Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Nick's Picks, the 100 Most Notable Books of 2012 - 76, 75, 74, 73...

#76:  Magic Tree House 20th Anniversary Edition: Dinosaurs Before Dark, by Mary Pope Osborne.  Random House Books for Young Readers.  $14.99.

No, it's not cheating.  This book was published just a few months ago - I can't help it if it's a commemorative edition.  Besides, for Kristina?  My five-year-old?  This was the most important literary event of the year.

I have a friend who is a Sales Representative for Random House.  Sales Reps?  For publishers?  Some of the coolest people in the world.  Dandy is no exception.  She sent some books to me for my girls - and this was Kristina's.

Kristina has discovered Mary Pope Osborne in a big way this year.  In Kindergarten, she gets to go to the library every Thursday, and every Thursday she brings another Magic Tree House home.  Sometimes she "forgets" to return last week's book, and the rules of the library clearly state that you can't check out a new book before you've returned your old one.

Somehow, this admonition doesn't count for Kristina.  Either her librarian is a softy, or Kristina is playing her.

So when I brought this new hardcover home for her?  And gave it to my daughter?  She held it in her hands, gentle-like, as she looked down at it.  As her eyes got big.  As they filled with tears (Kristina does not cry from joy, hardly ever).  And then she clutched Dinosaurs Before Dark to her chest and exclaimed, Oh Daddy!  I love it!

If that doesn't make this one of the Most Notable Books of 2012, I don't know what would.  Thank you, Mary Pope Osborne, for continuing to enchant young readers with your adventures.  And thank you, Dandy, for being one of the coolest people in the universe.

#75:  Junie B., First Grader: Turkeys We Have Loved and Eaten (and Other Thankful Stuff), by Barbara Park. Random House Books for Young Readers.  $11.99.

Ok, yes, so this would be my oldest daughter's pick.  Eight-year-olds and Junie B.?  They get along famously - especially if the eight-year-old is my Elizabeth.

I think our daughter first got turned onto Junie. B. Jones because she could live vicariously through her.  Elizabeth?  Elizabeth is a good kid.  Very law-abiding.

So when she started reading about Junie B., a little girl who doesn't always follow the rules, who seemingly spends more time getting to know the principal, in his office, than she spends with her own teacher, named Mrs. (She has another name, too, but Junie B. Jones just calls her Mrs.) - well, Elizabeth decided this was someone she wanted to get to know.

It had been about five years since Junie B. had graced the page, so this was a welcome return to the exploits of the most popular first-grader in our household.

Thanks again, Dandy - you made two little girls very happy.

#74:  Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Third Wheel, by Jeff Kinney.  Harry N. Abrams.  $13.95.

You know how people who are really bad at introductions just say, And now, let me present to you someone who needs no introduction?  And then they just duck out?

I hate that.  If it's your job to introduce someone, then freaking introduce them.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid, though?  Jeff Kinney's newest needs no introduction.  Do you know a kid, 8ish to preteenish?  Just get them this book.

#73:  This Moose Belongs to Me, by Oliver Jeffers.  Philomel.  $16.99.

Do you know Oliver Jeffers?  Why not?  Is there some little someone in your life who you read picture books to?  Are you tired of crappy picture books?  Good, me too.

Mr. Jeffers is funny.  And better yet, your little someone will think his books are funny.  But guess what?  You will, too.

In this, his latest, Wilfred is a little boy who likes things just so.  Do you remember Sally, from When Harry Met Sally?  Wilfred likes it the way he likes it, too.

The only problem is, Wilfred has a pet moose.  Have you ever had a pet moose?  Me neither.  But according to Mr. Jeffers, a Moose has a mind of its own - and Wilfred's Moose hits the road because that's what a Moose does, evidently.

This book is silly but beautifully drawn.  You'll love Wilfred.  You'll love "his" Moose.  And you won't tire of reading it again and again (which is good, because you will). 

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