by Steve Almond
Steve Almond certainly does. In fact, he was so obsessed by the inexplicable disappearance of these barsÑwhere’d they go?Ñthat he embarked on a nationwide journey to uncover the truth about the candy business. There, he found an industry ruled by huge conglomerates, where the little guys, the last remaining link to the glorious boom years of the candy bar in America, struggle to survive.
Visiting the candy factories that produce the Twin Bing, the Idaho Spud, the Goo Goo Cluster, the Valomilk, and a dozen other quirky bars, Almond finds that the world of candy is no longer a sweet haven. Today’s precious few regional candy makers mount daily battles against corporate greed, paranoia, and that good old American compulsion: crushing the little guy.
Part candy porn, part candy polemic, part social history, part confession, Candyfreak explores the role candy plays in our lives as both source of pleasure and escape from pain. By turns ecstatic, comic, and bittersweet, Candyfreak is the story of how Steve Almond grew up on candyÑand how, for better and worse, candy has grown up, too.
by Heather Baird
Basic Reading Inventory
by Jerry L. Johns
FamilyFun Birthday Cakes
by Deanna F. Cook, Experts at FamilyFun Magazine
Kids will love helping to create their very own magical birthday cake. These awesome desserts, decorated as everything from mermaids to fire trucks to ladybugs, will make a child’s special day even more memorable. Though they look like works of art, they’re actually easy to put together and won’t keep you in the kitchen when you should be celebrating. All that’s required are a few clever cuts in a freshly baked cake plus artful frosting and colorful candles. Most important, there’s room for creativity, so each treat can be customized however you and your child like.
Turtle in Paradise
by Jennifer L. Holm
Includes an Author’s Note with photographs and further background on the Great Depression, as well as additional resources and websites.
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews:
“Sweet, funny and superb.”
Starred Review, Booklist:
“Just the right mixture of knowingness and hope . . . a hilarious blend of family drama seasoned with a dollop of adventure.”
by Christopher Noxon
Christopher Noxon has coined a word for this new breed of grown-up: rejuveniles. And as a self-confessed rejuvenile, he’s a sympathetic yet critical guide to this bright and shiny world of people who see growing up as “winding down”—exchanging a life of playful flexibility for anxious days tending lawns and mutual funds.
In Rejuvenile, Noxon explores the historical roots of today’s rejuveniles (hint: all roads lead to Peter Pan), the “toyification” of practical devices (car cuteness is at an all-time high), and the new gospel of play. He talks to parents who love cartoons more than their children do, twenty-somethings who live happily with their parents, and grown-ups who evangelize on behalf of all-ages tag and Legos. And he takes on the “Harrumphing Codgers,” who see the rejuvenile as a threat to the social order.
Noxon tempers stories of his and others’ rejuvenile tendencies with cautionary notes about “lost souls whose taste for childish things is creepy at best.” (Exhibit A: Michael Jackson.) On balance, though, he sees rejuveniles as optimists and capital-R Romantics, people driven by a desire “to hold on to the part of ourselves that feels the most genuinely human. We believe in play, in make believe, in learning, in naps. And in a time of deep uncertainty, we trust that this deeper, more adaptable part of ourselves is our best tool of survival.”
Fresh and delightfully contrarian, Rejuvenile makes hilarious sense of this seismic culture change. It’s essential reading not only for grown-ups who refuse to “act their age,” but for those who wish they would just grow up.
by Lauri S. Scherer
by Richard W. Hartel, AnnaKate Hartel
This delicious new book reveals the fascinating science behind some of our favorite candies. If you’ve ever wondered how candy corn is made or whether Baby Ruth bars really float, as in the movie Caddy shack, then this engaging collection of food for thought is guaranteed to satisfy your hunger for knowledge. As well as delving into candy facts and myths such as the so-called ‘sugar high’ and the long history of making sweetmeats, the authors explore the chemistry of a candy store full of famous treats, from Tootsie Rolls to Pixy Styx and from Jawbreakers to Jordan Almonds. They reveal what makes bubble gum bubbly and why a Charleston Chew is so chewy.
Written in an engaging, accessible and humorous style that makes you laugh as you learn, Candy Bites doesn’t shy away from the hard facts or the hard questions, about candy. It tackles the chemistry of hydrocolloids in gummy bears alongside the relationship between candy and obesity and between candy and dental cavities. The chapters open a window on the commercial and industrial chemistry of candy manufacture, making this book a regular Pez dispenser of little-known, yet captivating factoids.
by Jennifer McMahon
Eva Sandeski, who goes by the name Necco on the street, has been a part of Burntown’s underworld for years, ever since the night her father, Miles, drowned in a flood that left her and her mother, Lily, homeless. A respected professor, Miles was also an inventor of fantastic machines, including one so secret that the plans were said to have been stolen from Thomas Edison’s workshop. According to Lily, this machine got Miles murdered.
Necco has always written off this claim as the fevered imaginings of a woman consumed by grief. But when Lily also dies under mysterious circumstances, and Necco’s boyfriend is murdered, she’s convinced her mother was telling the truth. Now, on the run from a man called Snake Eyes, Necco must rely on other Burntown outsiders to survive.
As the lives of these misfits intersect, and as the killer from the Sandeski family’s past draws ever closer, a story of edge-of-your-seat suspense begins to unfurl with classic Jennifer McMahon twists and turns.