Shelf Awareness for Readers for Friday, August 3, 2012

Roaring Brook Press: Juniper's Christmas by Eoin Colfer

From My Shelf

Gore Vidal, 1925-2012

A moment of silence, please, for one of the literary giants of the last century: Gore Vidal, prolific writer, tremendous wit and one of our favorite establishment contrarians, died on Tuesday at age 86.

In a long obituary, the New York Times called Vidal "the elegant, acerbic all-around man of letters who presided with a certain relish over what he declared to be the end of American civilization.... He published some 25 novels, two memoirs and several volumes of stylish, magisterial essays. He also wrote plays, television dramas and screenplays. For a while he was even a contract writer at MGM. And he could always be counted on for a spur-of-the-moment aphorism, putdown or sharply worded critique of American foreign policy." He also ran for public office twice, appeared on talk shows regularly and famously feuded with William F. Buckley, Jr., Norman Mailer, Truman Capote and others.

His work included The City and the Pillar, a coming-out novel that was ahead of its time; Julian, about the Roman emperor; Myra Breckenridge, a comic tale about a gay movie star who has surgery to become a woman; and the American Chronicles, historical novels that made the founding and development of the country vivid and personal and included Washington, D.C., Burr, 1876, Lincoln, Hollywood and The Golden Age; and essay collections.

Some of our favorite lines attributed to Gore Vidal:

"There is not one human problem that could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise."
"I'm exactly as I appear. There is no warm, lovable person inside. Beneath my cold exterior, once you break the ice, you find cold water."
"The four most beautiful words in our common language: I told you so."
"The United States was founded by the brightest people in the country--and we haven't seen them since."
--John Mutter

BINC: Read Love Support Campaign

Book Candy

Bookstore Pickup Lines; Modern Words; Art of Google Books

"Bookstores are a lot like bars, except that you have to bring your own alcohol," the Date Report blog observed in its post offering "10 pickup lines for flirting at the bookstore."


Woot! Mental Floss featured "35 modern words recently added to the dictionary."


A picture is worth how many writers? For his "Writers I Have Loved" project, Joshua Landsman "keeps a gorgeous notebook filled with excellent drawings, musings and quotations from some of his favorite authors, from Samuel Beckett to Flaubert," Flavorwire reported.  


First there were books about art, then art made from books and now the Art of Google Books, which celebrates the "generative nature of transmediation" by searching for Google book pages that exhibit "distortion, color changes, misplaced autolinks, and, frequently, the hands of an employee," the Huffington Post noted.

Great Reads

Further Reading: Summer Family Sagas

The summer months may turn up the heat, but nowhere as profoundly as within extended families that come together to share vacation time. No matter the idyllic setting or good intentions, when loved ones gather, fireworks often ensue--making for some great drama on the page.

In The Red House by Mark Haddon, estranged British siblings Richard and Angela reunite at their mother's funeral. Afterward, Richard, a wealthy physician with a new wife and a wretched teenage daughter, invites Angela, her feckless husband and their three teenage children to his big country home in Hay-on-Wye on the Welsh border. As the polyphonic narrative unfolds, the reader comes to realize that these eight people--with vastly different personalities, operating systems and agendas--have brought a lot more baggage with them than meets the eye.

Fourth of July weekend in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts is the backdrop for The World Without You by Joshua Henkin. Shared grief and mourning unite the Frankels--a large, mostly nonobservant Jewish-American family--as they gather for a weekend at their parents' vacation home to unveil the gravestone for their brother Leo, a journalist and adventurer killed in Iraq a year earlier. But once everyone is settled beneath the same roof, the memorial becomes shrouded by sibling rivalries and marital feuds in this story of love, loss and the true meaning of family in the aftermath of tragedy.

Catholic guilt, alcoholism and bad choices are the undercurrents that propel J. Courtney Sullivan's Maine. The story is told via the distinct viewpoints of three generations of women from the Irish-American Kelleher clan who assemble, with their respective families and significant others, for their annual summer retreat at a cottage set on three acres of Maine beachfront property. Over the course of a month, family secrets are gradually unveiled that probe the relationships between the women, blurring the line between love and anger. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines


Summer Reading; Book Travel; Fictional Sisters; Movie Adaptations

"Summer reading list: fiction to last you until fall" was featured by the Critical Mob blog.


For NPR's "A World on the Page: Five Great Travel Memoirs," Parul Sehgal offered some summer reading advice: "Crank the AC and allow these five books to take you to other worlds."


"Unconditional love and support, sibling rivalry, and family secrets pepper the world" of Flavorwire's 10 memorable sets of sisters in fiction.


For film adaptation buffs, the Albany Times Union featured a list of "books you need to read before the movies come out."

'I Don't Read Fantasy, But...'

Ben Aaronovitch is the author of four books in the Rivers of London series. They star Peter Grant, police constable, apprentice wizard and "all round nice guy," as he tries to maintain law and order amongst the more "special" members of London's population. The latest is Whispers Under Ground (Del Rey).

My first inkling that things were not going the way I expected was when a young woman told me that she couldn't read my book because she'd lent it to her mother, who was refusing to give it back.

"Did she like it?" I asked.

"Oh yes," said the young woman. "Her reading group are going to do it next month."

I thought I knew who my audience was. So did my publisher--SF and fantasy fans, in the main. It certainly wasn't the reading groups of rural market towns.

Then I went out on promotional tours and found that the majority of my audience frequented the crime side of the bookshelf aisle. But then, that's really not that unusual--lots of people like crime and SF. Myself included.

Only the most common thing they said to me was: "I don't normally like fantasy but...."

Now you're thinking to yourself, "Yeah, we get it, it's a crossover hit, we're all very happy for you--is there an actual point to this mini-essay?"

The point is this:

People will tell you to research your market, and that's useful advice, but ultimately if you're going to spend three to six months of your life slaving over a hot word processor, the only way you're going to do any decent work is if you write something you really want to read yourself.

So you can cynically target your work at 25-35 white male upper-lower-middle professional soccer dads, but the truth is you're just as likely to sell to 12-18 Midwestern agricultural workers. My best advice: write what you want to write, and hope somebody else wants to read it.

Sometimes you get lucky.

Book Review



by Karl Taro Greenfeld

"We are a prosperous community," says Mark, the first narrator of Karl Taro Greenfeld's Triburbia, a set of interlocking stories set primarily in downtown Manhattan's TriBeCa. Prosperous--and cultured: "Measure us by the books on our shelves, the paintings on our walls, the songs in our iTunes playlists, our children in their secure little school." All is not well in the neighborhood, however; in this first story, Mark is seething because the drawing on a flyer warning about a child molester on the loose resembles him, and none of his friends understand why he's so upset by it.

That sort of emotional thickheadedness seems a bit more plausible as you spend more time with Greenfeld's characters, who tend to be too caught up in their own worries to pay much attention to anyone else. The stories are told in a mixture of first- and third-person voices, and while Greenfeld's female characters are somewhat more distinctive than the men, readers are more likely to remember the scenarios--one about the memoirist and journalist whose early fictionalizing catches up with him; another about the "gangster" who frets about his daughter being picked on in elementary school--than the people involved. Even the chapter headings emphasize street addresses over the men and women who live there. Like Tama Janowitz's Slaves of New York, Triburbia is a snapshot of a Manhattan subculture at a certain moment in time--in this case, ultimately more compelling for its field reporting than its storytelling. --Ron Hogan, founder of

Discover: An acclaimed memoirist and journalist turns to fiction to capture the spirit of his Manhattan neighborhood in the full throes of gentrification.

Harper, $25.99, hardcover, 9780062132390

Cupboard Full of Coats

by Yvvette Edwards

A Cupboard Full of Coats, Yvette Edwards's debut novel, is a slow-burning heartbreaker of a story, rich with the cadence and flavor of Caribbean immigrants in London's East End.

Jinx Jackson lives alone in the house where her mother was murdered by an abusive boyfriend. She has no friends, she is unable to connect with her young son or his father, and her only solace is in her work as an embalmer. Then Lemon, once a friend of her mother and still handsome, sharply dressed, and smelling of rum and tobacco, brings upsetting news: Berris, her mother's killer, has been released from prison. Bound by their mutual complicated love for Jinx's tragic, beautiful mother and shared guilt over her death, Jinx and Lemon begin the slow work of unraveling their painful history.

Before her mother died, a traumatized Jinx was moved to tears by Lemon's simple affection. "Most things, all they want is a little gentle handling," he said to her once. Fourteen years later, Lemon once again provides, melting her icy defenses with captivating stories, foot massages and powerfully nostalgic West Indian food.

The food works on the reader, too; in fact, Edwards's sumptuous descriptions may be the best thing about the book, rivaling only those of the luxurious coats that hang untouched in Jinx's closet--the consolation gifts Berris gave her mother after every beating.

With elegant restraint and sensitivity, Edwards unfolds two stories--the circumstances of Jinx's mother's brutal murder and her redemption and release 14 years later--while nudging them toward the same emotional conclusion. --Hannah Calkins, blogger at Unpunished Vice

Discover: The psychological skeletons in Jinx's closet bear witness to the same grief as the coats in her cupboard, but it's time to finally confront the past in Yvette Edwards's elegant, heartbreaking debut.

Amistad Press, $14.99, paperback, 9780062183736

Daniel Fights a Hurricane

by Shane Jones

Daniel Fights a Hurricane is a gentle, quirky and ultimately redeeming book about the nature of our own reality. Shane Jones weaves among three (possibly four) points of view, sometimes with clarity, but mostly with the hazy, almost-remembered feel of a dream state.

Readers get to know Daniel from the inside out, with longer and longer passages about him rather than from him as the book continues. His life is one of increasing separateness from the consensual reality of everyday life, with more and more time spent in his internal world. This internal world, however, is one of beauty and internal consistency, with fully realized people and places that cleverly mimic that of the external world in which his ex-wife, Karen, seems to reside. Her perspective is what gives readers clues about Daniel and his way of seeing the world; she provides a warm, personal love even when Daniel becomes more and more entrenched in his alternative reality.

The hurricane of the title is metaphorical, though at the end of the novel an objectively real storm takes place, joining Daniel's world to Karen's and, we assume, ours as well. Daniel Fights a Hurricane is a joy to read, especially for the little hints strewn along the way as well as Jones's by turns playful and dramatic writing styles. It's a remarkable journey from reality to unreality and back, causing readers to wonder which perspective is more, well, real. --Rob LeFebvre, freelance writer and editor

Discover: A distinctive literary glimpse into one man's interior reality, buttressed by the equally subjective view of his ex-wife, in a marvelous melding of metaphor and reality.

Penguin Books, $14, paperback, 9780143121190

Motherless Child

by Marianne Langner Zeitlin

Marianne Langner Zeitlin's third novel, Motherless Child, draws on her background in the "business" side of the music business (classical division) to conduct an engrossing tale of family secrets with elements of psychological mystery and a touch of romance.

The Guaragna family knows loss all too well--the death of a child, the abrupt decline of a musical career, the disappearance of a mother--and for decades, they've placed the blame for those losses on music impresario Albert Rossiter. Now, in what one might expect to be the declining years of his career, Rossiter is instead launching a high-profile management firm, and the youngest Guaragna child, Elizabeth, sees an opportunity to learn more about her family's nemesis. While she lacks management experience, she possesses the musical knowledge to land a position as Rossiter's assistant, and--calling herself Lisa Sullivan--begins to know her enemy. Rossiter's would-be biographer, George Wentworth, is also getting to know him, and what he is learning could reshape Elizabeth's entire understanding of her family's history.

Shifting perspectives between Elizabeth and George, Zeitlin's narrative draws the reader into both characters' search for the truth about the complicated and powerful Albert Rossiter with an immersive portrayal of the culture business of the late 1960s. (It's this past setting that makes Eizabeth/Lisa's charade more plausible than it might be in the present day.) With a plot that takes some unexpected turns--and characters who do the same--Motherless Child should appeal to fans of thought-provoking women’s fiction. --Florinda Pendley Vasquez, blogger at The 3 R's Blog: Reading, 'Riting, and Randomness

Discover: A young woman goes undercover to learn about the man who destroyed her family, but finds the truth is much less straightforward than she's been raised to believe.

Zephyr Press, $17, paperback, 9780983297055

The Age of Desire

by Jennie Fields

Jennie Fields (Crossing Brooklyn Ferry) has concocted an irresistible tale that transforms the upright, starched and intellectual Edith Wharton we think we know into a supine, disheveled and reveling erotic protagonist. Fields's access to Edith's journals and letters give The Age of Desire an authentic air; we see the creator of Lily Bart and Undine Spragg in a whole new way.

Edith Jones married Teddy Wharton, 12 years her senior, when she was 23; it was a disastrous union. Intimate relations with the manic-depressive Teddy were largely nonexistent, and Edith comes to see her husband as a buffoon. Then she meets William Morton Fullerton, an American journalist in Paris and a known womanizer (and a less widely known bisexual). Handsome, charming, he is Edith's intellectual equal. Edith, though in her mid-40s, behaves like a teenage virgin when Morton is around, and of course, the inevitable finally takes place.

As a backdrop to the affair, we have Edith's writerly life and her complicated relationship with her one-time governess, now secretary, Anna Bahlmann. From the age of 12, Edith looked to Anna for instruction and friendship and later, perhaps more than she cares to admit, for a gentle critique of her writing. But Anna is very fond of Teddy and does not approve of Fullerton; she lets Edith know it and is sent away.

Fields beautifully interweaves the story of Anna's devotion, Edith's midlife awakening and life in the Gilded Age among the very wealthy. --Valerie Ryan, Cannon Beach Book Company, Ore.

Discover: An intriguing novelistic look at the life and times of Edith Wharton, and her adulterous affair with a rascal.

Pamela Dorman/Viking, $27.95, hardcover, 9780670023684

You & Me

by Padgett Powell

Padgett Powell (Edisto) is back with You & Me--a nod in the direction of Vladimir and Estragon, those two great talkers in Waiting for Godot. Call it absurdist, call it experimental fiction, postmodernist; whatever it is, just sit back and enjoy the ride.

In endless dialogue, the pair talk about the definitions of words they like: trepanning, furring strips, Craigiator, irrigable, wizened, pustulent; silly names like Studio Becalmed and Something Twice, Constant Rectitude and Inherent Muddle. They also expound, in hilariously ribald fashion, about sex and love, love and sex, body parts, girls and women lost and found and how they felt about them, yielding gems of insight and expression: "Those were the days in which hormones ran like gurgling brooks in our veins and melted our knees with need."

Then, inevitably, they begin to feel the horizon shortening and decide that they must "live every day of our lives as if it's the last day of our life. Let's see: that's LEDOOLAIITLDOOL. It sounds like a Mayan god." They think about that for a while and decide "there is a point after which the jokes stop and we have to figure out how to die." From there, one of them is moved to say, "I am too tired to any longer not be insensitive. It takes a lot of energy to be sensitive."

Don't be fooled into thinking that this is a trivial book. Stay with it and the payoffs are marvelous. --Valerie Ryan, Cannon Beach Book Company, Ore.

Discover: A Southern take on Godot from Padgett Powell, who gets deeper and funnier every time out.

Ecco Press, $23.99, hardcover, 9780062126139

Food & Wine

Vintage Cakes

by Julie Richardson

Bakers will invent reasons to whip up the treats in Vintage Cakes, coached by Julie Richardson's precise and enthusiastic directions. Inspired by recipes she discovered in the Portland, Ore., bakery she co-owns, Richardson collected, tested and refined recipes suggested by friends and strangers eager to be part of a cookbook celebrating historic and beloved cakes.

Organized from the simplest "Hasty Cakes"--including one you can bake in a cast-iron skillet--to more elaborate, layered-and-filled "Party Cakes," Vintage Cakes invites bakers to make a from-scratch dessert with just an hour to invest, or to spend a day savoring the artistry of creating a chocolate ganache, a marshmallow frosting or a mascarpone mousse.

Richardson, a lifelong baker, opens with practical tips on ingredients to have on hand (cane sugar beats beet sugar) and definitions of basic steps (whisk does not mean sift) that are inspiring rather than intimidating. Full-page photos of cakes accompanied by vintage kitchenware, clearly listed sidebars of ingredients and conversational instructions--"The compote will be quite runny, but don't fear; all will be well when the cake has baked"--will reassure even a novice cake-maker.

Richardson introduces each recipe with a story of its past: Berry Long Cake was in a 1945 Betty Crocker ad; angel food cakes became popular after Sunbeam introduced the Mixmaster; Bess Truman served Ozark Pudding Cake to Winston Churchill. Bakers will soon be adding their own memories to the pages, sure to become batter-splattered and beloved. --Cheryl Krocker McKeon, bookseller

Discover: Easy-to-follow recipes and histories for more than 50 classic American cakes, from skillet pudding cakes to multi-layered works of art.

Ten Speed Press, $24, hardcover, 9781607741022

Biography & Memoir

Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Art Forger

by Ken Perenyi

To read Ken Perenyi's account of his 30 years peddling art forgeries, one would think anybody could do it. Perenyi dropped out of his Hoboken, N.J., high school and took up with some young NYC artists in the 1960s. Perenyi found that he could live a footloose, job-free life by faking Old Master paintings, complete with distressed frames and markings, and selling them through Sotheby's, Christie's and the like. Caveat Emptor is a detailed confession of how he did it and how he got away with it for three decades before the FBI closed in--a confession he can make now that the statute of limitations has expired.

Perenyi's book includes illustrations of his fakes and countless how-tos of his trade. Focusing on mid-value, prolific 19th-century British and American artists whose works were frequently repetitive, he usually claimed to have inherited or "just found" the many copies he sold. Because these artists were relatively low priced, his $1,000 and $2,000 forgeries stayed out of the limelight. Perenyi's work was so good he never had to produce a fake provenance, never had to create a paper trail of his decades of subterfuge.

Caveat Emptor provides a fascinating look into the world of antique paintings and the process of their vetting and selling. What it doesn't much explore are Perenyi's motivations. The closest we come to uncovering his reasons is when he describes closing down his Florida shop before the feds can make their case: "Everything I owned was paid for, and I hadn't a nickel of debt," he writes. "I had around a million, all cash, and that didn't include my stock portfolio." --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Discover: Master forger Ken Perenyi reveals the tricks of his trade in this lively account of his 30 years of duping the art world.

Pegasus Books, $27.95, hardcover, 9781605983608

Psychology & Self-Help

Stress Pandemic

by Paul Huljich

Stress has and always will be a part of life. But in today's global society, Paul Huljich writes, "the relentless pace and complexity of modern life had led us to forsake our privacy and our ability to live fully in the present moment." Huljich maintains that this is creating a pandemic of stress, resulting in multiple levels of physical and mental disabilities around the world. In sections of Stress Pandemic, Huljich openly discusses his own mental breakdown and hospitalization due to pressure and anxiety and the ways he drastically changed his life in order to regain control. He includes charts outlining the potential causes and effects of too much stress, allowing readers to analyze their own lives in depth.

Huljich also presents nine basic steps readers can implement in their own lives to reduce the harmful effects of tension and worry. These include kicking bad habits, learning to say no to others, eating well, exercising and living in the moment. Although many of these techniques may be familiar, the combined program, laid out in easy-to-follow steps, provides a practical approach to a common problem. Alongside the to-do list for each step, a range of questions helps readers reflect on their commitment to rebuilding their personal paths.

Humorous drawings and an ample resource section, which includes nutritional information, breathing and stretching exercises and reflexology charts, round out this holistic approach to better health. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer

Discover: A pragmatic approach to overcoming stress, from a former CEO who's built himself back up from mental and physical collapse.

Mwella Publishing, dist. by Midpoint Trade, $16.95, paperback, 9780615489209


The Breathless Zoo: Taxidermy and the Cultures of Longing

by Rachel Poliquin

The natural progression of all living beings is toward a state of decay and decomposition. Taxidermy tries to reverse this, creating lifeless immortality out of death. Rachel Poliquin explores the human motives behind this impulse for preservation in The Breathless Zoo, drawing upon historical, philosophical and psychological sources to understand taxidermy and its role in communicating human relationships with the natural world.

Poliquin structures her discussion around seven themes, each highlighting significant historical events that drove taxidermy to its heights of popularity in the 19th century. She begins, 200 years earlier, with wonder: the human esthetic response exemplified by the early collections of animal pieces intended to "expose the inherent, chaotic, startling potential of the natural world." Later, taxidermy evolved to become a symbol of personal refinement and enlightenment, leading to an appreciation of nature's wonderful bounty: "Nature could save your soul," she writes. "Even if dead and stuffed, natural beauty was spiritually cleansing."

Improvements in the preservation and anatomical representation pushed taxidermy to new heights of spectacle, as displays came to symbolize European imperialism and conquest over nature. Ecological concerns and scientific study lie at the heart of Poliquin's ruminations on taxonomic order, and her final three sections are devoted to narrative (hunting trophies), allegory (taxidermy as animal fables) and remembrance (taxidermy as the ultimate pet memorial). It is human to attempt to circumvent the finality of death, she concludes, but "dead yet still inanimate, these animal-things offer something more than worlds alone can describe." --Nancy Powell, freelance writer

Discover: A cultural history of the art of taxidermy, and its power to define human experiences and our relationships with the natural world.

Penn State University Press, $34.95, hardcover, 9780271053721

Children's & Young Adult

Penelope Crumb

by Shawn K. Stout

Fourth grade can be tough. Just ask Penelope Crumb, star of this funny, often poignant story from Shawn K. Stout (Fiona Finkelstein, Big-Time Ballerina!!), the first in a planned series.

Penelope is having major problems. She's convinced that her teenage brother, Terrence, was kidnapped by aliens and returned as one. She calls him Terrible and keeps a list of his alien traits for when she turns him in to NASA. Terrence/Terrible is the least of Penelope's problems. For starters, no one has told Penelope that she has a big nose; the heroine sees it for herself in her best friend's portrait of her. It turns out Penelope inherited her "humongous" nose from Grandpa Felix. Now, it turns out that Grandpa Felix isn't really "Graveyard Dead." Can Penelope dodge the alien, break all of Mom's rules, find her missing grandfather and reunite her family?

Penelope Crumb is the hilarious story of a fourth-grader determined to find out the truth about her family. She channels the quirkiness of Ramona Quimby and the detective skills of Cam Jansen. Stout gives the supporting characters, including best friend Patsy Cline Roberta Watson, enough definition to be lovable and memorable, but no one steals Penelope's spotlight. The author tackles surprisingly serious family problems from the honest viewpoint of a child. From turning the discovery of her big nose into something to be proud of (it kind of makes her a superhero) to issues of abandonment and loss, Penelope will delight children and parents alike. --Kyla Paterno, trade book buyer and blogger, Garfield Book Company at PLU

Discover: Penelope Crumb must dodge her alien older brother and Mom's rules if she's ever going to reunite with her Grandpa Felix.

Philomel/Penguin, $14.99, hardcover, 176p., ages 7-10, 9780399257285

Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95

by Phillip Hoose

B95 is an extraordinary bird among an extraordinary species. He is a red knot of the subspecies rufa, a "robin-sized shorebird." Unfortunately, the red knot population is in steep decline, and Moonbird tackles the steps being taken to save them.

Red knots undertake an unbelievable migratory passage. B95 is the oldest of his kind ever recorded, at least 18 years old, named for the letter-number combination on the orange band around his left leg. At least 18 times he has survived the 18,000-mile round trip between his breeding grounds in southern Argentina and his wintering grounds in northern Canada. Each chapter chronicles one leg of the bird's journey, its dangers, the physical characteristics (one rufa flew 5,000 miles over six days, without a break), and the importance of each stopover site. Many stop at Delaware Bay to refuel, each consuming more than 8,000 horseshoe crab eggs in a single day. But the bay's crab population is under threat. Unless it is protected, red knots will become endangered.

Phillip Hoose (2009 National Book Award winner Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice) traveled to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina and the Delaware Bay to help band and record the red knot migration. He meets the scientists involved, and intersperses profiles of each, including a teen who created Friends of the Red Knot, working to declare rufa an endangered species. Readers will become attached to this irresistible bird and may well join the worldwide enthusiasm for the remarkable B95. --Angela Carstensen, school librarian and blogger

Discover: A remarkable shorebird whose perseverance, strength, intuition and luck has inspired a worldwide effort to save the rufa red knot.

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $21.99, hardcover, 160p., ages 10-up, 9780374304683

1-2-3 Peas

by Keith Baker

After teaching children their ABCs with his stellar L M N O Peas, Keith Baker now models how to count from one to 10 and then (by tens) to 100. And once again, he tucks a ladybug into each double-page spread.

A lone pea stands on top of the numeral one with a telescope to kick things off: "One pea searching--look, look, look," and a pair of peas, perched on the numeral two, are fishing ("hook, hook, hook"). They cast their lines near three peas, each in his or her own boat (one wears a ponytail): "row, row, row." Many examples demonstrate teamwork: the peas plant, do puzzles and dance together. The delight is in the details. For "Eight peas racing--dash, dash, dash," one's a clear winner, four cluster near the finish line, a pair run past the figure eight, and the last lags due to a lost shoe. The author-artist creates a clever transition from 10 to 20 with "Eleven to nineteen--skip, skip, skip!," and traces a light blue path of three peas jumping rope, and skipping from numeral to numeral.

Children will especially enjoy counting the peas on the larger numeral spreads. For 30 ("Peas honking--beep, beep, beep!"), the green heroes ride tandem bicycles, go-carts, sports cars, taxis and trucks. They each hold a numbered pennant from one to 100 for the penultimate spread, then invite children to start all over again ("Ready? 1-2-3..."). And they will, with gusto. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: A welcome companion to L M N O Peas, in which the green heroes count from one to 100.

Beach Lane/S&S, $16.99, hardcover, 40p., ages 3-7, 9781442445512

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