Reviews for month


FRANKLIN SAYS I LOVE YOU
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Bourgeois, Paulette
Clark, Brenda
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 02, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Franklin loves his mother, but how can he demonstrate that love, for her birthday? He checks with his friends, and each tells how they show their mothers they love them. None of their plans quite work for Franklin, however. Or, maybe he should do ALL of them? This is a gently sweet story with bright color illustrations by Brenda Clark. Originally published in 2002, you may already have it in your library.
SPELLING TROUBLE
ABRAMS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [ABRAMS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Cammuso, Frank
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 02, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Salem Hyde is an energetic gal who sometimes has a little trouble with self-control. This is a problem, when you're a young witch. In this book, the first in a series, Salem has a problem with confusing spelling with casting spells. Could her new cat companion help her gain a measure of control? Only if the two of them learn to get along. After all, Salem WANTED a unicorn. Frank Cammuso always does a nice job with graphic novels, creating fun characters and interesting situations. I really loved his "Knights of the Kitchen Table." The review copy was an uncorrected proof and in black and white, but it assures readers the final copy will be in color. That was released in October, and the second book is coming. This is sure to be a hit with readers who are looking for graphic novel humor.;
Charlie Bumpers Vs. The Teacher Of The Year
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Harley, Bill
Gustavson, Adam
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 02, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Charlie Bumpers is heading into 4th grade and his new teacher is going to be a challenge. Is it really his fault that he accidentally hit her in the head with a shoe, when he was in third grade? Will he survive her neatness requirements? How will things go with his best friend in the OTHER class? Yes, Charlie has a lot to worry about. Then there's his older brother who rags on him, and younger sister who can't keep her mouth shut. Oh, this is going to be a year to remember. It seems that no matter what his good intentions are things always go wrong for Charlie. However, he soon discovers his teacher isn't exactly what he had expected, and he makes new friends. This is a slice of life piece of realistic fiction, with humor and a kid's point of view that readers will appreciate. The occasional black and white illustraitins by Adam Gustavson add to the fun. Use this to step kids up from Suzy Kline's Horrible Harry books.
Stanley Hotel
BELLWETHER MEDIA [BELLWETHER MEDIA]
Von Finn, Denny
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 02, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Ever been to the Stanley Hotel? Then perhaps you've heard someone walking, only to discover that nobody is there. Perhaps someone has packed your suitcases, but housekeeping hasn't been by. And who are those invisible children playing in the hallway? Perhaps best known for inspiring Stephen King's "The Shining" this is a hotel with a history that apparently refuses to go away. This well-bound 24-page book provides a bit of that history, just enough text to make a shiver run up your spine, and not much to dispute the ghostly claims. However, that's pretty much what the intended audience wants. This is sure to be a hit in your 100's section.
Melonhead And The We-Fix-It Company
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Kelly, Katy
Johnson, Gillian
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 02, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Melonhead and his friend, Sam, are always coming up with BOB's (Brainflashes of Brilliance.) Unfortunately, Melonhead's parents don't agree about the "brilliance" part. Creating undrinkable concoctions ends up damaging a family heirloom. How will the boys make the money to get it fixed? Their "We-Fix-It" company seems like a good idea at the time, but then so many of their ideas do. Do you sense impending doom? This is another rollicking story of boys being over-the-top boys, but without any malice. Also without any thought to consequences. You'll also find out how to polish silver and brass, get peanut butter out of hair, and conquer super glue. Occasional black and white illustrations accompany the delight6ful text. This series is full of humor and I have several students who are big fans. It's similar to Amato's "Riot Brothers" series, and will definitely appeal to the same crowd.
SHOW MUST GO ON!
SPOTLIGHT [ABDO]
NIGHT, P J
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 02, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
A psychotic playwright who put her own disappointments into her writing. A school play, cursed to end in death and disaster. A young girl who feels like she's being followed, and is having strange dreams that come true. Yep, it's another horror story by P.J. Night. What is the curse that haunts the play, and can it ever be resolved? That's the big question. When Bree gets the starring role in the school play she knew she would have to deal with Tiffany's jealousy, but now so much more is happening. How much of it is real and how much is Tiffany? Can the past be repeating itself? There are too many coincidences, but who will believe her? This is what you hand students when they ask for "something scary." It will also appeal to "Goosebumps" fans.
Unkindness Of Ravens
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Torres, J
Clark, Brenda
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 03, 2014
Kline, Karen
A Native American boy despises the destruction of the forest where his people live, and he is told in a dream to carve a totem to represent a beast he sees in a dream that can scare the earthmovers away. The boy is empowered by lightning to release the beast in himself when he says a magic word -- Sasquatch! So begins the second book in this clever graphic novel series about another boy named Rufus who has found the totem and is learning to use it. On a trip to the woods to see his Grammy, Rufus is reunited with his Native American friend Penny, but not before getting lost in the woods with his animal spirit guide-- a squirrel-- that he brings from the city. When Rufus transforms into Bigfoot Boy, Penny finds him and he shows her his supernatural digging strength and ravens overhead see the entire event. The ravens want that totem and its magic -- it might help them find food! The ravens spin an outlandish tale of how they can help Rufus find his squirrel in return for the totem, but Rufus refuses. The ravens lure Rufus into a pit and take the totem anyway. Penny encourages Rufus and tells him they can find the squirrel and the totem and with persistence they do. The story ends with a cliffhanger and promises book 3.
Bigfoot And The Yeti
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Colson, Mary
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 03, 2014
Kline, Karen
This little book is chock full of the historical accounts of Sasquatch and yeti sightings, giving names and dates as it goes. Photographs of yeti scalps, Sasquatch prints, bone specimens, and more give readers a chance to weigh the evidence as they read about the comments from scientists and anthropologists like Jane Goodall who predict that there could be an undiscovered species that provides the “missing link” to the evolutionary biology of mankind from the species of apes. To be fair and balanced, the author presents hoaxes that have been discovered and the tricks that the cryptid hunters will go to in order convince their audience. Fake photos and creatures that bare likeness to these mysterious creatures are compared. Science methods are presented and described throughout the book to remind readers of how to make an informed decision about their own opinion. References to DNA testing, species identification, the scientific method, Darwin’s theory and more make this book more than just a collection of tales. Readers will get a good dose of science and reasoning as they marvel at the possibilities of these humanoid creatures that fascinate the most reluctant readers. Good luck keeping this hot topic on library shelves!
Frogged
HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Vande Velde, Vivian
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 03, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
It's hard being a princess--Imogene should know. Her mother wants her to become the perfect princess, but she just doesn't have that inclination. She does, however, have a good heart, which explains why she agrees to kiss the enchanted frog. A prince? Nope, a local kid who annoyed a witch and has just escaped his curse by passing it along. Being a talking frog is not easy, Imogene soon discovers. She winds up with a traveling theater company, and longs to return home. When the chance arrives, however, how will she escape her curse? She certainly can't pass it on to another person. That wouldn't be right, even if that young prince she's known for years has suddenly turned kind of cute, and is willing to make the sacrifice.This is another fun take on "The Frog Prince." Written by a master of the art of fun fantasy, with enjoyable characters and some nice moral lessons that aren't at all preachy, this is a good addition to any collection.
Extra
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Lasky, Kathryn
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
January 04, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Taken by the Nazis because they are part of the Sinti ethnic minority, fifteen-year-old Lilo is separated from her father, but she and her mother stay together when they are chosen to be extras by Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler’s favorite filmmaker. Their living conditions get marginally better, but they are still at the mercy of the vindictive Riefenstahl, her crew, and their guards. When Lilo returns after shooting scenes elsewhere as a horse-riding double, she realizes that her mother has died during her absence. She flees to Salzburg where, with the help of a sympathetic puppet theater seamstress, she survives a couple years before her recapture. Once again proving herself useful keeps her alive until the Allies liberate the camp, and there the story rather abruptly ends. Although Holocaust stories have been told before, the fact that these victims are Sinti and that they really were extras in a dramatic movie filmed under Nazi rule are intriguing angles. Readers are spared too many graphic details. Given the fast pace, many characters are not fully developed and disappear from the narrative without a trace, but someone in Lilo’s situation probably would have experienced it the same way.
Picture Day Perfection
ABRAMS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [ABRAMS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Diesen, Deborah
Santat, Dan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 05, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
The narrator recounts the day he has planned for months in his attempt at the perfect school picture, but not all goes to plan. He wakes up with a terrible case of bedhead, finds his favorite shirt at the bottom of the hamper, has a breakfast syrup disaster, gets in trouble on the bus and again at school, splatters paint all over, and then they run out of complimentary combs. While he’s sitting for his photo with a scowl on his face, he reminisces how the day has gone perfectly according to his plan so that for a moment he lets down his guard and smiles. At that point the camera clicks and captures what his mother thinks is his best school picture ever. He’s already planning to ruin next year’s photo. This is a well-made book with large humorous illustrations made in Adobe Photoshop. The boy’s voice clearly captures his attitude, and the readers are in for a big twist at the end. Front and back end sheets contain other student pictures with names adding to the quality of the overall offering.
Cheese Belongs To You!
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Deacon, Alexis
Schwarz, Viviane
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 05, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Rat Law is that “Cheese belongs to YOU.” “You” is a small cartoonish rat with a red tail ribbon who discovers a big block of swiss cheese. But then begin the “unlesses” starting with “Unless a BIG rat wants it. Then cheese belongs to him.” From there the rats get bigger, quicker, stronger, scarier, hairier and dirtier with each usurping the ownership of the one preceding it. Ultimately mayhem prevails knocking out all of the competing gangs and bosses, so that ownership returns to the original rat with the cheese. This soft-spoken mouse offers it to the others who all politely sit at a long table to share this cheese. First graders liked the story, but it’s not exceptional. The rats illustrated in red outlines are not appealing and at times even gross, which may be intended even though comic.
Moose That Says Moo
FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX [FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX]
Hamburg, Jennifer
Truesdell, Sue
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 05, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Beginning with “If I were allowed to invent my own zoo, The first thing I’d have is a moose that said 'moo.'" From there the narrator’s imagination runs wild continuing with sharks that read books and an ox that’s a short-order cook. The lively rhyming text lends itself to audience participation as the animals in the zoo get more out of control. Finally the young “zoo-keeper” takes back all of the problems by deconstructing the mess he’s created, but he has one last thought—“a juggling hen” which will put a smile on the young readers’ faces. Tuesdell’s pen and ink with watercolor illustrations are reminiscent of James Stevenson’s and capture the comic nature of this outlandish zoo. Good for cause and effect, and a natural, fun, follow-up is to have children write and draw what their animal would do in their zoos using the first line of this story with blanks for them to fill in. Pre-2
How To Train A Train
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Eaton, Jason Carter
Rocco, John
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 05, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
With the first line, “So you want a pet train?” the reader is off on a wild ride learning how trains make good pets if you know how to treat them. This tongue in cheek guidebook starts with selecting the right train for the owner, how to catch one, how to know if it’s the right one, names for trains (from Milo to Sir Chuggsalot), helpful hints for smooth transitions to living with a new owner, and teaching it tricks and proper behavior. At first this may seem weird, but the premise and humor do grow on the reader. The illustrations done in graphite and colored digitally are impressive, large and rich. They especially give the trains faces with the placement of lights and windows. This is sturdy, well-made book. Thankfully the author included warnings to the reader at the end about the things NOT to do that would be unsafe. A fun follow-up is to have children think of their new pet vehicle and draw it, which produces surprising, imaginative results. Rating Ad+/R
Lost Cat
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Mader, C Roger
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 05, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Slippers the cat has a good life with her owner Mrs. Fluffy Slippers until the day she moves to live with her daughter’s family. During that hectic day Slippers is forgotten. She tries to follow the moving van, but eventually has to stop. Though the family drives back to the house, the cat is so far from home she’s lost and begins looking for a new person to adopt her. Slippers encounters several unacceptable owners—a dog owner, a horse rider, a loud trucker, a scary boy, and a motorcyclist, all of whom she escapes from. When she jumps out in a town, she watches all the feet until she sees Miss Shiny Shoes, whom she follows home. Unexpectedly she has selected the granddaughter of Mrs. Fluffy Slippers and is happily reunited. Though the ending is a little too pat, it is pleasing. This debut picture book bodes well for this author/illustrator who captures his cat in a captivating manner, both in drawings and text. Told from the cat’s third person perspective all the reader sees are the people’s feet she encounters.
Sammy Keyes And The Killer Cruise
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Van Draanen, Wendelin
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 05, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Sammy Keyes and her friend, Marissa, are off on a cruise to Mexico with the father Sammy has recently discovered she has. He's a rock star, but just about the opposite of her thoughtless mother. Fatherhood is new territory for him, but he's learning fast. Sammy and Marissa have other concerns, however. While Sammy is starting to trust her new dad, she and Marissa are seeing the implosion of another family--the Kensingtons. They're rich. They're entitled. And did someone push Grandma off the balcony? Sammy and Marissa become friends with the adopted son of the family and are drawn into their intrigues. This time, however, Sammy actually has a responsible adult she can turn to--her new father. There's intrigue. There's a code to solve! There's frozen yogurt on Deck 11! Clearly the author has taken this cruise (so have I) and she perfectly describes the setting. I relieved my own cruise memories fondly, and felt like I gained weight as he was reading. This is another fabulous Sammy Keyes adventure that I will recommend whole-heartedly to my readers seeking "a good mystery."
ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR
Childrens Press [SCHOLASTIC]
BENOIT, PETER
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 05, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Scholastic’s Cornerstones of Freedom series provides reliable information and brief overview of significant historical events using primary and secondary resources. The Attack of Pearl Harbor gives readers an overview of the East Asian political climate, and regional struggle for power and economic control, starting with Japan’s invasion of China in 1931 and eventual bombing of Pearl Harbor. An overview of political and military events in Europe and the signing of the Tripartite Pact are briefly explored. Attention is given to the conflicting views within the United States and how the Pearl Harbor attack caused the immediate declaration of war on both fronts. Side panels detail “Today’s Perspective,” and “A View from Abroad,” and “A Firsthand Look” boxes explain links to audible files recordings of major speeches and testimony. Photographs, maps, brief biographical sketches of significant people, a timeline, bold words in the text defined in the glossary, additional resources, and a factsfornow.scholastic.com link compliment the text.
STINK-O-PEDIA : MORE SUPER-STINKY STUFF FROM A TO Z
ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
MCDONALD, MEGAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 05, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
This is the ABC book for your reluctant and struggling readers - especially boys. Each letter except X gets 4 pages of facts about Stink-y favorites such as quicksand, jinx, zombies and pizza. Origami toad instructions, mnemonics, riddles and quizzes will make reading seem like a breeze and encourage under the desk sneak peaks. Trademark illustrations and changing fonts keep readers’ motivated. Plan to see this book in the checkout line and rarely on the shelf.
MIND IF I READ YOUR MIND?
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
WINKLER, HENRY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 05, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Billy Broccoli, a shy, gawky 6th grader and his ghostly friend “the Hoove,” a 14-year-old prankster-filled ghost, are stuck together until Hoove can prove to the Higher-Ups that he is Caring and Responsible. Challenged to find a talent for the 6th grade competition, Hoove rescues him by feeding him information in a mind-reading demonstration. Suddenly invited by a popular boy for a sleepover, Billy is suddenly conflicted by a surprise invitation to go on a private tour of the Dodger Stadium. Hoove’s dream has always been to visit all the baseball stadiums yet he’s hindered by a restriction to stay within a small area until he passes this challenge. Despite Hoove’s demand that he go home, Billy can’t turn down the invitation and Hoove in a fit of overwhelming anger, deserts Billy just as the big competition arrives. Yogi Berra makes 2 ghostly appearances to put Hoove on the right track and both Billy and Hoove learn life lessons. Humor, awkward situations and middle school angst make this a series to introduce to your reluctant readers, especially boys.
STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
MCDONALD, MEGAN
REYNOLDS, PETER H.
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 05, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Zombie’s have taken over Virginia Dare School and if the school reading minute total passes 1,000,000 minutes of reading the mysterious big orange box, B.O.B, sitting outside the Principal’s office will be unveiled at the midnight book sale of the 5th book in the Nightmare on Zombie Street series. Zombie jokes, zombie inventions and zombie stories are matched by trademark full-page zombie info graphics. 8 ways to tell if your sister is a zombie and directions to look undead will zombify readers as this book flies off the shelf. Introduce it as part of a Halloween display and zombies will be the craze. Another great Stink book for reluctant & struggling readers (especially boys) as well as anyone who enjoys laugh out loud slightly off beat humor.
STINK : SOLAR SYSTEM SUPERHERO
UNKNOWN [UNKNOWN]
MCDONALD, MEGAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 05, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
When an old mnemonic phrase for the 9 planets causes Stink a big red X on his test, Stink and his classmates led by nemesis Riley know-it-all get in a big argument about the demotion of Pluto. A debate between the opposing sides is scheduled for Friday, but each team has more tricks up their sleeves in the battle of persuasion. A mock funeral for Pluto, with R.I.P. gravestone is followed by bumper stickers, “Honk if you love Pluto.” The big day arrives and the two teams perform plays. Despite Riley’s anti Pluto Planet’s well-reasoned argument, Stink’s play appeals to the hearts of the classmate jury. A unanimous vote retains Pluto’s right to remain a planet! This classic Stink story delivers the trademark humor mixed with great planetary information conveyed in the Mnemonic Comics. Large font and plentiful illustrations provide younger readers and especially boys with a series to appeal to those not quite ready for Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
In Search Of Goliathus Hercules
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Angus, Jennifer
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 06, 2014
Datisman, Eve
Henri (pronounced the French way as Onn-ree) Bell's life changes the day that he discovers that he can talk to insects. Because of his super-sharp hearing and native ability, he becomes the messenger between the six-legged and the two legged world. He puts his unusual talent to use in the circus as the trainer of fleas in a sideshow flea circus. But Henri really wants to travel to Malaya to search for the giant beetle, Goliathus Hercules, the insect his father was searching for when he disappeared. Ten-year-old Henri and his intrepid band outwit the mysterious Mrs. Black who wished to be the first to find the dangerous, reputed to be a man-eating, Goliathus Hercules, and to discover what had happened to his father. Even as Henri’s world seems to be getting smaller with his concentration on the insect-world, it expands. The big questions of how one changes in response to challenges and maturation are deftly interwoven in a clever denouement. The book is part Toby Tyler running away to join the circus to travel, part Kafkaesque transformational allegory, part Victorian National Geographic, scientific, exploration adventure. Reading level 5-6, interest level 3+
Wounded Name
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Hutchison, Dot
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 06, 2014
Datisman, Eve
Morose is the mood of this dark novel. Just as Shakespeare fitted his stories to the temperament of the time, so has Hutchison taken advantage of the trend for contemporizing the classics for a new readership. This time Ophelia’s and Hamlet’s madness are the central impetus. And their madness stems from very different sources. The Headmaster Hamlet Daenmark V of Elsinore Academy, an exclusive private school, is dead. Most impacted by his death are his teenage son, Dane, and Dean Polonius’ daughter, Ophelia. Dane wants revenge on his Uncle Claudius and Ophelia wants to keep two promises, one to her dead mother and the other to Dane—“to stay with him always.” It’s clear from the beginning that Ophelia has mental health issues. Seeing ghosts -- two of them sitting on the headmaster's grave is not a skill prized in future society wives. In the wake of the Headmaster's sudden death, the whole academy is in turmoil, and Ophelia can no longer ignore the fae. All of this is exacerbated by her relationship with Dane. Her bruises change from psychic to physical as he becomes increasingly abusive and demanding. Even though readers know the end of the story, they will enjoy this edgy re-telling. Explores limitations placed on women.
If I Ever Get Out Of Here
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS]
Gansworth, Eric
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 06, 2014
Datisman, Eve
Lewis “Shoe” Blake, a brainy kid from the Tuscarora Indian Reservation in 1975 upstate New York, is beginning seventh grade at a mostly white junior high; he's tired of not fitting in. For the duration of sixth grade, he was invisible, but when burly, polite George Haddonfield arrives on the Air Force base and shows up in their seventh-grade class, Lewis might have found a friend. The boys bond over girls and music (the Beatles, Paul McCartney and Wings, and Queen), slowly letting their guards down, but when a vicious, well-connected bully sets his sights on Lewis, their friendship is sorely tested. Lewis has to ask if his friendship with George constitutes a betrayal of his own world. Lewis' desire to move between cultures, and his difficulty doing so, will resonate with readers of many backgrounds. The action is a little slow at time but worth persevering through this character driven novel All of the supporting characters, especially the adults—from Lewis’ beleaguered mother and iconoclastic uncle to George’s upright father and delicate German mother, and a host of teachers and administrators who look right past the daily violence perpetrated on Lewis—are carefully drawn. Themes: racism, poverty, friendship
Being Henry David
Albert Whitman Teen [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Armistead, Cal
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 06, 2014
Datisman, Eve
One of the shared themes in Thoreau's Walden and in of coming of age literature is self-discovery. But how can one discover anything, if one can't remember it? Our protagonist wakes up in Penn Station with no memory of who he is. The only thing he knows is that he is on the run and the only possession which he seems to recognize is a worn copy of Walden. So he becomes Henry David, “Hank,” and sets out for Walden Pond to find out who he is. Hank begins to piece together bits of his memories thanks to Thoreau who visits him in his dreams as he travels and lives rough. When he gets to Walden he is befriended by Thomas, a bearded, tattooed reference librarian and Thoreau scholar, and Hailey a girl with an amazing voice and an equally amazing case of performance anxiety. Hank learns he can play the guitar, loves Beatles tunes, and that he may be the thing he fears the most. Encounters with two other homeless kids and a jealous rival for Hailey’s affection culminate in a Battle of the Bands and Hank’s return to self-knowledge. When he discovers who he is and what he has done, Hank has to decide if he can face the consequences and still live with himself. Armistead does not let her character off easily there is no rescue waiting.
Dr. Bird's Advice For Sad Poets
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Roskos, Evan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 06, 2014
Datisman, Eve
Sixteen-year-old James Whitman is paranoid, depressed, and confused. James deals with his feelings of guilt, sadness, and anxiety by avoiding his abusive parents, quoting Walt Whitman, hugging trees, and silently conversing with an imaginary therapist who is a bird, all while nursing a secret hope that he can make everything okay. Though his circumstances are nothing to laugh at, James's wry sense of humor is one of his most charming coping mechanisms. He has several mysteries to solve: Why was his sister Jorie kicked out of the house? Why can’t Beth, editor of the school literary paper, see he is better potential boyfriend than the jerk she is going with? Is it still worth waking up with a celebratory YAWP? Are prescription meds the only way to dull the pain in his life? James is a wildly unreliable narrator but his quest to navigate friendships old and new, along with his growing interest in his own poetry and photography, help him gain confidence and understanding, especially as he discovers unsettling secrets about his sister. All teens will get his bravery and courage and his self-deprecating style; it will take a more sophisticated reader to appreciate Roskos’ skillfully crafted Whitmanesque poetry weaves the novel together.
Still Star-Crossed
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Taub, Melinda
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 06, 2014
Datisman, Eve
Romeo and Juliet are dead, beautiful statues commemorating them have been erected in the cemetery but the enmity in Verona still persists. Someone has painted the word "harlot" on Juliet's statue and a mysterious swordsman clothed in black has murdered a both young Montagues and Capulets setting the houses against each other again. What’s Prince Escalus to do? Maybe an arranged marriage between Rosaline – the young woman that Romeo was pining after before he cast eyes on Juliet – and Benvolio, Romeo’s cousin and peacemaker of the Montague house will stop the violence. But Rosaline had other ideas. She mourns the death of her kinsman and resolves to join a nunnery. She is pressured by Escalus, whom she has loved since she was a young girl, into a meeting with Benvolio and sparks fly, though not romantic ones. Theirs consist of squabbling, sleuthing and a grudging sense of duty. Taub blends Shakespearean-style dialogue with prose and provides a good introduction to the vocabulary of the Bard. Readers will enjoy the untangling of the plot – it’s got some interesting twists – and the development of the characters. Pair with Sharon Draper’s Romiette and Julio (1999) or Suzanne Selfor’s Saving Juliet (2008).
For The Good Of Mankind? : The Shameful History Of Human Med
TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS [TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS]
Wittenstein, Vicki Orans
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 06, 2014
Dame, Anne
A broad overview of the history of human medical experimentation on other humans. It touched on many topics, but quite briefly - too briefly in my opinion. For example, there was only 2 paragraphs about Henrietta Lacks! Some good primary source photos, though, and an excellent reference section in the back. A good starting point for research.
Two Boys Kissing
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Levithan, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 06, 2014
Dame, Anne
I really really wanted to like this book more than I did. I think it was the Greek chorus effect of the previous gay generation who helps narrate the book that disappointed me. I appreciated the perspective that it was supposed to give, but I'm unsure whether or not the teen audience will grasp it so well (especially at the middle school level). With that said, however, I do feel like this is an important book to add to any (non-elementary) library. I did like the stories of the teens in the book though, especially the two boys who are trying to break the world's record for the longest kiss. There is a new couple, an "old" couple, a broken-up couple, and a boy searching to be part of a couple. Some of the stories are sweet, some are heart-wrenching. They are all believable.
Chasing Shadows
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Avasthi, Swati
Phillips, Craig
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 06, 2014
Dame, Anne
The actual story is deep, emotional, and well-written. However, it is interspersed with portions of a graphic novel, that are integral to the story, but will possibly lure in unsuspecting readers who are not quite ready for the intense content level. It visually reminds me of "Malice" by Wooding. Mature middle school students could read this. Corey and Holly are twins. Their best friend is Savitri. The 3 teens have known each other for years, ever since Savitri moved to their Chicago neighborhood. As they've gotten older, they have taken up "free-running" where you jump from roof to roof, ricochet off walls, climb buildings, etc. One day they are in wrong place at the wrong time during a shooting.
14 Fibs Of Gregory K.
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS]
Pincus, Greg
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 06, 2014
Dame, Anne
Could go down to 4th grade if they are an advanced reader, and it might be a harder sell for 8th graders as the main character is in 6th grade. Will hold higher appeal for capable readers over all. Gregory loves to write. So does his best friend, Kelly. However, Gregory's dad loves math. So does his older brother Owen. Torn between trying to please his father, live up to his older brother's math genius reputation, and yet still indulge in his favorite past-time with his best friend, Gregory gets caught up in telling some stories of his own. The author cleverly weaves together this story about math, the Fibonacci series, poems, family, and friends.
Coaltown Jesus
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Koertge, Ron
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 06, 2014
Dame, Anne
Novel in verse When Walker's troubled older brother, Noah, dies, it leaves both Walker and his mom feeling guilty and also grieving. An impromptu prayer by Walker actually results in Jesus' appearance. Walker, despite his astonishment, wants Jesus to help his mom, denying the fact that he might be in need of some help himself. Raises some interesting questions about death, dying, and grieving. Looking at it from a religious viewpoint, some of the humor used seemed disrespectful and yet totally spot on...
Touched By Fire
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Watts, Irene N
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 06, 2014
Dame, Anne
Miriam is 14 years old when she boards a ship to leave the pogroms in Russia and Germany behind. Her father has already gone ahead to America and has now sent a ticket for her, her mom, and her brother to join him. Miriam makes a friend on the voyage over and together they begin work at the Triangle Waist Company - just before the now renowned fire. I liked the overview of why Miriam and her family moved here; it made her story more complete. However, while this probably means that the story was accurate and well-researched, the part about the actual work in the factory and the fire seemed too much like every other book about the topic.
Hypnotists
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Korman, Gordon
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 06, 2014
Dame, Anne
Jax doesn't realize that his color-changing eyes actually allow him to hypnotize people. Luckily his color-blind best friend is immune to his power. However, when Dr. Mako discovers Jax and his powers, he offers to train him at a special institute. At first Jax is delighted to be able to control his power (and influence others). Unfortunately Dr. Mako is not necessarily as helpful as he likes to portray to the world. Full of humor, action and adventure, as well as a little bit of blackmail and intrigue. Alex Rider fans should enjoy the start to this new series.
Backwards
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Mitchell, Todd
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 06, 2014
Dame, Anne
The book opens with a fairly graphic scene of a teenage boy committing suicide in the bathtub. An outside observer is watching but helpless to do anything. The observer is a Rider, and is living Dan’s life backwards. He sees the events that unfolded and led up to Dan’s decision to commit suicide. He decides to try to do something to change the outcome of the story. At first it reminded me a bit of Forgotten by Cat Patrick because of the way time is handled. And while I was initially a bit skeptical, the author did a great job of hooking me as a reader and I did not want to put it down until I could finish it. Some language, sexual situations, suicide. For higher level readers.
Byrd & Igloo : A Polar Adventure
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Seiple, Samantha
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 06, 2014
Dame, Anne
Lots of primary source photos and quotes add much to this story of Richard Byrd and his dog, Igloo. Igloo was actually a rescued puppy that was given to Byrd despite his initial protests. Byrd took Igloo with him on his trips to the North Pole and the South Pole despite the harsh weather and stormy seas. Apparently Igloo thrived on the adventure and Byrd and his crews enjoyed his company. While the dog's presence definitely adds even more interest to the story, I had an issue with how much the dogs viewpoint was anthropomorphized.
Barrel Racing
A&d Xtreme/abdo [A&d Xtreme/abdo]
Hamilton, John
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 06, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
This 32 page book is part of the A&D Xtreme series on Rodeo events. The book covers all aspects of barrel racing in a clear and concise manner. Barrel Racing is a women's event in most rodeos. The book includes information about the history of barrel racing, groups that organize this event, the course pattern, riders, and horses. The large type text will appeal to readers as will the captioned color photographs. The only problem with the text over a picture occurs in the glossary, which is a little hard to read. The book includes a table of contents, index, and glossary. If you have a need for rodeo books, this would be a great book.
Bull Riding
A&d Xtreme/abdo [A&d Xtreme/abdo]
Hamilton, John
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 06, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
This 32 page book is part of the A&D Xtreme series on Rodeo events. The book covers all aspects of bull riding in a clear and concise manner. The book includes information about the history of bull riding, equipment, rules, scoring, potential injuries, and the use of rodeo clowns to protect the riders. The large type text will appeal to readers as will the captioned color photographs. The only problem with the text over a picture occurs in the glossary, which is a little hard to read. The book includes a table of contents, index, and glossary. If you have a need for rodeo books, this would be a great book.
Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide To Summer Vacation
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Greenwald, Tommy
Coovert, J.p.
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 07, 2014
Dame, Anne
A good read-alike for Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans. In this 3rd book of the series, Charlie Joe Jackson is off to summer camp. It should be fun - except that he is going to a reading camp, much to his chagrin. Luckily his friends Katie and Nareem are there, too, which helps him settle in. However, he decides that all the "nerds" should loosen up and become a bit more like him during the 3 weeks of camp. Lots of humor and illustrations, but also pretty strong messages about reading and friendship.
Sports Illustrated Kids Full Count : Top 10 Lists Of Everyth
Time For Kids/capstone Press [Time For Kids/capstone Press]
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
January 07, 2014
Dame, Anne
Even non-baseball fans will enjoy leafing through these top 10 lists from baseball history. My personal favorites were the top 10 worst uniforms and the top 10 most unusual pitching stances. There is a lot of information in these pages - and my only disappointment was that there wasn't a list of references or recommended readings or links for websites. There are many photographs and illustrations in addition to the lists. A well-done non-fiction book.
Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye : 6 : Going, Going, Dragon!
GRAPHIC UNIVERSE [GRAPHIC UNIVERSE]
Venable, Colleen A F
Yue, Stephanie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 07, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Mr. Venezi’s pet shop is no longer selling pets- just stuff- and just how many walrus toothbrushes can one sell? The animals are happy exploring new hobbies like scuba diving in the fish tank so they aren’t paying attention to the fact that the store just isn’t making money anymore and will soon have to close if the rent isn’t paid. It doesn’t help that Mr. Venezi has fallen hard for Charlotte who owns the bookstore next door- and she is planning on moving shop because she has run out of room. With just a day left on the lease Sasspants and Hamisher work to save the day. This particular installment in the Pet Shop Private Eye Series is heavy on plot and light on mystery, but fans of the graphic novel series should be happy with this installment as well- as long as they have been following the plot from previous books.
Xander's Panda Party
CLARION [CLARION]
Park, Linda Sue
Phelan, Matt
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 07, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Xander Panda is throwing a party, but since he is the only panda at the zoo he slowly opens the invitation list to all bears, then all mammals, then mammals and birds, then finally, with the help of a friend, all creatures at the zoo. When the party is about to begin- surprise- a new panda is delivered just in time to join into the festivities. This is a fun rhyming story about how things can seem to get out of control, but with the help of a friend can be better than ever. Cheerful illustrations of Xander and all the other animals add greatly to this frolicking story.
Herman And Rosie
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Gordon, Gus
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 07, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Herman the crocodile and Rosie the deer live in apartments on the same busy street in New York City, but they don’t know each other. They both like music and Jacque Cousteau documentaries and live quiet but not unhappy lives. One day, Herman happens to overhear Rosie singing during her weekly gig at a small jazz club and inspired by what he heard plays a jazzy oboe number from the roof of the apartment. Rosie hears it the two, without realizing it share the tune back and forth over the next few days. But then tragedy strikes- Herman loses his job, Rosie’s jazz club closes, and their world goes quiet. Eventually they both awake from their funk and end up at the same hot dog stand. However, they still don’t recognize their soulmate until Herman again picks up his oboe, and this time Rosie seeks him out on the roof of his apartment. This is a charming story about the challenges and chances of meeting just the right someone in a busy city.
Papa's Mechanical Fish
FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX (BYR) [FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX (BYR)]
Fleming, Candace
Kulikov, Boris
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
January 07, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Virena’s Papa is an inventor even though his inventions have not really been successful. One day a chance remark by his daughter starts him on road to creating a submarine. The first attempt fails as does the second, and the third. But each time Papa adds elements to improve the design. On the 4th try the submarine, Whitefish IV, is a success and the whole family goes on an outing under the waters of Lake Michigan. Based on a true story this is an entertaining and enlightening look at the process of invention. Imaginative illustrations add to the story. An authors note includes details telling the true story of Lodner Phillips who did indeed create a submarine in the summer of 1851. Also included is a photo of one of his submarines and a source list and paragraph on the authors research process. Students will enjoy the story for itself. Teachers will appreciate it while teaching about inventors and historical fiction.
Crush It!
Pebble Plus/capstone Press [Pebble Plus/capstone Press]
Troupe, Thomas Kingsley
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 07, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
This Pebble Plus reader heads to the scrap yard to show the high interest work of recycling and squashing old cars. Clear pictures show parts being removed for reusing or recycling and then the car bodies put into the crusher, stacked and finally hauled away for further recycling. Large font, simple sentences and bright onomatopoeia additions to the photos add to the appeal. This should be a popular choice for big machine fans. Included is a short glossary, read more section, internet links through FactHound and an index.
Horatio's One Wish
BLUE BOG PRESS [BLUE BOG PRESS]
Kriesberg, Joshua
Bernardin, James
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 07, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Horatio, a hedgehog, has always lived alone, but is not lonely because of his good friend Rollic, a river otter. Then Rollic disappears and Horatio decides it is up to him to find his friend. He travels far and befriends many other creatures. Together they make it through dangers and trials to reach the territory of Scarretchen a frightening creature that traps animals who try to take the wishing stones from the beach near his cavern. Horatio and his fellow travelers show teamwork, cleverness, courage and compassion as they work to rescue Rollic and ultimately free the rest of the creatures as well. In the end, Rollic goes home alone though and Horatio joins the hedgehog family he did not know existed. This is a classic quest adventure filled with likable characters, suspense and a satisfying conclusion as Horatio grows and matures.
Everything I Need To Know I Learned From A Little Golden Boo
GOLDEN BOOKS/CHILDRENS [GOLDEN BOOKS/CHILDRENS]
Muldrow, Diane E
Not Recommended/Out of Scope -- Appropriate for another kind of collection or different age levels.
Professional
January 07, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Adults who don’t mind a little sweetness and who have fond memories of Little Golden Books of their childhood will be pleased to see their old favorites in this nostalgic book. In the style of Everything I need to Know I learned in Kindergarten, this book is wonderfully illustrated with favorites from Little Golden Books of the 1940’s through the 1960’s. Fans of Tootle, the Scrawny Tawny Lion, and the Pokey Puppy will be happy to see these and other favorite characters though they will probably only flip through the book once or twice. This wouldn't find users in a school setting it is really more of a gift book.
Year Of The Jungle
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Collins, Suzanne
Proimos, James
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
January 07, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Based on the year that Suzanne Collin’s father was deployed to Vietnam this is a wonderful tale to share with children. Little Suzy is about to head into 1st grade when she finds her father is going to Vietnam for a year. She envisions the jungle he is headed off to like the one in her favorite cartoon- full of happy animals. She misses her father but likes the postcards that he sends. Soon though Suzy begins to notice the expressions of adults when they find out where her father is and begins to worry a little. She likes the doll he sends at Christmas, but is troubled when he sends her a birthday card when it is her sisters birthday and then get no postcards for a long time. One finally appears, but her father asks her to pray for him on it she becomes even more fretful. When Suzy happens to see horrifying footage of the war on TV she is terrified and worries that not only will her father not come home but that she is forgetting him. But he does come home and though he has changed in some ways in others he is just the same. Cartoonish pictures by James Proimos lighten the text and yet show clearly the changing image that Suzy has of Vietnam during the year. Every library should own this book.
Case Of The Vanishing Honeybees : A Scientific Mystery
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Markle, Sandra
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 07, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Since 2006 entire colonies of honeybees have been disappearing in what is know as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) . Using clear writing the importance of honey bees, the modern honeybee pollination industry, and the possible causes of CCD are explored. By the end readers begin to realize that the syndrome does not seem to have any one cause, but rather many stresses from mites, to pesticides, to diet, to not enough rest seem to cause CCD. They will come away with a clearer picture of the complexity of many scientific problems and the dedication which many scientists and beekeepers are giving to this problem. Sandra Markle tackles another endangered species mystery in this second book in the “case of the” scientific mystery series. Clear captioned photos, sidebars, maps and diagrams add to understanding as does extensive after notes. One minor note is that this is still an evolving mystery and new information will probably be added to this topic. However, this is excellent non-fiction on a timely topic.
Flight Of The Honey Bee
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Huber, Raymond
Lovelock, Brian
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 07, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Written in poetic language, this book tells the story of one bee, Scout, as she moves from being a hive worker to a pollen and nectar collector. The fall setting of the book adds urgency to Scout mission as she searches for more flowers to add nectar and pollen to the hive winter supplies. Battling wind, predators, and hail Scout preservers until she finds a field of flowers. After drinking her fill she beds back to share her waggle dance that will tell other bees where the flowers can be found. Off they go and Scout then ties her nectar cargo to the honeycomb, has her pollen picked off to create food for the young and finally rests. Informative facts add details to this unusual narrative non-fiction text. Watercolor, acrylic and colored pencil illustrations in glorious Fall colors enhance this large scale picture book. A short note on saving bees, and an index with a reminds to look both in the main text and facts finish this attractive addition from an author illustrator team from New Zealand.
Don't Spill The Milk!
ANDERSEN PRESS USA [ANDERSEN PRESS USA]
Davies, Stephen
Corr, Christopher
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 07, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
The universal story of a child going off to run an errand to help the family is given an African setting in this colorful picture book. Penda begs to be the one to deliver fresh milk to her father who is minding the goats in the hills beyond the village. She is very careful to not spill the milk that she carries in a bowl on her head through the desert dunes, across the Niger river, across the plain and up the hills to her father. The milk makes it safely to her father only to be spilled when a mango drops in the bowl as she is passing it to him. Penda is so upset, but her father comforts her saying that the love she showed for him is there and much more important than the milk. Readers will relate to the story and should be charmed by the bright illustrations and text details that make the African setting come alive.
Train
ORCHARD BOOKS [ORCHARD BOOKS]
Cooper, Elisha
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 07, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Elisha Cooper takes his unique analytical eye to the topic of trains. Moving from an eastern city on a commuter train, to a passenger train headed to the mid-west, to a freight train across the plains, to an overnight train over the Rockies, and finally on a High-Speed train across a valley and ending in San Francisco the text and pictures highlight information about the trains. Moving from scene to scene, passenger to passenger and through many train related experiences the text and watercolor illustrations immerse the reader into the journeys of different types of trains across America. Browsers will be drawn in and gain a feel for the experience of a train trip and young train buffs might not learn much new information, but they will be glad to come along for the ride as well.
Dee Dee And Me
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Schwartz, Amy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 07, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Hannah is sick of being bossed around by her older sister Dee Dee. She always seems to get the short end of the stick with their activities and possessions. When Dee Dee takes over Hannah’s playdate with her best friend Hannah decides to take action. She packs her suitcase ready to run away, but can’t find her stuffed bear. While looking for him she gets distracted and ends up having a nice afternoon playing by herself. Eventually, Dee Dee comes knocking on her door and presents her with bear who she borrowed to sew on a replacement button eye. Hannah forgives her and agrees to play with Dee Dee, but stands up to make sure that she is an equal in the games. This is a nice story about sibling relationships and their ups and downs.
Seasons True Or False Book
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Nunn, Daniel
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 07, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Young readers will have a chance to test their knowledge of what happens during different seasons of the year. After a short introduction each season has two statements that readers can respond to with either a true or false. The back side then answers the question with an extra two sentences. The questions are for the most part clear, though the statement, “Some birds go on vacation during the fall” illustrated with a tropical bird with a sunhat and goggles was a little confusing. I guess I don’t think of migration as a vacation. Still the format should add interaction to a not too thrilling text. Included are a table of contents, can you remember page, a short index and a “make your own true false game” activity.
Numbed!
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Lubar, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 07, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Just how important is math in our lives? Logan and Benedict find out when they are “numbed” by a robot at the math museum. In order to restore their math skills they must go through a a battery of math challenges each getting harder than the next. They succeed not only getting back the skills they had before but also gaining more confidence in thinking of themselves as mathematicians. Fans of the book Punished will be happy to see Logan and Benedict return for another magical mishap. This may not be quite up to their first adventure, but the short length, quick pace, likable characters, and action will appeal to readers.
Learning About Trees
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Veitch, Catherine
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 07, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
This accessible reader features clear photographs of trees with parts and magnified details clearly labeled. A mix of different trees is portrayed from common to uncommon. Through the labels both similarities and details are highlighted. Some words like bud and leaf will be accessible to young readers others such as catkin and the tree names will be more difficult. Luckily, harder words are defined in the glossary. A surprising amount can be learned from this seemingly simple text.
Basketball Is Fun!
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Nelson, Robin
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 07, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
With one sentence per page this beginning reader hits on the basics of basketball. Sports fans will appreciate a book that they will have reading success with, but they probably not learn many new facts. Even the “fun facts” are underwhelming focusing on scoring, fouls, and that basketball is good exercise. Sections include: gear, shoot and score, the basketball court, and fun facts. The pictures show a nice mix of gender age and race of children playing. If your library has a specific need for easy sports books this will do fine.
Titanic
Scholastic Reference [Scholastic Reference]
Callery, Sean
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 07, 2014
Dame, Anne
Level 3 reader in Scholastic's Discover More Readers series. While I don't believe there is any new information in this book, it does have some nice primary source photographs as well as a cutaway digram of the ship and a timeline. One of the most unique features of this book, however, is that you can download additional digital activities from the Scholastic website. These include a variety of things such as video clips, true/false questions, and additional photographs with more information. In addition it has links to other online sites, a list of places to visit, etc.
Glass Puzzle
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Brodien-Jones, Christine
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 07, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Zoe and her cousin Ian are spending the summer with their grandfather in Tenby, Wales. The town is quaint, but it is also filled with mystery. People are changing. Old legends are gaining power. When they find the glass puzzle, and put it together, they endanger their reality and gain the ability to travel to another dimension. With allies on both sides, and plenty of enemies trying to take over both words, Zoe and Ian have their work cut out for them. There's lots of action here, plenty of danger, and an abundance of convenient saves. This is well-written, and the concepts are interesting. Still, somehow it just didn't quite "catch" this reviewer.
Kenta And The Big Wave
ANNICK PRESS [ANNICK PRESS]
Ohi, Ruth
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
The massive tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 wiped out so many things--lives, homes, futures. In this simple picture book by Ruth Ohi readers follow a boy named Kenta as he survives the tsunami, reunites with his parents, and then sees all that was lost in only a moment. However, his soccer ball makes it across the ocean, is found, and is makes its way home to him again. This gentle message that things go away, but sometimes others help you find them again, is gently told in this simple book. Ohi's warm, evocative watercolor illustrations, and simple text, bring the tragedy down to a level younger children can begin to understand, and ends with hope.
School Spirits
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Hawkins, Rachel
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Things have never been normal for Izzy. Her family consists only of monster-hunting women...well, except for the cute untrustworthy wizard trapped in the mirror. One of those women, Izzy's older sister, has been lost. Dead? Enchanted? Kidnapped? Izzy blames herself, and her mom is obviously keeping something from her. Now Izzy has a new mission. She and her mother have moved to a small town where Izzy pretends to be a regular high school student to track down a school ghost. She’s never been in a "normal" situation before--you know, friends of both the boy and girl variety. What if she loses focus? What if she starts focusing on the wrong thing? What if there really is a ghost and it is malevolent? Izzy teams up with other teens who like paranormal investigations, and hopes not to get them killed. Fun dialogue, great characters, and a compelling premise make this a happy find for "Hex Hall" fans. That story is over, but this one is just starting, assuming everyone survives. Spoiler alert--this is headed for a sequel. YAY!
City Of Light, City Of Dark
GRAPHIX [GRAPHIX]
Avi
Floca, Brian
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 09, 2014
Dame, Anne
This is a reprint of the 1993 graphic novel by Avi and Floca to celebrate it's 20th anniversary. It is unknown to most people that the city of New York is actually owned by shadow creatures called the Kurbs who supply power to the city, also controlling day and night. When people began to settle there, they had to make a bargain with the Kurbs in order to live there. Part of the agreement had to do with a magic token that would be hidden by the Kurbs every year, and every year the chosen woman would seek out the token and then return it to the Kurbs by the deadline. If this did not happen the Kurbs would turn off the power to the city and take control of the city once again. A man named Underton wanted more power for himself. However, his greed ended in disaster and he became obsessed with getting the token. Several key characters must thwart Underton in order to save the city. Two of these characters are a mom and daughter, who are very difficult to differentiate in the illustrations. Overall the illustrations are excellent except for the aforementioned problem. Especially vivid are the aerial views of NYC which include the Twin Towers as it was originally published before 9/11.
Crazy About Basketball
ANNICK PRESS [ANNICK PRESS]
Lesynski, Loris
Rasmussen, Gerry
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Loris Lesynski really knows how to combine poetry and sports. Her poetry collection "Crazy About Soccer" was amazing, and now she's done it again with basketball. It makes sense, when you think about it--a ball bouncing against a gym floor, shots caroming off a backboard--sports have a rhythm all their own. The poet not only manages to capture the spirit and rhythm of the game, but also teaches a little about its history. Her poems are bouncy and bouyant, filled with energy and delight. Accompanied by Gerry Rasmussen's bright cartoon illustrations this is the perfect combination to draw boys into the joys of poetry. Well, OK, it's a hard sell, but get them started with a few of these poems and I think you'll win them over.
Horrendo's Curse : The Graphic Novel
ANNICK PRESS [ANNICK PRESS]
Fienberg, Anna
Simard, Remy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Horrendo and his friends live in a seaside town with a problem. When boys turn twelve they're kidnapped by pirates and forced to serve their new masters for 2 years. Home? That's the reward, if you survive. This tradition means school for the village children is a little different. They learn to talk in pirate insults, raise deadly pets, and survive whatever pirate life might throw at them. Horrendo, however, is under a terrible curse. He's just plain nice and can't be nasty. This is NOT an asset for a pirate. That is, of course, unless he can parlay his talents into an early release. This graphic novel is based on the novel by Anna Fienberg, with bright, sharp-edged illustrations by Remy Simard. Sure the ending is schmaltzy, but readers will enjoy the tongue-in-cheek humor and the funny and yet bloody version of pirates found here.
Mister Max : The Book Of Lost Things
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Voigt, Cynthia
Bruno, Iacopo
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Max is becoming an expert on lost things, but perhaps that's because he's experiencing loss. It started with his parents' disappearance.Now he's trying to figure out what happened to them, gain a level of independence beyond relying on his grandmother, and take care of himself. Truth is, he's not that old. Still, having been raised in a theatrical family gives him a wealth of characters he can play. He selects just the right onefor each situation he comes upon. Soon he is helping with other lost things--a dog, a spoon, an heir. But where are his parents? Why is someone trying to break into his house? He's surprisingly good at solving everyone else's problems, but not his own. This is a cleverly-written first book in a planned trilogy. Voigt is an adroit storyteller, weaving diverse threads into an intricate tapestry. At times you can almost see the storyteller smiling at a particular bit of cleverness, and you can't help smiling, too. I can't wait for the next book, especially since this book ended with a spectacular revelation that demands explanation!
How Do You Know It's Winter?
CHILDRENS PRESS [CHILDRENS PRESS]
Herrington, Lisa M
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Rookie Read-About-Science" series, this well-bound 32-page book teaches young readers about winter. Crisp color photographs, with friendly captions, accompany informative text that discusses winter in a cold climate. Snow, ice, and frost are the focus. The author talks about how people, animals, and plants adapt to the season. Short days, fun activities, and a science experiment (making frost) are all included. The book has a short picture glossary and index as well. It's a clear overview of the season, and would be valuable in classrooms doing seasonal studies.
How To Hide A Lion
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Stephens, Helen
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 10, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
A lion wanders into town to buy a hat and pandemonium ensues as people flee from this terrible threat. Fortunately a young girl recognizes that he's not dangerous at all. She does her best to hide him, but hiding a lion is just plain hard! Discovered, the lion is on the run again until he can hide himself among stone lions in the town square. When he thwarts a robbery and captures two burglars he wins the town over. In style, theme, and even artwork, this brings to mind Fatio's wonderful "The Happy Lion"--a classic tale now long out of print. This has a larger format, a slightly wider color palette, and shorter text. It would make a delightful storytime addition, winning over a new generation to the idea of a happy, friendly lion.
Princess Penelope And The Runaway Kitten
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Murray, Alison
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 10, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Princess Penelope's off on a run. Chasing a kitty should be lots of fun, but tangled in furry feline you will find some sparkling pink yarn that he drags on behind. Upstairs and downstairs, inside and out--the yarn trail unwinds and it it weaves all about. At last kitty finds what he's looking for--mummy! He stops and he purrs, with the yarn 'round his tummy. Warm rhyming text with a hint of a plot. Is it a first purchase? Well, no--it is not. But pastel illustrations and sparkly pink yarn that pops from the page has a measure of charm.
Not A Creature Was Stirring, Except For A Platypus
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Peterson, Scott
Batson, Alan
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 10, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
From the Disney show "Phineas and Ferb" we have a retelling of Moore's "The Night Before Christmas." This time, however, Santa has sickly reindeer who have been hit by a mysterious ray. How's he going to get his packages delivered? Well, clearly he needs the help of Perry the platypus! Perry finds the evil genius behind the ray, solves the problem and saves the day...er, I mean "eve." The boys, of course, sleep through the whole thing. Big, bright cartoon illustrations accompany the rhyming text. This isn't great literature, and the binding is horrible. It's not a good choice for a library book, but children will doubtless enjoy it as a holiday home selection.
Bang
GECKO PRESS [GECKO PRESS]
Timmers, Leo
Long, Taillefer
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 10, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
At first glance this practically wordless picture book seems pointless. Look again...and again...and again. This is the story of a slow-speed car crash. A deer in a roadster with a load of books crashes into a loose garbage can. BANG! Books end up in the trash can. A pig in a jalopy with a load of baby chicks can't avoid him and BANG! Chicks all over the deer's antlers. And so it goes, each new vehicle arriving with a different animal and a different payload, ending up somehow on the vehicle in front. Predicting what will happen is half the fun. And wait...is that a little foreshadowing I see? The illustrations are a hoot--bright, detailed, and chock-a-block full of those little things that make you stop and spend more time on a single page than you assumed the entire book merited. The final few pages are priceless. This is a delight, and sure to be a hit. It's BANG on!
Wizard Of Oz Abcs
CAPSTONE PRESS INC [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
Wittrock, Jeni
Banks, Timothy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 10, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Here's another alphabet book, this one based on "The Wizard of Oz." From A for Aunt Em to G for Glinda and down to X for the Tin Woodsman's ax, Y for the yellow brick road that leads us to Z in the merry old land of Oz. Sturdy binding, a short page of explanation about the story, a brief glossary, bibliography, and index, and an internet link finish out the production. (And no, the 3-book bibliography does NOT list Baum's original story. All three listed books are alphabet books. Huh.) This isn't an essential purchase, but if you need another alphabet book it will suffice.
Boo-Tiful Halloween
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
Man-Kong, Mary
Riley, Kellee
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 10, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Barbie and her younger sisters Skipper, Stacie, and Chelsea, are preparing for Halloween. They're carving pumpkins, figuring out costumes, and going trick-or-treating. They're all lovely, and thin, and dressed stylishly. Oh, and don't forget the hair. It's all about the hair. This is a rather insipid book. HOWEVER, this is exactly what young girls love--the hair, the cute outfits. Add in stickers, and glow-in-the-dark pages and you have a book a certain population will treasure. It does not, however, work as a library book.
Robots, Robots Everywhere!
GOLDEN BOOKS/CHILDRENS [GOLDEN BOOKS/CHILDRENS]
Fliess, Sue
Staake, Bob
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 10, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
This is a "Little Golden Book" with a copyright of 2013, so apparently the series has risen from the dead. Unfortunately it has done so with exactly the same binding--a cardboard cover that simply will not last. The subject, however, is fun and exactly what some of my male students have been asking for--robots. Rhyming text with bright computer-generated illustrations show robots in all kinds of jobs--some modern, some futuristic. There's repetition and a bouncy rhythm that would make this a good read-aloud. Any chance it's available in a different binding?
Adventure Of The Priory School
Graphic Planet [Graphic Planet]
Goodwin, Vincent
Dunn, Ben
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of "The Graphic Novel Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" this sturdy book tells the story of a kidnapping...or is it a kidnapping? A young boy, heir to a fortune, is missing from his school. Holmes and Watson are on the case, but all is not as it seems. There are underlying currents in the boy's disappearance, and when murder enters the picture everything changes. Bold, dark graphics with lots of action and interesting perspectives by Ben Dunn accompany the adapted text, which is mostly in the form of dialogue. Students are demanding more Sherlock Holmes books, and this fits the bill. However, the retelling is sparse, and leaves the reader wondering how Sherlock arrived at his conclusions. You keep feeling too much has been left out, so the story is thin and not entirely satisfying. The book includes a drawing lesson, information about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a bibliography and other extras. Perhaps that space could have been better used in fleshing out the story? Still, for graphic novel fans, and Sherlock Holmes fans, this will doubtless suffice.
Shapes At School
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Gaarder-Juntti, Oona
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Sturdy, bright, and clear, this is an introduction to shapes--showing how they appear in math, and how that translates into the real world. In 24 pages readers learn about 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional shapes. Rectangles, squares, stars, circles, spheres, cones, triangles, and octagons are highlighted. There's a completely unnecessary glossary as well. Still, this is a nice presentation on a basic math concept that primary teachers will find useful.
Shapes
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Pistoia, Sara
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Shapes are everywhere, and this book points out how they are found in everyday life. Crisp color photographs pop against the stark white pages. Plane shapes such as squares, circles, triangles, and rectangles are discussed. The book then goes on to present solid shapes such as cubes, cylinders, and spheres. A key word list and unnecessary index are included. Sturdy and vivid, primary teachers will find this a good introduction to shapes for their students.
Cub's Big World
HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS [HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS]
Thomson, Sarah L
Cepeda, Joe
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
A polar bear cub's world is furry, and warm, and snug--powered by the sound of his mother's heartbeat. Eventually, however, his mother breaks the crust of snow above them and he discovers that the world is much, much bigger, and filled with new things. Cub has much to learn, but where has Cub's mother gone? Chasing other animals, and tumbling in the snow, Cub tries to find her, although the warm, evocative two-page spread illustrations by Joe Cepeda show that Mom is never far away. As children step out into a big world, this book provides a warm, reassuring message that they will be kept safe until they are big as well.
Claude At The Circus
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Smith, Alex T
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Claude is a dog whose best friend is Sir Bobblesock (yes, a sock.) When his owners head out for a picnic Claude and Sir Bobblesock are off for an adventure. They visit the park, accidentally trip some joggers, and end up at the circus. Unfortunately, Claude's good intentions result in disaster for the circus owner until Claude and Sir Bobblesock perform and save the day. They get home just in time for their owners to think Claude spent the day napping. Whimsical and remarkably silly, with simple and delightful illustrations, the book reflects its British origin in some language and themes. A better example of the same concept is found in "Amos: The Story of an Old Dog and His Couch." HOWEVER, I have two Claude books in my library and they are extremely popular.
Do You Know Rats?
FITZHENRY & WHITESIDE [FITZHENRY & WHITESIDE]
Bergeron, Alain M
Sampar
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Now this is an odd and interesting combination. On one hand you have a sentence or two of factual information about rats on each double-page spread. So this is nonfiction. On the other hand, the rest of the double-paged spreads are filled up with cartoons with talking rats that sort of show the effects of the facts...kinda. For example, the fact says that members of a clan recognize each other by their scent. The cartoon is of a rat with a pine tree air freshener around his neck, and other rats doubting his identity. Oh, and it was originally published in French, so this is a translation. The cartoons are funny and beautifully drawn. The facts are interesting. There's even a glossary and index. Is this a valuable study resource? No, but it is a fun introduction to rats, and those rat facts really stay in your head, when you remember the cartoons. Not a first purchase, but a lot of fun.
These Are The X-Men
MARVEL PRESS [MARVEL PRESS]
Bachs, Ramon
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Rated Level 1 in the "World of Reading" series, this Marvel X-Men easy reader introduces youngsters to the X-Men. First, of course, is Professor X and an explanation of the mutant origins of our heroes. Then a few X-Men and their powers are introduced in simple text. Wolverine, Cyclops, Havok, Stork, Nightcrawler, Kitty Pryde, Colossus, and several more are briefly introduced. Bright cartoon illustrations accompany the plot-less text. There's not much substance here. This paperback book is more a roster of superheroes. Still, it will appeal to fans.
Goofy's Sledding Contest
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Ritchey, Kate
Loter, Inc.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
It's winter and snow is on the ground. Time to go sledding! Goofy, however, can't figure out what would give him the best ride. He piles his options in a laundry basket and hauls them to the top of the hill. Then disaster strikes...or does it? His final solution is the best one of all! This is a bright, silly addition to the "Micky & Friends" series--a Level 2 in the "World of Reading." Vivid cartoon digital illustrations accompany the simple text for a fun read with familiar characters.
Thor : The Dark World : Heroes Of Asgard
MARVEL PRESS [MARVEL PRESS]
Thomas, Rich, Jr
Lim, Ron
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
In this Level 2 reader children are introduced to the Warriors Three of Asgard--Hogun the Grim, Fandral the Dashing, and Volstagg. Oh, and don't forget their warrior friend, Lady Sif. These are mighty heroes, but what do they do when they are overwhelmed by enemies? Luckily they have another friend--he comes with a hammer. This is basically an introduction, and it completely ignores the fun nuances of the characters. C'mon, where's Volstagg's famous comic relief? All the characters are drawn in burly, muscled stereotypical splendor. It makes me long for the original Stan Lee versions. Still, young fans will find this acceptable fare. The paperback book comes complete with two pages of stickers.
Minnie : Case Of The Missing Sparkle-Izer
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Scollon, William
Loter, Inc.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
It's a special day at Minnie Mouse's Bow-tique. She has a new sparkle-izer that can add sparkles to just about anything. But wait, the sparkle-izer is missing. Where could it be? Minnie, Daisy, and Minnie's nieces are on the hunt. Following a trail of sparkle-ized objects they finally figure out what happened. Whew! Time to sparkle things up! This is an easy reader rebus book with sparkly bright illustrations showing favorite cartoon characters. It's sure to be a hit with beginning readers.
DRAGON GOES ICE SKATING
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
SILVER, IVY
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
This is a level 1 paperback book based on an episode of the television series. Winter has come. Dragon is falling down on the ice. He wants to learn how to skate, but that makes him fall down, too. His friend, Beaver, offers a suggestion that helps. Soon all his friends gather for a hockey game. Then they go inside to drink hot chocolate and get warm. Dragon is happy he learned to skate. Very very simple, with illustrations obviously taken from the television episode, and just a little bit grainy because of it, this is not exceptional literature. It does, however, meet the needs of a beginning reader. And, if that reader is a fan of the show, so much the better!
Story Of The X-Men
MARVEL PRESS [MARVEL PRESS]
Macri, Thomas
Olliffe, Pat
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Who are the X-Men? This Level 2 paperback easy reader introduces the concept of mutants. Charles Xavier and the mutants he recruits for the original X-men are highlighted. When they disappeared, new X-men were recruited and trained to find them. Crisp cartoon superhero illustrations against stark white backgrounds, and easy text, make this visually appealing and not too challenging--perfect for those beginning readers who love superheroes.
Why Do Zebras Have Stripes?
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Berger, Gilda
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
This "20 Questions" paperback is by veteran nonfiction authors Gilda & Melvin Berger and asks and answers 20 interesting questions about mammals. Naturally the information is rather eclectic, and that's what makes it fun. Why do zebras have stripes? Are cheetahs the fastest mammals? Why do lion have manes? These and 17 other questions are asked and answered, with color photographs, a glossary and index, and a few extra odd facts added in to sweeten the pot. The short snippets of nonfiction are just the right size for sharing, and may spark interest in further research.
Christmas Abc
GOLDEN BOOKS/CHILDRENS [GOLDEN BOOKS/CHILDRENS]
Johnson, Florence
Wilkin, Eloise
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Originally published in 1962, this Little Golden Book is back in the same cardboard binding that will bring back fond memories to those who grew up with the series. The rhyming text clearly pays homage to the religious nature of the holiday while not forgetting winter and Santa as it marches through the A, B, C's in holiday style. U is for underwear, with Santa in his long red flannel long johns. X is for kisses. Z is for zooming as Santa and the reindeer speed away. The gently sweet nostalgic illustrations take you back to another era. The binding is not appropriate for a school library, but the book would certainly be a treasure for home use.
Race For The Chinese Zodiac
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Wang, Gabrielle
Rippin, Sally & Abos, Regine
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
How did the animals gain their spots on the Chinese Zodiac? The Jade Emperor declared a race. 13 animals competed, but only 12 could earn a spot. Who would lose out, and why? Each of the animals is described with the attributes associated with them, as the race proceeds. Each is assigned a spot on the calendar as they arrive, some working cooperatively, others less so. Cat, unfortunately, lost out due to rat's perfidy, which explains their enmity to this day. Sally Rippin's Chinese ink and digital illustrations leap across richly mottled backgrounds, beautifully suiting the origins of the story, which is aptly told by Gabrielle Wang. This is not the version I know, where rat was supposed to wake up cat and neglected to do so. In this story he deliberately sabotages cat's chances by action, rather than inaction. The book ends with an overview of all the animals of the Chinese zodiac, their characteristics, symbols, and the years associated with them. This would be a great read-aloud for the Chinese New Year.
Messy Miranda
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Szpirglas, Jeff & Saint-Onge, Danielle
Whamond, Dave
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Miranda has a chronically messy desk at school. This means she loses a LOT of recesses, while she cleans it out. What can save her? Perhaps her uncle's magic hat? When she flattens the hat and puts it in her desk it holds everything she puts in it. It seems to have an infinite capacity for stuff. But what about the bunny who's in there? And what about the boy who decides to dive in? Miranda needs to find another solution. Hey--a divider in her desk lets her keep things organized! Huh? This is a silly little easy chapter book with occasional cute black and white illustrations and some major plot holes. Or maybe it just requires a little more "suspension of disbelief" than usual. It does have a place on the easy chapter books shelves, however.
BMX VERT
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
CAIN, PATRICK G
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 12, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Extreme Summer Sports Zone" series, this well-bound 32-page book provides readers with all sorts of information about BMX vert. First this X-treme sport is defined. Then readers learn its history, some of the tricks involved, and the evolution of the sport and the bicycle. Some of the stars of the sport receive brief coverage. Readers also learn about the X Games. The book is full of action shots and fact boxes. Safety concerns are mentioned several times, as is the importance of staying within your skill level when doing tricks. The roles of hard work and practice are emphasized. There's also a glossary, bibliography, and index. But, let's face it, kids reading this book aren't looking for report material. They're looking for solid information on a cool sport.
Very Witchy Spelling Bee
HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS [HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS]
Shannon, George
Fearing, Mark
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 12, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Cordelia loves to spell. C-A-T - cat. B-A-T - bat. She's also a witch so she loves that kind of spelling, too. She can turn a CAT into a TACK just by zapping in a K. The big Spelling Bee is coming up, but she's going to be competing against the perennial champion, Beulah Divine, who has no intention of losing. When the contest arrives it's fierce. Contestants have to add a letter to an object and then spell it into whatever the new word is. Beulah is relentless and mean. When she turns Cordelia's ears into pears it starts to look like all might be lost. But in a startling final move, Cordelia adds just the right letter to turn things around. This is a spirited book with lots of wordplay and a nice message. The story is solid--just what you'd expect from George Shannon. The digital and pencil illustrations are imaginative and fun. Put it all together and you have a delightful book that children should enjoy.
Let's Salsa = Bailemos Salsa
PINATA BOOKS [PINATA BOOKS]
Ruiz-Flores, Lupe
Casilla, Robert
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 12, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Estella giggles as she sees some of the women from her Latino neighborhood doing dancercize at the community center after school. They're sweating, but seem to be having a wonderful time. She suggests the class to her mother, who is unhappy with her weight. Soon both of them are dancing salsa and having fun. That is, until the class is limited to adults only. Estella decides to change things, puts herself out there, and runs a petition drive for a salsa exercise class for kids. Her attempts are successful and she is lauded by the mayor, everyone at school, and her family. Now she and her friends have a fun way to exercise. This bilingual Spanish/English book addresses an important issue--exercise--in a fun way. Robert Casilla's muted realistic illustrations show people from many ethnic backgrounds, with a variety of body types. Estella is a feisty character, and the story is timely. It is optimistic, with a positive message.
Cool Structures : Creative Activities That Make Math & Scien
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Hanson, Anders
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 12, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Abdo has come out with several "Cool" series in their Checkerboard books. Each book is 32-pages long and sturdily bound. Each contains activities and/or crafts. Some are more successful than others. (The one on Bath and Beauty items is my favorite.) This book focuses on structural engineering. Readers are shown a variety of structures, then given projects that allow them insights into construction techniques that give structures strength and endurance. Four projects are included. Readers learn how to build a square pyramid using cardboard and tape. They also learn how to build a bridge with craft sticks, using triangles for strength. A catapult and a spaghetti and marshmallow tower finish up the projects. Each comes with an introduction, a list of supplies, and clear step-by-step instructions, accompanied by photographs. The projects all teach basic structural principles and would be fun to do, but require a certain level of competence and dedication. A glossary and index are included. This would be a fun way to apply math principles in real life.
Generosity
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Amoroso, Cynthia
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 12, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Values to Live By" series, this 24-page book focuses on generosity. Generosity is defined as giving to others without expecting something in return. Examples show generosity in action at home, at school, and in the neighborhood. The book points out that you can be generous with food, money, things, and time. Sharing is a form of generosity. A paragraph of text faces a bright, captioned, color photograph showing children from many ethnic groups. The book includes a glossary, index, and bibliography. Stitching is good, but it has that corn-starchy cover. As schools focus on character education this series might be a good choice to provide clear explanations and plenty of examples of a particular character trait in action.
Disney Princess Cookbook
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Littlefield, Cynthia
Schmaltz, Joanne
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
January 12, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Put in a cup of Disney princesses, a pound of recipes, and a generous dash of photographs and cartoon illustrations and you have a cook book that's sure to fly off the shelf. Rapunzel, Merida, Snow White,Arial, Belle and Tiana present 50 recipes divided into categories--breakfast, lunch, dinner, sides, snacks, beverages, and sweets. After several pages discussing the basics of cooking, safety, and cleaning up (thank you very much for that!) readers leap into the recipes. Each includes a list of ingredients, step-by-step directions, and a photograph of the finished product. Check the crown rating under the title to determine the level of difficulty. What's exciting here is that these are generally healthful recipes, made from scratch. None of that ready-made bread dough here--plan on pulling out the yeast! Side tips provide ways to improve the dish. Children following these recipes, with parental help, will actually get a pretty good introduction to the fine art of cooking. This is a solid cook book that parents and children can enjoy together.
Atv Racing
Blazers Books/capstone Press [Blazers Books/capstone Press]
Maurer, Tracy Nelson
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 13, 2014
Kline, Karen
Vroom, vroom! Reading takes off with this book from the Super Speed series of non-fiction titles including Motorcycle Racing, Drag Racing and more. Full bleed color photos on each double page spread show the action and the dirt flying! Splashy text features include photo captions, bold purple keywords with definition boxes at the bottom of pages (repeated in glossary), index and “fast fact” boxes support readers throughout. One page depicting the numbered and labeled parts of an ATV is entitled “Photo Diagram;” editing mistake, writer’s block, or intentionally stating the obvious? Readers learn about a variety of ATV topics -- the cost of an ATV tire, the decibel regulations at most tracks, the AMA record holder for most championships. Timely facts like these will likely change, though, making this book dated and superseded by more general information in the future.
Second, A Minute, A Week With Days In It : A Book About Time
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Cleary, Brian P
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 13, 2014
Kline, Karen
From the Math is CATegorical series, this title on timekeeping features illustrations depicting the band of crazy, cartoonish cats that many will recognize from this and the many other series including Words Are CATegorical. The rhyming text is jazzy and flows quickly with two or three sentences on each double page spread. The author succeeds in putting concepts of time into a perspective that kids can relate to -- a “year” will add one candle to your birthday cake, 1 “week” is “7 lunches and 7 good-nights,” and so on. Eight concept keywords are highlighted in color throughout the book: seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, and decades. Educators will enjoy using this book to support the curriculum topic, and students will enjoy the zany fun and light-hearted brevity of the book as they will be tempted to go back and study the detailed illustrations.
When It Snows
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Collingridge, Richard
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
When it snows things change. Shapes blur with soft white edges. The world transforms. A young boy travels to the land where snowmen live, then follows a light that leads him to the Queen of the Poles. She takes him to a secret place, filled with elves and magic. Santa is there, too. It is a warm and familiar place, and can be visited again and again through the pages of a book. Clearly intended to be a new "Polar Express" Collingridge's illustrations feature gentle edges, imaginative shadows, and glowing, radiant light. The text is sparse, as the journey is mostly conveyed through illustration. Only in the last few pages do you catch a hint of Christmas, and the fact that the child is reading the same book you are. This is comforting, sweet, and a visual treat.
YOUR PAJAMAS ARE SHOWING!
GRAPHIC UNIVERSE [GRAPHIC UNIVERSE]
SCHMITT, MICHEL-YVES
CAUT, VINCENT
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Leopold suddenly has the talent of invisibility! This is highly annoying to his sister, Celine. Of course there's the problem of clothing, but that's soon solved. His sister tries to manipulate him, with varied success. He can pull some pretty unique pranks now. The possibilities are mind-boggling! Still he's just a kid, and some things never change. This is the first "Where's Leopold?" graphic picture book. It features bright cartoon illustrations and plenty of boy humor--underwear, tooting, letting your sister take the blame for stuff you do. It's sure to be popular with young graphic novel fans.
Franklin's Big Book Of Stories : A Collection Of 6 First Rea
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Jennings, Sharon
Clark, Brenda
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Kids Can Press is coming out with a lot of Franklin collections. This one features 6 easy-reader stories based on episodes from the TV series "Franklin." Franklin learns a little about commerce, wants a scooter, participates in a contest, rights a wrong, and annoys his friends with a stopwatch. He also tries to put on a magic show, and ends up having to bake a lot of cookies. Each story is simple and fun, with friendly, colorful illustrations. While not extraordinary, these stories are still just right for beginning readers who need a wide-range of reading options.
Minnie-Rella
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Marsoli, Lisa Ann
Loter, Inc.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
A Level 1 in the "World of Reading" series, this paperback book is a Disney Junior reader. Mickey Mouse wants to surprise Minnie, so he and his friends keep her busy. So busy, in fact, that she falls asleep and dreams she is living the story of Cinderella, using choices on Quoodles to solve obstacles along the way. (Quoodles adds an element of audience involvement.) When she wakes, Mickey has a gift--a special pair of shoes! Now it's time to dance. This is a simple story with well-known cartoon characters that children already love. It would be a hit with beginning readers.
Minnie's Pet Salon
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Scollon, Bill
Loter, Inc.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Bright digital cartoon illustrations of all your favorite characters accompany this Level 1 "World of Reading" Disney Junior book. Minnie Mouse opens a pet salon to prepare pets for Pluto's Pet Show. Soon she's overrun with business. Luckily her friends are willing to help. But which pet will win? All of them, of course! This is a simple story designed for early readers. The vivid illustrations and touches of humor will keep the intended audience happily engaged.
Rey Mysterio : High-Flying Luchador
Velocity/capstone Press [Velocity/capstone Press]
Raatma, Lucia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Rey Mysterio, born Oscar Gutierrez, is a luchador--a Spanish term for a professional wrestler in Mexico. At least, that's how he started his career. Following in the footsteps of a masked uncle, Rey worked his way up through the ranks. He trained, practiced, and gradually fought his way to the top, becoming a WWE champion. This book documents his career in 48 well-bound pages. Readers learn something about professional wrestling. Is it real? Well...it IS definitely physical, and challenging. Moves, foes, family, and injuries are all covered. Bright graphics, photographs of varying quality, clear explanations of new words and phrases, and lots and lots of fact boxes splash across the pages with frenetic energy. There's also an index. WWE fans will adore this book.
Skiing
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Catel, Patrick
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 13, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Winter Sports" series, this 48 page book provides the reader with an overview of the sport of skiing. It contains information about alpine(downhill) and Nordic (cross-country) skiing. History of the sport and major competitions (world cup, Winter Olympics, Winter X Games, Winter Paralympics) are also mentioned. Color photographs will entice readers. The layout consists of several small sections of text within each page. Most text boxes have heading so readers are clear about the topic they are reading. Words in bold are defined in the glossary. The book has a table of contents, glossary, bibliography, index, and a multiple choice quiz. This would be a good addition to your winter sports section.
CALIFORNIA: THE GOLDEN STATE
EXPLORING THE STATES [CHILDREN'S PRESS]
SCHNOBRICH, EMILY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 13, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
The Golden State is explored in this 32 page book. Part of the Blast Off Readers "Exploring the States" series, this book described as level 5 for fluent readers. The book has all of the basic informational a student would need to complete a research project on the State of California, but at an accessible reading level. The attractive layout contains color photographs, "Fun Fact" and "Did You Know" call outs, and the main text on an orange background. Words in bold are found in the glossary. The book contains a timeline, recipe, map, pie chart, and fast facts. Non-fiction features such as a table of contents, index, glossary, and bibliography (websites are found through the publisher's web page). A strong additional purchase if you need to update your state collection and need books at a lower level.
Floods
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Sepahban, Lois
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 13, 2014
Kline, Karen
Who is responsible for property damage and lives threatened by floods when dams, levees, and the normal flow of water is redirected by man-made structures? Readers will grapple with this important question as they read this book, part of the Earth in Action series of books about natural disasters. Chapter one begins with a description of the Johnstown, Pennsylvania flood of 1889 that killed thousands and damaged 1,600 homes. Three other chapters explore types of floods, flood zones, and flood science, and each chapter is divided into several sub-headed topics making the text more accessible for browsing and research. The agricultural importance of flooding is balanced throughout the text and photos. As the book states, “Floods affect more people each year than any other natural disaster,” so this particular title is of great significance in supporting weather-related curriculum topics and library collections in general. Like other books in the series reviewed here (Tornadoes, Hurricanes, and Earthquakes), this book is filled with eye-catching photos, first-hand account text excerpts, an index, a glossary, and occasional writing prompts. Each title in the series is further credited with a university content consultant.
Earthquakes
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Mooney, Carla
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 13, 2014
Kline, Karen
What would it be like to be caught in the worst earthquake in the last 200 years? This book like others in the Earth In Action series begins with a narrative chapter. The reader is immersed in a situational disaster, in this case the Haitian earthquake of 2010, and experiences the sights and sounds of witnesses to the disaster. In subsequent chapters readers learn about the science of earthquakes. Different topics are presented throughout the chapters under headings like “Seismic Waves,” “Faults,” and “Landslides and Avalanches.” The remaining chapters present methods scientists use in the study of earthquakes as well as how to prepare for such a disaster. Primary resource documents are included as insets throughout the book with questions that challenge readers to write and research in response to related questions. Educators will find these and the “Stop and Think” section at the end of the book useful for assignments and class discussions. The book’s layout is well-done with just enough text on each page to enrich content without overwhelming young readers. Photo illustrations, charts, diagrams, glossary and index make this and the other books in the series reviewed (Floods, Hurricanes, Tornadoes) worthwhile additions.
Tornadoes
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Bryan, Dale-Marie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 13, 2014
Kline, Karen
Readers will sense the urgency of time, preparation, and warnings with regard to severe weather tornadoes when they open this book and others in the Earth in Action (Hurricanes, Floods, Earthquakes reviewed separately; Avalanches, Tsunamis, and Wildfires also available) series. The first of four chapters explores the 2011 Joplin, MO tornado that killed 161 people and injured over 1,000. Sidebars and other text features convey primary resources, fact tidbits, and rating scales. The science of weather and how tornadoes form including tools like Doppler radar, rockets, and airplanes are mentioned. Storm spotters and chasers get a separate heading in chapter four which explores meteorological work as well as public safety tips during such storms. Exciting photos on every double page spread will keep readers turning the pages. Useful information presented in a dynamic way make this book and series noteworthy.
Hurricanes
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Mattern, Joanne
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 13, 2014
Kline, Karen
What were the sights, sounds and effects of Hurricane Sandy that hit the east coast of the US in 2010? The first chapter of this book describes this horrific event in words and photos. Like other books in the Earth in Action series the first chapter of the book is narrative and descriptive. The subsequent chapters explain the science and study of hurricanes including such things as the difference between a tropical storm and an actual hurricane (when wind speeds reach 74 miles/hr). The series includes the publisher’s website designed specifically as a companion to the individual books, and the one for this book includes six links to downloadable activities as well as government (FEMA) and commercial websites appropriate for the target audience. Text features include charts, inset boxes, a map, captioned photos and more. This high interest reading addresses weather curriculum needs including a reinforced binding. Elementary libraries will find this book and others reviewed in the series (Floods, Tornadoes, Earthquakes) useful for curriculum and popular with readers.
Perfect Fit
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Eliopoulos, Chris
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 14, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Mr. Puzzle is a superhero with the ability to change into any shape. This helps him fit his body to the problem. In this graphic novel we are introduced to our hero. Readers see him solve problems like traffic jams, a ghost, a mud monster, and the evil villain, Glueshoe. The illustrations are black and white and green. The lettering is quite small. The book includes a glossary, Q&A with the author, index, and instructions on how to draw Mr. Puzzle. There is much silliness involved in the plot, but not the level of cleverness one might find in a "Squish" book. Nevertheless this would probably appeal to the same audience.
Worms!
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Macdonald, Alan
Roberts, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 14, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
This book contains three Dirty Bertie stories, each consisting of four short chapters, with occasional black and white illustrations. In the first story Bertie is horrified to be the only boy invited to a girl's birthday party where the theme is "pink." Going as a dirty worm, however, allows him to maintain his boy creds, with humorous results. The second story is about a manners contest at school, which he fails to win. Lastly, his obsession with garbage has unfortunate consequences. Each story is boy-friendly, funny, and perfectly suited for both those who enjoy humor and those who need high interest/low vocabulary materials.
Much Ado About Juliet
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Glass, Calliope
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 14, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
I will openly admit to initial prejudice as I picked up this book. I mean, it's part of the Disney "Minnie & Daisy BFF" series. Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck are best friends in high school. Daisy is the athlete, and Minnie loves to sew and has a crush on Paul Poser. When she discovers that the school is going to put on "Romeo and Juliet," and Paul is a shoo-in for the part of Romeo, Minnie knows she MUST become Juliet. Through a fluke, however, Daisy gets the part. This is a test of their friendship, as Minnie is put in charge of costuming. Soon, however, Paul's ego becomes evident and the two BFFs make up and move on. Spattered with colorful cartoon illustrations, this paperback lays the Disney on thick. HOWEVER, if you read it without any of the pictures, it could be any two girls dealing with cliques, friendship, and self-absorbed boys. The story is actually well-written and a lot of fun! It will appeal to those girls in grade school who want a little age-appropriate romance.
Enchanted River Race
Icasm Press [Icasm Press]
Blackwell, Caldric
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 14, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Eleven-year-old Amy is excited when she, and two friends, are chosen to represent her district in a magical river race. The race involves steering their ship through a series of river-created problems. Puzzles must be solved and teamwork is required to succeed and win. She and her team practice, but nobody knows what tests the river will throw at them. Will they have the wits and bravery to succeed? This is a short, episodic fantasy book with occasional black-and-white illustrations. While not extraordinary it is a quick, fun read and would meet the needs of students do best with very short chapter books.
Little Chicken Duck
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Beiser, Tim
Slavin, Bill
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 14, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
A duck is afraid of the water. What is she to do? A frog takes her under his flipper, as it were, and introduces her to other birds who have faced their fears and overcome them. An owl afraid of the dark. A robin afraid of the rain. Quails bullied by snails! Others share their experiences and Little Duck gains the bravery to face her own fears. But what was the frog's fear? He was always afraid of ducks! This sounds silly, but the rhyming text is absolutely delightful--clever and rhythmic, and just begging to be read aloud. The expressive, textured illustrations by Bill Slavin suit the text well. This would make a grand storytime book, especially as it touches on something all children understand. It would lead naturally into discussions of fears, and how to overcome them.
Laika : Astronaut Dog
TEMPLAR [TEMPLAR]
Davey, Owen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 14, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Accompanied by digital sepia-leaning sharp-angled illustrations, this is a fictional account of the story of Laika, the first dog in space. She was a stray, roaming the streets of Moscow, when she was selected for a special job. Soon she was alone no more, surrounded by scientists who trained her and tested her. Finally she blasted off into space as the whole world watched. Now she was alone again, and something was wrong with her rocket. On Earth, she was memorialized, and her tale was told again and again. That's not the end of her story, however. Instead, her rocket was collected by an alien family who gave the dog the home she had always wanted. An author's note includes a picture of the real Laika and a few sentences about her. It mentions the malfunction and the general belief that she perished. However, the author prefers a happy ending. Hmmm. Yes, we all prefer a happy ending, but let's not rewrite true history, even for a children's picture book. The writing is crisp. The illustrations are interesting. The ending leaves this reviewer feeling manipulated and lied to.
Swagger
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Deuker, Carl
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
January 14, 2014
Gustafson, Chris
Jonas is set for a successful senior year as his team’s starting point guard but the economy hits his family hard and they relocate to Seattle where dad has found work. It’s tough starting over, but Jonas plays some summer ball with other guys from the new high school team and finds both friendship and on-court chemistry with Levi, a quiet forward. Jonas and the other guys playing summer ball are befriended by Ryan Hartwell, a slightly older guy who invites the others over to his apartment and offers them alcohol and porn. Once school starts, Hartwell becomes the assistant coach, and then the coach of the team and it’s clear to the reader that he is a pedophile who is grooming Levi. Short chapters, plenty of sports action, and Jonas grapples with tough choices.
Silly Lilly In What Will I Be Today?
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Rosenstiehl, Agnes
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 14, 2014
Shirts, Brooke
Sometimes beginning readers need a book that is quiet, and observes the world they way they do. Silly Lilly is the pared-down heroine of a minimalist graphic novel series for TOON BOOKS. With her thick-lined profile, dark braids and bright outfits, she has a sweet retro appeal that will remind adults of vintage comic strip characters like Little Lulu. Despite the books’ small trim size, the panels are large, allowing Silly Lilly’s speech bubbles to contain text large enough for beginning readers. Silly Lilly is not so much silly, though, as observant. Readers accompany her on the most basic of adventures – picking apples off the ground, attempting a flip in the backyard, reading stories to teddy bears and picking up stones to see insects underneath. There isn’t a whole lot of action or wit here, but some children prefer things that way. Reading is hard enough; sometimes you just want a familiar face to guide you along the way.
Silly Lilly And The Four Seasons
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Rosenstiehl, Agnes
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 14, 2014
Shirts, Brooke
Sometimes beginning readers need a book that is quiet, and observes the world they way they do. Silly Lilly is the pared-down heroine of a minimalist graphic novel series for TOON BOOKS. With her thick-lined profile, dark braids and bright outfits, she has a sweet retro appeal that will remind adults of vintage comic strip characters like Little Lulu. Despite the books’ small trim size, the panels are large, allowing Silly Lilly’s speech bubbles to contain text large enough for beginning readers. Silly Lilly is not so much silly, though, as observant. Readers accompany her on the most basic of adventures – picking apples off the ground, attempting a flip in the backyard, reading stories to teddy bears and picking up stones to see insects underneath. There isn’t a whole lot of action or wit here, but some children prefer things that way. Reading is hard enough; sometimes you just want a familiar face to guide you along the way.
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow : A Readers' Theater Script And Gu
Looking Glass Library [Looking Glass Library]
Wallace, Nancy K
Henninger, Michelle
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 14, 2014
Shirts, Brooke
There’s nothing that fosters teamwork and excitement like a class play. Magic Wagon’s “Reader’s Theater” series is just right for 2nd and 3rd graders, with six easy-to-read adaptations of familiar fairy tales. Each tale is slightly altered to fit with modern sensibilities. For example, Snow White doesn’t live with dwarves, but with the “Dork Squad,” a group of computer hackers. Extra parts are added to expand the number of roles, but there still aren't enough for an entire classroom, and that's fine. The stories are sweet and perfect for this age group; illustrations by Nina Mata and Michelle Henninger show smiling multiethnic children performing the plays. Each volume in the set includes information about how to perform, what cast and crew members are needed, lists of roles, sets, costumes, props, and explanations of stage directions. The only flaw is that the lines of the play are printed in different-colored inks, coded by part (e.g. Rapunzel’s lines are in purple ink, the Queen’s in red ink). However, most classrooms will probably photocopy the script for each child, rendering the color-coding moot. A nice thought, anyway.
Snow White And The Seven Dorks : A Readers' Theater Script A
Looking Glass Library [Looking Glass Library]
Wallace, Nancy K
Mata, Nina
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 14, 2014
Shirts, Brooke
There’s nothing that fosters teamwork and excitement like a class play. Magic Wagon’s “Reader’s Theater” series is just right for 2nd and 3rd graders, with six easy-to-read adaptations of familiar fairy tales. Each tale is slightly altered to fit with modern sensibilities. For example, Snow White doesn’t live with dwarves, but with the “Dork Squad,” a group of computer hackers. Extra parts are added to expand the number of roles, but there still aren't enough for an entire classroom, and that's fine. The stories are sweet and perfect for this age group; illustrations by Nina Mata and Michelle Henninger show smiling multiethnic children performing the plays. Each volume in the set includes information about how to perform, what cast and crew members are needed, lists of roles, sets, costumes, props, and explanations of stage directions. The only flaw is that the lines of the play are printed in different-colored inks, coded by part (e.g. Rapunzel’s lines are in purple ink, the Queen’s in red ink). However, most classrooms will probably photocopy the script for each child, rendering the color-coding moot. A nice thought, anyway.
Farmyard Security : A Readers' Theater Script And Guide
Looking Glass Library [Looking Glass Library]
Wallace, Nancy K
Henninger, Michelle
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 14, 2014
Shirts, Brooke
There’s nothing that fosters teamwork and excitement like a class play. Magic Wagon’s “Reader’s Theater” series is just right for 2nd and 3rd graders, with six easy-to-read adaptations of familiar fairy tales. Each tale is slightly altered to fit with modern sensibilities. For example, Snow White doesn’t live with dwarves, but with the “Dork Squad,” a group of computer hackers. Extra parts are added to expand the number of roles, but there still aren't enough for an entire classroom, and that's fine. The stories are sweet and perfect for this age group; illustrations by Nina Mata and Michelle Henninger show smiling multiethnic children performing the plays. Each volume in the set includes information about how to perform, what cast and crew members are needed, lists of roles, sets, costumes, props, and explanations of stage directions. The only flaw is that the lines of the play are printed in different-colored inks, coded by part (e.g. Rapunzel’s lines are in purple ink, the Queen’s in red ink). However, most classrooms will probably photocopy the script for each child, rendering the color-coding moot. A nice thought, anyway.
Princess And The Frog : A Readers' Theater Script And Guide
Looking Glass Library [Looking Glass Library]
Wallace, Nancy K
Henninger, Michelle
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 14, 2014
Shirts, Brooke
There’s nothing that fosters teamwork and excitement like a class play. Magic Wagon’s “Reader’s Theater” series is just right for 2nd and 3rd graders, with six easy-to-read adaptations of familiar fairy tales. Each tale is slightly altered to fit with modern sensibilities. For example, Snow White doesn’t live with dwarves, but with the “Dork Squad,” a group of computer hackers. Extra parts are added to expand the number of roles, but there still aren't enough for an entire classroom, and that's fine. The stories are sweet and perfect for this age group; illustrations by Nina Mata and Michelle Henninger show smiling multiethnic children performing the plays. Each volume in the set includes information about how to perform, what cast and crew members are needed, lists of roles, sets, costumes, props, and explanations of stage directions. The only flaw is that the lines of the play are printed in different-colored inks, coded by part (e.g. Rapunzel’s lines are in purple ink, the Queen’s in red ink). However, most classrooms will probably photocopy the script for each child, rendering the color-coding moot. A nice thought, anyway.
Princedom Of Pea : A Readers' Theater Script And Guide
Looking Glass Library [Looking Glass Library]
Wallace, Nancy K
Mata, Nina
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 14, 2014
Shirts, Brooke
There’s nothing that fosters teamwork and excitement like a class play. Magic Wagon’s “Reader’s Theater” series is just right for 2nd and 3rd graders, with six easy-to-read adaptations of familiar fairy tales. Each tale is slightly altered to fit with modern sensibilities. For example, Snow White doesn’t live with dwarves, but with the “Dork Squad,” a group of computer hackers. Extra parts are added to expand the number of roles, but there still aren't enough for an entire classroom, and that's fine. The stories are sweet and perfect for this age group; illustrations by Nina Mata and Michelle Henninger show smiling multiethnic children performing the plays. Each volume in the set includes information about how to perform, what cast and crew members are needed, lists of roles, sets, costumes, props, and explanations of stage directions. The only flaw is that the lines of the play are printed in different-colored inks, coded by part (e.g. Rapunzel’s lines are in purple ink, the Queen’s in red ink). However, most classrooms will probably photocopy the script for each child, rendering the color-coding moot. A nice thought, anyway.
Pricked Pinkies : A Readers' Theater Script And Guide
Looking Glass Library [Looking Glass Library]
Wallace, Nancy K
Mata, Nina
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 14, 2014
Shirts, Brooke
There’s nothing that fosters teamwork and excitement like a class play. Magic Wagon’s “Reader’s Theater” series is just right for 2nd and 3rd graders, with six easy-to-read adaptations of familiar fairy tales. Each tale is slightly altered to fit with modern sensibilities. For example, Snow White doesn’t live with dwarves, but with the “Dork Squad,” a group of computer hackers. Extra parts are added to expand the number of roles, but there still aren't enough for an entire classroom, and that's fine. The stories are sweet and perfect for this age group; illustrations by Nina Mata and Michelle Henninger show smiling multiethnic children performing the plays. Each volume in the set includes information about how to perform, what cast and crew members are needed, lists of roles, sets, costumes, props, and explanations of stage directions. The only flaw is that the lines of the play are printed in different-colored inks, coded by part (e.g. Rapunzel’s lines are in purple ink, the Queen’s in red ink). However, most classrooms will probably photocopy the script for each child, rendering the color-coding moot. A nice thought, anyway.
Goods
Big Picture Press [Big Picture Press]
Barnett, Mac
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
January 15, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Can you say "eclectic?" Can you say "whack-a-doodle?" Then maybe you're ready for this book. This is a 10 1/2" x 11" collection of games, activities, puzzles, and more. Want your own Rasputin paper doll, along with cool outfits? It's here. The recipe for a mouthshake? No problem. Spot the differences, connect the dots, weave your way through a maze...oh yeah, feel free/ Don't forget the snippets of valuable information--some true and some totally bogus. Finger boxing? There are puppets you can cut out. Every little bit of space is filled with odds and ends, most in a tongue-in-cheek kind of retro style. Oh, and did I mention that it's all by some of your favorite people--Mo Willems, Jon Scieszka, Jon Klassen and more and more and more? Each page is printed on one side of stiff paper, so you can easily cut out stuff without damaging something on the other side. This is obviously not a library book. However, if you have a friend who is in the hospital and needs a distraction, or a kid who is going to be a long plane ride, or ever find yourself in need of mindless entertainment this is a winner. Just bring along a pencil and a pair of scissors.
Homicidal Aliens And Other Disappointments
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Yansky, Brian
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 15, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Aliens have taken over the Earth. It took all of 10 seconds. Now the few people who are left are hunted or enslaved. But they are also starting to develop some interesting capabilities. The story begun in "Alien Invasion and Other Inconveniences" continues. Jessie and a few friends join up with some of the survivors. The big question is--do they hide, or do they fight? Soon new alien settlers will arrive and then there will be no hope at all. Jesse's abilities are growing and it appears he has the "Warrior Spirit." He may be the only one who can save the planet. Being able to foresee possible futures, shield, and unite with others to psychically battle is very helpful. Still, the odds are long. What will happen? The author never intended to write a sequel to the first book but, having decided to do so, finishes the story in this second one. Sure the ending seems a little rushed, but it's nice to have a two-book series. While it bills itself as droll, and the title certainly suggests that, this is actually quite a serious sci-fi book, with lots of teen characters plus a few adults, rampaging aliens, and a little romance. It's a good read.
Perry's Killer Playlist
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Schreiber, Joe
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
January 15, 2014
Dame, Anne
Sequel to Au revoir, Crazy European Chick The madcap antics of Perry and Gobi continue when the band, the Inchworms, gets a contract to do a European tour. Assassinations, kidnappings, threats, betrayals, narrow escapes, and more abound in this fast-paced action and adventure novel. There is lots to keep a reader at the edge of their seat, turning pages as quickly as they can - yet there is also some potential for confusion due to the number of characters and never quite knowing exactly who is on which side and what they are trying to accomplish. Overall, it is an enjoyable romp through Venice and Paris with dead bodies along the way.
Tarantula
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Strother, Ruth
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 15, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the Core Library "Great Predators" series, this 48 page book contains much of the information a student would need to complete a research project on this amazing spider. The reader will learn how this spider got its name, the life cycle (including information on mating habits), how they capture their prey, their habitat, range, and predators, and finally, human impact. The book contains color photographs and some primary sources. Questions follow each chapter to guide reading, but this also makes it seem more like a text book. Table of contents, index, glossary, fast facts, author information, and minimal bibliography are included. Web resources are found on the publisher's website. A strong purchase if you are updating this part of your collection.
TRIP TO THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD WITH MOUSE
TOON BOOKS [TOON BOOKS]
VIVA, FRANK
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 15, 2014
Shirts, Brooke
Poor mouse! He's taking an ocean voyage to Antarctica with a little boy, and all he can do is fret and ask when it's time to go home. Dark worry lines circle his eyes as he lists all the things seasickness prevents him from doing, all the warm clothes he's required to wear, and just how small Antarctica makes him feel. The little boy, however, remains level-headed and calm, taking Mouse along as they identify penguins, watch observe orcas, and even swim in warm waters. Finally, it's time to go home, but Mouse is still impatient. "Is it time to go home?" Frank Viva's simply told tale is based on his own experiences on board an Antarctic research vessel. His well-designed modernist illustrations in subdued red, yellow, black, and blue are as mod as they are effective at conveying the sparse grandeur of the Antarctic landscape. Mouse's lists are perfect for beginning readers, each panel containing a visual representation of each word. A beautiful and unusual little gem.
CHILDREN'S BOOK-A-DAY ALMANAC
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
SILVEY, ANITA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Professional
January 15, 2014
Shirts, Brooke
In 2011, accomplished children's literary critic Anita Silvey decided to perform a feat of blogging: every day for one year, she researched an anniversary or occasion: Brother's Day, National Black Family Month, or Margaret Wise Brown's birthday. She then matched a children's book topically related to each event, and wrote an article commemorating both. (The Great Brain, Tar Beach, and Goodnight Moon, in the aforementioned cases.) This book is the compilation of her blog, and it is a treasure-trove of information for parents, teachers, librarians, and other enthusiasts of children's literature. Silvey's writing style is both precise and personable, with a focus on authors' and books' backstories. Her taste is very good as well as wide-ranging; both well-known classics as well as lesser-known contemporary books and forgotten gems make appearances here. Each day includes a sidebar with extra "occasions" and matching books. The only drawback is that the book does not include any pictures of book covers or illustrations, all of which are present in the original blog posts (see them at childrensbookalmanac.com), rendering the book a bit dowdy. Still, an excellent addition to the reference shelf.
Comic Relief
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Abdo, Kenny
Doucet, Bob
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 16, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Haven't a Clue" series, this book consists of 9 short chapters, with a few black and white illustrations. It tells the story of fourth-grade detective Jon Gummyshoes. Forged comics are hitting the school. Who could be responsible? Gummyshoes is one the case. He tracks it back to a probable source but when he, himself, is kidnapped things start to get hairy. This books is an odd mix. It tries to be a mix of Sam Spade and Encyclopedia Brown, but misses the mark. While competently written, it is not a compelling mystery as it fails to involve the reader in the process. Still, for boys who want a fast mystery story, this series might work.
When Edgar Met Cecil
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Luthardt, Kevin
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 16, 2014
Brangwin, Nelda
Moving is and having to make new friends in a new school is hard even if you live in outer space. When Edgar’s family moves to another planet, he’s in a class filled with strange, scary kids. And the most scary one is Cecil. Not only is he a space blob, but he’s huge and he keeps following little robot Edgar. Edgar plays by himself mostly, but finally he turns and faces that big scary blob. Edgar, it turns out is scary to Cecil. It’s the unknown that gets us every time. Edgar faced his fear, and found there was no reason to be scared of Cecil. Cecil wanted a friend, too. Luthardt’s illustrations show details that his text doesn’t. The kids in the new school are really different. If nothing else they are more colorful that the gray tones of Edgar’s robot world.
Hello, My Name Is Ruby
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Stead, Philip C
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 16, 2014
Brangwin, Nelda
If you want to define the word “minimalist” you could easily do it with Stead’s latest book that addresses the process of making friends. Ruby is a tiny yellow bird looking for friends. She meets an amazingly beautiful group of birds and animals in her search. Finally she meets the “Rooo-beee-OOO-beee” bird. Stead’s crayon illustrations are perfect for showing the joy of having a friend and as well as the sadness of being denied friendship. The two-page spread of Ruby standing alone under a drizzly sky needs no words to show how sad she is. This is a book in which there will be “this is my favorite picture” pages. A fun activity that I incorporated into this story was to have kids color an outline picture of the crane-like bird in the book. Kids used their favorite colors and they were delighted at how the color seemed to change the mood of the bird.
Rumpelstiltskin
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Galdone, Paul
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 16, 2014
Brangwin, Nelda
Thank you Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for republishing this classic story. His original books were in such sad condition and so dated that I discarded them, much to the dismay of the kindergarten teachers. They will be thrilled with this colorful version. Color gives more energy to the story, so even if you have the original version published in the 1980’s consider this Folk Tale Classic series. Galdone conveys the story with simple text and bold pictures.
Big Bear's Big Boat
CLARION [CLARION]
Bunting, Eve
Carpenter, Nancy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 16, 2014
Brangwin, Nelda
Henry David Thoreau would endorse the messages in this book. Stay true to yourself. Simplicity is best. When Little Bear grows up he decides to build a boat just like the little one he had. Unfortunately, he listens to all the advice given by others. Beaver suggests a mast. Blue Heron suggests adding a cabin to Otter’s suggestion of a deck. When the boat is finished it is nothing like the simple little boat Big Bear had imagined. All he wanted to do was to lazily float around Huckleberry Lake. The second time he builds his boat, he tells his friends this isn't his boat. He wants to hold onto his dream and that is a simple little boat. When the other animals understand they are helping Big Bear hold onto his dream they are happy to help. Nancy Carpenter’s simple drawings show exactly how to be true to yourself.
Starring Jules (In Drama-Rama)
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Ain, Beth
Higgins, Anne Keenan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 16, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Seven-year-old Jules loves the big city life. New York is her kind of town. Still, that doesn't mean she faces no challenges. School can be problematic, with a friend possibly moving, and an enemy creating problems for her. That's stressful. The fact that Jules wants to be an actress adds to the stress. When her possible movie falls through, and a possible sit-com comes up Jules must learn to juggle her schedule while making room for rehearsals, family, and friends. The black and white illustrations that pop up occasionally are evocative and action-packed. This is a lighthearted book that provides a good inside look at childhood stardom through the sympathetic eyes of the child involved.
I See Kitty
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Surovec, Yasmine
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 16, 2014
Brangwin, Nelda
The author of Cat vs. Human comic series had created a picture book for the very young. Chloe wants a kitty so badly. She can see it in the clouds, in hairdos, in water puddles. It seems kitties are all around her, except in her own house. Dreaming about kitties she wakes up and finds a box outside her bedroom with her very own kitty in it. With the large pictures filled with hidden kitties this is a good book to share for story time. The speech bubbles and simple text make it a good choice for those precocious readers.
Lion Vs. Rabbit
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Latimer, Alex
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 16, 2014
Brangwin, Nelda
Too bad we all can’t be Rabbit when it comes to dealing with bullies. When the savannah animals get fed up with Lion’s bullying, they create an ad asking for someone to stop lion from being so cruel. None of the animals who come can cure Lion from his bad habits. That is until Rabbit shows up and he is able to beat Lion at everything, hopping, marshmallow eating, quiz shows, racing up mountains. There have been a few picture clues as to how Rabbit accomplished this, but it isn’t until Rabbit gets on the boat to leave, its clearly shown that there are a lot of rabbits. The prize that Rabbit won for besting Lion, may need to be explained to young kids. He wins 100 bucks (mostly gazelle). Teamwork, that’s how you beat a bully at his own game! Latimer’s quirky digitized artwork adds to the humor in this book.
Friends On Ice
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Ward, Jessica
Baldoni, Davide
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 16, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck are BFFs at their high school. That doesn't, however, mean that they always get along. Minnie's the homebody and peace-maker. Daisy is the athlete with a short fuse. A skating contest is coming up, but teams must consist of 3 skaters. The third member of their team is a good friend but a bad skater and afraid of just about everything. What to do? What to do? They try a variety of ideas, as Daisy's patience wears thin. Opponents try to sabotage them, but ultimately friendship wins out. This is part of a Disney chapter book series, with bright cartoon illustrations. The story is simple, with fun characters and a friendly feel. Readers who like Disney picture books might appreciate these fiction book starring familiar characters.
Once Upon A Hook
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Narcisco, Massimiliano
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 16, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
The voice of Mama Hook in the Disney Jr. show "Jack and the Never Land Pirates, Sharon Osbourne has written this book which, despite what it says above, is actually titled "Mama Hook Knows Best." She also recorded the accompanying CD. Mama Hook gives a few details of her own illustrious pirate career, topping it off with her grandest achievement--raising her son, James Bartholomew Hook. To teach him important lessons she told stories with pirate morals. Three are included in this book. "The Great Ship Race" echoes "The Tortoise and the Hare." "The Pirates and Their Reflections" is reminiscent of an Aesop's fable where greed leads to disaster. "The Pirate Who Cried Croc" pretty much says it in the title. Bight cartoon illustrations swoop and swirl through the pages. The morals at the end of the stories are not what you'd expect, and don't really make as much sense as you'd like. This is an additional purchase at best.
Indy Car Racing
Blazers Books/capstone Press [Blazers Books/capstone Press]
Polydoros, Lori
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 16, 2014
Soel, Barbara
Indy Car Racing is an excellent example of a non-fiction book that most librarians would like to buy for their collections. It’s visually attractive, well organized throughout, and has all the classic text features: table of contents, glossary, index, and supplemental websites. Additionally, there are “Fast Fact” boxes inserted every few pages, and vocabulary bars that define the auto jargon as it appears. Some labeled photos also helped explain information in an effective way. As a reader who knew nothing about car racing, I read the book through without any questions; the author explained everything so well, I just didn’t formulate any. I’m pleased to add this to my collection.
Duck, Dive, Rock & Roll
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Abdo, Kenny
Doucet, Bob
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 17, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Fourth-grade detective Jon Gummshoes is on the case again. This time he's transferred schools. His reputation has preceded him, unfortunately, which makes for a few sticky situations. Now he's been hired to protect a young rock and roll singer who fronts for the band Hearts Not Farts. They'll be competing in a big Battle of the Bands competition with a $500 prize. Threats have been made and Jon is to provide the singer with an escort. But who is behind the threats? How far are they willing to go? As a detective, Jon is more than a little curious. This story takes place around Halloween. It consists of ten short chapters with occasional black and white illustrations. This is an easy-going mystery series with a likeable hero and a touch of Sam Spade.
Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Detention!
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Abdo, Kenny
Doucet, Bob
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 17, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Fourth-grade detective Jon Gummshoes is trying to figure out who sabotaged a science fair volcano, leading to an eruption that was excessive to say the least. His client, the maker of the volcano, is about to be punished. How unfair! Meanwhile, evidence is being planted and Jon is trying to track down the real person responsible. He may be surprised. There's a touch of Sam Spade here, and a love of ice cream. These is a short ten chapter book with occasional black and white illustrations. It is part of an easy-going mystery series with a likeable, if somewhat two-dimensional, hero.
All For A Game
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Abdo, Kenny
Doucet, Bob
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 17, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Everyone in school is excited about the new video game, that's just come out. In fact, a copy of the game is being offered as a raffle prize as the school tries to raise money to fix the holes in its soccer field. But then the game disappears from the principal's office. Who stole it? Where are those holes coming from? Jon Gummyshoes, 4th-grade detective, is on the case. He has a special reason to be particularly vigilant--he's being framed for the theft. He'd better find the real villain, fast. This is an easy-going mystery series if a main character who loves ice cream and is willing to do the research to solve the case. The books are short, well-bound, and include occasional black and white illustrations. Granted, Gummyshoes is a little two-dimensional, but readers may not care.
Me First
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Lester, Helen
Munsinger, Lynn
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 18, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Pinkerton the pig always insists on being first and completely disregards those around him. While hiking on the beach with his scout troop, he races ahead when he hears someone asking who would care for a sandwich, only to discover that he has volunteered to care for a sand witch. After completing some exhausting and unpleasant tasks for her, Pinkerton realizes that first isn’t necessarily best, and he is happy just to be the last one to board the bus for home. The watercolor illustrations are a perfect accompaniment to the text and add humor to Pinkerton’s pushiness and the enormity of the tasks he must do for the witch. The word joke in the story will appeal to kids and help them to absorb an important lesson about taking turns. (Originally published in 1992.)
Listen, Buddy
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Lester, Helen
Munsinger, Lynn
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 18, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Despite the fact that he has huge ears, Buddy the rabbit only hears part of what his parents tell him. When his father requests a pen, he brings a hen. When his mother asks for a slice of bread, he saws off a piece of his bed. When given permission for a long hop by himself, he again misses some of the directions and takes the wrong fork. He ends up at the cave of Scruffy Varmint, who lacks the patience of his parents. When Buddy’s half listening leads to a ruined dinner, Scruffy Varmint wants to turn Buddy into rabbit soup. He avoids capture and returns home a different rabbit, because he now understands the importance of listening. The watercolor illustrations blend seamlessly with the text and add to the humor of the disasters that follow in Buddy’s wake. The word jokes in the story will appeal to kids and help them to absorb an important lesson about listening to directions. (Originally published in 1995.)
Rise Of The Balloon Goons
Branches [Branches]
Cummings, Troy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 20, 2014
Garrard, Thom
The new kid in town, Alexander, is scared about his new house, his new school, and having to make new friends. When car tires start going flat and inflatable balloon guys start moving around town, he soon realizes something weird is going on. Upon entering the empty school building without realizing that it is about to be demolished, he finds a notebook of monster drawings and information. When he reaches the school’s temporary location in the former hospital, his first day is worse than he feared. The next day at his birthday party, balloon monsters fill his yard. The class bully turns up as an unexpected friend and ally, but when the balloons attack and carry him off, Alexander must face his fears and save the day. Pages from the notebook of monsters are interspersed throughout the book, along with illustrations, charts and diagrams. Consequently, there are no two page spreads of solid text. With plenty of humor and absurd bits, like the school using a morgue as a classroom, kids will realize that the creepiness of the balloons should not be taken too seriously. For primary grade readers who are ready to start chapter books, this could be a good place to begin.
Porcupine Named Fluffy
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Lester, Helen
Munsinger, Lynn
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 20, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Despite his best efforts to live up to his name, Fluffy the porcupine is anything but. Out for a walk one day, he meets a rhinoceros who finds Fluffy’s name hilarious. When the rhino then reveals that his name is Hippo, they share a good laugh. Having discovered a new friend who understands his plight, Fluffy finds he can be happy just being himself. The humorous watercolor illustrations blend perfectly with the text and add new dimensions both to Fluffy’s spikiness and to his attempts to change to fit his name. This story will appeal to kids and help them to absorb an important lesson about being themselves.
Dinosaurs On My Street
FIREFLY BOOKS [FIREFLY BOOKS]
West, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 20, 2014
Kline, Karen
Let your imagination go and suspend disbelief, as dinosaurs appear on city streets amongst nonplussed humans going about their days. The computer generated art feels like a Pixar movie in freeze frame. Each double page spread has full-bleed art on one page and a short, large-font description on the facing page for a single dinosaur species -- thirty in all. Most of the text is factual descriptions of the spotlighted dinosaurs, but occasionally the text takes an imaginative twist telling readers where we are most likely to find a certain dinosaur: "Three small dinosaurs glide past a child's window. They have leapt from a tree, scaring away a pair of birds." Below the text and simple header with the name of the dinosaur and its pronunciation on each page is a scale illustration of a human and dino for a handy visual size comparison. Below the scale drawing is a single sentence informing the reader of the maximum length of the highlighted dinosaur. The book is arranged alphabetically making it a useful reference. In addition, the final two pages present a chart with each dinosaur's height, length, weight, dietary classification, and when and where it lived.
Thanks To Lucy
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
Cooper, Ilene
Merrell, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 20, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
It's Thanksgiving and Bobby has a lot going on in his life. He's still shy, so he's worried about his class presentation in the Thanksgiving program. His family is about to adopt a baby--will he be a good big brother? Also Lucy, his beagle, isn't acting like her usual mischievous self. Is something wrong? This is another addition to the "Absolutely Lucy" easy chapter book series. These are realistic fiction books with gentle storylines that contain a touch of humor, and appealing characters. Supportive adults, and good friends make this an enjoyable, reassuring series. Black and white illustrations are scattered throughout the text. Students just transitioning into chapter books will enjoy these.
Mission 1 : Game On
DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS [DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS]
Zucker, Jonny
Woodman, Ned
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 20, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Max Flash's parents are magicians, and he's been trained in escape techniques. Then he discovers that his parents are actually part of an undercover organization that deals with unusual happenings on the planet--weird stuff. Now, though he is just a kid, he is being recruited for his first mission. A monstrous creature has discovered an open portal between video games (the virtual world) and the real world (the gamer world). Someone has to go inside the virtual world, find the monster who has returned there, and shut the portal. Soon Max is popping in and out of video games, using his gamer skills to survive. When he discovers the monster is recruiting virtual characters to go through the portal and conquer the real world he knows he has his work cut out for him. This is a fast-paced, game-based, book with short chapters, plenty of black and white illustrations, and very visual writing. It's perfect for high-interest/low-vocabulary reading.
Barry
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
Klimo, Kate
Jessell, Tim
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 20, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Dog Diaries" series, this is a fictionalized account of the story of Barry--a Saint Bernard who worked in the Great Saint Bernard Hospice in the Alps, rescuing lost travelers in the snow, and locating those caught in avalanches. The legends about the original Barry have him saving more than 40 lives. Because of him, the Hospice always has a dog named Barry in residence. Told from the dog's point of view, this book follows him from puppy to retirement. The writing is warm and friendly, drawing readers in and involving them in Barry's life. Occasional black and white illustrations by Tim Jessell are beautifully detailed and add a nice touch. The book also includes an appendix that gives readers more information about the hospice, Saint Bernards, and Barry. This is a well-told tale that would also make a good read-aloud.
Triple Take
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Abdo, Kenny
Doucet, Bob
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 20, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Fourth grade detective, Jon Gummyshoes, is facing another case, but does this one have a supernatural element? His class goes on a field trip to a local historical site where re-enactors talk about the town's history. It involves pirates, and lost gold. When Jon meets a ghost in the forest his detective senses get all a-tingle. He inserts himself into the town as a re-enactor and follows the clues that might lead to treasure. In doing so, however, is he putting himself at risk? This is another entry in the "Haven't a Clue!" series--easy mystery stories about Gummyshoes, with some b&w illustrations. This one has a bit of a "Scooby-Doo" feel to it. While not extraordinary mysteries, these do aim right at the target audience and are fun without being too challenging. The binding is also exceptional.
Sunny And The Snowy Surprise
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Dower, Laura
Gurney, John Steven
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 20, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Rex and Sunny are palace pups. They live in the royal palace in the kingdom of Glitter Rock and belong to Prince James and Princess Annie. When the royal family goes to the winter palace, Rex and Sunny are in for new adventures. They rescue some German Shepherd pups and get a taste of life outside the palace--learning to play in the snow, frolic in the barn, and skate on the ice. Still, they know which life they like best! This is a lighthearted entry in the "Palace Puppies" series that should please young dog lovers who are ready for easy chapter books.
Before The World Was Ready : Stories Of Daring Genius In Sci
ANNICK PRESS [ANNICK PRESS]
Eamer, Claire
Boothroyd, Sa
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 20, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
I've always been fascinated by people who are ahead of their time--who propose radical new scientific ideas that are shot down by their contemporaries, but later go on to become the backbone of important developments. This book highlights some of them. Copernicus and his idea that the planets revolved around the sun. Alfred Wegener who proposed the concept of continental drift. Semmelweis and the beginning of germ theory. Tesla and electricity. Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring." Evolution, aviation, and computers are also included in this highly-readable book that lauds not only the highlighted people, but those who came before and after them. Most theories appear multiple times, and need multiple proofs, before they are accepted. This book not only clearly shows how scientific theory works, but should make readers appropriately skeptical. It seems that the first reaction to a radical new idea is to attack the person who presents it. Flexibility is key to progression. The book points this out, and has fun cartoon illustrations with humorous asides that will amuse and educate as well. This is a solid, well-researched book that merits a place in middle school libraries.
Scholastic Children's Dictionary, 2013
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
January 20, 2014
Gleb, Heidi
This is a great resource for the elementary-aged student. Color photos and illustrations plus text boxes including the history of some words make good visual breaks in the columns of text. The cover states, "The only children's dictionary currently featuring a thesaurus, grammar guide, punctuation guide, idioms guide, and a geography section" and while I can't confirm that fact, those sections in this dictionary are indeed helpful. There is information on numbers and measurements, plus a two-page spread giving info on each president up through Barack Obama and including a small color photograph. Flags, facts, and maps of countries of the world and each U.S. state and territory and Canadian provinces increases the benefit to young learners. Printed tabs for each letter help to quickly find words in the dictionary. In addition to the intended grade level, this resource will work well for older students who are struggling readers and also for those learning English.
Day Of The Night Crawlers
Branches [Branches]
Cummings, Troy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 21, 2014
Garrard, Thom
In this second book in The Notebook of Doom series, Alexander and his friend, Rip, wonder if they should be worried about the worms that seem to everywhere. But then the school secretary/gym teacher suddenly disappears and is replaced by a mysterious fencing instructor, and they have bigger fish to fry. Literally. Hungry tunnel fish, a species that can “swim” through the earth start popping up. With help from their classmate Nikki, the two boys battle the fish, take charge of the S.S.M.P., and swear an oath to continue fighting monsters in the future. Pages from the notebook of monsters are interspersed throughout the book, along with illustrations, charts and diagrams. Consequently, there are no two page spreads of solid text. With plenty of humor and absurd bits, like the worms spelling out a warning in cursive, kids will realize that the danger should not be taken too seriously. For primary grade readers who are ready to start chapter books, this could be a good place to begin.
Play It Again, Mallory
DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS [DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS]
Friedman, Laurie
Kalis, Jennifer
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 21, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Mallory's elementary school has added something new--a chance for older students to participate in a six-week arts course. There are choices like ballet, choir, orchestra, drama, and band. Mallory really wants drama, but puts down ballet as her second choice, and band as a faraway third. Guess which one she gets? Worse, she is assigned the tuba. THE TUBA? This is not a match made in heaven. Mallory is at first angry, then resigned. However, mastering this new instrument seems to be beyond her. Now she's afraid she's going to bring the whole band down. This is a delightful story told in the first-person, so readers really understand Mallory's feelings. Caring adults, and a desire to do her best, help Mallory find a solution and, yes, even grow to love the tuba. This is book #20 in the Mallory series, and clearly shows why the series continues on. It's well-written, kid-friendly, and just right for those who don't want a chapter book that's going to overwhelm them.
Frozen Enemies
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Harrison, Zac
Geremia, Dani
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 22, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Being the only human in an interstellar high school has its problems. John Riley has to deal with some bullying, learning everything about an intergalactic history he never even knew existed before, and his alien friends' disgusting dinner options. Don't get me wrong--he loves it there, but it's not easy. When his class gets the chance to visit a museum planet it seems too good to be true, and it is. There's a plot behind their invitation and soon the teens find themselves in a battle for their lives when an exhibit comes back to life. This is a fast-paced sci-fi adventure with likable characters and a plot that keeps you guessing. Sure, it's not "Ender's Game" but it certainly will be enjoyed by a slightly younger audience.
What's Bugging Nurse Penny? : A Story About Lice
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Stier, Catherine
Beaky, Suzanne
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 23, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Nurse Penny is everyone's favorite at the school. She schedules an extra-special, last-minute assembly before she leaves. Her assembly is about lice. The students learn how people can get lice and how they can get rid of them in a fun way. At the end she reveals that even nurses can get lice and explains how she will combat these bugs. Color illustration accompany the informative text. A fact page about lice is found in the back. Teachers will want this book when lice make the round at your school. 32 pages.
Super Schnoz And The Gates Of Smell
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Urey, Gary
Long, Ethan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 23, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Andy Wiffler has a gigantic sniffer. I mean, a honker that dwarfs his body in its enormousness. This has, naturally, led to a lot of teasing. However, as he gains a few friends, and the nickname "Schnoz," he discovers his nose has some unusual abilities. And he'll need all of them as he and his friends fight an evil environmental protection organization that is mining a horrific toxic smelly substance from beneath their school with the goal of spreading it , and then charging millions to clean it up. A superhero outfit, a bird mask to disguise his nose, and Schnoz is on the case. He can even fly, with his nostrils catching the breeze, and his super boogers, impelled by the power of cayenne pepper, are a mighty weapon. Still, can he and his friends overcome their foes? This is a funny, lightweight story with some classic gross-out humor, a few black and white illustrations, and a really bizarre premise. Any guess as to the intended audience? Well, they'll love it!
Anubis Speaks! : A Guide To The Afterlife By The Egyptian Go
Boyds Mills Press [Boyds Mills Press]
Shecter, Vicky Alvear
Revoy, Antoine
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 23, 2014
Gustafson, Chris
From the Secrets of the Ancient Gods series. Anubis narrates a journey through the experience of life after death organized chronologically. During the twelve hour journey, the soul traveling with Anubis learns the stories of the Gods in addition to large doses of Egyptian cultural practices and the specific rituals surrounding death. The juxtaposition of Anubis’s snarky narration with the factual description of Egyptian burial practice is a bit jarring but might be appealing to middle schoolers. Black and white drawings illustrate.
Dead Is Just A Dream
HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS [HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS]
Perez, Marlene
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
7th grade to 9th grade
January 23, 2014
Gustafson, Chris
The eighth book in the series that began with Dead is the New Black. Murder, psychic abilities, Jessica’s boyfriend’s ex is back. Short paranormal drama. Like many series of this length, later books don't stand too well on their own.
Surprise Attack Of Jabba The Puppett : An Origami Yoda B
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
Angleberger, Tom
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 23, 2014
Gustafson, Chris
Actually this is my favorite book in the series so far, probably because the background story seemed most coherent. Dwight and friends must combat FunTime Educational System, a canned experience with a laser-like focus on raising test scores. Electives are cancelled so that every student participates in the FunTime drills and the Origami Yoda group decide to protest by getting kids to do poorly on the test so scores will go down as a protest. All the trademark middle school humor from the author’s previous work.
Technology Of Hockey
Sports Illustrated Kids/capstone Pr [Sports Illustrated Kids/capstone Pr]
Frederick, Shane
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 23, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Hockey has evolved from playing on lakes to grand arenas. Technology has helped the game make this transition. This 48 page book is part of the "Sports Illustrated for Kids: The Technology of" series. The book looks at the technology involved in pucks, skates, helmets, pads, the playing surface, and more. The book also discusses the outdoor Winter Classic games (through 2012) and concussions. The fan experience, coaching, and statistic advances through technology are also described. The book looks at the future of the sport to conclude. A hockey fan will love this book packed with information. The text is well written and found in boxes among the many color photographs. The book is complete with a table of contents, index, glossary (words are displayed in bold in the text), and bibliography. Web resources are found on the publisher website. This is a strong purchase if you are updating your sports section.
Diary Of A Wimpy Kid : Hard Luck
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
Kinney, Jeff
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
January 23, 2014
Gustafson, Chris
Okay, Wimpy Kid books are not really all ages, but there wasn't a category for third grade through ninth grade. Hard Luck is the usual humorous anecdotes from Greg's hapless middle school life. About half way through the book he decides he'll do better if he trusts his choices to a Magic 8 ball. Fun and silly, and science teachers will love the drawing of the child who was imprisoned for doing a baking soda volcano as a science project. You will never need to book talk this series - word of mouth has done your work for you.
Just Grace And The Trouble With Cupcakes
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Harper, Charise Mericle
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 23, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
The Just Grace series continues with Grace being involved in a spring fair project involving cupcakes and a group of classmates she did not choose. Plus Grace is excited about her grandmother coming for a visit, but worried that her grandmother will not like her dog Mr. Scruffers. Dilemmas and celebrations follow in the usual Grace style with Grace’s light-hearted take on everything accompanied by charming drawings. Grace learns a little about getting along with others and the power of friendship. Fans of the series will eat it up.
Ant And Honey Bee : A Pair Of Friends In Winter
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Mcdonald, Megan
Karas, G. Brian
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 23, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
Honey Bee is busy resting during the winter and doesn’t want to be disturbed. Ant tries to do things by herself, but she misses Honey Bee too much. She tries emailing Honey Bee, but Honey Bee wants to be by herself. Ant takes it upon herself to go to Honey Bee’s house which is not what Honey Bee wants. Ant tries to make lunch for them, but it doesn’t work until Honey Bee brings out her disaster kit full of food and they have a wonderful lunch. Then they both need to rest and take a long nap. This is a beginning chapter book for emerging readers who are ready to try longer books, but still like lots of pictures and large font. It is a fun story about friendship that is complemented by charming illustrations on every two-page spread. Young readers will love this series.
YOUR MUSCULAR SYSTEM
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
JOHNSON, REBECCA L
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 23, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
The human muscular system is introduced interesting text, captioned photographs or diagram on every page, and an appealing format. The first chapter covers basics about the system from contracting muscles to controlling them. The next three chapters cover the three kinds of muscles, skeletal muscles you move, smooth muscles that move themselves, and heart muscle. The last chapter covers keeping muscles healthy. The colorful backgrounds, interesting photographs, and informative diagrams add variety and interest. The clear text, subtitles to break up chapters, and captions make this a good book for research. Although the book does not go into detail, there is enough information to give a good foundation for learning about the muscular system. A glossary, list of resources, and short index are included. It is part of the How Does Your Body Work? series.
North Of Nowhere
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Kessler, Liz
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 23, 2014
Stein, Valerie
As I started to read this book, I kept thinking that I wanted it to be a bit more than it was, with the strength and magic that Liz Kessler has managed to maintain for her characters throughout all the Emily Windsnap books. Maybe it was the slightly slow beginning. There were just a few bits of this mostly solidly plotted book which felt lacking, somehow. Then again, I remembered the audience and reconsidered, because the story, and most especially the characters, have stayed with me since I finished soaking up this quick little read, and I know several students who will definitely feel the same way. There is, in the end, something about this one which is special, in a quiet way. Mia’s Granddad is missing. She is dragged up to her Gram’s place to help out instead of spending her vacation with her friends, as she had dreamed. By a series of strange circumstances she starts corresponding with someone named “D,” whose journal is regularly left in a boat which is docked near where Mia is staying at Gram’s. This correspondence leads to a strange and mysterious friendship. Filled with mystery and heart, this will be a hit with middle grade students, and not just those who love mermaids.
Dandelion Wish
DISNEY BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [DISNEY BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Thorpe, Kiki
Christy, Jana
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 23, 2014
Stein, Valerie
In Dandelion Wish, the third in the Never Girls series, things go awry when one of the girls is stuck in Never Land, and one of the fairies is tuck on the human side of the fence after its repair closes the gateway home. The girls and fairies must once again work together to solve this problem. Another in a great series my students from kindergarten up to third grade are really enjoying. Simply written, these books offer straightforward plot with a welcoming layout to serve younger readers. This is the third in a great introductory chapter series.
Icky Ricky And The End Of The World
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE]
Rex, Michael
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 23, 2014
Stein, Valerie
This early chapter book feels as if it were created just to gross us out. It tries, and fails, to be a funny story in which kids will be kids and end up doing gross things. That type of story, well-written, has great appeal for younger elementary students and can boost their engagement with books, since humor is always a highlight. This one, however, seems like a story designed to incorporate grossness just for the sake of grossness, and that is all it seems to do. Ugh. Not recommended.
Nino Wrestles The World
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Morales, Yuyi
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 23, 2014
Stein, Valerie
I didn't really see the point of this book until I read the end matter about lucha libre, a tradition of wrestling in Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries. This style of wrestling involves spectacular masks and often revolves around a story with a twisting plot. Once I understood the tradition, I could engage fully in the style of illustration and the sometimes confusing story twists, told with very few words, most of them interjections of the superhero fight variety. Our hero, Nino, follows this tradition by defeating his opponents with amazing feats and complex strategies: marble throwing, tickling, popsicle melting… He triumphs over all comers except las hermanitas, his little sisters. Read this engaging picture book to share an aspect of culture with students which is not widely recognized in the US.
Healthy Behaviors
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Bailey, Megan
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 23, 2014
Stein, Valerie
From the Healthy Kids Series, this book has all the important non-fiction features we look for: an index, a robust glossary, suggested further reading. However, this list of readings gives books which don’t really fall within the same age range as this one. Additionally, the tone of this book is preachy. Its messages are vague. What is the meaning of this phrase, exactly? “Making healthy choices, like picking good friends, helps build self-esteem.” The definition of a “good friends” is lacking here, in case we’d like to know what one is. It is not clear whether the art project in the back of the book is meant for the classroom, home use, or for creating with the guidance of a counselor. Though the intent is clear, this product is one students probably wouldn’t bother to read without teacher input. As an additional component to a unit on self-esteem or something similar, this would be a fine volume in the series to include. However, as a stand-alone example of a good book on the subject, this one falls short.
Obesity
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Ritter, Christie Rose
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 23, 2014
Stein, Valerie
From the Healthy Kids Series, this book has all the important non-fiction features we look for: an index, a robust glossary, suggested further reading. It’s hard enough to define obesity for kids in a very short nonfiction book, but a the writing is vague and jumps around from one idea to another. It is unclear here, as in other volumes in the series, who would drive the sharing of this book. It’s evident that many issues surrounding obesity are being covered. It’s just that none of them is covered very well in the end, and there aren’t many students who might be interested in picking up a book so lacking in appeal.
Grains Group
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Reinke, Beth Bence
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 23, 2014
Stein, Valerie
Part of the Healthy Eating with MyPlate Series, this offering from Child’s World Press is a good additional purchase, but would be best as part of the whole collection: Balanced Meals, The Dairy Group, The Fruits Group, Healthy Snacks, The Protein Group, Sugars and Fats, and the Vegetables Group. Certainly it would be suitable for report writing. It’s not much good for anything else, though this book has all the important non-fiction features we look for: an index, a robust glossary, suggested further reading. The writing is dry, not designed to appeal to kids. Another complaint is the photo of the activity at the end, which shows a trail mix with rolled oats in it. Just uncooked dry oats, mixed with dried fruit and nuts. The accompanying recipe actually sounds pretty good, with whole grain dry cereal choices and whole wheat pretzels as the main ingredients. It’s nothing like what is in the photo though, which makes makes one wonder about the thought process behind photo and fact choice in the rest of the book as well.
Thrice Upon A Marigold
HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Ferris, Jean
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 24, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Marigold and Christian are back in their third book. Now queen and king, they have just had their first child--a princess. Unfortunately, villains from the past have a plan to ruin their royal happiness. In the meantime, the son and daughter of the two villains meet. Phoebe is the librarian. Sebastian is a blacksmith. They both try to stay out of sight, knowing the reputation of their evil fathers reflects badly upon them. However, when they discover a plot to kidnap the new princess, Phoebe and Sebastian must step forward. Too late, alas. Soon, allied with Marigold and Christian, they're on the trail of the kidnappers. There's a dragon, a prison break, two mysterious women, a marshmallow roast, and an infatuated elephant along the way. This is another lighthearted adventure from the kingdom of Zandelphia-Beaurivage. Phoebe and Sebastian are delightful characters and their kindling romance adds to the fun. As Sebastian might say, this is an enthralling and vivacious romp.
Alaska's Sleeping Beauty
SASQUATCH BOOKS [SASQUATCH BOOKS]
Dwyer, Mindy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 24, 2014
Evey, Kay
The queen's sister curses the newborn that she will choke on a salmon bone and die, but the midwife manages to change the threat that the child will choke, but sleep for a long, long time to awaken when the time is right. To protect his daughter the king removes all fish from the menu . When the daughter wanders off in the woods she comes upon someone smoking salmon, which she tries, laughs and chokes on a bone. Soon everyone in the kingdom falls into a deep sleep. The news that the princess is asleep in the forest travels to far off lands. One sunny day a young man, whose father owns the King Crab fishery, comes upon the sleeping princess. When he kisses her, she wakes up and leads him back to the kingdom. The whole kingdom wakes up (except the mean ones). They marry, have a son and live happily ever after. The author lives in Port Townsend. The illustrations done in watercolors are bright, cheerful and suit the story. This story will have local interest.
50 Below Zero
ANNICK PRESS [ANNICK PRESS]
Munsch, Robert
Martchenko, Michael
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 24, 2014
Evey, Kay
This is a reissue of a 1986 title. This copy is a board book. Dad is sleep walking and ends up sleeping in very strange places. On top of the refrigerator and outside in 50 below weather frozen standing next to a tree where the son finds him and drags him home puts him in a warm bath and ties a rope to his foot so it won't happen again. However, then the son starts sleepwalking.
Line Graphs
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
Edgar, Sherra G
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 24, 2014
Evey, Kay
There are 74 titles in the 21st Century Basic Skills library from Cherry Lake publishing. There are three levels of books in the series. This title is from the level two books, of which there are 14 in the series. They claim to contain 100-150 words. Book design includes a glossary, bibliography (with web sites) and an index in 24 pages. The book is illustrated with full-color photographs and line graph examples. The book contains basic information about line graphs, what they are, how to make one and what they are used for.
Bar Graphs
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
Edgar, Sherra G
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 24, 2014
Evey, Kay
This is also a level two title from the 21st Century Basic skills library series from Cherry Lake publishing. Books design includes a glossary, bibliography (including web sites) and an index in 24 pages. Like the title Line Graphs, this book provides the most basic information about what a bar graph is, how it is used and how to make a bar graph.
Bullying
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
Raatma, Lucia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 24, 2014
Evey, Kay
This is one of eight books in the 21st Century Junior Library series to learn more about character education. Book design includes a glossary, bibliography (with web sites) and index in 24 pages. The book is illustrated with full-color photographs that are captioned. The book contains three chapters: What is bullying? How Bullies hurt people and Ways to stop bullying. This presents basic information about bullying with examples of the behavior and ways to deal with the behavior. This is simple presented but as a timely subject will be popular in educational settings and libraries.
ASSAULT
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
FALKNER, BRIAN
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 25, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Earth is under siege. Already parts of the planet have been taken over by the Bzadians, who intend to make the whole planet their own. 16-year-old Chisnall, and a group of young elite soldiers is on a secret mission. The aliens have taken over Uluru in the Australian outback. The security is tight. Clearly this is key to their mission. Humans are losing the war--can infiltrating and destroying this headquarters, and discovering what it is being used for, be the turning point? Disguised and trained and surgically altered to look like their enemy, Chisnall and team set out to do the impossible--and what they discover inside Uluru is as horrifying as it is game-changing. Can they deal with it, and a traitor in their midst? Think of Aliens 2, with aliens who look a lot like us with similar capabilities, and you get an idea of the feel of this book. It is a military novel, with strategies, weapons, assaults, and high-tech destructive devices. The tech is cool and the action is non-stop. You have a small military force of the "good guys" against overwhelming odds, trying to save the planet. What's not to love?
Castle
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Macaulay, David
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
January 25, 2014
Gleb, Heidi
Macaulay's original "Castle" was named a 1978 Caldecott Honor medal winner and detailed the building of a castle in Wales in the late 1200s; this colorized edition is a worthy revision.  Looking at the books side by side, the changes are not just in the application of color but also in the details of the illustrations.  The first page previously showed a sailing ship under full sail, travelling on a fairly calm sea; the new edition includes dark clouds, whitecaps on larger waves, and a crew member getting sick over the side of the boat. The color illustrations seem to show more detail, as in the page about the gatehouses and the numerous ways their openings could be blocked from intruders and the fine illustration of how a drawbridge works. The text has been changed a bit as well; it is less "wordy" and more to the point. The book concludes with a glossary. Well done!
Forever
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Dodd, Emma
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 26, 2014
Garrard, Thom
In this brief picture book, an adult polar bear offers reassurances to a youngster that the little bear will be cared for and loved forever. Most of the seven sentences of text are basic statements delivered in rhyming couplets, but they encompass sentiments that are important for preschoolers to hear in both good times and bad. The varied moods of the bears are conveyed with digital illustrations in which they are outlined in black. Polar bears in a snowstorm (or at least a mostly white environment) present pictorial difficulties, especially when repeated eleven times, but Dodd uses a variety to techniques to meet this challenge, including switching between wide angles and close-ups, using a slight yellow tint for the adult bear’s fur, and employing a reflective silver paint for some of the snow, water, and ice. This sweet little book would be good for one-on-one sharing with a preschooler.
Brave Servant : A Tale From China
RED CHAIR PRESS [RED CHAIR PRESS]
Barchers, Suzanne I
Han, Yu-Mei
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 26, 2014
Garrard, Thom
When his servant Jun senses something troubling the drummer at a feast and brings it to his master’s attention, the Lord of Luchow kindly helps the drummer, but he also realizes that Jun is special. A peace-loving man, the lord is troubled when another lord threatens war. By employing magic Jun sneaks into the other lord’s tent, steals a golden urn, and takes it to his master. At Jun’s urging, a messenger is sent to return the urn. When the other lord realizes that his life could have been taken instead of the urn, he backs down, and peace returns to the land. The colorful illustrations that cover three quarters of the pages convey a sense of movement and are well matched to the text. A small glossary and several comprehension questions conclude the book. This retelling of an ancient Chinese tale, meant to show the value of bravery and devotion, is part of the Tales of Honor series from Red Chair Press.
Case Of The Bug On The Run
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Freeman, Martha
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 27, 2014
Evey, Kay
This is the sixth book in the First Kids Mystery series. This time Tessa adopts a hissing cockroach as a pet only to find out that her bug is bugged and they must solve the mystery to keep the secrets from escaping the White House.
Volcanoes
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Coss, Lauren
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 27, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
This book is part of the Core Library: Earth in Action series. The 48 pages explore the topic of volcanoes. The first chapter alone is a reason for Pacific Northwest libraries to purchase this book as it covers the 1980 eruption of Washington state's Mt. St. Helens and would be a strong resource for fourth grade's study of Washington state. The book then describes the layers of the earth, hot spots, different types of volcanoes, how scientists study volcanoes, and benefits. Readers are provided some primary source information. Color photographs and diagrams work well with the understandable text. Because this book is written to address areas of the Common Core curriculum, there are questions and activities at the end of chapter. This makes it seem more like a text books and may distract readers. The book is complete with a table of contents, glossary, index, author information, and bibliography. Web resources are provided through the publisher. A strong purchase when updating or adding to your earth sciences section.
Fairy Tale Comics : Classic Tales Told By Extraordinary Cart
FIRST SECOND [FIRST SECOND]
Duffy, Chris
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 27, 2014
Evey, Kay
In three to five page spreads classic fairy tales are retold in a graphic comic format. Each tale has a note about the origin of the tale and the graphics are done by eighteen different cartoonists. The tales include: Sweet Porridge, The 12 Dancing Princesses, Hansel and Gretel, Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood, The Prince and the Tortoise, Snow White, The Boy Who Drew Cats, Rumplestiltskin, Rabbit Will Not Help, Rapunzel, The Small-tooth Dog, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Baba Yaga, Bremen Town, Give Me the Shudders, Azzolino's Story Without End. Book design includes a bibliography, Table of Contents and three pages at the end with a paragraph of information about each of the contributing cartoonists. Each of the contributors graphic style is very different and this adds to the uniqueness of the book. Most of the tales will be readily known by the intended audience but a few of them will introduce the young reader to new fairy tales.
Animal Opposites
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Horacek, Petr
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 27, 2014
Evey, Kay
In double page pop-up spreads with oversize font for the text animal opposites are revealed. Some are far easier to comprehend with this method. Short and tall work better than quiet and load, for instance. The colors are bright and bold but the pop-ups will not stand up to multiple uses. The opposites that are represented are short, tall, quiet, loud, fat, thin, still, bouncy, heavy, light, smooth, spiky, slow, fast, weak, strong, white, colorful, small and big.
Animal Book : A Collection Of The Fastest, Fiercest, Toughes
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Jenkins, Steve
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 27, 2014
Evey, Kay
Subtitled: a collection of the fastest, fiercest, toughest, cleverest, shyest--and most surprising--animals on earth and illustrated with Steve Jenkins signature torn and cut paper designs. This book offers 200 plus pages of information. Book design includes a Table of Contents, glossary and bibliography. The book includes 10 pages on the making of the book. There are over 300 animals included in the text with many facts. The illustrations are captioned with other interesting information. The table of contents includes, animals, family, animal senses, predators, defenses, animal extreme and the story of life. There are 18 pages of additional facts with a paragraph of information of interest to young readers. There is no index so this is a browsing title but it will keep young readers occupied and they will find many appealing tidbits of information to astound their family and friends.
Knight At Dawn
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
Osborne, Mary Pope
Murdocca, Sal
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 27, 2014
Evey, Kay
This is a reissue of the 1993 title with 12 pages of extra material included in this edition. This is a full-color edition of the #2 Magic Tree house series with Jack and Annie and their time travel adventures. by Mary Pope Osbourne.
Lives Of The Scientists : Experiments, Explosions (And What
HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS [HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS]
Krull, Kathleen
Hewitt, Kathryn
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 27, 2014
Evey, Kay
Subtitled: experiments, explosions (and what the neighbors thought). Scientists include: Zhang Heng, Ibn Sina, Galileo, Isaac Newton, William and Caroline Herschel, Charles Darwin, Louis Pasteur, Ivan Pavlov, George Washington Carver, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Edwin Hubble, Barbara McClintock, Grace Murray Hopper, Rachel Carson, Chien-Shiung Wu, James D. Watson and Francis Crick and Jane Goodall. Book design includes a Table of Contents and bibliography in 96 pages. The illustrations by Kathryn Hewitt were done in oil paint on Arches paper. Each biography begins with the scientists birth and death date and a sentence or phrase that describes their field and what made them famous.
Crocodile And The Scorpion
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Emberley, Ed
Emberley, Ed
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 27, 2014
Evey, Kay
Scorpion needs a ride across the river and appeals to crocodile for help. Crocodile reluctantly agrees to help if scorpion promises not to sting him. However, scorpion is unable to resist temptation and they both sink to the bottom of the river where it is said that you can still hear them fighting. Bright and bold cut paper collage illustrate the tale. There is no notation as to the origin of the fable. This is probably better suited to an older audience that will understand instincts and not expect a sugar coated story.
Lunch Lady And The Video Game Villain
Knopf Books for Young Readers [RANDOM HOUSE]
Krosoczka, Jarrett J
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 27, 2014
Evey, Kay
In this edition of the Lunch Ladies there is a race for class president, someone is stealing technology, there is a video game snafu and the superintendent visits the school cafeteria and chooses to eliminate the lunch ladies and install vending machine. The graphic comic book format will appeal to a broader audience and this book will be popular with Lunch Lady fans.
Alvin Ho : Allergic To Babies, Burglars, And Other Bumps In
SCHWARTZ & WADE [RANDOM HOUSE]
Look, Lenore
Pham, Leuyen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 27, 2014
Evey, Kay
This is the fifth book in the Alvin Ho series. Subtitled: allergic to babies, burglars, and other bumps in the night, Alvin mother announces that she is expecting. Alvin is a second grader who is scared of everything but particularly the idea that the baby could be a girl. He starts gaining weight in a sympathy pregnancy. The book is illustrated with black line drawings by LeUyen Pham.
Calvin Coconut : Extra Famous
Wendy Lamb Books [RANDOM HOUSE]
Salisbury, Graham
Rogers, Jacqueline
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 27, 2014
Evey, Kay
Calvin Coconut and his friends have been asked to be extras for a Zombie Movie that Benny Obi's uncle is making on the Kailua Beach. This is part of a series of Calvin Coconut books and fans will want to read this one as well. Illustrated with black line drawings by Jacqueline Rogers.
Zigzag Zoom
Wendy Lamb Books [RANDOM HOUSE]
Giff, Patricia Reilly
Bright, Alasdair
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 27, 2014
Evey, Kay
This is one of the titles in the Zigzag Kids series. This is a transitional fiction series with black line illustrations. The Zebras have been challenged by the Tigers to a race in the after school program, Gina does not like to run but everyone is counting on her to win.
Lulu And The Dog From The Sea
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Mckay, Hilary
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 27, 2014
Evey, Kay
Lulu is on vacation and she finds a stray dog on the beach that everyone else thinks is trouble. She thinks the dog just needs a friend. This is the second book in the series about Lulu with line drawings by the author.
Jasper John Dooley : Left Behind
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Adderson, Caroline
Clanton, Ben
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 27, 2014
Evey, Kay
When Jasper John's Nana leaves for a week on a cruise he misses her and all the fun they usually have together. He wonders if it is raining where she is and how she can miss the weekly card game. Jasper John is an only child who is enjoyed by the adults in his life and enjoys them. Black line drawings illustrate the title by Ben Clanton. This is the second book in this series.
Daisy's Defining Day
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Feder, Sandra V
Mitchell, Susan
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 27, 2014
Evey, Kay
This is book two in the Daisy series. Daisy's teacher has assigned alliteration so Daisy is looking for words that begin with the letter D. This is a transitional fiction story with black line drawings by Susan Mitchell. Daisy is an engaging character that is sure to delight young female readers.
Hunter Moran Hangs Out
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Giff, Patricia Reilly
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 27, 2014
Evey, Kay
This is the sequel to "Hunter Moran saves the Universe". In this story Hunter is sure there is going to be a kidnapping in their town, there is an axe murderer in the abandoned house, dead bodies in the pond and mother is heading to the hospital to give birth to a sibling. Hunter has a twin brother, Zack and they use the last four days of their summer vacation to investigate the possible kidnapping (instead of reading the four books that changed their life and reporting on them as their summer reading project). The new sibling is K.G. but it doesn't stand for Killer Godzilla.
Kelsey Green, Reading Queen
FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX [FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX]
Mills, Claudia
Shepperson, Rob
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 27, 2014
Evey, Kay
This is the first book in the new "Franklin School Friends" series by Claudia Mills. Black line drawing illustrate the book by Rob Shepperson. Kelsey is sure that she can lead her class to victory in the reading contest for the pizza party sponsored by her principal. How will she convince her classmates that are reluctant readers to participate.
Adding With Ants
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Steffora, Tracey
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 28, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
This 24 page book uses Ants to describe and explain the process of addition. The book is part of the "Animal Math" series and is correlated with Common Core State Standards. After a table of contents, the book starts by explaining addition as counting up: 1+2. Then the book shows how to use addition to double a number: 3+3. The fact that the numbers that you are adding can be in any order is explained and then the reader is told that it is easier to start with the big number and count up. At the end an addition chart is shown and described. Number lines and ants help focus the early reader on the concept. A page of ant facts, a glossary, and teaching notes are found in the back. This book might be used with one-on-one instruction with those students struggling with the concept of addition or perhaps with slightly older English Language Learners.
Tiger Sharks
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
Bell, Samantha
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 28, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
This 32 page book is part of the "Exploring Our Oceans" series and will captivate your shark book lovers. Tiger sharks are found in tropical and sub-tropical waters and can pose a threat to humans. These fascinating sharks eat almost anything. The book describes their range, life cycle, migration patters, and threats. The text explains how they are similar to all other sharks, as well as, their differences. Color photographs are found throughout, as well as a diagram and map. Yellow boxes help focus readers and challenge them to look more closely at the photos. Words found in the glossary are found in bold text. The book contains a table of contents, think about it questions, bibliography (including web resources), glossary, and index. Purchase when you are updating or enlarging your shark section.
Goblin Sharks
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
Thomas, Elizabeth
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 28, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
This 32 page book is part of the "Exploring Our Oceans" series and will captivate your shark book lovers. The Goblin shark was first identified in 1879 and has been found all over the world. Scientists do not know much about this unusual creature because it lives in the deepest parts of the ocean. Even though there is little information about this shark, the author does a great job describing what is known and what biologists are thinking at this time. This book might inspire a student to become a shark researcher. Color photographs are found throughout, as well as a diagram and map. Yellow boxes help focus readers and challenge them to look more closely at the photos. Words found in the glossary are found in bold text. The book contains a table of contents, think about it questions, bibliography (including web resources), glossary, and index. Purchase when you are updating or enlarging your shark section.
Burrow
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Spilsbury, Richard
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 28, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
An interesting contents page begins this book with a diagram of the layers of a burrow with each labeled in a color and page number. The book then proceeds through these layers—above the burrow, shallow burrows, inside the burrow to deep burrows featuring several animals that live in each. At the beginning of a chapter animals specific to that layer are all shown in the introductory picture followed by separate pages and text delineating more information on each. Animals included are voles, moles, rabbits, prairie dogs, slugs, kestrel, toads, black ants, earwigs, slow worms, aardvarks, and centipedes. Third graders thought the information and text were too easy for them but that younger students would learn something new. The photos and very realistic illustrations are close-up and bring to life this world below the surface. All nonfiction features are included making this a decent addition to a children’s library. Others in the Heinemann First Library series Look Inside also cover caves, garbage cans, ponds, tide pools and trees.
Sea Otter Pup
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Miles, Victoria
Gatt, Elizabeth
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 28, 2014
Evey, Kay
This is a board book with quite a few words on each page. Little pup depends on his mother for so many things but one day will grow up and be able to find food on his own.The illustrations were created using acrylic paint by Elizabeth Gatt. The Sea Otter pup in in the North Pacific and the information is relevant to this area. This shows a typical day and the activities between and mother and her pup.
Paul Thurlby's Alphabet
TEMPLAR [TEMPLAR]
Thurlby, Paul
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 28, 2014
Evey, Kay
This is a board book and Paul Thurlby is a graphic artist. The alphabet comes alive through the graphics that depict each of the letters A to Z. The illustrations were done with digital media.
Split History Of The Battle Of Gettysburg : A Perspectiv
Compass Point Books [Compass Point Books]
Fitzgerald, Stephanie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 28, 2014
Dame, Anne
With the increased focus on varying perspectives regarding a topic because of Common Core, this book will be quite useful for those studying the Civil War, particularly the Battle of Gettysburg. There are primary source photos and drawings, maps, timelines, index, bibliography, suggestions for further reading, and links to websites. One side of the book is the Union story of Gettysburg and when you flip it over, you get the Confederate story of the same battle. My biggest issue was trying to keep track of the huge cast of characters, which side they fought on, and all in the context of a place I am not overly familiar with. There is a map, but it is small and hard to read.
Parts Of A Book
Pebble Plus/capstone Press [Pebble Plus/capstone Press]
Rustad, Martha E H
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 28, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
In simple text and large color photographs, this 24 page book describes the various parts of a book. The two children in the book are looking at a space book. One has a print copy and the other has an electronic copy on an e-reader. Each page describes one or two parts of a book: spine, cover, bar code (not sure if this is a necessary part of a book), copyright page, title page, table of contents, main text, and back matter. The book contains a table of contents, glossary, bibliography, and index. Part of the "Wonderful World of Reading Series," the book is large enough for group sharing and could be a quick way to review the parts of a book in library classes.
MASTERS
SPORTSZONE [ABDO]
HOWELL, BRIAN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 28, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
This 64 page book is part of the "Sports' Greatest Championships" series. The book opens with the telling of Tiger Woods first win the Masters, becoming the youngest golfer to win at 21 years old. The book then describes the building of the Augusta National Golf Club and how it's tournament became one of the greatest golf tournaments in the world. Each era is described including winners, legends, and traditions. Readers learn about the famous green jackets and how the club has had to racially integrate. This book at times seems bogged down with the winners of each year and will be read by only the strongest golf enthusiast. Sidebars contain some of the most interesting information. Captioned photographs are found throughout the book. It also includes a table of contents, index, timeline, bibliography, overview, glossary, and author information. Web resources are found on the publisher web site.
Walruses
Buddy Books/abdo [Buddy Books/abdo]
Murray, Julie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 28, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
See review for Beluga Whales by Julie Murray for the same series—Arctic Animals. The first two pages of text in this series are the same introducing the Arctic region, but then ends the second page with the title animal and its photograph. The next chapter gives that animal’s territory with map. The book on walruses has more varied color in photos since they’re not limited to water shots. Many chapters are similar as the series follows a common format, but the text is unique to the animal. The photo of a haulout site depicting the many herd members lying packed in together is quite a sight! Lexile 660
Puffins
Buddy Books/abdo [Buddy Books/abdo]
Murray, Julie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 28, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
See review for Beluga Whales by same author and same series. This meets up to the high quality and top notch information of the rest reviewed here. Lexile 720 for this title. The territories for the Atlantic , Horned and Tufted Puffin are shown on the map. The distinctions between these are continued throughout the book, especially in the captions.
Beluga Whales
Buddy Books/abdo [Buddy Books/abdo]
Murray, Julie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 28, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
One of the Big Buddy Books Arctic Animal series by ABDO, this 32-page offering introduces the cute, white beluga to young readers with its Lexile of 690. The medium-sized font, nice graphics, clear captions that extend the text, color photos and extra factoids make this a very approachable piece of nonfiction. With lots of interesting facts and appropriate photos such as the one showing the 34 teeth or another depicting the purplish brown of the calves next to their white mothers, students will learn much about his Arctic creature. All text features included. Others in this series are Arctic Foxes, Polar Bears, Puffins, Snowy Owls and Walruses.
IDITAROD
A&D XTREME [ABDO]
HAMILTON, S L
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 28, 2014
Garrard, Thom
The Iditarod, the famous sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome, recreates the emergency run that sled teams made in 1925 to transport life-saving diphtheria serum. Held annually in March since 1973, the race’s route covers more than 1,000 miles. After sharing such background information, this selection from Abdo’s Xtreme Races series covers a comprehensive list of topics, including the entry requirements, the ceremonial and actual start of the race, the two alternately used routes, the rules, some of the dangers faced by the racers, famous mushers and dogs, race traditions, and the finish. The font is bold and large, with informative captions and sidebars in smaller type. All text is nicely integrated with the interesting photographs that convey a sense of this special event and completely cover each two page spread. The volume includes a table of contents, a glossary that features good explanations, and an index. Readers seeking to understand this special Alaskan race will find this book to be a good starting point.
Task Force
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
Falkner, Brian
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 28, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Picture "The Guns of Navarone," replace the Germans with alien, and replace the allied stealth team with teenagers changed to look like the aliens, and you have a pretty good idea of what this book is about. Aliens are trying to take over the planet, and so far they're having significant success. Humans have united against them, but the battle is not going well. If they could cut off the aliens' fuel supplies, however, it will buy time. Two recon teams have been sent in--the Angels and the Demons. We met the leader of the Angels, Ryan Chisnall, and a few of his compatriots, in the previous book - "The Assault." From the beginning the plan goes awry and soon Chisnall is having to improvise, all with emotional baggage from his previous mission. This is high-action military sci-fi, aimed at the YA crowd and scoring a direct hit.
SCOTT OF THE ANTARCTIC
HEINEMANN RAINTREE LIBRARY [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
DOWDESWELL, EVELYN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 28, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This Heinemann First Library book is a nice example of well-made nonfiction with all of the desired text features—table of contents, lots of photos with captions, maps, appropriate icy graphics around the pages and captions, informative text that is non-threatening in length and font, glossary, further references and index. The limitation may be in enticing students to pick up this subject on their own since Captain Robert Scott is the lesser-known explorer of the South Pole. In his two expeditions there, this Englishman did make it to his destination in 1912, but a month after Norwegian Roald Amundsen had done it first. Sadly the five members of the English group who did reach the pole did not survive their return journey to their base camp hut. But his legacy for exploration and scientific study live on through the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, England. This is a worthy purchase for the 32 pages remembering the man and his mission 100 years later.
ABCS OF BASEBALL
DIAL [DIAL]
GOLENBOCK, PETER
Andreasen, Dan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 28, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
A beautiful alphabet book about our nation's pastime. Each letter of the alphabet has several words and definitions that relate to the sport of baseball (e.g. D- designated hitter, diamond, double, double play, dugout). The definitions are well-written and provide a lot of information. The color illustrations show some of the words and fit the timelessness of the sport. Fun facts are located in the back matter. This includes information on pitch grips, bats, famous teams, important players, major records, annual awards, Major League teams and stadiums, and a baseball diagram with positions and numbers. The only thing missing is an example of a score card. The back cover has a diamond shaped description of the book that could be used as a model for a fun writing assignment. This is an excellent example of a definition alphabet book and could be used with older students. Purchase when you are updating your sports or alphabet collection, have it on display during baseball season.
Maisy's First Colors : A Maisy Concept 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
January 29, 2014
Evey, Kay
Maisy introduces the colors red, orange, yellow, green and blue with foods for a picnic. There are apples, oranges, bananas, pear and ice pops. The illustrations are done in gouache and are simple and bright.
Noodle Loves The Park
NOSY CROW [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Billet, Marion
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 29, 2014
Evey, Kay
This board book has inserts that are visual (sparkly or mirror) or tactile (soft, satiny) as Noodle goes to the park. He loves the birds, trees, flowers, bees, to swing and to play. The illustrations were created digitally and are brightly colored. This will appeal to the preschool child.
Faster! Faster! = Mas Rapido! Mas Rapido!
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Patricelli, Leslie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 29, 2014
Evey, Kay
In Spanish and English this board book repeats the terms Faster! Faster and Mas rapido, mas rapido while the child rides on the backs of several animals. The illustrations are done in acrylic paint.
GEEKS, GIRLS, AND SECRET IDENTITIES
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS]
JUNG, MIKE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 29, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Vincent Wu and his two friends are major Captain Stupendous fans, and who could blame them? The superhero has kept their town safe from all manner of super villains. However, he's acting strangely now and soon Vincent and company are let in on a big secret--one that turns their worlds upside down. So, is a superhero more than spandex and a cape? They'd better figure it out quickly, because the latest villain, Professor Mayhem, has kidnapped Vincent's mother and seems to have a pretty good chance of getting exactly what he wants, with Captain Stupendous not in top form. Can a group of kids make the difference? This is enjoyable high-action fiction, with a bit of tongue-in cheek humor and occasional black and white illustrations. The author's first novel, it bodes well for his future.
Baboons
Pebble Plus/capstone Press [Pebble Plus/capstone Press]
Mccarthy, Cecilia Pinto
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 29, 2014
Soel, Barbara
General and sanitized information is provided about baboons for early readers in this Pebble Plus book. One to two sentences are written per page telling facts that might be included in a research paper. There is no mention of what predators threaten baboons, and the fact that they eat other animals and fish is omitted. The book is attractively laid out with quality close-up photos and desirable text features: table of contents, index, glossary, and a “read more” section. Recommended for non-fiction requests for primary students.
Little Owl Lost
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Haughton, Chris
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 30, 2014
Evey, Kay
Little owl falls out of the nest and his new friend squirrel tries to help him find his mommy. The illustrations are done in pencil and digital media. This board book will appeal to the same audience as "Are you my mother". The conclusion is cute and the story looks like it will go around again as little owl is falling asleep and tilting out of the nest again.
Pip And Posy : The Super Scooter
NOSY CROW [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Scheffler, Axel
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 30, 2014
Evey, Kay
Pip is riding his scooter in the park but Posy wants a turn so she takes it. However, Posy has never ridden a scooter before and she falls and hurts herself. Although Pip was made at her he takes care of her and they go home on the scooter together for dinner. The illustrations are done in gouche. This is a reassuring story of friendship and forgiveness.
Maisy's First Numbers : A Maisy Concept Book
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Cousins, Lucy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 30, 2014
Evey, Kay
In rhyming couplets Maisy counts the numbers 1 to 5. The illustrations are done in gouche.
Volcano Rising
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Rusch, Elizabeth
Swan, Susan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
January 30, 2014
Dame, Anne
It is more likely that this book is best suited for 2nd-6th grade. The illustrations in this book are unique. They are a colorful mix of media using found objects, hand-painted paper, etc. and blended with digital paintings. The text focuses on volcanoes as creative and destructive forces, but with an unusual emphasis on the creative force for a refreshing change of pace. There is also a glossary, a bibliography and a list of suggested resources for further research.
Shifty Mcgifty And Slippery Sam
NOSY CROW [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Corderoy, Tracey
Lenton, Stephen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 30, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
In decent rhyming text two robber dogs Shifty and Sam decide they’re not successful at tricky robberies as evidenced by their empty swag bag. Thus they decide to rob their neighbors by inviting them for a tea party. Though they’ve never baked before, they are quite good at using a cookbook. While the neighbors are enjoying the party, they sneak next door, but not without one overhearing their plan. When they are caught in the act they feel terrible. Since they still need a job, one that’s not bad, another dog suggests they open a café. This proves to be the solution to their problems, and Shifty and Sam are happy and successful in this new venture. The large mixed media pictures have many interesting details, muted colors and great expressions on all of the dogs. What’s not clear is why they resort to robbery in the first place, especially since they seem of good character. Then they still go through with the robbery of their neighbors despite having a nice time with them, but, oh, so quickly repent when caught. Then their about face is also rather quick. Swag bag may need defining, and the full title names are not used in the text. The reader should learn stealing will make the victims sad.
Ike's Incredible Ink
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Farley, Brianne
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 30, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This is a surprisingly clever story about Ike, who looks like a blob of ink himself and sets out to write an incredible story. After much procrastination there is a huge problem--he can’t think of anything to write about. He believes the solution must lie in creating his own ink. With this goal in mind he finds all the ingredients that look to him like ink—a shadow, booga-bird feathers, the dark side of the moon (for which he must design a rocket ship and fly there)—and then combine these into a messy concoction that he bottles up. This time when Ike sits down to write the incredible story flows from his pen as the reader sees all of the experiences that he now has to draw from. Many first graders loved this. Especially appealing are the primitive looking illustrations in ink and digital collage that capture the essence of Ike, his struggle and ultimate success. Another nicely made, sturdy book by Candlewick.
BUNNIES ON ICE
ROARING BROOK PRESS [MACMILLAN]
WRIGHT, JOHANNA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 30, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
A little white bunny proclaims herself a “champion ice skater”. All spring, as her parents plant the garden, summer when the family goes swimming and fall as she give the scarecrow ice skate, she dreams, plans and waits for the time to be just right. One winter day she stands at her window watching the snow and she knows! “It’s time!” After a big breakfast, the family trips down to the frozen pond and she skates. The text gives us her determination, and her confidence. The illustrations show a little more reality as she attempts to skate figure eights that aren’t quite as perfect as she imagines and almost lands “perfectly every time, just like a champion ice-skater.” This sweet story of big dreams, determination and perseverance will be a nice addition. Also reviewed in Booklist, Horn Book, Horn Book starred, Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal.
Lamb And The Butterfly
Hachette Children's Books [HACHETTE CHILDREN'S BOOKS]
Sundgaard, Arnold
Carle, Eric
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 30, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
Originally published in 1988, The Lamb and the Butterfly is a story about a butterfly that zigs and zags across a meadow home to a lamb, from dandelion to thistle to poppy. The lamb “kicks up her heels” and runs after him asking questions just like any young child. “Where is your mother?” “Where is your home?” “Where do you sleep?” The security loving little lamb has a hard time figuring out the freedom-loving butterfly and wants it to stay in the meadow with them. When a storm damages the butterfly’s wings it stops to consider the offer of staying, but as it grows strong, the butterfly tells the lamb that he must head south. This rhythm and the rhyme of the text will attract young listeners and readers, but it is Eric Carle’s acrylic painting and paper collage illustrations that make this a story one that all still want to read.
Granddaughter Necklace
Arthur A Levine Books [Scholastic, Inc.]
Wyeth, Sharon Dennis
Ibatoulline, Bagram
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 30, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
The story of a necklace made of crystal beads handed down from mother to daughter through multiple generations is also the story of a family and connections between the generations. The young girl sees the necklace around her mother’s neck and asks, “I like that necklace, Mommy! Where did you get it?” “This necklace belonged to your grandma and the other grandmas before her” is the reply. So begins the story of family, of connection, through generations back to Frances who arrives in America from Ireland with the necklace as a memento of her mother. Each two-page spread tells the story of the owner and the one it was passed to . . . until it is given to the young girl along with all of the family stories. Ibatoulline's acrylic-gouache paintings portray the warmth of family and connections told in the text. Students may not be immediately drawn to this book but is one that lends itself to looking into family, heritage, and ancestry. Nowhere in the text is there any mention of interracial family, but the illustrations tell that part of the story. Also reviewed by SLJ, Publishers Weekly, Library Media Connection, Kirkus Reviews, Horn Book and Booklist.
MANAGE FEELINGS
BUDDY BOOKS [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
TIECK, SARAH
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 30, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
Manage Feelings is one of the Get Healthy series from ABDO. This volume talks about feelings in terms understood by younger students. The author gives clear descriptions of the types of feelings we may experience, “What do you do when you get in trouble or someone yells at you? Do you muscles tighten? Do you yell or stomp your feet? Maybe you even feel like you want to hit someone or something.” Then proceeds to offer suggestions on managing them. Following each page of text is a page with a photograph or two of a child experiencing the feelings. The captions not only explain the picture but offers advice on how to handle the emotion. There are also “Word of Mouth” tidbits that explain how an action will help you control the emotion. There is just enough information presented to give young students an understanding of emotions. The “Important Words” page is short with brief definitions of the highlighted words, the “Web Sites” note send the reader to ABDO’s website where they need to find “Book Links” then enter the title of the book which leads to sites like PBS Kids: It’s My Life: Emotions. This title would work well for a parent, teacher or a school counselor.
YUYI MORALES
CHECKERBOARD [ABDO]
WHEELER, JILL C
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 30, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
A well-written brief introduction to the life of children’s author/illustrator, Yuyi Morales is one of the Checkerboard Biography Library: Children’s Author series. There are chapters about growing up in Mexico - loving to draw and create her own books, her family, her work, moving to America, and working an author & illustrator. Wheeler highlights the struggles Yuyi Morles has overcome to become the illustrator & author she is today. The photographs range from her young childhood to today. This title will introduce readers to an award-winning author. She has won the Pura Belpre Award three times for her illustrations and been an honor award two times. This is a good beginning biography and should encourage young students to persevere.
Lucky Ducklings
Orchard Books [HACHETTE CHILDREN'S BOOKS]
Moore, Eva
Carpenter, Nancy
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 30, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
Mama Duck’s five little ducklings, Pippin, Bippin, Tippin, Dippin, and Little Joe are climb out of the pond, have something to eat in the park and are ready to follow Mama Duck into town, all in a line. Mama crosses the storm drain grate and the ducklings follow. One by one, they fall through the openings into the storm drain. “Oh, dear! That could have been the end of the story. But, it wasn’t because . . . “. This is a delightful story of the rescue of the five ducklings based on an event that actually happened. Written in a dramatic style, it will have children chiming in with each “Oh dear, That could have been the end of the story . . .”. Nancy Carpenter’s warm charcoal and digital media illustrations give personality to each of the ducks, especially Mama in all of her concern and Little Joe is always the last in line, the one gazing about after butterflies and other things. This warm-hearted story and illustrations beg to be a companion to Robert McCloskey’s Make Way For Ducklings - the illustrations have much the same feeling. This one is a must for any library that serves young children.
Sacrifice
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Higson, Charlie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
January 30, 2014
Dame, Anne
book 4 in the Enemy series. The zombie (although that's not what they are called) action continues in this fast paced adventure series. Small Sam and The Kid make it safely to the Tower of London. But they can't stay with the group of kids there, they must make their way through the forbidden area of downtown London in order to find Sam's younger sister at Buckingham Palace. Violence, blood, and gore.
MY CROCODILE DOES NOT BITE
CAROLRHODA [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
KULKA, JOE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 30, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
Take one snotty little girl, one little poodle, a young boy, one great big crocodile and the school pet show and you have a hilarious confrontation. The girl, Cindy Lou, owns the poodle and is positive that her pet will win, “I don’t know why you all even bothered to bring those mangy animals. My dog, Fifi, is obviously going to win the ribbon.” Then Ernest arrives with his gigantic crocodile and Cindy Lou is positive it will eat everyone. The stage is set for Ernest to show how well behaved and talented his crocodile is - juggling balls and riding a unicycle. That is until Cindy Lou sticks her foot in, literally. The end of the story is expected - until you look at the last page of illustrations. The colorful acrylic illustrations show the expression and personality of the characters and tell half of the story. The trade binding might not be strong enough stand up to the handling this one will receive.
LONG, LONG JOURNEY : THE GODWIT'S AMAZING MIGRATION
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
MARKLE, SANDRA
POSADA. MIA
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 30, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
This narrative non-fiction chronicles the first year in the life of a bar-tailed Godwit, from a June hatching Cape Avinoff mud flats in Alaska to the 7000+ mile migration to New Zealand starting in mid October. The first months of her life are spent on the ground eating everything she can find, hopping and flapping, “hop-flap, hop-flap” to strengthen her wings until one day she can fly. Written with a single sentence to a short paragraph on each page set across a two page water color and collage illustrations showing shallow water, the family of Godwits, wading shore birds from several perspectives, including a birds-eye view to the estuaries around Christchurch, New Zealand. The bird’s two predators, the Arctic Fox and the Peregrine falcon are show stalking the young birds. Presented in simple language the fascinating information makes this a very good addition to a social studies or science unit. A page of notes added at the end along with a simple map showing the migration route and a detailed “Find Out More” page with a website and more titles to explore, and an author’s note are at the end of the book. The website listed is active, and as noted in the text show a short video of the Godwit feeding.
FRAZZLE FAMILY FINDS A WAY
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
BONWILL, ANN
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 30, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
Forgot to comb you hair? Had to be reminded to put on your pants? Can’t remember what you need to pick up at the store? Welcome to the Frazzle family. They can’t remember anything, so what do they do? They call for help from Aunt Rosemary who does her best to help them get organized. Unfortunately, she isn’t quite successful. She tries notes, calendars and schedules. She tries strings tied around the finger, but the Frazzle’s forget the papers and forgot why the string is around their finger. Eventually they find their own solution, a making it into a song. Stephen Gammell’s genius watercolor illustrations perfectly portray the messy, distracted frazzled family with splotches, splashes and dribbles of color. We see the family as it works on trying to remember things. In the end you can see that even though they have conquered the forgetfulness problem they haven’t changed much through these delightful illustrations. Many young children will laugh at the family. The hopefully the adequate trade binding should hold up to the handling this will receive.
TALLY CHARTS
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
COCCA, LISA COLOZZA
PETELINSEK, KATHLEEN
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 30, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
This well bound text is one of the six titles in Cherry Lake’s Making and using Graphs series. Written in clear, simple language, students are introduced to what a tally chart is, how it can be used and provided with activities to create and use their own tally charts. The first chapter begins by explaining how to make tally marks and how to group them so they are easy to count. The brightly colored illustrations include photographs and diagrams indicating the different elements of a tally chart. It is activity oriented with links to their website for copies of the activities located at the end of each chapter. Unfortunately, the tally chart activities were not readily located and no way to search the activities on the site was found. This would be a good introduction to tally charts to share with primary grade students.
SHARED CREATIONS : MAKING USE OF CREATIVE COMMONS
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
FONTICHIARO, KRISTIN
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 30, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
This is a straight forward explanation of Copyright, Trademarks, Patents, Public Domain and Creative Commons licenses. This is a useful text for students, librarians and teachers, to explore the use of copyrighted materials in student work. Resources for creative commons materials are listed, including writings, videos, audio recordings and images. Activities to help students understand the point of each chapter are included on the last page of each one. Written in clear concise language with photographs interspersed on most pages this is a good resource for upper elementary and middle school students working on research projects. The photo credits, on the obverse of the title page, are used as an example of sources cited.
SILVER DOOR
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
RODDA, EMILY
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 30, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
In this second book of the Three Doors Trilogy, Rye again chooses to leave Weld, the walled city, to find where the skimmers are coming from that attack the city each night. This time he chooses to leave through the Silver door, one of the three magic doors out of the city. He and his traveling companion are in search of his older brother, Sholto, along with his brother Dirk. They find themselves in a wasteland controlled by an evil scientist called “Master”. As they struggle through the desolated land, they must contend with strange and not all together trust worthy characters like Bones, the skeleton. Upon their capture, they find Sholto, who is trying to destroy the skimmers who are now being bred to fly during the day. They all must find a way to prevail or Weld will be in dire straits. The action is a bit choppy but the strong sense of family and community and the rich description will engage any fantasy lover. As the second book in the series, it can be read as a stand-alone but would be enriched by having read The Golden Door first. Also reviewed in Booklist, Horn Book and Horn Book starred.
West
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Felix, Rebecca
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 30, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
The West presents information on 11 states which cover over one third of the land area of the continental U.S. It is attractive with beautiful photographs from the states; easy to read type, lots of white space around the text and illustrations. As with all the titles in this series, the second chapter discusses the history of the area, with mention of the Paleo-Indians, and the Native Americans before moving on the Europeans. The third chapter discusses the forms of government and the economy of the area to present day. The end of each of the four chapters has three fourths of the page dedicated to different types of information, such as “Capitals of the West” and “The Wild West”. The information included in this volume is over simplified and in one case not entirely accurate. “North America’s only rainforest, located in Washington” leaves the impression that Washington is the only place in North America to have a temperate rainforest. The over simplification has left gaps in the information covered. There are better materials out there.
CORNER OF WHITE
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [SCHOLASTIC]
MORIARTY, JACLYN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 30, 2014
Shirts, Brooke
This may be the most idiosyncratic fantasy novel to come along in years. There are two stories working in tandem here: Madeline lives in Cambridge, England with her mother. They recently abandoned Madeline's wealthy father and his destructive materialistic lifestyle, and Madeline is finding it difficult to cope. One day she discovers a letter stuck in a parking meter, which turns out to be from Elliot, a teenager who lives in the parallel-universe Kingdom of Cello, where the countryside is ravaged by attacks sentient colors. He struggles to keep his family together after the disappearance of his father, killed by a deadly Purple. Madeline thinks the letters from Elliot are fictional, but as their stories intensify and intertwine, she realizes that the Kingdom of Cello is real. Moriarty's strengths are on display in her depiction of contemporary young adults struggling to deal with the failings of the adults in their lives, but this is almost undermined by the utter whimsy and almost metafictional state of the Kingdom of Cello. It is probably a good match for teens who know what "magic realism" is, and not those looking for traditional fantasy fare. A last act twist leaves open room for a sequel.
SUPER BOWL
SPORTSZONE [ABDO]
WILNER, BARRY
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 30, 2014
Garrard, Thom
The Super Bowl, part of Abdo’s Sports’ Greatest Championships series, covers the first forty-six years of the annual pro football championship game. In the first couple of years, the teams were from rival leagues, the AFL was clearly inferior to the NFL, and the games were lopsided. In the third year, however, Joe Namath, the brash quarterback of the AFL champion Jets guaranteed a victory and surprisingly, came through as he had predicted. Interest in the game increased dramatically after that, and a second AFL victory the next year helped pave the way for a merger of the two entities. After this historical background, brief recaps of each game are used to provide context for more information about dominant teams, important plays, and individuals who contributed to Super Bowl victories through the years. In order to cover all of the games, some get only that brief mention and the scores and plays all start to run together after a while. Also, with only about four photographs in every ten pages, only serious young students of the game are apt to be able to sustain their interest to the end.
Words With Wings
Wordsong [Wordsong]
Grimes, Nikki
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 30, 2014
Dame, Anne
Novel in verse. Gabby is a daydreamer. She always has been, but mom and her teachers are getting increasingly frustrated by her distracted state. Gabby finds putting her daydreams into words can help as can one teacher who reaches out. This book is getting lots of acclaim; the language is beautiful and captures something that is almost always viewed negatively and turns it into a positive.
Blue Book Of Fairy Tales
GOLDEN BOOKS/CHILDRENS [GOLDEN BOOKS/CHILDRENS]
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 30, 2014
Shirts, Brooke
Readers of a certain age are certain to enjoy the nostalgia kick of "The Blue Book of Fairy Tales," reissued by Golden Books in a hardback large-format edition. Originally published in 1959, this book features three folktales: Rapunzel, Beauty and the Beast, and the lesser-known Toads and Diamonds. While the texts of the tales are fine enough, it is Gordon Laite's lush, vibrant watercolor illustrations -- free from the influence of popular films -- that shine here. Rapunzel's witch has red eyes, green hair and smokes a pipe; Beauty's dress looks like peacock feathers, and always has butterflies dancing about her head. The pages retain an opulent folk-art quality; children will enjoy finding little details painted into the corners. The only complaint is that, like many Golden Books, the binding is poor quality and will likely not last long. A pleasure for fairy tale enthusiasts, but not a must-buy.
Written In Stone
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
Parry, Rosanne
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 31, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Pearl is proud of the her family's part in the whale hunt. When her father, a skilled harpoon hunter, is killed during a hunt Pearl finds her life and status among the Makah shift. Her mother and sibling have already died of the influenza, and so Pearl finds herself an orphan amidst an extended family. Set in the 1920's the story clearly shows the pressures the tribe feels from the government (who has banned the Potlatch), to the white society, to the art collectors who want to buy the art that is so closely entwined with their culture, to the pull of both traditional and modern ways for the members of the tribe. Pearl does not know where she fits. She never learned the weaving her mother was good at and does not want to leave her home to work among the white people. As she works to build her self identity, Pearl realizes that her passion is to keep alive the stories and ways of her people. With a frame of Pearl as an old woman watching her tribe choosing to hunt a whale again in the 1999, this novel is not only a compelling coming of age story but a reminder of the history of repression of many Northwest Native Tribes. An extensive authors note, bibliography and glossary will make this a must for every NW school.
JOSHUA DREAD
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
BACON, LEE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 31, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
What would it be like to be an ordinary kid? Joshua will never know. His parents are super-villains, constantly plotting--they consider it a form of activism. Their plans, of course, are always thwarted by Captain Justice, who seems to be in the hero business largely for the marketing opportunities. When Joshua's own powers start to reveal themselves he's faced with the choice of direction--hero or super-villain. It doesn't help that his newest friend has way more in common with him than you would suppose. Toss in well-trained zombies, a buddy who is obsessed by both Captain Justice and snacks, and a cute girl, and you have an interesting concept for a book. Then, when all the super-villains are being kidnapped, including Joshua's parents, he and his friends have to rise to the occasion to face the worst threat of all. This is a funny, fast-paced adventure in which gaining super powers is treated in much the same way as going through puberty. There's even a guidebook! The characters are whacky, but the danger is real. This is the author's first book, and the first in a possible series. Young readers will enjoy both the humor and the action.
Case Of The Locked Box
KANE PRESS [KANE PRESS]
Montgomery, Lewis B
Wummer, Amy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 31, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Jazz is excited about the success of the fundraiser she planned for the school garden- they have made over $100. Then the money disappears through a locked box and Jazz is turned into the prime suspect. Only two people have the key to the locked box- Jazz and Omar- and Omar has been absent the last few days. Jazz is set to appear before a "student court" in just days- luckily Milo is on her side. They head to the hardware store to diligently research the lock box, the lock, the keys looking for a possibility of how someone else could have accessed the money. It is only after an educated guess on Milo's part tricks the real thief into confessing that Jazz is vindicated. This is another strong entry into the accessible Milo and Jazz mystery series. The fans at my school will be very happy to have another to read.
Hereafter
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Brian, Kate
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 31, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
in "Shadowlands" Rory was stalked by a serial killer only to end up on vacation with her father and sister on an idyllic island as part of the Witness Protection Program...or so she thought. In truth, she and her family died at the hands of her stalker. The island is a waystation before moving on, either into light or Shadowland. In this second book Rory is a "lifer"--one of those who will never leave the island. Instead, along with other good-looking teens, she will help usher others across the bridge to their ultimate fate. Eternity is ahead of her and, despite the hunky guy who is mentoring her, it seems bleak and overwhelming. Then, when more and more people end up in the Shadowlands, even those who have lived good lives, Rory is convinced that something is wrong, but what can she do? She's new. Some think she's responsible for the changes. Someone is actually engineering things, but who...and why? This book sets up the situation but answers few questions, leading obviously to a sequel. Young adults will enjoy the slightly creepy overtones and the teen romances. This is lightweight, and a fast read, but will definitely leave readers anxious for the next book in the series.