Cynthia's Picks

Cynthia Claridge
Cynthia taught preschool through third grade for 28 years, so she’s our resident expert on kid’s books. She’s a voracious reader and especially enjoys history, nature, science, cookbooks, biography, historical fiction---well, as you can see, Cynthia reads a LOT! She’s also a quilter and loves to chat about quilting with customers. Cynthia has four grandchildren that live in other states, so if she’s missing, guess where you might find her. Just so you don’t think she’s the typical quilting grandmother, Cynthia has ridden an elephant through the jungle of Thailand. Wow-ask her about that one!




Applesauce Weather Cover Image
By Helen Frost, Amy June Bates (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780763675769
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - August 9th, 2016

This is a touching poetic novel for young people of a story bringing family together. The lyrical writing shares a family's love of apple picking season, but also serves as a time to remember a family member who has passed away. Brother and sister, Peter and Faith, wonder if their beloved Uncle Arthur will return to the farm during apple season since his wife, Lucy has died. Faith is positive that when the "first apple falls" Arthur will be by their sides. With his gift for storytelling and love of tricks, Arthur helps the family remember their love for Aunt Lucy and her love for them. Frost uses each characters reflection of their thoughts and feelings to advance the story forward. The lovely and detailed pencil drawings by Amy June Bates reflects a simple time in children's lives as they interact with one another and their cherished apple orchard. This is a gentle story dealing with the death of a loved family member.  

Last Bus to Wisdom Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101982563
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - August 16th, 2016

Ivan Doig has been a favorite author of mine since reading English Creek, the first of the Montana trilogy. He creates characters I want to meet and life moments I want to experience. Last Bus to Wisdom was Doig's last book and I for one will miss him and his wonderful storytelling. The book is considered a semi-autobiographical incident from Doig's youth. Eleven years old Donal was being raised in Montana by his grandmother after an accident left him without his parents. Gram needed a "female surgery" and so Donal was put on a bus bound for Wisconsin to spend the summer with a great aunt he had never met. The bus trip was an amusing and exhilarating journey as Donal decided creating an imaginary life mixed in with his real life to share with fellow travelers would make the time goes by all the faster. Autograph books were popular in the 1950's and Donal attempted to gather a signature and thought from everyone he met on his travels. Some of the autographs he collected were a quite a hoot. When he finally arrived in Manitowoc, his Aunt Kate is less than happy to have a visitor and made Donal's life miserable. As Donal got to know Herman, his aunt's husband, he finally had a friend and cohort in several adventures. Eventually Donal decided that Aunt Kate's rules were just too much, so he "takes back" his card game winnings and secretly leaves on a bus bound for the west. Much to Donal's shock, Herman had also decided it was time to flee the shackles of Kate and was sitting on the bus waiting for his partner in crime. The troubles and adventures the pair gets themselves into are hilarious and exciting. Told through the voice of an eleven year old, the reader learns the "wisdom" of a growing young man. If you are a reader of Doig, this one isn't too be missed. 

Words in Deep Blue Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101937648
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - June 6th, 2017

I literally could not put this book down as I read it in one sitting. Cath Crowley, an Australian author, creates the most believable and endearing characters. Her poetic and philosophical method of writing is enlightening and spellbinding. Rachel and Henry have known one another since grade school and have been one another's best friend. Unfortunately for Rachel when she begins high school, she falls in love with her best friend, but Henry longs for another classmate. This sounds like just another love story, but it is so much more as the love story weaves around several other instrumental characters and plots. The setting for this story is a beloved bookshop. Book titles, characters and lines from novels run throughout the book in a cohesive and colorful style. Flowing between Rachel's and Henry's voices, letters left, and marginalia from books in the shop, Crowley conveys the themes of loss, love, family and loyalty. Loss can consist of people as well as things and this is a major theme in Words in Deep Blue. It is how we accept that loss and move on, "the laws of the universe have been tinkered with, and you are blindly wheeling" shares one character. Grab a handkerchief, as you will be sobbing with tears rolling down your cheeks for at least the last 30 pages. If you love words and books, you'll love this novel.