Bryce, a Public Service Assistant here at the North Vancouver City Library, shares his NVCL Reads bingo. There’s still time to get a bingo of your own — the contest closes end of day Tuesday, September 5 — and be entered into the draw to win one of 5 $25 gift cards to a fabulous local bookstore.
The title of Crosbie’s book is derived from a lyric in seminal blues legend Lead Belly’s magnum opus “In The Pines”, later popularized by 90t’s alt-rock icon Kurt Cobain and Nirvana. Cobain also happens to be the raison d’etre for self-described “teenage dirtbag” Evelyn Gray and her drug-addled fantasies, to the point where a stint in hospital after an overdose conjures the spirit of His Mope-iness himself in the body of a man dressed only in a Celine Dion t-shirt and pajama bottoms. What follows next is Wild At Heart done grunge-rock style, as Crosbie mind-bendingly weaves the adventures of these two tragi-comic characters together in a Shakespearian Bonnie-and-Clyde prose, finishing with the realization that there may be a next life beyond the one that so many kids like Evelyn struggled to find in the decade of music’s mixed-up metaphors.
No it certainly is not, but doesn’t it look fantastic on him? A precocious fish tries to prank the owner of his newly “acquired” headgear by leading us to believe that they will never know it’s gone. Or will they? The author and illustrator of the award-winning I Want My Hat Back pens yet another funny tale of fins gone too far that will delight youngsters and parents alike.
Full disclosure: I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never read anything by Mr. Mowat. Until now. When most kids his age are tending to more domesticated pets, young Billy takes in two of the most unusual birds into his care. From bringing dead skunks to dinner and turning parades into riots, a rural town is turned upside down by their antics and no one (not even the family dog) will ever be the same again when Wol and Weeps make their home away from home.
In Donovan Curtis’ world, school is a joke and pranks are his best subject. An “accident” involving a bronze statue and a big basketball game nearly puts an end to his hijinks for good until an administrative mix-up sends Donovan not to detention, but instead to ASD (the Academy of Scholastic Distinction). An “A” student Donovan is not, but he gets top marks for bringing a sense of normalcy to the staid and squeaky-clean lives of the students he befriends. As his “punishment” continues (to the chagrin of the Superintendent of Schools and faculty of ASD, the bewilderment of his parents and pregnant, panic-stricken sister and the awe of his peers), Curtis transforms from class clown to creative mastermind when the fate of summer school looks to ruin the future of the robotics club. Like Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker, “with great power comes great responsibility” and that responsibility for Curtis is to use his gifts for good even if he’s not exactly sure what they are. Filled with equal parts humour and humility, Korman takes us on a rollercoaster of middle school minds with enough twists and turns to make for a thoroughly enjoyable ride.
Gripping. Intense. Heartbreaking. Profound. All words used describe this epic tale of sacrifice in one of the darkest periods in Canada’s military history. Not convinced? Here are some more:
“Nobody knows what happened to prevent Robert from opening the doors. Perhaps he was injured in the moment (his collar bone was broken) by the panic-stricken horses and perhaps he even lost consciousness for those few precious minutes when he might have gotten them out. What in fact happened was that Robert began shouting “I can’t! I can’t! I can’t! and by the time Mickle realized this meant ‘I can’t open the doors’ it was too late. A man was sent running to pull them open – and he did so. Robert – riding the black mare – was seen trying to bring her under control in the middle of the barn. There were flames all around him and his clothing was on fire. Mickle admits that, at that moment, he said a quick prayer for Robert Ross – and the prayer was for a quick death.”