Reviews for month


Objects In Mirror
RED DEER PRESS [RED DEER PRESS]
Robins, Tudor
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
July 02, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
Tudor Robins writes terrific YA stories featuring horses. Her writing style is clear, immediate, and compelling. She inserts the reader into a life and a situation, and allows events to unfold. In this book 15-year-old Grace loves horses and will be spending the summer working at a stable. She's also coping with a bad body image, an anorexia. Add in abused horses, a cute guy, an unfeeling therapist, a horse with spirit, and a caring stepmom and you have all the ingredients for a fully-developed story. Readers will care what happens to Grace, and find this book hard to put down.
Ghostbusters : 3 : Haunted America : Part 1
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Burnham, Erik
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
July 03, 2017
Threlkeld, Sarah
What could be more entertaining than road tripping with the Ghostbusters? A lot of things, apparently, because this particular volume of the graphic novel series was rather ho hum. The men are in Detroit to investigate an army of ghosts haunting Fort Wayne. Ray talks his way into the fort and meets Major-General Anthony Wayne himself, who is on the verge of attacking Canada because his plan to do so when he was alive was cut short. It turns out all the Major-General needed was a therapeutic chat with Winston, who convinces the ghost to give up and get sucked into a trap. Since this is the first in a four-part series, one can only hope that it serves as exposition and the other titles ramp up the action and humor. Middle school students who love the Ghostbusters films and enjoy graphic novels will pick this series up, but it isn’t a must-purchase item.
On A Mission For Good Nutrition!
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Sjonger, Rebecca
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 05, 2017
Porter, Heidi
This is a bright and visually appealing book of nutrition advice based on the MyPlate USDA guidelines for daily food group consumption. Information includes a discussion of each food group plus recommended servings. Servings will seem quite slight to the modern child over the age of 6-7. Special dietary needs are also discussed. The book has an attractive layout with many delicious-looking photos. The book would be stronger if it included more illustrations of diverse families. The book also should have included older relatives and children who are not height-weight proportional: an important target audience! Index, table of contents and glossary included.
Hard As Nails Kings And Queens
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Turner, Tracey
Lenman, Jamie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 06, 2017
Porter, Heidi
This appealing book is part of Crabtree's "Hard as Nails" series. Here, we find a fascinating assortment of kings and queens presented in two page spreads. The witty cartoon illustrations should have great appeal to children. The book features such rulers as Henry VIII, Shaka Zulu, Montezuma II and Elizabeth I. Expect to find a number of less famous rulers as well. Descriptions are generally lively and brisk, chock full of interesting facts focused on the determination and ruthlessness of each ruler. Included are a timeline, glossary and index.
Hard As Nails In Wars And Battles
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Turner, Tracey
Lenman, Jamie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 06, 2017
Porter, Heidi
This is part of a fun fact series by Crabtree suitable for intermediate elementary students. The book covers 20 notable participants in wars and battles, including kings, generals, guerrilla revolutionaries and nurses. A discussion of each participant is preceded by an explanation of the conflict in which he or she was involved. Readers should enjoy the simple format and entertaining cartoon illustrations throughout. Strengths include the clear writing style and successful inclusion of a variety of historical figures and events. Turner covers many major wars, but also several lesser-known conflicts, including the Kalinga War in 4th century India and the Battle of Isandlwana in southern Africa. The wide range of interesting characters includes women and non-combatants. This book would have been stronger if it had arranged the sections in chronological order, although it provides a timeline at the end. The book also includes a fairly meaningless "Hardometer" graphic for each individual featured. Ratings for this graphic are never explained. Quiz, glossary and index are included.
Trapped
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Bodeen, S A
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
July 07, 2017
Averill, Linda
Third in a series, a blended family composed of Sarah Robinson, her father, his new wife and two step-brothers are stranded on an island that has strand and dangerous creatures; a rino-corn, a shark-odile, a panther with a red tail and giant coconut-eating crabs. When Sarah's father and Marco's little brother are missing the two find they have been frozen by an alien. He is trying to fill all the pods so he can return to his own planet. He is missing half of a specialized tool (a chest) he needs to complete the project and he is on a short schedule- fail and he will have to remain on earth if the pods are filled. Marco and Sarah will exchange the chest with the shape-shifting alien if he returns their family members and and provides needed medication for Marco's ill mother.. Someone else has been searching for the chest, appears in the last chapter and is told that the chest is on the island in an effort to stall. This leaves the reader waiting for the next volume and wondering. Will the mother get the medicine? Will the father arrive in time to save the children from the gun-toting villian? Will the alien boy return to his planet?
Two Summers
POINT SIGNATURE [POINT SIGNATURE]
Friedman, Aimee
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
July 07, 2017
Averill, Linda
A prologue sets the scene for two summers fo a girl, Summer Everett, who is on vacation between her sophomore and junior year of high school. She is at the airport, about to board a flight to France to visit her father when her cell phone rings. Here the story splits into parallel dimensions.. What happens when she answers, hears her father cancelling the trip, she stays home in Hudsonville, NY and finds romance. In the parallel she doesn't answer, goes to France and finds romance. In both segments Summer discovers a talent for photography, reaches a new maturity, stops wondering "what if" after discovering a devastating family secret learns to accept change. Discerning readers will intuit the secret before Summer.
Hard As Nails In Myths And Legends
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Turner, Tracey
Lenman, Jamie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 07, 2017
Porter, Heidi
This is a title in the Crabtree "Hard as Nails" series, a set of fun fact books with themes such as warriors, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and Ancient Egypt. This book covers a variety of mythical and legendary figures from all over the world, including Finn McCool, Gilgamesh, the Monkey King, Anansi and Beowulf. Each character has a two page spread and cartoon illustration. There is also a "Hardometer" measuring the toughness of each character. There are several special sections which illustrate and discuss African creation myths, Greek myths, ancient Egyptian gods, the Chinese zodiac and Norse mythology. Readers should love Jamie Lenman's illustrations: a standout is the depiction of the nine Norse worlds. One strength of this book is the variety of myths and characters included. Some will be familiar, but others are more unusual: Fumo Liyongo, the aboriginal serpent Thugine, Durga, a Hindu warrior goddess. Timeline, glossary and index are included.
Hard As Nails Travelers And Explorers
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Turner, Tracey
Lenman, Jamie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 07, 2017
Porter, Heidi
This installment in Crabtree's "Hard as Nails" series covers 20 explorers or exploration teams. Special sections discuss explorers and disease, the New World, Australia, outer space and pioneering female explorers. Like all books in this series, Jamie Lenman provided the charming cartoon illustrations. The book would be enhanced by presenting the explorers in chronological order. Glossary, timeline and index are included. There was one accuracy issue in the text of this book: Sir Walter Raleigh was not beheaded for not finding the golden city, but because members of his party violated a treaty by attacking a Spanish settlement.
Winter Horses
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Kerr, Philip
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 07, 2017
Porter, Heidi
Kalinka is a Ukranian Jew struggling to survive after the massacre of her family by the Nazis. Alone on the steppe, she is discovered by some unlikely rescuers, a herd of Przewalski's horses. Part of an ancient and hardy breed, the horses help Kalinka negotiate the severe winter conditions that could kill her. Kalinka is soon discovered by the horses' caretaker, Max, and the two become fast friends. When Nazis arrive, Kalinka, Max and the horses discover themselves in deadly danger. Kerr is able to create complex and believable characters in this story, but there is a strangely dispassionate tone to the book. Hitler had a plan to bring back ancient animals native to Europe in an effort to reconstitute a primeval German ecosystem. It is very unlikely that Nazis would have been encouraged to harm Przewalski's horses or drive them to extinction as is the premise of this book.
Great Wave Of Tamarind
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Aguiar, Nadia
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
July 08, 2017
Averill, Linda
In this final book of a trilogy Penny, now 12, steals a rowboat, crosses the Blue Line and returns to the island of Tamarind hoping to find a way to help her beloved Granny Pearl who is becoming more frail and forgetful. When Penny learns of the Bloom that is carried inside the Wave she believes this is what will benefit her grandmother. Penny is determined to participate in the contest and with help from other children and some adults overcomes obstacles, is selected as the Bloom Catcher. The magical Bloom is needed to stabilize the island, close the portals and banish the mandrill. Fast-paced and exciting this is a unique blend of a fantasy quest and wilderness survival.
Secret Of Goldenrod
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
O'reilly, Jane
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
July 08, 2017
Averill, Linda
Almost-11-year-old Trina Maxwell and her handyman father have moved from place to place never staying long. Now her father has accepted a year long contract to make Goldenrod, a run-down mansion on the outskirts of New Royal, Iowa (population 397) inhabitable. Trina finds that all of the 5th graders have been together since kindergarten; not only is she an outsider but she is living in the haunted house. Trina feels the house is spooky and trying to tell her something. When she finds a dollhouse in a turret room and it includes a talking porcelain doll, Augustine, Trina begins to research the original occupant. They had belonged to a little little girl named Annie who had lived there in 1912. As Trina learns the history and secrets of the house her fears are eased and the townspeople become more accepting.
Lost Cipher
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Oechsle, Michael
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
July 08, 2017
Averill, Linda
This story is based on a real 19th century cipher that if solved could lead to a treasure. Lucas picked up a brochure about the cipher and treasure in a store when his grandparent was taking him to a mountain camp for grieving youth. Not only was the boy grieving for his only parent, a father who was killed in Afghanistan his grandparents have decided to sell their W. Virginia mountain to a strip mining company. At camp Lucas, a poor white county boy, befriends two of his three cabin mates; George who is white, bully-proof, overweight, and audaciously exuberant and Alex who is a Salvadoran-American and grieving for his mother. The third cabin mate is Zack, a stereotypical vicious, scheming, angry, rich, white kid who cause the trio a multitude of problems. On a hike they sneak off to explore a cave, hoping to find the treasure, Zack moves their trail markers and they become lost, Alex is injured and Lucas has to hike for help. He meets a crotchety recluse who holds the answer to where the treasure is hidden. Lucas solves the puzzle and discovers that someone else had solved it before him but has held the treasure in trust for the heirs of the original owners.
Black Dragon
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Sedgwick, Julian
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 08, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
Twelve-year-old Danny was raised in the Mysterium--a sort of circus. His parents were performers who died in a tragic fire. Now he is going to his mother's birthplace, Hong Kong, with his Aunt Laura. She acts like this is a fun opportunity for him to explore half of his heritage, while she does some investigative journalism. Along for the ride is a former circus performer Danny trusts. But all is not as it seems. Aunt Laura's investigation of a gang called the Black Dragon puts them all in danger...or were they in danger before? Danny finds himself being chased, unsure who to trust, and having to use all the skills his father and mother taught him, to survive. He also begins to wonder if everything he has been told, or believed to be true, is right. Someone seems to want him dead, but who, and why? High action, crisp compelling writing, and fascinating characters make this, the first book in the Mysterium series, a good read for action/suspense fans.
Count Your Chickens
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Bogart, Jo Ellen
Smith, Lori Joy
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 09, 2017
Averill, Linda
The title is deceptive as there is no counting involved in the story. Following the story conclusion is a two page spread with small replicas of the thirteen pages. Under each replica is one question about how many chickens are doing a particular activity. All of the answers are given on the following (final) page. The story, told in rhyme, has chickens attending a fair, participating in contests, playing games, on carnival rides, and having fun. The illustrations begin and end with a chicken family and they appear randomly throughout the pages. The illustrations are busy and colorful. Children will recognize many of the features of a fair.
Pig & Goose And The First Day Of Spring
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Bond, Rebecca
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
July 09, 2017
Averill, Linda
When Pig meets Goose she discovers they have different talents; that Goose can fly and swim. Her new friend tries unsuccessfully to teach Pig to fly but Pig can't get off the ground. Goose points out that there are some things that Pig can do very well. Pig decides to have a first-day-of-Spring party and invites her animal friends. They dance. Pig tells stories and jokes. Goose and Pig find the have something in common, both like picnics. The story is forty-eight pages, told in three chapters with watercolor illustrations. The characters tend to repeat parts of what another has said making this an easy-read introduction to chapter books for new readers.
Let's Go For A Picnic : The Art Of Millet
Big & Small [Big & Small]
Jo, Seon-Hak
Baek, Ji-Won
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
July 09, 2017
Averill, Linda
This appears to be a pre-reader picture book but the art references make it more suitable as an art teaching tool for older children, 11 and up. The story is about a little French girl who wants her farmer parents to take her on a spring picnic. They are too busy sowing seeds, churning butter, weeding, chopping firewood and other tasks that need to be done throughout spring, summer and the fall harvest. Eventually the family does go on a picnic. . The charming illustrations would appeal to young children. However, they are interspersed with copies of French artist Jean-Francois Millet which would only confuse preschoolers. The goal was to compare events in the story to scenes in Millet's paintings. According to the forward in the book, "That helps us understand the lives of the farmers and what is going on in Millet's paintings. It shows us how hard the farmers worked, and how much they appreciated the good things that nature brought them. And, in turn, the story helps us to see what a skillful artist Millet was and how well he understood the people he was painting." Inn this reviewers opinion , the book fails to do this. The goal is too lofty and complex for younger children and older ones would be put off by the format.
Rallo's Goal
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Johnson, Jeremy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
July 11, 2017
Averill, Linda
Youngsters who follow hockey will find Rallo's story an enjoyable read. Rallo is trying out for the St. Sebastian hockey team and wants to be the goalie on the 14-U National Bantam Tournament team. His dream is to eventually win gold in the Olympics. There are 4 boys trying out for the position but only 2 will be selected. Rallo becomes the target of bullying and practical jokes. How he chose to deal with the issues showed strong character and integrity. The author stresses that those characteristics along with determination and talent can help fulfill a dream. This easy-read chapter book includes a few sentences about the author, a glossary, 3 discussion questions and 3 writing prompts.
Odessa
Epic Press/abdo [Epic Press/abdo]
Moussavi, Sam
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
July 11, 2017
Averill, Linda
When high school student Winona Daughty disappears private investigator Pete Hamilton takes the case. He discovers that Winona had been in a relationship with the star football player, had drawn a picture of another man in her journal, and left a positive pregnancy test strip in her dresser drawer. He finds that he has been lied to and that folks have been covering up for the football team. Tough issues such as teen pregnancy, abortion, prostitution, drug abuse and betrayal by friends are all touched upon. This mystery does include include Pete murdering a drug boss and killing a rogue cop.
Dorothy And Toto : The Hunt For The Perfect Present
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Florence, Debbi Michiko
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
July 11, 2017
Averill, Linda
Toto reminds Dorothy that she should take a present to Milton's birthday party. Milton is a new friend and Dorothy doesn't know what he likes. She asks others what they are giving Milton. Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion each have a gift but no suggestions that would help Dorothy. Dorothy went for a walk in the woods, trying to find a present. What she found were two ducks. She played with them, then decided to go to the party without a present but they followed her. Readers familiar with the Wizard of Oz characters will enjoy reading about their new adventures. This 35 page book is divided into 5 short chapters. It contains a table of contents, glossary, two paragraphs under "About the Wizard of Oz", 3 sets of questions under "Use Your Brain", and a paragraph about the author and another about the illustrator. This is a part of a series but easily stands alone.
Palace Of Memory
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Sedgwick, Julian
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 11, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
Danny Woo is only twelve, but his life has already been full of adventure. He was raised in a type of circus. After the tragic death of his parents his Aunt Laura, a journalist, took charge of him. How does any of this explain why someone seems to want him dead? This is book #2 in the Mysterium series. In book one Danny was in Hong Kong. Now he is in Spain. It doesn't matter where he goes, his attempts to discover the secrets his parents left behind lead him, and those around him, into deadly danger. His upbringing has given him certain skills, but how do card tricks play out against bullets? This is an action-packed, suspenseful series. I can't wait for book #3!
Hello, Mr. Dodo!
Arthur A. Levine Books [SCHOLASTIC]
Frith, Nicholas John
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 13, 2017
Threlkeld, Sarah
Everyone knows dodo birds are extinct. Or are they? Martha is nuts about birds and can identify all of the different types that live near her. Then one day she stumbles upon a bird she’s never seen before. After a little research she realizes the bird is a dodo, which no one has seen for hundreds of years. Martha decides she’ll have to keep her discovery a secret. She and the dodo spend everyday together, playing cards, romping through the forest, and indulging in doughnuts. Then one day she lets it slip to the mail carrier that she is off to visit her feathered friend. What will happen now? Will the mailman blab her secret to the world? Will people try to capture her beloved bird? Martha quickly comes up with a clever solution to her dilemma, which will have readers sighing with relief. This delightfully sweet story about one girl’s friendship with a doughnut-loving bird will be enjoyed by many young readers, both as a read aloud and independently. Students will even learn a little about extinction, which may spark some interesting discussions. A wonderful addition to any elementary library.
Reach For The Moon, Little Lion
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Muller, Hildegard
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 13, 2017
Threlkeld, Sarah
Once upon a time there was a little lion who was smaller than all the other lions. Some of the jungle animals made fun of his size, which made the little lion sad. He knew that if he could touch the moon he could prove to the other animals that he was a regal, powerful lion, despite his small size. So he did. The first two thirds of the story plays out in a predictable, but engaging way, and offers lots of opportunities for making predictions and discussing bullying. Unfortunately, the main problem is resolved rather abruptly, with the lion simply stretching up to touch the moon. I was left feeling disappointed, as if the story wasn’t quite complete. The message is a valuable one, but there are other books out there that tackle the same topic in a more engrossing way.
Polar Distress
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
Grau, Sheila
Sutphin, Joe
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
July 14, 2017
Averill, Linda
Runt a third-year student at a boarding academy for monsters finds that he is human, not a werewolf, and that he is the missing prince of Anderat. When he was an infant his family was killed in a coup and the country split among generals. He has lived at the school since infancy, been told he has a tethering curse, and has discovered someone is determined to sabotage the school.
Mj's Camp Crisis
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Brandes, Wendy L
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 14, 2017
Averill, Linda
MJ's best friend talked her into going to camp for 7 weeks then her family decided to go to China. Now MJ is stuck, she has to spend her summer with a bunch of perky girls that have all previously attended the camp. Then her bunk mate arrives. Zoe is also a newbie and from England. MJ eventually recognizes that Zoe is the daughter of the lead singer of her favorite band. How MJ handles the knowledge knowing that Zoe probably wants to remain unrecognized leads to problems between the two.
Jonny Jakes Investigates The Old School Ghoul
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Judge, Malcolm
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
July 14, 2017
Averill, Linda
One hundred years ago Principal Piggot ran a strict school, terrifying the students. Now he is back and is slowly taking over Principal Chattersly and returning the school to the old ways of discipline. Jonny Jakes must find a way to banish Piggot before the students are forced to face unspeakable horrors like extra physical education. The takeover of Chattersly's body and mind is the subject of Jonny's articles in his underground newspaper. The revelations did not create the momentum that he had anticipated.
Behind Closed Doors
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Halahmy, Miriam
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
July 14, 2017
Averill, Linda
Two British girls alternate in telling their stories in this first person narrative. Josie is the daughter of an unemployed hoarder who has filled every room in their home with bags full of secondhand purchases. Her mom has been taken to jail for 6 weeks due to unpaid taxes. Josie has to survive on her own, working at a newspaper route. Tash has a nice home, her mom keeps her clothed, fed and gives her spending money. Her mom's latest boyfriend is making Tasha uncomfortable and she leaves home. Josie, a loner, and Tasha who is popular, slowly join forces to avoid social services and homelessness. A realistic novel that teens will relate to.
Screams In The Night
Epic Press/abdo [Epic Press/abdo]
Crawford, Brian
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
July 14, 2017
Averill, Linda
This is book #2 in the Prisoner's of War series. Julia and Otto had been abused by their father. The townspeople had hunted him down and killed him. The two now lived with Julia's godfather, a Polish farmer who had an illness and a drinking problem so the farm work falls on the two youngsters. When Julia discovers a hidden Nazi death camp she takes some of the family's rationed food and water to those who are locked in train cars. When Otto finds out he tries to disuade her, but ends up going with her to help. On his first trip he is shot and she is captured and becomes one of the prisoners.
Today I Feel... : An Alphabet Of Feelings
Abrams Appleseed [Abrams Appleseed]
Moniz, Madalena
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 27, 2017
Seasholes, Craig L
This crisp, upstanding 12" tall x 8" wide book of with 52 pages presenting 26 letters and corresponding emotions. Done in ink and watercolor this is a delightful addition to 428.1 and social-emotional collections for early elementary. Translated from Portuguese. With charming associations by author/illustrator Madalena Moniz we get, for example a L formed in red balloons above the word Light on a page facing the tow-headed boy floating away with a bundle of red balloons. Blue scarves form an E for excited, facing a bundled boy with head tipped back anticipating the taste of new falling snow. This is an easy to love and share ABCedario, recommended for preschool through first grades.