This old-fashioned rhyming picture book, first published in 1966, was LitKid’s second pick from our collection for reading this holiday season.

Santa Mouse (written by Michael Brown and illustrated by Elfrieda DeWitt) is particularly special in our house because it is responsible for one of our favorite Christmas Eve traditions (pay close attention, and you’ll figure out what it is).

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(Hermione, one of the ‘Lost in a Book’ kittens, has once again photo-bombed.)

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I love this opening illustration, which always reminds me a little of another favorite from my childhood — Gus the Friendly Ghost (see our earlier post), in which a mouse inhabits a big old house.

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This little mouse living all alone in a house doesn’t even have a name … but he does have a big imagination ~ and CHEESE.

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Then he makes a new friend who gives the little mouse an important new job … and the trip of a lifetime.

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And when Christmas Eve rolls around, we like to imagine Santa Mouse catching a ride down our chimney with the Big Guy … and we’re always prepared, just in case.

~AKid@Heart

We hope you can find a copy of Santa Mouse and enjoy it this Christmas!

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LitKid and I love reading the holiday picture books we’ve collected every bit as much now as we did when she was a little thing; taking them out of their off-season spot high in her closet is one of the first things we do to kick off the holidays.

We try to read one every night, and tonight she picked this one:

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All of the books in the “If You…” series are fun; we love the holiday twist of this one, not to mention the movie theme, as watching schmaltzy movies is also one of our holiday traditions.

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(Until we opened the book tonight, I had forgotten that Laura Numeroff signed the book back when LitKid was just 4 years old.)

Here is a favorite spread from the book (complete with kitten photobomb) … Happy holiday reading!

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~AKid@Heart

This summer, we had to say goodbye to our beautiful, funny 16-year-old calico, who came to be called simply ‘Miss Kitty’ over the years (she started out as Audie, short for Audubon, due to her love of birdwatching).

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Last night, we welcomed new felines into the family: Harry and Hermione, who have been putting on a show ever since — including, much to our amusement, showing a fascination with not one, but TWO brooms.

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I’m remembering excellent words that I’m rarely sparked to think about: madcap, mayhem, scamper, hijinks, frenetic … much chasing, scrambling, tumbling, racing, pouncing and rolling going on around these parts, along with the occasional mewing, squeaking and kitten-growling. (Add to that the squealing of the very excited LitKid, and it’s been a rollicking first night and day.)

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Hermione stayed close as LitKid did her homework last night, which made her very happy. I closed out my night reading a book by booklight as usual, but this time with Harry curled up as close to me as possible, resting his head on my book.

When it was time to turn a page, I had to tuck each one under his cheek.

I believe this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

~ AKid@Heart

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[this note was typed by Hermione; she clearly needs a little more practice before posting her first review]

Some of the Literary HIGHLIGHTS!

Veronica Roth, DivergentIMG_1738

Veronica Roth was a very interesting lady to listen to and was very friendly. She seemed confident and accomplished in her trade. Veronica talked about Allegiant (without giving anything away), so I’m really excited about the release. Her autograph lines were triple that of many other authors, and people were practically sitting on top of each other under a tent in the pouring rain to see her. She even had security guards!

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KATHERINE APPLEGATE. THE ONE AND ONLY IVANphoto-3

The One and Only Ivan is a really cool, and true, story about a gorilla, which snagged the Newbery Award this year. Ivan’s not just any gorilla –he expresses his need for freedom and a home at the zoo through art. It was really cool to meet Katherine Applegate in person, because I had the privilege of doing a Skype interview with her when I was a Scholastic Kid Reporter.

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Kirby Larson, Hattie Big Skyphoto-2

I finally had the privilege of meeting Ms. Larson, who was one of the first authors to patronize our blog. She has a new book out – interesting historical fiction – and I can’t wait to read Hattie Big Sky, which I hope to get a copy of ASAP, though The Friendship Doll will forever have a place in my heart. It was one of the first ARCs (Advance Reader’s Copy) I ever got in my book reviewing career, and my review of The Friendship Doll was one of my very first. My mom and I were so honored to meet her and couldn’t believe she knew exactly what we were talking about when we told her we were from the Lost in a Book blog. Thanks for following our blog, Ms. Larson!

 
I’ll write more about our trip soon (if I ever get free time from all my homework!).  You should go to the Festival and see for yourself  next year!
~LitKid
 

Hello Bloggers and Blog Readers of the universe….

I am heading out – well, after getting coffee for my mom first – to the National Book Festival on the Mall in Washington, DC, to check it out and meet all of this amazing talent!

Yesterday I got to see all the tents being set up, and it looked really cool.photo-2

Today I hope to meet and score autographs from the lovely Misses Roth, Applegate, and Naylor. I can’t believe I’m actually here!

National Book Festival, here we come!

~LitKid

PS: here’s more info on the festival on the Library of Congress website.

IvanThe One and Only Ivan

By Katherine Applegate

Newbery Award Winner

The One and Only Ivan tells us the story of a lonely gorilla living at the run-down  Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. His only companions are Julia, the janitor’s daughter and Stella, the elephant who has many cool stories about her past.

He spends his long days being admired and “oohed” and “aahed” over by humans. Their lives get more interesting when Ruby, a baby elephant joins them there. She’s witty and nervous, at first, but has spirit.

When Stella dies, and leaves Ivan with a promise to take care of Stella, he’s determined to get both of them to the zoo.

This story was really inspiring to me because it was based on a true story, and it shows you should never underestimate the power of determination. Especially when it comes in a four-legged package. Katherine Applegate does a splendid job of depicting a fictional version of Ivan.

It was really cool because I had the opportunity to do an interview with Ms. Applegate over Skype last spring, and I hope I will get to meet her in person at the National Book Festival in Washington this weekend!

~LitKid

summerbooksHere are some recommendations for 2013 summer reading that were handpicked from my own collection.

I hope you enjoy your summer and keep checking back for more reviews to be posted as soon as possible!

  • School of Fear, Gitty Daneshvari
  • Wonder, R.J. Palacio
  • The Apothecary, Maile Meloy
  • Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, by Wendy Mass
  • The Mother Daughter Book Club: Pies & Prejudice, Heather Vogel Frederick
  • Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, James Patterson
  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley(for 11+)
  • Autumn Winifred Oliver does things different, Kristin O’Donnell Tubb
  • The Penderwicks, Jeanne Birdsall
  • Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys
  • Probability of Miracles, Wendy Wunder (for 11+)
  • Out of My Mind, Sharon Draper
  • The Secret of the Old Clock, Carolyn Keene
  • Divergent, Veronica Roth (for 11+)
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E. L. Konigsburg
  • Bliss, Kathryn Littlewood
  • Prairie Evers, Ellen Airgood
  • The One & Only Ivan, Katherine Applegate
  • Septimus Heap Series, Angie Sage

~LitKid (12-year-old reviewer and book lover)

The Girl From Felony Bayfelonybay

By J.E. Thompson

Walden Pond Press

This story tells of a piece of land entitled “Felony Bay,” supposedly home to a long-lost pirate’s treasure.

Those rumors aren’t true, and Abbey Forde knows it. But when she finds out her uncle bought the Bay illegally and is in over his head, she is determined to stop him. Along the way, she meets Bee Force, a shy girl who finds her bravery in Abbey.

They must take every risk under the sun, and encounter alligators, poisonous snakes, and the criminals themselves.

This book is wonderful for people who love suspense and mystery at every turn of the page. In his debut middle grade novel, J.E. Thompson does a wonderful job of capturing South Carolina at its greatest.

I felt my anger loosen and drift away on the wind. “Who are you?” I asked.

“I’m Bee.”

I waited for her to say her last name and when she didn’t, I asked, “Bee who?”

“Bee Force.”

~ LitKid

Want to read more about The Girl from Felony Bay? Check out this interview with J.E. Thompson.

My co-blogger is enjoying her stint as a Scholastic Kids’ Press reporter this year. She was excited when her editor gave her the go-ahead when she “pitched” the idea of interviewing this year’s Newbery Award winner, Katherine Applegate, who was honored for her novel The One and Only Ivan.

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Through the wonders of technology, LitKid was able to interview the author at her home on the West Coast from our home on the East Coast on a rainy Sunday afternoon. (At one point, a certain canine friend of Ms. Applegate’s joined the interview, too – sorry, but that cameo didn’t make the final edit!)

We hope you’ll enjoy the interview; Ms. Applegate is the perfect person for a young reporter to do her inaugural “on-camera” interview with – she is kind, warm and funny.

You can take a look at the story and listen to the interview on the Scholastic Kids Press Corps website.

~AKid@Heart

photo-2We thought it might be nice to give our kind followers a look at what’s currently filling LitKid’s two, tall, skinny “library” bookshelves.

More books are scattered across our house, but these photos give you a good sampling of the books she’s read over the years or will be reading in years to come – a mix of picture books, fiction and nonfiction … new and classic.

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(Guess who read the Harry Potter series first and then donated the books to LitKid’s library??)

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Up top: Many picture books, including some vintage ones that once belonged to AKid@Heart, including The Hat
Bottom: LitKid had a chance to interview Pamela and Jon Voelkel, authors of the Jaguar Stones books, which include Middle World … She even got to read an advance copy of River of No Return.

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LitKid reviewed the acclaimed book Wonder in 2012 and read Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech in her 5th grade book club along with her reading partner – her 83-year-old Grandma!

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More picture books and some of LitKid’s favorite contemporary reads

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Can you pick out the books that are bordering on being ANTIQUES??

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Many great contemporary reads, plus some classics (Charlotte’s Web)

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