Book Report: Selections for all tastes offered this week
Lerner Publications of Minneapolis continues to expand into different areas.
Its newer imprint, christened Lab, is devoted to adolescent literature like "What Can(t) Wait," by Ashley Hope Perez ($17.95 cloth).
It's all about Marisa, a Mexican migrant, living with her parents in Houston. Those parents expect her to follow in their footsteps, work hard every day, get married, have kids. But Marisa's high school math teacher tells her she has the aptitude to be an engineer and should study hard and get a scholarship to the University of Texas.
How will she cope with the different expectations? The dust jacket tells us that her creator, Ashley Perez is a Texan, who is finishing her Ph.D. in comparative literature.
Good luck, Marisa.
Lab's other new adolescent novel is "Lost in the River of Grass," by Ginny Rorby ($17.95 cloth). Sarah is a poor girl who gets a scholarship to a fancy academy. She doesn't fit in and feels very uncomfortable with her classmates, who all seem to be named Brittany or Courtney.
One day she seeks to get away from it all by taking a ride on an airboat in the Everglades with a fellow she hardly knows. Danger lurks.
Rorby has a fine ear for teenage dialogue which keeps the story skipping along.
Lerner's Darby Creek imprint has just published a cute science fiction novel for kids, "Alien Contract" ($16.95), by Pamela F. Service, illustrations by Mike Gorman. It begins with this intriguing blurb: "Zack, Earth's alien agent, must ditch movie night to take on a surprise mission for the Galactic Union. Agent Sorn -- Zack's boss -- has been kidnapped by these alien thugs. Now it's up to Zack, a flying alien cat, and a cool human friend to rescue her. But can they avoid energy beams, homeland security and falling lava rocks as they follow Sorn's trail into a dangerous cave?"
Horatio Alger books were nothing like that.
Lerner's CarolRhoda recently issued a picture book for kids "Ruby Valentine Saves the Day," by Laurie Friedman, illustrated by Lynne Avril (CarolRhoda, $16.95). Friedman, who also writes the popular "Mallory" series for Lerner, specializes in writing about holidays.
When a snowstorm threatens to paralyze the town of Heartland just before Valentine's Day, Ruby comes to the rescue.
Lerner's Millbrook imprint continues author Brian Cleary's assault on the English grammar, with a picture book about the interjections, "Cool! Whoa! Ah and Oh! What is an Interjection?" Illustrations by Brian Gable.
"What did it mean for me to win the Stanley Cup? Everything. It's a team trophy, though, and I don't think players should say 'I won the Stanley Cup.' Instead they should say 'We won the Stanley Cup' There's a big difference in my mind."
That's just one of the hockey players who takes on the Stanley Cup in "Raising Stanley," by Ross Bernstein (Triumph, $22.95).
Lerner Publications is an amazing Minnesota success story. And so is Ross Bernstein, who has already published almost 50 sports books.
In this new outing the indefatigable sportswriter sweeps up lots of detail about the trophy in his trademark style of sifting and winnowing to the max.
Who won the 1893 Stanley Cup? The Montreal Triple A's.
Who won in 1907? The Kenora Thistles, of course.
Bernstein interviewed a whole passel of players in a chapter entitled " Celebrating Stanley." One memorable quote came from someone from our town:
"My wife trains horses, so we thought it would be pretty neat to feed one of their favorite horses some oats out of the cup at our ranch here in River Falls. We just made sure to do it after we had drunk out of it though."
Dave would like to hear from you. Phone him at 715-426-9554.