Reviews for month


Drum Dream Girl : How One Girl's Courage Changed Music
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Engle, Margarita
Lopez, Rafael
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 02, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Visually and thematically, this semi-biographical poem-picture book captured me immediately. Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle, illus. Rafael Lopez, follows the musical yearnings of a young girl living “on an island of music / in a city of drumbeats,” and is based on the story of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, who, with her sisters and against gender expectations, formed “Cuba’s first ‘all-girl dance band.’” The plot – a girl wants to play the drums and isn’t allowed to, but finds a way to follow her dreams – is relatively unembellished. What makes this book compelling are the drumbeats of the language and the vivid, dreamy dance of the acrylic paint on wood board illustrations. Recommended, Grades K-3.
Remembering Roy E. Disney : Memories And Photos Of A Storied
Disney Editions [Disney Editions]
Bossert, David A
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 02, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Published by Disney Editions, this book is written by a close associate of Roy E. Disney. Many anecdotes describe a wealthy, humble man who helped restructure the Disney company after the family was forced out. Roy E. did enjoy the good life with his racing yacht and his airplane. There were several instances when the author focused attention on himself instead of Roy E., or perhaps it would be better stated that he seemed to write in such a way to make his own part of the story the major part of the story. That being said, I enjoyed the book. Great photos throughout. I don't see this as a book that most teens will be interested in so teacher or librarian assistance will probably be necessary to get the book in the hands of readers. Reviewed by Heidi Gleb.
Desert : Discover This Dry Biome
Enslow Elementary [Enslow Elementary]
Johansson, Philip
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 03, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This biome is introduced in the first chapter with information on the desert tortoise, general biome information, and a world map of biomes. The next two chapters give background on the weather and soil and food webs in the biome. The last two chapters focus on plants and animals in the biome. The text is clear with subtitles to organize different topics and is supplemented by captioned photographs, diagrams, and maps. A glossary, short list of resources, and index are included. It is part of the Discover the World’s Biomes series. Students will be able to gather basic information on the biome as well as its inhabitants and interconnections.
Taiga : Discover This Forested Biome
Enslow Elementary [Enslow Elementary]
Johansson, Philip
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 03, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This biome is introduced in the first chapter with information on the wolf, general biome information, and a world map of biomes. The next two chapters give background on the weather and soil and food webs in the biome. The last two chapters focus on plants and animals in the biome. The text is clear with subtitles to organize different topics and is supplemented by captioned photographs, diagrams, and maps. A glossary, short list of resources, and index are included. It is part of the Discover the World’s Biomes series. Students will be able to gather basic information on the biome as well as its inhabitants and interconnections.
Temperate Forest : Discover This Wooded Biome
Enslow Elementary [Enslow Elementary]
Johansson, Philip
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 03, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This biome is introduced in the first chapter with information on the bear, general biome information, and a map. The next two chapters give background on the weather and soil and food webs in the biome. The last two chapters focus on plants and animals in the biome. The text is clear with subtitles to organize different topics and is supplemented by captioned photographs, diagrams, and maps. A glossary, short list of resources, and index are included. It is part of the Discover the World’s Biomes series. Students will be able to gather basic information on the biome as well as its inhabitants and interconnections.
Tropical Rain Forest : Discover This Wet Biome
Enslow Elementary [Enslow Elementary]
Johansson, Philip
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 03, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This biome is introduced in the first chapter with information on the rain forest caterpillar, general biome information, and a world map of biomes. The next two chapters give background on the weather and soil and food webs in the biome. The last two chapters focus on plants and animals in the biome. The text is clear with subtitles to organize different topics and is supplemented by captioned photographs, diagrams, and maps. A glossary, short list of resources, and index are included. It is part of the Discover the World’s Biomes series. Students will be able to gather basic information on the biome as well as its inhabitants and interconnections.
Hunt For The Curious
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Stilton, Geronimo
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 03, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
If you love Geronimo Stilton and his zany mix of talking mice, jokes, mysterious clues, wacky humor, and words in different fonts, then you will like this mystery. The mice in New York City are getting sick with green warts and stomachaches after eating cheese – can Geronimo Stilton solve this important mystery. He is off in his bananamobile to find out and after many adventures, clues, and odd characters he solves the mystery. This is a classic Geronimo Stilton tale that will appeal to young readers who are venturing into chapter books, but still love lots of illustrations.
Experiment With Parts Of A Plant
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Higgins, Nadia
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 03, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Four experiments are clearly set up for young scientists with a focus on roots, stems, leaves, and seed movement. Each chapter starts with a little basic background on the plant part, then an experiment is introduced with materials, steps, and thinking through the results. The attractive format includes large font, captioned photographs, and clear text on bright backgrounds. The experiments are simple, such as the classic food coloring and carnation experiment to prove water travels through a stem. The back of the book includes information on classifying plants, fun facts, glossary, index, and list of resources. It is part of the Plant Experiments series. Young researching will find the background and structure they need to create and analyze basic experiments with plants.
Wolf And Me
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Scrimger, Richard
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
June 03, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
First there was "Seven [The Series]"--7 teen-aged boys were connected by their grandfather's will which sent them off on separate adventures, each written by a different author providing a unique voice for the main character. Now they're back in Seven [The Sequels]. Was Grandpa a spy? A holiday trip to his old cabin, and an unusual discover there, sends them off on more adventures, which can be read individually, in any order. This one focuses on Bunny (Bernard) who is kidnapped while ice-skating. Bernard is a little slow, but good-hearted, and has been in trouble with the law. Now he's skating from kidnappers, rescuing a baby, sneaking into jail, and completely unaware there's an assassination plot going on. The plot is a stretch and a half, but it's also fun, fast-paced, and suspenseful. It takes a while to get used to the bad spelling and sentence construction, but Bunny is telling his own story in his own way and it works. This is a fun series that should appeal to the target audience.
Coda
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Staunton, Ted
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
June 03, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
First there was "Seven [The Series]"--7 teen-aged boys were connected by their grandfather's will which sent them off on separate adventures, each written by a different author providing a unique voice for the main character. Now they're back in Seven [The Sequels]. Was Grandpa a spy? A holiday trip to his old cabin, and an unusual discover there, sends them off on more adventures, which can be read individually, in any order. This one focuses on Spencer, whose brother has been kidnapped. Bunny (short for Bernard) is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Spencer is the brains of the duo and now he's working hard to figure out what happened to his brother. It all has to do with a small country, a teen music sensation, a national anthem, and a planned assassination. The story stretches the premise until it squeals, (drug-guarding alligators?) but does so in a fast-paced, teen-friendly manner that has suspense and action, but never takes itself too seriously. This is a fun series that should appeal to the target audience.
Life On The Frontier
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Onsgard, Bethany
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 04, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This topic is clearly divided into five chapters of 6 to 8 pages starting with a chapter on the frontier with short subsections on topics such as Manifest Destiny and the Louisiana Purchase. The next three chapters focus on aspects of daily life during the movement West and settlement such as wagon trains, settlement towns, education, and food. The last chapter focuses on the general impact of the movement West on Native Americas with topics such as culture clash and reservations. The text is very clear and well organized and it is supplemented by colored illustrations from the era with captions, map, diagram, or fact box. An added strength of the book is the focus on different perspectives, some primary sources, and two online sources made to supplement the topic with a link and a discussion question. These are meant to connect with Common Core State Standards for grades 3-6. At the end there is a section with four further discussion or writing questions, plus a short glossary, list of resources, and index. It is part of the Daily Life in U.S. History series.
Life In Colonial America
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Garstecki, Julia
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 04, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This large topic is clearly divided into five chapters of 6 to 8 pages starting with a chapter on Europeans coming to America with short subsections on topics such as Christopher Colombus, religious freedom, and servitude and slavery. The next three chapters focus on aspects of daily life such as building shelter, relationships with Native Americans, education, and different jobs. The last chapter focuses on the impact of the Colonists on Native Americans and the movement towards revolution. The text is very clear and well organized and it is supplemented by colored illustrations from the era with captions, map, diagram, or fact box. An added strength of the book is the focus on different perspectives, some primary sources, and two online sources made to supplement the topic with a link and a discussion question. These are meant to connect with Common Core State Standards for grades 3-6. At the end there is a section with four further discussion or writing questions, plus a short glossary, list of resources, and index. It is part of the Daily Life in U.S. History series.
Life During The Revolutionary War
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Hinman, Bonnie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 04, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This topic is clearly divided into five chapters of 6 to 8 pages starting with a chapter on the Revolutionary War with short subsections on topics such as the thirteen colonies, Continental Congresses, and declaring war. The next three chapters focus on aspects of daily life during the war such as food, clothing, education, jobs, and slavery. The last chapter focuses on the lighter side of life including social events and books. The text is very clear and well organized and it is supplemented by colored illustrations from the era with captions, map, diagram, or fact box. An added strength of the book is the focus on different perspectives, some primary sources, and two online sources made to supplement the topic with a link and a discussion question. These are meant to connect with Common Core State Standards for grades 3-6. At the end there is a section with four further discussion or writing questions, plus a short glossary, list of resources, and index. It is part of the Daily Life in U.S. History series.
Do You Know Tigers Know?
FITZHENRY & WHITESIDE [FITZHENRY & WHITESIDE]
Quintin, Michel
Sampar
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 05, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This is an unusual nonfiction series that features humorous, and delightfully-drawn, cartoon illustrations with quirky talking tigers and other animals, accompanied by several sentences per page of solid factual information. In this case the book is about tigers. Readers learn interesting facts about tigers and, every page, get a chance to laugh at anthropomorphized comments on that information. It's a lot of fun, but hard to categorize. Children will enjoy reading it and surprised that they learned something along the way.
Daisy Saves The Day
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Hughes, Shirley
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 05, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Here's "Upstairs, Downstairs" for the picture book set. Daisy Dobbs was a poor girl who had to take a job as a scullery maid. She missed her mother and brothers, and the work was hard, but you do what you have to do. When King George V was going to be crowned she stayed in the big house, while others went to the celebrations. In a mistaken attempt at patriotism Daisy embarrassed her employers. However, she is the one who wakes to smoke and save the household from fire. Her reward allows her to pursue her simple dreams. This is a peek back at 1910 in England, and the watercolor illustrations show a different time and place. The text is quite extended for the format, and includes many details from the era. This would be a nice addition to picture book historical fiction sections but, while beautifully done, may be too wordy for the intended audience.
Whose Shoe?
CLARION [CLARION]
Bunting, Eve
Ruzzier, Sergio
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 05, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Mouse has found a shoe. He goes from animal to animal, seeking the owner, but fails in his search until he finally locates the owner who, it turns out, doesn't want the shoe. It makes a fine bed for mouse. Eve Bunting has a lovely way with words, but this simple rhyming text with equally simple pastel illustrations, is ultimately slight and a bit of a disappointment.
Primate School
Arbordale Publishing [Arbordale Publishing]
Curtis, Jennifer Keats
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 05, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Crisp and interesting photographs accompany equally fascinating text about educational opportunities for primates at sanctuaries and zoos. Different primates are shown enjoying these activities, and the author is careful to note that training and education is, for the most part, voluntary. Some activities provide entertainment. Others educate. Still others train the primates to do things that make it easier to care for them. It's all quite interesting. I only wish there were even more information. The topic is intriguing.
Nuts In Space
NOSY CROW [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Dolan, Elys
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 05, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The subtitle: "Caution: May Contain Nuts" is an understatement. In this large format picture book the animal crew of a starship is searching for the fabled Lost Nuts of Legend. Actually, they've found them, but getting them home is tricky. The crew is hungry, and there are evil-doers who also seek the mystic nuts. The story is silly in the extreme, with lots happening on every page in a graphic novel format. Children may not catch all the Star Wars and Star Trek references both in text and illustration, but any geeky adult will pick up on it. (I certainly did.) Ridiculous? Of course, but that's pretty much the point.
Lullaby For Little One
NOSY CROW [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Casey, Dawn
Fuge, Charles
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 05, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Soft and detailed watercolor illustrations are just as cute as can be as a daddy bunny plays with his baby bunny throughout the day. Simple rhyming text follows them as they race and laugh, and are joined by several animal friends. By the end of the day baby bunny is tired and it's time to sleep. This is a sweet lap book that fathers will enjoy sharing with their children in a cuddle at bedtime.
Octonauts & The Sea Of Shade
IMMEDIUM [IMMEDIUM]
Meomi
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The Octonauts is a Disney Jr. TV series featuring a group of critters who live in an undersea station. They work cooperatively to solve problems. In this book a horrible thing happens--all the shadows disappear! There's no more shade and things are very odd without shadows. The Octonauts are on the case, negotiating with the Shadow King for the return of his subjects. The story is lengthy yet at the same time slight. The concept is whimsical, and breaks most laws of science, but that's not really the point. Illustrations are computer-generated and unexceptional. Fans of the series will enjoy the book, but it's not a first purchase.
Nut And Bolt
FITZHENRY & WHITESIDE [FITZHENRY & WHITESIDE]
De Cock, Nicole
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Bolt is a donkey and Nut is his friend, a mouse. Nut seems to take the major role in their friendship. She takes care of Bolt, and entertains him because real friends would do anything for each other. In fact, a reader might wonder just what Bolt does for Nut. The answer? His ear is Nut's bed. This translation, from the Netherlands, features sympathetic warm watercolor illustrations that amusingly show just how much Nut does for his dearest friend. In fact, their relationship is remarkably lopsided. Young readers may not notice, however, as they enjoy this gently sweet story of friendship.
Tallulah's Tap Shoes
CLARION [CLARION]
Singer, Marilyn
Boiger, Alexandra
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Young readers have loved the previous four books about young ballerina, Tallulah, and her little brother who also does ballet. In this book, however, Tallulah faces a new challenge. She's off to dance camp with her little brother, but at this camp she's going to be practicing tap as well as ballet. She's accustomed to being at the top of her class, but as a beginning tap student she has much to learn and tap has none of the grace that she loves in ballet. She soon discovers another student who has just the opposite problem. Can they both learn to try something new? A sparkly cover, expressive watercolor illustrations, and a well-written text combine to make this book a winner. The message of trying new things is a valuable one as well. This will be another hit for students who love the Tallulah series.
Bloodrose
PHILOMEL [PHILOMEL]
Cremer, Andrea
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
June 06, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
I may have appreciated this story more if I had read the first two books in the series or if I were a serious werewolf fan. However, neither being the case, I found the narrative, plot, and characters dry and unnecessarily complicated. Calla is an alpha and Shay is an alpha. Will they get together in the end -- through wars, and love dramas, and portal travels -- or will Calla partner with Ren? Cremer's writing is good, but the story did not carry me along.
Squid Kid the Magnificent
Disney Hyperion [Disney Hyperion]
Berry, Lynne
LaMarca, Luke
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Oliver is amazing! He's stupendous! He's incredible! He's a magician who can make himself disappear. Ignore that snarky sister who points out that all squids can disappear in a cloud of ink. He is Squid Kid! With the mystical words: "smelly yellow jellyfish!" he can make magic happen--altering the color of cuttlefish and making things mysteriously appear and disappear. Oliver is a squid who knows his business, but does he know his sister? This is an hilarious tale that begs to be read aloud. The big, bold illustrations are an absolute hoot and will provide delightful story time opportunities.
How To Catch A Mouse
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Leathers, Philippa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Clemmie is a cat who knows her business. She's studied up on mice, and she's never seen one in her house so clearly she's doing a great job. Of course young readers will giggle at this self-delusion because pictures show a clever mouse sneaking around behind the oblivious cat. Will she be able to catch her nemesis? That issue is never resolved in the simple text and adorable pastel illustrations. This is the same author/illustrator who brought us "Black Rabbit" and she leaves much up to the reader's imagination in this sweet and amusing tale.
Field-Trip Fiasco
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Danneberg, Julie
Love, Judy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Field trips can be fun, frantic, or a little of both. In this book Mrs. Hartwell's class is off to the zoo. The detailed watercolor illustrations by Judy Love show a veteran teacher, in pith helmet and safari outfit, herding a ragtag class of students with a high potential for disaster. Fortunately, she has a list of "Foolproof Field-trip Tips" that are obviously based on previous experience. While they cannot prevent disaster completely, they can certainly help alleviate the results. Following her list and her plan seems to work, but a veteran teacher always knows when you need to make adjustments. This is a delightful book, although the tips seem aimed more at teachers than students. It would be a good read-aloud before any field trip, and her foolproof tips are generally ones any teacher would find valuable.
Toad Weather
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Markle, Sandra
Gonzalez, Thomas
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Fabulous, realistic illustrations, by Thomas Gonzalez, pop with detail and draw the reader into this warm environmental story about a rainy day, and a toad migration. A young girl's mother takes her and her grandmother to see the migration, and help the toads across the road to their mating pond. Other people also help, providing a nice sense of community. The author includes plenty of toad information, and an end note offering further details. This is what they're talking about when they say "narrative nonfiction" and Sandra Markle knows her stuff. "Toad Weather" merits a place in any library serving children.
Katy Perry : Famous Pop Singer & Songwriter
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Diver, Lucas
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the Abdo Kids "Pop Bios" series, this large-format 24 page book features big, crisp photographs that bow across the hinges of double-page spreads and face two or three sentences of simple text. This book gives a few tidbits of information about pop singer Katy Perry. Readers learn a little about where she was born, her family, and the progress of her musical career. Plenty of crisp color photographs showing the singer in fabulous outfits, make this visually appealing. There is also a timeline, glossary, and completely unnecessary index. Other books in this series are incredibly popular, and have torn pages with only a couple of check-outs. Children will enjoy reading this very brief puff piece but biographies of current stars, while popular, are a quickly outdated. On the other hand, this won't last long enough for that to matter.
Octonauts & The Frown Fish
IMMEDIUM [IMMEDIUM]
Meomi
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The Octonauts is a Disney Jr. TV series featuring a group of critters who live in an undersea station. They work cooperatively to solve problems. In this book they encounter a frowny-faced fish. They do all they can to make the fish smile, but without success. At last they discover that the fish has been smiling all along, it's just an upside-down fish. The story is lengthy yet at the same time slight. The concept is whimsical. Illustrations are computer-generated and unexceptional. Fans of the series will enjoy the book, but it's not a first purchase.
Music And Theater Top Tens
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Donovan, Sandy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 06, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Entertainment's Top 10" series, this sturdy 32-page book focuses on top tens in music and music theater. Readers get the countdowns for musicians with the most digital singles sales, longest-running Broadway shows, youngest Grammy-winning musicians, winners of the most Tony Awards, and musicians with the most MTV Video Music Awards. Each number gets a brief explanation, and a photograph is found on every page. The book includes a glossary, bibliography, and index. Naturally the top tens will change over time, so this book will quickly become outdated. Nevertheless it should please those interested in the subject matter.
Machines To Thrill You!
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Hansen, Grace
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 07, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Beginning readers who love machines will enjoy this book with large photographs of unusual machines that travel through air or water, or on land with a few sentences of text that are more like captions. Most topics are covered in a single two-page spread, but others such as watercraft and aircraft cover four to six pages. The Land section contains this text “The Bagger 288 is a giant excavator. It is longer than two football fields” with a large photograph of the machine. A short glossary and index are included. This would probably appeal to the young machine or vehicle enthusiast who already knows all about ordinary machines. It is part of the Seeing is Believing series.
Dirt Bikes
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 07, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Dirt bike riders and enthusiasts will be drawn to the close-up captioned photographs of dirt bikes in action on every two-page spread. The short paragraph of information on the pages seems supplementary. Basic topics are covered from dirt bike history, design, competition, and famous dirt bikers. Fast Facts on most spreads give exciting extra information on the topic. A short index, glossary, and list of resources is included. This book is designed for browsing, but a young student could glean enough information for basic research if needed. It is part of the Speed Machines series.
Unicorn On A Roll : Another Phoebe And Her Unicorn Adventure
Andrews & Mcmeel [Andrews & Mcmeel]
Simpson, Dana
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
June 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Phoebe has a unicorn - yes, a real unicorn. They're best friends and spend a lot of time together. Mind you, the unicorn is a big of an egotist, and Phoebe is a typical kid who occasionally picks her nose, but theirs is a match made in fantasy land. This is a delightful collection of cartoons that doesn't really have a storyline that holds them completely together, but is connected by small threads. The artwork is delightful, and the writing is clever, with occasional snort-producing moments. At 217 pages this is a large book, but it flies by as a graphic novel. This series is sure to be a hit. Buy it in the sturdiest binding possible.
Emma Stone
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Spence, Kelly
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Superstars!" series consists of larger format 32-page paperback books featuring current stars. This one focuses on Emma Stone. Plenty of photographs, and bright graphics accompany a clear, chatty text that leads young readers through Emma's life, career, and successes. Quotes from the star are included. The book also includes a timeline, glossary, index, and bibliography. This is a surprisingly informative book, and is written in a kid-friendly manner. The paperback format works, since books about current celebrities become outdated quickly. This won't be a shelf-sitter, and when it's worn out it will be time to weed it anyway.
Lorde
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Morganelli, Adrianna
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Superstars!" series consists of larger format 32-page paperback books featuring current stars. This one focuses on singer Lorde. Plenty of photographs, and bright graphics accompany a clear, chatty text that leads young readers through the life of the singer and songwriter, key career points, and some of her successes and songs. Quotes from the star are included. The book also includes a timeline, glossary, index, and bibliography. This is a surprisingly informative book, and is written in a kid-friendly manner. The paperback format works, since books about current celebrities become outdated quickly. This won't be a shelf-sitter, and when it's worn out it will be time to weed it anyway.
Locos Por La Lucha Libre = Crazy For Wrestling
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Dominguez, Maria
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
El Chavo wants to be a masked luchador. This gives his neighbor, Don Ramon, the idea to do the same. He loves the idea of travel and fame, but the fighting part is not his strength. Dona Florinda, however, as a real knack for fighting. This is a silly bilingual story that is rather slight, but funny.
Animal Facts To Make You Smile!
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Hansen, Grace
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
There are plenty of odd animal facts out there, and this large-format Abdo Kids "Seeing is Believing" book presents a few of them. Big close-up photographs fill the right hand pages and spill across the gutter to face a sentence of two of text. This is an eclectic collection of 9 featured facts and 3 additional facts that expand on them. A short glossary and index are included. The book is beautifully put together and will appeal to young nonfiction fans. It is, however, too slight for report-writing.
Machines On The Farm
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Borth, Teddy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Many children are very fond of big machines, and many kindergarten classrooms do farm units. Here's a book that works for both groups. This large-format Abdo Kids "On the Farm" book introduces tractors and seven other pieces of big farm equipment including balers and seeders. Large close-up photographs fill the right hand pages and spill across the gutter to face a few sentences of text that basically act as a picture caption. Four additional facts about farm machinery are included at the end of the book, as well as a short glossary and index. The book is beautifully put together and will appeal to young nonfiction fans. It is, however, too slight for report-writing.
Animal Mouths
Arbordale Publishing [Arbordale Publishing]
Holland, Mary
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
There are many different types of mouths, used in many different ways, when you observe the animal kingdom. Some animals, like the luna moth, don't even have a mouth! This book examines everything from teeth to jaws to beaks, with a stopover introduction to a proboscis. Young readers learn about herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores and how their mouths might reflect their diet. Crisp close-up photographs fill the pages, accompanied by clear informative text. This would be useful in teaching students to make deductions from available evidence.
Octonauts & The Only Lonely Monster
IMMEDIUM [IMMEDIUM]
Meomi
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The Octonauts is a Disney Jr. TV series featuring a group of critters who live in an undersea station. They work cooperatively to solve problems. In this book a strange monster has seized their undersea station. At first they fight, but then they realize that it's a large creature with a problem--he cannot find others of his kind. Soon some of the octonauts are off on a quest to find the creature's family. They search north and south and east and west, requiring the reader to turn the book around. Eventually they discover this is the only one of its kind, but that's OK because most of the octonauts are unique as well. The story is rather long yet at the same time slight. The concept is whimsical. Illustrations are computer-generated and unexceptional. Fans of the series will enjoy the book, but it's not a first purchase.
Pieces And Players
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Balliett, Blue
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
June 07, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Blue Balliett is back with another art mystery. 13 pieces of rare art have vanished from a local museum. Calder, Petra, and Tommy are on the case and are joined by Zoomy and Early--two kids with their own problems and skills. Added to the mix is the onset of puberty--volcanic pimples, bodies changing and relationships with the potential of altering. Like all the books in the series this is about art, but also about how we view art, and how art influences the world around it. The plot is filled with odd coincidences and observations, a secret language, a possible villain, ghosts, and a Ouija board. Are the children following clues, or are they being "led" by forces outside themselves? The characters are well-developed and the writing is crisp and interesting. I will note, however, that I cannot get these books to circulate at my elementary school. Middle school may be a better fit.
Button Hill
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Bradford, Michael
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 07, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This debut novel by a Canadian author has shades of Coraline and Gregor the Overlander in its fantastical plot. Dekker and his younger sister have to stay with their very old and seemingly grumpy aunt Primrose in Button Hill while their mom attends school. Dekker’s bad attitude becomes replaced by curiosity when he explores the creepy basement with an even creepier cellar. He finds an ebony grandfather clock with skeletal hands and black skull face, which, against warnings, he starts to turn. From then on strange things happen including meeting an evil boy who looks just like him but with button eyes, who rips his heart out; a young girl with a music box; a “trip” to the Understory involving weird train rides with dead people in transition; learning about Dayside (living) and Nightside (the dead). Many adventures ensue involving him, his younger sister Riley, who wants to save him; a girl named Harper, who’s father is alive, but her mother is governess of the Understory; and other creepy zombie-like undead or skeletons searching for a way to get “home.” There are a few too many details thrown in that make this not meet up to Coraline or Gregor. Kirkus starred it, but SLJ rated it additional. AD/AD+
Life During The California Gold Rush
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Onsgard, Bethany
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 07, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This topic is clearly divided into five chapters of 6 to 8 pages starting with a chapter on the discovery of gold in California with short subsections on topics such big gold strikes and the long journeys to California. The next three chapters focus on aspects of daily life during the war such as entertainment, work, and different cultural groups. The last chapter focuses on the impact of the gold rush on the area. The text is very clear and well organized and it is supplemented by colored illustrations from the era with captions, map, diagram, or fact box. An added strength of the book is the focus on different perspectives, some primary sources, and two online sources made to supplement the topic with a link and a discussion question. These are meant to connect with Common Core State Standards for grades 3-6. At the end there is a section with four further discussion or writing questions, plus a short glossary, list of resources, and index. It is part of the Daily Life in U.S. History series.
Lana's World : Let's Go Fishing
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Silverman, Erica
Golden, Jess
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 07, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Lana wants to go fishing but her parents and brothers are all too busy. So Lana makes her bed into an imaginary boat and fishes for imaginary fish in her bedroom. Slowly her family comes to join her in her imaginary fishing excursion along with the family dog. Everyone decides that the best part is doing something together. This is a beginning reader with simple language that students will enjoy as they begin to read on their own. Lively but simple watercolor, pastel, and colored pencil illustrations on a white background complement the story of a young girl’s imagination and positive outlook. I t is a Level 2 Green Light Reader.
Grasslands : Discover This Wide Open Biome
Enslow Elementary [Enslow Elementary]
Johansson, Philip
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 07, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This biome is introduced in the first chapter with information on the zebra, general biome information, and a map. The next two chapters give background on the weather and soil and food webs in the biome. The last two chapters focus on plants and animals in the biome. The text is clear with subtitles to organize different topics and is supplemented by captioned photographs, diagrams, and maps. A glossary, short list of resources, and index are included. It is part of the Discover the World’s Biomes series. Students will be able to gather basic information on the biome as well as its inhabitants and interconnections.
Tundra : Discover This Frozen Biome
Enslow Elementary [Enslow Elementary]
Johansson, Philip
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 07, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This biome is introduced in the first chapter with information on the polar bear, general biome information, and a map. The next two chapters give background on the weather and soil and food webs in the biome. The last two chapters focus on plants and animals in the biome. The text is clear with subtitles to organize different topics and is supplemented by captioned photographs, diagrams, and maps. A glossary, short list of resources, and index are included. It is part of the Discover the World’s Biomes series. Students will be able to gather basic information on the biome as well as its inhabitants and interconnections.
Gymnastics : Great Moments, Records, And Facts
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Borth, Teddy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 07, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Beginning readers who are also gymnastics enthusiasts may enjoy this book with large photographs of great moments in competitive gymnastics history with a few sentences of text that are more like captions. Each two-page spread covers a different topic from gymnastic stations (just the numbers for men and women, but not the names of each one) to top gymnasts who have won many awards or set records. A 3-word glossary and short index are included. This would probably only appeal to very young gymnasts who also watch top competitions. It is part of the Great Sports series.
Tastes Like Music : 17 Quirks Of The Brain And Body
Owlkids Books, Inc [Owlkids Books, Inc]
Birmingham, Maria
Melnychuk, Monika
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
There are some unique medical conditions that result in unusual sensory input or behavior. This book introduces 17 of them. Total recall, sleepwalking, hypermobility (double-jointedness), and more are included. What about people who get lost in their own homes, or those who can't process music? How about supertasters, sounds in your head, or an ability to see more colors than most can? Weird teeth or hair, light-sneezing, and so much more are included in this book. It's all quite fascinating. Each condition gets a two-page spread, and includes a pronunciation guide, an explanation of the symptoms, fast facts, necessary vocabulary, and often an interview with a person who has the condition. Nothing is sensationalized--this is not a freak show. Instead it is an interesting look at the variations that can exist in humans. The author, by the way, has one of the conditions. Occasional colorful illustrations and clear cogent text, as well as an index, make this a nice addition to your nonfiction health collection.
Rembrandt
CHILDRENS PRESS [CHILDRENS PRESS]
Venezia, Mike
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
All ages
June 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Mike Venezia is back with his "Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists" series, this time with additional content. That means a page added to the 32-page format, and end papers filled with information, making it difficult to figure out where to put labels of any kind inside the book. Ah well, the book is, of course, splendid. Vewnezia manages to point out key information about Rembrandt's life and art, while poking a little fun with cartoon illustrations and showing significant works by the artist, including interesting details. Readers will find themselves examining the artwork more thoroughly, as they get to know the artist better. I'm not sure if it's worth replacing your old Venezia books with these newer ones, but if you don't already own them you should, and when the old ones wear out replace them with the newer versions.
Broken Arrow
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Wilson, John
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
June 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
First was "Seven [The Series]" a group of 7 books each focusing on a different grandson who, after the death of their grandfather, was given a task to perform. Each book was written by a different author, providing unique viewpoints, but each has a link with the others. It doesn't matter what order you read them in. Now the boys are back with "Seven [The Sequels]". A holiday weekend at Grandpa's old cabin uncovers a treasure trove of interesting items. Was Grandpa a spy? Now the boys are investigating again. In this entry in the series Steve is spending Christmas in Spain with his new girlfriend. He is also investigating a coded message his grandfather left. Was he a double-agent? Was he a saboteur? Soon there is kidnapping, espionage, and a possible nuclear device. Not your typical vacation at all. This is a fast-paced teen read with interesting characters and plot twists. It will inspire readers to find the other books in the series.
Explore With Leif Eriksson
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Hyde, Natalie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Travel With the Great Explorers" series is an interesting approach to learning. These large format 32 page paperback books present information about famous explorers but not in your typical sequential narrative fashion. Instead, this is a shotgun approach. Each page is awash with fact boxes, illustrations, photographs, headlines, and snippets about the explorer, his life, his various travels, and what happened. This book focuses on Leif Eriksson. Readers learn about his boyhood, his family, his ambitions, and his various voyages. It's all quite fascinating and told in bits and pieces, like reading the first paragraph of a newspaper article on each topic. The format is a little off-putting at first, but I came away knowing all kinds of things that might have slipped past me in a normal narrative book. The index, glossary, bibliography, and timeline at the end are valuable additions. This seems aimed at today's computer-oriented teens who are used to receiving their information in short spurts, and it is interesting and well-written.
Explore With Sieur De La Salle
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
O'brien, Cynthia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Travel With the Great Explorers" series is an interesting approach to learning. These large format 32 page paperback books present information about famous explorers but not in your typical sequential narrative fashion. Instead, this is a shotgun approach. Each page is filled with fact boxes, illustrations, photographs, headlines, and snippets about the explorer, his life, his various travels, and what happened. This book focuses on La Salle. Readers learn about his boyhood, his ambitions, his patrons, and his various travels both real and possibly imagined. His end at the hands of his own fellow travelers is a case in point for him not being the best man for the job of explorer, but his contributions were significant. The format is a little off-putting, but I came away knowing all kinds of things that might have slipped past me in a normal narrative book. The index, glossary, bibliography, and timeline at the end are valuable additions. This seems aimed at today's computer-oriented teens who are used to receiving their information in short spurts, and it is interesting and well-written.
Super Hockey Infographics
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Savage, Jeff
Kulihin, Vic
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
OK, I'll admit it right up front--I'm not a hockey fan. However, I AM intrigued by infographics, and this books provides all sorts of hockey data in all sorts of infographics. From timelines on hockey sticks to wins shown against the Stanley Cup, readers are presented with all sorts of statistics in visually interesting ways. 13 infographics are included. If you like hockey you'll find the information interesting, although it will become quickly outdated. If you want examples of different types of infographics, however, the book has a longer shelf life. Fascinating.
Dynamic Duos 2014
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Kelley, K C
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
All ages
June 09, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
There is no "I" in team, and famous football players rarely get their reputation by working alone. This32-page paperback book focuses on some specific duos from 2014. Manning and Welker, Stafford and Johnson, Charles and Smith, Hawk and Matthews and, for local fans, Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch. The book is written in that sportscaster way, with quotes from the players and examples of specific plays. Pacific Northwesterners will be pleased that it was written before the last Superbowl. There's even a nice two-page spread on the Legion of Boom! Football fans will delight in this book and, at $3.99 it's worth purchasing knowing that it will wear out before it becomes outdated.
Rivers And Lakes Inside Out
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Kopp, Megan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 09, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Inside Out" series examines various biomes, defining them in general and then providing two-page spreads examining specific examples of that biome. This volume deals with the watery environments of rivers and lakes. Highlighted rivers are the Amazon, the Nile, the Yangtze, the Colorado, and the St. Lawrence. Lakes that receive particular attention include the Great Lakes, the Great Salt Lake, Lake Mead, Crater Lake, and Lake Baikal. Each two-page spread gives general information, highlights an animal from that lake or river, and asks a question to promote deeper thinking. The book also includes information on ecosystems in general, food chains, and food webs. Readers will find photographs, illustrations, an experiment, a push for ecological awareness, and an index, glossary, and bibliography in each large format 32-page paperback book. This is a solid series that provides a useful introduction.
Louise Brooks : Detective
Nbm Publishing [Nbm Publishing]
Geary, Rick
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
June 09, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
It's the 1940's and fictional Louise Brooks is back home in Wichita, Kansas, after a movie career that blossomed, and then tanked. What will she do with the rest of her life? Write, perhaps? Soon, however, she finds herself dragged into a murder mystery...or is more than one murder? Who is dead, and why? As a witness she is spoiling the killer's plans. This is a classic mystery story, worthy of the era, but done in graphic novel format. In keeping with the times and her career, the entire book is done in black and white in a style that echoes the era. The final result is a compelling story that is also visually intriguing. One can only hope Louise Brooks will be back for more crime-solving capers.
Forests Inside Out
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Bow, James
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 09, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Inside Out" series examines various biomes, defining them in general and then providing two-page spreads examining specific examples of that biome. This volume focuses on forests. Readers learn about tropical rain and dry forests, temperate broadleaf forests, taiga, montane, plantation, urban and swamp forests. There's even something here about kelp forests. Each two-page spread gives general and specific information, highlights an animal from that type of forest, and asks a question to promote deeper thinking. The book also includes information on ecosystems in general, food chains, and food webs. Readers will find photographs, illustrations, an experiment, a push for ecological awareness, and an index, glossary, and bibliography in each large format 32-page paperback book. This is a solid series that provides a useful introduction.
Islands Inside Out
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Kopp, Megan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 09, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Inside Out" series examines various biomes, defining them in general and then providing two-page spreads examining specific examples of that biome. This volume deals with islands. Readers learn various ways in which islands are formed, and the difference between a key and a barrier island. Highlighted are the Galapagos Islands, the Florida Keys, and islands found in the Caribbean, Hawaii, Alaska, Japan, and Indonesia. Greenland and Madagascar are also examined. Each two-page spread gives general and specific information, highlights an animal from that region, and asks a question to promote deeper thinking. The book also includes information on ecosystems in general, food chains, and food webs. Readers will find photographs, illustrations, an experiment, a push for ecological awareness, and an index, glossary, and bibliography in each large format 32-page paperback book. This is a solid series that provides a useful introduction.
Monster That Grew Small
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Grant, Joan
Xoul
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Classic Stories" series consists of short 24-page books that present a classic short story with a few illustrations and a strong moral message. This is a tale from 1949 by Joan Grant. In it a young boy wishes to be brave but is, instead, frightened by everything. When he saves a hare the animal gives him an idea of how to face his fears. Setting out on a quest to save a village, the boy is surprised to discover that the monster he and the villagers fear most grows smaller the closer you get to it, until it is pocket-sized in the end. A note at the end gives further information about both the story and the author. This is a thought-provoking story about facing fears that should lead to interesting discussions.
Raymond's Run
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Bambara, Toni Cade
Young, Eric
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Classic Stories" series consists of 24-page books each highlighting a short story, with a few illustrations and a final note giving more information about both the story and the author. Each story has a moral, and is designed to provoke thought and discussion. This story was written by an African-American feminist in the 1960's and features a strong female character. Hazel is a young inner-city girl with an older brother, Raymond, who is developmentally delayed. She loves to run--it's practically a religion to her--and Raymond accompanies her. When the big race comes up Hazel is determined to win, but finds out something about both her brother and her competitors in the process. There's a lot of meat to this short story, but it would probably be best enjoyed in a classroom setting with plenty of opportunity for discussion.
Endangered Rivers : Investigating Rivers In Crisis
Fact Finders/capstone Press [Fact Finders/capstone Press]
Iyer, Rani
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This sturdy 32-page book is depressing as it catalogs the various woes that rivers face around the world. There's pollution of all kinds, dams, development, overfishing, overuse, invasive species and so much more. The book contains solid information and vocabulary about rivers. There are photographs and clear explanations about the threats our water supply confronts. Possible solutions are offered. This would be a good resource for a report and is part of the "Endangered Earth" series.
Two Wise Children
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Graves, Robert
Dean, Venitia
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Classic Stories" series consists of short 24-page books that present a classic short story with a few illustrations and a strong moral message. This is a tale from 1966 by Robert Graves about two children who discover they are not bound by the rules of nature, until they benefit from their gifts. One knows all there is to be known, and the other can fly. However, once they use their gifts for gain the gifts disappear and they are ordinary again. This is a story that could provoke discussion, but its old-fashioned nature may deter young readers.
Be The Change For The Environment
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Smith, Paula
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Be The Change" series consists of four paperback books that feature bright photographs and 24 pages of information on how children can help to change the world. Each begins with a brief overview of Ghandi's message that everyone can "be the change". Readers then learn about children who have applied this principle, and get ideas of what they can do themselves to change things. This volume focuses projects that benefit the environment. A litter prevention program is highlighted. The book walks readers through the process of finding a problem that needs a solution, researching it, creating an action plan, implementing it, then evaluating its success and celebrating. This is an encouraging approach that makes action seem doable, and encourages children to work for the betterment of their world. My one complaint is that these four books could easily have been combined into a single volume since much of the information is repetitive.
Be The Change In Your School
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Smith, Paula
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Be The Change" series consists of four paperback books that feature bright photographs and 24 pages of information on how children can help to change the world. Each begins with a brief overview of Ghandi's message that everyone can "be the change". Readers then learn about children who have applied this principle, and get ideas of what they can do themselves to change things. This volume focuses on changing your school. A bullying prevention program is highlighted. The book walks readers through the process of finding a problem that needs a solution, researching it, creating an action plan, implementing it, then evaluating its success and celebrating. This is an encouraging approach that makes action seem doable, and encourages children to work for the betterment of their world. My one complaint is that these four books could easily have been combined into a single volume since much of the information is repetitive.
Vango : Between Sky And Earth
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
De Fombelle, Timothee
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 11, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
My head is still spinning from the story, and this is only book one in the series. Vango and his nursemaid land on the shores of an Aeolian island in 1918. Their backgrounds are as mysterious to themselves (at least it seems at the start) as they are to the islanders. Through a succession of flashbacks the reader learns that Vango is a climber of walls and precipes, a boy becoming a priest, a sought-after international figure, an alluring young man, and the son of wealthy parents who died when he was young. Included in this tale are the end of World War I and the stirrings of World War II, Stalin, Zeppelins, the Mafia, the French police, the Italian monasteries, and all kinds of intrigue. It's a dense story not without humor, and is translated from French. I hope there is some lag time between this and the next book as my brain needs a rest!
Be The Change In Your Community
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Smith, Paula
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Be The Change" series consists of four paperback books that feature bright photographs and 24 pages of information on how children can help to change the world. Each begins with a brief overview of Ghandi's message that everyone can "be the change". Readers then learn about children who have applied this principle, and get ideas of what they can do themselves to change things. This volume focuses on changing your community. Students who work on local problems, such as shoes for the homeless, are highlighted. The book walks readers through the process of finding a problem that needs a solution, researching it, creating an action plan, implementing it, then evaluating its success and celebrating. This is an encouraging approach that makes action seem doable, and encourages children to work for the betterment of their world. My one complaint is that these four books could easily have been combined into a single volume since much of the information is repetitive.
Como Lidiar Con El Fracaso
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Hicks, Kelli L
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
June 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Habilidades Sociales" series, this well-bound 24-page Spanish-language book talks about dealing with failure. Everyone has had to face failure. How do you cope? What about that soccer game you lost? That student body election that went to the other candidate? The truth is that you can't win every time. Learning to face defeat and handle it is part of growing up and this book does a nice job of explaining the idea and providing wise counsel on the subject. It would be a good lead-in to classroom discussion on an important social issue.
Be The Change In The World
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Smith, Paula
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Be The Change" series consists of four paperback books that feature bright photographs and 24 pages of information on how children can help to change the world. Each begins with a brief overview of Ghandi's message that everyone can "be the change". Readers then learn about children who have applied this principle, and get ideas of what they can do themselves to change things. This volume focuses on changing the world, reaching outside your community. Ryan Hreljac is featured, with his Ryan's Well Foundation that is bringing potable water sources to African villages. Other ideas are highlighted, then the book walks readers through the process of finding a problem that needs a solution, researching it, creating an action plan, implementing it, then evaluating its success and celebrating. This is an encouraging approach that makes action seem doable, and encourages children to work for the betterment of their world.
Breaking Butterflies
Chicken House [Chicken House]
Anjelais, M
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 11, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Sarah and Leigh had been friends forever. When the two grew up, they married men and then got pregnant at about the same time. Their children, Cadence (Leigh's son), and Sphinx (Sarah's daughter) are promised to each other by their hopeful parents. The only problem is that for every bit that Sphinx is kind and compassionate, Cadence is horrible and sadistic. Sarah feels irresistibly drawn toward Cadence and, even after he demonstrates his cruelty over and over to her, Sarah tries to be understanding and loving. When Cadence discovers that he has an aggressive form of luekemia, he asks Sarah to die with him. This actually becomes a big decision for Sarah. Where does she draw the line between her life and Cadence's? The author wrote this book when she was 18. The story is stretched too far and this reader had a difficult time suspending disbelief.
Cranes
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Alinas, Marv
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 11, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This 24-page Big Machines at Work title follows the same format as the rest of the series. The table of contents includes chapter titles that are all in the form of a question starting with “What are cranes? and ending with “Are cranes important?” The graphics include page sides with bold orange and black diagonal caution warning symbols. Each chapter includes at least one full page color photo with a large yellow diamond shape outlined in black with a simple caption inside. These caption blocks almost overpower the smaller details of the photos. The text in medium sized font describes in basic subject-verb sentence structure the concepts about cranes i.e. they lift heavy objects up high. Glossary words are in bold orange lettering and defined at the back as well as usually within the text. Some of these terms are challenging such as girders, job, bridge, but the labels on the photos promote understanding. The bibliography include six books and the Child’s World website followed by an index. This is a decent introduction to the topic for young readers. The series covers Airplanes, Bulldozers, Cherry Pickers, Concrete Mixers, Diggers, Dump Trucks, Fire Trucks, Garbage Trucks, Tow Trucks, Tractors and Trains.
Cherry Pickers
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Rogers, Hal
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 11, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This 24-page Big Machines at Work title follows the same format. The table of contents includes chapter titles that are all in the form of a question starting with “What is a cherry picker? and ending with “Are cherry pickers important?” The graphics include page sides with bold orange and black diagonal caution warning symbols. Each chapter has at least one full page color photo with a large yellow diamond shape outlined in black with a simple caption inside. These caption blocks almost overpower the smaller details of the photos. The text in medium sized font describes in very basic subject-verb sentence structure facts about cherry pickers such as where the controls are both in the bucket and outside the truck. Glossary words are in bold orange lettering and defined at the back as well as usually within the text. Labels on the a few photos promote understanding. The bibliography include four books and the Child’s World website followed by an index. This is a decent introduction for young readers. The series covers Airplanes, Bulldozers, Cranes, Concrete Mixers, Diggers, Dump Trucks, Fire Trucks, Garbage Trucks, Tow Trucks, Tractors, and Trains.
Galileo : Genius Astronomer
Enslow Publishing [Enslow Publishing]
Hightower, Paul
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 13, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Wow! This is a fabulous, cogent and clearly understandable 96-page biography of Galileo. Sure, it lacks illustrations and photographs. This is all meat and no fluff, but the meat is nicely sauteed, and beautifully served. Paul Hightower not only introduces young readers to this amazing man who defied the science and religion of his time to present new insights into the world around us, but also places him into the context of the era in which he lived. The narrative is strong, and the coverage is exceptional. There's a chronology, chapter notes, index, bibliography, and glossary. This isn't visually appealing, but it is a strong piece of nonfiction that would be a terrific resource for reports. If the rest of the series is as good it should be on every middle school shelf.
From Sunlight To Blockbuster Movies : An Energy Journey Thro
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Solway, Andrew
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 13, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Energy Journeys" series, this 48 page book concentrates on light. Energy is defined and the conservation of energy is explained. Readers learn that the sun is the Earth's chief source of energy. Light is energy that is stored in various ways. Various ways to produce electricity are explored. Several experiments are included, and several concepts about light are explored. The book includes photographs, illustrations, a glossary, bibliography, index, and thought questions. The concept is intriguing, but the resulting book is not cohesive, is difficult to follow, and doesn't track well. It makes leaps that leave the reader stranded. That makes it hard to recommend.
Artful Goddaughter
RAVEN BOOKS [RAVEN BOOKS]
Campbell, Melodie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Unsuitable
June 13, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The Gina Gallo books are hilarious quick reads. Gina is from a mob family and, despite her occasional attempts to give up the lifestyle, is inevitably drawn back into it for one quirky adventure after another. In this book Uncle Seb has died and he's left Gina a substantial inheritance. However there's a catch--he was an art forger and she needs to return an original artwork to an art gallery, removing the forgery he left there. This caper will involve elderly folk, a foul-mouthed parrot, dog poo, a country music star, and Gina's own unique style. These are such fun. Lamentably I cannot recommend the books to my family or for school purchase due to the language. They would, however, be a good choice for adult, especially those who want a not-so-challenging book to read.
FIRST COMES LOVE
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
KACVINSKY, KATIE
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
June 14, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Gray is depressed because his sister, Amber, has died and his parents have become uncommunicative. When one day at college, Gray meets Dylan, his life begins to change. Dylan is visiting Phoenix from the midwest. She's 17 and a free, happy, and random spirit, wanting to roam the world. Gray and Dylan fall for each other. He learns to love her randomness and creativity, and she comes to love his depth and focus. They have fun experiences together and slowly they fall in love. When it is time for Dylan to go back home, Gray proposes. He has been asked to play baseball in New Mexico and Gray decides that Dylan can move there with him. Dylan's plans, however, are to continue rambling around and experiencing different places to live. She has no plans to settle down quite yet. She goes her way and Gray goes his, although both continue to yearn for the other. This is a sweet and predictable love story. The sex scenes are pretty graphic, so if a librarian wants this book on the shelves, he or she should definitely read it first. It looks like this is the first of a two-book series.
Thomas Edison : World-Changing Inventor
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Krieg, Katherine
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 14, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
From the Great Minds of Science series, this features famed inventor Thomas Edison and follows the formula found in other Abdo Core Library titles The 48 pages contains five chapters followed by “Because of Thomas Edison”, “Stop and Think”, a 9-word glossary, “Learn More” from three books and 2 publisher websites, and a decent index. In very readable text and black and white captioned photos the intermediate reader will learn about Edison’s curiosity from a young age. It’s serendipitous that as a reward he is taught how to use a telegraph and from there he begins to develop ways to improve it. As one of the most famous inventors with over 1,093 patents, his most famous inventions were the light bulb, phonograph and motion picture camera. Early on he started a manufacturing shop that turned into a laboratory or invention factory where he employed specialists and scientists. This desire to explore, learn and experiment followed him his whole life, making for an intriguing, exemplary model of learning. Others in the set include Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Temple Grandin, Stephen Hawking, and Isaac Newton. Again, most student are not going to pursue the Common Core questions and activities on their own.
Cylinders
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Furstinger, Nancy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 14, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This 24-page 3-D Shapes title follows the same format as the rest of the series. The attractive, brightly colored book features cylinders in eight chapters followed by a hands-on activity, glossary, books & web sites and index. The introductory two pages relates common items (drum, and juice can) that are this shape followed by a definition of 3-D vs. 2-D. The terms faces, surfaces and bases are highlighted, defined in context and included in the glossary. The reader is then shown how many everyday objects at the store and in machines from a steam roller to a rolling pin use this shape. Buildings with cylinder (columns), pipes, straws and poles are other forms not to mention playground equipment, and plants (bamboo) and animals (worms). The colorful photos have lively captions. This is a decent introduction for young readers. The series covers cones, cubes, prisms, pyramids and spheres.
Prisms
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Furstinger, Nancy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 14, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This 24-page 3-D Shapes title follows the same format as the rest of the series. The attractive, brightly colored book features prisms in eight chapters followed by a hands-on activity, glossary, books(2), web site and index. The introductory double page spread explains how prisms makes rainbows. This is followed by a prism as a 3-D shape with the terms faces, surfaces and bases highlighted, defined in context and included in the glossary. The complexity starts when explaining how a prism’s matching bases can be triangles, rectangle, squares, pentagons, hexagons, or octagons. The reader is then shown how many everyday objects from tents and rooftops (prisms and triangles), packages and books (prisms and rectangles), jack-in-the box and dice (prisms and cubes) plus jewelry boxes, pencils, honeycombs, and basalt rocks (many-sided prisms) can be found once one starts looking. This is a decent introduction for young readers. The series covers cones, cubes, cylinders, pyramids and spheres.
Catch A Falling Star
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Culbertson, Kim
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 14, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
It is not often I find a protagonist who lives in a small, quiet, and rural town and loves her life as it is. Into this life, however, enters a young former child movie star, Adam. Because Carter's town, Little, California, is a perfect-looking small town, Hollywood producers like to make movies there. Adam shows up and, it turns out that he has been making bad choices, resulting in a poor media image that's hurting the prospects of the upcoming film. To try and turn the situation around, the company hires Carter to play Adam's girlfriend while he is in Little. Carter, who to begin with does not care about Adam, eventually starts to like him. When she finds out the truth about his past, she is disillusioned and learns from the situation she found herself in. The title is a double entendre because Carter and her friends are stargazers and Adam is a falling star. This is a good story with a positive vibe.
Ghost Hunting
A&d Xtreme/abdo [A&d Xtreme/abdo]
Hamilton, S L
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 14, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
ABDO A & D Xtreme titles includes the Xtreme Adventure series tackles the controversial topic of ghost hunting. The 32 pages begins with a very brief introduction to ghost hunters and hunting, the dangers, tools and equipment. The majority of the book features United States hotels, houses, cemeteries, ships, battlegrounds and hospitals, known for their paranormal activity. It’s a quick read with two to four pages per chapter. Many color photos include superimposed ghostly creatures that match the alleged sightings. Captions and Xtreme Fact boxes extend the text. The table of contents, decent glossary (i.e. adrenaline, Civil War, paranormal) and detailed index round out the book. Others in this series include Caving, Mountaineering, Polar Exploration, Storm Chasing, and Treasure Hunting. This title will be picked up! Gr. 3-7
Gil Marsh
RANDOM HOUSE [RANDOM HOUSE]
Bauer, A. C. E.
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
June 15, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Gil is a popular high school student and a star on the track team. When Enko showed up, Gil felt immediate competition within himself. Enko was a far better runner and he got the attention of the girls! Enko's only problem seemed to be that he was covered head to toe in hair: hairy knuckles, knees, back! Gil called him Beast Man, but the nickname never caught on because the students all liked Enko. When it finally came to fisticuffs between Enko and Gil, Gil realized that he actually liked Enko. They spent every moment together after that, enjoying a deep friendship. Then Enko announced that he had leukemia. Before he died, Enko gave Gil his garnet ring, a family heirloom. After Enko passed, Gil wanted to visit his grave, but Gil's parents said no. Gil ran away from home and searched the Montreal area for clues to his friend's ring's history and to visit Enko's grave. The author based this story on the tale of Gilgamesh. This story may be appreciated by high school boys especially.
Sleeper
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Walters, Eric
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
June 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
First came "Seven [The Series]" with 7 books all about one grandfather, each from the viewpoint of one grandson sent on an adventure at the old man's death. Now we have "Seven [The Sequel]." Seven more books, each written by a different author, and each following one of the grandsons, again. A holiday visit to Grandpa's cabin results in an unusual discovery. Now the boys need to know--was Grandpa a spy? If so, what side was he on? DJ, named after his grandfather, heads to London with some clues. Soon he's reunited with an old friend, meets a really cute girl, and kidnaps the former leader of MI5. Did I mention the spies that are following them everywhere? This is a fast-paced book with great characters, solid writing, and good suspense. The whole series is good. I'm going to read them all.
Beethoven's Tenth
RAVEN BOOKS [RAVEN BOOKS]
Harvey, Brian
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Unsuitable
June 15, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
This is the first book in the Frank Ryan mystery series. Frank is a bar piano player who tunes pianos for his day job. One of clients pays him in art: Beethoven's Tenth Symphony. From that moment forward, Frank is chased by people trying to get their hands on the manuscript. Some of his escapades are close calls, including one that involves being locked in an overflowing septic tank building. The mystery's characters are varied and interesting, but they are all adults. I am not sure why this is considered young adult fiction as it is clearly written for adults.
#prehistoric : Follow The Dinosaurs
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Owen, John Bailey
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 16, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Well, this is a different approach. Imagine if dinosaurs and other prehistoric critters had access to social media. What would they post? In this amusing, but oddly informative book, each creature has a two page spread where we learn their username (inevitably amusing), actual name, period, size, diet, hangouts (habitat), and a brief bio. there are plenty of hashtags, and room for a little digital interaction with others. The entries also have "photographs" and selfies. This is not a book you read cover-to-cover in one sitting. Instead it is a fun browsing book and readers end up actually learning something about various dinosaurs, as well as enjoying their snarky comments to each other. Especially amusing are entries from The Permian Extinction and the Cretaceous-Paleogene Extinction. There's also a nice timeline at the end. Quirky, but ultimately fun, tech-age students might find this amusing.
Detective Gordon : The First Case
GECKO PRESS [GECKO PRESS]
Nilsson, Ulf
Spee, Gitte
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 17, 2015
Lewis, Jo
This book is a work of art! Perfectly chosen words tell the story of a distraught squirrel who has lost nuts to some thieves and appeals to Detective Gordon for help. This beautifully constructed story, with gentle characters portrayed in soft full-color illustrations, in open text on creamy paper is a delight to experience. The themes of crime, justice, punishment, gun control, retribution, and bureaucracy are handled with gentle wisdom by Detective Gordon and his trusty new assistant. Perfect for those newly confident chapter book readers looking for a special book. Detective Gordon will be a good read aloud and with the promise of more stories in this new series, students will be anxiously waiting for the next installment. Mystery.
My Side
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Mcclintock, Norah
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
June 18, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Addie's a shy girl who has always depended on her best friend, Neely. However, when she is targeted by a group of "popular" girls at her school she finds herself caught in an attack that is both mean, and terrifying. Is it merely an extreme prank? When the video is sent to every student at her school, Addie is told the only crime committed was computer hacking. She won't have her day in any court but the court of public opinion and she's already the laughingstock of the school. What's worse is that her one friend, Neely, was there, helping take the video. In the second half of the book we get Neely's version--a girl who is tired of a needy friend, and anxious to be accepted by the popular crowd. She, too, is a victim. She was misinformed, used, and discarded like a snot-filled Kleenex. She's now taking the rap for the whole thing. There is no resolution here, just stark emotions, exposed for the world to see. Wow. This would make a fantastic book for high school ELA classes.
Hot New Thing
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Langston, Laura
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
June 18, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Lily has always wanted to be an actress, but recently her career has taken a downturn. Is it her half-Asian heritage, giving her a unique look that means she can't qualify for a commercial as "every girl?" Then, unexpectedly, she is "discovered." A famous director needs her to fill in for an injured actress, playing against the latest teen heartthrob. It's not the lead, but still... Her mother is supportive. Her father, not so much. Then there's the whole issue of her math homework. Lily is off to L.A. for a six-week shoot, but she soon finds things can get complicated. Staying with relatives, she feels like an outsider. On set she struggles with unhelpful fellow actors, and a growing interest in her co-star. And all of it is really hard work. She can't find time for that math homework. A few of her standards fall--some intentionally, some less so. Hiring someone to do your homework is a a survival skill, right? And how could she possibly know that the fruit punch had vodka in it? Lily is a likable character, and readers will root for her success.
Supreme Court
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Krieg, Katherine
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 18, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "U.S. Government and Civics" series, this 24 page book gives a basic overview of the US Supreme Court. The reader will learn how the court fits into the system of government, what types of cases it hears, how justices are chosen, how cases are heard and decided, and some of the most famous cases (in a chart). The book has captioned, color photographs. The book will be useful in intermediate civics units. It is complete with a table of contents, index, glossary, focus questions, web resources (3 sites), and author information. Before and after reading activities for teachers and parents are found before the contents page. Buy if you have a need.
Fema : Prepare, Respond, And Recover
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Mooney, Carla
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 19, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
This 24 page book is part of the "Emergency Response" series. The book opens with before & after reading activities which parents and teachers may find useful. The book provides a basic overview of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Readers learn about the agency's organization, it's history, responding to disasters, and careers students might be interested within the agency. Captioned, color photographs enhance the text. Call out boxes provide additional and background information. The book contains a table of contents, map, timeline, index, glossary, summary questions, web resources (3 sites), and author information. This would be a good addition to your government books.
Beneath
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Smith, Roland
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 19, 2015
Lewis, Jo
Patrick is desperate to know what has happened to his unusual brother after he's been gone for a year. A series of digital recordings he has been receiving suddenly stops and he is compelled to sneak off to New York in search of his brother. Once there he follows a number of clues to finally end up far below the streets of New York in a frightening world of displaced radicals. This epistolary novel is written as a series of documents which Roland Smith has used very effectively. His use of historical names such as the "Weatherman" radicals helps to make this story very believable. It is constructed as Pat's "hybrid journal" transcribed from the two boys' audio recordings. Humor, dangerous setting and themes of nonconformity and social rebellion lend further interest to this thrilling mystery. This adventure thriller was difficult to put down once started.
Police : Protect And Serve
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Greve, Tom
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 20, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Emergency Response" series, this 24 page book provides a basic look at police. The book begins with a page for parents and teachers with before/after reading activities. The book opens with a situation where police are needed and then describes the various types of police, their place in the justice system, rank system, equipment, techniques, history, and the future of policing (including technology). There is also a page about K-9s. Color photographs (mostly captioned) are found throughout the book as are call out boxes. Both of these features enhance the text. The book also has an infographic. The book is complete with a table of contents, timeline, glossary, index, follow-up questions, web resources (3 sites), and author information. Students who like police and military books will enjoy this title.
Flood
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Monninger, Joseph
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 20, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The rain isn't stopping. The streets are awash, and the water keeps rising. Has a dam broken? In a three-story building Kuru is with her grandmother in the bakery on the first floor. Above them two boys have been left home alone, and Carmen is tending her baby brother. The water keeps rising. When the electricity goes out, all the residents must unite to survive. Unfortunately, the only adult is Grandma, and she's not exactly mobile. And did I mention the snakes that were once caged in the basement, but are now loose in the house? Add in a teen and a pot-bellied pig and you have a tense, interesting story. The author manages to keep readers on their toes while also providing some solid advice for surviving a flooding situation. While the snakes are a bit much, that extra danger will leave readers breathless.
Boom Room
RAVEN BOOKS [RAVEN BOOKS]
Blechta, Rick
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
June 20, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Police work can be complicated and murder always adds an extra layer of stress. It doesn't help when you discover that the suspect is related to your partner and the lead detective, with whom you are required to work, is a jerk who has already made up his mind. That's the situation Detective Pratt finds himself in. A club owner has been stabbed to death. All evidence points to a musician. Pratt, however, is not convinced. Further investigation leads to some unexpected possibilities. This is a fast-paced police procedural. Well, it would have to be because it's an Orca "Rapid Reads" book. The plot is good, and the characters are well-written. This is a great choice for someone who doesn't want to spend too long to get a good "book fix."
Golden Girl
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
Zettel, Sarah
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 20, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Callie has escaped the Dust Bowl and has ended up in Hollywood with her friend, Jack. (This happened in the first book in the series, which I did not read.) Now, Callie and Jack have to find Callie's parents. Her father is a fairy king of the Unseelies and her mother is a mortal, making Caliie a half blood. Callie and Jack came to Hollywood because it is supposed to be where the gate is to the fairy world. This leads to San Simeon, William Randolph Hearst's castle. Callie and Jack meet Ivy Bright, a child actress, and she befriends them, taking Callie into her house to live. Soon, it becomes apparent that Ivy is part of the fairy world, too, and she causes big trouble for Callie and Jack. The Seelies and Unseelies are battling it out in Hollywood. Callie just wants to be reunited with her father and mother. Complications in the story include Callie's father being a black man and the language surrounding him is of the 1930s time period: "negro," "blackface," and references to black vaudeville seem out of place. Zettel includes every last detail of 1930s Hollywood, but I am not sure it would make sense to a young reader with no historical knowledge. This is not a book or series I would have in my school library.
Swat : Special Weapons And Tactics
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Greve, Tom
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 21, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Emergency Response" series, this 24 page book describes special weapons and tactics (SWAT) teams. The book opens with a page for parents and teachers that describes before and after reading activities. The book begins by describing a SWAT situation then covers why they were formed, the officers used in operations, equipment, and history. Call out boxes are found throughout the book and provide the reader with additional information related to SWAT operations, including the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Color, captioned photographs will be a hit with the military book crowd. Some photos include drawn weapons. The book has the typical non-fiction text features: table of contents, timeline, index, glossary, web resources (3 sites), author information, and a 5 question quiz. Purchase if you have a need.
Captain America : An Origin Story
MARVEL PRESS [MARVEL PRESS]
Semeiks, Val Et Al
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 22, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
From the cover, one might expect this to be a graphic novel or comic book, however, it is a picture book describing the beginnings of the Captain America character. The story opens with Manhattan Island sparsely inhabited and describes how the island grew through immigrants into the city we know today. Then World War II begins, Steve Rodgers wants to help with the war effort by joining the Army, but he fails to pass his physical. The doctor refers him to General Phillips and Classified Project - Rebirth. Steve is transformed by a serum and "vita-rays" and goes from frail to avenger. He is trained and becomes the best soldier in the war and continues to protect America to this day. This will be a hit with comic and superhero readers. The color illustrations pop on the pages. This book will not stay on the shelf. 46 pages.
Stem Jobs In Sports
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Raymos, Rick
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 22, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
This 24 page book is part of the "STEM Jobs You'll Love" series. It focuses on STEM job in the field of sports. The book opens with a page for parents/teachers providing before and after reading activities. The book then begins by defining STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Then it looks at jobs in the field of sports and athletics that use STEM skills. Jobs in statistics, equipment, medicine, and broadcasting are covered. The reader learns a little bit about the job and how STEM is related to it. The book also has some STEM related problems for readers to solve after each section. Color photographs are found throughout the book. The book ends with a fact sheet of six potential jobs in this venue. This will further connect the STEM requirements with the job. There is a table of contents, index, glossary, web resources (3 sites), author information, and 5 final review questions. This might be the book that can take a student's interest in sports into STEM.
Gabriel's Clock
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Pashley, Hilton
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
7th grade to 9th grade
June 22, 2015
Lewis, Jo
This debut author tells the story of Jonathan, half-angel, half-demon as he escapes the destruction of his home and family to be taken to the protection of his grandfather, himself a fallen angel. The demons from whom Jonathan’s parents are attempting to escape, follow Jonathan, hoping to bring him to the demon Belial who plans to use him as a weapon to take over hell. Jonathan struggles with the good and evil in his own mind as he fights off the demons from hell. The use of Biblical characters and situations in such gory and violent situations will offend many families. The author uses too many overworked phrases and common responses to make this a fresh new offering. I found the brutality with torn off limbs and gouged out eyes too heavy for a young adult novel seemingly intended for middle school readers. Hopefully the author will receive more editing help with the sequel. It is not a book I would purchase for the school setting.
Junkyard Bot
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Richards, C J
Fujita, Goro
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 22, 2015
Lewis, Jo
Series: Robots Rule ; 1. When George’s personal robot Jackbot is hit by a car, George rebuilds him into something amazing, only to have him disappear. This high-tech town is run by worker robots with personalities. When the evil head of TinkerTech Laboratories kidnaps Jackbot and attempts to turn him against George, he must find a way to disable Jackbot before he and the other robots destroy the town. Open text, sprinkled throughout with lively crisp cartoons will appeal to young readers. Young robot enthusiasts should enjoy. A not so subtle villain, humor and great characters will make this beginning novel in a new series a hit. A good addition to mild science-fiction for ages 8-11.
Mutation
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Smith, Roland
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 24, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
This is the final book in a four-part series, including Tentacles, Chupacabra, and Cryptid Hunters. Having read just this one, I had some catching up to do. Marty and Luther are friends and are looking for Noah Blackwood, evil mastermind behind Cryptos Island and the Seattle Ark. Both of these creations are where Blackwood takes his captured animals and mutates them into monster-like creatures. Now, Blackwood is in South America and inhabits an old Nazi refuge deep in the rain forest. It turns out that Blackwood's parents were Nazi geneticists and were friends with Adolf Hitler. Blackwood is still capturing animals and monsterizing them. He also has captured Marty and Luther's friends and relatives, and the boys are on a mission to save everyone and the hatchling dinosaurs at the same time. I am interested in reading the other three books in the series to see the events leading up to this fast-paced finale. Good for action/adventure kids in grades 4+. Violence is gruesome, but not too graphic. Language is appropriate.
Fbi Heroes
SCHOLASTIC NONFICTION [SCHOLASTIC NONFICTION]
Zullo, Allan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 25, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The word "hero" is not used enough nowadays. In an attempt to downplay personal bravery, we've managed to practically eliminate any mention of it. Zullo's "10 True Tales" series, brings stories of bravery front and center. This focuses on 10 true FBI cases that required clever reasoning, lots of legwork, some risk-taking, and a strong work ethic to solve. Terrorists, spies, kidnappings, and bank-robberies are all included in the ten stories. There's also murder, moon rocks, and a cold case. The author draws readers in as the FBI uses its many resources to follow the trail of the criminals. It's all quite fascinating. The writing is crisp and compelling, making this a hard book to put down. While there is no objectionable content, I would not recommend this for elementary schools. Some of the cases are a little bloody.
Battle Heroes Voices From Afghanistan
SCHOLASTIC NONFICTION [SCHOLASTIC NONFICTION]
Zullo, Allan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 25, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Ten True Tales" series, this highlights heroes from the war in Afghanistan. The author first describes the situation in Afghanistan that led to troop action. Then, ten missions in which military personnel acted with extraordinary valor are presented. The author writes compelling stories, providing background information about both the situation and the soldiers, that adds an immediacy to what he is recounting. These are high-stress situations, with plenty to lose. Indeed, in many of them soldiers did lose their lives. The acts of heroism that turned the tide of each battle are inspiring. Yes, this is rah-rah, high patriotism stuff, and I have no problem with that. In our attempt to downplay the violence of war we have also managed to muffle the accolades that brave soldiers deserve. Each story ends with additional information about medals received, and what happened to the people involved. This is well-written, and provides battle insights that do not shy away from the horrors of war. Because of that, i would not recommend it for elementary schools.
SURFACING
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
BASKIN, NORA RALEIGH
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
June 26, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Maggie carries the guilt over her sister's drowning with her every day. She is 16 now and her sister, Leah, died when Maggie was 5. Maggie lives with her parents, who always /argue, and her twin brothers, who speak a twin language. Maggie is the star of the girls' swim team and she does well in school. She has only one friend, Julie, because others steer clear of her due to her innate ability to make people spill their deepest secrets. For some reason, Maggie is fixated on wrestling boy, Matthew, and wants to have sex with him. Even though they get close to it, she knows that if she loses her virginity to another boy, then sex with Matthew will work. So, Maggie sets out to do this. The truth about Leah's death comes out and Maggie learns that her parents haven't been honest about their relationship. Water is an extended metaphor in this story. Too many starts and not enough closures, though, make it an unsatisfying read.
Truth About My Success
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Sheldon, Dyan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
June 28, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Susan Minnick (aka Paloma Rose) is a child star who always gets her way. This results in a spoiled, friendless, brat who is rapidly heading down the road to disaster. Of course it doesn't help that her parents consider her a meal ticket and her agent is also riding on her coattails. When she goes off the rails they trick her into going to a "brat camp" ranch for troubled teens by describing it as a luxury resort. Out of cell phone range, and miles from anywhere, she's trapped. Taking her place is Oona Ginness who, with a make-over, learns to pass as the child star. Oona, however, is not as biddable as they hope. She is a logical, realistic girl. Soon she's doing Paloma's life better than the original owner, but she has no illusions about the adults around her. The ranch actually changes Paloma, but when she finds out the truth she's out for revenge. Can the two girls team up and win out against conniving adults? This is a fun, interesting book with enjoyable characters and a fascinating premise. Sure, there are a few language issues, but the only reason I rated it YA is because that's the audience at which it's aimed. This is a winner that word-of-mouth will keep off the shelves.
Daughter of Xanadu
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE CHILDREN'S BOOKS]
Yang, Dori Jones
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
June 30, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Hungry for good historical fiction, I was willing to suspend my disbelief and throw myself wholeheartedly into this story. The time period is 1275 and the place is China, Beijing (Khanbalik) to be exact (the Mongols at this time occupy China). Emmajin is a princess, (fictional) granddaughter of Kublai Khan. She is strong and athletic, and wants nothing more than to join the Kahn's army. Marco Polo has arrived on a trading mission with his father and uncle in the Khan's court. Marco and Emmajin encounter each other often, first because she was assigned to spy on him, and later because Polo followed the army when they travelled west. Soon, he and Emmajin realized they were in love and had that issue to resolve. The history of China, Mongolia, Tibet, and Burma is fascinating and makes me want to do further reading. Xanadu is a city in ruins now, but is reminiscent of Shangri-La. The story ends with a pending adventure, which leads into the next book in this series, Son of Venice. A sex scene makes this a read for grade 8 and above.