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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Deep dive into grief

Cover of You Don't Have to Say You
A review of You Don't Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir by Sherman Alexie

If you’ve read the wonderful children’s novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian you know the PG version of Alexie’s life story growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington. You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me is the adult version, and it’s beautiful, haunting, devastating, and raw. When his mother Lillian died in 2015 he began writing this book. She was a complex woman: brilliant, an amazing quilter, cruel at times, and damaged by growing up Native in these United States. Unlike her son, she did not attain her dreams. I k

Oct 24, 2017

1, 2, 3...Build!

Cover of Billions of Bricks
A review of Billions of Bricks by Kurt Cyrus

Billed as a counting book, Cyrus brings much more to this artful picture book.  We count bricks by ones, fives, tens and twenties.  Readers also learn how bricks and mortar are made, and are treated to the math, science, design and artistry involved in bricklaying.  The rhyming text invites repeated read-alouds. And the photo-realistic illustrations are worth multiple visits as well, with a racially diverse cast of characters that range in age from children to grandparents, all sporting hardhats and coveralls and fully involved in the building.

Oct 20, 2017

I miss Chi's Sweet Home

Cover of FukuFuku
A review of FukuFuku by Kanata Konami

Going back over time, I calculate that I've read and written about at least six different cat comics or children's graphic novel series on MADreads.  This does not include a childhood spent reading Garfield.  This does not include my recent (personal) purchasing and reading of the new "Grumpy Cat/Garfield" comic series.  Who knew that Grumpy Cat and Garfield knew each other?!?!?  It's an amazing world!!  I guess what I'm trying to say is that there's a wealth of this kind of material out there and I celebrate it.  All of it.

Oct 19, 2017

Noir with a touch of Minnesota nice

Cover of Gone to Dust
A review of Gone to Dust by Matt Goldman

PI Nils Shapiro has seen some dirty crime scenes, but none like this. In an otherwise immaculate house in Minneapolis’s snobbiest suburb, there are heaps of vacuum bag dust—and under one of those heaps is the corpse of Maggie Somerville, freshly divorced and Edina’s first murder victim in decades. The killer obviously knew what he/she was doing—the presence of so much dust makes forensic analysis impossible and an overnight snowstorm obliterated any exterior trails. This seemly impossible case is the set up for Matt Goldman’s debut Gone to Dust.

Oct 17, 2017

A Snapshot of History

Cover of Jazz Day
A review of Jazz Day by Roxane Orgill

Have you ever looked a group picture and wondered what was happening as the shot was captured? Well, Roxane Orgill’s ‘Jazz Day’ does just that, and more. The photograph Harlem 1958 is now famous for picturing 57 jazz musicians in Harlem on August 12, 1958. Photographer Art Kane called for any and all jazz musicians to gather for the picture and ‘Jazz Day’ places you in the midst of it all through 21 poems.

Oct 13, 2017

Who's a Good Boy?

Cover of Hello Goodbye Dog
A review of Hello Goodbye Dog by Maria Gianferrari

Like Mary's Little Lamb, Moose the dog follows her favorite human, Zara, to school in search of love and stories. When attempts to help Moose say "Goodbye" become more madcap than her parents or teachers can handle, Zara thinks of a brilliant solution: "Hello," therapy dog Moose!

 

Trained therapy dogs provide a patient listening presence for accomplished and struggling readers alike. Several Madison Public Libraries participate in Read to a Dog programs--see the Fall Kidspages for dates and times, all ages and reading abilities welcome! 

 

Oct 6, 2017

Retreat and regroup

Cover of Now that You Mention It
A review of Now that You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

“The first thought I had after I died was: How will my dog cope with this?
The second thought: I hope we can still go with open casket.
Third thought: I have nothing to wear to my funeral.
Fourth: I’ll never meet Daniel Radcliffe now.
Fifth: Did Bobby just break up with me?

Oct 5, 2017

Mannerling wants your soul

A review of Daughters of Mannerling Series by Marion Chesney

I’m not one who typically goes back and reads classic romance authors since I often have my hands full of newly released titles, but when a colleague extolled the virtues of Marion Chesney’s Regency-set romances, I was intrigued enough to check out the audio recording of The Banishment, the first title in Chesney’s Daughters of Mannerling series. It was short, and the audio appealed as much as the print version’s dated and ugly covers did not. Well, dear reader, I did not know what I was getting into.

Oct 4, 2017

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