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The View from Monday

August 15, 2011

We’re back with our “View from Monday” feature which premiered a couple of weeks ago. Today we preview some of the new books that you’ll find on the shelves of your favorite bookstore on August 23rd. Make your list and schedule some relaxing reading time, here are some of our favorites!

CHIRCHIR IS SINGING by Kelly Cunnane; illustrated by Jude Daly

This is one of my favorite picture books of the year so far and one that lingers long after. The story is about a rural Kenyan family whose joy and appreciation of their tribe and the bounties of the natural world belie their hardscrabble lives. Life is seen through the eyes of Chirchir and her siblings who, in spite of their daily chores, exhibit the carefree exuberance of children anywhere. It’s this evocation of how much alike we all are despite our varying surroundings that make for a perfect read-aloud and life lesson for children. The quietly effecting folk-art illustrations by South African artist Jude Daly complete the portrait of this fascinating culture. -Tim 

Estie the Mensch by Jane Kohuth

Do you know what it is to be a Mensch? Estie is continuously told to be a Mensch (the Yiddish word meaning a “good person”) but she prefers animals to people. She finds that people ask too many questions, and are noisy too, among other things.  Grandma takes Estie to the zoo for the day where she meets Petie. They spend the day with the animals and Estie has the chance to be a Mensch. Everything changes for her and she realizes how easy it is to be nice.This teaches the universal message “Be good and show kindness”. And isn’t that the way we all want to be treated? -Lillian

Jim Henson: The Guy Who Played with Puppets by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher

At first glance, you may wonder if children would be interested in a picture book biography of Jim Henson. As a mom of preschool aged children, though, I can tell you that I would be lost without the programs that Henson created- Sesame Street, the first show to truly make learning fun for kids, and The Muppet Show, a crazy, hilarious time capsule that my kids just can’t get enough of. Kathleen Krull has done it again with a fascinating biography that traces Henson’s life from childhood and shows how he came to influence children’s culture through creativity, hard work and vision. And the charming art, by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, captures Henson and his Muppets’ sweetness. -Erin

Here Lies Linc  by Delia Ray 

Every kid goes through the “can my Mom possibly be any more embarrassing” stage!  Linc, our main character, has a very eccentric Mom to endure, a cranky cemetery “warden” breathing down his neck and a school project to get done when he isn’t out walking the neighbor’s dog.  This book has just enough spooky cemetery lore to keep you up reading past your bedtime, plus a lesson in family lineage that will make you want to do some research of your own.  Grades 3 and up. -Nic

The Dragon’s Tooth: Ashtown Burials Book 1 N.D. Wilson

If you are a fan of the 100 Cupboard series you are in for a treat!  This new series from N.D. Wilson has more adventure, more magic, more butt-kicking action than ever before.  The Smith family lives a quiet (boring!) life in Wisconsin until a stranger covered in tattoos arrives at the family run hotel.  Everything they thought they knew changes within hours, and life becomes decidedly un-boring.  Immortal beings, secret societies, whip spiders and non-stop action make this almost 500 page book a quick read.  Great for fans of Harry Potter, Alex Rider and Septimus Heap.  Grades 5 and up. -Nic

Thanks for joining us for another View from Monday. Share your thoughts with us in the comments section and Happy Reading!

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