Judging books by their covers

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When the content of a book transports you somewhere magical and its cover is also enticing to look at, it’s a thing of beauty. Today’s round-up of magical journeys and pretty pictures is:

– “How Big Is the World?” by Britta TeckentrupLittle Mole has an enormous question: How big is the world? He knows there’s only one way to find out: leave the molehill and see for himself. And so Little Mole circles the globe, from the frozen north to the vast desert, the tall cities to the huge mountains, the great jungles to the thick forests. Everywhere he goes he meets fascinating animals and discovers new lands. But in the end, as with all little ones, he realizes that no matter how big the world is, there’s no place like home.
Britta Teckentrup’s luminous art captures the beauty of diverse landscapes, the charm of a menagerie of beasts, and the appeal of one very special, childlike mole.

– “Batman & Superman Doodles: Fearless Pictures to Complete and Create” by DC Comics
Up, up, and away! DC Comics’ Superman and Batman have arrived in the Doodles line for the very first time! See what crimes they are fighting in this full-color action-packed doodle adventure. Recreate your favorite scenes and characters, no drawing experience required!

– “Animal Airways” by Andrea Petrlik & Sally Hopgood
Animals from around the world are going on vacation. They are all booked to travel on Animal Airways! Can you count how many passengers get onboard at each location as the little plane flies through the pages? Learning basic skills is fun and easy with the books in the ribbon series. Each time a child turns the page, the character pops out on a flexible ribbon and highlights a new concept. Children will learn counting, colors, and shapes. Each book in the series features whimsical, rhyming and repetitive text that appeals to emerging young readers.

– “Away In My Airplane” by Margaret Wise Brown
See the birds way up high and the people down below in this rhyme full of movement, wonder, and excitement from the hidden treasures of Margaret Wise Brown, author of the children’s classics Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny.

– “All the Families” by Margaret Wise Brown
See that dogs, bunnies, and elephants have families just like you! And just like you, these families eat when they’re hungry and go to sleep when it’s bedtime. Join all the families in this touching and comforting story from the hidden treasures of Margaret Wise Brown, author of the children’s classics Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny. It’s a beautifully illustrated story to share.

– “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio
August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?

R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.

– “Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles #1)” by Colin Meloy
The first book in the epic middle-grade fantasy series full of magic, wonder, and danger. For fans of The Chronicles of Narnia comes the first book in the Wildwood Chronicles, the New York Times bestselling fantasy adventure series by Colin Meloy, lead singer of the Decemberists, and Carson Ellis, acclaimed illustrator of The Mysterious Benedict Society.

In Wildwood, Prue and her friend Curtis uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval—a world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. And what begins as a rescue mission becomes something much greater as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness. A wilderness the locals call Wildwood.

Wildwood captivates readers with the wonder and thrill of a secret world within the landscape of a modern city. It feels at once firmly steeped in the classics of children’s literature and completely fresh at the same time. The story is told from multiple points of view, and the book features more than eighty illustrations, including six full-color plates, making this an absolutely gorgeous object.

– “Under Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles #2)” by Colin Meloy
Ever since Prue McKeel returned home from the Impassable Wilderness after rescuing her brother from the malevolent Dowager Governess, life has been pretty dull. School holds no interest for her, and her new science teacher keeps getting on her case about her dismal test scores and daydreaming in class. Her mind is constantly returning to the verdant groves and sky-tall trees of Wildwood, where her friend Curtis still remains as a bandit-in-training.

But all is not well in that world. Dark assassins with mysterious motives conspire to settle the scores of an unknown client. A titan of industry employs inmates from his orphanage to work his machine shop, all the while obsessing over the exploitation of the Impassable Wilderness. And, in what will be their greatest challenge yet, Prue and Curtis are thrown together again to save themselves and the lives of their friends, and to bring unity to a divided country. But in order to do that, they must go under Wildwood.

In Under Wildwood, Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis reveal new dimensions of the epic fantasy-adventure series begun with the critically acclaimed, bestselling Wildwood.

– “Wildwood Imperium (Wildwood Chronicles #3)” by Colin Meloy
From Colin Meloy, lead singer of the Decemberists, and Carson Ellis, acclaimed illustrator of The Mysterious Benedict Society, comes the stunning third book in the New York Times bestselling fantasy-adventure series the Wildwood Chronicles.

A young girl’s midnight séance awakens a long-slumbering malevolent spirit. . . . A band of runaway orphans allies with an underground collective of saboteurs and plans a daring rescue of their friends, imprisoned in the belly of an industrial wasteland. . . . Two old friends draw closer to their goal of bringing together a pair of exiled toy makers in order to reanimate a mechanical boy prince. . . . As the fate of Wildwood hangs in the balance.

The Wildwood Chronicles is a mesmerizing and epic tale, at once firmly steeped in the classics of children’s literature and completely fresh at the same time. In this book, Colin Meloy continues to expand and enrich the magical world and cast of characters he created in Wildwood, while Carson Ellis once again brings that world to life with her gorgeous artwork, including six full-color plates.

– “The Good Luck of Right Now” by Matthew Quick
Call it fate. Call it synchronicity. Call it an act of God. Call it . . . The Good Luck of Right Now. From the New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook comes an entertaining and inspiring tale that will leave you pondering the rhythms of the universe and marveling at the power of kindness and love.

For thirty-eight years, Bartholomew Neil has lived with his mother. When she gets sick and dies, he has no idea how to be on his own. His redheaded grief counselor, Wendy, says he needs to find his flock and leave the nest. But how does a man whose whole life has been grounded in his mom, Saturday mass, and the library learn how to fly?

Bartholomew thinks he’s found a clue when he discovers a “Free Tibet” letter from Richard Gere hidden in his mother’s underwear drawer. In her final days, mom called him Richard—there must be a cosmic connection. Believing that the actor is meant to help him, Bartholomew awkwardly starts his new life, writing Richard Gere a series of highly intimate letters. Jung and the Dalai Lama, philosophy and faith, alien abduction and cat telepathy, the Catholic Church and the mystery of women are all explored in his soul-baring epistles. But mostly the letters reveal one man’s heartbreakingly earnest attempt to assemble a family of his own.

A struggling priest, a “Girlbrarian,” her feline-loving, foul-mouthed brother, and the spirit of Richard Gere join the quest to help Bartholomew. In a rented Ford Focus, they travel to Canada to see the cat Parliament and find his biological father . . . and discover so much more.

– “The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules” by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg
79-year-old Martha Anderson dreams of escaping her care home and robbing a bank. She has no intention of spending the rest of her days in an armchair and is determined to fund her way to a much more exciting life-style. Along with her four oldest friends – otherwise known as the League of Pensioners – Martha decides to rebel against all of the rules imposed upon them. Together, they cause an uproar with their antics: protesting against early bedtimes and plastic meals. As the elderly friends become more daring, their activities escalate and they come up with a cunning plan to break out of the care home and land themselves in a far more attractive Stockholm establishment. With the aid of their Zimmer frames, they resolve to stand up for old aged pensioners everywhere – Robin Hood style. And that’s when the adventure really takes off.

– “For Today I Am a Boy” by Kim Fu
Peter Huang and his sisters—elegant Adele, shrewd Helen, and Bonnie the bon vivant—grow up in a house of many secrets, then escape the confines of small-town Ontario and spread from Montreal to California to Berlin. Peter’s own journey is obstructed by playground bullies, masochistic lovers, Christian ex-gays, and the ever-present shadow of his Chinese father.

At birth, Peter had been given the Chinese name Juan Chaun, powerful king. The exalted only son in the middle of three daughters, Peter was the one who would finally embody his immigrant father’s ideal of power and masculinity. But Peter has different dreams: he is certain he is a girl.

Sensitive, witty, and stunningly assured, Kim Fu’s debut novel lays bare the costs of forsaking one’s own path in deference to one laid out by others. For Today I Am a Boy is a coming-of-age tale like no other, and marks the emergence of an astonishing new literary voice.

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