Mom Read It

If the kids are reading it, chances are I have, too.

The Tale of the Mighty Brobarians! March 13, 2017

Brobarians, by Lindsay Ward, (March 2017, Two Lions/Amazon Publishing), $17.99, ISBN: 978-15039-6167-0

Recommended for readers 3-7

“Two barbarians, once at peace – Uh-Oh! – were now at odds.” Otto and Iggy are brothers and barbarians, but when Iggy stages a takeover of the land, Otto fights back and the two go to war. Told as an epic tale, Brobarians is the adorably fun story of two brothers and their disagreement, resolved only when a higher power interferes.

This book is adorable. The endpaper maps that depict Otto’s (he’s the bigger brother, so I assume he created them) layout of his and Iggy’s territory, the illuminated manuscript-like exposition that leads into the tale and the epic storytelling style are wonderful. If you’re a fan of sword and sorcery movies like I am, then you’ll hear the Conan the Barbarian-like narration in your head and squeal with joy.

The art – cut paper, pencil, and crayon on chipboard – escalates, dipping into the brobarians’ imaginations to render them as fierce (but still really cute) brothers on wild steeds. The fonts are exaggerated, colorful, providing readers with a wholly fun storytime experience. You can’t read this in a monotone, you just can’t. I read it to my little guy and immediately slipped into epic narrator mode, with mock gravity and urgency at different points of the story. I was rewarded with belly laughs, which are wonderfully contagious.

You need this book for the kids you love. Heck, you need this book for yourself. Let’s try and see my kid get this off my bookshelf, where it lives next to my Red Sonja comics!

About the Author
Lindsay Ward would never have written this book if she hadn’t stayed up late one night watching Conan the Barbarian. She finds the idea of baby barbarians to be very funny . . . and hopes you do too. Lindsay’s recent books include Rosco vs. the Baby and The Importance of Being 3. Most days you can find her writing and sketching at home in Ohio with her family. Learn more about her at www.lindsaymward.com or on Twitter: @lindsaymward. She’s got Brobarians activities coming soon, too – keep an eye on the website!

Praise for BROBARIANS:

“Highly cinematic, both in imagery and narrative soundtrack…Good and campy and a fine opportunity for vocabulary building.”—Kirkus Reviews

“As readalouds go, it’s pretty epic.” – Publishers Weekly

 

Giveaway!

One lucky winner will receive a copy of BROBARIANS courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses). Enter a Rafflecopter giveaway here!

 

Drama, demons, and the Revenge of the Evil Librarian February 3, 2017

evil-librarianRevenge of the Evil Librarian, by Michelle Knudsen, (Feb. 2017, Candlewick), $16.99, ISBN: 978-0763688288

Recommended for ages 13+

Cynthia and her BFF, Annie, have finally settled down after the events from Evil Librarian (#1), where Mr. Gabriel, the librarian in question, tried to make Annie his demon bride. Cyn’s now dating her crush, the gorgeous Ryan Halsey, and the two are off together to drama camp, where Cyn’s hoping to start working on set design. She’s ready to embrace the summer and all it has to offer, especially with Ryan at her side, but the demons have other plans: Aaron, demon-ish consort of the demon queen, looks Cyn up and reminds her that she owes the queen a few favors, for one. And things with Mr. Gabriel may not be quite over just yet.

Revenge of the Evil Librarian is the follow-up to 2014’s Evil Librarian, and it keeps a lot of the fun tone set in the first novel. There are demons at a theatre camp, a romantic rivalry, and a showdown to remember. Cyn is head-over-heels for Ryan, and the ups and downs of their romance – impacted by the fallout from the first book – will appeal to YA romance readers. Peter, another camper, is an endearing character whose background will crack readers up, and Jules, Ryan’s longtime summer camp “friend”, is the classic romantic rival.

Liven things up with your drama/theatre club readers and pair this with Stephanie Kate Strohm’s Taming of the Drew. If you’ve got readers who enjoyed the first one, they’ll love this one (and wait for the next one); if you have readers who enjoy their YA with a smidgeon of paranormal or horror, booktalk this one.

 

Lug: Dawn of the Ice Age – a middle-grade Ice Age tale May 6, 2014

lugLug: Dawn of the Ice Age, by David Zeltser. Egmont USA (2014). $17.99, ISBN: 9781606845134

Recommended for ages 8-12

A mix of How to Train Your Dragon and Ice Age, Lug: Dawn of the Ice Age introduces readers to Lug, a young caveboy who’s the outcast of his tribe. His fellow tribe-mates are big brutes who face off against their rival tribe in a rough sport called Headstone; Lug would rather be painting in his art cave. He and his tribe-mate, Stony, are banished after they fail to secure macrauchenia mounts for Headstone, and wander the woods, eventually meeting Echo, a young cavegirl from the rival tribe with a secret – she can talk to animals and has a pet woolly mammoth, Woolly, that she needs to find a home for. Echo and her younger brother, Hamhock, join Lug and Stony on a journey that will introduce them to new animals and great changes headed their way – namely, the onset of the Ice Age.

This is a great book for middle graders. Not only is it a fun, accessible story with parallels to two books and movie series they grew up with – How to Train Your Dragon and Ice Age – they will pick up some knowledge on the way. The themes of two factions at war without really knowing one another, being the odd kid out, and bullying are all themes that will speak to readers’ day-to-day experiences, but they’ll also learn about prehistoric animals like the macrauchenia – a kind of giant llama (I looked it up!), the woolly mammoth, and the Dodo bird, all of which give readers who are willing to dig deeper the chance to pinpoint where Lug and his people are from (look it up!). There’s even a brief description on how Lug creates his cave paint. The blending of nonfiction with fiction is seamless and would enhance a class unit on prehistory. There is black and white line art throughout the book, which are, presumably, Lug’s cave drawings. These little “easter eggs” within the story add a fun new dimension to reading.

Lug: Dawn of the Ice Age isn’t due out until September 9, but it’ll be perfect timing for back-to-school reading. These little “easter eggs” within the story add a fun new dimension to reading. I’m hoping to see more of Lug’s adventures down the line.

 

My Beastly Brother, by Laura Leuck/illus. Scott Nash (HarperCollins, 2003) June 3, 2013

Filed under: Preschool Reads — Rosemary Kiladitis @ 1:54 am
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beastly brotherRecommended for ages 3-6

A young monster reflects on life with his older brother, who can be  truly beastly or very kind. Ms. Leuck uses two monster brothers to illustrate the ups and downs of sibling relationships. The younger brother makes a laundry list of his older brother’s “beastly” – a double entendre here – behavior toward him: he will not allow him to play with his stuff, feed his pets, and outdoes his younger brother at everything he does, from burping to spewing spider spit. He throws his toys away, bothers him, and never lets him win.  But when he has scary dreams of humans coming after him, the younger monster learns that sometimes, his beastly brother is not so beastly after all.

Scott Nash’s cartoon illustrations bring humor to the monster family; they are not scary at all.  He turns the idea of the traditional family on its head by creating a monster nuclear family, complete with details like eyeball wallpaper and skull upholstery. The humans are the monsters in this tale; to that end, Mr. Nash illustrates the young monster’s nightmare with scary humans with frozen smiles and outstretched arms. The text is black, bold font on a stark white background, with a single image beneath the text, allowing the illustrations to take center stage. The monsters, other than being hairy, are fairly normal.  Their faces are pleasant and expressive, with large eyes and big smiles fully of pointy teeth. The boys wear jeans and t-shirts; Mom wears a pink dress with a spider print pattern, and Dad mows the lawn in shorts, a t-shirt and a baseball cap.

Laura Leuck and Scott Nash’s monsters show up again in My Creature Teacher.

This would be a fun book to incorporate into a family read-aloud. There are many family printables available for coloring on DLTK, along with family puppets, and poems.

HarperCollins offers an author webpage that allows interested readers to sign up for author updates.