Sunday, 29 May 2011

Along A Long Road - Frank Viva

Along A Long Road
Frank Viva
Harper Collins
ISBN 9781443406208


This first book by award winning Toronto graphic designer is breathtaking. This book is illustrated with in a very limited pallet, predominantly in black and light yellow and blue. The only other colors are red, mainly for the riders jersey, and brown for the road. The people have a slightly surrealistic look but the background and skylines are simple yet evocative illustrations. Children will love the fun illustrations yet they are of such a quality adults will not bore of reading the book over and over again. We enjoyed this one greatly and look forward to more books by Viva in the future.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Can You See What I See? - Walter Wick

Can You See What I See?
Walter Wick

Cartwheel Books an imprint of

Scholastic

ISBN 9780439163910


This book contains 12 prints with pictures to explore, find hidden objects and puzzles to solve. This is also the first book in this series. The photos are amazing and the time and effort required to lay out the spread and capture the images, let alone the hint rhymes that guide you through finding the required items in the pictures - are impressive. Plus, after you have done the book over and over as children are want to do, you can find your own items and take turns calling out items to find and discover in the picture. The spreads in the book are:

String Game
In Bins
Card Tricks
See-Through
Wood Shop
Domino Effect
Magic Mirror
Picture Blocks
Assembly Required
Bump, Bump, Bump!
Alphabet Maze
Spare Parts

Going back and reading this first book after encountering some of the others, show that Wick's genius was present from the beginning.

Books by Walter Wick:

A Drop Of Water (1997)
Optical Tricks (1998)

Can You See What I See:
Can You See What I See (2002)
Dream Machine (2003)
Cool Collections (2004)
Night Before Christmas (2005)
Once Upon A Time (2006)
On A Scary Scary Night (2008)
Treasure Ship (2010)

Can You See What I See Seymour:
And The Juice Box (2004)
Makes New Friends (2006)

Can You See What I See Board Books:
Dinosaurs (2006)

Can You See What I See Readers:
Animals (2007)
Games (2007)
Nature (2008)
Toys (2008)

I Spy: (With Jean MarZollo)
I Spy (1992)
Christmas (1992)
Mystery (1993)
Fun House (1993)
Fantasy (1994)
School Days (1995)
Spooky Night (1997)
Treasure Hunt (1999)
A to Z (2009)
Thanksgiving (2010)
Spectacular (2011)
An Egg in a Nest (2011)

I Spy Challengers: (With Jean MarZollo)
Super Challenger! (1997)
Gold Challenger! (1998)
Extreme Challenger! (2000)
Year-Round Challenger! (2001)
Ultimate Challenger! (2003)
Super Extreme Challenger! (2009)

I Spy Readers: (With Jean MarZollo)
Funny Teeth (2003)
A Dinosaur's Eye (2003)
A School Bus (2003)
A Scary Monster (2004)
A Candy Cane (2004)
Lightening in the Sky (2005)
A Pumpkin (2005)
A Penguin (2005)
Santa Claus (2005)
A Balloon (2006)
A Butterfly (2007)
Merry Christmas (2007)
I Love You (2009)
A Skeleton (2010)

I Spy Board Books: (With Jean MarZollo)
Little Book (1997)
Little Animals (1998)
Little Wheels (1998)
Little Numbers (1999)
Little Christmas (1999)
Little Letters (2000)
Little Hearts (2011)
Little Bunnies (2001)

I Spy CD-Rom Games: (With Jean MarZollo)
Junior (1999)
Spooky Mansion (1999)
Puppet Playhouse (2000)
School Days (2000)
Treasure Hunt (2001)
Fantasy (2003)

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Barbara Reid - Author Profile

Barbara Reid is a Canadian author and illustrator. She has won nearly every award for her books and illustrations. She recently took some time to use a different medium than normal and took up pen and answered some questions for us here at Book Reviews and More.

1. Your artwork, your plasticine illustrations are famous around the world, you have won numerous awards as both author and illustrator, what award means the most to you and why.

Winning the Governor General's Award for Illustration was a real thrill. As one of Canada's highest literary honors it brought my work more international attention, as well as more speaking and conference invitations. Most of all it encouraged me to take my work more seriously.

2. If you had not become a writer and illustrator what do you think you would be doing for a living?

I would love to be a set designer, or a gardener at a large estate somewhere in England, preferably in the olden days.

3. What was your favorite book that you wrote and illustrated and why?

My favourite is always the one I am working on. I'm in the midst of creating the art for a book called "Picture a Tree", a visual exploration of trees through the seasons and the moods and feelings they inspire. I have had the art for this book in my mind for several years, but it took a while to organize it into book form. I love this part of process.

4. What book that you illustrated for another author was the most challenging?

The book Gifts, by Jo Ellen Bogart was a challenge to illustrate. Written as a song, there was no real narrative, just Jo Ellen's lovely verses describing a grandmother's travels and the gifts her grandchild requests. The gifts are things like "the roar of the jungle king" and "a rainbow to wear as a ring". Each spread involved research about the country described and solving the riddle of how to bring back the intangible items. Just recently Gifts was selected as the 2011 Canadian Children's Book Centre TD Grade One Book Giveaway title. Over 500,000 copies will be distributed to each grade one student in Canada. So the challenge was rewarding, and Grandma's travels continue!

5. What does your writing process look like? Takes us through the steps from idea to publishing?

There is usually an ah-ha moment. For The Subway Mouse it came when I noticed a mouse nibbling on a filthy apple core in the subway here in Toronto. With Perfect Snow, I overheard a conversation between my daughter's friends, reminiscing about a legendary snow fort. After the initial excitement, there are months, and sometimes years of scribbling notes and rough drafts, gathering possible reference material and related clippings and tossing it all into a file folder.

Eventually there is something I think is good enough to submit to my publisher. I often have to do this a few times before my editor commits to the project. We have worked together for many years and she is brilliant and patient! At last there will be a contract and the real work starts.

6. What does your illustration process look like for a book you wrote? Takes us through the steps from idea to publishing?

When illustrating my own text I usually have a good idea of what the book will look like, the characters and setting. Often I have submitted thumbnails or a story board along with the manuscript. After the manuscript is accepted, I do a much tighter story board and create full sized roughs. This can take a few months. I usually find when I put on my illustrator's hat, I can edit out some of the text! I create the plasticine art from the approved drawings. Each spread takes about a week. Once the art is finished, it is photographed and the digital files go to the publisher and on to the printer.

7. What does your illustration process look like for a book your illustrated for another author?

Illustrating someone else's story is more like problem solving. There may be more research involved. It is quite fun to interpret a text. I really get inside someone else's story, which is the ultimate reading experience. In some ways it is a lot easier, as I don't spend any time worrying about the text!

8. What authors influenced your writing style and format?

All the authors I loved as a child, and many of my contemporaries in Canada and internationally. Artistically, my heroes are Bruegel, Toulouse Lautrec, Arthur Rackham, N.C. Wyeth, Edward Ardizzone, Edward Gorey, Pauline Baynes, Anthony Browne, Willian Kurelek- to name a few.

9. What were some of your favorite book when you were a child?

Beatrix Potter stories, the Madeline books, the Narnia series (probably my biggest influences, both the stories and the illustrations by Pauline Baynes), the Alice books, Grimms fairytales, Hans Christian Anderson stories, Peter Pan, the Born Free series, Farley Mowat books, Gerald Durrell books, anything by Rumer Godden, The Secret Garden, Stig of the Dump, The Borrowers, The Wind in the Willows, the list goes on….

10. What were some of your favorite authors in your teen years who helped shape you?

C.S. Lewis, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Lewis Carrol, Rumer Godden, the writers of Mad Magazine and Warner Brothers cartoons. I took an advanced English class in high school; my teacher had been a pupil of Northrop Frye. I read a lot of classic literature in those years and loved it.

11. What are some of your favorite books and authors now?

I read a lot of picture books, non-fiction and novels, too many to narrow down!

12. Do you use a playlist when writing? Are certain books written while predominantly listing to the same music?

I like listening to the radio; classical music if I am writing and a mixture of classical and talk format when I am illustrating. Listening to recorded music makes me feel lonely, the radio makes me feel connected to the real world and I like the randomness. I have enough decisions to make when working, I want someone else to organize the music! Lately I have been enjoying CBC podcasts of the Ideas program.

13.Some of your earlier books are currently out of print, have you thought of rereleasing them as ebooks?

It's not an area I want to put a lot of energy into, it may come later. I much prefer creating..

14. Speaking of ebooks, currently none of your books are available in electronic format. But with that comes bootleg distribution. What are your impressions of ebooks and the distribution of them through torrents and other illegal means?

The whole ebook thing is changing so rapidly it is hard to commit to anything. The delivery systems for picture books are still rather primitive, and not kid friendly, by that I mean they are fragile and expensive. Of course that will have changed by the time I finish typing this sentence! I expect my publisher, Scholastic, will becoming up with a format and distribution system soon. The ideal is to create the best quality product, that would become the one readers would choose, and one that the creator would be compensated for. There are many decisions to make as well, such as deciding whether your "product" is a book or a toy or a game. I'm still a fan of the book, but realize with the change in formats, the format of the picture book will change. Interesting times!

15. Your husband Ian Crysler photographs your plasticine art in preparation for use in books, what is it like working so closely with your spouse?

Ian has been photographing my work from the very beginning. As with any creative collaboration there can be tension at times, but there is a huge advantage to having such a close relationship. And no commuting!

16. You have stated you wanted to be a writer when you were younger but love illustrating, do you think you might even write a novel?

I would never say never, but I don't think I'll be writing a novel any time soon.

17. If you could only recommend 10 books to a reader looking to be a well rounded and whole person what books would you suggest?

Eeek! Too much pressure.

18. I once had a university professor state that the true goal of a university education should be to teach one to learn how to think. What would you state should be the goal of higher education and why?

I agree that the goal of a university education should be to teach one how to think, because there are very few opportunities to do so afterwards. I would add that there should be a sense of freedom to pursue one's inclinations while at university, without worrying about a specific result. This may delay a one's career, but the time will be made up by avoiding a mid-life crisis later on.

19. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 10 books to read again and again, what books would you want with you?

In no particular order: 1.The Secret Garden by France Hodgson Burnett; 2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; 3. The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard; 4. The bible; 5. Timthy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile by Verlyn Klinkenborg; 6. Bruegel, or the Workshop of Dreams by Claude-Henri Rocquet; 7. Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White; 8,9,10. The Magician's Nephew; The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe; and Prince Caspian-no! The Silver Chair no! Prince Caspian; (arg!) all by C.S. Lewis. Ten is just not enough.

20. What advice would you give to young aspiring authors and artists?

For authors: read, read, read, look, listen and write, and write some more. For artists: look, look, look, listen, draw, draw, read and draw some more. For all artists it is very important to spend some time alone, not doing anything in particular.


Thank you Barbara for taking the time to interact with us at Book Reviews and More. My family always looks forward to your new books. And I am sure the readers will have found this very informative.

Book written and illustrated by Barbara Reid:

Zoe's Year (2012)
Picture A Tree (2011)
The Party (2010)
Perfect Snow (2009)
Sing a Song of Mother Goose (2007)
Fox Walked Alone (2009)
Read Me A Book (2004)
The Subway Mouse (2003)
Zoe's Rainy Day (1992)
Zoe's Sunny Day (1992)
Zoe's Windy Day (1992)
Zoe's Snowy Day (1992)
The Golden Goose (2000)
Fun With Modelling Clay (1998)
The Party (1997)
First Look Board Books: Acorn to Oak Tree (1999)
First Look Board Books: Seed To Flower (1999)
First Look Board Books: Caterpillar to Butterfly (1999)
First Look Board Books: Tadpole to Frog (1999)
Two By Two (1992)
Sing A Song of Mother Goose (1987)

Book illustrated by Barbara Reid:

Peg & The Yeti (2004)
Gifts (1995)
Effie (1990)
Have You Seen Birds? (1986)
The New Baby Calf (1984)
Jenny Greenteeth (1983)
Mustard (1983)


Books contributed to:
Read Me A Story (2010)
Dream; a Tale of Wonder, Wisdom & Wishes (2004)
Mother Goose: A Canadian Sampler (1994)

Author Profile and Interview with Barbara Reid

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The Spiderwick Chronicles Care and Feeding of Sprites - Holly Black and Toni DiTerlizzi

The Spiderwick Chronicles Care and Feeding of Sprites
The Spiderwick Chronicles

Holly Black (Author)
Tony DiTerlizzi (Illustrator)

Simon and Schuster

ISBN 9781416927570


This is the last of the books between the Spriderwick Chronicles and the Beyond Spiderwick trilogy. It is a guide for Care and Showing of Sprites, endorsed by the International Sprite League. There is an illustration of each species and a symbol key for habitat, locomotion, disposition and additional traits.

The sections are:
The Magnificent Sprite
Anatomy of a Sprite
Selecting your Sprite
Obtaining your Sprite
What's Not a Sprite
Sexing your Sprite (not what you think)
Housing Your Sprite
Proper Nutrition for Your Growing Sprite
Sprite Accessories
Grooming Your Sprite
Illnesses of Sprites
The Many Moods of Your Sprites
Keeping Multiple Sprites
Reintroducing Your Sprite Into the Wild
Showing Your Sprite
International Sprite League Mission Statement

The original website for the International Sprite League website appears to be abandoned so the Games, downloads and videos referenced at the back of the book are no longer available. But there is a website with some similar content. For fans of the Spiderwick books this one will give some more insight and adventure if you're the young and young at heart.

Books by Black and DiTerlizzi: The Spiderwick Chronicles
The Field Guide
The Seeing Stone
Lucinda's Secret
The Ironwood Tree
The Wrath of Mulgarath

Arthur Spiderwick's Notebook of Fantastical Observations
Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You
Care and Feeding of Sprites

Beyond Spiderwick
The Nixie's Song
A Giant Problem
The Wyrm King

Other Books by Holly Black:
The Poison Eaters and Other Stories

The Modern Faerie Tales
Tithe
Valiant
Ironside

The Good Neighbors
Kin
Kith
Kind

The Curse Workers
White Cat
Red Glove
Black Heart

Anthologies
Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd
Zombies vs. Unicorns
Welcome to Bordertown

Other Books by Tony Diterlizzi:

Jimmy Zangwow's Out-of-This-World Moon-Pie Adventure
Ted
G is for One Gzonk
Kenny & the Dragon
The Search for WondLa

Books Illustrated by Tony Diterlizzi:
Dinosaur Summer
Ribbiting Tales
Alien & Possum: Friends No Matter What
Alien & Possum: Hanging Around
The Spider & The Fly
Dragonflight
Peter Pan in Scarlet

Books by Tony & Angela DiTerlizzi:
Adventures of Meno:
Wet Fun!
Big Friend!
Yummy Trip!
Uh-Oh Sick!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Children - Maggie Clark

Children
Maggie Clark
Vagabondage Press
ISBN 9781452407845


This novella was dark, twisted and compelling. I have known the author for a few years but as a reporter and editor. I had no idea the depth of creativity and the overwhelming power in her words, once she turned to fiction. In part, the story was like driving by an accident - you cannot help but look. Once you start reading, you know something bad is coming and you might even figure it out, but the suspense you go through reading, and waiting and discovering the details as Clark reveals them to us, in little snippets as the story progresses, is intense.

The characters are amazing. I only hope we will see either more stories or a novel focused around the reporter and news woman, Chrissy. She has insight, determination and an unwillingness to play politics at the office. There is a lot to admire in this character even as she is piecing together the terrible truth.

The story will grab at the heart and gut of any parent, or really anyone who is close to young children, either in their family or friends. As you're reading, you cannot help but wonder about missing children, abduction and worse, and what if? The 'What Ifs' in this story are what get you. In 49 pages of text in the PDF version of the book, you are taken on a roller coaster ride of emotions.

Clark has written an amazing novella, or short story, that shows incredible skill and talent as a writer. I can only hope we get a lot more fiction to read from this budding Canadian author.

The book can be purchased in electron format either from Amazon or directly from Vagabond Press, and to be honest, for $1.99 you cannot go wrong.

Books by M.L. Clark:
Children
The Bitter Sweet Here and After - Short Story

K-City Kink Sisters:
Lacing Up To Reality - Short Story
One For The Team - Short Story

Author Profile Interview with M.L. Clark


Thursday, 19 May 2011

Suzanne Collins - Visual Bibliography

Suzanne Collins is most known for her Hunger Games Trilogy, I enjoyed that trilogy but am loving her earlier series The Underland Chronicles. So this visual bibliography is a small homage to her works.

Books by Suzanne Collins:

The Hunger Games trilogy:














The Hunger Games
Hunger Games Book 1
Scholastic Press

ISBN 9780439023481

2008















LinkCatching Fire
Hunger Games Book 2

Scholastic
ISBN 9780439023498
2009














Mockingjay
Hunger Games Book 3
Scholastic
ISBN 9780439023511

2010


The Underland Chronicles:















Gregor the Overlander
Scholastic
ISBN 9780439678131
2003














Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane
Scholastic
ISBN 9780439650762
2004














Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods
Scholastic
ISBN 9780439656245
2005














Gregor and the Marks of Secret
Scholastic
ISBN 9780439791465
2006














Gregor and the Code of Claw
Scholastic
ISBN 9780439791441

2007


Other books:



Fire Proof: Shelby Woo #11
Simon and Schuster
ISBN 9780671026950
1999


When Charlie McButton Lost Power
GP Putnam and Sons
ISBN 9780399240003
2005

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Bernadette Pajer - Author Profile

Bernadette Pager's first novel is due out later this summer. A Spark of Death, the first of the Professor Bradshaw Mystery's from Poisoned Pen Press. I was intrigued by the cover of that book, and though I do not read many mystery novels, I loved the book and the characters. I was able to get an electronic galley via NetGalley. So I contacted Bernadette to see if she would answer a few questions for us here at Book Reviews and More. Bernadette was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, she spent her youth in Seattle and her first series of books is set there.

1. If you had not become a writer what do you think you would be doing for a living?

Well, I don't write for a living, at least not yet, and probably not ever. Writing for most of us is a labor of love, or insanity, that we work our lives and higher-paying jobs around. Now, if I hadn't pursued writing as my passion for the past twenty years, I would probably have delved more into natural healing. It's a subject I love to study.

2. If you were not focusing on writing currently, what career path do you believe you would be following?

I've been focusing on writing for so long, it's hard to say where I'd be now if all that energy had gone elsewhere. Something in the field of natural healing? At this exact moment of my life, no matter what personal pursuits I might have, motherhood would be, and is my most important career. Trying to be a good mom is the hardest and most rewarding job I'll ever have.

3. If you could have one do-over in your writing career what would you redo or do differently and why?

I think I would reach out from the beginning for writing support. I wrote several complete manuscripts before I took a writing class or joined a writing group. Writing is a lonely craft, during the actual creation stage, but once the story is on the page, it's essential (I finally figured out) to share it with others to know what works and what doesn't.

4. Who were some of your biggest supporters and contributors who helped you keep at it and reach the point of being a published author?

My husband bought me every computer I've ever owned. I kept telling myself I wouldn't upgrade until I sold a book-if it were up to me, I'd have been writing on a Commodore 64 until the summer of 2010! That tells you how long I've been at this. But my husband, bless him, upgraded me every 5 years or so. Thank you, dear! My mom and sisters have always believed this day would come and never lost faith. And my circle of writing friends encouraged me with every submission, revision, and rejection. I'm very lucky, I'm surrounded by people who believe in my pursuit of this dream of being published.

5. What advice would you give to teens today, to your readers, what gems of knowledge have you gleaned in life that you would pass on?

The problem with gems, I've found, is that they are tempting nuggets that seem to promise great things-to those that hold them. Those gems only sparkle for their maker. I am always trying to pass gems of insight or experience to my son, but he delights in tossing mine aside and chasing those of his own. Through trial, error, frustration, an occasional tantrum, and tenacious effort leading to self-discovery, he gets to those "ah-ha!" moments his way and his gems sparkle beautifully for him-because he discovered them all by himself. It's so hard not to gift gems, though. So here's one I return to often: Write to express, not to impress. The word "life" can replace "write." I'll let you ponder and decide if my gem sparkles for you.

6. What does your writing process look like? Takes us through the steps from idea to publishing?

I'm a big-picture sort of thinker and writer. I get an idea, toy with it, have fun thinking of key scenes, the opening, the ending, whodunit. I don't do a formal outline, but I do a lot of pre-writing of the overall plot to see where I'm going, and begin to research. At some point, I get itching to write. Some scenes flesh out easily, others are skeletal, but I feel compelled to keep moving forward until I've got the full story down in a first rough draft. From there, I edit and rewrite, add detail, edit and rewrite more, have a few trusted friends read it, polish some more, until I feel it's as good as I can make it. Until I had a publisher, this was the stage at which I sent it off to my agent for her input, and then she would begin to submit. Now that I have a publisher (Poisoned Pen Press) and an editor (Annette Rogers-brilliant!), there are two earlier steps. When I have a solid 100 pages, I send them for feedback to Annette and Barbara Peters (the Editor-in-Chief). Then when the manuscript is complete, I send it on for, hopefully, approval and a new contract. Then follows a couple months of editing and polishing under my editor's guidance.

7. Do you use a playlist when writing? Are certain books written while predominantly listing to the same music?

I like background noise when I write-can't stand complete silence-but I don't usually listen to music. It might sound weird, but I like the sound of my son quietly playing, or a sitcom on the TV, or the various sounds of a coffee shop. If the sounds around me are too loud or disruptive, then I'll put on my headphones and listen to oldies, 1940's music usually, or classical.

8. Which books or authors had the greatest impact on your work and writing style?

Everything I've read has impacted one way or another. Even books I don't like have helped me see what makes a strong story, or the sort of storyteller I hope to be. A few of my favorite authors are P.D. James, Ruth Rendell, Rosamunde Pilcher, Maeve Binchy, Dick Francis, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Josephine Tey.

9. What books are currently in progress for you? Writing, researching, planning or even just ideas that you would like to work on?

As of this writing, I'm working on book 2 of the Professor Bradshaw series. I've planned a total of 15 books for the series, spanning from 1901 until 1920 or so.

10. I know you have only published one book, and have a few more in development but I once heard Madeleine L'Engle state that her characters were real to her and almost an extended part of her family, she said once that at the dinner table she sat up and stated "Meg just finished her PhD." Are your characters real to you, do you ever get glimpses of what they are up to now, or once you finish a book is that it?

Well, yes, the characters are very real to me, in that magic way fiction can be real. Like Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter feel real to so many. I've known my characters for a long time now-I first wrote about Professor Bradshaw more than a decade ago!

11. One of the greatest strengths in your book is the characters, they are so solid and believable. The characters you create, are they reflections of people you know, composites of different people you know or entirely your creations?

Thank you! And all of the above. It's hard to separate imagination from personal experience. I suspect in many ways I am like Professor Bradshaw and Missouri Fremont-they represent dichotomous sides of me, and yet they both have traits I don't. Professor Bradshaw, for instance, is a brilliant inventor and electrical engineer-I am not. I surround myself with research material and ask many questions of experts in order to get him on the page.

12. I once had a university professor state that the true goal of a university education should be to teach one to learn how to think. What would you state should be the goal of higher education and why?

My son goes to a Montessori school, and besides the peace curriculum, learning how to think for oneself, be self-motivated, and be a lifelong learner, are the chief goals of this approach. I see how this approach is helping guide my son to being an independent and responsible person, able to think his way through whatever life throws at him. So yes, I agree with your professor.

13. One of your books are available in electronic formats (as an ARC through NetGalley) but with that comes bootleg distribution. What are your impressions of ebooks and the distribution of them through torrents and other illegal means?

I love e-books. I just got a Nook and am enjoying loading it with new titles as well as library loans. A story is not the medium-a great story can be delivered to me by e-ink as well as printed ink. There's a lot of turmoil in the publishing industry with the rise in popularity of e-books, but change is rarely easy. I'm sure in another few years, things will begin to settle down as publishers, writers, booksellers, and readers find what works best. I'm not worried about bootlegged copies. That happens with all technologies and can't be stopped. Most book lovers in this world are good, honest folks, who will find a way to honestly buy or borrow a book.

14. Some authors monitor torrent sites and have their publishers contact them to remove their content. Do you have plans to do so are have someone do so for you?

No. I've embedded my e-books with anti-theft karma. Steal a copy, and the guilt will make it impossible to read.

15. What were your favorite books and authors to read as a youth? 16. What were some of your favorite authors in your teen years who helped shape you?

Would you believe I wasn't a big reader as a child or teen years? It's not that I didn't enjoy reading, but I never seemed to be able to find books I liked. I went to the library fairly often, brought home books, and I'm sure I must have read them, but for the life of me I can't remember them. Somehow I never discovered all the wonderful children's classics. It wasn't until I was in the 7th grade and read Fahrenheit 451 that I found something that really made me think. The great thing about being a mom is I get to read with my son, and explore all those wonderful books I somehow missed.

17. What are some of your favorite books and authors now?

The same as in question 8. I'm a re-reader. I keep going back to my old favorites. For me, it's about voice. I'm sort of picky about voice. I'll read a book in any genre, as long as the voice speaks to me and invites me in. Books, I think, are a lot like food. Each of us has different tastes, and that's what makes it so wonderful. For every appetite, there is an author. For every author, there are hungry readers.

18. Completely off topic but what TV shows or movies do you enjoy?

Oh, BBC mysteries, like Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, I love the new Sherlock, New Tricks, Doc Martin. I also love reruns of sitcoms like Everybody Loves Raymond and Frasier and I Love Lucy. For movies, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Disney-Pixar flicks -can you tell I have an 8 year old son? But I really do like them.

19. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 10 books to read again and again, what books would you want with you?

Can't I bring my Nook? It holds 1500 books! If I must -- subject to change before boarding the S.S. Minnow:

1. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
2. Cry The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
3. The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
4. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnum
5. Anne Of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
6. Sas Survival Handbook: How To Survive In The Wild, In Any Climate, On Land Or At Sea by John Lofty Wiseman
7. The Foragers Harvest: A Guide to Indentifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants by Samuel Thayer
8. Swiss Family Robinson (Or the Adventures on a Desert Island) by Johann Rudolf Wyss
9. Story by Robert McKee
10. Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language

(Problem with a Nook, Kindle or Kobo would be battery life!)

20. What advice would you give to young aspiring authors and artists?

Make it an integral part of your daily life. It's as simple and as hard as that. Make yourself a creative space, schedule yourself time to escape into your art and craft, and keep at it. It's a lifelong endeavor, better get started. Now.

Thanks you again for taking the time, I wish you great success with your first book and may it launch a long and prolific career.

Books by Bernadette Pajer:
Professor Bradshaw Mysteries:
A Spark of Death

Author Profile Interview with Bernadette Pajer

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You - Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi

Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You
The Spiderwick Chronicles

Holly Black (Author)

Tony DiTerlizzi (Illustrator)
Simon and Schuster

ISBN 9781416960959


This book, the Arthur Spiderwick Field guide, is lovingly restored
and organized by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi. The creatures from the fantastical world around us have been organized by habitat and then alphabetically. It has 28 plates and hundreds of illustrations, with fold-out pages and flip-up pages for even larger illustrations. Each creature's main illustrations list its scale. With lots of side notes and addendums, this is a wonderful book that the young and young at heart can return to many times.


The sections are:
Around the House and Yard:
Brownies
Boggarts
Changelings
Pixies
Salamanders
Stray Sod

In Fields and Forests:
Cockatrices
Elves
Leprechauns
Manticores
Sprites
Treefolk
Unicorns

In Lakes, Streams and the Sea:
Kelpies
Merfolk
Nixies
Sea Serpents
Trolls

In the Hills and Mountains:
Dwarves
Giants
Goblins
Hobgoblins
Knockers
Ogres

In the Sky:
Dragons
Griffins
Phoenixes

Outside at Night:
Banshees
Gargoyles
Phookas
Will-o-the-Wisps

This illustrated guide is amazing. I know that I will read it again, and plan on reading it to my children many times over the next few years.

Books by Black and DiTerlizzi: The Spiderwick Chronicles
The Field Guide
The Seeing Stone
Lucinda's Secret
The Ironwood Tree
The Wrath of Mulgarath

Arthur Spiderwick's Notebook of Fantastical Observations
Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You
Care and Feeding of Sprites

Beyond Spiderwick
The Nixie's Song
A Giant Problem
The Wyrm King
Other Books by Holly Black:
The Poison Eaters and Other Stories

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Doll Bones 

The Modern Faerie Tales
Tithe
Valiant
Ironside

The Good Neighbors
Kin
Kith
Kind

The Curse Workers
White Cat
Red Glove
Black Heart

Anthologies
Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd
Zombies vs. Unicorns
Welcome to Bordertown

Other Books by Tony Diterlizzi:

Jimmy Zangwow's Out-of-This-World Moon-Pie Adventure
Ted
G is for One Gzonk
Kenny & the Dragon
The Search for WondLa

Books Illustrated by Tony Diterlizzi:
Dinosaur Summer
Ribbiting Tales
Alien & Possum: Friends No Matter What
Alien & Possum: Hanging Around
The Spider & The Fly
Dragonflight
Peter Pan in Scarlet

Books by Tony & Angela DiTerlizzi:
Adventures of Meno:
Wet Fun!
Big Friend!
Yummy Trip!
Uh-Oh Sick!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Save The Galaxy! - Lego Star Wars - Ace Landers and Greg Hyland

Save The Galaxy!
Lego Star Wars

Ace Landers (Author)

Greg Hyland (Illustrator)

Scholastic

ISBN 9780545301015


I cannot believe that they told the main story of Star Wars in 12 ages of graphic novel-style board book. This story was amazing. For fans of Star Wars this will be a great book to start your children on the stories. For fans of Lego Star Wars it is an awesome book. Some of the illustrations are of Lego packs you can buy: the X-Wing Fighter, Sand Crawler, the Millennium Falcon and more. Join Leia, Luke and Han on this version of their epic story.

Lego City Adventure Books:
Fire Truck To The Rescue
Help Is On the Way!
Calling All Cars
All Aboard!
Ready For Take Off
Build This City
City Adventures Sticker Book

Work This Farm
Fight This Fire!
Lego City Heroes!
Trucks Around The City
Escape From Lego City
3, 2, 1 Liftoff
All Hands On Deck
Fire In The Forest!
Catch That Crook!

Lego Star Wars Books:
Save The Galaxy!
Anakin: Space Pilot 3D
Darth Maul's Mission

Star Wars Books:
Star Wars The Complete Saga
Star Wars Millennium Falcon YT-1300: A 3-D Owners Guide



Friday, 13 May 2011

G is for One Gzonk! - Tony DiTerlizzi - An Alpha-Number-bet Book

G is for One Gzonk!:
An Alpha-Number-bet Book

Tiny DiTerlooney aka Tony DiTerlizzi
Simon and Schuster
ISBN 9780689852909


Next to Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet. This is my second favorite alphabet book to share with children. DiTerlizzi wrote this book between the writing of the original Spiderwick Chronicles and the Beyond Spiderwick Trilogy. It is funny, fun and a wonderful book. It is large even for a picture book, but that just give DiTerlizzi even more room to illustrate and expound. The creatures he creates are like a cross between Dr. Seuss and Star Trek. They are done in a charming style and the bright vibrant colors of the book will draw children back to it again and again. Each letter has between 2 and three pages: a main drawing of a creature, a drawing of a young Tony and side comments that look like they have been hand written in on the pages. It is a wonderful book!

Other Books by Tony Diterlizzi:

Jimmy Zangwow's Out-of-This-World Moon-Pie Adventure
Ted
G is for One Gzonk
Kenny & the Dragon
The Search for WondLa

Books Illustrated by Tony Diterlizzi:
Dinosaur Summer
Ribbiting Tales
Alien & Possum: Friends No Matter What
Alien & Possum: Hanging Around
The Spider & The Fly
Dragonflight
Peter Pan in Scarlet

Books by Tony & Angela DiTerlizzi:
Adventures of Meno:
Wet Fun!
Big Friend!
Yummy Trip!
Uh-Oh Sick!

Books by Black and DiTerlizzi: The Spiderwick Chronicles
The Field Guide
The Seeing Stone
Lucinda's Secret
The Ironwood Tree
The Wrath of Mulgarath

Arthur Spiderwick's Notebook of Fantastical Observations
Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You
Care and Feeding of Sprites

Beyond Spiderwick
The Nixie's Song
A Giant Problem
The Wyrm King

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Tim Wynne-Jones - Author Profile

Tim Wynne-Jones is a Canadian author who has written picture books, novels for youth and adults, radio dramas and songs for the CBC and for Fraggle Rock. Born in England but raised in British Columbia and Ontario, Tim attended the University of Waterloo and later York University. Tim has won numer awards for his books, encluding the Governor General’s Literary Awards in Canada three times, The Canadian Library Association Price, The Arthur Ellis Award and the Edgar award. He recently took some time to answer 20 questions for the readers here at Book Reviews and More.

1. If you had not become a writer what do you think you would be doing for a living?

Singing. Making visual art. Raising chinchillas. Well, maybe not chinchillas; more likely enchiladas.

2. Who were some of your biggest supporters and contributors to your early success?

My wife, Amanda Lewis; my various publishers, especially the folks at Groundwood Books; the illustrators I worked with, especially Eric Beddows on the Zoom trilogy...

3. Which books or authors had the greatest impact on your work or writing style?

A.A. Milne, Enid Blyton, Walter R. Brooks, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jules Vernes, Richard Brautigan, Herman Hesse, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Graham Greene, John Le Carre, Philip Pullman, Brian Doyle, etc, etc.

4. What advice do you wish an artist had passed on to you early in your career, which you only learned through experience?

To be patient. To enjoy it all and not be in such an all-fired hurry.

5. What does your writing process look like? Takes us through the steps from idea to publishing?

I get an idea for a scene I really like and try to write that. In order for it to work, it will have to be chock-a-block full of conflict and desire and feature a character I like well enough that I'm going to want to spend the next year or so hanging out with him or her. Once I've written the first chapter, I concentrate on writing the next one. Repeat until finished. Somewhere along the way I realize that I'm writing about something I've always wanted to understand and then I have to keep writing in order to figure out why. Eventually, I also get an idea for an ending. When it's done once. I really, really, really enjoy the second draft because now I know what I'm doing, where I'm going and what I hope to achieve. Eventually I send it to my editor.

6. Do you use a playlist when writing? Are certain books written while predominantly listing to the same music?

Music is a HUGE inspiration to my writing but it's not specific to a particular writing project. Music puts me in the headspace to work -- gives me the feeling, the fire, to try to put into words whatever it is I'm trying to figure out.

7. I once heard Madeleine L'Engle state that her characters were real to her and almost an extended part of her family, she said once that at the dinner table she sat up and stated "Meg just finished her PhD." Are your characters real to you, do you ever get glimpses of what they are up to now, or once you finish a book is that it?

My characters do feel real to me. They go with me everywhere. Whatever I'm doing I wonder what they would be doing if they were there. This is how I come to know them. Meanwhile, I try to get them talking as early as possible. I try to write scenes rather than summary so that I can hear what they have to say. Eventually, it feels as if they're the ones coming up with what they want -- need -- to say, rather than just me putting words in their mouths.

8. What of your books is your favorite and why?

The one I'm going to write next. It's the only book of mine that is really exciting to me because it's sheer, one hundred percent potential right now!

9. What of your books was the hardest to write and why?

Tumbledown Hill is a picture book with only 26 sentences in it but it took 61/2 years to write. That's because it's a puzzle: the first sentence is 26 words long and each subsequent sentence is one word shorter. Then I decided to make it rhyme, as well. Oh yeah, and it had to make sense. It was actually a lot of fun, not really hard, just time-consuming.

10. What books are currently in progress for you? Writing, researching, planning or even just ideas backburner projects that you would like to work on?

I'm writing the fourth and final book in my Rex Zero series. It's called Rex Zero in Deep. I'm also writing an epistolary novel with my wife, Amanda Lewis, which involves a series of letters over several years between a draft dodger in Canada during the Vietnam War and a girl back home.

11. Completely off topic but what TV shows or movies do you enjoy?

I seldom watch TV, but I do watch DVDs of TV shows. My favorites are pretty eclectic: In Treatment, Six Feet Under, Rome, Glee, The Vicar of Dibley...

I love all kinds of movies, no particular genre -- too many to mention, varying from delightful fluff like Noises Off or Love Actually to the stark cinema of Ingmar Bergman. I love Truly, Madly, Deeply; The Fisher King; Little Shop of Horrors (the musical); and all kinds of thrillers.

12. What were some of your favorite authors or books in your teen years who helped shape you?

I tended to read adventure stories and murder mysteries when I was a teen.

13. What are some of your favorite books and authors now?

I read about 5-6 novels a month. It's hard to name favorites other than ones I've just finished, like David Mitchell's Black Swan Green, or Andrew Smith's The Marbury Lens. I tend to keep up with Peter Robinson, Ian Rankin, Harlan Coben, Elizabeth George, Minette Walters, Robert Harris, John Le Carre -- I've read everything of John Le Carre.

14. Two of your books are available in electronic formats but with that comes bootleg distribution. What are your impressions of ebooks and the distribution of them through torrents and other illegal means?

I"m not sure what to think. We're in a huge period of readjustment. There are these new platforms available. I always respect copyright, myself, since I make my living from it, but I know lots of people don't care about it and I'm not about to bludgeon them into changing their minds. Since the technology is there to allow piracy and it's as easy as pie, it's not worth screaming your lungs out over it. We're going to have to find a way to accommodate the new technology that ensures that artists somehow are remunerated for their works. Because there won't be anything left to steal if no one writes books or music or makes art anymore.

15. Some authors monitor torrent sites and have their publishers contact them to remove their content. Do you do so are have someone do so for you?

You know, I kind of bury my head in the sand on this whole thing. There's enough stress in my life without being in a constant state of paranoia that I'm being ripped off.

16. Some of your earlier books are currently out of print, have you thought of rereleasing them as ebooks?

It's a good idea. I haven't really given it much more than passing thought. There seems to be only so many hours in the day and I'm getting old.

17. I once had a university professor state that the true goal of a university education should be to teach one to learn how to think. What would you state should be the goal of higher education and why?

I agree. Learning how to think is critical. I hate to see universities not living up to their name of being universal...okay, I don't know if the worlds university and universal are connected. But my point is that a Liberal Education still seems to me to be a better deal than a BA in sorting yellow widgets. Over specialization in a field means there are people with very limited and narrow knowledge. We live in an age of information, much of which is crap. Information isn't understanding. And understanding isn't wisdom. Do you see much wisdom around? I didn't think so.

18. What advice would you give to teens today, to your readers, what gems of knowledge have you gleaned in life that you would pass on?

Take your ear buds out now and then. Turn off Facebook. Walk in a forest. or by the ocean. Read.

19. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 10 books to read again and again, what books would you want with you?

The complete works of Shakespeare. And The House at Pooh Corner.

20. What advice would you give specifically to young aspiring authors and artists?

Read, read, read. Look at art, look at art, look at art. Listen to great music, listen to great music, listen to great music.

Tim, thank you for taking the time to answer the questions. Looking forward to reading some of your books soon.

Book by Tim Wynne-Jones:
Children's picture books:
Madeline and Ermadillo (1976)
Zoom at Sea (1983)
Zoom Away (1985)
The Hour Of the Frog (1985)
I'll Make You Small (1986)
Mischief City (1986)
Architect Of the Moon (1988) (U.S. title: Builder of the Moon)
Zoom Upstream (1992)
The Last Piece of Sky (1993)
Mouse In the Manger (1993)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
Dracula (1997)
On Tumbledown Hill (1998)
Ned Mouse Breaks Away (2002)

Young adult fiction:
Rosie Backstage (1994 -with Amanda Lewis)
The Book of Changes (1994)
The Maestro (1995) (Australian title: The Flight of Burl Crow, UK title The Survival Game)
Some of the Kinder Planets (1997)
Stephen Fair (1998)
Lord of the Fries and Other Stories (1999)
The Boy in the Burning House (2000)
A Midwinter Night's Dream (2003)
A Thief in the House of Memory (2004)
Rex Zero and the End of the World (2006)
The Uninvited (2009)
Blink & Caution (2011)

Adult fiction:
Odd's End (1980)
The Knot (1983)
Fastyngange (1988 - UK title: Voices)
The Uninvited (2009)
SilabGarza (2010)

Contributed to:
Click

Monday, 9 May 2011

Notebook for Fantastical Observations - Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi - Spiderwick Chronicles

Notebook for Fantastical Observations
The Spiderwick Chronicles

Holly Black and
Tony DiTerlizzi
Simon and Schuster

ISBN 9781416903451

eISBN 9781442403598


This was the first book in the Spiderwick world I was disappointed with. I bought the eBook and cannot figure out why the publisher released an e-version of this book. It is intended to be a workbook. There are 14 chapters in this book, alphabetically named after the creatures encountered.

The sections are:
Brownies
Dragons
Dwarves
Elves
Goblins
Griffins
Hobgoblins
Knockers
Ogres
Phookas
Sprites
Stray Sod
Trolls
Unicorns

Each section has a story written by someone who has had an encounter with the Fantastical, followed by a short commentary by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi. Then there are numerous activities to be completed. These includes writing your own encounters, making lists, drawing pictures and much much more. This workbook will be great fun for a child and provide entertainment again and again as they go back and add more notes to each section. But the eBook cannot even be printed out to allow these activities to be completed. If you're going to buy this book make sure you get the physical book. It will be entertaining and fun for children of all ages.

Books by Black and DiTerlizzi: The Spiderwick Chronicles
The Field Guide
The Seeing Stone
Lucinda's Secret
The Ironwood Tree
The Wrath of Mulgarath

Arthur Spiderwick's Notebook of Fantastical Observations
Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You
Care and Feeding of Sprites


Beyond Spiderwick
The Nixie's Song
A Giant Problem
The Wyrm King

Other Books by Holly Black:
The Poison Eaters and Other Stories

The Modern Faerie Tales
Tithe
Valiant
Ironside

The Good Neighbors
Kin
Kith
Kind

The Curse Workers
White Cat
Red Glove
Black Heart

Anthologies
Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd
Zombies vs. Unicorns
Welcome to Bordertown

Other Books by Tony Diterlizzi:

Jimmy Zangwow's Out-of-This-World Moon-Pie Adventure
Ted
G is for One Gzonk
Kenny & the Dragon
The Search for WondLa

Books Illustrated by Tony Diterlizzi:
Dinosaur Summer
Ribbiting Tales
Alien & Possum: Friends No Matter What
Alien & Possum: Hanging Around
The Spider & The Fly
Dragonflight
Peter Pan in Scarlet

Books by Tony & Angela DiTerlizzi:
Adventures of Meno:
Wet Fun!
Big Friend!
Yummy Trip!
Uh-Oh Sick!