Reviews for month


Bomb-Sniffing Dogs
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Laughlin, Kara L
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
February 02, 2015
Kline, Karen
This 24-page book introduces young readers to which breeds of dogs make good “sniffer” dogs, the basic physiology of dogs’ super smelling abilities, a short history of the first bomb sniffing dogs, handlers’ procedures for training the dogs, and a short narrative about an US Army unit with a sniffer dog and his handler. Full color captioned photos on each double page, sometimes obscuring the dogs’ muzzles, are stock quality. A spelling error (p. 20) “Whey (sic) they looked, they found two bombs” was noted. This book is similar in scope to Meish Goldish’s book of the same title from the Dog Heroes series (Bearport Publishing, 2012), and libraries would be better served by the Goldish title which is superior in content as well as binding quality to the book reviewed here.
Fighting For Survival : Predators And Prey
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Raymos, Rick
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
February 02, 2015
Kline, Karen
This concept book explores several pairs of animals that are prey and predator to each other including jaguar/spider monkey, mongoose/king cobra, cheetah/gazelle and others. Each double page spread has a short narrative that describes traits that help the animal pair survive as either a predator or a preyed upon animal. For instance, “the cobra’s venom can stop the mongoose in its tracks...but the mongoose is lightning fast.” This 24-page book has an appealing layout with full color photos, maps, headings, photo glossary, and index. Educators will appreciate the page of “Before & After Reading Activities” that suggest simple methods for presenting the text including a picture walk, a summary prompt, an inference question and more. The rugged cover material and reinforced binding are quality making this a solid choice for school library collections.
Buried Sunlight : How Fossil Fuels Have Changed The Earth
BLUE SKY [BLUE SKY]
Bang, Molly
Bang, Molly
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 02, 2015
Kline, Karen
The sun personified tells this story of how solar energy creates fossil fuels on earth. Elementary grade students and teachers now have a wonderfully simple resource for studying global warming and the role of photosynthesis, time and the carbon cycle. Detailed oil illustrations support the text with labels like “CO2,” “phytoplankton,” and “coal.” Molecular illustrations alongside earthly landscapes throughout help to convey the vast as well as the minute details of life that are so interdependent. The authors confront the naysayers of global warming head on with a brief part of the text that tells how scientists are measuring the increased levels of carbon dioxide and how some people say, “SO WHAT?” Bang and Chisholm proceed to explain how greenhouse gases are being trapped by Earth’s “blanket” of gases and how it is changing our landscape more rapidly than ever before. The text concludes with six pages of notes with thumbnail illustrations from the book that expound on the concepts and present a deeper explanation of scientific concepts. This is the fourth in the series by this author-illustrator team that includes My Light, Living Sunlight, and Ocean Sunlight. Children deserve to have these books in their libraries.
Fly Guy's Amazing Tricks
CARTWHEEL BOOKS (SCHOLASTIC) [CARTWHEEL BOOKS (SCHOLASTIC)]
Arnold, Tedd
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
February 02, 2015
Kline, Karen
Buzz and Fly Guy are back with new antics -- a magic show! Neighborhood kids gather in the first of three chapters to see Fly Guy perform the “Backstroke,” the “Dizzy Doosie,” and the “Big Booger.” When dinner time comes, friends depart and Buzz is called inside to the table. Fly Guy proceeds to perform the same tricks at the dinner table creating a ruckus. Arnold’s goofy illustrations replete with the big, googly-eyed characters full of wacky facial expressions will entice beginning readers. Fly Guy and Buzz are confronted by a meany in the third chapter who asks a series of taunting questions about why Buzz is talking to a bug. Luckily, Buzz had already devised a plan that works against the bully serendipitously in the end. A definite purchase for libraries with Fly Guy fans.
Timeline History Of The Early American Republic
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Morey, Allan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
February 02, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
The early years of the United States are explained chronologically from April 19, 1775 when the Revolutionary War begins to December 5, 1792 when George Washington wins the second presidential election. This era is divided up into five chapters with titled subsections and captioned illustrations or photographs. Events are explained clearly and without much detail, but give background as well as effects of events. The main defining feature of the book is the timeline across the bottom of each page which clearly identifies critical events that are connected to the informational text above. Some of the timelines are marked in years and others in months or even days depending on how many important events were occurring at the time. The timeline gives a visual flow to the history and makes it more accessible for some students. The two page conclusion covers a few critical events from 1800 to 2004, such as amendments to the Constitution. A glossary, writing activity, list of resources, and index are included. It is part of the Timeline Trackers: America’s Beginnings series.
For Soccer-Crazy Girls Only
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Downing, Erin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
February 02, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This is definitely a book for soccer-crazy girls who are serious about playing soccer and also want to know everything about it. It is divided up into ten chapters with a handbook format with short articles and many diagrams and simple illustrations or captioned photographs. Chapter topics vary from becoming a soccer success and preventing injuries to soccer jobs and how to host a soccer party. There is also a section on great players focusing on women players around the world and also a few men players at the end. Everything is black and white with neon green to give a modern punch to the layout. Girls who love soccer will pore over this book for its information, advice, interesting facts, and as the subtitle says “Everything great about soccer.”
About Parrots : A Guide For Children
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Sill, Cathryn
Sill, John
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
February 02, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Various parrots around the world are introduced with a simple sentence or two of text on a white background with a full-page labeled illustration of parrots in their habitat on the opposite page. The afterword has a paragraph to go with each plate with details about the parrot in the illustration and other facts relating to the plate. A glossary and list of resources is included, but no index. The words in the glossary are not indicated in the text by color or boldface font. Young students could use the book for very basic research. The best part of the book are the realistic watercolor illustrations.
Pakistan
Buddy Books/abdo [Buddy Books/abdo]
Murray, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 02, 2015
Kline, Karen
Pakistan’s rich history and culture are presented in this 40-page book. One of 24 titles in the Explore the Countries series including China, Turkey, and Argentina. Pakistan is described in the text as a developing country where children are not required to attend school. Notable figures from Benazir Bhutto to Osama bin Laden (due to his death in Pakistan) are mentioned. Simple layouts including full color and black-and-white captioned photographs with large font text accompany each double page spread. Daily life, history, and geography are each given a few brief sentences. Timeline, “Did You Know?” boxes, maps, highlighted glossary terms throughout the text, and oversized headings make this book accessible to most elementary aged readers. The thirty-four entry index will aid researchers, but the brevity of the text will leave many readers needing more sources. Reinforced binding.
Brachiosaurus
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Nunn, Daniel
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
February 02, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
In this All About Dinosaurs title in Heinemann Library’s Acorn books series the very beginning reader is introduced to brachiosaurus. With nice nonfiction text features such as a contents page, clear color photographs that mostly seem digital representations, labels, a map of where in the world this extinct creature lived, a two-word picture glossary (fossil and reptile) plus a six-word index, the book concludes with notes for parents and teachers about pre and post reading suggestions. Most of the large text in the 24 pages starts with the word “Brachiosaurus” which gets a bit tiresome if reading aloud. Most pages of this simple text have one sentence. The strength of this book is the clear photos/depictions despite the small format. The facts are interesting especially when comparing the height of this dino to a 4-story building and weight to 12 elephants. The accompanying photos depict these facts quite successfully. A young reader will actually come away with a decent amount of facts to share about this intriguing animal. Others in this series include Diplodocus, Pterodactyl, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurs Rex and Velociraptor.
Ruby Valentine And The Sweet Surprise
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Friedman, Laurie
Avril, Lynne
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
February 02, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This new Ruby Valentine book follows Ruby’s pets—Lovebird and the new addition, Sweetie Pie the kitten, the target of Lovebird’s jealousy. In order to win back Ruby’s attention and become first in her heart, Lovebird plans Valentine’s surprises—a special cake, room decorations, and a flower arrangement. But she doesn’t anticipate Sweetie Pie’s reaction to each as he out does her every action. Thus when Ruby returns, what she finds is not a beautiful surprise, but her two pets locked in a brawl among a disastrous mess. Once she hears each of their sides, she reminds them there’s room in her heart for both of them. After cleaning she presents them with a Valentine’s buffet followed by a movie for the three of them squished comfortably together. This is a pleasant rhyming story with fun, active pink and red illustrations that appeal to young children more than this adult.
Haze
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Weston, Paula
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
February 02, 2015
Datisman, Eve
After meeting Rafa and finding out that she is part of a race of powerful half-angels, Gaby Winters in on a desperate search for her lost brother and the remnants of her forgotten past. The nightmares have stopped but the interactions with the Rephaim and the demons who are battling for the world make getting answers about her lost year difficult. So does her growing attraction to the maddening Rafa, especially as she remembers more and more of their past together. Typical middle novel picks up a cliff hanger and ends on a cliffhanger. Several new plot points are introduced in this four day thrill ride. There is a new group of “watchers” with whom Simon, a previously undiscovered Rephaim has gotten intelligence, but whose side are they one? Could this be the “end of days” or can an all out war be avoided? Folks who are adventure and or supernatural junkies will be waiting for book three.
Morning Star
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Bridges, Robin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
February 02, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Book 3 Katerina Trilogy Katerina, the powerful young necromancer has made her choice. She will her love for the George over studying medicine. He’s ill and she feels she must find a cure but the Tsar, George’s father, refuses to let her study medicine and join the royal family. There is lots of action: She fights off another powerful necromancer, is kidnapped on the eve of her wedding by the spirit of Konstantin in the body of Danilo and taken to Egypt and then to the Graylands (the limbo world between the living and the dead) in order to find the Morning Star a magical sword which will allow him to regain the rule of Russia. WHEW! Bridges has created a fully realized world that blend elements of pre-revolution Russia and the supernatural. The pace is quick and the characters well drawn. The only flaw is a deus ex machina ending. You’ll need this for the supernatural romance/adventure group and readers who want to finish the story. Won’t stand by itself.
Mirk And Midnight Hour
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Nickerson, Jane
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
February 02, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 730 Hi/Lo This retelling of “Tam Lin” takes place in Civil War Mississippi. Violet Dance, 17, has recently lost her twin brother to battle. Before enlisting, her father remarries, giving Violet both an invalid stepmother and a spoiled stepsister, and he also agrees to take in Violet's young cousin, Seeley.V iolet’s feeling of sisterly companionship for Amenze VanZeldt, a free black girl begins an apprehensive relationship with these Africans, who practice the conjuring spirituality of hoodoo (as opposed to the religious practice of voodoo). In this atmospheric story in which darkness houses mysteries, the VanZeldts seem to glide like shadows rather than walk as humans. s a secret romance evolves between Violet and this Yankee who makes her question slavery, the VanZeldts furtively heal him. Tension builds as their reasons for keeping the soldier alive become clearer. his is a gripping, suspenseful love story that is full of twists and terrifying moments sure to thrill.
Famous Last Words
POINT SIGNATURE [POINT SIGNATURE]
Alender, Katie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
February 02, 2015
Dame, Anne
By the author of the truly charming Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer, and while not quite an engaging, it is certainly a serviceable mystery. Willa’s mom has met and married a Hollywood producer who has brought her and her teen daughter Willa to live in his mansion – a huge change from their middle class east coast life. Worse yet, Willa, who has been seeking out paranormal experiences ever since her dad’s death, is beginning to see ghosts and visions. A serial killer is loose in L.A., targeting young actresses and the only friend Willa makes at her new school is deeply, perhaps worryingly involved in hunting for the killer. The love triangle is pretty standard and kids may guess the identity of the killer pretty quickly but the journey is enjoyable. **Review by Chris Gustafson, Whitman Middle School
Indigo
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
Linko, Gina
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
February 02, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 640 Hi/Lo After her younger sister's tragic death, Corrine and her family move from Chicago to their summer vacation home in New Orleans to rebuild their lives, which they quickly realize brings challenges and unexpected blessings. Although Corrine's sister's death was ruled to be cardiac arrest, the 17-year-old is convinced that it was her mysterious, high-voltage touch that killed her sister. Determined not to harm anyone else, Corrine imposes a no-touching rule, which seems to work until she meets Rennick. He's is a local teen who, through his family history, is familiar with Corrine's powers and their deadly nature. Together with they begin experimenting with her touch. She quickly discovers that although her powers are dangerous, if she can control them--no small feat--then she can provide miraculous healing. Corrine proves to be an engaging and believable narrator, weaving into her story snatches of teen angst, New Orleans vernacular and formal music terminology that is a holdover from her earlier life in Chicago, where she was a serious violinist. While much of the plot unfolds predictably, the story's premise is original and the exploration of grief and healing is moving…it has spark.
STORIES OF THE WILD WEST GANG
GECKO PRESS [GECKO PRESS]
COWLEY, JOY
PYE, TREVOR
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 02, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Originally published in New Zealand in 2011, then published in the United States in 2012, this is a collection of ten stories about Michael. Michael's mother and father are rather staid, and unimaginative. There are plenty of rules to adhere, good manners to exhibit, and special diets to follow. (No sugar, for example.) Michael's mother's sister, however, is married to Leo West and they have a passel of children. Their house is a boisterous mess and the adventures Michael has, when he is able to visit, are completely out of his normal comfort zone, and yet... It's his cousin, Royce, who leads Michael into mayhem with his numerous get-rich-quick schemes, but the rest of the family is also quirky. Occasional black and white illustrations accompany the rather dense text. The book has an old-fashioned feel to it and its thickness may deter readers. It is, however, a lot of fun.
Russell Wilson : Super Bowl Champion
Big Buddy Books/abdo [Big Buddy Books/abdo]
Tieck, Sarah
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
February 02, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Even though this book just became outdated due to the recent Super Bowl, Seattle area children will still enjoy having this title especially if they are fans of the star quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks. Subtitled “Super Bowl champion” this book covers Wilson’s life from a youngster, who at age 4 started football. Always a good athlete who played all three major sports, he changed colleges in order to pursue his dream of being both a professional baseball and football player. In only his second year with the Seahawks he took the team to the Superbowl in 2014. The book ends with everyone looking forward to what comes next. That part will have to be written in a future book that covers the 2014 season and the 2015 Super Bowl loss. The 32 pages has the usual, desired nonfiction text features found in this prolific series of Big Buddy Books Biographies—table of contents, large photos all captioned, fun factoid boxes, bold terms found in the Important Words section, website, and surprisingly detailed index.
Ancient Greece
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Bailey, Diane
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
February 03, 2015
Gustafson, Chris
Ancient civilizations are the backbone of 6th grade social studies in our district and this new Abdo series by a number of different authors is a useful library selection. Each volume follows a similar format: a short narrative to engage the reader, history, culture and customs, and a brief look at modern life. Back matter is extensive and mostly helpful. The timeline is more of a time list, and readers will already need to understand the meaning of BCE and CE since they won't be explained in text or in the glossary. Many of the source notes would work as additional resources since few are scholarly. The book design is attractive with plenty of photos, maps, and pull quotes. Text sections are short or are chunked in to paragraphs with plenty of white space. Chapter headings are clear enough so that researchers can skim for a subtopic and not have to do too much inference. The series is promoted as Common Core though I saw no particular features that supported that claim. It is attractive non-fiction targeted at a grade band where the CCSS asked students to read a larger percentage of non-fiction text.
Ancient India
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Rowell, Rebecca
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
February 03, 2015
Gustafson, Chris
Ancient civilizations are the backbone of 6th grade social studies in our district, and a 6th grade teacher was especially excited when she saw this book on my desk waiting to be processed. Ancient India is one of eight volumes in a new series published by Abdo by a number of different authors. Each follows a similar format: a short narrative to engage the reader, history, culture and customs, and a brief look at modern life. Back matter is extensive and mostly helpful. The timeline is more of a time list, and readers will already need to understand the meaning of BCE and CE since they won't be explained in text or in the glossary. Many of the source notes would work as additional resources since few are scholarly. The book design is attractive with plenty of photos, maps, and pull quotes. Text sections are short or are chunked in to paragraphs with plenty of white space. Chapter headings are clear enough so that researchers can skim for a subtopic and not have to do too much inference. The series is promoted as Common Core though I saw no particular features that supported that claim. It is attractive non-fiction targeted at a grade band where the CCSS asks students to read a larger percentage of non-fiction text.
Ancient Egypt
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Amstutz, L J
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
February 03, 2015
Gustafson, Chris
Ancient civilizations are the backbone of 6th grade social studies in our district, and a 6th grade teacher was especially excited when she saw this book on my desk waiting to be processed. Ancient India is one of eight volumes in a new series published by Abdo by a number of different authors. Each follows a similar format: a short narrative to engage the reader, history, culture and customs, and a brief look at modern life. Back matter is extensive and mostly helpful. The timeline is more of a time list, and readers will already need to understand the meaning of BCE and CE since they won't be explained in text or in the glossary. Many of the source notes would work as additional resources since few are scholarly. The book design is attractive with plenty of photos, maps, and pull quotes. Text sections are short or are chunked in to paragraphs with plenty of white space. Chapter headings are clear enough so that researchers can skim for a subtopic and not have to do too much inference. The series is promoted as Common Core though I saw no particular features that supported that claim. It is attractive non-fiction targeted at a grade band where the CCSS asked students to read a larger percentage of non-fiction text.
Ancient Mesopotamia
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Head, Tom
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
February 03, 2015
Gustafson, Chris
Ancient civilizations are the backbone of 6th grade social studies in our district, and a 6th grade teacher was especially excited when she saw this book on my desk waiting to be processed. Ancient India is one of eight volumes in a new series published by Abdo by a number of different authors. Each follows a similar format: a short narrative to engage the reader, history, culture and customs, and a brief look at modern life. Back matter is extensive and mostly helpful. The timeline is more of a time list, and readers will already need to understand the meaning of BCE and CE since they won't be explained in text or in the glossary. Many of the source notes would work as additional resources since few are scholarly. The book design is attractive with plenty of photos, maps, and pull quotes. Text sections are short or are chunked in to paragraphs with plenty of white space. Chapter headings are clear enough so that researchers can skim for a subtopic and not have to do too much inference. The series is promoted as Common Core though I saw no particular features that supported that claim. It is attractive non-fiction targeted at a grade band where the CCSS asked students to read a larger percentage of non-fiction text.
Ancient Maya
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Edwards, Sue Bradford
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
February 03, 2015
Gustafson, Chris
Ancient civilizations are the backbone of 6th grade social studies in our district, and a 6th grade teacher was especially excited when she saw this book on my desk waiting to be processed. Ancient India is one of eight volumes in a new series published by Abdo by a number of different authors. Each follows a similar format: a short narrative to engage the reader, history, culture and customs, and a brief look at modern life. Back matter is extensive and mostly helpful. The timeline is more of a time list, and readers will already need to understand the meaning of BCE and CE since they won't be explained in text or in the glossary. Many of the source notes would work as additional resources since few are scholarly. The book design is attractive with plenty of photos, maps, and pull quotes. Text sections are short or are chunked in to paragraphs with plenty of white space. Chapter headings are clear enough so that researchers can skim for a subtopic and not have to do too much inference. The series is promoted as Common Core though I saw no particular features that supported that claim. It is attractive non-fiction targeted at a grade band where the CCSS asked students to read a larger percentage of non-fiction text.
Ancient Rome
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Hamen, Susan E
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
February 03, 2015
Gustafson, Chris
Ancient civilizations are the backbone of 6th grade social studies in our district, and a 6th grade teacher was especially excited when she saw this book on my desk waiting to be processed. Ancient India is one of eight volumes in a new series published by Abdo by a number of different authors. Each follows a similar format: a short narrative to engage the reader, history, culture and customs, and a brief look at modern life. Back matter is extensive and mostly helpful. The timeline is more of a time list, and readers will already need to understand the meaning of BCE and CE since they won't be explained in text or in the glossary. Many of the source notes would work as additional resources since few are scholarly. The book design is attractive with plenty of photos, maps, and pull quotes. Text sections are short or are chunked in to paragraphs with plenty of white space. Chapter headings are clear enough so that researchers can skim for a subtopic and not have to do too much inference. The series is promoted as Common Core though I saw no particular features that supported that claim. It is attractive non-fiction targeted at a grade band where the CCSS asked students to read a larger percentage of non-fiction text.
Ancient China
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Atkins, Marcie Flinchum
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
February 03, 2015
Gustafson, Chris
Ancient civilizations are the backbone of 6th grade social studies in our district, and a 6th grade teacher was especially excited when she saw this book on my desk waiting to be processed. Ancient India is one of eight volumes in a new series published by Abdo by a number of different authors. Each follows a similar format: a short narrative to engage the reader, history, culture and customs, and a brief look at modern life. Back matter is extensive and mostly helpful. The timeline is more of a time list, and readers will already need to understand the meaning of BCE and CE since they won't be explained in text or in the glossary. Many of the source notes would work as additional resources since few are scholarly. The book design is attractive with plenty of photos, maps, and pull quotes. Text sections are short or are chunked in to paragraphs with plenty of white space. Chapter headings are clear enough so that researchers can skim for a subtopic and not have to do too much inference. The series is promoted as Common Core though I saw no particular features that supported that claim. It is attractive non-fiction targeted at a grade band where the CCSS asked students to read a larger percentage of non-fiction text.
Ancient Aztecs
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Kenney, Karen Latchana
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
February 03, 2015
Gustafson, Chris
Ancient civilizations are the backbone of 6th grade social studies in our district, and a 6th grade teacher was especially excited when she saw this book on my desk waiting to be processed. Ancient India is one of eight volumes in a new series published by Abdo by a number of different authors. Each follows a similar format: a short narrative to engage the reader, history, culture and customs, and a brief look at modern life. Back matter is extensive and mostly helpful. The timeline is more of a time list, and readers will already need to understand the meaning of BCE and CE since they won't be explained in text or in the glossary. Many of the source notes would work as additional resources since few are scholarly. The book design is attractive with plenty of photos, maps, and pull quotes. Text sections are short or are chunked in to paragraphs with plenty of white space. Chapter headings are clear enough so that researchers can skim for a subtopic and not have to do too much inference. The series is promoted as Common Core though I saw no particular features that supported that claim. It is attractive non-fiction targeted at a grade band where the CCSS asked students to read a larger percentage of non-fiction text.
Horsenapped!
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Franco, Paula
Franco, Paula
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 03, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Middle grade horse lovers have a new series, the Storm Cliff Stables, appealing to (mostly) girls looking for realistic fiction with a strong dose of friendship and a small dose of challenges. The Core Four, summer bunkmates from different cultural backgrounds, have been attending horse camp each summer with identified horses and riding styles. They show their personalities and talents with each of the four books narrated in first-person from a different girl’s point-of-view. Bree broke a bone from a fall and has given up riding, substituting taking care of the animals as preparation for becoming a Veterinarian. But her first day on the job, the chicken, Golden Girl, is missing at bedtime and Bree worries she’ll be fired. As one by one, the animals go missing only to show up the following day, Aunt Jane, Layla and Bree know something odd is happening. When Avery’s horse, Sapphire, goes missing, they realize they will need to go to the police now. Clues are dropped like cookie crumbs and many readers may find the solution so evident, but still this series will appeal to many of our middle grade girl readers.
Gold Medal Glitch
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Franco, Paula
Franco, Paula
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 03, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
A summer horse – riding camp foursome, a missing Olympic champion, and Camp Director Aunt Jane’s mysterious behavior all add up to a great read for those (mostly) girls looking for realistic fiction with a strong dose of friendship and a small dose of challenges. The Core Four, summer bunkmates from different cultural backgrounds, show their different personalities and talents in the Storm Cliff Stables series. Each of the four books is told in first-person from a different girl’s point-of-view. In Gold Medal Glitch, Avery is ecstatic that her hero, equestrian Olympic Gold Anna Wainright, is coming to camp and giving lessons. Driving towards the camp, Avery spots a rider jumping an impossibly tall stack of dead logs and is sure it is Anna. Arriving at camp though they learn Anna will not be able to leave her training and visit camp. But Amy is sure it was Anna and when Aunt Jane starts acting mysterious, Anna suspects something is afoot. Camp fun and deductive snooping develop the plot as the Core Four cabin mates, Avery, Bree, Esha and Jaelyn continue their adventures. Middle Grade horse lovers will keep the four Storm Cliff Stables books flying off the shelves.
Trail Ride Troubles
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Franco, Paula
Franco, Paula
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 03, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Middle grade horse lovers have a new series, the Storm Cliff Stables, appealing to (mostly) girls looking for realistic fiction with a strong dose of friendship and a small dose of challenges. The Core Four, summer bunkmates from different cultural backgrounds, show their personalities and talents with each of the four books narrated in first-person from a different girl’s point-of-view. Jaelyn loves art and trail riding and is thrilled when her friends, Avery and Esha will join her and Layla, the leader, on a favorite trail ride. But on reaching their destination, the girls discover that the beautiful trees have been illegally cut down and a small cabin was being built. Snooping for clues, the girls find their prime suspect is Clyde, an old friend of the Aunt Jane, the Camp owner, who has been pestering her to buy some of her land. False assumptions lead to wrong conclusions and accusations but all is happily wrapped up by the book’s end. The conversational text, large font and medium length sentences are appropriate for students ready to step up from Magic Tree House books.
Mr. Putter & Tabby Turn The Page
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Rylant, Cynthia
Howard, Arthur
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
February 03, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Mr. Putter & Tabby fans, especially librarians, will enjoy this newest addition to the lengthy list of titles by Cynthia Rylant with Arthur Howard’s perfectly matched artwork. In five chapters for beginning readers, old Mr. Putter and his cat Tabby, both enjoy reading quietly together. When the public library invites patrons to read aloud with their pets at story time, Mr. Putter signs them up. Unfortunately he shares this with his exuberant neighbor Mrs. Teaberry, who then brings her unpredictable bulldog Zeke to story time. Both pets, their owners, and their read alouds are a hit, and they end the day swapping books. Howard’s illustrations often steal the show and help make this quiet story more entertaining.
Roller Derby Rivals
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Macy, Sue
Collins, Matt
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 04, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
The large format and dramatic illustrations should draw the young reader to this narrative nonfiction title featuring the rivalry between Midge “Toughie” Brasuhn and Gerry Murray in the 1948 New York roller derby days. The first double-page spread has a list of the 1948 Roller Derby Rules on a large placard in the arena entrance. Then the action begins immediately with a crash as Gerry, the beautiful Roller Derby queen, smashes into Toughie throwing her off-balance. This newest game in New York City features men’s competitions alternating with women’s each night. Television adds to this new sport’s popularity, especially when it shows the women’s determination, guts and skill. This book captures the excitement of one night’s derby as they play their roles as the heroine the fans love and villain the fans love to hate. In reality these women are friends, but the best of competitors, as they travel the country. The final four pages have a lot of dense text more intended for an adult reader that contain an author’s note documenting the history, research and what happened to these two women, a timeline from 1935-2012, a wealth of resources, film clips, web sites, books and source notes concluding with photos of these women.
Bilby : Secrets Of An Australian Marsupial
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Wignell, Edel
Jackson, Mark
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
February 05, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This is an interesting combination of narrative nonfiction paired with facts on each double page spread. On the end sheet in appropriate orange of the desert an introduction is given to this secretive, nocturnal mammal found in remote parts of Australia. The narrative follows Bilby, a female, who gives birth in a burrow to Baby Bilby, just as small as a little toe. Immediately Baby crawls into his mother’s pouch where he suckles and sleeps unaware of his mother’s nocturnal search for food. When old enough he explores his underground home and sleeps. Eventually he is able to surface and explore the outdoors mimicking his mother’s foraging and alertness, darting into nearby burrows when predators threaten. The factual information in a different style font provides added interest giving details such as the length of each stage of development, how they burrow or dig, their prey and predators, and that males are solitary except for mating. The distinct color palette captures the feel of the arid desert especially at night and the sharpness of this creature's features. Final endsheets contain a 14-word index.This is a pleasant introduction to a little known animal.
Malala Yousafzai : Education Activist
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
February 05, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This large format Abdo Kids History Maker Biography features the Pakistani girl who has fought for education. Her father starts a school for girls and boys in their town of Mingora, but when the Taliban takes control of this town they take away the few rights women have. After Malala speaks out about life under the Taliban they close the girls’ schools, fueling Malala’s activism. In 2012 she was shot by a Taliban member and then taken by her family to England for care and safety. Silenced she was not as she spoke before the United Nations in 2013 about the need for global education. The 24 pages ends with a timeline including her winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, not mentioned in the text. The five-word glossary tackles such terms as BBC and Taliban. The nine-word index is followed by the abdokids website where a code leads readers to further activities—some of which are not that useful, but the video of her acceptance speech is. The lack of captions detracts a bit when children wish to know what is happening in the photos i.e. who are the people in her hospital room? Stating her age throughout would have been helpful as well. This is a decent introduction to a remarkable girl that will inspire children.
Great Idea? : An Up2U Character Education Adventure
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Suen, Anastasia
Dippold, Jane
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
In this UP2U adventure Andy and Josh go mountain biking and find some baby snakes. This inspires them to pull a prank at school, but when the snake is loose in the hallway all bets are off. What will happen? It depends on which of the three endings you choose. This is a different take on the old "Choose Your Own Adventure" genre. Normally I would consider this a marginal purchase, but a teacher just asked me for this specific type of book for a writing assignment her students need to do to prepare for statewide testing so clearly this meets a specific need.
Room Of Woe : An Up2U Horror Adventure
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Wallace, Rich
Flores, Jose Emroca
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
In this UP2U adventure Max's parents take him to his aunt's house. They are going birding, looking for a particularly rare bird, and the house will be their base of operations. Aunt Ida, however, is a little unusual. She lost a son years ago, and acts like he's still there...which he is. The boy, who died falling over a cliff, still haunts his home and now he's haunting Max. When Max gets lost in the woods late at night can he trust the ghost to lead him home, or will the ghost lead him over a cliff? Well, it depends on which ending you choose. The book offers 3 possibilities. The story is adequate and a little scary. None of the endings result in disaster. Normally I would consider this a marginal purchase, but a teacher just asked me for this specific type of book for a writing assignment her students need to do to prepare for statewide testing so there must be a need for books of this ilk.
Substitutes : An Up2U Action Adventure
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Lay, Kathryn
Calo, Marcos
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Something strange is going on at Josh and Jenny's school. The regular teachers are disappearing and being replaced by red-haired, green-eyed people who look a lot alike and all have weird tattoos on their faces. What could be going on? The children decide to find out. What happens? That depends on which ending you choose. There are three possibilities. This is an UP2U book--a new take on the old "Choose Your Own Adventure" genre. The story has some tension and the different endings are quite diverse, but none of them end badly (which may disappoint some readers.) Occasional black and white illustrations accompany the text. While I wasn't overly impressed, I had a teacher who said this was just what she needed for a writing assignment, so there you go!
Little Mouse Gets Ready
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Smith, Jeff
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
February 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This is a Level 1 Reader in the "Toon Into Reading!" series which use a comic/graphic-novel format for easy readers. Little Mouse is getting ready. His mother tells him to hurry. Carefully he puts on all of his clothes, in the right order. Finally he's ready, much to his mother's surprise because, as she points out, mice don't wear clothes. This is a silly, fun book that beginning readers will enjoy, with crisp illustrations, by the same author who gave us the "Bone" series. It's fun to see graphic novels for the younger set.
St. Patrick's Day Shamrocks
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Berendes, Mary
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Just what is a shamrock, and what do they represent, and how do they tie into St. Patrick's Day? These, and other questions, are answered in this sturdy 24-page book. Crisp color photographs with round patch captions face paragraphs of focused text. Readers learn about shamrocks and St. Patrick's Day, as well as getting a nice overview of St. Patrick himself. the legend of St. Patrick and the shamrock, representing the holy trinity, is included. The book includes a glossary, bibliography, and index. It would make a nice addition to holiday shelves.
Baby Alligators
Sandcastle/abdo [Sandcastle/abdo]
Salzmann, Mary Elizabeth
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
February 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This sturdy 24-page book does exactly what the title says--it tells young readers about baby alligators. Crisp color photographs face white pages with one or two lines of text that provide information while acting as the picture captions. There are lots of good facts here, as well as interesting information--rather surprising in such an easy nonfiction book. A short fact page, quiz, and glossary are included. This is a fun informative book that will attract young readers. It would also be the perfect nonfiction accompaniment to Minarik's "No Fighting, No Biting." Seriously, it's like it was designed to go with that book.
Concrete Mixers
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Lennie, Charles
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the large format Abdo Kids "Construction Machines" series, this 24-page book features big photographs that spill across the gutter and are accompanied by one or two sentences that give very basic information about concrete and concrete mixers. Readers learn the parts of a concrete mixer, and a labeled picture is included. Concrete's use is construction is mentioned. the book includes a page with three additional facts, as well as a short glossary and index. These books, with their big pictures and easy reading levels, are very popular. The paper over board cover will not last, however, and the information given is extremely limited and basic. That being said, young big machine fans will embrace this title.
Martin Luther King Jr. : Civil Rights Leader
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
February 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the large format "Abdo Kids History Maker Biographies" series, this 24-page book features big photographs that spill across the gutter and are accompanied by two or three sentences that give very basic information about Martin Luther King, Jr. Readers learn a little about segregation, the early life of Dr. King, and the civil rights movement. Very general, very simple information is provided. There are a few problems. the march on Washington is described as a walk. The Supreme Court declared that segregation on buses was unfair, not that buses were unfair. Still, this is a very easy book that would be good for kindergarten, when discussing Martin Luther King, Jr. The book includes a page with 3 more facts, a timeline, and a short glossary and index. These books, with their big pictures and easy reading levels, are very popular. The paper over board cover will not last, however, and the information given is extremely limited and basic. Still, if you're looking for easy nonfiction this will appeal to younger readers.
Octopuses
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
February 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the large format "Abdo Kids Ocean Life" series, this 24-page book features big photographs that spill across the gutter and are accompanied by two or three sentences that give very basic information about octopuses. Readers learn that octopuses live in oceans, and come in a variety of sizes. Information is given about body parts and how they are used. A little information is given about the life cycle of an octopus. Nothing is said about diet, or predators. The book includes a page with 3 more facts, and a short glossary and index. These books, with their big pictures and easy reading levels, are very popular. The paper over board cover will not last, however, and the information given is extremely limited and basic. Still, if you're looking for easy nonfiction this will appeal to younger readers.
Dolphins
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
February 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the large format "Ocean Life" series, this 24-page book features big photographs that spill across the gutter and are accompanied by two or three sentences that give very basic information about dolphins. Readers learn that dolphins belong to the whale family, and live in a variety of habitats. Several types of dolphins are highlighted, and labeled pictures identify their fins and blowholes. A little about dolphin life is included. No information is given about diet or predators. The book includes a page with 3 more facts, and a short glossary and index. These books, with their big pictures and easy reading levels, are very popular. The paper over board cover will not last, however, and the information given is extremely limited and basic. Still, if you're looking for easy nonfiction this will meet that need.
Big Red Kangaroo
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Saxby, Claire
Byrne, Graham
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
February 07, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
As with Bilby: Secrets of an Australian Marsupial also by Candelwick, this narrative nonfiction is combined with factual information in italics on each double page spread. This title features Red Kangaroo in the narrative following him one night as he leads his mob to feed on grasses, seek shelter in trees from a storm, keep watch on other mobs, drink rain water, avoid predators and meet a challenge from another male. The facts flow directly from the story and expand it nicely using refreshing word choice in both parts i.e. “the sun floats on the waves of another back-earth day” or “Rainwater loiters in shallow pools, and Red drinks.” As in Bilby the last page (page 24) has a detailed index, but in addition it has a concluding page with three more paragraphs about kangaroos. This first time picture book illustrator uses unique charcoal and digital media to capture the wilds of Australia and this intriguing creature that is most active during dusk, dawn and nighttime, hence the oranges, tans, grays and black.
Biggest, Baddest Book Of Space
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Schoeller, Jen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Biggest, Baddest Book of..." series this well-bound 24-page book gives a quick and somewhat random overview of space. Well-designed graphs, and clear realistic illustrations, accompany the text. Readers learn about the different layers of the earth's atmosphere, our solar system, the sun, the Milky Way, stars, space rocks, black holes, and the ever-expanding universe. There are plenty of labeled pictures and some beautiful photographs. This is a good browsing book, but the information is unfocused and coverage on such a broad topic is, of necessity, thin. Students will enjoy the book, however, and it would serve as a nice overview, leading to further research for greater understanding.
Biggest, Baddest Book Of Caves
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Biggest, Baddest Book of..." series this well-bound 24-page book gives a quick and somewhat random overview of caves. Beautiful photographs, as well as maps, accompany the text. Readers learn about different types of caves and cave formations as well as the animals that can be found there. Caving safety equipment is also briefly presented. The book ends with a quiz and glossary. Pictures abound. The information is beautifully presented but it is a broad topic for a short book so there is only a smattering of information, good for browsing and a quick overview. Students will enjoy the book, however, and it would serve as a nice overview, leading to further research for greater understanding.
Biggest, Baddest Book Of Sea Creatures
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Schoeller, Jen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Biggest, Baddest Book of..." series this well-bound 24-page book gives a quick and somewhat random overview of the various creatures you might find in the sea. The book is superbly designed with lots of graphic features and plenty of photographs. Readers learn a little about the types of animals found in the sea, then some specifics about big ones, small ones, toxic ones, sharks, and others that are interesting. This is by no means complete, but is a good browsing book. Still, the information is unfocused and coverage on such a broad topic is, of necessity, thin. It is cool, however. The book ends with a short quiz and glossary. Students will enjoy the book, and it would serve as a nice introduction, leading to further research for greater understanding.
Biggest, Baddest Book Of Flight
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Salzmann, Mary Elizabeth
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Biggest, Baddest Book of..." series this well-bound 24-page book gives a quick and somewhat random overview of the history of flight. It is visually appealing with great graphics and lots of photographs and graphics. Readers learn about balloons, the Wright Brothers, the golden age of aircraft (1918-1939), and planes and jets and helicopters from that time to the era of space travel. Facts abound, but they are tidbits of information scattered here and there. The book ends with a short quiz and glossary. This is a good browsing book, but the information is unfocused and coverage on such a broad topic is, of necessity, thin. Students will enjoy the book, however, and it would serve as a fun overview, hopefully leading to further research for greater understanding.
Biggest, Baddest Book Of Storms
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Salzmann, Mary Elizabeth
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Biggest, Baddest Book of..." series this well-bound 24-page book gives a quick overview of storms. Photographs, well-designed pages, and crisp text combine to teach young readers how a storm is defined, and the different types of storms we typically face from dust storms to cyclones. A few particularly bad storms are highlighted. The book ends with a short quiz and glossary. While a good browsing book, the information on such a broad topic is, of necessity, limited. Students will enjoy the book, however, and it would serve as a nice overview, leading to further research for greater understanding.
Biggest, Baddest Book Of Ghosts
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Deyoe, Aaron
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Biggest, Baddest Book of..." series this well-bound 24-page book gives a quick and somewhat random overview of ghosts. Now, you'd think with a topic this interesting and spooky, the book would be fascinating. Unfortunately it is rather dry. Readers learn about reasons ghosts might stay, types of ghosts, and ghost-hunting equipment. The rest of the book gives quick paragraphs about famous haunted places and ghosts, but without the stories that make the information spooky and intriguing. It ends with the question: "Are Ghosts Real?, giving the typical wishy-washy answer you'd expect. This might be a good browsing book, and the subject matter is sure to appeal. There's just not enough "story" here to make it interesting.
Hope Is A Ferris Wheel
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
Herrera, Robin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
February 07, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Star lives in down-and-out Treasure Trailers, a trailer park for all sorts of people who are low wage earners. She's 10 years old, lives with her mother and teenage sister, and goes to her new school where she's tormented by almost everyone. Star is plucky, though, and decides to create a club called the Trailer Park Club. That doesn't garner much interest, so she switches to the Emily Dickinson Club. Four people join this club, including one boy who is a bullly and is perceived as stupid by his classmates. In reality, though, he memorizes all types of poems, and finds solace in participating in the club. Star's life outside of school is not much comfort. She finds out that her mother has been lying to her about who Star's father really is, and her sister, Winter, is pregnant. Star hates her teacher (he does sound like a jerk) and has only four friends in school. I enjoyed the story, but was frustrated at the abrupt ending with so many loose ends left dangling about characters I had come to care about.
Rain Reign
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Martin, Ann M
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
February 07, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Rose, a self-described high-functioning autistic 12-year-old diagnosed with Asperger’s, lives in a small New York town. She’s still in 5th grade because the school doesn’t know what to do with her. Her belligerent father thinks it’s the school’s problem to figure it out, and she has a one-on-one assistant to help control Rose’s outbursts and walk her out of class if necessary. Rose, a stickler for rule following, loves homonyms, so her first person narrative is full of these as she continuously updates her handwritten list. Her mom left when she was very little, and Rose assumes this was because of her. Her mechanic father, a frequenter of the local tavern, earlier brought her a stray dog, whose owner they never searched for. She has named her Rain (Reign, Rein), and is a true companion. The other positive in her life is her very understanding uncle Weldon, who transports her to and from school and seems to know her best. Her gruff father always seems impatient with Rose and potentially violent. When a hurricane comes inland it disrupts the lives of many, and they also lose Rain. How Rose copes with this is methodical and heartbreaking. Martin captures this girl’s emotions and tells a compelling story in the process.
Dorothy And The Wizard In Oz : 4
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Shanower, Eric
Young, Skottie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Marvel is coming out with the original Oz series by Frank L. Baum, adapted into graphic novel format. The books are true to the original text, including much of the wordplay and all of the imaginative whimsy. The artwork manages to echo key elements of John R. Neill's original illustrations, while adding color and a manga touch. The books are sturdily bound and beautifully presented. This five book series covers "The Emerald City of Oz". In it the Nome King gathers an army to invade and conquer Oz by digging a tunnel beneath the Deadly Desert. In the meantime Dorothy and her aunt and uncle have come to Oz to escape foreclosure on the farm. While Dorothy travels the countryside, meeting many strange and delightful folks and introducing her relatives to their new home, danger lurks beneath the earth. This is well executed, maintaining much of the wonder of the original book. However, the problem with this and others in the series is that it divides the book up into many short books, all of which are essential if you are to get the whole story. If you lose one book the series is invalidated. Why can't they just put this all together into one volume? This form of presentation is not user friendly. This is volume 4 in the series.
Dorothy And The Wizard In Oz : 3
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Shanower, Eric
Young, Skottie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Marvel is coming out with the original Oz series by Frank L. Baum, adapted into graphic novel format. The books are true to the original text, including much of the wordplay and all of the imaginative whimsy. The artwork manages to echo key elements of John R. Neill's original illustrations, while adding color and a manga touch. The books are sturdily bound and beautifully presented. This five book series covers "The Emerald City of Oz". In it the Nome King gathers an army to invade and conquer Oz by digging a tunnel beneath the Deadly Desert. In the meantime Dorothy and her aunt and uncle have come to Oz to escape foreclosure on the farm. While Dorothy travels the countryside, meeting many strange and delightful folks and introducing her relatives to their new home, danger lurks beneath the earth. This is well executed, maintaining much of the wonder of the original book. However, the problem with this and others in the series is that it divides the book up into many short books, all of which are essential if you are to get the whole story. If you lose one book the series is invalidated. Why can't they just put this all together into one volume? This form of presentation is not user friendly. This is volume 3 in the series.
Dorothy And The Wizard In Oz : 1
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Shanower, Eric
Young, Skottie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Marvel is coming out with the original Oz series by Frank L. Baum, adapted into graphic novel format. The books are true to the original text, including much of the wordplay and whimsy. The artwork manages to echo key elements of John R. Neill's original illustrations, while adding color and a manga touch. The books are sturdily bound and beautifully presented. This eight book series covers "Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz". Like all Oz books it involves a journey. Dorothy and Jeb fall into a hole during an earthquake and end up in a magical land where they are eventually joined by the wizard. They meet strange folks, face dangers, and eventually end up in Oz. This is well executed, maintaining much of the wonder of the original book. The problem with this and others in the series, however, is that it divides the book up into many short books, all of which are essential if you are to get the whole story. If you lose one book the series is invalidated. Why can't they just put this all together into one volume? This form of presentation is not user friendly. This is volume 1 in the series.
Emerald City Of Oz : 5
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Shanower, Eric
Young, Skottie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Marvel is coming out with the original Oz series by Frank L. Baum, adapted into graphic novel format. The books are true to the original text, including much of the wordplay and all of the imaginative whimsy. The artwork manages to echo key elements of John R. Neill's original illustrations, while adding color and a manga touch. The books are sturdily bound and beautifully presented. This five book series covers "The Emerald City of Oz". In it the Nome King gathers an army to invade and conquer Oz by digging a tunnel beneath the Deadly Desert. In the meantime Dorothy and her aunt and uncle have come to Oz to escape foreclosure on the farm. While Dorothy travels the countryside, meeting many strange and delightful folks and introducing her relatives to their new home, danger lurks beneath the earth. This is well executed, maintaining much of the wonder of the original book. However, the problem with this and others in the series is that it divides the book up into many short books, all of which are essential if you are to get the whole story. If you lose one book the series is invalidated. Why can't they just put this all together into one volume? This form of presentation is not user friendly. This is volume 5 in the series.
Emerald City Of Oz : 4
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Shanower, Eric
Young, Skottie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Marvel is coming out with the original Oz series by Frank L. Baum, adapted into graphic novel format. The books are true to the original text, including much of the wordplay and all of the imaginative whimsy. The artwork manages to echo key elements of John R. Neill's original illustrations, while adding color and a manga touch. The books are sturdily bound and beautifully presented. This five book series covers "The Emerald City of Oz". In it the Nome King gathers an army to invade and conquer Oz by digging a tunnel beneath the Deadly Desert. In the meantime Dorothy and her aunt and uncle have come to Oz to escape foreclosure on the farm. While Dorothy travels the countryside, meeting many strange and delightful folks and introducing her relatives to their new home, danger lurks beneath the earth. This is well executed, maintaining much of the wonder of the original book. However, the problem with this and others in the series is that it divides the book up into many short books, all of which are essential if you are to get the whole story. If you lose one book the series is invalidated. Why can't they just put this all together into one volume? This form of presentation is not user friendly. This is volume 4 in the series.
Emerald City Of Oz : 3
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Shanower, Eric
Young, Skottie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Marvel is coming out with the original Oz series by Frank L. Baum, adapted into graphic novel format. The books are true to the original text, including much of the wordplay and all of the imaginative whimsy. The artwork manages to echo key elements of John R. Neill's original illustrations, while adding color and a manga touch. The books are sturdily bound and beautifully presented. This five book series covers "The Emerald City of Oz". In it the Nome King gathers an army to invade and conquer Oz by digging a tunnel beneath the Deadly Desert. In the meantime Dorothy and her aunt and uncle have come to Oz to escape foreclosure on the farm. While Dorothy travels the countryside, meeting many strange and delightful folks and introducing her relatives to their new home, danger lurks beneath the earth. This is well executed, maintaining much of the wonder of the original book. However, the problem with this and others in the series is that it divides the book up into many short books, all of which are essential if you are to get the whole story. If you lose one book the series is invalidated. Why can't they just put this all together into one volume? This form of presentation is not user friendly. This is volume 3 in the series.
Emerald City Of Oz : 2
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Shanower, Eric
Young, Skottie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Marvel is coming out with the original Oz series by Frank L. Baum, adapted into graphic novel format. The books are true to the original text, including much of the wordplay and all of the imaginative whimsy. The artwork manages to echo key elements of John R. Neill's original illustrations, while adding color and a manga touch. The books are sturdily bound and beautifully presented. This five book series covers "The Emerald City of Oz". In it the Nome King gathers an army to invade and conquer Oz by digging a tunnel beneath the Deadly Desert. In the meantime Dorothy and her aunt and uncle have come to Oz to escape foreclosure on the farm. While Dorothy travels the countryside, meeting many strange and delightful folks and introducing her relatives to their new home, danger lurks beneath the earth. This is well executed, maintaining much of the wonder of the original book. However, the problem with this and others in the series is that it divides the book up into many short books, all of which are essential if you are to get the whole story. If you lose one book the series is invalidated. Why can't they just put this all together into one volume? This form of presentation is not user friendly. This is volume 2 in the series.
Emerald City Of Oz : 1
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Shanower, Eric
Young, Skottie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Marvel is coming out with the original Oz series by Frank L. Baum, adapted into graphic novel format. The books are true to the original text, including much of the wordplay and all of the imaginative whimsy. The artwork manages to echo key elements of John R. Neill's original illustrations, while adding color and a manga touch. The books are sturdily bound and beautifully presented. This five book series covers "The Emerald City of Oz". In it the Nome King gathers an army to invade and conquer Oz by digging a tunnel beneath the Deadly Desert. In the meantime Dorothy and her aunt and uncle have come to Oz to escape foreclosure on the farm. While Dorothy travels the countryside, meeting many strange and delightful folks and introducing her relatives to their new home, danger lurks beneath the earth. This is well executed, maintaining much of the wonder of the original book. However, the problem with this and others in the series is that it divides the book up into many short books, all of which are essential if you are to get the whole story. If you lose one book the series is invalidated. Why can't they just put this all together into one volume? This form of presentation is not user friendly. This is volume 1 in the series.
Snickerblooms And The Age Bug
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Laughead, Mike
Laughead, Mike
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 08, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Kid Squad, Pi, Athena, Gadget, and Tank, has been formed under the direction of Dr. I. N. Stein and Colonel Bragg to combat evil in the world. Their magnificent machine, the Amulator, can be used to communicate and, send the kids around the world and time travel via their individual access pads. Athena’s parents have been kidnapped and she learns that her parents are really Will & Sally Snickerbloom who had taken new names and were working for the U.S. government. Years earlier they had been working on genetic manipulation to alleviate hunger, when their work was coopted by the evil Omni-Tech company to be sold as a weapon that would instantly age a person so they were old and frail. They had been thrown into the ocean but were rescued and hidden in new identities. Now their identities had been discovered and forced to continue their work with the threat of imminent harm to Athena. The Kid Squad are called to join Colonel Bragg and his forces to rescue Athena and her parents and will need to use all their weapons, such as instant protective shields and gas masks to fulfill their mission. Black and white cartoon drawings are interspersed every few pages. This middle grade series fill a niche for transitional fiction.
If You Were A Dog
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Swenson, Jamie A
Raschka, Chris
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
February 08, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
The watercolor images by Chris Raschka are really lovely, colorful, and lively, and the refrain of "If you were a ________, would you _______?" is cute (the first two times or so), but the story does not hold children's interest, at least for first graders. They want more plot and more character. This was too simplistic for that crowd, even with an "act like an animal" game thrown in. This may be much more appreciated by the Pre-K through K age group who would enjoy identifying the animals on each page and then the "very best sort of thing to be:" a kid.
Egyptian Prophecy
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Laughead, Mike
Laughead, Mike
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 08, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Kid Squad, Pi, Athena, Gadget, and Tank, has been formed under the direction of Dr. I. N. Stein and Colonel Bragg to combat evil in the world. Their magnificent machine, the Amulator, can be used to communicate and, send the kids around the world and time travel via their individual access pads. 3000 years ago a prophecy claimed that Lumeri, an evil Egyptian minister, would pursue the Princess Atet through time and place until the earth cracked open. Then forces of good needed to ensure that Princess Atet was put on the throne in order for peace to continue. Back at Copernicus Middle School, a new girl, Molly, wearing an extraordinary jeweled necklace, and a substitute teacher arrive the same day and coincidently the class started a big unit on Egypt. Meanwhile, Athena’s archaeologist Mother is working on a dig in Egypt and finding wonderful artifacts. One shows a man ripping the necklace off a young girl’s neck and after seeing a text; the Kid Squad is shocked to see Molly and the substitute, Mr. Green in the image. Summoned by Dr. I.N. Stein, the foursome set off in this life and death struggle across the ages, between the forces of good and evil.
Comet Of Doom
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Laughead, Mike
Laughead, Mike
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 08, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Kid Squad, Pi, Athena, Gadget, and Tank, has been formed under the direction of Dr. I. N. Stein and Colonel Bragg to combat evil in the world. Their magnificent machine, the Amulator, can be used to communicate and, send the kids around the world and time travel via their individual access pads. The world’s Evil Genius and Kid Squad’s arch nemesis, Dr. Alowishus Cobalt, has aimed a tractor beam and snared a comet setting it on a direct collision path with Earth. While Cobalt is demanding money to halt the collision, he has no intention of saving Earth and intends to escape to Mars. Gadget is kidnapped and the Squad is sent to search for the beam’s hiding place using triangulation but to no avail. Middle Grade readers who are drawn to futuristic technology and kids as heroes trying to save the world might enjoy this series although it is not a literary marvel. Black and white cartoon drawings are interspersed every few pages. This middle grade series fill a niche for students transitioning beyond Bridge books but not quite ready for the longer fiction. Purchase if you need more middle grade series.
Chimpanzees
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Shaffer, Jody Jensen
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
February 08, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This Core Library title is part of The Smartest Animals series which includes Dogs, Dophins, Elephants, Gorillas and Octopuses. This book features the ape very closely related to humans genetically, in intelligence and emotions. The text is straight forward, very readable and doesn’t talk down to the intermediate reader. The photos are clearly captioned and sometimes extend the text. The intelligence of this creature is clearly depicted in several experiments, and its lifestyle, social groupings, habitat, and endangerment are made obvious along with Jane Goodall’s role in researching them. The 48 pages follows the standard Core Library format the reader is asked to question, do further investigation, comparison or writing, using quotations and online sources. Again, this reads like a textbook in those instances directed at the intermediate reader. All desired text features are present including maps, fast facts, glossary, learn more with web links, and detailed index. This will work well for research and a greater appreciation for this primate.
Sloths
Buddy Books/abdo [Buddy Books/abdo]
Murray, Julie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
February 08, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This 32-page Big Buddy Books South American Animals series starts with a contents and introduces the continent and animal. All follow the same format, but adjust to the individual animal well as Julie Murray does her research maintaining her quality nonfiction. The animal's territory includes a map of Central and South America. After a brief overview of the people and languages of the continent, the chapters then delve into more specifics on each creature. Both two-toed and three-toed sloths are explored. Distinguishing physical features, movement as the slowest mammals in the world, food, social life, babies and surviving round out the topics. All books end with a page entitled "Wow! I'll bet you never knew…” of 3 more interesting facts opposite the glossary and ABDO website. Medium sized text make it most appropriate for grades 2-3 and all clear photographs have smaller captions extending the text. Fact boxes contain a paragraph of smaller text labeled "Uncovered!" with a torn-page graphic, and there's an index. This is excellent, inviting nonfiction for those needing to spruce up their animal section. The series includes Howler Monkeys, Jaguars, Piranhas, Poison Dart Frogs, and Toucans.
Poison Dart Frogs
Buddy Books/abdo [Buddy Books/abdo]
Murray, Julie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
February 08, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This 32-page Big Buddy Books South American Animals series starts with a contents and introduces the continent and animal. All follow the same format, but adjust to the individual animal well as Julie Murray does her research maintaining her quality nonfiction. The animal's territory includes a map of Central and South America. After a brief overview of the people and languages of the continent, the chapters then delve into more specifics on each creature. Distinguishing physical features, food and how they get their poison, social life, babies, life cycle and surviving round out the topics. All books end with a page entitled "Wow! I'll bet you never knew…” of 3 more interesting facts opposite the glossary and ABDO website. Medium sized text make it most appropriate for grades 2-3 and all clear photographs have smaller captions extending the text. Fact boxes contain a paragraph of smaller text labeled "Uncovered!" with a torn-page graphic, and there's an index. This is excellent, inviting nonfiction for those needing to spruce up their animal section. The series includes Howler Monkeys, Jaguars, Piranhas, Sloths, and Toucans.
Piranhas
Buddy Books/abdo [Buddy Books/abdo]
Murray, Julie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
February 08, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This 32-page Big Buddy Books South American Animals series starts with a contents and introduces the continent and animal. All follow the same format, but adjust to the individual animal well as Julie Murray does her research maintaining her quality nonfiction. The animal's territory includes a map of South America. After a brief overview of the people and languages of the continent, the chapters then delve into more specifics on each creature. Distinguishing physical features, their sharp teeth and jaws, food and feeding frenzies, social life, babies, and surviving round out the topics. All books end with a page entitled "Wow! I'll bet you never knew…” of 3 more interesting facts opposite the glossary and ABDO website. Medium sized text make it most appropriate for grades 2-3 and all clear photographs have smaller captions extending the text. Fact boxes contain a paragraph of smaller text labeled "Uncovered!" with a torn-page graphic, and there's an index. This is excellent, inviting nonfiction for those needing to spruce up their animal section. The series includes Poison Dart Frogs, Jaguars, Howler Monkeys, Sloths, and Toucans.
Howler Monkeys
Buddy Books/abdo [Buddy Books/abdo]
Murray, Julie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
February 08, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This 32-page Big Buddy Books South American Animals series starts with a contents and introduces the continent and animal. All follow the same format, but adjust to the individual animal well as Julie Murray does her research maintaining her quality nonfiction. The animal's territory includes a map of Central and South America. After a brief overview of the people and languages of the continent, the chapters then delve into more specifics on each creature. Distinguishing physical features, their booming voices, food, social life, babies, and surviving round out the topics. All books end with a page entitled "Wow! I'll bet you never knew…” of 3 more interesting facts opposite the glossary and ABDO website. Medium sized text make it most appropriate for grades 2-3 and all clear photographs have smaller captions extending the text. Fact boxes contain a paragraph of smaller text labeled "Uncovered!" with a torn-page graphic, and there's an index. This is excellent, inviting nonfiction for those needing to spruce up their animal section. The series includes Poison Dart Frogs, Jaguars, Piranhas, Sloths, and Toucans.
Clydesdales
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Dell, Pamela
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 08, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This title in the Majestic Horses series features the smallest pure breed horse in the world and one of the hardiest. Named after the Scottish area from which they come, this “Gentle Giant” draft horse is known for its large size, power and huge hooves. The format for this series starts with an introduction to the specific horse, what they look like, newborns, their history, their disposition, at work and today. The clean graphics with rope and a horse shoe outlining the main text make a very attractive presentation accompanied by straight forward text, clear photos with an italicized caption on the opposite page plus a gray fact box with white print further extending the information. These books conclude with the same 33-body parts of a horse diagram, further reading with books and website, a glossary that defines the bold print terms plus uses it in a sentence, and an index. This was a surprising find and well worth adding to a library for interested children. Others in the series include American Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, Arabians, Shetland Ponies, Mustangs, Przewalski’s Horses and Thoroughbreds.
Shetland Ponies
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Dell, Pamela
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 08, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This title in the Majestic Horses series features the smallest pure breed horse in the world and one of the hardiest. Named after the Scottish islands where they have lived for over 1,000 years, this breed is well-suited to the cold, rocky and hilly landscape there, but have been taken to different countries over the years first as work horses and later as pets. The format for this series starts with an introduction to the specific horse, what they look like, newborns, their history, their disposition, at work and today. The clean graphics with rope and a horse shoe outlining the main text make a very attractive presentation accompanied by straight forward text, clear photos with an italicized caption on the opposite page plus a gray fact box with white print further extending the information. These books conclude with the same 33-body parts of a horse diagram, further reading with books and website, a glossary that defines the bold print terms plus uses it in a sentence, and an index. This was a surprising find and well worth adding to a library for interested children. Others in the series include American Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, Arabians, Clydesdales, Mustangs, Przewalski’s Horses and Thoroughbreds.
Hoover Dam
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Gabriel, Luke
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 08, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
In 24 pages the young reader is introduced to the inception, preparation and execution of Hoover Dam to corral the Colorado River at the border of Arizona and Nevada to keep it from flooding farmland in California. Every double-page spread has a full page photo bordered in a red and gold frame with gold stars opposite several paragraphs of medium sized text also bordered in red and white with gold stars. Each photo has a caption and through these the progress of this striking landmark is evident. The idea, excavation and building process are delineated as well as why it was renamed Hoover Dam. This is an interesting product with simple sentence structure making it accessible to strong 2nd grade or third grade readers through grades four or five. It concludes with a 10-word glossary, three books and a web site for further information, plus an index. This is a decent book for the intended audience. Others in the United States Landmarks series include Arlington National Cemetery, Ellis Island, The Lincoln Memorial, The Statue of Liberty, The Washington Monument, The White House, and Mount Rushmore.
Mount Rushmore
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Gabriel, Luke
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 08, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
In 24 pages the young reader is introduced to the inception and execution of the Mount Rushmore monument in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Every double-page spread has a full page photo bordered in a red and gold frame with gold stars opposite several paragraphs of medium sized text also bordered in red and white with gold stars. Each photo has a caption and through these the progress of the huge monument is evident. The idea, the sculptor, his process including model and markings plus the use of dynamite are delineated as well as why he chose the four presidents he did. This is an interesting product with simple sentence structure making it accessible to strong 2nd grade or third grade readers through grades four or five. It concludes with an 11-word glossary, three books and a web site for further information, plus an index. This is a decent book for the intended audience. Others in the United States Landmarks series include Arlington National Cemetery, Ellis Island, The Lincoln Memorial, The Statue of Liberty, The Washington Monument, The White House, and The Hoover Dam.
Bug Jokes
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Rosenberg, Pam
Ostrom, Bob
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
February 08, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
The riddles and jokes in this book are organized alphabetically by bug—Ants, Bees, Butterflies and Moths, Fleas, Flies, Grasshoppers and Crickets, Mosquitoes, Spiders (hence Bugs, not Insects), and end with three pages of miscellaneous bug jokes. The brightly colored pages feature jokes in different colored boxes or balloon bubbles. The sans serif font has a jaunty look with the question in black and answer in white. The cover sets the stage with two cutely dressed bees, one asking the other, “What do bees wear to school?” and the other answering, “Yellow jackets.” (A suggestion would be to have the question on the left hand side, and the answer on the right, so the reader is not reading the answer first! ) This offering has a nice compilation of clever, short jokes, which was the intent of the author/compiler, who created this as a service to parents, who have to listen to such jokes over and over again, so their children have more to choose from. This is one of eight titles in the Laughing Matter series.
Knock-Knock Jokes
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Rosenberg, Pam
Ostrom, Bob
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
February 08, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
If a fresh, bright offering of annoying knock-knock jokes is needed for a children’s collection this is a nice possibility. In alphabetical order and 24 pages, tried and true jokes abound. For instance the A page has answers beginning with Ammonia, Adore, Ahmed, Adam and Alex, with each joke in its own brightly colored box. The sans serif font has a jaunty look with the Knock Knock starter in black and the recipient in white. With over 100 jokes, the compiler created this as a service to parents, who have to listen to such jokes over and over again, so their children have more to choose from. This is one of eight titles in the Laughing Matter series.
Dorothy And The Wizard In Oz : 8
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Shanower, Eric
Young, Skottie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Marvel is coming out with the original Oz series by Frank L. Baum, adapted into graphic novel format. The books are true to the original text, including much of the wordplay and all of the imaginative whimsy. The artwork manages to echo key elements of John R. Neill's original illustrations, while adding color and a manga touch. The books are sturdily bound and beautifully presented. This five book series covers "The Emerald City of Oz". In it the Nome King gathers an army to invade and conquer Oz by digging a tunnel beneath the Deadly Desert. In the meantime Dorothy and her aunt and uncle have come to Oz to escape foreclosure on the farm. While Dorothy travels the countryside, meeting many strange and delightful folks and introducing her relatives to their new home, danger lurks beneath the earth. This is well executed, maintaining much of the wonder of the original book. However, the problem with this and others in the series is that it divides the book up into many short books, all of which are essential if you are to get the whole story. If you lose one book the series is invalidated. Why can't they just put this all together into one volume? This form of presentation is not user friendly. This is volume 8 in the series.
Dorothy And The Wizard In Oz : 7
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Shanower, Eric
Young, Skottie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Marvel is coming out with the original Oz series by Frank L. Baum, adapted into graphic novel format. The books are true to the original text, including much of the wordplay and all of the imaginative whimsy. The artwork manages to echo key elements of John R. Neill's original illustrations, while adding color and a manga touch. The books are sturdily bound and beautifully presented. This five book series covers "The Emerald City of Oz". In it the Nome King gathers an army to invade and conquer Oz by digging a tunnel beneath the Deadly Desert. In the meantime Dorothy and her aunt and uncle have come to Oz to escape foreclosure on the farm. While Dorothy travels the countryside, meeting many strange and delightful folks and introducing her relatives to their new home, danger lurks beneath the earth. This is well executed, maintaining much of the wonder of the original book. However, the problem with this and others in the series is that it divides the book up into many short books, all of which are essential if you are to get the whole story. If you lose one book the series is invalidated. Why can't they just put this all together into one volume? This form of presentation is not user friendly. This is volume 7 in the series.
Dorothy And The Wizard In Oz : 6
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Shanower, Eric
Young, Skottie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Marvel is coming out with the original Oz series by Frank L. Baum, adapted into graphic novel format. The books are true to the original text, including much of the wordplay and all of the imaginative whimsy. The artwork manages to echo key elements of John R. Neill's original illustrations, while adding color and a manga touch. The books are sturdily bound and beautifully presented. This five book series covers "The Emerald City of Oz". In it the Nome King gathers an army to invade and conquer Oz by digging a tunnel beneath the Deadly Desert. In the meantime Dorothy and her aunt and uncle have come to Oz to escape foreclosure on the farm. While Dorothy travels the countryside, meeting many strange and delightful folks and introducing her relatives to their new home, danger lurks beneath the earth. This is well executed, maintaining much of the wonder of the original book. However, the problem with this and others in the series is that it divides the book up into many short books, all of which are essential if you are to get the whole story. If you lose one book the series is invalidated. Why can't they just put this all together into one volume? This form of presentation is not user friendly. This is volume 6 in the series.
Battle Of The Bots
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Laughead, Mike
Laughead, Mike
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 09, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Kid Squad, Pi, Athena, Gadget, and Tank, has been formed under the direction of Dr. I. N. Stein and Colonel Bragg to combat evil in the world. Their magnificent machine, the Amulator, can be used to communicate and, send the kids around the world and time travel via their individual access pads. Two executives were instructed by the U.S. government to build robot prototypes and compete for a contract to build the world’s first all robot army. But something goes terribly wrong as one prototype army steps out of the rules for a simulation war and stars firing real weapons. Soon it apparent this army is out of control and heading towards the United States. Time for the Kid Squad to enter the chaos. Middle Grade readers who are drawn to futuristic technology and kids as heroes trying to save the world might enjoy this series although it is not a literary marvel. Black and white cartoon drawings are interspersed every few pages. This middle grade series fill a niche for students transitioning beyond Bridge books but not quite ready for the longer fiction. Purchase if you need more middle grade series.
Warlock Stone
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Perritano, John
Laughead, Mike
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 09, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Kid Squad, Pi, Athena, Gadget, and Tank, has been formed under the direction of Dr. I. N. Stein and Colonel Bragg to combat evil in the world. Their magnificent machine, the Amulator, can be used to communicate and, send the kids around the world and time travel via their individual access pads. When Professor Kapur pockets a shiny red rock from an ancient burial site in India, he stirs up a vampire-zombie known as Rakshasa. As the Rakshasa exists by drinking the lifeblood of others, the whole town is turned into a nightmare. An old woman seeks Pi’s help in saving the town. Pi travels there but without the rest of the Kid Squad. It is up to Pi to hold out and ultimately trick the Rakshasa in order to save the village and her friends. Middle Grade readers who are drawn to futuristic technology and kids as heroes trying to save the world might enjoy this series although it is not a literary marvel. Black and white cartoon drawings are interspersed every few pages. This middle grade series fill a niche for students transitioning beyond Bridge books but not quite ready for the longer fiction.
Madness Of Captain Cyclops
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Laughead, Mike
Laughead, Mike
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 09, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Kid Squad, Pi, Athena, Gadget, and Tank, has been formed under the direction of Dr. I. N. Stein and Colonel Bragg to combat evil in the world. Their magnificent machine, the Amulator, can be used to communicate and send the kids around the world and through time via their individual access pads. When a top secret Navy invention, an Invisashield, malfunctions on a submarine in the Atlantic, the Captain and crew are physically and mentally turned into raging maniacs. Captain Van Dorn becomes Captain Cyclops who proceeds to terrorize the Atlantic coast, as ships of all sizes disappear without a trace. It’s time for the Kid Squad to hunt down the Harpoon and Hurricane submarines before they destroy the country. Middle Grade readers who are drawn to futuristic technology and kids as heroes trying to save the world might enjoy this series although it is not a literary marvel. Black and white cartoon drawings are interspersed every few pages. This middle grade series fill a niche for students transitioning beyond Bridge books but not quite ready for the longer fiction. Purchase if you need more middle grade series.
X
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Shabazz, Ilyasah
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
February 09, 2015
Gustafson, Chris
I have really mixed feelings about this title. I tell students that The Autobiography of Malcolm X is a must-read for everyone in the U.S. at some point in their lives. Now one of Malcolm’s daughters has written an account of her father’s life through his early twenties in the format of a novel. At first I felt very cautious about the whole idea of this being a novel, and at first Malcolm’s first-person voice sounded odd to me, perhaps because the introduction starts out in first person present tense. Readers have to pay detailed attention to the many time shifts, and that served to pull me out of the story. About half way through it all clicked together, and I was thankful for the end notes that described which characters were real and which were composites and why. I still have real trouble with the whole idea of a novelized biography, but if this brings Malcolm X to the attention of a wider audience, that’s a good thing. Sixth grade might be a little young for this title.
Campfire Capers
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Franco, Paula
Franco, Paula
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 09, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Middle grade horse lovers have a new series, the Storm Cliff Stables, appealing to (mostly) girls looking for realistic fiction with a strong dose of friendship and a small dose of challenges. The Core Four, summer bunkmates from different cultural backgrounds, have been attending horse camp each summer with identified horses and riding styles. They show their personalities and talents with each of the four books narrated in first-person from a different girl’s point-of-view. Esha loves to be the center of attention and can be rather bossy. The second night at the campfire, Esha, tells a scary ghost story about a ghost in India who steals things in the dark and when opportunity occurs takes advantage of growing the story and taking a few items. The tension is heightened as numerous other items start to go missing,. Meanwhile the camp has introduced the new sport of Vaulting and Esha is determined to be the best. Showing determination at the new sport and standing up for her mistakes show Esha’s growth as a friend and rider. Introduce this series to your 3rd grade readers and prepare to find the books constantly circulating.
Cool Sides & Salads : Easy & Fun Comfort Food
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
February 09, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Cook books are always popular, but finding a good one is hard. This series meets my criteria for good cook books. The recipes are, mostly, from scratch, occasionally using premade pizza dough. Most ingredients and tools are not exotic, and could be found in a typical kitchen, or easily purchased. The books include safety and health precautions, term definitions, ingredient and tool lists for each recipe, and step-by-step instruction, along with color photographs of key steps and the final product. 8 recipes for sides and salads are included in this well-bound 32-page book. The directions are clear, and the products would be both tasty and healthy. The "Summer Salad Wrap" looks especially good. This is what cooking is supposed to be like, and the series will hopefully inspire young chefs to start with a basic recipe and let their imaginations soar.
Cool Soups & Stews : Easy & Fun Comfort Food
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
February 09, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Finding a good cook book can be hard, but this series meets my standards. The recipes are, mostly, from scratch, occasionally using premade pizza dough. Most ingredients and tools are not exotic, and could be found in a typical kitchen, or easily purchased. The books include safety and health precautions, term definitions, ingredient and tool lists for each recipe, and step-by-step instruction, along with color photographs of key steps and the final product. 8 recipes for soups and stews are included in this well-bound 32-page book. The directions are clear, and the products would be both tasty and healthy. Most young chefs won't know it, but several recipes introduce the concept of "roux", basic to so much of cooking. The recipes include a chilled and a dessert soup. This is what cooking is supposed to be like, and the series will hopefully inspire young chefs to start with a basic recipe and let their imaginations soar.
Cool Breads & Biscuits : Easy & Fun Comfort Food
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
February 09, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Cook books are always popular, but finding good ones is challenging. This series meets my criteria for good cook books. The recipes are, mostly, from scratch, occasionally using premade pizza dough. Most ingredients and tools are not exotic, and could be found in a typical kitchen, or easily purchased. The books include safety and health precautions, term definitions, ingredient and tool lists for each recipe, and step-by-step instruction, along with color photographs of key steps and the final product. 8 recipes for breads and biscuits are included in this well-bound 32-page book. The directions are clear, and the products would be both tasty and healthy. Most require the use of yeast! YAY! No refrigerator biscuits here. This is what cooking is supposed to be like, and the series will hopefully inspire young chefs to start with a basic recipe and let their imaginations soar.
Cool Dips & Drinks : Easy & Fun Comfort Food
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
February 09, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Good cook books can be hard to find, but this series meets the mark. The recipes are, mostly, from scratch, occasionally using premade pizza dough. Most ingredients and tools are not exotic, and could be found in a typical kitchen, or easily purchased. The books include safety and health precautions, term definitions, ingredient and tool lists for each recipe, and step-by-step instruction, along with color photographs of key steps and the final product. 8 recipes for dips and drinks are included in this well-bound 32-page book. The directions are clear, and the products would be both tasty and healthy. The "Brownie Batter Spread" looks especially tasty, and YAY for fresh hummus made from scratch. This is what cooking is supposed to be like, and the series will hopefully inspire young chefs to start with a basic recipe and let their imaginations soar.
Cool Main Dishes : Easy & Fun Comfort Food
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
February 09, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Here's a good cook book series featuring comfort foods. The recipes are, mostly, from scratch, occasionally using premade pizza dough or pie crust. Most ingredients and tools are not exotic, and could be found in a typical kitchen, or easily purchased. The books include safety and health precautions, term definitions, ingredient and tool lists for each recipe, and step-by-step instruction, along with color photographs of key steps and the final product. 8 recipes for main dishes are included in this well-bound 32-page book. The directions are clear, and the products would be both tasty and healthy. The "Corn Bread Joeys" looks especially good and seems a new tasty take on tamale pie. This is what cooking is supposed to be like, and the series will hopefully inspire young chefs to start with a basic recipe and let their imaginations soar.
Rivers And Streams
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Leake, Diyan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
February 09, 2015
Threlkeld, Sarah
"Rivers and Streams" is part of the Water, Water Everywhere! series from Capstone, which is intended to "engage early readers in content area learning." The majority of each page is taken up by a color photograph that matches the 1-2 lines of text written below. The book starts off with general information about rivers and then touches on areas related to rivers, such as streams, boats, power generation, and recreation. The vocabulary is accessible to emerging independent readers, but would also make for a good read aloud in connection with a unit on geography or water. There is a quiz at the end that consists of one multiple choice question and a glossary of three words used in the book, with accompanying photographs. The book also has a table of contents and an index, making it a good resource for talking to young students about text features.
Sturgeon
A&d Xtreme/abdo [A&d Xtreme/abdo]
Hamilton, S L
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 09, 2015
Porter, Heidi
This book provides general information about the sturgeon and describes several species: the beluga sturgeon, the white sturgeon, the lake sturgeon, the shortnose sturgeon and the shovelnose sturgeon. Some species of this slow-growing fish can live up to 150 years, and may take 20 years to mature to adulthood. Highly desired and hunted for its meat and roe, numerous sturgeon species are now endangered. This is a visually appealing book with uncomplicated text that should appeal to a wide variety of elementary-aged readers. It would also be useful as a high interest/low reading level selection for middle school and high school readers. Readers will enjoy the large, often double spread, photographs. Most sections include "xtreme fact" boxes, which, while not really extreme, add fascinating details about sturgeon biology and history. The section called "Attacks on Humans" is unfortunately titled, since the fish do not attack, but accidently hit people while breaching. Index and glossary are included. This book is part of the Xtreme Fish series.
Noisy Bird Sing-Along
DAWN PUBLICATIONS [DAWN PUBLICATIONS]
Himmelman, John
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
February 09, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The author who brought us "Noisy Bug Sing-Along" and "Noisy Frog Sing-Along" is now back with another book in the series, this one focusing on the sounds birds make. Each double-page spread includes a short fact or two about the highlighted bird, as well as the songs they sing, in words the reader will understand and be able to say. The book ends with further information about each of the twelve birds, as well as other ways to observe our feathered friends. This begs to be read aloud and would be perfect for a noisy story time with lots of group participation. The big, bright illustrations are also great for group sharing. What would make this absolutely perfect? A link to a website that had the actual bird songs for children to hear.
Michelangelo
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Lynch, Brian
Kuhn, Andy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Sure, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles work as a team, but every now and then one likes to go off on his own. This is the graphic novel story of one such night for Michelangelo. It's New Year's Eve, and he just wants something a little special. Getting involved in a diamond heist, however, isn't quite what he planned. Mistaken for one of the gang, he decides to play along, but he's going to need all his ninja skills. This is a fun adventure with lots of action, great graphics with somewhat dark overtones, and some of the mandatory repartee you would expect from any TMNT product. Fans will not be disappointed.
Leonardo
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Lynch, Brian
Kuhn, Andy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Sure, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles work as a team, but every now and then one likes to go off on his own. This is the graphic novel story of one such night for Leonardo. Splinter has been taken and Leonardo is out for payback. While memories of their former life are starting to pop up, he is faced by a literal army of ninjas. Are they the same ones responsible for their loss? Hey, Leonardo is good, but the odds are just not stacked in his favor. This is an adventure with lots of action, great graphics and dark overtones. It clearly is part of a set, and leaves the reader wondering. Still, fans will love the battle scenes and root for Leonardo's survival.
Raphael
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Lynch, Brian
Kuhn, Andy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Sure, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles work as a team, but every now and then one likes to go off on his own. This is the graphic novel story of one such night for Raphael. Instead of working with his brothers he's making the rounds with a hero wanna-be, Casey Jones. The two of them perform a rescue, but is it what it seems? Another mutant, indeed, but whose side is she on? And Casey's loneliness echoes that which Raphael occasionally feels. There's a thread here about family--what makes a family exactly? Genetics? Mutations? Friendship? This is a high-powered adventure with terrific graphics, lots of action, and typical TMNT repartee. The artwork is dark, and compelling. Fans will not be disappointed.
Math Journey Through The Animal Kingdom
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Rooney, Anne
Marginal -- Contains so many weaknesses that it might be considered for purchase only as supplementary material in its field or to meet special localized subject needs.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 10, 2015
Threlkeld, Sarah
This book is part of Crabtree's A Math Journey Through...series. It advertises itself at a guided reading level R, which correlates to 3rd grade, but a lot of the math concepts included in the book may be beyond the average 3rd grader's skill level. Readers are told they are animal experts who need to use mathematical knowledge to "explore some of the wildest parts of the planet, examining the creatures that live there." While the concept is engaging and innovative, the execution falls flat. The layout of the text feels disorganized and all the bold colors can be overwhelming to the eye. The book is a thin paperback, making it feel like a glorified workbook. It would not hold up to multiple checkouts. Books in this series would best be used by classroom teachers looking to extend classroom learning and have students work in teams or small groups to practice specific math concepts.
Edda : A Little Valkyrie's First Day Of School
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY]
Auerbach, Adam
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
February 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Edda, the Valkyrie, lives in Asgard where she's surrounded by all kinds of magical things. The thing she's missing, however, is a friend her own age. Everyone around her is older. That's why her father decides to send her to human school. It's tough learning to fit in where the rules and expectations are different. The first day is always hard, regardless of who you are. Still, it ends well and soon she's introducing someone else to school. This is a delightful "first day of school" book with a bit of a twist. Auerbach's pen, ink, and digital illustrations have small humorous details that should appeal to young readers. Anyone who has gone through a "first day" will empathize with Edda.
Clifford Visits The Zoo
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Bridwell, Norman
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
February 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Everyone loves Clifford and why not? He's adorable! In this book Clifford and Emily Elizabeth visit the zoo. They learn a few facts about the various animals they see along the way, which is nice. Additional facts are found in the end papers. However, the bigger advantage of this book is its constant use of opposites. Some animals are small, Clifford is big. Some animals are dirty, Clifford is clean. Sloths are slow, Clifford is quick. This is a great way to illustrate opposites and provide a little compare and contrast, with a beloved literary character. Bright color illustrations abound. Unfortunately, the review copy has a cover with a stuffed fabric Clifford on it. That would make this a good home book, but not suitable for library circulation. If it is available with a regular cover it would make a nice addition to your Clifford collection.
Volcanoes
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Murray, Peter
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This 24-page member of the "Forces of Nature" series gives young readers a quick overview of volcanoes. Readers learn about the earth's crust, different types of volcanoes, and geothermal energy. Mt. St. Helens and Krakatoa are briefly highlighted. The book includes a glossary, bibliography, and index. Pages of text face full-page well-captioned photographs, often showing a volcano in action. While not extraordinary, this is a solid nonfiction book from which students will be able to extract enough information for report-writing.
Albert Einstein : Revolutionary Physicist
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Anderson, Jennifer Jolin
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Great Minds of Science" series, this crisply-written 48-page biography presents a clear and interesting look into the life of Albert Einstein. From his childhood to his death, it follows his intellectual growth and scientific curiosity. His major contributions to science are highlighted and explained in a manner that can be understood by the target audience. Well-captioned photographs accompany the cogent text. Each chapter ends with a page that applies common core standards, which is nice, but hardly necessary. The quality and organization of the writing alone make this a valuable resource. Of course there is also a glossary, index, and bibliography, as well as information about some of the modern conveniences we enjoy today that can be directly linked to Einstein's theories. This is quite fascinating, and merits a place on library shelves.
Star Wars : Rebels Picture Book
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
February 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Star Wars is all the rage, and interest will only rise as the new movie approaches. This book, however, provides readers with the background behind the situation and characters found in the animated "Star Wars Rebels" series. Told from Ezra's viewpoint, it explains about the empire, his home world, and how he became a member of the rebels and an apprentice Jedi. The large format picture book accommodates the animated illustrations well and the text is much denser than you might expect. This is not a quick "easy-reader" introduction. Fans of the series will be pleased to have this book that lays out the basics.
Math Journey Through Space
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Rooney, Anne
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 11, 2015
Threlkeld, Sarah
Part of Crabtree’s Go Figure series, "A Math Journey Through Space" is an interactive text that covers 12 different math concepts. Readers are told they are leading a space mission to Mars and must use their math knowledge to solve problems and get their crew to the red planet safely. Students are given several opportunities to practice each skill and all of the answers are provided at the end of the book. There is also a fairly extensive glossary of math terms, an index, and suggested websites to extend learning. While the concept of this series is clever and will hook upper elementary students, the pages feel cluttered and may overwhelm readers. The book is a thin paperback, making it feel like a glorified workbook. It would not hold up to multiple checkouts. Books in this series would best be used by classroom teachers looking to extend classroom learning and have students work in teams or small groups to practice specific math concepts.
Math Journey Through The Human Body
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Rooney, Anne
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 11, 2015
Threlkeld, Sarah
Aimed at upper elementary students, “A Math Journey Through the Human Body” invites readers to “go on a mathematical tour of the human body” with the help of a robot. Each set of pages focuses on one math concept, like percentages and averages, and presents several problems for readers to work through. The answers are provided at the back of the book, along with a glossary of math terms, websites that can extend learning, and an index. The concept of the book is engaging, but the execution disappoints. Many of the pages are cluttered with a variety of images, charts, and font types, and some of the math concepts aren’t clearly connected to the human body, like triangles and the liver. The book is a thin paperback and would not hold up to multiple check outs. Books in the “A Math Journey Through…” series would best be used by classroom teachers looking to extend classroom learning and have students work in teams or small groups to practice specific math concepts.
Great Big Dinosaur Treasury
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
February 11, 2015
Threlkeld, Sarah
This hardbound book is a collection of eight dinosaur-themed picture books that have been published previously, including "Curious George's Dinosaur Discovery" and the delightful "Gus, The Dinosaur Bus". Most of the stories are humorous and all of them weave interesting dinosaur facts into the story lines, making for an entertaining and educational read. Some stories do shine brighter than others, but because the illustrations and content is so varied, every lower elementary student interested in dinosaurs will find at least one story they enjoy. This treasury would be perfect for story time and would make a great supplementary resource for class units on dinosaurs.
Flies
A&d Xtreme/abdo [A&d Xtreme/abdo]
Hamilton, S L
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Xtreme Insects" series, this sturdy 32-page book has all the text features you would desire, as well as clear, interesting writing and fabulous magnified photographs. Young readers will learn the basics about flies, including body parts, then find out about types of flies--mimic flies, biting flies, predator flies. There's even information about eating flies and how flies (or rather, maggots) can be used medically. . The book is filled with Xtreme Fact boxes and plenty of information that will inspire students to say either "cool!", "gross!", or both. This is well-written, visually appealing, and sure to attract a crowd. They'll be buzzing around it like...well, flies.
Atvs
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the 8 book "Speed Machines" series, this well-stitched 32-page book splashes vivid action photographs across the pages while giving young readers brief information about the history, design, and uses of ATVs. The book includes a labeled picture, glossary, bibliography, index, and numerous fact boxes. Both the writing and photographs are "high action" which works better for the writing than for the crispness of the photographs. While not exactly filled with information, this would be a popular browsing book, meeting the needs of high-interest, low-vocabulary readers.
Superbikes
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the 8 book "Speed Machines" series, this well-stitched 32-page book splashes vivid action photographs across the pages while giving young readers brief information about the history, design, and engineering behind superbikes. The book includes a labeled picture, glossary, bibliography, index, and numerous fact boxes. Both the writing and photographs are "high action" which works better for the writing than for the crispness of the photographs. Key players in superbike racing are mentioned, and the book reads like an ad for the sport. While not exactly filled with information, this would be a popular browsing book, meeting the needs of high-interest, low-vocabulary readers.
Beetles
A&d Xtreme/abdo [A&d Xtreme/abdo]
Hamilton, S L
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Xtreme Insects" series, this sturdy 32-page book has all the text features you would desire, as well as clear, interesting writing and fabulous magnified photographs introducing beetles. Young readers will learn the basics about beetles, including body parts, then find out about specific types of beetles--the biggest, fastest, strongest, and more. Both helpful and destructive beetles are highlighted, as well as those that are simply beautiful. Vibrant photographs spill across the double-page spreads and fascinating information abounds. Readers even learn about beetles as a food source! The book is filled with Xtreme Fact boxes and plenty of information that will inspire students to say either "cool!", "gross!", or both. This is well-written, visually appealing, and sure to attract a crowd.
How The Judicial Branch Works
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Petersen, Christine
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
February 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Having solid books in the 300's to supplement government studyunits is important. This series, "How the US Government Works" includes sturdy 48-page books with clear, Common Core aligned information on the topic. This book examines the Judicial Branch. Readers get the history behind our government's formation, including information about the Magna Carta. The role of the judiciary, and its importance in supporting the rights of citizens, is emphasized. Several examples are given of important court cases. The book includes a timeline, glossary, bibliography, and index, as well as thought activities to extend knowledge. Photographs and artwork accompany the text. While not a particularly exciting book, this would be an excellent resource for both students and teachers.
How The Legislative Branch Works
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Petersen, Christine
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
February 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Having solid books in the 300's to supplement government study units is important. This series, "How the US Government Works" includes sturdy 48-page books with clear, Common Core aligned information on the topic. This book introduces the legislative branch. Readers get the history behind our government's formation, and the reasoning behind the three branches of the Federal Government. Congress, with its bicameral organization, is explained. Readers learn how a bill becomes a law, as well as the role of both Federal and State governments. The book includes a timeline, glossary, bibliography, and index, as well as thought activities to extend knowledge. Photographs and artwork accompany the text. While not a particularly exciting book, this would be an excellent resource for both students and teachers.
How The Executive Branch Works
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Hirsch, Rebecca E
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
February 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Having solid books in the 300's to supplement government study units is important. This series, "How the US Government Works" includes sturdy 48-page books with clear, Common Core aligned information on the topic. This book examines the Executive Branch. Readers get the history behind the executive branch and learn what powers the presidents, and their appointees, hold. The election process is explained and several significant presidential actions are highlighted. Checks and balances are explained. The book includes a timeline, glossary, bibliography, and index, as well as thought activities to extend knowledge. Photographs and artwork accompany the text. While not a particularly exciting book, this would be an excellent resource for both students and teachers.
Chimpanzee
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
Bell, Samantha
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
February 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This book should be better than it is. The binding is excellent, as are the intentions. The writing is competent, and there are plenty of photographs. Clearly designed to align with Common Core, the book includes thought questions and extension ideas. There's a glossary, index, and bibliography. That being said, the reader is left feeling a bit disappointed. This book focuses on chimpanzees and, in five chapters, examines their range, social hierarchy, life cycle, communication, diet, and more. Dangers facing chimpanzees are also explained. What bothered this reviewer most was the statement at the beginning that chimpanzees are divided into two species--the chimpanzee and the bonobo, but no explanation is given as to the difference between the two. Pictures are sometimes labeled chimpanzee and sometimes bonobo but, again, you don't know the difference. While all the facts are here, and an attempt is made to engage the reader, the final result feels like a book written by committee. Even the labeled picture of a chimpanzee is only slightly informative--face, ears, toes, arms...really? Why bother? Obvious questions were raised, but never answered. This is certainly adequate, but not a first purchase.
Anaconda
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
Bell, Samantha
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
February 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This book should be better than it is. The binding is excellent, as are the intentions. The writing is competent, and there are plenty of photographs. Clearly designed to align with Common Core, the book includes thought questions and extension ideas. There's a glossary, index, and bibliography. That being said, the reader is left feeling a bit disappointed. How is that possible in a book about anacondas? In five chapters readers learn about their range, diet, life cycle, and anatomy. Dangers facing anacondas are also explained. All the text features are here, but poorly used. The book discusses many types of anacondas, but only includes a range map for one. The labeled anaconda picture labels scales, eye, and nostrils. You might just as well have left it out. While facts are here, and an attempt is made to engage the reader, the final result feels like a book written by committee. This is certainly adequate, but not a first purchase
Ripley's Believe It Or Not! : Special Edition, 2015
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
All ages
February 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
When you see "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" you know exactly what you can expect--a large portion of bizarre with sprinklings of weird, a healthy helping of odd, and an eye-opening array of just plain startling. This is no exception. Daredevils; amusing and heartwarming animals; fascinating natural wonders; and plenty of the strange stuff people choose to do fill up this book. Glossy, hard to repair but easy to rip, photograph-filled pages abound with tidbits of trivia. The poor binding and glossy-paper over board cover (with holographic image) are not designed to last. Let's face it, this is a home-use book, but you're going to put it in your library anyway, aren't you? Children adore the series, and why not? It's fascinating!
Como Lidiar Con Los Abusadores
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Reed, Cristie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 12, 2015
Threlkeld, Sarah
Written entirely in Spanish, "Como Lidiar con los Abusadores", which translates into "How to Deal With Bullies", is an excellent resource for schools with a large Spanish speaking population. Aimed at upper elementary students, the book is packed with information and advice about bullying - what it is, why it happens, the effects of it, signs that someone may be being bullied, and ways to stop it. Photographs on almost every page depict students of different ages, races, and genders paired with a paragraph about bullying and harassment. The author includes information about cyberbullying, which is vital since this type of bullying is on the rise at many schools. The text can seem a tad heavy-handed at times, but students will easily connect to the information and, hopefully, think about how they can choose kindness over intimidation. A valuable addition to any elementary library serving Spanish speakers.
Respeto A La Diversidad
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Suen, Anastasia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 12, 2015
Threlkeld, Sarah
Part of the Habilidades Sociales, or Social Skills, series from Rourke Educational Media, this colorful and informational hardback book will appeal to 2nd-5th grade students who read somewhat fluently in Spanish. The book is divided into three sections - What is diversity?, Making premature judgments, and How to deal with differences - and also includes a glossary, index, list of websites with related content, and a brief author biography. The majority of each page is taken up by a photograph of students of various ages, genders, ethnicities, and physical abilities. A lot of the text is written in question format to encourage readers to connect ideas to their own lives and build empathy. In the end, the author encourages students to keep an open mind, treat others with respect, and celebrate the things that make each of us unique. This book is a valuable resource for libraries that serve a large Spanish speaking population and want to provide students with nonfiction texts.
Jedi Academy : 2 : Return Of The Padawan
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Brown, Jeffrey
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 12, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
Roan Novachez is back for his second year of Jedi Academy (this is the sequel). He deals with bullies, new teachers, friendships, and his classes. As he navigates his year at the Academy he begins to learn how to be a pilot and gets sage advice from Yoda. The book is filled with humor and will be loved by fans of both Star Wars and Wimpy Kid. The graphic novel has comic strip pages, as well as, pages with notes, emails (called holomail), and discussions (holobook). All illustrations are in gray scale. This book will not remain on the shelf.
Hummingbirds
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Petrie, Kristin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
February 13, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Backyard Animals" series, this well-bound book provides serious, solid, and fascinating information about hummingbirds. The author is not trying to dumb down the subject. The spectacular close-up photographs are accompanied by dense, fact-filled text that covers scientific classfication, range, habitat, anatomy, life cycle, diet, behavior, communication, and defense. Hummingbird conservation is also mentioned, and all in 32 pages! All these topics are given serious consideration, not just lightly skimmed. The book has a glossary, website link, and index, as well as labeled pictures, maps, and well-captioned photographs. This would be an exceptional resource for report-writing. There's a lot of nonfiction out there that's providing just a cursory glance at the topic, but not this. If the rest of this series is as well done I would recommend buying them all.
Garter Snakes
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Petrie, Kristin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
February 13, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Backyard Animals" series this well-bound book provides serious, solid, and fascinating information about garter snakes. The spectacular close-up photographs are accompanied by dense, fact-filled text that covers scientific classfication, range, habitat, anatomy, life cycle, diet, behavior, communication, and defense, all in 32 pages! All these topics are given serious consideration, not just lightly skimmed. Questions pop into your head, and then the answers are there! It even includes the newly-discovered fact that garter snakes are mildly venomous. The book has a glossary, website link, and index, as well as labeled pictures, maps, and well-captioned photographs. This would be an exceptional resource for report-writing. There's a lot of nonfiction out there that's providing just a cursory glance at the topic, but not this. If the rest of this series is as well done I would recommend buying them all.
Encyclopedia Brown And The Case Of The Dead Eagles
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Sobol, Donald J
Shortall, Leonard
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 13, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Originally published in 1975, this Encyclopedia Brown book is back in rugged binding, ready for another generation of kids who want to follow the clues and solve the mysteries presented to Encyclopedia. The book contains ten short mysteries from animal crimes to robbery to fraud. Solutions are found at the end of the book, as well as explanations. Some mysteries have aged better than others. Children today are unlikely to know how a reel-to-reel film works, or etiquette rules regarding where ladies should sit in a restaurant. Sure, his 25 cent fee, and the use of dated words like "sneakers" do hark back to the book's origins. Still, most of these mysteries are still ones that readers will enjoy solving, and that teachers will like to use for listening and thinking exercises, as well as filling in that odd ten minute gap. If your old copies are falling apart now's the time to replace them.
Encyclopedia Brown And The Case Of The Secret Pitch
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Sobol, Donald J
Shortall, Leonard
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
February 13, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Encyclopedia Brown is back, ready for another generation of kids to enjoy the solve-it-yourself format. This book contains ten short mysteries covering a wide range of cases from stolen bikes to historical wild west crimes. Solutions and explanations are found at the back of the book. Truthfully, some of these stories have aged better than others, and a few will confound modern kids who've never heard of mumblety-peg or sneakers. The black and white illustrations hark back to another era. Still, most of these mysteries are still ones that readers will enjoy solving, and that teachers will like to use for listening and thinking exercises, as well as filling in that odd ten minute gap. If your old copies are falling apart now's the time to replace them.
FURY'S FIRE
Knopf Books for Young Readers [RANDOM HOUSE]
PAPADEMETRIOU, LISA
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
February 14, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
In this sequel to Siren's Storm, Gretchen discovers that she has the power of fire. She is Tisiphone, avenger of murder. Tim, Will's dead brother, is now Gretchen's protector. Circe takes over Mafer's (Gretchen's friend from school) body and tries to kill Gretchen. The Archers still mourn Will's brother, Tim, who died in a "drowning," seekrieger attack. Whereas Siren's Storm held my interest with its plot twists and character development, Fury's Fire felt like slow and hard work to get through. The characters were flat or only partially fleshed out and oddly dispassionate. I had difficulty suspending my disbelief about the town's ignorance of a seekrieger-filled bay and of high school life and AP classes being so inconsequential. I wish that Siren's Storm had been a stand alone novel.
WINTER SHADOWS
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
BUFFIE, MARGARET
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
February 14, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Cass is in a tough spot. Her mother died two years ago and her dad has remarried a woman with a 12-year-old daughter. The family lives in the ancestral home of Cass's mother, but Jean, the stepmother, tries completely to clear out the mother's influence in the house. Beatrice is angry with her dad, her stepmother, and her new stepsister with whom she has to share a bedroom. While she is going through this rough time, Cass feels a presence in the house and discovers a young woman's spirit visiting her. About 150 years ago, in this very house, lived Beatrice, who was going through similar tough times. She lived with her father and stepmother, whom she disliked, and Native grandmother. The two women, Cass and Bea, find each other's spirits through a diary that Bea wrote and they help each other across the century to cope with life's difficulties. I enjoyed reading the Cree language that Bea and her grandmother spoke. It was also interesting to learn about the immigration of the Scots and English to Canada. The love stories woven into the story are sweet and tame.
I Am Lebron James
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Norwich, Grace
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 14, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This is a friendly, informative biography about basketball player, LeBron James. Readers learn about his childhood and the challenges he and his single mother faced. His introduction to sports and his work ethic are highlighted, as are the years he spent in Cleveland, and his move to Miami. Teammates, friendships, family, and finances are all part of the mix. There are black and white photographs and illustrations, a timeline, glossary, index, and bibliography. This is a very readable biography that will attract sports fans and, yes, it is over 100 pages long.
Encyclopedia Brown Takes The Case
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Sobol, Donald J
Shortall, Leonard
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 14, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
In each of the Encyclopedia Brown books young Brown is presented with ten short mysteries that he must solve. Readers are given the same clues Encyclopedia receives and have the chance to solve the mysteries. Solutions and explanations are provided in the back of the book. This volume was published in 1973 and, while it shows its age, it's still a fun. Here are mysteries about pets, theft, fraud, and even teeth! Each is a good mind puzzle requiring careful reading and higher level thinking skills. Teachers adore them for filling in short empty times in the classroom, and kids like them because the mysteries are short. Now they're back in a sturdy binding. The old black and white illustrations are a little dated, as are a few of the mysteries, but that hardly matters. If you need to replace your old copies here's your chance!
Encyclopedia Brown And The Case Of The Midnight Visitor
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Sobol, Donald J
Shortall, Leonard
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Originally published in 1977, this book is back in a sturdy binding for young mystery fans. As everyone knows, Encyclopedia Brown is the son of the police chief in Idaville, and known for his sharp mind and ability to peruse the clues and solve mysteries. The book contains ten short mysteries, with the solutions and explanations found in the back, giving the reader the chance to solve them himself. While the black and white illustrations are dated, the mysteries for the most part hold up well. In this book our hero solves mysteries involving everything from painting gerbils to bank-robbery. The books are fun, and a new generation will enjoy them.
Encyclopedia Brown Tracks Them Down
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Sobol, Donald J
Shortall, Leonard
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Originally published in 1971, this book is back in a sturdy binding for young mystery fans. As everyone knows, Encyclopedia Brown is the son of the police chief in Idaville, and known for his sharp mind and ability to peruse the clues and solve mysteries. The book contains ten short mysteries, with the solutions and explanations found in the back, giving the reader the chance to solve them himself. While the black and white illustrations are definitely dated (bell-bottoms...really?), the mysteries for the most part hold up well, even if they do reflect an era that never really existed. In this book our hero solves mysteries involving everything from ambergris to worm-fiddling. The books are fun, and a new generation will enjoy them, though I would have redone the illustrations had I been in charge.
Mike Trout
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Anderson, Jameson
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 15, 2015
Garrard, Thom
All-star outfielder Mike Trout is featured in this biography from Adbo’s Awesome Athletes series. Growing up in New Jersey with a father who was coaching and once reached the minors as a player, Mike developed the attributes of an outstanding player - great speed, excellent skills and unusual patience. After high school graduation, he turned down a college scholarship after being drafted in the first round by the Anaheim Angels. Trout worked his way through the minors in just over three years, was called up to the majors, and immediately became an all-star, a feat which he repeated in his second season. As a third year player, he signed a huge long-term contract that ties him to Anaheim through 2020. The author mentions that Trout volunteers to talk to kids about staying in school and funded the repair of his high school field, but the book gives little sense of the adult that he has become. Many of the captioned photographs on each spread show on-field action and help to sustain the reader’s interest in this talented player, while also keeping the text manageable. Better links to updated stats and information would help extend the book's shelf life. Middle grade baseball fans in particular will enjoy reading this book.
Clay Matthews
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Anderson, Jameson
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 15, 2015
Garrard, Thom
All-star linebacker Clay Matthews is featured in this biography from Adbo’s Awesome Athletes series. Although his grandfather, father, and uncle all played in the NFL, Clay got a slow start in football. Because he was small, he didn’t become a starter in high school until his senior year. After he walked on at USC and spent a redshirt year and one as a reserve, he earned a scholarship. His perseverance and hard work in the weight room paid off, and he improved each year as the team went to four straight Rose Bowls. After being drafted in the first round, Matthews helped the Green Bay Packers get to the playoffs that year, win the Super Bowl the next, and continue to make the playoffs each year since then. His contract extension in 2013 made him the highest paid NFL linebacker. The author briefly mentions Matthews’s charitable activities, including providing concussion-preventing helmets for youth players. Many of the captioned photographs on each spread show on-field action and help to sustain the reader’s interest in this talented player, while also keeping the text manageable. Better links to updated stats and information would help extend the book's shelf life. Middle grade football fans will enjoy reading this book.
Encyclopedia Brown Gets His Man
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Sobol, Donald J
Shortall, Leonard
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 16, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Originally published in 1967, this Encyclopedia Brown book is back, in a sturdy binding. Each book contains ten short mysteries, with solutions and explanations found at the back of the book, allowing readers the chance to solve the mysteries for themselves. This book features stories from theft to nature to fraud. Most of the stories hold up well, although the black and white illustrations are dated. Kids enjoy solving the mysteries and teachers love using them to fill in those odd moments, as they provide a chance for higher thinking skills. If you need to replace your old set, now's the time.
Encyclopedia Brown Finds The Clues
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Sobol, Donald J
Shortall, Leonard
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 16, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Originally published in 1966, the Encyclopedia Brown books are back, in a sturdy binding. Each book contains ten short mysteries, with solutions and explanations found at the back of the book, allowing readers the chance to solve the mysteries for themselves. This book features stories from theft to fake kidnapping to gold to a literal house of cards. Most of the stories hold up well, although the black and white illustrations are dated. Kids enjoy solving the mysteries and teachers love using them to fill in those odd moments, as they provide a chance for higher thinking skills. If you need to replace your old set, now's the time.
Microwave Ovens
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Reed, Cristie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 17, 2015
Garrard, Thom
Microwave ovens, part of Rourke’s How It Works series, provides a simple explanation of how this appliance differs from a conventional oven and how it uses a special type of radio wave to heat food. Color photographs and some diagrams are paired with several lines of text in a large, clear font. A teaching plan on the verso suggests that the focus be on concepts of print, specifically the use of capital letters and punctuation, but this is completely omitted from the suggested before and after reading activities. A photo glossary of the (mostly) tier 3 vocabulary is a nice touch. Table of contents, index, and websites are also included.
Speakers
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Greve, Meg
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 17, 2015
Garrard, Thom
Speakers, part of Rourke’s How It Works series, provides a simple explanation of what parts are included and how they work together to produce sound. Color photographs and diagrams are paired with several lines of text in a large, clear font. The unfortunate choice to include pictures of a corded phone and a boombox with dual cassettes makes this brand-new title seem dated. A teaching plan on the verso suggests that the focus be on concepts of print, specifically the use of capital letters and punctuation, but this is completely omitted from the suggested before and after reading activities. A photo glossary of the (mostly) tier 3 vocabulary is a nice touch. Table of contents, index, and websites are also included.
Encyclopedia Brown Solves Them All
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Sobol, Donald J
Shortall, Leonard
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Sturdy binding is a nice feature in the return of our mystery-solving hero, Encyclopedia Brown. Originally published in 1968, this book contains ten short solve-them-yourself mysteries that our boy sleuth faces. Readers are given all the clues. Solutions and explanations for each mystery can be found in the back of the book. These have held up surprisingly well over the years, although the black and white illustrations are dated, as is the portrayal of small town life. In this volume Encyclopedia solves cases involving Bugs Maloney trying to get away with stuff, flags, knights, playboys, theft, and more. Each mystery contains everything readers need to solve it. This is a fun series and promotes upper level thinking skills.
Encyclopedia Brown Keeps The Peace
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Sobol, Donald J
Shortall, Leonard
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This Encyclopedia Brown book was originally published in 1969 and, for the most part, holds up rather well. It consists of ten short mysteries, with the solutions and explanations found at the back of the book. This "solve-it-yourself" format encourages reader involvement, and the actions of the young sleuth keep readers engaged. In this entry in the series Encyclopedia solves mysteries involving theft, revenge, forgery, and fraud. Each mystery is clearly written and can be solved by the reader who pays close of attention and has some basic knowledge of how the world works. If your old copies are looking ragged now is the time to update.
SHADOW OF DOUBT
DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS [DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS]
MCCLINTOCK, NORAH
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
February 17, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
McClintock's cohesive whodunnit carries the reader along in a snappy 223 pages. This is her genre and she knows her characters, plot, and action and where the story is headed. In this, the fifth book in the Robyn Hunter series, the eponymous "Robbie" has a substitute English teacher in her high school. This teacher just happens to be the daughter of Robbie's mother's boyfriend. Father and daughter have not seen each other since the daughter, Melissa, was eight, so the two are getting reacquainted. Melissa thinks she is being stalked by a man named Mikhail and is frightened for her life. Ted fears for Melissa and Robbie's father gets involved, too, as a private investigator. Meanwhile, Robbie is in a dilemma about whom she should love: Nick, the "bad" boy, or Ben, the super-rich-and-good-looking boy. I liked the book; it's safe for 6th grade and up to read. It's not edgy, murder is not graphically expressed, and the teens' language is unnaturally tame.
CHANGE OF HEART
DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
MCCLINTOCK, NORAH
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
February 17, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Please see my review of Shadow of a Doubt. The story in this book is of the murder of a high school hockey player who was not as nice as he seemed to be.
Chase The Chupacabra
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Brundage, Scott
Brundage, Scott
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 17, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Animal Planet, move over. Ben Brown has hired his brother, Gabe, and Gabe’s friends, Sean and Tyler to help research and produce his Internet show, Discover Cryptids. The show purports to investigate rumors and stories of sightings through on the scene explorations, setting traps and interviews with the locals. The plots are formulaic and characters assume predictable roles with Sean the practical computer whiz, Tyler the impulsive, risk-taker, and Gabe, the moderating influence, and cautious one. Each book includes moments of danger, human-created cryptid sightings and a bit of mystery remaining about the existence of the cryptid. The Chupacabra has become a tourist draw in a small town in Texas and accused of killing chickens. The vet’s explanation for the deaths includes a feral dog or coyote with mange, but when the Discover Cryptids’ team finds their tires flat and threats made, they wonder just what’s at stake. With the annual Chupacabra festival happening in just a few days, the team wants to have a sighting if they can. Written at a GRL P, the series offers predictability, colorful covers, short chapters, black and white drawings every few pages and a sprinkling of adventure.
Hunt For Sewer Gators
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Brundage, Scott
Brundage, Scott
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 17, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Are alligators living in the sewers of New York City an urban legend or is it true they lurk below. Ben Brown has hired his brother, Gabe, and Gabe’s friends, Sean and Tyler to help research and produce his Internet show, Discover Cryptids. The show purports to investigate rumors and stories of sightings through their on the scene explorations, setting traps and interviews with the locals. When the Gabe and Tyler disobey Ben and take an underground sewer tour, they find snakes, eels and perhaps bigger reptiles as well but with the tide coming up into the sewers, their only thoughts now are to escape with their lives. The plots are formulaic and characters assume predictable roles with Sean the practical computer whiz, Tyler the impulsive, risk-taker, and Gabe, the moderating influence, and cautious one. Each book includes moments of danger, human-created cryptid sightings and a bit of mystery remaining about the existence of the cryptid. Written at a GRL P, the series offers predictability, colorful covers, short chapters, black and white drawings every few pages and a sprinkling of adventure. Elementary schools will have plenty of readers wanting these books.
Search For Bigfoot
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Brundage, Scott
Brundage, Scott
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 17, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Animal Planet, move over. Ben Brown has hired his brother, Gabe, and Gabe’s friends, Sean and Tyler to help research and produce his Internet show, Discover Cryptids. The show purports to investigate rumors and stories of sightings through on the scene explorations, setting traps and interviews with the locals. The plots are formulaic and characters assume predictable roles with Sean the practical computer whiz, Tyler the impulsive, risk-taker, and Gabe, the moderating influence, and cautious one. Each book includes moments of danger, human-created cryptid sightings and a bit of mystery remaining about the existence of the cryptid. Searching for the origins of Skunk Ape stories in Florida’s swamps, Ben and the three boys witness the clashes between a Park Ranger and Ms. Heath, who makes a living off of the tourist interest in Skunk Apes. False reports and camping in the woods turn up some exciting encounters with panthers and two Skunk Apes; one a human in costume, but the other might just have been real. Written at a GRL P, the series offers predictability, colorful covers, short chapters, black and white drawings every few pages and a sprinkling of adventure. Elementary schools will have plenty of readers wanting these books.
Tame Tahoe Tessie
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Brundage, Scott
Brundage, Scott
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 17, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Animal Planet, move over. Ben Brown has hired his brother, Gabe, and Gabe’s friends, Sean and Tyler to help research and produce his Internet show, Discover Cryptids. The show purports to investigate rumors and stories of sightings through on the scene explorations, setting traps and interviews with the locals. The plots are formulaic and characters assume predictable roles with Sean the practical computer whiz, Tyler the impulsive, risk-taker, and Gabe, the moderating influence, and cautious one. Each book includes moments of danger, human-created cryptid sightings and a bit of mystery remaining about the existence of the cryptid. In Lake Tahoe, the show focuses on a USO, unidentified swimming object, similar to the Loch Ness Monster. The crew tags along with a serious University research project, creating friction with the research students who feel it jeopardizes their funding. Possible sightings turn out to be dangerous pranks, until the book’s conclusion when all players spot something unidentifiable. With a GRL P, the series offers predictability, colorful covers, short chapters, black and white drawings every few pages and a sprinkling of adventure. Elementary schools will have plenty of readers wanting these books.
Escalators
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Hicks, Kelli
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 17, 2015
Garrard, Thom
Escalators, part of Rourke’s How It Works series, provides a simple explanation of how an escalator is similar to a conveyor belt and how it uses gears and chains to move the steps. Each spread has a full page color photograph with several lines of text in a large, clear font (and sometimes a diagram) on the opposite page. A teaching plan on the verso suggests that the focus be on text features, specifically labels and captions, but this is only minimally addressed by the suggested before and after reading activities. A photo glossary of the (mostly) tier 3 vocabulary is a nice touch. Table of contents, index, and websites are also included.
Centaur Rising
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY]
Yolen, Jane
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 18, 2015
Lewis, Jo
Arianne and her mother struggle to keep secret the birth a centaur on their horse farm. Not wanting to bring attention to Arianne's six-year-old brother, disabled because of Thalidomide, or their strange new foal, the family and their staff devise ways of keeping the paparazzi away from the farm. When the riders who house their horses in the stable finally see the centaur, the reporters soon get wind of the amazing occurrence and the family must try to make the best of it. Arianne and her mother soon accept the fact that positive outcomes are possible. Yolen has stated that she wanted to imagine what it would be like if a mythological world came to our earth. Reminiscent of the stories of the demigods. Suspension of belief will help readers accept this strong family story. This is a multi-layered story exploring political, historical, and familial conflicts. But, mostly there will be many young readers eager to read about the special little boy/foal and how he helps disabled children.
Secret Of The Mountain Dog
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
February 18, 2015
Lewis, Jo
Jax is feeling very bored since her mother has forbidden her and her young sister to stray far from the house that summer. Her sister nearly drowned and now mother is overly protective. Jax tries to find something to distract her when she meets an animal on the road that first seems to be a bear but turns out to be a very large Tibetan Mastiff. The dog becomes the protector in the story and stays with Jax despite her mother's protestations. The story brings in mystery, intrigue and information about the Buddhist teachings as Jax helps a young boy find the demon statue important to the monastery on the mountain and mentioned in a 14th century prophecy. The mother resolves her anxiety over the safety of her young daughter rather too easily and the dog disappears but returns to finish up the story tidily. The presence of the dog is never explained satisfactorily. It is an adventure laced through with Buddhist teachings.
Dragons At Crumbling Castle : And Other Tales
CLARION [CLARION]
Pratchett, Terry
Beech, Mark
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 18, 2015
Lewis, Jo
This is a collection of never-before-published fourteen simple tales by an author known for his inventive and humorous characters and situations. As is often the case, Pratchett writes about the little people going about their hilarious lives, invisible to the "biggies" around them. The pages are liberally sprinkled with more than 100 black and white sketches very reminiscent of those used by Quentin Blake in Roald Dahl's books. These stories will probably be best used read aloud, one at a time. They are good introductions for youngsters to the themes and ideas found in his best-selling novels and will be welcomed by story tellers working with young children. Historical note: As a junior reporter these children's stories were written and published in his local newspaper.
Encyclopedia Brown Lends A Hand
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Sobol, Donald J
Shortall, Leonard
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 18, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
If you're like me all your Encyclopedia Brown books are either tattered, or yellowed, or both. Now's the time to replace them with a bright new cover and a sturdy binding. Like all books in this series, this one contains ten short mysteries for the young sleuth to solve. Readers also have the chance before turning to the solutions and explanations at the end of the book. While the original black and white illustrations are dated, most of the mysteries have held up surprisingly well. Here our hero deals with animals, fraud, counterfeiting, and even exploding toilets. These are fun books that students enjoy, but the circulation has fallen because the books look old. Replace them now!
Encyclopedia Brown Shows The Way
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Sobol, Donald J
Shortall, Leonard
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 18, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
If you're like me all your Encyclopedia Brown books are either tattered, or yellowed, or both. Now's the time to replace them with a bright new cover and a sturdy binding. Like all books in this series, this one contains ten short mysteries for the young sleuth to solve. Readers also have the chance before turning to the solutions and explanations at the end of the book. While the original black and white illustrations are dated, most of the mysteries have held up surprisingly well, although young readers may be puzzled by a few things. That's ok, though, because the explanations with the solutions help. Here our hero deals with dogs, fights, theft, lies, and a possible ghost. These are fun books that students enjoy, but the circulation has fallen because the books look old. Replace them now!
Encyclopedia Brown Saves The Day
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Sobol, Donald J
Shortall, Leonard
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 18, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Time to replace those old worn Encyclopedia Brown books with these sturdy new editions with bright covers (although they still have the same dated black and white illustrations inside.) Like all books in this series, this one contains ten short mysteries for the young sleuth to solve. Readers also have the chance before turning to the solutions and explanations at the end of the book. Sure, they're a little dated, but most of the mysteries hold up well. Granted, most students won't know the workings of a sewing machine, but you cant have everything. Here our hero deals with theft, flight, pirate maps, and more. These are fun books that students enjoy, but the circulation has fallen because the books look old. Replace them now!
Teacher's Pets
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Calmenson, Stephanie
Ross, Heather
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
February 18, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Fun-loving, best friends, Kate and Lucie, had an exciting secret. Touching their special pink dog-bone necklaces and saying “Woofa-woof” with hi-fives, the best friends turn into shaggy dogs. Co-authors, Stephanie Calmenson (Rosie, A Visiting Dog’s Story) and Joanna Cole (Magic School Bus) have crafted a fun, silly, series for readers graduating to longer chapter books and beginning to build reading stamina. Kate and Lucie’s escapades in their dog forms keep the plot moving and introduce plenty of good-natured humor. A goofy substitute teacher provides a counterpoint to the dog adventures and supplies a surprise ending when he shows up with his twin to double date the two girls’ mothers. With plenty of black and white illustrations on almost every other page, short chapters, engaging characters and a focus on dogs, the Ready, Set, Dogs! series will be a winner in most elementary libraries. Back material includes dog jokes, a description of students reading to dogs, and a short story about the dogs in author, Stephanie Calmenson’s life.
Mercury
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Bloom, J P
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
February 19, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the Abdo Kids: Planets series, this 24 page book gives an overview of our solar system's smallest planet (although that fact isn't found in the book). Each two page spread includes two to three simple sentence and a large illustration. Illustrations would be perfect for large group sharing except the one on pages 6-7 which show the solar system. Mercury is stuck in the gutter of the book and hard to see. Most basic facts are presented: distance from sun, orbit length, position in the solar system, surface, layers, temperature, and view from Earth. The end matter contains three "More Facts," however, one fact is about the temperature range which is covered on page 19. The book also has a table of contents, glossary (words in glossary are found in color within the text), and index. Web resources are provided by the publisher. While this book provides some basic information it will leave the reader wanting (or wishing for) more.
L. Frank Baum
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Wheeler, Jill C
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 19, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
This book is part of the "Children's Authors" series. The 24 page book explores the life of L. Frank Baum, most famous for the "Wizard of Oz" books. The reader learns about Baum's life from birth to death. The text contain information about his family, his struggle to find his calling, his bankruptcies, and successes. The book ends with note of the movies produced after his death and the legacy of his books. One thing missing is how he came up with the name "Oz." Captioned photographs enhance the well-written and informative text. The book contains a table of contents, glossary (words are found within the text in bold), index, and the URL leading reader's to the publisher's website for more resources. There is no timeline, which would have been nice. Still, this would make a good addition to your biography section.
Bill Gates : Microsoft Founder And Philanthropist
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Kjelle, Marylou Morano
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
February 19, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Newsmakers" series, this 48 page book looks at the Northwest's own, Bill Gates. The book opens with his return to Microsoft as "Technology Advisor" in 2014 and then follows his life from his 1955 birth in Seattle to the present day. The reader learns about his time at Lakeside School and Harvard, why he left college, and how the company he and Paul Allen founded came to be. The book also speaks to his philanthropy in the world. Common core related activities are found at the end of each chapter and in the end matter. Most are basic and could apply to any informational text. Captioned photographs and call-out boxes enhance the text. The book includes a table of contents, timeline, glossary, bibliography (web resources provided by publisher's website), index, and author information. Although Gates is still alive and he is sure to do more things in his life, this would be a good purchase for Northwest libraries.
Sewer Inspector
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Ringstad, Arnold
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 19, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
Part of a series of book (series title not named) on gross jobs, this 24 page book takes the reader underground into the sewers. The reader learns what sewers are, how inspectors look for problems, the technology that the inspector uses, the dangers inspectors face on the job, and what a typical day on the job entails. Captioned, color photographs and call out boxes enhance the clear and understandable text. Highlighted words in the text appear in the glossary. The book contains typical non-fiction features: table of contents, author information, glossary, bibliography (web resources are available through the publisher's website), and index. A worthy addition for your career section.
Letters From Heaven = Cartas Del Cielo
PINATA BOOKS [PINATA BOOKS]
Gil, Lydia
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 19, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Celeste has suffered a loss--her beloved Cuban grandmother has died and with her death all the flavor seems to have left Celeste's world. Both she and her mother sink into depression. She can't talk to her friends at school. Even daily routines seem to drag. Then she gets a letter from her grandmother. A loving letter that contains the recipe for one of her famous dishes. Another letter comes the following week, and another, and another. Making the recipes brings back her grandmother's memory, but Celeste's friends don't believe she's getting letters from a dead grandmother. This creates conflict. Ultimately the letters help Celeste and her mother feel better, and recognize the legacy they were left. This short chapter book is written in both Spanish and English - flip the book over for the other language. It is a gently sweet story, with recipes (most of which would not be appropriate for child cooks). The conflict part is weak, however. It makes little sense that Celeste doesn't simply show people the letters at first. Nevertheless, this is a touching story that how a strong multicultural element.
Gingerbread For Liberty! : How A German Baker Helped Win The
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Rockliff, Mara
Kirsch, Vincent X.
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 19, 2015
Kline, Karen
When German soldiers were hired by Britain to fight the colonists, a little known hero came to the aid of General George Washington and his troops. He was a German-born baker living in Philadelphia who was known for sharing scraps of cookies with the city's children saying, "No empty bellies here. Not in my America!" The old, barrel-bellied German had been a soldier himself and told Washington that he would row across the bay and try to persuade the Hessian soldiers not to attack. Food stylist and illustrator Vincent Kirsch's art throughout the book takes readers into a gingerbread world of browned cookie characters with white sugar icing. Little is known about the baker Christopher Ludwick except the scant bit about him in the diary of Benjamin Rush, a founding father and signer of the Declaration of Independence, readers are told in the author's note of this book. We may never know the extent to which this man contributed to the outcome of the War of Independence, but many will be inspired by this story.
Hunter Moran Digs Deep
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Giff, Patricia Reilly
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 19, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Hunter and his twin brother, Zack and the 6th grade pest, Sarah Yulefsky, team up to figure out the clues and find the town founder, Lester Dinwitty's, treasure. Intermediate grade enthusiasts of the first two books in the Hunter Moran series, will gladly pursue the threesome as they hit dead end after another but discover they are competing with other seekers. Digging beneath the train station and the school, searching the library for town history and signing Hunter up for drum lessons as a subterfuge to dig in the school’s coal bin are just part of the chase. The twin’s younger brother, five–year-old Steadman, continues to tag along and is seemingly the nuisance but always manages to provide humor and surprises. Mom, an abysmal cook, 5 siblings and an often-traveling Dad provide their own surprises in this frolic through family life, 6th grade boys’ escapades and only a tinge of tense moments. A boy series comparable to Clementine, Just Grace and Piper Reed.
SUMMER OF FIRSTS AND LASTS
Simon Pulse [SIMON & SCHUSTER]
MCVOY, TERRA ELAN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
February 20, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Three sisters attend summer camp. This is a family legacy as it is where their parents met and fell in love. Calla, the eldest sister, is headed to college in the fall, and is working this year as a camp admin assistant. Violet is going into her senior year, and the youngest, Daisy, will be a sophomore/junior. The whole world is contained in these three weeks of summer camp: unrequited love, bullying, first sex, sneaking out, drinking, lifelong friendships; you name it, it happens at this camp. There were a few things I felt were not dealt with adequately: crazy-girl, Brynn, drives a nail up her nose with a hammer at a talent show and nothing is done about it; people sneak out of their cabins every night to drink, smoke pot, have sex, skinny dip, and no adults seem to be around to offer consequences (that is, until the very last incident). This is a book for girls who like Lauren Barnholdt's writing and storylines.
Hopi
Big Buddy Books/abdo [Big Buddy Books/abdo]
Tieck, Sarah
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 20, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Big Buddy Books: Native Americans" series, this 24 page book provides information about the Hopi tribe of the Southwestern United States. The book covers territory, home life, food, customs, arts, religion, and history. The book presents how this tribe lives today, as well as, their traditional customs. Color, captioned photographs enhance the well-written text. "Did You Know" call out boxes provide additional facts. The book is complete with a table of contents, timeline, glossary (words are in bold and color within the text), and index. Web resources are provided through the publisher's website. This book would be useful for Native American research projects.
Learn Spanish Words
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
York, J
Petelinsek, Kathleen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 20, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The colorful Foreign Language Basics series teaches elementary students some of the simple words and phrases useful in homes, schools and everyday life. Six books cover French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, and German languages with each book structured the same way. An introduction chapter discusses the origins of the language, the alphabet, pronunciation and unique attributes of the language. Eight chapters are entitled: My Home, In the Morning, At School, At the Park, Around Town, In the Store, My Birthday Party, Time for Dinner, and At Night. Additional words listed at the end are the months, seasons numbers, yes, no and goodbye. Identical illustrations are in each book with no attempt to show culturally accurate scenes, objects, food, housing or people. With the accessibility of images from around the world, the lack of any cultural relativity is a huge oversight. That said, each scene is brightly colored with clear digitally rendered images that match the object with the targeted word or phrase written in English, the foreign language, and the pronunciation using English phonetics. Each book sports one of the pages on the cover against a white background. Introduce these books to students and they will circulate.
Learn Russian Words
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
York, J
Petelinsek, Kathleen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 20, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The colorful Foreign Language Basics series teaches elementary students some of the simple words and phrases useful in homes, schools and everyday life. Six books cover French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, and German languages with each book structured the same way. An introduction chapter discusses the origins of the language, the alphabet, pronunciation and unique attributes of the language. Eight chapters are entitled: My Home, In the Morning, At School, At the Park, Around Town, In the Store, My Birthday Party, Time for Dinner, and At Night. Additional words listed at the end are the months, seasons numbers, yes, no and goodbye. Identical illustrations are in each book with no attempt to show culturally accurate scenes, objects, food, housing or people. With the accessibility of images from around the world, the lack of any cultural relativity is a huge oversight. That said, each scene is brightly colored with clear digitally rendered images that match the object with the targeted word or phrase written in English, the foreign language, and the pronunciation using English phonetics. Each book sports one of the pages on the cover against a white background. Introduce these books to students and they will circulate.
Learn Mandarin Chinese Words
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
York, J
Petelinsek, Kathleen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 20, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The colorful Foreign Language Basics series teaches elementary students some of the simple words and phrases useful in homes, schools and everyday life. Six books cover French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, and German languages with each book structured the same way. An introduction chapter discusses the origins of the language, the alphabet, pronunciation and unique attributes of the language. Eight chapters are entitled: My Home, In the Morning, At School, At the Park, Around Town, In the Store, My Birthday Party, Time for Dinner, and At Night. Additional words listed at the end are the months, seasons numbers, yes, no and goodbye. Identical illustrations are in each book with no attempt to show culturally accurate scenes, objects, food, housing or people. With the accessibility of images from around the world, the lack of any cultural relativity is a huge oversight. That said, each scene is brightly colored with clear digitally rendered images that match the object with the targeted word or phrase written in English, the foreign language, and the pronunciation using English phonetics. Each book sports one of the pages on the cover against a white background. Introduce these books to students and they will circulate.
Learn French Words
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
York, J
Petelinsek, Kathleen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 20, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The colorful Foreign Language Basics series teaches elementary students some of the simple words and phrases useful in homes, schools and everyday life. Six books cover French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, and German languages with each book structured the same way. An introduction chapter discusses the origins of the language, the alphabet, pronunciation and unique attributes of the language. Eight chapters are entitled: My Home, In the Morning, At School, At the Park, Around Town, In the Store, My Birthday Party, Time for Dinner, and At Night. Additional words listed at the end are the months, seasons numbers, yes, no and goodbye. Identical illustrations are in each book with no attempt to show culturally accurate scenes, objects, food, housing or people. With the accessibility of images from around the world, the lack of any cultural relativity is a huge oversight. That said, each scene is brightly colored with clear digitally rendered images that match the object with the targeted word or phrase written in English, the foreign language, and the pronunciation using English phonetics. Each book sports one of the pages on the cover against a white background. Introduce these books to students and they will circulate.
Hurry Home, Hedgehog! : A Bilingual Book Of Sounds
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Yang, Belle
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
February 20, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
This bilingual board book about a young hedgehog who needs to hurry home before the storm arrives is told by one page/board in English and the facing page in Chinese characters. The story and illustrations are as sweet as they can be. The key to pronouncing the characters (and the Chinese language) comprises the last two pages of the book. The story is re-told there with pinyin (romanized) characters above each Chinese character. I would prefer having the pronunciation of the characters on each page as the story goes along. This book is best for Chinese speaking and reading parents to read the Chinese symbols and then read, or have the child read, the facing page to translate the Chinese into English. Even though it is a board book, I would consider purchasing this for my school library. We are an ELL school, have a few Chinese families attending, and offer an after-school Chinese class. Other books in this series are: A Nest in Springtime: A Bilingual Book of Numbers; Squirrel Round and Round: A Bilingual Book of Seasons; and Summertime Rainbow: A Bilingual Book of Colors. All are reasonably priced at around $7.00.
Squirrel Round And Round : A Bilingual Book Of Seasons
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Yang, Belle
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
February 20, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Please see my review of Hurry Home, Hedgehog! A Bilingual Book of Sounds.
Hunting
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Ringstad, Arnold
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 20, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
This book is part of the "Great Outdoors" series. It's 24 pages contain a basic background about sport hunting. Readers learn what hunting is, where to hunt, types of game, equipment, strategy, and safety. The book has captioned photographs (some including weapons - guns, bow/arrow) that will focus the reader. Call out boxes provide additional information about the topic at hand. The book is complete with a table of contents, glossary (words are bold and in color within the text), bibliography (web resources provided through the publisher), and index. A solid beginning book on this topic.
Battle Of The Best Friends
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Dadey, Debbie
Avakyan, Tatevik
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 22, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Mermaids are always popular and I'm sure the same will be true of this "Mermaid Tales" series. Four 3rd-grade mermaids are best friends, all going to school together. In this volume there is some rivalry and social bullying as one is not invited to a special party that another is throwing. All ends well, however, when she joins the band. These stories are easy chapter books with lots of black and white illustrations. The stories are uncomplicated and the characters are stereotypes, but that won't stop young mermaid fans from enjoying them. One thing - the social interactions in this book seem older than third-graders would have. Boys, bands...it just didn't ring quite right for the age group. That probably won't stop readers, however.
Whale Of A Tale
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Dadey, Debbie
Avakyan, Tatevik
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 22, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Mermaids are always popular and I'm sure the same will be true of this "Mermaid Tales" series. Four 3rd-grade mermaids are best friends, all going to school together. In this volume the class goes on a field trip to the surface to see whales. Kiki is deathly afraid of whales, but doesn't let anyone know. She overcomes her fears, however, and has a wonderful adventure. These stories are easy chapter books with lots of black and white illustrations. The stories are uncomplicated and the characters are stereotypes, but that won't stop young mermaid fans from enjoying them.
In Your Face : The Culture Of Beauty And You
ANNICK PRESS [ANNICK PRESS]
Graydon, Shari
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
February 22, 2015
Gleb, Heidi
A great book for middle and high school libraries. Teens will be drawn to the bright colors and the format which they will quickly compare with that of a fashion magazine. Page four lists what to expect from the book: learning why people are fascinated by beauty, how fashion and the image of fitting in has changed over the years, how the "it" looks are determined and by whom, and just what it is that makes us think a certain way about fashion and other things. And the book definitely delivers. A text box reminds the reader that voluptuous women were once thought to be ideal as far as beauty; compare that to stick-thin models who in marketer's minds seems to be the ideal size in the 21st century. Two pages discuss how beauty in one country or culture may mean large hips or pierced body parts while other cultures frown on these attributes as they desire other body types. The author includes plenty of information about teen boys--mostly ABOUT boys and beauty, not particularly FOR boys. Quotes from well-known people, mainly in the beauty or entertainment fields, are included. This book won't stay on the shelf for long.
Cars And Trucks
Looking Glass Library [Looking Glass Library]
Baltzer, Rochelle
Penfield, James
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
All ages
February 22, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
In six steps learn to draw ten different generic cars and trucks, such as formula one car, vintage car, fire truck, and humvee. The only specific vehicle is a vintage Volkswagen Beetle. The first few pages cover basics like art supplies needed, shapes and lines, composition, dimension, and shadow. Then there are two-page spreads each explaining how to draw a specific car or truck in six steps with a few written directions and a sketch. The first step uses shapes, the fifth step is outlining in marker, and the last step is adding color and a little shading. An art tip and a little information about the topic being drawn are also included. The small format of the book makes the explanatory sketches quite small, but drawing books on topic such as this one are always popular. A short index, glossary, and a link to a monitored web site about the series are included. It is part of the I Like to Draw!
Dinosaurs And Other Prehistoric Animals
Looking Glass Library [Looking Glass Library]
Baltzer, Rochelle
Penfield, James
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
All ages
February 22, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
In six steps learn to draw ten different dinosaurs or prehistoric animals, such as velociraptor, ankylosaurus, woolly mammoth, and saber-toothed cat. The first few pages cover basics like art supplies needed, shapes and lines, composition, dimension, and shadow. Then there are two-page spreads each explaining how to draw a specific animal in six steps with a few written directions and a sketch. The first step uses shapes, the fifth step is outlining in marker, and the last step is adding color and a little shading. An art tip and a little information about the topic being drawn are also included. The small format of the book makes the explanatory sketches quite small, but drawing books on topic such as this one are always popular. A short index, glossary, and a link to a monitored web site about the series are included. It is part of the I Like to Draw! Series.
Pirates On The High Seas
Looking Glass Library [Looking Glass Library]
Baltzer, Rochelle
Penfield, James
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
All ages
February 22, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
In six steps learn to draw ten people or things related to pirates, such as captain, gunner, Jolly Roger, and treasure chest. The quartermaster is female which is historically unlikely, but adds one female to the pirate crew. The first few pages cover basics like art supplies needed, shapes and lines, composition, dimension, and shadow. Then there are two-page spreads each explaining how to draw a specific person or object in six steps with a few written directions and a sketch. The first step uses shapes, the fifth step is outlining in marker, and the last step is adding color and a little shading. An art tip and a little information about the topic being drawn are also included. The small format of the book makes the explanatory sketches quite small, but drawing books on topic such as this one are always popular. A short index, glossary, and a link to a monitored web site about the series are included. It is part of the I Like to Draw! Series.
Dogs And Cats
Looking Glass Library [Looking Glass Library]
Baltzer, Rochelle
Penfield, James
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
All ages
February 22, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
In six steps learn to draw six different dogs and four different cats, such as pug, standard poodle, Siamese cat, and sphynx cat. The first few pages cover basics like art supplies needed, shapes and lines, composition, dimension, and shadow. Then there are two-page spreads each explaining how to draw a specific dog or cat in six steps with a few written directions and a sketch. The first step uses shapes, the fifth step is outlining in marker, and the last step is adding color and a little shading. An art tip and a little information about the topic being drawn are also included. The small format of the book makes the explanatory sketches quite small, but drawing books on topic such as this one are always popular. A short index, glossary, and a link to a monitored web site about the series are included. It is part of the I Like to Draw! Series.
Royal Court In Its Kingdom
Looking Glass Library [Looking Glass Library]
Baltzer, Rochelle
Penfield, James
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
All ages
February 22, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
In six steps learn to draw ten people or objects related to royal courts, such as princess, jester, castle, and throne. The first few pages cover basics like art supplies needed, shapes and lines, composition, dimension, and shadow. Then there are two-page spreads each explaining how to draw a person or object related to a royal court in six steps with a few written directions and a sketch. The first step uses shapes, the fifth step is outlining in marker, and the last step is adding color and a little shading. An art tip and a little information about the topic being drawn are also included. The small format of the book makes the explanatory sketches quite small, but drawing books on topic such as this one are always popular. A short index, glossary, and a link to a monitored web site about the series are included. It is part of the I Like to Draw! Series.
Cottontail Rabbits
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Petrie, Kristin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 22, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This book will be appealing for students who like cute bunnies as well as students who want to research wild cottontail rabbits. All the basic topics, such as habitat, food, and defenses are covered in chapters of two to four pages with several paragraphs of text and at least one complementary photograph or map with captions or labels. Other more complicated topics are also covered such as communication, scientific classification, and digestion details. An index glossary, and link to a monitored web site are included. It is part of the Backyard Animals series.
Monsters And Other Mythical Creatures
Looking Glass Library [Looking Glass Library]
Baltzer, Rochelle
Penfield, James
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
All ages
February 22, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
In six steps learn to draw ten different monsters and mythical creatures, such as vampire, unicorn, chupacabra, and zombie. The first few pages cover basics like art supplies needed, shapes and lines, composition, dimension, and shadow. Then there are two-page spreads each explaining how to draw a monster or mythical creature in six steps with a few written directions and a sketch. The first step uses shapes, the fifth step is outlining in marker, and the last step is adding color and a little shading. An art tip and a little information about the topic being drawn are also included. The small format of the book makes the explanatory sketches quite small, but drawing books on topics such as this one are always popular. A short index, glossary, and a link to a monitored web site about the series are included. It is part of the I Like to Draw! Series.
Fosiles Y Las Rocas
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Hutmacher, Kimberly M
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 22, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Rocks and fossils are both briefly introduced in this Spanish language book. The first three chapters cover rocks in terms of layers of the earth, examples of minerals, three groups of rocks, and the rock cycle. Each topic is explained in one or more paragraphs and accompanied by a clear diagram or at least one labeled or captioned photograph. The four short chapters on fossils cover how fossil are created, types of fossils, radiocarbon dating, and fossil fuels. The format is the same as the rock chapters with some text and diagrams, illustrations, or photographs, but three of the photographs aren’t captioned. As with the other books in the series, it is clear and understandable, but without much detail at all. A glossary, short index, and three web sites are included. It is part of the Mi biblioteca de ciencias series.
Brilliant World Of Tom Gates
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Pichon, Liz
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 22, 2015
Kline, Karen
Tom is a fifth year student and tells his story of school, home, and daily pursuits of life in his notebook of words and doodles and words that are written as doodles. Readers will immediately connect this as a British version of Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid complete with a glossary at the end explaining some of the terms that US kids might find different (headmaster, dodgy, mate, etc.). No matter, it’s funny -- winning several British awards -- and will fly off the library shelves. Tom’s narrative includes climactic scenes that kids will relate to -- what to do and say when your dad picks you up at school looking like a tramp in his gardening clothes, how to invite the smart girl you like to a concert and end up agreeing to join her in the school choir, and convincing your parents that begging is not really your hobby even though that’s what you wrote your essay about for parents’ evening at school. Two more titles in this series are in the works: Tom Gates: Excellent Excuses (and other good stuff) and Tom Gates: Everything’s Amazing (Sort of).
Tiptop Cat
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Mader, Roger
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
February 22, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
A black and white cat is given as a birthday gift and soon he is exploring his new apartment home. The cat especially loves the balcony up high where he can explore the rooftops of neighboring buildings and enjoy the wonderful view over Paris. One day he pounces on a pigeon on the balcony railing and falls several stories, but survives when he hits an awning and is caught. After that the cat is unadventurous and scared until a crow on the balcony catches his attention and he begins to explore the rooftops once again. The pastel illustrations are the best part of the book and will win the hearts of cat lovers. The cat’s personality and adventures are revealed with detailed illustrations which range from two-page spreads to several smaller illustrations showing a series of events. It is inspired by a true story of a cat who survived a six-story fall.
Rex Wrecks It!
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Clanton, Ben
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
February 22, 2015
Garrard, Thom
Three friends like to build things with blocks, but Rex always wrecks them. Even their biggest, strongest castle can’t stand up to Rex, and this upsets them all. When they include Rex in the construction phase of an archway, however, he is a big help. They are all (mostly) happy - until they discover they can have even more fun by wrecking it together. Simple cartoon-style illustrations in ink, pencil, and watercolor convey the full range of emotions experienced by the fanciful characters, from anger and frustration to satisfaction and joy. Any child whose sibling has ever intruded on their play will be able to identify with the friends’ reactions to Rex, and their solution of including him in their fun offers a valuable example of how to deal with this problem.
And Away We Go!
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY]
Migy
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
February 22, 2015
Garrard, Thom
When the package with his balloon arrives, Mr. Fox is ready for his trip to the moon. Elephant asks to join him, and Fox agrees. Before they can depart (after stopping for pizza), Giraffe requests to go, too. He points out the need for beverages. As more animals join the expedition, they add music, dancing, and games. But when Bird lands in the basket, the ropes give way. By various means the animals descend safely back to earth. The ever-positive Mr. Fox says he will go to the moon another time and happily parties with his friends. The marvelous illustrations have a dark night background that adds pop to the colors of the city. The attire of the animal characters and some details suggest 1950s New York City as the setting. Young readers will enjoy searching for intriguing and humorous details contained in the pictures, especially in the billboards and signs. Fox’s agreeable, positive attitude, and joy in his friends’ company make this book a winner.
Dragon Of Rome
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Seven, John
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
February 23, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Mix a future world with time travel into the past and you have the makings of a series with endless possibilities. Hype and Dawk live in the 25th century but travel with their parents on various assignments to research footwear in different time-periods. The information they discover is used to add realistic details to the endless PlayMods – advanced video games that operated through a neuro network that people link into and experience within themselves. In this second book, Hype and Dawk, are whisked to 75 A. D. Rome and meet Pliny the Elder becoming his assistants as he explorers and catalogs the natural world. When a dragon attacks, the threesome track it back to its lair, but Hype becomes trapped in an underground community and is cut off from her usual communication link to her brother. The danger increases as she discovers a plot to seize power in Rome that is intertwined with the unknown technology of the dragon brought from a future beyond the 25th century. Science fiction fans will enjoy this fast moving plot where advanced video games are a common form of entertainment as well as education and other futuristic capabilities seem possible. Recommend to reluctant readers as well.
Mikis And The Donkey
EERDMAN'S BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [EERDMAN'S BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Tak, Bibi Dumon
Hopman, Philip
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 23, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Mikis lives in Greece on the island of Corfu. His village is small, and his life is simple. Then his grandfather buys a donkey and Mikis feels an immediate connection. He names her, and soon has the donkey trained to follow him around. His concern for his new friend results in him being nicknamed "donkey boy," but that's practically a compliment to him! This is a sweet slice of rural Greek life, with evocative writing and many instances in which the reader gets the chance to predict outcomes. Mikis' love for his pet is obvious, and his caring makes her life better. Inspired by a visit to a donkey sanctuary, the author has written a gentle story that was originally published in the Netherlands, then translated to English. Short, fluid text is accompanied by black and white illustrations making this a nice international book that can be quickly read and enjoyed.
Terror Of The Tengu
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Seven, John
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
February 23, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Mix a future world with time travel into the past and you have the makings of a series with endless possibilities. Hype and Dawk live in the 25th century but travel with their parents on various assignments to research footwear in different time-periods. The information they discover is used to add realistic details to the endless PlayMods – advanced video games that operated through a neuro network that people link into and experience within themselves. In the third book in the series, Hype and Dawk accompany their parents to feudal Japan in 1595. Living in the castle, Hype starts training with a female samurai and Dawk befriends a crazy monk stalked by a demon tengu. Property damage in the village overlap with strange tales of spirits attacking in a castle storage room and Dawk is determined to discover what is happening. As in other books in the series, forces from a civilization beyond the 25th century improperly interfere with events from the 25th century world and the time period visited, this time medieval Japan. While each book in the series has a resolution, science fiction fans will also follow the mystery of the intervention from the future.
How To Write Realistic Fiction
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Flatt, Lizann
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 23, 2015
Kline, Karen
This short book attempts to help students analyze and write realistic fiction. One of nine titles in the “Text Styles” series including How To Tell a Fable and How to Write Science Fiction. Using passages from Anne of Green Gables and Little Women, readers learn about character, setting, plot, point of view, and more. The book admits that if these “mentor texts” (as it refers to them) had been written today they would be considered historical fiction, but since they were written over one-hundred years ago and “the story happens the way it would have back then,” they are realistic fiction. Which begs one to guess, why didn’t this book’s creators choose mentor texts relevant to settings of today in order to make this clear to readers trying to distinguish between historical and realistic fiction? Many access points like text boxes, titles, subtitles, and graphs make the visual appeal of the book pleasing to the eye and accessible, but it is most likely to be a topic that educators will read and not children. Under the heading “proofreading,” though, a clear proofreading error was published reading, “Are you are happy that the story is going well?” Try Gail Carson Levine's Writer to Writer for a more in-depth work.
Great Moments In Olympic Swimming & Diving
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Rosen, Karen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
February 24, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
ABDO’s “Great Moments in Olympic Sports” will attract young athletes with Olympic dreams, as well as students who enjoy learning about the history of each sport. Rosen gives a brief introduction to the history of swimming and diving events starting with the 1896 1200 meter event swum in a bay off Greece amongst 12-foot waves. “Fancy diving” began in the 1904 games. Subsequent chapters recount stories of such colorful athletes such as swimmers, Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan), Australian Dawn Fraser, Mark Spitz, and Michael Phelps. Divers highlighted include Pat McCormick, Greg Louganis, and Laura Wilkinson. Other brief stories highlighting specific Olympic competitions and competitors from other countries are contained in blue boxes. Chapters on the 1976 East German doping scandal and devastating 1972 Munich Palestinian terrorist attack on Israeli athletes touch on the politics often involved. Each six-page chapter opens with a bright yellow page of text, titles in bold red, and a full-page photograph of the swimmer or diver highlighted in the chapter. Additional features include: Great Olympians list, glossary, additional resources, select bibliography, places to visit, and index.
Great Moments In Olympic Skiing
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Trusdell, Brian
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
February 24, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
ABDO’s “Great Moments in Olympic Sports” will attract young athletes with Olympic dreams, as well as students who enjoy learning about the history of each sport. Nordic skiing events joined the Olympics in 1924 and alpine in 1936. Freestyle events were added starting in 1992 and by 2014 included 5 events. Chapters in Skiing recount stories from the 1976, 1988, 1998, 2010, and 2014 Olympics. Each chapter spotlights an Olympic Champion in a different skiing event, including: Franz Klammer, Alberto Tomba, Hermann Maier, Jonny Mosely, Picabo Street, Billy Demong, and Joss Christensen. The six-page chapters open with a bright yellow page of text, titles in bold red, and a full-page photograph of the skier highlighted in the chapter. Blue sidebars describe other competitors and great moments in the Olympics and with the action photos convey the excitement and drama of the events. Additional features include: Great Olympians list, glossary, additional resources, select bibliography, places to visit, and index.
Cool Treats & Sweets : Easy & Fun Comfort Food
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 24, 2015
Kline, Karen
This is one of seven titles in the Cool Home Cooking series including Cool Breads & Biscuits, Cool Dips & Drinks, and Cool Main Dishes. This title includes eight recipes for desserts. Recipes are uniformly laid out on each double page spread showing a list of ingredients in a separate text box with utensils required, codes indicating red flag issues like the use of nuts, servings yield, method, and photos showing three intermediate steps and a larger photo with the completed recipe. All-in-all this book will entice young chefs with its uncluttered design and consistent format. Front matter covers basics including photos of kitchen tools mentioned in the recipes and ingredients as well as a page of photo explanations for cooking terms. Points off, though, for showing several name brands. The recipe for Sweet S’Mores Bars earns points for the nutritional rolled oats added, but the editors missed marking this recipe with their “hot stuff” code even though it uses the stove and the oven. The glossary and conclusion pages seem unnecessary, but the index and sturdy binding are welcomed. This is a solid purchase for most libraries needing short, simple cookbooks.
Elmer And The Monster
ANDERSEN PRESS USA [ANDERSEN PRESS USA]
Mckee, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
February 25, 2015
Garrard, Thom
As Elmer the patchwork elephant begins his morning walk in the forest, he hears a tremendous roar, and birds and other creatures flee past him. As he continues on his way, a troop of monkeys, a tiger, some crocodiles, a lion, and a herd of elephants run by after each successive roar. Finally, Elmer reaches the improbable source – a small, furry, blue creature named Bloo-Bloo who roars because he is scared of monsters. Retracing his steps, Elmer takes Bloo-Bloo to meet the other animals and to show that they need not be afraid of each other. The whole group then accompanies Bloo-Bloo on his way. Even without Elmer, the illustrations use enough color, action, and emotion, to hold the reader’s attention. Readers will admire Elmer’s courage, as he moves closer and closer to the unknown monster that is scaring his animal friends. Though it spoils the effect a bit when he calls them all “rather silly,” Elmer is also demonstrating that our differences should not be a reason to fear those we don’t know.
Patterns At School
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
Felix, Rebecca
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
February 26, 2015
Kline, Karen
Patterns are everywhere! Do we need a book showing patterns in a school setting with pencils, erasers, and kids in striped shirts? Probably not, since most teachers could create these patterns with the things around their classrooms. If only the patterns in this book were of puppies, Pokemons, or princesses kids might actually want to read and study this book. As it is, teachers will perhaps use the book to introduce or reinforce a unit on patterns, but teachers will wish that the photos were labeled with key terms like “core” or A-B-C in order to make the concepts more clear. The text is simple and direct. The photos on each double page spread are crisp and colorful. The table of contents, glossary, word list, and index hardly seem necessary in this book with 24 pages and only 33 sentences. The reinforced binding and cover are durable, though, so if readers need a book on this topic, this book may fill some libraries’ needs.
Sleep All Night! : Healthy Sleeping Habits
Sandcastle/abdo [Sandcastle/abdo]
Salzmann, Mary Elizabeth
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
February 27, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Sandcastle: Healthy Habits" series, this small (6.5" x 7.5"), 24 page book explores building health sleeping habits, Each two page spread contains a large two page photograph and a text box that contains one or two simple sentences. The reader learns how much sleep is needed, why sleep is important, and a couple of ways kids relax in order to fall asleep in just a couple sentences. There is a table of contents in the front, and a true and false quiz and three-word glossary in the back. There will be other titles on sleep with more information.
Moon : Earth's Satellite
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Lundgren, Julie K
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
February 27, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
This 24 page book is part of the "Inside Outer Space" series. The moon is the subject of this book. The reader learns the moon's position in the solar system, it's orbit, viewing the moon, and exploration of the moon. The text is easy to understand and will appeal to the budding astronomer. The color photographs enhance the text. The book has teaching focus and activities for pre/post reading in the front. The book also has a table of contents, photo glossary (word in bold within the text), index, author information, and a few websites for further exploration. A good addition if you are updating your astronomy section.
Hellhole
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Damico, Gina
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
February 27, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Max Kilgore is a good kid and is obsessed with dinosaurs, paleontology, crossword puzzles, caring for his mother who is waiting unsuccessfully for a heart transplant. After an particularly trying day in E’ville he works out his frustrations and tries to find relief from his insomnia by digging for fossils on Ugly Hill. Things go fine until he stops down to dig one last shovelful and nearly falls into a great and deep pit. Max falls into bed exhausted; goes to school and worries his way through the day. When he returns home he finds a devil, Burgundy Chuttermuck, one of the 666 Satans in charge of deviltry on earth. Burg is overly fond of junk food, hot tubs, X-box and not wearing pants. Max makes a deal with the devil to save his mother and soon is doing things that good kids don’t do. He’s in deep because if he doesn’t deliver on Burg’s version of earthly paradise bad things will happen to Max’s friends and family. Max seeks professional help in getting rid of Burg from Lore, a former Goth girl who knows a thing or two about the dark side. Horror, hilarity, young love, and only slightly far-fetched. With 666 devils to choose from, it’s pretty close to someone’s version of Hell in high school and explores evil's nature.
Unmade
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Capetta, Amy Rose
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
February 27, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Rock star-turned-would-be savior Cade makes a stand to save humanity from the Unmakers. Using her psychic musical abilities, Cade discovers the location of her mother and, with her plucky band of friends, crewmates and living spaceship, succeeds in reaching her--though her mother's badly afflicted by the crippling catatonia of spacesick. The mother-daughter reunion is interrupted by an Unmakers' attack. Cade and company rescue as many as they can before learning just how devastating the attack really was. Prompted by the need to take care of the survivors, Cade decides the time is right to unite the fragments of humanity scattered across the universe and sets off to find them. While Cade pulls together her fleet and defends it, she uncovers crucial information about her musically entangled connection to the universe, spacesick, the nature of Unmakers and her own friends. Cade and Rennik's attraction to each other wars with their priorities. The action consistently builds: in stakes, in tension and especially in personal costs to characters. While unanswered world building questions occasionally stress suspension of disbelief, complicated twists and swift pacing keep readers moving forward. could go R
Don't Look Back
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Armentrout, Jennifer
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
February 27, 2015
Datisman, Eve
7-12/AD+/R A modern novel of redemption and second chances. Samantha is discovered wandering through the woods, amnesiac and covered in blood. When the body of her best friend Cassie is discovered, Samantha starts to worry she has gone insane. All of her responses to her family and the people who tell her they are her friends are foreign. Sam discovers that she was the text book Queen Bee Mean Girl and she doesn’t like it. Becoming a spectator in her own life gives her a chance to discover who she once was and since she doesn’t like what she finds; she determines to change. Relationships are complicated by the fact that she is beginning to like the one person she apparently hated, her brother’s best friend Carson Ortiz. While trying to recover her memory, the truth about what happened to the girls slowly unfolds. Samantha doesn't know who to trust or what to believe and Armentrout successfully points the finger of suspicion at several characters to keep the reader guessing. When Samantha begins to receive notes that urge her to distance herself from her past, she's determined to do the opposite and find out what happened to Cassie while unlocking her memories. Chilling images, carefully crafted mystery, smooth writing.
Art Of Flying
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Hoffman, Judy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
February 27, 2015
Datisman, Eve
AD/AD+ -- Grades 3-7 Good intro to fantasy adventure. Eleven-year-old Fortuna's presence has been requested by her mysterious and strange neighbors, the old Baldwin sisters. They have transformed two sparrows into boys, one called Martin, and a vicious owl into a vicious man. The witches are trying to restore him to his former self. However, Martin has run away, and they only have five days to turn him back before the change becomes permanent. Fortuna is scared but itching for adventure. Fortuna soon becomes attached to the bird boy and hatches her own scheme to keep him human. The Baldwin sisters are facing dire punishment, death, from the coven and with the help of her friend Peter, Fortuna falls into line with the plan to restore all the transformed. Along the way there are plenty of adventures including talking crows, dangerous snares, and the promise of really flying. The Baldwins are much like Dahl’s witches, humorously sinister, Fortuna is plucky and inventive. The characters are a bit one-dimensional, but the plot ties up nicely and we like those who we are supposed to like and root for the Featheren.
Fates
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Bross, Lanie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
February 27, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Can we escape our fate or are we bound by our doom? In a former life, Corinthe was a fate who determined the course of lives, but in a moment of foolish desire she changed her fate and was sentenced to leave her Eden and become an Executioner on Earth. If the remaining Fates decree a death or a loss of love, Corinthe is the one to make sure it happens. She has been scrupulous in doing her job and has one last assignment: Kill Lucas Kaller. That’s her ticket home. But Cornithe feels a twinge of doubt that soon works its way into her heart – something that has never happened to her in this earthly existence. She is falling in love with a boy that she knows she may never have. It’s fated, only one of them may live. He’s falling in love with her too. Further complications arise as they band together to help Luc’s troubled sister and alcoholic father. What they don’t know is that there are forces that are against the Fates who mercilessly manipulate the two of them emotionally and physically, thrusting them through alternate worlds whose descriptions and importance are sacrificed to the love story. Quick pace and the impediments of time and space become muddled. Book two is supposed to clear things up.
Seeing Red
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Erskine, Kathryn
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
February 27, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 750. In the aftermath of the civil rights movement, bigotry still permeates 1972 Stony Gap, Va., the hometown of 12-year-old Frederick "Red" Porter. Red's father was a fair man up until the day he died, and now it's Red's duty to carry on his legacy. There are many wrongs Red would like to make right, like the way a neighbor, Mr. Dunlop, abuses his children. Red would also like to help an elderly African-American neighbor, Miss Georgia, whose family was cheated out of land a century ago. Now there’s a For Sale sign in front of Red’s house; and his mama must sell both the house and their combination garage (“Porter’s: We Fix It Right”) and convenience store (“What-U-Want”). Worse, she plans to move the family to Ohio before Red has a chance to right the wrongs including a shameful secret in his family. Heavy references to ‘70’s pop culture, especially TV, the Foxfire Project, and a scrapbook about the murder of Emmett Till in the ‘50’s help Red explore the difficulty in fighting a corrupt system, and also stresses the difference one individual-even a child-can make, providing hope that justice can prevail.
Cape Buffalo
BELLWETHER MEDIA [BELLWETHER MEDIA]
BORGERT-SPANIOL, MEGAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
February 27, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Blastoff! Readers Level 1, Animal Safari" series, this simple 24 page book will provide beginning readers with information about the cape buffalo. Each two page spread has a color photograph and two related sentences. Readers learn only basic information about this animal - food, predators, habits. The reader also learns about the birds that pick insects off of the buffalo. While the book mentions that they live on the savanna, the book never tells the reader that this is in Africa. The book is complete with a table of contents, index, glossary (words in bold within the text), and bibliography. Web resources are provided through the publisher's website. This book would be useful with beginning research projects.
Great Moments In Olympic Ice Hockey
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Peters, Chris
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
February 27, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
This book is part of the "Great Moments in Olympic Sports" series. It's 64 pages explore some of the excitement of hockey. The book is heavily focused on the US teams, although Canada and Russia are included. Olympics highlighted are: Squaw Valley 1960, Lake Placid 1980, Nagano 1998, Salt Lake City 2002, Vancouver 2010, and Sochi 2014. The book covers the arrival of NHL players in the Olympics and the addition of women's hockey to the program. The text is descriptive and well written. Photographs are captioned and found throughout the book. Call out boxes highlight additional information on specific player, awards, and games. The end matter contains biographical sketches of 9 Olympic hockey "greats." The book is complete with a table of contents, glossary, index, bibliography (web resources can be found through the publisher's webpage), and author information. A good purchase if you have a strong hockey community at your school.
Cure For Dreaming
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
Winters, Cat
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
February 28, 2015
Doran, Kelly
Living in Portland in 1900, seventeen-year-old Olivia Mead wants to vote for herself and to attend college, much to her father's dismay. After she has an encounter with a stage hypnotist, her father decides that hypnotism can silence Olivia's rebelliousness and remove her suffragette ideas-- but Monsieur Reverie's treatment leaves Olivia with the ability to see oppression and inequality as (literally) monstrous. Olivia must befriend the hypnotist and work with him to free her voice and herself, and win her independence. Very well written, with chapter quotes and images from contemporary fiction and non-fiction sources (all listed in a bibliography at the end).