Reviews for month


Kat's Maps
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Scieszka, Jon
The Design Garage
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 02, 2015
Kline, Karen
Kat is an earthmoving motor grader with a jaunty, purple ribboned hat and eyelashes around her big headlamps. Jack is a cap hat wearing, dual exhaust flatbed big rig with a cheery smiley face for a chrome grill. Kat loves to create her own maps -- road maps, even maps of her heart. Kat makes a map for Jack. Suspense builds as Jack follows the map to see where it will lead him. This level one book from the Ready-to-Read Trucktown series has simple, accessible text for the youngest readers with one sentence (or less) on each page. The colorful, detailed illustrations show just the right amount of context for the story including pages with a compass rose, street markings, and labels for things like Kat’s house and flower box. The rugged cover and reinforced binding will last the repeated use that this popular book will get.
Anastasia At Your Service
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Lowry, Lois
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 02, 2015
Shirts, Brooke
Twelve-year-old Anastasia Krupnik is back with a lovely new reissue, featuring new covers and interior decorations by Diane deGroat. Young readers who have cut their teeth on Raina Telegemeier's graphic novels should feel right at home here -- the sweetly funny adventures of brainy, gawky Anastasia and her artistic, literary family in the suburbs of Boston feel just as relevant today as they did in the late 70s and 80s. In this volume, Anastasia attempts to liven up her boring summer by taking work as a "lady's companion" ("just like in an English mystery novel") and winds up working as a maid for a wealthy family, with many hilarious mishaps (such as Anastasia's attempt to lend herself credibility by disguising herself as someone who is "obviously forty"). Granted, some of the scenes are unavoidably dated (who places want ads in the paper?), but the real strength with these novels are the same as they ever were -- witty, introspective explorations into the thoughts and feelings of a girl in early adolescence. And that's timeless.
Anastasia Off Her Rocker
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Lowry, Lois
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 02, 2015
Shirts, Brooke
Twelve-year-old Anastasia Krupnik is back with a lovely new reissue of her books, featuring new covers and interior decorations by Diane deGroat. Young readers who have cut their teeth on Raina Telegemeier's graphic novels should feel right at home here -- the sweetly funny adventures of brainy, gawky Anastasia and her artistic, literary family in the suburbs of Boston feel just as relevant today as they did in the late 70s and 80s. In this volume (originally titled "Anastasia, Ask Your Analyst") our heroine deals with embarrassment over her "so weird" family by having sessions with Sigmund Freud -- that is, by talking to a plaster bust of Freud that she finds at a yard sale. Meanwhile, hijinks ensue as a science project involving gerbils steers out of control. Granted, some of the scenes are unavoidably dated (Anastasia complains that her mother always wears jeans, instead of dresses like the other moms), but the real strength with these novels are the same as they ever were -- witty, introspective explorations into the thoughts and feelings of a girl in early adolescence. And that's timeless.
How To Save A Species
Owlkids Books, Inc [Owlkids Books, Inc]
Baillie, Marilyn
Butcher, Ellen
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
All ages
December 02, 2015
Jensen, Kathy
How to Save a Species was originally published in the UK under the title: Very Wonderful, Very Rare: Saving the Most Endangered Wildlife on Earth. An author trio has put together a beautiful book that will fascinate readers of all ages. From amazing photographs to clearly written descriptions, this sturdy paperback is engaging from cover to cover. You will learn about a variety of animals and plants that are under the threat of extinction. Fact boxes weave consistent information on each species, asking the questions: How many left? Where do they live? What threatens them? What needs to be done? Also featured are quotes and photos of knowledgeable scientists. Colorful margin tabs provide a unique look. In addition to a glossary and index, a map of the world is shown featuring the different species described in this book. For the final touch, a unique display lays out the one hundred most endangered species on earth as selected by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), the world's oldest and largest global environmental organization, and the Zoological Society of London.
Maisy Goes On A Plane
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Cousins, Lucy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 02, 2015
Kline, Karen
Maisy the mouse is off on a plane trip to see her friend Ella. As her friend Cyril sees her off she goes through the routines that modern air travel demands -- checking bags, security, and the boarding process. A variety of animals depicted in black line, color illustrations show up for the flight and find their seats. Exit signs and seat belts are described along with a bathroom break for Maisy complete with her having to stand in line. Young readers will appreciate this introduction to air travel with a familiar character, and the peppy two-dimensional art with its wide-eyed creatures tells little fans they are in the company of a story geared just for them. This will be a welcome book for any little traveler embarking on a plane ride, and parents will surely be asked to read it multiple times.
Elephants Can't Jump!
ANDERSEN PRESS USA [ANDERSEN PRESS USA]
Willis, Jeanne
Raynolds, Adrian
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 03, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
Monkey can jump. Lion can jump, even Giraffe can jump. But, Elephant can’t jump, no matter how hard he tries. He runs as fast as he can, no. He tries something bouncy . . .” he stayed down”. Elephant went to the top of the hill...oops! That didn’t work. Elephant felt small inside. Then one day he does something very special the other animals couldn’t, and even though his feet stayed on the ground his “heart jumped for joy!” This sweet story encourages young listeners and readers to find their own strengths and rejoice in them. The simple, colorful cartoon animal illustrations will appeal to the younger set. The binding is adequate and the dust jacket on the paper on board cover will help it last.
Monkey And Duck Quack Up!
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Hamburg, Jennifer
Fotheringham, Edwin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 03, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
Monkey spies a flyer for a rhyming contest. He and friend Duck will be the best. Each rhyme Monkey tests, Duck says “Quack”. Monkey takes many a track, but then he finds just the one . . . all the rhymes for quack. Monkey and Duck win the cruise, each enjoying it in their own way. A cute story told in rhyme that at times is a little forced. This would be a fun introduction or review of rhyming words. The sly ending by duck will get a laugh our of the reader. The simple, brightly colored, digitally created illustrations displayed in yellows and oranges on blue and green backgrounds should appeal to young readers. The binding is adequate; the dust jacket should protect the paper on board cover.
How And What Do Animals Eat?
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Kalman, Bobbie
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 03, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
A Bobbie Kalman title from Crabtree, part of the All About Animals Close-Up series: How and What Do Animals Eat, explores how animals seek, find and take in food. The information is easily accessible, printed in large font surrounded by white space and color photographs illustrating the information addressed on each page. The text and accompanying photographs explain vocabulary in bold text. Insets contain questions referring to information found in text on previous pages and use questions as captions to photos that refer to information previously found in the text. A text box states the main idea on a few pages. Occasionally text notes additional page numbers referring to more specific information on a statement made in the text on a page. A page asking, “How do we eat?” asks the reader to compare humans to the information in the text. Learn More, Words to Know, Table of Contents and an Index are included. An excellent resource for young researchers as well as an interesting read for readers interested in nonfiction text. You may wish to invest in hardcover bindings in lieu of paperback for this series.
World Records To Wow You!
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Hansen, Grace
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 03, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
One volume of the series, Seeing is Believing, from ABDO Kids, this volume introduces beginning readers to the world records with articles on the fastest person on two and four limbs, the tallest person, and the number of records held for using bubbles. Each chapter contains articles on two records, each one consists of a page of text, a paragraph of three to five sentences in large font surrounded by white space, facing a full-page photograph reflecting the record discussed in the text. This title should attract reluctant readers, but contains very few records. If you are looking for informational text that appeals to beginning reader, or struggling reluctant readers you may have use for this text, though many older struggling and reluctant readers will prefer the Guinness Book of World Records - any edition to this title. The binding is adequate, but the paper on board cover will not wear well.
Mars
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Bloom, J P
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 03, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
One of the series Planets from ABDO Kids, this volume has basic information about the Mars. One page of text, a paragraph of three to five sentences in large font surrounded by white space, faces a full-page photograph reflecting the information in the text. The very basic information could be useful to young students as an introduction to the individual planets in our solar system. The photographs provide young readers with comparisons between earth and Mars, presenting visually, the information contained in the text. A Table of Contents, a page of “More Facts”, a glossary, an index and a referral to abdokids.com is at the back of the volume. The binding is adequate, but the paper on board cover will not wear well
Hello, Nebulon!
Spotlight [Spotlight]
O'ryan, Ray
Jack, Colin
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 04, 2015
Burton, Paula
Zack is on his way from earth to Nebulon. He and his family are moving because his dad got a new job. Although the year is 2120 and you can move from earth to another planet, Zack faces the same problems a kid nowadays would face; he has to leave his best friend behind, and his dog. He does not know what it’s like on Nebulon. He is pleasantly surprised with a cool car that takes voice instructions, a big house where you move between rooms in an elevator, and a sweet drink that is called Spudsy Melonade. Even his teacher is not too bad, she’s from earth and moved to Nebulon herself only a year ago. This is the first in the series about Zack and his adventures in the Galaxy. The short chapters and illustrations make this a nice early chapter book. Although this first one is a mild story, no great adventure the following in the series might have more excitement in it.
See No Color
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Gibney, Shannon
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
December 04, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Alex always thought of herself as Little Kitteridge the daughter of a minor league player now coaching high school and elite teams whose members go on to college baseball careers. She’s also been the only girl and she’s better than most of the boys she plays against and certainly better than her brother. What she has never thought of herself as is bi-racial or that adoption into a white family was more than the occasional curious looks given when with her parents or brother. It didn’t matter as long as she was a star on the diamond. When she meets Reggie, the first black guy who wants to get to know her off the field, she begins to wonder about a world that she has no experience with. When she discovers letters from her biological father that her parents have kept from her she wonders even more. And when her body starts to grow and turn into a woman’s and affects her play on the field and the type of attention that she gets from her coach father, all of the pressures within her explode. Can she fit into the life that has been mapped out for her? Should she? Alex has to learn to take control of her life and explore if she is meant to be black and if the dreams that have always guided her must be abandoned.
Walking Wounded : Uncut Stories From Iraq
Nbm Publishing [Nbm Publishing]
Morel, Olivier
Mael
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
December 04, 2015
Datisman, Eve
There is a human cost to war and we forget that at our peril. Beginning in 2007 Morel began a project to film a documentary – On the Bridge (2010) -- about the lives of vets returning from the Iraq War. In this graphic approach to documenting his work, Morel reveals his thoughts and feelings about the project and how it changed him. It is the stories of seven veterans, men and women, who served in the war in Iraq and were traumatized by events in the war, in Ar Ramadi, Baghdad, and Abu Ghraib. Mael and Morel use a limited palette of grey for the scenes about filming and splotchy Sienna red that looks like various colors of drying blood for flashbacks and visions. While not explicitly gory, the visuals convey creeping dread and a filter of terror clouding reality. The greatest strength of this story is best expressed by the author in his Library Journal interview, “I am presenting a graphic novel that deals with issues that rarely make the headline news, when at the same time, there are millions of individuals, families, and communities affected. This is social realism: [the book] generates, I hope, both an informative and a transformative reading experience."
Out Of Darkness
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Perez, Ashley
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
December 04, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Historical fiction that is loosely based on the 1937 New London school explosion that killed close to 300 people in East Texas. The story begins with a snapshot of people combing through the rubble of the explosion looking for bodies and transitions to the September 1936 when 17-year-old Naomi and her much younger twin siblings are enrolled in school by Beto and Cari’s father. Henry’s found religion and has been convinced by a charismatic preacher that it’s time for him to be a father and to atone for his sins. Naomi is Mexican-American and the twins are a blond as blond can be. The siblings struggle to fit into the segregated oil town, where store signs boast "No Negroes, Mexicans, or dogs." The precocious twins read better than half the senior class, and dark-skinned Naomi is guilty of not only being Mexican, but also of being "prettier than any girl in school." Their best friend is Wash an African- American senior from the black part of town. Chapter narrators – including the “Gang” of racist students as well as individuals-- are announced and sections change by month. This allows Perez to weave the year’s tale from multiple points of view with Naomi’s being the most prominent even though all are written in third person.
Beast Of Cretacea
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Strasser, Todd
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
December 04, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Earth is dying and people are starving. Ishmael and his brother leave this ravaged Earth for a mission on a feeder planet, where the natural resources needed to keep extinction at bay are gathered and shipped back. He wakes from stasis aboard a fishing trawler, the Pequod - a nuclear powered ship, on the pristine planet Cretacea, where he plans to earn enough to pay his foster parents’ passage off of Earth. Strasser tackles Moby Dick for this wide-ranging story of planetary degradation and time travel. Ahab is chasing the giant white terrafin; Starbuck is caught in the gambler’s “just one more hand and then I’ll quit”; Ishmael worries that his parents will die on the devastated earth. It’s a maritime sea adventure in which Ishmael searches for his foster brother, where his friends Queek and Gwen wash up on a remote island after escaping from pirates. They are taken in by the native islanders and discover the real reason behind the hunting of the terrafins and what the animals mean to folks back on earth. They face multiple scrapes and survive harrowing peril. There’s also a twist ending that is dropped in and feels a like an afterthought. The story is also weakened a bit by the heavy-handed preaching about environmental issues.
Either The Beginning Or The End Of The World
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Farish, Terry
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
December 04, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 560 Hi/Lo SLJ Starred A novel of war’s aftermath based on a quote from war photographer James Natchwey, “If war is an attempt to negate humanity, then photography can be perceived as the opposite of war.” Sofie, nearly seventeen, lives in coastal New Hampshire with her fisherman father. She’s Scottish on her father’s side and Cambodian on her mother’s, though she rejects her Cambodian heritage (“I am not Cambodian…I have no past. I have no ancestors…I make myself from scratch every day”), angry at her mother for abandoning them when Sofie was a child. Early in the book, Sofie meets Lucas, a troubled young medic recently returned from Afghanistan, of whom her father demands she steer clear. But then her dad heads south for a better winter catch; Sofie and Luke begin a tentative relationship; and Sofie is forced to confront her fractured heritage when her (pregnant) mother and grandmother move back in. Sophie is forced to confront her Cambodian heritage and the horrors inflicted by the Khmer Rouge. Luke’s suffering from the effects of PTSD and has yet to find his way back from the war. Together, they explore their secrets, the life scars, and their wars and the extraordinary demands that love makes. Short poem-like chapters.
Last Night At The Circle Cinema
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Franklin, Emily
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
December 04, 2015
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 880 You can read this title in two ways as a reference to time and place or as event; both are applicable in this twisty, puzzle novel. Bertucci, Olivia, and Codman have been best friends all through high school, and on the eve of their graduation, they agree to spend their final hours as high school students locked in the recently boarded-up Circle Cinema. No one can leave before the break of dawn, and it is in this abandoned theater that they will confront their greatest fears, admit their mistakes, and hopefully see a future beyond high school. Their experiences throughout the 8 hours are told in tri-part narrative, with each character talking about him/herself and their feelings about the others and their experiences. They are a solid triangle and although others have tried to break in, it hasn’t been possible although it has caused some tension. Bertucci, and Codman are all well-developed, realistic, and likable. Bertucci is a little more complex and a bit less developed. There is some clumsy dialogue and clumsier attempts at complicated metaphors, and a surprise ending. It has some big flaws, but readers who are looking for stories about friendship, new beginnings and life after high school it's a fit.
I'm New Here
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
O'brien, Anne Sibley
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten
December 05, 2015
Burton, Paula
Three students are new to the United States and are trying to adjust to school. Maria is from Guatemala, Jin from Korea, and Fatimah from Somalia. They all experience the adjustment to a new country, with a different language, sometimes even different characters, a different culture, and unfamiliar surroundings.With simple text the author explains the difficult situation these new students are in. Fortunately all three persevere and try the new language, spoken and written, observe and adjust to their new surroundings that have familiar elements from their home country. They have fellow students who help them adjust and the story has a happy ending. It is a positive look for a very young audience to know about new students coming from another culture. the author wrote an explanation how she came to write this book with her own experience.
Ends Of The Earth
Disney-Hyperion [Disney-Hyperion]
Hale, Bruce
Munsinger, Lynn
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 05, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
In this, book #3 in the "School for S.P.I.E.S." series young Max is in a bind. His foster home, the school for S.P.I.E.S. has been destroyed by fire and now he being held by LOTUS--an evil organization bound for world domination. Are all his old friends dead? Can LOTUS really think he'll turn to the dark side? Will he really have a choice? Then there's the whole issue of his double-agent father. Can Max find his old friends and thwart an evil plot designed to bring down the government of the U.K.? There's plenty of action here, and lots of suspense. Fans of the series will not be disappointed. However, it is VITAL to have read the first two books in the series to really understand what is going on.
Over The Hills And Far Away : A Treasury Of Nursery Rhymes
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Hammill, Elizabeth
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
December 05, 2015
Evey, Kay
This treasury of nursery rhymes are illustrated by more than 70 celebrated artists and would make a wonderful addition to any library. Includes a Table of Contents with country of origin and artist illustrator. There is a 2 page introduction by the compiler. Many of the two-page spreads have more than one rhyme (up to four) and there is a 3 page index of first lines. The book is 160 pages including sources = www.sevenstories.org.uk and a thumbnail (no picture) of the art and a paragraph about the artist. The book includes well-known and lesser known nursery rhymes, most American and English but also includes Anglo-American, Scottish, African American and an assortment of other world cultures. The Native cultures include Chippewa, Tsimshian, Inuit, and Maori. This was first published in Great Britain in 2014, the first US edition 2015. The art that accompanies each of the nursery rhymes makes this a lovely browsing book for adults to share with younger children.
Finding Zasha
Scholastic, Inc. [Scholastic, Inc.]
Barrow, Randi
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 05, 2015
Korf, Clarence
Ivan is living in an apartment in Leningrad at the beginning of World War II. They need to take shelter many times while Germany bombards the city relentlessly in their attempt to take over the city. When their apartment is hit and his mother's job takes her into the mountains, Ivan is given no choice but to live the city and hopefully connect with his uncle in a more remote and hopefully safer environment. His safety is only short lived when the Germans take over the small town he his temporarily taking refuge. He finds himself serving the demanding German commanding officer through his ability to play his concertina. One of the acquisitions by the Germans were two German Shepard puppies which Ivan has taken a liking to and wants to see if he can foil their continued occupation plan as well as protect the puppies from the commanding officer. Finding Zasha takes readers on a journey with a twelve year old boy dealing with war. This book gives a great perspective on the impact of World War II on the Russian Front. It is sure to engage readers who like historical fiction as well as dogs. It is a prequel to the book Saving Sasha.
So Many Babies
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Crozier, Lorna
Watson, Laura
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten
December 06, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This delightful, sweet board book presents all sorts of animal babies in a comforting rhyming text. It begins, “Babies in rivers and babies on rocks Babies in jungles an babies in flocks." Each habitat depicts cute, colorful babies that match that environment, usually one or two per page. With a nice assortment of creatures, it ends with the reassurance of the human mother in the words, “So many babies and all of them new, but baby, my baby, there’s no one like you!” This should be enjoyed by both the very young viewers and their adult readers.
Can You Say It, Too? Jingle! Jingle!
NOSY CROW [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Braun, Sebastien
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
December 06, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Five double-paged sturdy spreads comprise this lift-the-flap board book right in time for Christmas. Each left page has a question, “Who’s that …” in a particular location i.e. near the snowman, behind the door, or in the cave. When the flap is lifted the creatures are exposed along with their accompanying sound. Thus it begins with Santa seemingly asking, “Who’s that by the sleigh?” followed by the “It’s some hungry reindeer! Jingle! Jingle!” The cute, digital illustrations that follow include Santa’s actions flying, landing on a snow-covered roof, and delivering gifts. Though very short the very youngest will hopefully enjoy this bright, simple, timely presentation and the sounds. Intended for ages 0-3
Up Hamster, Down Hamster
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Reich, Kass
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten
December 06, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Antonyms can be simple and fun when a hamster humorously llustrates the concepts. The same spotted brown hamster is in each double-page spread, but eventually others join him in depicting up/down, lost/found, fast/slow, yes/no, in/out, shhh/shout, happy/sad, good/bad, and day/night. Each word is always followed by “hamster” i.e. IN hamster (2 hamsters swimming in a goldfish bowl with their fins and goggles) vs. OUT hamster (The same 2 hamsters outside the bowl, now wrapped in towels.) The book concludes with all of the hamsters sleeping in beds followed by a line-up of the same which doesn’t necessarily relate to the rest of the book, but does bring it to an end. Very young children will giggle at the hamsters’ antics and opposites. 

Carnival Of Cats
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Ghigna, Charles
Bridgeman, Kristi
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
December 06, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This original board book presents a somewhat more sophisticated topic as it is a guessing game about different breeds of cats. In rhyming text accompanied by questions and clues in a small picture frame, the question is asked, “Can that be a…” After turning the page the drawing of that full cat and its name are shown. The breeds include calico, tabby, Siamese, Persian, Great Maine Coon, bobtail, Black Bombay, Russian Blue and Scottish Fold though the child’s cat is actually a beloved stray. The attractive drawings will be enjoyed by the young child as the big cat eyes are quite captivating.
Bizzy Bear : Space Rocket
NOSY CROW [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Davies, Benji
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
December 06, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Here’s another very durable board book from Nosy Crow’s Perfect for little Paws collection with moveable parts and pull tabs including the cover . With cute cartoon like animals and lots of details in the illustrations, the short rhyming text briefly describes Bizzy Bear as he climbs into his rocket, blasts off into space, and observes the Earth and outer space .before returning. The four double page spreads are brightly colored and the moveable parts indicated with arrows help even the adult reader:) Due to its cuteness, details and durability, very young readers should enjoy interacting with this book and listening to the repeating “Bizzy Bear, Bizzy Bear” on each page. Intended for ages 0-3.
Splendid Friend, Indeed
Boyds Mills Press [Boyds Mills Press]
Bloom, Suzanne
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Pre-Kindergarten
December 06, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Ten years after the original picture book, the board book version is now available for this Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book. The bear and goose’s expressions are priceless as is the constant chatter of the goose, who is only trying to get the bear’s attention. The good heartedness comes through when it brings a picnic and a note to the silent, seemingly exasperated, polar bear. This note declaring its friendship brings tears to the bear’s eyes and results in a giant hug. The brilliant, bold illustrations should capture the attention of a toddler and captivate them as well as their parents with the text and its message. This offering works wonderfully even in this new smaller format!
Jack Wants A Snack
Boyds Mills Press [Boyds Mills Press]
Schories, Pat
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
December 06, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
In this wordless board book a small dog waits in anticipation as a child sets up a tea party on a cardboard box outside for her dolls and toys. When the plastic bag of popcorn comes out Jack the dog gets in on the action until he makes a pest of himself. While the child is shooing Jack away a squirrel disrupts the “table” and gets to the popcorn. Together the child and dog chase it. When Jack has it cornered behind a woodpile the child sets up a trap to lure the squirrel in, but what she catches in her box with the branch and string is Jack. Again the squirrel takes advantage and can be seen eating popcorn in the background. This should be a fun lap book to share with the very young as they verbalize what they see happening in the pleasantly drawn and colored illustrations.
Job Site
Boyds Mills Press [Boyds Mills Press]
Clement, Nathan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
December 06, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
If an adult wishes to introduce a young child to the big machines involved in construction sites, this will be an appropriate choice. It’s very straight forward and follows the same pattern throughout starting with an African American male boss giving the directions to the equipment at each stage. He begins by commanding that a pile be leveled. The following page shows and states that the large bulldowzer “lowers its blade and levels the pile of gravel.” The succeeding big rigs include an excavator, loader, dump truck, compactor, mixer and crane. When they move on to their next job site, the reader sees the completed work followed by the aqua theater that’s been created by this team. Pleasant illustrations clearly depict each machine and the work each performs. Originally published in 2011 this is the new board book version.
Boston Marathon
Scobre Press [Scobre Press]
Petersen, Justin
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 06, 2015
Garrard, Thom
The Boston Marathon, held annually in April, is one of the oldest, largest, and most famous running events in the world. This volume, part of the World's Greatest Sporting Events series from Scobre Educational, follows the structure of the series with pages allocated to such topics as the history, equipment, venue, rules, best performances, and the fans, according to a predetermined formula. Every page includes an action photograph and at most a few paragraphs of text, but the structure proves unhelpful, as the equipment involved in running is minimal, but a lot more could be said about the venue. A general idea of the course is given, but no map is included. No mention is made of the Scream Tunnel at Wellesley. There is no discussion about elevation changes, and Heartbreak Hill is only touched on parenthetically. By contrast, the 2013 bombing is mentioned repeatedly. Although it was significant, that did not define the Boston Marathon. Its long history, huge participation numbers, course, and large fan base are the things that make the Boston Marathon special.
Templeton Gets his Wish
Disney Hyperion [Disney Hyperion]
Pizzoli, Greg
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 06, 2015
Korf, Clarence
Templeton, the cat, is having a rough life. His parents are grumpy and cranky and his siblings will not leave him alone. He finds a way he can make a wish on a magic diamond and his family disappears. Templeton is loving his life with no parents and no siblings until things start to get scary and lonely. Templeton needs to make a new wish and hope it comes true. The primarily green and orange illustrations are simple, clever and entertaining. Young readers will love listening to the familiar plot as well as beginning to read on their own. Even though not all bad behaviors are addressed, the overall message is that Templeton has learned the importance of family.
Fat & Bones : And Other Stories
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Theule, Larissa
Doyle, Adam S.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 07, 2015
Korf, Clarence
An unusual story in fable form about a spoiled farm boy, Bones, and a fairy named Fat who lives in tree on the farm. A long lasting feud between the two erupts when Bones' father dies. Each chapter takes on a different view of the battle between the two such as a spider, tulip and daisy, a pig and a dog. The chapter about the pig is gruesome when Bones' mother goes out to the pig pen to get a pig's foot for pig's foot stew. Only one pig remains having all her feet and she becomes the target. The story ends with a character ending the feud to create peace and order back on the farm. The book is short but it takes a more discerning and older reader to understand the connections and morals in the story as well as dealing with the violence presented throughout the story. This is not a book for all readers but will appeal to the student who likes a bit of fairy tale mixed up with a bit of scary.
Sadly ever after
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY BOOK GROUP]
Allen, Elise
Holland, Daniel
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 07, 2015
Korf, Clarence
Sadly Ever After provides various events from the life of Riley, the main character in the Disney movie Inside Out. Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger and Fear take on various memories to give their perspective on each event. Joy works hard making sure everyone remembers the events as happy and Sadness finds ways to look at each event with pessimism. When Joy finally thinks she has everyone on board, Sadness does make it sadly ever after. As with any book based on a movie, the plot and story line is not as exciting as the movie. This picture book is complete in telling a story even if the reader has not seen the movie. The illustrations lack the same quality as the movie but all characters are easily recognizable. It can be a good book for beginning and/or reluctant readers if students have already seen the movie.
Tea party in the woods
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Miyakoshi, Akiko
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 08, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
When Kikko’s father forgets to take a pie when visiting his mother, Kikko offers to catch up to him as he makes his way through the woods. All is well until Kikko trips and crushes the pie box. She gets up and hurries after the figure in an overcoat and hat that she thinks is her father. It is not her father, however, but rather a bear walking upright and dressed in human clothes. Kikko peeks in the window of the house and sees a tea party of woodland animals all dresses in clothes. They cordially invite her to join them and in the course of the meal find out about the smashed pie. They solve the problem by creating a pie of different pieces of the pies and tarts they have brought. They then escort the girl to her grandmother’s door. The animals disappear into the woods as Kikko is greeted by her father and grandmother. The last picture shows them peering together into the pie box. This is a simple but satisfying magical tale. Mainly black and white illustrations with a retro feel with bright splashes of colors add to this quietly delightful tale. It was first published in Japan.
Explore Honey Bees! : With 25 Great Projects
Nomad Press [Nomad Press]
Blobaum, Cindy
Chandhok, Lena
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 08, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
If you have teachers who teach units on honeybees the will appreciate this book chock full of information, projects and classroom activities. There is a little bit of everything from history, to math, to science, to economics to art in this resource book. Main topics include bee bodies, social systems, the hive, products made from bees and colony collapse disorder and its possible causes. It is part of the Nomad Press Explore your World Series. Students might pick up and find things to enjoy in this book on their own, but its main audience seems to be teachers and perhaps homeschooling parents. If bees are looked at closely in the curriculum this book should be appreciated.
What The Heart Knows : Chants, Charms, And Blessings
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Sidman, Joyce
Zagarenski, Pamela
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 08, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Joyce Sidman explores human thoughts and feelings in this book of poetry. Broken into four groups: Chants and Charms to bolster courage and guard against evil, Spells and Invocations to cause something to happen, Laments and Remembrances to remember regret or grieve and Praise Songs and Blessings to Celebrate, thank or express love the poems explore many physical and emotional feelings and moods. Many of the poems explore familiar feelings and objects that should strike a chord with many readers. The poems follow a variety of formats.Thoughtful readers should find poems that speak to and reflect their own thoughts. Illustrations by Pamela Zagarenski support the thoughtful feel of the verse.
Building The Great Wall Of China : An Interactive Engineerin
You Choose Books/capstone Press [You Choose Books/capstone Press]
Lassieur, Allison
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 08, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
While choosing different story paths, readers will learn about different phases and jobs involved in the construction of the Great Wall of China. They can opt between three story paths: that of a forced laborer working on the first wall construction, a brick layer working during the Ming Dynasty, or an architect designing the towers and battlements during the Ming Dynasty that are still seen today. Readers will learn plenty of bits of history while exploring the possible life stories of the workers involved in the creation of the wall. This is from the You Choose Interactive Engineering Adventure series that also includes books about the Golden Gate Bridge, the Empire State Building and the Transcontinental Railroad. Fans of the You Choose books should enjoy this volume.
Queen's Shadow : A Story About How Animals See
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Young, Cybele
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 08, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Part quirky mystery, part science book, this book should intrigue readers who are interested in animals. At a lavish ball attended by a wide variety of animals a queen discovers her shadow has been stolen. The Royal Detective, a Mantis shrimp, surveys the scene and begins accusing animals, however, each animal has a reason why it could not be them based on the way their sight works. (Side bars explain the sight of each animal in further detail.) After working through eight possible suspects it is eventually revealed by two young sea urchins that the Queens shadow had been missing since, “She left her shadow in… THE LOO!” Additional end matter includes a spread on how human vision works, additional information on each of the nine animals featured, and a glossary. This odd mix of fantasy and science won’t appeal to all readers, but should find a small following of readers exploring a topic they might not have in a traditional science non-fiction book.
Justin Timberlake : From Mouseketeer To Megastar
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Schwartz, Heather E
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 08, 2015
Korf, Clarence
A nice biography for reluctant readers with lots of photographs from Justin's early life to the present. Five short chapters which take on his early music career, big breaks and going on his own. There is a strong focus on the relationships he had with other musicians and actors. All content is just a brief overview of each aspect of his professional career. No timeline page included but readers would be able to identify key dates through thorough reading. The older age rating is given due to links including Justin Timberlake's Facebook and Twitter pages. This book is part of the Pop Culture Bios series which includes over 30 artist. This book is more for pleasure reading than as an educational resource.
Pickles And The P-Flock Bullies
SASQUATCH BOOKS [SASQUATCH BOOKS]
Cosgrove, Stephen
James, Robin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 08, 2015
Korf, Clarence
Pickles and the P-Flock Bullies is a story about a unique baby orca, seal and some unusual seagulls. Pickles, the orca, is named for the green patches on her sides. Being the only orca child, she ventures off to find someone to play with and finds a seal (Stitches) who has been wounded by an orca. They become fast friends and enjoy each other until they meet a flock of crested seagulls. Pickles wants to become friends with the seagulls. These seagulls make fun of Stitches and Pickles joins in. A strong message is sent about how easy it is to bully someone when there is a strong desire to become friends with a group which is not necessarily nice to everyone. The book ends with a happy ending with Pickles realizing her mistake and making an apology. Readers are reminded at the end to remember the story of Pickles. This book is part of the Serendipity series. The large picture book format with large pictures on opposite pages of text makes it a good read aloud. A great book to begin conversation about bullying and the influence of others on our decision making.
Best Extreme Sports Stars Of All Time
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 09, 2015
Korf, Clarence
Fourteen extreme sports such as skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding, biking, motocross and snowmobiles are highlighted in four page spread each. Two pages of text, a full page color picture and a page with the athletes basic information and accomplishments. For the extreme sports enthusiasts, they may like the teaser of each athlete which will hopefully make the reader explore more about a specific athlete. The book includes eight additional honorable mentions, a glossary, index and only a few suggested titles for further reading.
Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins Pastrana
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 09, 2015
Korf, Clarence
A brief biography of an extreme skateboarding sports star. The book highlights many milestones of Lyn-Z's career which were firsts for a women. Many photographs and Fast Facts enhance the five short chapters which include her entry into stardom, early life, her rising potential, stretching the sport and beginning her own family. This book is good for the age group and for reluctant older readers. The book includes a timeline, glossary and index.
Growing Your Money
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Kemper, Bitsy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 09, 2015
Korf, Clarence
Growing Your Money provides an overview of the many types of investment and there risks. It provides an overview of savings accounts, certificate of deposits, stocks, bonds, real estate and other investments like collectibles and precious metals. Each chapter reviews each and states the risks and advantages of each investment. Each chapter also includes a Decision Time page to help readers think about which investment they would choose for themselves. Readers are encouraged to explore investing even if it includes role playing ideas and to see how there decisions turn out without spending real money. It has current rates but this book can be quickly out of date due to changes in interest rates and stock market results. Book includes glossary, recommended reading and websites to access. The book as a resource link but navigating to find resources which connect with the book are difficult to locate.
Futuristic Homes
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Taylor, Saranne
Chiacchiera, Moreno & Michelle Todd
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 09, 2015
Garrard, Thom
Homes of the future may utilize building materials that possess helpful new qualities, may incorporate new energy sources or climate management systems, and might need to address limitations on land use or be able to cope with natural disasters. Crabtree’s Young Architect series introduces building design concepts, such as the parts of a structure, materials, and approaches that professionals use in solving construction problems, and this volume applies these ideas to houses of the future. Materials such as aerogel, bendy concrete, and transparent aluminum open up new possibilities. Building far up into the sky, underwater, or on another planet would present special problems. Fanciful drawings of houses in these challenging situations might well capture a budding architect’s imagination. However, the casual font, the use of paragraphs with only one or two sentences, and the hodgepodge of fanciful drawings and photographs of actual buildings make the volume feel informal and slapped together. Oddly enough, the only floor plan in the book is an example of what can be generated with CAD, even though drawing a floor plan for a “shape” house is suggested by the author. Given the drawbacks, this is clearly an additional purchase.
Pele : Soccer Star & Ambassador?
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Trusdell, Brian
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 09, 2015
Korf, Clarence
Pele is still considered one of the best players of all time and this book makes a good biography of his life and his influence of soccer in Brazil and the world. The book begins with how Pele helped influence the emergence of soccer in America. Pele did not want to return to playing again until he was offered a lucrative salary and the vision of helping to make soccer an important sport in America as well. The book chronicles the great, the good and the bad of his life and how it influenced his decision making. This book includes a timeline, glossary, web links, additional readings and source notes. Other book in the Legendary Athletes include Hank Aaron, Jim Brown, Wayne Gretsky, Michael Jordan and Cheryl Miller. The book contains great content and important facts in the sidebars. The book is a great resource for someone who is studying Pele. One challenge I had is the color theme throughout the book which makes the book look older than what it really is and could distract some readers from picking it up.
Shaun the Sheep Movie - Shear Madness
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 09, 2015
Korf, Clarence
An easy reader chapter book for students who enjoy Shaun the Sheep. The sheep want to get out of being sheared and they put the farmer to sleep in a camper. When the camper rolls down a hill, the adventure begins. All the illustrations come from movie. Nothing exciting for an adapted book from a movie. One other early reader title called Shaun the Sheep Movie - The Great Escape is also available.
The good little book
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Maclear, Kyo
Arbona, Marion
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 09, 2015
Korf, Clarence
A story about a good little book which is just an ordinary book with not even a proper jacket. The book is found by a variety of readers until a boy in time out picks up the book and took the book places it could not even imagine. The boy takes the book everywhere he goes until one spring day the book gets lost. The boy looks everywhere but is unable to locate the book and worries the book is lost forever. In the fall while skateboarding, he notices a girl is totally immersed in the book and decides to let the book go. I did not like this story in the first read because I wanted the boy to get his book back but in subsequent readings, I like the idea a good book is best shared and the memory of the book will never go away. The illustrations are very colorful and creative which provide humor and conversation about what is happening in the story.
Little In Love
Chicken House [Chicken House]
Fletcher, Susan E
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
December 10, 2015
Dame, Anne
A re-telling of Eponine's point of view from Les Miserables. I haven't read the original book; I've only seen the musical, so some of my thoughts may not reflect what Victor Hugo actually wrote. For instance, in this book there were familial ties to certain characters that absolutely shocked me - and yet made a horrible kind of sense. It was definitely interesting to get a new point of view, an accurate portrayal of the times, and a lot of credibility around motives and actions. Those unfamiliar with the story will be able to understand it but will be more meaningful for those who have read/watched/enjoy Les Mis.
Stinky Skunks And Other Animal Adaptations
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Taylor, Barbara
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 10, 2015
Garrard, Thom
The title of this book (Stinky Skunks and other animal adaptations) suggests that it will explain defensive techniques that animals have developed in order to survive, such as offending a predator’s senses in order to drive it off. However, some animals maintain their safety by using offensive capabilities, like the ability to attack with a deadly set of teeth or powerful jaws, so the book’s scope is actually much broader than the title implies. Each two-page spread includes a paragraph that introduces an adaptation, and a half dozen text boxes that use various shapes, colors, and fonts to provide examples of animals that rely on that adaptation. Photographs are included for most of the text boxes, so the pages are visually quite interesting. In as much as the animals included seem to have been chosen from the extremes rather than from typical examples of a particular survival technique, the book seeks to mimic the style of Ripley’s or the Weird but True books. Students who are attracted to disgusting things will certainly enjoy the pages that mention stink, poop, or pee, but this is a better book for browsing than for doing serious research on animal adaptations.
Crow Made a Friend
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Peot, Margaret
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 10, 2015
Porter, Heidi
A lonely crow seeks companionship over three seasons in this book aimed at K-1 readers. Crow first attempts to build a friend using sticks, fall leaves and a crab apple, but the wind blows his creation away. A crow made of snow fares no better when the sun comes out and melts it. Finally, crow hears the cawing of another crow. He and his new-found mate build a nest and start a family. This book has several features that will appeal to young readers. Pictures pop brightly from an abundance of white space. Text is large and clear with short sentences. There is an approachable blend of sight and decodable words. The illustration and text for each page are closely paired to give clues and affirmation to the beginning reader. This book would be a fun addition to library collections catering to early readers.
Sand Spider
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Bowen, Carl
Tortosa, Wilson & Benny Fuentes
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 10, 2015
Korf, Clarence
Sand Spider is part of the Shadow Squadron series. The basic premise of the book is about a special ops force which does special missions for a variety of purposes. They welcome a new female member in the group and then are sent out on a mission to rescue a senator's son in Mali. Their rescue mission takes a twist when the son does not want to be rescued and they become aware of a slaver who is pushing him and the villagers around. The special ops force steps in to forcefully help the scenario. Plenty of military action and many issues are left unresolved.
Unsolved!
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Powell, Marie
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 11, 2015
Jensen, Kathy
Who doesn't like a good mystery? The series, Mystery Files, consists of twelve titles that try to unlock a variety of secrets and share amazing stories from our history. Photographs and primary sources provide an eye-catching layout. Everything on the pages are so visually appealing you don't know where to start first. In the book, Unsolved!, you will read about Amelia Earhart, the man in the iron mask, Princess Anastasia, and others with a mysterious past. Additionally, you will learn about places with unsolved mysteries such as Easter Island and the lost colony of Roanoke. Common to all books in the series, overlapping text boxes and captions in a variety of sizes, a mixture of fonts, and word definitions all come together to form an intriguing experience for the reader. A sturdy paperback cover, glossary, index, and places to go for more information round out the usefulness of this book. The only downside to the series is that you will be craving more information as you turn the final page.
Lost Treasures
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
O'brien, Cynthia
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 11, 2015
Jensen, Kathy
Who doesn't like a good mystery? The series, Mystery Files, consists of twelve titles that try to unlock a variety of secrets and share amazing stories from our history. Photographs and primary sources provide an eye-catching layout. Everything on the pages are so visually appealing you don't know where to start first. In the book, Lost Treasures, you will learn about lost pirate gold, a pharaoh's treasure, missing silver bars, and many other valuable items that have been discovered or are still mysteriously missing. Common to all books in the series, overlapping text boxes and captions in a variety of sizes, a mixture of fonts, and word definitions all come together to form an intriguing experience for the reader. A sturdy paperback cover, glossary, index, and places to go for more information round out the usefulness of this book. The only downside to the series is that you will be craving more information as you turn the final page.
Dreadful Fate Of Jonathan York
Andrews & Mcmeel [Andrews & Mcmeel]
Merritt, Kory
Not Recommended -- Does not meet library standards in style, content or design.
Unsuitable
December 11, 2015
Burton, Paula
At first glance an interesting graphic novel; very spooky drawings and a handwritten type font but when you read the first couple of pages I was wondering if it was necessary to make it a story where the images are a large part of the book. The text is very vivid and explains the story very well until the reader reaches the middle of the book where stories are being told by the characters. The story is about Jonathan York. He is lost in the swamp when he comes upon three shady figures. They help him locate an inn. The innkeeper asks for stories in return for a bed to sleep in. The other characters have stories to tell, even one without words counts, but Mr. York does not. For that reason he is send back to the swamp and that is where his story begins. A creepy graphic novel for an older crowd, maybe even adult.
Yoga For Kids : Simple Animal Poses For Any Age
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Pajalunga, Lorena V
Forlati, Anna
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 11, 2015
Burton, Paula
This small picture book, shows a child in different yoga poses. The narrative tells the reader that the child learns these yoga poses at the zoo where so many animals resemble the asanas. On every page there is an illustration of the animal and of the child and his cat acting out the pose. A paragraph describes the pose which is preceded by a sentence that introduces the animal. The illustrations are soft and warm with gentle text geared towards a young audience. The book concludes with helpful tips to have a good yoga experience. This could be a good introduction to yoga.
It's Electric! Currents
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Mooney, Carla
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 11, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Basic electric terms and concepts illustrated with photographs and diagrams, explained in 1501 words at a F&P level T. Part of Rourke's "Let's Explore Science" series, this is one of 8 titles in the Physical Science group, one of almost 60 sturdy STEM related books published for elementary library collections. A good basic introduction to the basics of atoms and electrical charge and simple circuits, AC/DC and electricity generation; the book adequately covers the topic, though the prose doesn't particularly shine as brightly as it might. The book, or series would be a serviceable addition to elementary library collections, but won't spark many looking for independent study or non-fiction reading pleasure.
Search And Rescue : Imminent Danger
ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA [ROURKE EDUCATIONAL MEDIA]
Berne, Emma Carlson
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 11, 2015
Seasholes, Craig L
Simple, clear text describe the roles, tools and challenges of search and rescue teams. From the dramatic helicopter lift pictured on the cover to the un-glamorous use of pigeons as Coast Guard search assistants, there are numerous examples described in text boxes accompanying numerous clear color photographs. Inclusive of 9-11 urban rescue efforts and natural disasters through 2013 the book is a fine introduction to these important emergency responders. Index, glossary, time-line accompany this one of eight books in Rourke's "Emergency Response"series.
Secrets of the Rainforest
Kane/Miller Book Publishers [Kane/Miller Book Publishers]
Brown, Carron
Nassner, Alyssa
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 11, 2015
Burton, Paula
An interesting picture book which uses the light shining through the pages as an answer to questions asked. This particular book is about the rainforest. Also available in the series are secrets of winter, secrets of the seashore, and secrets of the apple tree. Short text highlight a feature of the rainforest on a colorful illustrated page. Below it will be a question like the one on the first page; What’s hiding under this leaf? When the reader lifts the page and lets the light shine through, the illustration from the other side of the page shows through and gives the answer to the question. The illustration on the other side is in black and white to make this possible. If the child does not have the ability to see the illustration with the help of light, the answer is on the other side in a black and white page where the story continues. The book tells a story about the rain forest instead of introducing only facts which could make it appealing to a pre-k crowd.
Dino-Swimming
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Wheeler, Lisa
Gott, Barry
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
You love dinos? Hey, that's cool. Today they're swimming at the pool. In fact, in this dino rendition they're having quite the competition. Though they lack both gill and fin the dino teams all want to win. Style counts, and so does grace, but winner need to set the pace. Keep on swimming. Don't you stop! One team is sure to land on top. Illustrations are quite fun. The subject matter's #1. Dinosaurs and sports? Oh my! This series is a hoot, no lie. (I got the entire series for my library. They're nt the most amazing books on the planet, but they are extraordinarily popular.)
Tortoise Vs. Hare : The Rematch
Hutton Grove [Hutton Grove]
Rutt, Preston
Redlich, Ben
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
C'mon, the first race had to be fixed, right? No way could Hare lose out to Tortoise. Time for a rematch! Told enthusiastically from a sportscaster's point of view, this is the story of the rematch of the century. Each competitor's strengths are detailed. The countdown to the final battle begins. What will happen this time? Wait...who knew weather could play such an important role? This is a fun read-aloud with hilarious illustrations by Ben Redlich. If you have teachers who want a book that demonstrates "voice" here 'tis.
Mousetropolis
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Christie, R Gregory
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
In this modernized version of the Aesop's fable, City Mouse needs a vacation and goes to visit Country Mouse. The food isn't what he expects, and there is danger. It's also hot and too quiet, although the jamboree was fun. Both mice decide to head to the city which is lively and full of noise. There is danger there, too, however. Each eventually finds happiness in his own home. The illustrations are gorgeous--lush and expressive. The text, however, may be too sparse for children unfamiliar with the original tale. On the other hand, this would be a good book for teachers to use for a compare and contrast exercise.
Ms. Spell
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Long, Ethan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The classroom spelling lesson is boring, then Ms. Spell uses magic and things take an interesting turn. The spells turn wilder as the students learn about homophones, different meanings of words, words that are frequently misspelled, compound words, contractions, and more. There's even a page on mnemonic devices to remember how to spell difficult words. Hints are given for successful spelling. Vibrant, energetic illustrations with lots of kid humor will enhance interest. Ethan Long's exuberant math-related books are fun. Unfortunately, spelling concepts are not as concrete as math and this book is, therefore, not as successful. Nevertheless, it teaches some nice basic concepts in a very kid-friendly way.
Design Line : History Of Women's Fashion
Big Picture Press [Big Picture Press]
Slee, Natasha
Mander, Sanna
Not Recommended/Out of Scope -- Appropriate for another kind of collection or different age levels.
All ages
December 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
I must admit to some confusion. This is not really a book, but rather a timeline that folds out to 6.5 feet. The title talks about the history of women's fashion. The introductory page gives a quick intro to styles from each century since the 1300's. The fold-out page than concentrates on the 1900's, including 100+ outfits and accessories in a timeline fashion going from 1900 to 2013. There's also a quick overview of significant events that affected fashion for each decade of the 1900's. This is visually fascinating, and somewhat eye-opening. The format, however, is a little problematic for library use. If a secondary school includes fashion design classes, however, this might be a valuable resource.
Descendants : a novelization
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Green, Rico
Marginal -- Contains so many weaknesses that it might be considered for purchase only as supplementary material in its field or to meet special localized subject needs.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 12, 2015
Korf, Clarence
Mal, Evie, Jay, and Carlos are a few of the teenage children of some of the biggest fairy tale villains. They are being given a second chance on being responsible citizens. The characters are in high school but the target audience is really elementary age students. It is a novelization of a Disney movie and it is evident in this book which has more dialogue than any development of the characters. It is mediocre but it will be a book which will be read by students who love Disney.
After The Ashes
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Joiner, Sara K
Cepeda, Joe
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
December 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Despite the unattractive cover art, this is a compelling and captivating example of historical fiction. Katrien was born in Java to Dutch settlers. She is a young scientist who worships Charles Darwin, collects insects, and likes nothing better than to be in the jungle with her native friend Slamet. Katrien does not fit the social norms for young women in 1883. Someone who does, however, is an obnoxious girl who seems intent on making Katrien's life miserable through comparison. Throughout all this teen drama the mountain on the horizon is smoking--Krakatau. Tendrils of potential disaster lace their way through the text until finally the volcano erupts in a spectacular fashion and Katrien and her worst enemy must work together to survive. A coming-of-age story turns into a gritty tale of survival with details that aptly show the horror of the historical disaster's aftermath. Nobody gets away unscathed. In fact, few get away at all. This is an exceptional book that is well-researched and beautifully written. I found it hard to put down.
Bear Can Dance!
Boyds Mills Press [Boyds Mills Press]
Bloom, Suzanne
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 12, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Bear wishes to fly but despite his best efforts, and the help of his friends Fox and Goose, this isn't possible. However, dancing can be like flying, as Bear and his friends discover. I love this series by Suzanne Bloom. The soft pastel illustrations seem like they would smudge at a touch, and the subtle joy of each emotion is beautifully portrayed. This appeals to the same audience as the Elephant and Piggy books, but with a gentler tone.
Rosemary Spell
CLARION [CLARION]
Zimmerman, Virginia
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 13, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
This English professor’s American fiction debut novel for Gr.4-8 features Rosemary, who discovers a secret cupboard in the room she takes over after her father has long since abandoned her mother and her. In it she finds what may be a Shake-speare Codex hidden there by a previous child, who grew up to be a famous town poet, Constance Brooke. Rosemary, her best friend Adam and his sister Shelby, 3 years older, are the only ones who know about this. Since Shelby is now distracted with her high school activities and social life the 13-year-olds try to uncover the mysteries in this book using it and Constance Brooke as the focus of their poetry project. They discover, after talking with Constance, in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s, that someone's missing, that she’s constantly trying to remember. This is a story about memory, the absence of memory, and the magic of the spell in the book. When they recite the spell in the presence of Shelby, she disappears and they have trouble remembering her. It’s as if she never existed to anyone else. They must figure out a charm to counteract this spell before time runs out in an exciting, suspenceful end. Readers who like puzzles, literary references and double meanings will enjoy this.
Charlie Bumpers Vs. The Perfect Little Turkey
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Harley, Bill
Gustavson, Adam
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 13, 2015
Turpin, Sharon
Charlie Bumpers fans will welcome this Thanksgiving tale with Charlie and his family celebrating this holiday. When his class is assigned to define what a family is, his teacher rejects his definition, “People you’re related to that you have to spend time with whether you want to or not.” and asks him to write a new response over his Thanksgiving break. This vacation is nearly ruined by his younger cousin Chip, who is a royal pain, follows him around doing whatever he wants (taking his bed, kicking the soccer ball against the garage, setting off a water rocket prematurely) with Charlie getting the blame from the unobservant/preoccupied adults. Thursday dinner turns out to have 19? people including neighbors and relatives. Finally Charlie’s older brother and younger sister call a Bumpers’ kids meeting where they set out to make sure “turkey butt” Chip doesn’t ruin the rest of Charlie’s day. Where once the siblings were at odds, now they are united with mixed results, but helping change Charlies definition of family. This is again a fun, fast paced family story that has an accompanying audio book read by the author. Each are worth sharing.
Charlie, Presumed Dead
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Heltzel, Anne
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
December 13, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Charlie had a lot of secrets, but now he's dead so he's taken them to the grave, right? That is, of course if Charlie's really dead. The plane exploded. They found a jacket with blood on it. Still, the lack of a body is suspicious...at least to the two girls who both thought they were his girlfriend. His ONLY girlfriend. When they meet at the funeral, Lena and Aubrey--two very different girls--unite to find out the truth. They are unaware that they are actually being drawn into an intricate trap created by the man who claimed to love them both. This is an interesting book, with crisp writing. There's a lot of the f-word, drugs, alcohol, etc. It will appeal to your YA readers who prefer their characters flawed and their endings creepy.
My Rotten Friend
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Blake, Stephanie J
Epelbaum, Mariano
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 14, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Zombies are all the rage, and this picture book uses colorful, humorous pictures by Mariano Epelbaum to show a girl and her best friend who is clearly a zombie. The girl narrates the story, pointing out how her BFF is acting, smelling, and looking rather different. But why? The text by Stephanie J. Blake sometimes, sort of rhymes, and sometimes, sort of has a rhythm. But this is interrupted by the questions to the reading audience. Of course the questions will encourage children to try and point out the obvious--there's a zombie in the house! Is she eating Dad's brains? Has she bitten her best friend? Now the narrator is turning into a zombie, too! The illustrations are fabulous and funny. The text, however, is disjointed, and the brain-eating may be a bit much for the intended audience. Zombies really appeal to an older crowd. Still, if you're in need of zombie-fare for the picture-book set this might be for you.
Slug Needs A Hug!
ANDERSEN PRESS USA [ANDERSEN PRESS USA]
Willis, Jeanne
Ross, Tony
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 14, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Slug desperately wants a hug from his mother. What will he do to get it? Many animals offer advice on ways to improve his appearance to get that much-needed sign of affection. He starts adding things--horns, a furry jacket, a hat, a beak, and more. Slug looks increasingly bizarre as he tries to please everyone, in the hopes of pleasing his mother. However, when he returns home she can hardly recognize him and reassures him that she loves him just as he is. The hug? Well, that's easy. She never gave him one because she has no arms. She will, however, give him a kiss. This is a remarkably silly book with a bouncy rhyming text, that demands to be read aloud. Children will giggle with glee as Sluggy follows every suggestion and gradually looks odder and odder. Tony Ross's illustrations are perfectly hilarious, and the underlying message of being yourself is one every child needs to hear. This merits a place in every collection, and would be fabulous as a WCCPBA nominee.
Palace Pets : Pumpkin The Puppy For Cinderella
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
December 14, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This very sturdy, shaped, six-page board book features one of the "Palace Pets'--Pumpkin. She is delighting in autumn with her best friend, Cinderella. Each two-page spread has a little text and bright, happy illustrations with one texture element for the tactile toddler. The book includes two cord handles. They are firmly attached, but might eventually prove to be a choking hazard as the very young gum the book to pieces. This is a cute book for toddler princess fans.
Peppa Pig And The Day At Snowy Mountain
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 14, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Peppa and family are off to the slopes to enjoy a snowy day. They improvise a sled, skate, and then have some problems skiing. Happiness and gentle humor abound. Colorful illustrations accompany the text. This book, based on the TV series, is adequate--a gentle slice-of-pig-life. However, fans of the series will love it to bits.
Ready For School, Murphy?
Disney-Hyperion [Disney-Hyperion]
Murphy, Brendan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 14, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Watch out! Murphy has ants in his pants, butterflies in his tummy, and the heebie-jeebies just thinking about going to school. Maybe he's sick. Should he stay home? His father offers medical advice, the best of which being that it is Saturday and there is no school. Murphy's feeling better, but that doesn't mean he's not going to make mistakes, and the book ends with one that will set readers giggling. The text is very simple, and so are the bright illustrations, but that is all quite deliberate. The computer-generated pictures show a spiky-haired boy with colorful bits and pieces of his life. His father is only viewed from the waist down, putting the book right on a child's eye level. This book, with its simplicity and humor, would doubtless appeal to fans of Shannon's "David" books.
They're There On Their Vacation
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Cleary, Brian P
Paillot, Jim
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
There are few things that annoy me more when I see things written and they're written badly. The biggest annoyance is when someone uses the wrong their/there/they're, especially in signage. (This is followed closely by my aversion to the wrong its/it's.) In this rhyming book the Tuckabees are off on their vacation. They're going to have a grand time visiting here and there. They're going to be indoor-camping, seeing the largest underwear ever, petting narwhals and more! Bright cartoon illustrations accompany the text that shows multiple examples of the key words and their correct usage and spelling. Yes, this is silly, but if I were reading it to a class I'd give them each 3 cards with the three words on them, and have them hold up the one they think is correct every time they hear the word. Perhaps repetition would teach an important spelling skill.
Welcome To Skylander Academy
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Marz, Ron
Ossio, Fico
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Based on the popular game, this is the fourth book in a graphic novel series featuring the Skylander characters and their ongoing battle with the evil Kaos. New students are arriving at Skylander Academy, but all is not as it seems. Will our heroes save the day? You really need to have the entire series of books for the whole story to be told. The illustrations are bold and detailed, but the plot is a tad thin. Nevertheless fans will undoubtedly be thrilled.
Christmas Coal Man
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Kulka, Joe
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Where does Santa get the coal to put in the stockings of bad boys and girls? Why from the coal man, of course. He slaves in the coal mine, with his mule Jenny, getting just the right coal. This he delivers to the man in red every year. He hopes, eventually, to earn enough money to move someplace warm and sunny. Incidental expenses, however, have made his dream far from a reality. Then, when Santa decides to go another way with his incentive system, the coal man is worried he will be out of work entirely. Fortunately all works out and a new tradition is born. Rich illustrations add an inner light to this new holiday legend. Will it stick? Well, it's no "Elf on the Shelf" but it's a cute story.
Cinderella's Stepsister And The Big Bad Wolf
NOSY CROW [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Carey, Lorraine
Blanco, Migy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Do you want the truth about fairy tales? Well, Cinderella was a lazy girl, and all the hard work was done by her THIRD stepsister who was actually kind of nice. So nice, in fact, that she was shunned by her mother and sisters. When it looks like Gertie won't be able to go to the ball, she is sent away to learn how to be mean and ugly. Unfortunately she thwarts the Wicked Queen, warns Hansel and Gretel away from the Worst Witch, and stops the Big Bad Wolf's plan in its tracks. These, her mentors, are unable to change her basic good nature. Eventually the fairy godmother sends both Gertie and the wolf to the ball, and Cinderella gets exactly what she earned. This is a mixed-up fractured fairy tale with delightful digital illustrations with a 50's feel to them. While not a first purchase, it is a fun book.
Rudy's Windy Christmas
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Baugh, Helen
Mantle, Ben
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
It's Christmas Eve and Mrs. Claus has tried to feed Santa some sprouts. He palmed them off on Rudolph, but now Rudolph has a terrible case of gas. Everywhere they fly he's breaking wind, passing gas, tooting, and every other synonym for "fart" you can imagine. The other reindeer, in direct line of fire, find each burst hilariously funny, and laugh so hard they finally can no longer do their job. Luckily Rudy has extra propulsion, which saves Christmas. The text is, of course, rhyming. The illustrations are big, bright, and slightly rude. Will this be a Christmas classic? No. Will some children find it hilariously funny? Yeah, sure, you betcha.
Peppa Pig And The Day At The Museum
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Pepa Pig and her family are off to the museum in this picture book based on the TV series, Peppa Pig. There's a lot to see at the museum, but George is particularly interested in seeing "dine-saws." They have a snack, learn about space, and visit the gift shop. It is a fine family outing. The inside of the book jacket is also a coloring page. These books are easy, pleasant reads, but not especially exceptional. However, they are in high demand in my library by fans of the series.
Spring
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Murray, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the Abdo Kids "Seasons" series, this large-format 24-page book features crisp, colorful photographs facing a page with two sentences of simple text. Let's face it--it's slight. It is, however, just about perfect for group sharing to introduce preschoolers or kindergartners to the season while, hopefully, leading to deeper instruction. The book includes things you do in the spring, a picture glossary, a short index, and a code to access the website for further activities.
Fish
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Murray, Julie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the Abdo Kids "Family Pets" series, this large-format 24-page book features crisp, colorful photographs facing a page with 1to 3 sentences of simple text, all introducing fish as pets. The photographs are the best part of the book. The information contained here, however, is quite slight. Some fish are big, some fish are small, some fish are colorful... Tanks should be maintained. Fish need food. Granted, we need nonfiction for beginning readers, and this book's visual appeal adds to its value. Still, I wish it had more solid information. The book includes a picture glossary, a short index, and a code to access the website for further activities.
I Can Smell
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Murray, Julie
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 15, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the Abdo Kids "Senses" series, this large-format 24-page book features crisp, colorful photographs facing a page with a sentence or two of simple text. The photographs are exceptional--crisp, bright, and inviting, showing a wide variety of children. Unfortunately the book is extremely slight. It tells us we smell with our nose, then each double-page spread shows a child smelling something, and names the child. There is absolutely no information about how the sense of smell works. The book includes a picture glossary, a short index, and a code to access the website for further activities.
Mantis Shrimp : Master Of Punching
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Plattner, Josh
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 16, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Animal Superpowers" series, this sturdy 24-page book focuses on the mantis shrimp. First readers learn about this type of shrimp--where they live and what they look like. Their ability to throw a powerful punch is their superpower. Both smashers and spearers are highlighted. Lifestyle, anatomy, and the shrimps' role as a tasty treat are also examined briefly. The concept is interesting. Unfortunately the text is not specific enough. A more detailed explanation of how and why they punch or spear, and a labeled picture or two, would have done much to clear up unanswered questions. Nevertheless, the book is interesting and covers a subject for which not many books exist.
Search & Rescue
A&d Xtreme/abdo [A&d Xtreme/abdo]
Hamilton, S L
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 16, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "XTreme Jobs" series, this 32 page book includes crisp action photographs as well as very basic information about various types of search and rescue jobs, equipment, search and rescue dogs, and some salary information. The book includes an index and glossary. It is a cursory, but interesting overview of an important profession.
Pirate Campout
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Scollon, William
Character Building Studio
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 16, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Jake and his Never Land pirates are planning a campout, complete with scary stories and Hook and his crew. Naturally Hook has an ulterior motive but, as usual, he ends up just looking silly. This is another typical adventure from this series based on the TV show. Bright cartoon illustrations are accompanied by simple text, with the occasional joke. This Level 1 Reader will attract fans of the series, and has a sturdy binding. It isn't exceptional, but will have readers.
Investigating Seasons
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Richard, Orlin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 16, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
In this well-bound, 40 page Lerner book readers learn about the seasons. Not just the traditional seasons, but also the wet and dry seasons found in tropical climes, the causes of seasons, how they are measured, and how they differ in the northern and southern hemispheres. Readers also get a glimpse of the impact seasons have on plants, animals, and people. It's quite a lot of information to pack into one 40-page book which can make the book feel a bit "jam-packed." Nevertheless it has well-captioned color photographs, maps, and all the text features you might desire. That makes it a good nonfiction book to have in your collection.
Betty Q Investigates
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Gorman, Karyn
Mcclellan, Maddy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 16, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
In this easy five-chapter book Betty Q investigates. She's a super-smart kid in high demand by government agencies, but she prefers to live a normal life. In this case, normal means solving simple mysteries that occur in her school and neighborhood. Bright occasional color illustrations accompany the simple text. Lamentably, the mysteries have no foreshadowing at all. Here's the problem, muddle about, here's the solution. There are no clues given so the reader can come up with a hypothesis. That makes the book adequate for transitional readers, but not an exceptional mystery book.
Hottest And The Coldest
CHILDRENS PRESS [CHILDRENS PRESS]
Marsico, Katie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This is part of the "True Book" series, so you know it will have crisply-written and interesting information, lots of well-captioned photographs that work with the text to expand knowledge, and all the text features you'd want. In the 48 pages of the book readers learn about the hottest and coldest places on the planet, and the adaptations plants, animals, and people have to make to survive there, if survival is even possible. From the heat of Dhahran to the chill of the Antarctic readers travel the world visiting hot and cold spots. It's all quite fascinating. This book would be valuable for report-writing, comparing and contrasting, and even for interest reading.
Cool Outdoor Arts & Crafts : Great Things To Do In The Great
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Being outdoors is fun, and there are some enjoyable outdoor crafts you might like to make. In this entry in the "Great Things to Do in the Great Outdoors" series, readers learn how nature can inspire art. Six arts and crafts projects follow from painting (or stamping) rocks to painting lawn flamingos. Flower pot wind chimes, Mason jar tea lights and bead garden accents are also shown. The most interesting project involves making a sun print scarf. Each project includes step-by-step instructions, and a materials list. The sturdy 32-page book includes a glossary and index. The "Cool" series books vary widely in usability, some being amazing and others less so. This is an adequate addition to the series.
Aqua Sports
A&d Xtreme/abdo [A&d Xtreme/abdo]
Hamilton, S L
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
December 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Wow! I repeat, WOW! Part of the "Wild Water" series, this well-bound 32-page book is splashed with vibrant color photographs accompanied by crisp text and Xtreme fact boxes. The author introduces readers to the latest and greatest in cool aqua sports equipment and its use. I hadn't even heard of half of this stuff but it is all AWESOME! Jetpacks, jetovators, flyboards, power boards, seabreachers, waterpillars, subwings and water bikes, rollers and scooters are all briefly presented. Sure, there's a two page traditional nod to dragon boat racing, but the rest of this is high tech and high excitement. I'm pretty sure it's also high-risk, though that's not the emphasis here. Young readers are going to love this. Older folks may want to revise their Christmas lists.
Diving
A&d Xtreme/abdo [A&d Xtreme/abdo]
Hamilton, S L
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Wild Water" series, this well-bound 32-page book is splashed with vibrant color photographs accompanied by crisp text and Xtreme fact boxes. The author introduces readers to the history of diving and then seven different types of diving are briefly highlighted. The risks of the sport are also examined. The book includes a glossary and an index.This is a brief introduction to an interesting topic providing a nice overview--a shallow dive, if you will.
Cool Backyard Camping : Great Things To Do In The Great Outd
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
December 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
As this book exuberantly points out, there are many benefits to being out-of-doors. Camping out allows you to enjoy nature and other activities. This book briefly covers some basics--campfires (neglecting to mention tinder) and types of camping. This information is followed by four craft projects and two recipes. The craft projects include making a seating pad and glow stick lanterns, as well as a story kit and a shadow theater. The recipes are for pigs in a blanket, and s'mores with variations. The sturdy 32-page book includes a glossary and index. The "Cool" series vary widely in usability, some being amazing and others less so. This is an adequate addition to the series.
Eat Your Us History Homework : Recipes For Revolutionary Min
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Mccallum, Ann
Hernandez, Leeza
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 17, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
CIP places this book firmly in 600's with the cookbooks. However, the author's clever integration of U.S. history, makes this just as viable in the 973's. There are kitchen tips here, as well as safety warnings. And, yes, the book includes 6 recipes, using modern ingredients to recreate historical food. Around each recipe, however, is delightfully chatty text that puts each recipe firmly in historical context. Young chefs learn about the Pilgrims, while making succotash. Berry grunt is accompanied by information about the colonies. The French and Indian War is framed by lost bread (a type of French toast.) Hoe cakes come from the plantation, and Honey-Jumble Cookies (snickerdoodles) are attached to the Revolutionary war, as is Independence Ice Cream. Each recipe includes an ingredients list, as well as step-by-step instructions. There is a final review, followed by a glossary and index. Bright humorous illustrations accompany the breezy and informative text. Now you need to figure out where to shelf it!
Thunder And Lightning
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Hansen, Grace
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 20, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
In this large format book from the Abdo Kids "Weather" series, young readers learn the basics about thunder and lightning. Each two-page spread includes a big color photograph that extends across the gutter and faces text that varies from a sentence to a short paragraph. Readers learn about thunderclouds, static electricity, lightning, thunder, and the speed of sound vs. the speed of light. A clear graphic illustrates how lightning forms. A glossary and index are also included. Some of these large format books are virtually content free. This, however, is an exceptional exception and would be a valuable addition to elementary library collections.
Digby O'day And The Great Diamond Robbery
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Hughes, Shirley
Villiamy, Clara
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 20, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
A mother-daughter team bring us this gently humorous mystery that has a kind of "Hercule Peroit" feel to it. Dogs Digby and Percy are off for a vacation at the shore. They don't quite fit in with the high-class crowd at the hotel, however, and are relegated to a tiny room in an obscure corner. That doesn't stop them from saving a life, meeting a movie star, and thwarting robbers, however. This is a fun, fast-paced book with tons of illustrations, making it a good choice for beginning chapter readers. It looks like the first in a series. We'll see how this one goes over with the students!
Doggone!
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Enderle, Adrienne
Shepard, Dave
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 20, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Ghost Detectors" series features two boys who make it their job to rid their town of troublesome ghosts of all varieties. In this, the 20th volume in the series, the boys' ghost dog, Spooky, is captured by Apparition Animal Control. Other ghost animals are also disappearing. Where can they be? The boys must track down their pet, and the other missing ghosts. In doing so they will also solve another haunting. This is a fun story that flows nicely and keeps the pace up. These short chapter books include occasional black and white illustrations--perfect for those students who are just into chapter books and want something scary, but not TOO scary. The series is popular in my library.
Spelling Bee Specter!
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Enderle, Adrienne
Shepard, Dave
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 20, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Ghost Detectors" series features two boys who make it their job to rid their town of troublesome ghosts of all varieties. In this, the 19th volume in the series, Dandy is preparing for the 5th grade spelling bee. Who knew that the venue was haunted? Microphone problems, squeaky chairs, and actual bees turn the spelling bee into a rout. This is clearly a job for our heroes. They just have to convince the ghost that current spelling rules are different from those he knows. In the meantime there's a humorous coupon-cutting side plot. These are short chapter books with occasional black and white illustrations--perfect for those students who are just into chapter books and want something scary, but not TOO scary. The series is popular in my library.
Grow A Ghost!
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Enderle, Dotti
Mcwilliam, Howard
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 20, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Ghost Detectors" series features two boys who make it their job to rid their town of troublesome ghosts of all varieties. In this, the 17th volume in the series, the boys are duped into thinking they can grow their own very helpful ghost who will do all their work. At first things seem to work out well, but they rapidly deteriorate. Fortunately the boys have a secret weapon to save the day. These are short chapter books with occasional black and white illustrations--perfect for those students who are just into chapter books and want something scary, but not TOO scary. The series is popular in my library.
Spaced Out!
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Enderle, Dotti
Mcwilliam, Howard
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 20, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Ghost Detectors" series features two boys who make it their job to rid their town of troublesome ghosts of all varieties. In this, the 18th volume in the series, the boys are off to a sci-fi convention to see their heroes--a television ghost hunting team--in real life. When an actual ghost hits the convention, however, it turns out that the boys are much better at the job than the supposed "professionals." These are short chapter books with occasional black and white illustrations--perfect for those students who are just into chapter books and want something scary, but not TOO scary. There's enough humor here to attract kids who just want something funny. The series is popular in my library.
Librarians
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Murray, Julie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 21, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This large-format Abdo Kids book is part of the "My Community: Jobs" series. Its 24 pages feature crisp color photographs that extend across the gutter and face a sentence or two of simple text. The information here is very very brief. Librarians work in libraries. They help people with books and computers. They check out books. They read stories. The book includes pictures of four library tools, a picture glossary and a minuscule index.Both male and female librarians are shown, from various ethnic groups. Preschool and kindergarten classes might welcome this book as an introduction to community helpers, but it is extremely slight.
Teachers
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Murray, Julie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 21, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This large-format Abdo Kids book is part of the "My Community: Jobs" series. Its 24 pages feature crisp color photographs that extend across the gutter and face a sentence or two of simple text. The information here is miniscule. Teachers work in schools. They teach adults and children. Some teach reading, math, art, or music. They work hard. The book includes pictures of four teacher tools, a 3-word picture glossary--adult, drums, classroom, and a teeny index.Both male and female teachers are shown, from various ethnic groups. Preschool and kindergarten classes might welcome this book as an introduction to community helpers, but it is very slight.
What Are The Branches Of Government?
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Boothroyd, Jennifer
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 21, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
This is a Lerner book, so you know it is well-bound and includes a table of contents, a glossary, and an index. The top of each page of this small format book is filled with a crisp photograph. The sentence or two of text underneath provides basic information. Readers learn about Congress, the President and his Cabinet, and the courts. This is a very basic introduction. What makes it impossible for me to highly recommend the book is that, while it points out that our government consists of three branches, the words "executive," "legislative," and "judicial" are never used. I'm sure this was in an attempt to keep the vocabulary low, but that failure does a disservice to the reader. This is an adequate book, but you can simplify things too much.
Hocus Bow-Cus!
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Gold, Gina
Loter, Inc.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 21, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Minnie Mouse is having a special event at her Bow-tique--a magic show. When Melody and Millie take over the show in the magician's absence things go wrong. Can they be put right again? Of course! This is another short easy-reader with bright cartoon digital illustrations. There's not a lot of substance here--it's a cotton candy book. That does not mean it won't fly off the shelf, however.
Hauling A Pumpkin : Wheels And Axles Vs. Lever
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Schuh, Mari
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 21, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
There are lots of simple machine books out there, most focusing on specific simple machines and giving them good coverage. This book takes a different approach. There's a big pumpkin to be moved, but it's heavy. Noah and his mother (African-American--YAY!) create a lever using a spade and a log. Then they use a wagon (wheels and axles) to move the pumpkin. This is a clear presentation of simple machines in use. The book's bright color photographs perfectly suit the simple text. There's also a small glossary and index. Add this to your simple machines section for a nice look at application.
Buckle And Squash : The Perilous Princess Plot
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Courtauld, Sarah
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 21, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Once upon a time there were two sisters. Eliza has her feet planted firmly on the ground, or rather, in the mud. She's cleaning out the pig sty and doing all the farm chores while her sister, Lavender, dreams of marrying a handsome prince. (That fairy-tale book was an unfortunate reading choice.) In fact, she has prince posters hanging on the walls in their bedroom. Raised by a granny who is somewhat fixated on deadly diseases, and living in the Middle of Nowhere, Lavender's chances of finding a prince are slim to none, so she decides to go out prince-hunting on her own. This results in her being kidnapped by an evil villain who wants to hold a princess for ransom. (That pointy hat was her undoing!) Eliza now must rescue her sister, with the help of the family goat. This is hilarious fare-- a debut novel that will, hopefully, lead to more. The author plays with language and I'll bet she's a fan of Terry Pratchett. Great silliness abounds here, along with some random grossness and a possible romance. Bizarre happenings--such as trading knees and flatulent dragons--are scattered around just like the black and white illustrations. Those who enjoy fiddling about with words will giggle through this book.
Copernicus : Genius Of Modern Astronomy
Enslow Publishing [Enslow Publishing]
Andronik, Catherine M
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 22, 2015
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Great Scientists and Their Genius Ideas" series, this 96 page biography looks at the life and times of Nicolaus Copernicus. The book opens with an attack by Teutonic Knights on the Polish town of Olsztyn and how clergyman, Copernicus helped save the town. The book then follows his life chronologically. Born in 1473, Nicolaus had many advantages growing up. Although his father died when he was 10, a powerful uncle helped him get a good education. He learned about medicine, arithmetic, geometry, astrology, and astronomy. His passion for astronomy led to some fascinating discoveries. While many in the world believed in a geocentric theory of the universe, he developed a heliocentric one. The story of his life ends in chapter five. The remaining chapters explore his legacy. We learn how his theory was spread, the criticism, and eventual acceptance. The book is well-written and will be accessible to students. Four activities are described at the end of the book that help in the understanding of some of his concepts. The book has a table of contents, timeline, glossary, source notes, and bibliography. This book will be a strong addition to your biography and science sections.
Sunset Key
RAVEN BOOKS [RAVEN BOOKS]
Crouch, Blake
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
December 22, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Letty is an addict with a penchant for crime. When an old acquaintance hires her to steal a valuable painting the payoff is enough to keep her clean. Soon she is at a rich man's island, providing company before his incarceration the next day. All she has to do is drug him, get the painting, and get off the island. Easy, right? There's more going on here, however, than Letty knew. Now she is literally in a fight for her life. This is part of the Orca "Rapid Reads" series and provides a quick, tense plot that will keep both teens and adult readers flipping the pages, wondering how it will end. Orca books are great for reluctant readers and this is no exception.
Forcing The Ace
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Thomas, Erin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
December 22, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Alex has his issues. His dad is a surgeon and expects his son to be heading in that direction. Alex, however, uses those nimble hands of his for card tricks and illusions. He is a talented young magician. What he wants most of all is to participate in a magic competition. However, for that he needs a sponsor. When the only opportunity that presents itself involves partnering with a girl, Alex isn't excited. Still, sacrifices must be made in pursuit of a dream. This is the novel for young teen magicians. It contains plenty of information about magic tricks. There's also subplots about friendship, being true to yourself, and teamwork. As an Orca book, this is also a good quick read, that isn't too challenging. It would be a good choice for reluctant readers. There's nothing here to preclude its addition to an elementary collection, but it's going to find its readership at the middle school.
Rain Wizard : The Amazing, Mysterious, True Life Of Charles
Calkins Creek [Calkins Creek]
Brimner, Larry Dane
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
December 22, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
In the early 1900's droughts battled with changing populations to create a perfect storm. There simply wasn't enough water. This was the era of the "rainmaker"--men who traveled through dry areas promising to bring rain by various means both scientific and mystical. The greatest of these was, perhaps, Charles Mallory Hatfield. Larry Dane Brimner has done an excellent job in tracking down information about this interesting man and his history. Nobody knows quite how Hatfield worked his weather magic, but often the rains did, indeed come. Was he responsible for floods that resulted? Was he merely able to predict the weather and then use that skill to trick people? Was he a charlatan and a confidence man, or was he the real deal? We'll never know, but Brimner provides interesting information and leaves the reader to draw his own conclusions. At the same time readers get a glimpse of another era, before the water infrastructure we currently enjoy was in place. This is an interesting, well-researched book with an extensive bibliography, lots of historical photographs, and a good index.
Sweet Child Of Mine : A Caroline Jayne Church Treasury
CARTWHEEL BOOKS (SCHOLASTIC) [CARTWHEEL BOOKS (SCHOLASTIC)]
Church, Caroline Jayne
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten
December 22, 2015
Lewis, Jo
"A simple, joyful expression of love at all hours and through all seasons. In short, rhyming verses, a doting parent professes love for his or her toddler all through the day and night." Kirkus Reviews (August 1, 2014) A padded cover encloses a collection of rhyming love words to reassure any small child. Soft water colors outlined in ink on colored backgrounds are warm and inviting. I see this as the kind of book with which to end the day and help a peaceful night's sleep for toddlers. It's a good mommy or grandma gift to share.
I Miss You, Stinky Face
CARTWHEEL BOOKS (SCHOLASTIC) [CARTWHEEL BOOKS (SCHOLASTIC)]
Mccourt, Lisa
Moore, Cyd
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 22, 2015
Lewis, Jo
A board book. On the telephone to her son, a mother promises the many ways she will come to rejoin him, traveling by hot air balloon, camel, cheetah, and shark. This promise of "swift return" story is reassuring for many young listeners worried when parents are away. Busy, colorful illustrations crowd each page. This flight of fancy is fun but I would buy the larger version for use with a library group.
Dinosaurumpus!
CARTWHEEL BOOKS (SCHOLASTIC) [CARTWHEEL BOOKS (SCHOLASTIC)]
Mitton, Tony
Parker-Rees, Guy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 22, 2015
Lewis, Jo
A group of dinosaurs converge upon the swamp where they proceed to romp and stomp until they all fall asleep. Picture a pre-school group of children reacting to the rhyming invitations to Shake, shake, shudder, Bomp, bomp, bomp, etc. until they all fall asleep in a heap. Eight different dinosaurs are pictured in this free for all rhyming story. This will get all "the ants out of the pants." The board book is too small to really share all the action with a group of children. For library or school use, buy the larger version.
What's In My Truck?
CARTWHEEL BOOKS (SCHOLASTIC) [CARTWHEEL BOOKS (SCHOLASTIC)]
Bleck, Linda
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
December 22, 2015
Lewis, Jo
Discover all the things these trucks can carry in this board book with tons of lift-the-flaps! Every one of my toddler grandchildren loved lift the flap books. This sturdy example of the genre is a good one. Clear colorful illustrations show the many parts and contents of delivery trucks. There are the contents of farm, grocery, carnival, aquarium, and auto trucks to inspect. The flaps will last a while after an adult carefully opens and folds the back the flaps back the first time they're used. Both boys and girls should enjoy this look at delivery trucks.
How The Us Security Agencies Work
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Cobb, Allan B
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 23, 2015
Garrard, Thom
A variety of agencies work together to help keep the US secure, including intelligence agencies like the NSA, security agencies such as Border Security and TSA, and law enforcement agencies, including the FBI. This book, which is part of Abdo's How the Government Works series, explains the different but complementary roles that each organization plays in order to accomplish the mammoth task of keeping us safe. Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelation that a court order was allowing the NSA to go beyond its normal activity of monitoring foreign communications by collecting the phone records of American citizens serves as an intriguing lead-in to this topic, although the relative value of privacy rights compared to security needs is not discussed. Every two-page spread includes at least one photo, diagram, or sidebar that adds visual interest and provides additional information. Unfortunately, questions and activities that are supposed to support the Common Core are scattered throughout the book. These features may help sell the book to some, but they also make it feel like a textbook, which could put a damper on a student’s enthusiasm for the topic.
Raiders Of The Lost Shark
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Gardner, Lyn
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 23, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Oh no! The Ghastly McNastys - pirates of putrid and perfidious behavior - are back in the town of Little Snoring. One would have thought being swallowed by a whale would have put paid to these villains but, after all, what's a sequel for if not to bring back an evil once thought vanquished? Now the children of Little Snoring are facing their arch-enemies again, not to mention lots of gross additional things. A movie is being made in town--Raiders of the Lost Shark. A treasure may be hidden in the falling-down castle where the movie is being staged. Pirates are attracted by treasure. There's also a long-lost love, a near drowning from tears and snot, feet so smelly they attract sharks, and a one-legged parrot. Add in a few black and white illustrations and you have a remarkably silly book that will attract children to its pages like flies to a spider web. Oh, and a spider also plays an important role. I imagine we'll be hearing more from Little Snoring. I mean, if you can make it out of the belly of a whale, surely you can get out from inside a shark, right?
Super Schnoz And The Booger Blaster Breakdown
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Urey, Gary
Frawley, Keith
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 23, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Andy was born with a truly outstanding feature--an enormous nose. While it might leave him open for ridicule, its olfactory capabilities, and its ability to push air around giving Andy the power of flight, let him assume a superhero identity--Super Schnoz. This is the second Super Schnoz book. Will Andy get a job using his smelling skills in the perfume industry, or is he being set up for industrial espionage? A trip to New York with his friends may prove his undoing. This book is filled with gross references, horrible puns, exciting action, and incredible silliness. Yes, you have boogers, bird poop and camel dung as important plot elements! (How often can you say that?) Occasional black and white illustrations are sprinkled throughout the book. This is clearly aimed directly at kids who have finished up with Captain Underpants and are ready to move "up" in their reading.
Mango, Abuela, And Me
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Medina, Meg
Dominguez, Angela
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 23, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Mia’s grandmother comes to live with her family from far away and shares Mia’s bedroom. They spend time together after school before her parents come home, but have difficulty communicating because Mia doesn’t know Spanish and her grandmother doesn’t know English. They find ways to each other words and phrases as they cook and spend time with the new parrot Mango. They become very close and learn together. This is a sweet somewhat predictable book about being new, learning another language, and family without any negatives. The bold illustrations add to the comforting feel of the book. There is also a Spanish language edition of the book.
Birds
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Murray, Julie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 23, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This a very basic introduction to pet birds with large photographs and one or two very simple sentences on each two-page spread. There is a table of contents, but only one chapter and then a page called “Bird Supplies” with four small labeled photographs. There is a 2-word glossary with photos and an 9-word index. There would not be enough information for a young student to do much research, but it does introduce the animal in a general way with interesting photographs and is accessible to very beginning readers. It is part of the Abdo Kids Pet Animals series.
Chickens
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Murray, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 23, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This a very basic introduction to chickens with large photographs and one to three very simple sentences on each two-page spread. There is a table of contents, but only one chapter and then a page called “A Chicken’s Life” with four small labeled photographs. There is a 4-word glossary with photos and a 10-word index. There would not be enough information for a young student to do much research, but it does introduce the animal in a general way with interesting photographs and is accessible to very beginning readers. It is part of the Abdo Kids Farm Animals series.
Horses
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Murray, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 23, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This a very basic introduction to horses with large photographs and one to three very simple sentences on each two-page spread. There is a table of contents, but only one chapter and then a page called “A Horse’s Life” with four small labeled photographs. There is a 2-word glossary with photos and a 10-word index. There would not be enough information for a young student to do much research, but it does introduce the animal in a general way with interesting photographs and is accessible to very beginning readers. It is part of the Abdo Kids Farm Animals series.
Bug in a Vacuum
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
WATT, MELANIE
Watt, Melanie
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
December 23, 2015
Garrard, Thom
A bug is sucked into a vacuum cleaner. Thus begins an emotional journey that traverses the five stages of grief as defined by Kubler-Ross. First comes denial, during which he thinks he must be dreaming. Then he tries bargaining with the vacuum for his release, but to no avail. The subsequent eruption of his anger also fails to help him gain his freedom. At this point, despair robs him of all hope, but at last, he accepts his plight. Luckily, the vacuum is soon dumped in the landfill, and the impact opens up an escape route for the bug. The vacuum also consumed the dog’s favorite toy, and at the end of each stage, the dog’s actions and thought bubbles show that he is suffering through parallel stages of coping with loss, although he too successfully moves on by the end. Melanie Watt’s masterful mixed media illustrations mostly use a muted palette of gray, soft green and dull red that fits the serious subject matter perfectly. Students who need to understand the universal human feelings that follow unexpected change or loss will be helped by reading this gem of a story.
Dogs
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Murray, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 23, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This a very basic introduction to pet dogs with large photographs and one or two very simple sentences on each two-page spread. There is a table of contents, but only one chapter and then a page called “Dog Supplies” with four small labeled photographs. There is a 3-word glossary with photos and a 7-word index. There would not be enough information for a young student to do much research, but it does introduce the animal in a general way with interesting photographs and is accessible to very beginning readers. It is part of the Abdo Kids Pet Animals series.
Pigs
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Murray, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 23, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This a very basic introduction to pigs with large photographs and one to three very simple sentences on each two-page spread. There is a table of contents, but only one chapter and then a page called “A Pig’s LIfe” with four small labeled photographs. There is a 3-word glossary with photos and a 9-word index. There would not be enough information for a young student to do much research, but it does introduce the animal in a general way with interesting photographs and is accessible to very beginning readers. It is part of the Abdo Kids Farm Animals series.
Goats
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Murray, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 23, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This a very basic introduction to goats with large photographs and one to three very simple sentences on each two-page spread. There is a table of contents, but only one chapter and then a page called “A Goat’s Life” with four small labeled photographs. There is a 3-word glossary with photos and a 10-word index. There would not be enough information for a young student to do much research, but it does introduce the animal in a general way with interesting photographs and is accessible to very beginning readers. It is part of the Abdo Kids Farm Animals series.
Hermit Crabs
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Murray, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 23, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This a very basic introduction to pet hermit crabs with large photographs and one to three very simple sentences on each two-page spread. There is a table of contents, but only one chapter and then a page called “Hermit Crab Supplies” with four small labeled photographs. There is a 3-word glossary with photos and an 8-word index. There would not be enough information for a young student to do much research, but it does introduce the animal in a general way with interesting photographs and is accessible to very beginning readers. It is part of the Abdo Kids Pet Animals series.
Cats
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Murray, Julie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 23, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This a very basic introduction to cats with large photographs and one or two very simple sentences on each two-page spread. There is a table of contents, but only one chapter and then a page called “Cat Supplies” with four small labeled photographs. There is a 3-word glossary with photos and an 8-word index. There would not be enough information for a young student to do much research, but it does introduce the animal in a general way with interesting photographs and is accessible to very beginning readers. It is part of the Abdo Kids Pet Animals series.
Sheep
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Murray, Julie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 23, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
This a very basic introduction to sheep with large photographs and one to three very simple sentences on each two-page spread. Even though there are only 17 sentences of text, four sentences are about clothes made out of wool. There is a table of contents, but only one chapter and then a page called “A Sheep’s Life” with four small labeled photographs of things sheep do. There is a 3-word glossary with photos and a 7-word index. There would not be enough information for a young student to do much research, but it does introduce the animal in a general way with interesting photographs and is accessible to very beginning readers. It is part of the Abdo Kids Farm Animals series.
InvisiBill
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Fergus, Maureen
PETRICIC, DUSAN
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 24, 2015
Garrard, Thom
Distracted by books, television, and other electronic devices during dinner, Bill’s family members fail to respond when he asks them to pass the potatoes. He turns invisible, and it isn’t until his siblings want his help with chores that anyone notices. On the advice of the family doctor, his mother colors his head and hair with permanent markers. He must endure his classmates’ laughter at school, and he is still being ignored at home, so he scrubs off the marker and keeps quiet. When his family becomes agitated at his absence and then remorseful, he reappears. The next time they sit down to dinner, they focus on each other. The amusing pen and ink illustrations are reminiscent of cartoon panels, as they are mostly contained in boxes, although these are assorted sizes that are set at angles and sometimes overlap. Plenty of room remains for sections of text to be set next to the appropriate image. Kids will be able to relate to the Bill’s feeling of being invisible while finding reassurance in the fact that he is truly loved. In this age of pervasive electronics, this story also serves as a helpful reminder about the importance of face-to-face interaction.
Tommy can't Stop!
Disney Hyperion [Disney Hyperion]
Federle, Tim
Fearing, Mark
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 24, 2015
Garrard, Thom
His family’s patience with Tommy’s need to be constantly in motion is wearing thin. They try to tire him out with activities such as one-handed tennis, but they are the ones getting exhausted. Signing him up for sports is also unsuccessful. Finally, over his strenuous objections, his mother insists that he attend a tap dancing class. To his surprise, he finds that his teacher wants him to move in ways that are completely natural to him. Thus he discovers the special talent for tap dancing that makes him a star. The colorful, cartoon-like illustrations are eye-catching and convey the chaos that Tommy creates. Dashed lines that trace the path of his motion around the house give added emphasis to his impact. In addition to supporting the idea that boys can dance, this story serves as a good reminder that qualities that make someone stand out may seem problematic to those around them, but that those same qualities can be valuable assets given the right situation.
How The Sun Got To Coco's House
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Graham, Bob
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 24, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
While Coco sleeps, the sun starts its journey for the day rising from behind a hill in the Arctic. It touches the lives of many animals and people around the world as it travels…a whale, a yurt, a boy in an airplane, a woman in an Asian city, the desert with camels, the Middle East, and finally a city where Coco lives. Coco wakes up to the sun in her window and after breakfast with her family, she spends the day playing in the snow with her friends with the sun overhead. This is a quiet story about the interconnectedness of the world. The large soft illustrations with details in pen give many clues to the changing settings and also give a warmth that fits a story about the sun.
Coconut Crabs
Big Buddy Books/abdo [Big Buddy Books/abdo]
Zappa, Marcia
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 24, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
The coconut crab is known for two distinguishing features – that they use their claws to steal things and that it is the largest land crab at up to three feet from leg tip to leg tip. This nonfiction book also gives facts about its body, habitat, food, life cycles, and predators. There are nine short chapter of one or two 2-page spreads with a paragraph or two of information ant a large labeled photograph or map to complement the text. A fact page, glossary, link to web site, and index are included. Young students will enjoy learning about this unusual animal for fun or for a beginning research project. It is part of the World’s Weirdest Animals series.
Proboscis Monkeys
Big Buddy Books/abdo [Big Buddy Books/abdo]
Zappa, Marcia
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 24, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
The proboscis monkey is known for two distinguishing features – its oddly shaped nose and that it is a very strong swimmer. This nonfiction book also gives facts about its body, habitat, food, life cycles, and predators. There are nine short chapter of one or two 2-page spreads with a paragraph or two of information ant a large labeled photograph or map to complement the text. A fact page, glossary, link to web site, and index are included. Young students will enjoy learning about this unusual animal for fun or for a beginning research project. It is part of the World’s Weirdest Animals series.
Elephant Shrews
Big Buddy Books/abdo [Big Buddy Books/abdo]
Zappa, Marcia
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 24, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
The elephant shrew is known for three distinguishing features – its long flexible snout, one mate for life, and trails to escape predators. This nonfiction book also gives facts about its body, habitat, food, life cycles, and predators. There are ten short chapter of one or two 2-page spreads with a paragraph or two of information ant a large labeled photograph or map to complement the text. A fact page, glossary, link to web site, and index are included. Young students will enjoy learning about this unusual animal for fun or for a beginning research project. It is part of the World’s Weirdest Animals series.
Too Many Toys!
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Deedman, Heidi
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
December 24, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Lulu had one special toy – a teddy bear named Jupiter who went everywhere with her. Of course Lulu had many more toys and after her birthday she had even more and after Christmas she had even more. She decided she had just too many toys, so she organized a toy giveaway where she gave each toy away to a different child until all that was left was Jupiter, her special teddy bear. This is a sweet story with a predictable ending, but it will get the point across to children who have many toys. The soft watercolor and ink illustrations with sketchy details of many toys crowding the pages fit the story.
Jumping Off Library Shelves : A Book Of Poems
Wordsong [Wordsong]
Hopkins, Lee Bennett
Manning, Jane
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
December 24, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
All fifteen of these poems by different authors revolve around the theme of the library from books and libraries to storytellers and librarians to dictionaries and Internet explorers. Lee Bennett Hopkins has brought together well known poets as well as lesser known ones, but they all touch a chord with their poems. Most of the poems each have their own two-page spread with plenty of room for the poem to unfold and an imaginative warm-colored illustration as the background. This is a picture book of poems that teachers and librarians will want to share with students of all ages.
Meet A Baby Lemur
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Bell, Samantha
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 24, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Lemurs are introduced with a focus on babies and mothers and how they grow. There is also information on food, social groups, predators, habitat, and bodies. There are four chapters with a paragraph of information in large font on each page with a large or small captioned photograph to support the text. A habitat map, life cycle diagram, fun facts page, 7-word glossary, list of seven additional resources, and index. The clear information, interesting photographs, and appealing layout make this book accessible to young readers and researchers. It is part of the Baby African Animals series.
Ed & Bo Try To Graduate
Epic Press/abdo [Epic Press/abdo]
Mcgehee, Laura
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
December 26, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Looking for a series for the "Captain Underpants" crowd, once they hit high school? Well, you may be looking for the aptly named "Stoopid" books. These are the adventures of Ed and Bo, two slacker stoners who are just trying to get by with a minimum of hassle. In this, the first book in the series (there are six so far), Our boys discover that they will be not be able to graduate due to the lack of a business credit. Their only hope is to enter a young entrepreneur contest. Merriment ensues as they try to come up with ideas, try to bull their way through both essay and survey, and then launch their service business. Things actually end up pretty well for them, proving that you don't have to have full contact with reality to succeed. The writing is good and the characters, with their total lack of character, are well-defined. This is not classic literature, but it will appeal to the crowd that wants to read something without a lot of mental commitment. Think "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" without the time travel.
Anna Banana and the Chocolate Explosion
FIRST SECOND [FIRST SECOND]
Roques, Dominic
Dormal, Alexis
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 26, 2015
Garrard, Thom
Anna Banana’s stuffed animals are hungry, so she offers to teach them how to bake a chocolate cake. Fuzzball mixes so energetically that the cake mix explodes, covering the kitchen and its occupants. Just as the rabbit and the penguin start to fight, they are surprised to see bear walk in with a finished cake. He offers to make another, so the others follow him and discover that he actually made a quick trip to the bakery. Embarrassed by being discovered, he then agrees to help the others. Working together, they successfully bake a cake and sit down to share it. The story is told exclusively with speech bubbles and sound effects, which fits perfectly with the cartoon artwork that is presented in one to five panels per page. The story’s message is not quite so clear. Ultimately, cooperation produces the desired result, but not before their first attempt to work together fails and the bear “cheats” by making the bakery run. Even as they take the finished cake to eat, bear is bragging that they couldn’t have done it without him. Their cooperation ends at the desired destination, but the journey to get there is a rough one.
The Skunk
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
BARNETT, MAC
McDonnell, Patrick
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 26, 2015
Garrard, Thom
A man finds himself being followed by a skunk. He asks the skunk what it wants, but no answer is forthcoming. The pursuit then continues in taxis, through the opera, across the city, in and out of a cemetery, and around a Ferris wheel. Trapped at a dead end alley, the man flees through the sewers. When he emerges in a new part of town, he has lost the skunk. He buys a new house and meets new people, but the skunk is now stuck in his head. He goes out searching, eventually finds it, and decides to follow the skunk to make sure it does not resume following him. Patrick McDonnell’s cartoonish illustrations add humor and enhance the story. In his tuxedo and red bowtie, the man resembles the skunk chromatically. The rest of the pages also use that limited palette except for the scenes in the man’s new house where the skunk is absent and primary colors predominate. When he leaves his new life to pursue the skunk, the color scheme returns to black and white with touches of red. The motivations of the skunk and the man are not explained, so the reader is left with more questions than answers, but this quirky tale is thought-provoking and will surely serve as a good conversation starter.
Book Itch : Freedom, Truth & Harlem's Greatest Bookstore
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Nelson, Vaunda
Christie, R. Gregory
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 27, 2015
Kline, Karen
Lewis Micheaux wasn’t college educated, but he was known as “The Professor.” He opened the first African American bookstore in Harlem around 1930, though records of the exact date are not known. Micheaux’s great niece researched and authored this book, and a page of biographical information, author’s note regarding her research, and bibliography are appended. The story is told from the viewpoint of Lewis’s son, Lewis Micheaux Jr., who the author interviewed at length as well as others who frequented the store. After being turned down for a loan to turn his pushcart book selling business into a storefront, Micheaux Sr. saved his money to open the store that became famous for letting customers stay past closing time and for attracting noteworthy civil rights activists like Malcolm X who spoke on the street outside the store to rally crowds. The oil illustrations by award-winning illustrator R. Gregory Christie bring the period and place to life with dramatic portraits of Micheaux, Malcolm X, and Mohammad Ali, and the somber tones of the the work are in keeping with the text. Perhaps the most memorable part of the book are the poetic quotes of Micheaux’s that are bolded in the text and on the end papers. Suburb narrative NF.
Princess In Black And The Perfect Princess Party
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Hale, Shannon
Pham, Leuyen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 27, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Princess Magnolia is all ready to receive her guests for her birthday party when the monster alarm goes off and she must sneak into a broom closet and change into Princess in Black. Her pony Frimplepants also changes his identity to become Blacky and they are ready to confront the monster. She battles the monster and ties him in knots and rushes back to the castle just in time to welcome her twelve princess guests as Princess Magnolia. The monster alarm goes off again and again throughout the party and she has to change into Princess in Black each time to fight the monster. Princess Sneezewort notices her disappearances, but in the end Princess Magnolia is able to keep her secret and also enjoy her birthday party. This easy chapter book is the second in a series that is a big hit with young readers who love sparkly princess books, but also like the idea of a daring Princess in Black who saves the day. The vibrant and playful illustrations throughout the book add to its appeal.
Great Monkey Rescue : Saving The Golden Lion Tamarins
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Markle, Sandra
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 27, 2015
Wittmann, Teresa
Golden Lion Tamarins live only in the Atlantic forests of Brazil. They were threatened by extinction until scientists figured out how to raise the monkeys in zoos and then release them back into the wild and also concerned citizens helped save their habitat. The first chapter introduces a young female tamarin who is looking for a family to join without success. The following chapters clearly explain different aspects of tamarins and their struggle for survival. Topics covered include habitat, raising tamarins successfully in zoos, attempts to introduce them back into the wild, and the plan to plant living bridges of trees to connect forest areas across pastures. One of the last chapters comes back to the young female who is looking for a family to join and she uses one of the living bridges to travel to another area where a young male tamarin is calling for a mate. Large captioned photographs on every page supplement the text beautifully. There are many closeups of the tamarins, but also the scientists at work in zoos, introducing them back into the wild, and restoring habitat. A timeline, glossary, list of resources, and index are included.
This Is Sadie
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
O'leary, Sara
Morstad, Julie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 27, 2015
Kline, Karen
Sadie is a girl with a vivid imagination. A book or a cardboard box can take her places. Pictured swimming with friends in a pool that covers the pages of a book, Sadie is equally at ease with the here-and-now as well as the fantastical world of stories. The gouache, watercolor, and pencil illustrations are mystical and wispy, as they show Sadie flying about with her wings that “are just very, very hard to see.” Sadie’s trusty fox partner and toy frolic about the book reminding us of how quickly a plaything can consume a child’s day, and of Sadie’s masked face on the cover looking like a sly fox. Children will relate to the metaphors that Sadie moves through including being the Mad Hatter, a mermaid, a hero of a fairy tale and more. This book comes together in a magical sort of way that will thrill readers over and over again.
Sleeping Beauty : Based On The Original Story By The Brother
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Gibb, Sarah
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
December 28, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Beautiful illustrations, some in full color and others in silhouette make this retelling of Sleeping Beauty a charmer. The text reads well and follows the traditional storyline. However, it is the illustrations that will keep this book circulating week after week. If you need a new copy of this classic tale this is a recommended purchase.
Where did my clothes come from
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Butterworth, Chris
Gaggiotti, Lucia
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 28, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Filled with information on the materials and processes that create clothes this will be a welcome addition to school libraries. The process for making cotton jeans, wool sweaters, a silk party dress, a soccer uniform, fleece jacket and rubber boots are each outlined. The steps are sometimes laid out in narrative, and other times follow a numbered step format that should be useful as mentor text examples. Inviting, clear illustrations allow the reader to visualize each step in a process. Additional pages mention other plant, and animal fiber sources. There are also author and illustrator notes, a short bibliography and a remarkably complete index. Individual readers will enjoy pouring over the small-scale illustrations. However, they will demand sharing to a group on a document camera.
Seeds of Friendship, The
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
FOREMAN, MICHAEL
Foreman, Michael
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 28, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Adam is excited to live in a new city and country, but he misses his old home and friends. To fill his time and decorate his new room he paints beautiful paintings of elephants, lions and other animals from where he used to live. When the weather turns cold Adam uses his first snow to reach out and make friends by creating a snow elephant that grows into a crowd of savannah snow animals with the help of other kids he meets in the park. Later Adam uses a plants a small garden that expands to a roof top garden to work on with his new friends. A gentle book about how reaching out and working with others can change ones happiness and perception of the world.
Kissing In Italian
Delacorte [Delacorte]
Henderson, Lauren
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
December 28, 2015
Wittmann, Paula
Violet Routledge is having the best and worst summer of her life. It is the best because she is studying abroad in Italy and has fallen in love Luca. It is the worst because she looks exactly like the portraits in Luca’s ancestral home- could it be that her father is not her father and that the boy she has fallen in love with is her brother? This seems to become even more plausible when she finds a photo of Luca’s father at a party and her ex-model mother in the background. As she waits to find out from her mother the truth of her parentage the are other coming of age intrigues with the other girls in the program. One falls hard for the art instructor, and another betrays her by telling the program manager of plans for an evening meeting. In the end all is ironed out and tidy (a little too tidy perhaps). Fans of the first book Flirting in Italian, should enjoy this sequel as should those wanting a light romance set in a beautiful location.
BMX Racing
21st Century [21st Century]
ADAMSON, THOMAS K
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 28, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the Epic "Extreme Sports" series, this well-bound 24-page book fills its pages with flashy action photographs, accompanied by brief explanatory text with glossary words highlighted in red. Here readers learn a little of the basics of the sport, its history, and some of its variations. The book includes a glossary and index. While not really informative enough for report-writing, it will attract young enthusiasts who think BMX racing is cool.
All for a dime! : a Bear and Mole story
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Hillenbrand, Will
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 28, 2015
Garrard, Thom
In this fourth Bear and Mole story, Bear collects blueberries, Mole digs up worms, and their friend Skunk produces perfume. When they head to the market to sell their goods, they expect to make lots of money. Bear starts doing a brisk business, but Mole and Skunk have no customers. Befuddled, they decide to switch places. Mole starts buying his worms from Skunk and she purchases her perfume from Mole, passing the same dime back and forth. At the end of the day, they seem surprised to have only the one dime, but at least they had fun. Fortunately, Bear has one basket of blueberries left and has earned enough to buy ice cream, both of which he shares with his friends. Created with various media, the illustrations create a soft, but cheerful mood. In the background, the market goers’ aversion to the perfume and worms presents a humorous contrast to Mole and Skunk’s enthusiasm for the same. Sound effects that are repeated three times add appeal to this gentle story.
Ragweed's farm dog Handbook
Candlewick [Candlewick]
Kennedy, Anne Vittur
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
December 28, 2015
Garrard, Thom
An expert farm dog named Ragweed offers free advice in this handbook for other aspiring farm dogs. He clarifies what each farm animal’s job is and points out that, even if it seems really enticing, a farm dog should not do those other jobs. Don’t wake the farmer. Don’t lie in the pigs’ mud. Don’t sit on the hens’ nests. Don’t eat grass like a cow. If the temptation proves too much, however, the farm dog might still end up with a biscuit, and after all, getting biscuits is what a farm dog’s job is really all about. Bright acrylic illustrations fill each page with plenty of action and add to the tongue-in-cheek humor of the text. The discussion of each farm animal repeats a common structure, which both supports beginning readers and adds to the small surprises as the biscuits mount up. This handbook is sure to be a big hit with humans, as well as aspiring farm dogs.
When The Wind Blew
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Jackson, Alison
Barrette, Doris
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 29, 2015
Garrard, Thom
The strong wind blowing in nursery rhyme land creates havoc. The woman who lives in a shoe and her children put one thing back with its rightful owner only to find something else that also needs to be returned to its proper place. After a series of these, their efforts and a shift in the wind combine to set everything to rights. They have learned the cost “of constantly grasping for things that are lost,” and the old woman resolves to keep an eye on her most prized possessions. Bright watercolor illustrations fill the pages, and the mostly open-mouthed expressions of the characters convey their surprise each time something else comes tumbling through the air. Each two-page spread includes one stanza of rhyming couplets. The author hints that there’s a lesson here about greed (“constantly grasping”), and she further implies that the old woman values her children as opposed to the characters that were upset by the temporary loss of material things, but these ideas are not really supported by the story. This is best viewed as a fun romp, and young children will enjoy making the connection between the objects that the wind carries and the nursery rhyme to which it belongs.
Hazardous Motion
Epic Press/abdo [Epic Press/abdo]
Taylor, Nicole M
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
December 30, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Bots" series examines issues of humanity and artificial intelligence as new bots are being created that are crossing the line from robot to sentience. Edmond West is a designer who has led in the creation of humanoid robots. Perhaps his work is too good, for now he's on the run with his female robot, Hart, who is becoming increasingly independent. Corporations and the military are after them, each with an agenda. The big issue now is that bots are starting to think independently. This makes them a liability in warfare and, well, daily life. The decision to upgrade them with a "kill switch" so if they are disobedient an aneurysm will kill them seems logical, if you consider them mechanical property. If you think of them as people, however, what does this make you--a slave master with the power of life and death? Chapters jump between Edmond and Hart and the people who are pursuing them. Content and language makes this a YA series, but each book is a quick read so they'd be good books for techies who don't have much time.
Uncanny Valley
Epic Press/abdo [Epic Press/abdo]
Taylor, Nicole M
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
December 30, 2015
Bateman, Teresa
The "Bots" series examines issues of humanity and artificial intelligence as new bots are being created that are crossing the line from robot to sentience. Designer Edmond West is is on the run with his female robot who is becoming increasingly self-aware. Her ability to manipulate her own body, giving it additional human elements, is turning her into something...but is it human? A kill switch has been designed to keep bots under control. Both the corporation and the military are after West, and a child bot has been sent to track him down. What nobody knows is just how far the free bots have evolved. Chapters jump between Edmond and Hart and the people who are pursuing them. Content and language makes this a YA series, but each book is a quick read so they'd be good books for techies who don't have much time. They must be read in order, however, as each builds on the previous one.
Read, recite, and write concrete poems
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Macken, Joann Early
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
December 30, 2015
Garrard, Thom
A concrete poem is a poem that takes a shape which may also be the subject of the poem. This book from Crabtree’s Poet’s Workshop series has chapters on writing different types of concrete poems, including animal, mask, free-form, sound and rhyming poems. Each chapter starts with an example, explains something about poetic forms, points out important attributes that poems share with all literature, gives examples of brainstorming and organizing tools, and furnishes tips on writing a poem of one’s own. The final two chapters give ideas about revising and performing a poem. A mix of diagrams, text boxes, photographs, charts, and drawings keep the pages visually interesting and ensure that no block of text is too large. How interesting it was to find a mention of daydreaming as a method to aid in generating ideas! A lot of the information and advice seems fairly basic and generic to any writing, but it might prove helpful for beginning poets. Whether they would select this book seems questionable, though teachers could find some useful ideas here.
Super Simple Mediterranean Art : Fun And Easy Art From Aroun
Super Sandcastle/abdo [Super Sandcastle/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 31, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
This offering from ABDO’s Super Simple Cultural Art Set #2, introduces students to Mediterranean culture through art from around the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The first page, a very brief introduction identifying the Mediterranean region, includes a world map with the Mediterranean Sea labeled. Included are short, two sentence paragraphs about art of the region placed next to thumbnail photographs. A page of notes about permissions and safety placed before any of craft activity instructions. With step-by-step instructions and how-to photos for various items - a Painted Vase, Mini Red Fez, Marbled paper, a Mosaic Frame and several other crafts students get a taste of the culture and history of the region. Some featured crafts are truly simple to execute, such as the Acting Out Mask, but others such as the Roman scroll takes more effort and my take some adult assistance. Students should be able to create some fun crafts. If you are looking for ways to add to your arts and crafts section this title would be a good addition to your library.
Escape From Future World!
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Stewart, Yale
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
December 31, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
Oh No! Brianiac has taken over S.T.A.R. Lab’s computers, ensnared Superman sending them to Future World. What will happen to them? Will they escape? This title will appeal to your primary readers as well as struggling readers who can’t get enough of superheroes such a Superman. The short sentences, large font, white space on the pages and cartoon style illustrations are a sure draw for any reader who loves superheroes. Sound effects onomatopoeia is printed in a balloon in the printed text and add to the age appropriate actions. This titles ends with a secret message for the reader to decode strong binding will hold up to the handling this one will get even if it will be “too hot to shelve. It is a great 28 page beginning chapter book for young readers.
Surprise Attack! : Nickolas Flux And The Attack On Pearl Har
Graphic Library/capstone Press [Graphic Library/capstone Press]
Collins, Terry
Gassman, Nathan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 31, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
Told in Graphic Novel format this title begins with front end-paper telling the back-story of Nicholas Flux and his ability to time travel along with his love of history with a page introducing the characters. One of eight in the series, this adventure opens as Nicholas falls into the pond he and his brother are on only to surface in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and is rescued by sailors from the USS Oklahoma minutes before the Japanese attack. Now he must survive. Nick’s surviving of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is told in five chapters with dark illustrations and expected speech bubbles comprising of facts about both sides of the attack and details about the US Navy. With snippets - “Flux Facts” of information about the event appearing on every other page and a detailed “Flux File” timeline at the back of the book students will read an easily understood introduction to the “day that will live in infamy”. In spite of the fantasy of time travel, the author’s priority is offering facts rather than fictionalizing the story. This will be a good addition to both the WWII history and graphic novel section of the library. With the reinforced binding, it will stand up to all of the handling it will receive.
And The Cars Go...
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Bee, William
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 31, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
The cars are at a standstill. What is the hold up? The Policeman, on his motorcycle goes “vrooom vrooom vrooom! up the line of traffic as he ask the family going to the beach (brrrm brrrm) a Duke and Duchess in a Rolls Royce (whisper whisper) out for a drive, the yellow school bus, as well as an ice cream truck only to find everyone is stuck behind Farmer Jake’s prize sheep. Once the sheep are herded back to their field with a “chug chug, chuggety chug”, a “pop pop pop, bang bang, hisssssss” and a “ding ding ding ding ding-a-ling” everyone is on their way. Every vehicle has its own sound; every character has something to say in this cute, fun story. The brightly colored digital illustrations are reminiscent of the 1960’s this is a fun read aloud. A note on the obverse of the title page encourages the reader to find 15 snails hidden in the illustrations - it is not easy! Young readers and listeners will love this one. The binding is not strong and will need careful handling to keep it in circulation.
Viking's Revenge
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Hulme-Cross, Benjamin
Rinaldi, Angelo
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 31, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
One of four titles in the Warrior Heroes series originally published in England the series finds two brothers, Arthur and Finn, traveling back in time to help the ghosts of ancient warriors trapped in The Hall of Heroes, their Great-Grandfathers’ museum, rest in peace. After Professor Blade’s demise, Arthur and Finn found that when one of the ghost warriors touched them they traveled back to the time and place where the ghost lived and died. They could not return until they fixed whatever was keeping the ghost from resting in peace. Finn has recorded everything their Great Grandfather told them about all of the warriors and their cultures, which is included as sections labeled “Excerpt From Warriors Heroes by Finn Blade” providing information about everything from Thralls to Viking mythology.. In The Viking’s Revenge Arthur and Finn are charged with retrieving “Blood Hunter” the Viking’s stolen sword and thus rewriting history. Throughout the adventure, they experience life a Viking long house as a thrall,and even Berserkers. This is a well-written and researched story, the setting is realistic and the action is quick and entertaining. This is for the reader who likes adventure and historical fiction.
Knight's Enemies
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Hulme-Cross, Benjamin
Rinaldi, Angelo
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 31, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
One of four titles in the Warrior Heroes series originally published in England the series finds two brothers, Arthur and Finn, traveling back in time to help the ghosts of ancient warriors trapped in The Hall of Heroes, their Great-Grandfathers’ museum. After Professor Blade’s demise, Arthur and Finn found that when one of the ghost warriors touched them they traveled back to the time and place where the ghost lived and died.They could not return until they fixed whatever was keeping the ghost from resting in peace. Finn has recorded everything their Great Grandfather told them about all of the warriors and their cultures, which is included as sections labeled “Excerpt From Warriors Heroes by Finn Blade” providing information about everything from becoming a Knight to Defending a Castle. In The Knight’s Enemies, Arthur and Finn go back to keep Sir William Malory’s castle from falling to the enemy, identify the traitor within and save his daughter Eleanor’s life. This is a well-written and researched story, the setting is realistic and the action is quick and entertaining. This is a well-written and researched story, the setting is realistic and the action is quick and entertaining. This is for the reader who likes adventure.
Samurai's Assassin
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Hulme-Cross, Benjamin
Rinaldi, Angelo
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
December 31, 2015
Cook, Kathryn
One of four titles in the Warrior Heroes series originally published in England the series finds two brothers, Arthur and Finn, traveling back in time to help the ghosts of ancient warriors trapped in The Hall of Heroes, their Great-Grandfathers’ museum. After Professor Blade’s demise, Arthur and Finn found that when one of the ghost warriors touched them they traveled back to the time and place where the ghost lived and died. They could not return until they fixed whatever was keeping the ghost from resting in peace. Finn has recorded everything their Great Grandfather told them about all of the warriors and their cultures, which is included as sections labeled “Excerpt From Warriors Heroes by Finn Blade” providing information about everything from Seppuku, Samurai’s code of honor to everyday life in medieval Japan. In The Samurai’s Assassin, Arthur and Finn, go back to help a Samurai’s son right a grievous wrong, save his daughter and free a region from the oppressive reign of an evil renegade Samurai. This is a well-written and researched story, the setting is realistic and the action is quick and entertaining. This is a well-written and researched story, the setting is realistic and the action is quick and entertaining.
Tinyrannosaurus And The Bigfootosaurus
Hutton Grove [Hutton Grove]
Ward, Nick
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
December 31, 2015
Garrard, Thom
The snowman that Tinyrannosaurus and his friends build on top of the hill is a big, mean, likeness of a Bigfootosaurus. While the friends distractedly brag about how brave they would be if the snowman was real, an actual Bigfootosaurus takes its place. As the taunting continues, he starts chasing them. When he steps on a toboggan and starts sliding straight for a ravine, quick-thinking Tiny roars loud enough to trigger an avalanche that stops Bigfoot in time. When he expresses his gratitude and compliments Tiny’s roar, Tiny roars again, setting off yet another avalanche. Given the predominately white setting and the white Bigfoot, the colors of the other cartoonish characters are visually important, as are the added sound effects in large black letters. Some green hills and gray mountains also add color, but these should have been snowy-covered. Confusing plot elements include how baby King Kong became friends with a group of little dinosaurs and why Tiny takes drastic action to save what they believe is their scary snowman come to life. The avalanche unleashed by Tiny’s final roar as baby Kong yells, “Watch out!” is a weak ending. Young students may enjoy the action, but more discerning fans will find these problems bothersome.