Oddfellow’s Orphanage by Emily Wingfield Martin

Delia has recently been orphaned and finds herself among a truly odd assortment of characters when she arrives at Oddfellow Bluebeard’s orphanage. Each child at Oddfellow’s Orphange has something that sets them apart from the others, from the boy with an onion head, to the girl with blue tattoos all over her body, to a young hedgehog. Each child also has some delightful quality that makes them perfectly likeable.

Oddfellow’s Orphanage, written and illustrated by celebrated Etsy artist Emily Wingfield Martin (to be published January 2012 by Random House), tells us a little bit about each of the children, and just how their personalities and their not-so-happy pasts give them a special reason to contribute to the happiness of the others in the home. Together, the happy family of orphans and the assortment of interesting teachers create a delightful world that a young reader would probably love to visit. What child wouldn’t love classes in fairy tales and cryptozoology (imaginary animals)?

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(Kids Corner) Some Cybils 2011 Books about … Imagination and Bedtime

Once again, I’m doubling up on subjects here, but they do relate. On one side, we have the wonderful world of imagination. Some of my favorite books I’ve read for the Cybils this year have been about children entering an imaginary world in one way or another. My son Raisin is quite imaginative, so I can relate to these books very well as a mother.

And then we have the magical twinkling stars that surround us at bedtime. Bedtime stories are some of my favorite books to read to a sleepy child. They, for the most part, do a wonderful job of getting a child ready to close their own eyes. I like to read the last sentences slowly and quietly myself.Continue Reading

D’Aulaires’ Norse Gods and Giants and Ragnarok by A.S. Byatt

Although I grew up with D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths, I have never been familiar with traditional Norse mythology. I have a Scandinavian heritage, so this seems a bit sad to me. When I saw that A.S. Byatt’s new addition to the Canongate Myths series was about the end of the world according to Norse mythology, I decided it was finally time to delve in to the Norse myths.Continue Reading

The Girl Who Owned a City (Graphic Novel Version)

As I mentioned when I reread The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson last year, I grew up with fond memories of the plot, characters, setting, and the entire premise of the story. My older brother and I would imagine ourselves conquering the world, pouring over maps and phone books to determine where we’d settle our city and get survival supplies in a world suddenly left without anyone over the age of 12.

When I saw on Netgalley that a graphic novel has been written, to be published in early April 2012 (by Lerner Publishing Group/Graphic Universe), I was more than a little excited. In fact, when I was approved to view the book, I read it immediately, finishing within a few hours of being approved. I’m that kind of a geek when it comes to this book.

Again, because I have fond memories of The Girl Who Owned a City, keep in mind that I cannot approach it, or the graphic novel (by Dan Jolley and illustrated by Joelle Jones and Jenn Manley Lee), with an objective eye. Reading a graphic novel of this favorite kids book was wonderfully fun, the pictures were sufficient for the story, and the story itself was, like the original, a fun ride along with some pretty self-sufficient kids who save the day. (Read my 2010 review of the original for more information about the novel’s plot.)

Suffice it to say that the graphic novel takes away a lot of the awkward gaps that the poorly written original suffered from. There is slight reference to the missing dead bodies of all the adults (they simply turn to dust, which is good, because any illustration of dead bodies would not have been a pretty sight to see portrayed in graphic novel form). There is also less awkward exposition about what people are doing because, let’s face it, in a graphic novel, you literally show those kinds of things. And the story moves quickly, focusing on the action and the agony Lisa, as leader, goes through, without focusing on unimportant explanations.Continue Reading