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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

May Picture Books from Candlewick Press

Today I have four wonderful May picture books from Candlewick to share with y'all...

Waiting for Chicken Smith 
By David Mackintosh 
May 3, 2019 

A story about childhood friendships, anticipation, and the magic moments that arise while you're waiting for something else to happen. 

Every year a young boy stays in the same cabin at the beach with his family. And every year his friend Chicken Smith stays in the next cabin over. But this year, something's different: Chicken Smith hasn't shown up yet. The boy's little sister, MaryAnn, keeps trying to get his attention, but he's too busy remembering all of his adventures with Chicken Smith -- and thinking about everything they're going to do this summer. Is Chicken ever going to show up? And just what has MaryAnn been yelling about? David Mackintosh's ode to small summer wonders will make readers of all ages open their eyes to the quick, blink-and-you'll-miss-it moments happening all around them. 

Waiting For Chicken Smith is a tender and amusing summery tale about friendship, sibling love, and anticipation. Little readers will have fun joining the narrator in his exciting anticipation of Chicken Smith’s arrival, while being thoroughly engaged by the quirky illustrations. 

How To Take Care Of Your Dinosaur 
By Jason Cockcroft 
May 14, 2019 

What would you do if, instead of a cat or a goldfish, you had a dinosaur for a pet? Well, that's exactly what happens to the little boy in this story when an enormous egg appears at his house one day. Day by day, he learns exactly how to look after his dinosaur: what to feed it for breakfast, where to take it for walks, and, perhaps most difficult of all, how to deal with dinosaur-size poop! 

A silly, laugh-out-loud guide to caring for YOUR dinosaur, with sweetly rendered illustrations  and an unforgettable friendship, How To Take Care Of Your Dinosaur is a rollicking delight from beginning to end! 

Bear’s Book 
By Claire Freedman 
Illustrated by Alison Friend 
May 14, 2019 

A story about stories, writing, reading, and friendship  

When Bear's favorite book of stories falls apart, he is determined to write one of his own. He ventures into the forest for inspiration, but writing is harder than he thinks, and he soon discovers that he needs help from his friends. See how Bear transforms their day into a wonderful adventure in this story about creativity and friendship. 

For anyone who loves to hear a great story or write one themselves, Bear’s Book is for YOU. Bear’s adventures with his friends and his search for the perfect story to tell will captivate and inspire little readers. 

Sea Glass Summer 
By Michelle Houts 
Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline 
May 14, 2019 

Author Michelle Houts and illustrator Bagram Ibatoulline explore the magic of one of the seaside's greatest wonders and the bonds that link us through time. 

One summer, a boy named Thomas visits his grandmother at her seaside cottage. She gives him a magnifying glass that once belonged to his grandfather, and with it Thomas explores the beach, turning grains of sand into rocks and dark clamshells into swirling mazes of black, gray, and white. When his grandmother shows him a piece of sea glass, Thomas is transfixed. That night he dreams of an old shipyard and the breaking of a bottle. Could the very piece of sea glass on his nightstand have come from that bottle? For the rest of the summer, he searches for more sea glass and hopes to have dreams that will reveal more of the sea's secrets. A stunning ode to stories and the seaside, this picture book invites readers to imagine the ocean of possibility that lives in every small or forgotten treasure. 

Sea Glass Summer, with its touching story and dreamy, painted illustrations, is a beautiful and moving celebration of summer, the beach, history, and the power of the imaginations. 

**I received copies of the titles above for review/feature purposes. All thoughts, opinions, and reviews are my own

Friday, May 17, 2019

Under The Moon: A Catwoman Tale Blog Tour (review & interview)

I'm so dang excited to help celebrate the release of Under The Moon: A Catwoman Tale and to have the fantabulous Lauren Myracle here today....

Under The Moon: A Catwoman Tale 
By Lauren Myracle 
Illustrated by Isaac Goodhart 
May 7, 2019 
DC Ink 

When fourteen-year-old Selina Kyle, aka the future Catwoman, becomes homeless, she must confront questions of who she is and who she will become. 

She rejects human cruelty, but sometimes it seems as though brute force is the only way to "win." And if Selina is to survive on the streets, she must be tough. Can she find her humanity and reconcile toughness with her desire for community ... and love? 

One day, Selina Kyle will become Catwoman, love interest and frenemy to Bruce Wayne’s Batman...but at fourteen, Selina finds herself homeless, running from an abusive home, and conflicted about who she is and how she has to live. Life on the streets is hard, but a group of ragtag thieves, a new bond, and a fragile friendship with young Bruce Wayne, help sow the seeds of who Selina will one day become. 

Lauren Myracle’s Under The Moon: A Catwoman Tale, is a fierce and deeply felt origin story that offers Selina Kyle, the future Catwoman, a startling and moving backstory. This version of Selina’s young adulthood is full of harrowing heartache, tangible bonds, strength, courage, and heart, and, of course, plenty of cats. Myracle explores some heavy topics (abuse, suicide, self-harm, depression, bullying) and does so with unflinching honesty, never shying away from the ugliness. Young readers will be inspired and moved by Selina’s emotional journey and friendships she develops, thrilled by the story’s hijinks and mysteries, and amused by her sweet and fiery interactions with crush Bruce Wayne. And Goodhart’s edgy, engaging, and expressive illustrations perfectly capture Selina’s story. 

Q1. What three words best describe your book, Under The Moon: A Catwoman Tale? 
Raw, real, resilient. 

Q2. Grab a copy of Under The Moon: A Catwoman Tale and answer the following: 

Favorite chapter? 
“Life in a Pact,” which is the chapter in which Selina joins street kids Ojo, Yang and sweet, wounded ten-year-old Briar Rosie, whom Selina trains the others to call “Rosie,” as we all have our thorns, but that doesn’t mean we should be defined by them. It’s in this chapter that Selina begins to take tentative steps toward connecting with others, and it’s in this chapter that, by reaching out to Rosie, she reclaims her truest, kindest humanity. Also, the title! It’s a typo! I wrote it as “Life in a Pack,” as in a pack of kids, or, following the cat/dog imagery, a pack of dogs. But it got transmuted through mysterious means into “Life in a Pact,” and man, that works too, even better. You’re the first person I’ve ever told this too. I never even pointed it out to my editors! 

Favorite page? 
Page 38, when Selina is crushing on Bruce during math class, mooning over his black shiny hair. “His hair is as dark as the night, as glossy as the wings of a crow. Not just one crow, but a murder of crows. But without the murder, obviously...” 

Favorite setting? 
Gritty Gotham City, seen always in the night as Ojo teaches Selina parkour. On one panel, brilliant illustrator Isaac Goodhart added a flock of silent ghostly blimps floating through the air. Aaaaah. 

Flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentences teaser: 
Omigod, what a cool idea! Okay, gonna do it for real, NO MOVING THE OUIJA BOARD PLAQUARD MYSELF! 
Right, then. Page 48, Selina: “The mansion we broke into? It belongs to Bruce Wayne. My heart practically drops out of my body.” Hahahahaha. Perfect. Selina’s with the gang on her first heist, and of course the house (mansion!) they target happens to be Bruce’s home. Poor Selina! 

Q3. When writing Under The Moon: A Catwoman Tale, did you draw inspiration from other superheroines or feminist icons?  
Well, this’ll probably make me sound Pollyanna-ish, but you know what? I *like* Pollyanna, so who cares? I drew on all the strong women around me: my mom, my stepmom, my sisters, my daughters. My friends. My editors. Admittedly, they’re not “icons,” but they’re superheroines all the way. 

Q4. Other than your own Selina/future Catwoman, do you have a favorite iteration of Catwoman? 
“Other than my own.” Ha. Michelle Pfeiffer with that sly feline smile! 

Q5. If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by Under The Moon: A Catwoman Tale, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it? 
Omigod, you really are the best. These questions are SO FUN and un-boring! Hrrm. It would be chocolate, der, with chocolate frosting, but not that overly sweet gunky frosting many cupcakes are sadly frosted with. Just a true chocolate butter frosting. Would I put a dollop of cream in the center, to represent the moon? At first, I was thinking no, because although I admit to enjoying a Hostess CupCake every five or so years, the cream inside is scary and probably made of unpronounceable ingredients. But this is a fantasy cupcake, yeah? So, let’s put a dollop of the lightest ganache in the center. It would taste delicious, obviously. And...and...let’s call it The Moon’s Meow!  

Lauren Myracle is the author of numerous young adult novels. She was born in 1969 in North Carolina. Lauren Myracle holds an MA in English from Colorado State University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. she has written many novels, including the famous IM books, ttyl, ttfn, and l8r, g8r.  Her first novel, Kissing Kate, was selected as one of ALA's "Best Books for Young Adults" for the year 2004. It was named by Booklist as one of the "Top Ten Youth Romances" of the year, as well as one of the "Top Ten Books by New Writers." Her middle-grade novel, Eleven, came out 2004, followed by its YA sequels (Twelve, Thirteen, Thirteen Plus One).