Reviews for month


MAKING A CIRCUIT
HEINEMANN RAINTREE LIBRARY [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
OXLADE, CHRIS
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
October 03, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
Zap! Match eye-catching photographs and diagrams with clear explanatory text and even younger students will have the information needed to understand how to create a variety of circuits. Every part of the book's design is instructive from the labeling of illustrations in explosive speech bubbles to the explanation of symbols used to draw a circuit diagram. Glossary words are in bold and defined in context and used repeatedly throughout the text. Topics covered in this book include conductors and insulators, how batteries give electricity the push to start flowing in a circuit, how switches stop and start the flow of electricity and how various components such as batteries, light bulbs, buzzers, motors and computer chips work when connected within a circuit. Simple, series and parallel circuits are described and shown in diagrams. Terminals are mentioned but the actual electron flow is not detailed in this book and I have not seen the other 3 books in the series. The clarity of information within this book perfectly matches the 4th grade electricity unit and would greatly help students to be successful in their work. Standard non-fiction text features include a very useful glossary, two reputable websites and three recommended books.
DING DONG DITCH-A-ROO
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
MULLARKEY, LISA
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
October 03, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
Katharine the Almost Great returns in a new 6-book set, providing transitional readers a bridge series between Junie B. Jones and the Clementine and Just Grace books. Katharine is certain that someone is ringing their doorbell and running away; thus, the title Ding Dong Ditch-a-Roo. When she spots classmate Vanessa (a.k.a. Miss Priss-A-Poo), walking her dog just after the doorbell was rung, Katharine knows she's found the culprit. Imperfect and at times selfish and self-centered, many students will see themselves in Katharine as she leaps to conclusions, makes bad choices and then learns from her mistakes. A bit of science is used to solve the mystery and a matching activity instructing readers to create sparks in the dark from chewing wintergreen mints is a nice addition to the storyline. While the resolutions to bad behavior and false accusations seem a bit pat, the large font and pencil drawings make this a friendly series for libraries expanding their transitional chapter selections.
GREG AND THE CHEAT SHEETS
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
WIGGINS, THALIA
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
October 03, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
The McNair cousins, Greg and James, are faced with ethical choices in this bridge series targeting middle grade readers. Unfortunately, the two main characters are pigeonholed into good and bad, the plots are predictable and didactic and the bullying stereotypical. Greg the Good has skipped 5th grade and joins his cousin James the Rock who is repeating 6th grade. The family and teacher encourage Greg, giving him the message that if he works hard and attends a study group he will succeed despite failing the first quizzes. James and his friends purchase cheat sheets and their grades improve while Greg wrestles with the temptation to boost his grades by cheating. Greg's inner turmoil is framed as not wanting to let others down while James and his friends are bad boys just wanting to fool the system. Greg at first succumbs, purchases some sheets, but then decides to forgo the cheating, attend the study group and achieve the grades through hard work. Each book concludes with a brief analysis of the choices and compares the decisions and consequences for each boy. Black and white drawings continue the stereotypes, as Greg is the young African American boy with short hair and nice plaid shirt while James wears a slanted baseball cap over his longer hair and wears a hoodie. This uninspiring series could be useful in schools needing more bridge books with boy main characters but will be a hard series to sell for pleasure reading.
Dolly: The 1st Cloned Sheep
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
Dunn, Joeming
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
October 03, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
Dolly: The 1st Cloned Sheep is one of six books in the graphic non-fiction series, Famous Firsts: Animals Making History, each one featuring a historically significant animal. Dolly, famous as the first cloned mammal, narrates how she was cloned, other methods of cloning and the many unsuccessful attempts along the way. Starting with a definition of cloning as "the exact genetic copy of an organism," the complexity of information accelerates quickly from cell structure, and cell division in mammals to DNA, genetics, and methods of cloning. Dunn adeptly uses the graphic format by varying the page design to match the content. Pages divided into 3 or 4 frames show sequential information such as the steps in the process of injecting new genetic material into a cell and the reproductive cloning process that started Dolly's cell division. Concepts with more complicated, non-linear relationships such as the ability of stem cells to develop into almost any type of cell, tissue or organ are shown in full pages without any division. The narrative of Dolly's life is depicted in strips as well as mixed panels. Some pages are unnecessarily busy including one detailed drawing of a cell with extensive labeling of structures that are never mentioned anywhere else in the book. Books in this series vary considerably in the complexity and quality of information, so with limited budgets I recommend being selective and reading the reviews for each book before purchase. Non-fiction features include a table of contents, fact page, web link, glossary and index.
PRECIOUS BONES
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE]
ASHLEY-HOLLINGER, MIKA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
October 03, 2012
Swann, Rick
Ten-year-old Precious Bones lives with her parents on the edge of a Florida swamp in 1949. She lives a peaceful life with a houseful of animals, including a pet pig, and spends many days exploring, hunting and fishing with her best friend, Little Man. Her bucolic existence ends soon after her father, Nolay, who is part Miccosukee Indian, runs her neighbor and two land speculators off their property. Bones and Little Man discover one of the speculator's body in the swamp a couple of days later and Nolay is a prime suspect. Soon a neighbor is murdered as well. With the help of Little Man, Bones sets out to help clear her father's name. Filled with a cast of eccentric characters, what carries the story is Bones' voice as she describes a way of life along the Florida coast that is long gone in her regional dialect. While the central plot comes to a satisfactory conclusion, issues of child and spousal abuse, racism, and prejudice that are present throughout the story are left unresolved.
Tall Story
David Fickling Books [RANDOM HOUSE]
Gourlay, Candy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
October 03, 2012
Swann, Rick
Thirteen-year-old Andi has grown up in London far from her sixteen-year-old half brother Bernardo who their mother left behind in the Philippines when she travelled halfway across the world seeking a better life. Bernardo's paperwork to move to London to be with her is delayed for years, but has now gone through. Bernardo is not your usual teenager, though?he is easy to spot at the airport at eight feet tall. Told in alternating chapters through the points of view of Andi and Bernardo, we see the stark contrast between growing up in London and in a rural village in the Philippines. Bernbardo's story is fascinating?he has become a mythic hero in his own village, a reincarnation of Bernardo Carpio, a Philippino Paul Bunyan. The villagers have come to believe that because Bernardo lives there, they are safe from the ever-present earthquakes that strike their village. When Bernardo moves he carries the guilt of having abandoned the villagers to their fate and, in fact, an earthquake comes soon after he leaves. Andi, a total basketball freak even though she is tiny, has a strong personality that carries her narrative as well. As the two teens adjust to their new lives together, they both grow as people in this compelling story that successfully weaves together many themes: from folklore to the challenges immigrants and blended families face in their daily lives.
DARK EYES
RAZORBILL [PENGUIN]
RICHTER, WILLIAM
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
October 04, 2012
Datisman, Eve
Russian mobster out for revenge. Check. Young, beautiful girl with anger issues. Adoptive parents keeping secrets from young beautiful girl . Young beautiful girl running away from home and living on the street. Ruthless undercover spies and kindly but tough New York cops. Check, Check, Check, Check. Meet Wallis Stoneman, clever, angry, stubborn and in need of a new ID. Hers has been stolen by a girl who was once part of her crew. When the thief is identified as Incorrectly as Wally, Detective Atley knows there is something much more to the case. Wally is sixteen, vehemently against drugs and the leader of her crew. She's computer savvy, finds the best squats on using the real estate listings, knows where to get food, how to shift merchandise, hustle phone cards, and how to pass in the toney part of New York. When she contacts her fence for a line on where to get a new ID in Brighton Beach, a haven for Russian immigrants, she gets more than she bargained for. Here's a mystery that is all about her. Who she is, where she comes from, and all of the questions that her mother won't answer are now somehow in her grasp. But she will have to be smart or she'll end up dead just like everyone who she thinks might be able to help her unlock the mysteries of her life before she was five and adopted out of Russia. Wallis is not a convincing teen character, but is strong like Lisbeth Salander and La Femme Nitika so readers won't care too much although the noir references probably will appeal to more sophisticated readers. Action-packed.
FAIRY RING : OR ELSIE AND FRANCES FOOL THE WORLD
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
LOSURE, MARY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
October 04, 2012
Datisman, Eve
In the early years of the twentieth century it was fairies that intrigued, especially those in a handful of photographs made by two girls in England. Word of the photographs spread quickly, causing Arthur Conan Doyle and others to feel that they proved the existence of fairies once and for all. Losure, a long-time contributor to National Public Radio focuses sympathetically on the two young photographers, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright ages nine and thirteen at the time Frances saw fairies beside the waterfall of the house where she lived during WWI. Because neither girl liked to be laughed at, they decided they would photograph the fairies ? at that time no one had any idea the photos could be manipulated and especially by two young girls. It's an incredible story, but this compelling account explains step-by-step how the situation escalated; as time went on, more people became personally and financially invested, and it was increasingly difficult for the girls to consider coming clean. The narrative is matter-of-fact and reserves judgment on the perpetrators as well as their credulous public. The fairy photos are reproduced, allowing readers to see exactly what people at the time saw. The writing is accessible to fifth grade readers, but it will take some pushing to get readers to pick up the book. If it were presented as one of the great hoaxes, upper level students might be more interested.
CROAK
GRAPHIA [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
DAMICO, GINA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
October 04, 2012
Datisman, Eve
An exploration of the life and the afterlife reminiscent of cable's cult series Dead Like Me. However unlike TV's Georgia, 16-year-old Lex is not dead; she's walking mayhem. She sucker-punches anyone who ticks her off; that's pretty much everyone. In the family chats, she is tied down with jump ropes because her temper is so volatile her parents aren't sure if she'll go after them as well. Even her twin sister Cordie doesn't know who she is anymore. Finally fed up with her bad attitude, her folks ship her off to her Uncle Mort's farm in hopes that hard work, fresh air and time away will work a cure. Uncle Mort will take her into the family business as a Grim Reaper. Lex starts to build a reputation as one of the fastest and most powerful readers around and her anger issues lessen as she assimilates into the town of Croak. She is partnered with Driggs who captures the souls and we get to find out what happens in the afterlife ? as one might suspect, Edgar Allan Poe has no sense of humor or whimsy ? at least not like Teddy Roosevelt does. During a reap she sees a murder and wants to go after the perpetrator but Driggs won't let her. It's not the perp's time and Lex is left with a desire for justice ? or is it vengeance. The turning point comes when other reapers and soul gathers begin to die. Lex is right in the middle and fingers are pointed at her. Will she track the killer, stop the carnage or ditch Croak and join in? Followed by Scorch published in 2012.
Anne Hutchinson: Puritan Protester
COMPASS POINT BOOKS [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
Stille, Darlene R.
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
October 04, 2012
Datisman, Eve
Covering important figures throughout the ages, these lively books are filled with engaging text based on primary sources and thorough research. The full-color images, historical photos and paintings, and detailed maps add to the books' appeal. Each book includes fascinating sidebars, the subject's life at a glance, a parallel timeline of the subject's life and world events, source notes, glossary, suggestions for further reading, and pertinent Web sites and places to visit.
ABOVE
Arthur A. Levine Books [SCHOLASTIC]
BOBET, LEAH
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
October 04, 2012
Datisman, Eve
Urban fantasy novel about the dangers outside and inside. As in the 1980's cult TV Hit Beauty and the Beast, there is a whole world that those of us who live above don't know much about. It's populated by Jack Flash who channels electricity, Matthew, the Teller ? history keeper-- who has lion feet and scales down his back, Whisper who hears, talks to and sees ghosts, Atticus who has crab like chitinous claws and eyes that literally flash like fire when he's angry and Ariel a small fragile girl who can change into a honeybee when under stress. All are living and underground refuge accessible only by the sewers below Toronto and all displaced from Safe by Corner and his legion of malevolent dark spirits. They must flee to Above and solve the problem of who the insane corner is and how to eradicate him. Matthew is in love with Ariel and will undertake the most dangerous mission of his young life to keep him safe. Part fable, part adventure, and part a charting of the heart and what love means. There are adult issues of hermaphroditism, sexual Identity disorder, insanity, and the damage that can be caused by keeping secrets, especially when those secrets hide lies.
BALLET STARS
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
HOLUB, JOAN
MCNICHOLAS, SHELAGH
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
October 04, 2012
Wittmann, Teresa
If you like ballet and are learning to read, then this book will appeal to you. A mixed group of six children including one boy take ballet class and have a recital for their families. There isn't much of a storyline, but the rhyming text is easy to read. Cute illustrations on every page support the text. It is a Step 1 book in the Step into Reading series.
VAMPIRINA BALLERINA
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
PACE, ANNE MARIE
PHAM, LEUYAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 04, 2012
Wittmann, Teresa
Vampirina dreams of becoming a ballerina so she goes to ballet classes (at night of course) and begins to learn the basic steps. The other girls are taken aback by her fangs and the way she sometimes turns into a bat, but they get used to her. Learning to be a ballerina is hard work but Vampirina doesn't give up. She practices, practices, practices in class and at home until she is ready for the recital. This is a cute book that will appeal to young ballerinas and also those who like unscary vampires. The illustrations are the best part of the book and bring the story beyond the text with great humor, and expressions. This would be a good book for individual reading because the illustrations are small and very detailed and invite the reader to pore over them. This is a fun book for any collection.
GRAMMY LAMBY AND THE SECRET HANDSHAKE
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [MACMILLAN]
KLISE, KATE
KLISE, M. SARAH
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 04, 2012
Wittmann, Teresa
Larry the lamb doesn't like it when Grammy Lamby comes to visit. She calls him darling and sings too loud in church. Grammy Lamby also has a secret handshake for Larry that means I love you. Larry finds this very embarrassing. The next time Grammy Lamby comes to visit Larry can't wait for her to go home. Then a big storm comes and Grammy Lamby is the one to repair everything and to get the whole community organized. By the time Grammy Lamby leaves Larry feels differently about her and has his own secret handshake for her. This is an appealing story about getting along with others and dealing with difficult situations. The painted illustrations are charming and add to the fun of the story.
LIVING WITH MOM AND LIVING WITH DAD
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
WALSH, MELANIE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
October 04, 2012
Wittmann, Teresa
A little girl tells how she lives with her mom in a house and her dad in an apartment because they don't live together anymore. Each page has a lift the flap that shows the how things are done in the other household. For example, "Sometimes my dad takes me camping on the weekend...and sometimes my mom takes me to see the animals at the farm." Her parents take turns picking her up at school and both of them go to see her in the school play. When she misses one of them she can talk to them on the phone, but both parents love her. This is a simple straightforward story that young children who live between two parents will understand. The full-page illustrations are bold and bright and fit the text. The lift the flap element adds fun and the flaps are sturdy enough that they will last for awhile in a library collection.
POEM RUNS : BASEBALL POEMS AND PAINTINGS
HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
FLORIAN, DOUGLAS
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
October 04, 2012
Wittmann, Teresa
This is a collection of fifteen short poems and full-page illustrations that capture the spirit of baseball in classic Florian style. There are poems about everything from a baseball to right fielder to the umpire. The poems sometimes have a shape to the arrangement of the words to add to the action of the poem. The illustrations often add a twist of humor. The poems are not especially memorable but the combination of the poem and the bold painted illustration is a winner for baseball fans.
CARL AND THE SICK PUPPY
SQUARE FISH [MACMILLAN]
DAY, ALEXANDRA
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
October 04, 2012
Wittmann, Teresa
Carl the dog helps his friend Daddy Dog by taking care of a sick puppy. He brings the puppy water when he is thirsty, food when he is hungry, a blanket when he is cold, and so on. In the end the puppy takes a nap and feels better. This is a very simple story for beginning readers. Dog lovers will appreciate the soft illustrations on a white background. It is not clear why the puppy is sick when he wants water, food, and wants to play.
DAIRY GROUP
Childrens Press [SCHOLASTIC]
BERGERT-SPANIOL, MEGAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 04, 2012
Wittmann, Teresa
Young readers can learn the basics of the dairy food group including what foods are dairy, where it fits in the MyPlate concept of a balanced diet, health benefits, and choosing healthier dairy foods. Each of the four chapters is four to six pages with a chapter title, a sentence of text on the bottom of each page and an uncaptioned photo above to complement the text. There isn't much detail, but it is an introduction to one popular food group. An index, glossary, and list of resources is included. It is a level 2 Blastoff Reader in the Eating Right with MyPlate series.
PROTEIN FOODS GROUP
Childrens Press [SCHOLASTIC]
BERGERT-SPANIOL, MEGAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 04, 2012
Wittmann, Teresa
Young readers can learn the basics of the protein foods group including what foods are protein foods, where it fits in the MyPlate concept of a balanced diet, health benefits, and choosing healthier protein foods. Each of the four chapters is four to six pages with a chapter title, a sentence of text on the bottom of each page and an uncaptioned photo above to complement the text. There isn't much detail, but it is an introduction to one popular food group with examples including meat, seafood, eggs, nuts, and beans. An index, glossary, and list of resources is included. It is a level 2 Blastoff Reader in the Eating Right with MyPlate series.
RHINOCEROSES
Childrens Press [SCHOLASTIC]
SCHUETZ, KARI
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
October 04, 2012
Wittmann, Teresa
Four short chapters each explain the basics of how and where rhinos live including food, protecting calves, and fighting. Each chapter has two 2-page spreads witha chapter title and a few sentences of text in large font on one page and a corresponding uncaptioned photo on the facing page. Colored background makes the design more interesting. A glossary, index, and list of resources are included. This is a good book for a beginner researcher who only needs a few facts about rhinos. It is Level 1 Blastoff Reader in the Animal Safari series.
EAGLES
Childrens Press [SCHOLASTIC]
SCHUETZ, KARI
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
October 04, 2012
Wittmann, Teresa
Beginning researchers will find this book useful for basic facts about eagles from where they live, how and what they hunt, and eaglets. Four chapters are listed in the table of contents, but there are no chapter titles. Each two-page spread has a few sentences in large font and a corresponding uncaptioned photograph on the facing page with a colorful background design across the top. A glossary, index, and list of resoures is included. It is a level 1 Blastoff Reader in the Backyard Wildlife series.
TOADS
Childrens Press [SCHOLASTIC]
SCHUETZ, KARI
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
October 04, 2012
Wittmann, Teresa
Beginning researchers will find this book useful for basic facts about toads from where they live, what they eat, how they protect themselves and tadpoles. Four chapters are listed in the table of contents, but there are no chapter titles. Each two-page spread has a few sentences in large font and a corresponding uncaptioned photograph on the facing page with a colorful background design across the top. A glossary, index, and list of resoures is included. It is a level 1 Blastoff Reader in the Backyard Wildlife series.
Chained
FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX (BYR) [MACMILLAN]
Kelly, Lynne
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
5th grade to 8th grade
October 04, 2012
Wittmann, Teresa
Ten-year-old Hastin has a hard life in northern India with his mother and sister, but when his sister becomes sick and they have a huge medical bill life becomes even harder. When he sees the bad conditions his mother works in as a maid to pay their debts, Hastin finds a job far away from his family as an elephant caretaker for a circus that is starting. He knows nothing about elephants but he is desperate. Hastin becomes very attached to the wild elephant that is trapped and as he cares for her he realizes that she must be returned to her herd somehow. The trainer is very hard on her and all Hastin can do is care for her wounds and tend her lovingly. Luckily the cook knows about elephants and helps Hastin maintain hope and find the courage to fight for his own freedom and the freedom on Nandita the elephant. The reader will be touched by this is story of courage and relationships and will learn about the depth and dignity of elephants.
OCEAN SUNLIGHT : HOW TINY PLANTS FEED THE SEAS
BLUE SKY [SCHOLASTIC]
BANG, MOLLY
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
October 04, 2012
Turpin, Sharon
This is a beautiful introduction to the sun's relationship to all life on earth with a focus on the phytoplankton of the oceans and the interconnectedness of all things within the food chain. The concepts aren't simple, but the language is clear and understandable for primary audiences. Co-written with a professor of ecology at MIT, Penny Chisholm, Molly Bang does the luminous illustrations that are detailed especially in the microscopic creatures she features. The same two have previously teamed up to produce Living Sunlight which followed Bang's My Light. Well worth purchasing for any library serving children.
JUDY MOODY AND THE NOT BUMMER SUMMER
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
MCDONALD, MEGAN
Reynolds, Peter H.
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
October 04, 2012
Wittmann, Teresa
Judy Moody is determined not to have a boring summer, so she comes up with a plan for her gang of friends to earn thrill points by doing scary crazy things during the summer. It sounds great until two of her friends tell her they will be gone for the summer at circus camp and Borneo doing very thrilling things without her. Even her parents are going to California without her. Luckily Aunt Opal will be taking care of Judy and her brother Stink and Aunt Opal is up for all kinds of adventures. Judy and her one remaining friend try to do thrilling things, but they all end up in a disaster involving something gross like vomit or poop. As the summer passes by Judy begins to despair that she will never get any thrill points, but luckily Stink's obsession with Bigfoot leads her to a very thrilling adventure that saves her summer from being a bummer. This is the tenth book in the Judy Moody series and fans will not be disappointed. There are plenty of laughs, adventures, and fun characters to keep the story moving. Small lively illustrations on many pages add to the story.
BROTHERS AT BAT : THE TRUE STORY OF AN AMAZING ALL-BROTHER B
CLARION [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
VERNICK, AUDREY
SALERNO, STEVEN
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 04, 2012
Turpin, Sharon
Being based on a true story makes this all the more interesting. The Acerras were a New Jersey family with 16 children, 12 of whom were boys. This story begins in the 1920s and 30s when the children could be found playing baseball every spring. In 1938 the boys ranged in age from 7 to 32, when the oldest nine formed their own semi-pro team coached by their father. They drew crowds wherever they played, but put aside their games when World War II intervened. Six went off to war, and when all six returned safely they resurrected the team and won their league championship four out of six years. In 1997 they were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as the longest-playing all-brother baseball team ever. Well written and in vocabulary younger students can understand, this is a wonderful story to share with its warm-hearted feeling and good sportsmanship model of a family that made history. Steven Salerno's black crayon, gouache, watercolor and pastel drawings are reminiscent of McCloskey's, but with color, which perfectly capture the setting.
NOW WE ARE COOL
FITZHENRY & WHITESIDE [FITZHENRY & WHITESIDE]
OPEL-GOTZ, SUSAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 04, 2012
Turpin, Sharon
Older brother Leo explains to Mug how they are going to be different now--cool. Mug doesn't understand, so Leo gives him examples such as wearing sunglasses all day, staying up late, watching scary movies, talking rudely in code, listening to loud, angry music, having scary pets and scary friends, and misbehaving a lot. Mug finally points out how this all sounds like a lot of work and how each "cool" thing has its drawbacks. They finally give up on being cool for this day and resort to fun kid play. Translated from the German this text was enjoyed by second graders especially the humorousness of two children who really don't understand the implications of being cool. This is the illustrator's first foray into writing, and her unusual illustrations are entertaining.
WHOSE HOME IS THIS?
A+ BOOKS [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
MURPHY, JULIE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 04, 2012
Turpin, Sharon
After a brief introduction about animal homes the author Julie Murphy invites the primary reader to guess which animal lives in each home with answers provided at the back of the book. The succeeding double-page spreads provide a full-page photo of an animal's abode with a boxed description. Opposite this are 4 animals' photos with their names. Below these is one final hint. Some of the animals are easy to select such as the web of a spider, but others are challenging such as the rain forest home of a shaggy, orange animal--orangutan, golden lion tamarin, lemur or red panda. She doesn't make it too obvious as she selects animals that are similar i.e. all insects or all birds. Second graders really enjoyed this as well as older special ed students. The very clear are large enough for group sharing. The answer pages have added details followed by a glossary, books for further reading and the FactHound internet site. Other titles in this Naturre Starts series include Which SEED Is This?, Whose Baby Is This? and Whose Egg Is This?, which should all meet up to this author's respected reputation for quality nonfiction for elementary students.
AWESOME AUTUMN
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [MACMILLAN]
GOLDSTONE, BRUCE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 04, 2012
Turpin, Sharon
Exceptional color photos dramatically introduce the autumn season to elementary students. The emphasis is on the changes that occur in nature and people between the hot days of summer and the cold days of winter. As days shorten, nights become longer, leaves change color and drop to the ground, with scientific explanations provided. The feelings of the season--taste, shape and sounds are explored as well as animal migration or preparation for winter. Packed full of interesting and informative facts, this is much more than the usual introduction to autumn book. Due to its richness, good information, tons of photos, and clear labels this is a recommended purchase to expand or upgrade the section on fall. It concludes with some "awesome" activities. Though this won't work for research, it's a fun book to read and view.
FROST
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
DELSOL, WENDY
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
October 08, 2012
Gustafson, Chris
Stork, the favorably reviewed first book in the series, introduced Katla, newly arrived in Minnesota from California and reeling from the shock of learning that she is a Stork, a hereditary role charged with assigning new souls to expectant mothers. Kalta's complex and intriguing classmate, Jack Frost, adds a toasty bit of romance. In book two, Jack is recruited to work as a research assistant in Greenland where he disappears and Katla heads off to learn what has become of him and to clarify their relationship. Concludes with the birth of Katla's little sister, born with webbed appendages that might indicate a selkie heritage and the hint off another sequel.
SCARLETT DEDD: It's a Grave Situation
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE CHILDREN'S BOOKS]
BRETT, CATHY
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
October 09, 2012
Gustafson, Chris
British teen Scarlett finds identity with her Goth friends but she's still pretty socially insecure.? Desperate to find a legitimate excuse for skipping a school sleep-away trip to World War I battlefields, she consults a book on wild mushrooms and decides to give herself a mild case of indigestion so that she can legitimately skip the trip.? Poor research skills and the lack of close reading result in the ingestion of Death Caps, followed by some really horrorific vomiting (a theme throughout the book) and then death for Scarlett and her whole family, who were so pleased that she had cooked dinner!? Life after death is even more complicated ? I found it hard to care about Scarlett but those who like Emily the Strange will connect with her.
Plain Kate
Arthur A. Levine Books [SCHOLASTIC]
Bow, Erin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
October 15, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
Russian fairy tales set the backdrop in this enchanting story from first-time novelist Erin Bow. Recently orphaned Kate Carver is remarkably gifted at woodworking ? so much so, that she is suspected of witchcraft. When a stranger named Linay comes to town, he offers to trade her shadow for her "heart's wish," then frames her for a number of sinister magical mishaps. Kate has no choice but to comply: she trades her shadow for the chance to escape persecution and sets off on her own, with a talking cat as her only companion. Along the way she is both befriended by and then accused by a band of Gypsies, rescued once more by Linay, and ultimately discovers that to regain her shadow, she may have to make an unthinkable choice. Bow's novel has the much sought-after combination of adventure, heartbreak and darkness; Kate's journeys through the countryside is threaded with believable danger. The folkloric world-building is highly original and multilayered; while the dark elements of the story aren't for every reader, the ones who choose to follow Kate's story will find a rich reward.
LIVING WITH ADHD
Essential Library [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
KERSHNER, TAD
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
October 20, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
ABDO's "Living with Health Challenges" series combines ficitonalized accounts of teens living with the subject diseases along with factual information from health professionals. The use of text features, specifically text boxes and varying colors of type, helps point out important information such as symptoms to watch for and common misconceptions, along with celebrities with the diseases. Each chapter ends with "Ask Yourself This" questions specific to that chapter. A great resource for teens looking for answers about a disease or for researching topics for a school project. TItles in this series include Living with: Autism; Cancer; Celiac Disease; Diabetes; Epilepsy; Food Allergies; and ADHD. A solid purchase for secondary schools.
DEAD IS A BATTLEFIELD
GRAPHIA [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
PEREZ, MARLENE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
October 20, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
Yes, people, Daisy is gone from the series. This is, after all, #6 in the series and the protagonist, Jessica, is just beginning her scholastic career at Nightshade High School. Weird things are happening in town (no surprise) just as Jessica learns she is a Virago, a female warrior. She struggles to find time to complete homework and hang with her friends while spending nights on the lookout for evil folks. Cute new boys at school bring romance and zombies round out the story.
LIVING WITH AUTISM
Essential Library [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
ATWOOD, MEGAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
October 20, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
ABDO's "Living with Health Challenges" series combines ficitonalized accounts of teens living with the subject diseases along with factual information from health professionals. The use of text features, specifically text boxes and varying colors of type, helps point out important information such as symptoms to watch for and common misconceptions, along with celebrities with the diseases. Each chapter ends with "Ask Yourself This" questions specific to that chapter. A great resource for teens looking for answers about a disease or for researching topics for a school project. TItles in this series include Living with: Autism; Cancer; Celiac Disease; Diabetes; Epilepsy; Food Allergies; and ADHD. A solid purchase for secondary schools.
Nerd Girls: Rise of the Dorkasaurus
Hyperion Book CH [Hyperion Book CH]
Sitomer, Alan Lawrence
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
October 20, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
The Nerd Girls are still fighting with the ThreePees (pretty, popular, perfect) and when the pranks go a little far, the six girls are ordered to work together as their school's team in the Academic Septatholon. Horror of horrors--how will this happen? The ThreePees are only concerned with the prize money so they can purchase the latest designer handbag while the Nerd Girls have real problems--Mo's dad is trying to worm his way back into her family's life, Beanpole can't go anywhere without tripping over her oversized feet, and Q's allergies seem to be getting the best of her. Middle school girls, regardless of which trio they identify with, will see themselves in the battle to do good, to stand up for their beliefs, and also to accept things that can't be changed. They will see defeat and hopelessness but as in many books, goodness and right will prevail.
LIVING WITH FOOD ALLERGIES
Essential Library [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
HAND, CAROL
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
October 20, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
ABDO's "Living with Health Challenges" series combines ficitonalized accounts of teens living with the subject diseases along with factual information from health professionals. The use of text features, specifically text boxes and varying colors of type, helps point out important information such as symptoms to watch for and common misconceptions, along with celebrities with the diseases. Each chapter ends with "Ask Yourself This" questions specific to that chapter. A great resource for teens looking for answers about a disease or for researching topics for a school project. TItles in this series include Living with: Autism; Cancer; Celiac Disease; Diabetes; Epilepsy; Food Allergies; and ADHD. A solid purchase for secondary schools.
LIVING WITH EPILEPSY
Essential Library [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
CHRISTOPHERSON, SARA COH
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
October 20, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
ABDO's "Living with Health Challenges" series combines ficitonalized accounts of teens living with the subject diseases along with factual information from health professionals. The use of text features, specifically text boxes and varying colors of type, helps point out important information such as symptoms to watch for and common misconceptions, along with celebrities with the diseases. Each chapter ends with "Ask Yourself This" questions specific to that chapter. A great resource for teens looking for answers about a disease or for researching topics for a school project. TItles in this series include Living with: Autism; Cancer; Celiac Disease; Diabetes; Epilepsy; Food Allergies; and ADHD. A solid purchase for secondary schools.
LIVING WITH CELIAC DISEASE
Essential Library [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
BRYAN, DALE-MARIE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
October 20, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
ABDO's "Living with Health Challenges" series combines ficitonalized accounts of teens living with the subject diseases along with factual information from health professionals. The use of text features, specifically text boxes and varying colors of type, helps point out important information such as symptoms to watch for and common misconceptions, along with celebrities with the diseases. Each chapter ends with "Ask Yourself This" questions specific to that chapter. A great resource for teens looking for answers about a disease or for researching topics for a school project. TItles in this series include Living with: Autism; Cancer; Celiac Disease; Diabetes; Epilepsy; Food Allergies; and ADHD. A solid purchase for secondary schools.
LOSS
GRAPHIA [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
KESSLER, JACKIE MORSE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
October 20, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
The bullies have an easy target--Billy Ballard just takes their insults and punches and seems to come back for more. He is haunted at night by dreams of the Ice Cream Man. Billy cares for his Alzheimers-afflicted grandfather and discovers that he is Pestilence, the Conqueror, the White Rider of the Apocalypse. Yes, he uses his powers to get back at a couple of his school tormentors but as disease spreads through Billy's high school, he realizes how easy it would be to become just like the bullies. Interesting that he doesn't make a connection with his role as Pestilence and the disease that has caused so much havoc in the lives of his grandfather, mother, and himself. The middle of the book moved quite slowly but picked up and became more interesting. My teen students really enjoy this series and it has encouraged discussion on all things apocalyptic.
The Kill Order (prequel to Maze Runner)
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Dashner, James
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
October 20, 2012
Dame, Anne
The prequel to the Maze Runner series. Mark and Trina (barely) survive the sun flares, radiation, and tsunamis that destroy modern civilization. Just when they have figured out ways to cope with most of the changes and have teamed up with other survivors, a deadly virus is unleashed. Mark, Trina and the others are determined to find a cure but as the insanity spreads quickly, it will be a difficult if not impossible task. There is a lot of fairly graphic violence. Mark gets beat up so often and so badly that it is surprising he survives, not to mention that he never seems to suffer from the previous day's injuries. Fans of the series will enjoy this look at what came before Thomas enters the Glade, but it can also be viewed as extraneous.
GUANTANAMO BOY
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
PERERA, ANNA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
October 20, 2012
Dame, Anne
Khalid is a 15-year-old Muslim boy living in England just after 9/11. He and his family go to Pakistan over the Easter holidays to visit relatives. While there, Khalid is abducted in the middle of the night for suspected terrorist activities. His family has no idea what has happened to him. He is eventually taken to Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba where he is held and tortured for two years. Graphic violence, torture, and waterboarding scenes can make this a difficult read ? and yet, it is vital to realize that this happened to real people and that there are still over 100 prisoners in Guantanamo Bay despite Obama's attempts to close it down.
ONE WAY
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
MCCLINTOCK, NORAH
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
October 20, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
Kenzie is in big trouble. While riding his bike the wrong way on a street, he crashes into his ex-girlfriend, Stassi, seriously injuring her. Because of their recent breakup, Kenzie is suspected of purposefully hurting the girl. While trying to determine why eyewitiness accounts don't mirror what Kenzie thought happened, he learns that his way is not the only way, and that he may be just as guilty of having clouded judgment as others involved in the story. Norah McClintock continues her superb writing for teens in the Orca Soundings series, targeted at reluctant readers. Another winner.
CALL THE SHOTS
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
CALAME, DON
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
October 20, 2012
Dame, Anne
Coop, Matt, and Sean are at it again in the third and final book in the Swim the Fly series. This time their goal is to make a horror film to enter in the NYC TerrorFest competition. As usual, they have a few roadblocks: a really low budget, casting issues, and lack of experience to name a few. Sean is desperate to win, though, as his parents have dropped the bombshell that they are having a baby ? and Sean has to share a bedroom with his twin sister Cathy. Nothing could be quite so funny as their quest to see a real live naked girl, but this one comes close. Fans of the series, especially boys, will enjoy this well-written sequel.
LIAR & SPY
WENDY LAMB BOOKS [RANDOM HOUSE CHILDREN'S BOOKS]
STEAD, REBECCA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
October 20, 2012
Dame, Anne
Georges and his family sell their house and move to an apartment where he meets Safer, a boy his age, and Candy, Safer's younger sister. Safer is a self-professed spy and he easily convinces Georges to help him discover what mysterious Mr. X from their building is doing with all these black clothes and suitcases... The diversion from his mother's extra shifts at the hospital and the bullying he receives at school carries him along for a while until he realizes that it is also forcing him to make some difficult choices. Some very realistic voices, especially in Georges and his school interactions but I remain a bit incredulous about the veracity of Safer's family especially. One surprising plot twist that I did not see coming even though I probably should have tripped over it; astute readers will predict it, though. I liked it better than When You Reach Me, but not as well as First Light...
ICHIRO
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
INZANA, RYAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
October 20, 2012
Dame, Anne
Readers may initially mistake this for a book about baseball if they only look at the title rather than examining the actual cover art and reading the inside flap for more information. It is the story of Ichiro, a bi-racial Japanese-American boy. He is being raised in New York by his mother; he has never known his soldier father who died before Ichiro was born. Now Ichiro is being taken to stay in Japan with his grandfather for a while. One night he is dragged into the Underworld by a monster. In the Underworld he encounters many various Japanese gods and as he tries to find his freedom, he also finds self-awareness, peace, and acceptance. An interesting look at a wide variety of Japanese gods, myths, and legends. At the beginning, seemingly unrelated story-lines may confuse less sophisticated readers. It reminds me a bit of "American Born Chinese."
MAXED OUT
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
GREER, DAPHNE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
October 20, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
Max and his family are reeling from the unexpected death of his father. His mother spends her time withdrawn in her room, leaving Max to care for his special-needs brother. What he wants to do is to just have a normal life but he can't imagine what that would like like without his dad. And more than anything, he thinks that playing hockey will help him move through the grief process. But he can't leave his brother alone while he plays, and his mom continues to be no help. The cover illustration will draw in students interested in baseball and lacrosse because at first glance, it is not clear that the helmet is worn by a hockey player. Another great addition from the Orca Currents series of hi-lo books for teens.
ONE COOL FRIEND
DIAL [DIAL]
BUZZEO, TONI
Small, David
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 20, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
From the title, One Cool Friend, to the surprising conclusion, the tongue-in-check humor and language chock full of double entendres will leave readers and audiences rolling with laughter. Elliot was a prissy, proper young man, dressed in a tuxedo when going to the Aquarium with his father. Fascinated by the penguins, (reminding Elliot of himself,) he is given $20.00 to purchase one. Illustrations imply the stuffed penguins on sale for $19.95, but no, Elliot coaxes Magellan, the real penguin into his backpack and travels home. Thus follows the double entendres as Elliot's father believes Elliot is doing a report on the explorer and reminisces that he was given Captain Cook in 3rd grade. Various escapades in Magellan's caretaking lead to a surprising twist when discovered by Elliot's father. The illustrations of pen and ink, ink wash, watercolor and colored pencil rely on a black and white scheme with dabs of colors in watercolor or pencil giving a clean uncluttered appearance. Some of the humor may need to be explained to the younger readers but the fun language play is definitely a highlight. This will make a great read-aloud as well as fun book for checkout and sharing with parents and guardians.
JAZZ AGE JOSEPHINE
ATHENEUM BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [ATHENEUM BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
WINTER, JONAH
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 20, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
Brown skinned Miss Josephine Baker dressed in a turquoise flapper dress, dances across a vibrant red cover in this picture book biography. The stunning illustrations matched with a jazzy text, tell the story of the fairy-tale life of Josephine from a dirt-poor childhood in St. Louis to a famous jazz dancer & singer renowned in Paris and mourned by 20,000 during her Parisian funeral procession. "You see, the shack where she lived, it didn't have no heat." She slept down on the floor, newspapers for a sheet- rats crawlin' all around, a-nibblin' at her feet." Running away from discrimination, at 15 she danced on Broadway, but was only given the humiliating roles of fool and "blackface." Leaving for Paris and hitting the stage at 19, she quickly gained "instant fame! Everybody knows her name!" She always mourned the loss of her home country, but knew there was no place for her talents. The eye-catching gouache and ink illustrations are fabulously alive and worthy of lingering over during a read aloud. A concluding, author's note gives a brief sketch of Josephine's life including fascinating tidbits such as her adoption of twelve children from around the world, naming them the Rainbow Tribe, and her civil rights convention speech.
YOU WOULDN'T WANT TO BE A PONY EXPRESS RIDER!
Franklin Watts [Franklin Watts]
RATLIFF, TOM
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
October 20, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
The You Wouldn't Want to work? series of books are always winners as they combine comics, humor, great graphic design and solid factual information. The narrator speaks directly to the reader, guiding him/her through the life working in a hazardous occupation intermixing details that bring the scene to life. With job requirements including thin, wiry boys under the age of 18 and preferably orphans, hazardous work is a certainty. The Pony Express, although short-lived and expensive, has captured the American imagination and many books are written for elementary age children. The basic facts are covered and uncertainties admitted while providing a lively patter about the grueling nature and dangers of delivering the mail through Indian territory, bad weather, stations without fresh horses or riders and eventual competition from the telegraph and stagecoach resulting in the closing down of all operations. Other issues of American History including the Civil War, westward movement, and wars with the tribe provide background making this a solid purchase for most libraries.
YOU WOULDN'T WANT TO WORK ON THE HOOVER DAM!
Franklin Watts [Franklin Watts]
GRAHAM, IAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
October 20, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
The You Wouldn't Want to work? series of books are always winners as they combine comics, humor, great graphic design and solid factual information. The narrator speaks directly to the reader, guiding him/her through the life working in a hazardous occupation intermixing details that bring the scene to life. The Hoover Dam was constructed starting shortly after the Wall Street crash and provided employment for many out of work men as general laborers, boat operators, miners, mechanics and the best paid job as a power shovel operator. At the bottom of the pay scale were the General laborers, who worked the messiest and most dangerous jobs. Each page is a dynamic mix of text and graphics all mixed in together. Speech bubbles, handy hints, diagrams, comparative drawings combine with explanations of the various jobs, living quarters, daily life on the job, interesting and astonishing facts and great anecdotes make for lively reading and works well for historical background. The glossary provides additional information as well as definitions and adds to the historical value. If your budget allows, these books are always a solid purchase.
ELMER AND SUPER EL
UNKNOWN [UNKNOWN]
MCKEE, DAVID
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
October 20, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
Elmer, the charming patchwork elephant, teaches kindness and resourcefulness as he helps Super El avoid a whole jungle full of animals when his outfit is torn. Luckily Aunt Zelda will be able to fix the outfit if only Super El can get there without being laughed at. Thus proceeds a litany of distractions that only Elmer could pull off by telling jokes, confusing stories and pure trickery as Super El safely arrives at Aunt Zelda's without being sighted. David McKee's vibrant colors burst across the pages in the vegetation, flowers, trees and river scenes and the realistically depicted monkeys, hippos and regular elephants provide a strong contrast with Elmer and Aunt Zelda's characteristic patchwork colors. Fans of Elmer will love this newest story and the large colorful illustrations useful for read alouds and the characteristic humor make this a great addition for school libraries.
Droughts
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
Franchino, Vicky
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
October 20, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
Most elementary students don't think of droughts as a disaster but the suffering, and economic consequences can be just as serious as a hurricane or tsunami. Cherry Lake's Real World Math: Natural Disasters book on droughts defines them as occurring when "an area gets less precipitation than usual for a long enough time to cause big problems," and can occur in dry and wet zones. Causes, contributing factors, economic impact and protection of our freshwater supplies are investigated through "Real World Math Challenges" as well as the text. Meaningful mathematical questions are found in several charts including one that compares average monthly precipitation between Seattle and La Vegas. Other sidebars focus on Learning and Innovation Skills, Life & Career Skills and 21st Century Content. Information and critical reading strategies found in these different sidebars emphasis mathematical thinking, that could also be good discussion starters for small group or whole class teaching. The informative, narrative non-fiction provides a solid introduction to droughts and can be tied into several science and social studies curriculum units but the math questioning while expanding understanding may prove a hard sell for individual readers. The series is worth considering for a disaster section with the extra bonus of the math applications.
Garmann's Secret
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers [Eerdmans Books for Young Readers]
Hole, Stian
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
October 20, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
The Garmann books, Garmann's Summer and Garmann's Street, were originally published in Norway receiving many international awards. Garmann returns in a third book along with the twins Johanna, the kind friend and the bullying twin, Hannah. Throughout the book mention is made that some people see the twins as "two peas in a pod," but Garmann knows differently. This theme reverberates throughout the book as the twins are differentiated by the color of their pigtail bands, facial expressions and symbolism conveyed in illustrations. We meet Hannah with menacing expressions on her face and accompanying a boy with slingshot dangling a dead bird. Johanna, in contrast, is shown with a peaceful expression, eyes shining and wonder on her face as she takes Garmann to a secret magical place in the woods where she has found a large, rusted and blackened metallic object. Johanna thinks it may be a space capsule. The two return day after day to daydream, create stories and share hopes and fears of growing up, culminating in a sweet kiss. There is freshness in their discovery of dreams and awakening of young love, an unusual component in American picture books. The abnormally large heads and photographic quality of illustrations superimposed on a pastoral background are jarring, magnifying the emotional tones in the book but are also a good size to use as a read-aloud. While charming and intriguing, school libraries may want to consider the audience before purchase.
Marcel, the Shell with Shoes On: Things about me
Razorbill [Razorbill]
Slate, Jenny
Fleischer-Camp
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 20, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
Marcel the Shell has become a YouTube sensation over this past year, appealing to all ages, even the college crowd seeking "cute." Readers should watch the video clips and hear Marcel's voice before reading the book as it sets the stage for what sounds like stilted, choppy sentences with very little emotion or impact and no plot at all. Marcel the Shell has a big eye in the shell's opening and wears red & white shoes that are half the size of this body. Marcel talks directly to the reader, describing himself, where he lives and what he does. He asks questions and answers them in short sentences mixing childlike thoughts with occasional big words. "My one regret in life is that I'll never have a dog. But sometimes I tie a hair to a piece of lint and I drag it around. His name is Alan. He doesn't know any tricks or anything." The illustrations are paintings created from photographs and are all from the point ?of-view of a close to the floor or surface snail shell in a much larger scale world. This is clearly an additional purchase but is fun and if shown with the YouTube video will be a fast mover.
The Princess of Borscht
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Schubert, Leda
Christensen, Bonnie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 20, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
Ruthie's Grandmother is in the hospital with pneumonia and claims the only thing that will make her feel better is her special borsht (beet soup) that she needs by 5:00 that evening. But Grandmother falls asleep before Ruthie can get the recipe and Ruthie is left on her own to create the soup. With vociferous help and the bossy competitiveness of her neighbors, the self-claimed Empress, First Lady, and Tsarina of Borsht, Ruthie assembles her borsht. Delivered in time for the 5:00 deadline Grandmother pronounces the borsht delicious and she and Ruthie share their secret ingredient, dill. Beautiful mixed material paintings convey the liveliness and bossiness of the community as well as the love between Ruthie and her Grandmother. Although borsht is not a common soup, children will enjoy Ruthie's predicament as well as her eventual success. A recipe is included on both the dust jacket and hard cover. The large illustrations are perfect for sharing in larger groups and the recipe will attract your adventurous cooks. Readers will be left chuckling as Grandmother announces that tomorrow she might want a noodle pudding and falls asleep before giving the recipe. While not a first purchase, the humor and charm invite consideration.
BABYMOUSE : 16 : BABYMOUSE FOR PRESIDENT
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
HOLM, JENNIFER L
Holm, Matt
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
October 20, 2012
Gustafson, Chris
For all that they look young and girly, Babymouse has been a hit in middle school, even with a few boys.??Maybe it's because, despite all the pinkness, Babymouse is insecure, vain, worryingly honest, hopeful?..a lot like middle schoolers.??In the latest in this graphic novel series, Babymouse decides to fun for president of student council, although her daydreams about the U.S. presidency provide some very fun and funny content.??Of course she's not running unopposed ? my favorite of her opponents is a locker ? and there are plenty of connections to make with our current presidential race.
PERCEPTION : A CLARITY NOVEL
UNKNOWN [UNKNOWN]
HARRINGTON, KIM
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
October 20, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
Clare is back, trying to fit in at her high school while navigating the goings-on of her homelife. She is able to see visions of the person who touched the object she is touching, her brother contacts the dead, and her mother reads minds. After helping discover a murderer, her social status skyrockets but are the formerly-mean girls really asking her to parties because they like her or is there a more sinister reason? A classmate goes missing and Clare seems to have a stalker on her hands but a more pressing problem is which boy she will ask to a school dance. A strong-willed young woman, her actions will resonate with teens. Some teen drinking and language. This paranormal mystery is a hit with 8th grade girls.
LIVING WITH CANCER
Essential Library [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
SLOMSKI, GENEVIEVE T
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
October 20, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
ABDO's "Living with Health Challenges" series combines ficitonalized accounts of teens living with the subject diseases along with factual information from health professionals. The use of text features, specifically text boxes and varying colors of type, helps point out important information such as symptoms to watch for and common misconceptions, along with celebrities with the diseases. Each chapter ends with "Ask Yourself This" questions specific to that chapter. A great resource for teens looking for answers about a disease or for researching topics for a school project. TItles in this series include Living with: Autism; Cancer; Celiac Disease; Diabetes; Epilepsy; Food Allergies; and ADHD. A solid purchase for secondary schools.
MATTHEW MEETS THE MAN
UNKNOWN [UNKNOWN]
NICHOLS, TRAVIS
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
October 20, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
4.5 stars. Matt begins high school playing trumpet in the marching band but REALLY wanting to be a first-class drummer. After a guy at school tells him about The MAN (anyone in position of authority or control), Matt begins to look at adults in that manner--how they conspire to keep him down. When he asks for a raise in his allowance, his dad agrees but adds new chores into the deal. Every time he begins saving money for a drum set to get him towards his dream, A MAN gets in his way (figuratively, not literally). Matt's friends don't always support him as he'd like and his crush on a fellow bandmate isn't having the results he hopes for. Comical illustrations and witty prose make this a good "next book" for teens when they are looking for something after the Wimpy Kid books. A little bit of language but appropriate for most if not all teens. Middle school boys will beg for additional copies in your library.
Crazy Things Girls Do For Love
Candlewick [Candlewick]
Sheldon, Dyan
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
October 20, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
When new cute boy Cody arrives at school and joins the Environmental Club, girls at Clifton Springs High suddently become more eco-conscious. Sicilee brings the mover and shakers with her while Maya wonders how to join the club without alienating the cool crowd. And then there is Waneeda, a social outcast who'd rather stay in the background. I appreciate the environmental story line and did laugh at some of the capers the girls came up with to draw attention to themselves; hormones are certainly capable to making teens do crazy things. But the girls were just annoying and the thought that Sicilee and Maya would change their lives so drastically just to impress the latest boy on their radar didn't sit well with me. Middle school girls might find the book entertaining.
Claire de Lune
SIMON PULSE [SIMON PULSE]
Johnson, Christine
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
October 20, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
Claire's sixteenth birthday party is everything she hoped for, except for the "present" her mom gave her--the knowledge that the women in her family are werewolves. She struggles to balance the fear this knowledge brings with schoolwork and a slowly-developing relationship with Matthew. Keeping the secret of her upcoming change is made more difficult by the fact that Matthew's dad is the town crier for all things anti-werewolf. Are Claire's pack members responsible for the wolf attacks around town? I liked the strong female characters (wolves) and the surprise of who the "bad" wolf was. Teen girls will enjoy the story.
A Bad Day for Voodoo
Sourcebooks Fire [Sourcebooks Fire]
Strand, Jeff
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
October 20, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
Tyler really got the wrong end of the stick--a zero score for cheating when it wasn't him! No, really, it wasn't! Mr. Click has got to be the worst teacher ever (in Tyler's mind) so when Tyler's friend, Adam, comes up with a voodoo doll, they both chortle at the thought of sticking it to the teacher. All bets are off, though, when a pin stuck in the doll's leg causes Mr. Click's leg to explore in class. Blood and guts cover the classroom. Next comes a voodoo doll of Tyler which gets stolen, sending our protagonist on a hilarious romp with zombies in tow. Laugh-out-loud humor and lots of action ensure this will be a winner amongst middle schoolers. Or those who are teens at heart.
LOOKING AT POLAND
OLIVER PRESS [OLIVER PRESS]
KADZIOLKA, JAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
October 20, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
There's a lot of information crammed into these 48 pages, full of color photos and three maps. The history section begins in the Middle Ages and moves up to the 2004 inclusion of Poland in the European Union. Of particular interest to student researchers might be the information about education in Poland, where kindergarten begins at age three and teens are routed to either general secondary schools for college preparation or to vocational secondary schools followed by moving into a trade right after high school. Text features such as bold, italics, graphs, and text boxes point the reader to important information. The large amount of white space and numerous photos might entice even the most relucant reader to choose this book. Interestingly, the other countries included in this "Looking at Europe" series are all from what might be considered eastern Europe: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
VOLLEYBALL DREAMS
STONE ARCH BOOKS [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
MADDOX, JAKE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
October 20, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
Stone Arch Books has added more titles to the outstanding Jake Maddox Sports Stories series. Each story features young people competing in a variety of sports and includes illustrations that nicely complement the realistic look at struggles athletes overcome when trying to juggle practice time, school work, and home life. Plenty of white space and a somewhat large font make the books appealing to reluctant readers. Although marketed to upper elementary students, these books are a hit at my middle school not only with struggling readers and those new to the English language, but also to athletes who want a quick read. You can't go wrong with any of the Jake Maddox books. In Volleyball Dreams, Ramona spends all her non-school time at the beach, perfecting her skills on the volleyball court. Development threatens the court and she finally realizes what it means to be part of a team.
VOLCANOES!
FIRST GRAPHICS [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
GRAY-WILBURN, RENEE
SOTIROVSKI, ALEXSANDER
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
October 20, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
This First Graphic title from Capstone Press is part of the Wild Earth set that which also includes Earthquakes!, Hurricanes!, and Tornadoes! In addition to explaining what volcanoes are and how they "work," a section describes steps to take to keep oneself safe in the event of a nearby volcanic eruption. The graphics are appealing and cross-sections of the earth add depth and perspective. A great source for the intended elementary-age audience but also for older readers who struggle with comprehension. A top-notch selection.
DUST GIRL
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
ZETTEL, SARAH
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
October 21, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
There's no denying the originality of this premise: a fantasy/adventure quest story set in the 1930s Dust Bowl. Callie LeRoux and her mother are one of the last inhabitants of Slow Run, Kansas, faithfully waiting for the return of Callie's father, a travelling jazz pianist. When a supernaturally destructive dust storm makes her mother disappear, Callie goes on a quest to find her, accompanied by a teenage hobo, Jack. Eventually she learns that her father is one of the seelie ? a fairy ? and that she has her own magical powers that she must learn how to control. Zettel has a lot of fun transforming period details for this supernatural adventure: an enchanted speakeasy, Pullman cars full of ghosts, and a cameo appearance by Count Basie at a fairyland dance marathon. Callie's voice is earthy, full of charming downhome language. It isn't entirely clear why fairies are appearing in this time and place ? most of the lore and behavior of the fairy characters are straight from European folktales ? but that doesn't stop it from being fun. Most of the plotline and character arcs are overwhelmingly conventional, creating a lack of narrative tension (die hard fantasy fans may even find the story too predictable) but most readers should find Dust Girl an exciting tale with a touch of romance. First in a series.
MOM, IT'S MY FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN!
FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX [MACMILLAN]
YUM, HYEWON
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten
October 21, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
The first-ever day of school is as much a milestone for parents as it is for kids, something that Kim cleverly acknowledges in this subtle twist on a familiar back-to-school story. Here, it is the child who is bursting with confidence, and the parent who is full of anxiety: "'We don't know anyone here. I miss your old teachers and friends.' ?I like to make friends, Mom, and you'll make new friends, too, in no time.'" Kim's delicate pencil-and-watercolor illustrations reinforce this dynamic: the boisterous young kindergartner fills the page, full of color and energy, while worrywart Mom is a small blue figure huddling in a corner. When Mom relaxes (after making a new friend) she blossoms into her full size and color. Our protagonist's voice is charmingly na?ve and straightforward ("Then we get to work. Kindergarten is awesome") without becoming tiresome or didactic. The drawings are appropriately childlike -- round-faced figures with dot eyes and scribbly hair dart across expanses of white space -- but are also touchingly expressive. Here the common worries and fears about school are transformed into something empowering, a celebration, and what parent or child wouldn't appreciate that?
MOMENTUM
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
LLOYD, SACI
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
October 23, 2012
Dame, Anne
Hunter lives in a near-future London where the world has depleted their energy supplies, there are frequent blackouts, and the people are divided into two distinct groups: Citizens and Outsiders. Hunter is a Citizen with a very influential father, yet he is fascinated by the Outsider culture. The Outsiders have managed to create their own sustainable energy sources plus they have mastered an art they call "free running." He is drawn into their world and an unexpected friendship with a girl named Uma when attacked by the government's nasty, vicious Kossak soldiers. Full of action and adventure, a fair amount of violence ? although nothing truly graphic, and some predictable characters and plot twists. Those looking for a serviceable dystopia will find it here; may also have appeal for Alex Rider fans due to the chase scenes and some interesting tech gadgets.
IN THE GARDEN : WORD BUILDING WITH PREFIXES AND SUFFIXES
SUPER SANDCASTLE [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
SCHEUNEMANN, PAM
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
October 24, 2012
Swann, Rick
Part of the Word Building series, this book serves as an introduction to simple prefixes and suffixes for young readers. Easy-to-read sentences about gardens, alongside supporting photographs, show how prefixes and suffixes change the meaning of words. While this series serves as a good introduction to the concept for first and second grade students, it will probably not circulate widely.
Dreadnought (H.I.V.E. #4)
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers [SIMON & SCHUSTER]
Walden, Mark
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
October 24, 2012
Swann, Rick
The students of the Higher Institute of Villainous Education are back in their fourth book. The world's most powerful villains have a problem?one of their own has gone rogue and has associated himself with a sinister new organization known only as The Disciples who kidnap the president and plan to blow up the supervolcano that sits where Yellowstone National Park is, wreaking environmental disaster on the country. It's up to the students of H.I.V.E. and their teachers to stop them. Readers will root for these heroes because they fight even enemies even more evil than they are. Deaths occur, on both sides of the conflict, but in the end, the student's higher moral ground wins out. This is an action driven story that will be popular with many readers, but it would be nice to have these characters be more developed in the books to come.
WHAT WILL YOU BE, GRANDMA?
TEMPLAR [TEMPLAR]
NEWMAN, NANETTE
CLARK, EMMA C.
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
October 24, 2012
Swann, Rick
One day Lily asks her grandma, "What to you think you'll be when you grow up?" Lily has many fantastical suggestions. Grandma's respectful answers encourage Lily's creative thinking. Emma Chichester Clark's soft watercolors place Lily and Grandma in a variety of situations filled with other children and animals and depict Grandma as an interesting middle-aged woman. Not available in library binding. PreS-1.
SPY SCHOOL
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers [SIMON & SCHUSTER]
GIBBS, STUART
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
October 24, 2012
Swann, Rick
Like many kids, Ben Ripley imagines being a secret agent, so when he learns he's been recruited to the C.I.A.'s top secret Academy of Espionage, it sounds too good to be true. ?And it is. ?He soon discovers that he hasn't been recruited to become a top agent; instead, he's been brought in as bait to catch a devious double agent. ?Now, Ben needs luck just to survive as he tries to find the mole who got him in this mess. The plot, full of twists and turns, keeps us guessing until the very end who is responsible. This humorous book, full of sarcasm directed at the incompetent adult secret agents, manages to convey danger without anyone actually getting seriously hurt or killed. While it lacks character development or any overriding message, it is an entertaining book that kids will enjoy reading.
THAILAND
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
RAATMA, LUCIA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
October 24, 2012
Swann, Rick
Part of the Social Studies Explorer It's Cool to Learn about Countries series, an introduction to the geography, history, economy, culture, and people of Thailand delivered in a straight forward manner. Each page has a photograph, map, infographic or sidebar (appearing as writing on the back of postcards) along with text that gives students basic information on the country. There are also several activities for students included: designing a Thai kite, making Thai soup, making a bar graph, and mapping project. Includes a glossary, index and resource page. Available in paperback and available rebound for library use.
IN THE KITCHEN : WORD BUILDING WITH PREFIXES AND SUFFIXES
SUPER SANDCASTLE [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
SCHEUNEMANN, PAM
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
October 24, 2012
Swann, Rick
Part of the Word Building series, this book serves as an introduction to simple prefixes and suffixes for young readers. Easy-to-read sentences about cooking, alongside supporting photographs, show how prefixes and suffixes change the meaning of words. While this series serves as a good introduction to the concept for second and third grade students, it will probably not circulate widely.
BIG BOOK OF VAMPIRES
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
DESPEYROUX, DENISE
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
October 24, 2012
Swann, Rick
This book is a collection of 13 vampire themed classics and legends rewritten for kids. The stories in most cases are episodes from the originals, rather than simplified summaries, but most lack the complexity or depth to appeal to older readers. Fernando Falcone's drawings depicting creepy, blood-covered manga-style characters that accompany the text will appeal to younger children who will want to check this book out based on the illustrations, but the content isn't always appropriate for them.
HOW TO WRITE A MYSTERY
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
MINDEN, CECILIA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
October 24, 2012
Swann, Rick
Part of the Language Arts Explorer Junior series, an introduction to how to write a mystery for young writers, this book covers in six chapters: what's a whodunit; what is the plot; what are the clues; what is the setting; solve the mystery; and case closed. The information is presented clearly and in a straightforward manner with examples as well as a writing activity for each chapter that can be copied out at the book's web site. A young writer could follow the blueprint in this book and end up with a short mystery story of his or her own. There is a glossary, a short bibliography and an index.
CAN WE SHARE THE WORLD WITH TIGERS?
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
WELLS, ROBERT E
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
2nd grade to 4th grade
October 24, 2012
Swann, Rick
Part of the Wells of Knowledge Science series, this is a mishmash of a book. It begins with discussion of Bengal tigers and discusses why they are endangered and moves on from there to discussions of strip mining, pollution, population growth, global warming, invasive species, biodiversity, extinction and sustainability. Each topic is treated minimally. The design of the book can also be confusing: there is an inconsistency to the lay out including two spreads that present the information vertically. A tiger and her cubs and a monkey who befriends them travel throughout the book, including to a boat on the ocean and to the time of the dinosaurs, blurring the line between fiction and non-fiction. While there is a glossary it doesn't include all of the words a second or third grader would need to know to make sense of the text. There is no index.
MR. ZINGER'S HAT
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
FAGAN, CARY
PETRISIC, DUSAN
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 29, 2012
Kay, Breean
With a gust of wind, Leo's ball knocks Mr. Zinger's hat from his head. After they chase it down together, they discover there is a story stuck inside of it, trying to get out. As Mr. Zinger encourages Leo to find his imagination and create a story of his own, a story-within-a-story emerges (with its own unique illustrations). Leo's newfound ingenuity delights him, and he takes his storytelling lesson to a new friend he meets in the park and the twosome start off on an entirely new story altogether. Award-winning author Fagan's story is exceptional because it not only entertains, but it teaches the power of the imagination in an original way?inspiring children to create. Fagan also beautifully renders a momentous multigenerational encounter. Together these achievements make a timeless classic. Watercolor and cartoon Illustrations by Petricic perfectly compliment the main and sub-story.
LOVABYE DRAGON
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
JOOSSE, BARBARA
CECIL, RANDY
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
October 29, 2012
Kay, Breean
A dragon discovers the cure to his own loneliness when he follows a trail of silver tears to a young girl living all alone in a castle and longing for a dragon to be her friend. Though they would seem the most unlikely of pairs, they compliment each other perfectly and couldn't be happier to have found each other. This story is a simple one but a good one for kids starting school and beginning to make friends. Joosse's lyrical story is reminiscent of Margaret Wise Brown's work and Cecil's sweet, textured images drawn in soft blues and greys tend to soothe rather than excite.
MAIA AND THE MONSTER BABY
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
WINTHROP, ELIZABETH
HALEY, AMANDA
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
October 29, 2012
Kay, Breean
Maia and her playmate, a monster that hangs out with her in her bedroom, are both becoming big sisters. They do NOT look forward to this change in their lives. Once the monster's baby sister arrives, Maia finds a way to bond with her. When Maia's own sister is born, Maia's monster likewise connects with Maia's little sister. Though her mother tells Maia that her sister will be her best friend, Maia and her monster agree that their sisters won't take each other's places. Though the new sibling topic hasn't been done in this way before, the message is a little askew and difficult for children to ascertain. Illustrations by Haley are sweet and endearing, but the story they accompany is lackluster and awkward.
KING TUT'S GRANDMOTHER
STONE ARCH BOOKS [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
PAVANELLO, ROBERTO
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
October 29, 2012
Haines, Hazel
With all the current local interest in the King Tut exhibit at the Pacific Science Center, this fiction book is the perfect introduction to Egyptian pharoahs and mummies. It is the first book in the Echo and the Bat Pack series, and I can't wait to read the other three. Written as a simple chapter book, it has enticing color illustrations, a glossary of Egyptian terms, and even some discussion questions and writing prompts.
ZOE GETS READY
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [SCHOLASTIC]
MURGUIA, BETHANIE DEENEY
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
October 29, 2012
Haines, Hazel
I read this book to my kindergarten classes along with Ella Sarah Gets Dressed. Both the boys and the girls enjoyed the story of a young girl given the independence to select her clothes on a special Saturday morning. What a decision! She has to imagine the type of day she will be having and pick out an outfit to match her day. How does she solve the dilemna? She decides to wear everything and be ready for anything. The full-color illustrations cover 2 pages and are delightful.
HELP ME LEARN SUBTRACTION
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
MARZOLLO, JEAN
PHILLIPS, CHAD
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
October 29, 2012
Kay, Breean
Visual and auditory learners will learn subtraction's basic concept: that it's a take away action in this fun introductory book on the subject. Tiny dinosaurs, monsters, piglets and chicks are a few of the objects selected to introduce this early math skill.
ONE SHEEP, BLUE SHEEP
Cartwheel Books [SCHOLASTIC]
WILEY, THOM
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
October 30, 2012
Lewis, Jo
Colliding with, bumping into and sliding through, five sheep take on beautiful hues. Part color book, part counting book, this silly rhyme will hold up to preschool fingers. Scalloped die-cut holes reveal the colors coming up. Good for the very young.
HAMSTERS HOLDING HANDS
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
REICH, KASS
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
October 30, 2012
Lewis, Jo
Follows the gentle play of ten hamsters in a counting book that is subtle in color and activities. The colors are pale and may not appeal to small readers. Chunky board book.
BIZZY BEAR : LET'S GET TO WORK!
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
DAVIES, BENJI
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
October 30, 2012
Lewis, Jo
With chunky sliders to push and pull, this very sturdy board book brings the toddler onto a work site to run the equipment busy at the construction site. It will hold up to many hours of play.
I LOVE YOU, LITTLE BEAR
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
October 30, 2012
Lewis, Jo
The two bears in this book are styled after stuffed toys, with fabric folksy patterns and touch and feel textures. A gentle book in which Papa Bear introduces some woodland creatures to to Little Bear.
PEEK-A-BOO BABY
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
BRAUN, SEBASTIEN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
October 30, 2012
Lewis, Jo
Play peekaboo with little babies as they play around the house. Flaps open to reveal what the baby is holding or doing. Sturdy flaps should be easy for chubby little hans to manipulate. Sweet little introduction to the age old interactive game.
BIZZY BEAR : OFF WE GO!
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
DAVIES, BENJI
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
October 30, 2012
Lewis, Jo
Bizzy Bear goes on vacation, taking a taxi, and a plane before reaching the beach where he takes a boat ride. Chunky sliders push and pull giving the reader some interactive fun. This sturdy book is for the very young and should hold up nicely.
SUMMERTIME RAINBOW : A MANDARIN CHINESE-ENGLISH BILINGUAL BO
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
YANG, BELLE
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
October 30, 2012
Lewis, Jo
Three sweet little rabbits explore the color pleasures of spring in this sturdy board book, meeting, worms, birds, mice and other woodland creatures. Pleasingly soft colors colors on white backgrounds. The colors erupt into a rainbow. The last page contains the pinyin pronunciations. Good for a bilingual program.
BIGGEST PUMPKIN SURPRISE EVER!
Cartwheel Books [SCHOLASTIC]
KROLL, STEVEN
BASSETT, JENI
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
October 30, 2012
Lewis, Jo
Two mice grow the biggest pumpkin ever. Includes flaps that can be lifted to reveal the pumpkins growing beneath. Illustrations are small, just perfect for lap-sharing. Based loosely on The Biggest Pumpkin Ever.
MARY BLAIR TREASURY OF GOLDEN BOOKS
GOLDEN BOOKS [RANDOM HOUSE CHILDREN'S BOOKS]
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
October 30, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
Mary Blair is best known for her work creating concept art for Disney films such as Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan and for the "It's a Small World" ride at Disneyland. Recent years saw special editions of Alice or Cinderella featuring Blair's art, so it is no surprise that she's been given an entire anthology of her work for Golden Books. This volume is nicely produced compared to Golden Books' usual fare, with a large trim size ideal for laptime reading and thick, glossy paper. Blair's distinctive art is rendered in bright, crisp colors. And what images they are ? her use of color and play with perception and form is among the best of graphic design of the '50s and ?60s. Lime green moons hover over lavender cityscapes; sprightly, round-cheeked children in a rainbow of little hats and coats dash after balloons in parks. Five different books comprise this volume: Baby's House; The Golden Book of Little Verses; The Up and Down Book; The New Golden Song Book; and one of the most beloved and highly acclaimed of all Golden Books, I Can Fly. The latter, featuring a sprightly text by Ruth Krauss, has not been published in its full, unabridged form in decades.
HOME FOR BIRD
ROARING BROOK PRESS [MACMILLAN]
STEAD, PHILIP C
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
October 30, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
Shades of Leo Lionni arise in Stead's charming tale of friendship. A button-eyed wooden bird is found by a frog named Vernon. Despite the bird's immobility, Vernon befriends it: "Bird is shy," he says, "but also a very good listener." When the various delights of the forest fail to get a response from Bird, Vernon fashions a boat from a teacup and sets out to find Bird's real home. Birdhouses, birdcages, and nests won't do, but Vernon is "a determined friend," and eventually finds Bird the perfect dwelling: a cuckoo clock, where Bird is so at home that he finally talks. Stead's art has a delicate line evocative of the children's books of years past; his Vernon has a wide-eyed, expressive face and spindly body that lends both humor and emotional charge to the story. A combination of watercolor and pastels give the illustrations a watery, intentionally uneven quality reminiscent of a child's drawing.
POISONED HOUSE
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
FORD, MICHAEL
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
October 30, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
Abigail Tamper lives the life of a lowly scullery maid in a London manse circa 1855. She is still in deep mourning for her mother, who died in a cholera epidemic, and suffers under hand of the cruel housekeeper, Mrs. Cotton. When her employer, Lord Greaves, hears news that his son is returning home after being wounded in the Boer War, odd events begin happening around the house: indoor breezes, chills, overturned furniture, and outstretched hands appearing on the outside of dark windows. Abigail realizes that her mother's ghost is haunting the house, and what's more, that she was murdered. But who did it? Ford's ghost story is quietly creepy, an old-fashioned haunted-house tour in the era of thrill-ride slasher films. What really stands out is Ford's evocation of the social structure of the servant class of Victorian England; the litany of Abigail's daily chores feels appropriately backbreaking. While a few of the final-act plot twists are almost unbelievable (Abigail is discovered to be an heiress by the final chapter) young fans of upstairs/downstairs period dramas like Downton Abbey should find much to enjoy here.
CLASSROOM : THE EPIC DOCUMENTARY OF A NOT-YET-EPIC KID
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
MELLOM, ROBIN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
October 30, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
On the first day of seventh grade, hyper-organized Libby Gardner throws a bomb on her best friend, the neurotic Trevor Jones: she's not going to constantly hang out with him anymore. Also: he must ask a girl to the fall dance by the end of the day, or risk social isolation. A long series of humorous farcical mishaps ensue, as Trevor says the wrong things, makes the wrong choices, and endures pratfall after pratfall on his quest to find a date. Chapters are broken up with "documentary-style" interviews with the characters (each featuring caricature-style spot illustrations by Stephen Gilpin). The action here is fast paced and almost manic; the characters are not so much fully-fleshed people as much as they are archetypes: the bouncy gossip, the rebel loner, the cocky jerk with good hair. Trevor triumphs at long last, with an upbeat ending and a message about friendship that seems straight out of a Disney Channel tween sitcom. (Which comes as no surprise, since it was published by Disney/Hyperion.) However, that may be what makes the book appealing, especially to reluctant readers, who may likely enjoy the rampant laff-a-minute narrative.
MY POP-UP WORLD ATLAS
TEMPLAR [TEMPLAR]
GANERI, ANITA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 30, 2012
Kay, Breean
This one-of-a-kind first atlas will fascinate children that have travelled, will travel, are interested in their ancestors or simply know people that go places. Kids will pore over the detailed and brightly colored illustrations and learn many interesting facts as they search. Each continent is given a separate page, with pop-ups, flaps, booklets, and sturdy pull-tabs introducing the world's countries, their peoples, and their famous landmarks as well as their flags and exotic animals. An impressive amount of knowledge is presented in such a way that it can be digested or passed over for another later reading. Kids are encouraged to interact with book's flaps and dials while learning historical and current geographical information. Highly recommend this book for several ages.
BIG MEAN MIKE
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
KNUDSEN, MICHELLE
MAGOON, SCOTT
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
October 30, 2012
Kay, Breean
Big Mean Mike does a good job of promoting his tough image through the clothes he wears and the car he drives, and even the way he rev's his engine. And he's pretty happy with the way things are. When an adorable fuzzy bunny shows up in his car, Mike quickly moves it out onto the street. Tiny fuzzy bunnies do not belong with big mean dogs. This funny story teaches some important lessons about standing up for your friends and about being true to yourself instead of maintaining your image. This book will appeal to youngsters that love fast cars and cuddly animals simultaneously.
NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, DEEP UNDER THE SEA
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
KELLEHER, KATHIE
ADREASON, DAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
October 30, 2012
Kay, Breean
Through a rhyming game using brightly colored photographs of toys, children will attempt to solve basic problems. They are shown the difference between addition and subtraction and thoughtfully given number sentences written in both words and numbers (i.e. ten minus two equals eight, 10-2-8.) This book is aligned with the Common Core State Standards for kindergarten and first grade in mathematics in operations and algebraic thinking.
Song for My Sister
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Simpson, Lesley
MAI-WYSS, TATJANA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 31, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
Babies are loud, but Mira is convinced her newborn sister is the loudest. "Maybe that's the only sound she knows how to make," Mira says. When her parents explain that her sister will not receive a name until the baby's simchat bat, a Jewish naming ceremony, Mira has lots of ideas. "Siren," she suggests. "She can wail her own name!" Her parents naturally dismiss these, but it is ultimately Mira who helps with the final choice. During the simchat bat, Mira sings a song to her sister to help ensure good hearing. The baby finally stops wailing and begins to "sing" too, earning the name Shira, or "melody." It would have been helpful if author Simpson had included more information on this lovely naming ceremony, especially for non-Jewish readers (the rabbi here is female. Is this a Reform tradition?) but most readers will likely enjoy it anyway. Tatjana Mai-Wyss' accompanying illustrations are both vibrant and sweet; her freckle-faced protagonist has flapping braids and wide round cheeks, matching perfectly with her yellow-haired sister as they cuddle and sing together on the final pages. A heartwarming tale of sisterly friendship.
LULU AND THE DUCK IN THE PARK
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
MCKAY, HILARY
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
October 31, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Third grader Lulu loves animals and often this love of animals gets her into trouble. On a trip through the park with her class, some dogs destroy the nests of ducks, breaking eggs and scattering the nesting ducks. Lulu finds a single egg that has not been broken. Fearful of what Mrs. Holiday will say Lulu manages to create a nest from a woolen hat and hide it and the egg under her sweater. Unable to keep the secret she shares the news with her best friend, Mellie. When Lulu hears the egg crack she easily manages to appear sick so she and Mellie can go to the bathroom where the egg hatches. Discovered by their exasperated teacher in the bathroom, the tiny duckling touches the heart of Mrs. Holiday and she and the girls take the duckling back to the park, where it is reunited with its mother. This is a fun story for early chapter book readers.
TENNESSEE ROSE
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE CHILDREN'S BOOKS]
KENDALL, JANE
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
October 31, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
The 9th book in the Horse Diaries series is set in the Civil War south. Tennessee Rose is a Tennessee Walker. One of her favorite people is Levi, a slave groom. She becomes the master's horse, taking him into Civil War battles, Circumstances led her back into Levi's care as the reader finds out what freedom means to a former slave as well as a horse. Rose tells her own story in a very gentle way. Although I question some of the antebellum details like the school that has been built for the slaves on the plantation, this old-fashioned story is a good choice for young horse lovers. Certainly, as a Marguerite Henry lover, I would have devoured these books as well. A little historical fiction mixed in with horse information is nice. In this case, the reader discovers what the fifth gait of the Tennessee Walker is and why it is such a special riding horse. As we implement the Common Core stressing informational text into our curriculum, I particularly like the appendix giving more information about the Tennessee Walker and the Civil War.
FLICKA, RICKA, DICKA AND THE NEW DOTTED DRESSES
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
LINDMAN, MAJ
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
October 31, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
Maj Lindman's stories of three identical blonde sisters have had a steady fan following ever since they were imported to the U.S. from Sweeden in the 1940s. Those fans will undoubtedly be happy to share these wholesome stories with a new generation of children. Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka are always up to gently moral good; in this case, they spend time helping an elderly neighbor haul wood, feed chickens, and fetch well water. Unfortunately, they spoil their pretty red "dotted dresses" as they do so, but it's nothing a session at the washboard and mending table can't fix. However, it is a shame that this reissue is of such poor quality; while the pleasingly retro illustrated endpapers are preserved; the print and cover design is cheaply done. There is no dust jacket, and the binding is glue and likely to fall apart. Libraries with the collection space may wish to purchase these to replace previous editions, but they likely won't hold up to a lot of handling.
CASE OF THE INCAPACITATED CAPITALS
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
PULVER, ROBIN
REED, LYNN R.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
October 31, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Well, if nothing else the title of this book will fit the Common Core standard for increasing vocabulary! Pulver and Reed had teamed up for another grammar book with Mr. Wright's class. His class writes a letter about Teacher Appreciation Day with no capital letters. Because of their lack of use, the capital letters find themselves ill because of serious neglect. The emergency team arrives with CPPR (Capital Position and Posture repair) they are again able to function and the principal is able to receive a well written letter. Mr. Wright's admonishment that a letter is not a text message is heard loud and clear by the class. Reed's pictures are fun. The acrylic art is accented with decorated letter magnets. I can't help feeling that this story is a bit convoluted but it serves a purpose. If you've enjoyed the other books by this team, this would worth considering.
HEART ON FIRE : SUSAN B. ANTHONY VOTES FOR PRESIDENT
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
MALASPINA, ANN
JAMES, STEVE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
October 31, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Civil disobedience. We talk about it but what does it really mean? In free verse, author Ann Malaspina, has focused on one aspect of Susan B Anthony's life. She registered to vote, and voted for President in 1872. This single act of civil disobedience caused uproar. She based her action on the 14th and the 19th amendments to the Constitution. Jailed and then later tried, she was fined $100 which she vowed she would never pay and she stuck to this vow. "Outrageous. Unbelievable. True." An afterword explains more about Anthony's life and how after the US Supreme Court, in 1875 ruled that the 14th Amendment did not give women the right to vote she turned her attention to the Suffrage movement. This is an excellent read-a-loud for older students on Constitution day, providing a great way to talk about rights and responsibilities. Steve James, the illustrator of the Dewey the library cat books, puts real determination on Anthony's face in his pictures.
JASMINE : THE MISSING COIN
SPOTLIGHT [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
NATHAN, SARAH
STUDIO IBOIX; CUGOLL, ABDREA
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 31, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
See review for Loggia, Wendy. Aurora: the Perfect Party (Disney Princesses series)
MAUDIE AND BEAR
PUTNAM PUBLISHING (JUVENILE) [PUTNAM PUBLISHING (JUVENILE)]
ORMEROD, JAN
Blackwood, Freya
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
October 31, 2012
Shirts, Brooke
In the first of this charming collection of five short stories, Maudie suggests that she and Bear go for a bike ride. "I need some exercise," Maudie says, but after spending enormous amounts of time preparing for the outing, she ultimately sits in the bike basket while bear pedals. "Exercise," says Maudie, "is so good for you." Bear is likewise good-naturedly put upon as Maudie helps him prepare a snack (she goes out to pick dandelions while bossily giving cooking instructions to Bear); orders him out of the room when he snickers at her dancing; and is prodded awake as Maudie attempts to tell him a story. Bear initially appears to behave like Maudie's imaginary friend, but ultimately, their relationship best mirrors an ideal parent with infinite patience towards the innocent self-centeredness and whimsy of a very young child. Bear usually has the upper hand, whether Maudie realizes it or not. These gentle stories are excellently complimented by Freya Blackwood's pencil-and-watercolor illustrations; a landscapes and interior scenes of pale blues, yellows, and greens are expertly thrown into contrast by the occasional splash of red, from Maudie's rubber boots or Bear's easy chair. Small-panel spot illustrations superimposed on a larger background picture extend and heighten the book's action, often showing what the characters are thinking. Maudie wears cloche hats and dresses with Peter Pan collars; the overall effect is intentionally, cozily nostalgic.
AURORA : THE PERFECT PARTY
SPOTLIGHT [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
LOGGIA, WENDY
STUDIO IBOIX; MATTA, GABRIELLE
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 31, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
I've had this book sitting on my desk for a week, and it's already been requested by 5 girls. I can have other princess books out there, but the only ones picked up are the Disney Princess books. So it really makes no matter what I think about the quality of princess books. If it entices girls to read, maybe when they run out of Disney princess books they will be willing to look at other versions. So for those advanced early chapter book readers, this is a worthy addition to your shelves. The Disney Princess seriesare also available in paperback. The hardback books are well bound so they'll withstand many checkouts.
WHAT'S FOR LUNCH?
RED DEER PRESS [RED DEER PRESS]
CURTIS, ANDREA
DUIVENVOORDEN, YVONNE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
October 31, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
When I look for a book to help teach comparing and contrasting, using glossaries and captions, this is a book I would use. The subject matter is interesting. Comparing school lunches around the world is a fascinating look at 13 different countries. The full-page spreads have the text on the left-hand page and the photo of the lunch on the right. Different items in the photo are numbered and captions give more detail about that item. A map shows the country's location. For example, the page on Mexico talks about how traditional foods are giving way to convenience foods like pop and chips. Lunch is not provided for schools, so vendors take advantage by offering tempting snack foods. On the other hand, France is the place to go for a school lunch. Children eat from china plates, the salad might be a butter lettuce with smoked duck and children are encouraged to eat slowly. 45 minutes is allowed for lunch. In Peru, a child might have cuy (guinea pig) and at a Somali refugee camp in Kenya, the UN provides a soy-corn nutrient enriched gruel incups. Also included are pages with information about how children are asking for better meals and how lunchrooms are responding to create better meals. The glossary is filled with important words like deficiency, commodity crops, sustainable. Look for a text that will grab student attention as you move toward implanting the Common Core Literature and Social Studies curriculum? Consider this book.
FOLLOWING GRANDFATHER
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
WELLS, ROSEMARY
DENISE, CHRISTOPHER
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
October 31, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Wells has created a story with much emotion in this early chapter book. Jenny, a little mouse has been under the care of her silver-whiskered Grandfather because her parents are the hardworking owners of an Italian restaurant in Boston's North End. Grandfather was an Italian immigrant himself, stowing away on a ship from Naples. Grandfather takes her on jaunts to Revere Beach where she sees the fancy beach umbrellas of the Lodge and Cabot mice. She's jealous until Grandpa tells her how much they miss in because of their haughty seclusion. And she realizes her freedom to explore and taste new foods is worth a lot. When Grandfather dies Jenny is forlorn. She sees Grandfather's silver whiskers nearly everywhere, but she always finds they belong to someone else. Grandfather has told her of the Queen's Teacups, from the collection of an underwater kingdom. She follows a figure like Grandfather's to the beach, where the waves toss her into a melting sandcastle. She realizes Grandfather is still with her in spirit when she discovers some Queens Teacups which had eluded them before. A gentle story for gentle souls with gentle illustrations will provide thoughtful reading for your "gentle readers."
BOSTON TEA PARTY
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
FREEDMAN, RUSSELL
MALONE, PETER
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
October 31, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
I'm not familiar with Russell Freedman's Library of American History series. After reading this book, I am considering the purchase of many more for my library. They work perfectly with the 5th grade American History curriculum. This is the perfect read-aloud. It breathes life into a historical subject. Freedman has found quotes from teenagers about the organized destruction of the tea cargo. His historical research pinpoints how individuals played a part. The use of primary documents and scholarly works helps point out how research is an important part of historical storytelling. Freedman includes the Massachusetts governor's decision that his first and foremost duty was loyalty to the King and therefore he must support the Stamp Act. What surprised me in this book was how orderly the dumping of the tea was. No one on board was hurt, nor property damaged. I'm delighted to see a well-known historian bring life to these events through picture books. Malone's artwork deftly shows the evenings work of some angry but self-controlled colonists. Source notes are given for quotations. An afterword gives bibliographic information as well as facts about the importance of tea in colonial society. An index is included.
ODYSSEY
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
CROSS, GILLIAN
PACKER, NEIL
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
October 31, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Here's the book I've been waiting for. I keep telling kids if you want to read about blood and gore you need to look to the ancient Greeks! This retelling of Homer's classic tale is perfect for upper elementary and middle school kids (and adults who never got around to reading an adult version, like me) . Lots of bone crunching monster adventure and heroism await the reader And don't worry, it's not all about the men. Odysseus' wife has to defend their home against marauders. . This version skips over the Trojan War and starts right in with Odysseus' adventure. The story never talks down to the reader. It's not only the story though, that's important in this retelling. Neil Packer's illustrations on which he toiled many years add a great deal. With some of them you feel like you're looking at a Greek frieze. Others are pure evil monsters. It's interesting that in one Zeus' is portrayed as a black man. An afterword shows the Greek alphabet and shares what little is known about Homer.
HORRID HENRY AND THE SCARY SITTER
SPOTLIGHT [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
SIMON, FRANCESCA
ROSS, TONY
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 31, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
If you are not familiar with this best-selling British book, you should be. Horrid Harry lives up to his name. He is horrid. He has no redeeming personality traits. But with that said, he's going to find an immediate audience among irreverent boy readers. Like Captain Underpants, he might even pull some boys into reading more books! Each chapter is a short story which makes it easier for the targeted audience to read. The title chapter in this book deals with the babysitter of last resort the parents find for Horrid Harry and his brother Perfect Peter. Turns out this frightful babysitter is afraid of spiders which Horrid Harry uses to his advantage. Do I like Horrid Harry? NO? But then I don't like Junie B. Jones either, and yet the kids love her. They can see why she's such a problem just as they will be able to see why Horrid Harry's behavior needs to change. But then if he were Perfect Peter or Weeping William the books wouldn't be as much fun!
BEHIND THE MASKS : THE DIARY OF ANGELINE REDDY
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
PATRON, SUSAN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
October 31, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
The newest addition to the Dear America series doesn't shy away from difficult subjects. Author Susan Patron returns to the California desert (Higher Power of Lucky) for this story about Angeline Reddy of Bodie in 1880. It opens with Angeline and her mother receiving word that her father has been killed. Angeline discovers this isn't true when she sneaks into the mortuary and discovers another man in her father's casket. The complex story includes the former brothel employee now married to the town butcher, a Chinese girl who finds Brodie residents hostile, and the vigilantes who threaten to take over the town so it's run their way "the decent white" way. Patron writes in Victorian speech, so the characters may seem a little stilted to today's readers but it is an authentic voice. This book may be to challenging for many Dear America readers, but the honesty of frontier life will be appreciated by more mature readers.
King Arthur's Very Great Grandson
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
Kraegel, Kenneth
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 31, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
The great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandson King Arthur of Britain sets out to slay dragons on his 6th birthday. The dragon turns out to be a push-over. Filled with great language like "Behold, Vile Worm", young Henry is forced to seek other monsters. There's the friendly Cyclops, the un-ferocious Griffin, Leviathan of the sea. He didn't accomplish his task of conquering monsters, but he did make a number of new friends. Introducing students to mythical beasts and providing a more challenging vocabulary for young dragon hunters, the author /illustrator also provide a welcome variety in dragon stories.
MEET THE FAIRIES
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY BOOK GROUP]
GLASS, CALLIOPE
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 31, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
The title on the book reads Welcome to Pixie Hollow. It's a encyclopedia of residents in Disney's Pixie Hollow. Entries for each fairy are done by ability. So you'll meet fairies like Bess under the heading "Art Talents" and Clank under "Tinker Talents". Of course, the kids most interested in this will be the younger girls who may find this book pretty heavy to lug home in their backpacks. I have no doubt they'll solve that problem and eagerly await their mom or dad to have time to read aloud the character sketches for over 100 fairies, mermaids and animal friends of Pixie Hollow.
EDGAR ALLAN POE'S PIE : MATH PUZZLERS IN CLASSIC POEMS
HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
LEWIS, J PATRICK
SLACK, MICHAEL
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
October 31, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Dust off your thinking cap and reach for a pencil and paper when you read these poems. Lewis had based his math poems on well-known poetry. Some can be figured out quite easily like the title poem in which you have to figure out how many cuts does it take to cut 10 pieces out of a pie. Others like "Walt Whitman's Web-covered Shoe" requires using percentages to figure out how many filaments of a spider's web blew away. My personal favorite is "William Carlos Williams' Pizza" based on "This is Just to Say". Team the math and language arts teacher for a rollicking fun poetry session. Slack's pictures are a bright splash of color in this welcome twist on poetry.
WHO'S IN MY FAMILY? : ALL ABOUT OUR FAMILIES
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
HARRIS, ROBIE H
WESTCOTT, NADINE B.
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 31, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
There are many kinds of families is the reassuring theme of this title. Featuring an interracial couple and their two kids on the way to the zoo, all sorts of families are seen, single parent families, families with same sex parents, some with lots of kids, some with only one. But the qualities they have in common are the same. They love each other, they share and they bicker, they hug and make up, and throughout all of this families support one another even in the "mad times." Nadine Westcott's sunny pictures add to the positive tone of this story.
BECAUSE AMELIA SMILED
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
STEIN, DAVID EZRA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 31, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
You'll smile when you reach the end of this colorful romp around the world. In New York City Amelia smiles causing a chain of events that impacts the world. Her smile makes a neighbor think of her teacher son in Mexico and bakes him cookies. The cookies go to Mexico, where Lionel shares his cookies and teaches a song in English, and on around the world Amelia's smile causes happiness, which finally ends up back in New York City from a happy old lady in Italy. The words tell only part of the story, Stein's colorful pencil, water soluble crayon and watercolor pictures do much in spreading Amelia's happiness to others. They're exuberant and world encompassing as he illustrates the various world neighborhoods. And it's all because one little girl smiled, and at the end her smile is returned to her. And as Stein says in his dedication "To you: Pass it on!"
RABBIT & ROBOT : THE SLEEPOVER
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
BELL, CECE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 31, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
What is it about two mismatched best friends that make them so endearing? You'll meet the latest odd couple in this early reader. When Rabbit invites his robot friend over he has a list of what they'll do at the sleepover. Robot sees things a little differently, though. Vegetable pizza is fine for a rabbit, but Robot prefers nuts and bolts on his?so tidy Rabbit's kitchen gets demolished as the table and chairs are dismantled for Robot's meal. Kids will need to watch the pictures carefully for detail are hidden in them. When Rabbit loses the remote control to the TV Robot helps him find it with a mirror. Poor Rabbit had it stuck in his ear all along. Picture clues are really important when Robot loses his energy and slowly spits out a message. "Bat" has Rabbit looking for a bat. "Batter" has him making a cake. It's not until the whole message appears that rabbit realizes Robot needs new batteries. Fun reading with some challenging words like "humorous" and "reflection" will appeal to advanced early readers.
BIRTHDAY FOR BEAR
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
BECKER, BONNY
DENTON, KADY M.
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 31, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Local author, Bonny Becker, has done it again. She's created a fun-filled story of how Mouse manages to trick his friend Bear into some fun. Crabby Bear doesn't want to celebrate his birthday. He's got too much cleaning to do. But Mouse persists. He's so good at that. And finally when Mouse jumps out of the delicious birthday cake he's tricked Bear into eating, Bear agrees to celebrate. Ms. Becker's words have teamed up again with Kady Macdonald Denton's illustrations making another fun filled romp with two very different friends. I hope Bear is as happy that his friend Mouse is so determined as I am.
PRINCESS OF 8TH STREET
ABRAMS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [ABRAMS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
ALSENAS, LINAS
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 31, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
You probably have a local princess residing in your home or in your neighborhood, complete with tiara, wand and tulle and satin ball gown who will relate to this book. There are so many responsibilities for Princess Jane like taking care of the Royal Zoo (stuffed animals), keeping up with her studies, dance, painting, and singing. At times her (mother) lady-in-waiting is forced to remove unwanted ruffians (brothers) from her kingdom. When her lady-in-waiting takes her to the local market, the young princess revels in being surrounded by loyal subjects. The playground her mom takes her to is another matter indeed. The people here refuse to obey her commands or play her way. It looks like disaster will strike when she meets Princess Samantha of 10th Street. They become best friends and the two kingdoms reside in peace.
ME AND MOMMA AND BIG JOHN
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
ROCKLIFF, MARA
LOW, WILLIAM
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 31, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Behind every beautiful building are many, many artisans have dedicated many hours of work in its creation. St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City is still being constructed although it had its beginnings in 1892. The author bases her picture book on the first women to become a stone mason in the 1980's. Told by Momma's son, we see her tiredness as she comes home for work on "Big John" (the Cathedral's nickname). Momma's son is proud to be sharing the name John with his mother's workplace. We experience the pride as Momma takes her two children across the city to see the stone she's labored so long on being laid on the cathedral. Disappointment turns to delight as the family watches the simple stone be raised high above them, touching the sky. The story is as beautiful in its simplicity as Momma's stone is when it becomes a part of the great building for all New Yorkers to enjoy. An afterword explains why the building is not yet complete, and gives more information about the apprentice program Momma was a part of. William Lowe's grand artwork gives fitting tribute to a piece of New York City history.
KISS MEANS I LOVE YOU
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
ALLEN, KATHRYN MADELINE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
October 31, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
As we're all learning not all children come with the inner knowledge of what gestures and facial expressions mean. Although designed for younger tots, this book will come in handy for those working with kids who struggle with this. The multicultural photos and the rhyming text show the common things: hugs, smiles, fear. It also shows things like "Yum! Means I like it," "a pout means I'm mad," "a roar means I'm scary" Sometimes a two-dimensional form dosn't really express what a shiver is, but the reader and child can participate in the story but action out the words.
MISS FOX'S CLASS GETS IT WRONG
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
SPINELLI, EILEEN
KENNEDY, ANNE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
October 31, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Obviously, this is a picture book for children, but the message isn't just for kids. How many times as adults have we participated in sharing a rumor that proves not to be true? Miss Fox is seen in the company of Officer Blue Fox too many times for them to believe she hasn't broken the law. And not only that, but she's been seen buying a suitcase and sunglasses for her getaway before she's arrested. What a surprise for the class when they find out she's going to marry Officer Blue Fox and the suitcase and sunglasses are for her honeymoon. A teacher getting married is always exciting and this is no exception. The school bus takes the wedding party to the church. The "students of honor" lead Miss Fox down the aisle to the happy policemen and all share in the joy of a wedding.