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STAINED book cover

Sarah, a teen with a port-wine stain and body image issues, is abducted, and must find a way to rescue herself.

“Powerful. I raced through it, wanting to know if Sarah would find a way to escape both her captor and her self-doubts. A real nail-biter!“
- April Henry, NY Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

SCARS book cover

Kendra must face her past and stop hurting herself--before it's too late.

Awards: #1 in the Top 10 ALA Quick Picks, ALA's Rainbow List, a Governor General Literary Award Finalist, Staff Pick for Teaching Tolerance.

Yes, it's my own arm on the cover of SCARS.

HUNTED book cover

Caitlyn, a telepath in a world where having any paranormal power at all can kill her, must decide between saving herself or saving the world.

Awards: A finalist for the Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy, and the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award.

PARALLEL VISIONS book cover

Kate sees visions of the future--but only when she has an asthma attack. When she "sees" her sister being beaten, and a schoolmate killing herself, Kate must trigger more attacks--but that could kill her.

Awards: 2013 Gold Winner, Wise Bear Digital Awards, YA Paranormal category.

STAINED book cover

Sarah, a teen with a port-wine stain and body image issues, is abducted, and must find a way to rescue herself.

“Powerful. I raced through it, wanting to know if Sarah would find a way to escape both her captor and her self-doubts. A real nail-biter!“
- April Henry, NY Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

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Uplifting Picture Books That Don't Preach


Edwina: The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct

Review

Edwina: The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct
written and illustrated by Mo Willems
Hyperion,(September 2006)
ISBN-10: 0786837489
ISBN-13: 9780786837489

My rating:



Everyone in town knew Edwina.
She was the dinosaur who played with the neighborhood kids.
She was the dinosaur who did favors for anyone who asked.
Edwina helped little old ladies cross the street.
And she baked chocolate-chip cookies for everyone.
Everybody loved Edwina . . . except Reginald Von Hoobie-Doobie.
--Edwina: The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct, Mo Willems, p. 1-4.

Edwina the dinosaur enjoys helping people and baking cookies for them. Everyone loves her except Reginald, an angry little boy who likes getting attention for all the facts he knows. He makes a presentation in class about dinosaurs being extinct, and is angry when no one seems to believe him, but instead mentions Edwina and then leaves to find her. He becomes determined to prove that dinosaurs are extinct, and make her disappear. He tries a lot of different things, but no one listens to him. When he breaks down crying about this, Edwina says she'll listen, and she does—attentively. Reginald gives his presentation, and with the close attention Edwina gives him, he's never felt better—but Edwina feels awful. She knows that what Reginald says is true—she IS extinct. That's when she decides that she doesn't care—and Reginald realizes that he doesn't, either.

Willems (Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Leonardo, the Terrible Monster ) has created a fun, entertaining read that shows readers the importance of believing in yourself.

The text moves briskly, pulling readers through the story, wanting to know what happens next, and whether or not Edwina will become truly extinct. Dialogue and thought also add to the forward momentum of the book. The text is paired well with the illustrations; each add to the other. There is a good sense of timing and humor, such as where on one page being told that Reginald's flyers make excellent arguments about how extinct dinosaurs are, and on the next page hearing that they also made excellent hats. Every word feels like it matters here, and helps to build the story.

The characters' names are apt and seem carefully chosen, especially the two main characters, Reginald and Edwina, with Reginald suggesting a villain, and Edwina suggesting a rather straight-laced, kind older female.

Willems' art in this book is not as stylized as in his pigeon book series; here, his illustrations are simple, almost child-like, with pastel colors and thin, dark outlines, and setting details. The cartoonish illustrations contain interesting characters; each seem distinct, expressive, and add to the scene. The facial expressions are very strong, revealing much more about what the characters are feeling and thinking than the text alone.

Edwina is drawn as a matronly character, complete with a pearl necklace, purse, and straw hat with a pink ribbon. Adding to her motherly appearance is her frequent baking of cookies, kindness towards others, and general helping others out. Although Edwina is a little cliched or sexist, she is a strong, likeable character who always seems to act kindly, no matter how rude or mean someone else is.

About half the illustrations—the ones depicting a single scene—are in full color contained within a thin ink border over a pastel blue, while the other half—the ones where a number of smaller illustrations occur over time in a single page—are simple ink outlines with a cream filling on the same pastel blue background.

Fans of his pigeon series will enjoy spotting his distinctly-styled pigeons in many of the illustrations.

This is a fun, humorous book about believing in yourself and not caring what other people say about you. It can also be seen as a metaphor for dealing with bullies by staying true to yourself, acting from kindness, and letting bullies' remarks slide off you. Highly recommended.

-Added January 2007


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