Reviews for month


Dinosaurs Don't, Dinosaurs Do
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Bjorkman, Steve
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 02, 2013
Haines, Hazel
What a fun way to teach little guys how to behave. It has pages about sharing, about getting along with others, about table manners, about running in buildings, about when to use a loud voice, and about making apologies. And it's written in a way that entertains rather than instructs harshly. It would make a great read aloud at the beginning of the school year or at class meetings.
ELEPHANTS
BUDDY BOOKS [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
MURRAY, JULIE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 02, 2013
Haines, Hazel
For a whole bunch of facts written concisely in a beautiful book, I would highly recommend this one in ABDOs African Animals series. It begins with color-coded maps to show where elephants live in African and follows up with a complete description of African elephants and a contrast of their characteristics with the Asian species. Using large photographs to illustrate their size and compare it with a typical vehicle, the book clearly shows the beauty and fierce strength of the animals. Other photos illustrate the tenderness of a mother elephant with her baby tagging along holding mom's tail and the herd's social behavior. Much of the book is devoted to elephant habits like rolling in the mud to stay cool and drinking 40 gallons of water each day. In the back is a very useful and kid-friendly glossary, a list of additional facts, and an index.
SUPER SIMPLE SOUTH & CENTRAL AMERICAN ART : FUN AND EASY ART
ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
KUSKOWSKI, ALEX
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 02, 2013
Haines, Hazel
This is a simple introdiction to the crafts of South & Central America. It begins with a short introduction and definittion of 'culture' and then explains how to make typical objects from this part of the world. Colorful pictures explain each step in the artistic process. I particularly like the directions on how to make maracas and beaded jewelry. And one section that will appeal to adults as well discusses worry dolls and how they are made and used in Guatemalan homes. The book is well constructed with a substantial binding that should withstand frequent use by small fingers. It has a table of contents and a glossary. In addition, words that might be new to students are in bold font with the definition in the glossary.
SUPER SIMPLE MEXICAN ART : FUN AND EASY ART FROM AROUND
ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
KUSKOWSKI, ALEX
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 02, 2013
Haines, Hazel
Since so many of our students have a Latino background, this is sure to be a very popular book along with books on Mexican cooking. All the crafts are easy to make and the color photos iluustrate each step. I particularly like the pages on making a pinata and the ones on creating paper flowers. For students who want to create something ornamental for Cinco de Mayo Day, there is an easy-to-make and easy-to-decorate poncho, and for the Day of the Dead, there is a wall banner.
SUPER SIMPLE CHINESE ART : FUN AND EASY ART FROM AROUND
ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
KUSKOWSKI, ALEX
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 02, 2013
Haines, Hazel
As Chinese New Year approaches, here is a welcome book of art projects that young students can easily create and exhibit. Along with the detailed craft instructions, the author added little tidbits about Chinese culture and history and explains how art reflects those values. The book begins with a table of contents and ends with a glossary of cultural and art terms.
SUPER SIMPLE AMERICAN ART : FUN AND EASY ART FROM AROUND
ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
KUSKOWSKI, ALEX
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 02, 2013
Haines, Hazel
I was surprized to see the many patriotic crafts in this book. Most of them appear to be very easy for little hands to accomplish in a reasonable amount of time. Along with the specific directions that are illustrated with color photographs, there are short paragraphs of historical information. This will be a useful book for teachers who are looking for seasonal crafts that focus on national celebrations and events like Thanksgiving Day, Memorial Day, and Election Day.
SUPER SIMPLE AFRICAN ART : FUN AND EASY ART FROM AROUND
ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
KUSKOWSKI, ALEX
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 02, 2013
Haines, Hazel
This is another book in ADBO's Super Simple Cultural Art series. Most of the projects in the book are typical African designs and color arrangements; however, some may object to the Kwanzaa emphasis as it is more of an African American celebration. Some of the projets may be very difficult for kindergartners to do independently, but they should all be able to participate in a group setting with some adult superviosion and help. I think most students will "get into" the tribal mask" and the drum projects.
WHAT IN THE WORLD IS A VIOLIN?
SUPER SANDCASTLE [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
SALZMANN, MARY ELIZABETH
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 02, 2013
Haines, Hazel
Our young musicians will find this introductory text to be simple, yet quite informative without a lot of extra words. It focuses on the parts of the violin and how to play it correctly. Most of the information is quite clear and easily understood, but one student asked me about the photo of the bow because it does not explain which end the player would hold -- the frog or the head. Like the other books in the series, it has a ridiculous true-false quiz at the end. On the other hand, overall it is comprehensive, easy to understand with its large-size photos, and very well-written.
WHAT IN THE WORLD IS A PIANO?
SUPER SANDCASTLE [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
SALZMANN, MARY ELIZABETH
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 02, 2013
Haines, Hazel
For a beginners introduction to the world of pianos, this is a very practical book with large-font letters and bolder text for new words. It discusses each part of the piano and shows various types, including the newer electric versions. It also includes limited instructions on how to play the instrument. In the back is a very short, but useful glossary and a silly true-false type quiz. That's one page they could have left out of the book.
WHAT IN THE WORLD IS A FLUTE?
SUPER SANDCASTLE [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
SALZMANN, MARY ELIZABETH
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 02, 2013
Haines, Hazel
Following the same format as the other books in the Musical Instruments series, this one focuses on various kinds of flutes, including the recorder that is familiar to most elementary students. It shows how to play the flute and shows students practicing and playing. Compared to the other books in the series, it is not as meaty, but it will be adequate for students who want a brief introduction to the flute. It includes a good glossary, but a terrible true-false quiz in the back. Even though it is not as informative as the other books in the series, I would purchase it for a complete set.
MAKE A MEAL PLAN : SMART FOOD SHOPPING
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
KESSELRING, SUSAN TEMPLE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 02, 2013
Haines, Hazel
Since our country has become very nutrition oriented, this is a valuable addition to our collection because of its timely and up-to-date information that is presented in easily-understood sentences. It puts the responsibility for healthful meal planning, snacking and shopping squarely on the sholders of the reader. I'm amazed at the amount of information stored in just 32 pages. It is very thorough without being stuffy, and it gives options like shopping at a local farmer's market or growing one's own vegetables. The only drawback I saw to its practicality is that I'm not sure how many elementary students actually have input into their family's actual meal planning and supermarket shopping trips.
Picture Yourself Writing Nonfiction
Capstone Press [Capstone Press]
Fandel, Jennifer
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 02, 2013
Haines, Hazel
I highly recommend this book for students who are just beginning to write nonfiction, especially hisorical pieces. Throughout the book, it uses photos to jump-start writing projects and it insists that students follow the standard writing process. Page-size and full-color photos make the instructions viable. It dmphasizes the use of conversation and literary devices and gives specific examples of them. In the back is a glossary, an index, and a short list of other related materials.
WHAT IN THE WORLD IS A CLARINET?
SUPER SANDCASTLE [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
SALZMANN, MARY ELIZABETH
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 02, 2013
Haines, Hazel
Another book in ABDOs Musical Instrument series, this one on the clarinet begins by explaining the five parts of the instrument and continues with instructions on how a player will first wetten the reed and then attach it to the mouthpiece and then assemble the other parts. It concludes with photos of students playing the clarinet in different situations. In the back is a brief glossary. It is a colorful book with large inset pictures.
CLOVER TWIG AND THE PERILOUS PATH
ROARING BROOK PRESS [MACMILLAN]
UMANSKY, KAYE
WRIGHT, JOHANNA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 04, 2013
Cook, Kathryn
In this second offering from the Clover Twig series, Clover, the servant to Mrs. Eckles a "good" witch, sets out in search of her baby brother who has wandered off. Being the responsible one of the family, she feels that it is up to her to use her only day off to find him. She is helped along by her friend Wilf and two new friends as they follow the Perilous Path through the woods hoping to save her brother after finding his red rag on the edge of the woods. Mixed in with the seven trials that the Path throws their way is Mrs. Eckles evil sister - Mesmeranza, her sidekick, Miss Fly, the huntsman and a few other quirky, nefarious characters who are trying to use Herby and Clover for their own ends. This is a light-hearted story that will attract your readers who enjoy fantasy and adventure. Noting scary here. Reviewed in SLJ. Kirkus, Hornbook and Booklist.
OH NO! NOT AGAIN! : (OR HOW I BUILT A TIME MACHINE TO SAVE H
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
BARNETT, MAC
SANTAT, DAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 04, 2013
Cook, Kathryn
The heroine from Oh No is back and this time is upset because she missed a question on her history test. Not having learned her lesson the first time around she decides to build a time machine and go back - to 33,000 BCE Belgium to be exact - to fix things so her answer is correct! Well, things don't go exactly smoothly, when she gives the cavemen the cans of spray paint she has managed to bring with her, they begin by painting themselves. While she is making history herself the cavemen abscond with her time machine - rewriting history all over the place. This story is told mainly through the use of speech bubbles, the illustrations try to give the feel of film with wide black strips top and bottom. Some of the text will need explanation for younger students - especially our ELL students as it uses some idioms. Also reviewed in SLJ, Publishers Weekly, Hornbook, Hornbook starred and Booklist.
NOODLE LOVES THE FARM
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
BILLET, MARION
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Pre-Kindergarten
March 07, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
A board book with textures for young readers to enjoy, this book is a disappointment overall. There is no title page, the book simply begins and ends on the inside covers and is inconsistent with content. Some pages contain animal names, others contain animal names and sounds, and the last page has no animal name, just the sound. Noodle is a panda visiting a farm, but he is dressed like a human and acts like one, while the other animals are simply animals. Very few animals are contained in this short book. There are plenty of better board books out there featuring textures, animal names, and animal sounds.
TOPPLING
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
MURPHY, SALLY
JAMES, RHIAN NEST
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 07, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
Drawn in by the title and the cover (featuring dominoes), I was surprised to find myself delving into a book about children dealing with a classmate having cancer. Far from the sad cover, overly dramatic plot you often see with this topic, this book is an honest, occasionally light-hearted look at what happens when someone you care about becomes sick and you're only in 5th grade. John collects dominoes and likes to set up elaborate courses for them to be knocked over. He has few friends, his closest being Dan who ends up sick in the hospital with cancer. The chapters are brief and in poetic columns rather than paragraphs of prose. Chapter numbers are given in domino dots, and there are occasional pen and watercolor illustrations. About friendship, family, love, support, and bullies, this book is simple and comforting, but also honest, as the book ends without us knowing whether or not Dan will be ok.
MARILYN MONROE : HOLLYWOOD ICON
Essential Library [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
OWINGS, LISA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 07, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
Part of the Lives Cut Short series, this book-- and the series-- will capture the interest of teen readers. Full of glamour, fame, and tragedy, this will have teen readers sighing on nearly every page. The book itself is a solid offering, with book features listed on the back cover. The book includes a timeline, quotes, table of contents, quick facts, and plenty of pictures, as it spins the mythic tale of the life of Marilyn Monroe. 95 pages long, this book will draw interest with readers, while teachers and librarians will appreciate the solid information and book features. The book begins with the JFK scandal, and the frank, honest content throughout the book is why it is given a high school rating.
BEN LOVES BEAR
ABRAMS APPLESEED [ABRAMS]
MCPHAIL, DAVID
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten
March 07, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
A slightly oversized board book, this one tells the simple story of young Ben and his love of his stuffed bear. The book has no title page (the book just starts on the inside cover) and contains simple, brief sentences and soft, sweet illustrations. A lovely, solid board book.
TAXES
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
BRENNAN, LINDA CROTTA
BARNES-MURPHY, ROWAN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
March 07, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
Published by The Child's World and part of the Simple Economics series, this book covers the topic of taxes. Other books in the series include banking, the stock market, and managing money (among others). The book contains pictures and graphs, but not in any consistent pattern. The characters are diverse, with names such as Uncle Tito and Miss Singh. The book also includes a glossary, resources, and a brief index, and glossary terms in the book are in bold. The premise of the book is a "casual conversation" about taxes, how they work, and what they pay for (including teachers and libraries!). The premise is pretty silly and readers will see right through it. However, the information is sound, even if the topic itself is a bit dry.
FREEDOM HEROINES
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
WISHINSKY, FRIEDA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 07, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
(see February 2013 review of another book in this series titled Tech Titans) Part of the Profiles series ("six bios, one book"), this book features six women and their fights for freedom: Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Jane Addams, Ida B. Wells, Alice Paul, and Rosa Parks. The book covers the story of each woman's life, as well as their efforts to free women, children, and African Americans. The book includes a glossary, timeline, sources, and index, and the conclusion focuses on courage, persistence, inspiration, and equality. The pages are flimsy and the binding will not withstand use, otherwise the book is ideal for school projects.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
MURRIE, STEVE
BLOOM, TOM
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 07, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
Did you ever wonder if blind people dream? Did you know that the more sleep you get while you are young, the better your heart health when you are older? This is a fun book telling readers all about what happens to their bodies, the world, the universe, etc. while they are sleeping. Containing a different, fun fact on each page that is about one paragraph long and usually includes a cartoonish illustrations, the book has 5 chapters about our bodies, the other side of the world, nocturnal animals, and other fascinating topics. The book contains a table of contents, sources, index, and introduction, and is 220 page long. The only major concern with this book is the flimsy, floppy, paperback binding.
CURIOUS, CAPTIVATING, UNUSUAL HISTORY OF SPORTS
VELOCITY [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
RAATMA, LUCIA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 07, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
From Capstone Press, this book from the Unusual Histories series tells exactly what the title claims-- fun facts and interesting tidbits about people playing sports, from the Ancient Olympics right up through modern day competitions. It covers topics such as equipment, uniforms, rules, endorsements, women, racial barriers, and fascinating firsts. The book contains a table of contents, index, resources, and glossary, and vocabulary words in the text are defined at the bottom of the page. The font is small, but there are plenty of eye-catching pictures and graphics. The book will be interesting to sports nuts, but does not include enough information on any one topic to be used in school projects. Librarians may have a hard time selling the book to readers, as the cover is uninteresting, featuring a black and white photo of an early football player.
POTATOES ON ROOFTOPS : FARMING IN THE CITY
ANNICK PRESS [ANNICK PRESS]
DYER, HADLEY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 07, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
A book out of Toronto about urban farming, this book begins with a detailed, three page table of contents, followed by two forwards and a two-page intro. I was exhausted by the time I got to the actual content of the book! The book includes pictures, graphs, facts, asides, quotes, and even occasional jokes, such as " an exceptionally good looking farmer" (you, of course!). The book takes on a worldview of the problem of farming and urban living, but is still largely U.S. focused. It covers topics such as composting, water conservation, and community. The book is heavy on facts, ideas, and motivational speeches, and light on the actual how-to for kids. Great for a school report or project, students will have to be willing to wade through 75 pages worth of information.
ATTACK OF THE TIGHTY WHITIES!
GROSSET & DUNLAP [GROSSET & DUNLAP]
KRULIK, NANCY
Blecha, Aaron
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 07, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
The 4th in the George Brown, Class Clown series, this book will grab the attention of reluctant readers (and boys in particular). The gross cover features a dirty boy with bandaged knees and holey socks trying on underwear, and the whole series is aimed at grossing out readers. Cartoonish, black and white drawings are on nearly every page, and the large-ish font keeps the story moving quickly. Many words and phrases are bolded for emphasis, so much so that it is distracting. The book stars George, who has a case of uncontrollable, magical burps that cause catastrophe whenever they show up. George is competing in a county spelling bee and must get rid of them in time! The resolution is fun and young readers will get a kick out of the story.
GOING UP! : ELISHA OTIS'S TRIP TO THE TOP
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
KULLING, MONICA
PARKINS, DAVID
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 07, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
The 4th book in the critically acclaimed Great Idea series, this particular one tells the story of Elisha Otis, the inventor of the elevator. Before Otis, buildings in New York City were only 6 stories high, as people didn't want to climb any more stairs! The book gives a brief biography of his early life, but focuses mostly on the time in his life when he figured out how to first move machinery and then move people up and down buildings. The aftermath of his success is also only covered briefly-- the focus of this book is really on the process of invention. Illustrations are pen, ink, and watercolors that are realistic with a hint of cartoon to them. The book is great, but would be even better with some extension activities about persistence, creativity, etc. Great for libraries and school reports. (bonus, the paper cover is also a poster).
YESTERDAY
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
MARTIN, C K KELLY
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 07, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Eighties music fans, this one's for you: Depeche Mode, the Smiths, Scritti-Polliti all provide referent points for time-traveler Freya Kallis. The only problem is that she doesn't know she's from 2063 because her mind has been wiped. Extreme climate change, eco-terrorism, the rise of a robot-working class, an unrelenting police state and escape into virtual reality is what Freya knew. But in the 1985 world, she's a girl newly located to New Zealand whose father and brother have died and who suffers from headaches and foggy memories. The story revolves around the recovery of Freya's memories, the discovery of other future refugees and a run from those who would do anything to keep the future safe from the past. There are some things that keep this from soaring. There is a long and rambling prologue and a chapter that is basically an info dump. There is charm in the attraction in the dystopian romance between Freya and another time-traveler, Garren.
HALLOWED ONES
GRAPHIA [GRAPHIA]
BICKLE, LAURA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 07, 2013
Datisman, Eve
"With the advent of reality series about the Amish tradition of Rumspringa and the Amish mafia, what could be more trendy than adding vampires to the mix? Katie is 17 and on the verge of her chance to experience non-Amish culture. But just before that happens, a fiery helicopter crash in one of the settlement's corn fields. Trying to free the pilot, Katie is shaken to see glowing red eyes amid the smoking wreckage. Couple that with the mass exodus of the English, the disappearance of most of the people in the town where Katie trades -- including the brothers of the young man Katie thinks she will marry -- and the rumors that this is happening all around the world, puts all of Katie's plans on hold. When the Amish Elders make a decree that no one comes in and no one goes out of the settlement, Katie is tested again. She discovers a gravely injured young man just outside the fence. She summons the elders and they decree that he must stay on the other side of the fence. Katie can't leave him to die and when he does not succumb to thirst and cold, she smuggles him into an old barn where she keeps a kennel and beds him down with her pregnant dog fairly certain that no one will bother to check since that's Katie's responsibility. this decision changes everything. The questions of what is good and what is evil casue Katie to question her beliefs and upbringing. the only one who seems to understand what is going on and what needs to be done is the Hexenmeister and the Elders have him under house arrest. Suspenseful, scary, with a large helping of gore -- these are not namby-pamby vampires. Good read for philosophical horror fans.
BLIND SPOT
HARCOURT BRACE JOVANOVICH [HARCOURT BRACE JOVANOVICH]
ELLEN, LAURA
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 07, 2013
Datisman, Eve
"The tag line for this book is, "What you can't see might be murder." As you might guess blindness is a central theme. The main character, Roswell, Roz, Hart, has a form of macular degeneration which leaves her only with peripheral vision. It seems at the beginning of her sophomore year at Chance High in Alaska her disease has also taken her friends. She's an honor student scheduled for AP History and finds herself in a special needs class with a teacher who is determined to prove that she is not normal and will never be and, oh, joy, he has two chances to do that since he also teaches the AP History class. It's a clash of wills. One because she has been buddied up with Tricia Farini, a girl with a bad reputation, a drug habit, a potty mouth, and a brown cloak that makes her a target for the "mean girls." Secondly because when Roz refuses to sit in the seat assigned to her in the front of the class where Mr. Dellian has made a point of telling her she has to sit because of her disability, he marks her absent each day. Roz's grade and her self-identity are on the line. Tricia disappears, Roz is the last person to see her making her # 1 on the police hit parade. when Tricia's body turns up in the spring Roz begins to question the holes in her memory. She desperately wants to see clearly so Roz insinuates herself into the hunt for the alleged killer. Kids covering up crimes is never a good idea; adults who let the kids run the show aren't either. The plot is convoluted and the ending a little too good/too bad to be realistic.
CRUSHER
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
LEONARD, NIALL
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 07, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Crusher is a solid thriller and in the 40's and '50's would have been snapped up for film noir. Sordid, seamy, crime-ridden London is the setting. Finn Maguire is our 19-year-old hero who is working at a dead end McJob. He becomes the prime suspect in his father's murder when Finn finds him in a pool of blood bludgeoned to death. Finn can't figure out why anyone would want to kill his father, an out-of-work actor more interesting in drink than in finishing the novel/screenplay/project that he is forever working on. Convinced he has nothing to lose by investigating the murder himself, Finn figures the local crime boss Joseph McGovern is to blame. Finn ends up working in one of Mcgovern's restaurants and getting his life threatened by one of McGovern's lieutenants. Finn figures he's getting close to the truth. Numerous characters are introduced as possible killers. Tight action scenes, snappy patter and tension although the tension is diffused a bit at the end and that moves it from an AD+ The language, on page sex, and the graphic details of death make this a high school selection. Realistic fiction readers will like this.
100 DEADLIEST THINGS ON THE PLANET
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
CLAYBOURNE, ANNA
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 07, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Offers thrill seekers fresh cautionary notes on a batch of natural catastrophes and bad-news beasties. Pairing small color photos?some of which are gory or graphic?with bite-size remarks, Claybourne explains to readers why it would be good to avoid certain creatures, from the tsetse fly and death stalker scorpion to an array of poisonous snakes and sea creatures, aggressive big cats, and killer plants. She also covers deadly diseases, from leprosy to the black death, and closes with the potentially world-altering events: eruptions, solar flares, and meteor "impact events." Arranged in no particular order within broad chapters, the entries in this lurid, loudly colored browsing item each come with a danger rating but no source notes or credits for information. Much like the other 100 Scariest Things on the Planet (2011) and 100 Most Dangerous Things on the Planet (2008).
PERSONAL EFFECTS
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
KOKIE, E M
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 07, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Ever since 17-year-old Matt Foster's older brother, T.J., died in Iraq, Matt has been enraged-especially with anyone who criticizes the war or his brother's role in it-and he doesn't hesitate to express himself with his fists. Meanwhile, his authoritative and physically intimidating ex-military father seems determined to erase every sign of his deceased son's presence. He is even planning Matt's life after high school to take the place of T.J. When Matt gets his hands on some of T.J.'s possessions, he discovers that T.J. had a life he never knew about, complete with girlfriend and potential child. Matt determines to make the two and a half day drive to Madison, WI. to give back the love letters he's found, the personal effects that he doesn't think belong to him and to make contact with the new family in order to get closer to the brother that is lost and for whom he is not allowed to grieve. Matt's in for some brutal revelations -- there is something about T.J that he never knew so the healing that Matt has to do is deeply layered. Matt comes to terms with his grief, but his emotionally stunted father will not. Matt has the incentive to finally make the break from the tyranny of his father. Frank language and sexual situations mark this out for high school.
KENTUCKY WILDCATS
Sportszone [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
HOWELL, BRIAN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 07, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
You can't write a book about the University of Kentucky Wildcats' basketball team without describing the contributions of Adolph Rupp. This book accomplishes that! The Wildcats have won more college basketball games than any other team in history and Rupp accounts for 876 of them. The well written text describes the history of this basketball power from it's first game in 1903 to the present day. Photographs enhance the text. On a local note, the book does mention the championship the Wildcat's won in 1958 by beating Seattle University in the final game. The book includes all of the features one would expect for a non-fiction title.48 pages, part of the "Inside College Basketball" series.
JUMP INTO THE SKY
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE CHILDREN'S BOOKS]
PEARSALL, SHELLEY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
March 07, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Levi has been left behind all of his life, first by his mother when he was an infant, then by his father for a job and later the Army, and now by his aunt for relief from the responsibility of raising him. Toward the end of World War II, Aunt Odella puts the 13-year-old on a train by himself from Chicago to North Carolina to join his father who is stationed there, without telling her brother. Upon reaching the base, Levi learns that his father's unit, an all-black paratrooper unit, has just shipped out for Oregon. One of the men is still on base recuperating from an injury. He and his family take Levi into their home until they can rejoin the unit. Slowly Levi and his father begin to learn about each other after their three-year separation, and Levi also learns the meaning of sticking up for who and what you believe in. Although the title leads one to think the book is about the paratroopers, the primary focus is on Levi and the wartime home front as the color lines were beginning to change. Wile Levi hated the discrimination of his life in the South he finds the invisibility of the West equally disturbing. This a character driven novel, so action readers will be disappointed.
RAVEN BOYS
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
STIEFVATER, MAGGIE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 07, 2013
Datisman, Eve
There are several themes and stories at work here and none of them are completed. Despite that this is a must have book for high schools. This part of the story is held together by seventeen-year-old-Blue Sargent. She's the daughter and niece of small -town psychics in Henrietta, Georgia. She doesn't have the power herself, but she can amplify psychic energy. Enter Gansey, in shade form, as he walks the corpse road to the old church on April 24th the eve of St. Mark's day. The night when those who will die in the coming year are compelled to walk. The psychics in the family gather the names of the shades as they pass; because who wouldn't pay to know who was going to pass in the year? Blue usually never sees anything; but, this time she sees Gansey. There are only two reasons why she might: either he's her true love or she killed him. Either way, she vows no kissing and no fraternizing no matter what. After that set up, naturally, Gansey and his friends Noah, Adam, and Ronan turn up at her house looking for information about ley lines -- the invisible lines of power that circle there earth. Gansey is interested finding Glendower, who according to legend was a medieval Welsh nobleman who vanished to avoid capture after the English defeated his army. The boys are students at Aglionby Prep. in Henrietta. The Raven Boys, named for the Raven crest on their uniforms are rich, entitled boys that Blue doesn't have time for just on principle. But she is nonetheless drawn into their quest for Glendower and the reward that he promises to the one who awakens him. Their quest puts each of them in harm's way, made more imminent when Blue finally starts to feel as if her kiss of death is going to be a real problem. This is the first
COPPERHEADS
EDGE BOOKS [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
HOWARD, MELANIE A
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 07, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the Wild About Snakes series, this 32 page book is perfect for research on the Copperhead. The book describes the varieties off copperheads, their prey, mating habits, and their relationship to humans. Especially interesting is the book's opening which connects to Native American mythology. Color photographs accompany the well written text. Vocabulary words are defined at the bottom of the page in which they appear, as well as, in the glossary. The book also contains a table of contents, bibliography, index, and a range map. Buy if you are updating your reptile section!
Extreme Snowboarding
Benchmark Books [Benchmark Books]
Benjamin, Daniel
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 07, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Small print on the verso reads "Do not attempt this sport without wearing proper safety gear and taking safety precautions," which is great advice! This 48 page book is part of the Sports on the Edge series and covers the sport of Snowboarding. The book explains the development of the sport, it's stars, how to do some simple tricks, choosing the right equipment, and other fascinating information. The book does mention the dangers snowboarders face when heli-boarding and being outside ski areas. The text is well written and is enhanced by vivid color photographs. It will appeal to snowboard enthusiasts.
RUSSIA
ESSENTIAL LIBRARY [ABDO]
PELLESCHI, ANDREA
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
March 07, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
The history, geography, culture, environment, government, and economy of the world's largest nation are described in this 144 page book, part of the "Countries of the World" series. The text is well written and the layout of the pages is inviting to the reader. Maps and color photographs are found throughout the book. The book includes a table of contents, glossary, timeline, bibliography, and source notes. It would be worth your consideration if you are updating your country section.
Planets, The
Marshall Cavendish Children's Books [Marshall Cavendish Children's Books]
Reilly, Carmel
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 07, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
This book is a general overview of the planets of our solar system. The book uses a question to focus the reader on each topic from movement to composition. Each planet is described in detail. Pluto, no longer considered a planet is not mentioned in this book. The layout will appeal to budding astronomers and they will learn some interesting facts, but this book is not for in depth study. Well-labeled color illustrations enhance the text. The book contains a table of contents, glossary, and index. 32 pages, part of the "Sky Watching" series.
Music Producer
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
Wooster, Patricia
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
March 07, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the Cool Arts Careers series, this 32 page book provides an introduction to the varied world of the music producer. It describes the various tasks a producer works on and the training that someone who is interested in this career might take. It also includes the use of social media in this profession. Stock color photographs appear on most pages. The book includes a table of contents, glossary, short bibliograph, and a list of some famous (current) music producers.
Things That Go
Kingfisher [Kingfisher]
Bull, Peter
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 07, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
This book touches on many different "things that go" from dog sleds to rocket ships to hydrofoils. Each two-page spread has a topic with a mix of short paragraphs, labels, captions, and short facts. The topic range from specific ones like race cars to how different aircraft take off to boats that float or dive. There are many photographs or digitally made illustrations on each topic. Some topics have several parts that are numbered and then the numbers are explained briefly at the bottom or top of the page instead of labels or captions. Some pages have a button icon with a different symbol and color for one of four topics: engine power, science, safety first, and people. The reader is supposed to follow the buttons to different pages and try to discover connections. An index and table of contents is included. The result is a very busy and somewhat confusing book that covers a huge topic with little bits of information. Young readers will enjoy looking at the illustrations of machines and vehicles and reading bits of the text about them.
WONDERFUL WORLD OF SHARKS
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 07, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Part of Disney's "Wonderful World of" series, this large 63 page book describes sharks in a Q and A format. Different types of sharks, anatomy, feeding, threat to humans, reproduction, and other information are contains on the pages. Each two page spread has a Disney character comment on the title of the spread. Color photographs enhance the text. Shark lovers will grab this book!
NOAH WEBSTER & HIS WORDS
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
FERRIS, JERI CHASE
KIRSCH, VINCENT X
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 07, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
Noah Webster was born in 1758 and grew up on a farm, but he knew he didn't want to become a farmer. Luckily he was able to go to Yale and then at age nineteen he got a job as a teacher to pay back his father for his schooling. Webster realized that as a new country America needed an American school book, not ones from England. So he wrote a speller, then a grammar book, and a reader over the next four years. The books were popular, but he was making very little money so he began lecturing about his ideas for how Americans should establish a national language to unite the new country. In 1807 Webster began to write a dictionary of English from an American perspective. He studied twenty languages and traveled to Europe to read as many books as possible to collect words. In 1828 when Webster was seventy years old, his American Dictionary of the English Language was finally published and he had accomplished his goal of uniting the country through language. This is a interesting picture biography of an important American that will be enjoyed by teachers and students. The slightly exaggerated old-fashioned illustrations in ink, watercolor, and graphite fit the light-hearted but informative text perfectly. Occasional words are given in the form of their dictionary entry, and a timeline of Webster's life, more information about Webster, and a list of resources are included.
WHAT IN THE WORLD IS A GUITAR?
SUPER SANDCASTLE [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
SALZMANN, MARY ELIZABETH
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 07, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
A simple book about the basics of a guitar. Readers learn about the types (acoustic and electric), the number of strings, and playing one (strumming or plucking). There is a photo with all of the parts labeled. Each page contains 2 sentences and a color photograph. After the basics are explained, there are several pages that show different people playing the guitar with simple descriptions. There is a short guitar quiz and glossary. This book seems light in content for the price. Make this 24 page book, part of the Musical Instruments series, an additional purchase.
GOLF
ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
HOWELL, BRIAN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 07, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
This 64 page book is part of the "Best Sport Ever" series. It focuses mostly on the history of golf. Golf is one of the oldest sports in the world beginning in Scotland during the 1400s. The book follows the history of the sport to the United States and the development of it's organizations (PGA, LPGA, USGA), major tournaments, and personalities. There is some information about the equipment and some strategy, but this is not a "how to play" book. The book would be perfect for research on the sport. The book contains a table of contents, index, glossary, timeline, selected bibliography and list of golf legends.
PLACE FOR BATS
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
STEWART, MELISSA
BOND, HIGGINS
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 07, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
This 32 page picture book describes the things bats need to survive, why they are important to the environment, and how we can help them. A simple, well written story, suitable for read alouds, run along the tops of the pages. Beautiful color illustrations cover each 2 page spead. More in depth information is found in the side call outs. The book ends with a list of specific things we can do to save bats. This book could be used for large group sharing and individual animal research. The end papers show the ranges of many bat species in North America. The book contains a selected bibliography including two website, but no index or glossary. Add to your bat collection it will fly off the shelf!
WARRIOR'S HEART : BECOMING A MAN OF COMPASSION AND COURAGE
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
GREITENS, ERIC
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 07, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
An inspiring story of Eric Greitens who helped in many humanitarian causes during college (including Bosnia, and Rwanda). Through his work with the disadvantaged, Eric decides that by becoming a navy seal, he can help prevent autrocities from happening. The book describes his youth, humanitarian work, and training to become a seal. It is a youth version of his book "The Heart and the Fist." This would be a great book to begin a discussion on how we can help and serve others to make the world a better place. Due to graphic nature of tragedies, this book is most appropriate for middle and high school readers. 264 pages.
SOCCER
ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
MCDOUGALL, CHROS
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 07, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
This book focuses on the history of soccer. From it's formation in the 1840s to the present day. The book opens with a great story about the Ivory Coast world cup team and then describes the start of soccer, the famous players, and exciting games. The book focuses on soccer as a world sport, so there is little to no mention of North America's MLS. On a local note, the Seattle Sounders FC is mentioned in a sidebar about fan membership. The book has a table of contents, index, bibliography, timeline, glossary, list of soccer legends, and color photographs. Part of the "Best Sport Ever" series, this 64 page book could be used for research about soccer.
SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
SCHLITZ, LAURA AMY
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 07, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
Lizzie Rose and Parsefall have a difficult life helping Gaspare Grisini give puppet shows on the streets of London, but at least they weren't in a workhouse or orphanage. One day they give a puppet performance at the home of a rich but lonely girl named Clara. Soon afterwards Clara disappears and unknown to Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, Grisini has turned Clara into a very lifelike puppet. Grisini injures himself in a fit of anger at the children, but then he disappears and the children hope he is gone forever. Meanwhile Grisini's old rival Cassandra Sagredo is looking for Grisini because he might be able to free her from the curse of the fire opal that is slowly killing her. From Grisini Cassandra learns that a child must steal the fire opal from her in order to pass on the curse. She sets a trap to get Lizzie Rose and Parsefall to travel north to her and lure them into stealing the fire opal. The adventure that follows is full of chases, black magic, death, but there is the hope that Clara may be turned back into a child.
BODY ACTIONS
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
ROTNER, SHELLEY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 07, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
This title provides a pleasant and informative introduction to the primary age student about the different systems of the body without going into unnecessarily complicated details. The emphasis is on explaining how can a person's body do such everyday things--ride a bike, digest food or read a book. By using real kids' photos combined with drawings to "see" inside the body, depicts the amazing operations of the body as a machine. A great two-page spread 6 different views inside the same boy shows the different systems --skeletal, muscular, circulatory, nervous, digestive, and lungs. Several pages then expand on each one, again with not too much information, but some interesting facts that kindergarteners could understand i.e. 206 bones in body with 50 in your hands. After the brain the five senses without being labeled are described. This is where the organization becomes a bit of a hodge-podge as nerves, skin, and hair then follow. The book concludes with a summary page of the five senses, skin and hair plus two more summary pages on the six body systems. The last page is a full page glossary. Though not perfect in form/organization this is useful for the intended audience and worthy of consideration.
MY FIRST GHOST
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
MILLER, MAGGIE
BUSCEMA, STEPHANIE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 07, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
Maggie Miller and Michael Leviton have created an informal primer on friendly ghosts for the young picture book set. If the reader wants a free ghost all he/she has to do is turn the first page. The majority of this book is spent telling the newly haunted about the ghost and how much better it is than a pet, brother or sister. Using the familiar "you" throughout information is provided about what ghosts might be afraid of (kids, parents, the dark, monsters), so to try to avoid scaring "your ghost". Other facts include that they don't eat, drink or get dirty. To keep your ghost healthy it needs exercise and temperature taking,. To understand your ghost you'll need to pay attention to sneezes, yawns, noises, shivers, hiccups and unexpected giggles. Stephanie Buscema's illustrations fit this light-hearted, original take on ghosts for children. This will not fit the scary story request, but will most likely bring some chuckles to imaginative primary students.
NEXT STOP - ZANZIBAR ROAD!
CLARION [CLARION]
DALY, NIKI
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 07, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
Meet Mama Jumbo a well-dressed elephant who is going to market in her flippy-floppy, flapy, slippy, this-way-that-way pompom hat. She has a wonderful day at the market, but after making her purchases she doesn't have enough money for a mirror that she really wants. Luckily she is able to trade some pawpaws to Old Granny Baboon for some beads then Kwela trades her a mirror and fabric for the beads. On the way home Mama Jumbo saves the day by patching the punctured bus tire with bubble gum and then blowing up the tire with her trunk. She makes it home and makes a shirt from the fabric for Little Chico and everyone agrees he is adorable. This is a fun story told in five short chapters with lively illustrations showing the African community filled with well-dressed animals. The text is lively and readers will enjoy looking at all the fun details in the illustrations.
Pie
Scholastic Press [Scholastic Press]
Weeks, Sarah
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 07, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
Alice doesn't have a close relationship with her parents, but she has a special bond with her Aunt Polly, The Pie Queen of Ipswich. Polly makes the most wonderful pies at her shop and Alice spends all the time she can with her aunt watching her make delicious pies that she gives away for free to people in the town. Her pies win every pie contest around with her famous pie crust. When Aunt Polly suddenly dies, Alice is heartbroken. Aunt Polly leaves her coveted pie crust recipe to her cat Lardo and leave Lardo in the care of Alice. It is up to Alice and her friend Charlie to figure out where the pie crust recipe is before everyone goes crazy trying to find it so they can be the next pie champion. Every chapter starts with a delicious pie recipe from Green Tomato Pie to Lemon Chess Pie, but no recipe for Aunt Polly's famous pie crust. This is a fun book that is about family and generosity that will make you want to go bake a pie.
SEED MAGIC
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
BUCHANAN, JANE
RILEY-WEBB, CHARLOTTE
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 07, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
Rosie and her brothers call Birdman in his wheelchair crazy for feeding the pigeons in the park. Birdman finds them beautiful, but the kids describe them as gray and dirty like the city. Rosie thinks a garden is beautiful as she imagines the colors of many vibrant flowers. After Birdman pours a handful of seeds into her cupped palms, he tells her she can create a garden with these on her windowsill without water or dirt. She finds these "magic seeds" attract an array of colorful birds creating the "garden" she had envisioned. Nonstandard black dialect, repetition, and much laughter give this book a warm, homey feel. Charlotte Riley-Webb's broad strokes of colorful acrylic match the text and help create this little slice of life or refuge within the urban setting. Some kindergarteners could guess what the little surprise of attracting the birds and many enjoyed this simple story.
MR. PUTTER & TABBY DANCE THE DANCE
HARCOURT BRACE JOVANOVICH [HARCOURT BRACE JOVANOVICH]
RYLANT, CYNTHIA
HOWARD, ARTHUR
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 07, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
Cynthia Rylant can always be counted on for a good story even it if is #21 or so in the Mr. Putter and Tabby series. In this one Mrs. Teaberry convinces Mr. Putter that they should go ballroom dancing after seeing it on TV. They all have a good time--Mr. Putter and Mrs. Teaberry dancing the cha-cha without anyone noticing his two left feet, Tabby playing with all of the sparkles, but most of all bulldog Zeke in his tuxedo and top hat entertaining the audience as he takes over each dance. Arthur Howard's illustrations are the perfect complement to Rylant's text with many charming and entertaining surprises in the pictures.
CURIOSITIES : A COLLECTION OF STORIES
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
YOVANOFF, BRENNA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 07, 2013
Gleb, Heidi
As I am not a fan of short stories, this book was an unexpected pleasure. The three writers offer very short stories of which many had been published on the Merry Mates blog. The paranormal element will appeal to many teens (and adults) and the story lines always seemed to catch me off-guard and definitely wanting more. A superb story element was the notes in the margins by the three authors, each "written" in a different font. As an educator, it reminded me of the notes written on student work to advise/question/comment. What a great strategy to employ for student review of other students' work. A teacher in my school is almost finished reading the book and loves it! I anticipate a long hold list for this book
Who's That Singing? A Pull-The-Tab Book
Little Simon [Little Simon]
Chapman, Jason
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 09, 2013
Haines, Hazel
This is a loveable book for little ones who enjoy pictures and moveable objects. It has six pull tabs that go to different animals who hear the songbirds singing in th jungle. The story is simple, but fun, and the full-color photos are whimsical and attractive. Children will be attracted to the book for its large, simple pictures and the pull tabs that move monkey eyes and elephant ears. On the other hands, the pull tabs are made from flimsy cardboard that does not look like it will hold up for many uses.
Capturing Joy: The Story of Maud Lewis
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Bogart, Jo Ellen
Lang, Mark
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 09, 2013
Haines, Hazel
Maud Lewis, who died in 1970, is a well-known artist from Nova Scotia, Canada. This paperback book describes her simple lifestyle and her country village paintings. The book is extremely well-written and beautifully illustrated with her color creations. As an adult interested in North American history, I found the book to be spellbinding; however, I am not sure it would appeal to its target audience of intermediate students, especially American students who do not have any background knowlege of Canadian artists.
Francis Scott Key's Star-Spangled Banner
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Kulling, Monica
Walz, Richard
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 09, 2013
Haines, Hazel
Finally, librarians will find history books for those readers who are now able to decode well on their own and who want books of substance they can read all by themselves. With the coming of the Common Core State Standards, it is refreshing to have nonfiction books that will meet the demanding criteria of literature that is engaging, slightly challenging, and very appealing to young readers. I like the fact that it is a paperback with an inviting and colorful cover.
MISS MOUSIE'S BLIND DATE
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
BEISER, TIM
BERMAN, RACHEL
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Pre-Kindergarten
March 10, 2013
Kay, Breean
Though Miss Mousie's Blind Date is whimsically illustrated and amusingly told for adult readers, it will not resonate for young children. The story aims to share a lesson on inner beauty and self-acceptance. However, some readers will be left wondering why Beiser has chosen to relay that message through a mouse, who after being called fat, hides in shame, and then alters her appearance, and finally decides to set her sights lower. Even though Beiser's rhymes are clever at times, his word choice can be jarring. On a fundamental level, a story about animals going on a blind date will not appeal to preschoolers or kindergartners. School age children will regard this picture book as too juvenile. But, though it misses the mark for most children, adults reading to toddlers would enjoy this clever tale and toddlers would be exposed to new vocabulary and rhyme.
WONDERFUL WORLD OF EARTH
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 10, 2013
Kay, Breean
In?Wonderful World of Earth, Disney characters introduce children to devastation wrought by natural disasters. Though it didn't detract from other books in the series, the colorful Disney illustrations seem mismatched when paired next to stunning real-life natural disaster photography (Lilo smiles and comments "Rain, rain, go away" on top of a photo of Africans carrying all their belongings on their head through a waist deep flood). The commentary given by these characters adjacent to flooding could even be considered inappropriate. Despite that small aspect, this nonfiction book gives children an uncommon look at the power of Mother Nature including facts about avalanches, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and landslides and where these disasters naturally occur in the world (and on a map). Recommended as a quality supplement to any library for the common core curriculum as well as for interested browsers.
MY PICTURE BOOK OF ANIMALS
FIREFLY BOOKS [FIREFLY BOOKS]
CHARBONNEL-BOJMAN, SEVER
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 10, 2013
Kay, Breean
254 pages of animal photography in a portable size book for under $10 is a triple win for children and adults. Kids cannot only find familiar animals from around their neighborhood here, but also more exotic animals (chameleon, antelope, chamois, and lynx) photographed in their natural habitats or in a studio. Photography is exquisite and precious. Insects are magnified and multiple exposures per page show different animal expressions. Animals are posed together with other animals in sweet or humorous ways presenting opportunities for counting. Some pages feature descriptions such as "napping kittens" or "kittens on the hunt", showing children their real life activities and providing opportunities for them to expand first words into accompanying actions. Over 80 animals are featured in this book providing an exceptional glimpse into wild life.
WONDERFUL WORLD OF ANIMALS
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 10, 2013
Kay, Breean
In?Wonderful World of Animals, beautiful animal photography is paired with colorful Disney character illustrations to introduce children to wildlife. As Disney characters guide young readers through oceans, jungles, and forests, the animal world comes to life. Habitats will help orient children as they learn of the habits and facts of different animals around the globe. Important vocabulary is bolded and distinctive animal practices highlighted in the text will help imprint children's memories with amazing acts from nature. Grouping animals into larger habitat environments and then providing maps showing their homes will prompt conversations. Though the tiny trademark Disney character illustrations distinguish this book among other animal nonfiction, they do not enhance the content of the book. The photography and facts themselves will entice young readers to discover additional nonfiction as well as supplement common core curriculum.
WONDERFUL WORLD OF NATURE
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 10, 2013
Kay, Breean
In?Wonderful World of Nature,?stunning landscape photography is paired with favorite Disney character illustrations to introduce children to nature and its wonders. Young readers start off in different types of forest habitats from around the globe. Interesting facts and anomalies about forests and the animals they support are promoted through colorful photography as well as bolded font. Leaving the forests, children travel over mountains, grasslands, savannas and deserts until they reach the oceans and tide pools. Toward the end of the book, children are presented with facts about the effects of pollution. Though the tiny trademark Disney character illustrations distinguish this book among other nature nonfiction books, they do not enhance the content of the book. The photography and facts themselves will entice young readers to discover additional nonfiction as well as supplement common core curriculum.
NIGHT SKY
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
HUTMACHER, KIMBERLY H
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 10, 2013
Kay, Breean
This colorful and captivating book from a science series would make a wonderful addition to a library for the common core curriculum. Its content is rich and well organized with diagrams and side facts presented throughout the book. Color photographs from the solar system and constellations will fascinate children. Bright text boxes offering additional interesting facts ("A solar eclipse happens when the moon is between the sun and the earth") are showcased throughout the book. The book concludes with a "Show What You Know" quiz, which asks questions such as, "Where does the light on the moon come from?" in addition to a glossary of important vocabulary. The Night Sky will be useful for classroom instruction and book reports as well as children interested in astronomy.
DRAGON PROPHECY
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
STEER, DUGALD A
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 10, 2013
Fagundes, Annie
The Dragon Prophecy is the fourth volume in the Dragonology Chronicles. This book is very reminiscent of the Magic Tree House series, complete with a young, witty brother and sister duo that go on exciting adventures and uncover clues to solve a mystery. There are even the sporadic, intricate, black and white illustrations to highlight exciting moments in the chapters. Although this book is part of a series, the reader would not necessarily need to read the preceding books because the first few chapters provide enough detail that the present storyline makes sense. The language is rich, with complex vocabulary that is possibly too dense for the conventional storyline. The book, and perhaps the series, would be ideal for those students who love dragons, fantasy, and adventure. I however, found the storyline rather predictable and the action scenes to be exaggerated and unrealistic. The interest level would be more suitable for a second or third grade student, but the language and writing elevate the reading level to that of fifth or sixth grade students.
PIP AND THE WOOD WITCH CURSE
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
MOULD, CHRIS
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 10, 2013
Fagundes, Annie
Pip and the Wood Witch Curse is the first installment of the Spindlewood Tales. In the beginning, the reader is introduced to young Pip, an unlucky orphan who is being sold to work as a deckhand of an infamous pirate. As he is being delivered to the ship, Pip manages to escape this fate and he becomes a secrete stowaway on a traveling theater company. When he emerges from the carriage he discovers that he has entered the walled city of Hangman's Hollow where children have long been forbidden. As the story develops, the reader discovers where the all the children went (kind of), the importance of the city wall in keeping out the magical, spooky, woodland creatures, and how Pip manages to survive against all odds. The fast paced plot would appeal to a wide audience, especially reluctant readers who typically lose interest as the excitement dulls. In addition, each chapter has a witty title with just enough mystery to entice the reader into reading more. The black and white, hand drawn, intricate illustrations add a level of eeriness and help bring this mysterious, fantasy world to life. Despite the action packed storyline, this book lacks true character development and the reason the city forbids children is never fully explained. I would also caution the author's frequent mention of alcohol use which isn't necessary for the storyline, and seems ill fitted, especially when the book is intended for a younger audience.
FREE-FIRE ZONE
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
LYNCH, CHRIS
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
March 10, 2013
Gleb, Heidi
This third book in the "Vietnam" series follows another young man, Rudi, from the group of four best friends; the book works well as a stand-alone. Rudi is drafted as a Marine and believes in the cause and in the Corps. Although disallusioned when he realizes that many of the Marines in his unit bend the rules and don't follow orders, Rudi finds strength he didn't realize he had to soldier on and do the right thing. There is violence appropriate for the combat setting and a good look at the psyche of soldiers under pressure and under fire. Great historical fiction for teens.
Life on Earth
UNKNOWN PUBLISHER [UNKNOWN PUBLISHER]
Stoyles, Pennie; Pentland, Peter
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 11, 2013
Fagundes, Annie
This book focuses on energy as it exists on Earth - this message is clear and reinforced throughout. The complex concepts related to energy, how it changes, and its effect on motion, are described using words and explanations that are moderately easy to understand. This book is littered with diagrams, factoids, captions, eye-catching photographs, and all of the desirable text features that you would expect from quality nonfiction. The words listed in the glossary are bolded throughout the text and there are several biographical snapshots offering tidbits about famous scientists. The layout and balance between text and photographs is visually stimulating but not overwhelming. The text includes information about future energy possibilities, but there is not a list of additional resources to promote continued research and investigation. Life on Earth is one of six in the “Energy in Action” series. Other titles include: Earth & Space, The Human Body, Power & Fuel, Everyday Technology, and Medicine & Health.
MUD PIE QUEEN
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
GREVE, MEG
POOLE, HELEN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 11, 2013
Cook, Kathryn
This is part of Rourke Education Media's Little Birdie Books. Designated for K-1, it is a fun story about making mud pies with a contest to see who can make the biggest messy mud pie. It does introduce the concept of measurement with a rulers and yardsticks, as well as big, bigger and biggest. In the beginning - even before the title page, there is a page of "Words to know Before You Read" to help the littlest understand and/or read the story, on the last pages there are "After Reading Activities" : "You an the story . . .; Words You Know Now . . .; and directions for "Your Own Mud Pie Contest. The plot is cute but not exactly complicated, the math concepts are clearly demonstrated. If this is to be shared between an adult, or older student and a yourng child it would work okay, but if this is for independent reading, it is best used at the first or beginning second grade. No other reviews were found.
HAUNTED HISTORIES : CREEPY CASTLES, DARK DUNGEONS, AND POWER
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [MACMILLAN]
EVERETT, J H
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 11, 2013
Cook, Kathryn
Did you ever wonder about life in medieval time? What was it really like to live in as castle, in the dungeons and jails? What about a palace? A graveyard? Well, here is a Ghostorian from "The Ancient Order of Ghostorians, whose mission is to promote the study of history through conversations with ghosts and the visiting of historical sites and library archives." This somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at life in the middle ages from the highest to the lowest level of society has some good information that will attract readers who are interested in what life was really like for the characters they find in a variety of stories. The explaination of sieging a castle to living in Newgate Prission, to what all of symbols on a shield (heradry) are about is fun and interesting. Printed on pages to look like old parchment (though the weight is more like news print) add a touch of antiquity to the whole thing. Also reveiwed in Kirkus, Library Media Connection, Publisher's Weekley and School Library Journal.
ROSIE'S MAGIC HORSE
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
HOBAN, RUSSELL
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 12, 2013
Shirts, Brooke
One last tale of whimsy from the great Russell Hoban. Ice-pops sticks are generally regarded as useless when the "sweetness is all gone." However, Rosie prefers to collect the sticks, keeping them in an old cigar box. Deep in their box, the sticks dream of being something useful or exciting ? why not a horse? When Rosie dreams that night, the sticks have magically transformed themselves into a horse named Stickerino, and together they hunt for enough pirate treasure to pay all of the family bills. What's charming here is that Stickerino never loses his heritage; when Rosie first asks him to take her to "a treasure," he gallops to a giant castle made of popsicles. Later, Stickerino transforms himself into an ice cream stand to distract some treasure-hoarding pirates. Quentin Blake's trademark scribbly watercolors continue this theme; the skies in Rosie's dream are awash in melting pinks and oranges, just like a popsicle on a hot day. A sweet, silly story, good for reading aloud. AD+ K-3
CURIOUS GEORGE : LIBRARIAN FOR A DAY
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
TIBBOTT, JULIE
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 12, 2013
Cook, Kathryn
George is a library helper. He loves to help in the library and when the librarian is called away to her book cub she leaves George in charge of the library. But, as usual he is not quite sure just how things work. When someone comes in looking for a special book and only knows it is yellow, George reorganizes the library by color. When someone looks for a book that is very big, he organzies books by size. Eventually Steve comes along and tells him that the books are supposed to be orgaznied by subject. The two work together to get this in order - just in time for the Librarian to return to a nice neat library. Good story for introducing how libraries are organzied and the plot and language used to tell the story is acceptable. This is one of the Green Light Readers - Level 1, but has an AR reading level of 2.6. It may attract readers who like Curious George or watch the TV shows. No other reveiws were found.
WHO'S MR. GOLDFLUSS?
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
HORD, COLLEEN
POOLE, HELEN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 12, 2013
Cook, Kathryn
Who's Mr. Goldfluss? This is part of Rourke Education Media's Little Birdie Books: Red Level. Designated for 1st - 2nd grade readers. In the front - even before the title page - there is a list of "Words to Know Before You Read". The story is stilted, and simplistic. Mr. Golfluss, the substitute bus driver, has way too many rules. Then the children decide that the rules aren't so bad when there is a bad storm. It is more like a beginning reader used to introduce vocabulary insead of telling a story. I don't think many students will be interested enough to take it off the shelf. I would use my money looking for more interesting material for this level. No other reviews were found.
LET'S GET PIZZA
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
GREVE, MEG
POOLE, HELEN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 12, 2013
Cook, Kathryn
Tihis is another offering from Rourke Educational Media's Little Birdie Books: Green Level: Level K-1. As with others in this series there is a page of "Words to Know Before You Read" and a couple of pages at the end with actifities. Dad and Dan want pizza and as Dan picks it up from the service counter he is so hungry that he eats half of it before he gets to their booth. He then proceeds to eat the other half leaving nothing for Dad. Dad orders a second pizza and repeats Dan's activities. Eventually they have a third pizza of which they each eat half. The story is simplistic with basic language and not interesting enough story for students to pick it up - but it might do as a read aloud for a Kindergarten classroom, to introduce the math concept of half and whole. The reading level places it in the mid first grade range, purchase if you need additional materials for the math concept. No other reveiws were found.
MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
STEINKRAUS, KYLA
MYER, ED
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 12, 2013
Cook, Kathryn
Tihis is another offering from Rourke Educational Media's Little Birdie Books: Blue Level: Level 2 - 3. As with others in this series there is a page of "Words to Know Before You Read" and a couple of pages at the end with actifities. Poor Wendy is very forgetfull - oblivious even . She never remembers to take care of anything, especially turning off ligts, the TV, closing the refridgerator, even the front door. One day Mom explains tht she is puttig "Money Down the Drain" by not turning things off and saving electricy. It is not an interesting enough story for students to pick it up - but it might do for a younger classroom, kindergarten or first grade, to begin a discussion on the conservation of electricty. The reading level places it in the mid second grade range, but I don't think I would spend my money one this one. No other reveiws were found.
PEEP AND DUCKY
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
MARTIN, DAVID
CHRISTY, JANA
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
March 14, 2013
Shirts, Brooke
Best friends Peep and Ducky meet at the park for a playdate, and set about doing what most preschoolers do: pretending, climbing, tickling, rolling in mud, fighting then apologizing, and even taking a potty break. Martin's text is enthusiastically sing-songy: "Ducky runs to Peep. / Peep runs to Ducky. / Such good friends. / Lucky, lucky, lucky." While this might drive some adult readers nuts, it could go over like gangbusters with the right storytime crowd. David Walker's illustrations bring the cuteness and how ? Peep and Ducky have big round heads with dot eyes atop pudgy little bodies with curling tails. They scamper around a bright park landscape dotted with smiling squirrels and snails. A sweet snapshot of toddler friendship. AD toddler-preK
PINCH AND DASH AND THE TERRIBLE COUCH
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
DALEY, MICHAEL J
PATTERSON, ANNIE
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 14, 2013
Shirts, Brooke
Poor Pinch! All he wants to do is spend a lazy day reading in his cozy chair, when a pair of incorrigible furniture movers arrive at his door. They insist on barging in with the delivery of an enormous red couch from Pinch's aunt. Pinch grumbles ? there is no room for the couch in his tiny living room ? but next-door-neighbor Dash thinks differently. With a large amount of huffing and puffing, with occasional lemonade breaks, Pinch and Dash manage to shove the couch against the wall. Pinch is still dissatisfied with the arrangement, but Dash loves the couch and promptly falls asleep on it. Pinch then realizes the best solution, and rings the movers once again to get the couch over to Dash's place. There is a good amount of skill in Daley's storytelling; Pinch is a likeable curmudgeon and Dash makes a good foil. However, this is still essentially a story about two adults trying to rearrange furniture, and might be a tough sell with the beginning reader crowd. Still, fans of books like Cynthia Rylant's Poppleton series will find kindred spirits here. AD 1-2
KINDHEARTED CROCODILE
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
PANZIERI, LUCIA
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 14, 2013
Shirts, Brooke
A metafictional twist livens up this Italian import. A fearsome-looking crocodile longs to be a pet for a family with children. Hoping to win them over, he sneaks into their house between the pages of a picture book ? shown in the illustrations as the very picture book the reader is holding. Every night when the family goes to bed, the crocodile sneaks out of the book and performs helpful tasks such as tidying the house, chasing away nightmares, and preparing the next morning's breakfast. When the crocodile is inevitably discovered, the children are overjoyed, recognizing him as a picture book character they love, but the parents are understandably skeptical. However, the croc's culinary skills soon prove that a good cup of coffee in the morning can win over anyone. AntonGionata Ferrari's crocodile is a charmer; he does indeed appear ferocious, but his body swoops and sails across pages with infectious enthusiasm. Of especial note are the nighttime scenes, where furniture and knickknacks appear as white outlines on a black background. Whimsical and a sweet read-aloud. AD preK-1
DEVIL'S PASS
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
BROUWER, SIGMUND
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
March 15, 2013
Gleb, Heidi
Since his mother's remarriage to Elliott Skinner, Webb's life had been full of horrific abuse by the man. Now 17, he lives on the streets of Toronto, working odd jobs and playing his guitar to make money. Webb, like his six cousins, is given a task by his now-deceased grandfather; he is to fly from Toronto to the Northwest Territories and do something about a long-buried secret on Devil's Pass. That "something" is not quite clear. While enroute to the Pass, Webb encounters an abused woman and her psychotic boyfriend, reminding him of the unpleasantness he endured in his own home. As Webb struggles with emotions and learns about events in his grandfather's past, a saying by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzschecomes to mind, as it was something his grandfather told him years before: "That which does not kill us makes us stronger." Time and again that saying plays into the storyline. Lots of action and adventure, with Webb's courage and persistence coming through. The action and adventure of Orca's Seven: The Series will appeal to upper elementary and middle school boys. Well done.
IT'S OUR GARDEN : FROM SEEDS TO HARVEST IN A SCHOOL GARDEN
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
ANCONA, GEORGE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 18, 2013
Shirts, Brooke
There's nothing more tempting than a bounteous garden, and Ancona's beguiling chronicle of a New Mexico elementary school's garden captures that temptation. Capturing the seasons from spring to winter, children and their teachers sow seeds, compost food scraps from the lunchroom, weed, water and eventually harvest a variety of vegetables. While this isn't a how-to book, there is a wealth of creative ideas on display to inspire educators, such as simple games, crafts, science explorations, and community-building ideas (like hosting informal concerts in the garden during summer). Many of the garden activities are specific to New Mexico, such as an adobe oven the children build to bake their own veggie pizzas. Attractive, full-color photographs are spread over expertly designed pages, interspersed with children's drawings from nature journals. The text is gentle and warm in its descriptions of the seasons and activities, just like a summer day spent outside. However, its length might make it a difficult read-aloud with younger grades, and its mellowness might make it a hard sell with the upper grades. Find that sweet spot of 2nd and 3rd graders with an itch to plant, though, and it might be a hit. AD+ K-3
TRICK OR TREAT
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
LANDRY, LEO
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 19, 2013
Cook, Kathryn
Would you like to come to a real halloween part?" Oliver the ghost hosts is annual Halloween party, passing out invitations to all of the witches, skeletons and bats that he knows. On the way one invitation drops and is picked up by two neighborhood children. The night of the party all show up including "a little cow and a little Jack-o-Lantern", sometimes it is a treat to be tricked. All decided it was a great party. This delightful story of a haunted halloween party invaded by two "normal" children will be enjoyed by students again and again. The water color and pencil not so scary illustrations enhance the humor of the story. The dust jacket covered board on paper cover and trade binding are adequate, but may not hold up as well as one would wish for this title. Also reviewed in Booklist, Hornbook, Hornbook starred, Kirkus review, Library Media Connection, Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal.
I WANT TO BE A CHEF
FIREFLY BOOKS [FIREFLY BOOKS]
LIEBMAN, DAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 19, 2013
Cook, Kathryn
This is part of sixteen volume series about jobs for the youngest students. The pages are covered with a bright cheerful color photograph of a smiling multicultural group of chefs preparing some type of food. The brief text presents the information in small "text bubbles" superimposed on the page. The information is minimal but has bits of interesting information such as "a sous (pronounced "soo") chef is the chef's assistant." to engage the young reader. There is just enough information to introduce a young reader to the job of a chef. The matte finished paper on board cover won't hold up long to the handling it will recieve in a library. Also reveiwed in Booklist.
LEAPS AND CREEPS: HOW ANIMALS MOVE TO SURVIVE
Benchmark Books [Benchmark Books]
KOONTZ, ROBIN
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 19, 2013
Cook, Kathryn
"Animals and insects throught out the world have some extreme, and sometimes gross, special skills. In Leaps and Creeps: How Animals Move to Survive, explore a variety of ways creatures use their own method of jumping, scooting, and flying to survive in the wild." so reads the back of this volume of the Amazing Animal Skills series. This is a very well written text with language that will entice readers to continue to read. Using words and pharases such as "Zoom zoom!" "Snakes slither, gophers burrow, birds fly, and fish swim" readers will enjoy reading about the abilities of animals from Elephants to Spotted Skunks to geckos. Packed with information and made accessible even to relunctant readers with "fast fact" boxes and in a good library binding this volume will be an excellent addition to the animal section of our libraries. Also reveiwed in Library Media Connection and School Library Journal.
EAT WELL
BUDDY BOOKS [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
TIECK, SARAH
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 19, 2013
Cook, Kathryn
Part of ABDO"s "Get Healthy" series this title is one of six. Clean and bright pages of text are next to full page photographs that illustrate the information presented. The information is clearly stated, the "My Plate" guidelines are used and the message is positive. The reader is encourage to make healthy choices in what they choose to eat, how the food is cooked as well as the amount they eat. There are small notes and comments on several pages labeled "word of mouth" for additional clarification of information or definitions. The title contains the requisite table of contents, index, glossary and additional information pages that provide opportunities for extended exploration. The good library binding will stand up to what ever use the volume will receive. Also reviewed in Hornbook and School library Journal.
RABBIT AND THE NOT-SO-BIG-BAD WOLF
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
ESCOFFIER, MICHAEL
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 20, 2013
Shirts, Brooke
Taking a page from recent fourth-wall-breaking picture books, this story begins with an unobserved narrator talking to the book's protagonist, a white bunny standing before a chalkboard. "Tell me, Rabbit. Do you know the Not-So-Big-Bad-Wolf?" The bunny draws a picture of a wolf, and then the narrator provides editorials: the not-so-big-bad has small round ears, and a short nose, and long hair. In fact, the not-so-big-bad looks very much like a little girl in a wolf suit, who comes bounding on stage, ready to scoop up the bunny for a hug. While this story has the requisite "awww" ending to keep it from being to scary for young children, the illustrations don't follow through on the feeling. The bunny still looks scared an unhappy in the girl's arms at the end. Adults may also be dismayed by a bit of scatological humor: when the bunny is hiding from the girl, we see his tail poking out from a stack of books, there is an unmistakable pile of little brown pellets beside him. Ah, well. Kris Di Giacomo's illustration style, with its grey-toned palette and childlike line, will be familiar to fans of Emily Gravett (especially her 2006 book, Wolves). AD- preK-1
LAST MESSAGE
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
PEACOCK, SHANE
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
March 20, 2013
Gleb, Heidi
Like his six cousins, Adam is sent on adventure of sorts by his now-deceased grandfather. Eager to get to France, he finds mystery after mystery as he must look for items related to a cave, a painting, and French novelist Antoine de St Exupery. Along the way, Adam's eyes are opened to a secret from his grandfather's past that change his view of the man. The action and adventure of Orca's Seven: The Series will appeal to upper elementary and middle school boys.
SPRING BLOSSOMS
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
GERBER, CAROLE
HOGAN, JAMIE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 25, 2013
Shirts, Brooke
Continuing her series of seasonal picture books (Leaf Jumpers; Winter Trees) Gerber's latest picture book contains a series of couplets designed to teach children about different tree blossoms. While many springtime favorites are here (cherry, redbud, dogwood) a few neglected "blossoms" are highlighted also, such as the tiny blossoms on white pine and balsam fir. Each plant has a couplet that serves as a mnemonic device for future identification in the wild: "On the beech, male flowers cluster. / They're round and wear green fuzzy suits. / Female flowers, small and spiky, / grow near the leaves along new shoots." Others, however, are less effective: "Magnolia buds are opening, / revealing blooms that glow like gems." Don't most flowers "glow like gems"? As before, Leslie Evans' linoleum-block illustrations are gorgeous, popping with hot pinks and spring greens. Botanically correct, large-scale images of each flower are included for each plant. While it isn't a replacement for a field guide, it will likely inspire close-up exploration of backyard and neighborhood trees. AD+ K-2
SPLASH OF RED : THE LIFE AND ART OF HORACE PIPPIN
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
BRYANT, JEN
SWEET, MELISSA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 28, 2013
Shirts, Brooke
Another picture book biography from the author-illustator team who created the Caldecott Honor-winning A River of Words: the Story of William Carlos Williams. The focus here is on 20th century African-American artist Horace Pippin. In their collaboration, Bryant and Sweet chose one iconic phrase from different parts of Pippin's life an incorporated them into the illustrations. When depicting Pippin's insatiable desire to create art as a child, the phrase "Pictures just come to my mind . . . and I tell my heart to go ahead" surround an image of young Horace daydreaming art. As an adult, Pippin served as a soldier in World War I, suffering an arm injury that destroyed his ability to lift his right arm and prohibiting from painting. Years after the war, Pippin's need to create art overcame this disability: by lifting his right arm with his left, he could painstakingly still paint. Today Pippin's paintings are renowned for their expressive folk-art style, which Sweet honors and imitates in her watercolor, gouache, and mixed-media illustrations. A "historical note" fills out some of the extra details in Pippin's life, and there is also an extensive list of resources for further research, as well as sources for all of the quotations. The inside back cover contains five photographs of Pippin's paintings; be sure not to miss them. R 2-6
COURAGE HAS NO COLOR, THE TRUE STORY OF THE TRIPLE NICKLES :
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
STONE, TANYA LEE
BROWN, KATHRYN
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 28, 2013
Shirts, Brooke
In the waning years of World War II, a group of African-American soldiers were given an unheard-of chance: to train as paratroopers. Stone's account of these men ? who later formed the 555th infantry division, aka the "Triple Nickels," is riveting. Faced with rampant segregation and inequality in the military ? outrageously, German and Italian POWs were often treated better ? the Triple Nickels complete their training only to find that instead of being sent to the front, they are going to fight forest fires as daring "smokejumpers" in the forests of Oregon. Stone does an excellent job of chronicling this dream deferred, but focuses on the soldiers' courage, bravery, and patriotism, how they chose to do their duty regardless of the social climate. At the war's end, the 555th is fully integrated with a white battalion; Stone rightly depicts this as the first whispers of the Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s. Black-and-white period photographs and illustrations depict the soldiers in action, including sketches made by now-famous children's illustrator Ashley Bryan when he was a soldier. Excellent first-person interviews hearten the writing with tales of courage despite tremendous odds; highly recommended. R* 5-8