Hi, I'm Mrs. F-B!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

And one more holiday themed post

I was lucky enough to meet illustrator Marla Frazee this year, and now her work is appearing on Simon and Schuster's holiday card. Click the picture to see it in motion. So lovely. Enjoy!

A different kind of gingerbread house for the holidays!

How's THIS for a fancy gingerbread "house"? Fully edible! And many of you reading this blog probably do not even realize that people used to create whole books on these things (well, on real ones, not edible ones). Crazy talk, hey?

Here are all the details on this typewriter:

Patti from Baked Ideas made this amazing edible gingerbread typewriter for benefit of City Harvest, and it is displayed at NYC's Parker Meridien Hotel.

So…. typewriter came to mind… a sort of gingerbread house for the letters that live inside!! Christmas unplugged, a letter to santa, granny’s laptop …… it was fun to think about.

First we made a model of the typewriter in cardboard, and then baked all the parts and crafted the roller, paper and metal keys out of sugar paste. The “glue” is royal icing, and cookies, stacked up, are the inner supports. The keyboard letters are cookies, iced in ivory and trimmed in silver. The iced gingerbread alphabet letters are frolicking in the sugar snow, sometimes spelling out words (fun, skip, eat, joy.)

I am glad we chose to make a typewriter. It is an image that is a reminder of a simpler time … wintery, happy and unexpected. I hope both kids and adults enjoy looking at it.

It’s 100% edible, down to the rice paper ribbon.

Thanks to Boing-Boing for the info.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Mistress of Nothing, Kate Pullinger

This was an adult novel I read that was a good historical fiction piece. The main character of the story, Sally, was a lady's maid to a somewhat wealthy Englishwoman who decided to move to Egypt for her health. Sally went along with her and discovered that she quite enjoyed the freedoms she found there.

When she becomes pregnant by an Egyptian man, however, her mistress basically disowns her, and wants to send her back to England without her child. Sally rebels and faces some serious consequences as a result.

I felt cranky at the attitudes of Lady Duff Gordon and stressed about Sally throughout the reading of this novel. It wasn't my favorite, but I found it interesting.

This book was the winner of Canada's Governor General's Literary Award and is available at Multnomah County Library.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy holidays

Hope you have a wonderful winter holiday, however you celebrate!


Friday, December 09, 2011

The Pirate King, Laurie R. King

This is a favorite series of mine which focuses on Sherlock Holmes' fictional wife Mary Russell. She's super sharp too, of course, and also solves mysteries. They're a great team, and I love her spirit and spunk.

This is a pretty convoluted storyline that involves pirates imitating pirates imitating pirates in a play within a play within a play. It's pretty wild and wooly.

This is a great series for fans of Sherlock Holmes, but I'd recommend you read some Sherlock Holmes before trying this series because it will have more meaning for you if you know some background.

Available at Multnomah County Library. I listened to this on audio.


Thursday, December 08, 2011


I stole this from my friend Mrs. Yingling in Ohio, and I positively love it.

Whaddya think?

Monday, December 05, 2011

Powell's Book Fan Friday coming up 12/9

Carolyn Conahan is a great presenter, both an artist and author. She's going to talk about artistic collaboration which is ideal for high school literary magazines, yearbooks and newspapers. As always, kids are welcome to bring work and get feedback.

December 9th
4:30 PM
Powell's Cedar Hills Crossing location

Now Playing- Stoner & Spaz II, Ron Koertge

Well, this book has been a looooong time coming, but it was worth every minute of the wait. I was also excited because I tried out Library2Go and got this book on my Kindle. It worked like a charm.

Way back in 2002, Ron Koertge wrote a book called Stoner & Spaz. That was the story of a very unlikely couple. Ben, who has cerebral palsy and has trouble with mobility, and Colleen, a young woman who has a little problem with drugs. Or actually, it's a big problem. Who would think those two would ever even speak to each other, let alone become friends and then a couple? Well, pretty much no one, especially Ben. But when they meet up at the old town theater watching a movie, these two lonely souls are drawn together. Colleen challenges Ben, in some good ways and some not so good, and Ben challenges Colleen to give up her drugs.

Flash forward 11 years (in our time, not story time) and we're back with the sequel. Ben has become an accomplished filmmaker in the last few years, and Colleen, well, Colleen's still using, although she's trying really hard to kick it. But Ben is addicted to Colleen as ever, and he's unsure whether he can let go, or, more importantly, if he wants to. Enter AJ, another filmmaker and the kind of girl everyone sees Ben being with. She, like Colleen, seems nonplussed with his disability, which from Ben's side of the world is pretty unusual. She wants to hang out. And she's reliable, into films and filmmaking, smart. All the things Colleen's not. It seems like a perfect match, but is it?

Recommended for 8th grade and up due to mature subject matter, this is a valuable book for looking at the many sides of issues such as disabilities, drug use, and relationships. Sure to win some accolades come January.

Orchards, Holly Thompson

I haven't read a novel in verse in a while, so I was really excited to hear there was another good one out there, and I was not surprised after having read it to find out that it was nominated for YALSA's 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults. As most novels in verse are, it's quite powerful. The story is about a young girl, Kana Goldberg, who has a classmate who committed suicide. Kana and her friends face a lot of guilt, both for overt actions of unkindness toward the girl but also of complicity in doing nothing to stop negative behaviors or to make the girl feel less excluded.

Kana, a Japanese Jewish girl, is sent to Japan for the summer following her classmate's death to reflect on her behavior and to help her mother's family with their citrus orchard. Kana has hard time fitting in in Japan, and I think although it is very difficult, this helps her to understand her classmate's feelings in a way she might otherwise never have. Kana does a lot of growing up in Japan, and it is a difficult coming of age journey for her. And then just when she's getting herself in order, the author delivers a second punch that is very unexpected. Personally, I didn't think it was necessary and thought it was a little disruptive to the flow of the story, but I would be interested to hear what other readers thought.

I love the telling of this story in poetry. I think it fits the subject matter and the setting beautifully. I also really like the woodcuts that decorate the pages. I would recommend this story to seventh graders and up.If you read this and like it, try Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big sister Went Crazy by Sonya Sones.

I am reading another story right now about a girl going to a foreign culture to meet family she's never known, and it's interesting to make the comparison. That book is called How to Ruin a Summer Vacation, and you can look for a review of it soon.

Girl, (Nearly) 16, Absolute Torture, Sue Limb

This book had some really funny parts, but really, I was fairly annoyed by the main character throughout most of it, making it difficult to decide if I liked the book or not. I don't mind a bratty teenage character for a bit, I mean I was one, I can relate, but sometimes it's too much. It may also have been that I was listening to this book on CD, and there's no skimming when you do that, so I had to listen to every word. However, Jess also went from really bratty to really grown up in some of her thinking which would have been great if it were believable, but I wasn't buying it. She was just TOO grown up. It didn't feel like she'd really think the things she was saying all the time. Perhaps if I'd read the first book in the series I'd have enjoyed this more, although I did not even realize it was part of a series, which is testimony to its ability to be read as a stand alone. Fans of Louise Rennison's Georgia Nicholson books will probably enjoy this, but she's no Georgia.

Liam Campbell mystery series (books 1-4), Dana Stabenow

Adult readers looking for a nice, low-key mystery series may want to check this one out. A little romance, a lot of dead people, and some rugged Alaska wilderness. You will not be too scared to sleep, and you're unlikely to be wandering about in the snowy backwoods accessible only by plane, so it won't probably remind you too much of home (unlike that time I read the Chelsea Cain serial killer book set in part at Cleveland High School right by my house. I had to alter my driving pattern for months). I got all four of these on my Kindle for less than $10 total. They were perfect travel books.

PS I think it's kind of funny that someone whose name is STABeNOW grew up to write murder mysteries.