Books read in April 2017

April is an unusual month in which I’m most excited about the nonfiction selections.

Picture Books: Big Cat, Little Cat
Middle Grade: Better Nate Than Ever
Young Adult: Pyromantic
Young Nonfiction: Vincent & Theo
Grownup Nonfiction: Every Body Yoga

Big Cat, Little Cat
Elisha Cooper
Read for Librarian Book Group
Picture books are short and this one made me laugh and cry within the space of its 32 pages.  The illustrations of the cats are stupendous.  Recommended.

Wolf in the Snow
Matthew Cordell
Read for Librarian Book Group
Wordless picture book about a girl walking home from school in a snowstorm and what she finds on her way.

Barnett & Klassen
Read for Librarian Book Group
Not a book about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.  Instead a funny little interlude between Triangle and Square.  Barnett and Klassen together don’t tickle my funny bone.  I recognize I’m in the minority with that opinion.

Princess Cora and the Crocodile
Schlitz, Floca
Read for Librarian Book Group
Fabulous illustrations paired with an easy-reader story about Princess Cora wanting more from her dreary days.

Out of Wonder
Read for Librarian Book Group
Poems written in the style of famous poets and paired with gorgeous illustrations.

Better Nate Than Ever
Time Federle
Read for Family Book Group

I adored this book, so much so that even the small detractions were steamrolled by Nate Foster’s approach to the world.  This is a great book for outcasts everywhere.

The Best Worst Thing
Kathleen Lane
It’s too bad that the adult audience who would really enjoy this book probably won’t find it. Maggie is a worrier in a way that I think will be off-putting to a lot of tweens/teens.  But Maggie’s nervous energy is something that adult readers would want to read about.  It’s a beautifully written story.

Fish Girl
Read for Librarian Book Group
Mermaid in rinky-dink seaside aquarium begins to question her situation. The answers she finds are illuminating  and cause changes.  There were a lot of problems with this story, but it had some good feminist and coming-of-age stuff.


Lish McBride
The sequel to Firebug, a book greatly enjoyed by me, this continues the story, bringing back all the favorite characters.  I was sorry I didn’t have time for a re-read of Firebug before launching into this, but it was an enjoyable tale all the same.

Wonderful Feels Like This
Sara Lovestam
Read for Librarian Book Group
Nice story of a young musician bulled by her peers who forges a friendship with a retired jazz musician.  The bullying is intense, with some of it rising to the level where the police should be involved.  The stories of the Stockholm jazz scene during WWII were nicely done and the author did a great job working in nuance of her portrayal of bullies.  The point-of-view switches were jarring.  While overall, this was a nice book, it was one I finished out of obligation, rather than pleasure.

The Book Jumper
Mechthild Glaser
Read for Librarian Book Group
This story includes a wonderful discovery: girl returns to ancestral home and learns that her family has the ability to jump into books.  While this would be an exciting development in my own life, I don’t think it made any sense for the plot.  I was never really clear WHY they were supposed to be jumping into the stories, as most of their actions in the books caused trouble that would have been avoided if they had simply read the books, not hang out in them.

I think there are some in-jokes that went over my head for not having read some of the books mentioned.  Much like the book from Sweden I just finished reading, this book also has abrupt point-of-view shifts I found jarring.  Other details about the book jumping also baffled me. So much so that the invented world didn’t hold up, which made for a so-so read.

Rivers of Sunlight
Molly Bang & Penny Chisholm
Read for Librarian Book Group
The framing device “I am the sun” reminded me of a theatrical production written by a well-meaning older person, to show the poor youth of the ghetto the magic of the thee-ah-tar.

Steve Sheinkin
Read for Librarian Book Group
Sheinkin’s ability to make history sing is on display here, even for this reader, who isn’t interested in football.  I am, however, interested in Jim Thorpe and I found the details about the Carlisle Indian School to be interesting, in that terrible way.  There was too much football in this book for me, but I recognize that I am not the target audience.  I would have appreciated a little more unpacking of the special privileges afforded to athletes.  Overall, this was a solid nonfiction.

Vincent & Theo
Deborah Heiligman
Read for Librarian Book Group
Character-driven biography of Vincent Van Gough and his brother Theo.  I was interested in the brothers’ relationship, and how Vincent’s mental illness affected his family and other relationships.  This was big on detail, without bogging down.  I loved the color plates, which were apparently not present in the e-book version.

Every Body Yoga
Jessamyn Stanley
I know a goodly amount of people who will not get far in this book due to the salty language of the author.  However, I found her frank and funny, and I didn’t mind at all the copious use of the F-word.

Stanley, a large girl who grew into a large woman, describes how she came to practice yoga, her various feelings about her body, and provides recommendations for yoga practice for women of all kinds, including fat women. Her recommendation to practice at home was particularly freeing for me, as that is currently the only type of yoga practice that will fit in my schedule.

3 thoughts on “Books read in April 2017”

  1. The book about Van Gogh and his brother sounds really interesting! I didn’t even know that he had a brother.

    1. There’s a supposedly terrible movie about the two. Let’s have the internet tell us who starred in it. Hmmm. There’s one in 1990 starring Tim Roth and Paul Rhys, but that isn’t what I was thinking of. I thought there was one in the 1970s? But no, it seems I made this up.

  2. Of course I love the Barnett/Klassen pairing. But I’m also just a massive Klassen fan! I even follow him on Insta! Fishgirl is on my TBR!

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