Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Author Marlane Kennedy / Artist Marla Frazee

Marlane Kennedy is the wonderful author of Me and the Pumpkin Queen. She lives in Ohio with her family and this is her first book.

Check out her website for more information.

Marla Frazee is the amazing illustrator for Me and the Pumpkin Queen and many, many other books. She was also the illustrator for our April book club selection, The Aurora County All-Stars by Deborah Wiles. One of our book club members thought the two books might be related because they have such a similar look!

She has an extensive website with lots of her art which I encourage you visit.

Monday, September 29, 2008

October Book: Me and the Pumpkin Queen

Our October book selection is Me and the Pumpkin Queen by Marlane Kennedy. We will meet to discuss the book on Monday, October 27th at 3:30pm. Copies of the book are available at the Children's Desk or through the library catalog.

Mildred's Guide to Growing a Giant Pumpkin:
  • Get the right seeds. These days, no one grows a Pumpkin Show winner without Howard Dill's Atlantic Giant seeds.
  • Convince your dad that having a pumpkin patch in your backyard is a good idea.
  • Make sure that your dogs stay far, far away from your seedlings.
  • Don't let your busybody aunt interfere with your "pumpkin obsession," no matter how much she wishes you were interested in boys or clothes or anything other than pumpkins.
  • Find a best friend who can help out in a pinch.
  • Never, ever, ever give up.

Lots of people think an eleven-year-old doesn't stand a chance of winning the Pumpkin Show. Mildred is determined to prove them wrong. It's just something she needs to do.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

If you liked Saffy's Angel....

At the book club meetings, I always hand out a bookmark that has some interesting information about the book we are there to discuss. It usually has a list of other books by the author and a list of websites including the web addresses for the author's website and the Book Buddies blog. I also include a short list of "read-alikes". Essentially, if you liked this book, here are some other books you might enjoy. This year, I thought I would start sharing those read-alikes on the blog.

For Saffy's Angel, here is a list of books I thought you might also enjoy reading:

Regular Guy by Sarah Weeks

Because he is so different from his eccentric parents, twelve-year-old Guy is convinced he has been switched at birth with a classmate whose parents seem more normal.

The Trolls by Polly Horvath

Eccentric Aunt Sally comes from Canada to babysit the Anderson children while their parents are on a trip to Paris and every night the bedtime story adds another piece to a very suspect family history.

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall

The four Penderwick sisters are faced with the unimaginable prospect of their widowed father dating, and they hatch a plot to stop him.

I'll Sing You One-O by Nan Gregory

Reunited with her long-lost twin brother, twelve-year-old Gemma constantly tests the boundaries of acceptable behavior while relying on angels to help her connect with her new family.

September Meeting Wrap-up

The Book Buddies Book Club met on Monday afternoon to discuss the book Saffy's Angel by Hilary McKay. Overall we really enjoyed the book and getting to know the Casson family. Some bits of our discussion:
  • All of the Casson children are named after colors and we discussed how members of the book club got their names.
  • Everyone felt that Saffy should have been told much earlier that she was adopted so that she wouldn't accidentally find out like she did.
  • Most members felt that Saffy's being adopted shouldn't make a difference even though it did to her - she's still family and it shouldn't change that. Everyone felt it was very sad, though.
  • We all agreed that the father, Bill, was mean and only really cared about his work. We felt he didn't treat the mother, Eve, right and one of the worst things about him was that he never ate the sandwiches Eve made for him.
  • We were split on Saffy's friendship with Sarah - some of us felt that she was a good friend, especially the way she helped Saffy get to Italy to find her angel. Others felt she was not a good friend to Saffy and didn't particularly like her as a character.
  • Everyone agreed that Saffy should have told her mom before stowing away with the Warbecks for Italy. We then discussed the places we would stowaway to if we had the chance. Our favorite destinations included Hawaii, Australia, California , Texas, and Paris and many of the destinations were chosen because club members have family in those places.
  • We discussed the ways that Saffy's brother, Indigo, faced his fears and how we have all faced fears in our lives.
  • All club members agreed that it was very important for Saffy to find her angel because it was the only thing left that directly connected her to her parents and the only thing to remind her of her life in Italy.
  • We discussed which Casson sibling we are most like. Popular choices included Rose and Caddy.
  • Our favorite parts of the book were when Saffy found her angel and when Caddy put Saffy's name on the color chart so she'd be there with the rest of the family. Our least favorite part was when the grandfather died and their father, Bill, was so uncaring.

We also had a look at all of the different book covers that Saffy's Angel has been published with, which was something that I posted about a few weeks ago. We decided that this is our favorite cover because it shows Saffy and the door to the garden and because it plays up the mystery part of the story and really makes you want to read the book.

Finally we had snacks and made edible art bracelets for our craft project (using LifeSavers candy) in a tribute to Rose and her edible art project in the story. We also discussed other books we read over the summer and enjoyed. Some books members recommend include Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume, The Year of the Rat by Grace Lin, The Aurora County All-Stars (one of our book club books last year) and the Nancy Drew series.

It was a great meeting and I'm looking forward to getting together next month!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Book Club Meeting Monday!

Hi everyone,

Just a reminder that the book club is meeting this Monday, September 22nd at 3:30pm to discuss the book Saffy's Angel by Hilary McKay. Join us for snacks, a craft project and a book discussion! At the meeting I will also hand out copies of our October book selection....stay tuned to find out what we're reading in October!

If you've read the book and what to join us, it's not to late to register! Simply call the Children's Department at 847-8720 ext. 204 or email me at cantonio@newportlibraryri.org.

See you Monday!

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Casson Family Series

Saffy's Angel is the first in the Casson Family series by Hilary McKay. The rest of the series includes:

If you've enjoyed Saffy's Angel, check out the rest of the Casson Family series. We have all five books available at the Newport Public Library!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Author Hilary McKay

Hilary McKay is the amazing author of Saffy's Angel. She has written many books for children including the The Amber Cat, Dog Friday, the Charlie books and the Exiles series. She lives in a small village in Derbyshire, England with her family.

Visit her website for more information!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Saffy's Angel book covers

Hello everyone,

I hope you are enjoying Saffy's Angel. I read it two weekends ago and really enjoyed it. I think there will be a lot for us to discuss! For those of you interested in joining the Book Buddies Book Club, it's never too late. Just call the Children's Department at 847-8720 ext. 204 or email me directly at cantonio@newportlibraryri.org to sign up. I still have plenty of copies of Saffy's Angel available so feel free to come in and get one today!

As I was looking around online for information about Saffy's Angel for our meeting, I noticed that there have been many different covers published. I always enjoy seeing different covers and thinking about the ways in which they might change a person's perception of the book. We've all been told not to judge a book by it's cover but the fact remains that the cover is often times the first impression you get of a book. Therefore, it's very important! Here are a few of the different covers for Saffy's Angel that I found:

I believe this is the original hardcover edition first published in 2002. This is the one most RI public libraries seem to have...

A hardcover large print edition in 2003.

A paperback import edition (the author is English and the book was originally published in England).

Another edition with the "winner" sticker. Saffy's Angel was the 2002 Whitbread Award winner (a British award).

A more recent paperback edition...

So what do you think? What do each of the covers "say" to you? What sort of impression do they each make? How are they similar and how are they different? Is there one that makes you want to read the book more than another? Which is your favorite?