Posted in So Many Good Books, YA Novels

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee (Crown, 2019) by Jeff Zenter is so good! It’s a touching story that also brings laughter. And there are great lines, too.

Josie and Delia (aka Rayne and Delilah) are seniors in high school who dress like vampires for the show Midnite Matinee which they host on the local public television station. There they share low budget horror and scifi movies. Each girl has different goals. Josie wants to get into TV and is using the show for practice. Delia is using the show as a connection to her father who left. What happens when each get what she wants?

Jeff Zenter is an award-winning author—read about him here. And you don’t want to miss the “interview” here. This is his third novel.

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Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Beginner’s Welcome

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Beginner’s Welcome (HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2020) by Cindy Baldwin is such a beautifully written and touching book.

It’s the first day of 6th grade and Annie Lee wakes to the sound of her mother crying in the bathroom. It’s been eighty-three days since her father died, but it’s as if he’s not quite gone–whiskers in the sink, smell of his aftershave, one of his favorite records playing… Not only did Annie lose her father, she feels like she’s lost her mother, who has to work all the time. And her two best friends have drifted away, too. She’s never felt so alone in her whole life. Annie decides being invisible and not getting close to anyone is a good way not to be hurt again.

I agree with what New York Times Bestselling Author of Tuesdays at the Castle, Jessica Day George says: “As delicate and powerful as a sonata, Annie Lee’s story of music, magic, loss, and love should not be missed!”

Check out the author’s playlist for the book here on her blog. You’ll also learn about her own musical background. And read her bio here.

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Posted in PB, So Many Good Books

The True Story of Zippy Chippy

Perfect Picture Book Friday

I didn’t expect The True Story of Zippy Chippy: The Little Horse That Couldn’t (North-South Books, 2020) by Artie Bennett and illustrated by Dave Szalay to make me laugh out loud, but it did. Who’d have thought a true story about a loser could be so fun? And touching?

Zippy Chippy was a racehorse descended from legend racehorses, who couldn’t win a race. He even lost a 40 yard race against a human baseball player! He retired after losing 100 races, yet somehow his popularity has grown.

Definitely read the back matter after the story. It’s so fascinating.

Read the author’s amusing bio here. And read about Artie’s other books here.

You can find the illustrator’s bio here where you’ll find out he’s also an author. There are lots of sample illustrations on his home page. I like many of his other illustrations here, too.

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Posted in PB, So Many Good Books

You Loves Ewe!

Perfect Picture Book Friday

You Loves Ewe! (Clarion Books, 2019) is a wacky story written and illustrated by Cece Bell.

Donkey gets really confused by language–especially homonyms–so when Yam introduces him to a sheep named Ewe, everything is confusing. I love how Donkey thinks he must be cute and fluffy. And then there’s romance.

Kids will get a kick out of this story.

And the earlier book I Yam a Donkey.

Last month I recommended another book by Cece here.

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Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Hippo at the End of the Hall

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

The Hippo at the End of the Hall (Candlewick Press, 2017) by Helen Cooper was a fun read full of magic. There’s often a different flavor in books written in the UK–and I’m not sure what it is exactly–but this one has it. Maybe it’s just the use of words that are not the same as American usage. Or maybe it’s something else that’s special.

Ben, who doesn’t normally like mail, received an invitation to the Gee Museum. Mom thinks it has probably been shut down, and doesn’t want him to go even if it is. It’s too close to the river, etc. But a handwritten note on the ticket says, “Come now or come never,” has him intrigued. When Ben goes without permission, he has no idea that his visit will end up changing his and his mother’s life.

A bonus in this book are all the illustrations.

Helen Cooper is an author and illustrator. She’s won the Library Association Kate Greenaway Medal – twice. Read more about her here. And you can see all of her books here.

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