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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A Dreadful Fairy Book Blog Tour (review & giveaway)


I'm thrilled to have the A Dreadful Fairy Book Blog Tour stopping by today with a review and giveaway. This tour is sponsored by Amberjack Publishing and hosted by The Children's Book Review...


A Dreadful Fairy Book 
By Jon Etter 
November 20, 2018 
Amberjack Publishing 
Source: ARC from pub 

Shade the sprite is dreadful at being the perfect fairy. After her treehouse burns to the ground, Shade embarks on a quest, albeit with rather questionable companions, to find a place her outrĂ© self can finally fit in—a place of companionship and comfort and, most importantly, positively filled with books. When fantastic ruffians, swindlers, and a pack of ruthless Unseelie hunters threaten to halt her at every turn, can Shade survive the dreadful journey and find a destination she can truly call home? 


Ages 9-12 | Publisher: Amberjack Publishing | November 20, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978 1948705141




With her earth-tone colors, round body, and preference for books instead of silliness, Shade is not like other sprites at all. Orphaned by a war and a blight, Shade finds herself homeless and fed up when her home and book collection in Pleasant Hollow is burned to the ground. Determined to find a place she belongs, hopefully a place full of books, Shade sets out into the big fairy world and finds herself in the company of questionable companions, caught up in an ongoing fairy battle, and shocked, appalled, and dongled at every turn. 

Jon Etter’s A Dreadful Fairy Book is a snarktastic and fun fairytale adventure! Bubbling over with cheeky humor, twisted fantastical elements, and little characters with BIG personalities, A Dreadful Fairy Book is anything but dreadful. 

Etter makes clever use of a narrator, allowing the whimsically quirky story to unfold from many perspectives. Narrated by the clearly over-worked and exasperated Quentin Q. Quacksworth, whose wry interjections and warnings will have young readers literally lol’ingA Dreadful Fairy Book has Lemony Snicket storytelling vibes. Etter takes the classic fairy realm and its various inhabitants and infuses them with a lot of imaginative and fresh twists. Readers will be fascinated by the many fairy beings introduced (sprites, brownies, witches, goblins, trolls, kobolds, leprechauns, and more) and intrigued by the fantastical settings Shade finds herself in. Etter does a great job of creating an exciting and enchanting world that readers will have fun getting lost in. 

Along with our curmudgeonly narrator, A Dreadful Fairy Book is full of larger-than-life characters with a lot of spunk, attitude, humor, charm, and heart. Young readers will get kick out of Shade’s feisty nature, be amused by her lovable companions, and be charmed by all the surprising characters Shade and her friends meet along the way. 

I had so much fun joining Shade on her fantastically quirky adventure, belly laughed with each of Quentin’s funny observations and interjections, and loved Etter’s homage to and celebration of beloved books and reading. A Dreadful Fairy Book is sure to entertain, amuse, and enchant young readers!

MY RATING
4/5 Cupcakes



Jon Etter grew up in the cornfields of Illinois on a farm just outside of the town of Forrest (Population: 1300 and some dogs), where he spent most of his time devouring books in the local library. After high school, he earned a B.A. in English Education from Illinois State University and had the pleasure of taking a creative writing class with David Foster Wallace (he remembers Wallace complaining during one of their three-hour night classes about the tedium of reading through the galley proofs of the new book Wallace had coming out, which turned out to be Infinite Jest). Since then, Jon has earned an M.A. in English Literature from University of Wisconsin—Madison and Speech Certification from Carroll University. 

Since 1996, Jon has taught thousands of students as a high school English teacher in Wisconsin public schools, first in Sheboygan and for the past ten years in the Milwaukee metro area. In addition to teaching, he has served as a station manager for WSHS 91.7 FM in Sheboygan, coached forensics, and been a faculty advisor for a number of groups including the Gay-Straight Alliance, Philosophy Club, Film Club, and Dungeons & Dragons Club. 

Quentin Q. Quacksworth

OFFICIAL LINKS 




Enter to win a copy of A Dreadful Fairy Book by Jon Etter! 

Ten (10) winners receive: 
  • A bound galley copy of A Dreadful Fairy Book 

Giveaway begins November 13, 2018, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December 2018, at 11:59 P.M. PST. 
Giveaway open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. 
Amberjack Publishing is responsible for prize fulfillment. 

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide Round-Up: Books!


The holidays are just around the corner and books make awesome gifts! Today I have my first book round-up of the season featuring some books that would make great gifts...


Around the World in 80 Puzzles 
by Aleksandra Artymowska 
Sept. 18, 2018 
Big Picture Press 
Puzzles, intricately detailed worlds, and stylish scenes are sure to appeal to readers of all ages   Inspired by Jules Verne's iconic novel, this stunning puzzle book is a treat for readers of all ages. Aleksandra Artymowska's imagining of the classic tale is packed with steamships, airships, railways, penny-farthings, and any other kind of transport you can imagine -- and it will take you on a voyage like no other. Each intricate puzzle, from labyrinthine mazes to missing-object hunts, is guaranteed to fascinate, puzzle, and inspire. It's a book to pour over again and again.  


City 
By Ingela P. Arrhenius 
Sept 18, 2018 
Candlewick Press 
From the designer behind Animals comes another eye-catching oversize offering: thirty-two vivid images honoring the sights and staples of our cities.  After turning heads and delighting readers with her giant book of animals, Swedish children’s designer Ingela P. Arrhenius turns her talents to the many attractions that make cities so special. Iconic urban images are featured on every page — from subways to skyscrapers, museums to cafes, fountains to sidewalk newsstands. Each bold, graphic image is set apart by a different typeface, transforming a whimsical celebration of cities into an artfully designed title for every bookshelf. 



Into the Jungle: Stories for Mowgli 
By Katherine Rundell 
Illustrated by Kristjana S. Williams 
Oct 2, 2018 
Candlewick 
Timed for the release of Warner Bros.’s film Mowgli in October 2018 and Disney's release of The Jungle Book 2 in 2019, here is a beautifully illustrated companion to Kipling's classic, by a writer of extraordinary storytelling ability, that explores its timeless themes in a careful update.  This wise and witty companion to Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 classic is likewise a series of connected stories about the man-cub Mowgli and his adventures among the animals in the Indian jungle. It includes all the original favorites like Baloo and Bagheera and gives female characters, like Mother Wolf, a more prominent role in Mowgli’s upbringing. The timely theme of the possibility of understanding and empathy across species, cultures, and genders will resonate with contemporary readers. 


Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year 
By Fiona Waters 
Illustrated by Fran Preston-Gannon 
Oct 19, 2018 
Candlewick 
Sing a Song of Seasons is a lavishly illustrated collection of 366 nature poems -- one for every day of the year. Filled with familiar favorites and new discoveries written by a wide variety of poets, including William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, John Updike, Langston Hughes, N. M. Bodecker, Okamoto Kanoko, and many more, this is the perfect book for children (and grown-ups!) to share at the beginning or the end of the day. 


Ten Horse Farm 
By Robert Sabuda 
April 10, 2018 
Candlewick 
Roan, speckled, dappled, gray -- how many different horses are playing on these pages? A new novelty delight from renowned pop-up master Robert Sabuda.  Watch with awe as majestic horses leap off the page when you open this stunning full-color pop-up book. Glorious images of horses grazing, prancing, and galloping in an idyllic farm setting are inspired by everyday scenes in rural America as well as by the real Ten Horse Farm (now an art studio) owned by artist and designer Robert Sabuda in upstate New York. This 3-D gem will draw horse enthusiasts of all ages. 


A World of Cities 
By James Brown 
Nov 2, 2018 
Candlewick Studio 
From the lights of Paris to the cherry blossoms of Tokyo, the world is yours to explore in this comprehensive tour of thirty dazzling cities across the globe.  Visit places you have only dreamed of in an elegant celebration of cities around the world. From Shanghai, Berlin, and Cairo to Seoul, Delhi, and Rome, explore each locale by way of bold illustrations and unlock a miscellany of intriguing facts. Did you know that Prague has the world's oldest still-working astronomical clock? Or that there are more museums in Mexico City than anywhere else in the world? In a follow-up to international bestseller A World of Information, printmaker James Brown has skillfully rendered each city in a stylistic nod to vintage travel posters, while incorporating historical and cultural facts for inquisitive minds to devour. Wander the distinctive cities of the world, all from the comfort of your favorite reading nook. 


Christmas ABC 
By Jannie Ho 
Sept 28, 2018 
Candlewick 
This fun first alphabet book introduces simple seasonal words to get toddlers excited about Christmas. Bright illustrations feature lots of happy faces and familiar festive details to spot and talk about, providing hours of shared first-word fun! 


Where’s Santa Claus? 
By Ingela P. Arrhenius 
Oct 2, 2018 
Candlewick 
Five beautifully illustrated spreads show a series of friendly Christmassy creatures hiding behind bright felt flaps. With gold foil on the cover and a mirror on the final page, this is a perfect book to share with very little ones. 


Baby’s First Cloth Book: Christmas 
By Lisa Jones 
Illustrated by Edward Underwood 
Sept 11, 2018 
Candlewick 
Explore the world with Baby Boo! These charming cloth books combine bold images of faces and animals, high-contrast patterns, first words, and the simplest of stories, making them perfect gifts for babies. Features a cloth-and-Velcro handle that can be strapped to a stroller and crinkly pages for tiny hands. 


Little Christmas Tree 
By Jessica Courtney-Tickle 
Oct 16, 2018 
Big Picture Press 
One white and snowy night, a little Christmas tree stands alone in the forest. Everything is white and lifeless. As the night goes on, there are signs of life: an orange fox, a red-breasted robin, a cloud of fireflies. By the end of the book, the little Christmas tree is transformed by nature. Another glorious lift-the-flap exploration of nature in the same series as Little Tree and Little Honeybee.  


Pip and Posy: The Christmas Tree 
By Axel Scheffler 
Sept 25, 2018 
Candlewick 
A holiday story from the award-winning Axel Scheffler that's just right for toddlers  It's Christmastime, and Pip and Posy are busy decorating the tree with gingerbread and a beautiful sugar star. But the decorations keep mysteriously disappearing from the tree until there are none left at all. . . . Oh, dear! What will happen when Posy finds Pip lying on the sofa, feeling sick? Is it possible Pip might know what's happened to all of the ornaments? A charming and funny new Pip and Posy story about honesty, with gentle lessons about friendship. 


Oliver Elephant 
By Lou Peacock 
Illustrated by Helen Stephens 
Oct 25, 2010 
Candlewick 
When Noah goes Christmas shopping with his mom and baby sister, he's glad to have his toy elephant, Oliver, along in the boring shops. They play peekaboo and hide in a dolls' house, and Noah even dances Oliver across the displays. But just as Mom has checked off the last thing on her list, disaster strikes: Oliver is nowhere to be found! And the department store is VERY big. Will retracing their steps be enough to reunite Noah and his beloved toy elephant? 


The Christmas Eve Tree: Pop-Up Edition 
by Delia Huddy  
illustrated by Emily Sutton 
Sept 18, 2018 
Candlewick 
In a deeply moving story with the hallmarks of a classic, a homeless boy's rescue of a spindly Christmas tree sparks a glimmer of hope that has far-reaching effects.  It's late on Christmas Eve, and the little fir tree is the only tree left in the shop. What a poor thing I am, it thinks. But then a young boy enters the store, drawn in from the damp by the warmth and lights and the wonderful smell of Christmas, and he doesn't seem to mind that the scrawny tree isn't tall and straight like the others. . . . This magical story, beautifully illustrated by Emily Sutton, captures an unexpected and unforgettable moment of happiness that brings a whole city together. 


Bah! Humbug! 
A Christmas Carol 
by Michael Rosen  
illustrated by Tony Ross 
This Christmas, join Michael Rosen and Tony Ross with their unforgettable retelling of Charles Dickens's beloved holiday classic. Harry Gruber plays the role of Scrooge in his school's production of "A Christmas Carol," and he is extra nervous about tonight's performance because his father is in the audience — not away for business, as usual. Will the story's message of Christmas cheer and the redemptive power of love reach his father's distracted Scrooge heart? 


Builders and Breakers 
By Steve Light 
Oct 9, 2018 
Candlewick 
Experience the bustling energy of an urban construction site with Steve Light's colorful celebration of builders, breakers, and the machines they use.  When their dad forgets his lunch box on his way to the construction site, a young brother and sister set out to take it to him, and along their way witness all the noisy, exciting action of a build site in the city. With builders building, breakers breaking, and a whole host of impressive machines and vehicles hard at work, this book bursts with color and offers children plenty to enjoy. In his trademark intricate style, Steve Light captures the satisfaction of working hard to create something new -- and, of course, taking a well-deserved break.  


Dad’s Camera 
By Ross Watkins 
Illustrated by Liz Anelli 
Oct 9, 2018 
Candlewick 
A moving portrayal of love and loss captures who -- and what -- we leave behind once we're gone.  One day Dad comes home with one of those old cameras, the kind that uses film. But he doesn't take photos of the regular things people photograph. He takes pictures of his keys, his coffee cup, the objects scattered on his desk. He starts doing a lot of things that are hard to understand, like putting items that belong in the fridge in the cupboard and ones that belong in the cupboard in the fridge. In a sensitive, touching tale about losing a family member to a terminal illness, Ross Watkins and Liz Anelli prove that love is the one thing that can never be forgotten. 


Heads and Tails 
By John Canty 
Oct 23, 2018 
Candlewick 
White fluffy tail or blue-green feathers? Hop, slither, and fly from one page to the next in this fun guessing book.  Would you be able to guess an animal if you could see only its tail? Clever clues and a turn of the page reveal its identity. Whether the answer is a slow-moving turtle or a slippery-scaled snake, kids will delight in sharpening their creature-identification skills. Fine-lined illustrations adapted from nineteenth-century artwork give this book a classic feel, paired with soft watercolors and simple, colorful text to keep young eyes entertained. A perfect read-aloud for little ones who love animals -- and for those who love showing that they know the answer. 


Kids Cooking: Students Prepare and Eat Foods from Around the World 
by George Ancona 
Oct 23, 2018 
Candlewick 
Engaging photographs follow a diverse group of kids as they find out where their food comes from, how to prepare it -- and how great it is to share a meal together.  Roll up your sleeves, wash your hands, and join four different groups of kids as they prepare recipes from all over the world, step by step. George Ancona's photographs record every crumb of effort as the children make their way around the kitchen, chopping, measuring, rolling, mixing, and learning about the food they're eager to eat. The end result? Roasted vegetables from Morocco, fried rice from China, minestrone from Italy, and salsa from Mexico, filling the kids' bowls and plates and tantalizing readers who may be inspired to cook up something savory of their own. 


There’s a Dinosaur on the 13th Floor 
By Wade Bradford 
Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes 
Oct 2, 2019 
Candlewick 
The outcome is anything but predictable when an exhausted hotel guest sets out in search of sleep in this kid-pleasing romp full of visual humor.  Will Mr. Snore ever get some shut-eye at the busy Sharemore Hotel? The room on the first floor is too noisy. The room on the second floor is too crowded. The room on the third floor is too damp. Everywhere Mr. Snore goes, with a dutiful bellhop leading the way, he encounters something that's bound to keep him awake. Why is it so hard to find some peace and quiet? Perhaps Mr. Snore will have better luck on the thirteenth floor. . . . From author and playwright Wade Bradford and award-winning illustrator Kevin Hawkes comes a laugh-out-loud tale that plays with expectations and revelations -- and reveals a surprisingly thought-provoking final twist. 


Oskar Can 
By Britta Teckentrup 
Oct 23, 2018 
Prestel Junior 
Oskar the raven is back, and this time the beloved young bird is finding out all the things he can do.  Britta Teckentrup has established herself as one of the most popular children’s book authors today. Her vibrant, collage based illustrations have made her books a favorite in homes, schools, and libraries. And her character, Oskar, based on her family cat of the same name, is the perfect companion for young readers. This new book sends a simple, positive message that will empower kids to claim their own accomplishments. Tie a shoe? Brush their teeth? Wash their dishes? Bounce a ball? If Oskar can do it, they can too. Fans of Oskar’s adventures will be thrilled to discover their friend is back with a new story. And readers meeting Oskar for the first time will discover a delightful, relatable character who makes them feel good about themselves and the world around them. 


If da Vinci Painted a Dinosaur 
By Amy Newbold 
Illustrated by Greg Newbold 
Oct 2, 2018 
Tilbury House 
In this sequel to the tour de force children’s art-history picture book If Picasso Painted a Snowman, Amy Newbold conveys nineteen artists’ styles in a few deft words, while Greg Newbold’s chameleon-like artistry shows us Edgar Degas’ dinosaur ballerinas, Cassius Coolidge’s dinosaurs playing Go Fish, Hokusai’s dinosaurs surfing a giant wave, and dinosaurs smelling flowers in Mary Cassatt’s garden; grazing in Grandma Moses’ green valley; peeking around Diego Rivera's orchids in Frida Kahlo’s portrait; tiptoeing through Baishi’s inky bamboo; and cavorting, stampeding, or hiding in canvases by Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Franz Marc, Harrison Begay, Alma Thomas, Aaron Douglas, Mark Rothko, Lois Mailou Jones, Marguerite Zorach, and Edvard Munch. And, of course, striking a Mona Lisa pose for Leonardo da Vinci.  As in If Picasso Painted a Snowman, our guide for this tour is an engaging beret-topped hamster who is joined in the final pages by a tiny dino artist. Thumbnail biographies of the artists identify their iconic works, completing this tour of the creative imagination. 


Mother Earth’s Lullaby: a Song for Endangered Species 
By Terry Pierce 
Illustrated by Carol Hyer 
Oct 16, 2018 
Tilbury House 
When Mother Earth bids goodnight, / the world is bathed in silver light. / She says, “Goodnight, my precious ones.” / Nature’s song has just begun.    
Mother Earth’s Lullaby is a gentle bedtime call to some of the world’s most endangered animals. Rhythm, rhyme, and repetition create a quiet moment for children burrowing down in their own beds for the night, imparting a sense that even the most endangered animals feel safe at this peaceful time of day. In successive spreads, a baby giant panda, yellow-footed rock wallaby, California condor, Ariel toucan, American red wolf, Sumatran tiger, polar bear, Javan rhinoceros, Vaquita dolphin, Northern spotted owl, Hawaiian goose, and Key deer are snuggled to sleep by attentive parents in their dens and nests under the moon and stars. 


Fly With Me: A Celebration of Birds Through Pictures, Poems and Stories 
by Jane Yolen 
Illustrated by Adam Stemple 
Oct 16, 2018 
National Geographic Society 
Enchanting stories, lyrical poems, stunning photography, and fascinating science fill the pages of this treasury celebrating the amazing world of birds.  This thoughtful and beautifully curated collection of our flying, feathery friends highlights the role birds play in human life from centuries ago to present day. While it's beautiful, it's also full of valuable real science about these wondrous creatures. From history and behavior to spotting and photographing, there's sure to be something for every bird fan in your flock. Young birders will learn all about migration and the importance of habitat conservation. They'll find stories about bird rescues and fun facts about the fastest, strongest, and tiniest fliers. They'll also discover the best bird nests, sweet songs to sing, ways to listen for and identify the birds around them, and more. Paired with stunning art and photography and beautiful design, this treasury is sure to become a classic for bird enthusiasts of all ages.  Fly with Me was created to help celebrate Year of the Bird, National Geographic's 2018 initiative to bring awareness to the plight of birds around the world.  


The Poetry of US: More than 200 Poems that Celebrate the People, Places, and Passions of the United States 
By Patrick J. Lewis 
Sept 25, 2018 
National Geographic Society 
It's all about us! Join former U.S. Children's Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis on a lyrical journey through the United States to experience the wonders of America's people and places through 200+ inspiring poems and stunning photographs.  Celebrate the gift of language and the vibrant culture of the United States with this collection of classic and never-before-published poetry. Poems are arranged by region, from coast to coast, and among them you'll find works by Langston Hughes, Dorothy Parker, Robert Frost, Naomi Shihab Nye, Walt Whitman, and more. From the familiar to the surprising, subjects include people, places, landmarks, monuments, nature, and celebrations. Designed for sharing, but geared to younger readers, this beautifully illustrated treasury is a must-have for the whole family. 


*I received copies of the titles above for feature/review purposes.