Those happy golden years

chigger

Raymond Bial, well-known author of nonfiction for children (Ellis Island: Coming to the Land of Liberty; Tenement: Immigrant Life on the Lower East Side; Amish Home; Frontier Home), has just published a novel, one “intended primarily for adults,” according to the promotional copy on the back of the (attractive) paperback. Set in small-town 1959 Indiana […]

Fighting in the Shade

fighting in the shade

I still recall fondly the female protagonists of teen “chick lit” and coming-of-age stories I read in high school. On a given day I might feel as tormented by love and teenage awkwardness as Mia Thermopolis (Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries) or lonely and isolated like Melinda Sordino (Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak). These were gals […]

2011 NBA Finalists reviews

Chime

[scroll down for all six reviews] Chime by Franny Billingsley Middle School, High School   Dial   358 pp. 3/11   978-0-8037-3552-1   $17.99 Reviewed 3/11 “Ooze and muck and the clean muddy smell of life” suffuse Billingsley’s long-awaited third work of fiction, which mingles “Tam Lin,” “Lord Randall,” and its own swampy folklore into […]

Cute, yes. Graphic novel, maybe?

power of cute

In this business we’ve all gotten pretty used to the blurring of boundaries: between genres (is that picture book biography with invented dialogue nonfiction or fiction?); between age groups (how young does YA go now, 14? 12? younger?); between formats (right, that 534-page novel is actually a picture book!). Ho hum; been there, done that. […]

Potty time

Once upon a Potty app

Oceanhouse Media’s Once upon a Potty app is true to the original. The focus is on the text and illustrations; digital enhancements are used sparingly and effectively. There are some polite potty sound effects and humor, and though I’m sure the urge was strong (get it?!) to make more of a splash (it’s too easy!), the producers wisely kept the intended audience in mind. The narrative’s reassuring tone, nonthreatening pictures, and unobtrusive music help distractible toddlers focus on the important information.

Shake it up

shake and make splash

Night & Day Studios’ new app Shake & Make! (May 2011) draws upon artist Ed Emberley’s huge body of collage, doodle, and thumbprint illustrations. A single image (such as a face, animal, or vehicle) appears on a white background with the message “Shake to play!” Shaking your device breaks the picture into components that float […]