Friday, October 19, 2018

It Doesn't Have to be Fancy to be Exciting

This is not a fancy book at all. It doesn’t even have a dust jacket. Really, I plucked this particular hardcover story-version of Gian-Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors (“This narrative adaptation by Frances Frost preserves the exact dialogue of the opera”) out of a box with interest only because the illustrator, Roger Duvoisin, has been a favorite of mine since my son was little and we discovered and enjoyed his Petunia books together. Illustrations in Amahl are not as loosey-goosey as other work by Duvoisin, but the bright colors are definitely his. Anyway, a nice little Christmas book, right?

Musing over what would be a reasonable price, I turned the first leaves almost idly. Publication date was 1952. It was the half-title page, though, that stopped me in my tracks. What were all those names? Each in a different handwriting? None was Menotti’s signature or Frost’s or Duvoisin’s….

I’m not an opera aficionado. I had to look up the names. David Aiken: operatic baritone. Andrew McKinley: operatic tenor. Rosemary Kuhlman: mezzo-soprano. All three were in the original 1951 cast of Menotti’s opera, which was also (written in English) the first opera written for television, commissioned by NBC and broadcast as the first production of the television’s Hallmark Hall of Fame. First Hallmark, first television opera, original cast members — well, now I am very excited! In fact, I can hardly believe what I’m holding in my hands! Since the publication date was 1952, maybe the other names were in the cast of that year’s production? Thrills like this are part of the adventure of dealing in used books. I haven’t decided on an asking price yet. This is a one-of-a-kind item, not something with a lot of “comparables,” but I know the right buyer would be over the moon to have it. What a Christmas present it would make, eh?

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Légumes: Vegetable Recipes From the Market Table

Beets! Yum!

Whether your fresh vegetables come from the farm market to your kitchen or from your own backyard garden, it never hurts to find new, inspired ways to prepare them for the table. Pascale Beale's third Market Table book offers more than 100 plant-based dishes, with mouth-watering full-color illustrations.

Légumes: Vegetable Recipes From the Market Table
by Pascale Beale
Illustrated, 256pp


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

What Does It Take?

What does it take, that is, for a Leelanau near-native (her parents came to Leland when she was 12 years old) to make a living and raise a family at the same time, right here in Leelanau, rather than moving away and only returning in retirement? Michelle White is someone who knows the answer first-hand, because she has what it takes. And it makes sense, growing up where she did, that cherries were Michelle’s inspiration. 

Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, but readers can learn how one woman launched an award-winning startup here in northern Michigan — her struggles, hard work, determination and perseverance, and the lessons she learned along the way. 

On a Pit and a Prayer: How I Grew a Business, Lost a Business, and Found Faith, Family and Love
by Michelle White
Traverse City: Mission Point Press, paper 154pp.


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Read about the book here. Buy it today at Dog Ears Books in Northport. 

Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World
by Maryanne Wolf
Hardcover, 247pp, $24.99

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Chickadees Are Stars Again!

Bill O. Smith’s third book starring chickadees lives up to the standard set by his first, Chickadees at Night, and second, The Chickadee Spirit. Like the earlier books, Chickadeeland once again presents the little birds we all love in rhymes that please the ear and captivate the imagination, completing a trilogy of perfect bedtime stories that all ages will enjoy. Traverse City artist Charles R. Murphy’s watercolors, too, could not be better suited to illustrating Smith’s chickadee adventure tales.

Nor will you want to overlook a fourth Bill Smith book (third in chronological order), Four a.m. December 25, illustrated by Glenn Wolff. There is also a lot going on in the pictures that isn’t told in the words in this book. Lots to look for and talk about as the author and illustrator take us around the world, through the time zones, for one hour in the dark of Christmas morning.

The author is donating his profits from Chickadeeland to the National Parks Conservation Association, Historic Sleeping Bear Preservation, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, Groundworks Center, and the National Park Foundation. His profits from Four a.m. December 25th are going to the Air Force Enlisted Village, Air Warriors Courage Foundation, Our Military Kids, Inc., and the Cherryland VWF Post 2780 Relief Fund. 

Books by Bill O. Smith, all hardcover with beautifully illustrated boards:

Chickadees at Night, $18.85
The Chickadee Spirit, $18.85
Chickadeeland, $18.85

Four a.m. December 25 (somewhat larger format than chickadee books), $19.95

You will definitely want to catch the chickadee spirit yourself!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

NATURE’S FRIEND Comes to Northport

There is no need to introduce anyone in northwest Michigan to Gwen Frostic. Most people have been to her charmingly quirky working studio (see above) in Benzie County, where production is still active though the artist is no longer alive. Now a new children’s book has arrived to introduce another generation to Michigan artist Gwen Frostic and her life’s work. Beautifully illustrated by Eileen Ryan Ewen, Lindsey McDivitt’s Nature’s Friend: The Gwen Frostic Story combines biography with inspiration in a way that does honor to its subject.

Nature’s Friend: The Gwen Frostic Story
By Lindsey McDivitt
Illustrated by Eileen Ryan Ewen
Hardcover with dust jacket


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

ILLEGAL: A Graphic Novel For Our Times

When it comes to graphic novels, I have lagged behind the times dreadfully, but I couldn't help being intrigued by this book from bestselling author Eoin Colfer and the team behind the Artemis Fowl graphic novels, the story of a young boy’s perilous journey from Ghana across the Sahara to Tripoli and out onto the ocean to reunite with his brother and sister. 

Eoin Colfer says, “I will keep writing until people stop reading or I run out of ideas.” Andrew Donkin became interested in migration and asylum while writing the story of a man who lived on a bench in an airport for 18 years. Illustrator Giovanni Rigano, independent writer and Disney-Pixar contributor, has now adapted five of Colfer’s books into graphic novels.

Incredible team, timely topic, taut adventure. Ages 10 and up.

Illegal, by Eoin Colfer & Andrew Donkin and illustrated by Giovanni Rigano.

Paper, $14.99