Spring Booknotes 2022

 

 

Handpicked new releases, brought to you by the staff of Elliott Bay.

 

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Chosen: A Memoir of Stolen Boyhood Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781250823212
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Metropolitan Books - April 26th, 2022

Emotionally isolated as a teen, Stephen Mills got tangled up in a web spun by a beguiling social worker while he was at camp; the sexual abuse would continue for two years. Confused and overcome by guilt, Mills tried to dissociate from himself, using drugs and sex as a distraction until he could no longer run and was crippled by his PTSD. In his early thirties, he began the arduous task of recovering from his childhood trauma and then moved forward with his life, advocating for others. Mills took me on an emotional and spiritual journey. I clung to every page feeling the depth of his trauma. -Maggie

 


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Constructing a Nervous System: A Memoir Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781524748173
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon - April 12th, 2022

A synthesis of memoir and criticism, this elegant collection examines the author's life through a series of vignettes tied to the artists who have shaped and molded her. Jefferson describes seeing Gone with the Wind as a young woman and her reactions to the characters and the actors that portrayed them, especially Hattie McDaniel, who won anAcademy Award for her role. She digresses on work and the sweat of one’s brow and correlates it to the singer Ella Fitzgerald. Contemplative, personal but highly accessible, these essays explore how we construct ourselves from the world around us. -Holly


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The Puzzler: One Man's Quest to Solve the Most Baffling Puzzles Ever, from Crosswords to Jigsaws to the Meaning of Life Cover Image
By A.J. Jacobs, Greg Pliska (Contributions by)
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593136713
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown - April 26th, 2022

One possible benefit from the recent lockdown was a refocusing on non-digital mediums like jigsaws, crosswords and other games. Jacobs delves deep into the realm of puzzles with fascinating tidbits of history and trivia on everything from ciphers (which we learn differ from codes) to mazes (which are not the same as labyrinths) and so much more. Puzzles, we learn, give us not only distraction but comfort. Told with his quirky sense of humor, each of the chapters is dotted with example and original content puzzles (thankfully solutions are provided as well). Further enticement is offered in the form of a cash prize to anyone who solves the puzzle within the text. -Holly

 


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Fly Girl: A Memoir Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781324006237
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 3rd, 2022

At 17, Ann Hool told her guidance counselor she wanted to be a writer or a flight attendant and was abruptly informed that those were not careers. Approximately 40 years into a very successful writing career, Hood recounts her years as a flight attendant with TWA in the '70s at a time when women were hired by the hundreds based on their looks, personality, age, and aptitude. She and her colleagues had to pass swim tests and weekly weigh-ins while learning to carve chateaubriand, deliver babies, thwart off unwanted advances, and console the lovelorn or grief-stricken. Hood loved her career, the ability to fly anywhere in the world, and generously shares that enthusiasm with us. -Tracy

 


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Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781646220854
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Catapult - March 15th, 2022

Melissa Febos' newest book of essays explores what it means to write a memoir. Why do we so often feel that writing about one's own life is somehow self-indulgent? What can writing about yourself offer to an audience, and, more importantly, what can it mean to you? In this manifesto in four parts, Febos argues passionately for the power of writing about the self for transformation, healing, and self-understanding. If you have ever felt the call to write, or wondered if there might be unfinished business that you're avoiding in your past, this book will light a fire in your soul. -Laura

 


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Content Warning: Everything Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781556596292
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Copper Canyon Press - April 5th, 2022

The already-prolific Akwaeke Emezi, author of Freshwater, Pet, and Dear Senthuran (among other titles), has brought their powerful voice to yet another genre with their debut poetry collection Content Warning: Everything. Emezi explores the religiose and irreverent with a lushness and candor that can be found nowhere else. Though succinct, the collection’s pages are spilling over with passion, rage, and grief in their turns, as can be expected of Emezi's work. Content Warning offers not a glimpse but a dive into the deeply personal and lyrical spirituality of this singular storyteller. -AJ


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In the Margins: On the Pleasures of Reading and Writing Cover Image
By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translator)
$20.00
ISBN: 9781609457372
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - March 15th, 2022

Ferrante’s new collection of essays is a delightful peek into how she writes and became the beautiful storyteller she is today. Fans of hers will surely enjoy hearing about her methods, her idols, and just to get inside her head. She speaks of her challenges as a woman writer and personal limitations as an author. If you’ve ever read any of her books (and if you haven’t you should, especially the Neapolitan Novels series) you’ll love these essays. Her voice is unique and her writing is unparalleled. She makes you want to learn Italian just so you can read her original versions. -Stephanie

 


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Vagina Obscura: An Anatomical Voyage Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781324006312
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 29th, 2022

In the introduction Vagina Obscura author Rachel E. Gross writes, “I hope this book will illuminate some of the blinders that limited what those early anatomists saw. To challenge the idea that what they produced was objective knowledge.” This book does exactly that. This anatomical exploration sheds light on the multifaceted nature of the vagina and shows how the importance of this exploration expands past personal understanding and informs social and emotional experiences of people who have found this part of their bodies to be misconstrued and misrepresented. -Grace

 


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The Wok: Recipes and Techniques Cover Image
$50.00
ISBN: 9780393541212
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 8th, 2022

First: Buy a wok if you don’t already own one. Second: Get this book. This project was originally a chapter in his other cookbook Food Lab but was pulled to create a whole new masterpiece. With its gorgeous photos, amazing recipes, and López-Alt’s “sidebar” stories, this book is everything you want it to be. His thoroughness is incredibly helpful as well as impressive. The Gireum Tteokbokki (pg. 212), Bibimpap (pg. 246), Buchimgae (pg. 387), and the Chicken Karaage (pg. 445) are some drool worthy dishes. López-Alt’s sauces, his techniques, and the ingredients he uses will make you want to cook this book. -Stephanie


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Essential Labor: Mothering as Social Change Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780062937360
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Wave - May 10th, 2022

Essential Labor is by turns a deeply intimate memoir and a well-researched social commentary on the persistent devaluation of care work, especially mothering. If that sounds a bit grim, never fear, because it is also a beautifully rendered celebration of how the day-to-day labor of raising children can be practiced as “consistent, embodied resistance to patriarchy, white supremacy, ableism, and the exploitation that underlies American capitalism.” Mothering, Garbes reminds us, is highly skilled labor that directly impacts our shared future. This book offers us a path to recognizing it as such. -Rania


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Ma and Me: A Memoir Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780374279264
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: MCD - May 17th, 2022

Queer Khmer American writer Putsata Reang was a child during the 1970s when her family escaped from war and revolution in Cambodia and settled in Corvallis, Oregon. This beautiful book is both her family’s complicated story and her own, rooted in familial love but also in the conflict between generations shaped by very different cultural and historical realities. The aftermath of pain and trauma are evident in this story, but so are joy and resilience. -Karen

 


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Where the Language Lives: VI Hilbert and the Gift of Lushootseed Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781954854260
Availability: Backordered
Published: Girl Friday Books - May 24th, 2022

In a season where Upper Skagit tribal elder Vi taqʷšəblu Hilbert’s great-granddaughter Sasha LaPointe is writing her own powerful memoir, it’s apt that Janet Yoder, a decades-long student and friend of Vi Hilbert has written this beautiful, amply illustrated biography of her life (1918-2008) and work to make the local Coast Salish language of Lushootseed more evident in the here and now. That work, of teaching, writing, and speaking–Vi Hilbert gifted Elliott Bay and its audiences numerous times with stories–is described vibrantly here. This is a life and work we need to know and acknowledge. -Rick

 


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The Trayvon Generation Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9781538737897
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - April 5th, 2022

This small collection of essays sparks a range of emotions as it looks at, and toward, the future of the generation of young adults who will be the guardians of change in the coming years. Along with Alexander's powerful words are a spectrum of artworks, illustrations, and photographs that help to depict these hopes and fears. Readers are challenged to learn more as they build an understanding of where we are in race relations in the U.S.  In the end, we need to offer this 'Trayvon generation' the encouragement, and inspiration to prosper and succeed. -Holly

 


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Nettle & Bone Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9781250244048
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - April 26th, 2022

Marra, the shy, third-born princess of a small kingdom has little interest in the politics of royalty and must venture out from the comfort and safety of the convent in which she was raised on an impossible quest: kill the prince. This story has all of the elements of the best classic fairy tales–adventure, magic, whimsy, and just the right amount of horror. Kingfisher's real specialty, though, is writing characters with incredible empathy and heartbreakingly honest humanity. The ragtag group at the heart of this tale is sure to charm even the hardest-hearted of readers. -Keenan

 


This will be the first collection of Chinese speculative fiction in translation comprised entirely of stories written, translated and edited by female and non-binary authors. Featured stories are a combination of works in translation and in English and range from hard science to fantasy (the exquisitely rendered title story is a blend of mythology and science which heralds the season upon us). Interspersed between the amazing fiction are essays that range in topics on the translation process, gender in translation, and the history of science fiction and fantasy writing in China. An excellent collection for anyone looking to explore new worlds. -Holly

 


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The Sign for Home: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781982175955
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria/Emily Bestler Books - April 5th, 2022

Arlo Dilly is a DeafBlind young man who has worked most of his life with one ASL (American Sign Language) interpreter named Molly. When Arlo gets the opportunity to start a college writing course, he hires a second interpreter, Cyril. This is the juncture when Arlo’s once routine life changes dramatically as he begins to face his past and take charge of his future, but Arlo’s life is not the only one that is changed. Blair Fell is a certified ASL interpreter with decades of experience and introduces readers to a community rich in history. This is such a feel-good book!! -Holly

 


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One Beautiful Spring Day Cover Image
$49.99
ISBN: 9781683965558
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order: Scroll Down to Product Details for Release Date
Published: Fantagraphics - July 26th, 2022

What words can you apply to this wordless comic odyssey?Woodring specializes in dreamlike cartoon tales, and is a master of comics that look normal but aren't; his trademarks are imaginative, often otherworldly creatures who inhabit bizarre landscapes and surreal narratives. This handsome anthology collects three previously published  volumes in the adventures of Frank, a catlike anthropomorph and his toil, along with an additional 100 new pages. If a picture is worth a thousand words, this book is a Fort Knox of images.-Holly


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Siren Queen Cover Image
By Nghi Vo
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250788832
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tordotcom - May 10th, 2022

I tore through this book. A marvelously imagined world, so akin to our own, but off in strange, terrible ways. Siren Queen is a lush fairytale set in a Golden Age Hollywood where magic is very real and aspiring actors have to choose whether fame and fortune are worth offering up pieces of their bodies, their lives, or even their souls. A story about not only finding, but defining one's self, and, when necessary, standing firm and declaring, "This is who I am." A lovely and moving parable. For fans of urban fantasy, LGBTQ+ storylines, and excellent writing. -Steve

 


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Sedating Elaine: A novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593320549
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - April 12th, 2022

A bizarre premise for a story with characters you’ll love to hate, Winter’s debut novel is certainly a roller-coaster ride. Desperation sparks unconventional methods as a solution to Frances’s problem. This exploration into the complicated and confused mind of a woman who feels she has no other options can be uncomfortable at times and makes you wonder about her sanity. A well-written story with atypical relationships reminiscent of Sally Rooney. A mishmash of individuals with questionable motives and situations in which you hope you never find yourself involved. -Stephanie

 


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Young Mungo Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780802159557
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - April 5th, 2022

Booker Prize winner Stuart returns to working class Glasgow, where teenaged Mungo’s story is one of survival; the tenements sectarian and dangerous, a difficult, alcoholic mother, his brother a feared gang member. From the moment he’s sent off with two menacing strangers for a “boys’ weekend,” to the revelation of his illicit love for another boy, his story is enormously compelling–a world of complex loyalties, violence, fierce love, and witty, biting humor. Luminous, enthralling language makes for a suspenseful, irresistible read; I couldn’t bear being away from Mungo until the very end! -Erica


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The Fell: A Novel Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780374606046
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - March 1st, 2022

From an English seaside village, a search party is sent out; Kate has gone for a walk at dusk, and not returned. She might be lost or injured, but also, by leaving home during quarantine she’s broken the law. Set against the moor’s wild, rocky landscape, this wise, empathetic tale for our times explores the pandemic’s toll, as Kate and the people close to her experience an existential reckoning during the long night. Their tense ordeal deftly mirrors our own frustrations, our yearnings for connection, recalibrated dreams, and the novel ways we’ve learned to care for ourselves and one another. -Erica

 


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Either/Or Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525557593
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press - May 24th, 2022

First of all, this book is LAUGH-OUT-LOUD-FUNNY - seriously I startled the dog from his slumber many times with my outbursts. Secondly, it's a sequel, but no need to fret. I haven’t read The Idiot (gonna do that ASAP) and I was totally hooked from page one. Either/Or is the story of Selin’s sophomore year at Harvard, where nothing much happens and also EVERYTHING happens. Her wry, deadpan narration and distinctive worldview make Selin a strong contender for the title of ‘favorite narrator ever’ and have me fervently hoping for a third installment in this series. -Rania

 


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Something to Do with Paying Attention Cover Image
By David Foster Wallace, McNally (Preface by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9781946022271
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: McNally Editions - April 5th, 2022

From its opening sentence I was utterly absorbed by this brief novella from David Foster Wallace's late, spiritual period. Unpublished at the time of his death in 2008, this edition elegantly accentuates the story's tone of lucid awareness. The whole book is essentially a response to the offstage question, "How did you get here?" The narrator's answer, written in plainspoken and precise language, describes his process of reckoning with a past spent tuned out, and details the pivotal moments that broke through his inattention to set him on a more meaningful, mindful path. Important stuff! -John

 


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Spear Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781250819321
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tordotcom - April 19th, 2022

When the author of Hild decides to return for another romp in the British Isles of yore, you know you’re in for a rollicking good time! This time delving into Arthurian lore, with a splash of Irish mythology for good measure, Spear gives some of the lesser-known characters a chance to shine, and shows the old favorites in a fresh new light. At turns witty and poignant–and always engrossing–Griffith packs a remarkable amount of story and depth of feeling into this delightful novella. Come for the legend, stay for the double entendres about polearms. -Chester


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The Candy House: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781476716763
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - April 5th, 2022

Is there any feat Jennifer Egan can’t accomplish with the written word? In The Candy House she offers us a companion novel to her Pulitzer Prize winning A Visit From The Goon Squad that is every bit as vibrantly alive, deliciously complex, wildly sprawling, and utterly compelling. The novel is made up of interwoven short stories (consistent readers of The New Yorker will have already encountered many of the chapters as stand-alone pieces). Told from a variety of viewpoints and in a dizzying array of styles, the stories knit together to form a meditation on memory, privacy vs. connectivity, and the ways that storytelling ascribes meaning to what is otherwise just information. -Rania


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Book Lovers Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593334836
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - May 3rd, 2022


Nora Stephens wouldn’t change a thing about her life as a literary agent in New York City. But when her small town vacation keeps getting interrupted by Charlie Lastra, a book editor she knows from work, banter flies and things start to get a lot more complicated. I loved Emily Henry’s previous adult romances, but this one is my absolute favorite. Nora and Charlie have both struggled to understand their place in a world that has told them that they don’t fit in, and I loved watching them fall for each other not despite but because of the things that other people see as their flaws. -Laura

 


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All the Lovers in the Night Cover Image
By Mieko Kawakami, Sam Bett (Translator), David Boyd (Translator)
$28.00
ISBN: 9781609456993
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - May 3rd, 2022

Can change start from the outside and gradually migrate into one’s psyche? In this novel, a proofreader, determined to keep any relationship (both with the written word and with the people around her) strictly on the surface, tentatively reaches out. The world shifts in some unpredictable ways, and so does her understanding of all of the people around her. We’re reminded that while romance doesn’t always endure, connection, self knowledge, and love do. -Karen

 


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Scattered All Over the Earth Cover Image
By Yoko Tawada, Margaret Mitsutani (Translated by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9780811229289
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions - March 1st, 2022

Nothing can be relied upon to remain unchanged, not identities, languages, cultures, or even countries; many, like Japan, have sunk into the sea and been all but forgotten. Follow the shifting perspectives of our adventurers, the (last?) survivor of the Land of Sushi, the indigenous Greenlander masquerading as a Japanese chef, the trans Indian student, the sturdy German, and the wayward Dane, as they cross borders and forge new meaning in this bright, dystopian love letter to language. Lucky for those caught in Tawada's spell, this is the first book in a trilogy. -Lara

 


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New from Here Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781534488304
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - March 1st, 2022

With the initial appearance of COVID-19in Hong Kong, ten-year-old Knox Wei-Evans, along with his mother and brother and sister, decide it would be better to move to California until the virus runs its course. What the family doesn’t expect is the open hostility they encounter as the virus becomes more prevalent in the States. Kelly Yang is simply genius at exploring all the subtle (and not-so-subtle) trials that arose around the COVID-19 pandemic, especially anti-Asian hate crime. This novel is the perfect antidote for apathy and hate. -Holly

 


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Mighty Red Riding Hood (Fairly Queer Tales #1) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316628358
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - May 10th, 2022

Leroy LeRouge has an excellent collection of coats, but his very favorite is the red-hooded one given to him by his Moo Moo. When Leroy’s momma asks him to deliver a basket of treats to Moo Moo, Leroy dons his favorite red-hooded coat and ventures off. The wolf Leroy encounters tries to convince him that his red-hooded coat is meant for a girl, but Leroy counters gently (and then not so gently) that it’s not. Sparkling language will make this tale of a bully turned ally all the more fun to read aloud. -Holly

 


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I Kissed Shara Wheeler: A Novel Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781250244451
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wednesday Books - May 3rd, 2022

Oh, I loved this book so much. Casey McQuiston has written another dreamy summer page-turner, earnest and alive with the messy glory of friendship and love. Characteristically saturated with all the quips and jokes and insights that make their writing feel immediate and hilarious in the casual, easy manner of banter with a friend who knows you well: full of both snark and support. Oh, and it's SO much fun. Secrets? Schemes? A cryptic treasure hunt motivated by love and jealousy? Enemies to [redacted]? Yes, yes, yes, and yes! -Callie

 


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The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza Cover Image
By Mac Barnett, Shawn Harris (Illustrator)
$15.99
ISBN: 9780063084087
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - May 10th, 2022

What do you get when a cat, a queen and a robot team up to fight a three-headed rat king bent on eating the moon? A hilarious and completely strange adventure! Born of a pandemic created live cartoon on Instagram, Mac Barnett and Shawn Harris have created a bizarre world of colorful characters illustrated in a very colorful and energetic style. With plenty of laughs and weirdness, this is perfect for fans of Catstronauts and Dav Pilkey books.-Andy


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Wildflower Cover Image
By Melanie Brown, Sara Gillingham (Illustrator)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781771649063
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greystone Kids - May 24th, 2022

Beautifully written and illustrated, Wildflower is a must-read for ages 3 and up. It follows Daisy, a weed–nay, a youthful wildflower–on a journey to self-discovery, acceptance, and love for all of the diverse plants in the garden. Wildflower is not only a book showcasing resilience and growth, but it offers education in the form of the Gardner’s Glossary, which teaches young readers about the importance of all the variety of plants that can spring up in a garden, whether they were planted purposefully or rode in on the wind. -Maggie


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Lizzy and the Cloud Cover Image
By Terry Fan, Eric Fan, Terry Fan (Illustrator), Eric Fan (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9781534483170
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - May 3rd, 2022

Lizzy doesn't adopt a dog or a cat but a cloud! She looks after Milo as carefully as she can, watering him, taking him on walks, and watching him get bigger and fluffier day by day but soon Milo is getting too big and too tempestuous for the family home. Can a cloud really be a pet? Combining the visual fun of having one's own private weather with a gentle message of knowing when loving means letting go, this latest story from the Fan brothers is sure to charm readers big and small. -Lara