Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms

Katherine Rundell, author of Rooftoppers, has done it again. Her newest children’s fiction novel, Cartwheeling In Thunderstorms is a fantastic treat of words and imagery.

Young Wilhelmina Silver, better known as Will, Cartwheel, or Wildcat, lives half-wild in Africa on a farm with her English born father and best animal friends. She spends time running the plains with her best friend Simon, and the monkeys and hyenas she’s grown to love and care for. Will is as feisty as can be and the boys are no match for her wit and spunk. Whip-smart, spontaneous, and ever a dreamer, Will’s happy and magical world gets ripped apart when the family farm is sold and she is sent to a boarding school in London, where she sticks out like dirty thumb.

It’s a charming story with an irresistable voice in Will Silver.

Golden Globe Award Winners

Last night the 72nd Golden Globes announced winners in top categories for motion pictures and television for the year. There is a lot of good stuff to get caught up on!

Best Motion Picture - Drama went to Boyhood (also winning Best Director for Richard Linklater and Best Supporting Actress for Patricia Arquette), Best Motion Picture - Comedy went to The Grand Budapest Hotel, Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture for Television went to Fargo (also wining Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture for Television for Billy Bob Thornton), Best Animated Film went to How to Train Your Dragon 2, Best Foreign Film went to Russia’s Leviathan, Best Television Series - Comedy went to Amazon’s Transparent (also winning Best Actor, Comedy Series for Jeffrey Tambor), and Best Television Series - Drama went to The Affair (also winning Best Actress, Television Series - Drama for Ruth Wilson).

See here for a full list of all winners.

Next up in screen awards is the Academy Awards which will be held on February 22nd, with nominees being announced on January 15th.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #506

Wildalone * by Krassi Zourkova opens with an enchanting tale of a monk's erotic encounter with samodivias (or wildalones), and thus sets the scene for this "darkly imaginative debut novel full of myth, magic, romance, and mystery. "

Thea(dora) Slavin, a Bulgarian piano prodigy arrives on the Princeton campus and is immediately thrown into the maelstrom of freshman activities. Beyond the requisite college-life adjustments, she is juggling a demanding schedule of classes, practice and performance, as well as struggling to adapt to unfamiliar American ways.

Privately, Thea is harboring a secret ambition - to find out what happened to her sister Elza who died violently 15 years ago as a Princeton freshman and her body went missing mysterious before the family had a chance to claim it. Thea grew up in the family's oppressive silence concerning Elza's death and is determined to find out what happened.

Her first clue comes from an unlikely source - her Art History professor who leads and baits her to a Greek vase in the Museum, depicting the Dionysian Mysteries. Then there is her shadowy "stalker", a devilishly handsome and exceedingly enigmatic young man who fades in and out of her consciousness. Before long, she finds herself romantically entangled with not only Jake Estlin, but also with his older brother Rhys, gradually being drawn into a sensual mythic underworld as irresistible as it is dangerous - one that might yield the answers to Elza's fate, as well as the terrifying truth about her own family.

(Bulgarian native) "Zourkova (Princeton, Art History and Harvard Law) pulls off a balancing act that few debut authors manage: a clever, dark (paranormal) romance steeped in mystery, with a bittersweet thread of melancholy and keen sense of place."

"Mesmerizing and addictive,... a bewitching blend of Twilight, The Secret History, Jane Eyre, and A Discovery of Witches." The ending strongly hints at a sequel. Let's hope we won't have to wait long.

* = starred review

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #505 - "It's a lot easier to be lost than found. It's the reason we're always searching and rarely discovered--so many locks not enough keys.” ~ Sarah Dessen

Lost & Found * by Brooke Davis, a Penguin First Flight author, is "an irresistible debut novel about the wisdom of the very young, the mischief of the very old, and the magic that happens when no one else is looking."

7 yr. old Millie Bird was left at the Ginormous Women's Undies Department of the local store by her distraught mother shortly after her father's death. 87 yr. old Karl, the touch-typist made a daring escape from a care facility and has been secretly camping out in the Men's dressing rooms at night. They bonded over their Lists of Dead Things, muffins, and creative use of the store merchandise until they were caught. It was the police station for Karl but he managed to free Millie who made her way home, only to find the house empty.

Across the street, 82 yr. old Agatha Pantha has not left her house in 7 years, since the day she buried her husband, nor had she spoken to a live person if you don't count shouting at passersby. But when she saw the curly-haired little girl roaming alone in that house, she marched right over to take matters in hand.

Brought together by determination, luck, and a kindly bus driver, the three embarked on a road trip across Western Australia to find Millie's mother. Along the way, they discovered that being "old" could be a state of mind; that the young could be wise; and happiness could catch you unawares, if you gave it a chance.

Already a runaway bestseller at home, Lost & Found was originally written as the author's PhD thesis on grief at Curtin University in Western Australia. It was inspired by her mother's sudden death while Brooke was traveling abroad.

If you've enjoyed meeting our Millie here, then you would be charmed by the young protagonists in Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman and 2 a.m. at the Cat's Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino, and their stories.

* = starred review

If you can find Orion, you can find Comet Lovejoy!

Comet Lovejoy is proving to be a bit more wonderful than expected. Sure, it’s cold out there, but if you know where to find the constellation Orion (in the southeast), you can locate Lovejoy pretty quickly before heading back inside. Comet Lovejoy is charting a course past Orion over the next couple weeks and getting higher in the sky. It's fairly bright and right now a magnetic storm may be in progress in the tail of the comet causing "plasma blobs" and "disconnection events" visible in amateur telescopes.

We have telescopes you can check out, but to see the comet you really only need a decent pair of binoculars, which we also happen to have on hand.

So run in and grab a telescope or a pair of binoculars so you're ready on the next clear night!

The Hole

The Hole is such a magical picture book! Brain Pickings describes it as an “existential meditation in simple Scandinavian illustrations and die-cut magic,” and I could not say it any better.

The Hole is written and illustrated by Øyvind Torseter, was translated from Norweigan, and features sparse dialog. Our main character moves into an apartment and discovers that there is a hole in it and he searches to find out the cause. This includes boxing up the hole and taking it to a lab for testing. The best part of this book is the illustrations and the fact that there is a pencil-sized hole going through the entire book from the chipboard covers through the pages. And the hole gets wonderfully incorporated into every illustration and scene. It’s marvelous! It really makes you think about where that hole came from. Where does it begin and end? Why is it there at all? If you’re looking for a beautiful thinker of a children’s book, here you go.

For more beautiful books published by Enchanted Lion Books be sure to check out our nice list of AADL owned titles.

Josephine Baker Biography

If Jacqueline Woodson’s award-winning memoir Brown Girl Dreaming has you craving more stories-in-verse that share the African-American experience, check out this fantastic title:

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker written by Patricia Hruby Powell and illustrated by Christian Robinson is picture-book biography of dancer Josephine Baker. Beginning with her childhood in the segregated South, the book traces her life as a teenager in a traveling dance troupe, her star-making Paris debut, her work as a spy during World War II, and her adoption of twelve children of different nationalities, always highlighting her desire for racial acceptance. With its bright, bold illustrations and free-verse text that mixes quotations from Baker with energetic narration, this 100-page picture book is a perfect showcase for the dancer’s story.

Happy Birthday David Bowie!

Today marks the birthday of the man, the myth, the legend: David Bowie. What else can I say? Currently sitting unread on my coffee table at home is the 2014 bio on him: Bowie the Biography by Wendy Leigh. Have you read it? Do I need to read it? Please let me know.

As a singer, songwriter and actor Bowie has created many a masterpiece. Everything from movies, to music, to books. Ziggy Stardust! Aladdin Sane! The Labyrinth! With many personas spanning across decades Bowie has not ceased to amaze and entertain.

My random Bowie recommendation is not Bowie really, but covers. Check out The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions, featuring Bowie reworked into mellow accoustic versions and sung in Portuguese by Seu Jorge.

Happy birthday, dear sir, and thank you!

Let's Learn About Science!

If you have a little one who loves science and you haven’t checked out our New Book shelf lately, you’re missing out! We have a bundle of exciting new science books in designed just for kids.

For older kids, Hello from 2030: The Science of the Future and You, by Jan Paul Schutten, takes a look at the near feature based on current science. In the future, will we be able to easily and quickly 3D print body parts? What will climate change make the planet look like? This book also explains how predictions work and contains a section on becoming a futurologist.

In you want to learn about the amazing scientists that have brought us this far, check out the new Women in Science series, which features short but detailed biographies of physician Antonia Novello, astronaut Mae Jemison, physicist Chien-Shiung Wu, meteorologist Joanne Simpson, and biochemist Hayat Sindi.

After learning about the great scientists above, children can learn about mistakes in science from the Science Gets it Wrong Series. My personal favorite is Let’s Make Some Gold!, but you can also check out: Your Head Shape Reveals Your Personality!, That Bull is Seeing Red!, and We're the Center of the Universe!

For all of these, and lots of other books, including ones about robots, genes, ecosystems and more, check out our list New Science Books for Kids.

PreK Bits - Princesses and Pirates

Ms. Rachel told stories of Princesses and Pirates in honor of the letter "P".

PRINCESS PENELOPE's PARROT ... the Parrot and Penelope meet on her birthday.
We sang "The Pirate Song". You can find a version on the CD recording PETER PAN or see the lyrics and motions for "When I Was One" found on the website Macaroni Soup!..
PIRATE PETE's TALK LIKE A PIRATE is a requirement for being hired as crew.

For more stories of princesses and pirates, try the following titles:
PRINCESSES ARE NOT JUST PRETTY by Kate Lum.
The PRINCESS And The PEAS by Caryl Hart.
SHIVER ME LETTERS: a Pirate ABC by June Sobel
1001 PIRATE THINGS TO SPOT by Rob Lloyd Jones.
NO PIRATES ALLOWED! SAID LIBRARY LOU by Rhonda Gowler Greene.
OLIVE's PIRATE PARTY by Roberta Baker.
For more pirate songs try JAKE And The NEVERLAND PIRATES and SEVEN CLEVER PIRATES.
Sing along with Captain Bogg and the Pollywog crew on the CD recording PEGLEG TANGO.
Listen to "Ballad Of Dirty Joe" and more stories and songs, on Bill Harley's CD recording BLAH BLAH BLAH.
One of my all-time favorite stories is on this recording ... "Joey, Chloe And The Swamp Monster".
AarrrR ! ... and Enjoy!

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