Friday, January 13, 2017

The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling by Timothy Basil Ering

This is a love story about a duck that falls in love with music. The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling begins on a sunny day on a boat out at sea. Captain Alfred is sailing home with new ducks for his farm and a gift for his wife: a duck egg that is very close to hatching, and the captain keeps it safe in a fiddle case. But when a storm stirs up the high seas, the waves wash everything away except the egg. Out of this egg, a little duck is born in a violin case. But in the fog, Alfred Fiddleduckling can’t see anyone or anything! But he sees something floating. Curious, he quacks at it. “The object did not quack back.” So he swims up to it and “embraced the object with all of his heart.” Of course, Alfred Fiddleduckling does not know that he is hugging his namesake, the fiddle, but then, something unexpected happened.

Music. Alfred found out that he could create beautiful sounds just by moving the strings on the object! And he loved the sound so much that he kept playing the fiddle.

And when the captain’s wife hears the music out in the distance, it gives her hope. And out of the bog floats Alfred, playing the fiddle! And the sound of his music also leads the captain--and the other ducks--safely home.

Timothy Basil Ering is the illustrator of the Newbery Award Winning book, The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo. Ering’s illustrations are painterly and the story is told in sweeping brushstrokes that convey the essence of music. Perhaps, unexpectedly, readers will fall in love with The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling just as a little duck named Alfred Fiddleduckling fell in love with music.

Friday, January 6, 2017

A Greyhound, a Groundhog

Friendship comes in all shapes and sizes. Emily Jenkins’ new picture book, A Greyhound, a Groundhog, is a tongue twister about two unlikely friends: a greyhound and a groundhog.
As you read it aloud, the speed of the words (and the illustrations) increases until the two friends (and your tongue) are all topsy-turvy.

“A groundhog, a greyhound,
a round little

A greyhound, a groundhog,
a brown little

And so it continues, around and around, the greyhound chases his tail, then he chases the groundhog, until they collapse on a heap on the ground, happy as can be.

Chris Appelhans (illustrator of Sparky) drew the beautiful illustrations in this book. His illustrations have a lot of energy and movement, and they complement the text perfectly. It is almost as if the movement of the greyhound and groundhog occurs as the story is being read aloud.

This book will become a staple in your child’s library, and you will be asked to read it again and again (probably at faster and faster speeds) until you can no longer say the words in the correct order. But that is part of the fun! Start 2017 with an exciting read-aloud that will have you and your child learning a new tongue twister about new friends.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Twenty by Jenny Top Picks of 2016

2016 was a great year for children’s literature, so it was hard to narrow down the books from this year to just 10 titles! 
Here are the top 10 books published for children in each age category, in no particular order.

Ages 0-3

AGES 4-7

AGES 8-12


Friday, December 2, 2016

Kenny Loggins talks about FOOTLOOSE!

Have you heard of Kenny Loggins’ newest project, a picture book adaptation of Footloose illustrated by Tim Bowers, published this fall from MoonDance Press, a division of Quarto Publishing? While you may remember the original lyrics, this new picture book is a hilarious hoof stomping, jaw dropping, monkey moving take on Footloose where the animals in the zoo are cutting loose!  

Here, Kenny Loggins answers a few questions about Footloose’s journey, from song to picture book.  

 How did you become affiliated with the original “Footloose” film? At the time, did you think your title song was going to be Oscar® nominated and go on to win the 1985 Grammy for “Song of the Year”?

I was already collaborating on music with the screenplay's writer, Dean Pitchford. He brought it to me in the hopes I would collaborate with him on the music and help Paramount see him as a songwriter as well. We wrote two songs based on the screenplay. There were no rushes to see yet. It's the only time I've written music to the screenplay. I think it's one of the reasons the movie was so believable. They were dancing to the real music Dean and I had written.

Interior Illustration of FOOTLOOSE: Art by Tim Bowers

You’re now releasing a children’s book based on your Grammy® Award-Winning song “Footloose.” How did the idea of basing the new version of the song to reflect animals come about?

I have to say, when Charles Nurnberg of Quarto approached me with this idea, he had the most important piece already: "Just fill it full of animals. My grandson loves animals!"

The book is beautifully illustrated by NY Times best-selling illustrator Tim Bowers and its package includes a brand-new CD recording of the title song, along with other family-friendly tunes. We all understand how musicians collaborate; how do you work with an artist for a project like this?

As the lyric ideas came to me, Tim assured me that "the more the merrier," so I pulled out all the stops and put in every animal in the zoo including a few who probably aren't. I especially enjoyed sneaking in the tiger cub named Luke, who is a thinly disguised version of my son. I think my favorite line is, "Jack, jump back. Here come the ducks quack, quack."

What’s the takeaway that grandparents and parents can teach their little ones after reading Footloose? Where can people buy the new book?

"Mothers, don't let your babies grow up to be rock stars." The take away from footloose is simply fun. Hopefully, people can buy this book anywhere they look.

You can find the book here on Quarto's Website

Musician and picture book author, Kenny Loggins

First Snow by Bomi Park

Bomi Park’s little picture book, First Snow, captures the magic of the first snow fall. Illustrated in gorgeous black and white charcoal. The only hint of color is the little girl’s red scarf.
On the first page, the snow begins to fall, and the narrator says, “Shhhh, listen…do you hear something?” The little girl crawls to the window to see snow falling against the window pane.

“Quick! Boots, coat, scarf, hat.”

And while the world is sleeping, the child steps outside, marveling at her footprints in the snow. She is joined by a small dog, and other animals along the way. She rolls a small snowball until it becomes a big one. And when she makes it on the other side of the woods filled with snow covered evergreen trees, there is a field full of children who also have rolled their snowballs silently through the night. One by one they join together to create snowmen! There are a couple pages that have no text on them, and those illustrations evoke the silent fall of snow. In particular, there is a great full-page illustration of the children and their accompanying snowmen floating into the sky. A child’s first snow is truly magical, and Bomi Park has captured a slice of that magic in her picture book.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

Diabolics are bred to be ruthless killing machines, fiercely loyal and bonded to the person they serve to protect. In the Living Cosmos, they are not considered human. Nemesis is a Diabolic bought by the Impyrean family to protect their only daughter, Sidonia. Nemesis’ sole purpose in life is to protect Sidonia, no matter the cost. When Diabolics are banned, the Impyreans fake Nemesis’ death so she can continue to protect Sidonia.

When Senator von Impyrean angers the Emperor for his scientific thought, the Senator is not punished directly. Rather, his only daughter is summoned to the Imperial Court of Chrysanthemum as a political hostage. In order to protect Sidonia, Nemesis goes in her place, undergoing physical alterations to hide her true nature. But can a Diabolic, unfeeling, cold and calculating, and devoid of human emotion, fit in at the Emperor’s court? Sidonia’s very life depends on it.

The Diabolic is full of intrigue, murder plots, and a cast of great characters crafted by S.J. Kincaid. Among these are a brutal Emperor who is trying to quell a scientific rebellion among the Excess, Tyrus, heir to the throne and a lunatic, and of course, Nemesis herself, who must fool the Imperial Court into thinking that she is Sidonia. Who can Nemesis trust in a world where every man is out for himself? A very original retelling of The Prince and the Pauper, The Diabolic is set in a post-earth world, where space reigns supreme and power-games abound at the Imperial Court. Fans of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins will enjoy this fast-paced story that will have readers holding their breath.