Reviews for month


Beagles
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Finne, Stephanie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 02, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Abdo's Checkerboard series are favorites in elementary libraries, appealing to a wide range of grades and reading proficiencies. Each series has a template for the chapters and information and often use the same or similar content for a large proportion of general material. In the newest Dogs set, the first chapter entitled The Dog Family contains the same information about the Canidae family, 12000-year history of dogs & humans together before giving breed specific information. The writing is varied but there is nothing to make these books stand out in any way. Chapters cover the breed’s history, temperament, physical description, standard and specialized care, preferred activities and needs, food and puppies. Specific information about beagles includes their excellent sense of smell and high need for companionship and love, high activity level and need for at least two hours of exercise a day. While the bulk of the information is standard, the stock photographs are endearing and students will flock to check these out. If your library has the money, Checkerboard animal books are always a solid purchase. Glossary, index and publisher website links included.
Old English Sheepdogs
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Finne, Stephanie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 02, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Abdo’s Checkerboard series are favorites in elementary libraries, appealing to a wide range of grades and reading proficiencies. Each series has a template for the chapters and information and often use the same or similar content for a large proportion of general material. In the newest Dogs set, the first chapter entitled The Dog Family contains the same information about the Canidae family, 12000-year history of dogs & humans together before giving breed specific information. The writing is varied but there is nothing to make these books stand out in any way. Chapters cover the breed’s history, temperament, physical description, standard and specialized care, preferred activities and needs, food and puppies. Specific information about the Old English Sheepdogs includes explaining the difference between appearances and grooming for show and working/family dogs, high energy and herding instincts, need for constant grooming and susceptibility to joint trouble and diabetes. While the information is standard, the stock photographs are endearing and students will flock to check these out. If your library has the money, Checkerboard animal books are always a solid purchase. Glossary, index and publisher website links included.
Yorkshire Terriers
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Finne, Stephanie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 02, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Abdo’s Checkerboard series are favorites in elementary libraries, appealing to a wide range of grades and reading proficiencies. Each series has a template for the chapters and information and often use the same or similar content for a large proportion of general material. In the newest Dogs set, the first chapter entitled The Dog Family contains the same information about the Canidae family, 12000-year history of dogs & humans together before giving breed specific information. The writing is varied but there is nothing to make these books stand out in any way. Chapters cover the breed’s history, temperament, physical description, standard and specialized care, preferred activities and needs, food and puppies. While the information is standard, the stock photographs are endearing and students will flock to check these out. Yorkshire Terriers describes the “honking sound” often made when running, high energy level, not best fit for young children, and fragile physique. If your library has the money, Checkerboard animal books are always a solid purchase. Glossary, index and publisher website links included
Penderwicks In Spring
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Birdsall, Jeanne
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 02, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Fans of the Penderwicks will embrace this fourth installment of the lively family this time featuring 11-year-old Batty, the youngest of the original Penderwick girls, who never knew her mother since she died shortly after her birth. As the story begins Batty is still mourning the loss of her beloved Hound and feels she somehow failed him. With the advent of a new music teacher at school she discovers she has a remarkable singing voice and though very shy determines that she’ll surprise her family on her birthday with a vocal concert assuming she can enlist Jeffrey’s help. But things get in the way of this—adored next door neighbor Nick comes home on leave delighting everyone with his no-nonsense friendship; Rosalind brings home an arrogant boy friend from college who annoys everyone; Skye rebuffs Jeffrey’s crush on her and sends him back to Boston before Batty can share her plan, but not before Batty overhears how Skye blames Batty for her mother’s death. This sends Batty into a downward spiral that she can’t share with anyone. In usual, thoughtful Penderwick style all parties play a part in uncovering what has Batty so traumatized. The wholesome family story is rewarding once again.
Dark Metropolis
Disney-Hyperion [Disney-Hyperion]
Dolamore, Jaclyn
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
August 02, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Thea, 16, lives in a world that has been torn apart by a war that took place before this book begins. She lives with her mother, who is in the process of going mad from "bound sickness" a condition of being bound to your spouse by magic, but the spouse is no longer present, which brings on the sickness. Thea and her friend, Nan, work in a restaurant where they meet Freddy and Gerick. Freddy has magical powers to bring the dead back to life, and Gerick is his manager. In this (post apocalyptic?) world, when people die or commit suicide, Freddy brings them back to life. These newly alive people become slaves living underground and this is how all of the menial jobs in the city get done. There are revolutionaries who want this practice to change, and Freddy and Thea are interested in joining them. Can Freddy break away from Gerik to set the newly alive people free? Without their needed serum, all of these freed people will die. This is a fascinating premise, but too much emphasis on unnecessary details took away from the intensity of the plot. I recommend this story for grades 7+ (graphic violence and the possibility of a lesbian romance).
Riverman
FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX (BYR) [FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX (BYR)]
Starmer, Aaron
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
August 03, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Fiona is Alistair's neighbor and she asks him to write her biography. This strikes him as odd since 1) they are not good friends and 2) they are only 11 years old. From there on out, this story gets stranger and wilder. Fiona reveals that she has a portal to another world, Aquavania, in her basement. When Fiona goes there, she can spend years at a time, which translate to no time passing at all in the real "solid" world. Fiona tells of the Riverman in Aquavania who steals children. This novel veers off into fantasy and then slides back into realistic fiction, for these stolen children really did exist in the solid world. Alistair believes he knows who in the solid world stole the children and he sets out to solve the mystery himself. I was glued to this story from page one, although I am still unsure what happened in the end! The story ended where it started, and that is intriguing, too. Beautifully written and imagined.
American Crows
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Petrie, Kristin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 04, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Checkerboard series books are favorites in elementary libraries, appealing to a wide range of grades and reading proficiencies but each set can vary widely in quality. In Backyard Animals, readers are treated to well-written, informative text matching thoughtfully selected photographs, diagrams and maps. The 32-page books cover information on the species, habitat, physical characteristics, similar species, behavior, communication, nesting or dens, diet, dangers, babies and relationship to humans. Additional features include interesting facts written on signposts, glossary, publisher website, index, and range maps. American Crows are featured in this book with brief mention of fish crows, northwestern crows, and ravens. Identifying comparisons include size, shape of talk and calls. Social instincts are revealed in foraging behavior, cooperative breeding, winter roosting, defensive mobbing, and allopreening (preening each other.)
Squirrels
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Petrie, Kristin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 04, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Checkerboard series books are favorites in elementary libraries, appealing to a wide range of grades and reading proficiencies but each set can vary widely in quality. In Backyard Animals, readers are treated to well-written, informative text matching thoughtfully selected photographs, diagrams and maps. The 32-page books cover information on the species, habitat, physical characteristics, similar species, behavior, communication, nesting or dens, diet, dangers, babies and relationship to humans. Additional features include interesting facts written on signposts, glossary, publisher website, index, and range maps. Eastern gray, American red, and eastern fox squirrels are introduced with each chapter including information similar and unique information about each species. Flying squirrels are mentioned as well. Interesting facts include squirrels vary the number of offspring depending on amount of food available, and the ability to turn their feet backwards allows them to go down trees headfirst. A full-page photograph of a squirrel labeled with standard body parts could have been better used with a chart comparing characteristics of the featured species.
Raccoons
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Petrie, Kristin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 04, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Checkerboard series books are favorites in elementary libraries, appealing to a wide range of grades and reading proficiencies but each set can vary widely in quality. In Backyard Animals, readers are treated to well-written, informative text matching thoughtfully selected photographs, diagrams and maps. The 32-page books cover information on the species, habitat, physical characteristics, similar species, behavior, communication, nesting or dens, diet, dangers, babies and relationship to humans. Additional features include interesting facts written on signposts, glossary, publisher website, index, and range maps. Raccoons are most often considered pests in areas where people live and play. They can cause serious damage in houses where they nest, eat tree fruit, get into garbage, eat fish from a koi pond and steal food from campers. But readers will also earn about raccoon’s sharing ancestors with bears and pandas, raccoon’s intelligence and curiosity, aptly shown with a photograph of a paw stretching through the chicken coop to steal eggs, and its first known mention in writing was by Christopher Columbus. Photographs of tracks, close-ups of kits as newborns and playing with each other add lots of appeal.
Sharon Creech
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Wheeler, Jill C
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 04, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Master storyteller, Sharon Creech, was the first American to win both a Newberry award and Great Britain’s Carnegie Medal for her books Walk Two Moons and Ruby Holler. Creech has authored middle grade fiction ranging from historical fiction, adventure, realistic fiction, and even a bit of magical realism, as well as books written in verse, picture books and adult novels. Abdo’s Children’s Author biography covers her childhood, education, parenthood and career path ending up as a full time writer. As many of Creech’s books are based on her experiences, this biography would be a great asset for an author study of her books. Readers will learn that the boys in Absolutely Normal Chaos are named after her brothers, the Wanderer is based on a bad storm during her daughter’s sailing trip across the Atlantic, and her first grandchild inspired Heartbeat and Granny Torrelli Makes Soup. Mention is made of some of her favorite authors and her writing process. The publisher’s website just links to the author’s website, her publishing company’s site and an interview. Missing is a timeline.
Walter Dean Myers
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Wheeler, Jill C
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 04, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Abdo’s Children’s Authors s biographies are excellent introductions for middle–grade readers. Despite a rough start in life as a foster child in a tough neighborhood in New York, Myers grew up loving to read and used these backgrounds to address difficult issues of gangs, drugs and crime in his mostly YA books. Born in 1937, his books earned five Coretta Scott King awards, Newberry Honors twice, and the first Michael L. Printz award. Despite his early reading ability, a speech impediment made him a target in school leading to fights and even suspension. Walter Dean Myers experienced his uncle’s murder, alcohol, drugs and gang violence in his life before joining the army. But it wasn’t until after his military service when he enrolled in a writer’s workshop at Columbia University, that he set on a path that led to his life’s work writing books. He was named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature where he promoted reading until his death in July 2014. This is a wonderful book to accompany an author study of his books, encourage young writers, or recommend to students facing major challenges and needing to believe in a future.
Playing With Light And Shadows
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Boothroyd, Jennifer
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
August 04, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Simple, informative statements in this early nonfiction book about light and shadows match crisp, colorful photographs. “A shadow forms where light is blocked” leads into describing and depicting the differences between opaque, translucent, and transparent materials. A photograph of a window with panels combines the opaque and transparent materials showing how the frame makes a shadow, but the glass does not. The next chapter describes shadows changing over the course of day but does not provide an explanation for why that happens – providing a good opportunity for discussion and experimenting. The book concludes with ideas for making shadow with your bodies and shadow puppets with your hands. This is great short, simple introduction to light and shadows that could be used with preschoolers, K, and first grade. Table of contents, glossary, and index are included. Inside the front cover is a web address to download teacher guides but the URL does not work and I needed to go through several steps on the publisher’s website to locate the information.
Grave Images
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Goebel, Jenny
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 06, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
How is Abbot Stein predicting the deaths of the townspeople? How is he able, ahead of their deaths, to carve their images that will adorn their gravestones? Bernie, a 12-year-old girl whose father owns the town's monument etching company, is suspicious of Mr. Stein. She and her friend, Michael, delve into the mystery surrounding this man who showed up on Bernie's father's doorstep, looking for a job. This story is told in Bernie's voice, which reminded me somewhat of Scout's voice: a bit sassy, but also humorous, smart, and unendingly curious. Bernie's mom is bedridden with the depression she suffered after baby Thomas's death. Bernie is loved by her father and live-in grandmother, but does feel lonely for the attention of her mother. Sensitive topics are dealt with well. Language and violence are minimal. Suitable for 5th to 8th grade.
Promises To Keep
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE]
Atwater-Rhodes, Amelia
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
August 07, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
It is hard for me to give this book a fair chance or review since I have not read any of the other books by Atwater-Rhodes that contributed to this one. Because her main character, Jay, a witch and vampire hunter, is based on a character in one of the other books, he (Jay) comes with his own history. In this story: Jay is a witch who shares the world with Tristes, shapeshifters, and vampires. Instead of hunting a vampire, he ends up feeling sorry for one and tries to help her when she becomes ill. Jay has one mission in life and that is to end Midnight, a world in which vampires control slaves. Is Jay compromising his own mission when he sidetracks to assist a vampire? This seems like it might be the first book in the "Jay" series, but since this book was published in 2013 and there has been nothing since, perhaps not. Atwater-Rhodes's writing is fluid and easy to read. She clearly loves these intricate worlds she has created! In the future, I would like to read one of her series from the beginning.
You'll Love Morkies
Pebble Plus/capstone Press [Pebble Plus/capstone Press]
Edison, Erin
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
August 07, 2015
Kline, Karen
One of six titles in the “Favorite Designer Dogs” series, this book features five simple lines of text on each left-facing page, and large colorful, bleed-across-gutter photos on the right-facing pages. The book describes Morkies as a specialty mix breed of dog that are a cross between the Yorkshire terrier and the Maltese (both breeds are pictured on the first page). The book goes on to describe the temperament of Morkies -- (energetic, though also likely to lapsit), their size (10 inches), their coat colors, weight, and care basics. The four page chapters are listed in a brief table of contents. Also included are a glossary of five terms including “coat,” a “read more” section with three titles, a reference to the publisher’s website Facthound.com where readers can enter the the 13-digit number unique to the book to see other books like it and three recommended internet sites, and an index. Given the very limited scope of this book as well as its brief text and cost ($25), most audiences would likely appreciate having the series contained in one book. Still, many dog fans will enjoy paging through this book if nothing more than to see the photo of the dog dressed in a hat in his mistress’s handbag.
Excavators
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Lennie, Charles
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
August 07, 2015
Kline, Karen
One of six titles from the Construction Machines series including those entitled Bulldozers, Cranes, Loaders, and more. This book features two or three sentences of simple text on left-facing pages, and bleed-across-gutter photos on the right-facing pages. The book describes the uses for the machine (digging, lifting), four of its parts (diagram included), and four different types of excavators (backhoe, compact, giant, and demolition). Six glossary terms are barely noticeable in grey scattered throughout the black text. A table of contents, “more facts” page, index, and seven-digit code for use at the publisher’s website lead readers and educators to more online activities. The reinforced binding will outlast the paper over cardboard cover. Cost is likely to prohibit most collections from owning many of these titles, so publishers might consider incorporating more series titles into one sturdier book for more breadth to make these titles more useful and accessible. Still, fans of heavy machinery will find browsing this title especially fun on the page with the photo of the dusty demolition-in-progress.
Katie's Noisy Music
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Manushkin, Fran
Lyon, Tammie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
August 07, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Katie Woo, a cute-as-a-button strong-willed little girl is a favorite with the emerging readers in my school. Bright yellow covers with a purple spine and lettering distinguish these books on an Easy Reader shelf as well as facing out. Katie loves the piano music her father plays, guitar music her friend JoJo makes, the orchestra instruments but when she tries each, it doesn’t fit her. The refrain, “But I’d like to play something of my own,” follows each instrument trial. When a kicking can sounds clinking and clanking, rain pitter-patters, and chopsticks go click-clack-click, Katie and her parents all recognize what instrument will be something of her own. The bright colorful illustrations on every page are accompanied by friendly looking text with only a few sentences and occasional paragraphs. The children in the story include Katie, an Asian American girl, JoJo, an African American friend and a Caucasian girl. With a plot that will resonate with the intended audience, Katie Woo books make great additions to any elementary libraries.
Get To Know Komodo Dragons
First Facts/capstone Press [First Facts/capstone Press]
Brett, Flora
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 08, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
First Facts books appeal and are appropriate for many elementary grade levels with larger fonts, well-written text and plentiful white space, crisp labeled photographs, additional fact boxes and glossary words defined on the same page where they appear. Komodo Dragons live only on a few Indonesian islands and mostly within protected parks and nature preserves. These reptiles were not known to the Western part of the world until 1910 and their name reflects the early stories of scary monsters called “land crocodiles.” Chapters contain the basic information necessary for animal reports including: their physical appearance, habitats and range, food and life cycle, threats and ways they are being protected. The book concludes with a photograph showing a komodo dragon swallowing a wild boar and the tidbit that they can eat half their body weight in less than 20 minutes but also throw up the food if they need to run from danger. Glossary, Read More, Publisher portal to websites, index and two Common Core questions are included. One question is recall based and one requires some integration and comparison.
Your Muscular System Works!
First Facts/capstone Press [First Facts/capstone Press]
Brett, Flora
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 08, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
First Facts books appeal and are appropriate for many elementary grade levels with larger fonts, well-written text with plenty of white space, crisp labeled photographs, additional fact boxes and glossary words defined on the same page where they appear. The basic information is covered in ten chapters and includes description of muscle shapes, tendons, ligaments, smooth and cardiac muscles, voluntary and involuntary muscles, and relationships to nervous, skeletal and circulatory systems. Problems and keeping muscles healthy are mentioned along with an amazing fact page describing how goose bumps occur. Illustrations show the large muscle groups covering the human body, close up of the muscles of the face and neck, photographs of kids playing sports, diagram of the nerve cell and muscle interaction, and a digitally manipulated x-ray image of an upper torso illustrating the cardiac muscles. Glossary, Read More, Publisher portal to websites, index and three Common Core questions are included. Two questions are recall based and one requires some integration and problem application.
Kids Top 10 Small Mammal Pets
Enslow Elementary [Enslow Elementary]
Gaines, Ann Graham
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 08, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The American Humane System’s updated 2015 series is attractive, well organized and very readable for a wide age range of students. Small mammals are favorite classroom pets and kids clamor for books about them. The 48-page book is divided into two sections with the first section focused on general needs of all small mammals and considerations for selecting the right pet. The second section has a two-page spread for each of the 10 small mammals and contains special boxed sections about their appearance, diet, general behavior and special needs. Several photographs compliment the text. The book concludes with tips on getting to know your pet, glossary, recommended reading and index. The small mammals discussed are the: Chinchilla, degu, ferret, gerbil, guinea pig, hamster, hedgehog, mouse, rabbit, and rat. This is an excellent book for browsing as well as helpful for selecting a pet.
When Kacey Left
RED DEER PRESS [RED DEER PRESS]
Green, Dawn
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
August 09, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This debut novel contains journal entries 16-year-old Sara Stickley writes to her best friend Kacey AKA Stones after she (Kacey) committed suicide the summer preceding their junior year in high school. The entries are part of her assigned work by her “obnoxious counselor” that she sees once a week. Through these very candid sharing of her thoughts, reactions, and feelings the reader learns as Sara does how this dramatically and forever changes the life she is left to live. Best friends since 3rd grade the two had started to drift apart a bit due to Kacey’s moods, but Sara was still in awe of her talented, creative, straight-shooting friend. Sara’s writer’s voice seems very true and captures the essence of a teenage girl struggling to come to terms with the loss of her friend and others’ reactions to her now. There is progress in the months from August to May with changing friendships and new people who enter Sara’s life. The book concludes with suicide information and resources followed by an interview with this Canadian author in her very promising debut that is well worth reading. Grades 7 or 8 through 12.
World Within : A Novel Of Emily Bronte
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS]
Eagland, Jane
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
August 09, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
This is a novel of Emily Bronte, not a biography. You have to know that before diving into this book. Emily's life is lovingly crafted by Jane Eagland (Wildthorn) who weaves a story based on actual events, but, as Eagland states, not necessarily in the order they actually happened. If a young person picked up this book because he or she enjoyed historical stories of families/England/the moors/life in Britain in the 19th century, he or she might enjoy the story even knowing nothing about the Brontes (or, it may stir an interest in the reader). Having read Bronte biographies, I did like the parts of Emily's life that I recognized: her home in Howarth, her love for her sisters, Branwell's struggle with finding a career, Papa's love for his children. Two parts came as surprises to me and I would like to explore them further: 1) Emily was an intense introvert and 2) she wrote the Gondal stories with her sister, Anne. What has happened to those stories, no one knows. This book could be read in sixth grade and up, but I think that high school students might find it of most interest.
Get Ella To The Apollo
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Mullarkey, Lisa
Bernard, Courtney
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 10, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Readers get a dose of the arts with their time travel in Abdo’s new transitional series, The Art of Time Travel. Chloe and her brother Parker are thrown back in time while waiting for a jazz concert at the famous Apollo Theatre where Ella Fitzgerald was discovered. Emerging into Harlem, November 1934 poverty surrounds the busy place where everybody is scrambling to make enough money to buy food and find shelter. Running into Ella, bedraggled with only a dream of going to the Apollo; the duo know they need to help her find her destiny. The dialogue between brother and sister tends a little too much towards discussing the future of Ella’s career or missing their Mom and wanting to return home, but overall there are enough details about Depression era Harlem to give readers a sense of the time period. A two-page biography of Ella Fitzgerald introduces Ella to readers who may not be familiar with her and sets the scene for the story. Each chapter features a full-page purple and black illustration and with large font should appeal to readers not quite ready for a full-length chapter book.
Shakespeare Saves The Globe
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Mullarkey, Lisa
Bernard, Courtney
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 10, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Readers get a dose of the arts with their time travel in Abdo’s new transitional series, The Art of Time Travel. Mason and Aubrey attend every rehearsal at the Austin Community Theatre where Mason’s mom is playing Juliet. Aubrey is trying to convince Mason that Shakespeare’s play is wonderful when they are whisked back in time to 1598 London, in William Shakespeare’s dressing room where the Romeo and Juliet is about to be performed. With plague threatening, and the landlord demanding more money, Shakespeare despairs of ever making enough money to send home and talks for quitting his playwriting career. Passing themselves off as benefactors who donated costumes, Aubrey and Mason hear the troubles and realize they can help. A two-page biography of Shakespeare introduces him to readers and sets the scene for the story. Each chapter features a full-page yellow and grey illustration and with the large font should appeal to readers not quite ready for a full-length chapter book.
Angel Tree
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Benedis-Grab, Daphne
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 10, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
If there ever was a feel-good story, this is it. It is an old-fashioned tale of a current-day community caring for its own. Every Christmas, for the last 25 years, at the direction of an anonymous donor, the Angel Tree is erected in the Pine River town square and decorated. Townspeople who need something can write their wishes on a slip of paper and hang them on the Angel Tree. Throughout the month of December, these wishes are granted: a seeing-eye dog has expensive cancer surgery, a family's house is rebuilt after a fire, a soldier mom gets to come home to visit her son. Four middle school students, Cami, Max, Joe, and Lucy, decide to find out the true identity of this generous donor. Along their search, they discover many wonderful things both about their community members and themselves. The donor's identity seemed clear to me from the beginning, and the happy-ever-after-ending is a bit pat, but overall this is a book I will recommend to students for its messages of gratitude and kindness.
Cameron And The Girls
CLARION [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Averett, Edward
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
August 11, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Cameron is a middle school student struggling with schizophreniform. His mental issues have placed him in a behavioral program at the middle school and that has increased his loneliness and isolation. When he is taking his medicine he feels lethargic, disconnected, and friendless. When he stops taking his medicine he has the company of “the professor”, “the girl” and, increasingly, a bully inside his head. When Cameron decides to not take his medicine he balances feeling connected to the voices inside his head to increasingly risky and dangerous behaviors. Eventually things come to a boiling point with a full-blown psychotic episode. However, the friendship he has with Nina, a suicidal classmate, and his relationship with his family and doctors he is able to regain some control of his life. Written by a clinical psychologist, this is an interesting novel that allows the reader to contemplate what it might be like to struggle with schizophrenia.
Winnie : The True Story Of The Bear Who Inspired Winnie-T
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Walker, Sally M
Voss, Jonathan D.
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 11, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
In 1914, Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian, was on a train moving across Canada toward a military training camp. He had been commissioned into the veterinary corps to help care for the many horses supporting WWI war effort. The train stopped at a station and Harry spotted a bear cub next to a man who had shot her mother without realizing she had a cub. On a whim Colebourne bought the bear, named her Winnipeg to become their company mascot. Winnie, as she became known, was an excellent mascot- gentle, curious and loving. When the company was sent to France, Winnie’s care was entrusted to the London Zoo. Colebourn visited when he could and, when the war was finished, made the difficult decision to have Winnie stay at the zoo. She became a prized exhibit and eventually the favorite animal to visit of a boy named Christopher Robin who in turn renamed his stuffed bear Winnie-the-Pooh after her. This is a lovely story made even more special because of the connection to the stories by A.A. Milne. End papers include wonderful photos and documents and the book includes an author’s note and sources.
Funky Fractions : Multiply And Divide
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Arias, Lisa
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 11, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
If you are looking for a clear explanation of fractions and how to work with them and don’t mind a text book like feel this might be a series to look at for your library. Though there is a bit of rhyming text (not quite sure why…) the explanations and diagrams are clear and straightforward and are supported by careful use of color and design to support understanding. One might use this to introduce fractions, but it probably would not catch student interest. Its best use would be to support re-teaching or review of the subject for students who need another clear discussion.
Space
Big Picture Press [Big Picture Press]
Rogers, Simon
Daniel, Jennifer
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 11, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Neon bright info graphics fill this book making them both eye-catching and sometimes a little hard to decipher. Topics are organized into clear tabbed sections moving in size from the universe to earth and then rounding out the offerings with one on observing and another on exploring space. Readers who take the time to slow down and study the info graphics will glean plenty of information but more casual readers will probably marvel at the attention-grabbing design more than the facts and ideas. Teachers will appreciate these to capture student attention, support understanding and start discussions about astronomy.
Great War : Stories Inspired By Items From The First World W
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Almond, David
Kay, Jim
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 11, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Eleven items ranging from a helmet, to a butter dish, to a toy soldier were the inspiration for this collection of stories about World War I. Authors include children’s, teen, and adult authors from many different countries including David Almond, Tracy Chevalier, Michael Morpurgo and Tanya Lee Stone among others. Some stories feature the item prominently and others are casual in its mention, settings range from the time of the war to the present looking back at the wars impact. The stories are thought provoking and encourage the reader to reflect on what it was like to be involved in the war but also to wonder at the extreme cost of the war for the soldiers, the home front society, and life for those involved far after Armistice Day. Give this to history buffs or to short story readers.
Lost In The Backyard
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Hughes, Alison
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 11, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Flynn is not an outdoor guy. His sister Cassie is the one who loves being out in the woods. However, when visiting family friends living far into the country Flynn is the one who, while taking is short walk in the woods, is startled by a sound, falls into a ravine and becomes lost and disoriented. Scared by the coyotes he goes further into the woods and spends three days and nights surviving by his wits and some luck. Flynn is a likeable character though occasionally the reader may cringe at his decision-making. Readers wanting a quick and accessible adventure story set in the present should be satisfied. More discerning readers may be a little disappointed in the ending (he stumbles onto a road in a subdivision and is picked up by a bus on a regular route). They might be more satisfied with two book thoroughly discussed in the book- My Side of the Mountain by George and Lost in the Barrens by Mowat.
Christmas Village
Createspace [Createspace]
Goodwin, Melissa Ann
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 11, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Jamie’s father has squandered people’s investment and then disappeared leaving he and his mother alienated and abandoned. To escape from the pressures of home they drive to his grandparent’s home in Vermont for an extra long Christmas break. However, Jamie soon finds that even hundreds of miles from home his father’s actions are known and being talked about. All he wants to do is to escape into the miniature Christmas village that his grandmother has set up. When he fall asleep on the sofa he awakes late at night to hear voices from the village. As he is watching the miniature scene come to life one of the figures, a skater, falls through the ice. When it doesn’t look like she will be rescued in time Jamie reaches out to rescue her and finds himself in village and back in time to 1932. Jamie’s visit is eventful not only does he rescue, Kelly, the ice skater, but he also becomes tangled in a mystery and kidnapping. He also needs to get back to the present and his mother. The storyline of the book is action packed though the writing is sometimes a bit uneven and would benefit from a more careful edit.
Special Delivery
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Stead, Philip C
Cordell, Matthew
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 11, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Sadie wants to send an elephant to her Great-Aunt Josephine who lives “almost completely alone.” However the postage is too expensive so she sets off to deliver the elephant on her own. They travel by plane, by water, train, and ice-cream truck running into all kinds of adventures- including crashes, alligators and bands of bandit monkeys. Eventually they arrive and safely deliver the elephant to Great-Aunt Josephine to add to her menagerie of other animals previously sent from Sadie. With delightful pen and watercolor illustrations and the tongue in check story line this should appeal to a wide audience.
John Muir Wrestles A Waterfall
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Danneberg, Julie
Hogan, Jamie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 11, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
In April 1871 John Muir hiked from his sawmill up the steep trail to Yosemite Falls. When the wind lifted the water from the rock face he stepped behind the falling water only to be trapped behind the torrent of water when the wind changed. Cold, sopping wet, and trapped he waited miserably until the wind again moved the water aside enough for him to make his way out of the dangerous predicament. Then he made his way home and huddled under his blankets to finally get warm. This small episode, which appeared in his journal, gives structure to this picture biography. More information about Muir and his relationship with Yosemite is found in sidebars and in a two-page note at the end. Includes further resources on Muir and Citations of the quotes used in the telling. This would be a useful as a resource in writing, science and biography lessons.
Look Out, Mouse!
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Bjorkman, Steve
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
August 11, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Horse is hungry when the farmer forgets to feed him. Mouse saves the day by chewing a hole in the feedbag. However, the cat, the snake, the owl, the weasel, and the fox would all like to eat him. The farm animals come to the rescue making enough noise to call the farmer outside who scares away all the predators. He also leaves the door open letting mouse come in to clean up all the spilled snacks. With short, clear sentences and funny cartoon illustrations new readers should be happy to read this again and again. Part of the “I Like to Read” series.
Explore Poetry! : With 25 Great Projects
Nomad Press [Nomad Press]
Diehn, Andi
Stone, Bryan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Professional
August 11, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
This paperback text filled with definitions, examples and projects would be a useful tool for teachers planning poetry units and might be engaging enough for young poets to want to pick up an explore on their own. Literary devices and many different poetry forms are introduced, but it is the interesting projects that will make this title most useful. Games and art projects as well as poetry writing help highlight terms and devices and allow young poets to explore poetry in ways they might not have previously encountered.
First Computers
Pebble Plus/capstone Press [Pebble Plus/capstone Press]
Peterson, Megan Cooley
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 11, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
This Pebble Plus book on the early history of computers features eight milestones in computer development. Large-scale photographs illustrate two to three sentence paragraphs on different ground breaking computers from 1939 to 1992. The events are then added to a timeline that runs along the bottom of each page. This book should fill a niche for beginning readers interested in computers. Includes a glossary, additional resources, a couple of critical thinking questions and an index.
Raven Brings Back The Sun : A Tale From Canada
RED CHAIR PRESS [RED CHAIR PRESS]
Barchers, Suzanne I
Oliynyk, Angela
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 11, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Long ago in an Inuit village the sun stopped returning. An orphan boy, tired of being ignored, confronts the shamans who are working to bring the light back, but they brush him aside. The boy decides to search for the light himself and on the advice of his wise aunt heads south. He brings with him a warm coat from his aunt and also a magical coat that he created that can transform him into a raven. He finally finds the light, which is being kept by a man far to the south. He tricks the man into believing that he will stay and help with chores in exchange for a place to stay, but as soon as the man goes inside he takes both the light and the man’s shovel. When the man gives chase the boy uses his magic coat to transform into Raven and fly the light to his home. This is a different telling of Raven and the Light than I was familiar with making it an interesting comparison. However, the character of the boy is not terribly sympathetic. This is part of the Red Chair Tales of Honor series and though the boy does show perseverance and listens and honors his aunt he also comes across as sneaky and full of himself. Not all honorable traits in my opinion.
Flow Of Water
Big & Small [Big & Small]
Yu, Da-Jeong
Jeong, Mi-Ye
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 11, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
A young girl in a cheerful red dress explores different stages of the water cycle. She watches the mist on the sea and mountains, and the dew on the leaves, looks at the clouds, and dances in the rain. She then follows a stream from its beginnings to a lake, and then to a river to the ocean and finally returns to the mist that rises from the sea. This short poetic description of the water cycle is well presented in this colorful book aimed at young readers. It would work well to support many science units.
Crown Affair
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Ransom, Jeanie Franz
Axelsen, Stephen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 11, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Joe Dumpty, the detective from Mother Gooseland, is back on the case when Jack’s crown disappears when he and Jill fall down the hill. Joe must work on a short timeline- the crown must be found and returned for the Gooseland Games to begin that very afternoon. Following clues (including running into a red herring) Joe works through the suspects, tracks down clues, and, finally, finds the thief who thinks he is safe from even Joe. However, Joe doesn’t mind asking for help and with spider’s scaring skills and Joe ability to catch the crown safely makes it to the opening of the games. This second picture book featuring Joe Dumpty and besides being a fun read will make another excellent place for teachers to show the elements of a mystery.
Story Of Juneteenth : An Interactive History Adventure
You Choose Books/capstone Press [You Choose Books/capstone Press]
Otfinoski, Steven
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 11, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Part of the You Choose Interactive History series, this book looks at the history of Juneteenth and possible ways that the event might have impacted the people who were freed from slavery at that time. It starts with an introduction of what happened on June 19th, 1865 when General Gordon Granger in Galveston, Texas freed the last slaves. Then readers are invited to choose one of three main story paths: a young man seeking a new life far away, a teenage girl searching for her family that had been sold away from her, and a young boy who must return to plantation work to help support his family. As readers make choices that impact the storyline they begin to understand the difficult choices and sometime dire consequences the newly freed blacks of the time might have faced. Fans of the series will not be disappointed and will learn more about the history of Juneteenth.
Why We Live Where We Live
Owlkids Books, Inc [Owlkids Books, Inc]
Vermond, Kira
Mclaughlin, Julie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 11, 2015
Thrall, Joy A.
There are a lot of complicated factors that go into deciding where to live. Why We Live Where We Live explains them in a well-organized manner that is accessible for middle-elementary students. Each two-page spread explores a different factor influencing why people, including both communities and individuals, live where they do. These topics include food, water, language, transportation, work, city planning, money, natural disasters, and even happiness. While the text directly addresses key social studies concepts, it does so in an engaging way, with interesting examples, lively illustrations, and connections to which students will be able to relate.
My Three Best Friends And Me, Zulay
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Best, Cari
Brantley-Newton, Vanessa
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 11, 2015
Thrall, Joy A.
Zulay attends school with her three best friends. According to the refrain at the beginning and end of the book, the four girls "help each other" and "help themselves." They skip together down the hall, help each other in math, and excitedly choose events for field day. Zulay is just like the rest of her classmates, except she is blind. While her classmates go to PE, she works with Ms. Turner to learn how to use her cane. Zulay doesn't like being apart from her class, and her cane is frustrating, but she finds out that all kids struggle, and perseverance pays off. The positive portrayals of different abilities and races/ethnicities make this an excellent choice for incorporating more diversity in a collection.
Book Of Three
Square Fish [Square Fish]
Alexander, Lloyd
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 11, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Taran wants new skills and adventures on the Prydain estate where he lives, but Dallben, the wizard tells him he is not ready. However, when Hen Wen the prophesizing pig runs away and Taran goes after him he finds himself on a high-stakes journey to save the country from the evil Horned King who is working to take over the land for the dark ruler Arwen. Full of adventures, and likeable characters this coming of age tale is timeless. If your library does not have a copy, or if the copy is battered, this new 50th Anniversary edition with an introduction by Shannon Hale should be strongly considered for purchase.
Three Pickled Herrings
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Gardner, Sally
Roberts, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 11, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
The Fairy Detective Company, Wings & Co. is back with a second mystery. When Sir Walter Cross shoots up into the air and disappears a chain of events including body transformations, pots of gold, and fairy godmothers begins. Luckily, Emily Vole and her partners are on the case. The story is a bit convoluted and plenty goofy. It features goblins, elves, fairies and a talking cat along with the humans and it clips along entertainingly. It should satisfy readers who like quirky magic and who don’t mind bouncing about in a story. Fun spot illustrations add to the appeal.
Life, Animated : A Story Of Sidekicks, Heroes, And Autism
Disney Editions [Disney Editions]
Suskind, Ron
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
August 11, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
In this deeply personal non-fiction book Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Suskind tells the story of his son Owen who just before his third birthday slipped into profound autism. The only consistent time Owen was calm was when he watched Disney animated films, and slowly the family learned to use these films to connect with Owen, then to draw him out of his inner life and into the larger world, and finally to appreciate the rich inner Owen built using the characters and stories. The book is a testament to the power of the inner spirit and life of Owen and his impact on his family. It also shows the sustained, intensive resources that may be needed to really allow some highly impacted autistics to flourish. Owen may have touched his family deeply as he grew up, but their immense dedication in time, hard work and money allowed him to become who he is today. A fascinating read about autism.
Snaring The Trumpet
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Cobb, Amy
Cattish, Anna
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 11, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Seventh grade has arrived and Yulia and Davis are finally able to join the band. Such is the setting for Magic Wagon’s Band Geeks series targeting readers not quite ready for full-length chapter books. In Sharing the Trumpet, both friends want to play the trumpet but are forced to shadow other instrument players when the section is already full. Yulia shows a talent for the flute and clarinet. Davis though tries to fail and is unable to produce a decent sound with every instrument he tries. Heart set on the trumpet, frustration and anger builds as Davis endures teasing about his nicknames, parents and band t-shirts and when he pounds the drums so hard and fast, the band director declares that he has the most natural talent and passion he has seen in a long time. When the trumpet becomes available Davis must choose between percussion and his dream. Common themes of teasing, mild bullying, having your dreams thwarted and plans going awry will resonate with the intended audience. Plentiful black & white, anime style digital drawings break up the larger font and double-spaced text appealing to struggling readers as well. Other books in the series focus on different characters’ dilemmas.
Dude, Where's My Saxophone?
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Cobb, Amy
Cattish, Anna
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 11, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Zac Wiles and the Benton Bluff Junior High band are going to a summer music camp with other bands. On arrival though, Zac’s joking manner lands him in a biting exchange and bet with players from another school over who would win the trophy at Sound Off. But when music, Zac’s saxophone and others’ instruments go missing at critical moments, Zac is accused of going too far with his practical jokes. Shunned by his own band members and even blamed by Mr. Byrd, the band director, Zac is determined to find the real culprit. Common themes of teasing, mild bullying, being blamed for something you did not do, and friendship challenges will resonate with the intended audience. Plentiful black & white, anime style digital drawings break up the larger font and double-spaced text appealing to struggling readers as well. Other books in the series focus on different characters’ dilemmas.
Notes From A Pro
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Cobb, Amy
Cattish, Anna
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 11, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Kori Neal’s school loaner trombone looks old and beat up besides Jack Cassilly III brand new sparkling one. Jack takes advantage of every moment to criticize, tease and put down Kori, despite her excellent musical skills. Kori is determined to find a way for her and other students with school –loaners to have a chance at getting new instruments but fund-raisers don’t net much. Kori stops by the new music store and meets the owner, a famous local jazz musician, and despite the bleak outlook for a new instrument, her growing friendship with Rube opens new possibilities for not only Kori, but also Jack and other band members. Magic Wagon’s Band Geeks series targets readers not quite ready for full-length chapter books but beyond Magic Tree House. Common themes how to deal with put downs, mild bullying, jealousy, and friendship challenges will resonate with the intended audience. Plentiful black & white, anime style digital drawings break up the larger font and double-spaced text appealing to struggling readers as well. Other books in the series focus on different characters’ dilemmas.
Sock Monkey Takes A Bath
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Bell, Cece
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 11, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Sock Monkey has been nominated for an Oswald award for Best Supporting Toy in a Motion Picture. However, right on the invitation it says that nominees must be clean and sock monkey is filthy! Luckily sock monkey has friends to help him. Miss Bunn flies him to a warm hot springs where wild monkeys very gently scrub him with mild soap. Froggie helps him rinse in pure water, and Blue Pigg takes him to the desert to dry in the hot sun. In his tuxedo at the awards Sock monkey makes a splash on the red carpet. Unfortunately, he does not win the award he was nominated for. After his initial disappointment sock monkey decides to celebrate anyway which becomes easier when he wins a special award as the cleanest nominee and graciously thanks his friends. With its charming pictures and friendly characters this story is good clean fun and sock monkey fans should be happy to meet him in the first of his adventures. Sock Monkey and his friends are based on real life stuffies. If you go to Cece Bell’s website you can see photos of them. This is a reprint of a 2003 book.
Sock Monkey Rides Again
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Bell, Cece
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 11, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Sock Monkey has been offered a leading role in a cowboy movie. He will be able to yodel, ride a horse and lasso a cow. However he will also need to kiss the leading lady and Sock Monkey is not so sure he wants to do that. His friends help him practice singing, yodeling, riding and lassoing, but can’t help with the kiss. During filming all is going well but when it is time for the big kiss he chickens out and in doing so hurts his co-stars feelings. Sock Monkey tries to apologize, but finally realizes that he can fix everything by kissing her on the cheek. Luckily the kiss is caught on film and is perfect. Fans of Sock Monkey will enjoy this third adventure reprinted from an original 2007 book.
Sock Monkey Boogie-Woogie : A Friend Is Made
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Bell, Cece
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 11, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Sock Monkey really wants to go to the big dance, but all his friends will be out of town. He decides to advertise for a dance partner, but none of them is the right fit. When his friends send him gifts (a sweater and hat from Miss Bunn, a pair of giant argyle socks from Blue Pig, and a box of cotton from Froggie’s family farm) sock monkey decides to take things into his own hands. He cuts and sews and creates Sock Buddy another sock monkey! They work on their dance moves and become the life of the party at the dance. When his friends return he is pleased to introduce them to sock buddy who they welcome into their group of toys. Fans of Sock Monkey will enjoy this second adventure reprinted from a 2004 book.
Fun Halloween Crafts
Enslow Elementary [Enslow Elementary]
Robinson, Fay
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 13, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Enslow’s colorful Kid Fun Holiday Crafts books each contain 10 crafts that will appeal to middle and upper elementary students. Many can be done without parent supervision and just a little help gathering supplies as the directions are clearly explained and numbered in sequence and a What You Will Need box lists supplies. Inset pictures show each of the steps but are not labeled to match the written directions. Templates for some of the crafts are gathered on the pages immediately following the crafts. Each craft includes a Holiday Hint to suggest activities to do with the completed craft. A very brief introduction gives general information about the holiday and suggesting reading and an index are included in the back. Halloween crafts include: a pipe cleaner Hairy Tarantula, sock & felt bat puppet, plastic glove Ghoulish Helping Hand, construction paper Haunted House with flaps, shoebox Trick-or-Treat coffin, pillowcase Ghostly Guest, Halloween Pop-up Card, foam ghost puppets, hanging Bats on a Branch mobile, and a Creepy Halloween Necklace. The variety of crafts and clear directions make this a very attractive new series for an elementary library’s craft section.
Celebrate Valentine's Day With Paper Crafts
Enslow Elementary [Enslow Elementary]
Mcgee, Randel
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 13, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Celebrate Holidays with Paper Crafts is one of two holiday craft series Enslow has recently released and interestingly this one targeting younger readers is the longer! This is due to the much larger font and pictures, so less information is seen on each page. Each book begins with a two-page general introduction to the holiday and some specific ways of celebrating in different countries. Eight craft projects are introduced by a short description about how the craft relates to the holiday and include a “What you will Need” list and numbered steps paired with a large colorful illustration. Directions are clear and sequential and the many templates needed for the projects follow all eight projects. Other back material includes a Read About list, author’s web site URL, index, and a two-page introduction to the author. Valentine’s Day crafts include: a Cupid Figure, 3-D Heart Sculpture, Lacy Heart Card, Pop-up Heart Card, Valentine Heart Crown, 3-D Heart Flowers, Valentine Heart Pop-up Puppet, and a Danish Woven Heart Basket. With some reading and cutting assistance even younger children can enjoy these crafts and more capable readers will be able to work on their own. Compare with Kid Fun Holiday Crafts.
Celebrate Halloween With Paper Crafts
Enslow Elementary [Enslow Elementary]
Mcgee, Randel
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 13, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Celebrate Holidays with Paper Crafts is one of two holiday craft series Enslow has recently released and interestingly this one targeting younger readers is the longer! This is due to the much larger font and pictures, so less information is seen on each page. Each book begins with a two-page general introduction to the holiday and some specific ways of celebrating in different countries. Eight craft projects are introduced by a short description about how the craft relates to the holiday and include a “What you will Need” list and numbered steps paired with a large colorful illustration. Directions are clear and sequential and the many templates needed for the projects follow all eight projects. Other back material includes a Read About list, author’s web site URL, index, and a two-page introduction to the author. Halloween crafts include: a moving Scarecrow Jumping Jack, hanging Flying Bat, 3-D Haunted House, a paper Bat and Ghost Chain, a Standing Little Witchie, Sitting Black Cat, wearable Skull Headdress, and wearable Goofy Goggles. With some reading and cutting assistance even younger children can enjoy these crafts and more capable readers will be able to work on their own. Compare with Kid Fun Holiday Crafts.
Celebrate Day Of The Dead With Paper Crafts
Enslow Elementary [Enslow Elementary]
Mcgee, Randel
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 13, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Celebrate Holidays with Paper Crafts is one of two holiday craft series Enslow has recently released and interestingly this one targeting younger readers is the longer! This is due to the much larger font and pictures, so less information is seen on each page. Each book begins with a two-page general introduction to the holiday and some specific ways of celebrating in different countries. Eight craft projects are introduced by a short description about how the craft relates to the holiday and include a “What you will Need” list and numbered steps paired with a large colorful illustration. Directions are clear and sequential and the many templates needed for the projects follow all eight projects. Other back material includes a Read About list, author’s web site URL, index, and a two-page introduction to the author. Day of the Dead crafts include: Paper Marigolds, Skeleton Candy Basket, Happy Skeleton Figures, Skeleton Pets, paper clothes for the skeletons, Skull Mask, Papel Cortado Window Banners, and Aztec Animal Decorations. With some reading and cutting assistance even younger children can enjoy these crafts and more capable readers will be able to work on their own.
Celebrate Christmas With Paper Crafts
Enslow Elementary [Enslow Elementary]
Mcgee, Randel
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 13, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Celebrate Holidays with Paper Crafts is one of two holiday craft series Enslow has recently released and interestingly the longer one targets younger students! This is due to the much larger font and pictures, so less information is seen on each page. Each book begins with a two-page general introduction to the holiday and some specific ways of celebrating in different countries. Eight craft projects are introduced by a short description about how the craft relates to the holiday and include a “What you will Need” list and numbered steps paired with a large colorful illustration. Directions are clear and sequential and the many templates needed for the projects follow all eight projects. Other back material includes a Read About list, author’s web site URL, index, and a two-page introduction to the author. Christmas crafts include: a 3-D Christmas Tree, paper plate Holly Wreath, 3-D Little Santa, Pop-Up Chimney Card, standing Santa’s Reindeer, photograph ornament, snowflakes, and a Paper Plate Angel. With some reading and cutting assistance even younger children can enjoy these crafts and more capable readers will be able to work on their own. Compare with Kid Fun Holiday Crafts.
Celebrate Chinese New Year With Paper Crafts
Enslow Elementary [Enslow Elementary]
Mcgee, Randel
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 13, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Celebrate Holidays with Paper Crafts is one of two holiday craft series Enslow has recently released and interestingly this one targeting younger readers is the longer! This is due to the much larger font and pictures, so less information is seen on each page. Each book begins with a two-page general introduction to the holiday and some specific ways of celebrating in different countries. Eight craft projects are introduced by a short description about how the craft relates to the holiday and include a “What you will Need” list and numbered steps paired with a large colorful illustration. Directions are clear and sequential and the many templates needed for the projects follow all eight projects. Other back material includes a Read About list, author’s web site URL, index, and a two-page introduction to the author. Chinese New Year’s crafts includes: Dancing Dragon Puppet, Tangram puzzle, Lion Dancer Mask, Lai See, Red Gift Envelope, Shadow Puppets, Chinese Lantern, Firecracker Decoration, and a Chinese symbol Banner. With some reading and cutting assistance even younger children can enjoy these crafts and more capable readers will be able to work on their own. This is sure to be a winner in your library.
Fun Mother's Day Crafts
Enslow Elementary [Enslow Elementary]
Erlbach, Arlene
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 13, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Enslow’s colorful Kid Fun Holiday Crafts books each contain 10 crafts that will appeal to middle and upper elementary students. Many can be done without parent supervision and just a little help gathering supplies as the directions are clearly explained and numbered in sequence and a What You Will Need box lists supplies. Inset pictures show each of the steps but are not labeled to match the written directions. Templates for some of the crafts are gathered on the pages immediately following the craft. Each craft includes a Holiday Hint to suggest activities to do with the completed craft. A very brief introduction gives general information about the holiday and suggesting reading and an index are included in the back. Mother’s Day Crafts include: Bath Salts, Cupcake liner magnets, Flower Photo Card, Decoupage Candy Cup, craft foam & index card Handy Memo Book, CD case photo frame, Garden in a jar, Memory Plate, Jigsaw Puzzle Frame, and paper plate Tulip Sun Catcher. I was not as impressed with these crafts as in other books but still the variety and clear directions make this a very attractive new series for an elementary library’s craft section.
Fun Valentine's Day Crafts
Enslow Elementary [Enslow Elementary]
Erlbach, Arlene
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 13, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Enslow’s colorful Kid Fun Holiday Crafts books each contain 10 crafts that will appeal to middle and upper elementary students. Many can be done without parent supervision and just a little help gathering supplies as the directions are clearly explained and numbered in sequence and a What You Will Need box lists supplies. Inset pictures show each of the steps but are not labeled to match the written directions. Templates for some of the crafts are gathered on the pages immediately following the crafts. Each craft includes a Holiday Hint to suggest activities to do with the completed craft. A very brief introduction gives general information about the holiday and suggesting reading and an index are included in the back. Valentine’s Day Crafts include: paper Bag of Valentine Wishes, poster board Friendship Necklace, doily Fold-Up Valentine Surprise, toilet paper roll and felt napkin rings, Valentine Cat, Lacy Valentine Bookmark, Love bug card, Heart Ornament, Valentine Butterfly Paper Clip, and a paper plate Sun Catcher Heart. The variety of crafts and clear directions make this a very attractive new series for an elementary library’s craft section.
Fun St. Patrick's Day Crafts
Enslow Elementary [Enslow Elementary]
Gnojewski, Carol
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 13, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Enslow’s colorful Kid Fun Holiday Crafts books each contain 10 crafts that will appeal to middle and upper elementary students. Many can be done without parent supervision and just a little help gathering supplies as the directions are clearly explained and numbered in sequence and a What You Will Need box lists supplies. Inset pictures show each of the steps but are not labeled to match the written directions. Templates for some of the crafts are gathered on the pages immediately following the crafts. Each craft includes a Holiday Hint to suggest activities to do with the completed craft. A very brief introduction gives general information about the holiday and suggesting reading and an index are included in the back. St. Patrick’s Day crafts include: Celtic alphabet Ogham Message Sticks, Celtic Jewelry, plastic lid Celtic Designs, embroidery hoop Bodhran (Irish drum), Irish Shamrock, Irish Lace Hand Fan, Blarney Stones, paper cup Wee One Puppet, Rainbow Pencil topper, and a marble & box, Snake Eyes Game. I was not as impressed with these crafts as in other books but still the variety and clear directions make this a very attractive new series for an elementary library’s craft section.
Fun Thanksgiving Day Crafts
Enslow Elementary [Enslow Elementary]
Erlbach, Arlene
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 13, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Enslow’s colorful Kid Fun Holiday Crafts books each contain 10 crafts that will appeal to middle and upper elementary students. Many can be done without parent supervision and just a little help gathering supplies as the directions are clearly explained and numbered in sequence and a What You Will Need box lists supplies. Inset pictures show each of the steps but are not labeled to match the written directions. Templates for some of the crafts are gathered on the pages immediately following the crafts. Each craft includes a Holiday Hint to suggest activities to do with the completed craft. A very brief introduction gives general information about the holiday and suggesting reading and an index are included in the back. Thanksgiving crafts include: film canister Miniature Pilgrims, paper plate Rocking Miniature Mayflower, pipe cleaner Beaded Corn Pin or Magnet, construction paper Fall Tree Collage, baby food jar Glitter Globe, paper plate & tissue paper Leaf Plaque, fabric & straw Scarecrow, toilet paper tube Pumpkin Napkin Rings, construction paper Thankfulness Book, and cupcake liner Turkey Place Cards. The variety of crafts and clear directions make this a very attractive new series for an elementary library’s craft section.
Dante Of The Maury River
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Amateau, Gigi
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 17, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
The colt, Dante Inferno, died during birth but was roughly brought back to life with needles and all sorts of medical interventions. Retaining the vision of a peaceful meadow he was torn from, Dante is distrustful of everyone and feeling pressure to carry on the lineage of his Triple Crown winning Grandfather, he kicks, bites and refuses to cooperate. Dante tells his story explaining each incident of striking out, as well as his cooperative response to the few people who observe and listen to what relaxes him. Failing to be bought by any racing stable and failing at the tracks, Dante is sent to a Thoroughbred Rescue facility where a prisoner, John is matched and tasked with training him to be a family horse. Luckily for Dante, Mrs. Maiden’s student protégé Ashley talks her into purchasing him for the stables. Will Dante be able to use this second chance, accept training, friendship with other horses and finally learn to trust? Horse lovers will love this and two preceding books from the Maury Stable series. Readers competing in dressage will especially like the detail provided. Recommended.
Madman Of Piney Woods
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Curtis, Christopher Paul
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 17, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Christopher Paul Curtis wrote this as a companion novel, not sequel, to Elijah of Buxton. In this current story, Elijah, 13, is following his dream to be a newspaper journalist. He finds himself involved in mischief at every turn, too, but his parents keep a tight rein on him. When Elijah meets Red, a white boy who aims to be a scientist, Elijah is not too what to make of him. The two wind up solving a heinous crime that has been committed in the woods between their two towns by relying on each others' strengths: logic, knowledge, trust, and compassion. Set in 1901, the historical fiction in the novel includes not only the Canadian all-Black town of Buxton, but the plight of the Irish who fled the potato famine in Ireland and sought a new life in Canada, and the brutality of the American Civil War. This may be a tough read for fifth and sixth grade students due to Curtis's extensive vocabulary and his use of the vernacular, but students who persevere and read it will be well-rewarded. It could also make a great read aloud as it has numerous points for discussion (and it is humorous!).
SOMEDAY DANCER
CHICKEN HOUSE [SCHOLASTIC]
RUBIN, SARAH
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 17, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Rubin pens historical fiction that focuses on the 1950s, the era when Martha Graham is just exiting the dancing world. (Her unique and stunning creativity will remain, but Graham herself had to give in as principal dancer, finally, to age.) The story begins with Casey, a high school student, who lives with her mother and grandmother (father was killed in the Korean War) in small-town Georgia. Her family is dirt poor, but Casey dreams of being a dancer. At school, a new girl, "Priss" Ann-Lee, also aspires to dance. The two girls go to New York to audition; Ann-Lee is accepted to the School of American Ballet (studying under Balanchine), but Casey, who has had no formal training, is turned away with a hint that she should take a look at Martha Graham's studio. When Casey goes there, she discovers it is a natural fit: Martha approves of her style, and her dance training begins. Rubin writes descriptively about 1950s New York, dance (she herself is a dancer), and rural Georgia. My only hesitation is that Rubin starts intriguing threads (romance, complex family relationships), but they are not woven back into the story again. Otherwise, this is a superb read that I will recommend to my students in fifth grade and up.
Stay Where You Are & Then Leave
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Boyne, John
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 17, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Alfie’s father George is off fighting in WWI, Joe Patience is being called a conchie (conscientious objector), and the Janáček’s have been dragged off in an army van as potential foreign spies, when nine-year old Alfie realizes he can earn money by shining shoes. Letters have stopped coming from his father and his mother, always exhausted from working as a nurse, taking in laundry and sewing, will only say he is on a secret mission. But one day as he shines shoes, Alfie discovers his father is a patient in a nearby hospital being treated for shell shock and furious at his mother’s lying decides to visit. What unfolds is a story of the horrors of war, family bonds, patriotism, friends, and ultimately the power of love. John Boyne, the author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, tackles the topic of “shell shock” now known as PTSD, affecting thousands of returning veterans. This is not your typical war story as it focuses on the Home Front rather than battles and action, but would make a good read aloud with plentiful material for discussion and research topics.
Lucky Strike
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS]
Pyron, Bobbie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 17, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
“Bad luck seemed to dog Nate Harlow’s heels like his long-lost hound.” So when lightning strikes him on his birthday, no one is surprised. That is until his luck seems to change, as newspaper headings proclaim the Miracle Boy was one very lucky kid to have survived. His best friend and trailer park neighbor, Gen, a science fiend and loggerhead turtle protector, are best buddies as both are targets for bullying and scapegoating at school. But popularity follows Nate after his luck changes and he must choose between his friend Gen and his newly found acceptance. When the birth of the loggerheads coincides with the forecasted direct hit of a massive hurricane, finding Gen or staying in safety confronts Nate. Can miracles visit the same town again? This heartwarming account of finding oneself, discovering true friendship, and the power of miracles will appeal to the fans of Three Times Lucky and readers who appreciate realistic characters with just a suspicion of improbable happenings. Starred review in SLJ and favorable reviewed elsewhere.
Dead In The Water
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Lynch, Chris
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
August 17, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Brothers Hank and Theo share a love of baseball and a decision to enlist after Pearl Harbor was attacked. But Pop forces them to join different services to reduce chances of both dying. Hank stays with the Navy and Theo selects the Air force. Before parting ways on the bus, Theo hands both mitts to Hank saying they should not be separated. This gritty, intense, WWII historical fiction is told in the first person by Hank as he faces the terrifying experiences of battle, makes friends through baseball, and learns of the awful discrimination against African-Americans soldiers. When the Yorktown is attacked in the Battle of the Midway, Hank is rescued but volunteers to re-board the Yorktown as part of the salvage crew. Unfortunately the nearby destroyer Hamman, helping in the salvage mission, is torpedoed leaving readers to wonder if Hank survives or not. Stock up on nonfiction WWII books as this gritty, nonstop action historical fiction will spark research.
Case Of The Vanishing Emerald
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Webb, Holly
Lindsay, Marion
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 17, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Maisie Hitchins and her canine friend Eddie live with her Grandmother in her multistory boarding house, helping with chores, and the boarders but are longing for another mystery to turn up. When a boarder’s actress friend Lila Massey loses a valuable and famous emerald necklace given to her by her betrothed, they ask Maisie to help out as a dresser at the theatre and to search for the missing necklace. Lila is terrified that her beau will call off the wedding unless the necklace is found and can barely act her part. Worst of all, stories of a curse following the necklace seem to be coming true as red paint is thrown all over Lila’s reviews on the theatre window and Maisie finds itching powder in Lila’s face powder and a hat pin in the grease paint. Hints of jealousy, and spite surface as Maisie and Eddie poke around and she becomes certain this is no curse, but a deliberate plan to ruin Miss Lila. Plentiful pen & ink drawings break up the short chapters and the wide spacing and large font is friendly for readers transitioning to full-length chapter books.
The Shark Curtain
Black Sheep [Black Sheep]
Scofield, Chris
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
August 19, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This original tale is told from Lily’s point of view navigating age 13 to 16 as a “weirdo”, labeled as schizophrenia and personality disorders with many signs of being on the spectrum. Very bright, sensitive, well read Lily, lives in Portland, OR, with her caring, but less than perfect parents and a younger sister. Lily’s weirdness shows in many ways—an extremely active fantasy life (jungle in closet, feeling she’s a dog and has to growl or bark, and constant interactions with an unwanted Jesus, who comes in different bodies.) Her beautiful, sexy, artist mom survived the Holocaust but requires happy pills and alcohol to get her through the day. Her father adores his wife, but has gambling problems. Neighbors prove problematic—an older teenage girl switches from best friend to ardent critic and is most likely being molested by her stepfather, who is also caught with Lily’s mother, and a neighborhood boy masturbates outside Lily’s window. The late 1960s may not be readily evident to young adult readers There is so much in this book and at times there is not a lot of plot, just moving through the months via Lily’s eyes Despite this there is much to absorb from Lily’s unique perspective in this powerful debut novel.
Reptiles : A Question And Answer Book
Pebble Plus/capstone Press [Pebble Plus/capstone Press]
Martin, Isabel
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
August 19, 2015
Jensen, Kathy
Capstone Press has published a wonderful new series, Animal Kingdom: Questions and Answers, in its Pebble Plus line. Engaging text in a question-and-answer format and full-page photography will delight as well as instruct the very young learner. Short sentence structure and controlled vocabulary will facilitate independent reading. Even though this series is written for very young readers, it has all the features a nonfiction book should have: table of contents, glossary, index, read more, and internet sites. To top it off, it lists several questions for critical thinking using Common Core. In the book, Reptiles, students will learn basic facts such as where they live, what they eat, and how they have their young. Taking it a step further, readers will learn that all reptiles have backbones, are cold-blooded, and have hard, dry skin covered with scales. This book will be hard to keep on a library shelf as young readers (especially boys), leaf through this book over and over again.
Is A Bald Eagle Really Bald?
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Rustad, Martha E H
Conger, Holli
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 19, 2015
Jensen, Kathy
"Is a Bald Eagle Really Bald?" is one of 6 books in the series, Our American Symbols, written to help children learn about the history and meaning behind some of our most important national symbols and monuments. This nonfiction narrative picture book's text and illustrations are very kid-friendly. The story's setting is a school classroom where students are studying about symbols of our country. The teacher interacts with the students, giving them background information about the bald eagle. The highlight of the lesson is getting a visit from a live bald eagle brought in by a woman who works at a raptor center. The students are, no doubt, fascinated and engaged in their learning, and young readers will do the same as they read this well-written story. Text boxes give further information, a mascot activity extends the learning, and a glossary and index round out this must-read for students of U.S. History. Websites and other books to read are provided for further study.
Monsters Of The Deep
FIREFLY BOOKS [FIREFLY BOOKS]
Bedoyere, Camilla
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
August 21, 2015
Jensen, Kathy
Readers will eagerly choose this book from the shelf due to the intriguing cover of a scary looking angler fish on a black background with shiny blue highlights. The photographs and lifelike drawings will sustain interest as children read and flip through the pages of this beautiful book. Text boxes, captions, and charts help the reader navigate through the collection of animals from the darkest depths of the ocean. Unfortunately, there are grammatical errors in sentence structure, and the layout can be a bit confusing. Firefly published this book as a flexible hardcover with large stitching, but it appears that it will hold up to frequent readings. Extensive table of contents, glossary and index round out this interesting nonfiction book about the "monsters" lurking in our deep oceans.
Stars Of Stock Car Racing
Pebble Plus/capstone Press [Pebble Plus/capstone Press]
Schuh, Mari
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
August 21, 2015
Jensen, Kathy
Capstone Press has added this new title to the Sports Stars series in its Pebble Plus line. Engaging text and full-page photography will delight as well as instruct the race car enthusiast. Short and direct sentence structure and controlled vocabulary will facilitate independent reading. Even though this series is written for very young readers, it has all the features a nonfiction book should have: table of contents, glossary, index, read more, and internet sites. Readers will learn cool facts about eight famous stock car race drivers. Additional facts in text boxes give the reader more information. This book will be checked out frequently by young readers who are budding race car drivers.
Born In The Wild : Baby Animals
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Raymos, Rick
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
August 22, 2015
Jensen, Kathy
"Born in the Wild: Baby Animals" is one of eight in the series, Close Up: On Amazing Animals, published by Rourke Educational Media. From the beginning, this book will appeal to teachers due to its full-page list focusing on before and after reading activities. In addition, a code is available to scan for related titles and more teacher resources. A photo glossary, index and suggested websites provide teachers with more tools to engage young readers. Glossy photographs, captions, maps, and large enticing print will draw readers in as they learn how animal families survive in the wild. The book gives the reader a sense of "all is well with the world" by showing how a variety of animal parents look after their young, keeping them strong, safe, and ready to survive.
DARKNESS BECOMES HER
UNKNOWN [UNKNOWN]
KEATON, KELLY
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
August 23, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
New Orleans has been separated from the United States by strong hurricanes and now it lay beyond The Rim, the borderland that divides the United States from New 2, the new moniker of New Orleans. Ari, born in New 2, but raised by a series of foster parents in the outer US, decides it is time to find out who her real mother, now deceased, was. Ari travels to New 2 and uncovers mysteries that run way deeper than she could have dreamed. Her mother had been the object of Athena's (yes, THAT Athena) anger, and Athena now starts to focus on Ari. She makes friends with the Lamarliere family of witches, some of whom are also vampires, and they are her defenders. Ari's silver hair and teak eyes now begin to make a little more sense when the origins of her family are revealed. What battle will Ari fight in the next book? I really liked the premise of this story, but too much repetition of certain phrases ("gray eyes"), and the treatment of Athena, a goddess, as an ordinary human (swearing at her and Athena acting offended), just stretched my disbelief too far.
Jeff Bezos : Founder Of Amazon.com
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Weil, Jamie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
August 23, 2015
Kline, Karen
This biography of the billionaire who changed the way the world shops is a four chapter book that introduces young readers to the turning points in Jeff Bezo’s life. Bezo was recognized for his intellect and creativity both at school and at home in his early years, and the book shares several illustrative anecdotes including one about Jeff trying to use a screwdriver at age three to turn his crib into a bed. Readers will enjoy learning about many of the interesting details of Bezo’s work leading up to the success of Amazon.com. For instance, he first registered the company’s name as “Cadabra,” a shortened part of the word “abracadabra,” but he realized that it was hard to understand and a name starting with the letter “a” would be listed closer to the top of search lists on the internet. Sidebars, captioned color photos, a timeline, and more make the book a page-turner and nice reference for research. The irony of reading a print book about the man who launched the Kindle online and its disruption of the brick-and-mortar independent bookstores may be lost on some readers even though the author acknowledges that “Amazon didn’t apologize.” A solid choice with local interest.
Can't Look Away
POINT SIGNATURE [POINT SIGNATURE]
Cooner, Donna
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
August 24, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Realistic story of a teen girl, obsessed with her own fashion vlog and being in the popular group, whose younger sister dies in an accident. The story follows how the family copes with the death and the difficult, up and down process the coping takes. The author does not sugar coat the facts, nor does she handle anything with needless brutal honesty. She gently demonstrates that one learns much about oneself and "friends" during the journey of grieving. I would feel confident handing this over to a sixth grader or above.
Patterns At The Zoo
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
Felix, Rebecca
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
August 24, 2015
Kline, Karen
Pattern recognition is introduced using simple text and bold, colorful photos in this book. Keywords like “core,” “repeat,” and “order” are bolded in the text and repeated in the brief glossary. The book is instructive and gives prompts on some pages that may help educators and parents discuss topics. For instance, the book shows a photo of a dolphin with a ball, and it reads, “Its ball is red, white, blue, white. Rewrite this core using letters.” A non-example is given that depicts a colorful parrot, and readers are told that because the colors do not repeat it does not show a color pattern. Young readers with some knowledge and vocabulary related to patterns may find the book’s text of interest, but the target audience is likely to desire text that informs more about the amazing animals rather than just their patterns. The engaging photos of the snake, crocodile, lemur and others will get readers to pick up this book, but without a true purpose for learning about patterns some new readers will probably just browse. Purchase if basic pattern books are needed in the collection.
Cheer Up, Mouse!
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Henry, Jed
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
August 25, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Before Chipmunk delivers what's needed most, a host of woodland animals do their best to cheer up Mouse. Charming illustrations of the adorable antics accompany the well chosen words in this preK-K picturebook. Bird suggests "Flap and flutter, dip and dive-Cheer up, Mouse!" but Frog tugs Mouse away saying "Dizzy heights are for the birds. I can wash those tears away." with a "Splash and paddle, wash and wade- Cheer up, Mouse!" The pattern repeats as Rabbit tries, "Leap and lope, hop and jump, Cheer up, Mouse!" Mole digs, Squirrel climbs, Bluebirds chirp, Badger chomps, Hedgehog rolls. But it is Chipmunk who gets it right; and simply gives his little buddy what he needs most. A great way to spark conversations of empathy and the power of quiet. Fun to read and re-read aloud as kids will want to join in the repetitive text that teachers will appreciate for the simple active verbs. Reminiscent of Denise Fleming's work and a recommended purchase.
Justine Mckeen Vs. The Queen Of Mean
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Brouwer, Sigmund
Whamond, Dave
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 25, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Justine McKeen, the Queen of Green, returns for her sixth adventure ready to do a schoolyard Earth Day project with her pals at school. Her earnest environmentalism is interrupted by a new girl, Savannah Blue, who has a mean mouth and sarcastic streak that gets on peoples' nerves. When their teacher assigns Justine and Savannah to a collaborative Earth Day project to show why it's important to care for the environment. Fortunately, Justine's empathy towards nature also includes human nature and Savannah manages to capture two great moments on her iPad-a nest of baby birds being fed and a classmate mistakenly tasting deer poop- which are highlights of their final collaborative video presentation. Links to websites and several free apps for mobile devices encourage students to get outdoors and enjoy nature themselves. Free teachers guide at Orcabooks.com make a short, easy breezy read for high 2nd through 4th graders readers.
Climate Change : Our Warming Earth
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Hand, Carol
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
August 25, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
ABDO's History of Science series examines seismology, robotics, medicine, genetics, forensics, food science, epidemiology and (here) climate change with plentiful color photographs, and up to date information to add relevance and urgency to what they hope are an "Essential Library" purchase for middle and high school collections. "Climate Change: Our Warming Earth" reviews the early years of climate science from the Industrial Revolution through the end of WWII and the beginning of satellite-assisted global environmental monitoring. Scientific advances in measuring atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have risen along with concern of the impact on climate change thanks to work of a number of noted pioneer scientists and public figures who have brought urgency to the accumulating data that go into current models of global warming. Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" and efforts of environmentalist Bill McKibben are noted but with diluted even-handedness that probably owes more to a marketing strategy to make the book acceptable in areas where climate change is a hot political topic than to the scientific evidence and societal upheaval caused by the changes. Timeline, glossary, source notes, index and limited additional readings included.
Overturning Wrongful Convictions : Science Serving Justice
TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS [TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS]
Murray, Elizabeth A
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
August 26, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Murray is a forensic scientist who is looking at cases where people have been sent to prison because of mistaken eyewitness identification, prejudice, police misconduct, mishandled evidence, courtroom mistakes, inept representation, snitches, corruption and a host of other injustices. Since 1989 more than 1400 Americans have been exonerated. In this book Murray charts the course of a person who enters the criminal justice system including arrest, arraignment, trail, plea deals, verdicts, and appeals and explains the potential for error at every stage. She notes that approximately 40,000 to 100,000 people are wrongly behind bars. Murray also describes groups that fight wrongful convictions, like the Innocence Project, as well as ways that convicts are exonerated through advances in science, particularly in the area of DNA evidence. She uses case histories and interviews of some of those who have been exonerated through the work of groups like Project Innocence. The stories are compelling and Murray asked us as a society to learn from our mistakes and avoid more unjust convictions and the harm they cause to the individual as well as society.
Undertow
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Buckley, Michael
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
August 26, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 730 Lyric Walker lives in Coney Island, not the ideal or wonderfully quirky existence one might think because where she lives is just blocks from the Alpha – a warrior race of underwater beings with sea-creature-like qualities—have taken up residence on the beach. Their presence is fomenting hysteria, xenophobia, and violence whipped up by anti-Alpha groups. Coney Island is under the microscope and that isn’t a place that Lyric wants to be. But she is thrust into the middle of things when her high school principal taps her to be a tutor and mentor for Fathom, the battle-scarred prince of the Alpha. Yup, the Alpha are being integrated into the Lyric’s school. Insert ominous music and montage of rioting. Can Fathom adjust to the life of an American teen? Can Lyric ignore that she is drawn to him or that he is drawn to her? A further complication is her mother is secretly an Alpha, and if she is discovered, her family will be captured and secreted away to someplace horrible. Only Fathom can help her but knowing the cost to him and his people, will he? While the general community only sees the Alpha as a threat to their old way of life, they are really salvation because something far worse is out there and close.
Place Hacking : Venturing Off Limits
TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS [TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS]
Rosen, Michael J
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
August 26, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Michael Rosen says at the beginning that he is a risk averse, conflict-averse, rule-following -do-gooder who would never attempt to do any of the things he details in Place Hacking; BUT, invites us to explore with him this activity which sets out to re-explore the man-made and moral landscape of those who do the prohibited: jump from the Eiffel Tower in a wing suit, camp on the top of an abandoned penitentiary, climb up tall buildings, or investigate storm sewers. He raises the ethical questions involved. He discusses why place hackers, in solo or group, are drawn risky and often illegal challenges of urban exploration. Rosen provides a timeline of place hacking beginning with the 1793 candlelight exploration of the Paris underground through the 2014 YouTube video of two Russians shimmying up China's unfinished Shanghai Tower (2,132 feet). Rosen introduces the types of place hacking: urban camping, parkour (based on military obstacle course moves that are quick precise, and practical), buildering (like rock climbing), B.A.S.E. jumping; extreme ironing, and urban infiltration (crashing an event); the dangers involved, and attempts to help the uninitiated answer the question, “Why?” and looks for answers beyond, “Just because.”
Nightbird
WENDY LAMB BOOKS [WENDY LAMB BOOKS]
Hoffman, Alice
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
August 27, 2015
Lewis, Jo
Twig and her mother live in a New England town with a witchy history. Concealed upstairs is Twig's brother who bears the curse placed on all males in the Fowler line for the past 200 years. This curse cast by a jilted lover means that the males of the family are born with wings. Twig sets out with a new friend who is now living in the witch's house to find a solution for James that will free him from his bondage. It's a gentle fantasy, mystical but not too dark that culminates in Twig's growth and peaceful resolution to the rumors of a monster that roams the night. It is an enchanting tale. Fans of Alice Hoffman will not be the only ones delighted by this story.
Finding Serendipity
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Banks, Angelica
Lewis, Stevie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
August 29, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Tuesday McGillycuddy roller-skated out the school door and into summer anticipating and wishing for only one thing; her mother, the famous author, Serendipity Smith, would finish her latest book, bound down the stairs and set off on a well-deserved holiday with Tuesday, her dog Baxterr, and her father. Instead, they find Serendipity’s office empty and the window wide-open. Later that night, the sleepless Tuesday and Baxterr return to the office, determined to find her mother and starts typing her own story on the ancient typewriter. Silver threads of words wind their way around Tuesday’s wrists and body until she and Baxter float out the window. So starts a magical adventure in the land where stories come to life and writers visualize the book as they write it. Forced by the Librarian to live her own story’s adventure, Tuesday still manages to intersect with the world of her Mother’s book and the two stories twine. Highly imaginative, playful and just plain fun, this is a book that will appeal to the Fantasy Lite readers who like a little thrill. Written by a team of two friends in Tasmania, this is a first middle grade novel for both.
Never Ending
WENDY LAMB BOOKS [WENDY LAMB BOOKS]
Bedford, Martyn
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
August 29, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
15-year-old Siobhan, "Shiv," and her family go to Greece for the Easter holidays. While there, Shiv's brother, Declan, dies in an accident that is indirectly her fault. How can Shiv find a way to live with this guilt? When the family returns to England, Shiv is sent to a radical treatment center that forces her to look at images of her brother, both while he was alive and dead. This novel of realistic fiction is gripping, but difficult to read in places. Readers will empathize with Shiv's humanity and faults, and share her grief over the devastating loss of her brother. Due to the subject matter and some romantic scenes, I would recommend this book for grade seven and up.
Boy & The Book
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Slater, David Michael
Kolar, Bob
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
August 30, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Boy enters the library and all the books scatter with alarmed faces. Catching a blue runaway, Boy initiates shaking, dragging, and ripping out pages before tossing it away and leaving with his mother. All the other books gather to tend to his wounds and return to their shelves. Panic ensues as Boy returns and hunts for Blue Book who is madly scrambling to hide. The flat digital illustrations communicate the story in this wordless picture book about reading. The message is simple but clear. Boy’s mistreatment of books is because of his frustration in not knowing how to read. While not a particularly exciting wordless book, it could be used to introduce students to wordless books with the limited actions and large colorful illustrations. There are many more exciting wordless books available today, so unless you have a particular need, this is an additional purchase.
Fairy Tale Fun : Learn To Draw More Than 20 Cartoon Princess
Walter Foster/lerner Publications C [Walter Foster/lerner Publications C]
Garbot, Dave
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
August 30, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Standard nursery rhyme characters and a few magical creatures are included with the stock fairy tale prince, princess, fairy godmother, and Prince Charming characters in this cartoon learn to draw book. Bright, blocky illustrations introduce the needed supplies, (crayons, paper, pencils and cookies of course,) along with several pages of stock items such as hairstyles, feet, mouths, wands, and arrows that can be added to original drawings as well. Sections divide the drawings into Famous Characters, Good Guys, Not-so-good Guys and Magical Creatures with a finished full-page colored drawing on one side and the 6-8 steps on the other. The character is introduced and readers are urged to try variations on the stock drawing. Each drawing begins with 2-3 fairly simple steps before adding on more complex and detailed strokes and artists will need to pay close attention to the details for the last several steps. This part will be challenging for students who do their art with broad strokes but fun for the detail oriented and persevering ones. This is an additional purchase for an established collection and the price is quite steep for the library bound edition.
I, Fly : The Buzz About Flies And How Awesome They Are
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Heos, Bridget
Plecas, Jennifer
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
2nd grade to 4th grade
August 30, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Buzz! Buzz! Fly zooms into a classroom in the middle of a lesson about butterfly lifecycle and proceeds to take over with tales of a similar metamorphosis. Photo shopped traditional media images are mixed e with speech bubble conversations, inset pictures and a classroom background to create a dynamic, eye-catching and high-interest non-fiction book. While Fly admits that they are not an excellent classroom study insects as they carry 1,941,000 types of bacteria, cause 65 known human diseases, and could potentially create 191 quintillion, ten quadrillion offspring in just one summer, (figures quoted from the book but not fact checked), this account of it’s lifecycle is quite comprehensive and will make a great addition to any elementary school library. Explanatory text is mixed with questions and that the multicultural children take turns asking questions and Fly answers. Concluding with various ways that flies are helpful and even essential for eating poop and trash, children thankfully cheer for flies. Back material includes a glossary including fun words, select bibliography and a tribute to the three consulting experts. Bridget Heos is also the author of, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting Larvae and. . . Joeys."
Just Itzy
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Krumwiede, Lana
Pizzoli, Greg
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
August 30, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Itzy Bitzy spider is heading to school for his first day of spindergarten and no longer wants to be called Bitzy. But his older brother Gutzy though, continues to tease him on the way to school and on the playground. Itzy has trouble locating a place for his web during spinning lessons and frightens Miss Muffet and is swallowed by the Old Lady as he chases a fly. He endures a rainstorm and is swept down the waterspout but his teacher just says, “keep your eye on the fly.” Will he ever complete his first assignment? Colorful illustrations are created from pencil, India Ink, Plaka paint, and Photoshop and provide just the right amount of detail for closer reading and eye-catching drawing large enough for whole group read-alouds. Pair with a lesson on nursery rhymes for character and rhyme recognition. Or introduce Kindergarten students to the persistence needed to learn new tasks.
Trapped! : A Whale's Rescue
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Burleigh, Robert
Minor, Wendell
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
August 30, 2015
Sepessy, Lona
Off the coast of San Francisco in 2005, a humpback whale was spotted struggling to free herself from long ropes attached to crab pots. Nearby fishermen called the local marine mammal center that sent divers to help free her. Trapped: A Whale’s Rescue is a beautifully written narrative of this encounter. Despite the enormity of the task and the size differential, the divers felt safe enough to approach and start cutting through the ropes. What makes this story such a riveting one is that rather than swimming immediately away when freed, the humpback swam to each diver and gently nudged them before leaving. Striking gouache paintings show close-ups of the whale’s eye and mouth, feeding on krill and swimming past varied landscapes on it’s annual trek from the Arctic past California. Back material includes information about the true event, standard procedures in rescuing whales from nets, and humpback whale basic information and interesting facts. Four books and ten excellent websites are recommended as well. This true story is especially captivating and important here on the west coast where we regularly see whales migrating and hear of whale stranding and rogue nets.
Cherry Money Baby
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Cusick, John M
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
August 31, 2015
Tucker, Merrilyn
Cherry, a senior in high school, lives in a trailer in Sugar Village with her brother and dad, and is a smart-mouthed tough girl who prides herself on rolling a good burrito. Her boyfriend, Lucas, who lives in the trailer next door, proposes to Cherry and she accepts. This is the life she knows and loves. Then Ardelia Deen, the British movie star, comes to town and Cherry's life begins to change as she hangs out with the star and her friends. When Ardelia asks Cherry to be a surrogate mom for her for a large sum of money, Cherry realizes that losing Lucas and her own peace of mind are not worth all the money in the world. This is a fun story, full of developments and twists, that is definitely aimed at teens.