Reviews for month


SWEPT UP
GROSSET & DUNLAP [GROSSET & DUNLAP]
MORRIS, TAYLOR
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 03, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
This series is just perfect for girl tweens. It is upbeat and the characters all resolve their problems in rational ways. There is no swearing, violence, sex, drugs, or alcohol. In this book of the series, Mickey is trying to show her best friend, Eve, that although Mickey made a big mistake in their friendship, she can be trusted, after all. Eve is not quick to warm up to the idea. In fact, she has invited a friend from her last school to come and stay with her for the friend’s spring break. This new “old” friend is very protective of Eve and Mickey has to learn how to handle that situation as well. Kyle and Mickey start hanging out together and, when he finally asks her to the dance, he wants to go as a couple alone and not with other friends. Mickey likes Kyle, but isn’t sure how to resolve this issue. As if that is not enough, Mickey, while working in her mom’s beauty salon, is outraged to find out that her favorite stylist has been fired. Mickey does a little digging and discovers the underhanded dealings of a customer out for revenge. I like this series because Mickey is a level-headed girl, with supportive and sensible parents.
Field Trip
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Nees, Susan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 03, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
This series, which is part illustrated chapter book, part graphic novel features Melissa Abigail Rose aka Missy who is Enthusiastic about school life. In this particular story, Missy goes on a class field trip to the state capitol. She sits next to Oscar, a quiet boy, but soon brings him out of his shell. Missy loves to learn and is adventurous and curious. This 72-page book is colorful and humorous with illustrations that help to tell the story; it also includes a short quiz at the end. Readers in grades one and two will especially enjoy this series and want to read each new addition.
Adventures Of A South Pole Pig
HARCOURT BRACE JOVANOVICH [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Kurtz, Chris
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 03, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
This is a keeper. I read it in one sitting simply because I had to know Flora's fate. Flora is a pig, born on a farm in the US midwest to a mother who despairs of Flora's ambitions: Flora wants to do something with her life. She tries to get the farmer to notice her so that he'll let her help with chores around the farm. The results of these attempts are disastrous. Finally, Flora finds herself on the farmer's strip to Antarctica where he is going to continue researching a project he has been working on. Flora is in seventh heaven; she makes friends with the other animals on the ship and with the boy who loves to play with her. All is going swimmingly until Flora learns that she wasn't taken along to be a sled-pulling pig. Rather, Flora was meant to be breakfast for the crew. Flora is heartbroken, understandably! Fortunately, there is a turn of events when the ship is wrecked and Flora is able to save the day. This is a heartwarming tale of loyalty, love, adventure, and daring. I think this would make a great read-aloud for second through 4th grades.
Boy On The Edge
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Erlings, Fridrik
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
August 03, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
I am intrigued by Scandanavian novels, because of the way their landscapes and characters mirror each other. The coldness, the vast loneliness, the sparse vegetation show up in characters as aloofness, solitude, and introversion. Boy On the Edge is the story told by Henry, who is disabled with a club foot and terrible stutter. In the beginning, Henry explains that in a fit of rage he accidentally broke his mother's arm. Because of this, he was removed to the Home of Lesser Brethren, out on the lava-rocky Icelandic coast. The Home was run by a childless minister and his wife, and many wayward or orphaned boys were boarded there. The wife, Emily, was loving and kind, and Henry benefited from her nurturing. The minister was a well-intentioned, but misguided man. He worked the boys too hard in his zeal both to reform them and build his new church. When a new boy, Ollie, joins the Home, Henry feels rejected and replaced. His love for Emily seems threatened by this newcomer, but in the end Emily needs both Ollie and Henry to survive the turn of events that affects them all. This novel is suitable for Grades 9-12 due to mature topics, violence, and language.
Tandem
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Jarzab, Anna
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
August 03, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Sash is 16, an orphan who lives with her grandfather. For years she's had dreams about being a princess named Juliana. When a popular boy at school suddenly asks her to the prom she is initially suspicious, but he wins her over. Little does she realize that he is actually from an alternate universe. Suddenly Sasha finds herself in another world, much like her own, taking the place of her analog, Princess Juliana, who has disappeared. Politics in this world are chancy, and Juliana's engagement to a prince will unite two kingdoms. However, there are those who don't want peace, and those who have another agenda. Who can she trust? How can she get home? This is the first book in "The Many-Worlds Trilogy" and leaves the reader anxious for the next.The writing is compelling and the short chapters, told from different points of view, will encourage even reluctant readers to dive in. Sure it's 428 pages long, but the story zips along nicely and it's actually a quick read. This is a sci-fi book that will catch secondary readers with its attractive cover, and keep them enthralled to the end. I had to drag it away from a niece just to get it reviewed.
Cool Creations In 35 Pieces
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Kenney, Sean
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 06, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
For someone who is not a LEGO enthusiast, but has students that are, I found this book very pretty to look at but somewhat confusing. The author starts with the premise that with 35 basic LEGO pieces a person can make a myriad of creations. He sets out to see how many he can do and shares some in these 32 pages. After a table of contents of the main constructions, he has a page of the 35 pieces he uses throughout the book. For robots he photographs nine finished products, all named, with a third of a page showing the five main steps with several sub-steps for making one of these. Thus the only words on the page are the names of the robots; the rest are numbers with the progression of how to put the pieces together. Now if that isn't enough the next double page spread contains a page of five more robots plus numbered steps demonstrating how to put two together. Succeeding creations include sic-fi spacecraft, buildings, furniture, household objects, vehicles, goofy faces, a variety of animals plus aliens. Sean Kenney invites the reader to come up with new ideas and share them on his website. If a child can pull out the 35 pieces Sean starts with then s/he should be successful, or shop at his website to buy them.
THAT TIME I JOINED THE CIRCUS
POINT SIGNATURE [POINT SIGNATURE]
HOWARD, J J
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
August 06, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
For grades 7-10, this first book by JJ Howard left me feeling neutral. Howard is currently an English teacher; she can write, but her plot, characters, and action are somewhat one-dimensional and less than gripping. Lexi, "X," leaves NYC after she makes a big mistake with her best friend, her father dies, and she discovers she's penniless. X runs off to find her mother who works for a circus. Instead of finding her mother, who already has left the circus, she finds an alternative family and a new relationship. X is beginning to build a new life for herself and then her best friend, the one with whom she made the mistake, shows up on the scene. All turns out well in the end, which fits with this novel: no surprises. Howard throws in loads of music knowledge. The book is engaging, but is lacks the spice to make it a keeper.
Hurty Feelings
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
LESTER, HELEN
Munsinger, Lynn
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
August 06, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This reissue of a 2004 collaboration between the successful team of Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger still resonates with young children. Fragility the hippo is very sturdy except where her feelings are concerned. Whenever another creature gives her a compliment, she turns it into an insult with the refrain, "You hurt my feeeeelings!" "Nice" becomes squishy cupcakes, "sturdy legs" remind her of piano legs, and "cute little ears" are associated with humans. Her response is to flop and weep, to the point where the other animals feel it safer to not talk to her rather than offend her. While Fragility is playing soccer goalie one day, Rudy, the rude elephant and bully, marches in demanding to eat the grass on the field. With insult after insult he attempts to get to her to move, but despite struggling not to weep Fragility gains momentum and strength with each outburst until she turns all of his insults back on Rudy. Everything he's called her fits him. This is done in a humorous way for the reader since Fragility shows compassion in the end. This is a nice message for children to hear. This reissue is part of the Laugh-Along Lessons series with downloadable audio with the theme in this one--feeling good about yourself.
COOL CASTLES
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY]
KENNEY, SEAN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 06, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
See review for Cool Creations in 35 Pieces by same author for format. This title doesn't limit the LEGO builders to 35 pieces, but encourages them to try to recreate the medieval castle and surrounding village using the pieces they have at hand. In this book there are more words in the semblance of a story, and some step-by-step numbered directions without words. Again Sean Kenney promotes individual creativity while also promoting his website where children can see more creations, share their own, or order more pieces. For an inexperienced builder this could look overwhelming, but might spur on creativity in young or old LEGO fans. Other of his idea books include Cool Cars and Trucks, Cool Robots, and Cool City. The strength is in the very clear photography delineating these constructions.
Finest Hours : The True Story Of A Heroic Rescue
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Tougias, Michael J
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
August 07, 2014
Gleb, Heidi
This is a superb retelling of the story of heroic Coast Guardsmen and the crew members of two broken tankers who were saved during a severe nor'easter in 1952. An adaptation of the authors' book with similar title for adult readers, this version conveys the desperation of the men on the four sections of ships (each tanker broke in two) and the determination of the Coasties to reach the ships and rescue every man on board. The photos of both tankers and the rescue ships show just how violent the North Atlantic was that February day; to see the size of the lifeboats and even the Coast Guard rescue boat compared to the size of the waves makes one appreciate all who sail the seas. Put this in the hands of teen readers who enjoy adventure stories and wait for the positive reviews to come in. A Disney movie based on this book is in the works starring Chris Pine.
Dogs
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Mason, Paul
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 08, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
As the series Animal Family Albums indicates this 32-page title is presented in the form of a family scrapbook starting with the introduction Meet the Family! The difference is that there are more text boxes beyond regular captioning with interesting information. Bob the Basset Hound is the only comic character with dialogue bubble found on each double page spread. The rest are color photos depicting a wide variety of dogs, all descended from wolves, no matter the shape or size. Thus every double page spread has Bob and his intro to each type of dog, two boxes of text (approximately one paragraph each), two photos with captions either taped or paper clipped, and one Family Secret related to the dogs on that page. This makes for a busy, entertaining, and informative product covering dogs for laps, herding, water, scent, hunting, rat catching, rescuing, and those in the wild. The book concludes with a 5-question quiz determining What Type of Dog Are You? followed by a decent 20-word glossary, sources for further information and a detailed index. This is an excellent, lively introduction to dogs in general and specifically that should have a long shelf life with its sturdy binding, IF it will ever stay on the shelf:) K-4+
China
Pebble Plus/capstone Press [Pebble Plus/capstone Press]
Juarez, Christine
Makuc, Lucy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 08, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This 24-page Pebble Plus book introduces the young reader to China in the standard format for this series--larger size, large clear photos, large text with one paragraph of usually four sentences per double-page spread. The photos in this title are especially vibrant with a nighttime city scene of Bejing, a dramatic view of the Yantze River, a cute giant panda, a scrumptious dish of noodles, a Chinese New Year parade, rice farmer, and The Great Wall of China. Besides one small map at the beginning other features include a table of contents, a page of country facts with flag and money, an 8-word glossary, three books for further reading, FactHound web site with further activities, and an index. Others in the Countries series include Afghanistan, Canada, Japan, Mexico and The United State of America. This is a nice addition to the country sections for primary readers.
Piranha
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Ingalls, Ann
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 08, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
One of ABDO's Core Library titles in the Great Predators series, the 48 pages is worthy of research by the intermediate student. An intriguing and rightfully feared creature, the piranha is native only to South America's Amazon River and tributaries. A new respect can be gleaned about this freshwater fish with it's powerful jaw, huge teeth, strong senses of smell, sight and hearing that make it an intrepid predator especially in groups. The color photos vary in quality from very clear and sharp:) to a bit murky due to their natural water habitat. This is good nonfiction with challenging, detailed information, captions, extra fact boxes, diagram, and map. The last six pages contain Fast Facts, Stop and Think (four questions/activities to extend one's thinking), a 10-word glossary, three books to learn more, the ABDO and Core Library websites, and a detailed index. As part of the Core Library there are several primary source quotes to ponder and compare plus activities to pursue for those so motivated. Some students may even pick this up due to interest in the topic. Others in the Great Predators series include Boa Constrictor, Crocodile, Great White Shark, Grizzly Bear, Komodo Dragon, Lion and Tarantula.
Christopher Columbus
ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
Ollhoff, Jim
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 08, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
In eight chapters and 32 pages this Great Explorers' title introduces Christopher Columbus to the intermediate reader. The introduction dispels the myth of this Italian, who made four voyages for Spain, but did not "discover" America (with millions of Native Americans already here), nor was he the first European to travel here (since Leif Eriksson had landed 500 years earlier). Nonetheless he's an important explorer who contributed to the world's knowledge of this "new" world. Motivated to find an easier route to the riches of China, Columbus studied and prepared for this journey. After being turned down by the king of Portugal, where he lived, he got the support of Spain, who finally accepted his many demands. Spain funded four journeys, but did not reap the riches he had promised, nor the China he thought he'd find. Instead Caribbean islands and Venezuela were found with increasing discontent among the sailors and settlers who joined him. Though one of the best navigators he died a broken man, neither completely villain nor hero. The conclusion provides an accurate picture of the man and his contribution followed by a timeline, detailed glossary and index. Illustrations and maps from the time complete the offering.
Captain Cook
ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
Ollhoff, Jim
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 08, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
See review of Christopher Columbus in this same Great Explorers series by the same author. Others in the series include Neil Armstrong, Jacques Cousteau, Ferdinand Magellan, and Marco Polo. In this title Captain James Cook's life from humble beginnings by the sea in England is chronicled focusing on his great navigational skills, his accurate and detailed mapmaking abilities and his exploration of the South Seas looking for the mythical Terra Australis Incognita and later the Northwest Passage. His three famous voyages are documented along with maps (some of his own making), photos from the present day areas, and drawings of the past. This is a much more complimentary picture of an explorer due to his personality and motivations. His changed behavior before his death on the Island of Hawaii is also mentioned. This is a good introduction to an amazing man, whose exploration for England took place while the Revolutionary War was underway.
Bunnies
Sandcastle/abdo [Sandcastle/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
August 08, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This 24-page SandCastle book with one red flag is intended for beginning readers. The color photos of baby rabbits are very cute and attractive. There are a few weirdnesses though including that the contents has Bunnies as one chapter, where it's the whole text of the book. Also, the large font text refers to children's names every so often i.e. "Juan's bunny nibbles on a carrot" but only once is there a child in the photo. Thus it seems unnecessarily forced to try to personalize the text in this way. The Did You Know? page has as much information in one page as four pages of text. Finally there's a Bunny Quiz with four questions and upside down answers plus a glossary of seven words. This will suit the intended reader and they won't quibble as this reviewer has. Others in the Baby Animals series cover calves, foals, kittens, piglets and puppies.
Wolf Spiders
CHILDRENS PRESS [CHILDRENS PRESS]
Gregory, Josh
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 09, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
If a library needs a research book with an up-close look at wolf spiders for intermediate students, this will definitely fit the niche. One of the Nature's Children titles, this spider book gives a great introduction to this specific arachnid. Beginning with a Fact File page followed by a table to contents the 48 pages then continues with five substantial chapters. Each full text page is opposite a full-page color photo depicting the words/concepts in that text along with what passes for a caption, but is more an additional fact. The reader will learn about the body parts, pedipalps, how these spiders hunt their prey rather than catching them in webs, their eight eyes, and the sensitive, gripping hairs. In addition mating, motherhood and molting are covered. The later chapters discuss ancient species discovered from fossils, close relatives of the wolf spider such as the tarantula, nursery web spiders and other arachnids. The book concludes with humans and wolf spiders sharing the same environment, and how we should study, not fear, these helpful predators that help their ecosystems. An extensive glossary, index, world map and further sources round out the book. A diagram or labels of body parts would be welcome.
Diamonds
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Petersen, Christine
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 09, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This Checkerboard Science Library Earth's Treasures title features the hardest mineral diamond. The intermediate reader will be introduced to what makes this mineral unique, why it is sought after, where and how it is mined, how it is formed (including synthetically), and the qualities it is evaluated by--color, clarity, cut, carat and a 5th C, conscientiously mined. Thus the blood diamond or conflict diamond is explained. Some terms will be challenging for young readers, and though the MOHS hardness scale is included, the term MOHS is not defined. Most other new vocabulary are highlighted in the glossary or defined within the text. The format, blue color of the background, and shimmering diamonds throughout compliment the topic. Many diagrams, photos, examples, captions, and a world map enhance the presentation making this a worthy addition to the gems and minerals section of an elementary library. Other desired nonfiction features include a lengthy table of contents, glossary, pronunciation of four terms, ABDO website, and lengthy index all in 32 pages. Others in the series are Gold, Jade, Pearls, Silver and Turquoise.
Cats
A&d Xtreme/abdo [A&d Xtreme/abdo]
Hamilton, Sue L
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 09, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
A & D Xtreme Pets tackles Bugs, Dogs, Fish, Reptiles, Spiders, and this title Cats. The 32 pages first introduces what constitutes cats as Xtreme pets--they are North America's most popular pet and over 500 million cats are pets around the world. The succeeding chapters (usually 2 pages each) delineate the largest, smallest, hairiest, hairless, best hunters, fastest, highest jumpers, water-lovers, tailless, smartest and longest-lived cats. A highlight of this book is the excellent and sometimes shocking photos such as the cover with the hairless cat. The title page with the darling, unsmiling Persian kitten, followed by the contents with 10 long haired tabby kittens all lined up are topped off by the intro double-page spread with two amber cat eyes staring at the reader. The text is lively and surprisingly informative though obviously not in depth with Xtreme fact boxes interspersed. Eight terms are clearly defined in the glossary ending with a detailed index. This will be a welcome addition for the cat lover, and it does a great job as a quick overview of a wide variety of pet cats. Younger students will enjoy the photos and most likely be able to read the non-threatening sized text though it's chockfull of information.
Sophie Scott Goes South
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Lester, Alison
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 10, 2014
Kline, Karen
Based on Lester’s grant-funded trip to Antarctica when she communicated daily with schools in her native Australia and around the world to share details of the voyage and of life even further down under. This book is nine-year-old Sophie’s fictional diary about her two week trip to Antarctica on the Aurora Australis. Sophie’s father is the ice-cutter’s captain, and they leave mom and little brother behind in Australia for this trip that will transport supplies, scientists and even an artist to Mawson Station in Antarctica. The art throughout the book is a combination of Lester’s art as well as those that school children created while participating in the grant project. The children’s art lends an authentic quality to the diary, and Lester’s simple line drawings of Sophie are qwirky and add relevant details. This book proves that Common Core standards can be met with fiction books that are chock full of science and geography. Educators can use this book to teach about scientific and artistic observation, data gathering, and record keeping.
Simples Love A Picnic
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Phillipps, J C
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
August 10, 2014
Kline, Karen
A picnic is the just the thing to rally the Simple family out for a day of fun at the park. Ben wonders, “What is a picnic?” Mom explains all the details about eating outside on a blanket and packing foods that don’t spill in a basket. Ben wants to take the dog. Lulu wants to take the cat. Dad tells Lulu that cats and picnics don’t mix. Lulu sneaks the cat into her backpack along with some ice cream. Mixed media collage illustrations are colorful and include several clues that readers will have to pay close attention to in order to best appreciate the humor and fun in this story. The picnic is fraught with troubles, though, as frisbees and balls zoom in, the cat has to be taken home (but returns), melted ice cream attracts ants, and pesky squirrels keep flying in on the family unexpectedly. Sadly, the family decides to go home where life is, well, simpler. Ben saves the day, though, when he has an idea to have the picnic at home on the floor. A simple read with simple fun.
Bad Bye, Good Bye
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Underwood, Deborah
Bean, Jonathan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
August 10, 2014
Kline, Karen
Sparse text and picture clues reveal the struggle a young boy has on moving day. The rhyming text, just two or four words per page, and expressive faces of the characters keep the story clipping along. From saying “bad bye” to a good friend to the surrender of a long nap in the car, the author captures the mood of a reluctant child. The lively, busy illustrations deftly capture the essence of moving households especially the ones that show uncolored sketches of the moving van crew in time-lapse sequence superimposed upon the colored singular moments. The simple words and engaging art will invite new readers to this book, but the important themes will keep them coming back to repeat read this wonderful book. Adults will find many uses for this book in classroom and home settings as well. The story is resolved in a hopeful way. A new neighbor kid enters the scene and the two connect with the toss of a ball, catching lightning bugs, and climbing a tree.
Dog Days Of School
Disney-Hyperion [Disney-Hyperion]
Dipucchio, Kelly
Biggs, Brian
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 10, 2014
Kline, Karen
Charlie has had it with school! On Sunday nights his stomach does flip-flops as he dreads the next day. If only he could be a dog like the family pooch, Norman. As Charlie wishes on a star, he awakens on the floor the next morning to find that his mother and the rest of the world recognize him as the dog (even though in the illustrations Charlie looks like Charlie), and that the dog has now taken Charlie’s place and is on his way to school. Big, bold and colorful illustrations throughout are especially well-suited for group sharing as is the pacing and readability of the text. At first Charlie and Norman seem to have embraced their switcheroo and are making the most of it-- Norman eating cupcakes at the school party, and Charlie snoozing and drinking from the toilet. Yep, surprisingly, Charlie seems unfazed to be drinking from the toilet! But by week’s end the two are getting a real dose of empathy, and it's not until Charlie barks too much and has to sleep outside for the night that he realizes he wishes he was a boy again. The magic returns Charlie to his rightful place the next morning, and he finds himself enthusiastically getting ready for school this time.
Poop Fountain!
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
Angleberger, Tom
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 10, 2014
Kline, Karen
What kind of kids would think a secret visit to a waste treatment plant is a wild and crazy way to spend Christmas Day? Does Tom Angleberger think his Origami Yoda fans will read about a poop fountain? Do young readers need books about kids who live in trailer parks whose parents work at convenience stores? Enter the wild and wacky world of Lyle and his friends Marilla and Dave who hang out together a lot. When they realize that their individual families won’t be doing anything on Christmas Day, they decide they need to form a “society” and do something momentous. During civics class one day, the kids get the idea from a current events article to see the soon-to-be-replaced sewage treatment center. What ensues is a comedy of crudiness replete with haikus about waste, foul-smelling flirting, and a tale that will have kids cringing and groaning. Fans of Kim Baker's book Pickle will enjoy this book about an off-beat group of kids with a sneaky plan. First in a three book series.
Oliver And His Egg
Disney-Hyperion [Disney-Hyperion]
Schmid, Paul
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
August 10, 2014
Kline, Karen
An egg has possibilities. An egg makes us wonder. An egg looks a lot like a rock. Oliver has what he believes is an egg, and he conjures all kinds of ideas about the friend inside and the adventures they will have together from donuts to discovering new worlds. The “egg” in the illustrations has a photographic quality while the rest of the art on the pages has simple pencil pastel and ink colors giving the effect of reality in the midst of fantasy. When a friend shouts to Oliver and wakes him from his daydreaming to ask why he is “sitting on that rock,” there is a moment of concern and thought. Schmidt plays this well with a page of wordless art creating suspense and possibility. Luckily Oliver transitions to the new idea and reality and invites all of his friends into his fantasy world, and a double page foldout is a lovely metaphor for what happens when we let others share our fantasies and dreams.
Geese March In Step
EERDMAN'S BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [EERDMAN'S BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Dumont, Jean-Francois
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 10, 2014
Kline, Karen
Head goose Igor leads the geese down to the water every day in an organized line formation. No one knew why. It was a parade of tradition. Who bucks with tradition? New arrival, Zita, that’s who. She starts tap, tap, tapping in distraction. What’s the purpose of this marching in step anyway? Without a chance to respond, though, Igor sends Zita away to wait on the group until later. Zita’s confidence is shaken and she wonders why she can’t do something so simple. Why can’t she be obedient and focused? As Zita makes her way down to the pond later, she drags her webbed feet to another beat, head down and sniffling. The other animals take notice of the new beat, and a woodpecker, rooster, donkey, cow and sheep fall in line with their own contribution to the off-beat parade knocking, pecking, hee hawing, mooing, baa-ing, and more. Cheerful art accompanies the text and slightly zany eyes and expressions on the animals’ faces add to the fun. Readers will be challenged to accept those things in themselves and others that don't always conform to the expected.
American Bobtail Cats
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Petrie, Kristin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 10, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This addition to the Checkerboard Animal Library Cats continues ABDO's extensive coverage of the feline. Petrie, a prolific writer of children's nonfiction, keeps up her top quality writing in this standard format Checkerboard title. The nine two-page chapters begins with an introduction to the Felidae family followed by the breeding of the American bobtail cat in the late 1960s. This popular smart breed has a wide range of colors with the distinctive but unique bobbed tails. The are low maintenance creatures with their non-matting fur and no special health issues. The text concludes with feeding, kittens, and tips for buying such a pet. The 24 pages ends with a glossary, the ABDO website and a decent index. Others in this set include Birman Cats, Chartreux Cats, Selkirk Rex Cats, Singapura Cats and Turkish Angora Cats. So if a library doesn't have enough cat books this would be a good choice.
Design Line : Planes, Trains, And Automobiles
Big Picture Press [Big Picture Press]
Oxlade, Chris
Lemanski, Mike
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
August 10, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
I like how this one looks! This sturdy book/chart from Candlewick's Big Picture Press gives us a visually appealing 1800 AD-to-present-day timeline look at how bikes, motorcycles, cars, trains, ships, boats, and spacecraft have advanced out ability to move faster and farther. One side of the 16" high fold-out shows 100 iconic designs while the backside gives a short description of each technology. A closing note of "ten things that got us moving faster" is a good starting point for further reading and research; but this is primarily a visual vehicle that will carry readers from 0 to the 380s or even 600s in nothing flat. Guaranteed to zoom off library shelves.
Poor Doreen : A Fishy Tale
SCHWARTZ & WADE [SCHWARTZ & WADE]
Lloyd-Jones, Sally
Boiger, Alexandra
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 10, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
Ready to go fishin? Here's a lucky catch that will delight picture book read-aloud audiences. In the deep drowsy waters of some long winding creek a hopelessly cheerful, there swims a suitably named Ample Roundy Fish called Miss Doreen Randolph-Potts who swims beneath her red parasol en route to visit her second cousin twice removed who has just had 157 babies. Caught by a fly fisherman's deceptive lure then snagged by a Great Blue Heron's spearing bill, Doreen delights in every twist and turn of her unlikely journey. Kids will too, exclaiming with Doreen, "How Lucky for me!"
Grandmother Ptarmigan
INHABIT MEDIA [INHABIT MEDIA]
Mikkigak, Qunaq
Leng, Qin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
August 10, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
A cozy little Inuit origin tale that doubles as a bedtime story. Baby ptarmigan pleads for a bedtime story from his grandma, who finally tells one complete with a playful tickling that so startles the restless little bird that it jumps up and flies away. Whimsically illustrated by Qin Leng it would be a fun tale to tell aloud or to delight independent readers. Check out other offerings from www.inhabitmedia.com, an Inuit-owned small press that offers authentic additions to the 398.2 sections of elementary, middle and high school library collections.
Great American Dust Bowl
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Brown, Don
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
August 10, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
A billowing maelstrom of dust clouds blasts the title across the cover, bending power lines and tilting a jalopy as if might tumble off the book. "Oh my God! Here it comes!” are the farmer's first words as humans and animals flee the blast. This dust-toned graphic novel focuses on the experience of one nameless family during the Black Sunday Monster Dust Storm of April 14, 1935. Don Brown's spare almost featureless faces capture the desperation of people in the face of in storms that dropped tons of dust as they blew across the plains. It provides a clear example of the rural distress and environmental disaster that swept the Oklahoma-Texas- Colorado-Arizona area during the Great Depression. It gives gritty meaning to the term "The Dirty Thirties.” Brown’s drawings carry the reader right through the worst of wind storms. He also provided relief and the end as faces turn skyward and arms stretch to greet the end of the drought, “When the rain came, it meant life itself. It meant a future.” This is a great example of non-fiction, graphic novel that can easily add to content area studies of American History.
Poem-Mobiles : Crazy Car Poems
SCHWARTZ & WADE [SCHWARTZ & WADE]
Lewis, J Patrick
Holmes, Jeremy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 10, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
The desired destination of these two delightful children's poets (J. Patrick Lewis and Douglas Florian) seems to be inspiring kids to cobble together their own wildly wacky rhyming poems about crazy cars. Jeremy Holmes does a delightful job illustrating the imaginative vehicles like an Eel-ectric Car, Dragonwagon or Balloon Car with a wacky flair reminiscent of Lane Smith. Perhaps it could be made to work as a poetry mini-lesson in the library or classroom, but my high regard for both poets notwithstanding, I'll admit that this one just passed me by.
GREEN BERETS
CORE LIBRARY [ABDO]
GITLIN, MARTIN
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 10, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This CORE Library title includes informational text, primary sources (2) with follow-up questions, prompts and activities to extend writing, reading and critical thinking, and text features such as charts, graphs, diagrams, timelines and map(a little hard to read). In 48 pages this Great Warriors series title highlights Green Berets, 12 men Operation Detachment Alpha teams, part of the US Army Special Forces. The four chapters are entitled Taking on the Taliban (post 9-11, Fall 2001, working with the Afghan rebels who opposed the Taliban), Planting the Seeds of Greatness (history of US special forces and evolution into Green Berets during the Kennedy era), Earning a Green Beret (the mental and physical skills and tests a trainee must pass during the five phases of training), and Green Berets in Battle (involvement in Iraq and becoming diplomats with the people they're there to help). Captioned photos extending the straightforward, instructive text. The last eight pages include the timeline, a Stop and Think section, 9-word glossary, further reading or research through the ABDO and mycorelibrary.com, plus a detailed index. Emphasis is on this force learning the language and culture to become trusted instructors and champions.
SAMURAI
CORE LIBRARY [ABDO]
HEPPERMAN, CHRISTINE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 10, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
See review of Green Berets by Martin Gitlin in same Great Warriors series . This title focuses on the Samurai of Japan from a mostly chronological perspective--702-1877. The first chapter demonstrates loyalty above all with the great warrior Kusunoki Masahige fighting for his embattled Emperor Go-Daigo until his death by sepuku in 1336. In the second chapter the change from a peasant foot-soldier army to a more modern horseback riding samurai from the noble class shows how this warrior class arose followed by other specific famous samurai. Their demise occurs when the reign of shoguns ends. It's a little choppy in the sense of moving from specific samurai and the masters they served, but provides good information. Though it's questionable how much students on their own will follow-up on the extended activities or thought questions posed this can serve as a teacher resource. Images reflect the art recording the times. Others in this series include Gladiators, Knights, Spartans, Vikings, Navy SEALS, and Ninjas.
NINJAS
CORE LIBRARY [ABDO]
MOONEY, CARLA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 10, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
For format see reviews of Samurai by Christine Heppermann and Green Berets by Martin Gitlin, both part of the Great Warriors, Core Library series by ABDO. Each other has seemingly reputable consultants checking their work. This would be a good title to compare with Samurai, two different warriors from Japan during similar time periods of unrest. After introducing the youngest and first ninja assassin from the 1330s, the book then chronicles the history of ninjas, secret and stealthy warriors from 940-1853. A helpful Venn diagram displays the differences between ninjas and samurai--their class background, their different codes of conduct and goals. The writing in Ninjas is more lively, perhaps due to the subject, but at times a bit repetitious. With less found on the subject, this should be a welcome addition to military history and martial arts that will be readily sought out by motivated intermediate readers.
What's On My Farm?
FIREFLY BOOKS [FIREFLY BOOKS]
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
August 11, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This very small, soft padded covered book has 160 pages depicting the structures and creatures found on a farm. The bright, colorful photos are crisp against a white background and all items have labels. So from windmills to hay, and apples to chickens, a toddler or preschooler can have fun pointing out these objects, plants and animals that make up a farm.
My Little Book Of Cars
FIREFLY BOOKS [FIREFLY BOOKS]
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
August 11, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This is an unusual small book, normally tending toward a board book. The padded, soft cover is appealing and the pages sturdy. What's different is that it's 160 pages! This random assortment of things related to cars and other vehicles has bright colorful photos of these items on a contrasting white background. The simple clean look is very attractive. Some pages have text--sentences with no capitalization or punctution (why not?). Others are either just labels or pictures by themselves. Obviously there are a multitude of vehicles, colors, and styles to look at, so it will be a very young child's treat to pore over. Motocycles, SUVs, snow digger, signs, a map, and buses are included. Old, new, yellow, red, police, school bus, engine, seat belt, foot pedal--the list goes on and will keep a child busy and maybe an adult to share with as well.
Ultimate Fighting : The Brains And Brawn Of Mixed Martial Ar
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Jones, Patrick
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 11, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
This will be a popular series for boys who are interested in the martial arts and wrestling. Ultimate Fighting is another term for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the competitive event of MMA fighters. In six chapters and 64 pages, the author explains the MMA from its roots in the Ancient Greek Olympics (pankration) to the present day pros and cons of this controversial sport. The greatest bouts are described in detail, as are the greatest competitors, and the greatest moments in the Octagon (MMA is not held in a ring). Every few pages there are photos (all captioned), both in black and white, and in color. Sidebars with useful information are sprinkled throughout. The glossary, index, source notes, and web sites lead the reader to extensions on the topic. This is an attractively printed book: the font of the main text is black, but on other pages the font is varied in color and size; some pages are black with white font and others the opposite. Subtitles are big and bold. Some women in the sport are featured. The reading level is high. I will purchase this book and series for my library.
MAIN EVENT : THE MOVES AND MUSCLE OF PRO WRESTLING
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
JONES, PATRICK
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 12, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
This book by Patrick Jones examines in depth the sport of professional wrestling in World Wrestling Entertainment, now known formally as WWE. Explanations of how the sport grew from the 1930s in the US to an international business and media spectacle today begin the book. Chapters are devoted to the greats in the sport, the controversies (including the question of whether children should be allowed to view), the celebrities who have been involved, and the most devastating moves in the ring. Photos and descriptions of the holds and smackdowns are graphic. The other features of this non-fiction text mirror the first book in this series, "Ultimate Fighting." I can see this book on the shelves of the public library. Children who are interested in WWE could find it by searching on the subject.
Best Mlb Hitters Of All Time
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Graves, Will
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 13, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
This is one book in the Major League Baseball's Best Ever series. Author Will Graves covers 14 players in depth (two pages of narrative and photos and one page of a photo and chart) and 10 more brief entries in the Honorable Mention section at the back of the book. Players such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Hank Aaron are featured in the main section (Pete Rose was even mentioned with a note of his exclusion from the Hall of Fame). Chapters are formatted for ease of reading: All main entries include a short biographical chart showing birthdate and place, height and weight, and some baseball statistics (MVP, teams, All-Stars); a photo or two of the player; and a sidebar. Graves is a sports writer for the Associated Press and his descriptions are lively and full of wonderfully rich baseball lingo. 64 pages includes all chapters, an index, glossary (not so useful), further reading, and web sites. No bibliography was included, although photo credits were cited. This series is one I will purchase for my library. Its format is easy to follow, the information is clearly laid out, and the vocabulary is not too difficult. I will book talk this series so that kids know it is on the shelf!
Healthy Snacks
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Reinke, Beth Bence
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 13, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Apples, grapes, mushrooms, nuts and strawberries are just a few of the healthy snacks depicted on the cover and mentioned in this Healthy Eating with MyPlate series’ book. Four chapters explain how fruits and vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy contain myriad choices for healthy snacks, but also warns eaters to beware of the junk foods masquerading as one of these snacks. Fruity candies and flavored drinks may have minimal real fruit or just fruit flavoring and are usually loaded with added sugars. Whole grains vs refined grains are described and refined grains are identified as the grain in junk food such as doughnuts, cookies and cupcakes. Directions are given for making “Rainbow Dippers” using cookie cutters and large multi-colored peppers. Much of the information is repeated in other books, making this a secondary purchase within the series. Standard non-fiction text features included.
Fit And Fun
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Bailey, Megan
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 13, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Did you know that Doctors recommend that “children and teenagers get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day” and adults at least 30 minutes? And all that exercise produces endorphins and may improve self-esteem and fight obesity. Aerobic and anaerobic activity are differentiated and sportsmanship and fitness buddies stressed. Different ideas for activities include yoga, bicycling, dancing and jumping rope as well as the more common sports. Unfortunately the hands-on activity is creating an art project - a collage of fitness activities rather than something fit and fun. While this is an important concept, no new information is provided in the text. Readers should be directed to the website links where colorful, kid friendly websites offer plenty of ideas for fitness. Standard non-fiction text features included.
Odd Squad : Zero Tolerance
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Fry, Michael
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 13, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Book Two in the series will leave fans of Diary of the Wimpy Kid eager for more of the zany, convoluted, middle school happenings. Nick, Karl and Molly have been friends on the Safety Patrol, united by their social “allergy to peers.” When new French student, Simone becomes close friends with Molly, jealousy and conflict erupt in a crazy plot to uncover her secrets and result in faked bullying, dreaded suspensions and hilarious misunderstandings. All comes to a head at the annual King Potatamus’s Egyptolopolis and Water Park field trip. Trapdoors, zip lines, costumes and chaos bring about a satisfying conclusion with humor and friendship perils well matched. Highly recommended for those students who have exhausted Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Big Nate, Dork Diaries and assorted other recently published humorous series.
Best Mlb Catchers Of All Time
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Smolka, Bo
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 15, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
For an in-depth review of this series, please see my review of Major League Baseball's Best Ever: The Best MLB Hitters of All Time. By far, this is the most exciting book in the series to read because it is about catchers (my favorite position to watch in baseball)! It is clear that Smolka relishes the catcher's tough role, too, by his word choices describing the plays. Both catching and batting feats are highlighted. Interesting to note: Roy Campanella was the first black catcher. He followed Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier. Those days must have been challenging both on the field and off.
Best Mlb Teams Of All Time
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Monnig, Alex
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 15, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
For an in-depth review of this series, please see my review of Major League Baseball's Best Ever: The Best MLB Hitters of All Time. Alex Monnig selects 14 of the best MLB teams to highlight (starting with the 1907 Chicago Cubs) based on how the teams performed during the regular season, and nine Honorable Mentions. Note: The Seattle Mariners made the Honorable Mention list for its 2001 accomplishment of winning all 116 games in the American League season!
Best Mlb Infielders Of All Time
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Monnig, Alex
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 15, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
For an in-depth review of this series, please see my review of Major League Baseball's Best Ever: The Best MLB Hitters of All Time. Again, a new author: Alex Monnig, a freelance journalist who has covered various sports around the world. Of note in this Infielders book: Jackie Robinson features in this book as the first African American player in 1947. Honus Wagner (started playing for the Louisville Colonels in 1897) to Derek Jeter (who will retire at the end of this season) are honored with many memorable players in between. Alex Rodriguez has a chapter dedicated to him and in it Rodriguez's use of steroids is mentioned.
Best Mlb Outfielders Of All Time
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Smolka, Bo
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 15, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
For an in-depth review of this series, please see my review of The Best MLB Hitters of All Time. This Best Outfielders book has a different author, Bo Smolka. He is a former sports copy editor and writes engagingly about baseball. One omission I noted was that of Yogi Berra, but I found that although he played outfield and catcher, he is mentioned only in the Catchers book of this series.
Atlas Of Animals
TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS [TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS]
Johnson, Jinny
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
August 15, 2014
Gleb, Heidi
Loosely organized by continent, this atlas fulfills the needs of many children--to learn about animals in far-off places through photographs, illustrations, and text. The pages in each section are bordered with a color different from other sections, making it easy for young readers to quickly find information about animals of one geographic area. Numerous close-up photos and drawings show details such as the stinger of a scorpion and the venomous spurs of the platypus. The small amount of information about each animal will not suffice for a report but will give enough facts to intrigue readers. The gore factor is low but readers will find a few photos to say "Ewww" and "Awesome!" with delighted smiles on their faces (I'm thinking of the drawing of an anaconda squeezing some sort of animal destined to be a meal and the wide-open mouths of the great white shark and the leopard seal.) It would be nice to have all creatures identified, particularly the blue spider on page six. Overall, a very worthy purchase. Easily useful for older readers who are reading below grade level or are learning English.
Kofi Kingston
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 16, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
32 pages of text and color photographs cover the glory of major World Wrestling Entertainment big-name wrestlers. The reading level is accessible to the third grade audience, but the pictures will entice even reluctant readers in older grades. While not biographies, these books explain a little about where the WWE wrestler was born, how he rose to fame, if and when he got married, and the signature moves on the mat that made him famous. Each page contains a color photo of not only the star of the book, but also of him facing off with other famous WWE legends. Students will enjoy the photos and detailed descriptions of the various wrestling moves that bring down opponents. The brutality of this sport is masked by the showmanship: fancy names, the championship belts, and the notoriety of the winners. There is no mention of the realities: the permanent injuries sustained, the payments these men receive, or the drug use. Glossary and index included, but no web sites, further reading or sources. A motif of shattered glass is used as background on many pages, lending a sense of violence. This series belongs on the shelves of public, not school, libraries.
Randy Orton
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 16, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
Please see my review of Pro Wrestling Superstars: Kofi Kingston.
Rock
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 16, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
Please see my review of Pro Wrestling Superstars: Kofi Kingston.
Triple H
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 16, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
Please see my review of Pro Wrestling Superstars: Kofi Kingston.
Undertaker
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 16, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
Please see my review of Pro Wrestling Superstars: Kofi Kingston.
Cm Punk
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 16, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
Please see my review of Pro Wrestling Superstars: Kofi Kingston.
Kindness For Weakness
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE]
Goodman, Shawn
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
August 16, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
If a boy is kind, then certain people mistake that for weakness. In the world James lives in, he is considered weak and that is a liability. He is a lonely teenager living amongst lowlifes and criminals and he wants something better for himself, to become a good man. How does he go from where he is now to where he wants to be? James decides to help his brother, Louis, by selling some drugs for him as a favor. Of course, James gets caught and is thrown into juvie. This place is tough, but there is a reading class that helps James stay on course. One of his loyal supporters on the outside is his English teacher from high school. James learns lessons about life through stories and these help him see that there is a light at the end of this tunnel. This is a dark story, but insightfully told by Shawn Goodman, who is a school psychologist. Kindness for Weakness would be a good read for a boy who is struggling to establish his identity in middle or high school. Due to language and violence, this book is suitable for grades 7+.
To Dare Mighty Things : The Life Of Theodore Roosevelt
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Rappaport, Doreen
Payne, C. F.
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
August 19, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Reknowned author Rappaport has a winner in this picture book biography about a bigger than life personality--Teddy Roosevelt. The cover illustration matches the size of the man, not in stature, but in presence, with his broad shoulders, large grin, squinted eyes, and distinctive spectacles. Through very accessible text the reader learns in very specific terms Teedie's life from his sickly childhood to his transformation at his father's life-changing advice--"You have the mind, but not the body. You must make your body." Teddy's zest for life and hard work take over building his strength and sending him from one mission to the next. A student will have a good idea of the powerful man he became with his energy, zeal, sorrow to overcome, courage, and in his undaunted attitude with what he thought best for the good of the whole. This man of action overcame many challenges and has a life worth reading about. Rappaport sprinkles large font quotations throughout, shortened for the intended audience, but maintains the essence of this president and hero. She shows the flaws as well as strengths of this complex man. The book concludes with a detailed timeline and bibliography. Excellent details throughout!
Philadelphia Phillies
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Kelley, K C
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 19, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
Written by K.C. Kelley, a baseball writer and announcer, this book on the Phillies follows the same format as the others in the Favorite Baseball Teams series. Please see my review of the Texas Rangers for more information.
New York Yankees
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Kelley, K C
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 19, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
K.C. Kelley tells all about the Yankees, which might have been difficult for him since he is a Red Sox fan! More of the same in this series as in all of the Favorite Baseball Teams books. Precious photos of the greats, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio, keep the legends alive. Please see my review of this series under the Texas Rangers.
St. Louis Cardinals
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Kelley, C
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 19, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
Who knew that the St. Louis Cardinals were called the Perfectos in 1899 and that the Cardinals have won 11 World Series games, second only to the New York Yankees? K.C. Kelley lends his animated style and enthusiasm for the sport in this book Favorite Baseball Teams series. Please see my review of the Texas Rangers for more information on this series.
Atlanta Braves
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Kelley, K C
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 19, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
The Atlanta Braves, one of the oldest baseball teams, were once known as the Boston Beaneaters! K.C. Kelley shares this and other interesting information about the Braves, including that their home stadium is Turner Field, which seats 50,000 fans, and was the site of the 1996 Summer Olympics. Read this and other facts in this baseball book on a team from the South. Please see my review of the Texas Rangers for a more in-depth review of this series.
Boston Red Sox
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Kelley, K C
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 19, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
Author Kelley writes about his favorite team, the Boston Red Sox, but to be fair he gave the team the same treatment that he offers in his other books on baseball. His description of Fenway Park may indicate a little sentimentality, but who could fault him for that? The photograph of the Boston Americans in 1903 is fantastic, not only for its portrayal of the players, but for the glimpse at the fans behind them. Please see my review of this series under the Texas Rangers.
Texas Rangers
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Monnig, Alex
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 19, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
Alex Monnig, freelance sports journalist, writes of the Texas Rangers, covering the barest highlights of the team. The format of this series is 32 pages, with every other page a photo or graphic, plus glossary, index, web sites (promised by the publisher to be maintained and updated), and a "find out more" section. Chapter titles include (true for the entire series): Go, (team name)! Who Are the (team name)?, Where They Came From, Where They Play, The Baseball Diamond, Big Days, Tough Days, Meet the Fans, Heroes Then, Heroes Now, Gearing Up, and Sports Stats. Text is half- to one-page long, so not in-depth information, but good for the young/reluctant reader. "The Baseball Diamond" and "Gearing Up" chapters contain the same information in each book, seemingly unnecessary page usage if readers look at the entire series. The Sports Stats section is meager. I wonder who decides which teams should be included in this series? Why are the Mariners not in here?! This series is aimed at young/reluctant readers, although older elementary students might pick up the books out of love for the game. Purchase price is eight books for $159.60, not bad for library bound books that will enjoy much use by baseball fans.
Julie Black Belt : The Belt Of Fire
IMMEDIUM [IMMEDIUM]
Chin, Oliver
Chua, Charlene
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 19, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
With its bright, action-packed cover in super hero style, this book will draw young readers in, especially those interested in martial arts. Julie's hero Brandy Wu stars in The Belt of Fire. Through this film and her own experiences with the new boy Brandon in her martial arts class, she learns that working together as allies rather than as adversaries brings out the best in both of them. Originally she and Brandon are self-conscious around each other and perform badly, but with the insight of their teacher (sifu) Mr. Fong's guest, Master Zhou, they learn to "Concentrate on improving yourself, and not on impressing others." Thus they are successful in earning their next belts plus a surprise gift from this wise woman that ties into the film The Belt of Fire. Girls, especially, may welcome a female protagonist in a kung fu book, but primary boys will most likely enjoy this story as well.
Cool Tessellations : Creative Activities That Make Math & Sc
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Hanson, Anders
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 19, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
While this book is quite attractively designed, students may need quite a bit of supervision unless visually and spatially gifted. Wonderful definitions and examples of the interlocking shapes that create tessellations initially prepare students for the increasingly complex designs. Three forms of tessellations, regular, semi-regular, and non-regular are shown as well as examples of how the shapes are put together. Four projects range from the simple to the complex, the regular to the non-regular and work up to 3-D tessellations. A page is devoted to M.C. Escher’s work and the facing page shows forms of symmetry that were used in many of his works. As with the other books in the series, math terms are separated from the other glossary terms and Abdo monitors web sites linked on their website. No other books are referenced.
I'm The Scariest Thing In The Jungle!
IMMEDIUM [IMMEDIUM]
Derrick, David
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 19, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
With wonderful and funny color illustrations this author/illustrator depicts the alligators and crocodiles, the two scariest creatures in the jungles of India. A young crocodile and young cub try to outdo each other to prove which is the scariest. As each adds on to its list of frightening traits starting with the crocodile's "tough armored skin, cold steely eyes" and near invisibility versus the tiger's stalking in the water, seeing in the dark and vanishing in grass, they get more and more adamant and exaggerated. The humorous illustrations grab the reader from the start, but information will be gained about the jungle animals as well including new ones mentioned such as sambar, gaur and chital. Guess who the truly scariest creatures in the jungle are? Their mothers! The endsheets provide added interest with their black, white and gray labeled illustrations of over 30 more animals.
Cool Paper Folding : Creative Activities That Make Math & Sc
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Hanson, Anders
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 19, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
The Checkerboard Cool Art with Math & Science series may be planned for 3-6th graders, but examine reviews of each book carefully. Some of the books involve projects requiring octopus like capacity to assemble and Paper Folding is one of them. The Ninja Star and Tetrahedron are simple enough for beginners but the Modular Cube and Complex Module made of squares and triangles require experience and skill to create. Basic geometric shapes and three-dimensional polyhedrons are described and pictured in both their 3D and 2D forms. The Pyramids, Colosseum and modern day brick paths and arches as a few real-life examples of the shapes by themselves or combined into modules. A Glossary of math terms is separated from the Glossary of other words and Abdo monitors web sites linked from their site. While intriguing, this is a secondary purchase unless you need to grow a craft or origami collection. No other books are referenced.
Justin Time : The Big Pet Story
IMMEDIUM [IMMEDIUM]
Scott, Brandon James
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
August 19, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Adapted from an episode of the Justin Time PBS Sprout and NBC Kids animated TV series, this picture book features Justin and his sidekick Squidgy, that looks a bit like Sponge Bob. Justin thinks it would be fun to have a pet, so they brainstorm several until Justin decides he wants the biggest pet in the world, an elephant. Thus he imagines himself as an Indian prince with his own palace, and suddenly they are both there greeted by their friend Olive. As the royal pet keeper for now Rajah Justin, she instructs him in how to take care of his new pet, Tiny, the pink elephant. Rules include needing lots of playtime, peanuts, cleaning up, naps, and exercise. Each proves problematic until it is extremely clear to Justin that having a pet is a lot more work than he'd realized. Olive solves the problem by introducing Tiny to the royal zoo with another elephant and a resident zookeeper. This is a pleasant story with entertaining illustrations that capture the animated style and the sense of India. I'd agree with Horn Book that "the retro-style art looks washed out" though children probably won't notice, especially if they're fans of this TV show. Previous print version of an episode is Justin Time: the Pancake Express. Pre-2
Cool Optical Illusions : Creative Activities That Make Math
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Hanson, Anders
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 19, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Optical illusions are a sure draw for the middle grades. Students seem fascinated in how their eyes and brain can be fooled by an image. This is a fabulous book for the simple way it explains and depicts how the brain interprets the shapes and categorizes with matching examples such illusions as afterimages, distortions, paradoxes and ambiguous images. Four projects lead students through the steps of creating their own illusions with simple materials, and an extension using computer software is shown. All four projects would be fun classroom math and art activities. Math terminology is defined as well as regular glossary words and the Abdo site links to monitored web sites. The gray and white cover may require a book talk to get students interested and no other books are recommended.
SCOTTISH DEERHOUNDS
CHECKERBOARD [ABDO]
GUNDERSON, MEGAN M
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 19, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This addition to the Checkerboard Animal Library Dogs Set X continues ABDO's extensive coverage of canines. In standard Checkerboard format the nine two-page chapters begin with an introduction to the Canidae family followed by the history of this large hunting dog, one of the oldest breeds dating back to the 1500 or 1600's. Originally this breed that's often mistaken for Irish wolfhounds, they could only be owned or bred by those ranking as earl or higher, which nearly led to their demise. Though still rare they are here to stay. As pets they are quiet and devoted, and these sight hounds excel at coursing events. They need large areas for running or exercise twice a day. The lively text continues with coat and color, size, care, feeding, puppies, and tips for buying such a pet. The 24 pages ends with a glossary, the ABDO website and a decent index. The clear photos have captions that extend the text. Others in this Dogs Set X include French Bulldogs, Australian Shepherds, Bull Terriers, Rottweilers and Whippets. If a library needs a book on this breed this would be a very good choice.
Mighty Maximilian : Samuel Clemens's Traveling Companion
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Horender, Philip
Wolek, Guy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 19, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Time traveler, Maximilian P. Mouse, finds himself aboard the paddleboat, Mississippi Belle, on her final journey. Aboard is Samuel Clemens as well as a talking giant bullfrog, Bogart T. Bullfrog and through Maximilian and Bogie’s conversation readers learn pertinent information about river travel down to New Orleans, Cajun life and fragments of Mark Twain’s writing. Academic vocabulary words highlighted in this 4th book include: doctrine, eavesdrop, fugitive, haven, hydraulics and kerosene. The underlying series plot is only alluded to and readers may want to start with the first book in order to understand Maximilian's drive to return home. Common Core Standards emphasize academic vocabulary and these books could provide a read-aloud introduction to social studies units providing background knowledge as well.
AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERDS
CHECKERBOARD [ABDO]
GUNDERSON, MEGAN M
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 19, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This addition to the Checkerboard Animal Library Dogs Set X continues ABDO's extensive coverage of canines. In standard Checkerboard format the nine two-page chapters begin with an introduction to the Canidae family followed by the history of this herding dog that is thought not to have come from Australia. Though originally "expert farm and ranch dogs" they have many added jobs such a being guide dogs, therapy dogs, drug sniffers, and help in search and rescue. As pets they need lots of exercise since they love to work, run and play. The lively text continues with coat and color, size, care, feeding, puppies, and tips for buying such a pet. The 24 pages ends with a glossary, the ABDO website and a decent index. The clear photos have captions that extend the text. Others in this set include French Bulldogs, Scottish Deerhounds, Bull Terriers, Rottweilers and Whippets. If a library needs a book on this breed this would be a very good choice.
Yankee Mouse : Gettysburg Address Observer
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Horender, Philip M
Wolek, Guy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 19, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Farmer Tanner has sold his farm to developers, threatening Maximilian’s family oak tree home and Maximilian uses a time machine to go back just a few weeks to prevent the sale. But something goes wrong and he finds himself far back in time, during critical historical events. In the 2nd book, Maximilian lands in Gettysburg one day prior to Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address. He spies on Lincoln as he is writing the speech and accompanies him to the battlefield where he describes the ceremony as well as the horrific stench of decaying bodies, blood and flies swarming on the skeletal remains of horses. Side plots in each book involve interactions with other friendly animal residents, one that will end up providing a just-in-time rescue. Historically related vocabulary words such as enthrall, canteen, memento, and consecrate, are bold in the text and defined in the glossary. Common Core Standards emphasize academic vocabulary and these books could provide a read-aloud introduction to social studies units providing background knowledge as well.
F-16 FIGHTING FALCON
ABDO & Daughters [ABDO & Daughters]
HAMILTON, JOHN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 19, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Full-page photographs depicting the aircraft in a variety of settings set the background for the text and fact boxes in the 32-page library bound books in the Military Aircraft series. Text is brief but packed with description of the attributes of the craft, focusing on its purpose and design. Red banners highlighted by a white star contain XTREME FACTs with facts such as the F-16 can fly at Mach 2, about 1,500 miles per hour. Each two-page spread focuses on one aspect of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, history, engines, and weapon capacity, two chapters differentiating between the Air-to-Air and Air-to-Ground missions, and a page of Specifications. Photograph labels would help readers connect the details in the text with the actual aircraft. This reviewer was stymied when trying to locate the 11 hardpoints where weapons attach on the strikingly clear photograph of the underbelly of the Falcon. The photographs in the series will appeal to your military book readers of a large age span, but the vocabulary targets upper elementary.
The Year of the Horse
IMMEDIUM [IMMEDIUM]
Chin, Oliver
Wood, Jennifer
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 19, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
One of the Tales from the Chinese Zodiac series, this 34-page picture book begins with a page introducing the 12 animals & their symbols, and ends with the years of the horse since 1918, characteristics of people born in those years, and a last page of the same zodiac creatures. The story follows a young horse named Hannah and her new human friend Tom, a student of painting teacher Lao Shi. Each of Hannah's relatives has a different role--draft horse, show horse, racehorse, and she wonders what she'll become. When the royal messenger delivers a request from the Governor for a new painting from elderly Lao Shi she agonizes over how to get it to him so far away. Tom volunteers to take it with transport from Hannah, and after training together, successfully delivers the artwork. Everyone is proud of this duo, and they are rewarded with Lao Shin's painting--the Chinese symbol for the horse. The story itself is rather mundane and contrived (having the painting teacher and student at the barn), the text uninspiring despite its attempt to inspire i.e. "Trust in each other and move as one." or "I'll do my best, just like you taught me.", and the painting for the Governor seems too simple. The cartoon illustrations are quite cute.
West Highland White Terriers
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Petrie, Kristin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 19, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This addition to the Checkerboard Animal Library Dogs Set XI continues ABDO's extensive coverage of canines. Petrie, a prolific writer of children's nonfiction, keeps up her top quality writing in this standard format Checkerboard title. The nine two-page chapters begins with an introduction to the Canidae family followed by the breeding of this hunting dog by a Scottish family, who wanted a white terrier that would not be mistaken for a fox in a hunt. Westies were used to dig and control rats, fox and otters. As pets they are very trainable and can learn not to bark. The text concludes with coat and color, size, care, feeding, puppies, and tips for buying such a pet. The 24 pages ends with a glossary, the ABDO website and a decent index. The clear photos have captions that extend the text. Others in this set include Affenpinschers, Cesky Terriers, Doberman Pinschers, Alaskan Malamutes, & Xoloitzcuintli. If a library needs a book on this breed this would be a good choice.
Doberman Pinschers
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Petrie, Kristin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 19, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This addition to the Checkerboard Animal Library Dogs Set XI continues ABDO's extensive coverage of canines. Petrie, a prolific writer of children's nonfiction, keeps up her top quality writing in this standard format Checkerboard title. The nine two-page chapters begins with an introduction to the Canidae family followed by the breeding of this working dog by a German tax collector, who wanted a working dog to protect him, in the late 1800's. He experimented with Rottwilers, terriers and German pinschers to create this intelligent, energetic, guard dog. They have been used by the military, and as therapy dogs or seizure dogs. The text concludes with care, feeding, puppies, and tips for buying such a pet. The 24 pages ends with a glossary, the ABDO website and a decent index. The clear photos have captions that extend the text. Others in this set include Affenpinschers, Cesky Terriers, West Highland White Terriers, Alaskan Malamutes, & Xoloitzcuintli. If a library needs a book on this breed this would be a good choice.
Alaskan Malamutes
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Petrie, Kristin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 19, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This addition to the Checkerboard Animal Library Dogs Set XI continues ABDO's extensive coverage of canines. Petrie, a prolific writer of children's nonfiction, keeps up her top quality writing in this standard format Checkerboard title. The nine two-page chapters begins with an introduction to the Canidae family followed by the development of this working dog by an Inuit tribe, the Mahlemuts, in the 1800's. This affectionate breed has a wide range of colors with unique faces. They have great strength, endurance and loyalty, and need lots of exercise and attention. The text concludes with feeding, puppies, and tips for buying such a pet. The 24 pages ends with a glossary, the ABDO website and a decent index. Others in this set include Affenpinschers, Cesky Terriers, West Highland White Terriers, Doberman Pinschers, & Xoloitzcuintli. If a library doesn't have enough dog books this would be a good choice.
BUILD IT : INVENT NEW STRUCTURES AND CONTRAPTIONS
FACT FINDERS [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
ENZ, TAMMY
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 19, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
An eye-catching cover is matched by equally interesting content and belongs in every library that values STEM activities. The premise is that inventors use a six-step process for inventing: Problem (to be solved), Principle (such as forces or pulleys), Ideas (of how to solve the problem), Plan (supply list), Create, and Improve (evaluation). Eight projects follow this format, stating a problem and providing a recipe to solve it. Interspersed with the projects are tidbits of information about attributes common to the inventing process including: patience, success from failure, and developing specialized skills and examples of inventors and their inventions. Problems include: how do you open & close your door without getting out of bed (pulley), quickly sorting your coins (classification), and how to pick up the street garbage without touching it (hinges). Steps are clearly depicted by photographs of real kids with matching text and in a numbered sequence. The website selection on Fact Hound is excellent, perhaps because the author is a civil engineer. A stellar book to add to your collection and to encourage teachers to use as well.
THANKS, NASA!
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
GREVE, TOM
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 19, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
As the era of space exploration and travel moves from strictly government controlled to more private and commercial participation, Rourke’s, Thanks NASA, provides an overview of the American space program from its origins in the Cold War era. Well-chosen photographs complement the description of how NASA, the military and scientists worked together from the late 1950’s until the first landing on the moon. But the main thrust is how the country’s push to put “man on the moon” opened up an entirely new perspective on Planet Earth. Photographs of our blue planet, floating alone in space, led to the first Earth Day held in the spring of 1970, less than a year following the first moonwalk. Photographs, diagrams, text boxes, inset boxes with more detailed information, and charts, accompany the information about the first astronauts through the accomplishments and tragedies of the shuttle era. Brief mention is made of the International Space Station and ways military and space technology have contributed to modern day technologies. This is an excellent book for any elementary library and provides a solid introduction to middle schools students as well.
F-16 FIGHTING FALCON
ABDO & Daughters [ABDO & Daughters]
HAMILTON, JOHN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 19, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Full-page photographs depicting the aircraft in a variety of settings set the background for the text and fact boxes in the 32-page library bound books in the Military Aircraft series. Text is brief but packed with description of the attributes of the craft, focusing on its purpose and design. Red banners highlighted by a white star contain XTREME FACTs with facts such as the F-16 can fly at Mach 2, about 1,500 miles per hour. Each two-page spread focuses on one aspect of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, history, engines, and weapon capacity, two chapters differentiating between the Air-to-Air and Air-to-Ground missions, and a page of Specifications. Photograph labels would help readers connect the details in the text with the actual aircraft. This reviewer was stymied when trying to locate the 11 hardpoints where weapons attach on the strikingly clear photograph of the underbelly of the Falcon. The photographs in the series will appeal to your military book readers of a large age span, but the vocabulary targets upper elementary.
UAVS : UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES
ABDO & Daughters [ABDO & Daughters]
HAMILTON, JOHN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 19, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
UAVs or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have been widely used in recent wars and are controversial both in their military and civilian use. Although UAVs were invented almost simultaneously with planes, words such as Predator and drones are part of a common vernacular that students will be hearing more and more frequently. Chapters focus on a description and history of UAV’s followed by a focus on 5 specific drones currently in use and future possibilities. Text is brief but packed with description of the attributes of the craft, focusing on purpose and design. Red banners highlighted by a white star contain XTREME FACTs with facts such as the “Global Hawk will eventually replace the manned U2 spy plane.” Each of the 5 UAVs chapters includes a page of Specifications and could be used for a high interest comparison activity. Standard non-fiction text features are included with a bonus of extended definitions of some of the glossary words. ABDO monitors and updates web sites on their Book Links page at www.abdopublishing.com.
SPORTS CARS
A&D XTREME [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
HAMILTON, JOHN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 19, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
32 pages of the most famous sports cars should excite plenty of readers. For the uninitiated, Sports Cars are described as small, sitting low to the ground, and lightweight, with powerful engines. They should be fun to drive and look “cool” and have inspired designers from the earliest days of Model T Fords. Diagrams of different car layouts show how the placement of the engine, driveshaft, and transmission impact speed, acceleration, braking and handling. The Stutz Bearcat traveled in 1915 from San Diego to NY City in 11 days, capturing the country’s imagination. Photographs of many of the best know sports cars from companies such as Ferrari, Porsche, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Lamborghini, Bugatti and McLaren are depicted, highlighting their slick designs. Brief biographical details are given for Enzo Ferrari and Ferdinand Porsche along with a description of sports car and rally racing. Most of the cars depicted have a few sentences devoted to facts about the car or it’s significance with added details in Xtreme Fact banners. Details are spare though and serious fans will need to search elsewhere for more information.
YOU WOULDN'T WANT TO BE A CIVIL WAR SOLDIER!
FRANKLIN WATTS [HACHETTE CHILDREN'S BOOKS]
RATLIFF, THOMAS
ANTRAM, DAVID
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 19, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
From the end papers to the text, "You Wouldn’t want to be" books thoroughly entertain while weaving humor with factual information. A timeline of the Civil War and description of the 10 bloodiest battles are found on the endpapers as well as a map of the major battles and women who were involved in the war. Seen through the eyes of a Connecticut farmer who enlisted in the infantry, readers will view what life was like, and the battles soldiers endured. Life as a Union soldier was compared with the Confederate army soldier and information about life in the Navy, weapons and what happened when wounded. The fast moving text is accompanied by hilarious illustrations, diagrams, handy hints and speech bubbles. A Glossary and index are present but no further references.
AH-64D APACHE LONGBOW
ABDO & Daughters [ABDO & Daughters]
HAMILTON, JOHN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 19, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Full-page photographs depicting the aircraft in a variety of settings set the background for the text and fact boxes in the 32-page library bound books in the Military Aircraft series. Text is brief but packed with description of the attributes of the craft, focusing on its purpose and design. Red banners highlighted by a white star contain XTREME FACTs with facts such as the US Army has about 800 Apache Longbow’s in service. Each two-page spread focuses on one aspect of the Longbow, such as their missions, engines, or weapon capacity and also includes a page of Specifications. Standard non-fiction text features are included with a bonus of extended definitions of some of the glossary words. ABDO monitors and updates web sites on their Book Links page at www.abdopublishing.com. The photographs in the series will appeal to your military book readers of a large age span, but the vocabulary targets upper elementary.
RICK RIORDAN
CHECKERBOARD [ABDO]
WHEELER, JILL C
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 19, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Checkerboard series span a wide range of ages, providing basic information for the younger students and background information for the older ones. In the Author biographies, information focuses on childhood facts, interests, and activities that presage the author’s development as a writer and highlights the steps leading to becoming a published author. Rick Riordan followed in his parent’s footsteps becoming an English teacher. One creative project he assigned students was to create a “demigod” hero and a heroic quest for the character. When Riordan’s son Haley was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD, he used that assignment to create a bedtime story about a boy discovering he was a son of Poseidon. After writing it down, Riordan’s students gave him feedback on his manuscript, including changing the title to The Lightning Thief. Photographs are from college age and older, missing an opportunity for the readers to imagine themselves as future successful authors. Standard non-fiction text features include a link to monitored web sites. While the series is formulaic in the writing, the appeal to students wanting to know more about their favorite authors may make these popular in a biography unit.
Four Seasons Of Patrick
RED DEER PRESS [RED DEER PRESS]
Hughes, Susan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 20, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
Four seasons, one year with nine year old Patrick includes his father's new friend and her seven-year-old daughter Claire. Ugh, girls. Patrick still misses his mom, remembering her with "her star" shining on a snowy night. To get away from it all, he and his buddy Harry build a cool tree house. As the summer ends and his father announces his plans to marry again, Patrick has adjusted somewhat to the changes in his life and decides to invite Claire to join them in the treehouse. Simple, wholesome, thoughtful slender Canadian fiction for independent readers.
Escape
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Lasky, Kathryn
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 20, 2014
Tucker, Merrilyn
Lasky's interest in the history of equines on the Central and North American continent inspired her to write this fiction about the first horses in the New World in the early 1500s. Actually, they were not the first horses, since those had been on the continent 12,000 years before, but had disappeared. This story begins with a ship headed to the New World; it is filled with men who are searching for gold, their provisions, and their horses which hang in slings. When the ship is about to sink in a storm, the men throw all unnecessary weight overboard, including most of the horses. Estrella, a colt who was born on board, loses her mother in this swimming escape, but remembers her saying that she is of "the horse of the dawn" family and that she should lead the other horses to the sweet grass. The horses are all older than Estrella and not all want to follow her since she is so young. As Estrella leads the horses, they face trials and tribulations including being captured by men, fighting amongst the horses, running into predators, and weathering storms and fires. For every child who loves (talking) horses or any other animal this will be the beginning of a new, exciting saga.
TREEHOUSE HEROES : THE FORGOTTEN BEAST
IMMEDIUM [IMMEDIUM]
AMARA, PHIL
CHAU, ALINA
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 20, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
The magical artwork will draw readers in to this lusciously illustrated tale. The story focuses on possibly the last Zez, a magical creature from a far-east land, that is near extinction as forests have fallen, rivers dried up, and humans multiplied. Looking for a new unspoiled home she discovers the Treehouse Heroes--five children, each with different gifts (invisibility, shape changing, wind blowing, speed and strength) and their wise teacher. The Zez learns that General Moon, once a man but changed by his enchanted armor, has conquered all of the villages and driven out all of the Zez, leaving the towns in ruins. The Zez's magic can help nature bloom again, but that's only part of the solution. When the Zez is captured by General Moon's men, the Treehouse Heroes track her to a tower in a rusted out town. Using their different powers, they rescue her and release the general from his armor causing him to disappear into smoke. The Zez, given back her freedom, continues her search leaving the village to do their part to resurrect their town. Children may enjoy this adventure and magical creature, but also get the point of personal responsibility for the environment. The text is choppy, but the artwork will carry it.
A Brave New Mouse: Ellis Island Approved Immigrant
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
Horender, Philip M
WOLEK, GUY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 20, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Maximilian P. Mouse’s time machine lands on a boat in the Atlantic Ocean carrying the “huddled masses” as they are referred to later when passing the Statue of Liberty. When befriended by a young Irish lass, Maximilian P. Mouse accompanies her on the boat and learns of the physical conditions and emotions of the immigrants, what it's like to land on Ellis Island and the steps of immigration including medical checks and other government questions before the immigrants can successfully walk on American soil. The underlying series plot is only alluded to and readers may want to start with the first book to fully comprehend Maximillian's quest to return home. Common Core Standards emphasize academic vocabulary and these books could provide a read-aloud introduction to social studies units providing background knowledge as well. Academic language highlighted in this 5th book includes: turbulence, quarantine, downtrodden, pauper and cubicle.
Mysterious Traveler
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Peet, Mal
Lynch, P. J.
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
August 21, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
One fateful day Issa could sense a distant storm and knew that someone, somewhere in the empty spaces of the caravan routes needed his help. Travelling alone for hours with his donkey he finds an baby girl miraculously tucked behind a storm drifted camel. Carrying her home to be his granddaughter, he names her Miriama. In time she grows to learn everything that Issa knows of the desert and as blindness overcomes the old man, she learns to use words to show the old man things he can no longer see. When later three strangers who come urgently seeking guides to lead them through a perilous journey to save them six precious days from the regular route around the Bitter Mountains. When they scorn being led by a blind old man, another rescue journey ensues that leads to a surprising and satisfying outcome. Evocatively illustrated with watercolors, The Mysterious Traveler will reward readers and listeners who take time to consider this timeless tale from Saharan Africa.
Rosh Hashanah
Buddy Books/abdo [Buddy Books/abdo]
Murray, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 21, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This is a straight forward introduction to the Jewish holiday beginning their new year, also known as the Day of Judgment or Day of Remembrance. It starts the 10-day period Days of Awe in September or October. The history, language, purpose, traditions, and foods are described and concludes with Yom Kippur, the last of the Days of Awe. Desired text features include table of contents, captions that extend the text, clear color photos, glossary, ABDO website, and index. Others in ABDO’s Buddy Books Holiday series are Day of the Dead, Diwali, Earth Day, Groundhog Day, and Mardi Gras.
Groundhog Day
Buddy Books/abdo [Buddy Books/abdo]
Murray, Julie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 21, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Usually I’m a fan of Julie Murray. In this one of ABDO’s Buddy Books Holiday series there is good information, but also questions left unanswered. Granted it’s a transitional reader style book with large font and decent paragraphs. Interesting background is provided on the origins of this February celebration related to Celts, Christians, Candlemas and the hoped for spring in an agrarian culture of the Middle Ages. German immigrants first brought the tradition to Pennsylvania and the now famous Punxsutawney with its Phil and the albino Wiarton Willie in Canada. What’s not explained is why seeing a shadow or not predicts the coming spring. Facts are included about groundhogs, the seasons with a diagram of the earth’s cycle, and maps of Pennsylvania and Ontario. Desired text features include table of contents, clear color photos, captions that extend the text, glossary, ABDO website, and index. Others in this series are Day of the Dead, Diwali, Earth Day, Mardi Gras, and Rosh Hashanah.
Mardi Gras
ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
MURRAY, JULIE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 21, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This title in ABDO’s Buddy Books Holiday series sheds light on the history and traditions of Mardi Gras, the celebration that takes place the day before the restrictions of Lent begin. Emphasis is placed on the celebration style that’s developed in New Orleans with its parades planned by different krewes (a new term to this reviewer), the throws, and king cake. The final chapter describes Carnival, celebrated at the same time in other parts of the world. Desired text features include table of contents, clear color photos, captions that extend the text, map, glossary, ABDO website, and index. Others in this series are Day of the Dead, Diwali, Earth Day, Groundhog Day, and Rosh Hashanah.
Cool Flexagon Art : Creative Activities That Make Math & Sci
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Hanson, Anders
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 23, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Math and science concepts are central to the art projects described in this series from Abdo. This volume presents flexagons, which are 2- or 3-dimensional toys made of folded paper with hidden parts that are revealed when the paper is flexed. After a brief explanation of polygon basics plus some folding tips, step-by-step directions with photographs guide you through the process of making a hexa-tetra and then a hexa-hexa flexagon. Before proceeding to the next project, a polyhedral flexagon, the authors insert a very basic explanation of 3-d geometry. After the transformer star, which is the fourth and final construct, a list of math terms, a glossary, the website, and an index are provided. Incorporating math into the book is an admirable idea, but their presentation is not particularly engaging, so most kids are apt to skip right to the projects. Regardless of the complexity or length of each project, each was made to fit on a two page spread, which is not enough in some cases. While origami lovers are likely to enjoy the challenges presented in this book, others will find them more frustrating than fun.
Wyatt Burp Rides Again
HARCOURT BRACE JOVANOVICH [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Trine, Greg
Dormer, Frank W.
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 23, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Jo Schmo, fourth grader superhero, is itching for some crime to fight and when she hears of Wyatt Earp, whose burps once blew off the doors to the bank, she knows she needs to go back in time and capture him. Along with her side-kick super hero dog, Raymond, they build the machine and return to Earp’s time. A ludicrous chase starts as Wyatt Earp insisting that a mini-vampire is chasing them, commandeers a sailing vessel, and hands his men scarfs for protection. After a few burps to power the boat and a few burps to fend off the duo, the gang is subdued by Jo Shmo’s flying powers and deposited in jail. A parallel plot with two mean girl classmates presages the next book in the series. Jo Schmo books are part of a growing cadre of middle-grade humorous series full of puns, bathroom humor, exaggeratedly stereotyped characters, comic-like illustrations that tell sizable chunks of the story. Most elementary libraries are finding a need to add some of these series to their collections. Jo Schmo books are written at the Magic Tree House books’ level.
Zeke Meeks Vs The Super Stressful Talent Show
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Green, D L
Alves, Josh
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 23, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Third-grader Zeke Meeks stars in a growing number of middle-grade, humorous books appealing to the readers at the Magic Tree House level but want to read Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. Cartoonish illustrations on every two-page spread, larger font with larger amounts of whitespace, and a plot where the misunderstood character comes out on top describes many of these series. Many of the Capstone imprints include many pages of supplementary material with activities, significant text-related question for discussion groups and in the Zeek books, a more extensive glossary. Zeek needs to find a talent for his class talent show, especially when Aaron’s cousin Brassy, winner of the America’s Next Superstar cousin agrees to attend the show and give advice to one lucky participant. The show contains one disaster after another as it becomes increasingly obvious that Brassy is mean and condescending. By the time she announces that Zeek had the best act, he and others publicly rebuffed her, learning the lesson that you can’t believe everything you see on TV. A good series to recommend to your younger boy readers.
Smart Research Strategies : Finding The Right Sources
Fact Finders/capstone Press [Fact Finders/capstone Press]
Asselin, Kristine Carlso
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 23, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Are books on strategies for researching needed? Absolutely. Is this how most students will learn about the research process? No! Written for Intermediate level elementary students, Smart Research Strategies will be used most effectively by skilled teachers and librarians when the student is ready for that part of the process. This book assumes students have a topic, a list of questions and a brief outline and are ready to find information. Differences between Primary and Secondary resources, databases and website searches, using Boolean or advanced search techniques, and determining the credibility of the information are covered. The research examples mentioned all focus on gathering and reporting information but don’t take the next step of using this information to make decisions or solve problems. CCSS, AASL and Technology standards all emphasize the need to use information in ways other than just repeating in a report. Other books in the series cover organization of information, avoiding plagiarism and sharing the information. Stock photographs match but do not add to the text. Standard non-fiction text features included.
Christmas In France
First Facts/capstone Press [First Facts/capstone Press]
Manning, Jack
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 23, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Christmas in France examines how Christmas is celebrated in different countries with short chapters about gift-giving traditions, Christmas story, decorations, food and symbols. The series includes eight countries but six of them are in Europe with the other two in Mexico and the Philippines. Large photographs face the text but neither are kid friendly. A hands-on activity uses construction paper to “Make A King.” These books could stimulate conversations about holiday traditions or used for compare and contrast activities, particularly in Christian schools. While anything with a Christmas sticker on the side will be checked out, this is certainly a secondary purchase for most schools.
Dance Team Dilemma
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Maddox, Jake
Wood, Katie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 23, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Best friends, Hannah & Caitlin, work hard before the dance team tryouts at their Junior High. Everything seems to come naturally to Caitlin, but Hannah struggles. Fortunately both girls make the team and want to try out for the solos when the competition is announced, but Hannah still struggles. Friendship challenges loom when Caitlin wants to hang out with a special boy, while Hannah knows she has to work hard. The inevitable happens with Hannah earning a solo and a resolution to their friendship troubles. Characters in the Jake Maddox books encounter personal and moral choices in sports books, survival situations and friendship issues. Right wins whether or not it is the main character or another that makes a bad choice. With girl and boy main characters, these books are checked out by a range of students. The plots make them a hit with struggling and resistant readers as well as younger readers eager for more action. This books is rated: GRL - N and RL 3.4. Supplementary activities, discussion group questions, writing prompts and additional information are included and a publisher website features other activities.
Concussions In Sports
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Hudson, Maryann
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 23, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Hudson, an investigative sports reporter for the LA Times, tackles an important issue—the implications of concussions as sports injuries—in 64 pages of small text geared toward secondary students. This is an excellent introduction that is very readable and well documented. Readers should have a new appreciation for the fragility of the brain and why it needs protecting from bumps, blows or direct or repetitive hits. Necessary scientific and medical terms are used and explained including traumatic brain injury, second-impact syndrome, and post-concussion syndrome. This affects the culture of sports as it takes the research seriously and the impact of professional sports models on impressionable young fans. Education of coaches, trainers, players, and teammates, plus prevention, and invention of safer equipment are also covered. Statistics provided on boy, girls & numbers of reported incidents in different sports. Part of ABDO’s Sports Zone this Issues in Sports title is joined by Equality in Sports, High-Pressure Youth Sports, Injuries in Sports, Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports, and Violence in Sports. Includes questions, glossary, detailed bibliography and index. I’m not sure what kid will write a paragraph or blog.
Battles Of Lexington And Concord
ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
Hamilton, John
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 23, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
If a straightforward account of the two battles that marked the beginning of the Revolutionary War is needed, this is a very clear account geared to upper elementary or middle school. The 32 pages begins with the first shot, still unknown as to who fired first, in Lexington, Massachusetts. This was the culmination of years of frustration over unfair taxation and rules imposed by a very unpopular King George III, and gave a mission to the militia that had been secretly forming throughout the colonies. Using both reenactment photos and historical images, the key players on both sides, and key parts to this particular 3-day chain of events are very clearly mapped out for the reader. Interesting and appropriate watery background photos enrich the presentation. All desired text features are included—table of contents, adequate captions, map, glossary, and index. ABDO Daughter’s Great Battles series, that seems to be consistently good, also includes Battle of Gettysburg, Battle of Hastings, Battle of Little Bighorn, Battle of Normandy, and Battle of Waterloo. No bibliography is provided at the back though on the verso ABDO Booklinks is described for learning more about these battles.
Battle Of Normandy
ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
Hamilton, John
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 23, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
On the first page Hamilton provides a succinct and lively introduction that sums up World War II leading into the invasion of Normandy, France, which is supplemented by a dramatic map of Nazi occupied Europe and North Africa, plus a full page photo of US soldiers approaching Normandy on D-Day. Then he launches into Operation Overlord, the key players on both sides with quite honest assessments of each, the tactic and weapons, the air and sea assaults and Omaha Beach. He concludes with the reasons for the Allies’ success and how this most decisive battle of WWII in Western Europe led to the Axis’s ultimate defeat. All desired text features are included—table of contents, clear photos with captions, maps, glossary, and index. Bibliography is referred to on verso with ABDO’s Booklinks website. ABDO Daughter’s Great Battles series, that seems consistently good, includes Battle of Gettysburg, Battle of Hastings, Battle of Little Bighorn, Battle of Lexington and Concord, and Battle of Waterloo.
JUSTINE MCKEEN, WALK THE TALK
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
BROUWER, SIGMUND
Whamond, Dave
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 23, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Justine, the elementary school Queen of Green, has plenty of schemes to save the world, but unfortunately they sometimes backfire. Ideas just spontaneously bubble up and this time Justine knows she has a winner; starting a “walking” school bus to reduce CO2 emissions, and need for more oil drilling, as well as getting the kids to exercise. But where to find parents who will help “drive” the bus by walking in the front and another to walk in the back? When she fails to garner support, her friends tell her she’s bossy, doesn’t always tell the truth and talks a little too much. Justine is so distraught she rushes off sobbing. But, she has more friends than she knows and when 50 of them surprise her the following morning, carrying signs to drum up support, the walking bus plan is quickly assembled. Justine is a spunky character whose bright ideas create humorous situations as well as imparts a little information about environmental practices. Justine and other Orca Echo books fill a niche of shorter, realistic fiction for the students reading at a Magic Treehouse Level.
CITING SOURCES : LEARNING TO USE THE COPYRIGHT PAGE
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
RABBAT, SUZY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 23, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Colorful graphic design including photographs, digital drawings, and varied page layout, enliven a topic that is more often taught than read in a book. Key words including intellectual property, copyright, paraphrasing, and citation are defined in context, and through examples and in the glossary. Readers are directed to page 2 to find the copyright symbol and then told where to look for the copyright on a DVD and websites. Citations for the correct order of the information necessary to cite a book or website including how to shorten a very long URL are shown and then reinforced through an activity. Another activity asks readers to paraphrase the information in a short paragraph about brown bats as practice in avoiding copying directly from the source. The publisher estimates the reading level at O in the GRL scale but the recommended books and web sites can be used with a larger age span. While students will most likely not check this out on their own, teachers and librarians would find plenty of material to teach from. Both recommended websites are excellent. Other books in the series cover key information literacy concepts and if of similar quality would make could books to use in instruction.
How Can I Deal With Bullying? : A Book About Respect
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Donovan, Sandy
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 26, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
From the Show Your Character series that gives several examples of some tough problems and shows what you might do in each situation. Wise words of "treat others as you would like to be treated"; use good manners; don't hit; or use bad language. Encourages trying suggestions and seeking help from adults. Activities of "Unity Day" in October and taking a stand up to bullying pledge with an example to use are found in the book. Includes Glossary; websites; further recommended readings; Index. Library binding. Other books in the series deal with trustworthiness; responsibility; citizenship; caring; and fairness. Would be useful for teachers and counselors to use as well as students.
Trustworthiness
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
Raatma, Lucia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 27, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
A book on character education from 21st Century Junior Library gives examples of being trustworthy followed by questions to think about. Activities labeled with Look; Think; Make; Guess; Question; and Create are sprinkled through the book. Useful were the idea about creating a story about someone who isn't trustworthy and suggest what might happen to that person and how they might learn about being trustworthy. Or look at how others show that they are trustworthy and how you can be more like them. Useful as discussion starters for use by parents, teachers, or counselors. Library binding; Glossary; other books to read; suggested websites; Index. Other books in series : Bullying; Caring; Citizenship; Fairness; Respect; Responsibility; and Sportsmanship. Small, 8 x 8 inch size of the book limits the sharing to one-on-one or small group or use doc camera.
Christmas Tugboat : How The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tre
CLARION [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Matteson, George
Ransome, James E.
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 28, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
When in New York in December, the tradition is to go to Rockefeller Center to go ice skating and see the huge Christmas tree. Based on true experience and told from the viewpoint of the tugboat captain's daughter as she, her mom, and dad go up the Hudson river to bring back the giant Christmas tree for the Rockefeller Center. Excellent descriptive tale of their trip up and back with the barge loaded with a full-sized tractor trailer truck surrounded with huge red Christmas ornaments. They tie up for the evening at an unused pier and the next morning are met by TV helicopters, police boats, and then a tour boat loaded with school kids as they approach the final docking. As the truck is prepared for unloading a worker gives the daughter a souvenir - a little pine cone. Last page of the story shows the family with the decorated tree in the background. Notes from the authors, a real life tugboat captain and his wife, reveal that this is their personal story. Illustrations by award winning James Ransome succeeded in his goal to "capture both the chill of winter and the warm and cozy feeling of the family working together" through choice of colors. Wonderful story to share for Christmas.
Great Balloon Hullaballoo
ANDERSEN PRESS USA [ANDERSEN PRESS USA]
Bently, Peter
Matsuoka, Mei
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 28, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Simon the Squirrel is sent to the store to get TP, new pants for himself, and honey. Put most important is cheese for the dinner's pizza. As he goes off with his buddy, Rodney Raccoon, he decides they'll fly to the moon which "everybody knows that it's made out of cheese." Old Uncle Somerset's hot air balloon is their conveyance that experiences various mishaps that push them toward stops at the various planets - Mars, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto but he forgets the cheese which his buddies bring. Silly humor, rhyming text, illustrations by Mei Matsuoka use Eric Carle's favorite technique of hand-painted paper collage.
Little Pear Tree
Big Picture Press [Big Picture Press]
Williams, Rachel
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
August 28, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
A pear tree does not grow from a seed in winter to a full sized tree with fruit in the summer. This is NOT the life cycle of a pear tree as multiple years are not indicated. The choice of another plant that completes its life cycle in a single year would have been more appropriate. Whole idea of this book seems to show the seasons with color themes and 25 flaps to lift to uncover a picture with identifying word.
In New York
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Brown, Marc
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
August 28, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Marc Brown's love for New York City is shown in this history and informational tour of one of America's largest famous cities. Helpful to read before going to New York City or reminiscing after a visit. Places to go, things to do, and lots of trivia. End papers filled with sketches and notes. Delightful - I want to go again! Review can see why he wanted to live there and now does.
One Busy Day : A Story For Big Brothers And Sisters
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Schaefer, Lola M
Meserve, Jessica
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
August 28, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Mia wants to play with big brother, Spencer but he was too busy. So she did things on her own - painted, danced, explored, baked, built, swam, discover, climbed. As she worked on each, Spencer slowly began to join her until they were playing together. Two page spreads show real life activity with flip side of page revealing the fantasy version. (Looking in boxes to finding pirate treasure.) Beautiful book that shows siblings finally playing together when the younger is patient enough to wait for the other to join in their fun. Delightful illustrations capture the joy of childhood sharing. Having to wait for the page turn to see what the imagination has the two engaged in makes for a wonderful story time as listeners can predict what might be happening. Would be a great gift book.
Bears In The Bath
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Parenteau, Shirley
Walker, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
August 29, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Four little bears are grimy, dirty, muddy, and stinky. Time for a bath and the bath is ready but the bear cubs don't want a bath. After trying to get them scooped up, they wiggle away leaving big bear with smudges and smears from head to toe. So, he jumps into the tub. Soon he is joined by the cubs. Finally, all five bears are clean again. Acrylic illustrations in soft colors are very appealing. Wonderful book about taking a bath. Us R if needed. Excellent gift book.
I Love You, Too!
ANDERSEN PRESS USA [ANDERSEN PRESS USA]
Foreman, Michael
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
August 29, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Delightful and endearing bedtime story depicting a father who has just finished a bedtime story and is telling his son goodnight. "I love you" exchanges grow to "more than all the ..." by the son to the father bear's reply of "I love you more. Now go to sleep." Two page spreads detail each "more than" until father falls asleep on the bed and the son rereads the storybook. But wait! This might start a lengthy "good-night" session. Oh, what fun!
Chasing Cheetahs : The Race To Save Africa's Fastest Cat
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Montgomery, Sy
Bishop, Nic
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Cheetahs once roamed in many places around the world. Now, they are found in few. However, the work of scientist Laurie Marker has infused hope that these big cats will be able to survive in the modern world. Marker’s work takes place in Namibia at the Cheetah Conservation Fund. Namibia houses the largest population of wild cheetahs in the world and the organization focuses on the cheetah problem widely. Since 1990 they have rescued more than 900 cheetahs most of them later returned to the wild. Perhaps more importantly, they have worked with the local population to find ways to peacefully co-exist with the cheetah. They raise, train and sell dogs that will protect goat herds. They also work hard to educate children and adults about the importance of large carnivores in the ecosystem, and how a healthy wildlife can promote tourism to provide jobs. Finally, Marker and her team of scientists study the elusive animals themselves and their impact on the health of the local ecosystem. This is a hopeful book about the important roles that scientists fill as researchers, educators and problem solvers working to save the wild cheetahs. This is part of the excellent Scientists in the Field.
Jasmine And Maddie
Boyds Mills Press [Boyds Mills Press]
Pakkala, Christine
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Jasmine, after losing her father to cancer and running into trouble at school, is starting 8th grade at a new school and new town. Maddie has always been here, but when her best friend makes the elite soccer squad and she doesn’t she feels adrift. When the two girls find themselves in the same classes Jasmine finds herself jealous of Maddie’s big house and a moment that she witnessed out the school bus window of Maddie and her father. Maddie, on the other hand, sees how easily Jasmine seems to be accepted by the popular girls. It takes many misunderstandings, bravery and honesty on both the girls part and some really stupid choices about an emerald ring to finally make them realize that what you might see on the surface might not be the whole story, and that sometimes you need to listen and share. Readers of realistic friendship stories should enjoy this tale.
Every Body's Talking : What We Say Without Words
TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS [TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS]
Jackson, Donna M
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
What is body language? How do you read it? How can you make choices about your own body language to appear the way you would like to be seen? These are the main topics of this interesting non-fiction offering. Moving from a clear introduction to the topic, facial expressions, body language beyond the face, tips on spotting lies, cultural differences, and finally how purposeful use of body language can impact how others and you view yourself. Well researched, full of specifics, tips, and visuals that support understanding, this would be a good bet for report writers or readers interested in the topic. Teachers will also find valuable information to share with students about public speaking. Includes: source notes, a glossary, bibliography and books and websites to explore the topic in more depth, and an index.
Invasion Of The Ufonuts
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Keller, Laurie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Arnie the doughnut is concerned when his neighbor, Loretta Schmoretta, claims to have been abducted by alien doughnuts. Peezo, Arnie’s slice of pizza friend, accuses Arnie of being an alien doughnut and then disappears. At first, Arnie is just angry but then he grows worried and begins to search for his friend. That is when the alien doughnuts strike and Arnie is beamed up into their flying saucer. Expecting the worse, Arnie takes a long time to realize that A) the alien doughnuts are friendly, B) that Peezo has somehow landed the job of director of a movie, and C) that they want him to play a role in the film. It is only after Arnie and Peezo are safely home and the movie has premiered that Arnie is really certain that the alien doughnuts are friends. The second in Arnie’s chapter book series filled with entertaining pictures, comics and jokes, this title is a little more confusing than the first, but will be happily received by many young readers.
Gold Medal Winter
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Freitas, Donna
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
In this satisfying, but not surprising tale (read the title after all!), 16 year-old figure skater Esperaza (Espi) Flores is chosen to compete and ultimately win gold at the Olympic games. The story begins with Espi’s competition that clinches her spot on the Olympic Team and follows her through the final weeks of training and the games. Nicely intertwined with the skating story- drama and a bit of backstabbing included- is a mixture of supportive family, and solid friendships, with a little romance thrown in for good measure. This should be popular with young skaters, but also with elementary readers who want an “older” character.
What's Your Favorite Animal?
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Carle, Eric
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
August 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Fourteen children’s book illustrators answer the title question in this lovely book. In two page spreads each writes a short piece ranging from a few paragraphs to a few lines and then illustrates their page. The animals are diverse from cats, to carp to snails, and leopards. Teachers will embrace this book as a jump off for similar personal opinion pieces.
Snicker Of Magic
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Lloyd, Natalie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Felicity Pickle, her little sister, Frannie, and her mother arrive in her mother’s hometown of Midnight Gulch in the middle of her mother telling the story of how the town used to have magic. This magical past is reinforced by Felicity’s teacher who shares yet another story. When Jonah reaches out to befriend her, Felicity begins to agree the town does seem to have bits of magic, or a snicker of magic, as the locals say. Felicity tries not to get too attached because she knows that her mother is likely to load up the family and hit the road any time. When Felicity finds that her mother’s rolling stone habits might be due to a curse put on the family decades before, Felicity, with the support of Jonah and a cast of quirky townsfolk, works to discover how to break the spell, giving her mother peace of mind and the family a place to really call home. Hitting just the right mix of realistic characters and a snicker or two of magic this should be popular with many readers.
Miniature World Of Marvin And James
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Broach, Elise
Murphy, Kelly
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Using the winning character duo of James (boy) and Marvin (beetle) from her middle grade novel, Masterpiece, Broach introduces a beginning chapter book series with this title. James is going with his mother and brother to the beach for a week and Marvin is worried that he will be lonely and that James will forget him. When he finds himself bored mid-week Marvin decides to head off on an adventure with his cousin Elaine. Together they have a grad time exploring the electric pencil sharpener and jumping in the shavings until James father sits down to use it. Shaken and then trapped they must use their brains and beetle skills to free themselves. They do and the book ends with James returning happy to see Marvin once more. Short sentences large type, and plenty of charming illustrations this will be good for young readers wanting to stretch themselves. It also might work well for older struggling readers.
UNDER MY HAT : TALES FROM THE CAULDRON
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE CHILDREN'S BOOKS]
STRAHAN, JONATHAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
August 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Tales of witches abound in this fantasy anthology of short stories. Filled with well known authors such as Garth Nix, Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Jane Yolen and many others this anthology of 19 stories should have plenty to please magic and fantasy lovers. Some stories are set in imaginary settings, but others are firmly set in the here and now. Likewise, some stories have characters with classic literary witch traits but others show suprising and fresh insight on what it might be like to be a witch. Though several stories would fit well in an elementary school setting, other stories filled with casual references to sex, drugs and violence push this title to older audience.
Eye : How It Works
David Macaulay Studio [David Macaulay Studio]
Macaulay, David
Keenan, Sheila
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Making good use of a soccer game setting, Macaulay works through how eyes work using narrative non-fiction. Readers are introduced to parts of the eye, how the image moves through the eye to the brain, and how glasses (or contacts) work. Clear diagrams and dense but clear text make a complex topic approachable though young readers might need to slow down, study the diagrams and reread to understand parts. Unfortunately I need to give the book a yellow card because the young soccer players head the ball- something that is not encouraged or even allowed in many young soccer teams. Macaulay uses his trademark illustrations to enhance understanding and attraction in this more difficult easy reader. Part of the My Readers collection. Other titles by Macaulay in the series include: Castle, Jet Plane, and Toilet- something for everyone!
Into The West : Causes And Effects Of U.s. Westward Expansio
Fact Finders/capstone Press [Fact Finders/capstone Press]
Collins, Terry
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Focusing on the causes and effects of the Westward Movement works well as an organizing strategy for this short and approachable. Clearly organized into four chapters the first introduces the topic, the second lays out five specific causes of the movement, the third focuses on the trip itself and the final looks at four effects on the United States and its citizens. This would be a fine introduction and a good introduction to supporting claims with evidence. Period illustrations, and clear useful maps and diagrams support under standing. Included is a glossary, Read More section including Fact Hound Internet portal, three questions focusing on Common Core standards and a short index. Unfortunately there are no source notes for either ideas or illustration- if there had been I would have given this an R.
Every Last Drop : Bringing Clean Water Home
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Mulder, Michelle
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Human use of water is explored in this well written, engaging title. Mulder looks at the history of water use, problems associated with clean water around the world, the water cycle, the many ways water is purified, and innovative solutions from around the word to use water wisely. In short informative and often entertaining sections the large topic of water usage and issues surrounding it are made kid friendly and the book concludes with a list of possible ways that kids can get involved. This book is well set up for report use, but is interesting and engaging to capture browsing readers as well. Photos, clear captions, sidebars and fact boxes support understanding. Included are an extensive index and a resource page.
Information Graphics : Animal Kingdom
Big Picture Press [Big Picture Press]
Rogers, Simon
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
The eye-catching infographics about the animal world will draw readers into this book about the animal kingdom. Once there readers will need to slow down and work to understand the information presented. Those who do will be rewarded with interesting facts presented in ways that challenge careful thought, and comparisons on many pages. However, some pages read more like a scattering of interesting facts with stylish illustrations, and the organization is somewhat haphazard. Picking and choosing among the pages will reward readers with some gems of information that are well illustrated and organized to support deeper understanding. Other pages are merely interesting.
Plastic, Ahoy! : Investigating The Great Pacific Garbage Pat
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Newman, Patricia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
The great Pacific garbage patch, a mass of plastic bits collected in the north Pacific central gyre and its possible effects on the ecosystems of the ocean are presented in this interesting title. Following the journey of a research vessel and focusing on the work of three student scientists readers will gain an understanding of the scale and complexity of plastic pollution in the ocean. By highlighting three different research projects readers begin to see what different issues the plastic might be causing in the ocean. The book concludes with ideas on how young readers could work to help the problem of plastic pollution- many readers will appreciate this after reading about the sobering problem. Clear photographs, sidebars, diagrams and captions support understanding. Included are source notes, a glossary, book and Internet sources for further reading and an index.
Infestation! : Roaches, Bedbugs, Ants, And Other Insect Inva
Edge Books/capstone Press [Edge Books/capstone Press]
Reith, Sharon L
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 31, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Insects searching for food, water, and shelter, have been invading human homes for centuries. Cockroaches, ants, stinkbugs, and bedbugs are some of the worst offenders. The book profiles each of these invaders, explains how to use clues to find an infestation, and tells how to fight back by blocking access, using poison bait, vacuuming, and subjecting them to extreme temperatures. The completely colored pages, photographs, textboxes, and charts make this a visually interesting book, although printing seven full pages of text on the orange background was too much. Incorporating definitions of glossary words on the page where they first appear is a thoughtful touch. This book will definitely appeal to those who enjoy learning about icky, gross things.
Amazing Story Of Cell Phone Technology : Max Axiom Stem
Graphic Library/capstone Press [Graphic Library/capstone Press]
Enz, Tammy
Pop Art Properties
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 31, 2014
Garrard, Thom
When Seattle native and super scientist Max Axiom finds himself in a dead zone in the Grand Canyon, he explains the components of a cell phone and how it uses with two frequencies of radio waves to operate. Back up on the rim, he makes a quick trip to a transmission tower and discusses how the grid system of antennae operates, how it can pass calls from cell to cell, and how it allows the cell phone company to know your identity and location whenever you use your phone. The graphic novel art is rather fuzzy, but the clarity of the writing is top notch. Included in the end matter is a page of additional facts, some common core questions, a glossary, index, and additional resources. This would be a helpful resource for anyone who wishes to understand how technology works.
My Own Best Frenemy
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Walker, Landry Q
Jones, Eric
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 31, 2014
Garrard, Thom
In this second of six episodes about Supergirl, Superman’s cousin is having a hard time adjusting to her undercover life in middle school. When she is accidentally exposed to kryptonite while tripping on an overhead projector cord, things get worse, because an identical, but evil, copy of her is created. Her new twin aims to embarrass her by being more popular, defeating her for class president, and secretly recording and then broadcasting her frank comments to the school. Another new student and potential friend rescues her by using a malfunctioning device that makes the other kids think they are ducks. Unfortunately, her rescuer is actually Lex Luthor’s little sister, and their friendship may be doomed from the start. The writing and illustration are of average graphic novel quality. Two pages of visual questions and an objectionable three pages of advertising conclude the book.
Off To Save The Day!
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Walker, Landry Q
Jones, Eric
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 31, 2014
Garrard, Thom
In this final volume of six Supergirl stories, the school principal, who is really an imp of the fifth dimension, reveals that he was responsible for Supergirl leaving Krypton, for harvesting her emotions with a machine, for creating and manipulating her evil twin, and that he will soon cause the world to collapse into one dimension. With the help of his machine, Supergirl’s emotions and energies are magnified until she is powerful enough to follow and confront him. He escapes to his home, but others of the fifth dimension punish him for breaking the rules and imprison him forever. Everything is returning to normal, and although she has acquired a means to return to Krypton, Supergirl now accepts her role as a protector of Earth. Duplicate people, parallel realities, five or more dimensions, and time travel make this story somewhat confusing. The illustration quality is about average for a graphic novel. Two pages of visual questions and an objectionable three pages of advertising conclude the book.
U.s. Army Green Berets : The Missions
Velocity/capstone Press [Velocity/capstone Press]
Delmar, Pete
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 31, 2014
Garrard, Thom
The U.S. Army Green Berets have been glamorized in books, movies, television shows, and songs, but in reality, they are highly trained experts who quietly and professionally undertake some of the most dangerous military missions. This book explains their primary missions, their organizational structure, their history since being founded in 1952, and the very rigorous training that they must complete. Some of their special gear, weapons, and vehicles are discussed, along with the history of the Green Beret itself. Distributed through the book are three specific missions which each have a two-page spread, including background information on the mission, a photograph, a map and a timeline. The combination of completely colored pages, varied fonts and effects, photographs, charts, and text that is not always aligned on a perfect horizontal, make this a visually interesting book that will definitely appeal to those with an interest in the military.
Batman Versus The Yeti!
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Torres, J
Beatty, Terry
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 31, 2014
Garrard, Thom
After working with superhero Rising Sun to defeat some ninjas while passing through Japan, Batman arrives in Tibet to take on the Yeti. There he meets three of China’s superheroes, who initially thwart him because the Yeti is really a transformed scientist friend of theirs. Together they follow tracks into a cave where they discover a whole group of Yetis whom they subdue in battle. Their friend, who has now reverted to human form, is rescued unharmed, which convinces Batman that the Yetis are not really a threat. The writing and illustration meets that expected in a graphic novel. Two pages on the Chinese and Japanese superheroes, two pages of visual questions, and three pages of advertising conclude the book. This is a big problem. When more than a third of a volume is made up of this kind of filler, it is impossible to suggest that anyone should spend limited resources on its acquisition, even if the book were of much higher quality.
Kit And Mateo Journey Into The Clouds : Learning About Cloud
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Meister, Cari
Record, Adam
Marginal -- Contains so many weaknesses that it might be considered for purchase only as supplementary material in its field or to meet special localized subject needs.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 31, 2014
Garrard, Thom
The little talking cloud that befriends Kit and Mateo explains the steps of the water cycle: evaporation, condensation, cloud formation, and precipitation. Along with their cat, the children then hop on and ride along as the cloud shows them the differences between cirrus, cumulus, stratus, and cumulonimbus clouds. Additional facts are presented in the equivalent of small circular sidebars. The information is presented clearly, and the target audience of primary students may find the simplistic, cartoon art appealing. When fantasy and factual elements are mixed as they are in this book, however, some students may have trouble making the distinction. When the cat tries to leap on a cloud, the girl says that you can’t do that and the cloud agrees. But… wait. They are riding on a cloud. When even the author seems confused, maybe it’s time to back off on the fantasy.
Harriet The Spy
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Fitzhugh, Louise
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 31, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
When did you last read "Harriet the Spy" by Louise Fitzhugh? If it has been awhile, pick up this special edition as we celebrate the 50th year anniversary of this story of a writer-to-be who spies on everyone in her New York City neighborhood and has many notebooks full of her observations and feelings. The firing of nanny, Miss Golly, is a beginning for Harriet to be more on her own as a 5th grader. She has a lot of freedom of movement that our youngsters today would not. When Harriet's misplaced notebook is found and read by her friends, she is miserable. How will she survive and become the writer? Surprisingly, the book does not contain references that would date the book. So why purchase this new edition? 14 other writers including Judy Blume, Meg Cabot, and Lois Lowry have written tributes to celebrate Fitzhugh's contribution to children's literature. A classic that youngsters will learn from and perhaps be inspired to write as well.
Trip Into Space : An Adventure To The International Space St
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Houran, Lori Haskins
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
August 31, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
If you need an accurate, quick explanation of traveling into space to the international space station (ISS), get this book for your younger readers. Adults could use the informational paragraphs from the two pages at the end to give additional facts for the eight two-page spreads. Excellent addition to Easy Non Fiction section. Have questions about the front cover picture of the astronaut looking at the other one in the space suit. Is that grey circle an open hatch cover? My son, aeronautical engineer from Embry-Riddle A U, says that is not accurate but kudos for the inside cover having the current launch vehicle as the Russian rocket.