Totally in love with Maddy Kettle: The Adventure of the Thimblewitch

Beautiful, whimsical, enchanting, playful. I tore through Maddy Kettle: The Adventure of the Thimblewitch and needed to see more; there simply isn’t enough of author-illustrator Eric Orchard’s work. Unfortunately, a scrounge around the web revealed little more than some old interviews and that he graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (does he earns points just for being Canadian?). Online, he is frequently referred to as “an up-and-coming illustrator.” I think it’s safe to say that he has arrived.


Maddy is an Arizona girl (holla!) who needs to turn her parents, currently an adorable pair of kangaroo rats, back into humans. Her adventures lead her to fantastical creatures, magical machinery, and delightful surprises. Some scenes are reminiscent of Dorothy visiting Oz.

Others, of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells—a steampunk aesthetic quietly seeps into many frames.

Besides the talent and skill with the individual illustrations, the momentum between frames is what takes this book to another level. Look at this page: a chain reaction from the first frame causes the banjo string to snap in the second, a zoom out in the third frame flavours the entire page with humour and drama, and now we know why Maddy is looking down in frames four and five.

Yes, this is a children’s graphic novel. But it is more than that. It is a work of art. I want it for my (future) children. But I also want it for me.

(note: I received this as an ARC ebook for free, but that didn’t affect my opinions stated here)


Twelve sexy #bookspo pics to get you in the mood for reading.

Five First Lines from Japanese Lit

Here are the rules:
  1. Pick a section of a bookstore. I chose the Japanese lit section.
  2. Choose five interesting looking books, based on their covers.
  3. Tell us the first lines.

The Face of Another by Kobo Abe
At last you have come, threading your way through the endless passages of the maze.

No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai
I have seen three pictures of the man.

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami (Apparently this book has also been published under the title “The Briefcase”.)
His full name was Mr. Harutsuna Matumoto, but I called him ‘Sensei’.

Gone to the Forest by Katie Kitamura
Tom hears the noise from across the hall.

Paprika by Yasutaka Tsutsui
Kosaku Tokita lumbered into the Senior Staff Room.

Fate, Futility, and The Witch of Salt and Storm

There are two things that I dislike. If you are an author, and you put these in your story, you will have to work very hard to convince me to forgive you for such sins. The two things are:
1. first person narration
2. dream sequences.

The Witch of Salt and Storm is narrated by a girl who can interpret dreams.

Top Ten Book Characters That Would Be Sitting At My Lunch Table

If I wake up early enough, I can smell fall in the air even with the thermostat sitting above 40 degrees. I’ve been reminiscing about university days and bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils, the smells of roasted corn and chiles common in southern Arizona, farmers markets and crisp bike rides. In honour of going back to school, this Top Ten Tuesday by The Broke and the Bookish is themed: Book Characters That Would Be Sitting At My Lunch Table.

Image Source: The Harry Potter Lexicon

Hermione Granger from Harry Potter 

I can’t say exactly which character is my favourite in the Harry Potter universe, but I know for a fact that Hermione and I are the most similar (proof). I like her because she is like me, and we would get along great (unless that is, we were feeling threatened by scholastic rivalry).

Illustration credit: The Republic of Pemberly 

Elizabeth Bennet & Colonel Fitzwilliam from Pride and Prejudice 

These two are witty on their own, but play off each other so well when they are put in the same room. Their banter and tongue-in-cheek comments would keep the whole table entertained.

Illustration source

Lincoln O’Neill from Attachments 

Lincoln and I have a lot of the same interests, and he is the type of person I hung out with in high school: nerdy, unassuming, has abnormal quirks but isn’t embarrassed by himself. Plus, I want his apartment. He could be my book boyfriend.

Joachim from The Christmas Mystery

He is young, but full of wonder, creativity, and ideas. If he got a little older, we would have a fun time making art and stories together. I know he would always be uncovering more mysteries and noticing little things that normal people just can’t see.

Illustration credit: Ryan Jimenez 

Cinna from The Hunger Games 

He is the most selfless character in the Hunger Games, has the best sense of style, is down-to-earth and straight-talking…but what I like most about Cinna is that he uses his talents, career, and knowledge to do very, very important things. Think of all those hours spent on seemingly meaningless work making costumes, when actually it was training and preparation for something infinitely meaningful.

Illustration credit: Wokjow

Hans Hubermann & Liesel Meminger from The Book Thief 

I just finished reading The Book Thief and I haven’t gotten over my love for these characters yet. I didn’t put Rudy and Max on the official list but I love them too!

Illustration credit: Pauline Baynes, source

Lucy from The Chronicles of Narnia

I’m noticing a trend—I like honest characters. Out of the Pevensie children, Lucy is the most honest with herself and others, and doesn’t doubt what she knows. Her faith is steadfast. She is quick to help, keeps a positive attitude, and is generous. I know she would share her pudding cups with me.

John Ames from Gilead

This man is far removed from the school lunch table, but he is so calming and amiable. When things get stressful, he would be able to point me to the things in life which really matter, and give me some practical advice along the way.