Children’s Picture Book
It Is Not Time for Sleeping (A Bedtime Story)
By Lisa Graff, illustrated by Lauren Castillo
Review by Tracy Canada Hanson
This picture book is a favorite at my house, and I think it is destined to become a classic. It is the simple story of a young boy’s bedtime routine. This bedtime routine will likely remind families of their own routines, which is just one thing I find appealing about this book. Read aloud it has a nice rhythm, repetition that young children enjoy, and fun words like “squeaky,” “zipped,” and “shiny.” The illustrations are lovely, though I may be partial to them because the house depicted reminds me of my own. Even without that bias, the illustrations are vibrant in color and have a further pop because they seem to have texture. My family loves this book, and I believe yours will too!
Young Adult Fiction
Daughter of Smoke and Bone
By Laini Taylor
Review by Maggie Bruce
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is about a girl with blue hair named Karou, who is shrouded in mystery. She lives a seemingly normal life … except when she disappears for days at a time. We find out that her family is a band of “demons,” and she spends her days collecting teeth—for what, even she doesn’t know. It’s when mysterious handprints start appearing on doors, and angel-like strangers appear from the sky, that the adventure really starts. Karou feels deep down that something about this is familiar … but how or what, she can’t figure out. This is a wonderful, action-packed story about love, angels, demons and other worlds. It just keeps getting better as the trilogy goes on!
Messy; the Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives
By Tim Harford
Review by Dawn Kirkwood
Drawn to this book by its title, I thought it might offer a counterpoint to the current fad for decluttering and simplifying. Indeed, author Tim Harford, known for his British syndicated column, the “Underground Economist,” offers this and so much more. Superbly written, using vivid stories and examples from music, technology, art, education and the corporate world, Harford makes the case that life cannot be controlled; that messiness, chaos and unpredictability can actually result in transformative creativity. Despite our discomfort and resistance, unexpected circumstances and situations can produce great outcomes. Over and over, Harford shows us that, although we don’t like our closely held beliefs to be challenged, and that rules are easier than exceptions, learning to embrace the chaos can lead to major breakthroughs.
Universal Harvester: A Novel
By John Darnielle
Review by Hector Cobian
This book is classified as Horror, but it’s much subtler in its suspense than the classics in that genre. The setting is the small town of Nevada, Ohio, at the local Video Hut, where someone has been secretly adding very real, very creepy scenes to the VHS tapes. Jeremy Heldt, the store’s clerk, is the first to notice the doctored footage. When he recognizes a local landmark, he sets out to find who’s behind the macabre edits. When others discover the dark scenes, things start to spiral out of control. John Darnielle is the singer and songwriter for the band The Mountain Goats and this is his second novel. Take this masterfully creepy novel with you on your next vacation to the Midwest.