Reviews for month


Endangered And Extinct Birds
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Boothroyd, Jennifer
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 02, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
This colorful book introduces a few endangered and extinct birds and briefly explains why they are endangered or extinct. Five endangered birds are featured from the California condor to the Bali mynah. Each two-page spread has large photos of the bird with a few sentences of supporting text and some captions. Five extinct birds are featured in a similar format from the Confuciusornis which is only known from fossils to the Passenger Pigeon. The last short chapter talks about helping endangered birds by stopping illegal hunting and people not buying endangered birds as pets. A page with five tips to help birds and another page about the recovery of the bald eagle finish off the book. An index, glossary, and list of resources are included. This is a very basic introduction to endangered and extinct birds, but it will be enough information for a young reader. Some of the captions do not clearly identify the bird in the photo and some of the organization of information does not always flow. It is part of the Animals in Danger series.
Kali's Story : An Orphaned Polar Bear Rescue
Arbordale Publishing [Arbordale Publishing]
Curtis, Jennifer Keats
Gomes, John
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 02, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
This is the true story of an orphaned polar bear cub who was rescued in Alaska and eventually sent to a zoo in Buffalo, New York to live with another polar bear. Children can learn about polar bears and raising them in captivity from the simple text with large font, but the super cute photos of Kali at every stage will win over animal lovers. There are lots of photos of fluffy white Kali climbing, playing, sleeping, and eating. There is a four-page educational section at the end of the book about polar bears and the Arctic, including polar bear life cycle and polar bear math with facts about Kali’s size and proportions over time.
Food Parade : Healthy Eating With The Nutritious Food Groups
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Castaldi, Elicia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 02, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
The Food Parade Ad+ gr K-2 The mayor of Food Town organizes a parade and each of the five major food groups is introduced with a collage of labeled food in that group complete with faces and sometimes legs. On the next two-page spread the personified food illustrates some basic facts about the food group, such as why the group is important for good health. The acrylic paint and collage illustrations are full of fun details and even food telling jokes and giving tips. After the healthy food party at the end of the parade the food pyramid is illustrated. There is a message to parents and caregivers at the end with daily serving suggestions for children 4-8 years old and a glossary. This is a simple but entertaining way to introduce the food groups to children and they may be inspired to create a food collage of their own.
Coyote Run
ENCHANTED LION BOOKS [ENCHANTED LION BOOKS]
Doremus, Gaetan
Doremus, Gaetan
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 02, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
This wordless picture book follows the story of a coyote who escapes from jail and the donkey sheriff who chases him. They end up in a showdown on top of a mesa where a ladybug flies by and distracts them with a dance so they decide to throw down their guns and have dinner over the campfire together. Then mounted soldiers chase them to the edge of a cliff and they are saved just in time by a cloud of flying ladybugs that whisks them away to safety. This is a fun story with a twist at the end, but the illustrations that tell the story are rather odd and have flat colors.
Sidney, Stella, And The Moon
TEMPLAR [TEMPLAR]
Yarlett, Emma
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 02, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
Sidney and Stella did everything together except they could not share. They were fighting over Sidney’s bouncy ball and it flew out of their hands and bounced up into the sky where it smashed the moon into a million pieces. It was big news everywhere that the moon was missing. Stella and Sidney knew they had to do something, but they couldn’t find a replacement for the moon until they found a round cheese with a bite out of it in the refrigerator. After some more arguing over whose idea it was, they catapulted the cheese into the sky and there was a moon once again. This is a simple story about sharing, but the illustrations make it more of a story than just the words. The full-page digitally created illustrations look sketchy and fit with the whimsical feeling of the story.
Welcome To Mamoko
Big Picture Press [Big Picture Press]
Mizielinska, Aleksandra
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 02, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
You can follow twenty-one different characters through seven incredibly detailed wordless two-page spreads. Each character appears in every scene among a multitude of other characters and details. Each character is telling a story that the reader is encouraged to follow. For example, a pink elephant with red roller skates called Otto Trump and he is “on a roll. Where do his wheels take him?” The scenes take place in different parts of a city such as a park, town square, and construction site. The illustrations are fun and charming so readers will want to pore over the pages following the different characters and finding the objects that don’t belong. It is the size of a large picture book, but with pages like a board book so it will stand up to heavy use unlike other search and find books.
Walk In Paris
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Rubbino, Salvatore
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 02, 2014
Shirts, Brooke
Kids with the travel bug will get a kick out of this charming exploration through Paris' most famous sights. An unnamed girl and her grandfather are out to explore the City of Lights, from Notre Dame to the Seine. Large double-spread illustrations of the city give a tourist's-eye view of the city. Rubbino's casual, unlined sketchbook-style watercolors are both elegant and retro, teeming with lots of details that children love to find, from tiny human figures in the background, to elegant scrolled architecture. In addition to the little girl's main narration, tiny lines of text are scattered across the pages, each telling a different informational fact about the city or French culture. Even though the city is shown in all its hustle and grandesse, the color palette is one of cool blues, greens, and beiges, giving the feeling of the same pleasant afternoon walk the characters enjoy. At the end of the day, the little girl and her grandfather spend an evening at the Eiffel Tower, and readers are treated to a tall, fold-out illustration of the tower itself. Although the book lacks cited sources, making it not the best choice for writing reports, it's great fun for armchair travelers.
Lucky Dog : Twelve Tales Of Rescued Dogs
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Larson, Kirby
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 02, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Though usually not a fan of short story collections this one pulled me in from the first story by Kirby Larson. Each of the authors, known as writers of pet or dog stories, writes a dog rescue story using the Pawley Rescue Center as the connecting thread—same town, same shelter, same owner, and same helpers. Thus the continuity between these stories definitely contributes to the flow. Some are told from the dog’s point of view and others from the would-be owners, usually children. Each story has a satisfactory, heart-warming conclusion when the right owner is found by its new pet. Some have hesitant parents; others have hesitant children or dogs. Each story ends with a short paragraph about the author with other titles they’ve written and their dogs. This would work well as a read aloud as it’s episodic, and each is not too long, but complete in itself. Reading level and text seems geared toward 4th grade.
Feathers : Not Just For Flying
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Stewart, Melissa
Brannen, Sarah S.
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 02, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This is a refreshing new addition to the bird section focusing on the different uses of their feathers. A nice two-paragraph introduction is highlighted by a feather from each of 10 birds in feather size order. Each double page spread thereafter illustrates a different job feathers do for birds in simile form such as “Feather can shade out sun like an umbrella…” A paragraph then describes how the hungry tricolored heron raises its wings to block out the sun’s reflection and shade the water so that it can more easily spot fish or frogs. A full-page color illustration demonstrates this opposite the different feathers of that bird and umbrellas that open and close. A label also identifies the bird, and location including state. The format has a scrapbook design to it. The text is especially rich in its simplicity, understandability, and lyricism. The book ends with one system scientists use to classify feathers. The three years this well respected nonfiction author spent “tinkering with the text” and trying to find a more “engaging” way of presenting her concepts was certainly worth the effort and proves her very successful in this endeavor. The artist’s watercolor illustrations fit perfectly into this scheme.
OUTCASTS UNITED : THE STORY OF A REFUGEE SOCCER TEAM THAT CH
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
ST JOHN, WARREN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
June 02, 2014
Gleb, Heidi
Luma Mufleh, a Jordanian woman living just east of Atlanta, saw a need in the community and stepped up to ensure that need was filled. She sometimes joined in a group of boys playing soccer, boys whose families came from many parts of the world. With no sponsorship and resentment from some town residents toward the swelling immigrant population, Luma managed to put together three groups of boys who were excited to be playing on a soccer team. She worked the boys hard, made them play fair, and expected them to stay current in their school work. Acting as coach, mentor, and counselor, Luma made a difference in the lives of her players. This book will appeal to teen readers who are soccer players or fans; other readers might be put off by the detailed accounts of so many soccer games. I would've like to read more about the obstacles faced by several of the boys and what caused their families to leave their homelands. The book's epilogue does describe what became of several of the teams' players and what Luma has done since the 2006 soccer season.
Buried Beneath Us : Discovering The Ancient Cities Of The Am
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Aveni, Anthony
Roy, Katherine
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 02, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
This is one of the few books that explores the ancient cities of the Americas. The 90 page book is packed with information about Cahokia (near present day St. Louis), Tenochtitlan (present day Mexico City), Cuzco (Peru), and Copan (western Honduras). Each city is introduced and then the book looks at how the cities came into being, how people migrated, how people communicated. Daily life is explored, as well as, religion. The final chapter discussed the demise of these cities, their legacy, and how we can learn from them today. Black and white illustrations accompany the descriptive and understandable text. The book has a table of contents, extensive pronunciation guide, source notes, and index. The book would be a strong resource for ancient civilization units and belongs in your collection.
What If You Met A Cowboy?
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Adkins, Jan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 02, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
This is a great book about cowboys. The 48 page book opens with the traditional stereotype of a cowboy, and villain. Then the book proceeds to describe how those stereotype are myth (and how the myths began). The book explains in well-written text equipment, types of cowboys, working with cattle, busting broncos, riding horses, cattle drives, food, dangers, guns, lawmen, and range wars. Each topic is explained in one or two pages with a color illustration. The book includes a copy of "The Cowboy Code." The book is complete with a table of contents, author information, glossary (with pronunciation), source notes, bibliography, and index. A quality book to add to your collection.
Types Of Maps
Pebble Plus/capstone Press [Pebble Plus/capstone Press]
Besel, Jennifer M
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 02, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Pebble Plus: Maps" series, this 24 page book introduces the reader to maps. The four chapters cover why maps are useful, physical maps, political maps, and other maps. Each two page spread contains two to three sentence and a large map or photo. The book tells the reader that maps are useful, but doesn't explain why they are useful. The topographical map example lacks a key, something the other maps have. The book does shows photographs of a map on a cell phone and a tablet, which are helpful to show the variety of map formats. The book contains a table of contents, index, glossary (5 terms), bibliography, and three critical thinking questions to connect with the common core. The questions are probably above the ability of the intended audience. Web resources are available through the publisher's website. An additional purchase if needed.
Search & Rescue Tools
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Hanson, Anders
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 02, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "More Professional Tool" series, this 24 page book explores four rescue tools: helicopter, rescue dog, stretcher, and rescue boat. Each tool is covered in four pages that includes a large color photograph (with parts labeled), a description of why they are useful, several "fast facts" about the tool, and two additional photos with text captions. The book concludes with a matching game and true/false quiz. The book has a table of contents, and glossary. The book will be well received by emerging readers. A good book to purchase if you have a need.
Firefighter's Tools
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Hanson, Anders
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 02, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "More Professional Tool" series, this 24 page book explores four firefighting tools:turnout gear, fire engine, fire hose, and rescue tools. Each tool is covered in four pages that includes a large color photograph (with parts labeled), a description of why they are useful, several "fast facts" about the tool, and two additional photos with text captions. The book concludes with a matching game and true/false quiz. The book has a table of contents, and glossary. The book will be well received by emerging readers and students who dream of becoming a firefighter. A good book to purchase if you have a need.
Police Officer's Tools
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Hanson, Anders
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 02, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "More Professional Tool" series, this 24 page book explores four police officer tools: two-way radio, handcuffs, patrol car, and police dog. Each tool is covered in four pages that includes a large color photograph (with parts labeled), a description of why they are useful, several "fast facts" about the tool, and two additional photos with text captions. Police officers depicted are of varied race and gender. The book concludes with a matching game and true/false quiz. The book has a table of contents, and glossary. The book will be well received by emerging readers and those who dream of becoming a police officer. A good book to purchase if you have a need.
Emt's Tools
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Hanson, Anders
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 02, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "More Professional Tool" series, this 24 page book explores four EMT tools: ambulance, defibrillator, gurney, and oxygen mask. Each tool is covered in four pages that includes a large color photograph (with parts labeled), a description of why they are useful, several "fast facts" about the tool, and two additional photos with text captions. The book concludes with a matching game and true/false quiz. The book has a table of contents, and glossary. The book will be well received by emerging readers. A good book to purchase if you have a need.
Detective's Tools
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Hanson, Anders
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 02, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "More Professional Tool" series, this 24 page book explores four detective tools: fingerprint kit, magnifying glass, evidence kit, and camera. Each tool is covered in four pages that includes a large color photograph (with parts labeled), a description of why they are useful, several "fast facts" about the tool, and two additional photos with text captions. The book concludes with a matching game and true/false quiz. The book has a table of contents, and glossary. The book will be well received by emerging readers. A good book to purchase if you have a need.
Horizon
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Reese, Jenn
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 02, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Genetically and mechanically altered humans are heading to war, as one who sought immortality tries to take over the world. Aluna and her friends represent many different types--merfolk, equians, avians, and more. Once enemies, they are now allied against this global threat. Still, can they combat the tech involved and the insanity of the perpetrator? This is the third book in the "Above World" series and Aluna and her friends really come into their own. They must both work alone, and unite to solve their problems and the problems are significant. Each must explore and expand his or her skill set or all is lost. Will good triumph or is evil too strong to conquer. This is a solid ending to an interesting series that shows significant character growth over time. Middle school readers, especially, should be attracted to this.
Dragon In A Wagon
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Moncure, Jane Belk
Regan, Dana
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 02, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Magic Castle Readers: Language Arts" series, this 32 page book is a story within a story. The book begins when Megan opens a "word window" (young readers laughed at this idea). She meets a dragon and they try various types of transportation, but they won't go or they have trouble. Other animals join them in most of the type of transportation (although not the same animals and we're not sure why they are there). The children seemed confused when their plane would not fly, but on the next page they are in parachutes floating in the sky (how did they get there?). Finally they arrive at a carnival and the dragon rides in a wagon on a merry-go-round. The story makes no sense, however, they use all types of transportation which could be used in a lesson on types of transportation. The color illustrations are plain but fit with the text. The book contains 5 questions at the end. This was a poorly written and constructed book in this series.
Two Speckled Eggs
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Mann, Jennifer K
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 02, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This is the first book this local author has both written and illustrated and proves quite a success as a read aloud. Ginger wants to invite all of the girls in her class to her birthday party except weird Lyla Browning. But Ginger’s mother says all or none, so she invites Lyla. Lyla is the first to the party, but ultimately proves to be the best guest. She doesn’t try to change the games, and she is the only one who appreciates Ginger’s favorite coconut and pineapple cake. Her gift, a handmade bird’s nest with two speckled eggs made of chocolate malted milk, is both girls’ delight. Thus a new friendship is born that would otherwise have been missed. This captivated kindergarteners as well as adults and will be a welcome addition to the themes of friendship, acceptance, being kind and including others. Mann’s pencil, gouache, and digital collage illustrations add just the right touch with the large heads and minimal details that say so much.
Plesiosaur Peril
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Loxton, Daniel
Loxton, Daniel & Jim W.w. Smith
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 02, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This narrative nonfiction should be a hit with young dinosaur fans. Part of the Tales of Prehistoric Life series, this title follows a baby plesiosaur, a Cryptoclidus, who follows her mother and the other large water creatures in her family pod. These cousins to the dinosaurs could not breathe underwater and were not hatched from eggs. For the most part these large critters ruled their world, but there were still dangers. This is evidenced when the baby gets separated from her mother as they are searching for food among shellfish, crabs and belemnites. Once lost she has a near death experience with a huge, hungry Liopleurodon, a deadly hunter, who is waylaid by the pod coming to the baby’s rescue. The final page gives more details on each of these animals. Children will be engaged by the digital photography and underwater photography depicting these creatures and their environment. This series is housed in the nonfiction section and other titles include Ankylosaur Attack and Pterosaur Trouble.
Soccer Star
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Javaherbin, Mina
Alracao, Renato
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 02, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Before the title page the narrator introduces himself as Paulo Marcelo Felicino, who plans to shine like a Brazilian star in the footsteps of Pele and Ronaldo, boys who also played in the same alleys. The title page author’s note explains how this is an homage to the hard work and poverty some young Brazilians have to endure in order to survive, but make them strong and ultimately successful in soccer. In the story itself Paulo takes the reader through his day, escorting his sister to school, passing his friends, who are also working various jobs to help their families—diving for tourists, working on carnival floats, and climbing for coconuts, until he gets to his job on a fishing boat with Senhor da Silva. At the end of their workday they all meet up to practice their soccer barefoot on the beach, with Paulo’s sister hoping to join. When one player gets injured they break their rule and allow a girl to play. Ironically Maria scores the winning goal with a bicycle kick. This is an uplifting story, full of hope and joy, as evidenced by the last line—“Our fans will one day call us the stars. We will light every home in Brazil.” The large format makes this good for sharing and the warm illustrations bring Brazil to life.
Rocky Zang In The Amazing Mr. Magic
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Mcdonald, Megan
Madrid, Erwin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 02, 2014
Stein, Valerie
Part of a new Judy Moody series called "Judy Moody and Friends", The Amazing Mr. Magic is pretty standard fare. Geared toward newly independent readers, the format features large font, lots of white space on the page, manageable sentence length (though some of the vocabulary is pretty sophisticated), and fairly engaging stories. Bright pictures appear on every page, sometimes featuring two-page spreads with print on top of them. The stylized digital artwork, while sweet, is not a selling point for me, since the loose drawings in our favorite Judy Moody and Stink books is exceptional, and is the essence of these characters. This series would be a fine additional purchase, though the hardcover price might make the series prohibitive for some budgets. Most are available in paperback. There are four titles so far.
Plants Feed Me
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Rockwell, Lizzy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 02, 2014
Stein, Valerie
This very simple picture book would be a good nonfiction addition to both early primary classrooms studying growing cycles and to ELL collections for enhancing vocabulary regarding familiar things. It could serve as reference, with clear, accurate labeling of parts and types of plants, and as discussion starter for deeper concepts. It features very short sentences, usually two or so per page, and illustrations are engaging, with lots of detail and variety of color and line. The only quibble is that fruits are specifically defined, seeds are illustrated well, and all the parts of plants are shown, but the words “vegetable” and “grain” never appear, though they are commonly used to refer to these items in our typical vocabulary. It is a botanically accurate presentation, the descriptive language in this book, but as a volume for very young children who are making connections, it seems important to consider somehow addressing some of the words in common usage, if only as points of information.
Nala's Magical Mitsiaq
INHABIT MEDIA [INHABIT MEDIA]
Noah, Jennifer
Leng, Qin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 02, 2014
Stein, Valerie
This is another book from Inhabit Media’s collection of stories by native peoples, funded by the Canadian Arts Council. These books each provide interesting windows into a contemporary culture which works to balance traditional customs and with modern life. Illustrations are simple and loose, with inviting images reflecting the action on each page. This is a very nice depiction of adoption and the tradition of sharing love with other families who might not be able to have children by sharing your own. The story of an adoption is told in the body of the book and the cultural importance surrounding it explained, but the customs and beliefs about adoption among Inuit are describedat the end, through short accounts of those who were part of adoptive families. Some teachers in our culture might have trouble defining the meaning of the title, though it is a perfectly natural part of the story, since some younger students might be sheltered from the realities of the birth process somewhat. Considering the cutting of the magical umbilical cord (mitsiaq)might leave them a bit confused. All in all, this tender tale celebrates families and reminds the reader that a child of the heart is as important as a child of the belly.
Captain Cat
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Moore, Inga
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 02, 2014
Stein, Valerie
If for nothing other than the artwork, this is a book that should grace the shelves of your library. Clear, delicate colors overlaid with hundreds of pencil marks for texture create scenes on each amazingly detailed page. The story is engaging, too, as Captain Cat, who loves cats, goes journeying just to visit paces he’s never been after many years of being laughed at for being such a bad trader (he loves cats so much that he always ends up trading whatever precious thing he has for another cat). He is blown off course - off his chart, to be precise - and finds a remote island. The Queen of the Island is so happy for visitors that she invites Captain Cat, his crew and all his many cats to the palace. One thing leads to another and though the people on the island have never seen a cat, they are very thankful for them in the end. The rats, however, are not! Captain Cat returns to his home a rich man, which makes the other traders jealous. Through twists and turns and delightful antics, we are led to a very satisfying conclusion.
Timmy Failure : Now Look What You've Done
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Pastis, Stephan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 02, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
Timmy Failure is having a difficult time. His detective agency partner, a fifteen-hundred-pound polar bear named Total, is causing trouble as usual. Molly Moskins is in love with him and apparently writing him cryptic love notes. Timmy Failure must win the detective contest to uphold the dignity of his detective agency and of course also to win the grand prize so his nemesis Corrina Corrina aka The Wedgie doesn’t not win the contest. This is a wacky adventure with fun bold illustrations sprinkled throughout the text that will appeal to fans of Wimpy Kid and Big Nate. It is the second book in the series, but can be read in any order as long as the reader is willing to suspend reality and live in the world of Timmy Failure.
Song Of The Quarkbeast
HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS [HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS]
Fforde, Jasper
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 02, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
Sixteen-year-old Jennifer Strange is very busy finding work of any kind for the magicians of Kazam Mystical Arts Management. Magic faded long ago and now magicians have to do jobs like finding lost objects and moving trees for landscaping projects. King Snood IV of the Ununited Kingdom realizes that magic is on the rise and wants to take control. The showdown between Kazam and iMagic, their only competitor, becomes an battle of wills as King Snood underhandedly puts almost all the Kazam magicians out of commission. It is up to Jennifer to keep the Kazam magicians fighting even though it seems certain that they will lose. To make things more complicated a dangerous Quarkbeast is in the vicinity and may be dividing. There isn’t time to “call 999 and mutter ‘Quarkbeast’ in a panicky voice” to get help. Jennifer must face it and hope it remembers her from her last adventure in the first book in the series. This is a very clever fantasy full of dry humor, unique characters, and the universal fight for good over dishonesty and corruption.
Tools And Treasures Of Ancient Greece
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Doeden, Matt
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 02, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
If you are looking for a very broad overview of Ancient Greece in 40 pages, this may be the book for you. It does not have much detail on any specific topic, but it is clearly written and gives enough information to get a general idea of Ancient Greece. Captioned illustrations or photographs on every page add to the information in the text. The first chapter introduces the land, geography, and political structure. The second chapter focuses on daily life including the roles of men and women, slaves and free people, communication, religion and work. The third chapter is dedicated to culture, such as art, architecture, sports, and folklore. The last chapter briefly explains the fall of the Ancient Greece and touches on Greece today. The title is somewhat misleading because this is very general introduction of Ancient Greece and not a focus on tools or treasures. It is part of the What Can We Learn from Early Civilizations? series. A glossary, index, and list of resources is included.
Beyond Magenta : Transgender Teens Speak Out
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Kuklin, Susan
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 03, 2014
Dame, Anne
6 transgender teens share their stories in this powerful, informative text. A great LGBTQ resource for middle schoolers, high schoolers, parents, teachers, etc. These teens voice the joys and hardships of being transgender. They also are very clear that there is a distinct difference between being transgender and being gay although they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Most of the teens also shared pictures along with their very personal stories. Highly recommended.
Sorry You're Lost
FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX (BYR) [FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX (BYR)]
Blackstone, Matt
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 03, 2014
Dame, Anne
Written more for a 6th-8th grade level but a competent 5th grader would be fine. There is no cursing or sexual content - but it is more intense than the cover portrays. 7th grader, Denny "Donuts" Murphy is struggling with the death of his mother. He hides his grief by becoming the class clown. Teacher compassion and support is rapidly waning in face of his antics. Denny's father is too busy grieving and over-eating to figure out how to talk to his son. Denny and his friend Manny hatch a scheme to illicitly sell candy bars at school to raise money to entice 8th grade girls to go with them to the 7th grade dance. (Think limo, fancy dinner, and other attractions). I had a hard time with this book as the author tried to use humor to diffuse some of the sombre tone, serious passages, and message of the novel. May really speak to some students but feels a bit pedantic. The title "Sorry you're lost" comes from all the "sorry for your loss" messages that he received from other students when his mom died.
Defy
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Larson, Sara B
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 03, 2014
Dame, Anne
As a debut novel, Defy is quite compelling. When her parents are killed by a sorcerers fire, Alexa disguises herself as a boy (calling herself Alex) and she and her twin brother Marcel go to the capital and are able to join the elite ranks of the Prince's private guard. Alex is actually the best fighter of the guard, even beating the captain of the squad. When someone tries to assassinate the sulky, privileged Prince, Alex is assigned to be his personal bodyguard day and night. It is no surprise that Alex sees something in the Prince that no one else does and falls in love with him. Unfortunately, she has also fallen in love with another member of the guard, Rylan. While I love the strong female character of Alexa most of the time, I hate the whiny, mopey love triangle thing that has become so common in YA lit right now. Good world building, interesting characters. A bit predictable yet thoroughly enjoyable. First book in what I'm guessing will be a trilogy.
Ring & The Crown
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
De La Cruz, Melissa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 03, 2014
Dame, Anne
Marie-Victoria (heir to the throne) and Aelwyn (a mage) were best friends growing up. However, when, at age 6, Aelwyn started a magical fire in Marie's room, she was banished to Avalon to learn how to use her powers. Now, at the age of 17, the girls are reunited as Aelwyn has been fully trained and Marie is about to announce an engagement and take over the throne from her mother, the queen. Each is jealous of the others life and they form a dangerous plan that endangers not just themselves but the whole kingdom. Predictable but fun read. Some of the supporting characters are quite entertaining.
Jackpot
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Korman, Gordon
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 03, 2014
Dame, Anne
Book 6 in the Swindle mystery series. An unclaimed lottery ticket worth 30 million dollars and a new student at school is the basis for the latest in this series by Korman. Fans of the series will enjoy the unexpected plot twists and turns involving Griffin, Luthor, and Darren and the rest of the gang.
Killing Woods
Chicken House [Chicken House]
Christopher, Lucy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
June 03, 2014
Dame, Anne
Creepy and mysterious. Sexual situations and language make this more appropriate for high school but a mature 8th grade grader could handle it. A high school girl is dead and Emily's dad is accused of murdering her. Emily is convinced that her dad is innocent, despite his PTSD and seeming admission of guilt. She sets out to determine what actually happened in the woods that night and discovers there was a lot going on that storm-filled night. As stated on the book jacket, it is like a combination of Fatal Attraction and Primal Fear.
Rick Hansen
FITZHENRY & WHITESIDE [FITZHENRY & WHITESIDE]
Quinlan, Don
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 03, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Subtitled "A Life in Motion," this 72 page book looks at the life of Canadian hero and paraplegic, Rick Hanson. The book describes how Hanson became a paraplegic, how his friends stood by him during recovery, his Man In Motion World Tour, and his efforts today. The highlight of the book is the description of his world-wide tour to promote the abilities of people in wheelchairs. Also covered is his Paralympic and marathon successes. The book contain many photographs and side bars with more information to assist the reader. The book is well-written. The book contains the typical non-fiction features: table of contents, timeline, list of awards and achievements, end notes, bibliography, and index. An "R" for Canadian schools, this book is a strong additional purchase for those in the US. There are few biographies of paraplegics and this is truly an inspirational story. Purchase if your can.
Firefly July : A Year Of Very Short Poems
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Janeczko, Paul B
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
June 03, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
This beautifully illustrated collection of very short poems is a treasure. The poems are curated from over thirty different poets some recent and others as far back as Emily Dickinson. Organized by seasons and topic, the 36 poems are thought provoking and invite the reader to slow down, think and reread. The poetry is supported and enhanced with beautiful collage and drawn art by Melissa Sweet. Wisely, the poems are given an entire page, and sometimes two. This encourages lingering over the words and illustrations.
Mariano Rivera
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Fishman, Jon M
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 03, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Amazing Athletes" series, this 32 page book looks at former New York Yankee closing pitcher Mariano Rivera. The book opens with a description of Rivera winning his return game in 2013 after a ligament injury in 2012. The book then describes his early life in Panama, how he found baseball, how scouts found him, and his assent into the Major Leagues. Rivera retired in 2013 with several World Series titles. The book ends in 2013, so it will probably be out of date soon, however, it does contain all of his baseball career. The book is complete with a table of contents, glossary, bibliography, and index. There is also a list of his career highlights. Color photographs are found throughout and the text is understandable and will be accessible to the baseball fan and the non-fan alike.
How To Catch A Bogle
HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS [HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS]
Jinks, Catherine
Watts, Sarah
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 03, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Birdie is proud of her job as the Bogler’s apprentice. Yes, it is dangerous, after all her sweet singing and youthfulness are used to lure the monsters out of hiding, but in Victorian England most jobs for orphans are. Her job is honorable, her master is kind, and she does her job fearlessly and well. However, when Miss Eames, a young lady interested in the history of the mythical beasts, starts to be involved things start to change. Miss Eames concern over Birdie’s wellbeing grows when the Bogler is coerced into a job involving breaking into a doctor’s house. They discover the occupant is a necromancer trying to summon a demon so he may control it. Birdie’s bravery and quick thinking is put to the test when she falls captive to the evil doctor and is only rescued when her loyal friends both new and old work together to free her and trap the doctor. This is the beginning of a trilogy.
Florida Gators
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Howell, Brian
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 03, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Inside College Basketball" series, this 48 page book examines the University of Florida basketball program. The book opens with the 2006 winning of the NCAA National Championship and then follow the program from it's beginning in 1915. The Gators had little success for most of the program's history, until the 1980s under coach Norm Sloan. The program became a regular in post-season tournament and has become one of the elite program in college basketball under current coach, Billy Donovan. The book contains information through 2013. Photographs are found throughout and side bars highlight additional information to help the reader understand the main text. The book contains the usual non-fiction features: table of contents, timeline, glossary, bibliography, index, and author information. The book also has a page of program stats (including key players) and quotes & anecdotes. The book will lave limited appeal to Florida Gator fans, making this an additional purchase.
Eliza Bing Is (Not) A Big, Fat Quitter
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Van Vleet, Carmella
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 05, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Eliza Bing has a problem. She wants to take a cake-decorating class, but her parents won't spend the money. It has something to do with her lack of sticking to things. If, however, Eliza can prove she's able to stay with something, things might change. That's why, when her brother quits taekwondo Eliza takes his place. This is her big chance. Mind you, her goal is not an easy one. She has ADHD and takes medication. She's also facing problems with both enemies and friends. This is a nice slice-of-life book with realistic characters and dialogue. Children will recognize, and parents will appreciate, the whole issue of dropping things when they get hard, or boring, and the value of sticking to a project.
Lulu And The Rabbit Next Door
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Mckay, Hilary
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 05, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
Lulu and her cousin Mellie are excited when a new family moves in on their block, but they are disappointed to find out the boy who moves in isn’t friendly. Even worse, Arthur barely pays attention to his pet rabbit. Lulu is an animal lover with many pets of her own, so she sets out on a mission to change Arthur’s mine about his rabbit. She sends messages and gifts from her rabbit to Arthur’s rabbit and slowly Arthur begins to see how fun having a rabbit can be. This is a fun easy chapter book that is just the type of story that will appeal to many young readers. The characters and situations are realistic and the vocabulary is easy enough, but not too simplistic. Charming black and white illustrations add to the story. This is the fourth book about Lulu’s animal-centered adventures.
What Can You Do With Only One Shoe? : Reuse, Recycle, Reinve
ANNICK PRESS [ANNICK PRESS]
Shapiro, Simon
Blake, Francis
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
June 06, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Want to add a literary element to your ecology unit? Well, here's a collection of poetry dedicated to the concept of "reuse, reuse, and recycle." Lighthearted, colorful illustrations accompany each poem, but central to each is a photograph of an item that has been repurposed. A toilet planter, a boat bench, a shoe birdhouse--the photographs are fascinating. The poems vary in quality, some quite delightful and some less so. What I really wish had been included was more information about the photographs. What--no captions? No context? Sure, there are photo credits in the back, but each picture seems to have an untold story and while the poem lauds the picture, readers are left unsatisfied and filled with questions.
If I Had A Raptor
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
O'connor, George
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 06, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
George O'Connor's pencil and watercolor illustrations (with a little digital help) take the reader on a fun romp as a curly-haired girl rhapsodizes about what it would be like to own a raptor. Of course she'd get it as a fluffy baby, but it would grow. Having a raptor as a pet would have both delights and challenges, which she enumerates. While young listeners may get a little nervous, there is never any real danger with this remarkably fluffy dinosaur. This is a different perspective to the traditional "I want a pet" book, and teacher would find it a good writing prompt to have students create their own stories about exotic and unusual pets.
Frozen : A Sister More Like Me
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Hicks, Barbara Jean
Lee, Britney
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 06, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Princesses Anna and Elsa were very different, despite being sisters. Anna was outgoing and bouncy, while Elsa was more studious and withdrawn. In this rhyming text the sisters talk about their differences and how these issues pulled them apart. Finally, however, they discover that differences were good, and they wouldn't want to have a sister just like themselves, after all. The story bounces along, and the illustrations by Brittney Lee show the characters readers would expect, from the movie. Here's the problem--each sister presents different sides of the picture and readers are informed that they can tell who is speaking by the color of the text. Since the text is often against colored backgrounds, however, this concept does not work well. Also, the book focuses on how different the sisters choose to be, while the movie implies that Elsa is forced into her behavior by her possibly dangerous magical powers--not a choice at all. The intended audience won't care, and the message is sweet.
Help! We Need A Title!
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Tullet, Herve
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 06, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Childlike scribbles populate the pages of this book. The pig, the princess, and others are rather surprised when they notice the reader, however. Now that they are hosts they feel unprepared. It's time to get their act together. They need a story, and for that they need an author. Luckily they know one. The author's photographed head is extended by illustrations and shows various emotions as he involves all the characters in a quick, if rather lackluster, story. Their dissatisfaction with his final product results in hard feelings (and a reference to the author's classic "Press Here" book.) In the end the characters are back to their happy selves, doing what they choose, not what the author says. There is an inner sense of childish delight in this kid-friendly creation. It's sure to be a hit with young audiences who will all feel perfectly at home scribbling their own creations on its pages. Maybe it's a better choice for home than for library purchase? Nope...take the risk!
Wazdot?
Disney-Hyperion [Disney-Hyperion]
Slack, Michael
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
June 06, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Alien Blip is visiting Earth with his Zot--a sort of remote control, mini computer that helps Blip find out "waz dot?" New things and new experiences are in store, and Blip needs the information Zot provides. Thus, Blip is able to teach his family about the farm, when they arrive, looking for him. Very simple text with prepositions, repetitions, and nonsense words aim this directly at the preschool set. There is some room here for prediction skills, and some silliness that will delight that age group. Be aware that it is best to begin reading the story on the front jacket flap and end papers, otherwise you're thrown in with no context. The bold, fun digital illustrations are a plus. This might be a good addition to preschool story times.
Fizzy's Lunch Lab : Super Supper Throwdown
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 06, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
In Fizzy's Lunch Lab a contest is about to take place. Professor Fizzy is challenging Fast Food Freddy to a cook-off. Friends and robots are involved. The focus here is, or course, on Professor Fizzy as he offers important tips about shopping, nutrition, and using MyPlate to design your meals for the healthiest outcomes. Reading labels, eating a rainbow, and the importance of good food in building strong bodies is emphasized. A few very healthy recipes are included. Truthfully, Fast Food Freddy only makes a few appearances as a straw man to be knocked down by Fizzy's nutritious information. I can see why PBS Kids would not want to give page-time to a bad example, but the result is more like a lecture than a funny contest. Bright cartoon illustrations accompany the clear and informative text. Fascinating? No, but the content is useful.
Terminal
Chicken House [Chicken House]
Gordon, Roderick
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 06, 2014
Dame, Anne
Book 6 in the "Tunnels" series. A summary of book 5 at the beginning helps readers who may have forgotten what happened in the previous book, and then the prologue jumps straight into the action. This book is all about tying up loose ends rather than focusing on plot and character development. While it does a good job of said loose end tying, it certainly does not conclude the story. Look for a companion series in the near future. Action packed. Fans of the series will enjoy it.
Gaijin : American Prisoner Of War
Disney-Hyperion [Disney-Hyperion]
Faulkner, Matt
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 06, 2014
Dame, Anne
This graphic novel details the story of Koji, a Japanese American during WWII. Based on the true story of some of the author's family members. Koji and his Caucasian mother are at home in San Francisco when the news of the Pearl Harbor attack comes on the radio. Koji's Japanese father was in Japan at the time and is therefore accused of being a spy. Koji is going to be sent to an internment camp and his mother volunteers to stay with him since she is white, she wouldn't technically have to go. They are sent to Alameda Downs. Koji is very angry and acts out at camp; he also gets into trouble with bullies who tease him about his mixed heritage. Illustrations are well-matched to the story. Story seems a bit over-simplified at times, but is appropriate for the age and audience intended, especially with 7th grade Japanese internment curriculum.
Chicago Cubs
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Kelley, K C
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 06, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
This 32 page book is part of the "Favorite Baseball Teams" series (Mariners are not in this series). The book contains simple information about the Chicago Cub baseball team. Each two page spread (or chapter) contains a large color photograph (except one historic photo) and a few sentences of text about the particular topic. The book tells of early team names, some of the stars, and Wrigley Field. The "Gearing Up" chapter has labels in the photographs, and the "Baseball Diamond" page has a diagram. This book will be accessible to baseball fans and non-fans as many of the aspects of the game are explained. It will not satisfy the Cub fan as it is very basic. I wish the diagram of the baseball field was actually a diagram of Wrigley Field and when they talk about people watching games from neighboring rooftops that they included photos of this. The "heroes now" mentioned for 2011 and 2012 will soon make this book out of date. Non-fiction features include: table of contents, some all-time team records, glossary, bibliography, and index. Web resources are handled by the publisher's website.
Rain Forest Habitats
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Ringstad, Arnold
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 06, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
This book is part of the "Habitats" series. The 32 pages describe the tropical rain forest. The book describes rain forests as warm weather and located by the equator, leaving out temperate rain forests such as the Olympic Rain Forest in Washington. The book does give a basic introduction to the tropical rain forest, the eco-system, and threats to the environment. The text describes some animals and plants. It could lead readers to want to explore more about this habitat. Each two page "chapter" contains a large, captioned, color photograph. The book contains the usual non-fiction features: table of contents, glossary (words are bold and highlighted in the text), bibliography, index, and author information (2 sentences). Web resources are found on the publisher's website.
Maisy Plays Soccer
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Cousins, Lucy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 07, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Maisie Mouse is playing soccer with her friends. They have the clothing, the equipment, and the moves. The game is fun, with everyone working happily together. It ends in a tie, but it doesn't matter who wins. The fun is in playing the game. Bold black outlines and bright colors make the illustrations very kid-friendly. The story is simple, but one that small children can appreciate. Beginning readers will enjoy this book.
Peppa Pig And The Great Vacation
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 07, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Nick Jr.'s Peppa Pig is off on vacation with her family. There's the car trip, the vacation house, and all the fun activities involved in a holiday trip. Then home again, home again, piggety-pig, to discover that much is the same but a few things have changed. This is a gently sweet slice-of-life story with soft, rounded illustrations that contain gentle humor. Fans of the TV series will doubtless enjoy this book, and those who haven't met Peppa yet will find this a fun introduction.
Two Bunny Buddies
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Galbraith, Kathryn O
Cepeda, Joe
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 07, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Two bunny buddies are off on a trek and hungry. Which direction should they take when they get to a fork in the path? An argument follows and the friends separate. Still, even after the name-calling and the disagreements they can't help but think of their friend when they find food. Hop hop hop back to where they separated to make up and share. Big, bold, simple illustrations fill the pages, perfect for sharing. Sparse text makes this an easy reader, but the author is remarkably expressive in a few words. (Hey, it's Kathryn Galbraith--no surprise there!) This would be an excellent choice for a discussion-starter on friendship, or for a preschool story time. It also very clearly illustrates the idea of a beginning, a middle, and an end, as well as problem and solution.
John Cena
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 07, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Pro Wrestling Superstars" series, this well-bound 32-page book gives readers a quick and enthusiastic introduction to John Cena. Readers learn a little about his youth, then are provided with more information about how he started in pro wrestling, and how he built his career. Charity work and acting jobs are also included. Plenty of action photographs splash across the pages accompanied by cool fact boxes and exciting captions. There is a bit of an assumption that the reader will already know the lingo, but a glossary helps those who don't. The book also includes an index and timeline. Never is there any indication that pro wrestling might not be "real" in the strictest of senses. Yes, this book will soon be outdated, but that won't matter. This series is incredibly popular with young boys and the book will wear out long before that happens.
Flickr Cofounder And Web Community Creator Caterina Fake
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Wooster, Patricia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 07, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "STEM Trailblazer Bios" series, this sturdy 32 page book introduces readers to Internet maven Caterina Fake. We learn about her early life as a gifted student, and then her introduction to the Internet and the World Wide Web. Readers can follow her as her innovative thinking led to the expansion of social media on the Internet. Her ability to see new possibilities in the use of technology to create online communities has had a significant impact on modern society. The book includes photographs, a timeline, a glossary, source notes, a bibliography and index. It follows her life to 2012, and therein lies the rub. One can imagine this book will soon be outdated as Caterina Fake is hardly likely to sit still from this point on.
Princess Sparkle-Heart Gets A Makeover
CLARION [CLARION]
Schneider, Josh
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 07, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Amelia has a favorite rag doll named Princess Sparkle-Heart. She takes her everywhere, and plays with her constantly. Through the illustrations, however, readers can see that Amelia's dog is not enamored of this competition for his owner's affection. Jealous dog...rag doll...you do the math. Now Princess Sparkle-Heart needs to be sewn back together. The steps in recreating the beloved toy are enumerated and illustrated. However, in the surprise ending, it is clear that the newly made-over doll will be more than able to hold her own. Delightful expressive illustrations with unique details stand out against stark white pages. This sweet girly doll story ends with something that will make even little boys cheer. Schneider clearly knows his audience well.
Send For A Superhero!
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Rosen, Michael
Mcewen, Katharine
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 07, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
The Terrible Two--Filth and Vacuum--threaten the planet with their villainy. Is there a superhero with the right powers to defeat the evildoers? Most are too easily defeated, despite their skills. Who has a chance for success? It's not who you'd expect. Dad tells a bedtime story to his two children. The story is told in a picture book graphic novel format, while the tale of the father and the children is in a more traditional mode. Bright colors and tongue-in-cheek humor abound. There's plenty of action as well. Hey, who doesn't love superheroes? This is sure to be a hit with the intended audience.
Nine Days
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE]
Hiatt, Fred
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 07, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Ethan was just an ordinary New York teen until he got involved with Ti-Anna Chen. Her father was a noted Chinese dissident and, when he visited Vietnam, he disappeared. Now his daughter is determined to find out what happened to him and soon Ethan is drawn into his friend's quest. With the help of some trickery, and a credit card, the two end up in Hong Kong, following a faint trail that may or may not lead to answers. They're being tailed, and it's hard to know who to trust as they search for breadcrumbs that might guide them to the missing man. As their journey leads to Vietnam, the same fate that met Ti-Anna's father may soon meet the searchers. Indeed, they are drawn into a web of human slavery and international espionage. They have nine days to succeed or fail, if they survive. This work of fiction is inspired by a real Chinese dissident, still in prison in China. The author provides further information in an end note. It is clear that the author, a reporter for the Washington Post, knows the settings intimately, as he immerses readers in the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of other cultures. The book is fast-paced and addresses several significant "current events" issues. It would do well in any secondary school.
Big Bad Bubble
CLARION [CLARION]
Rubin, Adam
Salmieri, Daniel
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 08, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Ever wonder where bubbles go when they pop? They go to La La Land where they terrify the monsters living there. This is largely due to monster Mogo's unfortunate bubble gum experience as a child. But, are bubbles really that dangerous? The monsters face their fears and discover the truth. Now butterflies, however... Big watercolor and collage illustrations march across double-page spreads, perfect for group sharing. This book is a mass of silliness wrapped in up monster magic. That's sure to appeal to many young readers.
If You Happen To Have A Dinosaur
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Bailey, Linda
Jack, Colin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 08, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Having a dinosaur as a pet could be very useful. They're good as can-openers, handy as snow plows, and provide a dandy excuse for "pet-eaten" homework. Oh, there are many things you could do, if you happened to have a dinosaur, if you just use your imagination. The down-to-earth text is accompanied by big, bold, whimsical illustrations showing different types of dinosaurs, in bright colors, employed around the house and neighborhood. This is a humorous story that will set children giggling with its possibilities. It would also provide teachers with a great writing prompt for students to create their own book about unusual pets, and their advantages.
Elephant's Story
FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX [FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX]
Pearson, Tracey Campbell
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 08, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Oh no! Elephant has sucked all the words out of Gracie's book! He turns to his friends for help but the alligator, seal, bear, and monkeys are useless. (Although each manages to make at least one word from the errant letters.) Luckily Gracie has the ability to take those letters and form them into the story again, recreating the book. This is a sweet, reassuring story with warm flowing watercolor illustrations. While not a first purchase, it is still delightful.
Seconds
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Taekema, Sylvia
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 08, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Jake is a runner, but he's lost the joy of running. Now he's obsessed with the correct diet, and he's overdoing his workouts. Running through the pain is becoming a mantra. Something's gotta give. He no longer enjoys the experience, but focuses only on winning. Yet he keeps coming in second. A new coach, however, starts instilling good habits, and helps him recognize the importance of making running a part of his life, rather than all of it. This is a well-written short novel with believable characters and a strong sports theme. The short chapters and easy vocabulary would make it a good choice for reluctant readers, and middle school literature teachers might find it a good choice for group discussion.
Mesmer Menace
CLARION [CLARION]
Hamilton, Kersten
Hamilton, James
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Wally Kennewickett comes from a family of geniuses and lives at the Automated Inn. One thing that is known about the Kennewicketts is that they either turn out brilliantly good, or disastrously wicked. His cousins seem to be heading the wrong way. Now, however, Wally has different things on his mind. Theodore Roosevelt has come to tell Wally's parents about an international threat from a magician who can mesmerize world leaders. Danger abounds! How will Wally handle things when his parents are out of town, and the menace comes home to roost? The story is told from the viewpoint of Noodles, Wally's nervous dachshund. This has a hint of steampunk, and a dollop of melodrama, with occasional illustrations. It looks to be the first book in a series.
Bedtime Math 2
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Overdeck, Laura
Paillot, Jim
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
All ages
June 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Bedtime Math started as an evening ritual of a fun math problem. It has blossomed into a website (http://bedtimemath.org/) and a movement to make math a part of a child's daily life. This is the second book containing math problems that can be used with children. These, at least tangentially, have to do with personal stuff like health, clothing, habits, and names. Two-page spreads include bright illustrations, a paragraph introducing the concept, and three related math story problems in three different levels of difficulty. There's also a bonus question. This is a fun idea, and a single question a night is not overwhelming for children. The concept allows parents to choose problems appropriate to their child's age and ability level. Teachers might also enjoy this book as a good source for "do now" problems to start the school day.
Final Crossing
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Rodman, Sean
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 09, 2014
Dame, Anne
Even though the title suggests someone crossing the border from Mexico to the US, this is actually a story set in Washington state, on the ferry system in the Puget Sound to be exact. Will and his brother Big O are on the ferry and hatch a plan to steal money from cars to get enough funds to make it to their uncle's house. While they are executing said plan, they get a big surprise when they break into one of their targeted vehicles. Lots of action, adventure, bad decisions, and good intentions. Some violence and swearing.
Cabin Girl
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Butcher, Kristin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 09, 2014
Dame, Anne
Bailey is excited to be working at a fly-in fishing camp in Canada for the summer. She's the cabin girl which is basically like a maid or housekeeping staff. She struggles to learn the ropes, but is settling in with help from her older cabin-mate April. However, things are shaken up when one of the staff is hurt in an accident and Bailey is asked to take on more responsibility.
Above All Else
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Ross, Jeff
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 09, 2014
Dame, Anne
Del is a member of the Cardinals soccer team. They are on the verge of completing a 3rd season undefeated. Del loves to play the game but isn't as caught up in the idea of winning at all costs like a few of his other team members. When injuries and red cards threaten their chances, tension runs really high. Some violence.
High Time For Heroes
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
June 09, 2014
Dame, Anne
Book 51 in the Magic Tree House series, and number 3 in the Merlin Missions. Jack and Annie are transported to Egypt in 1850 to meet up with Florence Nightingale and determine what made her a great person. What they find is not at all what they expected, however, for Florence is a deeply unhappy woman held back by her family and society expectations.
Year Of The Fortune Cookie
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Cheng, Andrea
Barton, Patrice
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 10, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Anna Wang is a Chinese-American girl who has an unusual opportunity. Her former teacher wants Anna to travel with her and her husband as they go to China to receive a new adoptive daughter. Anna has never been to China, although she has family there. This will be a unique experience for her, exploring a part of her own heritage. Readers follow Anna as she travels, makes a friend, enhances her ability to speak Chinese, and finds herself in a place where she does not stand out, appearance-wise. This entire series is a delight, and highly popular with students. Anna is not an ethnic stereotype. She's a real girl, with many of the same concerns readers face. I don't buy these books to enhance my multicultural collection. I buy them because they are well-written, and in high demand. Anna's ethnicity is just part of what makes her unique. Buy the whole series.
GODDAUGHTER
RAVEN BOOKS [RAVEN BOOKS]
CAMPBELL, MELODIE
Not Recommended/Out of Scope -- Appropriate for another kind of collection or different age levels.
Unsuitable
June 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
This "Rapid Reads" book is indeed that--a quick read. Due to sexual situations and language it is also quite clearly designed for adults. It's the sort of book that ELL teachers dealing with adults would be looking for, although why anyone would think you had to spice up an adult book with profanity and sex is beyond me. That being said, this is actually quite an amusing book. Gina's family is "connected." OK, they're the mob...in Canada. Gina left for a while but she's now back home, but determined not to get involved in the family business. Which is why she was out on a date with a nice guy when a hit went down. Now she's chasing stolen jewels across two countries with her new boyfriend, dodging hitmen, and making one plan after another as her life turns into a comedy of errors. This is genuinely funny as things go from bad to worse. Now her new boyfriend knows too much. He'll have to marry her or be "whacked." You'd feel sorry for Gina, except the author manages to slip in the fact that Gina is actually kind of enjoying the mayhem. Fun and fast-paced, adults will find this a good beach read.
Park Scientists : Gila Monsters, Geysers, And Grizzly Bears
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Carson, Mary Kay
Uhlman, Tom
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the amazing "Scientists in the Field" series, this takes readers to Yellowstone, Saguaro, and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks to visit some of the scientists who work there. In Yellowstone readers meet a geologist and a wildlife biologist and explore the work they're doing with volcanic issues and the local bears. In Saguaro National Park readers meet scientists, and civilians, studying Gila monsters, and maintaining a census on the cacti of the area. The Smoky Mountains are the home of the red-cheeked salamander, a unique firefly, and the scientists who study them. This 76 page book provides a surprisingly in-depth look at scientists in the field. Plenty of photos, charts, graphs, and extensive fact boxes fill the pages. This leads to the one problem I had with the book--sometimes it's hard to follow the text because there are so many other things going on. You turn the page and suddenly you're looking for the rest of the sentence you were reading. It's there, but you have to look. Still, this is an exceptional book that may lead readers to consider science as a career.
Titan's Curse : The Graphic Novel
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Riordan, Rick
Futaki, Attila
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 11, 2014
Dame, Anne
Book 3 of the Percy Jackson series has been put into graphic novel format. The very barest bones of the story are covered in this adaptation, partly by necessity due to the nature of the format. However, the illustrations do add some of the detail back in - as long as you are willing to look closely enough to differentiate the characters. Some characters, like Grover, are very clear and easy to recognize, but others can easily be confused or mistaken. Graphic novel readers will pick it up just because of what it is, and Percy Jackson fans will pick it up but lament at how much is lacking.
Downright Dangerous
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Potter, Ellen
Heatley, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 12, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Otis Dooda is back with his apartment building full of weird occupants. (The guy who hides in the potted plant in the lobby and curses those who don't leave a little something for him, for example.) Now he is facing an arch-rival for Lego domination, dealing with belly-button poppers, exploding pudding, and a three-legged hyper-whizzing dog. There are farts and possible alien eggs and much much more. With plenty of black and white illustrations, and a breezy off-the-wall story that darts along from one disaster to another (did I mention the carrots up the nose?) this is hitting all the notes that elementary school boys seem to desire. Those who loved the rambling slightly cracked humor of the first book will welcome this sequel.
Alliance
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
Frost, Mark
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 12, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
In this second book of "The Paladin Prophecy" Will West is at The Center. He actually arrived in a previous book and had a serious run-in with a demon-inspired club, but that's another story, literally. Now he and his friends are following up leads to figure out just what is going on, and why most of them have unique abilities that may have resulted from genetic manipulation. In seaching for an answer they journey deep underground and what they find there is both disturbing and enlightening. This conspiracy spreads far beyond the school's walls, into the upper echelons of society. Worse, there is a traitor among Will's friends. He's really going to have to depend on his father's list of rules to survive. This is another fast-paced, carefully plotted story with plenty of danger and action. The banter between the friends if both revealing and, often, humorous. And, of course, this third book leaves readers hanging and anticipating book #3.
Crossover
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Alexander, Kwame
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 13, 2014
Dame, Anne
This novel in verse tells the story of twins Jordan and Josh Bell. They are both excellent basketball players and their dad was a star when he was young. Jordan and Josh alternate voices, clearly distinguished by the style of poetry used for each boy. Their team is hoping to go to the championships, but they face some family and team challenges along the way. The language is evocative and one of the twins uses an extensive vocabulary in his writing. Some of the chapters are rules for the game, some are definitions of the vocabulary used, but all add to the story. Sports fans will be drawn to it, but is a bit more challenging because of the changing voices, the vocab, and lack of flow in places. For more competent readers.
Best Nfl Running Backs Of All Time
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 13, 2014
Soel, Barbara
From the NFL’S Best ever Series, The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time is a well-organized and very attractive book that summarizes the careers of fourteen well-known running backs. It includes a color photo, two page summary, and an important fact sheet for each one. Also included are an “honorable mentions” page, glossary, index, more facts, and table of contents. This book will not stay on the shelf at any time of the year!
Best Nfl Receivers Of All Time
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Wilner, Barry
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 13, 2014
Soel, Barbara
From the NFL’S Best ever Series, The Best NFL Receivers of All Time is a well-organized and very attractive book that summarizes the careers of fourteen well-known receivers. It includes a color photo, two page summary, and an important fact sheet for each one. Also included are an “honorable mentions” page, glossary, index, more facts, and table of contents. This book will not stay on the shelf at any time of the year!
My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish : The Sea-Quel
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
O'hara, Mo
Jagucki, Marek
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 14, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
The big fat zombie goldfish, Frankie, is b-a-a-c-k and, of course, so are his owner Tom, and Tom's friend Pradeep, and Pradeep's little sister, Sami. And let us not forget Tom's brother, Mark, and his desires to become an evil mad scientist. (Those desires resulted in Frankie's zombification in the previous book.) As in the previous book this is really two zombie goldfish adventures. In the first, "The Mystery of the Zombie Vacation" everyone is off to a fishing vacation by the sea. When the lighthouse keeper informs them of an evil eel in the waters Mark figures he has his next zombie project and the rest of the kids have to thwart him. In the second adventure "To be a Zombie or Not to Be a Zombie...That is the Question" Pradeep gets the role of Robin Hood in the school play and it goes to his head. Mark has an evil plan, of course, and it's up to Tom, Sami, and Frankie to stop his villainous plot. Breezy, humorous writing nevertheless manages to convey an element of menace, and the black and white illustrations will appeal to reluctant readers. (Although the illustration on page 169 had me puzzled until I figured out that it belonged on page 170.) This is another fun, lightweight romp.
SUPERBUGS
HEINEMANN RAINTREE LIBRARY [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
DICONSIGLIO, JOHN
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 14, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Hot Topics" series, this book provides a cogent introduction to the topic of superbugs. First the author clearly explains bacteria and viruses and how antibiotics are both a miracle drug and the major cause of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. The book is filled with case studies, a clear explanation of why this is a concern, and clear guide to avoiding disease by using good hygiene and well-executed hand-washing. There are thought-provoking questions for readers as well as quiz questions, a glossary, bibliography, and index at the end of the book. This is solid, Common Core focused nonfiction that merits a place in secondary libraries.
Ultimate Dragon Warrior
Square Fish [Square Fish]
Jones, Gareth
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 14, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
In book #7 in the "Ninja Meerkats" series our four meerkat warriors are invited to a mysterious island for a martial arts competition. However, the competition isn't going to be the biggest challenge they face. Their arch-enemy, the Ringmaster, and his gang of goons appears, eager to acquire a plant that causes confusion. Can a little kung fu save the day? This is another quick-read with plenty of action and a lot of banter. (Think "Teen-aged Mutant Ninja Turtles" with fur.) This series is quite popular at my school, especially among 3rd and 4th grade boys.;
Outback Attack
Square Fish [Square Fish]
Jones, Gareth
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 14, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
In book #8 in the "Ninja Meerkats" series our four meerkat warriors are visiting Australia at the invitation Bruce's sister, Bella. She needs their help in finding the whereabouts of a missing scientist. Could it have anything to do with a missing lake? Our heroes will have to face combative kangaroos and the League of Extreme Koalas to find their answers. And wait, is that their arch-nemesis and his cronies, back again? Let's hope our furry friends can save the world one more time. This is a fast read with plenty of black and white illustrations, action, and a lot of banter. (Think "Teen-aged Mutant Ninja Turtles" with fur.) This series is quite popular at my school, especially among 3rd and 4th grade boys.;
POWER HITTER
UNKNOWN [UNKNOWN]
HIGGINS, M G
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 15, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Sammy Perez has a big weight riding on his shoulders. He wants to become a professional baseball player. NEEDS to become a professional baseball player. By doing so he can fulfill his father's unrealized dream and bring his family up from poverty. Things have gotten tougher, though. His team has switched to wooden bats after an injury from an aluminum bat. His role as a power hitter has been impacted. He's having trouble adjusting. Then there are the kids on his team who are depending on them winning for college scholarships, and who seem to blame Sammy for his hitting slump. Can it really all be his fault if things don't go right? Not known for his even temper and patience, Sammy is having some real problems coping. Are steroids the answer? This is a thoughtful sports book with realistic characters and plenty of play-by-play action. There's also a lot of solid baseball information here, especially about the pluses and minuses of various types of bats. The underlying theme of doing your best and finding balance is one that most teen sports players could use. This is actually a quick read, but doesn't look like it. It would be a good addition to secondary fiction collections. Look for other books in this "Travel Team" series.
Pinkbeard's Revenge
HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS [HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS]
Trine, Greg
Dormer, Frank W.
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 15, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Great silliness abounds in this 4th book in "The Adventures of Jo Schmo" series. Jo is a superhero. With her dog, Raymond (who drools like no dog ever drooled in the long history of drooling) she battles villains . In this book she saves the Golden Gate Bridge and faces two crooks who have escaped from prison--Dr. Dastardly and Numb Skull--and a group of time-traveling pirates led by Pinkbeard. (His penchant for pink lemonade having led to his signature look.) Unfortunately the evil-doers have googled her weaknesses, which makes things a lot harder. Add in some kidnappings, alluring dancing bacon, exploding macaroni and, of course, plenty of drool and you have the kind of whacky humor kids adore. Occasional black and white illustrations will attract reluctant readers. While not a first purchase this series is sure to be popular.
BAMBI : A LIFE IN THE WOODS
UNKNOWN [UNKNOWN]
SALTEN, FELIX
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 15, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
What is the life of a deer? This is the classic 1928 book, with Barbara Cooney's illustrations from 1970, and every library should have it in their collection. True, not every student will read it, but it's the sort of book that sticks with you the rest of your life. The story follows Bambi from his first explorations as a fawn, when he discovers the wonders of the meadow and learns from his mother the things that you can eat, and the caution you must exercise to survive, to his adulthood where he begins to pass on the wisdom he has learned. "Bambi" is not for the faint of heart. Bambi grows, and faces the harsh realities of life and death in the woods. Salten draws the reader in until each loss is personal, and each threat a heart-pounding reality. This is not a happy little musical, but despite the tragedies it is filled with hope and joy. Anthropomorphized? Yes, of course, and therein lies its power. If you don't have a copy in your library buy one.
Incredible Twisting Arm
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Egan, Kate
Wight, Eric
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 16, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Mike loves magic but his parents are concerned that he's not putting sufficient effort into his studies. Is magic taking up too much of his time? He decides to be as responsible as possible to gain his parents' trust, and discovers magic can have an element of science in it. This is a book about a boy dealing with typical things--a bully, homework, friends. At the same time his love of magic tricks shines through and the book includes clear instructions on how to perform the magic tricks Mike knows. That's something new, and is sure to appeal to readers who will be anxious to try the tricks out.
Right Fight
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Lynch, Chris
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 16, 2014
Dame, Anne
Similar to his Vietnam series. This is the first book of a war series set during WWII. Roman is a pro baseball player who has signed up to join the Army the day after the baseball series is over. He and several other players are recognized for signing up. Roman wants to fight because "Nazis hate baseball." To him, this is the right sort of thing to fight over and he can't wait to get to Europe and do his part. Roman actually ends up in a tank unit, fighting in North Africa. There are letters back and forth between him and his fiancee, Hannah, in addition to the his story, told in first person. Some violence (it's war!). Well-written, great characterization.
Medal For Leroy
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Morpurgo, Michael
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 16, 2014
Dame, Anne
"Inspired by the true story of Walter Tull, the first black officer in the British Army..." Michael and his mom frequently visit his two elderly aunts. Conversations often revolved around his grandfather, but nothing in great detail except his valor in combat. When Auntie Snowdrop dies, she leaves behind a hidden letter for Michael about his grandfather. This letter reveals much about bravery, identity, and family. The genealogy is a bit confusing in places, but most of the characters are vivid. Well-written, but requires the right audience.
Half A Chance
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Lord, Cynthia
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 16, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Lucy’s father is a photographer and is often away on assignment. Now she and her mother have been left to set up their new home on a lake frequented by summer vacationers. That's how she meets Nate and his grandmother, Grandma Lilah, who teach her about the loons, and life on the lake. Through it all Lucy uses her own photographic talents to frame the world in which she lives, seeking unique perspectives and the contrasts that make a good photograph “pop.” When Lucy discovers her father will be judging a photography contest she decides to enter. She has much to prove to both him and herself. Still, in taking her photographs, she realizes that something is wrong with Grandma Lilah. In this tender, evocative book readers learn about beginnings, endings, and catching that perfect moment in time. Lord’s writing immerses the reader in the book and, as you turn that last page, you will feel that have have just experience that moment you wish to save.
Cracks In The Kingdom
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS]
Moriarty, Jaclyn
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 19, 2014
Gustafson, Chris
The sequel to A Corner of White and it starts a bit slowly but once Elliot from the kingdom of Cello and Madeleine from our world communicate through a crack between their worlds, the reader is sucked right in. Turns out that Princess Ko has been faking that her sister is with her. In fact, all the other members of the Royal Family of Cello have been suck through cracks into our world and have lost their memories of their previous lives. Princess Ko forms a Youth Council that includes Elliot to find a way to locate her family and get them back while trying to run the kingdom by herself and keeping the disappearance of the rest a secret. Meanwhile Madeleine is working on her side of the crack to contact the Ko’s family and convince them of their true identities. Delightful, but a non-starter if you have not read the first book.
RETURN
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
LORENTZ, DAYNA
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 19, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
When the hurricane hit the city more than people were displaced. What happened to their pets? The "Dogs of the Drowned City" series takes readers on a journey with some of those pets as they struggle to survive and find their families again. This is book #3, the final book in the series. Shep has taken his role as alpha seriously, but now he has to make a choice--the pack or his old owner. The former pets struggle to reach the shelter where their owners may be, facing wild dogs, dog-catchers, and even a shark. The book seems based largely on Hurricane Katrina, and tells the story from the pets' viewpoint. Readers who enjoy books from an animal's perspective will find this an enjoyable series. You do, however, need to purchase the entire series. They do not stand alone.
Jesus's Last Days
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
O'reilly, Bill
Low, William
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 20, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Using a variety of resources, from scripture to the writings of Flavius Josephu and Tacitus, as well as archaeological findings, Bill O'Reilly presents a cogent overview of the life of Christ, placing it within the context, customs, and politic of the time. It is not intended to be a treatise on Christ as the Son of God, but examines his life and actions, and the reactions of local people and leaders, to them. This provides an interesting perspective, with little details that add to a general understanding of the Gospels. The author does, however, extrapolate and speculate a little, attributing feelings and motives that history could not truly record. For the most part this is benign and adds texture to the writing. However, strict scriptural adherents may cock an eyebrow. They might also object to his neutral position on Christ's divinity, instead examining how he is viewed by various religions today. Black and white photographs, as well as an extensive appendix, accompany the text. This is well-written and well-researched, but somehow I was expecting more.
Buzz Kill
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Fantaskey, Beth
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 24, 2014
Gustafson, Chris
Senior year turns intense for Millie when she discovers the body of their school’s hated/worshipped football coach while researching a story for the school paper. Millie has happy memories of her now-deceased mom reading Nancy Drew mysteries to her so she’s determined to find the killer, especially since her dad, who is mayor and the assistant football coach, falls under suspicion. Fantasky handles a lot of characters with a deft touch and most of her Nancy Drew updates are thoughtful. Mystery fans don’t have to have read any Nancy Drew to thoroughly enjoy this, but they may seek out and taste the series afterwards.
Cool Beans : The Further Adventures Of Beanboy
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Harkrader, Lisa
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 24, 2014
Gustafson, Chris
Even though he has recently won a national contest for his comic book art, middle schooler Tucker and his art club buddies are still bully targets. I had a hard time buying the willful cluelessness of some of the adults in Tucker’s school who allow the girls basketball team to take over the Art Club bulletin board and interrupt the performance art assembly to promote sports teams, although the art teacher and even the P.E. teacher become mentors and propel the plot along. Bullies are vanquished and the art kids manage to recruit new members for their club and win the school dodgeball tournament with their teamwork. Intensely implausible but still fun, and it’s a good next step for Wimpy Kid readers. Purchase where the first book is popular.