Saturday, July 31, 2010

Another picture book roundup - read on!

Once again my bags of books are overflowing! Here are a few new titles worthy of mention:

Jacobs, Paul DuBois and Jennifer Swender. 2010. Fire Drill. Ill. by JuyVoun Lee. New York: Holt.

A picture perfect, non-threatening, multicultural, rhyming book about fire drills.  What more can one ask for? A must-have for every Kindergarten teacher.

Elya, Susan Middleton. No More, Por Favor. 2010. Ill. by David Walker. New York: Putnam.

Know a picky eater? Well, he's in good company.  There are plenty of picky eaters in the rain forest too! 
Deep in the rain forest - selva, so green,
lives Papagayo, an eating machine.
"Here, Bebe Parrot, papaya is yummy."
"No!" says the baby. "No more in my tummy!
Papaya for breakfast, for lunch and la cena.
Too many times in a row no es buena!"
With cute, double-spread acrylic on paper illustrations, a glossary and pronunciation guide for the many Spanish words, and a very funny story about eight picky rain forest inhabitants, No More, Por Favor is great fun! ¡qué divertido!


Roberton, Fiona. 2010. Wanted: The Perfect Pet. New York: Putnam. (first published in Australia)

Simple ink sketches, highlighted with minimal coloration tell the simple story of Henry, who, "more than anything else in the whole wide world," wanted a dog.  It is also the story of a duck, to whom
Nobody ever wrote. Nobody ever called. Nobody ever e-mailed,
that is, until he created "The Perfect Disguise."  Funny, touching, and hilariously illustrated!
                                                                         
London, Jonathan. 2010. I'm a Truck Driver. Ill. by David Parkins. New York: Holt.

This rhyming picture book has large sturdy pages featuring trucks of all kinds - cement mixers, fire engines, power shovels, and more.  Each truck has a 2-page spread with a short rhyme.  Some of the rhymes are a little forced,
I'm a big crane operator.  I lift steel beams high and build tall buildings that scrape the blue sky,
and in others, London rhymes words with themselves, but overall this is a winning book for two reasons - kids love trucks and these personified trucks are cute! 

Pinkwater, Daniel. 2010. Beautiful Yetta: The Yiddish Chicken. New York: Feiwel and Friends.

A trilingual book - English, Spanish, and Yiddish?  Yes, Yiddish - the language of Yetta, a runaway from Mr. Flegleman's organic chicken ranch!  Daniel Pinkwater has a unique sense of humor and he's obviously fond of chickens (The Hoboken Chicken Emergency comes to mind). Both of these are evident in Beautiful Yetta, in which the heroine escapes the chicken truck and finds herself in Brooklyn, where she promptly saves a small green bird, a parrot belonging to one of the local colonies,
Parrots?  ?פּאָפּוגײַ  popuGEYehn?
The chicken saved me. And look! Isn't she beautiful?
¡La gallina me salvó! ¡Y miren! ¿No es ella hermosa?
la gahYEEna me sahlVO! ee MEErehn, no ess EHya ehrMOsa?
And so begins the odd friendship and pairing of chicken and parrot, Yiddish and Spanish, on the streets of Brooklyn. The in-text pronunciation guides make it possible to share this story with only a passing ability in Spanish or Yiddish. A short explanation and chart of the Hebrew/Yiddish alphabet follows the story. A Spanish alphabet chart would have been welcome as well.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Viper's Nest

Lerangis, Peter. 2010. The Viper's Nest. Read by David Pittu. Scholastic Audiobooks.
About 5 hrs on CD or Playaway.

Still plugging along through the 39 Clues series, trying to catch up.  The Viper's Nest (Book 7) was not available from my library for digital download, so I checked out the Playaway version.

(If you’re not familiar with Playaway audio books, they are single-purpose, multi-use, mp3 players. It’s a very simple mp3 player loaded with one book and lacking recording capabilities. It has basic command buttons – on/off, play/pause, fast forward, reverse, volume. It begins each time at the farthest listening point. That’s it! Easy as pie. Larger than a typical mp3, but smaller than an iTouch, they’re durable, portable and convenient. Your public library probably offers them.)

As usual with the other audiobooks in the series, David Pittu does a fine job in narrating the story.  This time, he must add South African accents to his ever-expanding repertoire as Dan, Amy and Nellie continue their hunt for the clues - this time following the trail of Zulu warrior, Shaka Zulu and his curious connection to British PM, Winston Churchill.  In this installment, Dan and Amy discover a clue and a shocking revelation about their family. The books, in general, are fairly formulaic in nature and read seamlessly regardless of the author, however, Peter Lerangis' sense of humor is evident in The Viper's Nest.  Nellie has some great one-liners.

Once again, the audio version offers bonus materials - this time in the form of a recorded deposition from Mrs. Thembeka regarding the theft of the Churchill letter.

On to Book 8 and I've got to hurry. The tenth and final book, Into the Gauntlet by Margaret Peterson Haddix will be released on August 31, 2010.  There will be a live webcast with all of the authors.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

White Crane

Fussell, Sandy. 2010. White Crane. Ill. by Rhian Nest James. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
(Advance Reader Copy)

Set in an undetermined year, after the heyday of the samurai warrior class and prior to its demise in the 19th century, White Crane is an improbable story of a ryu, or Japanese school of martial arts, inhabited by a  revered warrior teacher and his hand-picked students, each disabled in some way.  Niya Moto is White Crane, the story's one-legged narrator, so named for his spirit totem. The white crane is a kindred creature, as comfortable as Niya in standing upon only one leg. Kyoko, the White Monkey is an albino with extra fingers and toes. One-armed Mikko is the Striped Gecko, Taji is blind and guided by the Golden Bat.  Yoshi, pacifist, yet strong and sturdy, still searches for his spirit.  All are under the guidance of the wily Sensei, who is so old that the mere mention of his name usually elicits the response, "I thought he was dead." All are preparing for the yearly ceremonial competition between the Boar, Dragon, Eagle, Rabbit, Snake, Wolf and Cockroach ryus.  Niya's ryu is, of course, The Cockroach; but as Sensei reminds his pupils,
Cockroaches are small, but they are very hard to kill.
Though the characters may be improbable, White Crane is believable.  With writing reflective of the Japanese philosophical code known as Bushido, the reader is drawn into a world in which the most important concerns are Chi! Jin! Yu!, wisdom, benevolence, courage.  White Crane is not without humor, however.  When the boys travel to the village to see the master swordsmith, they bow low to honor his age, reputation and craftsmanship,
He chants as he works, I want to listen, but Onaku's singing is even worse than mine.  Covering my ears would be impolite, so I grit my teeth and hum inside my head. Om. Om. Om. "An honorable sword sings loudly with truth and purity, " Sensei teaches.  No wonder Master Onaku's swords are so prized.  They are born singing at the top of their lungs to drown out their maker's awful voice.

The chapters move swiftly, each containing an illustrated title page and a additional full page, action-packed sketch by Rhian Nest James. With five students, many competing schools, and a fascinating period in history, debut author Sandy Fussell has all the ingredients for a great new series.  Recommended for 4th grade and up.

Read a sample chapter here.
Due on shelves August 2010
Samurai warriors, circa 1880.
(Photograph from Wikimedia Commons)

Bookmark and Share

Monday, July 26, 2010

Orangutans are Ticklish

Welcome to Shelf-employed! I'm the host of this week's Nonfiction Monday.

Grubman, Steve and Jill Davis. 2010. Orangutans are Ticklish: Fun facts from an animal photographer. New York: Schwartz & Wade.(Random House)


Not your typical animal book, Orangutans are Ticklish combines stunning animal photos with animal facts, and a peek behind the scenes at an animal photo shoot.  These guys and gals are no super models!  Take the hipppo for instance,
This girl ate a hundred pounds of veggies during the thirty-minute photo shoot.
No wonder her mouth is wide open, but
a hippo's yawn doesn't mean she's tired. It means she wants to fight.
Thirteen animals including the lion, kangaroo and aardvark are featured.  Each creature has a two-page spread with large text, a beautiful photo, and a text bubble with interesting insight from photographer Steve Grubman. A "More Fun Facts" section contains three bulleted facts on each animal.  Kids will love this book for the photography.  Though it's too long for storytime reading, the photos and one or two facts could easily be shared with a storytime group.
Nonfiction fun!


Bloggers, please add your links below. Readers, please be sure to visit all of today's Nonfiction Monday contributors.  Thanks!







A few sites don't appear to be linked.  They are:
Janet's post on Alphabet City at All About the Books with Janet Squires
The Book Nosher's baseball themed post
Apples with Many Seeds offers In the Neighborhood, Over the Fence, Right Next Door
Bookends contributed Lincoln Tells a Joke by Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer.
I'll continue to add any other posts that didn't get linked.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Three Rivers Rising

Richards, Jame. 2010. Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood. New York: Knopf.

This book debuted in April 2010 to well-earned, rave reviews. In sparse verse, author Jame Richards, tells a story of devoted high society sisters, Celestia and Estrella, Whitcomb, their coldly calculating, businessman father, a miner's son, Peter, Maura, the wife of a Pennsylvania railroad engineer, and Kate, an obsessive-compulsive young widow struggling to find a purpose in life. Their lives become intertwined due to the tragically preventable Johnstown, Pennsylvania flood of 1889. Chapters of free-form verse alternate between the voices of the six characters.  An author's note separates the facts of the actual flood from the story. More than 2200 people died in the flood, including entire families.

The Johnstown Flood is the backdrop, but Three Rivers Rising is foremost a story of society, class, and first (or forbidden) love.
Highly recommended for grades 8 and up.


A reader's guide is available for teachers, librarians and book clubs.

The aftermath of the Johnstown Flood.
(Photograph from Wikimedia Commons, originally taken by an employee of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.)
Information about the flood and its victims is available from the Johnstown Area Heritage Association.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Peace, Locomotion

Woodson, Jacqueline. 2010. Peace, Locomotion. Read by Dion Graham. Brilliance Audio.
(about 2 hours on CD, mp3 download, or Playaway)

Peace, Locomotion continues the story of Lonnie Collins Motion (or Locomotion) first begun in Locomotion.  After their parents perished in a fire, Lonnie and his sister, Lili were sent to separate foster homes. Years have passed.  Lonnie is now twelve and although they miss each other, both have settled in to their new homes.

Locomotion was a novel written in verse, as Lonnie learned the forms of poetry from a caring teacher.  Peace, Locomotion is an epistolary novel, consisting of letters from Lonnie to Lili as he  endeavors to chronicle his feelings, his memories of their earlier life together, and the daily occurrences of his new life.  He saves the letters in the hope that when he is someday reunited with Lili, he can relive and share with her each day that they were apart.  He struggles with the fact that his younger sister begins to call her foster mother, Momma, and can barely remember their parents.  One of his friends is moving away, his teacher is mean, and he does poorly on tests and homework.  At home, he has another problem.  One of his foster mother's sons is serving in the war (the listener does not know if it is the war in Afghanistan or Iraq) and things are not going well.  Lonnie is tempted to pray for Jenkins' safe return but his foster brother Rodney suggests that he pray for peace instead - explaining,  if peace comes, all things will follow.  In spite of the many obstacles that life has placed in Lonnie's path, he remains positive and thoughtful, never quick to draw conclusions or pass judgment. He finds joy in a church choir, a snowball fight, a good friend.  He is kind and wise beyond his years.  Although this is a story about African American families, it could be about any family in similar circumstances.  It is a story about hope and family and finding peace wherever one may.

The challenge of narrating a novel consisting of letters from only one person is a great one, and Dion Graham's reading rises to the test. He is superb. Graham perfectly captures the many moods of Lonnie Collins Motion with precision, never exaggeration.  The listener can hear a smile begin to spread across Lonnie's lips,  tears well up in his eyes, a sparkle light up his face. Lonnie recounts conversations within his letters, allowing Graham to create character voices of Lili, Lonnie's friends, and his foster family; but Locomotion is the star of this novel and all ears are upon him.  Highly recommended for middle grades.

Peace, Locomotion was named a 2010 Odyssey Honor Audiobook, and was named to ALSC's 2010 Notable Children's Recordings.

Listen to an excerpt here.

Penguin Young Readers offers a free downloadable discussion guide.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Biblioburro

Winter, Jeanette. 2010. Biblioburro: A true story from Columbia. New York: Beach Lane.

Biblioburro is a true story, simply told, about Luis and his two burros, Alfa and Beto.  Together they carry books to children in remote Columbian villages, undeterred by burning sun, long distances, or even a bandit seeking silver! (Luis gives him a book.)
Every week, Luis and Alfa and Beto set off across the countryside to faraway villages in the lonely hills.  This week they travel to El Tormento. ... The Biblioburro continues on its way over the hills, until at last, Luis sees houses below.  The children of El Tormento run to meet him.

The illustrations are reminiscent of the colorful traditional clothing or the small, hand-sewn trinkets that are sold as souvenirs in many South American Countries.   The book states that the "illustrations are rendered in acrylic paint with pen and ink," however, it appears that Winter has used fabric or felt and markers as well, to evoke a vibrant, rural feel.

Biblioburro is a joyful celebration of books and one man's determination to make a difference in the lives of children, and thus "a small corner of the world is enriched."  Highly recommended for ages 4 and up.

Please take the time to watch this video of Luis Soriano.  It's truly inspirational.



It's Nonfiction Monday again! Check out all of today's contributions at In Need of Chocolate. I'll be hosting next week!

Share |

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Guys Read: Funny Business

Scieszka, Jon, Mac Barnett, Eoin Colfer, Christopher Paul Curtis, Kate DiCamillo, Paul Feig, Jack Gantos, Jeff Kinney, David Lubar, Adam Rex, David Yoo. Illustrated by Mac Barnett. 2010. Guys Read: Funny Business. Walden Pond Press.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I picked up this book (and the fake nose and glasses!) at BEA in NYC; and while I took advantage of the opportunity to meet Jon Scieszka, I completely missed David Lubar, Adam Rex, and Mac Barnett.  Sorry, guys - my loss. :-)  But thanks for signing my book!

In any case, I couldn't wait to dive into Funny Business.  To me, Jon Scieszka is synonymous with funny, and Funny Business doesn't disappoint.  It is the first installment in the promised Guys Read Library, a ten book series of themed, short stories edited by Scieszka.

The Funny Business stories are a mixed bag of humor.  Christopher Paul Curtis' contribution, "What? You Think You've Got it Rough?" is the sort of tale that families love to share.  Every family has a story that's told and re-told.  This is the story of Papa Red, who is "straight-up nuts," and the day that - well, no, you'll have to read it yourself.  "Your Question for Author Here" by Kate DiCamillo (the only female writer in the gang) and Jon Scieszka will be a favorite, and begins with Joe Jones' school assignment, a letter to an author,
Dear Mrs. O'Toole,
We are reading this book in school where a kid writes to an author.  So we have to write to an author.  We are also studying "Parts of a Friendly Letter." So this is also a Friendly Letter. ... Please send a bunch of author stuff so we can get this over with.
Closing,
Joe Jones
Eoin Colfer's "Artemis Begins" is another family story.  In this case, the author's own family.  Fans of Artemis Fowl will surely be interested in the real-life inspiration for the fictional criminal mastermind - Colfer's own brother, Donal! David Yoo offers humorous horror in "Fistful of Feathers," a tale of a turkey gone horribly bad,
I felt feverish.  The turkey stood at the edge of the room, its face silhouetted, its wings slightly askew.  It stared at the bed, at me.  My voice was caught in my throat.  I held fistfuls of green sheets.  I finally managed to whisper, "What do you want?" "DIE," the turkey said.
"Best of Friends" by Mac Barnett is a crisply written story of fourth grade humor and misery, building up to a last line, punch line. Adam Rex contributes "Will," a sci-fi, superhero spoof. David Lubar's "Kid Appeal" is a laugh-out-loud funny tale of the stupid things that a kid will do, especially when the parents haven't a clue,
Dwight picked up the remote and switched channels.  "Hey, look. Martians with chain saws.  Cool. They have four arms. "Whoa," I said as the scene got violent. "Make that three arms." "This is great.  I can't believe your parents don't block this channel." "They don't know how." Like with the thermostat, my parents were clueless about technology. If they ever figured out how to use any of the electronics in our house, my life wouldn't be anywhere as nice.

The reader won't see it coming at first, but Paul Feig's "My Parents Give My Bedroom to a Biker" is another sci-fi tale, and yes, they really do give the room to a biker.  And, as if the boys in "Kid Appeal" aren't crazy enough, they've got nothing on the boy in Jack Gantos' "Bloody Souvenir!"  Finally, there is Jeff Kinney, author of the Wimpy Kid series, whose contribution is missing in the advance edition because (according to Editor Jon Scieszka), 
Jeff had most of it written, but then he got a cough, and his dog started chewing on it, and he forgot to set his alarm, and it was written in washable ink and the ink washed off.
It's sure to be funny. This is a great lineup of authors who are guaranteed to crack kids up, particularly boys - after all, it's written expressly for them.  Teachers should make note of this collection and think about adding short story assignments to their lesson plans.  It's a great way to attract the reluctant reader, offer a quicker sense of accomplishment, and open the door to new authors and genres.  Guys Read: Funny Business is a winner.  Can't wait to see what's next!

Jon Scieszka, the first National Ambassador of Children's Literature is committed to promoting reading to boys.  Find out more at Guys Read


Share |

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bug Zoo

It's Nonfiction Monday again!  Today's host is Abby the Librarian.  
(I'll be hosting on July 26th )

Baker, Nick. 2010. Bug Zoo: How to capture, keep, and care for creepy crawlies. New York: DK.

Nick Baker, star of the Science Channel's Weird Creatures with Nick Baker, has teamed up with DK to create Bug Zoo, an in-depth guide to observing, and/or capturing and cultivating some of our most common insects - aphids, caterpillars and earwigs, to name a few.

Armed with "Zoo Tools," simple things that a family will likely have on hand, , Baker walks the reader through the process of deciding what to keep (wolf spiders - yes, garden spiders - no, their webs are too big), how to catch it, where to keep it (an earwiggery, a mollusk mansion, a katydid crib), what to feed it, and why it's a cool creature.  Did you know that ladybugs are red to "advertise how poisonous or foul-tasting they are"?  If you pick one up, it may ooze a foul-smelling, yellow liquid on your hand!

Icons help to identify sections in the book.  The "hand" icon is for fun activities - like tagging snails!
To keep track of individuals, mark their shells with a permanent marker or dots of nail polish... Then go out at night with a flashlight and plot their positions on a map of your yard.  How far do they wander?  Do they return home?
In addition to icons, there are numerous sidebars, margin sketches, word bubbles, arrows, and as in most DK books, many excellent photographs.  A table of contents and index make this an easy book to browse. 

Here's a sample page:

Bug Zoo - a fun way to connect with neighborhood nature.  For ages 7 and up.

Share |

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Free YA Audiobooks

A new community, SYNC, is offering free young adult audiobook downloads all summer - a mix of classics and newer titles.  Titles are being made available by the publishers; Overdrive Media will be the platform. If you're familiar with downloading audiobooks from your public library, you're probably already using Overdrive. I don't know much about SYNC and the logo's a little creepy, but they've got an interesting concept.  Offer free quality audiobooks, generate a community of listeners, authors and librarians, and see what happens next. 

Following are the details as taken directly from the SYNC site:

SYNC YA Literature into Your Earphones

2 Free Audiobook Downloads Each Week

July 1 - September 1, 2010

Teens and other readers of Young Adult Literature will have the opportunity to listen to bestselling titles and classics this summer. Each week from July 1 - September 1, SYNC will offer two free audiobook downloads.

The audiobook pairings will include a popular YA title and a classic that connects with the YA title's theme and is likely to show up on required summer reading lists. For example, Frank Beddor's The Looking Glass Wars, a popular series with strong allusions to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, will be paired with Lewis Carroll's classic.

SYNC will also invite listeners (13+) into online discussions with librarians, publishers, authors, narrators, and other listeners about the featured books.

Visit http://www.audiobooksync.com/ after July 1 and prepare to download great books in your player to take wherever summer might lead you.




BTW, two of my all-time favorite books, Betty Smith's, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Shakespeare's, A Midsummer Night's Dream are on the list of available downloads. Give it a try!

Share |

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

House of Dolls

Block, Francesca Lia. 2010. House of Dolls. Illustrated by Barbara McClintock. New York: Harper Collins.

Again, a small and beautifully illustrated cover attracted my attention.  This time, however, seeing that the author is Francesca Lia Block, whom I remember for Weetzie Bat, I was expecting something out of the ordinary.

Unlike The Very Little Princess, this time I got what I expected.  In The Very Little Princess, it is the beautiful doll who is behaving badly.

In the House of Dolls, it is the young girl, Madison, who vents her loneliness, resentment and frustration on the stoic inhabitants of the dollhouse - the beautiful Wildflower, Rock Star and Miss Selene, and their unlikely companions, the camouflaged Guy, and B. Friend, "a devastatingly handsome stuffed bear," with a red crochet beret and flannel vest.

Disturbed by the news and her unfulfilling family life, Madison Blackberry sends Guy and B. Friend "to war." Then B. Friend is pronounced MIA. The usually serene dolls are devastated.
The dolls did not know that "war" was really a dusty box in a closet of the apartment where the dollhouse lived.  It didn't matter. As far as Guy and Wildflower were concerned, that was war. War was life without each other.
Eventually, the real war is over, and with the love of a caring grandmother and a tiny doll determined to make a difference, so too is the war in Madison's heart.
And Guy whispered, "War is being blinded and locked in a box, unable to see, hear, or touch you, my wildflower.  War is being reminded that you are completely at the mercy of death at every moment, without the illusion that you are not.  Without the distractions that make life worth living."
 A serious book that parallels much from the famous prayer, teaching the serenity to accept the things one cannot change; courage to change the things one can; and wisdom to know the difference.


Only 61 pages, beautifully and abundantly illustrated in black and white sketches, however, again, a book about dolls that is best suited for a more mature reader.

Share |

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

When You Reach Me

I had a few days off for the Independence Day weekend, but took a little time out to make a video book trailer for Rebecca Stead's Newbery Medal winner, When You Reach Me. A video is perfect for this book that is difficult to promote without giving too much away! I actually made two.  You can find the other one on the Multimedia Booktalks page.  If you haven't tried Animoto, you're missing out.  Hope you like it.  The book is awesome!

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.



Share |

Friday, July 2, 2010

Boom! (or 70,000 light years)

Haddon, Mark. 2010.Boom! (or 70,000 light years). New York: Random House.


According to the author's foreword, this book was first published in Great Britain in 1992 as Gridzbi Spudvetch! He was asked to update it for new publication and proceeded to change nearly every sentence in the book.  What resulted was Boom! (or 70,000 light years), a humorous, sci-fi, adventure story featuring James (or Jimbo), his 16-year-old sister Becky, his best friend Charlie, Mum and Dad, and a cast of jibberish spouting aliens.

Jim and Charlie are cut-ups at school, Becky is a rebellious teen with a boyfriend nicknamed Craterface.  Dad is an out of work tinkerer, fond of building model planes.  And Mum, well, after she nearly knocks out Craterface with her briefcase for threatening Jimbo, the story's narrator who is hiding in the bathroom, he emerges to shake Mum's hand and say,
"That was classy." At least there was one real man in the family.
He continues,
After all the commotion it turned into a surprisingly pleasant evening.  Dad spent so long in the shop, for fear of coming back and finding Craterface still in residence, that he'd done enough shopping for three weeks.  Toilet rolls, J-cloths, washing-up liquid, scouring powder, the works.  So Mum was happy.  And Dad was happy that Mum was happy.  And I was happy that Mum and Dad were happy with each other.  Plus, Becky was really unhappy, which always cheered me up.  And anyway, she just stayed in her room, sulking, so we had a very nice time indeed.

The reader will have to get used to the many British terms and occasional spelling differentials (licence for license). Most words can be figured out contextually, but one sent me scurrying for an Internet browser,
I dreamed of duvets and hot breakfasts, big jumpers and radiators.
Jumpers are apparently the British term for sweaters.  I wouldn't have guessed that one.

Boom! is full of non-stop action from the first alien encounter at school to the boys' eventual trip to the planet, Plonk.  Fun, fast, and full of humor, there's still a message to this story - big teenage sisters aren't as bad as you think and of course, there's no place like home!

Read an excerpt.
Here's an interview with author, Mark Haddon.  In it, he doesn't discuss Boom!, however, I was pleased to hear that he and I share The Wind in the Willows as one of our favorite children's books.

A side note - Mark Haddon is also the author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, 2010's One Book NJ choice for adult readers.