Reviews for month


Dust Of Eden
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Nagai, Mariko
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 02, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Mina Tagawa has had a happy childhood in Seattle. She has a home surrounded by her grandfather’s lovingly tended rose garden and a best friend she knows that she can count on. However, when Pearl Harbor is bombed things change drastically. Her father is rounded up and sent to a prison camp in Montana, and within months Mina, her mother, grandfather, and older brother are sent- first to be interned in Happy Valley Camp in Puyallup and then to Minidoka Internment Camp in Idaho. Told in verse this book focuses on the internal struggles of Mina and the difficulties her family has reconciling their different views of their situation. Different from many books on the internment, Mina’s family is able to keep their home during the internment and Mina never has doubts of her best friend’s faithfulness. This helps center the focus on the Mina and her family’s struggle to understand their place in America and as American as they are being treated like the enemy by the government.
Freedom Summer : The 1964 Struggle For Civil Rights In Missi
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Rubin, Susan Goldman
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
December 02, 2014
Gleb, Heidi
An excellent resource about the summer of 1964, those sticky-hot months when civil rights came to a boiling point in Mississippi. The book’s introduction and first chapter give information about Fannie Lou Hamer, a native of the Mississippi Delta who had tried to register to vote and Andrew Goodman, a white 20-year old man who volunteered to assist with the cause. Less than a week after leaving home, Andrew Goodman was dead. Rubin chronologically tells of the dangers faced by the brave volunteers, the viciousness of some white Southerners as they attempted to stop the Freedom Summer workers, and the courage displayed by those workers as they strove to show that all Americans deserved the right to vote. Numerous black and white photos depict many facets of the movement including Mrs. Hamer in a citizenship class, Mississippians filling out a voter registration card for the first time, and a child completing a project at a Freedom School. Details in the photos are not to be missed, from the concentration on that school child's face to the look of hate on the face of a sheriff chasing a photographer. Includes maps, superb illustrations, and a timeline. Pair with The Freedom Summer Murders by Don Mitchell.
Thanksgiving
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
December 02, 2014
Gleb, Heidi
ABDO Kids' National Holidays series includes Columbus Day, Labor Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents' Day, and Veterans Day, in addition to this title. At first glance, the book looks to be a good introduction to each holiday as each two-page spread includes a large color photo or color illustration on one page and 1-3 sentences on the other. Lots of white space and a large font help young readers' eyes focus on the words. Multi-cultural, smiling adults and children show a happy holiday mood while the historical illustrations show peaceful contact between pilgrims and "their Native American friends." Words colored gray in the body of the book are found in the glossary; an index and link for web access is included. Reviewing this book has caused me to think about how this particular holiday is presented to young people, particularly since the book would have the reader believe that the Native Americans and pilgrims met, helped each other, played games and told stories. How do we best teach about this holiday? Will it one day lose the status of a holiday, or will it go on with another name and focus?
Strike! : The Farm Workers' Fight For Their Rights
Calkins Creek [Calkins Creek]
Brimner, Larry Dane
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
December 02, 2014
Gleb, Heidi
An excellent resource for study about civil rights and racism. The Filipino workers who participated in the Delano Grape Strike started the struggle for higher wages and better living condition for all farm laborers yet their story is often overshadowed by the work of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta. Thankfully, Brimner gives due credit to Filipinos as main characters in the struggle. Black and white photos show some of the thousands of workers who picketed work sites. Green and purple accents on many pages highlight text in both English and Spanish. Political cartoons portray the mood of both worker and grower. There is mention of braceros, including a one-page introduction with photograph. Maps, timeline, and list of additional resources, both print and web.
Surrounded By Sharks
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Northrop, Michael
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 02, 2014
Dame, Anne
Davey’s family has taken a vacation on a small island in the Florida keys. Getting up early on the first day, Davey leaves the hotel room before his family wakes up and goes out to find a place to read. Intrigued by the warm water at a secluded beach he ignores a no swimming sign, wades in, and is caught in a riptide. And then it’s sharks! Excitement! Lots of mis-communication about who saw him last! Adventure! More sharks! Cheesy ending but I liked it and kids will, too. Short, exciting. **Review by Chris Gustafson, Whitman Middle School
Trash Can Nights
Disney-Hyperion [Disney-Hyperion]
Steinkellner, Teddy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
December 02, 2014
Dame, Anne
Sequel to Trash Can Days. Danny is becoming more heavily involved in the gang, taking on some leadership roles. Jake is struggling with unexpected popularity and notoriety after his stabbing. Hannah is trying to start over at a new school where she is no longer the prima donna, and Dorothy Wu has some serious relationship issues to deal with. I felt that there was quite a jump in the level of content contained in this book than the previous one. There was a lot of teen drinking, sexual inferences and situations, some drug use, gang violence, etc. It made the characters seem out of synch with their age and maturity levels. Truthfully, I didn't find any of the characters all that interesting, except for Danny. And Dorothy Wu is just obnoxious.
Will In Scarlet
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Cody, Matthew
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 03, 2014
Canning, Tenny
As I read Will in Scarlet, I was transported once again to Sherwood Forest, which I visited as often as possible through books, play and the Saturday afternoon movies of my youth. Matthew Cody sets the stage for the legends of Robin Hood with this tale which brings to life one of Robin’s band of Merry Men, Will Scarlet. Will’s father is away fighting with King Richard in the Crusades. As part of Prince John’s plot to usurp the crown, Will’s uncle is murdered and the family house and lands are appropriated by Prince John’s unscrupulous henchman. Will is injured and runs for his life; his flight ends in the dark and dangerous forests of Sherwood. There he is taken captive by a motley group of bandits. They spare his life, hoping he will prove useful. After regaining his health, he finds himself consumed with dreams of vengeance. Promising treasure, he leads the group back to his ancestral home, where he plans to murder the evil lord. Things go poorly; their forces are outnumbered, split up, most are lost within the castle walls and then there is the fire. Will’s plots and identity are discovered (as are the secrets of another member of the group) which lead to shifting alliances within the band.
Loch Ness Monster
DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS [DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS]
Flitcroft, Jean
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 03, 2014
Canning, Tenny
Vanessa Day is obsessed by the cryptids that her deceased mother spent her life documenting. Still missing her mother after three years, thinking of cryptids brings her solace. After finding her mother’s files, her obsession grows. She is overjoyed to learn of a family trip to Scotland’s Loch Ness being planned by her father. Her mood sours when she finds out they will be staying with her father’s girlfriend’s family on the shores of the loch. Vanessa spends a lot of time alone, brooding. One fateful day she takes a rowboat out on the loch. She loses and oar and capsizes trying to recover it. The water is cold, dusk has fallen and she is a long way from shore. She tries to swim but succumbs. She comes to in a cave, the walls covered in softly glowing algae. She has no memory of who she is or how she got to the cave. Hunger drives her to eat the algae and she discovers she can communicate telepathically with – you guessed it – Nessie, the resident of the cave. She learns Nessie’s story; she was not the first girl to spend time in the cave. It turns out – you guessed it - her father’s girlfriend spent time with Nessie when she was young. Finally Vanessa is escorted back to the loch shore and to her family.
Ben Franklin's Big Splash : The Mostly True Story Of His Fir
Calkins Creek [Calkins Creek]
Rosenstock, Barb
Schindler, S. D.
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
December 03, 2014
Canning, Tenny
At age eleven, Ben Franklin invented swim fins and tested them in the Charles River. Rosenstock takes this noteworthy event and spins it into a charming and lively account of creativity, determination and spirit. She makes heavy use of alliteration (including a wealth of verbs) and repetition to increase the humor and tension in the story. She has Ben swimming to rid himself of the stink of candle making. While in the water he wonders why he can’t swim like a fish. After pondering, he has an idea and then dashes off to craft swim paddles for his hands and then later his feet. Although the swim paddles were not totally successful, his life as a scientist/inventor had begun. Rosenstock includes an author’s note which includes a quote by Franklin relating the details of this invention. She also includes a timeline of Franklin’s life (including historical context) and detailed source notes. Illustrations by SD Schindler add just the right touch of energy to the text.
Davy Crockett And The Great Mississippi Snag
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Meister, Cari
George, Peter
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 03, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This Capstone imprint from Picture Window books is part of the American Folk Legends series. Meister’s comically realistic warm colored illustrations capture the spirit of the tall tale with less overwhelming detail than in Steven Kellogg’s drawings. The book begins with a brief introductory page of David Crockett—the Man. Then it jumps right into the legend that has grown up about this frontiersman from Tennessee, who became a great hunter and US Congressman. This version focuses on an episode with the meanest alligator that ever lived on the Mississippi named Snag. Snag is set to wreak havoc and revenge on the steamers that are clogging up his river. Davy makes it his mission to stop this varmint going to great lengths and distances to succeed. The book’s conclusion has a final page describing how Davy’s legend grew through time and media. The final three pages are especially helpful with a great list defining American folktale characteristics (hero, humor, hyperbole, quest, slang), two critical thinking CC questions, a good glossary, two books for further reading and the facthound internet site which is really Capstone Kids. Others in the series are John Henry, Johnny Appleseed, and Pecos Bill.
Viva Frida
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Morales, Yuyi
O'meara, Tim
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
December 03, 2014
Shirts, Brooke
It's difficult to imagine a more perfect pairing than author/illustrator Yuyi Morales with her subject matter, artist Frida Kahlo. Morales does her muse proud: for her illustrations she uses a tiny doll of Kahlo -- complete with hand-shaped earrings and a rebozo shawl -- and places it in intricate diorama scenes full of flowers, skeletons, and parrots. The dioramas tell a dreamlike story: Kahlo opens a treasure chest with the help of a monkey; later, she imagines rescuing a wounded deer, then wakes up to paint a new self-portrait. Only two or three words appear on each page in both Spanish and English, adding to the surreal feeling of the book. Morales does an excellent job of evoking the general feel of Kahlo's art in a way that is appealing to children. However, even with a written afterward describing Kahlo's life and influence, it's unlikely children will learn much about her, or even really know what this book is about, without additional support from a biography. The very brief text might be off-putting to older children researching Kahlo on their own, making it difficult to find the best audience for this book.
At Home In Her Tomb : Lady Dai And The Ancient Chinese Treas
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Liu-Perkins, Christine
Brannen, Sarah S.
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 03, 2014
Shirts, Brooke
In 1971, farmers in ancient China stumbled upon one of the great archeological finds of the last century: the tomb of Lady Dai and her family, dating back 2200 years. Lady Dai proved to be one of the best-preserved corpses ever found, and her tomb, fitted out with all the accoutrements an aristocrat would want to carry into the afterlife, became a world-famous time capsule of life in ancient China. Liu-Perkins' crisp, clear writing takes readers on a tour through the different chambers of Lady Dai's tomb, explaining along the way what the discoveries mean to scientists today. A miniature collection of foods and beverages reveals the ancients' diet; sumptuous embroidered silk panels show what how the textile industry fared in 200 B.C.E. Her sons' tomb contained a library of fifty books covering topics from warfare to medicine to astronomy; Lady Dai herself is still studied by doctors. Budding archaeologists will feel as if they are unearthing the treasures themselves; the wonder and astonishment of the discoveries is evident in Liu-Perkins' writing. A combination of photographs and illustrations accompany the text; small sidebars give more in-depth coverage to special topics. Timelines, biography, glossary, etc. are included.
Children Of The King
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Hartnett, Sonya
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 04, 2014
Knight, Jennifer
Fans of historical fiction, particularly Anglophiles may enjoy this lyrical slow-burner. Set in the English countryside during WWII, the book centers around a brother and sister duo from London and a refugee who comes to live with them. In the quiet countryside, the children explore their surroundings, only to find two mysterious brothers who mystify and frighten them. As the mystery of the young boys are unravels, the other children begin a process of self-discovery and growth. An optional purchase for most collections.
No Such Thing As A Witch
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
Chew, Ruth
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 04, 2014
Canning, Tenny
Originally published 1971. Tad and Nora have a new neighbor, Maggie Brown. She is warm and cheerful, has several interesting pets and seems to have a special way with people and animals. Maggie makes fudge, that when eaten, temporarily alters one’s attitude and abilities. Tad eats one piece and suddenly likes cats. Nora becomes suspicious. Maggie reveals the secret of the fudge. One piece changes your negative attitude about animals, two pieces gives you the ability to understand what animals are saying, three pieces makes you behave like an animal and four pieces turns you into an animal, but only temporarily. The children use the fudge to stop the neighborhood busy-body from getting Maggie evicted (for attracting too many cats to the house). The story is sweet. The characters are simple but engaging. The plot has twists and turns, but moves at a gentle pace. This story is set in an earlier time. Students will be more amazed by general behavioral expectation than by the witchcraft.
Mummy Mysteries : Tales From North America
Square Fish [Square Fish]
Guiberson, Brenda Z
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 04, 2014
Canning, Tenny
Level 3 My Reader This nonfiction title contains a glossary, table of contents and an index. In its five chapters students are introduced to mummies (as differentiated from skeletons), presented with three examples of mysteries surrounding mummies found in the U.S., and presented with additional examples of mummies and how they can provide information to the scientists who study them. Text is accompanied by photos and illustrations, both of which provide supporting information for the text, although there are no captions. Sentences vary in length and complexity. This book provides middle grade (and intermediate) fans of archeology a chance to explore the topic independently. Paperback.
Head West, Young Mouse : Transcontinental Railroad Traveler
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Horender, Philip
Wolek, Guy
Not Recommended -- Does not meet library standards in style, content or design.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 04, 2014
Canning, Tenny
3rd book in the series, Maximilian P. Mouse, Time Traveler. In this volume, Maximilian finds himself on a wagon headed west. He makes the acquaintance of a stowaway on another wagon, Madeline, a prairie dog. As they get to know each other, Maximilian’s wagon (with the time-travel machine inside) is stolen by bandits. We follow the two as they trail the bandits to Silver Springs, then on to Promontory Point, Utah. The bandits hope to attend the driving of the golden spike, joining of the two rail lines, in order to steal more goods. Along the way, Madeline teaches Maximilian how to pan for gold (the nugget he finds will help solve the financial problems back home, IF he can make it back).The longer I read, the more confused I became. Not confused by the story line itself, which is fairly easy to follow, but by the author’s purpose in writing the book. Written at a 5th grade level, the book is liberally salted with historical info, much of which requires a solid background. Tier 2 vocabulary words are generously used, with a glossary provided. The time traveling mouse, lack of any character development and thin plot line made it seem aimed at a much younger audience. The book feels like an academic exercise.
True Adventures Of Nicolo Zen
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Christopher, Nicholas
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
December 04, 2014
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 1000.--- Nicoló Zen, native of 18th century Venice is turned out of his house by a greedy and heartless landlord with only a few coins and an ivory clarinet. He starts his life as a busker on the streets when he hears of an orphaned girls’ orchestra lead by Vivaldi. Nicoló knows he is a good player and that a boy of 14 won’t last long on the streets so he buys himself a dress, goes to the Ospedale and plays for the Maestro. He is accepted. 1714 is a time when the clarinet is just beginning to be known as an instrument and Vivaldi sees that it has a greater tonal range than the flute and puts Nicoló now Nicolá in first chair thus incurring the wrath of the ex-first flute and the interest of 1st lute, Julietta, and Adrianna dalla Viola. One of Nicolá’s performances catches the eye of a great magician, Massimo the Magnificent who invites him to his villa. There are a number of complications including the discovery of Nicolo’s sex, the disappearance of the Julietta, the near kidnapping of Adrianna by a ring of slavers working with the bitter chaperone of the orphan girls, and a trip to Vienna by Nicoló to build his reputation as a clarinetist and his flight from a count who mistakes him for the lover of his wife.
Interrogation Of Ashala Wolf
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Kwaymullina, Ambelin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
December 04, 2014
Datisman, Eve
This Dystopian novel is set in Australia. In Ashala's world, The Reckoning happened 300 years ago, destroying the high tech world, driving all the continents back into one land mass, and creating children with various powers. The new world government decides these abilities threaten the Balance and lock up anyone with powers. Ashala can Sleepwalk to make her dreams come true. Ashala has depended on the counsel and friendship of Georgie, who sees possible futures; Ember, whose complex gift involves working with memory; and Connor, whom she trusted but betrayed her to a megalomaniacal leader who has a computer that steals memories and abilities and worse will expose the whereabouts of her tribe. As she is hooked up to the machine, Ashala can only depend upon Connor. Will the tribe survive her interrogation? There are elements of X-Men, the Mad Max franchise, and A Clockwork Orange in the extra-ordinary powers of the children that Ashala leads, the ecological disaster that prompted the crash, and the post technological world that is being revived with all of the worst of its attributes. The author’s draw on indigenous folklore and culture will be new and intriguing to most readers. The narration is simple and sincere.
Boundaries : How The Mason-Dixon Line Settled A Family Feud
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Walker, Sally M
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
6th grade to 12th grade
December 04, 2014
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 1190---We live in a world of boundaries—geographic, scientific, cultural and religious and the media is full of them. The story of Mason-Dixon Line touches all of these areas. The Calvert family (Lord Baltimore) of Maryland and William Penn – religious dissenter and founder of Pennsylvania both claimed land that boarded on the 40th Parallel. Since one knew exactly where that was, land owners were often being taxed by two states. In order to settle the dispute, two of the best-respected scientific minds in England where hired to survey the 40th Parallel. Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon used astronomical observations and meticulous surveying techniques to set the boundary between the two states. The survey, the setting of the marker stones, and the reporting took them 5 years (1763-1767). They Survey was also a factor in the determining the designation of what would become Free and Slave Sates, setting of Colonial policy with the Native Americans, and establishing one of the basic tenants of the Colonies’ eventual break with England – The Stamp Act. Walker tells the story and makes clear connections to why this survey is important to us today.
Why We Took The Car
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS]
Herrndorf, Wolfgang
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
December 04, 2014
Datisman, Eve
Lexil 770 --- English language debut of award winning German author. Coming of age tale about a boy, Mike Klingenberg who can’t figure out why people think he is boring. Could it be because he has zero friends? He leads a life of quiet desperation until Russian juvenile delinquent Andre Tschichatschow , aka Tschick (noone can pronounce his name) begins to pay attention to him. When Tschik shows up at Mike’s house out of the blue on the day of the lovely Tatiana’s party to which he has not be invited. (Tatiana, of course, doesn’t know that Mike has a crush on her .Mike is a good artist and had planned to give her a drawing of Beyonce at the party.) Mike is ready for anything different. Steal a car? Check. Crash the party? Check. Find Tatiana, give her the drawing, then leave with a sneering, “This is for you.”? Check. Road Trip? Check. Meet interesting/crazy people? Probably. Get into trouble? Most definitely. Be considered boring? Never again. It’s a good idea but it didn’t engage me all the way through. There are some black comedy episodes that are good. The characters were a bit too stereotypical. . The characters were a bit too stereotypical. It’s gotten good reviews and might appeal to readers who want contemporary realism.
Lost Boy
GRAPHIX [GRAPHIX]
Ruth, Greg
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 04, 2014
Korf, Clarence
A boy named Nate moves into a new town and discovers hidden in his new room a tape recorder. The tape was created many years earlier by a boy who had gone missing and no one seems to know what happened to him. The tape recorder provides Nate clues about what may have happened to the boy and he is drawn into the mystery. A girl in town, who has heard stories about the disappearance, helps Nate along the way. The two find access to another world where there are talking dolls, squirrels, crickets and more. The black and white drawings are clear and help draw the reader into the story. The story itself was easy to read but lacked a plot which continued to draw the reader in.
Storm Chasing
A&d Xtreme/abdo [A&d Xtreme/abdo]
Hamilton, S L
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 04, 2014
Korf, Clarence
Storm Chasing, an Xtreme Adventure series, is a high interest book with limited text. A possible title for your reluctant reader. If the reader loves the idea of following big storms, this is a good book to introduce how people are attempting to understand tornadoes, waterspouts, hurricanes and thunderstorms. This book explores some of the dangers and risks of chasing storms as well as how weather scientists try to protect themselves from these extreme storms. XTreme Facts are throughout the book which address varying aspects of being involved in these fierce storms. This book adequately provides a quick introduction into storm chasing. Full page pictures throughout give clear evidence of how storms unfold. The book includes table of contents, glossary and index.
Moon
CHILDRENS PRESS [CHILDRENS PRESS]
Taylor-Butler, Christine
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 04, 2014
Korf, Clarence
The Moon (A True Book) is a great introduction to facts about the moon. The book includes facts about how the moon was formed, the moon’s craters, the gravitational pull and effect on ocean tides, the phases of the moon and how men have traveled to the moon. Readers are able to find out what we learned from our space explorations of the moon. The book also includes current and possible future explorations of the moon. The illustrations and pictures support the text well. Unfortunately it sells itself a little short by a couple of factors. First the subtitle on the cover states “Five of the six US flags still stand” but there is no reference to the flags in the book. I wondered how they know 5 flags are standing and what happened to the sixth flag. Second, the only website link is for Scholastic sponsored site who is also the publisher. There are many other great resources available. The book includes table of contents, resources, important words (glossary) and an index.
HERE WHERE THE SUNBEAMS ARE GREEN
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
PHILLIPS, HELEN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 04, 2014
Korf, Clarence
Here Where the Sunbeams Are Green takes a pair of sisters on a journey to find their dad. Their dad is known as the "Birdman" because of his knowledge of birds and especially in finding birds who are close to extinction or possibly extinct. Their father was hired by an exclusive resort to find rare birds in a Central American jungle. When their father does not return for months and they receive a cryptic letter, they travel to the La Lava resort to find out what happened to their dad. Their journey only begins when they meet their dad and they know their is something terribly wrong. Their mom is hypnotized by the resort and the sisters are on their own to save their parents. The story at times is very engaging and at other times leaves you wondering about how realistic the events could possibly be. One such event is when the youngest sister begins to have colored plants growing on her toes. This book can be used to encourage students who have some physical issue. The author began writing when she was frustrated with the fact that she lost all her hair due to alopecia.
Devil's Intern
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Hosie, Donna
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
December 04, 2014
Datisman, Eve
Death and dying isn’t usually paired with time travel or humor. Do you know why we are experiencing deforestation? It’s all those trees that are being turned into Hell's triplicate forms. Or the worst job in Hell, cleaning out the ground-floor toilets, is reserved for reality TV stars. Four years into an afterlife that’s so like its predecessor that new residents retain their zits, Mitchell holds a nice gig in Hell’s accounting department, an Intern to Septimus the Devil’s right hand demon, and hangs out with an ex-Viking-Alfrain, a victim of London’s Great Fire-Elinor, and Melissa –AKA Medusa-who fell off the Golden Gate Bridge in 1967. With the number of new arrivals on the rise, Hell's finances are strained. Fortunately, the Devil has a plan to use his Viciseometer, a time-travel device, to limit the number of those destined for Hell. Mitchell sees it as an opportunity to change his fate and revisit the day he met his fate by bus. Things go awry in no time because, as it turns out, all involved have secrets and counteragendas of their own. Along with setting up a series of headlong visits to various eras, Hosie incorporates uncommonly savvy thinking about the paradoxes, the consequences of changing the past, and redemption.
Shade Of The Moon
HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS [HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS]
Pfeffer, Susan Beth
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
December 04, 2014
Knight, Jennifer
The fourth installment of the Life As We Knew It quartet, The Shade of the Moon is a dark finale. The story centers on Jon, Miranda's sister and his "double" life, trying to live as a "claver" in civilization while his sister and mother live as "grubs". Jon is a complicated character and several times throughout the book makes shockingly horrible decisions about how he interacts with the "new world", often at huge cost to those around him. There is a significant amount of brutality in the book (rape, murder, kidnapping) and several horrific deaths that were difficult to read. The narrative in the book is not as strong as in the first books in the quartet and would have benefited from the close eye of an editor. Although fans of the series will undoubtedly search this book out, it is unlikely to have widespread appeal and is strictly an optional purchase for libraries where there is a fan base for the books.
Poeta Del Piso De Arriba
PINATA BOOKS [PINATA BOOKS]
Cofer, Judith Ortiz
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
December 05, 2014
Norton, Geneva
Originally published as The Poet Upstairs, this "ode to poetry" is written in beautiful Spanish. It is the story of a young girl who is too sick to go to school. She listens to the typing in the apartment above her and wishes she could get to know the poet who lives upstairs. A note inviting the girl, Juliana, to come up upstairs introduces her to not only the poet but to the "immersive nature of poetry" as they write poetry together. Understanding a young girl left home alone during the day while her mother is at work is different for typical American school children, but a reality in many parts of the world. The language is too sophisticated for the intended target audience, but the Spanish teacher who reviewed it for language appropriateness would use it in middle school and high school Spanish classes. The language would stretch even native speaking younger children. The lyrical text is coupled with vivid illustrations by Oscar Ortiz. However, to include all of the artwork, there is one place where the text is a page turn after the art making it a bit confusing for the reader. Still a captivating and lovely book to read.
Pig And Small
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Latimer, Alex
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 05, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
When Pig suddenly starts squeaking he discovers its source at the end of his snout—a tiny bug that wants to be his friend. Their first attempts at friendship fail due to the activities they try—riding a tandem bicycle (with Bug holding on to the back seat for dear life), Bug baking a cake that Pig eats in one too quick bite, playing chess with Bug taking forever to move one piece, and Bug knitting a twin sweater that is way too small for Pig. They decide to part ways until Pig is hit in the face with an ad for a pirate/ninja/dog movie and finds this is something they can do together. They discover success in many activities after that—art gallery, aquarium, restaurant, zoo and the beach though they do have to be careful (not playing catch or hide and seek). The last page adds the possibly of a whole new friendship for three when Elephant introduces himself. Children enjoyed some of the humorous possibilities reflected in the illustrations plus the ending.
Grizzly Bears Of Alaska
Little Bigfoot [Little Bigfoot]
Miller, Debbie
Endres, Patrick J.
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 05, 2014
Norton, Geneva
Beautiful color photographs of grizzly bears in Alaska make this nonfiction book a delight to read. This colorful, well-focused volume offers an excellent pictorial introduction to Alaskan grizzly bears along with information about their habitat, physical features, foods, and behaviors, with particular emphasis on mother grizzlies raising cubs. A typical double-page spread includes a few paragraphs of clearly written text on a single subject, illustrated with one or more color photos of remarkable clarity. These pictures offer exceptionally fine views of Alaskan grizzlies in the wild . . . A useful, visually appealing introduction to the subject [Booklist]. Keywords are bolded throughout the text. A great exploration of these fascinating creatures.
Masters Of Disguise : Animal Mimicry
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Belback, Elsie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 05, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
In the Close Up On Amazing Animals series this 24-page title explains the concept of mimicry in the animal world to young students. The first page is a detailed list of before and after reading activities for the teachers including building academic vocabulary and background knowledge. Then without a table of contents the opposite page introduces the term “mimic” through a dance move mimicking a teacher. The theme throughout the book is that animals mimic or copy other things to pretend to be more or less dangerous as either a protection or a lure. Good examples are depicted in the colorful close-up photography of a frogfish among coral, a walking stick on a branch, a mimic octopus as a fish, a metalmark moth as a jumping spider, pygmy owls with “eyes” in the back of their heads, a ghost mantis as a dried leaf, a giant swallowtail as bird poop, and a torpedo bug as a leaf. The text features are great for the most part with maps on each creature's where-abouts, labels on photos, extra captions for most, plus a photo glossary, short index and three websites. What could be improved are the index by including the animals since there’s no table of contents, and explaining the difference/overlap between mimicry and camouflage.
Maisy's Christmas Tree
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Cousins, Lucy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
December 05, 2014
Samuel, Treasure
This brief board book stars the ever popular mouse Maisy and her friends as they decorate a Christmas tree. The text is large and simple and the drawings have thick black outlines, great for little brains that like high contrast. The book claims the pages are "super sturdy" and have "wipe-clean board pages", which is always handy around the littlest ones.
Fire And Ice
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Hale, Shannon
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 05, 2014
Porter, Heidi
This is the fourth adventure of Conor, Abeke, Meilin and Rollan, four children who have bonded with spirit animals, special creatures with whom they will share a lifelong connection. In this book, they must travel to the far north in search of a special talisman that will help them repel the evil Conquerors who threaten their world. The group battles treachery from within and dangers from without as they struggle to survive their icy journey. Appealing cover art and marketing will draw middle grade readers to this fantasy series. Each book has a fast-paced plot and solid writing by an established children's author. Shannon Hale does a serviceable job with this title, although readers will find nothing of her unique voice in this book. Additionally, many of the characters and events are sure to feel cliched to the experienced reader. However, the book's intended audience is unlikely to notice these concerns, and this book is likely to be a highly requested title in any children's collection.
Night At The Zoo
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Caple, Kathy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 05, 2014
Samuel, Treasure
This picture book is part of a series ("I Like to Read") aimed at emergent readers. The website provides detailed information on leveling. The pen, ink, and acrylic on water color paper illustrations are fun and match well with the simple text (Sample: "They are sleepy."). The story follows Sam and his Pop at the zoo, where they fall asleep on a bench and the zoo closes. The animals come out to play, take their cell phone, and fill it with pictures. Sam and Pop wake up to quite a surprise! The book is funny and simple, and perfectly suitable for libraries, which should come as no surprise, as the author is a librarian.
Hello, Moon!
ORCHARD BOOKS [ORCHARD BOOKS]
Simon, Francesca
Cort, Ben
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 05, 2014
Samuel, Treasure
This delightful picture book earns an Recommend rating due to the colorful, imaginative acrylic illustrations. The moon has a gentle, friendly face, well suited for a celestial body that counts the constellations as his friends. The sweet, simple story is of a little boy talking to the moon, asking him lots of questions such as "Do you like animals, Moon?". Published in 2013 in the UK as "Do You Speak English, Moon?"
Littleland Around The World
NOSY CROW [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Billet, Marion
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 05, 2014
Samuel, Treasure
This "Search-and-say fun for little ones" book is like Where's Waldo for the toddler and preschool set. 4 or so sentences per page tell the reader about one of the 14 countries the Littleland animals are in, and the bottom of the page shows 9 pictures (with the word) of the items to look for in the wildly colorful and fun pictures. The pages are very thick and sturdy and the binding is good-- clearly the publishers expect young hands to frequently turn pages to search the digital illustrations for their favorite items. This reviewer's household three year old can't get enough of it!
Peppa Pig And The Day At Snowy Mountain
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 05, 2014
Samuel, Treasure
This picture book is lifted directly from an episode of the popular TV show "Peppa Pig". Fans of the show will enjoy seeing their favorite bizarrely drawn characters in a familiar story about enjoying a day in the snow. Parents of said fans may find it impossible to read the book without attempting an English accent.
Where's Waldo? : The Wonder Book
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Handford, Martin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
All ages
December 05, 2014
Samuel, Treasure
Ideal for Waldo and seek-and-find fans, this book collects many great Where's Waldo picture puzzles, extending the seeking to the jacket and inside the cover (not so great for covers that are library taped to the book, though). Each page even has a fold out section for more searches. The ink and digital illustrations are the usual messy, dense, and hilarious pictures of life in Waldo's land. They are as silly and complex as I recall from my childhood, and this book will continue to draw in fans both old and new.
Worst Witch To The Rescue
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Murphy, Jill
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 05, 2014
Canning, Tenny
Mildred is returning to the Witches Academy after the holidays, with a project she hopes will be enough to satisfy her strict and demanding teacher. She has created a spell to allow animals to speak. She has always been the worst student at the school and wants to turn that around. On the way to the school, her project is stolen by one of the popular students she happens to encounter, who didn’t bother to think of a project. No one believes the spell was Mildred’s to start with, even her best friends are skeptical. She is able, through the spell itself to prove the truth and set things right, as the animals tell their story before the spell wears off. This sweet tale is light on witchcraft and heavy on girl drama which will pull middle grade girls into the story. Text is accompanied by black and white drawings that capture the charming character of the tale. This is the sixth story about Mildred, the Worst Witch. The author penned the first when she was 18. There is a definite British flavor to the tale, very cozy!
Everyone Is Equal : The Kids' Book Of Tolerance
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Hanson, Anders
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 05, 2014
Porter, Heidi
This book is part of the Abdo series, What We Stand For, which focuses on values. The target audience is preschool to early primary children. It is a visually appealing book with large pictures and minimal text. It is divided into sections that define tolerance and discuss how to be tolerant of others' beliefs, abilities and appearances. Unfortunately, despite the promising layout, there are several flaws in this book. About half the pictures have no meaningful connection to the text. Several photos would have been enhanced by panning out to show more details. For instance, a girl in a wheelchair is pictured in close-up, with very little of the wheelchair visible to the reader. Additionally, there are several baffling non-sequiturs in the text. To illustrate the concept that "everybody is a little different", the text gives the example that Ms. Garcia's class is going on a field trip, leaving the reader to ponder the connection between these two pieces of information. The word "equal", featured prominantly in the title, is never elaborated upon within the text. Non-fiction features include a table of contents and glossary.
Sleuth On Skates
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Beauvais, Clementine
Horne, Sarah
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 06, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Eleven-year-old super sleuth and super snoop, Sophie “Sesame” Seade, stumbles on her first mystery when Jenna Jenkins, a Christ’s College, Cambridge University student goes missing. Sesame, the daughter of the head of Christ’s College and the College Chaplain, excels at overhearing privy information and inserting herself into the college and adult life that surrounds her. Weaving her way through the College’s pathways on roller skates, Sesame quickly tracks down several curious facts about Jenna, including the name of her boyfriend Jeremy, chief investigator for UniGossip, a National Inquirer type of magazine that Jenna edits, and the possibility that Jenna had uncovered a “sizzling hot scandal.” Sparkling language, puns, retorts and humorous dialogue between the precocious Sesame and her parents and others accompany the unveiling of clues. Sub plots include corporate marketing in colleges, vulnerability of technology, and high student loans. Humorous ink and watercolor illustrations are sprinkled on every few pages accompanied by a map of Cambridge University and Christ College. This first book in the Sesame Seade Mysteries is also the author’s debut novel. Thoroughly delightful and outrageously funny, watch for future books.
Backwards Moon
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Losure, Mary
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 07, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Bracken and Nettle are the youngest - the witchlings - and they could be the last of their kind. Witchlings occur when a Woodfolk man and a witch have a child. But the Woodfolk are gone, and the only witches left in their small group are positively ancient. The girls' parents left in search of a way to preserve their way of life, but never returned, and humans are about to encroach on the witches' safe valley. Human influence will result in a fading of their powers and a forgetting of their ways. Only Bracken and Nettle may be able to find the doorway into a world where the Woodfolk went, and their small coven can continue. Going out into the world, however, is fraught with danger. Will they have what it takes to not only survive, but save their loved ones? This is a book scattered with magic that may appeal to young witch-friends.
Orphan And The Mouse
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Freeman, Martha
Mcphail, David
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 07, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
The Cherry Street Orphanage isn't outwardly a bad place. The children have chores, but they also have beds and plain but dependable food. Even the mice live fairly well, despite the threat of an exterminator. Still, there are undercurrents. An obsession for "art" has resulted in mice stealing stamps. A ruthless mouse is willing to sacrifice the lives of others to stay in office. The orphanage manager is running a side business selling newborns, and she has deliberately manipulated a child, Caro, to create a willing slave. When a mother mouse is abandoned by her clan, and that manipulated, but kindhearted child steps in to save her life, a distant friendship forms. The truth is going to come out about the missing babies, and both the mouse and child know too much. Set in the 1940's, with a frequent nod to E.B. White's "Stuart Little," this is a crisply, beautifully-written book with lovely drawings by David McPhail. But what audience is it written for? The main character is 10, and the illustrations and fantasy elements aim at that group. The vocabulary, as well as some plot elements, are more appropriate to an older audience. Ah well, It's a well-written, beautiful book that will appeal to thoughtful readers.
Little Puppy And The Big Green Monster
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Wohnoutka, Mike
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 07, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
A perky little puppy is desperate for a playmate. The only viable option, however, is a big green monster with a foul temper, sitting on a park bench. The monster does not wish to play, but the puppy is oblivious. He's having a grand time and, eventually, he wins the monster over. This is the first time this talented artist has illustrated his own words, and the big, bold illustrations flow perfectly with the text. While the same concept is been done before and, perhaps, better (see "A Visitor for Bear"), this is still a delight. The vibrant, frolicking pictures are big enough for group sharing and will be perfect for preschool story times, where they will set the audience giggling. After all, is there a little kid on the planet who doesn't love both puppies AND monsters?
There's A Pig In My Class!
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Thydell, Johanna
Ramel, Charlotte
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 07, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
There is great silliness in this 2012 book, originally published in Swedish and now available in English. Poor Pig. He's lonely in his pen. He gazes with longing at the children in school. If only he could go to! When Pig makes his escape the children abet him in his dream and soon he is living the life he always desired. Despite distractions, however, the teachers eventually catch on and, despite his most fervent desires, Pig is returned to the barnyard. Still, the friends he has made do not forsake him. While he cannot visit them, they can visit him. This is a lighthearted romp with bright and expressive watercolor and ink illustrations.
Know Your Numbers : Sports
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
December 07, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
The "Know Your Numbers" series is based on a good concept. Each book focuses on a topic--in this case, sports, then each page features a number going from 1 to 20, and a crisp color photograph with that number of sports-related items. The number is represented in 4 ways--as dots, the numeral, the word, and as its place on the number line. Two simple sentences caption the picture. The pictures show children with a variety of skin tones, and bright sports equipment. The book is beautifully designed, well-bound, and includes a glossary. It reinforces a valuable concept. Still, do you really need a whole series of them?
I Would Tuck You In
Little Bigfoot [Little Bigfoot]
Asper-Smith, Sarah
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
December 07, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
If you were a brown bear I'd snuggle next to you all winter long. If you were a boreal owl I would stay up all night and tell you stories. And so it goes, this gentle boardbook that a parent can share with a child. Each northern forest baby animal is shown in soft illustrations with a parent, in its natural habitat. This would, at first, seem to be a boardboook version of a previous picture book with the same title by the author, previously reviewed in PSC. However, the content is not identical, despite the title being the same. That makes this a tad confusing. Nevertheless, this is a sweet sharing book that is as warm as a bear hug.
Annika Riz, Math Whiz
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Mills, Claudia
Shepperson, Rob
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 07, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Third-graders, Kelsey, Izzy and Annika are best friends with very different interests. Kelsey loves reading, Izzy loves running, and Annika loves math as much as her friends hate it, so, when Annika hears about the local Sudoku contest she is determined to win and show her friends how cool math is. Franklin School is abuzz with the upcoming carnival and the third grade is baking cookies to sell. But when the threesome runs into baking problems and ruin three different batches, they decide to make lemonade instead. Annika has been whispering math answers to her friends, so when her friends underprice the lemonade and are unable to figure out the math, she decides to stop doing their work for them. The series has a decided girl friendship focus and will appeal to the fans of Ivy and Bean and Clementine. This is the second book in the series, a worthy addition to transitional literature.
Day With Miss Lina's Ballerinas
Square Fish [Square Fish]
Maccarone, Grace
Davenier Christine
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 07, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Pink tutu wearing girls float across the pages of this high appeal Level 1 reader. At Miss Lina’s the girls jump, spin, leap, pose, and bend on toes. They dance through their school classes, park, zoo, market, and finally home. One to two simple sentences per page using common sight words make this appropriate for a step up from the rhyming phonetic books. The final page contains five ballet steps written both in French and English with a phonetic spelling of the French. This is a nice addition of academic language to an early reader and many readers may be familiar with the terms already. Recommend to your girls that request princesses, fairies or pink!
Ice Cream Shop : A Steve And Wessley Reader
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Morris, Jennifer E
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 07, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Steve arrives at the Ice Cream shop and struggles to push the door opening, going so far as to run and fling himself with a SPLAT against the door. Wessley arrives and pulls the door open to Steve’s chagrin. They order their favorite flavors, chocolate tuna chunk for Steve, the bear, and carrot swirl for Wessley, the bunny. Illustrations are digitally rendered with a thick, dark outline surrounding a simulated watercolor appearance. The overall color scheme includes happy, sweet colors of pinks, sea greens, blues, purples and the white and gray toned characters. Readers will enjoy the variations on standard ice cream flavors such as, creamed spinach and acorn sherbet, well matched to the animal customers, but a definite yuck for readers. Basic sight words are joined by sound out words such as, tummy, street, walked, door, pulled, pushed, and together in this yummy first reader. This new series should be a winner, but purchase in a sturdy binding, as the paperback reviewed will not last in heavy circulation.
Ed And Ted And Ted's Dog Fred
Square Fish [Square Fish]
Griffiths, Andy
Denton, Terry
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 07, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Guess how many different beginning words rhyme with Ed? Fed, ahead, dead, red, shed and plenty others; enough to stretch this Level 2 Early Reader into a 32-page, fun-filled book with plenty of action and humor. Griffith’s droll humor and rhyming lines are perfectly matched with Terry Denton’s digitally rendered sketches. A few short lines of text are matched with just one or two colorful cartoonish sketches, leaving plenty of white space for beginning readers to navigate. Exaggerated expressions and the added details embellish the deceptively simple illustrations adding to the richness of very simple text. When Fred (the dog) bites Ed on the head in bed, a nightstand with glass of water is shown toppling over and a pair of slipper socks, and chamber pot stowed beneath the bed. This is an excellent book to add to your Easy Readers and start it circulating. Purchase in a sturdy binding, as the paperback reviewed will not last in heavy circulation.
Olive And The Embarrassing Gift
TEMPLAR [TEMPLAR]
Freeman, Tor
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 07, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Olive the cat has an exuberant best friend Joe, the turtle. He gives her a matching hat that proclaims they’re best friends. From Olive’s expression the reader can tell she’s less than thrilled with this and more so with each person who seemingly makes fun of it. Despite her excuses for not wearing it, Joe always has a reason to continue. In desperation she tries to get rid of it, but Joe catches her in the act. Olive now realizes she has to make it up to him, so she digs the hat out of the garbage, dons it, and then makes a sandwich board proclaiming her best friendship with Joe. She can now stand up to the taunts since she’s realized her friendship with Joe is most important. This is a good message that young children will understand. They’ll enjoy the anthropomorphized animals and the colorful illustrations. Other Olive books are Olive and the Big Secret and Olive and the Bad Mood. Pre-Gr. 2
Persian Cats
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Gagne, Tammy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 07, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Read Abyssinian Cats by Tammy Gagne for a review of Abdo’s DOMESTIC CATS series. This low energy, long, silky coated cat is thought to originate in the Middle East, as it resembles hieroglyphics found in Iran, once known as Persia. Persians have flat faces and short noses, often leading to breathing problems. Loved by Queen Victoria and owned by the wealthy and royalty in Victorian England, two separate lines have been bred since that time. Although Persians can be slow to bond they are excellent family cats and tend to be less mischievous than other breeds. Perhaps the most famous Persian is Hermione Granger’s Crookshanks, a starring cat in the Harry Potter movies. Vocabulary words include ancestors, diplomats, exotic, hieroglyphics and divisions. Index, two recommended books and a publisher curated website are included.
Siamese Cats
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Furstinger, Nancy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 07, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Read Abyssinian Cats by Tammy Gagne for a review of Abdo’s DOMESTIC CATS series. Siamese cats are thought to have originated in Siam, now Thailand, where they lived in Buddhist temples and the palace of the king of Siam. Sleek and elegant, Siamese cats are defined by their intelligence, their loud crying and distinctive looks and are favorites for movies and children’s books. Trademark darker areas on their face and ears are called points and come in 4 different colors determined mostly by climate and sun exposure. Students will recognize Judy Schachner’s Skippyjon Jones books with the long-eared cats quest to become a Chihuahua as well as the Lady and the Tramp movie. These energetic cats can be easily taught tricks and to walk on a leash, need entertainment and companionship, and will be happiest with another cat to play with. Vocabulary words include Buddhist, climate, kink, tomcat, vaccines and vocal.
American Shorthair Cats
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Furstinger, Nancy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 07, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Read Abyssinian Cats by Tammy Gagne for a review of Abdo’s DOMESTIC CATS series. There are two authors for the eight books so note any differences in the individual book reviews. Books include: Abyssinian Cats, American Shorthair Cats, Maine Coon Cats, Manx Cats, Persian Cats, Scottish Fold Cats, Siamese Cats, and Sphynx Cats. Beautiful photographs show just a few of the more 80 different colors and patterns and include tabbies, calicos and an exotic blend of Persians and Shorthairs. Know as excellent mousers and thought to have arrived on European ships in the 1600’s, the shorthaired cats were prized by gold miners and defended against the spread of the plague. Recognized as one of the first five feline breeds, domestic shorthair cats were reestablished as a pure breed that was healthy and strong and are now know as the American shorthair. Smart, easily trained and playful, they make excellent family pets but do not like being alone and do better living with a second cat.
Manx Cats
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Gagne, Tammy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 07, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Read Abyssinian Cats by Tammy Gagne for a review of Abdo’s DOMESTIC CATS series. The Manx breed is thought to originate when the Vikings came to the Isle of Man bringing longhaired cats that mated with the island’s shorthaired cats. Genetic changes led to identifying characteristics such as no tail or a very minimal one, and front legs much shorter than the back ones making their hind end taller than their shoulder. Some breeders now dock Manx tails to meet demand but others fear it may be harmful, as the Manx are known to have sensitive bottoms. Manx purr softly and make a trilling noise to call kittens and family members. Loyal, playful and excellent hunters and jumpers, these cats grow slowly and reach maturity as late as 5 years old. Manx are considered quite smart, and can be taught or learn tricks such as opening door handles and need to have other cats or stimulating toys if left alone. Vocabulary words include dock, genes, ruff, trill and instinct. Photographs depict a variety of Manx colors and highlight their rounded appearance with their shorter front legs and shoulder.
Maine Coon Cats
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Furstinger, Nancy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 07, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Read Abyssinian Cats by Tammy Gagne for a review of Abdo’s DOMESTIC CATS series. There are two authors for the eight books so note any differences in the individual book reviews. Books include: Abyssinian Cats, American Shorthair Cats, Maine Coon Cats, Manx Cats, Persian Cats, Scottish Fold Cats, Siamese Cats, and Sphynx Cats. Known as the “dogs of the cat world,” Maine Coon cats enjoy water, make all sorts of unusual sounds, and played the part of Mrs. Norris, Argus Filch’s cat in the Harry Potter series. Large, with thick fur and big paws help them survive New England winters where they are thought to have come over on ships catching mice. They even were stars of professional cat shows in the late 1890’s. They are great family cats and fun to play with but do not like being held. Suggestions for fun toys and games are also included.
Scottish Fold Cats
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Gagne, Tammy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 07, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Read Abyssinian Cats by Tammy Gagne for a review of Abdo’s DOMESTIC CATS series. This newer breed was discovered in Scotland in 1961. Litters though are unpredictable bearing cats with single, double, triple, and no folds in their ears. The Cat Fanciers’ Association accepted the breed in 1973 and soon becoming one of the top 10 favorite breeds. Known for their unusual dog-like behaviors, learning tricks, fetching toys even enjoying the water. They need companionship of other animals, toys and their owners and make good traveling companions. Photographs show the variation in ears and coloring and vocabulary words include cartilage, geneticist, misshapen, upright, and communicate. Index, two recommended books and a publisher curated website are included.
Three Bird Summer
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
St Antoine, Sarah
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 07, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Summer at Grandma’s lake will be much quieter since Adam’s parents’ divorce. With cousins, Aunts, and Uncles missing, Adam anticipates solitude until a new neighbor, Alice, initiates a canoe trip beginning an unexpected friendship. But Grandma seems older and even gruffer and his mother’s worry about her leads to arguments about Grandma's competence to live alone. When mysterious notes written by his Grandmother start appearing in his room, Adam is embarrassed and worried as well. After confiding in Alice and realizing that a mysterious stranger, G, had created a long ago treasure hunt for his Grandmother, the two vow to unravel the mystery and find the treasure. Meanwhile, Grandma stubbornly tries to prove her ability to drive her car, but crashes into a tree and ends up in the hospital. This is a timely book that addresses difficulties with older relatives aging as well as young friendships heading towards romance. While characters are few and the mood introspective, readers who enjoy realistic fiction set in nature and deeper character development may well resonate with this north woods middle grade novel.
Almost Fearless Hamilton Squidlegger
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Ering, Timothy Basil
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 07, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Hamilton Squidlegger is a brave swamp creature by day, but when his night fears take over he ends up in his parents’ mud. To bribe his son to finally make it through the night in his own mud, Hamilton’s dad offers him his favorite double-decker grasshopper worm-cake with snake-belly frosting. As much as he wants that treat, at the sign of darkness and thunder shaking the scrintalberries, Hamilton asks his dad what to do if a lightning monster comes. His dad replies, “Think good thoughts is what I say. Monsters are silly, and they love to play!” Does Hamilton actually fall asleep and dream that his dad is playing with a lightning monster? Does he follow their cake fight into a TV with a bracklesneed’s tentacles bursting out along with lemonade? Does Hamilton catch a ship that comes upon this flood and meet more creatures? After adventures on the high seas Hamilton finally sees his dad at the end of the rainbow and they reunite. Signs point to it being a dream from which Hamilton wakes up fearless and cake worthy. The large format, outlandish tale and illustrations plus funny names will be enjoyed. The 4-page fold out could have a better last word in, “They sailed through the air…Over magnificent and breathtaking things."
Diary Of A Wimpy Kid : The Long Haul
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
Kinney, Jeff
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 08, 2014
Dame, Anne
Wimpy Kid fans will not be disappointed by this tale of a family road trip involving some crazed seagulls, grungy hotel rooms, and the usual family dynamics.
Siege
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Pearce, Jacqueline
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
December 08, 2014
Dame, Anne
This Orca Currents title is about two cousins who go to a War of 1812 re-enactment camp. Set in Canada, near Niagara Falls. Jason feels a little misled because his cousin only said they were going camping. So when he finds himself without a cell phone and electricity, he's a bit upset. However, firing muskets and the cute girl in the mess tent make things a little better - plus sneaking around in the middle of the night. But things take a turn for the dangerous when they accidentally stumble onto some illegal dealings. Even though it is set present day, it feels like historical fiction due to the reenactment plot-line. Great pick for a reluctant reader who is interested in warfare, but otherwise could be a hard sell.
Alibi
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Butcher, Kristin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
December 08, 2014
Dame, Anne
This Orca Currents title is about 15-year-old Christine who goes to stay with her aunt in a small town during summer vacation. Her aunt Maude runs an antique shop and conducts ghost tours in the small, touristy town. A string of robberies in nearby towns soon extends to their town as well. Christine is determined to catch the thief because one of the robberies happened in her aunt's store! A savvy reader will quickly figure out the solution to the mystery, but it is still a satisfying read with interesting characters.
Eye Of Zoltar
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Fforde, Jasper
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
December 08, 2014
Dame, Anne
Book 3 in the Chronicles of Kazam series. Jennifer Strange's crazy adventures continue as she is commanded by the MIghty Shandar to find the Eye of Zoltar, a rare and precious gem, and bring it to him. If she fails, he has threatened to kill the last two living dragons. Fun, witty, and action-packed, I love this series!
Frida & Diego : Art, Love, Life
CLARION [CLARION]
Reef, Catherine
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
December 08, 2014
Dame, Anne
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, well-known and respected artists, have their lives and art recounted in this biography. It starts out strong and is quite interesting - but then it started getting redundant and tedious, jumping around in time. There are beautiful reprints of their work in the back, but it would have been better to have incorporated them directly into the text. It has a beautiful cover. The back of the book contains paintings, a timeline, notes, bibliography, and an index. It does not list any additional resources, however.
Murmel, Murmel, Murmel
ANNICK PRESS [ANNICK PRESS]
Munsch, Robert
Martchenko, Michael
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 08, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
What should come out of a hole in Robin's sandbox, but a baby! A baby who says "murmel, murmel, murmel." Robin tries to find someone to take the baby but everyone has a good excuse not to. That is, until a truck driver chooses the baby over any excuse and gives Robin his truck. This is typical Munsch silliness with humorous bright illustrations. Originally published in 1982, the story is now available as a board book, and the way it is written would make it a good story for lap-reading with a small child.
Wiggle-Waggle Woof 1, 2, 3
Little Bigfoot [Little Bigfoot]
Stihler, Cherie B
Bania, Michael
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten
December 08, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Head out dog-sledding in this bright and amusing board book with plenty of chances for action and sound-making. Count from one to twelve--one truck, two noses...--then the dogs are off, happily pulling their sled and barking up a storm. There are wiggle-waggles, swish-swishes, and plenty of woofs, giving a sharing parent lots of scope for reading dramatics. The small format makes it just the right size and sturdiness for a toddler's hands. This will be a fun book for parent-child bonding.
Picnic
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Burningham, John
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 08, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
This large format book features Burningham's simple and child-friendly classic illustrations along with a very basic story. Boy and Girl go on a picnic with Sheep, Pig, and Duck. They have a few mishaps along the way, but a good time is eventually had by all, and they all go back to the house to sleep. The author gives the very young a chance to find a few items along the way. (It's not hard.) Despite the over-sized picture book format, the text seems aimed more at the board book crowd, who will doubtless find its simplicity endearing.
Tin
ANDERSEN PRESS USA [ANDERSEN PRESS USA]
Judge, Chris
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 08, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
In the robot family, Tin is the big brother. While baby-sitting his little sister, Nickel, Tin finds himself in a conundrum as she climbs a tree, then is carried away by a balloon. He ends up chasing her through an amusement park, a parade, and the zoo. Will he get her home before their parents find out? This book features an uncomplicated story with big bold illustrations (suitable for story times) in which all the characters, including the animals, are robots. There's been quite a run on robot books recently, and this will please young fans.
Bed For Kitty
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Surovec, Yasmine
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 08, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Chloe has a gift for Kitty--a new bed! It seems the ideal present, because Kitty loves to sleep...everywhere. However, Kitty shuns the new bed for preferred spaces in the sink, in Chloe's sock drawer, and just about anywhere except where she's supposed to be. She even takes over Chloe's bed! This is a gently sweet book with humor any cat-lover will completely understand. The big, bold illustrations are filled with bright colors and patterns, and show a chubby little girl and her recalcitrant cat in ways that can only be described as adorable. This is sure to be a hit for both story times and for personal reading, providing a successful experience for beginning readers.
Bald Eagle
CHILDRENS PRESS [CHILDRENS PRESS]
Herrington, Lisa M
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 08, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Rookie Read-About American Symbols" series, this sturdy, small 32-page book gives young readers some basic information on bald eagles, while focusing on their role as our national bird. Why the bald eagle was chosen, the characteristics that make it a good choice, and where bald eagles can be found as symbols are all briefly discussed. There's also information about their time on the endangered species list, and their comeback. The book includes a timeline, range map, short glossary and index, and other solid text features. It is not afraid to be patriotic, and the photographs are stunning. This would be a nice addition to school libraries, but choose something with a bit more meat for reports about bald eagles.
Scrumptious Statistics : Show And Recognizie Statistics
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Arias, Lisa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 08, 2014
Threlkeld, Sarah
Part of the "Got Math" series, this book, while not exactly scrumptious, does a solid job of making complicated math concepts accessible to younger readers. The pages are colorful and contain a variety of text features, like photographs, number lines, tables, and charts. There is also a table of contents, glossary, index, list of websites related to the content, and a section of pre- and post-reading extension activities to aid comprehension. It is unlikely that students would seek this book out in the library, but it would be an excellent classroom resource or supplemental text for a unit on statistics and data collection.
Explorer : 3 : The Hidden Doors
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
Kibuishi, Kazu
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 08, 2014
Dame, Anne
This collection of stories is tied together by the theme of doors - which is completely open to interpretation by the authors and artists and makes for a very eclectic but interesting compilation. I loved the variety of artistic styles and the different story lines. My disappointment was that the stories are so short; I always want them to continue because I am just getting drawn into that world. Graphic novel fans will definitely enjoy.
Great Greene Heist
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS]
Johnson, Varian
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 08, 2014
Dame, Anne
Jackson Greene had decided to give up running cons - until his past rival Keith decides to run for school president. Keith is pitted against Jackson's ex-girlfriend Gabriela. Jackson calls together a team of experts to help him ensure that Keith does not win even though he knows Gaby would not want him to interfere. Lots of action and adventure. Interesting characters. For fans of Money Run, Heist Society, etc.
Odd Squad : King Karl
Disney-Hyperion [Disney-Hyperion]
Fry, Michael
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 08, 2014
Dame, Anne
3rd in the series Nick and the other members of the Safety Patrol discover that Karl has been asked to become president of some super secret society at school. They are worried that this could have embarrassing ramifications for Karl, so they start an investigation of their own. With lots of cartoon-like drawings this is a good read for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Big Nate.
Great Big Green
Boyds Mills Press [Boyds Mills Press]
Gifford, Peggy
Desimini, Lisa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 08, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
The strength of this picture book is in its brilliantly green illustrations that dazzle the pages. The illustrator used mixed media in a variety of unusual materials to create the images he then scanned. Her note at the end is very welcome. The text has the reader wondering what this thing that is green actually is. Some of the first grade readers could figure it out before the final unveiling. This green is “real mean green. I mean dragon green…anaconda green, electric eel green, green-iguanas-in-the-sun green.” It encompasses green turtles, ponds, tree frogs, all types of green insects plus a green door. Dark green of the sea on through green foods, socks, and tennis balls. After the final clues of “rolling-waves of grain green”, trees and mountains, the kids are pretty clear that it’s the Earth, especially when they see the round green ball of it hanging in the sky. It does end with…”except where it’s blue.” This could work for word choice, or a puzzle, but it’s the artwork that will keep the interest, especially the amazing tiger’s-eye green page.
Frankenstein's Fright Before Christmas
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Walton, Rick
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
In this sequel to the parody of Bemelman's "Madeline" ("Frankenstein") we are back with Miss Devel. Now it is Christmas and the little monsters she cares for have all, quite literally, lost their heads. Oh, what to do, what to do? Just as the previous book took the rhyming pattern from "Madeline" this time we're treated to a take-off of "The Night Before Christmas" but with the same Bemelman-esque illustrations and the the same monster crew. The monster orphanage is preparing for Christmas, but it's going to be a bit of a challenge for Old Saint Nick. Fortunately they all end up with exactly what they need. Granted, the rhyme and rhythm falter occasionally, but this is still a fun Christmas story, and what kid doesn't like monsters?
Loud Louie
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Higginson, Sheila Sweeny
Batson, Alan
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
This is a conundrum. This Level Pre-1 "Disney Junior" book is based on an episode of Disney's Doc McStuffins. Big bright cartoon illustrations accompany the story of a toy cell phone with a stuck volume control. Fortunately Doc figures out the problem and she fixes Louie's loudness. There's also a little information about the old "telephone" game. This is not great literature. However, fans of the show will be absolutely delighted to see it in a book and I don't doubt for a minute that librarians will appreciate the durability of the sturdy binding.
Jake And The Never Land Pirates : Jake Hatches A Plan
Spotlight [Spotlight]
La Rose, Melinda
Batson, Alan
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
In this episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates" Captain Hook is after treasure. Nothing new there! He thinks a golden hummingbird egg is real gold and now Jake and friends need to get the egg back for Mom and Dad hummingbird. Naturally Hook behaves badly, various plans are tried, Hook gets his comeuppance and all ends well. This book was originally published as a paperback and is now back in sturdy library binding. It's a Level Pre-1 Disney Junior reader, with bright illustrations. I'm not fond of a text littered with rebuses, but each picture is accompanied by tiny letters explaining what it is, so readers don't have to refer to a key. Bright cartoon illustrations and popular characters will attract readers who will doubtless not notice the very thin plot...or the fact that it's a surprisingly large hummingbird egg.
X Marks The Croc!
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Larose, Melinda
Batson, Alan
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
In this Pre-1 entry in Disney's "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" series Jake and friends find a map to a terrific water slide on the island. Of course Hook wants the map. Things go badly when the crocodile swallows the map, bottle and all! Now, how can they get the croc to laugh, burp, or sneeze it up? Hook ends up looking ridiculous, and never gets the map. If only he had cooperated they all could have enjoyed the water slide! This is a silly story without much of a plot. There are plenty of rebus elements to the text, each accompanied by the word the picture represents (written in very small letters.) It's not great literature, but the characters are popular and the binding is good.
Phineas And Ferb : Lost At Sea
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Stephens, Leigh
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Based on the popular Disney TV series, this is a Level 3 Phineas and Ferb story. It's time for a family sailing trip, along with their friend, Isabella. Unfortunately a storm shipwrecks them on a desert island. Phineas and Ferb build a treehouse mansion. In the meantime their pet platypus, Perry, dons his fedora and faces his arch enemy, Dr. Doofenshmirtz who plans to use free laundry to open schools of evil! Perry's solution both endangers and saves his family. Great silliness abounds which, of course, is what children love about the series. Great literature? Of course not. Will it circulate? You betcha. Lucky this is very sturdy binding.
Welcome To Royal Prep
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Marsoli, Lisa Ann
Character Building Studio & Disney Storybook Artists
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
In this Level 1 "Sofia the First" reader, the royal children at Royal Prep are preparing for their open house. Royal parents will be visiting and royal talents must be displayed. Unfortunately James messes up Amber's painting. Will he be noble and fess up? Of course. In the end the solution is better than the original. This is what little girls are looking for--pretty Disney princesses with long curly hair, big heads and eyes, and flowing pretty gowns. It's not great literature. In fact, the story is remarkably thin. Still, it's sure to be a popular choice among beginning girl readers.
Mickey's Birthday
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Risco, Elle D
Disney Storybook Artists And Loter, Inc.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
It's Mickey's birthday and he seems friends with things that indicate a party is coming. Surely it's for him! However, as the day goes on he finds himself helping friends out. Each time he is certain a party is around the corner it turns out that someone needs his help instead, or someone has something to show him that they find exciting. At the end of the day Pluto and Mickey head home only to be surprised with a party from all his friends who spent the day distracting him so they could set up. This is a simple story with bright 3-D cartoon illustrations. it features favorite characters and a simple plot. While not extraordinary literature, it is a solid story and will be welcomed by beginning readers who always like to find folks they recognize in the pages of a book.
World According To Musk Ox
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Cabatingan, Erin
Myers, Matthew
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 09, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
I love every one of the Musk Ox books this pair has produced. This one featuring geography is a bit different. Zebra has a more serious and listened to role, whereas Musk Ox is the learner. When Zebra finds the globe with only the Arctic left hanging, Musk Ox wonders what the problem is since it’s the biggest and best part where musk oxen live. Zebra then sets out on a world tour of the continents acting as guide starting with his favorite Africa. Each continent has a Hysterical Marker to read the fine print with an interesting fact, an arrow pointing to its position on the globe, plus some other tidbits of information, and many jokes from Musk Ox. It’s the usual repartee, but Musk Ox is more along for the ride in this book rather than the driving seat as he’s been in the past. Adults and kids alike will enjoy the entertaining romp though this won’t quite make it into the geography section:)
Phineas And Ferb : Lights, Camera, Perry?
Spotlight [Spotlight]
O'ryan, Ellie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 10, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Oh no! Phineas and Ferb's platypus, Perry, is now starring in ads for a hardware store. Unfortunately they make him wear a fedora. His cover as a secret agent is blown! How can he fight evil now? In the meantime Candace is taking a class on not busting brothers. This is a stretch. When the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz attempts another scheme, this one involving a Mustach-inator, Perry must rise to the occasion, except a substitute is sent in his place because of his blown cover. Oh, the horror! Can Perry save the day, and the snail? Can he blow the ad campaign? Is there any chance Candace can succeed in her goal? Yes, yes, and no. This is another wacky adventure with bright cartoon illustrations based on Disney's TV series. The binding is sturdy. Fans will be pleased.
Phineas And Ferb : Boogie Down
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Depken, Kristen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 10, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
In this Level 3 reader the "Let's All Dance Until We're Sick" show is coming to town and Candace is determined to compete. Her boyfriend, Jeremy, isn't so sure but fortunately Ferb's got the moves, and a robotic exoskeleton that Jeremy can wear while Ferb does the dancing for him. Excellent plan. No possible problems there! In the meantime mad scientist, Dr. Doofenshmirtz, has Agent P. (Perry, the platypus) in a bind as he (the doctor) heads off to an evil potluck. When the evil scientist collide with the dance competition, hoping for publicity, everything that can go wrong does. This is typical maniacal humor from the Disney series. The binding is sturdy and so is the fan base.
Phineas And Ferb : Attack Of The Ferb Snatchers!
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Depken, Kristen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 10, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
When Candace watches a horror movie with Phineas and Ferb she begins to wonder if, perchance, aliens have not only appeared in the movie but are actually in her home! All the signs are there, or they seem to be. Is Ferb really an alien? In the meanwhile Agent P, the platypus, is battling Dr. Doofenshmirtz and his evil Wrapped Up in a Nice Little Bow-inator. Are there aliens? Will Candace finally be able to prove to her parents that something is going on with her brothers? Betcha it all gets wrapped up tidily in a bow. Coincidence? I think not! Cartoon illustrations accompany great silliness and sturdy binding. This isn't great literature, but it sure has a fan base.
Phineas And Ferb : Perry Speaks!
Spotlight [Spotlight]
O'ryan, Ellie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 10, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
When Phineas and Ferb invent a machine that translates animal speech into English they soon find themselves surrounded by animals anxious to communicate their gripes. All this is taking place while their platypus, Perry, is in his secret agent guise. Dr. Doofenschmirtz is planning on flooding the area, making people buy his Buoyancy Operated Aquatic Transport (or BoAt) to get around. And Candace is having problems with romance when a dog pees on her shoe. Can things get worse? Probably. This is another kooky Phineas and Ferb adventure and isn't meant to make much sense. The sturdy binding will stand up to the heavy usage you can expect from fans of the Disney series.
Buffaloes Eat And Grow
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
Keimig, Candice
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 10, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
This is a Level 2 Magic Readers book on buffalo. I was asked to review it, as well as the level 1 and level 3 books on the same subject, to compare. As it turns out, each book deals with a different aspect of buffaloes. Each has buffalo photographs superimposed on a watercolor background. Each is 24 pages long with sturdy binding and no index, glossary, or table of contents. This volume uses simple declarative sentences, one per page, to provide some basic information on the topic, with a focus on baby buffaloes. Frankly, I don't see a lot of difference in reading level between this and the Level 1 book. There are enough facts here to write a very very simple report. This is acceptable easy nonfiction.
Buffaloes
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
Keimig, Candice
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 10, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
This is a Level 1 Magic Readers book on buffalo. I was asked to review it, as well as the level 2 and level 3 books on the same subject, to compare. As it turns out, each book deals with a different aspect of buffaloes, at a different reading level. Each has buffalo photographs superimposed on a watercolor background. Each is 24 pages long with sturdy binding and no index, glossary, or table of contents. This volume uses simple declarative sentences, one per page, to provide some basic information on the topic. There are enough facts here to write a very very simple report. This is acceptable easy nonfiction.
Buffaloes On The Prairie
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
Keimig, Candice
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 10, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
This is a Level 3 Magic Readers book on buffalo. I was asked to review it, as well as the level 2 and level 1 books on the same subject, to compare. As it turns out, each book covers different aspects of the same topic. Each has buffalo photographs superimposed on a watercolor background. Each is 24 pages long with sturdy binding and no index, glossary, or table of contents. This volume uses simple declarative sentences, one or two per page, to provide some basic information on buffalo habitat, predators, group dynamics, and migration. The reading level is slightly higher than the other two books. There are enough facts here to write a very simple report. Together, the three books provide a pretty good overview on buffaloes for young readers. This is acceptable easy nonfiction.
About Mammals : A Guide For Children = Sobre Los Mamiferos :
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Sill, Cathryn
Sill, John
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
December 10, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
I enjoy the books by Cathryn and John Sill. I love the formatting, the writing, and I'm a fan of John Sill's beautiful watercolor illustrations. This book focuses on an overview of mammals and includes text in both Spanish and English. The gorgeous pictures fill an entire page, and face a page with a simple sentence of text that offers a basic fact about mammals, along with a small caption for the picture. You could read the book to kindergarten students and they'd get a nice overview of mammals, and enjoy the illustrations. HOWEVER, at the end of the book the author provides an afterword that focuses on each individual plate and offers a paragraph of much more specific information. Add to that a solid bibliography and website list, as well as a glossary, and you have a book older students can use for reading and report-writing. It's like two, two, two books in one! This is a wonderful series that merits a place in libraries serving children.
Ten Eggs In A Nest
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
Sadler, Marilyn
Fleming, Michael
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 10, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This is a sweet counting and adding book in the Bright and Early Books for Beginning Readers. Gwen the hen has laid her eggs and is excited to be a mother. Red Rooster is equally excited to be a father, but they don’t count the eggs because it’s bad luck to count one’s eggs before they hatch. First ONE egg hatches, and the proud papa rushes to the market to get his newborn chick a worm. When he returns he’s surprised to find TWO more chicks have hatched. Thus he rushes back to buy TWO more worms. This continues until there are THREE and then FOUR more chicks making a total of TEN in all. When all TEN worms are there, Red then happily feeds his TEN chicks. The thick black outlines of the colorful illustrations make this an attractive and fun beginning reader. This copy is glossary cardboard cover with non-glossy pages.
Chengdu Could Not, Would Not, Fall Asleep
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Saltzberg, Barney
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 10, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Chengdu the panda really wants to fall asleep. Everyone else in the quiet bamboo grove is sleeping, but no matter what position he tries, Chengdu could not, would not fall asleep. This simple story’s strength is in word choice, word placement, simplicity, and especially the priceless expressions of the panda. Black, white, gray and green are the colors of the creature and the setting. The eyes are the key, but the positions are darling. The final solution is to lie atop his brother Yuan, who then is the only one awake in the forest! Several pages fold out or down depending on the need, which may not warm a librarian’s heart:) This could make a fun read aloud or quiet bedtime story.
Resolucion De Problemas
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Reed, Cristie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
"El pequeno mundo de las habilidades sociales," or "Little World Social Skills" in English, is a ten volume set of well-bound 24-page Spanish language books featuring crisp color photographs showing children from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds. Each book deals with a specific social skill. This is, perhaps, the best of the bunch as it introduces children to the steps you should take in solving problems that confront you. First children are reassured that challenges are a natural part of life, even though they can sometimes make us feel sick. Resolving your problems can help ease that stress. Readers are urged to identify the real problem, get the information they need, brainstorm solutions, make a plan, and try it out. Did it work? The book includes a short glossary, index, and website list. The series is available in both Spanish and English (pity that there's no bilingual version) and would be perfect for social skills or character units.
Responsabilidad
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Hicks, Kelli L
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
"El pequeno mundo de las habilidades sociales," or "Little World Social Skills" in English, is a ten volume set of well-bound 24-page Spanish language books featuring crisp color photographs showing children from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds. Each book deals with a specific social skill. This entry in the series focuses on responsibility. What does it mean to be responsible? Examples are given--following rules, doing chores, taking turns. The good feeling, and trust that develops, from from being responsible are emphasized. The book includes a short glossary, index, and website list. The series is available in both Spanish and English (pity that there's no bilingual version) and would be perfect for social skills or character units.
Trabajemos Juntos
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Steinkraus, Kyla
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
"El pequeno mundo de las habilidades sociales," or "Little World Social Skills" in English, is a ten volume set of well-bound 24-page Spanish language books featuring crisp color photographs showing children from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds. Each book deals with a specific social skill. This entry in the series focuses on working together. The concept is defined, and its importance is emphasized. The benefits of using different talents and points of view in creating a project are presented.Young readers learn about different groups that work as teams. Then the steps in working as a group are described: writing down and sharing ideas, sharing tools, and using patience and good manners. The book includes a short glossary, index, and website list. This series is available in both Spanish and English (pity that there's no bilingual version) and would be perfect for social skills or character units.
Miremos El Lado Positivo
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Reed, Cristie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
"El pequeno mundo de las habilidades sociales," or "Little World Social Skills" in English, is a ten volume set of well-bound 24-page Spanish language books featuring crisp color photographs showing children from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds. Each book deals with a specific social skill. This entry in the series focuses on looking on the bright side of things--maintaining a positive attitude. The concept is defined, and its benefits are emphasized. Of course it's not always easy having a positive attitude, but it can be a personal choice, and help us face problems and find solutions. Five ways to maintain a positive attitude are listed. The book includes a short glossary, index, and website list. The series is available in both Spanish and English (pity that there's no bilingual version) and would be perfect for social skills or character units.
Eres Un Abusador?
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Williams, Sam
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
"El pequeno mundo de las habilidades sociales," or "Little World Social Skills" in English, is a ten volume set of well-bound 24-page Spanish language books featuring crisp color photographs showing children from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds. Each book deals with a specific social skill. This entry in the series asks "Are you a bully?" Different types of bullying are presented, including ostrasizing people. Children are urged to tell an adult and are given a few scenarios to consider in answering the title question. Unfortunately, while the topic is very important, this gives more information on what a bully does, rather than what the bullied should do. Sure it fits the title, but children want potential solutions. Still, this would be a good beginning for a classroom discussion about possible solutions. The book includes a short glossary, index, and website list. The series is available in both Spanish and English (pity that there's no bilingual version) and would be perfect for social skills or character units.
Integridad
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Greve, Meg
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
"El pequeno mundo de las habilidades sociales," or "Little World Social Skills" in English, is a ten volume set of well-bound 24-page Spanish language books featuring crisp color photographs showing children from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds. Each book deals with a specific social skill or character trait. This entry in the series focuses on integrity. What does it mean to have integrity? Examples are given including being honest, being kind when you don't feel like it, keeping your promises, and recognizing the feelings of others. (There's some overlap here with the book on honesty.) This book includes a short glossary, index, and website list. The series is available in both Spanish and English (pity that there's no bilingual version) and would be perfect for social skills or character units.
Honestidad
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Hicks, Kelli L
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
"El pequeno mundo de las habilidades sociales," or "Little World Social Skills" in English, is a ten volume set of well-bound 24-page Spanish language books featuring crisp color photographs showing children from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds. Each book deals with a specific social skill or character trait This entry in the series focuses on honesty. What does it mean to be honest? Examples are given--telling the truth despite the consequences, not taking things that don't belong to you, admitting mistakes. The benefits of honesty are emphasized. (There's a little overlap between this book and the one on integrity.) The book includes a short glossary, index, and website list. The series is available in both Spanish and English (pity that there's no bilingual version) and would be perfect for social skills or character units.
Amistad
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Greve, Meg
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
"El pequeno mundo de las habilidades sociales," or "Little World Social Skills" in English, is a ten volume set of well-bound 24-page Spanish language books featuring crisp color photographs showing children from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds. Each book deals with a specific social skill or character trait. This entry in the series focuses on friendship. What is a friend, and what does it take to be one? Friends share. They take turns and can trust each other. How do you get a friend? Treating others with respect and courtesy goes a long way. The book includes a short glossary, index, and website list. The series is available in both Spanish and English (pity that there's no bilingual version) and would be perfect for social skills or character units.
Bondad
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Williams, Sam
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
"El pequeno mundo de las habilidades sociales," or "Little World Social Skills" in English, is a ten volume set of well-bound 24-page Spanish language books featuring crisp color photographs showing children from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds. Each book deals with a specific social skill. This entry in the series focuses on kindness. (The title in the English version is "Sharing.") What does it mean to be kind? Sharing and taking turns are emphasized. The reader is given three possible scenarios in which to use kindness. This would be a good jumping off point for classroom discussion. The book includes a short glossary, index, and website list. The series is available in both Spanish and English (pity that there's no bilingual version) and would be perfect for social skills or character units.
Me Permite, Por Favor?
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Steinkraus, Kyla
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
"El pequeno mundo de las habilidades sociales," or "Little World Social Skills" in English, is a ten volume set of well-bound 24-page Spanish language books featuring crisp color photographs showing children from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds. Each book deals with a specific social skill. This entry in the series translates out to "May I, Please?" and focuses on good manners. Treating others well, and using polite words, are emphasized. Smiling faces of various hues accompany the text. Readers learn that being courteous is a valuable skill. The book includes a short glossary, index, and website list. The series is available in both Spanish and English (pity that there's no bilingual version) and would be perfect for social skills or character units.
Storm Whale
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY]
Davies, Benji
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
A lonely young boy lives by the sea with his father, a fisherman. Each day his father goes to work, leaving the boy to his own devices. On the morning after a great storm the boy finds a baby whale on the beach. He saves it and puts it in the bathtub. Discovering his son's secret, the father recognizes his loneliness, and together they return the whale to the sea. The text is uncomplicated and the exquisite double-page spread illustrations carry much of the story, from the hints at the end papers, to the signs that the father is spending more time with his son. The final illustration is heartwarming, as father and son picnic on the bluff and see a large fluke and a small one disappearing into the ocean. The is a gentle treasure.
Beetle Boy
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Willey, Margaret
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
December 11, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This intriguing story is told by Charlie Porter, an 18-year-old high school graduate, who has been living on his own. He’s now living with his new girlfriend Clara, a few years older, while he recuperates from an ACL injury. His immobility parallels the stasis in his emotional life. The reader knows much more than Clara does as we see inside the nightmares that haunt and awaken him most nights. These usually involve a gigantic clawed beetle. Through dreams and flashbacks we see what Charlie has gone through living with a morally corrupt father after their painfully shy mother abandons him and his younger brother. He becomes the Beetle Boy when he records the stories his mom used to tell them, and his father prances him around to author gigs promoting him as the youngest published author. Charlie hates this and their life, especially after his dad takes up with a teenage babysitter. He leaves his brother behind and escapes to live with an older author, who is like a grandmother to him. Reading this book is like peeling an onion as Charlie discloses more of his history and self-hate creating dissonance between himself and Clara, who tries to reunite him with his mother and estranged brother. A compelling read.
Little Blue Truck's Christmas
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Schertle, Alice
Mcelmurry, Jill
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 12, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Little Blue Truck has a Christmas load to haul--five Christmas trees. One each goes to the goose, the cow, the pig, and the goat as Little Blue Truck makes his rounds, counting down. The last tree is his. Each double-page spread features rich holiday illustrations and four rhyming lines of text. The pages are thicker than usual, but not board book thick, though the book feels like an oversized board book. The final touch is Little Blue Truck's tree which, when you turn the page (and pull out the battery protector) lights up. This is not appropriate for library collections, but young children will love it as a home holiday book. My father reminded me that he had to read the first little blue truck book to us so often, when we were kids, that he had it memorized. Good times!
Gravity
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Chin, Jason
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 12, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
This imaginative book has nothing to do with the movie by the same name yet, in a sense, you get some of the same "feel" from it. Although it looks like a picture book, this is actually a beautifully realized nonfiction book on the title subject. Extraordinary illustrations show a book falling from the sky. This book. It falls because of gravity, but then gravity disappears and everything starts floating away. Big, bold letters give needed weight to the very simple text that conveys key concepts about the subject. The illustrations remind me of Wiesner's work. Two pages at the end provide more information about gravity, aimed at an older audience. This is truly delightful nonfiction that will make the reader pause, think, and look again. Every library serving children should own it. I suspect it will be receiving multiple awards.
Sometimes You Barf
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Carlson, Nancy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 12, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
A girl and her vomiting dog talk to young readers about a simple truth--everyone barfs. Animals and people upchuck, ralph, or worship at the porcelain throne. Barfing can be scary, embarrassing, and contagious. What if it happens at school? You'll be sent home where you'll spend some time in bed before you gradually get better, and are able to keep food down. The text is lightweight and accompanied by a few made-up facts, some real ones, and Carlson's simple patterned illustrations, big enough for sharing. The vomiting pictures are just gross enough to attract that particular audience who loves that sort of thing. Unfortunately the author ties vomiting in with the flu. The truth is that the flu is actually a respiratory illness. What we call "stomach flu" is usually gastroenteritis or food poisoning. I guess it doesn't matter what you call it, however. If you've had an upchuck incident in the classroom you might want to read this book to the unfortunate witnesses. Kids will find this book both gross and reassuring.
This Book Is Not A Piece Of Cheese!
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Bird, Benjamin
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 12, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Tom and Jerry star in this oversized book about a book. Unfortunately the book pages are cartoon cheese, and Jerry is eating his way through them, despite Tom's admonitions and pointing out of the title. Tom even turns to the reader for support. Does the book smell like cheese? Does it feel like cheese? Does it taste like cheese? Jerry keeps munching. He thinks it sounds like cheese. A final huge burp ends the silliness. There's not much to this bit of cartoon fluff, but it will get a rise out of children, especially in a story time as they eagerly respond to Tom's queries.
Discover Shadows
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Hall, Pamela
Yamada, Jane
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 12, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
How I wish I had this book when I was doing "The Black Rabbit". Here's a lovely nonfiction introduction to shadows, with tons of crisp shadow photographs and clear concise explanations of how shadows are formed. Shade, night, and different types of shadows are briefly explained. There's even a glossary, bibliography, and index. This is not a long, drawn-out explanation. It's a nicely brief overview of the subject that would support a lesson on shadows, or lead into further exploration.
Firefly Encyclopedia Of Dinosaurs And Prehistoric Animals
FIREFLY BOOKS [FIREFLY BOOKS]
Palmer, Douglas
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 12, 2014
Shirts, Brooke
At first glance, this new compendium of all things relating to prehistoric life is stunningly eye-catching. It contains hundreds of pages of full-color spreads of illustration, with detailed paintings of ancient animals depicted as they lived -- there are few skeletons or fossils on display. The scientific name accompanies each animal, along with a brief description. Additional sidebars tell the order, family, and range of each animal. However, while there is a glossary and index, there are no sources cited at all. A Dr. Douglas Palmer is listed as a "consultant" on the title page, but is he a paleontologist? Who's to know? Unlike most encyclopedias, the book is organized chronologically instead of alphabetically, which is fine, but the headers on each page are usually just a repeat of the same large-font text on the same page, rendering the headers somewhat useless. Of course, it could be argued that the audience for this book are young dino fans who simply want to look at cool pictures for hours on end, but with this book's flimsy paperback binding, it's unlikely that it will last through many of those hours.
Romans : Gods, Emperors, And Dormice
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Williams, Marcia
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 12, 2014
Shirts, Brooke
Backyard gladiators may get a kick out of Marcia Williams' survey of Roman history. A cute dormouse is the guide through illustrated comic-style panels of illustrations, each giving the basic details of certain aspects of Roman history or society, from the birth of Romulus and Remus, to brief biographies of famous emperors (good and bad), to a typical day in the lives of both patrician and plebian children. Williams doesn't flinch from the more unsavory aspects of Roman culture; assasinations, battles, slavery, and more are all mentioned, but the glib, cartoon style of illustration keeps it matter-of-fact and kid-friendly. Through it all, the dormouse scurries through the page galleys, adding color commentary and a few extra sidebar facts. However, there is no source material listed, no bibliography, no glossary. There isn't even an afterward essay to soften the blow of the rather blunt ending: the final page of the book shows the last emperor of Rome with a noose around his neck while the city crumbles in flame behind him. A happy dormouse waving goodbye in the corner of the page does little to soften this final image.
Human Body
Big Picture Press [Big Picture Press]
Rogers, Simon
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
December 12, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
Big Picture Press is doing a wonderful job creating visually rich and engaging books on all sorts of topics these days. Here graphic designer Peter Grundy presents a systematic look at seven color-keyed topics: the senses, reproduction, the heart, the brain, digestion, the skeleton and the "human factory" including both inputs and outputs. Using a graphic designer's bright, blocky often schematic illustrations to describe the various processes that combine to make the human body work; Grundy's presentation is both visually appealing, informative and accessible to many ages and levels of understanding. Fans of Charles Harper's geometric nature illustrations will enjoy Grundy's style that could easily drive a study unit in geometric shapes and graphic design. Highly recommended.
Photos Framed : A Fresh Look At The World's Most Memorable P
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Thomson, Ruth
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 12, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
Using twenty seven iconic images this book is a solid introduction to photography. Each photo gets a full page, paired with one-page explanation of the photographer's intent and technique, as well as asking a few leading questions to consider when looking at the images. In addition to reading through the book and considering the images, this book would make a fine display book, with a different 2 page spread displayed to passersby to consider just how it is that a photograph is worth 1000 words. Visual literacy, media literacy, non-fiction: this book hits a number of topics worth teaching as part of a well rounded library and information technology or art curriculum.
Manhunt
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Messner, Kate
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 12, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
Henry Anna and Jose's parents are part of the Silver Jaguar Society, a secret society that works to preserve art masterpieces. As in the 2 previous books in the series (Capture the Flag, Hide and Seek) these three friends show as much resourceful determination as their parents to ensure that the nefarious "Serpentine Princes" don't get away with their scheme to steal art treasures from museums around the world. When a series of thefts point to an impending attempt to steal the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in Paris, Henry and friends (and their parents) jet to Paris to thwart the heist. When it seems the parents might themselves be the target of the heist, the kids take to the streets (and the Catacombs) in a game of cat and mouse as they rescue the painting and their parents and deliver the Serpentine Princes into the hands of Interpol. This fast paced romp through some interesting sites in Paris is an additional purchase that will appeal to some of the same students grades 4 and up who enjoyed "Chasing Vermeer"
Firefighters
Scholastic Reference [Scholastic Reference]
Arnold, Tedd
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 12, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
Tedd Arnold's "Fly Guy" character answers the call for more easy reading non-fiction with this hot topic for kids Grades K-2. Mixing clear color photographs of firefighters in action along with Arnold's humorous illustrations is a winning combination that holds plenty of appeal to kids in my elementary library. Simple informative text with plenty of captions deliver the basic content in a way that is engaging for even the most die-hard firefighter fans.
Petal And Poppy And The Spooky Halloween!
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Clough, Lisa
Briant, Ed
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 12, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
Petal and Poppy are friends heading for a Halloween night out in an easy reader (GR level I). Timid Petal (an elephant-ish character) is a little spooked by it all while Poppy plays the "Don't Worry" confidence game. When their bike breaks down in front of a spooky looking house, Polly enters in search of help. Petal sits outside, only to meet a rather helpful ghost who floats out to see is it might help fix the bikes and help Petal on her way. Poppy meanwhile explores the haunted house and emerges frightened and their roles (and costumes) are exchanged. Likely to be enjoyed by K-2 newly independent readers and Halloween fans year round.
Wanted : Prince Charming
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Benjamin, A H
Fiorin, Fabiano
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Race Ahead with Reading" series, this 32 page paperback book gives young readers a different "take" on traditional fairy tales. Five short chapters tell the story of Princess Reverie who dreams of her prince charming. Dreaming, however, is hard to do with all the distractions around her. Deciding to take fate into her own hands, she does traditional fairy tale things to capture her man. But the prince drops the slipper, the dwarves are slobs, and her hair isn't long enough. Kissing a purple pig, however, provides unexpected results and possibly true love. This is a silly story with bright, humorous cartoon illustrations. The series provides a nice transition for readers just moving from picture to chapter books.
Dragons Vs. Dinos
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Bryant, Ann
Redlich, Ben
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Race Ahead with Reading" series, this 32 page paperback book uses bright cartoon illustrations and five short chapters to tell of a long-time feud between the dragons and the dinosaurs. When a mother dinosaur finds a baby dragon, however, she works to return him. The two mothers create a truce, but the truth is that they were being manipulated by their children. This is a quick-paced story with plenty of humor and a nice message. A page of extension activities is included. The series provides a nice transition for readers just moving from picture to chapter books.
Rumpelstiltskin Returns
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Pearson, Maggie
Stone, Steve
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Race Ahead with Reading" series, this 32 page book tells a new story about Rumpelstiltskin, in five very short chapters. A young girl rescues a strange little man from under a rock. Now, indebted to her, he is doing his best to make her life easy. He does her homework, makes sure she scores goals in soccer, cleans her room, and does her chores. You'd think this would be a good thing, but you'd be wrong. Consequences mount and the girl just wants to be rid of her over-eager helper. Luckily she finds a way to be rid herself of this pest. Vivid cartoon illustrations, plenty of light humor, and crisp writing combine to make this a winner. A final page gives extension activities adults can use. The series provides a nice transition for readers just moving from picture to chapter books.
Pirate Pie Ship
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Cuillain, Adam
Van Wyk, Rupert
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
When the Plankton Pirates decide to change their profession, and and give up plundering for selling their cook's amazing pies, it seems like a grand idea. The pies are in high demand and soon the pirates are swimming in gold. However, when another pirate ship tries to take over their customer base, the Plankton Pirates need to get creative. Who knew you could fire pies from a cannon? Part of the "Race Ahead with Reading" series, this 32 page book features crisp, humorous writing accompanied by colorful cartoon illustrations. The five chapter story is perfect for readers just transitioning from picture to chapter books. A final page gives extension activities adults can use. This is a fun series that would also be a good choice for guided reading sets.
Pirates Are Stealing Our Cows
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Remphry, Martin
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Farmer Marchant is appalled to discover that pirates are stealing his cows! Yep, Daisy, Buttercup, and Milkshake are now at sea. The farmer tries to get help but neither the police nor the Navy will believe him. After all, everyone knows pirates steal treasure, not cows. When the farmer catches up with the pirates he puts them to work on his farm, which they actually like. The cows, however, have had a taste of the sea and are determined to return to it. This entry in the "Race Ahead with Reading" series is a silly story in five very short chapters contained in a 32-page paperback book. Chuckle-worthy cartoon illustrations accompany the crisp, humorous text. There's also a page of extension activities. This series would be a good choice for guided reading sets, and for transitioning young readers from picture to chapter books.
Boy With The Sweet-Treat Touch
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
North, Laura
Chapman, Neil
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Jack makes an unfortunate wish on a magic coin on his birthday and now everything he touches turns into a sweet treat. This seems like a fine thing, at first, but it rapidly turns bad and Jack learns his lesson, much as King Midas did. Crisp, amusing writing is accompanied by bright cartoon illustrations in this entry in the "Race Ahead With Reading" series. All the books in the series are 32-page paperbacks that tell their stories in five short chapters and include a page of extension activities. They are a good transition book to move young readers from picture to chapter books, and would be a solid addition to guided reading sets.
Zak's King Arthur Adventure
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Cuillain, Adam
Alder, Charlie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Zak hopes his new metal detector will help him uncover treasure. He never expected to find King Arthur's sword handle, and then a buried room filled with sleeping knights. His greed, however, proves his undoing and nobody believes the story he has to tell afterwards. Part of the "Race Ahead with Reading" series, this 32-page paperback book tells the tale in five short chapters, with nicely-focused text and bright cartoon illustrations. There's also a page that gives possible extension activities. Clearly designed for children transitioning from picture to chapter books, this would be a good choice for guided reading sets, or for recreational reading.
Big Bad Wolf And The Robot Pig
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
North, Laura
Cross, Kevin
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
As we all know, only one of the three little pigs was actually clever. In this story he builds an impregnable fortress, much to the wolf's dismay. Determined to fight back, the wolf builds a robotic pig and manages to trick all three of the pigs into coming over for dinner. When it looks like they'll be the main course, the clever pig figures out how to turn the wolf's invention against him and all ends well. This humorous tale is part of the "Race Ahead with Reading" series. Each book in the series consists of 32 pages, divided into five short chapters. Each includes a page of extension activities. Bright cartoon illustrations abound. The series is obviously designed to bridge that transition from picture to chapter books and it does so well. These books would be fun for recreational reading, but also would be useful in guided reading sets.
Cinderella : The Terrible Truth
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
North, Laura
Dreidemy, Joelle
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Think you know the story of Cinderella? Think again. You wouldn't believe the REAL story! Let's just say it involves a prince and a ball and evil stepsisters...and a werewolf potion. But who'd ever believe THAT? Nuff said. This is part of the "Race Ahead with Reading" series--32-page paperback books with humorous stories told in five short chapters. Fun cartoon illustrations pop against white pages, and crisp writing moves along at a brisk pace. The final page contains extension activities. Designed to bridge that gap between picture and chapter books, this would be a good choice for both recreational reading and for guided reading sets.
Stinky!
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Bryant, Ann
Elkerton, Andy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Bill Brady makes an unfortunate brag at school and now he has to train his neighbor's guinea pig to do tricks, to keep his boast from being a lie. He discovers the color yellow is the key, and manages to create a multi-talented guinea pig. However, when he brings Stinky to school (under an assumed name) he doesn't perform...at first. This is part of the "Race Ahead with Reading" series. Each paperback book in the series is 32 pages long, with five short chapters. Each includes a page of extension activities and each has a humorous story with lots of bright cartoon illustrations. This may be the weakest of the ones this reviewer saw, since the story seems a little forced. Still, for readers just transitioning from picture to chapter books, the series is a good choice, and they would make a nice addition to guided reading sets.
Pirates On Holiday
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Cuillain, Adam
Van Wyk, Rupert
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
The Plankton Pirates have had a very successful plundering season. Now it's time for vacation. Unfortunately Windy View Campground is a bust. The trailer is too small. The activities are lame. And the pirates can't even win at pirate-themed games! Maybe their best relaxation happens aboard ship. Part of the "Race Ahead with Reading" series, this 32 page book tells the story in five short chapters. Bright cartoon illustrations, plenty of light humor, and crisp writing combine to make this a winner. A final page gives extension activities adults can use. The series provides a nice transition for readers just moving from picture to chapter books.
Aaron Rodgers
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Anderson, Jameson
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 13, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
How do you grow a star quarterback? Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers starring quarterback (following Brett Favre), was born into a football playing family and by the age of five was throwing footballs through tires hanging from a tree. The Awesome Athletes book chronicles Rodger’s football life from childhood through high school successes, three years in college including leading to Cal Berkeley to a win over rival Stanford, the NFL draft, a Super Bowl win through the 2013 season. Captioned photographs depict the star demonstrating his talents for the 2005 NFL draft, holding aloft the 2011 Vince Lombardi Trophy, presenting the 2013 Super Bowl trophy along with his childhood hero, Joe Montana, game play and off season life. While Rodgers game statistics and significant football wins are the primary focus, additional details about Rodger’s academic successes, devotion to community service and the unusual organization, it’sAaron, he co-founded to bring awareness to non-profits and individuals improving communities in Wisconsin. Eye-catching purple paint splatters and a shocking orange color scheme for titles and text features may appeal to or distract some readers. If your students have football fever, this is a solid purchase.
Mad Scientist Next Door
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
De Marco, Clare
Walker, Rory
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
When there's a mad scientist living next door anything can happen. This is what Ella discovers when she goes to Mr. Willis's yard to retrieve her brother's teddy bear. Before she knows it she's caught in an experiment and exchanges bodies with the old man. Happy to be young again, he skips away to take over her life. Ella must be clever to get back to being herself. Still, there will be consequences. This is a silly entry in the "Race Ahead with Reading" series. Each paperback book in the series is 32 pages long, divided into five short chapters. Each ends with a page of extension activities. The stories are crisply written, with nice pacing and bright cartoonish illustrations. These would be a nice bridge for readers just transitioning from picture to chapter books. They would also be useful in guided reading sets.
How A Bill Becomes A Law
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Steinkraus, Kyla
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "U.S. Government and Civics" series, this sturdy 24-page book takes readers step-by-step through the process in which a bill becomes a law. Readers learn about the parts of Congress, and follow a bill from idea to veto or approval. A flow chart is included that lays things out very neatly. Crisp photographs accompany text that, while a tad dry, conveys information clearly. A glossary, bibliography, and index are included. Teachers doing government units will find this series useful.
Tao, The Little Samurai : 4 : The Championship!
GRAPHIC UNIVERSE [GRAPHIC UNIVERSE]
Richard, Laurent
Ryser, Nicolas
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Tao, the little Samurai, is back with all his friends in this new graphic novel (#4 in the series.) Master Snow is taking Tao and the rest of the dojo to the International Martial Arts Championship. They expect their two champions to win. Unfortunately evil is afoot. A cursed sword is stolen. The school champions are falsely accused of doping. It's up to Tao and his friends to totally ignore any rules, track down the villains, and make sure everything turns out OK. That doesn't mean they don't mess up, get captured, and get into trouble along the way but that's all in a day's work for young Tao. This is a fun series with energetic, cartoon illustrations featuring plenty of action. Young martial arts fans will be delighted, and fans of the series will insist that you add this book to your collection.
Alaska's Snow White And Her Seven Sled Dogs
Little Bigfoot [Little Bigfoot]
Dwyer, Mindy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Mindy Dwyer is noted for her many Alaska-based fairy tales and she's at it again with this version of Snow White. In this case, Snow White is fostered by the Master Skatemaker and his wife, when the king's new wife dislikes her. When her beauty threatens the queen, Snow White escapes on her sled with her seven sled dogs who guard the princess. The queen tries to kill the princess with a strangling snowshoe hare coat and poisoned jerky, finally succeeding with a potioned drink. Rescued by a handsome young musher, she returns to her foster parents who make a pair of skates that eliminate the queen. All ends happily (well, except for the queen.) This is a convoluted tale that stretches its origins to the breaking point. Exquisite illustrations seem to flow like the northern lights and feature icy colors. The biggest problem here, however, is the whiteness of the characters. Yes, I know her name is Snow White, and this seems to draw from Alaska's Russian heritage. Still, I would have enjoyed a Yupik version of the story. Culturally this doesn't offer me a new perspective.
Mi Almuerzo Verde
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Hord, Colleen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 14, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Tierra Verde: Biblioteca de Descubrimientos" series, this sturdy 24 page Spanish language book teaches students how to have a "green" lunch. This doesn't mean a lunch of vegetables, however. It means a lunch that is environmentally responsible. Clear color photographs accompany a crisp text that asks students to use reusable containers rather than plastic bags, and to recycle and compost when possible. It urges schools to adopt environmentally friendly practices in their food services. The book includes a quick science experiment as well as a short glossary, index, and website list. Since many schools are making changes in this area, this would be a good book to use in introducing the concept.
Maria Mitchell
Pebble Books/capstone Press [Pebble Books/capstone Press]
Butzer, Anna
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 14, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Great Women in History" series, this small but sturdy 24 page book gives young readers a quick overview of the first female American astronomer, Maria Mitchell. Born in 1818, she grew up in Massachusetts in a liberal household that believed girls merited an education. Astronomy became her muse. She discovered a comet, inspired other women to study the sciences, and became the first professor at Vassar. This is a clear, brief overview of her life, accompanied by historical photographs and paintings. It includes a short glossary, bibliography, and index. There's not a lot of information here--certainly not enough for report-writing. Still, this would work as a choice for Women's History Month for younger students.
Scooby-Doo! : An Even Or Odd Mystery : The Case Of The Oddzi
CAPSTONE PRESS INC [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
Weakland, Mark
Gross, Scott
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 14, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Scooby-Doo is a popular character. That much is certainly true. But trying to mix in our favorite dog with a mystery that lamely teaches odds and evens just doesn't quite work. A monster is wreaking havoc in Crystal Cove. Scooby's team realizes that the monster is eating even numbered objects to make them odd numbered objects. They set a trap. The villain turns out to be a guy who runs a website finding people matches to their missing objects. Huh? This is a stretch, and the writing shows it. Worse, it's part of a four-book series. Sure, there are big illustrations with all your favorite cartoon characters, but there's no plot or character development here at all. The intention is good, but the execution is poor.
Computer Mouse
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Koontz, Robin
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 14, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Sure there's this cool invention, but how does it work? That's the question this "How It Works" series attempts to answer. Each book consists of 24 well-bound pages. Bright color photographs accompany clear, explanatory text. This volume in the series deals with the computer mouse. It first tells what a computer mouse is, and shows what the first one looked like. Young readers then learn about the mouse's guts, and what it does. Unfortunately, while other types of mice are mentioned, the main focus here is on a trackball mouse, making this book badly out of date. Because of that, despite its short photo glossary and index, it is hard to recommend it for purchase.
Binoculars
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Koontz, Robin
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 14, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Sure there's this cool invention, but how does it work? That's the question this "How It Works" series attempts to answer. Each book consists of 24 well-bound pages. Bright color photographs accompany clear, explanatory text. This volume in the series deals with binoculars. It explains what they are and how they are used. Then, through the use of diagrams, it describes exactly how they work. The book includes a short photo glossary and index. This is a clear, cogent explanation of a commonly-used device, that will answer questions young readers might have.
Internet
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Greve, Meg
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 14, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Sure there's this cool invention, but how does it work? That's the question this "How It Works" series attempts to answer. Each book consists of 24 well-bound pages. Bright color photographs accompany clear, explanatory text. This volume in the series deals with the Internet. This is a very brief overview, describing the hardware and software involved, in only a few words. Protcools, servers, and packets are all described, and there is a table covering six commonly-used Internet abbreviations. There's really nothing here about the history of the Internet, and the future possibilities it offers. There is, however, a page of safety tips. The book includes a short photo glossary and index. If you just want the basic basics this will work, but you might prefer something with a little more meat.
Colin Kaepernick
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Anderson, Jameson
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 15, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Quarterback or Pitcher was the choice Colin faced as he looked at colleges. Multiple baseball scholarship offers vs. one slow to materialize football scholarship to University of Nevada-Reno. But Colon remained true to his dream of playing football for the San Francisco 49ers or the Green Bay Packers. The Awesome Athletes book chronicles Colin’s college records in passing and rushing, through his draft to the 49ers, Super Bowl run and ends with their defeat to the Seattle Seahawks in the 2014 NFC Championship. While Kaepernick’s game statistics and significant football wins are the primary focus, additional details about Colin’s early prowess in baseball, work ethic in training and conditioning during the off season and involvement with Camp Taylor for kids who have heart disease in honor of his two infant brothers who died from heart defects. Additional features include captioned photographs, a fact box timeline, a page of career statistics, bold print glossary words and publisher link to the NFL, 49ers, and Camp Taylor websites. Eye-catching purple paint splatters and a shocking orange color scheme for titles and text features may appeal to or distract some readers. If your students have football fever this is a solid purchase.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang : The Magical Car
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Fleming, Ian
Burningham, John
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
All ages
December 15, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
A 50th anniversary edition brings Ian Fleming's magical car careening on its madcap adventures for the sheer delight of an English children's tale, well told. Timeless and as fine a read-aloud as Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming (yes, that's "Bond, James Bond") writes of this motor-car with a mind all its own and the family called Pott.; there's Father (inventor and former Royal Navy Commander) Caractacus Pott, mother Mimsie, Jeremy and Jemima. After Father invents a whistling candy, sells it for a thousand pounds and buys a rusted and ready-for-scrap-heap, one-of-a-kind motor-car for the family. After some fixing up the family heads to the beach for a holiday and that's when old Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang's magic kicks in. One tug on a bright red know (flashing PULL IDIOT!) unfurls wings and the fan becomes a propeller that slides forward from under the bonnet of the car as she flys over snarled traffic to land on a sandbar in the English Channel (all beach, no crowds!). At high tide the tyres provide flotation, they motor to France, discover a villain's cache of arms and explosives John Burningham's charming original illustrations vary from simple pen and ink to colorful drawings with photo montage. It's all simply brilliant, old chap.
Johnny Manziel
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Anderson, Jameson
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 15, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
As a child, Johnny Manziel, excelled at several sports including basketball, baseball and could compete with adults playing golf at age 10. Football was Johnny’s love though, and this Amazing Athlete biography chronicles the many records and awards he was awarded in high school and college culminating in the Heisman trophy his first year playing and a stellar second year leading him to go Pro. Johnny “Football” as he is known, was just 22 when the Cleveland Browns drafted him in the winter of 2014. Accompanying this stellar record though is a number of incidents where Johnny has been accused of assault and being paid illegally for his signature. He even spent a few days in prison after giving the police a false I.D. While this biography mentions these incidents, including some of his colorful family history, attention is focused on the football statistics and accomplishments. Additional features include captioned photographs, fact box timeline, More Thank Football fact boxes, career statistics, bold print glossary words and publisher link to the football teams' websites. Eye-catching purple paint splatters and a shocking orange color scheme for titles and text features may appeal or distract readers. Solid purchase for fans.
Multiplication Meltdown : Factors And Multiples
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Arias, Lisa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 15, 2014
Threlkeld, Sarah
I'm all for making non-fiction books engaging and interesting, but reading almost all of the information in verse made me a bit crazy. Part of the Got Math! series, "Multiplication Meltdown" is a valuable classroom resource to support student work around multiplication. The book is packed with colorful graphics, a good balance of printed text, and opportunities for the reader to apply his/her understanding of the information in each section. There are also a ton of other features, like a table of contents, glossary, before/after reading comprehension activities, index and short list of websites with related content. This title will appeal to students who are already interested in math or who want some extra support. Although I can't imagine a student seeking out this book on the shelves, I do think it will be checked out if on display.
Marvelous Measurement : Conversions
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Arias, Lisa
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 15, 2014
Threlkeld, Sarah
Part of the "Got Math" series, this book does an excellent job of connecting different types of measurement to the reader's everyday life. The author examines both the metric system and customary unit system used in the U.S., even providing a mnemonic for remembering the order of the metric system prefixes. The pages are colorful and contain a variety of text features, like photographs, number lines, tables, and charts, and a few short activities that encourage readers to apply their learning are included. There is also a table of contents, glossary, index, list of websites related to the content, and a section of pre- and post-reading extension activities to aid comprehension. It is unlikely that students would seek this book out in the library, although if it was put on display it would probably see some action since the cover is so bright and colorful. "Marvelous Measurement" would be an excellent classroom resource or supplemental math text.
Blackfire's Back!
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Torres, J
Nauck, Todd & Larry Stucker
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 15, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
This graphic novel series features skinny, stylized illustrations of Teen Titans - think elongated Bratt dolls. The girls are in mini miniskirts and platform shoes. (Really? You fight evil wearing that?) The guys are weird-looking and malnourished. But enough about that. These type of illustrations will attract, rather than repel, the target audience. This book, obviously part of a series and dependent on the previous book, focuses on the rivalry between Starfire and Blackfire. Has Blackfire really turned over a new leaf? Not likely, as she takes out the rest of the team during a race with her sister. Starfire, however, isn't an idiot. Despite the heartache of a sister's betrayal, she does the right thing. There's action, occasional cartoon humor, and lots of bright colors. There's just not a lot of plot here. I guess you need the whole series to get the whole story.
Magical Mathematical Properties : Commutative, Associative,
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Arias, Lisa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 15, 2014
Threlkeld, Sarah
Part of the "Got Math" series, this book, while not exactly magical, does a solid job of presenting information about mathematical properties to younger readers in a fun and interactive way. Many of the sentences even rhyme! The pages are colorful and contain a variety of text features, like photographs, number lines, tables, and charts. There is also a table of contents, glossary, index, list of websites related to the content, and a section of pre- and post-reading extension activities to aid comprehension. It is unlikely that students would seek this book out in the library, but it would be an excellent classroom resource or supplemental text when teaching about different types of math properties.
Little Prince : 18 : The Planet Of Time
GRAPHIC UNIVERSE [GRAPHIC UNIVERSE]
De La Patelliere, Alexan
Bussi, Audrey
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 15, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
This is book #18 in "The Little Prince" graphic novel series in which the Little Prince and Fox travel from planet to planet making new friends and trying to ease the problems caused by their enemy, the snake. In this entry in the series they end up on a planet where time is key. Finding an ally, they track down the problem that is paralyzing the populace. Their new companion uses about every time pun or saying known to man, and ends up with the perfect job as all ends well. This series, despite its main character, has little to do with its inspiration. Still, the drawing is excellent and the writing is adequate, if a bit "beat you over the head with the moral"ish. I have this series in my library and they don't circulate much, but the right audience might welcome them.
Cast Away On The Letter A : A Philemon Adventure
TOON BOOKS [TOON BOOKS]
Fred
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
December 15, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Created by Toon Graphics, designed for visual readers, this is a flight of fancy in the form of a graphic adventure. Philemon finds a glass bottle with a cry for help, floating deep in the well. This is followed by another. Such a curiosity deserves further investigation. All too quickly, however, he is sucked down, down, down and finds himself washed ashore in a magical fantastic place that doesn't really exist--the letter A in the word Atlantic, found on maps and globes. Anything can happen here, and does. He meets a centaur and finds the man who sent the note. How can he return home? A cryptic puzzle holds the key. This is completely off the charts, when it comes to imagination, and the illustrations are amusing and eye-catching. Here's hoping there are more unique adventures in store for Philomon.
Alaska's Three Little Pigs
Little Bigfoot [Little Bigfoot]
Laverde, Arlene
Dwyer, Mindy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 15, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Three little pigs live in Alaska. One lived in a trapper cabin. One built a house of willow branches. The third built a sturdy igloo. When a hungry grizzly bear comes after them the first two houses don't last long. The igloo, however, proves sturdier, and the bear ends up in a block of ice. This is a different version of the classic tale, told in a boardbook format with bright eye-catching illustrations by Mindy Dwyer. Add it to your fairy-tale section for compare and contrast units.
Seasons
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Thornborough, Kathy
Petelinsek, Kathleen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 15, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Talking Hands" series, this 24 page book introduces young readers to signs for each season, and a few vocabulary words that suit that time of year. These are basic ASL signs and shown in clear black and white illustrations, accompanied by color photographs of the subject. A brief sentence or two explain how the hands should move in making the sign. It is hard to learn sign language from such a static perspective, and some signs are more successful than others. Still, the author and illustrator do the best they can. There's not a lot of vocabulary here, but sign language books are popular and there are never enough of them.
Dive Into Division : Estimation And Partial Quotients
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Arias, Lisa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 15, 2014
Threlkeld, Sarah
Like other books in the Got Math! series, "Dive Into Division" presents traditionally challenging or dry information in interesting and engaging ways. The pages are colorful and full of graphics, and the reader is challenged to apply his/her understanding of concepts in multiple ways. A variety of text features are utilized, including a table of contents, index, bolded vocabulary, and glossary. A couple of the concepts could have been explained more thoroughly and the rhyming text quickly became an annoyance, but overall this is a solid book that could be enjoyed independently or as a classroom resource.
Llorona : Retelling A Mexican Legend
RED CHAIR PRESS [RED CHAIR PRESS]
Coleman, Wim
Aviles, Martha
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 15, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Wim Colemand and Pat Perrin have retold the Mexican legend of la llorona in the format of a short play. Five scenes tell the story of a boy visiting his grandmother. He fails to heed her warning to stay inside at night and, instead, follows the cries of a veiled woman searching for her lost children. Though afraid, he asks for her story and that, as well as his kind heart, save him from being her next victim. Illustrations by Martha Aviles have a Mexican feel to them. The story actually works quite well as a play, with lots of room for dramatic embellishment. Part of the "Setting the Stage for Fluency" series, this is a different approach to a traditional tale and works well both as a story and as a play.
We Are The Goal Scorers : The Top Point Leaders Of The Nhl
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Jordan, Christopher
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 16, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
This 72 page book celebrates the NHL scoring leaders (2011-2013?). After a brief introduction, 28 players are profiled. Each player has 2 pages. A full page color photograph and a second page containing stats (number, position, shooting side, height, weight, birthdate, birthplace, and draft information) and two paragraphs of text about the player. This book is for hockey fan browsing, there is not enough information for biographical research. The book is organized by player last name. There is no table of contents or index. There are no page numbers. There is an extensive glossary and bolded words throughout the text are found in the glossary. Due to ongoing changes in rosters, this book is probably out of date already.
We Are The Goalies : The Top Netminders Of The Nhl
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Jordan, Christopher
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 16, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
This 72 page book celebrates the starting NHL goalies (2011-2013?). Each goalie has 2 pages. A full page color photograph and a second page containing stats (number, catch side, height, weight, birthdate, birthplace, and draft information) and two paragraphs of text about the player. The text becomes somewhat repetitive, but this book is for hockey fan browsing. The book is organized by team name making it very hard to find a particular goalie. There is no table of contents or index. There are no page numbers. There is an extensive glossary and bolded words throughout the text are found in the glossary. Due to ongoing changes in rosters, this book is probably out of date already.
Exploring Polar Regions
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Cummings, Judy Dodge
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 16, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
This 144 page book is part of "The Story of Exploration" series. The book focuses on the exploration of the Arctic and Antarctic. The reader learns how explorers pushed into the polar regions, how explorers built upon previous explorations, competition between explorers, innovations made to explore these regions, and the future of polar exploration. The text is engaging and well-written. Call out boxes give the reader additional information about particular explorers and concepts. Illustration are in color (drawings and photographs) and captioned. The book includes a table of contents, timeline, essential facts, glossary, bibliography (web resources through the publisher's website), source notes, index, and author information. A strong purchase if you have a class that studies polar exploration.
Para Ganar : Compartir
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Allen, Nancy Kelly
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 16, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Habilidades Sociales" series, this well-stitched 24-page book is the Spanish-language edition of "Winning by Giving." (The Spanish title translates to "Winning by Sharing" which doesn't really convey the same message.) The book tells readers the value of philanthropy, and serving others. It talks about the power of being nice, and doing small acts of kindness. Having fun in helping others is the main message. The book includes a glossary, index, and website list. While the text is simple, and would suit an elementary audience, the color photographs that accompany it mostly feature teen helpers, who probably would consider the book to be too "young" for them. This conflict in intended audience is problematic, but the message of the book is clear and important.
Para Ganar : Ser Pacientes
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Suen, Anastasia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 16, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Habilidades Sociales" series, this well-stitched 24-page book is the Spanish-language edition of "Winning by Waiting." The book tells readers the value of taking your time, being patient, and slowing down. It uses the metaphor of a plant, growing. The book emphasizes the value of planning, working, practicing, dividing large projects into smaller pieces, and remembering to breath. In time, with patience and work, things will get done. For students who stress out over everything, this might be a good choice. The book includes a glossary, index, and website list. While the text is simple, and would suit an elementary audience, the color photographs that accompany it mostly feature teens, who probably would consider the book to be too "young" for them. This conflict in intended audience is problematic, but the message of the book is clear and useful.
Para Ganar : Trabajar En Equipo (La Coorperacion En Grupo)
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Hicks, Kelli L
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 16, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Habilidades Sociales" series, this well-stitched 24-page book is the Spanish-language edition of "Winning by Teamwork." The book emphasizes the skills, benefits, and challenges of cooperating with others to achieve a common goal whether it be in sports, work, or school. Examples (mostly sports-related) are given. Photographs abound. The book includes a glossary, index, and very short website list. While the text is simple, and would suit an elementary audience, the photographs mostly feature teens and young adults, who probably would consider the book to be too "young" for them. This conflict in intended audience is problematic, but the message of the book is clear and well-stated.
Destrezas Para El Exito Social
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Greve, Meg
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 16, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Habilidades Sociales" series, this well-stitched 24-page book is the Spanish-language edition of "Skills for Social Success." The book gives readers solid tips on how to make and keep friends, deal with bullies, and be a good friend to others. Staying true to yourself and now bending to peer pressure are the threads that hold the text together. A few possible social situations are given, and readers are encouraged to brainstorm solutions. The book includes a glossary, index, and short website list. While the text is simple, and would suit an elementary audience, the color photographs that accompany it mostly feature teens, who probably would consider the book to be too "young" for them. This conflict in intended audience is problematic, but the message of the book is clear and gives some good advice on getting along with others.
Destrezas Para El Exito Escolar
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Greve, Meg
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 16, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Habilidades Sociales" series, this well-stitched 24-page book is the Spanish-language edition of "Skills for School Success." The book gives readers solid tips on how to be a good student. In fact, these are suggestions that most teachers would make. In the book school is described as a student's job, meriting the same level of devotion. Seeking help, establishing goals, developing good homework habits, getting plenty of sleep and eating well--these are all included. The author talks about study groups, and even about the dreaded high-stakes testing and how to maximize success and minimize stress. The book includes a glossary, index, and short website list. While the text is simple, and would suit an elementary audience, the color photographs that accompany it mostly feature teens, who probably would consider the book to be too "young" for them. This conflict in intended audience is problematic, but the message of the book is clear and right on target. Give this to your Spanish-speaking parents when they ask how they can help their children succeed.
Para Ganar : Trabajar Con Empeno
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Reed, Cristie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 16, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Habilidades Sociales" series, this well-stitched 24-page book is the Spanish-language edition of "Winning by Working." (Yes, the Spanish title doesn't exactly convey the same idea.) The book tells readers about the benefits of hard work, how work has changed over time, and the importance of doing chores at home and working hard at school. Helping out in the community is also mentioned. The book includes a glossary, index, and short website list. While the text is simple, and would suit an elementary audience, the color photographs that accompany it mostly feature teens, who probably would consider the book to be too "young" for them. This conflict in intended audience is problematic, but the message of the book is clear and solid.
Rachel Carson : Environmental Pioneer
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Hile, Lori
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 16, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
While the cover of this biography, part of the "Women in Conservation" series may not attract readers, the content is wonderful. The well-written text captures the life of Rachel Carson. The reader learns of childhood, why she was drawn to science, and how her research impacted the world today. Photographs and illustrations are captioned and found throughout the book. Call out boxes hold additional information and quotes from Carson. There is a list of things the reader can do to help the environment located in the end matter. The book is complete with a table of contents, timeline, glossary, bibliography, and index. A strong purchase for your biography section.
Us Navy
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Hamen, Susan E
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 16, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Essential Library of The US Military," this 112 page book focuses on the US Navy. The well-written text opens with a description of the Navy response to the 2004 Indonesian tsunami. Then the text explores the history of the Navy, the vessels, and the careers available. There is also a chapter about the Navy SEALS. The book will be useful for students interested in joining the Navy or to learn more about this service branch. Color photographs and call out boxes are found throughout the book to get the reader a better understanding of the material The book includes a table of contents, timeline, essential facts, glossary, bibliography (web resources are provided through the publisher), source notes, index, and author information. A solid purchase if you are updating your military section (would also appeal to high school students).
Secrets Of Pompeii : Buried City Of Ancient Rome
Edge Books/capstone Press [Edge Books/capstone Press]
O'shei, Tim
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 16, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Archaeological Mysteries" series, this 32 page book will be used during ancient Rome social studies units. The text is well-written and describes the discovery of Pompeii and the things that were learned about Roman civilization. The reader will learn about daily life in the city, the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, and the preservation of the city today. Color photographs and illustrations are captioned and found throughout the book. The book also has a table of contents, bibliography, 3 common core related activities, and an index. Web resources can be found through the publisher's web site.
Benjamin Franklin
CHILDRENS PRESS [CHILDRENS PRESS]
Mara, Wil
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 16, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Rookie Biography" series, this 32 page, small format biography explores the life of Ben Franklin. The text simply describes his life with several sentence on each page. Color illustrations are found throughout. The book could be used for research and might be useful for older students needing a lower level text. The last few pages include a timeline, poem, glossary, index, and a sentence about the author. This book would be a good additional purchase for your biography section and could be used in conjunction with American history units.
M Is For Maple Leafs
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Ulmer, Michael
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 16, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
This is an incredibly illustrated picture book about the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team. Each letter has rhyming text to illustrate a concept that starts with the particular letter. There is addition information about things that begin with each letter in the end matter. For example, D stands for Dressing Room. We learn that the logo in the dressing room is covered except on game days and no one is allowed to walk on the logo. The illustrations are very realistic and at times look like photos. While the book is about Toronto's team, this book will delight any hockey fan young or old.
Until The Last Spike : The Journal Of Sean Sullivan : A Tran
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Durbin, William
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 16, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Sean Sullivan joins his father as a fictional worker on the transcontinental railroad in 1867. Written in a diary format the reader learns of the perils and accomplishments that the workers faced everyday while constructing the railroad. Sean works with various crews so we get to see the many aspects of railroad building. The end matter includes information about life in America in 1867 along with black and white illustrations and maps. 187 pages, review copy was paperback. This book would work well as a fictional story to pair with learning about westward expansion in American history.
Revolutionary Friends : General George Washington And The Ma
Calkins Creek [Calkins Creek]
Castrovilla, Selene
Kozjan, Drazen
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 16, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
This beautifully illustrated picture book describes the relationship between George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette. The story is told through the viewpoint of Lafayette. French words are interspersed throughout the text. The reader learns about how the two became friends and worked together for the American cause in the Revolution. Call out boxes provide direct quotes from Lafayette. The book has extensive back matter including: the continuation of their friendship, timeline of Lafayette and Washington's lives, List of historical places to visit (with web addresses), Lafayette's American legacy, bibliography, and french phrases. This was a fascinating read and will work well with American History units.
WHY PLANTS BECOME EXTINCT
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
LUNDGREN, JULIE K
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 16, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
This book looks at why plants might become extinct. Readers learn about plant habitats and adaptations, before learning about deforestation, climate change, invasive species, and overgrazing. The text also describes some ways that people can help plants thrive. Color photographs are found throughout the book. Call out boxes give additional information about particular plants, concepts, and case studies. Three questions are found at the end to reinforce ideas learned in the text. The 24 page book has a table of contents, glossary, index, web resources, and author information. This might work well with a science unit on plants.
Just Grace Gets Crafty
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Harper, Charise Mericle
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 17, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
Charise Mericle Harper's "Just Grace" series now stretches to a dozen breezy stories about resourceful and empathetic third-grade Grace Stewart and her friend Mimi. Here it's time for the girls to make a little money at a school craft fair while helping a new school crossing guard make friends. WHAT MAKES IT EASY TO READ is the way the author leads passages of text with big bold phrases and charming illustrations in a combination that lets independent readers rest their decoding eyes for a moment as they integrate the story with both the outline and visual clues. WHAT MAKES IT CHARMING is the way Just Grace (who just knows she has Empathetic SuperPowers) and Mimi (who just adores doing crafts projects) navigate third-grade. ALL OF WHICH MAKES THIS BOOK AN ADD PLUS, as a easy chapter book that will appeal to girls like Grace who enjoy life at school with nary a problem to distract them on their happy progress beyond second grader Junie B Jones and before hitting more complex plot and drama of adolescence.
Agua En Nuestro Mundo
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Mckenzie, Precious
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 17, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Tierra Verde: Biblioteca de Descubrimientos" series, this sturdy 24-page Spanish language book tells young readers about water in our world. Crisp color photographs, large type, and charts introduce the water cycle (without "storage" as part of the cycle), and some of the many ways water is used. Transportation, wildlife, water treatment, and home water use are briefly explored. Water pollution is mentioned, and readers are urged to be part of the solution. The book includes a brief index, glossary, and website list, but the websites are in English. To be truthful, the subject matter is very broad and the book is very short. This means the coverage is thin. The book serves as an overview, no more.
Limpiando La Tierra
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Mckenzie, Precious
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 17, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Tierra Verde: Biblioteca de Descubrimientos" series, this sturdy 24-page Spanish language book tells young readers about pollution, and urges them to be part of the solution. Crisp color photographs and text in a large typeface introduce air, water, and land pollution. Global warming is briefly discussed. Readers are encouraged to reduce, reuse, and recycle, as well as get involved politically. The book includes a brief index, glossary, and website list, but the websites are in English. The subject is broad and the book is short so this would serve as an overview or an introduction, leading to further discussion.
Orchid Mantises And Other Extreme Insect Adaptations
Fact Finders/capstone Press [Fact Finders/capstone Press]
Wheeler-Toppen, , Jodi
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 17, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Insects make a variety of interesting and bizarre adaptations in their quest to survive. Despite the very large typeface on the cover stating ORCHID MANTISES, the subject of this book is really the subtitle (in much smaller print) "and other extreme insect adapatations". Truthfully, the orchid mantis appears in one paragraph on page 20, and on the cover photograph. I felt a little "bait and switched." Nevertheless, the book provides some basic insect information, and defines both complete and incomplete metamorphosis. The rest of the text darts from insect to insect highlighting different adaptations. It lights only briefly on each, takes a sip, and moves on. Yes, this provides an overview, but it leaves the reader wanting more. Maybe that was the point. The book has good binding, a glossary, bibliography, and index, and some common core ideas.It's part of a series highlighting adaptations from mammals, fish, and reptiles, as well as insects.
Bigfoot Boy : 3 : The Sound Of Thunder
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Torres, J
Hicks, Faith Erin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 17, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
As the back cover announces, this is the "action-packed conclusion to the Bigfoot Boy series!" That series consists of glossy paper over board hardback graphic novels telling the story of Rufus and his friend Penny. Penny is Native American, while Rufus is a redhead. They have spent time together in Northwood during which they discovered a magic totem that allows Rufus to change into a bigfoot. Unfortunately, that totem was stolen by ravens. Returning to Northwood, Rufus and Penny find the locals up in arms about a new development that is cutting down a lot of trees. Can they recover the totem, and can bigfoot stop the development? Ah, that's the question. The art is beautiful--crisp and clean. The story includes elements of Native American myths, and it's nice to see more diversity in the graphic novel world. If you have the other books in this trilogy you'll need this one.
Pirates Of The Silver Coast
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Chantler, Scott
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 17, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Dessa is a red-headed thief, and she's good at her job. Her goal, however, is to find her twin brother. She will go to any lengths to achieve this goal. She travels with two unique companions who provide strength and wisdom to her team. It is her verve and tenacity, however, that provide the motivation. And they need to keep on the move because they are being tracked. This is book #5 in the "Three Thieves" graphic novel series. The series features amazing, bold, eye-catching artwork, and well-written dialogue that both carries the plot forward and reveals the characters to the reader. In this entry in the series Dessa eludes her pursuers and hires smugglers to take her to a moving island where she hopes to find her brother. She didn't expect pirates along the way. In the meantime, her pursuers are having their own revelations. This is a fast-paced, delightful series that keeps readers on their mental toes. Clever, and with solid characters, it is a winner and merits a place in any library.
Complete Adventures Of Johnny Mutton
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Proimos, James
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 17, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Oh no--it's Johnny Mutton! He was left on the doorstep as a baby and his new mother never really noticed he was a lamb, so she raised him as a human. Other people notice he's different, but what can you do about it? This 151 page book contains all three Johnny Mutton books which are graphic novels containing a series of short, chuckle-worthy adventures. Johnny competes in a spelling bee, wears a unique costume for Halloween, and learns manners. (OK, the last one doesn't stick.) He also has a number of other low-key, very silly adventures that will tickle the funny bones of the primary grade crowd. Of course the overall gag is that Johnny is a sheep, but nobody mentions it. The book includes a silly interview with the author. Is this a "must purchase?" No, but I can guarantee it won't be a shelf-sitter.
Darling, Mercy Dog Of World War I
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Hart, Alison
Montgomery, Michael G
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 18, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Darling is the pet dog of Robert and Katherine in England. Darling loves to escape and roam through the town. Their father is sent to France to serve in World War 1 and soon Darling becomes a service dog. When the military finds out that she has talent to help the injured, she becomes a medic dog. After training, she is sent to the trenches and serves in the field. The book is told in diary form with Darling as the narrator. Part of the "Dog Chronicles" series, the reader not only has an great adventure story, but also learns a lot about the World War. The end matter contains more information about the war and the use of dogs. There is also a bibliography. This will be a hit with your students who love animal stories.
Thailand
CHILDRENS PRESS [CHILDRENS PRESS]
Friedman, Mel
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 18, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Enchantment of the World" series, this 144 page book describes the Southeast Asian nation of Thailand. The reader will learn about this countries history, culture, geography, government, economy, religion, and more. Stunning color photographs compliment the well written text. Sidebars and call out boxes give the reader additional information about the topic at hand. The book is complete with a table of contents, timeline, fast fact pages, Bibliography, maps, index, and author information. This book will be a strong resource for country research.
History Of Money : From Bartering To Banking
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Jenkins, Martin
Kitamura, Satoshi
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 18, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Written in a conversational tone, this is a great book that explains the concept of money. Each of the 16 chapters contains two to four pages of information on one aspect of the development of money. The reader learns about bartering, ancient forms of money, taxes, precious metals, inflation, and more. Fun, colorful illustrations connect well with the text. The book has a table of contents, index, bibliography, and author's note. The binding could be better. This book was fun to read and will provide students with a solid background in this area.
What's Great About Texas?
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Lanser, Amanda
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 18, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Our Great States" series, this 32 page book looks at some of the attractions found in the state of Texas. The book looks at ten significant attractions (i.e. Space Center Houston, Big Bend National Park, Texas State Capitol, etc.). Each attraction is its own 2 page "chapter." The text describes the attraction and the color photos help with the understanding. The book also has a Texas fact page, bibliography, and index. While not that useful for primary research, this book does have content that could supplement state research.
Claude On The Slopes
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Smith, Alex T
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 18, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
First the confession - I reviewed a Claude book before and didn't give it overwhelming praise. The series is remarkably silly. Claude, the dog, and his best friend Sir Bobblysock, a striped sock who is very bobbly, go off and have unusual adventures that are both random and humorous. Originally published in the UK, I wasn't sure if it made the transition across the pond. Then I put a copy on the library shelf. OH. MY. WORD. Students keep asking for more Claude books. Clearly the author hits his audience just right. In this entry in the series Claude decides to enjoy the winter wonderland. He and Sir Bobblysock head to the slopes. Sir Bobblysock isn't too sure about this activity, and Claude has a real problem using a quiet voice, resulting in an avalanche. Still, they have a delightful adventure, always pulling what they need out of Claude's red beret. Eight short chapters and an abundance of illustrations make this a prime choice for kids transitioning to chapter books. Kids love silly. This hits the mark.
Encountering Bigfoot : Eyewitness Accounts
Graphic Library/capstone Press [Graphic Library/capstone Press]
Krohn, Katherine
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 18, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Yeti, Sasquatch, Bigfoot - there are plenty of names for the huge, hairy creature that people claim to have seen around the world. Are the stories true? The author leaves that up to the reader as she presents 9 accounts of Bigfoot sightings, some famous and some less so. The facts as they are known are laid out in a graphic novel format. At the end of each account is a "You Decide" section presents possibilities, and how the sighting was investigated. The 32-page book includes a glossary, bibliography, website list, and index. This is the kind of cryptid book that young readers devour. The illustrations are sharp and foreboding. The text is crisp and the dialogue adds an element of fear. Oh yes, this will fly off the 001.9 shelf.
Dynamic Denominators : Compare, Add, And Subtract
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Arias, Lisa
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 18, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
This well-bound 32-page book uses bright colors, and bold black text against glossy white pages, to introduce important concepts about denominators. Readers learn what a denominator is and how to simplify a fraction. Common and least common denominators are covered. Scaling, adding and subtracting fractions, as well as converting improper fractions and mixed numbers, and adding and subtracting them, are all included. The gimmick? It's all done in verse. The verse is not objectionable, it's just an unnecessary element that actually detracts from the rather dry, but highly important, material presented in this entry in the "got math!" series. If the verses were shorter and catchier they could be used as a GLAD strategy. Unfortunately this is not the case. They are merely a way to convey text, and sometimes have to stretch to get the rhyme and rhythm. This is adequate, but not exceptional.
Glorious Geometry : Lines, Angles And Shapes, Oh My!
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Arias, Lisa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 18, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "got math!" series, this well-bound 32-page book uses bright colors, and bold black text against glossy white pages, to introduce important concepts about geometry. Lines, angles, shapes, triangles and symmetry are all here. Unfortunately the text attempts to rhyme, occasionally. Mostly, however, it provides a clear cogent overview of key geometric principles. The computer-generated illustrations use geometric shapes to reinforce the book's subject. While not extraordinary, this is a very useful introduction to the topic.
Dojo Daycare
Owlkids Books, Inc [Owlkids Books, Inc]
Tougas, Chris
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 18, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Where do ninja kids get care when their parents are not there? Dojo Daycare is the key to guard ninja posterity. Unfortunately ninja tots do the things that they should not. Things are still and then, somehow, it turns into KABOOM! KAPOW! The ninja kids are all ariot while master pleads for peace and quiet. At last a single child reflects on honor, kindness, and respect. Soon they all are helping out. The dojo turns to rules from rout. Big bright pictures, rhyming lines, humor with a moral fine. I think this book is sure to be a favorite in my library.
Is There A Dog In This Book?
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Schwarz, Viviane
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 18, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Pen and ink illustrations with splashes of color examine the question three nervous cats have. Is there a dog in this book? Check behind the sofa. Hide in the closet. Oh, there IS a dog? The red cat is intrigued while the others are still worried. Gradually they warm to the newcomer as readers enjoy the simple text and lift the flaps to reveal humorous details. Readers are encouraged to break that fourth wall and pet the dog, too. Oh no. Now the dog is gone! The cats (and reader) must find it. This is a simple, humorous interactive book that will be a favorite for lap sharing. Its format means it wouldn't last long in a library, however. Too bad.
Us National Guard
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Lusted, Marcia Amidon
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 18, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
This 112 page book, part of the "Essential Library of the US Military" series takes an extensive look at the US National Guard. Starting as the militias in the American colonies, the guard provides support and soldiers to help in national disasters and in war. The book opens with a somewhat graphic description of 9/11 (people falling and jumping from windows) and how the National Guard deployed and assisted that day and the days to follow. The book then shares the history of the Guard from 1636 to the present. The reader also learns about the creation of the Air National Guard. The changing role of the Guard with the war on terror is also discussed. The text is well-written and easy to understand. Photographs and call out boxes enhance the reading experience. The book is complete with a table of contents, timeline, essential facts, bibliography (web resources provided through the publisher's website), extensive source notes, index, and author information. This book would make a good addition to your military collection, especially since books on the National Guard are scarce.
Math On The Move
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Marsico, Katie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 18, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
This is a book only a math teacher will love. While the cover is engaging, the book is a collection of extensive story problems and will have little interest from students. Each two page spread presents a situation dealing with some kind of movement (travel, field trips, getting to practice or school, etc.), and a series of mathematics questions to answer. All of the problems use basic operations. Some problem involve fractions and time. Answers are supplied in the back of the book, The final page has a glossary, web resources (3 of them), and an index. The 32 page book is part of the "Ma+h Everywhere" series. A teacher might use these problems to engage student in real world math problems.
Hank Aaron : Groundbreaking Baseball Slugger
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Williams, Doug
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 18, 2014
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Legendary Athletes" series, this 122 page biography details the life of baseball star, Henry "Hank" Aaron. The opening chapter describes the game where Aaron surpassed Babe Ruth's home run record. The book then goes chronologically through his life. From childhood in Mobile, Alabama to the Negro League, minor leagues, and finally to Major League Baseball. Aaron played with the Brave and ended his playing career with the Brewers. We learn about the racism he faced during his career. The book also discusses his record being surpassed by Barry Bonds. We also learn what Aaron did after playing. The book is well written and will be useful in biography research. Captioned photographs are found throughout the book. The book is complete with a table of contents, timeline, essential facts, glossary, bibliography (web resources through the publisher's website), extensive source notes, index, and author information. A strong purchase if you are updating your biography section.
More And More
TEMPLAR [TEMPLAR]
Dodd, Emma
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
December 19, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
A mother monkey tells her child just how much she loves every aspect of him. Gentle rhyming text and big friendly pictures combine to make this a delightful lap book that parents and children will enjoy sharing. The textured look, as well as the glittery bits, of the illustrations are sure to be hit with young listeners who are known for liking sparkly stuff.
Flat Rabbit
Owlkids Books, Inc [Owlkids Books, Inc]
Oskarsson, Barour
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 19, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
A dog and a mouse happen on a flattened rabbit, in the street. Unsure of what to do with the road kill, they discuss the issue. They are vaguely troubled. There's a sense they should acknowledge loss, even though they never knew the rabbit. There's also a feeling that there should be something appropriate to do in the face of this unfortunate death. Eventually they turn the flat rabbit into a kite and send it soaring, sharing the experience. This is a melancholy, philosophical book that has been translated into English. The pastel illustrations reflect the uncertainty of the text. What do you do when facing death? I've seen reviews praising the book, and there is a deep underlying thread here that touches the heart. However, children might have trouble processing its ambiguous message.
What Is A Forecast?
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Boothroyd, Jennifer
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 19, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
In this 24-page easy nonfiction book young readers learn a little about meteorologists and some of the tools they use to create forecasts. The importance of predicting the weather is emphasized, and different types of forecasts are presented. There's also a brief glossary and index. Truthfully, there's not much here. Still, as a basic introduction to the subject this would be a good way to start a unit on weather with primary-aged students.
Health And Disease : Investigating A Tb Outbreak
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Spilsbury, Richard
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
6th grade to 12th grade
December 19, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Wow, and once again WOW! This is part of the "Anatomy of an Investigation" series and it teaches readers about the complex nature of an investigation of an infectious disease. First readers learn about TB. They are introduced to Jack in a graphic novel segment. Jack is coughing. He is the character who is followed as he is diagnosed, and then investigators must track those who have been in contact with him, and the source of his original infection. This is solid science, clearly illustrating the scientific method in action. Nobody is talking down to the reader. The text is clear and informative, and the vocabulary is as scientific as is needed for the subject. This reviewer learned things about TB that were eye-opening. Diagnosis, spread, treatment, response--it's all here. There's even a timeline showing how the pathogen spread. An excellent glossary, bibliography, and index are included. This meets common core standards and then some, and is a fascinating book to read on its own. The inclusion of a patient 0 brings the whole thing to life. If the rest of the series is as well written I would recommend its inclusion in all secondary libraries.
Classic : 69 Chevy Camaro
DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS [DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS]
Stevens, Eric
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
December 19, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Turbocharged" series, this 84 page chapter book is clearly aimed at teens who love cars and need fiction that's high interest and low vocabulary. It doesn't hurt that the fiction is also well-written, with compelling characters, and interesting underlying themes. Eddie just got his driver's license but what good is that without a car? His father's old Camaro is sitting, covered, in the backyard. His long-absent dad could literally take it apart and put it back together. Would he help his son get it running again? Mom knows about Dad's character, or lack thereof, but she's willing to tolerate him. Eddie tracks down his dad and it looks like a new relationship is forming. However, Mom broke up with Dad for a reason, and Eddie may find that his father is more deeply flawed than he had supposed. This is fast-paced and interesting. If the rest are as good, the whole series would be a good addition to secondary libraries.
Gabby Douglas
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Anderson, Jameson
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 20, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Gabby Douglas’s gymnastic experience started with early childhood flips from living room furniture and continues after her 2012 Olympic gold medals as she works to compete in the 2016 games. Abdo’s Awesome Athletes book describes the difficult decisions and sacrifices Gabby made culminating in her Olympic success. Gabby’s sacrifice involved moving away from home and continuing her homeschooling while living with a host family so she could work with the best Olympic coaches. Hard work paid off and after her Olympic success, winning both the Individual All-Around Gold and the Team Gold, Gabby Douglas is known around the world. As the most successful gymnast of African descent, she continues to train, write inspiring books about her life and has appeared on TV shows. Photographs show Gabby flying high off the beam and the uneven bars, advertising corn flakes and signing copies of her books. Additional features include captioned photographs, a fact box timeline, fact boxes, a page of career statistics, bold print glossary words and publisher link to websites. Eye-catching purple paint splatters and a shocking orange color scheme for titles and text features may appeal to or distract some readers. This is a solid Purchase.
Fighter's Alley
DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS [DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS]
Stone, Heather Duffy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
December 20, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Will isn't like his father. His father is running for mayor and he and Will's mother are doing all the political gladhanding that entails. Will, of course, is expected to conform with the picture of the "happy family" his father knows will win votes. Will, however, has different ideas. He's found a fight club and wants to box. He wants to prove he's something more, despite his stature. To reach his goal, however, will require help and he's found the perfect man to train him--a man who was once a famous fighter but has chosen to leave the profession behind. He had his reasons. There are plenty of bruising fight scenes in this book, part of the "Bareknuckle" series. 15 short chapters in exactly 100 pages make this a good choice for reluctant readers at the secondary level. The writing is good, although the ending seems a bit too good to be true. This will attract those teen boys who aren't into fantasy and vampires.
Tampered
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Bossley, Michele Martin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
December 20, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Trevor has just started his first job--working at a supermarket. Now, however, someone is tampering with the food at the store. Cayenne pepper in the bulk cookies, garlic powder in the coffee...it all seems fairly harmless, until the tampering actually could cause serious illness. Who is doing it? Is it the recently-fired employee? Is it Trevor's friend pulling badly-thought-out pranks? Trevor, himself, is under suspicion. He and his friends decide to investigate, although that may prove dangerous. Chapters on solving the mystery are interspersed with Trevor's real life problems, most notably hilarious culinary failures with his friend in their Foods class. Humor and suspense combine in this delightful quick read. The Orca Currents books are all this way--short, highly readable, and all packaged in small paperback formats. I guess good things do come in small packages.
School
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Thornborough, Kathy
Petelinsek, Kathleen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 20, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
The Child’s World Talking Hands series provides students with an excellent guide to American Sign Language through single topic books and an eye-catching graphic design. Back material shows the entire alphabetic sign language and a photograph and brief description of the student models from a Chicago school program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. The books lack a table of contents that would be useful to get an overview or to quickly review signs. The book on Schools contains signs for multi-age objects such as: Bus, Student, Computer, Teacher, and Library. Other signs such as paint, glue, and crayons are primary grade focused. Each page contains a large photograph of the object, a sketch showing a person making the sign with accompanying brief directions and red arrows showing movement, and an interesting related fact. Students will easily mimic the signs as the illustrations and directions are strikingly clear. The photographs and fact boxes complement the signs and will appeal to younger readers. Demonstrate a few signs and students will keep these books in circulation.
Animals
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Thornborough, Kathy
Petelinsek, Kathleen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 20, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
The Child’s World Talking Hands series provides students with an excellent guide to American Sign Language through single topic books and an eye-catching graphic design. Back material shows the entire alphabetic sign language and a photograph and brief description of the student models from a Chicago school program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. The books lack a table of contents that would be useful to get an overview or to quickly review signs. The book on Animals contains signs for 21 animals including: domesticated pets and farm animals, spiders, insects, snakes, frogs, snails, turtle, and two zoo animals. Each page contains a large photograph of the object, a sketch showing a person making the sign with accompanying brief directions and red arrows showing movement, and an interesting related fact. Students will easily mimic the signs as the illustrations and directions are strikingly clear. The photographs and fact boxes complement the signs and will appeal to younger readers. Demonstrate a few signs and students will keep these books in circulation.
Greetings And Phrases
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Thornborough, Kathy
Petelinsek, Kathleen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 20, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
The Child’s World Talking Hands series provides students with an excellent guide to American Sign Language through single topic books and an eye-catching graphic design. Back material shows the entire sign language alphabet and a photograph and brief description of the deaf and hard of hearing student models from a Chicago school. The books lack a table of contents that would be useful to get an overview or to quickly locate signs. Greetings and Phrases highlights the same beginning words as any other foreign language including: Hello, Goodbye, Yes, No, What’s your name, My name is, Please, and Thank you. Each page contains a large photograph of a person using a common motion for a greeting or phrase such as, “What’s your name?” Sketches show a person making the sign with accompanying brief directions and red arrows showing movement, and an interesting related fact such as the word in a different language. Students will easily mimic the signs as the illustrations and directions are strikingly clear. The photographs and fact boxes complement the signs and will appeal to younger readers. Demonstrate a few signs and students will keep these books in circulation.
Questions And Answers
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Thornborough, Kathy
Petelinsek, Kathleen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 20, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
The Child’s World Talking Hands series provides students with an excellent guide to American Sign Language through single topic books and an eye-catching graphic design. Back material shows the entire sign language alphabet and a photograph and brief description of the deaf and hard of hearing student models from a Chicago school. The books lack a table of contents that would be useful to get an overview or to quickly locate signs. Questions and Answers highlights the same beginning words as any other foreign language including: the 5 W’s, Here, There, Today, Tomorrow, All, None, and Can I. Each page contains a large photograph of a person using a common motion for a greeting or phrase such as, “How Many?” Sketches show a person making the sign with accompanying brief directions and red arrows showing movement, and an interesting related fact such as the question word in a different language. Students will easily mimic the signs as the illustrations and directions are strikingly clear. The photographs and fact boxes complement the signs and will appeal to younger readers. Demonstrate a few signs and students will keep these books in circulation.
Always
TEMPLAR [TEMPLAR]
Dodd, Emma
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
December 21, 2014
Garrard, Thom
In this brief picture book, an adult elephant offers reassurance to a youngster that the child will be loved unconditionally. Twelve simple lines of text incorporate rhymes in varying schemes as they describe how the little one sometimes behaves, accompanied by digital illustrations that depict the various deeds and misdeeds. Switching between wide angles and close-ups and employing a reflective silver paint for some of the water add visual interest. This sweet little book would be good for one-on-one sharing with a preschooler.
Cats Are Cats
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Gorbachev, Valeri
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 21, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Based upon his appearance, Miss Bell names her new little kitten Tiger. She loves and cares for Tiger, but he grows up into – a tiger! Although she finds this a bit overwhelming at times, she still loves her cute cat. One day they stun the neighbors by going for a walk. At the pet store, they purchase some fish for Tiger. One of them grows larger and becomes more than a handful, but Miss Bell will surely love him just the same. The brief, easy-to-read text is a perfect complement to Gorbachev’s pleasing watercolor and ink illustrations. Miss Bell’s love for her pet becomes quite clear, though her open-mouthed reaction to some of his behavior shows that dealing with this cat isn’t always easy. Young audiences will enjoy this humorous tale and appreciate Miss Bell’s unconditional love for a household member that can sometimes be a challenge.
Brothers
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Mcphail, David
Not Recommended/Out of Scope -- Appropriate for another kind of collection or different age levels.
Pre-Kindergarten
December 21, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
“This is the story of two brothers.” This small, charming book highlights the struggles and pleasures of two brothers growing up together with the common blaming and sharing, taking turns and squabbling. “Brothers can be both alike and different.” Learning to compromise and to stick together are lessons that brothers can live with for the rest of their lives. Each page has a single line of text explaining the interactions depicted in the soft ink and watercolor picture of the boys, with well-placed speech bubbles providing small bits of conversation. The author has written a comparable book, Sisters. This book is most appropriate for a gift, perhaps a new sibling, and will be lost in a typical school library shelf.
Ivan : The Remarkable True Story Of The Shopping Mall Gorill
CLARION [CLARION]
Applegate, Katherine
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 22, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
The research this author did for her Newbery Award winner The One and Only Ivan translates nicely into narrative nonfiction for kindergarten on up. This chronicles the story of Ivan the gorilla torn from his home in Africa by poachers and deposited on the other side of the world with a small shopping mall owner in Tacoma, WA. For three years Ivan lives with humans and is treated like one, but at age five due to his size, he is confined to a 14’ x 14’ cage in the mall where he is a tourist attraction for 27 years. Between the 1960’s and 1990’s awareness of animal care causes a public movement with protests and petitions finally getting Ivan transferred to a more gorilla-friendly environment at Zoo Atlanta where he lives out his days. The last two pages of dense text nicely round out this picture book as Applegate gives a detailed chronology of Ivan’s life. The book ends with a tribute from his last keeper plus one of Ivan’s paintings. Several photos of Ivan are included. The illustrations fit, but do not stand out. The Zoo Atlanta site is worth viewing as is the National Geographic documentary that spurred public awareness. Adults and children alike will be mesmerized by Ivan’s story, one very much worth sharing.
This Book Just Ate My Dog!
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY]
Byrne, Richard
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 22, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Fun! Fun! Fun! Bella is walking her dog on a leash when “…something very odd happened.” Bella is on the right hand page where her only half of her dog is showing entering the book’s gutter in the middle. By the next page, the whole dog has disappeared. When Ben comes along, he investigates only to end up vanishing as well. This continues with Bella watching in amazement on the right page as the dog rescue van, the fire brigade truck and police all meet the same fate. Bella finally heads toward the center of the book, but is gone by the next page followed by a BURP! from the book’s gutter. Eventually a letter from Bella appears asking the reader to help them by shaking the book sideways. Succeeding pages show the missing items falling back out until all are almost back to normal. Very short, very fun, and engaging for all preschool through grade 2 children and their adult readers.
Walking Home
Doubleday Canada [Doubleday Canada]
Walters, Eric
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
All ages
December 22, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
Prolific Canadian author Eric Walters brings home a powerful yet sensitive story from behind the headlines of social upheaval in Kenya. After witnessing terrible political and inter-tribal violence in their home in Eldoret, they lose their mother to malaria in the refugee camp. Faced with imminent separation as orphans, thirteen year old Muchoki and his 7 year old sister Jata follow the thread of a story their mother tells them and slip under the wire and away on a journey that traverses much of Kenya to find safety with grandparents they have only heard of in stories. In much the same way that Deborah Ellis created in her "Breadwinner" trilogy from Afghanistan, Eric Walters has crafted a compelling East African story bound to make an indelible impression on readers. Taking the advice that one must "walk a mile in their shoes" the author took the same 150 km journey the protagonists endure and shares his photograph, maps, video, notes and further reading online at www.ericwalterswalkinghome.com in an innovative online enhancement of this inspiring novel of hope. Highly recommended.
CATASTROPHIC HISTORY OF YOU AND ME
DIAL [DIAL]
ROTHENBERG, JESSICA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
December 23, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Can you literally die of a broken heart? Brie does. When her boyfriend dumps her, her heart literally tears in two. Now she's dead, but apparently she had unfinished business. She finds herself in a pizza joint, in a reality that both is and isn't like her own. Gradually she goes through denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and acceptance as she sees her friends and family falling apart. Her guide is a cute guy who pushes her to expand her horizons. Who is he, really? Why did her boyfriend dump her? What is going on with her parents? At least the dog can still see her. This is both bittersweet and delightful. The author weaves in threads of humor that sparkle against the morbid pall of death. Most of all, Brie is still a teen, and her actions and thoughts reflects that. She can still make mistakes, or perhaps she can make things better for those she left behind. It's all up to Brie. I'm not a fan of teen angst novels, but this one caught me from page 1. While it got a tad draggy in the middle, it was still a completely satisfying read that I would recommend for secondary libraries.
When The Worst Happens : Extraordinary Stories Of Survival
ANNICK PRESS [ANNICK PRESS]
Kyi, Tanya
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
December 23, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
There are stories about people who have faced extraordinary circumstances. Why do some people survive, and others die? What makes the difference? That's the question Tanya Kyi attempts to answer. This award-winning author really knows how to put together a compelling nonfiction book. She divides it into categories.There are the basics of survival--the importance of mental toughness, optimism, and good leadership. The author explores the effect of thirst and hunger on mental acuity, and the impact fear can have on people. What about group dynamics? This book is eye-opening. The author puts in tons of quick survival stories, while carrying several longer stories through the various chapters. This works, in that it shows how their survival reflects the themes the author is illustrating. It is also annoying because you either lose the flow of the story, or the flow of the survival information. Still, you can't have it both ways. The miners in Chile, a girl who falls from a plane into a jungle, people trapped on ice floes, children marooned--the stories span centuries and show what it takes to keep going. Fascinating and enthralling, with valuable information, this is a great book.
Eye To Eye : How Animals See The World
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Jenkins, Steve
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
All ages
December 26, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Another nonfiction offering by this prolific author/illustrator Steve Jenkins is always welcome. This title featuring animal eyes does not disappoint. Though usually a fan of photos, Jenkins’s illustrations captivate and relay the important information to educate the reader, young or old. After an introduction including the first eyes and the four kinds of eyes (eyespot, pinhole, compound and camera) he proceeds to demonstrate each type of eye from simplest to most complex. Throughout the book 24 animals are featured with headings, a paragraph of interesting information regarding how the specific eyes help the animal, and the animal’s name in bold print, each with a close-up of its eyes and its full body usually with two animals per double-page spread. He concludes with a one page diagram of the evolution of the eye, plus a synopsis page of the 24 animals including thumb print illustration, length, habitat and diet, plus a six-book bibliography. A 14-word glossary rounds out this book with such terms as membrane receptor cells, tapetum, ultraviolet light, indicating the level of maturity needed for full comprehension. Can be read aloud to primary students or alone by intermediate readers, and enjoyed by adults as well.
Double Digit
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Monaghan, Annabel
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
December 26, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
We first met Digit in "A Girl Named Digit." She's a mathematical genius with a touch of OCD. Unfortunately, her skill set made her the perfect target for a wanna-be terrorist. In the last book she found true love while fleeing death with a cute FBI agent. Now things are supposed to be back to normal. Digit is off to MIT, and John is back at work. Making a long distance relationship viable, however, is not easy. Nor is fitting in, when you have some rather impressive personality quirks. Digit seems to have found her place, however, until troubles from her past come back to haunt her. Kidnapping, nuclear weapons, a little problem with hacking the DOD, and an egomaniacal ecological terrorist combine to make her life, shall we say, interesting. This is another fun, fast-paced book with humorous bumper sticker chapter headings, great characters, and plenty of action. Even better--it's obviously setting up for yet another Digit book. YAY!
Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Gantos, Jack
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 26, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Newbery winner Jack Gantos is back with the final book in the Joey Pigza series. Joey's had his challenges with hyperactivity. Now he's going back to regular school but he doesn't even make it through one day before his mentally fragile mother is calling him home. Soon he's on his own, taking care of the baby, while she checks herself into a hospital. This situation is appalling. Despite his big heart, Joey's bouncing-off-the-wall personality would seem to put both himself and his little brother in danger. Still, he does his best, hoping for the day his mother will return. Of course, he can't let anyone know the situation he's in or he and his brother might be separated. This is an equally heart-grabbing and horrifying premise. Add in his nutsy blind "girlfriend," and a deeply-flawed father who wants to kidnap the one supposedly perfect child he has, and you've got a situation that could blow up in a variety of ways. Instead, readers gain insights into all of the characters, especially Joey as he does his best, and wishes he were the perfect child his father desired. At times hilarious, at other times heart-stopping, this is a fitting end to a thoughtful series.
Insects
Smithsonian/capstone Press [Smithsonian/capstone Press]
Rustad, Martha E H
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 26, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Top notch nonfiction overview introducing the primary students to a popular curricular topic—insects. In 32-pages with stunning photography insects are briefly introduced with a diagram of their body parts, ancient insects, what is not an insect, a photo diagram of metamorphosis, and insect senses. Then two pages each are given to ants, bees, beetles, butterflies and moths, cockroaches, dragonflies, flies and grasshoppers. It concludes with a short summary of insects interacting with humans, both good and bad. A thorough glossary(27 terms!), three critical thinking questions for Common Core, three books for further reading, the FactHound web site, plus an index round out this book. Though there are captions when needed, often the text is opposite the picture it describes. Teachers looking for great examples of all the text features will find it in this book along with good information. Others in the Smithsonian Little Explorer series can also find African Animals, Airplanes, Coral Reefs, Dogs, Hurricanes, My Body, Sharks, Snakes, Space, Volcanoes and Water.
Letter For Leo
CLARION [CLARION]
Ruzzier, Sergio
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 26, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Leo the weasel is a mailman who delivers all kinds of letters and packages to his community. He has a regular routine and often socializes with the other animals on his route. His life is pleasant except he’s never received a letter himself. One day he hears a “CHEEP!” coming out of a mailbox. Inside he finds a little bird, whose only word is “Cheep!” Thus Leo rescues this blade bird that he names Cheep and keeps it at his house since it’s too young to fly south with its now missing flock. They become a family and enjoy the fall and winter together. When spring comes they sadly “cheep” good-bye as Cheep reunites with his own kind. Leo’s life returns to its previous routine, but with the added & predictable surprise of what he was wishing for 1) receiving his first letter ever (from Cheep), and 2) in the final illustration welcoming Cheep back with open arms. This is a very sweet story of friendship and family that was well received by second graders. They enjoyed the ending as well as all the “cheep”s in Leo and Cheep’s communication. Pre-2
Rock Cycle
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Hirsch, Rebecca
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 27, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
Rock solid 48 page treatment of the Rock Cycle; a logical first volume of ABDO's 8 book "Rocks and Minerals" series packed with CCSS aligned guiding questions and features to be easily incorporated into instructional or individual research. Clear and well captioned color photographs, index, glossary and supplemental website provides genuine extension of the book. eBook and enhanced multimedia/whiteboard ready editions also available. Written at a Lexile 800 the large clear and well spaced text and supplementary features make smooth reading. A pair of "Straight to the Source" short excerpts from primary source materials invite close reading and writing and seem especially classroom-ready for this topic of ubiquitous curriculum inclusion. The set would be well to include in district curriculum boxes or as recommended additions to non-fiction collections in most elementary schools.
Metamorphic Rocks
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Swanson, Jennifer
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 27, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
Part of ABDO's 8 book "Rocks and Minerals" series packed with CCSS aligned guiding questions and features to be easily incorporated into instructional or individual research. Clear and well captioned color photographs, index, glossary and supplemental website provides genuine extension of the book. eBook and enhanced multimedia/whiteboard ready editions also available. Written at a Lexile 880 the large clear and well spaced text and supplementary features make smooth reading. A pair of "Straight to the Source" short excerpts from primary source materials invite close reading and writing and seem especially classroom-ready for this topic of ubiquitous curriculum inclusion. A dubiously captioned photo on page 4, showing a glaciated high peak but clearly not Mt Everest as suggested in the caption, is the only flaw I've spotted in this volume of a set well to be included in district curriculum boxes or as recommended additions to non-fiction collections in most elementary schools.
Igneous Rocks
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Owings, Lisa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
December 27, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
ABDO's 8 volume CCSS-aligned "Rocks and Minerals" series builds a solid foundation for library collections serving 3-5th grades. Titles include "The Rock Cycle, Igneous Rocks, Crystals, Gems, Metamorphic Rocks, Sedimentary Rocks, Fossils, and Soils" and cover each within a well photographed full color, 48 page format, with accompanying website http://mycorelibrary.com that adds significantly to the value of these slim $23 library-bound volumes or in $33 eBook or $50 eboost (whiteboard, multimedia ready editions. All print books in the series include the same text features as described in the review of "Igneous Rocks" which follows. Four chapters cover the rock cycle, Igneous classification and identification, and ways geologists explore both in the field and in the lab. "Further Evidence" and "Explore Oline" text boxes end some chapters inviting students to summarize and give evidence from the chapter while others present short primary source excerpts as "Straight to the Source" passages inviting written response with evidence. Index, glossary and "Stop and Think" round it out. I like the "Surprise Me, Why Do I Care?, Say What? and You Are There" prompts at the end of this easy-to-read (and recommend), rock-solid series.
Let The Celebrations Begin
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Wild, Margaret
Vivas, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 28, 2014
Kline, Karen
A young girl narrates this historical fiction account of women and children preparing for a party, complete with handmade toys. But why are the characters so gaunt and hungry? And why are they mostly bald and all living together in huts? The narrator is excited to keep the secret of the party from the younger children as well as the secret about the toys she is helping to make for the others from remnants cut from the women’s threadbare clothing. Soft, gentle watercolor illustrations of the characters convey a mood of hopefulness and anticipation. This reprint of the 1991 copyright title is as poignant as ever and an important book for introducing the Holocaust to middle grade readers and up. This issue includes notes from the author, the illustrator, and an excerpt from a magazine article about the making of the book. The story concludes with the arrival of the liberating soldiers that the prisoners had heard were near and who would soon arrive. Educators will find this to be a great resource to introduce students to the topic of concentration camps with a somewhat more nuanced slant that invites discussion and inference.
Dump Trucks
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
December 28, 2014
Kline, Karen
This 24-page book introduces young readers to basic concepts and vocabulary about dump trucks. With color photos on each double page spread bleeding to the pages’ edges and beyond and the large format of the book make it perfect for group sharing on the topic. Unfortunately, the one or two sentences per two-page spread are not always well-suited to the accompanying photos. For instance, on the page that reads, “The driver sits in the cab,” it would be better to see a driver in the truck than the one pictured without a driver. Still the book has all the merits that most young truck lovers will want and includes the text features like colored glossary terms in the text, index, contents page, and a worthwhile website from the publisher accessible with the book’s ABDO kid code from the back page. The binding is reinforced, but the paper over cardboard cover will get dinged in most backpacks. All features are very comparable to the Pebble Plus book (2004) by the same title.
Aviary Wonders Inc. : Spring Catalog And Instruction Manual
CLARION [CLARION]
Samworth, Kate
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 28, 2014
Kline, Karen
In this convincing spoof of a bird-making “catalog,” readers first meet the Aviary Wonders owner, Alfred Wallis, on the copyright page in a half-page section entitled “About the Company.” The year is 2031, and Wallis is devoted to building birds and has ironically closed his family’s logging company after noticing “that the birds’ habitat disappeared [and] their numbers and species declined.” This creatively-conceived picture book will have most readers doing double and triple takes to fully appreciate the spoofing as well as the colorful art and detailed, hand-lettered headings and fonts. “Shoppers” can select various bird parts throughout the catalog including bodies, feathers, beaks, tails, and more. Then they can use the step-by-step instructions for assembly, consult the troubleshooting guide and fill out the order form. Facts about actual extinct birds meld with fiction to create a book that challenges readers to consider what makes birds and their individual parts so special. A truly unique book in presentation and style!
HELD
21st Century [21st Century]
RAVEL, EDEET
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
December 28, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
The story is much more captivating than its off-putting cover as Chloe, an 18-year-old high school student, has just been released from a 3-month kidnapping writing what has happened to her. She recounts her ordeal to the reader only, never intending it for the US authorities. She was a high school student volunteering in Greece kidnapped from a temple outside of Athens and held hostage in two unknown locations. Despite initial drugging and blindfolding her, her male captor is kind, intelligent, speaks with a British accent, is very handsome, and in his mid-late twenties. He and his co-conspirator’s goals are to get prisoners in the US released or their cases reviewed as unjustly confined. This seems a very realistic examination of the reactions, feelings and psychology of what a young woman might go through except that her hostage taker is kind. The reader and Chloe both become attached to him even though he he tries to explain the Stockholm Syndrome to her. Her emotions run the gamut until she is trying to protect him especially after she learns of his haunted past. There is an intimated sexual scene on one of their last nights together. The psychologists’ analysis and the ultimate ending give pause. Well done.
Great Moments In Olympic Track & Field
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Rosen, Karen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 29, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Track and field, the first Olympic sport, was part of the ancient games and was included again when the Olympics were revived in 1896. This title from Abdo’s Great Moments in Olympic Sports series shines a spotlight on eight track and field athletes from the modern era, mostly Americans, ranging from the famous Jesse Owens to the less familiar James Connolly. Although women weren’t originally allowed to compete in track and field, they have been full participants for some time and are represented here by 4-time gold medalist Dutchwoman Fanny Blankers-Koen, 3-time gold medalist Wilma Rudolph, and marathon champion Joan Benoit. Most of the chapters are six pages long, include two photos covering at least a page and a half, and have two sidebars about other outstanding athletes. With the Olympics approaching in less than two years, this would be a timely addition that will hold special interest for sports fans.
Cool Healthy Muffins : 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
December 29, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Eight muffin recipes are included in this title from Abdo’s Cool Cupcakes and Muffins series. The author’s concern for safety is clear right from the start with advice for adults on the verso and two pages of basics that cover being neat and clean, having adult permission, and being careful with raw eggs. Wash, dice, grate, and core (but not whisk), are explained with photo illustrations. Then a symbol code is introduced to show which of the eight recipes involve the oven (all!), a sharp tool (3), or nuts (3). After two pages of photos of ingredients and two more of tools, the recipes begin. Each two page spread has a large photo of the finished product that goes beyond gutter. The ingredients and tools are listed in a rather small font. Using a somewhat larger font, the recipes include 4-7 clearly written steps, two of which are illustrated. The book concludes with a glossary (still no whisk!) and an index. The recipes are straightforward and the focus on safety is appreciated, but allocating so much space to photos of the final products is unfortunate. Illustrating more of the steps and using a larger font, especially for the ingredient and tool lists, would have been more helpful to beginners.
Wizard, The Fairy, And The Magic Chicken
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Lester, Helen
Munsinger, Lynn
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 29, 2014
Garrard, Thom
First published in 1983, Lester’s story of teamwork returns in its original form. While competing to prove to each other which one is the greatest worker of magic, the book’s title characters produce a trio of large, scary monsters. They start to panic when they discover that none of them is capable of repelling the monsters individually. By working together, however, they succeed in shrinking the monsters down to fun-size. Disaster averted, their argument resumes, but deep down they are true friends, and readers will understand the importance of cooperation. Munsinger’s watercolor and pencil illustrations perfectly complement the text by adding personality to the main characters and punctuating the humor of the magical competitions. By using the access code provided for the company website, one can download an audio version of the story, as well as a guide for parents and educators.
Sheep In Wolf's Clothing
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
LESTER, HELEN
Munsinger, Lynn
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 29, 2014
Garrard, Thom
First published in 2007, Lester’s pun-filled story of standing up for oneself has been reissued as part of Houghton Mifflin’s Laugh-Along Lessons series. The sheep Ewetopia tries unsuccessfully to garner attention through her clothing. When invited to a costume ball, her wolf costume gets a big reaction, albeit a negative one. Then a stranger appears dressed as a sheep, mistakes the costumed Ewetopia for his mother, and dances with her. Just as she realizes that he is a wolf in disguise, he reveals himself and grabs some sheep. By pretending that she is really his mother, Ewetopia provokes him into a tantrum before she surprises him by taking off her costume. The exhausted wolf drags himself off empty-handed, and the costume-less Ewetopia gets plenty of positive attention for the rest of the evening. Younger readers may struggle with the wordplay, but this can be a good vehicle for discussing the importance of being true to oneself. Munsinger’s watercolor and pencil illustrations perfectly complement the text by adding personality to the main characters and imagining humorous sheep costumes. By using the website access code provided, one can download an audio version of the story, as well as a guide for parents and educators.
Kevin Durant
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Anderson, Jameson
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 29, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Basketball star Kevin Durant is featured in this biography from Adbo’s Awesome Athletes series. His talent was obvious at an early age, and through hard work and practice, he built his basketball skills. His academics were weak, so he bounced around to different schools during high school. In his only year of college, he earned the National Player of the Year award. In seven years as a pro, Durant won Rookie of the Year honors, made the All Star team five times, led the league in scoring four times, and won the 2014 MVP award, in addition to procuring gold medals at the World Championships and the Olympics. The captioned photograph on each spread helps to flesh out the picture of this talented player, while also keeping the text manageable. Links to updated stats and information would have helped extend the book's useful life. Middle grade basketball fans in particular will enjoy reading this book.
Miguel Cabrera
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Anderson, Jameson
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 29, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Baseball slugger Miguel Cabrera is featured in this biography from Adbo’s Awesome Athletes series. Growing up in Venezuela with parents who had both played ball and an uncle who reached the minors, baseball was in his blood. At the minimum age of 16, Miguel signed with the Florida Marlins. After working his way through the minors over the next four years, he was called up to the majors and helped the team to a World Series championship. Although Cabrera excelled, the team was less successful, and he was traded to the Detroit Tigers in 2008. He made news for off-field trouble with alcohol and the police in 2009, but after he got back on track the next year, the team improved. His Triple Crown year in 2012, the first in baseball in 45 years, helped the Tigers get to the World Series. His second consecutive MVP year got them back in the playoffs in 2013. With a huge 10-year contract, he will be a force in baseball for some time to come. The captioned photograph on each spread helps to flesh out the picture of this talented player, while also keeping the text manageable. Better links to updated stats and information would have helped extend the book's useful life. Middle grade baseball fans in particular will enjoy reading this book.
How To Make A Planet : A Step-By-Step Guide To Building The
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Camden, Jean
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 29, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
Carl Sagan once quipped, "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe." This breezy survey of the formation of our planet takes Sagan's cooking-up-a-universe metaphor to heart and presents it in a 10 step how-to guide. "So, you want to make a Planet? Okay! What's the best way to understand something complex or technical? Take it apart, or try to make it yourself." Illustrator Jean Camden uses her film animation skills to enliven each page with two Can-Do kids who travel through this cheery KidsCan Press journey to make reading and learning fun. Author Scott Forbes sustains the extended "build it yourself" metaphor while providing accurate scientific information with a minimum of technical jargon and a maximum amount of kid-friendly banter. Chapters are logically presented against the cosmic and geologic time lines, introducing the Big Bang, stars, planets, and zeroing in on the formation of Earth and its atmosphere, plate tectonics, origins of life, and the evolution of plants and animals. Each paragraph starts with a lead phrase that clearly describes the topic covered while sustaining the over-arching conversational tone. Time-check text boxes run throughout. Glossary and index inc.
Jellaby : 2 : Monster In The City
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Soo, Kean
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 29, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This graphic novel continuation of Jellaby: the lost monster picks up with ten-year-old Portia and her friend Jason having survived something, seemingly getting off a train, accompanied by the cute, large creature Jellaby. It looks like a cute round-headed purple dragon, and though it doesn’t talk, seems to understand them. They are looking for a door back to where Jellaby has come. After following the train tracks the kids are overwhelmed by the big city (Toronto), but using maps in a bookstore find the Canadian National Expedition where they are looking for the door to the Automotive Building. After enjoying the rides, Jason decides to follow the hooded magician with Jellaby against Portia’s pleas. The tension between the kids seems related to her missing father. Portia gets over her anger and tries to save her friends from the huge demonic creature Xolotl, who desires a boy to call her own as she lives below the surface of the expedition. With much action and heart the kids ultimately escape with Jellaby. Raina Telgemeier’s foreword endorses this as “great art, solid cartooning, and wonderful storytelling”. To an infrequent graphic novel reader this seems to have holes that might be clarified by reading #1.
Eternity
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
De La Pena, Matt
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 29, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
It's baaaaaack. Just like "The 39 Clues", and brought to you by the same folks. You thought the "Infinity Ring" series ended when Dak and Sera cleared up the time issues. Everything is back to normal, right? Not when you have a franchise going. Suddenly Dak is seeing flying dinosaurs, Sera is seeing small flying objects. Both of them are traveling through time with what they assume to be their friend, but both are being betrayed. Can Riq help? This is another time-travel adventure with characters who are already well-defined, and a premise that only needs a few tweaks to make it new again. You learn a little about history, get some quick adventure, and save the world...again. It's a fine book, but as a librarian I'm sick and tired of these series. They're too long. The binding is poor. I don't like the inserts. Worse, one book goes missing and the whole series fails. Still, if you have fans you have to buy the book. Sigh. Oh, for the days of trilogies...
My Yiddish Vacation
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY]
Skye, Ione
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 30, 2014
Garrard, Thom
The author recounts a childhood trip to Florida to visit her grandparents. They spoke English with a smattering of words from Yiddish, a language that is a blend of German and Hebrew. In addition to normal daily interactions, she and her older brother swim, play shuffleboard, and go dancing with their grandparents during their visit. But the focus of the book is the Yiddish words or phrases that are included on nearly every page. Sometimes these are explained explicitly and other times the meaning is suggested by the context, or the reader can also consult the glossary of all eighteen in the back of the book. The illustrations are cartoonish and add little to the book. Since Yiddish is so expressive and many of these words are still heard today, the cultural information found here will be appreciated by a wide audience.
Recycling Day
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Miller, Edward
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 30, 2014
Garrard, Thom
A vacant lot becomes a dumping ground and the perfect home for a gang of rats. One day a girl organizes kids who volunteer to clean up the lot. As they pick up glass, paper, metal, plastic, and compost, they explain what will happen to the recyclables. After picking up the trash, the volunteers plant a garden. The rats hide in the garbage cans, but they are soon picked up and headed for the dump. Diagrams and sidebars provide additional facts about the process and impact of processing each type of recyclable. End notes are included that discuss other ways to recycle, dumps, and littering. Colorful cartoon illustrations match the upbeat mood set by the volunteer kids in the text, and students are likely to feel motivated to follow this example of environmental responsibility.
Death Coming Up The Hill
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Crowe, Chris
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 30, 2014
Gustafson, Chris
Ashe is seventeen in 1968, and tries to navigate the conflict between Vietnam War protester/peacenik mom and conservative dad while making decisions about his own future. An engaging history teacher and a girl whose brother is MIA provide other, more nuanced and complex ways to view the war. Now that Ashe is paying attention to the news, he's also noticing the Civil Rights Movement demonstrations as well as the anti-war movement. Eventually, a family crisis forces Ashe's hand and he makes what seems to him the inevitable choice to enlist. The author has taken on a difficult technical challenge - the novel is in haiku and contains one syllable for each U.S. soldier who died fighting the war in 1968. An interview read with the author noted how daunting this was for revision purposes.
Creature Features : Twenty-Five Animals Explain Why They Loo
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Jenkins, Steve
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 30, 2014
Gustafson, Chris
Actually, students through sixth grade are likely to enjoy this lively Q and A style title featuring Steve Jenkins's always detailed and engaging artwork with cheeky questions about animal adaptations. Creatures featured seems to have been selected just on the basis on their bizarre appearance and include the well -known, such as the bighorn sheet as well as the obscure, such as the babirusa. it's pretty frank, so the response of the mandrill ("My rear end is pretty colorful too, but I'd rather not talk about that." seemed unnecessarily coy. Informative and could serve as a mentor text for anyone who was interested in writing in a Q and A format.
Katfish
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY]
Skye, Obert
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 30, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Rob never knows what's going to come out of his closet. He just knows it will be a mash-up of book characters. He's already dealt with Wonkenstein (Willy Wonka/Frankenstein), PotterWookiee (Harry Potter/Chewbacca), and Pinocula (Pinocchio/Dracula). This time, however, he may be out of his depth. Who is that incredibly cute girl? Girl? Suddenly he and all of his friends are acting differently--showering and combing back their hair. When he figures out that she is Katniss Everdeen from "The Hunger Games" he is initially confused. Where's her other half? It shows up when she hits water. The little mermaid? Really? Now that's a mix. Perhaps she will help him clear up the mess left over from his last closet visitor. This is another funny book in a madcap series that is formatted much like the "Dork Diaries" and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" books. The series is popular in my library and has some laugh-out-loud humor that appeals to a large age range.
SAMUEL'S CHOICE
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
WATLING, JAMES
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 30, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
In the year 1776 near Brooklyn, New York Samuel, a 14-year-old slave working at strict and stingy Isaac Van Ditmas’s mill and rowing the ladies of the family across the river from Long Island to Manhattan when they wish to visit or shop. This fictional story weaves in the historical figures of Isaac Van Ditmas, who sympathizes with the British and Major Mordecia Gist, part of Washington’s army as they fight The Battle of Long Island, Washington’s first battle of the Revolutionary war, with the fictional characters of Samuel, Sana, Toby and others. Hearing other speak of freedom for a new country, Samuel wonders what this might mean for him and his fellow slaves. In the middle of a raging storm, he has a choice to make as Washington’s forces retreat from the disastrous battle. Will he help save them? Will he row across the East river with a rope to guide the rescue boats? Will he gain his freedom? With full-page watercolor illustrations, facing a page of text this fictional story brings gives live to a historical event for the reader. Also, reviewed in SLJ, Kirkus Reviews, Horn Book and Publishers Weekly.
Sora And The Cloud : (Japanese/english)
IMMEDIUM [IMMEDIUM]
Hoshino, Felicia
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 31, 2014
Garrard, Thom
In this bilingual Japanese-English book, Little Sora is a climber. At the top of a tree he finds a cloud that bears him over the town, past a skyscraper, an amusement park, a kite festival, an airplane, and a fireworks display. As he falls asleep, he dreams of earthly experiences - puddles, digging in wet sand, and napping on the grass. He climbs down the tree, anxious to have another adventure and to share this one with his sister. Done in somewhat muted tones, the mixed media illustrations are mostly watercolors that add to the dreamlike feeling and include plenty of intriguing details, as well as Japanese cultural references. These are explained at the end, along with translations and pronunciation for short Japanese expressions used in the book. This is masterful work by author-illustrator Hoshino, who widens her character’s world through his experiences, while simultaneously providing a language bridge that connects cultures and makes the world a little smaller. Listed as preK-1, but it could go higher for students who know or are learning Japanese.
Hidden : A Child's Story Of The Holocaust
FIRST SECOND [FIRST SECOND]
Dauvillier, Loic
Lizano, Marc
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
December 31, 2014
Garrard, Thom
In the middle of the night, Elsa persuades her grandmother Dounia to describe the nightmare that has awakened her. She reveals that as a child in France in 1942, she had to wear the Star of David, was ostracized and humiliated at school, and was hidden when the police came to arrest her parents for being Jewish. Downstairs neighbors took her in and, with the police on her trail, the Resistance moved her to a farm in the country. After the war and the liberation of the camps, she was reunited with her emaciated mother who slowly regained her health, but her father never returned. In the morning, Elsa’s dad thanks his mother for sharing this with Elsa, and the three of them embrace. Teaching children about the Holocaust is challenging, but this book’s creative team has done it wonderfully. The story is told to a child from a childhood perspective. The focus is on the people who assisted others in desperate times, and 84% of Jewish children in France would not have survived without help. The worst atrocities are only hinted at. The graphic novel format adds appeal with its subdued tones and characters with oversized heads. This introduction to the Holocaust is perfectly appropriate for elementary audiences.
Emperor Qin's Terra-Cotta Army
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Bailey, Diane
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
December 31, 2014
Garrard, Thom
This title from Abdo’s Digging Up the Past series describes the discovery, significance, and ongoing research on Chinese Emperor Qin’s terra-cotta army. In 1974, farmers digging a well found a life-sized clay soldier, which turned out to be just one of thousands around the tomb of Qin Shihuangdi. Qin had conquered all of the warring states and proclaimed himself emperor of a unified China in 221 BCE. The goal of modern archaeological science is to preserve entire sites in their original state as much as possible, and over 5 million people visit there annually. This volume traces the history of the investigations near Xi’an and the some of the latest developments in archaeological methods, as well as what has been learned about life in ancient China. Qin’s actual tomb has still not been entered. Sidebars provide information on related topics. Photos and diagrams of mostly average quality are included. The writing is clear and focused. Students with an interest in China will enjoy reading this book.
Stephen Hawking : Extraordinary Theoretical Physicist
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Kenney, Karen Latchana
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 31, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Stephen Hawking’s work as a physicist became exceptional when he started studying the origin and growth of the universe. While in college, he experienced the onset of ALS, an incurable disease, and was given a few years to live. Though he was slowed physically, he set his mind to theorizing about black holes and learning about the particles at their edges. His theories explained that black holes can explode and the universe may indeed have started with a big bang. With a computer to facilitate communication, he has written books and lived a long, interesting life in spite of his fragile health. Though his theories are complex, they are clearly explained in this book, which is part of Abdo's Great Minds of Science series. The photos, diagrams, and sidebars included on every two-page spread add visual interest and provide additional information. Unfortunately, questions and activities that are supposed to support the Common Core are scattered throughout the book. These features may help sell the book to some, but they also make it feel like a textbook, which could put a damper on a student’s enthusiasm for the topic.
Pompeii
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Gimpel, Diane Marczely
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
December 31, 2014
Garrard, Thom
This title from Abdo’s Digging Up the Past series explains how the Roman colony of Pompeii, despite being suddenly buried in a volcanic eruption nearly two millennia ago, wasn’t just frozen in time, because looting, digging, and primitive archaeological methods used at the site greatly changed some areas. The ruins were found during a water diversion project at the end of the 16th century, but the first large, state-sponsored excavations didn’t begin until the 18th century. Over the centuries, the goal of archaeological science changed from recovering ancient objects to place in museums to preserving entire sites in their original state as much as possible. This volume traces the history of the investigations at Pompeii and the history of developments in archaeological methods, as well as what has been learned about life in ancient times as a result. Sidebars provide information on related topics. Photos and diagrams of mostly average quality are included. The thoroughness of the book makes it occasionally tedious, such as including each of the changes in excavation directors, but students with a special interest in Pompeii will learn much.
Revenge On Superstition Mountain
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Broach, Elise
Ivanov, Olga & Aleksey
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 31, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
What is the truth about the legends surrounding Superstition Mountain? Brothers Henry, Simon, and Jack, along with their friend Delilah, have already experienced some of the mystery of the mountain. Following clues left by their uncle, the boys have located and lost a gold mine. Others have also been looking for the gold, and this has placed the children's lives at risk. Now, in the final book in the series, can they discover the truth, find what their uncle left for them, and reveal the true villains? Not without risk. This is a fun, and often tense, mystery trilogy that has just a touch of a ghost story, a bit of mysticism, and plenty of totally irresponsible, death-defying acts by kids who should know better. In other words, it is just what young readers adore.
Moonhead And The Music Machine
Nobrow Press [Nobrow Press]
Rae, Andrew
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
December 31, 2014
Seasholes, Craig L
I count on NoBrow Press for innovation and Andrew Rae's graphic novel delivers; I mean where else could you find a normal kid with a grey and cratered moon for a head? Prone to daydreaming and absent mindedness, sometimes Joey Moonhead's large spherical cranium orbits his body at considerable distance. When he's got it together, it resides just over his shoulders like almost everyone else's. Sure, Joey's parents have the same detached and sometimes far-away head as he does, but all the other kids at school sure don't! Joey gets bullied by some, teased by others, admonished by teachers and befriended only by a nerdy girl named Sockets. A school talent contest inspires Joey to create a guitar/keyboard/music making machine from found parts and the crazy colorful musical whatever-it-is works! While not working to win over the alpha-cool couple in the school, quite a few normal looking students show their own hidden outlandishness and join Joey and Sockets in a hopeful musical ensemble that puts a hopeful end to author Andrew Rae's retro-Sgt Pepper/Peter Max visualization of teen tribulations. A few panels of adolescent sexual fantasy and locker-slamming profanity make this an AD+ for middle and high school graphic collections.