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Chocolate, books and huggin'

Here we are a little over a week into the New Year and how many times have you written December? Or just the number 12? Or 2011? Or just 11? If you are like me, a few times. And how many of you have broken at least part of one (or all) of your resolutions? If you are me, none. This year, I made resolutions I knew I could keep: eat lots and lots and lots and lots (did I mention lots?) of chocolate and read at least one book this year.

If one of your resolutions was to read a book this year, might I suggest The Three Little Pigs by Bernadette Watts. While the story is the same (three pigs; one Mama; some straw, sticks, and bricks; one persistent wolf) the illustrations are soft, beautiful and funny. There are squirrels in the sticks, hedgehogs pushing baby carriages, hobo raccoons, lounging bunnies, and pigs with guitars, shovels and excellent home design techniques. The magic of the story is can you tell the story by the illustrations. (READ MORE)

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The Three Little Pigs Cover Image
By Bernadette Watts (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780735840584
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Northsouth Books - February 1st, 2012

This same rose that blooms today

I can't think of any writer who is able to dissect contemporary American life with more skill and precision than Anne Tyler. Part of Ms. Tyler's effectiveness, I think, stems from the fact that she always makes a minimal incision and then uses a gentle probe to get to the real heart of the problem. Sometimes, you don't even realize that an operation is under way.

Ms. Tyler is the literary equivalent of Woody Allen. Even when she isn't in top form, her wise words are worth absorbing, storing away, and treasuring. What she has said to her readers may be very subtle, but the wisdom of the message lingers like the comfortably warm scent from a candle.

Tyler's body of work, like Mr. Allen's, is daunting. The Beginner's Goodbye is her 19th novel. It seems, at least superficially, to be a rather slight tale of loss and regret, but the story is reflected in the mirror through which the author views her characters and that mirror has always had a slight waver in it. (READ MORE)

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The Beginner's Goodbye Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345533357
Availability: Click Title for IN STOCK Location
Published: Vintage - January 29th, 2013

Year of the Dragon....and fun books

My favorite holidays are Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day and Chinese New Year. If you know your birth year, you can be a Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog or Pig. Some of us have over-lap years (I’m a Tiger and Rabbit) due to the fact that the Chinese New Year does not start on January 1st like our new year. It starts sometime late January or early February. This year starts on January 23, 2012. It is the Year of the Dragon. There are certain things that you do to prepare yourself for the new year. A few of them are: you get a hair cut, new outfit, clean house to “sweep out” the old and make room for the new. You give money in lucky red envelopes. One of things I do is find fun new books to read during this time.

This year I have found two that will be favorites for a long time. The first is New Year’s Reunion: A Chinse Story by Li Qiong Yu (illustrated wonderfully by Zhu Cheng Liang). The second is Year of the Dragon by Oliver Chin (illustrated whimsically by Jennifer Wood). (READ MORE)

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The Year of the Dragon: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac Cover Image
By Oliver Chin, Jennifer Wood (Artist)
ISBN: 9781597020282
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Immedium - January 3rd, 2012

Inside Addy

Over ten years ago four friends (who are always on the "outside") set out to change the world: starting with their school. They try to do this by creating a new school political party, The No-Names Party. Their goals: to show that yes Names do hurt and to convince everyone that we are all a misfit. So, if that is the case, what is a "misfit?" And The Misfits by James Howe was born. This interesting and fun story of change, growth and life introduced us to Bobby, Joe, Addie and Skeezie.

In The Misfits we learn of Bobby and the problems he faces by being the “fat” kid. Later, in Totally Joe these best friends story is continued as we learn about Joe’s struggle with coming to terms with a very contemporary issue faced by many teens. Now the gang is back in this third installment with Addie on the Inside. This time Addie gets her voice, and what a voice it is! Still just as outspoken, opinionated and sometimes, well a little bit obnoxious! But as the year goes on, Addie starts to question who she is….and is she really as tough as she has led everyone to believe? The struggles of growing up may look easy for Addie, but under it all, she is just as confused as the rest of us! (READ MORE)

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Addie on the Inside (Misfits) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781416913856
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - July 24th, 2012

Promise to Read Me

I have just finished a book due in September by Beth Kanell called The Secret Room. Set today, she has detailed research about how Vermont and the Underground Railroad come together. (Check back here in a few weeks for more about this gem of a novel!)

This made me think of another book that will make a great companion to it. It is called Promises to the Dead by Mary Downing Hahn. It is a story of the Civil War, with a slight twist: told from the point of view of a Southern boy. (READ MORE)

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Promises to the Dead Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547258386
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin - August 1st, 2009

Here Comes the Bunny

I recently picked up a book called The Rabbit’s Wedding by Garth Williams (of Little House fame). After reading, I knew it was a natural fit for my book shelf.

In the vein of Home for a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown, William’s delightful images are soft and gentle as his text. And when you see how great friends the two bunnies are to the point of truly loving each other, well….make sure you have a box of tissues nearby! The story is sentimental, sweet and the perfect wedding or (as in my case) anniversary gift. (READ MORE)

The Rabbits' Wedding Cover Image
By Garth Williams, Garth Williams (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780060264956
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - April 30th, 1958


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Northshire Manchester
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