Reviews for month


The Terrible Two
AMULET BOOKS [ABRAMS]
BARNETT, MAC
John, Jory
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 02, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
With much ado (mugs, certificate, milk carton packaging) this new offering from Mac Barnett and Jory John has illustrations permeating the fast paced story that will appeal to Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans. Miles Murphy is very unhappy about moving from his apartment by the beach to the rural, cow-filled community of Yawnee Valley. He wants to continue being the school’s biggest prankster. But on the first day of school someone has beaten him to it—Principal Barkin, a power hungry stereotypical principal's, car has been placed on the steps barring entrance to the school. Miles becomes his primary suspect. Niles Sparks, the brown-nosing, perfect student, dressed in tie and wing-tips, who wears a School Helper sash, is assigned to be his school buddy. When Miles tries pranking the whole school it’s sabotaged by none other than the perfect Niles, a very thorough planner and secret prankster. Niles offers to join forces with him, but Miles resists until their prankster war wears him out. Calling themselves the Terrible Two, their ultimate prank is to force the principal to close school for a day on April Fools. Their motto is “good at being bad; to disrupt, but not destroy”. Fun antics, if not subversive reading!
Tales Of Bunjitsu Bunny
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Himmelman, John
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 02, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This 119-page transitional chapter book full of illustrations is a collection of episodes featuring Isabel, the best bunjitsu artist in her school. Each short story is so well written, so succinct, and always ends with a wise message. It has the feel of Frog and Toad as well as The Giving Tree in its language and wisdom. Isabel AKA Bunjitsu Bunny practices her martial art so to also find ways not to have to use the kicking, hitting and throwing. She often uses her brain to solve problems such as how to get into the classroom when the door is locked, or how to retrieve a lost ball on the other side of a stream. She can outwit mean fox pirates or motivate a tortoise who loves to run when no one else will race him due to his slowness. She can learn new skills from butterflies and waves. She can also take advice from others who know more. She along with her classmates can sign, as the reader is invited to do, the Bunjitsu Code that concludes the book, a nice work ethic to live by. This is a surprisingly rich offering that should be welcome in any library that serves children. Himmelman's artwork nicely matches the martial arts style of his bunny.
Jim's Lion
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Hoban, Russell
Deacon Alexis
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 02, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Alexis Deacon’s stunning graphic novel of Russell Hoban’s Jim’s Lion, plummets readers into the nightmarish world of the young boy’s serious illness. Hovering near death, his Nurse Bami reassures him that he needs a Finder, who will lead him back if the Doctor sends him to a place where he is lost. Deacon introduces the book with a sequence of Jim’s hallucinatory dreams as he is blasted out of bed by a ferocious lion, assaulted by hybrid humans, and sawed into pieces by a stuffed rabbit surgeon. The pages of text that follow are Hoban’s original words and give readers a story to match the illustrations. This alternating pattern continues as Jim’s finder, Lion, gives him the courage to undergo risky surgery. Readers look down the rows of theatre seating at a tiny operating table as Jim begins his surgical journey leaving his body. The muted greens, blues and greys are torn by red shadow figures and purple torrents as Jim and his lion fight for his life and are swept over waterfalls, caught by flying reptilian birds, escape a flood of skinny red hands, and nearly drown. See comments for thoughts about purchasing.
Wings Of War
Doubleday Canada [Doubleday Canada]
Wilson, John
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 03, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
After years of watching and assisting his Uncle Horst patiently tinker and rebuild planes in his Saskatchewan barn, Edward finally has his first flight in the double-seater Bertha #7. Thus starts his dream of becoming a pilot. On the cusp of WWI, this coming-of-age novel follows Edward as he obtains a pilots license and enlists in the Royal British Flying Corps. Loneliness is dispelled by friendships forged on the boat to England and the weeks waiting for an assignment. But training spells death for one friend, driving home that flying in battle will require all Edward’s skill and focus. Descriptions of war horrors, the shock of killing, and dangerous reconnaissance missions are mixed with details about the birth of aviation in modern warfare. References to famous WWI pilots such as the Red Baron and significant battles mix with the intense details of dogfights, appealing to fans of historical war fiction. Written by John Wilson, a Canadian Governor General’s Award winner, to honor the centenary of the war’s beginning, the smells, sounds and deadly nature of war come alive on the pages. Some inconsistency in the use of some British and some American terms don’t diminish the novel and a several page glossary is included.
REDWING
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
BENNETT, HOLLY
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 03, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Rowan came from a family of musicians and he is a talented player of the button box. Now, however, he is alone. His family died in the plague and he is sunk into despair. He drives his caravan around the country, earning a little money here and there from his music. Then he meets Samik. Samik is also a musician, though not as gifted, at least in that way. His chief gift is that he occasionally has the second sight, sometimes seeing ghosts, like the lingering protective spirit of Rowan's little sister. Samik is on the run from a vengeful warlord and never intended to drag Rowan into his troubles. Unfortunately, his intentions don't always match reality. This is a crisply-written story of grief, music, and danger, with a little supernatural twist thrown in. It is a satisfying read.
Second-Chance Soccer
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Troupe, Thomas Kingsley
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 03, 2015
Garrard, Thom
Alex wants to be part of his middle school’s championship soccer team, but after embarrassing himself at last year’s tryouts, he hesitates to try again. As his mean-spirited but talented classmate Jake points out, he lacks the skills. With extra coaching from the new Scottish boy Errol who volunteers to help, Alex improves and is the last cut at the tryouts. When Alex tries to congratulate Jake on making the team, the coach hears Jake taunting and teasing him. For his poor sportsmanship, Jake is booted off the team and justice is served when Alex takes his place. Compared to books in Stone Arch’s Jake Maddox series, the titles in this new JV series are longer, lack pictures, and have a smaller font and less white space. Readers of this title will be wondering why the coach didn’t notice Jake’s behavior earlier since he was on the team last year, and why Errol isn’t trying out for the team since his skill level is so high. The serious soccer fan will be appalled to find that the author doesn’t know the difference between a goal kick and a penalty kick (p. 68). In spite of these shortcomings, soccer players who give this book a second chance will appreciate that perseverance, effort, kindness, and good sportsmanship are rewarded.
Enders
Delacorte [Delacorte]
Price, Lissa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 04, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 510 -- HiLo Sequel to Starters With the Body Bank destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders. But someone is after the Starters-kids with chips in their brains. They want to experiment on anyone left over from Prime Destinations. Enders can still get into her mind and make her do anything they desire, even hurt someone Callie loves. She could get the chip removed, but that might also silence the voice that Callie hears in her head who she thinks is her father. Who is real and who is masquerading in another Starter’s body. No one is who he/she appears to be. Callie is ready for the truth and is willing to die trying to find it. It's not as intense as Starters, but it offers some answers and a solid conclusion that will repay readers' interest.
Mistwalker
HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS [HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS]
Mitchell, Saundra
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 04, 2015
Datisman, Eve
could go as low as 7th. depending on the need for ghost stories could be an AD+ Willa is a junior in Broken Tooth, Maine, the daughter of a lobsterman and planning on being the next Dixon out on the Atlantic. When her brother is murdered on the family boat, her father forbids her to set foot on the deck again. Willa feels responsible for the circumstances of her brother’s death and for the financial hardship that the family now feels. She is willing to do anything, even call on the Grey Man for help. The Grey Man is a legend, a spirit who haunts the lighthouse and controls the fog and the fate of any vessel that comes within his reach. What Willa discovers is a young, lonely man trapped in the lighthouse until he collects 1000 souls. Grey is desperate to seduce Willa to take his place. Will she succumb? Everything about this novel revolves around its eerie, preternatural setting. Like the Grey Man, the sea between the town and the lighthouse is creepy, dark, haunting, beautiful, and dangerous there is a romance but the local life and folklore is more riveting.
When Lightning Strikes : Four Decades Of Jerry Bruckheimer
Disney Editions [Disney Editions]
Singer, Michael
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
All ages
January 04, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Singer, Michael Jerry Bruckheimer: When Lightning Strikes Rating: AD/AD+ Gr. Level 9-12 Jerry Bruckheimer released his first film in 1972 (The Culpepper Cattle Company), and since then, he has left a fast mark on motion pictures and television. He has produced a impressive list of box office blockbusters, as well as a considerable résumé of fascinating cinema. Moviegoers have flocked to see Bruckheimer's actioners: Top Gun, Days of Thunder, Beverly Hills Cop, Bad Boys, Crimson Tide, The Rock, Con Air, Armageddon, Gone in Sixty Seconds, Pearl Harbor, Black Hawk Down as well as the Pirates of the Caribbean and National Treasure series. Some film fans are unaware that Bruckheimer is also the producer behind such influential and heartfelt films such as Flashdance, Dangerous Minds, Remember the Titans, Veronica Guerin, and Glory Road. Jerry Bruckheimer's versatility extends to television as well. His media-shifting contributions to television include the CSI franchise, The Amazing Race, Cold Case, and Without a Trace. He has been responsible for inventing, reinventing and sustaining the careers of Johnny Depp, Nicholas Cage, Richard Gere, Eddie Murphy, Will Smith, Ben Affleck, Denzel Washington, Keira Knightley, and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Dark Between
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Gensler, Sonia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 04, 2015
Datisman, Eve
It’s 1901 and Spiritualism is all the rage even in the scientific and scholarly town of Cambridge. After masquerading as a spirit apparition for a charlatan medium, 14-year-old Kate Poole finds herself on the street when society members expose her employer's fraudulent practices. Desperate and pragmatic, Kate arrives at Summerfield College, where society member Oliver Thompson discovers she's the illegitimate daughter of his late friend and offers her a temporary job. She meets impulsive niece, Elsie Atherton, and skeptical Asher Beale, son of Thompson's American colleague. They need to learn to trust each other as they work together to uncover the truth behind the deaths at the Metaphysical Society. When several dead bodies surface on campus, raising disturbing questions, Kate, Elsie and Asher bond as they explore how far society members will go to test their theories of near-death experience. Suspenseful, atmospheric, and peopled with folks obsessed with the paranormal. In fact several are loosely based on historical figures prominent in psychical research during this period. For lovers of intrigue and mystery, teen heroes, danger, romance and ethical dilemmas. author's note with references.
Sheamus
BELLWETHER MEDIA [BELLWETHER MEDIA]
Markegard, Blake
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 04, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Wrestling Superstars" series, this well-stitched 24-page book focuses on red-headed pro-wrestler Sheamus (Stephen Farrelly). Lots of crisp color action photographs spread across the pages. Simple text gives readers just a little basic information about the wrestler, his origins, and his signature moves. The book includes a glossary and index. This in no way could be considered an in-depth look at the man. It's a puff piece, but will satisfy those boys who adore pro-wrestling.
Bob Is a Unicorn
Kane/Miller Book Publishers [Kane/Miller Book Publishers]
Nelson-Schmidt, Michelle
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 04, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Bob is not a unicorn. Every other animal knows this. But Bob believes he is a unicorn. The text consists of conversation as different animals ask Bob what's going on, and Bob asserts his unicorn-ness. Bob has some disappointing encounters before he meets a fairy who understands. The delight in this book is that the reader doesn't see Bob until the last page. Instead, the reader gets to see the expressions on the faces of the other animals who totally do not get what is going on. Bob is playing. He is imagining himself as a unicorn. The final picture shows the truth. Bob is an elephant, with a cardboard horn, and the fairy who joins him in play is a little girl. Delightful bold illustrations accompany the text that begs to be read aloud. This celebration of imaginative play would be a great choice for story times.
Shipwreck Island
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Bodeen, S A
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 04, 2015
Evey, Kay
Sarah's dad has remarried and has taken his new wife, her two boys and his daughter to Fiji for their vacation. They charter a boat to sail for a few days but things go very wrong and they end up marooned on a deserted island miles from anywhere with nothing but a few provisions from the boat and the owner's dog. The boat owner was swept to sea and died during the storm that brought them to the island. They have many horrendous adventures on the island and the book ends with another adventure that leads you to the question -- is this the beginning of a series-- the end of the book invites the readers to follow the book on facebook and that "Our books are friends for life". Further investigation proves this to be Book #1, the second installment is entitled: Lost. The facebook connection is not real clear to this reviewer nor did it bring me any additional information about the book, the end advertisement did not tell us that it was the first of the series but the mackids.com website did enlighten me.
Road Rash
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Parsons, Mark
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 04, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Most of the timed drummers get short shrift in bands because they are not guitar heroes. Without a good drummer in the pocket, people won’t dance, the other folks in the band won’t sync up and the songs won’t get air play. Parsons, who is a drummer himself, tells the story of what it’s like to be a young drummer who gets the chance to go on the road with a good SoCal indie pop band, Bad Habit. Will it be “Highway to Hell” or “Stairway to Heaven’? Not only does Zach have to find his place in the band – he’s the newbie—but he also has to figure out his relationships with his former band, the Sock Monkeys, a girl whom he’s only known as his best friend’s little sister (she’s only a year younger),and his music. Zach not only drums, he arranges and before he was ousted fro The Sock Monkeys, he put together an original tune and submitted it to a music demo contest hosted by a local radio station. While on tour with Bad Habit the song gets bit airplay and there are a number of problems to solve. The road trip with Bad Habit is a travelogue with postcard notes home and emails to the lovely Kimber. Chapters are introduced by song titles; drummer jokes hint at Zach's issues.
I Am Bigger Than...
CHILDRENS PRESS [CHILDRENS PRESS]
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 04, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Bright clear photographs of a boy's favorite things illustrate the concept of big, bigger, biggest in a sturdy board book for earliest readers. Repetitive patterned text structure (My puppy is bigger than my hamster/ My backpack is bigger than my puppy/ My bike...) makes this attractive for beginning readers. looks like Scholastic.com/Children's Press is moving into an earliest reader series with this one...and it's a winner.
Barbarian Lord
CLARION [CLARION]
Smith, Matt
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
January 04, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Can go to Adult- Graphic novel, that is a mash up of Icelandic and Norse mythology, films, and books that have impacted Smith over the years. His drawing style is much like V.T. Hamlin’s in the Alley Oop comic strip with a bit of the Incredible Hulk. The Barbarian Lord maintains "the finest farm in Garmrland." Aided by a ruthless but somewhat hapless witch, nefarious neighbor Skullmaster seeks to destroy him and take over that farm. As the two lock horns in a power play, the Barbarian Lord finds himself battling a variety of foes, from sea monsters to ghosts to trolls. It’s easy to see who is good and who is evil, but luckily the Barbarian Lord is a complicated character and that makes the slashing, impaling, of his foes more than just blood lust or the reason for one more battle scene. Birds are chosen as the narrators of the tale and Greek chorus and are finely detailed. Crisp line drawing and monochromatic color scheme add to the sword and sorcery tale. There is a great deal of graphic violence (duh!) but it’s a good summer read for the middle school grades and fans of The Game of Thrones.
Whisper
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Struyk-Bonn, Chris
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 04, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Whisper is a reject with a cleft palate. The circumstances of their world are not made known, although there are hints Whisper is a reject with a cleft palate. The circumstances of the world are not made known, although there are hints about why there are so many children with deformities. Like anyone with a physical or mental disability in this future, she is abandoned by her parents at birth and raised in a forest camp under the guidance and protection of Nathanael, an "unblemished" man who shuns civilization for reasons of his own. Despite privations, Whisper and her fellow "rejects" thrive in their forest home and form a close, familial connection with one another. Her "tribe" includes a one-armed sculptor, a tiny girl with webbed fingers and toes, and a baby who has a cleft palate just like Whisper and who adopts her as a mother figure. One birthday Whisper’s mother doesn’t come but does send a violin that becomes life-changing. This novel raises some fascinating moral and geopolitical issues for class discussion and an equally profound theme is the nature of family: Questions raised: What do we do when our family abandons us and our assumptions about parental love are turned on their head?
Matter Of Souls
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Patrick, Denise Lewis
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 04, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 8-10 Seven stories in this collection draw on the black experience in America, taking readers into the Deep South during slavery days through the Civil War and Jim Crow laws. Patrick's tales from the distant and not-so-distant past shed fresh light on interracial and intraracial conflicts that shape and often distort the realities of African-Americans. All of the work is threaded through with spirituality and romance as part of the everyday experience of people, helping to personalize and humanize stories of violence horrific and mundane. The writing is uneven, the first four stories are strong, the next three are so-so and the last story told from a Spanish grandee’s point of view descends into the maudlin. In spite of the four add to the body of historical fiction focusing on the Black American experience and would be especially welcome for helping to drive interdisciplinary study in upper grades. But because it does not hang together as a cohesive whole, it would be less of a resource for students on the open shelves.
Freedom Summer Murders
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Mitchell, Don
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 04, 2015
Datisman, Eve
It’s hard to know just who this book is written for. Sentence structure and. word choice set it squarely in middle school, but the topic, the book’s structure with scholarly endnotes, notes on sources, extensive bibliography, maps, and index indicate a much older audience. The 50th Anniversary of the deaths of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, the immediate aftermath and the legacy of what happened in Neshoba County Mississippi is the subject of this book. Mitchell conducted interviews with friends and family members of the men to provide a biographical sketch of each man, describes the legally entrenched racism of Mississippi and the inception of the Freedom Summer campaign, and takes readers through the investigation and the steps toward the 1967 trial that infamously failed to deliver justice. He uses transcripts and photos to give the reader the feeling that he/she is there. He concludes with the families’ continuing work for civil rights and for civil, legal and emotional resolution. In the end the question, “Is the killing of a black mother's son is as important as the killing of a white mother's son?"
Crazy
EERDMAN'S BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [EERDMAN'S BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Phillips, Linda Vigen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 04, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Phillip’s debut novel in free verse is loosely based around her own experiences growing up in a household with mental illness. It’s April to April 1963-64 and Laura is trying to navigate her way through classes, friendship, her first crush, all while carrying a secret – her mother is mentally ill. Laura think that she caused her mother’s bouts of depression and manic behavior by suggesting that she take up art again. No one in Laura's family, particularly her father, will discuss her mother's frightening behavior. There's a palpable tension in Laura's house as everyone tiptoes around her mother, waiting for her to snap. The teen never feels at ease and so she naturally comes to hate her mother, even hate her life. Laura pushes away her passion for art and her best friend, for fear she will end up just like her mom. Nothing changes until Laura decides to seek help. Poetry and the personal experiences combine to make this a poignant read. It should appeal to anyone-teen and adult-who has ever felt powerless at the hands of mental illness.
Mr. Tweed's Good Deeds
Flying Eye Books [Flying Eye Books]
Stoten, Jim
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
January 04, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Mr Tweed is a tall top-hatted good-natured, dog-faced, Peter Max -ishly colorful character out for his daily walk through the town. At the park he bumps into Little Colin Rocodile (green skin, snout, baseball cap on backwards) who lost his kite, and Mr Tweed is happy to help look. OMG! The next two-page spread is a "Where's Waldo on the Magical Mystery Tour" phantasmagorical park...where indeed Colin's kite is to be found after much searching. "It feels good to help people," thinks Mr Tweed to himself, who resumes his walk until he learns that Mrs. Fluffycuddle's 2 kittens are lost or "hiding in the garden." Again a two page eye-catching confusion of colorful illustrations follows, as does 3 mice lost in a bookstore, 4 fish in a pool, etc through the final page where "all the people that Mr Tween had helped are clapping and cheering. We're throwing a party to say thank you for all your help!" complete with 10 presents that are somewhere mixed amidst a city street full of the most riotously retro pop-adelic revelers conclude this recommended NoBrow Press title for anyone looking for visually delightful comics and graphics designed with European sensibilities. Bully job, really. Well done Mr Tweed. Well done Jim Stoten!
Sinner
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Stiefvater, Maggie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 04, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Companion book to Shiver series a story set in LA rather than Mercy Falls is built around Cole St. Clair, werewolf front man of the defunct band Narkotika. Now sober, Cole attempts to resurrect his career and his dysfunctional love affair with Isabel Culpeper, who's working retail there. She knows the real Cole and his secrets. Getting in the way of Cole and Isabel is Baby North of SharpT33th.com who has decided to chronicle Cole's possible comeback or failure on her reality show as he produces his first album since the band's demise. In order to accept his past and reinvent himself, Cole must deal with the skeletons lurking in his closet, and Baby’s determination to engineer drama for ratings. In order to get right with each other and the world, they have to figure out what’s important in life. They must decide, by the use of alternating chapters, whether they are worthy of its gifts and the tension in the book is driven from their mutual quest for answers. Fans of the supernatural will like this and the werewolf aspect will bring others to join the Mercy Falls pack.
Silver
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Wooding, Chris
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 04, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Paul is the new kid at Mortingham Academy, an out of the way boarding school that was once a workhouse for then a tuberculosis asylum, just the setting for creepy ghost stories and to hide a big secret. We first meet Paul in a fight with Adam the school bully. The headmaster is a disillusioned man who has come to hate his job. Another piece of the puzzle revealed in the first three pages. We also meet Mark, a nerdy science kid who is outgrowing his circle but not sure how to. The other key players are Erika, Ms. Perfect at Everything and Caitlyn who is always just second to Erika and resentful. Into this mix come silver insects never before seen. When they attack students, a horrible transformation begins to take place and everyone in the school is in danger of becoming one of The Infected. It’s a battle for survival as the Infected morph and become smarter and stronger. The characters must work out their personal issues while trying to stay alive. When a scientist at a local facility and a helicopter pilot are forced onto the roof of one of the Academy buildings, it is revealed that the Infected are a part of a secret military experiment with nano-machines gone horribly wrong. The atmosphere is primal fear.
Animal 123
FIREFLY BOOKS [FIREFLY BOOKS]
Martin, Susi
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 04, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Susi Martin can paint animals, and she marvels at attention to realistic detail to make this a great addition for math and science. Most, but not all animals shown for 1-20 are illustrated with examples of different species, thus 7 seals are shown with 7 species clearly depicted, eight salamanders 8 spp,, etc through 20 frog species. Skipping to jumping by 10s for 30 flies, 40 shrimp, we see more repetitions, but that's a forgivable expediency as 80 ladybugs, 90 penguins and 100 fish move this fine book concludes: Mission Accomplished.
Revolution
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Wiles, Deborah
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 04, 2015
Datisman, Eve
The 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer brings us twelve-year-old Sunny whose town of Greenwood, Mississippi, is being invaded by outsiders and ruining her summer. The swimming pool is closed because public places must be open to everyone, not just whites; the local theater is selling tickets to anyone and the Klan is active and threatening. All of these activities related to the voting rights act are secondary to Sunny because her step-mother, whom Sunny dislikes, is going to have a baby and her personal world is changing as well. As Sunny comes to grips with her family she becomes more able to see the injustices going on around her and wishes to help do what is right. She does begin because of a craving for personal adventure but the end of the story she begins to understand what family means a her personal responsibility to others. Wiles also weaves in many of the details of 1964 that influenced politics and culture, The Beatles; Cassius Clay changing his name to Mohammed Ali, converting to Islam and becoming a conscientious objector; the Klan’s killing of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, the bullying of Byron DeLa Beckwith, the escalation of the Viet Nam War, and the Great Society programs.
Animal Abc
FIREFLY BOOKS [FIREFLY BOOKS]
Martin, Susi
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 04, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Who doesn't love a beautifully illustrated animal alphabet book? Susi Martin has vividly painted 100 or the world's critters and gathers them for a fresh addition to the 421 shelf in any elementary school library shelves. "L is for leopard, lemur, leaf insect, lobster and lion"; M is for macaw, mantis and monkeys" Big enough for point-and-read-alongs, small enough for a lap and individual browsing this one can go into immediate service but will also stand for years of use with a durable sewn binding. Recommended.
Hello, I'm Johnny Cash
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Neri, G
Ford, A.g.
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
January 04, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Starting out a skinny, dirt-poor, rural, southern Baptist boy, J.R. always had an ear for music and it carried him through the Great Depression, New Deal, Cold War, the 60's, Rock and Roll and to become one of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century. A.G. Ford's full page oil illustrations match each of Neri's prose-poems to capture the spirit of Johnny Cash's career in 16 hit song-inspired titles. Recommended for all ages, and especially to those interested in popular music and American culture, the book skips over most of Cash's battles with alcohol and drug addiction. We're library media professionals right? So you'll probably have no trouble getting a playlist ready to accompany G. Neri's open verse biography of the man who "walked the line." But why oh why a book like this is not shipped with a disk or accompanying website is beyond me. I mean, no one but Johnny should ever utter the very title of this book: Hello, I'm Johnny Cash." Let's make sure the kids hear it straight from "the man in black" himself, so let 'em hear it loud and clear https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca2ioOapKsQ . Get the book and let's bring him back for an encore.
Magic Delivery
Disney-Hyperion [Disney-Hyperion]
Smith, Clete Barrett
Dziekan, Michal
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 05, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Nick and best friend Burger begin a wild adventure when they are almost run over on their bicycles by a delivery truck that appears out of nowhere and is driven by a bear. The truck crashes and they find out that the costumes in the back are magic and incredibly real. It turns out that the truck was driven by Connor who has suddenly inherited the job from his father and who has no idea how to complete the magic deliveries to protect his family. The local bully and friends get ahold of the magical costumes and soon it is a dangerous adventure trying to save people at least until the costumes lose their magic at midnight and also to help Connor save his job. This is a fast-paced book that older students will enjoy.
Up & Down
TEMPLAR [TEMPLAR]
Teckentrup, Britta
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 05, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Little Penguin wants to visit another penguin friend so it begins a journey full of opposites. For example, “He swam DOWN through seaweed…and UP toward a tunnel.” Each pair of opposites is part of a lift-the-flap illustration. Little Penguin finally makes it to his friend and “Then the two friends were no longer APART. They were TOGETHER at last!” The large bold full-page illustrations are the best part of the book and bring a clear focus to the text about opposites. The flaps may not last long in a library, but young children will enjoy guessing the opposites and following the penguin.
Sequoia
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Johnston, Tony
Minor, Wendell
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
All ages
January 05, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
The giant sequoia tree is a great ancient being who watches over the forest below and survives forest fires and storms. The sequoia is personified in verse with bits of information mixed in with poetic imagery, such as “Springtimes,/clothed in his old man’s/robes-/every shade of green-/he listens to/the thaw, to/waters/flow/again.” The warm gouache watercolor illustrations give life to nature and detail to the sparse text. At the end there is a page with information on sequoias, including where they live and the differences between redwoods and sequoias. This is an informational poetry book that could be used for studies on nature and anthropomorphism.
Sea Creatures
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Cole, Joanna
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 05, 2015
Kline, Karen
Billed as “a nonfiction companion to the original Magic School Bus series,” this book like the others in the series (including Planet Earth, The Human Body, Our Solar System, and Wild Weather), combines full color photographs overlaid with the familiar illustrations of Magic School Bus characters’ and their notebook journal pages, talk bubbles, and side bars entitled “Frizzle Facts.” Plants, biomes, and animals are presented as stars of each double page spread, but the content stresses their interdependence and highlights many food chains. For instance, on the “coral reef” spread sea turtles and butterfly fish are featured as well as a caption informing us that one fourth of all sea creatures live on or around coral reefs. A table of contents will guide young researchers and a glossary of “words to know” including terms like “mammal” and “prey” are basic but not highlighted in the text itself. A final spread on conservation issues and careers related to ocean life round out the contents. These titles are best suited for classroom libraries, though, since the paperback bindings and covers will not withstand repeated use in school libraries.
And Then Comes Christmas
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Brenner, Tom
Christy, Jana
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 05, 2015
Kline, Karen
The anticipation of Christmas and all the preparation and delights that come with it are shared in this book full of mood with gentle yet powerful words. This celebration of small moments throughout the holiday season begins as “red berries blaze against green shrubs and bare branches rake across the sky.” Soft, rosy illustrations of a child’s days leading up to Christmas depict the familiar scenes that so many children (and adults) treasure -- the school play, the crafting of gifts in the classroom and secretive wrapping at home, and finally the mother opening the child’s gift. It’s all here: the cookies for Santa, carrots for the reindeer, and snuggling in bed with dad reading, “‘Twas the night before…,” all with the family dog frolicking about. Told in a “when...then” pattern like Brenner’s book entitled And Then Come Halloween, these books could assist educators as a pair for compare and contrast units.
Naughty Kitty!
ORCHARD BOOKS [ORCHARD BOOKS]
Stower, Adam
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 05, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Lily gets a new kitty who seems sweet and nice until Lily returns to the kitchen to find that the kitty has eaten up everything in sight and made a huge mess. What she doesn’t know is that there is a giant tiger that did everything. This scenario happens again all day throughout the house and each time the little kitty is blamed for the tiger’s misbehavior. Then the tiger scares away the neighbor’s dog and Lily thinks it is the brave and wonderful kitty. The book ends with an illustration of many other zoo animals hiding in Lily’s backyard. Young children will love to see the sweet kitty being blamed for the tiger’s behavior and the tiger always in the illustrations but unknown to Lily. The large watercolor and ink illustrations fit the light-hearted fun of the story.
Giant Vehicles
TEMPLAR [TEMPLAR]
Green, Rod
Biesty, Stephen
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 05, 2015
Kline, Karen
Eight of the largest vehicles in the world are profiled in this large lift-the-flaps board book for older readers. Colorful, detailed line drawings dominate each spread with a dozen or more labels and descriptions of the functional parts of these motored monstrosities. Throughout the book are comparisons that help the reader understand the relative size of the vehicles and their parts. For instance, the description of the fuel on the Saturn V NASA rocket mentions its 331,000 gallon tank for the first stage rocket and likens it to half the size of an Olympic swimming pool. The mega wheels of the “Mighty Dumper” dump truck are 13 feet tall -- the height of a double-decker bus. Amazing feats performed using these astonishingly large giants are also highlighted throughout. Readers will thrill to read bits like, “a Halo (“whopper chopper”) was used to airlift the remains of a 20,000-year-old woolly mammoth that a nine-year-old boy had found in arctic Siberia.” Teachers will thrill to use this as a compare/contrast book of non-fiction text to build writing and literacy skills with a high interest topic. Superlative reading with eye-catching details from illustrator Stephen Biesty!
Who's Next Door?
Owlkids Books, Inc [Owlkids Books, Inc]
Kishira, Mayuko
Takabatke, Jun
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 05, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Chicken lives a simple life in the house with the red roof. The house next door with the blue roof is empty until one day Chicken can tell that someone moved in. Chicken waits and looks, but she never sees her neighbor so she writes a note. It turns out that Owl lives next door and he is only awake at night. They finally meet each other and even though they have opposite schedules they keep in touch by writing notes. This is a simple story with bold illustrations without much details that fit the uncomplicated story.
Alligators
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Hansen, Grace
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 05, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Very basic facts about alligators are covered in three chapter with a total of nineteen sentences. There isn’t enough information for a research report, but the large uncaptioned photographs add more visual details. Beginning readers will be able to read much of the text on their own, but in the minimal text there are seven words that need to be defined in the glossary. An index, list of three facts, and link with code to access publisher’s web site are included.
Lara's Gift
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
O'brien, Annemarie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 05, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Lara has always wanted to carry on the family tradition of being kennel stewards for the Count Vorontsov’s borzoi hunting dogs, but not that she has a baby brother her father may not let her continue training. Lara has a special connection with the dogs and she begins to have visions of what may happen with them. Her loving but strict father begins to make her train to be a seamstress like her mother because it is a proper path for a girl in Imperial Russia. Luckily Lara is friends with the Count’s son who helps her set out to prove that she should be the future kennel steward. Dog lovers who are also interested in history will enjoy this book.
Swallow : A Ghost Story
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Cotter, Charis
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 05, 2015
Nelson, Ruth
Polly who lives in a loud, busy, loving family and who longs for some privacy; Rose who lives with her mother and father who are so busy working that she hardly ever sees them. Polly retreats to a secret space she has found in the attic and discovers that her house shares a wall and attic space with Rose. Polly loves ghosts and longs to meet one. Rose feels like a ghost because she feels that no-one notices her; she can see and talk to ghosts. There IS a ghost in the story – a malevolent spirit who seems to be attacking Polly; trying to keep her away from Rose. Polly begins to wonder if Rose is also a ghost. They find an old tombstone in the cemetary with Rose’s name. Their relationship grows as they try to figure out who is buried in the grave. The twist in the story is that Polly is the one who is a ghost. As the book begins, she has a headache, is very cross with her family and sent to her room. She has meningitis and dies. She just doesn’t know it. There are enough clues about the plot twist so that you COULD pick them up as you read, and so that you are not annoyed at a sudden irrational explanation at the end of the book. This is a wonderfully written, engaging ghost story for middle-grade girls.
Hardball
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Barwin, Steven
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 05, 2015
Dame, Anne
An Orca Sports hi-lo book about hazing on a high school baseball team. Griffin is focused on winning a baseball scholarship so that he will be able to go to college as his golf caddying tips won't be enough. This causes him to ignore the horrible things that team captain, Wade, is doing to the new players. Once Griffin's cousin is targeted, though, he has to make some tough decisions about what he thinks is right and wrong.
Hate Mail
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Polak, Monique
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 05, 2015
Dame, Anne
A good hi-lo book about autism. A high school student, Jordie, is embarrassed about his cousin with autism. When his cousin is bullied and receives hate mail, Jordie has to decide whether or not he is going to step up to help/defend his cousin.
Homecoming
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Dakers, Diane
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 05, 2015
Dame, Anne
Fiona's dad was sent to jail for almost a year and a half. Fiona is fairly sure that he is innocent of the crime, but relations are very strained when he comes home. She feels like he has ruined her life. As a result she makes some bad decisions and gets dragged into some dangerous situations. A hi-lo title by Orca Soundings.
Cupcake Cousins
Disney-Hyperion [Disney-Hyperion]
Hannigan, Kate
Hughes, Brooke Boynton
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 05, 2015
Nelson, Ruth
This is a simple, gentle story about two girls who like to cook together. They have adventures and misadventures and bring everything to a "happily ever after" conclusion. There is nothing particularly special about the story. It is a decent book for girls who like gentle, predictable stories. The second in the series is already published.
SUMMER OF THE WOLVES
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
CARLSON-VOILES, POLLY
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 05, 2015
Nelson, Ruth
Synopsis: Nika and her brother have been orphaned and have finally settled in a foster home with a supportive, loving foster mother. Nika is just feeling at home when the foster mother is diagnosed with cancer and the state locates a long lost uncle in northern Minnesota so they are shipped off to him. He works as a wolf researcher. Nika does not want to settle in; she wants to go back to the foster home, but she falls in love with a wolf pup and learns to accept the situation and her new home in spite of herself. It’s a perfectly decent book, tailor made for middle grade girls that are animal lovers. There are a lot of interesting observations about wolf behavior. The characters are realistic. No-one is perfect but no-one is horribly bad and villainous either. Note: Because of the cover, I resisted reading it thinking it was a knock off on “Julie and the Wolves” but it is an entirely different, more modern, much more realistic story. It just wasn’t as good.
Mystery On Museum Mile
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Wells, Marcia
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 05, 2015
Nelson, Ruth
The first in a Series of books about Eddie Redd Undercover. Edmund Lonnrott is a precocious 11 year old boy attending a private school in New York City. He has a photographic memory and a genius for remembering and drawing faces. When he and his father witness a robbery, he impresses the police with his ability to make a perfect drawing of the suspect’s face. They offer him a job “helping” the police because they believe he can help them catch an international gang of art thieves. He is supposed to tell no-one but of course enlists the help of his best friend Jonah who is brilliant, ADHD and OCD. They do succeed in uncovering the gang’s plan and stopping a robbery. Improbable? You bet. But kids won’t care. I certainly didn’t. The characters are well drawn and, except for the genius element, act like real 11 year old boys. The parents are happily married, effective and caring. The grumpy detective in charge of the case is distinctly unhappy to be putting a kid in danger and does his professional best to keep Eddie Redd from getting into trouble. When Eddie screws up, he does get into trouble. A good read and a lot of fun.
Blake Griffin
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Fishman, Jon M
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 05, 2015
Garrard, Thom
Basketball star Blake Griffin is featured in this biography from Lerner’s Amazing Athletes series. Growing up, he was close to his older brother but always felt he was a step behind. He was homeschooled by his mother until he entered the high school where his dad coached and his brother was the star player. When his brother graduated, Blake became a flashy dunker and led the team to another pair of state championships. He followed his brother to college at Oklahoma where he helped the team improve in each of his two years and won College Player of the Year honors as a sophomore. Picked first in the NBA draft by the L.A. Clippers, he missed a year with an injury, but came back strong the next year and won the Rookie of the Year award. For each of his four seasons as a pro, he has made the All Star team, while averaging about 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. Plenty of action photographs and small sidebars keep the text manageable. Information on his pro career is a bit sparse, except for the one game described in the opening chapter. 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.
Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide To Making Money
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Greenwald, Tommy
Coovert, J. P.
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 06, 2015
Dame, Anne
When Charlie Joe Jackson decides that he needs to make some money in order to buy the newest hot gadget, he looks for ways to make the most money with the least amount of work. Of course nothing goes as he had hoped, and trouble is quick to find him with each successive scheme. Fans of the series will enjoy this latest tale. Great read-alike for Wimpy Kid enthusiasts.
Boston Breakout
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Macgregor, Roy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 06, 2015
Dame, Anne
The Screech Owls hockey team has been invited to play in a summer tournament in Boston. Although they typically don't compete during the summer so the players can pursue other interests, their coach decides that Boston holds many educational opportunities that they should not miss. Lots of hockey action plus an environmental mystery involving the Boston aquarium make this a fun read.
Dr. Frankenstein's Daughters
Scholastic, Inc. [Scholastic, Inc.]
Weyn, Suzanne
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 06, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 820 Hi/Lo In 1815 17-year-old- twins Gisselle and Ingrid receive a surprise from an uncle they didn’t know they had. He reveals that they are the proud owners of Castle Frankenstein on the Orkney Island of Gairsay, and inheritance from their father Victor. The girls are identical twins that are as different as they can be. Giselle is stylish, interested in being a Baroness and it’s social obligations; Ingrid is a scientist, studious, interested in her father’s notebooks and drawn to the work of Volta with whom she has studied. As Giselle prepares for a lavish party befitting a baroness and Ingrid immerses herself in the study of electroacupuncture and replacement of limbs in order to help a moody, wounded naval officer living next door, a series of grisly murders occur. Is it the Monster come to wreck revenge on Victor’s children as he did on Victor’s friends and relations? Is it Ingrid’s dabbling? The book climaxes at the gala attended by the musical, social and scientific notables including Lord Byron, Percy and Mary Shelley. No one is safe and the twist and turns of the plot are worthy of Mary Shelley’s imagination.
You Wouldn't Want To Live Without Books
Franklin Watts [Franklin Watts]
Woolf, Alex
Antram, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 06, 2015
Dame, Anne
One cannot deny the appeal of these colorful, humorously illustrated series. This newest addition to the series addresses the ideas of print, writing, books, and the progress of them through the ages. Starting with carving on stone to picture writing on clay tablets and all the way up to today's e-readers, each era is covered. I think that reluctant and struggling readers will be drawn to these books, but will have difficulty with the wide variety of text features and asides on each page.
Bill Gates
21st Century [21st Century]
GREEN, SARA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 06, 2015
Dame, Anne
While one could write a much more extensive biography about Bill Gates, this 24 page book does quite a comprehensive overview. There are numerous photographs of Bill throughout his life as well as a timeline, a resume, glossary, and a limited list of additional resources. The text is informative and engaging. This is a good foundation for research or basic information.
Foods of China
BELLWETHER MEDIA [BELLWETHER MEDIA]
VeLure Roholt, Christine
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
January 06, 2015
Dame, Anne
This cookbook is part of the Cook With Me series featuring many different countries and their cuisine. This one is all about China and Chinese food. Before any recipes are given, there is quite a bit of information about China, it's geography, and it's varied culture and traditions. There are also safety reminders. Although the number of recipes is quite limited (4 recipes), the ones they have vary in the amount of preparation and ingredients needed. However, all of them definitely require adult help and supervision. There is a glossary in the back as well as a very limited list of additional resources. A colorful and attractive addition to a cooking collection.
Special Forces Operator
BELLWETHER MEDIA [BELLWETHER MEDIA]
Bowman, Chris
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 06, 2015
Dame, Anne
As part of the Dangerous Jobs series, this informational text contains many full-color photographs of special forces in operation. The text is fairly sparse and filled with technical terms. These terms are bolded and defined in the glossary. However, it is difficult to determine the meaning of these from context because of the limited verbiage. A limited list of additional resources is available at the back of the book. It is a good way to stir interest in this topic, but it is not extensive in it's information.
Glass Voice
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Snowe, Olivia
Lamoreaux, Michelle
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 07, 2015
Dame, Anne
A re-telling of Cinderella but Chantella has a beautiful singing voice, clear as glass, rather than a glass slipper in this modern day version of the classic fairy tale. Interspersed with black, white and red illustrations, this is a quick and fun read. In the back of the book are suggestions for writing your own fractured fairy tale.
Armadillo In Paris
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Kraulis, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 07, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
It is an unlikely scenario, but if you can suspend your disbelief and immerse yourself in the beautiful illustrations, you might really enjoy this book! Julie Kraulis, the author and illustrator, clearly has a passion for the lovely city of Paris. She has created Arlo, an armadillo from Brazil, who is traveling the world following the journals of his grandfather, Augustin. An armadillo has never looked so handsome nor been so charming in all of literature. Arlo is lovingly crafted, all nine plates of him. He sports a scarf in the French colors, he carries a passport, a toothbrush, a camera, and an umbrella. On every other page, a segment of Augustin's journal is shown, along with a passage about Arlo's search for the Dame de Fer (clues are given along the way to Arlo, who sees other tourist sites along the way). When finally Arlo reaches the Eiffel Tower, the reader has learned much about its history and grandeur. This looks to be the first in a series, since the author mentions that Augustin wrote many travel journals for his grandson to use. I will purchase this book, not only for its story, but mostly for its captivating artwork.
Captain Beastlie's Pirate Party
NOSY CROW [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Coats, Lucy
Mould, Chris
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 07, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
There is nothing more fun than a pirate party, matey, and Captain Beastlie knows how to build the anticipation for his big hoohaw! There is an abundance of alliteration, numerous counting phrases, practice with days of the week, plenty of real pirate talk, and opportunities to break out into song. Beastlie has his conflicts: he stinks and everyone wants him to take a bath. A bath he takes, only to eat his birthday cake and have it spill all down the front of his brand new suit. Problems ahoy! This book is good fun, and I know from experience of reading it to first grade classes that children love it and laugh out loud at the words and colorful active pictures.
Rapunzel Stories Around The World : 3 Beloved Tales
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Meister, Cari
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 07, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Picture Window Books has published a series of fairy tales from around the world (Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and Cinderella), and this is one such title. The book is 32 pages long and each Rapunzel tale is 8 to 10 pages in length. The tales in this collection are from Germany, the Philippines, and Italy (I do not know why they selected these countries and I could not find the provenance of the stories). The German and Philippine tales vary greatly from the original Grimm tale, and are very interesting to use in classroom discussions comparing the three tales and talking about cultural differences. Each tale has a different illustrator. The illustrations are a bit too Disney for me in the German and Italian tale, but the students liked them (the girls are all beautiful and the boys are handsome). The Philippine tale's art is exquisite! Features that I appreciate about this book are: it has a glossary, a Read More list, an Internet Sites list (the sites were so-so), a Critical Thinking Using the Common Core section, and writing prompts. I will purchase this for my library because it is useful for teachers and a good learning experience for children.
Nanny X
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Rosenberg, Madelyn
Donnelly, Karen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The new nanny is different. There's no doubt about that. Ali, Jake, and baby Eliza weren't expecting Mary Poppins, but THIS? It turns out she's actually a government agent and the diaper bag she carries contains a plethora of secret devices--exploding diapers, stinkbomb pacifiers, etc.--that help her in her job. Soon the kids are caught up in a coconut attack, the potential razing of the local park for a factory, a tribe of errant monkeys, and an evil villain who must be stopped. Nobody ever told them that being watched over could be so dangerous! This is a fun story with a solid thread of humor woven through it.
But!
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Hamilton, Tim
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
A simple, but dreaded, errand for an aunt goes awry when one of the chores a young boy has to do involves preparing a party for pirates. This includes finding an appropriate pirate gift BUT that's hard when you didn't get much advance notice. A set of socks will have to do BUT it turns out the pirate has a peg leg. He's going to be insulted by the gift. All could end badly BUT the boy is a quick thinker. The story dodges from one problem to another with whacky illustrations and ridiculous notions. Absurd silliness abounds.
Eternity
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
De La Pena, Matt
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Whoops! I picked this up, only to realize that I'd already reviewed it, so it's a duplicate. Here's my previous review: 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...
Mia's Thumb
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Stille, Ljuba
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Mia sucks her thumb. It's a habit that gives her comfort and helps her cope. Her parents, brother, and grandfather try to get her to stop. It's embarrassing! Nothing works. Then Grandma starts sucking HER thumb! Nobody can make her stop either. Mia is mortified by her grandmother, but what are you going to do? This German import features patterned collage illustrations that sometimes lack definition due to their dark tones and similar colors. The book offers a humorous twist on the thumb-sucking issue, but may not have general appeal to other audiences.
Flashpoint
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Korman, Gordon
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The series is called "Unstoppable" and I just wish they would stop. The Cahills are back again in another 39 Clues book. Yes, another one. This new series is again written by a variety of high quality authors and this is book #4 in the series. In the first series of multiple books Amy and Dan Cahill joined in a deadly scavenger hunt to find the ingredients to a secret formula that could, literally, change the world. Then in "Cahills vs. Vespers" they were stealing things to save lives. In this new series the formula is out there, a pompous and shady politico has it, and now they have to figure out how to stop him, and the formula, before he ruins the world. The formula enhances abilities, but burns out the user and Amy has taken it. Now they are tracking down the ingredients to the remedy, and need to do it before Amy expires, and find a way to administer it to the man who would be president. World travel, allies, villains, and danger abound. Supposedly this is the last book in this series, but the last of the Cahills? I doubt it.
First Descent
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Withers, Pam
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Rex is obsessive about kayaking, hoping to finally win his grandfather's approval. That's why he wants to complete a kayaking journey his grandfather made many years ago, in Colombia, doing a first descent down the Furioso River. His singular focus makes him ignore warning signs about safety in the region, but the indigenous people know. Myriam has dreams of going to university, becoming a journalist, and exposing the paramilitaries, guerillas, and Colombian military, all of whom seem to feast on the bones of her people. The money she gets from guiding Rex may get her there...or save her family. Then things go south...fast. A vacation turns into a fight for life. Readers' muscles will twitch with each dip of the paddle, and each shot fired. This is a taut, fast-paced look at another culture and the issues that affect it.
Name Of The Blade
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Marriott, Zoe
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 08, 2015
Dame, Anne
Mio is a 15-year-old Japanese-American girl whose grandfather has made great efforts to tell her traditional Japanese folk tales and ensure that she learns martial arts as she is growing up. Before he dies, he shows an ancient katana (sword) hidden in their attic and says that one day it will be hers. Mio can't stop thinking about the sword and why it is secretly kept in the attic. She decides to wear it as part of her costume - and when she does, she unleashes an unexpected dark magic. Lots of action, adventure, and magic as well as a little romance. Love the diversity of characters and the positive emphasis on Japanese culture. First book in a trilogy.
Rupert Can Dance
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Feiffer, Jules
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 09, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Mandy loves to dance. She dances every waking hour. What Mandy doesn't know is that her cat, Rupert, also has the dancing bug. At night he slips on her dancing slippers and soft-shoes his way around the room, leaping and twirling. It is his secret and, as everyone knows, cats love secrets. When Mandy wakes to discover her pet's talent she immediately offers advice. This sends Rupert under the bed and he abandons his muse. Upon reflection Mandy understands and begins to ask for HIS advice about dancing. That's the key to unlocking a partnership. Feiffer's gently humorous story is accompanied by his typical big, splashy illustrations, filled with movement and emotion. The book is big enough for sharing and truly expresses the joy of doing what you love to do.
When I Grow Up : Benjamin Franklin
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Anderson, Annmarie
Kelley, Gerald
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 09, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Told in the first person, in a casually friendly manner, this is a brief Level 3 reader about the life of Benjamin Franklin. Readers follow along as he works for his brother, then for himself, then for the American people. The amazing contributions of this Renaissance man cannot be overemphasized, though this format allows only for brief mention of some of them. Illustrations, as well as historical paintings, accompany the crisp and interesting text. A timeline and glossary round off the book. This is a well-written biography that would make a good read-aloud, once you explained that, despite the first person approach, this is NOT an autobiography. The review copy was a paperback. Get it prebound for library collections.
Jamie Bestwick
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 09, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Extreme Sports Stars" series, this well-bound 32-page book is filled with double-page action shots, vivid splashes of fact boxes, and a simple, easy-to-read, overview of BMX champion, Jamie Bestwick. Readers learn about his training, his career, and some of his signature moves. The fact that he is still doing this "young man's sport" in his 40's is both inspiring and scary. Young BMX enthusiasts will love the cool information and eye-catching graphics. A glossary, index, and short timeline are included. If you have BMX fans they will enjoy this book.
Biggety Bat : Hot Diggety, It's Biggety!
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Ingalls, Ann
Zenz, Aaron
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 09, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Biggety Bat is flying about at night, seeing other animals that have friends. Poor Biggety! Where are friends for him? He sees egrets, crickets, mockingbirds and more. Each has a friend but Biggety is still alone. Finally he is invited to play by some raccoon kits and Biggety is happy. Colorful illustrations with clean simple lines accompany this Level 1 Reader. The text has occasional rhymes that add a repetitive lilt. While not all of the featured animals would be considered nocturnal, that's not really the point here. This would be a good choice for a beginning reader.
Amulet : 6 : Escape From Lucien
GRAPHIX [GRAPHIX]
Kibuishi, Kazu
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 09, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
In book #6 in the ever popular "Amulet" graphic novel series, Emily and her brother, Navin, must split up. Each has a mission essential to the goals of those who are battling the evil Elf King. Emily travels to the kingdom of the elves, where she may be the only one who can save Max. Navin and his companions go to the city of Lucien. There is a treasure there that is essential to their mission, but the entire city may be a deadly trap. Each must make choices based on morals, rather than expediency. Sacrifices must be made, and the battle is not yet over. The artwork by Kibuishi is exquisite, as always. The story lines are a tad convoluted, but that's what readers expect as the author weaves different threads together to create a whole. This will leave young readers anxious for book #7.
Up For Sale : Human Trafficking And Modern Slavery
TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS [TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS]
Behnke, Alison Marie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 09, 2015
Dame, Anne
"Short, well-designed focus on all types of modern day enslavement. An excellent resource for global issues work." (Chris Gustafson) Includes many photographs, quotes from victims, and other text features.
How And Why Do Animals Change?
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Kalman, Bobbie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
You can depend on Bobbie Kalman to provide good, solid nonfiction. This book focuses on animal changes. The author spends some time on changes that come through life cycles, seasonal changes, and complete and incomplete metamorphosis. Bright color photographs accompany the text and readers will also find a bibliography, glossary, and index. Granted, in 24 pages the coverage is, of necessity, brief. Still, it's a nice overview and would be a good browsing book.
Edgy Equations : One-Variable Equations
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Arias, Lisa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Got Math" series, this sturdy 32-page book tries to make equations cool. I don't know about "cool," but the author does manage to clearly and succinctly explain that step in equations when you move from math to algebra as you introduce variables. The rules are laid out and key concepts are introduced. The author walks readers step-by-step through the process of solving equations for variables, and then checking their work. Inverse operations, fractions, decimals, reciprocals and even bar diagrams are presented. Yes, the attempt to force the occasional rhyme out of the text is annoying, but the information is solid. Students who are having a problem with these concepts would find this book a valuable resource.
Military Vehicles
Scholastic Reference [Scholastic Reference]
Wesley, Jack
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
January 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Cool, cool, and once again...cool. This Level 2, 32-page, Scholastic nonfiction reader is going to fly off the shelf. It presents young readers with information about all kinds of military vehicles--land, air, and sea--at an easy reading level, but the high interest content will draw in readers of all ages. This doesn't just limit itself to tanks and aircraft carriers. Readers will learn about Wolverine, BigDog (totally amazing), and hovercrafts. Crisp photographs abound and fact boxes provide further information about speed and crew. Specific parts of these different vehicles are highlighted. The book includes a glossary and index. It was all quite fascinating. However, the review copy was a paperback. Get it prebound or you'll constantly have to replace it. At least prebound you won't have to replace it as often!
Hot Rod Hamster And The Wacky Whatever Race!
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Lord, Cynthia
Paprocki, Greg
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Hot Rod Hamster is back in an easy paperback Level 2 reader. This time our drag-racer is entering a race where contestants must build their vehicles from boxes, and no engines are allowed. With help, he builds a classy car. A friendly competition follows, but when his car stops before the finish line what can he do? He finds a creative solution that reminds readers that he is, indeed, a hamster. Bright colorful illustrations accompany the friendly, simple text. Readers are encouraged to join in and guess what choices will be made in creating his race car. The step-by-step process would be a nice sequencing reinforcer for classroom lessons. This is a popular character, and the book is sure to attract readers.
Snow White And The Seven Dogs
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Meister, Cari
Waters, Erica-Jane
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
In this updated version of Snow White, Snow works with her stepmother at the mall. She is tossed out on her ear when the mirror says she is more beautiful. Luckily Snow ends up in a grooming shop with seven dogs. Her stepmother tries to uglify her with a smoothie, but it backfires and all ends well...for Snow White. Color illustrations accompany the text. This is part of the "Flash Forward Fairy Tales" series and offers another compare and contrast option. While not exceptional, it is certainly acceptable.
Busy Butterflies
Scholastic Reference [Scholastic Reference]
Tuchman, Gail
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Bright illustrations accompany color photographs in this easy introduction to butterflies. The Level 1 reader provides information about a butterfly's life cycle, diet, and camouflage. Different types of butterflies are shown. Words are introduced as needed, and fact boxes provide further information. The book includes a weblink to activities, as well as a glossary and index. This is good easy nonfiction, but the review copy was in paperback. Buy it prebound for library use.
Chik Chak Shabbat
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Rockliff, Mara
Brooker, Kyrsten
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Every Friday Goldie Simcha starts a batch of cholent, which gently simmers all day Saturday, spreading its aroma over the apartment building. Goldie's friends join her every Saturday for her Shabbat celebration, sharing in the stew. One Friday, however, Goldie is sick. She cannot make the cholent. Her friends bring dishes from their cultures, which echo the ingredients of the cholent, and Shabbat is celebrated all the same. This is a gently sweet story with a wonderful "rightness". The oil and collage illustrations by Kyrsten Brooker beautifully suit the tone of the book, showing that you can put different things together and end up with something beautiful. Add this to your multicultural collection. A recipe is included for cholent. Looks delicious!
Superfab Saves The Day
Owlkids Books, Inc [Owlkids Books, Inc]
Leroy, Jean
Delaporte, Berengere
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Superfab is a bunny superhero. He likes to fight crime, and he also likes to look good doing it. This creates a problem since, by the time he chooses the right outfit, he's too late to save the day and another superhero has stepped in. Gradually he stops receiving emergency phone calls. Hey, can't a guy look classy AND save the world? Then a villain arrives from space who makes mincemeat of the other superheroes. Only Superfab is left. It is his fashion sense that ends up turning the tables. This silly tale was originally published in French in 2012, and has now been translated. The colored pencil illustrations are soft, and filled with humorous details. This is a different take on the superhero genre.
Anna's Heaven
William B Eerdmans Publishing Co [William B Eerdmans Publishing Co]
Hole, Stian
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This is a surreal journey into the imagination of a girl whose mother has died. She and her father are about to go to the funeral, but Anna, instead, takes her father on a flight of fancy through sea and sky, seeking comfort in this picture book escape from reality. The text is filled with questions that have no easy answers. What might heaven be like? The illustrations are a journey into fantasy, with floating bodies, flying books, careless jungles, and odd perspectives. This is somewhat disturbing and far too detached from the real world to be much comfort to a child dealing with loss. Translated from the Norwegian, one wonders who, exactly, the intended audience is supposed to be.
Daytime Nighttime
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY]
Low, William
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
What do you see during the day? Butterflies, robins, bumblebees, grasshoppers, red-tailed hawks, beavers, rabbits, puppies, and the sun. What do you see at night? Fireflies, bats, owls, frogs, raccoons, teddy bears, and the moon. Basically that's the entire text of the book whose real power lies in the big, beautiful oil illustrations by William Low. The illustrations are actually better seen from a distance, making this a good choice for preschool story times. It would also be a good bedtime book. Unfortunately the binding is poor. 6 stitches? Really?
Manos
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Hudson, Cheryl Willis
Bourke, John-Francis
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Crisp color photographs accompany very simple text in this Spanish-language celebration of hands. What can they do? They can wave hello, touch, learn things, grab, throw and so much more. Finally, they can wave goodbye. A simple line of text is accompanied by photographs showing young children of many ethnicities, using their hands. This is a joyous delight, that would make a good lap book.
Sea Monster : A Steve And Wessley Reader
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Morris, Jennifer E
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Steve and Wessley, a rat and a bunny, are walking in the park when Steve spots a sea monster in the pond. Wessley assures him that it must simply be a log, that LOOKS like a sea monster. He has many valid arguments to support his opinion. Finally he convinces his friend and they head off. The ducks, however, were perfectly aware that Steve was right all along, and there is a gently humorous ending. Bright cartoon illustrations, and dialogue boxes, abound. This is a fun Level 1 reader, the second in the "Steve & Wessley" series.
Danny
Flying Eye Books [Flying Eye Books]
Le Bec, Gwendal
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
When Danny, a hippopotamus, is getting his teeth cleaned by fish he is horrified to hear there is a big gap in the middle that might cause a lisp. Danny doesn't have a lisp, but he goes to his friend Steve the snake, and Steve's friends. They all have lisps so they are hardly the ones to consult in the matter. Deeply concerned, Danny heads to the city to see a dentist about braces. The braces do, indeed, give him a lisp, but he is now happy to have taken care of a problem that never existed in the first place. So happy, in fact, that he recommends the dentist to a crocodile, who eats him. (After all, it's his nature.) The crocodile goes on to become a dentist and if a patient or two disappear now and then well, that's only to be expected. Originally published in England, this book is delightful, with hilarious illustrations and a tongue-in-cheek humor that will set adults giggling. It begs to be read aloud, because the lisping is a hoot. However, if you have a child in your audience who actually HAS a lisp this would be horrifically insensitive. Sensitivity vs. funny...what to do, what to do?
Making Contact! : Marconi Goes Wireless
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Kulling, Monica
Rudnicki, Richard
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 10, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Canadian author, Monica Kulling, has selected six lesser known inventors for her Great Idea picture book biography series. Guglielmo Marconi, born in Italy in 1874, was the first person to use radio waves to send messages wirelessly over long distances. His childhood interest in science and desire to emulate Benjamin Franklin fueled his curiosity and perseverance leading him to take the current technology of the telegraph and mate with the recent understanding of radio waves. The general biography presents only an overview of the success of the invention process without discussing the science and mechanism, but young readers will follow Marconi’s process from idea to patent and sending signals across the Atlantic Ocean. A beginning poem, Radio Days, alludes to the impact of wireless transmission but without making the connection to Marconi’s invention explicit. Unfortunately, only one use of this invention, the Titanic’s last telegraph leading to rescue efforts, is mentioned. Large colorful illustrations reflect the historical time period and location and will be suitable for read-aloud audiences. Additional resources would help fill in details but still, this is a solid picture book biography about a little known inventor.
Pequeno Zoologico
Scholastic En Espanol [Scholastic En Espanol]
Tuchman, Gail
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 11, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Originally published in English as Petting Zoo, this paperback is appealing to beginning readers with easy text, many animal photographs, and basic interesting facts. Nine animals that might be found at a petting zoo are included from chickens and cows to alpacas and goats. There are no chapters, but each animal has two or four pages full of photographs that are sometimes labeled and sometimes just background and a few facts to go with the photographs. Guinea pigs are featured on the cover and introduced with the other animals, but have no pages of information. A glossary and index are included, as well as a link to a digital ebook with activities to go with the book. It is a level 1 reader.
Delfines
Scholastic En Espanol [Scholastic En Espanol]
Arlon, Penelope
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 11, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Young readers will love this Spanish language book on dolphins for browsing and also for research. It covers dolphins in general and points out that there are 42 types of dolphins. Thirteen topics are covered in two-page chapters such as living in groups, life cycle, food, playing, communication, and interactions with humans. Each appealing two-page spread is full of interesting large and small captioned photographs that give much more information than the one or two sentences of text. Several dolphins are featured with each topic, but two of the most unusual have their own chapter – pink dolphins of the Amazon and orcas. An index and glossary are included as well as a link to a digital ebook with activities and information to go with the book. The pages are of shiny sturdy stock and will withstand many readings. It was originally published in English as Dolphins.
Spic-And-Span! : Lillian Gilbreth's Wonder Kitchen
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Kulling, Monica
Parkins, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 11, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Lillian Gilbreth strongly influenced our modern kitchen design, the field of ergonomics and several practical household inventions, yet most of us have never heard of her. Lillian and her husband were “efficiency experts,” reorganizing workplaces and factories using new techniques such as filming workers doing their jobs. Managing worker comfort and efficiency extended to their household with 11 children. Although known for her career as an industrial engineer, psychologist, and inventor, Lillian felt her most important work was as a mother, raising and supporting 11 children after her husband died young. Constant chaos in her own kitchen led her to design a circular kitchen, placing work surfaces, appliances, and appliances within steps of each other. Other contributions included the invention of an electric mixer, compartments in refrigerators, and the pedal to open trashcans. Libraries with Maker Spaces will find this picture book biography about Lillian an excellent example of how everyday inconveniences spark inventions to solve the problem. Lillian was the subject of two movies, the first woman elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and featured on a U.S. postage stamp. Unusual subject for a picture book biography.
Hold Tight, Don't Let Go
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
Wagner, Laura Rose
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 11, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This debut novel is by a young woman who lived in Haiti from 2009-2012 and survived the devastating earthquake. Magdalie is 15 years old and an aspiring writer when the earthquake hits Port-au-Prince January 12, 2010. She loses the aunt who’d raised her with her own daughter Nadine. Amidst the rubble where they’d lived in the basement of a wealthy woman Maman served they are rescued by their uncle and live with him in a tent city. The life they had known is gone. They are not able to afford school, and eventually Nadine is sent for by her long absent father in Miami with the promise that she will send for Magdalie. Magdalie spirals into anger and depression after her departure though she still makes meals for her uncle, is befriended by a pregnant, optimistic girl from the provinces, and tries to earn some money to join Nadine with discouraging results. Her uncle finally takes her to their home village in the mountains that can be a paradise. She finds a family and new beau who is kind, unlike the one who’d almost raped her. But she can’t stay since there is no hope of an education. This recreates an honest sense of what the Haitians endured during and after the earthquake, but ends with hope. (Brief history & glossary)
Whack Of The P-Rex
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Cummings, Troy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
In "The Notebook of Doom" series Alexander, Rip, and Nikki live in a small town with a serious monster problem. Few of the adults seem to notice, however, so the kids are pretty much on their own in finding solutions. In book #5 in the series the town is being threatened by something that leaves giant footprints, piles of candy, and bits of tissue paper. Yes, it's a giant monster Pinata-Rex. The kids are up to their blindfolds, trying to whack the problem before the town is decimated. Can a school assignment save the day? This is another fun, silly adventure with plenty of black and white illustrations and short chapters. It's perfect for transitional or reluctant readers. If you have the rest of the series you'll need this one.
Monkey Me And The School Ghost
Branches [Branches]
Roland, Timothy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Clyde and his twin sister, Claudia, share a secret. Due to an accident at the museum Clydenow changes into a monkey when he gets over-excited which, for this hyper kid, is all too frequent. The monkey causes mayhem, but he can usually change back by calming down. In this, the fourth book in this easy chapter series, his ability to change back to a human boy is being compromised. Will he stay a monkey forever? That's not the only problem, however. There's a bully, and a Halloween party with costumes, and a thief. How can Clyde and Claudia make sure justice is done? Short chapters and lots of black and white illustrations, including graphic novel segments when Clyde turns into a monkey, make this a good choice for transitioning or reluctant readers. The series is fun, if lightweight, and very popular.
Challenger Explosion
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Baxter, Roberta
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The Challenger disaster was a turning point in the American space program. This book, part of the "History's Greatest Disasters" series, provides readers with the history behind the space program, the actual disaster itself, and its aftermath. Each chapter contains common core questions and links for extension. There's a glossary, bibliography, and index. Despite the subject matter, the book is rather dry, failing to personalize the disaster, or really focus on the people it affected. It is suitable for report-writing, but more compelling accounts are available.
Ten Of The Best Ghost Stories
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
West, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Sometimes teachers or students just want a quick overview of a story. This series serves that need. The "Ten of the Best" series consists of large format 24-page paperback books. Each contains a synopsis of 10 classic stories from a variety of cultures, based on the subject of the book. This one has ghost stories from ancient Greece, Japan, England, Ireland, the United States, and Native American tales. Each story is covered in two pages, with compelling illustrations. While not extraordinary retellings, these concisely cover the basics, and include a little information about the story and its origins. A short index and glossary are included. This meets that constant need for a book of "scary stories." Libraries will want these paperbacks prebound.
Ten Of The Best Prince And Princess Stories
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
West, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Sometimes teachers just want a quick overview of a story. Two pages to rescue their students from cultural illiteracy. This series serves that need. The "Ten of the Best" series consists of large format 24-page paperback books. Each contains a synopsis of 10 classic stories from a variety of cultures, based on the subject of the book. This one has fairy tales. The Lake Princess, Little Briar Rose, Rhodopis, Andromeda, Princess of the Mist, The Frog Prince, Princess and the Pea, Snow White, Princess Savitri, and Rapunzel are included in this collection. While not extraordinary retellings, these concisely cover the basics, and include a little information about the story and its origins. A short index and glossary are included. Libraries will want these paperbacks prebound.
Ocean Adventure
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Carson, Mary Kay
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
While based on the "Magic School Bus" series, neither the original author nor illustrator were involved in this nonfiction product. In 30 paperback pages Ms. Frizzle takes the class into the ocean where they view lots of interesting stuff. This is exactly as advertised--an ocean adventure. There's a bit of this and a bit of that, but never enough information for a report, or quite enough to satisfy an interested reader. It's like seeing Europe in 3 days from the window of a Eurail train. Good for casual browsing, with its many photographs, the subject is too large and the format too small to make this a worthwhile resource for anything more scholastic.
Slimy Spawn And Other Gruesome Life Cycles
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Taylor, Barbara
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Mammals, marsupials, reptiles, fish, crustaceans, birds, ampibians, insects, spiders and more - they all have life cycles. This book focuses on the concept, showing the life cycles of different animals, accompanied by plenty of bright fact boxes, photographs, and interesting icky information. This is a potpourri of odds and ends, all circling around the life cycle concept. It includes an index, glossary, and website list. This 32 page book would be fun for reports or casually browsing with just enough of the gross factor to drag in reluctant readers. The review copy is paperback. You'd need to get it prebound for library use.
Fossils
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Vanvoorst, Jenny Fretlan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 11, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
"Fossils" is one of nine books in the series "Rocks and Minerals" by Abdo. Many kids interests in science have been sparked by cool fossils, and this book may provide enough photographs, informative text, and resources to provide an accessible bridge to the study of paleontology. While not nearly as memorable as inspiring as holding a 3 million year old human skull or standing beside a 3.5 billion year old stromatolite; it still is a fine additional purchase for school libraries able to add the complete set of "Rocks and Minerals" for updates to CCSS aligned non-fiction. The book and series make multiple attempts at Core alignment such as more precise analytical questions in captions to infographics and primary source materials. Whether the reader or teacher finds these of high interest and value, the effort is adding a layer of value to this latest presentation of a core science topic. Though two of the 5 weblinks at www.mycorelibrary.com/fossils/ point to the same site, they are generally high quality age and reading level appropriate resources that convieniently add to the value of this sturdy little 48 page book. Lucky libraries can make this additional purchase; smart librarians will share a few inexpensive fossils too!
Sedimentary Rocks
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Hirsch, Rebecca
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 11, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Sedimentary Rocks is one of 9 rock solid titles in the "Rocks and Minerals" core library collection from ABDO. Clear and relevant photographic illustrations, concise text, interesting highlighted text features and substantial-and valuable-related weblinks make this an excellent addition or update to earth science collections. Chapter 1 gives an overview that connects to other rock types and the study of geology. Chapter two discusses classification of sedimentary rocks. Ch apter 3 handles cave formation and features. Chapter four shows the role of sedimentary rocks in understanding geologic chronology and the earth's history. A few "try this" activities and questions are deposited at the end before a glossary, "learn more" and index conclude the sequence. Links in www.mycorelibrary.com/sedimentary-rocks are genuinely useful, with only one from a shale-resource development association hinting at the valuable natural resources that attract so much financial interest in these layers of rocks laid down eons ago. Highly recommended addition for elementary.
Ranas Fantasticas
Scholastic En Espanol [Scholastic En Espanol]
Arlon, Penelope
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 11, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
The basics of frogs in general are explained in this appealing Spanish language nonfiction book. It covers what frogs eat, physical features, how they keep safe, life cycle, and how they are in danger. Each two-page spread is full of photographs of different that are labeled or captioned with an interesting background and often an extra illustrated fact at the bottom. Toads are mentioned but there is no explanation of the difference between a frog and a toad. There is enough information to do a simple report as long as the topic is frogs in general and not a specific frog. A glossary and index are included as well as a link to a digital ebook in Spanish with activities and information to go with the book. It is a level 2 book and worth buying in hardcover. It was originally published in English as Fantastic Frogs.
Antiguo Egipto
Scholastic En Espanol [Scholastic En Espanol]
Arlon, Penelope
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 12, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This Spanish language version of Ancient Egypt will appeal to students who are fascinated by the topic as well as ones who need to do research as long as they do not need much detail. The book is divided into three sections covering the discovery of ancient Egypt, daily life, and the afterlife. Each section has several two-page spreads or mini chapters on different aspects of the topic. The section on daily life is the largest and covers topics such as the temples of Karnak, writing, Hatshepsut, and gods and goddesses. Each two-page spread is attractively laid out with many photographs or illustrations as insets or background. There aren’t long paragraphs of text, but rather long captions or illustrated fact boxes. A glossary and index are included as well as a link to digital ebook that can be downloaded in PDF form. It is worth purchasing in hardcover if possible if you have students interested in ancient Egypt. It is part of the Scholastic Discover More series.
Puedo Probarlo! : La Investigacion Cientifica
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Hicks, Kelli
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 12, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This book covers the basics of the scientific method and could be used by a student in preparation for a scientific experiment and presentation. The first two short chapters introduce the scientific method including a diagram of it and the next six chapters focus on each step in the process in one or two pages. For example, the chapter on testing the hypothesis is two pages with two paragraphs of text about the step in general and an example experiment and graph about plant growth and watering showing the testing of the hypothesis. This is a general overview of the scientific process, but it would help a student understand the process with clear explanations and examples. An index, glossary, and list of three web sites for more information are included. It is part of the Mi biblioteca de ciencias series.
Como Funcionan Los Ecosistemas
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Lundgren, Julie K
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 12, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This book briefly describes how ecosystems work in three chapters of just six pages each. Several topics are generally introduced such as habitats, food webs between animals and plants, ecological balance, and threats to ecosystems. Each chapter includes a few paragraphs of text, photographs that are usually labeled or captioned, and occasional map or diagram. A glossary, brief index, and three web sites for more information are included. It is part of the Mi biblioteca de ciencias series.
COOL ENGINEERING ACTIVITIES FOR GIRLS
SNAP BOOKS [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
SCHWARTZ, HEATHER E
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 12, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
The text introduces engineering, what it is, how engineering has and does impact our world, that appeals to girls. The 10 simple child centered activities in this volume have several that would appeal to all students but most of them are aimed at girls as appropriate for the title. Each experiment is presented on a two to three page spread, containing step by step written instructions, illustration of each step and an “Insider Info” section the explains the hows, whys, scientific concept or real world use. Clearly written directions, simple language, clear photographs of each step numbered to match the written directions makes this a valuable asset to any engineering section of the library. Even if girls are not interest in science they may enjoy activities such as “New Jewelry for Old CDs, Tie-Dyed Engineering, or S’mores from the Sun” learning that science is a part of our lives in ways they are not aware of. The binding is excellent but the paper on board cover will were quickly.
I Survived The Destruction Of Pompeii, A.d.79
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Tarshis, Lauren
Dawson, Scott
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
In the "I Survived" series Lauren Tarshis researches major disasters and then writes a story that puts believable characters directly in the path of destruction. Reading the story gives readers information about the time and place, as well as providing a compelling story about a major historic event. This story takes place in Pompeii. Marcus is a poorly-treated house slave, sold away from his scholarly father. When he sees his father in a gladiator parade, soon to be fodder for the arena, he determines to save him. An audacious plan is quickly formed and executed and they escape onto the mountain, but strange things are happening there. His father realizes the city is in danger and they must warn the people, putting themselves at risk. This is another fast-paced adventure with likeable, believable characters. The end papers contain additional information. This is a popular series, and for good reason.
Como Puedo Experimentar Con... La Luz?
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Dalton, Cindy Devine
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This Spanish-language "How Can I Experiment With..." book provides solid and interesting information on light. The importance of light in our world is emphasized, and its key role in vision is presented. Readers learn about light waves, the spectrum, and prisms. Questions and answers about light are presented clearly. Crisp color photographs accompany the clear informative text. An index and glossary are included, but the Internet site list leads to English-language sites. Still, this is a solid Spanish-language nonfiction book for collections that need such materials.
Como Puedo Experimentar Con La Fuerza Y El Movimento?
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Dalton, Cindy Devine
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This Spanish-language entry in the "How Can I Experiment With..." series focuses on force and motion. Force, motion, and work are defined. Readers then learn about simple machines and complex machines and how they are designed to help us simplify work. Simple machines are clearly defined and examples are given. A simple experiment is included, as well as a page of information about Sir Isaac Newton. The book includes an index, glossary, and internet site list, which leads to English-language sites. Crisp artwork and photographs accompany the text. This is a solid entry in the series and would be valuable for those libraries needing Spanish-language nonfiction.
Neighborhood Sharks : Hunting With The Great Whites Of Calif
David Macaulay Studio [David Macaulay Studio]
Roy, Katherine
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
January 13, 2015
Shirts, Brooke
There are few predators more fearsome than the great white shark, but some people love them, including author/illustrator Katherine Roy. In this wonderful title, Roy focuses on the white sharks of the Farallons, a protected group of islands 30 miles from San Francisco. With its protected shoreline and abundant wildlife (especially seals and sea lions) the Farallon Islands are the perfect place to study the sharks as they arrive for their autumn feeding. The book begins with an anatomy of a shark attack, detailing the specific anatomical features (such as high-definition binocular vision and projectile jaws) that make great whites such devastating hunters. Afterwards, we follow another shark attack -- only to learn that the "prey" is a decoy used by scientists to lure sharks for study. A brief account follows of how scientists study sharks and what they know about them. While the information presented in the book is engaging and well-researched (there is an excellent author's note, source list, and bibliography in the back), the real highlight here are Roy's powerful watercolors of the sharks as they dive, hunt, and crash through the waves. Large, impressionistic strokes create pitch-perfect tension and movement. Thrilling.
Finding Bigfoot : Everything You Need To Know
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Brockenbrough, Martha
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 13, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Are you a believer? If so, this is the book for you. This thick paperback book is based on Finding Bigfoot from Animal Planet. Is there really such a thing as bigfoot? The book argues for the scientific method and tries really hard to be unbiased...failing rather spectacularly. That won't matter to enthusiasts. This is a potpourri of information. Readers learn about cryptids, and animals that have recently been discovered. Arguments for and against the existence of bigfoot are presented, but scattered throughout all the information are short narratives of bigfoot encounters. The book looks at the evidence--both historical and modern. It examines the issues of diet, anatomy, habitat, and intelligence. Readers learn about places where you might find a bigfoot, ways you might trap one, and what science says about the footprints which have been discovered. Blatant frauds are highlighted. Bigfoot experts are featured. The further you go into the book the more it caters to bigfoot enthusiasts. The book includes an index. I would have appreciated captions for ALL photographs. Real? Fake? It hardly matters. This will be a popular book.
Roc And Roe's Twelve Days Of Christmas
ORCHARD BOOKS [ORCHARD BOOKS]
Cannon, Nick
Ford, A G
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 14, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
The end sheet has a photo of Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey’s twins (“DemBabies”), Moroccan and Monroe AKA Roc & Roe, along with their famous parents introducing the reason behind this offering. The book then takes the cumulative song Twelve Days of Christmas with no music attached and creates new lyrics that sometimes match the beat and other times prove a mouthful. It begins, “On the first day of Christmas, Roc and Roe put on their Christmas tree an angel with sparkly, shiny wings.” It then continues with the twins decorating their tree with “two singing Santas”, “three ‘pip’ photos” (What does pip mean? My students didn’t know.), “four skiing snowmen”, and “FIVE GOLDEN BELLS” on up to “twelve chugging choo-choos”. This could be fun, or an additional purchase, but probably more for home use with families sharing the song. The illustrations are colorful, and the tree is fully decorated by the end.
I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Dreidel
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS]
Yacowitz, Caryn
Slonim, David
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 14, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This familiar cumulative rhyme/tune has been redone once again, but with an odd twist. It combines the lyrics geared for a Chanukah celebration with revamped classic artwork. The title page sets the stage with a picture of a grandmotherly Mona Lisa with a dreidel beside her. The story then begins wordlessly for two pages depicting a a family arriving at Grandma’s house bearing a menorah. When Grandma serves bagels (unbeknownst to her the cat has dropped a dreidel into the cream cheese) and thus begins this version of the song, “I know an old lady who swallowed a dreidel, A Chanukah dreidel she thought was a bagel…Perhaps it’s fatal.” Then follow a bucket load of remedies from “oil, bout ready to boil” to “latkes, hot from the pot-kes!” On and on she tries brisket, gelt, a menorah, and candles until she BURPs. Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World with Grandma in Christina’s place begins the ending that perhaps it wasn’t fatal. The artist converts 14 works of art into fun versions that fit the story. This will obviously appeal more to children familiar with the Chanukah traditions, but could be an interesting new look at famous pieces of art from Andy Warhol’s soup cans to Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night with a menorah.
City Of The Dead
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Anderson, T Neill
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 14, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
On September 8, 1900, a massive hurricane hit Galveston, Texas, sweeping over the island and killing an estimated 8,000 people. It easy qualifies as one of the worst disaster ever to hit the United States. This book looks at the event through the eyes of several individuals, recounting the devastation and those who did and did not survive. While written in a documentary style, with photographs, this is classified as fiction and compelling fiction it is. Readers are immediately drawn in, and can feel the terror of the people involved as the water and wind ripped through the city. Poignant tales of loss and incredible stories of survival show how random fate's hand was that day. Descriptions of dead and mutilated bodies make this inappropriate for elementary schools. The author's research shows, and the epilogue and end notes tells what happened to the main characters and what liberties the author took with history. Both horrifying and gripping, this is a book you can't put down.
Druthers
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Phelan, Matt
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 14, 2015
Jensen, Kathy
It’s raining and raining and raining, and Penelope is so bored she doesn’t know what to do. Her daddy asks, “If you had your druthers, what would you do?” The explanation of the word “druthers” leads Penelope to use her imagination to create fun and exciting adventures. Using toys she has right in her own bedroom, Penelope and her father enjoy playing together as they go to the zoo, ride horses, sail on a pirate ship to the land of dinosaurs, and fly to the moon. Simple ink and watercolor photographs capture Penelope’s mood as she discovers the importance of using her imagination. This lovely short story shows the importance of father/daughter relationships in a fun and light-hearted manner.
Tiny Rabbit's Big Wish
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Engle, Margarita
Walker, David
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 14, 2015
Jensen, Kathy
Newbery-honor winning author, Margarita Engle, brings us a heart-warming tale about accepting yourself the way you are. Soft, acrylic illustrations add just the right amount of sweetness. Tiny rabbit wishes he were tall with leg-sized trees, moon-sized eyes, an elephant’s long nose, and a gigantic mountain-sized tail. As time passes by tiny rabbit does grow, but only a little bit. Disappointed, he starts wishing to be as powerful as a gorilla. Instead of muscles, tiny rabbit grows two long, tall, powerful ears. Ears that help him hear every sound in the forest: rhinos stomping, eagles screeching, frogs trumpeting, thunder booming, branches crashing, and monkeys chattering. His ears are so wonderful that he can even hear leaves rustling, beetle jaws crunching, and butterfly wings flapping. Tiny rabbit learns that his special ears and the ability to jump, thump, and hop quickly help keep him safe from danger. Readers will look at themselves with new eyes, appreciating the capabilities they have and not wish their life away wanting to be like everyone else.
World After An Asteroid Strike
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Woolf, Alex
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
A disaster is coming, we just don't know when and where. Asteroids have hit the earth in the past, and they will again. What will be the impact when the next big one hits? This book posits that a big one hits off the east coast of the United States in 2020. Step by step it walks readers through the consequences--fireballs, blast waves, tsunamis and then the long-term results--impact winter, acid rain, food shortages, and more. Worldwide consequences are examined in an almost documentary style, as if the event had actually happened. This brings a disturbing realism to the concept. A glossary, index, and 2020 timeline of events finishes off the book. Those readers who revel in earth-shaking disasters will grab this book and devour it. Others will find troubling, yet compelling, advice that could be used in case of such a disaster. Clearly preparation is the key, but you can't prepare for everything. This is gripping nonfiction that is sure to find a ready audience.
Ask Amy Green : Wedding Belles
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Webb, Sarah
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 17, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
The last of the Ask Amy Green series, this final episode of the story does not disappoint. Amy's mother is finally marrying her longtime boyfriend, Dave, and the search is on for the perfect wedding dress. Thrown into the mix is the fact that Amy's Aunt Clover, with whom she shares the Ask Amy advice column, is moving to New York City to take up a job that has been offered to her. Also, Seth, Amy's boyfriend, breaks up with Amy; he is going through a rough time since his mother found out that she has cancer. As always with this series, author Sarah Webb keeps the tone light, families and friends functional, the theme pure and simple, the mention of sex and love to a minimum, and the language clean. These books are safe bets for girls who want to read about early teen life, but don't want to be hit over the head with hot and heavy romance or topics.
Drowning
Chicken House [Chicken House]
Ward, Rachel
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 17, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
I started off being intrigued and ended by just wanting the story to be finished. The book opens with Carl, a teen in England, waking up soaking wet at a lakeside with absolutely no memory of who he is, how he arrived there, or what has happened. As it turns out, Carl has drowned his brother, Rob. He did this as a result of trying to stop his brother from killing his (the brother's) girlfriend. Carl's memory slowly returns to him and he is horrified at what he's done. His brother's ghost haunts Carl whenever there is water around (bath time, leaky faucets, rain, lakes, etc.) Carl and Rob's girlfriend, Neisha, fall for each other and it turns out that Carl has always had a thing for her (that was the cause of Rob trying to drown Neisha). The story gets bogged down with Carl repeatedly running away from home (and from his alcoholic mother), water always dripping or coming down, Rob's ghost out for revenge. In the end, there is a big flood in the town and Carl's ghost goes away. His funeral takes place and the story ends. I am not hoping for a sequel.
Mortal Heart
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Lafevers, Robin
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 17, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
This series is one of my favorites for it has all the ingredients for delectable reading: fantasy, adventure, religious overtones, strong female characters, evil villains, romance, and excellent writing! In this last book in the His Fair Assassin trilogy, Annith awaits her call to serve Mortain. When Annith discovers that she is to be the convent's next Seer, that is the last straw. Annith takes it upon herself to leave the convent and serve Mortain on her own. While riding around the countryside, Annith runs into both friends and foes, and they are often not who Annith thought they were originally. The plot is wonderfully rich and complex. Themes of betrayal, family love, loyalty weave through the tale to show Annith gain the independence and strength of character to navigate the world on her own. This last book is a fitting and satisfying conclusion to the series.
Minecraft : Construction Handbook : An Official Mojang Book
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
All ages
January 17, 2015
Gustafson, Chris
All ages isn't quite right, but since this review was dictated to me by my grandson Toby, who has read this book many times, I know it is avidly consumed by seven year olds and is is certainly a hit at my middle school library. Here's what Toby says: "So many creations; palaces, forts and even underground! Learn how to make them from amazing pictures and this tells how to."
Minecraft : Combat Handbook : An Official Mojang Book
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Milton, Stephanie
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
All ages
January 17, 2015
Gustafson, Chris
All ages isn't quite right, but since this review was dictated to me by my grandson Toby, who has read this book many times, I know it is avidly consumed by seven year olds and is is certainly a hit at my middle school library. Here's what Toby says: "This is the best book of all four. It has tips on how to survive the first night and how to kill the Enderdragon. and a monster. I have used it to kill a cow. You have to use a bow and not a sword." The R rating isn't related to literary merit but to the importance of having this in your collection.
Chaco Canyon
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Eboch, Chris
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 17, 2015
Johnson, Carol L.
Chaco Canyon is one of a set of books in the Abdo series "Digging Up the Past." Roughly 1200 years ago,a culture of Ancestral Pueblo Peoples flourished for a few hundred years and then abandoned the site .Topics covered are historic eras, architechture, agriculture, water issues, roads, effects on the environment and the evolution of archaeology. Persons who contributed to research are highlighted. Ample source notes and additional resources are given. Book is filled with color photos, & sketches. Frequent fact boxes appear alongside texts expanding on information. Book includes Contents, Timeline, Glossary, Index, Digging up the Facts topics, Source Notes, More Information addresses and websites. Book is 112pg. with hard cover binding with picture on front. Good resource for studies & reports on Ancient Peoples.
Scandalous Sisterhood Of Prickwillow Place
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Berry, Julie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 17, 2015
Gustafson, Chris
Julie Berry is always worth reading and she is always pushing herself as a writer - so those looking for another "All the Truth That's In Me" will instead be propelled into a delightful Victorian murder mystery. None of the seven girls at an unpleasant finishing school are the least bit sad when their unpleasant headmistress and her odious brother die suddenly in the middle of dinner. Of course they should call the proper authorities, but none wish to return to their less than nurturing homes, so they decide to hide the bodies and try to fend for themselves. Almost immediately the doorbell rings and guests the headmistress has invited to a surprise party for her brother begin to arrive, and the personalities and strengths of each girl is disclosed as they frantically work to keep their secret. A lovely romp.
DARCY
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
SANDERSON, WHITNEY
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 17, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Darcy is a Connemara pony, born on a small farm in Ireland in 1917. While she is still a colt, she witnesses her best horse friend, Ciara, race toward and cliff and tumble over headlong onto the beach below. Darcy is heartbroken, but also learns that being slow and careful is safer than rushing around willy nilly. When Darcy is purchased by another family and is taken away from her mare, Darcy is even sadder and lonelier. In not too long, though, Darcy serves her new family by pulling their little wagon to market and hauling peat from the bog to the house. When the oldest son goes off to fight with the Irish Republican Army, he leaves a hole in Darcy's existence. All too soon, though, he returns, minus one leg. The one activity he can still do is ride a pony and that is how he builds his self-confidence again. By reading this book, one learns all about the fabulously talented and smart Connemara breed. The Horse Diary series is perfect for boys and girls in grades two through four.
Bulldozers
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
January 17, 2015
Johnson, Carol L.
This book would be acceptable for a read aloud for the youngest Pre -K. Twenty-four pages have two sentences on one page with opposing photo of the machine in action. The picture of the "cab" shows a close-up of the driver's arms with the steering wheel and dashboard gears. The close-up of the "tracks" is almost too close but it is distinctive. Simple concepts are conveyed but some terms need better explanation such as "terrain" even though it is in the glossary. There is a glossary, index, table of contents and a "Kids Code" reference for crafts, games, and videos. Series by Abdo has hardboard binding with photo on cover illustrating title.
Cranes
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
January 17, 2015
Johnson, Carol L.
Two sentence explanations face the color photo of the crane in action in this 24-page read-aloud book. Dotted white brackets surround the "cab" and the "weight" which helps distinguish parts of this very large machine. I wish they would have done the same when illustrating a different crane with a "boom" and a "jib." The picture doesn't clarify which parts these are for the young audience. I have an issue with some of the glossary explanations; Oil rig- is a "rig" used for drilling oil and Jib- a "jib" is attached to the "boom." This is why the pictures are so important. Along with Bulldozers, this is another in a series on "Constructions Machines." Reinforced hard board library binding with picture on the cover. Table of contents, index, glossary, and AbdoKids internet site for crafts, games and videos.
Loaders
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
January 17, 2015
Johnson, Carol L.
This 24-page book is part of the Abdo Kids series on "Construction Machines." "Two sentence descriptions are facing color photos of the machine in action. Most photos lillustrate loaders moving dirt or rocks and concrete. Loaders "load" dump trucks. Brackets dotted in white highlight the cab and engine. A backhoe is also shown. Like all the books in this series, the is a table of contents, more facts section, glossary, index and Adbo Kids codes for activities to enrich this topic. Binding is hardboard with color photo on the front. It would be suitable for a read aloud and discussion of machines.
Swift Boys & Me
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Keplinger, Kody
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 17, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
7th grader Nola and her mother live in a duplex right next door to the Swift family: three brothers, a dad, and a mom. Nola is friends with all three brothers, but is "best-best" friends with middle brother, Canaan. One day, Mr. Swift up and leaves his family. Nola believes she can fix the Swifts' problems by locating Mr. Swift, which she does. He is in the next town over, living with a waitress. After Nola finds him, she can't make herself confront him, though. Canaan is on his way to becoming a bully. Where he used to shelter Nola from Alan and Pete, he now joins in their taunting. Nola turns to people she hasn't been close to prior to Canaan's defection. She also gets to know her grandmother and finds out why she is so angry all the time. At the end of what was supposed to be the best summer ever, Nola realizes that she has grown up and can protect herself, make new friends, and face the future bravely. Nola's mother, her fiance, and the neighbors all are supportive and wonderful people. The story rings true and is heartbreaking in some parts, especially when Nola realizes that Canaan betrayed their friendship.
Abby Spencer Goes To Bollywood
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Bajaj, Varsha
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 18, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Abby Spencer lives with her single mother in Texas. They have a good life, supportive friends and family, and all is well until Abby discovers the hard way that she's allergic to coconut. The doctors need to know her father's medical history, so Meredith, Abby's mom, contacts the father who lives in India. As Meredith explains to Abby, Naveen, the father, and Meredith had struck up a romance while Naveen was a college student in Texas. After he left to go back home to India, Meredith found out she was pregnant with Abby. She tried to contact him, but never heard back and she then raised Abby on her own. When Meredith finally does reach Naveen after the coconut incident, he is shocked to find out he has a daughter, but he is happy and accepting, and he invites Abby to visit him during her Thanksgiving vacation. Naveen is now a big Bollywood actor and he wants to keep Abby's relationship a secret so the paparazzi don't hound him and take away the attention from his new film. While I was swept up in this story and enjoyed the details of Mumbai, I felt that everyone was a bit too happy, too loving and accepting, and overall the story seemed unrealistic. Grammar errors abound, too, which interrupt the flow of reading.
Columbus Day
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Dash, Meredith
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 18, 2015
Gleb, Heidi
Part of ABDO Kids’ National Holidays series, this 24-page book uses large photos on each odd-numbered page to illustrate the text on even-numbered pages. The font is large and four words are written in gray ink, identifying them as words to find in the glossary. The message is that Columbus founded America. Period. No mention of any controversy surrounding the national holiday such as the atrocities inflicted on indigenous peoples. An index, glossary, and link for addition resources rounds out the text. The book is appropriate for beginning readers or those new to America; more depth is needed for older readers.
Abraham Lincoln
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Hansen, Grace
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 18, 2015
Gleb, Heidi
Part of ABDO Kids’ United States President Biographies series, this 24-page book uses large photos on each odd-numbered page to illustrate the text on even-numbered pages. Red, white, and blue figure prominently on the cover and on half the pages. The font is large and six words are written in gray ink, identifying them as words to find in the glossary. Basic facts such as birth and death dates and places, family members, and political ambitions make this a good source for a first biography on our 16th president. An index and link for addition resources rounds out the text. This biography is appropriate for beginning readers and those new to America; more depth is needed for older readers.
George Washington
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Hansen, Grace
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 18, 2015
Gleb, Heidi
Part of ABDO Kids’ United States President Biographies series, this 24-page book uses large photos on each odd-numbered page to illustrate the text on even-numbered pages. Red, white, and blue figures prominently on the cover and on half the pages. The font is large and four words are written in gray ink, identifying them as words to find in the glossary. It is interesting that one of these words is “widow” because while students will invariably find that word on a vocabulary test, it seems an odd choice as a glossary item in a book about an American president. An index and link for addition resources rounds out the text. This biography is appropriate for beginning readers and those new to America; more depth is needed for older readers.
Barack Obama
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Hansen, Grace
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 18, 2015
Gleb, Heidi
Part of ABDO Kids’ United States President Biographies series, this 24-page book uses large photos on each odd-numbered page to illustrate the text on even-numbered pages. Red, white, and blue figure prominently on the cover and on half the pages. The font is large and four words are written in gray ink, identifying them as words to find in the glossary. Basic facts such as birth and death dates and places, family members, and political ambitions make this a good source for a first biography on our 44th president. An index and link for addition resources rounds out the text. This biography is appropriate for beginning readers and those new to America; more depth is needed for older readers.
One Night That Changes Everything
SIMON PULSE [SIMON PULSE]
Barnholdt, Lauren
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 19, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Lauren Barnholdt has perfected the voice of a teenager with her one word sentences, her use of "like," and the occasional swear words, but this story is so far-fetched that it takes a strong will to hang on and finish the book. The premise is that 17-year-old Eliza has posted on the internet that her boyfriend, Cooper, did not get in to Brown. His friends in the secret 318 club take revenge on his behalf. They steal Eliza's private notebook in which she has recorded all of her fears and in one very long evening they dare her to do four of the things she's listed. Eliza and her two BFFs set off on a wild night of going to clubs, posing in a bikini, confessing to an infidelity, and making out with a long-ago crush. In the process one of the BFFs gets taken into custody for possessing marijuana. Cooper helps Eliza out all evening because he feels guilty for the 318s harassing her and he steals their notebook. In the end, the notebooks are exchanged and returned to their rightful owners. Eliza realizes how much she has grown up and what good friends she has. It is all a bit much and left me wondering: Why didn't Eliza go to the authorities to report bullying and harassment?
Palace Of Spies
HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS [HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS]
Zettel, Sarah
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 20, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
When Peggy Fitzroy is thrown out of her uncle's house, without a coin in her pocket or a prospect of any, she is initially lost. Soon, however, she is incognito in the court of King George I, as a lady-in-waiting for the queen. She is pretending to be a dead girl, but she didn't know all the intrigues that Fran had started before she stepped into the girl's overtight corset. There is gossip. There are intrigues. There are plots within plots and all Peggy has are the items Fran left behind to guide her, and employers who may not be reliable. As her suspicions grow that Fran's death was actually murder, Peggy realizes she could be next. Can she uncover a Jacobite plot and save the kingdom, as well as her own life? This is a crisply-written, highly intriguing piece of historical fiction that will, nonetheless, call to modern teens. Peggy is a feisty character, and her quick wit and determined attitude are captivating. Does the story hang together perfectly? No. The ending is terrific, but the final solution for Peggy herself would clearly not work. Ah well. This is still a ripping read, and the cover illustration is perfect for drawing readers in.
Iridescence Of Birds : A Book About Henri Matisse
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Maclachlan, Patricia
Hooper, Hadley
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
All ages
January 21, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Sparsely written and richly illustrated, MacLachlan takes us on a journey from Matisse's boyhood to his becoming an artist. The brief narrative (in the second person) focuses on Mrs. Matisse's love for her son. She encouraged him to use color and design when he was a boy and the reader can see that had no option but to believe in himself and his talent. Mr. Matisse is never in the story, and the students I read this book to were sensitive to that. They also shrieked at the page where the nude bodies dance across the page. When I asked these fourth graders to explain what they liked about this book, they commented on the use of color (we talked quite a while about the exact color of the end pages) and the contrasts between dark (outside the home) and light (inside and on the canvases). Interestingly, the students also appreciated the pages that showed little-boy Matisse with grown-man Matisse. The illustrator's notes in the back of the book give teachers enough information to make a project based on the art in the book. This is a book about Matisse's art; it is not a biography. It's lovely, informative, and a book that every library should have on their shelves.
Crystals
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Hirsch, Rebecca E
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
January 22, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Kids love crystals and the rocks shine in this installment of ABDO's recommended Rocks and Minerals series for elementary science. Big bright photographs illustrate chapters on "What is a Crystal,"(geologic overview) "Crystal Shapes," (morphology) "Beautiful Crystals"(types), and "Putting Crystals to the Test" (geologic classification). Clear, simple text and numerous text features, glossary and accompanying website make it a usefully updated non-fiction offering well worth including in elementary collections.
Dreaming In Indian : Contemporary Native American Voices
ANNICK PRESS [ANNICK PRESS]
Charleyboy, Lisa
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
All ages
January 22, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Distinctly contemporary photo-graphics complement 46 widely-varying brief accounts create a living collage of being First Nations/Native American in today's world. There's authentic power in the first-person narratives captured in titles like "Salish Geek" where a Seattle-based artist describes fitting his work into both worlds, or to hearing from a singer-songwriter how "Music is the Medicine." Whether breaking barriers between traditional and contemporary fashion in "Hey Mr GQ" or recalling fried bologna and rice in "I Remember" these short and creatively illustrated essays dispel any doubt of the plurality and vitality of "NDN" youth in both Canada and the US. Comedians and fashion models, poets and students, photographers, athletes and dancers tell their own stories. Appropriate for all ages, this is a highly recommended addition to discussion and exploration of identity awareness and self-expression for young adults of any heritage and an antidote to any partitioning of "The Native American Experience" into tragic/historic ghetto mentality. Great for anti-bias/anti-racist discussion, Libraries should add and circulate multiple copies and ebook copies of this beautiful and significant addition from Annick Press.
Strongheart : The World's First Movie Star Dog
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY]
Mccully, Emily Arnold
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 22, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Based on a real dog and real events, this is the story of German Shepherd Etzel von Oeringen born in 1917 in Germany and trained to be a police dog—“alert, brave, strong, and perfectly loyal.” At age 3 after being sent to America, a silent movie director Larry Trimble finds him and trains him to be a silent movie star that could play, mimic emotions and follow commands. Trimble’s wife writes the screenplays that maximize on the newly named Strongheart’s natural abilities. This dog captured the hearts of movie goers and those of the new audience that is now being introduced to this animal that paved the way for others. Several incidents are included that show the intelligence and instinct of this well-trained creature. The author’s note, worth reading aloud, documents the facts and sources behind her research, and though CIP classifies this as easy fiction it’s also listed as narrative nonfiction, which seems more accurate. Internet searches will show some video footage to share with students. This is well worth having in any library that serves children, but has adult appeal as well.
Cat, The Dog, Little Red, The Exploding Eggs, The Wolf, And
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Fox, Diane
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 22, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
As inferred from the title this is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood as a cat reads it to an inquisitive dog. The interactions and humor start on the cover and end on the back dust jacket. As the cartoon cat tries to read the original story of Little Red aloud, the dog keeps interjecting his ideas, comments or questions. The annoyance of the straight character, the cat, sets the tone for the rest of the book in this interchange after hearing the girl wears a cape—Dog: “COOL! I love stories about superheroes. What’s her special power?” CAT: “She doesn’t have any special powers. It’s not that kind of story.” The dog’s comments are hilarious and spot on as with, “Hang on…why doesn’t the wolf man try to eat Hood Girl then and there?” or “She’s not very bright, is she? I mean, if there were a wolf dressed up as MY grandma, I might have noticed right away.” and finally, “It’s not a very nice story, is it? Are you absolutely sure this is a children’s book?” This British husband and wife duo have created a hilarious offering that can be enjoyed by all ages, but especially those who know the original story.
Boy Problem (Notes And Predictions Of Tabitha Reddy)
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Kinard, Kami
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 25, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
In this "Dork Diaries" style book for the middle-school crowd, Tabitha keeps a journal as she tries to use fortune-telling and probability to get a boyfriend. This is a fun, light-hearted look into young teen angst as Tabbi runs charts and graphs to try and figure out the mechanics of finding a guy. In the meantime she makes new friends, gets into cupcake baking, and takes on a charitable cause. It's all told in a realistic voice, and her problems will resonate with the intended audience. There's a lot of mth and probability in this book, but it's never shoved down the reader's throat and, indeed, is part of the fun. This will not be a shelf-sitter.
My Friend The Enemy
Chicken House [Chicken House]
Smith, Dan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 25, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Sirens blare across the Northern English countryside in 1941, catching twelve-year-old Peter setting rabbit snares far from home and safety in the Anderson shelter. Moments later, Peter glimpses the terrified face of a German pilot crashing to earth, a distant flutter of a parachute and is blasted to the ground by the explosion. Dan Smith, in this debut novel, frames the moral dilemmas Peter and London evacuee, Kim, will struggle with after finding the injured German. Should they turn him in or seeing his fear and injuries, help him? Who is friend and who is foe? Is stealing food from Mam to help another wrong? Initially recognizing the soldier’s humanity, Peter and Kim make the critical decision to help him evade capture, care for his injuries and find shelter. The downed German, Erik, is the same age as Kim’s older brother, a pilot fighting in Africa. Peter’s father also in Africa has not been heard from in months. Grasping at hope, the two see taking care of Erik, their “souvenir” of the crash, as a talisman that brother and father if injured might be taken care of by enemies as well. Additional themes of bullying, intense friendship, fear, and death are deftly handled.
Magnificent Lizzie Brown And The Mysterious Phantom
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Lockwood, Vicki
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 25, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Lizzie Brown’s dream became a nightmare when she saw the masked robber known as the Phantom leering over her and she awoke terrified. Lizzie had run away from an abusive father and a beating. Unsure of where to go, she didn’t expect to land in a traveling circus. Lizzie is warmly embraced as one of the circus family and given a job assisting Madame Aurora, the fortuneteller. But Lizzie soon discovers that Madame Aurora is a fake and a drunk and dreams of her pickpocketing a patron. Shaken by the realization that her dreams could not only see the past, but also the future, Lizzie confides in her new circus friends and Madame Aurora is caught and thrown out of the circus. Excitement builds when London’s Mayor visits the circus and asks to have his fortune told. But Lizzie is stunned when she envisions the Phantom intent on a robbery and pleads with the Mayor to protect himself. If the Mayor and Police won’t act, will Lizzie and friends be able to catch the Phantom? Closure on Lizzie’s relationships with her father and Madame Aurora as well as her fortunate adoption into the circus is underdeveloped, but middle grade readers will happily suspend belief. More Magnificent Lizzie Brown mysteries are coming soon.
Ten Rules Of Being A Superhero
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY]
Pilutti, Deb
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 25, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
A boy dressed as a superhero has a toy superhero he plays with that match the rules he sets forth starting with, “Rule Number 1: A superhero must ALWAYS respond to a call for help…even if the odds are against him.” Depicted on this double-page spread are the two characters rescuing a doll that has called for help and is tied up by a bad guy. On the following page, after rescuing the girl a very messy room is shown with “Rule Number 2: Saving the day is messy. But everyone understands.” Except the boy’s mother shows up with a broom in hand followed by the heroes sweeping up the place. This seems geared to the younger Kel Gilligan set, but as with that book there is surprisingly large appeal for primary audiences. Some pages have cartoon boxes and dialogue balloons with Captain Magma, the toy, and his sidekick Lava Boy. One power Captain Magma doesn’t have is the ability to fly, so when he’s inadvertently picked up by a crow, he turns it into a positive adventure with the words, “I can fly.” This has much more young kid appeal than adult, with enough humor to keep children Pre-2 interested, but not that special from an adult's point of view.
Noodle Magic
ORCHARD BOOKS [ORCHARD BOOKS]
Thong, Roseanne Greenfie
So, Meilo
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 25, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This original tale features a young Chinese girl and her grandpa Tu, who every day makes magic by turning dough into noodles after he SLAPS, kneads and s t e t c h e s it. He can do anything Mei asks him—make a jump rope, string kites, or catch clouds. With the emperor coming everyone is obsessed with impressing their ruler, and all assume that Grandpa Tu will come through with long-life noodles for him. Grandpa Tu, however, says it’s now Mei’s time to find the magic within herself. She struggles and tries his techniques, but to no avail. She finally asks for his help in creating a gift for the Moon Goddess that brightens their nights so that she might ask for magic in return. Together they create a ball of yarn-like dough that they toss to the Moon Goddess. The goddess reiterates Grandpa Tu’s refrain that the magic must come from within Mei and that she must believe in herself. After a tug-of-war between the two and all of the stretching of these strands of dough the sky rains noodles on all of the town including the emperor. The strengths of this pleasant, simple story are in the word choice and phrases plus the soft detailed illustrations.
Larry Gets Lost Under The Sea
Little Bigfoot [Little Bigfoot]
Skewes, John
Skewes, John
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 25, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Pete and his dog Larry are off on another adventure, this one to the beach. In rhyming text while Pete builds a sand castle, Larry gets distracted by a seashell with legs. After following this creature to a tide pool, Larry gets caught by a wave and starts dog paddling in the coastal waters. Underwater he encounters a man in a mask who scoops the dog up onto the oceanographer’s boat. In the commotion Larry winds up(unbeknownst to the crew) in the bathyscaphe where he travels from the sunlight zone through the twilight zone to the midnight zone. When they resurface the man returns Larry to shore where he’s reunited with his family. The book is full of scientific facts on each level of the sea and its creatures plus details of a SCUBA diver, an oceanographer and the bathyscaphe. Second graders enjoyed all of the fun facts that permeated the light-hearted romp and rhyme. Fun nonfiction that concludes with a page of group discussion, group activity, independent activities, SasqatchBooks.com website for the teacher’s guide and a list of 15 aquariums which children might visit around the US.
Game World
Black Sheep [Black Sheep]
Farley, C J
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 27, 2015
Dame, Anne
Twelve-year-old Dylan, his sister, and his best friend end up in a video game world that is a parallel of Jamaica. Called Xamaica, filled with magic and multiple challenges, this world is not what they had expected. Each of them has their own agenda and despite promises that they would work on them together, it leads to anger and frustration. They meet people that help, hinder, and threaten along the way. Lots of action and adventure. Props for the Caribbean setting and one of the main characters in a wheelchair (but without feeling like a stereotype). Overall, the writing was a bit weak and the plot was very predictable.
To This Day : For The Bullied And Beautiful
ANNICK PRESS [ANNICK PRESS]
Koyczan, Shane
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 27, 2015
Dame, Anne
Shane Koyczan, the author, was bullied when he was young. As a result of those experiences, he wrote a very powerful anti-bullying poem. Thirty different artists came together to illustrate that poem, culminating in this vibrant, compelling book.
Because They Marched : The People's Campaign For Voting Righ
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Freedman, Russell
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 27, 2015
Dame, Anne
Fifty years have passed since the march from Selma, Alabama to the capital in Montgomery. This tension-filled era in civil rights history was rife with both bravery and fear as blacks sought to gain equal rights. Freedman commemorates this march for equity in voting rights with over 40 primary source photos and a vivid recounting of the events from that time. What was supposed to be a peaceful demonstration turned violent when police attacked the marchers. Footage went out across the nation and abroad, attracting more attention and demonstrators to Selma. Excellent source of primary material, well-written text, and a riveting topic make this an excellent addition to any middle and high school collection. It is thought-provoking and a solid basis for starting conversations.
Ghostly Evidence : Exploring The Paranormal
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Halls, Kelly Milner
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 27, 2015
Dame, Anne
The author makes a deliberate, conscientious attempt to present information in an unbiased manner. She makes it clear when her bias goes against what others may believe about ghosts and the paranormal. When researching this book, Halls visited many houses and places that have been reported as being haunted. She took pictures, talked to witnesses, and met with a variety of experts in the field in order to write this book. She leaves readers to draw their own conclusions about the existence of ghosts and paranormal beings.
Dash
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Larson, Kirby
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 27, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
In World War II 11-year-old Mitsi Kashino's family’s life in Seattle changes after the bombing of Pearl Harbor when Japanese Americans, especially on the West Coast, are given short notice about packing up their homes and transported to Camp Harmony. Mourning the loss of her best friends after the Christmas holidays as they stop associating with her, she is more devastated when she cannot take her beloved dog Dash with her to the relocation camp. A kindly neighbor offers to keep him, and though Mitsi misses him dearly the letters she starts to receive from Dash help fill the void. Mitsi eventually makes a good friend in camp, and this helps sustain her in the transition to Minidoka, Idaho. The sense of community, the can do attitude of making the best of the difficult life and conditions, and a growing sense of independence are all evident through Mitsi’s experiences even when she fears her trustworthy brother taking up with a bully/thief. Intermediate students will see what it was like for those interned, but provides hope that good people can make life bearable and even thrive. This heartwarming story was inspired by the true story of a woman who had to give up her dog when interned, and then received letters from him.
Bird & Squirrel On Ice
GRAPHIX [GRAPHIX]
Burks, James
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 28, 2015
Dame, Anne
The unlikely, but highly entertaining, duo of Bird and Squirrel are back for an adventure at the South Pole. They meet some penguins whose existence is threatened by the presence of a killer whale. If Bird & Squirrel can't figure out how to help the penguins, they will become the whale's next meal. I love everything about this graphic novel: the characters, the illustrations, the story-line. Students will also enjoy the antics of this crazy pair.
Presidents' Day
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Dash, Meredith
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 29, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
One of ABDO Kids’ National Holiday titles this introduces the primary student to the national holiday that originated as Washington’s Birthday. In the usual large format and minimal text, the book nonetheless has decent information, even some this older reader didn’t know even though I’d lived through it! The change to President’s Day came in 1968 when the Uniform Holiday Act was signed by LBJ (pictured, but unnamed since there are no captions) placing all national holidays on Mondays. (Exceptions to this can be found, however, that is not discussed.) The 24 pages includes desired text features—table of contents, glossary of three important terms including “national holiday”, an index and the Abdo Kids website. This works well for discussing text features. The photographs or artwork take up over half of each double page spread and though they have no captions they do match the text. The last page of text entitled More Facts has three random facts about the presidents. Others in this series include Columbus Day, labor Day, Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, Thanksgiving, and Veteran’s Day.
Let's Celebrate Presidents' Day
KANE PRESS [KANE PRESS]
Derubertis, Barbara
Sperling, Thomas
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 29, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
One of the Holidays & Heroes series returns and is revised. The text of this book and most of its artwork originated in 1992, but stand the test of time. In 32 pages the primary reader is introduced to the holiday that honors all US presidents, but focuses on the lives of the two whose birthdays fall on both sides of this national holiday—George Washington, the first president, and Abraham Lincoln, the16th. A reader would not know beforehand, unless they paid close attention to the title page with the subtitle on the bottom of that page. There is no table of contents, nor is there a glossary or index. Despite this there is appropriate artwork, both illustrations and copies of famous paintings, as well as photographs, most of which are captioned. The information is interesting to students and reads well aloud. Both of the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial are included and tied together nicely in a joint photograph. A perhaps unnecessary part of the book is what is either a poem or song in italics that comes at the end of each section (3 in all). Will work for Gr. 1-4.
Million Ways Home
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Winget, Dianna Dorisi
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 29, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Written by an Idaho author this compelling story set in Spokane, WA, features Poppy, a 6th grader, who finds herself in a children’s center since her guardian Grandma Beth had a stroke and is in a nursing home. It’s just been the two of them since Poppy was only one when her parents were killed by a terrorist bomb while working in Africa, so Poppy is intent on seeing her grandma. She impulsively takes a bus to where she thinks the home is, but gets lost. She comes face to face with a convenience store robber/killer just after the nice cashier has given her a free candy bar. As the only witness who can identify the killer, she’s taken into protective custody by Detective Trey Brannigan to his mother’s house adjoining his. Keeping her safe proves difficult for a girl bent on reuniting with her grandmother. In this setting, Trey’s mother proves especially kind and understanding, introduces her to volunteer work at the animal shelter and a friend’s misguided daughter. Unlikely relationships grow quickly including one with a German Shepherd destined for euthanasia. The first chapter pulls you in, the relationships carry you along, and the heartbreaking, heartwarming and suspenseful events create a very satisfying read.
Babe Conquers The World : The Legendary Life Of Babe Didriks
Calkins Creek [Calkins Creek]
Wallace, Rich
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 30, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 930 Mildred Ella "Babe" Didriksen Zaharias may not be as well-known as Babe Ruth, but she broke countless records, leaped over age-old boundaries, and paved the way for professional women athletes across several arenas. A champion basketball player, an Olympic track-and-field star, and career golfer, Babe didn't let obstacles stand in the way of her success. The authors detail her trajectory from the daughter of a Norwegian immigrant born in a working-class Texas neighborhood to record wins at the 1932 Olympics (still not broken to this day). Babe's ambition, self-promotion and outspoken manner often found her at odds with other competitors and members of the press. Tiny Scurlock, sports editor, maintained a correspondence with Babe, and it is his meticulously maintained notes that form the basis for references to Babe's thoughts and comments. This energetic book is part sports journalism, part narrative nonfiction, and part proof that professional athletes can be exemplary role models for young people.Bibliography. Timeline. Index. Follett has Teaching Guide
Where The Rock Splits The Sky
Chicken House [Chicken House]
Webb, Philip
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 30, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 730 Ad/Ad+ Local need It’s a dangerous place in Texas. After aliens crushed the moon and the earth stopped spinning, twilight is the only thing that terrans have known. That’s a nice metaphor for the moral ambiguity of the Wild West setting where Megan rides from Maria, Texas, across the badlands “The Zone, a place of "[w]eird space-time wrinkles," stretches from the Midwest to the Pacific” in search of her father. At first she is accompanied by her posse. Luis is a blacksmith (soon to be love interest) and Kelly is a recently alien abductee; the hope to get to Spider Rock in Canyon de Chelly, Ariz., where they hope all answers can be found. Webb’s language is formal and reminiscent of Charles Portis’ in True Grit. A weird concoction of familiar and strange elements, the plot challenges the characters in ways that cause them to draw on both magical and old-fashioned ingenuity. So much happens that the characters remain fairly flat, the violence is cartoonish, and the climactic moment goes over the top. That doesn't stop the premise, unlikely as it is, from being way cool. For Western aficionados who don't mind alien outlaws in shoot'em-ups. Working roughly in the Blood Red Road vein but closer to Cowboys vs Aliens.
Spending Spree : The History Of American Shopping
TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS [TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS]
Bix, Cynthia Overbeck
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 30, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 1140 In this modern world of conspicuous consumption, mega-malls, and shopping apps, it is hard to imagine a time when families traveled for days to purchase sacks of sugar and flour and maybe a few pieces of penny candy from a general store. This title gives historical perspective and background on shopping and explains how it moved from mere necessity to a status-generating social activity. The book is divided into chronological chapters, beginning with the bartering system used by Native Americans and ending with online shopping and trendy pop-up stores. Bix profiles the changes brought by rail transportation, manufactured household goods, advertising, mail-order catalogs, department stores, grocery and discount stores, shopping malls, cybershopping, and other retail trends. Sidebars highlight topics such as the origin of credit cards and the rise of infomercials. Tracing the social and economic changes that led the American population from self-sufficiency to recreational shopping, the text is interesting and very readable. The well captioned, black-and-white illustrations are mainly archival photos. Notes, bibliography, reading suggestions, index. – Good into for business classes, marketing, and financial literacy.
Death Of A King
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Vanderwal, Andrew H
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 30, 2015
Datisman, Eve
In this companion novel to Battle of Duncragglin, teenage time traveler Alex continues to search for his missing parents, blithely influencing history as he goes. Rightly certain that his parents went to the 13th century to prevent the death of Scottish King Alexander and thereby ensure Scotland's continued independence, he has stayed in the past in hopes of finding them. While on his adventure, he helps William Wallace win the Battle of Stirling Bridge, escapes death multiple times at the hands of villagers, and befriends some important people of the time. At one time siblings Annie, Willie and Craig McRae, time-travel to save him. Believability is sacrificed to action but it will appeal to fanciers of medieval battle and history.
Emergent
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Cohn, Rachel
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 30, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Second in the Beta series - Elysia has finally learned that she has a soul and although she knows it hurts Zhara, her First, that Alexander has chosen her as his life mate, Elysia cannot give him up. Elysia can't remain in the Rave Caves off the shores of Denesme forever. Revolution is brewing on the island paradise. Hundreds of soulless clones remain imprisoned like Elysia once was, slaves to the whims of their owners-wealthy human inhabitants of the island. As a group of clones and humans, led by Alexander, plot an insurrection that will turn Denesme's world upside down, Elysia knows her place is fighting by his side. Besides the terrible losses of war there is a ticking time bomb built into her own programming. What choices will she make?
MASTER OF MISRULE
Knopf Books for Young Readers [RANDOM HOUSE]
POWELL, LAURA
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 30, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Creepy Tarot based novel takes up right where The Game of Triumphs left off. Cat, Toby, Blaine, and Flora are back in the real world. Deceived into freeing the Hanged Man from imprisonment on the Tree of Life, Cat and her three friends thought they were simply ending corruption in the ancient tarot card–based Game, but instead they released chaos in the form of the Master of Misrule. They must stop him before he enslaves everyone in a new, more sinister Game of chance. The four teens to undo the deed they did in the first book by becoming senior members of the Game itself. Although the stakes are higher, the individual tasks are straightforward and completion seems less precarious than in the first book.The Game is no longer confined to the Arcanum, but has spilled over into the everyday world. Throughout London, people are finding mysterious scratch-off cards and becoming caught up in the Triumph Lottery of Luck. If the card reveals heads, it leads to untold riches; tails is a harbinger of disaster. Readers might find it difficult to keep up with the plethora of cards and what they represent, but the action is fast-paced and the four main characters are nicely fleshed out. Purchase where the first book is popular.
War Brothers
ANNICK PRESS [ANNICK PRESS]
Mckay, Sharon
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 30, 2015
Datisman, Eve
There really is an LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army), and it has abducted as many as 60,000 children. Told from Jacob’s point of view, this novel imagines six of their stories. Before his forcible abduction, Jacob's life was fairly typical. He idolized his father, goofed off with his best friend Tony, often became frustrated with his overbearing, unwed aunt. All of that changed after he went away to school. Reuniting with his old friend Paul and asked to look over the scrawny new boy Norman, the boys are unprepared when the LRA comes to their school in the middle of the night. Jacob is beaten. He awakens the next morning in time to see Tony, along with several other children, forced to kill another in order to prove their worth to their new "family.” McKay supplies just enough detail for the imagination to fill in the scenes of horrific torture, ritualistic murders and village massacres. She also contextualizes cultural references, allowing readers to understand the geography, Acholi people, religious clashes and fear in Uganda. When Jacob realizes that no one is coming to save them, he plans an escape to save old and new friends. But with a nation under siege, will their families take back would-be murders?
Lords Of Trillium
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Wagner, Hilary
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 30, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
In book #3 of "The Nightshade Chronicles" the series ends with a bang. Life should be safe and calm for the rats in Nightshade. They have defeated their enemies, after all...or have they? They do not realize they have a viper in their midst. Just as Billycan has reformed, someone they believe to be loving and kind is actually going to engineer deaths in a take-over plot. This is also the time to rediscover the lab where the rats got their abilities, rescue friends, and stop the scientists in their tracks. This is a complex fantasy series, and it is vital to have read the previous books. Those who have will want this book to finish things off, although they might not be completely happy with the enigmatic ending. Fans of Brian Jacques should embrace this series.
Pills And Starships
Black Sheep [Black Sheep]
Millet, Lydia
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 30, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Earth reached its ecological tipping point some years ago, and corporations now manage all aspects of life. No more babies are being born, the elderly must purchase contracts to die, and drugs ("pharma") control a dwindling human population. Natalie's parents have purchased a death contract, and they have one final week together. The 17-year-old must keep a journal, which she addresses to an unknown space traveler-the only place where starships come into the story. As the Bountiful Passing approaches, Nat and her rebellious younger brother, Sam, begin to make plans to save their parents, or, at the very least, to rescue themselves from the tyranny of the corps and their Death Math. The concept is interesting but the writer does more telling than showing thus losing power and interest. Still of particular interest to dystopian fans and to other who want to use the idea of death math as a teaching moment. A pairing with Soylent Green comes to mind.
Ultraviolet
CAROLRHODA [Lerner Publishing Group]
ANDERSON, R J
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 30, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 900 – Follett Teaching Guide Anderson blends paranormal, science fiction, and scientific elements in an intriguing story about a teenager who is convinced that she's crazy-and a murderer-though reality is even more unpredictable. Alison wakes up in a mental institution with no memory of the past two weeks. The bits of time she pieces together point to a violent episode that caused the death of her classmate Tori. As she slowly remembers what happened, Alison worries that she really is crazy because she can only remember Tori disintegrating into nothing. An undiagnosed synesthete, Alison has always seen numbers as colors, tasted lies, and seen colors no one else can. While Alison is in the hospital, Dr. Faraday, a neuropsychologist studying synesthesia, finally puts a name to and an explanation of how Alison’s brain is wired. Provides unique insight into life of a synesthete and the look at life inside a mental hospital is a natural grabber for teens. Sly nods to the northern Ontario setting-where NASA astronauts once trained for moon landings and genre-shifting ending.
Just Right For Two
NOSY CROW [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Corderoy, Tracey
Beardshaw, Rosalind
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 30, 2015
Lanham, Grace
In Just Right for Two, we meet Dog a happy-go-lucky fellow with a blue suitcase full of his most special things - a pine cone, a rock, some leaves, a stick, a feather and a large, shiny red button. As long as Dog has his suitcase, he has everything he needs. Until, that is, he meets Mouse. They spend a morning playing hide and seek together and then Mouse goes on his way. Suddenly the woods are too quiet and Dog feels like he is missing something. An inventory of his suitcase reveals that everything is there. Perhaps Mouse could help? A simple, sweet story about the joys of friendship, this book has appeal for the Pre-K and Kindergarten crowd. Lovely, lively illustrations by Rosalind Beardshaw depict the budding friendship and move the reader from page to page. A winner.
Midnight Library
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Kohara, Kazuno
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 30, 2015
Lanham, Grace
I am biased toward any picture book about libraries and reading; The Midnight Library is no exception. This lovely picture book tells the tale of a little librarian whose quiet and peaceful library is disrupted one evening. Disrupted not once but three times - by a noisy squirrel band, a weeping wolf and a slow-reading tortoise. But no worries, the resourceful library sends the squirrels to the activity room to practice, has her owl assistants read the wolf a happy ending, and gives the tortoise a library card so he can take his book home and read at his own pace. The woodblock artwork and shades of blue and yellow beautifully create the serene nighttime library atmosphere for this sweet story.
Mr Underneath
Raven Mad Studios [Raven Mad Studios]
Briley, Randy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 30, 2015
Lanham, Grace
Jackson is a city boy recently transplanted to "the farm", his parents venture in county living. One night his parents have a local, Dr. Vance, over for dinner. Dad is courting the doctor for some kind of business venture. Dr. Jackson is not exactly menacing, but he is weird, but Jackson doesn't give it much thought. Soon, however, his parents have disappeared, he finds a monster in the old shed, and a squirrel is demanding that Jackson follow him. Jackson finds himself plunged into a world of magic and mayhem in his quest to rescue his parents, but will he finds the answers he needs? Highly readable, this book struck me as containing everything but the kitchen sink in its desire to present a magical world - fairies, robots with feelings, nasties of all sorts- which made this slim book feel overstuffed. That said older elementary students should enjoy it.
IMPOSTER
RED DEER PRESS [RED DEER PRESS]
BLACKWOOD, GARY
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
January 30, 2015
Datisman, Eve
In Toronto during the 1990s, 14-year-old Ryan Waite and his alcoholic mom scrape by on the dole while awaiting his big break as an actor. He bombs an audition and is afraid to tell his mother when a shifty deal with a private investigator provides a way out. Ryan is hired to pretend to be the son of a wealthy man who is desperate to reconnect before he dies. With no Internet or Facebook to prove otherwise, Ryan passes himself off as Allen, the long-lost son. He doesn't expect to actually care about this new family in Halifax. The protagonist is a likable character, although he is rather naive. A day of reckoning will surely come, and when it does Ryan must confront his feelings and actions. It’s coming of age –lite.
Haunters
Chicken House [Chicken House]
Taylor, Thomas
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 30, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 740 Hi/Lo will go to grade 5 For about a year--ever since his father died--14-year-old English schoolboy David Utherwise has been dreaming about a boy named Eddie, who has become something of a "dream friend." One night, he has nightmares in which Eddie is trapped in a burning house during the Blitz, and the next day is really tough, to put it mildly. He is bullied in class, a set of total strangers attempts to abduct him, and a different set succeeds in kidnapping him. Scruffy Professor Feldrake explains David's importance to a group of time travelers determined to keep Eddie, who is a very real boy living in an earlier time, alive. The story is told in chapters that switch from World War II--era London to a modern-day citadel inside a Swiss mountain, a technique that produces a series of breathtaking cliffhangers and ramps up suspense considerably. Lots of ill-intentioned characters add oomph but not much depth. The race between the Haunters and Dreamwalkers -clever combinations of tropes: dreamwalking and time travel- will keep readers turning pages, the cliffhanger and surprise ending will have readers back for more.
Curses And Smoke : A Novel Of Pompeii
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS]
Shecter, Vicky Alvear
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
January 30, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Lucia, the daughter of Titurius of Pompeii, is doomed to marry a rich old man to secure money for her father's gladiatorial school. As the wedding approaches, she falls into forbidden love with Tag, the family's medical slave. The two eventually plan to run away together, but many factors interfere. Lucky for them, Mount Vesuvius throws the city into chaos by erupting, providing the young lovers a perfect chance to escape. Unfortunately, Titurius manages to follow them, with tragic results. The novel illuminates many historical details of first-century Pompeii, such as that the law allowed fathers to abandon unwanted infants outside the city gates; that an 18-hour ash eruption preceded Vesuvius's killer explosion; and that, as private property, most gladiators in Pompeii's stadium received careful medical attention. The well-researched historical setting is the strongest aspect of the novel and may keep many readers hooked. Relationships among slaves, citizens, parents, friends, lovers, and children isn't as compelling as it needs to be nor is the city's final devastation. Historical notes. Good for fans who want a little story with their history.
Guilty? : Crime, Punishment, And The Changing Face Of Justic
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Kanefield, Teri
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
January 30, 2015
Datisman, Eve
When does strategy become cheating? Can good luck be theft? Is killing always a crime? Real-world cases show there are often no clear-cut answers. Kanefield writes about the American criminal justice system using a series of case studies, a fresh approach that allows her to present issues to middle-grade students in the same way that a lawyer or law student might learn about them. The book is divided into three parts, and the first section about deciding what behavior to criminalize is the most successful. The opening examples -- a man taking advantage of a bank teller's mistake, a boy buying a baseball card for the wrong price from an unwitting clerk, and the banking practice of manipulating transactions to charge customers higher fees -- help define what the crime of theft is, regardless of whether each is morally right. The second and third parts -- on punishment and due process, respectively -- are also quite provocative, pointing out the failures of our current system but without offering meaningful alternative solutions. Glossary, bibliographical references and index.
Indycar Racing
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Daniel, P K
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 31, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Race Car aficionados will love the Inside The Speedway series, covering six types of car racing: Drag, Indy, NASCAR, Sprint, F-1, and Stock. Each book includes information about famed racers, history of the sport, and descriptions of how the different racecars evolved, as well as a glossary with academic language, several suggestions for further reading and a publisher monitored websites. The well-chosen color scheme of lime green, red, charcoal, and plum includes racing stripes and diagonals suggesting speed is matched inside with fact boxes, well-captioned historical and recent photographs and diagrams. The IndyCar Series started in 1911 and is known for the long races at very high speeds and the aerodynamic cars. A fact box describes the IndyCar 13 mobile app, allows fans to experience live race videos including conversations with drivers and their pit crew. Go-kart and soapbox derby competitions are a good starting place for many youngsters wanting to race but serious drivers progress into minor league racing schools. Readers will enjoy an excellent description of the many advanced skills needed for racing and the colored flag system used for communicating during a race.
Nascar Racing
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Long, Dustin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 31, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Race Car aficionados will love the Inside The Speedway series, covering six types of car racing: Drag, Indy, NASCAR, Sprint, F-1, and Stock. Each book includes information about famed racers, history of the sport, and descriptions of how the different racecars evolved, as well as a glossary with academic language, several suggestions for further reading and a publisher monitored websites. The well-chosen color scheme of lime green, red, charcoal, and plum includes racing stripes and diagonals suggesting speed and complimenting the fact boxes, well-captioned historical and recent photographs and diagrams. Spectacular crashes, star drivers, speed and stock cars have earned a huge following for the NASCAR racing. Bill France, Sr. organized the sport in Daytona Beach in 1947 with the first races held in 1949. Six generations of stock cars have evolved from regular cars with minor modifications, to the current cars with much more protection for the drivers. Famous drivers highlighted include the Allison brothers, Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jr., Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Danica Patrick and Richard Petty. Detailed information and photographs make this a solid choice for school libraries.
Sprint Car Racing
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Glave, Tom
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 31, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Race Car aficionados will love the Inside The Speedway series, covering six types of car racing: Drag, Indy, NASCAR, Sprint, F-1, and Stock. Each book includes information about famed racers, history of the sport, and descriptions of how the different racecars evolved, as well as a glossary with academic language, several suggestions for further reading and a publisher monitored websites. The well-chosen color scheme of lime green, red, charcoal, and plum includes racing stripes and diagonals suggesting speed is matched inside with fact boxes, well-captioned historical and recent photographs and diagrams. The races originated in the early 1900’s on the horse race tracks of fairgrounds. Multiple heats of short races determine who will qualify for the much longer final race. Sprint cars are very light cars often oddly shaped in the quest for eliminating weight and with their very powerful engines bounce and fly up as they race. Detailed description of the car design and a detailed photo diagram help readers understand the special features of sprint cars. An excellent addition to school libraries, especially with car racing fans.
Circa Now
Disney-Hyperion [Disney-Hyperion]
Turner, Amber Mcree
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 31, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Circa and her father share a special bond and talents for retouching and restoring old photographs. But her father’s gift for digitally mixing startling unrelated images to create a new “shopt” photo, and spinning wildly creative stories about the new photo is a special family secret. Tragically he is killed in a freak tornado while delivering a photo to a demanding client at her family reunion, and Circa and her mother’s lives are upended. Into this raw moment a mysterious thirteen-year-old boy turns up on their doorstep without any memories of his past. Circa’s mother is overcome with grief complicated by an anxiety disorder leaving Circa, desperately clinging to her father has to prove she is capable of finishing her father’s project retouching old photographs creating a Memory Wall at a local Senior Residence. As they try and discover Miles’s past, Circa begins to suspect that the Shopt photos are magically coming to life and sets out to prove that. Turner weaves themes of grief, friendship, overcoming difficult challenges and the power of love into an intriguing and satisfying package. Several intriguing “Shopt” photos with one-line captions are interspersed throughout the pages enlivening the text.
Gabby Drama Queen
FITZHENRY & WHITESIDE [FITZHENRY & WHITESIDE]
Grant, Joyce
Dolby, Jan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 31, 2015
Lanham, Grace
Bright and cheerful, the story of Gabby and Roy putting on a play is a fun read. To get started the two actors need a stage and props. Gabby produces her special storybook, out of which she shakes letters. A, G, and E are added to an S and a T to create a stage. Roy collects letters and makes Gabby a crown, so she can be a proper Queen. Getting letters from a magic storybook to make words is a clever device, but it is dropped halfway through the story as the children gather their last props through other creative means. A fun read with a clever way of showing how to use individual letters to create words this book would be enjoyed by younger children just learning to read.
Iron Trial
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Black, Holly
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 31, 2015
Doran, Kelly
Answers the question "Why wouldn't someone want to go to Hogwarts?". Ten years after the massacre of many unarmed noncombatants, including his mother, during the last mage war, Callum has been raised by his father to fear and avoid magic. He has every intention of failing his entry exams to the Magisterium (mage school) and does his best (or worst), but to his and his father's horror, gets in. Call is chosen as one of Master Rufus' three apprentices, with Aaron and Tamara, and enters the Magisterium, still distrustful of magic and wizards. A rival student, Jasper, resents Call's position with Master Rufus; another student, Drew, has some secrets of his own. Lessons, adventures, friendships, untrustworthy elementals, betrayals, and Dark Secrets (tm) ensue. Bonus points for reasonable and responsible adults (especially Master Rufus), and for having Call and Jasper end up as reluctant not-entirely-enemies by the end of the book. Looking forward to the sequels.
Six Feet Over It
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
Longo, Jennifer
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
January 31, 2015
Doran, Kelly
Leigh deals with grief every day, selling graves. She's the one who kept it together-- through three years of her sister's battle with leukemia, her father's impulse-purchase of a cemetery, her mother's obsessive painting...her best friend's death. Nobody notices that Leigh isn't as solid as her façade until her father hires Dario, an illegal immigrant, as the cemetery's gravedigger. Dario notices Leigh, encourages her to learn to drive, and gives her the emotional support she's been providing to everyone else, especially after she finds out that her friend Emily was buried in the same cemetery that her father now owns. Leigh initially resents Dario, then comes to depend on him. When Dario has to go back to Mexico (with the intention to return), Leigh is strong enough to start dealing with her suppressed grief and start reaching out to other people. When Dario and his new wife Ana are trapped on their way back across the border, Leigh and her new friend Elinor head out to rescue them and bring them home. A well-written and emotionally moving story of dealing with grief, depression, self-blame and what amounts to PTSD, though Leigh's final self-assertiveness is a little abrupt. Seattle Author.
Only Thing To Fear
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Richmond, Caroline Tung
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 31, 2015
Gustafson, Chris
it's a great premise - the Allies lost World War II, so the United States have been carved up with the eastern portion going to Germany while Japan has control over the western section. Teen Zara lives in the east, poor and in fear of the efficient Nazis who seem to have their whole society neatly under control through surveillance and intimidation. Of course there are those who wish to rebel and Zara joins them. There's plenty of intrigue and action, but I found the characters not to be memorable and my interest lagged at times.
Nascar Racing
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Long, Dustin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 31, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Race Car aficionados will love the Inside The Speedway series, covering six types of car racing: Drag, Indy, NASCAR, Sprint, F-1, and Stock. Each book includes information about famed racers, history of the sport, and descriptions of how the different racecars evolved, as well as a glossary with academic language, several suggestions for further reading and a publisher monitored websites. The well-chosen color scheme of lime green, red, charcoal, and plum includes racing stripes and diagonals suggesting speed and complimenting the fact boxes, well-captioned historical and recent photographs and diagrams. Spectacular crashes, star drivers, speed and stock cars have earned a huge following for the NASCAR racing. Bill France, Sr. organized the sport in Daytona Beach in 1947 with the first races held in 1949. Six generations of stock cars have evolved from regular cars with minor modifications, to the current cars with much more protection for the drivers. Famous drivers highlighted include the Allison brothers, Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jr., Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Danica Patrick and Richard Petty. Detailed information and photographs make this a solid choice for school libraries.