Tiptoe Joe by Ginger Foglesong Gibson

TiptoeJoeHaving hosted our Friday morning Wee Ones Storytime for the better part of five years, I can attest to the fact that toddlers don’t like to sit still. They really, really don’t. Really. Any time they can get on their feet and moving, they’re happy campers! And this book provides the perfect opportunity.

Tiptoe Joe greets his animal friends and urges them to follow him on tiptoe to see a fantastic surprise. Each animal has a signature sound (which can easily be accompanied by a simple movement of your choice) that is repeated through the story. All this action is punctuated by the refrain, “Tiptoe, tiptoe, quiet please. Tiptoe underneath the trees.” It’s an awesome way to get kids moving in a controlled (read: not flailing!) way.

Repetitive stories are so helpful for getting little children involved, and author Ginger Foglesong Gibson is clearly clued in to that!

Read on, readers!
Miss Megan

Tiptoe Joe by Ginger Foglesong Gibson, illus. by Laura Rankin; Greenwillow (HarperCollins); 17.99; Ages 2-6

Authors We Love: Lauren Oliver

I first read Lauren Oliver’s debut novel, Before I Fallas an ARC (advance reader’s copy) way back in 2009. I enjoyed it and was pretty sure I had Lauren figured out as an author. She’d definitely stick with the YA age group, writing realistic teen fiction with an emotional twist. I looked forward to more.

And then she released her first middle grade novel and completely twisted my conception of her on its head! Surprise! She’s an author/shape shifter who just gets more and more compelling with each new release.


Lauren Oliver

Born: Queens, NY

Genre: YA realism & dystopia, middle grade fantasy

Coming soon: paperback edition of The Spindlers (Aug. 2013); Panic (Spring 2014)

Before I FallHarperCollins; 9.99; Ages 12+; pub. Mar. 2010

Opening line: “They say that just before you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that’s not how it happened for me.”

If I had a nickel for every time someone compared this book to the movie Groundhog Day, I’d have many, many nickels. It’s really more akin to a marriage between Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why and the darker moments of Mean GirlsOliver weaves a beautiful story of redemption that is bittersweet and satisfying without conceding to a traditional “happy” ending.

Liesl & PoHarperCollins; 6.99; Ages 9+; pub. Oct. 2011

Opening line: “On the third night after the day her father died, Liesl saw the ghost.”

I was teary by the time I finished the forward of Oliver’s middle grade debut. Written shortly after the unexpected death of a dear friend, Liesl & Po exudes a deep connection between author and material. It feels like a treasured fairy tale and makes a terrific read-aloud. My favorite of her books so far.

The SpindlersHarperCollins; 16.99; Ages 9+; pub. Oct. 2012

Opening line: “One night when Liza went to bed, Patrick was her chubby, stubby, candy-grubbing and pancake-loving younger brother, who irritated and amused her both, and the next morning, when she woke up, he was not.”

Initially inspired by Maurice Sendak’s creepy and arresting Outside Over ThereSpindlers is the story of an intrepid sister who sets off on a grand adventure to save her brother. Liza descends into the hidden world beneath her parents’ basement (I’m reminded of Gaiman’s Neverwhere) to win back Patrick’s soul, which has been spirited away by spindlers, hideous spider-like creatures. It’s a quick read, and one I tore through in one sitting—I didn’t want to let it out of my clutches until I reached the (very satisfying) ending!

Delirium trilogy; HarperCollins; Ages 12+; pub. Aug. 2011

Opening line: “It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure.”

Lauren Oliver does dystopia! Delirium, Pandemoniumand Requiem comprise Oliver’s imagining of a world where love is a crime. This series is well written, thoughtful, and far less “explodey” than teen dystopia tends to be, for which I give it lots of credit.

Come browse our shelves and flip through some of Lauren’s books! You’ll be under her spell in no time.

Read on, readers!

Miss Megan

Authors We Love: A.S. King

I love books that stand on their own. I do. Sometimes I could care less what else an author has written. I’ve found a book I love, and all others can step aside.

But there are certain authors who I find fascinating because their entire body of work tells a unique story. So, in this blog series, I’ll be chatting about some of my favorite writers and their works as a whole.

AS King author photo

A.S. King (Amy Sarig King)

Born: Pennsylvania, USA

Genre: realistic YA fiction (with the occasional magical twist)

Coming soon: Reality Boy (Oct. 2013)

Please Ignore Vera Dietz; Ember; 9.99; pub. Oct. 2010

Opening line: “Before I died, I hid my secrets in the Master Oak. This book is about my best friend, Vera Dietz, who eventually found them.”

First A.S. King I read! Reminiscent of Laurie Halse Anderson. A complicated, affecting examination of grief and guilt. This story grabs hold and stays with you. A 2011 Printz Honor Book.

Everybody Sees the Ants; Little, Brown; 9.99; pub. Oct. 2011

Opening line: “All I did was ask a stupid question.”

My favorite of King’s novels. Lucky Linderman is the ultimate underdog, victim of relentless bullying, undefended by his father, and dreamer of strange dreams involving his long-lost POW/MIA granddad. Lucky’s humor buoys this masterful book. I didn’t want it to end.

Dust of 100 Dogs; Flux; 9.95; pub. Feb. 2009

Opening line: “Imagine my surprise when, after three centuries of fighting with siblings over a spare furry teat and licking my water from a bowl, I was given a huge human nipple, all to myself, filled with warm mother’s milk.”

A close second to Ants in my mind. King is at her magically-realistic best here, managing to make a story about pirates, reincarnation, revenge, and true love work brilliantly. It’s far from fluff, but I’ve been recommending this as a beach read, simply because all you’ll want to do is lie in the sun and tear through it as quickly as possible.

Ask the Passengers; Little, Brown; 17.99; pub. Oct. 2012

Opening line: “Every airplane, no matter how far it is up there, I send love to it. I picture the people in their seats with their plastic cups of soda or orange juice or Scotch, and I love them.”

A delightful story about coming of age and coming out, but mostly about love in its many forms. King avoids the possible cliches of small-town life, instead focusing on protagonist Astrid’s tricky navigation of romance and family. Also, have I mentioned that A.S. King is awesome at naming characters?

Those who have been following this blog for a while will know this isn’t the first time I’ve fangirled out over Ms. King. I blogged about her love of indies back in July. Yeah, I’ve got a pretty big author crush going.

Read on, readers!

Miss Megan

Miss Megan’s Five Star Favorites, Part III

Believe it or not, I read grownup books on occasion. Not as often as I would like, but still, I try to add a “big kid” title to my list every now and again. These are a selection of my favorites, the ones I’ve given the coveted five star rating on Goodreads.

The Death of Bees by Lisa O’DonnellHarperCollins; 25.99; Ages 16-adult

Opening line: “Today is Christmas Eve. Today is my birthday. Today I am fifteen. Today I buried my parents in the backyard. Neither of them were beloved.”

For fans of: The Cement Garden; The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Pure by Julianna BaggottHachette; 9.99; Ages 14-adult

Opening line: “There was a low droning overhead a week or so after the Detonations; time was hard to track. The skies were buckling with dark banks of blackened cloud, the air thick with ash and dust.”

For fans of: The Hunger Games; Divergent

Room by Emma DonoghueLittle Brown; 14.99; Ages 16-adult

Opening line: “Today I’m five. I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark I’m changed to five, abracadabra.”

For fans of: Living Dead Girl; Angela’s Ashes

Atonement by Ian McEwanAnchor Books; 15.00; Ages 16-adult

Opening line: “The play—for which Briony had designed the posters, programmes and tickets, constructed the sales booth out of a folding screen tipped on its side, and lined the collection box in red crepe paper—was written by her in a two-day tempest of composition, causing her to miss a breakfast and a lunch.”

For fans of: Skeletons at the Feast; Never Let Me Go

Jane Eyre by Charlotte BrontePenguin; 7.99; Ages 14-adult

Opening line: “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.”

For fans of: Great Expectations; Persuasion

Give us a call or shoot us an email if you want to put any of these titles on hold! (703) 548-4092 or info@hooray4books.com

Read on, readers!

Miss Megan

Miss Megan’s Five Star Favorites, Part II

I love middle grade, but more often than not I find myself gravitating to the Young Adult section. There are just such fantastic choices available over there these days! Here are some of my all-time favorites.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryPenguin; 4.99; Ages 10-adult

Opening line: “Mrs. Rachel Lynde lived just where the Avonlea main road dipped down into a little hollow, fringed with alders and ladies’ eardrops and traversed by a brook that had its source away back in the woods of the old Cuthbert place.”

For fans of: Daddy Long Legs; Betsy-Tacy

Jepp, Who Defied the Stars by Katherine MarshHyperion; 16.99; Ages 12-adult

Opening line: “Being a court dwarf is no easy task. I know because I failed at it.”

For fans of: The Astonishing Life of Octavian NothingDavid Copperfield

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth WeinHyperion; 16.99; Ages 14-adult

Opening line:  “I AM A COWARD I wanted to be heroic and I pretended I was. I have always been good at pretending.”

For fans of: I Capture the Castle; Flygirl

Chime by Franny BillingsleyPenguin; 8.99; Ages 14-adult

Opening line: “I’ve confessed to everything and I’d like to be hanged. Now, if you please.”

For fans of: The DivinersFinnikin of the Rock 

The Book Thief by Markus ZusakKnopf (Random House); 12.99; Ages 14-adult

Opening line: “First the colors. Then the humans. That’s usually how I see things. Or at least, how I try.”

For fans of: Milkweed; I Am the Messenger

I Capture the Castle by Dodie SmithSt. Martin’s; 14.99; Ages 14-adult

Opening line: “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.”

For fans of: A Brief History of MontmarayJane Austen

We try to always have copies of these books on our shelves! Come by and check them out sometime!

Read on, readers!

Miss Megan

Who Could That Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket

9780316123082You know Lemony Snicket from his critically acclaimed and bestselling Series of Unfortunate Events books. He’s written other titles, of course, my favorite of which is the disturbing and hilarious The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming (finally, a holiday picture book for jaded grownups!).

Snicket is back with All the Wrong Questions a new series for middle grade readers! Parents should note that some of the scary stuff that made SOUE difficult to hand to sensitive (or younger) readers is pretty much rejected here. Any tense situation is leavened by absurd characters and hilarious flights of Snicket’s signature offbeat imagination. It’s Hardy Boys meets Mysterious Benedict Societya sure pick for fans of aspiring gumshoes and outlandish plot twists. 

The plot’s simple enough: a young Lemony Snicket begins his apprenticeship with an unnamed organization and attempts to solve the mysterious disappearance of a strange object in an even stranger town. The events that ensue are, of course, strange, puzzling, and utterly entertaining!

I love this book as a pick for advancing chapter book readers—or as a read aloud choice for the whole family!

Read on, readers!

Miss Megan

Who Could That Be at This Hour? (All the Wrong Questions #1), by Lemony Snicket; Little, Brown; 15.99; Ages 8-12