Reviews for month


Cowboy
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Muller, Hildegard
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 02, 2015
Burton, Paula
Translated from German this is a wonderful story from author illustrator Hildegard Muller. It fits well in the I like to read series; simple text, repetition of words, set in a large font for those who just start to read accompanied with great illustrations. Anna is taking her toy dog Toto to the beach. It is his first time and he is learning how to swim. A big wave takes Toto far into the ocean, too far for Anna to get him. A boy in a cowboy hat, which Anna thought was quite silly when she first saw it, comes to the rescue. Although the beach is not the usual setting for a cowboy his lasso saves the day and Toto. The cowboys eyes are never revealed but the helpful young boy might be Anna’s new friend.
Good Night, Knight
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Lewin, Betsy
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 02, 2015
Burton, Paula
Loose watercolor illustrations accompany the humorous story about a knight and his horse who are going to sleep. That is until the knight has a dream to find the golden cookies. He wakes up his horse and takes it to look in several different places. This creates excellent opportunity to repeat words for the beginning reading audience; the sound the knight makes when he climbs into the saddle or the disappointment when there are no golden cookies to be found. Throughout the story the knight does not take of his armor even when he goes to sleep, and neither does the horse which makes for comic illustrations. Simple text and the large font are recurring aspects that make this series a wonderful early reader.
Russell Wilson
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Anderson, Jameson
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 02, 2015
Garrard, Thom
This biography in Adbo’s Awesome Athletes series features Seattle Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson. Part of an athletic family, he played several sports despite his small size. In high school he won two consecutive state titles as a star quarterback and was also offered a million dollar bonus to play pro baseball. His father convinced him to go to college, so he went to play both sports at NC State. As a redshirt junior, he led the football team to a #25 ranking. Drafted to play baseball again, Russell spent two seasons in the minors (one with Tri-City). His football coach told him to focus on one sport. He picked football, but left for Wisconsin for his final year so as to get more attention from NFL scouts. He led Wisconsin to a league title, broke many school passing records, and was drafted by Seattle. Recaps of his first two pro seasons, including the Super Bowl victory, are included. The captioned photograph on each spread helps to showcase this talented player while also keeping the text manageable. Although the author does a fine job with his athletic accomplishments, little attention is paid to the charity work that really makes Russell awesome. Better links to updated stats would help extend the book's useful life.
Great Moments In Olympic Basketball
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Williams, Doug
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 02, 2015
Garrard, Thom
Since basketball became an Olympic sport for men in 1936, the United States has captured 10 of 14 gold medals, and American women have won 7 out of 10 since they got in the game in 1976. So, it is perhaps understandable that the eight Olympic competitions featured in this title from Abdo’s Great Moments in Olympic Sports series are also dominated by American teams. However, this turns out to be true even when the USA didn’t win gold, like in the chapter on Munich 1972, when the Soviet Union stayed close in the final and then got a controversial win in the final three seconds (after they were re-played not once, but twice). In Athens 2004, the Argentine men won gold, but the book tells more about the struggles of the American team and the decision of some top American players not to participate. In that chapter especially, the author misses the chance to reflect the Olympic spirit of sportsmanship in his writing. Most of the chapters are six pages long, include two photos covering at least a page and a half, and have a sidebar or two about other nation’s teams, other years, or the other gender. With the Olympics approaching in less than two years, this book would help young fans learn this part of the sport’s history.
What Happens When You Flush?
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Hicks, Kelli
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 02, 2015
Garrard, Thom
What Happens When You Flush?, part of Rourke’s How It Works series, provides a simple explanation of how most toilets use gravity and fast-moving water to send waste to the sewer system. The full page color photographs (or sometimes a diagram) on each spread maintain focus on the title question while avoiding any grossness. Each is accompanied by several lines of explanatory text in a large, clear font. A teaching plan on the verso suggests that a focus on one to one correspondence, pointing to each word as it is read, but this is only minimally addressed by the suggested before and after reading activities. A photo glossary of the (mostly) tier 3 vocabulary is a nice touch. Table of contents, index, and a list of marginally related websites are also included.
How To Act Like A Kid
Disney Editions [Disney Editions]
Hodges, Henry
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 03, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Henry Hodges started in show business at a very young age, and managed the transition from child actor to adult actor. This is his book telling about his own career, and giving advice for other kids who want to get into the business. The book is rather self-congratulatory, with name-dropping everywhere. Still, I suppose that's life in his chosen career. Readers will learn about agents, managers, stage moms, directors, producers, and child wranglers. Advice for auditions, the importance of acquiring and maintaining skills, and some basics about appearance and attitude are all included. A strong work ethic is emphasized. There are interviews throughout, that provide valuable information about child acting in general, and praise Henry specifically. There's a lot of backstage information here, and readers are introduced to a new vocabulary, and the important rituals and behavior expected of actors of any age. Photographs abound. There's a lot of good information here for child actor wanna-bes. I doubt most kids will recognize Henry's name, but if they are interested in this as a career the book would be a good resource.
Book Of The Dead
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Northrop, Michael
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 03, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Alex's life is pretty normal, except that he's dying. He's just a kid, but his illness limits what he can do. His mother, however, has other plans. She's an Egyptologist and has a plan to use the Lost Spells from the Book of the Dead to reboot her son. Unfortunately there were unforeseen consequences. Now she is missing. Mummies and other things at the museum are coming to life, and not in a happy "Night at the Museum" sort of way, and an ancient cult is rising. Alex and his friend Ren have to try to find a solution, and thwart the Death Walkers, while searching for his Mom, or the whole city may fall. This is the first book in the "Tombquest" series and it's got plenty of action, likeable characters, and enough scary stuff to satisfy most readers who like that sort of thing. This is a promising series that young readers will enjoy.
Estas Manos : Manitas De Mi Familia = These Hands : My Famil
PINATA BOOKS [PINATA BOOKS]
Caraballo, Samuel
Costello, Shawn
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
May 03, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Bilingual picture book is an ode to family, as a girl grows up experiencing and acknowledging the helping hands of those around her who, in turn deserve her help as she grows up and returns that loving kindness. Comparing hands to plants, trees and flowers of the Caribbean, author Samuel Caraballo gives a fine tribute to the ways that parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters lend a hand as we grow up. Illustrations by Shawn Costello are warm, colorful compositions that focus on face and hands of those around a young woman as she grows from recipient to giver and promises, "Prometo que un dia, cuando sea ya una mujer, mis manos les han de devolver ese carino tan grande que de ustedes siempre he tenido. I promise that one day, when I become a woman, my hands will return all the love you've always given me." A kind and warmly positive portrayal of Hispanic family values from Pinata press.
Arctic Thaw : Climate Change And The Global Race For Energy
TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS [TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS]
Mcpherson, Stephanie Sam
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 03, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Global warming, climate change and the economic pressure to extract oil from the Arctic are combined with photographs and updated information to give a visually appealing overview issues affecting Arctic natural resources and human communities. As ice melts the arguments for and against exploitation of Arctic petroleum deposits heat up. Extensive source notes can lead students to drill deeper into the subject. Considerable attention is paid to the Inupiat community's conundrum: how do they balance the need for economic development with environmental (and cultural) stewardship. The book would be useful to middle and high school science and current event/issues collections.
Big Machines Float!
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Veitch, Catherine
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 03, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Bright, sharp photos and simple two sentences-per-page text make for great early non-fiction. This 6 title Big Machines series from Heinemann looks like a winner, especially in a seaport like Seattle! Here the focus is on floating machines-ice-breakers, subs, cranes, cargo ships, cruise ships, hovercraft, sail and solar powered craft that will intrigue and inform young readers. Glossary, a little quiz and references for further reading make this a very serviceable update to a high demand section of the library.
Who Needs A Reef? : A Coral Ecosystem
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Patkau, Karen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 03, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Careful, colorful illustrations of a tropical coral reef ecosystem are the chief asset of this introduction to coral reefs. Each two page illustration is loaded with details painted with attention to conveying information that explains their formation and structure, food chains, life and nutrient cycling and benefits that aim to answer the question posed in the book's title. The text helps bring attention to the rich visual content contained in 12 illustrations, a map, and glossary. Author and illustrator Karen Patkau's bright pallette is well suited to this addition to her Tundra Books Ecosystem series that now also includes swamp, iceberg, tropical jungle, desert, and prairie. http://karenpatkau.com/books/ Additional purchase, but one that will be appreciated if science curriculum heads south of Washington's chilly marine environment
Bambino And Me
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Hyman, Zachary
Pullen, Zachary
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 03, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
A lively first person narrative re-imagines the summer of 1927, when Babe Ruth, the New York Yankees' Sultan of Swat pointed to the outfield fence and hit one outta 'da park! Times were tough and listening to Yankee's games on the radio with his Babe Ruth baseball card in hand was all a kid like George Henry Alexander could hope for on his birthday. His parents surprise him with a ticket to Yankees-Red Sox game (yeah!) but his uncle sends a Boston Red Sox jersey and cap...which he MUST wear to the game. Are you kiddin me!?! Expressive illustrations by Zachary Pullen make this a visual delight and an audio CD read with a fine Bronx accent by Jason Alexander and a dramatic background music and sound effects makes this book a home-run well before George's unforgettable (if imagined) encounter with the Babe after the game. Recommended for sports fans of America's national past time.
Temple Grandin : Inspiring Animal-Behavior Scientist
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Sepahban, Lois
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 04, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Temple Grandin has become well known for turning her autism into an asset for society. While everyday social interaction was difficult in school from an early age, when attending a boarding high school that included animal husbandry, Temple began to forge an empathetic bond with livestock that has taken her on a remarkable lifelong journey. She observed how calm cattle became in a squeeze chute, tried it out for herself and found it helped calm her own panic attacks caused by her autism. She then began using her own emotional and empathetic insight of cattle well-being to design improvements to cattle squeeze chutes and other livestock holding equipment that have improved better conditions for the lives of animals. 48 pages, full color photos, text features including questions to consider, glossary, and index. She is great subject for biographical research and a solid addition for upper elementary libraries.
Moon Dragons
ANDERSEN PRESS USA [ANDERSEN PRESS USA]
Sheldon, Dyan
Blythe, Gary
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
May 04, 2015
Dame, Anne
When a king offers a room full of gold to anyone who can bring him one of the fabled singing moon dragons from high in the mountains, many people attempt to do so but they all fail. Alina, a peasant girl is taunted when she announces that she is going to try - but perhaps she will succeed where everyone else has failed. Nice moral to the end of the story, which will be clearly seen coming by any savvy reader. Illustrations are beautiful, but sometimes the text is difficult to read because of it.
Bone : 1 : Out From Boneville : Tribute Edition
GRAPHIX [GRAPHIX]
Smith, Jeff
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 04, 2015
Dame, Anne
A lovely hard-bound, full-color tribute edition of the first book in the Bone series. Includes an Ode to Quiche at the end, as well as drawings of the Bone characters done by other famous illustrators. (This may have been my favorite part).
Alive And Kicking
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Lynch, Chris
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
May 04, 2015
Dame, Anne
Third book in Lynch's WWII series. I hadn't read the first two, but this one stands on it's own without needing any need for other back-story. Theo McCallum and his older brother Hank have both joined the US military to fight in WWII. Hank is MIA after an attack on his ship at Midway. Theo refuses to acknowledge that his brother may actually be dead and keeps up a running journal/letter to his brother. Meanwhile Theo is also busy fighting the Germans as a gunner on a B-52 (also known as a "Flying Coffin". For students who like war stories, this will definitely keep their attention - although I found the letter/journal parts less engaging than the rest of the story.
Prairie Fire
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Johnston, E K
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
May 04, 2015
Dame, Anne
Sequel to "The Story of Owen" As the dragonslayer of Trondheim, Owen, along with his bard Siobhan, and their friend Sadie who is a dragon slayer in training, have dispersed of a nest of dragons. Now they must go and put in their time with the Oil Watch for required training and service. New challenges face them in these circumstances, including separation and other hardships. A great story, well-written with foreshadowing and plot twists.
Tru Detective
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Mcclintock, Norah
Hughes, Steven
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
May 04, 2015
Dame, Anne
When Truman's girlfriend is killed, Tru is the prime suspect. He sets out to prove his innocence and gets caught up in a human trafficking ring and extreme danger. Black and white illustrations are mostly clear; occasionally difficult to distinguish different characters. Violence, but not gory.
Salt & Stone
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Scott, Victoria
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
May 04, 2015
Dame, Anne
Sequel to Fire & Flood Tella and her pandora, Madox, have survived the deadly competition through the jungle and desert. Now they are up against the ocean and mountains. The competition is fiercer as the end draws near and only one person will have the chance to win the Cure for a family member. Even knowing this, Tella remains compassionate. However, the need to save her brother's life may overcome her. I rarely like sequels as much as the first novel, but this one did not disappoint. Looking forward to the third book.
Escape From The Lizzarks
GRAPHIX [GRAPHIX]
Tennapel, Doug
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 04, 2015
Dame, Anne
Fans of both Bone and Amulet will enjoy this new series from TenNapel. When Herk's village is overrun by Lizzarks, all of his family is killed. He manages to escape, with his father's last words of "leaving the family who is not his family to find the family that is not his family" ringing in his ears. Herk has no idea what this means, but he scrambles to get away from the evil creatures pursuing him. Lots of action and adventure, colorful illustrations. A fun read.
Unleashed
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Korman, Gordon
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 04, 2015
Dame, Anne
7th book in the Swindle series. Luthor, Savannah's Doberman, has started chasing after the exterminator's truck every time it goes by. In addition, a new neighbor has blocked off the short-cut that Griffin and his friends routinely use to get to school each day. And a school invention competition has Griffin racking his wits desperately against his arch-nemesis, Darren. The friends must all work together to solve these various challenges. Humor, action, and adventure abound in this fun mystery series. Fans will enjoy this addition to the series.
My Secret Guide To Paris
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Schroeder, Lisa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
May 04, 2015
Dame, Anne
Nora's grandmother, a fashion designer, has always talked to Nora about how special and magical Paris is. Finally, her grandmother agrees to take Nora along with her on a trip to Paris. However, grandma dies after the tickets are purchased, but before the trip happens. Nora discovers that grandma had bought a 3rd ticket so that Nora's mother could go along as well. Nora's mom reluctantly agrees to take Nora to Paris using the tickets. Before they leave, Nora finds envelopes from her grandmother with clues and tips for what to do while in Paris. As Nora starts following them, she discovers that she must include her mother in the search. A story of family and relationships primarily, but also a fun look at Paris. For fans of Maureen Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes and Lauren Henderson's Flirting in Italian.
Bunker Diary
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Brooks, Kevin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
May 04, 2015
Dame, Anne
Linus has run away from home and has been living on the streets for a few months when one day he is kidnapped. He wakes up in a cell, one of 6 in a block. There is a bathroom and a kitchen and an elevator. He also finds a journal and a pen, so he starts filling up the journal with his story. He spends 3 days without food. Then a 9-year-old girl named Jenny appears in the lift one day. They find that if they put a list in the elevator, they will typically get the items listed - as long as their kidnapper does not deem the items risky. Gradually all 6 cells fill. The group comprises a wide variety of ages, races, personalities, etc. Then the kidnapper starts pitting them against each other, with a promise of release for the winner. Very dark, violent, and disturbing. Fans of Maze Runner will enjoy it, but best aimed towards a high school audience.
Woven
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Jensen, Michael
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 04, 2015
Dame, Anne
Nels and his mother live on a secluded farm near a small village. But Nels wants to be a knight. Before this can come to pass, however, he is murdered. His ghost is visible only to the royal princess, Tyra. Reluctantly, the two set off together to fight a common enemy and restore the magic in the kingdom. A fun read, interesting characters. Plot is a bit predictable.
Hope Springs
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Walters, Eric
Fernandes, Eugenie
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
All ages
May 04, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Canadian author Eric Walters tells the story of the changes that a new well can bring to communities suffering drought like that experienced in rural Kenya. Boniface is a young boy sent to carry water back from a village spring to the orphanage where he lives. Because of the drought, there is a long line of jerry cans waiting in turn to receive the small trickle of water, and women from the village push the orphans cans out of the line and scorn them. Returning to the orphanage with empty cans and a heavy heart, Boniface describes the problem and learns that it is the scarcity that makes the villagers hard-hearted towards the children. He also learns that a well is being dug for the orphanage, and when it succeeds in providing a good supply of water to the children, Boniface thinks again of the villagers and presses for a well to be dug for them, too. A kind and compassionate story, based on real-life experiences of the author working with orphans like those fictionalized in Hope Springs. Warm color illustrations and a compassionate message make this a profoundly positive book to be shared with all ages. Older readers might like Walters' "Walking Home" a YA novel of two orphans trek across the same drought-plagued land.
Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth
FIRST SECOND [FIRST SECOND]
Giallongo, Zack
Giallongo, Zack
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
All ages
May 04, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
This is a ridiculous comic retelling of Shakespeare's Macbeth. At night, when the zookeeper isn't looking, the animals of the Stratford Zoo playing the dramatic roles as well as hilariously commenting on the performance from the gallery. What a brilliant way to introduce the Bard! Maintaining a rough outline of the plot and gleefully butchering some of the most famous lines author Ian Lendler gives illustrator Zack Giallongo innumerable opportunity for tongue-in-cheeky comments in the speech bubbles of this madcap crew. Add ketchup by the truckload for dramatic effect and the taco-scented smells coming from the witches cauldron and you see why the lion Macbeth is so hungry to be King! I'm hungry to catch the next book in the series, which a peacock hints at as he has pins up a playbill on the final page promising Romeo and Juliet "tomorrow night with sword fights, true love and more fights." If it is OK to laugh out loud in your library, GET THIS BOOK!
Reality Check In Detroit
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Macgregor, Roy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 04, 2015
Dame, Anne
The Screech Owls hockey team is off to Detroit to participate in a reality TV hockey show. Nish is particularly excited and becomes more obnoxious than ever in his quest to be both a TV and a hockey star. The producers seem to be adding even more drama to the series, so the gang sets out to find out why. This is an enjoyable series with interesting characters and great hockey story lines and action.
12 Labors Of Hercules : A Graphic Retelling
Graphic Library/capstone Press [Graphic Library/capstone Press]
Hoena, Blake
Haus, Estudio
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 04, 2015
Dame, Anne
Hercules was half-man/half-god and was ordered to complete 12 monumental tasks to make reparation of a sort for things in his past. Each labor is briefly covered. I found the illustrations to be lacking. Good for an overview of who Hercules was and what he was known for, but certainly not comprehensive by any means.
Mr. Who? Mr. Atom!
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Vaughns, Byron
Vaughns, Byron
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 04, 2015
Dame, Anne
Billy and Mary Marvel combat a giant robot, master-minded by evil Dr. Sivana, recently escaped from prison. Colorful and engaging. Students will enjoy.
Red Riding Hood, Superhero
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Frampton, Otis
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 04, 2015
Dame, Anne
Part of the series "Far-out fairy tales" This is a well-told, well-illustrated alternate telling of Little Red Riding Hood. In this version, Red is known as Ruby, her grandmother is the president, and the big bad wolf has created a giant wolf-bot. Ruby will need all the powers of her red cape to take down the wolf and save her grandma! Love it, can't wait to see the others in the series.
I'm A Fire Breather! : Meet A Dragon
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Knudsen, Shannon
Kurilla, Renee
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 05, 2015
Jensen, Kathy
Set-up like a nonfiction book complete with table of contents, glossary and index, I’m a Fire Breather! Meet a Dragon will have you wondering if dragons really do exist. Alice the dragon insists that we are pretty lucky to meet her and her children, but warns us that dragons like to eat humans – toasted and with plenty of mustard. Readers will learn about dragons from Europe, China and Vietnam, and are challenged to write their own story about a dragon. Dragon lovers everywhere will fall in love with this scary but fun picture book from the series, Monster Buddies.
Friendship Over
Boyds Mills Press [Boyds Mills Press]
Sternberg, Julie
Wright, Johanna
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 05, 2015
Samuel, Treasure
Book 1 in the series "The Top-Secret Diary of Celie Valentine" finds 10 year old Celie deep in the throes of early preteen problems. Her best friend no longer speaks to her and she doesn't know why, her big sister keeps putting her underwear on Celie's pillow, and there's something wrong with Grandma. With topics ranging from divorce to death, dementia, and bullying, one would think the book was overwrought with drama, but it is in fact a delightful and funny read. Celie's take on the world makes her an imperfect narrator and savvy readers will quickly see that her older sister isn't so terrible and her former best friend has good reason to be upset and worried. The book's format is set up like Celie's diary, with lined paper, a variety of fonts, lots of white space, plenty of her drawings, and occasional ephemera, taped inside with Narwhal tape, naturally. With a loving family on her side, Celie survives her latest problems and gives readers something to think about. A great first book in a series designed to interest and instruct young readers as they navigate school, family, and life.
Shaun White
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 05, 2015
Samuel, Treasure
Part of the Extreme Sports Stars series, this biography for young readers tells of the life and accomplishments of pro-snowboarder and pro-skateboarder Shaun White. It briefly covers his accomplishments and challenges as a gold medal XGamer and Olympian, as well as information about his personal life and growing up. The book has 5 chapters, all of which are titled and shorter than 10 pages. There is a table of contents, timeline, glossary, and index. The book also contains "Fast Facts" and a slew of pictures with captions. Words are not defined in text and some of the words are large or unusual. While this book will definitely interest kids who are into extreme action sports, like all biographies of living people, the book will quickly become outdated and readers may lose interest in the topic as years pass. The book is perfectly acceptable, but nothing stellar, either.
What To Do When You're Sent To Your Room
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Stott, Ann
Gilpin, Stephen
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
May 05, 2015
Samuel, Treasure
Ben is an expert. An expert on being sent to his room. An expert at entertaining himself while being in his room. An expert on annoying his brother, on writing birthday wish lists, and a heap of other important kid things. With fabulously fun, cartoony illustrations, readers will love to read this picture book, and will be able to relate to and laugh at Ben's exploits and his very, very messy room. The illustrations are so well done you can practically SMELL how stinky the messy bedroom of two boys and multiple pets must be! The last page is especially fun, and the book as a whole will encourage readers to practice prediction and inference, all while laughing.
Why Does My Body Make Bubbles? : Learning About The Digestiv
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Troupe, Thomas Kingsley
Toye, Derek
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 05, 2015
Samuel, Treasure
This nonfiction picture book is from a series of books from the Garbage Gang. Other titles include "Do Ants Get Lost?", "Do Bees Poop?", and "Why Do Dead Fish Float?". While the books cover a hodgepodge of scientific topics, they all share the theme of being GROSS! The first page of the book introduces the 6 members of the Garbage Gang, and then proceeds to tell the story using a comic book style of panels. The leader of the gang, a rhino named Gordy, is in the bathtub trying to scrub the smell of the garbage dump off, when he farts and a talking gas bubble named Gassie appears. Questions about digestion arise and soon they are all on an imaginary journey inside Gordy's digestive system, complete with being pooped out at the end. Peppered with funny jokes and comments throughout, kids will love the gross honesty of this book. It also includes an index, glossary, list of further reading, and two Common Core questions.
Too Far
Outside Reading [Outside Reading]
Shapero, Rich
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
May 05, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Despite the lyrical language this is a disturbing tale with an ominous tone. Six-year-old Robbie has led a very sheltered life thanks to his mom’s protectiveness not shared by his father. They live in Alaska with the wilderness at their door step, but the feeling of danger looming stands out in his mother’s mind and hence the reader’s. When Robbie breaks out on his own with the added bravery of another six-year-old, mesmerizing Fristeen, together they discover unknown and shared imaginary worlds, love, beauty, exploration both bodily and natural, and their mutually desired safety. But Fristeen comes from a free-spirited, drug-using, seductively clad mother, who is less than attentive leaving the girl to her own devices with brownies with seeds in them at her disposal. Conflict continues to rise with Robbie’s parents dissonance over his rearing, his mother’s mental health, and the farther the six-year-old pair roam into the hills, valleys and streams of the unknown and scary environment. Unsure who this is written for as it’s from Robbie’s point of view with disturbing inferences a much older reader will make and too much tension for this adult reader to see to its end. May be out of print and not been picked up since 2011.
Underground Habitats
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Ringstad, Arnold
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 06, 2015
Lindquist, Sabrina Porter
"Underground Habitats," by Arnold Ringstad, is part of The Child's World series on habitats which includes 24-page, library-bound books on the desert, forest, ocean, prairie and rain forest. "Underground" has a compelling cover that puts you face-to-snout with a mole, and the contents of this straightforward informational text are an interesting if fairly general introduction to the topic. Most spreads pair a full-page color photo with a page of text, each of which constitutes one of the 9 chapters. Chapter headings such as "Life Under Your Feet" and "How's the Weather Down There?" are delineated in the table of contents, along with the 11-entry glossary (including helpful pronunciation guides of the words, which are bolded in text); a "To Learn More" 3-book bibliography, and links to related websites via the publisher's own site. The last page features an index and a concise but cute author bio. Minor quibbles are the chapter on "In the Dirt," which loses focus, and the apparently common difficulty of finding quality photographs that enhance or at least complement an informational text. This book is a solid source for research but probably won't see much reader action otherwise.
My Wilderness
Little Bigfoot [Little Bigfoot]
McGehee, Claudia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 06, 2015
Shirts, Brooke
Quiet adventure is the theme in this nature-lovers' biographical story. In 1918, Rocky Kent set out with his up-and-coming artist father (and favorite stuffed animal Squirlie) from New York to Alaska, where they settled for seven months on Fox Island, thirteen miles offshore from Seward. Their only neighbor was an aging frontiersman who let the father and son rebuild and live in his shed. Dad spends his time painting, while son explores the island. Claudia McGhee's depiction of life in the Alaskan wilderness is soothingly benign: a shadow on the trail isn't a bear, it's a porcupine; the winter is free of hardship and spent playing games and taking "snow baths" with Dad. Rather than the typical fight-for-survival seen in other stories about Alaskan wilderness, this story is more about enjoyment and observation, closer to what a child today might experience when out in nature. McGhee's woodcut-style illustrations give the book a natural, rugged feel that adds needed action and movement to the even-tempered text. The book includes an author's note with further information about the Kents (including photographs), and questions and activities for classroom use. A teacher's guide is available online.
Truth And Kisses
DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS [DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS]
Friedman, Laurie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
May 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
April Sinclair is back. She has survived her grandmother's wedding, but now her romantic entanglements are getting even more complicated. Sure, she broke up with best friend, Billy, but now her other best friend, Brynn, is after him. This makes their trio an uncomfortable place to be. In the meantime, what about that cute boy-next-door, Matt? He's obviously interested, but April's parents are concerned about a middle-schooler dating a high school guy. Their list of rules is growing exponentially. Can April keep her love life and her friends going at the same time? Relationships change, right? This is exactly the sort of book for middle-school girls who like realistic fiction. April's worries will mirror their own. Good journal-style first-person writing, fun characters, and realistic angst will have readers rooting for April.
Way To The Zoo
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Burningham, John
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 06, 2015
Williams, Karen I.
Sylvie sees a new door in her bedroom, which she explores and discovers a set of stairs with a heavy door at the bottom. After getting it opened, she finds herself in the zoo. Since it was getting late and she had to go to school the next day, Sylvie takes a little bear back to sleep in her bed. Next morning she takes him back to the zoo. Other animals want to go to her room and she only takes the smaller ones including koala, penguins, tiger and her cub, birds, but some animals she asks to return to the zoo as they have stolen things or are too smelly. While the little rhino can, the baby elephant is sad for not being able to get up the stairs. One day she is late for school and forgets to close the door so when she gets home, she has a surprise – the living room is full of animals. Back to the zoo – QUICK! Then starts to clean up but mom gets home. From then on, Sylvie still has animals visit but always makes sure that the door is closed before leaving. Burningham’s soft illustrations beautifully fit the story. Great bedtime tale or pre-zoo trip. Hardback. 3.2 AR B.L.
Drones : From Insect Spy Drones To Bomber Drones
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 06, 2015
Williams, Karen I.
Drones, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles(UAVs), is an eye-catching showpiece designed for ages 8 and up. Will delight 4th graders up to interested adults. Most of the 40 drones are from the military section of the book with the idea that they are “essential and controversial tools” of war which can kill, spy, seek information, and bomb targets. Drones are changing the way the military conducts war. From the size of a fly to a large aircraft, drones are extremely useful as the book also shows uses in the commercial section such as inspecting oil-pipelines or assessing the damage from an earthquake or forest fire. Fact boxes, colorful photographs, computer designed illustrations, and size comparison boxes. My son, degree in aeronautical engineering with experience with drones, found this book extremely interesting and recommends purchase. AR B.L is 7.6. Review copy is a paperback. Author Martin Dougherty
Keeping The Peace : The Kids' Book Of Peacemaking
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Hanson, Anders
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 06, 2015
Lindquist, Sabrina Porter
This 24-page, library-bound book is part of the "What We Stand For" series published by Super SandCastle, an Abdo imprint. Other topics in the series include citizenship, tolerance, freedom, dealing with bullies, and courage. In most cases in "Peacemaking," a close-up photo of pairs or groups of kids covers each double-page spread, framing boxes of minimal text. With such visual emphasis, one might expect quality photographs, but these appear quite painfully posed and lack a clear or relevant message. The glossary of four words, each bolded in the text, may help comprehension, but text in two of the spreads consisting solely of questions probably hurts it. Text and photos taken together have a disjointed feel, and "Think of ways to solve the problem" is marginally helpful advice. The book could serve as a starting point for formally introducing conflict resolution to a young audience, and its more straightforward suggestions for managing disagreements are worthwhile. However, the overall quality of the package is unimpressive, particularly with its lax proofreading.
Long Way Home
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Martin, Ann M
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 07, 2015
Korf, Clarence
A Long Way Home is the second book in a four book series covering four generations of girls. This book begins with the story of a advantaged girl in the 1950's who is struggling to get along with her twin sister because she feels she is always copying her actions. The struggle of this relationship made it difficult to engage in this book until a major family crisis happens and the family challenges created more of a plot and this was almost halfway through the story. This series may engage students who like the American Girl series and those who like to see how families change through generations. It is probably best to read this series in order to understand the family background and dynamics.
Captain Underpants And The Invasion Of The Incredibly Naught
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Pilkey, Dav
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 07, 2015
Dame, Anne
This is the full-color edition of Pilkey's 3rd book in the Captain Underpants series. The color definitely adds to the attraction of the series. The hardback binding also ensures a longer lasting book than the paperback editions. Students of a variety of ages will enjoy the humor and crazy plot of this series.
Louis Pasteur : Genius Disease Fighter
Enslow Publishing [Enslow Publishing]
Smith, Linda Wasmer
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 07, 2015
Dame, Anne
This biography of Louis Pasteur is written in a straight-forward manner and uses language that is fairly accessible for most readers. Scientific terms are explained both through context and definitions. There are occasional black and white photographs to supplement the text. In the back of the book are several experiments for students to try on their own as well as an index, glossary, timeline, and limited additional resources. In my opinion, a more interesting cover and color photographs (and more of them) would have improved this book quite a bit.
Ping Wants To Play
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Gudeon, Adam
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 08, 2015
Garrard, Thom
Dogs named Ping and Pong are good friends who do a lot together, but their energy levels are quite different. While Pong is napping, Ping dons her cape and starts racing around. A running leap onto the trampoline sends her up in the air, but instead of flying she lands squarely on top of the doghouse where she gets stuck. Pong comes to help her down, because that is what he likes to do. On each page, one or two simple sentences are combined with ink drawings to which bright colors have been digitally added. This creates a clean look that makes the book easy to read. The story is simple, but the message about being friends even though you like different things is incredibly important for young children to hear as they begin to understand the true meaning of friendship.
Love Or Something Like It
DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS [DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS]
Friedman, Laurie
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
April Sinclair is turning 14 and her life is rife with relationship problems. She's really into that cute boy next door, Matt. He seems to like her too. After all, he's knocking at her window most evenings so they can sneak out and have a make-out session on the porch. But does that mean they're going out? April also has a choice to make. Should she go to camp this summer, which she loves, or stay home to spend time with Matt. Can she leave him for 4 weeks? Even camp has its perils. Relationships, family, emerging feelings, awkward teenage body changes...yeah, it's all here and middle-school girls will gobble it up and recognize some version of their own problems in those that April faces. This is the perfect series for middle schoolers, and the author's ability to show April's own changes through the journal-style writing makes everything very personal.
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer : The Classic Story
Square Fish [Square Fish]
Feldman, Thea
Madrid, Erwin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 08, 2015
Korf, Clarence
This book is part of the 50th anniversary of the timeless 1964 film of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Thea Feldman does a good retelling of how a bunch of misfits can eventually find their purpose and feel they are valued. Illustrations emulate the animation of the original film and connect the reader immediately with the story. As with any retelling, the story is not an exact replica of the original but includes the major events in the story. A good addition to anyone's holiday collection.
Mimi And Bear In The Snow
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Trasler, Janee
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 08, 2015
Korf, Clarence
Simple illustrations enhance the story about Mimi and her teddy bear go out on a snowy day. Everything goes well until Mimi goes back home and she is missing her bear. When Mini goes out the next day with the snow gone, she re-traces her steps she finds bear is not there until finally found. Young students will like the anticipation of hoping to find Bear back and will understand the frustration of having lost their favorite stuffed animal. The text is easy and beginning readers will enjoy reading the story on their own.
Moe Is Best
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Torrey, Richard
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 08, 2015
Garrard, Thom
All day long Moe declares that he is the best at everything he does, from tooth brushing to cat feeding to reading. His older siblings mostly scoff at him and point out errors that he makes. When they go outside to play basketball, Moe misses repeatedly and finally admits that he is not the best. His siblings cheer him up by telling him that he is the best - at trying. Confidence restored, Moe declares that one day he will be best at basketball, and given his perseverance, we believe him. This message about not giving up when confronted by a difficult task is tremendously important for (sometimes frustrated) young learners to hear. In the digitally scanned and colored pencil drawings, the children look and act like normal humans, though they must actually be monkeys because oddly enough they have tails. Yet this is barely noticeable because the easy-to-read narration written in plain text, the dialogue in neat speech bubbles, and the simple cartoon-like drawing style combine to make the book visually appealing.
It's A Good Thing There Are Ladybugs
CHILDRENS PRESS [CHILDRENS PRESS]
Mattern, Joanne
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 08, 2015
Garrard, Thom
Ladybugs should be appreciated, according to this title from the Rookie Read-About Science series, because they make gardens more beautiful, eat plant-destroying aphids, and serve as food for other animals. The book goes on to discuss this insect’s physical features, defenses against predators, and life cycle, using simple text on one side of each spread and one or more fine photographs on the other. Several pages of fun facts, riddles, a suggested activity, a photo glossary, and index are also included. For additional information, readers are directed to a Scholastic website with more than a dozen links. For any school where early readers study insects, this would be a valuable addition.
ANIMALS DON'T, SO I WON'T
IMMEDIUM [IMMEDIUM]
DERRICK, DAVID
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 09, 2015
Garrard, Thom
Ben resists his mother’s attempts to guide him through the day’s routine activities by claiming to be other animals. Fortunately, she knows enough about each species to counteract his strategy of asserting that a particular animal that wouldn’t take the desired action. For example, when he refuses to eat lasagna for dinner because he is a penguin, she tells him he’ll have to eat the fish that she barfs up for him. And when he refuses to take a bath because he is a leopard, she says she’ll have to lick him all over instead. Ben relents each time, but the end paper shows that the game resumes mighty early - for a rooster. Virtually the entire story is told in dialogue using different fonts that indicate if mother or son is speaking. The ink and watercolor illustrations reflect the rhythm of this battle of wits as mother and son switch easily between their human and adopted animal forms. Parents and children will both enjoy the clever exchanges in this story, and the addition of assorted animal noises opens up the possibility of participatory fun.
Tony Hawk
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 09, 2015
Korf, Clarence
A biography looking at how Tony Hawk changed the skateboarding world. The book explores his quest to spin two and half times (900) in a competition, his early life, his skateboarding career and how he is now a legend in the sport and in the video game industry. Each chapter includes short paragraphs, large photographs of Tony in action and Fast Facts of his accomplishments. This book can also be used for older reluctant readers. The book includes a timeline, glossary and index.
Quarterback Rush
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Bowen, Carl
Garcia, Eduardo
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 09, 2015
Korf, Clarence
A Sports Illustrated Kids Graphic Novel which focuses on a football team which has all the tools to win but just cannot overcome obstacles to become a winning team. The story chronicles how teammates feel their quarterback is getting anxious in the game and is unable to perform under pressure. Teammates explore many ways they can help their quarterback but none seem to be helping. The plot is simple and comes to an abrupt conclusion. The graphics are bright, clear and enhance the story. A couple pages in the back ask readers how they interpret the graphics and why the illustrator would make their choices. This book will appeal to your reluctant readers who like football and graphic novels.
Korean War : An Interactive Modern History Adventure
You Choose Books/capstone Press [You Choose Books/capstone Press]
Burgan, Michael
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 09, 2015
Korf, Clarence
A You Choose series with 3 story paths, 40 choices and 23 endings. The book explores how individuals given a choice can have their life dramatically affected. Readers can choose between being a pilot, infantry or local Korean who are called to fight in the Korean War. The book includes maps and black and white photographs providing visual support for the text. Readers will have a basic understanding of the Korean War as they explore the different paths through the book. Also included are a timeline, Internet sites, other possible paths, glossary, bibliography and index.
Side-By-Side Hockey Stars : Comparing Pro Hockey's Greatest
Sports Illustrated Kids/capstone Pr [Sports Illustrated Kids/capstone Pr]
Frederick, Shane
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 09, 2015
Korf, Clarence
A book exploring past stars in hockey and current players who are excelling in the game. Each current player is compared to a player of the past and how they compare. Many great players of the past are included, such as Wayne Gretsky, Brett Hull, Bobbie Orr and more. Students who are lovers of the game of hockey will engage with the history as well as the up and coming stars. Unfortunately the comparisons seem to be a bit contrived by comparing a player's complete history with a player who has only played a few. When a coach was asked to weigh in on the choice, he chose the retired players nine times out of ten because of their overall game and playoff performances. The book includes common core questions to explore, an Internet site and index. A glossary and chart acronyms explained would have been helpful for those who know little about hockey.
Sweep Up The Sun
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Frost, Helen
Lieder, Rich
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
May 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
A lyrical, evocative poem ostensibly about birds, but clearly about life in general and personal growth, provides the simple text for this book of extraordinary bird photographs. Rich Lieder's crisp close-up photographs of birds in flight capture a surreal beauty that we never get to see clearly. Frost's poem encapsulates those moments in our lives that also seem both fleeting and profound. Together, this is a stunning collaboration. The final two pages of the book provide additional information about the birds from the photographs. There are only two changes I would make. I would like to see the poem alone, at the end of the book. While lovely, it gets lost in the extraordinary photography and loses its flow. Also, I would very much have liked more information about how the photographs were taken. That being said, this is a lovely book and a visual treat.
How To Pee
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Spector, Todd
Chung, Arree
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
May 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Potty training is always a challenge but, in this book written by a doctor, that doesn't mean it can't be fun. He details how his own family approached the issue with his son, by creating different styles of doing the job. Cowboy style? Free-style? Waterfall style? Each is a humorous way to approach the bodily function. The book includes funny illustrations that show the stream, but not the source, as it were. The author's advice to parents is cogent and reassuring. While this really isn't appropriate for school libraries, parents might want to have it on their personal shelves, when teaching their own sons.
Whales
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Hansen, Grace
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This 24-page "Abdo Kids" book looks a lot like the "Pebble Plus" series. It's a large-format book with big, crisp photographs flowing over the gutter to face a page of bold simple text consisting of one or two informative sentences, which act almost as a picture caption. The book includes a fact page, glossary, and index. This entry in the "Ocean Life" series concentrates on whales. While the information is minimal, it is also interesting and clear, and the photographs are amazing. Readers learn about baleen and toothed whales, and some basic facts about whales in general and some whales in particular. A few tidbits about diet and habitat are included as well. While not extraordinarily informative, this is very visual and is sure to attract young nonfiction fans.
Bus Is For Us!
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Rosen, Michael
Tyler, Gillian
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This is a traipse through all types of transportation, both real and imaginative. The bouncy rhyming text has the readers trying trains, hopping on horses, bopping along on bicycles and more. Still, there is always the return to the bus which is gradually filling up with children as the book continues on. It is clear from the delight on their faces that the bus is just perfect for them. Watercolor illustrations are filled with movement as they spill across the gutter. This is fun jaunt, even if the rhythm occasionally stumbles. It would make a good story-time book, if practiced beforehand.
Learning About Media Literacy
Pebble Plus/capstone Press [Pebble Plus/capstone Press]
Rustad, Martha E H
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Media literacy is an important skill in today's society. This book, however, doesn't really address the issue in a helpful way. The author briefly gives examples of media and its purposes. Its creators and audience are briefly considered. Granted, this is a Pebble Plus book with a large format, 24 pages, and only a few sentences of text facing a crisp photograph. Still, for a book about conveying a message, this is exceptionally shallow and doesn't really inform readers about the subject matter. Well-intentioned, but ultimately not valuable.
Peppa Pig And The Treasure Hunt
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Peppa Pig and her brother, George, are visiting their grandparents. Grandpa has created a treasure hunt for them to follow. After a few initial problems they are on the trail of the treasure. Working together, and following a map, they eventually end up with a chest filled with coins--chocolate coins, of course. I find the Peppa Pig books, with their bright digital Picasso-esque illustrations, slight. However, if you have even one on the shelf you will soon find students demanding more. This is doubtless due to the popularity of the TV show on which the books are based.
Elephantom
TEMPLAR [TEMPLAR]
Collins, Ross
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
There's a very large wispy trouble-maker in the house and a young girl tells readers about dealing with the problem. The elephantom eats all the peanut butter, invites friends over, and creates messes for which the girl is blamed. Sure, he's exotic, but he's nothing but trouble. Fortunately her grandmother, who has her own ghost pets, understands. She refers the child to a store that provides her with the perfect solution--a ghost mouse. Problem solved...except now the neighbors are dealing with an elephantom. This is a fresh and funny tale but Ross Collins' big watercolor illustrations are what bring it to life, filled with quirky details and humorous asides. While not an essential purchase, this is still one that children will find appealing.
Big Game
Chicken House [Chicken House]
Smith, Daniel
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
May 11, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Okari is turning 13 and in his Finnish village that means he has to go on Trial to signify becoming a man. A Trial entails spending a night in the forest, hunting with a bow and arrow. The animal he kills will show the type of man Okari will become. Okari just hopes he can pull back the arrow far enough to shoot, something he was not able to do at the Trial's beginning ceremony. After he says farewell to the send-off crowd, he witnesses a stranger in the woods kill a man in cold blood. Then, there is a huge boom in the forest. Okari finds a metal pod and discovers the president of the United States in it, having just escaped from a plane crash. From there on out, the story is one big chase through the woods. The president is being hunted by a terrorist and Okari is able to lead the president to safety. The characters seemed flat and non-empathetic. This novel was written from a screenplay and perhaps would be a good read for action/adventure readers.
Way To Stay In Destiny
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Scattergood, Augusta
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 11, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
It is 1974, and Theo M. Thomas, age 12, has been wrenched away from his grandparents' farm in Kentucky where he has lived his entire life. Now, Theo's uncle Raymond, whom he barely knows, his taking him to live in Destiny, Florida at Miss Scattergood's Rest Easy Rooming House. When Theo was only four, both of his parents died in a car crash. Uncle Raymond does not especially like children; he is a Vietnam vet who was content to live his life out in the wilderness of Alaska. When Raymond's grandfather is forced to sell the farm, Raymond has to take guardianship of his sister's son, Theo. Raymond is harsh to Theo and forbids him, among other things, to play the piano, which Theo has a phenomenally natural aptitude for. Theo ends up playing the piano for Miss Scattergood's dance classes. He then finds out that he was named for Thelonius Monk and that his parents loved music. Raymond is bitter about his sister because she was a Vietnam War protestor. Raymond and Theo come to a situation they can both live with by the conclusion of the story, but it is not a conventional one. Friendship, love, and what it means to be a parent are themes that run, sometimes painfully and always honestly, through this story.
Little Red Lies
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Johnston, Julie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
May 11, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Rachel, 13, and her family are ecstatic that Jamie, Rachel's brother has returned home from World War Two. Everyone expects him to be the same boy who left three years earlier and it annoys him to have to remind people that he is different, he's been to war, he has seen people (including his good friend) die. The girl he left behind decides he is not the boy for her. He has no interest in working at his father's pharmacy. So, Jamie decides to go to university in Toronto. Rachel is disappointed in her brother's new personality and mourns the loss of how close they were before the war. Rachel falls for her drama teacher, mainly because of his encouragement of her "talent," and plans to run away with him. Jamie contracts leukemia and has to be hospitalized. Rachel and Jamie's mother gets pregnant and Jamie feels he is being replaced. When Rachel goes to leave with her teacher, she winds up in Toronto with her brother. I liked this story, but it got too complicated and rushed in the end with so many plot pieces being tied together.
Changers: Book Two: Oryon
Black Sheep [Black Sheep]
Cooper, T
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
May 11, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Fans of Changers Book 1: Drew will want to know what person Drew, a freshman girl cheerleader, but originally Ethan for the previous years of his life, turns into in his/her sophomore year. This year Drew is now Oryon, a 16-year-old, African American boy, who lives with the same parents and in the same house, but has a new background story. But the romantic feelings he had for Audrey (a non-Changer called a Static) and acted upon in his version 1, are still there despite the rules of the Changers Bible. He must get to know Audrey all over again and gain her trust, in order to be close to her, without divulging his previous identity. This works as they are in some classes and a writing magazine together, despite the obstacle of her older, bully brother (assumed to be an Abider, anti-Changer) who attempted to raper Drew the previous year. As Oryon he learns about racism and is sickened by it, but is caught up in his love for Audrey. Reading the first book will be necessary to understanding the second, with definitely a third to follow, as the book leaves Oryon locked in a basement room with other kidnapped Changers being held at the mercy of the Abiders whom we assume will try to deprogram them. Glossary at end.
Beastly Verse
ENCHANTED LION BOOKS [ENCHANTED LION BOOKS]
Yoon, Joohee
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
May 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Tricolor hand-drawn and computer created illustrations by Joohee Yoon fill the large-format pages of this poetry book with an almost block print style, each double-page spread accompanied by an animal poem. The poems range from the humorous "Eletelephony" to the more serious "The Tiger" by William Blake. Clearly the poems are there simply as a vehicle for the illustrator's artwork. If you need additional animal poems this might be a possibility, but it would be a secondary purchase.
Maine Coon's Haiku : And Other Poems For Cat Lovers
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Rosen, Michael
White, Lee
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
May 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Following in the footsteps of his other haiku collections about cuckoos and dogs, Michael J. Rosen here presents short, pithy haikus, each about a different variety of cat. Well, that's what the titles of each poem imply, although the poems are pretty much true of all cats and are not all that breed-specific. Those who love felines will recognize their favorite cats in these short, evocative statements the encapsulate a cat's movements, personality, or essence. An appendix provides a short paragraph of information about each breed of cat featured. Lee White's digital illustrations are moody and match each poem's "feel." Cat lovers will embrace this.
Big Tractor
Boyds Mills Press [Boyds Mills Press]
Clement, Nathan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
A tractor is a major workhorse on any farm, and the big green tractor is the star of this book.The text consists of simple short sentences, talking to the tractor as different chores are performed throughout the year, until there's finally a winter rest. Clement's crisp digital illustrations pop from the pages in this homage to the hard work of farming and the people and machines that make it happen.
In Mary's Garden
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Kugler, Tina
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
May 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Mary Nohl, born in 1914, grew up spending summers on the lake in Michigan. She was an inventive child, with an engineering bent. In her later years, independent due to an inheritance, she lived full-time in her summer cottage and created imaginative works of art from found treasures. Her work was not without controversy. Though she died in 2001, neighbors to her property still are annoyed by the traffic of those viewing her works, and there are arguments about whether it is, or isn't "art." Still, this is a fascinating peek, in picture-book format, at an artistic mind, and how imagination can help you see potential in even the most common of objects.
Chooky-Doodle-Doo
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Whiten, Jan
Hanley, Sinead
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Bright patterned illustrations in spring colors show a chooky chick trying to pull up an obstinate worm. Soon two chooky-chicks are working at it, then three, then more. The rhythmic, rhyming text begs to be read aloud as this cumulative tale continues until a rooster joins in. Success! Oh, wait... The ending is a funny surprise. My one argument with the book is the use of the word "queue." Sure it rhymes, but the intended audience will need an introduction. Other than that, the story would lend itself to cute art projects and fun extension activities. It would be a good story-time choice.
Dirty Rats?
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Lunde, Darrin
Gustavson, Adam
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Rats? Eeeeew! Those long skinny tales. Their filthy reputation. Ick! Ick! Ick! However, as the author points out, there are many members of the rat family, some of which are darned cute...or deadly. Young readers are briefly introduced to long-tailed marmoset rats, fish-eating rats, kangaroo rats, bushy-tailed cloud rats and other rats around the world. Rats are important to science, and help spread seeds. They provide an important food source for many other creatures. Bad reputation? Sure, but there's more to the story. This is a fascinating book with just enough information to keep the reader happy, but not so much as to slow down the book's pace. Dark-toned oil illustrations add just the right touch. This would be a good addition to your nonfiction shelves.
Curious George Goes To A Bookstore
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Rey, H A
Young, Mary O'keefe
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 12, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
In a new addition written by the CuriousGeorge.com crew, everybody's favorite monkey goes to a Main Street bookstore to meet his favorite author. Of course his curiosity causes George to wanders off from the Man in the Big Yellow Hat, and George gets into the pastry case in the cafe, to the dinosaur section in the children's department and to boxes of books about his favorite character, Penny the Penguin. The (not very) naughty little monkey opens the boxes, builds tall tower of books and finds that his play is appreciated by the store manager, who invites him to join the book-signing crew. The up to date setting gives something for new generation of fans. Easy to recommend for primary ages, and to librarians who-like me- probably have a wide soft spot for both monkeys and bookstores.
Firefighters : Battling Smoke And Flames
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Greve, Tom
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 12, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Sharp action photos, clear text and succinct descriptions make this a red hot update for elementary collections. Wildfires and urban firefighting, disasters like 911 and medical emergencies, training and equipment are all covered in 30 feature packed pages. Glossary, timeline, 3 significant websites for further research, an index and study guide complete this sturdy Rourkeeducationalmedia.com title one of 8 in an Emergency Response series that also includes books on the jobs of bomb dispersal, EMT, FEMA, Hazmat, Police, Search and Rescue and SWAT crews. This one hits the sweet spot of high interest non-fiction written at F&P level Q accessible to elementary students of all ages.
Power Down, Little Robot
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY]
Staniszewski, Anna
Zeltner, Tim
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 13, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
It's time to power down, but Little Robot isn't ready to recharge. He pulls out all his favorite tricks--telling secrets, asking for closet checks, saying he forgot to brush his cogs. Mom Unit is loving but firm until finally dream sequence is initiated. This is a sweet story, but the addition of robots will put it over the top for many young readers who may see their own delaying tactics in the story. The acrylic illustrations by Tim Zeltner are eye-catching and quite unique, making this a visual treat. It would be a good bedtime story for all those little ones who need to go into sleep mode.
Naptime With Theo And Beau
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Shyba, Jessica
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
May 13, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This is what happens when you have a blog and post pictures of your cute toddler sleeping with your equally adorable puppy. You add a little text and put it out as a book. The photographs are crisp and cute as can be, but what, exactly, is the point? A viral sensation? Yes. A worthy library purchase? Probably not. Still, this might make a good choice for home collections.
If I Had A Triceratops
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
O'connor, George
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 13, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
What would it be like to own a triceratops? This bouncy book treats the issue with a great deal of humor as a small boy rejoices in his unusual pet. He treats it much like a dog, but there are problems. She doesn't fit in her doghouse. Scooping her poop can be a challenge. Teaching her tricks might be problematic as well. The straightforward text is ever optimistic. It is its juxtaposition with big, hilarious illustrations that shows the problems that would inevitably come from such a pet. Children will giggle at this delightful romp.
Austin Mahone : Famous Pop Singer & Songwriter
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Diver, Lucas
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
May 13, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Pop Bios" series, this large format book focuses on singer and songwriter, Austin Mahone. Big photographs flow across double-page spreads and face a sentence of two of simple text. Fans will go nuts, of course, but there really is very little information to be found here and, as with all books about child stars, what information there is will be quickly outdated. The timeline, glossary, and index are very slight. Will this be popular? Sure. Is it worth buying? Only if you have a large budget.
Birthday Rules
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Friedman, Laurie
Murfin, Teresa
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 13, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
It's your birthday--how should you behave? This etiquette book offers rules, some of which are about good manners and appearance, and others involve interpersonal relationships and enjoying the day. Rhyming text accompanies detailed illustrations that fill the pages with party preparation and celebration. Touches of humor abound, yet the book ultimately ends up a bit preachy and a tad self-centered. Still, this might be a good gift for the birthday boy or girl.
Melissa's Octopus And Other Unsuitable Pets
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Voake, Charlotte
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 13, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Let's face it--some pets are simply unsuitable. Melissa's octopus, for example. He's very handy to have around, but makes a terrible mess in the bathtub. Thomas's mole is always disappearing underground, and Arthur's warthog is very poorly mannered. Other strange pets also have their flaws. Of course a pet crocodile offers the most unusual and dangerous challenges. It is surely the most unsuitable pet of all. This is a flight of fancy with Voake's typical watercolor and ink illustrations that maintain the tongue-in-cheek quality of the matter-of-fact text. Children will enjoy the humor, and this would lead naturally to a classroom-created book of other unsuitable pets. Alas, the binding is also unsuitable. Five stitches? Really?
Albert Einstein : Genius Of The Theory Of Relativity
Enslow Publishing [Enslow Publishing]
Goldenstern, Joyce
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 13, 2015
Dame, Anne
This biography of Albert Einstein is written in a straight-forward manner and uses language that is fairly accessible for most readers. Scientific terms are explained both through context and definitions. There are occasional black and white photographs to supplement the text. In the back of the book are several related activities for students to try on their own as well as an index, glossary, timeline, and limited additional resources. In my opinion, color photographs (and more of them) would have improved this book quite a bit.
John Green : Star Author, Vlogbrother, And Nerdfighter
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Braun, Eric
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 13, 2015
Dame, Anne
While very timely, this biography of John Green is likely to be outdated very quickly. There are many color photos throughout the book that complement and enhance the text. Other extras include a timeline, source notes, selected bibliography, and suggestions for further reading that includes books and websites. The text itself is informative and easy to read. It includes information on John's childhood, his questioning of suffering and faith, his transition to becoming an author, his work with his brother Hank, The Fault in Our Stars, and going from the internet to movies. Fans of John Green will quickly read this and then want more.
My Blue Bunny, Bubbit
CLARION [CLARION]
Smith, Maggie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 14, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
A little girl has a blue stuffed bunny, stitched with love by her grandmother. The bunny is an integral part of her life. Now a new baby is on the way and Grandma has come to help. What will the new baby need? Together the girl and her grandmother stitch a stuffed elephant for the new arrival, with much love. This is a tender story, told in the first person by the young girl. Bright beautifully-patterned illustrations are filled with curved lines that add to its gentle appeal. This would be a good baby-shower gift, or a perfect book to read to a child expecting a sibling.
Grizzly Bears : Huge Hibernating Mammals
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Hirsch, Rebecca E
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 14, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The title should say it all, right? This is a book about grizzly bears...except it's not. The series title better hits the mark--"Comparing Animal Traits." While this sturdy 32-page book does introduce readers to some basic grizzly facts, these are interspersed with two-page spreads in which grizzly bears are compared to wolverines, wild boars, black-footed ferrets, striped skunks, American bison, jaguars, and titi monkeys. Huh? Sometimes this comparison includes a chart, sometimes not. A final chart offers a full comparison. This is a different way to approach the subject, and there is some good grizzly information scattered between the comparisons. Still, this reviewer was left wondering what the point was, and why these particular critters were chosen. Did I miss something? This format was too confusing for most elementary-aged readers, but might find some value in the middle school.
Orion And The Dark
TEMPLAR [TEMPLAR]
Yarlett, Emma
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 14, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Orion fears the dark. It hides in strange places, and gets much worse at night. He's tried to conquer his fear, without success, until one night he orders that which he fears most to go away. To his surprise the dark--a starfilled creature--slips through the skylight. He's afraid, but he knows his manners so he greets his guest. Soon they are traveling together and he learns that the dark can be fun and interesting, and magical. Now he knows he will miss it when it is gone, but it promises to never be far away. A fear of the dark is common, but this is a very unique view of it. The book is told in the first person, with gentle illustrations that start out filled with frantic details, but mellow into broad and gentle sweeps of color as the boy befriends the dark. Two pages are cut to form an arm that reaches out to connect with Orion. This is gently sweet, very imaginative, and ultimately reassuring.
Have You Seen My Monster?
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Light, Steven
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 14, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
A little girl is at the fair with her family but she has, regrettably, become separated from her monster. She looks for him everywhere. Readers will see her just missing him at each location. Fortunately, at the end of the day, they are reunited and on their way home. This is an interesting sort of book. The illustrations are mostly black and white, with interesting designs and details. Each features a particular shape, that is named and illustrated in the right-hand corner of the double-paged spreads. The various aspects of that shape, as they appear on the page, are highlighted with color, that makes them pop from the monochromatic pages. These are not just triangles and squares. Readers see ovals, trapezoids, decagons, and more. There's also a map element on the end papers. While short on story this book is long on curriculum applications.
No, No, Kitten!
Boyds Mills Press [Boyds Mills Press]
Thomas, Shelley Moore
Nichols, Lori
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 14, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Kitten wants this. Kitten wants that. Kitten wants a puppy. No no no. Cats do not have pets. Kitten continues with a list of wants, some of which are reasonable, some not so much. Her African-American owner is quick to admonish her as Kitten's desires move on to engines, gadgets, and lasers. Wait--she wants to blast off to Jupiter? No no, there are some things you CAN have and some things you CANNOT have. Wait, why are you counting down? Why is Puppy in that rocket with you? Now Puppy wants something? Oh no! This is an imaginative story with most of the humor contained in the pen and ink illustrations that have been digitally colored. Children will giggle as Kitten's demands grow. This would be a fun read-aloud.
Space Boy And His Dog
Boyds Mills Press [Boyds Mills Press]
Regan, Dian Curtis
Neubecker, Robert
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 14, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Niko is going on an adventure to the moon. He's taking his dog and his robot and is traveling in a rocket he constructed himself. He's going to find a lost cat. He is NOT taking his sister. His sister has no part in this story. Except that she stowed away and she, ultimately, finds the cat. This is not fair, so Niko leaves her behind on the lunar surface. After a mutiny from his crew he changes his mind. His sister, however, refuses to go back with him. They both get home from this imaginary trip in time for dinner, and return the cat to its owner. Bold, detailed illustrations, often divided into almost grapic-novel segments, are fun and show the world of Niko's imagination, as well as glimpses of the real world at the beginning and end of the book. This is a nice homage to creative play, which we see far too little of nowadays.
Lost Track Of Time
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Britt, Paige
White, Lee
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 14, 2015
Evey, Kay
A story about a preteenager with an obsessive time manager mother. One day the entire day planner page is blank and a very strange thing happens to the girl. She falls into time and the realm of possibilities and she returns to her own world with the understanding that she can be in charge of her own life. This is filled with puns about time and clichés that may be lost on the intended audience who will not have the life experiences to understand all the time references. I am not sure what age will pick it up for the pure enjoyment of the story.
Map Of The Passages
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Baccalario, Pierdomenico
Bruno, Iacopo
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
OK, let me confess I have not read any other books in this series, and that clearly, one must have read the previous book to fully enjoy this one. Ah well. Finley is in trouble again. He's the guardian of the Enchanted Emporium, but now a magical person has been murdered and in trying to solve the mystery and save the town from the repercussions, Finley makes a dreadful error. Luckily he has a chance to redo the day, undo his mistake, and make sure right triumphs. He can only do it by not making big changes that turn the day into something he cannot predict. In this book he learns about new magical implements, powers that he did not realize he possessed, and an affection for a close friend which is not a particular surprise. Short chapters, occasional illustrations, and likeable characters combine to make this a fun fantasy series. But, seriously, read the books in order.
Word Wizard's Book Of Pronouns
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Johnson, Robin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Understanding important language elements is an essential step in better using language. The "Word Wizard" series provides solid information about important concepts. This volume focuses on pronouns. They are defined, then readers learn about personal, indefinite, possessive, reflexive, singular and plural pronouns. The importance of pronouns agreeing with the nouns they replace is emphasized. Multiple examples are given. The format is bright and inviting with plenty of illustrations, photographs, and sharp graphic elements. The 24-page large-format paperback book includes a glossary, bibliography, and index. The one problem I have with the series is that readers are frequently given assignments, but the correct answers are never included in the book.
Word Wizard's Book Of Synonyms And Antonyms
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Johnson, Robin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Understanding the elements that make up our language is essential in better using language. The "Word Wizard" series provides solid information about important concepts. This volume focuses on synonyms and antonyms. Both are defined, then readers are given multiple examples and encouraged to recognize how their use of language is enriched through the use of these words. The format is bright and inviting with plenty of illustrations, photographs, and sharp graphic elements. The 24-page large-format paperback book includes a glossary, bibliography, and index. The one problem I have with the series is that readers are frequently given assignments, but the correct answers are never included in the book.
Word Wizard's Book Of Prefixes And Suffixes
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Johnson, Robin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Understanding the elements that make up our language is an essential step in better using language. The "Word Wizard" series provides solid information about important concepts. This volume focuses on prefixes and suffixes. Both are defined, then readers learn about root words, how they can be expanded, and how prefixes and suffixes can change the meaning of words. Spelling adaptations, as suffixes are added, are emphasized. Multiple examples are given. The format is bright and inviting with plenty of illustrations, photographs, and sharp graphic elements. The 24-page large-format paperback book includes a glossary, bibliography, and index. The one problem I have with the series is that readers are frequently given assignments, but the correct answers are never included in the book.
Draw What You See : The Life And Art Of Benny Andrews
CLARION [CLARION]
Haskins, Kathleen Benson
Andrews, Benny
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
May 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Benny Andrews may have been born to a poor family in Georgia, in 1933, but he didn't allow that difficult start to limit his future. In fact, that beginning is often reflected in the unique artwork of this significant African-American artist. This picture book introduces children to Benny Andrews. They learn about his childhood, and his desire to leave the cotton fields and gain an education. Then it was off to the military and on to a college education. His life was rich with myriad influences. He created art throughout his youth, but he became a full-time artist in New York City and had his own part to play in the Civil Rights movement. While he passed away in 2006, his influence lingers. This is a crisply, evocatively written book that emphasizes the work involved in the artist's success. Better, it is fully-illustrated with his artwork. It merits a place in any collection serving children.
Place For Birds
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Stewart, Melissa
Bond, Higgins
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The same author who brought us "A Place for Bats" is back teaching children about bird habitats. Beautiful illustrations by Higgins Bond accompany the clear and interesting text as readers learn about the many places birds live, specific birds that inhabit that area, the contributions birds make to our world, and what is being done to protect them. Challenges to bird survival such as pesticides, building, logging, and cats are addressed. Action is encouraged. Even the end papers are filled with range maps. This is a beautifully-designed and organized book that gives valuable information, suitable for the target audience.
Sgt. Reckless The War Horse : Korean War Hero
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Higgins, Melissa
Iglesias, Alvaro
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 16, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
During the Korean war a little red horse literally pulled her weight, carrying supplies to American troops through all sorts of battle situations. Sgt. Reckless, as the horse was named, not only provided needed ordinance, but became a mascot for the soldiers she served, and was eventually given the rank of staff sergeant. When her soldiers went home they didn't leave the horse behind. She went to Camp Pendleton and continued to be a part of the lives of soldiers there. Eventually she was retired, had four foals and lived a happy life before her death in 1968. In 2013 a statue of Sgt. Reckless was unveiled in Quantico, VA, and her legend lives on. This is a part of a new series on animal heroes, and is a lovely story and well-written. The illustrations by Alvaro Iglesias are nicely done, but this reviewer found the black eyes of all humans featured to be a bit off-putting. Nevertheless this is a good story that should find a ready readership.
Rain Forest
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Cole, Joanna
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
May 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
"The Magic School Bus Presents" series consists of 32 page paperback books about nonfiction subjects. There's less of the fictional bus and more facts, easing that "is it fiction or nonfiction?" line in the old series. This book focuses on the flora and fauna of tropical rainforests, with a specific focus on the Amazon rain forest. Readers learn about apes, frogs, birds, and much more. The book includes maps, short reports, photographs, illustrations and "Frizzle Facts" that all augment the clear and descriptive text. The book ends with information about threats to the Amazon rain forest and facts about three types of people who work with the rain forest--a farmer, a tour guide, and a conservationist. There's also a glossary. This is a solid series that brings science to life for young readers. Get it prebound for library collections.
Polar Animals
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Cole, Joanna
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
May 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
"The Magic School Bus Presents" series consists of 32 page paperback books about nonfiction subjects. There's less of the fictional bus and more report-writing, facts, and photographs, easing that "is it fiction or nonfiction?" line in the old series. This book focuses on animals you might find at either the North Pole or the South Pole. Polar bears, seals, walruses, birds, penguins, whales, and underwater critters are all briefly highlighted. The book includes maps, short reports, photographs, illustrations and "Frizzle Facts" that all augment the clear and descriptive text. The book ends with information about climate change and about three scientists--a zoologist, a glaciologist, and a oceanographer--who study the polar regions. There's also a glossary. This is a solid series that brings science to life for young readers. Get it prebound for library collections.
Day And Night In The Desert
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Arnold, Caroline
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Caroline Arnold's Habitats" series, this larger format 24-page book starts at 6:00 in the morning and walks readers through the next 24 hours, in 3 hour blocks, to show what might be seen of the flora and fauna of a dry hot desert. Beautiful collage illustrations accompany the crisply-written text to create a book on an ecosystem that primary teachers will want to share with their students when doing habitats.
Leaflets Three, Let It Be! : The Story Of Poison Ivy
Boyds Mills Press [Boyds Mills Press]
Sanchez, Anita
Brickman, Robin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
May 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Hey, who hasn't heard the old "Leaflets three, let it be. Berries white, take flight" when talking about poison ivy? Yet, after years of repeating the rhyme I still know I wouldn't recognize the plant if I saw it. Hey, now I know why! Poison ivy changes its appearance throughout the year, and all poison ivies do not look alike. This is a fascinating peek at an interesting plant that provides all kinds of important things to animals as the seasons change. (Turns out that THEY are not allergic to it.) Exquisite watercolor, acrylic, and collage illustrations make this book "pop" and provide needed visuals that show key points, and the entire habitat in which poison ivy can be found. There is a quiz at the end, to identify the plant. That's my one complaint, It asks you to identify the four plants, but shows you five. Surprise! Two are poison ivy. (It should have mentioned that.) Other than that one annoyance, This is a beautifully conceived and executed book about a plant that is far more interesting than I had supposed.
Sally Ride
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Anderson, Annmarie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Sally Ride was the first American woman in space and this is a bright, personal, brief look at her life. All the "When I Grow Up..." books are told in the first person and young readers follow Sally's changing ambitions as she grows and learns. Her role as an astronaut, and the careers that followed that, are all emphasized. It is a bit jarring to read "I died on July 23, 2012..." but the book is interesting, readable, and informative, like all the other books in the series. Photographs and illustrations accompany the text in this paperback book. Get it prebound for library use.
Weird & Wild Animal Facts
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Loy, Jessica
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
May 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Who doesn't like weird facts? This bright and colorful books is filled with odd and interesting facts about the Giant Pacific octopus, giraffe, hippopotamus, hummingbird, jellyfish, naked mole rat, Panamanian golden frog, red kangaroo, sand tiger shark, sea horse, tarantula, two-toed sloth, vulture, and warthog. Each animal gets a two-page spread filled with odd facts and bright photographs. Even the end papers are informative. This is a fun browsing book that will attract young readers.
Dino Treasures
Arbordale Publishing [Arbordale Publishing]
Donald, Rhonda Lucas
Morrison, Cathy
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Dinosaurs are always popular and there are many things we can learn about them. This book features beautiful colored illustrations by Cathy Morrison. They are incredible and detailed. Unfortunately, the text is in short forced verse that is very off-putting. There are facts in there, sure, but you have to dig them out of the doggerel. The three end pages, written normally, provide solid information about how we learn about dinosaurs, but that cannot redeem this book.
How And Why Do Animals Build Homes?
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Kalman, Bobbie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Bobbie Kalman knows how to write a good nonfiction book. This one focuses on animal homes. What kinds of homes do animals build, and why? Readers learn about dens, burrows, many kinds of nests, lodges, and structures and the animals who build them. Plenty of amazing captioned photographs pop up all over the place, along with interesting fact boxes. This is visually appealing, and the information is interesting. A bibliography, glossary, and index are included.
Puss In Boots
Big & Small [Big & Small]
Perrault, Charles
Kim, Sam-Hyeon
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This is a spare and straightforward retelling of Perrault's original tale of the miller's son and his clever cat in boots. The cat does all the work as he moves his master up the social ladder. There are no surprises here, but Sam-hyeon Kim's illustrations have a unique quality and rich detail. The book was originally rewritten in Korean, and Joy Cowley has edited that text into English. It's passed through many hands, but has emerged if not improved, at least unscathed.
Kiki Koki : La Leyenda Encantada Del Coqui
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Rodriguez, Ed
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
In Puerto Rico there is a little noisy frog called a coqui. This is a tale about how the frog began making its unique sound. Kiki Koki is a self-centered little boy who doesn't believe in working with others or, for that matter, doing any work at all. When he is turned into a frog he has 30 days to change his ways or he will never be a human again. There are friendly fellow frogs, pirates, escapes and rescues as Kiki Koki learns his lesson. This Spanish-language book is accompanied by vivid cartoon illustrations that fill the pages with lush color in a very Disneyesque way. This is a visual treat and would make a good Spanish-language story time.
Meanest Birthday Girl
CLARION [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Schneider, Josh
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
It's Dana's birthday and that only makes her more self-centered and mildly bullying than normal. She steals other kids' desserts and even calls them names. Anthony, however, has the perfect solution. He gives her a white elephant for her birthday. She is overwhelmed at so generous a gift, but quickly discovers how much upkeep is involved. Having made some changes in her own life, she passes the elephant along to another girl who could use an opportunity for growth. In this modern retelling of the old story, students will get a chance to understand what a "white elephant" is. Bright illustrations perfectly suit the text. While not a first purchase, this is a worthy addition to collections.
Picture Perfect
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Jules, Jacqueline
Smith, Kim
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Sofia loves her large Latina family, but she's tired of being mistaken for her two sisters. She wants to be unique. In this short chapter book she creates a plan to have a school picture that will make her stand out from the rest. This is a gentle story with a supportive family and occasional color illustrations. The text abounds with Spanish words, and there is a short Spanish glossary, as well as a page of extension activities, in the back of the book. This is part of a series that might help bring diversity to your early chapter book collections.
Yard Sale
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Bunting, Eve
Castillo, Lauren
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Some people love yard sales - either selling or shopping. It's a chance to get rid of stuff you no longer need, or pick up things at a bargain price. But what about those who hold the sale out of need, rather than desire? Due to financial difficulties Callie's family is moving into a small one-bedroom apartment. The house she has always called home is being sold. Most of what they own will not fit into their new residence. Each piece being sold at the sale is a piece of Callie, going off in a stranger's hands. This is a gently moving story about change, acceptance, and love. The soft illustrations beautifully match the text.
Marie Antoinette : Fashionable Queen Or Greedy Royal?
Fact Finders/capstone Press [Fact Finders/capstone Press]
Webb, Sarah Powers
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Who was Marie Antoinette? Was she a victim of her time and circumstances, or was she a greedy queen who cared not a fig for the problems of the poor? It's never as easy to categorize people as you might think. This is a thoughtful and interesting overview of the life of Marie Antoinette providing plenty of information about the times, her background, her lavish lifestyle, and the catch-22 she found herself in between the nobles and the people. Who was she really? Readers are left wondering as the guillotine falls. This 32 page book is part of the "Perspectives On History" series and provides readers with clear information on both sides of the issue. Fact boxes, photographs, and historical paintings abound, as do all standard text features. This is a fascinating book to read and leaves one wondering what happened to her surviving children. Hey--a chance for further research!
SEVEN CLUES TO WINNING YOU
RAZORBILL [PENGUIN]
WALKER, KRISTIN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
May 17, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Blythe's worst nightmare comes true: she has to transfer to a new school for her senior year. Not just any school, either, but the one where her father is principal. The first day of school she finds kids laughing at her and learns that an embarrassing video of her has gone viral. When Blythe complains to the principal, her father, that the Senior Scramble, a longtime tradition at Meriton High, was the reason this photo was taken, her father shuts down the Scramble. Blythe, in the meantime, has met geeky Luke, the school newspaper editor and they verbally spar about school and life. After the Scramble was cancelled, Blythe realizes that she erred. She approaches Luke about setting up an underground Scramble and they combine forces to carry it out. I liked this story because it dealt with father-daughter issues, including honest communication. The only weak part of the book was the two women in nursing home. They didn't feel real to me and in fact seemed stereotypical and a drag on the story.
Sacrifice
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers [SIMON & SCHUSTER]
Burns, Laura J
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
May 18, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Shay is half human and half vampire, conceived by a human woman and vampire man, Sam. Sam was the adopted son in a large family of vampires that stretched back hundreds of years and led by the family patriarch, Ernst. When the family found out that Sam had mated with a human, he was put to death by his siblings and Ernst. The manner of death was gruesome and bloody. Time moves forward about 18 years and now Emma's daughter, Shay, who has been sickly all of her life, falls in love with Gabriel, brother (also adopted) to Sam. When Gabriel makes Shay a vampire, she becomes healthy and thus discovers the source of her lifelong illness. Emma's current husband, Martin, tries to capture vampires and test them. Shay runs away and spends most of the book seeking acceptance, but never getting it, from the vampire clan. The ending is both brutal and satisfying. My only experience with vampires is Twilight, in which they seem like a fortunate lot who fit in nicely with humans and can feed off of animal blood. Not so in this story: vampires must dig their teeth into human necks and drink for all it's worth. I found this hard to read about and not at all pleasant! Perhaps a real vampire fan would enjoy this story more than I.
Eden West
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Hautman, Pete
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
May 18, 2015
Dame, Anne
Jacob has lived in the secluded 12 square miles of Montana known as Nodd for most of his life. He barely remembers the World outside and feels secure living in paradise with his parents and the other followers of Father Grace. He is devout and diligent, but when he meets Lynna, a girl from outside, he begins to question some of the things he has been taught. This is a great, thought-provoking look at cults from both the inside and outside perspectives. Jacob's voice rings true. The cover art is fabulous. Could go to 7th & 8th grade mature readers as well.
Trap
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Arntson, Steven
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
May 18, 2015
Dame, Anne
It's summer of 1963 in a quiet little town in Iowa. A local bully goes missing. This concerns Henry because the bully, Carl, is his best friend's older brother. Together, Henry and his twin sister Helen, her best friend Nicki, and Henry's best friend Alan all try to figure out what happened to Carl. They find some of the answers in a book that teaches them how to travel outside of their bodies. In this alternate form, however, there are more dangers to face. Pace was a bit slow, characters seemed very stereotypical. The book jacket is well-illustrated and appealing.
Legend Of Lightning And Thunder
INHABIT MEDIA [INHABIT MEDIA]
Rumbolt, Paula Ikuutaq
Rious, Jo
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
May 18, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This is part of a continuing effort to collect and record traditional Inuit stories and myths. Many exist only in oral tradition, but now a new group of native writers is taking these tales and presenting them for a larger audience. In this story two orphan children are outcasts, shunned during a celebration. They are forced to steal to eat, and make their own music with a caribou skin, and a flint and stone. Afraid to return the stolen items, they ascend into the skies where you can occasionally see them, as lightning and thunder. The illustrations are beautiful, with traditional motifs and a touch of a graphic novel feel. If you are looking for diversity in your collection, here's a unique book that reflects a lesser-represented culture.
You Wouldn't Want To Live Without Fire!
Franklin Watts [Franklin Watts]
Woolf, Alex
Bergin, Mark
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
May 18, 2015
Dame, Anne
The newest title in the "You Wouldn't Want To..." series, this one talks about the importance of fire in our lives. I includes a timeline, glossary, a list of the 7 most deadly fires, and some little known trivia facts about fire. Students will enjoy the colorful and often humorous illustrations. However, I find the format to be too busy and can often be confusing to follow.
Six Degrees Of Lebron James : Connecting Basketball Stars
Sports Illustrated Kids/capstone Pr [Sports Illustrated Kids/capstone Pr]
Lohre, Mike
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 18, 2015
Dame, Anne
Part of a new series by Sports Illustrated Kids called "Six degrees of Sports", this one focuses on connecting basketball stars including LeBron James. This book contains information on the roots of basketball, great passers, blockers, marksmen, scorers, and all-round great players. There is also some trivia, a glossary, a few suggested resources for further reading. Each section has lots of color pictures of the players as well as statistics. I found it to be repetitive and quickly lost interest. However basketball fans and fans of LeBron will definitely pick this one up, even if it's for browsing rather than reading cover to cover.
Small Blue And The Deep Dark Night
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Davis, Jon
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 18, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Small Blue is a little bunny with a big imagination. That imagination goes into overdrive as soon as she's in bed and the light goes out. Within seconds she is calling for Big Brown Bear, explaining about the goblins, witches, skeletons, or hairy spiders she is sure are lurking in the darkness. Big Brown Bear is ever reassuring and asks if perhaps the darkness is not filled with more interesting things like delightful doggy Saturday-night unicycle conventions, or a retired-pirates' annual sock-knitting jamboree. His gentle steering of Small Blue's vivid imagination is reassuring and warm, replacing fears with fun fancies. This is a gently sweet lap book with a good message. The illustrations are a delight. Even the fears the bunny has aren't all that scary, in the pictures. Both adults and children will smile at Small Blue and her big brown friend.
Holocaust
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Peppas, Lynn
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 18, 2015
Dame, Anne
A fabulous text for teaching students how to analyze primary source documents, using the Holocaust as the basis for the lesson. Many full-color examples with thought-provoking questions to go with them. There is also reminders about the differences between primary and secondary sources. The only flaw, in my opinion, is that the pages are too busy with different text features like text boxes, narratives, bulleted information, pictures, etc. Could also go down to 4th and up to 9th & 10th grades.
Super Simple Butterfly Gardens : A Kid's Guide To Gardening
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
May 18, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Super Simple Gardening" series, this sturdy 32-page book gives some nice gardening basics, then provides simple and clear instructions on which plants will attract butterflies, as well as some cute garden projects. These include a butterfly bar, a fun feeder, a garden in a bag, and a boot planter. Each project includes step-by-step directions, as well as a supply list, and photographs showing key steps. The projects are pretty, but most would require an adult's assistance and won't turn out as pristine as the photographs, of course. The butterfly bar would also prove to be a magnet for mosquito-breeding, if not properly maintained. Still, a nice outdoor project that a family can work on together is always appreciated. This might be a nice series to add to your arts and crafts section.
William & The Missing Masterpiece
TEMPLAR [TEMPLAR]
Hancocks, Helen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 18, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Oh no--the Mona Cheesa is missing! Only William, international cat of mystery, can solve the crime. Bold, stylized pencil and gouache illustrations fill the pages of this tongue-in-cheek homage to fromage. Don't like cheese puns? You better brie-ware. If you're fondue of cheese, you'll think this book is very gouda. My one question? Why didn't they title it "William & the Missing Munsterpiece?"
School Days Around The World
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Ruurs, Margriet
Feagan, Alice
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 18, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Most children around the world go to school, but all school experiences are not the same. There are different ways of getting there, different types of buildings, different subjects, and different clothing and schedules. Still, schools have much in common as well. Delightful collage illustrations show a diverse group of happy children, surrounded by supportive adults, enjoying education wherever they might live. This would be terrific for compare and contrast opportunities, and a nice way to start the school year. A creative teacher would find many ways to use this versatile nonfiction book.
Animal Partners
Arbordale Publishing [Arbordale Publishing]
Cohn, Scotti
Bersani, Shennen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 18, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
There are many intriguing animal partnerships and that symbiosis is quite fascinating. Unfortunately, this book fails to provide good information about an interesting topic. Instead, each two-page spread includes a large and beautifully rendered illustration by Shennen Bersani, and a poem about the pictured partnership. Unfortunately, the partnerships are not explained, so the poems will be largely meaningless. Sure, in the final two pages there is a scholarly essay on mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism, and a little more information is given about the featured animals, as each is inserted into the correct category. Still, it would have been much better to have the information and the poem on the same page so it would make more sense. This is well-intentioned, but poorly executed.
Home Is The Place
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Martin, Ann M
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 18, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
How did I not know about this series until I was reading the fourth and final book? At least I know about it now so I can order the entire series for my library. Georgia is the main character in this book and she lives in the same house that generations of women in her family have lived in. When she discovers the diary of her great-great-grandmother hidden behind a wall, Georgia begins to understand some of the troubles and secrets long held in her family. This story begins when Georgia is a girl and ends when she is an adult. It comes to a satisfying conclusion and I liked following Georgia's growth in her thinking and responses. Girls will especially enjoy this series and ones who like historical fiction will, too. The book is not written in diary format, although there are a few excerpts from diaries written in italics.
Bruno And Titch
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Dempsey, Sheena
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 18, 2015
Jensen, Kathy
Told from a guinea pig’s point of view, Titch the guinea pig has been waiting to be adopted from a pet store f-o-r-e-v-e-r! Finally, a young boy named Bruno joyfully takes Titch home with him. Bruno’s delightful imagination and creativity provides many adventures and will give the reader lots of cool ideas for playing with a pet. The soft illustrations wonderfully complement the text. This sturdy book will hold up to young hands and is a must-read for any child wanting to have a guinea pig for a pet. Actually, for any child wanting a pet or having a pet. Shucks, for any kid who loves animals.
Scholastic Year In Sports, 2015
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Buckley, James, Jr
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
May 19, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Sure, this is titled "Year in Sports 2015" but, as any one knows, that means that the information in it is from 2013-2014. It takes time for a book to come out, right? This is a compendium of all types of sports information and stats. Locals will be pleased to see the Seahawks as #9 on the top ten "Moments in Sports" list for winning the 2014 Superbowl. There is information here about highlights in the NFL, college sports, the 2014 Winter Olympics, soccer, MLB, the NBA, the NHL, NASCAR and other motor sports, golf, tennis, and just about any other sports-related topic. The pages are splashed with bright action photographs. Brief but vivid sports-reporting brings the highlighted events to life. Sports fans are going to wear this book out.
Rescue On The Oregon Trail
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Messner, Kate
Mcmorris, Kelley
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 19, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Ranger is a dog who failed in Search and Rescue training, due to a proclivity to chase squirrels. Now he's a family dog, but still has his training. When Ranger digs up an old first aid kit he is mysteriously transferred back in time to join a boy named Sam, and his family, as they travel the Oregon Trail. Ranger's special skills come in handy, and save lives, as he travels across the plains, but will he ever return to his own time and family? This is a well-written and interesting approach to historical fiction, with occasional black and white illustrations. It also appears to be the first book in a series. What a fun way to learn history! I wonder where Ranger will go next?
LOVE? MAYBE
DIAL [DIAL]
HEPLER, HEATHER
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
May 19, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Piper's birthday is on Valentine's Day and, because of that, everyone thinks she's a romantic. She's exactly the opposite, however. Her mother has divorced two husbands, and Piper is now a cynic about love. She has a full life: she babysits her brother, she works in a candy shop after school, she has good friends. Who needs a boyfriend? Her good friends think she does, so they set her up with a popular boy at school. Piper likes this boy, but they become friends only. She gets some good advice from her boss at work and learns that people everywhere are broken. It is about picking up the pieces and moving on. Love is healing and wonderful, not just hurtful. This advice sinks into Piper and makes all the difference in the world to her as she takes steps ahead into the unknown.
Missing Zucchini
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Falcone, L M
Smith, Kim
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 19, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
In this second book in "The Ghost and Max Monroe" mystery series Max is once more on the case, with his ghost uncle. In this case there is a missing giant zucchini to find. There are plenty of suspects, but who is the real culprit? Max keeps track of his clues. His invisible uncle creates the usual funny chaos, and eventually the mystery is solved. With 9 short chapters and occasional black and white illustrations this book is a good choice for easy chapter book collections.
Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman : Ruff's 44 Favorite Science Activi
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 19, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Who doesn't love a good science experiment? Well, with a guide like PBS Kids' Ruff Ruffman you know you're going to have fun, and learn a lot. After explaining some safety rules, over 20 science projects are presented with a list of needed materials, clear step-by-step instructions, a "Chew on This" section providing a scientific explanation, and a "Dig Deeper" segment that allows for expansion. Especially valuable are examples of charts you might use while doing the experiment, and a few science fair tips to make your project shine. Interspersed are amusing comedy segments that keep the flavor of the book light, and clear illustrations. This would be a good addition to your science experiment section, and a valuable science fair resource.
All Fall Down
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Carter, Ally
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
6th grade to 12th grade
May 20, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Wow...and again, wow! From the first sentence you can tell an experienced author is at the helm and it's going to be a tricky, but well-steered ride down the rapids, with occasional risk of death. Grace Blakely is sure of a few things--her mother's death was not accidental. It was murder. In a too-classic twist, a scar-faced man was involved. She was there, and she knows what she saw. Nobody believes her. Now she has returned to Andia where her grandfather is the American ambassador. Dad's deployed overseas, and big brother is at West Point. Memories of her mother are everywhere. She has flashbacks of that fatal night. When she spots the scar-faced man again, and overhears mention of a pending murder, she cannot step back and let it happen. Other Embassy Row teens from different countries are soon lending their talents to the cause and they are a formidable team. However, Grace doesn't know everything she thinks she knows. Truth has a strange way of asserting itself, and death might be the punishment for too inquisitive a mind. This is the first book in a proposed series and everything about it is compelling from the cover down to the final page. YAY!
Big Bad Detective Agency
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Hale, Bruce
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 20, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Bruce Hale has a fine hand with humor and he's starting a new series with this book. Wolfgang has a bad reputation--not to say it isn't deserved, but now he's been accused of messing with the three little pigs. They're not that little. In fact, they're pretty hefty porkers. Still, their houses have been vandalized and he's being framed. Along with the three pigs' little brother he's on the case in Fairylandia trying to track down the real culprit. There are all kinds of suspects--Jack, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella. Unfortunately they don't pan out. If he can't uncover the truth he's toast! The idea of the Big Bad Wolf as a detective is amusing, -and Hales plays with all fairytale concepts as he creates the world of this new series. Fairytale-based books are all the rage, but most are sort of princessy. This is a nice change of paced that will attract young male readers to the genre.
Nitty-Gritty Gardening Book : Fun Projects For All Seasons
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Cornell, Kari
Larson, Jennifer S.
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
May 20, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Gardening is a bit like cooking. There are rules you should follow, and concepts that hold true in a variety of situations. Yet within this there is a lot of room for creativity. Those who love to garden are always up for a new idea, and those who are newbies to gardening need some of the basics. This book addresses both ends of the spectrum. The first 9 pages provide a dense treatise on tools, nutrients, zones, sun maps, watering, and soil testing. The author then takes you through the four seasons, providing three interesting gardening projects for each. Once you get past the initial introduction, the writing is informative and friendly. Each project includes a supply list and step-by-step instructions. Photographs and illustrations accompany provide nice visual backup. Strawberry baskets, growing potatoes in a bag, terrariums, worm bins and more are covered. Along the way are nice tips about how to get a plant out of a pot, and how to double dig the soil and more. I'm planning on trying both the newspaper pots and the potato trick. Formatting and crisp photographs make this a visual treat and, just as a good cookbook makes you drool, this makes you long to get your hands into the dirt.
Dangerous Deceptions
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Zettel, Sarah
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
May 20, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
I enjoyed the first book in the series, Palace of Spies, and looked forward to this, the second book. It did not disappoint. Peggy Fitzroy, who is now a spy for the royals in England, is re-approached by her ex-fiance, Sebastian. While Peggy tries to convince Sebastian that they are not a pair that should be together, he falls for her co-lady-in-waiting, while Peggy is in love with Matthew. Olivia, Peggy's cousin, assists her in maneuvering within the court, but Peggy's Uncle Pierpont seems to be working against both of them. Peggy has to take part in a big stakes card game to free herself of Sebastian. The Prince of Wales befriends Peggy and has a hand in making sure she succeeds in the court (late 17th/early 18th C.?). If what readers seek is court intrigue, backstabbing, gambling, dastardly men, and good old fashioned love, then this is their book!
Hard As Nails In Ancient Greece
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Turner, Tracey
Lenman, Jamie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 21, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Hard As Nails" series are paperback books that each focus on bloody and barbaric (mostly) parts of history. Most two-page spreads focus on specific individuals, with chatty but quite informative overviews, cartoon illustrations, and a "hardometer" that rates the individual's cunning, courage, survival skills, and ruthlessness. Not all of the highlighted folks are bad guys, but most aren't the sort you'd introduce to your mother. This book highlights over 20 notable historical figures from Greek history (not all of whom are Greek) including Hippocrates, Draco, and Archimedes. There's also information about Greek city states, enemies, mythology, wars and women. The book includes a timeline, bibliography, index, and glossary. This is surprisingly comprehensive and provides readers with solid overviews of significant historical figures. It's the next step up for those who love the "You Wouldn't Want To..." series.
Hard As Nails Warriors
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Turner, Tracey
Lenman, Jamie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 21, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Hard As Nails" series consists of paperback books that each focus on bloody and barbaric (mostly) parts of history. Most two-page spreads focus on specific individuals, with chatty but quite informative overviews, cartoon illustrations, and a "hardometer" that rates the individual's cunning, courage, survival skills, and ruthlessness. Not all of the highlighted folks are bad guys, but most aren't the sort you'd invite to a dinner party. This book highlights over 15 notable historical warriors from around the world including Cyrus the Great, Joan of Arc, and Alexander the Great. (They all had the same middle name!) There's also information about warrior women, and the world's worst wars. A warrior quiz tests the reader's comprehension. The book includes a timeline, index, and glossary. This is surprisingly comprehensive and provides readers with solid overviews of significant historical figures.
Loch Ness Punster
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Klise, Kate
Klise, M. Sarah
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 22, 2015
Dame, Anne
Book 7 in the 43 Old Cemetery Road series. The residents of 43 Old Cemetery Road are of differing opinions on taking a trip to Scotland when they learn that Seymour has inherited a castle there. Lots of personal secrets plus a "borrow a pet" program from the public library make for an interesting read. Changing points of view can occasionally be tricky.
Volcanologist : The Coolest Jobs On The Planet
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Tuffen, Hugh
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 22, 2015
Dame, Anne
Author Hugh Tuffen is a volcanologist. He clearly explains what the highlights, hazards, and expectations of his job are. Prolific primary source color photographs and charts enhance the text. Scientific terms are defined in an easy to understand manner. While there are many positives about this title, the (over)abundance of text boxes and other features can be distracting for the reader. One of four in a series. The other titles are: Animator, Fashion Photographer, and Polar Scientist.
Recording And Promoting Your Music
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Anniss, Matthew
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
May 22, 2015
Dame, Anne
Students who are serious about music, being in a band, and getting their music produced will find a lot of helpful information in the new series "I'm in the Band." Each title focuses on a different aspect of being in a band. This one takes a look at what musicians need to do to promote and produce their music. While it may be quickly outdated due to changing technology, the underlying core of what needs to be done, won't be affected as much. Tips are given for recording, releasing, and promoting one's music plus a section on building and expanding a fan base. Printed in full color with lots of photographs and charts to enhance the text, pages may be too busy with varied text features for some readers.
Reconstruction : Outcomes Of The Civil War
Fact Finders/capstone Press [Fact Finders/capstone Press]
Wittman, Susan S
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 22, 2015
Dame, Anne
If you are looking for a simple explanation of Reconstruction - what it was and what it entailed - then this is the book for you. It simplifies terms and situations enough to make them understandable but without losing too much context. There are colorful charts, maps, and photographs to enhance the text. A fine overview but not much depth. One of a four book series "The Story of the Civil War"
Music
Scobre Press [Scobre Press]
Wyner, Zach
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
6th grade to 12th grade
May 22, 2015
Dame, Anne
One book from the Urban Entrepreneur series This book gives many diverse examples of musicians from the cities who have created their own styles of music, written their own songs, and have had a major impact on the music world. Some examples include Beyonce, Green Day, Jay-Z, etc. If the purpose is to point out that success is possible, then the goal was accomplished. However, there is a distinct lack of "how to" for those who are looking for ways to become successful in the music business themselves. Font is quite large considering the target audience. Most pages have at least one inset picture or at least a little factoid. Overall, the layout design is quite uninteresting.
Girls Vs. Guys : Surprising Differences Between The Sexes
TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS [TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS]
Rosen, Michael J
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
May 22, 2015
Dame, Anne
Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that room temperature directly affects the learning abilities of the different genders? This topic and more is discussed in this enlightening book. It addresses a number of stereotypes and gives scientific evidence to support the claims made. It's a fascinating look at ways that environment, genetics, and physiology affect personalities and behaviors - by gender. Fairly broad in scope as it takes a quick look at 22 different topics, but fascinating nonetheless. There is also a list of additional print and digital resources at the end for those who get intrigued enough to want even more information.
Jane Goodall
Pebble Books/capstone Press [Pebble Books/capstone Press]
Edison, Erin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 22, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
Part of Capstone’s Pebble books Great Women in History series; this beginning biography of Jane Goodall provides a surprising amount of information about Jane’s life from her birth in 1934 to present day. Full page photographs Jane at various stages in her life face a full page of text, consisting of four to 5 sentences. Along the bottom of the pages a time line includes entries up to the time being discussed in the text on the page. Large font, plenty of white space and both color and black and white photographs will attract students to this title. There is enough information to contribute to a beginning research project for young students and would be a good addition to a collection of beginning biographies.
September Sneakers
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
Roy, Ron
Gurney, John Steven
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 22, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
This is the ninth book in the Calendar Mysteries series by the author of the A – Z Mysteries. Bradley, Brian, Nate and Lucy are the younger siblings of the stars of the A – Z Mysteries series. In this entry they were responsible for the class hamster for the summer. On the first day of school it is missing. The only clue our quartet finds is a green and orange sneaker key chan. As they chase all over town looking for their missing hamster, they notice more of the key chains and find that other items are missing. Who is the culprit? A fun introduction to the mystery genre for younger readers, this is a good addition to a beginning chapter book collection.
October Ogre
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
Roy, Ron
Gurney, John Steven
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 22, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
The title is the clue that this is the tenth book in the Calendar Mysteries series by the author of the A – Z Mysteries. Bradley, Brian, Nate and Lucy are the younger siblings of the stars of the A – Z Mysteries series. In this entry the friends are getting ready for Halloween. Nate, Bradley, Lucy and Brian get into their costumes and head for the town’s hotel made into a haunted house. The appearance of an Ogre makes Nate wonder if they really should enter. Then all notice that kids enter but none are coming out. What is happening? Ghosts, witches, ogres are real . . . are they? A fun introduction to the mystery genre for younger readers, this is a good addition to a beginning chapter book collection.
Willa Bean To The Rescue!
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
Galante, Cecilia
Valiant, Kristi
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 22, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
Willa Bean is a young cupid living in Nimbus, far away. She is not happy; school is closed because of a leak in the roof. Harper, her best friend went to visit her grandmother, Mom is busy with baby Louie and there is nothing to do, until Dad invites her to go down to Earth with him. All Willa needs to do is be good and stay out of trouble, something she isn’t particularly good at. Willa comes across Angus, a boy who is having trouble at school. Willa decides to help with one of her Confidence arrows, which is against the rules. Uh-oh now she is in for it? But, did she help the right person? This is a fun beginning chapter book that young readers of fantasy of will enjoy.
Hard As Nails In Ancient Rome
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Turner, Tracey
Lenman, Jamie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 22, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Hard As Nails" series are paperback books that each focus on bloody and barbaric (mostly) parts of history. Most two-page spreads focus on specific individuals, with chatty but quite informative overviews, cartoon illustrations, and a "hardometer" that rates the individual's cunning, courage, survival skills, and ruthlessness. Not all of the highlighted folks are bad guys, but most aren't the sort you'd room with. This book highlights over 15 notable historical figures from Roman history (not all of whom are Roman) including Julius Caesar, Spartacus, and Zenobia. There's also information about the Roman empire, joining the army and Roman mythology. The book includes a timeline, bibliography, index, game, and glossary. This is surprisingly comprehensive and provides readers with solid overviews of significant historical figures. It's the next step up for those who love the "You Wouldn't Want To..." series.
Gravity Falls Pining Away
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 23, 2015
Kline, Karen
This two-books-in-one paperback features stories from the popular and sarcastic Disney tv series Gravity Falls set in the Pacific NW. Author Tracey West of Pokemon, Poptropica, and Club Penguin book fame has a knack for adapting books from popular media and this is no exception. The first story in this one is from an episode wherein Grunkle (as in “great uncle”) Stan is up to his usual trying to find ways to make money at his business the Mystery Shack and decides to have a dance for the kids and teens in the area. Dipper and Mabel, Stan’s nephew and niece, are enlisted to help, and Dipper sees the dance as a way to win over his secret crush Wendy. Meanwhile, Mabel accepts a challenge to compete for the “party hardiest” crown at the dance when she sees what a mean-spirited popular girl Pacifica Northwest is. It’s pretty much downhill from there as Dipper uses a 3D copier to clone himself and Mabel does The Worm on the dance floor to win over the crowd. If you need high-interest, low-quality literature to get kids reading this might work with some crowds.
Art And Flair Of Mary Blair
Disney Editions [Disney Editions]
Canemaker, John
Not Recommended/Out of Scope -- Appropriate for another kind of collection or different age levels.
Professional
May 23, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This is a beautiful and scholarly book about Mary Blair and the contributions she made to art. Readers get a brief overview of her life, and then an in-depth look at her career. Her desire to be a professional artists was balanced by the need for income, and her eventual work for Disney. It was fascinating to see the artwork in the book. Little of it was directly recognizable from the Disney animated films on which she worked, but the more you studied it the more you could see how her work was the basis for much of what was seen on the screen, and how it was, as the author points out, "bastardized" to keep that Disney look. The book is filled with artwork, and very dense text analyzing the art. Her vibrant role as a woman in a man's world is also examined. It is quite mesmerizing. However, this really is more of a coffee table book than a book belonging in school collections.
Racing The Waves
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Neubecker, Robert
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 24, 2015
Kline, Karen
This level two reader is part of the Tales of the Time Dragon series. Two students are inspired to visit the library after seeing a ship in a bottle in their classroom. They get transported through time while researching and find themselves aboard the Flying Cloud clipper ship in 1851 bound from New York to California during the Gold Rush via Cape Horn. Accompanied by a red dragon as well as the ship’s historic crew which includes Captain Perkins Cressy and his navigator wife Ellen, they get caught in a windstorm, a blizzard, and the doldrums. The dragon “whistles up a wind” and Ellen recharts their course using her sextant and excellent navigational skills, and the ship breaks the record for nautical speed and makes it to San Francisco in eight-nine days. Cartoonish illustrations depict all the action and support the text, but the big red dragon seems gimmicky and unnecessary. A small map, brief timeline, and glossary are included. This book may fill a demand for easy historical information about this topic, but young readers are likely to enjoy Tracey Fern’s picture book biography Dare the Wind: The Record-Breaking Voyage of Eleanor Prentiss and the Flying Cloud (2014) more making this book an additional purchase.
Make It Grow!
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Claybourne, Anna
Scott, Kimberlley & Ventta Dean
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 24, 2015
Kline, Karen
This title from the Whiz Kid Science series claims to focus on science and making things grow, and it does, though some readers will be surprised that not all of the experiments have to do with plants as the cover art seems to suggest. With twelve experiments included only three deal with plant growth, the rest include growth of crystals, air, liquids, and more. Aside from the somewhat misleading cover art and title, the book presents several simple experiments each with only four or five steps. The colorful layout, graphics, and illustrations are eye-catching and the best part of this book which includes text boxes and occasional photos as well. The book is not as strong on scientific process, though. For instance, readers will not find the words “hypothesis,” “procedure,” or “results” anywhere in the book even though the concepts are included. Still kids are likely to enjoy finding out what causes popcorn to pop or what happens when a hole is poked in the pre-cooked kernel. And who wouldn’t like to see what happens to a microwaved marshmallow? There’s plenty of kid-appeal here and this title will get kids interested in doing a science project or experiment. Reinforced binding, glossary, and index included.
Take Shelter : At Home Around The World
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Tate, Nikki
Tate-Stratton, Dani
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 24, 2015
Kline, Karen
People live in many different types of dwellings, and this book takes readers on a journey around the world to see a wide variety of homes. The focus is on non-traditional homes, though, and the four chapters include “In the Ground,” “On the Move,” “Houses That Live and Breathe,” and “Innovation.” Many of the homes featured are converted structures like buses, airplanes, and shipping containers. Each page of the book contains captioned color photos of most of the homes described in the text. Readers are challenged to think about why homes have taken so many different forms and how natural materials can be used to create homes with low impact to the environment. For instance, we learn that at high altitudes trees cannot grow, so it’s more common to use rock and clay to build homes in areas of Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and India. Text features like headings, subheadings, sidebars, and insets enliven the book and include some first person narratives of the authors describing their own wide range of dwelling experiences. A fairly extensive two-page index is included and will make the book a worthy addition for research on the topic.
Troublemaker
CLARION [CLARION]
Castillo, Lauren
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 24, 2015
Kline, Karen
Oh, the lazy days of summer and the mischief-inspired creativity they can bring! This book follows a young boy who first “captures” his sister’s toy rabbit and sends it out on his small boat where it gets wet. After he retrieves and returns the toy with his apology, the bunny goes missing again. This time no one believes the brother when he claims, “Wasn’t me.” The colorful pen and ink illustrations are lively and detailed and propel the story with hints and clever perspectives. The occasional talk bubble here-and-there will engage the youngest of readers. As more toys, including the boy’s stuffed raccoon and blanket, go missing the tension and climax build. The surprise ending is satisfying as the boy discovers that a real raccoon -- not his toy raccoon -- has been stealing the belongings. All seems to be restored and the items are retrieved, but the final page steals the show as the raccoon is shown taking the boy’s toy raccoon again. So many themes are packed in this little package of a picture book. This title makes a great read aloud or independent read.
Human Body
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Cole, Joanna
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 24, 2015
Kline, Karen
Billed as “a nonfiction companion to the original Magic School Bus series,” this book like the others in the series (including Planet Earth, Sea Creatures, Our Solar System, and Wild Weather), combines full color photographs overlaid with the familiar illustrations of Magic School Bus characters and their notebook journal pages, talk bubbles, and side bars entitled “Frizzle Facts.” Body systems and organs are presented as stars of each double page spread, but the content is not comprehensive for these topics. For instance, the digestive system and the nervous system are here, but the immune system is not. A table of contents will guide young researchers and a glossary of “words to know” including terms like “saliva” and “x-ray” are basic but not highlighted in the text itself. A final spread on “body experts” and careers related round out the contents. These titles are best suited for classroom libraries, though, since the paperback bindings and covers will not withstand repeated use in school libraries.
Giraffes Can't Dance
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Andreae, Giles
Parker-Rees, Guy
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 24, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
If you don’t already have this book in your collection, then buy this 15th anniversary edition. Gerald is a giraffe with talents, but he is just clumsy and cannot dance like the other animals at the Jungle Dance. They all laugh at Gerald and he feels useless, then he meets a cricket who wisely advises that he may just need a different song. Gerald listens to the music in the nature around him and begins to feel the music and dance. All the animals are impressed and Gerald declares that everyone must just find the music that they love. This affirming story about celebrating differences and finding ones passion will be enjoyed by children of all ages. The vibrant watercolor and pen and ink illustrations mainly in shades of orange and blue fit the energy of the story and Gerald’s dancing.
Sleeping Cinderella And Other Princess Mix-Ups
ORCHARD BOOKS [ORCHARD BOOKS]
Clarkson, Stephanie
Barrager, Brigette
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 24, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Four fairy tale heroines are fed up with their fairy tales lives and one by one they switch their roles. Snow White goes to live in Rapunzel’s tower, Rapunzel takes over Cinderella’s life, Cinderella takes Sleeping Beauty’s place, and Sleeping Beauty goes to Snow White’s house. They all tire of their new fairy tale lives and make a new future for themselves by taking charge of their lives by going to college, making other share the chores, taking up knitting, and going hiking. This is a somewhat complicated story that fans of the classic fairy tale heroines will enjoy. The digitally created illustrations have an old-fashioned style with humorous modern details that focuses on the four heroines.
I Survived True Stories : Five Epic Disasters
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Tarshis, Lauren
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 24, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Fans of the I Survived series will enjoy this narrative nonfiction collection of five disasters: The Children’s Blizzard (1888), The Titanic Disaster (1912), The Great Boston Molasses Flood (1919), The Japanese Tsunami (2011), and The Henryville Tornado (2012). Each disaster is explained through the eyes of a child or teen who experienced the disaster. Facts about other people involved in the disaster are woven into the narrative. Each section ends with research about the historical context of the disaster, other similar disasters, and how the author research the disaster. Many captioned historical photographs, maps, or diagrams supplement the information. A list of resources for each disaster is included. The range of the five disasters includes the well-known, such as the Titanic or the 2011 Japanese Tsunami, to the epic but obscure, such as the Great Boston Molasses Flood which involved a tank of molasses exploding. It should be a hit with students who love survival stories as well as teachers who are looking for narrative nonfiction.
So Cozy
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Korda, Lerryn
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 24, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This is the well-known cumulative story where animals keep trying to squeeze into a cozy space until they just don’t fit. It starts out with a dog in a cozy dog bed and soon a goose, cat, rabbits, bears, goat, snake, elephant, and finally a mouse snuggles in and sneezes so all the animals go flying. The dog and the mouse end up in the ruined dog bed and are truly cozy. The large gouache, pencil and crayon illustrations are muted but charming. Nothing is new in this classic story.
Tuck Everlasting
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Babbitt, Natalie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 24, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This 40th anniversary edition will hopefully reintroduce readers to the classic and beautifully written story. Winnie Foster leads a sheltered life but that all changes when she meets the members of the Tuck family who have immortality because they drank from a secret spring on her family’s property. Winnie learns what it is like to never grow older as she becomes attached to the Tuck family and she much choose whether to betray their secret or possibly join them. The questions raised in the story are complex and interesting, but the beauty of the language is what truly makes this book a classic that belongs in every library collection.
Dragon And Captain
FLASHLIGHT PRESS [FLASHLIGHT PRESS]
Allabach, P R
Turnbloom, Lucas
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 25, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This graphic novel picture book clearly depicts two young boys dressed up as a dragon and a ship captain. Together they have imaginary adventures turning the things in their yard and house into the tools for their stories. The scenes go back and forth between reality and their joint imaginations making it clear to the reader what real thing triggers the next stage of their story i.e. billowing sheet is a sail; the patio stones are the edge of the island; sprinkler is a waterfall. Large, bright, colorful, engaging illustrations make this a title that will be picked up. The internal story is rather simple, but will appeal to the younger set. P/K-2
Midnight : A True Story Of Loyalty In World War I
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Greenwood, Mark
Lessac, Frane
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 25, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
“A foal is born at midnight, on a cattle ranch in Australia. Coal black, Star ablaze, Moonlight in her eyes.” So begins this story inspired by Hayden family lore. The horse grows up to be the one Guy Hayden chooses to take with him into the cavalry and offers their services in World War I. They are sent to the distant war, where they are separated when the men go onto Gallipoli and the horses are dropped off in Egypt. Guy is reunited with Midnight there. With his trusty steed they patrol and see battle in the Sinai Desert, but Midnight falls taking the bullet for her master in the taking of Beersheba. She dies as she was born with “Moonlight in her eyes.” The reader has to surmise the death as it is not explicit, though the illustration depicts a fallen horse and rider, who has a spinal injury lying on her. This might be difficult for young children to comprehend, but it’s gently told in poetic language. The illustrations verge on primitive, but get the action across. It concludes with a short Author’s Note, three photos of Hayden and Midnight, more information on the Charge of Beersheba plus a map of the conquest. Ad(+) Gr.1-4
Therapy Dogs
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Laughlin, Kara L
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 25, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Part of the Service Dogs series this 24-page book features dogs that provide healing in people who need it most. Such therapy began officially in the 1960s when a doctor found his patients were calmer and happier when petting his dog though Freud used a dog to help people feel safer. Today therapy dogs are used in hospitals, nursing homes,schools and libraries, often with the pet’s owner working with it as a team. Crisis response dogs can be used after a disaster for the rescue workers or victims. What qualities, requirements and training are needed for a successful therapy dog are delineated followed by an example of Boo, the dog that helped a boy with selective mutism talk. Concludes with a short glossary (4 words), short Learn More (3 books & 1 website) and index. There is lots of white space in this title with its red chapter heading and red Interesting Fact boxes. Photos are adequate and include captions. This interesting topic should be picked up by students who like animals and those who have such dogs visit their schools. Others in this series include Bomb-Sniffing Dogs, Guide Dogs, Police Dogs, Search-an-Rescue Dogs, and Seizure-Alert Dogs.
WHERE IT BEGAN
UNKNOWN [UNKNOWN]
STAMPLER, ANN REDISCH
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
May 25, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Gabby and Billy had been seeing each other for a year before the crash. Her memory of their so-called relationship survived, but her recall of the crash itself did not. Billy does not contact Gabby after the crash and Gabby doesn't understand why, since he claimed to love her. When his mother finally shows up and offers her family money, Gabby begins to understand what truly happened at the crash. Billy is a popular high school drunk and his parents are trying once again to get him off the hook. Gabby took the blame for the crime and now that the truth is out, she's free. Her high school reputation has been ruined, though, and she goes through rehab, and her love for Billy has gone up in flames. Gabby's parents send her away to Italy to go to school and this is "where it begins all over." One hopes that this time around Gabby makes wiser choices in love and life. The story was all right, but a bit tedious at times with Gabby persistently loving and defending Billy. It would be best appreciated by high school girls.
Ninjas
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Hyde, Natalie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 25, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This 48-page offering in the Crabtree Chrome series is quite full of short bursts of interesting information that make for a decent introduction to a sought-after topic. The pages are busy with full illustrations, paragraphs of text, fact boxes, headings, captions, and bold glossary words defined on the page all with graphics. The photographs and illustrations are especially helpful. Desired nonfiction text features include a table of contents, timeline from 1162-1868, Learning More (6 books, 3 web sites), glossary and detailed index pages. Quibbles--p. 4 has questionable grammar/punctuation (run-on and misplaced commas). Definition of “medieval” as “a time when Japan was ruled by powerful families” is a bit vague. Inconsistent tense p. 18. Despite these, this is a worthy purchase for intermediate students.
Fatal Fever : Tracking Down Typhoid Mary
Calkins Creek [Calkins Creek]
Jarrow, Gail
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
6th grade to 12th grade
May 25, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
In the late 1800's and early 1900's typhoid fever was a dreaded disease that, when it appeared, spread like wildfire. Many recovered from the disease, but others died. What caused it? How could it be stopped? This is a medical detective story, exploring the processes that doctors and health workers used to track down the causes of the disease and ameliorate its effects. Of course the key was sanitation. Typhoid was spread largely by feces. Controlling and treating sewage, as well as water treatment and hand-washing became vital tools. But what did you do when someone was carrying the disease around and spreading it, when that person seemed perfectly healthy? That's the story of "Typhoid Mary." Mary Mallon couldn't have had a worse profession--she was a cook. Wherever she went disease followed. How they finally tracked her down, and the impact the health department had on her life make for fascinating reading. The book plunges readers into a different time period and is filled with photographs and primary sources that bring it to life. The contributions of Dr. George Soper and Dr. Josephine Baker are highlighted. This is an exceptional and thought-provoking book.
Mustache Baby Meets His Match
CLARION [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
HEOS, BRIDGET
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 25, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Mustache Baby is back, but this time he is facing a fearsome foe--Baby Javier, a bearded baby with skills. As the two play, they match their talents, each struggling for supremacy until both beard and mustache turn bad. The two become masked lucadores Luckily parents break up the fight, and a resolution is found. This very tongue-in-cheek tale is a delight to read aloud, and children will giggle at the absurdity of it all and enjoy the hyperbole. Big bright illustrations and fun text would make this a natural when doing a story time on friendship.
A Tale of Two Beasts
Kane/Miller Book Publishers [Kane/Miller Book Publishers]
Roberton, Fiona
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 25, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Do you want to discuss point of view? This may be the book for you. A young girl is walking home when she spots an unusual beast hanging from a tree. She rescues him, takes him home, and keeps him as a pet. But is he really a pet? Let's see the story from his point of view. An innocent critter is happily hanging from a tree when he is ambushed by a terrible beast who does unspeakable things to him. Escape is his only hope. There is one thing, however, that ties the two beasts together...or is that two? This is a bright, amusing story that would lead naturally into class discussion and, possibly, serve as a story starter.
Mesmerized : How Ben Franklin Solved A Mystery That Baffled
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Rockliff, Mara
Bruno, Iacopo
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 25, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
When Ben Franklin went to France to ask for help in the Revolutionary War against the British, he found the king and queen in need of his help as well. The country was abuzz with Dr. Mesmer and his iron wand, who claimed to have discovered a new mysterious, invisible force that could cure people’s ills. The king needed Franklin to get at the truth, which he did using the scientific method. After observing Dr. Mesmer “hypnotizing” his patients, but not being affected himself, Ben hypothesized that the trick was in the patients’ minds and proved it by blindfolding patients and testing their reactions. This placebo effect is still used in treatments today. The book fits with fifth grade social studies and science curriculum and teachers could use it as such. Students might pick it up once they know what “mesmerize” means, but otherwise it could have limited use. The catchy cover, endsheets and detailed old fashioned illustrations match the period. Concludes with four pages extending Franklin, the scientific method, more details on this study plus sources. (Ad/Ad+2-5)
Stick and Stone
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company [Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company]
Ferry, Beth
Lichtenheld, Tom
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 25, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Stick and Stone are each alone, a zero and a one, not having any fun. When Pinecone makes fun of Stone, Stick commands him to VANISH, and he does. Stone is so struck by that Stick has stuck up for him. As Stick says, “That just what sticks do. Friends do it too.” and thus a friendship is born. They have fun together until a hurricane separates them, with Stick and Pinecone lost to Stone. Stone looks everywhere for Stick until he dramatically rescues him from the muddle. “You rock, Stone,” says Stick, and Stone responds, “That’s just what stones do. Best friendship rocks too.” Together again they now make a perfect 10. Such simplicity in words and rhyme with appropriate, endearing expressions in these characters makes for a powerful and entertaining story worth sharing with all ages.
Lost Treasure Of Little Snoring
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Gardner, Lyn
Asquith, Ros
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 25, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
This book made me laugh out loud and not in a very dignified way! I am certain that when I put it on display in my library, it will be snatched up immediately and enjoyed by all who read it (those who love silly pirate chapter books, anyway). Gruesome and Grisly McNasty are seeking the lost treasure of Little Snoring. Hetty and Tat, students in Little Snoring, are also on the hunt for the town's lost treasure. Great adventures ensue and with humorous language and funny illustrations, the good guys win in the end. The McNasty's will be back in a second book in the series, and I will be sure to read that one as well. Both boys and girls will love the students' quick thinking, the pirates' dastardly deeds, and the author's goofy sense of humor.
City
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
Marsico, Katie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 25, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
One of the Community Connections series What’s It Like to Live Here? this title obviously focuses on the urban environment. The four chapter titles are—Busy Morning, School Day, Exciting Experiences, and Just Another Day. Each chapter begins with a page featuring Charlie and what his life is like in the city. Then the text moves into straight nonfiction mode defining key terms and describing this setting. Each double page spread has the main text on the left in medium sized text, a photo in the middle with a caption on the left page and on the right side of the photo a directive i.e. GUESS! or THINK! followed by a question, discussion or activity. The photos tend toward dark or a bit blurry. The book concludes with a glossary (8 words), Find Out More (3 books and 2 web sites), and index, all in 24 pages. Others in the series include Farm, Fishing Village, Mining Town, Small Town, and Suburb, which may be useful with second grade curriculum. Students won’t pick this up on their own, but the personal part “Charlie” provides may make it more inviting when used by teachers.
Best Nba Centers Of All Time
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Donnelly, Patrick
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 26, 2015
Dame, Anne
One of the books in the "NBA's Best Ever" series, this one features great basketball centers from George Mikan to Shaquille O'Neal. Primary source photos and statistics enhance the text for each player in a 4 page spread. Also included: an honorable mention list, glossary, index, and additional resources. To me, it started feeling a bit repetitive by the end (especially if you read the whole series), but basketball enthusiasts will be glad to see this on the shelves.
Best Nba Dunkers Of All Time
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Wilner, Barry
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 26, 2015
Dame, Anne
One of the books in the "NBA's Best Ever" series, this one features great basketball dunkers from Wilt Chamberlain to Blake Griffin. Primary source photos and statistics enhance the text for each player in a 4 page spread. Also included: an honorable mention list, glossary, index, and additional resources. To me, it started feeling a bit repetitive by the end (especially if you read the whole series), but basketball enthusiasts will be glad to see this on the shelves.
Best Nba Forwards Of All Time
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Donnelly, Patrick
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 26, 2015
Dame, Anne
One of the books in the "NBA's Best Ever" series, this one features great basketball forwards from Bob Pettit to LeBron James. Primary source photos and statistics enhance the text for each player in a 4 page spread. Also included: an honorable mention list, glossary, index, and additional resources. To me, it started feeling a bit repetitive by the end (especially if you read the whole series), but basketball enthusiasts will be glad to see this on the shelves.
Best Nba Guards Of All Time
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Graves, Will
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 26, 2015
Dame, Anne
One of the books in the "NBA's Best Ever" series, this one features great basketball guards from Bob Cousy to Dwayne Wade. Primary source photos and statistics enhance the text for each player in a 4 page spread. Also included: an honorable mention list, glossary, index, and additional resources. To me, it started feeling a bit repetitive by the end (especially if you read the whole series), but basketball enthusiasts will be glad to see this on the shelves.
Best Nba Shooters Of All Time
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Wilner, Barry
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 26, 2015
Dame, Anne
One of the books in the "NBA's Best Ever" series, this one features great basketball shooters from Jerry West to Stephen Curry. Primary source photos and statistics enhance the text for each player in a 4 page spread. Also included: an honorable mention list, glossary, index, and additional resources. To me, it started feeling a bit repetitive by the end (especially if you read the whole series), but basketball enthusiasts will be glad to see this on the shelves.
Best Nba Teams Of All Time
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Graves, Will
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 26, 2015
Dame, Anne
One of the books in the "NBA's Best Ever" series, this one features great basketball teams from the Minneapolis Lakers to the Miami Heat. Primary source photos and statistics enhance the text for each team in a 4 page spread. Also included: an honorable mention list, glossary, index, and additional resources. To me, it started feeling a bit repetitive by the end (especially if you read the whole series), but basketball enthusiasts will be glad to see this on the shelves.
Lebron James
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Anderson, Jameson
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 26, 2015
Dame, Anne
One book in the "Awesome Athletes" series, focusing on basketball player, LeBron James. Although it will be quickly outdated as LeBron continue to play, this will be a big hit with basketball fans (and can easily go down to lower grades as well). Topics covered include LeBron's early childhood and his life with his young, single mom; school and the trouble he had there; learning to play basketball instead of football; high school and college years; the Olympics, and championships. Also included are statistics, color photos, timeline, glossary, and index. In addition there is a link to the awesome athletes website for further/current information.
Tagged
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Mullen, Diane C
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
May 26, 2015
Dame, Anne
Liam lives with his mom and siblings in the projects of Minneapolis. Liam wants to be a graffiti writer and is working on his own personal tag. His older brother is a member of one of the gangs and gets Liam to spray paint a gang sign on a wall that is known to belong to a rival gang. As one can imagine, things go rapidly downhill and Liam is sent to stay with an artist and family friend in Michigan. Although Liam enjoys the increased access to art supplies, classes, and the like, graffiti is still his artistic preference plus he worries about his family and the gang problems. This debut novel clearly portrays Liam's hopes, fears, worries, and dreams. It also does an excellent job of depicting graffiti writing as an artistic style rather than viewing it as the ugly work of punk street kids. The resolution is a bit pat, but does not detract from the novel overall. Some violence, references to gangs, occasional swears.
Big Nate : Say Good-Bye To Dork City
Andrews & Mcmeel [Andrews & Mcmeel]
Peirce, Lincoln
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 26, 2015
Dame, Anne
Full color graphics in this latest of the Big Nate series. Nate decides that he is tired of being a dork and is going to hang out with the cool kids instead. Fans of the series will enjoy.
Off Pointe
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Lieberman, Leanne
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
May 26, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Meg has devoted most of her 15 years to ballet. Everything in her life centers around it. When her ballet camp falls through for the summer she ends up at a dance camp that teaches different types of dance. Sure, her ballet skills are technically amazing, but contemporary dance is a whole new ball game, and it doesn't help that one of the dancers in her group seems to hate her guts. This is an entirely new experience for Meg, but it makes her stretch in unexpected ways, and broadens her dance horizons. This is part of the "Limelights" series by Orca Books and provides a solid quick read for secondary students with well-developed characters and an interesting plot.
Great Escape
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Egan, Kate
Wight, Eric
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 26, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
In this third book in "the Magic Shop" series Mike is really trying to be more responsible, especially in school. His love of magic, however, can either prove to be his salvation or his undoing. A school assignment as him searching for his roots. Is he related to Houdini? Can he thwart the school bully? Will he get those new magic tricks down? Each book features short chapters, occasional black and white illustrations, and instructions for performing several simple magic tricks. This is a fun series that is generally well-liked.
Queen Of The Diamond : The Lizzie Murphy Story
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Mccully, Emily Arnold
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
May 27, 2015
Dame, Anne
Lizzy Murphy played professional baseball from 1918 to 1935. This was quite a feat since women at that time were expected to get married and have children. Baseball was for men. However, Lizzy was an excellent player and proved her worth and her determination many times over. Beautifully drawn, full-color illustrations add to the clearly written prose.
Wangari Maathai : The Woman Who Planted Millions Of Trees
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Prevot, Franck
Fronty, Aurelia
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
May 27, 2015
Dame, Anne
Vivid illustrations in a beautiful and unusual style complement the text of this story perfectly. The story itself is about the life of Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan woman who helped save the Kenyan forests and was also a strong political voice even when her own life was in danger because of her beliefs and actions. At the end of the book there is also a timeline, photos of Wangari, a map, quotes from Wangari, and additional print and digital resources for those looking for additional information about this remarkable woman.
Me, Too!
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Dunklee, Annika
Smith, Lori Joy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 28, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Annie and Lillemor from Sweden are best friends for many reasons—they’re both seven, like pink and purple, like jumping rope and both can speak another language— Lillemor Swedish and Annie Oinky Boinky (Hers is made up:) They like trying each other’s different foods and clothing, too. All is well until the day Annie finds Lillemor playing with Lilianne, a new girl from France. Suddenly she feels left out because Lilianne seems to have so much in common with her friend—name, favorite colors, age, real second language and jumping rope. When she finally voices this insecurity, she is immediately reassured by both of them that they all three have many things in common. Her relief is heart felt, but may not be the reality children always feel when three are involved. This is a good story, however, for demonstrating that it’s a possibility. Oinky Boinky will put some young readers over the top, in their reactions. Pleasant illustrations in pencil colored in with Photoshop and lots of white space accompany this pleasant story about friendship. Ad(+) K-2
Seeds Of Freedom : The Peaceful Integration Of Huntsville, A
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Bass, Hester
Lewis, E. B.
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 28, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Who knew? Amidst the painfully tumultuous history of the desegregation of Alabama public education, the people of Huntsville Alabama somehow navigated a creative, cooperative and peaceful transition. Told by Hester Bass (writing as 10 year resident of Huntsville) and warmly illustrated by E.B. Lewis' celebrated watercolors, this is a joyful picture book on a significant period of our nation's history. While peaceful change prevailed in "Rocket City," the book does not sugarcoat the injustices of Jim Crow laws nor stubborn politics of Gov. Wallace's bigotry. But the people of Huntsville found a way forward with strategies like a peaceful "Blue Jean Sunday" economic boycott and non-violent protests that convinced downtown business owners to integrate rather than have negative media attention focused on their peaceful and prosperous town. Author's end notes and suggested bibliography point to the many difficulties faced, and that the struggle for equality in America continues to this day. Like Huntsville's protest of colorful balloons carrying messages like "please support freedom in Huntsville," this book may well plant seeds of hope in the minds of the next generation of freedom-loving activists. Recommended for elementary.
Galileo Seven : Part 1
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Johnson, Mike
Molinar, Stephen & Joe Phillips
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 28, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
Combining the classic story line “The Galileo Seven” with the images of the new STAR Trek cast, the adventures of Captain Kirk and the Starship crew continue in this series. On a mission to deliver medical supplies the Enterprise comes across an unexplored star system and diverts t investigate. The shuttle crashes with Spock, Dr. McCoy, Scotty and other members of the crew. The inhabitants resemble stone-age man and attack. Left with a disabled ship, dead crew member it is up to Spock and Scotty to figure out how to get out of there, while Captain Kirk is running out of time to rescue them. The standard graphic comic style illustrations show the action as the dialog tells the plot. Since this is part 1, the action stops as Captain Kirk is forced to abandon the search and before Spock and crew are rescued. The story leaves the reader hanging. Students will flock to it because it is Star Trek, but if you can’t afford the price of both parts I would skip the purchase – you might see if you can get as a donation.
Galileo Seven : Part 2
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Johnson, Mike
Molinar, Stephen & Joe Phillips
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 28, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
Combining the classic story line “The Galileo Seven” with the images of the new STAR Trek cast, the adventures of Captain Kirk and the Starship crew continue in this series. On a mission to deliver medical supplies the Enterprise comes across an unexplored star system and diverts t investigate. The shuttle crashes with Spock, Dr. McCoy, Scotty and other members of the crew. The inhabitants resemble stone-age man and attack. The standard graphic comic style illustrations show the action as the dialog tells the plot. Since this is part 2, the action picks up where part 1 ended with Captain Kirk being forced to abandon the search and before Spock and crew are rescued. Before Mr. Spock is forced to make a deadly decision Lieutenant Uhura takes matters into her own hands. Students will flock to it because it is Star Trek, but either purchase both 1 & 2 or neither. I would skip the purchase – and see if there is a way to find it as a donation.
Where No Man Has Gone Before : Part 2
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Johnson, Mike
Molinar, Stephen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 28, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
Combining the classic story line “Where No Man Has Gone Before” with the images of the new STAR Trek cast, the adventures of Captain Kirk and the Starship crew continue in this series. The standard graphic comic style illustrations show the action as the dialog tells the plot. Since this is part 2, the action picks up where part 1 ended with a friend and crewmember, Gary Mitchell, having been mysteriously transformed and stronger than anyone could have imagined. Captain Kirk decides to strand what is left of his old friend on Delta Vega to protect his ship and crew, but actually stranding him is more difficult than anticipated. Students will flock to it because it is Star Trek and a graphic novel. I would not purchase part 2 without part 1 – you might see if there is a way to receive them as donations.
Tank & Fizz : The Case Of The Slime Stampede
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
O'donnell, Liam
Deas, Mike
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 28, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Fizz is a young goblin and Tank is his mechanically-inclined female sidekick. Strange things are going on in their school and their town. Slime, which has been used for cleaning for years, seems to have run amok. The old custodian is out and a new one is in, who uses machines instead of more traditional methods. But is this just progress, or is there a deeper motive? Maybe a criminal motive? Can horrible magic be at work? Tank & Fizz are on the case, but they have to worry about a lot more than getting slimed. In format this is much like the Dragonbreath books, with sections of text and occasional graphic novel elements in green, black, and white. There are plenty of mildly gross details here, to attract young male readers. While not as amusing as the Dragonbreath books this will probably appeal to the same crowd.
Wild About Us!
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company [Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company]
Beaumont, Karen
Stevens, Janet
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 28, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
WARTY WARTHOG starts off this jaunty rhyme with a clear theme--"I have TUSKS! I have WARTS! But I like what I see! In my own special way, I'm as cute as can be. YESSIREE! We all are the way we are all meant to be!." The other zoo animals including Crocodile's toothy grin, Rhino's wrinkly skin, Elephant's long nose, Giraffe, lanky and tall, Flamingo's pink, Potbellied Pig's plump, Tortoise's slow, and so on highlight the things that make them special with no excuses. Hippo being happy with her behind that wiggles, jiggles, and is one-of-a-kind might lose the audience in hysterics for a moment, so just pause and move on to Chimp's big ears. Janet Stevens' always brilliant illustrations will draw kids to this title, and the rhyming text of the author will entertain allowing children to chime in. The message is clear--animals at the zoo are celebrated for their differences. By extension, kids may get the idea that differences are what make us all interesting and we should embrace them. This can fit with kindergarten units celebrating self.
New Shoes
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Meyer, Susan Lynn
Velasquez, Eric
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 29, 2015
Burton, Paula
Ella Mae can’t believe she will get new shoes for the upcoming school year. This year she does not have to wear Charlotte’s hand me downs but gets to pick her own shoes. The shopping expedition is a big disappointment for Ella Mae. Her mom is ignored by the shoe shop owner after a white girl and her father walk in and then Ella Mae is not allowed to try her shoes on before they are bought. Since this was practise during the time of segregation, Ella Mae decides with her cousin to make her own changes. They create their own shoe store with money and second hand shoes earned with chores. Their hard work and entrepreneurial spirit is inspiring, not to mention the valuable history lesson told through this story. Wonderful soft colored paintings accompany the thought-provoking tale. An author’s note on the last page explains the language used, the civil rights movement and Jim Crow. This lesser known Jim Crow subject matter could be a great addition to a historical lesson on civil rights for a younger audience.
Mr. Happy & Miss Grimm
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Schneider, Antonie
Strasser, Susanne
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 29, 2015
Burton, Paula
Translated from German comes an interesting and quirky story with fun illustrations about a very jolly man, Mr. Happy, who moves into the house next to a very grumpy lady, Miss Grimm. He has a beautiful garden and the colors from his flowers overshadow the gloom dark and grey house she lives in. Slowly but surely the happiness overtakes Miss Grimm’s house, which is done wonderfully by adding a little color here and there to her side of the illustrations. It is difficult not to notice that the original title was about mr lucky and mrs unlucky, Mr. Happy has a four leave clover on his hat and Miss Grimm lives at number 13 which has a gloomy cloud hanging over it at all time. This does not take away from the message that eventually the garden overtakes the bareness of Miss Grimm’s garden and two sunflowers grew over both houses, pushing them together and happiness has taken Miss Grimm who even changes her name to Miss Bliss. An amazing transformation but it might take place a little too quickly for young readers.
New Small Person
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Child, Lauren
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
May 29, 2015
Burton, Paula
Author/illustrator of the popular Charlie and Lola books, Lauren Child, tackles another life issue. This time it has to do with a new baby brother. Elmore Green likes his life as it is and when his parents bring a new small person into the house he is not happy at all. All of a sudden Elmore’s life changes; he can’t do the things he likes to do like watching his favorite tv show or eat his jelly beans without them being licked all over. The new small person is getting bigger as the story progresses. Although Elmore Green still does not like it when the new small person wears his fourth favorite outfit, there are things that are not so bad. When Elmore has a bad dream, the small person helps him chase away the scary. This is the turning point for Elmore because he realizes there are other situations that are more fun with two. He even starts to call the small person by its name; Albert. A humorous approach for little ones who have some trouble adjusting to a new sibling with wonderful but simple illustrations.
Big Blue Thing On The Hill
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Zommer, Yuval
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 29, 2015
Burton, Paula
Cute illustrations from first time British author/illustrator Yuval Zommer accompany the story of a strange thing entering the forest. It rumbles and roars but most of all it is trouble. The foxes seem to be right in figuring out what this is; it is a big blue thing. A better guess than the weasels (an elephant) or the badgers (a big blue dinosaur). All the animals try to make it go away, but they are not successful. There is one last solution; ask the wise owls “what to do about the big blue thing.” Even before the plan hatched by the owls, the animals work together with their own species but creating a force of the smallest animals like the bees, mosquitoes and maybe a snake or two for good measure, is what makes the big blue thing, a little rv bus, disappear. A great read aloud to a small audience so that they can appreciate the wonderful illustrations
Snow White And The 77 Dwarfs
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Cali, Davide
Barbanegre, Raphaelle
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Pre-Kindergarten
May 29, 2015
Burton, Paula
Everyone knows the story of Snow White. In this wildly illustrated picture book we catch up with her when she is running away from a terrible witch. She comes across the familiar house of dwarfs but instead of seven there are 77. She can already foresee there will be some problems; how will she learn all their names, keep up with all the laundry, and the dwarfs beard maintenance? Food was another problem, breakfast, packed lunches and dinner for 77 hungry mouths to feed. Not to mention the dishes afterwards. She’s had enough and unlike the classic fairytale she willingly takes not one but two poisoned apples. A sign accompanies her while she is in her slumber; “please don’t wake me up”. Colorful illustrations accompany this interesting approach of the well known story, depicting all the colors of the rainbow on every page which reflect the business of 77 dwarfs. If the reader can get past the fact that Snow White would rather take the poisoned apples than care for these demanding dwarfs who do not help her at all it might be a fun read.
Spectacular Spots
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Stockdale, Susan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
May 29, 2015
Burton, Paula
Rhyming short sentences accompany familiar and unfamiliar animals in this simple but brilliant picture book by Susan Stockdale. A ladybug, horse and a butterfly are some of the recognizable animals and although there are some animals that are less recognizable, Stockdale places them around familiar surroundings to help young children identify the animals like the calico crab on a beach or the blue boxfish in between coral against a blue background. Large colorful acrylics make the animals a joy to look at. Although the sentences are short, the verbs used, charging cheetahs and dashing horses, are marvelous. The book concludes with small informational paragraphs on the illustrated animals and why they have spots. The last two page spread is a quiz with small closeup rectangles of the spots depicted in the book and the question: Can you find the animals that belong to these spots? Although the text is simple and this book would be an excellent candidate for the very young in story time, it could also be presented in a nature lesson for kindergarteners or first graders.
Egg : Nature's Perfect Package
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Page, Robin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 29, 2015
Burton, Paula
Who knew you could fill a picture book with interesting facts about eggs? Many creatures begin their life as an egg. Some of these are developed inside their mother’s body but many more lay their eggs. Steve Jenkins teams up with Robin Page again to inform the reader about all the different sizes of eggs, where they are laid and how many eggs some animals lay. They talk about different egg eaters, how eggs are protected and who carries the eggs. The different stages of the egg are accompanied with a short paragraph and examples of animals to illustrate the heading. For example the authors talk about egg packaging on a two page spread. Accompanied are egg illustrations of a moon snail, a horn shark and an American toad which explains how these animals eggs are contained or what the egg looks like. The book ends with cross-sections of the different chicken and alligator egg stages and brief facts of all the animals pictured. The illustrations are distinctive to Jenkins’ other books; collages of cut and torn paper and fit this topic well. Amazing facts to grab the attention of young readers and a wonderful addition to any library.
Pookins Gets Her Way
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Lester, Helen
Munsinger, Lynn
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
May 29, 2015
Burton, Paula
This book is part of a series for the youngest ones on manners and behavior. This particular book highlights being considerate. Pookins is a little girl who, like the title indicates, always gets her way. If she does not get her way she will make faces, throw apples and yell very loudly. On an adventure she encounters a gnome with a magic hat. She receives three wishes and after of course wanting and getting everything she wants Pookins’ last wish is to become a flower. Her wish is granted and the gnome turns Pookins into a flower. After stuffing her in a pot, with some dirt and a whole bunch of water, Pookins does realize that being a flower is not as satisfying as she thought it would be. Although she does not have any arms or legs as a flower, she is able to help the gnome. He is so grateful he turns her back into a little girl. The illustrations are softly colored and cute for a younger audience. This is also the most effective target group for these books, since Pookins does look rather young. It comes with a downloadable audio companion
Chocolate : Sweet Science & Dark Secrets Of The World's Favo
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Frydenborg, Kay
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
May 29, 2015
Doran, Kelly
This book takes an in-depth look at the history, technology, social effects, and future of chocolate production. It explores the cacao plant's role in and effect on the conquest of the Americas, chocolate's dependence on both the slave trade and antislavery movements, mass production by Big Candy and small-scale Fair Trade farming, and genome sequencing of not one but two varieties of cacao tree. Along the way, we learn about the 1947 Children's Chocolate Bar Strike, why Milton S. Hershey built an entire town for his chocolate factory workers, and a scientific thriller about the rediscovery of a premium cacao variety long thought to be extinct. Additional resources include a historical timeline of chocolate history, bibliography, webliography, and index. Unfortunately, the text could have used a better copyeditor. Typos showed up too often, and every occurrence of "eh" in a word has been replaced by a bracket in the text, e.g., "shareholders" becomes "shar>olders". If not for that, I would have made this book R*.
Missing
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Nix, Garth
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 30, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The troubletwister twins, Jack and Jaide, have been safely protected by their Grandmother’s powerful magic. But when a tiny conduit opens between The Evil world and theirs, a note from Grandmother’s sister, Lottie, long thought dead, drifts through provoking a Grand Gathering of the Wardens of Earth. Plans to close any conduits between the two worlds are unveiled, but the twins are convinced they must defy orders to rescue Lottie. In the midst of this, Stefano, their father’s mentee, arrives to study with their Grandmother and Alfred, the Grand Examiner, arrives to administer the three tests of Troubletwister proficiency. The fourth and final book wraps up with a confrontation between the Wardens and the Evil and a surprise ending. The story line includes an abundance of first person internalized descriptions, punctuated with dangerous attacks from the Evil, yet contains just enough suspense to move the story forward. Readers will benefit by reading at least the first book, but will pick up sufficient information to enjoy this as a stand-alone.
Little Green Men At The Mercury Inn
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Smith, Greg Leitich
Arnold, Andrew
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 30, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
12-year-old Aidan’s family owns the Mercury Inn, a space-themed, boutique motel near Cape Canaveral. Booked solid for the upcoming space launch, rumors abound that aliens will be showing up to view the launch. Then Aidan discovers that the strange guest Dru is an alien girl, needing help keeping a dead alien frozen until UFO pick-up. Mix in his friend Louis, obsessed with aliens, Brita Carnegie, a talk show host, Dr. Horst Gleeman, civilian authority on extraterrestrials, and undercover government agents and this lite science fiction middle grade novel explodes with slap-stick humor. Tidbits of Roswell lore, government conspiracy theories and an infrared alien detector are woven into the drama culminating in a surprise ending that may leave readers clamoring for a sequel. Cartoon green, white and black illustrations match the story and highlight the alien theme. Chapters begin with a green “beam-me-up” cone or a one-page Smart Phone News Feed of the trending news headlines. A great book to recommend for your Wimpy Kid and reluctant readers, and fits well in a middle grade science fiction genre.
Snowboarding
A&d Xtreme/abdo [A&d Xtreme/abdo]
Hamilton, John
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 30, 2015
Kline, Karen
From the Action Sports series including BMX, Motocross, Skateboarding and others, this book introduces young readers to the sport with short text and amazing action photos. Two pages of details give the short history of snowboarding with its start in the 1960s when the precursor to snowboarding was “snurfing” and goes up to more recent events like when the sport was introduced in the Olympic Games in 1998. Snippets about the types of boards and gear get double page spreads, and though helmets are mentioned the cover of the book and several other photos depict boarders without helmets and the book avoids mentioning the dangers of the sport or any notable boarders who have suffered injuries. Many of the different snowboarding styles, tricks, and course structures are described and shown in accompanying photos making this a high interest, eye-catching book. The layout and design are appealing and include diagrams, many full bleed-to-gutter captioned photos, and occasional sidebars giving Xtreme quotes or Xtreme facts. A few brand names are scattered throughout in the photos and the listing of ESPN in the glossary terms seems gratuitous. Table of contents, index, sturdy cover material and reinforced binding are included.
Learn Japanese Words
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
York, J
Petelinsek, Kathleen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 30, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The colorful Foreign Language Basics series teaches elementary students some of the simple words and phrases useful in homes, schools and everyday life. Six books cover French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, and German languages with each book structured the same way. An introduction chapter discusses the origins of the language, the alphabet, pronunciation and unique attributes of the language. Eight chapters are entitled: My Home, In the Morning, At School, At the Park, Around Town, In the Store, My Birthday Party, Time for Dinner, and At Night. Additional words listed at the end are the months, seasons numbers, yes, no and goodbye. Identical illustrations are in each book with no attempt to show culturally accurate scenes, objects, food, housing or people. With the accessibility of images from around the world, the lack of any cultural relativity is a huge oversight. That said, each scene is brightly colored with clear digitally rendered images that match the object with the targeted word or phrase written in English, the foreign language, and the pronunciation using English phonetics. Each book sports one of the pages on the cover against a white background. Introduce these books to students and they will circulate.
Punch Like A Girl
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Krossing, Karen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
May 30, 2015
Burton, Paula
The reader doesn’t know what happened to seventeen year old Tori but she is handling life with extreme measures since her encounter with her ex-boyfriend Matt; shaving her hair, alienating everyone close to her and using violence to stand up for a friend. Because of one of her violent outbursts Tori is sentenced to community service by her parents. She chooses to fulfill this at a shelter for women and their children who are fleeing domestic violence. This is where she meets Casey, a young girl who is not speaking. Casey is the one who shows Tori how to be strong without violence. Although the self defense Tori taught her helps Casey when she is abducted by her father, Casey’s speaking out about the situation shows Tori that it is more helpful to tell those who love her about Matt’s abuse and sexual assault than using her fists. It is an easy read although it tackles some difficult issues like the reality of violence and the use of power in relationships in a realistic manner. This book reminded me of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson; slowly revealing what has happened to Tori. Although Punch like a girl does not have the intensity Anderson uses in her book, it could approach subject matters that are difficult to talk about.
Learn Japanese Words
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
York, J
Petelinsek, Kathleen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
May 30, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The colorful Foreign Language Basics series teaches elementary students some of the simple words and phrases useful in homes, schools and everyday life. Six books cover French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, and German languages with each book structured the same way. An introduction chapter discusses the origins of the language, the alphabet, pronunciation and unique attributes of the language. Eight chapters are entitled: My Home, In the Morning, At School, At the Park, Around Town, In the Store, My Birthday Party, Time for Dinner, and At Night. Additional words listed at the end are the months, seasons numbers, yes, no and goodbye. Identical illustrations are in each book with no attempt to show culturally accurate scenes, objects, food, housing or people. With the accessibility of images from around the world, the lack of any cultural relativity is a huge oversight. That said, each scene is brightly colored with clear digitally rendered images that match the object with the targeted word or phrase written in English, the foreign language, and the pronunciation using English phonetics. Each book sports one of the pages on the cover against a white background. Introduce these books to students and they will circulate.
Gary Paulsen
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Wheeler, Jill C
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 31, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Another in Abdo’s Children’s Authors series, this one focuses on popular adventure author Gary Paulsen. Besides being a three-time Newbery Honor winner he has been a “teacher, farmer, singer, sculptor, sculptor, and sailor.” After a rough, “ugly” childhood with alcoholic parents, he found refuge in library books, though his life still had many ups and downs. His education had ups and downs as well since many days of his youth were spent outdoors in the wilds of Minnesota rather than in classrooms. He eventually graduated and studied engineering, which he didn’t enjoy. Writing called but proved somewhat elusive. What finally worked for him was writing about his adventures, especially in the outdoors with dogs, and eventually his huge success with Hatchet and its sequels. Children who have caught Paulsen fever will enjoy reading about this intriguing life. An exceptionally well-defined glossary is followed by an index and Abdo web site. Photos are clear, but lack warm colors.
Scott O'dell
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Wheeler, Jill C
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
May 31, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
One of Abdo’s Children’s Authors series, this title features the Newbery Award winner Scott O’Dell, who didn’t start writing historical fiction for children until his 60’s. He had a colorful career before that working in the film industry, the military, running a citrus farm and writing for adults. His greatest success came with the publication of Island of the Blue Dolphins followed by nearly 30 years of writing only for children. Students who have read and enjoyed any of his books will welcome an insight into this man’s life followed by a detailed glossary, index and the Abdo website. Black and white photos except for the book covers are mostly clear except for those taken latest in his life ironically.
Right Word : Roget And His Thesaurus
William B Eerdmans Publishing Co [William B Eerdmans Publishing Co]
Bryant, Jen
Sweet, Melissa
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
May 31, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This is a treat worth poring over as the young reader learns about the fascinating life of the man whose name is still synonymous with thesaurus. In picture book biography format Peter Mark Roget’s life unfolds from his birth in 1779 to his death in 1869. Marked by the death of his father at a young age, with many moves afterward, this shy boy was interested in a myriad of subjects, was an inventor, and prone to making lists. Though trained as a doctor by age 19, he spent several years tutoring and traveling with his charges before he was of an acceptable age to practice medicine. Married later in life he finally, at the charge of his children, published his book of words with their synonyms and antonyms, that he had compiled and honed over the years, which he entitled Thesaurus, a Greek word meaning “treasure house”. The colorful, finely detailed illustrations contains tons of words, word lists and their synonyms providing a potpourri to visually sift through. Concludes with detailed author’s and illustrator’s notes, a selected bibliography, further reading, and sources. Gr. 2-4+
Stanley's Garage
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Bee, William
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
May 31, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This softly padded cover is a nice transition to picture books for those graduating from board books. In the Stanley series by williambee, this title features Stanley, the hamster?, as a garage owner. The reader follows Stanley throughout his busy day with his different friends/customers and their different needs—fuel, flat tire, smoking radiator, and a broken down car. After this he relaxes in a bath and heads to bed. The thick black outlines around the brightly colored illustrations makes this a vibrant, pleasant experience for the very young with colors reinforced in the text. Others titles featuring Stanley include Stanley the Builder, Stanley’s Diner, and Stanley the Farmer, though I’m not sure how one little hamster can have all of these professions:)
Skye Above
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Walters, Eric
Parkins David
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
May 31, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Lucky kid! Nine-year-old Skye loves everything that flies, flies, flies: birds, butterflies, planes and her parents. Skye's pilot-parents take her on a birthday trip to Costa Rica with the promise to let her experience flight first hand. First stop, releasing baby sea turtles at sea and watching their wing-like flippers soaring into the wild blue yonder. Next up, parasailing behind a speedboat. Going inland, Skye's family visits the rain-forest to watch birds both big and small. They watch monkeys that spend their lives aloft in the trees. Finally, Skye gets to skim above the treetops on a zip-line that may be the closest thing to flying yet! Written in the environmentally-themed Orca Echoes series high-interest series for upper elementary students, this one sails past me with only an AD rating, as it is best in schools where Skye's high-flying adventures don't seem just a bit too "other-wordly."