Contemporary Fiction – Page 4 – CYAPodcast

Category: Contemporary Fiction

Cat Vomit: Indi Reviews

You know the cat vomit color when you see it. Individual reviews:

“Boa’s Bad Birthday” by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross – Jenny
“What’s Your Favorite Animal” by Eric Carle and Friends – Cathie Sue
“Sacre Bleu” by Christopher Moore (audio version) – Karl
“Scraps: Notes from a Colorful Life” by Lois Ehlert

Stupid Question: Indi Reviews

Yeah, so what if we ask stupid questions? It’s how we learn. Individual reviews:

“True Detective” HBO Show – Adrienne
(spoilers, you have been warned)

“Some Bugs” by Angela DiTerlizzi and Brendan Wenzel – Jenny
“Rooting for You” by Susan Hood and Matthew Cordell – Cathie Sue
“Good Neighbors” by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh – Karl


Mother’s and Father’s: Indi Reviews

Our mom’s and dad’s would be so proud. Our individual reviews of…

“Adventures of Superhero Girl” by Faith Erin Hicks
“Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell (This was Karl’s pick, you can read Adrienne’s review here)
“Landline” by Rainbow Rowell
“Frozen” the movie
“Ball” by Mary Sullivan (compatible with “Banana!” by Ed Vere)

Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me by Daniel Beaty and Bryan Collier

Knock Knock: My Dads Dream for Me

A written review by Adrienne

A father’s absence is strongly felt in a young boy’s life.

Every morning a father and son begin their ritual. The son waits under the covers for his father to come knock, knock on his door. Hearing no response from the pretending son the father enters the room. The son jumps into his father’s arms to say good morning. They then start their day with the son’s favorite breakfast, getting ready for school and helping with homework. One morning the father is not there to do the morning ritual and begin their day.  As the days and weeks pass the son is missing his father and all that they did together. He writes a letter to his father leaving it on his desk in the hopes it will be found while the son is at school. Time passes before there is a response. The father cannot return home, it is not explained why, but he loves his son and he hopes that he will continue knock, knocking on doors and opening them to a better future.

Collier’s illustrations use of watercolor collage truly captures the mood and tone of the story. Everyday life is beautifully created with nuances that make the pictures real.

Beaty writes a loving story between a father and son and the immense impact an absence of a caring and giving parent can have on a child. Not knowing what happened to the father is a large hole in the story that begs conversation between parent and child on the possible outcomes. Beaty’s authors note at the end of the story cites his own relationship with his father as the basis of the story and the reason why his father left. By leaving that information in the author’s note it does create a problem in the actual story which could have had potential gain in the discussion between parents and children. The question remains: is the story about the father and son relationship more central to the story and what the author wanted to convey as opposed to including what actually happened?

Pretty Penny Makes Ends Meet by Devon Kinch

Pretty Penny Makes Ends Meet

A written review by Adrienne

Often children can feel helpless when it comes to family financial problems. Kinch’s story shows how being resourceful and using one’s talent may not solve the problem but can help ease a burden.

Sitting in her room, Penny hears a boom and she and Bunny rush down to the basement to find it flooding with water. Poor Bunny has spent is worried about going over her repair budget to get it fixed. Penny figures out a way she can help by using her talents. She purchases some items and uses found materials to make jewelry and other decorative clothing. After a good day of selling, Penny is successful in helping Bunny.

Kinch uses financial terms in a way that children can easily understand and learn. The story also shows that even though Penny didn’t come up with the full amount every little bit helps. Recommended for 2nd grade and up.


Penguine and Pinecone: A Friendship Story by Salina Yoon

Penguin and Pinecone

A written review by Jenny

Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon- When Penguin finds a lost pinecone one day, an unlikely friendship blooms. Reminded that pinecones can’t live in the snow-Penguin embarks on a journey to return pinecone to his home dreaming of the day they can reunite. When he finally returns to the forest to check on his friend, he finds that not only has the pinecone grown, but also the love between them.  Spare illustrations and text make this lovely story of caring and unselfish friendship good for one on one reading or storytime.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


“Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell

A written review by Adrienne

Cather and her twin sister Wren (get it?) move to college leaving their dad behind. Mom left the family when the girls were eight. Since then the three of them had to fend for themselves. Cath (as she prefers to be called) cocoons her life with a passive boyfriend, her sister’s friends and the books of Simon Snow (our world’s Harry Potter.) In high school, Cath and Wren write slash fan fiction with the two main adversaries of Simon Snow.

When college starts Wren decides she wants be more independent and not room with Cath. As Cath tries to reconstruct her routine she withdraws more and more into continuing writing the fan fiction and school. It is her exasperated roommate that finally forces Cath to start interacting with others.

A character development story, Rowell Cath is reluctant who likes her life the way it was, despite its own problems. Cath is a likeable character in that her shyness is one other quiet people who hide away into books can relate. Each chapter opens with quotes from both the fictional fantasy book “Simon Snow” and from Cath’s fan fiction. I found the fan fiction story compelling and more interesting than the “cannon” version which seemed safe and ordinary by comparison. I was sad to finish “Fangirl.” I really liked that world. Recommended for Upper Middle School and up.

Lucky Ducklings: A True Rescue Story by Eva Moore and Nancy Carpenter

Lucky Ducklings

“Lucky Ducklings: A True Rescue Story” by Eva Moore and Nancy Carpenter

A written review by Adrienne

On a small island, in a small town, in a small park on a small pond lives Mama Duck, and her ducklings: Pippin, Bippin, Tippin, Dippin and Little Joe. One day Mama Duck decides to go for a walk but not in the park but into the town. As she leads the way her baby ducklings follow behind.

As Mama Duck walks she crosses a storm drain. As the ducklings follow her one-by-one they fall down the drain into the water below. It is the families quack cries that alert the town. The fireman try to open the grate but to no avail. Can Perry, a man with a truck and a cable line help?

There is brief tension built on whether the ducks will make it out of the storm drain and be reunited with Mama. For parents this is wonderful opportunity to talk about the ducks and how help can be found. Recommended for Kindergarten and up.