Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve

Happy New Year! So, one of my three resolutions in the new year is to keep track of every book I read in 2011. I will be curious to see how many books this is. I'm guessing that I read about 200 books a year. That sounds like a lot, but I read a lot of children's books that only take a night to read. I read every day for about two to three hours, but sometimes I don't read at all for a few days. We shall see.
I just read the first five books of the Chronicles of Narnia over the past few days. I am a bit surprised that kids take to them like they do because I find the enjoyment for me is in the little details. I read a biography of Lewis and many of his colleagues at Oxford thought he was the most well-read man in history. And so when I read his story about a battle, or how a dragon acts, it rings true and of erudition and knowledge. I guess kids would pick up on that as well. And one thing that is over-arching among all the books that I'm sure kids love as much as I do is the sense of moral goodness. In a profound way too, that you don't find in modern life too much. I think it is the religious nature of the goodness that makes it so full and the religious mythology that gives it an interesting back story and fullness.
So much power in Lewis' writing and nobility and whimsy and fun. My first book of 2011 will be Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Once I'm done with that I'm going to dash through Waiter Rant. I picked it up today in Newburyport. (You probably don't know this but as a member of the Eternal Book Guild I am obligated to buy a book in every book shop I enter).
I've read about the first 50 pages of Waiter Rant and it is good. But I pretty much know everything in the book from the other restaurant and cookbooks I've read. He really should have made the book a personal narrative about why he fell into waitering and how he can't get out. That is the most interesting part of the book. Silly stories about bad customers and bad tippers are mildly fun, but do not a book make.
Then back to Narnia. By the way, hordes of Manchester By the Book blog readers : January 2011 is C.S. Lewis month in our store, meaning we have his books displayed and discounted, and we a having a cocktail party on January 29th at 7 p.m. which we be Lewis themed. You can ask me about the Eternal Book Guild at the party, but I doubt if I will tell you.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Looking for the perfect holiday gift?

Look no further! Manchester by the Book is here for you. Here are a few hand-picked (and gorgeously photographed) selections!

Also, at the bottom of this post we've compiled list of a few of our rarer items. If you're seeking for a serious gift for a lover of literature, you've come to the right place.

If you see anything you're interested in or would like to request more information about a book, just email or call us!

Don't forget that Manchester By the Book will wrap your gift for FREE!

Here's how to reach us:
by way of the internet -
by way of the telephone - (978) 525-2929

Doctor Dolittle's Garden by Hugh Lofting
Sheep Puppet

For the lover of animals! The Dr. Dolittle series is a fun series and the old hardcover editions are very attractive gifts!

Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
Horse Puppet
Give someone a childhood favorite! This beautiful copy of "Misty of Chicoteague" is a first edition.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

This is a really wonderful book that comes highly recommended by the entire staff of Manchester By the Book. Although we have a few editions, the one pictured is a facsimile of the First Edition. It comes with a lovely slip cover and, in my humble opinion, would be very aesthetically pleasing with a crimson bow.

Rabbit is Rich by John Updike
Give the gift of a local author! Manchester By the Book has many first editions and signed copies of the works of John Updike. This one, "Rabbit is Rich" is a first edition hardcover.

The Once and Future King by T.H. White
This copy of T.H. White's classic tale of King Arthur, "The Once and Future King" contains all four books ("The Sword in the Stone," "The Queen of Air and Darkness," "The Ill-Made Knight," and "The Candle in the Wind.") It is the perfect book for the lover of fantasy and myth.

Mitten Strings for God by Katrina Kenison
For mothers in a hurry! This brand new SIGNED copy of Katrina Kenison's "Mitten Strings for God" is the perfect gift for mothers, new or old.
Nancy Drew and the Clue in the Jewel Box by Carolyn Keene.
A great gift to remind someone of their childhood (or to give to a child!) We have many different copies of the Nancy Drew series. Pick your favorite edition!

Andre the Giant: a Legendary Life
This is a flawless gift for your most massive friend!

On Dreams by Freud
The Interpretation of Dreams
Dreams by Jung
For the psychological scholar or the interpreter of dreams!

Boston's Gold Coast by Joseph Garland
Old Homes of New England: Historic Houses in Clapboard, Shingle and Stone
The North Shore is the perfect place to live, why not celebrate it in a gift?

The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura
$12.95 (new)
This is a classic book about Japanese Teaism and Tea culture. Okakura touches on philosophical traditions ranging from Taoism to Zen Buddhism. The Book of Tea is a celebration of tranquility and simplicity. Also, Okakura was friends with Isabella Stewart Gardener, which proves that he was (at the very least) cool.

Mr. Boston: Official Bartender's Guide
Do you need to send a polite but firm hint to your friend that serves Pabst Blue Ribbon at every dinner party? Then this is the perfect gift! Ring in the New Year with gallons of Nashville Eggnog instead of a cooler of watery brews! The whole party will thank you.

Mushroom Cookery by Helmut Ripperger
This is a First Edition cookbook printed in 1941. Serious mushroom cooks will be thrilled to find this gem in their stocking. The recipes range from Hungarian Mushroom Soup to Chinese Stuffed Mushrooms. There is a dish for every shroomy palate!

Organic Gardening by Maria Rodale
Organic Gardening by Geoff Hamilton

Is your neighbor's compost pile coming dangerously close to ruining your friendship? Then give the gift of Organic Gardening. This gift sends the message that you approve of his or her passion for GREEN, but you will only endure the rotting matter if they use it to grow something delightful.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking
Julia Child
$89.95 (new)

This beautiful box set is the perfect gift for your B.C.F. (B.C.F. stands for Best Chef Friend, for those of you that don't have one.) Mastering the Art of French Cooking would also appeal to your M.S.S.F.F. (Meryl Streep Super-Fan Friend), as it is the book that appears in the hit movie Julie and Julia.

Searching for Sound: My Life with the Grateful Dead by Phil Lesh

This book would make a perfect gift for your favorite deadhead. Searching for Sound is also perfect for the musical anthropologist man or woman in your life who's focused field of study is "bands that like bears."

Death of a Lady's Man by Leonard Cohen
$45 (first edition)

This book is incredible and this edition is hard to find. Please buy this book for me. I love you and I'll always be there for you. (your friend, Laura)


Robert Penn Warren
New and Selected Poems : 1923-1985
First Edition and signed by Robert Penn Warren

Joyce Carol Oates
Signed by Joyce Carol Oates. Limited edition of 150 copies. We have #17!

also by Joyce Carol Oates
Invisible Woman : New and Selected Poems 1970-1982
Inscribed by Joyce Carol Oates to poet, essayist and editor Peter Davison.

Margaret Thatcher
Statecraft : Strategies for a Changing World
Signed by Margaret Thatcher. Also signed and dated by Thatcher on a 'Certificate of Authenticity,' that is laid in.

Edward Gorey
The Glorious Nosebleed : Fifth Alphabet
Signed by Edward Gorey.

also signed by Gorey
The Curious Sofa By Ogdred Weary

ALSO signed by Gorey
The Headless Bust : a Melancholy Meditation on the False Millennium
First Edition!

John Barth
The Literature of Exhaustion and the Literature of Replenishment
Signed by John Barth and a Limited Edition Presentation Copy

Anne Sexton
First Edition, First Printing and signed by Anne Sexton and the illustrator!

John Updike
The Afterlife and Other Stories
First Edition, First Printing and signed by John Updike.

Maxine Kumin
Up Country : Poems of New England - New and Selected
Signed by Maxine Kumin

Edward Albee
The Wounding : An Essay on Education
Signed by Edward Albee and a First Edition.

Willa Cather
Shadows on the Rock
Signed by Willa Cather and number 197 of 619 copies. First Edition.

Tennessee Williams
Small Craft Warnings (book, script, 3 sheets of cast photos, and postcard of Play Preview invitation)
Inscribed by Tennessee Williams. Inscription states, "To Mario, With Love, Tennessee." Inscription is believed to be for Mario deMaria, who was a producer of the play. 35 photographs.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Staff Pick: Christie

Travels With Charley

By John Steinbeck

I was into this book on the first page. So much so that I typed out the first three paragraphs during a Skype conversation with my friend who lives in Serbia. She thought the beginning was wonderful as well.

Travels with Charley is exactly what it sounds like. John Steinbeck decides to go on a cross country trip with his dog Charley in order to rediscover America. It gives beautiful descriptions of all parts of America during the early 1960s. Overall, this book just gave me the same sort of wanderlust that Steinbeck seemed to have.

Young Adult Fiction 10/11/2010

The Trolls

by Polly Horvath

The Trolls is yet another book by Polly Horvath that has me convinced that she is one of the best children's book writers today. It is the story of three children whose aunt babysits them while their parents are on vacation. During this time, their aunt tells them stories from their father's past. Some are funny, some are sad, some are a bit frightening. What is true about all of them is that it teaches the children a lot more about their family.

Not only does The Trolls have Polly Horvath's trademark humor, it ends on a serious note, which has kept me thinking about it days after I have read it. It is simple enough for middle schoolers to read, but older people can get something out of it as well. Well done, Polly Horvath, yet again.

Friday, October 8, 2010


The other day, we received mail from Jerry Spinelli himself! It was pretty awesome, and I think I am still reeling from it a bit.

This is what he sent:
His letter was a response to one we had sent a few months ago, proclaiming our love for all things Stargirl that included this picture to show that I loved Stargirl enough to get it tattooed on my arm.
He sent us temporary tattoos, for those who want to show their Stargirl love a little less drastically. All in all, it was awesome.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Store Updates!

Hello All,

So much has happened since last entry. Our children's room got an amazing update - brand new wood floors! They look absolutely fantastic and make reading on the bean bag chairs even better. Here's a photo:

Not only did we get beautiful new floors, we just got a shipment in of new puppets! I spent a good chunk of time processing them today, and they are all so cute! My favorites? I think the octopus is pretty rad, and the turtle wearing a turtleneck is just kind of funny. We got in a bunch of new finger puppets as well - super sweet chicks, black woolly sheep, and more!

You can check out the new and improved children's room TOMORROW when you come to our monthly Poetry Open Mic Night. In case you forgot, it is on October 2 at 7:30pm. If you can't come them, stop in anyways and ask about the other events coming up!

See you soon,


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Staff Pick: Christie

Big Sur

By Jack Kerouac

I read this book at a bar in New Jersey that considers Jack Kerouac as their patron saint. Old men stared at me. It was a nice evening.

Big Sur takes place ten years after On the Road. Kerouac is famous, hates it, drinks a lot, and is basically in self destruct mode. He decides to stay at Lawrence Ferlinghetti's cabin in Big Sur in order to stay away from his fans and booze. This results in a poem about the sea (which is at the end of the novel) and a mental breakdown.

Young Adult Fiction 9/15/2010


by Ingrid Law

Mibs (short for Mississippi) has an unusual family. On each child's 13th birthday, they discover their savvy, that is, their special gift. One of her older brothers caused a hurricane on his 13th birthday and her mother's savvy is that she is absolutely perfect at everything. Mibs' 13th birthday is coming up but right before she finds out her savvy, her father (who is normal) gets in a terrible accident. Mibs (along with her brothers and new friends) decide to go on a long journey to reach her father and hopefully save him with her savvy.

Savvy is definitely a unique book. Ingrid Law uses "magic" without the story seeming too fantastical or unbelievable. Deep down, Savvy is really the tale of a girl growing up and learning about herself, along with learning about her special abilities. It's not shocking at all that this is on Oprah's Book Club Kids Reading List.

Early Readers 9/15/2010

Judy Moody and Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt

by Megan McDonald

It's the summer, and Judy Moody and Stink are on vacation! They become part of a several day treasure hunt, where the winner gets to ride on a pirate ship!

This is a great story for young readers who are not quite ready for chapter books, but illustrated books are a bit too easy. It is fun to go on the adventure with Judy Moody and Stink and try and figure out the clues to the treasure along with them.

Children's Ilustrated 9/15/2010

Fairy Tale Timpa

by Michael Altan

My life has improved dramatically by the discovery of the Timpa books. Timpa has been a best-selling series in Italy for years, but now it has finally reached America!

Fairy Tale Timpa is Michael Altan's hilarious take on different fairy tales in comic strip form. Timpa (a red-spotted dog) discovers Pinocchio, Sleepy Beauty, and other favorite characters. Michael Altan's stories and are absolutely hilarious and incredibly absurd.

Seriously, I can't recommend this series any higher. I've been looking through each one and laughing hysterically. I think I know my next tattoo (hint: it's Altan's illustration of a sun eating ice cream).

Monday, August 30, 2010

Staff Pick: Christie

The River Why

By David James Duncan

When I was still just a customer at Manchester By the Book, Mark recommended this book to me. It honestly seemed sort of boring to me because it looked like it was just about fishing, and I don't really care either way for fishing, but I figured I might as well try it out and see what the fuss is about. I was floored by David James Duncan's beautiful (and humorous) storytelling and The River Why has since become one of my all-time favorite books. I guess I shouldn't have doubted Mark. Don't tell him I said that.

The River Why is the story of Gus, the fishing genius son of two very different fishers. When Gus graduates high school, he decides to rent a cabin on the edge of a river and create an Ideal Schedule, a schedule that allows the most possible time for fishing. Eventually, Gus's life of just fish starts to drive him a little wacko. After an unusual experience, Gus opens his life to new friends, philosophy, and even love.

Young Adult Fiction 8/30/2010

The Canning Season

by Polly Horvath

The Canning Season is the story of Ratchet, a girl whose mother cares more about her dreams of being a member of the Hunting Club than her. Ratchet is sent out of the blue to spend a summer in the Maine woods with her two 91 year old great aunts.

I absolutely loved The Canning Season to the point that I stayed late at work one day in order to finish it. Horvath has a great blend of slapstick humor and offbeat storytelling that kept me totally engaged and laughing aloud. This book is one-of-a-kind, that's for certain. The one warning I would give is that there are some uses of swear words that some readers may be too young for.

Early Readers 8/30/2010

Ivy and Bean

by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall

Ivy and Bean live across the street from each other. Both of their mom's keep telling them that they should play together, but both Ivy and Bean know that they will never be friends. Then, one day Bean needs to hide quick from her sister, and Ivy helps out!

Ivy and Bean is the start of a super fun series geared towards young girls. The two friends (that were never supposed to be friends) end up getting into funny predicaments and make up creative solutions to get out of them. This series is perfect for the young reader who is beyond illustrated books but not quite ready for chapter books.

Children's Illustrated 8/30/2010

Mr. Greedy

by Roger Hargreaves

Mr. Greedy loved to eat! The more he ate, the fatter he became. One day, after an exceptionally large breakfast, Mr. Greedy goes on an adventure where he is taught a lesson on being greedy.

Mr. Greedy is part of the quirky Mr. Men series by Roger Hargreaves. Each of the books tells a fun story with great illustrations. This is a great, quick read that is perfect for young readers!

Books to Read Before You Graduate High School!

Several months ago, Mark and I (Christie) compiled this list of must-read books before high school graduation. Combined, we have read every single one and each has passed a rigorous test of time and quality. So, see what you have read, and come and pick up what you haven't! Or just come in and guess who contributed what to the list.

Books to Read Before High School Graduation

Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice

Ray Bradbury - Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury - Something Wicked This Way Comes

Albert Camus - The Stranger

Willa Cather - O Pioneers

Thomas Hardy - Tess of D'Ubervilles

Nathaniel Hawthorne - The Scarlet Letter

Ernest Hemingway - Old Man and the Sea

Aldous Huxley - Brave New World

John Irving - A Prayer for Owen Meany

Jack Kerouac - On the Road

Ken Kesey - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

John Knowles - A Separate Peace

Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird

Carson McCullers - The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Carson McCullers - Member of the Wedding

Larry McMurtry - Lonesome Dove

Flannery O'Connor - The Complete Stories

George Orwell - 1984

George Orwell - Animal Farm

Ayn Rand - The Fountainhead

Erich Maria Remarque - All Quiet on the Western Front

Antoine de Saint-Exupery - The Little Prince

J.D. Salinger - Catcher in the Rye

J.D. Salinger - Nine Stories

Dodie Smith - I Capture the Castle

John Steinbeck - Of Mice and Men

John Steinbeck - The Grapes of Wrath

Dylan Thomas - The Collected Stories

J.R.R. Tolkien - Lord of the Rings

Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse-Five

T.H. White - The Once and Future King

Oscar Wilde - A Picture of Dorian Gray

P.G. Wodehouse - Carry On, Jeeves

Tom Wolfe - I Am Charlotte Simmons

Richard Wright - Black Boy

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Updates and Events

Hello all!

It's been a good while since the last post. Don't worry, we will be updating this blog more frequently.

We have a bunch of fun stuff coming up in the next few months.

On Thursday, September 23, Katrina Kenison (author of Mitten Strings For God) will be here at 7pm to do a reading and a book signing. This will be a great event for parents.

On Friday, September 24 at 7:30pm, we will be having our first music night with local artist Heather Tobin. You can find more about Heather on our website.

On Saturday, October 15, Tony Gangi will be here to perform and do a reading from his book Carny Sideshows. This will definitely be a fun event for all ages.

We will keep you updated with when the next book club will be, along with our next poetry open mic night. See you soon!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Young Adult Fiction 6/6/2010

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

by Jaqueline Kelly

The year is 1899 and 11 year old Calpurnia Tate lives on a Texas farm with her six brothers. She is at the time in her life where she is supposed to learn sewing and cooking, in order to prepare to be a wife and a mother, but her budding relationship with her naturalist grandfather puts other ideas in her head.

This is a great book for girls who do not quite fit in with how a girl is "supposed" to act. Calpurnia is smart and inquisitive, even though her parents would rather her to be quiet and polite. I absolutely loved this book.

Early Readers 6/4/2010

The Horse in Harry's Room by Syd Hoff

Harry has a horse that nobody else can see. Every night, he rides him in circles and jumps over his bed without even hitting his head on the ceiling. Harry loves his horse, so much that he even gives it the freedom to leave and be where he can run and kick and nibble.
The Horse in Harry's Room is a great story about imagination and friendship. This is a great story for a young reader who loves animals and thinks outside the box.

Children's Illustrated 6/04/2010


by Neil Gaiman

Illustrated by Charles Vess

In Neil Gaiman's richly illustrated Instructions, each page gives instructions on how to navigate through a fairy land. He tells the reader not to eat the food and to treat all of the creatures with kindness.

This is a perfect book for anyone who loves fairy tales. Gaiman takes the lessons learned in every famous fairy tale and puts them all into one very beautiful book. Great for children or adults.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Staff Pick: Mark 6/3/2010

Anne Lamott writes so well. She draws you into a story that flows by so smoothly that you are finished before you know it and you want more. Imperfect Birds is about modern teenage culture and its casual everyday insidiousness.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Young Adult Fiction 5/19/2010

The Clock Without a Face

by Scott Teplin, Mac Barnett, and Eli Horowitz

"This much is true: twelve emerald-studded numbers, each handmade and one of a kind, have been buried in twelve holes, strewn across the country. These treasures will belong to whoever finds them first. The clues to their locations lurk within these thirteen floors." Thus states the back of The Clock Without a Face. This is a extremely interesting and unusual book. The reader is asked to, along with the two main characters, solve the mystery of who stole twelve emerald-encrusted numbers of a clock held on the thirteenth floor of an apartment building. Each new page includes an interview with the tenants of each floor, along with a drawing of their floor. With both the drawings and the text, the reader is then asked to solve the mystery! When the mystery is solved (and yes, the answer is given) a new mystery begins: where are the numbers buried? Each floor has clues within the drawings as to the real location of the buried numbers. And so begins a second (and much more difficult) adventure.

This book is extremely fun. While it can be read and solved in one sitting, the second mystery as to where the numbers are located is much more difficult. What is so interesting is that there are real numbers buried all around the United States. So, if the reader dares, she or he can go on a treasure hunt with The Clock Without a Face as a guide. Become one of the first to find the numbers' locations!

Early Readers 5/17/2010

My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems

My Friend is Sad is a book in the Elephant and Piggie series. Piggie stumbles on Gerald the Elephant who looks very, very sad. To cheer him up, Piggie dresses up as some of Gerald's favorite things - a cowboy, a clown, and a robot - but Gerald is still sad. Finally, Piggie comes as himself and Gerald is happy again. All Gerald wanted was to share the awesome creatures he was seeing with his best friend.
My Friend is Sad is a great book for those just learning to read. It is a short but fun tale. Mo Willems uses simplicity to tell the story of these friends, and even includes little humorous lines that adults will chuckle at. What a cute story!

Children's Illustrated 5/17/2010

The Shy Little Kitten

by Cathleen Schurr and Gustav Tenggren

The Shy Little Kitten is a Little Golden Book classic about, well, a shy little kitten. The shy little kitten had five black-and-white bold siblings, but she was striped and shy. When the family goes on a walk outside of the barn, the shy little kitten slowly walked at the back of the line, and ended up losing her family. In her trip back home, the shy little kitten ends up meeting a ton of new friends!

This is a book straight out of my childhood. Before I could read myself, my mom would read this book to me. I loved it so much that one of my first stuffed animals, a striped kitten, was dubbed Shy. The Shy Little Kitten is a great story about how even those who are shy can make new friends.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Young Adult Fiction 5/10/2010

The Cardturner by Louis Sachar

The Cardturner is a story about bridge. Not a bridge or bridges, but about the card game bridge that seems to be only popular amongst older people. In this book, Alton Richards is forced by his parents to be the cardturner for his blind (and rich) great uncle, in order to help his family get mentioned in his will. In the process, Alton learns the tragic past of his great-uncle and begins to learn the magic of bridge.

I have never played bridge before, and before this book, never even knew much about it, but Louis Sachar explains it in a way that makes the reader want to learn. Of course, The Cardturner is not all about bridge, it tells the story of a guy who is just trying to figure everything out. While maybe not as perfect as Holes, The Cardturner is another book well done by Louis Sachar.

Early Readers 5/10/2010

Elmer and the Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

In the continuation of My Father's Dragon, Elmer and the baby dragon leave Wild Island and search for Elmer's home, so that he could be back in time for his father's birthday. On their way, they get stranded on Feather Island, a island where escaped canaries go to. Elmer and the baby dragon help the canaries get better from a deadly case of curiosity, which has slowly been killing the canaries over the years.
Elmer and the Dragon is such a fun and creative follow up to My Father's Dragon. The adventures that Elmer and the baby dragon go on are simple and fun. They're perfect for early readers, but they're also fun stories for adults to read as well.

Children's Illustrated 5/10/2010

Children's Illustrated:

Phileas's Fortune by Valeria Docampo

Phileas's Fortune is the tale of a strange place where words are made in factory and sold in stores. In order to speak, one must buy or find words and swallow them. Phileas cannot afford expensive words, but he saves up three words to give as a gift to Cybele, his neighbor, to explain how he feels to her. When he gets there, he sees Oscar telling Cybele that he loves her with all of his heart. Can Phileas explain his feelings in three small words?

This book is a great book about self-expression. It teaches that it is not necessarily words that matter, but how one uses them. It is a simple book with wonderful illustrations by Agnes de Lestrade. I loved it!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Christie's Staff Pick

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

By Carson McCullers

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is the tale of four lonely souls in a Southern mill town, who all connect through one man, Mr. Singer, who is deaf and mute. Through the eyes of these people on the fringes of society, McCullers gives insight into race relations, poverty, and the woes of growing up during the 1930s.

I had been staring at McCullers' portrait for so long, intrigued, when I finally decided to read this book. Once I started, I could barely put it down. McCullers gives a beautiful and heart-wrenching insight into 1930s Southern America. While it is not a feel-good sort of story, McCullers book gives the reader a deeper understanding of what race and class meant to America during this time period.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Young Adult Fiction 5/3/2010

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis

In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Edmund and Lucy return to Narnia with their spoiled cousin Eustace. The three of them find themselves aboard the ship the Dawn Treader, along with their old friend Prince Caspian, on a journey into uncharted waters to search for seven lords that Caspian's evil uncle send away.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was always my favorite of the Chronicles of Narnia. Each island that the characters travel to is absolutely fascinating and unique. The Dawn Treader is full of action, adventure, and wisdom. I would advise someone new to the Chronicles of Narnia to start with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian to understand the back story, but even though The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is fifth in the series, it does not have to be the fifth one read.

Early Readers 5/3/2010

Little Bear's Visit by Else Homelund Minarik

Little Bear goes on a visit to see Grandmother and Grandfather Bear. They each tell him a story. Grandmother Bear tells the story of how Mother Bear took care of a baby robin. Grandfather Bear tells the tale of a goblin being chased in the woods--by his own shoes! Before he even realizes it, Little Bear is exhausted from his visit.
The Little Bear books are definitely classics for a reason. The stories are short, simple, and fun, and Maurice Sendak's illustrations are great as usual. This is most definitely a book that will be around for years to come.

Children's Illustrated 5/3/2010

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum has the perfect name, or she thinks she does. On her first day of school, the students all make fun of her 13 letter-long name (which is half of the alphabet!) and the fact that she's named after a flower. Chrysanthemum begins to hate her name, until she meets a teacher with an equally "weird" name.

I really like Kevin Henkes. His stories are full of great illustrations, good messages, and wit. While Chrysanthemum is written for children, adults can find some humor in Henkes' story as well. Chrysanthemum is a fun and colorful tale!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Christie's Staff Pick 4/25/2010

Breakfast of Champions

By Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

For his fiftieth birthday, Kurt Vonnegut wrote Breakfast of Champions in order to clear out all of the junk in his head. It is the story of the meeting of two men, Kilgore Trout, a failed science fiction writer and Dwayne Hoover, a rich car salesman on the brink of insanity.

Anyone who knows me will probably say that I have a bit of an obsession with Kurt Vonnegut, to the point that I have a tattoo dedicated to Breakfast of Champtons on the inside of my right arm. What I love so much about this book is that Vonnegut takes a seemingly ridiculous story and reveals deep truths about human nature and American culture. One word of warning: This book is a lot funnier if you have read Vonnegut before. I would suggest reading Cat's Cradle or Slaughterhouse-Five before reading this gem of a book.

Young Adult Fiction 4/25/2010

Holes by Louis Sachar

Stanley Yelnats has the worst luck. He is sent to Camp Green Lake, a boys' detention facility, after being falsely accused of stealing the smelly secrets of a famous basketball player. At Camp Green Lake, Stanley (along with the other "campers") is forced to dig a hole a day (five feet wide, five feet deep) in the wasteland that used to be Green Lake. While Camp Green Lake is not a Girl Scouts Camp, neither is it without its secrets...

Holes is probably one of my favorite children's books of all time. Sachar combines mystery with family history with magic in this great story of a boy with really, really bad luck. I would highly recommend this book for anyone middle school age and up.

Early Readers 4/25/2010

Arthur's New Puppy by Marc Brown

Arthur is so excited to have a new puppy. That is, until Pal leaves messes all around the house and destroys the new curtains. Arthur becomes very worried that his parents will send his problem puppy away. What will he do?

Arthur's New Puppy is a great book to teach early readers about responsibility. Instead of despairing over the puppy's lack of control, Arthur decides to do his very best to train him. This is a cute tale of a boy and the love he has for his dog.

Children's Illustrated 4/26/2010

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

One evening, Harold decides to go on a moonlit stroll. This begins an adventure that he creates solely with his purple crayon. His drawings get him in and out of trouble, before he decides to go searching for his bedroom window to go to sleep.

This is a very fun and creative book. The illustrations consist solely of Harold and his purple crayon drawings. When he is hungry, he draws a picnic, when he is full, he draws animals to finish his picnic so the food does not go to waste. Perfect for the child just learning to color! Harold and the Purple Crayon reminds us what sort of adventures we can go on with just our imagination.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Young Adult Fiction 4/19/2010

The 39 Clues #1: The Maze of Bones

by Rick Riordan

When Amy and Dan Cahill's beloved grandmother, Grace, dies, they hope to inherit something special to remind themselves of her. Instead, they, along with a roomful of their distant relatives, are given the choice to take one million dollars or embark on a quest to find the 39 clues and find the secret of the Cahill family, one of the most powerful families in the world.

The Maze of Bones is the first in a series written by all different children's book authors. It is a book that is sure to get you addicted. Once you read the first clue, you can't stop! It's a great series to get your child into reading.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Early Reader 4/19/2010

Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff

One day, Danny goes to the museum to see what is inside. He sees lots of exhibits - bears, Indians, and eskimos, but his favorite one was the dinosaurs. Danny thinks about how fun it would be if dinosaurs were real and could play with him, when a dinosaur tells him it would be fun to play with him, too.

Danny and the Dinosaur is a great book for a young reader with a great imagination. The adventures that Danny and his dinosaur go on are fun (and safe) and enjoyable to read about