Friday, October 31, 2014

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

The Winter People is a Halloween treat for today’s edition of VBPL Recommends.

Set in small town Vermont, and switching between modern day and the early 1900s, The Winter People is a disturbing tale of death…and what it means to remain dead.

In 1908 Sara Harrison Shea is found dead behind her house after appearing to slowly go insane following the demise of her young daughter, Gertie. Set at the same farm house, modern day teenager Ruthie lives “off the grid” with her mother and sister. Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that her mother has disappeared and she is left alone to solve the mystery of her disappearance while attempting to care for her younger sister. Searching her mother’s room Ruthie stumbles upon a hidden diary in the floorboards. The diary is the story of Sara Harrison Shea, and within is a tale that will intertwine the lives of those both past and present in a disturbing and quietly suspenseful mystery.

The Winter People is one of those atmospheric stories that can leave you feeling cold and damp just thinking about it. I will admit that my husband asked me to stop reading this book before bed after I woke him up to check on a sound I thought I heard in the living room at 3 a.m. (he was not amused). So, if you are looking to give yourself a psychological scare this Halloween, checkout The Winter People at VBPL today.
If you enjoy this title you may also like the dark suspense of Gillian Flynn's (author of Gone GirlSharp Objects .

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Actual Size

by Steve Jenkins

Actual Size by Steve Jenkins is a striking collection of torn and cut paper collage illustrations depicting life-sized animals, both large and small.  Begin by peering at the smallest of all fish, the dwarf goby, at 1/3 of an inch long.  Step back to peer into the eye of a giant squid that is 12 inches across. 

Each collage is created in such detail that the artwork is astonishingly realistic.  Three fold-out pages introduce us to the largest reptile, the saltwater crocodile.  Reach out and touch the knobby-looking snout and sharp white teeth while it watches you carefully with its realistic eye.

The snippets of facts combined with Jenkins’ beautiful art make this a book that can be enjoyed by all ages.  Begin by comparing your child’s hand to the gorilla's and to the pygmy mouse lemur’s hands on the cover.  Use a measuring tape or some string to measure out the two-foot-long tongue of the giant anteater.  See if you can stick your tongue out that far!

This fabulous book presents many opportunities to explore and experience animals in their actual size.  Support narrative skill development with your child by talking about what you observe together.  Encourage critical thinking by asking open-ended questions like “What is going on in this picture?” or “Which animal do you think can jump the farthest?  Why do you think that?”  You and your child will be amazed, and hopefully you will both want to visit the library again to find out more about these animals !

If you enjoy this book, make sure you also find Prehistoric Actual Size, also by Steve Jenkins, or Life-Size Zoo, as well as other Life-Size books by Teruyuki Komiya.