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Steve's Staff Picks

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Mr. Steve works in the children's department 

 He is also the host of Vroman's popular Storytime with Mr. Steve, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10am. 

"I was hired at Vroman's Bookstore in 1989. Since then, I have become something of an expert in Kid's Books and remainder buying."

 
To see the Kimmidoll "commercial" I created for Vroman's (plus a lot of other tomfoolery): http://www.youtube.com/user/maskrado"

Mr. Steve’s High Fidelity-like Top Five Lists
 
Top Five Favorite Graphic Novel Authors
1. Alan Moore – Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Ballad of Halo Jones 
2. John Wagner – Strontium Dog, Judge Dredd, Button Man, A History of Violence 
3. Pat Mills – Slaine, Nemesis the Warlock, Marshal Law 
4. Ben Dunn – Ninja High School, Warrior Nun Areala, Marvel Mangaverse 
5. Evan Dorkin – Milk and Cheese, Dork!
 
Top Five Favorite Authors (Who Got Mr. Steve Interested in Books Without Pictures):
1. Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan, John Carter of Mars) 
2. Kenneth Robeson/Lester Dent (Doc Savage) 
3. Grant Stockbridge/Norvell Page (The Spider) 
4. L. Ron Hubbard (Final Blackout, Golden Age Stories) 
5. Robert E. Howard (Conan, Solomon Kane)
 
Top Five Favorite Writers (Adult):
1. Maria Amparo Escandon – Esperanza’s Box of Saints, Gonzalez and Daughter Trucking Co.
2. don Miguel Ruiz – Five Agreements, Voice of Knowledge 
3. Susan Gregg - The Toltec Way 
4. Walter Moers – 13 ½ Lives of Captain Bluebear, Rumo 
5. Vern – Seagalogy: A Study of the @$$-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal
 
Top Five Favorite Book Subjects:
1. Action and Exploitation Movies
2. Guinea Pigs
3. ‘80s New Wave Bands
4. Pro Wrestling (especially lucha libre) 
5. Comics and graphic novels, especially Britian's 2000 A.D.

 

Staff Pick Badge
Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator! Cover Image
By Mo Willems, Mo Willems (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062004000
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - April 26th, 2011
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A picture book divided into very short chapters, Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator! is another home run from Mo Willems, the man who brought us the ongoing Pigeon saga, and the Elephant and Piggie series. Overflowing with cleverness, heart, and humor (plus a few tips on how--and how not to--tell jokes, and surprise your friends), Amanda and her Alligator is a wonderful friendship story, and the perfect antidote for "girly girl" pink-a-princess books; in fact, I think most boys at our Storytimes find the Alligator pretty darn cool.


Staff Pick Badge
When I Grow Up Cover Image
By Al Yankovic, Wes Hargis (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780061926914
Availability: Backordered
Published: HarperCollins - February 1st, 2011
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The artist formerly known as "Weird Al" is not one to "write down" to kids: he adapted his talent for writing clever, funny song lyrics, and has written a clever, funny picture book that's reminiscent of Dr. Seuss' style, but with many words and concepts that are aimed at older, more sophisticated readers. Wes Hargis' super-detailed illustrations enhance the text with additional sight gags. Like Al's music and videos, his picture book is for smart kids with a sense of humor. When I Grow Up is a book that can be grown into, and it's also a perfect gift for grown ups who are "growing into" one of life's next levels (graduation, new baby, retirement). Dr. Seuss' Oh, the Places You'll Go is still a great gift-of-passage, but When I Grow Up is for the generations who have loved and laughed at "Weird Al" Yankovic. DISCLAIMER: As a huge "Weird Al" fan, I must admit that this was not exactly an unbiased review.


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The Great Hamster Massacre (The Great Critter Capers) Cover Image
By Katie Davies, Hannah Shaw (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9781442420625
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Beach Lane Books - May 3rd, 2011
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On one hand, The Great Hamster Massacre is a funny, quirky, and unique children's mystery, about a girl's naïve attempts to figure out what "really" happened to her pets; at the same time, the adult subtext and humor, which should (hopefully) pass way over most kids' heads, will keep grown up bedtime story readers awake--and laughing--well after the kids are asleep. CAUTION: The title is not a euphemism, nor is it figurative; it does not refer to a dream, an exaggeration, or any other "imaginary" point-of-view that American children's books use to step around dealing with death. With gut-busting British humor, Katie Davies bluntly confronts some of the grimmer realities of having pets, and certain gruesome aspects of animal behavior that may be difficult for young humans to understand. Not for coddled or overly sensitive children!


So what's with the top hats, goggles, corsets, and waistcoats? Good, God, man! Get with the times (i.e. the faux Victorian Era), and up to snuff with one of the fastest-growing subcultures of geek chic. More than mere dress-up fandom, Steampunk encompasses literature, music, retro science, history and politics, as well as design, fashion, art, and crafts. The Steampunk Bible is a ripping good overview, filled with most excellent picto-graphics, for the novice as well as the veteran mad inventor/explorer/airship-traveler.


Staff Pick Badge
All the World Cover Image
By Liz Garton Scanlon, Marla Frazee (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9781416985808
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Beach Lane Books - September 8th, 2009
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All the World is one of the finest picture books I've ever read; it elevates the standards of storytelling for children to a new level.

A charming poem in the spirit of The Power of Now is lifted into the stratosphere by Marla Frazee's cinematic illustrations.

Frazee's wordless story about a family's get-together near the seashore runs parallel to the poem, and ingeniously illustrates the text. The layout and the pictures are packed with details that can be discovered, studied, and treasured by children and adults time and time again.

All the World is an excellent children's book, and many well be one of the best gift books of the 2009 Holiday Season.


Staff Pick Badge
A Crooked Kind of Perfect Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780152066086
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - April 6th, 2009
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It doesn't matter if a story is written "for children": some of our most popular books for young readers have universal themes that can be enjoyed both by kids and their parents. A fine example is A Crooked Kind of Perfect, a hilarious debut novel by Linda Urban. The climax and the resolution will draw a laugh and a smile. A Crooked Kind of Perfect reads as if a friend is telling a very funny story. Urban uses a pleasant, first person narrative, and a non-traditional format, to relate the classic struggle between "how it should be" and "how it is." It's a great read-aloud, although it might be distracting if grown-up readers keep laughing at the pop culture references that are aimed at adults. Linda Urban's name may be familiar to Vroman's customers: during her time here at Vroman's, Linda was a bookseller on the sales floor, then Events Coordinator and Newsletter Editor. Of course, that did not affect my opinion of my fellow Vromie's book--not in the least. Really.