Reviews for month


Scream Street : Terror Of The Nightwatchman
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Donbavand, Tommy
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 02, 2014
Threlkeld, Sarah
The author does an exceptional job of providing enough backstory to help first-time readers of the series understand the overall plot without slowing down the action. The main characters may be monsters, but students in intermediate grades will relate to Luke and Resus's quest to save their best friend Cleo from the Nightwatchman, and they will love the humor and action found in every chapter. The book contains engaging illustrations, interesting vocabulary, and important messages about the value of friendship and the power found in standing up to one's fears. This entire series is sure to fly off elementary school library shelves!
Rembrandt
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Bailer, Darice
Morrow, J. T.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 03, 2014
Threlkeld, Sarah
This book provides a lot of information about Rembrandt's life and artwork, includes several images of his paintings, and has a glossary in the back of bolded words from the text. Unfortunately, the writing is very choppy, with the majority of the sentences being quite short, which detracted from the content. I'm sure the author wrote like this so the book would be accessible to younger students, but the vocabulary is too difficult for most primary age children. This book would be an appropriate resource for classroom teachers doing a unit on famous artists, but I can't imagine a student independently selecting it and being engaged in the text.
Dog And Bear : Tricks And Treats
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Seeger, Laura Vaccaro
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 03, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Dog and Bear fans may enjoy a Halloween themed set of three very short stories. In the costume shop hopefully the young readers will realize that Dog and Bear are seeing their reflections in a mirror unbeknownst to the characters. In “Ding Dong” Dog keeps answering the door for trick-or-treaters and always chooses treats for himself. Bear has to inform him that his job is to give them away, not take them from the door bellers. In the final story when they go trick or treating themselves the ghost at the door does not believe they’re wearing costumes, so they can’t have trick or treats. They have to prove they are by showing they are dressed as each other. The stories are very dependent on the cute illustrations. This would probably be best shared one on one.
Not Very Scary
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Brendler, Carol
Pizzoli, Greg
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 03, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This is a counting book for Halloween featuring Melly, a female monster, who receives an invitation from her ghouly cousin Malberta to come for a surprise. Along her walk there an increasing parade of creatures begins to follow her starting with one “coal-black cat with an itchy-twitchy tail!” With each successive and alliterative group (“three wheezy witches following two skittish skeletons”) she tries to be brave and dismiss them as not very scary though her body language dispels this. When she finally arrives at Malberta’s she is surprised to find no one else there to play with until the parade of creepy characters prove to be Malberta’s ten groups of friends that have also been invited. Let the fun begin! This cumulative tale and illustrations are just right for the intended audience preparing them for Halloween fun and a tiny bit of scariness.
Barn Owls : Nocturnal Hunters
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Rissman, Rebecca
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 03, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This is an updated, new Heinemann Library Read and Learn book, part of the Nocturnal Hunters series. Others in the series include Bats, Hedgehogs, Mice and Red Foxes. This title features barn owls and works well to use as a resource for modeling beginning research, specifically the K-W-L. It’s 24 pages have just the right mix of specific information, desired text features, and clear color photos. A young reader will know what this owl does to find food, its key characteristics, its predators, and babies, plus introduces the very interesting topic of owl pellets. This topic was not included in the previous Read and Learn Owls book, so it was a welcome addition. A table of contents, world map, bold print words included in the picture glossary and two books and two website for further information and a detailed index round out the book. Though the photos are not captioned, the body of the text performs that duty on each page. The barn owl body map is pretty basic with just 3 features—beak, talon and wing.
Dino-Boarding
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Wheeler, Lisa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 03, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Fans of the Wheeler/Gott Dino books always welcome another sport—in this case three in one—surf boarding, skate boarding and snow boarding. As usual the carnivores team up against the herbivores (Shredding Crew vs. the Green Machine) to compete in all three sporting events. With the expected lively text full of sport specific references (ollie, barrel, coping, gnarly) the rhyming carries the reader along with the bright colorful digital illustrations. Having three sports in one book is actually refreshing, so it isn’t too long or detailed on one. From the ocean to the skateboard park/arena and finally to Mt. Mastodon, the dinos have rollicking, close contests, but, of course, one team wins.
Charlie Bumpers Vs. The Squeaking Skull
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Harley, Bill
Gustavson, Adam
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 03, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Fourth grader Charlie Bumpers is a good kid with good intentions that don’t always go as he plans. In this case he’s invited to an overnight on Halloween along with his best school friends, Hector(new kid and from Mexico) and Tommy, to their friend Alex’s house. Pros—Alex lives in a big house in a neighborhood full of big houses & big houses equal big Halloween treats; gets to spend the night with his friends. Cons—disappointing his little first grade sister by not trick-or-treating with her for the first time ever; non-friend, but Alex’s neighbor Kyle, has to be invited and he’s so bossy he’s almost a bully, and the other boys are not fans. Kyle wants to make sure they have a really scary movie to watch—The Screaming Skulls, but Charlie has a bad reaction to scary movies and worries he’ll embarrass himself. To try to win theater tickets for the best school costume, Charlie creates a bat costume from broken umbrellas and a sweatshirt with the help of his art teacher. But his little sister messes up this plan. Halloween night has its ups and downs with some good lessons learned. Nice story for the early intermediate boys especially. This is #3 in the Charlie Bumper series, a decent, wholesome family/kid/school story.
Little Boo
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY]
Wunderli, Stephen
Zeltner, Tim
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 03, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
In the fall garden a little pumpkin seed tries to scare a leaf, a grub and finally a snowflake by saying, “Boo,” to each, but is sad when none is scared. The friendly wind advises it to be patient and wait for the appropriate time for scaring. The wind then blows soil over the seed to keep it warm until it awakens from a long sleep to the sun’s warmth. Even as it’s growing into a sprout and vine it is still unsuccessful in scaring a boot, shovel or watering can. It’s proud of how big it’s getting, but not even the bucket, bees or grasshopper are yet scared of its “boo.” The wind continues to suggest patience and that the correct time is growing near as it blossoms with flowers followed by little green fruit that turn into a big round orange pumpkin. When this pumpkin has been carved into a lit jack o’lantern the successful booing begins by scaring the cat and trick-or-treaters, and is congratulated by its friend the wind. This is a hit with kindergarteners and even third graders who enjoyed the life cycle of the pumpkin seed and the theme of patience. Pleasant language and warm color illustrations created with acrylic on plywood and “unique combination of stains and glazes” prove highly successful in engaging the readers.
Archon
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Krumwiede, Lana
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
November 03, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
In this sequel to "Freakling," Taemon has successfully eliminated the psi powers that were dividing the people. However, instead of this bringing them together they are even more divided. Then, in a moment of high need, Taemon regains his psi powers, but they soon prove to be almost more of a curse than a blessing. He and Amma travel through the mountain to the Republik in hopes of rescuing his father, only to discover that psi powers there are used for warfare, and an invasion force is being prepared. Now they need to return home and warn their people, but at what cost? "The Psi Chronicles" is a low-key fantasy series, suitable for upper elementary and middle school. While not especially compelling, it is a quick read, and sets things up for a sequel.
Michael Jordan : Basketball Superstar & Commercial Icon
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Hawkins, Jeff
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
November 04, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Amazing Athletes" series, this 112 page biography explores the life of basketball great, Michael Jordan. The book opens with a description of his involvement in the 1992 Olympic "Dream Team" and then moves chronologically through his life. Readers learn about the ups and downs, including his gambling problems and the murder of his father. At times the book bogs down in game statistics, but overall the book is well written. Photographs are found throughout the book. Side bars and call out boxes give the reader additional contextual information. The book is complete with a table of contents, timeline, glossary, index, source notes, bibliography (web resources are available through the publisher's website), and author information. Since Jordan's playing career is over, this book may remain current for a few years until he has new projects and opportunities.
Fly Fishing For Kids
Edge Books/capstone Press [Edge Books/capstone Press]
Omoth, Tyler
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 04, 2014
Jensen, Kathy
Capstone Press has added another wonderful book to its series, "Into the Great Outdoors." Whether you are a fishing enthusiast or a beginner to fly fishing, this book is a must-read. Before the first cast, you will learn about different types of fish and the history of fly fishing. Tips and techniques for fishing, as well as safety and conservation round out this engaging book. Close-up photography, fact boxes, and a beautiful layout will have the reader eagerly anticipating the next page. In addition, a thorough index and glossary help keep the reader focused. Internet sites and a list of more books to read bring this outstanding book to a close.
Gulf Oil Spill
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Brennan, Linda Crotta
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 04, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
This 48 page book is part of the "Core Library: History's Greatest Disasters" series. The text describes the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana Coast. The book explains how the disaster occurred, attempts to stop the spill, clean up efforts, and lasting impact on the Gulf Coast economy and wildlife. Color, captioned photographs enhance the clearly written text. The book contains common core related activities and some primary source quotes. The book also includes a diagram and a map. The book is complete with a table of contents, timeline, glossary, bibliography (web resources available through the publisher's website), index, and author information. This could be used for disaster research or as an example of informational text. As time passes, so will interest in this event making this an additional purchase.
John F. Kennedy
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Hansen, Grace
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 04, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
This simplistic 25 page biography is part of the "Abdo Kids: United States President Biographies" series. The book tells the story of President John F. Kennedy in about 17 sentences. It is simplified for the beginning reader. On his presidency, readers only learn "Kennedy was a strong leader. He kept the US safe from nuclear war. Large photographs will make the book easy for sharing. The book also has a fact page (3 additional facts), a table of contents, glossary (words bold and grayed within the text), and index. Web resources are available through the Abdo Kids (publisher) website.
July
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Kelley, C
Ostrom, Bob
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 04, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
This 24 page book is part of the "Magic Months" series. July is the best month of the year, or so it seems, reading this non-fiction book on the 7th month. Readers learn how July got its name (in a sidebar) and many of the holidays and special days in this month from around the world. Reader also learn some of the historical events and famous celebrity birthdays in this month. Color illustrations and photos accompany the simple text. The book has a table of contents, index, glossary (words in bold and highlighted within the text), and author information. I'm not sure the purpose of the book, other than to create a non-fiction series about the months, therefore and additional purchase.
Green Bay Packers
Buddy Books/abdo [Buddy Books/abdo]
Zappa, Marcia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 04, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
This 32 page book is part of the "NFL's Greatest Teams" series. The book describes Wisconsin's Green Bay Packers. Readers will learn how the team started over 90 years ago and became a non-profit corporation. The championship years are mentioned. The middle spread contains a "stat break," filled with information usually found in the end matter. The book's last half looks at coaches, players, and Lambeau Field. We also learn how the "Cheeseheads" and the "Lambeau leap" began. Color photographs are captioned and found throughout the book. The book has a table of contents, timeline, four question quiz, glossary, and index. Web resources can be found on the publisher's website. This book will delight young football fans wanting to know more about one of the National Football League's storied franchises.
Mariposas
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Hansen, Grace
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 04, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Need a way to introduce insect research or study? Have Spanish readers/speakers? This is the book for you. This 24 page book is the Spanish version of "Butterlies" and is part of "Abdo Kids: Insectos" series. Each two page spread contains a couple of simple sentences and a large photograph. The photo compliments the text and is big enough for class sharing. I especially appreciated the photo on p. 15 that labeled the parts of a insect. Three additional facts are found in the end matter. The book has a table of contents, glossary (words are in the text in gray and bold), and index. Web resources are available through the abdokids.com (publisher) website.
Butterflies
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Hansen, Grace
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 04, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Need a way to introduce insect research or study? This is the book for you. This 24 page book is part of "Abdo Kids: Insect" series. Each two page spread contains a couple of simple sentences and a large photograph. The photo compliments the text and is big enough for class sharing. I especially appreciated the photo on p. 15 that labeled the parts of a insect. Three additional facts are found in the end matter. The book has a table of contents, glossary (words are in the text in gray and bold), and index. Web resources are available through the abdokids.com (publisher) website.
Knockout Games
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Neri, G
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
November 04, 2014
Gustafson, Chris
Erica is new in town and angry about her parents split, so initially she ignores her Dad’s parting gift/bribe of a high quality video camera. It’s hard to make friends in her new high school, but eventually Destiny shows some interest and takes Erica with her to see a gang of middle school boys who are coached by Kalvin, Destiny’s ex to play the “Knockout Game.” The boys pick a random target, surround him, and try to knock him unconscious with just one punch. Initially Erica is repelled by the random violence, but she’s even more attracted by the charismatic Kalvin, and she agrees to take of video of the knockout action. Her video goes viral and Erica is sucked in to the family atmosphere Kalvin creates, finding herself romantically involved with him and pulled deeper and deeper into the game. Based on a series of real events in St. Louis – disturbing and hard to put down.
Make Something Of It
DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS [DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS]
Moore, Stephanie Perry
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
November 04, 2014
Gustafson, Chris
Shelby Sharp’s dad is running for mayor and that means the public eye for Shelby, her two biological sisters, and her two younger adopted sisters who are the orphaned daughters of dad’s best friend. The parents decide to move their girls from private to public school which provides plenty of drama for Shelby, plus there’s the prickly but hunky stepson of one of her dad’s opponents in the mix. Hi Lo, plenty of girl drama and girl empowerment.
Way Back
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Mac, Carrie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
November 04, 2014
Gustafson, Chris
Colby is a poster teen for bad choices – a meth addict, crashing with friends who in involve her in robberies, and now pregnant. Colby isn’t sure what she wants as the outcome of her pregnancy but she knows the father; he’s the gay older brother of the girl she’s crashing with. Colby has a long time crush on Milo but her hopes that one night with her would alter his sexual orientation are disappointed and the only thing she’s sure of is that she needs to get clean. The brevity of the book prevents much character development but there’s plenty here for Hi Lo readers to like.
Controlled
DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS [DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS]
Jones, Patrick
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
November 04, 2014
Gustafson, Chris
High school junior Rachel is methodically planning her year and it’s going to fulfill all her dreams. AP classes, her viola, and getting ready for college are the total focus for Rachel and her friends, but when cousin Misty needs a place to stay, she brings her crazy and messy life into the middle of Rachel’s need for structure and predictability. The conflicts that ensure are no less authentic for their predictability and Hi Lo readers will enjoy this. From “The Alternative” series.
Out Of The Tunnel
DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS [DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS]
Jones, Patrick
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
November 04, 2014
Gustafson, Chris
High school football is everything in Brian’s Ohio town, and this year Brian might be one of the Six, the star players on the team that have a free ticket from coaches, teachers, and even parents to rule the school. Brian’s dad was one of the Six and he has pushed Brian to replicate his successes and experiences, but the privileges of the Six are much less innocent that when Brian’s dad was on the team. How can Brian keep his self-respect in a high pressure situation? A Hi-Lo book from “The Red Zone” series.
Transgender Lives : Complex Stories, Complex Voices
TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS [TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS]
Cronn-Mills, Kirstin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
November 04, 2014
Gustafson, Chris
In seven chapters, the author profiles individuals, couples, or groups of people who are transgender. Between those chapters are sandwiched short, informative pieces about aspects of transgender lives, challenges faced, and resources to help. Thoughtful photo portraits provide a window into the feelings of those interviewed and are a source of empathy for the reader. All the sections are short and easy to read. An excellent companion book for collections that include Beyond Magenta, Transgender Teens Speak Out
Misadventures Of Salem Hyde : 3 : Cookie Catastrophe
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
Cammuso, Frank
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 04, 2014
Gustafson, Chris
Although pitched to middle graders, Salem is a slacker witch who would be right at home in middle or high school. Salem’s all about doing as little as possible and snarky humor, but she’s motivated to become a Squirrel Scout by the uniforms and possibly the merit badges. Mean girl Shelly threatens Salem with trouble if Salem does not meet her cookie sale quota, and Salem’s plan to clone herself as a cookie salesperson turns out badly. Doesn't matter how many slacker clones you have, they don’t get cookie sold. Very simple drawings but humor older kids will appreciate. Third book in The Misadventures of Salem Hyde series.
Cecilia And Miguel Are Best Friends = Cecilia Y Miguel Son M
PINATA BOOKS [PINATA BOOKS]
Bertrand, Diane Gonzales
Muraida, Thelma
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
November 04, 2014
Gustafson, Chris
An absolutely charming bilingual picture book about a long lasting friendship. Cecliia and Miguel play together as kids; some of their activities reflect their heritage as well as going to the beach and running in a race. At Cecilia’s quinceanera Miguel is there with a broken leg. A simply told romance emerges when they are both in college and the book concludes with the couple showing off their childhood photos to their own set of twins. I think our middle school ELL kids will enjoy it as will much younger children.
Every Breath
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Marney, Ellie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
November 04, 2014
Gustafson, Chris
Viewers of Sherlock and Elementary are likely to pick this book up after reading the teaser on the jacket – What if Sherlock Holmes was the boy next door? They won’t be disappointed. Teen Rachel Watts has just moved to Melbourne after their family farm goes bankrupt. Going from distance learning and rural isolation to the crowded city is a huge shock, but Rachel’s managing, surprised by how high her marks are at school and the fun of spending time with James Mycroft, the brilliant and mysterious boy who lives two houses down with his aunt. Rachel and Mycroft discover the body of a homeless man Mycroft has befriended and their investigation of the murder is the focus of the book, but supporting characters are intriguing and there are plenty of red herrings to keep the reader guessing. Violence and some sexuality make this a fit for 8th grade and up.
Estee Lauder : Businesswoman And Cosmetics Pioneer
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Grayson, Robert
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
November 05, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Essential Lives" series, this 112 page biography looks at the life of Estee Lauder. The book opens with a chapter on her perfume, Youthful Dew", then proceeds chronologically through her life. Along the way the reader learns about her childhood and family, her development of products, her attempts to break into department store sales, her drive to have a quality product with quality salespeople, and her rise to the top of the fragrance industry. The book contains captioned photographs and call out boxes which give the reader a more complete view of Lauder. Non-fiction features are present: table of contents, glossary, bibliography (web resources available through the publisher's website), source notes, index, timeline, and fact page. Lauder was a fascinating person and deserves a place in your biography section.
Indiana Hoosiers
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Silverman, Drew
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 05, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Inside College Basketball" series, this 48 page book looks at the storied University of Indiana men's basketball program. The book opens with a long description of their 1976 undefeated season and then goes chronologically from 1901 to 2013. Readers learn about the highs and lows, players and coaches, big games and traditions. Captioned photographs are found throughout the text. The book includes a table of contents, quick stats, quotes, index, glossary, bibliography (web resources available through the publsher's webpage), and author information. This book will have limited appeal, but big basketball fans will enjoy this book.
Eyes Wide Open : Going Behind The Environmental Headlines
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Fleischman, Paul
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
November 05, 2014
Gustafson, Chris
Fleischman's ambitious book attempts to do just what the subtitle says - it asks the reader to look deeper into the complex causes of environmental problems and to understand the types of solutions that are necessary to solve them. In some ways, the book succeeds brilliantly. It tackles head-on the feelings of confusion, denial, and hopelessness that can result from a clear-eyed look at environmental problems. It names these ways of coping. It says out how economic and political systems can be poorly equipped to plan and implement long range solutions to difficult problems. The book design (with one reservation) is interesting and supports the content of the book. Here's why this book won't be flying off the shelf. Despite the thoughtful treatment, it's still a very difficult subject to understand. It would work best read aloud in short chunks or studied in a group. And then there's the total lack of any color inside - that is a huge negative for many student readers. Deserves a large audience but they will need more than just a book talk to make the connection - teachers will need to use this for instruction too.
Labor Day
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Dash, Meredith
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 06, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Abdo Kids: National Holidays" series, this simple 24 page book looks at the US holiday of Labor Day. Each two page spread contains an uncaptioned photograph or illustration and a couple of sentences. Readers learn why, where and when the first Labor Day occurred. We also learn how it became a national holiday and how people celebrate the holiday today. The book also mentions that many countries observe a "Workers' Day" on May 1. The book has a table of contents, glossary, threee additional facts, and index. Web resources are available through the publisher's website. The large size of the book, while great for sharing will be too large for little hands.
Therapy Dogs
Edge Books/capstone Press [Edge Books/capstone Press]
Roberts, Walter, Jr
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 06, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
A great 32 page book on the benefit and training of therapy dogs. Part of the "Dogs on the Job" series, the book explains the selection of dogs, their intensive training, how they are used, and what they do on their off time. Color photographs (many captioned) enhance the descriptive text. Side bars and call out boxes give the reader additional information or definitions. The book contains a table of contents, glossary (same words as in the call out boxes), index, and bibliography (web resources are provided through the publisher's website). This book will be well-loved by your pet book aficionados.
Girls Of Gettysburg
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Miller, Bobbi
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
November 08, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Miller, the author of Big River’s Daughter, has created a compelling story surrounding the Battle of Gettysburg from three different perspectives. Annie, disguised as her dead twin brother, runs away from her home in Virginia, where she can’t conform to the life of a proper girl, to sign up as a substitute for a wealthy woman’s grandson. She then becomes part of the Confederate’s Portsmouth Rifles, earns the respect of her comrades, and is on the march to Gettysburg. Grace Bryan is the daughter of a free black farmer, who does not depart Gettysburg with the majority of blacks. Instead she seeks refuge with a townsperson, whom she finds is sheltering two runaway slaves. Tillie is an entitled town girl, who is uppity at first until she sees the ravages of the battles and dives into ministering to both sides, however unwittingly. This will be eye opening for the readers, but will not be for the faint of heart, as Pickett’s Charge and Gettysburg’s battles cannot be sugar coated. This is a well-rounded portrayal of a critical time in US history told in chronological order starting in May 1863 with Annie and ending with Lincoln’s memorable address in November.
Penguins
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
November 09, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Sandcastle’s Zoo series will appeal to beginning readers and can be used for an introduction to non-fiction text features and very beginning research. The books have the same format with similar chapter titles and an uncluttered graphic design. A common zoo animal is shown on a contrasting color cover and interior photographs focus in on just one aspect of life in the context of a zoo. Close-up photographs cover almost the entire 2-page spread with a white semi-circle in the corners containing the 2-3 short sentences. Penguins are depicted in colonies, underwater, on ice and rocky habitats, eating fish, adults feeding baby chicks, sliding on stomachs and cleaning each other’s feathers. Chapters include native habitat, zoo habitat, physical features, food, young, and fun all within the context of living in a zoo. It is unfortunate that each animal’s enclosure is called a pen, probably for ease of reading, but it reinforces an image of the old kind of zoo where captivity is so apparent. Fast facts, quiz questions and a glossary complete the book, often providing more information than the text. Vocabulary includes flipper, hatch and molt.
Tigers
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
November 09, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Sandcastle’s Zoo series will appeal to beginning readers and can be used for an introduction to non-fiction text features and very beginning research. The books have the same format with similar chapter titles and an uncluttered graphic design. A common zoo animal is shown on a contrasting color cover and interior photographs focus in on just one aspect of life in the context of a zoo. Close-up photographs cover almost the entire 2-page spread with a white semi-circle in the corners containing the 2-3 short sentences. Close-up photographs of tiger’s stripes, sharp eyes and teeth, highlight physical features, while tiger cubs playing together and with their mother illustrate sentences addressing behavior. Chapters include native habitat, zoo habitat, physical features, food, young, and fun all within the context of living in a zoo. It is unfortunate that each animal’s enclosure is called a pen, probably for ease of reading, but it reinforces an image of the old kind of zoo where captivity is so apparent. Fast facts, quiz questions and a glossary complete the book, often providing more information than the text. Vocabulary words include Asia, endangered, pattern, retract and tracks.
Zebras
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
November 09, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Sandcastle’s Zoo series will appeal to beginning readers and can be used for an introduction to non-fiction text features and very beginning research. The books have the same format with similar chapter titles and an uncluttered graphic design. A common zoo animal is shown on a contrasting color cover and interior photographs focus in on just one aspect of life in the context of a zoo. The close-up photographs cover almost the entire 2-page spread with a white semi-circle in the corners containing the 2-3 short sentences. Zebras are compared to wild horses that live in herds and whose young are called foals. Communication, grooming, drinking from a watering hole and grazing are depicted in photographs. Chapters include native habitat, zoo habitat, physical features, food, and babies, and the animal’s fun all within the context of living in a zoo. It is unfortunate that each animal’s enclosure is called a pen, probably for ease of reading, but it reinforces an image of the old kind of zoo where captivity is so apparent. Fast facts, quiz questions and a glossary complete the book, often providing more information than the text. Vocabulary words include Africa, communicate, graze, groom, species.
Lions
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
November 09, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Sandcastle’s Zoo series will appeal to beginning readers and can be used for an introduction to non-fiction text features and very beginning research. The books have the same format with similar chapter titles and an uncluttered graphic design. A common zoo animal is shown on a contrasting color cover and interior photographs focus in on just one aspect of life in the context of a zoo. Close-up photographs cover almost the entire 2-page spread with a white semi-circle in the corners containing the 2-3 short sentences. Lions are shown in a typical zoo “pen” on a large dead tree, a pride with two males on a grassy knoll, roaring, gnawing on raw meat and lion cubs frolicking. Chapters include native habitat, zoo habitat, physical features, food, young, and fun all within the context of living in a zoo. It is unfortunate that each animal’s enclosure is called a pen, probably for ease of reading, but it reinforces an image of the old kind of zoo where captivity is so apparent. Fast facts, quiz questions and a glossary complete the book, often providing more information than the text. Vocabulary includes Africa, Asia, communicate, female, male, purr, and Swahili.
Monkeys
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
November 09, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Sandcastle’s Zoo series will appeal to beginning readers and can be used for an introduction to non-fiction text features and very beginning research. The books have the same format with similar chapter titles and an uncluttered graphic design. A common zoo animal is shown on a contrasting color cover and interior photographs focus in on just one aspect of life in the context of a zoo. Close-up photographs cover almost the entire 2-page spread with a white semi-circle in the corners containing the 2-3 short sentences. Old and New World monkeys are depicted in troops in trees, by a water hole, eating fruit, monkeys grooming each other and young monkeys carried by their mother and playing with each other. Chapters include native habitat, zoo habitat, physical features, food, young, and fun all within the context of living in a zoo. It is unfortunate that each animal’s enclosure is called a pen, probably for ease of reading, but it reinforces an image of the old kind of zoo where captivity is so apparent. Fast facts, quiz questions and a glossary complete the book, often providing more information than the text. Vocabulary includes explore, groom, primate and tropical.
Animals On The Farm
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Borth, Teddy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 09, 2014
Jensen, Kathy
Written for the very young, "Animals on the Farm" is one of the latest additions to ABDO Kids "On the Farm" series. Simple, easy-to-read text and beautiful full-page photographs showing a variety of farm animals will appeal to readers and listeners alike. Complete with glossary, index, and more facts, readers will gather basic information about farm animals and have the opportunity to learn more through crafts, games, videos using ABDO's kid code.
Spaceships
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Murray, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 09, 2014
Jensen, Kathy
This book is one of the titles in ABDO Kid's "Transportation" series. Simple text paired with full-page photographs will help young readers and listeners gain a basic knowledge of spaceships. A glossary, index and list of more facts encourage readers to dig a little deeper as they learn about this unique form of transportation. For further study, a code is provided so that students can log on to abdokids.com to access crafts, games, videos and more.
Amy's Three Best Things
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Pearce, Philippa
Craig, Helen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 09, 2014
Jensen, Kathy
Amy has never spent the night away from home. She decides to visit her grandmother for three nights and takes along three special things: a rug from beside her bed, a toy horse from her shelf, and a toy boat from the bathtub. As Amy struggles to stay asleep each night, her special items bring comfort as they magically whisk her away to check on her family at home. This reassuring bedtime tale brings a bit of fancy to the reader, helping lighten the mood for children getting those homesick night-time feelings. Pencil and watercolor illustrations by Angelina Ballerina's illustrator, Helen Craig, bring a softness to this often anxiety-ridden subject.
Petey And Pru And The Hullabaloo
CLARION [CLARION]
Paquette, Ammi-Joan
Ang, Joy
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
November 09, 2014
Jensen, Kathy
Chock full of splendiferous words, you won't be peeved as you begin a tranquil reading of Petey and Pru and the Hullabaloo. Quickly, your reading adventure turns into a brouhaha as you watch Petey` get hornswoggled and drenched as Pru's shenanigans lead them into a kerfuffle, scuffle, defenestration and freefall. Petey is disgruntled and Pru is feeling tricksy as they pull you into their higgledy-piggledy caterwauling adventure. Cacophony ends in serendipity as our main characters bring this topsy-turvy tale to a close. You won't skedaddle as you enjoy bright digital illustrations throughout this delightful circular tale.
Cool Cake Mix Cupcakes : Fun & Easy Baking Recipes For Kids!
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 10, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Checkerboard Library’s Cool Cupcakes and Muffins series are sure to be snatched from the shelf or display by your budding chefs and anyone looking to show off their baking prowess. The graphic design, varied font, and the patterned format of the recipes contribute to a series that is well matched to middle grade students. The first nine pages are the same in each book, containing hints for adult helpers, an introduction to cupcakes or muffins, basic cooking safety information and cooking terms & symbols. Information about tools and tips are followed by a two-page spread of ingredients needed for all the recipes, with a photograph and label for each ingredient framed by a cookie cutter shape. Each of the seven recipes is laid out across the pages with the title and finished cupcake on the left and the ingredient and tool lists with five step-by-step directions for making the recipe. Two of the steps are circled and direct readers’ attention to an inset photograph of the step. Recipes include Red Delicious, Double Chocolate Dream, Sweet Angel Food Bites, and Carrot Supreme cupcakes. Subject specific words are defined in the glossary and include, etch, grater, preheat, spiral, and utensil.
Cool Fun Cupcakes : Fun & Easy Baking Recipes For Kids!
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 10, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Checkerboard Library’s Cool Cupcakes and Muffins series are sure to be snatched from the shelf or display by your budding chefs and anyone looking to show off their baking prowess. The graphic design, varied font, and the patterned format of the recipes contribute to books that are well matched to middle grade students. The first nine pages are the same in each book, containing hints for adult helpers, an introduction to cupcakes or muffins, basic cooking safety information and cooking terms & symbols. Information about tools and tips are followed by a two-page spread of ingredients needed for all the recipes, with a photograph and label for each ingredient framed by a cookie cutter shape. Each of the seven recipes is laid out across the pages with the title and finished cupcake on the left and on the facing page, are the ingredient and tool lists with five step directions for making the recipe. Two of the steps are circled and direct readers’ attention to an inset photograph of the step. Recipes include Bright Rainbow Cupcakes, Hot Chocolate Delight, Juicy Watermelon Cupcakes, and Yummy Ice Cream Cones. Subject specific words are defined in the glossary and include, permission, supervision, cereal and grater.
Cool Sweet Muffins : Fun & Easy Baking Recipes For Kids!
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 10, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Checkerboard Library’s Cool Cupcakes and Muffins series are sure to be snatched from the shelf or display by your budding chefs and anyone looking to show off their baking prowess. The graphic design, varied font, and the patterned format of the recipes contribute to books that are well matched to middle grade students. The first nine pages are the same in each book, containing hints for adult helpers, an introduction to cupcakes or muffins, basic cooking safety information and cooking terms & symbols. Information about tools and tips are followed by a two-page spread of ingredients needed for all the recipes, with a photograph and label for each ingredient framed by a cookie cutter shape. Each of the seven recipes is laid out across the pages with the title and finished cupcake on the left and the ingredient and tool lists with five step-by-step directions for making the recipe. Two of the steps are circled and direct readers’ attention to an inset photograph of the step. Recipes include Spicy Pumpkin Poppers, Banana Chocolate Delight, Perfect Cider Donut Pops and Idea Poppy Seed Muffins. Subject specific words are defined in the glossary and include, delicious, drizzle, grater, preheat and zest.
Cool Sewing For Kids : A Fun And Creative Introduction To Fi
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 10, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Abdo’s Checkerboard Fiber Art six-book series expands beyond the more common fiber arts of hand sewing, crocheting, and knitting by including embroidery, needle felting, and punch needle. A Tools of the Trade chapter discusses needles, fabric, thread, patterns and pins as well as additional craft supplies that will come in handy. Basic directions instruct beginners how to thread a needle, start and finish a stich and make a running stitch, backstitch, and a whipstitch. Five sewing projects use an assortment of brightly colored fabric as well as buttons, zippers, decorations such as googly eyes and zigzag ribbon. Many of the projects will make great gifts for friends and family. Projects are a drawstring tote, decorative felt pencil case, cat-shaped coin purse with zipper, a pillow made from an old T-shirt, and a felted songbird gadget pouch for cell phones or iPods. An index, web site link and glossary are included. Glossary words are chenille, complicated, felt, overview, pattern, tapestry and unravel. These craft books will be popular with students and can be used by teachers to teach sequence and following step-by-step directions.
Cool Crocheting For Kids : A Fun And Creative Introduction T
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 10, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Fiber Arts have been increasing in popularity in recent years and students flock to knitting and crocheting opportunities. This six-book series expands beyond the most common fiber arts by including embroidery, needle felting, punch needle, as well as hand sewing. Various sizes of hooks and yarn weights, shapes and types are discussed as well as additional craft supplies that will come in handy. Label reading and pattern symbols are explained and basic directions instruct beginners how to hold the hook, count stitches, and make a gauge sample. With only a crochet hook and yarn, and the directions for making slipknots, single crochet stitches and chain stitches, students will be prepared to dive into the five projects included in this book. Projects included are: Beaded Bracelet, Pom-Pom Hat, Crochet-A-Card, Send – A – Message Envelope, and a Can-Do Clutch. Suggestions for continuing crocheting, web sites and index are included. Glossary words are aluminum, abbreviation, gauge, novelty, pattern, scrunch and swatch. These books will be popular and are also useful as books to teach sequence.
Cool Knitting For Kids : A Fun And Creative Introduction To
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 10, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Fiber Arts have been increasing in popularity in recent years and students flock to opportunities to knit. Directions for three projects as well as dyeing yarn using Kool-Aid are straight forward and clearly sequenced. Various sizes of needles and yarn fiber, weights and shapes are discussed as well as additional craft supplies that will come in handy. Label reading and pattern symbols are explained and basic directions instruct beginners how to hold the needles, count stitches, and make a gauge sample. With only a pair of needles and yarn, and the directions for making slipknots, casting on, the knit stitch and binding off, students will be prepared to dive into making Peek-a-Boo Mitts, Colorful Combo Scarf, or a Knit bag that is then felted. Suggestions for continuing knitting, web sites and index are included. Glossary words are abbreviation, funky, novelty, overlap, scrub, packet, pattern, gauge and swatch. These books will be popular and are also useful as books to teach sequence.
Benny And Penny In Lost And Found!
TOON BOOKS [TOON BOOKS]
Hayes, Geoffrey
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 10, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Benny and Penny, Toon Books’ favorite brother & sister mice, weather the fog accompanied by bad moods, a lost pirate hat, sibling squabbling and some misadventure in this whimsical Level 2 graphic reader. Theodore Geisel winning author Gregory Hayes portrays common emotions of younger children as the mice navigate a world seesawing between confidence and worry, bad mood and good and fear and relief. Colored pencil drawings provide plentiful detail without distracting younger readers and the large white speech bubbles contrast nicely for ease of reading. The graphic design artfully alternates the numbers of panels and frames, some with borders, others with inserts as well as unframed illustrations. These books rarely stay on the shelf and are well worth the money. Sturdy binding, a short author biography and tips for parents on How to Read Comics with Kids are included as well as lesson plans on the Toon-Books.com website. Highly recommended for all elementary libraries.
Slug
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Gravel, Elise
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 10, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Land slugs are introduced in this French translation from the Disgusting Critters series, although sea and freshwater slugs make an appearance. Combining humor with droll and entertaining text, the factual information is paired with anthropomorphized slugs in a brilliant early reader. The digitally rendered illustrations aptly convey the slugs’ emotions from glee to surprise to alarm. Slugs are mollusks without a shell provokes a snail’s tease, “You’re naked!” The slick slimy surface a slug moves on is paired with a drooling, snot dripping baby crawling across it’s liquid droppings. The graphic design contains word art and sized font in a limited palate of brown, pink and dull teal atop a sage green background. Four of the six-book series are currently available and are priced under $10.00. Highly recommended for all elementary libraries.
Rat
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Gravel, Elise
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 10, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Rattus Rattus meets Debbie Debbie in this French translation from the Disgusting Critters series. Combining humor with droll and entertaining text, the factual information is paired with anthropomorphized rats in a brilliant early reader.The digitally rendered illustrations aptly convey the rat’s emotions from bullying to alarm and delight and are a perfect match with the text. Rats have long, hairless tails that function almost like a fifth paw and are also useful for picking noses. Rats can make great pets is illustrated with a rat running with a newspaper in it mouth and the words, “Fetch, Fetch.” The graphic design contains word art and sized font in a limited palate of brown, pink and cornflower blue atop a sage green background. Four of the six-book series are currently available and are priced under $10.00. Highly recommended for all elementary libraries.
Daisy Dawson At The Beach
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Voake, Steve
Meserve, Jessica
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 11, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Daisy Dawson, the girl who can talk to animals, is out of school for the summer and her family is camping at the beach. She converses with the rabbits, sea gulls, and crabs and is coerced into taking the rabbits on her surfboard. When one falls overboard, Daisy rescues the rabbits but also hears a dolphin trapped in a net. Daisy calls on the crabs to help release the dolphin and is later rewarded by a dolphin ride back to shore. The absence of schoolmates leaves the plot entirely dependent on Daisy’s interactions with the animals and may be less appealing to those readers wanting realistic based plots. Pencil and ink drawing are interspersed with humorous conversations between the animals and Daisy in this light-hearted, slightly magical transitional chapter book. Daisy is a third grader but the drawings depict her a little younger looking. Still with four other books already published, this will be a good match for fans of series like Clementine and Ivy and Bean.
Daisy Dawson And The Big Freeze
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Voake, Steve
Meserve, Jessica
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 11, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Daisy Dawson, the girl who can talk to animals, is delighted when the snow falls creating a winter wonderland. Daisy worries about the new lambs though, in the field nearby and goes to check up on them. Lost and found toys and animals reinforce that people and animals are much more important than things. After Daisy and her bloodhound friend, Boom, find the lost lamb, the sheep serenade and have her join in their ceremony of interconnectedness stringing a ball of yarn between all like a spider web. Most of the action occurs in the woods as the animals and Daisy play together but a few classroom scenes will draw laughs also. Pencil and ink drawing are interspersed with humorous conversations between the animals and Daisy in this light-hearted, slightly magical transitional chapter book. With four other books already published, this will be a good match for fans of series like Clementine and Ivy and Bean.
Daisy Dawson And The Secret Pond
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Voake, Steve
Meserve, Jessica
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 11, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Daisy Dawson, the girl who can talk to animals, is assigned a class project on habitats. With her birthday camera, Daisy has already been taking pictures of her animal friends but now has a bigger purpose. While asking her squirrel friends if she can photograph their home, Trixie, the cat suggests she try to study the otter pair rumored to be in a nearby secret pond. Dairy charms the otters but the group of friends encounter a thunderstorm and rain putting one of the squirrels in peril. Pencil and ink drawing are interspersed with humorous conversations between the animals and Daisy in this light-hearted, slightly magical transitional chapter book. Daisy is a third grader but the drawings depict her a little younger looking. With four other books already published, this will be a good match for fans of series like Clementine and Ivy and Bean.
Daisy Dawson Is On Her Way
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Voake, Steve
Meserve, Jessica
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 11, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Daisy Dawson relishes her walks to school watching the bustling world of worms and other critters seen from the lane. Despite a warning not to be late again, she stops to help a yellow butterfly escape from a spider’s web and when brushed by the delicate wings realizes she can understand animals talking. Delightful conversations with Boom, the bloodhound ensue and at school she overhears the class gerbils fighting over a spilled lunch box. Daisy’s irrepressible exuberance and tender heart land her in trouble as she rescues an ant from the Principal’s office and tries to break into the pound to rescue Boom. Pencil and ink drawing are interspersed with humorous conversations between the animals and Daisy in this light-hearted, slightly magical transitional chapter book. Daisy is a third grader but the drawings depict her a little younger looking. Third graders may need some prodding to pick it up but those fans of realistic fiction will quickly relate to many of her escapades. With four other books already published, this will be a good match for fans of series like Clementine and Ivy and Bean.
Maddi's Fridge
FLASHLIGHT PRESS [FLASHLIGHT PRESS]
Brandt, Lois
Vogel, Vin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 12, 2014
Kline, Karen
What happens when Sophia is having a great time playing at the park with her friend Maddie and decides to run into Maddie’s kitchen to get a snack? Sophia is in for a shock. She finds her friend’s refrigerator empty sans a small carton of milk that Sophia says she is saving for Ryan, her brother, because “he’s still little.” Maddie gets Sophia to promise not to tell anyone about the predicament, and days go by with the issue weighing heavily on Sophia’s mind as she realizes her own fridge is stocked with a cornucopia of nutritious food as well as treats like “cheesy pizza bombs” and even food for her dog. Vin Vogel’s playful and detailed digital tablet and pen illustrations make the story come alive. The characters’ oversized heads and eyes with a few hairs sprouting out are reminiscent of Lauren Child’s work and will draw readers of all ages into this important story about friendship, problem solving, and how and when to break a promise. This local author is donating 10% of profits to fight childhood hunger.
Island Of Misfit Toys
Square Fish [Square Fish]
Deneen, Brendan
Kambadais, George
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 12, 2014
Kline, Karen
All of your favorite characters -- Yukon Cornelius, Sam the snowman, Dolly, and more-- from the holiday television classic are here in a new graphic novel story. A blizzard hits the island and Charlie-in-the-box drifts away to the dismay of all the toys and their leader lion, King Moonracer. Readers will be drawn in by the familiar art and characters, but this book is slim on plot and suspense. Words like “shucks” and hokey phrases throughout like, “Just because you’re a misfit doesn’t mean you can’t be a hero,” will disappoint readers looking for more Rudolf fun. Most disappointing is when the gutsy little Dolly sets out to save the day on a tiny ledge where Charlie is stranded, but she slips and is predictably rescued by the cowboy who’s been flirting with her since chapter one. At a retail cost of $9.99 this paperback is only for those in desperate need of a holiday graphic novel.
Pomelo's Big Adventure
ENCHANTED LION BOOKS [ENCHANTED LION BOOKS]
Badescu, Ramona
Chaud, Benjamin
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 15, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Imported from France and translated into English, this is the fourth book about Pomelo, a little pink elephant with an enormous trunk. Since the dandelion in his garden is bare, Pomelo packs his bag and sets out on an adventure. He hikes until he meets a rat that trades him a windup car for his bag. The car speeds up his journey for a bit, but when the car disintegrates, he must pick himself up, pull himself together, and march on. He finds Papamelo, who feeds him, teaches him to build a boat, and encourages him to continue his journey. Crossing the rough sea is scary, but the water calms down and he reaches the far shore. There he meets the unusual, multi-talented Starfish, with whom the adventure will seemingly continue. Nearly all of the paintings that illustrate the story cover fill sides of a two-page spread, allowing the illustrator room to show us how daunting this adventure is for the diminutive Pomelo. They also convey humor and absurdity, such as when Pomelo decides the direction for his adventure by tossing a ribbon tied to a stone. Yet, for anyone unfamiliar with the previous Pomelo books, the eccentricity and surreal qualities of the story will make it more difficult for some readers to relate to.
Joseph Fipps
ENCHANTED LION BOOKS [ENCHANTED LION BOOKS]
Roberts, Nadine
Godbout, Genevieve
Not Recommended -- Does not meet library standards in style, content or design.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 15, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Joseph Fipps is a five-year old who often does things that anger his mother, like taking the ladder so that he can peek into a goldfinch nest. When she expresses her disappointment in his behavior and calls him Gremlin (yet again), he blurts out that he wants another mother. She says there’s a walrus mommy at the North Pole who might take him and that she’s had enough of his silliness. He goes outside to sulk and imagines a wonderful life with his walrus mother. When his real mom calls him inside, he tells her to come out and see the walruses. He leads her to the bird’s nest. Although she is depicted holding his hand as they go, the story then ends rather abruptly with no real resolution. The soft pastel illustrations that help convey the world from Joseph’s point of view and sometimes stand alone on wordless pages almost save this book. But the emotional distance separating Joseph from his mother is distressing. While there might actually be some mothers who would call their child a gremlin and a few that would suggest that he might have to go live with the walruses, it is hard to imagine who would want to read a story with such emotional bullying to their own five-year old.
Pay It Forward Kids : Small Acts, Big Change
FITZHENRY & WHITESIDE [FITZHENRY & WHITESIDE]
Runstadler, Nancy
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 16, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Paying it forward refers to the idea of repaying a good deed by doing something for others rather than for the original benefactor. In chapters of 3-4 pages each, this book presents fourteen inspiring stories of kids whose charitable activities made a significant impact on the lives of others. They focused on a range of problems, from homelessness, human trafficking of children and providing eyeglasses, to sharing books, music, and hockey equipment. Each story explains how the activity began, what it developed into, and where it may lead in the future. Relevant facts, quotes, photos, and glossary words add visual interest to each page, and each story has a graphic organizer that shows what the kids received and how they paid it forward. This is a valuable resource that will help students understand how even small actions can bring about big, positive changes in our world.
Captain America : The Winter Soldier : The Movie Storybook
MARVEL PRESS [MARVEL PRESS]
Piehl, Scott A
Lim, Ron Et Al
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 16, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Captain America rescues hostages from a gang of pirates while Black Widow downloads data from their computer. Subsequently, bad guys try to retrieve the data drive. Mercenaries led by the Winter Soldier, a masked man with a metal arm attack the boss, who passes the drive off to Captain and Black Widow. Before they get a chance to hide it, they are attacked by the same group. They escape and meet up with the Falcon, who joins them in battling the Winter Soldier and his minions. When Captain bests and unmasks the Winter Soldier, he recognizes him as his old friend Bucky. Yet Bucky shows no hint of recognition. After his escape, Captain vows not to rest until his friend is himself again. Colorful action-packed comic book art fills more than half of each two-page spread. Unfortunately, the characters are as two-dimensional as the art. Fans of the movie may enjoy this, but as literature, it falls short.
Abyssinian Cats
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Gagne, Tammy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 16, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
With so many cat series already in print, deciding what to purchase comes down to purpose and target audience. The Child’s World Domestic Cat series covers eight main breeds found as pets in the United States in 24-page library bound books. The horizontal shaped books are smaller than Capstones A+ series but larger than Abdo’s Checkerboard books. Two page chapters contain a large captioned photograph with text on the opposite page. Chapters cover the origins of the breed and pathway to the United States, physical appearance, personality, interaction needs and daily care. Modified quatrefoils contain interesting facts and together with a random sprinkling of cat toys add color to the mostly white pages, but the cat toys are more distraction than enhancement. Abyssinians closely resemble cats depicted in ancient Egypt with tall triangular shaped ears, long tails and large eyes, although genetics show they originated in SE Asia. Often called, Abys or Aby-silly-an, the cats are a playful, active and adventurous breed know to climb anything and love to play in water. Challenges include keeping them entertained and knee problems. Sufficiently detailed information differentiates between the breeds making this series worth purchasing.
Pink : Pop Singer & Songwriter
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Rowell, Rebecca
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 17, 2014
Garrard, Thom
This biography of Pink, part of the Contemporary Lives series from ABDO’s Essential Library, opens with a description of her stunning and acrobatic performance at the 2010 Grammy Awards. A rough childhood marked by substance abuse almost killed her, but her strong desire to perform helped her turn away from drugs at age fifteen. After a very successful R&B debut album, she took a risk by shifting to an edgier, tougher sound, but she felt compelled to be true to herself. Her relationship with motocross rider Carey Hart, which included marriage, separation, reconciliation, and eventually parenthood, produced intense feelings that she was able to transform into new material. Fans have eaten it up, and every one of her albums has gone platinum. The text is easy to read with satisfactory color photographs and informative sidebars. For those wishing to learn more about the life of this celebrity, this biography does an acceptable job.
Rihanna : Grammy-Winning Superstar
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Herringshaw, Deann
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 17, 2014
Garrard, Thom
This biography of Rihanna, part of the Contemporary Lives series from ABDO’s Essential Library, begins with a brief description of the young singer’s many awards and her popularity as both a singer and a presence on social media. Singing was her escape from a difficult childhood in Barbados marked by poverty, racial prejudice, her parents’ unstable marriage, and her father’s addictions. As a teen, her audition for a record producer led to a record company audition and a huge contract. She grew as a performer and gradually assumed more control over her look and sound. Despite music lyrics that have become raunchier and more sexual, and despite moving in and out of a sometimes abusive relationship, her popularity has continued to grow. The easy-to-read text is illustrated with color photographs and accompanied by sidebars with additional information. For those wishing to learn more about the life of this celebrity, this biography does an adequate job.
Veterans Day
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Dash, Meredith
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 17, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
If a short, easy to understand book on this national holiday is needed that has large photos for sharing, this could fit the bill. One of ABDO Kids National Holidays titles this one introduces the young student to November 11—when we celebrate and who we celebrate with one to two short sentences per double page spread. It chronicles its origins as Armistice Day and its changes in dates and names over the years. Photos depict the key people involved though without the captions i.e. Eisenhower is never mentioned, but he’s in the middle of the photo on the page where it becomes officially Veterans Day. Includes all desired text features in 24 pages from table of contents to three additional facts, a four-word glossary, a seven-word index and ABDO Kids Code for further online information, which proved decent. Unfortunately the term “armistice” was defined by itself rather than using a synonym such as “truce”. Others in the series cover Columbus Day, Labor Day, Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, Presidents’ Day and Thanksgiving. For grades K-2
Frank Einstein And The Antimatter Motor
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
Scieszka, Jon
Biggs, Brian
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 17, 2014
Dame, Anne
Written in the style of Wimpy Kid. Frank Einstein is a descendant of Albert Einstein. The genius DNA has definitely stayed in the family genetic pool. Frank and his grandpa both love to tinker around and invent new things. Frank's current project for the school science fair is to create a SmartBot - a robot that can learn on it's own. As one might imagine, lots of things go wrong. For younger students reading at a higher level, also for those who love science, engineering, robots, etc.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Mattern, Joanne
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 17, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Another in the Checkerboard Biography Library showcasing Conservationists, this title focuses on a journalist turned environmentalist whose life’s cause became preserving the Everglades. This very readable 32-page biography of an interesting woman has a chapter for every double-page spread with accompanying photo and caption, all in chronological order. Two fun facts and one Conservation Alert! are inserted. The book concludes with a timeline, quotation, glossary, website, and detailed index. This is quality nonfiction that may or may not be picked up by the intermediate student unless given an assignment to do so. Others in the Checkerboard Biography Library Conservationists series include John Burroughs, John Muir, Sigurd F. Olson, Will Steger and Wallace Stegner.
Julia's House For Lost Creatures
FIRST SECOND [FIRST SECOND]
Hatke, Ben
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 18, 2014
Dame, Anne
"Julia's house came to town and settled by the sea." But it was quiet and Julia was lonely so she opened up her home to those who needed a place to stay. She ends up with an odd assortment of creatures who seem to take her hospitality for granted. She comes up with a great solution, however. Clever and fun, with delightful illustrations.
Welcome To The Dark House
Disney-Hyperion [Disney-Hyperion]
Stolarz, Laurie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
November 18, 2014
Dame, Anne
Creepy and dark, set in a mysterious amusement park, this book reminded me a lot of Full Tilt by Shusterman. Seven teens who won an essay contest about their worst nightmares are now on location for a new horror film by director Justin Blake. However, they are getting more than what they bargained for in this action-filled horror thriller. I had a hard time connecting to and keeping track of the characters other than Ivy, who is the first one introduced.
Lil Wayne : Grammy-Winning Hip-Hop Artist
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Wittekind, Erika
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 19, 2014
Garrard, Thom
This biography of Lil Wayne, part of the Contemporary Lives series from ABDO’s Essential Library, describes his rise to stardom, the success of his solo albums, his strategy of releasing lots of free songs to keep his fans loyal, and his claim to be the best rapper alive. He got an early start, rapping from age eight on and signing his first contract at eleven, but life wasn’t easy. He nearly killed himself with a handgun, and by fourteen, he had dropped out of school to support his family with his music. He found success first as a group member, then as a solo artist, eventually became the recording company president and kept the business going in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He made an unsuccesful foray into rock , controversy surrounded some of his lyrics, and his personal life became a mess, with four children by different mothers, substance abuse, and time spent in prison. A return to hip hop came next. Although he has since talked about retirement, writing, singing, and performing seem to run in his blood. Supplemented with color photographs and informative sidebars, the text is not difficult to read. For those wishing to learn more about the life of this celebrity, this biography does a satisfactory job.
Wee Hours
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Watson, Stephanie
Grandpre, Mary
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 19, 2014
Threlkeld, Sarah
The strength of this book is its beautiful illustrations. The artwork is detailed enough that readers will want to linger on each page and the colors almost glow. The concept of the book - little creatures called Wee Hours visit children when they sleep - isn't necessarily new, but it is executed well, and younger readers will delight in all of the antics carried out by the Wee Hours. The book could also be used to introduce similes to students, since the story is packed with them, and could lead to an engaging writing activity where students depict what happens in their bedroom as they sleep.
Life Story Of A Salamander
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Guillain, Charlotte
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 19, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Part of Helnemann First Library’s Animal Life Stories series, this is a nicely produced piece of nonfiction for the primary student reader and works well for sharing as a read aloud. From the table of contents to the index this title has all of the desired nonfiction text features that make access to its information easy. After describing how the salamander is an amphibian and its physical features the life story begins. From a dot in a transparent egg through the two larva stages the reader sees this creature metamorphose into an adult. The variety of salamanders are explained from six inches to six feet, some with a 20-year life span. Food, predators, mating (handled appropriately), and hibernation precede the final diagram reviewing the life cycle, the focus of this book. Clear, close-up color photos do not need captions as the text explains them. A nine-word glossary, three books and two websites worth looking at, and a detailed index round out this book. Kids liked it as much as this adult. Others in this series include the life story of a butterfly, frog, and ladybug.
Great Thanksgiving Escape
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Fearing, Mark
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 20, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Gavin is not excited to attend another Thanksgiving at his grandma's, especially when he's thrust in with the little kids and babies to wait until dinner. His cousin Rhonda gets him to leave where he's supposed to stay by convincing him that they should got out to the backyard swings. When he balks at first her reasoning is, "The way I see it, Gav, is that sometimes you have to make your own fun." Thus they crawl away from the babies under the cover of their coats. Each step of the way Rhonda makes it more exciting as they RUN! from the vicious dogs guarding the front door (sleepy Dashounds), escape the smothering HALL of AUNTS, avoid the GREAT WALL OF BUTTS in front of the TV football game, retreat from the ZOMBIES in front of their electronic devices in the basement before literally hitting the glass wall. Rhonda's ready to give up when she sees the pouring rain in the backyard, but Gavin has learned her lesson--they must make their own fun. The humorous illustrations capture the kids’ perspectives as adults are mostly seen from the waste up! This Thanksgiving tale grows on the adult reader with each reading, but it's hard to get past the huge word, "BUTTS!" on one page.
Business
Scobre Press [Scobre Press]
Rue, Kirsten
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 20, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Women who have made their mark in the business world are the subject of this installment in the Yes She Did! series from Scobre Educational. The book opens with the story of Ping Fu, who began as a poor Chinese immigrant and rose to become 2005 entrepreneur of the year for her company’s work with 3D visual imagery. This is followed by chapters about female leaders in the business of technology, finance, and clothing retail and design. The last chapter discusses the “girl effect,” the impact of Investing in girls’ education and health as a proven means of fighting poverty, before moving on to the CEO of Care USA, the founder of a small business support group for women, and Hillary Clinton. The reason for Hillary's inclusion is unclear, as the focus is on her promoting women as political, not business leaders. Each two-page spread in this slim volume is mostly covered by text, with the addition of a small sidebar and a picture or two. The margins are narrower than usual, probably because the text is printed in a rather large font. For a nonfiction book, it also seems odd that the normal book ending text features, a listing of sources, a glossary, an index, and places to look for further information, are not included.
Wild Turkeys
BELLWETHER MEDIA [BELLWETHER MEDIA]
SCHUETZ, KRISTIN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 20, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This Blastoff Readers Level 1 featuring wild turkeys provides a basic introduction to beginning readers in the primary grades. The table of contents indicates their are three chapters--What Are Wild Turkeys?, With the Flock, and Males and Females, however, there are no such headings within the text. Kindergarteners enjoyed the new information as a read aloud especially around Thanksgiving. It's a decent book to share to demonstrate text features such as bold words for the glossary, one label of a spur on a photo, find out more through the website, and an index. There are no captions, but the photos definitely match the text especially when listing such things as where they live--three inset photos of each habitat are placed over the main photo and again for what they eat--three inset photos of the foods exactly match. Text does end abruptly. Others in this vast series of Backyard Wildlife range from Aramadillos to Woodpeckers.
Princess In Black
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Hale, Shannon
Pham, Leuyen
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 20, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This new offering and format from the husband and wife team of Shannon and Dean Hale is a beginning chapter book for their daughters who like to play at being princesses as well as wearing capes and capturing monsters. Princess Magnolia is such a girl. She is the perfect princess in pink, but in a closet can transform into the secret Princess in Black. When the nosy Duchess Wigtower comes to tea looking for some flaw or secret in this seemingly too perfect girl, Princess Magnolia tries to hide her alter ego from the woman. Unfortunately she must slip off unexpectedly when the monster alarm goes off alerting her to a problem in Monster Land. With her trusty stead Frimplepants, a unicorn while in court, but Blacky, her faithful pony when on missions, they gallop off to find the big blue monster who’s about to eat two goats. With some swift action she hog-ties the blue monster, and after finally asking him politely he returns down his hole. This 89-page sturdy offering with rich, colorful illustrations make a fine transitional chapter book mostly for little girls. They will enjoy the action, the facets of the main character, the humor in the text and drawings that break up the large size text. Ad+/R depending on need.
One-Eyed Doll
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Preller, James
Bruno, Iacopo
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 20, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Scary Tales #5 is certainly creepy and as dark as the pages. Malik, the responsible sibling, is in charge of his sister Tania, a younger and freer spirit, as they try to find treasure throughout the hot summer. While his mom’s at work and his dad sleeps after his night shift the kids are pretty much on their own. One day Tania takes off for the old place that everyone warns to avoid. He finds her with the tip of a buried box in the backyard of the abandoned old house. After hauling it away to the woods they get tools to break it open only to find an old ceramic doll with one missing eye. The doll becomes Tania’s constant companion, and Malik overhears them talking to each other at all hours. This doll seems to have some power over Tania, and even sends Malik falling down the stairs. When Malik does some research on the old woman who last lived in the house he finds her in a nursing home. She calls it a one-eyed witch and still seems haunted by it. Malik takes measures to get rid of the doll after he finds his sister unconscious. This is darker than most third graders would like, though the text is medium sized, and the black illustrations make the African American characters look odd with their white-ringed eyes.
Amazing Feats Of Electrical Engineering
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Swanson, Jennifer
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
November 21, 2014
Dame, Anne
This is one book in a series featuring different feats of engineering. The others are: aerospace, biological, civil, environmental, and mechanical engineering. Numerous photos depicting a diversity of race and gender plus various electrical engineering projects add much interest and helpful information. The students that I used this series with stated that the pictures were indeed useful. Each text also includes a hands-on project, career planning advice, and additional resources. Side-bars throughout also add to the overall excellence of this series. A great addition particularly in regards to STEM curriculum.
Animals
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Colson, Rob Scott
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
All ages
November 21, 2014
Jensen, Kathy
The first thing you notice when picking up this book is its very thick, durable cover and its shiny gold title. Showing a variety of vertebrates, the author uses two-page spreads throughout the entire book. A two-page spread of an animal specimen is introduced with a skeleton, photographs, and detailed information. The following two-page spread is an addendum, where other animals in the same class are shown. Thanks to the numerous photographs in this book, children will be captivated. The unique layout proves a great deal of attention was put into details during the creation of this book. A scull background behind each page number is just one example. The variety of text (some even look hand-written) is presented in text boxes or short paragraphs. You will learn interesting facts such as; crocodiles stay cool by sleeping with their mouths wide open, hummingbirds flap their wings between 20 and 100 times every second, and reindeer travel up to 3,000 miles each year in search of new pastures. The appendix contains photographs and amazing skeleton facts. For those who want to dig even deeper, the appendix also labels the main parts that make up an animal's skeleton. A glossary and index conclude this very appealing book.
Patti Cake And Her New Doll
ORCHARD BOOKS [ORCHARD BOOKS]
Giff, Patricia Reilly
Bryant, Laura J.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 22, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
Patricia Reilly Giff ahs written a sweet story about a little girl getting "new room and a new bed, too." It was "gigantic!" all her own and just a little scary. Her babysitter takes her shopping for a "new room present." After putting on "my light-up ring and my cowgirl had with strings" she sets off to find her present. Eventually Patti Cake found the aisle with dolls. Upon opening the box for one with "frizzly hair and blush on one cheek." Patti ask "Are you alone in the greatly dark?" Naming the doll "On Sale" because this was the babysitter said she was on sale, Patti takes her home and prepares to un-smudge her giving On-Sale a belly button - because she is "embarrassed not to have one" - with pink nail polish. Chaos ensues when Tootsie, the dog, gets involved and the nail polish spills all over the floor. Patricia Riley Giff evokes the joy of a girl with a brand new doll and not feeling quite alone in her new gigantic bed, in her new room, alone in the "greatly dark". The slightly wordy and occasionally awkward text and transitions make this a story that is best read one on one. Little girls will enjoy the soft pastel pinks and lavenders of Laura J. Bryant's gently sweet illustrations.
President Taft Is Stuck In The Bath
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Barnett, Mac
Van Dusen, Chris
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 22, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
Did President Taft get stuck in his bath? Maybe, or maybe not concludes author Marc Barnett. In this ridiculously, funny tale Barnett has our multi-chinned, corpulent 27th president stuck in his bathtub, bidding his wife to summon help from everyone; the Vice President (who asks if he can be sworn in a president), the Secretary of Agriculture who suggest a vat of butter even the Secretary of War who envisions using TNT. Finally, Mrs. Taft gets her two-cents in and suggests a team approach. With yanks and tugs there came a "squeak, and a slap, and a snap, and just like that . . . President Taft flew from the bath." The gouache caricatures of the bare president in his bath and his cabinet are delightfully funny. The illustrator strategically places bubbles and splashes to preserve the president's modesty while tickling student's sense of humor. Students will find this a fun read. The Author's Note adds to the tale, declaring that President Taft denied ever having an over-sized tub designed, while showing a photo purported to be "Taft's White House tub, custom built for the president by the J. L. Mott Iron Works of Trenton New Jersey. Four men sit in the tub."
Nine Words Max
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Bar-El, Dan
Huyck, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 22, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
Max, the youngest of four princes loves to ask questions; to know all sorts of information and trivia, to talk all the time! His older brothers are men of few words. It takes all three brothers to say, "Maximilian would you just stop babbling!" Max, just has too much to say. One day opportunity rears it head. The four brothers are left to their own devices when Mom & Dad go on vacation leaving the kingdom in the boys hands. Kurt, Wilt, and Trip pay a visit to the kingdom's wizard for a spell to keep May from saying more than nine words at a time. It worked, peace and quiet at last. Until that is . . . very touchy, easily offended Queen Spark arrives. No, one knows what to do and Max can't tell them in nine words or less. With disaster staring them in the face, the brothers beg for the spell to be reversed. This comical tale will appeal to young students as a book to be read aloud to a group or one on one. The binding is adequate with a dust jacket over the paper on board cover. The illustrations are cartoonish with the four princes drawn as caricatures of their personalities.
Earth : The Living Planet
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Lundgren, Julie K
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 23, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
The basics of the Earth are covered in three short chapters for the young reader. They cover topics such as where the Earth is in the galaxy, what is made from, how it moves, and how there is life on Earth. Each chapter is six pages long with a few paragraphs of text, some fact boxes, and photographs or illustrations on each page. Some are captioned and others simply provide a backdrop for the text. A short glossary, index, and list of related web sites are included. It is part of the “Inside Outer Space” series.
Goodnight Football
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Dahl, Michael
Forshay, Christina
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 23, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This is an odd offering that is almost two books in one. In rhyming text accompanied by colorful illustrations a Friday night game is recounted featuring an African American family in the stands and a multicultural team, band and cheerleaders. It probably captures the excitement of the game, but at the end of the game it becomes a version of Goodnight Moon when it starts into, "What a game! What a night! Goodnight players. You fought a good fight." The rest is "goodnight" to everything from the mascot to the concession stand as the family heads back to the car. Once in the car it's, "Goodnight, goalposts. Goodnight moon." At home the young boy falls asleep with the football in his hand and sweet dreams in his head. The illustrations are pleasant and will draw kids in. Also the end sheets are clever with a football field highlighting the Grizzlies. This might work as a bedtime book, but it seemed a weird juxtaposition.
Dinner That Cooked Itself
Flying Eye Books [Flying Eye Books]
Pak, Kenard
Pak, Kenard
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 23, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This is a pleasant folktale from China about an honest young man, who after being orphaned was raised by another couple. As an adult they try to find him a wife, but are unsuccessful. One day Tuan discovers a large snail in a shell that he places in a jar with tasty cabbage leaves. From that day on his dinner mysteriously awaits him upon his arrival home after a hard day's work at the magistrate's office. He finally comes home early to discover the mystery cook, when out of the jar climbs a beautiful woman named White Wave, a fairy sent by the Lord of Heaven, who has taken pity on the man who was orphaned and lives alone with only a small house and field. White Wave cannot stay, but promises he will never go hungry. There is a happy ending when he becomes a magistrate and finds a compatible, loving wife. The book concludes with two pages about the Chinese symbols that were used with some of the illustrations plus some background on calligraphy and these strokes. The artwork in traditional Chinese style and somber colors will not jump off the shelf, but, if read aloud, children will appreciate the story, message, and Chinese characters.
Robots At Home
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Zuchora-Walske, Christin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 23, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
One of Lerner's Lightning Bolt Books this title is part of the Robots Everywhere! series. In 32 pages the young reader is introduced to the many intriguing uses of robots to help in the home environment. After an introduction to robots, the robots are divided up into chapters by functions--housework, personal and toy. The graphics are colorful and eye-catching with labels or captions for all of the very clear color photos. The text is somewhat large with three to seven sentences per double page spread and in varied colors. Adults as well as kids will enjoy learning a lot about a myriad of robots including one that plays volleyball; Clocky, the alarm clock that rolls away so the sleeper has to get out of bed; and even therapy robots that are much like pets. The final pages round out this offering with a page each on robot scientists, fun facts, glossary, lots of further reading and websites, plus an index. The three others in the series are Helper Robots, Robots in Space and Weather Robots.
Big Apple Effect
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Goerzen, Christy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
November 23, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Vancouver, BC, native Maddie has won a trip to New York City where she's to receive an award for taking first prize in an art contest her new summer friend Anna has entered her in. This is the first time she's been away from her new age hippie mother, and she's so looking forward to it. But once there Maddie is so preoccupied with her list of over a hundred things to do in New York City during the four days she and her friend Anna will have there that she doesn't pick up on how selfish and self-absorbed she's become. Anna and her cute NYU brother put up with this for as long as they can since it's also Maddie's fifteenth birthday. But once Maddie's mother shows up as a surprise the trip gets even more tense as they devise ways to sabotage the mom's stay. Ironically she finds a new friend to distract her, and at the last minute Maddie is off to the art gallery on her own. Anna has to finally put a kibosh on Maddie's self-pity and selfish behavior, but all ends well with apologies all around and a new boy in the picture. This is a fast, easy read for the late elementary or middle school girl. Lexile 570 is intended as a high/low title.
Universe : From The Big Bang To Deep Space
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Carson, Mary Kay
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 23, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
The basics of the universe are covered in five short chapters for the young reader. They cover topics such as what the universe is, the sun and nearby planets, the Milky Way, superclusters, telescopes, and how the universe started and is changing. Each chapter is two to four pages long with a few paragraphs of text, some fact boxes, and photographs or illustrations on each page. Some are captioned and others simply provide a backdrop for the text. A short glossary, index, and list of related web sites are included. It is part of the “Inside Outer Space” series.
Giant Gas Planets : Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, And Neptune
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Steinkraus, Kyla
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 23, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
The Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are covered in six short chapters for the young reader. They are grouped together because they are the planets farthest from the Sun and they are made up of liquid and clouds of swirling gas. The first chapter goes over what a planet is and how the giant gas planets similar and then each of the four planets is briefly explained in a short chapter. The last chapter simply talks about discovering more about the planets in the future. Each chapter is two to four pages long with a few paragraphs of text, some fact boxes, and photographs or illustrations on each page. Some are captioned and others simply provide a backdrop for the text. A short glossary, index, and list of related web sites are included. It is part of the “Inside Outer Space” series.
Comets And Meteors : Shooting Through Space
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Stiefel, Chana
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 23, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
The basics of comets and meteors are covered in four short chapters for the young reader. They cover topics such as what a comet and meteor are, how they are different from each other, and the effect of comets and meteors on Earth. Each chapter is four pages long with a few paragraphs of text, some fact boxes, and photographs or illustrations on each page. Some are captioned and others simply provide a backdrop for the text. There is also a section on four famous comets and when they appeared and will appear in the sky. A short glossary, index, and list of related web sites are included. It is part of the “Inside Outer Space” series.
Sun : Energy For Our Solar System
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Lundgren, Julie K
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 23, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
The basics of the sun are covered in three short chapters for the young reader. They cover topics such as what the sun is, where it is in relation to Earth, how it provides energy, and how the sun is active. Each chapter is four to eight pages long with a few paragraphs of text, some fact boxes, and photographs or illustrations on each page. Some are captioned and others simply provide a backdrop for the text. A short glossary, index, and list of related web sites are included. It is part of the “Inside Outer Space” series.
Solar Systems : Planets, Stars, And Orbits
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Higgins, Nadia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 23, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
The basics of solar systems are covered in three short chapters for the young reader. They cover topics such as what a solar system is and how it works, our solar system, and recent discoveries about other solar systems. Each chapter is four to eight pages long with a few paragraphs of text, some fact boxes, and photographs or illustrations on each page. Some are captioned and others simply provide a backdrop for the text. There is also a section on odd planets in other solar systems in the last chapter. A short glossary, index, and list of related web sites are included. It is part of the “Inside Outer Space” series.
Lives Of Stars : From Supernovas To Black Holes
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Stiefel, Chana
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 23, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
The basics of stars are covered in five short chapters for the young reader. They cover topics such as what a star is, our star the sun, how stars change, and where stars are in relation to the Earth. Each chapter is two to six pages long with a few paragraphs of text, some fact boxes, and photographs or illustrations on each page. Some are captioned and others simply provide a backdrop for the text. A short glossary, index, and list of related web sites are included. It is part of the “Inside Outer Space” series.
Rocky Planets : Mercury, Venus, Earth, And Mars
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Steinkraus, Kyla
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 23, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
The Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars are covered in six short chapters for the young reader. They are grouped together because they are the planets closest to the Sun and they are made mostly of rock with an iron core. The first chapter goes over what a planet is and then each of the four planets is briefly explained in a short chapter. The last chapter simply talks about learning more about these planets in the future. Each chapter is two to four pages long with a few paragraphs of text, some fact boxes, and photographs or illustrations on each page. Some are captioned and others simply provide a backdrop for the text. A short glossary, index, and list of related web sites are included. It is part of the “Inside Outer Space” series.
Dwarf Planets : Pluto And The Lesser Planets
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Higgins, Nadia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 23, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
The five dwarf planets including Pluto are covered in three short chapters for the young reader. They cover topics such as what a dwarf planet is, details about the dwarf planets, and where they are located, Each chapter is four to eight pages long with a few paragraphs of text, some fact boxes, and photographs or illustrations on each page. Some are captioned and others simply provide a backdrop for the text. A short glossary, index, and list of related web sites are included. It is part of the “Inside Outer Space” series.
Hockey Patterns
Sports Illustrated Kids/capstone Pr [Sports Illustrated Kids/capstone Pr]
Weakland, Mark
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 24, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Hockey Patterns, part of The Sports Illustrated Kids Rookie Books series, illustrates the concept of patterns using large, colorful photographs that nearly fill each two page spread. Some of the photos show on-ice action, but most focus on related subjects like equipment, an official’s jersey, fan signs, and arenas. Except for a few times when the reader is asked to figure out what comes next, the accompanying sentences identify the shapes or colors that form the pattern in each picture. This is important because the patterns in some photos, such as those of the arena ceiling, the net, and players of different colors skating side-by-side, are not as obvious as they could have been. The idea that we can find patterns in the world around us if we only look is significant, however, and young hockey fans will probably enjoy learning about patterns from a book like this one. A glossary, index, and sources of additional information are also included.
Edgar Degas
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Cernak, Linda
Morrow, J. T.
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 24, 2014
Threlkeld, Sarah
This biography is clearly written and engages the reader with pictures of Degas's artwork and interesting facts about his life. There is a glossary and index, as well as chapter titles and captions, making this a good book for teaching students about text features, as well as Impressionist art. Recommended for elementary libraries wanting to expand their biography section and classroom teachers who are looking for non-fiction books connected to art.
Leonardo Da Vinci
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Cernak, Linda
Morrow, J. T.
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 24, 2014
Threlkeld, Sarah
Did you know Leonardo da Vinci only completed 15 paintings in his lifetime and that he was one of the first artists to use oil paints? These are only two of the many facts you'll learn about da Vinci in this clearly-written and detailed biography. The author presents the artist's life from childhood through adulthood, describing where he got his inspiration and the kind of training he did to excel at his craft. A glossary will help readers tackle challenging vocabulary and images of da Vinci's sketches and paintings will give them a strong sense of the artist's style. The book does contain many references to Christian figures which may be unfamiliar to some students. Overall, a strong biography for upper elementary students.
Michelangelo
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Bailer, Darice
Morrow, J. T.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 24, 2014
Threlkeld, Sarah
Despite being packed with interesting facts about Michelangelo's life and career, this book isn't very engaging because it is written poorly, with choppy sentences and ideas that don't flow naturally together. Students may also find the text challenging if they don't have background knowledge about Christianity and the Catholic church. Recommended only if libraries need to expand their collection of artist biographies or want to purchase materials to support the art program.
Truly, We Both Loved Beauty Dearly! : The Story Of Sleeping
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Shaskan, Trisha Speed
Tayal, Amit
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 24, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Excellent story for point of view as told by the Good and Bad Fairies in this version of Sleeping Beauty. All the mixups with what the BF (Best Fairy) of the King was trying to do for the new little princess are explained in this book. Good purchase.
THE ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR
BELLWETHER MEDIA [BELLWETHER MEDIA]
Bowman, Chris
Vollmer, Joel
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 24, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This Black Sheep title is from the Disaster Stories series and as such is in graphic nonfiction format. In 24 pages the intermediate reader gets a play by play synopsis of the key events of the morning of December 7, 1941, in four so-called chapters--A Quiet Morning, Tensions Rising, Attack!, and The Aftermath. The stage is set as a quiet morning and then the minutes tick by starting at 6:37 AM with the periscope siting of an unknown submarine too close to Oahu. From there on the surprise attack takes place with horrendous results to the US military caught unaware. This could make a decent introduction for the intended reader with nonfiction text features including bold words, glossary, bibliography and index. Concerns are the type size of the main text boxes are extremely small and consequently hard to read even with reading glasses! Also in the illustrations many eyes are rather weird looking, which may be an intended style. Defining the axis powers as countries that fought against the US seems rather limiting and ethnocentric considering they were already aligned before the US entered World War II. However, sixth graders LOVED this as a read aloud for background information using a document camera.
Shape Family Babies
Arbordale Publishing [Arbordale Publishing]
Haas, Kristin
Bersani, Shennen
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 24, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
The Shape family is expecting a baby, but surprise, surprise, surprise! It’s ” not one, not two, but 3 little bundles of joy. When it comes to naming their little darlings two are easy, one “has all equal sides like Mother Rhombus”; one “had four right angles like Father Rectangle”. But the third was a puzzle, she had four equal sides like Mama and four right angles like Dad. After racking their brains they call in the relatives who proceed to suggest names such as Polygon and Quadrilateral most of which are accurate, but, who ever heard of a Rectombus? It isn’t until her likeness to Great- Great-Grandpa Square is noted that she has a name. This is a fun story with which young readers will connect. The text is simple and direct clearly identifying the characteristics of the shapes using the appropriate math vocabulary and brightly colored attractive cartoon style illustrations. The back matter labeled for “For Creative Minds” extends learning and may be photocopied or can be printed from the website. This is an excellent text to add to the Math section and young students interested in shapes will enjoy pouring over the different shapes. This would be useful in the classroom as well as individually.
Honk Honk! Beep Beep!
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Kirk, Daniel
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Pre-Kindergarten
November 24, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
A delightful description of an early morning drive up the mountain to watch the sunrise. Kirk’s simple, descriptive rhyming text with the refrain “Honk Honk Beep Beep” will be enjoyed by very young children as father and son encounter a variety of vehicles and people from construction crews to a farmer and his sheep, all of whom pile into the jeep for the ride up the mountain. The bright colorful illustrations with toy like characters will attract the very young and the board book format will stand up to the rough handling this text will endure, especially from all of the car and truck loving readers.
ALEK
FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX (BYR) [MACMILLAN]
BREDSDORFF, BODIL
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 24, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
Translated from Danish, Alek is the fourth and concluding story in the Children of Crow Cove series. Alek, formerly known as Doup, takes back his given name and pays a visit to an older brother in a neighboring fishing village. After deciding to stay awhile with his brother he discovers a gang of wreckers, rescues a girl at the same time. In the process of working out just who to trust, how to stop the gang and survive, Alek demonstrates growing maturity in the choices and decisions he makes. As this is the fourth in the series readers may struggle a little to follow the connections and relationships if they have not read the previous three stories in the series, but, there is enough adventure and danger to satisfy. Also reviewed in Kirkus Reviews, Horn Book; starred reviews in Booklist and SLJ.
Curse Of Maleficent : The Tale Of A Sleeping Beauty
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 24, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
Based on the screen play written by Linda Woolverton, tells an alternate version of Sleeping Beauty from Maleficent’s point of view. As a young girl Maleficent is filled with hope and good will, befriending a human boy even though she had been warned against humans. His betrayal goes deep and Maleficent in her hurt and anger takes retribution on Stephen, now the king, and his family with a curse on the infant, Aurora. As she grows up concealed deep in the woods, Aurora feels the presence of a “fairy godmother” watching out for her. But, is it really a fairy godmother? This is a surprisingly well written twist on a well know story that readers of fairy stories will love. The beautiful, whimsical and dramatic illustrations look like they were taken from the storyboards for the movie in which Angelina Jolie plays Maleficent. This would be a good addition to any collection of fairy stories. Printed on heavy paper similar to the paper used for graphic novels, the binding and paper on board cover may not hold up to the handling this one could receive.
Wolf
FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX [FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX]
Hobbs, Valerie
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 24, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
Jack, the Border collie from Sheep is back. He has found a home on a farm where he keeps the sheep safe and trains the young ones. When two sheep disappear in broad daylight Jack has to find out what happened to them. Questioning himself and his skills, was he getting too old and determined not to disappoint his boy, Luke, Jack discovers that it is a rabid wolf after his sheep. Can he protect all that he loves? This tale of adventure and determination alternately told from Jack and the wolf’s view point will keep all dog lovers reading and willing Jack to prevail, also encouraging readers to consider the wolf’s viewpoint. Fans of Sheep will consider this one a must and your dog lovers will enjoy it, without needing to have read Sheep first. The binding is adequate, with a dust jacket over a plain board cover. Also reviewed in SLJ, Kirkus Reveiws, Horn Book and Book List.
Navy Seals
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Murray, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 25, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Members of the Navy Seals constitute only one percent of the U.S. Navy. The author of this book from ABDO Kids’ U.S. Armed Forces series also had to be extremely selective, as only a few sentences (or less) accompany the large color photograph on each two page spread of this large format book. The text provides a quick glimpse at the qualifications, the jobs, and the weapons and equipment used by this elite unit of the U.S. military. The impressive photographs build excitement by capturing dramatic action or the moment of anticipation just prior to launch. A few extra facts, a short glossary, an index, and a code for the abdokids.com website are included. The website has some downloadable activities and links to additional information that is written at a much higher reading level. Kids who are interested in the military will like this book. The book is well done, but since the volume is only 24 pages from stem to stern, there is only a minimal amount of information.
Cathedral : The Story Of Its Construction Revised And In Ful
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Macaulay, David
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
November 25, 2014
Shirts, Brooke
David Macaulay's classic depiction of the planning and construction of a Gothic cathedral has gotten a lovely full-color makeover in this reissue. From the laying of the foundation to the raising of flying buttresses, Macaulay catalogues every aspect of the ninety-year undertaking of cathedral construction (hypothetical, anyway -- the 13th century French village of Chutreaux is imaginary). The original edition was created with fine-lined pen-and-ink illustrations; here, the drawings are colored pencil, giving a more nuanced, soft-edged tone, while still retaining the artist's-sketchbook quality that made the original so appealing. The cathedral is shown from different angles and in layers of cross-sections, expertly showing every arch and aisle; there are small portraits highlighting the different craftsmen and tools and materials required for the undertaking. The text explains the physics and terminology of architecture in clear, concise style. Glassmakers, sculptors, bell makers and mortar makers scurry about the page spreads; children with an eye for detail will enjoy exploring them. If your collection already has the original edition, there isn't necessarily a good reason to invest in this new one, but it will be enjoyed.
In Deep With The Octopus
FITZHENRY & WHITESIDE [FITZHENRY & WHITESIDE]
Dixon, Norma
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
All ages
November 25, 2014
Jensen, Kathy
Anything you'll ever want to know about octopuses can be found in this amazing book. Beautiful photography is shown throughout, with over seventy image credits. It has a table of contents with chapter listings, including an introduction to help the reader overcome erroneous beliefs about octopuses being vicious monsters. A two-page spread of a world map shows where you might see a few different types of this cephalopod. One can fit under a penny, while another can fill your bedroom. Readers will learn an incredible amount of information about these very intelligent, timid, and complex creatures. Did you know they are the smartest of all invertebrates, have three hearts, blue blood, and are completely deaf and color blind? You will learn other amazing facts such as each arm has a mini-brain, so all eight arms can perform different tasks at the same time. Not only does this nonfiction book have the usual glossary and index, it has a bibliography, a list of books for further reading, a quiz, and a page of craft ideas for the artistic readers. A strong binding and sturdy pages will keep this book on library shelves for a long time (if it ever gets returned).
Grudge Keeper
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Rockliff, Mara
Wheeler, Eliza
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 25, 2014
Shirts, Brooke
In the little town of Bonnyripple, when someone has "insults, umbrage, squabbles, dust-ups, and imbroglios," the standard procedure is to write down the complaint and file it with Cornelius, the "grudge keeper," who has thousands of such papers overflowing the rooms of his cottage. When a terrible storm upsets Cornelius' home, the grudges are blown all over. Villagers arrive to help (and write more complaints) but find that, in the process of collecting the grudges, that it is better to apologize and forgive face-to-face, rather than run off to tell tales to someone else. This story is predictable but its message just steers clear of being too didactic; the villagers' complaints are funny (a stolen toupee, a zinnia-munching goat) and the text whimsical (just about every synonym for "grudge" is used here). Eliza Wheeler's watercolor illustrations are gently comic; her multiethnic cast of characters have round tummies, spindly arms, and wear old-fashioned fairytale clothing; in the village, crooked little buildings cluster beneath a butter-yellow sky. Teachers and parents will likely be fond of this book's message.
Pet Rabbits Up Close
Pebble Plus/capstone Press [Pebble Plus/capstone Press]
Wittrock, Jeni
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 26, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
Pet rabbits are examined part by part in eight mini chapters each focusing on a body part, such as whiskers, feet, tail, and fur plus an introduction. Each two page chapter includes a title, two or three simple sentences in large font, and a very large uncaptioned photograph of that part of a rabbit. The focus is on pet animals, but the only part of the text that refers to caring for a pet rabbit is “No matter the weather, always house your pet rabbit indoors.” Many sentences have little informational value such as the entire mini chapter on tails which is “Short, round, and fluffy bunnies’ tails never get in their way. From end to end, rabbits are amazing pets!” The large photographs are appealing and it has the usual nonfiction features such as index, glossary, table of contents, and list of resources, but otherwise little informational value.
Gordon's Guide To Caring For Your Guinea Pigs
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Thomas, Isabel
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 26, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
This very practical and informative pet care book is narrated by Gordon a cute cartoon-like guinea pig. He covers all the basic topics a young owner needs to know from choosing a guinea pig, handling, grooming and tooth care, and even when to bring your guinea pig to the vet. Each chapter is two pages with clear information in large font and a photograph and an illustration to support the text. The illustrations of Gordon are fun and informative such as Gordon in a hard hat and measuring tape on the page about getting the right size cage for your pet. The photographs show a variety of real guinea pigs. A list of facts, pet care tips, glossary, list of resources, and index round out this quality pet care book.
U.s. Army In World War Ii
CHILDRENS PRESS [CHILDRENS PRESS]
Benoit, Peter
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 26, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
This is a quality history book in the True Book series with enough information to give younger students a look at World War II in a well-rounded but simple way. There are four chapters with multiple subtitled sections that help organize the information in the text. Almost every page also has a captioned photograph from World War II to supplement the text. Topics include gearing up and the start of the war, types of jobs that supported the war at home and in the field, and supplies and the homefront. The last chapter deals with people who supported the war but were not white and male like most soldiers, including Japanese Americans, African Americans, and women. Difficult topics such as the Holocaust are dealt with briefly and without graphic detail. A map in the center with the participating countries and a few details about size of each ones army and if they are with the Axis or Allied powers is especially helpful. An index, glossary, and list of resources is included.
Ready, Steady, Ghost!
Disney-Hyperion [Disney-Hyperion]
Baguley, Elizabeth
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 26, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
Gilbert is a little ghost who feels too small to haunt somewhere huge. He goes out looking for a cozy little house to haunt, but he runs into a wolf, a huge snake, and a dragon who all scare Gilbert more than he scares them. In a castle Gilbert is chased by a dog and finds a little house in the attic where a little king and queen live. They are looking for a little ghost to haunt their little castle and Gilbert is the perfect ghost for them. This is a cute Halloween story that is just a little scary at times, but young readers will relate with Gilbert who is so small he is often scared. The full page illustrations are in shades of blue and black with orange and yellow details until Gilbert finds the little castle in the attic and the illustrations are shades of orange with blue and black details. Young children will love the endearing ghost and his quest for somewhere to belong as well as the “shiver-me, shake-me” word choice.
Sam & Dave Dig A Hole
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Barnett, Mac
Klassen, Jon
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 26, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
Two boys decide to dig a hole until they hit something spectacular. They dig and dig and take breaks to eat animal cookies and drink chocolate milk. Their dog is also in the hole. The boys dig far over their heads and the reader can see from the cross section illustrations that they are inches away from a gigantic cut jewel. They decide to dig in another direction. They keep making decisions to change direction just before hitting gigantic hidden jewels. In the end they take a rest and the dog digs a little more and they all fall through a hole and end up falling from the sky back to where they started. Then the boys go inside for animal cookies and chocolate milk. This is possibly a metaphor for life or just an odd story. Jon Klassen’s muted illustrations fit the simple story perfectly.
Baby Sea Otters
Children's Press [SCHOLASTIC]
Leaf, Christina
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 26, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
The extremely cute baby sea otters will make this book a hit with beginning readers. The facts are very basic with simple vocabulary and large font and include information about how a mother sea otter cares for her pup. There is not enough information for research, but readers will learn some facts and they will marvel over the full-page close-up photographs of baby sea otters and their mothers. Short glossary, index, and list of resources are included. It is part of the Super Cute! series and is a level 1 Blastoff Reader.
MINERALS
Children's Press [SCHOLASTIC]
BOWMAN, CHRIS
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 26, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
The eye-catching orange cover with shiny minerals on it will catch young reader’s attention, but they will also learn the basics about minerals. The five short chapters very briefly cover what minerals are, how they form, types of minerals, how minerals are used to study history, and an experiment for making salt crystals. The diagrams and photographs are sometimes labeled and support the text. Minerals found in food such as iron and calcium are mentioned as well as gemstones, lava, and crystals. A glossary, list of resources, and index are included. It is part of the Earth Science Rocks! series and a level 3 Blastoff Reader.
THE BICYCLE FENCE
GREEN KIDS PRESS, LLC [GREEN KIDS PRESS, LLC]
NOLL, TOM
FALL, BRANDON
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 26, 2014
Garrard, Thom
When L.T. needs a new bike, he and his environmentally conscious dad head to Recycleville, where they pick up a half dozen old bikes. From these, they use the best parts to assemble one good one. L.T. has some misgivings when he sees that the result is multi-colored and rusty, but once he applies leftover white paint, he is proud to ride his new bike. What will they do with the leftover parts? Faced with the problem of keeping his rambunctious little sister in the yard, he realizes that he can use old clothes to tie the bike frames together and form a bicycle fence. The colorful cartoonish illustrations that accompany the straightforward text will appeal to kids. This and other books in the “Trash to Treasure” series are written by a man who practices what he preaches. A photo of him with his own bicycle fence is included. The endpapers contain a list of fifteen things everyone can do to help save the planet for future generations. For Earth Day or for regular classroom discussions, this book can spark important discussions. The assembled bicycle seems ordinary, but the fence demonstrates the importance of creativity in recycling.
Komodo Dragons
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Hansen, Grace
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 26, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Komodo dragons, the subject of this book in ABDO Kids’ Reptiles series, can smell the air with their tongues and swim between islands where they live. A few sentences (or less) accompany the large color photograph on each two page spread of this large format book. The text provides a quick glimpse at Komodo dragons’ characteristics, habitat, hunting, food, and babies. The impressive photographs are mostly close-ups with backgrounds in soft focus. A few extra facts, a short glossary, an index, and a code for the abdokids.com website are included. The website has some downloadable activities, a short video from the San Diego Zoo, and links to more detailed information that is written at a much higher reading level. Kids who are interested in these carnivorous reptiles, that can kill with their bite, with their claws, and with the poisonous bacteria in their mouth, will like this book. The execution is nearly flawless, but since the volume is only 24 pages from stem to stern, there just isn’t a lot of information here.
ST. LOUIS CEMETERY NO. 1
Children's Press [SCHOLASTIC]
FERUT, MICHAEL
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 26, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
The St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is reported to be haunted by ghost of people and pets buried there. The first chapter suggests the reader might see a ghost if they went to visit the cemetery. The next chapter talks about the history of the cemetery and why the tombs are above ground. The third and last chapter tells of spirits that might haunt the cemetery from specific ghosts with stories, such as Marie Laveau and Henry Vignes, to ghosts people claim to have seen. The format of the pages adds to the mysterious approach of the book with photographs of the cemetery blurring into greenish images. An index, glossary, and list of resources are included. It is part of The Scariest Places on Earth series.
Tree House That Jack Built
ORCHARD BOOKS [ORCHARD BOOKS]
Verburg, Bonnie
Teague, Mark
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 26, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Jack lives in a fanciful tree house with assorted animal friends. When he rings the bell, they gather to listen to him read a story, (which turns out to be this one). As the sun sets, everyone settles down to sleep in the branches or the tree house. Based upon the title and beginning pages of this large format picture book, one would expect to find an adaptation of the familiar cumulative tale with nested clauses. But one would be wrong. The rhyming text veers away from this pattern and finally reveals itself as a bedtime story that seems to model its’ final pages after Goodnight Moon. The highlights of this book are Teague’s wonderful, bold acrylic paintings that are full of intriguing background details. For example, the squirrels use a hammer rigged up to crack nuts and a palm leaf fan is set in motion by a bunny chasing a carrot on a treadmill. These fun inventions will stimulate children’s imaginations, but the lack of a well-developed story line is a disappointment.
Pteranodon
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Lennie, Charles
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 26, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Pteranodons, the subject of this book in ABDO Kids’ Dinosaurs series, are not actually dinosaurs, even though they are related. A few sentences (or less) accompany the full color photograph on each two page spread of this large format book. The text provides a quick glimpse at pteranodons’ characteristics, hunting, food, nesting, and fossils. The photographs mostly appear to be computer-generated images photoshopped into realistic background landscapes. A few extra facts, a short glossary, an index, and a code for the abdokids.com website are included. The website has some downloadable activities, a short animated video, and links to more detailed information, at least some of which is written at a much higher reading level. Kids who are interested in these large, crested, prehistoric fliers, will like this book. The execution is fine, but since the volume is only 24 pages in total, the actual quantity of information is pretty sparse.
Jaguars
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Archer, Claire
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 26, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Jaguars, those well-camouflaged and carnivorous predators, are the subject of this book from ABDO Kids’ Big Cats series. A few sentences (or less) accompany the large color photograph on each two page spread of this large format book. The text provides a quick glimpse at jaguar habitats, characteristics, hunting, food, and babies. The impressive photographs are mostly close-ups with backgrounds in soft focus. A few extra facts, a short glossary, an index, and a code for the abdokids.com website are included. The website has some downloadable activities, a short video from the San Diego Zoo, and links to more detailed information that is written at a higher reading level. Kids who are interested in these big cats with a powerful bite will like this book. The execution is nearly flawless, but since the volume is only 24 pages from stem to stern, there just isn’t a lot of information here. Ad+. K-3.
Rainy, Sunny, Blowy, Snowy : What Are Seasons?
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Brocket, Jane
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten
November 26, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
The four seasons are introduced with simple text, large photographs, and common themes. Each season is given three large two-page spread with a few sentences of text and visually enticing photographs that match. For example, one spread on spring says, “Spring is a time to run around and play outside, plant seeds, pick daffodils and tulips, and jump in puddles. Splish, splash, splosh!” on top of a background of three photographs of seed packets, a bouquet of flowers, and a reflective puddle. It would be a great book to share with preschoolers or kindergartners to begin talking about the seasons and how each child experiences them. It is part of the Jane Brocket’s Clever Concepts series.
Baking Bliss! : Baked Desserts To Make And Devour
Savvy/capstone Press [Savvy/capstone Press]
Besel, Jen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
November 26, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
Thirteen eye-catching and enticing desserts are featured in this baked dessert cookbook. Bakers must have the patience to make multiple parts and an eye for detail to assemble them. Some of the more recipes include a three-layer iced Checkerboard Cake with three different cake flavors and colors, Pie Pops made from pie crust and pie filling cut in shapes and served on a stick, and Boston Cream bites made with layers of yellow cake, whipped pudding, and melted chocolate. The simplest recipe is Red Velvet Cookies with cream cheese filling. Many of the recipes call for premade mixes, dough, filling, and crust. The layout is simple and attractive with several photographs of the completed dessert and smaller photographs of some steps. Directions are numbered and complete and there is a separate list of ingredients. Aspiring bakers will check this book out just to look at the desserts, but they may try one or two for a special occasion.
Tyrannosaurus Rex
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Lennie, Charles
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 27, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Tyrannosaurus Rex, the subject of this book in ABDO Kids’ Dinosaurs series, was one of the largest animals ever to live on Earth. A few sentences (or less) accompany the large color photograph on each two page spread of this large format book. The text provides a quick glimpse at T. Rexes’ characteristics, food, and fossil remains. Other than the photographs of fossils, most appear to be computer-generated images inserted into realistic background landscapes. A few extra facts, a short glossary, an index, and a code for the abdokids.com website are included. The website has some downloadable activities, a short animated video, and links to more detailed information, at least some of which is written at a much higher reading level. Kids who are interested in these prehistoric giants will like this book. The execution is fine, but since the volume is only 24 pages in total, the actual quantity of information is pretty sparse.
What If... ?
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Browne, Anthony
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 27, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Joe’s mom walks him to his first big party, but they only know the street and not the house number. The story alternates between Joe’s mom reassuring him as he voices his anxieties and the pair peeking into the windows of each residence, where they see some odd and frightening things. Finally they find the right place and Joe’s friends welcome him. As his mom heads home, she has her own worries about the situation, but when she returns in a few hours to get him, he has had a great time. The sharp gouache and crayon illustrations are mostly colorful and some pay homage to other artists like Bruegel and Tenniel. The scenes where Joe and his mom discuss his fears, however, are presented in monochromatic comic panels with speech bubble dialogue. As in some of Browne’s other work, there is a strangeness lurking here, such as the elephant they see in one of the houses. If the book is meant to offer reassurance to fearful childen, it seems odd that his mom reveals her own anxieties after dropping him off. Depending on the audience, this book may reinforce anxieties or deepen them.
Schools Of Hope : How Julius Rosenwald Helped Change African
Calkins Creek [Calkins Creek]
Finkelstein, Norman
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 27, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
Here's a tribute worthy of Thanks-giving: Julius Rosenwald saw a problem in our country and directed his philanthropic vision to solving it. Between 1912 and 1932 the Julius Rosenwald Fund built 5357 schools for African American children in 15 southern states. Rosenwald built his fortune directing Sears Roebuck and Company into the largest retail company of its day. Influenced by the social justice and charity teachings of Rabbi Emil Hirsch of Temple Sinai, Rosenwald was also inspired by two books "An American Citizen: The Life of William H. Baldwin, Jr" about a new England philanthropist who supported educational efforts in the South, and Dr. Booker T. Washington's Up From Slavery." Dr. Washington's philosophy of self-help appealed to Rosenwald, who worked directly with Washington's Tuskegee Institute to design and build the first rural schools....but only with local "buy in" and investment. 70 pages of historic photographs and text document the growth of the "Rosenwald Schools" movement that impacted more than 600,000 African American students. Today's philanthropists and tomorrows citizens should all study and remember the life and ethic of this remarkable American.
Wednesday
ENCHANTED LION BOOKS [ENCHANTED LION BOOKS]
Bertier, Anne
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
November 27, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
Anne Bertier's bright orange circle and blue square play with each other in this picture book that will inspire artists young and old. Every Wednesday these two friends play a simple game: "as soon as one of them says a word, they transform themselves into it." Within a page or two kids will sense the delight of it and as anyone can plainly tell, it doesn't take much more than a joyful imagination to create a world of possibilities when you're willing to cut-and-paste yourself into a variety of new configurations along with a good friend. Highly recommended as an inspiration to participation be sure to have scissors, glue and a plentiful supply of precut circles and squares ready for this one. Enchanted Lion Press is publishing outstanding picture books and almost everything from their catalog http://www.enchantedlion.com would be an instant hit with elementary students and art teachers for all ages.
Three Little Peas
ENCHANTED LION BOOKS [ENCHANTED LION BOOKS]
Rivoal, Marine
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 27, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
Beautiful illustrated and highly recommended, two bright green peas roll from their pod and have an adventure in the garden. After narrowly escaping insects and hungry hedgehogs then hide in the ground, sprout and grow. Only then does the third little pea drop and begin its own adventure...beyond the pages of this lovely and uniquely etched picture book. Originally published as "Trois petits pois" in French this is an enchanting tale useful both for its garden adventure and the off-beat little 3rd pea who cheerfully and gently reminds us to linger sometimes. I suspect many children and adults will pour over the beautiful illustrations and linger over this one. Check out the artist's notes at the end of the book and click over to Marine Rivoal's website http://marinerivoal.com/Trois-petits-pois for more.
Cielo Nocturno
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Hutmacher, Kimberly M
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 28, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
Basic information about what is found in the night sky is covered in this Spanish language book. After an introductory chapter five topics are briefly introduced in two to four page chapters, such as phases of the moon, lunar eclipses, stars, asteroids, comets, and meteoroids, and constellations. There are labeled or captioned photographs to complement the text. The information is too brief to give more than an overview. For example, the chapter on lunar eclipses has only two sentences and two large photographs with captions. There are only 24 pages in the entire book. A glossary, index, and list of three web sites are included. It is part of the Mi biblioteca de ciencias series.
Maravilloso Ciclo Del Agua
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Hutmacher, Kimberly M
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 28, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
Basic information about the water on Earth is covered in this Spanish language book. After an introductory chapter seven topics are briefly introduced in two page chapters including three states of water, the water cycle, how water is collected and stored, cleaning water, droughts, pollution, and water conservation. There are labeled or captioned photographs to complement the text. The information is too brief to give more than an overview. For example, the chapter on droughts has only five sentences and two photographs with captions. The entire book is only 24 pages long and the title is misleading because the water cycle is only covered on two pages. A glossary, index, and list of three web sites are included. It is part of the Mi biblioteca de ciencias series.
Estudiamos La Tierra
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Hutmacher, Kimberly
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 28, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
Basic information about the Earth is covered in this Spanish language book. After an introductory chapter three topics are briefly introduced in two to eight page chapters including layers of Earth and scientists who study it, tectonic plates, and how Earth’s surface has been shaped. There are labeled or captioned photographs to complement the text. The information is too brief to give more than an overview. For example, the chapter on tectonic plates has only three sentences and two large photographs with captions and an inset map. The entire book is only 24 pages long. A glossary, index, and list of three web sites are included. It is part of the Mi biblioteca de ciencias series.
Norway
Buddy Books/abdo [Buddy Books/abdo]
Murray, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 28, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Norway, part of Abdo’s Explore the Countries series, provides a basic introduction to this European country. Topics such as Norway’s history, government, major cities, land features, natural resources, and culture are each allotted a few pages. The typical page of text contains two paragraphs in a large clear font opposite a page of one or two color photos. Maps, a timeline, fun facts, a table of contents, a glossary, and an index are included. Selecting just six events to place on the timeline is a difficult challenge, but given Norway’s long history, the terrorist attack in 2011 seems of minor significance. This illustrates a problem when countries are viewed at the shallow depth of this series. The uniqueness of the national character must be captured efficiently, or all the countries start sounding alike. Though adequate for primary grade report writers, this book can only serve as a starting point for those who truly want to understand.
Turkey
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
November 28, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Turkey, part of Abdo’s Explore the Countries series, provides a basic introduction to this country that straddles the divide between Europe and Asia. Topics such as Turkey’s history, government, major cities, land features, natural resources, and culture are each allotted a few pages. The typical page of text contains two paragraphs in a large clear font opposite a page of one or two color photos. Maps, a timeline, fun facts, a table of contents, a glossary, and an index are included. Selecting just six events to place on the timeline is a difficult challenge, but given Turkey’s rich history, protests against the government in 2013 seem of minor significance. As an Islamic country, it seems odd that the only mention of a mosque is in a caption. This illustrates a problem when countries are viewed at the shallow depth of this series. The uniqueness of the national character must be captured efficiently, or all the countries start sounding alike. Though adequate for primary grade report writers, this book can only serve as a starting point for those who truly want to understand.
Greece
Buddy Books/abdo [Buddy Books/abdo]
Murray, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 28, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Greece, part of Abdo’s Explore the Countries series, provides a basic introduction to this European country. Topics such as Greece’s history, government, major cities, land features, natural resources, and culture are each allotted a few pages. The typical page of text contains two paragraphs in a large clear font opposite a page of one or two color photos. Maps, a timeline, fun facts, a table of contents, a glossary, and an index are included. Selecting just six events to place on the timeline is a difficult challenge, but given Greece’s rich history, beginning to recover from the recession in 2013 seems of minor significance. This illustrates a problem when countries are viewed at the shallow depth of this series. The uniqueness of the national character must be captured efficiently, or all the countries start sounding alike. Though adequate for primary grade report writers, this book can only serve as a starting point for those who truly want to understand.
Ireland
Buddy Books/abdo [Buddy Books/abdo]
Murray, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 28, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Ireland, part of Abdo’s Explore the Countries series, provides a basic introduction to this European country. Topics such as Ireland’s history, government, major cities, land features, natural resources, and culture are each allotted a few pages. The typical page of text contains two paragraphs in a large clear font opposite a page of one or two color photos. Maps, a timeline, fun facts, a table of contents, a glossary, and an index are included. Selecting just six events to place on the timeline is a difficult challenge, but given the importance of joining the European Union, an Olympic gold medal for women’s boxing in 2012 seems of minor significance. This illustrates a problem when countries are viewed at the shallow depth of this series. The uniqueness of the national character must be captured efficiently, or all the countries start sounding alike. Though adequate for primary grade report writers, this book can only serve as a starting point for those who truly want to understand.
Argentina
Buddy Books/abdo [Buddy Books/abdo]
Murray, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 28, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Argentina, part of Abdo’s Explore the Countries series, provides a basic introduction to this South American country. Topics such as Argentina’s history, government, major cities, land features, natural resources, and culture are each allotted a few pages. The typical page of text contains two paragraphs in a large clear font opposite a page of one or two color photos. Maps, a timeline, fun facts, a table of contents, a glossary, and an index are included. Selecting just six events to place on the timeline is a difficult challenge, but a world boxing champion in 1954 seems of minor significance compared to economic struggles of the past two decades. This illustrates a problem when countries are viewed at the shallow depth of this series. The uniqueness of the national character must be captured efficiently, or all the countries start sounding alike. Though adequate for primary grade report writers, this book can only serve as a starting point for those who truly want to understand.
Sweden
Buddy Books/abdo [Buddy Books/abdo]
Murray, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 28, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Sweden, part of Abdo’s Explore the Countries series, provides a basic introduction to this European country. Topics such as Sweden’s history, government, major cities, land features, natural resources, and culture are each allotted a few pages. The typical page of text contains two paragraphs in a large clear font opposite a page of one or two color photos. Maps, a timeline, fun facts, a table of contents, a glossary, and an index are included. Selecting just six events to place on the timeline is a difficult challenge, but given Sweden’s long history, the birth of Princess Estelle in 2012 pales in significance. This illustrates a problem when countries are viewed at the shallow depth of this series. The uniqueness of the national character must be captured efficiently, or all the countries start sounding alike. Though adequate for primary grade report writers, this book can only serve as a starting point for those who truly want to understand.
Swim, Duck, Swim!
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Lurie, Susan
Head, Murray
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 28, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
An adorable baby mallard learns to swim in a vividly photographed picture-book-in-rhyme. Photographed in NYC's Central Park and written for K-1 crowd, simple text makes this both an excellent read-aloud and an accessible easy-read for newly independent readers. When the once reluctant duckling follows papa's advice, "You can swim," the big duck cheers./"Take it slow and steady./ The water's calm and you are brave./ Jump now. You are ready." With a two page SPLASH! you can imagine kids hearts quacking merrily along with the concluding exclamation "I can swim!"
Vine Basket
CLARION [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
La Valley, Josanne
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 28, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
I picked up The Vine Basket to read anything about the Uyghur people of western China. It is a fine first novel that allows young adults to relate to several issues facing ethnic minorities in China, Tibet and elsewhere when traditional cultures face pressures of modern political and economic modernization. Mehrigul is a Uyghur girl coming to a crossroads in her life when her hard work and success in Mandarin at school may not be enough to help her overcome pressures from the Chinese regional administrators that would send her away to numbing factory work in exchange for cash payment to her alcoholic father. The other alternative is a life of grinding farm work faced by her mother. Luckily, a Western traveler expresses interest in purchasing more of the attractive baskets Mehrigul has woven and sold in the market. With only three weeks in which to create the baskets without her father's discovery of their cash value, Mehrigul finds an ally in her grandfather, whose traditional knowledge of basketry combines with his understanding of the challenges she faces from her father and the Chinese. Info at http://www.josannelavalley.com/ promises more stories from this first-time author
Sasquatch In The Paint
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 28, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
Author Kareen Abdul-Jabbar scores again! After an All-Star NBA career Kareem has followed his head into research and writing on African American History for adults (On the Shoulders of Giants, Black Profiles in Courage and Brothers in Arms) and young people (What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors). Loosely based on challenges he faced while growing up, Abdul-Jabbar's "Sasquatch in the Paint" introduces eighth grade Theo Rollins as a science nerd who has just experienced a 6" growth spurt. Theo knows he stinks at basketball, so he dedicates himself to improving his basketball skill to match his physical growth. The demands of practice at school and in playground pick-up games cuts into his role on a highly competitive school science club. Added to the pressures is an intriguing, new girl named "Rain" whose tauntingly blunt honesty about his basketball skills ("You stink") are matched by offhand remarks that show she's a 1 on 1 match for any of the "Aca-lympics" team. This is an engaging blend of brains and sports, a winning combination recommended for young adult readers looking beyond Matt Christopher or Dan Gutman and into a character-and author-whose "got game.
Acb With Honora Lee
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
De Goldi, Kate
O'brien, Gregory
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 28, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Bumblebees symbolically dance across the cover and underfoot throughout this middle grade novel about a young girl and her aging Grandmother, Honora Lee. Half dead or dying, the bees like the elderly residents of Santa Lucia, are a mystery that nine-year-old Perry, intends to understand. When Perry, an only child of busy, work driven parents, visits Santa Lucia, she deftly navigates the confusing realm of her Gran’s dementia as they wander amongst the other residents and staff. An unconventional I Spy game using letters becomes the focus of conversation. P is for Perry and Peppermints as Gran darts into Melyvne’s room and steals his peppermints. S is for Sweets and Sneaky as they head back to Gran’s room. R is for robber. Perry decides to create an ABC book for her Gran, filled with all the words and ideas generated by the home’s residents and experiences. Quaint, intriguing illustrations are a visual match for the idiosyncratic conversations that amuse and confuse readers. Language lovers will appreciate the idioms and fast-paced, associative driven plot, but you may need to sell this to students. Recommend to teachers as an excellent read-aloud.
Vanishing Coin
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Egan, Kate
Wight, Eric
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 28, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Once again Mike's fidgety, restless and off task behavior sends him to the principal's office and earns a phone call home. While never labeled ADHD, teachers will recognize the earmark signs of many of their students. Forced to quit his soccer team, Mike is resigned to spending his after school hours with his brainy neighbor Nora but life improves when they discover The White Rabbit; a shop with a mystery. Aided by the elusive store owner, Mike discovers he is gifted at magic tricks and after practicing, amazes and baffles his classmates leading to a new acceptance by his peers. Watch for future entries in this engaging middle grade novel series and recommend to students who tend to have difficulties staying focused.
Blue Gold
ANNICK PRESS [ANNICK PRESS]
Stewart, Elizabeth
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
November 28, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Blue Gold, the rare mineral coltan used in cellphones and computers, is the common thread in the contrasting life stories of three very different teen girls, living on three different continents. Chapters alternately recount the complications of electronic technology as seen from their different points -of-view. Fiona, sexts Ryan and the photo finds it’s way onto the internet as she learns a hard lesson about digital citizenship. To avoid marrying a ruthless warlord during the war over coltan in the Congo, Sylvie having survived rape and torture, convinces her family to escape the refugee camp with her, risking death. Seeking a way out of poverty, 14 year old Laiping left her small village in China to work in a cell phone factory and discovers that workers are subjected to harsh treatment in dangerous conditions and their lives are totally controlled by the company. Eye-opening and realistic, teen readers may be jolted to reconsider the global implications of technology and their own actions. Rape, murder, torture, and callous disregard for human life make this a book for high school. Thankfully, hope exists at the book’s conclusion. An afterward gives additional information and statistics.
Espacio
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Clifford, Tim
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 28, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
This is a solid introduction to space for Spanish speakers and readers. General concepts such as solar systems, galaxies, and asteroids are covered as well as all the planets, and dwarf planets. The moon, sun, and how Earth rotates and revolves in space are each given a short chapter. The planets are each given a two-page spread with basic information such as size, location, orbit, and temperature. There is also list of facts and several labeled or captioned photos of the planet and its moons if there are any. Diagrams or photographs of the life of a star, phases of the moon, types of galaxies, and brief timeline of space exploration are very helpful. An index, glossary, and a list of web sites are included. The biggest drawback is that there doesn’t seem to be any information about discoveries in space after 2011.
Primeros Asentamientos De Estados Unidos
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Thompson, Linda
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 29, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
The first European settlements and explorers in what is now the United States are described in this Spanish language book. The first chapter opens with a map showing the territories acquired by the United States from 1803-1853, but most of the book focuses on early explorers from Leif Eriksson to Henry Hudson and early settlements the mid 1600s. The first two chapters briefly describe the experiences and motives of explorers including Christopher Colombus, Juan Ponce de Leon, Giovanni Caboto, Jacques Cartier, and Samuel de Champlain. The next two chapters focus on Jamestown and Roanoke settlements and the Puritans. The last chapter briefly discusses how assemblies such as the House of Burgess helped found the ideas that became the basis of the future United States. Native Americans, African slaves, and women are mentioned briefly. The paragraphs of text are complemented by captioned maps, portraits and illustrations from the era, and single pages devoted to related topics. Two pages of mini biographies, a timeline, two extra maps, glossary, index, and list of three web sites are included at the end. It is a solid, but somewhat uninspiring account of this time in history.
Exploracion De Los Territorios De Estados Unidos
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Thompson, Linda
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 29, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
The territories and possessions of the United States from the time that there were only 48 states are the focus of this Spanish language book. The first chapter introduces the idea of territories and the basic rights of people. The next chapter is much longer at fifteen pages and covers the inclusion of Alaska as a state and the effect of the gold rush as well as Hawaii and its importance in World War II and the internment of Japanese Americans. The third chapter focuses on the Spanish American War and the connections between the United States with Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and other colonies. The last chapter deals with Pacific Island territories and a few details on the most important ones. Minorities such as native Alaskans and Japanese Americans are covered, but women are barely mentioned. The paragraphs of text are complemented by captioned maps, portraits and illustrations from the era, and single pages devoted to related topics. Two pages of mini biographies, a timeline, two extra maps, glossary, index, and list of three web sites are included at the end. It is a solid, but somewhat uninspiring account of this aspect in United States history.
Como Medir La Materia
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Maurer, Tracy Nelson
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 29, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
If your collection needs an introduction to measuring materials in Spanish, then this book is a basic but solid addition. After an introductory chapter four topics are briefly introduced in four page chapters, such as states of matter, units of measurement and measuring tools, and mass vs. weight. There are labeled or captioned photographs and diagrams to complement the text. The information is slightly more detailed than the other books reviewed in the series because there are less topics, but it is still an overview and the entire book is only 24 pages long. A glossary, index, and list of three web sites are included. It is part of the Mi biblioteca de ciencias series.
Arboles : Pulmones De La Tierra
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Webb, Barbara L
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 29, 2014
Wittmann, Teresa
The basics of how trees give out oxygen that is needed for life is covered in this Spanish language book. There are four chapters of two to six pages each covering topics such as how living being need oxygen, how trees produce oxygen, and trees using excess carbon dioxide. The font is large and the large usually uncaptioned photographs take up most of the pages. Some of the chapters only have a few sentences. The chapter on how trees take in energy from the sun, carbon dioxide, and water to produce sugar and give off oxygen is the longest and most detailed with several diagrams. It doesn’t fit with the very basic information in the other three chapters like “planting trees is a good idea.” A simple plant experiment with no photos, a short glossary, index, and list of three web sites are included.
Fox's Garden
ENCHANTED LION BOOKS [ENCHANTED LION BOOKS]
Camcam, Princesse
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 29, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
A fox travels through an icy landscape toward a village in this wordless book. What is she looking for? Is it a chicken to steal? She is shooed away from two houses by angry looking adults, but at a third finds an open greenhouse and a young boy peering out the window. He bundles up and brings a basket to visit the fox. The fox looks wary but does not run as she has just birthed a litter of pups. The boy leaves the basket and returns to his home and eventually to bed. When the boy awakes the next morning he finds the fox family has planted magical flowers in his room. The last page shows the fox family heading back to the forest. This French import is a quietly charming book for young readers.
Bramble And Maggie : Spooky Season
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Haas, Jessie
Friend, Alison
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 29, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Maggie and her horse Bramble are inseparable. However, that doesn’t mean that all is perfect between them. Bramble is a bit spooked with fall. The leaves are falling off the tree and crunchy. Flocks of geese are noisy in the sky. All these things make Bramble a little skittish and she is playing it up a bit as well. When an acorn falls on a metal roof Bramble bolts and Maggie falls off. It shakes them both up. Maggie wants to go trick or treating on Bramble, but she is a bit unhappy with her costume ideas and a little nervous about how her horse will behave. Luckily, both problems are solved. The two have a great costume and Bramble is on her best behavior on Halloween night. Horse loving readers ready for short chapters should be happy with this 3rd book about Bramble and Maggie.
Super Simple Scandinavian Art : Fun And Easy Art From Around
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 29, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Six crafts are presented in this book of Scandinavian inspired art projects: a Dala horse stamp, a straw ornament made of drinking straws, a felt headband, a feathered egg tree, a Viking boat made of milk cartons, and a marzipan pig. Unfortunately, I would imagine that few of these are engaging enough to draw casual crafters in. Students familiar with all things Scandinavian might understand the connections of these art projects to the region, but others might be left wondering even after reading the page includes a very brief description. The book would be stronger if each project were introduced with a more complete explanation of the connection to Scandinavia. Even at my school located in the most Scandinavian of neighborhoods of Seattle, I don’t see this as a book that will gain many fans.
Cool Embroidery For Kids : A Fun And Creative Introduction T
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 29, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Young crafters will appreciate this approachable introduction to embroidery. There is an overview of embroidery, tools and supplies needed, a simple clear description of using a fabric hoop, a basics page and then an introduction to backstitch, cross-stitch, and satin stitch. With a little experimentation, and perhaps some adult help young crafters might be ready to try one of the five bright and fun projects. Also included is a glossary, index and a curated collection of websites linked through ABDO’s website. Crafters wanting to try their hand at embroidery should appreciate this title. This is part of the Checkerboard Cool Fiber Art Series.
Cool Needle Felting For Kids : A Fun And Creative Introducti
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 29, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Young crafters will appreciate the less common craft presented in this title. There is an overview of needle felting, the tools and supplies needed, a simple description of how to do a basic flat needle felt. With a little experimentation, and perhaps some adult help young crafters will soon be ready to try one of the 8 projects that are arranged roughly according to difficulty. Also included is a glossary, index and a curated collection of websites linked through ABDO’s website. Adults might desire a little more time might be spent on how the needles are extremely sharp, but one prick and crafters will realize they need to be careful. Crafters wanting to try something new might appreciate this title. This is part of the Checkerboard Cool Fiber Art Series.
Vanilla Ice Cream
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Graham, Bob
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 29, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
A young sparrow travels from rural India to Australia in cargo of rice. When he arrives he flutters off the cargo ship and follows a little girl, Edie Irvine, and her grandparents on an outing to the park. When the sparrow flies close to their café table to look for crumbs the pet dog lunges for the bird causing her grandfather’s ice cream cone to land in Edie’s lap. The little bird’s travels from India have allowed Edie to enjoy her first taste of vanilla ice cream. Young readers will appreciate how small events can lead to unlikely pleasures. This would make an excellent choice for a lesson on inference.
Cool Punch Needle For Kids : A Fun And Creative Introduction
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 29, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Young crafters will appreciate the less common craft presented in this title. There is an overview of punch needle embroidery, tools and supplies needed, a simple clear description of using a fabric hoop, and a much more complex, less clear description of how to thread and use a needle punch. With a little experimentation, and perhaps some adult help young crafters might be ready to try one of the five bright and fun projects. Also included is a glossary, index and a curated collection of websites linked through ABDO’s website. While the directions are at times a little vague, crafters wanting to try something new might appreciate this title. This is part of the Checkerboard Cool Fiber Art Series.
Emily's Blue Period
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Daly, Cathleen
Brown, Lisa
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 29, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Emily, who wants to be an artist when she grows up, finds inspiration in the work of Picasso. She admires his work and identifies with the feelings behind it, especially his “blue period”. Emily is in her own “blue period”. Both Emily and her little brother are struggling with their parents break-up. Her brother has a meltdown in the furniture store and Emily has refused to do a project in art, her favorite class. When her art teacher introduces collage, Emily is excited until she hears the assignment, to “make a collage of your home”. She is stymied. Should she show her mother’s or her father’s house? It is only when her little brother shares a saying on his friend’s mother's potholder that Emily sees a way to make the project feel right. When she shares the collage later her mother recognizes that it has helped Emily. Her brother likes it so much that he adds his own touch. Emily at first is angry, but when her little brother explains what he has done she decides that really what he has done has made the collage even better, and that makes both her and her brother fell better as well. This is a touching story that shows the importance of art and of family when things are difficult in life.
Adventures With Barefoot Critters
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
White, Teagan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
November 29, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Woodland creatures and a dinosaur cavort through the alphabet and the year in this slightly unusual offering. Filled with possible activities, the names of the month and bits of alliteration, children will examine the pictures for quirky details and enjoy the simple everyday or imaginative activities. Teachers and parents will appreciate the concept tie-ins of the alphabet, the month,s and seasons of the year.
Just Grace And The Super Sleepover
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Harper, Charise Mericle
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 29, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Grace is worried about her friend’s sleepover because it will be in a tent and she has never slept outside. As if that is not enough, Grace tells a silly lie to cover that she forgot to make a birthday card for her friend. The lie, about a haunted recycling bin, takes on a life of its own and is becoming a big distraction at school and a big nuisance to the school custodian. In true Just Grace style, Grace figures out how to solve both problems with the help of her family and friends and a little bravery on her own part. Just Grace fans will not be disappointed in this latest addition to the series.
Alien Encounter
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Harper, Charise Mericle
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 29, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Morgan and Lewis meet in an unusual way- Lewis is stuck in a tree because his underwear is snagged on a branch. When they go back the next day to take some photos they are in for another surprise- there is an alien in the woods! They tell their parents and news spreads to the local newspaper and beyond. However, the boys soon find out it was not real, but rather a costume created by Morgan's secretive, movie costume designing neighbor, who convinces them they need to tell everyone they were lying about the whole thing. A series of goofy kid choices get them out of the alien problem, but right smack in the middle of a Sasquatch sighting. This is the first in a series by the author of the Just Grace series. Filled with fun illustrations, acrostic poems (Morgan has a habit of creating them), and silly kid friendly sticky messes, this should appeal to many readers.
Bob's Hungry Ghost
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Cote, Genevieve
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 29, 2014
Garrard, Thom
When Bob receives a ghost for his birthday, he is disappointed to find that a ghost doesn’t behave like a dog. Fluffy the ghost isn’t too happy either. His increasing boredom fuels his hunger, and he starts devouring everything in sight, eventually including Bob. While trapped inside, Bob reads a book about ghosts that says they are special and need to feel welcome. Meanwhile, Fluffy realizes that he has no one to play with and that eating Bob wasn’t very nice. So, Fluffy lets Bob out, and they discover activities they can enjoy together. As in her other works, Côté masterfully combines crayon outlines and gentle watercolors to effectively convey the characters’ feelings. While this could serve as a discussion starter for acceptance and other topics, the idea that a ghost might eat a person adds a new dimension to the potential fear that sensitive or younger children may already have of the supernatural.
I'm My Own Dog
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Stein, David Ezra
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 29, 2014
Garrard, Thom
The dog in this humorous story is his own dog. He gets his own slippers, rolls over when he feels like it, and throws and fetches sticks for himself. When he gets an itch right in the middle of his back, however, he lets someone scratch it, and the person ends up following him home. The dog gets a leash so he can lead the person around and show him things, teaches the guy the stick game, cleans up after him, and becomes his best friend. Expressive cartoonlike illustrations done with ink, watercolor, and crayon, perfectly convey the attitude and emotions of this strong-willed dog. Kids in general and dog lovers in particular will enjoy taking on the dog’s perspective with the roles reversed. Teachers will also find this valuable for teaching point of view.
Barracuda
A&d Xtreme/abdo [A&d Xtreme/abdo]
Hamilton, S L
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 29, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Any creature that has survived for about 20 million years clearly has something going for it. Part of Abdo’s Xtreme Fish series, this book about barracuda, the carnivorous saltwater fish with razor-sharp teeth, does a good job of capturing that something. Using easy-to-read text and with color photographs and backgrounds that reach right to the edges of each page, the book describes the barracuda’s physical characteristics, habitat, behavior, diet, predators, and their infrequent attacks on humans. Among the more noteworthy pictures are a barracuda’s open mouth filled with menacing teeth and a human injury photo. Sidebars provide additional facts. A table of contents, an index, and a glossary are included, although no clues are provided in the text to indicate which words appear in the glossary. Nonetheless, this book is sure to interest elementary students.
Piranha
A&d Xtreme/abdo [A&d Xtreme/abdo]
Hamilton, S L
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 29, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Any creature that has survived for about 15 million years clearly has something going for it. Part of Abdo’s Xtreme Fish series, this book about piranha, the carnivorous South American fish with razor-sharp teeth, has something going for it too. Using easy-to-read text and with striking color photographs and backgrounds that reach right to the edges of each page, the book describes the piranha’s physical characteristics, habitat, behavior, diet, predators, and their attacks on humans. Among the especially noteworthy pictures are a piranha x-ray, a feeding frenzy, and some human injury pictures. Sidebars provide additional facts. A table of contents, an index, and a glossary are included, although no clues are provided in the text to indicate which words appear in the glossary. Nonetheless, this book is sure to grab and hold the attention of elementary students.
Mister Horizontal & Miss Vertical
ENCHANTED LION BOOKS [ENCHANTED LION BOOKS]
Revah, Noemie
Zagnoli, Olimpia
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 29, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
Bold black and white graphic stripes and graphic designs catch our eye and help define these two characters who like things either one way or the other. Mr. Horizontal's preferences are all aligned with the horizon; whether gliding on ice, floating on the sea, or scooting down roads he's always on the level. Miss Vertical is an upright citizen, preferring skyscrapers, rockets and bungee jumping that align themselves with gravity. Back and forth they go, demonstrating their differences and adventurous tendencies. When they finally arrive in a single frame, their differences seem secondary. "Now what do you think their child will love?" comes as a sudden conclusion when a checkered child unites them on the final page. Enchanted Lion books is doing a great job bringing beautifully designed European children's books to American audiences, but with a discontinuous narration; Horizontal and Vertical will delight the eye, but left me wishing for a little less whimsy.
Big River's Daughter
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Miller, Bobbi
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
November 29, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
Hollering, "Who-op!" River Fillian navigates this ol Mississippi river in a rollicking story of "impossible imaginations." When a great earthquake of 1811 takes young River's Pa "king of the river" in a fiery calamity, this red haired young pip is rescued by river pirate queen Annie Christmas. Holding tightly to her Pa's parting words, as well as to his telescope and case River holds clues to Blackbeard's lost treasure. It's not long before all the river scoundrels, Louisiana cutthroats and pirate Jean LaFitte himself are after River. Big River is a great, sprawling adventure story like the Great River itself, and can proudly sally up with a nod to Mark Twain's masterpiece and a wink to anyone looking for a good read. Recommended for upper elementary and secondary, this would be a great read aloud.
True Stories Of Animals At Work
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Ringstad, Arnold
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Oh, those talented and helpful animals animals! Jobs of individual animals are highlighted in this volume. One paragraph introduces what an job might be, and then nine example are given on different page spreads. The examples are interesting enough, from a police horse to a truffle hunting pig but the large font and short sections are just enough to pique interest, but not really satisfy it. The photos chosen sometimes illustrate the actual event or animal, but other times seem to be chosen from stock photos. Included is a glossary, and a resource page including the link to childsworld.com/links with a note that the links are regularly checked for safety and to make sure they are live. This book seems a lot like surfing the web for wacky pictures and videos. That said, though not fantastic, the series should find browsers happy to skim through.
True Stories Of Animal Oddities
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Ringstad, Arnold
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Yeah, animals can look odd, but really can’t any living thing? Odd physical traits of animals are highlighted in this volume. One paragraph introduces the topic, and then nine examples are given on different page spreads. The examples are interesting such as a two-headed turtle, standard such as the tallest and smallest dogs, and sometimes silly such as the farmer who dies his sheep orange to discourage theft. The large font and short sections are just enough to pique interest, but not really satisfy it. In this volume my adult skepticism was on guard with the picture of the black and orange lobster with the markings as straight as a ruler. Really? The photos chosen sometimes illustrate the actual event or animal, but other times seem to be chosen from stock photos. Included is a glossary, and a resource page including the link to childsworld.com/links with a note that the links are regularly checked for safety and to make sure they are live. This book seems a lot like surfing the web for wacky pictures and videos. That said, though not fantastic, the series should find browsers happy to skim. This volume is the weakest in the series.
True Stories Of Animal Heroes
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Ringstad, Arnold
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Oh, those brave animals! Trained and wild animals that have done heroic things are highlighted in this volume. One paragraph introduces what an animal might do that is heroic, and then nine examples are given on different page spreads. The examples are interesting enough, a gorilla who guard a child who has been injured falling into a zoo exhibit, a cat that is burned badly while recuing her kittens, but the large font and short sections are just enough to pique interest, but not really satisfy it. The photos chosen sometimes illustrate the actual event or animal, but other times seem to be chosen from stock photos. I did question whether a pig surviving in earthquake ruble for 36 days could really be called heroic. Included is a glossary, and a resource page including the link to childsworld.com/links with a note that the links are regularly checked for safety and to make sure they are live. This book seems a lot like surfing the web for wacky pictures and videos. That said, though not fantastic, the series should find browsers happy to skim through.
True Stories Of Animal Friends
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Ringstad, Arnold
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Unlikely animal friendships are highlighted in this volume. One paragraph introduces cross species friendships, and then nine examples are given on different page spreads. The examples are interesting enough, a dog and a cheetah, a kitten and a baby chick, but the large font and short sections are just enough to pique interest, but not really satisfy it. The photos chosen sometimes illustrate the actual event or animal, but other times seem to be chosen from stock photos. I do wonder about whether you can classify a frog letting a dragonfly land on its head a friendship- but it wasn’t dinner, so that is better than nothing. Included is a glossary, and a resource page including the link to childsworld.com/links with a note that the links are regularly checked for safety and to make sure they are live. This book seems a lot like surfing the web for wacky pictures and videos. That said, though not fantastic, the series should find browsers happy to skim through.
True Stories Of Animal Antics
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Ringstad, Arnold
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Oh, those wacky animals! Odd habits of individual animals are highlighted in this volume. One paragraph introduces what an animal antic might be, and then nine examples are given on different page spreads. The examples are interesting enough, a lemur using an umbrella, an alligator chomping a police car bumper, but the large font and short sections are just enough to pique interest, but not really satisfy it. The photos chosen sometimes illustrate the actual event or animal, but other times seem to be chosen from stock photos. Included is a glossary, and a resource page including the link to childsworld.com/links with a note that the links are regularly checked for safety and to make sure they are live. This book seems a lot like surfing the web for wacky pictures and videos. That said, though not fantastic, the series should find browsers happy to skim through.
True Stories Of Animal Tricks And Talents
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Ringstad, Arnold
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
November 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Oh, those wacky animals! Talents of individual animals are highlighted in this volume. One paragraph introduces what an animal trick or talent might be, and then nine examples are given on different page spreads. The examples are interesting such as a dog that is a master at balancing things on his head andTwiggy the waterskiing squirrel. The large font and short sections are just enough to pique interest, but not really satisfy it. The photos chosen sometimes illustrate the actual event or animal, but other times seem to be chosen from stock photos. Included is a glossary, and a resource page including the link to childsworld.com/links with a note that the links are regularly checked for safety and to make sure they are live. This book seems a lot like surfing the web for wacky pictures and videos. That said, though not fantastic, the series should find browsers happy to skim through.
Timmy Failure : We Meet Again
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Pastis, Stephan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 30, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Timmy Failure is popular at my school after he author/illustrator visited. This combo of text and cartoonish drawings draws the readers, mostly boys, in. In #3 Timmy is being let back into his elementary school by evil eyed unprincipled Principal Scrimshaw under the condition that he keeps his grades up and has no behavior problems. This proves challenging for the very judgmental, quite cynical main character, but he wants to keep his single mom happy. A key challenge is trying to locate the Miracle Report from the past that will allow him and many others to copy its pages and thus ace the dreaded nature report that is half their grade. In competition with him finding it is his arch nemesis Corina Corina, a detective classmate who will work for free, and by default has been assigned as his report partner. Since Timmy thinks the worst of people it takes awhile for their goodness and patience to break through as with his best friend Rollo Tookus and Corina. Add in an overnight field trip to the legendary Camp Monkeychuck where the Scrum Bolo Chihuahua supposedly eats children in the giant redwoods, and the readers will have enough disjointed action to keep them reading to the end.
Einstein The Class Hamster And The Very Real Game Show
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Tashjian, Janet
Tashjian, Jake
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 30, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
#2 in this mother/son collaboration of Einstein the Class Hamster series, this is light, fast paced fun that should appeal to the Great Nate set, but with a bit more substance. Einstein the class hamster can communicate with some humans such as Ned. Others don’t seem to be able to hear him. He’s full of information and dreams of being a game show host, which he practices with Marlon, the class turtle, and tutors Ned. In this episode his dream almost comes true when Ned, Ricky and Bonnie smuggle him into a nationally televised game show where Ned et al compete against another school in front of a live audience. When the principal sneaks in his pet snake pandemonium erupts with the official host MIA. The sound man can hear Einstein and mics him up to take over thinking he’s an animatronic pet with encyclopedic knowledge. Will Einstein blow his chance? Will anyone hear him? You’ll have to read the book, look at the cartoon illustrations and read Einstein’s Tasty Tidbits following each chapter filled with an interesting assortment of facts supplemented by Further Reading web sites at the end.
Get Lost, Odysseus!
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Mcmullan, Kate
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 30, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Myth-O-Mania fans will welcome the tenth in the series featuring Odysseus, again told from Hades’s point of view. In humorous, modern and colloquial language McMullan retells and embellishes the tale of Odysseus upon his return home from victory in Troy. After angering Poseidon, he has many troubles losing all 12 of his ships and all of his men in the ten years it takes him to get back to Ithaca. Hades has promised that he won’t directly help Odysseus, but he does watch out for him and views first hand how he handles the travails. Characterized as arrogant, self-aggrandizing, strong-willed and strong muscled Odysseus is a man who never gives up. This is fast paced despite covering a decade. The jokes abound on Hades part with lots of word play, and other gods are met throughout the journey. At the end are two glossaries, three discussion questions and three writing prompts. Could go younger with interested boys.
LIFE PROCESSES
HEINEMANN RAINTREE LIBRARY [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
CLAYBOURNE, ANNA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 30, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
Part of the Heinemann Raintree Library’s Web of Life: Freestyle Express series this volume addresses question, What is Life? by looking at the seven processes of life: Movement, Respiration, Sensitivity Nutrition, Excretion, Reproduction and Growth. Designed for middle grade students the text presents the information in clear concise language, with sidebar text boxes, helpful charts and diagrams, and beautiful photographs with precise captions. Important vocabulary is in bold print followed by an explanation within the text, brief definitions on two of the most important words for the page at the bottom of the page, and in the extensive glossary. Back matter also includes Find Out More pages listing print and digital sources and Topics to Research. This strong library bound text will last and is an excellent addition to your science section.
Max And Zoe : The Science Fair
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Sateren, Shelley
Sullivan, Mary
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
November 30, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
Max and Zoe are friends looking for science fair projects. Max can’t decide what to do, all of the ones they read are boring! Max finds inspiration from his dog Buddy. With help for Zoe and Mom, he researches how dogs understand humans. The reader follows Max has he works his way through the scientific process, testing Buddy and seven other dogs for their reaction to people’s expressions. The short chapters and the context clues, as well as the bright colorful illustrations aid beginning readers in following the story. The strong binding will hold up much better than the paper on board cover. Additional pages such as Discussion Questions, Writing Prompts, and a recipe for Dog Treats provide opportunities to extend the text. Also reviewed in SLJ.
BEST FRIENDS FOREVER
UNKNOWN [UNKNOWN]
NIGHT, P J
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 30, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
Amy is moving all the way across the country and Katie, loses her best friend and almost sister, who has lived next door since . . . forever. Very unhappy and at loose end Katie tries to make a new friend, the new girl at school, Whitney. After agreeing to a sleepover after just a few short days, Katie begins to feel there is something strange about Whitney. Her house has boxes everywhere as if the family hasn’t unpacked yet; Katie meets Dad, but not Mom; Whitney is rude and demanding with Dad and he puts up with it! and, she is twelve years old and still plays with dolls, or, are they really dolls. . . Katie thinks she hears someone calling her name and telling her to run while she is at Whitney’s - is a dream? It is very creepy! Is Whitney really best friend material? Is she a best friend Katie really wants? And, those dolls . . . what or who are they? Part of the You’re Invited to a Creepover series girl fans of the Goosebumps series will enjoy the creepy factor, but it may be just a little too intense for some readers, especially the ending.
PACK
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
LORENTZ, DAYNA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
November 30, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
The Pack, is the second title in the Dogs of the drowned City series. In The Storm, the first book in the series, a hurricane, flood and collapsing buildings had people quickly evacuating, leaving their pets behind. Shep rescues his friends Callie and Oscar. They form a pack fighting for survival. Shep and Callie find other abandoned dogs, and even a cat, which the pack reluctantly allows to join them. Shep is not sure he wants to be the “alpha”; wonders if he is only a “doer” and Callie is the “thinker”; trying to see his way forward as a leader. This tale of survival, fraught with danger from starvation, attacks from the “wild dogs” and ever growing the pack to defend and provide for is reminiscent of a post apocalyptic world in human terms. This is a thoughtful, well-written tale. It would help if the first in the series was read first, and it leaves the reader with a cliff-hanger ending that demands the third volume in the series. Fans of Erin Hunter’s Warriors series and Kathryn Lasky’s Wolves of Beyond will enjoy them.
Ecosystems
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Vanvoorst, Jenny Fretlan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 30, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
In 48 pages an intermediate reader can get a decent introduction to ecosystems in reader friendly text. The four chapters introduce ecosystems, biomes, habitats, biodiverstiy, and the threats to ecosystems. The interrelatedness of organisms in an ecosystem is clearly explained along with producers, consumers and decomposers. The colorful maps are especially helpful in showing the biomes of the world and biodiversity. Interspersed through the chapters are the Core Library’s quotations and questions for students to consider, though how many children would really do this on their own is the real question. The book concludes with two pages on four ways scientists study ecosystems, two pages on extended thinking or writing, a 12-word glossary, two books and a web link for further study, and a decent index. Also included in the The Science of Life series are Animal Classifications, Cells, Food Chains, Genetics, and Photosynthesis. Good nonfiction text features included.
Genetics
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Petersen, Christine
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
November 30, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
In 48 pages a reader can get a decent introduction to the history of genetics and current issues in reader friendly text. The five chapters introduce biology, the studying of inheritance, the discovery of cells, chromosomes, DNA, and genes along with natural selection and evolution. The early key players include Hooke, Darwin, Mendel, Nageli and Hunt Morgan. The concepts become more complicated explaining genes and the DNA code though the DNA Helix is colorfully depicted. Mitosis, meiosis, and mutations follow this before sharing the uses of genetics today (genetic engineering and stem cells) and the ethical and safety issues that ensue. Interspersed through the chapters are the Core Library’s quotations and questions for students to consider, though how many children would really do this on their own is the real question. The book concludes with two pages on three ways scientists study genetics including counseling parents to be, two pages on extended thinking or writing, a nine-word glossary, two books and a web link for further study, and a decent index. Also included in the The Science of Life series are Animal Classifications, Cells, Ecosystems, Food Chains, and Photosynthesis. Good nonfiction text features abound.
Food Chains
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Surges, Carol S
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
November 30, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
In 48 pages an intermediate reader can get a decent introduction to food chains in reader friendly text. The five chapters introduce food chains, producers, consumers, and decomposers as well as food webs. The interrelatedness of plants and animals is clearly explained with how complicated their interconnections can be especially when one is removed from the chain or web as in honeybees. Interspersed through the chapters are the Core Library’s quotations and questions for students to consider, though how many children would really do this on their own is the real question. The book concludes with two pages on three ways scientists study food chains, two pages on extended thinking or writing, an 11-word glossary, two books and a web link for further study, and a decent index. Also included in the The Science of Life series are Animal Classifications, Cells, Ecosystems, Genetics, and Photosynthesis. Good nonfiction text features are at the “core” of this series. Lexile 860.