Reviews for month


Hidden In Plain Sight : Animal Camouflage
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Belback, Elsie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 02, 2015
Garrard, Thom
Hidden in Plain Sight: Animal Camouflage, part of Rourke’s Close Up on Amazing Animals series, explains that some animals blend in with their surroundings to help them hide from predators or sneak up on prey. Examples include the pygmy seahorse, the Eastern screech owl, and six more species. The animals’ coloration and patterns help them avoid detection. Using a large, clean font, each two-page spread describes how its appearance allows it to go unnoticed and concludes with the sentence, “It hides in plain sight.” Close-up color photographs are included, and there is also a color coded map that shows the range of each animal. Though the before and after reading activities are of little use, the photo glossary of tier 3 words and the repetition of the main content idea help make the book accessible to early readers.
On The Move : Animal Migration
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Norris, Robert
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 02, 2015
Garrard, Thom
On the Move: Animal Migration, part of Rourke’s Close Up on Amazing Animals series, explains that animals travel to find better living conditions. Examples include the Christmas Island red crab, the monarch butterfly, and six more species. The seasonal movements of these animals take them to places that are warmer, have more food, or help them to find mates at breeding sites. The exception among the examples is the golden jellyfish, which migrates on a daily basis, following the sun across a lake. Using a large, clean font, each two-page spread describes how the migration benefits the animal and concludes with the sentence, “They survive by migrating.” Close-up color photographs are included, and there is also a color coded map that shows the range of each animal. Though the before and after reading activities are of little use, the photo glossary of tier 3 words and the repetition of the main content idea help make the book accessible to early readers.
Teaming Up : Animal Partners
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
St James, Cassidy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 02, 2015
Garrard, Thom
Teaming Up: Animal Partners, part of Rourke’s Close Up on Amazing Animals series, explains that cooperation occurs in nature between certain pairs of species. Examples include the warthog and the mongoose, the clownfish and the sea anemone, and six more pairs. The animals derive a mutual benefit from being together, either in the form of increased safety, warmth, a food supply, improved cleanliness, or transportation. Using a large, clean font, each two-page spread describes a cooperative relationship and concludes with the sentence, “When they team up, both animals get something they need.” Close-up color photographs are included, and in most cases there is also a color coded map that shows the range of each animal and where the two species overlap. Though the before and after reading activities are only marginally useful, the photo glossary of tier 3 words and the repetition of the main content idea help make the book accessible to early readers.
Promise Me Something
Albert Whitman Teen [Albert Whitman Teen]
Kocek, Sara
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
July 03, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Reyna is a freshman at a different high school than all of her middle school friends are going to. So, Reyna has to make new friends and the first person who steps forward is Olive Barton. Olive is determined to be friends with Reyna and pursues her diligently. Reyna enjoys Olive's company somewhat. One day, Olive reveals that she is gay. Reyna does not know how to react, and gives Olive the cold shoulder. Olive reacts to Reyna badly, telling her to be herself and not be a follower. Meantime, Olive's online friend, Grace, comes to stay in Olive's garden shed. She is also gay and is suicidal. Olive and Reyna's history teacher is off-the-charts homophobic, openly criticizing a gay boy in class. Olive and Grace go to the railroad tracks one night to read, and one of the girls does not come back. This story held my interest until about one third from the end of the novel. The suicide by railroad, the resignation of the bad teacher, the principal's seeming obtuseness all did not ring true. This could have been an effective pro-gay teen story if events had been more realistic and the offensive adults had been given consequences.
Animals On The African Savanna
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Diaz, Joanne Ruelos
Mendez, Simon
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 03, 2015
Garrard, Thom
Animals on the African Savanna is one of four titles in Picture Window Books’ Animals All Day! series. The book is organized around the progress of a day from the pre-dawn when birds begin to stir, through the heat of the day when the waterhole draws a crowd, and concluding in the moonlight with the appearance of nocturnal beasts. Each spread is dominated by a drawing of four or five animals in a scene with a small amount of text that sets the stage. At the side or bottom of the drawing, pictures of the individual animals are repeated in miniature and accompanied by an interesting fact. Filler material on safaris, a matching exercise, scrambled animal names, a glossary and an index conclude the book. While most young animal fans would probably prefer a book with photographs, many of these animals would never be in such close proximity to each other. So, the photo realistic illustrations of individual animals must suffice. Unfortunately, the biggest drawback is that insects and reptiles are mostly ignored. Birds get some mention, but mammals are the only group on all ten spreads and constitute two-thirds of the animals discussed. A more balanced approach would have made a better book.
WHAT'S THAT SMELL? A KID'S GUIDE TO KEEPING CLEAN
RED CHAIR PRESS [RED CHAIR PRESS]
KREISMAN, RACHELLE
HAGGERTY, TIM
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
July 04, 2015
Garrard, Thom
What’s That Smell? is the attention-grabbing title of this book in the Smart Start: Health series from Red Chair Press. Subtitled A Kids’ Guide to Keeping Clean, the book explains that staying clean not only makes you healthier, but also cuts down on the stink. Sweat doesn’t have an odor, for example, but sweat-eating bacteria leave behind acids that do smell bad. Soap, water, nail clippers, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, and floss are some of the tools that can help to remove odor-causing bacteria from the body. Having clean clothes, regular dental cleanings, and clean clothes are also necessary. The pages are peppered with small photographs, diagrams, and fun, informative sidebars that complement the text and add visual appeal. At the end, readers can score themselves on a list of ten healthy behaviors and take a five question quiz about what they’ve learned. The clear and concise explanations contained in this book will benefit readers who wish to take control of their personal hygiene and find out what smells.
Storm Whale
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY]
Davies, Benji
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 04, 2015
Garrard, Thom
While his fisherman father is gone in the boat all day as per usual, Noi finds a whale washed up on the beach. He drags it back to his house, puts it in the bathtub, and tries to make it feel at home. When his dad discovers the secret later that evening, he realizes that his son acted out of loneliness(?!). In the dark, they all go out in the rowboat and release it. The next day his dad takes him on a picnic. In the sea they notice a pair of whale tails – one large and one small. Working with minimal text, the author-illustrator utilizes his charming illustrations to set the mood and help tell the story. The artwork also incorporates minor but interesting details. Many children will share Noi’s desire to spend more time with his father and feel satisfied that he gets to do so for at least one day in the end. The pictorial suggestion that the whales are also spending time together is an interesting parallel. But it is troubling that Noi would think he was helping the whale by bringing it home, or that his father would take Noi out in a rowboat in the pitch dark to release the whale. These are like ink blots on what might otherwise be a fine story.
River Food Chains
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Royston, Angela
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 04, 2015
Garrard, Thom
River Food Chains, part of the Food Chain and Webs series from Heinemann, provides information on the world’s longest rivers, what a food chain is, where food chains begin, producers and consumers, top predators, scavengers and decomposers, food webs, broken food chains, and protecting food chains, with three examples of river food chains scattered in. Each topic or question is presented on a two-page spread with a couple of short paragraphs printed in an informal font and accompanied by a pair of attention-grabbing color photographs or a diagram. Although the information appears to be accurate, no attempt is made to relate some of the pieces to the whole, such as the sections on longest rivers and on scavengers and decomposers. The organization also seems somewhat random, with the three examples of food chains scattered through the book. The larger concept of food webs is introduced late in the book, but the topic is then dropped, rather than being extended into the subsequent discussions of broken and damaged food chains. These structural problems prevent the book from fulfilling the promise of the excellent visuals.
Cool Creations In 101 Pieces
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY]
Kenney, Sean
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 04, 2015
Garrard, Thom
Over the past decade or so, Sean Kenney has built a career as a Lego artist. In this book, Cool Creations in 101 Pieces, he takes on the challenge of using only 101 specific pieces to build a variety of cars, robots, space vehicles, furniture, and more. These are larger, cooler, and more detailed than the things he built in his previous book when he permitted himself merely 35 pieces per construction. Except for the introduction and labels on the photos, the book contains no words. Photographs show the finished product, sometimes from different angles, and step-by-step diagrams demonstrate how to construct them. These visuals offer enough support for intermediate Lego users to duplicate Sean’s designs, to understand his techniques, or to branch off and make something of their own. The author invites readers to submit photos of their creations online. Given the number of Lego fans in a typical elementary school who might be seeking inspiration, this worthwhile book is likely to be checked out perpetually.
Oddrey Joins The Team
Owlkids Books, Inc [Owlkids Books, Inc]
Whamond, Dave
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 04, 2015
Garrard, Thom
Oddfrey Joins the Team is the third book about a girl who injects her unique style into everything she does. When she joins the Bees soccer team, she demonstrates some interesting but unconventional techniques that are nothing like those of the star player. Their first game starts out as a disaster, but Oddfrey helps the team understand that they have to work together, just like a hive of bees making honey. Although they don’t win, they do have fun playing together, and afterwards, she invites the players of both teams to join her for a new game of her own invention - Oddball. The illustrations reflect the cartoonist background of the author and illustrator both in terms of the way the characters are drawn and in the addition of sound effect words. Cooperation, sportsmanship, and fun are major reasons that parents sign their kids up for youth sports. How wonderful to see that Oddfrey has achieved all three!
Those Magnificent Sheep In Their Flying Machines
ANDERSEN PRESS USA [ANDERSEN PRESS USA]
Roberts, David
Roberts, David
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 04, 2015
Garrard, Thom
When a flock of sheep notices a nearby air show, their curiosity is piqued. Noticing an unoccupied biplane, they crowd into its open cockpit and accidentally take off. Once they master the controls, they head off on a world tour that includes France, Spain, Egypt, Tibet, India, and Florida. When danger presents itself in each location, they move on to the next place. Though they find travel exhilarating and will recommend it to others, they decide to return home for some peace and quiet. When they land, the pilot rushes to the landing spot to nab the thief “in the white sweater,” but all he finds by his abandoned plane is a flock of grazing sheep. A great sense of fun and adventure permeates both the smoothly flowing rhymes and the whimsical illustrations. The sheep’s faces are expressive and small humorous details are scattered throughout. Jolly well done.
Mr. Badger And Mrs. Fox : 5 : The Carnival
GRAPHIC UNIVERSE [GRAPHIC UNIVERSE]
Luciani, Brigitte
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 05, 2015
Garrard, Thom
The long, cold winter has been hard on the badgers and foxes that live in the blended family depicted in this fifth episode of a series of graphic novels. The badger father’s natural tendency to worry about the future has already been activated by their meager food supply, when the fox grandparents move in. The health of the grandpa fox becomes an added concern after he falls through the ice while trying to catch fish. The grandma fox suggests that they have a party to chase away winter. Though the badger father is reluctant at first, he joins in - dressing in costume, going out to tell winter that it’s time to go, and dancing until dark. While they sleep in the next morning, the first signs of spring appear. Learning to understand and tolerate differences doesn't come easily, but ultimately the badgers and foxes come to appreciate the value of each others' strengths. The colorful illustrations strike a balance between simplicity and artistry, and they convey the emotions of the story. The plot drags a bit in the beginning under the weight of the badger father's grumbling. However, children who find themselves in this kind of family situation will especially benefit from reading this book.
Beautiful Yetta's Hanukkah Kitten
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Pinkwater, Daniel
Pinkwater, Jill
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 05, 2015
Garrard, Thom
Yetta, a Yiddish-speaking hen who is mother to a flock of Spanish-speaking parrots, finds a lost kitten in the snow. She wants to help, but realizes that she doesn’t know how care for a cat. Since it is Hanukkah and the humans will be in a good mood, they decide to take the kitten to the grandmother who sometimes feeds them. She not only takes the kitten in, but shares a plate of latkes with the birds. They all have the power of speech, and the bubbles that contain all of the story’s dialogue include English, either a Yiddish or Spanish translation, and a transliteration of the foreign words. The marker, pen, and ink illustrations are full of color and life. The plot is somewhat thin, but the caring exhibited by both Yetta and the grandmother is admirable, and the incorporation of three languages in one story is a neat trick. This would be a fun book to share during the Hanukkah season.
Girl With The Glass Bird : A Knight's Haddon Boarding School
Chicken House [Chicken House]
Kerr, Esme
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
July 05, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Think of a 19th century all-girls English boarding school. Conjured the image in your mind? Headmistress, matron, whippet thin and beautiful teacher, beds lined up in a dormitory,a rich girl and a poor girl. You've got it, only this time the old-fashioned boarding school is smack dab in the 21st century. Parents send their children to Knights Haddon to learn in the old fashioned way: no cellphones, computers, televisions, or Kindles. Edie is sent to the school on the ominous mission to spy on the Russian princess, Anastasia, who is a student there. Students and staff are questioning whether or not Anastasia is losing her mind as she continually claims to lose things and then finds them soon after. Edie's Uncle Charlie is Anastasia's prince father's good friend, and Charlie volunteers Edie as a spy. As the story unfolds, the mystery deepens and rich details are woven in to build the intrigue. The ending cleanly closes this case, but I have the notion that a sequel will follow. This is a very satisfying, humorous, and well-written story. It will take a strong reader to appreciate it as the vocabulary and ideas require critical thinking.
Dear Panda
Owlkids Books, Inc [Owlkids Books, Inc]
Latimer, Miriam
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 05, 2015
Garrard, Thom
Having just moved, Florence has yet to make any friends and worries about going to a new school. Since her window has a view of the zoo next door, she initiates a correspondence with her favorite animal, the panda. He comes over to play with her, and their friendship is cemented. On the first day of school, he accompanies her and helps her break the ice. When Bea reveals that she also loves pandas, the two girls build on their mutual interest and become friends. Having facilitated this transition, Panda heads home happy, but not forgotten. The colorful mixed-media illustrations fit nicely with the text, which is either placed in white space or an unadorned part of a full page picture. All correspondence is also fully readable. Many children will be able to relate to Florence’s anxiety about making new friends and going to a new school. While the happy outcome may be reassuring, however, the pure fantasy about getting to that point by befriending a panda does not provide useful guidance.
Misadventures Of Sweetie Pie
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Van Allsburg, Chris
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 05, 2015
Garrard, Thom
A pet hamster named Sweetie Pie moves from one owner to another as the children lose interest in him or fail to care for him properly. When he becomes a class pet, the boy taking him home for winter vacation accidentally forgets Sweetie Pie in the park. When he returns through the snow the next day, the cage is open and the hamster is gone. The saga ends happily for the hamster with freedom achieved, but by that point, pet-loving children will have spent most of the book cringing in horror. Perhaps the author intended to caution children about the responsibilities of pet ownership, but the fact that there is not a single counterexample is tough to take. The watercolor, pen and ink, and colored pencil illustrations are clearly done in Van Allsburg’s style, though they are atypically colorful. If this is intended to lighten the mood, it doesn’t really work.
That Bull Is Seeing Red! : Science's Biggest Mistakes About
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Zuchora-Walske, Christin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 05, 2015
Garrard, Thom
That Bull is Seeing Red, part of Lerner’s Science Gets It Wrong series, examines some big mistakes that scientists have made about plants and animals. Among a dozen misconceptions of the past examined in this book, some still persist. The truth is that sunflower blossoms do not follow the sun. They always face east. The brontosaurus was imaginary. His skeleton was a combination of bones from other species. Bats are not blind. In fact, some see very well. Lemmings do not commit mass suicide. That was staged by a Disney documentary film crew. And bulls do not see red. They respond to the motion of the bullfighter’s cape. The historical origins of each error are detailed, along with the process through which they were eventually debunked. The clear, well-written narrative is accompanied by small photos and an occasional sidebar. Inserting glossary words in the margins is a nice touch. The author reminds us that science is an ongoing search for facts, and that old beliefs are sometimes proved incorrect. Intermediate grade students with an interest in biology would do well to keep that in mind after they are done enjoying this book.
Digging For Tyrannosaurus Rex : A Discovery Timeline
Smithsonian/capstone Press [Smithsonian/capstone Press]
Holtz, Thomas R, Jr
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
July 06, 2015
Kline, Karen
Eleven two-page spread timelines populate this book on the “tyrant lizard king.” The chronologically arranged timelines begin with an entry from 1797 citing the unnamed fossil collector who found the lower jawbone of then-named Megalosaurus from the U.K. Small maps accompany each timeline highlighting the locations of the fossils featured. Many color photos including scientists at work and drawings add to timeline plot points. Information emphasizes more than a dozen scientists and amateur fossil hunters, controversies in scientific classification and naming, as well as inferences that paleontologists made to determine theories on the habits and characteristics of the T. Rex. For instance one paleontologist surmised that the healed bones from the tail of one fossil may be evidence that the dino survived an attack from a T. Rex. Rounding out the book are a table of contents, “About Tyrannosaurus” page of facts, glossary, bibliography, index, and facthound.com book code number for online referencing of five more books and three internet sites of interest. Author Holtz is a vertebrate paleontologist and graduate of Yale and John Hopkins. This is a credible source of info on T. rex as well as a worthy add for timeline study.
Waves Of Light And Sound
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Duke, Shriley
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 06, 2015
Garrard, Thom
As this title from Rourke’s Let’s Explore Science series explains, waves are energy-transferring disturbances that carry light and sound. Light waves are electromagnetic, while sound waves are mechanical. After exploring the properties of waves, successive chapters focus on the electromagnetic spectrum, the part of that spectrum that makes up visible light, sound waves, and examples of how light and sound fit into our lives. A small sound experiment with the voice is included, along with glossary, index, and websites. Although the book covers a lot of territory, the clearly-written text makes the concepts understandable. Between the many excellent diagrams that support the writing and the full-color photographs, the visuals occupy more than half of each page. The verso contains a before and after reading activities that cover tier 3 vocabulary, comprehension questions, and another extension activity.
Bomb Disposal : Diffusing Danger
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Mooney, Carla
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 06, 2015
Garrard, Thom
Bomb Disposal: Diffusing Danger from Rourke’s Emergency Response series examines the jobs of people who disable unexploded bombs. Their training, techniques, and protective equipment are explained. Sometimes they use dogs, bees, or robots to help them locate and examine bombs. The history of the job and actual missions are also discussed, such as the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the 2012 disarming of booby traps in the apartment of the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooter. Sidebars provide additional information. Many photographs are used to show bomb disposal teams in action and to convey the tension and danger of this job. The pictures, sidebars, and text make the book busy and visually interesting. A timeline, glossary, website list, index, and knowledge questions are included.
Hazmat : Disposing Toxic Materials
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Berne, Emma Carlson
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 06, 2015
Garrard, Thom
Hazmat: Disposing Toxic Materials from Rourke’s Emergency Response series examines the jobs of people who clean up spilled or leaking chemicals that can be harmful to people or the environment. Their training, techniques, and protective equipment are explained. Hazmat trucks also have special equipment, like a mobile weather station, so they can determine whether a town or neighborhood needs to be evacuated. The history of the job, what hazmat team members do between emergencies, and actual missions are also discussed, such as a 2010 nitric acid leak from a tanker truck and the 2001 terrorist attacks that involved anthrax. Sidebars provide additional information. Many photographs are used to show hazmat teams in action and to convey the tension and danger of this job. The pictures, sidebars, and text make the book busy and visually interesting. A timeline, glossary, website list, index, and knowledge questions are included.
Jacket
ENCHANTED LION BOOKS [ENCHANTED LION BOOKS]
Hall, Kirstin
Tolstikova, Dasha
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 06, 2015
Garrard, Thom
Book is happy to leave the bookstore in the company of a girl who loves him, but she also loves Dog. Although Book understands their attraction, he is scared of Dog and resentful when Dog interrupts their time together. One day, his worst nightmare happens when Dog drags him through the mud. The girl’s initial gloom that Book is ruined turns into determination, and she creates a special jacket just for him (which just happens to match the one on this book). Child-friendly instructions for making a book jacket are included. At first glance, the story seems to be a simple one with a clever ending, but the subtle handling of the complicated emotional triangle among the girl, Dog, and Book extends its depth. The mixed media artwork perfectly matches the text by combining simplicity, such as the addition of stick legs and arms to bring Book to life, and the use of color and design that reflect the emotional range of the book.
Skies Like These
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Hilmo, Tess
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
All ages
July 08, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Jade isn't sure that a summer spent away from her usual routine is going to be such a good idea. Indeed, when she arrives at her aunt's house in small-town Wyoming and tastes the woman's cooking her doubts increase. However, her aunt introduces her to the stars and constellations and to Roy, a boy who bases his whole existence on a supposed relationship with Butch Cassidy, and a desire to get his family back on track after their hardware store went out of business. This is a fun, gentle story of friendship, and finding yourself. the characters are rich and well-defined and the situations are alternately smile-inducing and brow-wrinkling. All in all a fun book.
ALYZON WHITESTARR
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
CARMODY, ISABELLE
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
July 09, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Parts of this book I absolutely loved and other parts I could pass on. What I loved: Alyzon's family, especially her father, and the way they share responsibilities and have open conversations. Having said that, I did not fully appreciate Alyzon's mother due to her artsy flakiness (although more comes to light about this at the end of the book). I also loved Carmody's characters; they were vibrant, complex, and real. On the downside, there were a tad too many of them. What I could pass on were the over-the-top fantasy elements of the story. In a nutshell, Alyson's entire family is gifted either musically or artistically, except for Alyzon (and baby Luke so far). One day, Alyzon bumps her head while putting Luke into the car and she goes into a concussive state. When she recovers, she has a special ability: she can smell people's scents which tell her about them personally (fear, kindness, anger, etc.). Alyzon is being pursued by a boy at school who emits an awful stench. Alyzon's dad is being pursued by a super wealthy philanthropist who has no scent at all. It turns out that these two pursuers are related by a common cause: to infect people with wrongness. Who won out in the end is predictable. No sequel, I hope.
Scare Scape : The Midnight Door
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Fisher, Sam
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
July 09, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The monster trouble is over, right? They unwished and things are back to normal, or are they? The town of Dimvale is being challenged again by magical toys that actually work, two-headed rats, and more. Morton, James, and Melissa, and their friends may be the only ones who can save the town. Magic has been released, but by whom? Ancient books, and parchment that can grant wishes, are behind this. This is complex and scary--perfect for those who have graduated from the "Goosebumps" series. Scare Scape is sure to be a hit.
Incredible Military Weapons
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Gagne, Tammy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 09, 2015
Kline, Karen
Like other titles in the Abdo Publishing “Core Library,” this title follows a formula for sharing nonfiction information: start with a gripping event narrative (Truman’s decision to drop the A-bomb), give historical background on the topic (weapons from Civil War to Afghanistan), describe cutting edge new information (drones, heat-seeking missiles, bombs with GPS technology), then sprinkle in text features with sidebar topics (how to keep dessert grit and sand out of armaments) and common core features (news article quotes, writing prompts, online extensions). Color captioned photos on most pages support the text and will engage readers, and the text-heavy design will demand more from most casual browsers of this high interest topic. The five chapters of the book divide the information into: History, Small yet Powerful, Locked and Loaded -- and Large, Explosives, and Smart Weapons. Readers will find opportunities for compare/contrast throughout the book as it reminds readers how weapons have changed over time. For instance, Tomahawk cruise missiles of today can stay in the air far longer than the F-4 planes used during the Vietnam war. Though somewhat textbook-like, this title has solid information.
PIECES OF ME
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
RYAN, DARLENE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
July 10, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Maddie, 17 or 18, lives on the street., having left home because her mother's boyfriend hit Maddie. One night, Maddie met Q, who was also living on the street. He convinced her that by joining forces, they could scrape together enough money to live, eat, and get on their feet again. During this time, Maddie met Dylan, a four year old boy who had been abandoned by his parents. Q and Maddie began to take care of Dylan, first sharing the car they lived in and then the room they rented. Maddie cared for the boy while Q worked for meager pay. Then Q began to play poker. He thought he could make it big, although he had more luck than skill. In one poker game, Q won a twelve year old boy, Leo, and brought him back to the room to live. When Q loses everything in a big game, Maddie leaves, taking Leo and Dylan with her. The grittiness of this novel, combined with the perseverance and empathy of the characters makes this a sobering, yet gratifying read. I think of the reality of some children in my own school, scared, confused, homeless, hungry, and emotionally scarred.
Hunchback Of Notre Dame
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Hugo, Victor
Rebis, Greg
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
July 10, 2015
Kline, Karen
One of the Graphic Revovle series titles including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Perseus and Medea, this title is an adapted version of the classic work by Victor Hugo. The shadowy, well-chiseled features of the characters and angular perspectives of many of the scenes lend a dramatic air to this graphic novel making it a dark visual experience of this classic book of weighty themes. Even though some young readers will have experienced the Disney film version of the work, this graphic adaptation offers a more mature visual text with a whipping of Quasimodo, stabbing of Phoebus, and hanging of Esmerelda. Elementary libraries needing to extend offerings of classic works may find this title fills a need. More likely, though, this title will be better suited for older readers that need scaffolding to access Hugo’s work. A preface entitled “Good and Evil” attempts to explain the issues of unfair stereotypes, witchcraft, and ethnic minorities typical of the period and ten Common Core aligned questions on reading and writing appending the book will help readers appreciate and understand the book better.
Utopia, Iowa
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Yansky, Brian
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
July 10, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Jack Bell is a typical teen facing typical teen problems. His best friend is a girl, but is she a "girlfriend?" His parents are arguing. will the marriage survive? He keeps having run-ins with the principal. Oh, and he can see ghosts. That's not that unusual a gift, or is it a curse?, in his small town of Utopia. However, when two girls are murdered and he is connected to the murders because of their ghosts Jack finds himself in trouble. Then there's his little sister who has her own abilities, and likes to ambush him like the old "Pink Panther" movies. And his grandmother who is a witch. Oh, and an ancient being who wants to eat his heart. Y'know--life can be challenging sometimes! This book is a delight from beginning to end. The characters are a lot of fun and the writing is fresh and wonderfully clever. Despite the harbinger of a demon take-over this book has humorous touches that will keep readers grinning. Great book. Great author. Keep them coming!
Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere
Chronicle Books [Chronicle Books]
Lamana, Julie T.
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
July 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
It's August, 2005, and the humidity and heat are high in New Orleans. Still, Armani Curtis feels she has it good. Her tenth birthday is almost here. She loves spending time on her porch swing with her grandmother, and her family is intact. The weather forecast, however, paints a grim picture and when Hurricane Katrina hits her family is shattered and her life will never be the same. Juliet Lamana creates a real feeling of place and time, and of a stubborn African-American girl who has to accept responsibility she is not ready to assume. The writing is rich with imagery, and characters are well-developed. Readers find themselves plunged into a catastrophe and its aftermath. The only problem I can see is that the writing is really more at a middle-school level, while the main character's age is a little low for that audience. Nevertheless this is a beautifully-written book with an ultimately heart-warming message.
Trash Can Days : A Middle School Saga
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Steinkellner, Teddy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
July 11, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Jake Schwartz is a rich Jewish kid, with a rich family, older sister, and a best friend. While his friend has hit puberty, Jake is waiting to catch up and they're both heading into middle school which, in this book, is the equivalent of jumping into a telenovela shark tank. Kids hooking up with other kids, gang violence, sports, cyber-bullying, friendships won and lost, social calamities, being dumped in the trash--middle school can be rough. This is a year in the life of Jake Schwartz and those around him told in varying viewpoints and through school assignments, blogs, texting, and more. Angst-ridden? You betcha. Humor? Sure. Heart-breaking? Occasionally. It all builds to a final moment of life or death drama. The book is well-written and ultimately satisfying. There are issues of language and situations, and often the issues seem more appropriate for high school. Still, readers who love realistic fiction and the horrors of middle school should embrace Jake and his friends, even if the book goes a little over the top.
Fruits We Eat
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Gibbons, Gail
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 11, 2015
Kline, Karen
Gibbons’ signature art and simple text introduce younger readers to the science, vocabulary, and farming of fruits. The varied layouts of each page provide a dynamic visual throughout with hand-lettered headings, simple labeled diagrams, and white borders delineating multi-sized boxes on each page. Large and colorful, this picture book is perfect for sharing at story time or larger group. Popular, well-known fruits including cherries, bananas, oranges and more are described showing their parts, different variety names, the plants that the fruits grow on, how the plants are cultivated, and climates that the plants and fruits grow best in. Readers also learn gardening basics about the need to prune, the difference between annuals and perennials, the process of pollination and more. The book has a narrative that runs at the bottom of each page in larger font than the individual text boxes with labels, diagrams, and additional info. Readers and educators interested in gardening, edibles, nutrition and botany will welcome this title for its simple concept and elegant execution.
Cool Military Gear
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Bell, Samantha S
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 11, 2015
Kline, Karen
One of eight titles in the Ready for Military Action series, this title explores the items that US soldiers wear and carry with them during combat and exercises. Throughout the book readers are told that equipment, gear and tools are essential for military success. The book begins with a narrative describing how an Army Airborne Brigade soldier in Afghanistan survived a humanitarian mission and helped his unit when they were ambushed due to Interceptor Body Armor (IBA) that protected him. A chapter on the history of gear going back to 5,000 old carvings of Sumerian soldiers through the Civil War and World War II are described. Color and captioned photos on most pages enliven the text and occasional sidebar insets offer browsers access points to the otherwise routine offering. A waterproof poncho is a standard issue item to US soldiers, readers learn, but the book does not list or explain which items all soldiers carry for various missions or how it is determined. The sturdy binding and durable cover of this book will last many uses in most libraries, though, and the high-interest information is sure to see action. Includes table of contents, glossary, index, Common Core writing prompts and links to online offerings.
Robert Crowther's Pop-Up Dinosaur Abc
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Crowther, Robert
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 11, 2015
Kline, Karen
Five double page spreads consist of multi-colored flaps of varied sizes, three letters to a page in this straightforward pop-up alphabet book. The reader sees the capital letter and a smaller lowercase letter on the front of each flap laid out against an all white background. The colorful dinosaurs that pop-out have vibrant hues that are not likely to have been the true colors of the actual dinosaurs described, but add eye-catching details with collage-like effect. The inside of each flap or pull tab includes a few sentences describing physical details of the different species, what they ate, details of scientific discoveries and some relevant dates. Many comparisons of size are made the text, for instance, “Stegosaurus was as long as a bus,” and the inside back cover includes a layout of black silhouettes showing all of the relative sizes of the dinosaurs in the book grouped around an eye-catching yellow silhouette of a human all on a bright blue background. A seven-word glossary explains “dinosaur words,” and an inset listing which of the featured dinos lived in which of the three periods of the Mesozoic Eras. Clean, artful design of this informative book will attract young dinosaur enthusiasts.
Earth
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Cole, Joanna
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 12, 2015
Kline, Karen
Billed as “a nonfiction companion to the original Magic School Bus series,” this book like the others in the series (including Human Body, Sea Creatures, Our Solar System, and Wild Weather and more), combines full color photographs overlaid with the familiar illustrations of Magic School Bus characters and their notebook journal pages, talk bubbles, and side bars entitled “Frizzle Facts.” Fossils, minerals, the Grand Canyon and more are presented as stars of each double page spread, but the content is not comprehensive for these topics. For instance, a compass is pictured in the section entitled “Studying the Ground,” and readers are informed that travelers and navigators use compasses to find north, but the book does not explain why or how a compass works and that earth is a magnet. The book also avoids tackling any environmental issues. A table of contents will guide young researchers and a glossary of “words to know” including terms like “swamp” and “altitude” are basic but not highlighted in the text itself. A final spread on “rock experts” and careers related round out the contents. These titles are best suited for classrooms, though, since the paperback bindings and covers will not withstand repeated library use.
TRAITOR'S SON
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
BELL, HILARI
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
July 12, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Set in the near future, this second book in The Raven Duet (sci-fi/fantasy) has Kelsa handing off a medicine bag of life-saving dust to Jason. His mission, for which he was chosen unbeknownst to him, involves his using the dust to heal the magical leys that can protect earth from the deadly pollutants and disastrous course that mankind has spread and set into motion. Jason is 3/16 Alaskan native, but has been cut off from all communication from his traditionalist grandfather and grandmother. When Jason meets Raven he has to tap into his native heritage and that sets off a sequence of events which include learning about the shaman history in his immediate family line. Jason's grandmother goes into a coma--really, she is traveling the spirit world--and Jason is the only person who can negotiate her return. I enjoyed this story most in the beginning as there were many intriguing starts to storylines. In the end, the spirit world journey meanders and could have been edited more tightly. There is no objectionable language (Bell makes up her own swear words) and no sex scenes.
Planets
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Cole, Joanna
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 12, 2015
Kline, Karen
Billed as “a nonfiction companion to the original Magic School Bus series,” this book like the others in the series (including Human Body, Sea Creatures, Earth, Wild Weather and more), combines full color photographs overlaid with the familiar illustrations of Magic School Bus characters and their notebook journal pages, talk bubbles, and side bars entitled “Frizzle Facts.” The Sun, Icy Dwarfs and Comets, all the planets and more are presented as stars of each double page spread, and readers learn tidbits about these topics. Descriptions of the planetary objects' surfaces, science rovers and spacecrafts that collect info, and notable moons and activity are included on most pages. A table of contents will guide young researchers and a glossary of “words to know” including terms like “atom” and “radar” are basic but not highlighted in the text itself. A final spread on “Studying space” and careers related round out the contents. These titles are best suited for classroom libraries, though, since the paperback bindings and covers will not withstand repeated use in school libraries.
Peter Puck And The Runaway Zamboni Machine
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Mcfarlane, Brian
Storey, Geri
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 12, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Young hockey fans will cheer for this hockey themed easy reader book formatted similar to Mercy Watson. Peter Puck and the referee George Phair discover the ice all cut up just before the match and Tony, the Zamboni machine absent with tracks leading out of the garage. Tony had expressed his boredom with the same old job, being filled with water and going in circles. So begins Tony, the Zamboni Machine’s runaway adventure past an asphalt truck, moving van, and carrousel before entering the speedway race. Tony finds his thrills but then faces the choice of whether to return to the arena or seek his fortune. In an amusing twist, Peter compares the jobs of each of the machines to a similar one of Tony’s. The brightly-colored digital illustrations pair with a manageable amount of text in this action-packed adventure written by Brian McFarlane, a hockey author and commentator.
Zig And Wikki In The Cow
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Spiegelman, Nadja
Loeffler, Trade
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 12, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Well-known graphic author and artist, Nadja Spiegelman & Trade Loeffler, nail another Toon tale with favorite characters Zig and Wikki. Zig, a little brown colored alien is worried about his “pet” fly’s lethargic behavior. Wikki brings up information on his computer screen body that indicates flies are smack in the middle of Earth’s ecosystem. Attempting to give fly its health back, the threesome head their spaceship towards earth, landing in a cow pasture well supplied with cow patties. Wikki alternates between trying to get Zig’s attention and providing accurate information about ruminants’ digestive system, cow patties, farms, and energy. Plenty of humor mixed with easily followed graphic organization makes this a winner for any elementary school.
Shark King
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Johnson, R Kikuo
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 12, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Based on a Hawaiian legend about a shape-shifting giant shark god, Kamohoalii, and his son, this primary grade graphic novel employs a shape-shifting graphic design, varying the number, shape and size of each frame and panel throughout the book. A few scenes are shown on a two-page spread and without borders, followed by a variety of more conventional pages. The Shark King comes to shore in the shape of a handsome young man, but returns to the ocean depths just before his son is born. Nanaue’s insatiable appetite and bravado are depicted when his shark face erupts from his back and he follows the fisherman to steal their catch. When caught, he flees into the sea where his father had prepared a safe place for him. Mother love is left behind but a protective cape worn by her son is found folded up on the beach. The blues of the ocean contrast with the colorful flowery Hawaiian scenes and young readers will have no trouble following the story line. Another Toon Book well worth adding to your collection.
Benjamin Bear In Fuzzy Thinking
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Coudray, Philippe
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 12, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Benjamin Bear is one of my favorite Toon character as he creatively solves myriad problems, often to the dismay of other characters. When the dishes need to be dried, Rabbit offers to help, so Benjamin proceeds to use Rabbit as the dishcloth. But this solution alternates with those of ultimate kindness as in the time Rabbit shelters under Benjamin Bear while it snows. The Benjamin Bear books with their unique humor, beg to be used in teaching, predictions, sequence and very simple story structure. The one-page stories contain 2-6 frames in square and rectangle shapes and are perfect for emerging readers and the everpresent humor will appeal to all.
Patrick In A Teddy Bear's Picnic And Other Stories
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Hayes, Geoffrey
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 12, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Theodore Seuss Geisel award-winning Author/illustrator Geoffrey Hayes presents another winning Toon book. Patrick, the young teddy bear character, goes on a picnic with Mama Bear, but encounters Big Bear who pops his balloon, a lady bug on his paw, his boat floating away in the fast moving water, and birds that might poop on his head. When rain arrives they skedaddle home and head for Story # 2 about naptime. In the last story Patrick pretends he’s a dragon and scares off Big Bear after he steals his cookies. The fanciful imaginative style is most appropriate for preschool and kindergarten children, but will be enjoyed by older emerging readers.
FLOOD WARNING
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
PEARCE, JACQUELINE
Franson, Leanne
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
July 12, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Based on the Frazier River floods of 1948, Tom and his family work together to save the community as well as their dairy cows. The flat verdant valley alongside the Fraser River was home to many small family farms and sandbags and dykes usually provided protection from the spring run off. But this year the river continued to rise and families were evacuated. Tom finds a way to move their small herd of dairy cattle the three miles by road to the only high hill at the cemetery, by enticing the smallest calf with grass held just out of reach. This is a gentle story with just the right amount of danger, description and problem solving for the young readers bridging to longer fiction. Both the historical and the bucolic setting, depicted in the black & white line drawings add to the book’s authenticity. Local interest makes this a strong book to add to a Pacific Northwest elementary school collection. Unfortunately, I could only find it in paperback and eBook.
Lots Of Bots
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.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
After the unfortunate events of book #1 of the "Robots Rule!" series, George Gearing is excited about his apprenticeship at TinkerTech. At last, a chance to use hi mechanical skills in a real robot environment! Unfortunately he is soon relegated to cleaning detail, and people are acting strangely. Can it have something to do with the new product that is coming out? Is the evil Dr. Micron really gone, or does he have a new nefarious scheme? George may be the only one who can save the town. This is a fun, fast-paced book with lots of bots, occasional black and white illustrations, and enough action to keep young readers on the edge of their seats. It really sets things up for book #3, which will be coming out soon.
From The Dead
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Mcclintock, Norah
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
July 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
First there was "Seven [The Series]" where 7 teens boys are sent on international missions by their grandfather, after his death. Each of the seven books was written by a different author which worked because each was about a different boy and his adventure. Now we have "Seven [The Sequel]" and everyone is back. The same format applies, but now they are trying to solve mysteries about their enigmatic grandparent based on things he left behind in his cabin. Why all those passports with the same picture, but different names. What's with all the cash? And those coded pages in the journal? Each boy is off on a new adventure. In this book Rennie starts in Uruguay then travels to Argentina and then Detroit all on the tail of a Nazi war criminal. Of course he's not aware of that, when he begins his quest. Soon bullets are flying, intrigue is in the air, and Rennie is left wondering just who his grandfather was, and which side he was on during the war. This is a fabulous series--gripping and well-written, but never trendy or terribly inappropriate. These books will still be just as good years from now, and are perfect for teens looking for action and adventure.
Sabertooth Cats
Pebble Plus/capstone Press [Pebble Plus/capstone Press]
Higgins, Melissa
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 12, 2015
Kline, Karen
One of six titles in the Ice Age Animals series that also includes Dodos, Ground Sloths, and others. Each four page chapter includes simple text on left-facing pages with headings entitled “Ice Age Hunter,” “Big and Strong,” “Ambush!,” and “Sabertooth Life.” Right-facing pages depict computer-generated art that mimics photography of large, bleed-to-gutter action shots suitable for group sharing. Readers learn about what and how these mammals hunted and ate, what may have caused their extinction and when they became extinct, as well as the cats’ physical attributions. A small inset map shows where the sabertooth cats lived. Table of contents, glossary, “read more” bibliography, code for publisher’s website directing readers to three online sources, and index included. Libraries and primary level classrooms needing this specific topic will find this useful, and the splashy cover art with the fanged beast will attract the target audience. The paper over cardboard cover won’t stand up to repeated use for long, though.
Trees : A Compare And Contrast Book
Arbordale Publishing [Arbordale Publishing]
Hall, Katharine
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 12, 2015
Kline, Karen
Bring science concepts into the classroom with this well-designed book. Readers learn the names of some common and more exotic trees like oak, acacia, bonsai, and redwood, as they are led through a series of statements comparing and contrasting their features. Tall and short, deciduous and evergreen, roots in soil, water, and on rocks -- these are examples of the types of comparisons made in the book. Simple text and crisp, clear photographs that illustrate the concepts in this book make it very useful for classrooms. The paperback version costs a bit more than expected ($9.95), but the folded cover flaps give the edges heft and additional info. A QR code on the back cover takes readers to the book’s website hosted by the publisher where over twenty pages of instructional resources are available. Four pages of back matter stress the importance of trees to the environment with a matching quiz and informational text boxes and photos.
School Is Alive!
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Chabert, Jack
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
July 13, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Sam Graves gets more than he bargained for when he becomes the new Hall Monitor and is responsible for patrolling the halls. Tension builds from the start as Sam hears strange noises and is trapped by quicksand and attacked by a fire hose. The old janitor rescues him alerting Sam to the sinister school’s dangerous awakening and informs him that Sam must keep everyone safe from this evil. The fast moving high-interest plot will appeal to younger independent readers looking for slightly scary books. Lively illustrations spill across the pages, large font with varying styles and page placement all assist readers bridging from the earliest chapter books and building stamina for longer chapter books.
Double You
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Peacock, Shane
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
July 13, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Seven teen boy, all related. Seven authors. Seven books. When the boys discover a hidden cache of fake passports, money, and encrypted journal entries...and did I mention the gun? they are determined to find out what their recently deceased grandfather was up to. This is the sequel series to "Seven: The Series" where the boys each follow their grandfather's instructions to resolve an issue he left hanging. Now they truly want to know who the man was. In this book Adam winds up following in the footsteps of 007, finding an unfortunate surprise in Bermuda, as well as a cute girl. This is a fast-paced novel with plenty of action and enjoyable characters. The whole series is good. Readers learn a little 20th century history - in this case the Cuban Missile Crisis - and enjoy a fun adventure as well. Good time!
Tin Soldier
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Brouwer, Sigmund
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
July 13, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Jim Webb is a bit of a rebel, with his long hair and his guitar-playing. He's planning on making his mark in Nashville, but has been waylaid by another adventure involving his grandfather. He and his 6 cousins are now tracking down the past using the items they found hidden in their deceased grandfather's cabin. Who was their grandfather? Why did he have all that money, and those fake passports? Jim's quest takes him into the deep south where he learns about racial segregation, and the Vietnam War. In his journey he confronts his own issues with his stepfather, and puts his life on the line. This is part of a great series that will be enjoyed by secondary level students. The action is fast-paced, the writing is crisp and interesting. Buy both this series and the one that came before it.
Starring Jules (Third Grade Debut)
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Ain, Beth
Higgins, Anne Keenan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
July 13, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Feisty and talented, Julie joins Clementine, Just Grace, and an assortment of increasing numbers of girl characters in providing a continuous series of books featuring everyday situations and problems commonly encountered by many young readers. In this fourth book, Jules is worried about her new teacher and the demands of third grade. At the same time her younger brother, Henry, is starting Kindergarten, a simpler time Jules would happily go back to. Simultaneously, Jules is also playing a younger sister in a new sitcom, requiring her to go directly from school many days a week. With a male teacher that has kids run in the morning before school, do jumping jacks at lunch and has a behavior plan with stoplight colors, Jules is feeling pressure unlike before. Friendship issues, difficulties with a new way of acting, and a wax museum assignment dominate the core of this transitional novel. Scattered illustrations and larger font and line spacing invite readers as they move towards longer middle-grade chapter books.
Zeke Meeks Vs The Crummy Class Play
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Green, D L
Alves, Josh
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
July 13, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Zeke Meeks is a series for students not quite ready for the Wimpy Kid books, but seeking the same self-focused humor with plentiful cartoonish drawings and clichéd comments. Moderate length sentences with increasing complexity contribute to it’s GRL O rating, but readers of Magic Tree House books will find this realistic series quite accessible. Zeke’s grumpy attitude initially wins him the Grumpy Dwarf part in the 3rd grade play crashing his daydream of becoming an actor. Events spiral downward as he is demoted to a horse with “neigh” as his only line, until his mother and grandmother share the advice that, “there are no small parts, only small actors.” Stock characters include Zeke’s younger sister, Mia, who sings Princess-Sing-Along-Songs in response to any difficult situation and his classmates, falling into flat gender-stereotyped roles. Recommend to readers needing to build stamina for longer books.
Remarkable Military Animals
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Mooney, Carla
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 13, 2015
Kline, Karen
One of eight titles in the “Ready for Military Action” series. This book focuses primarily on US military and its use of animals, but readers also learn about the use of animals throughout history and in some other countries' militaries. The book does not discuss the unfair treatment of animals or organizations like PETA that oppose the use of animals for military training and warfare, and some readers may be disturbed by passages in the book like this one referring to Ancient Roman’s use of military animals, “Some armies set pigs on fire to get them to squeal. Then soldiers swung the pigs from city walls to scatter approaching enemy elephants.” Nevertheless, the book provides a thorough overview of many types of animals including glowworms, pigeons, sea lions and others that have notably contributed to military objectives. Links to further reading online, diagrams, narratives relating “Top Missions,” as well as an excerpt from a poem from the Animals in War Memorial make this a dynamic resource. Table of contents, glossary, index and a well-designed layout with captioned photos and sidebars on most pages round out this resource.
Kelly Slater
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 14, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Surfing genius, Kelly Slater, turned Pro in 1990 and gradually changed surfing as he introduced a whole new level of high-risk tricks into competition. From the youngest surfer to win the World championship, to earning the first perfect 20 score in surfing history, Slater has set a high standard for other surfers to achieve. Currently, Slater competes as well as designs surfboards, adapting the designs for the ever-increasing complexity of tricks. Abdo’s Extreme sports Star series includes a brief timeline & glossary, index and well-captioned photographs. Fast facts are contained in explosive circles sprinkled amongst the crisp action shots. Florescent yellow and green are paired with black for a distinctive and edgy look well suited for the intended middle-grade audience. Because Kelly Slater is still competing and contributing to surfing, any biography will eventually be out-of-date, making these extra purchases or for specific needs.
Torah Bright
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 14, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Australian snowboard superstar, Torah Bright started skiing at two, snowboarding at 11, and by 15 she was so good that she turned Pro and moved to Salt Lake City. Following a successful 2010 Olympic Games and several World Cups, accumulated injuries left Torah needing rest and healing so she took a two-year break. On her return, Torah qualified for three snowboarding events in the 2014 Olympics, and won silver in the halfpipe. Fans anticipate many more medals and accomplishments ahead. Abdo’s Extreme sports Star series includes a brief timeline & glossary, index and well-captioned photographs. Fast facts are contained in explosive circles sprinkled amongst the crisp action shots. Florescent yellow and green are paired with black for a distinctive and edgy look well suited for the intended middle-grade audience. Minimal text and potential for becoming out-of-date, these are extra purchases to meet specific needs.
Before After
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Ramstein, Anni-Margot
Aregui, Matthias
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 14, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
This visually unique wordless book will require a special audience but is also a hidden gem. The two page spreads contain before and after pictures that are often picked up again on later pages. An acorn becomes an oak tree, a page of cake making ingredients and tools become a lavishly decorated strawberry cake. The oak tree goes through several seasons and the cake is shown eaten many pages later. A barren Mt Fuji-like mountain grows a lush carpet of plants, and jungle, later becomes grasses and finally houses are built. Subtle humor can be found throughout as in the pictures of the chicken and the egg are then reversed to show egg, then chicken. The digitally produced illustrations vary in color palette, subject material and many themes seem to emerge and fade away. This hard to categorize book might be best suited for parent and child reading and discussion or recommended for more artistically minded readers but could also be used for story starters, art lessons, teaching sequence and imagination exercises. Plan to use in a lesson or show to students or parent volunteers to induce check out.
SHADE
Simon Pulse [SIMON & SCHUSTER]
SMITH-READY, JERI
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
July 14, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Hooked almost from the beginning, I could not put this book down. The story takes place now (or in the near future) and features a world where the Shift has taken place, which iis this: when people die, their ghosts come back and can be seen and communicated with by "post-Shifters" (people who were born after the Shift first occurred. Pre-Shifters cannot see the ghosts. Aura, a 17-year-old girl is in love with Logan. When they try to have their first sexual experience, Logan overdoses on cocaine and alcohol, and dies. He comes back as a ghost and Aura has to decide if she is going to continue their relationship. She can see him, talk to him, hear him, but cannot touch him. Meanwhile, Aura meets handsome Scottish student, Zachary. They are working on a school project together when she learns that his father is an MI-X agent (they) investigate ghost cases. Interesting beginning to a trilogy that I will read all of! Sex, language, and drugs all make this a high school read.
Empire of Ruins
WENDY LAMB BOOKS [RANDOM HOUSE CHILDREN'S BOOKS]
Slade, Arthur
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
July 14, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Modo, the shape-shifting hunchback with extraordinary powers, travels to the Australian outback with his boss, Mr. Socrates and his assistant Tharpa, and the beautiful Octavia, a fellow agent for whom he has conflicted amorous feelings. Following the trail of death left by their adversary, the Clockwork Guild, they seek an artifact known as the God Face, revered by local tribes and thought to hold unspeakable power. Fantastical luck, miraculous escapes and years of intense physical survival training are needed on this pursuit as well as a willingness to break the rules and follow intuition. This third adventure will appeal to fans of the first two books and is a lesser-known series to recommend to your fantasy readers.
Tim Howard
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Fishman, Jon M
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 14, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Tim Howard, the amazing U.S. soccer goalkeeper may be best known for his 16 saves during the 2014 World Cup game against Belgium despite our eventual loss. Young fans will be interested to read that when Howard was diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome in 6th grade, his hard work allowed him to be recognized for his athleticism rather than his disability. Lerner’s Amazing Athletes biographies strike a nice balance between photographs and text and are suitable for a wide range of elementary students with basic information as well as stories that flesh out significant moments. As with most biographies of people still contributing in their field, photographs and quotes from childhood and current life are plentiful but the books can quickly become out-of-date. Howard has stated he will only play to age 40 which falls just after the 2018 World Cup, so barring injuries this biography will be fairly current for 3 more years. A listing of career highlights, glossary, index, and further reading & websites are included. This extensive series covers athletes with current or careers in the very recent past.
War Heroes Voices From Iraq
SCHOLASTIC NONFICTION [SCHOLASTIC NONFICTION]
Zullo, Allan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
July 14, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "10 True Tales" series, this book features 10 accounts of heroism in by of American soldiers in Iraq. The author has carefully researched these stories, often interviewing those involved. This provides interesting insight into the people involved and their motivation. The stories tend to be bloody and intense, putting the reader right in the middle of the action. The realities of war are in no way Each story ends with awards given and a little about the soldiers involved, after the incident. Whether you agree or disagree with the concept of war, it is clear that these soldiers have the hearts of warriors and truly care about country and duty.
Guinea Pig Party
NOSY CROW [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Surplice, Holly
Not Recommended/Out of Scope -- Appropriate for another kind of collection or different age levels.
Pre-Kindergarten
July 14, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
A delightful counting board book follows the same theme as 10 little monkeys jumping on a bed. The 10 guinea pigs bump, eat too much, fly in the air and cry as one by one they drop out of the party games until finally only one remains. Feeling lonely one little guinea pig wishes for all the friends to return and so they do. The colorful guinea pigs are outlined in ink, reminiscent of Sandra Boynton’s illustrations with just the right amount of detail to engage young children yet simple enough to focus attention on the counting. An excellent baby gift, this is only recommended for special preschool or niche libraries.
Other Side Of Free
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Russell, Krista
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Jem is a boy who has escaped slavery, taken to Fort Mose in Florida in 1739. There, a free colony of former slaves is protected by the Spanish. However, a slave rebellion up north has repercussions down south. Soon Jem, his people, and the Spaniards are under siege. How will they survive? Based on fact, this historical fiction book sends readers to a different time and introduces a part of history that is lesser-known. The author creates a real character in Jem--with a boy's flaws and dreams. The story focuses on his raising an owlet, making mistakes, learning from experience, and growing through hardship. This is well-written and interesting and would probably find its main readership in a middle school library.
POSER
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
HUGHES, ALISON
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
July 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Luke Spinelli is twelve, but does he get to do all the stuff a typical Canadian 12-year-old does? Nooooooo. Since he was a baby he has been a model, under the heavy-handed management of his aunt, and the loving care of his mother. Truthfully, his modeling career has more or less kept the family afloat. The thing is, he hate it. He fears what would happen if the kids at school ever found out his dread secret. He wants to play hockey and be able to invite friends over without them seeing the walls of headshots that fill his home. How can he get out of this? Well, lying has always worked in the past... This is a fast-paced, hilarious, first-person account of Luke's travails as "Beauty Boy"--a term his aunt uses that he abhors. It pokes fun at the industry and creates a solid voice for a boy in over his headshot--oh the humanity!
ENEMY TERRITORY
ANNICK PRESS [ANNICK PRESS]
MCKAY, SHARON E
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
July 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Here is the Palestinian/Israeli dispute encapsulated in the lives of two 14-year-old boys who meet at a hospital in Jerusalem. Sam, an Israeli, is there because of a serious leg injury that necessitates the use of crutches and may result in the loss of the limb. Yusuf, a Palestinian, has lost an eye and may lose the other due to serious infection. Both have been taught that the other represents the "enemy." Nevertheless they soon find themselves on a wild adventure through Jerusalem and even a far as the Dead Sea, meeting all manner of people who call the Holy Land home, and putting themselves in danger at every turn. Their own personal disputes are as hard to resolve as that of their people, and misunderstandings abound. Yet they eventually discover commonalities that allow a friendship to grow. The author puts the reader firmly in Israel and raises interesting questions that cannot be easily answered. This would be the sort of book that would lead into very interesting classroom discussions.
What Are Graphic Novels?
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Berne, Emma Carlson
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
July 16, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Have you ever wanted to know what makes a graphic novel different from a comic? Or is a non-fiction graphic book a graphic novel? This is a book that will answer those and many other questions as well as give examples of the wide range of books that are referred to as graphic novels including picture, wordless, fiction and non-fiction books. Graphic novels are longer than comics, use varying page layouts with different panel configurations, and contain more detailed characters and plots than comic strips. They also include books that are sad or scary unlike most comics. And yes, a non-fiction graphic book is also referred to as a graphic novel. Excellent, straightforward explanations of other attributes superimposed on drawings and photographs alternate with pages from graphic novels that illustrate the text. Anime and Manga styles are defined and illustrated and a variety of different speech bubbles depicted. The book concludes with a Now You Do It page that lays down the steps for creating your own graphic book. Additional information includes two websites for students to create their own comics, books and a publisher website. Glossary, index and Table of Contents are included.
Kitanai And Hungry Hare Eat Healthfully
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Troupe, Thomas Kingsley
Christoph, Jamey
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 16, 2015
Porter, Heidi
Kitani the Origami Dog sets out to teach Hungry Hare about healthy eating in this picture book aimed at preschool through 1st grade children. The book uses a combination of standard text and dialogue balloons to disclose information about the food groups and how to make good food choices for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Kitani warns Hungry Hare about the hazards of drinking soda pop instead of water and the importance of eating sweets in moderation. Children will identify with the kinds of questions Hungry Hare brings up about food and drink choices. Illustrations are bright and slightly retro. This would be an appealing addition to a primary collection on health. Index, suggested resrouces and glossary included.
Food And Drink
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Staniford, Linda
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 16, 2015
Porter, Heidi
This book wades into the complex world of nutritional advice with a set of standard caveats and suggestions framed around a discussion of needs and wants. Healthy foods with protein, vitamins and starch are recommended, while readers are warned against sugar and fat-laden foods. Adult readers may question whether a "needs versus wants" discussion must prefer a salmon cut with rice over fish and chips (are they nutritionally that different?), but this should not be a problem for less sophisticated readers. Bright photographs of delicious-looking food make this book visually appealing. Unfortunately, the photographs of the ice cream sundae, cheeseburger and especially the cupcakes are exquisite-looking and both adults and children will probably experience immediate cravings for them. Picture glossary and index included.
Siblings, Curfews, And How To Deal : Questions And Answers A
Snap Books/capstone Press [Snap Books/capstone Press]
Loewen, Nancy
Mora, Julissa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 16, 2015
Porter, Heidi
This question and answer book aimed at tween girls gives advice on a number of areas of concern to girls, including parents, siblings, honesty, rules, divorce, extended family and money. Questions will resonate with many tweens. One strength of the answer portions is that advice focuses on planning and forethought. Girls are advised to take situations that seem out of control, and create plans of action, write lists and examine their options. While answers sometimes acknowledge the possibility that a family member may not react in the hoped-for manner, the book encourages girls to assume that their parents will act lovingly and reasonably most of the time. In fact, some parents or family members are unreasonable, unloving and unfair. The book would be stronger if it acknowledged that a girl may do everything right but still face a situation that cannot be resolved as she hoped. The book is illustrated with both photos and drawings in a balanced layout of text and graphics. One minor error is that the book refers to a father's new baby as a stepbrother rather than a brother or half-brother. Index and glossary included.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Dash, Meredith
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 16, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The oversize format of this Abdo Kids book is inviting to young readers with the large photographs spanning across the two-page spread, facing only one or two lines of text. As part of the Holiday series, the book focuses on the creation of The King Center and establishment of his birthday as a national holiday rather than the events and significance of his life. Photographs depict MLK Jr. standing in front of the crowd on the Washington Mall, his son at his grave, and the legal process of creating the holiday with Mrs. King speaking to Congress, Senator Ted Kennedy speaking to the Senate, and President Reagan signing the law. The content is dry and would be best paired with a more expressive picture book that talks about Martin Luther King’s significance and why we celebrate his life. The book concludes with a street scene showing marchers holding a large banner announcing the holiday march. Glossary, three facts, index and publisher website are included. Although intended for early readers, the facts and glossary definitions are written at a higher reading level using more difficult words than in the text.
Get The Giggles : A First Joke Book
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Davies, Bronwen
Davies, Bronwen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 16, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
“What is a pirate’s favorite letter? ARRRR!” “Why did the banana go to the doctor? It wasn’t peeling well.” This Scholastic paperback Level 1 Reader is a gem. The jokes are funny and make sense to younger children. The bold colorful illustrations perfectly match the jokes and are entertaining to boot. The only drawback is that as a paperback it has a limited shelf life and with the anticipated continuous checkout, libraries may want to consider purchasing two.
Call Me Ixchel : Mayan Goddess Of The Moon
Goosebottom Books Llc [Goosebottom Books Llc]
Havemeyer, Janie
Bridges, Shirin Yim
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 16, 2015
Porter, Heidi
The unusual topic for this book is the myth of the Mayan goddess Ixchel. Ixchel lives in the Upperworld in a stone house near the Milky Way under the care of her grandfather. Her life becomes complicated when she falls in love with the God of the Sun, K'inich Ajaw. They elope and finally marry, but carefree and sociable Ixchel discovers that her true love is a jealous, suspicious and sometimes violent spouse. Much of her story involves her experiences in what can only be called an abusive marriage. The book presents an interesting treatment of the mythical material: the setting and characters remain quite true to Mayan religious beliefs, but the characters often speak and think like modern middle school students. Grade level placement for this book is quirky: mature middle grade readers would like it, but it would also be an excellent hi/low book for higher grades. The book also includes a description of ancient Mayan society, a glossary and a bibliography. Another particularly interesting supplement is a chart of which parts of the novelized story were myth, fact and fiction. Readers will enjoy the ability to read a chapter and then go back to examine how myth and fiction were woven together.
Freedom From Want
RED CHAIR PRESS [RED CHAIR PRESS]
Cahill, Bryon
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
July 16, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
While not explicitly granted in our Bill of Rights, freedom from want was one of four freedoms highlighted in the 1941 speech by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Its origin was referred to in the Constitution, as the responsibility to “promote general welfare.“ The four books in the Four Freedom series delve into these four freedoms and detail many of the ways we currently work to ensure these freedoms. Freedom from want defines the term while connecting it to the Constitution and the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Explanations are given for why people in this country as well as around the world may not experience this freedom and how governments, agencies, organizations, and individuals help bring these basic human needs to people. Well-labeled historic photographs and fact boxes match the clearly written text, and enriched by plentiful quotes from world leaders and an excerpt from FDR’s speech. This is a thought-provoking series highlighting concepts introduced in an historic speech with great impact then and for future leaders including Martin Luther King, Jr and the famous painter, Norman Rockwell. While this series may not widely circulate, it is very well-written, relevant to today, and worth showing teachers.
W.e.b. Du Bois
Pebble Books/capstone Press [Pebble Books/capstone Press]
Wittrock, Jeni
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 16, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Capstone’s Pebble Biographies are my favorites for young readers and the newest set of 12 Great African-Americans contains athletes, scientists, artists, civic leaders, and lesser-known historical people. These small fit-in-your-hand books have a consistent layout with enough information for students to know who, what and why the person was significant. Each two-page spread has a full-page photograph facing 2-4 sentences of text with a timeline running across the bottom adding one new event per spread. W. E. B. Du Bois played a critical role in history as the first African-American PhD from Harvard, college professor, author and one of the founders of the NAACP. His death at 95, just one day before the famous 1963 March on Washington, was recognized by a moment of silence. In addition to the standard glossary, index, suggested books and publisher-monitored website, Capstone now includes two questions using critical thinking linked to Common Core standards. And the questions listed with this book include, “What does it mean to respect a person? Why, do you think people respected W. E. B.?” encouraging good conversation as well as skills beyond just recall. While expensive, these are well-worth purchase.
Human Body
Scholastic Reference [Scholastic Reference]
Setford, Steve
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 17, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Scholastic’s eye catching softcover book on the human body is chock full of highly magnified photographs, infographics, labeled diagrams and facts all tossed together in a highly stimulating format. This is not a book for the squeamish as it is dominated by close encounters with blood, guts and cellular structures. Hair follicles, cross sections of muscle or nerve cells, a bloody valve and eyelash mites are just a few of the photographs found in the 112 page book. The book is organized into sections starting with an overview of Your Amazing Body. Systems are grouped within chapters, On the move, Skin you’re in, Body engines, Fuel for the body and In control. Within the chapters are two-page spreads presenting general information on a topic such as Muscles in action, Skeleton, or Food’s journey from top to bottom. Despite the complete absence of the reproductive system, this is a book that kids will linger over and undoubtedly need to renew. Look for a hardback copy as this book will experience wear and tear. Extensive glossary, index and photo credits included.
From Steel To Bicycle
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Nelson, Robin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 17, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Lerner’s Start to Finish series has added a new five-book set of Sports Gear with books on making basketball shoes, a football, metal baseball bat, steel bicycle and a plastic soccer ball. The horizontal formatting shows the sequential steps to making a bicycle with each step described in an arrow-shaped text box pointing to a matching photograph on the opposite page. A red and black color theme with powder blue vocabulary words and accents provides a clean look and is effective at guiding attention from the text to the photograph and on to the next page. The high interest subject material and well-executed format will appeal to curious youngsters as well as teachers needing examples of sequence. An unusual Table of contents uses a brief description of the step as the chapter title and glossary, index and further information with books and websites are included.
No Bullies Allowed! : The Kids' Book Of Dealing With Bullies
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Hanson, Anders
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 17, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Bullying is a huge topic in schools and this is a good introduction for primary age students. Minimal text focuses attention on the content and clearly delineates bullying as “unwanted, forceful words or action” that can be verbal, physical or social. Many examples of each type are given and photographs of multicultural children depict the action. The next question is, “What can you do . . .” Several responses are identified and explained with examples matched to the photographs. Responses include, staying in control of ones own actions, walking away, sticking up for others, share your feelings, and never blame yourself for a bully’s actions. A final question, “What is one thing you can do to be free of bullies?” can be used to start a discussion but I would rather see a few scenarios given where students can imagine themselves and think about how they can react. Of the three books I reviewed in the series, this one has more consistency and clarity of topic and I would recommend it as an introduction to bullying for K-1 and reviewing bullying for 2nd-3rd grades.
Chasing Freedom : The Life Journeys Of Harriet Tubman And Su
ORCHARD BOOKS [ORCHARD BOOKS]
Grimes, Nikki
Wood, Michele
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 18, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Imagine a conversation that might have been heard in 1904 at the comfortable Rochester home of Susan B Anthony before she and Harriet Tubman spoke to the New York State Suffrage Association. Poet/author Nikki Grimes has created just such a conversation as vehicle for the telling of both women's lifetime of accomplishments in service of both the abolition of slavery and Women's Rights. While documentation that the two women did in fact share a podium on several occasions, it takes Grimes' imagination to allow each woman to take turns at reminisce. Likewise, illustrator Michele Wood has painted them at important moments of their lives including when each had met with such notables as Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, John Brown, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Amelia Bloomer. Often using quilt patterns in the backgrounds, Wood's illustrations capture details of the stories as both women might have told each other had such an afternoon conversation occurred. Grimes' imagined dialog could make great readers theater or read-aloud to draw together these two threads of America's long journey to emancipation and universal suffrage. Recommended for upper elementary.
Malala Yousafzai : Shot By The Taliban, Still Fighting For E
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Doeden, Matt
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
July 18, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Several excellent biographies have been published this past year about Malala Yousafzai including her autobiography I Am Malala. Lerner’s biography was written before she was awarded the Nobel Peace prize but does an excellent job covering her life up to late 2013 and emphasizes her growth as an education activist. Information about her childhood, family, Pakistan and the Swat District, religious practices, the Taliban take over, and her life-changing experience watching children at the dump digging through trash, are addressed, along with her father’s unusual encouragement for Malala to get the same educational opportunities as boys. Malala’s emerging participation on the world stage as a spokesperson, especially after the shooting, is given balanced coverage with her childhood. The final chapter shows Malala speaking before the United Nations on her 16th birthday and speaking with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House. A timeline, source notes, selected bibliography, further reading and websites are included. This is an excellent biography but schools may want to consider purchasing one published after she received the Nobel Peace Prize award.
FLIRTING IN ITALIAN
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE]
HENDERSON, LAUREN
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
July 19, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Cute story about Violet, a 17-year-old British girl who goes to study in Italy. She really wants to find out why she resembles a woman in an Italian portrait she saw, so she is studying at a villa near the ancestral home of the family noted in the portrait. Once in Italy, Violet makes friends with the girls she's staying with, learns Italian and watercolor, parties Italian style, and falls head over heels with Luca. He just happens to be a prince of the ancestral portrait family. Although this is mainly realistic fiction, the book contains a mystery that is continued in the next book in the series, Kissing in Italian. The story is satisfactory, but seems to lose focus occasionally.
Malala Yousafzai : Pakistani Education Activist
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Wang, Andrea
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 19, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Abdo’s Core Library imprint introduces Common Core based questioning within the narrative non-fiction to promote higher-level thinking. Using the text and websites linked on the publisher website, readers are asked to compare the book and text articles on the publisher website, take positions, write opinion papers and find text connections. Teachers may be interested in using these to prepare students for the tests that ask them to locate, compare and synthesis information from more than one source. Malala’s biography starts by describing the shooting on her school bus before following the chronology from childhood through her evolution as a committed activist advocating for girls’ education and eventually as the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize. When the Taliban took over their home region, the Swat Valley, Sharia law prevailed and it became dangerous for Malala to go to her father’s school. As an outspoken advocate for girls’ education, Malawa’s father was a huge influence and encouraged her to speak about her experiences through an anonymous blog published internationally, and interviews on TV and radio. Information is presented through a smooth flowing narrative style supplemented by sidebars, maps, photographs and charts.
Nelson Mandela : South African President And Civil Rights Ac
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Woll, Kris
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 19, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Abdo’s Core Library imprint introduces an unusual twist to non-fiction sets by combining Common Core based questioning and assignments to promote higher-level thinking. Using the text and websites linked on the publisher website, readers are asked to compare text articles on the publisher website, take positions, write opinion papers and find self-to-text connections. Chapters in Nelson Mandela are grouped into: childhood, time in Johannesburg, Prisoner # 46664, Father of a Nation, and freedom for all. The easy narrative style, sidebars with more in-depth information, and quotes from his speech at his 1964 trial along with photographs of these and other major events, map, timeline, and charts support the text and work well together. Historical information about colonialism, apartheid, and the international boycott protesting apartheid provide essential background information. While the book stands alone as a well-written biography, some of the Common Core questions and links on the publisher website add substance that teachers could use them to supplement curriculum. My one complaint is there are no source notes or bibliography to show where information was accessed.
Steve Jobs : Visionary Founder Of Apple
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Kjelle, Marylou Morano
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 19, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Abdo’s Core Library imprint introduces an unusual twist to non-fiction sets by combining Common Core based questioning and assignments to promote higher-level thinking. Using the text and websites linked on the publisher website, readers are asked to compare text articles on the publisher website, take positions, write opinion papers and find self-to-text connections. Beginning with a story of Steve Jobs introduction of the iPad2 in 2011, just 2 months before he died, his biography shows multiple facets of his personality, including his competitiveness and his huge success in marketing his products. Other chapters group information into his childhood, founding of Apple, interim projects and companies after the Board of directors demoted him, and his return to Apple. While the book stands alone as a well-written biography, some of the Common Core questions and links on the publisher website add substance that teachers could use them to supplement curriculum. My one complaint is there are no source notes or bibliography to show where information was accessed.
Planet Collector
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Sutton, Laurie S
Vecchio, Luciano
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 20, 2015
Kline, Karen
The android Brainiac combs the universe sucking up the knowledge of soon-to-be-extinct planets and their beings. As he approaches a dying planet he discovers that it’s actually a spaceship of some kind containing cities -- how curious! Brainiac attempts to acquire its information but he is caught in a beam and transported into the asteroid-like planet and trapped. The alien being is set upon acquiring Brainiac’s storehouse of knowledge. Brainiac quickly searches his possible choices and determines that his best chance of survival is to lure the vessel into acquiring Metropolis, Superman’s city, because it is only logical that Superman will come to the aid of his city and Brainiac will then stand a chance of release as well. Some tricky plot twists involving Superman’s former home, Krypton, being trapped in the mass as well as some undeveloped hints that Lex Luthor may be behind the plot will leave readers grasping to understand some of this book’s finer points. Still, the fans of DC comics will get a reading workout from this five chapter book with several pages of comic art.
Shaun The Sheep : The Flock Factor
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Howard, Martin
Janes, Andy
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
July 20, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Fun easy beginning chapter book tied to an animated TV show and a new movie by the folks who brought us "Wallace and Grommet." Shaun is a bumbling British Bovidae (cloven-hoof ruminants) from Mossy Bottom Farm. He wants to win a talent show, but of course nothing happens without comic complications. Breakdancing chickens and a rappin' rooster, shy Shirley the sheep with her big voice backed up by a bumbling flock of wooly dancers...it's all utter nonsense, with cartoon illustrations throughout. Recommended.
Stanley The Farmer
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Bee, William
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 20, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Meet Farmer Stanley, a cute Guinea Pig,who introduces preK-K and beginning readers to the steps and sequence of farming wheat. Compressing a season into a single busy day on the farm Stanley "pulls the green plow with his red tractor" followed by "Shamus (the mole) helps Stanley spread manure. It's smelly work!" Bold, charming illustrations give "Stanley" a naive British countryside charm through harvest, dinner and a bath. This and 3 other stories (Stanley the Builder, Stanley's Diner and Stanley's Garage) would make a fun additional purchase for preK-K-1 collections.
Eat, Leo! Eat!
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Adderson, Caroline
Bisaillon, Josee
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 20, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Hungry for a story about pasta? On Sunday afternoons everyone in Leo's big Italian family gather for a meal. At first little Leo is not interested in eating the soup (zuppa with stelline), until Nonna begins a story about a little boy going to see his grandmother (nonna) walking alone in the woods at night with stars (stelline) to guide him. The next week, it's a new dish and Leo won't touch the pasta lunch until Nonna continues the story to include the chiancaredde (paving stones) that guided the little boy along the way to see his nonna. So it goes, each week nonna adds to the story, incorporating occhi di lupo (wolf's eyes), spaghetti (string), creste di gallo (rooster's comb) and farfalle (butterflies) into the cumulative tale that becomes as important a family tradition as the meal itself. Buon appetito! A delicious tribute to family storytelling and one of (almost) everybody's favorite food that might go well with Norah Dooley's "Everybody Bakes Bread" and "Everybody Cooks Rice" during a food study unit. Additional purchase.
NIGHT HAWK
RED DEER PRESS [RED DEER PRESS]
BASTEDO, JAMIE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 22, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Named for the bird species featured, this animal fiction tells the story of Wisp after his family has been separated by a wildfire. Unfortunately, Wisp, the Plebian apprentice nighthawk to become a Navigator, was a failure at reading the stars and guiding the birds for the long migration southward. Only three weeks from the nest, his survival requires that he break many of the rules of his breed including fraternizing with other birds and animals and learning forbidden flying tricks. Wisp heads south for the Refugium, winter home of the nighthawks, using his wits and willingness to seek help, despite his lack of navigating skills. Failing to live up to it’s reputation, it seems like a cage to Wisp and after hearing rumors of an escape place, decides to take off with the help of the spider monkeys. Themes of friendship, family, loyalty, and persistence populate the dangerous escape, and trek northward to a new home. The detailed landscape of the migratory route and Wisps’ internalized thoughts may seem tedious to the student audience but fans of Redwall and older Warrior fans may enjoy the animal focus. Could be used for a classroom read aloud.
Gemma & Gus
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company [Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company]
Dunrea, Olivier
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 22, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Here's one to honk about! Big sister (gosling) Gemma goes exploring and tagalong little brother Gus follows. A LOT! Exploring frogs in the cattails, bunnies in the log, even atop a dog until Gemma's had enough and hollers "Don't keep following me!" Whereupon Gus wanders off, exploring...and Gemma follows. Cute illustrations and simple text make this little delight from Olivier Dunrea another easy reader to slip in small hands.
Gus
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company [Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company]
Dunrea, Olivier
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 22, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Charming, little yellow gosling Gus explores his world with a curious stare and a saucepan on his head. Patiently watching a red spider spin a web and mice scampering overhead, Gus turns to watching a turtle lay eggs. Curious, patient Gus digs and finds the buried eggs and decides to sit on them until they hatch. Simply delightful illustrations and simple text make this a pleasant, breezy just-right easy reader. The 11th in the "Gossie & Friends" series by Dunrea and clearly a series to have in every elementary library collection.
Quest
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Becker, Aaron
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
All ages
July 23, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The second book of the Journey Trilogy by Aaron Becker is every bit as spectacular as the first. Still wordless and still magical, the two children are playing in a park holding onto their red and purple coloring-sticks, accompanied by the magnificent long-tailed purple bird, when the sad king secretively opens a castle door handing them a map and orange coloring stick. He is captured before their eyes but the children immediately follow behind. The castle and rocks continue in their grey brown pattern with only splashes of the red, orange, and purple colors already found. The map shows their journey so far as well as the four locations yet to come and the color they must gain. The children creatively escape certain capture and fill in their belt with the colors. On return to the castle the magnificent purple bird takes the belt of color and flies off spilling colors back into the land. Just as the first book –Journey – came to a satisfying conclusion yet left dangling an inkling of what was to come, Quest also concludes this mission and leaves readers with a clue as to the third books theme. A must purchase for elementary libraries.
Solemn Golem
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Troupe, Thomas Kingsley
Gilpin, Stephen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
July 23, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Awoken by huge shaking and cracking floors in her tall apartment building, 4th grader Flo Gardner joins friend Furry, a human werewolf boy, as they discover an enormous stone golem, sent on a mission to find the Wolf Boy in order to regain his missing golem family, has cracked through the portal in the basement. The efforts to keep the source of the apartment damage hidden from inspectors are aided by the old caretaker, Curtis, but the focus is on the plot unfolding when Furry and Flo return with the golem, Garvel, through the portal on a search for his missing family. The friendship forged between Garvel and the duo gives them solid protection through many dangers, but Flo & Furry’s bravery and brains are still needed to save the day. A scattering of black & white digital illustrations combined with wide line spacing on the mostly whole pages of text, go into assigning the GRL Q level. This is a lively mild fantasy series that will appeal to those students interested in human, fantasy interactions and who will overlook the lack of details holding the action together.
Soccer Queen
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Peschke, Marci
Mourning, Tuesday
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 23, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Feisty Kylie Jean knows she is beautiful on the inside and outside and even has a secret dream to be a beauty queen. But after watching her first women’s soccer game she switches her dream to becoming a soccer queen. The upbeat, pink-loving girl succeeds in being chosen for the team and coach she wants, along with her best new friend. With success on the soccer field and success making new friends, can anything go wrong? When the team spends two days at a soccer camp working on drills as well as playing scrimmage games, Kylie Jean falls and breaks her arm. Out for the season, Kylie Jean finds out what a great gift team spirit and friendship can be. This is a series to recommend to your princess and fairy loving readers as a bridge into more realistic fiction. Pink is the only accent color in the randomly scattered drawings found every few pages. With widely spaced lines and plenty of white space, this is an excellent bridge book to help readers make the transition between early chapter books and longer ones.
Mystery Of The Aztec Tomb
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Sutton, Laurie S
Neely, Scott
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
July 26, 2015
Kline, Karen
This is one of five titles from the “You Choose” series of Scooby-Doo mysteries from Stone Arch Books. With thirteen possible endings to the story that readers can select, each version of the story is about 10-13 pages long, making these stories accessible for reluctant readers or short read alouds. Thelma’s uncle is an archeologist who needs help solving a mystery, so the whole gang takes off to help. The workers at the site of the dig in the jungle of Mexico are being frightened away by a variety of different monsters -- zombie Aztec warriors, Quetzalcoatl, chupacabras, and more! Full color illustrations every few pages keep up the fun. Just like the the cartoon series the gags and spooks are silly fun, and the villains are greedy masked characters. A glossary and six “you choose” jokes are included. Formulaic fun for fans of the series.
Jessica's Box
Kane/Miller Book Publishers [Kane/Miller Book Publishers]
Carnavas, Peter
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 26, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
The night before the first day of school, Jessica couldn't sleep. Everybody has a memory of their own experience to share, but nothing really prepares Jessica. She takes a big box with her on her lap, Jessica uses a wheel chair- but no one seems to notice. When she takes out her special teddy bear kids are NOT impressed. Disappointed, Jessica tries making and taking cupcakes in her box the next day. Kids love the cakes, but it doesn't really translate into making friends (Sheesh they don't even say thank you!). Next she tries taking her dog. Kids love the pup, but ignore Jessica. Feeling bad, Jessica arrives at school the next day with her favorite box on her head. It catches the eye-and imagination-of a classmate who sees it as an invitation to play hide and seek. "Found you!" a boy announces, "'Now you have to find me," said the boy. "Count to ten.'" And so Jessica wonders a moment, then does the only think a kid can do in that situation, she closes her eyes and counts. At home that night Jessica tells delightedly about her new friend and her realization that she was more interesting than anything she could put in her box. Recommended as a wonderful, normalizing story of a girl with a physical disability and normal feelings.
Meet The Bigfeet
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Sherry, Kevin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 26, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Students have flocked to this new cryptid series, featured in the 2014-2015 Scholastic Book fair selections. Reminiscent of Bad Kitty, the comic style of black & white graphics found in every sort of layout including full page, labeled illustrations, framed drawn photographs of the extended cryptid family members, and maps of their journeys. Endpapers are totally filled with drawings of 18 cryptid, many who are featured in this first book of the series. Blitz, a Yeti, narrates the story of a family reunion planned for the site where cousin Brian had lived, but now was in hiding after his photograph was circulated on the Internet. The photographer, George Vanquist, continues to fanatically search for more cryptids to gather convincing evidence of their existence. The two stories predictably bisect with a humorous and appropriate ending. This is a great new series to recommend to readers transitioning from the early reader chapter books but not quite ready for books with full pages of text and fewer illustrations. Students are clamoring for more books in the series and thankfully the next book in the Yeti File featuring Nessie, is due out in late September.
Pet Psychic
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Phillips, Ruby Ann
Isik, Sernur
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 26, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Not only can fourth-grader Krystal Ball (yes that’s her name) predict the future, but when her friend Claire gets a new dog, Xena, she discovers she can communicate with animals. Instantly famous in the animal kingdom of New York, Krystal confides her new powers to best friends Billy and Claire. When Xena breaks loose and runs away from Krystal in the park, though, the friendship is strained. Will her newfound powers help locate Xena? This bridge book series contains plenty of white space, black and white digital illustrations scattered every few pages and common themes of friendship, school issues and provides a stamina building transition from easier chapter books to the regular fiction books. Brief author bio, directions for making a fortune-teller, Krystal’s Horoscopes, and publisher links are included in the back along with covers for two other books in the series. Daisy Dawson is another series with the main character able to communicate with animals and readers may want to try it as well.
Whale Trails : Before And Now
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY]
Cline-Ransome, Lesa
Karas, G. Brian
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 27, 2015
Kline, Karen
Told from the point of view of a young girl on the east coast who helps her father take passengers on his whale watching boat, this book introduces young readers to a day in the life of a sightseeing tour guide. The girl in the story also compares and contrasts what whaling boats did “before now.” Never explicitly telling the reader when it was that crews used to pursue whales in order to harpoon and harvest the spoils of a whaling voyage, the author’s note at the end of the book informs that America entered into the whaling industry in the 1700s. Friendly and delightful illustrations by G. Brian Karas show the story of today in cheerful bright colors and the facing pages picture the old days of whaling in browns mimicking sepia tones and clearly delineating the visuals’ juxtapositions. This book focuses on the purpose of the boats and their passengers then and now and less on the science of whales. Still, children who wish to go on or who have been on a whale watching trip will enjoy this reading voyage. Glossary and brief bibliography are included. Pair this title with Sophie Scott Goes South for another narrative vantage of a girl and her observations on her father’s ship.
Mystery Of The Scarlet Rose
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Adler, Irene
Bruno, Iacopo
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
July 28, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
This was such a fun book! Irene Adler, the young writer (not really) of this tale, relates how she and her two male friends, Arsene Lupin and Sherlock Holmes, investigate and solve the mystery of who murdered two rich men in London. The year is 1843. Irene and her friends are children (probably early teens), and they love to solve mysteries. The current one involves a code that describes coordinates on a city map; these are where the killings take place. There is vengeance, murder, mayhem, intrigue, dark alleys, snowy London, and clues as to how Sherlock developed into the man he later became. The book was truly written by Alessandro Gatti in Italian and was translated into English. The most gorgeous illustrations by Iacopo Bruno accompany the text. Any fan of Sherlock Holmes will love this story and its two other predecessors in the series.
True Son
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Krumwiede, Lana
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
July 29, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The enmity between the Nathanites and the Republikites is long-standing, each having a different version of the history that originally tore them apart. This is the third and final book in "The Psi Chronicles" series, where the Nau and the Republikites are at war and the Republikites are determined to either subject the Nathanites to occupation or destroy them. Of course it all centers on psi powers. The Nau fear them. The Republikites have trained soldiers to use them in battle. The Nathanites have lost their powers, except for Taemon. He alone stands between his people and extinction. Can the Heart of the Earth help him find a peaceful solution, or will he break his vow to never use psi to hurt another person? This is a satisfying finale that will please fans. (I know my teen niece, Lizzie, was thrilled to see it. She grabbed it from me and read it first!)
Fibonacci Zoo
Arbordale Publishing [Arbordale Publishing]
Robinson, Tom
Wald, Christina
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 30, 2015
Kline, Karen
Need a simple concept book to teach patterns or Fibonacci numbers? This is it! Eli and his dad are on the way to a special zoo, a Fibonacci zoo, but Eli doesn’t know what will be special about it. He takes a notepad with him and writes about what he sees -- perfect model for math journaling. Realistic, colorful art gives plenty of picture clues for young readers including insets showing Eli’s notes and numbers. The first cage has one alligator, the second has two bison, the third has two camels, and so on. Once Eli sees eight flamingoes, he has that “ah-ha” moment and begins to predict how many animals he will see in the next exhibit. Readers are invited to make their own prediction at the last exhibit. Four pages at the end of the book delve deeper into sequences, patterns in nature, and a matching mapping challenge that will help readers understand where to find the habitats of some of the animals in the book. The folded end flaps of this paperback will give it a longer shelf life than most, and the 48 page online teaching activities and quizzes will provide educators with a full unit of study.
Book Of Storms
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Hatfield, Ruth
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
July 31, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Danny, 11 years old, wakes up one morning to find his parents gone. It turns out they are storm chasing, as usual, to try and find the cause of their daughter, Emma's, death years ago. Danny decides to find his parents and heads out on his own. He picks up a stick, which gives him the power to speak to flora and fauna. He meets Sammael, the master of air, and Mrs. Death, while on his search. The Book of Storms actually falls into his hands, but he has to relinquish it to Sammael, who has further schemes for its future. The author had so many fantastic and wild ideas. Some were interesting and fun to read about, but others just dragged on. Language and violence prevent this from being a book for elementary students. I am not sure for which age group the book is (or its two planned sequels are) intended. This is the author's first book.