Friday, July 31, 2009

Review of Ally Carter Book

Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover
By Ally Carter
Reviewed by Kyra Perz, 11

Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover was one of the best books I read this summer. I liked this book because by the second chapter, I was already sucked into it. There is a ton of action and all the main characters are likeable. The book has a great twist -- the girls go to an secret all-girls spy school. Also with the last election being not so long ago, it was interesting because Cammie’s (the main character) best friend Macy is the vice presidential candidate’s daughter. The girls in the book are all trying to protect Macy from harm. (I won’t tell you what harm, because I don’t want to spoil it.)

This book may be the third book in the series, but if you were to read it without reading the previous books, it would definitely be okay. (I hadn’t either.) If you like fun and fast-paced books, you should read Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover.

Little Shop note: Thanks, Kyra, for the review. Remember, Ally Carter will be coming to the Decatur Book Festival! Bio to follow.

Hester Bass Is Coming Back to DBF!

Hester Bass
Decatur Book Festival
Target Children's Stage
Saturday, 2 p.m.

Hester has lived many, many lives. If you don't believe me, just check out her bio. And she's just a real neat person to get to know.

We're really thrilled to have Hester make a return engagement to the Decatur Book Festival as she has a new picture book coming out in September from Candlewick, The Secret World of Walter Anderson. Here's the publisher's take:

Enter the fascinating world of reclusive nature-lover Walter Anderson — perhaps the most famous American artist you’ve never heard of.

Residents along the Mississippi Gulf Coast thought Walter Anderson was odd, rowing across twelve miles of open water in a leaky skiff to reach Horn, an uninhabited island without running water or electricity. But this solitary artist didn’t much care what they thought as he spent weeks at a time on his personal paradise, sleeping under his boat, sometimes eating whatever washed ashore, sketching and painting the natural surroundings and the animals that became his friends. Here Walter created some of his most brilliant watercolors, work he kept hidden during his lifetime. In a beautifully crafted picture book biography, writer Hester Bass and Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator E. B. Lewis pay homage to an uncompromising American artist.

Ursula Vernon Is Coming To DBF!

Ursula Vernon
Decatur Book Festival
Target Children’s Stage
Saturday, 4 p.m.

Ursula Vernon may have been born to be an artist – she is the daughter of one – but not before getting a degree in anthropology at Minnesota’s Macalester College. Combined with an interest in sword art, birdwatching, and pottery, it is no wonder that Ursula became an author/illustrator of graphic novels staring animal protagonists including a wombat and a shrew.

Her latest work is the illustrated novel Dragonbreath which concerns, of course, the adventures of Danny Dragonbreath and his bookish friend. "Oh, relax, Wendell. Girls totally dig nerds."

You can find out more about Ursula here!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Behold the Half-Bloodiad!

Summer Camps were awesome this year. Especially awesome? Two weeks of Camp Half-Blood! And many folks want to know what we do during Camp Half Blood, so I figure why not tell you the epic story of our second week of Camp, in which the campers raced against the evil Medea (of Jason & the Argonauts fame) to stop her from creating an unstoppable army of warriors to destroy all demigods across the nation!

Here's the rub though: I was ill and bedridden this summer with too much time on my hands. The result? The Half-Bloodiad, our week rendered as a Greek epic! So here's the experiment: Every Wednesday, a new chapter in the Half-Bloodiad! This week--an introduction:

Hear, oh Muse, how the demigods of Camp Half Blood were granted a vision into a great mystery, how they witnessed and experienced tremendous evil, how they visited secret places. They journeyed to the edge of doom and made their way back, exhausted yet their numbers never dwindled. They wrote their trials on scrolls to be carried to the four corners of the Earth, they made the proper sacrifices to the gods, they crafted a legion of defenses to protect the site of Camp Half Blood Decatur.

Climb the staircase, ancient and true. Approach the shelf of scrolls and search for the vellum parchment that bears their name. Pull it down, unseal it, witness the words writ in gilt, precious oils, and sacred ink. Read how the demigods suffered all and accomplished all.

Next: How Dragon’s Teeth Arrived at Decatur, and Medea’s Underworld Escape

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Great book, great author, coming to our great Decatur Book Festival!

I'm not always right. "I know," you say (particularly if you're in my family), "we just didn't know you knew."

And even though I'm more right more often about books than most other things in my life, sometimes I get them completely wrong as well. Which brings us to the fantastic new series of graphic novels by one of Little Shop's favorite illustrators, Jarrett J Krosoczka. You might remember him as the author and illustrator of the Punk Farm picture books.

When I first saw Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute, I thought, "this is silly. Who's going to want to read about a super-hero lunch lady?" Well, my daughter, six year old Nora, took a look at it and immediately let me know how wrong I was.

"This is awesome, Daddy!" she exclaimed. "It's so funny, and exciting, and please please please can I get it Daddy? And you are the best Daddy in the whole world, so smart and loving and kind..." Well, maybe she didn't say that last sentence, but she sure took to the Lunch Lady book.

The art has a wonderful loose, kinetic feel to it, and it moves quickly, keeping pace with the lightning fast jokes and plot. And even though the basic idea could easily fall into a one note joke, Krosoczka layers the humor, develops his characters, and keeps things funny, rich, and full of action.

I've been schooled by my six year old daughter: Jarrett J. Krosoczka's new series of Lunch Lady graphic novels are awesome. And you can get the first two volumes in the series ( Lunch Lady & the Cyborg Substitute and Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians) are available now at Little Shop of Stories.

Oh, and I plan on telling him how great they are, along with my daughter, when he comes Labor Day weekend to our very own Decatur Book Festival!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Peter McCarty Is Coming To DBF!

A while back I promised to provide information about the wonderful authors coming to the Target Children's Stage and the Escape Stage at this year's AJC Decatur Book Festival. Here's the first one! These will be appearing in no particular order, though we are very excited that Peter McCarty will be here with his brand new book.
- Dave

Peter McCarty
Decatur Book Festival
Target Children's Stage
Saturday, September 5th at 10:30 a.m.

Peter McCarty is not only an incredible artist, but a gifted storyteller as well. He began his career in publishing as an illustrator of children's books, and shortly thereafter began writing picture books as well. Among our favorites of Peter's are Hondo & Fabian (a Coldecott Honor book), Fabian Escapes, Moon Plane, and T is for Terrible.

Peter's newest work, Jeremy Draws A Monster, is being released just before his appearance at the Decatur Book Festival.

Drawing for about as long as he can remember, Peter graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. His illustrations are warm and soft, using pencil and watercolor that create a classic, but still very distinctive style. Peter's books -- Hondo & Fabian in particular -- have long been Little Shop favorites.

We're very much looking forward to meeting Peter and the release of Jeremy Draws A Monster.

For more information about Peter, click here.