First Lines: "The Naturalist", from Maureen McHugh's After The Apocalypse

"Cahill lived in the Flats with about twenty other guys in a place that used to be an Irish bar called Fado. At the back of the bar was the Cuyahoga River, good for protection since zombies didn't cross the river. They didn't crumble into dust, they were just stupid as bricks, and they never built a boat or a bridge or built anything. Zombies were the ultimate trash. Worse than the guys who cooked meth in trailers. Worse than the fat women on WIC. Zombies were just useless dumbfucks."

After The Apocalypse: Stories
Maureen F. McHugh
Small Beer Press/Consortium | 9781931520294 | $16 | Oct 2011 

You can read a sample at Small Beer's site.

Book Trailer: A Monster Calls (Candlewick Press)

A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness, inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd
illustrated by Jim Kay
Candlewick Press | 9780763655594 | $16.99 | Sept 2011

I wrote about A Monster Calls in a preview post earlier this year, shortly after I first read it. It's still one of the fall books that comes back to me most powerfully when I tell others about it:

The two authors have created a novel that shares the hallmarks of both their best works: the story goes in directions that are simply not anticipated, and the tidal pull of emotion that hits the reader by the end is out of all proportion to what should be possible.

From the Candlewick Press web site:

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting – he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd-- whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself-- Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

Book trailer: The Flint Heart (Candlewick Press)

The Flint Heart
by Katherine Paterson & John Paterson
illustrated by John Rocco
Candlewick Press | 9780763647124 | $19.99 | Sept 2011

A really lovely book trailer for The Flint Heart, the enchanting new novel from Katherine and John Paterson, illustrated by John Rocco (who also did the animation for this trailer from his own illustrations).

I originally read this in manuscript with just place-holding unfinished sketches for most of the art. I got my finished copy of the book the other day and now I want to re-read it to better appreciate Rocco’s art.

More about the book from @CandlewickPress’ web site:

An ambitious Stone Age man demands a talisman that will harden his heart, allowing him to take control of his tribe. Against his better judgment, the tribe’s magic man creates the Flint Heart, but the cruelty of it causes the destruction of the tribe. Thousands of years later, the talisman reemerges to corrupt a kindly farmer, an innocent fairy creature, and a familial badger. Can Charles and his sister Unity, who have consulted with fairies such as the mysterious Zagabog, wisest creature in the universe, find a way to rescue humans, fairies, and animals alike from the dark influence of the Flint Heart? This humorous, hearty, utterly delightful fairy tale is the sort for an entire family to savor together or an adventurous youngster to devour.

 A robust and wildly entertaining fairy tale, freely abridged from Eden Phillpotts’s 1910 fantasy and wryly retold by Katherine and John Paterson. 

The Flint Heart (Book Trailer by CandlewickPress)