Mouse-sized adventures have a special place in classic children's literature. Consider The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Stuart Little, and The Tale of Despereaux. Now there’s a new mouse in kidlit and she may be small, but she is mighty. Gilbert’s The Mouse Watch series takes lilliputian stories in a new direction. Mice are secret agents, performing acts of daring and bravery that will save the world. Because of their size, these rodents are able to carry out clandestine missions that are impossible for humans accomplish.
Rescue Ranger's Gadget Hackwrench is the mastermind of an elite force of secret mouse agents. Bernadette Skampersky (character names are part of the book's charm) achieves her lifelong dream when she is selected as a Mouse Watch operative. Her first assignment: outwit the evil Dr Thornpaw who plans to control the minds of humans with his cheese spray. Next Bernie and her partner Jason battle two nefarious foes: the sea captain of the Medusa and the empress of the ocean kingdom of Catlandia in The Mouse Watch Underwater.
Andrews’ pacing is superb. The unique voices for each character are spot on. He injects the perfect blend of humor, charm, and sense of impending danger into the performance.
Stories are jampacked with hidden dangers, cliff-hanging escapes, clever word play, and plenty of heart. This is a series not-to-be-missed. Consider downloading the audiobooks for a family road trip. The miles of travel will fly by.
An appealing adventure with all the charm of tiny creatures surviving in a world of humans combined with innovative technical devices and high-stakes action. Think The Borrowers meet James Bond. Terrific entertainment.
Meet J. J. Gilbert the creative mind behind this thrilling series.
Audiobooks accessed via Hoopla
Release date: May 4, 2021 Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Something as insignificant as a kernel of corn can be the genesis for a wild adventure. Rinck and van der Linden have created a fantasy series about a walking, talking, cowboy-hat-wearing oversized seed with a voracious appetite and an "explosive" personality. He goes by the name of Popcorn Bob.
Nine-year-old Ellis, the family’s popcorn aficionado, discovers this salty oddity inside the microwave when she pops up an afternoon snack for her dads, who work from home developing new rubber duckies.
Ellis’ life takes a disastrous turn when her teacher informs her parents that the school is emphasizing healthy eating. This means that there will be cauliflower in the cake and, most importantly, no more popcorn. Ellis resorts to sneaking out to the garage to secretly satisfy her popcorn cravings.
An even larger problem is Bob, who is brash and demanding. He will not remain quietly in Ellis's pocket and resorts to earsplitting outbursts when hungry. He even devours a candy bar on the principal’s desk.
Good news! More Bob adventures are planned.
Like Ellis, I am a popcorn enthusiast. Unlike Ellis, I prefer popping the kernels with my old fashioned popcorn popper. With a bit of oil, the kernels expand and the glorious popping sound begins. The kitchen fills with the tantalizing aroma. Top it off with melted butter and salt and you have snacktime perfection.
When I want to get fancy, I rely on the Caramel Corn Recipe from my friend's mother. It's a sure-fire hit. Everyone begs for more. Thank you Lynne.
You can find her recipe here.
Dumplings for Lili by Melissa Iwai
It's going to be a special day. Nai Nai has invited Lili to help her make baos. This granddaughter not only loves to eat these steamed bundles of goodness, she loves to make them.
With charming watercolor illustrations, Lili describes each step. She begins by making the dough, then creating the filling, and finally tucking the filling inside each little pastry pillow. She refers to helpful cooking tips "secrets."
When Nai Nai is missing cabbage leaves to line the bamboo basket and keep the bao from sticking, Lili ventures up to Babcia's apartment on the 5th floor for cabbage. She discovers that Babcia has cabbage to share but needs a potato for the pierogi she is making. This pattern continues. Lili traipses up and down the stairs, locating a missing ingredient for the resident grandmothers as each cooks her own version of savory filled pastries: ravioli, tamales, beef patties, fatayer, pierogis and of course, baos.
A top floor view, looking down, reveals on all the flights of stairs Lili and her adorable dog must traverse. Note: a posted sign indicates that the elevator is out of service.
Details from each apartment showcase the diversity of this community. In addition to learning various names for grandmother, readers are introduced to common phrases and greetings in a variety of languages.
An infographic offers a concise map of Lili’s journey throughout the apartment complex. The location for each type of dumpling is identified. Bonus: A bao recipe is included.
I like talking about books and interesting ideas. I like thinking about how books affect my life. Not particularly interested in giving out stars or in rating books.
Audio Publishers Association
2013, - present Audies judge
American Library Association Book Awards and Lists
2017 YALSA Award Nominating Committee
2016 Excellence in Nonfiction
2014 Margaret Edwards Award
2012 Odyssey Awards.
2009, 2010, 2011 Great Graphic Novels for Teens.