MONDAY FUNDAY – May 8, 2017

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date, and adapted by Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts with a children’s/YA focus. The Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. These weekly roundups are a great way to discover new blogs and bloggers, share some of the titles you’ve been enjoying, and add to your ever-growing to-read list.

I had a chance to review a new title from Margarita Engle, illustrated by Mike Curato, called All the Way to Havana. Be sure to check out the post if you haven’t already, I’m sure this one’s going to be a hit with young car enthusiasts in particular!

I tend to post a lot of picture book reviews largely because they’re what I read in my professional life as a librarian. Outside of work I tend to read quite a bit of nonfiction, and some of my favourite titles are the ones that tell the weird and wonderful stories of eccentric individuals. I’m currently reading a fascinating account of the art and science that is taxidermy.

Still Life is a celebration of taxidermy from its earliest beginnings to its current interpretations. Melissa Milgrom spends time with professional taxidermists, attends conferences and conventions, and even tries her hand at taxidermy (an experience not for the squeamish), while also investigating and exploring the roots and development of taxidermy as both an art and a science. Colourful characters, famous institutions and quirky settings round out this sensitive look at a profession and passion that has not always been treated with much respect.

I have long been fascinated by taxidermy. In the days before film, taxidermy allowed people to explore and experience far-away places and witness the incredible diversity and majesty of the natural world. Imagine exploring the Museum of Natural History as a young child and coming face to face with snarling tigers, trumpeting elephants or cheeky monkeys, all brought to life in highly-detailed, carefully researched and lovingly staged dioramas. It must’ve just been breathtaking, and the amount of passion and care that went into creating those mounts is staggering.

Still Life really is a delightfully engaging and at times downright hilarious exploration of a very unique industry, and a celebration of eccentrics from past and present. Definitely worth a read.

Now, this picture book contains within its sweetly illustrated pages several examples of very, very naughty behaviour, including car theft, speeding and reckless driving, destruction of police property, lying to a police officer, lying to an authority figure, and making false accusations.

If you have a sense of humour, though, this ridiculously adorable picture book may very well be right up your alley!

In Moo!, a very sneaky cow steals a farmer’s car and takes it on an ill-fated joy ride, with very comical results. I don’t want to spoil the ending, because it really is quite clever, but I’ll just say that our dear cow friend is as quick-witted as she is naughty!

What makes Moo! so much fun is that the text is limited to a single word – Moo! The word is printed in different fonts using different punctuation to express different emotions, which makes it a real hoot to real aloud!

I’ve used this one with school groups, and they find it absolutely hilarious, and often join in with me in my moo-ing! I recently tried it with a preschool group, and it was a blast, and we had a very nice discussion afterwards about giving the cow a time out in the thinking corner for her behaviour. 😉 Really, though, how could you be angry at that cow – just look at the joy on her face when she’s motoring around the in the car!

Have a great week everybody, and here’s hoping you don’t park your cars near any joyriding cows!

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32 Comments

  • Reply robbiesinspiration

    Thanks for the reviews. The book about the cow sounds like a lot of fun for small children.

    May 8, 2017 at 3:58 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      It definitely is, and it’s also a good introduction to the power of punctuation and text, because the entire story is told with just that single word, written in different ways!

      May 11, 2017 at 5:08 am
  • Reply cweichel

    Moo sounds just delightful! I admit to a fascination for taxidermy myself. Many of my hunting friends have animals around their houses. It’s a fascinating art form. All the way to Havana looks good too. I’ve got friends who just returned from a visit to Cuba. I’ll have to show them this book.

    May 8, 2017 at 4:44 pm
  • Reply cweichel

    BTW, when will the VPL have a copy of All the way to Havana?

    May 8, 2017 at 4:45 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Probably not for a while…it doesn’t come out until August, and then it takes us a little while to get things purchased and processed…so…yeah…probably not for a little bit! 😉

      May 8, 2017 at 5:16 pm
  • Reply lindabaie

    Moo does look great, as does Margarita’s new book, Jane. And that taxidermy book, wow! It sounds interesting. We look at so many animals who’ve been “saved” for museum through taxidermy. I think it will be fascinating. Thanks!

    May 8, 2017 at 4:57 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      It really was fascinating – thanks to taxidermists we can still get up close and personal with some long lost species, like the extinct Labrador Duck. Plus I just love reading about eccentric and passionate individuals who live very unusual lives. 🙂

      May 11, 2017 at 5:10 am
  • Reply Elisabeth Ellington

    Moo sounds brilliant! I’m looking forward to All the Way to Havana. I remember reading good things about that taxidermy book. Not a topic I have any interest in, but I do love good nonfiction so I may check it out. Thanks!

    May 8, 2017 at 6:04 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Moo really is ingenious – I love stories that use text in unusual ways, it’s so inspiring and eye-opening for young readers to realize all the different ways that a story can be told.

      May 11, 2017 at 5:11 am
  • Reply Lisa Maucione (@DrLMaucione)

    Still LIfe sounds quite interesting. Not a subject I know much about! All the Way to Havana looks great!

    May 8, 2017 at 8:55 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Yes, I definitely recommend taking a look at All the Way to Havana when it comes out this summer!

      May 11, 2017 at 5:12 am
  • Reply Pussreboots

    I want to read all of these books. It was another busy week but I did manage to finish some books. Come see what I’m reading.

    May 8, 2017 at 10:11 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      It’s so frustrating when life gets in the way of reading, isn’t it? 🙂

      May 12, 2017 at 12:57 am
  • Reply theorangutanlibrarian

    haha I will admit I’ve always been creeped out by taxidermy- but I’m glad you liked it. Moo sounds (and looks) like such fun!! Awesome post 😀

    May 9, 2017 at 1:56 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Thanks so much! I’m always amazed by how creative and imaginative kids’ book authors can be! 🙂

      May 11, 2017 at 5:13 am
  • Reply crbrunelle

    Moo looks hilarious. I almost always love Engle’s books so I’m excited to read All the Way to Havana. I have a small screech owl that has been gifted to our library that makes the taxidermy book look interesting.

    May 9, 2017 at 2:09 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      I only discovered Engle recently, and she’s so prolific, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do! 🙂

      May 12, 2017 at 12:58 am
  • Reply Jade @ Reading With Jade

    Still Life isn’t my kind of read, but it definitely sounds like it could be an interesting and insightful title. Happy reading!

    May 9, 2017 at 6:48 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Sometimes you just never know until you crack the cover, right? Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      May 12, 2017 at 1:00 am
  • Reply Tabatha

    Still Life sounds interesting. You never know what topics will turn into great nonfiction books. Have you read Stiff by Mary Roach (all about cadavers)? It was fascinating!

    May 9, 2017 at 1:10 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      I love Mary Roach!! I’ve read a couple of her books, she definitely knows how to pick some pretty strange and fascinating topics.

      May 12, 2017 at 1:00 am
  • Reply Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    Oh wow, the illustration on the Havana book is gorgeous! And a children’s book about car theft, haha, that’s just cracking me up. It does sound like a fun book though!

    May 9, 2017 at 9:06 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      A picture book about a car-stealing, joy-riding cow – what will they think of next?? 😉

      May 12, 2017 at 12:59 am
  • Reply Drangonfly

    my kids would have LOVED this one when they were younger! That last illustration with the cop is so funny!

    May 10, 2017 at 12:03 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      It’s pretty darn hilarious, such a naughty cow! 🙂

      May 12, 2017 at 12:58 am
  • Reply annettepimentel

    I loved Tia Isa Wants a Car, and All the Way to Havana looks like a good companion book to it!

    May 10, 2017 at 10:31 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      I think it really would be a lovely companion. It’s a wonderful picture book!

      May 11, 2017 at 5:16 am
  • Reply Kellee from Unleashing Readers (@kelleemoye)

    Margarita Engle is one of my favorite lyrical writers. Her books are so beautiful!
    Moo is HILARIOUS! I forgot that I own it–I had to go find it after reading your post.
    Happy reading this week 🙂

    May 11, 2017 at 1:13 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Isn’t Moo just awesome?! I used it with a group of school-aged kids, and then we went and created our own versions of the story using different animals and their noises, so much fun!!

      May 11, 2017 at 5:17 am
  • Reply Sharon

    Moo mooMOO moo moo MOO! Just kidding :). That book sounds hilarious!

    May 13, 2017 at 3:32 am
  • Reply Earl @ The Chronicles Of A Children's Book Writer

    I’ve been seeing reviews for All the Way to Havana and I can’t wait to see and read it for myself!

    May 13, 2017 at 4:53 pm
  • Reply Myra GB

    I love everything that Margarita Engle writes, so I am sure All the Way To Havana won’t be an exception. Looking forward to finding it in our libraries here in Singapore.

    May 15, 2017 at 5:46 am
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