Book of the Week: Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth

Book of the Week

Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Sanjay Patel & Emily Haynes

Published: 2012  by Chronicle Books

Reasons why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:

I love how this book opens with an explanation of who Ganesha is and what he represents in Hindu culture.

Ganesha for those of you who do not know is a Hindu got. He’s depicted as having four arms, a body that is a “tad chubby”, and has an elephant’s head.

The first thing that really attracted me to this book was the colors. It seems that ever color of the rainbow is present and accounted for.

Because of all those vivid colors, the story is a cheerful one.

Ganesha was just like most kids: he likes to dance, swim, play cricket, swing by his trunk, and even jump rope.

Ganesha is a “tad chubby” because he likes sweets.

Speaking of teeth, Ganesha, the elephant headed god, doesn’t have any teeth. He has one large tusk.

Ganesha has a teeny, tiny, magical sidekick – Mr. Mouse.

Ganesha collects sweets from temples in his neighborhood temples.

This book shows young readers that even though they may not want to share their goodies, it’s nice and the right thing to do.

Ganesha shares his treats with Mr. Mouse, but only one piece at a time.

Ganesha’s favorite treat is the laddoo a traditional Indian desert.

Each page of this book is a different color.

One day when Mr. Mouse and Ganesha are looking for treats they discover a new laddoo – a jawbreaker.

Ganesha is SUPER happy to find a new treat.

Mr. Mouse isn’t only a sidekick he’s a great friend. Since the jawbreaker is new and unknown to both of them, he warns Ganesha that if he eats the new laddoo they may break his tusk.

I love how this book shows young readers that we are all human and we all make mistakes.

Ganesha may be a powerful god, but he should have listened to Mr. Mouse.

He really shouldn’t have eaten that jawbreaker. Mr. Mouse was right, his tusk breaks right off the moment Ganesha chomps down.

Mr. Mouse tries everything to fix his tusk. He tries taping in, stapling it, toothbrush-ing it, and even sewing it.

Nothing worked.

I really love how the page colors as well as the shades of illustrations change to reflect the shift in Ganesha’s mood.  Obviously, he’s sad after losing his tusk.

He isn’t only sad, he’s also embarrassed.

I love how this book shows readers that are perception of ourselves is always different from others perceptions.

This book also shows that friends stick by your side, through thick and thin, good times and bad times.

When Ganesha flings his broken tusk into the night he has a stroke of good luck. His tusk hits the head of an old man who could use Ganesha’s help.

All of the illustrations are spectacular, but I particularly LOVE the illustration of the moon featured in this book.

The old man name’s is Vyasa, and he is a poet.

He needs Ganesha and his tusk to help him write a very special scribe  for an exceptionally long poem.

Vyasa has tried a number of writing instruments, all of which haven’t helped him.

But Ganesha’s tusk is just what is needed.

The poem is about the beginning of things and is called the Mahabharata.

The Mahabharata is one hundred thousand verses long.

Mr. Mouse stuffs himself while Ganesha is busy writing. Now he’s the chubby one!

This book is a book that all readers call learn from. It teachers reader about a different culture and that cultures beliefs.

The authors note explains that the story of Ganesha and his broken tooth is a popular story in Hindu Mythology.

I love how this story contains foreign words. They are sprinkled about the text.

The writing is as vivid as the illustrations.

Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth would make a great bedtime story.

I loved how this book piqued my curiosity. After reading I want to know more about the Hindu culture, the legends, and the myths.

 

Rootless

Reviews

Rootless by Chris Howard (ARC provided by publisher)

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There aren’t many living things in this new world that has gone dark. Among the surviving are humans who are waiting for the promised land, locusts who prey on the flesh of humans, and genetically engineered corn that provides both food and fuel. Trees have died out, books are rare remnants of the past, and seventeen year old Banyan’s father has gone missing.

For a year tree building Banyan has been trying desperately to piece the puzzle of his father disappearance, but he needs to survive in this cruel world. Needing both food and fuel Banyan takes a tree building job with a wealth drug addict, Frost. But this is no ordinary tree building job.

It’s there in Frost’s backyard that he begins to piece together the puzzle. Through Frost’s stepdaughter Zee, Banyan finds his father. In a picture, chained to a tree. Banyan’s father is alive and so are the trees!

In a race to end all races Banyan sets out to, not only find the one people who can answer all of his questions – his father – but to uncover the truth about the world in which he lives.

Is Banyan’s father still alive? And if so, will Banyan live long enough to find out?

Rootless, book one in a planned series, is author Chris Howard’s debut novel. Even though it’s action packed and full of unforseen twists and turns, Rootless falls flat somewhere along the way.

Howard’s writing is solid, but it is not the driving factor of the story. Told from main character Banyan’s perspective chunks of the text seem to come straight from his head. Readers will get to know who Banyan is as a character, but this style made the book feel clunky.
Banyan’s story relies heavily on the world in which he lives in. However, author Howard didn’t provide readers with the details of this world. At just over three hundred pages readers will expect answers to the burning questions which Howard presents: what actually made the world go dark? Without trees, where does oxygen come from? How do humans, animals, and the corn crops live and breathe?

Because Rootless is a planned series, readers that do stick with Banyan, will be looking forward to those answers.

What really drives this story forward, and what made me see the story through were the characters. Banyan is smart, resourceful, and above all things mature. So much so, that he didn’t feel like the average seventeen year old. Banyan is anything but average, he’s a strong survivor, who through this journey finds, not only an eclectic group of friends, but family who are just as strong as he is.

Howard’s Rootless was not my kind of book. I really appreciated the action, the solid writing, and the characters. But the lack of world building left too many questions unanswered and chunks of the plot up in the air.

Thankful!

Food For Thought, Random

Hello Readers!

With the holiday season upon us and in full swing, there are A LOT of things to be thankful for – family and friends who love and care for us, a roof over our heads and food on the table, and a number of great books published in 2012!

It’s also a time to give back, and one of my favorite author’s is doing just that! Victoria Schwab recently posted a Give Thanks. Give Back giveaway. Yes, it’s a giveaway that will give one lucky winner a key that unlocks a really great, generous prize. But it’s a giveaway that gives back.

For every entry, up to five hundred, Victoria is generously giving away $1.00 to one of three charities: Red Cross, The Nashville Human Society, and Books of Wonder.

We’re all thankful for something, so why not enter this really great, really simple giveaway and share those things you’re thankful for!?

To Victoria: Thanks for hosting such a great and generous giveaway! You Rock!!!

 

Cold Nights & Warm Books Holiday Swap

Food For Thought, Random

Hello Readers!!

 
As the holiday season approaches more and more book blogger holiday swaps are starting up. And once again, I’m participating in several.  One of which is the Cold Night & Warm Books Holiday Swap hosted by Squeaky Books and Emily’s Reading Room.

This is a great opportunity to give some books to people who share your interests, and GET some books to add to your library! But it only works if lots of people sign. Up. You can sign up either at Emily’s blog or Enna’s blog. Sign ups are open until November 22nd.

Book of the Week: Rat and Roach Friends to the End

Book of the Week, Children's

Rat and Roach Friends To the End by David Covell

Published: 2012 by Viking

Reasons why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:

I love that the two main character are a rat and a roach, creatures most people find repulsive.

When rat goes traipsing about in the sewers he wears a speedo and swim fins.

Roach is a neat freak. Rat is not.

This book shows that opposites really do attract.

It also shows readers that friends accept each other for who they are.

Relationships are give and take. For example, when Rat makes a mess Roach cleans it up.

When Roach cleans he wears pink rubber gloves.

This book shows that no person is perfect. We all have faults. Rat makes stink bombs, roach is a neat freak.

Friends sometimes argue and disagree.

When Rat and Roach disagree they call each other names.

Rat calls Roach: “toothpick, crabby head, flea!”

Roach calls Rat: “hair ball, tuna breath, and mouse!”

Rat likes to make things look pretty. He likes to paint chairs with pink flowers, spray sweet-smelling air freshener, and cook gourmet dinners.

Rat does NOT likes these things. But he does like to hug Roach (even if he squeezes too tightly), he likes to mimic Roach (even if it’s a bit annoying), and he likes to play drums in his band (even if Roach can’t sing).

It’s important to remember that if friends disagree you should always apologize and make up. No disagreement is worth losing a friend over.

Roach wears pink bunny slippers! For a Roach he’s totally cute!

I think Roach’s favorite color is pink.

I love how this book shows readers what true friendship is all about: give and take, good times and bad. 

Even though these two often disagree, they hug and makeup. They finally realize that their friendship is more important than any disagreement.

Author David Covell’s writing is smart and funny. As much of a children’s picture book this is, adults will appreciate the human and Covell’s attention to detail.

The illustrations are spot on. I love the illustrations are in various shades of gray, pink, green. I love the use of white space.

This is another one of those book that I would love to in my personal library.

Book of the Week: Nighttime Ninja

Book of the Week, Children's

Nighttime Ninja by Babara DaCosta Illustrated by Ed Young

Published: 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Reasons why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:

This book wasn’t what I expected it to be. It was surprising in so many ways!

I think there should be more books about ninjas!

I love the cover of this book! Readers know there’s a ninja hiding, but the cover still has an air of mystery about it. What is this ninja up to? Who is he waiting to pounce on?

In order for readers to get the full effect of the end papers and the title page they have to turn the book around, horizontally.

The end papers are decorated with ninjas scaling the walls.

Ninjas do their best work at midnight.

Certain pages are wordless. I love this effect in picture books. It allows the readers to rely solely on the illustrations to tell the story.

The book tells young readers some important skills a ninja must have: they must have good balance, they must be swift on their feet, they must be quiet, and above all things they must never get caught.

Ninja’s do their best work at night, when no one is around.

Ninja’s must know how to hide within the shadows.

I love how the illustrations are Asian inspired.

The little ninja in the book’s most important mission: stealing a midnight snack.

Unfortunately though, his mission is exposed when his mother flicks the light on.

Mother has a new, better mission in mind: a going to bed mission.

Mother is the ultimate ninja! Her mission was successful.

This is a story that is short and sweet.

The writing is simple, but strong. This is the kind of story that does not need a lot of words to make it great.

The illustrations are great, and appear to be in almost a collage style.

 

 

Book of the Week: Boy + Bot

Book of the Week, Children's

Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman Illustrated by Dan Yaccarino

Published: 2012 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Reasons why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:

Robots warm my heart. I kinda love them.

I love the simplicity of this book. It doesn’t need to rely on flashy writing or flashy images to entice readers. Instead it relies on a greatly written story with illustration that bring the story to life.

This is a story about friends.

Young readers will learn, through this book, that friends come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They’ll also learn that those things – shapes, sizes, and colors – do not matter in a relationship.

I love th end papers. They explain all the things that boy and bot like to do. And who they are. Bot needs fuel to quench his thirst Boy needs juice!

These two friends REALLY know how to have fun. They like to collect pinecones, skip rocks, rolling down hills, and much more.

I love how this book shows that real friends are there for each other through thick and thin, good and bad.

When Boy thinks Bot is sick he takes him home to nurse him back to health. He feeds him applesauce, reads a good book to him, and tucks him in for the night.

And when Bot thinks that Boy is sick he takes him back to the Inventor’s lab he oils Boy, reads to him, and gets a new battery for him.

Turns out both were just sleeping, they weren’t sick!

I love the inventor’s little sidekick. I’m not one hundred percent certain of what it actually is, but it appears to be a lightbulb with one unblinking eye and four spider-like legs.

This book also shows how, not only do friends come in different shapes, sizes, and colors, but so do families. Each family is unique.

Bots family is his inventor and this little lightbulb creature. Boys family is a mother and father.

The friends spend lots of time laughing and having fun.

I particularly love how Boy draws a picture of Bot and posts it to his refrigerator. Bot draws a picture of Boy and posts it to … well himself.

I love the photo strip illustrations of Boy and Bot. Not only are they cute, but I personally love photo booths.

I love the last picture in the book: it’s Boy and Bot walking through the forest were they first met, walking hand in hand.

I love how this book is short, sweet, and to the point. It shows that picture books don’t need to thick volumes in order to teach a lesson.

I loved Ame Dyckman’s writing. It’s smart, inviting, and imaginative. Everything I look for in a picture book.

The illustrations are great. I love the use of white space, and the bright colors. Little kids will absolutely love this book.

 

Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop

Contests, Food For Thought, Random

Hello Readers!

I’m a fan of all things books, if you haven’t already noticed that. So obviously I have a lot of them, books that is. And in order to make room for news one I need to clear my shelves. So I thought, what a perfect opportunity to join the Clear Your Shelves Giveaway Hop hosted by Kathy over at I Am A Reader, Not a Writer! (THANKS Kathy for hosting another hop. Awesome, as always).

For this Giveaway three lucky winners will get the chance to win one of three prize packages.

Prize Pack # 1 Includes:

A (used) hardcover copy of As You Wish by Jackson Pierce, a Fallen in Love postcard, a Venom bookmark, and a Brooklyn Burning bookmark.

Prize Pack #2 Includes:

A (used) ARC (advanced Readers Copy) of Going Underground by Susan Vaught, a Darker Still postcard, a Die for Me bookmark, and a Scarlett bookmark signed by author A.C. Gaughen.

Prize Pack #3 Includes:

A (used) hardcover copy of The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg, an Everyday bookmark, an Enchanted postcard, and an In a Glass Grimmly bookmark.

Giveaway is open to U.S. Residents only, ages thirteen years old and up. Contest open from November 12th (12:01 a.m.) and will run until November 18th (11:59 p.m.).

To enter simply leave a comment on THIS blog post only basically telling me what prize pack you would like to win. In your blog comment please make sure to leave a valid e-mail address. Winners will be selected by random number generator (Random.org), and will be notified by e-mail on November 13th. Winners will have two days (48 hours) to respond to e-mail.  If e-mail is not received another winner will be selected.

Simple, right?

Please make sure to check out all the other blogs that are participating in this hop. For a full list of participating blogs, click here!

Good Luck & Happy Hopping!

Shootin’ the Breeze With Sharon Cameron

Contests, Food For Thought, Interviews, Random

I’ll admit it, a few months ago I didn’t know who Sharon Cameron was. I didn’t know about this book called The Dark Unwinding. That is, until Book Expo America 2012.

As I stood on massive lines, met fellow bloggers, and picked up some great books I notices a number of people with these intriguing postcards displaying a very pretty girl in a very pretty blue dress.

Lo and behold I came across the Scholastic booth and found the postcard. Curiosity piqued I asked if there were any available copies. What I got was even better.

Not only was Scholastic kind enough to give mean ARC, but I also had the chance to meet Sharon Cameron and get the ARC signed.

I couldn’t wait to read this book! And from the moment I started reading I knew this was going to be a great read.

I absolutely loved everything about The Dark Unwinding, the lush descriptions, the realistic characters, the wonderful writing…everything!

I knew I had to feature author Sharon Cameron on the blog! And luckily, she was gracious enough to answer a few question for me and my readers.

BookBandit (BB): Can you tell me about yourself, and about your path as a writer?

Sharon Cameron (SC): I think of myself as an “accidental” writer, meaning that it never occurred to me to write until one day, on a whim, I tried it. It took about 45 minutes at the computer to decide I was changing my life, and I’m glad I did. That was seven years ago. Before that I was a classical pianist, which, strangely, was great training for becoming a novelist. It’s amazing to work creatively one on one with the same person over a period of years, it really shows you how unique each person can be. I just quit my day job this past May, a bittersweet day.

BB: What was the inspiration behind The Dark Unwinding?

SC: Lots of different ideas that came from completely different sources, and all of which fascinated me: Victorian clockwork, secret passages, the underground tunnels of Welbeck Abbey in England, the dark creepy tone of stories like Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier. All of these little interests and obsessions somehow melded in my mind and became something new. Transforming what you know into something unexpected is one of the coolest things about being a writer, I think.

BB: What kind of research did you do in order to write this book?

SC: I read a ton of primary source material, particularly first hand accounts of people who had visited Welbeck Abbey during the Victorian era. These writings were invaluable, as much as for what they didn’t say as what they did. No one seemed willing to tell the Duke that having walls around your bed, a railway in the basement, pink paint in every room and building miles of gaslit tunnels was not exactly normal behavior. But I also did some heavy research on autism, savant syndrome, and the eccentric minds of creative scientists.

BB: The Dark Unwinding is your first published novel. If you had to describe it using only three words, how would you describe it?

SC: Gothic, intriguing, and romantic (in all meanings of the 19th century word!)

BB: What was the best part of writing The Dark Unwinding? The hardest part? And if you had to write it all over again, what is only thing you would do differently?

SC: Besides the research (which I loved) I think the best part about writing The Dark Unwinding is that I really did just sit down and indulge myself, writing exactly the kind of story I’ve always loved to read. And I got to pay homage to some of my favorite writers, particularly Austen and Charlotte Bronte. But ironically, this also led to the hardest part. While making the language and turn of phrase very Austen or Bronte-esque, (and therefore believable for the period), I had to work very hard to keep the writing relatable to a modern reader.

If I got to do something differently, I think it would be to make the story longer!

BB: Besides Katherine, my favorite character was Lane. Of all your characters in The Dark Unwinding, which was your favorite to create and why? Which one do you most identify with?

SC: I loved writing Katharine and Lane. But I think my favorites were Uncle Tully and Davy, both because they were so challenging. Finding the correct voice for Uncle Tully –one that was unique, and yet respectful toward his condition– was the result of some real trial and error. And of course since Davy doesn’t speak at all, it had to be his actions, expressions, and the way others reacted to him that really built his character, rather than his thoughts or dialog.

On a personal level, I definitely relate to Katharine the most. While she’s definitely not me, we do share some characteristics, such as a tendency to have a lot more going on beneath the surface that we usually show to the world.

BB: Personally, I found your book to be, not only fresh, but unlike any other teen book out on the market today. It’s so unique. As the author, what sets The Dark Unwinding apart from other teen books?

SC: I think what probably sets The Dark Unwinding apart is that it was not really written for teens, not specifically. I believe in writing for people that love story, whatever age they happen to be. I can only hope that readers will find the stories I write not only meaningful during their teen years, but long after they’ve moved to other seasons of life. But I do love featuring characters in their teens, because those years are so full of “firsts” and so many new aspects of being.

BB: You are a young adult author, so I have to ask — who are some of your favorite teen authors, and what are some of your favorite teen books?

SC: One of my favorites is Ruta Sepetys, both for Between Shades of Gray and her new novel on the way, Out of the Easy. I’m also a huge fan of Megan Whalen Turner’s Eugenides series.

BB: Can you tell about any upcoming projects? And if readers/fans can expect more from Katherine, Uncle Tully, and the mysteries of Stranwyne Keep?

SC: Yes! There is a sequel to The Dark Unwinding, scheduled for fall of 2013, but I can’t say more than that. Stay tuned!

BB: What advice could you offer to aspiring authors?

SC: Read, read, read. And then read some more. Work your craft, and write the story that is unique to you. And I can’t say enough about joining professional organizations like Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. A wealth of information and such an amazing support system to be had! SCBWI made a huge difference to me and my career.

____________

As a very special treat to my readersScholastic and Sharon Cameron were VERY generous to send me a hardcover copy of The Dark Unwinding to give away to one lucky winner.

As a bonus I will also throw in an assortment of bookmarks and some swag.

To enter you must be 13 years old or older, and live in the U.S.

Leave a comment on THIS blog post telling me what your favorite book, published in 2012, is (so far) since The Dark Unwinding was one of my fave 2012 reads. When posting your comment please make sure to leave a valid email address.

One winner will be selected by random number generator and will be notified by mail. Winner will have two days (48 hours) to respond to email, if response not received a new winner will be selected.

This giveaway will run from today, November 10th (noon) until November 16th (11:59 pm).

A BIG Thank You to Sharon Cameron and to Scholastic! For more info on Sharon Cameron check out her website here. For more info about Scholastic, check out their website here.

The Dark Unwinding

Reviews

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron (Received ARC from Book Expo America 2012)

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Seventeen – year – old Katherine Tullman is trapped in a life she doesn’t want and didn’t ask for. Orphaned and poor, her only home and means of income is her overbearing and money hungry aunt. Keeping books is all she knows, and if she listens to her aunt all she will ever know. Katherine knows she isn’t as worthless as her rich aunt says she is.

She has a purpose in this life. But right now, that purpose is to pay a visit to Stranwyn Keep, a community where her lives and works. A community that supports her aunt and plump younger cousin’s spending habits.

Katherine is sent there for one important reason: to observe and determine if her uncle is certifiably insane. Katherine doesn’t know much about the man she calls Uncle Tully, but upon arrival she soon learns that he’s definitely not insane. Rather, a misunderstood genius.

In her heart of hearts Katherine knows the only reason why her aunt sent her to Stranwyn Keep is to lock Uncle Tully up and collect a major pay off.

Will Katherine buckle under her aunt’s pressure? Will she stand up the uncle she’s come to love? Will she strand up for herself?

The Dark Unwinding is author Sharon Cameron’s debut novel. And it’s one that will keep readers on their toes.

Cameron’s writing is rock solid. In fact it is what really drives her debut novel. Full of descriptions that practically pop off the page, readers won’t have any trouble visualized what Stranwyn Keep looks like, from the tiny cottages to the rolling green hills. They’ll be able to visualize all the “toys” created by Uncle Tully and his imagination, especially that floating dragon.

Beyond her vivid descriptions, Cameron’s characters are another driving force. What makes them so is that they’re real. Reader’s will sympathize with Katherine, will fall head over heals for Lane, and will adore Uncle Tully and his wild imagination.

What I loved most about Cameron’s debut, The Dark Unwinding, is the fact that it’s an original, refreshing story that will engage and engross readers. Within the pages there really is something for everyone: magic, mystery, suspense, horror, and even budding romance.

The Dark Unwinding wasn’t flawless though. The biggest issue I had with it: it ended way too soon! Readers will want more, will want more explanations, and will want to know more about Uncle Tully’s toys!