Monday, October 18, 2021

TTT: Favorite Illustrators


 TTT (Top Ten Tuesday) is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. If you want to quadruple the size of your TBR AND find a bunch of great book blogs to follow, head on over and check it out!

The topic this week is: Online Resources for Book Lovers
But I don't really have any, so instead I'm going to follow a thought prompted by last week's TTT, and share some of my favorite illustrators. This means this will be another mostly nostalgic, definitely children's and MG book post. I'm listing the books these illustrators worked on that I have read myself, although of course many of them did many other projects as well. Some are author/illustrators and some strictly illustrate the words of others. As I worked on this list, I started thinking of modern illustrators I also really love, so I'll save those for a later post. 

Garth Williams: The Rescuers, A Cricket in Times Square, several Little House books, Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, several Little Golden Books, etc.

Arthur Rackham: Alice in Wonderland, A Christmas Carol, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, A Midsummer Night's Dream, etc.

Ernest Shepherd: The Wind in the Willows, Winnie the Pooh

Tasha Tudor: The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, A Child's Garden of Verses

Robert McCloskey: Blueberries for Sal, Make Way for Ducklings, Homer Price

Maurice Sendak: Where the Wild Things Are, Higgledy Piggledy Pop!, In the Night KitchenLittle Bear, What Do You Do, Dear?, Chicken Soup with Rice

Kate Seredy: The Good Master, The Singing Tree, The White Stag, Caddie Woodlawn

Mercer Mayer: A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog series, Beauty and the Beast The Great Brain series. (But not the Little Critter stuff.)

Kate Greenaway: Mother Goose, Under the Window

Clearly, I've always been a sucker for pretty dresses and for pen line drawings. Do you recognize any of these? 

Monday, October 11, 2021

TTT: Favorite Settings from my Childhood


 TTT (Top Ten Tuesday) is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl .  If you want to quadruple the size of your TBR AND find a bunch of great book blogs to follow head on over and check it out!

The topic this week is: Favorite Book Settings. As I worked on a list, I realized that the settings that live the deepest in my heart and imagination are from books I read  as a child. Maybe it's because I definitely re-read favorite books dozens of times when I was a kid, so they really sunk into my memory. Maybe it's the lack of cynicism, both in me and in the books, that allowed me to idealize these places. Regardless, here are ten settings that I've carried vividly with me since I was in grade school.

1. Prince Edward Island, as featured in the Anne of Green Gables books. Anne's own descriptions are what sells it, of course. Who wouldn't want to ride a buggy down the White Way of Delight?

2. The Hungarian steppes of Kate Seredy's The Good Master and The Singing Tree. I can't even explain what a hold these books have on me. Racing horses across the wide open spaces, sausages hanging from the rafters, embroidered vests and skirts on fancy occasions, and a family with so much love to spare that they take in prisoners of war during WWI. 

3.  Would it be a list on Falconer's Library without sneaking some Le Guin onto it? The islands of Earthsea, the tombs of Atuan, Ged's boat and Tehanu's home on the cliffs, though that came later than the original trilogy. This series is why I mispronounce archipelago, since I learned it in print long before I heard it in person. 

4. The Shire. Many of the other Hobbit settings are vivid as well, from the town of Dale to Gollum's underground caverns and Smaug's lair, but c'mon, we all know we'd really only be happy if we lived behind a round green door.

5. The alpine cabin where Heidi's grandfather lived. Falling asleep to the sound of the wind in the pines, watching the meadows explode with wildflowers in the brief mountain summer...yes please.

6. Skating along the frozen canals of Holland with Hans Brinker and his sister Gretel, who really should have been included in the title too. It's as much from her point of view as his. Hmph.

7. The Secret Garden. Sadly, the book is chock-full of racist and classist and ableist thinking, but when I was a kid, those Tasha Tudor illustrations made me want to dig in the dirt and birdwatch with Mary and Dickon and Colin. I guess I was preparing for middle age.

8. Vermont, as described in Understood Betsy. I went to college in Vermont, and not gonna lie, this book fueled at least 25% of that decision. I have yet to tap a maple tree though. #BucketList. #AccidentalPun.

9. Midcentury New York City. Harriet the Spy, Corduroy, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Lyle Lyle Crocodile, The Snowy Day, The Cricket in Times Square, Stuart Little--I wanted to live in a building with a super, walk down busy sidewalks, ride the subway, pop into the library with the two huge lions out front, and buy food from corner stores or hotdog carts. 

10. In a similar vein, Victorian London. Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, A Little Princess, Black Hearts in Battersea. There are more, but I can't remember them--just a general sense of fancy dresses and pea-soup fog. 

Two books I've read much more recently with a fantastic sense of place are Ramona Blue and Firekeeper's Daughter. I've never been to the Mississippi Delta and seen the lingering effects of Katrina, nor have I ever spent any time in Michigan's Upper Penninsula, on or off reservations, but because of these books I feel like I have. 

Monday, September 27, 2021

TTT: YA Mysteries


 TTT (Top Ten Tuesday) is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl .  If you want to quadruple the size of your TBR AND find a bunch of great book blogs to follow head on over and check it out!

The topic this week is.. a freebie! 

When people ask me what my favorite genres are (and I'm a reading teacher, so this is actually something people ask me), I usually say, "Adult mysteries and YA fantasy." I find that adult fantasy can get to bogged down in politics and battles, and YA mysteries lack a certain gritty reality. However, I'm always open to having my prejudices challenged, so I do read out of my go-to standards. I feel that I've read a number of really good YA mysteries lately, and here they are. I'm not sure what it says about me and/or the experience of being a woman, but I sure love the ones where a young woman turns the tables on a killer. I'm all, "YES, MURDER HIIIIM!"  I'm also noticing that this is a fantastic set of covers. 

The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson. 
Loved the whole Truly Devious Series, and I am delighted to report that this stand-alone novel featuring the same teen sleuth is also fantastic.  This time Stevie is looking into a 1978 multiple murder at a summer camp. 

Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin
I've raved about this updated McBeth story told from the point of view of a young woman who brings down the powerful.

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
This is dark. Revenge, murder, and revenge murder. McGinnis is so good at every genre she graces us with!

Spin by Lamar Giles
In a variation on the "unlikely partners forced to work together to solve a crime" trope, two girls who both considered the murder victim their best friend, but loath each other, try to get to the bottom of their friend's death--and life.

Sadie by Courtney Summers
From its creative structure to its growing sense of doom, I loved everything about this book. 

Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig
It's hard to pick a favorite from Roherig's mysteries and crime stories, all of which are Very Gay and manage to be both funny and scary.

Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson
Jackson's brand of twists and shocks is never better than in this book about a girl who is the only person that seems to care her best friend has disappeared. 


Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen McManus
She's a leader in teen mysteries, but if I'd only read One of Us Is Lying, I wouldn't be that impressed. I really enjoyed this one though, enough that I'll take a look at The Cousins if my students every stop checking it out.

I'm an unabashed fan of this Portland author and her well structured, solidly PG thrillers. I will always have a soft spot for Girl, Stolen, but this kidnapping story gets creepier, AND involves friendship, which I appreciated.