Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Titles for the Kids

Even more new titles came in today—the ones Jon couldn’t get to yesterday. This has definitely been a banner week. But as promised yesterday, here are a few of the new books we got in yesterday for the young’uns:

Imagine Harry by Kate and M. Sarah Klise
A new picture book about Little Rabbit from the fabulous Klise sisters is always a cause for celebration. I always find it really hard to talk about why I love the picture books I do. I think it is because they engage us (or at least me) differently than other books. But that's another entry for another time… It is hard to find a great picture book—either the text is poor or the illustrations are unimaginative (or, horrors, both!) or the two don’t blend as seamlessly as they should. But this is one that works on every level. Little Rabbit's imaginary friend Harry goes everywhere with him, but once Little Rabbit starts school he finds that he doesn't mind Harry's moving away. I was thrilled when I went to the Klise's website to see that another Little Rabbit book is in the works. (Approx. age: 3-anyone with a still beating heart)

Young People’s History of the United States Vol. I & II by Howard Zinn
A People’s History of the United States is probably our most consistent seller in the American History section. My sales rep and I both thought the same thing when we saw these in the catalog—why didn’t anyone think of this sooner? Mr. Zinn will be having an event with us and I am curious as to who will be there. Will people bring their kids and grandkids? I hope so; I think that would be pretty darn cool. (approx. grade 6-9)

I am sure at some point we will get to my seemingly superfluous degrees, but I will say this. Zinn is known, rightly so, for tackling our traditional ideas of the American past. I don’t know if this is something he discusses or not (and I’m guessing the latter), but please people, listen to me, I am telling you the truth: PEOPLE WERE NOT SHORTER BACK THEN.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book Three: The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan
And there was much joy and rejoicing in the land of children’s booksellers as the new Percy Jackson book went on sale yesterday! Truly, I don’t know of one children’s bookseller who doesn’t love these books (sometimes with evangelical zeal). If you have not read the previous books in the series you may want to start with book one, but I don’t think it’s a firm requirement. The books tell the story of young Percy Jackson, your normal ADHD boy with Poseidon as his dad. In this installment he is sent on a rescue mission to free the goddess Artemis, and it is serious adventure from start to finish. I don’t want to get too much into plot—you need to just follow the ride for yourself. Value added—you get a great refresher course on Greek gods.

At first glance there are Harry Potter parallels: young boy with a special destiny, his friends the smarty-pants girl and loveable somewhat bumbling third, a special school and mysterious powers, yadda, yadda, yadda. But these are superficial and Reardon’s books stand on their own. They deserve all the attention and more than books of similar design. I should add that many series (for both kids and adults) start with a bang and then fizzle out, but this is the opposite—each book is getting better and better than the next. (approx. grade 5-8, but great for adults as well)

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