Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Gift Book for Mother's Day

With Mother's Day right around the corner it is time to start thinking gifts - for moms!  Now, you know I am going to recommend a book, but you can feign surprise.

 I am constantly bombarded by publicists who are trying to sell their lovely books, but it isn't often that one hits my "must see" meter.  When I was offered a book by Jane Weitzman I couldn't say no.  She combines shoes and art ... did you hear me?  Two of my favorite things in one book!

As it turns out, Jane was in charge of putting together the first retail Weitzman stores for her husband, the legendary shoe designer Stuart Weitzman.  She combined her passion for art and the pump to commission artists to create one of a kind art pieces that were shaped like ... are you ready for it?  A Stuart Weitzman shoe!  Brilliant.  They graced the windows of the New York store for years.

The results are often funny, innovative, thought provoking and original interpretations of the classic pump.   I love art that is unexpected and challenges your preconceptions of what or where art should be!

She has combined these wonderful works in a new book.  Can you think of a more inspired gift for a mom in your life?

I had the chance to ask her a few questions about her book, art, and of course shoes.  Below is the interview we did and I think I like her even more now!

Do you think she has tried on one of these impressive shoes?

Which one does she gets asked about the most?

What is her favorite Weitzman shoe for the season?

Well you have to read on to find out.  Also, don't forget to visit Ask Suzanne Bell for more images of the shoes you will see in this gorgeous volume, and get advice for fabulous gifts that are perfect for Mother's Day.  She always has wonderful suggestions for the mom in your life, or for you to pass on to your kids/hubby!

My interview with Jane Weitzman

Starting with some either or questions:

Alex Katz or Edgar Degas?
“I like Degas's art better, but he wasn't a very good person and whenever I see one of his beautiful works, I can't help but think of his behavior during the Dreyfus trial. Alex Katz's paintings are immediately recognizable. The first time I saw one of his flower paintings, I knew who the artist was right away, because his style is so distinct.”

Rock, Paper or Scissors?
“Paper, because books are printed on it. I like to read the real thing, not electronically.”

Industrial or Domestic?
“Both, if they are good.”

Silver or Gold?
“I am a gold girl. I love gilded and gold leaf and I have started wearing an art deco rose gold watch that I haven't looked at for years.”

High Heel or Flat?
“Definitely both. Flats to walk miles in and heels to look fabulous in.”

The garden or the museum?
“I love my garden and have already started ordering from the catalogs. One of the best things about my book tour is that I am able to visit so many museums. So many cities like Charlotte (The Mint), Pittsburgh (The Warhol), Wilmington and Ottawa have wonderful museums.”

The Met or the Tate?
“I love both of these amazing museums.  I recently revisited the Turners at the Tate and the Tate Modern always has an interesting show. You could spend days in the Met and still find something interesting to see. I went to the National Portrait Gallery to see the Sargent show last month, and read afterwards that it will soon be at the Met.”

While picking a favorite shoe from your book would be like picking a favorite child can you tell us…

Which shoe tickled your funny bone?
“I think the shower shoe and all of Charlene's Clark's and Dan Crowley's shoes are funny.”

Which shoe would you most like to take from art to reality?
“Sharon Von Senden's Jeweled work boot would be fun to wear.”

Which shoe do people ask you about the most?
“People always ask about Robert Steele's corrugated cardboard shoes.”

Have you secretly tried on any of the pieces?
“No, none of the shoes are wearable, even if they started out as real shoes.”

What is your favorite Weitzman shoe for the season?
“My favorite Weitzman shoes are almost always plain high heel pumps made in beautiful materials.”

And finally,
What makes shoes so irresistible?
“Shoes are irresistible, because they can change anything that you are wearing. A plain black dress looks wonderful with a great pair of shoes.”

Thank you to Jane Weitzman for her thoughtful answers!  It was a pleasure.

Don't forget to check out her wonderful book for Mother's Day, or any day you need some inspiration!  And go visit Ask Suzanne Bell for even more gifts that will get your creative gift giving juices flowing!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Fairy Tales for Tweens

When I heard about this book at a publisher preview last year, I was very excited to get my hands on it.  The idea of a Fairytale Reform School where all the teachers are former villains sounded like a timely and exciting premise.

Since this is the beginning of a new series I am looking forward to where this story will go.  The author has a lot of room to work with, and my daughter is anxiously awaiting the next book.  Also, the cover is fabulous.

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and by email so that you won't miss finding out just what happened to the Big Bad Wolf and some of those nasty evil witches.  Yes, even their lives can be turned around!

Title: Flunked

Author: Jen Calonita

Target: Grade 4-6

Series: This is the first book in a planned series

What this book is about: 
Gilly is a thief, but she only steals to feed her family.  After the princesses gave the glass shoe contract to the Fairy Godmother, Gilly’s father, the cobbler. has seen business hurting.  When Gilly gets caught for the third time it is off to Fairy Tale Reform School, where former villains teach these troubled kids how to be heroes.

Why I love this book:  
This was a fun premise and the book moved at a quick pace.   The characters could use some development, but this is the first book in the series so I imagine we will learn more as the series goes on.  The action and the humor will keep kids glued to this book, as they learn some interesting new truths about their favorite fairy tale characters.

Who this book is for: 
Kids who love fractured fairy tales will enjoy this one.  My daughter was a huge fan of The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom and she just devoured this book, complaining when she had to put it down during the “good parts!”

Final thoughts: 
It is nice to know what ended up happening to Cinderella’s stepmother.  I always felt her story was a bit unresolved, didn’t you?

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Flunked (Fairy Tale Reform School)  A portion of each purchase will go back to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Book for Teen Boys

Teenage middle school boys represent a real challenge for me in terms of picking books.  I tend to fall back on graphic novels and adventure series, but even they feel a little too juvenile at times.  Realistic fiction is a challenge because, as my oldest son says, the boys are often facing dead parents, abuse or bad friends, something that kids do occasionally deal with, but not most kids on a daily basis.

So what is book blogger to do?  Well, hope for a book like the one I am profiling today!  It was written by someone who spends their time with kids this age, and it shows.

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and by email so that you won't miss a look into the actual thought process of a thirteen year old boy.  It's not always pretty but boy will it open your eyes.

Title: Breakout

Author: Kevin Emerson

Target: Grades 7 and up

Series; No

What this book is about: 
Anthony is a frustrated kid in middle school.  He feels that he is mature enough to manage his life, but  his parents and teachers just don’t seem to be able to treat him as anything more than a big kid.  Music is the one outlet where he feels he is taken seriously, and when inspiration and strikes and he writes a song that goes viral, he can’t believe the positive reaction he gets from his peers.  The one problem is that it contains the “f’ word and that means that the one song his band wants to sing at for his school’s Arts Night is off limits.  Will he stand up for his art, or respect the fact that it may not be appropriate for his audience.  

Why I love this book: 
I loved this book because I think it perfectly captures the absolute frustration of a teen boy.  Anthony is infuriated, he isn’t logical, he is ruled by emotion and he exemplifies the way so many teen boys feel on a daily basis.  He isn’t ready to take responsibility but he is riled up by all the perceived injustices which are placed on him.  He can see the frustration in the adults that are trying to empathize with him but he can’t quite get over the fact that they still treat him like a child.

While the book does deal with the issue of the “f” word, the word is never actually written and no other swear words are used in the book.  The word serves as a decision making point in the story over which adults cannot compromise and so it forces a decision for Anthony.  

Who this book is for: 
Wonderful book for middle school boys who are in that limbo phase between elementary and adult books.  Great for teen boys who are looking for realistic fiction that speaks to them.

Final thoughts:
This book was a great read for me, because with a teen son, it felt like a little glimpse into his thought process.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Breakout  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Survivor for Kids

Today I have one of those books that is not significant literature, it will never win any awards and if you look too closely you will see the holes ... but it is one fun ride that will keep kids with a book in their hands as they follow the ups and downs of these four kid survivors!

In the end, loving books and a good story are the goals and this book may just pull in a less than voracious reader or keep a strong reader turning pages - something I love to see.

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or by email so that you won't miss a single story where four kids are stranded on a desert island with no hope of rescue.  But Jeff Probst wrote this book, so you can count on some interesting bugs for diner!

Title: Stranded

Authors: Jeff Probst and Chris Tebbetts

Target: Grade 3-5

Series: Yes

What this book is about: 
As the parent’s of a newly blended family start their honeymoon in Hawaii, the new siblings go off with an uncle on a weeklong boat trip in order to start the bonding process.  After encountering a severe storm, the adults are washed away while trying to secure the lifeboat and the four kids are left behind on the boat which crashes into a remote island.  They begin the process of trying to figure out where they are, how to survive until they are rescued and how to work with each other.  But then the boat washes back into the ocean, and all bets are off.

Why I love this book: 
First off the authors of the book are the host of Survivor and the author behind James Patterson’s widely successful Middle School series.  They can write adventure and this book has the kids crossing deadly cliffs, battling raging waters and dealing with the elements.  

This book is not an award winner, but it is a fun, edge of your seat ride with plenty of suspense to keep kids turning pages.  The one thing that always annoys me about these books, however, is that it ends on a cliffhanger.  Nice if you want your kids to keep reading the series, but I hate it when there isn’t some sort of resolution, even if all the story lines are completed.

Who this book is for: 
Great for kids just moving up from early chapter books.  The book isn’t long and the type is large so it isn’t intimidating.  The story moves at a fast pace so kids will be entertained throughout.

Good for kids who like the Middle School series or Treasure Hunters.

Final thoughts: 
This is an amusing easy read, kind of like the Survivor show.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Stranded  A portion of each purchase will go back to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Book Full of Shenanigans

I always encourage parents to keep picture books around long after they think their kids have moved on.  So many of these books have humor and lessons that are lost on the youngest readers, and as your kids get older they will appreciate some of the more sophisticated story lines that the best picture books provide.

Today, in fact, I have a picture book that is decidedly targeted at an older audience.  Nothing about this book feels juvenile, and the story about an international con man will have kids clamoring to share with you the scheming and shenanigans that only the best master of deception can pull off!

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and by email so that you won't miss an opportunity to train you kids in the art of the con.  Although a long prison sentence at Alcatraz will dissuade them from using their new found skills!

Title: Tricky Vic

Author: Greg Pizzoli

Target: Grades 2 and up

What this book is about:  
This book is about Tricky Vic (not his given name), a real life con man, who makes those guys in Oceans Eleven look like amateurs.  Turns out he was an international thief who tricked people in buying money making machines, counterfeit bills and even sold the eiffel tower - more than once!  Of course he made brilliant get aways, shimming down a bedsheet to break out of prison while pretending to be a window washer. 

Why I love this book: 
Who wouldn’t love a book where the deception is on, and it isn’t fiction but a true account of an artist - con artist that is.  Even the artwork is deceptively entertaining.  Using mixed media,  Pizzoli has created a story that flows effortlessly.  The simplicity of the illustrations are striking and the flow of the story keeps the reader entertained.  While we see the faces of all the people he encounters, Tricky Vic’s face remains simply a thumbprint.  Clever stuff.  Creating it as a picture book means the story is full of facts, but never bogged down as we are charmed along with the marks in the story.  

Who this book is for: 
This picture book is for an older crowd and they will be pleased.  It does not look juvenile and the content respects it’s older audience.  Pizzoli does not deliver a moral lesson on the deceptions of Tricky Vic but his death after years in Alcatraz shows that he does get his just deserts. 

Final thoughts: 
Bringing in Al Capone, Bootleggers and Alcatraz this book factually cements itself in history while still sharing the fun of a real life “con man.”

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower  A portion of each purchase goes back to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Deliciously Good Book for Kids

The book I am profiling today appealed to me from the start.  Perhaps it was the Twinkie Pie on the cover, I am a succor for sweets!  But it was a surprisingly lovely read and once I got started, I had a hard time putting this one down!

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or by email so that you won't miss any of the books that feature recipes with mayonnaise, white bread and yes, twinkies.  I gained three pounds just reading it.

Title: The Truth About Twinkie Pie

Author:Kat Yeh

Target: Grade 6 and up

Series: No

What this book is about: 
Gigi and her sister Didi have moved from a trailer park in South Caroline to Long Island to improve their station in life.  Didi has taken care of Gigi since their mother died and after winning a big cooking prize they finally have the funds to make sure that Gigi gets the education Didi feels she deserves.  While Gigi makes new friends, finds her first crush (and enemy) and generally works to fit in, it turns out there are family secrets that neither of the girls can run from.

Why I love this book: 
Gigi is the perfect Southern girl.  I have to admit that I didn’t think there was a chance that she would fit into her new upscale school, but surprisingly that was not too much of an issue in the story.  The one enemy she does make turns out to best friends with Gigi’s crush and Gigi has stepped on to her turf.  

But Gigi has spunk and honesty and that rings true from the start.  The big reveal in the book actually took me by surprise (I expected things to go a different way) but in hindsight I can’t believe I didn’t get it!  If anything, I felt that she and Didi could have used more of the story managing the outcome of the truth.  The story felt a bit rushed at the end, but all in all it was a lovely read.

Who this book is for: 
Given the issues in the book I would probably recommend for sixth and up.  Spoiler alter: It turns out that Didi isn’t the sister but the mother and one boy very quietly comes out as gay, so kids have to have the emotionally maturity to handle these issues in the story, but they are very well done.

Final thoughts: 
The recipes in this book will give you cardiac arrest, but it was fun to see the abundance of mayonnaise and cheese spread, not to mention the ever popular Twinkie!

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Truth About Twinkie Pie  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Record Breaking Kid's Book

I loved the Guinness Book of World Records when I was a kid.  I remember checking it out of the library and pouring over the crazy pictures.  It is a right of passage that every kid goes through, even in these day of YouTube and video on demand.  The picture of the woman with the longest fingernails may just haunt me forever!

To have a book this week with a kid who dreams about record breaking and the fascinating things the world has to offer, well that in and of itself is a win!

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or by email so that you won't miss a fascinating fact about the greatest weight juggled (59 lb, 7oz) or the highest dunk of a donut (198 ft 8in).  As for the most melons chopped on the stomach on a nail bed - well I'll just have to leave you guessing.

Title: Teddy Mars: Almost a World Record Breaker

Author: Molly B. Burnham

Target: Grade 3-7

Series: This is the first book in a planned series

What this book is about: 
Teddy is the second to last child in a family with seven siblings!  His younger brother adores him, but he expresses his affection by breaking all of Teddy’s stuff.  In an effort to get away from “the Destructor” Teddy moves into a tent in the backyard.  Teddy loves the Guinness Book of World Records and he helps his neighbor “Grumpy Pigeon Man”  with his birds. It turns out these two endeavors come together in hilarious ways.

Why I love this book: 
Teddy will be a hero to every child.  He is the ultimate put upon little brother who perseveres nonetheless, and what child doesn’t see themselves that way?  

I loved that Teddy’s two best friends are an only child and one with one sibling.  They show us that no matter what your family dynamic, there are always challenges, which I appreciated.

I liked the fart jokes.  They were not overwhelming, but I chuckled, and farts done well are funny.  I also like the tie in to the Guinness Book of World Records.  Kids can’t get enough of these books, so it was a joy to see it featured in this story.

Who this book is for: 
The book is segregated by month and then with smaller topics highlighted, which makes is an easy read.  Kids who enjoy the Wimpy Kid format should easily be able to manage this story.  

Final thoughts: 
Teddy Mars is a pretty nice kid, if you ask me!

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Teddy Mars Book #1: Almost a World Record Breaker  A portion of each purchase will go to supper this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Teaching Kids to Trust the Source of Information

In this age of the internet, it is never too early to get kids to look at the source of information.  Not everything they read or see is true, and how do they decide what is a reliable account and one that is perhaps not as authentic?

The book I am profiling today is a funny look at how the originator of a story may have other motives for not sharing the complete truth.  Is he giving you the real deal?  That is up to you to decide.

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or by email so that you won't miss a single story that puts everything someone is telling you in doubt.  Not on this blog of course - I am incredibly trustworthy - no really!

Title: The Bear Ate Your Sandwich

Author: Julia Sarcone-Roach

Target: Kindergarten - Grade 2

What this book is about:  
This book begins with our narrator explaining what happened to a girl’s sandwich which has disappeared.  Of course it starts with a bear who manages to hop a truck to the city.  This new type of forest presents challenges and opportunities for our bear as he navigates new trees (telephone poles) mud (wet cement) and green fun (playgrounds).  But when hunger strikes, he nabs an unattended sandwich and then hops a boat home.  Of course everything is placed in doubt when it turns our our narrator is a cute little dog sharing the tale with his owner. 

Why I love this book: 
I always love a surprise ending, and this one is a very clever twist.  This tall tale is placed immediately in doubt when we see the potential culprit is the one who is rellaying the events.  Is it a true tale?  Well that is for you to decide, but it is a fun way to teach kids about trusting the source!

Bear’s adventures are full of fun and humor with lots for kids to discover.  I loved the end pages with lots of delicious sandwiches to choose from!

Who this book is for: 
I have targeted it a little older simply because the humor at the end demands more maturity from kids.  Younger kids may not get it.

Final thoughts: 
A good sandwich really is hard to resist!

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Bear Ate Your Sandwich  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Book for Any Kid Who Has Wanted to Be On Stage

I never fancied myself a kid who could do musical theater.  One listen to my less than melodic voice and the reasons are quite clear.  However, I remember listening to Sound of Music on my turntable (yes turntable) for hours on end, memorizing every song down the slightest detail.

Well the book I am profiling today is for kids who can see themselves up on stage, or at least can dream.  They are enamored with the arts or at least intrigued enough to understand how someone can be so passionate about a Sondheim production!

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or by email so that you won't miss any books for kids who love Broadway and who maybe have a dream that they might someday find themselves on the Great White Way!

Title: Jack & Louisa: Act 1

Authors: Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kate Wetherhead

Target: Grade 3-6

Series: This is the first book in a planned series

What this book is about: 
Jack was an actor on Broadway … yes that Broadway.  Louisa is a Musical Theater Nerd (MTN) who dreams of being on The Great White Way.  When Jack’s voice changes and he looses a plum role, his father is free to take his dream job in Ohio.  Not a big thrill for Jack, but Louisa is beside herself that another MTN is in the neighborhood.  As Jack wrestles with finding his confidence, Louisa must contain her desire for a compatriot to star with her in the community production of Into the Woods.

Why I love this book: 
This is a lovely story.  While the book holds no big surprises, it does share the heartfelt fun of two new friends who are discovering that they both have the same passion and they can support each other in their endeavors.  

It is also a big win if you have a child who loves musical theater.  They will see their MTN passions on display in a big way, and they will appreciate the attention to detail that only a true fan of Broadway can appreciate.

There are lots of references to  the musical Into the Woods.  I was thrilled that the movie was recently released so I felt even the slightest bit “in the know.”

Who this book is for: 
Great book for kids who love musical theater and also for kids who enjoy relationship driven stories.  Nice book for both boys and girls since it is told in alternating voices.

Final thoughts: 
I adore the cover of this book.  The colors and illustrations are spot on - I only wish they carried through to the inside of the book.  It would have made the story all the more charming.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Jack & Louisa: Act 1  A portion of each purchase will go back to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.