Reviews for month


Visions
FITZHENRY & WHITESIDE [FITZHENRY & WHITESIDE]
Walters, Eric
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
August 02, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
Rob and Mark are twins who are not longer like peas in a pod, having grown apart since the death of their father. Their forced adventure to the north is really a scientific expedition for their mother and her boss, researching muskoxen. The boys seem to be the only ones who can see an old Inuit man and soon Mark begins to understand the Inuktitut language. A clever blending of teen adventure and Inuit folklore, but a bit slow to get started. Fans of Hatchet will be satisfied with this story.
TRANSFORMERS : DARK OF THE MOON : FOUNDATION : 1
ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
BARBER, JOHN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 03, 2012
Bateman, Teresa
This is volume #1 of a 4-volume graphic novel set that is the official prequel to the "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" movie. It provides the backstory behind Megatron and Optimus Prime and the different philosophies that directed their actions. Taking place on Cybertron, it's filled with battle scenes but with no humans involved. Detailed graphic illustrations along with dialogue boxes still leave a considerable amount to be inferred by young readers. (It's a hodgepodge, and hard to follow.) The paper quality is excellent as is the binding. However, this is another of those annoying series that ought to be in one book but instead has been cut up into four. The books are pricy, and useless if not purchased as a set. $100 total for a set of books and the loss of one book invalidates the series for library use? If you have a big budget these will be welcomed by your readers. Most school libraries will not be able to afford to purchase the series and then maintain it.
Me & Death
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Scrimger, Richard
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
August 03, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
A quick read about Jim, a 14-year-old who works hard to maintain his image of a slacker and a bully. He doesn't know his dad, his mom is a drunk, and his sister seems to have mental issues. After being hit by a car, Jim nearly dies but is given the opportunity to see his past life by three ghosts who reside in the gloomy, gray Jordan Arms afterlife hotel. Jim knows that he's being given a chance to change his life and does so when he "come back from the dead" in the ambulance. In his efforts to make amends, we learn the back story of individuals Jim hurt before the accident. This story of a young man raised in poverty, influenced by thugs and the pull of gangs, will resonate with many students. The humor is great.
Molly's Organic Farm
DAWN PUBLICATIONS [DAWN PUBLICATIONS]
Malnor, Carol L.
Hunner, Trina L.
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 05, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
Delightful watercolor illustrations depict Molly, an orange homeless cat, making herself at home in an organic garden throughout the summer before being taken into a warm home for the winter. Major principles of organic farming are highlighted on two page spreads and include building healthy soil, composting, encouraging beneficial bugs, using companion planting and crop rotation, reliance on animal helpers to control pests and the connections with communities through CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture) and farmers markets. One of the most engaging aspects of this book can be found on each spread with a small inset drawing showing a partial glimpse of Molly and a two line rhyming poem. Corn stalk sways. Molly plays. and Big, brown boots! Away she scoots. The book includes a more detailed description of the important concepts for successful organic gardens, creative planting activities and books for children and an account of the real homeless cat named Molly befriended by the farm and the author. While most of the subject specific and italicized words are defined within the context, some readers would benefit from a separate glossary of the definitions. The copy reviewed is paperback but it can be purchased in hardback as well. With school and community gardens found in all sorts of urban and suburban neighborhoods as well as rural areas, this book makes a charming and informative addition to any elementary school library.
First Peas to the Table: How Thomas Jefferson Inspired a School Garden
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Grigsby, Susan
Tadgell, Nicole
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 05, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
Maya and Shakayla's class will be growing peas and competing to see who can have the first cupful of shelled peas on the table. Based on a real competition that Thomas Jefferson and his neighbors would have every spring, the contest provides the backdrop for some excellent information about gardening as well as methods to record the progress. Beautiful pen and watercolor illustrations depict the activities of the class during all stages of the gardening as well as pages from Maya's notebook. With increased emphasis on healthy eating and First Lady Michelle Obama's White House Garden (with a special Thomas Jefferson section), this is a book that can be used with home and school gardeners as well as for teaching plant life cycles. A page on Thomas Jefferson's gardens, bibliography and source notes adds to its usefulness and the publishe,r Albert Whitman, has a matching online activity guide.
Crescendo
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers [Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers]
Fitzpatrick, Becca
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
August 06, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
Second in the Hush, Hush series, Crescendo follows good girl Nora and bad boy Patch as they continue to dance around their budding romance. Patch, recently changed from a fallen angel to Nora's guardian angel, is now pulling away and seems to be drifting toward Nora's long-time enemy, Marcie Millar. But is his distance because of feelings for Marcie or because Nora pushed him away? This oh-so-good sequel includes suspense, romance, hatred, and a surprise villain. You know you want to read it?go now! Get yourself this book!
AMELIA'S BOY SURVIVAL GUIDE
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books [Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books]
MOSS, MARISSA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 06, 2012
Tucker, Merrilyn
Written "by hand" on school-lined paper and decorated with doodles, this charming Amelia book took this reader right smack back to being an eighth grade girl who had no clue about boys. Boys? Just the mere thought of some of them in particular threw me into a tailspin. Amelia thinks a certain boy in her classes is cute, but she doesn't know what to do, or say, or how to dress. When she finally gets up the nerve to ask him a big question, she finds out that he is not the kind of boy she would like to spend time with, after all. Throughout the story, Amelia deepens her friendship with Carly who proves to be loyal and true. This is a sweet story of junior high and all of its joys and mysteries.
UNDER THE ICE
INHABIT MEDIA [INHABIT MEDIA]
QITSUALIK, RACHEL A
Kalluk, Babah; Korim, Jae
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 07, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
Inuit author-activist Rachel Qitsualik teams up with action-comic style illustrators Babah Kalluk and Jae Korim to give a gripping, updated version of a traditional "bogeymen" story from the Canadian Arctic. A hungry boy's incessant plea for food saps his grandmother's patience and brings down a vicious curse which is almost immediately realized when he is carried off by one of the fearsome "qallupiluit" who live under the sea. As seasons turn, good hunting returns to the village and grandmother's regret turns to hope when the boy is spotted out on the ice, captive but alive. His eventual rescue completes this tale that allows glimpses of traditional Inuit life and culture that allowed people to live amidst the hardships of icy northern life. Highly recommended as a "if you like comics you will also like..." suggestion, or as read aloud for social studies of Native American culture and mythology.
PIGMARES
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
CUSHMAN, DOUG
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 08, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
16 "Porcine Poems of the Silver Screen" are a humorous homage to classic horror films with nod to the schoolyard rhymes of Jack Prelutsky. Cushman's humorous full color illustrations double the delight of his rhymes: "Vampire pigs fly from castles at night;/ their silver wings glow in the ghostly moonlight..../A mummified swine puts a curse on my head-/I should never watch monsters on film before bed!" A delightful, if additional purchase for school poetry collections.
No Limit
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers [Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers]
Hautman, Pete
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
August 08, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
Each week, Denn's yard maintenance business gets him closer to the pruchase of a used Camaro. With less than 90 days to his 16th birthday, he lets himself get talked into playing in a poker game and from then on, he focuses almost exclusively on the game. Winning streaks mean there is more to be won; losing streaks mean the next game just has to be a winner. Denn no longer runs his business and loses his best friend. Sadly, the consequences of gambling addiction are not always apparent to the young man. With the popularity of televised, high-stakes poker tournaments, teens (especially boys) will want to read this book.
GREG AND THE MURAL
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
WIGGINS, THALIA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 09, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
ABDO's Magic Wagon imprint might be aimed at elementary students but this series will also work well with middle schools students who are struggling readers. Making Choices. The McNair Cousins includes three books about each cousin: Greg who tries to be a good person and James who seems to be just the opposite. In this book, Greg's design is chosen for a community center wall but graffiti mars the celebration of his accomplishment. Payback by Greg's cousin James could land both boys in trouble. The large font, plenty of white space, and illustrations will appeal to reluctant readers. Well done.
JAMES CHEATS!
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
WIGGINS, THALIA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 10, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
ABDO's Magic Wagon imprint might be aimed at elementary students but this series will also work well with middle schools students who are struggling readers. Making Choices. The McNair Cousins includes three books about each cousin: Greg who tries to be a good person and James who seems to be just the opposite. In this book, the two boys are now in the same grade because James has to repeat that grade. He is tired of being compared to goodie-two-shoes Greg and when the opportunity presents itself to buy a cheat sheet, he seriously considers it. Will he make the right decision? The large font, plenty of white space, and illustrations will appeal to reluctant readers. Well done.
PAUL O. ZELINSKY
CHECKERBOARD [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
LLANAS, SHEILA GRIFFIN
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 16, 2012
Haines, Hazel
Famous illustrator of many children's books Paul Zelinsky is the subject of this biography for early readers. It is filled with many colored photographs and pictures that will intrigue students who are just learning about Paul and his advancement as an artist.
Gloria Steinem
COMPASS POINT BOOKS [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
Attebury, Nancy Garhan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 16, 2012
Haines, Hazel
Ms. Attebury has written a very thorough biography of this legendary heroine of feministic thought and activism in American history. It includes a timeline and many references. The only drawback I see is that it may not appeal to an average sixth grader who has no idea who Gloria Steinem is. It's one of those books that will be perfect for a student interested in the topic of women's rights or for one who is doing research into important people in the movement.
Sharpen Your Essay Writing Skills
Enslow Publishers [Enslow Publishers]
Roy, Jennifer Rozines and Haney, Johanna
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
August 16, 2012
Haines, Hazel
This book is so practical and so well-written, but --- I'm not sure students will pick it up to read or to use. It's one of those items that the librarian or teacher will have to introduce and sell first. The information within its covers is organized to follow the steps of the Big Six, and it has a chapter devoted just to writting test answers and homework assignments.
Human Trafficking
Essential Library [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
Farrell, Courtney
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
August 16, 2012
Haines, Hazel
This is another book in the Essential Issues series and a scholarly, yet casual look at a topic of interest to secondary students who are looking for timely topics for their CBA's. The author approaches the subject from the point of view of a concerned citizen who wants to put an end to this horrific part of our society.
The Amazing Underground Railroad
Enslow Publishers [Enslow Publishers]
Sawyer, Kem Knapp
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 16, 2012
Haines, Hazel
Sepia-colored photographs and maps make this book an important addition to our American history collections. It is a very detailed telling of the facts about many African Americans who escaped to freedom in Canada and the United States via the Underground Railroad. Sawyer brings to life and individualizes the terror many of these renaway slaves lived 24/7 as they wormed their way north. Maps, an index, and chapter references add to the scholarly presentation.
Bradley Fighting Vehicles
ABDO & Daughters [ABDO & Daughters]
Hamilton, John
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 16, 2012
Haines, Hazel
Do you have intermediate boys who want to read everything and anything about military weapons? Here's a book you've got to add to your collection. I would suggest waiting for the paperback version, as the $18.00 price tag for the library-bound version is somewhat restrictive. On the other hand, it covers all the basics about the Bradley with full-color photos and a glossary for unfamiliar terms.
HOCKEY
ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
GITLIN, MARTY
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 16, 2012
Haines, Hazel
This year I have had parents request books for their children who are learning to play hockey. I think this book will fill that need. It is filled with tips to improve skills and has many short biographies of players who have changed and advanced the sport throughout the world.
CALVIN COCONUT : MAN TRIP
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE]
SALISBURY, GRAHAM
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 16, 2012
Haines, Hazel
If you have the other 6 books in this series, then you'll probably want to add this new Calvin Coconut one, especially if the others are popular with your male readers. It is all about a fishing trip in Hawaii where Calvin lands a marlin who aggressively charges his small fishing boat. Intertwined in the story is a growing relationship with his mother's boyfriend as the two of them spend the day fishing.
CITIZENSHIP
Childrens Press [SCHOLASTIC]
RAATMA, LUCIA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 16, 2012
Haines, Hazel
I really recommend this book for all those intermediate teachers who wrack their brains looking for something to use for Constitution Day in September. The author tells about the Constitution, about how individuals become citizens of the United States, and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Much emphasis is put on the role of voting in American political life, so the book will be expecially timely this election year.
Cougars
ABDO & Daughters [ABDO & Daughters]
Hamilton, John
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 18, 2012
Haines, Hazel
For those boys who love everything military, here is a book with information aboout the Cougar workhorse machine that is currently being used by U. S. Forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan. With very large pictures, tables of data, a glossary, and an index, students will learn about the history of the Cougar, the various technical roles of its crew, and the mechanical workings of the machine.
Scholastic Guide to Grammar
Scholastic Reference [Scholastic Reference]
Terban, Marvan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 18, 2012
Haines, Hazel
The publishers tout this book as the essential student resource on grammar. It is definitely a thorough, lightly-written guide that is attractive and well-organized. I'm not so sure aabout the essential part of the description. Students definitely will not pick it up and use it without some prompting. I think it will probably be a reference book for our teachers.
Earth-Friendly Buildings, Bridges and More
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Kaner, Etta
MacEachern, Stephen
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 18, 2012
Haines, Hazel
Told as a photo journalof a 12-year old girl who travels the world with her parents and gathers postcards and talks to builders of green structures all over the world, this book features pictures, cartoon-like inserts and even activities to introduce students to real energy-efficient buildings including dams, skyscrapers, beam bridges, and domes.
Gloria Steinem
COMPASS POINT BOOKS [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
Attebury, Nancy Garhan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
August 18, 2012
Haines, Hazel
This is a very thorough investigation of Gloria Steinem's life of feminist activities and also her dedication to athletics. There are many black-and-white photoes that chronicle her years as a child, a college student, and political person. Many sidebars add interest, and a timeline and detailed resosurce list make this a very scholarly work.
William Shakespeare's As You Like It
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
Shakespeare, William; Goodwin, Vincent (Adaptor)
Espinosa, Rod
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
August 21, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
ABDO's Magic Wagon "Graphic Shakespeare" series offers a short brief look at 16 plays by the Bard. This title is included in set 2. Bright yellows and greensshowcase the female leads in the play while dark browns set apart the men. A page of text about the play complements the illustratons and a glossary is included. Useful as an introductory text.
INTO THE ABYSS
RAZORBILL [PENGUIN]
ALTBACKER, E J
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 23, 2012
Bateman, Teresa
In this third book in the "Shark Wars" series the evil tiger shark emperor Finnivus has gathered a massive army of sharks and is set to wipe out the last group of free sharks?Gray and his friends. How can the free sharks survive, outnumbered and outsharked? Worse, friends are lost and Gray is left to lead?a job for which he feels completely unqualified. There's treachery, assassin Finja, a self-indulgent megalomaniac, loss, clever strategies, child warriors, and characters discovering they have unexpected inner resources. This is a tad confusing with so many players, and the books really need to be read in order to keep track of things. Still, this adventurous series is sure to appeal to adolescent boys who keep asking for something with plenty of action.
CAN'T GET THERE FROM HERE
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers [Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers]
STRASSER, TODD
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
August 23, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
Maybe is a homeless teen trying to survive on the streets of New York City, the only constant in her life being the other homeless teens who are in the same boat as Maybe. A couple deaths occur amongst the group members and Maybe fears that may be her future. A kindly librarian offers clothing and a safe place to warm up, and even helps reunite one of Maybe's friends with family members. Todd Strasser delivers a no-holds-barred look at life on the street through the eyes of a girl whose immediate goals are simply to find food and shelter. Outstanding!
Wanda's Freckles
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Azore, Barbara
Graham, Georgia
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 23, 2012
Bateman, Teresa
Wanda is a curly-topped redhead. When a boy at school teases her about her freckles she tries various ways of eliminating or hiding them, to no avail. A little old lady, however, gives her good advice about accepting herself and ignoring the boys and she goes to bed to dream of the boys with big red splotches on their faces. The text is a little long, but the vivid illustrations with a 3-D flair are certainly eye-catching. And the message of being true to yourself is always a good one.
Wanda and the Wild Hair
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Azore, Barbara
Graham, Georgia
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 23, 2012
Bateman, Teresa
Wanda is a curly-topped redhead who allows her wild locks to get a bit out of control. Soon odds and ends are caught up in her hair and finally she must reluctantly go to the hairdresser. After much clipping and straightening she has a cute little haircut. However she's just waiting for it to grow back to its former tangle. The text is a little long-winded, but the illustrations are extremely eye-catching with bright colors and fun details. Other curly-haired kids will probably appreciate the situation.
TRANSFORMERS : DARK OF THE MOON : 1
ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
BARBER, JOHN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 23, 2012
Bateman, Teresa
This four-volume set contains the official graphic novel movie adaptation. In this, volume 1, the stage is set for the epic battle. Sam Witwicky, finds himself, and Earth, in danger again as part of Sentinel Prime's ship shows up on our planet. This series features sturdy paper and binding, and exceptional artwork with a very "bosomy" Carly. Each book in the series is only a small part of the story and cannot stand alone. They're not cheap, either. Ultimately school libraries can't afford to pay $100 to buy the set if it will be invalidated with the loss of a single book. Libraries with larger budgets can splurge and will find ready readership, however.
TRANSFORMERS : DARK OF THE MOON : RISING STORM : 1
ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
BARBER, JOHN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 23, 2012
Bateman, Teresa
In this four-volume graphic novel set we have the prequel to the movie "Transformers: Dark of the Moon." Megatron has come to Earth. The Autobots must unite against him and Starscream. Naturally there are mammoth battles, and of course Megatron has schemes within schemes. Sam is in danger, and so are his friends. This is the first volume that supposedly sets things up but, frankly, it's a mishmash of hard-to-understand plot elements. The artwork is great, and so is the binding, but this was befuddling. Fans will probably love it. However, these individual volumes cannot stand alone. They're each just a small part of the story. And they're expensive. Most school libraries can't afford $100 for a set that will be invalidated if a single book is lost. Libraries with a larger budget will find these crowd-pleasers, however.
Speak No Evil
Kingfisher [Kingfisher]
Kaye, Marilyn
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 24, 2012
Haines, Hazel
Marilyn Kaye is most noted for her earlier work Penelope that was made into a movie starring Christina Ricci. She knows how to write for the middle school audiences who are interested in the paranormal. Speak No Evil is the sixth book in her Gifted series, a set of books about some teens who are truly gifted, but not as we normally think of giftedness. Carter Street, the main character in this volume, is a shape shifter who takes on the body of various animals. What a confusing time for a young man! Then he meets with Dr. Paley who helps him through this adolescent challenge. If you have numbers 1 ? 5 of this series or you intend to purchase all 6, then you must buy #6; however, don't start your collection with this one.
Earning
Marshall Cavendish Children's Books [Marshall Cavendish Children's Books]
Fradin, Dennis Brindell
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
August 25, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
Marshall Cavendish's Money Smart series uses color photos, lots of white space and up-to-date facts to teach pre-teens and teens about different uses for money, be that in Borrowing, Earning, Investing, Saving, or Spending (the titles of the five books in the series). This title discusses the first jobs known to man (hunting and gathering), how to choose a job that you don't just like but love, and how to best prepare yourself for the world of work. Text boxes of interesting information have a green background (green, the color of money, get it?) and the glossary includes all the words necessary in what may a child's first book about money. Lists of books and websites with more information will be helpful to today's readers. A solid purchase.
OUR SCHOOL GARDEN!
READERS TO EATERS [READERS TO EATERS]
SWANN, RICK
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 26, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
An explosion of color and highly detailed illustrations done in mixed media, combining collaged papers, stencils, printing and paint, greets readers of this account of a school garden seen through the eyes of a new student. Each two pages pairs a poem with informational text and tells the story of the garden through the seasons starting with the fall harvest and ending with the last day of school. A surprise pulling of a weed that turns out to be a carrot is described in verse and then the text explains that we eat all different parts of plants. Simon, Julie and the narrator plant the three sisters, corn, squash and beans, in a poem followed by the explanation of the traditional Native American companion plantings. The author, a Seattle School librarian, clearly understands how to maintain student's attention through unexpected variety when he inserts a two-page spread using the homonym bank with three different meanings in sentences relating to the garden . Mr. Roberts draws money from our bank account to pay for seed-bank seeds. Let's hope cloud banks bring spring rains, as we're banking on a great growing year! An author's note explains his research into school gardens when his school was reviving an old garden; perhaps one of the 75,000 school gardens in 1906 in the United States. Additional resources, books and web sites, are annotated and provide a good starting point for potential school or home gardeners. As the author is local, this well designed and informative book would make an especially good choice for schools that are planning or already have a vegetable garden.
KANSAS JAYHAWKS
Sportszone [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
SILVERMAN, DREW
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 26, 2012
Tucker, Merrilyn
48 pages of five chapters which include: the history of the college basketball program up to 2010 or 2011, information about its players (many of whom have gone on to NBA stardom), excellent primary photos on about every other page (all with captions), a timeline (with photos), glossary, quick stats, quotes,and index. The books are beautifully laid out with a table of contents, college-banner style chapter numbers, and college colors for the corresponding colleges. The six books in this series are each written by a different author. Some of the authors have backgrounds in sports writing, but others do not (and the writing does not flow as well as the sports writers'.) None of the books mention the basketball players' academic successes. The font is smallish and suited to an intermediate reader. I am not sure of the intended audience for this series, but I am hoping that fifth graders will be interested. They like to read about current players; it will be interesting to see if they go for this college sports history series. Web links available. Very pricey at approximately $30 a book.
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE : FAMOUS ENTERTAINER
BUDDY BOOKS [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
TIECK, SARAH
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 26, 2012
Tucker, Merrilyn
These 32-page biographies include a table of contents, life data from where the stars were born, a description of family, their hard work and successful work today, sidebars, captioned color photos (on every other page), "buzz" about off-stage life (nothing too detailed or gossipy), glossary, related web sites, and an index. The font is large and suited to low or reluctant readers. One or two paragraphs on every other page make the books easy to read and the photos invite the reader in. Well-structured for students who need to write biographies. You will want to check carefully to see which books your readers want as the price is approximately $30 per book. There are about 55 celebrities (from sports and entertainment) covered in this series.
GEORGETOWN HOYAS
Sportszone [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
BASEN, RYAN N
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 26, 2012
Tucker, Merrilyn
48 pages of five chapters which include: the history of the college basketball program up to 2010 or 2011, information about its players (many of whom have gone on to NBA stardom), excellent primary photos on about every other page (all with captions), a timeline (with photos), glossary, quick stats, quotes,and index. The books are beautifully laid out with a table of contents, college-banner style chapter numbers, and college colors for the corresponding colleges. The six books in this series are each written by a different author. Some of the authors have backgrounds in sports writing, but others do not (and the writing does not flow as well as the sports writers'.) None of the books mention the basketball players' academic successes. The font is smallish and suited to an intermediate reader. I am not sure of the intended audience for this series, but I am hoping that fifth graders will be interested. They like to read about current players; it will be interesting to see if they go for this college sports history series. Web links available. Very pricey at approximately $30 a book.
DUKE BLUE DEVILS
Sportszone [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
HOWELL, BRIAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 26, 2012
Tucker, Merrilyn
48 pages of five chapters which include: the history of the college basketball program up to 2010 or 2011, information about its players (many of whom have gone on to NBA stardom), excellent primary photos on about every other page (all with captions), a timeline (with photos), glossary, quick stats, quotes,and index. The books are beautifully laid out with a table of contents, college-banner style chapter numbers, and college colors for the corresponding colleges. The six books in this series are each written by a different author. Some of the authors have backgrounds in sports writing, but others do not (and the writing does not flow as well as the sports writers'.) None of the books mention the basketball players' academic successes. The font is smallish and suited to an intermediate reader. I am not sure of the intended audience for this series, but I am hoping that fifth graders will be interested. They like to read about current players; it will be interesting to see if they go for this college sports history series. Web links available. Very pricey at approximately $30 a book.
KENTUCKY WILDCATS
Sportszone [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
HOWELL, BRIAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 26, 2012
Tucker, Merrilyn
These 32-page biographies include a table of contents, life data from where the stars were born, a description of family, their hard work and successful work today, sidebars, captioned color photos (on every other page), "buzz" about off-stage life (nothing too detailed or gossipy), glossary, related web sites, and an index. The font is large and suited to low or reluctant readers. One or two paragraphs on every other page make the books easy to read and the photos invite the reader in. Well-structured for students who need to write biographies. You will want to check carefully to see which books your readers want as the price is approximately $30 per book. There are about 55 celebrities (from sports and entertainment) covered in this series.
CONNECTICUT HUSKIES
Sportszone [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
GITLIN, MARTY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 26, 2012
Tucker, Merrilyn
48 pages of five chapters which include: the history of the college basketball program up to 2010 or 2011, information about its players (many of whom have gone on to NBA stardom), excellent primary photos on about every other page (all with captions), a timeline (with photos), glossary, quick stats, quotes,and index. The books are beautifully laid out with a table of contents, college-banner style chapter numbers, and college colors for the corresponding colleges. The six books in this series are each written by a different author. Some of the authors have backgrounds in sports writing, but others do not (and the writing does not flow as well as the sports writers'.) None of the books mention the basketball players' academic successes. The font is smallish and suited to an intermediate reader. I am not sure of the intended audience for this series, but I am hoping that fifth graders will be interested. They like to read about current players; it will be interesting to see if they go for this college sports history series. Web links available. Very pricey at approximately $30 a book.
JENNIFER LOPEZ : FAMOUS ENTERTAINER
BUDDY BOOKS [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
TIECK, SARAH
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 26, 2012
Tucker, Merrilyn
These 32-page biographies include a table of contents, life data from where the stars were born, a description of family, their hard work and successful work today, sidebars, captioned color photos (on every other page), "buzz" about off-stage life (nothing too detailed or gossipy), glossary, related web sites, and an index. The font is large and suited to low or reluctant readers. One or two paragraphs on every other page make the books easy to read and the photos invite the reader in. Well-structured for students who need to write biographies. You will want to check carefully to see which books your readers want as the price is approximately $30 per book. There are about 55 celebrities (from sports and entertainment) covered in this series.
NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS
Sportszone [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
MONNIG, ALEX
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 26, 2012
Tucker, Merrilyn
48 pages of five chapters which include: the history of the college basketball program up to 2010 or 2011, information about its players (many of whom have gone on to NBA stardom), excellent primary photos on about every other page (all with captions), a timeline (with photos), glossary, quick stats, quotes,and index. The books are beautifully laid out with a table of contents, college-banner style chapter numbers, and college colors for the corresponding colleges. The six books in this series are each written by a different author. Some of the authors have backgrounds in sports writing, but others do not (and the writing does not flow as well as the sports writers'.) None of the books mention the basketball players' academic successes. The font is smallish and suited to an intermediate reader. I am not sure of the intended audience for this series, but I am hoping that fifth graders will be interested. They like to read about current players; it will be interesting to see if they go for this college sports history series. Web links available. Very pricey at approximately $30 a book.
BRUNO MARS : POPULAR SINGER & SONGWRITER
BUDDY BOOKS [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
TIECK, SARAH
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 26, 2012
Tucker, Merrilyn
These 32-page biographies include a table of contents, life data from where the stars were born, a description of family, their hard work and successful work today, sidebars, captioned color photos (on every other page), "buzz" about off-stage life (nothing too detailed or gossipy), glossary, related web sites, and an index. The font is large and suited to low or reluctant readers. One or two paragraphs on every other page make the books easy to read and the photos invite the reader in. Well-structured for students who need to write biographies. You will want to check carefully to see which books your readers want as the price is approximately $30 per book. There are about 55 celebrities (from sports and entertainment) covered in this series.
MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
Sportszone [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
ROSELIUS, J CHRIS
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 26, 2012
Tucker, Merrilyn
48 pages of five chapters which include: the history of the college basketball program up to 2010 or 2011, information about its players (many of whom have gone on to NBA stardom), excellent primary photos on about every other page (all with captions), a timeline (with photos), glossary, quick stats, quotes,and index. The books are beautifully laid out with a table of contents, college-banner style chapter numbers, and college colors for the corresponding colleges. The six books in this series are each written by a different author. Some of the authors have backgrounds in sports writing, but others do not (and the writing does not flow as well as the sports writers'.) None of the books mention the basketball players' academic successes. The font is smallish and suited to an intermediate reader. I am not sure of the intended audience for this series, but I am hoping that fifth graders will be interested. They like to read about current players; it will be interesting to see if they go for this college sports history series. Web links available. Very pricey at approximately $30 a book.
SCOTTY MCCREERY : AMERICAN IDOL WINNER
BUDDY BOOKS [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
TIECK, SARAH
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 26, 2012
Tucker, Merrilyn
These 32-page biographies include a table of contents, life data from where the stars were born, a description of family, their hard work and successful work today, sidebars, captioned color photos (on every other page), "buzz" about off-stage life (nothing too detailed or gossipy), glossary, related web sites, and an index. The font is large and suited to low or reluctant readers. One or two paragraphs on every other page make the books easy to read and the photos invite the reader in. Well-structured for students who need to write biographies. You will want to check carefully to see which books your readers want as the price is approximately $30 per book. There are about 55 celebrities (from sports and entertainment) covered in this series.
Finnikin of the Rock
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
Marchetta, Melina
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
August 27, 2012
Tucker, Merrilyn
Finnikin is from an area called The Rock in his homeland of Lumatere. When Finnikin was a child, Lumatere was defeated in an ambush attack and subsequently taken over by an imposter king. The ambush had been brutal, soldiers killing thousands of native people and leaving others scared for their lives. Ten years on, Finnikin is wandering neighboring countries with the King's Man, Sir Tosh. They take on a young woman named Evanjalin also from Lumatere. Eventually they all run into Trevanion, Finnikin's father, who is the head of the King's Guard. Together, along with other homeless Lumatereans they encounter along the way, they find their way back to Lumatere where many surprises unfold. Themes of betrayal, loyalty, love, friendship star in this novel. I was reminded of displaced groups of people throughout the world and time as I read of Finnikin's journey back to his home. Although no time period is given, it seems like the story is meant to be set in the middle ages or earlier, although the people are pretty enlightened. Great discussions could be woven around this story should it be used as a book club or class selection. This is a fantastic, well-written, well-structured, "believable" story. There are two other books in the Lumatere Chronicles, and I only wish they were appropriate for elementary school. The casual references to sex, however, are too mature for my average sixth grader.
Leopold & Silkie: One Boy's Quest to Save the Seal Pups
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [MACMILLAN]
Peterson, Brenda
Lindsey, Robin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 28, 2012
Tucker, Merrilyn
Adorable and educational are two words to describe this essential non-fiction book for your elementary library. The narrative follows a six-year-old boy who finds a Harbor Seal pup napping on a PNW (Alki) beach. It turns out that he is part of a group of concerned citizens, adults and children alike, called Seal Sitters. He informs the interested onlookers who have gathered around the pup that they could endanger the animal unless they follow certain guidelines. The boy, Miles, and his grandfather build a floating dock that Leopard and his mother use for resting. After Leopard's mother leaves/weans him, Silkie, an older Harbor Seal, shows up, helps Leopard learn the ropes of gathering his own food, and they become good friends. The photos on every page are gorgeous and captivating. The message to children about protecting our fragile wildlife is conveyed in a gentle yet convincing manner. I will want to read this to all of my primary classes right away, it is such an endearing true story. Brenda Peterson is the co-founder of Seal Sitters and is also a writer for National Geographic.
ALIEN INVESTIGATION : SEARCHING FOR THE TRUTH ABOUT UFOS AND
Millbrook Press [Millbrook Press]
HALLS, KELLY MILNER
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 28, 2012
Tucker, Merrilyn
I'm still not off the fence about the alien/spaceship issue, but I did appreciate reading facts about famous cases of sightings. Halls has a predilection for researching unusual topics (reference Tale of the Cryptids) and also for presenting her findings in a way that is attractive to kids. This book is a combination of narrative story (a spaceship of aliens(cartoonish drawings) lands on earth and reports what they find) and facts (many, many documented instances of spaceships and aliens (primary documentation) spotted in history). In other words, Hall explains how aliens would react at finding us and how we react at finding or spotting aliens. The format worked for me and I am willing to bet the children will enjoy it, too. The font size of the text is suited for intermediate readers, but the drawings, photos, and other interesting graphics will probably draw in the younger crowd, too. Hall presents both sides of this controversial issue. There is a table of contents and included at the end are a map, glossary, source notes, bibliography, lists of UFO organizations and Festivals, and an index. I don't expect to find this book on my shelf very often. 64 pp. Could be used for a report.
BODY & SOUL
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
KADE, STACEY
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
August 29, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
Back again in the final book of the Ghost and Goth series, Alona and Will continue their sometimes flirty, sometimes harsh verbal jabs. Because Alona is ensconced in Lily's body, she is forced to take time to look at family relationships and think a bit more about her actions. Yes, she can be a Mean Girl but her transformation into someone not thinking only about herself becomes clear in this story. Will has to figure a lot of things out on his own because his Spirit Guide, Alona, is not available to help him; poor boy just does stupid things but does come around in the end. A solid ending to the series.
Kate & Pippin An Unlikely Love Story
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [MACMILLAN]
Springett, Martin
Springett, Isobel
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 29, 2012
Tucker, Merrilyn
This is the true tale of Kate, a Great Dane,who becomes a surrogate mother to Pippin, a fawn who has been abandoned by her mother. Kate and Pippin become as close as a real mother and daughter. When Pippin gets older and heads back to the woods at night, she still returns every day to visit with Kate. Finally, Pippin grows up and stays away longer, returning only for occasional visits. Beautiful, vivid photos grace every page. The photographer, Isobel Springett, is the one whose house Pippin and Kate lived in. Brother Martin is the author of the book. The events of the story take place in Canada. Children will understand this interspecies caring of two animals and I can imagine that this will be springboard to many discussions. I do not believe we can have too many books on our library shelves about loving and caring for nature and wildlife.
Lucky Fools
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Voorhees, Coert
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
August 31, 2012
Gustafson, Chris
Prep school David's parents are sure that Stanford is the best choice for him, but ever since alanding a bit part in a commercial when he was in middle school, David has planned on Julliard and an acting career. Now he's putting all his energy into prepping for his Julliard audition and performing in his final high school play, where intriguing new girl Vanessa is distracting him from long-term girlfriend Ellen. Everything David has ever thought about himself is turned upside down in this clever novel.
MIGHTY MARS ROVERS : THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF SPIRIT AND
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Rusch, Elizabeth
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
August 31, 2012
Gustafson, Chris
Just in time to capitalize on the buzz around the landing of Curiousity, here's an account of the earlier Mars rovers from the always excellent Scientists in the Field series.??An easy-to-follow, interesting narrative, wonderful photos and diagrams.??
1NF1N1TY
CHICKEN HOUSE [SCHOLASTIC]
Ward, Rachel
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
August 31, 2012
Gustafson, Chris
The conclusion to the very creepy?"Numbers" series.??Civilization has collapsed; very pregnant Sarah and Adam are on the run with her toddler, Mia.??According to the numbers in Mia's eyes, she was to have died earlier, but somehow the number predicting her death was switched and she's still alive.??Knowing about the numbers is terrifying enough, but knowing that they may be switched but not understanding how makes Sarah and Adam eager to keep away from the current government leaders who want to exploit what Sarah and Adam know.??It's impossible to know who to trust, and it's all about action here ? multiple kidnappings, separation, and finally childbirth.?A satisfying series closer.
Gold Medal Summer
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [SCHOLASTIC]
Freitas, Donna
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
August 31, 2012
Gustafson, Chris
Joey is almost fourteen and gymnastics is her life.??Older sister Julia won gold at regionals when she was sixteen and then retired; although Joey doesn't think she's as good as Julia, and although her demanding coach Angelo is taking some of the joy out of practice, and although there's a finally a guy who is interested in her, Joey pushes all these distractions aside to do her best her way.??There's not really a lot of suspense here given the title, and the characters are not as intriguing as in the author's previous works, this is a straight-forward story that should find a comfortable following after this summer's Olympics
The Far West
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Wrede, Patricia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
August 31, 2012
Gustafson, Chris
Wrede continues spinning adventures in the delightful alternate U.S. she has created ? part steampunk, part fantasy, part revisionist history.??Eff, the fourteenth child in her family and her twin brother Lan, the 7th?son of a 7th?son, are living on the frontier near the Great Barrier, a screen of magic that follows the Mississippi River (I think) and protects the country from the magical creatures that inhabit the other side.??Lewis and Clark set off the explore those lands years ago and never returned; now another expedition is being formed and both Lan and Eff are invited to join.??Wrede's narrative style is understated and can be a bit laconic, but I love the characters, the action, and the details that so nicely paralleled the scientific work done by the real Lewis and Clark.??Plenty of sly humor for historians.
The Crowfield Demon
Chicken House [Chicken House]
Walsh, Pat
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 31, 2012
Gustafson, Chris
Sequel to?The Crowfield Curse?and reading the first book which introduces the intriguing medieval setting, orphan William who lives with and serves the monks in Crowfield Abbey, and understanding the discovery of the fallen angel buried on church grounds is essential to making sense of the sequel.??It's three months later, and a mysterious force is destroying the chapel, digging out the grout between the bricks and causing it to collapse.??What's found in the rubble triggers the next mystery for William to solve.
ARTEMIS FOWL : THE LAST GUARDIAN
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Colfer, Eoin
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 31, 2012
Gustafson, Chris
This is the final book in the well-loved "Artemis Fowl" series and those who have read the previous books will delight in the reappearance of familiar characters, but it's a poor place to start to get to know the intriguing Artemis.
FAKE MUSTACHE : HOW JODIE O'RODEO AND HER WONDER HORSE (AND
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
ANGLEBERGER, TOM
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 31, 2012
Gustafson, Chris
The third book in the "Origami Yoda" series.??Dwight has transferred to another middle school, taking Origami Yoda with him, so his buddies are at a loss about who to ask for advice.??So when Sarah shows up with Chewbacca, paper fortune-teller she says is from Dwight, Tommy can start writing his case files and the Wookie solves problems large and small.??Better for those who read and liked the first two books in the series.