Reviews for month


What Would You Do? : Doing The Right Thing Even When You Thi
Hachette Usa [Hachette Usa]
Quinones, John
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 02, 2018
Bateman, Teresa
While the cover says "based on the hit primetime series" this is more of an autobiographical, philosophical book than a close examination of the TV show. Readers learn about John Quinones' rise from migrant farm worker to famous television reporter. He had his ups and downs, but persistence and hard work paid off, as he points out repeatedly. Follow dreams, being true to yourself, be optimistic, look for opportunities--these are some of the lessons he teaches. Then he examines the television program and some of the different ethical situations in which he placed strangers. It's at this point that I hesitate. I originally loved the series, but eventually felt that it was ironic that it was highlighting how judgmental people could be, while being judgmental of people who did not act in what they defined as the "correct" way. You can talk morality, but when you also brag about sneaking through Panamanian customs without a visa you lose the moral high ground. Nevertheless, the book is well-written and might inspire teens to aspire higher.
Bow Wow
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Quinn, Spencer
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 03, 2018
Tucker, Merrilyn
Bowser, 12-year-old Birdie's dog, narrates this mystery in which a man goes missing. Birdie's mother is an oil rig engineer, so it is up to Birdie and her Grammy to run the family fishing store which sells not only bait and tackle, but also hires out boats with expert fishermen at the helm. When their expert goes missing and a bull shark is said to have attacked him, locals know that's suspicious since bull sharks do not, as a rule, come so far upstream from the Louisiana saltwater into freshwater. Birdie and Bowser begin their spy work and wind up in some scary situations! Bowser's personality is quirky and lovable: he can't remember details from one minute to the next, he doesn't actually know that he's barking when people ask what all the noise is, he has extra sharp smelling abilities, and his most endearing quality is that he adores Birdie. Watch how these two work together to solve this perplexing puzzle. This is the third book in the Bowser and Birdie series, but the author makes it easy to catch up so it's not necessary to start with the first book. Good for grades fourth through sixth. Readers who enjoy Hoot or Spy Camp books would enjoy this series.
Murder For Max : A Maxine Benson Mystery
RAVEN BOOKS [RAVEN BOOKS]
Reynolds, John Lawrence
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 03, 2018
Bateman, Teresa
Max is the new chief of police in a small Canadian town. She's trying to establish herself in a jurisdiction that doesn't have much in the way of crime. Then a local man, who has plenty of enemies, is murdered. The pool of suspects is pretty big. Max interviews everyone, examines the crime scene, and the reader does so along with her. All the clues are there, can the reader solve the mystery before Max? I usually love the Orca books, but this one just doesn't have the immediacy of most of them. There's too much repetition, and not enough character development. It's almost like a short story was unnecessarily stretched to fit a short novel format. It's an adequate mystery, but there are better ones out there.
Bmx Bravery
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Maddox, Jake
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 03, 2018
Bateman, Teresa
In this Capstone Jake Maddox quick read, Cam loves racing his BMX bike. His parents have taught him safety, but you have to take risks sometimes, if you want to win. When Pedro moves into Cam's neighborhood Cam is delighted to have a friend who shares his interests. Pedro, however, is a risk-taker, and nudges Cam into gradually more dangerous exploits. When they go down a dangerous closed trail Pedro crashes and burns and it's up to Cam to ride the rest of the way, and seek help. This book is chock-a-block full of BMX bike terms, with plenty of action and likable characters. It's sure to attract reluctant readers. However, riding down that dangerous trail was clearly not the only option available to Cam. He could have left the bike and walked the trail. Of course that wouldn't make for an exciting story. Suspend common sense and just enjoy the adventure.
Lucky
Chicken House [Chicken House]
Hill, Chris
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 04, 2018
Sepessy, Lona
Rival gangs of gray squirrels inhabit different territories around Albion Park but attack is always a possibility. Dropped by a hawk far from home, Lucky, a red squirrel, was rescued by the Cloudfoot tribe and given to First Eldest Daughter to raise, but his small size puts him at risk of failing the Watch Patrol trials and being Cast Down. Lucky uses his brains and an allegiance with Nimlet, his brawny cadet mate, to outwit and pass most of the tests, but during the final challenge, the duo discover an imminent attack by the rival Northender squirrels. After rescuing Tarragon, a daughter of the ruling Northender family, the trio contrives and thwarts members of both tribes and achieves an alliance promising peace. Well-paced action and excellent character development in this debut animal fiction novel will appeal to fans of the popular Warrior series and I look forward to reading more of Chris Hill’s novels.
Emeril Lagasse
Enslow Publishing [Enslow Publishing]
Rauf, Don
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 04, 2018
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Celebrity Chefs" series, this 128 page biography looks at the life of Emeril Lagasse. After a brief introduction, the text follows the life of Lagasse chronologically. The reader learns about his upbringing and first jobs in New England, his move to New Orleans, his Food Network stardom, and the many restaurants he runs today (through 2013). The final section discusses how someone might train to become a chef. There are recipes in the back of the book (although they are not sourced. you might assume they are Lagasse's, but that's not really clear.). The book is complete with table of contents, timeline, source notes, glossary, bibliography, and index. The book would be useful in biographical research. As his life continues and his company grows there will be more to his story. This book will be dated soon. Purchase if you have a need.
Up! Up! Up! Skyscraper
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Suen, Anastasia
O’Rourke, Ryan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 04, 2018
Sonnen, Dave
Large text and informative illustrations explain the process of building a skyscraper in simple terms. The reader learns how and why piles are driven, how the structure is created, topping off celebrations, and putting the skin on the outside. Young builders will pour over the colorful illustrations (in which items are labeled). A smaller inset illustrations show the large view of process. The final page folds out to create a tall building illustration. This could be used in science when learning about structures and is large enough for class sharing. 32 pages.
William Harvey : Genius Discoverer Of Blood Circulation
Enslow Publishing [Enslow Publishing]
Yount, Lisa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 04, 2018
Bateman, Teresa
We tend to think of ourselves as an enlightened generation where all knowledge originates. It's fascinating, therefore, to examine the foundations of our science. This is a biography of William Harvey. Born in 1578, this doctor and scientist make significant discoveries in how the heart and circulatory system work. The book examines his early life, his expanding career, and his various insights and discoveries, including areas in which he was wrong. The scientists and teachers upon which he built his knowledge are also highlighted. the writing is interesting and the book is enlightening. There are primary source quotes, an index, bibliography, glossary, source notes, timeline, and an experiment. This would be a good resource for report writing.
Can You Say It, Too? Brrr! Brrr!
Nosy Crow [NOSY CROW]
Braun, Sebastien
Not Recommended -- Does not meet library standards in style, content or design.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 04, 2018
Sepessy, Lona
This blue, aqua, and white board book introduces foxes, wolves, penguins and other polar animals with their sounds to toddlers. Each two-page spread includes a large flap shaped like a natural place such as iceberg, trees, and a cave, with a polar animal hiding behind. A simple question asks “Who is hiding behind the . . . Tiny fingers can pull down the flap and find the named animal as well as its’ sound words. There is nothing that makes this board book stand out from all the other available wintery board books and is best suited for young toddlers who might appreciate the striking colors and flaps.
My Favorite Book Of Numbers
CHILDRENS PRESS [CHILDRENS PRESS]
Behrens, Janice
Not Recommended -- Does not meet library standards in style, content or design.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 04, 2018
Sepessy, Lona
Brightly colored numbers from one through six and a scalloped edge decorate the cover of this Rookie Toddler Board Book from Scholastic. 1 Teddy Bear, 2 Balloons, 3 Robots, and 4 Puppies continue up to 10 kids are found in this counting book. Each page includes a searching question such as on the 4 puppies page, “Which one is sitting in a basket?” The culminating page includes the correct picture from each of the 10 numbers and invites readers to count all over again. This is just a basic counting book but with the scalloped edge and brightly colored items young toddlers may find this book one they will return to again and again. With the targeted audience an older infant or younger toddler, this is not a book that will appeal to many elementary schools. Best used as a gift for a young baby.
Farrah The Shy Fawn
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Jones, Janey Louise
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 04, 2018
Sepessy, Lona
Superfairies: Farrah the Shy Fawn – AD+ “Twinkle, sparkle, dazzle, swish, tending animals as they wish.” Four Superfairies, protectors of the Peaseblossom Woods animals, have superpowers; healing kisses, super eyesight, bright light and strong webs to use as they rescue the animals from dangerous adventures. After watching the fairies primping and beautifying for the upcoming Petal Parade, Farrah the Shy Fawn, goes searching for ways to make herself prettier and runs into trouble. With plenty of sparkles, fairy dazzle, the colorful and quaint illustrations found on almost every page depict a tiny world that will delight your fairy and princess readers. The six-book series for early independent readers includes a glossary, discussion and writing prompts, a brief history of fairy lore, and a quiz to identify which Superfairy the reader is most like. Saccharine sweet but I’m sure will be checked out often.
Einstein The Class Hamster Saves The Library
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Tashjian, Janet
Tashjian, Jake
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 04, 2018
Sepessy, Lona
Be prepared for another rollicking page-turner featuring Einstein, the favorite class hamster, as humor and Einstein’s Tasty Tidbits entertain transitional readers. Two class pets, Einstein and a turtle, along with the Principal’s snake, Twinkies, keep up a running commentary with only Ned able to understand and converse and of course, providing humor when Ned’s responses are interpreted as directed at friends. When a budget crisis fuels the closure of the library, the class conspires and works together to find a solution. Throw in a narcoleptic, infomercial- watching teacher and candy corn eating, juggling and dancing Einstein featured on YouTube and readers will have plenty of belly laughs. Large cartoon-like graphics are liberally splayed on pages of double-spaced, large font text just right for readers’ pre Diary of a Wimpy Kid. An excellent addition to elementary libraries.
Louis Pasteur Advances Microbiology
CORE LIBRARY [ABDO]
Hustad, Douglas
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 04, 2018
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Great Moments in Science" series, this 48 page book looks at some of the discoveries made by Louis Pasteur. We learn the methods and ideas that Pasteur had the led to his development of pasteurization and vaccination. We also learn of other scientist working on similar problems. Boxes provide readers with additional background and primary source material. Captioned illustrations and diagrams are found throughout the book. Common core related questions and activities are found at the conclusion of each chapter. The book is contains a table of contents, glossary, index, author information, and bibliography (web resources are provided through the publisher's website). This would be a strong addition to your science section.
Curious George Kindergarten Sight Words (10-Book Reading Program)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company [Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company]
Rey, H. A.
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 05, 2018
Burton, Paula
A wonderful set boxed including 10 books, a word tracker chart, sight word flash cards, and 4 sheets of curious george stickers based on the famous character created by Margaret and H.A. Rey. The 10 books are numbered to read in a specific order starting with the most common sight words. Each booklet is about ten pages with a very simple story and has five sight words repeated within the book.The flash cards with these words connect to the story. The word is one side of the card and the other side has a sentence with an illustration. The chart has all the sight words from all ten books and room to place 4 stickers behind each word. The box measures five and a half by 8 inches and can be easily stored. Not the ideal set for a library setting but a great way to learn to read for Curious George fans.
Glacier National Park
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Spalding, Maddie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 05, 2018
Sonnen, Dave
This 48 page book is part of the "Core library: National Parks" series. It provides a look at Montana's Glacier National Park. The book describes the location, creation, and attractions in the park, as well as, the geologic history and biological diversity. The book looks at impacts on the part regarding climate and human use. The text is well-written. Side bars and boxes call attention to additional information and primary source information. Common core related activities are found at the end of each chapter. Color (mostly), captioned photographs are found throughout the book. My only complain was that the map of the park is cut off, so the western entrance to the park is missing along with it's southern border. The book has a table of contents, index, glossary, bibliography (web resources available through the publisher's website), and author information. This is not a topic of many books and therefore has value for those of us in the Pacific Northwest. Purchase if you have a need.
Cleaning Water
First Facts/capstone Press [First Facts/capstone Press]
Olien, Rebecca
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 05, 2018
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Water in Our World" series, this 24 page book looks at how drinkable water gets to our homes. Chapters cover topics of sources, disinfection, and moving water. The book also describes why people need clean water and how readers can help keep water clean. Fact boxes provide additional information and glossary words are defined on the page they are located, as well as, in the glossary. The book has a diagram, a simple experiment, and critical thinking - common core questions. The book has a table of contents, index, glossary, and bibliography (web resources are provided through the publisher's website). This book will be used in science units that discuss the water cycle and would provide older students access to this information.
If You Were A Kid Aboard The Titanic
CHILDRENS PRESS [CHILDRENS PRESS]
Gregory, Josh
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 05, 2018
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "If You Were a Kid..." series, this 32 page book gives the reader to learn what it would be like to be on the voyage of the Titanic. The story follows two children: William and Alice. William and his family are traveling first class, while Alice and her mom are in third class. They meet and explore the ship. Fact boxes include a photograph and additional information about the Titanic. When the ship begins to sink, William finds Alice and her mother and helps them to a lifeboat with his family. The colorful illustration are engaging and the text is well written and will be read by students not able to read more difficult text on this topic. The book is narrative non-fiction. The story is completely fiction, where the fact-boxes are accurate and could be useful for simple research projects. The book has a table of contents, map, timeline, glossary, index, and author information. Buy for the younger set looking for information on this tragic event.
Time Shifters
GRAPHIX [GRAPHIX]
Grine, Chris
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 05, 2018
Burton, Paula
Brothers Kyle and Luke take a shortcut through the forest which ends in the death of the older brother. It takes Luke a long time to go through the same forest again and when he does he stumbles upon some strange creatures; a skeleton, a mummy and a napoleon vampire. The party drops a device which automatically snaps on to Luke. It forces him to join a group of time-traveling, dimension hopping fugitives to a land of giant insects. An action packed graphic novel full of adventure that could easily be attractive to middle schoolers as well. Colorful black outlined illustrations with text that is large enough for chapter book readers. Some humor make this story a must read for Hilo fans ready for another graphic novel. Possibilities for a continuing story.
Graveyard Shakes
GRAPHIX [GRAPHIX]
Terry, Laura
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 05, 2018
Burton, Paula
A colorful graphic novel from debut author and illustrator Laura Terry about two sisters send to a boarding school. Katia and Victoria received scholarships to attend the private boarding school instead of being homeschooled. This suits Victoria, but Katia is not willing to change her outgoing personality to fit in. To escape school, the girls hang out in a nearby graveyard. This is where a small ghost hangs out with the name little ghost which connects the reader to the ghost world. Little ghosts’ friend Mobie, a zombie looking kid, is kept alive by his father. His father needs the live of a child to keep him alive. On the night of a big fight between Katia and Victoria, Victoria bumps into the small ghost in the graveyard on her search for Katia and Katia is introduced to the other ghosts of the graveyard. In the end the sisters do help one another and it comes to a big ghost fight. Black outlined watercolor illustrations and mat paper give this graphic novel a different feel but could be given to the fans of Raina Telgemeir. The story itself has the adventure of Zita the spacegirl and could be interesting to an audience in middle school. The reviewer had a paperback version of the book.
Swing It, Sunny
GRAPHIX [GRAPHIX]
Holm, Jennifer L
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 05, 2018
Burton, Paula
Brother and sister illustrator and author from Babymouse and Squish are pairing up to continue the story of Sunny that was started in Sunny Side up (see review from 1/07/2016). The underlying issues of an older brother who is affecting the whole family returns. Although Sunny is at home, and not with her grandfather, Dale has been send to a boys academy but life for the family is affected by it. Interesting is that some of the chapters are portrayed as if it is a brady bunch episode, where everything is just fine. Sunny is also dealing with her own challenges growing up a teenager. A colorful graphic novel that will be interesting to Telgemeier fans that still does not hide difficult topics. The reviewer had a paperback version.
Haitian Graves : A Ray Robertson Mystery
RAVEN BOOKS [RAVEN BOOKS]
Delany, Vicki
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 05, 2018
Bateman, Teresa
Ray Robertson is a member of the RCMP, but he isn't in Canada now. He's in Haiti, training police officers for the United Nations. It is there he stumbles on a troubling case. A woman is dead. Was it an accident? Was it her husband? The U.S. embassy is strangely protective of the situation and obstructive as well. Nevertheless, Ray has a niggling sensation of "wrongness." He determines to make sure that justice is done, even in a country where justice can be purchased. This Orca "Rapid Read" is a fast-paced mystery with a good sense of setting and great character development. It's not really a school library book. Due to language and content I would recommend it for YA collections and for adults who may be reluctant readers and want a good book that doesn't take much time.
Do You Have A Friend Who Is Suicidal?
Enslow Publishing [Enslow Publishing]
Wahl, Elizabeth
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 05, 2018
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Got Issues?" series, the title of this book asks a poignant question. Lamentably, the book itself doesn't answer that question so much as it examines the issue. What is suicide? What are some of its causes? What is the history behind it. What are the statistics for different groups? What about assisted suicide? What about group suicides? There are a few vignettes but mostly this is a dense examination of the problem. It includes an index, website list, glossary, source notes, and a list of community resources. I would find this less useful in dealing with a suicidal friend than in preparing for a debate on the subject. As a debate resource, or a report-writing resource, however, it is excellent, even if the statistics are a little dated.
Miitary Gps : Cutting Edge Global Positioning System
Enslow Publishing [Enslow Publishing]
Kiland, Taylor Baldwin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 05, 2018
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Military Engineering in Action" series, this 48 page book explores the use of global positioning systems (GPS) in the military. After an introduction that demonstrates the usefulness of GPS in a military situation, the book explores the history of navigation beginning with the Phoenicians. Then the reader learns about the uses of GPS in today's military. The text is well-written and fact boxes provide additional information. Photographs are captioned and in color. The book is complete with non-fiction text features: table of contents, timeline, glossary, bibliography, and index. This book will have high interest from the kids who like to read about the military.
Have Sword, Will Travel
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Nix, Garth
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 06, 2018
Doran, Kelly
When the river runs lower than it ever has, Odo and Eleanor find an enchanted sword in the riverbed. The (talking, flying, overly enthusiastic) sword takes charge, and soon Odo has been knighted, Eleanor is his squire, and they're headed upriver on a quest to find out what's drying up the river. Along the way, they encounter a cruel smith, mysterious Urthkin (dwarves), a bannoch-haunted forest, another enchanted sword, and other knightly challenges, including another knight that is not what she seems. Their work isn't over when they destroy the dam that's holding the river back; they must ride the floodwaters back down to their home to protect it from unexpected enemies. And finally, there's a confrontation with a dragon that doesn't go the way they expect. Nobody blinks twice at Sir Saskia's knighthood or Eleanor's position as Odo's squire; Eleanor's mother was also a knight. Neither Odo nor Eleanor magically become heroes immediately; it takes time to walk upriver, and more time to build up the muscle and skill to handle armor and weapons, even with an enchanted sword providing instruction, and it takes experience and guidance to develop the judgment they need. An excellent adventure for anyone who's dreamed of going on a quest.
Silver Mask
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Black, Holly
Clare, Cassandra
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 06, 2018
Doran, Kelly
In his fourth year at the Magisterium, Callum Hunt is at his lowest point. He's been outed as the reborn Enemy of Death, he's imprisoned in the Panoptikon, and his best friend Aaron has been murdered and his magic stolen by Master Joseph's apprentice Alex. And then it gets worse. Holding his friends hostage for his good behavior, Master Joseph forces Call to prove himself a true Enemy of Death by resurrecting Aaron. But something's wrong with Aaron, Alex is ambitious and resentful, the forces on both sides are massing for a final battle, and Call is caught in the middle without allies. And then it gets worse... Call has grown up a lot; he's still making questionable decisions, but he's doing what he can to limit damage to others (if not himself). He's finally recognized that whatever he is, he's not the villain that others assume (or hope) him to be, and he's willing to face the consequences of his actions. The action escalates as appropriate to the penultimate book in a series, although you need to have read prior books to really make sense of everything. Whole series is recommended.
Charles Darwin : Genius Of A Revolutionary Theory
Enslow Publishing [Enslow Publishing]
Anderson, Margaret J
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 06, 2018
Bateman, Teresa
Charles Darwin is best known for his evolutionary theory voiced in his book "The Origin of Species." Who was this man? What led to his deductions? What impact did his discoveries have on his life and on the lives of others? This is a cogent, clear, and interesting biography of Charles Darwin. It provides good information about his youth, his education, his voyage on the Beagle, his family life, and scientific discoveries that have been based on his work. the book includes an index, bibliography, chapter notes, glossary, and a chronology. It would be an excellent resource for report-writing.
Copper Gauntlet
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Black, Holly
Fischer, Scott
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 06, 2018
Doran, Kelly
In his second year at the Magisterium, Callum Hunt now knows that he is the reborn Enemy of Death, but nobody else does, except the villainous Master Joseph. And maybe Call's father, who might just be planning to do something about it using the Alkahest, a gauntlet of power that can be used to destroy his magic. When the Alkahest is stolen, both Call and his father are under suspicion, and Call and his friends go on the run to try to retrieve it, hunted by friends and enemies alike. Their journey ends with a confrontation with both Master Joseph and Call's father at the Enemy of Death's tomb, and a great many unpleasant truths are revealed. Call still has (understandable) trust issues and makes questionable decisions, but he's starting to mature a little. Plotting and characterization (especially of the various adults, who all have their own motivations) are excellent. Very good for the second book in a series.
Did King Arthur Exist?
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Hunter, Nick
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 07, 2018
Garrard, Thom
Did King Arthur Exist? This book from Capstone Ignite’s Top Secret series explores this question by considering the available evidence, including both written documents and artifacts. With few reliable written records from the 5th century, however, the challenge of separating fact from fiction requires historians to consider the possible motives of those who wrote about Arthur centuries later. Even physical evidence requires skepticism, as with the supposed discovery of Arthur’s grave by Glastonbury monks in the 12th century. Colorful sidebars labeled “Top Secret,” “The Science,” and “Investigative Tips” keep the pages visually stimulating and the mystery moving along. Many archival photographs, maps, drawings, etchings, and a timeline make the pages very busy. The combination of so many elements may help to draw in readers with short attention spans, but the focus of the investigation sometimes seems to get lost in all the busy-ness. In the end, the solution to this mystery remains frustratingly out of reach. Interested readers will appreciate the list of additional resources provided at the end.
Moone Boy : The Fish Detective
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
O'dowd, Chris
Giampaglia, Walter/cartoon Saloon
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 07, 2018
Sepessy, Lona
Meet Martin Moone and his imaginary sidekick, Sean Murphy, as they return in another absurd escapade investigating the mysterious Fishatorium that is taking away business from Padraic’s Aunt Bridget’s Cross Country Meat shop. While only open a few hours a day, the place is packed and the fish abundant and beautifully processed. Donning his detective hat, Martin schemes to get inside the Fish factory to discover what he is sure is nefarious activity. Only when he finally discovers the secret, he makes real friends who seem to appreciate his contributions. Over-the-top humor (farts, sisters putting make-up on him while he sleeps, and fish stench), will appeal to your Diary of a Wimpy Kid readers and the entertaining black & white line doodle drawings include strategic red touches on Martin and Sean’s hats and blood stains on various fish processing utensils. Unusual words are defined with much humor in box inserts at the bottom of the page and are entertaining enough to attract the audience. Themes include immigration, friendship, family and standing up for oneself. While not heavy on plot, Chris O’Dowd and Nick V. Murphy’s series will appeal to a large readership who thrive on the humor.
Lines We Cross
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Abdel-Fattah, Randa
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 07, 2018
Datisman, Eve
HL690L Michael knows that his parents have been angry about a lot of things all his life, but he hasn’t thought much about it or what he feels. They are leaders of a new anti-immigrant political party called Aussie Values which is trying to halt the flood of refugees from the Middle East. Mina fled Afghanistan with her family ten years before, now just wants to concentrate on fitting in the privileged private school where she is now a scholarship student. She feels the pressure to do well and get into college because her parents have uprooted their lives in order to move closer to her new school and to start a new restaurant there. Mina makes friends with Paula, a well-connected girl who helps her combat the overt and subtle racism of Michael and his buddies --but the mutual attraction they feel demands that they resolve thing between them. Michael has to decide where he stands. Mina has to protect herself and her family. Both have to choose what they want their world to look like. Told in alternating chapters, by Mina and Michael, with texts and notes. Randa Abel-Fattah is an expert in Islamophobia in Australia. BkList*,Kirkus*
Raftsmen
FIREFLY BOOKS [FIREFLY BOOKS]
Barnett, Ryan
Bondarenko, Dmitry
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 07, 2018
Datisman, Eve
In the aftermath of World War II, four French expatriates who escaped the clutches of the Nazi regime to find asylum in Canada, believed that adventure was to be the antidote to depression brought on by the cruelty of war. In 1956, armed with little but the shirts on their backs, a small stock of food, and some crude navigation and communication equipment, they set sail from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Captained by Henri Beaudout, a draftsman, the voyage was designed to test his theory that a raft launched between the latitudes of 45 and 50 degrees north and powered only by a sail and the Gulf Stream has to end up in Europe in 100 days at most. Fashioned from telephone poles and built entirely by hand, the raft they called L'Egare II (The station) would be their home for 88 days as they crossed the North Atlantic from Canada to Britain. A hybrid of traditional text and graphic novel filled with ferocious storms, several near-fatal encounters with vessels in shipping lanes, and a threatening shark. Features further reading, archival photography, film stills taken aboard the raft, news reports, maps, contemporary interviews, original illustrations, artist’s notes and notes on photographs. Fascinating, thrilling real-life adventure story
Flight Of The Grizzly
FIREFLY BOOKS [FIREFLY BOOKS]
Gregoire, Fabian
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
January 07, 2018
Datisman, Eve
The graphic novel format is a nice fit for a flashback tale that mixes an indigenous coastal British Columbian mythological creature and a true story of transporting a grizzly by bush plane. Eleven-year-old Jesse’s father makes his living flying seaplanes and she often accompanies him. One day they are flying with Jesse’s friend George when one of their engines catches fire. They set down safely and call for help. The two kids have time to explore a bit and find the remains of several old totem poles. George who is native shows Jess how to read them and makes his culture come alive for her by telling her stories about the creatures depicted there. They have a good time until they realize they have travelled into a graveyard. 100 miles away, a logging operation being bothered by an aggressive grizzly, gets it tranquilized and loaded into a plane to remove it to a more remote location. That is the plane that drops down to rescue the three; then the bear wakes up. Included is addt’l. info on grizzlies, indigenous art, B.C.’s seaplanes and bib. Excellent resource and jumping off point for research.
Meet Cindy Sherman : Artist, Photographer, Chameleon
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Jordan, Sandra
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 07, 2018
Datisman, Eve
G4+ Picture book bio of photographer Cindy Sherman illustrated with her images. Her work wowed the art world when she first came on the scene over 30 years ago and her current work is as enigmatic and provocative as ever. The book covers her childhood playing dress-up, her experiences finding her artistic voice in art school, and the subsequent years of honing her craft and transforming her style. Greenberg and Jordan’s text invites readers to notice details in her work and consider what she’s trying to say, all while offering tidbits about her life and achievements. Callout boxes offer opinions from actual kids about individual photographs, like “Whoever set up this meal must be extremely insane.” In addition to creating an inviting atmosphere, the kids’ comments especially highlight Sherman’s protean art style and call attention to the overarching theme of her work: offering compelling glimpses into a character or story and underscore the idea that art is for everybody at every age. Will prompt endless discussions on art history, photography, pop culture, gender roles, and even selfies Includes bibliography of books, articles, websites, and videos; chapter notes, list of artworks by Sherman, and photo credits.
How To Build A Skyscraper
FIREFLY BOOKS [FIREFLY BOOKS]
Hill, John
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 07, 2018
Datisman, Eve
7+ with direction A history of skyscraper architecture. It answers the question: “Why don’t all skyscrapers look the same? by looking at 146 iconic buildings from the last 100 years. Each building entry begins its vital stats – height, location, completion, stories, primary function, owner/developer, architect, structural engineer, and key facts. That is followed by a discussion of items like historical background, the logic of the form for the place where it’s erected, resistance if any to the design, the structure of the building, its exterior, and simple schematics that show the building’s features and graphs to show height relative to other skyscrapers. Includes color photos, glossary, index. A useful ready-reference work and a treat for architecture buffs. Information about cooling, heating, and conservation, and dialog between surrounding buildings or buildings made by the same architect makes this a good jumping off for science and engineering students. Probably more suitable for high school but the Seattle’s Rainier Tower is included so local appeal will be strong at all levels.
Science Comics : Plagues : The Microscopic Battlefield
FIRST SECOND [FIRST SECOND]
Koch, Falynn
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 07, 2018
Datisman, Eve
G4. 4+ Every volume of Science Comics offers a complete introduction to a particular topic. With bold and colorful graphics, Koch tackles the complex world of germs and the human body's incredible immune system, which is designed to combat them, feels like a supercharged Magic School bus. Elena the lab-coated scientist in an anatomical holodeck shepherds two dullard bacilli, Bubonic Plague and Yellow Fever, through a thymus gland and other tissues while lecturing on the causes and treatments of infectious diseases and trying to enlist them as vaccines in the fight against their own deadly kind. She includes historical references to historically significant incidents involving disease (such as the Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic of 1793 and the use of smallpox as a bioweapon in the French and Indian War). To leaven the history and histology there is a lot of humor and wonderfully gross illustrations and a hint at promising new directions in medical research. Includes and illustrated glossary, introductions to cholera, Spanish Flu, Polio, HIV, a timeline of medical history- including the 2013-14 Ebola outbreak, and suggestions for further reading. Good companion text for science classes.
Big Lie
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Mayhew, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 07, 2018
Datisman, Eve
“This is science fiction but it is science fiction in the terms of what is here now.” William S. Burroughs. It’s 2014 in Nazi England and Jessika Keller is a perfect daughter of both the Reich and her Reich minister father. She’s getting ready to present her country at the Olympic Games as an ice skater. Her best friend and potential lover is Clementine her next door neighbor, who is passionately different – outspoken, dangerous, radical. And the regime has noticed. Jessika can’t keep both her perfect life and her best friend so who/what will she choose? Mayhew creates a believable, thriving modern-day Nazi society built on rules, silence, and surveillance, and a compelling depiction of a girl caught between what she has always been taught and what she is coming to suspect is true. All of the details about this alternate English society are based on Hitler’s plans for England after his conquest. Quotes come from Ravensbruck graffiti. Mien Kampf, and various publications from the Third Reich. Includes glossary of German words and phrases, historical notes, and an extensive list of resources about life under Nazism. Pair with Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. A novel for our time.
Vanilla
Push [Push]
Merrell, Billy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 07, 2018
Datisman, Eve
HL690L Two boys, Van (called Vanilla) and Hunter, tell of their relationship in verse which began before they were teenagers, but begins to crack in high school, mostly because Hunter thinks they should be having sex and Vanilla is not so sure. This is character driven literary fiction told in alternating voices in the first section of the book. Other voices are added in the second section that helps dramatize the changes the boys are going through. Although the characters are given different type faces, it’s hard to keep them distinguished because Merrill hasn’t developed distinctive voices for the characters. The importance of this book likes in its exploration of gender fluidity, sexuality, asexuality and shows these queer teens reckoning with individual fears and desires, as well as powerful external pressures. Readers will identify with the quest for identity and looking for a safe anchor. Poignant at times. And probably will be popular with students. BkList*
Being Fishkill
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Lehrer, Ruth
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 07, 2018
Datisman, Eve
Debut novel. Fishkill is tough! She was named after a highway sign, for goodness sakes. She’s survived living with her mean as a snake grandfather and her neglectful mother for 13 years. She’s taken care of herself with a good left hook, and has gotten pretty good at stealing lunches at school. When she tries intimidation on Duck Duck Farina, it doesn’t work. Instead, Fishkill is invited to join her gang, the Gumbo Rumbles. What Fishkill didn’t see coming was how much she would enjoy a friend. When Duck Duck’s mother Mollie finds out that Fishkill’s mother has abandoned her and she’s been living alone at their abandoned trailer, Fishkill starts to experience something she’s never had before, love, hope, and care, until Duck Duck abandons her for the popular girls. Fishkill’s guilt, anger, and abandonment only intensify as the story unfolds. She almost loses that when her mother Keely returns. This is a somber tale of surviving abuse—though there’s no explicit violence, there are several intimations that Fishkill is a product of incest—and poverty. In the end, love eclipses abuse.There’s a twist I didn’t see coming; know your audience salty language.
I Am Alfonso Jones
Tu Books [Tu Books]
Medina, Tony
Robinson, Stacey & John Jennings
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 07, 2018
Datisman, Eve
5+ A graphic novel that addresses the Black Lives Matter movement, specifically the victims of police shootings. The story is told viewpoint of Alfonso Jones, an 11-year-old New Yorker getting ready to play Hamlet at school. On his way home he is shot by a white, off-duty policeman who mistakes a coat hanger for a gun. After he dies, he is whisked away on the ghost train guided by well-known victims of police shootings, the ancestors, who teach him what he needs to know about the afterlife. His family and classmates struggle with their grief and seek justice. The parallel stories connect when all parties realize just what’s needed for that fight when the justice they seek is not forthcoming. Hamlet is an apt metaphor because the dead do speak. Medina guides readers through the world that contemporary African Americans live in, a world where justice does not seem to exist. At the story's heart is Alfonso's mother's plea: if the officer's school had taught him more about the world, he might have seen Alfonso "as a teenager... as an American, as a human." Medina includes an author’s note and short biographies of the real-life ancestors included in the book. Painfully important and necessary. SLJ*
Rebel Seoul
Tu Books [Tu Books]
Oh, Axie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 07, 2018
Datisman, Eve
HL730L Gr. 7+ Debut novel. If you liked the movie Pacific Rim, you’ll like this. It’s 2199 in Neo Seoul; the eastern Neo Alliance between Japan, China and Korea will stop and nothing gain control of the world. Status comes from success in combat. Lee Jaewon is a former gang member and a talented pilot rising pilot rising in the ranks of the city-state’s most prestigious school. After completing his placement test, is Jaewon is tasked with spying on supersoldier Tera who is part of a project to take the God Machines to a frightening new level of destruction. He begins to fall for her and she for him. Caught between the establishment (as represented by the tyrannical Director), a rebel faction, and an influential criminal syndicate, Jaewon has to decide where his loyalties rest. World building and character development take a backseat to action; but are balanced by moral and philosophical quandaries for readers to consider as well as explorations of empathy, humanity, and the capacity to love. BkList*
Monet : Itinerant Of Light
Nbm Publishing [Nbm Publishing]
Rubio, Salva
Efa
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 07, 2018
Datisman, Eve
7 + Graphic novel biography of French painter Claude Monet (1840-1926) The story opens with Monet as an old man recovering from cataract surgery. As he awaits the return of his eyesight, he reminisces about his past. What follows is a pretty straightforward telling of his early life, Monet’s early days beginning with his 1862 arrival in Paris as a rebel student to his relationships with fellow artists Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir, and others; his early years of struggle extending just beyond his first wife Camille’s death, in 1879. Then it becomes more a reminiscence creative conflicts, and eventually great success, all in an effort to capture the light and beauty in nature. Monet himself narrates, and most of the text focuses on that narration, which allows the imagery to open and explore much of the same visual landscape that occupies his paintings. Many panels are designed to resemble the painter's work in order for us to see the world as he did. Best of all Rubio presents fact as fact and conjecture as conjecture. A pleasure for fans of biography, art history, and impressionism. BkList*, LJ-Web*
Robert Capa : A Graphic Biography
FIREFLY BOOKS [FIREFLY BOOKS]
Silloray, Florent
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 07, 2018
Datisman, Eve
The man who gained fame as photographer Robert Capa was born Endre Friedmann in Budapest, Hungary, 1913. Though he was selling frontline photos from the Spanish Civil War at the age of 23, it wasn't until his companion Gerda Taro rechristened him as roguish American "Robert Capa" that editors worldwide began to take notice. Told in the first person, Capa shows how he earned his reputation on front lines from the Spanish Civil War, the French defeat in Southeast Asia and other major assignments along the way. He recalls personal and professional struggles, hobnobbing with Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso, and his multiple affairs, most notably Gerda Taro and Ingrid Bergman. His monologue is delivered in a small, faux hand-lettered typeface that captions neatly squared-off sepia panels of boudoirs and battlefronts drawn in ink with white highlights. Celebrities and associates are recognizable. There’s somber, distant feel; but some sequences, such as the D-Day landing at Omaha Beach where Capa, cures in English and his native Hungarian struggles to get his shots as troops are dying on every side, are nightmarishly vivid. None of Capa’s photos are reproduced here but Silloray adds visual references to many of the more iconic ones.
Disappeared
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS]
Stork, Francisco X
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 07, 2018
Datisman, Eve
GR 7+ Doing the right thing isn’t always easy. And if it involves justice and love, it demands sacrifice. The Cuidad Juarez is a dangerous place for young women. They are snatched off the streets by narcotraffickers, pimps, and ransom. Sara Zapata knows that first hand. Her best friend, Linda Fuentes is one of them and has been missing for four months. Sara, a reporter, has been writing about” los desaparecidos” since then and the criminals that control the city have sent her a message, “If you publish anything of Linda Fuentes we will kill your reporter and her family.” Since they are after her, does that mean that Linda is still alive? Chapters alternate between Sara and Emiliano, younger brother. He’s earning what he can from small jobs to help support Sara and their mother. When an opportunity arises to increase his family’s finances, he jumps at the chance; but finds he’ll be tied to the drug trade. Who can you trust? How do you keep your soul while trying to survive? A thriller and sociological study that deals with poverty, corruption, and greed while illuminating the plight of those who illegally cross borders with the hope of a brighter future. BkList*, HornBk*, SLC*, SLJ*, VOYA*
Tentacle & Wing
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Porter, Sarah
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 07, 2018
Datisman, Eve
Gr. 5+/750L Twelve-year-old Ada's greatest secret has been revealed after a surprise test at school. She is a chimera, or "kime," born with human and animal DNA, the result of an experiment gone horribly wrong. She has infrared vision and can see various colors floating around objects. Kimes are believed to be infectious, even causing death to “normal” humans. Ada is taken from her parents and housed in a Long Island facility with other kime children, who exhibit a variety of animal-like features. At first appearance, the quarantined compound seems a safe haven from those who want them all dead. Ada struggles at first but eventually makes friends and begins to suspect that the faculty is keeping secrets, including the one about how chimeras came into the world. Set against the current backdrop of climate change, imagining the evolution of humans into a new species (with a little tinkering from scientists), this is a STEM-inspired adventure that focuses just as much on tolerance as it does on environmental responsibility and evolution. High school students will like this for the big ideas.
No Good Deed
POINT SIGNATURE [POINT SIGNATURE]
Moldavsky, Goldy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 07, 2018
Datisman, Eve
Gr 8+, HL720L From the author of Kill the Boy Band. There’s a summer camp for aspiring activists? Of course there is, and Gregor Maravilla’s there. He’s been committed to his Feed the Children campaign ever since he met his hero, philanthropist Robert Drill, the founder of Camp Save the World. Gregor is sure he’s going to win, until it’s announced that at the end of the program, the camper that has done the most/best to promote his campaign will wind an internship with Robert Drill. Natually, the campers start sabotaging each other and not acting at all like young do-gooders. Especially annoying is movie actress Ashely Woodstone’s campaign Eat Dirt and she’s everywhere complicating Gregor’s plans and his life. This is a text version of Janeane Garofalo’s movie Wet Hot American Summer, funny but pretty lightweight, and will be must have purchase for high schools.
White Privilege
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Blakemore, M T
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
January 07, 2018
Datisman, Eve
1100L, Gr7+ Racial inequality is entrenched in America. At times racism is unmistakable, as when white settlers forced Native Americans from their land or African Americans were denied service in public places. Other times it is less obvious. Race in America examines the bias, discrimination, and privilege that is ensconced in the American way of life. The books in this series provide a closer look at race and racism in America today and throughout US history, allowing readers to form their own opinions on the subject. Blakemore illustrates white privilege through analogy and explores what it means to be white, the implicit biases, and the privileges that it confers at the expense of people of color. She gives a brief history of white supremacy and covers the issues of white privilege in the media, politics, and education. She also provides an overview of the critiques white privilege (includes Macklemore’s rap) and provides a roadmap for moving to change race relations. Sidebars in each section highlight important information or provide questions. Includes Essential facts, Key players, Impact on Society, Quotes, Glossary, Source notes by chapter, Bib. and further reading, websites, For more information, index. Very readable, mor
Key Discoveries In Life Science
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Zuchora-Walske, Christin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 07, 2018
Sepessy, Lona
Four chapters focus on key discoveries in the fields of cells, genomes, evolution, and ecology in this 48-page book of densely packed information. Each chapter begins with a colorful timeline and a small photograph with brief description followed by many pages of clearly written explanatory text. Well-labeled historical photographs spice up the denser text and banners and topical boxes highlight particularly interesting anecdotes such as the Cameleopard – the Giraffe – was believed to be the offspring of a camel and leopard. Anti-Semitism and male domination of science research are discussed in a variety of contexts. Source notes, selected bibliography, glossary, further information, and index round out this excellent survey of life science discoveries. While particularly suited for upper elementary students interested in life sciences, the broad overview can easily spark research questions for older students as well.
All About Sore Throats
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Potts, Francesca
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 07, 2018
Wittmann, Teresa
Learn about the common problem of sore throats including causes, symptoms, related illnesses, and treatment. Each chapter is a two-page spread and uses short paragraphs of clear text, small photos, diagrams, and illustrations often separated with boxes and borders of different colors. The result is an organized and clear resource that doesn't go into a lot of detail but gives enough information to convey ideas clearly. One focus is on the difference between a common sore throat and a more serious strep throat and when it is a good idea to go to a doctor for a sore throat. The last chapter covers five ideas for sore throat prevention. There is a glossary at the end, but for some reason there is no index which makes this book less useful for research. It is part of the Inside Your Body series.
All About Broken Bones
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Potts, Francesca
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 07, 2018
Wittmann, Teresa
Learn about the common problem of broken bones including causes, signs, types of fractures, and treatment. Each chapter is a two-page spread and uses short paragraphs of clear text, small photos, diagrams, and illustrations often separated with boxes and borders of different colors. The result is an organized and clear resource that doesn't go into a lot of detail but gives enough information to convey ideas clearly. A general overview of the skeletal system and types of bones is included. Three chapters focus on what may be prescribed after a doctor determines that a bone is broken such as basic treatments, medication, and physical therapy. The last chapter covers preventing broken bones. There is a glossary at the end, but for some reason there is no index which makes this book less useful for research. It is part of the Inside Your Body series.
Five Forms
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Mcclintock, Barbara
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 07, 2018
Wittmann, Teresa
A young girl finds a book of martial arts movements called forms and attempts the forms without an experienced teacher despite the warning in the book. When she performs the first form of a crane, a huge crane appears and tear the stuff in her room apart. She performs the second form of a leopard because it says Leopard overpowers Crane, but Leopard causes more problems with Crane. The girl performs the third form which calls up enormous Snake and then uses the fourth form to get Dragon who barely fits in the room and battles the other animals. With the final form the girl returns everything to the way it was, even though she isn't a Grand Master. The girl puts the room back in order just before her mother arrives and later gets rid of the mysterious and powerful book. Wonderful full-page illustrations tell most of the story and sometimes use graphic novel style boxes to show action. The creatures are dynamic and full of life with lots of humor mixed with the action. This is an unusual book that will appeal to many children and celebrates ancient martial arts.
Draw The Line
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Otoshi, Kathryn
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
January 07, 2018
Wittmann, Teresa
In this wordless picture book, two boys meet drawing separate lines together on the ground. They play together until one accidentally wraps his line around the other boy who falls then the other boy laughs at him. This causes a fight until a chasm forms between the two. Finally one boy bridges the gap by "painting" over it with his hand. It turns in to a road and the boys leave together. This allegorical story can be used with people of all ages as they interpret the symbolism and reactions of the boys and apply it to the world. The strong full-page illustrations completely tell the story with the boys drawn in black on a white background and shades of purple and yellow emphasizing aspects of the background and the chasm.
Ukraine
Big Buddy Books/abdo [Big Buddy Books/abdo]
Murray, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 07, 2018
Wittmann, Teresa
The country of Ukraine is introduced at a fairly basic level with topics such as history, cities, economy, daily life, famous people, and geography. None of the topics are covered in much details, but the text it clear and well organized. Each chapter is two to four pages with captioned photo or photos or a map to support two to five paragraphs of text in large font. There are also some fact boxes, pronunciation keys, page of facts, and a timeline. Although no topic is covered in much detail, a young researcher could get a basic idea of the country and also be interested by the photographs of the land and the people. At the end is a short glossary, link to a monitored web site, and an index. It is part of the Explore the Countries series.
Engineer It! : Dam Projects
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Bernhardt, Carolyn
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 07, 2018
Wittmann, Teresa
The focus of this book is five projects related to dams and engineering, but the first third of the book is on what dams are, types of dams, and how people use dams. The first and simplest project the beaver dam using clay and natural materials and is only two pages. The other projects are four pages long and include a "Digging Deeper" diagram which relates the project to the real world. Each project is introduced and then clearly explained step by step with words and small photos. The projects are fish ladder, gravity dam, waterwheel, and dam-powered electricity. The interesting and well presented projects are the strength of the book, but there are only five. The two pages of materials and the three question quiz at the end are not needed. There is a glossary, but no index. It is part of the Super Simple Engineering Projects series.
Earth Day
BELLWETHER MEDIA [BELLWETHER MEDIA]
Koestler-Grack, Rachel A.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 07, 2018
Wittmann, Teresa
Short chapters with simple text and uncaptioned photos introduce Earth Day in terms of its history, what people do to celebrate it, and where it is celebrated. The details are basic and most topics are just touched upon, such as endangered animals, cleaning up the environment, recycling, and clean energy. The most interesting part of the book is the chapter on how Earth Day began in 1970 because it has two old photos about the original Earth Day. It seemed odd that the date Earth Day is celebrated wasn't mentioned until the second half of the book and also that the one detailed activity for Earth Day was planting baby lettuce since there isn't a clear connection between it and the environment and there are many more relevant environmental activities for young students. A short glossary, list of resources, and index are included. It is part of the celebrating holidays series and a Level 2 Blastoff Reader.
Accident!
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Tsurumi, Andrea
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 07, 2018
Wittmann, Teresa
Lola, an orange armadillo knocks over a pitcher of juice on her parent's armchair so she runs away to hide in the library until she is a grownup. As Lola is running to the library, she sees all sorts of messes caused by other animals and encourages them to join her at the library. A bear breaks a swing, a sheep cuts a garden hose, and so on until a whole line of animals is following to hide in the library and avoid their messes. Soon there are accidents and disasters happening everywhere on the streets from fender benders to elephants stepping on gum. The library seems safe until all the book shelves are accidentally knocked over and Lola is overwhelmed by the catastrophe until a red bird corrects her to say it was an accident and now they need to make it better. Animals all over town start apologizing, helping others, and cleaning up the messes. Lola goes home and apologizes for her accident with the juice. This is a rambunctious story that builds from a small accident to a multitude of messes, but with the underlying simple message that accidents happen and what you do to make them better is the most important thing. The fun illustrations have tons of action and humorous details about various messes with occasional dialo
Agua, Aguita = Water, Little Water
PINATA BOOKS [PINATA BOOKS]
Argueta, Jorge Tetl
Alcantara, Felipe Ugalde
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 07, 2018
Wittmann, Teresa
One little drop of water poetically shares its journey through the water cycle. It begins by introducing itself as "Little Water" or "Agüita" and explaining how it was born from Mother Earth in Spanish and English. Some of the verses are scientific such as “me convierto/en río/en lago/en mar. De gotita en gotita/subo al cielo.” or "I become/a river/a lake/an ocean. Drop by drop/I climb to the sky." Other parts are more abstract or poetic such as "Soy de todos los colores/y no tengo color." or "I am all colors/and have no color." Each bilingual page of text has a full-page illustration facing it with rich colors and simple forms to complement the text. The verses are also included in Nahuat at the end of the book. This is a wonderful addition to a unit on the water cycle that gives personality and life to an important natural cycle from another perspective. Highly recommended for bilingual collections or libraries with a larger budget.
Let's Explore Cuba
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Moon, Walt K
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 07, 2018
Wittmann, Teresa
The country of Cuba is introduced in very basic terms with simple sentences accompanied by large photographs. There is a table of contents, but only one chapter of twenty-six sentences with the rest of the table of contents listing the map, glossary, index, and list of resources in the last few pages. Each two-page spread focuses on a topic such as location, food, sports (only baseball), animals, weather, geography, and crops with three very simple sentences and sometimes a question to think about. There is no mention of politics, government, or history. Since the text is for early readers there isn't much information. For example, "Cuba has many farmers. Coffee is a major crop. Other farmers grow fruit." The large photographs supplement the text and are uncaptioned but occasionally labeled. There is only enough information for the most basic research, but it would be useful for introducing the Caribbean island nation to young children. The map is extremely simple and would not help the reader understand where it is in the world. It is part of the Let's Explore Countries series.
Survivors Club : The True Story Of A Very Young Prisoner Of
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Bornstein, Michael
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 07, 2018
Datisman, Eve
Gr. 5+/890L The book's cover is a photo of death-camp survivor children--including four-year-old Michael Bornstein--just after the Russians liberated Auschwitz. Filmed by Soviets liberating the camp, he saw his image years later, but he was not ready to tell his story until he saw his picture on a Holocaust-denial website. For years, his parents survived through bribery and good fortune, and they helped many escape Germany, but ultimately they, along with the entire Jewish population of the town, were sent to concentration camps (the Bornsteins to Auschwitz, specifically). At the end of the war he was accompanied by his grandmother; his father and brother were dead and it was presumed that is mother was also. Eventually, the remaining members of the family would emigrate to the US. The story is fast-paced; the tone book is soothing, which helps mitigate some of the horror and makes it suitable for middle schoolers. Ina family who’s who, cludes afterword by author, survivor’s club photo album, glossary and source notes. PubWkly*, Teaching resources from Follett
Whenever I'm With You
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Sharp, Lydia
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
January 07, 2018
Datisman, Eve
7+. Debut YA novel. Gabi’s Flores’ mom is a well-known star and she’s been caught in a messy affair and divorce and Anchorage, Alaska is just about the last place on earth where the paparazzi will bother to look for Gabbi and her dad. Gabi falls hard for a part-Native boy who lives in the next door apartment. Kai’s energy and his zest for life keeps Gabi from unraveling. When winter approaches, that protection is in danger of disappearing. Kai disappears. Gabi and Hunter, Kai’s twin put together the clues they find and determine that Kai is going off to search for his missing father and they are going to bring him back. A nod to Into the Wild foreshadows the challenges ahead, including blinding snowstorms, brushes with hypothermia, and terrifying animal encounters. The trip makes Gabi less prissy and high strung. But she’s still pretty clueless compared to Vicki- a rambunctious, well-connected survivalist with a knack for hunting. The supporting characters are well-developed, the outdoor sequences are right; but the resolutions to problems are a bit too quick and strain credulity at times. The excitement will likely keep readers engaged. Chaste romance.
Lives Of Desperate Girls
Razorbill [Razorbill]
Common, Mackenzie
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 07, 2018
Datisman, Eve
Debut novel. In Northern Ontario, Chloe, a white teen, has gone missing; it’s claiming all of the police attention even though they have just found the murdered body of Helen, a Native teen. The police put Helen’s story and investigation on the back burner, causing Jenny to suddenly recognize the mistreatment of Native people. As in far too many thrillers for teens, the parents conveniently never ask questions, even in the direst of circumstances. When Helen takes it upon herself to investigate, unfortunately, the Native adults she questions are portrayed as passive observers who need Jenny to help them. Although rez kids live so close as to attend Jenny’s school, she doesn’t even know their nation and must ask, “uh, what do I call you guys? Like, First Nations or something?” As a thriller it’s a bust, the plot is clunky, the characterization is shallow, and the drama is tepid. The author’s note reveals why this author is interested, but the exercise in white saviorship should be skipped.
Norse Myths : Tales Of Odin, Thor, And Loki
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Crossley-Holland, Kevin
Love, Jeffrey Alan
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 07, 2018
Datisman, Eve
Kevin Crossley-Holland said that when he was a boy reading the Norse myths made him yell and laugh and cry. In this volume, he presents twenty tales of gods, giants, and dwarfs, of mighty feats and epic trickery done in somber stately retellings that enhance the menace and the gloom of the originals from the Prose Edda. Crossley-Holland begins with tributes to the myths and to Snorri Sturluson, their medieval Icelandic recorder. Then he moves on to the beginning of the world and ends tragically with the death of the gods, but with the hint of rebirth. Love’s lavish impressionistic illustrations amp up the tone of the text with Love’s use of bold black and white with pops of red and yellow. The tales and the illustrations are somewhat gruesome so it is a perfect choice for middle and high school mythology collections and a glossary is included. Neil Gaiman says, “Kevin Crossley-Holland is the master.” True dat. BkList*, PubWkly*
World Of Information
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Platt, Richard
Brown, James
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 07, 2018
Datisman, Eve
This large format general information book is packed full of eclectic information including nautical (knots, ships bells and signal types), astronomical, meteorological, chemical, mathematical, alphabetical, artistic, geographical, or anything that might appeal to a “modern Major General.” Each double page entry has text on the left and monochromatic screen on the right. It’s visually appealing and designed for browsing. The lack of source material renders it inadequate for research but Platt’s choice of subject and detail could well spark the desire to look for something more in depth.
Jedi Academy : 4 : New Class
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Krosoczka, Jarrett
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 07, 2018
Garrard, Thom
In A New Class, the fourth book in the Star Wars: Jedi Academy series, the new author/illustrator introduces a mostly new cast of characters. Victor Starspeeder has just transferred to Jedi Academy mid-year, because his lack of control when using the Force caused several disasters at his last school. By spring break, he is in danger of being expelled here also, because he has picked the wrong friend, failed to focus on his studies, and caused a few more disasters, all while failing to impress the girl he has a crush on. With the help of his older sister, Yoda, the Drama Club, and some better friends, he manages to turn things around, though he still has much to learn. The book combines a graphic novel with a heavily illustrated diary format. Issues with the text include Yoda’s speech patterns, which are expected, and the counselor’s pseudo-Italian accented English, which is unnecessary. The humorless, one-dimensional characters find simple solutions to the uncomplicated problems they face. Despite these flaws, middle grade Star War fans will probably enjoy this new part of the Jedi Academy series.
Journey Through Ash And Smoke
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Messner, Kate
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 08, 2018
Gallagher, Donna
Book 7 of the “Ranger in Time” historical fiction series (with a tad bit of science fiction due to our time traveling protagonist) takes us back to 8th century Iceland, and the challenges faced by the Norwegian immigrants colonizing Iceland’s geologically unpredictable terrain. Colonists face challenges eeking out a living on glacial fields swept by strong pelagic wind currents, the ever present volcanic activity and the frigid extreme northern climate. Ranger, the canine history traveller meets young Helga and her family as they farm, hunt and gather (puffin eggs from the perilous cliffs along the sea). Ranger is able to return to his modern family when he rescues Helga by leading Helga and her Dad back to the farm just in time to welcome the birth of a new baby into the family. An adventurous easy to follow plot with a predictable storyline for our emerging chapter book readers.
Sneeze Of The Octo-Schnozz
Branches [Branches]
Cummings, Troy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 08, 2018
Gallagher, Donna
Book 11 of the infamous “Notebook of Doom Series” is an wacky, emerging reader chapter book! This title has a well balanced presentation of text supported by images. The SSMP (Super Secret Monster Patrol) must find their “Notebook of Monster Facts" a guidebook enabling them to prevail over monster enemy number one "Boss Monster," Principal Vanderpants? The protagonists diabolical new teacher is in cahoots with Boss Monster and the monster the "Octo Schnozz." Be-spelled by the Octo Schnozzes blinding stench epidemic that disables the SSMPs ability to see the shape shifting Booger Bomber. The SSMP must break the spell by vanquishing the Booger Bomber and thus the Osto Schnozz. An epic battle ensues, knocking the Octo Schnozz senseless freeing the SSMP from the Booger Bomber and ensuring a short term victory over big bad Boss Monster (Vanderpants?) and his monster minions. But who is Principal Vanderpants? Read the series to find out!
Botanicum
Big Picture Press [Big Picture Press]
Willis, Katherine
Scott, Katie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 08, 2018
Gallagher, Donna
Upon opening the wonderous “Botanicum” you have stepped into an evolutionary plant museum in print. Professor Kathy Willis, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London England and illustrator Katie Scott lead the reader on a tour of the Botanicums pages. This evolutionary tour of the 3.8 billion years of plant life on earth is a carefully illustrated and detailed story with illustrated chapters of plates portraying the branches on the plant kingdoms tree of life. In a series of botanical style plates stunningly illustrated, the reader can examine the details of plant life both familiar and unfamiliar. This carefully curated collection of plants both beautiful and often exotically strange, have an accompanying “key” detailing the classification and importance of the visual specimen. “Botanicum” is a treasure for plant lovers and curious Homo Sapien Sapiens alike!
365 Penguins
ABRAMS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [ABRAMS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Fromental, Jean-Luc
Jolivet, Joelle
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 08, 2018
Gallagher, Donna
What would you do if an adorable penguin arrived on your doorstep by mail every day for a year? This frolicsome story like “One grain of rice,” is a mathematical tale with an environmental twist at the end. Bold illustrations depict one families cannot be denied predicament to ponder, protect, and pamper penguins! But at what cost and who is sending these wobbling wonders? Children will love to predict the inevitable outcome of the penguin a day dilema both mathematically and realistically while enjoying this highly stylized title reminiscent of a 1960s color blocked classic.
Princess In Black And The Mysterious Playdate
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Hale, Shannon
Pham, Leuyen
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 08, 2018
Gallagher, Donna
Tough, smart, defender of her realm “The Princess in Black” returns to find yet another monster invasion while on a predictable, poised and somewhat uneventful playdate. Her new friend, Princess Sneezewort is a great admirer of the notorious, mysterious Princess In Black, dreaming someday of joining her in her capped crusades and like all true Princesses, protect her realm! Unexpectedly femme fatales Princess Sneezewort (disguised as the clever fearless “Princess in Blankets”) and the Princess in Black vanquish a sudden terrible monster invasion. The hyper charged once boring playdate, becomes a rollicking royal romp of epic proportions! In our heart of ferocious hearts don’t we all want to protect those we love and our kingdoms from all forms of villainy? A resounding YES!
Andrew Mccutchen
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 08, 2018
Sonnen, Dave
Pittsburgh Pirate, Andrew McCutchen is the subject of this 32 page biography which is part of the “Baseball’s Greatest Superstars” series. The book has appealing layout that includes color photographs, call out boxes, and a few sentences of information on each page. The reader will learn about rise to the major leagues from his 1986 birth in Florida. The book has a table of contents, timeline, glossary, index, and author information. This book will be enjoyed by baseball fans, however, as his life story is still developing, readers will find this out of date soon.
Steve Irwin
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Kukla, Lauren
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 08, 2018
Sonnen, Dave
This 24 page biography is part of the Awesome Animal Heroes” series. Conversationalist, Steve Irwin is profiled in this simple, but well-written book. We learn that Irvin’s interest in animals started early as his family owned a wildlife park. He and his wife worked to save animals. We learn about his movie and his untimely death. The book has color photographs, many of which are captioned. The layout is attractive. While the information is basic, this would be a perfect biography for a young reader. The book has a table of contents, fact pages, a quiz, and glossary.
Let's Visit The Evergreen Forest
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Silverman, Buffy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 08, 2018
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the “Biome Explorers” series, this 32 page book looks at evergreen forests. Readers learn where these forests are located in the world, the characteristics for this biome, the plants and animals found there, and how humans interact with this biome. Each page has a color photograph (uncaptioned) that relates to the 2-4 sentences on the page. The text is a larger font. Fact boxes provide the reader with additional information. The book includes non-fiction features: table of contents, a map, fact page, glossary, bibliography, and index. This book would be useful for classes studying various environments.
Buried : Too Much Garbage
Enslow Publishing [Enslow Publishing]
Gay, Kathlyn
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 08, 2018
Gallagher, Donna
Part of the “End of Life as We Know It” series and an excellent non fiction resource for concerned students supporting research projects and general interest. Clearly labelled photos, narration and data support the understanding of the global ramifications of waste generated by production and economic development and the impact of that waste on our planet. Disposal methods of different categories of waste is explained as well as the importance of recycling materials whenever able to lessen the impact of harmful waste while protecting earth’s natural resources . An appealing interesting read that invite our older students to consider humanities impact on our environment both personally and collectively.
Super Bowl Surprises
Sports Illustrated Kids/capstone Pr [Sports Illustrated Kids/capstone Pr]
Braun, Eric
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 11, 2018
Kline, Karen
Readers will find eleven stories of Super Bowl upsets in this slim volume from an author of many sports titles including one that he cites in the bibliography of this very book. Well, if you don’t toot your own horn who will, right? Bibliographic citations aside, young NFL football fans will enjoy the 2-3 page narratives describing the pivotal moments and background histories of these games. What defines an upset or “surprise?” This is debatable, so suffice to say this book and others like it can stand alone if the stories are strong. And even though this book doesn’t include the Seahawks unexpected win over the Broncos in the XLVII game in 2014, plenty of fans will be glad to read about the Giants fourth quarter win over the Patriots in 2008. Full bleed photo illustrations label famous players and coaches, but no captions are included. Arranged in no particular order, the stories range from Super Bowl III from ‘69 to Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.
Disaster Diaries : Spiders!
Imprint (Mps) [Imprint (Mps)]
Mcgeddon, R
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 11, 2018
Bateman, Teresa
Oh those poor residents of Sitting Duck. If it's not one catastrophic calamity, it's another. Zombies, brainwashing, alien invasions, killer robots--those are the typical problems our child heroes have to handle since the adults don't seem capable of dealing with horrifying disasters. But this new problem may test all their mettle. A new girl has moved into town. She's cute, and a scientific genius! Is there anything better? Well, there's a reason she's been kicked out of other schools. Her scientific curiosity has gotten her into trouble. Her new formula is now turning local spiders into giants and the town is in a webbed panic. Can Sam conquer is bad case of arachnophobia in time to save the town? Will Emmie have to wear a dress to the dance? Will Arty? Adventure and hilarity are, as always, in store. Granted, the black and white illustrations don't always exactly match the text, but what the heck. If you can buy into giant spiders that's the least of your worries!
Pele : The King Of Soccer
FIRST SECOND [FIRST SECOND]
Simon, Eddy
Brascaglia, Vincent
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 12, 2018
Dame, Anne
This is the biographical account of Pele's life in graphic novel format. He was born and known as Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Sao Paolo Brazil. His family was poor but he shared the love of playing soccer with his father (who had to retire early from the sport due to injury). Edson grew to fame quickly and persevered despite some difficult circumstances. Some people regard him as a hero, but the book does a good job of portraying a balanced look at his life where there are both favorable and unfavorable aspects of his life. For example, he had a weakness for women and cheated on his wife and had children outside of wedlock. On the other hand, he was an ambassador, has worked for the United Nations, and Special Olympics. There are some images of players in locker rooms in their underwear, references to marital infidelity, but there is nothing violent or obscene. Gear towards grades 4 and up, however.
Get Coding! : Learn Html, Css & Javascript & Build A Website
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 12, 2018
Dame, Anne
I think one of the coolest things about this book is that the makers of it are all 18 and under!! This book is designed to help kids learn HTML, CSS, and Javascript in a hands-on manner by building a website, and app and designing a game. There are tips and support throughout the book. It is a fun and useful approach to learning code and programming. I was telling one of my students about it and they were very interested.
Diary Of A Wimpy Kid : The Getaway
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
Kinney, Jeff
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 12, 2018
Dame, Anne
Book 12 in the Wimpy Kid series. This time the Heffley's are on a family vacation to a tropical island resort at Christmas-time. Needless to say, anything that can go wrong, does. Students who are fans of the series will not be disappointed by Greg's antics.
Landscape With Invisible Hand
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Anderson, M T
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 13, 2018
Bateman, Teresa
I enjoyed some of M.T. Anderson's earlier works, but should have checked his more recent books before taking this to review. Earth has been taken over by aliens in what amounts to an economic monopoly. New tech? New medicines? Free? Cool! What could go wrong? Well, people are put out of work. The rich are fine. The aliens are GREAT. Regular folks, however, are not getting any "trickle down." Adam and his family are among those adversely impacted. They do what they can to make ends meet, including Adam and Chloe broadcasting their romance live for alien entertainment. Perpetuating stereotypes of what humans are like also helps pay the bills even if the aliens' views of humans is completely wrong. Adam's sickness, resulting in frequent runaway diarrhea, makes everything hard. His art talent may pull his family out of the hole, but alien expectations are problematic. I found the book occasionally hilarious, frequently depressing, thought-provoking, and not at all your typical alien invasion/conquering human hero story. I just found the constant profanity wearing, and the theme dreary. That's not to say it won't win awards.
Games Wizards Play
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Duane, Diane
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 14, 2018
Williams, Karen I.
From the Young Wizards series, the tenth book deals with Earth’s senior wizards holding an Invitational which lasts for three weeks with the planet’s newest and sharpest young wizards to show off their best and hottest spells with older kids as mentors in this Olympics type of competition which takes place every eleven years. It is an action packed, teenaged tale that stands alone but will encourage readers to seek out the other books in this series.
Flickr
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Wheeler, Jill C
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
January 14, 2018
Williams, Karen I.
Americans took approximately 105 billion digital photos in 2015 and are able to view and share photos online. Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake created Flickr after their online game, Game Neverending, had a feature of posting and sharing photos that was more popular than other aspects of the game. Readers will learn more about this social media website. Users must be at least 13 and have a Yahoo e-mail account. Glossary; website link through booklinks.abdopublishing.com; Index. Reinforced Library binding.
Gorillas
CHILDRENS PRESS [CHILDRENS PRESS]
Marsico, Katie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 15, 2018
Sepessy, Lona
Well-written and loaded with infographics, this True Book series on Endangered Animals provides up-to-date information on the four primary subspecies of endangered gorillas. Physical features, food sources, familial groupings, life cycles and communication patterns are covered as well as the many challenges facing the gorillas in their native habitats. Habitat destruction, poaching, civil wars, and viral diseases have decimated populations and some conservationists believe that by the mid-2020’s, “gorillas may no longer exist within much of their habitat.” Conservation groups, National parks, government, and rehabilitation centers are addressing many of these problems including poverty, but the immensity of ongoing threats renders the gorillas' fate uncertain. Crisp, clear well-labeled photographs including one with labeled physical characteristics, range maps, an excellent chart comparing the four subspecies, suggested student activist activities and timeline of the species provide graphic support to the text. But the gems in this series are the two-page spreads describing in text and photographs, gorilla communication, and The Big Debate about “Do Gorillas Belong in Zoos?” An excellent series on a critical topic.
Hunt For The Secret Papyrus
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Stilton, Geronimo
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 15, 2018
Sepessy, Lona
Geronimo Stilton, the intrepid newspaper journalist for the Rodent’s Gazette rushes to New Mouse City’s Mouseum to cover the opening of an exhibition of the Black Papyrus, a precious ancient artifact, when it is stolen just after he arrives. Purported to contain the secret to Eternal Life, there seems to be multiple suspects in the comic investigation. Mummies coming to life, kidnapping of a museum Professor, and Secret Agents foiled by the expert criminals provide the backdrop for Geronimo’s newest adventure. Fans of this series can’t seem to get enough so expect constant checkout from your transitional readers as well as older students wanting a non-demanding read. Color explodes on the page in the cartoon illustrations and bold words that stand out from the already large black and white text. As one of the special editions, an extra mini-mystery and jokes are included in the back of the book.
Top 10 Teams In Basketball
Enslow Publishing [Enslow Publishing]
Hinnant, Jamal
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 15, 2018
Kline, Karen
Basketball fans rejoice! You can now revel in the spotlight of the best teams and players in the NBA with this book of bests. It is difficult to select the top ten teams of all time, as the introduction concedes, since rules have changed over time as well as other factors. This book seeks to present teams that have “changed the way basketball is played.” The teams are listed in a non-chronological order perhaps random, perhaps not -- it’s simply not explained. Each four page narrative starts with an inset box giving the starting lineup, season record, and coach. The teams' leading players are described and placed in perspective while throwing out details like average points, assists, and rebounds. Color photos depicting trophy-hoisting and chest bumps and, yes, Michael Jordan are included. Dennis Rodman’s hair is mostly obstructed by a championship hat and appears to be a natural color, and his face is unpierced; this may date the book a bit. Teams mentioned range in years from the 1982-83 Philadelphia 76ers to the 2014-15 Golden State Warriors. Buy where sports fans can be enticed to read.
Spinny Icky Showdown
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY]
Keller, Laurie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 15, 2018
Sepessy, Lona
Fans of Arnie Doughnut will relish this new adventure when Arnie and his friend Peezo, the Piece of Pizza, are chosen as one of the 5 groups of contestants on their favorite game show, Spinny Icky Showdown, when it travels to Yummy Valley. All the events and even the TV show hosts have an ICK in their titles and contestants become ICKsters. The duo enters into training with dedication, as they know one of the tests will be to arm wrestle Nick Pumpernickel with his “pumped” up muscles and super strength. Over the top hyperbole, huge font, graphic elements including plentiful speech bubbles permeate this humor ridden transitional novel for students moving beyond the Easy Readers and ready for the 125-page length. Popular with those reading below their grade level as well as the younger grades, expect this book and series to fly off the shelf.
Waiting For The Whales
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Mcfarlane, Sheryl
Lightburn, Ron
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
All ages
January 15, 2018
Williams, Karen I.
Originally published 25 years ago, this Canadian award-winning book is about an elderly man who lives alone on a bluff by the sea where he can watch for the orca whale migration. He grows a huge garden and gives away most of the food, collects oyster and dug clams, hikes in the woods. One spring, his daughter comes home to live with her infant daughter and as he holds her, he remembers holding his own children. When the orcas were spotted, he carries the granddaughter to show and explain about the whales. The two of them share gardening, gathering sea food, walking in the woods, and more. Then the old man decides it is time for him to rest so mother and daughter plant and tend the garden, bring in the wood for the fire. But the day the orcas came, the old man died. Mother explains that his ”spirit has gone to leap and swim with the whales.” Marvelous story to share with youngsters about the bond between young and old. Would be good read when death is expected for elderly members of the family and community. Illustrations by Ron Lightburn are awesome.
Take A Closer Look At Oil
RED CHAIR PRESS [RED CHAIR PRESS]
Macken, Joann Early
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 15, 2018
Kline, Karen
This four chapter book is as much about energy as it is simply about oil. The first chapter gives basic info about how oil was formed, how it is removed and refined, and what it is used for. The second chapter discusses problems with oil use including spills, fracking, greenhouse gases, toxic emissions, sound pollution associated with offshore drilling and more. The remaining two chapters are about other cleaner forms of energy, conservation efforts, and STEM-related careers. This book is very basic but very readable. It would be a nice companion to Molly Bang’s award-winning Sunlight series, which is more of a first purchase. Educators looking for an Earth Day read aloud might use this book as a conversation starter. Controversial issues like the Keystone pipeline, for example, are tackled with a balanced look at both sides mentioning concerns about wildlife and spills as well as the argument that the pipeline is a safer transport system than trucks and trains. No mention of the Native American tribal impact, though. A chart, some maps, index, glossary, full color stock photo illustrations throughout all add to the overall usefulness of the book. Quality binding, so-so cover material.
Seashore Book
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Zolotow, Charlotte
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
January 15, 2018
Williams, Karen I.
A little boy who lives in the mountains asks his mother, “What is the seashore like?” She asks him to close his eyes and proceeds to describe what he would see and do at the beach. The picture mother creates with her words is full of sights and sounds of the beach. The boy is very pleased and can close his eyes anytime and be there with his mother. Wonderful read-aloud that will “open up my child side of using my imagination” according to a student who read the book. Two of my high school students looked at this marvelous “Redesigned for its twenty-fifth anniversary” printing. They thought that everyone could enjoy but that PreS- K would fit if needed a narrower age. The well done illustrations by Wendell Minor are almost photo quality. Reinforced binding for library use.
No Tooting At Tea
CLARION [CLARION]
Heim, Alastair
Not, Sarah
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 15, 2018
Williams, Karen I.
An older sister invites her two younger sisters to have a tea party. While going over the rules of saying please, placing a napkin neatly in your lap, and sipping the tea, a a tooting sound is heard. So, another rule of no tooting at the tea party is repeated over and over until it is discovered that the teakettle is doing the tooting. Wonderful tea party! Oh, a toot after tea is okay. After word includes information about the history of tea, how to make tea, ways to drink the tea, and ideas of what to eat at the tea party. Yum! Eye-catching illustrations.
Feast Of Fun
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Mullarkey, Lisa
Franco, Paula
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 15, 2018
Sepessy, Lona
A new summer and a new foursome are the co-stars of the second set of books in the Storm Cliff Stables series. Nicknamed the Four Horseketeers, the summer bunkmates from different cultural backgrounds, show their different personalities and talents in the Storm Cliff Stables series. Each of the four books is told in first-person from a different girl’s point-of-view. In A Feast of Fun, Aunt Jane the Camp Director announces she is marrying Clyde, a local farmer who made his appearance in the first set of the series. When Aunt Jane discovers Khadija, crying and homesick after receiving a large envelope of photos from her cousin’s wedding in Pakistan, she appoints her wedding director and welcomes the mingling of Pakistani traditions. But mysteries abound, as it seems someone is trying to sabotage the wedding. Middle grade horse will snap up these newest books as well as (mostly) girls looking for realistic fiction with a strong dose of friendship and a small dose of challenges.
Hopes In Hiding
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Mullarkey, Lisa
Peterschmidt, Betsy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 15, 2018
Sepessy, Lona
A new summer and a new foursome are the co-stars of the second set of books in the Storm Cliff Stables series. Nicknamed the Four Horseketeers, the summer bunkmates from different cultural backgrounds, show their different personalities and talents in the Storm Cliff Stables series. Each of the four books is told in first-person from a different girl’s point-of-view. In Hopes in Hiding a competition is on to find a new partner for Bree working in the stables and helping with the Pony Girls. Ryleigh would love to have the job but fears some of the others have a better chance. Providing underlying structure to the story, the main action focuses on the mystery behind their new 4th bunkmate, Cassidy, who has never ridden horses before and throws around $100 bills and blurts out that she doesn’t give autographs and can’t be photographed from one side. Middle grade horse will snap up these newest books as well as (mostly) girls looking for realistic fiction with a strong dose of friendship and a small dose of challenges.
Things To Do With Dad
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Zuppardi, Sam
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 15, 2018
Williams, Karen I.
Nearly wordless picture book that depicts a father and son doing the chores on a list but the boy is not enjoying the activities as listed. He rewords the to-do list to a more creative version such as Sail a Pirate Ship instead of Make the Beds. Illustration shows the two with a sheet over a bed with other items of pirate life. Imaginative. Last page is More Things to Do with Dad that could be done in the future. Reinforced Trade Edition.
James Madison's Presidency
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Wittekind, Erika
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 16, 2018
Sonnen, Dave
This 104 page book is part of the "Presidential Powerhouses" series. It looks at the presidency of James Madison. We begin by learning about Madison and how he rose to the presidency and then we learn about the tensions building between Great Britain and the United States. The book details his responses to the ever changing nature of the conflict. We also learn about the national bank, his legacy, and his position on slavery. Known as the last "founding father," Madison did much to keep the young republic stable. Illustrations and photos are found throughout the book. Focus boxes provide additional background information. The book would be an excellent resource for this time period. The book has they typical non-fiction features: timeline, table of contents, index, author information, bibliography, and source notes. A strong purchase if you have a need.
Get To Know Mary Cassatt
Enslow Publishing [Enslow Publishing]
Taylor, Charlotte
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 16, 2018
Kline, Karen
Biographies of artists for young readers do not usually fly off the library or bookstore shelves. This one is probably no exception. The unremarkable narrative and matronly black and white photo of Cassatt on the cover are not likely to engage the target audience. If Cassatt was a woman trying to do something unconventional in a man’s world by painting non-traditional portraits of common people doing ordinary things, then doesn’t her story deserve a bit more passion? The book mentions the deaths of two of her siblings and her early life, friendship with renowned Impressionist Degas, and her later work as a suffragist. About a dozen of Cassatt’s paintings are included, and the book attempts to describe Cassatt’s transformative style as she aged and tried new techniques. Much of the art does not compliment the text on facing pages, and some passages have no supporting work of art to reference. For instance, Cassatt’s famous, if unpopular, 1893 World’s Fair mural is described in detail on three pages, but no photo of the work is included. If Cassatt is one of the most important American artists, this book does little to showcase her impact.
Rembrandt
Purple Toad Publishing [Purple Toad Publishing]
Leavitt, Amie Jane
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 16, 2018
Kline, Karen
The life and works of Rembrandt are distilled into a mere twenty-seven pages here with five additional pages of end matter including timeline, glossary, a list of “selected works,” and a bibliography. Half the pages of the book include a trite story told from the point of view of one named Mariska, a contrived young student of Rembrandt’s. Sixteen of Rembrandt’s works are included -- notably three self portraits, Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee, and The Night Watch. One six-page chapter discusses Rembrandt’s masterful contribution to the form of etching and describes the technique. Terms from the glossary like canvas (KAN-vus) and easel (EE-zul) have the pronunciations dropped into the text and may distract young readers unfamiliar with such features. Some of the text describing a piece of art is not paired well with the painting on the facing pages requiring the skilled reader to flip back to see the artwork being mentioned. Other artists in the series include Michelangelo, Monet, Van Gogh and more.
Artificial Intelligence : Building Smarter Machines
TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS [TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS]
Mcpherson, Stephanie Sam
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 17, 2018
Dame, Anne
Which is smarter - a person or a computer? The answer: it depends. The machines we are building are getting smarter all the time, and the way we are building them is enabling them to make themselves even smarter. Do these machines really think, do they have that capacity? This book attempts to answer these questions and look at scenarios where this may be the future. It's a fairly extensive look at this topic and while there is not a definitive answer, it gives the reader a lot of history and a lot of information. If it is something they are interested in, it also gives them what they need to pursue it further. The technology talked about in the book is explained in language that is relatively easy to understand and things are explained contextually as much as possible but there is also a glossary at the back. The progression of technology is sequential and logical. Interspersed with full color photographs and interesting factual text boxes. Comprehensive source notes, selected bibliography, and index at the back. There is a fairly extensive list of books, films, and websites for those seeking further information about this topic. Timely now, but will be outdated quickly.
Recess Warriors : 2 : Bad Guy Is A Two-Word Word
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Emerson, Marcus
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 17, 2018
Dame, Anne
Book 2 in the series and definitely makes more sense if you have read the first one already, even though there is a synopsis in the front to help out. Someone is releasing werewolves and vampires and other things in an attempt to take over recess. The superheroes are trying to defeat them but are having difficulties because of petty rivalries and jealousies between themselves. Lots of color, action, and grade school humor. While I wasn't very entertained, I can see this appealing to grades 3-6 quite highly.
Steep & Thorny Way
Amulet Paperbacks [Amulet Paperbacks]
Winters, Cat
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 17, 2018
Dame, Anne
Hanalee is a biracial girl living in rural Oregon during Prohibition. Her (black) father died after being hit by a drunk driver almost two years ago. Her (white) mom remarried a close family friend. When the teen who hit her dad is let out of jail, Hanalee meets him unintentionally and he tells her that he did not kill her dad, that the guy who married her mom is actually the one who killed him. Tension is added because the Ku Klux Klan is taking prominence in their town and Hanalee does not feel as safe as she used to. Based loosely on Shakespeare's Hamlet. So loosely that if the bookleaf hadn't said so, I never would have picked up on it. I definitely appreciated the diversity and depth of characters and, as a Seattle-ite, the Oregon setting.
Suee And The Shadow
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
Ly, Ginger
Park, Molly
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 17, 2018
Dame, Anne
Suee and her dad move from the big city to the outskirts. Her new school has a super creepy exhibition room. In addition, some students are becoming hollow shells, referred to as zeros. Suee notices that her own shadow seems to have a personality and is talking and acting on it's own even though it is still attached to her. She meets Haeun and Hyunwoo and the 3 of them decide to form a club to do something about the creepiness that is taking over the school. Fans of the dark, creepy, and mysterious will like this graphic novel with illustrations primarily done in black, gray, purple, and touches of red.
Jigsaw Jones : The Case Of The Best Pet Ever
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Preller, James
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 18, 2018
Dame, Anne
No, Preller is not writing new books in this series. Rather it is the first time the Feiwel and Friends is publishing them rather than Scholastic. This is the story of a kid who was falsely accused of stealing the grand prize for the pet talent show. Jigsaw Jones and his partner Mila must determine the true culprit, especially since other things also start to go missing. In order to do it, Jigsaw puts his own dog in the talent show even though his dog doesn't really have a talent. Solid chapter book mystery for beginner readers.
Jigsaw Jones : The Case Of The Million-Dollar Mystery
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Preller, James
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 18, 2018
Dame, Anne
This is newly published by Feiwel and Friends (rather than Scholastic), not Preller writing new books in the series. There is a contest to create an invention and the prize is a million dollars. Eddie thinks he has done it and puts the envelope with his plans in it on the teacher's desk. When they go missing, Jigsaw Jones and his partner Mila are on the case. A chapter book mystery perfect for beginning readers.
Cucumber Quest : 1 : The Doughnut Kingdom
FIRST SECOND [FIRST SECOND]
G, Gigi D
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 18, 2018
Dame, Anne
For those who like strong female characters and a bit of snark, then this is the graphic novel for you. Do note, however, that is it is also quite young, so would be good for fans of Baby Mouse and Jellaby. Set in the Doughnut Kingdom, evil is planning to take over by unleashing the Nightmare Knight. Cucumber (aka Cuco) is basically thrown to the wolves by his parents who think that it is high time for him to set out on a hero's quest and take care of this problem. He just wants to go to the school that he has worked so hard to get into and that starts tomorrow. His younger sister WANTS to take on the bad guy but no one listens to her... You can guess what happens. A fun and entertaining read with vivid, engaging illustrations and a bit of cynicism to boot. Other than the odd name, I'm guessing this will be a hit with my students.
Epic Crush Of Genie Lo
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
Yee, F C
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
January 18, 2018
Dame, Anne
This book reminded me very much of the graphic novel "American Born Chinese" except it's all text and not graphic... Genie has it all planned out - how she's going to do really well at school and volleyball and SAT's and get into an Ivy League school and get far away from Silicon Valley. Yep, her and every other Asian American student at her school and every other prep school in the surrounding 300 miles. A "monkey" wrench gets thrown into her plans, though, when new student Quentin shows up at her school and it turns out that he is the legendary Monkey King and she needs to help him fight the 100+ demons that have just been let loose in their city. Lots of action and adventure. A diverse, kick-butt heroine (!!!), and Chinese mythology that does not get enough press make for a humorous and engaging read. A few swears but that's it. Grades 6-9
Dinosaur Empire!
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
Howard, Abby
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
All ages
January 18, 2018
Dame, Anne
This is Magic School Bus in detailed graphic novel format. 126 pages of detail, in fact. If you are looking for solid science information and pictures about the dinosaurs and other creatures of that era, this is a good book to pick up. The student that goes on the journey of learning has dark skin, which is great if we are thinking "let's get more diversity in books." However, she is initially shown as having gotten 0% on her quiz about dinosaurs, so I really struggle with what that portrays even though she learns a lot and is obviously really bright. Oh the fine line we must walk. Why couldn't the teacher/paleontologist have been the one with the dark skin??? Other than that, solid info, good pictures. If not for that issue, I probably would have given it an R rating. Grades K-8
Nutcracker Mice
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Kladstrup, Kristin
Helquist, Brett
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 18, 2018
Bateman, Teresa
At the Mariinsky beautiful ballets are performed for human audiences, and the newest one will be the Nutcracker. Behind the walls of the Mariinsky live mice who also put on their own ballet productions, using the music from the human performances. Times are hard, however, and food is scarce. They need a good ballet to bring in the customers, but one where mice are the villains will probably not please the crowd. Esmeralda loves to dance, but has a problem with her tail. She is a problem-solver, however, and figures out a way to get costumes, save the mice from extermination, and change the play to better suit the audience. Part of her plan involves a girl whose parents work at the theater. This is a sweet story with likeable characters, just a touch of drama, and themes of friendship, being true to yourself, and perseverance. The occasional black and white illustrations add to the fun. This is a good choice for readers who like books featuring intelligent animals, but aren't ready for Brian Jacques.
Game Of Gnomes
Imprint (Mps) [Imprint (Mps)]
Mayer, Kirsten
Horton, Laura K.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 20, 2018
Kline, Karen
Carrot-topped Ginger is known for her hair in her gnome world, but she wants to be appreciated for more than her magnificent mane. Her friends suggest she compete in the upcoming winter games, and Ginger eagerly decides to do just that. Unfortunately, she has an offbeat way of riding her pinecone sled and gets disqualified. Figure skating and curling end up much the same. But when one of her friends gets a surprise and unexpected ride on a runaway squirrel’s tail, Ginger’s otherwise unusual skills save the day. The art in the book is bright and absorbing, and young readers will be attracted to the lively cover. The ending of the story is a bit of a fizzle with Ginger’s siblings wanting to compete in the games next time and a rodeo is suggested instead. Hmm, perhaps leaving the option for a third book? (This is the sequel to Go Big or Go Gnome.) Though the ending falls a bit flat, it is great to see a female character save the day eschewing her traditional mores.
Royal Crush : From The Notebooks Of A Middle School Princess
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Cabot, Meg
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 20, 2018
Bateman, Teresa
Everyone loved "the Princess Diaries" so is it any wonder a spin-off series was born? "From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess" is a series about Princess Mia's half-sister, Olivia. In this, the third book in the series, we follow Olivia's adventures and travails as she tries to negotiate that delicate line royalty must follow. Written as a series of journal entries we experience Olivia's excitement about the birth of Mia's twins, and her participation in the Royal School Winter Games. Then there are the princes, teen crushes, and handling just a little romance. While Mia is now a responsible adult, young readers will find a sympathetic character in her about-to-be-a-teenager mixed-race younger half-sister. The book is a fun read and includes occasional black and white illustrations royal winter games. Those who enjoy tales of Genovian royalty will not be disappointed with this mix of humor, angst, proper behavior, and friendship.
Sticker Girl Rules The School
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Tashjian, Janet
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 21, 2018
Bateman, Teresa
In this, the second book in the "Sticker Girl" series, introvert Martina Rivera has another sheet of magic stickers. When she pulls the stickers off they become real, but not always predictable. Her old friend--Craig, a talking cupcake--is back. Can he and the other magic stickers help as she goes way past her comfort zone and runs for class president? This is a silly, fun book with themes of friendship, magic, and responsibility. With plenty of action, and lots of black and white illustrations, it should appeal to reluctant readers as well.
Harmony And Hoops
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Terrell, Brandon
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 21, 2018
Bateman, Teresa
In this well-bound Sports Illustrated for Kids "Time Machine Magazine" series, Nate and his cousin Rachel are transported through time by magical Sports Illustrated magazines, to important or interesting sports moments in history. In this entry in the series they get to travel to 1992 when the Dream Team played in the Barcelona Olympics. More of a focus, however, is the game that nobody saw, before the Olympics in Monte Carlo. The author weaves in play-by-play information with interesting characters and some local color. Nate's experiences in this time-travel adventure help him unite his own basketball team in their next important game. This is a nice sports series that brings to mind Gutman's time-travel series with magic baseball cards, and will attract the same crowd.
Elephant Whisperer (Young Readers Adaptation) : My Life With
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Anthony, Lawrence
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 22, 2018
Dame, Anne
Rogue elephants. What do you do with them? Well, you either kill them or you call the elephant whisperer and hope he can work his magic on them so they don't have to die. This was the case in 1999 for Lawrence Anthony who was living and working on a reserve in South Africa. He was the elephant whisperer in question and was given just one chance to save the lives of 9 elephants that would otherwise be shot and killed. A touching memoir about fascinating animals, their interactions with each other and with humans. Having not read the original version, I'm not sure how the young reader adaption version varies, but this is a solid and challenging read for students grades 6-10.
Minecraft By Concrafter : An Unofficial Guide With New Facts
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 22, 2018
Dame, Anne
If you are into Minecraft, then this is likely to be a very useful book full of useful facts and commands. There are 107 facts and 12 commands which should greatly help one when building/playing in the Minecraft realm. ConCrafter also intersperses some of his favorite games and other tidbits about himself that readers will find interesting. If you have students who are into MineCraft, this will be a good addition to your collection.
Cici's Journal : The Adventures Of A Writer-In-Training
FIRST SECOND [FIRST SECOND]
Chamblain, Joris
Neyret, Aurelie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 22, 2018
Dame, Anne
CiCi wants to be an author someday, so her mom buys her a journal to start practicing her writing. Cici also wants to be a detective. Her best friends are Lena and Erica. There are two stories within this book: The Petrified Zoo and Hector's Book. The Petrified Zoo is the story of a mysterious man who disappears into the woods each day with a parrot and comes back covered in paint. Hector's Book is about a woman who checks out the same book from the library week after week. Cici's Journal is set in France. It starts out in journal format then switches over to graphic novel style. The illustrations are lovely, in a watercolor style, but also look to have some color pencil strokes. In addition there are background pages in places where you can see some of Cici's handwritten notes, photos taken by her friends and postcards they have sent as well. One of her friends is a bit grumpy and doesn't automatically go along with everything Cici does and says. They have a fight and Cici has to admit she was wrong and figure out how to make amends. An excellent addition to a graphic novel collection, but won't appeal to all students. Give to your artsy kids, those who like strong female characters, and like a good mystery.
Once Upon A Jungle
FIREFLY BOOKS [FIREFLY BOOKS]
Knowles, Laura
Boast, James
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 23, 2018
Turpin, Sharon
This brilliantly illustrated picture book on the food chain begins, “Once upon a jungle, marched some ants. Once upon some ants, preyed a mantis.” And so the repetitive, short, rhythmic text continues through a lizard snacking on the mantis, a monkey creeping upon the lizard, and a panther pouncing on the monkey. Where the very young readers may become confused or disturbed is when the text takes a turn after the panther grows old—“Once upon a panther, beetles roamed.” The colorful beetles fill in the shape of the panther, which may be lost on the reader. Then under the beetles the soil becomes richer as depicted by the buried skeleton of the panther’s leg. Seedlings then grow into the rich jungle once again with a wide assortment of creatures on fold out pages with two paragraphs describing this living world, an ecosystem. The final two pages go into detailed paragraphs on the food chain in five steps—sunshine, producers, consumers, decomposers, and nutrients. The stark black backgrounds highlight the bold colors making this the draw for this production, reminiscent of Lois Ehlert's work.
Buildablock
Abrams Appleseed [Abrams Appleseed]
Franceschelli, Christoph
Peskimo
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 23, 2018
Turpin, Sharon
Parents and fans of the previous board block books including Alpha Block, Counta Block, Dino Block and City Block will welcome this new addition if they like machines used in construction. At a construction site, a young boy and girl become curious as to what’s going on after hearing a wrecking ball. They discover a myriad of workers and equipment run by both males and females and people of all colors. The text then continues with the pattern, “WE CLEAR THE WAY WITH……THE BULLDOZER!” as each machine and its use is introduced including a grader, skipper, excavator, dump truck, tunnel borer, paver, roller, road striper, bridge builder, cranes, pile driver, trencher, pipe layer, forklift, sky cranes, and cherry pickers. This thick, sturdy book offers attractive illustrations and many opportunities for little hands to turn and unfold pages in a variety of shapes.
In The Snow
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Spurr, Elizabeth
Oliphant, Manelle
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 23, 2018
Turpin, Sharon
Parents in need of a snow book should enjoy this simple board book featuring a young African American girl, her mother, and their dog enjoying a snow day. The wide-eyed child’s excitement is evident from the first page, and the brief rhyming text picks up the tempo with such lines as, “Open window. Shout ‘Hooray!’ Dash outside. Time to play!” Activities include sliding on puddles, drawing with a stick, building a snowman, sledding, and making an angel. This is a warm book with pleasant illustrations despite the cold topic.
Bull
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Elliott, David
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 23, 2018
Bateman, Teresa
Everyone knows the story of Theseus and the Minotaur...or do they? In sparse, eloquent, often hilarious and cleverly created verse David Elliott relates the story from its conception...literally. Different voices tell their parts--Minos, Daedalus, Pasiphae, Ariadne, Theseus, Asterion (the minotaur), and the whole thing is snarkily narrated by Poseidon himself, who just loves to stir the pot. This is the story, all right--no gold-leafing, no hiding of unfortunate mythical truths. Instead there are deep insights into the motivations and character (or lack thereof) of everyone involved as Poseidon plays their personalities like a lute. Subject to interpretation? Sure, but this is a deep and fascinating look into the legend with plenty of modern references. It's definitely YA, and absolutely fascinating. It's going to make high school teachers wonder if there's any way they can slip the f-word by the administration so their students can appreciate this fascinating look at an old story made new. Clever, oh so very clever.
Time For School!
Abrams Appleseed [Abrams Appleseed]
Biggs, Brian
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 24, 2018
Burton, Paula
The author and illustrator, Brian Biggs, continues his series of Tinyville Town every day stories. This time it is time for school. It is not an ordinary day at Tinyville elementary, it is the first day of school. For Ellie it is her very first day at this particular school but she goes through the same routines as any other kid on their first day back after summer. Every person working at school passes along too; the lunch lady, the recess monitor, the crossing guard, and some are even mentioned by name. Ellie even makes a new friend her first day. Diversity is present in Tinyville and no stereotypes, except for the lunch lady. The recognizable style of black outlined figures, with colorful clothing, make this a wonderful first day at school book. Biggs also has some board books with interesting characters from Tinyville. An earlier picture book in this series is about the whole town working on a new road.
Goldilocks And The Just Right Potty
Nosy Crow [NOSY CROW]
Hodgkinson, Leigh
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 24, 2018
Burton, Paula
A fractured fairytale, simplified for a very young audience. Goldilocks is about to learn how to use a potty that is just right. The underwear also should be just right; not to silly or too frilly. Colorful illustrations which have some collages, accompany this predictable story. A great read for little girls who are starting to wear underwear and use the potty themselves. Might be on the young side to place in a school library.
Secret Sheriff Of Sixth Grade
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Sonnenblick, Jordan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 24, 2018
Lewis, Jo
This is a story about standing up for yourself and making a difference at school and at home. Maverick wants to be hero, but because of his size this not always very easy. Bullies find your weakness and make your life miserable. Maverick tries to protect his mother who drinks too much, can’t keep jobs and has the worst kind of boyfriends. In the end Maverick wins over fellow students and is able to help his dysfunctional mother. Worthwhile read with some bits of humor and a courageous main character.
Restart
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Korman, Gordon
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 25, 2018
Lewis, Jo
Chase does not remember falling off his roof and when he awakes in the hospital, he has no memory of anything, not even his mother’s face. He learns a lot about himself when he returns to school to find most students and teachers are afraid of him. It turns out that he and his buddies were the biggest bullies at his middle school. After deciding to reinvent himself, Chase finds out that it is not easy to change who he is. The author writes about bullying, regret and forgiveness from different perspectives. This is a worthwhile look at the pervasive bullying issue found in so many schools.
Who Gives A Hoot?
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Kelly, Jacqueline
Meyer, Jennifer L.
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 25, 2018
Lewis, Jo
Calpurnia and her grandfather rescue a barn owl and with some detective work, nurse it back to health. This 105-page chapter book combines charming illustrations with gentle treatment of animals, with information about owls and how poisoning rodents also poison the birds who eat them. Perfect for young readers who like true information in their stories.
Apprentice Witch
Chicken House [Chicken House]
Nicol, James
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 25, 2018
Lewis, Jo
Depressed over the results of her witch’s assessment test, Arianwyn has to make do with a bronze moon brooch rather than the silver star which would indicate she has achieved full witch status. Arianwyn finds herself assigned to the town of Lull in disgrace. She quickly gets the hang of being a witch even though she is only an apprentice. Her kind ways quickly win her many friends. This is a story of personal discovery and should appeal to fantasy readers and fans of Terry Pratchett books (Tiffany Aching.) The reviewer looks forward to reading more in this series.
Spirit Trackers
Fifth House [Fifth House]
Waboose, J
Thisdale, Francois
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 25, 2018
Fisk, Rhetta
The author belongs to the First Nation Anishinaabe of northern Ontario. This story draws from her experiences as a child and is rich in tribal values: honoring elders, nature, and the animals around you. Two cousins (from the Moose Clan) are retold the story of Windingo, the Wandering Night Spirit of Winter. The Spirit can be deadly to people and to the animals. The boys are woken up by something in the night. The next morning they go out to search and instead of the Windingo, they find a young moose trapped in the snow. After it is rescued they know thy will have a Windingo story to tell to their grandfather… and their children and grandchildren. Students were delighted to notice illustrations throughout the book that hid animal tracks, which match up to prints on the end papers.
And Then Comes Summer
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Brenner, Tom
Kim, Jaime
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
January 25, 2018
Fisk, Rhetta
This book, repeating “When….. then” could be the perfect introduction to cause and affect. But it is more. Using choice words and phrases to describe summer days and nights, it creates moments of delight. “WHEN daylight pushes back bedtimes, and cricket crick-crick in the evening air, and bugs as big as thumbs bang against window… THEN play hid-and-seek until darkness wins.” Single and double two-spread illustrations are filled with multiethnic children, adults and pets. Local author is from Vashon Island
Boy And The Whale
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Gerstein, Mordicai
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 26, 2018
Burton, Paula
Well Known author and illustrator Mordica Gerstein, winner of the Caldecott medal for the Man who Walked between the Towers, has a new book about determination, courage taking place in a country where fishing can be the livelihood of a family with only one net. A father and his son discover that a large whale is caught in their only net. They go out in a small boat to see what the damage is. Since it is their only net, the father is angry and thinks it is hopeless to think about the whale. The boy on the other hand disobeys his father when he has given up and returns to the whale to set him free. The reader will feel part of the story and will root for the boy to set the whale free, and is rewarded by a spectacular “dance” the whale performs when he is free. The story is simple since communication is nonverbal from the whale but could easily be used in a classroom setting on many topics and would be a great addition to any library.
Wolverine : Powerful Predator
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Polinsky, Paige V
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 27, 2018
Sepessy, Lona
With an appropriately fierce cover photo and additional “bared teeth” shots, there is no doubt that Wolverines are a ferocious predator, well adapted to a rugged environment, and even capable of hunting moose and caribou. As an animal superstar in the weasel family, they are widely adapted to eat anything including frozen carrion and they consume everything, even bones and teeth. Information about their hunting, life cycle, and threats are detailed in an eye-popping graphic design that runs horizontally with well-labeled photographs often crossing the gutters. Limited text and one-sentence facts create an attractive book for the younger readers. A range map may be underestimating their foray into the Northern United States but shows that they are a resident of a broad swath of Northern forest and tundra in Europe and Asia as well as North America. An added feature is the alliterative chapter headings such as “fearless fighters,” “tough travelers” and “winter warriors.” Readers are asked to imagine a Wolverine superstar and are quizzed on what they have learned. Glossary included but no other recommended resources.
Beaver : Master Builder
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Polinsky, Paige V
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 27, 2018
Sepessy, Lona
Beavers are a common resident of much of the United States and Canada as well as Eastern Europe. Known for their prowess in toppling trees, creating dams and building lodges, these large rodents have teeth coated in iron that need to be constantly filed by their chewing on wood. Information about their physical characteristics, lodges, life cycle, and behavior are detailed in an eye-popping graphic design that runs horizontally with well-labeled photographs often crossing the gutters. Limited text and one-sentence facts create an attractive book for the younger readers. Readers are asked to imagine a beaver superstar and are quizzed on what they have learned. Glossary and range map included but no other recommended resources.
In The Shadow Of The Sun
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS]
O'brien, Anne Sibley
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 27, 2018
Tucker, Merrilyn
Mia, a middle schooler and Korean adoptee, and her brother Simon, a high school student, are taken on a vacation to North Korea. This may sound far-fetched until the reader learns that Mr. Andrews works for an organization called Food For the World and wants his children to see firsthand what North Korea is like. When Mr. Andrews is suddenly abducted by the authorities, Mia and Simon, in possession of contraband photos that would have ruined their father's chance of ever being released, run for their lives toward the Chinese border, one hundred and twenty miles away. Their journey, plagued by fear, hunger, thirst, and exhaustion is terrifying, but it does bring Mia and Simon closer than they have been in years; their trial puts life in perspective about what is important and what is not. This is Sibley O'Brien's first novel and it is worth having on middle school library shelves. The portrayal of North Korea (for which O'Brien researched over 10 years), the subject of Korean-American adoptees and their assimilation into white culture in America, and the currency of this novel amidst our country's interaction with the DPRK, all make this a book I will recommend to 5th to 8th grade students.
Oddity
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Cannon, Sarah
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 27, 2018
Doran, Kelly
Life in Oddity should be normal: teaching the new kid to fight off leopards, bribing the zombie rabbits with marshmallows, chasing down the details of local conspiracies. But Ada's life has been weird since her twin Pearl won the annual sweepstakes, because sweepstakes winners don't come back. It's up to Ada and her friends and allies to confront the puppets of the Protection Committee and defeat the biggest conspiracy in town to get Pearl back. Although Oddity seems to share a zip code with Night Vale, Ada's problems are relatable: the devastating effects of her sister's disappearance and her aunt's disabling injury on her family are realistic no matter how weird the setting. The characters are diverse: Ada and her family are black, her friend Raymond is Latino, storekeeper Song is deliberately-ambiguously Asian. Pacing is fast, villains are authentically creepy, and nobody acts like an idiot, except sometimes new-kid Camden. First novel.
Race To The Bottom Of The Sea
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Eagar, Lindsay
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 27, 2018
Tucker, Merrilyn
Dr. and Dr. Quail are marine biologists of international renown and their 11-year-old daughter, Fidelia, is a brilliant inventor. She has created many useful tools for her parents' work, including the submersible in which they both inexplicably die. Not having confidence in herself any longer, Fidelia goes to live with her librarian aunt and is scheduled soon to be shipped off to the big city to go to school. However, those plans are scrapped when Fidelia is captured by the most feared pirate in the world, Merrick. Fidelia finds herself bound to do his work: find Merrick's treasure hidden at the bottom of the ocean and bring it up for him. To do this, Fidelia must invent gills with which to breathe underwater. Can she do this? Will she be able to dive for the treasure by Merrick's deadline? How does Aunt Julia fit into the picture? This book is fun to read as it involves steampunk creations, an absolutely delightful strong young female character, pirates who are both bad and good, and oodles of adventures on the high seas.
Slider
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Hautman, Pete
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 27, 2018
Tucker, Merrilyn
One special ability that eighth-grader David possesses is to eat enormous amounts of food. Another ability is to take care of his autistic (although the family will not say the "A" word) brother, Mal. Online, David follows people who eat for a living, i.e., they join contests to earn money. One day, while on the internet, David comes across a half of a hot dog for sale. It was the dog that one of David's heroes had stopped eating halfway through and thus lost to his opponent. Long story short, David bids on the dog and ends up paying $2,000.00 on his mother's credit card for it. In order to earn the money to pay the Visa bill before his mom notices it, David joins eating contests. It turns out he's a gifted eater, but he does run into some pretty rough characters and situations along the way. I felt that the treatment of the autistic character was incomplete and this interfered with my enjoyment of the book as a whole.
Echo After Echo
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Capetta, Amy Rose
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 27, 2018
Tucker, Merrilyn
When high school student Zara is chosen to star in Echo and Ariston, a Broadway play, after an audition she didn't feel went so well, she is delighted but stunned! She is not strikingly beautiful or talented. How did this happen? When Zara goes to the Aurelia Theater on her first day in New York, she sees the lighting designer dead on stage, fallen from the catwalk. Was he pushed or had he been careless? This is the first of many mysterious, dark events that plague Zara's experience at the Aurelia. The lighting designer was replaced by his assistant, the beautiful, Latina, and lesbian Eli. Zara and Eli fall in love, although Zara has been warned to stay unconnected to anyone at the theater. In the meantime, another death occurs. Are these murders? Suicides? Accidents? If Zara's character, Echo, dies in the play, will Zara also be the one to die in real life next? I enjoyed this book very much and would recommend it to readers who enjoy LGBTQ stories and/or stories about the theater life. Note: There are sexual scenes and emotional-bordering-on-physical abuse by the director.
Handbook
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Benton, Jim
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 27, 2018
Bateman, Teresa
"You'll poke your eye out!" "Your face will freeze like that!" "There are starving children in China!" Does it ever seem like all parents are running off the same script? Well, what if there was a script, kept in a secretive volume given to every adult when they became parents? And what if some children actually got their hands on that mysterious handbook and started using some of its techniques against their parents? And what is a secretive parent association decided those kids needed re-education...in Antarctica...and a group of children had formed their own resistance group? Well, that's the premise of this book. The idea is fun, but the execution, unfortunately, is poor. Really--parents can't parent without the book? Seriously--guys with immobilizer guns that leave holes in furniture are going to send kids to Antarctica? Truly, the kids in the resistance are so peeved they're planting bombs? The book begins slowly. Indeed, the handbook doesn't even show up until page 88. Then it just keeps pushing the concept until it's blown so completely out of proportion that it no longer makes sense. This is a pity, because I like this author. Still, I can't really recommend this book.
World Beneath
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Warman, Janice
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 28, 2018
Sepessy, Lona
The world of apartheid permeates Joshua’s world as he lives with his mother, a maid, in the backyard of the Master’s house. Set during the late 1970’s, Joshua must learn to navigate the perilous days when he could be shot for any wrong move. Author, Janice Warman, grew up amidst this time and writes for the younger South Africans who know little about the struggles and events such as the death of Steve Biko and the murder of children in Soweto. Seen through the eyes of Joshua, a young child, confronted by the rioting and gradually drawn into the dangerous struggles, he eventually flees to Angola for safety amongst the black African soldiers’ training camps. Tragedy after tragedy strikes those he loves, until Joshua is confronted with the ultimate choice of becoming a murderer himself. The desperate horror of apartheid is not minimized and the conclusion while satisfactory for Joshua comes after much death and grief making this book more suitable for a middle school and up. Background knowledge and a forum for discussion would profit students.
Thornhill
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Smy, Pam
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 28, 2018
Threlkeld, Sarah
Thump thump. Thump thump. Every night Mary hears the same sound, an ominous thumping against her bedroom door. She knows it's another girl from Thornhill orphanage, but she can't prove it, especially since she is selectively mute and struggles to communicate with the staff members. The girl also bullies Mary during the day, but Mary remains silent. What will it take for Mary to find her voice? Will she get help from the one trusted adult in her life or will she exact revenge on her tormentor? Told from two perspectives and in two different formats - that of Mary via her diary and that of a girl who moves into a house bordering Thornhill thirty years after the institution closes via moody black and white illustrations - this is a story that will haunt readers long after the last page. An excellent addition to upper elementary and middle school collections, especially ones that serve fans of horror and suspense.
Lou Lou And Pea And The Mural Mystery
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Diamond, Jill
Vamos, Lesley
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 28, 2018
Threlkeld, Sarah
Missing pet rabbit? Stolen friendship necklace? Sabotaged quinceanera dress? Never fear, Lou Lou and Pea are on the case! Best friends since first grade, Lou Lou and Pea, which is short for Peacock, love indulging in cupcakes, visiting the local candle shop, having tea and scones in Lou Lou's garden every Friday after school, and admiring the colorful murals their neighborhood is known for. When terrible crimes are committed against their friends and family the girls take it upon themselves to nab the culprit. Could the murals hold clues to the identity of the criminal? Is Lou Lou's new neighbor to blame? This middle grade mystery perfectly blends action, suspense and comedy, and will leave readers eager for the sequel. A wonderful addition to elementary and middle school collections.
One Day House
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Durango, Julia
Diaz, Bianca
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 28, 2018
Wittmann, Paula
Wilson and Gigi are friends and neighbors. Wilson may be young, and Gigi elderly but they love to spend time together. Gigi’s house needs repairs, but she doesn’t have the means to make them happen. Wilson has a plan though. He tells over and over that one day he will help her paint, fix things, build a fence and plant a garden to make her house nicer. Gigi appreciates the intent, but doesn’t expect it to happen. Wilson, however, has been working hard sharing his ideas at school and with a neighborhood group to fix the homes of elderly neighbors. When the group shows up to help Gigi her home is fixed up in a flurry of activities. One day has come! An author’s note tells of roots of the stories and give web addresses for United Way and Habitat for Humanity. This would be an excellent addition to units on community and service.
Pattan's Pumpkin : An Indian Flood Story
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Soundar, Chitra
Lessac, Frane
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
January 28, 2018
Wittmann, Paula
This traditional folk tale from Southern India tells the tale of Pattan and his wife Kanni and how they saved themselves and the animals living near them during a flood. Pattan brings home an sickly plant which thrives under his care and a huge pumpkin grows on the plant. When floods threaten his home and the animals living near him Pattan realizes he can save them all by hollowing out the huge pumpkin and filling it with food, the animals and family. They safely float for many days and nights until the pumpkin bumps into dry land. When they have safely made it home Pattan carefully plants the single pumpkin seed he has saved. Bright colorful illustrations add to this less common flood story that begs to be compared to Noah.
Night The Stars Went Out
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Hughes, Suz
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 29, 2018
Sepessy, Lona
Alien took his job as a star shiner so seriously there was no time for play or fun and he had no friends. When one night all the stars went dark, Alien desperately called the Star Helpline and was told he needed to purchase Star Shiner on the planet Earth. On arriving in his human disguise, Alien finds he needs the help of George to counteract gravity and to find the hardware store for his Star Shiner. After the successful purchase, Alien agrees to play with George, as he had been so helpful. And lo and behold after the duo laughed and had so much fun, the stars became to shine again. Vivid colors and a bold cover are inviting but Alien’s depiction as a blue blob falls flat. More content and character development might round out the plot, but the problem’s resolution lacks the complexity needed for a solid picture book.
Sled Dog School
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Johnson, Terry Lynn
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 29, 2018
Sepessy, Lona
Living with hippie parents on a dead-end road without electricity in Northern Michigan has its benefits and challenges. Eleven-year old Matt faces taunts and name-calling at school for his smoky odor and his struggles with math, but thrives at home training his sled dogs and solving the “real-world” problems. In order to raise his failing math grades, he tackles an extra credit project to create and run a business, tracking the costs and profits with at least three clients. Matt opens a school teaching how to run a sled dog team but finds the challenges go well beyond the math and accounting. His struggles include balancing chores, caring for his eager younger sister, Lily, and the managing the diverse personalities of the puppy-like exuberance of his first client, Tubbs, and the snooty yet quick-learning Alex. Friendship issues are balanced with humor as Matt learns to stay true to himself and finish his project. Life lessons are learned and summed up on his Advice from a Sled Dog poster: “Work as a team; Keep moving forward; Howl with your friends; Be warm-hearted; Love what you do.” Labeled diagram and glossary of sled dog terms included.
Missing Grizzly Cubs
SLEEPING BEAR PRESS [SLEEPING BEAR PRESS]
Young, Judy
Culotta, Kent
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 29, 2018
Sepessy, Lona
Eleven-year old, Buck Bray, travels to Denali National Park with his filmmaker father to shoot the initial show for a new kid-oriented wilderness reality TV show. Accompanied by acrophobic cameraman Shoops and his adopted daughter, Toni, the duo discover a criminal operation stealing grizzly bears and team up to solve the crime. Survival skills, friendship issues, and misguided trust form the backdrop for the ecofriendly mystery and readers are given plenty of information about the wildlife integrated into Buck’s lines in front of the camera. While similar to Gloria Skurzynski’s Mysteries in the National Parks series, the intended audience is younger. A second book has been released with a similar plot line and characters. Although this is an appealing new mystery series, the plot and character development will need to evolve in order to break out of cookie cutter mold predictability.
Danger At The Dinosaur Stomping Grounds
SLEEPING BEAR PRESS [SLEEPING BEAR PRESS]
Young, Judy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 29, 2018
Sepessy, Lona
Eleven-year old, Buck Bray, travels to Denali National Park with his filmmaker father to shoot the initial show for a new kid-oriented wilderness reality TV show. Accompanied by acrophobic cameraman Shoops and his adopted daughter, Toni, the duo discover a criminal operation stealing grizzly bears and team up to solve the crime. Survival skills, friendship issues, and misguided trust form the backdrop for the ecofriendly mystery and readers are given plenty of information about the wildlife integrated into Buck’s lines in front of the camera. While similar to Gloria Skurzynski’s Mysteries in the National Parks series, the intended audience is younger. A second book has been released with a similar plot line and characters. Although this is an appealing new mystery series, the plot and character development will need to evolve in order to break out of cookie cutter mold predictability.
Princess Imposter
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Vande Velde, Vivian
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 29, 2018
Bateman, Teresa
What if you were a well-schooled, well-mannered princess who suddenly woke up to find that a changeling had taken your place as princess and you had taken the fairy's place in a large, rambunctious fairy family? Sure, it usually happens to babies, but a bet is involved and the fairy family doesn't always go by tradition. As the princess does chores she's never done before, and uses her diplomacy to solve family problems, the fairy finds that being a princess isn't as easy as she had imagined. She may look the part, but she's making mistakes right and left that may bring two kingdoms to war. Princess Gabriella has to deal with the oldest son of the fairy family, Parf, who does his best to make her life miserable...at first. Fairy Phleg has to deal with Gabriella's betrothed, and actually ends up saving his life using her unique talents. This is not your typical "changing places" story, but Vande Velde is known for her quirky sense of humor and this delightful book is another perfect example. I enjoyed every minute of it.
Peanut Butter & Aliens : A Zombie Culinary Tale
ABRAMS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [ABRAMS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Mcgee, Joe
Santoso, Charles
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 29, 2018
Gustafson, Chris
It was tricky enough to build a world where zombies and humans could live together in mutual support, but when aliens invade, coping skills are stretched. The aliens are clearly hungry, but every offer of food is met with incensed rejection and a alien blaster attack of grape jelly. When the zombies and humans can again cooperate and offer peanut butter sandwiches, the conflict is finally solved. Cheerful and hopeful.
Rafi And Rosi : Pirates!
Childrens Book Press [Childrens Book Press]
Delacre, Lulu
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 29, 2018
Gustafson, Chris
An easy to read story in three short chapters that is set in Puerto Rico. Rafi and Rosi are exploring the El Morro fort, finding treasure and avoiding ghosts. Historical events and characters are nicely wound in to the story and there is some easy Spanish vocabulary. Back matter connects the reader to more history; a glossary at the front is helpfully placed.
Martin Luther King : The Peaceful Warrior
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Clayton, Ed
Bermudez, Donald
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 29, 2018
Gustafson, Chris
Originally published in 1964, FSC has done a very nice updated reissue - this is a great length for elementary kids and middle school folks will appreciate it as well. The major events of King’s life are retold in an accessible style with large print, illustrated with new, attractive, realistic paintings. The widow of the author begins the book with an introduction mainly about her husband, Ed Clayton, who was also fully involved in the Civil Rights Movement. While it serves to provide a solid basis for the trustworthiness of the information, advise most readers to skip to chapter one.
Yipee's Gold Mountain
RED DEER PRESS [RED DEER PRESS]
Rivera, Raquel
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
7th grade to 9th grade
January 29, 2018
Gustafson, Chris
Anyone reading this book who follows the work of Debbie Reese's American Indians in Children's Literature blog is bound to be hugely conflicted. Yipee's story comes out in dribs and drabs in this multiple narrator story with frequent flashbacks. Her mother died giving birth to her in San Francisco, she was taken in by Crooked Mah, a man who was not her father but who took care of her, disguising her as a boy. While they are both working on constructing the railroad, Crooked Mah is killed in an accident and Yipee sets out on her own to follow her dream of working on a cattle drive. On the way to Arizona, she meets Na-tio, who is described as Apache on the back cover, though I did not see any specific tribal connection in the text. Na-tio is at the start of his training to be a warrior but what he thought was a raiding party ended with the murder of a settler family by his father and uncle in retribution for the settler's murder of his father's first family. Fairly explicitly described sex and lots of questions about culutral depiction. Yikes!
Mama Lion Wins The Race
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Muth, Jon J
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 30, 2018
Wittmann, Teresa
Mama Lion and Tigey decide to compete in a road race in their sporty red convertible along with other animals who look like stuffed animals. When they swerve to avoid hitting a butterfly and lose a tire, the Flying Pandini car stops to help them. In the end Mama Lion and Tigey slow down just before the finish line to let the Flying Pandini car win because making friends is more important than winning. This is a sweet and somewhat predictable story, but the bright illustrations of charming stuffed animal-like characters will be enjoyed by young children.
Alfie : (The Turtle That Disappeared)
ABRAMS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [ABRAMS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Heder, Thyra
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 30, 2018
Wittmann, Teresa
Nia loves her new pet turtle Alfie and the lady at the pet store said he was probably also six years old. Nia plays with Alfie and shares everything with him, but Alfie doesn’t seem to notice. Nia kind of forgets about Alfie until her seventh birthday when Alfie disappears from his tank. The second half of the story is from Alfie’s point of view and he did notice everything Nia did and said even though he was very quiet. Alfie wanted to get Nia a present to celebrate her seventh birthday, so he climbed out of his tank and went looking. He ends up outside and naps for months, but in the end he finds the perfect gift for Nia and reunites with her on her next birthday. This is a great story (based on a real turtle) that has two points of view. The warm and detailed illustrations are charming and really complement the story.
Dump Trucks Haul!
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Reinke, Beth Bence
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 30, 2018
Wittmann, Teresa
Learn a little about what dump trucks are and what they do with simple text and large uncaptioned photographs. The few sentences of text are on a bright background next to a photo that supports the text. Occasionally there is a related question, such as “Why does the bed tip?” to get the reader thinking. There is a table of contents, but only one long chapter. The parts of a dump truck diagram has only three labels (bed, cab, and tire). There is a four-word picture glossary, list of three other resources, and a six-word index. It is part of the Buma Books Construction Zone series. Young children interested in dump trucks probably won’t learn anything new in this book, but the beginning reader will be able to read it.
Wonderling
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Bartok, Mira
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 31, 2018
Datisman, Eve
Gr4+ Thirteen is an unlucky number particularly so for a small, one-eared, foxlike groundling, who has no name except Thirteen, remembers nothing except the terrible drudgery and bullying toiling silently in the factory or in school at Miss Carbunckle’s Home of Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures. The groundlings, part human, part animal, are treated like slaves and forbidden from any activity approximating fun, especially music. Thirteen saves a Trinket, a small birdlike groundling with a clever beak and finds his first friend. She tells him the stories of questing knights and names him Arthur for his courage. Using one of Trinket’s inventions, the two escape the Home and go in search of Arthur’s past in Lumentown which proves more dangerous than the one they left behind. Several fairytale tropes, a nod to Dickens, T.H. White, and Steampunk. Bartók doesn't explore the origins of groundlings but uses them successfully as a stand-in for other disenfranchised groups; the groundlings subjected to derision and menial tasks by most of the upper classes. Music plays an important role in the story a means of connection and a force for good. Redwall series fans will love this. Great potential for a read-aloud. A movie is in the works
Every Falling Star : The True Story Of How I Survived And Es
Amulet Paperbacks [Amulet Paperbacks]
Lee, Sungju
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 31, 2018
Datisman, Eve
880L. Lee, an only child, lived comfortably in the nation's capital of Pyongyang because his father was a well-respected member of the military. With no warning, the 11-year-old boy and his parents were deported to the countryside. Lee, sheltered in Pyongyang, was horrified by life in Gyeong-seong; mass hunger, public executions, and unemployment are rampant. Abandoned by both of his parents during the famine, Lee is forced into the gang-life of street boys. They travel the country--stealing in markets; fighting other gangs for territory; smoking, drinking, and using opium; getting arrested and imprisoned; finding clients for a madam's "nightflowers"; They lose two of their friends in brutal attacks. Lee provides a summary of the history of Korea and the politics of the famine in North Korea, achieving a balance between historical context and storytelling. Stories like Lee’s are hard to come by in the West. In spite of occasionally stilted language, his experiences in the propaganda-fueled regime and eventual escape are riveting. This harrowing account evokes the dystopian futures imagined in contemporary YA novels. It’s a chilling reminder that such places exist right now in reality. Korean glossary. Must buy. VOYA*
Edward S. Curtis Chronicles Native Nations
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Nardo, Don
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 31, 2018
Datisman, Eve
Gr4+ 1020L From the horrors of war to the majesty of deep space, skilled photographers have captured countless historic events. They have recorded the diversity of Native American cultures and traced the experiences of immigrants arriving in America. The photographs tell the visual history of the US. Nardo examines how Curtis images helped inform our understanding of Native cultures, as well as the impact the images had at the time & today. He portrays Curtis as a well-meaning man, who genuinely believed he was chronicling dying cultures and made great personal sacrifices in completing his project, the 20 volume Indians of North America as well as his movie The Land of the Head Hunters. The contemporary perspective is illuminating, addressing what Curtis got wrong; the hypocritical attitudes of Curtis’ contemporaries, who idealized Native culture while simultaneously enacting policies that laid waste to Native lands and traditions; and how Curtis’ stunning but highly romanticized images have continued to produce misrepresentations of Native American groups. Sidebars and caption are particularly helpful and make this a well-balanced, highly informative analysis on a lesser-known American icon. Especially useful in the Northwest.
All The Way To Havana
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Engle, Margarita
Curato, Mike
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 31, 2018
Datisman, Eve
890L. In this story poem, a young boy and his father work on their old car, Cara, Cara a ’53 Chevy to keep her running. Then they and the rest of family take a trip to Havana. Along the way they experience the sights and sounds of the country and the streets. They see musicians, people in the streets and lots of old, colorful cars. It’s a glimpse into the lives of ordinary Cubans, where horse carts and old cars are key modes of transportation. Good for connections to social studies for culture, effects of the US embargo and the resilience and resourcefulness of people in the face of adversity are detailed in the author’s note. Mike Curato’s note tells how his photos of a trip to Cuba to do research were transformed into the book’s illustrations. Cara Cara is the name of the car that his hosts drove. A good resource to provide context in upper grades. Jr. Literary Guild Selection, Kirkus*, PbWkly”, SLJ*
Nile Crossing
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers [Eerdmans Books for Young Readers]
Beebe, Katy
Comport, Sally Wern
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
January 31, 2018
Wittmann, Paula
Books about starting school are plentiful, but this has the unusual setting of ancient Egypt. Kehpri’s father is a fisherman on the Nile River, but he is about to start school to learn to read a write. The book follows Kehpri as he and his father leave the house, climb into his father’s boat, work their way across the Nile and through the streets of Thebes to the school. Outside the gate his father presents him with a case filled reeds that will serve as his pens. Kehpri’s nervousness and strategies to gain courage are both set firmly in the setting of the story but universal. The interactions between the father and son are bittersweet and the pride the father feels in his son shines thorough. In the informative author’s note at the end one finds out some of what might have happened in the school, additional background on the setting and the long term interest in Egypt of the author.
Food Atlas : Discover All The Delicious Foods Of The World
FIREFLY BOOKS [FIREFLY BOOKS]
Malerba, Giulia
Sillani, Febe
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
January 31, 2018
Wittmann, Paula
Young foodies will enjoy poring over the spreads in this large-scale food atlas. As they look at maps they can see local ingredients and animals, a smattering of traditional dishes, topical side facts, an eclectic collection of non-food animals, capital cities, and points of interest. Also highlighted are “slow food presidiums.” The final spread is a very informative spread on food journeys- how foods have traveled around the world. Unfortunately the book is lopsided Eurocentric- comparatively small collections of countries in South America, Africa and Asia are represented. Though probably this would not be helpful for reports, those taking their time to look carefully will learn plenty about food around the world.
Few Red Drops : The Chicago Race Riot Of 1919
CLARION [CLARION]
Hartfield, Claire
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 31, 2018
Datisman, Eve
1120L Chicago has had an uneasy inheritance of race relations since the first of the great migrations of freed blacks after the civil war. Mix the influx of immigrants from Europe and the tycoons of the stockyards and packing plants and real estate pitting the groups against each other in the name of profit. Add the politicians and police who made no attempt to defuse the tension and it’s easy to see why a riot could occur and have lasting effects for a century. Hatfield explores the beginning of this legacy -- a white man throwing a stone that killed a teenage black boy out for a day at the beach during a heat wave on July 27, 1919. Quotes, statistics, and period photos help build background. An epilogue describes the partly successful results of a commission charged with instigating change and mentions other unhappy events of the “Red Summer” of 1919: 25 additional race riots across the U.S. The author augments her account of conflict with profiles of various Chicagoans, including abolitionists, meatpacking barons, union leaders, journalists, and politicians. Photos, editorial cartoons, and advertisements further immerse readers in this vivid history. Makes connections to contemporary news.
Fault Lines In The Constitution : The Framers, Their Fights,
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Levinson, Cynthia
Pons, Adela
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 31, 2018
Datisman, Eve
The United States Constitution has been amended 27 times since its 1788 ratification; but the Levinsons make the reasonable and compelling case that further revision will make it even more efficient and just. They explain how many of the political issues we struggle with today are rooted in flaws in the U.S. Constitution. Why does a small state have the same power in the Senate as a state with exponentially higher population? How can certain stipulations in the Constitution deter otherwise popular legislation? The text discusses current conflicts, such as the irony of "Taxation Without Representation" in regard to Washington, DC, and Senate filibusters that kill potentially popular legislation before it can even be voted on. Historical situations are also examined, such as the Sedition Act of 1918 that barred anti-war speech during World War One. The book provides readers with a broad context of constitutional law. Helpful illustrations resemble infographics, pulling out startling facts from the text and repackaging them visually. The text concludes with a debate about the pros and cons of a second Constitutional Convention.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg : The Case Of R.b.g. Vs. Inequality
ABRAMS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [ABRAMS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Winter, Jonah
Innerst, Stacy
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 31, 2018
Datisman, Eve
800L Gr3+ This picture book biography is cleverly framed as a court case and focuses on empowerment of its readers. The opening statement is an indictment of the world in which Justice Ginsberg was raised. A world where boys were valued more than girls, where women were not encouraged to get an education, let alone achieve and aspire to a career beyond wife and mother. There is a brief overview of her early life and then moves into to illustrating the skills that Justice Ginsberg possessed that would make her a good lawyer, her successes in school, and sexism and discrimination that she faced as a woman. "Exhibit F: Even among law firms supposedly open to hiring women, not one firm would hire her. She was a woman, she was Jewish, and she was a mother." Innerst's muted palette adds to the retrospective feel of a story that unfolds over several decades; in one striking scene, Ginsburg reads a dissent from the bench while her fellow justices yawn and look away. Through toughness, determination, and intelligence, Ruth persevered, paving the way for a new generation of women. Glossary and author’s note with short bio of Ginsberg. Must buy BkList*, Kirkus*, PubWkly*
American Gothic : The Life Of Grant Wood
ABRAMS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [ABRAMS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Wood, Susan
Macdonald, Ross
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 31, 2018
Datisman, Eve
990L Gr. 3+ This is the story of Grant Wood and his iconic painting. This picture book biography begins with him drawing with charred sticks on brown wrapping paper; his family didn’t have much money. Later, he drew in crayon, made scenery for school plays and publications, and won art awards which led to his travels to Europe as a young adult where he here he studied impressionism, cubism, and abstract art before being drawn to gothic architecture and renaissance art which told a story and resonated with him. He searched for inspiration in Europe but found it at home in in the Depression-era American Midwest where he became the leader in the Realist art movement. MacDonald’s watercolor illustrations show the diligent, bespectacled painter, always clad in denim overalls, looking at art, painting at an easel, and gazing at the rolling Iowa fields he loved so much, and he nicely mimics the bright colors and naturalistic lines of Grant Wood’s own paintings. A closing author’s note offers more comprehensive background. A resources list and time line give beginning researchers a good place to start. Upper grades will find the discussion of art interpretation interesting and useful. PubWkly*
She Myself And I
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
Young, Emma
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 31, 2018
Datisman, Eve
Are you a monster if your brain which is housed in a body that is dying is transplanted into someone else’s body whose brain is dead? This is Rosa’s dilemma when a doctor from Boston chooses her for a risky experimental surgery. Her family moves, the surgery proves successful but, Rosa must come to terms with a new body, re-establish connections both physical and metaphysical, and deal with the ghost of the girl who died to make Rosa’s new life possible. The physical recovery doesn’t have the depth it needs -- she’s unconscious, then she’s in rehab, then she’s good to go. The psychological dualism is intriguing and needs a meatier story. Instead, Rosa takes a road trip with a cute boy to find out about Sara, the body donor. To complicate matters Rosa doesn’t really know herself since there isn’t much effort in allowing Rosa’s character to develop. It’s an interesting thought experiment \with lots of references to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or the New Prometheus but Robin Wasserman does a better job with explorations of big ideas like this as did Philip K. Dick in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Go see Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 for depth