I'm not a big picture book fan, but Chris Barton's The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer's Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors beckoned to me and I LOVED it. Tony Persiani's retro style artwork was perfect and the gradual use of day-glo colors was very striking. The thing that I liked best was that Barton researched these gentlemen very thoroughly, interviewing family and friends to uncover this interesting story of two brothers with an idea that worked. I would love to see these two team up on stories about, oh, Ohio Art and the Etch-a-Sketch, the Slinky, tv dinners, and other things that are part of our lives and we don't think about! I wish I had a copy of this now, for students who need a biography for 8th grade English.
This same class always does a nonfiction project as well, and what better book for that than Morna Gregory and Sian James' Toilets of the World? This is pictures of toilets all over the world, with bits of text describing where they are and why they are interesting. There are some pictures of men's backs as they are using facilities, and one slightly dicey one of a woman's back as she is using a female urinal, but it passed muster. I think it is good for students to learn that the way we do things in the US is not necessarily the way things are done the world over. In the same shipment as this book was What the World Eats, but a student snapped that one up right away.
Over at SMS Guys Read they need ten comments on their Westerfeld Leviathan post in order for the book group to get a treat at their next meeting. Hop on over and opine on Steampunk.
Erin Downing's Juicy Gossip was a particularly good Candy Apple book about a girl whose parents open a juice bar in the mall and force her to work there, much to her embarassment. She does hear a lot of gossip when she is trying to hide her pineapple hat behind the counter, and uses this to start a column in the school newspaper (which is in danger of folding) to improve readership. Obviously, this causes some problems! Throw in a nice romance with a boy whose parents also have a mall store, and it was good fun. The 6th grade girls adore these titles.
Chloe Rayban's Hollywood Bliss: My Life So Far follows the story of Holly, the daughter of famous rock star Khandi that began with My Life Starring Mum. The two move to the states, where Holly is able to visit her dad more frequently, and worry that he is gaining weight and not getting out of his apartment more. There's also the pesky problem of possible step-brother on whom she has a crush, as well as all of the details of the lives of the rich and famous. For fans of Susanna Sees Stars or the Jen Calonita series. My only complaint is that this cover looks nothing like the first, which irritates me in a series.
Our school has a levy coming up, and I will say only this: at 4:30 a.m., I was standing in the workroom trying to gnaw the top off a gallon jug of glue so I could paste back together a dozen books, one of which was from 1985. Librarians are always the first on the chopping block when cuts are made, but I have to think that I am managing district money wisely. Maybe I'm wrong.