Dogs just wanna be existential

mush

Glenn Eichler, creator of MTV’s Daria, brings that series’s wry, witty tone to his new graphic novel, Mush! Sled Dogs with Issues (First Second, December). From the cover, which features a sled dog caught licking itself, it’s clear this book isn’t going to be pretty. Mush! is harsh, blunt, and rather philosophical. The sled dogs […]

Food for thought

hunger games

In a few short months, you’re bound to hear the sound of thousands of teenage girls stripping posters of Twilight franchise stars Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner from their bedroom walls in favor of Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth. Don’t recognize the latter names? You will. Hutcherson (The Kids Are All Right) and Hemsworth (of […]

A keeper

What_we_keep

Amanda Cockrell’s What We Keep Is Not Always What Will Stay (Flux, June) begins with fifteen-year-old protagonist Angela Arnaz’s disclaimer, “I am not a religious fanatic.” Angie confesses she regularly talks to a statue of St. Felix—and then the statue miraculously seems to come to life and offers advice. Is grubby Felix the saint incarnate, […]

Serial thriller

spirits-of-the-noh

Dreams of the Dead (Bloomsbury, 2009) kicks off Thomas Randall’s original paperback trilogy The Waking with a killer first line: “Akane Murakami died for a boy she did not love.” After moving to Japan’s Miyazu City with her recently widowed father, American high school student Kara befriends the sister of murdered schoolgirl Akane. When their […]

All steamed up

corsets and clockwork

As my friend and fellow blogger observed not long ago, “steam is so hot right now.”  This year has seen a mind-boggling number of steampunk-themed events in the northeast alone: International Steampunk City, which took over the town of Waltham for a weekend; a book tour for The Steam­punk Bible; an exhibit on steampunk aesthetic […]

Thrill-o-RAMA!

judy moody goes to hollywood

Get out your pink boa and sunglasses! This past Friday the movie Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer, based on the bestselling book series by author Megan McDonald and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds, opened in theaters. Whether or not you had a chance to see it in the theaters this past weekend, here are […]

Wild rumpus

everything butt art

I can’t draw. You wouldn’t want me on your Pictionary team. I also have a fifteen-month-old, so tushy humor is big right now. For these reasons, Brian Snyder and Alexis Moniello’s Everything Butt Art at the Zoo (Madbrook, May) caught my eye. “What can you draw with a butt? Everything!” Starting with a flattened-looking W […]

The Big Four

Rage

I just read Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler (HMH, April), a follow-up to October’s Hunger. In each book, a troubled girl on the brink of killing herself (intentionally or through miscalculated self-injury) is offered a second chance by Death: take on the role of a Horseman of the Apocalypse. Anorexic, over-exercising Lisa becomes the avatar […]

Lookin’ good

Print

Beauty and makeup how-to books are abundant and ever-popular—makeup artist turned beauty mogul Kevyn Aucoin’s New York Times bestseller Making Faces (Little, Brown, 1997) and his later Face Forward (Little, Brown, 2000) set the bar high. Erika Stalder (with celebrity stylists Christopher Fulton and Cameron Cohen) smartly cashes in on the genre for a young […]

“I’ll clean up my act when I’m good and ripe!”

Karl Beckstrand’s bizarrely funny picture book Bad Bananas (Premio, June) shows how good bananas go wrong. Fresh from the grocery store, they’re sweet and “conform nicely to the bunch,” but before you know it they’re “borrowing” the fruit bowl for joyrides and loitering in “dimly lit lunchboxes.” The fair trade and organic labels of their […]