Thursday, June 9, 2011

Happy Hippo, Angry Duck: A Book of Moods

By Sandra Boynton. New York: Little Simon, 2011.

Sandra Boynton is my go-to author when I'm looking for books to read at my baby storytime. Her rhymes and pictures are cute, and they make me smile like a happy, drooly baby (without the drool, of course). She doesn't disappoint with her new board book. This book is about different moods - happy, sad, angry - and explains that no matter what you're feeling it's okay. The book begins by cheerily asking "Hello, Little Person! How ARE you today? Is your mood quite terrific or only okay?" Don't you feel reassured it will be okay? "Are you happy as a hippo? Or angry as a duck?" The book continues this wonderful read-aloud rhyme comparing moods with animals, and ends with the positive message: "Well, I hope you are happy. But if you are not, you have friends who will help you. We like you a lot." You can't see it, but I'm beaming. This book makes me smile, because the message is simple and loving delivered in a cute way that toddlers will gobble up (well, it is a board book, and they do like to chew on things). I'm positive this book will make you happy too, unless you are like the angry duck in this story, "he's always this way." We all know someone like that! So, if you have a baby, know a baby, need a present for a baby, or secretly you enjoy cute, rhyming books (I won't judge), go get this book! You may find your mood greatly improved.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Across the Universe

By Beth Revis. New York: Razorbill, 2011.

Dystopian fiction seems to be the rage nowadays. I have a mixed reaction to these books, as they are most often science fiction based, and that is not my favorite genre. Well, color me completely surprised by this book. I could not put it down! I'm so happy this is the first book in a planned trilogy.

Amy is seventeen years old, and in the beginning of the story, she, along with her parents, are going through the process of being cryogenically frozen. They will be traveling on a huge spaceship called Godspeed towards a new planet, and expect to awake 300 years in the future. But, Amy is awoken 50 years earlier. What she discovers is basically a "brave new world" setting. There is a domineering leader called Eldest, and the future leader of the ship Elder, who is about Amy's age. Everyone lives by a certain set of rules, and disrupt is absolutely not tolerated. Amy's presence on the ship causes concern, and she soon realizes that her awakening was not an accident. As the story progresses, more "frozens" are murdered, and Amy and Elder try to figure out who is behind the killings, as well as uncovering the vast amount of secrets on the ship.

What an awesome book! What I loved most about it was the fact that I didn't know I was reading science fiction! Yes, there are a lot of details about the ship and the world on the ship, but the storyline is so compelling it pulls you along until the end. I really like the alternate chapters told from Amy and Elder's viewpoints. It gave me the opportunity to really understand how they tick. If you like dystopias and science fiction - heck, even if you don't - pick up this book. I guarantee you will be in for a fun read!