Yesterday I read aloud the preface of The Strictest School in the World: Being the Tale of a Clever Girl, a Rubber Boy and a Collection of Flying Machines, Mostly Broken, a middle-grade novel I heard about at Hilltop Farm. Eighteen word subtitle: you had me at hello. Later I discovered Kelly Herold (whom I had the immense pleasure of meeting in person, at long long last, at Kidlitcon) had praised this one to the heavens also, years ago, and I think I remember jotting it down in my TBR list way back then but then I forgot all about it.
A lot of my stories end with “but then I forgot all about it.”
We’re already in the middle of a read-aloud, somewhat neglected in recent busy weeks, so I knew I shouldn’t really be launching another one, no matter how delicious the title. The preface—the preface, seriously!—made us laugh. More than once. By the end of the page, I’d decided to be strong and delay the gratification until we’ve finished Adam of the Road. (Remember when we started that one, weeks and weeks ago? Busy autumn.)
I’m thinking maybe we’ll do a kind of Victorian Christmas thing during Advent this year, read Strictest School, some Dickens, some poetry, whatever else occurs to me. Ideas welcome!
Meanwhile, I’m eyebrow-deep in CYBILs reading. Here’s my current library list:
For keeps / Natasha Friend.
Glimpse / Carol Lynch Williams.
A little wanting song / Cath Crowley.
Boys, bears, and a serious pair of hiking boots / Abby McDonald.
Harmonic feedback / Tara Kelly.
Happyface / by Stephen Emond.
The red umbrella / Christina Diaz Gonzalez.
Every little thing in the world / Nina de Gramont.
Hold still / Nina LaCour, with illustrations by Mia Nolting.
By the time you read this, I’ll be dead / Julie Anne Peters.
The cardturner : a novel about a king, a queen, and a joker / Louis Sachar.
The brothers story / Katherine Sturtevant.
Exit strategy / Ryan Potter.
The Duff : designated ugly fat friend : a novel / by Kody Keplinger.
A spy in the house / Y.S. Lee.
The daughters / Joanna Philbin.
The river / Mary Jane Beaufrand.
My double life / Janette Rallison.
The adventures of Jack Lime / by James Leck.
Shakespeare makes the playoffs / Ron Koertge.
Scars / by Cheryl Rainfield.
(I know these titles aren’t properly capitalized but that’s how my library lists them, and I don’t have time to tinker right now.)
Last week I ordered a copy of Mirror Mirror, a Marilyn Singer poetry picture book, after reading Amy’s recommendation; it arrived yesterday and I haven’t had a chance to so much as peek inside yet, because the kids snapped it up and have been passing it around. It elicited spontaneous “this book is very cool, Mom”s from three separate kids, at three separate moments in the day. More on this one if I ever get a crack at it myself.
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“I have had to give up writing to my close friends”
“Mr. Queed, you are afflicted with a fatal malady. Your cosmos is pure ego.”
Best. Review. Ever.
Podcast Interview: Read-Aloud Revival