Reviews for month


100 Animals On Parade!
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Sebe, Masayuki
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 02, 2013
Wittmann, Paula
Who knew it was so fun to count to 100 over and over again? One hundred bears, pigs, carpenter beetles, rabbits and birds parade through the countryside. On each page, readers are given things to look for and are often encouraged to count to find details. The wonderful watercolor cartoonish animals are fun and exuberant. The funny visual and verbal details will keep young readers entertained as they see 500 animals parade across the pages. The finale is a wonder with all the animals joined together at the Animal Festival. The last page includes more things to go back and look for during the parade and at the festival. A cross between Richard Scarry, and I Spy- young counters (and readers) should thoroughly enjoy this title.
BAD GIRLS : SIRENS, JEZEBELS, MURDERESSES, THIEVES & OTHER F
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
YOLEN, JANE
JOHNSON, PAMELA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 02, 2013
Wittmann, Paula
Looking for an engaging non-fiction book to recommend to readers? This might be one to take note of. Jane Yolen and her daughter, Heidi Stemple have worked together to a collective biography of "Bad" women throughout history. Women range as far back as Delilah and Jezebel to 20th century names like Bonnie Parker and Ma Barker. The twenty-six two to four page biographies are well written and engaging. Greatly adding to the package are interspersed one page graphic comic pages that show Yolen and Stemple researching and discussing the women they are writing about. This step back is a vivid window into the work behind writing a book of this sort, but also is used to remind the reader that many of these “bad girls” were in situations that made their choices less than black and white. Illustrations, both of the women discussed and the graphic panels, are by Rebecca Guay and fit the book well and draw the reader into the text.
Hero On A Bicycle
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Hughes, Shirley
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 02, 2013
Wittmann, Paula
It is 1944 and the Nazi are occupying Florence, Italy. For ,a thirteen-year old living outside the city, it has made his life small and boring. His father is off fighting with the resistance group called the Partisans, his mother is from England which puts the family under close scrutiny. Paulo’s one escape is taking midnight bicycle rides through the countryside and the city. He thinks these are secret, but they actually cause great worry for both his mother and older sister, Constanza. On one of these rides, Paulo is stopped given a message for his mother. She is being strongly asked by the Partisans to shelter escaped prisoners of war as they move these men back to their military divisions. Taking in these men puts the family at risk and starts a chain of events that motivates Paolo and Constanza to do things that they would never have dreamed of doing under normal circumstances. Readers interested in World War II will find much to like in this novel that focuses on the impact the war had on ordinary children during the occupation of Italy.
Fire Horse Girl
Arthur A Levine Books [Scholastic, Inc.]
Honeyman, Kay
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 02, 2013
Wittmann, Paula
Jade Moon has always been smart, impulsive and stubborn- not desirable traits for a Chinese girl in the 1920s. Her family engineers a way to find her a husband in return for her father posing as his brother in part of a “paper family” scheme to enter America. However, things do not work out well and Jade Moon finds herself deciding to take control of her own destiny by passing as a man and entering America on stolen papers. Once landed she gets entangled in a family who runs a criminal tong. After living under their roof for months, Jade Moon realizes that she must stand up and live a different life in America if she is ever to live as her true self. Full of action and a likeable, strong main character this historical novel shows a less explored aspect of American immigration. An Elementary school caution: the prostitution of Chinese women is an element of the story.
MUTINY IN TIME
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
DASHNER, JAMES
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 02, 2013
Wittmann, Paula
Dak and Sera live in an alternate reality of America. Disruptions in key events in history have caused problems not only in people’s lives, but to the physical environment as well. When Dak’s parents invent the infinity ring, a time traveling machine, a series of events force Dak and Sera into a position they never imagined. Along with Riq, an older teen who is a gifted linguist, they must travel back in time to fix events that were manipulated in the past. They also hope to find Dak’s parents who were separated from them in the time stream. In this episode they go back to Christopher Columbus’ exploration to prevent a mutiny. This is the first in a new series that combines books and on-line games. You read an episode and then, with the key included the next event is online. Each episode is being written by different authors. Fans of the 39 Clues should enjoy this new series.
SEA STAR WISHES : POEMS FROM THE COAST
SASQUATCH BOOKS [SASQUATCH BOOKS]
ODE, ERIC
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
September 02, 2013
Wittmann, Paula
A day at a Northwest beach is brought to life through these poems. Topics are wide ranging. Including sea life such as barnacles, geoducks, crabs, octopus and sea lions. Also covered are beach activities such as kite flying, fishing and sand castle building and beach icons like ferries and lighthouses. Bright fun paintings capture the poems well. This is a must have for schools that are near the shores of the ocean or the Puget Sound.
GIANTS BEWARE!
ROARING BROOK PRESS [MACMILLAN]
ROSADO, RAFAEL
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 02, 2013
Wittmann, Paula
Claudette is itching for an adventure. When she unearths a map that shows the way to the giant who is known as a threat to her city she is off to show her heroism. With her timid, gourmet meal cooking little brother, Gaston, and her best friend, Marie, a princess want to-be, Claudette is off to capture the giant. Soon the adults of the city head out to bring them back. On the way Claudette and her band run across a witch and a river god, but showing bravery and using their wits and talents they are able to go on. When they do encounter the giant they find he is not the monster they thought, but rather that he needs their protection from the adults of the city. They manage to do this with style and find a fast friend in the giant. With its engaging illustrations and characters and kid friendly story this book will be a winner in the graphic novel section.
MAGICIAN'S APPRENTICE
FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX (BYR) [MACMILLAN]
BANKS, KATE
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 02, 2013
Wittmann, Paula
Set in the deserts of the Middle East, this coming of age novel is a unique children’s offering. When it is time for Baz to leave his small village and apprentice he agrees to travel with a stranger to a far off city to learn to be a weaver. Unfortunately his master is cruel and treats the his workers as slaves. In fact, after Baz kills a dog who is dying a slow death, the man decides to sell him as a mercenary. However, it is not a soldier who buys him, but rather a magician who immediately offers Baz his freedom. Baz chooses to remain with the magician and in their wanderings he learns not only sleight of hand, but deeper magic and inner peace. Reminiscent of Paolo Coehlo and Kahlil Gibran this will be a read unlike most children will have experienced, and it will not appeal widely but should speak strongly to some.
GLADIATOR : FIGHT FOR FREEDOM
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
SCARROW, SIMON
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 02, 2013
Wittmann, Paula
When Marcus’ father, a farmer who used to be a Roman centurion, is murdered to settle a debt, Marcus and his mother are taken as slaves. They are to be exiled to work on a faraway estate owned by the man who ordered Marcus’ father’s death. On the way there, his mother and he manage to cause enough of a distraction for Marcus to run with strict instructions that he is to find General Pompeius who was saved by his father. Unfortunately, Marcus is enslaved again and this time bought by a man who owns a gladiator school. There Marcus gains an enemy and a friend. Ultimately he is forced to fight to the death as a gladiator. A surprising twist happens in the ring and Marcus is sold once again, this time to be a bodyguard. On his way to Rome, he finds out something about his history that will change his life forever. This is a compelling story, full of action but also extreme violence. Those who enjoy the first will look for the next.
Bluebird
SCHWARTZ & WADE [RANDOM HOUSE]
Staake, Bob
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 02, 2013
Wittmann, Paula
A lonely boy is having a hard day in this wordless book. He goes to school, but is ignored and teased. However, things look up when a bluebird befriends him on his way home and they play together in the park. However, the boy and the bird meet up with a gang of thugs they try to steal the boy's toy boat. When he runs away one of the bullies throws a stick after him. It doesn’t hit the boy, but rather strikes and kills the bluebird. The bullies are horrified and run away, but that doesn’t bring the bird back to life. A rainbow of birds picks up the boy, who is holding the bluebird, a flies him into the sky. High above the world the bluebird fades as he flies off toward the clouds. The final page shows the boy still in the sky waving towards the clouds. The distinctive story and art work will make this book compelling to a thoughtful reader and it would make an interesting discussion starter. For older readers a careful look at the seemingly simple illustrations will yield a treasure trove of book illusions. Interestingly, I checked suggested ages on other reviews, and they were all over from Pre-1, to grades 2-5 and others in between.
Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Watt, Melanie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 02, 2013
Wittmann, Paula
Scaredy Squirrel really wants to go camping, but it is just too dangerous for his taste. He decides that with proper planning he might be able to take a short trip across the campground to plug in an extension cord so he can watch the camping channel on TV. Like always, Scaredy makes very complete plans that seem to cover any emergency. However things go wrong when he runs into a mini golf course and Scaredy ends up playing dead and then realizing that perhaps camping isn’t so bad after all. Scaredy changes his end game, though, using the extension cord to plug in a toaster so he can roast marshmallows in his tree rather than watch TV. Fans of Scaredy will enjoy this new adventure.
BRIGHT ISLAND
YEARLING [YEARLING]
ROBINSON, MABEL L
WARD, LYND
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 02, 2013
Wittmann, Paula
Thankful has always known that her place is on her family’s island off the coast of Maine. She loves working the land with her farmer father and sailing in her own boat off its shores. Her family, however, is pushing her to attend school on the mainland. Thankful surprises them by opting not for the public high school, but rather the exclusive boarding school that her grandfather left money for her to attend in his will if she chose. The transition is difficult: Thankful must prove her academic skills after having been homeschooled, she must learn how to live in a community, and she must learn to navigate a social world unlike anything she has known. Throughout the year there are missteps and leaps but Thankful perseveres and flourishes. At the end, Thankful must make a choice. Will she go back to the island to stay or will she stay in the society she has come to know. This is a reissue of a 1938 Newbery honor winner. Some of the circumstances and choices that Thankful faces may seem dated to readers, but Thankful’s strong true character, her connection to a place, and her honest trip to adulthood will not. Give this to readers who like classics like Anne of Green Gables and Daddy Longlegs.
RED RUBY
GRAPHIC UNIVERSE [GRAPHIC UNIVERSE]
JAKOBSEN, LARS
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 02, 2013
Wittmann, Paula
Mortensen is secret agent tasked with protecting the course of history and valuable artifacts after the development of a time gun that allows time travel. In this, his third adventure, Mortensen is tracing the magnificent Red Ruby. His task puts him in extreme danger as he moves between Burma in 1802, when the ruby was found, to France in 1993 where the ruby needs to be discovered by workmen at Versaille, and times in between. Jumping into the third book of the series I really had to pay attention to visual and word clues to follow the frequent shifts in time and characters. This is not a simple read. However, the plot was compelling, the time travel a fun twist, and the illustrations enjoyable. Mortensen himself could almost have stepped out of a Tintin adventure though other characters have a more modern look. Give this to slightly older readers as the structure can be complex and there is violence. Included at the end are several pages of non-fiction information on places, events, and important artifacts in the story.
CHARLIE JOE JACKSON'S GUIDE TO EXTRA CREDIT
ROARING BROOK PRESS [MACMILLAN]
GREENWALD, TOMMY
COOVERT, J.P.
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 02, 2013
Wittmann, Paula
Charlie Joe Jackson is back. He still isn’t keen on school work- he'd rather be the class cut-up and focus on his social life. However when his parents find out about his lackluster grades they threaten to send him to Camp Rituhbukkee (yes, read-a-book-ee) for the summer. Charlie Joe makes a deal with them. If he is able to bring up his grades to all A’s (well one B is okay) he won’t have to go. Even starting right away Charlie Joe knows he will need extra credit and that extra credit adds spice to his life. Filled with funny scenes, cartoon illustrations, and bonus pages of Charlie Joe’s extra credit tips this zips along and even reluctant readers should find themselves entertained by Charlie Joe and his antics.
How To Bicycle To The Moon To Plant Sunflowers : A Simple Bu
ROARING BROOK PRESS [MACMILLAN]
Gerstein, Mordicai
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 02, 2013
Wittmann, Paula
In this unusual book, written and illustrated by Modecai Gerstein, a boy creates a brilliant plan to bicycle to the moon and plant sunflowers. However, he realizes he just doesn’t have time to carry it out. So he invites the reader to check out the plan and see if they want to be the first to cycle to the moon. In clear numbered instructions the plan is laid out. It seems to include everything needed to not only bike to the moon and plant the sunflower seeds but even to water them from back on earth when needed. Kids who like wacky plans will like this book as will teachers who can use it to model clear instructions. This would also pair wonderfully with If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith McNulty.
Water In The Park : A Book About Water & The Times Of The Da
SCHWARTZ & WADE [RANDOM HOUSE]
Jenkins, Emily
Graegin, Stephanie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 02, 2013
Wittmann, Paula
An urban park on a hot summer day is the setting for this book that looks at how a park is used during different parts of the day and how water keeps the park alive and lively. Starting at sunrise and the turtles starting to sun themselves, moving through morning dog walks, morning playground time, lunch hour, afternoon playground time, evening walks and ending with an evening rainstorm a day is chronicled. Water use ranges from dogs swimming in the pond, sprinklers, watering plants, drinking, buckets, water balloons and squirters to the evening rain. Though quiet, young readers will enjoy this book that invites them to look at a familiar place and how it is used. Teachers could use this to talk about times of the day as well as in units about water or communities.
Squish : 5 : Game On!
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE]
Holm, Jennifer L
Holm, Matthew
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 02, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
Squish the amoeba is back and this time he is focused on comic book superheroes and more importantly he is trying to catch up with his friends in the video game Mitosis. Squish starts spending every spare minute and staying up all night trying to get to the next level in the game. He ignores everything else and doesn’t even do his all important book report. That is when Squish decides that he needs to take a break from video games so he can bring up his grades and have some fun with his dad and his friends. Kids will relate to Squish and his video game obsession and they will enjoy this graphic novel that deals with everyday issues with humor and many microscopic characters. Matthew Holm’s comic book style illustrations in black and white and green are a great match for Squish and his friends.
Toys In Space
Knopf Books for Young Readers [RANDOM HOUSE]
Grey, Mini
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 02, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
The seven diverse toys with lots personality are left outside overnight and see the stars for the first time. To pass the time and to help some of the toys not be scared the WonderDoll tells them all a story about an alien who beams the toys up into his spaceship. There are thousands of toys in the spaceship from all over the world because the alien Hoctopize collected them as he looked for his toy Cuddles. Everyone knows that stealing toys is wrong, so the toys convince Hoctopize to send them back to their real homes with parachutes (luckily he had labeled all the toys with their addresses.) Then the toys throw Hoctopize a party to cheer him up. WonderDoll’s story ends with the toys returning to their home where they will be found in the morning. The playful illustrations are part of the story with plenty of comments from various toys from questions like “What’s aliens?” from the clueless windup toy to comments like “They will be missed!” from the thoughtful green dinosaur. Toys with personalities who go on adventures (even if they are just in WonderDoll’s story) are a winning combination. This is a fun story that everyone will enjoy plus it has an underlying theme of working together.
Pug : And Other Animal Poems
FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX (BYR) [MACMILLAN]
Worth, Valerie
Jenkins, Steve
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 02, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
Eighteen poems about animals of all types from a wood thrush to a Bengal tiger in a zoo to a dead mouse left by a cat. The poems are fairly short with descriptive words that get right at the essence of the animal. Students may have to look up some obscure words and think about the poems, but that will only add to the poems’ power. Teachers will easily be able to use these poems in lessons about descriptive writing, observation, and inference. Steve Jenkins’ cut paper illustrations of the animals add another layer of detail that complements the poems perfectly.
ROAD TRIP
WENDY LAMB BOOKS [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
PAULSEN, GARY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 02, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
Ben is woken up at the crack of dawn by his father who suddenly wants to go on a road trip to rescue a border collie that needs a home. Things turn sour right away when Ben’s dad announces that he has quit his job and plans to start a business flipping houses and they probably won’t be able to afford sending Ben to hockey camp with his friends. Ben gets back at his dad by inviting along Theo, a tough older friend who his dad thinks is a bad influence. When the truck breaks down they end up traveling on a rebuilt school bus with Gus the mechanic who owns it. Then Mia who just quit her job at a diner invites herself along and things start to get interesting. Someone who is out to get Theo seems to be following them and then they get pulled over again for speeding and end up racing with the cop. Don’t forget Atticus the border collie who is along for the ride and tells his version of what is going on at the end of every chapter. The unique mix of characters all add to the unforgettable road trip and the perspective of Atticus make this a book that dog lovers and everyone else will enjoy.
DINOS ARE FOREVER
HARCOURT BRACE JOVANOVICH [HARCOURT BRACE JOVANOVICH]
TRINE, GREG
DORMER, FRANK W.
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 02, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
Jo Schmo is a regular fourth grade girl with a drooling dog and a motorized skateboard until a relative retires as a superhero and sends her his cape. After consulting with her grandfather who lives in a house in her backyard, Jo begins to go on superhero missions to save her city. This usually happens during school when she tells her teacher she needs a bathroom break. She chases down bank robbers on her skateboard that can now do zero to sixty in 4.3 seconds after a few minor adjustments. Her big case is to ruin the plan of mad scientist Dr. Dastardly who uses his Re-animator Laminator to bring dinosaur bones in the museum to life. Jo gets one dinosaur under control using the Russian Toe Hold her grandfather taught her, but in the end it is her dog who drools so much that the dinosaurs fall apart. Then Jo is able to laminate Dr. Dastardly with his own weapon until the police arrive to take him away. This is a fun easy chapter book that young readers will enjoy. There are plenty of black and white illustrations that add silliness and interest to the story.
Beatles Were Fab (And They Were Funny)
HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Krull, Kathleen
Innerst, Stacy
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 02, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
This accessible and interesting picture biography tells the story of the Beatles focusing on their humorous side and Beatlemania. The early days of the Beatles brought out the silliness of the Beatles as they performed and tried to get a record produced. The success of the Beatles in Britain started Beatlemania including a performance for the British royal family. Their success spread to America with their hit “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and soon they were on the Ed Sullivan show. In 1966 Beatlemania was getting out of control and the band stopped giving live performances but continued to create and record songs. The characters of each of the band member is revealed in silly interview question answers, inside jokes about their songs, and stories about things like English jelly babies. The acrylic and ink full-page illustrations fit the quirkiness of the Beatles with humorous details. A timeline for the band and a list of resources is included. This well-researched book could be used for a short project about the Beatles, but readers will also want to enjoy it for a glimpse into the more personal side of a fab band.
MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR
HEINEMANN RAINTREE LIBRARY [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
DICONSIGLIO, JOHN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 07, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
This book is part of the "Living Through" series. It's 76 pages describe the events leading up to the war, the war itself, and the result of the war. This war shaped the United States both physically and emotionally. The US obtained a great deal of territory in the southwest to assert manifest destiny. The book describes dissenters to the war (including Lincoln), the rise of war correspondents, and political influences. The book reads pretty well, however, I found that the "Up Close" pages stopped the main story line in odd places , making the book choppy at times, which might confuse readers. It could have been better edited/organized. The background information is important to understanding this war and the "Up Close" pages provide this. Primary source material is included throughout. Illustrations, maps, and some photos are included. The book includes a table of contents, timeline, glossary, source notes, bibliography, and index. Purchase if you have a need in your curriculum.
ICELAND
Childrens Press [SCHOLASTIC]
SOMERVILL, BARBARA A
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 07, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Enchantment of the World" series, this 144 page book describes the history, geography, geology, environment, culture, government, and economy of this island nation located in the North Atlantic Ocean. The book is well written and contains many color photographs. Side bars and highlight pages give the readers background information. Having traveled to Iceland recently, this book accurately reflects the country and its population, but I think if the author had actually visited this nation, the book would be more lively. The book includes a timeline, table of contents, index, author information, and fast facts. Purchase if you have a need.
Miss Moore Thought Otherwise : How Anne Carroll Moore Create
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Pinborough, Jan
Atwell, Debbie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 07, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
You may not know Miss Anne Carroll Moore, but as a librarian, you should and your student should too! Born in the 1870s, Moore grew up in Maine. Children, at the time, were not allowed in the library. At 19, when she wasn't married, she decided to become a lawyer, like her father. After her parents died of the flu within the same week, she took care of her nieces. When her brother remarried she was able to go out into the world. She went to the Pratt Institute library school because libraries were now hiring women. She helped develop children's rooms in the New York Public Library system, she created a book care pledge, and had libraries take down their "silence" signs. She wrote book reviews of children's books, created book lists, and encouraged publishers to print more books for children. Her Central Children's Room was welcoming, had programming, and even a visit from royalty. Libraries around the world copied her ideas. Ideas we still see in play today. Acrylic folk art style illustration compliment the story. The book contains source notes, more information about Moore, and information about other trailblazing librarians. This books would work well when students are working on biographies.
INFIDEL IN PARADISE
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
LAIDLAW, S J
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 09, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Sometimes it’s hard to tell if Emma is 6 or 16 because of the emotional baggage that she is carrying. She’s the daughter of a recently divorced Canadian diplomat posted to Islamabad, Pakistan. Emma resents the numerous restrictions that living in a devout Muslin country brings, the loss of her friends, and what she sees as dullness of life in Pakistan. She is angry about her father's desertion of the family and her mother's constant work-related absences. She alienates other consulate students on the first day at her new school when she gives an honest answer to the question, "How are you enjoying Pakistan.” Emma makes some friends. She finds she must cope with an increasingly tense political situation that becomes dangerous with alarming speed. Her life and those of her sister and brother depend on her resourcefulness and the unexpected help of an enigmatic and handsome Muslim classmate. An excellent introduction to the exploration of the class of cultures and learning not to mistake any one group as the model for all of the citizens of a country or follower of a religion. Good for CBA's in foreign policy, conflict, and cultural sensitivity.
ANYTHING BUT ORDINARY
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
AVERY, LARA
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
September 09, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Bryce Graham is a champion diver, slated to be on the Olympic team if she nails her pre-Olympic trials. She awakens with the headache, scent of chlorine and a memory of blood in the water. She figures there was an accident, what she doesn’t figure on is the fact that she’s waking up after being in a coma for five years. She’s now 23 but feels 17 and finds it disconcerting that her little sister is 17, Goth, and her best friend and boyfriend have just graduated from college and are getting married to each other. How could life go on without her? Bryce’s comeback is nothing short of miraculous. So is her super-sensitive eyesight, hearing, and intuition. She knows and sees things that she shouldn’t, like what has happened while she was asleep. The premise is a good one and the exploration of what happens to families and friends when a person they love is comatose for years is interesting. The story veers off into the paranormal and the story is tied up a bit too quickly. The girls who want a good cry and the chance at doomed romance will give this Four Hankies and be on the look-out for Avery’s next book and movie.
BLACK HELICOPTERS
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
WOOLSTON, BLYTHE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 09, 2013
Datisman, Eve
What is the education of home-grown terrorist? What is the extreme survivalist life like? What might push a person to such a life and what would the impact be on their children? What makes a suicide bomber? Woolston takes these questions and turns them into a thoughtful thriller. Valkyrie (Valley) White and her brother Bo have been raised so far off the grid that there is no record of them. Their father is an extreme survivalist who takes orders for custom-made bombs. Their mother has been killed by a Black Helicopter while picking beans in their garden. The thing the Valley knows for sure is that Those People will kill them like coyotes. Valley and Bo practice lessons in “alert and ready” and their Da supports them with his skills. They are part of a sophisticated network of buyers and suppliers. One day, as they return home, they find their cabin in smoking ruins and come the only conclusion possible – Those People have hunted them down and killed Da. Now it’s time to get even. Valley’s notoriety, her training, and her clear-headed planning make her a prize . When she takes the last step and straps on the bomb vest, it opens the door for social studies, psychology, and sociology discussions.
FRACTURE
UNKNOWN [UNKNOWN]
MIRANDA, MEGAN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 09, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Delaney Maxwell falls through the ice on a lake close to her home town. She figures she has about four minutes until she is so cold that she won't be able to help with her rescue. Her best friend Decker pulls her out after eleven minutes. Eleven minutes - - - She should be dead. There should be brain damage, but neither of those options seem to have happened. Delaney has a chance for a do-over and things don’t go well. She experiences an itching an a tugging in her scalp that wasn’t there before her accident. She is drawn to death. She shows up at a fire where an old man she had seen at the mall is found dead. At the scene she sees a mysterious young man dressed in black. And as the itching incidents increase, she sees him again and again. Although Delaney is in love with Decker, and he with her, the stranger, Tony Varga, draws her into his midnight world. The thriller and supernatural elements of this are first rate. Some of the other plot points and characters are flat and a bit trite, but the pacing will keep readers engaged.
Dark Triumph
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Lafevers, Robin
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 09, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Dark Triumph is the second book in the Fair Assassins series. Sybella’s assignment from the Sisters of St. Mortain is to infiltrate the castle of Count d'Albret in service to Duchess Anne of Brittany. Sybella has been promised that she will be able to kill him. None of her friends at the convent know that she is his daughter or just how dangerous this assignment is for her personally. She picks off her marks while trying to protect her sisters from her Bluebeard like father (he has killed all five of his previous wives and still Mortain has not marked him for death) and herself from the incestuous advances of her two brothers. When an unexpected assignment arrives—the rescue of Beast of Waroch from d’Albret’s dungeons --it requires all of Sybella's physical and emotional strength and stealth, plus the use of her assassin skills. The relationship between Sybella and the Beast is one of strength, love and mutual understanding. That helps when she is forced to return to d’Albret because her younger sisters are in danger from the rest of her family. Again realistic details of Brittany and the times are woven into this story of fearlessness and political intrigue. Mortal Heart is due in 2014.
ALL YOU NEVER WANTED
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
GRIFFIN, ADELE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 09, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Told in alternated narration, this is a tale of two sisters. Alex is beautiful, charming, popular and hard-working; Thea is not quite as beautiful, or as charming, or popular but is smart. Both can have anything they wish, thanks to a new super-rich step-father. Unfortunately, neither is happy with who she is and there by hangs the tale. Alex is anorexic, agoraphobic, and battling depression. Thea is lying, trying to catch Alex’s cute but dangerous boyfriend, and worm her way into her sister’s life destroying things along the way. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy a whopper of a party in a McMansion when their parents are away. Family loyalty is on the line here and it doesn’t seem to stand a chance. This is a clear look at the lives of the 1-percenters and noveau riche and those who struggle financially. As the girls hold separate parties, it becomes a contest and no one will be the winner. A cautionary tale with nuanced secondary characters. Hi/Lo level will make this accessible to most readers and will appeal particularly to readers who like character, and novels that focus on personal relationships or on how to learn the importance being who one is not relying on the wrapping.
JANIE FACE TO FACE
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
COONEY, CAROLINE B
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 09, 2013
Datisman, Eve
This is the last of the Janie novels that started with The Face on the Milk Carton. This thriller-romance has Janie in New York City in her first year at college. She’s searching for life-long friends who don’t know her story; she’s searching for a way to balance both the Spring and Johnson families that she loves, and a way to find a path for herself. She has received a letter from a famous true-crime writer who wants to tell her story; but that’s in the past and she needs the past to stay past. When a cute young man shows up and starts trying to find out everything he can about Jane, she is flattered at first, but her school friends find is behavior stalkerish When he shows up on the train to New Jersey, Janie re-evaluates. She contacts her Connecticut family the Springs and her ex-boyfriend Reeve, now working Charlotte, N.C. Reeve, worried for her, buys a plane ticket for her, and they reconnect. He asks her to marry him in the airport on the way home and she says yes. People in line take videos and pictures and email them to Reeve. He posts them on Facebook. Things change. . Interspersed with Janie’s story is the story of her kidnapper Hannah Javenson who has embarked on revenge against "The usurper." Loose ends tied up.
LIES BENEATH
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE]
BROWN, ANNE GREENWOOD
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 09, 2013
Datisman, Eve
It’s a good thing that Ariel doesn’t live in Lake Superior, she’d be an appetizer for this family of monstrous merfolk. Calder and his sisters are out for revenge against Jason Hancock who they believe murdered their mother. Calder would just as soon not be involved, but can’t break the hold of the family leader, Maris. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans and absorb their positive energy but it’s going to be harder to do that, Jason Hancock is afraid of the water and never goes near it. Their plan is to insinuate Calder into the family. With his good looks, charisma, and hypnotic eyes it’s a good plan, until Calder falls in love with Lily, Jason’s daughter. Lily is fascinated not compelled or repelled; she’s interested in the stories about the monsters in the lake. She learns more about them first hand from the brother of her friend who suspects something “fishy” about Calder. Calder is forced to choose, Lily or his sisters. He makes a deal but Lily and her father surprise everyone. A twist on paranormal romance and a caution about getting what one wishes for. First in a series. Sexual themes and callous murder.
BRIDGE
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
HIGGINS, JANE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 09, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Gritty, post-apocalyptic, novel set in the not to distant future. The city could be any city, London? New York? Madrid?, divided by a river between the haves and have-nots. Nik is a mathematical genius at the top of his class in Tornmoor Academy and, as such, he expects to be invited to join the Internal Security and Intelligence Services. When he isn’t, he tries to find an explanation, instead, he finds himself in a bombed out school, with more questions than answers. Nik's young friend Sol is kidnapped by some Breken in the confusion of a major incursion so Nik and Sol's sister, Fyffe, decide to cross the nearest bridge into Southside to rescue him and inadvertently rides to war in a taxi cab. There, they can't avoid teaming up with the enemy, and Nik learns the real causes of the conflict. When the Southsiders discover Nik's real identity, however, he becomes the target of both sides. Nik’s search for answers allows Higgins to explore the question of isolation, xenophobia, racial and class bigotry without being preachy or condescending. Frequently neither side is without blame. Nik is well-developed and believable, and teens will identify with him while some of the villains are a little one-dimensional. Could go 7-12
Deep Betrayal
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE]
Brown, Anne Greenwood
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 09, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Lily has been dragged away from her friends and school after a brush with death. The boy she might love is a merman, and her family has a dark and troubled past with these creatures of the deep that live in the waters of the Great Lakes. Her father will soon find out that he can transform and once he does, nothing will ever be the same. When people begin to turn up dead, Jack, a family friend is quick to focus attention on the mermaid legends and his belief that they are behind the deaths. Lily knows that mercreatures hunt, but her father knows what being human is and doesn't need to feed on human emotions, does he? Lily’s father Jason stays away longer and longer, Calder her merman boyfriend is trying to keep both of them safe, and Jack is going crazy. In her isolation, Lily finds that she can swim for long periods of time underwater, that she can hold her breath for over 5 minutes, and that her little sister tells her the air around her is kinda pink and happy. Lily wonders for how long. Twisty plot, more angsty, supernatural romance, and teenage poetry. Book three Promise Bound out January 2014
Nana's Summer Surprise
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Hartt-Sussman, Heather
Graham, Georgia
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 12, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
Originally this reviewer was, similar to he young boy narrator’s refrain, “not impressed”, however, after several more readings this story can grow on the reader. The young boy looks forward to his cousin Hortense’s arrival for the summer at the lake house, but when she arrives much taller and all grown up, he is greatly disappointed. He suggests various activities, but Hortense just laughs. What finally brings them together is planning and executing a surprise birthday party for their grandma. The rich, colorful detailed illustrations (chalk pastels and chalk pastel pencils on sanded paper and on cold press illustration board) have a very distinctive, rich style with characters’ oversized, exaggerated heads that might be a little creepy. Characters definitely do change from frustrated to getting along with more understanding on Hortense’s part than her younger cousin realizes. Describing Hortense as “an Amazon, like a giant” when she first arrives may be a bit much. This could still be a decent extended family story though it may have limited appeal.
Nugget & Fang : Friends Forever - Or Snack Time?
HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Sauer, Tammi
Slack, Michael
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 12, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
This is a feel good story just looking at the illustrations of two unlikely friends, a minnow and a shark, smiling big grins at each other. All is well until the minnow Nugget starts school. There he learns that sharks are the enemy despite his own experience. Fang is so sad when he finds out he’s lost his best buddy that he tries everything to get Nugget back, but to no avail. It takes his large shark teeth needed in an emergency to save the minnows caught in a net for all the little guys to change their minds. This is a fun story with a good message about friendship that primary students will understand. The lively illustrations digitally painted in Photoshop will captivate the readers and make them chuckle and cheer for Fang. There are repetitions that help the flow of this entertaining tale.
Doggone Feet!
Boyds Mills Press [Boyds Mills Press]
Helakoski, Leslie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 12, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
From a dog’s point of view only seeing people’s lower halves, she follows Legs (wearing men’s shoes) home from the park and gets to stay. Gradually new pairs of feet arrive over the years—feet without shoes (legs curled around the man’s), tiny Pink Socks, Blue Boots, green gripper Slippers, and on Sundays Shoes accompanied by a broom. Each time the dog feels there’s no room for more, but when treats, rubs, or edible tidbits come her way, she changes her mind. In the end when there’s truly room for no more, she has a surprise of her own adding three new sets of feet. A lot of inference is required of the young reader and sometimes it’s a little hard to deduce who is who especially as the children arrive. At the end the viewer gets to see the players’ top halves. This can be a fun romp with original language, rhyming text and point of view by the author of Woolbur and Big Chickens. Students can draw pictures of what feet a dog would see at their own homes.
Katie And The Puppy Next Door
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [MACMILLAN]
Himmelman, John
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 12, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
This simple story has a clear plot line but confusing character names as both the girls and their dogs have human names—Sara Ann, Katie, Elizabeth and Ruby. Sara Ann invites a new friend and her dog Ruby over to visit Katie and her. Ruby is pretty rambunctious and aggressive invading Katie’s territory, much to Katie’s chagrin. After Sara Ann is disappointed in how Katie won’t share, Katie tries hard the next visit to change her ways. She just grumbles and sighs to herself as Ruby plays with Katie’s cats, eats out of her bowl, and plays with her squeaky bone. When Ruby drops the bone in front of Katie everything changes and the fun begins until they’ve exhausted themselves. This would work for an example of problem solving, simple plot, or a message about friendship and sharing. With black Prismcolor pencils and watercolor artwork Himmelman especially captures animals antics and expressions.
Chickens Build A Wall
EERDMAN'S BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [EERDMAN'S BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Dumont, Jean-Francois
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 12, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
Written by a French author and illustrator who has won the Prix Saint-Exupery Award (equivalent of the Caldecott) this story begins with a hedgehog showing up to disrupt life at the farm. Having never seen one before the animals speculate on his intent or capabilities. When he has disappeared the next morning rumors become more suspicious and outlandish to the point where the rooster takes control and has the hens build a semi-circular wall from fall through winter. It’s built so tall and enclosed that no one can get out when they find the hedgehog awakes inside with them. It takes until summer to demolish the wall by which time the hens and hedgehog become accustomed to each other rather than ruled by fear. This is a good example of irony and a lesson in tolerance that the intended audience will understand. The warm tones verge on monotone, but the children found the illustrations entertaining.
Mister Dash And The Cupcake Calamity
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Kulling, Monica
Melo, Esperanca
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 12, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
Madame Croissant enlists her dog Mr. Dash to help her start-up croissant cupcake business in North America using her secret recipe. The new business Cupcakes a Go-Go is run out of her home and delivered via a dilapidated van. Mr. Dash is embarrassed to wear the chef’s hat and saddlebags to deliver these wares. When Madame Croissant gets an order for 500 cupcakes from the mayor her inept, young niece drops by to help with near disastrous results. The cupcakes almost don’t make it due to Madame Croissant’s driving and her old van, but Mr. Dash saves the day by getting the tipping boxes stacked neatly without falling over. The frantic, choppy plot is not that entertaining and resolved in a less than exciting manner. The colorful illustrations can’t carry this plot and the occasional French may also confuse young readers.
BEAUTIFUL LIE
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
MASTER, IRFAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
September 12, 2013
Garrard, Thom
1947 India is on the verge of independence from Great Britain, and the decision has been made to partition the colony, dividing it into the separate countries of Pakistan for the Muslims and India for the Hindus. In a northern Indian market town, the father of thirteen-year-old Bilal is dying. For someone who worked as hard as he to maintain a united India,the news of Partition would be devastating. So, Bilal decides to prevent him from learning the truth. With the help of his friends, he works to shield his father from anyone who might share this news. In order to conceal the growing tension with his brother, among his friends, and in the community, he even goes so far as to get a fake edition of the local newspaper printed. He just wants his father to be able to die in peace. Because his motivation is selfless, it is a beautiful lie. This is a well written book, and though the average teenager may not have the patience and perseverance to read this type of thought-provoking historical fiction, especially when the setting may be unfamiliar, those who take the time to do so will be amply rewarded.
LETTERS TO LEO
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
HEST, AMY
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 12, 2013
Garrard, Thom
Fourth grader Annie lives in New York City with her dad and Leo, the new dog that she never thought she would be allowed to have. School isn't easy, what with the schoolwork, the obnoxious boy in her class, and her best friend moving away. She starts writing letters in a notebook that she keeps hidden under her bed, and at night she reads them softly to Leo. The author's choice to tell the story through these letters rather than through narration makes the reader see the significance of each event in a new light. Annie's character is realistic yet delightful, with her sense of humor and her positive outlook, and the importance of Leo's presence in helping her move forward is clear to see. A delightful read.
NO-DOGS-ALLOWED RULE
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
SHETH, KASHMIRA
PEARCE, CARL
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 12, 2013
Garrard, Thom
The mother of eight-year-old Ishan is top dog in the household, so if she is opposed to getting a dog, it won't happen. He tries to win her over by making her favorite breakfast, taking care of the neighbor's dog, and acting like a canine to show how cute they are, but each attempt turns into a disaster. When he goes to investigate the barking of the neighbor's dog, he finds that the neighbor needs medical attention and that means the dog will need a temporary home. Although kids may be able to identify with the allure of a dog and the strategies that Ishan employs, the failed breakfast attempt seemed cliche, and his character seemed little changed at the end of the book.
PHANTOM OF THE POST OFFICE
HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
KLISE, KATE
KLISE, M. SARAH
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 12, 2013
Garrard, Thom
The pending closure of the post office threatens the livelihood of Olive C. Spence and her writing partner, Ignatius B. Grumply, because they won't have a way to deliver new chapters of their famous ghost stories. A new technology called VEXT-mail may replace letters, books, hair dryers, and more. Then they start getting mysterious and ominous messages from a "fan" whose return address is a box at the post office. The writers' illustrator, who is also their adopted 11-year-old son, and his new friend set out to solve the mystery. Time is of the essence, but when they fall sick with the phantom flu, this becomes complicated. Everthing works out just in time, and there are opportunities to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of electronic and non-electronic forms of communication along the way. Like many works by the author, this fourth installment of the 43 Old Cemetery Road series is told through a series of letters, memos, newspaper articles, and electronic messages, which is engaging and keeps the book visually interesting. Fun and well written!
LACROSSE
ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
TOMETICH, ANNABELLE
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 12, 2013
Garrard, Thom
Lacrosse is an important part of Native American culture, especially among Iroquois tribes, with meaning beyond simple recreation. The sport evolved more than four centuries ago, taking on somewhat different forms in different areas. Whites didn't pick up the game for more than two hundred years after they first saw it played, but eventually it started to catch on at colleges and in various countries around the world. The collegiate, professional, and international winners and stars of the past fifty years are chronicled. The student who plays and comes looking for a lot of color action photographs is likely to be disappointed, but older students who can handle the eight unillustrated two-page spreads will be able to learn a lot about lacrosse that they probably never knew.
HOW DO HUMANS DEPEND ON EARTH?
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
LUNDGREN, JULIE K
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 12, 2013
Garrard, Thom
Plants play an important role in human survival and in maintaining the health of the planet. Among the environmental problems discussed here are genetically modified crops, global warming, pesticies, and deforestation. Several pages of helpful action suggestions are included, as are a short quiz, a glossary, and a short list of websites. Fact boxes, captioned photographs, and diagrams, complement the text nicely. The wide scope lessens the depth, but the topics are timely, the writing is clear, and the visuals are interesting. This would be useful for Earth Day or environmental units.
FOOD
HEINEMANN RAINTREE LIBRARY [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
RAND, CASEY
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 12, 2013
Garrard, Thom
Humans and other animals get energy by eating food, but not all food items are created equal. The MyPlate food plate, which shows the four main food groups with dairy on the side, can help people eat a balanced and healthy diet. More information on the five groups is included, along with additional food topics such as cooking, smelling, tasting, and the digestive process. An ice cream recipe, a glossary, and resource list complete the book. Large color photographs and diagrams illustrate the text, and text boxes give facts about health, science, and trivia. Defining glossary words in an unobtrusive bar at the bottom of each page is an excellent feature. However, there are numerous shortcomings. The example of a food that has all five food groups is pizza, which makes it sound healthy. There is no discussion about what is the "right amount" of each food group in MyPlate. Fat is discussed in the dairy section and protein in the meat section, but not vice versa. Inclusion of the ice cream recipe implies that it is also a healthy choice. And finally, the author needed some synonyms for "delicious."
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
Childrens Press [SCHOLASTIC]
MARA, WIL
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 12, 2013
Kline, Karen
The turning points in environmental protection in US history are succinctly outlined in this book from the Cornerstones of Freedom series. The book begins with a brief mention of the colonists and settlers and their wide use of natural resources to farm and build and how by 1864 the US representative George Perkins Marsh had published what is said by many to be the first book on US environmentalism entitled Man and Nature. This book moves on chronologically to mention the industrial age and Henry David Thoreau’s landmark work, Walden. Much like a history text, this book focuses on eras and the noteworthy crises, people and laws associated with them. John Muir, Alice Hamilton, Rachel Carson and Aldo Leopold are each given a paragraph or two. Organizations like Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Sierra Club are described. Readers will get a relevant look at how politics, business, and our current laws have shaped the environmental landscape of our country. For instance, the book states, “Reagan believed that business interests were more important than environmental protection,” and goes on to explain how lobbyists influenced lawmakers to weaken the Clean Air Act and more.
Pip And The Twilight Seekers
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Mould, Chris
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 12, 2013
Kline, Karen
The streets of Hangman’s Hollow are eerily devoid of children. Pip and his friends Toad and Frankie are in hiding like many other children, for to be seen might land them in the clutches of the city guard, Jarvis. The corrupt Jarvis is charged with capturing all children, because they might lure the evil creatures of forest, the twilight seekers, into the city and cause a war. The mayor has plans to imprison all children until they are old enough to fight against the twilight seekers and protect the city. His plan might work except that Jarvis and his crow companion Esther are just as likely to deliver the children they capture to the forest dwellers as to the city magistrate. And now, Jarvis has a tool that will reveal the children’s whereabouts whenever asked -- it’s an enchanted old wooden toy soldier, Captain Dooley, with special seeing powers. Pip and his friends are on the run until Pip hatches a plan to steal the toy and dress up in disguise as the hook-handed, dark cloaked, black pumpkin coach-driving Jarvis. If the plan works Pip and his friends will be able to free the other children being held captive in the forest by the twilight seekers. Intricate pen and ink drawings throughout are both creepy and comical.
FROG AND FLY : SIX SLURPY STORIES
PHILOMEL [PHILOMEL]
MACK, JEFF
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 12, 2013
Kline, Karen
Emergent readers (and their teachers and parents) rejoice! A book with humor and plot can be found here, and it’s easy to read!! A hungry frog encounters a series of flies and uses his wit and cunning to get his heart’s desire. “Nice to meet you,” says the fly. What’s that you say, fly, “Nice to eet you?” pans the frog. Yep, “Nice to eat you,” the frog decides. Readers will be challenged on many levels with such innuendo as this spelling joke as they make their way through the six “chapters” or stories laid out in comic frames replete with talk bubbles and exclamatory bits of onomatopoeia like “Zip!,” “Slurp!” and “Crash!” splashed across the pages. In the end the long-tongued frog meets his match as he stalks a fly in the dark. Silhouetted characters support the clever story as the frog tastes what he first thinks is a big, hairy fly. Young readers will delight in the knowing that frog has been tasting a bear as a fly buzzes nearby. These perfect bits of inferential hints make this book a wonderful introduction to the power of reading and observing text and illustrations for young readers. The splashy, colorful art make this book equally good for sharing with a group. Prebind this one, as demand will follow.
BRAND-NEW DAY WITH MOUSE AND MOLE
SANDPIPER [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
YEE, WONG HERBERT
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 12, 2013
Kline, Karen
Ratty-rat-rats, Mole is stuck in a rut! Moths have even infested Mole’s drawers of clothes. What to do? Lucky for Mole his friend Mouse happens by, and together they deal with the moths and plan an outing to shop for some new clothes. Mole has trouble finding something to his taste and ends up with a shirt from the sale rack missing a button even though he has declared his dislike for clothes with buttons -- they get lost. Mole cleverly solves the problem substituting acorns for the buttons, and Mouse is quick to notice and compliment the change. Mouse is inspired to up-cycle some of her own discarded clothes by patching up Mole’s moth-damaged clothes. In turn, Mole is delighted and friendship reigns supreme. Detailed watercolor illustrations throughout captive and amuse. This four-chapter Green Light Reader (Level 3; guided reading level L) is sure to find fans and is the third in the series. Pair this book with Lobel’s Frog and Toad books for a sure-fire read alike.
DESTINED FOR SPACE : OUR STORY OF EXPLORATION
CAPSTONE PRESS INC [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
NARDO, DON
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 12, 2013
Kline, Karen
From the earliest writers and astronomers who imagined what it would be like to travel to other planets to today’s wealthy elite taking flight on the International Space Station (ISS), man has been curious about what lies beyond what we know here on Earth. Author Don Nardo describes the major turning points in space exploration in this Smithsonian title published by Capstone. What early writers and astronomers like Kepler could only dream about, rocket scientists like Goddard and Tsiolkovsky made reality. Readers will gain historical perspective of the space race between the US and Russia as they follow the first human-made satellite, Sputnik 1, launched by Russia to the US satellite, Explorer 1, and the successive volleys between the two nations that ultimately today culminates in collaboration on the ISS. Photos of space shuttles docked on the space station, artist renderings of future lunar bases, and NASA licensed photographs of Mars craters are examples of the quality visuals this book has to enhance the text. The positive effects of space exploration are central to the book’s purpose, as it is clear to point out the achievements that have been and can be gained through space travel. Solid addition on the topic.
VIOLENCE IN VIDEO GAMES
CORE LIBRARY [ABDO]
GIMPEL, DIANE MARCZELY
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 12, 2013
Kline, Karen
Do violent video games make players more aggressive? This title from the Hot Topics in Media series cites research that helps readers decide. The book also devotes one of its four chapters to the history of video gaming and violence ratings. The difference between a cause-effect relationship and a connection is a running theme throughout the book. Public debate on the issues surrounding violent video games is given even-handed coverage. For instance, the book mentions the 2011 Supreme Court ruling that said banning the sale of violent video games to people under 18 was against the first amendment’s guarantee of free speech. Likewise, the author includes the fact that “six US medical groups said violent video games may teach children that violence is a good way to settle conflicts…[and] may make children behave violently.” Captioned color photos, graphs, timelines, glossary, “learn more” section, index, and more organize the book’s accessibility for the target audience. Interspersed throughout are sidebars entitled “What’s the Big Idea?” and “Consider Your Audience” whereby the author suggests ways to analyze the information in the text with ideas like “adapt the speech [in the text] for a different audience."
FAKE MUSTACHE : HOW JODIE O'RODEO AND HER WONDER HORSE (AND
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
ANGLEBERGER, TOM
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 13, 2013
Garrard, Thom
When Lenny Flem Jr.'s seventh grade friend Casper uses his birthday money to buy an expensive suit and a Heidelberg Handlebar Number Seven mustache, the world is nearly turned upside down. The mustache has the power to hypnotize and brainwash, and Casper utilizes it to amass a fortune through bank robberies, sway government officials and a suddenly adoring public, and campaign for the U.S. presidency. Everyone is in his power except for Lenny and Jodie O'Rodeo, a preteen cowgirl with a now cancelled television show. They team up to battle Casper and his minions, and he has lots of minions. Eventually, the rather inept hero and the brave heroine manage to save the day, but not before the plot takes plenty of silly twists and absurd turns. This fun story is likely to keep intermediate grade readers entertained.
Patrick Eats His Peas And Other Stories
TOON BOOKS [TOON BOOKS]
Hayes, Geoffrey
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 13, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
If I could only have one series of graphic novels in my library, it would be TOON books. Geoffrey Hays who has given young readers the gift of the Benny and Penny series returns to the world of beginning readers with Patrick the Bear. The humor is so appropriate for the kindergartner and first grader. They will understand his ode to peas “Little Green Balls of Mushy Poison.” They’ll understand what’s funny when Patrick’s Dad says “not to turn on the hose until he says “ready’ and Patrick hears “almost READY’ and turns on the water. Yes, he did what Dad wanted, but did he really understand the instructions. Patrick reminds me of Frances in “Bedtime for Frances” a favorite classic of mine. Neither want to go to bed and each have creative ways of solving the problems. Toons also gives parents suggestions on how to use graphic novels, including “reading” the pictures because they show emotions. Comics also supply support for understanding the words.
Sir Cumference And The Off-The-Charts Dessert
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Neuschwander, Cindy
Geehan, Wayne
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 13, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
The latest in the Math Adventure offers a clever way to explain pie charts and bar graphs in a contest between two bakers to see which dessert would be served at the Harvest Faire. After several false attempts at keeping track of the votes, Pia the pie maker and Bart, the cookie baker finally find a way to safely record the results. And thus is told how the pie chart and the bar graph were invented.
AT THE ELEVENTH HOUR : AND OTHER EXPRESSIONS ABOUT MONEY AND
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
HEOS, BRIDGET
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 14, 2013
Garrard, Thom
This title is part of It’s Just an Expression, Lerner’s series of books on idioms. Each of the thirteen phrases is discussed on a two-page spread, beginning with a realistic, kid-friendly vignette in which the idiom is used. Then the meaning of the phrase is explained, and the possible origins of the expression are given. In some cases this last piece proves to be problematic, because the source of the idiom is unclear and the author must resort to speculation. Yet, this way of beginning each section with a small story seems likely to draw kids in. The photographs and drawings that illustrate each spread, the very colorful pages, and the blocks of text printed on light color backgrounds rather than on white, all add visual appeal.
Pirates Vs. Cowboys
Knopf Books for Young Readers [RANDOM HOUSE]
Reynolds, Aaron
Barneda, David
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 14, 2013
Garrard, Thom
When the pirates discover that all the buried treasure spots are full, they decide to look for a new spot inland. They arrive in Old Cheyenne where a group of outlaw cowboys are running the show. Unfortunately, they can’t understand each other, because the pirates don’t speak Cowboy and the cowboys don’t speak Pirate. Fortunately, Pegleg Highnoon, the world’s only pirate cowboy shows up just in time to clear the air- by telling everyone they need a bath. Thus proving once again that is good to know two languages. Of course, there’s a lot of good pirate and cowboy vocabulary here. There’s also plenty of added fun in the illustrations, which always seem to fit neatly around the text. Fans of pirates, cowboys, and general silliness will love this book.
WORLD CUP
SPORTSZONE [ABDO]
MONNIG, ALEX
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 14, 2013
Garrard, Thom
The World Cup is part of the Sports’ Greatest Championships series from Abdo. The quadrennial tournament for national soccer teams that decides the world championship commanded a worldwide television audience of 700 million when it was last held in 2010 in South Africa, but it wasn’t always that way. This book traces the history of the World Cup from its beginning in 1930, when only thirteen teams participated, to the present day, when FIFA recognizes more countries than the United Nations. Team and individual highlights from each of the 19 tournaments are described in the text and through sidebars. Action photographs are also included, but not every two-page spread is illustrated. Students who are mainly interested in these visuals would do better to look elsewhere, but for young soccer players who are willing to read to learn more about the history of the game, this book is both thorough and reasonably paced.
HOKEY POKEY
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
SPINELLI, JERRY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 14, 2013
Garrard, Thom
The land of Hokey Pokey is the world that children inhabit, where they have their adventures, use their imaginations, and live their lives. Jack and the girl Jubilee have been enemies ever since they were little. One day he wakes up to find that she has stolen his beloved bike, but many other changes are happening also. The games he loved are less fun, his friends are not as interesting, and oddly, Jubilee doesn’t seem as bad. Jack is right on the dividing line between being a Big Kid and his teen years. His world is different now, and he is leaving Hokey Pokey behind. While descriptions of the actions and emotions are very well written, the author creates a major hurdle to the enjoyment and understanding of this novel by dropping the reader into the setting of Hokey Pokey without any preparation or developing any sort of expectations. By the end of the book, all is revealed, but only a small group of young readers is going to be willing to persevere to that point. A guided reading group would have lots to discuss, but for the library collection, this is an additional purchase.
PRINCE FIELDER
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
SAVAGE, JEFF
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 14, 2013
Garrard, Thom
This biography is part of the Lerner series on amazing athletes. After describing the slugging first baseman’s contributions to Detroit’s 2012 league championship victory over the Yankees, the book goes back to his childhood to tell his story chronologically. Since his father was also a major league baseball player, Prince spent time around other players during his childhood. After his success in youth and high school baseball, he quickly ascended through the minor leagues and became a team leader who is popular with his teammates and an all-star player for Milwaukee and Detroit. A timeline of career highlights, glossary, resource lists and index are included. The captioned photograph or sidebar on each page helps to flesh out the picture of this special player, while also keeping the text manageable. Middle grade sports fans in particular will enjoy reading about Prince Fielder.
DEADLY BLOODY BATTLES
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
DONALDSON, MADELINE
Marginal -- Contains so many weaknesses that it might be considered for purchase only as supplementary material in its field or to meet special localized subject needs.
6th grade to 12th grade
September 14, 2013
Garrard, Thom
This title from Lerner’s Deadly and Dangerous series takes a look at twelve battles where the casualty counts were staggering. Each battle is described in five or six paragraphs in terms of the historical context, the strategies employed, and the losses suffered by both sides. Paintings, drawings, and historical photographs give the reader a sense of the destruction wrought in each conflict. A resource list and index are included. Special vocabulary words are defined in small sidebars rather than a glossary, which may increase the number of students actually referring to them. In the introduction, the gore and horror of war are discussed. But when tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions are being killed or wounded on page after page, the cumulative effect of these casualty counts is mind-numbing and desensitizing. War can’t always be avoided, but it is important to remember the suffering of the individual people involved. The concept of this book moves the reader further away from that understanding.
Radio Girl
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Brendler, Carol
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 14, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
It's 1938 and if you want entertainment you turn on the radio. Teenager Cecelia Malony lives in Newark with her mother and aunt, but she longs to follow in her father's footsteps and work in radio broadcasting. How do you get a start in the industry, however? This is a slice-of-life story that takes readers back in time as another world war was brewing, egg creams were ducky, and the family gathered around the radio to find out just what The Shadow knew. When Cece manages to get a Saturday job at a radio studio, behind her mother's back, she makes new friends, discovers new talents, and finds out one awful truth she didn't really want to know. In the meantime, what's going on with her aunt? Does that cute guy really like her? And are Martians really invading New Jersey? While the author may go just a tad overboard, stuffing the text with 1930's slang and references (that can be a little off-putting), still, this is a nice piece of historical fiction with a main character you can really care about.
Senor Pancho Had A Rancho
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Lainez, Rene Colato
Smith, Elwood
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 14, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
This is just the book for schools with large Latino populations. Senor Pancho lives right next to a female (and not so old) MacDonald. Their ranches share a common fence and much more. Now they share a song. Animal sounds in both Spanish and English make this an inclusive and delightful book that draws from both cultures. The author has done a good job of making the story fit the music well. Elwood Smith's wacky, hayseedy illustrations suit the text perfectly, adding a visual bounce to the proceedings. The separation of the farm and ranch, and their eventual melding, along with the mixing of the song, are a lovely touch. Children will enjoy the book and want to sing along. I did, however, feel the ending was a tad abrupt. Practice it before you present it to children and it will flow well.
Fireman Fred
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Reed, Lynn Rowe
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 14, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
With bright, splashy, child-friendly illustrations, and delightful endpapers, this is a book that calls out to the target audience. It tells the tale of Fireman Fred. He and his diverse team of firefighters fight a fire, save a cat, and find a dog who goes back to the station with them. The text is very very simple, designed for the beginning reader, who will find this a great chance for easy early reading success.
Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Shea, Bob
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 14, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Life was carefree and easy for Goat. Then Unicorn moved into the neighborhood. How can a guy hope to compete with someone who can make it rain cupcakes, or turn stuff into gold? Dumb unicorn. Poor goat feels threatened. Then Goat and Unicorn talk (over goat cheese) and Goat discovers that Unicorn is jealous of things Goat can do. They become friends as they recognize they each have unique talents. This is a lighthearted take on childhood rivalry with silly bright illustrations (including sparkles on the cover) that are, in themselves poking fun at the whole "unicorns are so totally wonderful, here, throw in a rainbow or two just to emphasize the concept" viewpoint. Children will enjoy the fun, and appreciate the humor. This should also be a good read-aloud and discussion starter.
Loyalty
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Amoroso, Cynthia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 15, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Values to Live By" series, this 24-page book focuses on loyalty. Loyalty is defined as believing in someone or something and standing up for them. Examples are given of loyalty to friends, family, teams, school, neighborhoods, personal beliefs, and countries. Loyalty is shown to be linked with action. A paragraph of text faces a bright, captioned, color photograph. Readers are told that loyalty can be hard, but it is valuable. The photographs show children from many ethnic groups. The book includes a glossary, index, and bibliography. Stitching is good, but it has that corn-starchy cover, which I dislike. As schools focus on character education this series might be a good choice to provide clear explanations and plenty of examples of a particular character trait in action.
Honesty
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Amoroso, Cynthia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 15, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Values to Live By" series, this 24-page book focuses on honesty. It is defined as not cheating or lying, but stealing is also mentioned in the examples. Readers are shown ways in which honesty can be demonstrated with friends, family, at school, or in the neighborhood. The book points out that honest people are trusted. Photographs show children from many ethnic backgrounds. The book includes a glossary, index, and bibliography. Stitching is good, but it has that corn-starchy cover, which I dislike. As schools focus on character education this series might be a good choice to provide clear explanations and plenty of examples of a particular character trait in action.
Friendliness
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Amoroso, Cynthia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 15, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Values to Live By" series, this 24-page book focuses on friendliness. This virtue is clearly defined, then different ways in which friendliness can be shown are presented, each with a paragraph of text facing a bright, captioned, color photograph. This book encourages readers to smile and say "hello," even when they may not feel like it. It points out that friendliness can overcome grumpiness. Friendliness makes the world a better place! The photographs show children from many ethnic groups. The book includes a glossary, index, and bibliography. Stitching is good, but it has that corn-starchy cover, which I dislike. As schools focus on character education this series might be a good choice to provide clear explanations and plenty of examples of a particular character trait in action.
Forgiveness
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Amoroso, Cynthia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 15, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Values to Live By" series, this 24-page book focuses on forgiveness. Forgiveness is defined as letting go of hurt feelings and accepting the fact that people make mistakes. A variety of situations are then presented in which forgiveness is required. These show examples from school, from family situations, and in the neighborhood. The reader is encouraged to forgive and shown how they, too, might be forgiven when they've made mistakes. Examples are presented in paragraphs of text facing a bright, captioned, color photograph. There is no religious connotation here, just the basic concept of saying "I'm sorry" and accepting the apologies of others. Readers are told this is not always easy, but it makes life happier. The photographs show children from many ethnic groups. The book includes a glossary, index, and bibliography. Stitching is good, but it has that corn-starchy cover, which I dislike. As schools focus on character education this series might be a good choice to provide clear explanations and plenty of examples of a particular character trait in action.
Thankfulness
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Amoroso, Cynthia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 15, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Values to Live By" series, this 24-page book focuses on thankfulness. Thankfulness is clearly defined as things that make you happy or give you a "thank you" feeling, then different situations that would make you thankful are presented. Examples include thankfulness at school, for friends, for family, for help that you receive, and thankfulness in the neighborhood. Each example is contained in a paragraph of text facing a bright, captioned, color photograph. The book ends by encouraging readers to look for those things they are thankful for. The photographs show children from many ethnic groups. The book includes a glossary, index, and bibliography. Stitching is good, but it has that corn-starchy cover, which I dislike. As schools focus on character education this series might be a good choice to provide clear explanations and plenty of examples of a particular character trait in action.
Responsibility
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Amoroso, Cynthia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 15, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Values to Live By" series, this 24-page book focuses on responsibility. Responsibility is defined as a duty or a job. The author then introduces instances in which responsibility can be demonstrated at home, school, and in the neighborhood and community. A paragraph of text introduces each concept and faces A bright, captioned, color photograph. Readers are urged to take care of themselves, do chores and schoolwork, care for pets, and keep promises. The final page ties it all together by talking about how responsibility makes you a better person. The photographs show children from many ethnic groups. The book includes a glossary, index, and bibliography. Stitching is good, but it has that corn-starchy cover, which I dislike. As schools focus on character education this series might be a good choice to provide clear explanations and plenty of examples of a particular character trait in action.
Respect
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Amoroso, Cynthia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 15, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Values to Live By" series, this 24-page book focuses on respect. Respect is clearly defined, then different ways in which respect can be demonstrated are presented, each with a paragraph of text facing a bright, captioned, color photograph. This book talks about how respect can be displayed at school, home, and in the community through respecting others as well as their property and their needs. Respect for ones country is also mentioned. Specific examples are given. The final page ties it all together by talking about how those who show respect also receive it. The photographs show children from many ethnic groups. The book includes a glossary, index, and bibliography. Stitching is good, but it has that corn-starchy cover, which I dislike. As schools focus on character education this series might be a good choice to provide clear explanations and plenty of examples of a particular character trait in action.
Patience
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Amoroso, Cynthia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 15, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Values to Live By" series, this 24-page book focuses on patience. Patience is clearly defined, then different ways in which patience can be applied in real life are presented, each with a paragraph of text facing a colored, captioned, photograph. This book acknowledges that patience is hard, but talks about how it can be valuable. Readers are encouraged to exercise patience in the classroom, at home, while playing games, while on the bus, in lines, and in other daily activities. There is also a mention of sharing, and taking turns. The book ends by pointing out how patience is a valuable virtue that will serve children well. The book includes a glossary, index, and bibliography. Stitching is good, but it has that corn-starchy cover, which I dislike. As schools focus on character education this series might be a good choice to provide clear explanations and plenty of examples of a particular character trait in action.
Patriotism
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Amoroso, Cynthia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 15, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Values to Live By" series, this 24-page book focuses on the value of patriotism. Patriotism is clearly defined, then different ways in which patriotism is demonstrated are presented, each with a few paragraphs of text facing a bright, captioned, color photograph. This book talks about how patriotism is demonstrated through words, flags, music, parades, voting, and those who keep the country safe such as the military. It ends with a focus on how patriotism affects the individual and how it is important for strengthening a country. While the United States is clearly the focus of this book, since many of the photographs feature the American flag, the text could easily apply to any nation. The book includes a glossary, index, and bibliography. Stitching is good, but it has that corn-starchy cover, which is a tad annoying. As schools focus on character education this series might be a good choice to provide clear explanations and plenty of examples of that character trait in action.
Courage
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Amoroso, Cynthia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 15, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Values to Live By" series, this 24-page book focuses on courage. Courage is clearly defined, then different ways in which courage can be demonstrated are presented, each with a few paragraphs of text facing a bright, captioned, color photograph. This book talks about how courage can be displayed at school, through making new friends, through trying new things, through facing our fears, and through accepting responsibility for actions. The final page ties it all together by talking about how courage can make a person strong. The photographs show children from many ethnic groups. The book includes a glossary, index, and bibliography. Stitching is good, but it has that corn-starchy cover, which I dislike. As schools focus on character education this series might be a good choice to provide clear explanations and plenty of examples of a particular character trait in action.
Tolerance
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Amoroso, Cynthia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 15, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Values to Live By" series, this 24-page book focuses on tolerance. Tolerance is clearly defined, then different ways in which people can demonstrate tolerance are presented, each with a paragraph of text facing a bright, captioned, color photograph. This book talks about how tolerance can be displayed at school, through friendships, on the playground, with siblings, and in your neighborhood. The final page ties it all together by talking about how tolerance is necessary for community harmony. The photographs show children from many ethnic groups. The book includes a glossary, index, and bibliography. Stitching is good, but it has that corn-starchy cover, which I dislike. As schools focus on character education this series might be a good choice to provide clear explanations and plenty of examples of a particular character trait in action.
HELPING ANIMALS
HEINEMANN RAINTREE LIBRARY [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
PARKER, VIC
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 15, 2013
Garrard, Thom
Books in the I Can Make a Difference series explain about volunteering and how students can safely and effectively provide assistance to others. This particular title, Helping Animals, provides students with an overview of ways to help care for pet animals and explains how to help animals in nature. The examples range from quick and easy things that can be done at home to long-term, complicated projects. Safety is emphasized throughout. Large, full-color photos accompany the text on nearly every page. This book would be a good place to find ideas for volunteer projects involving animals.
Romping Monsters, Stomping Monsters
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Yolen, Jane
Murphy Kelly
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 16, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
How do monsters behave when they play? Just like kids, of course. In very simple, bold rhyming text, with only a few words per page, young readers see "monsters tumble, run, and lope. Monsters jump a monster rope" and much more. All the while, in the background all kinds of non-scary, colorful monsters smile as they romp and play, with a few reassuring adult monsters providing parental supervision. These aren't scary monsters at all, and they make reading less scary, too, as youngsters will quickly memorize the charming text. This is big enough for sharing and would make a good addition to a preschool monster story time.
All Kinds Of Friends
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Simon, Norma
Zamazing, Cherie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 16, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Friends come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. What do they have in common? They like each other. They do things together. They support each other, and forgive one another when mistakes are made. Friends can move away and still be your friends. Pets and stuffed toys can be friends. You can make new friends when you go to a new place. Everyone needs friends. The text expounds on the wide range of friendships available as the bold, bright, almost three-dimensional illustrations march diversity across the pages, painfully striving to get a minimum of three different ethnicities represented in each group shot. (Oddly I found no differently-abled people represented, but I'm sure that was merely an oversight.) While the illustrations are eye-catching, if somewhat forced, the text is perhaps a little too expansive. Parents and teachers might have a problem with "Can grown-ups be your friends? Oh, sure they can. Most grown-ups like children and they want to be friends with them." While often true, safety is always an issue and should have been mentioned. Nevertheless, this is a bright, inclusive introduction to friendship that would certainly lead to additional classroom discussion.
Green Bath
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS]
Mahy, Margaret
Kellogg, Steven
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 16, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
The neighbors may have a new boat, but a young imaginative boy has a new bath--a claw-footed green wonder. He tries it out for the first time, while wearing his swimsuit, and the bathtub is soon galloping away to the seashore. There they meet mermaids and a sea serpent, and fight pirates for treasure. It's a fabulous adventure, but soon they're on their way home. Was it real? Well, it's hard to explain that pirate gold otherwise. You've got to love Steven Kellogg's energetic illustrations filled with action and detail. They're classic. The story, however, when you boil it down, is fine, but not exceptional. Boy gets in magic bathtub and goes on adventure then comes home. The illustrations add liveliness lots of additional details to the story, but it's still rather thin.
Jo Macdonald Hiked In The Woods
DAWN PUBLICATIONS [DAWN PUBLICATIONS]
Quattlebaum, Mary
Bryant, Laura J.
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 16, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Old MacDonald may have a farm, but he also has a granddaughter named Jo. One day Old MacDonald and Jo go for a hike in the woods and see and hear all sorts of woodland creatures. Each is introduced, with its sound, all to the universally known and loved tune. Warm watercolor illustrations show the happy hikers enjoying nature, eating a picnic lunch, and then, as the nocturnal animals come out, Jo is carried back to the house by her grandpa, fast asleep. The end pages contain additional information about the animals, as well as ideas for outdoor activities. The text flows beautifully with the music and invites listeners or readers to sing along. This is part of a series, all built around Jo and the song. The one about gardens is one I always combine with Stevens' "Tops and Bottoms" as part of a kindergarten story time. The students love it. This would be a nice musical tie-in with outdoor studies.
School Bully, Bew
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Ledger, Kate
May, Kyla
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 16, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Lottie and Mia are curly-haired blonde twins who have twin magic and a miniature unicorn they can keep in a pocket for emergencies. When a new boy comes to school he seems like a bully, and a ball ends up out of reach in a tree. While a friend distracts the crowd the twins deploy the tiny unicorn. Unfortunately it's too small so they must turn into magical Super Twins and fly up, with their pastel-colored wings, to get the ball themselves. It turns out the new boy is just uncomfortable trying to fit in and he's not a bully at all. Everything ends happily. I'm sorry but really? REALLY? The illustrations show children whose big-eyed heads are the same size as their bodies and the "fluffy princessy" factor here is high. When they pulled out the unicorn I snorted aloud. It's like someone reached into the "what girly girls want in a book" bucket and then threw a handful of it on the pages. There are better books about bullies, twins, and yes, even unicorns. Certain girls would enjoy this as a personal book, but libraries deserve better.
Freda Says Please
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Murphy, Stuart J
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 16, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the Stuart J. Murphy "I See I Learn" series that concentrates on character, and social skills, this brightly-illustrated book reinforces using "please," "thank you," and "you're welcome." Freda's a little assertive and starts ordering others around when she's playing school and pretending to be the teacher. The other students correct her and their help carries over into recess. Everyone is happy. There's a review at the end, and a chance to talk further about the subject using five leading questions, which would be handy for classroom discussion. Stitching is poor, but if a teacher wants this for a classroom library it should work fine.
Stuck In The Middle (Of Middle School) : A Novel In Doodles
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [MACMILLAN]
Young, Karen Romano
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 17, 2013
Dame, Anne
This sequel to Doodlebug will likely appeal to elementary school girls who also enjoy the Dork Diary series. Done in the style of a graphic journal, characters are occasionally difficult to distinguish and the storyline occasionally suffers from the same ADD problems as the main character. However, the plot and problems contained in the story are totally appropriate for upper elementary and middle school audiences. Unfortunately, I can think of very few middle school students who would actually read it.
Gone Fishing
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Wissinger, Tamera Will
Cordell, Matthew
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 17, 2013
Dame, Anne
This novel in verse showcases a wide variety of poetry formats, from dramatic poems for two to quatrains. Students will appreciate the humor in the story and teachers will appreciate using it as a mentor text.
Thanksgiving
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Heinrichs, Ann
Jordan, Charles
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 18, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Holidays and Celebrations" series, this 32-page book is just what teachers need when they want to explain how a particular holiday originated. The book includes the facts about the original Thanksgiving feast as ancient harvest festivals are described. President Lincoln is credited with making it a national holiday. (No mention is made of Sarah Hale.) Traditional foods and decorations are described. Holiday poems are scattered throughout the pages. The book also includes a recipe for cornbread, and an art project. With a glossary, bibliography, and index this is a solid nonfiction addition to library collections. It is, however, a reissue of a previous book. There are no significant changes, so only purchase this if your previous copy has died.
St. Patrick's Day
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Heinrichs, Ann
Snyder, Joel
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 18, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Holidays and Celebrations" series, this 32-page book is just what teachers need when they want to explain where a particular holiday came from. The book includes the facts about the St. Patrick's Day, information on the saint, the holiday's symbols and decorations, and ways in which it is celebrated worldwide. The way in which the shamrock can be used to explain the Trinity is briefly mentioned, and poems that suit the holiday are scattered throughout the pages. One puzzlement is the inclusion of the song lyrics to "I'm Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover" since a clover is not a shamrock. Ah well. The book includes a map of Ireland, showing its location next to England and in relationships to Europe. Unfortunately it does not include a world map. There's a recipe for Irish soda bread, and an art project. With a glossary, bibliography, and index this is a solid nonfiction addition to library collections. It is, however, a reissue. There are no significant changes, so only purchase this if your previous copy has died.
Halloween
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Heinrichs, Ann
Weidner, Teri
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 18, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Holidays and Celebrations" series, this 32-page book is just what teachers need when they want to explain how a particular holiday originated. The book includes facts about related festivals like Samhain, All Hallow's Eve, Dia de Los Muertos, and ancient harvest celebrations. The evolution of ways in which the holiday is celebrated today are examined. Traditional foods and decorations are described. Holiday poems are scattered throughout the pages. The book also includes a recipe for spooky chow-mein noodle spiders, and an art project. With a glossary, bibliography, and index this is a solid nonfiction addition to library collections. It is, however, a reissue. There are no significant changes, so only purchase this if your previous copy has died.
Hansel And Gretel
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Higgins, Nadia
Petelinsek, Kathleen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 18, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of The Child's World "Fairy Tale Collection" series, this 24-page book is a simple, unadorned, somewhat abbreviated retelling of the classic fairy tale. Poor parents leave their children in the woods. A trail of breadcrumbs is eaten. A gingerbread cottage is found. A witch fattens up Hansel for the oven. Gretel tricks her into the fate she had planned for the girl's brother and the children take the witch's treasure home to their father. The tale is competently, if somewhat blandly, retold and accompanied by occasional illustrations by Kathleen Petelinsek. Two pages at the end provide a little information about the story's history, including mention of the Brothers Grimm. The lessons the story teaches, as well as some of its plot flaws, are explored. Readers are left with a thoughtful question or two. While not extraordinary, my teachers are requesting more traditional versions of the old tales to use when comparing and contrasting more modern versions. This would meet that need. The stitching is good but the glossy paper over board cover will not last.
Little Mermaid
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Felix, Rebecca
Petelinsek, Kathleen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 18, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of The Child's World "Fairy Tale Collection" series, this 24-page book is a fairly faithful, if condensed, retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen classic. There is no attempt here to make a Disney ending out of it, which is a bit of a relief. The tale is competently, if somewhat blandly, retold and accompanied by vivid illustrations by Kathleen Petelinsek. Two pages at the end give a little history of the story, mention other versions, and offer a brief exploration of the lessons it teaches. The readers are left with a thoughtful question or two. While not extraordinary, my teachers are requesting more traditional versions of the old tales to use when comparing and contrasting more modern versions. This would meet that need. The stitching is good but the glossy paper over board cover will not last.
Fisherman And His Wife
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Felix, Rebecca
Petelinsek, Kathleen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 18, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of The Child's World "Fairy Tale Collection" series, this 24-page book is a fairly faithful retelling of the original folk tale of the fisherman who rescues an enchanted fish and then is forced by his wife to ask for increasingly grand rewards until the two are left back where they start again. The tale is competently retold and accompanied by occasional colorful illustrations by Kathleen Petelinsek. Two pages at the end give a little history of the story and offer a brief exploration of the lessons it teaches. The readers are left with a thoughtful question or two. My teachers are requesting more traditional versions of the old tales to use when comparing and contrasting more modern versions. While children today may not understand the wife's wished rise from queen to empress to pope to God, that is the original tale. The stitching is good but the glossy paper over board cover will not last.
Cinderella
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Higgins, Nadia
Petelinsek, Kathleen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 18, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of The Child's World "Fairy Tale Collection" series, this 24-page book is a fairly faithful version of the Cinderella story with a wicked stepmother, bad stepsisters and the inclusion of an uncaring father. There are no toes being cut off to make the slippers fit, and the ending has Cinderella forgiving her family and having them join her in the palace. The tale is competently, if somewhat blandly, retold and accompanied by Kathleen Petelinsek's illustrations showing a black cast of characters, which adds diversity without changing the story at all. Two pages at the end give a little history of the story, mention other versions, and offer a brief exploration of the lessons it teaches. The readers are left with a thoughtful question or two. While not extraordinary, my teachers are requesting more traditional versions of the old tales to use when comparing and contrasting more modern versions. This would meet that need. The stitching is good but the glossy paper over board cover will not last.
Mountains Beyond Mountains : The Quest Of Dr. Paul Farmer, A
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE]
Kidder, Tracy
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 18, 2013
Dame, Anne
This is a well-done adaptation about Paul Farmer's amazing work in the medical field in places such as Haiti, Russia, Peru, and Cuba. His dedication to helping people obtain access to medical care, both preventative and immediate, is inspiring. It is written at a level accessible for middle and high school students.
Scared Of Halloween
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Biedrzycki, David
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 19, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Vivid, humorous computer-generated illustrations create a wonderful, eye-catching setting for this funny story that is part of the "Me and My Dragon" series. It's Halloween, and the dragon has some concerns. He's nervous about mummies and vampires and such, even when they're not real. The boy reassures his friend, and tries to get him into the spirit of the season. Finding the right costume, however, is a problem. The series of bad choices is absolutely hilarious, with the understated text and the over-the-top illustrations. When Halloween arrives, a compromise is reached and they both have a grand time. Whew! This book is a hoot and a half, with a light-hearted text about unusual friends sharing a popular holiday. You'll want to add it to your Halloween shelves.
Alien Invaders : Species That Threaten Our World
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Drake, Jane
Thurman, Mark
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 19, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Some came accidentally. Some were deliberately introduced. Some were brought to solve other problems and then created their own. What do we do in a constantly mobile world when plants and animals are introduced to a new environment where their natural predators do not exist? Well, mostly we fight a losing battle. This book is a fascinating look at various invasive species that have become legendary in their sheer awfulness. Rats, cane toads, walking catfish, feral cats, brown tree snakes and more are presented as cautionary tales. Don't forget kudzu, purple loosetrife, and other invasive plants. Each case study is presented clearly and in a compelling manner, backed with solid facts. Illustrations by Mark Thurwood accompany the text. A world map shows how things are spreading. Additional information, a call for volunteers, and an index are included. This is a well-written book that presents the problem in a way that anyone could understand. Teachers doing ecology units will appreciate it, but it's also an enjoyable book for those who like a good nonfiction read.
Little Red Riding Hood
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Higgins, Nadia
Petelinsek, Kathleen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 19, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of The Child's World "Fairy Tale Collection" series, this 24-page book is a retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" retaining much of the detail of the old tale, with a few embellishments. This young lady going to Grandma's, but stops to gather colorful leaves as a gift. The wolf helps, then gobbles down both grandma and girl. A hunter cuts the wolf open, rescuing his victims and getting a fine wolf pelt in the bargain. The tale is competently retold and accompanied by occasional colorful illustrations by Kathleen Petelinsek. Two pages at the end give a little history of the story and offer a brief exploration of the lessons it teaches. The readers are left with a thoughtful question or two. My teachers are requesting more traditional versions of the old tales to use when comparing and contrasting more modern versions. This would certainly qualify.
Odessa Again
Wendy Lamb Books [RANDOM HOUSE]
Reinhardt, Dana
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 19, 2013
Dame, Anne
Dana Reinhardt moves away from her powerful young adult novels, such as Things a Brother Knows, to a more whimsical upper-elementary tale. Odessa gets in a fight with her younger brother one day. In a fit of anger, she stamps her foot on the floorboard so hard that she falls through. Suddenly she finds herself 24 hours in the past. She has a chance to re-do her day. Using this technique she changes several things she wishes she had done differently - but she needs to determine how often and what she is willing to use this ability for. It's well-written, but for me it lacked the impact of her YA books. It will appeal to upper-el girls who enjoy the Dork Diaries as this also has illustrations even though they are very young looking. Will have some middle school appeal but for a select audience.
Magic Tricks With String
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Adams, B
Oseid, Kelsey
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 19, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Make Your Own Fun" series, this sturdy 24-page book gives young readers step-by-step instructions for doing some simple magic tricks. The necessary supplies (listed before each trick) are minimal, and the tricks are easy, if practiced, but actually quite cool. Included with the five string tricks is a two-page introduction to the correct way to palm a coin, carefully explained. Those youngsters who truly want to do magic will find this an excellent place to start. There's also a glossary, bibliography and index, but kids won't be using those much. The only downside? I hate those corn-starchy covers. Oh well, this will get grubby fast!
How To Make Balloon Animals
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Atwood, Megan
Oseid, Kelsey
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 19, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Make Your Own Fun" series, this sturdy 24-page book gives young readers step-by-step instructions for making some of the standard balloon animal creations you'd see any balloon artist make. Yep--sword, unicorn horn, fish, dog, and the classic "monkey with banana" are all presented with a clear list of necessary supplies, and step-by-step instructions. There's a safety tip, informative illustrations, and an unnecessary glossary, bibliography and index. Children are going to find this book, and other members of the series, informative and easy-to-use introductions to making or doing cool stuff. Yes, this has that awful corn-starchy cover that I loath, but the content is excellent.
How To Make Paper Airplanes
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Adams, B
Oseid, Kelsey
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 19, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Let's face it--you can never have too many books on making paper airplanes. Part of the "Make Your Own Fun" series, this sturdy 24-page book gives young readers step-by-step instructions for six types of airplanes, some more traditional than others. The necessary supplies are minimal, and the planes are cool and come with good illustrations and step-by-step instructions. There's also a completely unnecessary glossary, bibliography and index. This whole series introduces fun activities in a kid-friendly, clear manner. I can recommend all that I've seen. The only downside? I hate those corn-starchy covers. Oh well, this will get grubby fast!
How Many Ways Can You Cut A Pie?
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Moncure, Jane Belk
Rooney, Ronnie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 20, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the Magic Castle Readers Math series, this well-stitched 32-page book tells the story of a pie contest. Pig is hosting it. Squirrel makes her best acorn pie. As friends come by, they admire the pie and suggest cutting it and munching it down. One friend equals halves, two equals thirds. The pie is too hot to eat. They leave to let it cool but Pig happens by and ends up eating the whole thing. Another pie is needed, this one cut into fourths (though why Pig deserves any more pie after eating an entire one on her own is beyond me.) This is a basic story about dividing things equally, with simple, colorful illustrations and a touch of humor. While not particularly inspired, it does get the point across.
Fractions
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Pistoia, Sara
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 20, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Simply Math" series, this book uses crisp color photographs against large blocks of white or primary colors, and clear, informative text, to teach young students about fractions. The explanations are concise and interesting, and multiple examples are given. Fractions in pictures, words, and numbers are shown. Fractions of a single item, as well as fractions of a group of items are presented. Really, for 24-pages it is a remarkably all-encompassing introduction to the concept. Stitching is good, but it has that weird "corn-starchy" cover I dislike. Still, the content is solid. This whole series might be a good addition to your basic math collection.
Patterns
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Pistoia, Sara
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 20, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Simply Math" series, this book uses crisp color photographs against glossy white pages, with bold primary color borders, as well as clear, informative text, to teach young students about patterns. Readers learn that patterns can be made with shapes, sizes, colors, and positions. Many animal patterns in nature are shown. Patterns in sequences are presented, and readers are encouraged to predict what would come next. There is also mention of patterns in music and in words. This is a pretty good overview, for 24 pages, and is certainly clear, and visually appealing. Stitching is good, but it has that weird "corn-starchy" cover I dislike. Still, the content is solid. This whole series might be a good addition to your basic math collection.
Mousekin's Special Day
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Moncure, Jane Belk
Gallagher-Cole, Mernie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 20, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Magic Castle Readers" series this 24-page book combines bright, happy illustrations with simple text to tell the story of Mousekin. Her parents are obviously preparing for a special day. Different things trigger thoughts of different holidays in Mousekin's mind. What holiday is it? Why, her birthday, of course! Ok, this has been done before, and better, by Denys Cazet in "December 24th." Still, that book is out of print and this is a simple enjoyable tale that new readers will delight in.
Little Too-Tall
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Moncure, Jane Belk
Desantis, Susan
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 20, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Magic Castle Readers" series this 24-page book combines bold, colorful illustrations with simple text to tell the story of Little Too-Tall. She's an ostrich who is having trouble finding a friend. Animals she approaches turn her away because she looks different, and can't do the things they can. However, her physical attributes give her the ability to spot a prowling lion and save an antelope and a zebra. Now she has friends who appreciate her. This is a simple story that will appeal to the easy-reader set. It includes some questions that parents or teachers might use to discuss the book. If you need more low-level readers this fits the bill.
Noni Is Nervous
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Hartt-Sussman, Heather
Cote, Genevieve
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 20, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Noni is a nervous little girl. She worries about everything--literally everything. Now it's the first day of school and her worry list is long indeed. Her parents are supportive, though her little brother is not as tolerant. Still, what if the teacher is mean? As she makes friends and settles in Noni finds that some of her worries were for nothing, and school is fun. This is a gently humorous, yet reassuring, tale with illustrations by Genevieve Cote that convey emotion in a few subtle strokes. This would be a good book to read to classes on the first day of school.
Twerp
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE]
Goldblatt, Mark
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 20, 2013
Dame, Anne
Julian has made a big mistake. It got him suspended from school and now he has to write a journal for his English teacher. He does it because it will get him out of a Shakespeare assignment, but he really doesn't want to write about what happened Of course, that's exactly what his teacher does want. Bullying is the theme of this book. Astute readers will be able to guess what Julian did but only through careful reading. A good read-alike for "Bystander" but at a just slightly lower level of intensity.
Dragon Turn : The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His Fifth Case
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Peacock, Shane
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 20, 2013
Dame, Anne
Book 5 in the series. Sherlock and Irene attend a show where the magician produces a live dragon! When they go backstage afterwards to congratulate him, they see the magician being arrested for the murder of his arch-rival. Sherlock and Irene set out to discover the truth - to the murder and the existence of a dragon. The cover gives away part of the plot, but there are lots of unexpected twists and turns to keep readers guessing.
Apple Orchard Riddle
SCHWARTZ & WADE [SCHWARTZ & WADE]
Mcnamara, Margaret
Karas, G. Brian
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 21, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
From the same people who brought you the ever popular "How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?" comes another valuable addition to a teacher's autumn bookshelf. Mr. Tiffin's class is off to the apple orchard. They learn about types of apples, pick apples, and see cider made. Don't forget the apple doughnuts! But through the whole field trip they are puzzling over a riddle the teacher gave them. "Show me a little red house with no windows and no door, but with a star inside." They find things that match part of the riddle, but nothing that seems to have everything. It is a thoughtful child who figures it out. It is, of course, an apple. Friendly gouache, acrylic and pencil illustrations accompany awell-written text that will easily keep students engaged. Here's another winner that teachers will demand.
Mermaids In The Backyard
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
Hapka, Catherine
Castelao, Patricia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 21, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Lindy is not excited when her parents move the family from Chicago to a house on stilts in South Carolina, by the sea. Sure, they're following their dream of running a boat business, but what about her? It's hard to fit in with the local kids. Everything around her is strange. Then she discovers something amazing--a mermaid in trouble. The rescue is hard, and requires that she face some of her own fears, but now she has friends, and very unusual ones. Maybe life by the ocean is just what she wanted after all. This is an easy chapter book with good solid writing, interesting characters, occasional black and white illustrations and...MERMAIDS! Girls at my school have been demanding mermaid books. This appears to be the first in a series. It will be sure to appeal to the same crowd that love the "Magic Treehouse" books. I know it's going to swim right off the shelf.
Too Much Glue
FLASHLIGHT PRESS [FLASHLIGHT PRESS]
Lefebvre, Jason
Retz, Zac
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 21, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Glue! More glue! Matty ignores the art teacher's counsel that globby glue doesn't dry. Instead, Matty creates a gluey, sticky, messy artpiece, with himself as the major component. Oh, who can save him? Does he really need saving? This is an exhuberent celebration of diving into art, body and soul. While teachers probably won't appreciate the glue-fest, children will enjoy the over-the-top humor and the big, vibrant, hilarious illustrations by Zac Retz that are big enough for group sharing. Just don't do a glue-related art project right afterwards.
Neptune Project
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Holyoke, Polly
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 21, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Global warming, overpopulation, decreased resources--they've all created a world where a totalitarian government rules. This is Nere's world, yet she still has a certain amount of freedom because she lives near the sea and has worked with dolphins most of her life. Now bad changes are coming, and Nere learns she was an experiment in "The Neptune Project." One step more and she is transformed into a water-breathing, ocean-dwelling human. She and a few others are sent beneath the sea to find the colony her father has created and build a new life and possibly a new world. Getting to the safe colony, however, is fraught with danger. Sharks, a giant squid, the government lackeys who want them dead, and even other teens who have been changed, block their way. And, of course, there are love interests, rivalries, and lots and lots of dolphin help. This is an interesting book, the first in a series. The characters are well-drawn and the concept is exciting. Yes, it does require a considerable suspension of disbelief because the author doesn't adequately account for the way sound, movement, and objects change in water. Still, for those looking for a new series, this might be a good choice. This was popular with students.
Over In A River : Flowing Out To The Sea
DAWN PUBLICATIONS [DAWN PUBLICATIONS]
Berkes, Marianne
Dubin, Jill
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 21, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Marieanne Berkes has created another biome book to be sung to the tune of "Over in the Meadow." Her previous books have covered jungles, the Arctic, Australia, and the forest. This is a lyrical counting book introducing mother or father animals and their babies, given the appropriate name and increasing in numbers from one manatee calf to ten otter pups. Exquisite mixed-media illustrations by Jill Dubin utilize tissue paper to create a watery feel in this book based on animals that make their homes on or near rivers. The final pages of the book introduce further information about each animal, and a map is included showing where the animal might be found in the United States, and labeling the pertinent river. Careful readers will also find another animal hidden in each picture. This is a fun series that works well with teachers using GLAD strategies.
Scrubba Dub, Carlos
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Murphy, Stuart J
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 21, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Carlos is a messy bunny. He likes to do messy activities. What he doesn't like is washing his hands. This creates a problem with his other animal friends at school. Everything Carlos touches gets dirty. Carlos tries, but he's more of a "splash and go" kind of fellow than a meticulous hand-washer. Then his friends and teacher teach him why you wash your hands, when you wash your hands, and how you wash them.Singing "one scrubba dub, two scrubba dub..." up to ten means you've washed long enough. True, the story is rather bland, but the bright illustrations, including graphics showing the correct way to wash your hands, are kid-friendly. And teachers are always looking for books that teach basic hygiene, especially as cold and flu season arrives.
Dinosaur Kisses
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Stein, David Ezra
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 21, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
A bouncing baby dinosaur cracks out of her egg and STOMPS and CHOMPS. Then the babysaur sees two little mammals kissing and decides that activity looks great. Unfortunately the dinosaur is big, and chompy and stompy and pretty much destructive of anything she tries to kiss. (And then there was that unfortunate incident when she accidentally ate the kissee!) Finally she finds the perfect playmate in another dinosaur baby whose "kisses" are chompy and stompy and whompy... and perfect. Big bold illustrations convey humor and emotion in broad lines, perfect for preschool storytimes. The text is also in big, bold letters. Young children will easily sympathize with the dinosaur, who has only really mastered large motor skills but loves exploring her new world. Those who think kissing is "sissy" will love the ending. This joyful romp of a book is sure to set the small ones giggling.
Spooky Friends
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Feder, Jane
Downing, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 21, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
In these three short stories Scarlet (a vampire) and Igor (a mummy) share the same adventures any other children might. Cats, art, snowmen--everything is an opportunity to learn and share. The two friends often disagree and are very different. However, they learn to compromise. The stories are gentle, but with enough action to keep young readers involved. The humorous illustrations by Julie Downing are energetic and fun. Beginning readers are sure to enjoy this book.
I Spy Pets
TEMPLAR [TEMPLAR]
Gibbs, Edward
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 21, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Edward Gibbs' "I Spy" books are kid-friendly inactive books that allow young readers to draw conclusions, based on clues, and then check to see if they were correct. This one focuses on pets. A hole is cut through the cover, showing an animal's eye. On alternate pages the hole is repeated, first showing a bit of the upcoming animal then, when turned, showing the animal's eye in place. Clues include a circle with the animal's eye, a fact, a statement by the animal about diet, and the hole that shows a part of the animal. Flip the page to see the whole animal and learn what it is.This is a sturdy book that young children will enjoy as they guess, then guess again, already knowing the right answer.
Beginner's Guide To Running Away From Home
SCHWARTZ & WADE [SCHWARTZ & WADE]
Huget, Jennifer
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 22, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
What? You've never run away from home? Well, here's a guide for doing it right. First you need a grievance, and it must be expressed loudly to your entire family. Then you need to warn them of your imminent departure. Pack carefully--you'll need food, shelter, clothing, and something for defense against bears.Very important--leave a note, and imagine how horrible your parents will feel when they read it. Then run away. Do NOT think of happy memories. Do NOT look back. But what if there really are bears? Is it getting dark? Your family has suffered long enough. After all, you're not cruel! This is a tongue-in-cheek book most notable for the illustrations which are hand-built 3-D sets that have been photographed, with added line drawings. They're bright, imaginative, and very eye-catching if sometimes a little overly "busy." Children will enjoy the story, empathize with the boy who is the narrator, and have fun finding humorous little details in the illustrations.
TJ ZAPS THE SMACKDOWN : STOPPING PHYSICAL BULLYING
CALICO CHAPTER BOOKS [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
MULLARKEY, LISA
LACOSTE, GARY
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 22, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
I really like this series. The chapter books revolve around the life of TJ Trapper and his friends. They're typical kids and have to deal with typical bully situations. Each book focuses on a different type of bully but in no way do you get the feeling that this is excessive since the bullying is so true-to-life. In this book basketball is king, and TJ's friend, Ethan, is great at it. Another kid on the team, however, feels threatened and physically attacks him in subtle ways. When TJ and his friends stand up for Ethan they, too, become targets of this bully. Showing the smarts that this series exemplifies, TJ tells his dad, who is a counselor in the school district. He also tells Ethan that he needs to talk to his own father about the situation. That doesn't turn out as expected and TJ's dad steps in to make the situation clear. What I love about this series is that it clearly shows how kids hesitate to "tattle" but how necessary it is to get an adult involved. Every school should own the series.
Little Mouse
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Murray, Alison
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 22, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
A nickname like Little Mouse can be a problem, especially if sometimes you don't feel like a mouse at all. You can feel tall as a giraffe, strong as an ox, scary as a lion. On the other hand, cuddled in your mother's lap, Little Mouse seems just right. This is lovely, evocative book with wonderful visual similes in Murray's big, child-friendly illustrations, perfect for storytime. You could even have the youngster sact out the different animals if you want a movement activity, and then you end it with little mouse and everyone quiets down. Wonderful!
Perfect Game
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Bowen, Fred
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 23, 2013
Dame, Anne
Isaac is obsessed with pitching a perfect game. His dad is pretty serious about it, too. So when others "mess up" on his team, Isaac gets quite upset. His coach suggests that he come help out with a basketball team that he coaches. When Isaac does, he meets some kids who make him re-think his idea of perfect and teamwork. A little bit preachy, yet a great look at sports teams for intellectual and physical disabilities.
CLAIM TO FAME
CALICO CHAPTER BOOKS [ABDO]
WALLACE, NANCY K
CHRONISTER, AMANDA
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 24, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Abby and the Book Bunch" series, this easy chapter book follows Abby and her friends as they help out in the library and in the local old folk's home. Abby's worried about the library play. Performance makes her nervous. A prank sets the boys against the girls, but also leads to a fun activity at the old folk's home. How will it all be resolved? Unfortunately the reader ends up not caring much. The writing is ragged, and the author fails to fill in readers who haven't read the other books. There is literally no introduction to the characters and their lives. Another problem is the use of both left and right margin justification which means the spaces between letters varies widely and is occasionally quite distracting. While this is a sturdy book, it isn't a necessary purchase.
TJ ZAPS THE RUMOR MILL : STOPPING GOSSIP
CALICO CHAPTER BOOKS [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
MULLARKEY, LISA
LACOSTE, GARY
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 24, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
TJ thinks it's funny when he hears a rumor being spread that someone in his class is a bed-wetter. Soon the rumor expands to include booger-eating and other nasty habits. It stops being funny, however, when TJ discovers that HE is target of the rumors. The teasing escalates. The person who started the rumor was a friend. What's going on? Once again TJ must face a form of bullying--gossip--and once again his father, a school counselor steps in with good proactive advice. This is book 4 in the well-bound series that has realistic, fun stories that show how many forms bullying can take, the pain it can cause, and how to deal with it effectively. These would be great read-alouds and good discussion starters. I think all elementary schools should buy the series.
Formerly Shark Girl
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Bingham, Kelly
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 24, 2013
Dame, Anne
Novel in verse. Sequel to Shark Girl. A year ago, Jane lost her arm in a shark attack. Now she is struggling with identity questions that will influence where she applies to college and what she will study. There is also a mild romance woven into the story-line which will make it a good read-alike for Sarah Dessen fans.
Mojo
Knopf Books for Young Readers [RANDOM HOUSE]
Tharp, Tim
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 24, 2013
Dame, Anne
Dylan is looking for power and respect. When he discovers a dead body, he thinks he'll get it. Unfortunately, all he gets is a lousy nickname: "BodyBag." When a rich girl from the other side of town goes missing, Dylan and his best friend Audrey, decide to look for her so they can claim a big cash reward. They get drawn into a seedy hidden gang world which could get dangerous very quickly. Writing is mediocre. I never got drawn in by the characters. However, it will hold appeal for those who are intrigued by the behind the scenes look at gangs, what they do, how they operate, etc.
OUT OF NOWHERE
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
PADIAN, MARIA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
September 24, 2013
Dame, Anne
Tom is a great soccer player and an excellent student. He has lots of friends as well as a girlfriend. It seems as if everything is as perfect as it could possibly be. Then his town is inundated with Somali refugees. Tom gets involved with their lives and struggles when 4 Somalis join his soccer team. They are skilled players, some even better than Tom, but when it looks like they might go to the finals, their eligibility is challenged. Plus people in the town are in an uproar about how to handle the new immigrants who rarely speak English and don't often have jobs. Some offensive language. However, this is well-written, insightful and definitely tackles a contemporary issue in our society.
Hollywood, Dead Ahead
HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Klise, Kate
Klise, M. Sarah
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 24, 2013
Dame, Anne
Book 5 in the 43 Old Cemetery Road Series First of all, the print edition has interesting and detailed end papers that unfortunately get mostly covered up by the book jacket. The story itself is full of puns and interesting characters. Fans of the series will continue to enjoy the antics of Olive the ghost as well as the others during their trip to Hollywood to turn their story into a movie. Could hook a struggling/reluctant reader with it's Wimpy Kid style of pictures, fonts, letters, etc.
Break Point
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Jaimet, Kate
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
September 24, 2013
Dame, Anne
Trent's summer job at a swanky country club allows him to train with professional level tennis coaches. However, sabotage, a possible buyout, and a rival named Rex threaten to destroy Trent's dreams. He and his friend Maddy team up to find some answers. Orca sports published, so it's a good hi-lo for students who like sports and mysteries. Plot's a bit predictable but that should help struggling/reluctant readers. I like that it features tennis which doesn't seem to get much attention in the sports genre.
City Tossed And Broken
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Blundell, Judy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 24, 2013
Dame, Anne
A new addition to the Dear America series. This is the diary of Minnie Bonner, set in San Francisco during the earthquake in 1906. Originally Minnie lived in Philadelphia, but due to family debts she was sold as a servant to a family moving to San Francisco. Shortly after she arrives, the earthquake occurs and all the aftermath of the tragedy. Fans of historical fiction will enjoy this story told in journal form. Lots of interesting details about the time period. Could go down to 3rd grade level as well as up to 7th or 8th.
Dead River
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE]
Balog, Cyn
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 24, 2013
Dame, Anne
Kiandra, her boyfriend, and two other friends are all going white water rafting on a nearby river instead of going to prom. The river is appropriately named the Dead River because of all the people who have drowned there. Rumors of ghosts with eerie tales abound as well. Kiandra nearly drowns and suddenly she is hearing voices and seeing people who aren't there. Dark, creepy, and suspenseful. Students looking for a shorter read alike for Stephen King will like this one.
Under The Light
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Whitcomb, Laura
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
September 24, 2013
Dame, Anne
Companion novel to "A Certain Slant of Light" Love and out of body experiences make for an interesting tale - but it probably helps to have read the other book for better contextual understanding. Characters are well-written and dynamic. There are some sexual situations, but nothing graphic.
Play Makers
Scholastic, Inc. [Scholastic, Inc.]
Lupica, Mike
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 24, 2013
Gustafson, Chris
Play Makers follows sixth grade Ben from the end of his triumphant football season through winter basketball. Ben's the point guard, and his eagerness to polish his skills so he won't be humiliated by the best player on a rival team leads to an injury for Sam, the best player on Ben's team. Ben must manage his guilt at Sam's injury, his fears that the season is lost before it even gets going, and his friendship/budding romance with soccer playing Lily and do his best to reclaim the season when all seems lost. I don't know if middle school basketball playing boys are as thoughtful and smart and introspective as Ben, but I hope reading Lupica's books will be a mirror for kids who wonder what perseverance and good sportsmanship look like. A fairy tale for boys in the best possible way.
Tommysaurus Rex
GRAPHIX [GRAPHIX]
Tennapel, Doug
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 24, 2013
Gustafson, Chris
Ely’s closest companion is his dog, who is hit and killed by a car, so Ely goes to his grandfather’s farm for the summer to help out and work out his grief. Fleeing neighborhood bullies into the forest, he finds a Tyranosaurus Rex hidden in a deep cave and makes it his pet. Plenty of TenNapel’s trademark humor but I found the bullies clichéd and it didn’t feel as fresh or inventive as TenNapel’s previous excellent work.
Jinx Of The Loser
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Kowitt, H N
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 24, 2013
Gustafson, Chris
Here’s what you need to know: 1. It’s a Diary of a Wimpy Kid read-alike. 2. It’s the third book in the series. 3. Kids who liked the first two books will like this one but will want to read the series from the beginning. 4. Middle schooler Danny will be hapless and there will be a positive-ish resolution. 5. Your have probably not reached the saturation point on notebook novels yet and there are still plenty of eager readers for this.
Gorgeous
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Rudnick, Paul
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 24, 2013
Gustafson, Chris
At 18, Becky’s future looks like not much more that fun with best friend Rocher after their shifts at the Super Shop-a-Lot and helping out mom, who can’t really leave their trailer now that she’s over 400 pounds. After mom’s sudden death, Becky finds a New York phone number among mom’s things that connects her with a famous fashion designer who invites Becky to New York and promises to change her life by designing three dresses that will make her the most beautiful woman in the world. It’s a foul-mouthed, whirl-wind fairy tale that’s totally over the top, and truly fun.
If I Ever Get Out Of Here
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS]
Gansworth, Eric
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 24, 2013
Gustafson, Chris
It’s 1975 and Lewis ‘s 7th grade year is tough. He’s the only kid from the Tuscarora reservation in the advanced classes at school, none of the white kids get his culture or want to be his friend, and his own social skills aren’t the smoothest. When military kid George transfers in and is friendly to Lewis, the two boys have to navigate their own sets of cultural expectations. Lewis has never been to the home of a white person before he hangs out with George, but how can he invite George to visit the falling down reservation house where Lewis lives with his mom and a Vietnam vet uncle suffering from PTSD? Slower, depthier than The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian .
Language Inside
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE]
Thompson, Holly
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
September 25, 2013
Dame, Anne
Novel in verse. Emma is a white girl who was raised in Japan. She considers it home. However, her mom's health issues cause them to move back to Massachusetts. Even though she looks like she should fit in, she doesn't. She is also worried about her Japanese friends and their families that were strongly affected by the recent tsunami. Her grandma gets Emma involved at a long-term care center where she helps a woman write poetry - and she meets a boy named Samnang who works with elderly Cambodian refugees. An interesting look at cultures, stereotypes, and perspectives. Could be a great basis for discussion.
Sleepwalkers
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Schwarz, Viviane
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 25, 2013
Dame, Anne
Graphic novel with an interesting premise: there is a team of 3 creatures that receive letters from children with nightmares and then go rescue the children. I would have liked clearer graphics; the drawings still look a lot like sketches rather than drawings.
Poseidon : Earth Shaker
FIRST SECOND [FIRST SECOND]
O'connor, George
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 25, 2013
Dame, Anne
This graphic novel lacks appeal. The myths are over-simplified. The color palette is not as rich and vivid as it could be. However, graphic novel addicts will pick it up, as will those who enjoy Percy Jackson. The Percy Jackson graphic novels are a better bet for a middle school audience. Good discussion questions, index, and recommended reading at the end.
Tiger In My Soup
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Sheth, Kashmira
Ebbeler, Jeffrey
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 25, 2013
Dame, Anne
Clever with fabulous illustrations, featuring African-American siblings. A younger brother is left with his older sister for the day. She refuses to read him his book about tigers, but his imagination holds a big surprise for him when lunch is ready.
Grandma And The Great Gourd : A Bengali Tale
ROARING BROOK PRESS [MACMILLAN]
Divakaruni, Chitra Baner
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 25, 2013
Dame, Anne
A tale set in India where Grandma sets out to visit her daughter on the other side of the jungle. Along the way, hungry animals try to eat her. She convinces them to wait until she returns when she will be much fatter and juicier. Of course she has a plan to outsmart them on the way back. Vivid illustrations and well-written text make this a great addition to any folk-tale collection.
Nothing but Blue
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Jahn-Clough, Lisa
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 25, 2013
Dame, Anne
Blue is wandering the streets. Alone, barefoot, cold, and hungry. The refrain "they're all dead" keeps repeating in her head. She walks on, meeting a dog who seems almost magical. She names him Shadow as they continue their trek to the east coast, meeting a wide variety of people along the way. Gives what seems to be an accurate portrayal of what it would be like to be a homeless teen. Many characters are stereotypical and plot is very predictable.
QUICKSAND : HIV/AIDS IN OUR LIVES
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 25, 2013
Gleb, Heidi
The author’s brother-in-law contracted HIV and wanted to remain anonymous when this book was being written; thus the author is listed as “Anonymous” to protect the patient’s identity. She tells the story of learning about the diagnosis and how family and friends reacted to the news. Her real-life situation shows the fears and lack of understanding that many people, including those around her, have with regard to HIV and AIDS. The book is written for teens and although the topic is serious, the writing speaks well to the age group while not skirting the issues. The glossary includes terms appropriate for the content making the book easily accessible. At just over 100 pages, the book will not turn off teen readers looking to quickly gain information either for personal or school use. Well done.
TJ ZAPS THE FREEZE OUT : STOPPING THE SILENT TREATMENT
CALICO CHAPTER BOOKS [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
MULLARKEY, LISA
LACOSTE, GARY
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 26, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
TJ's 4th grade class is going to have a new pet. What will it be? Something cool, TJ hopes. Unfortunately it turns out to be a goldfish. Granted, it's an albino goldfish,but still...it's a fish, and Livvy chose it. Some in the class are so disappointed they start giving Livvy the silent treatment. If TJ doesn't follow along, they'll free him out too. What to do, what to do? This is another easy chapter book, with occasional black and white illustrations, featuring TJ, his counselor Dad, his friends, and a type of bullying. Dad's always available for good advice, the situations are realistic, and the solutions are solid. Every school should have this series, as it addresses bullying in its many forms.
MYSTERY OF THE GOLDEN KEY
CALICO CHAPTER BOOKS [ABDO]
CHRONISTER, AMANDA
CHRONISTER, AMANDA
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 26, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Abby's dog is a digger, but she digs up something strange in Abby's yard--a key! What does it go to? Abby and her friends know that the library is the place to go. With research they learn about a house that once stood where Abby's stands. Soon they are on their way to finding an unusual treasure--a new friend. This is a sweet easy chapter book with sturdy binding. It should appeal to the "Song Lee" crowd.
TJ ZAPS A NIGHTMARE : STOPPING BLACKMAIL BULLYING
CALICO CHAPTER BOOKS [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
MULLARKEY, LISA
LACOSTE, GARY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 27, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
In a moment of weakness TJ cheated on a test by copying answers. Now he's going to a special social studies event that he really doesn't deserve. What's worse, someone saw him do it. Now he's getting blackmail notes. Life is awful! What is he going to do? Well, he can't tell his dad, that's for sure. Yet, as things escalate TJ finally realizes he needs help. The only way to stop the blackmailer is to come clean. This is another in the TJ Trapper Bully Zapper series. Each book focuses on a different type of bully. This is not my favorite book in the series since blackmail isn't that common, but the series, as a whole, is solid and a worthy addition to school libraries.
HAUNTED SLEEPOVER
CALICO CHAPTER BOOKS [ABDO]
CHRONISTER, AMANDA
CHRONISTER, AMANDA
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 28, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
This entry in the "Abby and the Book Bunch" easy chapter book series has our gang back at the library, helping prepare for a Christmas party and sleepover. But is the library haunted? Indeed, they did hear strange noises in the basement, and what made that box of books fall over? Abby and company must investigate to find out the truth. This is a fun easy chapter book with occasional black and white illustrations, perfect for those just transitioning into the fiction section.