Autumn Unveils Her Top Fall Picks


Kenny Brechner - September 3, 2015

botticelli038With the Fall Season within hailing distance we are fortunate to be joined today by Autumn herself, who, though pressed for time, has agreed to share her top children’s book picks with us.
Kenny: Hello there, Autumn.
Autumn: Hi there yourself, Kenny.
Kenny: You mentioned to me how tight for time you were so I’ll just throw out one quick question before we begin. In the book industry Fall is the most important season, while for many people in the general public Summer is the most synonymous season for reading. How do you weigh the interest in gift-giving as opposed to the act of reading itself?
Autumn: We Seasons all understand the ebb and flow of these matters. Christmas gifts become winter reading. The books coming out in the summer all hope to sell well in the Fall. Indeed all books hope to sell well in the Fall — it’s just that those published in the Fall are more honest about it.

Kenny: I see. Do you consider the big books coming out in early September, though technically Summer’s, as part of your province?
Autumn  Yes, I  do give special consideration to books published after Summer vacation has ended.  To me the intent of their publication is to have them included in the domain of Fall titles. They are like pilgrims who have arrived a bit early at their destination.
Kenny: Can you share which of those books are your top choices then?
blackthornkeyAutumn: Sure. Kevin Sands’ The Blackthorn Key is a terrific middle grade fantasy debut. It has a richness of character and setting which makes its other strengths, strong action scenes and engrossing mysteries, all the more compelling. It also brings a very authentic historical backdrop into the story which demonstrates that real history is the best partner a fantasy can have. Great stuff.
In the brand-name department Libba Bray’s follow-up to The Diviners, Lair of Dreams, and Jonathan Stroud’s new Lockwood and Company book, The Hollow Boy, both deliver. Also, Brian Selznick’s The Marvels will be a big book on every level. Duh!
Two picture books I’ll mention together are two very innovative counting books. Sergio Ruzzier’s Two Mice  incorporates a delightful story around a simple numeric  progression of 3,2,1,1,2,3,2,1. Nancy Raines Day’s What in the World? brings the role of numbers in nature to life in a captivating manner. They are both exceptional.
Kenny: I’m glad I asked! And what of the Fall season proper?
thankyouandgoodnightAutumn: All right then. My favorite picture book is Patrick McDonnell’s Thank You and Good Night. What a wonderful book. It captures so many elements of childhood and is a terrific bedtime story to boot. I also think More Caps for Sale is a worthy and delightful rejoinder to its beloved predecessor, a fitting tribute to the author and the book itself.
For middle grade my top picks are The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon; with strong helpings of imagination and adventure it is sure to delight strong young readers. And Curtis Jobling’s Max Helsing and the Thirteenth Curse, recounting the adventures of Max van Helsing. Yes, a descendant of those van Helsings. All of Jobling’s strengths as a storyteller are on pulse-quickening display. Relentless, bloodcurdling action, unexpected twists and turns steadied by an appealing and firmly challenging moral clarity, and characters who deeply engage either our affection or our repulsion, are here in glorious profusion. Huzzah! Oh yeah, Rick Riordan’s first Norse-themed adventure Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard isn’t too shabby either.
Kenny: What about for YA?
BrokenMapleAutumn: What about Patrick Ness’s The Rest of Us Just Live Here? Isn’t that sensational enough for you? It’s the top YA of my season hands down.
Kenny: It is superb. Personally, though, I thought Mal Peet’s final bequest to his readers, The Murdstone Trilogy: A Novel, was exceptional too.
Autumn: If you feel that way you’ll have to write it up yourself. If you choose to do so you might want to get moving before that tree branch falls on your head.
Kenny: I will, next week.  Hmmn. I see that our time is up. Aaaaah. (To be continued?)

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