When a muskrat tells the Moomin family that a comet is passing Earth, Moomin and his two best friends set out to visit astronomers in the Lonely Mountains, only to find out the comet is headed straight for Moomin Valley! This is one of the most imaginative children’s novels I’ve read, and the world building is delightful. Tove Jansson rules!
If you’ve ever had the need to see an illustration of a fluffy white dog wearing a black turtleneck and black circular sunglasses, drinking too much at a bar called Bitches Brew where K.K. Slider from Animal Crossing plays live gigs, then this is the comic for you. It is the cutest thing I have ever seen. Seriously.
What Pete Ate follows Pete, a very good dog, but sometimes not so good, as he alphabetically eats his way through a bunch of items he definitely should not be eating. A truly lovely way to learn your alphabet. Maira Kalman is my absolute favorite illustrator, and her line and gouache drawings are whimsical and extremely charming.
Chirri and Chirra are riding their bikes when they come to a cave that transports them under the sea! There’s an underwater restaurant where fish drink elaborate drinks while lounging on shell chairs and an underwater theater where sharks play guitars. Honestly, I want to live in this world. Check out the rest of the series for equally sweet adventures.
Something about fall makes me feel like reading fiction set in New York City. Maybe so I can live vicariously through the cold weather. This collection focuses mainly on the Jewish community of New York City in the 1960's and is worth it for the first story alone. The women are amazing and the dialogue incredilbly funny. Johanna Kaplan is my new favorite.
Silvie’s dad is obsessed with ancient England, so for his holiday he signs Silvie, her mom and himself up for an anthropology course where they will reenact the lives of the ancient Britons in the Iron Age. As time passes, we learn just how abusive and controlling her father can be and just how fascinated he is with living authentically as an ancient Briton, including their tendency to commit human sacrifices. When he suggests they stage a fake human sacrifice of their own with his daughter as an offering, reality begins to blur. Surely, they won’t go through with, right?
Honda-san is a skeleton and bookseller who works in the manga section with her coworkers who wear various masks such as a jack o' lantern and a plague mask. The author wrote this book while working in a bookstore and hilariously illustrates daily life as a bookseller, from over-the-top customer service training to hectic new release days. If you are new to manga you will learn a lot (there is a glossary of terms in the back of the book) and if you are not you will see some old favorite titles as Honda-san handles a large array of customer requests. It is a fun tribute to books, bookstores and booklovers.
Cécile is 17 and living a languorous existence with her womanizing father, Raymond on the French Riviera for the summer. They spend their time sleeping on the beach, attending parties, and gambling at the nearby casinos. But when Raymond decides to marry a woman who doesn't share their enthusiasm for their hedonistic lifestyle, Cécile fears that the life she has grown accustomed to is over and will do anything she can do to prevent changes, with tragic consequences. At one point after a night of drinking and dancing Cécile exclaims, "What a debauch!" and I think that perfectly sums up the entire novel. It's a really good time with characters who you will love/hate and a setting that makes this book perfect for summer reading.
Tove Jansson, the creator of the Moomintroll characters, writes 22 tiny vignettes about six-year-old Sophie and her salt of the earth, cigarette-sneaking grandma as they spend a summer on a remote Finnish island following a death in the family. As they explore the island and swim in the ocean, they discuss and argue about topics such as death, earth worms and God. This book is a nice reminder to live slower and enjoy small everyday surprises like wild roses and taking naps in the forest. The stories are so lovely and delightfully illustrated with Jansson's characteristic black line drawings. Recommended for fans of magical forests, island living and very cool grandmas.