Reviews for month

Charlotte Jane Battles Bedtime
Wolfe, Myra
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
February 07, 2012
Mitchell, Elizabeth
Charlotte Jane is born into a pirate family that lives in suburban comfort. Full of "formidable oomph," she grows up determined "to get all the juice out of my days." Detailed, humorous watercolor illustrations add significantly to the narrative in the text, elaborating on what she does during "swash-buckling sessions," "treasure hunts," and "Fantastic Feats of Daring." Like many children, however, Charlotte Jane dislikes going to bed. When she finally succeeds in avoiding bedtime altogether, she soon loses her oomph, and her doting parents mount a search, peering into the closet, the garden, and the neighbor's recycling bin. The book is a clever vocabulary builder, not only for pirate terms but for words like "formidable," "fearsome," and "feat." Charlotte Jane's ultimate realization that her exciting dreams are worth sleeping for may help other reluctant sleepers who read this book.
Body of Water
Dooley, Sarah
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
7th grade to 9th grade
February 07, 2012
Mitchell, Elizabeth
Body of Water is an engrossing novel with much food for thought about the plight of the have-nots in our increasingly divided society. It captures the frustration and quiet desperation of the homeless, especially when well-intentioned help falls short of being truly helpful. The book also explores the nature of friendship and family relationships in a no-nonsense manner and throws some light on the practices of Wicca. Pre-teen Ember, already a bit different from her peers because of her family's Wiccan religion, is plunged into a summer of hardship when her family's trailer burns down, leaving them homeless. With the loss of the family's already struggling home business, her parents are barely able to afford the $5 daily fee at the local campground, and finding a job is difficult without a phone number or clean clothes. As if that were not enough, Ember must deal with the trauma of the fire and her suspicion that her best friend, Anson, was the one who set it. The mystery of Anson's betrayal is revealed little by little as Ember relives the past and struggles to survive the present, caring for her younger sister and grieving for her dog, lost in the fire. Despite the grimness of the story, Ember's resilience shines through, making the book ultimately uplifting.
Your Fascinating Family History: Super Smart Information Strategies
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
Johnson, Mary J
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 08, 2012
Cook, Kathryn
Have you ever been given a reason to look into your family's history? How do you get started? How do you organize it? What information do I look for? Where to look? How do I get started. The answer to these questions are answered in this well written, 32 page book. The conversation style of the text will encourage students to keep reading. The yellow sticky notes style of interesting bits if information with arrows saying "Did You Know" and bright orange spaces "Try This" provide the reader with additional information and ideas as they work their way through their project. After walking through the research the reader is presented with a variety of ways to "Share Your Family History". If you have students who are assigned projects on genealogy this is a very good way to introduce the process of searching for you ancestors. The strong library binding will stand up well. Also reviewed in SLJ.