January 24, 2019

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M. T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 11:24 pm by suebe2

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge
by M. T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin

Goblins and elves have been at war for over 100 years, this in spite of the fact that they used to co-exist.

But elfin historian Brangwain Spurge is on a mission.  He has been sent with a peace-offering, an artifact discovered while digging in a palace garden.

His host is the goblin archivist Werfel who is thrilled to be honored to host such an important guest.

But Brangwain Spurge is more than he seems.  He has been sent to spy on the goblins and scout out their weaknesses.  Each night he enters a trance and sends back images of the goblin kingdom.  And that’s where Yelchin’s detailed art work comes into play.  Readers will immediately wonder how the city Werfel is describing with such enthusiasm and joy can be the horror experienced by Spurge.

Cultural misunderstandings as well as willful double crosses fill this book.  When Spurge arrives both he and Werfel are certain that goblins and elves are very different. Their foods, their music, all of their habits are different.  Goblins even shed their skins.  Disgusting!

I don’t want to summarize any more of the story because I don’t want to give it away.  It is no wonder that this book was a finalist for the National Book Award.  Titles chosen for this award are timely.  They deal with topics straight from the headlines.  For this book those would include prejudice, assumption and misunderstanding as well as eventual hope.

The combination of text and art gives readers insight that they wouldn’t have in a story that was text alone.  There are also dual story lines with elven memos explaining why Spurge was sent, Spurge sharing his perspective based on what he was told, and Werfel filling in the goblin perspective.

This book is so hard to describe.  Tolkien meets Mission Impossible?

And its clear that Yelchin and Anderson had a blast in creating this book.  Blast.  It’s a bit of an inside joke – read the book and you’ll get it.


September 15, 2017

The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 9:20 pm by suebe2

The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet
by Carmen Agra Deedy
illustrated by Eugene Yelchin
Scholastic Press

“Once there was a village where the streets rang with song from morning until night.”  The problem was that it wasn’t one person singing or even two.  Everyone sang.  Even the fountains crooned.  It got to the point that it was even hard to sleep.  So it wasn’t a surprise when they fired the mayor.

The new mayor promised that La Paz would be one thing — quiet.  He won by a landslide.  (Isn’t that gloriously ironic?)

He didn’t wait to start passing laws.  First you couldn’t sing loudly in public.  Then you couldn’t do it at home.  Before long, you just had to be quiet.  Shhh.

That’s when a little rooster, el gallito, came to town.  He heralded in the dawn with his song.  Kee-kee-ree-KEE!

The mayor wasn’t going to put up with such a noisy bird.  First he chopped down el gallito’s favorite mango tree.  The rooster still found a reason to sing. Then the mayor took away his family.  Kee-kee-ree-KEE!  One thing after another is taken away from the rooster but the mayor simply cannot take away his song.

The people of the town were drawn to the rooster. Something was waking up in their hearts.

Finally the mayor threatens the rooster’s life.  And then….

Ha!  I’m not going to spoil the ending.  You will definitely need to read the book.  It is such an encouraging, uplifting story.  Really, go get a copy.

Yelchin’s art work with its bright colors brings this story to life.  No one who sees this cocky rooster is surprised when he keeps singing.  He’s just to full of spark to silence.

Share this story with your class or with your own children.  Use it as a jumping off point for discussions on bullying and freedom of speech.  Although it will make a marvelously fun story time book – be prepared.  Your young learners will definitely want to  Kee-kee-ree-KEE along with el gallito.  I know I do!

This is a must have for the classroom and home.  Just remember to expect a little song.



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