Reviews for month


Chews Your Destiny
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Montijo, Rhode
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 02, 2013
Kline, Karen
Gabby Gomez is a gum chewing fiend! But when Gabby wakes one morning with gum in her hair, her mother tells her the gooey stuff is off limits after helping her remove it using peanut butter. On her way to school, though, Gabby can’t resist chewing her last piece of gum. A giant bubble reaching the power lines gives Gabby a shock that transforms her into a gummy superhero. After retrieving a stolen purse from a thief and getting it back to its rightful owner, Gabby is conflicted by her feelings. She loves helping others, but she knows she should get to school and obey her mother’s rules. This illustrated chapter book has the cool, wow factors that have made the Bad Kitty series popular. Reluctant readers as well as those graduating to chapter books will find this a satisfying read. The book ends with a cliffhanger that is sure to bring on a second book soon.
And The Winner Is ... : Amazing Animal Athletes
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Kaner, Etta
Anderson, David
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 02, 2013
Kline, Karen
Under the guise of the “World Animal Games,” this book presents double page spreads with four animal competitors for athletic events including high jump, sprinting, weight lifting, swimming, long jump, aerobatics and a marathon. Cartoon-like illustrations show the animals competing, and insets give a more scientific rendering of each animal with their common names, biological classifications, homes, habitats, and the foods they eat. At the top of each page two animal commentators holding microphones give the play-by-play. Turn each competition page to reveal a winner’s page and the facing page gives a comparison of how a human would have fared in the event. A habitat map on the first two pages along with descriptions add to the usefulness of the book which lacks an index and table of contents. A fun book to use for prediction and compare/contrast to integrate science and literacy.
100 YEAR STARSHIP
Childrens Press [SCHOLASTIC]
JEMISON, MAE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 02, 2013
Kline, Karen
Interstellar travel is our final frontier of exploration. This book is co-authored by astronaut, Dr. Mae Jamison, the first African American woman to explore space on the space shuttle Endeavor. Dr. Jamison and others are part of an initiative to develop the means to explore other planetary systems beyond our solar system, and this book explains the challenges and dreams of the scientists working on the plan. Readers learn about the relative distances that astronauts will be required to travel, the time it would take to travel, the spaceship design limits and capabilities being considered, fueling issues, human necessities of astronauts considering the venture, navigational technologies needed, and more. The book stresses how the 100YSS project will enhance and help us solve problems here on Earth as well. For instance, if we can solve the fueling issues for powering a spacecraft, those ideas may be useful for solving fueling issues on Earth. One of a four book series.
KIDS MAKING MONEY
RED CHAIR PRESS [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
REYNOLDS, MATTIE
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 02, 2013
Kline, Karen
Basic concepts about jobs and money are presented in this 24-page book divided into three chapters entitled: “Why People Earn Money,” “Jobs Kids Can Do,” and “Using Money You Earn.” Photo illustrations on each page correspond to the simple text. The book attempts to discriminate between wants and needs, spending and saving, and adult jobs and jobs for kids. Saving money in a jar and a piggy bank are mentioned, but bank savings accounts are not. The author’s conversational tone switches from singular to plural forms of nouns within the same paragraph at times, making this text grammatically incorrect. The book is oversimplified and the five term glossary, of which three terms are listed in the seven-entry index, exemplifies its superfluous style. Part of the “Start Smart” series that makes this reviewer want to save her money for a better book on the topic.
B-52 STRATOFORTRESS
A&D XTREME [ABDO]
HAMILTON, JOHN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 02, 2013
Kline, Karen
From its first introduction in the US during the 1950’s till today’s modern version, the B-52 has played an important role in military defense. Readers learn about the war objectives for these planes, their motors, crew standards, flight range and more. An emphasis on weaponry is a major focus of this book, and the fact that nuclear weapons and smart bombs have been carried by the planes make it noteworthy to readers and researchers. Two-page topics about this iconic military aircraft include short paragraphs superimposed over color photos that bleed to gutters on every page. The book contains the usual non-fiction text features --bold headings, captioned photos, table of contents, glossary and index. Glossary items are not highlighted in the text, though, and the overall vocabulary in the book is high despite the target audience. The reinforced binding and high interest topic will keep this book “flying” off the shelves in most libraries. One of many in the Military Aircraft series.
WHAT IS THE CONTROVERSY OVER STEM CELL RESEARCH?
HEINEMANN RAINTREE LIBRARY [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
THOMAS, ISABEL
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
November 02, 2013
Kline, Karen
The science and politics regarding stem cell research is presented in this 48-page book. The visual appeal and design layout of this title is top quality. Multiple text features like insets, bold headings, and bulleted lists, as well as photo illustrations and diagrams, will engage casual browsers and sustain serious readers. Famous scientists, politicians, and patients who have benefited and suffered from stem cell science are featured. The bioethics of genetic and reproductive cloning are presented alongside the scientific discussion making the text flow logically for the reader. The book discusses the way cells differentiate and how stem cells can be manipulated in labs to generate a variety of tissues that can benefit those with disease and health issues. Likewise, it presents information about the benefits and risks involved in transplants. Sources of stem cells are explored, and readers learn about embryonic, cord blood, cloned and admixed sources. A contents page, timeline, glossary, index, and list of additional sources make this book very useful for research.
Lenny Cyrus, School Virus
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Schreiber, Joe
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
November 02, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Lenny is brilliant, yet somehow he still manages to disappoint his genius parents. Of course, being smart doesn't earn you a PhD in girls. But wait--maybe he could get to know his secret hearthrob, Zooey, from the inside out? Not through conversation, of course. He's going to amaze his parents by mastering the science of super-miniaturization. In his microscopic form he can enter Zooey's body and, maybe, figure her out. Reasonable premise, right? His best friend, Harlan, has issues (especially since he likes Zooey, too), but soon Lenny is inside Zooey, palled up with a mouthy astrovirus who shows him the ropes. He deals with the local police and thugs and joins the dance down in party city (Zooey's ovaries) where her hormones are running wild. Zooey's supposed to be putting on the school play that afternoon. Someone's poisoned her, to steal the limelight. Now she's deathly ill. Harlan has to spill the beans. Both he and Lenny must try to save the girl they really really like. Sure there are lots of scientific terms in this book, but the writing is slick and fun and the characters are memorable. This would be a good choice for middle school libraries.
Maisy's Fairground : A Maisy Pop-Up-And-Play Book
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Cousins, Lucy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 03, 2013
Kline, Karen
Maisy the mouse and her friends go to the fair and enjoy the roller coaster, a bouncy house, bumper cars and more. Each page sports a pop-up or slide device; beware the ferris wheel page that must be turned just so in order to close the book. Sparse text with lots of onomatopoeia make this book easy and fun to read again and again. Lucy Cousins’ signature art adds the big, bold and familiar touch that Maisy fans will enjoy and that educators will find perfect for a read aloud, for a group, or a one-on-one lap sit read.
Mrs. Noodlekugel And Four Blind Mice
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Pinkwater, Daniel
Stower, Adam
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 03, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
Puget Sound Council for the Review of Children's Media: https://pscreviews.org Mrs. Noodlekugel is just what I need for those strong readers we find in kindergarten and first grade. Obviously from the title, there are multi-syllable words in this book. It took me some time to think about who Mrs. Noodlekugel reminded me of--Mrs. Piggle Wiggle! She's that grandmotherly type neighbor who literally makes magic happen. The absurd seems normal around her. This is the second book in the series. It's not necessary to have read the first to enjoy this one. Nick and Maxine live in one of the apartment buildings that surround Mrs. Noodlekugels cute little house. And just like Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and Mary Poppins she's there to bring magic into their lives. They visit her m the four mice she lives with and her talking cat, Mr. Fuzzface. When the mice start dropping their food all over the table, Mrs. Noodlekugel takes them to the optometrist who successfully diagnoses their problem and makes eye glasses for them. When the four mice scamper out to explore (after a sugar high from the cheesecake at Dirty Sally's Lunchroom) Mr. Fuzzface gets the happiest surprise of his life. PERFECT PERFECT PERFECT. I haven't been a fan of Daniel Pinkwater's
Will Sparrow's Road
CLARION [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Cushman, Karen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 03, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
It is 1599 and Will Sparrow is running away from a father who sold him for beer and an innkeeper who threatened to sell him as a chimney sweep. He makes his way the best he can by lying and stealing until he meets a traveling oddities show. Will has to deal with more experienced tricksters, but at least he has a place to stay. He has to learn the hard way which people he can trust from a brawling dwarf to a smooth-talking owner to a captive girl who is show as an oddity because she looks like a cat. This is a unique look into the traveling market culture of Elizabethan England through the eyes of a young boy. Fans of Cushman’s other books will enjoy this new story.
See What A Seal Can Do
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Butterworth, Chris
Nelms, Kate
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 03, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
This is a great combination of lyrical description, facts about seals, and engaging realistic illustrations. The focus is on the daily life of grey seals which live in the North Atlantic from sunning on the beach to swimming deep to hunt for food. The main text is in large font and reads like poetry, but is full of interesting details such as that seals can slow their heart beat to only four beats per minute so they can stay underwater longer. Additional details are in smaller font and the full-page illustrations complement the text and include many close-ups of the seal in action. This is a wonderful addition to a nonfiction collection for children. A short index is included and the end pages show many more types of seals.
Grumbles From The Forest : Fairy-Tale Voices With A Twist
Wordsong [Wordsong]
Yolen, Jane
Mahurin, Matt
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
November 03, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
Fifteen classic tales are each explored and celebrated with two poems, one by Jane Yolen and the other by Rebecca Kai Dotlich. The poems of are of many types from a little Thumbelina haiku to free verse to a letter from Goldilocks. The perspectives of the poems are equally diverse, some are humorous like the pea’s poem from under the stack of mattresses on the princess’s bed and others are dark such as the lonely anniversary of the Beauty and the Beast. The full-page illustrations fit the classic tales with some scary elements and some bits of bright humor. Students will need to know the tales to truly understand the poems, but they may also be enticed into writing fairy-tale poems of their own.
MOONCAKES
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
SETO, LORETTA
BENOIT, RENNE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 03, 2013
Wittmann, Teresa
A young girl celebrates the Chinese Moon Festival with her parents by hanging lanterns, eating mooncakes, and telling ancient stories. As they gaze at the moon together, the parents tell three stories about the Jade Emperor which have morals about generosity, hard work, and avoiding greediness. The illustrations are soft and dreamy with warm colors and many circles that are reminiscent of the moon. This would be a good addition to a celebration of the Chinese Moon Festival.
Saturday With Daddy
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY]
Andreasen, Dan
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
November 03, 2013
Kline, Karen
A little elephant and his father spend the day together getting ready to have a cookout. Once out of bed the dad, mom and child have breakfast. Then the father and child take off in the car to run errands to gather supplies including marshmallows, hot dogs, and a grill. Illustrations show the father and child pair going about their day in bright colors with simple lines. Heavy gauge paper and rounded corners make this book a nice transitional format for preschoolers between board books and trade books. A gentle story that reminds parents and children that time spent together is special.
Boy Who Swam With Piranhas
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Almond, David
Jeffers, Oliver
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 03, 2013
Garrard, Thom
After Uncle Ernie turns their home into a fish-canning factory, even the pet goldfish aren’t safe. The orphaned nephew Stanley knows he has to leave, so he joins a traveling fair as an assistant at a booth where he takes excellent care of the goldfish that are the prizes. One day Pancho Pirelli, the famous performer who swims with piranhas, arrives at the carnival. When he meets Stan, he senses that Stan has the ability to replace him in the act, so the master showman teaches Stan to face his fear and believe in himself. Back at home, Ernie’s fish cannery is shut down by DAFT, the Departmint for the Abolishun of Fishy Things. He and his wife go in search of Stanley, unwittingly leading DAFT to the carnival where chaos ensues. Throughout the book the narrator steps in occasionally to discuss the story with the reader and add to the wacky fun, and Oliver Jeffers’ cartoonish pencil drawings fit perfectly. The way the DAFT crew mangles English and a few of the British expressions may prove challenging for some readers, but fans of humorous, quirky stories should love this novel.
Take A Closer Look At Your Heart
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Slike, Janet
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 03, 2013
Gleb, Heidi
This series of 12 titles is an excellent look at body systems for elementary-age children. Each 24-page book has color photos and illustrations, plenty of white space, and many interesting facts about each topic. The photos are mainly of young children but these books are a wonderful resource for older students who are learning English. Words in the glossary are printed in bold when used within the text. This title discusses the circulatory system beginning with a visual and text about finding a pulse. Other topics describe the parts of the body that make up the circulatory system, how those parts work together to keep blood flowing throughout the body, and what things humans can do to keep their hearts healthy. Recommended especially for younger readers but also for older readers as stated previously.
NICKI MINAJ : RAPPER & FASHION STAR
ESSENTIAL LIBRARY [ABDO]
HARRIS, ASHLEY RAE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
November 03, 2013
Gleb, Heidi
One of eight entries in ABDO's Contemporary Lives series about current music and acting celebrities, the book follows the transformation of Onika Tany Maraj from her birth in Trinidad to her current status as one of rap's brightest stars. This can be seen as a rags-to-riches story, of a little girl from a poor family who was raised by her grandmother when her parents immigrated to New York City. Nicki's struggle to be accepted first as an actor and finally as a rapper was overcome by hard work and the desire to become accepted in a male-dominated field. Numerous color text boxes describe important facts about the artist from her island homeland to her mentors in the music industry to the team of employees who handle Nicki's numerous wigs. The book is visually appealing with plenty of color photos; a timeline and glossary complement the text. Teens will enjoy the book but it will become dated rather quickly.
RACE TO DISCOVER THE AIDS VIRUS : LUC MONTAGNIER VS ROBERT G
TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS [TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS]
KALLEN, STUART A
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
November 03, 2013
Gleb, Heidi
An excellent resource for students interested in science or medicine.  The book shows the reader (who, if school-age now, was not alive during the outbreak of AIDS) the horrors of the disease and the fear it sent through the general populace of many countries.  Attention is given not only to the search for the virus but also to the cause and effect.  American Robert Gallo and Frenchman Luc Montagnier both claimed to have discovered the AIDS virus in 1984; there were disputes as to who found what first but in the end, the men worked together in search of a vaccine for the virus.  This is an interesting look at how ego, fame, and money can get in the way of what is best for patients.  The timeline and glossary are useful, as is the two-page spread that pictorially shows how HIV reproduces.
YOGA
BUDDY BOOKS [ABDO]
TIECK, SARAH
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 03, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
Sarah Tieck has proven to be a consistently good writer of children’s nonfiction. Here she’s done it again with her introductory book to yoga for elementary children in 32-pages. A child will not know how to do yoga after reading this book, but will have a good overview of this type of exercise to help maintain a healthy body, mind and spirit. Most photos include children, both boys and girls, with many yoga poses incorporated and labeled. Flexibility balance, and breathing are emphasized to distinguish this form of exercise from others that work the heart and lungs more. Safety aspects are included throughout. The graphics and format are very pleasing and positive befitting the topic. Besides a table of contents, glossary and detailed index, the photos are captioned with additional “Word of Mouth” factoids coming out of an odd looking mouth. This well-bound book is a good addition to the fitness section of a children’s library. Others in the Buddy Book Move Your Body; A Kid’s Guide to Fitness series include Biking, Dancing, Hiking, Skateboarding and Swimming.
Picture Book Of Daniel Boone
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Adler, David A
Collins, Matt
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 03, 2013
Turpin, Sharon
This title featuring the frontiersman Daniel Boone meets up to the expected quality of the rest of this substantial series. Of the 37 titles in the Picture Book Biographies series, the last 7 have been by Adler and his son. Though in picture book format many dates, places and historical references are included which could make this challenging for a primary student. After a one page introduction Boone’s life is chronicled from his birth to a restless Quaker father in 1734 in Pennsylvania to his death in 1820 one of his many children and grandchildren in Missouri. In between his love of the outdoors, his desire to seek out new and open land to explore, hunt and live, and his adventures surviving Indian attacks in Kentucky and his building of the Wilderness Road are contained. The book concludes with a timeline, source notes, a selected bibliography of six sources, three websites and the Authors’ Note explaining some additional information.
TEMPLAR'S DESTINY
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
BLACK, KAT
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
November 03, 2013
Sepessy, Lona
Templars have fascinated people through the ages and are often at the center of mystical lore. In the first book of the quartet, the Holy Vessel is stolen and the subsequent books detail the struggles to regain the Vessel amidst those who wish to destroy the Order of the Templar. In this final book, Aine and Tormod travel to the French king’s castle to rescue Tormod’s brother Torquil, where betrayal from the highest ranks of the Catholic Church aligned with the French court finds its way inside the Order. This is a worthy historical fiction series with a hint of the mystical as the Templars exhibit powers of the mind that lead to healing, foreseeing the future and detecting supersensory information. The deaths and demise of the Templars are based on historical events. While most of the characters are fictitious, Kat Black traveled to Scotland to research and gather background information for the books. Readers are advised to read the series in order as new characters and plot twists are difficult to follow without the background information.
Invasion
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Myers, Walter Dean
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
November 04, 2013
Dame, Anne
Set in May of 1944, gearing up for the invasion of Normandy. Josiah and Marcus are two young men serving in the American armed forces - one as an infantryman and the other as a truck driver/support unit. Both of these characters have ties to others in Myer's other war novels: Fallen Angels and Sunrise over Fallujah, but stands alone easily. It's a very descriptive look at what the style of fighting looked like at that time, as well as the very divisive differences between black and white soldiers at that time.
Undead
Chicken House [Chicken House]
Mckay, Kirsty
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
November 04, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Ever have one of those days? I mean, it's bad enough that you're considered a "Yank" by your new classmates. (Hey, you grew up on England, it's not your fault your parents moved you to the United States for a few years.) It's bad enough that you have no friends and that your "bonding" school ski trip turned into an exercise in futility when it came to making friends. But zombies? C'mon! Bobby didn't go into the cafe, which turned out to be a good idea. Now she and a few other unaffected kids are fleeing for their lives as their former classmates, and others, are doing typical zombie stuff--eating human flesh, plodding after them in relentless pursuit--that sort of thing. Isolated in Scotland, unable to get a cell signal, trapped in a castle with some equally noxious non-affected adults who are not exactly innocent in all of this, Bobby's spunky nature, and sheer refusal to give in, come in handy. But can she and her friends survive? This is a fun zombie romp with scary bits and a touch of romance (and conspiracy, of course). It's a fun read, and I don't even like zombie books!
HOW TO ANALYZE THE WORKS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON
ESSENTIAL LIBRARY [ABDO]
QAISER, ANNIE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
November 04, 2013
Datisman, Eve
The Essential Critiques series helps students understand the basics of critical theory: what a thesis statement is and how to support it by analyzing three or four works, each from a different perspective. Each title begins with biographical information. Next, a piece of writing, such as the Declaration of Independence, is used to sum up the context for the speech and what points were made. The author then analyzes the work using, say, feminist criticism or political criticism and creates a thesis statement (highlighted on the page and explained further in a sidebar). Quotes from the original work are used to support the thesis, and then the reader is invited to consider whether they think the author made a persuasive case. Thomas Jefferson discusses Jefferson's writings -- "The Declaration of Independence," "Notes on the State of Virginia," "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth," and "The Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson" -- from a historical, rhetorical, political, feminist and religious perspective. With the recent emphasis on critical thinking in the Common Core Standards, this should be a useful tool as well as a solid biographical resource. Lexile 1200
HOW TO ANALYZE THE WORKS OF GEORGE WASHINGTON
ESSENTIAL LIBRARY [ABDO]
QAISER, ANNIE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
November 04, 2013
Datisman, Eve
The Essential Critiques series helps students understand the basics of critical theory: what a thesis statement is and how to support it by analyzing three or four works, each from a different perspective. Each title begins with biographical information. Next, a piece of writing, such as the "Washington's Advice on Love and Marriage" and what points were made. The author then analyzes the work using, say, feminist criticism or political criticism and creates a thesis statement (highlighted on the page and explained further in a sidebar). Quotes from the original work are used to support the thesis, and then the reader is invited to consider whether they think the author made a persuasive case. George Washington discusses Washington's writings and speeches -- " Washington's Advise on Love and Marriage," Washington's "Farewell Address," Washington's Will, "Washington's first Inaugural address" -- from a historical, rhetorical, political, feminist and religious perspective. With the recent emphasis on critical thinking in the Common Core Standards, this should be a useful tool as well as a solid biographical resource. Lexile 1170
HOW TO ANALYZE THE WORKS OF JOHN ADAMS
ESSENTIAL LIBRARY [ABDO]
COMBS, MAGGIE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
November 04, 2013
Datisman, Eve
John Adam's speeches and writings have influenced the United States from its birth to our modern time. By using critical theory, readers might find new ideas, and deeper meaning in Adams' works. he Essential Critiques series helps students understand the basics of critical theory: what a thesis statement is and how to support it by analyzing three or four works, each from a different perspective. Each title begins with biographical information. Next, a piece of writing, such as "A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America" and what points were made. The author then analyzes the work using, say, feminist criticism or political criticism and creates a thesis statement (highlighted on the page and explained further in a sidebar). Quotes from the original work are used to support the thesis, and then the reader is invited to consider whether they think the author made a persuasive case. John Adams discusses Adams writings and speeches--"A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America," "Adams Inaugural Address," "Adams' letter on Thomas Jefferson," and "Adams' Writings on Women's Right to Vote." Lexile 1150
HOW TO ANALYZE THE WORKS OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS
ESSENTIAL LIBRARY [ABDO]
BODDEN, VALERIE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
November 04, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Frederick Douglass' speeches and writings challenged the United States to move toward racial equality. By using critical theory, readers might find new ideas, and deeper meaning in Douglass' works. he Essential Critiques series helps students understand the basics of critical theory: what a thesis statement is and how to support it by analyzing three or four works, each from a different perspective. Each title begins with biographical information. Next, a piece of writing such as "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass" s used to sum up the context for the work and what points were made. The author then analyzes the work using, say, feminist criticism or political criticism and creates a thesis statement (highlighted on the page and explained further in a sidebar). Quotes from the original work are used to support the thesis, and then the reader is invited to consider whether they think the author made a persuasive case. Works analyzed are Douglass' "The Heroic Slave," "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July," and "Lesson's of the Hour." Moralist, Racial, and Reader-Response Criticism are demonstrated. Lexile 1160
Stronger Than Steel : Spider Silk Dna And The Quest For Bett
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Heos, Bridget
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
November 04, 2013
Wittmann, Paula
Spider silk is stronger and more elastic than most substances and, if able to be produced in bulk, could have varied applications in the world. Narrow strands could be used for stitches is delicate medical procedures. Other possible applications include lightweight bullet vests, space suits, cables to stop airplanes, and fishing. This addition to the Scientists in the Field series looks at the work of Randy Lewis and his colleagues to discover how to create spider silk through transgenic processes in plants and animals other than spiders. These different experiments include spider silk protein in transgenic goat milk, alfalfa, bacteria, and silkworms. Like others in the series, the book focuses on the work being done by scientists- in this case as they manipulate genetics. Readers will be intrigued by the possibilities being shown, but will also be encouraged to ponder the ethics of genetic research and using animals in science research.
How To Face Paint
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Atwood, Megan
Oseid, Kelsey
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 04, 2013
Wittmann, Paula
Step by step illustrations, most illustrated, guide readers to face paint six different designs. The design range from a superhero eye mask, to animals, a pirate and a clown. The choices are fairly simple, and the somewhat rough illustrations show results that seem like they could have actually been made by a kid. However, those same illustrations might make this a book a little less likely to be chosen off the shelf. Given the limited choice of designs and the only somewhat appealing design you might look for other options though this is serviceable choice.
Alice-Miranda Takes The Stage
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE]
Harvey, Jacqueline
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 04, 2013
Wittmann, Paula
Spunky Alice-Miranda is back at boarding school. In this installment she befriends the local “witch”, stars as Snow White in a play, and ultimately saves the neighboring boy's schools from being swindled away by the greedy mother of a new student. Readers who enjoyed Alice-Miranda's earlier escapades should enjoy this one as well, though the plot in this novel seemed a little pat, and I came away feeling like I really didn’t know the character of Alice–Miranda any more than before reading the book. If you have fans of the series you will want this, though it is not as strong as the other titles.
Little Owl's Orange Scarf
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Tatyana, Feeney
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 04, 2013
Wittmann, Paula
Little Owl doesn’t like the long, scratchy orange scarf that his mother knits him. He tries repeatedly to lose it, but his mother always finds it until his fieldtrip to the zoo. After checking with the zoo's lost and found his mother tells Little Owl that they will create a replacement together. After picking out the yarn he wants, and watching his mother knit, Little Owl finally has a soft, not too long, blue green scarf that he loves. The last spread shows Little Owl back at the zoo in his scarf waving to the giraffe that has looks very happy with the “lost” long, orange scarf around his neck. The pictures and the story are charming but slight.
Circus Galacticus
HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS [HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS]
Fagan, Deva
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
November 04, 2013
Datisman, Eve
If the Beatle's song "Across the Universe" hadn't already been used as a quasi-space-time adventure, it would be perfect as the soundtrack to Circus Galacticus." Fifteen-year-old Trix (Beatrix) Ling is an orphan charity case at a snotty boarding school. She dreams big dreams even when people tell her not to. She's a rebel, a gymnast and a fighter. She hold her own against a mysterious stranger in a silver mask in order to protect a hunk of meteorite that is the only thing she promised her parent to protect. when circus Galacticus comes to town after a VERY BAD day, Trix takes the ringmaster up on his offer to let her become a part of it and thus begins her interstellar adventure. she meets space aliens, giant energy leeches, ancient alien artifacts and exploding chocolate desserts. She also has to unravel the secrets of her own past -- if she can survive. Grades 6-10. Lexile 630. Rollicking fun.
Strike Three, You're Dead
Knopf Books for Young Readers [RANDOM HOUSE]
Berk, Josh
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
November 04, 2013
Datisman, Eve
Lenny Norbek is not athletic but he's a die-hard Phillies fan and knows EVERYTHING about the game and the team as only a 12-year-old fanatic can. He does have one talent; he is a great announcer and her practices play-by-play and color by announcing his own life. Being a professional announcer is his dream and he gets a chance to make it come true when he wins the Phillies' Armchair Announcer contest. His friends, Mike and the Other Mike show up ready to support him as always but everything goes south when the rookie pitcher steps out on the mound and drops dead. Lenny doesn't get to announce, but there's a murder to solve. Lenny and the Mikes set out to investigate. Murder mystery fans and baseball fans will both like this. Fast-paced, likeable characters Recommended. Probelm-solving, red-herrings, prediction and patterning and fun to read.
HOW TO ANALYZE THE WORKS OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
ESSENTIAL LIBRARY [ABDO]
BOSHIER, ROSA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
November 04, 2013
Datisman, Eve
The Essential Critiques series helps students understand the basics of critical theory: what a thesis statement is and how to support it by analyzing three or four works, each from a different perspective. Each title begins with biographical information. Next, a piece of writing, such as one of Dr. King's letters or speeches used to sum up the context for the work and what points were made. The author then analyzes the work using, say, race criticism or political criticism and creates a thesis statement (highlighted on the page and explained further in a sidebar). Quotes from the original work are used to support the thesis, and then the reader is invited to consider whether they think the author made a persuasive case.Martin Luther King, Jr. looks at "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," Beyond Vietnam," "I Have a Dream," and "Where Do We Go from Here?" . With the recent emphasis on critical thinking in the Common Core Standards, this should be a useful tool as well as a solid biographical resource.Lexile: 1150
HOW TO ANALYZE THE WORKS OF FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT
ESSENTIAL LIBRARY [ABDO]
KESSELRING, MARI
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
November 04, 2013
Datisman, Eve
The Essential Critiques series helps students understand the basics of critical theory: what a thesis statement is and how to support it by analyzing three or four works, each from a different perspective. Each title begins with biographical information. Next, a piece of writing, such as one of Roosevelt's Fireside Chats is used to sum up the context for the speech and what points were made. The author then analyzes the work using, say, feminist criticism or political criticism and creates a thesis statement (highlighted on the page and explained further in a sidebar). Quotes from the original work are used to support the thesis, and then the reader is invited to consider whether they think the author made a persuasive case. Franklin D. Roosevelt looks at Roosevelt’s speeches on drought, the Depression, and Pearl Harbor. With the recent emphasis on critical thinking in the Common Core Standards, this should be a useful tool as well as a solid biographical resource.--Lexile 1090
We Dine With Cannibals
PHILOMEL [PHILOMEL]
LONDON, C. ALEXANDER
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 04, 2013
Sepessy, Lona
Ludicrous misadventures and death-defying escape stunts continue to accompany 11-year old, television-loving twins, Celia and Oliver, as they are forced to travel to the Amazon rain forest, in this second book of An Accidental Adventure series. Their explorer Mother has disappeared, perhaps seeking the mysterious Lost Library of Alexandria, and after their explorer Father lost a card game, the twins were forced to do the evil Sir Edmund’s bidding as he searched for the hidden El Dorado treasure. Corey Brandt, from The Celebrity Adventurist, whose survival skills are plastered across the TV, accompanies them to the Amazon but is soon revealed to be a fake with all his survival skills just stunts. Absurd happenings interspersed with reality TV tidbits will keep readers bouncing from one action packed chapter to another. The loosely held together plot reads like A Series of Unfortunate Events as the improbable disasters are followed by rescues in an unending cycle. Humor is the genre and the audience is definitely out there for this lightweight action-packed series.
Seers
MACKINAC ISLAND PRESS [MACKINAC ISLAND PRESS]
Bowe, Kristine
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
November 04, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
Leesie is a 17 year old orphan with not only the power to read minds, but also the ability to extract memories from people. Part of an elite, secretive group of Seers, she goes from school to school on missions assigned by her Preceptor Tobias. On this particular assignment, Leesie is supposed to befriend Eri, in order to gain access to her father to extract a memory that is crucial for the Seers. Along the way, Leesie begins to have a few of her own memories resurface, as she had none of her own childhood and relies on Tobias for guidance on both her present and her past. Already a quickly moving story, the plot really picks up pace as her new friends turn out to be more than she expected, and the source of her memory loss is revealed. The plot and setting keep reader interest high, as events move at a decent clip, but what is especially captivating about this first novel is the detailed descriptions Leesie provides about people-- she really studies them and offers intricate, intimate details about what she observes. The book is clearly a first in a series, as it ends in a cliffhanger.
Maude The Not-So-Noticeable Shrimpton
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Child, Lauren
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 04, 2013
Samuel, Treasure
Another fun, quirky idea from popular children's author Lauren Child, this picture book misses the mark when it comes to story telling. Maude is part of an eccentric family that thrives on being noticed, while she prefers to blend in. Her family doesn't understand why she is so boring, until they get a pet tiger, who goes on a hungry rampage. The book abruptly ends with Maude pointing out that blending in can be an important skill, implying that her family has been either eaten by or at least terrorized by the tiger. While dark humor can be delightful in children's books, this one is odd and unappealing, with characters you don't root for or care about. The amusing illustrations show Maude disappearing into the background of most scenes, and it is rather fun to try and find her, but each page also uses a variety of fonts for text, several of which are hard to read. Add in the challenging vocabulary (including flamboyant and mesmerizing), and it is hard to figure out who is the audience for this book.
Birman Cats
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Petrie, Kristin
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 05, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
I don’t even need to review the new books in this series to know they’ll continue the popularity of this series. I’ve already got girls looking over my shoulder as I write the reviews. As they look at them, they give their approval. As a librarian, I’m glad to see that the Checkerboard Cats series doesn’t have the same cookie cutter approach of the earliest books in the series. The format is the same, giving comfort to those early informational text readers, but the information is not the generic cat information found in the first books.
Chartreux Cats
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Petrie, Kristin
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 05, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
I don’t even need to review the new books in this series to know they’ll continue the popularity of this series. I’ve already got girls looking over my shoulder as I write the reviews. As they look at them, they give their approval. As a librarian, I’m glad to see that the Checkerboard Cats series doesn’t have the same cookie cutter approach of the earliest books in the series. The format is the same, giving comfort to those early informational text readers, but the information is not the generic cat information found in the first books.
Turkish Angora Cats
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Petrie, Kristin
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 05, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
I don’t even need to review the new books in this series to know they’ll continue the popularity of this series. I’ve already got girls looking over my shoulder as I write the reviews. As they look at them, they give their approval. As a librarian, I’m glad to see that the Checkerboard Cats series doesn’t have the same cookie cutter approach of the earliest books in the series. The format is the same, giving comfort to those early informational text readers, but the information is not the generic cat information found in the first books.
Singapura Cats
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Petrie, Kristin
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 05, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
I don’t even need to review the new books in this series to know they’ll continue the popularity of this series. I’ve already got girls looking over my shoulder as I write the reviews. As they look at them, they give their approval. As a librarian, I’m glad to see that the Checkerboard Cats series doesn’t have the same cookie cutter approach of the earliest books in the series. The format is the same, giving comfort to those early informational text readers, but the information is not the generic cat information found in the first books.
Selkirk Rex Cats
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Petrie, Kristin
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
November 05, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda

Anatomy Of A Dragon
Blazers Books/capstone Press [Blazers Books/capstone Press]
Doeden, Matt
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
November 05, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
How many times have I been asked for books about real dragons. Well hold on to your wizard wands kids, here’s one you’ll like. Lots of facts are built in as kids learn about the magical anatomy of a dragon. For example, knights often use shields made from dragon scales as the scales can resist dragon magic and dragon fire. From the dragon’s senses which include their keen eyesight to the fact that dragons are protected from their spewing fire by mouth mucus. Lots of fascinating “real” information is included.
Cell Phone Safety
Fact Finders/capstone Press [Fact Finders/capstone Press]
Allen, Kathy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 05, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
The goal of this book is excellent. But the key in getting kids to read it and understand the “power” they have in that little hand held gadget might lie in letting parents know you have this book, and encourage them to make reading it and following the 5 cell phone safety rules of thumbs part of the child’s training in getting a cell phone. The information is straight forward, interesting and very pertinent. Put it out on display during parent conferences and PTA meetings, though for this book to really make a difference.
Scaredy Squirrel Prepares For Halloween : A Safety Guide For
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Watt, Melanie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 05, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
I’ve used Scaredy Squirrel books in lessons for first and second graders introducing chapters and “informational text”. Looks like I’ll have a Halloween book to work with now. Particularly of use would be chapter 5 Halloween Candy with subtopics of Getting to Know Your Candy and Transportation and quality detection. As usual, Scaredy Squirrel has in his thorough way gone through all the problems of Halloween including costumes and parties. And his advice is usually right on target. Too challenging for a read-a-loud, but pulling out details from the text makes it ideal for a fun lesson.
Arctic Foxes
CHILDRENS PRESS [CHILDRENS PRESS]
Franchino, Vicky
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 05, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
When I look for a strong series to show kids good examples of non-fiction text features I always turn to Nature’s Children. The research is solid, the text easy to understand and the photography outstanding. This continues with one of the newest books, Although the emphasis is on the arctic fox, the book concludes with the connection to other foxes, including the American fox.
Equipos Swat : Armados Y Listos = Swat Teams : Armed And Rea
Blazers Books/capstone Press [Blazers Books/capstone Press]
Miller, Connie Colwell
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 05, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
Although there isn’t much detail in this bilingual book, it’s going to be a popular book among the first and second grade boys. The photos support the text and the definition of the highlighted word is given in the block of text where the word appears. I’ve often thought that boys who want to read these books won’t be the ones who patiently turn to the glossary at the back of the book. I have no doubt that this book will spend very little time on the shelves because it will be in the hands of readers.
Today's U.s. Marines
Compass Point Books [Compass Point Books]
Berne, Emma Carlson
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
November 05, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
The introduction to chapter one is an attention grabber—showing readers that Marines have to think quickly and the decision to kill another human may trouble your sleep for several weeks. Current, up-to-date information and photos are used in this book. It not a rehash of Marine glory in former conflicts. A section is about the role of women in the US Marines. There are all-female units. If the reader isn’t daunted by the recruitment phase, there’s still boot camp. But somehow I don’t think the fourth and fifth grade readers will be put off by either the pictures or the description. Well-written and well-researched this book will have appeal to the military enthusiasts.
Vehicles Of World War Ii
Edge Books/capstone Press [Edge Books/capstone Press]
Fein, Eric
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
November 05, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
The true military enthusiast will want more than this book has to offer. But the major vehicles of the land, sea and air are included. Both Allied and the Axis vehicles are included. Just the Tanks chapter alone has 10 different tanks. Excellent for a beginning look at military vehicles, this book in the Vehicles of the.. includes the Civil War, Iraq War and World War I as well.
Dazzling Card Tricks
Edge Books/capstone Press [Edge Books/capstone Press]
Barnhart, Norm
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 05, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
Kids with some experience as a magician will appreciate this book more than kids who have not had any experience learning tricks. The directions are clearly written and the step by step photos are helpful. All but one trick takes a regular deck of cards. The large card needed for “Is Your Card Bigger” can be found at party stores. Of particular importance to card tricks is the forced card.” This move is well explained and illustrated. Eleven tricks are included, and all can be done by kids with practice. You can’t stress practice enough when learning magic.
Fun Magic Tricks
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Hunter, Nick
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 05, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
This book will be a welcome addition to any elementary school magic tricks section. Few books are written for the kid with no experience. The level of difficulty is shown for each trick, and if the magician follows the sequence of the tricks in the book, they will be able to do the hardest tricks in the book. The illustrations clearly illustrate the written instructions. All materials needed for the tricks are easily found in the home. The only drawback to this book is that practice is not emphasized. There is no such thing at too much practice when learning magic tricks.
Pointers : Loyal Hunting Companions
Edge Books/capstone Press [Edge Books/capstone Press]
Gagne, Tammy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 05, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
The purpose of this book is different than many dog books. This one is designed for the reader who wants a hunting dog. For example the German shorthaired pointers are usually fine around other dogs, but it is a poor choice for homes that have small pets like cats. Training information is given, in both pointing and retrieving. I am glad to see a book that gives the basics of having a working dog.
Neil Armstrong
ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
Ollhoff, Jim
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 05, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
No Great Explorers series would be complete without a representative from space exploration. Neil Armstrong is often the subject, but what more remarkable quest could there be than putting a man on the moon. A short history of space exploration is given. The focus on Armstrong’s life begins with his Air Force career. As with the other books in the series, a chapter is devoted to the legacy Armstrong left. Perhaps the most poignant part is the wonderful quote from his family about honoring his example of service as well as giving him a wink when you see the Moon.
Jacques Cousteau
ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
Ollhoff, Jim
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 05, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
Great Explorers series recognizes exploration didn’t end with the 15th and 16th century exploration for spices. Under the sea is a vast realm few of us understood until Jacques Cousteau began his television shows in the late 1960’s. His passion for the ocean helped people realize that the ocean and the life within it was a fragile environment. Unlike the early explorers his explorations were not determined by the need for wealth. I have one small quibble with the book, but it is small—but confusing when teaching kids about quotations. On page 7, the caption for the picture includes a quote. The quote mark is at the beginning of the quote, but there is no ending quote mark.
Ferdinand Magellan
ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
Ollhoff, Jim
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 05, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
As in the other Great Explorer books, Otthoff has created a biography-history that explains the significance of Ferdinand Magellan that is easy to understand. He does a particularly good job in explaining how Magellan really wasn’t the first to circumnavigate the world. Magellan was killed half-way through the voyage and it was his ship and his second in command who completed the journey. Perhaps the most important chapter in the book is the last which explains Magellan’s legacy.
Marco Polo
ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
Ollhoff, Jim
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 05, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
Otthoff had created an accessible biography of Marco Polo. He explains that little information is known about Polo’s life. Along with the biography he notes that not everyone is convinced Polo reached China since he never mentioned tea or the Great Wall, but the detail about the Mogul empire provides evidence that he did go. Otthoff also point out that the Black Death of the 1300’s stopped much exploration of the east. For readers who struggle with the explorer unit in 5th grade Great Explorers would be a good series to purchase.
Boris On The Move
Branches [Branches]
Joyner, Andrew
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 05, 2013
Dame, Anne
Boris lives with his parents on a bus. The bus - and his parents - used to travel a lot, but now it just sits in one place all the time. Boris reads and dreams about travel and great adventures. He wishes the bus would take him somewhere exciting. And, one day, his wish comes true! Clever, colorful illustrations help bring this story to life. Great for young readers who are starting to move away from picture books but aren't quite ready for chapter books.
Boris For The Win
Branches [Branches]
Joyner, Andrew
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 05, 2013
Dame, Anne
Book 3 in the Boris series. The fun and adventures continue as Boris and his friends get ready to compete in Field Day at their school. Nice story about friendship and competition. Great use of color and illustrations. This series continues to be a useful transition from picture books to chapter books.
Take A Closer Look At Your Brain
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Gardner, Jane P
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 05, 2013
Gleb, Heidi
This series of 12 titles is an excellent look at body systems for elementary-age children. Each 24-page book has color photos and illustrations, plenty of white space, and many interesting facts about each topic. The photos are mainly of young children but these books are a wonderful resource for older students who are learning English. Words in the glossary are printed in bold when used within the text. This title discusses the brain--what it looks like, the parts of the brain and their functions, and what can happen if your brain gets injured. Following that is a chapter about keeping your brain healthy by eating healthy foods, exercising, and wearing a helmet when riding wheeled toys. Recommended especially for younger readers but also for older readers as stated previously.
Take A Closer Look At Your Muscles
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Gardner, Jane P
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 05, 2013
Gleb, Heidi
This series of 12 titles is an excellent look at body systems for elementary-age children. Each 24-page book has color photos and illustrations, plenty of white space, and many interesting facts about each topic. The photos are mainly of young children but these books are a wonderful resource for older students who are learning English. Words in the glossary are printed in bold when used within the text. This title discusses the muscular system and includes basic information about how the tissues that make up muscles work together to make bodily movement. As with other titles in the series, one chapter discusses problems associated with muscular injuries and another gives ways to keep muscles healthy. Recommended especially for younger readers but also for older readers as stated previously.
Take A Closer Look At Your Nose
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Vanvoorst, Jenny Fretlan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 05, 2013
Gleb, Heidi
This series of 12 titles is an excellent look at body systems for elementary-age children. Each 24-page book has color photos and illustrations, plenty of white space, and many interesting facts about each topic. The photos are mainly of young children but these books are a wonderful resource for older students who are learning English. Words in the glossary are printed in bold when used within the text. This title discusses the nose--why it is important and how it helps get clean, warm air into the lungs. Students will enjoy the photos in this book, from the girl holding her nose to the boy wriggling his nose to the close-up of the dog. Recommended especially for younger readers but also for older readers as stated previously.
Take A Closer Look At Your Skin
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Vanvoorst, Jenny Fretlan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 05, 2013
Gleb, Heidi
This series of 12 titles is an excellent look at body systems for elementary-age children. Each 24-page book has color photos and illustrations, plenty of white space, and many interesting facts about each topic. The photos are mainly of young children but these books are a wonderful resource for older students who are learning English. Words in the glossary are printed in bold when used within the text. This title discusses the largest bodily organ--the skin. In addition to stating that the skin forms a barrier to keep water and germs away from internal organs, the author gives examples of the importance of touch. Several color illustrations give a great look at cross-sections of skin. Sunburn and rashes such as poision ivy are commented on. Recommended especially for younger readers but also for older readers as stated previously.
Take A Closer Look At Your Eyes
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Slike, Janet
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 05, 2013
Gleb, Heidi
This series of 12 titles is an excellent look at body systems for elementary-age children. Each 24-page book has color photos and illustrations, plenty of white space, and many interesting facts about each topic. The photos are mainly of young children but these books are a wonderful resource for older students who are learning English. Words in the glossary are printed in bold when used within the text. This title discusses the parts of the eye and includes large color illustrations making for easy connection with the text. One chapter (two pages) informs readers about visual impairment. Recommended especially for younger readers but also for older readers as stated previously.
I Am Roberto Clemente
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Gigliotti, Jim
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 06, 2013
Dame, Anne
Roberto Clemente is rightfully known as one of baseball's all time great players. He has earned even more renown as a great Latino player, the first Latino to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. In addition, he was a kind, compassionate man who was heavily involved in philanthropic outreach. Lots of sepia toned drawings to add interest, although a few actual photographs would have been a nice addition. Bolded vocabulary words are explained in a glossary in the back. There is also a bibliography, index, list of places to visit, and two Top 10 lists in the back. A good, thorough sports biography but nothing exceptional or outstanding about it.
Gabriel Gets A Great Deal
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Bullard, Lisa
Moran, Mike
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 06, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
I’m not sure a child will pick this book up, but I’m recommending it to my first grade team. Their social studies curriculum has a unit on consumerism that this will fit into perfectly. In fact, it’s the perfect book for my school. Gabriel wants to run as fast as a cheetah for the next race. (My school’s mascot is the cheetah. How more personal than that can you get!) He and his mom look online but the shoes are too expensive. As they look locally, they find one place with a coupon, but the store is out of the brand he wants. But they did have another pair, and there would be enough money left out for pizza. Then he has the brilliant idea to try the thrift store and he finds just what he needs. Math problems are included as well as opportunities for kids to discuss what Gabriel should do.
Cinderelephant
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS]
Dodd, Emma
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 06, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
This fractured fairy tale is perfect to share with upper elementary students working on writing their own versions of tales. Poor old Cinderelephant has to play scullery maid to the Warty(hog) Sisters. Sad when she realizes she cannot go to Prince Trunky’s fancy ball, she prepares to spend the night miserably. Luckily her Furry Godmouse shows up and makes sure she goes to the ball. She loses her gigantic stiletto in the rush to leave. Of course, the next day, the prince sets out to find the girl of his dreams. But alas, the feet of all the girls are too small for this slipper. Hiding out in the kitchen, Cinderelephant slips and crashes into the pots and pans, making it easy for the Prince to find her. The humor may go over the heads of the small ones listening to it, but older readers will catch the humor in lines like “and it’s a big but... (she will have a good time)”. The picture shows the large hind end of Cinderelephant as she climbs into the limo.
Trouper
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Kearney, Meg
Lewis, E. B.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 06, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
The beautiful watercolor illustrations of E.B. Lewis match the tone of Kearney’s poetic story. Trouper, a three-legged dog runs with a pack of dogs until captured and taken to a shelter. His buddies all are chosen as pets and leave, until Trouper is the only one left. Told in first person by Trouper, children will relate the happiness he felt when his boy came to take him home. It’s not until near the end of the story that the words tell you that Trouper is missing a leg. Up to that point it’s been the pictures that have conveyed this might be a factor in his waiting so long for a special friend to rescue him. The story is based on the author’s dog, Trouper. The back cover shows a photograph of him. If looking for a book that shows emotions, Trouper can help you, for he goes from loneliness and despair to joy in this book.
Seriously, Snow White Was So Forgetful! : The Story Of Snow
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Loewen, Nancy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 06, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
This fractured fairy tale is probably best read by older elementary school students. The humor goes against the grain of the traditional story. In this version, Snow White is a real ding-a-ling, and is very forgetful. Told by dwarf 7, so called because she can’t remember their names, it sounds like she’s lucky that the dwarfs were there to take care of her. For older readers, this would be a great introduction to how “point of view” and “perspective” can change the story.
Drat That Cat!
ANDERSEN PRESS USA [ANDERSEN PRESS USA]
Ross, Tony
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 06, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
It’s clear that Tony Ross knows what it’s like to live with a cat. Suzy Cat Baggot is a cat who will be well understood by people who share their home with a cat. When she felt like it, Suzy could be really naughty. How do cats know how to irritate people? How did Suzy know that Granddad didn’t like her so she jumped in his lap and share her hair with him? Suzy always got the blame for bad things happening, and she usually deserved it. But when she gets sick and has to spend 2 days at the vet’s, it’s awfully lonely at home. Everyone made such a fuss over her when she came home. But she later confesses to the neighbor dog that she really wasn’t sick. She just wanted everyone to know how much they loved her. Ross knows how to write a picture book. He uses simple text and lets the illustrations carry a lot of the weight in creating the humor.
Kite That Bridged Two Nations : Homan Walsh And The Firs
Calkins Creek [Calkins Creek]
O'neill, Alexis
Widener, Terry
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 06, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
Historical fiction told in first person free verse can introduce students to amazing new things. That’s the case in this picture book about a contest in the 1840’s that asked competitors to fly a kite across the river close to Niagara Falls. This kite string would be the foundation for the beginning of the first transnational bridge between the US and Canada. The story is interesting. Free verse often carries much emotion as it does here as a kite loving young man Homan Walsh who wants to win the prize and does. For those of us working with informational text and STEM this is the perfect opportunity to show the importance of research in historical fiction. This is one book where the author’s notes at the end are as important as the story. O’Neill explains what is known and what is not known. It also tells more about the building of the suspension bridge as well as a time line and selected sources, which include primary sources from the local papers, 1848, and interviews. Terry Widener’s acrylic artwork conveys the frigidness of that cold winter.
Diggin' Dirt : Science Adventures With Kitanai The Origami D
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Troupe, Thomas Kingsley
Christoph, Jamey
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 06, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
This is a non-fiction soil book that works better as a read-aloud than a research book. Kitani is an origami dog who explorers the garden of his maker. He meets a friendly worm, Roger, who teaches him about the properties of soil. There’s lots of information, and teachers may find it useful as a means of teaching note-taking, but it’s going to be challenging for kids to use on their own. The layout of the text lends itself more to storytelling than research for it will provide support to your traditional informational text. That being said it’s very cute and would be fun to share as a story. Directions are included at the end to make your own origami dog.
Goodnight Baseball
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Dahl, Michael
Forshay, Christina
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 06, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
Sports Illustrated has a new take on Goodnight Moon. Returning from an evening baseball game, a young boy and his dad start saying goodnight to the baseball players, the dugout, the grass….all the way home to bed where they say “Goodnight Moon” which, of course is a baseball in the sky. The illustrations are perfect for a boy/dad shared reading. As they head home, the careful observer will notice the child’s eyes starting to close as they tell the stadium goodnight. Baseball fans will enjoy this bedtime story.
Ick! Yuck! Eew! : Our Gross American History
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Huey, Lois Miner
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 06, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
What better way to take the romanticism out of the past than a book to tell you how gross it really was, from human waste on the streets, to bedbugs in the beds and lice in the hair there was a lot that would offend modern senses. Doctors weren’t really doctors and a trip to see a dentist was miserable. There was no way to keep meat from rotting or vegetables fresh. If you are looking at a way to liven up that American Revolution history lesson, this book would do it. There is a mix of illustrations from contemporary drawings to photographs. Sidebars give more detail. I particularly found the small pox illustration to be of disgusting interest. I often read about this in books, but this is the first time I’d seen a photograph of a person with small pox. It’s not pretty.
Girly Girl Style : Fun Fashions You Can Sketch
Snap Books/capstone Press [Snap Books/capstone Press]
Bolte, Marissa
Hagel, Brooke
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 06, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
Although this book is bound to be a popular item in the library, I question whether many young artists will be pleased with their work, or find that drawing is more challenging than they thought. That being said, this is a book I would love in my library. Drawing a human body isn't easy, but the suggestions on how to draw fashions are exceptional. There are 13 different fashions and if the beginning artist using this book has some support from someone who knows how to draw, they will be pleased with their results. The emphasis is on the fashion design with a basic body shape for them to use. I’ll suggest to my future fashion designers, that they find some tracing paper to draw the human figure and then spend them time drawing the fashions.
Signing At Home : Sign Language For Kids
A+ Books/capstone Press [A+ Books/capstone Press]
Clay, Kathryn
Chewning, Randy
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 06, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
Of all the books about signing, this is one of the top books for elementary school. The series Time to Sign contains four books arranged around where the sign would be used—Home, town, school and the world. There are not a ton of signs for the child to learn, but each subject focuses on a few signs. For example, the toys double spread has 6 signs to learn—train, ball, doll puzzle, jump rope and game. And these signs make sense because they are a clear representation of the word. If you want to make the sign for puzzle, you lock two fingers together. This explanation in words is accompanied by a clear picture of the child making the sign. The word “toy” is shown in fingerspelling. One of the most interesting features of the series is the inclusion of the information that people in different areas sign a little differently. The sign for “pizza” is given three different ways—a regional dialect!
Robot Frenzy
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
Craddock, Erik
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 07, 2013
Dame, Anne
The 8th book in this graphic novel series. Simple yet vivid illustrations are colorful and imaginative. Young students will enjoy the antics of the characters in this comic yet charming text.
Very Inappropriate Word
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY]
Tobin, Jim
Coverly, Dave
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 07, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
Hurray! Here’s a book to support my harangue about finding better words than are often used to express anger. Michael is a word collector. He saves them under his bed. When he learns a brand new inappropriate word on the school bus he tries it out, only to get into trouble. Now he keeps hearing it everywhere, so he shares it with many people. He “could see there was something kind of bad about it. But there was something about it that he kind of liked.” His teacher asks him to stay after school and she sends him to the library to find spelling words because she needs some new ones. Two hours and forty-five minutes later he has a huge list of books for her. He keeps a few for himself. But unfortunately, his dog picks up that @!#& word! Like all good picture books, the illustrations carry as much of the story as the written words. It’s very clear that the inappropriate word is a “dirty” word. One of the great things about the teamwork of the author and illustrator is how the new words are visually presented, so the reader knows their meaning When Michael is surrounded by books in the library, they are real books like The Cay, The Borrowers, and Frindle all books with great examples of interesting words.
Rocks And Minerals
Scholastic Reference [Scholastic Reference]
Green, Dan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 07, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
One of my most perused sections of the library is rocks and minerals. This Discover More book will be a hit. It’s packed with information and it grabbed my attention when I found “hoodoos” in the index. There’s not much out there about these sedimentary formations in Bryce Canyon. the Gems section, has beautiful photographs of many different precious stones. This is the kind of book you’re going to need more than one copy. Because of the variety of rock information, readers with different interests will be drawn to this book. Yes, this is the same information you’ll find in other books, but it’s presented so magnificently here that kids will be pouring over it looking for the answers to the questions given on the title page for each section. As usual in the Discover More series, the digital book that can be accessed through the internet adds even more depth to the study of rocks and minerals
Bugs In My Hair!
BLUE SKY [BLUE SKY]
Shannon, David
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 07, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
Who knew having lice could be so funny! Shannon weaves lice facts into his story about a kid who has lice. Who know these nasty little guys would land in your hair having a lice-a-palooza? They’re everywhere. And they seem to take over the world. In Shannon’s world, this horror that often hits elementary schools is turned into a funny story. He doesn’t make the lice cute, but his artwork turns them into caricatures that are funny rather than threatening. This book even comes with its own warning on the back cover, “This book will make you ITCHY.” But at least you’ll be laughing as you scratch! This is a must purchase for any library. Kids will clearly understand why this isn’t one of the No! David books because David doesn’t have hair. Lucky No! David, No lice!
When Charley Met Grampa
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Hest, Amy
Oxenbury, Helen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 07, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
I’m glad Charley the dog from Charley’s First Night is a back in a charming new book. When Grampa comes to visit, Grampa tells Henry he worries if Charley will be friendly or fierce. Grampa hasn't been around dogs. This gentle tale tells how Charley won Grampa’s friendship. Henry tells Charley that Grampa “snores wild” and that Grampa doesn't know how to make friends with a dog. Each page shows some new way Charley works to win Grampa over with barks which are code for love, and Charley’s capture of Grampa’s cap that was blown away with the wind. It ends with both Charley and Grampa sleeping side by side with Grampa “snoring wild.” A perfect cuddle up and read together book--or a great gift for a special grandpa.
My Name Is Blessing
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Walters, Eric
Fernandes, Eugenie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
November 07, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
This book has special meaning for me because I was lucky enough to spend a summer in Zimbabwe working with missionaries who ran an orphanage for children whose parents had abandoned them or died of AIDS. Reading this true account of a young boy who was being raised along with his cousins by an elderly grandma touched my heart. Africa is that sort of place, you might go to see the wildlife, but it is the people who stay in your heart when you leave. Muthini, which means Sorrow, is born without fingers on one hand and only two on the other. When his grandmother is no longer able to take care of him, she takes him to The Creation of Hope Residential Center. If you’re lucky enough to read this aloud to 5th graders, you’ll hear audible gasps when Gabriel tells Sorrow there’s no room for him. But then you learn there is room for Blessing, and so Sorrow’s name is changed to Blessing and he begins a new life. The story will end with cheering from your audience. The afterword about Baraka (Blessing) shows the real story in photographs. Eugenie Fernandes illustrations do justice to the story as well. The colors in the acrylic on paper illustrations represent an authentic Africa.
Hide-And-Seek Science : Animal Camouflage
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Stevenson, Emma
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 07, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
English illustrator, Emma Stevenson, had created a marvelous, complicated hide-and-seek book, with animals often hidden in plain sight in their natural habitat. 293 animals hare hidden in 7 different habitats. The gouache artwork does justice to the habitats. The two page spreads have the same picture on the reverse side with the location of the hidden life outlined, and I’m guessing readers will need it for the 83 animals hidden in the coral reef. Some are easy to spot, but lots are more challenging to an elementary-school aged child. By looking closely the patient child will find them all. There is a brief introduction to camouflage, but the basis of the book lies in the hunt for hidden animals.
Christmas Drawing Wonderland!
First Facts/capstone Press [First Facts/capstone Press]
Besel, Jennifer M
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 07, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
Here’s a fairly easy drawing book that provides easy drawing for elementary kids to try their hands at. Shapes are simple. Even my drawing of the reindeer didn't turn out too badly! There are nine projects for kids to try their hand at from candy canes and ornaments to an elf and a candy house. The drawings are broken down into four steps, but each step becomes a little more complicated as the book progresses so kids can build on what they are learning.
First Aid Basics
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Lang, Elizabeth
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 08, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Starting with some examples of why first aid is important, the author describes, in brief, care for stings, bites, animal bites, cuts, scrapes, burns, splinters, sprains, and fractures. Emphasis is placed on getting an adult or calling 911. The hands-on activity is creating your own first aid kit. The text is well written and clear. Color photographs will focus the readers. The book contains a table of contents, index, glossary, and bibliography (2 books, 1 publisher website). Part of the "Health Kids" series, the book has 32 pages and a strange feeling cover. The author is from Olympia. Purchase if needed to update your health section.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Trueit, Trudi Strain
Snyder, Joel
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 08, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Part of The Child's World "Holidays and Celebrations" series, this 32 page books describes the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. It briefly tells about King's childhood, what life was like in the United States with regard to segregation, his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The book then describes how the day is celebrated as a day of service. The book also has a poetry chapter with quotes and poems and a song chapter with the words to "We Shall Overcome" and "This Little Light of Mine." There is a craft and some activities at the end. The book contains a table of contents, glossary, bibliography, and index. This could be used as an introduction to this holiday. The author is from Everett.
Happy Cat
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Henry, Steve
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 08, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Cat comes into the apartment building and goes up to his home in the top level. Along the way he meets rat, dog, rabbit, bird, and elephant. Children will delight in the detailed, engaging, and colorful illustrations. The text is simple with 3 or 4 words per sentence. The text uses many sight words and the pictures will clue in beginning readers to the animal names. Part of the "I Like to Read" series, this book will be loved by beginning readers as it is simple, but non-repetitive. 32 pages.
In The Garden
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Lang, Elizabeth
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 08, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Healthy Kids" series, this 32 page book describes the process of starting a garden. Readers will learn, in brief, about possible garden plants, planning your garden, soil readiness, planting, and dealing with slugs. There is a wormery activity at the end. Color photographs are interspersed throughout the text and there are a few whole page photos. The book will serve as a good introduction to gardening for younger students and will appeal to students who garden at home. The book contains a table of contents, index, glossary, and bibliography (2 books, 1 publisher website). The author is from Olympia.
VERMONT: THE GREEN MOUNTAIN STATE
Childrens Press [SCHOLASTIC]
SCHNOBRICH, EMILY
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 08, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Exploring the States" series, this 32 page book gives a very brief overview of the State of Vermont. It is a level 5 - Fluent, Scholastic Blastoff Reader. The information is simple and clear. Students looking for in depth information will have to go elsewhere, however, students needing a lower level book will find this book usable. For example, the entire history section consists of five sentences. The book contains two page spreads on history, geography, wildlife, economy, food, festivals, and more. There is a timeline and recipe, so this will work for students completing state projects. Color photographs are captioned and fit the text. The layout is engaging and will appeal to readers. The book also has a table of contents, fast facts, index, glossary, and bibliography.
Terror Bird
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Thomson, Sarah L
Plant, Andrew
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 08, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
Thomson has been able to put a great deal of information in an early reader about a huge bird that lived in South America 15 million years ago. This was the largest meat eating bird ever to live on earth. Good descriptions of size include almost as tall as a basketball hoop giving readers an easily understood reference. Different theories about their extinction are also given. The illustrations support the text nicely.
Take Your Last Breath
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Child, Lauren
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
November 09, 2013
Kline, Karen
The snarky-smart, code-cracking Ruby is back solving mysteries as a 13 year-old Spectrum agent for the super secret firm that even her parents are not aware of. House manager/butler, Hitch, is Ruby’s adult mentor who is also a Spectrum agent fighting evil criminals and sees to it that Ruby’s cover isn’t blown from day-to-day. When a Spectrum agent dies in a mysterious diving accident while studying marine disturbances including scrambled Coast Guard signals, unusual sealife behavior, and reports of a strange whispering sound, Ruby’s boss charges all the agents to investigate. With the help of her trusted best friend, Clancy, who is terrified of being the ocean, Ruby begins collecting clues. This book is a nail-biting success! Clever plot, spy gadgets, and witty repartee all wrapped up neatly with some music, science and math make this a winner. Follows the first book in the series Ruby Redfort: Look into My Eyes.
CLOSER LOOK AT THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
Rosen Education Service [Rosen Education Service]
HOLLAR, SHERMAN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 09, 2013
Kline, Karen
This overview of zoology gives readers an introduction to animals and why they are classified the way they are. Readers learn the relative numbers and percentages of vertebrates and invertebrates, and a chapter is devoted to each classification in this four chapter book. The system of binomial nomenclature is explained, and several phyla (but not all) are detailed with separate headings within their appropriate chapters. This book explains why not all birds fly and why all animals that live in the water are not considered fish according to biological classification systems. Most pages contain captioned photos, diagrams, charts, and drawings to support the text. A table of contents, glossary, publishers updated website, bibliography, and index are included. One of seven titles in the series, this book reads much like a textbook and is encyclopedic in style.
Sports Safety
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Lang, Elizabeth
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 09, 2013
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "healthy Kids" series, this 24 page book tackles the topic of sports safety. After introducing the topic, the author explains that injury is part of being active, but some injuries can be prevented. Stretching, conditioning, and protective gear are described in brief next. Finally, the book explains what to do if an injury does occur. Color photographs are found throughout the book. There is an activity of protecting a hard boiled egg which might get students to think about the protective gear they wear. Words in the glossary are found bold and red in the text. The book contains a table of contents, glossary, brief bibliography, and index. The author is from Olympia.
CELEBRATE CHINESE NEW YEAR
Enslow Publishers [Enslow Publishers]
KULE, ELAINE
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 11, 2013
Sepessy, Lona
Stories, legends, symbols, traditions and history of Chinese New Year are recounted in this 112 page library-bound book. The book is organized into 6 chapters that include general information about Chinese culture, signs and symbols and Chinese New Year today in different countries as well as in China historically and currently. Rat, Ox, Tiger, and Rabbit, and the other 13 animals of the Chinese Zodiac are highlighted in the chapter on Signs and Symbols, an immediate draw for elementary students along with the dates allowing quick identification. Photographs of events such as the Lion Dance and significant objects such as the red envelopes and altar decorations show some of the holiday traditions and accompanying stories explain how these traditions were thought to have started. Citations for information are given and can be pointed out as important to have in a non-fiction book. Glossary, directions for making a paper lantern and other standard features are included. Too long for an overview of the holiday and for sharing as a read aloud, the book has interesting information but may not have a strong readership.
The Magic Maker: A Portrait of John Langstaff and His Revels
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
COOPER, SUSAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
November 11, 2013
Sepessy, Lona
John Langstaff or Jack as he was known, was a teacher, musician, children’s book author, composer, and researcher and as Susan Cooper calls him, a Maker. He created magic with his musical performances at the schools where he taught, the family gatherings and the public performances in this country and England, New Zealand, and Australia. Best known for his magnificent Christmas Revels now held in 10 cities around the country, he captured the imagination of his audiences with a solstice performance based on the rich traditions from other times and other places; folk dance, customs, rituals, traditional carols and songs and storytelling. Jack wrote over 30 children’s books and songbooks and won a Caldecott for his Frog went a courting. While most students will not have heard of him, traditional music lovers may find his colorful life intriguing and for anyone who has attended a Christmas Revels, this is a rare glimpse at an immensely creative, talented musical artist. Pages of black & white photographs including costumed photos from the Revels celebrations show readers the dynamism he projected. The author, Susan Cooper is quite well know for her myth-based fantasies, especially The Dark is Rising quartet.
DANICA PATRICK
SPORTSZONE [ABDO]
MILLER, CONNIE COLWELL
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 12, 2013
Garrard, Thom
This biography of professional race car driver Danica Patrick focuses on her racing career and her progression from go-karts to open wheel cars to IndyCars and eventually to NASCAR. She was the first woman to win an IndyCar race, and she drove to two top-four finishes in the Indianapolis 500. She started racing in NASCAR in 2010, but she was still racing other types of cars. In 2012, she made a full-time commitment to NASCAR, and she has had several top-ten finishes. There's little information about her life away from the track, but auto sports fans should be happy with the plentiful racing photographs and the recap of her work behind the wheel.
MARK HENRY
BELLWETHER MEDIA [BELLWETHER MEDIA]
GORDON, NICK
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 12, 2013
Garrard, Thom
Professional wrestler Mark Henry weighed 200 pounds by the age of 10 and is more than twice that as an adult. He was an Olympic weightlifter before he turned to professional wrestling. Like the other books in this series, the focus is mainly on the significant events in his career, including his recovery from injuries, his world title, and his switch from face to heel (from hero to villain) in 2011. Some of his signature wrestling moves are also explained, including the Bearhug, the Body Avalanche, and the World's Strongest Slam. Victims of the latter "always stay on the mat." Well-chosen action photographs from the ring cover at least half the pages in the book. This book will have special appeal to wrestling fans, and everyone else should be grateful for the warning.
WISCONSIN BADGERS
SPORTSZONE [ABDO]
GITLIN, MARTY
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 12, 2013
Garrard, Thom
Each book in this series about college football teams details the history of a well-known program from the biggest victories to the most devasting defeats. Coaches and key players are listed with their statistics, but Coach Barry Alvarez earned his own chapter when he brought the dismal program back to respectability after his arrival in 1990. School traditions, such as how Wisconsin became known as the Badgers, are explained. (1830s miners lived in "badger dens," caves carved into the hillsides. The miners were called "badgers," a nickname that spread to all Wisconsin residents.) Mostly full-color photographs cover at least half a page on each two-page spread. Back pages are filled with a timeline, quick stats, quotes and anecdotes, a glossary, places for more information, and an index. Side note for Seahawk fans: Russell Wilson rates a mention near the end "...as perhaps the best quarterback in school history."
Super Hair-O And The Barber Of Doom
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Rocco, John
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 12, 2013
Garrard, Thom
Young Rocco believes that his superpowers come from his hair. After he is captured and dragged to the barber, he tries to recapture his powers by replacing his hair, but to no avail. His friends have also been shorn and are in the same predicament. Nothing they attempt works, but when a little hero gets in trouble at the playground, they spring into action and save the day, proving that their powers are not dependent on their hair. The illustrations use a comic book style that adds to the fun, and the use of color in the superheroes' world provides the perfect counterpoint to the black and white existence of the adults. This is another winning book from author and illustrator John Rocco.
NORTHERN DANCER : KING OF THE RACETRACK
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
JOYCE, GARE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
November 12, 2013
Garrard, Thom
Northern Dancer did not fit the mold of the prototypical champion racehorse, being shorter and stockier than his competitors and running with an unusual gait. Consequently, his potential was underestimated and he failed to attract even a minimum bid at auction. His Canadian owner kept him and had him trained. After winning races in Canada, he was brought to the United States where he won more, including the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, before finishing third in the last leg of the Triple Crown. An injury forced him into an early retirement, but many of the descendants he sired were very successful racehorses, and he ended up earning lots more money for his owner from the stud fees. Photographs, sidebars, a few charts, and a timeline help to tell this story. This intriguing and well-written biography of the famous horse will hold special appeal for horse lovers and sports enthusiasts.
Santino Marella
BELLWETHER MEDIA [BELLWETHER MEDIA]
BRICKWEG, JASON
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 12, 2013
Garrard, Thom
This biography of the professional wrestler known as Santino Marella focuses mainly on the significant events in his career, some of the signature wrestling moves he has used on his way to becoming a champion, and some of his special ways of entertaining wrestling fans. Well-chosen action photographs from the ring cover at least half the pages in the book. This book will have special appeal to wrestling fans.
Superman Vs. Bizarro
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Sazaklis, John
Vecchio, Luciano
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 13, 2013
Gustafson, Chris
Poor Bizarro has good intentions but his poor judgment and sketchy social skills cause him to come off on the bad guy. Superman's compassion for Bizarro is kind of touching and adds a bit of unpredictability cheerfully formulaic easy reader. Guided Reading Level M.
Batman Undercover
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Weissburg, Paul
Vecchio, Luciano
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
5th grade to 8th grade
November 13, 2013
Gustafson, Chris
Guided Reading Level N, 81 pages. Batman attends a crime convention undercover to solve a case. Just the ticket for struggling readers who need familiar characters and a predictable plot to keep them turning pages.
Hit The Road Helen!
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Mcmullan, Kate
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 13, 2013
Gustafson, Chris
The latest book in the popular Myth-o-Mania series. A breezy, tongue in cheek look at the myths for those who can’t wait for the next Percy Jackson book and don’t want to leave the world of mythology. Hades tells the story of Helen's doomed relationship with Paris and all the basic details are their with huge dollops of humor.
Beach Bully
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Maddox, Jake
Aburtov
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
5th grade to 8th grade
November 13, 2013
Gustafson, Chris
Guided Reading Level N, about 60 pages, from Stone Arch. Isaac loved to snowboard but now that his family has moved to the beach, it’s time to learn to surf. He gets a board, but mean kids drive him away from the surfing spot and it’s hard to feel at home in his new place. How to deal with bullies? Mom and Dad are well-meaning but ultimately Isaac has to figure out his own way to assert himself.
Take Me To Your 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
November 13, 2013
Gustafson, Chris
The fourth book in the series. Danny runs for class president to escape dreaded gym class wrestling – no worries about winning because Chantal is certain to defeat him. A notebook novel with plenty of illustrations, drama, bands, broken promises, and humor. Only makes sense if you read the first three.
Just Gone
RAVEN BOOKS [RAVEN BOOKS]
Kowalski, William
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
November 13, 2013
Gustafson, Chris
Mother Angelique spends her life working at the homeless shelter in her neighborhood and she’s seen it all, so when Jamal and Chantay show up, they’re just another couple of hard-luck kids, although Angelique is intrigued by Jamal’s story of Jacky Wacky, a kind of inner city Robin Hood who helps kids on the street and avenges those who abuse them. By the author of The Barrio Kings whose work is a huge hit with struggling 8th grade readers.
Mxy's Magical Mayhem
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Korte, Steve
Levins, Tim
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
5th grade to 8th grade
November 13, 2013
Gustafson, Chris
Guided Reading Level N, about 75 pages, a Stone Arch book. Mr. Mxyzptlk is all about sowing mischief in Metropolis, so it’s Superman to the rescue. This series of pranks will keep reluctant readers decoding text with frequent payoff in mayhem.
Binky : License To Scratch
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Spires, Ashley
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
All ages
November 13, 2013
Gustafson, Chris
The fifth book in the delightful Binky series finds the intrepid space cat and team shuttled off to pet boarding at the vet while their family is away. Binky is shocked by this betrayal and determined to escape, but his efforts lead him to the lair of Professor Tuffy, who seems to be on the side of the aliens. Who can Binky trust? Fun and funny.
Eagle Down
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Bowen, Carl
Tortosa, Wilson
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
5th grade to 8th grade
November 13, 2013
Gustafson, Chris
What you really need to know: Guided Reading Level Q, under a hundred pages, plenty of illustrations, military theme. Additionally: Staff Sergeant Edgar Brighton must endure fairly graphically described and depicted torture at the hands of a woman from the Colombian drug cartel and escapes to complete his mission. Not for the squeamish.
Dream Thieves
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Stiefvater, Maggie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
November 13, 2013
Gustafson, Chris
The second book in the "Raven Cycle" and more than worthy sequel to The Raven Boys. The vivid characters introduced in the first book are even more multi-faceted here. Blue and Adam act out a tentative romance that's rife with misunderstanding, Gansey tries to hold his circle of friends together while searching for the mystical King Glendower, Ronan comes to understand the horror of his ability to bring objects from his dreams. A sympathetic assassin comes to town and takes up with Blue's mom; he's the first masculine presence in the house of female psychics. As in the first book, the reader follows the many paths of the story and puts together connections that snap into more clarity by the end. Complex, age appropriate fiction - a gift to the fiction side of the Common Core State Standards.
Mystery
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Nix, Garth
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
November 16, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
Jack and his twin sister, Jaide, are troubletwisters. This means that they are wardens-in-training as they just begin to master their own magical talents. Jaide's talent is with the wind, and Jack's has to do with darkness. When their grandmother, whose magic has helped guard them, suffers a traffic accident and ends up in the hospital, the twins ed up investigating an old mansion, looking for a hidden treasure. The danger grows, however, as they near their goal. Who can be trusted? Will they survive? This is book 3 in the "Troubletwisters" series and will please fans. The writing is crisp and the plot is fast-paced, with plenty of scary touches that will suit the intended audience.
Year Of Luminous Love
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE]
Mcdaniel, Lurlene
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
November 16, 2013
Gleb, Heidi
Lurlene McDaniel continues writing about relationships, loss, and grief but this time she begins a new series aimed at older readers than with her previous teen novels. The three protagonists have graduated from high school and are spending their last summer together before going out into the world. Each girl has dark issues going on in her life and must rely on the friendship of the other two to help her get through the issue. Because of the age of the young ladies, there is mature content; while not described, it is obvious that sexual activity has taken place. Abuse and drug use also take place. Strong language might be inappropriate for younger readers. There are a few story lines that didn't set well with me: only one of the girls has what appears to be a good upbringing while the other two you just have to feel sorry for, the loss of virginity by a guy who is in with the girl's best friend, the back and forth romance of each character. While these things are plausible, it felt like McDaniel was trying to put too much into the story. BUT this book is a good selection for older teens who want a bridge between soft teen romance and dystopian novels and adult books.
EASY FOR YOU TO SAY : Q & AS FOR TEENS LIVING WITH CHRONIC I
FIREFLY BOOKS [FIREFLY BOOKS]
KAUFMAN, MIRIAM
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
November 16, 2013
Gleb, Heidi
Comprised of questions and answers, the third edition of this book includes chapters on family relationships, doctors and medical issues, friends and dating, school and work, alcohol, drugs, and medications, sexuality, recreation, and transitions.  The questions are taken from queries the author received from teens.  Straightforward answers do not pull any punches or attempt to soften answers that may be difficult to read.  People without chronic illness might not realize how important the concerns are, such as not going out with friends after a Crohn's diagnosis because you don't know where the bathrooms are, or knowing if you should tell a date you have an illness or disease, or wondering if you can exercise when taking new medications.  Appendix 1 is an extensive look at medications -- possible side effects of use, alone and in combination with other substances.  Appendix 2 contains information on resources; since the author is Canadian and the Govenment of Canada provided financial support for the book's publication through the Canada Book Fund, many of the resources are from that country.  While not a book that might be widely read, it is an important resource for teens and one that I will include in my high school library.
Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
Grabenstein, Chris
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 17, 2013
Brangwin, Nelda
Chris Grabenstein has written a very creative mystery set in a brand new library. Sure to appeal to fans of Willie Wonka, and The Gollywopper Games, it all begins with a contest created by the eccentric Mr. Lemoncello. “Balloons, there might be balloons” the last minute essay Kyle turned in a chance to win a night in the new library turns out to be a winner. He and other kids find themselves in an amazing game competition based on the amazing games of Mr. Lemoncello Kyle turns out to be a leader emphasizing the importance of teamwork and honesty as he and his teammates work their way through clues they find in this library of the future. But it turns out to be more than just fun when they discover they have to find the secret way out of the library. The bully, Charles Chilington, another of the 12 year old contestants, keeps reminding everyone Chilingtons don’t lose. He’s the perfect nemesis for Kyle. Readers will cheer as they see Chilington’s shenanigans get him booted out. And of course, as all bibliophiles know, Melvil Dewey rules—even in the holographic library of the future. Bookworms will lovethe titles of books cleverly hidden in sentences thoughout the book.
Families In French : Les Families
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Nunn, Daniel
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 17, 2013
Sepessy, Lona
This beginning book introduces the French names of family members, including stepmother and stepfather and stepsister and stepbrother. The text is all in French with a dictionary in the back giving the English translation and a pronunciation guide. The simple repetitive phrases that introduce the people become very familiar as voici (there is or there are) ma tante, voici mon uncle reassure even the youngest child learning a few phrases. Photographs of each family member are shown in a variety of occupations: gardening, rock climbing, playing soccer, golfing and bicycling, but they could have been taken in any country. The people shown in the photographs are clearly not part of the same family, as there are far too many ethnicities and races depicted. While the concept is appropriate for the intended audience, the content is so minimal that libraries might want to look at Capstone’s, My First Word series instead.
DAMAGE
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
STEVENSON, ROBIN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
November 17, 2013
Gleb, Heidi
Theo is shocked to see the girl of his childhood dreams, his former babysitter, at a swimming pool with a child. Now 17, Theo is tired of trying to live up to the high standards set by his older brother and drives off with Ronnie and Zach. After arriving in Los Angeles, Theo begins putting together the puzzle of what Ronnie is running from. This is another great read, part of the Orca Soundings series for reluctant readers. The story wraps up a bit too tidily with Ronnie coming to terms with her failings but teens will identify with pressure from parents and the urge to live up to their own standards, not those of an older sibling.
CAPTAIN KIDD'S CREW EXPERIMENTS WITH SINKING AND FLOATING
PICTURE WINDOW BOOKS [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
WEAKLAND, MARK
CUMMINGS, TROY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 17, 2013
Sepessy, Lona
Ahoy, Matey. Prepare to observe Captain Kidd and his crew, Barnacle Bob, Crusty, Grubbs, and Ol’ Peg Leg demonstrate gravity, buoyancy, density, and displacement aboard the good ship Driftwood. What better way to explain these forces than aboard a boat where arrows push buoyancy up on the boat and gravity arrows are headed down. The variations in density are shown with a pirate’s cannonball and a parrot’s feather. The concepts are reinforced through repetition and multiple examples slowly building to explain how metal boats float and why a gold laden pirate will sink unless thrown a life preserver. The large, colorful cartoon drawings of the pirates and various objects are digitally rendered, and the large font of varied colors, speech bubbles and pirateese will keep readers entertained while important concepts are explained and can be revisited. A glossary, recommended books, index and FactHound website included.
TOGETHER AT CHRISTMAS
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
SPINELLI, EILEEN
LEE, BIN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 18, 2013
Sepessy, Lona
This simple, counting, Christmas story tells the tale of 10 little mice huddled in the snow on Christmas Eve. One by one they locate a place, just for one, to stay warm. But something does not feel right so they gather together, frolicking and singing carols when they spot a hollow log with everything they need and big enough for all. Rhyming words introduce descriptive language such as frosty dark and strip of bark or flits across and clump of moss. Soft, uncluttered illustrations of snow, and trees and dark sky are the backdrop for the close-up of each mouse as they find their protected spot. While an additional purchase for most limited budgets of libraries, this is a heartwarming addition to the Christmas collection for younger children and certainly a book that families will enjoy.
In Too Deep
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Voorhees, Coert
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
November 19, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
It's hard enough fitting in when you go to a school that caters to the kids of privilege--the Hollywood elite, for example, and you're not part of that crowd. Still, Annie has other things that make her stand out--her scuba diving skills, having a parent who teaches at the school, her crush on Josh. It's a hard life being a teenager. However, when she signs up for a service trip to Mexico and ends up on a treasure hunt that nearly costs her her life, things start to get a little wild. Soon Annie and Josh are following clues to find the lost golden jaguar of Cortes...yes, THAT Cortes. Unfortunately unscrupulous folks are also on the same trail and are willing to do anything to succeed. ANYTHING. There's adventure, suspense, romance, and an "outsider looking in" peek at how the rich and famous live. This would be a good addition to a middle school library and would also find readership at the high school.
Fallout
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Strasser, Todd
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
November 19, 2013
Gustafson, Chris
What if the Cuban Missile Crisis ended with nuclear war? Middle schooler Scott’s dad is the only one in the neighborhood who build a bomb shelter, and when the attack comes in the middle of the night there’s the drama of desperate neighbors wanting in. Gruesomely claustrophobic, the time in the shelter is told in alternating chapters with normal life leading up to the attack. My teacher added the word Khrushchev to our spelling list that week because she said he would soon be our leader and we would all need to know how to spell his name. Don’t know if it will be as evocative for those who did not live through that time.
Living With Jackie Chan
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Knowles, Jo
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
November 19, 2013
Gustafson, Chris
This is a companion novel to Jumping Off Swings, but stands nicely on its own. It’s Josh’s senior year and he can’t stay in town and face the mess he’s made of his life since his one experience with school easy girl Ellie resulted in a pregnancy. He’s also fleeing his mom’s disengagement and dad’s alcoholism when he goes to live four hours away with Uncle Larry, a single guy who is a karate instructor. Without long time best friends Drew and Caleb to hang out with, Josh’s grades go up and he gradually accepts Uncle Larry’s enthusiastic care for him while gaining the self-confidence to begin a friendship with neighbor Stella. Will be looking for more copies for 8th grade book clubs.
Sea Of Monsters : The Graphic Novel
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Riordan, Rick
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 19, 2013
Dame, Anne
Illustrations are vivid but the story, out of necessity to the format, is much less rich and complex than the text version. Graphic novel fans will enjoy it and it may lead some of them to read the novel. Appropriate for grades 4-8.
Dinosaur Christmas
CARTWHEEL BOOKS (SCHOLASTIC) [CARTWHEEL BOOKS (SCHOLASTIC)]
Pallotta, Jerry
Mcwilliam, Howard
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 19, 2013
Kline, Karen
What pulled Santa’s sleigh before he had reindeer? Yep, dinosaurs! A jolly Santa recalls each type of dinosaur that pulled his sleigh on double page spreads and why each type of dino just didn’t work out. Triceratops? A bit slow. Velociraptors? Fidgety. Styracosaurus? Pushy and bossy. Fun, cheerful art makes the text come alive with movement and details. Very simple text (except for the dino names, of course) makes this book a quick read and perfect for even the youngest dinosaur lovers.
Are The Dinosaurs Dead, Dad?
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Middleton, Julie
Ayto, Russell
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 20, 2013
Garrard, Thom
Dave wants to know if the dinosaurs are dead. As they walk through the science museum exhibits together, Dad shares facts about each dinosaur as they come to it. As soon as he turns his back, they move, but when Dave mentions this, Dad insists that it is just his imagination. Only when the T Rex follows them, roars, and gives chase, does Dad finally register what his son has been trying to tell him. The book ends abruptly, with Dave and his dad fleeing and the T Rex right behind. The illustrator has injected humor into the story by depicting the dinosaurs with exaggerated body parts and by incorporating wonderful little warning signs into each picture. Many children will surely identify with Dave's plight and be delighted when the adult learns that he should have listened to Dave all along. Although ending a story while the main characters are in peril might be acceptable in film or an epic novel series, however, it just doesn't sit well in a children's picture book.
Ghost In The House
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Paquette, Ammi-Joan
Record, Adam
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 21, 2013
Garrard, Thom
A ghost glides through the creepy haunted house. He is startled to hear a scary noise and then relieved to see that is only a mummy. This scenario is repeated several times with more noises as a monster, a skeleton, and then a witch join the crowd. Finally they encounter a really scary creature - a boy! - and they leave in a hurry as he calls, "Good night!" The illustrations depict the ghost and his friends as cute, non-threatening beings, which helps to keep the story from getting more than slightly spooky and makes it very appropriate for a young audience. The nice rhythm of the text makes it well suited for a readaloud, and since it makes no mention of Halloween, it could easily be used in months other than October.
Take A Closer Look At Your Lungs
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Gardner, Jane P
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 21, 2013
Gleb, Heidi
This series of 12 titles is an excellent look at body systems for elementary-age children. Each 24-page book has color photos and illustrations, plenty of white space, and many interesting facts about each topic. The photos are mainly of young children but these books are a wonderful resource for older students who are learning English. Words in the glossary are printed in bold when used within the text. This title discusses how the lungs function as part of the respiratory system. Numerous color illustrations show how air is moved into and out of the body as well as the various parts of the lungs. The last chapter encourages healthy breathing through exercise and deep breathing. Recommended especially for younger readers but also for older readers as stated previously.
ORACLE
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
VAN TOL, ALEX
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
November 23, 2013
Gleb, Heidi
Eighth-grader Owen crushes on Kamryn but she only has eyes for Owen's older brother, Kyle.  Since Kyle is a cool, high school athlete, he appears to have more to offer Kamryn than does Owen.  Owen and his friend, Hannah, the student council president, start a relationship blog that dispenses relationship advice; soon everyone at school is talking about it.  Owen hopes to convince Kamryn through Oracle posts that he is a better candidate for her affections than is his brother.   Although the mean, snotty Kamryn will win few fans, she is someone who teens see in their schools every day.  Orca's hi-lo books are a hit with teens, who will enjoy this story. The 114 pages make it a quick read for most and a book that even struggling readers can get through.
Where's Waldo? : In Hollywood
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Handford, Martin
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
November 24, 2013
Kline, Karen
Waldo's back in Hollywood for a third printing. Editions from 1989 and later are now superseded by this all new deluxe copy. Each Hollywood-inspired double page spread has a half page fold-out with lists and clapper board insets of challenging mini-scenes to find on the main page. From the silent movie set to the plundering pirate movie, searchers can find Waldo, Wenda, Whitebeard, and more in each, but there are many other friends and assorted items that only appear once somewhere throughout the book making this the ultimate "needle in a haystack" kind of search book. With just enough text on each page to justify some required reading, libraries will want to add this to the shelves even though its usefulness as a curriculum support or literacy aide is debatable. It is sure to be one of the most requested books spanning many grade levels of interest. Always a hit with reluctant readers.
CLORINDA PLAYS BASEBALL!
UNKNOWN [UNKNOWN]
KINERK, ROBERT
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 24, 2013
Sepessy, Lona
Who wouldn’t root for Clorinda, the kindly cow, to fulfill her dream of being asked to play on the (Bosstown)Red Hats, her favorite major-league baseball team? Robert Kinerk and Steven Kellogg team up again for their third Clorinda book and this one is another rootin, tootin winner. Clorinda, with the help of her friends, builds a field and grandstand. When the neighbors flock to the field to play, Clorinda spots a shy youngster and invites him to hit. Deke is so good that eventually he is the one that gets the call from the Red Hats leaving Clorinda to mourn the loss of her dream. But when Deke can’t play without his coach, Clorinda, she flies to his side. Deke regains the power to hit runs, catch the ball and play like a star. Readers will cheer as Clorinda’s moment comes when a dust storm obscures Deke’s view. Clorinda pinch hits and the ball flies out of the park. The animal’s expressive faces in Steven Kellogg’s colorful, droll illustrations are a sure winner and fans will be rooting for more Clorinda stories.
WIZARDS OF WYRD WORLD
DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS [DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS]
SERVICE, PAMELA F
GORMAN, MIKE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 24, 2013
Sepessy, Lona
Josh’s favorite science fiction author, P. L. Cuthbertson, is announced as the annual school author visitor. Josh and Maggie can’t resist the temptation to retrieve the retired alien gizmo and travel with P.L to his “fictional” Wyrd World in this third book of the Way-Too-Real-Aliens series. Trouble envelops the trio from the moment they arrive, as P.L. is identifies as a wizard, a dangerous attribution and then kidnapped. The trio rescue P.L., suffer the inevitable captures that separate them but manage to escape and find each other. Their only hope in retrieving the gizmo and returning home lies in convincing enemy groups to unite and rise up against the kingdom’s evil rulers. They manage to wangle a temporary truce between the enemies with a newly shared purpose to free the enslaved and overthrow the rulers. Leggy, an alien pet nit-nit from a previous book, provides plentiful humor, but otherwise the plot is a rerun of the previous books. Black & white cartoon-like illustrations break up the short chapters in this middle grade science fiction novel.
Big Train Takes A Trip
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Klein, Adria F
Cameron, Craig
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 24, 2013
Kline, Karen
Here's a leveled reader with the appeal of trains and train cars sporting faces and super simple text. The red engine invites the train yard cars on a trip, and they line up one-by-one. Each car is recognized by its color making the pictures support the text on each page. With only two to twelve words on each page and a lot of repetition, this book will entice early emergent readers. With ten other level one books in the Train Time series, readers can chug through each title to gain momentum. Available in reinforced library bindings and paperback. Each title has a page at the beginning advising parents and caregivers of literacy tips like, "Read with expression, pointing to each word." The last page highlights five "story words," gives a word count (88) and shows cover art from three other books in the series. See review of Circus Train (same series) in PSC reviews.
Circus Train
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Klein, Adria F
Cameron, Craig
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 24, 2013
Kline, Karen
The circus train is rolling into town in this brightly illustrated level 1 reader from Stone Arch Readers. The engine pulls eight cars of different colors containing similarly color-coordinated animals. Lions in the yellow car, tigers in the orange car, and climaxing with a rainbow colored car of clowns. With only two to seven words on each page, repetition, and support from picture clues this book will be a welcome addition to most school libraries supporting early emergent readers. The hardcover edition is likely to withstand the teacher and student demand. See more information about the series in PSC reviews of Big Train Takes a Trip (Klein).
BENJAMIN BEAR IN BRIGHT IDEAS!
TOON BOOKS [TOON BOOKS]
COUDRAY, PHILIPPE
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 24, 2013
Sepessy, Lona
Benjamin Bear and his cadre of animal friends return bringing a whole new assortment of hilarious one page comic strips telling the stories of Benjamin’s responses to new challenges. These “Bright Ideas” range from catching a squirrel by carrying the entire tree, wearing the fish bowl underwater to follow his pet fish home, and dressing as a sheep in order to keep the flock together. 27 bright ideas are cleanly illustrated in shades of green, brown and terra cotta with just enough detail to tell the story, but not confuse younger readers. Three to six panels per page instruct younger readers in the sequencing of a graphic story and the limited numbers of speech and thought bubbles provide the explanation of Bear’s problem solving. Older readers can be challenged to explain the principal’s of physics involved in the dénouement of the challenge, as gravity, buoyancy, momentum, adhesion of molecules and reflections are portrayed. Translated from French, with starred reviews from SLJ, Booklist and Horn Book, this or other Toon books are must haves for every elementary library.
Rocky And Daisy Go To The Vet
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Crow, Melinda Melton
Sassin, Eva
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 24, 2013
Kline, Karen
Owen and his dad are off to take their two dogs, Rocky and Daisy, to the vet. The dogs love outings to the park, the pet store, and beach, but once they sense that they're going to the veterinarian the "trembling" begins. Dad and son work together to coax the dogs out of the van and into the vet's office. Once there the two pets try to escape, but once the vet comes in she wins them over with her ear rubbing and treats. The dogs don't even notice when they get a shot. Colorful, detailed illustrations on every page provide picture clues to support and scaffold for new readers in this level three "reading alone" book. Like others in the series from Stone Arch Readers, the book opens with a note to parents/caregivers offering tips like, "You may want to read the whole story through and then revisit parts of the story." A six-word "story words" list appears on the last page along with a word count (443) and cover art from three other books in the "My Two Dogs" series; there are eight titles in all.
Spark Unseen
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Cameron, Sharon
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
November 25, 2013
Dame, Anne
Sequel to The Dark Unwinding. Lots of action and adventure, a hint of romance, a dash of steampunk, plus a whirlwind escape to Paris all combine for another great novel by Sharon Cameron. Interesting characters, deft plot twists, and the backdrop of Napoleonic Paris also add much to this story. It definitely helps to have read the other book first for familiarity with characters and important past events.
Caught In The Act
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Loughead, Deb
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
November 25, 2013
Dame, Anne
It is the start of summer and vacation so Dylan and his friends kick it off with their usual bonfire made out of the years assignments, papers, etc. However, when someone calls the fire department, Dylan is immediately in trouble because the cop who also shows up is his mom's best friend. He's also in hot water because he was supposed to be at a job interview instead of playing with fire. Things only get worse as he gets into even more predicaments, including being suspected of committing a number of robberies. The picture on the cover combined with the title will probably lead students to infer that somebody is caught in the act of sex, but that is not the case here. It is a good hi-lo read with some humor, mystery, friendship, and even a little romance thrown in.
Valentino Pier
RAVEN BOOKS [RAVEN BOOKS]
Coleman, Reed
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
November 25, 2013
Dame, Anne
Gulliver Dowd is a private investigator with a black belt in martial arts. He's also a dwarf. One day he is approached by a young street boy who asks Gulliver to help him find his missing dog. Gulliver agrees to help and also does what he can to help the boy without scaring him off. Little does Gulliver know that finding the missing dog is going to lead to an even bigger mystery and lots of danger. Well-written, drew me in quickly and held my attention a lot better than many hi-lo stories. It has great characters and enough suspense to keep the pages turning.
Ace's Basement
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Staunton, Ted
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
November 25, 2013
Dame, Anne
Ace and Lisa have formed a music duo called Two. They like to write songs and go busking to earn some money. They have dreams of making it big someday. For now, though, they are trying to get through high school with it's usual dramas, homework, etc. When Denny, Ace's well-meaning but not very astute friend, offers to make a video for them, they reluctantly agree. The resulting work goes viral, but not in a good way. A serviceable hi-lo read. I like the music piece of the story, I think kids will relate to that as well as to the interactions between all the characters.
Topspin
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Bates, Sonya
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
November 25, 2013
Dame, Anne
Kat has just moved to Australia and she has the opportunity to compete at a junior tennis championship in both the singles and doubles categories. She's excited to go but a little worried because she hasn't been there long and doesn't really know anybody yet. She and her roommate Miri, who is also her doubles partner, get off to a bad start when Miri is not home by curfew and asks Kat to lie to their coach for her. Things steadily go downhill, not just for Kat but also for Miri's boyfriend Hamish who is slated to place very well in the competition. Kat senses that Miri may be involved somehow and sets out to figure out what is going on when she is not on the courts herself. Lots of action and suspense. It's nice to read a sports book that isn't about baseball or football. Also, I like the setting of Melbourne and the comparisons the author (through Kat's voice) makes to the Pacific NW.
Battle Magic
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Pierce, Tamora
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
November 25, 2013
Dame, Anne
This was a bit of a confusing read for me as it is a sequel to "Street Magic" published in 2001 and the action actually takes place two years before the events written about in "The Will of the Empress" and "Melting Stones". However, I loved the character of Evvy who is learning how to use her stone magic. She and her companions Briar and Rosethorn, who are plant mages, are visiting the mountain kingdom of Gyongxe when they are called away by the Emperor of Yanjing. They are impressed by his beautiful gardens, but quickly realize that he is not a kind person at all - in fact, he has nefarious plans against their friends back in Gyongxe. Lots of action,adventure, plot twists, and magic to keep the reader turning pages. Could easily go for higher grade levels as well.
Gene Therapy
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Carmichael, L E
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
November 25, 2013
Shirts, Brooke
The "Medical Marvels" series presents an informative yet dry presentation about specific fields of contemporary medicine: organ transplants, gene therapy, anesthetics, etc. Each volume in the series follows the same formula: readers are given the details of a real-life patient suffering from a disease or condition that would benefit from a particular "medical marvel." Then a historical pullback gives context for the development and difficulties surrounding the treatment. Each book was written under the consult of a professional in the medical field -- usually a professor at a medical or pharmaceutical school, ensuring accuracy in the writing (many of the volumes' source notes include references from medical journals). However, despite an attempt to explain the science in the simplest terms possible, there is no getting around the fact that this is advanced medical science; many of the explanations are still very technical and best suited for a reader who has had at the least some high school level science courses. The stock-photo illustrations and textbook-bland layout do nothing to entice readers; this series will probably be best used for school reports.
Anesthetics
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Burgdorf, Stephen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
November 25, 2013
Shirts, Brooke
The "Medical Marvels" series presents an informative yet dry presentation about specific fields of contemporary medicine: organ transplants, gene therapy, anesthetics, etc. Each volume in the series follows the same formula: readers are given the details of a real-life patient suffering from a disease or condition that would benefit from a particular "medical marvel." Then a historical pullback gives context for the development and difficulties surrounding the treatment. Each book was written under the consult of a professional in the medical field -- usually a professor at a medical or pharmaceutical school, ensuring accuracy in the writing (many of the volumes' source notes include references from medical journals). However, despite an attempt to explain the science in the simplest terms possible, there is no getting around the fact that this is advanced medical science; many of the explanations are still very technical and best suited for a reader who has had at the least some high school level science courses. The stock-photo illustrations and textbook-bland layout do nothing to entice readers; this series will probably be best used for school reports.
Joint Replacements
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Galliker, Leslie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
November 25, 2013
Shirts, Brooke
The "Medical Marvels" series presents an informative yet dry presentation about specific fields of contemporary medicine: organ transplants, gene therapy, anesthetics, etc. Each volume in the series follows the same formula: readers are given the details of a real-life patient suffering from a disease or condition that would benefit from a particular "medical marvel." Then a historical pullback gives context for the development and difficulties surrounding the treatment. Each book was written under the consult of a professional in the medical field -- usually a professor at a medical or pharmaceutical school, ensuring accuracy in the writing (many of the volumes' source notes include references from medical journals). However, despite an attempt to explain the science in the simplest terms possible, there is no getting around the fact that this is advanced medical science; many of the explanations are still very technical and best suited for a reader who has had at the least some high school level science courses. The stock-photo illustrations and textbook-bland layout do nothing to entice readers; this series will probably be best used for school reports.
Antibiotics
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Zuchora-Walske, Christin
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
November 25, 2013
Shirts, Brooke
The "Medical Marvels" series presents an informative yet dry presentation about specific fields of contemporary medicine: organ transplants, gene therapy, anesthetics, etc. Each volume in the series follows the same formula: readers are given the details of a real-life patient suffering from a disease or condition that would benefit from a particular "medical marvel." Then a historical pullback gives context for the development and difficulties surrounding the treatment. Each book was written under the consult of a professional in the medical field -- usually a professor at a medical or pharmaceutical school, ensuring accuracy in the writing (many of the volumes' source notes include references from medical journals). However, despite an attempt to explain the science in the simplest terms possible, there is no getting around the fact that this is advanced medical science; many of the explanations are still very technical and best suited for a reader who has had at the least some high school level science courses. The stock-photo illustrations and textbook-bland layout do nothing to entice readers; this series will probably be best used for school reports.
DARKEST MINDS
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
BRACKEN, ALEXANDRA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
November 26, 2013
Bateman, Teresa
On Ruby's 10th birthday she came into her "power" and the result was not good. Soon she was in a government camp that supposedly rehabilitated the children who had now gained psi powers of various types. There are kids labeled green, and kids labeled blue, and kids labeled yellow--each with specific abilities. But Ruby is an Orange. She has the ability to walk through another's mind and influence their behavior. Oranges and the violent Reds have been eliminated, or taken away. Ruby has been hiding, pretending to be something she is not. Now, however, she's escaped the camp and found some friends. Together they are seeking a supposed haven for children with their abilities. Surely if they can get there, avoiding the bounty hunters and the organization that hopes to use the psi kids to overthrow the oppressive government, all will be well. Surely the world can be good again...or can it? This is the first book in a series. The characters are well-defined and compelling, but the pace is a little slow. The author doesn't waste the extra time. There's a lot of detail, a little romance, and solid friendships. Still, it feels like the story could have been tightened up somewhat. Add this to your dystopia shelves.
Artemis Fowl : The Eternity Code Graphic Novel
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Colfer, Eoin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
November 26, 2013
Dame, Anne
The illustrations tend towards lots of blues, greens, and oranges but are clear and it is easy to differentiate the various characters. There is enough backstory for a reader to understand the action without having read the first of the series. Those who have read the text version will likely find this a bit too brief for their liking. However, it may tempt some into reading the text version if they haven't.
Attitude
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Stevenson, Robin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
November 27, 2013
Dame, Anne
Cassie has been selected to participate in a summer dance intensive in Vancouver, BC. Although 4 weeks away from her home and family in Australia will be difficult, she is really excited about the new opportunities to learn and perform with this program. The camaraderie and competition between the "old" girls and the "new" girls force Cassie to make some tough decisions. From what I know of the dance world, this is an accurate glimpse into what happens in these types of programs. The voices are authentic although the plot is predictable.
Juvie
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Watkins, Steve
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
November 27, 2013
Gustafson, Chris
It’s Sadie’s junior year and it’s all playing out like she hoped – AAU basketball, a boyfriend, grades good enough to make assumptions about college. When Sadie goes with feckless older sister Carla to a party, she’s there to keep Carla, who’s on probation, on the straight and narrow. Giving a ride to two guys at the party ends in a drug bust and since Carla has priors, she’s facing four years in prison and away from her three year old daughter Lulu. If Sadie confesses instead, she could get probation and Lulu would not have to be without her mom. A plea deal is worked out but a judicial switch at the last minute results in Sadie’s sentence to six months in juvie. In chapters alternating between the past and the present, the reader joins Sadie’s struggle to understand just what is guilt and what is innocence. Would be a good choice for book clubs in 8th grade.
VAMOS A JUGAR AL FUTBOL AMERICANO! = LET'S PLAY FOOTBALL!
PEBBLE PLUS [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
MADER, JAN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 28, 2013
Garrard, Thom
This title is part of the bilingual Pebble Plus series on sports. Like most Pebble Plus books, this one has one or two simple sentences on each left hand page covering topics like safety and equipment. These sentences are written in both English and Spanish. The large, colorful photographs on each right hand page include a nice diversity of kids. The easy text and large photos are a perfect combination for early readers, but the amount of information contained in this book is pretty slim, and the obviously manipulated picture of a football sailing through the goal posts seems out of place.
DON'T FEED THE BOY
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
LATHAM, IRENE
GRAEGIN, STEPHANIE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 28, 2013
Garrard, Thom
Eleven-year-old Whit knows the zoo all too well, because he lives there with his busy zoo director mother and elephant keeper father, is home-schooled by a staff member, and rarely gets to go out into the world. He longs for new experiences. When he observes a solitary girl his age who comes to draw the birds at the zoo every day, Whit breaks the ice by offering her a behind-the-scenes tour. Gradually he and Stella forge a friendship, which is a new experience for him and a welcome relief from a chaotic home life for her. He wants to help, but when she asks him for a favor that makes him uncomfortable, he is faced with a difficult decision that shows him how challenging friendship can be. The unusual setting adds interest to this story, the relationships between the well-drawn characters are realistic, and the dilemma that Whit finds himself in is also very believable. Students will identify with his struggle to find his own voice and should have lots to discuss about zoos, handguns, abuse, and what it means to be a true friend.
THE MIZ
Childrens Press [SCHOLASTIC]
BREW, JIM
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 28, 2013
Garrard, Thom
Mike Mizanin appeared in several seasons of the MTV reality show Real World before he became the professional wrestler known as The Miz. Like the other books in the Pro Wrestling Champions series, the focus is mainly on the significant events in his life as a heel (or villain), including his WWE debut victory, his first title, and his successful challenge of the champion. Some of his signature wrestling moves are also explained, including the Skull-Crushing Finale, in which he slams his opponent's head into the mat. The action photographs from the ring that cover at least half the pages in the book will help you feel the pain. This book will have special appeal to wrestling fans.
Take A Closer Look At Your Bladder
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Ventura, Marne
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 28, 2013
Gleb, Heidi
This series of 12 titles is an excellent look at body systems for elementary-age children. Each 24-page book has color photos and illustrations, plenty of white space, and many interesting facts about each topic. The photos are mainly of young children but these books are a wonderful resource for older students who are learning English. Words in the glossary are printed in bold when used within the text. This title discusses the parts of the urinary system and how they work togther to filter waste from the blood; color photos and drawings help illustrate the process. Bed wetting is mentioned as something that might go on longer than the child or parent would like but that it is normal and most often outgrown. The last chapter encourages healthy breathing through exercise and deep breathing. Recommended especially for younger readers but also for older readers as stated previously. While I thought this title might be the least-circulated book in the series, it was checked out soon after I put it on the shelf and came back after being overdue for a week. For my high school English language learners, I pair this title with David Macaulay's Toilet: How It Works.
NIGHT TERRORS
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
RODMAN, SEAN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
November 28, 2013
Gleb, Heidi
Dylan takes a job at a resort in a forest, hoping the change in environment will mean an end to the nightmares which are a constant reminder of the drowning death of his younger brother. As he and Josh work to close up the resort for the winter, their boss seems determined to cause them either harm or death, and Dylan is haunted by a ghostly figure. This Orca Soundings reading will be popular with teen boys who enjoy mystery, suspense and adventure. A good hi-lo selection for reluctant and/or struggling readers.
PIPER REED : FOREVER FRIEND
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [MACMILLAN]
HOLT, KIMBERLY WILLIS
DAVENIER, CHRISTINE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 28, 2013
Sepessy, Lona
Piper Reed, joins Clementine, Ivy and Bean and Just Grace, as one of many spunky girl stars of middle grade novels that belong in every elementary library. Forever Friend is the 6th book in the Piper Reed series featuring a Navy family moving to yet another new town. Piper and her two sisters are familiar with the routine but have their own ways of adjusting. Tori, the eldest, brightens when she sees her new guitar-playing, heartthrob neighbor. Sam the youngest, distraught by leaving her pet goldfish behind, starts the Goldfish Club with 12- 1st grade friends. Piper, finds none of her expectations are met but learns three important lessons: “you have to be open to new things,” “if you’re not good at one thing, you’ll find something that you are good at,” and “sometimes you just have to visualize and believe.” The black & white, pen and watercolor illustrations are sprinkled liberally through the text and aptly convey the personalities of all five family members. Be prepared to laugh, grimace and recommend this series to your students.
BARRY'S BEST BUDDY
TOON BOOKS [TOON BOOKS]
FRENCH, RENEE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 28, 2013
Sepessy, Lona
Polarhog wakes his best friend Barry, a bird, to a comment about how his house is such a boring color, gray, and the promise of a surprise. As they set off down the path, Barry asks where is his surprise. Polarhog takes him past a hat shop and talks him into a new hat despite his protests, “I do not like hats!” Next stop is the ice cream store where Barry again complains he doesn’t like ice cream but ends up with Polarhog’s blue ice cream smeared on his face. Renee French’s tan, muted greens flow flatly across the pages with a simplicity and beguiling charm that have just enough details for readers to linger and examine. Worker ants proceed across the lower parts of the pages, carrying tubes of colored paint, light bulbs, electrical cords and other decorative items. When the smiley balloons are spotted, readers will guess Polarhog’s surprise. And they are satisfyingly pleased with the brightly colored birdhouse and Barry’s name painted across the front. This graphic TOON book lives up to the TOON imprint and will be enjoyed by your younger readers.
Curse Of The Ancients
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
De La Pena, Matt
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 29, 2013
Garrard, Thom
The fourth episode in the Infinity Ring series finds time-traveling tweenagers Sera, Dak, and Riq, in an ancient Mayan village. They thought the ring was taking them to the sixteenth century, but they are off by a millennium. They face a series of problems, including a storm, Dak’s coma, the malfunctioning infinity ring, greedy Mayans from a neighboring village, and Riq’s wish to stay with their new friends. Eventually, they succeed in moving on together to the 1500s, where new challenges await from Spanish religious zealots and the Time Wardens who are bent on stopping the trio. The story moves along at a quick pace with lots of action, though some of the it seems highly improbable, even for science fiction. Several chapters relate Sera’s apocalyptic dreams, and although these may be explained in future episodes, here they are distracting and disconnected from the story.
CALM BEFORE THE STORM : A NIGHT IN SLEEPY HOLLOW
CALICO CHAPTER BOOKS [ABDO]
FIELDS, JAN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 29, 2013
Garrard, Thom
The second book in the Adventures in Extreme Reading series finds Isabelle cleaning up all traces of altered code in the book programs while Uncle Dan is still absent in pursuit of the hacker Storm. When Carter has trouble reading the Legend of Sleepy Hollow for his homework, the cousins decide to enter the virtual reality system as added characters in that story so that Carter can witness the events for himself. After Ichabod Crane’s departure, the cousins find that exiting the program is not easy, even without the hacker’s interference. Despite lots of simple dialogue, the plot moves along at a good clip but lacks some of the excitement of the first episode. Of course, readers who are familiar with the Legend of Sleepy Hollow are likely to get more out of this adventure, but given the very different length and reading level of the two books, there are not likely to be too many of those. So, despite the virtual reality angle, this series will probably have limited appeal.
CASTLE OF SHADOWS
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
RENNER, ELLEN
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 29, 2013
Garrard, Thom
Following the Queen’s disappearance five years ago, her husband the King has spent his time building towers of playing cards. Princess Charlotte, known as Charlie, has been fed scraps, dressed in raggedy clothes, and severely disciplined by the cruel housekeeper. When Charlie hears rumors of rebellion in the neglected kingdom and finds an unfinished letter hastily written by her mother prior to her disappearance, she decides to take action. Fortunately, she has friends like Tobias, the gardener’s assistant, to help her, though not all of them should be trusted. These are treacherous waters she is navigating as she tries to discover others’ motives, find a way to save her father’s life, thwart the devious prime minister, deal with the rebels, keep the aggressive neighboring nation at bay, and most importantly, locate her mother. The plot twists will keep the reader intrigued throughout this well-written adventure, and a touch of steampunk adds interest. Watching Charlie grow into an effective leader and a caring friend also proves satisfying.
HACK ATTACK : A TRIP TO WONDERLAND
CALICO CHAPTER BOOKS [ABDO]
ALTMANN, SCOTT
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 29, 2013
Garrard, Thom
Carter and his cousin Isabelle are excited to be recruited by their Uncle Dan to test a new kind of virtual reality program in which the reader dons a special suit and goes inside the story. Unfortunately, someone has hacked into the program, changing the computer code and leaving clues to his identity. Their role is to enter the Alice in Wonderland book and find the clues that the hacker has left behind. Unfortunately, the hacker has also made the story world more dangerous, and exiting the program is not as easy as getting in. Despite lots of simple dialogue, the plot moves along at a good clip. Of course, readers who are familiar with Alice in Wonderland are likely to get more out of this adventure, but given the very different length and reading level of the two books, there are not likely to be too many of those. So, despite the virtual reality angle, this series will probably have limited appeal.
Turkey Tot
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Shannon, George
Mann, Jennifer K.
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 29, 2013
Garrard, Thom
Sweet blackberries hang out of reach, but Turkey Tot is determined. Each time one plan doesn’t work, he thinks outside the box and tries another, even though his friends Pig, Hen, and Chick keep telling him he’s crazy. When they head off to take a nap, Turkey Tot comes up with a way to combine the materials he has gathered in a way that allows him to achieve his goal. Since he is not only imaginative and persistent, but generous as well, he shares the fruits of his labor, and demonstrates to all that being different is a plus, rather than a negative. In addition to the important messages it contains, George Shannon’s story is wonderfully told, with refrains that kids will enjoy repeating. Jennifer Mann’s watercolor, pencil, and digital artwork adds to the appeal of this book, which is highly recommended.
BODY IMAGE AND THE MEDIA
CORE LIBRARY [ABDO]
CONWAY, CELESTE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 29, 2013
Garrard, Thom
The media helps shape people’s concept of beauty, and when they compare themselves to that ideal, they often try to force their own body to fit that certain image. Since the media utilizes models who are unnaturally thin or muscular, and sometimes use photo editing tricks to enhance their appearance, this can result in unhealthy behaviors, like starvation, steroid use, eating disorders, and cosmetic surgery, even for children. Some programs have been developed to help counter these trends. This book covers these ideas with a nice blend of text, photographs, graphs, and a timeline, which helps the reader access the information in different ways. In order to align the book with the CCSS, special text boxes have been inserted that ask questions of the reader, quote primary sources, suggest writing exercises, or point towards further resources online. Although this makes the book seem more a bit more like a textbook, the possibility that even the casual reader will think twice about this important topic and reconsider his or her own behaviors is tremendously important.
REALITY TELEVISION
CORE LIBRARY [ABDO]
KOPP, MEGAN
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 29, 2013
Garrard, Thom
Reality shows have become a major factor in today’s broadcast industry. This book traces the history of reality programs beginning with Candid Camera, explains different genres, and discusses the positive and negative reactions that people have to this type of show. The book includes a nice balance of text, photographs, graphs, and a timeline, which helps the reader to access the information in different ways. In order to align the book with the CCSS, special text boxes have been inserted that ask questions of the reader, quote primary sources, suggest writing exercises, or point towards further resources online. Although this makes the book seem more like a textbook, it can cause the casual reader to think critically about this popular topic. For libraries that want to add a book on reality television, this would be a good choice.
Magic Tricks With Cards
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Gleisner, Jenna Lee
Oseid, Kelsey
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 29, 2013
Garrard, Thom
Magic Tricks with Cards, part of the Make Your Own Fun series from Child’s World, teaches the reader how to shuffle and how to perform six magic tricks with a deck of cards. These include dropping cards into a target, finding cards in the deck, and balancing a cup on top of a card. The steps for each trick are clearly described, and most of the steps are illustrated with simple drawings. Slightly dubious about the card dropping trick, I followed the directions and found that it worked perfectly. The author points out the importance of practicing before performing the tricks for others. This book would serve as a fun way for students to practice the skill of understanding and describing the steps in a technical procedure, which is part of the CCSS.
Magic Tricks With Science
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Bell, Samantha
Oseid, Kelsey
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 29, 2013
Garrard, Thom
Magic Tricks with Science, part of the Make Your Own Fun series from Child’s World, teaches the reader how to perform seven magic tricks that rely on simple scientific principles. These include making a handkerchief waterproof by wetting it, picking up an ice cube with a string, and sticking a pin into a balloon without popping it. The steps for each trick are clearly described, as is the underlying science concept. Most of the steps are also illustrated with simple drawings. The author is careful to point out that an adult assistant is needed when the trick involves lighting a candle. This book would serve as a fun way for students to practice the skill of understanding and describing the steps in a technical procedure, which is part of the CCSS.
Killer Bees
Children's Press [SCHOLASTIC]
OWINGS, LISA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 29, 2013
Garrard, Thom
Killer Bees, part of the Nature’s Deadliest series from Children’s Press, begins with a frightening account of a killer bee attack in Arizona in which one victim suffered over 150 stings. The subsequent chapters describe how killer bees originated in South America and spread northward, the group behaviors that make them especially deadly, the way they deliver their venom, and how to react to an attack, or better yet, prevent one. Although the combination of white text on color background photos is eye-catching, the text in these latter chapters is markedly less exciting than the opening. The close-up bee pictures are enough to induce a feeling of unease. Captions and sidebars provide additional information, and a glossary, resource list, and index are included.
DAV PILKEY
CHECKERBOARD [ABDO]
WHEELER, JILL C
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 29, 2013
Sepessy, Lona
Did you know that Dav Pilkey, favorite children’s author, best known for his Captain Underpants, Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot, and early reader Dragon series, was also a recipient of a Caldecott Honor Award for his 1997 book, The Paperboy. I didn’t, and until reading this biography, I hadn’t realized he was also the author of the popular Dumb Bunny series, under the pseudonym, Sue Denim. The Children’s Authors series follows the standard Checkboard series format with short two-page chapters, large font, and plentiful and colorful photographs Readers will learn those are the three criteria Pilkey set for his own books, written to engage children who hating reading as he had. The addition of humor is the winning ingredient that endears Pilkey to reluctant and struggling readers. Many of the vocabulary words defined in the glossary such as, debut, genre, freelance, pseudonym, and manuscript, are important when comparing and discussing authors. Checkerboard biographies are decent choices for 2-5 grade readers and with the extensive number of authors available, students can be matched one-to-one with a book.
KANYE WEST : GRAMMY-WINNING HIP-HOP ARTIST & PRODUCER
ESSENTIAL LIBRARY [ABDO]
BORUS, AUDREY
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 30, 2013
Garrard, Thom
This biography of hip-hop artist and producer Kanye West, part of the Contemporary Lives series from ABDO’s Essential Library, opens with his acceptance of the 2005 Grammy Award for best rap album. Subsequently, the reader learns that his childhood was different from that of many other rappers, because he had a middle class upbringing, a tolerant English professor mother, an elementary school year in China, and a music studio he was able to assemble in his bedroom. The book then chronicles his successful career in the music industry, both as a producer and as a performing artist, which has included eighteen Grammys, five solo albums that all went platinum, and over 30 million digital downloads of his songs. Interspersed with major career events, the reader learns details about his serious auto accident, his outspokenness, his brash and boorish behavior at some public events, like award ceremonies, and his private life. The easy-to-read text is illustrated with color photographs and accompanied by sidebars with additional information. For those wishing to learn about the life of this celebrity, this biography does an adequate job.
Magic Tricks With Coins
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Gleisner, Jenna Lee
Oseid, Kelsey
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 30, 2013
Garrard, Thom
Magic Tricks with Coins, part of the Make Your Own Fun series from Child’s World, teaches the reader how to perform six magic tricks with coins. These include several ways of making a coin disappear, winning coin flips, and finding a specific coin in a bag. The steps for each trick are clearly described, and most of the steps are illustrated with simple drawings. The author makes a point of asking an adult for help when trick preparation involves scissors, and also notes the importance of practicing before performing the tricks for others. This book would serve as a fun way for students to practice the skill of understanding and describing the steps in a technical procedure, which is part of the CCSS.
JENNIFER LOPEZ : ACTRESS & POP SUPERSTAR
ESSENTIAL LIBRARY [ABDO]
ASSELIN, KRISTINE CARLSO
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 30, 2013
Garrard, Thom
This biography of superstar Jennifer Lopez, part of the Contemporary Lives series from ABDO’s Essential Library, begins by describing her first big film role in which she portrayed murdered singing star Selena in the film of that name. After some background on her childhood experiences, the book chronicles her music career, her acting career, her fashion and perfume lines, and her two years as a judge on American Idol. Interspersed with her entertainment and career events, the reader learns details about her failed marriages and romantic relationships, along with other aspects of her private life. The easy-to-read but workmanlike text is illustrated with color photographs and accompanied by sidebars with additional information. Lopez is one of the most powerful and influential celebrities in the world, but there is nothing outstanding about this biography.