June 8th, 2010

This week we'll be focusing on the inner life of sensationally good wind up toys, and upcoming Young Adult reading group news. On July 13th nationally renowned author Jennifer Finney Boylan will join the group to discuss her first Young Adult fantasy novel, Falcon Quinn and the Black Mirror. You can get the details about the event here.

In terms of sensationally good wind up toys, we've picked up a great new line of these by California Creations. They spin, they juggle, they dance, they flip, they have cool names. The difficulty has been choosing which one to pick, as they are all so good. To try and get some insight into the selection process we had a sit down with the Mayor of the Wind-Ups, Peter the Penguin.

KB: First of all Peter thank you for taking time out from your busy schedule to speak with us.
Peter: Not at all. It's my pleasure.
KB: Now the issue we'd like you to address is how our customers can determine which wind up to select.  We've noticed that there are different styles of action, dancers, flippers, spinners, animals on the go, and vehicles doing tricks, but there are so many good choices even within these groups that people are bewildered as to how to narrow things down.
Peter: The distinctions you note are important ones. Within the wind up world we have separate tribes.  I am Mayor of all the wind ups, but each tribe actually has a leader.
KB: Well I'll be dashed.
Peter: Yes. What I would suggest is that people should start with a tribal leader. For example, though I am a flipper, and the Mayor, Aussie the Kangeroo is leader of the flippers. Scamper the Squirrel is leader of the spinners, Pal the horse is leader of the animals, Larry is the dance leader, and Launch, the space shuttle, is the vehicle leader. I would suggest starting with a leader so that if you do bring others home you'll have the leaders there to keep order.
KB: Thanks Peter, that's really helpful!
Peter: Sure!

Here they are! Our weekly picks for the two best: two hardcover, two paperback, and two children's books. The very best new arrivals to leap out of the box and onto our shelves this week. Call or email us if you want more information on any of these titles, or to have us hold you a copy. Or stop in and check them out in person. We'd love to see you. Thanks as always for sharing your reading with us!

 

The Passage



The Passage
By Cronin, Justin
2010-06 - Ballantine Books
9780345504968 - Hardcover   See Other Formats
List Price $27.00 - Your Price: $21.60


Availability:
Available To Order

I'm taking a copy of the Passage home tonight. This book has gotten so many rave reviews, and so much industry buzz that the publisher ran out of advanced readers months ago! Here's a link to the article in the New York Times about Passage frenzy. ...More

The Ice Princess

The Ice Princess
By Lackberg, Camilla
2010-06 - Pegasus Books
9781605980928 - Hardcover
List Price $25.95 - Your Price: $20.76


Availability:
Available To Order

Given the bleak outlook for more Stieg Larsson books, Publishers have been rallying round to find other great Scandinavian Crime fiction to translate. This brings us to Camilla Lackberg, a best selling Swedish crime writer with a stellar reputation. Ice Princess is her first work on offer in English. ...More

Goat Song: A Seasonal Life, a Short History of Herding, and the Art of Making Cheese

Goat Song: A Seasonal Life, a Short History of Herding, and the Art of Making Cheese
By Kessler, Brad
2010-06 - Scribner Book Company
9781416561002 - Paperback   See Other Formats
List Price $14.00 - Your Price: $11.20


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Books about Goats have a leg up on other books, of course, and books about Nubian goats have two legs up. Goat Song, is a delightful memoir of a couple who forsook urban life for Nubian goat herding. ...More

The Lovers: A Charlie Parker Thriller

The Lovers: A Charlie Parker Thriller
By Connolly, John
2010-06 - Atria Books
9781439193624 - Paperback   See Other Formats
List Price $15.00 - Your Price: $12.00


Availability:
Available To Order

There is a precedent for excellent European crime writers summering in Maine and setting their books here, Jan Willem Van de Wetering comes to mind. So we are surprised but not shocked to find the excellent Irish author John Connolly having written a book set in Portland. ...More

The Passage of the Week!
 
City Dog, Country Frog

City Dog, Country Frog
By Willems, Mo
2010-06 - Hyperion Books
9781423103004 - Hardcover   See Other Formats
List Price $17.99 - Your Price: $14.39


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This absolutely wonderful tale of friendship and the seasons by two award winning illustrators is... The Passage of the Week! (Hit the link for a DDG reader reading a favorite passage!) ...More

The Seven Keys of Balabad



The Seven Keys of Balabad
By Haven, Paul
2010-06 - Yearling Books
9780375833519 - Paperback
List Price $6.99 - Your Price: $5.59


Availability:
Available To Order

One question we often hear at the bookstore is, "I'm wondering if this is going to be too scary for my son? He's a good reader and this looks like it would interest him but I'm worried it might be too intense." This is not usually an easy question to answer, but it's a cakewalk when the book in question is Paul Haven's, The Seven Keys of Balabad.

This new middle grade novel, set in a small, mountainous, fictional middle eastern country, has many attractive elements. among these elements we may number, a likable lead character who has been displaced from New York to Balabad by the careers of his archeologist mother and newspaper reporter father, an ancient buried treasure of the Baladis', interesting Baladi history, a legacy of carpet dealing protectors of the treasure, a secret society of Baladi treasure heirs each with an ancient key, and a cool rug with the secret of finding the treasure woven in. We may also include two Baladi kids, a boy and a girl who join Oliver on his mission to save a kidnapped Rug dealer and save the Baladi treasure, and quite a few interesting cultural tidbits made authentic by Haven's time spent working as a reporter in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

What's striking about this book is that it has all the ingredients of a good middle grade reader, but not too much of any of them. Adults who have the good fortune, or the good sense to read a fair amount of middle grade and young adult fiction tend to feel that these novels ought to work as well for them as for the book's target audience. This point of view was not true for Goldilocks, and it is not always true for middle grade novels. The Seven Keys of Balabad is a light souffl of a book which will sift a little too quickly through the hands of adult readers, but will be just right for a bright young audience who likes their adventure fast paced and not too involved or intense.
...More

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