“Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something worth living for.”
~ Ray Bradbury ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends:
The Pen & Muse posted How to Trim Words from Your Manuscript by Janice Hardy. You can find it HERE. This is something I really need to work on.
Anne R. Allen has a terrific post on 5 protagonists readers hate. This is worth your time. Click HERE to read it.
Writers Helping Writers have a great post HERE on reading people as a skill for characters. Great ideas in this post.
Last week, I offered a gently-read copy of Smile by Raina Telgemeier to one of you. The lucky winner this week is Clara Bowman-Jahn. Congratulations, Clara! I will get the book out to you this week. For those of you who don't know Clara, she is a picture book writer and blogs about picture books. You can find her blog and information about her books by clicking HERE.
This week I am going to review and GIVE AWAY two books. I like funny books and both of these are really funny. The first, Leroy Ninker Saddles Up by Kate DiCamillo is for young middle-graders -- second- or third-graders -- but others will enjoy it. Like I said, it's funny! The second, Family Ties by Gary Paulsen is for older kids -- sixth- to eighth-graders, but again, others will like it. It had me laughing out loud. Everyone who has a family will get a kick out of this one. Here are my reviews from the San Francisco Book Review. Read through to the end to find out how to win these two funny, funny books.
Leroy Ninker is not a big fellow. In fact, he is rather small. But he has boots and a hat and a lasso. He often is heard to say “yippie-i-oh.” He wants to be a cowboy, but he works in a theatre concession stand and is happiest on Western night. He is finally told real cowboys must have horses, so he sets out to get one. When he finds Maybelline, it is a match made in heaven. They love each other immediately. The woman who sells Maybelline to Leroy Ninker tells him there are three rules to owning her. Can Leroy Ninker remember all three and become a real cowboy with a horse?
“The horse ate the first pot of noodles in a single gigantic gulp. As far as Leroy could tell, she didn’t even bother to chew.”
Kate DiCamillo has a real winner on her hands with this new book. Leroy Ninker is a great little character who will be fascinating to the first to third grade crowd and will keep them turning pages and asking for more. This book is funny and smart and very entertaining. The illustrations by Chris Van Dusen, also funny, smart, and entertaining, are the perfect complement for this story. There is a special surprise at the end for fans of DiCamillo’s other chapter books. Don’t miss this one.
Kevin Spencer is back and his ideas are, ahem, more interesting than ever. He
decides to heal a rift between his father and his Uncle Will, and invites him to visit. Will shows up with his new bride, her son Sparky (who really likes fires), and their huge dog with bladder issues. Kevin, it seems, is the only one happy to see them. And he decides they should have a real wedding right there at the house. Kevin busily texts everyone in their extended family (they arrive in droves) and promises he will handle everything. Oh, and he also has an art project due in a week and a group project with his old nemesis Katie, all while trying to impress Tina Zabinski, the best smelling and prettiest girl in the eighth grade. What could go wrong?
“I took a few minutes to alternate hyperventilating and grabbing handfuls
of my hair as the list I’d dropped on the floor swirled in front of me,
pulsing and throbbing in neon colors. It would have been a cool
sensation under different circumstances.”
Gary Paulsen has a terrific franchise with the Liar, Liar series, and this book is the best of the bunch. The first-person voice of Kevin is pitch-perfect for a smart, extremely inventive, and funny eighth-grade boy, with the emphasis on funny. Kids will love this, but adults will see their wackiest relatives all over the place in this book. This is a must read!
I would like to pass my gently-read copies along to one of you. All you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do. And don't forget to check Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog for more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways. Click HERE to visit.