Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Yay, Spring BookNotes

(This is the latest BookNotes newsletter entry. Some of the events listed may have already passed.)

Gimme an S! Yay, Spring! A couple minutes more light on either side of the day. Insert happy sigh here. I really like getting up in the dark but I will give that up for being able to come home in the daylight. I am looking forward to doing a whole lot of un-hunkering in the next few weeks. In honor of the season, this week’s books are spring-y, green-y and rhyme-y.


Falling Down the Page
, edited by Georgia Heard. Ms. Heard has chosen poems written as lists for this book. What a great idea! The book is designed to open and be read like a reporter’s notebook, you open it from the bottom and read from the top. It’s pretty cool. This would be a wonderful way to teach and present poetry classes for your classroom and home. It isn’t as intimidating to write a poem about, say, a pencil, if it is in a list format:

Things to Do if You Are a Pencil
, by Elaine Magliaro

Be sharp.
Wear a slick yellow suit
And a pink top hat.
Tap your toes on the tabletop,
Listen for the right rhythm,
Then dance a poem
Across the page.

Falling Down the Page is good for kids (and adults) ages 5 and up. (Roaring Brook Press, $16.95.)

Redwoods, illustrated and written by Jason Chin, is a book about the redwoods of northern California. Great artwork in this, there is a lot to notice, and even the end pages are fun. A little boy is in a subway when he picks up an abandoned book about redwoods. As he reads about these most majestic of trees, odd things start to happen around him. Mr. Chin shows us what the redwoods are by placing them in an environment the boy can understand: the boy is on the train reading about the ancestors of the trees with Jurassic era dinos looking on; there are some trees alive now when Rome was an empire so he is flanked by toga and armor wearing Romans; when the boy leaves the subway, we see the shallow root system of the redwoods coming through the ceiling.

There is a lot of good information about the trees in the text, but the art work really brings it home so kids will remember and understand it. Ages 5 and up. (Roaring Brook Press, $16.95.)

The Curious Garden
, by Peter Brown of Chowder fame, has written and illustrated a lovely book about the importance of gardening and how one person can make a difference. The Curious Garden is about a boy named Liam who finds a couple of bedraggled plants on an abandoned elevated railway. Amazing things start to happen when he decides to take care of them: the plants get healthy and start to explore, greenery and flowers pop up in interesting places, and Liam’s whole town gets into helping the garden grow (inch by inch, and row by row). Brilliantly illustrated, with little things to search for on each page, The Curious Garden will inspire you and yours to go out and make a difference in your landscape.

Again, there are great end pages in this one, too. Take the dust jacket off and see the hidden surprise inside. Ages 4 and up. (Little Brown, $16.99.)

Come to Third Place Books (the Lake Forest Park location) when Peter Brown comes to see us on Monday, April 20, 2009, at 10 am. You can bring groups of kids (can you say field trips, anyone?), just make sure to call and let us know if you have a group of 10 or more: 206-366-3333.

A truly exotic book about enjoying each day on its own as a particular piece of time is Cynthia Rylant’s and Nikki McClure’s All in a Day. A sweet poem about how a single day is a distinct entity, never to come again, is illustrated by Nikki McClure’s exquisite paper cuts. The information about how Nikki produces her art is fascinating. Both author and illustrator are local, Nikki lives in Olympia. This would be a great frieze for a child’s room, if you could bear to tear it apart. You might need two copies! The black paper art over the pastel background colors is stunning. Ages 4 and up. (Abrams, $17.95.)

My Life in Pink and Green
, by Lisa Greenwald, is a wonderful book for kids who are interested in the environment, who might be a little entrepreneurial, who are part of a family business, who might just have an idea for a business and not know how to get started.

Lucy is 12 years old and works part time in the family pharmacy. She gets to stock and make recommendations on what to carry in the makeup and hair product section. She reads all the instructions on how to use the products, plays with color, checks out magazines and new styles, and is pretty much the local beauty product pro in her store. When the current homecoming queen comes to the store in a panic because her hair has been ruined by her regular hair care professional, Lucy calms her down and suggests a few organic products that will tame the green frizz that makes up the top of her head. When the products work, the Queen starts sending all of her friends to Lucy for makeup and hair advice. At the same time, we find out that Lucy’s family is in the process of losing its business. Up against mega chain pharmacies that offer more stuff than drugs, and are able to buy massive amounts of drugs to offset the costs , they are losing the families who made the decision to no longer support the town pharmacist, someone who has lived and worked and paid her taxes to that town for three generations (I’m done soapboxing, now).

Lucy has been taking an after school course in environmental studies with her friends and realizes that with her mad skills at the makeup and hair thing, she might just be able to help her family and its business with a local green grant from the mayor’s office, even though her family thinks she is way too young to have anything to offer.

A good book, timely, and one that addresses a problem that is close to my heart, Lucy and her experiences make for a great read. I have been thinking about this book for weeks, ever since I first read it. It is upbeat, happy, fun, a little romance is included, there’s a healthy dose of “if you think it, you can do it”, and it is empowering to think that kids can make a difference in the lives around them. Ages 10 and up. (Amulet, $16.99.)

Store and Calendar Notes:

Go to www.thirdplacebooks.com for a more complete calendar listing. You will find book reviews, more events, lists, all kinds of things on the site. The following items are children and teen events that I thought you might find most interesting. Please call us, or order via our online store at the above address, if there is a book you would like and can’t physically get in to buy. We can have it signed for you and then get it mailed off the next day.

Sunday, April 4 from 10-12, join us as we celebrate the world of cowboys, horses, and the world around them. Ranch Sunday will include three authors, Terri Farley (the Phantom Stallion series), Roseanne Perry (Heart of a Shepherd), Suzanne Morgan Williams (Bull Rider) and crafts and drawing led by our own Commons artist, Constance Perenyi. Grab your boots and your belts, round up your compadres, and come on over!

Rick Riordan, the author of Lightning Thief and the first installation of The 39 Clues, will be at the store on May 8, 6:30 pm. It’s a Friday night and you should come hear him talk about the amazing Percy Jackson. Call the store now (206-366-3333)to have book number 5 in the series, The Last Olympian, set aside for the event. This is the last book in the series and you really shouldn’t miss it. The Last Olympian will be available on May 5. Find a babysitter for the young’uns, grab up the older ones, and hie yourself on down to Third Place Books for an evening of laughter and magic. If you are an adult reading this newsletter and you haven’t given yourself a book treat lately, you need to indulge yourself and read The Lightning Thief. Ask your kids if you can borrow theirs.

Tamora Pierce, the author of Alanna, that amazing series about a girl who wants to be a knight, will be at the store on Saturday, May 9, at 6:30, to discuss the second book in the Beka Cooper series, Bloodhound. Tamora Pierce has a nice, hefty stack of books to her name, books that are exciting, fast-paced, and empowering. Many of her books are about girls who want to break away from their proscribed roles in the world, strong girls who can make a difference for the small and helpless in that world. Her books are great and would make a great gift for that teen in your life (or for yourself, all the women I know love her books, too). I would suggest being at least 11 years old for her books.

Third Place Books has a limited number of Wintergirls, that amazing book by Laurie Halse Anderson about an anorexic girl, at the store now. She also signed her “backlist” titles (her older books), so if you need a copy of Speak or Chains, call to have one set aside.

Alright, then- that’s it for this week! Have a good weekend. I will be at the Green Festival at the Convention Center this Saturday (hey! That’s tomorrow!) selling books and soaking up information and vibes. If you are there, seek us out-

Rene’ Kirkpatrick

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