Friday, 29 May 2015

How to Catch a Dragon

How to Catch a Dragon
Caryl Hart & Ed Evans

I have an incredible habit of pickling up picture books that end up being about libraries. This one has a beautiful big dragon on the front, and this month, Share a Story is celebrating the theme of dragons. I have been visiting nurseries and primaries, telling stories and creating opportunities for learning and creativity, with the book, Too Hot to Hug. But having read that a number of times, I thought I'd treat myself to another dragon themed story.

Albie's homework is to draw a dragon, but if he has never seen one, how can he draw one? When his mum takes him to the library, Albie tries to find a book that might help,  but a chance encounter with a young knight leads him on an adventure full of dangers and monsters - he must be very brave to make it through.

How to Catch a Dragon is a generous story, in which kindness and friendship is celebrated, and libraries are praised as sources of inspiration and fuel for the imagination. It is through his creativity and willingness to explore the library that Albie manages to make friends and complete his homework.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Too Hot to Hug

Too Hot to Hug
Steve Smallman & Gee Biscoe

This afternoon, I am welcoming a group of primary school children to their public library for Share a Story month. The theme this year is 'dragons', so I got to explore our collection of dragon picture books and find some favourites. 

Too Hot to Hug is an adorable book about a dragon growing up. He is found in a cave by a young boy, who takes him home to his family. Crumpet the dragon is quickly adopted by the family, using his warmth to keep them all comfortable during the cold winter months - drying laundry, heating toast. But as Crumpet gets older, he gets hotter, until he is just too hot to hug. 

As an adult, I love the subliminal messaging in children's books, and in this one, it isn't even subtle - the family find the best way to keep Crumpet cool is to have a bath, so bathtime soon becomes incredibly fun for all. 

The illustrations in this book are brilliant, and those children who have already visited the library for a dragony story time have loved colouring in the pictures of Crumpet. He is a lovely, friendly dragon; perfect for Share a Story month. 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect
Holly Smale

There are few young adult novels that have continued to be a necessity in my life since I stopped being a school librarian. I am currently basking in being able to read adult fiction, and dabbling increasingly in picture books for fun. But without the Geek Girl series, I fear my life would not be the same.

It is finally time for Harriet Manners to hit New York City. With a new baby sister in her life, Harriet's dad must go back to work, and his career choices lead the family to New York. Harriet and her best friend, Nat, dream of those high spires and infamous landmarks, of adventures through great museums and romantic walks through Central Park. It means a couple of months off school, where Harriet is excited to embark into sixth form, but perhaps she might get to see a little more of the handsome Lion Boy, Nick.

But the arrival of the Manners family in New York does not quite go according to Harriet's plan. Rather than living in a fancy appartment in Manhattan, they are a few hours out of town in Harriet's idea of suburban hell. She has no friends, no school, and her parents seem to be perminantly asleep or trying to sleep around baby Tabitha's naps.

In a tizzy of anger, Harriet decides to take matters into her own hands, and ventures into the city to see Nick and the magic of the Big Apple. But running away is not as easy as it seems, so Harriet manages to upset just about everyone around her. And, in classic Geek Girl style, she finds herself drawn into a world where people just seem to want to change her and trick her and ultimately (though mostly accidentally) ruin her life.

As a reader, it is very easy to get frustrated as Harriet plunges into foolish decisions, from simply running away from home to pretending to play it cool with Nick to make him more eager. But equally, it is very easy to relate to her confusion and desire to fit in - we have all been there.

Yesterday, I stumbled upon the next Geek Girl book in a book shop, and could hardly stop myself reading it. So I went straight home and ordered it from the library. I cannot wait.