to be a happy ending, but how else would you want it? I would definitely highly recommend this, and I can't wait to get started on Hale's newest book, Princess Academy."

I haven't read Goose Girl yet, but now I'm interested. I have, however, read Marie, Dancing and loved it.

Here's what Bookstore Girl has to say about Marie, Dancing by Carolyn Meyer: "... for the most part, quite the accomplishment. I say this because Meyer takes us into the slums of Paris, circa 1870, and yet, keeps things clean enough for a 10 year old. Marie and her sisters are all ballet dancers, which, it turns out, is not really all that glamorous an occupation. Their mother is an absinthe addict, and the only bright spot in Marie's days are the times she models for the artist Edgar Degas. I also enjoyed the ending, which, while not sad, was not the perfect happy ending of many children's books.

For more book reviews, check out Bookstore Girl at Cantstopreading.blogspot.com.

Have you reviewed any Raincoast books on your site? Do you have a book-focused blog? Let me know. I'd like to link to you.

Dan Greenburg in The Globe and Mail

by monique t
News / February 22, 2006

Did you know Dan Greenburg's first wife was comic screenwriter/novelist/director Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle)? Michael Posner recently profiled Dan Greenburg in the Globe and Mail. It's a great article about the fears and phobias that Greenburg capitalizes on in his writing career and some interesting tidbits about Dan's life.

"Feel the fear--and publish" by Michael Posner, Globe and Mail

The American writer and humorist Dan Greenburg has, for some time now, made a very respectable living based, essentially, on a four-letter word that starts with F.

No, not that word.

His word is fear--that substantial inventory of fears, phobias and neuroses, genetically inherited or carefully nurtured, that he grew up with on the north side of Chicago and that he has spent the better part of his adult life addressing, in one fashion or another.

Dan Greenburg is the author of the preteen series Secrets of the Dripping Fang (Harcourt). He was also featured on YTV's The Zone last week. A special online clip of the interview is available at YTV.com.

Titles in Secrets of the Dripping Fang series include:

Book One: The Onts
Book Two: Treachery And Betrayal At Jolly Days
Book Three: The Vampire's Curse
Book Four: Fall Of The House Of Mandible
Book Five: Kill Wally (coming August 2006)
Book Six: tbc (coming December 2006)

Dan Greenburg on YTV’s The Zone

by monique t
News / February 15, 2006

Dan GreenburgDan Greenburg, author of the series Secrets of the Dripping Fang (Harcourt), will be on YTV's The Zone tomorrow. His interview will air between 4:25 and 5:58 pm EST. There will also be a special online clip of the interview, YTV.com.

Titles in Secrets of the Dripping Fang series include:

Book One: The Onts
Book Two: Treachery And Betrayal At Jolly Days
Book Three: The Vampire's Curse
Book Four: Fall Of The House Of Mandible
Book Five: Kill Wally (coming August 2006)
Book Six: tbc (coming December 2006)

J. Otto Seibold’s Illustrations Win My Heart

by monique t
February 01, 2006

jottoJ. Otto Seibold has a design hit with Olive, My Love (Harcourt).

The beloved hero of Olive, the Other Reindeer is back again for a new adventure. This time Olive isn�t heading off to the North Pole to help Santa; she�s out to return a one-of-a-kind lost object: a heart. And not just any heart, but one as large as Olive�s own. In her search to find its one true owner, she makes the acquaintance of a cast of characters who show her what it truly means to give all of one�s love.

Olive My Love is a wacky, witty and weirdly heartwarming story in which anything can happen if only one follows one's heart.

Vivian Walsh is also the author of Penguin Dreams, Monkey Business, Free Lunch and many more great books for kids. J. Otto Seibold illustrated Gluey: A Snail Tale and The Pig in the Spigot, among others. His website offers great downloads and games: http://jotto.com

Happy Feet: The Savoy Ballroom Lindy Hoppers and Me

by monique t
February 01, 2006

Celebrate Black History Month with the Lindy Hop and Happy Feet, the story of the Savoy Ballroom.

On March 12, 1926, the doors of Harlem's Savoy Ballroom, the earth's hottest, most magnificent dancing palace, swung open. It was a night when blacks and whites, rich and poor, all came together to dance. And did they ever dance--spinning and flying and flipping all over the ballroom!

Happy Feet (Harcourt) is the story of the magic of the Savoy and lindy hop dancing told from a father to his son.

The Savoy Ballroom was Harlem's most famous dance club. It hosted celebrities, royalty, and most every big-name band and singer of the Swing Era (c. 1935-1940s), including Count Basie, Duke Ellignton, and Ella Fitzgerald.

The Lindy Hop was named after Charles Lindbergh's "hop," his historic first flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927. The dance, with its dizzy spins and joyful acrobatics, captured the excitement and optimism of the Harlem Renaissance. It reached its greatest popularity in 1937 when Whitey's Lindy Hoppers, staring Frankie "Musclehead" Manning, became a world-famous sensation, but the Lindy Hop remains one of North America's most celebrated dances today.

Celebrate Chinese New Year

by monique t
News / January 26, 2006

It's the year 4704, and time to welcome the Year of the Dog!

Chinese New Year is celebrated in cities around the world. This year celebrations occur during the week before and after January 29.

Two major centres, Vancouver and Toronto, have widely publicized parades and events that are appropriate for kids.

Visit the Travel With Kids website for details or see below:

Vancouver, BC
Vancouver has a large Chinese community, and the Spring Parade is held annually in Chinatown on the first Sunday of the Lunar New Year, with entertainment and lion dance. Call the Vancouver Touristinfo Centre, 604-683-2000, or check HelloBC. Nearby are activities at the beautiful (admission-by-donation) classical Gardens: music, fortune telling, craft demonstrations, etc.

Toronto Lunar New Year
Toronto celebrates "The Largest Lunar New Year Festival in Canada", January 27 to January 29, 2006, at Exhibition Place, with market fair, arts and crafts bazaar, Asian food court,� Lunar New Year cooking stage, flower market, lanterns exhibit,� games; and entertainment such as lion dance, opera, magic shows.

If you'd rather stay in, check out Ed Young's visual poem about China, Beyond the Great Mountains.

Ed Young is a Caldecott Award winner and his lyrical masterpiece is a wonderful introduction for children to the grace, depth and majesty of the Orient. Each page features gorgeous paper-collage illustrations, highlighted with Chinese characters that are explained at the back.

Interested in the Chinese zodiac?

The legend of the Chinese zodiac is told in David Bouchard's picture book, The Great Race. Bouchard's text is accompanied by the paintings of Chinese-Canadian artist Zhong-Yang Huang. The images and text set in motion the timeless contest that pits creatures such as the ox, rat, horse and dragon against one another to see who will reach the Jade City first. But as the story unfolds, it becomes poignantly clear that there are more important things than being the fastest or the craftiest.

�Remember, it is not who won that matters. It is the order in which they placed that is most important. Listen carefully so that you come to understand why each animal placed where it did.� �excerpt

Indigo’s Junior Advisors

by monique t
Fiction / January 24, 2006

Indigo's Junior Advisors board has picked Sue Limb's novel Girl (nearly) 16: Absolute Torture as one of this year's picks.

For the full list visit Indigo.ca

Sue Limb (Gloucestershire, U.K.) is the author of screen plays, radio programs and fiction for adults and children. Her children�s books include China Lee and Come Back Grandma, which was shortlisted for the Smarties Prize.

Girl (nearly) 16 is for those teens who know that life can be absolute torture. For main character Jess, her life has just hit the skids. Her mom has arranged a trip to see Jess� dad. Great concept, bad timing, for Jess has just got together with Fred and in an incredibly romantic way he has scraped together the money to get them each a ticket to a hot music festival. Now Jess will be on a road trip with her mom and her grandmother instead. And worse, her best friend Flora is going to the same music festival as Fred.

Sue Limb's writing captures the funny, difficult, prickly, and lovely parts of being (nearly) 16.

The series includes:
Girl, 15, Charming But Insane
Girl (nearly) 16: Absolute Torture
Girl 16: Pants On Fire (coming May 2006)

Got Germs?

by monique t
November 23, 2005

Germs is a contagious new book from the award-winning Ross Collins.

Pox is harmless but that's not a good thing when you're a germ. After training at Germ Academy he's packed off on his first mission--to infect Myrtle, an unsuspecting little girl. So what's a reluctant germ to do?

Germs is perfect for the flu season. If you're sick in bed consider infecting your friends and family with laughter.

Celebrate Day of the Dead

by monique t
News / November 02, 2005

Mexicans around the world are celebrating Day of the Dead today with pane meurto (dead bread), altars, candles and food. Day of the Dead marks the day when ancestors are guided back to their homes and families to enjoy their favourite food and drink. The celebration is a mix of pre-Hispanic and Catholic customs, which are honoured annually on November 2.

Are you celebrating Day of the Dead? Tell us how.

Harcourt author Jeanette Winter offers the perfect introduction to Day of the Dead for children 3 years and older. Her colourful, illustrated picture book, Calavera Abecedario, is a Day of the Dead Alphabet Book.

Every year Don Pedro and his family make papier-mache skeletons, or calaveras, for Mexico�s Day of the Dead fiesta. From Angel and Doctor to Mariachi and Unicornio, each letter of the alphabet has its own special calavera. This unusual ABC book is inspired by a real Mexican family of artists and the many colourful folk-art traditions surrounding the celebration of the Day of the Dead.

Buy the Book

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