Quote for the Day: March 27th, 2022

The Catcher in the Rye: A Novel by J.D. Salinger

What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.

J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye: A Novel

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Quote for the Day: March 3rd, 2022

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched — they must be felt with the heart.

Helen Keller

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: February 15th, 2022

Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.

Oprah Winfrey

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

All Aboard the ARC: Stick and Stone Explore and More by Beth Ferry (Words) and Kristen Cella (Pictures)

Stick and Stone Explore and More by Beth Ferry (Words) and Kristen Cella (Pictures)

***Note: I received a free digital review copy of this book from NetGalley and Clarion Books (formerly HMH Children’s Books) in exchange for an honest review.***

I believe we can officially add Stick and Stone to the canon of great friends in children’s literature.

I believe we can officially add Stick and Stone to the canon of great friends in children’s literature. They are joining the ranks of Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad, Mo Willems’s Elephant and Piggie, and Marc Brown’s Arthur Read and Buster Baxter.

In “Stick and Stone and the Nature Girl”, the two friends try (and fail) to evade being captured by an opportunistic Nature Girl who, along with other members of her troop, is collecting objects from nature starting with each letter of the alphabet. While the friends do end up being snatched (erroneously as Rock and Twig), they are never in any real danger, because the Nature Girl’s Troop Leader reiterates to all of the participants the Nature Girl motto, which is: “Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Keep nothing but memories.” The friends are deposited back in their original spots and all is made right again in their world.

Nature Girl Motto: Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Keep nothing but memories.

In “Stick and Stone and the Sticky Situation”, Stick and Stone get a little more adventure than they bargained for when they end up on a beach and instead of enjoying a nice soak in the sun, Stone is used for a beach campfire along with other rocks of varying sizes and Stick gets a marshmallow for a hat and very nearly gets roasted. A beneficent rain ruins the beachgoers’ fun while saving the lives of Stick and Stone and their new friends.

Beth Ferry and Kristen Cella have delivered another excellent chapter in the saga of Stick and Stone, and readers of all ages are sure to delight in their latest adventures.

Stick and Stone Explore and More is due to be released by Clarion Books (formerly HMH Children’s Books) on June 7th, 2022 and is available to preorder wherever books are sold.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: December 4th, 2021

Kathy Bates (Evelyn Couch) and Jessica Tandy (Ninny Threadgoode) in a promotional shot for Jon Avnet’s Fried Green Tomatoes (1991). Fair use.

I found out what the secret to life is: friends. Best friends.

Fried Green Tomatoes (1991); directed by Jon Avnet

Fried Green Tomatoes is one of my favorite movies of all time. As far as films go its got a little bit of something for everybody: adventure, romance, melodrama, and even a murder mystery! The secret’s in the sauce, or at least that’s what I’ve heard. It was made for a paltry sum of just $11 million, and while that’s quite a loot haul for the likes of Joe Schmoe on Main Street, for Hollywood that’s chump change. It grossed more than ten times that amount and proved once again that American audiences love a well-told Southern yarn, especially when the acting is as stellar as it is in Fried Green Tomatoes. I mean, talk about an embarrassment of riches, to have Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy, and Mary-Louise Parker all in the same film—and as leads, no less!

And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

Ruth 1:16 (KJV)

One thing that was never discussed among my family members when we watched the film together is the lesbian love story at the heart of the film. Now mind you, the onscreen depiction is chaste, but anyone with eyes can clearly see the sparks that fly and the deep love that grows and endures between Idgie Threadgoode (Mary Stuart Masterson) and Ruth Jamison (Mary-Louise Parker). There are even none-too-subtle nods to a queer couple from the Bible itself: Naomi and Ruth. Now, I’m not interested in getting into a historical-theological debate with anyone regarding the canonically gay biblical couple, but perhaps any naysayers reading this would like to check out this excerpt from The Children Are Free: Reexamining the Biblical Evidence on Same-sex Relationships.

…anyone with eyes can clearly see the sparks that fly and the deep love that grows and endures between Idgie Threadgoode (Mary Stuart Masterson) and Ruth Jamison (Mary-Louise Parker).

The same-sex love story at the heart of the larger narrative is frequently straight-washed and written off as simply a superlative example of a great friendship, and it is a story of a great friendship, but it’s also the story of a marriage, one that never received the validation it deserved and was never allowed the public expression it warranted simply because the married people were both women. You can call it what you want but I will call it what it is: love. No one can rightfully condemn it.

You can call it what you want but I will call it what it is: love. No one can rightfully condemn it.

The film won a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film — Wide Release, as well as Oscar noms for Tandy and the adapted screenplay written by Fannie Flagg (who wrote the novel on which the film is based) and Carol Sobieski. There’s so much inside of it (both the film and its source material) to unpack for anyone willing to search it.

I know that I frequently use these “quotes posts” as jumping-off points for whatever tangent I feel like exploring that day, and I really appreciate those of you who are always willing to follow the bread crumbs with me. You have my love and sincerest thanks forever.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Picture Book Review: Unicorn Day by Diana Murray (Words) and Luke Flowers (Pictures)

Unicorn Day by Diana Murray (Words) and Luke Flowers (Pictures)

Review

Note: I did not receive any compensation from either the publisher or the author(s) to read and review the book discussed below. As of the time of the writing of this review, I do not belong to any affiliate programs which compensate me for sales arising from links included on this page or on any page created and maintained by The Voracious Bibliophile. Links are provided as a courtesy to the author(s) to help them continue producing their works. I am not responsible for the content and/or claims contained on sites linked away from The Voracious Bibliophile and the inclusion of such links do not imply endorsement on my part.

Bright and rambunctious with clever wordplay to encourage kids and their adults to sing along, with Unicorn Day you can’t go wrong!

This book has some of the best illustrations I’ve ever seen in a picture book. Bright and rambunctious with clever wordplay to encourage kids and their adults to sing along, with Unicorn Day you can’t go wrong! You see what I mean? It’s infectious. Another thing I loved about this book is the way it encourages tolerance and acceptance of those who are different.

During the celebrations, a horse masquerading as a unicorn is discovered when their horn falls off, and the horse starts to leave in shame. It really tugs at your heartstrings, especially if you’ve ever been ostracized yourself. The unicorns, not wanting to lose a friend, help their new friend reattach their horn and the celebration continues, adding non-hooved friends along the way to celebrate everyone’s individuality and uniqueness. Unicorn Day is for everyone!

Would it be too much for me to sing along with the unicorns, proclaiming proudly, “I’m on the right track, baby, I was horn this way.”

Also, it did not escape my notice that one of the unicorns featured on the book’s cover has a rainbow horn that looks not-too-subtly like a Pride flag. Would it be too much for me to sing along with the unicorns, proclaiming proudly, “I’m on the right track, baby, I was horn this way.” You see what I did there?

Unicorn Day was published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky in June 2019 and is available to purchase wherever books are sold.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: September 11th, 2021

She [Lucy] loved Christ for his suffering, for what they had in common. With all his strength, even Christ had asked if this burden could be lifted from him. The idea that pain was not a random thing, but a punishment of the evil upon the good, the powerful upon the weak, gave her something to rage against. After all, what is the point of being angry at nature when nature could care less? If you cried against barbarism, then at least you were standing up to a consciousness that could hypothetically be shaped. When Lucy believed that there were actually things in the world that were worse than what had happened to her, she could pull herself up on this knowledge like a rope. When she lost sight of it, she sank.

Ann Patchett, Truth & Beauty: [A Friendship]

All Aboard the ARC: The Proud Button by Danette Richards

The Proud Button by Danette Richards

***Note: I received a free digital review copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***

Isabelle is a bright and curious little girl who keeps a jar full of special treasures which she protects as if it were a pot of gold. She lives a happy life for the most part but she is sad because she has a lot of trouble connecting with other kids her age and making friends. Sometimes it’s easier for her to work alone in class or stay in her bedroom admiring the treasures in her treasure jar than it would be for her to work with others or to venture out and play with other children.

One day when Isabelle arrives home from school, she has a letter and a present from her Aunt Nancy waiting for her. The present is a yellow porcelain button her aunt found in a field near an abandoned button factory in France—and it is christened Isabel’s Proud Button—proud because she takes such pride in caring for her treasures.

Perhaps, she thinks, she can treat herself and the people around her the same way she treats her treasures. And maybe, just maybe, this will help her make friends who will value her back.

The notion of taking pride in things you care for strikes a chord in Isabelle. Perhaps, she thinks, she can treat herself and the people around her the same way she treats her treasures. And maybe, just maybe, this will help her make friends who will value her back.

Isabelle’s Proud Button gives her the courage to do just that, and soon she is connecting with others and learning the joys of friendship.

It [The Proud Button] teaches (or reminds) us that there’s nothing wrong with taking pride in the things you own but that it’s much more important to care for the people in your life because your stuff can’t love you back.

The Proud Button is a wonderful story that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. It teaches (or reminds) us that there’s nothing wrong with taking pride in the things you own but that it’s much more important to care for the people in your life because your stuff can’t love you back.

The Proud Button is due to be released on September 14th, 2021 by Clavis and is now available to preorder wherever books are sold.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter and Instagram @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

All Aboard the ARC: Garlic and the Vampire by Bree Paulsen

***Note: I received a free digital review copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***

Garlic and the Vampire is in my opinion one of the best graphic novels written for younger readers to come out in the past decade. It tells the story of Garlic, who lives in a community of anthropomorphic vegetables created and cared for by Witch Agnes, a benevolent sorceress who teaches her vegetables the value of hard work and giving back to one’s community.

When we first meet Garlic, she is shy, passive, and timid. When a vampire is discovered to be living in the castle near their community, Garlic is decided to be the only one who can safely determine whether or not he is a threat to the humans who live in the village. She reluctantly decides to go despite her fears, knowing it’s the right thing to do.

Along the way she becomes braver, learning to rely on her own inner strength. When she finally confronts the count she learns that just because someone is different doesn’t always mean they’re to be feared, and that the best way to find out about someone else is to talk to them.

Garlic and the Vampire is due to be released on September 28th of this year and is now available to preorder wherever books are sold.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please follow, like, comment, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at thevoraciousbibliophile@yahoo.com or catch me on Twitter @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: July 25th, 2021

Books have a unique way of stopping time in a particular moment and saying: Let’s not forget this.

Dave Eggers

One of my favorite things in the world is the feeling you get when you’re totally unguarded, immersed in a book, and you read a line or a passage that arrests you completely. In that moment, there are only two entities in the entire world: you and the author. Something clicks. It’s a spiritual connection made between two minds that validate each other through that silent acknowledgment, that yes, I feel that too.

In that moment, there are only two entities in the entire world: you and the author. Something clicks.

The last time that happened to me was while I was reading Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet. Those books destroyed me completely. Starting with My Brilliant Friend, Ferrante follows two women, Elena and Lila, living in an impoverished neighborhood in Naples, Italy. Their friendship is really the story at the heart of the novels, and Ferrante follows them from around the time they’re eight years old in primary school to the time they’re in their fifties. The transformation of their friendship mirrors the transformation of Naples and Italy itself, with all the concomitant volatility, upheaval, violence, grace, and love.

The transformation of their friendship mirrors the transformation of Naples and Italy itself, with all the concomitant volatility, upheaval, violence, grace, and love.

Modern-day Naples, Italy.

There were times when I was reading I would actually forget Elena and Lila were fictional characters, and I would cry, and I would tense up from the sheer electricity of Ferrante’s prose. Their sorrows were my sorrows, their pain my pain, their love my love. If all prose writers were like Elena Ferrante, I don’t think my heart could handle it. For me, that’s the purpose of literature—to both transcend your personal understanding of the world at the same time your own experience is validated.

For me, that’s the purpose of literature—to both transcend your personal understanding of the world at the same time your own experience is validated.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please follow, like, comment, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at thevoraciousbibliophile@yahoo.com or catch me on Twitter @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.