5 star=Go out and read this book now-you will love it!
4 star=It's a great read-you're sure to like it.
3 star=A good read-give this one a shot.
2 star=An okay book-some readers will like it.
1 star=Sorry, I didn't like it.
I try to repost my review of this book every year because I love it so much! Also, I think the cover changes are interesting. Here's the original cover, published in 2008:
And then the next cover:
And yet another cover:
I think all three covers are good but I like 1 and 3 the best.
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Genre: Romance Release Date: October 2008 About the Book: Let It Snow is a new holiday offering from three popular teen authors. Each author contributed a holiday romance short story to add to the collection. Maureen Johnson starts things off with The Jubilee Express, in which Jubilee (no, not a stripper, but named for a piece in her mother’s collection of the Flobie Santa Village) finds herself stranded on a train in Gracetown in a huge snowstorm. A trip to the Waffle House introduces her to Stuart and friendship, or maybe something more, starts to form. In A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle, author John Green hilariously describes the mission of three friends to get to the Waffle House where a group of cheerleaders are stranded and wanting to play Twister. And Lauren Myracle’s The Patron Saint of Pigs shows that lost love can be found again with the help of Starbucks, angels, and even a pig.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I’m a sucker for romance any time of the year, but something about the holiday season makes me want to curl up in a nice blanket, drink hot chocolate, and read love stories. Let It Snow is the perfect holiday read. Each story stands well on its own, but it was nice to have a common thread throughout. I loved how the authors found ways to connect all three stories. Characters you meet in the beginning show up later on, and places like Starbucks and the Waffle House are important to all three tales. The only thing I didn’t like was that they were all short stories - I could have kept reading about each of the characters! Let It Snow is a great, warm, fuzzy read for the holidays, so grab some hot chocolate and curl up because you won’t want to stop reading until you’re finished and happily sighing.
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from personal library copy purchased from Borders. First reviewed in 2008.
Please welcome author Karen Cushman to the blog! I am so delighted to be hosting Karen Cushman on tour for her latest book, Will Sparrow's Road. I have been a long time fan and no one writes historical fiction like the amazing Ms. Cushman.
Her latest book is a bit different-this is the first male narrator for the author! Here's Ms. Cushman to talk about why she chose to write from a male point of view this time around.
Why did I write a book about a boy? I had in mind a story about a child alone and on the road in Elizabethan England. I knew a girl likely would not survive there in those somewhat brutal times. And I don’t believe that in a world with so little privacy, she could successfully disguise herself as a boy for long. She wouldn’t have access to a private bedroom or dressing rooms or bathrooms. London did have one public restroom—a plank with 18-holes, emptying directly into the Thames River. In fact using the whole world as a toilet—streets, fields, the halls of great houses—was so common that a book of manners from 1731 stated that it was impolite to stop and greet someone who is urinating. So it had to be a boy, and Will Sparrow was born.
It was important to me to build a Will who was believable, true to his character, his gender, and his times. My first attempts made Will more like a girl in britches so I had to do a lot more research. I read books on psychology and child development. I spoke to boys and mothers of boys. I watched boys at the bus stop and my husband and his friends at play. The resulting Will has boundless energy, his voice is changing, he distrusts displays of emotion, and he longs to grow facial hair. But he lives in a time that was more chaotic and dangerous so he is extremely vulnerable. There was no concept of adolescence so a boy of thirteen, no longer a child, was considered a man, with the responsibilities of a man.
I hope I have managed to construct a Will who is believable, not a stereotype, and wholly entertaining. Let me know what you think.
I love Will Sparrow and his journey and I think Ms. Cushman has captured the tween boy voice perfectly!
-NBC has hired Jullian Fellows (Downton Abbey creator) to create a series for the US based on The Gilded Age. Still very early news, but I'm pretty excited about it. I hope it works out! Thanks to Cynopsis for the news.
I've got more hardcover to paperback changes! What do you think of these?
-I think both of these are well done and reflect the bleakness of the landscape in the story.
-As fun as I think the paperback is, I think it's marketing more to an adult audience. It looks like your typical adult mystery bestseller. The hardcover looks like lots of fun and like the book will have lots of action (which it does)
-I'm not a big fan of either covers, but I gotta got with the hardcover because it's creepier.
-I like the hardcover on this one. The paperback is too simple and I think the hardcover has a cool computer/techy/time travel feel to it which matches the book.
-The paperback for this one changes the entire look of the book! Now it looks like a steamy romance novel instead of historical fiction about Catherine Howard. I'm sure the paperback will get people to pick it up, and there is a lot of intrigue in the book, I'm just not sure it matches the steaminess on the cover.
One of the joys of working at the library is that I get to work with lots of wonderful people who geek out about the same things I do! One of my coworkers (C.) is a huge Tolkien fanatic, so she organized a giant series of programs called Tolkien Fest.
The library district hosted programs kicking off with Bilbo's birthday in September, book discussions and a Tolkien Scholar talk in October and November and culminating in watching all three Lord of the Rings movies on the library's big screen in December.
To help celebrate, I hosted a birthday party for Bilbo Baggins on World Hobbit Day (September 22, which is also Bilbo and Frodo's birthday). It was a huge program with lots of activities-we hosted it in our auditorium with various stations set up around the room. In the end, over 100 people attended the event! Here's what I did:
Station 3: Word Search
I had another event kit from a Hobbit Second Breakfast site that appears to no longer have the event kit up. There was a word search included that I put out at station two. There are others available online that could work.
Station 4: Edible Hobbit House
This one didn't work exactly the way I had planned, but still worked. I bought graham crackers, white frosting (dyed green), vanilla wafers, pretzels, and goldfish. I didn't have time to make a sample beforehand, but I was picturing the graham cracker as a base, laid flat, covered in frosting, with a vanilla wafer as a round door, pretzels to make trees, and fish in a pond. Basically using the graham cracker as a canvas for the rest of the picture. Instead, it turned into gingerbread house style hobbit homes. It still worked, but was much messier. Thank goodness for tablecloths!
Station 5: Write Your Own Limericks and Haikus
I put out paper (long paper that looked like a scroll) as well as simple instructions explaining what limericks and haikus were. Since Hobbits love riddles, this was a fun way to incorporate that-and the kids were very creative!
Station 6: Make Your Own Hobbit Party Tree Streamers
You take a round shower curtain ring and plastic tablecloths (I used pink, green, and white-I thought they seemed Hobbitish). Cut the tablecloths into strips, tie them around the shower curtain, and you have instant simple streamers that are lots of fun!
Station 7: Make Your Own Hobbit Feet
I did see an idea about gluing string to your feet, but ewww! We went much simpler. I provided string (I pre-cut mine, but you don't have to), crayons, and paper. I gave the kids instructions to trace their foot, then cut the foot out, make it Hobbit foot hairy and then tie it over their shoes. I was thinking they could tie them around the ankles but some patrons got really creative lacing their new feet into their shoes!
Station 8: Make Your Own Birthday Fireworks
An easy craft that required a lot of prep work because I needed tons of hole punch dots in various colors. My wonderful volunteer punched out a bowl full of dots and we still could have used more. I provided black paper and glue sticks and the kids glued away to make the dots look like fireworks. (Another station that I was especially thankful for tablecloths!)
Station 9: Pin the Ring on Bilbo
Our wonderful community relations department printed me a giant poster of Bilbo to use for this game. I used the rings from the Houghton Mifflin Hobbit Day Event Kit. We played this game about halfway through the program to break things up. I invited anyone who wanted to play to join us and the kids had lots of fun, even if they could feel where the poster was attached to the wall. :)
Station 10: Bean Bag Toss and Hula Hooping
All the other stations were set up around the room, with Pin the Ring on Bilbo and the lawn games in the middle. And what Hobbit birthday party would be complete without games? This also provided another activity for the kids who wanted to be very active and sped through everything else.
Station 11: Middle Earth's Most Wanted
My coworker C. is pretty amazing. She created a huge wanted poster for the party by printing off the movie stills of each of the dwarves, Bilbo and Gandalf and titled it "Middle Earth's Most Wanted." I hung it up on one of the room walls (It was so large it took up the entire wall!) with an instruction sheet that asked if they could name each character. I also provided a list of character names. (Hint: they were all in alphabetical order!) The teens that attended loved this and I overheard them arguing over who actually had the characters correct and if they matched the descriptions in the books.
Station 12: Hobbit Hunt
I printed off seven pictures of Hobbits (all seven pictures were the same). I asked one of my employees to hide them around the library so even I didn't know where they were. She did a fantastic job hiding them secretly, but not so secretly they couldn't be found. You just had to look a bit to see them. She put one in each department (children's, YA, circulation, reference and local history) as well as hid one in the reading room window and the other above the Fantasy shelves in fiction. This was an activity we left up all day and it was a good way to manage the crowd in the program as we had people going back and forth. Parents and kids alike kept asking where all the Hobbits were-and they were tricky to find and stumped many people. They all asked us to do another scavenger hunt and said they loved this part of the program.
And of course, it was a birthday party, so we had to have cake!
So there you have it! My very extensive and fun Hobbit Day Celebration.
It was a blast and everyone loved it. We had some patrons come in costume, others in Lord of the Rings t-shirts. This was a program I advertised for all ages and I truly had all ages. I had everyone from babies to seniors (with lots of tweens, teens and college students in between-and you know how elusive they can be when it comes to library programs!) Overall it was a fantastic program and I would happily repeat it.
The Wright and Wong Mysteries by Melinda Metz and Laura J. Burns were first published in 2005. The books feature two tween detectives who couldn't be more different- B. Orville Wright has Aspberger's Syndrome with a high IQ and great eye for detail where Agatha Wong is able to see the big picture. Together they make a great detective team.
I love looking at covers! And I think we all judge books by their covers to some extent. Here are some recent hardcover to paperback changes:
-I gotta got with the paperback on this one. It just looks more appealing to me.
-I think both covers are appealing. I think the paperback has more action and the hardcover is more subtle, but both fit the book well. I think I still like the hardcover better.
-The paperback looks like a comic book. It's still really cool and I think this cover change is interesting because I think each cover markets to a different group. The first looks like fun and fluffy and the second looks more serious. I'm not sure which one I like more.
-I love both of these covers, but I think I like the darkness of the paperback. I do think the hardcover has more of a Sleeping Beauty feel which matches the book.
We had our last week of storytime this past week since we take the month of December off. There are always such sad sighs from the parents when we tell them this and I assure them that we still have lots of programming happening, just not weekly storytimes. I decided to do a Winter themed storytime, even though it's been warm here and hardly feels like Winter. It's the though that counts, right? :) Here's what we did:
Opening Song: I recently started doing two opening songs (Wake Up Hands off a CD that I can't remember the name of right now! and Finger Poppin by Georgiana Stewart) I got the idea from another branch in our library district and I like that it gives parents and kids just a bit longer to arrive.
Racing to Read Skill: Talk and Read-we were exploring lots of winter words in our storytime this week!
Song: The Freeze Dance by Greg and Steve (we had to freeze in the snow of course! I used this with both groups as well-it's great for getting parents and kids dancing together)
-Snowman Craft-I used our diecut of a snowman and had the kids use their fingers and stamp pads to decorate the snowman
-Snowball Chute-we have a large box with a tube in it that we use as a ball chute. We used plastic softballs as "snowballs"
-Snow Fort Building-The greatest thing we have in our activity stash! We have giant foam blocks that come in our computer packages and they are sturdy enough for the kids to build with. They are always a big hit!
-Flannel Snowmen-We had several flannels of snowmen in our Winter Storytime supply, so I put those on a mat with additional books. For the preschool group I also put out the flannel we have of Froggy Gets Dressed so they could retell the story.
Gather Back Together Song: If You're Happy and You Know It