Reviews for month


BACK-TO-SCHOOL FRIGHT FROM THE BLACK LAGOON
UNKNOWN [UNKNOWN]
THALER, MIKE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 01, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
This easy chapter book is just the right mix of humor, large font, and fun illustration to get students reading. Hubie is dealing with the usual challenges of going back to school such as clothes shopping with his mom, buying school supplies, having bad dreams about school, and realizing that the girls are suddenly taller than him. He faces it all with good humor and with the help of his friend Eric and his new teacher he is excited to get learning. The sketchy cartoon-like illustrations break up the text on every page and even around the edges. This is a great addition to the Black Lagoon Adventures series that students will love once they have outgrown all the Black Lagoon picture books.
POWERBOAT RACING
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
GIGLIOTTI, JIM
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 01, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
An overview of powerboat racing is given in three chapters with topics such as boats, races, and famous sailors. Clearer organization and more photos or diagrams with details would help the reader understand the powerboat racing better. The topics are briefly introduced in paragraphs of text with large captioned photographs, but several topics are grouped in a chapter with no subtitles. A short glossary, list of resources, and index are included.
SAILING
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
TEITELBAUM, MICHAEL
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 01, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
An overview of sailing is given in three chapters with topics such as sailing terms, steering, races, and famous sailors. Clearer organization and more photos or diagrams with details would help the reader understand the sailing better. The topics are briefly introduced in paragraphs of text with large captioned photographs, but several topics are grouped in a chapter with no subtitles. There is a little information on how to sail, but there is just as much information on the history of sailing and professional races. A short glossary, list of resources, and index are included.
GLIDING
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
KELLEY, C
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 01, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
Gliding is introduced in three chapters covering topics such as the history of gliders, basic equipment, training, aerodynamics of gliding, and professional gliding. Topics are introduced in paragraphs of text with large captioned photographs and there is one helpful diagram of how lift helps gliders fly. Subtitles would help break up the text into smaller sections, but the chapters each have a general theme. Students interested in gliding would find this book helpful. A glossary, list of resources, and index are included.
ULTRALIGHT AIRCRAFT
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
KELLEY, C
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 01, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
Ultralight aircraft and flying are introduced in three chapters covering topics such as the history of ultralight aircraft, basic equipment, training, and professional ultralight flying. Topics are introduced in paragraphs of text with large captioned photographs. Subtitles would help break up the text into smaller sections, but the chapters each have a general theme. There is information on Operation Migration which used ultralight aircraft to guide migrating birds. Students interested in ultralight aircraft would find this book helpful. A glossary, list of resources, and index are included.
RECYCLING IS FUN
PICTURE WINDOW BOOKS [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
GHIGNA, CHARLES
JATKOWSKA, AG
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 01, 2013
Garrard, Thom
The short rhyming text tells how fun it is to recycle paper, bottles, and cans, and to reuse old clothes by donating them to charity or making craft projects. Simple, colorful illustrations depict a diverse group of children engaging in these activities, and instructions for one of the craft projects are included. This is just too short and simple for my liking. The text starts with "Recycling is a lot of fun for you and me and everyone!" and gets only marginally better from there. For my money, I'd prefer a book with more content, such as Bethel's Michael Recycle, Wallace's Recycle Every Day, or Child's Charlie and Lola: We are Extremely Good Recyclers.
AMERICAN ALLIGATORS
PEBBLE PLUS [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
POTTS, STEVE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 01, 2013
Garrard, Thom
This title is part of the Pebble Plus nonfiction series on North American animals. Like most Pebble Plus books, this one has one or two simple sentences on each left hand page covering topics like food, habitat, and life cycle. On each right hand page, there is a colorful, sometimes striking photograph, such as the head and feet of an alligator's avian prey dangling out of its mouth (p. 15). The easy text and large photos are a perfect combination for early readers. The book only talks about the danger that humans pose to alligators and not the reverse, yet this is top quality nonfiction for early readers.
MAKING A BULLY-FREE WORLD
LOOKING GLASS LIBRARY [RANDOM HOUSE CHILDREN'S BOOKS]
HALL, PAMELA
OSTROM, BOB
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 01, 2013
Garrard, Thom
Name calling, hitting, rumor spreading, and online cruelty are four types of bullying discussed in this book. After describing a situation of a certain type, the author explains how to be an "upstander" rather than a bystander if you witness that type of behavior. When an upstander sides with a person who is being bullied, the bully loses power over the victim. The cartoon illustrations depict diverse characters and add to the book's appeal for young readers. The book concludes with a bully test - a series of questions that are designed to help students realize whether they ever engage in bullying. With the current focus on bullying in schools, primary grade teachers may appreciate having this available for use in their classrooms, and individual students could also find helpful.
PEACE AND QUIET
GRAPHIC UNIVERSE [GRAPHIC UNIVERSE]
LUCIANI, BRIGITTE
THARLET, EVE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 01, 2013
Garrard, Thom
The coming of winter brings new challenges to the badgers and foxes who live in the blended family in this fourth installment of a series of graphic novels. Unfortunately, the species respond differently to the cold weather. The fox girl wants to play with her badger brother, but he just wants some peace and quiet so he can sleep. Learning to understand and tolerate each other's differences doesn't come easily, but they work to overcome their problems and are ultimately able to enjoy each other's love and companionship in a way that works for all. The colorful illustrations strike the right balance between simplicity and artistry, and they skillfully convey the emotions of the story. Children who find themselves in this kind of family situation will especially benefit from reading this book, but it would be enjoyed by any primary grade student.
DIEGO RIVERA : AN ARTIST FOR THE PEOPLE
ABRAMS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [ABRAMS]
RUBIN, SUSAN GOLDMAN
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 01, 2013
Shirts, Brooke
Rubin's biography of Mexico's famous muralist is solid: from his childhood, where he painted murals in a special room covered with black canvas, to his adult life as an internationally celebrated artist. Rubin pays attention to Rivera's deep loyalty and affection for the peoples of Mexico, his controversial political life, and his tempestuous relationship with his wife, fellow artist Frida Kahlo. The narrative style is a bit dry, but for kids looking to do a report on an artist, this will be a great source. R 5-9
GINGERSNAP
WENDY LAMB BOOKS [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
GIFF, PATRICIA REILLY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 01, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
Jayna is trying to enjoy the last few days before her brother, Rob, goes off to war as a cook on a ship in the Pacific. He is her only family and they have just been reunited after living separately in foster homes for years. Jayna goes to live with her landlady after her brother leaves and it is fine until word comes that Rob is missing. Jayna finds a recipe book in Rob's closet and travels to Brooklyn to find the bakery mentioned in it with the hope that her grandmother is there. Things don't work out quite the way Jayna expects, but she does find a family. Jayna's simple soup recipes start most chapters and the comfort of food and family are themes in this hopeful story. A ghost talks to Jayna and gives her strength when her brother is gone, but is it really a ghost or just Jayna's way of talking to herself in difficult times. This is a short historical fiction novel that fans of Patricia Reilly Giff will enjoy.
MAGNIFICENT MACAWS
SANDCASTLE [ABDO]
KUSKOWSKI, ALEX
NOBENS, C.A.
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 01, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
This is an unusual animal book because it is partially an information book on pet macaws and partially a story about a macaw. The first ten pages give very basic facts about pet macaws, such as food, toys, and life expectancy. The background for the very basic text and uncaptioned photographs on most of these ten pages is a macaw's natural habitat which is confusing. On the next eight pages is a predictable story about a macaw that escapes a pet store, talks to a boy on the street, and the boy brings the macaw home to be a pet. There are fun facts, a short quiz, and a 7-word glossary at the end. It is hard to tell the purpose of this small format book. Students who want a pet macaw probably want more information or a more appealing story about a pet macaw.
CAN YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? : OUT OF THIS WORLD
Cartwheel Books [SCHOLASTIC]
WICK, WALTER
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 01, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
This is another classic find-the-object book by Walter Wick. Twelve scenes with many objects and details are shown in two-page spreads with a corresponding list of objects to find the the photograph. The scenes tell the simple story of an old-fashioned princess who lives in a castle and the robot from the future who crash lands outside the castle. There are two pages at the end with information about how the book was created and about the author. Fans of the Can You See What I See? series will love this new addition.
WHO SAYS WOMEN CAN'T BE DOCTORS? : THE STORY OF ELIZABETH BL
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [MACMILLAN]
STONE, TANYA LEE
PRICEMAN, MARJORIE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
May 01, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
This picture biography does a great job of explaining how Elizabeth Blackwell became the first female doctor in America. It starts with the basics of her stubborn personality as a child, then leads into the friend who suggested that she try to become a doctor, and the challenges she faced trying to get into a medical school and succeeding. She ended up getting in because the male students at Geneva Medical School thought is was a joke and she would never be allowed in. Elizabeth studied hard and she graduated at the top of her class. The two-page author's note at the end tells about Elizabeths life in more detail including her career as a doctor. Lively gouache and india ink illustrations are a perfect complement to the text. They have the old-fashioned feel of the time and show the emotions of Elizabeth and the people around her. A list of resources is included. This is a very accessible story about an inspiring woman who all students should know and also how she overcame huge obstacles to change history.
PART-TIME PRINCESS
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
UNDERWOOD, DEBORAH
EVANS, CAMBRIA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 01, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
You can't go wrong with this fun princess book. It's got a pink cover with sparkles and a great illustration of the part-time princess riding a dragon. The girl tells how during the day she is a regular girl, but after she goes to bed she goes down a magical staircase and becomes a real princess. She goes to princess school with subjects like trapeze and magical beasts, but she is also busy saving the kingdom as a firefighter when a dragon attacks. Of course she invites the dragon to tea and finds out what is really bothering him. She dresses in fabulous princess dresses for a ball that trolls crash until she gets them busy dancing. After a long night she goes back to her home to be a regular girl again. This is a great story about a spunky girl who loves princess things as well as playing in the mud. The hint that the visiting queen is actually her mother at home adds to the charm of the story. Vibrant illustrations in mainly pinks and greens on a white background add humor and detail to the story. This is a great light-hearted addition to a picture book collection.
STUDYING SOIL
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
WALKER, SALLY M
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 01, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
Students are introduced to soil including what it is, layers, how it is formed, types, and taking care of soil. Each of the five chapters explains a topic using sections with subtitles, clear text, and captioned illustrations or diagrams. The clean but interesting layout of the pages adds to the appeal of the book. The illustrations and diagrams support the text and help make the topic more interesting and connected to students' lives. An index, glossary, and list of resources are included. It is a quality addition to a library used by elementary school students who study soil. It is part of the Searchlight Books series Do You dig Earth Science?
Beyond Lucky
UNKNOWN PUBLISHER [UNKNOWN PUBLISHER]
Aronson, Sarah
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 02, 2013
Garrard, Thom
Ari believes in two things - the former star goalkeeper who grew up in the same town and luck. When he finds a rare trading card of that player, he is convinced that his luck has changed, and that he will find the same success as the starting goalkeeper as the hometown hero and as his older brother, who has now left home to become a smokejumper. Then the card is stolen. The star player and the only girl on the team accuse each other of the deed. Ari is caught in the middle, and luck seems to have deserted him. His brother goes missing at a forest fire, he can’t make a save, and his team is falling apart. Before the championship game, Ari has to decide where he stands and what he believes in. The description of the soccer action throughout the book is reasonably well done, though anyone familiar with the sport will spot a few gaffes. Fortunately, the multiple plot lines keep things moving along at a fair clip, so there’s no time to dwell on those errors, and the book ends up being more than your average sports story.
SHARPSHOOTER
UNKNOWN [UNKNOWN]
LYNCH, CHRIS
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
May 03, 2013
Datisman, Eve
In the second installment of his Vietnam War series, Lynch follows 18-year-old Ivan Bucyk, one of four friends who pledged to go to war together once one was drafted. Ivan was the one most excited about going. After all, his dad was in World War II, and Ivan grew up on stories of Patton and North Africa. Trained as an elite sniper, Ivan is special, but, predictably, his experience in Vietnam doesn't match the stories of heroism he grew up on. Here, it's not clear who the enemy is. He had figured this war would be like the American Civil War, with a clear North and South, but in Vietnam the enemy is all around and impossible to identify. Ivan has quickly come to realize he was a stupid kid when he arrived; now, with a war he can't explain, he lives for a simple purpose: "I shoot people. That's it."And DERUS--"Date Eligible for Return to US"--has become his religion. . On both the front lines and behind enemy lines, Lynch brilliantly captures the war in small details, from Ivan's reaction to firing his precision rifle to the chaos and graphic violence of a jungle ambush at night
GIVE A BOY A GUN
UNKNOWN [UNKNOWN]
STRASSER, TODD
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
May 03, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Two boys go on a shooting rampage at Middletown High; one commits suicide, the other is beaten unconscious before he gets the chance. It happens in the gymnasium, not the library, but the scenario will sound familiar. The story unfolds in a series of interviews after the fact, conducted by a college student who reveals her relationship to the case at the end of the book. She tries to piece together the puzzle of the tragedy by gathering various individuals' recollections about the boys beginning in grade school. Gary was very bright, quiet, and had a weight problem. Brendan was thin, defensive, and quick to anger. As the chapters move from middle school up, readers hear from classmates and teachers that these boys were outcasts-ostracized and bullied by their peers-and potential trouble. Attempts to give a voice to the countless sides of the school violence issue. Disturbing and at times difficult to read, as it should be. But it is also articulate and well researched and complex. There are no easy answers to this question as we are seeing in the current debate coming out of the Newtown shootings.
BOOT CAMP
UNKNOWN [UNKNOWN]
STRASSER, TODD
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
May 03, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Louis Sachar's Holes (1998) described a juvenile detention camp with tall-tale trappings. For a somewhat older audience, this documentary-style novel tackles similar "boot camps" without the fablelike buffer, delivering a troubling glimpse of what might go on in such camps (and backing it up with an author's note and sources). Garrett, 15, is trapped in the "secret prison system for teenagers" when his controlling parents, enraged by his affair with a teacher, are lured by the promise of a boot-camp brochure: "The child who returns from the Lake Harmony experience is the child you always knew you had." Once at the camp, Garrett endures a battery of brainwashing techniques, including physical abuse, and eventually meets two other desperate teens who want to escape. Garrett joins them because he knows that the only way he will win his release is if he is completely broken or dead.
LOOKING FOR ME
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
ROSENTHAL, BETSY R
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 03, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
Told in a series of varying poems, the life of 6th grader Edith in 1930s Baltimore comes to life in bits and pieces throughout this lovely little book. Edith is number 4 in a Jewish family of 12 children, and along with her daily struggles to help with the younger children and vie for attention from her parents, she is also seeking to find her identity in a large, loud family. The story is the true story of the author's mother, and is at times funny, sad, poignant, and frustrating. This book would work great in a lesson on inference, mood, setting, or characterization, and could be used in a historical fiction or poetry unit. Teachers will appreciate the positive role a teacher plays in changing Edith's life, and students will enjoy the poetry format and the photographs at the end.
MOLLY THE PONY
SQUARE FISH [MACMILLAN]
KASTER, PAM
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 03, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
Published by Square Print, an imprint of Macmillan Children's Publsihing Group this is a title in an easy reader series entitled My Readers that's intended to introduce classic stories and characters to children, but with a fresh take. Seemingly coming in three levels, it was difficult to find the Level 3 in tiny print at the bottom of the verso, along with 560 Lexile. Perhaps an astute adult could discriminate the levels by the descriptions on the Dear Parent and Teachers page. Though this story deserves to be told in this 48-page format, it is not a classic in the sense of time, nor character. Since it's based on the true story of a pony that was left for two weeks following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it should be included in a nonfiction, new series of My Readers. Molly, the pony, is eventually rescued, taken to a farm with other horses, but falls prey to a biting dog. This results in the need for a prosthetic leg, and then her new job becomes visiting children in hospitals and retirement homes, where she is a gentle ambassador as a high functioning, adaptable creature. The author is also a photographer though the story was adapted by Susan Bishay, which also was unclear.
GOLDEN LILY
RAZORBILL [PENGUIN]
MEAD, RICHELLE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
May 03, 2013
Datisman, Eve
If one has to hide out in order to keep one's identity a secret, one might as well do so in sunny Palm Springs at an exclusive boarding school. Who would think that vampires walk among them? Tough, brainy alchemist Sydney Sage is charged with protecting the Moroi princess Jill Dragomir and keeping the Strigoi at bay. Forbidden romance, spirit bonds, and friendships that will be impossible to pursue are complicated by Sydney's own fears and the need to strike a balance between the principles of her crafts and the dogma upon which her training has been built.
DAYLIGHT SAVING
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
HOGAN, EDWARD
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
May 03, 2013
Datisman, Eve
The teaser on the cover is "Can you save someone from something that's already happened?" Get ready to shiver with more than the cold of a chilly October. Daniel is being forced to go on a vacation to a Leisure world complex with his father. He doesn't have very high hopes for the trip. Daniel is overweight, he hates sports, and he know that is Dad will try too hard to make him have a good time, and will spend too much time on false and alcoholic happiness. Yup, it's going to be too depressing for words. And it is until Daniel sees a pretty girl swimming in the Fake Lake. He introduces himself to Lexi; she's funny and smart and she starts to teach him how to swim. But he wonders why she seems to be more and more wounded each time he meets her -- black eye, cuts, bruises. Where are her parents? Why does her watch tick backwards? Daniel sets himself the challenge of figuring out how to help her, but the answer seems impossible. Suspenseful, creepy. Well-done. . Bullying, bad language, parental units behaving badly with the lovely neighbors next door make this more high school than middle school.
UPSIDE OF ORDINARY
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
LUBNER, SUSAN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 03, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
11 year old Mainer Jermaine wants to be a celebrity, and believes that by filming her family as a reality TV show, she'll be a famous Hollywood producer. She quickly decides her family is too ordinary and her show is boring, so she spices things up by staging accidents and filming scenes her parents tell her not to. As real family drama begins to unfold, she must decide if fame or family matter more to her. While the premise is interesting and cute, and the predicaments she finds herself in are often funny, the book could be much better. Funny scenes were often cringe-inducing and the plot often felt contrived and far from realistic. Jermaine is a difficult character to connect with or root for. Readers may feel condescended to by the style of writing, and the boring, odd cover will decrease the chances of library browsers picking up this book.
FALSE MEMORY
HYPERION PRESS [DISNEY BOOK GROUP]
KROKOS, DAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
May 03, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Jason Bourne meets the Terminator or Joss Whedon's Dollhouse. The Roses are clones, experimental super-soldiers whose psychic energy causes destruction to any normal human who is exposed to it. When Miranda wakes up with amnesia, her fear sets off her energy and causes harm to those around her. With help from the other Roses and the "memory shots" that all Roses must take to prevent amnesia, Miranda returns home and begins to remember bits of her past. As Miranda's memory returns, she realizes she has many questions about her home, her unusual power, and whether her memories are real. The action is non-stop, and Miranda is a refreshingly kick-ass heroine, with a focus on accomplishing her mission instead of snagging a man. Reluctant readers will find this interesting -- Maximum Ride folks are a good target audience. A good segue into summer read. First in a series.
BUILDING SANDCASTLES
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
RAU, DANA MEACHEN
PETELINSEK, KATHLEEN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 03, 2013
Kline, Karen
In this book readers learn about the various ways to prepare sand for sculpting, a little about the science beneath the surface of good sculpting sand and foundations, and the tools that work best for shaping sand.  It is important to use a mold that is open at both ends.  This allows water to drain while the sculptor packs it down.  Who knew -- not folks in the sand pail business?!  Six step-by-step, two-to-three page procedures for creating simple sculptures like a "Castle Tower" and a "Sand Maze" will give readers ideas about making their own structures.  Sand sculpture may sound like kids' play, but it is a burgeoning art form with consultants around the country that boast that making sand castles can teach team building, fine and gross motor skills and more.   The text is leveled for Guided Reading at level O, and there are many text features including a table of contents, glossary, "for more information" section, index, and side bars designed to look like sticky notes.  This is one of the twelve titles in the "How-To Library," including Braiding Hair, Decorating Eggs, Making Butterfly Gardens and more.  With only two photos of actual sand sculptures (the rest are simple color illustrations), though, the book misses out on inspiring readers with the amazing work of some sand sculptors that can be found on the internet.  Still this will be a fun addition to crafting collections.
FIRE AWAY : ASKING GREAT INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
TRUESDELL, ANN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
This 32 page book focuses on preparing and conducting an interview as a way to get information on a topic. It is part of the "Super Smart Information Strategies" series. The book covers why one would conduct an interview, how to prepare for it, types of questions, and follow up. The text is well-written and consise. It will definately help students navigate this type of information gathering. Captioned color photographs and images work well with the text. "Try This" activities will help students practice the tips in the book. These activities are available online, so teachers could use this as a resource. The book contains a table of contents, index, glossary, author information, and small bibliography. This would be a solid book to support information skills.
ANTONIA NOVELLO : FANTASTIC PHYSICIAN
CHECKERBOARD [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
WHEELER, JILL C
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Women in Science" series, this 32 page biography explores the life of Antonio Novello. Novello was the first woman and Latino to hold the office of US Surgeon General. Born in Puerto Rico, she spent her childhood with chronic intestinal problems. Since her mother was a math and science teacher, she was pushed in school and graduated at 15. She became a Navy doctor and eventually began working at the National Institute for Health (NIH). As Surgeon General she brought to light public health issues such as domestic violence and HIV/AIDS. The book contains well-written text and is accompanied by photographs and diagrams. The book contains an activity (finding info. at letsmove.gov), timeline, glossary, and index. Web resources are available on the publisher's website. This book woould make an excellent addition to your biography section.
JOANNE SIMPSON : MAGNIFICENT METEOROLOGIST
CHECKERBOARD [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
WHEELER, JILL C
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
This 32 page book is part of the "Women in Science" series. The book shares the life and discoveries of Joanne Simpson. Simpson was the first American woman to receive a PhD in meteorology. She fought discrimination to work in this field. She changed scientific minds about the causes of hurricanes. She died in 2010. The book contains well-written text and is accompanied by photographs and diagrams. The book contains an activity (make an anemometer), timeline, glossary, and index. Web resources are available on the publisher's website. This book will make an excellent addition to your biography section.
I HAVE A DREAM
SCHWARTZ & WADE [SCHWARTZ & WADE]
KING, MARTIN LUTHER
NELSON, KADIR
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 03, 2013
Kline, Karen
Finally we have a picture book that takes the most famous part of Dr. King's world-renowned speech and reproduces the text almost word-for-word for children to appreciate with beautiful, almost larger-than-life art.  In the brief note with the copyright information, we are told that there are two minor changes made for clarity and the omission of one paragraph, indicated by ellipsis.  This omission and the edits make the text more understandable for children, yet it loses nothing of its purpose and conviction.  Kadir Nelson's luminous oil paintings capture all the symbolism in the speech with perfect historical mood.  From the furrow of King's brow to the Washington Monument's reflection in the pool of the DC mall, readers will feel transported to a time and place not so long ago when in some places it was not okay for children of all races to play and sing together.  Included with this picture book is a CD recording of King's speech in his own voice.  The book layout is paced well and timed such that the CD's rendering works with the timing of the page turns in the book.   The full text of the complete speech is appended.  A valuable resource for classrooms and libraries.  Some schools' demands will require multiple copies.
ROMEO REDEEMED
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
JAY, STACEY
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
May 03, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
The sequel to the equally-gripping Juliet Immortal, this fantasy tells the remainder of the story from Romeo's point of view. In this universe, Romeo and Juliet were real people, and now exist as mortal enemies fighting for love by inhabiting the bodies of others. The former lovers find themselves in present day California, inhabiting the bodies of two teenagers who will determine the fate of the world. What unfolds is a fascinating, confusing swirl of passion, horror, deception, and redemption. Teens will love the plot twists, and the retelling of such a famous love story.
ENDANGERED
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
SCHREFER, ELIOT
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
May 03, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Endangered highlights the problems of animal poaching, failed governments, child soldiers, and the general security of the population in the case of chaos without being preachy. The protagonist is 14-year-old Sophie who is at her mother's sanctuary for bonobos in the Congo. On the way to the sanctuary, Sophie spots a man selling an infant bonobo missing two fingers. Although she knows better, Sophie buys Otto and she becomes responsible for him. Things are calm enough that Sophie's mother takes a group of bonobos to a safe release site. Peace doesn't last long, When an armed revolution breaks out, the sanctuary is attacked and Sophie and Otto are able to slip into the Sanctuary for a while. Eventually they must escape into the jungle and struggle to survive. Sophie has a plan to follow the river north toward her mother and all she needs is a little luck. There a number of questions explored: What will we do to survive? What sacrifices will we make to help others? What is our responsibility to animals caught in human chaos? What things tie us -- human and animal-- all together. Q and A section with the author.
BIODIVERSITY
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
MOONEY, CARLA
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 03, 2013
Kline, Karen
guided reading level (S) as well as Common Core standards addressed by the book, a lesson plan, and a graphic organizer.  This is one of the many titles in the Let's Explore Science series.
CHANGING MATTER : UNDERSTANDING PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL CHANGE
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
MAURER, TRACY NELSON
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 03, 2013
Kline, Karen
Stock photos, basic information, and a three question quiz at the end (with no answer key) describe the essence of this book.  There's even a caption with poor subject-verb agreement, "Because missing electrons in the outer shell is (sic) what makes elements reactive, neon can't combine easily with other atoms."  Be sure your collection already contains The Solid Truth About States of Matter with Max Axiom, Super Scientist and Bill Nye the Science Guy:  Phases of Matter (DVD) before adding this title.  
CLIMATE AND WEATHER
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
MOONEY, CARLA
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 03, 2013
Kline, Karen
This five chapter book provides an introduction to weather and climate topics like severe weather, global warming, and weather observation tools.  The science of weather is infused throughout with explanations of cause and effect in the text.  The narrative is factual with little here to hook readers, for instance, "Dry zones have little rain,"  and "Blizzards are dangerous winter storms."  The layout of the book is visually appealing and will encourage browsers, though, with photos superimposed upon others for dramatic effect.  Most photos are captioned; however, the photo of the nuclear reactors (p. 33) on the spread about global warming gives no caption or explanation of the the debate on safety versus low emissions.  And maps on the Koppen climate classification system give no explanation of the abbreviations of the zones. For instance, CFB indicates a marine climate, but the maps do not explain these codes.  A table of contents, list of three websites, and a brief index (no entries for rain, snow, sleet, or hail) are included as well as a link to an "Ask the Author" website.  Unfortunately, the "Ask the Author" link redirects to the publisher's site, and no "Ask the Author" section could be found there.  There is a curriculum guide at the publisher's website for this book providing lexile (755) and
FLOCK
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
DELSOL, WENDY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
May 03, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Having barely survived the eleventh grade play and a battle with the Ice Queen of Nordic myth, Katla Leblanc is hoping for an ordinary senior year, dating her college boyfriend - Jack Frost, going to the prom, placing souls in order for them to be born, and being a big sister to her frail sister Leira. When two exchange students from Iceland to spend the school year at Norse Falls High Katla figures an uneventful year is out of the question. Marik is a shape shifting mer-man when is to make sure that Katla's promise to the Mer-people is upheld and Jinky a rune-reading shaman in training. Katla's enemy the Ice Queen is working behind the scenes again and Katla may be the only person who can save the world, again.
THREE LITTLE WORDS
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
HARVEY, SARAH N
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
May 03, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Sid, 16, is an odd, orderly soul. He wears black T-shirts and jeans exclusively, sketches obsessively, hangs out with his best friend, Chloe, and helps out with Caleb and Megan's other foster kids on their peaceful British Columbia island. At age 2, Sid (short for Siddhartha) was taken from his bipolar mother, Devi, who'd neglected him; now only his private sketchbooks hint at his difficult history. After he shares these with mute, traumatized foster child Fariza, they create stories together, a healing process interrupted when Devi's friend Phil arrives. Sid learns he has a 13-year-old half brother, Wain (short for Gawain), who's gone missing. Phil enlists Sid's help in searching for him in Victoria. There, Sid discovers the source of his artistic gifts, meets his congenial grandmother and easily locates his brother, who's touchy, sullen and black. This is a moving story about the different forms that a family can take. It looks at mental illness and the foster care of abused children sympathetically but without condescension. There are several questions that are not broached: do the boys ever wonder or ask about their fathers? What's it like to be bi-racial in a pretty white world and how does that affect Wain? Sid is a little too good to be true, but his quirkiness is charming and he's easy to care about in spite of a rushed and imperfect story resolution. Because Victoria is so close and the details about the city and surrounding areas are true, this is well worth including as a regional selection. Some language, drug abuse, and adolescent sexual obsession.
ANDREW ZIMMERN'S FIELD GUIDE TO EXCEPTIONALLY WEIRD, WILD, A
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
ZIMMERN, ANDREW
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 03, 2013
Kline, Karen
The host of "Bizarre Foods" on the Travel Channel has compiled "an intrepid eater's digest."  If you've ever wondered what a fugu fish tastes like (a very mild, melon-cucumber flavor) or how to make maggot cheese,(p. 127)  an Italian delicacy from the mountainous regions of northern Sardinia, then this book is for you!  If you just want to read about all the crazy things that people eat around the world, then this book is also for you!  Black and white photos throughout, including one of the author with a blue wildebeest he shot and cleaned himself, and red-charged text boxes and graphics jazz up the layout with multiple reading access points per page.  Buy this book and watch your reluctant readers gobble it up, smile, and repeat.  A research-worthy list of books, websites, and an index make this a justifiable purchase for many libraries.  
BRONTE SISTERS : THE BRIEF LIVES OF CHARLOTTE, EMILY, AND AN
CLARION [CLARION]
REEF, CATHERINE
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 03, 2013
Datisman, Eve
For readers discovering the wonder of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, this collective biography of the Brontë family fills in fascinating detail of their personal and public lives: what they wrote, their family stories as a minister's unmarried daughters, how they published under men's names, and how their groundbreaking novels were received at a time when women were expected to "stay home and be quiet." It begins with the very young siblings and their family's arrival at their new home of Haworth in northern England. The text chronicles the early loss of the girls' mother and two sisters; how, along with their brother, they entertained themselves on the Yorkshire moors and became voracious and imaginative readers and writers; their experiences attending several schools (of varied quality); and their service as teachers and governesses (professions all three abhorred). Reef quotes her subjects' own diary entries, poems, and stories in addition to relying on other primary sources about the sisters; historical information about the time period; and in-depth descriptions of the Brontës' novels and their critical reception to round out her chronological portrait of these three talented writers. Notes, a selected bibliography, a list of the Brontës' works, and an index.
SUBURBAN STRANGE
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
KOTECKI, NATHAN
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
May 03, 2013
Datisman, Eve
There are several anthems for teen girls in this. my favorites come from two very different writers. The first is a quote from John Updike, "You must imagine your life, and then it happens"; the second is from French Poet Rene Char, "A new mystery sings in your bones. Develop your legitimate strangeness." Celia Balastine is the new girl AGAIN! This time a Suburban High. But this year, for some reason she is adopted by a sophisticated group of juniors and seniors known as the Rosary. life in high school is looking up. As Celia is tutored in dress, style, doing one rigorous homework, and alternative art and music, she becomes more who she would like to be and when she meets a mysterious boy at an equally mysterious club, she begins to think that romance is possible as well. Too good to be true, yes. Mysterious things begin to happen to girls on the day before their 16th birthdays, girls who are sexually innocent are having accidents or taking ill. Celia begins to suspect that there is a curse, and her chem. lab partner, Mariette, seems to have an idea why. Readers who like the paranormal, will enjoy the atmosphere of the story, the clever use of Celia's intermediate stature in school and great references to albums and artists -- everything is better with the right soundtrack makes for a better than average thriller.
WHITE BICYCLE
RED DEER PRESS [RED DEER PRESS]
BRENNA, BEVERLEY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
May 03, 2013
Datisman, Eve
This is the third book in the Wild Orchids series about Taylor Jane Simon, a young woman who has Asperger's Syndrome. It's a stand alone story. Taylor Jane takes a job as a nanny for a friend of the family who will be spending the summer in France. Taylor begins her journey with a dream, of her struggling to carry a white bicycle down a road. Eventually she is gets to a road and is able to ride freely. This dream works as a metaphor for Taylor's coming of age and her growing understanding of her ability to operate in a world that has largely been foreign to her understanding. Taylor's self-awareness and her uncompromising cataloging of her struggles to understand others and to be in the world make her a likeable character. She is bright and her time in France allows her to stray into the existential on her journey. It's fun to go with her. The author's website has a lot of information about Canadian Children's and YA literature. It's also worth a look. Michael L. Printz Honor 2013
BETA
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
COHN, RACHEL
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
May 03, 2013
Datisman, Eve
For the super-rich, the good life doesn't get much better than the lush island haven of Demesne. Its bioengineered ocean "ripples in patented violet crests" and melts off those unwanted pounds with a single dip. The oxygen-enriched air makes breathing a luxurious pleasure, "like having warm honey trickling sweetly down your throat." And to top it all off, there's a staff of human clones to cater to every need. What's not to like? Even Elysia, a new, experimental teenage clone, thinks she's in paradise -- at first. Purchased as a surrogate daughter for the governor's wife, Elysia lives a privileged life, eating with the family, swimming in their pool, hanging out with their eighteen-year-old son and his friends. But as she navigates her way through life as a teenager and a clone, Elysia mulls over why words like insurrection aren't in her language database. She also worries she may be a Defect when she discovers that, unlike other clones, she has a sense of taste and -- even more troubling -- memories. Cohn often raises questions that take us to the edge of what his happeing in the lab and requires us to face the ethical questions that accompany technological and biological advances. It's a question of We can, but should we? And at what cost.
AMAZING OLYMPIC RECORDS
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
HOBLIN, PAUL
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 03, 2013
Kline, Karen
This brief four chapter book on the Olympics gives readers a bit of information about Olympic sports history, "amazing" Olympians, most-inspiring Olympians, and "other amazing" Olympic records.  Why couldn't the "amazing" Olympians and "other amazing" Olympic records chapters be combined?  Confusing design and layout issues like this limit the success of this book.  The unfortunate timing of the murder controversy surrounding double-amputee Olympian, Oscar Pistorius, makes the inclusion of him in the "most-inspiring" Olympians questionable and dates the book in its infancy.  On most double page layouts a page of text opposes a large photograph supporting the text, but not consistently.  On some spreads the text page and photo opposite the text are unrelated.  This inconsistency leaves the reader searching the nearby sidebars for text to support the photos.  Including photo captions would have eliminated this confusion.  The book includes interesting examples of Olympic history and trivia that readers will enjoy.  For instance, we learn about speed skater Dan Jansen competing on the day he hears of his sister's death, and how he lost his concentration and fell only to come back six years later and win gold.  With fifty-one Olympians mentioned in the book and listed in its index, this book packs a lot of Olympian biographical information into a small package, and that will bring value to most collections that need more on this topic.  The Amazing Sports Records series includes the following titles:  Amazing Auto Racing Records, Amazing Baseball Records, Amazing Basketball records, Amazing Football Records, and Amazing Hockey Records.
BANNED BOOKS
CORE LIBRARY [ABDO]
LUSTED, MARCIA AMIDON
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 03, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
Part of the Hot Topics in Media series, this nonficiton title explains the history of and issues behind the banning of books. The book begins with the Island Trees High School's banning of books in 1976 which led to the Supreme Court case, and continues on into more recent issues such as Harry Potter, censorship in the digital age, and the ongoing efforts of ALA to combat the banning of books in libraries. Each of the five chapters are about five pages long and include pictures, as well as occasional graphs or maps. Each chapter also includes activities to encourage research and critical thinking skills. While the book overall is well done and presents information well to young readers, the book does not put key terms in bold, and the glossary at the end contains only 10 words in a book full of new vocabulary words. Some of the words are also quite lenghthy or a challenge to read, so the reading level is difficult to pin point.
BARACK OBAMA : 44TH U.S. PRESIDENT
LOOKING GLASS LIBRARY [ABDO]
STERGULZ, RICHARD
STERGULZ, RICHARD
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Our 44th President, Barack Obama, is the topic of this 32 page book in the "Beginner Biographies" series. The book follows the life of the president from birth through his re-election as President in 2012. Readers will learn about his mother and father, as well as, his wife and daughters. The book describes his major accomplishments: Senator, Harvard Law Review, community organizing. While the text is well-written, the illustrations are poor and will not appeal to readers. The book contains a table of contents, index, glossary, and timeline. With the president's life still unfolding, the low quality illustrations, and the high cost, this book is an additional purchase at best.
BIKING
BUDDY BOOKS [ABDO]
TIECK, SARAH
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Although the focus of this 32 page book is biking, it emphasizes the health and fitness aspect of the activity. The book covers the equipment, clothing, and safety. It also explores heart rate, muscles, and food. This is a well-written introduction for this level of student. The book contains a table of contents, index, and glossary. Web resources will be found on the publisher's website. The book is part of the "Move Your Body: A Kid's Guide to Fitness" series. A strong additional purchase if you are updating your lifelong sports/activities.
BLAKE SHELTON : COUNTRY MUSIC STAR
BUDDY BOOKS [ABDO]
TIECK, SARAH
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Big Buddy Books: Buddy Bio" series, this 32 page book takes a brief look at country music sensation, Blake Shelton. Readers will learn about his family, his songs and albums, and his work on the TV show "The Voice". Captioned color photographs will engage readers. The book has enough information for a student to use when working on a biography project. As Shelton continues to work, his life will evolve making this a secondary purchase. Buy if there is a need. The book includes a table of contents, index, glossary, and summary of basic facts. Web resources are found on the publisher's site.
CANADA
ESSENTIAL LIBRARY [ABDO]
KENNEY, KAREN LATCHANA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Counties of the World" series, this 144 page book focuses on our neighbor to the north, Canada. The book covers topics one would expect in a country book: history, geography, culture, government, economy, and environment. The text is current and well-written. Color photographs and maps enhance the text. Sidebars include more detailed information on some topics. The book includes a table of contents, index, glossary, source notes, bibliography, and timeline. Purchase to update your Canada section.
CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING
SPOTLIGHT [ABDO]
SCHULZ, CHARLES M
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 03, 2013
Kline, Karen
What's Charlie Brown to do when Peppermint Patty invites herself and a crew of friends to eat at Charlie Brown's house for Thanksgiving dinner?  Why put Snoopy in charge of the meal, of course!  We all know the story by heart, so fall in love with Peanuts and the gang all over again in this familiar book based on the tv special.  The art is pure Schultz, the book is nice and big for sharing, and the story stays true to the video with dialogue lifted directly from the tv program and a bit of narrative to fill in the gaps.   The print font is a wee bit on the small size (unlike that of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, see review in this month's issue), but it won't deter fans.  Reinforced binding and sturdy cover make this a winner for most libraries.
CHEEKY CHINCHILLAS
SANDCASTLE [ABDO]
DOUDNA, KELLY
NOBENS, C.A.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 03, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
This is part of ABDO's Sandcastle Unusual Pets series intended for transitional readers. The first page on each of these is the same somewhat defining what makes a pet unusual--interest, fun, unusual eater, special care needs, and perhaps special lawas, all of which should be researched before bringing one home. Next comes one page of Chinchilla Basics --type of animal, weight, life expectancy and habitat. The next four double-page spreads have a large, clear photo and a short sentence or two about the unique features of this animal--soft fur, teeth that need constant gnawing, and though friendly they need places to hide. The fictional chinchilla story that follows has longer and rhyming text about Willa who gets chinchilla Vanilla from an animal shelter. Concluding the book are one page each of Fun Facts (4), a Chinchilla Quiz related to the fiction and nonfiction parts, and a 5-word glossary. This is not noteworthy fare, but may be appreciated by the intended reader, though usually Doudna can be counted on for more. It's an odd combination of fiction and nonfiction, which is better kept separate. Also, there is one mention of "Nick" seeminly holding a chinchilla in a photo, though it seems out of the blue. Finally, children will not know what "cheeky" means, and it is not referred to in the book. This is much too simple for a read-aloud. Others in the series include Bashful Ball Pythons, Hilarious Hedgehogs, Magnificent Macaws, Tricky Tarantulas, and Portly Potbellied Pigs (see review under author Alex Kuskowski).
COLOMBIA
ESSENTIAL LIBRARY [ABDO]
HAND, CAROL
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Colombia is the topic of this 144 page book, part of the "Countries of the World" series. The book is well-written and describes Colombia's geography, history, culture, economics, government, and environment. The book also explains this South American country's formation and cycles of violence. Color photographs and maps are found throughout the book and will draw readers in. A great book for country research. The book contains a table of contents, index, glossary, bibliography, and source notes. Purchase if you are updating your country books!
CONSTRUIR UNA CARRETERA
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
SUTTON, SALLY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 03, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
This Spanish translation of the board book Roadworks offers bright, clear illustrations of the work that goes into building a road. The translated rhyme is ok-- many of the rhymes are near rhymes and require readers to mispronounce words to make them work. The first line on each page is forced, for example "You take a break, a break you take", but the noises that follow the three lines of text are fun and well translated. Young readers who love books about construction will love repeating the noises over and over.
ELEANOR ROOSEVELT : FIRST LADY AND CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST
LOOKING GLASS LIBRARY [ABDO]
SPRUNGER, REED
SPRUNGER, REED
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
This 32 page book is part of the "Beginner Biographies" series. The life of Eleanor Roosevelt is told in brief, highlighting the major parts of her life. Soft, color illustrations enhance the descriptive text (the illustrations are much better done than the book on Obama in the same series). The reader will learn about Eleanor's childhood, how she met Franklin Roosevelt, her initiatives women's voting, worker rights, and schools. It also tells of her support of Marian Anderson and her work in the United Nations. Perfect for students working on biographical research but needing a more accessible text. The book includes a The book contains a table of contents, index, glossary, and timeline.
GIBBONS
BUDDY BOOKS [ABDO]
MURRAY, JULIE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 03, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
See review of Sloth Bears by same author. This small, interesting ape can swing through trees up to 35 mph!
GREEN KID'S GUIDE TO WATERING PLANTS
LOOKING GLASS LIBRARY [ABDO]
ZARRIN, LAURA
ZARRIN, LAURA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "A Green Kids's Guide to Gardening!" series, this 24 page book focuses on watering plants to create a green garden. Students learn about soaker hoses, how to group plants to reduce evaporation, how to tell if the soil needs water, and how to collect rainwater. The book also contains an activity which is growing seedlings. The text is descriptive and concise. Color illustrations will satisfy the 2nd-3rd grade audience. The book could be used with K and 1st grade classes if the teacher reads the text. The book contains a table of contents, index, and 5 word glossary. Web resources are provided through the publisher.
GRIZZLY BEARS
CHECKERBOARD [ABDO]
LLANAS, SHEILA GRIFFIN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
The reader will gain a great deal of information about grizzlies by reading this 32 page book, part of the "Animal Icons" series. The habitat, food, life cycle, habit, and relationship to humans is covered in the nicely written text. My only criticism of the text is the acroynm "IUCN" is not spelled out in the text the first time its used, which forces the reader to look in the glossary. Color, captioned photographs add to the reader's experience. The book will work for students conducting animal research. The book contains a table of contents, index, and glossary. Web resources are found through the publisher's website. Buy if you have a need.
HELEN KELLER : COURAGEOUS LEARNER AND LEADER
LOOKING GLASS LIBRARY [ABDO]
STERGULZ, RICHARD
STERGULZ, RICHARD
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
This 32 page book is part of the "Beginner Biographies" series. The life of Helen Keller is told in brief, highlighting the major parts of her amazing life. Soft, color illustrations enhance the descriptive text (the illustrations are much better done than the book on Obama in the same series). The reader will learn how Anne Sullivan worked with Keller and all of the things Keller accomplished in her life. Perfect for students working on biographical research but needing a more accessible text. The book includes a The book contains a table of contents, index, glossary, and timeline.
HILLARY CLINTON
Childrens Press [SCHOLASTIC]
DOAK, ROBIN S
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "A True Book" series, this 48 page book describes the life of former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. The book contains information about her early life, marriage, daughter, time as First Lady, and service as a Senator and Secretary of State. The text is well-written and is accompanied with color photographs. The layout of the pages will appeal to readers and this book will be helpful in biographical research. Because there is more to the Clinton story yet to come, this must be an additional purchase. The book includes a table of contents, glossary, index, statistics, focus questions, and author information.
ISRAEL
ESSENTIAL LIBRARY [ABDO]
OWINGS, LISA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
The Middle Eastern nation of Israel is described in detail in this 144 page book, part of the "Countries of the World" series. The book covers Israel's geography, environment, government, culture, history,and economics. Color photographs reflect the well-written and balanced text. The book covers the religious differences in the region and hopes for the future. The book contains a table of contents, index, glossary, bibliography, and source notes. Perfect for country research. Purchase if you are updating your country books!
IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN
SPOTLIGHT [ABDO]
SCHULZ, CHARLES M
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 03, 2013
Kline, Karen
From Violet's party invitation to Lucy accidentally touching lips with Snoopy, fans will recognize all of the famous scenes from the beloved, classic movie in this book.  Not all scenes are represented here, and some will miss seeing Snoopy sneaking through the pumpkin patch like the WW II flying ace crawling through enemy territory.  One small error in the text and supporting illustration shows Lucy and Snoopy talking to Linus, but says, "Just then, Lucy and Peppermint Patty appeared."  The book is almost oversized making it perfect for classroom read alouds and sharing, as the illustrations bleed out to the gutters of this 10.5" x 10.5" edition.  The reinforced binding and sturdy cover will assure the many circulations this book will get from Schulz fans.
JEFF GORDON
SPORTSZONE [ABDO]
SCHEFF, MATT
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
This is a short, 32 page, biography of NASCAR star Jeff Gordon. The book is part of the "NASCAR Heroes" series. The book opens with a "bump and win" strategy Gordon used in a 2002 race then follows his life from birth to 2011. Gordan began racing at age 5 and has won many titles, although lately he is a car team owner and his victories are diminishing. The book mentions that he was not well liked by fans during his career. The book is well-written and has appealing color photographs. This book will appeal to young race car fans. Included in the book is a table of contents, index, glossary, and timeline.
MAISY GROWS A GARDEN
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
COUSINS, LUCY
REYNOLDS, PETER H.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 03, 2013
Kline, Karen
Maisy and Panda take young readers through the cycle of a gardening growth cycle.  This pop-up book reinforces all the action that happens along with the gardening tasks -- raking reveals a worm, water drops fall from the watering can, and seedlings pop up through the dirt.  Sidebars on each page highlight and label each phase of the cycle and the tools, organisms and plants mentioned in the text or duplicated in the supporting illustration.   A small quibble with the final page that reads, "Panda's sunflowers have grown very tall," but two of the three pop-up flowers are red and pink (some new genetically modified sunflowers, perhaps?).  Fans of Maisy will enjoy this pop-up.  Educators will appreciate the curriculum connections to life cycles and plants. The binding and pop-up format make this an additional purchase for libraries, though.
MAISY LEARNS TO SWIM
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
COUSINS, LUCY
QUALLS, SEAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 03, 2013
Kline, Karen
Grab your swimsuit and goggles!  It's time for a swim lesson.  Maisy and her friends, Tallulah and the rest are splishing and splashing.  At first the water is chilly, but soon they all warm up to it.  Maisy even tries blowing bubbles underwater after floating like a starfish.  The group shower scene will be familiar to young readers who have gone to a public swimming pool.  The book concludes with everyone scarfing down a snack and looking forward to their next swim outing.  This will be a great book to introduce kids to the routines of swimming, and it will make a splash with Maisy fans.  
KNIGHTS
CORE LIBRARY [ABDO]
FORAN, RACQUEL
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the Core Library "Great Warriors" series, this 48 page book is well-written and contains information about the Knights. The book explains what life was like in the Middle Ages and how the job of knight developed. It tells of the decline of knight and knights today. A couple primary sources are displayed and the book contains both illustrations and photographs. Each chapter has questions and activities at the end to push the reader to find more information on the topic, but that gives it a text book feel. Which makes sense, since the book is designed to support Common Core State Standards. The book contains a table of contents, index, glossary, timeline, and bibliography. Web resources are found on the publisher's website. The book is interesting to read and will attract those readers who crave more information about knights.
MEDIEVAL MESS
GRAPHIC PLANET [ABDO]
EVANS, DUSTIN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 03, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
The first book in the Mystical Pencil series, this graphic novel introduces readers to Alex, who uses a pencil from his archaelogist father's backpack to draw a monster that comes to life. Adventure ensues as Alex must save his modern day town using Medieval people and items that he quickly draws with his magical pencil. Readers learn about the Medieval era and archaelogy in the 27 pages of plot, and there is a one page how to on drawing a knight at the end of the story. The binding will hold up well, and new readers will enjoy the book, though the simple plot will limit appeal, and at $19 a book, that is a problem.
MICHAEL PHELPS : THE GREATEST OLYMPIAN
BUDDY BOOKS [ABDO]
TIECK, SARAH
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Big Buddy Books: Buddy Bio" series, this 32 page book takes a brief look at Olympic swimming champion, Michael Phelps. Readers will learn about his family, his training, his drive and determination, and his swimming victories. Captioned color photographs will engage readers. Everything is written in a positive tone, readers will not learn of any troubles he has had. The book has enough information for a student to use when working on a biography project. As Phelps is retired, but still living, his life will evolve making this a secondary purchase. Buy if there is a need. The book includes a table of contents, index, glossary, and summary of basic facts. Web resources are found on the publisher's site.
MILLIONS, BILLIONS, & TRILLIONS : UNDERSTANDING BIG NUMBERS
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
ADLER, DAVID A
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
This 32 page picture books explores really big numbers! Starting with millions and continuing through trillions the reader learns how the number looks when written, how it compares to the pervious period, and how it compares to something students can relate to. "How many ice cream sundaes would one billion dollars buy?" You'll find out in this book. Colorful illustrations will engage readers. There is also mention of even larger numbers and the fact that the names for large numbers is not the same in some parts of the work. The book reminds me of "How Much is a Million" by Schwartz. A must for your math collection.
NORWAY
ESSENTIAL LIBRARY [ABDO]
HAND, CAROL
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
The Scandinavian nation of Norway is the topic of this 144 page book, part of the "Countries of the World" series. The book is well-written and describes Norway's geography, history, culture, economics, government, and environment. The book describes how Norway used oil money to help its economy, infrastructure, and social programs. Color photographs and maps are found throughout the book and will draw readers in. A great book for country research. The book contains a table of contents, index, glossary, bibliography, and source notes. Purchase if you are updating your Europe books!
POLAND
ESSENTIAL LIBRARY [ABDO]
ZUCHORA-WALSKE, CHRISTIN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
The European nation of Poland is described in this well-written 144 page book, part of the "Countries of the World" series. On the plains of North Central Europe, this nation has gone through many changes. This book captures the history, geography, culture, economics, government, and environment of the country. Color photographs with descriptive captions fit the understandable text. The book contains a table of contents, timeline, bibliography, source notes, fact reference section, and index. A strong purchase when updating your country books.
PORTLY POTBELLIED PIGS
SANDCASTLE [ABDO]
KUSKOWSKI, ALEX
NOBENS, C.A.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 03, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
See review of Cheeky Chinchillas by Kelly Doudna from the same Unusual Pets series by Sandcastle. This 24-page book includes references to child pet owners in the nonfiction text, but no children are depicted in the photos.
SCOOBY-DOO AND THE ALIENS OF AREA 49
SPOTLIGHT [ABDO]
RODRIGUEZ, DAVID
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 03, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
A hard bound Scooby-Doo comic, this one follows the usual gang of teen detectives as they solve two mysteries: one about aliens in "Area 49" and the other about a video game villian come to life and terrorizing a mall. The book includes a rather unnecessary table of contents, and is full of the colorful, bright cartoon illustrations one would expect. The book has no character introduction and it is clearly assumed that readers are familiar with the classic cartoon show. Fans will enjoy the book, though at $17 each, these books may not work for libraries on tight budgets.
SCOOBY-DOO IN READ ALL ABOUT IT!
SPOTLIGHT [ABDO]
KUPPERBERG, PAUL
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 03, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
A hard bound Scooby-Doo comic, this one follows the usual gang of teen detectives as they solve two mysteries: one about a UFO and another about a mummy. The book includes a rather unnecessary table of contents, and is full of the colorful, bright cartoon illustrations one would expect. The book has no character introduction and it is clearly assumed that readers are familiar with the classic cartoon show. Fans will enjoy the book, though at $17 each, these books may not work for libraries on tight budgets.
SCOOBY-DOO! AND THE FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER
SPOTLIGHT [ABDO]
GELSEY, JAMES
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
The gang visits a famous wax museum when a countess is getting her statue made. The countess has her valuable necklace stolen by a figure of Frankenstein! Who did it? The bodyguard, the wax statue maker, or the owner Madame Gespacho. The gang is going to figure it out. Of course Scooby and Shaggy get separated from the rest and hilarity ensues. A fun read for students venturing into chapter books and those fans of the cartoon show. 62 pages.
SCOOBY-DOO! AND THE GROOVY GHOST
SPOTLIGHT [ABDO]
GELSEY, JAMES
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
The gang is at the Palace Theater which may be closing to build a multi-plex theater. A benefit concert is disrupted when a ghost appears and kidnaps the star performer. Who is the ghost? The protesting kids, the stage manager, the investor, or the architect. Scooby is given 3 Scooby Snacks to serve as bait to catch the ghost, but the plan hilariously fails. They eventually capture the ghost and save the theater. A fun read for fans of the cartoon show.
SKATEBOARDING
BUDDY BOOKS [ABDO]
TIECK, SARAH
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Although the focus of this 32 page book is skateboarding, it emphasizes the health and fitness aspect of the activity instead of personalities. The book covers the equipment, clothing, and safety. It also explores heart rate, muscles, and food. This is a well-written introduction for this level of student. The book contains a table of contents, index, and glossary. Web resources will be found on the publisher's website. The book is part of the "Move Your Body: A Kid's Guide to Fitness" series. A strong additional purchase if you are updating your lifelong sports/activities.
SLOTH BEARS
BUDDY BOOKS [ABDO]
MURRAY, JULIE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 03, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
Written by a well known children's nonfiction author this is a title in the Asian Animals series by ABDO and one of its Big Buddy books. In 32 pages a decent amount of information is provided about the sloth bear. The series starts with the same double-page spread of text except inserting the photo of the specific animal that is only found in Asia. This series is good for text features with it headings, clear captions of white text on blue rounded rectangles, , map of the animals' territory, highlighted glossary words, and extra factoid boxes entitled "Uncovered". The book concludes with a page of unusual facts, the glossary, ABDO's web site and a respectable index. Within the table of contents will be many of the same chapter headings between books. Due to the nature of this creature some of the photos are a bit dark. This is thorough enough to be used for elementary student report research or shared as a read aloud. Others animals covered include giant pandas, komodo dragons, orangutans and tigers.
SPAIN
ESSENTIAL LIBRARY [ABDO]
LUSTED, MARCIA AMIDON
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Spain is the topic of this 144 page book, part of the "Countries of the World" series. The book is well-written and describes Spain's geography, history, culture, economics, government, and environment. The book explains the differences between's Spain's regions. Color photographs and maps are found throughout the book and will draw readers in. A great book for country research. The book contains a table of contents, index, glossary, bibliography, and source notes. Purchase if you are updating your country books!
STATES OF MATTER IN THE REAL WORLD
CORE LIBRARY [ABDO]
BAXTER, ROBERTA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Science in the Real World," this 48 page book describes and explains the 4 states of matter (solid, liquid, gas, and plasma). Much of the emphasis is on the major 3: solids, liquids, and gases. Each state is described in well-written and organized text. Primary source items are found in the book along with guiding questions to help the reader develop their understanding of matter. Color photographs fit the text and will engage the reader. The book includes a table of contents, glossary, index, bibliography, and author information. Readers are sent to the publisher's website for online resources. Buy as you upgrade your phyiscal science section.
SWIMMING
BUDDY BOOKS [ABDO]
TIECK, SARAH
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
This 32 page book explores swimming, emphasizing the health and fitness aspect of the activity instead of personalities. The book covers the strokes, kicks, safety, gear, stretching, and swimming as an aerobic activity. This is a well-written introduction for this level of student. The book contains a table of contents, index, and glossary. Web resources will be found on the publisher's website. The book is part of the "Move Your Body: A Kid's Guide to Fitness" series. A strong additional purchase if you are updating your lifelong sports/activities.
SWITZERLAND
ESSENTIAL LIBRARY [ABDO]
ROWELL, REBECCA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Switzerland is the topic of this 144 page book, part of the "Countries of the World" series. The book is well-written and describes Switzerland's geography, history, culture, economics, government, and environment. The book also explains why it has four languages, why it is a banking hub, and how it has remained neutral. Color photographs and maps are found throughout the book and will draw readers in. A great book for country research. The book contains a table of contents, index, glossary, bibliography, and source notes. Purchase if you are updating your country books!
TAILS CHASING TAILS
UNKNOWN [UNKNOWN]
PORTER, MATTHEW
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
May 03, 2013
Kline, Karen
A menagerie of animals is chasing each other throughout this predictable board book for preschoolers.  The head and torso of an elephant on the first page is followed by the hindquarters and tail of an orange striped animal with white feet.  What could it be?  Turn the page to see the head and torso of a tiger revealed.  "The tiger is chasing...a short, brown tail," and so it goes with a pig, fox, duck, dog, cat, mouse, and ending with a mysterious "dark, gray tail" that completes the elephant from the first page.  The last page repeats all the animals in order with two contrasting color blocks in the background of each simulating the split body art from the previous pages.  The art has simple, recognizable lines and each animal has large almond-shaped eyes bringing an Asian quality to the art.  A fun and interactive book for pre-readers and a solid choice for libraries serving preK with board books.
TEDDY BEAR PATTERNS
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
MCGRATH, BARBARA BARBIER
EVANS, LESLIE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 03, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
Full of small, colorful plastic bears, this book aims to teach young readers about mathematical patterns. Once the concept of patterns is established, readers learn other concepts such as addition and counting through the use of bears in patterns. Each page contains four lines of rhyming text and the pages are full of colorful bear illustrations. While the book claims it can be used alone or with the actual plastic bear classroom manipulatives, the book is more interesting and meaningful if used with the math toys. Ideal in a math classroom, this book is better suited for a school library rather than a public library, but it will work in both.
TONY STEWART
SPORTSZONE [ABDO]
SCHEFF, MATT
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
This is a short, 32 page, biography of NASCAR star Tony Stewart. The book is part of the "NASCAR Heroes" series. Stewart began racing at age 7 in go-karts and worked his way up to NASCAR. The book is well-written and has appealing color photographs. This book will appeal to young race car fans. Included in the book is a table of contents, index, glossary, and timeline.
VIKINGS
CORE LIBRARY [ABDO]
GITLIN, MARTIN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the Core Library "Great Warriors" series, this 48 page book is well-written and contains information about the Vikings. The book opens with a description of a 793AD raid and goes on to explain their ships, weapons, and relations with other cultures. It also explains why and how they explored. A couple primary sources are displayed and the book contains both illustrations and photographs. Each chapter has questions and activities at the end to push the reader to find more information on the topic, but that gives it a text book feel. Which makes sense, since the book is designed to support Common Core State Standards. The book contains a table of contents, index, glossary, timeline, and bibliography. Web resources are found on the publisher's website.
WHAT IN THE WORLD IS A CENTIMETER? : AND OTHER METRIC MEASUR
SANDCASTLE [ABDO]
BUSSIERE, DESIREE
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
This mini-book (6.5" x 7.5") is part of the Sandcastle Level 2 "Let's Measure More" series. Each two page spread contains 2 sentences about a particular unit of metric measure and 1 sentence using the unit in a practicle way. Units covered include: gram, milligram, kilogram, liter, milliliter, meter, centimeter, and kilometer. Color photographs do not give the reader any sense of the measurement. For meter, no example is shown, only a child ready to dive into a pool and swim 50 meters. The book also has a table of contents, fun facts, a quiz, and glossary. If one wants a book to teach metric measurement, this will disappoint.
WHAT IN THE WORLD IS A MILE? AND OTHER DISTANCE MEASUREMENTS
SANDCASTLE [ABDO]
BUSSIERE, DESIREE
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
This mini-book (6.5" x 7.5") is part of the Sandcastle Level 2 "Let's Measure More" series. Each two page spread contains 2 sentences about a particular unit of measure and 1 sentence using the unit in a practicle way. Distances covered include: inch, foot, yard, mile, light-year, furlong, league, and miles per hour. Photographs try to show the measurement. While inches works well, the other units of measurement are not portrayed as well. The book also has a table of contents, fun facts, a quiz, and glossary. Will not work for large group sharing, but will work one-on-one. 24 pages
TEA TIME WITH SOPHIA GRACE AND ROSIE
ORCHARD BOOKS [ORCHARD BOOKS]
BROWNLEE, SOPHIA GRACE
MCNICHOLAS, SHELAGH
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 03, 2013
Kline, Karen
This book represents all the things that so many little girls love to read about, hence its bestseller status.  It's got tiaras, wands, fairies, and, of course, PINK.  Unfortunately, it also represents the type of literature that is dumbing down our students' pool of offerings in libraries that choose to buy it.  This is such a marginal purchase given the other great books in the marketplace.  The two fluffy tutued protagonists decide to have a tea party and the big problems they have to solve are finding a venue, a party theme, how to transform their room into a princess castle, and deciding who to invite to the party.  Both girls continue to remark that the party guest they plan to invite will love fairies, sweets, pink, etc. as much as they do.  The cousins gush throughout the story until the climactic scene where they each sneak a note under the other's pillow to invite her to pink festivities.  During the final scene they both agree how glad they are that it's just the two of them at the tea party.  (This reader couldn't help wondering if these girls have driven away all friends that might consider playing with them or that would attend!)  The art is the best thing about this marginal book.  The details are charming right down to the shimmering fairy dust.
HOOP GENIUS
CAROLRHODA [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
COY, JOHN
MORSE, JOE
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 03, 2013
Kline, Karen
A boisterous crew of gym students has run off two teachers and it's only December.  In steps the future father of basketball, James Naismtih.  He tries to find something fun for the class to do, since they are bored with the typical kinesthetics.  He tries indoor football, indoor soccer, and even lacrosse, but the boys are too rough.  Out of desperation he invents a new game that incorporates some of the the aspects of a game he loved as a child called Duck on a Rock that included using stones to throw at and topple off other stones requiring accuracy over strength.  Readers learn that Naismith had originally thought to make the goals of the game out of square boxes, but the building custodian only had two peach baskets to offer for goals.  The original basketball rules that Naismith typed up and tacked to the gym wall are reprinted in the inside covers of the book adding authenticity and an example of primary research documents to this well-researched book.  The first game was full of fouls and only one player made a basket, but the boys were captivated by the game and wanted to keep playing the next day.  The book mentions the first group of women who played the game under Naismith's supervision, and how one woman was as vociferous as any man when she was fouled and how one of them eventually became his wife.  The illustrations are a worthy contribution to the book providing captivating facial expressions and slightly exaggerated body parts and movements.  The art depicts mustachioed students with the occasional bandage and slicked back hair adding details that help readers visualize what a rowdy group Naismith had to contend with.  An author's note about his research and a bibliography add one page of additional information at the end.  An exciting picture book to add to nonfiction collections everywhere.
MIRACLE MUD : LENA BLACKBURNE AND THE SECRET MUD THAT CHANGE
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
KELLY, DAVID A
DOMINGUEZ, OLIVER
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 03, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
Lena Blackburne started playing professional baseball in 1910. His dream to be a great baseball player was limited by his skills. So when playing baseball was over for him he became a coach and aware of the problem umpires and players had with new baseballs. Because they were too shiny and slick, they were soaked in water, spit on, or polished black, none of which had a desirable result. When home in New Jersey, he slootched through some gooey mud that gave him the idea to use it on baseballs. This became his secret formula that is still used to this day, and is the only substance allowed on major league baseballs. The two-page detailed author's note that concludes this interesting account provides much more detail on the man and his product that did make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Oliver Dominguez's warm illustrations capture the feel of the times and the sport. This is a well-written piece of narrative nonfiction that will appeal to some students and can work as a read-aloud. Lerner provides a free download of additional educational resources on this book on their website.
MATCHBOX DIARY
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
FLEISCHMAN, PAUL
IBATOULLINE, BAGRAM
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 03, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
As expected Paul Fleischman turns in another stellar contribution to children's literature. This picture book recounts a young girl's first meeting with her great-grandfather when she learns of his life through the stories told by the artifacts in individual matchboxes he used to document his early life. As each matchbox is opened he shares the memory it invokes starting with an olive pit from his poor childhood home in Italy where his mother would have him suck on one to help stave off hunger. The reader follows his journey from Italy to Ellis Island where the family rejoins his father in the early 1900s to their multiple moves following seasonal work. When his father settles into a permanent job, it finally becomes possible for this boy to get an education and satisfy that yearning to read and write. This continues into a steady career where words, printing and books become his lifelong livelihood and passion. Bagram Ibatoulline's warm acrylic gouache illustrations perfectly compliment the text with color for the present and sepia tones contrasting the past. The detail of each matchbox is a treasure to figure out and be appreciated by the young readers. This is a wonderful piece of historical fiction as well as a warm intergenerational family story that all ages can enjoy. Told completely through dialogue, the only difficulty is that there is no attribtution as to who is speaking. This may have proven more difficult for the person reading aloud than for the listener.
MONKEY AND ELEPHANT GET BETTER
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
SCHAEFER, CAROLE LEXA
BERNSTEIN, GALIA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 03, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
Local Washington author Carole Lexa Schaefer has written another Monkey and Elephant book again in the form of a beginning reader. In three chapters totaling 42 pages the two friends start out quibbling because Elephant is copying Monkey. Monkey points out that they are different, so when Elephant and later Monkey get sick each tends to the other. They surprise each other in how they have different needs and ways of getting well, but ultimately the caring works. This story of friendship is enhanced by the pleasant digital illustrations that capture the characters in unusual colors--turquoise elephant, plum colored monkey, and purple trees.
KING OF SPACE
TEMPLAR [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
DUDDLE, JONNY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 03, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
Kids will love this book, but adults may have some issues with it. Rex, who is a kid, aspires to be the king of space, and actually achieves that title with his self-coronation. Rex lives on a moog farm on a small moon in the Gamma Quadrant with indulgent and oblivious parents, who still make him tend the moogs and clean his room. Where all of the other creatures, who don't look human as Rex does aspire to do good deeds when they grow up, Rex creates warbots that crush all of the other students' creations. When he kidnaps Emperor Bob's daughter, whom he has a crush on, to show he is the king of space, even with his dung-blasters and army of warbots he gets in over his head. He has to come clean with the parents he's lied to and ask his mom to step in for him and make everything right. The violence, many references to dung, and the lying may give some adults pause or can be used for discussion. This action packed sci fi picture book with its many intriguing, detailed digital illustrations will be a hit and always checked out. One major fold out could be problematic for longevity, but is worth it for the drama of the scene. Another good title from Candlewick Press though better binding than the glossy cardboard cover with dust jacket would be recommended.
JEMMY BUTTON
TEMPLAR [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
UMAN, JENNIFER
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 03, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
Though the reader doesn't learn that this odd narrative is based on a true story until the end that's still not enough to give it kid appeal. This story begins with the words, "Once long ago, on a faraway island, there was a boy." This boy, who is depicted without clothes, was curious about what lay on the other side of the ocean. He gets the opportunity to find out when a boat with visitors invite him alone to come visit their world and taste their language. For the price of a button made from a wonderful pearl, the boy is hence named Jemmy Button. He tastes the lives of these silhouetted frock-coated Europeans, but eventually returns to his true home. The last page explains that this boy was selected by the captain of the HMS Beagle to be educated in Christianity and upper-class Victorian England's customs where he was something of a celebrity. It is a simply told story that escapes the full understanding of the primary audience. An author's note at the beginning might have been helpful. The thick paper and sturdy cover along with the gouache, oil paintings and collage by Jennifer Uman and Valerio Vidali all add to the unusualness of this production. This is a result of a 2-year online collaboration between the illustrators who did not speak each other's language, English and Italian respectively. Words are by Alix Barzelay.
PAUL THURLBY'S WILDLIFE
TEMPLAR [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
THURLBY, PAUL
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 03, 2013
Kline, Karen
Why do animals look the way they look and do the things they do?  This book will engage young readers with non-fiction information that our common core is demanding at younger ages.  The digitally-created art in this book is distinctive.  The illustrations have a weathered and folded-paper, grainy texture to them reminiscent of colored newsprint.  The book is useful for emergent readers in that each page has a headline embedded in the art to peak interest like, "Let your true colors shine through," and a caption below explaining an interesting factoid about the animal pictured.  In this case, "Sunlight gives goldfish their orange pigment," explains the wacky picture of an orange goldfish sunbathing complete with sunglasses and a starfish tan line and the guilty seastar scurrying away.  The animals' names are bolded in the text for further support to new readers.  Many, but not all, of the art headlines are idioms like, "Keep an eye out," and "Turn a blind eye," that will give children experience with these phrases in a simple context.  The flip side of the dust jacket is a promotional poster for the book.  A solid choice for all elementary collections.
PUFFIN PETER
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
HORACEK, PETR
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 03, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
Originally from Czechoslovakia, this author produced Suzy Goose. In this book he creates best friends puffins Peter and Paul. Their happy times are interrupted when Paul is lost during a big storm and blown far out to sea. Peter goes in search of his friend with the help of a whale. When trying to explain to the whale what Paul is like, Peter uses increasingly specific adjectives, but without the desired result. "Funny and noisy" lead them to parrots. "Funny, noisy, and black and white" lead them to penguins. When Peter has virtually lost hope they drift to a far away island where they find Paul. Ultimately he just needed to tell the whale he was just like him, a puffin, and the story could have ended much sooner. Though not an original story, this will be fresh for the intended audience and great for sharing with its bright, bold mixed media illustrations.
CHESTER'S COLORFUL EASTER EGGS
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [MACMILLAN]
SMYTHE, THERESA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
May 03, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
A board book with bright, sweet collage illustrations, this book tells the story of Chester, a bunny who colors and hides Easter Eggs for his other animal friends. Each colored egg gets its own page, teaching young children the colors of the rainbow. The story is brief and simple, which is appropriate for the format.
TWO SHY PANDAS
ANDERSEN PRESS USA [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
JARMAN, JULIA
VARLEY, SUSAN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 03, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
This is a simple story about two lonely pandas who live next door to each other, but are too shy to make the first move to meet. When the first snow falls their worry about not seeing the other makes them brave enough to run next door to check. After literally running into each other they become the best of friends, do everything together and vow it's forever. This is a very sweet story about friendship with rhyming text. Susan Varley's darling watercolor illustrations will appeal to the younger audience withthe expressions on cute Pandora with the flower in her hair and her new found friend Panda.
BAD KITTY SCHOOL DAZE
ROARING BROOK PRESS [MACMILLAN]
BRUEL, NICK
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 03, 2013
Kline, Karen
No more scaring the baby! Bad Kitty is off to obedience school with Puppy. Seven short chapters take this duo through the rigors of Diabla Von Gloom's School for Wayward Pets. Miss Diabla, or Miss Dee for short, is determined to teach Bad Kitty some manners. If Circle Time won't do it, surely Arts and Crafts will. Bad Kitty is surrounded by a bevy of critters with issues, though. There's the bunny with an identity crisis calling himself Dr. Lagomorph, the diabolical supervillain, and the English bulldog, Petunia, who declares a hatred for cats and mistakes Bad Kitty for a cow. The wacky, snarky hijinx will reward fans of the series with all the sarcasm they have come to expect from Bruel in this very illustrated chapter book that pokes fun at the hallowed halls of schools everywhere. Harmless fluff. Expect high demand from the target audience.
WIND TURBINE SERVICES TECHNICIAN
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
MARA, WIL
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 03, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Cool Stem Careers" series, this 32 page book describes the job of Wind Turbine Services Technician or Wind Tech. The well-written and understandable text describes the qualification and schooling preferred to obtain a job in this field, the tools and equipment needed, and the tasks involved in completing this job. Color photographs reflect the text and draw readers in. The book contains a table of contents, index, glossary, bibliography, author information, and a page with short sketches on three pioneers in wind turbine technology. This would be a strong addition for your career section expecially since it is a relatively new position.
Aaron Rodgers
UNKNOWN PUBLISHER [UNKNOWN PUBLISHER]
Savage, Jeff
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 04, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Amazing Athletes" series, this 32 page book explores the life of star quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The book opens with a chapter recounting his heroic performance in the 2011 Super Bowl. It then goes back to his birth in California and his play in high school, junior college, and university. The book ends with his play in Green Bay and ends in 2011 with his Super Bowl win. The easy to understand text is accompanied with color photographs. The book contains table of contents, glossary, index, and timeline of football accomplishments. While this book will appeal to the football fan, it will be soon out of date as Rodgers career continues. Make this an additional purchase.
Black Beauty and the Thunderstorm
UNKNOWN PUBLISHER [UNKNOWN PUBLISHER]
HILL, SUSAN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 04, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
See review for Molly the Pony by Pam Kaster in same My Readers series and is also Level 3 for the independent, fluent reader. This title fits the "classic" part of the series. Another new adventure about this horse can be found in Black Beauty Stolen! This story gives a quick synoposis of Black Beauty's life before coming to live in the city with cabbie Jim and his loving family. In a thunderstorm the horse now named Jack breaks free of the stable to track down the child Dolly, who's fallen in a river saving her cat. This is told from the horse's first "person" point of view. The five chapters have dark illustration that fit the original classic.
Coal Miner
UNKNOWN PUBLISHER [UNKNOWN PUBLISHER]
GORDON, NICK
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 04, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Torque: Dangerous Jobs" series, this 24 page book describes the hazards associated with being a coal miner. A cave-in is described in the first of three short chapters, followed by information on the job and finally the hazards, including black lung. The text is understandable, engaging, and will dissuade readers from going into this job. Color photographs will also attract readers. The book has a table of contents, index, and glossary. Web resources are found on the publisher's webpage for this book.
Every you, Every Me
UNKNOWN PUBLISHER [UNKNOWN PUBLISHER]
LEVITHAN, DAVID
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
May 04, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Every You, Every Me is a collaboration sixth Levithan's friend Jonathan Farmer. Farmer would give him a photo and Levithan would write part of the novel incorporating the picture. Farmer didn't see what Levithan was writing until there first draft was finished. High-schooler Evan blames himself for the breakdown of his close friend Ariel. When a mysterious photographer strategically plants pictures of him and his missing best friend Ariel where he will find them, Evan starts to unravel with paranoia, guilt and grief. He enlists Jack, his close friend and Ariel's former boyfriend, to help find out who's sending the photographs and why they're being stalked. Readers will immediately recognize Levithan's familiar writing style, characterizations and themes: his cadences and wordplay, the complex connections between characters, the stream-of-conscious inner dialogues. What they won't recognize is the messy, stilted, stop-and-go plotting characterized by Evan's jumbled thoughts--some of which he decides he wants to express, while others are crossed out. We see Evan's thoughts are not coherent which allows the suspense to build. The photos are haunting and enhance the characters' emotional state. The conclusion seems rushed.
Falling for Henry
UNKNOWN PUBLISHER [UNKNOWN PUBLISHER]
BRENNA, BEVERLEY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
May 04, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Orphaned and abruptly transplanted to London, Kate drifts about in a funk, living with her older sister and not fitting in at school. Wandering off on a field trip, she encounters an eerie sense of another, much earlier world. Who are these elaborately dressed characters deer hunting on horseback? Kate has not stumbled onto a movie set, but rather the gateway to a Tudor-era time-travel adventure. After a few more transitions, she is living at the court of Henry VII as the young Spanish princess Katherine (based on Catherine of Aragon), and catching the eye of the dashing prince who will become Henry VIII. Katherine works hard to understand the peculiarities of the sixteenth century’s court, gender roles, and high-stakes royal politics. The research is good in the book but the characterization is wobbly. Sometimes it’s hard to tell who is Kate and who is Katherine of Aragon. Ambitious idea; needs a re-write and a more attentive editor.
Genesis Alpha
UNKNOWN PUBLISHER [UNKNOWN PUBLISHER]
MICHAELS, RUNE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
May 04, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Josh worships his older brother, Max. They look alike, they talk alike, and they both have the same interests, including their favorite massively multiplayer online role-playing game, Genesis Alpha. But Josh and Max have an even deeper connection. Because Josh was born for a reason. It was Josh's stem cells, harvested when Josh was newly born, that saved his dying older brother's life. Now that same beloved older brother is arrested, accused of the brutal murder of a teenage girl. Josh is bewildered. Is Max really a monster, or is all of this a terrible mistake? And if the worst is true and Max is guilty, does that mean Josh is guilty too? After all, Max wouldn't exist without him. But this is only the beginning. Before long, Josh will come to a number of searing revelations -- revelations that have dire implications not only for Max's future, but for Josh's as well. Michaels once again asks the reader to consider science, family, and morality.
I Pledge Allegiance / (Vietnam, #1)
UNKNOWN PUBLISHER [UNKNOWN PUBLISHER]
LYNCH, CHRIS
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
May 04, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Josh worships his older brother, Max. They look alike, they talk alike, and they both have the same interests, including their favorite massively multiplayer online role-playing game, Genesis Alpha. But Josh and Max have an even deeper connection. Because Josh was born for a reason. It was Josh's stem cells, harvested when Josh was newly born, that saved his dying older brother's life. Now that same beloved older brother is arrested, accused of the brutal murder of a teenage girl. Josh is bewildered. Is Max really a monster, or is all of this a terrible mistake? And if the worst is true and Max is guilty, does that mean Josh is guilty too? After all, Max wouldn't exist without him. But this is only the beginning. Before long, Josh will come to a number of searing revelations -- revelations that have dire implications not only for Max's future, but for Josh's as well. Michaels once again asks the reader to consider science, family, and morality.
Ice Dancing
UNKNOWN PUBLISHER [UNKNOWN PUBLISHER]
CLAYBOURNE, ANNA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 04, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "On the Radar Series," this 32 page book will excite the ice skating enthusiast. The book contains information on ice dancing athletes, the moves, lingo, and competition. The layout is varied and inviting. Color photographs enhance the text. The book includes a table of contents, index, and bibliography. Buy to add to your winter sports section!
Kingfisher First Thesaurus
UNKNOWN PUBLISHER [UNKNOWN PUBLISHER]
Beal, George
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 04, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
A first thesaurus for young readers, this reference book begins with an introduction explaining what a thesaurus is, why we use them, and how to use them. The introduction is helpful and interesting, but is unfortunately the best part of the book. After that, the book is a confusing layout that is guaranteed to frustrate students new to the world of thesaurus use. Most words listed are listed as "see _____", and as a result, only one or two words per page actually include a definition, list of synonyms, and one antonym. These few key words are shown with arrows leading to their list of synonyms, creating a messy look that is hard to follow. The book then also includes special sections throughout, focusing on topics such as community members and animals, with answers at the back of the book. Readers are required to do an awful lot of flipping around, and the format and bonus features are confusing. Students are destined to end up frustrated and librarians and teachers will be disappointed with this book that simply tries to do too much.
Madagascar
UNKNOWN PUBLISHER [UNKNOWN PUBLISHER]
Frazel, Ellen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 04, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
This appealing book is part of the "Exploring Countries" series, which is part of Scholastic's Blastoff Readers, Level 5. The book is well-written and explores this fascinating country with color photographs, maps, and Did You Know callouts. The book covers the diveristy of Madagascar's environment, it's culture, schools, work, and symbols. It would help students doing country research but does not include government information. The book contains a table of contents, index, glossary, fast facts, and bibliography. Web resources are provided by the publisher. 32 pages.
SOMETHING TO PROVE : THE GREAT SATCHEL PAIGE VS THE ROOKIE J
CAROLRHODA [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
SKEAD, ROB
COOPER, FLOYD
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 15, 2013
Shirts, Brooke
It's difficult to know who this book is for: baseball fans will obviously eat it up, but the historical context of the book isn't given until the very end. This title chronicles an exhibition game in 1936 between the Satchel Paige All-Stars versus Dick Bartell's All-Stars, featuring a very young Joe DiMaggio. There isn't any explanation of the era of baseball segregation, or what the Negro Leagues were, until the last page. Therefore, much of what made this game significant might be lost on young readers. The description of the game is a play-by-play of baseball jargon that sports fans will eat up, but others may find difficult to understand. Skead's text includes quotes from both DiMaggio and Paige's recollections of the game, but without the historical context, it's difficult to know why readers should care. Floyd Cooper's sepia-toned pastel illustrations are gorgeous, but subdued. A great choice for hard-core baseball fans, especially adults. AD+ 5-8
WILD BOY : THE REAL LIFE OF THE SAVAGE OF AVEYRON
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
LOSURE, MARY
ERING, TIMOTHY B.
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 22, 2013
Shirts, Brooke
"Summer and winter, the wild boy lived in the forest . . . he went naked, like an animal. But he walked upright, like a human." So begins Losure's lyrical, personal look at a little-known mystery of social science: the discovery, study, and fame of a feral boy found in rural France in the early 1800s. Losure chronicles the life of the boy – eventually named Victor -- with his perspective in mind: when poked and prodded by doctors, how much did he understand? How did Victor feel when he was taken away from caretakers and shipped off to Paris? Why was he never able to learn to speak? Losure draws from a variety of contemporary sources to create her narrative, always conscious of the era's many prejudices and attitudes towards "savages," and how little 19th century medicine knew about the mentally disabled. Victor is paraded before the nobility of Paris; plays and songs were written about him, but it is perhaps his relationship with his longtime teacher, Dr. Itard, which created his legacy. Itard's attempts to teach Victor to talk ultimately failed, but his chronicle proved a strong influence on the first schools for deaf and disabled children, and on later educators such as Maria Montessori. Includes extensive source notes, bibliography, index, and beautifully expressive charcoal illustrations by Timothy Basil Ering. R* 5-8
BUSY-BUSY LITTLE CHICK
FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX (BYR) [MACMILLAN]
HARRINGTON, JANICE N
PINKNEY, BRIAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 31, 2013
Shirts, Brooke
Shades of "The Little Red Hen" echo in this retelling of a traditional folktale from Central Africa. All night long Mama Nsoso, a chicken, hears complaints about being cold from her baby chicks. Each night she promises that in the morning, they will build an ilombe, a new dry house. Good intentions, but when morning comes Mama Nsoso is easily distracted in her search for food for her chicks. Only Busy-Busy Little Chick resists his mother's procrastination and gathers building supplies himself, surprising his mother with a new ilombe at the end of the story. Harrington's retelling includes just enough descriptive imagery to keep an otherwise repetitive story from getting bogged down. Brian Pinkney's illustrations are vibrant, using bold, minimalist brushstrokes to create his roly-poly chicks. However, some of the illustrations lack imagination – one double-page spread simply has blue swirls, illustrating the cold wind. But that's not much for a child to look at when listening to two pages' worth of text. Despite that, it's a sweet read-aloud folktale, and a great discussion starter about priorities and the value of different kinds of work. preK-1, AD+
BOBBO GOES TO SCHOOL
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
HUGHES, SHIRLEY
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
May 31, 2013
Shirts, Brooke
When preschooler Lily spends time outside tossing her beloved stuffed dog, Bobbo, into the air, it accidentally lands on top of a school bus just as it pulls away. Little Lily is understandably traumatized. As Mom frantically calls the elementary school, the perspective shifts and we see Bobbo enjoying his bus ride, landing comfortably in a bush on the schoolgrounds before being rescued by students. Lily and Bobbo are reunited in the kindergarten classroom, with a small reminder that in a few months, Lily would be joining the class. If Bobbo was happy there, then perhaps Lily could be, too. This story doesn't add much to the pantheon of lost-toy tales, but it's well done. Hughes' trademark expressive portraits of children work nicely, adding a comforting touch. AD+ preK-K
ANTON AND THE BATTLE
GECKO PRESS [GECKO PRESS]
KONNECKE, OLE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 31, 2013
Shirts, Brooke
Luke and Anton are the kind of friends whose relationship consists of a rivalry. "I can lift a stone THIS big," insists Luke, pantomiming. "I can carry three logs as once," retorts Anton. The various imaginary objects the boys insist they can carry are illustrated as simple line drawings, in contrast with the solid primary colors used to create the main characters. As the "battle" escalates, so do the imaginary tasks. Eventually, Luke and Anton are threatening each other with imaginary bombs, or insisting they can lop off the heads of dragons; something which may not sit well with some adult sensibilities but comes off as a realistic depiction of the way kids brag. Eventually the "battle" is interrupted when the boys are heroically scared off by a small dog. Konnecke infuses his minimalist story with a hefty dose of cartoonish flavor; anyone who's experienced playground pomposity will get a kick out of this story. Initially published in Germany. AD+ K-2