About Me

My name is Genevieve Woods and in addition to being the mother of an adorable preschooler named Oscar and his adorable toddler brother Henry, I am the Children's Buyer at Spellbinder Books, a small independent bookstore in Bishop, California. I am often asked by customers for recommendations...and thus the idea for this blog was sparked.

Many sites recommending books for kids are created by librarians and non-profits. While these are great sites, they often recommend out-of-print books. This site is all about the great books that are available now! While I am not being paid for these recommendations, I would appreciate it if readers would purchase the books I recommend from local independent bookstores, or even B&N. Basically don't buy from the evil empire (A_A_O_), because if you do much of our literary knowledge will be lost.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Watch out Vampyres, the Wolves are on the prowl!

When vampires, or excuse me vampyres overtook pirates (with the exception of the Vampirates series) I thought it would just be a phase. In 2008 I thought the vampires were heading into extinction with zombies coming in to take up the mantle. I was wrong. Don't get me wrong, the zombies came, and are still around, as are the faeries (gotta be cool, spelling it f-a-i-r-y would be a sure sign you hadn't been a book store for five years or more - but that said I've never been cool so from this moment on I'm going back to the fairy spelling). Vampyres are still around, and, these days, so are the wolves. Apparently the actor who played Isabella's werewolf boyfriend in the Twilight movie was hotter than her vampire true love. At least that is what I was told, I didn't see the film, and I haven't read the books. I know, shame on me. But don't worry, I've made up for my lack of Twilight reading by setting my eyes on numerous other vampire and mythical creature books. And lately I've fallen in love with the wolf.

To be clear, Dust City's fabulous wolven creatures are NOT werewolves. Dust City goes the fairyland route with humans, goblins, ravens, donkeys, wolves, and fairies occupying the same dirty sprawling metropolis. Except in Dust City the fairies have been killed, and what's left of their fairy dust is a rare drug, bought and sold on the black market, and highly addictive. Dust City practically opens up with a description of a saliva filled wolf kiss; this is not a book for the faint of heart, but it is a great book! My 12-year-old neighbor LOVED it, as did her mother. It has not yet become a top seller at the bookstore, but give it time, with word of mouth I am certain this title will spread all over our small town like the latest cold. It's a Blade Runner fairy tale, and is perhaps the most creative book that came out in 2010.

Red Moon Rising does have werewolves, and vampyres, and humans. All races have formed an uneasy alliance where they live and work next to each other, but not happily. Vampyres and humans are the elites, and the wolves are the poor & downtrodden. Essentially the story unfolds in a time of a civil rights battle and Dante (Danny), our 1/2 vampyre and 1/2 wolf hero would have a much easier time of it if his wolf side would disappear. Of course, that doesn't happen. In Red Moon Rising, author Peter Moore has created a world of with vampyres, werewolves, night-time high schools, lesbian best friends, first kisses, and equal rights rallies that is utterly familiar. In a somewhat disturbing way I think this book about werewolves gives one a better sense of the civil rights movement than most history tomes. Perhaps that is because most people don't read history tomes.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Second looks bring greater pleasures

The Legend of the Golden Snail came out in October of 2010. We brought it into the book store right away because well, it was by Graeme Base. Graeme Base is the Australian author of many books, including Animalia a fabulous books with intricate, complex illustrations that kids (and adults) can stare at for hours. But when I first read The Legend of the Golden Snail I was dissapointed, the illustrations, though vivid, were not intricate. With Legend of the Golden Sanil Graeme Base had created a completely different kind or book, a story book, and I was expecting an art book. So I shelved it and didn't give it a second thought. 
Then Oscar recieved The Legend of the Golden Snail as a Christmas present from his Grandparents, and after reading the book to him on a near nightly basis I have to say that my first impression was blind. I can't read Animalia with Oscar, it doesn't have any cars in it and at two-years-old he isn't yet ready to play the visual games that the pictures inspire. He is, however, ready to hear a story about a boy re-living his favorite tale in a quest find the golden snail. And what a quest it is!

Wilbur, the protaganist sets sail for the ends of the earth to find the golden snail, and on the way he waters a butterfly bush, frees a monster from it's net, and saves numerous lantern fish. He then encounters some difficulties and is saved by butterflies, a monster, and numerious lantern fish. He finds the golden snail, and takes it home, to it's ocean in the sky. The ocean in the sky is amazing, full of fun fish hidden in the clouds, like pencil dolphins. Oscar doesn't recognize all the cloud fish yet, but give him time, he will.

Yesterday I took Oscar and his friend Amaya to the park, on the play structure there was a wheel. So Oscar Amaya and I set sail for the ends of the earth, and on the way we watered a butterfly bush, cut a tangled monster free, and saved the latern fish, and then of course they all saved us. It was quite fun, and it was great imaginative play, even for Amaya who had never read the book. Although I didn't realize it at first, I now recognize that The Legend of the Golden Snail is fantastic story book.