Here's what came in the mailbox this past week:
This Gorgeous Game by Donna Greitas, from Farrar Straus Giroux
A CHILLING NOVEL ABOUT THE ISOLATION OF BEING STALKED AND THE ABUSE OF POWER.
Olivia Peters is over the moon when her literary idol, the celebrated novelist and muchadored local priest Mark D. Brendan, offers to become her personal writing mentor. But when Father Mark’s enthusiasm for Olivia’s prose develops into something more, Olivia’s emotions quickly shift from wonder to confusion to despair. Exactly what game is Father Mark playing, and how on earth can she get out of it?
Winging It by Jenny Gardiner, autographed copy won on Twitter
A hilarious and poignant cautionary tale about two very different types of creatures, thrown together by fate, who learn to make the best of a challenging situation -- feather by feather.
Like many new bird owners, Jenny and Scott Gardiner hoped for a smart, talkative, friendly companion. Instead, as they took on the unexpected task of raising a curmudgeonly wild African gray parrot and a newborn, they learned an important lesson: parrothood is way harder than parenthood.
A gift from Scott's brother who was living in Zaire, Graycie arrived scrawny, pissed-off, and missing a lot of her feathers -- definitely not the Polly-wants-a-cracker type the Gardiners anticipated. Every day became a constant game of chicken with a bird that would do anything to ruffle their feathers. The old adage about not biting the hand that feeds you -- literally -- never applied to Graycie.
But Jenny and Scott learned to adapt as the family grew to three children, a menagerie of dogs and cats, and, of course, Graycie. In this laugh-out-loud funny and touching memoir, Jenny vividly shares the many hazards of parrot ownership, from the endless avian latrine duty and the joyful day the bird learned to mimic the sound of the smoke detector, to the multiple ways a beak can pierce human flesh. Graycie is a court jester, a karaoke partner, an unusual audio record of their family history, and, at times, a nemesis. But most of all, she has taught the family volumes about tolerance, going with the flow, and realizing that you can no sooner make your child fit into a mold than you can turn a wild parrot into a docile house pet. Winging It is an utterly engrossing reminder of the importance of patience, loyalty, and humor when it comes to dealing with even the most unpleasant members of the family.
Sound Bingo by Kindermusik, from Chronicle Books
This sound-inspired game features 6 double-sided bingo cards, 100 vinyl game pieces, and a variety of sounds, from animals to musical instruments. Pop in the CD, identify the sounds, and find the corresponding picture on a card. The first to fill the card declares 'bingo!' and wins the game. Play at home, in the car, or anywhere a CD player is available. Guaranteed to keep ears and eyes amused!
Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood by Jame Richards, from Knopf Delacorte Dell
Sixteen-Year-Old Celstia spends every summer with her family at the elite resort at Lake Conemaugh, a shimmering Allegheny Mountain reservoir held in place by an earthen dam. Tired of the society crowd, Celestia prefers to swim and fish with Peter, the hotel’s hired boy. It’s a friendship she must keep secret, and when companionship turns to romance, it’s a love that could get Celestia disowned. These affairs of the heart become all the more wrenching on a single, tragic day in May, 1889. After days of heavy rain, the dam fails, unleashing 20 million tons of water onto Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in the valley below. The town where Peter lives with his father. The town where Celestia has just arrived to join him. This searing novel in poems explores a cross-class romance—and a tragic event in U. S. history.
Good-Bye Bully Machine by Debbi Fox and Allan L. Beane, from Free Spirit Publishing for review and giveaway during Children's Book Week
Kids learn what bullying is, why it hurts, and what they can do to end it with this fresh, compelling book. With its contemporary collage art, lively layout, and straightforward text, Good-Bye Bully Machine engages kids and keeps them turning pages.
The unique format of Good-Bye Bully Machine helps kids understand the definition and impact of bullying by comparing it to a mean machine—the Bully Machine. Kids can see how bullying makes the machine grow more imposing, while kind behaviors dismantle it.
Through the machine, kids gain awareness of their role in bullying, whether they are targets, bullies, bystanders—or all three. The role of the bystander is especially important. Good-Bye Bully Machine helps kids see the power of the bystander to become an ally, which means learning to show empathy, engage in kind acts, and take a stand against bullying. It's a perfect way to engage reluctant readers and hard-to-reach kids.