Weekly Readings (Many Thanks 2014 Edition)

 Weekly Readings Many Thanks 2014 Books 3.5

Welcome to another addition of 

“Weekly Readings”

 

For those new here, Weekly Readings is when your lit. rat reviews books I’ve read here and there.

 

While T.A.A. focuses on animal stories, we do give humans their due now and again…

 

This week, in honor of (U.S.) Thanksgiving at T.A.A. HQ, your lit. rat reviews a quartet of tomes celebrating family, friends, and of course, FOOD!

 

 

 

Baking Day at Grandma's

Baking Day at Grandma’s

by Anika Denise (@AnikaDenise)

Illustrated by Christopher Denise (@cadenise)

Publisher: Philomel

(An Imprint of Penguin)

Pub. Date: April 29th, 2014

 

REVIEW of this book in progress, check back soon!

 

Here’s the OFFICIAL book trailer for

“Baking Day at Grandma’s”

 

 

 

 

Now from baking bears to a family of foxes who learn about “The Art of French Cooking” from a brother who knows what’s up in the kitchen-

 

Four Famished Foxes and Fosdyke

 

 

Four Famished Foxes and Fosdyke

by Pamela Duncan Edwards

Illustrated by Henry Cole

Publisher: Philomel

Pub. Date: September 1st 1995

 

 

The title may be a tounge twister, but there’s no cofusion about how awesome this book is!

Being the ambitious cook in my family, the cover drew me to this book right away, I’m not quite as experienced in French cuisine as Fosdyke, but I’m making strides this year! (but that’s another story to be shared another time)

 

I’m new to Pamela Duncan Edwards work, and this was a fun book to get me introduced to her work. Illustrator Henry Cole (Best known for the sadly controversial “And Tango Makes Three”) gives us colorful and spry illustrations and gives special attention the furry pelts of our foxy brood.

 

While Mom’s taking a Florida holiday, her quintet are left to fend for themselves, and while four of the siblings are keen to put their hunting skills to the test, their brother Fosdyke does his “Julia Child” thing in the kitchen.

 

When his siblings tease him for taking the frou-frou route, he’d say, “A fox is a fox. Whatever the food.”

 

On that note, I’d like to give a short history lesson, and no, it won’t be boring!

 

If you’ve read our last two “Weekly Readings” you know that like weasels, as well as rats such as myself and Gabriel (from my upcoming debut novel), foxes are often typecast as the villains and tricksters in fiction.

 

While Fosdyke’s sibs are all too happy (at first…) to be the barnyard stalkers, Fosdyke himself has no qualms with cooking with whatever’s easily on paw, and seriously, mushrooms are a BLESSING for those of us who’re omnivores who want to keep their meat consumption in check.

 

I asked my new acquaintance, and the newest member of our T.A.A. family, Thorne Thistlestop (aka @TheBookishFox on Twitter) and a friend of our Swine-Feline duo “Swinebert & Dempsey” (@Swinebert_and_D) to weigh in on this book- 

 

Thorne

(Thorne Thistlestop “The Bookish Fox”)

 

When “The Literary Rat” that my friends, Swinebert and Dempsey have been working with these past couple years, told me about reviewing “Four Famished Foxes and Fosdyke” I couldn’t wait to read it!

 

But being short on cash, I was elated that Bookmobile Sentinel (the traveling library on wheels I work at as librarian) had a copy and I read it during lunch hour.

 

When I was growing up, you’d be hard pressed to find non-evil foxes in books, even wolves have their share of heroes on the side of good, if weren’t not the petty crooks or full on villains, we’re super-sexualized to the umpteenth degree, and that’s particularly interesting in my case being gay.

 

my only (non-evil) literary role models were Mr. Fix-it (from Richard Scarry’s World) and Shutta Crum’s “Fox and Fluff” which T.A.A. reviewed a ways back…

 

From the title on, “Four Famished Foxes and Fosdyke” is a fun story combing alteration, unorthodox rhyme, stellar illustrations and wordplay using repetition to clever effect.

 

Special Thanks to Thorne Thistlestop for sharing his paws-on experience with the book, as well as a bit of himself, so look forward to hearing more from “The Bookish Fox” in the coming months…

 

Now we go from a “Foxy Gourmet” to robber dogs on hard times-

 

51XRijhwu6L

Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam

by Tracey Corderoy (@TraceyCorderoy)

Illustrated by Steven Lenton (@2dscrumptious)

Publisher: Nosy Crow (@NosyCrow)

(Imprint of Candlewick Press [@Candlewick])

Pub. Date: August 6th, 2013

 

NOTE FROM THE LITERARY RAT: This is  a re-post of our original review of “Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam.”

 

Whoever said it’s easier to make a dishonest living never met Shifty and Sam, two dogs with major hard luck in the thievery racket.

 

For every “Artful Dodger” or “Bonnie and Clyde” there’s a “Laurel and Hardy” of the robber fraternity, and that’s the badge of dishonor these dogs wear. Their “Swag” bag often empty of loot, and as such short on money.

 

One night, they hatch their most promising plan yet, invite their neighbors to tea, treat them to bite-sized feast, then slip out and ransack faster than you can say “R.S.V.P.”

 

The only thing is: they can’t afford to get a ready-made spread, and they’ve never baked before!

 

But hey, desperate times call for learning the precise measurements behind baking, and as a fledgling home baker myself, that’s no idle matter.

 

Luckily with a cookery book on their paws, and the gumption only desperation can bring about, they surprise themselves (and their guests) with a feast of truly delectable edibles.

 

“Operation: Trojan Tea Party” didn’t go off without a hitch, but that’s only the beginning of their problems…

 

Author Tracey Corderoy uses a light rhyming scheme and couplet paragraphs that convey a concise yet complete narrative that nicely blends with Steven Lenton’s illustrations that use color, light and shadows to excellent effect, I truly felt like I was living out a short film as I read through.

 

While we at T.A.A. don’t condone theft, of course, we do support anyone who changes their ways for the better, and without spoiling the ending, let’s just say “Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam” bring a fresh spin on the often spoken adage “Crime Doesn’t Pay.”

 

To invoke the words of Jiminy Cricket- 

“Let your conscience be your guide.”

 

 

Here’s our fan book trailer for

“Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam”

 

Finally, this lit. rat is PROUD to share a story that will make even the most inexperienced in the kitchen want to rise to the challenge-

 

Tiny Pie

Tiny Pie

by Mark Bailey and Michael Oatman

Illustrated by Edward Hemingway 

(@EdwardHemingway)

Publisher: Running Press Books 

(@Running_Press)

Pub. Date: May 7th, 2013

 

It took forever to get to this one, which is becoming an unintended theme of my reviews as of late, but as I suspected it was worth the wait.

 

The story begins at a fancy party.

 

Given the choice of either early bedtime or stay and be out of the way, Little Ellie opts to stick around for what she thought would be a fun time. While her parents and the big folks are having fun, Ellie’s not, but soon that would change…

 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been to my share of gatherings that left a lot to be desired, but while I was more apt to be the wallflower rattling on the outskirts of large gatherings, Little Ellie is far from shy, but not only is she not having fun, she’s STARVING!

 

But everyone’s too busy saying Ellie’s “Too Small” to be here to notice.

 

Before she gives into despair, Ellie notices a hole in the wall, and being the curious gal she is, peaks inside- She discovers the miniature set of the (appropriately named) “Hole in the Wall Kitchen”cooking show, hosted by a mouse chef, and that alone was enough to get me, and while I’ve not yet seen Pixar’s “Ratatouille” (I’m getting to it, okay?) anything involving food or cooking will always spark my interest.

 

Illustrator Edward Hemingway’s retro-inspired art style is like this love child between colorized “New Yorker” cartoons with the exaggerated facial features of “MAD” (though a lot more tasteful, in my opinion, no pun intended) creating something that feels old and contemporary at the same time. Not an easy feat to achieve.

Plus, the excellent use of rhyming by our minature culinary friend adds a fun dimension to the story.

 

“Tiny Pie” is a charming reminder that no matter how small we feel, whether in the figurative or literal sense, nothing worthwhile is out of reach, and sometimes it takes a little gal’s (or guy’s) touch to do BIG things!

 

Side Note From The Literary Rat: I haven’t gotten the chance to try the recipe at the end of the book yet, but I will, and share my thoughts during our holiday showcase.

 

 

 

Here’s our fan book trailer for 

“Tiny Pie”

 

 That’s it for Weekly Readings! See you next time.

Picture Book Month 2014: Future Releases

 TAA Picture Book 2014 FB

As “Picture Book Month” come to a close for another year, it’s time to unveil T.A.A.’s “Most Anticipated Reads of 2015!

 

A Penguin Named Patience  (A Hurricane Katrina Rescue Story)

A Penguin Named Patience

(A Hurricane Katrina Rescue Story)

by Suzanne Lewis 

Illustrated by Lisa Anchin

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press 

Pub. Date: February 1st, 2015

2015 will the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

and while there’s still a long road to recovery for many day to day, we’ve also seen great stories of survival and rebirth of lives most impacted by the devastation the storms left during and after’s it’s wake.

This picture book tells the story 

T.A.A. will do something special in remembrance of this disaster, and also something to help keep their recovery on track.

We’ll have more info in the coming year, and if you want to be among the first to know our plans, please sign up for our mailing list on the right side of this site!

Abracazebra

Abracazebra

by Helen Docherty

Illustrated by Thomas Docherty

(U.K.) Publisher: Scholastic Press

Pub. Date: February 5th, 2015

 

The husband-wife team behind “The Snatchabook” team up again for another magical adventure.

 

Learn more about Helen and Thomas in our Picture Book Month 2013 coverage 

 

The Snatchabook (U.S. and U.K. Edictions) 3

(U.S. and U.K. Covers for “The Snatchabook”)

 

Also, check out your lit. rat’s review of their last book together, “The Snatchabook”

 

UPDATE (1/21/15): I learned from author Helen Docherty that “Abracazebra” has not yet found a U.S. publisher, so it remains a U.K./Europe exclusive for now, I apologize for the transformation (I’ll not rely Amazon for release info of international titles again!)

 UPDATE: Here’s Our Review of “Abracazebra”

But it’s still one of our “Most Anticipated Reads” and I will still review the book as planned, Helen was kind enough to offer sending us a copy! Thanks Helen!

When “Abracazebra” does come stateside, your lit. rat will let you know! But I encourage our U.K. fans to check it out.

 

Big Pet Day

Big Pet Day

by Lisa Shanahan

Illustrated by Gus Gordon (@IllustratorGus)

(U.S./U.K.) Publisher: Scholastic Press

Pub. Date: January 1st, 2015

It’s no secret T.A.A. LOVES pet stories, but with so many awesome ones, it takes really special ones to stand out from the countless classics, but I have confidence this is will be an exceptional one. It doesn’t hurt that Gus Gordon’s charming illustrations sweeten the deal for this lit. rat.

If you haven’t already, check out T.A.A.’s Author/Illustrator Spotlight on Gus Gordon!

Also, check out your lit. rat’s review of Gus’ “Herman and Rosie”

 

 

Crickey and Cat

Crikey and Cat

by Chris Mckimmie

(U.S.) Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Pub. Date: May 1st, 2015

We’re trying to review more books that star or feature cats on T.A.A. I may the lit. rat, but not all cats hunt rodents such myself anymore, and hey, we’ve got plenty of fab felines that deserve T.A.A.’s spotlight.

 

 

 

bear-book-final-cover

I Thought This Was A Bear Book

by Tara Lazar (@taralazar)

Illustrated by Benji Davies (@Benji_Davies)

Publisher: Aladdin

Pub. Date: August, 2015

 

The author of “The Monstore” (2013) and founder of PiBoIdMo (Pie-Beau-Id-Moe), Tara Lazar is back with a new book where the three bears meet alien abduction, nicely drawn by illustrator Benji Davies. (The Storm Whale)

 

Check out Tara Lazar’s interview with Katie Davis on “Brain Burps About Books”

 

Also check out our spotlight feature on Tara and James Burks (illustrator of “The Monstore” and author-illustrator of his own books)

 


Last_Stop_on_Market_Street 

Last Stop On Market Street

by Matt de la Peña (@mattdelapena)

Illustrated by Christian Robinson

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

(Imprint of Penguin Books USA)

Pub. Date: January 8th, 2015

 

While we mostly cover animal stories on T.A.A. we do give humans their due, and with the ever-increasing outcry for more diverse humans in children’s books (as well as behind the scenes in publishing) we’re honored to bring this book to your attention.

 

Gaston

The book’s illustrator, Christian Robinson,  illustrated one of your lit. rat’s favorite books of the year, “Gaston” (written by Kelly DiPucchio) which T.A.A. will be reviewing soon!

UPFATE: Check Out Our Review of “Gaston”

Chris also illustrated “Josephine” released in 2013, and has done animation work that’s appeared on Sesame Street (Which recently celebrated PBS’ 45th anniversary)

 

Otter in Space

Otter in Space (@i_am_otter)

by Sam Garton (@SamuelGarton)

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

(An Imprint of HarperCollins)

Pub. Date: May 5th, 2015

 

T.A.A.’s favorite otter returns with her latest adventure, which as you can tell from the cover alone, involves intergalactic exploration, or at least the closest thing you can get without being trained by NASA, or going to space camp!

 

Learn more about Otter, play fun games, and read exclusive web stories (complete with picture!) at her OFFICIAL website: iamotter.co.uk

 

Also, check out our Author/Illustrator spotlight for “Picture Book Month 2014”

 

If you haven’t checked out Otter’s first book (one of our first “Most Anticipated Reads”), check your lit. rat’s review! Finally, please share this teaser video (made by your lit. rat) to help spread the word, and rest assured it’s Otter Approved!

 (Otter in Space Teaser Video)

 

 

Bears Don't Read

Bears Don’t Read!

by Emma Chichester Clark

(@emmachichesterc)

Pub. Date: TBA 2015

One of my favorite authors is bringing us a double feature in 2015 One of which involves a bear who doesn’t yet know the joy and empowerment reading has to offer.

 

Check our Author/Illustrator Spotlight on Emma!

Finally, read your lit.rat’s review of “Melrose and Croc: A Christmas To Remember”

 

Plumdog

 

PLUMDOG

by Emma Chichester Clark

(@emmachichesterc)

Pub. Date: TBA 2015

One of my favorite authors is bringing us a double feature in 2015! One of those books is “Plumdog” and while I’m still a bit down over the loss of my beloved Pepper back in June 2014, I’m still reading my share of dog books,  they’re healing, and after a drought of new voices in the picture book canine district, I have a strong feeling Plum will fit right in, the fact that she reminds me of Pepper in some ways is an added bonus.

GUIDO's GLAM SHOT

I know Guido (my canine friend from T.A.A. FM’s “Guido & Bonnie” [@GuidoandBonnie]) is just as psyched as I am for Plum’s debut in America! 

There Was An Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight

There Was an Old Dragon

Who Swallowed a Knight

by Penny Parker Klostermann (@pklostermann)

Illustrated by Ben Mantle

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books

(@randomhousekids)

Pub. Date: August 4th, 2015

 

There’s been many a tale of an old man, woman, and even a coyote who swallowed something they shouldn’t have. Now in a Ye Olde twist to a long remixed tale, we’ve got a dragon who finally bests a knight through feasting him.

How will this pan out?

We’ll find out Summer 2015!

 

 4cdafd4677c91cdc959a79358416cf6f

WOLFIE the Bunny

by Ame Dyckman  (@AmeDyckman)

Illustrated by Zachariah OHora 

(@ZachariahOHora)

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Pub. Date: February 17th, 2015

 

Author Ame Dyckman, best known for her books “Boy+Bot” (illustrated by Dan Yaccarino) and “Tea Party Rules” (illustrated by K.G. Campbell) teams up with author-illustrator Zachariah OHara (of “No Fits, Nelson!” fame)

 

This is one of those books that has caught my eye on the merit of the title/cover alone, and I can’t wait to have this book in my paws, and review it for you, my precious readers.

 

UPDATE: Check out our review of

“Wolfie the Bunny”

Your lit. rat hopes you’ve enjoyed our special features and author/illustrator spotlights we did this year. We’ll have more fun goodies in store for our Holiday Showcase starting this week!

 

Until next time, may the fantastic fauna be with you.

 

P.S. One Last Video the lit. rat hope you watch and share-

Emma Chichester Clark – Picture Book Month

Emma Chichester Clark Spotlight

Check Out Our Previous Author/Illustrator Spotlights-

Sam Garton and Otter

Tara Lazar and James Burks

Gus Gordon

 

As our celebration of “Picture Book Month” continues, your lit. profiles the prolific and multi-published Emma Chichester Clark!

 

In her long and abundant career, Emma Chichester Clark’s created many iconic figures in the picture book world.

 

Both pairing her illustration with another author’s work, as well as writing/illustrating her own books, many of which are well known icons in the picture book world-

 

From Blue Kangaroo-

Blue Kangaroo Series

To Melrose and Croc

(A personal favorite of mine)-

 

Melrose and Croc Series

 

To  various retellings of classics (whether the author, or illustrator, or BOTH!)-

 

ECC FAIRY TALES

Frankly, this lady’s got so many books under her belt I can’t list them all here!

 

So, you’ve quite an extensive back-list before you even get to her more recent releases!

On that note, for my U.S. and Canada T.A.A. fans, get ready for a double feature in 2015! (Our UK friends can check them out now!)

ECC Coming SoonIn the meantime, check out our review of “Melrose and Croc: A Christmas To Remember” we did for last year’s Holday Showcase!

 

Learn More About Emma, her books, and MORE at her OFFICIAL website-http://www.emmachichesterclark.co.uk

 

She’s Also on Twitter via @emmachichesterc

 

Gus Gordon – Picture Book Month

Gus Gordon Spotlight

 

Check Out Our Previous Author/Illustrator Spotlights-

Sam Garton and Otter

Tara Lazar and James Burks

 

As our series of Author/illustrator spotlights continues, your lit. rat is honored to introduce you to author-illustrator Gus Gordon

 

While his best known book outside Australia is “Herman and Rosie” (more on that later) he’s got a slightly bigger blacklist in his native homeland  which I discovered recently-

 

 

 

wendy-cover

 For now, this seems to be an “Down Under” exclusive, but hopefully it’ll come stateside, eventually…

 

Herman and Rosie

 

Herman and Rosie

by Gus Gordon (@IllustratorGus)

(AU) Publisher: Viking

(An Imprint of Penguin AU)

(U.S.) Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

(An Imprint of Macmillan)

Pub. Date: October 15th, 2013

 

This was one of my favorite finds last year and reviewed it as part our “Holiday 2013 Showcase”

 

That said, it’s not a seasonal title, but I included it in the showcase as it embodies the goodwill and spirit the winter holidays universally represent whatever you celebrate.

Check out my fan book trailer for

“Herman and Rosie”

 

In addition to books Gus has written and illustrated, he’s also teamed up with various authors over the years-

 

I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo!

I Am Cow, Hear Me MOO! 

by Jill Esbaum 

Publisher (U.S.): Dial

(Penguin Imprint)

Publisher (AU): Penguin Books 

Pub. Date: May 15th, 2014

 

If you LOVE Sam Garton’s “I Am Otter” (No relation, mind you) than this is another book to have on your radar if it’s not already. T.A.A. will review this in near future!

 

 

In the meantime, check out the fan book trailer created by my colleague, Patricia Miller- 

 

For my T.A.A. fans in the U.S. and Canada, get ready for Gus Gordon’s most recent author collaboration

Big Pet Day (AU+US)

(Big Pet Day Cover, AU Left, U.S. Right)

Big Pet Day

by Lisa Shanahan

Publisher (U.S.): Templar Publishing (@templarbooks)

Publisher (AU): Hachette (@HachetteAus)

Pub. Date: January 1st, 2014

 

Learn More about Gus, his books, and more at his website-

http://www.gusgordon.com

 

He’s Also on Facebook and Twitter via @IllustratorGus

Tara Lazar and James Burks – Picture Book Month

Tara and James 2

Click here if you missed our first spotlight!

 

Today’s entry in our Author/Illustrator spotlights (in honor of “Picture Book Month“) features debut author Tara Lazar and illustrator James Burks.

 

piboidmo2014banner

 

Tara Lazar is best known for founding PiBoIdMo (Pie-Beau-Id-Moe), otherwise known as “Picture Book Idea Month” back in 2008, and is now in it’s 6th year!

 

PiBoIdMo was created as a challenge to NaNoWriMo, aka “National Novel Writing Month” to give authors and/or illustrators of picture books an event to call their own!

 

But while both challenges are a month long. the similarities end there, for while NaNoWriMo’s goal is to draft a whole novel in a month, PiBoIdMo’s about generating 30 ideas for picture books.

 

While your lit. rat’s primarily a novelist, I do want to jump into the world of picture books, and last year was my first year taking part in the challenge and I got my 30 ideas.

piboidmo2013-winnerbadge-700x700

 

I’m taking part again this year and while I’m not at 30 ideas yet, I will make some headway this final week of November!

 

 

 

Anyway, while Tara was building community through her PiBoIdMo challenge, she was working away on picture books of her own, and is now beginning her path as a published author-

 

The Monstore

Her debut picture book, “The MonStore” (Illustrated by James Burks) was published on June 4th, 2013 by Aladdin, and T.A.A. will be reviewing it soon!

 

bear-book-final-cover

Her second picture book “I thought This Was A Bear Book” (illustrated by Benji Davies) will be published by Aladdin in August 2015.

 

Learn More about Tara, her books, and PiBoIdMo, at her official website: http://www.taralazar.com 

 

Also, check out her interviews on

“Brain Burps About Books” the #1 podcast about the business and craft of Children’s Publishing, founded and hosted by author-illustrator Katie Davis

 

Ep. #201 (How To Get Ideas For Your Picture Book | Picture Book Idea Month)

 

Ep. #68 (Picture Book Month)

 

She’s Also on Twitter via @taralazar

 

the-iron-giant

Illustrator James Burks first began his career working in animation, his best known film being  “The Iron Giant” (Released August 6th, 1999) which is celebrating it’s 15th Anniversary in 2014, and later began his foray into illustrating children’s books-

James Burks Books

In addition to illustrating Tara Lazar’s debut “The MonStore” and “Open Wide!” (written by Stephen Krensky), James also writes and illustrates his own books: From the “Bird Squirrel” graphic novel series, to picture books such as “Gabby and Gator” (Coming out in Paperback February 2015!) and “Beep and Bah”

 

Learn more about James at his OFFICIAL website: http://www.jamesburks.com

 

He’s also on Twitter via @jamesburksart 

 

Also, don’t forget to check out his interview on

“Brain Burps About Books”

 

(Ep. #204:Tips for Illustrators with James Burks | Celebrating Picture Book Month)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sam Garton and Otter – Picture Book Month

SandO

 

As Picture Book Month continues, your lit. rat begins his series of Author/Illustrator Spotlights where we celebrate some of the best and brightest in the world today.

 

Today’s spotlight is all about author-illustrator Sam Garton, and his friend, Otter-

 

 I Am Otter

I Am Otter (@i_am_otter)

by Sam Garton (@SamuelGarton)

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

(An Imprint ofHarperCollins)

Pub. Date: April 29th, 2014

Your lit. rat named this book one of T.A.A.’s “Most Anticipated Reads of 2014” back in 2013 during our first series of author/illustrator spotlights celebrating “Picture Book Month.” 

It’s also a favorite of my friends “Swinebert & Dempsey.”

[@Swinebert_and_D]

They’re such BIG fans, in fact, they made this video in honor the book’s launch on April 29th, 2014-

I Am Otter

(Celebration Video from Swinebert & Dempsey) 

[April 29, 2014]

This book also has the honor of being the very first book your. lit. rat EVER pre-ordered!

 

It’s also the first time I’ve connected with a book’s star pre its release.

On May 5th, 2014, T.A.A. reviewed “I Am Otter” and is one of the best books your lit. rat set eyes upon this year. 

In Early November 2014, “I Am Otter” was in the semifinals of the Goodreads Choice Awards in the picture book category through write-in votes from diverse fans across the globe! (including yours truly)

Sadly, it didn’t make the finals, but Otter took it in stride.

(Giraffe, not so much…)

But #TeamOtter still had something to cheer about when recently, revealed the cover for Otter’s next book-

Otter in Space

Expect T.A.A. to be on the lookout when this beams down in May 2015* (which is also your lit. rat’s birthday month!)

During the summer, I heard rumblings that another Otter book is in the works, and I was so excited I made this video teaser MONTHS ago (before the cover was revealed)

(“Otter in Space” Spring 2014 Teaser)

Learn more about Otter at her OFFICIAL website-

www.iamotter.co.uk 

 

Oh, one last thing-

Weekly Readings XIII

 

 

 

Weekly Readings 13 G+

 

 

Welcome to another addition of

“Weekly Readings”

 

For those new here, Weekly Readings is when your lit. rat reviews books I’ve read here and there.

 

While T.A.A. focuses on animal stories, we do give humans their due now and again…

 

 

This week, we’re taking a walk on the anti-hero side, between robber dogs, dogs on the lam, and weasels who want to take over the world!

 

It’s just a typical day in the world of fantastic fauna, and your lit. rat (ever on the side of good) chronicles it for you, my precious readers-

 

 

51XRijhwu6L

Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam

by Tracey Corderoy (@TraceyCorderoy)

Illustrated by Steven Lenton (@2dscrumptious)

Publisher: Nosy Crow

[An Imprint of Candlewick Press (@Candlewick)]

Pub. Date: August 6th, 2013

 

 

Whoever said it’s easier to make a dishonest living never met Shifty and Sam, two dogs with major hard luck in the thievery racket.

 

For every “Artful Dodger” or “Bonnie and Clyde” there’s a  “Laurel and Hardy” of the robber fraternity, and that’s the badge of dishonor these dogs wear. Their “Swag” bag often empty of loot, and as such short on money. 

 

One night, they hatch their most promising plan yet, invite their neighbors to tea, treat them to bite-sized feast, then slip out and ransack faster than you can say “R.S.V.P.”

 

The only thing is: they can’t afford to get a ready-made spread, and they’ve never baked before!

 

But hey, desperate times call for learning the precise measurements behind baking, and as a fledgling home baker myself, that’s no idle matter.

 

Luckily with a cookery book on their paws, and the gumption only desperation can bring about, they surprise themselves (and their guests) with a feast of truly delectable edibles.

 

“Operation: Trojan Tea Party” didn’t go off without a hitch, but that’s only the beginning of their problems…

 

Author Tracey Corderoy uses a light rhyming scheme and couplet paragraphs that convey a concise yet complete narrative that nicely blends with Steven Lenton’s illustrations that use color, light and shadows to excellent effect, I truly felt like I was living out a short film as I read through.

 

While we at T.A.A. don’t condone theft, of course, we do support anyone who changes their ways for the better, and without spoiling the ending, let’s just say “Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam” bring a fresh spin on the often spoken adage “Crime Doesn’t Pay.”

 

To invoke the words of Jiminy Cricket “Let your conscience be your guide.”

 

 

 

Here’s our fan book trailer for

“Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam”

 

 

NOTE FROM THE LITERARY RAT: I’m also happy to share that another “Shifty and Sam” book is in the works! Your lit. rat will keep you posted as more details are available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

9780802787484

 

Bad Dog

by Nina Laden

Publisher: Walker Children’s Books

Pub. Date: September 1st, 2000

 

Often people describe picture books being akin to poetry and song, and “Bad Dog” is a brilliantly executed example.

 

A misreading of a newspaper ad about “Free Range Chickens” sends a hungry and spirited dog and his fellow canine buddy on a road trip of escalating proportions!

 

 

Anyone who’s tried to write in rhyme (including your lit. rat) knows it’s as HARD to do as it is effortless to read the best examples, and Nina’s rhyme scheme*  (*by which I mean “pattern”) allows a, without the potential burden of executing a “Madeline” rhyme on EVERY word of EVERY sentence.

 

If I were a musician I’d be DYING to turn this book into a song. Somewhere between Simon and Garfunkel’s 

“A Poem on the Underground Wall” [from their album “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme“] and the theme song for “CatDog.” (Yes, your lit. rat was a 90s kid, what of it?)

 

Nina’s Colorful illustrations really capture the sense of unleashed abandon (no pun intended) as our canine bros hit the road, dodging the cops, all in the name of fine and free range chicken, or something like that… 

 

“Bad Dog” is despite it’s title, a “Howling Good Time” pun fully intended here!

 

Last, but FAR from least, 

 

 

Weasels

WEASELS

By Elys Dolan ()

Publisher: Candlewick Press (@Candlewick)

Pub. Date: February 25th, 2014

 

This was one of T.A.A.’s “Most Anticipated Reads of 2014” during our celebration of “Picture Book Month” in 2013, and your lit. rat’s happy to report it lived up to that title.

 

While this rat likes to use his powers for good, the titular varmints of this book take pride and revelry in their often typecast role as the mischief makers who will settle for nothing less than WORLD DOMINATION.

 

A stark contrast to the novel, “The Wainscott Weasel” that we reviewed on T.A.A. recently.

 

 

Elys Dolan’s detailed and pop art doodle illustrations make excellent use of the added page real estate that comes with this book’s hefty size an width.

 

While short on words, this book is LONG on re-read value by giving the pre-reader (and the reader) lots of eye candy to bring more of themselves into the story.

 

I felt like each page spread was a movie set just waiting to be animated (it could double as a splendid interactive storybook app or dare I say animated special, hint-hint…)

 

Move over “Pinky and the Brain“, the WEASELS are bringing world domination out of the ’90s and into the 21st Century!

 

That’s is for Weekly Readings! See you next time.

 

NOTE FROM THE LITERARY RAT: I’m also happy to share that another “Shifty and Sam” book is in the works! Your lit. rat will keep you posted as more details are available.