Monday, April 8, 2013

A Visit from Hilary McKay -- and a giveaway!


Hilary McKay's LULU Blog Tour!


I'm honored to be part of the blog tour for British author Hilary McKay, best known for the Casson Family series of middle grade books (including Saffy's Angel) and now the creator of the Lulu series of early chapter books. Yes, I'm the final stop on the Lulu tour, but like magic, you can still check out the others HERE!

So far, two of Hilary's Lulu books are available in the U.S.


Lulu and the Duck in the Park, written by Hilary McKay, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont (Albert Whitman and Company, 2012, for ages 7 to 10)

Synopsis (from the publisher): Lulu loves animals. When Lulu finds a duck egg that has rolled out of its nest, she takes it to class to keep it safe. Lulu isn't allowed to bring pets to school. But she's not really breaking the rules because it's just an egg. Surely nothing bad will happen. . . 

Why I liked it: Lulu is an irrepressible character, who absolutely adores animals of all kinds. I laughed out loud at the thought of Lulu keeping the duck egg warm inside her sweater and the fact that her teacher doesn't notice. This is a fun book for your favorite animal lover and chapter book reader.

Lulu and the Duck in the Park has been nominated for a Kiddo Award. You can vote at this link (scroll down for best beginner read).



Lulu and the Dog From the Sea is Book Two in the series.

Synopsis: Lulu loves animals. When Lulu goes on vacation, she finds there's a stray dog living on the beach. Everyone in the town thinks the dog is trouble. But Lulu is sure he just needs a friend. And that he's been waiting for someone just like her.

Why I liked it: Just as with the first book, Lulu's love of animals shines through here. She finds a way around the "don't feed the stray dog" rule. Lulu and her cousin/best friend Mellie are always getting into shenanigans, and McKay finds the perfect solutions to the problems. The story is a lot of fun and makes you long for a seaside cottage.


A third title is coming in Fall 2013: Lulu and the Cat in the Bag. The hardcover books are published by Albert Whitman & Company, while the ebooks are available from Open Road Media.


Hilary McKay

Finally, I asked Hilary to tell us about her favorite book from childhood and how it influenced her as a writer. Take it away, Hilary!

The Sword in the Stone
T H White

First, in fairness to all the other books of my childhood that I loved so much, I have to say this was not my favourite. It was one of my favourites- one of the best of the best. They were the books that lifted me from the red brick hum drum overcrowded world of home and transported me to other times and lands and ways of thinking. 

The Sword in the Stone is the first book of the series that is known as The Once and Future King and it is simply lovely. Perfect. There is not a paragraph you want to skip, or a scene you want to change.  It is the story of King Arthur’s boyhood in a castle deep in a forest, in the days before he heaved Excalibur from its stone and thus brought his fate clattering down upon his too-young shoulders. In those days he lived with his foster brother Kay, and his guardian Sir Ector, his wizard tutor Merlin and Archimedes, the perfect owl. Various knights and questing beasts and giants appear from time to time.

The thing about this book is, the depth. The layers and layers of time and greenwood leaves into which the  reader tumbles. The colours are so bright, the characterization so brilliant, the jokes so sparkling, the nights so dark, that you come out of it blinking and rubbing your eyes.

 What did it teach me about writing?  If you want to experience real magic in action read The Sword in the Stone. It taught me that twenty six letters, arranged in quite short sequences,  with the dexterous use of a few symbols of punctuation, can have an effect on the human heart that lingers for years. 
 

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Thank you, Hilary! I loved The Sword in the Stone too. And it was a pleasure having you here.

The publisher has generously agreed to give away one SIGNED hardcover copy of Lulu and the Duck in the Park. Sorry, but this giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. or Canada ONLY.  To enter, simply be a follower and leave a comment on this post. This giveaway ends at 10pm EDT on Saturday, April 20. Winner will be chosen by random.org and announced on Monday, April 22nd.

27 comments:

  1. These sound charming. I have a granddaughter who would love to read these. Thanks for the review and the chance to win.

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  2. My daughter is Lulu. She will do anything for an animal (or person, for that matter) who is hurting or in need. These sound truly delightful! Thanks for the chance to win.

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    1. Aww, that's sweet! She does sound like Lulu. Good luck, Barbara!

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  3. Oh my gosh...me to on Sword in the Stone!

    And thanks so much for sharing this series...always on the look out for ones like this!

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    1. Oh yes, Deb. Isn't Sword in the Stone a wonderful book? So much depth and magic.

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  4. I need to read Sword in the Stone! It sounds great as does Hilary's books. Please let someone else win them as my TBR list is teetering.

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  5. Totally loved Sword in the Stone!!!

    And this book sounds so super adorable! Congrats to Hilary!

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  6. I thought Excalibur was a gift to Arthur from the Lady in the Lake, and not the Sword in the Stone... I'm confused! I would like the book! :D

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    1. I'm confused too, Erik! I had to go look it up. Sometimes Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone are said to be the same sword, but in most versions they are different. Apparently, T.H. White went with the legend that said Excalibur could only be drawn from the stone by the rightful king.

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  7. I've been interested in books for this younger middle-grade age group. These sound like great ones to add to my list. Thanks for the heads up!
    Cindy

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    1. Hi Cindy! Yes, I need to read more of these!

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  8. I have a friend whose daughter is named Lulu! These books sound so great and perfect for MGers. What cute covers! Thanks so much for sharing and for the giveaway. I am an old follower. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. Hi Jess. Yes, I know you are! :)

      How cool that you have a friend with a daughter named Lulu!

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  9. Great post regarding the final stop of the tour and I loved reading your reviews. You have a lovely blog!

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  10. I won't enter this giveaway since I was lucky enough to win the last one. I will check out these books, though. My little readers love animals. :0)

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    1. Most kids seem to love animals! Thanks for stopping by, Kat. Hope you enjoy that book.

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  11. Oh these Lulu books look and sound adorable. I hope I win but if I don't I hope my library has some copies.
    I will be checking my library for The Sword in The Stone. It sounds like a book I will enjoy.

    ~Akoss

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    1. They really are adorable. You're officially entered, Akoss! Good luck!

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  12. Congrats to Hilary! Her books sound delightful! I remember The Sword in the Stone, too. It was wonderful. :-)

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    1. Hi Lexa! Welcome to the blog. Thanks for following.

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