Monday, December 22, 2014


HELLO, BLOGSMITH READERS. If you're anything like us, then you have been REALLY REALLY BUSY THIS WEEK. So with two more days of Hanukkah and Christmas hurtling towards us, let me make one last-minute holiday kids' gift suggestion. The suggestion is one word. The word is:


An omnibus, for those who do not know, is a single volume containing multiple full books. Often these are very good books (at, might I add, a relatively low price). So here in the days of desperate end-of-the-holidays shopping, let me bring you a few of my favorite omnibuses in the kids' department.


Miss Nelson Collection by Harry Allard, illustrated by James Marshall -- A sweet schoolteacher tricks her bad students into being good through her witchy substitute alter-ego.

Madeline Treasury by Ludwig Bemelmen -- The classic adventures of the little French orphan, complete with appendicitis and Bat Hats. This is a gorgeous hardcover collection.

My Favorite Dr. Seuss Treasury by Dr. Seuss -- A newly published collection of Dr. Seuss classics. Like the Madeline, it's big, pretty, and it will be in the family for decades.


The Frog and Toad Treasury by Arnold Lobel -- The hapless, charming, best-friend adventures of Frog and Toad all in one book. It's a nice edition and it's also twelve dollars. (?!)


My Father's Dragon collection by Ruth Stiles Gannett -- The gentle, imaginative fantasy classics in a very pretty hardcover edition.


The Complete Oz Volume 1 by L. Frank Baum -- The first three books of the Oz series, which are funnier, weirder, and way better than you remember from your childhood. This is the first in a series of paperback collections.

The Wrinkle in Time Trilogy by Madeleine L'Engle -- Imagination-stretching, emotional, wonderful science fiction that you won't ever forget. The paperback collection is pretty and readable (and no one wants to stop after just one book...).


The Dark Is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper -- Mythological villains, everyday heroes, Arthurian legend, dark powers, and the ultimate quest to preserve what's good, all set in a stark, fascinating England that will stick in your mind years after you've read them. This volume is the entire five-book series, which won two Newbery Honors and a Newbery Medal between them. 


Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervin Peake -- If you have any precocious teenage readers of weird stuff on your list this year, try Gormenghast, the peculiar classic about young Titus Groan, a prince protecting his crumbling kingdom from the evil intentions of a power-hungry kitchen boy.

So that's what you can find on our shelves as of this writing. And of course, we the children's booksellers will be here too. Happy shopping, happy holidays, happy reading!

Monday, December 8, 2014


Oh, WINTER. We may only have been having the cold then kind of warm then cold again and almost snowing? but actually just RAINING FOREVER kind of winter so far, but in the glorious world of fiction, winter has real snow, new friends, book shops, birdwatching, and decades-old mysteries. In Heather Vogel Frederick's new book Absolutely Truly, Truly is struggling with some big changes. Her dad has changed since he lost an arm in Afghanistan, and her family has just packed up and moved from Texas to extremely tiny Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire. But with a bookstore to save from going under, a mystery that starts with a first edition of Charlotte's Web, and a couple of classmates who would love to help her solve it, Truly might just be okay.

When you're done reading about Truly, check out...

Five Great Intermediate Mysteries

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliet -- Art theft, two clever kids, and an air of the paranormal.

The Westing Game (A Puzzle Mystery) by Ellen Raskin -- A dead millionaire leaves behind a will that names the 16 residents of Sunset Towers Apartments his heirs...but one of them is the murderer, and only one will walk away with the money. (This one is a Newbery Medal winning classic, and one of my all-time favorites.)

All The Wrong Questions series by Lemony Snicket-- So far there are three books in this quirky sleuth series by the author of A Series of Unfortunate Events. A little bit of comedy, a little bit of noir.

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage -- Moses LeBeau may have washed ashore in a hurricane, but the family that found her is the family that matters most. But an unsolved murder puts that at risk, and Moses will have to solve that murder if she's going to protect the ones she loves...

So B. It  by Sarah Weeks -- Heidi's mentally disabled mother only speaks a handful of words, but one of them might hold a world of meaning: soof. Heidi is off across the country in search of the meaning of this one word--the what or the who--which might explain how her unusual, wonderful family came to be.

Five More if You Like Absolutely Truly

Close to Famous by Joan Bauer -- Foster and her mother may have trouble in their past, but they're determined to make it work in their new town. With Foster's baking and her mother's beautiful voice, they soon find a place. The question is, will they be ready when the past shows up to test them?

The Mother-Daughter Book Club series by Heather Vogel Frederick -- For more of Heather Frederick, more about family, more about books, and more about smart, curious girl protagonists.

Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson -- Ginny's fly-by-night aunt dies before Ginny even knows she's sick. But before she can even grieve, Ginny gets her inheritance: a little blue envelope that will start her on a journey across Europe, to find adventure, love, and strength in herself.

Savvy by Ingrid Law -- Everyone in Mibs's family has a savvy--a sort of magic power. Mibs's power is just waking up...and her father is in the hospital after a car crash. She needs to get to him, because she knows her power can save his life...but it's a long way, she can't drive, and the new preacher in town might be a little too interested in what her family is up to.

A Long Way From Chicago and A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck -- For a dash of historical fiction, take a couple of city kids from the 1930s and throw them into the small-town countryside to stay with their grandmother for deliciously old-fashioned, funny adventures. 

And that's what I suggest for you this fortnight. Happy reading!

Monday, December 1, 2014

What Being in A Book Would Really Be Like

I like to think I would be wonderful and cool in every situation but really, I wouldn't handle a lot of things as gracefully as book characters do. And Juliet put up with a lot from Romeo. Who has the patience for that?