First were a few dots in her vision, then glasses (not so cute), now clouds cover her view…
Mafalda’s eyesight is failing, and the list of things the Italian girl can do grows shorter by the week – no more having a best friend or counting stars at night.
No more playing soccer, as the black spots widen so she cannot see the ball coming toward the goal, no more walking home from school by herself.
She hates how people have already started treating her differently, hates 11th birthday presents coming many months early while she can still see their colors, hates having to move to a one-story house away from her cat…
Only Estella, the Romanian janitor at school, seems to understand how hard this all is for Mafalda and suggests making a list of things she doesn’t want to forget when she is blind.
As days pass, she must stand ever closer to see her favorite cherry tree… if only Mafalda could live in its branches so no one knew her blindness was happening so fast.
How do you cope when unhappy changes are inevitable? **kmm
Book info: The Distance Between Me and the Cherry Tree / Paola Peretti; translated by Denise Muir; illustrated by Carolina Rabei. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2019. [author interview] [translator interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Surf’s up, so paddle out now.
Great wave – wipe out!
Uh-oh…where are we?
Usually Vietnamese-American middle grader Trot and her talking cat Cap’n Bill just bob to the surface when surfing, but this time they’re flung into deeper California waters – right into a battle between sea serpents and sirens!
Bill’s claws end the fight quickly, and they return to the sirens’ city for a celebration.
But how can Trot & Bill breathe underwater?
Why did the serpents leave their home territory?
Can Trot & Cap’n Bill return to land where Mom and Grandpa must be worrying?
This graphic novel delight is based on L. Frank Baum’s Sea Fairies and is the first volume in the Trot & Cap’n Bill Adventure series. Watch for Sky Island in mid-2020!
Which legendary creatures from your grandparents’ bedtime stories would you like to encounter? **kmm
Book info: Sea Sirens: a Trot & Cap’n Bill Adventure / Amy Chu; art by Janet K. Lee; lettering by Jimmy Gownley. Viking, 2019. [author site] [illustrator site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
If kitty pix make you go “Awwww” and photos of gorgeous guys make you go “Rawr!” then this is your book!
Add it to your favorite indie bookstore wishlist (search here for a great bookstore near you: http://indiebound.org) or just go buy it now as a gift for the person who appreciates cat cute and masculine musculature.
And, yes, the French photographers are adding more fellow and feline picture-pairs to their tumblr!
Book info: Men & Cats /Marie-Eva Gatuingt and Alice Chaygneaud. Perigee Books, 2015. [authors’ tumblr] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Photos of men and cats in matching poses prove that no words are needed to communicate the concepts of “cute plus captivating” as the creators of the wildly popular Des Hommes et des Chatons tumblr have created 50 new combos for this book.
Whether shirtlessly lounging in the sunshine or dually dapper in bowties, each pair of pix has a particular shared visual element (the one with blue eyes!).
Praying and yawning, serene and playful – enjoy men, enjoy cats, enjoy this preview of the book:
My Book Talk: It was the cats who decided to save Lillian. She just wanted to say hello to the fairies, but here she lies, dying of snakebite. Changed by their magic from a dying girl into a live kitten, Lillian can’t comfort her aunt or the neighbors who search the old woods. She must find out how to turn back into herself… and then how to make right the consequences of her choice.
These forest cats know that their magic might anger the Father of All Cats, that great black puma who stalks these ancient woods, who prowls in dark dreams. But they just couldn’t let the girl die, not after she’s been so generous with milk for them and respectful of the Apple Tree Man.
Lillian-kitten sets out to find Old Mother Possum, who might help her turn back into girl-Lillian. Accompanied by T.H. Fox (his mother named him Truthful and Handsome), she makes the long journey, despite his warnings that the part-witch-part-someone may not choose a solution that’s easy or simple.
Oh, turning back one death puts it onto another! Now Lillian has a bigger problem to solve and consults the wise woman at the Kickaha reservation nearby. Aunt Nancy sees only one path and not an easy one, as this problem is so big that Lillian must ask a difficult favor of the fearsome Bear People, no matter what the personal cost.
Does young Lillian have the courage to walk alone into the Bears’ den?
Why do the cats of the forest keep watching her?
Is love enough to turn away death?
Originally a very short picture book, The Cats of Tanglewood Forest brings even more depth to Lillian’s journey as she searches for a way to make things right again in her world, despite the danger to herself. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)
Max “the Wolf” has constantly improved his woodcraft skills as a Boy Scout and is a detective at heart, so he and his new companions watch for clues as they travel together in search of answers – and try to stay ahead of the vicious Blue Cutters.
For his first novel for younger readers, Willingham taps the illustrating skills of his Fables graphic novel series collaborator Mark Buckingham for the masterful sketches of each character, from Banderbrock the badger, Walden the black bear, and McTavish the Monster (or perhaps a cat) to their evil pursuers with swords.
Find this mystery/quest/friendship tale today in hardcover or paperback at your local library or independent bookstore. For a jump into the Fables universe, try Willingham’s Peter & Max novel which I reviewed here.
I do wonder what the animals in our lives would say to us if we could understand them talking…
My Recommendation: Max is lost in an unfamiliar forest, being chased by swordsmen who’d rather kill than talk, meeting up with talking animals – this has never happened to the top-notch Boy Scout before!
Using his woodcraft skills and powers of deduction (the young teen is a detective at heart), Max “the Wolf” decides to head downstream to find a town (and perhaps his memory). Along the way, he encounters Banderbrock the badger, who likewise is perplexed about being in this unknown forest, but remembers many tales of his daring and brave ancestors.
Dodging the Blue Cutter swordsmen who pursue all trespassers in this forest, Max and Banderbrock join forces with the black bear Walden, formerly sheriff in a quiet settlement in another forest, and McTavish the Monster, who looks very much like a battle-scarred tomcat to Max. All can understand one another perfectly, but their memories of time before this forest have unexplainable gaps.
Chased down the Mysterly River (as Walden named it) by the Blue Cutters and their hunting hounds, the friends try to find Prince Aspen (who is said to know many secrets) or anyone else who could help them escape to safety.
For the Blue Cutters remove everything unique about new arrivals in this forest – and what could be more unique than speech in animals or a Boy Scout with no troop nearby…
Why did the boy, badger, bear, and cat all arrive here at the same time?
Can the quartet avoid the Blue Cutters’ vicious blades?
What will they discover at the end of the Mysterly River?
An epic tale with an unexpected twist from Fables graphic novel writer, Bill Willingham, who undoubtedly enjoyed adventurous stories around the campfire as a Scout. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Max and Rufus send purring thanks to all who entered the giveaway for Kimberly Pauley’s new book Cat Girl’s Day Off. They put all the entries into the Random Sequence Generator, which whirred and replied: —>
So comment number 8 from Jacqui is our winner! Your ARC of Cat Girl’s Day Off will be sent directly from Tu Books once you reply to the email from Max and Rufus.
If you’ve read my recommendation of Cat Girl’s Day Off, by Kimberly Pauley, then you know that Rufus Brutus the Third is a feline force to be reckoned with – even if he has been dyed pink for Breast Cancer Awareness.
My cat Max (pictured at right) chatted with Rufus (see him on the book cover below). They decided to give one lucky BooksYALove reader an Advance Reader’s Copy of the book, so follow their instructions to enter the giveaway!
Max: You went through a lot in Chicago to find your person. Was it worth it? Rufus: My person and I are an inseparable team – I inspire her writing, you know. Max: Yeah, I help my person write by staying nearby, just in case she needs to pet me. And there’s a dog in your life, right? Rufus: Oh, Fergie! I’ve had hairballs bigger than his wee little brain, but if he makes Easton happy, I’ll put up with him. The imposter [snarl!] was terribly mean to Fergie, but took out most of her anger against me. Max: Chasing you with hairspray and perfume? What an awful person! Rufus: And the things she did to other humans, like my Easton… [snarrrrlll] don’t get me started! Max: Did you enjoy getting to meet other cats, despite the circumstances? Rufus: It’s enlightening to travel, my person always says, and she’s right. If we’d stayed in Hollywood, how would I ever have run into Meep or PD or Queenie or Nat, the cat-fluent person? Maybe she’ll be able to convince my Easton to stop calling me Tiddlywinks and use my real name! Max: Would you ever visit a school again, I mean, after all that craziness with the movie people? Rufus: Certainly not! Their facilities for felines are definitely sub-par!
Max: So here’s how readers can enter to win an Advance Reader’s Copy of Cat Girl’s Day Off. Rufus: But they have to give us their word of honor that they won’t try to sell it! ARCs may NOT be sold! Max: Exactly, but the winner can share the ARC with other readers. Rufus: The giveaway is open to readers 13 years and older, with a US mailing address, since Tu Books will ship the ARC directly to the winner. Max: And only 1 entry per human, to make it fair. Rufus: To avoid those awful, awful spammers, write your e-mail address in the comments like this: RufusBrutusTheThird AT EastonWest DOT com. Max: We’ll take entries through 11:59 p.m. EDT on Monday, April 9th. I’ll be up then. Will you be up, Rufus? Rufus: Undoubtedly! Hollywood was made for late-night cats like me. Max: Then all the entries will go in the Randomizer to choose 1 winner. My person will e-mail the winner who must reply to her with their US mailing address by Monday, April 16, 2012. Rufus: You DO want to get your paws on my heroic tale of bravery as soon as possible, don’t you?? Max: Just for fun, add the color of your favorite cat, too. Rufus: So my person would put “pink” – seems a funny name for such a boring color.* Max: Good luck, everyone, and remember that your cat knows a lot more than he or she is telling you! —– *Cats can’t distinguish reds from greens and browns because they don’t have cones in their retinas.
One sister is a child genius, the other a human lie detector.
Her dad is a super-sniffer and mom can out-think anyone anywhere.
Why is Natalie’s Talent so… everyday?
No wonder “hearing cats talk” is graded as class D.
Nat is trying to keep her Talent quiet, but when she spots a pink cat on video and understands his pleas for help, she can’t just sit idly by. Rufus’s person has been kidnapped right here in Chicago, and it all has something to do with the movie being filmed at her high school.
Wrigley Field and other Windy City locales used in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” are the backdrop for the friends’ madcap chase after clues by train, car, and sneakers, discussing things with cats they encounter (through Nat, of course).
Rufus and my cat Max chat a bit in my next post as they introduce my first giveaway! For your chance to win an Advance Reader Copy of Cat Girl’s Day Off, go here.
Book info: Cat Girl’s Day Off / Kimberly Pauley. Tu Books, 2012. [author’s website] [publisher site] Review copy (viewed through NetGalley) and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My Recommendation: Better to be a regular high school kid than show off her low-level Talent, thinks Natalie – until her gift for understanding cats’ speech may solve a kidnapping!
Her mom, dad, and sisters are so Talented – supersniffing, X-ray vision, truth detection, chameleon camouflage – that Nat’s talent seems worse than worthless. If the students at Shermer High treated her like that one boy in grade school who could make frogs change color by kissing them… bad news.
Her best friends Melly and Oscar know that she can talk to cats, but it’s no big deal to them. The big deal to them is the movie that will be filming scenes at their school, just as “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” did – and they could be extras in the movie! Oscar is swooning over the leading man, while Melly hopes that appearing in “Freddy’s Day Off” will boost her acting career.
In a video news clip of movie blogger Easton West – all in pink, of course – and her dyed-pink dog and cat arriving in Chicago, Nat realizes that the pink cat is yowling that this person is an imposter and that Easton West has been kidnapped! West’s next blog post includes info that convinces Oscar that the person in that video is a fraud and that the pink cat must be telling the truth.
The three friends decide to rescue the pink cat and find out what’s happened to the real Easton West – as fast as they can between sitting through take after take of movie scenes at the school and Wrigley Field.
How can Nat make the authorities take this seriously, when no other humans speak Cat? Easton West’s last blog post before coming to Chicago threatened to expose one of the actresses – is this part of a plot? Will the imposter make good on her threat to kill the real Easton West? Oh, what will Nat’s cute classmate Ian think if he discovers that she talks to cats and that they talk back??
Lots of twists and turns as the friends and the cats they meet along the way chase after clues all over the Windy City, racing against the clock. One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)
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