The Secret Story of Shy Shelly


There’s a new kid on the block: Shy Shelly!

I received a copy of OMF Lit’s new chapter book, “The Secret Story of Shy Shelly,” written by Justine Hail and illustrated by Elbert Or and I think it’s a wonderful addition to the local kidlit scene, especially for the 7-10 age group.

The titular character is Shelly, a painfully shy girl whose only wish is to have a real friend. As Shelly enters third grade at Claustro Field Academy, some girls in class reach out and befriend her, and Shelly begins to learn the true meaning of friendship: that to have a real friend, she must be a real friend, too.

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Oldies but Goodies (Picture Book Roundup)

I haven’t done a picture book roundup in quite a while, and they have been piling up quite a bit on my desk, so in the effort to liberate some desk space, here’s a roundup of some vintage picture books I’ve amassed this year, some from bargain bookstores, some from Bookmooch.

Included in this roundup are the books: The Pooh Storybook; The Slant Book; Dick Whittington and his Cat; One Wide River to Cross; Journey Cake, Ho; The Judge; Anansi the Spider; Three Jovial Huntsmen; Anno’s Alphabet; Friends; and two versions of Stone Soup, books #117-128 for 2010. Phew!

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Hearing Voices

I like good, strong voices in fiction. I like characters that ring true, make a distinct impression, and keep me engaged in the story.

In the past week, I read The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides and The Lacemaker and the Princess by Kimberley Brubaker Bradley. These two novels each offered a unique point of view: one from the outside looking in, and the other from inside looking out.

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As you well know, I’ve introduced a steady supply of graphic novels in my reading diet for the past few months and I’ve been enjoying the regular break from straight text. But because I still haven’t acquired the taste for graphic novels involving multiple volumes (except for Fables, which I’m planning on collecting via the annual deluxe editions), spandex-clad characters or ka-pow effects, I’ve been seeking out one-volume graphic novels to add to my growing collection.

I came across Re-gifters on BookMooch, looked it up and saw that it’s gotten good reviews, and had to have it shipped to my mom in California (because the moocher only sends to the US) and then waited for her to come home before I could get my hands on it. It turned out to be worth all the trouble!

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Blankets and Chunky Rice

Last year, the graphic novel was one of the new genres I started getting hooked on, and Craig Thompson has fast become one of my favorite graphic novel writer-illustrators.

I’ve been salivating over Blankets at the bookstore for years now, but it’s waaay out of my budget, and so it remains on my wishlist. A couple of years back, though, I was able to mooch Thompson’s Goodbye, Chunky Rice, and so I started with that.

Late last year, I finally got the chance to read Blankets, when Flipper friend Mike (aka GNP, or Geek and Proud) lent me his copy, along with his prized volumes of Maus. Of course, before I read Blankets, I felt a reread of Goodbye, Chunky Rice was in order, so I could review the two books side by side before I finally return Mike’s book this weekend (I returned Maus earlier), with gratitude for entrusting one of his favorite books to me for several months now. Continue reading “Blankets and Chunky Rice”