Tuesday, September 24, 2019


Taylor, Thomas. Malamander
September 10th 2019 by Walker Books US
ARC provided by the publisher

Herbie Lemon has worked at the Grand Nautilus Hotel ever since he washed up in a crate of lemons five years ago and Mrs. Kraken, the owner, took him in. He works in the Lost-and-Foundery and is paid in items that have been left for 100 years or more. He gets along fairly well with Mr. Mollusc, the manager, but things start to become odd when a girl shows up looking for him. Violet Parma lost both of her parents when she was young, and since they were staying at the hotel when they disappeared, she has returned in order to try to find out more about them. Herbie doesn't know anything, but takes her to Jenny Hanniver's book dispensary where a mechanical mermonkey picks out books for customers, and the payment depends on what the monkey deems fit. Violet is given a book, Malamander, and the mystery of her parents becomes intertwined with the legend of this local monster. There are lots of quirky denizens of Eerie-by-the-Sea in the off season (the "Ch" has fallen off, giving a clue to the nature of the town), including Mrs. Fossil, Amber Griss, Dr. Thalassi, Seegol of Seegol's Diner, and the deeply creepy Sebastian Eels. Not only do Herbie and Violet find a Malander egg, but they see the monster itself, and find out more about Violet's parents in their search for answers about this mysterious creature.
Strengths: Readers who like quirky mysteries like Secrets of Eastcliff-by-the-Sea or Snicket's Who Could it Be at This Hour or Woodrow's new Curse of the Were-Penguin will enjoy Herbie and Violet's investigation into her past. I'm curious as to whether another book might address Herbie's past.
Weaknesses: I was not a fan of Lemony Snicket and the funny names used in books of this sort, but I am a fan of seaside towns.
What I really think: Monsters seem to be a trending topic in middle grade literature. I do get students who ask for such books, so I'll have to see what my patrons are wanting this year.

Henry, Will. Snug Harbor Stories
September 24th 2019 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
Copy provided by the publisher

This sequel to Wallace the Brave is just the thing for readers who can't put down the Big Nate comics they've read a thousand times! Wallace is as irrepressible as Nate, but also prone to Calvin and Hobbes type flights of fantasy. His friends Spud and Amelia balance his misguided efforts nicely.

Would not mind if the Columbus Dispatch picked up this strip!


This picture does not do justice to the awesome shoulder pads in this 1990s
vintage dress. It's green, to match Malamander. 

The big secret that young teachers don't seem to know is that dresses are very comfortable and easy to wear. Also, inexpensive at the thrift store. Why wear jeans and a t shirt to work when you could look like another gatekeeper at the Emerald City? All I need is the fuzzy hat and mittens!

1 comment:

  1. I hope to learn more about Herbie's past too.