Reviews for month


Climate Change
Childrens Press [SCHOLASTIC]
Benoit, Peter
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 05, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
Scholastic's True Books are known as solid middle grade non-fiction with broad, introductory content presented in a graphically appealing format. Plentiful photographs, moderately large sized fonts and non-fiction text features aid students in gaining a basic understanding of the differences between weather and climate and the historic and man-made factors contributing to climate change. Ecosystems, drought, methane and other basic terminology are written in bold and defined by context as well as in the glossary. What makes this book on climate change so useful is its clarity in explaining the cause and result relationship between factors like the rise in average temperatures and melting of polar and glacial ice leading to the erosion of land. Photographs of one Alaskan island community losing so much land that it needs to move to the mainland show the potential for catastrophic impact on huge American cities like Miami. Other impacts from global warming discussed include an increase in air and water pollution, temperature extremes with potential stronger storms, habitat and species loss, spread of tropical diseases and invasive species. Suggested helpful actions are the standard recycling, turn off electricity - using devices, walking and bicycling and buying locally produced food. Standard non-fiction features included.
Prince William and Kate: A Royal Romance
Lerner Publishing Group [Lerner Publishing Group]
Doeden, Matt
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 05, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
The British fairytale couple, Prince William & Kate, enthralled millions of Angliophiles and royalty watchers in 2011 as they walked down the aisle in flowing wedding gown and decorative military uniform. The Lerner Gateway Biographies of "interesting people" include a variety of entertainers, political leaders, first ladies, and assorted other well known celebraties who have achieved household name recognition in their sphere of activity. The 48 page library bound book highlights William's childhood and schooling and briefly describes William's parent's marriage, parenthood, divorce procedings and Princess Diana's tragic death. Kate's family was not royalty but became wealthy through their own party business. Many pages are devoted to Kate and William's time at St. Andrew's University in Scotland the subsequent up and down's of their relationship culminating in their engagement and marriage. A timeline, selected notes and additional reading and websites provide background info and one website is devoted strictly to William & Kate with latest photo and news clips. This is clearly a secondary purchase unless you have a large budget or specific curriculum or student needs.
Peru
Lerner Publishing Group [Lerner Publishing Group]
Cavallo, Anna
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 05, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
The Country Explorer series provides a tourist view of each country for younger students. Readers will know they're entering a foreign land from the cover where the flag's colors blend into a stunning photograph of Macchu Picchu. Subsequent pages contain similarly vivid photographs with a short text box of information superimposed on the photo. The various geographical regions of Peru, historical peoples, home life, major industries, languages, food, religious, holidays, education, sports and arts are all briefly mentioned and pictured. Wide purple arrows with white font caption the photographs that include the craggy peaks, Lake Titicaca, wildlife and plants, cities, agricultural areas, tourist sites and everyday people. The writing is short and choppy but does expose younger students to a very different culture and is sure to excite interest in knowing more. A photograph of the famous Ice Maiden is paired with a "pretend" postcard to carry out the tourist theme but to me it seems forced and unnecessary. Fast Facts, a map of the country, description and illustration of the flag, glossary, additional books and 2 excellent websites are also included. This is an acceptable early elementary country series that is elevated by the eye-catching graphic design including dramatic photos and the simple text that still manages to convey the essence of each country as well as stand out information. Scholastic's Exploring Countries series targets the same age group but contains more information and can be used with slightly older students as well.
Anatomy of a Pandemic
CAPSTONE PRESS INC [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
Keyser, Amber J
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 05, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
Capstone's high interest Disaster series, with its attention grabbing graphics, provides a broad introduction to six different types of disasters. The 48 page library bound books are arranged in five chapters with a clever combination of diagrams, charts, and primary source illustrations supplementing the text that is chunked in colorful boxes rather than narrative form. History of pandemics including an etching of Native Americans felled by smallpox and President Roosevelt in his wheelchair, also details unusual curses & cures throughout the centuries. Brief biographies of significant scientists and enlarged diagrams of the microbes responsible for common pandemics provide background, and well-labeled two page diagrams of the human body show symptoms and defenses of these diseases. Common modes of transmission and the ways organizations like the CDC and WHO track and respond to outbreaks are detailed, providing good ideas for further research. The series' quality provides an excellent platform to use as a springboard in further research, but the recommended resources and books are more appropriate for elementary students than for middle school students. What elevates this book is its clarity and breadth of information enhanced by an exciting graphic design suitable for browsing or starting research. Standard non-fiction features are present.
Geometry Smarts
Enslow Publishers [Enslow Publishers]
Caron, Lucille
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 05, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
Not only a reference or teaching book for students, I found the Geometry book to be just the kind of refresher that all ages could use. Clearly written definitions, examples and drawings explain geometrical concepts starting from the basics of points, lines and planes and advancing up to rotations, reflections, areas and volumes of different composite shapes. Two-page spreads are laid out with the topic clearly printed at the top and nicely spaced geometric drawings and math work matched so there is no confusion. Many topics include an appropriate example showing relevance in daily life such as how much carpeting is needed to cover a room, or countertop material for the non-rectangular kitchen counter. The steps are clearly delineated and build sequentially to bolster success. A yellow band at the bottom of each page gives reminders, hints and extensions, providing students just that extra bit of support many need for confidence. This would be a sure winner to have on a parent reference shelf to recommend for those evening homework sessions! Occasional cartoon characters add humor and suggested reading includes online math games. Books in the series range from Addition and Subtraction to Pre-Algebra and Algebra. If these are as well written as Geometry Smarts!, this would be a good series to consider not just purchasing but marketing to teachers and parents as well as students.
Isabella's Garden
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
Millard, Glenda
Cool, Rebecca
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
With an obvious nod to "The House that Jack Built" Isabella's Garden begins to grow, "This is the soil, all dark and deep, in Isabella's garden./These are the seeds that sleep in the soil, all dark and deep, in Isabella's garden." With colorful illustrations and remarkable rhyme the story builds as "These are the flowers that waltz with the wind/that ruffles the buds, all velvety skinned,/that swelled the shoots that sought the sun/ that kissed the clouds that cried the rain/ that soaked the seeds that slept in the soil,/ all dark and deep, in Isabella's garden." Well paired with another cumulative garden rhyme "Jack's Garden" this is a great read-aloud, only slightly diminished by its failure to use more than a single skin-tone to color the children who so obviously delight in Isabella's Garden.
COBRAS
CAPSTONE PRESS INC [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
Kopp, Megan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
Big, scary and deadly cobras get a fact-filled update in this Capstone Edge "Wild About Snakes" title. Well illustrated with clear, descriptive photographs and numerous text features this book will hold elementary readers charmed while spitting out remarkable amounts of information. Table of contents, index, glossary and short suggestions for further reading are far more useful than the "facthound" web links which merely point to other Capstone titles and three websites nowhere as useful as a visit to encylopedia or online resources. Recommended for content, publication quality and undying fascination in this king of poisonous snakes, whose venomous bites still claim tens of thousands of lives each year.
Hayate The Combat Butler: 16
VIZ Media LLC [VIZ Media LLC]
Hata, Kenjiro
Marginal -- Contains so many weaknesses that it might be considered for purchase only as supplementary material in its field or to meet special localized subject needs.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
Jumping into this 16th installment a manga series requires a bit of background. (Thank goodness for Wikipedia!) Hayate is a boy who decides to take a job as a butler instead of being sold as an organ donor by irresponsible and destitute parents. Serving and protecting Nagi Sanzenin, an heiress his age while avoiding the pitfalls of emotions, wealth, and a full range of Japanese comic tribulations including the odd maid-costume fetishes and a duel with "Crooked Mustache" an arch-rival. This kitsch-cute series (16th of 29 volumes to date) has enough teen romantic references to be better suited for middle and high school library manga collections.
GOING APE!
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
BUSTOS, EDUARDO
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
Here are one dozen of the world's most colorful primates introduced in spare, two sentence descriptions of their unique characteristics for budding zoologists. Columbia's Lucho Rodriguez renders mankind's closest relatives in beautifully symmetrical portraits (in a style reminiscent of Charles Harper) which are the highlight of the book, originally released as !Que Monos! and translated here for English speaking audience. Highly recommended for the illustrations alone, and equally valuable as a succinct non-fiction addition to zoology study units in elementary school.
RUMOR
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
RAVISHANKAR, ANUSHKA
Kini, Kanyika
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
Gossip and tall tales are nothing new in the village of Baddbaddpur. When one day ill-tempered Pandurang tells his wife of his surprise at coughing out a feather, it is immediately followed by his plea "Don't tell anyone." "Of course," his good wife replies and of course, she does at the first chance she gets. The feather becomes a bird, becomes a flock, becomes a forest in a way that will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the game of "telephone." Embellishment to the point of hilarity, this charming folktale from India is humorously illustrated by Kanyika Kini in ink and color pencil. It is a delightful addition to multi-cultural folktale collections and a worthwhile tale to retell anytime "he said/ she said" rumors or gossip reappear in your elementary school village.
HERO OF LITTLE STREET
ROARING BROOK PRESS [MACMILLAN]
ROGERS, GREGORY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
Wordless story tells of a London boy chased by bullies, who takes refuge in a the National Gallery. A small dog emerges from a Dutch painting ("Arnolfini Portrait" by Jan van Eyck) and leads the boy into another ("Lady Seated at a Virginal" by Johannes Vermeer) wherein the boy and the dog explore 17th century Delft, Holland. Through a mixture of multiple small panels and large two-page spreads Rogers paints a grand imaginative adventure in this third installment of his "Boy Bear" series that began with two book incorporating Shakespeare's London. Like Raymond Brigg's "The Snowman", this wordless delight is a great springboard for the conversation it allows as well as for its exploration of the paintings by Dutch Masters.
Stop Thief!
ROARING BROOK PRESS [MACMILLAN]
Lane, Adam J.B.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
A cute preschool/bedtime story of Randall a small boy who, having declared to his parents that he was a big boy now who no longer needed booster seat nor his stuffed animal "Mr Pigglesworth." That very night he spies a midnight thief in the act of stealing that very same toy, and running in hot pursuit all around town, Randall shouts "Stop Thief!" once a page through a series of two page spreads that pass through the zoo, a chocolate factory, museum, carnival and nearly end disasterously dangling from a hot air balloon sailing over the city. Fortunately Randall warns the thief at just the right time, saves the day, rescues his piggy and is triumphantly escorted home by the mayor and a parade appreciative civic figures. A fun read aloud with humorous illustrations, but an optional purchase for most school libraries.
The Amazing Harry Kellar: Great American Magician
Calkins Creek/Boyds Mill Press [Calkins Creek/Boyds Mill Press]
Jarrow, Gail
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
Illusionist and travelling showman Harry Kellar mesmerized audiences with his performances from 1865 til 1908. An inspiration and mentor to Houdini, Kellar's magical career is chronicled with dozens of the posters that announced his most famous tricks, photographs and a breezy patter that matches the cadence of magic shows to this day. A well researched, referenced and enchanting glimpse into the world of magic, this is a visually appealing, well written bit of non-fiction. Recommended to those hoping to capture readers' interest in magic and expand their appreciation of magic beyond the tricks and into the history of magical performers.
WAITING FOR ICE
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Markle, Sandra
Marks, Alan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
An orphaned polar bear survives lean summer months until the Arctic pack ice returns and seaborne hunting resumes. Based on the true story of one cub observed on Wrangel Island, the story is filled with accurate information within a compelling storyline that will delight students and teachers looking for well written and illustrated non-fiction for elementary grades. Alan Marks' information-rich and attractive pencil and watercolor illustrations capably depict the blood red reality of this great bear. End notes and resources for further research underscore the threat that global warming bring to the endangered keystone carnivore of the Arctic
Paper House
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Peterson, Lois
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
Life in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya is a world so far removed from the experience of most North American readers that a book like this would might at first glance appear to have set itself with an impossible challenge: "Imagine what it would be like...." According to estimates Kibera is home to some 1 million people. Canadian author Lois Peterson has created a story of a 10-year-old girl Safiyah who lives with her sick grandmother while scrounging magazines from the dump with which she hopes to cover their wood-scrap shanty. As Grandmother's health deteriorates, Safiyah learns to accept the help of others while also coming to create a photo-scrap mosaic depicts her life-story. An excellent story to introduce the global problem of urban poverty while allowing for the strength of human spirit that sometimes is able to transcend conditions of suffering. Empathy is a powerful emotion and tool to kindling social consciousness. This easy-to-read fiction is a wonderful introduction that can be followed by visits to online resources (http://www.kibera.org.uk/Facts.html and http://childrenofkibera.org/ )
FIRST BLOODY BATTLES, THE
Benchmark Books [Benchmark Books]
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
A sturdy and well illustrated guide to early WWII from the German blitzkrieg invasion of Poland in 1939 through the bombing riads on London, the North African campaign, the sea battles in the Atlantic and the attack on Pearl Harbor. The second of a 6 volume series intended for upper-elementary through middle school audience is strongest fin its maps and historical photographs. School Library Journal review noted unnecessary text features, typographic errors and lackluster prose in giving the book only an "additional purchase" rating in a 2010 review. The well bound book does have a one page timeline, 26 title bibliography and brief recommendations for further information in books, websites and film/DVDs making it a serviceable addition for middle school collections needing and able to update print resources.
Henry's Heart
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [MACMILLAN]
Harper, Charise Mericle
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
Basic facts about the human heart told in a humorously presented visual style, full of quips and delivered with a cute puppy! Aw shucks, I mean whose heart doesn't quicken with puppy-love? A very useful cure for more clinical treatments of cardio-vascular health, I could be very useful for early elementary health units; and could be a peppy and popular non-fiction read-aloud.
Kai-Lan's Beach Day
Simon Spotlight/Nickelodeon [SIMON & SCHUSTER]
Testa, Maggie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
A Nic-Jr TV program spin off, this level 1 reader has rebus illustrations for the characters and key nouns reminiscent of Highlights for Children but drawn with bright, cheery Chinese touches. A simple story of "super-fun" at the beach building sand castles for friendly crabs, with a lesson in staying calm provided by kite-flying Yeye (grandfather). Harmless, happy early reader.
CHILDREN'S HOMER : THE ADVENTURES OF ODYSSEUS AND THE TALE O
Aladdin [Aladdin]
COLUM, PADRAIC
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
The Classic's classic. Padraic Colum's 1918 retelling of Homer's epics is an engaging adventure story, a succinct introduction and fast-moving retelling of the Illiad and Odyssey. In these days of eBooks (it's available http://www.bartleby.com/75/ online) and free online audio book (http://archive.org/details/adventuresofodysseus_etk_librivox) there is every reason to keep one or more copies of this Western cultural cornerstone in every school library. If your library is lacking, this paperback edition includes the beautiful original illustrations by Willy Pogany and is an attractive addition to mythology collections. This is the book to should hand students whose appetites are whetted by Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series sampling of Greek mythology.
MAN OVERBOARD!
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
PARKINSON, CURTIS
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
A historical adventure set in 1943, 16 year old Scott is working as a deckhand on a St Lawrence River steamer that takes passengers through the Long Sault Rapids into Old Montreal. Scott overhears a bomb-plot being hatched by a couple of suspicious passengers, and his friend Adam ends up being hostage to Nazi agents as they attempt to block the vital St. Lawrence River locks by detonating a bomb on the Rapids Prince as it passes through the locks. This fast-paced fiction is based on what is loosely known as the Battle of the St. Lawrence, in which Nazi U-boats did attack Eastern Seaboard shipping and inflict damage in Canadian waters during 1942-43. A fast read, easy to recommend to both eager and reluctant readers.
GOOD-BYE HAVANA! HOLA, NEW YORK!
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books [Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books]
Colon, Edie
Colon, Raul
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
This is a lovely, semi-autobiographical picture book that shows 6 year-old Gabriella's transition as her family moves north after the Cuban revolution of 1959. Capturing a child's-eye-view of the experience of being in a new country with a colder climate, in a new school with a new language to learn; this is a valuable addition for building empathy among elementary classmates. The author's experience as an elementary school ESL teacher shines in the details of school life and in the sprinkling of Spanish that honors the bi-cultural experience of many of our students. Raul Colon's warm color-pencil illustrations beautifully capture his wife's childhood experience rendered in this highly recommended book for K-5.
RUMOR
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
RAVISHANKAR, ANUSHKA
Kini, Kanyika
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
Gossip and tall tales are nothing new in the village of Baddbaddpur. When one day ill-tempered Pandurang tells his wife of his surprise at coughing out a feather, it is immediately followed by his plea "Don't tell anyone." "Of course," his good wife replies and of course, she does at the first chance she gets. The feather becomes a bird, becomes a flock, becomes a forest in a way that will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the game of "telephone." Embellishment to the point of hilarity, this charming folktale from India is humorously illustrated by Kanyika Kini in ink and color pencil. It is a delightful addition to multi-cultural folktale collections and a worthwhile tale to retell anytime "he said/ she said" rumors or gossip reappear in your elementary school village.
TO THE PILLAR OF WIND
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
YOYO
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
Rescuing the Pillar of Wind from (evil) General Uro is the last hope for the Turtle Realm in this manga fantasy. Just when the world is being swallowed by darkness three skateboarding, rock band teens unleash their powers as Blue Star warriors, and they set out to rescue Mel, their lead vocalist and captive of General Uro's prison by leading separate groups with powerful guardian creatures. School library-safe with plenty to make this series popular with boys and girls looking for action. A surprise ending leaves room for further for the next installment, which seem to appear every six months, as if by supernatural magic!
ADVENTURES OF MAN SPONGE AND BOY PATRICK IN E.V.I.L. VS
Simon Spotlight/Nickelodeon [SIMON & SCHUSTER]
DAVID, ERICA
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
SpongeBob Squarepants faces off against the forces of -E.V.I.L. (Every Villain is Lemons) to defeat Barnacleboy, Man Ray and the Dirty Bubble in this ludicrous undersea adventure. This highly illustrated early chapter book might capture plenty of TV fans of the Nickelodeon series, but no-one will mistake the plot as anything but a hilarious romp a la "Captain Underpants." Kids will enjoy the breezy series, and therein lies its value; only as long as the show holds onto its audience.
BECOMING THE WOLF
EERDMAN'S BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [EERDMAN'S BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
WEGENAST, BETTINA
Busshoff, Katharina
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
Here's an offbeat variation on the big bad wolf: the previous wolf died and dwarfs at the job center have advertised for a replacement. Karl, a rather unorthodox and ambitious sheep, decides to apply for the job and (seeing how there are no other applicants) is quickly on-the-job as a sheep in wolf's clothing. Variant folk tales enliven library and classroom read-alouds, but much of the humor of this one will fly over the heads of anyone under 10. That said, charming illustrations by Katharina Busshoff and humorous concept make it a fun read that will appeal to older elementary students who are still not too old...and for adults looking for a solid tongue-in-cheek read-aloud experience.
MATATU
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
WALTERS, ERIC
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
A Kenyan grandfather tells a little folktale during a boy's first ride to market in a public bus or "matatu." Noticing how goats flee the approaching vehicle while dogs bark and sheep seem to ignore all the fuss, grandfather's humorous tale explains why this is so. Humorous storytelling and bright watercolors help pass the journey while pointing out numerous regional highlights along the way. A fine read-aloud or addition to contemporary folklore of East Africa appropriate for K-4rd grade audiences.
Paper House
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Peterson, Lois
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
Life in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya is a world so far removed from the experience of most North American readers that a book like this would might at first glance appear to have set itself with an impossible challenge: "Imagine what it would be like...." According to estimates Kibera is home to some 1 million people. Canadian author Lois Peterson has created a story of a 10-year-old girl Safiyah who lives with her sick grandmother while scrounging magazines from the dump with which she hopes to cover their wood-scrap shanty. As Grandmother's health deteriorates, Safiyah learns to accept the help of others while also coming to create a photo-scrap mosaic depicts her life-story. An excellent story to introduce the global problem of urban poverty while allowing for the strength of human spirit that sometimes is able to transcend conditions of suffering. Empathy is a powerful emotion and tool to kindling social consciousness. This easy-to-read fiction is a wonderful introduction that can be followed by visits to online resources (http://www.kibera.org.uk/Facts.html and http://childrenofkibera.org/ )
Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage
ATHENEUM BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [ATHENEUM BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Katz, William Loren
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
This 25th anniversary re-issue the story of "missing stories" of American History updates the shared history of African Americans and Native Americans. From the very beginning of exploration and colonization of North and South America, people of African descent have found refuge and support among Native Americans that led to intermarriage and shared in resistance to the oppressive conditions of colonial and racist government policies. Extensive research and photographic evidence is presented in readable narrative that encourages readers to re-think history, with bibliographic resources and author website http://williamlkatz.com giving ample opportunities to pursue re-discovery of the blended history of people of color in the Americas. A highly recommended anti-bias social studies resource which fits nicely on the shelf alongside Zinn's Peoples' History of the United States.
ROBOT ZOMBIE FRANKENSTEIN!
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
SIMON, ANNETTE
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
Can you top this? Two bold, bright, geometrical robots get into a Robot smackdown, with ever increasingly humorous tit-for-tat competition to see which can top the other. Adding one attribute at a time, (eg: Robot: Robot zombie: Robot zombie Frankenstein: Robot zombie Frankenstein Pirate!) this is a read-aloud romp, complete with gear-grinding dialog "Arr, a scallywag!" that resolves to robot buddies with the unlikely introduction of a cherry pie and a fork. Whimsical content and great geometrical art combine to make this a great springboard to art collage or simple drawing "battles" waaaaaaaaaaaay more fun than Pokemon cards!
WHO CUT THE CHEESE?
Aladdin [Aladdin]
NESBO, JO
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
Ho, ho boy! Fans of Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder and Bubble in the Bathtub will beat down the library doors for this 3rd installment of Nilly, Lisa and their inventor-neighbor Doctor Proctor. With slightly more text than a typical "Captain Underpants" adventure, but with much the same zany humorous style, this highly popular Norweigan author hits the funny bone just right. Aliens (Moon chameleons to be exact) are launching a plot to take over Norway (and the World!)and consume humanity via a dastardly huge waffle iron. Everyone in Norway, save for Nilly, Lisa, Dr. Proctor and a Gregory-the-frog/man/hiccuping teacher and Mrs. Strobe have been hypnotized by a Moon Chameleon disguised as choir director Hallvard Tenorsen on a televised Choral Smackdown. More fun than an Oslo sewer full of frogs and one giant anaconda; which is (spoiler alert where and how the final triumph takes place. Clever line drawings by Mike Lowery accompany the madcap adventure perfectly.
TO THE PILLAR OF WIND
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
YOYO
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
Rescuing the Pillar of Wind from (evil) General Uro is the last hope for the Turtle Realm in this manga fantasy. Just when the world is being swallowed by darkness three skateboarding, rock band teens unleash their powers as Blue Star warriors, and they set out to rescue Mel, their lead vocalist and captive of General Uro's prison by leading separate groups with powerful guardian creatures. School library-safe with plenty to make this series popular with boys and girls looking for action. A surprise ending leaves room for further for the next installment, which seem to appear every six months, as if by supernatural magic!
CHILDREN'S HOMER : THE ADVENTURES OF ODYSSEUS AND THE TALE O
Aladdin [Aladdin]
COLUM, PADRAIC
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 06, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
The Classic's classic. Padraic Colum's 1918 retelling of Homer's epics is an engaging adventure story, a succinct introduction and fast-moving retelling of the Illiad and Odyssey. In these days of eBooks (it's available http://www.bartleby.com/75/ online) and free online audio book (http://archive.org/details/adventuresofodysseus_etk_librivox) there is every reason to keep one or more copies of this Western cultural cornerstone in every school library. If your library is lacking, this paperback edition includes the beautiful original illustrations by Willy Pogany and is an attractive addition to mythology collections. This is the book to should hand students whose appetites are whetted by Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series sampling of Greek mythology.
ZEBRAS
BUDDY BOOKS [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
MURRAY, JULIE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 06, 2012
Turpin, Sharon
See review for Hippopotamuses by same author. Mountain, plains and Grevy's zebras are discussed.
Crocodile Vs. Wildebeest
HEINEMANN RAINTREE LIBRARY [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
Meinking, Mary
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 06, 2012
Turpin, Sharon
One of Raintree's Predator Vs. Prey series, this 32-page book dramatically depicts the battle between two animals in the wild, the crocodile with crushing jaws and teeth vs. the hooves of the wildebeest. Each animal is introduced with its strengths, several statistics, & locale. The crocodile and wildebeest both use a team approach in a final kill. Here, a crocodile watches for a young or older wildebeest as a group crosses the water. It stealthily approaches its target underwater and strikes viciously. In a life and death struggle the wildebeest tries ineffectively to use its horns as the crocodile tries to drown it first. Other crocodiles come in for the kill and the young reader is not spared a gory scene or two. In four out of five attempts a crocodile is successful in catching its prey. The final fact is that 200 people are eaten each year by Nile crocodiles. A glossary defines the nine bold words followed by further references (four books and two websites) plus an index. The medium sized font makes this accessible to the second and third grade readers and younger as a read aloud. This could be useful as a model for compare and contrast. Other titles in the series include Dophin Vs. Fish, Lion Vs. Gazelle, Owl Vs. Mouse, Polar Bear Vs. Seal, Shark Vs. Penguin, Tarantula Vs. Bird, and Wolf Vs. Elk.
Open Wide!
Early Light Books [Early Light Books]
Ham, Catherine
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 06, 2012
Turpin, Sharon
Subtitled "A Look Inside Animal Mouths" this 32-page book features photos of animals with their mouths open wide accompanied by rhyming text that goes beyond this. Graphically the format is very clean and pleasing with the animals name across the top corner of the page i.e. Lion Cub Mouths in white type on the main color accent of that page. In more pastel tones is the all caps with exclamation point title i.e. NAP TIME! Then follow varying amounts of rhyming text that somehow relate to the open mouth, but may explain what and how the animal eats, how it plays, avoids predators, or other distinguishing facts. Hence there's a mixed bag in the style of the rhymes, but the overall information is worthwhile. The obvious strong point of this book is the clear, crisp and intriguing photos. Sometimes smaller pictures are added to give a different or additional perspective. The last two pages contain 10 more animal mouths with labels. The index contains the 24 featured animals and the classes along with the 10 on the last two pages and the 2 only in photos on the index page. The usual mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and birds are included as well many unusual animals such as a grouper, eel, lemur, or seagull.
The Camping Trip that Changed America
DIAL [DIAL]
Rosenstock, Barb
Gerstein, Mordecai
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 06, 2012
Turpin, Sharon
This very accessible picture book will inform children about President Teddy Roosevelt's encounter with naturalist and environmentalist John Muir during a 4-day camping trip in Yosemite Wilderness in 1903. After reading one of Muir's books Roosevelt writes him to request a camping trip void of politics and others while he's visiting the Western US. Muir accommodates him and together they experience the wonders of the Giant Sequoias, sleeping under the stars and waking up to a snowstorm, plus the magnificent land formations. Muir is persuasive in his concern that if left unabated the industry of ranchers, miners, and developers will devastate these mountain forests within 10 years. Thus Roosevelt becomes a proponent of setting aside such wilderness areas that must be protected for use by all. The dialogue is based on letters and reportings at that time, which is clarified in the Author's note along with her sources. Mordicai Gerstein's illustrations fit the story and personalities of these men and their momentous trip. This story is worthy of being read to all elementary children.
From Chalkboards to Computers: How Schools Have Changed
Lightning Bolt Books [Lerner Publishing Group]
Boothroyd, Jennifer
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 06, 2012
Turpin, Sharon
This Lightning Bolt book comparing things that have changed from the past to present will not jump into students' hands, and, though interesting, could have been better. After an introductory two pages/paragraphs of large type the book contains three chapters--"Around the School", "School Tools" and "Ways to Learn" mostly contrasting how things have changed. The format is easy to follow as the left page has the past with a black and white photo and a color photo on the right page of the present. The text on these pages usually begins, "In the past?" and "These days" for clarity. Some of the comparisons seem oversimplified or not worth pointing out such as calling a cafeteria a lunchroom now or that history and geography are now called social studies. Because students know the present schools, some didn't find this topic that exciting though there are those who like to learn about the past. Two pages at the end are dedicated to famous people school children should know such as the person who created The Oregon Trail computer game, which children are no longer familiar with; President Truman, who began the school lunch program; the inventors of Crayola crayons, and Dr. Seuss. The book concludes with a glossary, further references plus index. This can work for modeling a Venn diagram, and the concept is good. Perhaps the others in the series are better. These include From Assembly Lines to Home Offices: How Work Has Changed, From Marbles to Video Games: How Toys Have Changed, From the Model T to Hybrid Cars: How Transportation Has Changed, From Typewriters to Text Messages: How Communication Has Changed, and From Washboards to Washing Machines: How Homes Have Changed.
HIPPOPOTAMUSES
BUDDY BOOKS [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
MURRAY, JULIE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 06, 2012
Turpin, Sharon
This 32-page ABDO's Big Buddy Books starts with its decent sized table of contents and then introduces the animal that in the wild is only found in Africa. In the three books reviewed here, all follow a similar format, but adjust to the individual animal well. Thus the order is almost the same, some pages are very similar, but Julie Murray does her research and keeps up with the quality nonfiction she is known for. The animal's territory comes next including a map of Africa delineating the range. After a brief overview of the people and languages of the continent, the chapters then delve into more detail on the specific creature. Both river and pygmy hippos are explored. Distinguishing physical features, food, social life, babies and surviving round out the topics. All books end with a page entitled "Masalala! I'll bet you never knew?" with 3 more interesting factoids opposite the glossary and ABSO website. The medium sized text throughout making it most appropriate for grades 2-3 though all of the clear photographs have captions of smaller size that extend the text. Fact boxes also contain a paragraph of even smaller text labeled "Uncovered!" with a torn-page graphic. Of course there's an index. This again is excellent, inviting nonfiction for those libraries that need to spruce up their animal section. Others in the series include Zebras, Giraffes, Cheetahs, Elephants and Lions.
GIRAFFES
BUDDY BOOKS [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
MURRAY, JULIE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 06, 2012
Turpin, Sharon
See review for Hippopotamuses by same author. Intriguing details and some captivating photos.
CAPTAIN AWESOME VS. NACHO CHEESE MAN
Little Simon [SIMON & SCHUSTER]
KIRBY, STAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 06, 2012
Turpin, Sharon
In the second installment of this new series for transitional readers, Eugene AKA Captain Awesome has a falling out with Charlie, AKA Nacho Cheese Man when he mistakenly thinks Charlie's stolen his latest Super Dude comic.
CAPTAIN AWESOME TO THE RESCUE!
Little Simon [SIMON & SCHUSTER]
KIRBY, STAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 06, 2012
Turpin, Sharon
This first title in a new series of transitional chapter books for the primary set, and, perhaps, mostly boys will appeal to students who want to read Captain Underpants, but need an easier reading level with larger, less intimidating font plus all of the dramatic cartoon drawings and sound effects of a comic. Second grader Eugene has just moved to a new school. His alter ego, Captain Awesome, helps give him the confidence to withstand his toddler sister AKA Queen Stinkypants plus the daunting experience of a new classroom. His teacher, trying to make him feel welcome, assigns him the care of the class hamster, much to the annoyance of classmate Meredith. He finds a ready friend in schoolmate Charlie, who also worships Super Dude of comic fame, and has his own secret superhero identity Nacho Cheese Man. When the class hamster goes missing, Eugene sleuths it out (not too difficult to discern?you guessed it--Meredith!), and he and Charlie set up a plan to disclose the scheme via Captain Awesome. This didn't do much for this adult reader as it was a bit choppy between chapters with a pretty standard plot, but it was positively reviewed in all of the review journals. Number 2 Captain Awesome vs. Nacho Cheese Man is already published and reviewed here. Watch for #3 Captain Awesome and the New Kid and #4 Captain Awesome Takes a Dive.
Ocean
Kingfisher [Kingfisher]
Callery, Sean
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 06, 2012
Turpin, Sharon
"Discover Earth's Ecosystems" adorns the cover and is an accurate advertisement. Though a bit long as a read aloud for first graders, it works well with second graders or students interested in the food chain. After the detailed table of contents the two-page introduction displays a map of the continents and oceans. Challenging content here gives an overview of a 4-part food chain?defining producers, primary consumer, secondary consumers and the top of the chain. The body is divided by ocean?Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic with life cycles charts of 11 sea creatures. Along each left hand page is a list of these, with the featured creature circled, and within the ocean's color with its place in that food chain. The Indian Ocean begins with coral, moves to crown-of-thorns starfish, then puffer fish, with the top this chain the tiger shark. Arrows and numbers clearly depict the life cycle with a paragraph of larger type introduction. Factoid box, small photo and small text round out a spread. Concluding the book is a 2-page chart with arrows of silhouetted animals in an Atlantic food web. This worked well to photo copy and have students fill in the blanks for animals they recall. A detailed glossary plus websites precede the detailed index. This is top quality nonfiction for elementary students with excellent information, stunning photos and graphics plus quality paper and binding at an affordable price. Hopefully the others in the Life Cyle series are as good--Grassland, Polar Lands, and Rainforest.
Displacement
VIKING JUVENILE [PENGUIN]
Chaltas, Thalia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 06, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
Seventeen-year-old Vera leaves home in search of peace following the death of her younger sister, Amy. Her love of geology leads her to a small desert town where she meets the few folks who remain there including Lon, a half-Hopi man who piques her interest. Finding a box of unused postcards, she frequently selects one to be addressed to her absentee mother, whom she called "The Moth;" the postcards are not sent. Emotional trauma is a big point in this novel in verse as Vera refuses to contact Carole despite numerous phone messages and she thinks she sees Amy numerous times in the town. Some language might be problematic to younger teens.
SUGAR PLUM BALLERINAS : DANCING DIVA
JUMP AT THE SUN [JUMP AT THE SUN]
GOLDBERG, WHOOPI
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 08, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
This sweet book is the sixth and final installment of Whoopi Goldberg's series about three young dancers in multicultural New York. here the girls have a chance to try out for a performance role with the Harlem Ballet, a "real, professional dance company" alongside (gulp!) Linc Simmons! Puerto Rican/Italian/American ballerina Epatha gets a role actually dancing with the world-class lead dancer, but in hoping to expressively embellish the choreography and in the process looses the lead role and learns a few lessons about self-discipline and friendship. Illustrations by Maryan Roos are sprinkled throughout to enliven this 150 page early-chapter book . An thoroughly enjoyable confection for 2-4th grade girls interested in dance from Disney/Jump At The Sun publishing. F&P Guided Reading Level T.
Scholastic Pocket Dictionary of Synonyms, Antonyms, & Homonyms
Scholastic Reference [Scholastic Reference]
Scholastic
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 08, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
Scholastic continues to provide high-quality reference sources at affordable prices. This paperback, revised in 2012, offers a pleasing colorful cover that includes photos of the new Children's Dictionary and Pocket Dictionary on the back. The introduction includes information on what synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms are and where to find them in the book; my experience with students is that they rarely read an introduction, particularly one in a reference book, so descriptions or definitions might better be placed at the beginning of the synonym/antonym and homonym sections. The use of color to make each word (synonym/antonym/homonym) stand out will certainly be helpful to users. A bonus section at the end of the book list "The Parts of Speech" and includes types of nouns, verbs, advjectives, adverbs, prepositions, pronouns, conjunctions, and interjections and how to use them. A solid purchase. Highly recommended.
LOOKING AT LINCOLN
NANCY PAULSEN BOOKS [NANCY PAULSEN BOOKS]
KALMAN, MAIRA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 08, 2012
Seasholes, Craig L
Illustrator, author and designer Maira Kalman's Looking at Lincoln brings a bright, fresh perspective to the life of our 16th president. Kalman's signature New Yorker-ish style is evident in bright pink blue illustrations unlike anything ever employed in the 16,000 books written about Honest Abe. Her brief commentary on select details of Lincoln's life are conversational and breezy, but references and endnotes show that she is well informed and aware of the responsibility an author brings to presenting this pivotal figure in American history. Lushishly imagined birthday cakes and gorgeous cherry blossoms brighten a too-often somber subject, while simultaneously including essential details of Lincoln's life and importance make the book a unique treatment well worth adding to elementary library collections looking to make non-fiction and biography fresh for students.
LIONS OF LITTLE ROCK
PUTNAM PUBLISHING (JUVENILE) [PUTNAM PUBLISHING (JUVENILE)]
LEVINE, KRISTIN
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 08, 2012
Wittmann, Paula
Set during 1957-1958 school year in Little Rock, Arkansas, this book highlights the year after the "Little Rock Nine" began desegregating the cities high schools with protection from the National Guard. During this year the school board voted to close all the cities high schools to avoid desegregation. Marlee, a selective mute, is not looking forward to starting middle school where the teachers don't know her. However, things don't go as badly as she thought. Her math teacher sees her strength in the subject and encourages her to try Algebra. Best of all she finds a friend who likes her for herself and encourages her to grow and try new things. At home, however, things are not good. Her brother is living at the university. Her older sister is sent to her grandmother's house to attend school when the city's high schools are closed. When Liz, her new friend, disappears Marlee finds out that she was a black passing for white in a segregated school. However, Marlee is not willing to give up the friendship and this draws her out of her shell as she joins a group working to reopen the high schools. Students will enjoy the character of Marlee who finds courage to face her fears and stand up for what she believes in. This would be an excellent addition to units on the Civil Rights Movement.
OH NO, GEORGE!
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
HAUGHTON, CHRIS
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 08, 2012
Wittmann, Paula
George, an appealing dog in shades of magenta and orange, wants to be good. However, he is not good at resisting a temptation. He eats a cake, chases the cat, and digs in the flowerbed. When his owner, Harry, a little green man, comes home he is disappointed in George who in turn feels that familiar dog guilt. Later when they go for a walk George is strong, he doesn't do the same things even if the temptation is there. But then George sees a trash can, will he be able to resist? Appealing pictures loveable characters and a question and answer format invite participation will make this a popular pick for story time both in a group and individual setting.
ALICE-MIRANDA ON VACATION
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE]
HARVEY, JACQUELINE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 08, 2012
Wittmann, Paula
Alice-Miranda is not your average 7 year old. She likes to take responsibility and figure things out on her own. She also looks for the best in others. In this, her second book, Alice-Miranda is on vacation from her girls boarding school. She has invited, Jacinta, a friend with uninvolved parents to stay with her on her families estate. While visiting friends on foot and on horseback Alice-Miranda discovers there are secrets both good and bad. As she and her friends uncover party secrets, paternity secrets, and secrets involving theft and the accidental kidnapping of the Queen, Alice-Miranda and her friends have a grand vacation. Though the character is young she doesn't act like it so young and older readers (probably all girls) should enjoy the irrepressible Alice-Miranda.
CLOUD SPINNER
Knopf Books for Young Readers [RANDOM HOUSE]
CATCHPOOL, MICHAEL
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 08, 2012
Wittmann, Paula
A boy has been taught by his mother how to spin and weave clouds. By taking the colors of sunrise and sunset and the white of the daytime clouds he is able to create wonderful cloth. He also has learned that the cloth is precious and, "Enough is enough and not one stitch more." When the king sees the boys scarf he wants one too. When he receives the scarf, the king wants more, and though the boy tries to refuse he is ordered to make them. As the boy spins the clouds they disappear and so does the rain. It takes the princess to realize what has happened and she gathers the clothes and returns them to the boy and together they release the clouds which bring the rain. Allison Jay's distinctive and magical illustrations filled with visual treasures suit the story perfectly. This book stands well alone, but also would be a good discussion starter on choices and consequences.
Paiute Princess: The Story of Sarah Winnemucca
FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX (BYR) [MACMILLAN]
Ray, Deborah Kogan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 08, 2012
Wittmann, Paula
Sarah Winnemucca's life took place during a transformation of her people's way of life. She was born in 1844 into the Northern Paiute tribe of Nevada. As a child her grandfather, the band's chief, had her live and attend school with a white family in California and her gift for language made her fluent and articulate in both languages. She served as a translator and advocate for her tribe, however, like so many tribes they were treated harshly and forced to move from one reservation to another. When Sarah felt she could not advocate from where her tribe was living she went east writing essays, giving interviews, and giving speeches on stage. Eventually, her hard work at least allowed her people to move back to their homeland in Nevada. Sarah went on to open a school that taught both the ways of the white people and honored the Paiute way of life. Unfortunately, because of her close work with the white people, including working as an interpreter for the army, many of the Paiute did not trust her motives. However, her work won them over and the school became very successful. This long picture biography does an excellent job portraying the difficult circumstances of many tribes during the 19th and 20th century, and showing Sarah's strength, resilience, and tenacity. Ray's illustration suit the text well and add to the book. Sarah's own words, from her published autobiography are interspersed throughout the text. The book also includes additional notes, maps, a timeline, and bibliography.
LADY HAHN AND HER SEVEN FRIENDS
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [MACMILLAN]
HEO, YUMI
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 08, 2012
Wittmann, Paula
Lady Hahn is a seamstress. She has seven talking tools who help her with her work. One day they begin boasting that they are most important. Each one is able to give reasons why they are important, but they are refuted by the next tool. Finally, Lady Hahn is disgusted with their arguing. She insists that it is her hands which are most important and shoves the tools into a box. The tools are horrified and hurt by Lady Hahn's words and actions and run away and hide. When Lady Hahn tries to continue her sewing can't do it without her tools. Eventually, she begs the tools to return and they do while she is asleep. In the morning Lady Hahn apologizes and acknowledges that each tool is important to the team. Based on a classic Korean essay written in the late 1800's this is a unique look at the importance of team work. However, I wish there had been added is a little more clarification on the difference between a Korean flatiron and regular iron- the ambiguity might make a good lesson on using picture and word clues to gain understanding.
Nerd Girls: Rise of the Dorkasaurus
Hyperion Book CH [Hyperion Book CH]
Sitomer, Alan Lawrence
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 08, 2012
Samuel, Treasure
8th grade nerd Maureen teams up with Allergy Alice and Beanpole Barbara to take on the ThreePees (the Pretty, Popular, and Perfect girls) at the school talent show. Maureen is funny and sarcastic, Alice is allergic to everything and suffers from mysterious panic attacks, and Barbara is ridiculously accident prone. The story is interesting and engaging, but the author's attempts at finding something fresh in the common story of nerd girls taking on the popular girls in junior high results in aspects of the story being overwrought and unrealistic. The book will be popular with, well, junior high girls who think they are nerds, but there are other books on this topic that are better written. However, the complexity of the story will appeal to readers and is worth adding to a collection if needed.
MY BIG BOY UNDIES
GROSSET & DUNLAP [GROSSET & DUNLAP]
KATZ, KAREN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
September 08, 2012
Samuel, Treasure
Another great board book from Karen Katz, this one discusses little boys being potty trained and able to wear underwear. Classic, gentle Katz illustrations follow babies of a variety of ethnicities as they celebrate no longer being in diapers. There are no specifics about potty training, so this book will not teach children, but it will motivate them to be able to wear underwear and celebrate with them when they achieve such a major milestone.
Knuckle & Potty Destroy Happy World
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [MACMILLAN]
Proimos, James
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 08, 2012
Samuel, Treasure
Tired of being cute, lovable book characters, Knuckle and Potty leave the book pages to confront their author and illustrator to demand more adventurous story lines and less adorable drawings. When that fails, they head to Happy World to try to solve things themselves, only to discover that Happy World isn't exactly as happy as they expected. This meta book is goofy, fun, and appealing, which is no surprise since the author also writes the popular Johnny Mutton series. The book contains words, pictures, comic strips, and lots of color, and the characters use words such as dude and awesome (and even make a snide dig at Dr. Seuss). This book will be particularly great for reluctant readers and boys.
Will You Be Mine?: A Nursery Rhyme Romance
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Tildes, Phyllis Limbacher
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 08, 2012
Wittmann, Paula
Using a collection of nursery rhymes as text and illustrations to further tell the tale, the courtship and marriage of a dog and cat is portrayed in this unique book. Some rhymes are familiar, but others were new to me. Though the illustrations are bright and cheerful, they sometimes seem a little stiff and lifeless. The same could be said for the rhyme choice some fit nicely in the plot and others fell like a little side trip. Though the book is an interesting idea, it might be hard to find an audience that will appreciate it.
YOU ARE A LION! AND OTHER FUN YOGA POSES
NANCY PAULSEN BOOKS [NANCY PAULSEN BOOKS]
YOO, TAEEUN
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 08, 2012
Samuel, Treasure
Simple yoga poses for young children are featured in this nicely illustrated picture book. Children of a variety of ethnic backgrounds are shown imitating animals while doing yoga poses. The instructions in both words and pictures are easy to follow and children will love trying out the poses and animal noises. Parents who do yoga will especially enjoy sharing this with their children, though it is easily enjoyable for anyone and would make a great story time book.
UNBEELIEVABLES : HONEYBEE POEMS AND PAINTINGS
Beach Lane Books [Beach Lane Books]
FLORIAN, DOUGLAS
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 08, 2012
Wittmann, Paula
Poet Florian explores the world of bees through poetry, paintings and sidebars of informational text in this lovely book. From anatomy, to labor division, to communication, to Colony Collapse Disorder the world of bees is thoroughly, though briefly, covered. The poems are interesting and accessible and use a rich array of poetic devices. The non-fiction side bars help readers understand and appreciate the factual substance of the poems, and the charming, sometime anthropomorphized paintings add to the appeal. This would be an excellent support text to any study of bees and plant life. Included are a short bibliography and a couple of internet links.
Lawn Mower Magic
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Jonell, Lynne
Dorman, Brandon
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 08, 2012
Wittmann, Paula
Derek Willow is bored with his new house in the country. When he receives an invitation to visit his old neighborhood for a week he really wants to go. He knows there is no money for the train ticket because the old lawn mower has died and their giant lawn really needs mowing. However, the house is on a magic hill and Derek and his siblings discover a push mower which mows on its own. Of course his parents don't believe in magic, so the siblings must find a way to mow while they aren't there. Derek convinces them to look at mowers but not to buy, and he will use the old mower to get the lawn done. They think there is no chance of him mowing the entire hilltop but agree if he can do it they can buy his train ticket to visit his friend. The question really isn't if the lawn will be mown, but rather will Derek and his brother and sisters be able to control the mower from mowing more than the lawn. Featuring 101 pages with large font, illustrations and plenty of white space the Magical Mix-ups series should be popular with readers making the transition to chapter books.
MY BIG GIRL UNDIES
GROSSET & DUNLAP [GROSSET & DUNLAP]
KATZ, KAREN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
September 08, 2012
Samuel, Treasure
Another great board book from Karen Katz, this one discusses little girls being potty trained and able to wear underwear. Classic, gentle Katz illustrations follow babies of a variety of ethnicities as they celebrate no longer being in diapers. There are no specifics about potty training, so this book will not teach children, but it will motivate them to be able to wear underwear and celebrate with them when they achieve such a major milestone.
BROWNIE & PEARL GO FOR A SPIN
Beach Lane Books [Beach Lane Books]
RYLANT, CYNTHIA
Biggs, Brian
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 08, 2012
Wittmann, Paula
Brownie and her cat, Pearl, are back for their seventh adventure. Pearl is riding in her toy pink car with Brownie. They drive to the mailbox and then deliver the mail. When the get home Pearl doesn't want to leave the car. Luckily, Brownie has an idea. She runs inside and brings out a snack a sandwich for her and tuna in the can for Pearl. Fans of this very easy beginning reader series will not be disappointed. The book features short sentences, appealing pictures, and a simple but satisfying plot. However, adults might wonder at the choice of illustrating Brownie driving in the street not the sidewalk after she picks up the mail and choose to start a conversation with their kids about that choice.
Bluefish
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
Schmatz, Pat
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 08, 2012
Wittmann, Paula
13 year old Travis is angry. His dog disappears and then his alcoholic grandfather moves him from the countryside he loves into a town miles away. Now he needs to start a new school trying to keep hidden the fact that he can't read. His grandfather has started to go to AA meetings, but Travis doesn't understand or acknowledge this effort fully. Luckily, Travis is befriended by Vida, known to all by her nick name Velveeta. Velveeta is outgoing and entertaining, but she has her own secrets as well. Slowly the two begin to trust one another and even add another unlikely friend to the mix. Travis also discovers an ally in his language arts teacher who quickly recognizes Travis' reading difficulties and works to support his learning without embarrassing the intensely private boy. In the end, Travis is beginning to be able understand that his own troubles don't have to be debilitating and to acknowledge others issues, and Velveeta is beginning to realize that she can has the inner strength to take care of herself. Filled with interesting characters thoughtful realistic fiction readers will enjoy this tale.
SPARTANS
Childrens Press [SCHOLASTIC]
DINZEO, PAUL
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 08, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
The "History's Greatest Warriors" series pairs an easy-to-read text with illustrations that are primarily photographs of models wearing period costumes. A small note after the index explains that "great care has been taken to select images that are both historically accurate and engaging," but the obviously modern appearance of the men in these photos may be jarring to some readers. Spartans includes a brief overview of the rise and decline of the Spartans' military efforts and includes famous historical touchstones such as the Battle of Thermopylae, but no maps or timelines are included to tell readers where or when these events took place. But the photographs are so eye-catching that it's likely most young readers will dive in regardless. Includes index, glossary, and brief bibliography.
Mystery Math: A First Book of Algebra
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Adler, David A.
Miller, Edward
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 08, 2012
Samuel, Treasure
While in picture book format, in fact this books covers a topic better suited for older readers-- the joys of algebra! If readers can look past the format, they will find they can learn algebra basics through simple explanations and silly, spooky illustrations involving two kids, Mandy and BIlly, and a rather creepy looking fellow named Igor. Vocabulary and concepts include equations, balancing, subtracting, and multiplying, and many of these are explained using skeletons, black cats, and other spooky creatures. The book would work great in a classroom, especially if just pages on a particular concept are read, as opposed to reading the book straight through. There is a project included at the end (how to make a balance scale) which looks simple and fun.
QUESTION BOY MEETS LITTLE MISS KNOW-IT-ALL
Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books [Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books]
CATALANOTTO, PETER
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 08, 2012
Wittmann, Paula
Question Boy can slay any adult with his constant stream of questions. However, when he runs into Little Miss Know-It-All he seems to have met his match. Her constant stream of facts stops him in his tracks until she pauses and he asks the simple question, "Why?" again and again. She finally breaks with a, "Because I said so!" Jarred out of their habits she asks him a question and he answers without one. Interestingly, the book is written with the superhero obsessed main character in mind and many of the adults are superheroes such as "Oil Man" and "Wonder Waitress". Children and adults alike will enjoy this tongue and cheek look at kids who love to question and those who like to spout facts.
The Pet Shop Revolution
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [SCHOLASTIC]
Juan, Ana
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 08, 2012
Samuel, Treasure
With an eye-catching cover, this picture book follows Mina, a brave little spitfire of a girl who is the only one in town willing to stand up to the strange and frightening Mr. Walnut. His sad, dark pet shop upsets everyone and once her pet rabbit Mimi disappears, Mina decides to rescue Mimi and all the other animals. But that is only half the story. Readers learn why Mr. Walnut is so elusive and scary and the story evolves into a tale of vanity, pride, kindness, and forgiveness. A lovely, unusual tale that is ideal for both story time and individual reading.
The Freedom of Information Act
Benchmark Books [Benchmark Books]
Gold, Susan Dudley
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 08, 2012
Samuel, Treasure
Part of the Landmark Legislation series, this nonfiction book for high schoolers details the history of the Freedom of Information Act. While the photo of Oliver North with a stack of papers isn't the most attention grabbing cover ever, the books begins with an interesting explanation of the power of information to keep Americans safe and government and corporations honest. It includes examples of FOIA requests being used in divorce proceedings, uncovering corruption, and even the existence of UFO's. The book certainly gets a bit dry as it traces the history of Congressman Moss' 12 years of work to get the 1966 FOIA passed, and then goes on to detail the changes since then, and how the Act has both worked and failed. The information is helpful and relevant for a research project and includes plenty of additional information at the end, but some parts will be more of a challenge for students to sift through.
BIG HUGS, LITTLE HUGS
PHILOMEL [PHILOMEL]
BOND, FELICIA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 08, 2012
Samuel, Treasure
Fans of the "If You Give a Mouse?" books will instantly recognize Bond's sweet illustrations in this picture book as well. The collage illustrations feature animals hugging and the text per page is minimal, such as "Hippos hug"or "In winter". Ideal for teaching opposites and basic concepts (little, big, etc.), this book is a very sweet, simple, and appealing, as it teaches readers that "Everyone hugs all over the world".
The French Fry King
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Roge
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 08, 2012
Samuel, Treasure
This picture book by a French Canadian author/illustrator is a lovely translation that still maintains an heir of French refinement to it. Well, as refined as one can get when telling a story about a sausage dog! The cover is great (the classic illustration of a dachshund that stretches from front to back), and the inside of the jacket holds a surprise-- a poster and recipe! (which may be hard to access if the book comes preprocessed for library). Roger the dachshund is a thinking dog, not a barking, car chasing dog who decides to open a french fry food truck. He becomes famous and sees the world, but soon becomes bored again... until he encounters a poodle, Charlotte the Corn Cob Queen!
LAST LAUGHS: Animal Epitaphs
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
LEWIS, J PATRICK
Timmons, Jeffrey Stewart
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 08, 2012
Samuel, Treasure
Two revered, award-winning authors show their dark sides in this silly, gory book of poetry. The rather nasty illustrations pair well with ridiculous rhyming epitaphs telling how different animals met their grisly ends. Full of puns, gross outs, and some very dark humor, this book will be popular with older kids and younger kids with a dark streak. Ideal for Halloween and poetry units, this book is not for the faint of heart.
JUST DUCKS!
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
DAVIES, NICOLA
Rubbino, Salvatore
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 08, 2012
Samuel, Treasure
This picture book with mixed media illustrations is a sweet story about a little girl observing the ducks in her town. The British author and illustrator gives the words and pictures a classic feel, but the book is also full of bits of information about ducks in smaller text next to the pictures. There is some greatr vocabulary, such as preening and dabbling, as well as a lot of quacking. Fans of ducks will enjoy this book, but others may not appreciate the lack of action. There is additional information at the end of the book, as well as a list of things to go back and search for in the illustrations.
The Other Countess
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE]
Edwards, Eve
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 08, 2012
Samuel, Treasure
A well-researched historical romance aimed at high school girls, this book follows Ellie, an impoverished Spanish countess trying to navigate the politically treacherous courts of Queen Elizabeth I. Despite her attempts to avoid Will Lacey, the young Earl of Dorset, Ellie continues to run into him and a complicated, ill-fated romance blossoms. Several side characters also have romances and political adventures, which keep the story realistic and fast paced. Full of 16th Century fashion, politics, romance, intrigue, religion, and sex, this first book in a series is sure to be popular and rightly so.
Why Is It Fall?
Enslow Publishers [Enslow Publishers]
Latta, Sara L.
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 08, 2012
Turpin, Sharon
In the Why Do We Have Seasons? Series this title features fall. In 24 pages a primary student is introduced to seasons, a diagram of the earth rotating around the sun, changes in plants and animals plus one experiment. The medium sized text is non-threatening though the information is sometimes challenging. All desired nonfiction features are present. Photos range from fine to excellent especially the one of the acorns.
TOM BRADY : SUPER BOWL QUARTERBACK
Sportszone [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
GITLIN, MARTY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 08, 2012
Turpin, Sharon
See Sept. 2011 review of Peyton Manning by same author. The Playmakers series features the finest athletes in a variety of professional sports in this series Carmelo Anthony, Adrian peterson, Roy Halladay, Dirk Nowitzki, Albert Pujos, Aaron Rodgers and Derrick Rose all part of ABDO's SportZone division. In four chapters this book follows Tom Brady from his childhood as a better baseball player than football player through his career in the National Football League in 2010. The reader will learn how no one had much confidence in Brady as a quarterback each step of his career, but at each step he proved them wrong. He won two college bowl games for the University of Michigan, but was a sixth round draft pick in 1998. When given the chance he led his New England Patriots to several Super Bowl wins and many playoffs. His charity work and records are also detailed. The last of the 32 pages conclude with Fun Facts and Quotes, an ABDO weblink, glossary, index and further references. The writing is straightforward and easier to read for the intermediate audience with adequate photos and captions.
PIGLETS PLAYING : COUNTING FROM 11 TO 20
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
ATWOOD, MEGAN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 08, 2012
Turpin, Sharon
This very simple counting books uses little pigs to move up the number line from 11 to 20. The text is very consistent in introducing a new spotted pig, highlighting that number on the number line at the bottom of the page, having the reader recite the numbers from eleven up to the new number, plus having an equation on the bottom right page i.e 11+1=12. Good word choice and cute pigs make this appropriate for preschool or early primary in this Count the Critters title. Others in the Magic Wagon series include Balancing Bears: Comparing Numbers, Busy Beavers: Counting by 5s, Cuddly Kittens: Discovering Fractions, Monarch Migration: Counting by 10s, Sparrows Singing: Discovering Additon and Subtraction.
BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND : YOUNG READERS EDITION
DIAL [DIAL]
KAMKWAMBA, WILLIAM
Zunon, Elizabeth
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 08, 2012
Turpin, Sharon
This inspirational story tells the young author's experience as a boy in Malawi where his family and country were devastated by a famine precipitated by lack of rain. When William could no longer afford school and his family ate only one meal a day he sought solutions in the local American donated library where with a dictionary he read through science books until he discovered how to make a windmill that could create electricity and produce water. With items from the junk yard he and his friends built a successful windmill that generated electricity for his home. After the story ends the two-pages plus photo describe in detail how at 14 Willaim succeeded in his vision in 2007. The straight forward text is very accessible and nicely complimented by the oil paint and cut paper illustrations that bring Malawi to life. Recommended for all libraries.
FISHING SPIDERS : WATER NINJAS
Lerner Publishing Group [Lerner Publishing Group]
MARKLE, SANDRA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 08, 2012
Turpin, Sharon
As expected Sandra Markle produces a top quality nonfiction book about spiders. This is definitely aimed at the intermediate students with its detail, depth and vocabulary as it clearly explains the special features of this unique arachnid. Detailed diagrams, clear text, factoid boxes on most pages and the startling color photos bring this 8-legged creature to life along with its life cycle. Highly recommended to enhance this section of a library with spiders that can walk, run, and row on water to catch their prey--insects, tadpoles and fish that inhabit water places. Detailed glossary, further research, one experiment and index complete this 48-page book.
MISCHIEVOUS MOSQUITOES
SANDCASTLE [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
DOUDNA, KELLY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 08, 2012
Turpin, Sharon
Wow! What magnificent photos bring magnified mosquitoes into the young reader's vision! Doudna adds her appropriate and informative text in this SandCastle transitional reader making this a worthy purchase for school or public libraries. Others in the Bug Books series include Busy Bumblebees, Dashing Dragonflies, Fluttering Butterflies, Lucky Ladybugs, and Pesky Houseflies.
CADDY'S WORLD
MARGARET K MCELDERRY BOOKS [MARGARET K MCELDERRY BOOKS]
MCKAY, HILARY
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 11, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
Hilary McKay returns to the delightful-yet-dysfunctional Casson family in this "prequel" to the previous five books in the series. The eldest Casson child is our protagonist this time; Caddy is twelve and feels overwhelmed when her baby sister is born prematurely. Her long-suffering father takes over the family's needs while her mother stays at the hospital with the baby; McKay's resulting scenes of family chaos are brilliant in their comic timing and sheer originality. Meanwhile, Caddy's three best friends are being pulled apart by crises of their own, from a budding eating disorder to betrayals by a shallow boyfriend. In the hands of any other writer, this would be heavy, gritty stuff, but McKay's deftly turns it into heartfelt comedy, both humorous and heartbreaking at once. Readers need not have read the previous Casson books to enjoy this ? it stands well enough on its own ? but fans returning to this world will be happy to observe the saga's origin story.
PILGRIMS DON'T WEAR PINK
GRAPHIA [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
STROHM, STEPHANIE KATE
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 13, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
Libby Kelting shares two passions -- fashion and history ? and is therefore thrilled when she lands a summer internship at the Camden Harbor living history museum in Maine. Life in 1791 ends up more than she bargained for, however, as she navigates mean-girl roommates, a museum-wide makeup and cell phone ban, rumors of a ghost, and the affections of a hunky sailor working the tall-masted ships. The love triangle and resulting story arc will come as no surprise to fans of Hollywood romcoms ? Libby even has an over-the-top sassy gay friend. Sometimes the comic situations stretch credibility (at one point, Libby is assigned to be roommates with a geeky young male journalist on a supposedly haunted sailing ship), and efforts to weave educational information about 18th-century life into Libby's narrative isn't as seamless as it ought to be. Also, some of the pop-culture references are oddly dated (The X-Files? The Jonas Brothers?). But likely most young fans of this kind of light fiction won't care. A breezy beach read, and first in a series.
Binky Under Pressure
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Spires, Ashley
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 13, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
Binky the SpaceCat has become lazy, until, his home space station is invaded not by aliens, but by a doted upon foster cat. Jealous at all the attention Gracie gets, he plots to get rid of her only to learn she represents F.U.R.T..Z, (Felines of the Universe Ready for Space Travel) and is there to inspect and rate him on his job. Nothing seems to be working out for Binky until the day the aliens, (wasps) actually do attack and he safely safequards the station. Humor abounds and Binky is sure to become a beloved character. The graphic panels are crisp and entertaining, showing easily recognizable expressions on Binky and Gracie's faces. Pages with the humans include extra color although all is muted in black, white and sepia ones. Artwork is rendered in "ink, watercolor, cat fur, bits of kitty litter and the occasional paw print." Binky's inner thoughts are presented in text boxes while the cat talk, mostly meows, is in speech bubbles. Students are sure to clamor for more books in what is a must have graphic series.
Life on Mars:Tales from the New Frontier
VIKING JUVENILE [PENGUIN]
Strahan, Jonathan (ed.)
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 13, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
Mars has always been a potent symbol of potential life in space or a place to establish a new community if times are desperate on Earth. In Life on Mars, Jonathan Strahan has selected 12 stories by well-known science fiction writers that explore what it might be like to create a human colony on Mars or on a way station in space. Ellen Klages, author of Green Glass Sea, includes a story about a woman on the first Mars mission who discovers she is pregnant, gives birth on Mars and learns that her baby could never return to Earth safely, making them the first Mars pioneers. Cory Doctorow chronicles the transport of a new group to Mars when they discover that the power politics and economics are just the same as on earth. The main characters of all 12 stories are teens facing typical teen issues of identity, peer pressure, innocence lost, and running away to prove oneself but all are trying to create a new life for themselves by traveling to Mars or learning to adapt to a different world.. While almost all of the stories are suitable for 6th graders and certainly 6th grade in a middle school, the use of language such as "scoring ass" and f__* may be viewed as inappropriate for some schools. The universal questions of how humans, adapt, create, make meaning and come to terms with survival contained within the stories could initiate excellent discussions in a classroom including 6th graders. This is also an excellent collection of short stories to use for teaching short stories or as examples of science fiction.
ANIMAL JAMBOREE : LATIN FOLKTALES = LA FIESTA DE LOS ANIMALE
PINATA BOOKS [Arte Publico Press]
COFER, JUDITH ORTIZ
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 14, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
This slim volume is an asset both for fans of folklore and bilingual readers. Four stories featuring wily animal characters are retold in language simple enough for beginning chapter book readers; two of them draw from Ortiz Cofer's Puerto Rican heritage. The second half of the book contains the same four stories in Spanish. The retellings aren't necessarily stirring or lively, but the English-language versions contain several Spanish words and details about Latino culture. The occasional illustrations by Ted Dawson and Giovanni Mora are well enough if too few; the cover design isn't particularly eye-catching. However, multicultural folklore anthologies are becoming increasingly rare, so this may be a worthy addition to a collection. It is unfortunate it is only available as a paperback, which may not hold up over time.
HALLOWEEN COOKBOOK : SIMPLE RECIPES FOR KIDS
FIRST FACTS [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
SCHUETTE, SARAH L
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 14, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
Halloween-themed recipes are featured in this beginner's cookbook. While some parents may be dismayed by a few of them ? one features sandwiching peanut butter and pretzels between chocolate sandwich cookies to make "spiders" ? but many provide healthy alternatives to an otherwise candy-laden holiday. Series of photo illustrations show the finished product as well as step-by-step instructions for making each food. Spot illustrations give additional tips for future variations of the recipes. While the recipes are simple, they will still require adult supervision; "Witch Fingernails" requires use of the microwave, while "Eyeball Salad" calls for precooked pasta. While it is disappointing that the book is so slim (only seven recipes!) it will still likely inspire budding cooks. Includes index, conversion charts, glossary, and list of books for further reading.
Machines Go to Work in the City
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [MACMILLAN]
Low, William
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 14, 2012
Kay, Breean
Machines Go to Work in the City is full of beautiful oil paintings from award winning illustrator William Low (author of Old Penn Station). For those that are fascinated by the machine vehicles found all around the city, this picture book will excite as well as educate them beyond typical vehicle fare. Every featured vehicle interacts with the reader through sound effects and a gatefold, which extends the illustration to a third page flap. From a vacuum truck to a bucket truck to a tower crane, children are asked questions and it's up to them to predict how these machines solve real life problems. As a bonus, the last three pages diagram each of these machines' (and more) essential parts with new terminology for readers to discover.
TIME OUT FOR MONSTERS!
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Reidy, Jean
Neubecker, Robert
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
September 14, 2012
Kay, Breean
Anyone who has suffered through a time out will be utterly charmed by the creative imagination of the main character in Time Out For Monsters by Jean Reidy. As a little boy reimagines the corner walls of his time out space, adventure ensues with each page depicting a greater surprise than the last. Multicolored print adds to the fanciful illustrations depicting everything little boys love: the backyard, dinosaurs, monsters, monster trucks, fire trucks, ice cream, cupcakes and a throne for a king! While younger children will delight in the humorous hijinks of this tale, it doesn't contain enough of a plot to entertain school age children. However, it does serve toddlers and preschoolers well, and could also function as a good conversation starter about how to wield one's creativity.
Winnie the Pooh: Winnie the Pooh Storybook Collection
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Feldman, Thea and Hapka, Catherine
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 14, 2012
Kay, Breean
Disney's Winnie the Pooh Storybook Collection will thoroughly entertain fans of the series as well as engage new fans. This delightful collection of fifteen stories focuses on growing up with character, with courage, and with the help of one's friends. Pooh and his friends conquer challenges with their individual strengths and learn lessons from their inevitable misunderstandings and mistakes. Toddlers will appreciate the abundance of illustrations this collection offers, while older children can value and benefit from an elevated vocabulary. Sample titles include: "Hide and Pooh Seek", "Owl's Reading Lessons", "Under-the-Weather Friends" and "Piglet the Brave". This fantastic assortment of 20-page stories has a collector's finish of silver edging on each of the pages. The eight colorful characters are beautifully rendered and their engaging adventures will greatly appeal both to children and their adult readers.
SMALL BUNNY'S BLUE BLANKET
Knopf Books for Young Readers [RANDOM HOUSE]
TATYANA, FEENEY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
September 17, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
A familiar story, designed for the youngest children. Small Bunny's deep affection for his blue blanket is momentarily interrupted when his mother insists that they both need to be washed. When they are reunited afterwards, it only takes a bit of playtime before Blue Blanket is back to the way it was before: "Perfect." This book's best asset is Tatyana Feeny's art: minimalist line drawings dart and bounce through expanses of white space; a swirl of blue paint represents the blanket. The text is printed in a matching shade of blue, effectively incorporating it into the illustrations. Parents will get a kick out of the book's design, while the brevity and familiarity of the story will appeal to the youngest toddlers and preschoolers.
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books!
Cartwheel Books [SCHOLASTIC]
Colandro, Lucille
Lee, Jared D.
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 17, 2012
Kay, Breean
From the popular picture book series "There Was An Old Lady?" comes the underwhelming eighth story by Lucille Colandro, There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books! This title follows the familiar and classic song of an old lady swallowing outrageous things- in this case its school supplies. Though the premise had promise, the recurring rhyme is mediocre and off-putting. The surprise ending of what popped out of the old lady was moderately clever, but the story does not conclude when it should. The final page veers from the story and speaks directly to readers, telling them to have a great school year. Children may not find this story as humorous as others in its series, but readers of all ages will appreciate the quality illustrations by Jared Lee.
IT'S HALLOWEEN NIGHT!
Cartwheel Books [SCHOLASTIC]
O'CONNELL, JENNIFER BARR
MORRIS, JENNIFER
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
September 17, 2012
Kay, Breean
Get ready for Halloween with some adorable trick-or-treaters as they invite readers to guess what costumes they are creating from some clever clues in It's Halloween Night. Bestselling author Jennifer O'Connell and bestselling illustrator Jennifer Morris team up for this sweet holiday treat. Illustrations are colorful and softly textured, with characters dressed in not-so-spooky, archetypical Halloween costumes. Every pumpkin, pet, and creature adorning the periphery of each page is drawn with a smile. For preschoolers that love to do everything for themselves, this story can provide inspiration. For beginning readers, the simple sentences, rhyming structure and interactive element are a perfect formula for encouraging early reading. Alternately, the simplicity of this story will not appeal to a broad age range, and children may tire of it after the mystery costumes are uncovered.
NOODLES : A FRIEND FOR NOODLES
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
WILHELM, HANS
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 17, 2012
Kay, Breean
A Friend For Noodles by Hans Wilhelm follows the youthful adventuring of a puppy named Noodles as he learns lessons on friendship. In addition to the trademark simple sentences required for all beginning readers, this level one Scholastic Reader includes six rebus style picture clues, which stand in for more difficult words. While picture clues interrupt the text, they also might be helpful for some readers in that they are a reminder of word recurrence in all texts. The ease and fun of deciphering the pictures will quicken the story pace and allow early readers to feel more successful with independent reading. Wilhelm's charming illustrations of these animal characters frolicking in Autumn leaves will delight readers, while the storyline will address relevant childhood social development concerns.
GREEN MAN
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
BEDARD, MICHAEL
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 19, 2012
Kay, Breean
When her father goes to Italy to finish his book, O moves cross-country to live with her eccentric, ailing aunt Emily. Starting off as strangers, Emily and O learn to get along and finally come to help one another. Emily inspires O to find her poetic voice, and O helps out by cleaning up her aunt's cluttered bookshop called "The Green Man". However, there parts of Emily's past are shrouded in mystery and her health begins to deteriorate as an old evil presence starts to resurface. Part mystery, part fantasy. The Green Man crosses genres. While young poets will happily embrace the poetry promoted in the novel, this book will mostly appeal to introspective preteens. The story unwinds slowly and the big reveals in the end will not thrill or excite the intended audience.
HUMMING ROOM
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [MACMILLAN]
POTTER, ELLEN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 19, 2012
Kay, Breean
Listening to the sounds of the earth, hiding in tiny, safe spaces, navigating adults' moods?Roo Fanshaw has been honing her survival skills for quite some time when her parents are brutally murdered. To her great surprise, a wealthy uncle offers to become her guardian and moves her to Cough Rock Island, once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children. As she comes to terms with a new life rife with secrets and lies, she bravely seeks the truth behind hidden rooms in the house and strange noises only she can hear. As a garden of secrets relinquishes its tragedy to grow once again, we are gifted with witnessing Roo's growth in confidence and willingness to open herself up to others. Inspired by The Secret Garden, The Humming Room by Ellen Potter captures much more than the classic novel's plot. Potter skillfully adapts the original story's dreamlike atmosphere to the present day, where we now live more connected than ever but yet can still relate to an enveloping sense of isolation.
Hubble Bubble, Granny Trouble
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
Corederoy, Tracey
BURGER, JOE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 20, 2012
Kay, Breean
A little girl begins to observe in Hubble Bubble Granny Trouble that her "granny's kind of different" in that she keeps bats, cats and frogs for pets, travels by broomstick, wears a pointy hat and likes making things disappear. In wishing to normalize her grandmother, the girl realizes that without her unique (witch) essence, she is not only unrecognizable but also quite boring and bland. Through cleverly rhymed text, this sweet story carries an important message about accepting each other for who we are and loving what makes each of us different. Transcending the Halloween genre, the message of this book should warrant year-round shelf time. Delightful digital and brush-pen illustrations by Joe Berger, mostly in purples and grays, enhance an already fun and original work.
PLUTO VISITS EARTH!
ORCHARD BOOKS [SCHOLASTIC]
METZGER, STEVE
LEE, JARED
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 20, 2012
Kay, Breean
Pluto is distressed to find out that he's been downgraded to "dwarf planet" status in Pluto Visits Earth by Steve Metzger. As he embarks upon an adventure to reclaim his old title, he meets other planets in the solar system as he journeys toward Earth. In the end, a boy on Earth reminds him that no matter what he's deemed to be, he is still beloved. The final back-page contains more scientific information about why Pluto has lost its planetary status. Jared Lee's colorful illustrations enhance an unoriginal, marginally educational story. A more memorable story would have included more planetary information for the intended audience, related through literary style with rhyme or rhythm. However, children will enjoy getting a brief glimpse of each planet's personality as Pluto makes their acquaintance.
OPPOSITES EVERYWHERE : SIGN LANGUAGE FOR OPPOSITES
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
PROCHOVNIC, DAWN BABB
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 21, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
Kids are fascinated by the ASL signs and are immediately drawn to the bold, colorful books in the Storytime with Signs and Rhymes books that teach signs for common words and concepts. Old, new, fast, slow, small and big are a few of the opposites shown in Opposites Everywhere. The book takes 5 pairs of opposites and tells a very simple rhyming story with one sentence and sign per each two-page spread. Striking, colorfully painted paper collages with blocky childlike drawings are reminiscent of Eric Carle's artwork. The initial two-page picture shows an overview of the story with an elephant outside a blue house with red rocks, a plum tree, bicycle and gum blowing mouse. The following pages pick one opposite pairing and shows a blowup of that part of the painting. "A small, white mouse squeaks," accompanies the sign for small while the next page shows the elephant pushing against a house, "The big, blue house creaks." Also included are a complete page of the A-Z hand shapes, a glossary with text giving directions for each sign, fun facts, suggested signing activities, further reading and web sites. If you have the budget these books will need only a brief introduction to fly off the shelves.
SO MANY FEELINGS : SIGN LANGUAGE FOR FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
PROCHOVNIC, DAWN BABB
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 21, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
So Many Feelings is part of the 8 book Story Time with Signs and Rhymes series for primary age students. Each book teaches common signs in the ASL (American Sign Language) with a combination of blocky childlike illustrations, a brief rhyming story and a small inset drawing of the sign. Hands and faces showing a wide variety of skin tones create an inclusive appeal. The bold colors and eye catching scenes show children experiencing common emotions including: excited, grumpy, proud, sad, embarrassed, mad, scared, lonely and happy. A light colored band across the bottom of each two-page spread includes a brief, four line rhyming story on the left page and an inset of hands showing the ASL sign for that emotion on the right. "Melissa is grumpy. She grabs her stuffed bear, then shouts at her brother, I don't want to share!" The contrast between the deep, vivid colors of illustrations and the pale colored pencil sketch of a child's hands making a sign assist readers in focusing on the sign. Movements are deftly shown with arrows and lighter and darker colored hands in the different positions, but, students will find the glossary with a written description of how to make the sign an essential aid. Also included are a complete page of the A-Z hand shapes, a glossary with the 12 signs, fun facts, suggested signing activities, further reading and web sites. If you have the budget these books will need only a brief introduction to fly off the shelves.
The Ten-Year Century
VIKING JUVENILE [PENGUIN]
Sutherland, James
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 21, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
Tumultuous events of the first decade of the 21st century are explored in a non-partisan manner by author, James Sutherland, a political reporter for most of the decade who covered Sept. 11th, the 2000 and 2004 presidential races. Starting with the stroke of midnight, Dec 31, 1999, Sutherland describes the new century as a time of "hope and fear" with new technologies, the Internet and globalization inspiring a sense of well being in the country. But within the first year terrorist threats, the dot-com bust and a contentious presidential election left the country uncertain about the future. After 9/11, the entire country and world briefly united in grief and outrage. But subsequent events traveling through new forms of social media and online formats, led to an increasingly polarized world. Sutherland aptly covers many of the political, social, economic, military events and entertainment icons of the past decade in sufficient detail to stimulate research as well as provide a summary of the decade for background information. Topics and words detailed in the book include: George W. Bush, Trade Center, 9/11, Taliban, Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Guantanamo Bay, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Facebook, Swift Boat Vets, Truthiness, Axis of Evil, the Tsunami, Lance Armstrong, American Idol, Hurricane Katrina, Twitter, YouTube, Web 2.0, Wikipedia, iPhone, surge, Climate Change, Global Warming, Beijing Olympics, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, same-sex marriage, mortgage loan failures, bailout, stimulating the economy, health care reform, drones, and collateral damage. Whew! Source notes organized by year, bibliography and index included.
A TO Z SIGN WITH ME : SIGN LANGUAGE FOR THE ALPHABET
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
PROCHOVNIC, DAWN BABB
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 21, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
Joyful colors and happy children wearing balloon hats and patterned clothing on the cover will lure readers into taking a closer look at this book teaching the ASL signs for each letter. The book uses the theme of children going to a fair as a thread to teaching the signs. Petting farms, hotdogs and kettle corn, roller coaster and clowns will feel familiar to anyone who has gone to a fair. The two-page spreads match a different booth with a brief rhyming couplet and multiple insets of hands making the sign for one letter. The bright - multicolored illustrations show a wide variety of skin tones and the painted paper collages are set against a vivid painted background. Movements are deftly shown with arrows and lighter and darker colored hands in the different positions, but, students will find the glossary with a written description of how to make the sign an essential aid. Also included are a complete page of the A-Z hand shapes, a glossary with text giving directions for each sign, fun facts, suggested signing activities, further reading and web sites. If you have the budget these books will need only a brief introduction to fly off the shelves.
Magic Paintbrush: A Chinese Folktale
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
York, M.J.
Zaza, Cat
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 21, 2012
Kay, Breean
When an orphan boy, determined to become a painter, cannot acquire a paintbrush, he strengthens his resolve. He burns branches to scratch drawings in the mud, and wets his fingers in water to draw on rocks. Imagine his surprise when he awakens from a dream to find a paintbrush that brings his artwork to life. But the story does not end there. He uses his good fortune for good and paints things his village desperately needs but he still must confront and outwit a greedy emperor. The Magic Paintbrush: A Chinese Folktale , retold by M.J. York, exudes wisdom and enchantment. Cat Zara's gorgeous watercolors evoke traditional Asian artistic style, but could encompass more surface area on each page. Another bonus: the final page offers readers an opportunity to discuss the folktale and question their own values.
FLICKA, RICKA, DICKA GO TO MARKET
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
LINDMAN, MAJ
Marginal -- Contains so many weaknesses that it might be considered for purchase only as supplementary material in its field or to meet special localized subject needs.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 21, 2012
Kay, Breean
Originally published in 1958, in Sweden, Flicka, Ricka, Dicka Go To Market, is part of a series of books created by Maj Lindman about three sisters having adventures together. In this story, the family moves to the country and the girls realize they need bicycles to ride to school. They come up with a plan to earn money: they will grow vegetables in a garden and then sell them at the market. Though this story promotes old world values, it does not offer much else to young readers of today. The text is wordy with not much to convey. The illustrations are old fashioned and lackluster. Even though this edition includes paper dolls of Flicka, Ricka and Dicka, children will not relate to or respond to the story or illustrations.
Rihanna: Singing Sensation
BUDDY BOOKS [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
Tieck, Sarah
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 21, 2012
Kay, Breean
Don't be fooled by Day by Day's simplicity. Susan Gal's heartwarming story about a family of pigs working a farm is a reminder of traditional values from earlier centuries. While short on text, Day by Day is rich in style: "brick by brick, pigs build a house?and piece by piece, it becomes a home. Shoulder to shoulder, pigs gather the harvest. Hand in hand, pigs give thanks. Then, cheek to cheek, they dance." The artistic drawings are an achievement of their own, with patchwork patterns of all colors and shapes conveying the fun exploits of a family. This lovely story celebrates belonging to a family and community, while also emphasizing the fulfillment that comes from a hard day's work and the enjoyment that comes from sharing one's labors.
BIRD & SQUIRREL ON THE RUN!
GRAPHIX [SCHOLASTIC]
BURKS, JAMES
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 22, 2012
Dame, Anne
A "flighty" bird (pun intended!) and a hard-working squirrel team up in order to escape a hungry and persistent cat in this colorful graphic novel. Grades 3-6, but I'll put it in my middle school as they will enjoy it, too.
STAR IS BORN
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
MYERS, WALTER DEAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 22, 2012
Dame, Anne
Third book in Myers' middle school series "The Cruisers". LaShonda designed the costumes for Zander's play, Act Six. They garnered a lot of positive attention and actually brought in an offer for a scholarship from the Virginia Woolf Society. However, the scholarship would require LaShonda and her autistic younger brother to leave their group care home and live in separate places. Neither LaShonda nor Chris would be able to live with such a drastic change so she is going to have to turn the scholarship down unless the Cruisers can help her figure out a solution. Not as hard-hitting as Myers' books aimed at older audiences, but solid nonetheless. At times it is hard to figure out how old the characters are, however. Sometimes they seem like they should be in high school, rather than in middle school.
SUPERNATURALIST : THE GRAPHIC NOVEL
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
COLFER, EOIN
RIGANO, GIOVANNI & LAMANNA, PAOLO
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 22, 2012
Dame, Anne
Cosmo Hill is an orphan in Satellite City. He and the other children and teens there are all subjected to cruel medical and product testing. No one seems to make it past the age of 15. Through a stroke of luck, he escapes (at age 14) through a near death experience and is rescued by a group called The Supernaturalists. This group, including Cosmo, can see strange blue parasites that appear to suck the life out of injured and dying people. They make it their goal to exterminate these harmful organisms. However, despite their efforts, the beings are multiplying and their world seems to be suffering more and more energy-related damages that are also tied to these creatures. There are a few times that the panels run length-wise across both pages, yet it is difficult for the reader to recognize this layout change until suddenly the panels are not making so much sense anymore. Lots of action and adventure.
EMERGENCY OPS
STONE ARCH BOOKS [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
SHERMAN, M ZACHARY
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 22, 2012
Haines, Hazel
How nice to see a war story with a real female heroine! She's Captain Ann Donovan who is serving in Vietname with the Army Corps of Nurses. Her unit is stationed near the battle line and her superior officer was hit by enemy fire. Even as a new nurse she is pushed into a leadership position and must help those with major injuries. One of the fun parts of the book is the chapter titles like Hamburger Hill, Hotel Meatball, and Scrubs.
MOTOCROSS : HOW TO BE AN AWESOME MOTOCROSS RIDER
VELOCITY [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
SUTTON, ANTHONY
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 22, 2012
Haines, Hazel
This book is a complete guide for a young person interested in the sport of motocross. Its subtitle, How to Be an Awesome Motocross Rider, tells the story of the whole book. No only does it give exact instructions on many maneuvers, it includes chapters on how to clean the bike and how to maintain it. In the back the reader will find a glossary, an index and a list of references.
ZEKE MEEKS VS THE HORRIFYING TV-TURNOFF WEEK
PICTURE WINDOW BOOKS [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
GREEN, D L
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 22, 2012
Haines, Hazel
The format of this book will remind you of the Wimpy Kid series, and it will be very popular with elementary students. Poor Zeke! His teacher has mandated a no-TV week, yes, seven whole days with no sports, no cartoons, no commercials. It's a new phenomen for a boy and his friends who have grown uup with the television always on. These students don't understand why their teacher is so adamont that they find other activities for that week.
VAMPIRES, ZOMBIES, AND WEREWOLVES
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
KESPERT, DEBORAH
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 22, 2012
Haines, Hazel
If your students love 3-D books like mine do, you'll want to add this book to your collection. It is definitely a scary book that is even scarier with the 3-D glasses. Incidentally, I have seen it at the Scholastic Book Fair, so you should be able to purchase a copy with your Scholastic dollars. Managing the glasses in the circulation system is difficult with elementary students who often lose them or damage them, but I have found replacements in sets of 4 glasses at Party City for a very reasonable price.
THE CAPE BUFFALO
Childrens Press [SCHOLASTIC]
OWINGS, LISA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 22, 2012
Haines, Hazel
Most of us do not associate buffalo with the continent of Africa, but this book in the Nature's Deadliest series captures the size and dangerous temperament of this beast, the Cape buffalo. Large colorful photos and text insets highlight inportant facts that chronicle the aggressive behavior of these huge animals. Even though it has only 24 pages, it includes a glossary, an index, and a resources page. It is not cheap, but I think the $23.00 price if fair for a book with library binding, a book that will gets lots of use and wear and tear.
Firestorm!
Margaret K. McElderry Books [Margaret K. McElderry Books]
Harlow, Joan Hiatt
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 22, 2012
Haines, Hazel
It's 1871, just before the Great Chicago Fire, and two boys from very opposite backgrounds have become close friends. One lives on the streets and survives by "finding" foods to eat and items to sell. The other is the son of a prominent jewelry store owner. As the story and the friendship evolve, the homeless boy vows to leave his life of stealing. but then his wealthy friend loses some cash, and, of course, the homeless friend is the prime suspect. Then the great fire happens. This is a poignant story that focuses on the highs and lows of a friendship and human struggles with good land evil.
Rules for Secret Keeping
Aladdin [Aladdin]
Barnholdt, Lauren
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 23, 2012
Tucker, Merrilyn
This inventive novel keeps the readers guessing. Glory is a prodigy on the piano. Ever since her mother died, Glory's father has kept her busy playing concerts around the world. Glory resists and then descends into a kind of madness where all she plays on the piano are varations of Chopsticks. She met a boy, Frank, before leaving on her European tour and pins all of her hopes of escaping her life onto him. Is he real? Is her life real? Does she actually escape her father's plans for her? The story is told in picture/ephemera collages and words. It is interesting to look at as well as to read. Teens are the target audience, but mature middle school students could appreciate this novel as well.
NO WAY OUT
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
KERN, PEGGY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 24, 2012
Dame, Anne
A book in the Bluford High series. Harold is a high school freshman who lives with his grandmother. When she gets sick and they have medical bills to pay, things get tight financially ? more than they already were. Then a social worker threatens to put Harold in a foster home. He is desperate and starts working for a local drug dealer. The violence and uncertainty frighten him, but he doesn't know where to go or what to do now.
GAME CHANGERS
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
LUPICA, MIKE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 24, 2012
Dame, Anne
Book 1 in a new series by well-known sports author, Mike Lupica. Ben McBain is an amazing quarterback. He can make snap decisions, he has a big view of the field, he has a great arm... However, no coach sees him as a QB because he is so little, barely 100 pounds. Ben always makes the best of the situation but it is really difficult when the new QB on the team is the coach's son ? and he's not nearly as good as Ben. A great story about friendship, hard work, and sportsmanship.
PLAYGROUND
RAZORBILL [PENGUIN]
50 CENT
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 24, 2012
Dame, Anne
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book by hip-hop star 50 Cent. It is mostly based on his own life experiences but he also takes some artistic license as an author. It is the tale of 13-year-old Butterball who really doesn't have much going for him. He's overweight. He's currently living in the suburbs with his mom. He misses his dad and living in New York City. When Butterball beats up a kid on the playground one day, he is forced to go talk to a counselor twice a week. An insightful look at bullying; it also has an LGBT plot-line that does not become evident until near the end.
SPIRAL
CHICKEN HOUSE [SCHOLASTIC]
GORDON, RODERICK
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 24, 2012
Dame, Anne
Book 5 in the Tunnels series. The Styx are implementing a plan to take over the Topsoil world. Will and his group of friends must stop them at all costs or Armegeddon may be unleashed. Fans of the series will continue to enjoy this action-packed novel. For higher level readers.
TRUTH
PUFFIN BOOKS [PUFFIN BOOKS]
KARR, JULIA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 24, 2012
Dame, Anne
Sequel to XVI. Nina is now 16 and has the government mandated tattoo that announces to the world that she is now of the legal age to have sex. This obviously makes girls with the tattoo and easy target for predators. Nina and a group of other girls band together to fight against the government and against this stereotype. But it's neither easy, nor safe.
LETTER Q : QUEER WRITERS' NOTES TO THEIR YOUNGER SELVES
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [SCHOLASTIC]
MOON, SARAH
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 24, 2012
Dame, Anne
This anthology of letters from queer writers to their younger selves is a touching insight to the lives of LGBTQ teens. It works very well in conjunction with Dan Savage's "It gets better" campaign. And while the letters are generally about the difficulties of being gay and coming out, there is also an underlying message for anyone; a message of self-acceptance, love, and reassurance that while times are tough now, things really do get better.
CROSSING THE LINE
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
ALEGRIA, MALIN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 24, 2012
Dame, Anne
A book in the Border Town series. Fabiola is really excited to have her younger sister Alexis join her at high school this year. Fabi carefully tells her all the "rules" for successful navigation, including which students to avoid. Alexis, however, quickly ignores all of her older sister's sage advice and falls in with people who are bound to get her in trouble. An excellent addition for your Latina collection.
GIRL NAMED DIGIT
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
MONAGHAN, ANNABEL
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 24, 2012
Dame, Anne
Farrah, aka Digit, is a math genius. She tries to hide her skills in order to fit in with the high school crowd. However, when she solves a code that is related to a terrorist attack, she knows she has to step forward and help out. She goes to the FBI who put her undercover and assign her to work with cute, young agent John. They are soon on the run and under tremendous pressure to find the group and prevent andy additional attacks. Digit is glad to be using her brain again and is a bit smitten by John who thinks Fibonacci numbers are kinda sexy when Digit explains them to him. A great tale of action and adventure with a smart female protagonist and a touch of romance to top it off.
TEEN BOAT!
CLARION [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
ROMAN, DAVE
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 24, 2012
Dame, Anne
This graphic novel will demand that you suspend your disbelief as a teenage boy turns himself into a boat in a variety of circumstances. The illustrations by John Green (not to be confused with the author of the same name) are colorful, clear, and engaging. Students will readily pick it up and be amused by it. There are several vignettes contained within the one volume.
QUINCE CLASH
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
ALEGRIA, MALIN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 24, 2012
Dame, Anne
A book in the Border Town series. Fabiola does not want a big quinceanera. She would rather use the money to go to New York with her best friend. However, when mean girl Melodee throws down the gauntlet about who will have a better party, Fabi can't just walk away. Fabi's sister and her grandma get caught up in the excitement and try to get her party hosted by a reality TV show. An excellent addition for your Latina collection.
QUICK QUARTERBACK
STONE ARCH BOOKS [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
LORD, MICHELLE
HARPSTER, STEVE
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 24, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
Taking a page from the Little Lit series, this new line of hardbacks presents an easy reader-style text in graphic novel format. An introductory spread teaches novice readers how to follow the story from frame to frame, and the story is accompanied by discussion questions, writing prompts, and a glossary. The text is simple enough with its controlled vocabulary and repetitive phrases, but isn't particularly witty or imaginative: football-loving Andre breaks his arm, and after his cast is removed, he can't throw as far. He then realizes that he can simply run fast to win the game. Steve Harpster's art is bright and straightforward, but doesn't take advantage of the format; many of the images are static and occasionally confusing. Sports fans may seek these out, but there isn't much to keep them around.
HOW THE CAMEL GOT HIS HUMP : THE GRAPHIC NOVEL
STONE ARCH BOOKS [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
KIPLING, RUDYARD
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 24, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
Kipling's classic Just So Stories are reborn as graphic novels in this series. Unfortunately much of Kipling's distinctive language is necessarily lost in the change of format, but much of it is preserved in the characters' dialogue. The world is still "so new-and-all," the camel still suffers from "'scruciating idleness." As a bonus, the story concludes with the full text of Kipling's poem, "The Camel," and also includes factual information about camels, a brief Kipling biography, a glossary, discussion questions, and writing prompts. Pedro Rodriguez' earth-toned art is pleasing in its depiction of a folkloric version of rural India; the animals' faces are expressive and the djinn full of indignant mischief. This series is no replacement for the original stories, but it is a faithful, affectionate adaptation.
DRAGONBREATH : REVENGE OF THE HORNED BUNNIES
DIAL [DIAL]
VERNON, URSULA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 25, 2012
Dame, Anne
Book 6 in the series. Danny Dragonbreath is off to summer camp. His younger (and annoying) cousin, Spencer, will be going to camp, too. At least he will still have Wendell and Christiana there to keep him company. Things get interesting when they discover a real, live jackalope! Lively illustrations and easily readable text make this a good choice for struggling/reluctant readers, or conversely is still suitable for younger students who need something with a bit of challenge but without controversial content.
Dragonbreath: No Such Thing as Ghosts
DIAL [DIAL]
Vernon, Ursula
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 25, 2012
Dame, Anne
Book 5 in the series. It's Halloween. Danny Dragonbreath and his friends are dared by the neighborhood bully to enter the house that is reputed to be haunted. Locked doors and strange noises scare them, but the really spooky factors are the eerie green light and the disappearing clown. Lively illustrations and easily readable text make this a good choice for struggling/reluctant readers, or conversely is still suitable for younger students who need something with a bit of challenge but without controversial content. That being said, this one might be a bit scary for a really young reader.
TIMELESS THOMAS : HOW THOMAS EDISON CHANGED OUR LIVES
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [MACMILLAN]
BARRETTA, GENE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 25, 2012
Dame, Anne
This picture book biography of Thomas Edison gives a colorful look at what he invented and how it is being used today. The "present day" vs "Edison's lab" layout on facing pages seems slightly backwards to me, though. It feels as if the lab should be first and then showing today's uses for the items. Regardless, it is a very interesting look at the many things that Edison created despite many failures and mistakes. It does not allude to any of his competitors other than a brief nod to Alexander Graham Bell.
Hope and Tears: Ellis Island Voices
Calkins Creek/Boyds Mill Press [Calkins Creek/Boyds Mill Press]
Swain, Gwenyth
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 26, 2012
Dame, Anne
Fits in nicely with core curriculum in the area of immigration. It is filled with primary source photographs as well as letters, poems, diary entries, and monologues from a wide variety of people who had some point of contact with Ellis Island. Some of the people were immigrants, others were employees, nurses, architects, cooks, etc. It portrays the good and the bad, the happy and the sad. An engaging look at this unique American landmark and now museum.
DAWN PATROL
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
ROSS, JEFF
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 26, 2012
Dame, Anne
Luca and Esme love to surf. So does their friend Kevin, but he has disappeared. They decide that he may have gone to Panama for the big waves. When they get there, they discover that there is a lot more going on than they realized and they have a lot more to worry about than just the next big wave. A longer than usual Orca sports book that will be appealing to younger students even though the protagonists are all 17 or 18 years old.
CODE NAME VERITY
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
WEIN, ELIZABETH
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 26, 2012
Dame, Anne
It is a spy's worst nightmare: being captured by the enemy. When "Verity's" plane crashes, she is captured by the Nazi's during WW2, and is convinced that her time has run out. However, she is offered a bit of a respite by her captors ? but only if she will tell them every single thing she knows which would include sacrificing her best friend Maddie, the pilot of the plane. This book is for higher level readers as it has an unreliable narrator, torture, and violence. However, it is highly recommended for it's strong female characters, plot twists and excellent writing.
CATCH & RELEASE
CAROLRHODA [Lerner Publishing Group]
WOOLSTON, BLYTHE
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 26, 2012
Dame, Anne
Polly and Odd are survivors of a MRSA outbreak. They weren't really friends before, but now they are considered outcasts by everyone else who think they may still be contagious, so they band together. In addition, they have some physical deformities as a result of the illness, which also sets them apart. One day Odd invites Polly to go fishing. Her mom urges her to go, even though Polly would rather not. Turns out, Odd has some other plans in mind and they end up on a crazy road trip involving fish, an old Cadillac, marshmallows, and a loaded gun. Some swearing and graphic language. The characters and story line never really seem to come together; it also seemed preachy and didactic throughout.
MAL AND CHAD : FOOD FIGHT!
PHILOMEL [PHILOMEL]
MCCRANIE, STEPHEN
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 26, 2012
Dame, Anne
Smart kid Mal and his dog Chad are back! This time Chad is having nightmares, so Mal builds a machine that lets him enter people's dreams. While he is in there, they can confront the lion scaring Chad together. Great illustrations and relevant themes for elementary and middle school students ensure this will be a popular choice.
RIPPER
PHILOMEL [PHILOMEL]
PETRUCHA, STEFAN
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 26, 2012
Dame, Anne
Growing up in an orphanage, Carver doesn't have much ? except his dreams of becoming a detective. He's read every spy novel he can get his hands on and is able to pick every lock in the building, to the chagrin of the headmistress. When he gets adopted by Detective Hawking from the famous Pinkerton agency, he is over-joyed. His first case is to find his biological father based on the one letter he has from him. Things get serious when this chase leads him into a real on-going murder investigation involving Jack the Ripper. Lots of action and adventure as well as mystery and intrigue. Steam punk fans will also enjoy the variety of interesting gadgets and devices used throughout the book.
Lives of the Presidents: Fame, Shame (and what the neighbors thought)
Harcourt Children's Books [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Krull, Kathleen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 26, 2012
Dame, Anne
It seems like we always want to know what the celebrities are doing ? and this includes the presidents. Here is an engaging look at some of the eccentricities of our past and current leaders. Find out who barks like a dog, who had tigers for pets, how many presidents have been assassinated, etc. Updated to include Bush, Clinton, and Obama. Unfortunately, this type of book will always be fairly quickly out of date. Can be read cover to cover or just randomly.
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
GALDONE, PAUL
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 26, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
Paul Galdone's single-edition folktales have long been a storytime staple in classrooms and libraries. His retellings are elegantly plainspoken and faithful to the original source material (Red Riding Hood does get eaten by the wolf in this version). The accompanying crosshatched ink-and-watercolor illustrations are well-designed and charmingly cartoonish, making it perfect for large-group storytimes. The trim size is unfortunately smaller than the original hardback editions of his books; the addition of white margins and a red border allow the illustrations to be shrunken-down instead of cropped. However, they maintain their appeal and only those familiar with the original editions may notice. Gold foil stamping and new decorative floral borders spruce up the original cover art; at $8 each it may be tempting to snap up the entire collection.
INTO THE VOLCANO
BLUE SKY [SCHOLASTIC]
WOOD, DON
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 27, 2012
Dame, Anne
The storyline of this graphic novel is confusing. However there is some good information about volcanoes set into this fictionalized account. Students will be likely to pick it up and read it, as the cover and graphics are well done.
Running with Trains
Wprdsong/Boyds Mill Press [Wprdsong/Boyds Mill Press]
Rosen, Michael J.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 28, 2012
Dame, Anne
Told in two alternating voices in poem format, this novel is about Perry and Steve. One of them rides the train, the other watches it. Their stories overlap and then collide one day. While it is an interesting look into two very different lifestyles, there is nothing compelling enough to keep the plot moving.
Pied Piper of Hamelin, The
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
Morpugo, Michael
Clark, Emma Chichester
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 28, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
Michael Morpurgo has given a happy ending to this classic folktale, but still preserves the original aura of darkness and mystery. Our story is told through the eyes of a Hamelin beggar boy who uses a crutch, and in his view, Hamelin is a mess; the streets are piled high with trash and populated with hundreds of homeless citizens long before the famed rats arrive. When the Pied Piper later punishes the feckless adults of Hamelin by charming their children away, he includes a caveat: clean up the city, provide homes and food for everyone, and the children will return. Parallels with contemporary dilemmas of poverty and homelessness are inevitable; Emma Chichester Clark's illustrations underscore this by using both modern and antique clothing for her cast of characters. Her bright pencil-and-watercolor images burst with action and liveliness ? the rats are just darn creepy ? yet maintain a wide-eyed, folk-art quality that gives them timeless appeal. This retelling is longer in length than most single-edition folktales but would be wonderful as a classroom read-aloud in multiple sessions.
NO CRYSTAL STAIR
CAROLRHODA [Lerner Publishing Group]
NELSON, VAUNDA MICHEAUX
CHRISTIE, R. GREGORY
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 28, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
This biographical "documentary" novel uses real-life primary sources as well as fictionalized amalgams to recreate the life story of the author's great-uncle, the remarkable Lewis Michaux, who owned and operated an African-American-centered bookstore (the first of its kind) in Harlem from the 1930s to the 1970s. Through the voices of family members, friends, colleagues, authors, and activists, as well as newspaper clippings and FBI files, readers follow Michaux as he grows from a pig-stealing teenage miscreant in the Deep South to a passionate bookseller and influential intellectual of the civil rights era. Nelson's choice to tell Michaux's story from multiple perspectives not only reveals him as a complex, three-dimensional character, but also shows how books and literature can bind together family, community, and a movement. Period photographs and memorabilia accompany the text, along with expressive pen-and-ink drawings by R. Gregory Christie. Michaux called his National Memorial African Bookstore the "House of Common Sense and the Home of Proper Propaganda"; Nelson's book acts likewise as a tribute both to her uncle and the lasting power of reading.
WORLD WAR I : AN INTERACTIVE HISTORY ADVENTURE
CAPSTONE PRESS INC [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
SWAIN, GWENYTH
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 28, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
Taking a page from the old "Choose Your Own Adventure" paperbacks, this surprisingly multifaceted beginning chapter book allows readers to experience World War I either as a Belgian girl, a Welsh teenager, or an American medical student. After a brief prologue outlining the origins of the Great War, readers find themselves in a variety of wartime locales: crawling through trenches; working as a veterinarian for the British calvary; smuggling wounded solders past the Germans; jumping off the deck of the Lusitania; and much more. An epilogue provides historical context on the war's legacy. Period photographs and war propaganda make for superb illustrations, but lead to an unfortunately dismal cover design. Hopefully a good booktalk will overcome this. Includes index, timeline, discussion questions, bibliographies, and glossary.
ELLEN'S BROOM
PUTNAM PUBLISHING (JUVENILE) [PUTNAM PUBLISHING (JUVENILE)]
LYONS, KELLY
Minter, Daniel
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 30, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
It's an exciting day for little Ellen and her family. As recently emancipated citizens in the Reconstruction-era South, her parents are finally able to be legally married. As readers observe Ellen's preparations to go to the courthouse with her parents, they are given an explanation and brief history of the broom-jumping ceremony; an observance of matrimony that was, as Ellen's mother puts it, doing "the best with what we had." When Ma and Pa get "officially" married again, Ellen brings the broom along and decorates it with flowers. She decides that when she grows up and gets married, she will jump the broom, too, in memory of both past suffering and the promise of a bright future. "The broom is the past," her parents say, but "it will always be part of who we are." This charming story is expertly matched with Daniel Minter's sunny, flower-filled linoleum-block prints, sweetly evoking a bygone era. Young readers curious about the contemporary African-American wedding tradition of "jumping the broom" will enjoy this story of its origins.
GOING ORGANIC : A HEALTHY GUIDE TO MAKING THE SWITCH
COMPASS POINT BOOKS [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
RAU, DANA MEACHEN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 30, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
Readers interested in the organic food movement will find more than ample information here: the text covers the gamut of organic eating from composting to farmer's markets to backyard chicken coops. Rau's text is refreshingly biased (the negative effects of today's agriculture mega-industry is soundly criticized) and some libraries may prefer a more three-dimensional approach to this topic, but young readers passionate about environmentalism and good health will be right at home. Full-color photographs complement the text (although quite a few of them are stock photos) and sidebars present subtopics such as interpreting food labels and the best ways to purchase seasonal vegetables. Includes index, bibliography, glossary, metric conversion charts, and a few recipes.
United Kingdom
Essential Library [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
Summers, Kimberly Dillon
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 30, 2012
Tucker, Merrilyn
At 144 pages, this up-to-date guide to the UK is readable and enjoyable to browse. The photos are plentiful (text is on one page and a photo is on the other), large, and colorful, although they do not always exactly match the text on the page. There is a table of contents, an index, and many other fact pages at the end of the book, including a timeline and glossary. On top of almost every page is a symbol, indicating the subject in that chapter. The size of the text itself is small (12?), but there is limited text on each page, making the passages easy to read and for readers to capture the key points. This book contains current information, which, unfortunately, will date it soon. Kids will see Kate and Will, but not the 2012 Olympics. They will see some historical photos, such as Winston Churchill, but not of the World Cup winning team in 1966. In fact, there is very little coverage of the UK's prowess in sports, which, in my opinion is the one drawback of thisbook. Students who are reporting on countries of the world will find this series (if the others in it are similar to this one) easy to navigate and the web site (through Abdo) will fill in any additional information they may want to write about.