Monday, April 11, 2011

A Book Giveaway Contest to Celebrate Jacques' Seven Remaining Lives!

Jacques may be down to seven lives, but he's making each one count.
Last week was a bad one.  The previous Friday, Bonn had noticed that Jacques, the newest member of the pride, wasn't feeling well.  It was his second day in a row of not spending the day with his brother, Maxx, playing Calvinball® throughout the house but, instead, choosing to sleep curled up next to Bonn while she was working.  One day is enough to raise an eyebrow; two days in a row became time to start worrying.

A visit to the vet turned out to raise serious concerns that he had eaten string that was causing an intestinal blockage. (the boy does like to chew on string... and rubber bands... and metal bits...and my hands)  Our trusted vet, having seen this sort of thing before, operated that afternoon.  While he didn't find a blockage, he did find a number of enlarged and misshapen lymph nodes.  Blood work confirmed a very low while blood count.  The vet's diagnosis: either a curable, parasite-borne infection called toxoplasmosis or the incurable lymphoma.

We started treating for toxoplasmosis right away with a regimen of antibiotics.  It was a case of hope for the best--and obsessively worry about the worst, non-stop, for a the next full week.

If you have animals in your family you know how awful and helpless you feel when one of them is sick.  Knowing that one of our cats, one who is less than a year old and so full of life, might be dying of cancer was miserably worse.  Sure, he was responding well to the heavy-duty round of antibiotics, but without the official biopsy results, we couldn't be sure what that really meant.

Late Friday afternoon the results finally came in.  It's not lymphoma!  He's been on the right antibiotics to cure the toxo and he's going to be fine!

So, to celebrate the good news of Jacques staying with us for a long long long long time, I'm giving away a copy of one of my favorite MG books in recent years: Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow.

Here Be Monsters is about a young boy named Arthur who, on a nightly flight to forage for food from the underground tunnels where he and his grandfather live, has his mechanical wings stolen.  Needing help to return to his grandfather, Arthur falls in with Willbury Nibble and his odd assortment of creatures known as Underlings.  Together, they must recover Arthurs wings, stop the evil Archibald Snatcher from finishing whatever monstrous cheese-oriented plan he has from succeeding in taking over the town.

There are so many things that Snow does right in this book.  His world building is unapologetically straightforward -- his world simply is and you simply need to join in with the playfulness of the situations to enjoy it.   The plot gets more and more amusing and complicated as the stakes are continually raised as the story progresses.  The characters are each well defined, each one being his or her own brand of oddly charming.

And, of course, Snow has included over 500 illustrations within the text of Here Be Monsters.  The cover illustration gives you a very good idea of what you'll get throughout the book.  For me, the illustrations were such a terrific bonus that I wished again that I could draw so I could create something as wonderfully imaginative and fun to read as Here Be Monsters.

So, what do you have to do to win?  It's easy! No complicated mathematical formulas based on repostings, tweets or Facebook profile updates.  Here's all you have to do:

  • Follow my blog.  (Yes, I crave the validation.  I admit it.)
  • Leave a comment saying you'd like to win.

Simple, huh?

Next Monday I'll use the ol' Internet Randomizer to pick a winner and announce it here.

Good luck!

-- Tom