Archive for July, 2008

Three Short (For Us) Co-Reviews:
Tales of Mibs, Matisse, and Keeper

h1 Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

Good morning, all. Here’s what 7-Imp has to offer today: Three short (for us) co-reviews of some new titles. One is for middle-grade readers; the second for YA readers; and the last one is an actual adult fiction title, making our count for adult fiction reviews a whoppin’ 24 now! Yes, we initially set out to talk about books for all ages at 7-Imp, but we’ve been slacking on our adult titles. Edward Hardy’s Keeper and Kid, our last review here, is one attempt to remedy that.

by Ingrid Law
Dial Books for Young Readers
May 2008

This wonderful book was released in May, and Eisha and I have been sitting on ARCs for a while. Before we got to our review, it up and won a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor in the category of Fiction and Poetry. Savvy, unlike any other book you’ll read this year, tells the story of Mississippi, or “Mibs,” Beaumont. She’s about to turn thirteen, and in her family that’s when the savvy strikes. A savvy, in their world, is “just a know-how of a different sort.” Not knowing what her savvy powers will be—but knowing full well she’s likely in for a huge surprise, since her brother can cause hurricanes, her other brother creates electricity, and her mother is truly perfect—Mibs is just a tad bit anxious about the birthday event. It’s even difficult for her to make friends: “It wasn’t safe to invite anyone over with Fish and Rocket still learning to scumble their savvies; we couldn’t risk someone finding out, or getting hurt by sparks or storms if my brothers lost control.” Yes, that said scumble, which means to learn to use your savvy or work around it; with words like that, you can see that this one’s definitely a read-aloud CHAMP.

To make matters worse, Mibs’s father is in a terrible accident the day before her party, and she now longs to discover she possesses a savvy which will save her father’s life. When she finds out it’s an entirely different and unexpected one, she has to adjust, though in the process she comes to understand a bit about hearing one strong voice in her head—her own—and tuning out others’. And when she stows away on a delivery bus which carries pink Bibles, only to eventually be joined by the preacher’s son and his sister with Quite The Attitude—a bus that heads in the altogether wrong direction—she’s gotta find a way to get to her Poppa.

eisha: This was a fun read. It has that kind of folksy tall-tale language we both dig, with fabulously far-fetched metaphors like… oh, I’ll just open to a page at random… like this: “Momma exhaled a long, slow breath, like she was singing the last note of a lullaby, and my heart almost broke with the total sadness of it.” There’s also frequent use of delicious-on-the-tongue words like “persnickety” and “frou-frou frippery.” Awesome.

I also liked the concept. I love a story that can introduce a bit of the fantastical into an everyday setting, and this one pulls it off nicely. The idea of a family of extra-specially-abled people is irresistibly cool, but the author does a good job of painting a realistic picture of what that would really mean: balancing out the benefits of, say, being able to generate electricity or control the weather with the sort of drawbacks that any kid can relate too: being different from other kids, having to hide who you are to fit in, and having family members who can embarrass the heck out of you in public.

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Marla and Jama chat it up in the kitchen

h1 Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

We’re not the only ones interviewing today (see my chat with author Gail Gauthier below): Don’t miss Jama Rattigan’s chat with picture book creator extraordinnaire Marla Frazee over at Jama’s Alphabet Soup, posted today. You know I love my illustrator interviews, and Jama does it up right, my friends. Lots of fabulous questions and wonderful images, and Marla talks about the story behind her latest, award-winning book, A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever, reviewed here at 7-Imp. (She also mentions working on Liz’s text — boy howdy and howdy boy, I can’t wait to see that book!).

Scoot. Scat. Vamoose! Go read and enjoy.

P.S. This isn’t the first great illustrator interview Jama’s done. There’s also a great chat with Laura Vaccaro Seeger here, Grace Lin here, and much more over there at her yummy Alphabet Soup.

Seven Impossible Interviews Before Breakfast #76:
Gail Gauthier & Chattin’ About Chapter Books

h1 Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

There are two reasons we’re pleased that author Gail Gauthier has stopped by 7-Imp for a cyber-chat today: First, she’s in the midst of a blog tour for her second early chapter book about Hannah, Brandon, and one monster cat named Buttercup. A Girl, a Boy, and Three Robbers—the sequel to 2007’s A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat—hits the bookshelves this month and continues the story of Brandon, reluctantly sent to neighbor Hannah’s house for after-school care. Hannah, to put it mildly, has quite the imagination, not to mention a ginormous, over-sized cat. In these new adventures of Hannah and Brandon, Hannah’s neighbors, the Sunderland triplets, try to steal the cat, Brandon and Hannah then setting out to save Buttercup. Just like the first book, A Girl, a Boy, and Three Robbers is high-energy, packed with adventure, and told with spot-on humor to the elementary students at which it’s aimed, those just becoming interested in chapter books. The books, published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, are illustrated by Joe Cepeda; some of the interior art from the new book is included below in this interview.

The second reason we’re happy to host Gail today is that she is a formidable presence in the kidlitosphere corner of Blogistan and has been since 2002. We are chatting with her today as not only an author but also as a blogger — one I’ve wanted to interview for a long while now. (And, no, we haven’t forgotten our blogger interviews. It just so happens that the last three people we’ve asked to interview are terribly multi-faceted and in-demand and . . . well, busy. We’ve stalled on that interview series for a bit out of necessity. But we’re patient. And I digress.)

Where was I? Over at Gail’s blog, Original Content, Gail talks a little bit about Everything Kidlit — her writing, trends, other books, publishing, blogging, etc. And what I love in particular is that she tells it like it is and isn’t afraid to pose questions — whether she’s talking about her thoughts on award-winning books, authors blogging, celebrity authors, or why blog reviews are important.

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