Monday, April 9, 2012

Book List 2012: Part 5

* = reread
[CB] = Children's Book
[GN] = Graphic Novel

53.* [CB]

The Stinky Cheese Man
and Other Fairly Stupid Tales
by. Jon Scieszka & Lane Smith

A collection of fairy tale parodies.

I've read this one before and, like the last time, I picked it up because it sounded like it would be right up my alley. I love fairy tales and thus I tend to love things that play around with the genre. Overall I'd say that this book isn't as good as I was hoping. A lot of it is pretty forgettable, which explains why I couldn't remember anything about it from the first time I read it. However, I've got to admit that a few of the stories were pretty darn good and made me laugh.

So anyway, this girl is running to her granny's house when she meets a wolf. He tricks her into taking the long way while he takes a short cut. Now this is the good part because Red runs so fast that she beats the wolf to granny's house. He knocks on the door. Red answers it. And guess what she says? 'My What slow feet you have.' And that's it. The End. Is that great or what?

54. [CB]

John, Paul, George, & Ben
by. Lane Smith

The stories of the founding fathers as children.

Once again Lane Smith has suckered me in with an interesting premise and a catchy title. He's a wily fellow that one. And I keep trying out his stuff despite the fact that I'm always left feeling like the story doesn't live up to the premise.

This one does have some rather cute bits, though. It's definitely better than a lot of the other Lane Smith books I've read recently, and it features the best artwork of all of them. Some parts were actually quite fun, but other parts were just kind of lame.

I did like how at the end it talked about what parts of the story were based on real facts and which ones are just popular myths and did so in a pretty fun way. While I would never buy the thing, I would certainly consider checking it out from the library around the 4th of July as a way of introducing a kid to some figures of American history.

Once there were four lads: John, Paul, George, and Ben.*

*Make that five lads.

There was also Independent Tom

(always off doing his OWN thing).


Voodoo Heart
by. Scott Snyder

A collection of short stories.

Scott Snyder, as you may have noticed, is the same person who writes those American Vampire comics I've been reading. As you can guess, I've been requesting a bunch of other stuff that he's written. And I wasn't disappointed. I really enjoyed all of the stories (a very good quality to have in a collection of short stories).

Short story collections are hard to talk about because they're just that: a collection of stories. One is about a guy who gets a job playing trumpet at an army-esque school and falls in love with his boss's daughter. Another one is about a man who is trying to get over the fact that his wife left him because she was in love with another man: a comatose country singer. My favorite story, however, was about a pilot who picks up a runaway bride.

As he approached the plane, though, he noticed a figure sitting on the lower port wing. Lord God, he thought. Charley. Waiting to pound him. John struggled to come up with some way of avoiding a fight, something he could say, but when he neared the plane he saw that the figure wasn't Charley at all. But the girl. The bride.

She was still wearing her wedding dress. On her feet were a pair of scuffed black boots. Her hair hung down the front of her shoulder in a long red braid. To John she looked like a discarded fairy-tale character, a princess plucked from a storybook and dropped onto the wing of his plane in a heap of twinkling fabric.

I left a note, John said to her. I'm not trying to sneak off.

The girl nodded at a valise sitting beside the plane's wheel.
I am, she said.

pg 242-243


by. Maxx Barry

A creative marketing whiz named "Scat" teams up with an intelligent and business savvy girl named "6" and together they attempt to sell a new idea to Coca-Cola. But they're about to get a first-hand look at just how ruthless the world of marketing can be.

I read this book on a whim because my friend Nick recommended it to me, so I wasn't sure what to expect. However, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a lot of fun and the story got me hooked and wanting to know what happens next. Oddly the book I find myself wanting to compare it to is Atlas Shrugged.

I actually really like about 2/3's of Atlas Shrugged. Before it gets wholly ridiculous and super preachy it is just an interesting story about these business owners (of railroads and steel factories) that are trying to compete with the odds stacked against them. Since I don't know much about owning a business or of competing in the business world I found it really interesting. This book is interesting for similar reasons, except that unlike Atlas Shrugged: it's talking about the world of marketing and not steel or railroads, it's rather funny, and it doesn't go off the rails in the third act.

Then maybe, Logistics says, sharing a secret, we should market her.

Silence, as the room digests this.

Could you please explain that remark, please? 6 says.

Apparently, Logistics says, sharing a secret, Hollywood studios have been renaming stars for years. To make them more appealing to the public. Big stars, like Kirk Douglas and even John Wayne—his eyes sweep the room—used to have stupid, hard-to-remember names. But with a new name, they became famous. He tips a wink in my direction. Perception is reality.

I struggle mightily against the urge to lean across the table and smack him. Saying Perception is reality to a marketer as if you're handing out clever advice is grossly insulting. It's like saying to an accountant: Now make sure those numbers add up; or to a new mother: You know, you have to feed them or they die. Never, never do it.

pg. 211

58. [CB]

Tiny Little Fly
by. Michael Rosen
illustrated by. Kevin Waldron

A children's book about a little fly who gets on all the animals nerves.

Okay, I really liked this one. The art had a really interesting look and style to it. Plus the book was really big so all the pictures really had room to stretch out. And I think it was written really well and would be a fun one to read to a kid. There's rhymes and sections with sound effects that you could have a lot of fun with.

Would I consider buying it for myself despite the fact that I don't have any kids? If I saw it used? Yes. I probably would.

Tiny Little Fly
sees great big toes...

Tiny Little Fly
sits on Elephant's nose.

Great Big Elephant
winks one eye,
says to himself,
I'm going to catch that fly!

Great Big Elephant winks the other eye.


But off flies the fly.

59. [CB]

Cats' Night Out
by. Caroline Stutson
illustrated by. J. Klassen

The story of the alley cats who're called to the streets every night by the sound of music and their love of dance.

The entire time I was reading this one I couldn't help but think about my friend Sarah. Because Sarah, you see, actually does like to get dressed up and go out in the evenings and dance. Which is pretty much what this book is all about.

Not to mention that mister Jon Klassen does the art! Ever since I read I Want My Hat Back I've been tracking down and reading books Klassen has done the art for. I love his stuff. Love love love it.

Oh, and I really like the rhyming in this book. The combination of good poetry and awesome art means that chances are high that I would buy this one if I saw a price I liked. Although the chances are also high that I'd end up writing "These cats are all you" inside of it and shipping it off to Sarah.

From the alley, music drifts.
Shadows sway to a trumpet riff...

Two cats samba, dressed in white,
on the rooftop Saturday night.

Four cats boogie, rock to the blues,
in poodle skirts and saddle shoes.

In the city,
windows light.
How many cats
will dance tonight?

60. [CB]

Say Hello to Zorro!
by. Carter Goodrich

A dog is pretty content with life until a new dog comes to the house and messes everything up!

I don't know. This book just wasn't doing it for me. But it isn't bad by any means. The art's good, but it doesn't take up enough room in my opinion. The story's okay, although a bit simple, but it'd be good for teaching kids about coming to terms with having new siblings (or parents or whathaveyou) in the house and how it can be annoying at first to have things be so different, but how it can also lead to good changes as well.

So yeah. It has some stuff going for it. It just didn't happen to be my particular cup of tea.

Mister Bud had it pretty good.
Everything was just right.

He had his own house.
His own bed.
His own toys.
His own dish.

But most of all...

He had his own schedule.
And everybody stuck to the schedule.

It went like this...

61. [CB]

Little White Rabbit
by. Kevin Henkes

A little rabbit is headed home and sees all sorts of interesting things along the way that spark his imagination along the way.

The art style on this one isn't really the kind up my alley, but it's still a pretty good book. It did a lot of things that I liked. I liked how it showed how using your imagination in your everyday life can be fun. I liked how the pictures gave an image to some different words (like "tall" and "over" for instance), and I liked that the rabbit had a loving family.

Soon little white rabbit was home.
He still wondered about many things,
but he didn't wonder who loved him.

62. [CB]

Blue Chameleon
by. Emily Gravett

The lonely chameleon is blue. Even though he tries to fit in by changing color and shape, neither the swirly snail, the green grasshopper, nor the spotty ball wants to be his friend. But there must be someone just like him.
-inside flap

Oh, man. This book is really simple and yet I love it anyways. It is just so much fun. I loved the art, I loved how goofy it all was, I loved that a chameleon was trying to befriend random objects, I really loved really clever way they showed the copyright info, I loved it all. It's writing and storyline were all pretty simple, but who cares. It was so fun that after reading it once I immediately read it again.

63. [GN]

Batman: The Black Mirror
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Jock & Francesco Francavilla

Dick Grayson comes face-to-face with a figure from his past and it forces him to consider if people can actually change.

Once again I read something just because it was written by Scott Snyder. Once again I wasn't disappointed. I will admit though that at first I wasn't so sure about this one. It seemed a little too typical Superhero comicy. But once it got going then it all fell into place. I mean, damn. The ending to this thing is intense. Not to mention that there is some really spooky stuff in this one. I was actually getting a bit spooked. I definitely was not expecting that. Plus when you find out who the villain is? So good. I had a lot of fun reading this one. I kind of wish I hadn't returned it already so I could read it again.

When I was a boy, my parents kept a big map of the country tacked to the wall of our dressing room.

The map had pins stuck in all the places our troupe was going to stop that season.

Different towns and cities were marked with different color pins.

Blue pins meant small towns...which meant small shows, less dangerous tricks.

Red pins meant big cities. So, big shows and more dangerous tricks.

All the stops were marked red or blue...

...except for Gotham City, which was marked by a black pin.

According to my father, the black pin meant no holds barred. Pull out all the stops. Bring down the house.

It meant put on the biggest, riskiest show of the season. No catch wires. No safety nets. Everyone pushing themselves to the limit.

I remember one time I asked my father why. What made Gotham so special?

And my father, he looked down at me and said...

...some places just have a hunger to them, son.

And you either feed them what they want...

...or you stay far, far away.

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