Reviews for month


LAST OF THE GULLIVERS
PHILOMEL [PHILOMEL]
CROCKER, CARTER
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 02, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Michael Pine is small for his age, but he's actually twelve. He's also on the brink of making choices that will determine the course of his life. He lives with an uncaring uncle, and a local gang wants to recruit him. His first foray into theft, however, results in the local judge creating a unique punishment that involves employment and monitoring. This keeps him away from the bad influences. It's while he's under this new regimen that he meets a man who introduces him to a population of Lilliputians. Charged with helping to protect them, Michael also has to deal with public sentiment that questions his character, a gang that doesn't want to let go, and someone who's setting him up to take a fall. The cock-eyed politics of the Lilliputians is over the top, but reflected in the small English village politics of Michael's life showing that size isn't an issue when you get into a mob mentality. In both societies people make rash decisions with inadequate information, which leads to possible disaster. This is a fun and interesting story that has adventure, a touch of fantasy, friendship and, ultimately, redemption.
HANGING BY A THREAD
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
LITTLEFIELD, SOPHIE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
July 03, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Clare loves fashion, and designs her own clothes, often using vintage castoffs in her creations. This can be a problem because she has inherited an unusual ability. She can sometimes "read" clothing, feeling the experiences of those who have previously owned the item. She and her mother have recently moved back to Winston, California. It's summer, and she's just getting to know the teens in town. There is danger, however. Two years ago a young boy died on July 3rd, and the following year a teenage girl disappeared. Now July 3rd is approaching again, and Clare has found the jacket of the girl who vanished the previous year. It leads her on a quest to find the killer and make sure that no one else dies. This is solid YA suspense, with a touch of teen romance, a hint of the paranormal, and the type of battling for independence that most teens face with their parents. The engrossing plot will draw readers in and leave them guessing right up to the very end.
GARDEN PRINCESS
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
KLADSTRUP, KRISTIN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 05, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
There is no such thing as magic. At least, that's what Princess Adela has always been told. She's a practical sort of princess who loves gardening, so she believes it. Then a friend is invited to a mysterious garden party and Adela invites herself as well. After all, gardening is her forte. Once there, however, she discovers the hostess is a wicked enchantress who turns the female guests into flowers for her garden, and bewitches the male guests into blind lovesick slavery. Adela must find a way to save herself, and everyone else, and her only ally is a talking magpie who loves to steal bright and shiny things. This is a fun fantasy novel that is not terribly complex but is an enjoyable mix of magic and a touch of romance.
LONGEST NIGHT : A PASSOVER STORY
SCHWARTZ & WADE [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
SNYDER, LAUREL
CHIEN, CATIA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 06, 2013
Stein, Valerie
We all know the old story, heard through many re-tellings of Old Testament tales in Exodus - of the plagues, and of Israel downtrodden. We know how Moses parted the Red Sea, to set his people free. But what did the slaves actually experience during those dark days? Laurel Snyder and Catia Chien take us back in time and show us, through the eyes of a child slave, how it must have felt. Each plague is treated to its own two page spread, and on each one, we’re transported to the spot by the emotion it evokes in the little girl. Chien’s rich, softly-textured drawings pair with Snyder’s lilting lines of poetry to paint us a picture of a legendary story celebrated at Passover, but from a truly unique perspective. Starred review from Publisher's Weekly.
It's Not About The Beanstalk!
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Charles, Veronika Marten
Parkins, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 06, 2013
Stein, Valerie
In these easy-to-read Wonder Tales by Veronika Martenova Charles, we’re treated to adaptations of similar folk tales found around the world. Each story is presented in an easy to read chapter format, with font size and word count which make these books accessible for a variety of skill levels. For beginning readers, these are lively, fun tales, simple enough to feed the reader but very competently told so that they don't feel too simplistic. Sweet black and white illustrations by David Parkins on each page add to the story. Great for comparative exercises and further reading, the history and source of the original tales is presented in the back. This volume in the series includes versions of the Jack in the Beanstalk from Appalachia, Norway, and Scotland. Others in the series include It's Not About the Diamonds, It's Not About the Ball, and it's Not about he Tiny Girl. The series is a recipient of an Aesop Accolade.
It's Not About The Ball!
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Charles, Veronika Marten
Parkins, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 06, 2013
Stein, Valerie
In these easy-to-read Wonder Tales by Veronika Martenova Charles, we’re treated to adaptations of similar folk tales found around the world. Each story is presented in an easy to read chapter format, with font size and word count which make these books accessible for a variety of skill levels. For beginning readers, these are lively, fun tales, simple enough to feed the reader but very competently told so that they don't feel too simplistic. Sweet black and white illustrations by David Parkins on each page add to the story. This volume in the series includes versions of The Frog Prince story from Scotland, Vietnam, and Chile. Great for comparative exercises and further reading, the history and source of the original tales is presented in the back. The series was the recipient of an Aesop Accolade. Other titles include It's Not about the Tiny Girl, It’s Not About the Straw, and It's Not About the Diamonds.
It's Not About The Diamonds!
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Charles, Veronika Marten
Parkins, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 06, 2013
Stein, Valerie
In these easy-to-read Wonder Tales by Veronika Martenova Charles, we’re treated to adaptations of similar folk tales found around the world. Each story is presented in an easy to read chapter format, with font size and word count which make these books accessible for a variety of skill levels. For beginning readers, these are lively, fun tales, simple enough to feed the reader but very competently told so that they don't feel too simplistic. Sweet black and white illustrations by David Parkins on each page add to the story. Great for comparative exercises and further reading, the history and source of the original tales is presented in the back. This volume in the series includes versions of the Diamonds and Toads tales from Germany, Indonesia, and Africa. Other books in the series include It's Not About the Ball, it's Not about he Tiny Girl, and It’s Not About the Straw. It was a recipient of an Aesop Accolade.
It's Not About The Straw!
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Charles, Veronika Marten
Parkins, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 06, 2013
Stein, Valerie
In these easy-to-read Wonder Tales by Veronika Martenova Charles, we’re treated to adaptations of similar folk tales found around the world. Each story is presented in an easy to read chapter format, with font size and word count which make these books accessible for a variety of skill levels. For beginning readers, these are lively, fun tales, simple enough to feed the reader but very competently told so that they don't feel too simplistic. Great for comparative exercises and further reading, the history and source of the original tales is presented in the back. This volume in the series includes versions of the Rumpelstiltskin story from Germany, Scotland, and Japan. Other books in the series include It's Not About the Ball, it's Not about the Tiny Girl, and It’s Not About the Beanstalk. Series was a recipient of an Aesop Accolade.
It's Not About The Tiny Girl!
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Charles, Veronika Marten
Parkins, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 06, 2013
Stein, Valerie
In these easy-to-read Wonder Tales by Veronika Martenova Charles, we’re treated to adaptations of similar folk tales found around the world. Each story is presented in an easy to read chapter format, with font size and word count which make these books accessible for a variety of skill levels. For beginning readers, these are lively, fun tales, simple enough to feed the reader but very competently told so that they don't feel too simplistic. Great for comparative exercises and further reading, the history and source of the original tales is presented in the back. This volume in the series includes versions of the Thumbelina tale from Chile, Japan, and from a Native American perspective (though the tribe is not mentioned in the source the author uses or when searching elsewhere, the story is found in collections of Native American legends). Other books in the series include It's Not About the Ball, it's Not about the Beanstalk, and It’s Not About the Straw. This series was a recipient of an Aesop Accolade.
Everyone Can Learn To Ride A Bicycle
SCHWARTZ & WADE [RANDOM HOUSE]
Raschka, Chris
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 24, 2013
Stein, Valerie
There are some important steps in learning to ride a bicycle. Choose the right bike for you. Watch others ride. They have learned how. Keep on trying. And keep on. This is a book about never giving up, and Raschka’s expressive paintings capture the fear, frustration and delight of a young child mastering a difficult challenge. The colors are muted but potent, and grab the eye with their motion. Its messages are clear; keep trying. There is someone to help. And once you finally get it, you've got it, for always! Starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus and School Library Journal.
Rain!
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Ashman, Linda
Robinson, Christian
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 24, 2013
Stein, Valerie
In this sparsely-worded picture book, a man and a boy experience the rain. The man is very unhappy about it, and everyone around him is unhappy too. The boy is very excited about the rain, and everyone around him feels good. Illustrated masterfully by Christian Robinson with a combination of digital art and cut painted papers, everything about this book is simple, quite deceptively so. Ashman’s sentence or single word on every page is carefully chosen to communicate the maximum of information. Two-page spreads juxtapose man and boy side by side, giving the reader a unique perspective as the story unfolds. The twist at the end, when man and boy meet, brings smiles at the positive outcome. Starred review from Kirkus.
Kamik : An Inuit Puppy Story
INHABIT MEDIA [INHABIT MEDIA]
Uluadluak, Donald
Leng, Qin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 24, 2013
Stein, Valerie
Like dogs? Interested in dog sledding? Pick up this unique picture book, the first in a series of stories told by Inuit elder Donald Uluadluak. These stories are based on his own childhood and he’s creating them to teach younger generations the lessons he learned. Told as interactions between a young boy, his grandpa and the boy’s puppy, it’s a tale rich with memory, cultural beliefs, and lessons gently passed on. Best shared in a small group interested in the topic, partly because of the storytelling style and partly because of the somewhat small, detailed pictures. A lovely glimpse into another culture, past and present.
A Tinfoil Sky
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Sand-Eveland, Cyndi
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 24, 2013
Stein, Valerie
Sometimes the choices we make have small consequences. Sometimes, though, choices can change the course of a life. Mel’s mother, Cecily, has reached the end of her rope, and now they’re “going home.” Mel has never had a home to return to. When her dreams of what it will be like with the Grandma she doesn't remember are dashed, and her mother fails her once again, Mel takes matters into her own hands. This is a poignant middle-grade story of love, loss and courage - and of how, ultimately, we realize that not all families need to fit a mold to have rich, true relationships at their core. An unflinching look at homelessness and it affect on young people.
BROKEN LANDS
CLARION [CLARION]
MILFORD, KATE
OFFERMAN, ANDREA
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
July 28, 2013
Garrard, Thom
In this prequel to The Boneshaker, it is 1877 and the Brooklyn Bridge is still under construction when dark forces arrive in New York with a plan to turn the city into a hell on earth. To accomplish this, they must first win over or destroy the five people who are secretly responsible for protecting the city. On nearby Coney Island, 15 year-old card sharp Sam meets Jin, a Chinese fireworks expert, and just as the two orphans are becoming friends, they cross paths with the evil beings that are planning to the takeover. Aided by an assortment of odd characters, the two teenagers must come to believe in themselves, persevere in the face of difficulties, and work together to try to foil the evil plot. The many historical details, information about Chinese fireworks, and legends that the author includes create a rich context for this novel, but they also slow the plot and push the length well beyond 400 pages. The book has characteristics of both middle grade and YA fiction, which makes the target audience unclear. Making this decision and eliminating some of the less crucial details could have helped, but as is, this book would be considered an additional purchase.