Novel: Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos (2012 Newbery Award):
We had a very small but lively group at our last meeting. Almost everyone didn't see much to love in the Gantos book -- except one dissenter -- yours truly. Most felt that the plot didn't hold up, that no one 'paid for' the many deaths, that many of the characters and events just didn't make sense, and that they just basically didn't enjoy reading it. Your dissenter felt it was a perfect '12-year-old boy' book, with its bodily parts humor, hassles with parents, and other typical 'boy' elements. All agreed however that there were some very wonderful descriptions and small pieces of writing. If you're interested in reading the professional reviews of this book, here's a link: http://catalog.lapl.org/carlweb/jsp/titlelist_page.jsp Click on 'Professional Reviews' directly under the book title.
Picture Book: Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade by Melissa Sweet (2012 SCBWI Golden Kite Award, Robert F. Sibert Medal, and NCTE Orbis Pictus Award): As for Melissa Sweet's Balloons..., our picture book, the accolades were effusive! We all loved her perfect mix of text and illustrations, the variety of types of illustrations and points of view, the replicas of real signs and articles, and the appealing telling of a story that might have otherwise been boring to children. We all gave it an A+.
After talking about marionettes, we thought it might be fun to attend a performance at Bob Baker's Marionette Theatre near downtown LA. Performances are on Saturdays or Sundays at 2:30pm. Here's a link to the website: http://bobbakermarionettes.com/Shows.html