Reviews for month


I Remember Beirut
GRAPHIC UNIVERSE [GRAPHIC UNIVERSE]
Abirached, Zeina
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
March 02, 2015
Dame, Anne
This graphic novel uses it's stark yet beautiful black and white illustrations to help portray this memoir of a girl growing up in Beirut during the war in the '80's. Zeina and her family lived near the demarcation line and so no school bus would actually come into her neighborhood to pick her up. Her mom's car was riddled with bullet holes and the windshield was shattered so often that she stopped replacing it. Yet, despite all these things, her parents were able to give them a semblance of a normal childhood. Enough history to give context, but not so much that it bogs own the story.
If You're Reading This
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS]
Reedy, Trent
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
March 02, 2015
Dame, Anne
When Mike was 8, his dad died fighting in the war in Afghanistan. Somehow, right before his 16th birthday however, Mike starts receiving letters that his dad wrote him from Afghanistan. These letters tell some of the situations that his dad is facing in Afghanistan, but they are truly about helping Mike make the passage into adulthood. They always end with some sort of challenge or goal. Some seem simple, but some require a lot of serious consideration and will have future consequences. Not as much about sports as it is about family, war, and relationships. Steer this to your more mature middle schoolers, as there is some violence and teen drinking.
Unstoppable Octobia May
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Flake, Sharon G
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 02, 2015
Dame, Anne
It's 1953. Octobia May lives with her Auntie, who runs a boardinghouse. Octobia is convinced that one of the boarders is a vampire. Her curiosity, questions, and outspokenness are going to get her into a lot of trouble in this era when children are supposed to be unobtrusive - especially black children. This is definitely intended for a younger audience than most of Flake's other works. It is well-written with great characters. However, it is likely to be a hard sell to students.
Inhuman
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Falls, Kat
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 02, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 700/ Hi/Low Beginning of a new series. Nineteen years ago, the deadly Ferae Naturae ("of a wild nature") virus killed 40 percent of America's population. Now, 16 year-old Lane McEvoy lives a safe, sterile life in the shadow of the Titan, a 700-foot-tall wall that extends from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, separating the uninfected west from the Feral Zone to the east. Lane's life is turned upside down when the head of Biohazard Defense makes her an offer she can't afford to refuse. Director Spurling has evidence that Lane's father, Mack, is a "fetch," paid to retrieve valuables left behind during the exodus two decades before. Unless Lane locates her father so he can recover something the director has lost, Spurling will expose Mack's treason, and Lane will lose him to execution by firing squad. Accompanied by rule-breaking bad boy Rafe and handsome border guard Everson, she begins a nail-biting and sufficiently creepy adventure with chimpacabra and piranha-bats and people infected by lion, tiger, or fox DNA. there's lovely and bizarre imagery involved. Solid start.
Great Moments In Olympic Skating
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Barnas, Jo-Ann
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 02, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
ABDO’s “Great Moments in Olympic Sports” will attract young athletes with Olympic dreams, as well as casual participants and students who enjoy learning about the history of each sport. The six-page chapters open with a bright yellow page of text, titles in bold red, and a full-page photograph of the skater 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. The roots of both figure and speed skating are thought to go as far back as the 13th century Netherlands with people skating on the frozen canals. Olympic competitions started in the 1908 Summer Olympics and continued in the Winter Olympics starting in 1924. Chapters highlight the stories of Sarah Hughes’ win in the 2002 Olympics, Dick Buttons accomplishments, Peggy Fleming’s rise to stardom after the entire American Figure Skating team died in a plane crash, Brian Boitano’s success, Dan Jansen’s consecutive Olympics, Apolo Ohno’s success in speed skating and South Korean Yuna Kim’s breathtaking figure skating win in 2010. Additional features include: Great Olympians list, glossary, additional resources, select bibliography, places to visit, and index.
Cosmobiography Of Sun Ra : The Sound Of Joy Is Enlighten
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Raschka, Chris
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
March 02, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Startlingly exuberant colors dance across the cover of this biography of a unique jazz musician, Sun Ra, ne Herman P. “Sonny” Blount. Having never heard of Sun Ra, I explored some of his music as well as listened to a podcast describing his life, yet still had to reread closely to savor the complex mixing of Raschka’s phrases and extract the biographical information. “Sun Ra always said that he came from Saturn,” sets the stage for explaining Sun Ra’s early musical skill, insatiable intellectual curiosity, and WWII conscientious objector status. “Intergalactic boulevardier” describes Sun Ra’s wandering Chicago streets and “being from outer space” and thus not afraid of electrons, his early adoption of the electric keyboard. Ra’s seminal group, the Arkestra, dressed in self-made multicolored robes, embellished with bone necklaces, silk scarves, and shiny metallic foil crowns, played avante garde jazz around the world. Raschka’s bold watercolor and ink illustrations explode with colorful musical liveliness in banners, panels, and full pages. A Selected Recordings list, and brief overview of Ra’s life conclude Raschka’s artistic biography. Purchase for its unique portrayal of a little known musician and stellar art.
TWINNING PROJECT
CLARION [CLARION]
LIPSYTE, ROBERT
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 02, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Tom's a rebel, always getting in trouble at school and getting expelled, usually for standing up to bullies. He lives in 2011. Eddie's a popular guy--an athlete and peace-maker. He lives in 1957. The boys are twins and can talk to each other on occasion. Are they psycho, hearing voices? Sound strange? Well the truth is they both live on earth, but one lives on Earth 1 and the other lives on Earth 2, created by aliens and started 50 years apart, which explains the time difference. The aliens are not pleased with how things are going. Both planets may be in jeopardy. The boys get to change places, experience life as their twin, and work together to stop the aliens, all the while learning more about their own origins. It's an odd, but interesting premise, with plenty of action and a nice message about accepting differences. This middle school sci-fi novel sets up for a series, and the sequel just came out in September of 2014.
Faces Of The Dead
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Weyn, Suzanne
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 02, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Lexile, 720. When Marie-Therese, daughter of Marie Antoinette, slips into the streets of Paris in the guise of her chambermaid at the height of the French Revolution, she finds a world much darker than what she's ever known. There is a powerful revolutionary movement afoot that she is determined to see for herself. Torn between loyalty to the royal family and sympathy for the French populace, particularly the romance-worthy street boy Henri, Marie-Thérèse must make a painful choice. As in Dr. Frankenstein's Daughters, Weyn has done her research. She creates believable, sympathetic characters and challenges readers to consider issues of class, freedom, fairness, and loyalty. Good riff on The Prince and the Pauper.
Hidden Like Anne Frank : 14 True Stories Of Survival
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS]
Prins, Marcel
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
March 02, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 790/Dewey 940.53 A collection of 14 true stories about going into hiding during WWII in order to survive the Nazi threat of extermination. Prins’ mother was a Jewish child hidden with a Christian family during WWII. Hers is among the 14 first-person narratives representing a breadth of experience not always so similar to the famous story referenced in the title. Some of the children were hidden in plain sight because they did not look Jewish; others barely identified themselves as Jewish until the war forced it upon them. Readers will encounter incredible acts of courage, both from the subjects themselves and the Resistance fighters and ordinary people willing to risk their lives. . The accounts are told in a matter-of-fact tone, with no attempt at sentimentality or self-pity. Family photos and archival images appear throughout; a glossary and pictures of the survivors today are appended. More stories and photos at www.hiddenlikeannefrank.com Starred reviews in Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal
Power Of Harmony
RED DEER PRESS [RED DEER PRESS]
Coates, Jan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 02, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Bullying and racism are not only a problem in the US but in Canada as well, in this case, the late 1960’s Nova Scotia in one of the country’s coal mining towns. Jennifer's best friend has moved away and she has become the sole focus for the mean-spirited teasing from the "mean girls" and the "bad boys" at school. But when the new girl, Melody, joins their class the bullies have a new victim. Melody is native and has moved from the recently closed residential school to join the fifth grade class at Summerhill. At first Jennifer is nervous about becoming friends with Melody. She has heard what people (including her grandmother) say about "those people." But as she gets to know her new classmate, she discovers that they have more in common than she first thought - both of them find sanctuary amongst the books in the town library and both of them love music and being outdoors. It’s a story of discovery and friendship perfectly captures time and place through the voice of its young narrator. 4-12, Governor General's Award finalist
Skateboard Party
CLARION [CLARION]
English, Karen
Freeman, Laura
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 03, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Number 2 in the Carver Chronicles follows Richard, an intermediate student, who is focused on perfecting and showing off his skateboarding skills at a friend’s upcoming skateboard birthday party. But Richard’s lack of focus on his schoolwork and his avoidance in showing the teacher’s note to his parents backfires as he’s grounded until he finishes his howler monkey report, aces the spelling test and “minds his p’s and q’s.” Some boys can probably relate to preferring skateboarding, TV, and video games to schoolwork, but the first half of the book almost gets tedious as Richard keeps putting it all off until faced with his parents’ ultimatum. He almost misses out on the party, but rain saves him. He has a week to pull it all together, and with that motivation he ultimately achieves success surprising himself that he actually enjoys what he learns. The illustrations depict an African American family, but no mention is made in the book.
Twins' Little Sister
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Yum, Hyewon
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 03, 2015
Jensen, Kathy
Author and illustrator, Hyewon Yum, draws from her childhood experiences as she tells the story of twin sisters who have to learn how to deal with a baby joining their family. The girls have two of everything but only one mom. That's only the beginning of their problems. Mom is pregnant and they'll have to share her with another sibling! Fortunately, the twins learn that helping their mom with the new baby will give them some of the attention they desire. Having a new baby in the family can be trying, but these twins discover the joys of having a new baby sister and even go so far as fighting over her. Their solution: Mom should have another baby! Soft, simplistic illustrations accompany the limited text. Young readers with a sibling on the way will enjoy this story even if they're not a twin.
March On Washington : A Primary Source Exploration Of Th
Fact Finders/capstone Press [Fact Finders/capstone Press]
Schwartz, Heather E
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 03, 2015
Dame, Anne
A brief and useful explanation of what constitutes a primary source begins the book. It also explains how primary sources are notated throughout the text as it is a mix of primary and secondary sources. There are two questions to relate content to Common Core as well as a selected bibliography at the end. Very useful in conjunction with other books about the march (such as the one by Russell Freedman). It is informative, but very brief at only 32 pages.
Playing Pro Football
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Bowker, Paul
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 03, 2015
Dame, Anne
This book gives insight into what it really takes to play pro football. It includes statistics detailing how difficult it is for someone to actually break into the ranks of the professional players. It also gives a realistic accounting of the hard work, dedication, nutrition, aches, pains, bruises and the like that are constant factors in the lives of these players. Lots of full color photographs, quotes from players, additional information resources, and complete bibliography make this a useful reference for students just wanting to know more about pro ball as well as those hoping to play pro ball.
Problem With Not Being Scared Of Monsters
Boyds Mills Press [Boyds Mills Press]
Richards, Dan
Neubecker, Robert
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 03, 2015
Dame, Anne
Colorful, imaginative illustrations of a wide variety of monsters fill this accounting of all the problems associated with not being scared of monsters. Sweet and funny at the same time. Simple, sparse text.
Bombay Blues
Push [Push]
Hidier, Tanuja Desai
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 03, 2015
Dame, Anne
Sequel to Born Confused Dimple and her boyfriend Karsh travel to India for a family wedding. While there, they struggle not just with cultural differences but also with keeping their relationship intact. While this received a starred review from Kirkus, I respectfully disagree. The writing is lyrical and stream-of-consciousness, which is lovely for a while, but at 500+ pages, it is too much. There are numerous sexual situations and references as well as teen drinking and drug use.
Ida M. Tarbell : The Woman Who Challenged Big Business - And
CLARION [CLARION]
Mccully, Emily Arnold
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 03, 2015
Dame, Anne
McCully has taken a different path than her well-known children's books with this comprehensive biography of Ida M. Tarbell. Tarbell is often labeled as a "muckraker" for her journalistic efforts to expose the robber barons of her time, such as Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Company. This biography revels that Tarbell was a journalist of integrity who thoroughly researched the people and subjects that she wrote about. This biography also contains information about Tarbell's family and friends as well as her journalistic career. I found it to be very interesting, especially all the primary source photographs, but a bit repetitious and overly long. An excellent resource for this topic, however.
Honeycomb
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Mccowan, Patricia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
March 03, 2015
Dame, Anne
An Orca limelights novel by debut author Patricia McCowan. Best friends Nat and Jess pair up with Harper at a music camp and discover that they make incredible music together. They decide to audition for a prestigious local festival, but their personalities clash. A serviceable hi-lo book about relationships and working together.
Kinda Like Brothers
Push [Push]
Booth, Coe
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 03, 2015
Dame, Anne
Jarrett's mom has always taken in babies to foster, but never anyone his own age, so he's in for a rude awakening when Kevon and his baby sister arrive. Jarrett is very upset about the disruption and Kevon has some major secrets so they certainly do not become instant friends like others think could/should happen. Booth retains her gritty, urban settings from her YA books in this novel for younger readers. However, it certainly does not have the more mature themes and sexual tensions and situations of those. I believe middle school students will appreciate the candor, the plot, and the realistic characters and their motivations in this novel.
Taken
Chicken House [Chicken House]
Massey, David
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 03, 2015
Dame, Anne
Four teens who were wounded and disabled while serving their terms in the military are joined by two other teen athletes in an attempt to sail around the world together. Their widely varying personalities and personal conflicts must be put aside when they are attacked and taken hostage by guerrilla soldiers from the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Violence and attempted rape should steer this towards more mature readers. Absolutely loved how the strengths of each character shine through. It's frightening to know that these types of hostage situations do actually occur and that this is not written as a dystopian novel. (Although your dystopia fans will also enjoy it).
Miracle On Ice
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Trusdell, Brian
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 03, 2015
Dame, Anne
The unbelievable story about how the 1980 US hockey team won the 1980 Olympic Games. Lots of primary source, color photos and informational text books are added features. While it is interesting, I'm not sure how much demand there will be for it or to which students I could recommend it.
World's Scariest Prisons
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Berne, Emma Carlson
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 03, 2015
Dame, Anne
Lots of primary source photographs are the highlight of this book. There is good basic information about a wide variety of prisons around the world - but I found it difficult to read, due to all the different fonts, both style and size throughout the entries. However, it is still an interesting book to browse.
Little Man
Mikaya Press [Mikaya Press]
Mann, Elizabeth
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 03, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Middle school begins inauspiciously for Albert on his small Caribbean Island as his best friend has moved to Brooklyn, the bully on the school bus calls him Little Man due to his short stature, and he’s no longer good at Maths since he skipped a year. Things start to improve once his father takes him along as a roadie with his week-end band one evening where the bandmates treat him well, and he witnesses a surprise performance by the Mocko Jumbies, a famed stilt walking group from Trinidad, amongst whom is his bus driver Peachy. Peachy invites him to his junior stilt walking troupe’s practices on the Big Island where Albert gains confidence, acceptance in a group and success. In addition his female bus seat partner is assigned as his math tutor and both benefit from the experience. It’s a rewarding read witnessing Albert’s transformation from immature worrier to happy, exultant stilt walker. It’s not clear what readers will pick up this book, but it’s a pleasant story if they stick with this short 204-page novel. It does capture the sense of community and language of these islands, which are a far cry from the Pacific Northwest. Gr.4-7
Alice Waters And The Trip To Delicious
READERS TO EATERS [READERS TO EATERS]
Martin, Jacqueline Brigg
Choi, Hayelin
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
2nd grade to 4th grade
March 03, 2015
Shirts, Brooke
Who wouldn't want to take a trip to "Delicious"? In this engaging story, young Alice Waters is passionate about taking everyone to such a place. Jacqueline Briggs Martin takes readers along, too: from Waters' travels around the world as a student of cooking, to the foundation and success of her famous Chez Panisse restaurant, and finally to the Edible Schoolyard Project, which teaches children to grow their own produce and use it in school lunch programs. Martin uses multiple metaphors to describe Waters' relationship with food: that it is a journey, a symphony, that it is something that makes people a family. Waters' innovations are also highlighted: when she uses her restaurant to promote locally sourced food, her cooking table extends across the page and turns into a road that leads to a small organic farm. Hayelin Choi's hand-brushed, digitally colored illustrations are as bright and abundant as the food: tomato vines and melons burst out of the pages' corners; happy adults and children cook and eat together in harmony. Small spots of text provide additional anecdotes about Waters' life; the text includes a bibliography, resource list, and afterwords by both the author and Waters herself.
Sonia Sotomayor
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Anderson, Annmarie
Kelley, Gerald
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 03, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Written in the first person with straight forward language, the book chronicles the life of the first Latina Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. This Level 3 Reader has pleasant and helpful nonfiction features including photos (some with labels), a timeline and glossary. Hers is an interesting and challenging life as her Puerto Rican parents struggled in the Bronx, she developed diabetes at a young age, her father died when she was young also, and her mother worked extra hard to provide a good education for her. What is evident throughout is Sonia’s great work ethic, constantly tackling new challenges, valuing education and holding her dreams as inspiration to go to college, become a lawyer, and ultimately a lawyer like Perry Mason. This stands as an inspirational story showing if someone works hard they can achieve great things. The emphasis is not on the hardships, but on the constant striving. The least appealing parts of this book are the illustrations since it’s hard to capture a person’s true features when photos are nearby for comparison.
Great Moments In Olympic Snowboarding
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Howell, Brian
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 04, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
ABDO’s “Great Moments in Olympic Sports” will attract young athletes with Olympic dreams, as well as casual participants and students who enjoy learning about the history of each sport. An Olympic event since 1998, snowboarding continues to add events with each new Olympic games. U.S.A. champions, Shaun White, Kelly Clark, Ross Powers, Hannah Teter, Seth Westcott, Sage Kotsenburg, Jamie Anderson, and Kaitlyn Farrington are highlighted in chapters describing the stories of their Olympic wins and include crowd expectations and surprise champions. Chapters open with a bright yellow page of text, titles in bold red, and a full-page photograph of the snowboarder 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.
THIS ONE TIME WITH JULIA
RAZORBILL [PENGUIN]
LAMPSON, DAVID
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 04, 2015
Gleb, Heidi
Orphaned twins Alvin and Joe have raised themselves, then Alvin leaves town with his girlfriend, Julia. Joe keeps himself busy gambling and playing basketball and trying to stay out of the way of his older brother, who clearly would rather not have the 18-year-old Joe in his house. Alvin's reappearance is followed by another disappearance. Joe imagines Alvin appears before him and carries on conversations; the reader will understand that either Joe is fooling himself or that his insistence on the reality of Alvin might be caused by physical or mental issues. As Julia and Joe set out to find Alvin, they have a variety of experiences that are just plain weird. There are many unbelievable situations but sometimes they work in the context of the story. I don't see this as a favorite of high school students; it will take lots of booktalking to find just the right person for this book.
ARCTIC TERN MIGRATION
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
HIRSCH, REBECCA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 04, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
This title is one of 12 in the Animal Migration series by The Child's World. It details the life of Arctic Tern, the “long-distance champ of migratory birds”, focusing on its life cycle, habitat, and life as the migrate between the Artic and the Antarctic. Their “life time journey” as their migration, going from the sea grass meadows in the oceans around the world to their natal beaches every two to four years, is detailed in this volume. The series contains beautiful color illustrations with informative captions, some with additional information inserted in small text boxes. The text provides enough information for report writing and is an excellent source for informational text reading including maps as well as a page explaining the various types of migration, a glossary and a small index. The whole series would be an excellent addition to your library. The series is also reviewed in The Library Media Connection and SLJ.
GREEN SEA TURTLE MIGRATION
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
HIRSCH, REBECCA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 04, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
This title is one of 12 in the Animal Migration series by The Child's World. It details the life of the Green Sea Turtle focusing on its life cycle, and habitat. Their “life time journey” as their migration, going from the sea grass meadows in the oceans around the world to their natal beaches every two to four years, is detailed in this volume. The series contains beautiful color illustrations with informative captions, some with additional information inserted in small text boxes. The text provides enough information for report writing and is an excellent source for informational text reading including maps as well as a page explaining the various types of migration, a glossary and a small index. The whole series would be an excellent addition to your library. The series is also reviewed in The Library Media Connection and SLJ.
Single Pebble : A Story Of The Silk Road
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Christensen, Bonnie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
March 04, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
It is 850 AD and Mei is asking her father to take her along on his trading journey along the Silk Road, his reply “It’s my job to trade our silk, it is your job to stay home and take care of the silk worms.” Mei gives him a small jade pebble as a gift “for a child at the end of the road.” The pebble is passed from her father to a Buddhist monk to a sandalwood trader to a troupe of traveling players a thief to a pirate to the pirate’s son, at the end of the Silk Road. Soft watercolor and gouache illustrations present intricate patterns in the style of each country the jade pebble traveled through showing the differences in the people and places along the road, from China, through Tibet, Kashmir, India, Persia and eventually to Venice. An end not and maps provide readers with background on this fabled and important trade route between China and Europe. Also reviewed in SLJ Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Review and Horn Book.
Dinosaur Rescue
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Dale, Penny
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 04, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
Oh no! the orange truck is stuck on the train tracks . . . Dinosaurs to the rescue! Here comes the Ambulance, the Fire Truck - Wee-ooo! Wee-ooo! - the Police - Look out! Look out! - and a Helicopter – Choppa! Choppa! trying to stop the train, trying to save the dinosaurs in the truck. Whew! !he train stops. Everyone is safe and the orange truck is towed to town. The front endpapers identify 10 different types of dinosaurs while the endpapers at the concluding endpapers show and name the variety of emergency vehicles that come to the rescue. With repetition, and noisy onomatopoetic words, friendly, colorful illustrations this is one that will be too hot to shelve among your young dinosaur loving readers.
Ayudemos A Preservar Los Habitats
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Webb, Barbara L
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 05, 2015
Threlkeld, Sarah
Younger students will check this title out for the vivid photographs that take up most, if not all, of each page, and end up learning about different animals, why/how they are in danger, and simple steps people can take to help protect these animals. The book focuses on three specific habitats - the Artic, the rain forest, and corral reefs - and one animal that lives in each. Examples of ways humans harm the environment, such as wasting electricity and over fishing, are explained in one sentence before the author offers a few suggestions for ways the reader can positively impact various habitats. Standard nonfiction text features, such as a table of contents, glossary and index, are included. "Ayudemos a Preservar los Habitats" is a good way to get primary students thinking about environmental issues; just keep in mind that the author tends to oversimplify those issues, which makes this a weaker choice if it's being used for research purposes.
Question Of Miracles
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Arnold, Elana K
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 05, 2015
Dame, Anne
Local setting of Corvallis, Oregon will draw some students to this story of Iris Abernathy. Her family has just moved here hoping that in some way it will help her cope with the death of her best friend, Sarah. Iris is convinced that Sarah's ghost has somehow followed them and is living in the closet under the stairs. When Iris discovers that her new friend Boris is a medical miracle, she is wonders how one gets chosen to receive a miracle and if she will ever get one so she can communicate with Sarah again. A hard sell for middle school, but could be a good recommendation for upper elementary looking for a story about grieving and friendship.
On The Other Side Of The Bridge
PINATA BOOKS [PINATA BOOKS]
Villareal, Ray
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
March 05, 2015
Dame, Anne
Lon's father loved a certain actor in horror films and named his son after him: Lon Chaney. Lonnie also appreciates horror films (they're much better than books and church!). When his mother, a security guard, is shot and killed while on duty, Lonnie's life tuns into it's own sort of horror story. His dad is out of work and drinking way too much, his grades are slipping, and he may be in trouble for breaking and entering. Fairly gritty realistic fiction. Some drinking and violence. Steer toward your more mature middle schoolers. Fans of Matt de la Pena will appreciate this one.
Big Nate's Greatest Hits
Andrews & Mcmeel [Andrews & Mcmeel]
Peirce, Lincoln
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 05, 2015
Dame, Anne
Big Nate fans will love this newest addition to the Big Nate graphic novel collection. There are a few color panels to add additional interest and new material. Other than that, it is typical Big Nate.
Danica Patrick
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Anderson, Jameson
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 05, 2015
Dame, Anne
Part of the Awesome Athletes series. Students looking for a short biography about a strong female competitor will enjoy this. There are lots of photographs, as well as detail about Danica's childhood and how she got started in racing.
Worst In Show
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Bee, William
Hindley, Kate
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 05, 2015
Dame, Anne
Albert has entered his pet monster, Sidney in a competition to decide the best pet monster in the world. Sidney is neat, clean, friendly, kind - all the things one would want in a monster, right? Well, maybe not for this particular contest. Illustrations are charming and colorful. Some repetition of text helps reinforce reading skills and encourages participation from listeners.
Law And Disorder
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Cohen, Ivan
Vecchio, Luciano
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
March 05, 2015
Gustafson, Chris
Protestors are outside a meeting of Gotham City’s business community and Bruce Wayne is inside, clearly a 1%er. A guest at the meeting is touting a personal security system that is clearly too good to be true, especially its give away price. Be sure students look past the Creators and Glossary pages at the end to an very cool section called Visual questions and Prompts where readers can analyze and infer around visual cues. This title is one of the Batman comics published by Stone Arch and is GRL T. From the “Beware the Batman” series. Perfectly good for struggling middle school readers.
Super Cool Mechanical Activities With Max Axiom
Graphic Library/capstone Press [Graphic Library/capstone Press]
Enz, Tammy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 05, 2015
Gustafson, Chris
If you've seen the very kid friendly Max Axiom books that explain science concepts, you won’t want to miss this how to book filled with intriguing devices and clear directions. Once your students have built one Hovercraft with a push top water bottle cap, an old CD, and a large balloon (plus hot glue gun) they’ll be creating their own science investigations. Appropriate up through middle school.
Alfred To The Rescue?!
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Matheny, Bill
Jones, Christopher
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
March 05, 2015
Gustafson, Chris
Alfred the Butler for Bruce Wayne/Batman comes to the rescue as Batman spends a day bedeviled by the attacks of the Penguin. Be sure students look past the Creators and Glossary pages at the end to an very cool section called Visual questions and Prompts where readers can analyze and infer around visual cues. This title is one of the Batman comics published by Stone Arch and is GRL S. From the “Batman Strikes” series. Struggling middle school readers will be pleased.
Clobbered By Clayface!
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Fisch, Sholly
Burchett, Rick
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
March 05, 2015
Gustafson, Chris
It’s all about inference! A shapeshifter challenges Batman to identify him all during the day in the most unexpected places. A touch of Sherlock Holmes, very fun. Be sure students look past the Creators and Glossary pages at the end to an very cool section called Visual questions and Prompts where readers can analyze and infer around visual cues. This title is one of the Batman comics published by Stone Arch and is GRL R. From the “Batman, the Brave and the Bold” series. Older kids will like this, too.
Snowboard Hero
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Maddox, Jake
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 05, 2015
Gustafson, Chris
Kaleb’s lucky to have such a great older stepbrother – Luke teaches him to snowboard and is a friend as well as a brother. So when Luke’s war injury results in an amputation, Kaleb is determined to do well in the challenging slopestyle competition. GRL T and a good fit for emerging readers.
Discovering The West : The Expedition Of Lewis And Clark
Fact Finders/capstone Press [Fact Finders/capstone Press]
Micklos, John, Jr
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
2nd grade to 4th grade
March 05, 2015
Gustafson, Chris
A very quick overview of the famous trip. Indian tribes are mentioned in passing (“Several American Indian tribes had also been calling those lands home.”) but readers may need help understanding what’s wrong with buying (Louisiana Purchase) land from people who took it from other people. From the “Adventures on the American Frontier” series.
Daily Life In Ancient Egypt
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Nardo, Don
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 05, 2015
Gustafson, Chris
Each chapter covers a question such as “What did Egyptians do for fun?” The answers are provided in short text sections and plenty of photos and text boxes support them. Lovely book design with plenty of white space. My favorite features are the frequent “How do we know?” boxes that describe the reasoning behind the answers. From the Heinemann InfoSearch series.
Comic Con And Labor Day
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Nguyen, Dustin
Nguyen, Dustin
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
March 05, 2015
Gustafson, Chris
Batman and Robin chase Clayface into a Comic Con with dramatic results. Be sure students look past the Creators and Glossary pages at the end to an very cool section called Visual questions and Prompts where readers can analyze and infer around visual cues. This title is one of the Batman comics published by Stone Arch and is GRL T. From the “Batman,Li’l Gotham” series. Just fine for up through middle school struggling readers.
Ares : Bringer Of War
FIRST SECOND [FIRST SECOND]
O'connor, George
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
March 05, 2015
Gustafson, Chris
The latest in O’Connor’s excellent series of graphic novels on the lives of the Olympians. The God of War isn't too intriguing out of context, so O’Connor places him in the Trojan War, just as both sides have reached a bloody stalemate. I especially liked the contrast between the role of Athena and the role of Ares on the battlefield. Readers with prior knowledge of the Trojan War will have a richer reading experience but the epic battle scenes will be a hit with many readers. Can probably go a bit younger than 6th grade.
BARTHOLOMEW BIDDLE AND THE VERY BIG WIND
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
ROSS, GARY
MYERS, MATTHEW
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 06, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
Once upon a very windy night young Bartholomew Biddle drawn by a Very Big Wind grabs his bed sheet, jumps out the window flying away on an adventure. Bartholomew meets grumpy pirates, appeasing them with bananas and his cashmere sweater, avoids boring school, gets together with a boy named Densy then dumped into a windless canyon. With Densy’s help they climb the canyon wall, catch the wind and flies home again. The engaging fanatical plot is ready made for a boy’s love of adventure. It made me think of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are for middle grade boys. Mathew Myers’ illustrations attempt to bring the story to life with considerable creativity in depicting both characters and scenery, but the lengthy poem written in rhyming quatrains will not appeal to a lot of its targeted audience. As stated in the review in Library Media Connections, “the power of the book comes from the inferences readers can make. With the emphasis that Common Core Standards place on reading closely, this book provides a good opportunity to dig deeper.” Teachers may see a use for this one, but readers will not be lining up to check it out.
Mermaids
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Hile, Lori
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 06, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
The series title: Solving Mysteries with Science gives the reader the impression that the topic, in this case Mermaids, will be looked at through a scientific lenses. What the reader finds is a selection of unsourced tales of mermaid sightings, recounting of the hoaxes perpetrated through time, a diagram of the scientific process and discussion of where men have gotten the idea that there are mermaids. There is little data to use other than speculation and a statement that there are mermaid stories from around the globe, even areas not near the oceans.I had hopes that this title would approach the topic of mermaids from a more scientific basis. If you are looking for good nonfiction data, don’t bother. If you are looking to provide nonfiction style reading materials for readers of fantasy enthralled with “fantastical creatures” looking for nonfiction on the subject the strong library binding should hold up well, as this should appeal. There is an attempt at providing additional resources and many standard nonfiction text features with a glossary, index, and timeline of “sightings”.
Home Sweet Horror
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Preller, James
Bruno, Iacopa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
March 06, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
Eight year old Liam Finn and older sister Kelly lost their mother to cancer. Dad felt that they all needed a new start so they moved to new town and into a “fixer-upper” that had been empty for two years. Or, is it really empty? Why would the dog be reluctant to go in? Why was there a light on in an empty house at midnight? What was going on? Remember the story of Bloody Mary? Could she be the one that is here? Strange things begin to happen, a clanging from the basement, sounds calling Liam to come on down, Bloody Mary showing up in the mirror . . . the Doolin disappears. What is in the old house? will they stay, will they get out in time? Is Bloody Mary the only spirit? Could there be someone on their side? This is a dark, spooky, scary horror story with just enough positive emotional undercurrents between the siblings. The heavy black and white ink illustrations add to the spooky feel of the tale. Written by James Preller, author of Jigsaw Jones, it will certainly appeal to your reluctant readers and fans of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
Jake And The Never Land Pirates : The Croc Takes The Cake
Spotlight [Spotlight]
La Rose, Melinda
Batson, Alan
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
It's off to Never Land with Jake and the Never Land Pirates from the Disney show. In this rebus book it's Captain Hook's birthday and he really wants a cake. Smee makes a horrible fish cake, which his boss shuns. The young Never Land Pirates decide to bake Hook a cake just to be nice. However, Hook's attempt the steal the cake intended for him result in near disaster. All ends well (of course) and a good deed has been done. Bright cartoon illustrations accompany simple text in this well-bound Disney Junior book. Readers are asked to find a few things along the way, inviting interaction. Is this great literature? No, but it will find a ready audience.
Lullaby : (For A Black Mother)
HARCOURT BRACE JOVANOVICH [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Hughes, Langston
Qualls, Sean
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Langston Hughes had a unique poetic view of African-American life in America. This gently-sweet, lullaby poem is filled with lulling repetition, loving fantasy, and all the wishes any mother might have for her baby. Sean Qualls' acrylic, pencil and collage illustrations alternate the quiet of a night with the warmth of a mother's love for a child. This is a poignant treasure. What adds to and, perhaps, makes the book, is the author's note about the poet, giving a brief overview of his life, and providing information about his mother, and speculation about how the poet's experiences impacted this particular poem. Beautifully done.
Crinkle, Crackle, Crack : It's Spring!
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Bauer, Marion Dane
Shelley, John
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Spring is in the air. Award-winning author, Marion Dane Bauer's lyrical text, filled with sensory images, accompanies John Shelley's gentle watercolor and ink illustrations in this story of a child's journey through a crackling, crinkling night, along with woodland animals who join the parade, to welcome the exploding egg of spring. The idea is charming, and the execution is beautiful. Teachers will want to add this to their season books, and children will enjoy its gentle whimsy. Of course, those of us who have had a very mild winter may not appreciate it as much as those on the east coast!
Abe Lincoln : His Wit And Wisdom From A-Z
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Schroeder, Alan
O'brien, John
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Books about Abraham Lincoln are a dime a dozen, so you wouldn't think you'd need another. You'd be wrong. This is an alphabet book about our 16th president, but not really. From A to Z readers get a few paragraphs about key events, people, and places in Lincoln's life. Scattered throughout are also quotes by the man himself--short, pithy statements that have lasted through the years. Let's face it--he may well be our most quotable president. This is amazingly informative, with snippets of facts that are endlessly fascinating. John O'Brien's illustrations have a woodsy quality that suit the subject of the book. This is not what you'd expect from an alphabet book at all. It is, instead, a window into the life of a man who is still treasured for his outstanding contributions to our nation.
Buk Buk Buk Festival
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Auch, Mary Jane
Auch, Herman
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Planning an author visit or festival? Here's the book for you! Who doesn't love Mary Jane and Herm Auchs' delightful, puntastic chicken picture books? They are fabulous feather or not you find chickens fair or fowl. Harrietta, a hen, has written a book and gotten it published. Of course the publisher is completely unaware that the author is poultry. When Henrietta is invited to a book festival, as a visiting author, she is thrilled, but bwacken-hearted when they chase her out as a trespassing chicken. Fortunately the librarian (ever a hero in the eyes of buk-lovers) realizes the mistake that has been made, after Henrietta is forced to explain the problem. All ends well with the chicken-author greeting her fans. This is another delightful beak-in-cheek adventure with hilarious digital illustrations. (Wait, do I RECOGNIZE some of the other authors at the event?) Children will find this hilarious. Adults will catch some of the inside humor. Authors will howl...or is that cluck? All in all, another winner, which is hardly a surprise.
Amazing Plant Powers : How Plants Fly, Fight, Hide, Hunt, An
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Leedy, Loreen
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Loreen Leedy is a master of good nonfiction and this colorful book is no exception. A cactus talk show host presents interesting plant information, with comments by three other plants interspersed. Readers learn about plant parts, photosynthesis, what plants need, and the various habitats in which they can be found. Plant adaptations are highlighted. Plant reproduction, and the many ways in which seeds are spread, are covered as well. Readers also learn about the importance of plants in our world. That's a lot to cover, but the author does it in a breezy, interesting way, and the bright photographs and illustrations complement the text perfectly. School libraries will want this book in their collections.
Run! Jump! Play! : Healthy Active 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
March 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This sturdy 24-page book is part of the "Healthy Habits" series and emphasizes the importance of activity and exercise. Each two-page spread consists of one large color photograph with a single sentence of boxed text. Children from many ethnic backgrounds are shown, and the pictures show kids in motion. There is a short quiz and a glossary. The two-page spread format allows for group sharing of this small book, but the content is rather slight. Still it might lead to classroom discussion.
Tap Tap Boom Boom
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Bluemle, Elizabeth
Karas, G. Brian
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
It's a fine day then suddenly tap tap boom boom, the rain moves into the city as a thunderstorm hits. People run. Umbrellas pop out. Strangers gather in the subway for shelter and soon they are not quite strangers any more. G. Brian Karas's big, friendly illustrations are big enough for sharing and perfectly accompany the sensory-laden text that will leave readers with a smile, and a rainbow.
How To Draw Batman And His Friends And Foes
CAPSTONE PRESS INC [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
Sautter, Aaron
Doescher, Erik
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
March 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Drawing books are always popular. Super heroes are always popular. Combine the two and you've got a surefire hit. This not only shows readers how to draw Batman, but gives the backstory behind him and the villains and allies that are included in these pages. This is not your old-style Batman. It's all stylized with big chest and brawny arms. Young artists will learn how to draw Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Two-Face, The Penguin, Mr. Freeze, The Riddler, and the Joker, as well as some of the crime-fighter's equipment. Basic drawing instructions are included as well as a five-step process to create the desired images. Most are high-action scenes, and the skills are transferable to other venues. This will not be a shelf-sitter.
Star Child
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Nivola, Claire A
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
What is life? Where do we come from? Where do we go? Why are we here? These are questions that echo through the years. In sweet evocative text the author posits a flame vapor star child looking at the earth with wonder. Should he go there? His elders give advice and explain the hazards and joys of his wish, for they, too, wondered and went. This is a thought-provoking sweet story with lush, beautiful illustrations showing the wonder that is life on earth. Is this really a book that will circulate in a library? Perhaps not, but it would be a beautiful book to share with a child at home at times of birth or death.
Wonderful Year
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Bruel, Nick
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The creator of "Bad Kitty" takes us through the year with an exuberant girl and her dog...and cat...and hippopotamus...and can of bean... Four stories are here, covering the four seasons. It starts out deceptively simple, as the girl gets dressed for a snowy day. Things get weirder and weirder and it's on to spring! A fanciful journey hits a brick wall with a sleepy cat. A melting hot summer ensues and fall follows. What is fun is that everyone introduced in the first story, including the can of beans, reappears and it all ties together nicely in the end. This is not as blatant as the "Bad Kitty" books, but there is a humorous undercurrent here that will capture young readers, and tickle the fancy of older ones. The bright illustrations are perfect for the text and perfect for sharing. Is this a book about seasons? About a hippopotamus named Louise? About a talking tree? About a can of beans? You decide.
Don't Meddle With Miss Nettle
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Lee, Grace
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This is a "Sofia the First" picture book. Sofia and her royal family are preparing for a royal feast, with lots of guests. A new sorceress has appeared and she has amazing tricks, far outdoing the court wizard, Cedric. Yet Sofia is suspicious, and rightly so. The sorceress is actually the evil fairy Miss Nettle, in disguise. Can Sofia use advice she receives from Snow White to help her solve this problem and save her family? Is there any doubt? This is not great literature, but that will hardly matter to little girls who will be drawn to the sparkly cover, colorful cartoony pictures of flowing dresses, and princessy theme.
My First Guide To Paper Airplanes
First Facts/capstone Press [First Facts/capstone Press]
Harbo, Christopher
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
March 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Hey--another paper airplane book! These are always popular and this will be no exception. Young aviators, however, might be surprised by what they find inside this book. Sure, there's your classic paper airplane, but instructions are included for eight other toys that fly, flutter, or glide, several of which are quite unique. Younger children will need guidance, but even adults will find something here to interest them. Step by step instructions are included, along with clear photographs of each important cut or fold. Even better, there's a little information about the plane itself, and often some tips on flying it. All in all this is a well-done book that will find a ready audience.
Leopardpox!
CLARION [CLARION]
Landau, Orna
Hoffman Omer
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Sadie isn't feeling well. She's not going to school. Instead she's growing claws and fur and leaping around the house because she has a bad case of leopardpox. Unfortunately the pediatrician doesn't treat animals, and the vet finds the leopard in perfect health. Besides he doesn't treat little girls, if that's the problem. The zoo seems the right solution but what little girl wants to be locked in a cage, and what mother would permit it? By the end of the day Sadie is changing back, but it looks like her condition may have been contagious. This is an imaginative romp with bright multimedia illustrations. It was originally published in Israel. Teachers working on problem-solving might find this a good literature tie-in.
Bears And A Birthday
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Parenteau, Shirley
Walker, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Oh those colorful, fluffy little bears are back in another joyous romp. This time four little bears are making a birthday cake for Big Brown Bear. Kitchen mishaps, gift-wrapping challenges, and a curious big bear on the other side of the door are shown in delightful soft cuddly acrylic illustrations that are expressive and just as cute as can be. The rhyming text stumbles now and then, but the total package will leave young children smiling and giving their teddy bears an extra squeeze.
Count With Maisy, Cheep, Cheep, Cheep!
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Cousins, Lucy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 07, 2015
Kline, Karen
Mother hen and Maisy are trekking around the barnyard trying to round up all of the missing chicks before bedtime. Familiar farm animals and themes will delight young readers as will the lift-the-flaps on every page. Once a chick is found it falls in line behind mother hen on the next page and is labeled with a number. Each chick under the flap is counted until that last, pesky chick. It's not in the wheel barrow, beehive, or behind the watering can. The climactic scene ends with a super-sized flap in the hay barn, and the chick is found cavorting with the familiar gator friend from other Maisy books -- hopefully, kids will know that gators aren't usually found in hay barns, though. This 14"x14" book is plenty large for sharing at story time and with a group. Cousin's cheerful and colorful illustrations will keep the attention of a pre-school crowd.
Saturn
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Bloom, J P
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The Abdo Kids "Planets" books are all pretty much the same in style. They are large format, well-bound, 24-page books. Beautiful photographs or illustrations fill the right-hand pages and spill over the gutter into the left-hand side. The first page of each book is identical, except for the name of the planet. Readers then learn the location of the planet in the solar system, the length of its year and day in earth terms, and the planet's composition. Information about rings and moons is also included. The planet's visibility from earth, additional short but interesting facts, a glossary, index, and website link finish it up. Each page of text contains only two to three sentences. This book focuses on Saturn. While there's not a lot of information here, it would be a good first introduction for young students and is perfectly designed for group sharing.
Venus
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Bloom, J P
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The Abdo Kids "Planets" books are all pretty much the same in style. They are large format, well-bound, 24-page books. Beautiful photographs or illustrations fill the right-hand pages and spill over the gutter into the left-hand side. The first page of each book is identical, except for the name of the planet. Readers then learn the location of the planet in the solar system, the length of its year and day in earth terms, and the planet's composition. Information about rings and moons is also included. The planet's visibility from earth, additional short but interesting facts, a glossary, index, and website link finish it up. Each page of text contains only two to three sentences. This book focuses on Venus and includes photographs of the planet's surface. While there's not a lot of information here, it would be a good first introduction for young students and is perfectly designed for group sharing.
Neptune
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Bloom, J P
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The Abdo Kids "Planets" books are all pretty much the same in style. They are large format, well-bound, 24-page books. Beautiful photographs or illustrations fill the right-hand pages and spill over the gutter into the left-hand side. The first page of each book is identical, except for the name of the planet. Readers then learn the location of the planet in the solar system, the length of its year and day in earth terms, and the planet's composition. Information about rings and moons is also included. The planet's visibility from earth, additional short but interesting facts, a glossary, index, and website link finish it up. Each page of text contains only two to three sentences. This book focuses on Neptune and includes an explanation as to why Neptune is blue. While there's not a lot of information here, it would be a good first introduction for young students and is perfectly designed for group sharing.
Uranus
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Bloom, J P
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The Abdo Kids "Planets" books are all pretty much the same in style. They are large format, well-bound, 24-page books. Beautiful photographs or illustrations fill the right-hand pages and spill over the gutter into the left-hand side. The first page of each book is identical, except for the name of the planet. Readers then learn the location of the planet in the solar system, the length of its year and day in earth terms, and the planet's composition. Information about rings and moons is also included. The planet's visibility from earth, additional short but interesting facts, a glossary, index, and website link finish it up. Each page of text contains only two to three sentences. This book focuses on Uranus and includes the interesting fact that Uranus orbits on its side. While there's not a lot of information here, it would be a good first introduction for young students and is perfectly designed for group sharing.
Jupiter
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Bloom, J P
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The Abdo Kids "Planets" books are all pretty much the same in style. They are large format, well-bound, 24-page books. Beautiful photographs or illustrations fill the right-hand pages and spill over the gutter into the left-hand side. The first page of each book is identical, except for the name of the planet. Readers then learn the location of the planet in the solar system, the length of its year and day in earth terms, and the planet's composition. Information about rings and moons is also included. The planet's visibility from earth, additional short but interesting facts, a glossary, index, and website link finish it up. Each page of text contains only two to three sentences. This book focuses on Jupiter. While there's not a lot of information here, it would be a good first introduction for young students and is perfectly designed for group sharing. One note - it says the giant red spot on Jupiter is a storm that has lasted over 30 years. Actually the red spot has been observed for over 400 years so while technically true, this is not as accurate as it could be.
Earth
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Bloom, J P
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The Abdo Kids "Planets" books are all pretty much the same in style. They are large format, well-bound, 24-page books. Beautiful photographs or illustrations fill the right-hand pages and spill over the gutter into the left-hand side. The first page of each book is identical, except for the name of the planet. Readers then learn the location of the planet in the solar system, the length of its year and day, and the planet's composition. This book on the earth differs in that it includes information about the seasons, water and land ratio, and the reasons life is found here. Additional short but interesting facts, a glossary, index, and website link finish it up. Each page of text contains only two to three sentences. While there's not a lot of information here, it would be a good first introduction for young students and is perfectly designed for group sharing. I was especially interested by the book's assertion that plate tectonics recycle carbon which helps maintain the earth's temperature. That made me want to know more.
Welcome To The Neighborwood
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Sheehy, Shawn
Not Recommended/Out of Scope -- Appropriate for another kind of collection or different age levels.
All ages
March 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
WOW! This is a truly spectacular pop-up book that is also beautifully written. Animals can be builders, using natural materials, or substances created in their own bodies. This book focuses on seven of them--land snail, hummingbird, garden spider, honeybee, potter wasp, beaver, and sticklefish. Each double-page spread contains a nice explanatory caption as well as solid nonfiction text on what, and how, they build. Especially nice is the segue between the pages, which is handled beautifully. That makes this a solid nonfiction book. The extraordinary part of the book, however, are the exquisite and elaborate pop-ups made of sturdy paper with multiple pieces. When the book is laid flat you have a wonder three-dimensional illustration that can be enjoyed from all angles. No, you wouldn't dare circulate this, but you would definitely want it for your private, and carefully shared, collection.
Silence
Shadow Mountain [Shadow Mountain]
Lytton
Deborah
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
March 08, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
15-year-old sophomore Stella’s stunning singing voice gets her the part of Maria in her school’s production of West Side Story. She and intriguing Hayden, a cute, tall, quiet boy, who stutters, but plays an amazing piano, have immediate chemistry that cannot be denied though neither acts upon it. At a party on the night before her debut, Stella has a terrible accident when she hit hers head and lands in a pool. It’s Hayden who rescues her, and waits in the hospital where they find she’s now totally deaf. He vows not to let her lose herself, but to help her imagine a new self in the 17 days between her surgery for cochlear implants and their activation. Their relationship has ups and downs as they communicate via text messaging or as she reads his lips, the only one she can understand. This very sweet story alternates between their points of view as Hayden gives her experiences that help her see the fullness of life and opens Stella's eyes to new possibilities. At the same time he tries to protect himself, a boy who was self-selectively mute for seven years to cope with an abusive mother, who ultimately abandoned him. There is much heart in their romance and in how they give hope, faith and healing to each other. Gr. 7+
Weird Animals To Shock You!
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Hansen, Grace
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 09, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
I don't know if I'm shocked, but this large-format book does contain big, crisp photographs of the following animals: anglerfish, aye-aye, mantis shrimp, naked mole rat, proboscis monkey, tarsier, saddleback caterpillar, and the Mexican axoltl. Each photograph flows over the gutter into the facing page which contains a few lines of text telling a little about the animal. A very little. In fact, the text reads more like a caption. The book includes a few additional facts, a glossary, index, and a website link. Are the animals weird? Yes, at least in appearance. Will children find this book fascinating? Of course, and hopefully it will lead them to do more research on any animals that interest them. One quibble--on page 6 I think it would have been clearer to use the word "above" to replace the word "over." It's a small change, but I found "over" to be inaccurate and jarring. But hey, that's just me!
Football : Great Moments, Records, And Facts
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Borth, Teddy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 09, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the Abdo Kids "Great Sports" series, this well-stitched 24-page book gives young readers just a tiny taste of football. Big, bright photographs fill the right-side pages and flow over the gutter. A few lines of text caption the pictures and cover a little of the history of football, football fields, famous players and their records, and a couple of noteworthy plays. A facts page is included in the appendix, as well as a glossary, index, and website link. To say this is slight would be an understatement. On the other hand, finding sports materials appropriate for beginning readers is a challenge and this would find a happy audience.
Chipmunks
Pebble Plus/capstone Press [Pebble Plus/capstone Press]
Schuh, Mari
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 09, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Backyard Animals" series, this well-stitched 24 page book is a solid look at a common neighborhood animal, written at a level that will appeal to younger readers. The formatting of the book is lovely, with crisp adorable photographs facing a paragraph of informative text with a decorative illustrated accent that adds the perfect touch. Young readers learn about chipmunk appearance, range, habitat, diet, and life cycle. All text features you'd expect to find are here, as well as two critical thinking questions that relate to the Common Core. This is solid easy nonfiction that meets a clear need.
Pet Guinea Pigs Up Close
Pebble Plus/capstone Press [Pebble Plus/capstone Press]
Baker, Brynn
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 09, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This large-format Pebble Plus book is part of the "Pets Up Close" series and does a nice job of introducing primary students to pet guinea pigs. Readers learn about a guinea pig's anatomy, senses, diet, and fur. There's not a lot here about caring for a guinea pig, or where they come from, but the big, cute photographs will draw readers in and the casually informative text will meet easy nonfiction needs. All the text features you'd expect are found here, and there's always room for one more pet book.
Deer
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
Laviolette, Renee
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 09, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Magic Readers series consists of sets of three leveled non-fiction books written for young emergent readers up to those beginning to read early chapter books. It is difficult to find non-fiction at these very beginning levels and Magic Wagon has hit on a winning combination of excellent photographs matching the text, allowing readers to learn new vocabulary with clues from the pictures. One animal is the focus of each three-book set with the levels highlighting a different aspect in an animals’ life. Level 1, is an introduction to the animal, Level 2 titled, Eat and Grow, and Level 3, the animal in its primary habitat. Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers were favorably impressed with the first 2 levels but concurred that they would have expected more facts with the Level 3 books. Level 1 includes labeled photographs, and Level 3 includes pictorial diagrams, comparisons and other more complex information. No back material is included. In the Deer set, Level 1, written at a GRL - D, contains brief sentences with one thought per page such as a physical feature. “A baby deer has white spots.” Hooves and antlers are labeled on photographs. This will be a favorite with emergent readers.
Deer Eat And Grow
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
Laviolette, Renee
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 09, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Magic Readers series consists of sets of three leveled non-fiction books written for young emergent readers up to those beginning to read early chapter books. It is difficult to find non-fiction at these very beginning levels and Magic Wagon has hit on a winning combination of excellent photographs matching the text, allowing readers to learn new vocabulary with clues from the pictures. One animal is the focus of each three-book set with the levels highlighting a different aspect in an animals’ life. Level 1, is an introduction to the animal, Level 2 titled, Eat and Grow, and Level 3, the animal in its primary habitat. Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers were favorably impressed with the first 2 levels but concurred that they would have expected more facts with the Level 3 books. In the Deer set, Level 1 includes labeled photographs, and Level 3 includes pictorial diagrams, comparisons and other more complex information. No back material is included. Level 2, written at a GRL G, has slightly longer sentences and may include more than one detail in the sentence. “A fawn loses its spots by its first winter.” Your beginning readers will be delighted by the photographs.
Deer In The Woods
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
Laviolette, Renee
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 09, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Magic Readers series consists of sets of three leveled non-fiction books written for young emergent readers up to those beginning to read early chapter books. It is difficult to find non-fiction at these very beginning levels and Magic Wagon has hit on a winning combination of excellent photographs matching the text, allowing readers to learn new vocabulary with clues from the pictures. One animal is the focus of each three-book set with the levels highlighting a different aspect in an animals’ life. Level 1, is an introduction to the animal, Level 2 titled, Eat and Grow, and Level 3, the animal in its primary habitat. Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers were favorably impressed with the first 2 levels but concurred that they would have expected more facts with the Level 3 books. Level 1 includes labeled photographs, and Level 3 includes pictorial diagrams, comparisons and other more complex information. Deer in the Woods, Level 3, written at a GRL J, includes more than one sentence per page, more difficult vocabulary and information continuing from one page to the next. Comparisons and contrasts are introduced, but without explanations. "Deer are like elk, moose, and reindeer." Excellent photographs on every page.
Alligators Eat And Grow
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
Keimig, Candice
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 09, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Magic Readers series consists of sets of three leveled non-fiction books written for young emergent readers up to those beginning to read early chapter books. It is difficult to find non-fiction at these very beginning levels and Magic Wagon has hit on a winning combination of excellent photographs matching the text, allowing readers to learn new vocabulary with clues from the pictures. One animal is the focus of each three-book set with the levels highlighting a different aspect in an animals’ life. Level 1, is an introduction to the animal, Level 2 titled, Eat and Grow, and Level 3, the animal in its primary habitat. Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers were favorably impressed with the first 2 levels but concurred that they would have expected more facts with the Level 3 books. Level 1 includes labeled photographs, and Level 3 includes pictorial diagrams, comparisons and other more complex information. No back material is included. Alligators Eat and Grow, Level 2, written at a GRL I, has slightly longer sentences and may include more than one detail in the sentence. “Baby alligators eat bugs, frogs, and small fish.”
Alligators
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
Keimig, Candice
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 09, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Magic Readers series consists of sets of three leveled non-fiction books written for young emergent readers up to those beginning to read early chapter books. It is difficult to find non-fiction at these very beginning levels and Magic Wagon has hit on a winning combination of excellent photographs matching the text, allowing readers to learn new vocabulary with clues from the pictures. One animal is the focus of each three-book set with the levels highlighting a different aspect in an animals’ life. Level 1, is an introduction to the animal, Level 2 titled, Eat and Grow, and Level 3, the animal in its primary habitat. Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers were favorably impressed with the first 2 levels but concurred that they would have expected more facts with the Level 3 books. Level 1 includes labeled photographs, and Level 3 includes pictorial diagrams, comparisons and other more complex information. No back material is included. In the Alligator set, Level 1, written at a GRL - E, contains brief sentences with one thought per page such as a physical feature. “Alligators have strong jaws.” Snout and Jaws are labeled on photographs.
Alligators In The Swamp
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
Keimig, Candice
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 09, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Magic Readers series consists of sets of three leveled non-fiction books written for young emergent readers up to those beginning to read early chapter books. It is difficult to find non-fiction at these very beginning levels and Magic Wagon has hit on a winning combination of excellent photographs matching the text, allowing readers to learn new vocabulary with clues from the pictures. One animal is the focus of each three-book set with the levels highlighting a different aspect in an animals’ life. Level 1, is an introduction to the animal, Level 2 titled, Eat and Grow, and Level 3, the animal in its primary habitat. Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers were favorably impressed with the first 2 levels but concurred that they would have expected more facts with the Level 3 books. Level 1 includes labeled photographs, and Level 3 includes pictorial diagrams, comparisons and other more complex information. Level 3, written at a GRL K, includes more than one sentence per page, more difficult vocabulary and information continuing from one page to the next. Comparisons and contrasts are introduced, but without explanations. "American alligators are like crocodiles and Chinese alligators." Excellent photographs on every page.
Dolphins In The Ocean
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
Keimig, Candice
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 09, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Magic Readers series consists of sets of three leveled non-fiction books written for young emergent readers up to those beginning to read early chapter books. It is difficult to find non-fiction at these very beginning levels and Magic Wagon has hit on a winning combination of excellent photographs matching the text, allowing readers to learn new vocabulary with clues from the pictures. One animal is the focus of each three-book set with the levels highlighting a different aspect in an animals’ life. Level 1, is an introduction to the animal, Level 2 titled, Eat and Grow, and Level 3, the animal in its primary habitat. Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers were favorably impressed with the first 2 levels but concurred that they would have expected more facts with the Level 3 books. Level 1 includes labeled photographs, and Level 3 includes pictorial diagrams, comparisons and other more complex information. The quality of information varies between the sets due to different authors. Level 3, written at a GRL J, includes more than one sentence per page, more difficult vocabulary and information continuing from one page to the next. Comparisons, contrasts and groupings add slightly to the complexity.
Dolphins
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
Keimig, Candice
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 09, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Magic Readers series consists of sets of three leveled non-fiction books written for young emergent readers up to those beginning to read early chapter books. It is difficult to find non-fiction at these very beginning levels and Magic Wagon has hit on a winning combination of excellent photographs matching the text, allowing readers to learn new vocabulary with clues from the pictures. One animal is the focus of each three-book set with the levels highlighting a different aspect in an animals’ life. Level 1, is an introduction to the animal, Level 2 titled, Eat and Grow, and Level 3, the animal in its primary habitat. Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers were favorably impressed with the first 2 levels but concurred that they would have expected more facts with the Level 3 books. Level 1 includes labeled photographs, and Level 3 includes pictorial diagrams, comparisons and other more complex information. The quality of information varies between the sets due to different authors. In the Dolphins set, Level 1, written at a GRL - D, contains very brief sentences with minimal information. “It swims with its pod.” Fin and Tail are labeled on photographs. Photographs are very appealing.
Dolphins Eat And Grow
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
Keimig, Candice
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 09, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Magic Readers series consists of sets of three leveled non-fiction books written for young emergent readers up to those beginning to read early chapter books. It is difficult to find non-fiction at these very beginning levels and Magic Wagon has hit on a winning combination of excellent photographs matching the text, allowing readers to learn new vocabulary with clues from the pictures. One animal is the focus of each three-book set with the levels highlighting a different aspect in an animals’ life. Level 1, is an introduction to the animal, Level 2 titled, Eat and Grow, and Level 3, the animal in its primary habitat. Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers were favorably impressed with the first 2 levels but concurred that they would have expected more facts with the Level 3 books. Level 1 includes labeled photographs, and Level 3 includes pictorial diagrams, comparisons and other more complex information. The quality of information varies between the sets due to different authors. In Dophins, Level 2, written at a GRL G, has slightly longer sentences and may include more than one detail in the sentence. “Bears eat plants and meat.”
Snakes Eat And Grow
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
Keimig, Candice
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 09, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Magic Readers series consists of sets of three leveled non-fiction books written for young emergent readers up to those beginning to read early chapter books. It is difficult to find non-fiction at these very beginning levels and Magic Wagon has hit on a winning combination of excellent photographs matching the text, allowing readers to learn new vocabulary with clues from the pictures. One animal is the focus of each three-book set with the levels highlighting a different aspect in an animals’ life. Level 1, is an introduction to the animal, Level 2 titled, Eat and Grow, and Level 3, the animal in its primary habitat. Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers were favorably impressed with the first 2 levels but concurred that they would have expected more facts with the Level 3 books. Level 1 includes labeled photographs, and Level 3 includes pictorial diagrams, comparisons and other more complex information. The quality of information varies between the sets due to different authors. In Snakes, Level 2, written at a GRL G, has slightly longer sentences and may include more than one detail in the sentence. “A mother snake has 10 to 20 babies.”
Snakes In The Desert
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
Keimig, Candice
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 09, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Magic Readers series consists of sets of three leveled non-fiction books written for young emergent readers up to those beginning to read early chapter books. It is difficult to find non-fiction at these very beginning levels and Magic Wagon has hit on a winning combination of excellent photographs matching the text, allowing readers to learn new vocabulary with clues from the pictures. One animal is the focus of each three-book set with the levels highlighting a different aspect in an animals’ life. Level 1, is an introduction to the animal, Level 2 titled, Eat and Grow, and Level 3, the animal in its primary habitat. Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers were favorably impressed with the first 2 levels but concurred that they would have expected more facts with the Level 3 books. Level 1 includes labeled photographs, and Level 3 includes pictorial diagrams, comparisons and other more complex information. The quality of information varies between the sets due to different authors. Level 3, written at a GRL I, includes more than one sentence per page, more difficult vocabulary and information continuing from one page to the next. Rattlesnakes are the focus and details such as range in length and habitat locations are given.
Snakes
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
Keimig, Candice
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 09, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Magic Readers series consists of sets of three leveled non-fiction books written for young emergent readers up to those beginning to read early chapter books. It is difficult to find non-fiction at these very beginning levels and Magic Wagon has hit on a winning combination of excellent photographs matching the text, allowing readers to learn new vocabulary with clues from the pictures. One animal is the focus of each three-book set with the levels highlighting a different aspect in an animals’ life. Level 1, is an introduction to the animal, Level 2 titled, Eat and Grow, and Level 3, the animal in its primary habitat. Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers were favorably impressed with the first 2 levels but concurred that they would have expected more facts with the Level 3 books. Level 1 includes labeled photographs, and Level 3 includes pictorial diagrams, comparisons and other more complex information. The quality of information varies between the sets due to different authors.
Bears
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
Keimig, Candice
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 09, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Magic Readers series consists of sets of three leveled non-fiction books written for young emergent readers up to those beginning to read early chapter books. It is difficult to find non-fiction at these very beginning levels and Magic Wagon has hit on a winning combination of excellent photographs matching the text, allowing readers to learn new vocabulary with clues from the pictures. One animal is the focus of each three-book set with the levels highlighting a different aspect in an animals’ life. Level 1, is an introduction to the animal, Level 2 titled, Eat and Grow, and Level 3, the animal in its primary habitat. Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers were favorably impressed with the first 2 levels but concurred that they would have expected more facts with the Level 3 books. Level 1 includes labeled photographs, and Level 3 includes pictorial diagrams, comparisons and other more complex information. No back material is included. Bear, Level 1, written at a GRL - D, contains brief sentences with one thought per page such as a physical feature. “A grizzly bear has short, round ears.” Hump and claws are labeled on photographs.
Bears In The Mountains
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
Keimig, Candice
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 09, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Magic Readers series consists of sets of three leveled non-fiction books written for young emergent readers up to those beginning to read early chapter books. It is difficult to find non-fiction at these very beginning levels and Magic Wagon has hit on a winning combination of excellent photographs matching the text, allowing readers to learn new vocabulary with clues from the pictures. One animal is the focus of each three-book set with the levels highlighting a different aspect in an animals’ life. Level 1, is an introduction to the animal, Level 2 titled, Eat and Grow, and Level 3, the animal in its primary habitat. Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers were favorably impressed with the first 2 levels but concurred that they would have expected more facts with the Level 3 books. Level 1 includes labeled photographs, and Level 3 includes pictorial diagrams, comparisons and other more complex information. Level 3, written at a GRL I, includes more than one sentence per page, more difficult vocabulary and information continuing from one page to the next. Comparisons and contrasts are introduced, such as "Grizzly bears can run faster than a horse.” Excellent photographs on every page.
Bears Eat And Grow
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
Keimig, Candice
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 09, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Magic Readers series consists of sets of three leveled non-fiction books written for young emergent readers up to those beginning to read early chapter books. It is difficult to find non-fiction at these very beginning levels and Magic Wagon has hit on a winning combination of excellent photographs matching the text, allowing readers to learn new vocabulary with clues from the pictures. One animal is the focus of each three-book set with the levels highlighting a different aspect in an animals’ life. Level 1, is an introduction to the animal, Level 2 titled, Eat and Grow, and Level 3, the animal in its primary habitat. Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers were favorably impressed with the first 2 levels but concurred that they would have expected more facts with the Level 3 books. Level 1 includes labeled photographs, and Level 3 includes pictorial diagrams, comparisons and other more complex information. No back material is included. Level 2, written at a GRL H, has slightly longer sentences and may include more than one detail in the sentence. “Bears eat plants and meat.” The photographs are clearly the draw as the information is still quite sparse.
Sofia Makes A Friend
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Hapka, Catherine
Character Building Studio & Disney Storybook Artists
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 09, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Candy cartoon colors and big fluffy princess dresses are enough to draw in young girls, but add a unicorn and they'll be fainting in delight! Sofia the First and her family are welcoming guests. Among them is a mischievous unicorn. The unicorn gets into all kinds of trouble, before they figure out that they should be adjusting to their guest, rather than their guest adjusting to them. All ends well, of course. This is a popcorn book, but there is a large crowd who will fall over themselves to get to it. Oh, and the binding is well-stitched so it should last through multiple circulations. Yay!
Seattle Seahawks
Big Buddy Books/abdo [Big Buddy Books/abdo]
Zappa, Marcia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 09, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of "The NFL's Greatest Teams" series, this book introduces the Seattle Seahawks. Readers learn how the team was first organized, and how it got its name. Brief mention is made of the Kingdome, as well as the move from the NFC to the AFC. The book takes readers up to the Hawks winning the 2014 Super Bowl. Maybe it's just as well it has nothing about the 2015 Super Bowl. That wound is still tender. Key players, records, and coaches are highlighted, including the 12th Man. Young fans will search for information on Lynch in vain. That's the problem with team books. They are so quickly outdated. Still, this book will not be a shelf-sitter.
Escape From Tibet : A True Story
ANNICK PRESS [ANNICK PRESS]
Gray, Nick
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
March 09, 2015
Dame, Anne
Tibet is slowly losing it's culture identity and population as the Chinese Communist authorities attempt to force the people there to adopt Chinese beliefs and lifestyles (since the 1950's). In an attempt to avoid this forced assimilation, as well as the harsh treatment and lack of food caused by these policies, many people have fled across the Himalayan mountains to India. This is the true story of Tenzin and his older brother Pasang and their dangerous trek to religious freedom. The brothers faced hunger, extreme cold, and the constant danger of discovery on their journey. It seems few people are aware of the plight of Tibetans; this is a great way to increase awareness.
SECRETS OF THE SEASHORE
Kane/Miller Book Publishers [Kane/Miller Book Publishers]
BROWN, CARRON
NASSNER, ALYSSA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 10, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
This clever piece of book making is an engaging peek at the life in the tidal zone. The right hand page of each spread sets up with a question and pictures the topic for the reverse. If the page is held up to the light, or a flashlight is shown through it details from the black and white illustration on the back appear. The topics (mostly standard seashore species) are only briefly discussed but having them miraculously appear makes the book engaging. The book is an American edition of an English title and the seabird highlighted is an oystercatcher found only on the East and Gulf coast in America, however, a sea otter is also shown and that is only found in the Pacific. The fit is not perfect for a Northwest Beach, but this is an engaging and interactive introduction to the tidal zone.
Hades Speaks! : A Guide To The Underworld By The Greek God O
Boyds Mills Press [Boyds Mills Press]
Shecter, Vicky Alvear
Larson, J. E.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 10, 2015
Threlkeld, Sarah
Who knew Hades, the Greek god of the underworld, was so bitter and resentful about his lot in life? Or that he knew about Harry Potter and Percy Jackson? Middle grade readers will enjoy this humorous and informative account of several Greek myths told from the point of view of Hades, with a little help from Persephone. Black and white pen illustrations reflect the subject matter perfectly, evoking an eerie tone. Chapters are fairly short and broken into sections, making this a good fit for reluctant or struggling readers. Fans of Riordan's books will enjoy Hades Speaks!. A solid addition to an elementary or middle school collection, although the Myth-O-Mania series may be more appealing and accessible. The author has also written Anubis Speaks! and Thor Speaks!
Ankylosaurus
Smithsonian/capstone Press [Smithsonian/capstone Press]
Lee, Sally
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Capstone is out with a new dinosaur series - the Smithsonian Little Paleontologist books. Each is a sturdy 32-page book that provide clear, interesting information about the highlighted dinosaur including its size, when it lived, what it ate, and how to pronounce its name. Fossils, displays, illustrations, and modern animals with similar features are shown, accompanying the crisp text and adding additional insights. In this book young readers learn about the ankylosaurus, an armor-plated plant-eater. The information in the book reflects the latest research, and provides plenty of comparisons that can help children visualize important details. We all know that dino-information is constantly changing. This would be a good series to update your collections.
Amazing Feats Of Environmental Engineering
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Hand, Carol
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
March 10, 2015
Dame, Anne
This is one book in a series featuring different feats of engineering. The others are: electrical, aerospace, civil, biological, and mechanical engineering. Numerous photos depicting a diversity of race and gender plus various environmental engineering projects add much interest and helpful information. The students that I used this series with stated that the pictures were indeed useful. Each text also includes a hands-on project, career planning advice, and additional resources. Side-bars throughout also add to the overall excellence of this series. A great addition particularly in regards to STEM curriculum.
Amazing Feats Of Mechanical Engineering
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Eboch, Chris
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
March 10, 2015
Dame, Anne
This is one book in a series featuring different feats of engineering. The others are: electrical, aerospace, civil, biological, and environmental engineering. Numerous photos depicting a diversity of race and gender plus various mechanical engineering projects add much interest and helpful information. The students that I used this series with stated that the pictures were indeed useful. Each text also includes a hands-on project, career planning advice, and additional resources. Side-bars throughout also add to the overall excellence of this series. A great addition particularly in regards to STEM curriculum.
Amazing Feats Of Biological Engineering
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Abramovitz, Melissa
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
March 10, 2015
Dame, Anne
This is one book in a series featuring different feats of engineering. The others are: electrical, aerospace, civil, environmental, and mechanical engineering. Numerous photos depicting a diversity of race and gender plus various biological engineering projects add much interest and helpful information. The students that I used this series with stated that the pictures were indeed useful. Each text also includes a hands-on project, career planning advice, and additional resources. Side-bars throughout also add to the overall excellence of this series. A great addition particularly in regards to STEM curriculum.
Getting From Here To There
RED CHAIR PRESS [RED CHAIR PRESS]
Flounders, Anne
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 10, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Part of the “Our Green Earth” series, this book looks at transportation through an environmental lens. It shares the challenges of balancing the needs and wants of communities, the country as a whole and individuals in planning and implementing a transportation system. Included are discussions of trains vs. cars, and different types of vehicles (gas, hybrid and electric), as well as how to encourage and support safer walking and biking in communities. Though different points of views are shown the bias of the book is clear. One confusing and seemingly misleading statement, “If one person drove just one mile fewer each day, it would be as if we took 240 cars off the road for a year.” (Can that possibly be correct?) This received a footnote of simply “source: University of Maryland” with no further information put me off and made me wish that instead of a nod to citing information the author and publisher had really provided the means to look at the source.
Amazing Feats Of Aerospace Engineering
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Smibert, Angie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
March 10, 2015
Dame, Anne
This is one book in a series featuring different feats of engineering. The others are: electrical, biological, civil, environmental, and mechanical engineering. Numerous photos depicting a diversity of race and gender plus various aerospace engineering projects add much interest and helpful information. The students that I used this series with stated that the pictures were indeed useful. Each text also includes a hands-on project, career planning advice, and additional resources. Side-bars throughout also add to the overall excellence of this series. A great addition particularly in regards to STEM curriculum.
Freaking Out : Real-Life Stories About Anxiety
ANNICK PRESS [ANNICK PRESS]
Wells, Polly
Mitchell, Peter
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
March 10, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
For any young adult working through anxiety related issues this book would be a comfort. The author has compiled and created the stories from interviews with young people experiencing a multitude of stress related issues from grief, to OCD, to chronic illness among others. Each chapter, written in first person highlights the progression of events, to finding help and ends up with a hopeful section looking toward the future. The stories are compelling and the multitude of people and ways the young people find help are diverse. This would be a comforting book to realize you are not alone in a struggle and might give ideas on where to find support to those who need it. Included at the end is a rich resource list of books, websites, for both youngsters and their parents.
Strangest Animals In The World
First Facts/capstone Press [First Facts/capstone Press]
Gagne, Tammy
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Let's face it, almost everyone likes to learn more about weird things, and weird animals come at the top of the list. This 24-page book combines beautiful crisp photographs with clear informative text to allow readers a peek into some of the odd critters found in our world. Readers are introduced to the Japanese spider crab, the star-nosed mole, the pink fairy armadillo, the fossa, the Irrawaddy dolphin, the Dumbo octopus, the Gobi jerboa, the superb bird of paradise, and the sea lamprey. Good pictures and a solid paragraph of text point out what makes these animals unique and will encourage children to learn more about the animals that most intrigue them. Standard text features apply. While not really useful for report-writing, this is a fun browsing book on an interesting topic.
Clouds
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Cannons, Helen Cox
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This sturdy small format 24-page book introduces young readers to clouds. Illustrations and color photographs fill the top 3/4 of each page, while a line or two of text at the bottom provides information and acts as a caption. Readers learn about the cloud formation part of the water cycle (evaporation then condensation, although neither of those terms are used). Different types of clouds are pictured and cirrus, stratus, cumulous, and cumulonimbus are shown and named, although the stratus picture is not your more typical flat gray sky. There's a picture glossary and a one question quiz. Clearly the goal here was to provide information on clouds to the very young, but it is a pity the entire water cycle wasn't correctly shown and named, since clouds play such a big part in it.
Allosaurus
Smithsonian/capstone Press [Smithsonian/capstone Press]
Lee, Sally
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Capstone is out with a new dinosaur series - the Smithsonian Little Paleontologist books. Each is a sturdy 32-page book that provide clear, interesting information about the highlighted dinosaur including its size, when it lived, what it ate, and how to pronounce its name. Fossils, displays, illustrations, and modern animals with similar features are shown, accompanying the crisp text and adding additional insights. In this book young readers learn about the allosaurus, a deadly theropod. The information in the book reflects the latest research, and provides plenty of comparisons that can help children visualize important details. The author is quick to point out the fossil evidence that supports current theories about this dinosaur. We all know that dino-information is constantly changing. This would be a good series to update your collections.
I Lost A Tooth
CHILDRENS PRESS [CHILDRENS PRESS]
Herrington, Lisa M
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Oh the joy and excitement of losing a tooth! That is clearly evident in the crisp color photographs of young children smiling gap-toothed smiles in this Rookie Read-About Health 32-page book. Each photograph faces a page of text that provides quite a bit of information about teeth and tooth care. There are even a few activities, a picture glossary, and an unnecessary index. This is a popular subject and primary teachers would welcome this book to introduce the topic in a nonfiction format to their students.
September 17
RED DEER PRESS [RED DEER PRESS]
Lewis, Amanda West
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 10, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
On September 17th, 1940 an ocean liner, The Benares, was torpedoed far out at sea in the Atlantic. The ship, bound for Canada, carried not only freight and private travellers, but also 90 children chosen to leave Britain for the safety of Canada during the war. Only thirteen of these children survived. Following the story line of three of these children the reader meets Sonia Bech, a first class traveler fleeing with her mother, brother and sister to Canada, Bess Walder a teenager charged with overseeing her younger brother, and Ken Sparks who was leaving London and an uncomfortable living situation. Sonia is able to make it safely on to a lifeboat and rescued by another ship, Bess and her friend Beth are rescued after holding on to an overturned lifeboat for hours. Jack makes it on to a lifeboat, which is lost at sea for eight days before finally being spotted and rescued. Based on true people and a true story this is a compelling read about a less well-known event in WWII history.
Dazzling Decimals : Decimals And Fractions
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Arias, Lisa
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Got Math" series, this 32 page book focuses on decimals. Readers learn what a decimal is, their relation to fractions,and how to use them in determining place value. Models, numbers, and clear explanations teach students how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals. "Check it Out" boxes add additional insights and cues. Problems are shown along the way so readers can apply the skills they have just learned before turning the book upside down to find the answer. The occasional rhymes in the text are unnecessary, but the rest of the book is clear and solid. How often will these books get checked out? Hard to say. They might find their best audience in middle and high school students who need to review basic math concepts at their own pace.
HUMPBACK WHALE MIGRATION
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
CARMICHAEL, L E
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 10, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
This is one of 12 titles in the Animal Migrations series by The Child's World. It details the life of the Humpback Whale describing its “lifetime journey” having both reproductive and seasonal migrations. It includes discussion of its life cycle, habitats, reasons for migrating and the dangers they face in their habitat and man. The last chapter includes the help they are receiving. The text is easy to read, with important words found in the glossary printed in bold, maps of the migration route and breeding areas, captions enhance the text. A block of text is inserted over photographs that cove each page. Small boxes of facts are set into the photo on the page adding interest for the reader. See the review for this series under Monarch Butterfly Migration.
Explore Solids And Liquids! : With 25 Great Projects
Nomad Press [Nomad Press]
Reilly, Kathleen M
Stone, Bryan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 10, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Who doesn’t like a good science experiment, especially when mixing, burning, shaking or freezing are involved. Kathleen M. Reilly provides the background vocabulary and explanations of key principals of matter, solids, liquids, and gasses. Real strengths of this book include, the extensive use of academic language, use of analogies and metaphors to understand abstract concepts and the illustrations, diagrams and vocabulary boxes found on every page. Project pages follow every section and can be done with regular household supplies or easily located. Directions for each of the projects are stated clearly, numbered and have a separate supply list with metric as well as familiar measurements. The first project shows a sample Scientific Method Worksheet and suggests readers start a science notebook to use for their activities. The majority of projects involve a change in state of matter but also included are recipes for slime, toothpaste and oobleck as examples of non-Newtonian fluids. Cartoons, jokes and riddles are randomly inserted and Did you Know circles add interesting facts such as the gaseous content of human farts. What Happened and Things to Think About sections provide additional support and the back material is superb.
Science Fair Success!
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Larson, Kristen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 10, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Science Fair Success walks students through the process of selecting a project, asking a question or exploring a problem, researching and designing the project. Chapters include information on all stages of developing and carrying out the project from brainstorming ideas, asking a question, making a hypothesis, and designing the project with independent variables that change, the dependent variable that is measured, and a control. Data collection and analysis are mentioned as critical to the evaluation or judging of your project, even when the results do not support your hypothesis. The chapter on displaying the project shows several good examples of traditional trifold displays as well as a template for positioning the different parts. Suggestions for science fair opportunities include local, national and online contests. The chapter on designing your project depicts stages in plant growth with varying amounts of light and shows the results over time. The middle school students pictured are from a mix of gender, racial and ethnic backgrounds. While the information is solid, it is also quite general and may not be that helpful for individual students without teacher or older, more experienced student guidance. Excellent glossary.
GIRL WHO FELL BENEATH FAIRYLAND AND LED THE REVELS THERE
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
VALENTE, CATHERYNNE M
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 10, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Elaborately imagined and detailed, this novel tells of September’s second trip to fairyland. When she returns she finds that the shadows of fairyland are leaving their humans to live lives of their own in the world of Fairyland Below and are being led by her own shadow, now named Halloween, which in the previous book September had traded to save the life of a small child. The rules are different in Fairyland Below and September must be careful about who to trust as she works to reunite shadows who do not necessarily want to give up their new found freedoms with their owners. Eventually, all are reunited, even September and her shadow. And when September returns to the real world she carries with her father’s shadow that reunites itself when she finds her father back from the war. Readers who enjoyed the lush old-fashioned story telling and details of the first novel will be happy to meet and travel with September for more adventures. However, this is certainly not a book for everyone.
Next Wave : The Quest To Harness The Power Of The Oceans
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Rusch, Elizabeth
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 10, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
This entry into the Scientists in the Field series by Houghton Mifflin looks at the growing research into how to capture the sustainable energy of ocean waves. After an introduction setting up the immense power of waves and their impact on the planet, several different projects and engineers work are highlighted. Though this book is complex and jumps a bit from project to project, what is highlighted is the diversity of engineering ideas, the process of some of the engineers working on them, and the sense of possibility around this emerging energy field. Also clear are the careful negotiations happening with fishing communities and ocean advocates to work to make this a positive or as much a non-impact on the human and natural environment. Much of this work is being tested off the coast of Oregon and Washington giving this book regional interest as well.
Clothes Around The World
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Lewis, Clare
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 10, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
This F &P level H beginning reader introduces the variety and uses of clothes around the world. Each page features a clear, well chosen photograph and a single sentence of text. After a brief introduction why people wear clothes and where they get them (make or buy) is shared. At the end there is a map showing where a selection of the images shown were taken and a three-word picture glossary. If you are looking for easy non-fiction on this topic this book should be well received. The images are intriguing enough to support solid discussion on similarities and differences in dress. I did, however, find myself wanting to know more about where the photos were taken and what they were showing.
Animal School : What Class Are You?
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Lord, Michelle
Garland, Michael
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
March 10, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Poems highlighting the classes vertebrates populate this poetry book. Beautiful to look at with digi-woodcut illustrations, the short poems highlight the unique qualities and some of the exceptions of the animal classes. The poems themselves, though short, carry impact and pack in the unique traits of mammals, fish, birds and reptiles. This would be a useful close reading text for a science study of the animal classes enhanced by the useful chart in the back outline class characteristics, some species in the class, and an exception from each class. This would probably not hold the attention of many poetry-browsing readers, but would be appreciated and used by science teachers looking to incorporate different types of text into their science lessons.
This Is Me : A Girl's Journal
Little Bigfoot [Little Bigfoot]
Metzger, Julie
Weeber, Brooke
Not Recommended -- Does not meet library standards in style, content or design.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 10, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Though this is not appropriate for a library collection, this prompted journal would make a thoughtful gift to a tween girl. Julie Metzger, well known in Seattle for her work in puberty and sex education, creates within the pages a place for girls to explore their thoughts, feelings and questions around the broad topics of self, family, friends, feelings and body. Along with prompts there are places to express with art, with checklists, and with questions to share with others. There are also boxes with ideas on how to reach out to others and the wider community.
Sheep Go On Strike
William B Eerdmans Publishing Co [William B Eerdmans Publishing Co]
Dumont, Jean-Francois
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 10, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Ernst the sheep, through a rousing speech from atop the water trough, convinces his heard to go on a shearing strike. Why should they be sheared to get cold, take medicine and get shots from the vet. Sides were drawn with some farm animals supporting the herds efforts and others not. All the animals gathered to view the big sheep rally complete with banners and slogans chanted, but then the rally turns violent in a glorious two-page spread of barnyard mayhem. Luckily, Rosalie the pig is able to creatively come up with a creative fix with all the animals working together to use some of the wool sheared to knit sweaters for the sheep. Though a little wordy at times, the illustrations and the focus on creative compromise make this a winner. This French picture book is somewhat of a mash-up of Click, Clack Moo and Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep.
My Country, 'tis Of Thee : How One Song Reveals The History
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY]
Murphy, Claire Rudolf
Collier, Bryan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 10, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Most Americans are familiar with the song My Country ‘Tis of Thee, but few are likely to know the history of it shared in this interesting title. Starting with the British origins of the tune known in Britain as God Save The King (or Queen), author Clare Rudolf Murphy shares ways that the song has been used as a springboard to promote civil rights causes throughout United States history. Verses have been penned and shared to call attention to women’s rights, slavery, labor rights and during the civil rights era. Using examples, backed up by source notes, Murphy shares a persuasive view of the power of the song and how it has be used bring attention to many causes in America. Wonderful mixed media collages by Bryan Collier add to each example.
Winter Bees & Other Poems Of The Cold
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Sidman, Joyce
Allen, Rick
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 10, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
What happens when winter brings frigid weather? Poet Joyce Sidman explores this topic with her unique blend of poems and non-fiction exploring a topic. From bees huddling and shivering to protect the queen to garter snakes escaping into underground lairs, to how snowflakes form the poems allow the reader to explore first in poetry and then in expository text what happens in winter. The mix of non-fiction and poetry not only deepens understanding of the science, it also invites the reader back to the poems to marvel at how the information is woven through the words. Beautiful linoleum wood cut illustrations we carved, printed and hand colored before being digitized and arranged on computer create stunning illustrations that add to the beauty of this book. This book should appeal to a wide assortment of readers from poetry lovers, to nature lovers to teachers wanting to incorporate new types of text into their science lessons.
Star Stuff : Carl Sagan And The Mysteries Of The Cosmos
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Sisson, Stephanie Roth
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 10, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
There is not much if anything out for elementary students on Carl Sagan, the man who had a huge impact on introducing the cosmos and his enthusiasm for the subject through his TV series for the general public. The author’s life view and attitude toward science was changed by this program, and in this production attempts to introduce this man to the primary student. She starts with his place in the universe, an apartment in Brooklyn, NY, and how his curiosity was fueled by the 1939 World’s Fair. From there his study of the stars and universe took off and his imagination soared. His part in the different mechanical explorers sent into space to study the planets and beyond including the Golden Record are included. The illustrations mostly compliment the text as they try to depict placement and movement in space—on Earth and in space. The tri-fold is a little confusing in what order to read it. Though the text is choppy at times the book is well intended. As the only thing out there for younger than YA this might be the best we can get at this point in time. Thorough notes, bibliography and sources plus source notes round out this welcome biography.
Unusual And Awesome Jobs Using Technology : Roller Coaster D
Edge Books/capstone Press [Edge Books/capstone Press]
Leboutillier, Linda
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 11, 2015
Dame, Anne
Wouldn't it be cool to design a roller coaster - and get paid for it?! Well, that is just one of the jobs featured in this 32 page book. Ten different jobs are featured. Each entry has full color photographs, a salary estimate, degree(s) needed and a job description. There is also a table of contents, fact boxes, glossary, index, and a brief list of further resources. Part of a series that also includes unusual/awesome jobs in sports, math, and science. An interesting addition to a career collection as well as a good supplement to STEM curriculum.
Paper Things
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Jacobson, Jennifer Richa
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 11, 2015
Dame, Anne
Ari and her older brother Gage have been living with their guardian, Janna, for the past four years since their mom died. Now that Gage is 18, he is tired of being told what to do. He and Ari strike out on their own even though they do not yet have an apartment. They stay with various friends and occasionally at a teen shelter, even though Ari is only 11. Homeless life is a real struggle, especially in the winter in Maine. This is a heart-breaking, eye-opening look at what it is like struggling with the issue of homelessness, especially as a child/teen. As far as I can tell, the details are authentic and definitely convincing. There is a disparity in that the protagonist is 11 and so at times the book feels and reads a little young - it could go down to a 4th grade level - but it is also addresses some intense issues and so can easily be read by older grades as well. I told one of my 8th grade students about it and she has already requested to read it.
National Football League
BELLWETHER MEDIA [BELLWETHER MEDIA]
Rausch, David
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 11, 2015
Dame, Anne
This is clearly intended for those who have no prior knowledge about football. While it's a great introduction to the sport, it is almost too brief. There are full-color, action photographs to supplement the sparse information. There is also a glossary and a brief list of further resources.
Biocombustibles
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Armentrout, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 11, 2015
Threlkeld, Sarah
"Los Biocombustibles," which translates to "Biofuels," is part of a series on alternative energies put out by Rourke Educational Media. In sixteen chapters it covers a wide range of topics, starting with an explanation of energy and its multiple sources and then ending with a challenge to readers to come up with creative ways to solve the "energy puzzle." Although there is a lot of text, which might overwhelm or discourage readers who aren't fluent in Spanish, there are also numerous full-page photographs and shorter text inserts that can aid students with comprehension. This book would be an excellent addition to a middle school library that serves a large Spanish-speaking population and could also be used to support curriculum taught in Spanish classes.
Jets
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 11, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
This book is 32 pages and part of the "Speed Machines" series. The book will engage readers as they learn about jets. The book opens with a description of a Blue Angels performance and then looks at the history of jets beginning with the Wright Brothers. The reader learns how jet engines were developed, how they are used, and some of the fascinating planes that use(used) them (including the Concorde, F-18, and A380). Color photographs (and a couple grayscale ones) are found throughout the book. They are captioned so the reader know the type of plane photographed. One photograph (p. 22-23) has part of a plane labeled. Call out boxes give additional facts. The book is complete with a table of contents, glossary, bibliography (web resources available through the publisher's website), index, and a couple of sentences about the author. This book will attract the attention of airplane lovers!
New York Jets
Big Buddy Books/abdo [Big Buddy Books/abdo]
Zappa, Marcia
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 11, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
I'm not sure if the New York Jets rank as a "greatest" NFL team, but this 32 page book is part of the "NFL's Greatest Teams" series. The team does have an interesting history and this book will be enjoyed by young football fans. Most chapters are 2 pages long, one with text, the other with a captioned photograph. The first chapter titled, "A Winning Team" describes the location of the team, but the title is misleading considering the Jets overall record (through 2015) is 377-451-8, hardly a winning one. The book traces the history of the team from their establishment as the New York Titans in 1960 and the climb to their only Super Bowl win in 1969. Readers learn about quarterback, Joe Namath and coach, Weeb Ewbank. The text is descriptive and clear. The book contains non-fiction features such as table of contents, index, timeline, fact page (located in the middle as halftime), and a five question quiz. There is no bibliography, however, web resources are available through the publisher's website.
Who I'm Not
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Staunton, Ted
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
March 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
A boy grew up in a series of foster homes before being taken in by a con artist couple and becoming skilled in their craft. When a con goes wrong he's picked up by the police and manages to convince them that he's a boy who has been missing from Canada. Can he convince Danny's family that is is their missing child? Some things can be faked, but there are those who know the truth--that the original Danny is dead. Despite a terrific premise and fabulous cover art, this book moves slowly and the characters just don't quite gel. There are family issues, honesty issues, a girl he likes, and occasional danger, but it's just not a compelling read. On the other hand, it might well appeal to teen boys who will be intrigued by the premise.
Donatello
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Lynch, Brian
Kuhn, Andy
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
What does a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle do when he wants a little alone time? That's the situation in which Donatello finds himself. It's not that he doesn't love his family, but sometimes they just don't get him--nerd, mechanic, gamer. When he hears about an Expo for geniuses it sounds like it's just down his alley. Disguises are only good for so long, however, and he soon discovers that the whole thing is a set-up to find a genius who will help one of his arch-enemies collect turtle blood. Can he gain an ally and survive the night? This is a fun graphic novel with terrific artwork, great repartee, and the action and humor one might expect from the TMNT franchise. Fans will go gaga.
Titanic Disaster! : Nickolas Flux And The Sinking Of The Gre
Graphic Library/capstone Press [Graphic Library/capstone Press]
Yomtov, Nel
Simmons, Mark
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Hmmm. Cool events in history, danger, and time-travel in a graphic novel format--you've got to admit that's hitting all the right notes. It's the new "Nickolas Flux History Chronicles". Teenaged Nick has an unfortunate habit of falling into time travel and finding himself in tight situations. While Nick is fictional, the situations are historically accurate so this balances on that narrow edge between fiction and nonfiction. In this story Nick finds himself on the Titanic, desperate to stop an inevitable disaster. He meets many of the key players and is on the ship as it goes down. The book truly brings history to life, while passing on a lot of good information. Standard text features are all here. Would I use it for report-writing? No. But it would be a great way for young students to gain insights into significant historical events.
Galactic Geometry : Two-Dimensional Figures
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Arias, Lisa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Got Math" series, this well-bound 32-page book concentrates on the basics of geometry. Young readers learn about points, lines, plane shapes and solid shapes. Polygons are defined and quadrilaterals are emphasized as geometric symbols for sides and angles are introduced. Perimeter and area are explained, and students are shown how to use the distributive property to find the area of irregular polygons. The book includes a glossary and index. This is a solid series that gives good information on basic math functions. While I doubt a teacher would use it in class, it would provide an opportunity for a struggling student to review key concepts. The attempt to occasionally rhyme the text, however, is painful and unnecessary.
Fraction Action : Fractions Are Numbers Too
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Arias, Lisa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Got Math" series, this well-bound 32-page book concentrates on fraction basics. Proper and improper fractions, as well as mixed numbers and equivalent fractinos, are defined. Readers learn about numerators and denominators, then learn how to add and subtract fractions with the same denominators, and also how to compare fractions. A variety of visuals are used to emphasize key points. This really is a very basic introduction to the topic. Still, the series is solid and gives good information on basic math functions. While I doubt a teacher would use it in class, it would provide an opportunity for a struggling student to review key concepts. The attempt to occasionally rhyme the text, however, is painful and unnecessary.
Groovy Graphing : Quadrant One And Beyond
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Arias, Lisa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Got Math" series, this well-bound 32-page book concentrates on the basics of the Cartesian coordinate system with its x and y axis. Coordinate planes, ordered pairs, plotting, scales, and quadrants are all briefly but clearly covered, with some chance for the reader to practice newly acquired skills. These same skills are applied to a map. This is a solid series that gives good information on basic math functions. While I doubt a teacher would use it in class, it would provide an opportunity for a struggling student to review key concepts. The attempt to occasionally rhyme the text, however, is painful and unnecessary.
Monty's Magnificent Mane
TEMPLAR [TEMPLAR]
O'neill, Gemma
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 11, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Gemma O’Neill’s magnificent illustrations are again the stars of her book. The delicious colors and sweeping strokes in mixed media draw the reader in to see the lovely mane of Monty, the king of the jungle, who’s quite taken with it. When he lets his meerkat friends play in it they tug and tickle so that Monty rolls and tumbles into a dirty, matted mess. Their solution, which Monty doesn’t appreciate, is to braid the mane with feathers. After shaking these out he stomps to the water hole, not heeding their warning. The little creature he sees is really a vicious crocodile that chomps a big bite out of his beloved mane. As he runs to safety he realizes he’s led the croc to his more defenseless friends, and to save the meerkats his 2-page open-mouthed ROAR scares the creature back to its water hole. He’s realized the importance of his friends over his vanity. Several children responded, “That’s short!” which matched my sentiments. The storyline is not quite up to the wonderful illustrations, but it’s still worth sharing.
Fun In The Sun
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Catrow, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 11, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
David Catrow’s illustrations are always entertaining and this book is no exception. The story itself is minimal, but will appeal to the preschool through Grade 1 crowd. When the sun comes out this creature that most students thought was a dog, but looks a bit like a bunny, decides it’s time to go to the beach. He tromps off to the beach seemingly very prepared with his goldfish in a bowl in tow. The bus ride and beach people are all exaggerated in Catrow’s typical detailed, humorous style. The first spot he finds to sit on the beach turns out to be a man’s huge stomach:) He enjoys the day with sand in his lunch and suit with such chants as—“Fun in the sun, fun in the sand, sand in the lunch, crunchy and good.” After splashing, riding the waves, flying a kite and his fish making a new octopus friend they return home. At the beginning and end of his trip he wonders, “I hope I didn’t forget anything.” The last page has children chortling once they realize what he had ultimately forgotten—sunscreen, pictured on the chair, as they see a very red creature with white where the swim suit had been.
Bella The Bunny
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Small, Lily
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 11, 2015
Kline, Karen
Bella lives in Misty Wood where all the animals have a job to do. Her job is to open the spring flowers. One bud seems to talk to her pleading not to be opened, and when Bella persists she finds that it is a one-spotted lady bug in the bud that was talking. It’s embarrassing to be a ladybug with only one spot, and Lexi the ladybug just wants to hide especially from all the animals going to Sports Day. Bella wants to help, though, so she insists on helping Lexi find a way to get more spots. Maybe if she wishes for it in the magic toadstool ring or they could ask some of the other spotted animals in Misty Wood where they got theirs. Nothing is working, though, and it’s not long before Mr. Butterfly the Sports Day steward happens to see Lexi loop-de-looping at top speed. Lexi would be perfect for the grass-seed relay! Pretty soon Lexi is thrust into the crowd and becomes the fourth leg of the relay. How will her teammate find her in the crowd? Turns out being unique and one-spotted is an asset after all. Fans of the Rainbow Fairy series will find this one similar and the glitter-enhanced covers will please the transitional reading crowd.
All About Football
A+ Books/capstone Press [A+ Books/capstone Press]
Doeden, Matt
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
March 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Matt Doeden writes good sports nonfiction. Crisp action photographs abound as he gives readers the low-down on football. The author discusses the history of the sport, vocabulary, the roles of the defense and offense, and much more. This is a solid and interesting overview of all the basics with great graphics, fun fact boxes, and a glossary, bibliography, and index. Seattle fans will rejoice to see that the section on the Super Bowl features the Hawks' victory in 2014. Go Hawks!
Halloween Scream
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Hoena, Blake
Regan, Dana
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
March 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This is a book in the Jess & Jaylen series--short realistic fiction chapter books featuring two friends, a boy and a girl, dealing with typical kid stuff. Halloween is coming up and Jaylen is stressing out. He knows Jess wants to go through the haunted house, but she's braver than he is. He chickened out last year. Will he go through with it this year? Maybe the right costume is the answer. This is a 48 page book with six chapters and occasional color illustrations--a nice transition for those just dipping their toes in the fiction section. It ends with some questions the reader can consider about applying concepts learned in the book. The questions would also be good for classroom discussion.
Presidential Misadventures : Poems That Poke Fun At The Man
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Raczka, Bob
Burr, Dan E.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
All ages
March 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
A clerihew is a four-line poem poking fun at a famous person. There are a few rules that apply to its form, but otherwise it is fairly easy-going in style. This book consists of an explanation of the history behind this poem form, and then a clerihew about each president from George Washington to Barak Obama, pointing out an interesting or amusing tidbit from their lives. An appendix offers a bit more information about the subject of each poem. Dan Burr's black and white illustrations present their own amusing viewpoints and suit the poems well. While students may not be familiar with all the presidents, this would definitely be handy for teachers who want to use it as a jumping-off-point for students to write their own clerihews.
Judo
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Tometich, Annabelle
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
In the "Inside Martial Arts" series you find solid 48-page books with clear informative text and plenty of color photographs, most of which are action shots. Each includes an index, glossary, and bibliography. This volume in the series focuses on Judo. Readers learn about the history of this sport, its language and its customs. Rules, uniforms, as well as a few techniques and skills are all clearly, if briefly, explained. Ranks and competitions are discussed. Throughout, the author emphasizes the basic tenets of the sport, emphasizing gentleness and a good attitude. This is a good basic introduction that will be interest and inform young enthusiasts.
Kung Fu
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Howell, Brian
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 13, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Inside Martial Arts" series, this sturdy 48 page book is a solid introduction to Kung Fu. Readers learn the possible origins of the sport, and some of the techniques and moves for which it is best known. Different styles of kung fu are mentioned, as are some famous kung fu masters. Training, competitions, and advanced methods are also mentioned. The clear text is accompanied by plenty of action photographs that will draw in young readers. Add in a glossary, bibliography, and index and you have a useful nonfiction series that merits a place in your library.
Mixed Martial Arts
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Tometich, Annabelle
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 13, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Inside Martial Arts" series, this sturdy 48 page book is a solid introduction to mixed martial arts. Readers learn the origins of the sport with the Gracies, and some of the techniques and moves for which it is best known. Big John McCarthy is highlighted, as well as his role in giving the ref more power. Don't get me wrong. This book in no way diminishes the brutality for which the sport is known. Training, competitions, clothing--they're all briefly covered. Male and female fighters are shown. The clear text is accompanied by plenty of action photographs that will draw in young readers. Add in a glossary, bibliography, and index and you have a useful nonfiction series that merits a place in your library. That is, if you want books about people beating up other people.
Dungeon : Twilight : 4 : The End Of Dungeon
Nbm Publishing [Nbm Publishing]
Sfar, Joann
Alfred And Mazan
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 13, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
First, let me admit that I have not read the three books leading up to this culminating volume, and for that I am grateful. Still, it did leave me without the background to possibly appreciate this book. These are the last two stories in the Dungeon series of graphic novels. Terra Amata is in pieces and the Dark Entity is trying to reassemble them and conquer everyone by promising them oxygen to breath--a pretty powerful coercion method. Our heroes need to defeat him, possibly die, and maybe find true love or at least their mission in life. This is a ragtag group of heroes that seem to have sprung fully formed from the mind of a teen-aged boy. The story lacks clarity, has plenty of graphic violence, and the one female character only seems to be there for her boobs...although, to be honest, she does turn into a nifty warrior, even when someone isn't borrowing her body and fondling said boobs. The artwork is exceptional, and there is humor to be had here. Fans of the series will like this, but I wouldn't recommend it for younger readers due to nudity, language, situations, and violence.
When Otis Courted Mama
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Appelt, Kathi
Mcelmurry, Jill
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 14, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This could be bibliotherapy in the guise of coyote family dynamics. Cardell is a happy coyote with a “perfectly good daddy” and a “perfectly good mama.” He is used to the fact that his daddy, whom he sees part-time, lives in another part of the desert with his “perfectly nice step mama” and “perfectly cute stepbrother”. He know his father loves him dearly, and he also knows he has his mother all to himself. She is a master scout and artist, who also loves him dearly. His mother has had suitors, but each had shortcomings that they could both do without. Then comes Otis, a new neighbor, who just won’t go away. Cardell compares him to his daddy, and Otis doesn’t meet up. Cardell’s jealousy, however, is won over by Otis’s persistence and other special qualities especially storytelling, so much so that he eagerly awaits Mama agreeing to marry Otis. The final page shows all of Cardell’s family members happily howling at the moon. This warm story about changes in family dynamics is appropriately illustrated to reflect that warmth and the Southwest setting in gouache on watercolor paper. This should be a reassuring tale for all young children. Starred in Kirkus and SLJ.
Using The Scientific Method
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Larson, Kristen
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 14, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Larsen has hit the mark with this book, clearly outlining the five basic steps of the Scientific Method using attention-grabbing topics for three different research experiments to demonstrate the steps. Each project starts with a question leading to research, an experiment design with identified independent and dependent variables and a control. Procedures are listed and shown. Chapter One describes how Dr. Charles Banting, in 1919, discovered that insulin could be used in treating diabetes. A full-page color illustration locates the pancreas just below the stomach and in a larger diagram outlines the role of insulin. This real-life experiment also describes how Banting needed to modify and change parts of his process based on his initial results. Finally, peer review is needed to verify and duplicate results. Also described are a student-designed project, comparing drying rates of different shirt materials, and research into whether differing situations cause scorpions to release different quantities of venom. Students and scientists pictured include a mix of gender, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. An added bonus is an explanation of the historical growth of the questioning process that led to the scientific method used today.
LET'S INVESTIGATE LIGHT
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
SILVERMAN, BUFFY
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
March 14, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
My Science Library books cover basic science concepts through providing simple information using academic language highlighted in the text and defined in a glossary. The qualities of the books vary so examine reviews for each before purchasing. Light as energy, how light travels, and properties of light are only briefly described and illustrated with crisp, colorful photographs and diagrams. This might be useful as a very general introduction but the coverage is uneven and does not provide the level of information desirable in a series labeled for 4th-5th graders. Three simple recall questions conclude the book along with back matter. Unfortunately only one of the three websites mentioned is at all appropriate for the students who would read this book and that is the NASA: Mission Science site.
Miss Patch's Learn-To-Sew Book
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Meyer, Carolyn
Suzuki, Mary
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
March 14, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Sewing things by hand is becoming a lost art. Many people don't even know how to sew a button back on a shirt. This book teaches the basics, while encouraging the joy that comes from a well-stitched project. Miss Patch is learning to sew, but she needs to get the basics down. Supplies, and basic advice are followed by some simple projects, with the readers encouraged to use the skills learned for their own projects. From a pillow, to a bag, to a scarf or handkerchief, to simple quilting --these are all doable projects with clear instructions accompanied by simple yet informative illustrations. The only change I'd make is to encourage cutting on the fold to avoid having to sew an extra seam, and to save fabric. Hopefully this book will bring back the joy of sewing your own doll clothes, and rejoicing in a project well done.
Snowmobiles
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 14, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Relying primarily on Fast Facts and dynamic photos, Matt Scheff introduces the history of snowmobiles, how they are currently enjoyed and raced, and their basic design. A large photo sprawls across each spread with a smaller inset photo and text box set off by dramatic bands of black, turquoise, and yellow stripes. Both the sparse text and graphics hop from one topic to the next, providing tidbits with not much substance. The labeled diagram of the basic design shows sufficient detail to get a good view of how it works but the flashy arrows detract from the labeling. Middle grade outdoor snow sports enthusiasts and reluctant readers are the target audience. The three websites linked to the publisher include one with detailed information on how snowmobiles work, one on Snocross races and one on safety. One of the books recommended, “Snowmobile: Bombardier’s Dream Machine,” is an excellent recounting of how Bombardier’s child’s illness and death in rural Canada led to the snowmobile invention.
Hovercraft
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 14, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Just how does a hovercraft manage to move without touching a surface and why doesn’t it crash? Hovercrafts were invented a little over 50 years ago for the military and have since been adapted for many uses. Matt Scheff introduces the unique capabilities of hovercraft and most common uses today in military, emergency rescue, racing, mobility between water and terrain and pleasure boating. Details of how hovercrafts operate are demonstrated in several diagrams, text, and a variety of photographs. A large photo sprawls across each spread with a smaller inset photo and text box set off by dramatic bands of black, turquoise, and yellow stripes. The labeled diagram of the basic design shows sufficient detail to get a good view of how it works but the flashy arrows detract from the labeling. Three publisher-monitored websites greatly expand the basic information in the book and include how to make a hovercraft. Of the three books recommended, two are by the same publisher for younger children, but the third is a recent publication with 25 plans for building object. Tinkerers, reluctant readers and fans of machines may be your best audience for this book.
Firefighters
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Minden, Cecilia
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
March 14, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
The People in Our Community series has clean graphics and standard format for all titles. The 24-pages start with an almost identical table of contents. (See review for Coaches by same author for table of content headings.) Even the fact boxes and side bars have the same headings. In Auto Mechanics, the book starts with a girl named Elizabeth, who is trying to decide how she can help her neighborhood when she grows up. A young student can learn what it takes to become a firefighter (the qualities, skills and training), how much money they make, and how to find out if this is the right occupation. The featured firefighter is from Chicago, but only gets one page. The books conclude with a short glossary, learn more from some older books and new Childsworld website, and a very detailed index. The photos are clear against a white background with most double-page spreads sporting a caption that does not extend the text much. Photos depict a variety of races in these titles. The series includes Coaches, Dentists, Electricians, Auto Mechanics, Letter Carriers, Nurses, Pilots, Restaurant Owners, Teachers, Television Reporters, and Veterinarians. Grade 2-5. Lexile 730.
Auto Mechanics
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Minden, Cecilia
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
March 14, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
The People in Our Community series has clean graphics and standard format for all titles. The 24-pages start with an almost identical table of contents. (See review for Coaches by same author for table of content headings.) Even the fact boxes and side bars have the same headings. In Auto Mechanics a female is depicted on the cover in a few photos inside. A young student can learn what it takes to become a mechanic, how much money they make, and how to find out if this is the right occupation. It features a man in Oklahoma who runs his own shop, but has a college education. They conclude with a short glossary, learn more from some older books and new Childsworld website, and a very detailed index. The photos are clear against a white background with most double-page spreads sporting a caption that does not extend the text much. The series includes Coaches, Dentists, Electricians, Firefighters, Letter Carriers, Nurses, Pilots, Restaurant Owners, Teachers, Television Reporters, and Veterinarians. Grade 2-5. Lexile 790.
Coaches
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Minden, Cecilia
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
March 14, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
The People in Our Community series has clean graphics and standard format for all titles. The 24-pages start with an almost identical table of contents—Hello, My Name Is Jack; I Could Be a Coach; Learn about This Neighborhood Helper!; Who Can Become a Coach?; Meet a Coach; Where Can I Learn to Be a Coach; What Does a Coach Need to Do the Job?; Where Does a Coach Work?; Who Works with Coaches?; I Want to Be a Coach! and Why Don’t You Try Being a Coach? Even the fact boxes and side bars have the same headings. Coaches features a female high school lacrosse coach and also has a mom who coaches the International First Nations Women’s lacrosse team. Thus the book is heavy on lacrosse though other sports are depicted. They conclude with a short glossary, learn more from some older books and new Childsworld website, and a very detailed index. The photos are clear against a white background with most double-page spreads sporting a caption that does not extend the text much. Typo on page 12 and two pages with players’ faces in the gutter are two quibbles. The series includes Auto Mechanics, Dentists, Electricians, Firefighters, Letter Carriers, Nurses, Pilots, Restaurant Owners, Teachers, Television Reporters, and Veterinarians.
Murder Of Crows
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Bracken, Beth
Sawyer, Odessa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 14, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
I am positive that, had I begun with Book #1 in this series, I would better understand what is happening in the story. So far, though, starting with Book#6, I like what I know of the storyline, the author's style, and the unique sparseness of the story laid out on each page. With only 100 pages to this book, and few words on each page, the authors continue an intriguing story of crows, fairies, queens, love, friendship, and betrayal. The digital mixed media illustrations that grace some pages only add fascination to what the characters "really" look like. I will introduce this series to students who enjoy fantasy (perhaps cut their teeth on other fairy stories), and are low readers, and I am interested in how they will like it. The layout of few words and the addition of creative artwork will invite readers who may otherwise have gravitated toward graphic novels.
Return To The Crows
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Bracken, Beth
Sawyer, Odessa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 14, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Please see my review of A Murder of Crows (same authors and illustrator).
Do Something For Others : The Kids' Book Of Citizenship
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Hanson, Anders
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 15, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Do Something for Others combines values education with principles of good citizenship. Citizenship is defined as “being part of a community” and rights and responsibilities of adult citizens are cited. Students are introduced to ways they can be good citizens by following rules, being respectful, taking care of the environment, getting to know others that are different and helping others whenever possible. The two-page spreads are meant to be read together with a large photograph spanning the page, a large title and a small text box on opposites pages. The children depicted are multicultural and are well matched with the text. Three bolded vocabulary words are defined in a glossary and the book ends with the question, “What is one thing you can do to be a better citizen?” This simple book could be used for a beginning of the year classroom community builder and the ending question as a conversation starter about responsibilities.
Discover Sound
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Hall, Pamela
Yamada, Jane
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 15, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Science Around Us series covers basic science topics for young readers. The covers have a clean, scientific look that may not appeal to the young intended readers but the uncluttered photographs and graphic design complement the clarity of the minimal text. Each two-page spread has at least one large labeled photograph matched by simple text with one concept. Vocabulary words are in bold blue and defined in the text as well as glossary. Vibrations are defined as the way things move and sound moves away from what causes it like ripples or water in a pond when a rock is thrown in. Photographs of different musical instruments are matched to one of the qualities of low and high sounds, or loud and soft and a simple graphic shows how the different sound waves cause those qualities. The publisher-monitored websites are two subscription-based topics in BrainPop and a well-developed science site from New Zealand. These books are appropriate for teachers to use in a classroom and with a F & P Level L, can be read independently by many students.
Discover Water
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Higgins, Nadia
Yamada, Jane
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 15, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Science Around Us series covers basic science topics for young readers. The covers have a clean, scientific look that may not appeal to the young intended readers but the uncluttered photographs and graphic design complement the clarity of the minimal text. Each two-page spread has at least one large labeled photograph matched by simple text with one concept. Vocabulary words are in bold blue and defined in the text as well as glossary. The three states of water and how it changes between the states are described and depicted in crisp and appealing photographs. Water is shown in caves underground, ice chunks floating, snow, snowflake, icicle, glacier, dew, and fog and as water vapor. Vocabulary words are dew, fog, glaciers, liquid and water vapor. The publisher-monitored websites include a Project Wet site developed for children, a well-developed science site from New Zealand, and an adult EPA site. These books are appropriate for teachers to use in a classroom and with a F & P Level L, can be read independently by many students.
Discover Electricity
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Vogel, Julia
Yamada, Jane
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 15, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Science Around Us series covers basic science topics for young readers. The covers have a clean, scientific look that may not appeal to the young intended readers but the uncluttered photographs and graphic design complement the clarity of the minimal text. Each two-page spread has at least one large labeled photograph matched by simple text with one concept. Vocabulary words are in bold blue and defined in the text as well as glossary. The concepts covered in Electricity are more abstract than some of the other topics, especially that of static electricity with electrons jumping from one surface to another as in lightning, magnets used to create a current and how circuits interrupt the current. Photographs are well chosen to illustrate these abstract concepts. These books are appropriate for teachers to use in a classroom and with a F & P Level L, can be read independently by many students.
Discover Magnets
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Vogel, Julia
Yamada, Jane
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 15, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Magnets fascinate kids (and adults)! And most young readers will have played with magnets on refrigerators, picking up metallic objects and repelling other magnets. Discovering Magnets gives many familiar examples of how magnets work and introduces the term, magnetic field, and identifies the south and north poles of a magnet and how they will move to align with the earth. Computers and cell phones are mentioned as using magnets and electricity can make magnets much stronger as electromagnets. The cover has a clean, scientific look that may not appeal to the young intended readers but the uncluttered photographs and graphic design complement the clarity of the minimal text. Each two-page spread has at least one large labeled photograph matched by simple text with one concept. Vocabulary words are in bold blue and defined in the text as well as glossary. Photographs of everyday magnetic objects are easily recognizable. Two of the three website links are excellent for elementary school readers but one is an adult oriented utility site. These books are appropriate for teachers of young students to use in a classroom and with a F & P Level L, can be read independently by many students.
12 Screams Of Christmas
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Stine, R L
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Katie can see ghosts, and this is often inconvenient. Now, however, it may be deadly. She is involved in a school play that is based, loosely, on a tragedy that happened years ago. When all members of the cast are asked to rehearse at the house where the event took place, Katie starts seeing ghosts...who want her to stick around. Who will believe her? Can she help save a dead girl and, thus save herself? This is actually a pretty solid offering from the "Goosebumps" series, and will be snapped up before you can say "boo."
Lost In The Jungle Of Doom
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Turner, Tracey
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Lost" series is an interesting concept. They are, basically, "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, in that they throw the reader into a survival situation and the reader makes choices and turns to the appropriate page. In this volume the reader is the only survival of a plane crash in the Amazon rain forest. Can you survive? Do you eat that plant? Do you stop to rest? Where do you get water? What do you do about that injury? Practically every decision has a potential deadly consequence and, along the way, the author inserts pages full of interesting facts about the flora, fauna, and dangers of the region. Only one path of very good decisions will lead to survival. Can you make it? This is well-written and quite interesting. I'm sure the series will be popular.
Statue Of Liberty
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Sipperly, Keli
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 15, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Statue of Liberty has long been an emblem of our country as a symbol of hope for freedom and democracy. Conceived by Édouard de Laboulaye, as a testament to the friendship with France and our mutual struggles for freedom, the sculpture was to be a tribute for the American Centennial. This Symbols of Freedom book, details the history of its construction using many historical photographs, well-written text, modern photographs and Freedom Facts boxes. A one-page supplement of Reading Activities facing the Table of Contents gives suggestions for pre-reading as well as higher level extension questions and activities. Many complex vocabulary words are listed on this page, bold in the text and defined in the glossary. Back material includes a timeline, glossary, index, recommended websites, and five questions requiring recall and some analysis. As many families travel to New York to visit this national monument, this 32-page, GRL P book would be an excellent addition for most elementary school libraries.
Mount Rushmore
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Mattern, Joanne
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 15, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Monumental obstacles were overcome as this amazing tribute to four American presidents grew from conception by Doane Robinson, South Dakota State Historian, to completion by Lincoln Borglum, son of the original sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, over 18 years. Originally conceived by Robinson as a way to bring tourists to little visited South Dakota, it grew into a project supported by Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Franklin D Roosevelt, and was declared a National Park in 1941. This Symbols of Freedom book, details the history of its construction using many historical photographs, well-written text, modern photographs and Freedom Facts boxes. A one-page supplement of Reading Activities facing the Table of Contents gives suggestions for pre-reading as well as higher level extension questions and activities. Back material includes a timeline, glossary, index, recommended websites, and five questions requiring recall and analysis. As many families travel circuits to visit the National Parks, this 32-page, GRL P book would be an excellent addition for most elementary school libraries.
Chameleons
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Hansen, Grace
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 15, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
This ABDO Reptiles Kids book is perfect for the young non-reader and reader alike to dive into nonfiction. The big, page-size photos of chameleons are clear and colorful. In one photo, a human hand is helpfully shown in relation to the size of a chameleon. On the background of each photo page are images of chameleons or desert scapes. The photo of a baby chameleon just emerging from an egg is as sweet as can be. Kids and adults will have plenty to study just from the beautiful photos. The facing pages consist of two to three sentences of concise, informative narrative. The text offers interesting facts, such as not all chameleons change color and that a chameleon's tongue is as long as its body (a photo showing this amazing fact is worth taking a look at!). 24 pages of this hardbound book include table of contents, index, glossary, and an abdokids.com website (has a video, links, and craft projects on it). Every school library needs the Abdo Reptiles Kids series (Alligators, Iguanas, Komodo Dragons, Snakes, and Turtles) on their shelves.
Monkey Or Ape?
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Kralovansky, Susan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 15, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Do you know the differences between a monkey or an ape? Students will be able to answer this as well as recount interesting facts after reading this clearly written text matched with crisp, colorful and endearing photographs, some with an adult and young. Part of the This or That series in the Super Sandcastle imprint, the books are tailor-made for note-taking and comparison charts. Comparisons include life cycle details, physical characteristics, and habits. Text boxes are color coordinated and superimposed on the full-page photographs creating an appealing design but be aware that the bolded vocabulary words don’t stand out. The cover displays the two animals without any background and the colored font contrasts nicely with the background white color. Extra features include an “at a glance” comparison chart, glossary, and art projects painting pictures with handprints and markers. This book would be attractive as a read-aloud, mentor text or under a document camera. Written at a GRL K level, this book will be well received in any elementary library.
Whale Or Fish?
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Kralovansky, Susan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 15, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Do you know the differences between whales or fish? Students will be able to answer this as well as recount interesting facts after reading this clearly written text matched with crisp, colorful close-up photographs. Part of the This or That series in the Super Sandcastle imprint, the books are tailor-made for note-taking and comparison charts. Comparisons include life cycle details, physical characteristics, and habits. Text boxes are color coordinated and superimposed on the full-page photographs creating an appealing design but be aware that the bolded vocabulary words don’t stand out. The cover displays the two animals without any background and the colored font contrasts nicely with the background white color. Extra features include an “at a glance” comparison chart, glossary, and art projects making whale and fish prints by painting your hand This book would be attractive as a read-aloud, mentor text or under a document camera. Written at a GRL J level, this book will be well received in any elementary library.
Salamander Or Lizard?
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Kralovansky, Susan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 15, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Do you know the differences between moths and butterflies? Students will be able to answer this as well as recount interesting facts after reading this clearly written text matched with crisp, colorful close-up photographs. Part of the This or That series in the Super Sandcastle imprint, the books are tailor-made for note-taking and comparison charts. Comparisons include life cycle details, physical characteristics, and habits. Text boxes are color coordinated and superimposed on the full-page photographs creating an appealing design but be aware that the bolded vocabulary words don’t stand out. Extra features include an “at a glance” comparison chart and art projects making moth and butterfly puppets out of colored paper. This book would be attractive as a read-aloud, mentor text or under a document camera. Written at a GRL K level, this book will be well received in any elementary library.
Moth Or Butterfly?
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Kralovansky, Susan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 15, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Do you know the differences between moths and butterflies? Students will be able to answer this as well as recount interesting facts after reading this clearly written text matched with crisp, colorful close-up photographs. Part of the This or That series in the Super Sandcastle imprint, the books are tailor-made for note-taking and comparison charts. Comparisons include life cycle details, physical characteristics, and habits. Text boxes are color coordinated and superimposed on the full-page photographs creating an appealing design but be aware that the bolded vocabulary words don’t stand out. The cover displays the two animals without any background and the colored font contrasts nicely with the background white color. Extra features include an “at a glance” comparison chart, glossary and art projects making moth and butterfly puppets out of colored paper. This book would be attractive as a read-aloud, mentor text or under a document camera. Written at a GRL K level, this book will be well received in any elementary library.
What's up, cupcake? : creating amazing cupcakes
CAPSTONE PRESS INC [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
RAU, DANA MEACHEN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 15, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
What's Up, Cupcake? has some really fun designs to create for parties and other children's get togethers. A basic "fluffy icing" recipe is given in the beginning of the book. Recipes are simple to follow if a child already knows his or her way around the kitchen, but best results will come if an adult leads the way through the entire assembly process. Reading ahead is necessary as ingredients, tools, and decorative candies need to be purchase and/or preassembled. Many varieties of tools, a "Decorator's Toolbox," must be on hand (two whole pages are dedicated to photographs of these). Cupcake recipes not included. The author mentions that decorators can either buy or bake their own. Table of contents, terms glossary, ingredients glossary, a further reading list, and an index, all serve to make this Snap book useful. My only complaints are that: 1) being library bound, this book will be hard to keep open during the cupcake process; the ebook version may be more handy; 2) the Fluffy Bunny and Glitzy Armadillo recipes mention putting in toothpicks, but not taking them out. Warning to the person who bites into them! and 3) some patterns (crabs, starfish, and flower petals seem a bit difficult for children to craft.
Seattle Seahawks : Super Bowl Champions
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Flynn, Brendan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 15, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Not being a football fan, I have to admit I cannot effectively critique the technical sports writing part of this book. The good part of author Brendan Flynn's prose, however, is that he aims for the neophyte 12th man, and I can actually understand what he is writing about (the glossary helped, too). This book is what every Washington school library needs right now: a (pretty much) current book on our favorite football team, the Seattle Seahawks. The format is 24 pages, library bound, with every other page a beautiful color or black and white photo of a player in action on the field (including caption). The narrative covers the beginning of the Seahawks in 1976 to the Super Bowl win in 2014. Table of contents, index, glossary, read further section, fun facts, sidebars, and childsworld.com/links all provide more in-depth information. This book will be a big hit in my library!
Land Of The Free : The Kids' Book Of Freedom
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Hanson, Anders
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 15, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Land of the Free combines values education with the principals of several freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment of our Constitution. Freedom is defined as the “right to make choices in your life.” The Bill of Rights and United Nation’s Declaration of the Rights of the Child are mentioned as documents to protect these rights. The freedoms to vote, of religion, to choose where to live, of speech, and to go to school are each shown as examples of freedoms easily understood by the younger students. The two-page spreads are meant to be read together with a large photograph spanning the page, a large title and a small text box on opposites pages. The children depicted are multicultural and are well matched with the text. Four bolded vocabulary words are defined in a glossary and the book ends with the question, “What is one way you can use your freedom?” These simple books could be a simple introduction to our government and the ending question as a conversation starter about freedoms and rights.
Skateboarding Skills : Everything A New Rider Needs To Know
FIREFLY BOOKS [FIREFLY BOOKS]
Stutt, Ryan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 15, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Ryan Stutt's Skateboarding Skills: Everything a New Rider Needs to Know is the most thorough explanation of the equipment and the sport I have ever come across, from how to construct a deck to details of many tricks one can perform on a skateboard. I was particularly impressed by the Skateboarding Primer section (safety equipment and what to consider when purchasing a first skateboard). Photos and illustrations grace almost every page in the book. Step by step instructions, where needed, are clearly numbered and explained. Photo explanations for tricks are easy to follow. Safety gear is worn in all photos. Both boys and girls are shown executing basic moves and tricks. Table of contents, glossary (extensive and color coded (?)), and index enhance the text. I will purchase this book for my library because I feel 1) confident that it spans the interest level from novice to experienced skateboarder, and 2) it emphasizes safety, being careful and cautious, and understanding the dynamics of the sport. Paperback binding is weak.
Behold The Beautiful Dung Beetle
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Bardoe, Cheryl
Marks, Alan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 15, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
The subject may be off-putting, which may limit it’s appeal, but the subject is actually fascinating. Who knew there are over 5,000 species of dung beetles! The rich artwork especially stands out as each double-page spread full color illustration has a larger font summary text on the left page followed by more detailed, explanatory, smaller font text on the right. Using the terms feces, dung and poop interchangeably this beetle is introduced as honing in on its namesake as soon as it falls. The three types of beetles are described—dwellers, rollers and tunnelers. Each has its unique way of eating and dealing with the dung along with mating and egg placement. The illustrations provide close-up, ground-levle or below ground-level views of these creatures in action. Though no words are highlighted there is a 16-word glossary at the end that pretty much covers the difficult terms. This is preceded by a page describing where to find dung beetles (every continent except Antarctica), a diagram of some body parts, other fascinating facts and then followed by a three-book bibliography. This seems to be the first book to tackle the specific subject, and as such may find a welcome home in libraries for children. Lexile 1000.
Baby Goats
Sandcastle/abdo [Sandcastle/abdo]
Salzmann, Mary Elizabeth
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 16, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
What is cuter than a baby animal? Answer: A series of books about baby animals. Who can resist the frisky baby goats’ head butting or climbing on objects? Abdo’s Sandcastle series has a second set of six small hold-in-your hand, books about baby animals. The two-page spreads contain a full-page photograph of the baby facing a short one-sentence statement starting with words like “baby goats” or “mother goats.” Non-fiction text features include: contents, chapter headings, page of Did You Know facts, True or False questions (with answer key), and a glossary. This is a beginning non-fiction animal series that will stay in constant circulation.
Baby Gorillas
Sandcastle/abdo [Sandcastle/abdo]
Salzmann, Mary Elizabeth
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 16, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
What is cuter than a baby animal? Answer: A series of books about baby animals. The photographs of baby gorillas clinging to their mother’s back, or hiding in the protective shelter of her arms carry the familiar human baby-like behavior so endearing to children Abdo’s Sandcastle series has a second set of six small hold-in-your hand, books about baby animals. Each two-page spread contains a full-page photograph of the baby facing a short one-sentence statement starting with words like “baby gorillas” or “gorillas.” Non-fiction text features include: contents, chapter headings, page of Did You Know facts, True or False questions (with answer key), and a glossary. This is a beginning non-fiction animal series that will stay in constant circulation.
Baby Eagles
Sandcastle/abdo [Sandcastle/abdo]
Salzmann, Mary Elizabeth
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 16, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
What is cuter than a baby animal? Answer: A series of books about baby animals. These fluffy little birds look very different from our adult Bald and Golden Eagles? Living near the tops of tall trees in stick nests, mother eagles guard and bring the babies for 8-14 weeks before they fledge. Abdo’s Sandcastle series has a second set of six small hold-in-your hand, books about baby animals. The two-page spreads contain a full-page photograph of the baby facing a short one-sentence statement starting with words like “baby eaglets” or “mother eagles.” Non-fiction text features include: contents, chapter headings, page of Did You Know facts, True or False questions (with answer key), and a glossary. This is a beginning non-fiction animal series that will stay in constant circulation.
Baby Polar Bears
Sandcastle/abdo [Sandcastle/abdo]
Salzmann, Mary Elizabeth
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 16, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
What is cuter than a baby animal? Answer: A series of books about baby animals with irresistible photographs of the animals playing, learning how to find food, and growing up with their mothers. Abdo’s Sandcastle series has a second set of six small hold-in-your hand, books about baby animals. Each two-page spread contains a full-page photograph of the baby facing a short one-sentence statement starting with words like “baby polar bears” or “mother polar bears.” Non-fiction text features include: contents, chapter headings, page of Did You Know facts, True or False questions (with answer key), and a glossary. This is a beginning non-fiction animal series that will stay in constant circulation.
Baby Tigers
Sandcastle/abdo [Sandcastle/abdo]
Salzmann, Mary Elizabeth
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 16, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
What is cuter than a baby animal? Answer: A series of books about baby animals. Who can resist a mother tiger carrying a cub in her mouth or playing together? Abdo’s Sandcastle series has a second set of six small hold-in-your hand, books about baby animals. Each two-page spread contains a full-page photograph of the baby facing a short one-sentence statement starting with words like “baby tigers” or “mother tigers.” Non-fiction text features include: contents, chapter headings, page of Did You Know facts, True or False questions (with answer key), and a glossary. This is a beginning non-fiction animal series that will stay in constant circulation.
Lost In The Mountains Of Death
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Turner, Tracey
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 16, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
In the "Lost" series the reader is lost in a hostile environment and, through a series of choices, either survives or dies horribly. This is actually solid nonfiction in a choose-your-own adventure format. In this book you are trapped in the snow atop the Andes Mountains. How can you survive? You have some supplies, but each choice you make may lead to survival or death...mostly death. Readers learn about the flora and fauna of the region, mountain survival tips, shelter and fire-building, hypothermia and altitude sickness, and more. There are many ways nature, and bad decisions, can kill you. Readers make choices, and learn important information that, if they're smart, they'll apply in the future...if they have a future. This is a different way to look at an interesting topic and I suspect it will be very popular. I think it would be especially fun to read as a group or class.
Lost In The Desert Of Dread
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Turner, Tracey
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 16, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
In the "Lost" series the reader is lost in a hostile environment and, through a series of choices, either survives or dies horribly. This is actually solid nonfiction in a choose-your-own adventure format. In this book you are trapped in the Sahara Desert. How can you survive? You have some supplies, but each choice you make may lead to survival or death...mostly death. Readers learn about the flora and fauna of the region, desert survival tips, shelter and fire-building. Particularly fascinating is the balance you must maintain between heat, hydration, and exertion. There are many ways nature, and bad decisions, can kill you. Readers make choices, and learn important information that, if they're smart, they'll apply in the future...if they have a future. This is a different way to look at an interesting topic and I suspect it will be very popular. I think it would be especially fun to read as a group or class. This entry in the series is interesting in that there are actually two ways to survive.
New Zealand
Buddy Books/abdo [Buddy Books/abdo]
Murray, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 17, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
This 40 page book is part of the "Explore the Countries" series. The book provides accessible information about this Pacific Island nation. Readers get an introduction to the history, geography, government, economy, and culture of New Zealand. Color photographs are captioned and compliment the well-written text. Call out boxes sprinkled through the book give the reader additional information to the topic at hand. The book contains a table of contents, timeline, fact page, glossary (words in bold and color within the text), and index. Further resources are available on the publisher's website. My only wish was that there might be a more detailed map (the map on p. 9 only includes the 3 major cities) containing mountain ranges, sites mentioned on 35, and water (i.e. Pacific Ocean). This book will work for students working on country research.
Deserts Inside Out
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Cohen, Marina
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 17, 2015
Gleb, Heidi
Each book in the series begins with the questions “What is an ecosystem?” and “What is a system?” Following is a brief discussion of how all living things need energy to survive; the food from which the energy comes is described specific to the ecosystem. Geographic areas which contain the ecosystems get a two-page spread with a large photo of an inhabitant. Young readers will enjoy the variety of colored pages throughout the books and have the opportunity to continue their learning with a science experiment near the end of each book. Important words are in bold throughout and are defined in the glossary.
Oceans Inside Out
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Johnson, Robin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 17, 2015
Gleb, Heidi
Each book in the series begins with the questions “What is an ecosystem?” and “What is a system?” Following is a brief discussion of how all living things need energy to survive; the food from which the energy comes is described specific to the ecosystem. Geographic areas which contain the ecosystems get a two-page spread with a large photo of an inhabitant. Young readers will enjoy the variety of colored pages throughout the books and have the opportunity to continue their learning with a science experiment near the end of each book. Important words are in bold throughout and are defined in the glossary. Nicely done--a great resource for students.
Tundras Inside Out
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Bow, James
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 17, 2015
Gleb, Heidi
Each book in the series begins with the questions “What is an ecosystem?” and “What is a system?” Following is a brief discussion of how all living things need energy to survive; the food from which the energy comes is described specific to the ecosystem. Geographic areas which contain the ecosystems get a two-page spread with a large photo of an inhabitant. Young readers will enjoy the variety of colored pages throughout the books and have the opportunity to continue their learning with a science experiment near the end of each book. Important words are in bold throughout and are defined in the glossary.
Shyanna's Song
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Gurtler, Janet
Wood, Katie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
March 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
What is it with mermaid books? Suddenly there's an ocean of them! This is part of the "Mermaid Kingdom" series. Mermaid Shyanna wants to sing, and enters the contest for 12-year-old mermaids. Winning is important, but just as important is bringing music back to her mother, mourning the loss of her father. However, a new girl has an amazing voice and is sure to win, and how will Shyanna deal with her stage fright? This is a story that, except for the mermaid details, could have taken place in any setting. The themes of jealousy, shyness, and friendship are universal. Tossing in the mermaid angle will ensure a strong circulation. Color illustrations add a nice touch. This is not a first purchase, but I'm sure it will be popular.
Trouble At Trident Academy
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Dadey, Debbie
Avakyan, Tatevik
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
March 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Mermaid Tales" series features your typical group of young girls with typical interactions, in an undersea setting. And, let's be honest, the rules of life underwater in no way apply here, but that's what you get when you feature mermaids. Don't expect any of the realities of undersea life to apply here. That doesn't however, mean that this is not a fun series. In this volume Shelly Siren is just starting at Trident Academy. Making friends can be a challenge, and finding your place can be as well. It doesn't help when a school project goes awry and a tail gets stuck in a pot. This is not great literature, however these books, with their occasional black and white illustrations, are flying off my library shelves. They are good transitional readers for girls just heading into chapter books.
Danger In The Deep Blue Sea
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Dadey, Debbie
Avakyan, Tatevik
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
March 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Mermaid Tales" series features your typical group of young girls with their typical interactions, only in an undersea setting. And, let's be honest, the undersea setting is just there as a background for mermaids. Don't expect any of the realities of undersea life to apply here, except as they move the plot along. That doesn't however, mean that this is not a fun series. In this volume sharks have been spotted around Trident City and the students at Trident Academy are on the alert. Pearl behaves very badly, accusing Kiki of theft and forcing her to move. The mergirls are at odds, but danger unites them and eventually the truth comes out. Stereotypical, slight? Sure, but these books, with their occasional black and white illustrations, are flying off my library shelves. They are good transitional readers for girls just heading into chapter books.
If Kids Ruled The World
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Bailey, Linda
Huyck, David
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
All ages
March 18, 2015
Jensen, Kathy
What a delightful place we would live in if kids ruled the world. Award-winning author Linda Bailey stirs your imagination and takes you back to all the fun and carefree living of childhood in her book, If Kids Ruled the World. From daily birthdays and living in a castle to flying in a thingamajiggy and having any kind of pet you like, this story leads you to believe almost anything is possible! Children will love hearing all the fun and crazy ideas, and older folks will enjoy traveling down memory lane to their playful past. This book would be a fun one to snuggle with alone in bed or read with your favorite grandparent. It won’t stay on a library shelf for long!
Extraordinary Mr. Qwerty
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Strambini, Karla
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
All ages
March 18, 2015
Jensen, Kathy
The Extraordinary Mr. Qwerty is an extraordinary book by first-time author Karla Strambini. Mr. Qwerty (note the letters used in his name are letters in the same row on a keyboard) thinks his ideas are strange and that everyone might think he is strange. He feels lonely and is convinced that people don’t think the way he does. One day, Mr. Qwerty’s ideas escape (as ideas often do) and an amazing thing happens! His inventions change the world because his ideas spurn creativity in others. An absolutely delightful storyline encourages creativity, and unique pencil and digital watercolor illustrations entertain the reader. The story is short, but you’ll want to spend a long time reading it, savoring and studying every word and picture. Minimal color (blue and red) spotted throughout the book enhance the black and white illustrations and captivate the reader. A truly delightful book! Be watching for more from this talented author/illustrator.
I Feel Five!
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Murguia, Bethanie Deeney
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 18, 2015
Jensen, Kathy
Four-year-old Fritz can’t wait for tomorrow. He’ll be turning five years old! For some reason, the next day he doesn’t feel five even though he eats his five birthday pancakes and gets a crown at school while his friends sing Happy Birthday to him. Fritz learns that it’s in the quiet, unexpected moments that we grow and change. This sweet, simple story of a child having a birthday will appeal to some four and five year olds, but will probably not draw the attention of children outside that age range.
Nancy Knows
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Young, Cybele
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 18, 2015
Jensen, Kathy
Nancy the elephant remembers all sorts of things but forgets one thing. She’s supposed to meet a friend at the park. As she relaxes against the trunk of a large tree and stops thinking altogether, a leaf floats down and reminds her that Oscar the elephant is waiting for her at the park. A beautiful collage cover and clever title page grace the book, Nancy Knows, by Cybele Young. Unfortunately, the illustrations throughout the rest of the book don’t bring any more creativity to the story. A black line elephant filled with a variety of objects is about the only picture you’ll see until the last few pages of the book; however, children will enjoy picking out items (much the same way as in an I Spy book). A simple story with simple illustrations that may engage some readers.
Grasslands Inside Out
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Bow, James
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 18, 2015
Gleb, Heidi
Each book in the series begins with the questions “What is an ecosystem?” and “What is a system?” Following is a brief discussion of how all living things need energy to survive; the food from which the energy comes is described specific to the ecosystem. Geographic areas which contain the ecosystems get a two-page spread with a large photo of an inhabitant. Young readers will enjoy the variety of colored pages throughout the books and have the opportunity to continue their learning with a science experiment near the end of each book. Important words are in bold throughout and are defined in the glossary.
Secret Sea Horse
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Dadey, Debbie
Avakyan, Tatevik
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
March 18, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This is book #6 in the "Mermaid Tales" series. Echo discovers that Rocky has a pet sea horse, but this raises a moral dilemma. Shouldn't sea horses be allowed to be wild and free? Doesn't keeping one as a pet mean it has lost that freedom? Then there's the upcoming spelling test at Trident Academy. What to do? What to do? This is a lightweight series by an established author. Short chapters and occasional black and white illustrations make this a good choice for those transitioning to chapter books. Sure, the characters are pretty one-dimensional, but girls are flocking to this series.
Lost Princess
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Dadey, Debbie
Avakyan, Tatevik
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
March 18, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This is book #5 in the "Mermaid Tales" series that features a group of third-grade merkids at Trident Academy. In this volume Shelly is surprised to discover that her grandfather has been hiding a family secret--she's really of royal blood and will eventually have to take up her role. What does this mean? Can she still be the same person? Can she trust the friendships she is offered when her identity is known? This is a lightweight series by an established author. Short chapters and occasional black and white illustrations make this a good choice for those transitioning to chapter books. Sure, the characters are pretty one-dimensional, but girls are flocking to this series.
Treasure In Trident City
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Dadey, Debbie
Avakyan, Tatevik
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
March 18, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Yo ho ho! An abandoned ship, rumored to be haunted, may contain treasure. It's off-limits to the third-grade merkids, but that doesn't stop Rocky, Wanda, and Pearl. Especially Pearl, who is hoping for some serious jewelry. The expedition turns dangerous, however. This is book #8 in the "Mermaid Tales" series--lightweight books by an established author. Short chapters and occasional black and white illustrations make this a good choice for those transitioning to chapter books. Sure, the characters are pretty one-dimensional, but girls are flocking to this series.
Making Machines With Pulleys
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Oxlade, Chris
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 18, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Photographs, diagrams and clearly written text are seamlessly blended in this introduction to pulleys, how they work, and common uses historically and today. Font is large and the graphic design is attractive and conducive to acquiring new information. Definitions of simple pulleys compound pulleys and pulley belts are clearly stated and demonstrated by well-labeled diagrams with color-coded boxes and labels describing how the pulleys are working. Familiar examples of the pulleys include a flagpole, sailboat, bicycle and construction crane. Three projects involve making a simple pulley, complex pulley and a belt pulley out of household objects such as old CDs, toilet paper tubes, string, pencils, glue, cardboard and rubber bands. Questions about what is happening follow each project and extension suggestions and questions are related to pulleys in our everyday life. A facts & fun page glossary, index, recommended books and publisher web links are included.
Little Author In The Big Woods : A Biography Of Laura Ingall
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY]
Mcdonough, Yona Zeldis
Thermes, Jennifer
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 19, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
If you love the "Little House" books you'll enjoy this friendly, narrative nonfiction biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder. The author has done her research. Here young readers get the true story about Laura's life, including bits that never appeared in her books. The book covers the courtship and marriage of her parents, the birth of their children, their frequent travels and financial problems, and the author's marriage and eventual death at 90. There's a nice sense of familiarity as readers see how her actual life was reflected in incidents in her books, and note what she changed. It was also nice to find out what happened to those closest to her. Included are rules for some of the games she played, a few recipes, quotes, glossary, source notes, and instructions for making a corn husk doll. The book is over 150 pages long, but the short chapters and occasional black and white illustrations , as well as cozy cover art, will make this an enticing choice for young biography readers.
Dream Of The Blue Turtle
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Dadey, Debbie
Avakyan, Tatevik
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
March 19, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This is book #7 in the "Mermaid Tales" series. In it our third-grade merkids are going to have a special guest at Trident Academy--a leatherback turtle. Kiki, however, has had a vision that this visit may end in disaster for Rocky, another student. What can she do to make sure that all ends well? Oddly, Kiki's "visions" have not been mentioned in previous books. This series features short chapters and plenty of black and white illustrations and, of course, mermaids. It has no real literary value, but the young girls eager to grab the next volume don't really seem to care.
Always Twins
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Weidner, Teri
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
March 19, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Lily and Olivia are twin ducklings that look that same, but have different personalities. Lily is thoughtful and likes to observe everything while Olivia bustles about jumping into things. When these differences collide they have a shouting match, and Olivia goes off in a huff. At first Lily is angry too, but loneliness takes over. When she finds Olivia high on a branch, she musters the courage to help her sister. Their reunion is confounded by the branch breaking and they splash into the pond below. Unscathed their sisterhood is cemented once again as they recognize their undeniable bond as twins, who are sometimes alike and sometimes different. This is a sweet, simple story for the Pre-K set. Some kids will like it just for the cute ducklings that are hard to tell apart. With five pairs of kindergarten twins this got a fair audience.
Hoppelpopp And The Best Bunny
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Lobe, Mira
Kaufmann, Angelika
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 19, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Five bunny siblings get along famously until the great big rabbit stranger Hoppelpopp confuses them. When asked which is the best bunny, they don’t understand the question, because in their minds they are all the same—“all fast, strong, smart and brave.” Hoppelpopp, for whatever reason, won’t let this stand. He creates tests for each ability and announces a different bunny the winner. When the individual bunny hears this it responds in a bragging manner, “I’m am the strongest. I am better than the rest of you.” Thus dissonance reigns to the point where each is too good for the others, and they do not share, play or sleep together anymore. Buddy, the one with nightmares, is especially disheartened because he has no special skill until he sounds the alert of an enemy badger approaching. He also convinces his brothers and sisters that they should not run away from this creature, but chase it away. When they praise him for being the best because he’s both brave and smart, the theme comes through when he replies, “No, I am only brave because the five of us are together.” Originally published in Austria this translates nicely for the primary audience, who enjoy the message and the cute bunny illustrations. Pre-2.
Encyclopedia Brown Boy Detective
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Sobol, Donald J
Shortall, Leonard
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
March 20, 2015
Kline, Karen
Everyone’s favorite clue hound is rebound and reinforced in this updated cover to the 1963 classic series’ first title. Fifth grader Leroy Brown is known to all the citizens of Idaville as Encyclopedia Brown, and he usually solves crimes over dinner and before dessert for his dad the Chief of Police. In this ten chapter book, each chapter presents a different crime and the reader is directed to find the solutions to the cases on pages at the end of the book. The original captioned black and white line drawings are classic without seeming too dated, and the new cover depicts a confident, tousle-haired boy sitting amongst several items from the cases in the story, a roller skate, cards, and a diamond necklace. Since the crimes are always solved through careful study of something a criminal says or does, the books demand the reader to do close reading and to read and reread. If your library is missing this title or the tattered cover is begging to be weeded, now’s the time to restock and invite a new generation of readers to discover an icon of the mystery genre.
Owl Boy
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Schatell, Brian
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 21, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This author/illustrator has created a somewhat entertaining book about Al, a young boy, who is obsessed with everything “owl” to the point he is loathe to do anything an owl won’t do. His response to eating meatloaf is that owls eat mice. When asked to play different sports unsuccessfully with his brothers, he states that owls don’t play sports. His parents then send him to camp where his reactions are contrary and always relate to what an owl would or wouldn’t do. When he gets lost on a hike he is rewarded with a nighttime experience with an owl. It’s perfect until he gets hungry, and the owl brings him his own mouse to eat. The huge YUCK after tasting this mouse immediately reforms Al’s thinking so that he’s now eager to eat tons of meatloaf, sing camp songs and play sports, even successfully. He still likes owls, but he’s no longer obsessed with these creatures that eat mice! The watercolor illustrations with their black marker pen outlines capture and hold the primary students’ interest. “Al” and “owl” seem intentionally to sound much alike especially when trying to read aloud:)
Spots In A Box
TEMPLAR [TEMPLAR]
Ward, Helen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 21, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
A guinea fowl that does not have any spots writes a letter requesting spots. He receives a myriad of boxes of spots, none of which is appropriate—too tall, too long, too small and sneezy, empty ones, glow-in-the dark, too sparkly and bright, connect-the-dots, splats, drips and blots, inky-font and i-topping spots. Finally, he receives some that are just right—the same size as the other guinea fowls’ spots, his are sparkly and multi-colored, and put a smile on his beak. This very simple rhyming text will entertain the young audience along with strong illustrations involving some cut-outs starting on the cover plus sparkles. The guinea fowl have especially colorful heads and necks making this an attractive addition. Kids enjoy drawing their own spots for the guinea fowl. Ad/Ad+
Spa Projects You Can Make And Share
Snap Books/capstone Press [Snap Books/capstone Press]
Bolte, Mari
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 22, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Capstone’s Snap Books are intended for a middle grade audience, but Spa Projects might interest girls up through 7th grade. Crafts center on spa pleasures using easy to find ingredients and supplies and are great projects for sleepovers. The four Sleepover Girls are best friends and get together every Friday for “crafts, fashion, cooking, and, of course, girl talk!” While this “girl talk” is intended for a specific audience, the projects are interesting enough to appeal to those for whom popularity and self-pampering are not the chief concern. Projects have names such as “Sleepover Sugar” for sweet-smelling sugar scrubbing cubes or “Cocoa Glow” for a facial mask. Younger girls might need older sister or adult supervision, but the middle school aged readers should be able to handle it on their own. Other spa projects include “Spa Sundaes” holding the created goodies, “Fuzzy Warm Feet” slippers, painted teacups, hair chalk, “Glitter Bombs” bath salts, and soap bars. Three books are recommended and a table of contents identifies the projects.
Fun Things To Do With Milk Jugs
A+ Books/capstone Press [A+ Books/capstone Press]
Ventura, Marne
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
March 22, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Craft books are always a big draw for readers and many households accumulate plenty of plastic 1-gallon jugs. Ten colorful and creative projects use the jug and other easily accessible materials to make games, gardens, bird feeder, toys, aquarium, piggy bank and a useful plastic bag monster. Each activity has a bright and colorful photograph of the finished project opposite the supply list and instructions. Younger students will need adult assistance for some of the cutting steps but the clear directions are easily followed and the inset photographs illustrate a few of the intermediate steps. A contrasting color box superimposed on the large photograph gives suggestions for how to use the creation. Three additional books and a publisher monitored web link to 3 websites are included as well as a Table of Contents. Of the three websites, only one is worth exploring with a huge list of craft projects by themes. The craft projects will appeal most to Primary students even though they may need more help. Purchase if needed for your craft and How-To section.
Smashie Mcperter And The Mystery Of Room 11
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Griffin, N
Hindley, Kate
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 22, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Smashie is an unusual girl. She likes to make up outfits when she's involved in particular tasks. Now she's got her investigation suit on as mysteries abound in her school. The class hamster is missing. She didn't like it much--its feet made her nervous. Still, someone needs to find it. And who's been gluing things to people? It would help if they didn't have that weird, self-centered substitute...or is he part of the problem? This is a fun, well-written, lighthearted mystery. I like that they had several "fails" in trying to solve the mysteries, and I enjoyed the focus on investigative vocabulary. This looks like it could well be the first book in a series.
Rory's Promise
Calkins Creek [Calkins Creek]
Maccoll, Michaela
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 22, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Feisty, and fiercely protective, Rory promised her dying mother that she would always take care of her younger sister Violet. At the Sisters of Charity Foundling Hospital, Rory fights to stay with Violet and creates a niche caring for the younger children. But when she learns that Violet has been placed in a home far across the country to the Arizona Territory, Rory erupts in pain and anger. She stows away on the overcrowded orphan train and by the time she is discovered, the exhausted nuns gratefully put her to work caring for the children. Clifton, a mining town in Arizona Territory, is covered in sulfur smoke and noise and the high infant mortality due to the toxic mining as well as Mexican worker strikes have fueled a tinderbox of racial tension. When the train arrives with 40 fair-haired children for the Catholic Mexican families, the Anglo community explodes into violence and kidnaps many of the children. Based on true events, the back material includes information on the Foundling society and nuns, orphan trains, the Arizona towns and how the author adapted these for the story. An abundance of discussion issues and engaging story make this a great read-aloud.
Better to Wish : the first generation
Scholastic Press [Scholastic Press]
Martin, Ann
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 22, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Four books and four generations of a family following the matrilineal line blend historical and realistic fiction in an engaging series that starts in Lewiston, Maine. Abby Nichols commences her storytelling looking back on her life in a prologue written in 2022. Selecting 1930 as her starting point, she recounts her family life with a harsh, prejudiced, self-made man father and a severely depressed mother, emotionally fragile after losing two of her infant boys. Abby at 12, takes care of her younger sister Rose and is inseparable from her best friend Sarah, but needs to hide her friendship with Orrin, a local Irish Catholic boy, she is forbidden to play with. Life changes when her father builds a big house in town and they move into a new life and Abby is expected to act the part of a higher-class girl. In this coming-of-age story, Abby experiences heartbreak, romance and the pleasures of earning a living away from her family. While the story comes full circle when she accepts the proposal of marriage on her own terms, her friendship with Orrin and her remarried father are left incomplete, perhaps to be picked up in Book 2.
Frog or Toad?
SUPER SANDCASTLE [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
KRALOVANSKY, SUSAN
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 22, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Do you know the differences between frogs and toads? Students will be able to answer this as well as recount interesting facts after reading this clearly written text matched with crisp, colorful close-up photographs. Part of the This or That series in the Super Sandcastle imprint, the books are tailor-made for note-taking and comparison charts. Comparisons include life cycle details, physical characteristics, and habits. Text boxes are color coordinated and superimposed on the full-page photographs creating an appealing design but be aware that the bolded vocabulary words don’t stand out. Extra features include an “at a glance” comparison chart and art projects a frog or toad out of painted toilet paper rolls and construction paper. This book would be attractive as a read-aloud, mentor text or under a document camera. Written at a GRL I level, this book will be well received in any elementary library.
Caves : An Explorer Travel Guide
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Claybourne, Anna
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 23, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
What do troglobites, snottites and speleothem have in common? Answer: They are the cave dwellers, slime tubes and strange rock formations found in caves around the world. Focusing on extraordinary caves, this intriguing travel guide includes a brief overview of caves, their geology and locations, unusual features, early explorers, cave science, mapping, equipment, and safety rules and dangers for exploration. All the extra text features and photographs support the notion that the reader will be setting off to explore caves, so must-see caves and caves with prehistoric art are featured and a two page world map shows locations of some of these. Color-coded text boxes highlight amazing facts, who’s who, conservation issues and tips and reminders for caving adventures. Stunning photographs exhibit the remarkable beauty of massive echoing chambers, sea caves, deep cave pits with waterfalls, underwater caves, cave houses in Turkey and even a classroom in a large cave in China. Additional features include interviews with a cave scientist and cave explorer, brief bios of famous cave explorers, timeline, Fact File with pertinent data and definitions, glossary, recommended books, websites, DVD’s, places to visit and research suggestions.
Hop! Hop!
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Patricelli, Leslie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten
March 23, 2015
Kline, Karen
Welcome spring with this cheerful board book featuring a diapered toddler enjoying the fun of the season. First we dye eggs to get ready for the Easter bunny. It’s a messy affair with dye on baby’s head as the primary colors are mixed. Yellow and red make orange, and so on. Next the wee one does an art project and makes a bunny ear headband and puts out a basket for the Easter bunny. While little one sleeps a bunny shadow appears leading to a page full of jelly beans, a chickie book, and a chocolate bunny. The brightly colored acrylic art in the book and the child’s many expressions will have the preschool crowd revisiting the pages to recount the fun and occasional tears. When baby can’t find an egg -- it’s right behind him (or is the baby a girl?) --the tension mounts. All’s well in the end, though, and Mom, Dad, kitty, and doggy are there to cheer. The final double page spread concludes with a happy baby surrounded by a myriad of colored eggs from tie-dye to rainbow. Fun seasonal fare.
Africa Is My Home : A Child Of The Amistad
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Edinger, Monica
Byrd, Robert
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 23, 2015
Kline, Karen
Magulu, or Margru as she is known today, a nine year old girl born in Western Africa (today’s Sierra Leone) tells her story in this narrative fictionalized extended length picture book illustrated by award winner Robert Byrd. Traded as a pawn by her father when the family was starving in Mendeland, Magulu along with three other children and many kidnapped adults are sold to Spanish slave traders and put aboard a boat bound for Cuba. Along the way the soon-to-be enslaved adults kill most of the Amistad’s crew and captain. The remaining crew deceives the African rebels and sails the boat to New Havana despite being told to take the people back to Africa. Upon arrival in Cuba, Magulu and the others are put in jail and spend almost two years awaiting trial in Cuba and eventually in Washington D. C. In the meantime, Magulu is schooled and housed by American missionaries. Eventually, Magulu goes back to Africa to teach and may have even reconnected with her family. This book succeeds in framing this amazing story in a child’s voice while still imparting the important factual events in a way that young readers will enjoy learning about. Detailed watercolor and line drawings as well as occasional snippets from primary resources.
Under The Freedom Tree
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Vanhecke, Susan
Ladd, London
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 23, 2015
Kline, Karen
On a moonlit night in 1861 three Virginia slaves escape across the Hampton Roads harbor and present themselves to the Union general at Fort Monroe just a day after Virginia secedes. When the Confederates come to claim their “chattel” citing the Fugitive Slave Act, the Union general informs them that he “claims and seizes their ‘chattel’ as enemy property.” Told in sparse free verse poetry, the acrylic, pastel and colored pencil illustrations complement the text in muted tones echoing the drab and dismal circumstances of the former slaves that come in droves to the fortress. After working all day for the union forces the freedmen build Slabtown and Grand Contraband Camp using the remains of the city that was burned near an old oak tree. Under the tree that is now part of a National Historic Landmark District, is where missionaries school the freemen’s children and where the Emancipation Proclamation is read aloud by one of the newly literate children in the book. A two-page author’s note and bibliography add to the book’s historical merit.
Thirteen
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Hoyle, Tom
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
March 23, 2015
Dame, Anne
Thirteen boys were born at midnight as the new millennium began. Twelve of them have already been killed. However, Adam, the 13th one, has managed to escape the cult that has been trying to kill him since he was born. The cult believes that if Adam reaches his 14th birthday, he has the power to destroy the world. Lots of action and adventure, some violence. Good for fans of Alex Rider, etc.
Best Friends Through Eternity
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Mcnicoll, Sylvia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
March 23, 2015
Dame, Anne
For fans of "If I Stay" Paige is walking home from school one day. In order to avoid some mean girl bullies, she takes a shortcut along the railroad tracks. When she is unable to get out of the way fast enough, she is hit by an oncoming train. When she wakes up, she is on a beach with her former best friend who moved away 7 years ago. Some interesting plot twists. A thoughtful look at adoption and cultural identity, as well as friendship and family.
Liberty Bell
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Reed, Cristie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 23, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The Liberty Bell has long been a symbol of hope for freedom and democracy in our country and around the world. But did you know that it was originally built in 1751 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of William Penn’s writing of the Charter of Privileges, a plan for the government of Pennsylvania that later became a major foundation of our Constitution? This Symbols of Freedom book details the history of the bell’s construction including the formation of the cracks and attempts to repair. Historical paintings, photographs, and Freedom Facts boxes join well-written text in this engaging story about the iconic bell. A one-page supplement of Reading Activities facing the Table of Contents gives suggestions for pre-reading as well as higher level extension questions and activities. Many complex vocabulary words are listed on this page, bold in the text and defined in the glossary. Back material includes a timeline, glossary, index, recommended websites, and five questions requiring recall and some analysis. Two pages of Liberty Bell measurements felt unnecessary to me, though. The Liberty Bell has become a strong symbol of our country and this 32-page, GRL Q book would be an excellent addition for most elementary school libraries.
Macbeth
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Hinds, Gareth
Hinds, Gareth
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 24, 2015
Datisman, Eve
"By the pricking of my thumbs/Something wicked this way comes" This graphic novel treatment of Macbeth is a winner. It has ambition, murder, ghosts, witches, and madness and the seduction of a good man by power, all set in 11th century Scotland and illustrated masterfully by Hinds. The colors of the illustrations are muted like a foggy countryside. Even the brighter panels retain the impression that "fair is foul and foul is fair." Since Macbeth is an historical Scottish King (1040-1057), Hinds has carefully done his research into clothing, armor, history, and setting of the play. Even though what we think of as castles were not introduced in Britain or Scotland until after the 1066 conquest by William of Normandy, Shakespeare was likely unaware of that fact and referred to them repeatedly in all of his plays, therefore Hinds uses an anachronism to match the text. Hinds is scrupulous in using Shakespeare's language but has removed line breaks an some contractions. Historical notes, notes on the text, and page by page notes add depth to the book and make it a valuable resource for teachers and students. The visual pun at the end is a treat. Booklist Starred Review
Great Leaders And Thinkers Of Ancient Greece
First Facts/capstone Press [First Facts/capstone Press]
Peterson, Megan Cooley
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 24, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "First Facts: Ancient Greece" series, this 24 page book introduces readers to some of the leaders and philosophers of Ancient Greece. Each two page spread or "chapter" contains a couple paragraphs of text and an illustration. The book opens describing the contributions these men had on the world. Then eight individuals are presented in mostly chronological order. Covered are: Homer, Themistocles, Pericles, Herodotus, Phidias, Plato, Alexander the Great, and Archimedes. While readers won't learn a great deal about any of these men, they will get an introduction that might lead them to further research. Included with each chapter is a call out box that provide additional facts, any glossary terms and definition, and illustration/photo captions. The book is complete with a table of contents, timeline, glossary (same words as defined in the text), bibliography (web resources through the publisher's site), index, and two critical thinking questions. This book would work well for lower reading level sixth graders during their study of ancient civilizations or as an introduction for all students.
Pig Called Heather
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Oulton, Harry
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 24, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Heather is a pig living on a farm in Scotland with her best friend, a girl named Isla. Isla keeps up a steady stream of talking, which Heather understands and responds to with a special scrunch. Isla’s dad is almost over the hump of making ends meet when a storm starts a fire in the barn and burns all of his barley. He and Isla have to move to London when bought out by a chicken farmer, Busby’s Birds, who has big plans including an advertising campaign. Heather is left behind with the other farm animals, whom she can communicate with, but becomes a celebrity, Busby’s Pig, when caught on camera feeding the starving chickens in a pen. She lands in London with the publicity person and her dog, and ultimately (unlikely as it is) tracks down Isla, who tries to keep her hidden from everyone trying to find Heather AKA Busby since she is mistakenly thought to have swine flu. The ending is over the top as Isla and Heather try to keep the pest control man and his dog off Heather’s trail and get her to a safe haven at the London Zoo. This story has some references that will go over the heads of intermediate students. The strength is in relationships between Isla and Heather and Isla and her understanding widowed father.
Dave Thomas : Wendy's Founder
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Llanas, Sheila Griffin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 24, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Food Dudes" series, this 32 page book explores the life of restaurateur, Dave Thomas. The book contains a series of two-page "chapters" the follow his life chronologically. We learn about his early life with his father and his love for restaurants, his connection with Colonel Sanders of KFC fame, the development of his Wendy's fast-food chain, and his legacy. The story is interesting and well-written. Color, captioned photos are found throughout the book. The book has a table of contents, timelines, glossary (words are also in bold throughout the text), and index. Web resources are available through the publisher's website. This would be a useful source for biography research or projects.
Australia : A Benjamin Blog And His Inquisitive Dog Guide
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Ganeri, Anita
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 24, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
This 32 page book is part of the "Benjamin Blog Country Guides" series. Benjamin and his dog, Barko, are exploring the nation of Australia. As they travel around the country, readers read Ben's blog posts and Barko's facts. It seems a bit disjointed. Sometimes the facts and post seem to relate to each other (founding 1800s and a historical event in 1860), and other times they don't (Uluru-Ayres Rock and Great Barrier Reef). Color photographs are found throughout but are not captioned (although they do relate to the text on the page). Some photos have the cartoon of Ben and Barko inserted into them, which might appeal to readers. The conversational tone will also appeal to casual readers. One inaccuracy is found on p. 5 "It make up most of the continent of Australia," when it actually makes up the entire continent. The book has the typical non-fiction features: table of contents, map, fact page, glossary, bibliography (web resources are available through the publisher's webpage), and index. While this book could be helpful for research projects, there are better resources available.
Creek
Big Buddy Books/abdo [Big Buddy Books/abdo]
Tieck, Sarah
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 24, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Big Buddy Books: Native Americans" series, this 24 page book provides information about the Creek tribe of the Southeastern 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.
South Carolina
CHILDRENS PRESS [CHILDRENS PRESS]
Somervill, Barbara A
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 24, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
This 144 page book is part of the "Revised Edition: America the Beautiful" series. This well-written volume contains information regarding the geography, history, culture, government, and economy of the Palmetto State, The layout is colorful and appealing. The reader will find a great deal of information that would be useful in research. Color photographs, maps, and tables are found throughout. Call out boxes give the reader additional information about people or places related to text. The book has a table of contents, timeline, glossary, maps, biographical dictionary, bibliography (web resources are available through the publisher's website), index, and source notes. This book would be a great addition to your state collection.
Titanic
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Amstutz, Lisa J
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 24, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
You probably have a lot of books on the sinking of the Titanic, but this book focuses on the discovery of the shipwreck and it's impact on the world. Part of the "Digging up the Past" series, this 112 page book is well-written and will be welcomed by Titanic readers. The opening chapter describes the tragedy, then the rest of the book looks closely at the discovery, the technology involved in the search, the funding issues various groups faced, mapping the site, recovery of artifacts, the legacy of the ship, and the future of the wreck. Captioned photographs and illustrations enhance the text, as well as, call out boxes which provide the reader with additional or background information. The book is complete with a table of contents, timeline, reference facts, glossary, bibliography (web resources are available through the publisher's website), index, author information, and extensive source notes. This will be a great purchase if you have reader's interested in the Titanic, and you do!
Titanic
Scholastic Reference [Scholastic Reference]
Callery, Sean
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 24, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 980 – Scholastic has adopted the Dorling-Kindersly style of page composition to take readers on a tour of the ship and to discover stories told by survivors. It offers an on-going bibliography to help students make an immediate connection to where to find more information. Photo-realistic paintings, illustrations and photographs create the building, the outfitting, the lading, and the sailing experience of the ship for First, Second, and Third-Class passengers and the crew allowing readers to experience the social divisions of the time. The book is arranged in sections covering the building of the ship, the voyage, the sinking, and the rescue and recovery. Each section is introduced by essential questions. Questions about the “unsinkability” of the Titanic based on its advanced design and technology are addressed both directly and obliquely requiring that students analyze and synthesize and deal with legal and moral questions. Glossary and Index. A free digital book True Survivors’’ Stories is available on the Scholastic site accessed by special code; it downloads as a zip file and requires Adobe. . Assumes some knowledge of the disaster might be a bit a daunting others who are just learning.
Rock & Roll Highway : The Robbie Robertson Story
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY]
Robertson, Sebastian
Gustavson, Adam
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
March 24, 2015
Datisman, Eve
This is a lovely tribute from a son to his father. Sebastian Robertson begins the story with Robbie stepping out on stage after a five hour concert at the Winterland Ballroom in 1976. It was the last encore and the last concert he and The Band would perform: It was their “Last Waltz” (filmed by Martin Scorsese). Sebastian then starts at the beginning an early memory of Robertson’s mother turning on a radio and the boogie-woogie tune that washed over the two –year-old as he fell asleep. Jamie Royal Robertson was born in Ontario, Canada, the son of a Mohawk Indian mother and Jewish professional gambler. Early on he and his mother would spend a great deal of time at the Six Nations Indian Reservation and he was steeped in the music, melodies and stories performed by his relatives. So much so that Robbie told his mother that one day he wanted to be a story-teller. When his relatives came to Toronto they brought guitars, mandolins, banjos, and drums; they taught Robbie to play. A professional musician at 15,a singer, songwriter, film scorer, rock and roll royalty in Canada and the US., Robertson’s involvement in music helped to create the musical genre Americana and enriches us all.
Otzi The Iceman
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Lanser, Amanda
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 24, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Well-written and informative perspective about how archaeology contributes to historical knowledge makes them good choices for secondary libraries. The story of Ötzi begins with the hikers who discovered in Sept. 1991 and continues through his installation as a permanent exhibit, along with his possessions, at the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology in 2013. In between students learn about the archeological process including his recovery from the ice, carbon dating, the careful screening of possessions, discovery of grains, grasses, the method of his death (not discovered until 2001) and the other wounds on his body as well as his diet, his genomic structure, and how and where he lived. Lots of photos, some better than others. Many sidebar entries introduce tools, questions, and hypotheses concerning the process of discovering what Ötzi has to tell the world. 112 p. Timeline, key technologies, impact on science, visiting the iceman, glossary, elected bib., other sources, and source notes, index.
Chloe The Kitten
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Small, Lily
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 24, 2015
Kline, Karen
Chloe is a Cobweb Kitten, and like all the animals in Misty Wood she has a job to do. She collects and adds dewdrops to make the spiderwebs sparkle. Today, though, Chloe wakes up late, leaves home without breakfast, and forgets her basket at Moonshine Pond. Luckily, everyone in Misty Wood is creative, helpful and polite. Just as Stardust Squirrel is showing Chloe how to improvise and make a basket from a nutshell and catch up on her work, she discovers that all of her hard work is being undone. A thief? No, turns out it’s a thirsty little Moss Mouse that has lost his parents. Chloe is determined to help Morris the Moss Mouse find his parents even if it means braving the “big lions” (spoiler alert: they’re dandelions!) that Morris lives near. Line drawings throughout the book support beginning chapter book readers. This series is light on literary substance, but fans of fairies and animals are sure to enjoy the sparkles on the cover and the idealized plots.
Guide Dogs
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Laughlin, Kara L
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 24, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
If there is a dog on the cover with a high interest topic like guide dogs, you know it will circulate regardless of the reading or interest level. Material covered includes brief information on the beginnings of guide dogs in the U.S., how they are trained, what guide dogs can do, and how to interact with one while it’s working. Intelligent disobedience is one of the most important skills these dogs learn and then how to use an emergency position, alerting companions to danger. Two stories bracket the general information, describing Buddy, and the origins of the guide dog schools in the U.S. and a heroic story when Nellie got into the emergency position, alerting her deaf companion to an intruder. Most 2-page layouts contain a large photograph showing an aspect of a guide dog’s life and red fact box. The fact box information is short, snappy and varied whereas the text is vague, generalized and composed of shorter sentences. Back material includes a glossary, recommended books and a publisher monitored web portal. This is a serviceable series and will circulate well in most elementary schools. Purchase as needed.
Speedboats
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 24, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Speed Machines" series, this 32 page book describes the fast action of speedboats. The reader will learn about the history of speedboats, parts of a speedboat, safety considerations, and competition. While the book is not in depth, it does provide quite a bit of introductory information. Color, captioned photographs will draw readers in and Fast Fact boxes will provide fun nuggets of information. The book is complete with a table of contents, diagram of a speedboat, glossary, bibliography (web resources available through the publisher's website), index, and a sentence about the author. Given that speedboat racing is popular in our area with SeaFair, this book will be of interest to many students.
Ruby Redfort Catch Your Death
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Child, Lauren
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 24, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Ruby Redfort is a 13-year-old genius and codebreaker who is on probation as a secret agent for Spectrum. She’s just flunked her survival test because she lost her glasses, she thinks too much, relies too much on the rules and doesn’t rely on her “gut.” What makes her a great codebreaker might just do her in. Her best friend Clancy Crewe is having his own problems passing French and trying to get a new bike, a Windrush 2000. The two best friends work to crack a jewel robbery which turns out to be more than that. Exotic endangered, animals show up in Twinford and a perfume-based code leads them on an adventure to save Ruby’s precarious position in Spectrum, earn Clancy’s father’s respect for him, and save a couple of folks and animals along the line. Afternotes include, the lost perfume of Marie Antoinette, notes on the rare animals, and a note on the perfume code. Would be a great read-aloud for families or classes with its blend of mystery, murder and mayhem.
Oh Yeah, Audrey!
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
Shaw, Tucker
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 24, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Gemma Beasely is reeling from the death of her mother and from being the sole focus of her bereft father. In order to escape, she’s become a Tumblr blogger with a page dedicated to Audrey Hepburn. Why? Why not? Two of her Tumble friends agree to meet her in New York (Gemma lives in Pennsylvania) for a screening of Breakfast at Tiffanys on the 50th anniversary of the film’s release. She has no intention of running away from home permanently, but here it is 5:00 AM and Gemma’s dressed in a long sleek black dress, an updo, a triple strand of pearls, cat’s-eye sunglasses, ivory cape and shimmery tiara holding a cup of coffee and a pastry bag. She just might not go home, it’s so much better to be Audrey. Maybe the fantasy of living the Breakfast at Tiffanys life is preferable. She and Bryan and Trina plan their day, Telly, a crasher on the Audrey site who normally slams their posts, shows up. No one thought she would be there, but she does have a lead on an Audrey Hepburn auction. They go. They bid and suddenly Gemma owns THE cocktail dress, courtesy of Dusty, a young man who asked for help with the movie for his film class. Gemma is swept away on her own Holly GoLightly adventure with the attendant heartbreak and moral dilemma.
Beautiful And The Cursed
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE]
Morgan, Page
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 24, 2015
Datisman, Eve
The Waverly sisters, Ingrid and Gabrielle, move to 1899 Paris with their mother who is opening a new art gallery that is a converted abbey. They are excited because they will be reunited with their brother Grayson. They are puzzled when he doesn’t meet them at the train station and horrified when they see what the abbey looks like - old, crumbling, in need of extensive renovation and topped with gargoyles. With no glittering parties, no fancy dresses, and no Season, they need something to occupy their time - solving the mysteries of their brother’s disappearance and the missing girls who are being ripped apart on the streets of Paris? Only Luc, an astonishingly handsome servant who probably shouldn’t be so interesting to Ingrid, is worried about Grayson. When strange, slavering beasts attack, Ingrid repulses one with an electrical charge from her hands and sees a living gargoyle fighting other beasts in her defense. Turns out there is a secret demon hunting society that wants her power and her knowledge. Supernatural romance and mystery blend as Luc and Ingrid search for Grayson.
Feral Pride
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Smith, Cynthia Leitich
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 25, 2015
Datisman, Eve
In keeping with the admonition to “Keep Austin Weird,” Austin, TX, is the venue for the final battle between those fighting for humanity and free-will and those plotting world domination. A creature claiming to be a weresnake has taken the state governor hostage claiming that werebeasts are the superior species and need to take their rightful place. To capitalize on the already existing fear and mistrust of werefolk, an incriminating video depicting a werecat's transformation is made viral. The conspiracy at hand is more insidious than simple antishifter politics, and it references back to the events on Daemon Island in Nights. The Yeti, homo deific, are determined to enslave the werepopulation in order to save the earth and make money doing it. Clyde the Lossum (wereopossum/werelion) is the hero of this crusade which enlists the help of Quincie P. Morris, the souled-vampire owner of Sanguini’s Restaurant, her guardian angel’s sword, and assorted werefolk from the Tantalize series. Multi-part narration from Clyde, Aimee, Yoshi, and Kayla carry this series right up to its bittersweet conclusion exploring the themes of tolerance, freedom, and self-esteem. Kayla's courageous, full acceptance of her animal self is compelling.
Tree Frogs
BELLWETHER MEDIA [BELLWETHER MEDIA]
Bowman, Chris
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 25, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Vivid color photographs accompany crisp, simple text that provides young readers with basic facts about tree frogs. Readers learn a little about habitat, anatomy, camouflage, and life cycle. A glossary, bibliography, and index are included in the nicely-stitched 24 page book. Yes, there isn't a lot of information here, just the basics. Still, the formatting and presentation are eye-catching, and the subject matter is always popular. This is a good choice for easy nonfiction collections.
Gray Wolves
BELLWETHER MEDIA [BELLWETHER MEDIA]
Leaf, Christina
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 25, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This is a level 3 Blastoff Reader--a sturdy 24-page book that would fit nicely into easy nonfiction collections. Young readers learn about the range and habitat of gray wolves. Anatomy, pack life, diet, and life cycle are also briefly examined. There's not a ton of information here, but the crisp color photographs go well with the equally crisp text, and both formatting and presentation are quite eye-catching. Add in the standard text features of a brief glossary, bibliography, and index and you have a solid book that might be useful for that first animal report.
Baby Orangutans
BELLWETHER MEDIA [BELLWETHER MEDIA]
Leaf, Christina
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 25, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Super Cute!" series, this book lives up to its name. It's filled with photographs of super cute baby orangutans and their moms. The photographs fill the double-page spread, with a single text box providing very basic information in a few sentences on each photograph. Since this is a Level 1 Blastoff Reader, the information provided is very simple. Still, with its index, glossary, and bibliography, this is a good addition to your easy nonfiction collection.
Helen Keller
CHILDRENS PRESS [CHILDRENS PRESS]
Mattern, Joanne
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 25, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This 32 page, small format "Rookie Biography" introduces young readers to Helen Keller through clear and informative paragraphs of text facing photographs (usually black and white) and illustrations. This is actually a rather good quick look into her life, giving basic information about her childhood, the impact of Anne Sullivan's influence on her life, and her later education and worldwide fame. The book includes a short timeline, poem, glossary, and index. This is a solid introduction to both the woman and the genre.
Stonehenge
BELLWETHER MEDIA [BELLWETHER MEDIA]
Owings, Lisa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 25, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Stonehenge has puzzled and intrigued people for centuries. Who built it? Why? Some attribute mystic powers to the enigmatic stones. Part of the "Unexplained Mysteries" series, this well-bound 24-page book mysterious photographs and simple text to provide clear information about the location of Stonehenge, and the types of stones that are found there. A brief sentence or two address additional excavations in the area that imply Stonehenge is part of a larger site. The text then lays out some of the speculation about these strange stones. All in all, it's an intriguing read, with few solid answers...hence the name of the series. Standard text features apply. This would work well with high-interest/low vocabulary readers.
Randy Orton
BELLWETHER MEDIA [BELLWETHER MEDIA]
Armstrong, Jesse
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 25, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Wrestling Superstars" series, This sturdy 24 page introduces young WWE fans to Randy Orton. There are plenty of action photographs showing the wrestler slamming down opponents. Readers get a brief bio, a page of profile facts, and some information about his career and his signature moves. There is an index, glossary, and bibliography. The text is simple and easy to read, making this a good high-interest/low vocabulary book. This series is popular and this book will be no exception.
The Rat with the Human Face
AMULET BOOKS [ABRAMS]
ANGLEBERGER, TOM
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 25, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Seemingly #2 in the Qwikpick Papers, these are reports written by Lyle Hertzog, co-founder and secretary of the Qwikpick Adventure Society named after adventures he and his two best friends Dave and Marissa, all nerds, embark upon. His reports include his type-written write-up interspersed with his personal notes plus photos from Marissa’s camera. Set in 2000 these three good kids tend to do unorthodox things especially considering that Marrissa is a Jehovah’s Witness who believes in not sinning, and Dave is Jewish and a real rule follower. In this episode while they’re hanging out at the Qwikpick grocery store where his parents work they overhear an electrician tell about a rat with a human face that he came face-to-face with while doing a nasty job in the basement of the Bent Mountain Biological Station. This piques their interest, so they embark on a plan to get there—paying $120 to go along with a trip of old ladies from the rec center for an Easter brunch at the famous hotel nearby, sneak off to the station without breaking in, experiencing the rat up close and personal, and then getting caught. Tom Angleberger fans will welcome another of his somewhat crazy titles with character voices students will enjoy. Gr. 3-6
Apparition
Doubleday Canada [Doubleday Canada]
Gallant, Gail
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 25, 2015
Datisman, Eve
The last time seventeen-year-old Amelia Mackenzie saw her best friend Matthew alive, he broke her heart. When he is found the next day in an abandoned barn at the edge of town, an apparent suicide, Amelia's whole world comes crashing down. And then she sees him again. Because Amelia has a secret that even Matthew didn't know: sometimes, she sees ghosts. Amelia teams up with a local journalist and his son to figure out the mystery of the barn where Matthew and at least three others died. All the victims were broken-hearted and met truly horrific deaths that appear to be suicides. Coincidence? Or is there something or someone more sinister at work? Discussions and explorations about belief and doubt, death and loss, memory and obsession run through the book and Amelia will have to choose between the living and the dead. Setting is a character in this book as well and is based upon Grey County, a beautiful and spooky part of Ontario, Canada where Gallant now lives. “On our property we used to have a dead apple orchard and there was nothing more Tim Burton than that apple orchard,” said Gallant. “It is very spooky and I have to say it arose naturally from my own emotional response to the landscape and the history in the landscape.”
Klaatu Terminus
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Hautman, Pete
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 25, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 690, AD/AD+ In the final book of the Klaatu Diskos trilogy, readers meet up with Tucker and Lahliati in the ruins of Romelas in the very distant future. While their past travels have granted them knowledge about the Klaatu there is still much to learn. Kosh remains in the present time and continues his search for Emily, but in this time-sequencing world, people are not always who they seem to be. The action this time is mostly divided between Tucker’s futuristic search for ex–Pure Girl Lia and two different time planes involving Tucker’s uncle, Kosh, whose relationship with Emily/Emma progresses in both 1997 and 2012. Most intriguing throughout the trilogy are the questions, what is the purpose of their journey and the larger ideas of faith, choice, identity and responsibility? Bold readers who stick with the series will be rewarded.
Threatened
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Schrefer, Eliot
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 25, 2015
Datisman, Eve
8-12 grades Lexile 910, 2014 National Book Award Finalist The author of Endangered (2012) introduces another primate species, offering a poignant demonstration of connection between chimpanzees and humans. When AIDs orphan Luc goes into the Gabon jungle with professor Abdul Mohammed, a scientist who frees him from his bondholder and plans to study chimpanzees in the wild, the resourceful boy finds a surprising new family and makes a real home. Luc's story is riveting and seldom comfortable, for him or for his readers. The chimpanzees are aggressive, but they are not as lethal as the leopard or as personally dangerous as the bushmeat hunter the professor frightens away or Monsieur Tatagani, determined to return Luc to his stable of street boys. Drummer, the young male chimp Luc rescues from a trap, and Mango, his toddler sister, have personalities as real and appealing as the boy himself. Excellent lead in to discussion.
Loop
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Lawson, Shandy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 25, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Hi/Lo, Gr. 9-12 Two teenagers relive their violent deaths over and over when they find themselves stuck in a time loop. Ben and Maggie have met cute hundreds of times; they just don't remember. Ben experiences strong dj vu when he accidentally spills iced tea on himself after crashing into Maggie on a mall escalator in New Orleans. That innocent encounter leads to attempted murder, 24 hours on the lam, an envelope full of racetrack winnings and a final showdown in a dirty storeroom, where they are shot in cold blood by the same criminal over and over for their misbegotten cash. Each time the teens attempt to change the circumstances that spell their demise, they are thwarted by the machinations of fate, which keeps placing them in the bullets' paths. Is escape possible, or are Ben and Maggie doomed to repeat the worst day of their lives forever? Not an original premise, but a captivating one. It would work better if the characters didn’t stop the action to explain exactly what is happening and why. Those sections are pretty didactic. But the fast pace, and action movie feel, and adventure will appeal.
Wild Storm
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Castle, Richard
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 25, 2015
Datisman, Eve
For those of you who watch the TV show Castle, you are probably aware that even though Richard Castle is a fictitious character, here are is one of his books for your pleasure. At the start of Wild Storm Derrick Storm, the guy the CIA called on when it wants something investigated domestically, is thirty-three thousand feet in the air, returning from a rock climbing vacation in the Swiss Alps, when the plane spirals into a nose-dive. Storm uses his climbing gear to tether himself to the wing and heroically save the plane and all the people on board. Sadly, Storm is not available to come to the aid of the three other planes that have crashed under similar circumstances, killing everyone on board. Interestingly, many of the victims are powerful people in politics, business and religious groups. Storm determines that an unknown extremist has secured enough of the rare earth element promethium to create a laser with the power to shoot down planes from the ground. The problem swiftly becomes a global one as four more planes crash in the Arabia Desert. Fans of the show will get a kick out of these. (The Nikki Heat books are also out.)
LYNCHING OF LOUIE SAM
ANNICK PRESS [ANNICK PRESS]
STEWART, ELIZABETH
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 25, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 840, Narrative non-fiction, Useful for CBAs Between 1882 and 1968 there were 4,742 lynchings in the United States. In Canada during the same period there was one--the hanging of American Indian Louie Sam. In 1884, in Washington territory, very close to the Canadian border, a white man of questionable character was found murdered. A 14-year-old Native American boy named Louie Sam was framed for the crime, tracked down by a group of over 100 vigilantes and hanged--by happenstance, on the Canadian side of the line. George Gillies, is a real-life person known to have witnessed Louie Sam's death, is the narrator. He and his siblings find the body and set in motion the events. Even before the deed is done, George begins to have doubts. Louie Sam was a boy, only 14--could he really be a vicious murderer? Were the mob leaders motivated by justice, or were they hiding their own guilt? As George uncovers the truth--implicating Pete's father and other prominent locals--tensions in the town rise, and he must face his own part in the tragedy. But standing up for justice has devastating consequences for George and his family. Although that murder remains unsolved, Stewart builds a credible case against the probable perpetrators.
Pull Down The Night
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Kotecki, Nathan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 25, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Suburban high school is as strange as ever. A curly-haired girl ghost is disrupting lives with dreaded "kiss notes," the library is turning into a labyrinth, and students are inexplicably sinking into depression. Bruno—the new kid on the block—finds himself at the center of the mystery when he discovers his natural map-reading abilities are actually supernatural. The members of the ultra-hip, goth-leaning group the Rosary are drawn to Bruno and take him and his older brother Silvio into their group. It’s a good thing because Bruno is a Kind and Celia is an Ambassador and it’s their job to solve the mysteries and keep the student of Suburban safe. As Bruno comes into his powers, he also begins to question what he’s always taken for granted. His coming of age story is mulch-layered and a little creepy with a fillip of hipster. This is a companion novel so it’s not necessary to have read Suburban Strange. As Rosary members graduate, others will be drawn in like Bruno was. More great music recommendations and riddles to come. Kotecki’s characters are working in concert with the Updike’s observation, “You must imagine your life, and then it happens." Check out his site: http://thesuburbanstrange.com/
Plague Of Bogles
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Jinks, Catherine
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
March 26, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
In old London a danger is lurking beneath the streets. Children are disappearing. In this sequel to "How to Catch a Bogle" by Australian author Catherine Jinks, Birdie has a fine home and tutoring for her musical skills. Jem has a job as a bogler's boy. Then, as the disappearances increase, they realize that bogles are gathering. They eat chldren, and both Jem and Birdie set themselves up as bait to draw them out and eliminate them. However, Sarah Pickles is hiding in the dark with another scheme and both children are in danger from more than bogles. This is a fabulous series with plenty of tension, fast-paced action, and a real sense of time and place.
Finding Ruby Starling
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS]
Rivers, Karen
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 28, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Written in emails with blogs and letters, the first is from American Ruth Quayle, age 12-2/3, to English Ruby Starling, same age, announcing they must be twins separated at birth due to the indisputable likeness of their photos on FaceTrace. Thus begins the emotional sorting out of the truth. Through many emails between these girls, their friends and parents, the mystery unfolds. Ruth, born with holes in her heart, had been adopted soon after birth by well-educated, well-to-do parents (one a heart surgeon, the other a dinosaur scientist), received a heart transplant from a very young girl who died in a car accident. She has lived a healthy life, has loving, attentive parents, and only one friend, Jedgar, with whom she makes claymation videos. She feels anger towards the woman who must have abandoned her at birth, and needs to come to terms with this trying her father’s Buddhist calendar philosophies. Ruby, a fashionista, lives with her flighty, artistic mother, who gets consumed by her projects, and her dependable nan, who has recently died. Though verbose as these near teens try to navigate their feelings and this discovery that helps complete them, this story pulls the reader along to a satisfying end.
Pitter And Patter
DAWN PUBLICATIONS [DAWN PUBLICATIONS]
Sullivan, Martha
Morrison, Cathy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 29, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Pitter and Patter are two raindrops that fall from the sky. Pitter falls through a tree and into a stream to a river to a wetland and out to the ocean. Patter falls in a meadow then trickles down through the soil to an underground cave to a stream to a river and out to sea. Then Pitter and Patter evaporate and go back to the clouds. Each part of the journey Pitter and Patter see animals and plants up close. Each page is crowded with lively illustrations of the animals and plants in their habitat and there is a four line rhyme describing where the raindrop is traveling and three lines of greetings to animals. For example, “The stream flowed into a river,/Hello, beaver./Good day, mink./All good things to you, salmon.” The last three pages have information and activities about states of matter, the water cycle, and the watershed with a large illustration of the journey of each raindrop. This book could be used for beginning environmental studies.
Elliott The Otter : The Totally Untrue Story Of Elliott Bay
Little Bigfoot [Little Bigfoot]
Skewes, John
Skewes, John
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 29, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Elliott is a sea otter who is in charge of all the action in Elliott Bay in Seattle from cargo ship loading and ferry traffic to migrating orcas and salmon. He follows the salmon to the locks and watches them go up the fish ladder. Elliott takes his responsibilities very seriously, but he still has time to enjoy the night lights of Seattle after a long day. The brightly colored illustrations are in the recognizable John Skewes style similar to his Larry Gets Lost books. This is a fun introduction to Seattle around Elliott Bay that local students will enjoy, but it doesn’t have much substance as a story.
Eels
A&d Xtreme/abdo [A&d Xtreme/abdo]
Hamilton, S L
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 29, 2015
Kline, Karen
Learn more about a fascinating group of fish in this book from the Xtreme Fish series. Other titles in the series include Barracuda, Catfish, Marlin, Piranha, and Sturgeon. Full color, captioned photos dominate the 32-page book, and close-up shots depicting various species will grab readers. One photo of a recently attacked human diver shows his sutured face and the caption reads, “A conger eel bit off a chunk of his face. The diver survived.” Double page spreads cover topics including habitat, size, shape, predatory strengths, and plenty on teeth including diagrams of the double set of jaws that Morays have. Four different species, both freshwater and ocean, are highlighted, and the book tells readers there are hundreds more. One spread on fishing practices reminds readers that the European eel is endangered and has limited licenses for fishing. Missing from the book is any explanation of the species’ scientific classification and what characteristics the group has that separates them from the popular, curious, and unmentioned electric eel. A table of contents, glossary and index will make this short, eye-catching book even more accessible to young readers.
Wonder Woman : An Origin Story
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Sazaklis, John
Vecchio, Luciano
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 30, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Luciano Vecchio, illustrator, Lexile 440 In 48 pages young readers will learn about Amazon Diana’s royal upbringing on the magical island of Themyscira and how, against the wishes of her mother, she was selected to be the ambassador of peace to help the world of man. After leaving the island in her invisible plane, she created a secret identity, Diana Prince, got a job so as to keep an eye on the world’s activities. When Ares, the God of War, gets too active, it’s Wonder Woman who shows up to bring peace and to banish him to the Underworld. When bank robbers strike, it’s Wonder Woman who finds the truth with her golden lasso and brings them to justice. Throughout the text highlighted words lead readers to a glossary. Interesting facts about the super hero and discussion questions help students develop their critical reasoning skills. Quick into to Greek mythology for young readers. Justice League style illustrations. Also in the series, Green Lantern, Batman, and Superman.
Nightmareland
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Preller, James
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 30, 2015
Threlkeld, Sarah
"Enter at your own risk!" Aaron Wheeler should have taken the warning to heart because within a few minutes of playing his new video game he becomes a character in the game who's being hunted by wolves and other sinister creatures. Will he beat the monster at the end and go free or be trapped inside Nightmareland forever? Students in intermediate grades looking for an entertaining horror story will devour this book. The pace moves quickly and it's just disturbing enough to make readers want to turn on a light or two without actually having nightmares. Dark pen and ink illustrations increase the creepiness. The writing feels a bit choppy at times, but overall this the perfect book for students in search of a good scare. Part of James Preller's "Scary Tales" series.
Jeremy Stone
RED DEER PRESS [RED DEER PRESS]
Choyce, Lesley
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
March 30, 2015
Datisman, Eve
This novel in verse tells the story of a First Nation’s teen who leaves a residential boarding school and has to learn to navigate in a new world and a new high school. This is particularly daunting to Jeremy because of the isolation and loneliness that he felt at his first school is magnified. Jeremy feels a connection with “Oldman” his dead grandfather and his spirit helps them both learn to fit in and to stay true to himself and his culture. He becomes friends with a strange, intense girl named Kaitlin; the friendship helps him to begin to alter the chaotic path both were following. This connection troubles Jeremy as much as it helps him because he wonders if he is crazy or if it is possible to connect to the spirit world. The use of free verse underlines this dilemma and allows readers an insight to the goal of traditional tribal education. It also shows the inward journey of a young man who wishes to overcome the problems created by an absent father and a mother who has to struggle daily with her own bad choices. Choyce is well-known in Canada for his YA novels and his poetry.
Maya Makes A Mess
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Modan, Rutu
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 30, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Maya has atrocious table manners and loves to eat with her hands and feed the dog under the table. Her parents ask her how she would eat if she were dining with the queen and suddenly a herald arrives at the door and asks Maya to eat with the queen. Maya is whisked away in a plane and at dinner with the queen she tries to be polite, but eats in her usual unmannerly way. She explains to the queen that everything just tastes better that way, so the queen orders everyone to eat without manners. The experiment is such a success that the queen declares that everyone should eat like Maya on holidays. This Toon Book graphic novel has an offbeat storyline that children will enjoy. The illustrations are reminiscent of Tintin books and have plenty of charming details to keep the reader interested.
Benny And Penny In The Big No-No!
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Hayes, Geoffrey
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 30, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Two young mice named Benny and Penny are tempted to climb the fence to find out about the new kid. They are looking at footprints over the fence when they fall in which is a big no-no because they don’t belong there. They find out the new kid is a girl mole and they get to know her better when they return her pail that they accidentally took. Benny and Penny find out that Melina is not mean at all and they all become friends. This Toon Book is just what young readers want with the graphic novel format, cute illustrations, and understandable storyline.
Luke On The Loose
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Bliss, Harry
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 30, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
In this Toon Book graphic novel a young kid named Luke runs away from his dad in a city park to chase pigeons. The chase causes all sorts of havoc from ice cream on the sidewalk to an upset marriage proposal. Luke’s parents are frantic and someone finally spots Luke asleep on a roof all tired out from chasing pigeons. The next day Luke is back in the park with his father, but this time he has a harness to keep him from running away. The graphic novel illustrations and text are simple enough for young readers, but have the usual mix of dialogue bubbles and action.
Aikido
Sportszone [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
MONNIG, ALEX
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 31, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Inside Martial Arts" series, this sturdy 48 page book provides a solid overview of the Japanese art of Aikido. This martial art, based on the principles of balance and harmony is based on using the movements of others against them. While both offense and defense are part of Aikido, the goal is to avoid conflict. Specific moves are discussed. Training, uniforms and dan stages are also mentioned. The book includes a chapter on advanced aikido techniques. There is not enough here to teach someone how to do any of the specific moves, but the crisp action photographs, and informative text , give young readers an excellent idea of just what aikido is.
False Future
Disney-Hyperion [Disney-Hyperion]
Krokos, Dan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
March 31, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
I'm becoming rather fond of Dan Krokos, who puts out solid, action-packed sci-fi novels. This is the final book in his "False Memory" series. While the whole concept is somewhat convoluted, if you haven't read the previous books, True Earth is now attacking Manhattan in its own past, hoping to change things in their future. Miranda, who died in the previous book hopefully saving the world, now has to come back to save it again. United with her friends, she fights monsters and her future self to give the world the chance to decide on its own future. There are clones, futuristic weapons, monsters in the subway tunnels, and more. There's also a touch of romance, personal sacrifice, webs spun within webs, and an ending that has the chance of being satisfying. Fans of the series will grab this book with gusto. I recommend buying the whole series for middle-school sci-fi fans.
Lego
BELLWETHER MEDIA [BELLWETHER MEDIA]
GREEN, SARA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
March 31, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Sure, you've seen the movie, and you've played with the building toys. But do you know the history behind LEGO? It's actually quite interesting. Author Sara Green explores this history in this entry in the "Brands We Know" series. It all goes back to Ole Kirk Christiansen, a woodcarver in Denmark. Eventually he bought a machine that created plastic shapes, replacing his wooden toys. Soon the business grew. The book shows when different elements were added to LEGOS and gives information about the LEGO Leagues and the LEGO Foundation, as well as some plans for the future. A timeline is included, as well as a glossary, index, and bibliography. While children may be disappointed this isn't more of a "game" book, it's actually quite an interesting introduction to the company, and shows how inventions can be modified and improved over time.
Little Red's Riding 'hood
ORCHARD BOOKS [ORCHARD BOOKS]
Stein, Peter
Gall, Chris
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
March 31, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Knowing or reviewing the story of the traditional Little Red Riding Hood will help the audience engage and better understand this new rendition with road vehicles. Also, the abbreviation of ‘Hood for neighborhood will need explaining from the get go:) Little Red, the scooter that loves riding around his ‘hood, is sent by Big Blue Mama to Granny Putt Putt’s, who’s feeling run-down (muddy oil, exhausted pipes, wiped out wiper fluid), with a basket of goodies. Along the way Tank, the King of the Road monster truck, inquires about his mission and sends him on a diversion. Once Tank has swallowed little pink and white golf cart Granny up, he awaits his scooter dessert. After noticing Granny’s big wheels, big headlights and big grille, Little Red escapes Tank’s snarling grille by zipping away and leading him over a bank into the junkyard. Tank after crashing, is only good for directing traffic. The bright, bold black outlined illustrations capture the human-ness of these vehicles and engage the young reader. Most gave all thumbs up for this production and enjoyed the humor that they could catch. Not as clever as The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf and Grandma, this will still be entertaining. Gr. Pre-2
One Plastic Bag : Isatou Ceesay And The Recycling Women Of T
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Paul, Miranda
Zunon, Elizabeth
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
March 31, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
As the subtitle states, this is the true story of Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of The Gambia in western Africa. As a girl carrying baskets on her head in the rural area where she lives Isatou often encounters the litter of plastic bags. At times she would use them and disgard when they broke apart. When she is older and a grown woman she can’t ignore this ugliness once she’s made aware of the detriment it is to the goats they depend on. She and her friends come up with the idea to clean the bags, cut them into strips, roll them into spools of plastic thread and then by candlelight, away from uncomplimentary comments, they crochet this into beautiful blue and black purses that they sell in the city. The proceeds make enough to replace one of the fallen goats and begin the process of reclaiming their beautiful village. The author’s note chronicles how she came to know of and meet Isatou Ceesay followed by a Wolof glossary and pronunciation guide, timeline of events when plastic became a problem in Gambia, and other books to read involving Africans who made a difference. The African illustrator's use of colorful paper and shopping bag collage befits the story. Third graders found this a valuable story to know.