Reviews for month


How And Why Do Animals Move?
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Kalman, Bobbie
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 02, 2016
Cook, Kathryn
A Bobbie Kalman title from Crabtree, part of the All About Animals Close-Up series: How and Why Do Animals Move, explores different animals, the body parts that help them move and the reasons why they move.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 move?” 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.
My Little Pony : Friendship Is Magic : 3
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Cook, Katie
Price, Andy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 03, 2016
Kline, Karen
This volume of the series opens with a page of recap and summary of the previous two volumes to remind readers that the six Pony friends have split up into pairs and are still trying to rescue the cutie mark crusaders from Queen Chrysalis. Queen Chrysalis has changed tack, though, she no longer wants to take over Ponyville, she wants to bring the pony friends together once more so she can drain Twilight Sparkle of her magic. More evil traps await the ponies as they approach the area of the changelings including chupacabra, rogue petunias, and changelings disguised as fluffy bunnies. Twilight and the rest reunite unexpectedly in the midst of the melie and the friends find the will to mend fences and even take a break for cake. Based on season two of the popular television series, this graphic novel is part of a four-part continuing series (all by Katie Cook) of books that readers will want to read in order.
Investigating The Rock Cycle
Lerner Classroom [Lerner Classroom]
Lindeen, Mary
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 03, 2016
Kline, Karen
Students of earth science will investigate the substances that make up our earth, and this book is a basic primer that explains the three types of rocks and how they transform interconnectedly. Each page has a dominant photo or diagram illustration with a caption, and the four chapters contain headings throughout to guide readers. One or two paragraphs of text per page explain relevant concepts like plate tectonics and erosion in simple terminology. “See the Cycle” pages in each chapter present hands-on challenges to stimulate active learning, though readers will be underwhelmed by the tasks and significance of the activities. For instance, in the chapter on sedimentary rock, the book suggests that readers combine twigs, small rocks, and sand with a half bottle of water and shake it up and observe. The activity for the metamorphic rock chapter suggests baking cookies to simulate and model how heat affects what scientists call “cooked rocks.” Despite these quibbles and the publisher’s server application errors that prevented this reviewer from reviewing the e-resources, the book seems like a clear choice for Common Core curriculum support.
What's The Buzz? : Keeping Bees In Flight
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Wilcox, Merrie-Ellen
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 03, 2016
Kline, Karen
This very readable non-fiction book is the seventh entry in the outstanding Footprints series covering environmental issues of sustainability. Like other authors in the series, Wilcox has first hand knowledge of her topic and interweaves her life experiences with bees and beekeeping into the text. With an extensive index for this 48-page book, novices may find themselves turning into researchers. Four chapters cover a wide range of topics including A World of Bees, Bees at Work, Life in the Hive, and Keeping the Bees in Flight. Engaging photographs from close-ups to landscapes draw readers into topics like the differences between bees and wasps as well as the recent practice of trucking beehives for farming purposes. The book achieves its purposes of both explaining the important science of bees as well as how to help these little threatened powerhouses of pollination. Young readers will walk away from this book with solid knowledge of the intricate ways that bees support our environment, and readers are also invited to help bees with a variety of calls to action like planting and supporting organic gardens and simple ways to provide homes for wild bees. A solid choice on an important topic.
Big Book Of Animals Of The World
GECKO PRESS [GECKO PRESS]
Konnecke, Ole
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 03, 2016
Turpin, Sharon
This board book is large for little hands. Adults may have to be the handlers and perhaps the interpreters. Organized by habitats the last two pages depict Continents and Oceans of the World with some of their animals. The book begins with two pages of the polar regions as both the Arctic fox and polar bear are included, and the book ends with the underwater environment. Each double page spread contains a wide variety of illustrated animals with a label under each. Also included are some named items in that habitat i.e. iceberg, snowmobile, gold prospector, binoculars for the polar pages. From the beginning the young reader will see a little brown mouse in a yellow hot air balloon flying by this sea or landscape. As we follow him, he picks up a girl mouse and a bicycle mouse on a deserted island. Any “humans” in the pictures are depicted as cute animals such as mice or ducks. Many unusual animals are included, so a young reader can become quite precocious if he/she learns the less common creatures found here such as roach, Eurasian blackbird, chamois, secretary bird, brown eared pheasant, bongo antelope, dugong, ukase monkey, Andean condor, and pelican eel.
Lilliput
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Gayton, Sam
Ratterree, Alice
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 03, 2016
Turpin, Sharon
As the title suggests, this is a continuation of Gulliver’s Travels. Here Gulliver returns to Lilliput to snatch a Lilliputian (a miniature human) named Lily from a beach and returns with her to London as proof of his discovery. For when he first retuned no one believed his tales, so now for six moons (years to Lilly) he has held her captive in a birdcage in an attic above an evil,stinky clockmaker's shop as he pens the final pages of his book. He is a recluse except for his interactions with Lily, who has constantly tried to escape. The majority of the story takes place in London with three parts—Escaping, Searching and Leaving, all following Lily’s thoughts and actions. Six-inch tall Lily is rescued by the clockmaker’s servant/slave, Finn Safekeepeing, an orphan, and she in turn releases him from the watch that holds him prisoner. Together they seek refuge with a jolly, rhyming chocolate maker, who helps devise a plan to get Lily back to Lilliput, but not without much adventure and problems along the way. This is a delightful fantasy with wonderful language, memorable characters, and fast-paced action and dialogue that will perhaps make intermediate readers investigate the original Gulliver’s Travels. Gr. 3-6
Felix Stands Tall
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Wells, Rosemary
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 03, 2016
Garrard, Thom
As soon as Felix agrees to be best friends with Fiona, she takes charge of their entry in the talent show, a song and dance number in pixie costumes. When they win, three others start to tease him mercilessly. His mother advises him to stand tall, but he doesn’t know how. Fortunately, Fiona not only shows Felix how to stare them down, but also lends him a spare Magic Protection Suit. The courage that he finds within helps him stand up to the troublemakers and even resist Fiona’s idea for matching Halloween costumes. The watercolor and pencil illustrations are done in Wells’ signature style, and the charming faces of the guinea pig characters clearly convey their personalities and emotions. This story can serve as a vehicle for discussion about how to cope with teasing and bullying. Although this isn’t always a problem that can be solved without more adult involvement, standing up for oneself is a good place to start. Pairing this book with Hooway for Wodney Wat or Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon would work well.
Another Rumpus
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
January 03, 2016
Garrard, Thom
When little monster Rumpus awakes suddenly, human child Jamie crashes out of the monster’s dream and into his bedroom. Jamie will be able to return to his own place when Rumpus falls asleep again, but since it is now time for the monster to rise and get ready for school, Jamie accompanies him. Once the other monsters recover from their initial shock, the boy seems to fit right in. The guest instructor who is supposed to teach them to be really scary is no match for Jamie, who earns a prize for being the scariest monster ever. He subsequently has fun playing and causing a commotion with his new monster friends, but all the activity tires them out, and before he knows it, Jamie pops back into Rumpus’s dream. Awakening suddenly, his three little monster friends come crashing out of Jamie’s dream and into his world. In the colorful illustrations that cover all or most of every page, the individual monsters have fun, unique characteristics. The idea of reversing the human and monster worlds is mildly entertaining and could generate helpful discussion with a child plagued by bad dreams. However, the dream travel idea is overplayed, and the story’s conclusion really isn’t one.
Aristotle : Genius Philosopher And Scientist
Enslow Publishing [Enslow Publishing]
Anderson, Margaret J
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 04, 2016
Datisman, Eve
Reissue of 2004 title Aristotle: Philosopher and Scientist, covers the life, thinking, discoveries, and influence of one of the most important thinkers to have ever lived. His influence can be found in every possible field of knowledge. . He studied physics, zoology, botany, and chemistry before any of these fields of science even had names. Aristotle contributed a great deal to our ideas about art, literature, ethics, and theology. Aristotle's influence is so deep, in fact, that many of his ideas have been absorbed into the very language of science and philosophy. Without the benefit of modern tools like the telescope or microscope, Aristotle still laid the foundation for nearly all later developments in Western science. Whether or not his posits have been disproved, there is no denying that his wide-ranging intellect has set a certain standard for what it means to be a well-educated and thoughtful person. Accessible introduction to underpinnings of Western thought. Includes chronology, chapter notes, glossary, bibliographical references and index. Good reference for teachers in unit planning and for non-fiction reading. Series renamed to Genius Scientists and their Genius Ideas.
UNBROKEN : A RUINED NOVEL
POINT SIGNATURE [POINT SIGNATURE]
MORRIS, PAULA
ANTRAM, DAVID
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 04, 2016
Datisman, Eve
In the second installment of the Ruined series, New Yorker Rebecca Brown heads back to New Orleans, where new mysteries--and new ghosts--await. Rebecca--sure that her dealings with ghosts had ended with the breaking of the family curse--is hoping for a haunt-free return trip to New Orleans to enjoy spring break with her father and her best friend, Ling. But when a handsome, blue-eyed boy named Frank appears to her, explaining his need to retrieve a locket from an old, abandoned house in Treme, Rebecca knows she has to help. Predictably both humans and ghosts threaten Rebecca as she tries to find a lost locket that may contain a painting by Edgar Degas. The story is entertaining and the author’s note about Degas and his relationship to the Musson family was very interesting. Readers familiar with New Orleans will be able to follow Rebecca as she races around the Old Quarter to solve the mystery. The ending is ambiguous enough to allow for another book. The strength of the novel is in Morris's descriptions of the city neighborhoods, traditions, and diverse people.
Need
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Charbonneau, Joelle
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 04, 2016
Datisman, Eve
Misuse or possible misuse of social media is explored in NEED. Teens at Nottawa High School (WI) are being asked the question “What do you really need?” on a hot website, NEED, that is open exclusively to them. At first it’s join, make a request and then invite 5 other people, get request filled. After all of the students are enrolled; those making requests are asked to perform a task and send visual proof (a phone picture uploaded to the site) that they have done so. A new iPhone? a set of backstage passes to the hot concert? a new kidney for your brother who is dying while on the transplant list? Kaylee Dunham makes that last request and begins to notice that the number of requests outstrips the number of members and that the number of NEED members is decreasing. Yup, her classmates are dying. Kaylee and her best friend Nate are on the track of who controls NEED and are out to expose them. There are some kinks along the way, the police suspect her as a prankster and are unwilling to take her seriously until her names comes up as a possible suspect in a student’s death. To make matters worse, she’s not sure she trusts Nate anymore. Alternating voices and shifting perspective to fill in details works well as a narrative style.
Believarexic
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Johnson, J J
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 04, 2016
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 550 Semi-autobiographical novel, historical fiction, problem novel, free-verse novel, kind of narrative non-fiction. This book teeters on the edge of several genres. Can’t deal with the “monster” inside. Not skinny enough. Not good enough. More weight to lose. Sick of being sick. Bulimarexic. Despite her parents’ skepticism, 15-year-old Jennifer begs to be admitted to a hospital eating disorders unit and undergoes treatment for 10 weeks. Johnson takes readers on a guided tour through the trials of treatment: the pain and tears, the embarrassing searches and accusations by hospital personnel, the unwanted food that must be eaten, the self-realizations, the support craved, therapy sessions, family dynamics explored, and the victories achieved. The narrative mirrors Jennifer’s recovery process. It’s the ‘80’s vividly realized, made clear not only from the dates in each chapter heading, but from well-chosen details--the cigarette-smoke-filled EDU lounge, the pop-music enthusiasm Jennifer shares with her favorite nurse, Chuck. Tries to cover a lot of territory and some readers will be put off by the abrupt departures of some characters and the appearance of others with no context. those with personal experience will eat it up.
Fab Four Friends : The Boys Who Became The Beatles
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Reich, Susanna
Gustavson, Adam
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 04, 2016
Datisman, Eve
The picture book biography is an affectionate tribute to the Fab Four, describing their childhoods and adolescence one Beatle at a time and concluding right as they began their rise to fame. Reich is a long-time Beatles fan and her research show is. Quotations are used copiously and all cited in the back pages. Adam Gustavson’s richly nostalgic oil paintings capture the time, the personalities of each band member, and show us unforgettable moments – especially John dancing with this mother ( my favorite). This love letter to the band will likely appeal to adult readers who experience Beatlemania more than today’s younger readers; educators may well need to provide some background but it’s a spirited introduction to the bestselling band in history There is a good glossary of English slang and many of the terms are defined in the text as well. Source notes, bibliography, filmography, and webliography. Must go listen to “She Loves Me” now. Gustavson illustrated Rock and Roll Highway: The Robbie Robertson Story published in 2014.
Icebreaker
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Tanner, Lian
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 04, 2016
Datisman, Eve
Grades 5-9 First in the Hidden trilogy. Petrel is the Nothing Girl on the huge ship that has been sailing since the Anti-Machinists (think Luddites in the age of robotics and AI) took over the world, 300 years. Now, most on the ship are only concerned with existence: fishing and breaking ice. No one remembers why the ship was built or what’s its purpose is. Petrel is ignored and abhorred by the three tribes, Engineers, Cooks, and Command, because her parents were thrown overboard for some terrible crime when she was just two. Her best friends are two extraordinary speaking rats who help her but they can do little to help her integrate into the strict caste system of the ship. When she spots the boy on the iceberg, no one can ignore her any longer. He’s barely alive when he’s taken aboard. He says he can’t remember anything; when the second-in-command, Crab is murdered, Petrel steps in to save him because she wants him to be her friend. He wants to stay on the ship in order to destroy it. The ship’s mythology of the sleeping captain comes into play in this dynamic. Shifting narration allow the reader to follow the motivation of characters and set up for the coming sequels.
Set You Free
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Ross, Jeff
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 04, 2016
Datisman, Eve
After a night of wild partying, Lauren, 17, is awakened by a police detective with the news that Benny, her babysitting charge and the local mayor’s five-year-old son, is missing. Seemingly, the first she hears of it is when sneaky Detective Carole Evans shows up on Lauren's doorstep, wanting her to come along to search for the missing child. Lauren quickly learns that her high school-senior brother, Tom, seems to be the primary suspect since he may have been stalking Ben in the days before he disappeared. But Tom has gone missing too. Lauren teams up with Grady, who purports to be Tom’s best friend but whom Lauren has not met before to unravel the mystery. Luckily Grady has hacking skills which turn out to be just what is needed to help crack the case and figure out who the real kidnapper might be. Twisty, entertaining, admirable hacking and plenty of suspense. Once again young adults are the superior mortals and adults are not to be trusted or incapable of positive leadership. In spite of this, a good crime thriller.
Poppy's Best Paper
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Eaddy, Susan
Bonnet, Rosalinde
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 04, 2016
Garrard, Thom
When Poppy’s teacher assigns the class to write about their future goals, Poppy is excited to share her dream of being a famous writer, but her friend Lavender’s paper about becoming a brain surgeon is the one that stands out above all others. On the next writing assignment, Lavender’s work again merits recognition while Poppy’s lackluster effort falls short. When she openly and rudely protests, she lands in a timeout, and when her bad attitude carries over to home, she gets in even more trouble. After a good cry in her room, she is repentant and buckles down to focus on her writing. In her essay about “How to do Something”, she describes how to get in trouble, while integrating an apology to Lavender. This effort earns her both her teacher’s praise and applause from her classmates, and the responses help to revive her dream. The mixed-media illustrations utilize muted tones and depict the characters as cute animal-people, although the text generally does not necessitate this anthropomorphism. Poppy learns that her mental image of a glamorous writer is far from reality. She achieves success when she puts aside distractions, breaks a few pencils in frustration, and then gives her writing a sustained effort. A lesson for us all.
My Little Pony : Friendship Is Magic : 1
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Cook, Katie
Price, Andy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 06, 2016
Kline, Karen
What in Equestria is going on? Ponies Buckeroo, Sweetie Belle and Scoots are thinking up ways to get their cutie marks one moment when suddenly they are fillynapped by changelings and replaced with zombie-like impersonators. Twilight Sparkle isn’t fooled, though, and convinces her friends to retreat to the library to huddle up and come up with a plan to avoid the changelings and get the littlest fillies back. Based on season two of the popular television series, this graphic novel begins a four-part continuing series (all by Katie Cook) of books that readers will want to read in order. Purchase where fans can be converted to reading the books for high-interest impact. The library bindings and rugged covers will stand up to the arm-wrestling and elbowing that may ensue when enthusiasts find this on the shelves!
My Little Pony : Friendship Is Magic : 2
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Nuhfer, Heather
Price, Andy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 06, 2016
Kline, Karen
Queen of the changelings, Chrysalis, still has the littlest ponies in her gooey green emerald trap and Rainbow Dash, Apple Jack and the rest of the pony friends are going to have to go through the old mine trail carved into the Appaloosan Mountain to get their little ponies back. They must face a troll, a collapsed mine, and a giant tarantula, though, before they reach the other side of the mountain, and the pony friends pair off into grumbling duos instead of sticking together as originally planned. Only Twilight Sparkle has the map, though, and readers are left hanging to find out if the ponies will find their ways. Based on season two of the popular television series, this graphic novel is part of a four-part continuing series (all by Katie Cook) of books that readers will want to read in order.
Are You Still There
Albert Whitman Teen [Albert Whitman Teen]
Scheerger, Sarah Lynn
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 07, 2016
Dame, Anne
A bomb threat at school and continuing threats from the unknown bomber make Gabi question all her hard work, tough classes, and plans for the future. Especially when the bomber starts targeting her with threatening notes and phone calls. Definitely a contemporary topic and will garner lots of student interest. Would be okay for mature middle schoolers, but content is definitely intense.
New York City
Epic Press/abdo [Epic Press/abdo]
Moussavi, Sam
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 07, 2016
Dame, Anne
Darnell lives in Brooklyn with his mom. He is a really good basketball player and has his eye on college. However, he is easily distracted, often late, and has an eye for cute girls. These things, plus mom's new boyfriend and an event from his past threaten to make him lose his focus and determination to succeed. With almost 200 pages to work with, I felt like there should have been greater depth, especially depth of character. However, struggling and/or reluctant readers as well as those who like their sports stories with a tang of urban grit to them will enjoy the story. I was also distressed by the lack of grammatical editing in several places. I doubt that will bother most students, however.
Detroit
Epic Press/abdo [Epic Press/abdo]
Moussavi, Sam
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 07, 2016
Dame, Anne
Isaiah lives in one of the rich suburbs of Detroit and plays varsity basketball at a private school in the city. He works hard at his game and is quite talented, but his family seems to be falling apart around him and threatens his focus on basketball. With almost 200 pages to work with, I felt like there should have been greater depth, especially depth of character. However, struggling and/or reluctant readers as well as those who like their sports stories with a tang of urban grit to them will enjoy the story. I was also distressed by the lack of grammatical editing in several places. I doubt that will bother most students, however.
Chicago
Epic Press/abdo [Epic Press/abdo]
Moussavi, Sam
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 07, 2016
Dame, Anne
Serge was born in Sudan. He witnessed a lot of violence including seeing his father and older brother being killed. He is recruited to come play basketball for a high school in Chicago. In addition to dealing with the drastic changes in lifestyle, teammates who do not seem to like or trust him, he also is dealing with his losses. With almost 200 pages to work with, I felt like there should have been greater depth, especially depth of character. However, struggling and/or reluctant readers as well as those who like their sports stories with a tang of urban grit to them will enjoy the story. I was also distressed by the lack of grammatical editing in several places. I doubt that will bother most students, however.
Darkness Hidden
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Marriott, Zoe
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 07, 2016
Dame, Anne
Sequel to The Name of the Blade While Mio achieved great success with the help of her sword and her friends, now a new threat is attacking London. Mio's sword is becoming more powerful and is trying to seduce Mio into giving up her control. The outlook is grim! As is often the case for me, I found the sequel to be a bit disappointing after an original and enjoyable first book. Plot points were predictable; characters seemed to lack development. However, I think students who enjoyed the first book will enjoy it.
Sunny Side Up
GRAPHIX [GRAPHIX]
Holm, Jennifer L
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 07, 2016
Dame, Anne
Sunny is excited to go spend the summer with her grandpa in Florida. However, she is disappointed to discover that he lives in a retirement community full of (duh) old people. While she holds out hope for trips to Disney World and the like, her grandpa's idea of field trips are places like the grocery store. However, Sunny is excited to meet Buzz, the son of one of the workers in the community. They bond over comic books and finding lost golf balls. While it all sounds like a good time, there is actually a darker sub-text concerning the reason that Sunny was sent to Florida in the first place. Sunny's older brother has some issues that need to be dealt with as they are affecting the whole family. Sister/brother pair, Jennifer and Matthew Holm collaborated to create this semi-autobiographical graphic novel. It is a great read-alike for Telgemeier fans and also does an excellent job of introducing difficult content in a meaningful but not overwhelming or dark manner.
Bird & Squirrel On The Edge
GRAPHIX [GRAPHIX]
Burks, James
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
January 08, 2016
Dame, Anne
The age range on this isn't quite right, but I was limited by the options given. While it is "safe" for a kindergartner and they will enjoy the colorful and interesting illustrations, it is more appropriate for 3rd-8th grade. This is the 3rd book in the series, but they all stand alone just fine. Bird and Squirrel are great friends. They are on their way home but they still have to cross a mountain range. They run into a pack of wolves, Bird gets amnesia, they are adopted by a baby bear, and Squirrel has to step up as the brave one and make some tough decisions. I love everything about this graphic novel: the characters, the illustrations, the plot, the text. Everything! Great addition to an elementary/middle school collection.
Tomorrow's Avengers
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Bendis, Brian Michael
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 08, 2016
Dame, Anne
For fans of the movie "Guardians of the Galaxy", here is a very brief graphic novel featuring Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot. A few pages are dedicated to each of the characters listed above showing their start as one of the guardians of the galaxy. I felt that the episodes were too short; they lacked depth. Also, each vignette was completely different in it's illustrative style which helped distinguish the character but made for a lack of continuity throughout the graphic novel.
Galaxy's Most Wanted
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Pilgrim, Will Corona
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 08, 2016
Dame, Anne
For fans of the movie "Guardians of the Galaxy", here is a very short graphic novel featuring Groot and Rocket Raccoon. Story is brief but clear illustrations tell more of the tale. Gun violence but no blood and gore.
Baltimore
Epic Press/abdo [Epic Press/abdo]
Moussavi, Sam
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 08, 2016
Dame, Anne
Marcus plays football and basketball for his prestigious high school in Baltimore. However, a racial slur resulting in a fight during a football game may cancel out his hopes of playing basketball this year. With almost 200 pages to work with, I felt like there should have been greater depth, especially depth of character. However, struggling and/or reluctant readers as well as those who like their sports stories with a tang of urban grit to them will enjoy the story. I was also distressed by the lack of grammatical editing in several places. I doubt that will bother most students, however.
Los Angeles
Epic Press/abdo [Epic Press/abdo]
Moussavi, Sam
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 08, 2016
Dame, Anne
Paul lives with his grandma in a rough part of LA called Watts. He is an excellent basketball player as well as a good student and could likely go to just about any college that he wants. His coach is pressuring him to pick from 3 schools that he has recommended but none of them are appealing to him. All of the pressure is started to get to him, though. I liked John Feinstein's "Foul Trouble" better for this same sports scenario. With almost 200 pages to work with, I felt like there should have been greater depth, especially depth of character. However, struggling and/or reluctant readers as well as those who like their sports stories with a tang of urban grit to them will enjoy the story. I was also distressed by the lack of grammatical editing in several places. I doubt that will bother most students, however.
Washington, D.c.
Epic Press/abdo [Epic Press/abdo]
Moussavi, Sam
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 08, 2016
Dame, Anne
When Julian Dunbar is asked to take over as head basketball coach after the popular and successful coach becomes very ill with an aggressive cancer, he is very torn over whether to take the job or not. He is only 20 years old and has been in jail for involvement in a murder. He is very uncertain whether he can fill the high expectations of this job. He does take it but faces many challenges with his new team. With almost 200 pages to work with, I felt like there should have been greater depth, especially depth of character. However, struggling and/or reluctant readers as well as those who like their sports stories with a tang of urban grit to them will enjoy the story. I was also distressed by the lack of grammatical editing in several places. I doubt that will bother most students, however.
Honest Truth
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Gemeinhart, Dan
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 09, 2016
Evey, Kay
This is a compelling story of a young man, Mark, who has suffered all of his childhood with a form of cancer. Often the disease has gone into remission but this time it has come back and the prognosis is not good. He decides to live out his lifetime dream of climbing Mount Rainier, a secret he has entrusted only to his best friend, a girl named Jesse, where he is sure he will end his life. After elaborate planning and a ruse of running away to Spokane, circumstances do not always go as he had hoped and he realizes how ill-equipped he was to make the journey with his dog, Beau. There are times that are violent and graphic but the overall tone of the book is still hopeful and the reader is challenged through all of the experiences to read and see what happens in this gripping novel. The author is local.
Backward Chaining
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
January 09, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
In the Bots series humans have created android bots, both for military and civilian use. Now the bots are sentient and trying to become autonomous. The mastermind behind this is Edmond West. He and his original bot, Hart, are now on separate journeys. Edmond is on the run and has joined an isolated non-tech community. In the meantime political and military interests fight against the company whose livelihood depends on the bots. Each side is escalating until unspeakable things are done with, supposedly, the best of intentions. You can't unbreak an egg. This is a thoughtful and well-written series, although it uses the F-word a lot, making it definitely YA. The books must be read in order. The questions raised by the author are ones that should be resolved before robotics goes much further.
Control Architecture
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
January 09, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
In the Bots series humans have created android bots, both for military and civilian use. Now the bots are sentient and trying to become autonomous. The mastermind behind this, Edmond West, is now dead. His original bot, Hart, is trying to create a bot society outside of human society. They can feel, think, make decisions. When does sentience begins? Fear of the bots, once created invincible for military purposes, runs rampant. The only solution seems to be their complete destruction. But they live...they feel...and humans have had bot technology integrated into them to solve various cosmetic and physical needs. Clashing agendas, fear, and prejudice raise their ugly heads. Pandora's box has been opened and even a holocaustic solution cannot close it. This is the bittersweet ending to a thoughtful series. The frequent use of the f-word makes this YA. The issues raised by the author will give readers pause.
I Play
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Mcphail, David
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 14, 2016
Turpin, Sharon
These very simple board books, I Get Dressed and I Play each have 11 pages of single illustrations with one word labels. For the clothes a variety of animals wear a shirt, pants, dress, socks, shoes, shorts, jacket, hat and underwear. For the exercising little bear these entail walk, run, jump, skip, sit, dance, sing, eat, and hop. The charm is, as expected, in McPhail’s always endearing illustrations.
I Get Dressed
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Mcphail, David
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 14, 2016
Turpin, Sharon
These very simple board books, I Get Dressed and I Play each have 11 pages of single illustrations with one word labels. For the clothes a variety of animals wear a shirt, pants, dress, socks, shoes, shorts, jacket, hat and underwear. For the exercising little bear these entail walk, run, jump, skip, sit, dance, sing, eat, and hop. The charm is, as expected, in McPhail’s always endearing illustrations.
Close Your Eyes
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Banks, Kate
Hallensleben, Georg
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 14, 2016
Turpin, Sharon
This is the first board book edition of a 2002 picture book. As the title implies it is a book about convincing a child, in this case, a little tiger cub, to go to sleep. The gentle mother tiger gives reassuring answers to each of the the cub’s concerns. She tells him that if he closes his eyes he will still be able to see the sky, the trees, the birds, and that if he falls she will be there to catch him. The language is very calming as the cub imagines all that his mother envisions, and the bright colorful illustrations can captivate even a seven-month-old! Parents or adult readers will enjoy this quiet bedtime story for their little ones.
Out Of Bounds
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Bowen, Fred
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 14, 2016
Turpin, Sharon
This is a decent title in the Fred Bowen Sports Story series especially since it has good messages about true sportsmanship. Nate Osborne, middle schooler on a U-14 soccer team, the Strikers, is serious about his sport, and along with his teammate and best friend Sergio they are eager for a rematch with their arch rivals the Monarchs, whom they lost to in the championship game the previous year. Nate has a good head on his shoulders and a supportive family, especially his Aunt Lizzie, who plays competitive women’s soccer. She’s the one who teaches him the importance of fair play such as stopping play if someone, even an opponent, is down. She says she wouldn’t want to win because someone got hurt and shares a clip of a professional team showing this “tradition". This helps Nate appreciate in the final game, which his team doesn’t win, that they give it their all, which is more important. He and his aunt, both forwards for their teams, have a bet that whoever scores the most goals in the season bakes cookies for the other one. This is settled up at the end. Enough action for the intermediate soccer fan.

Lincoln's Spymaster : Allan Pinkerton, America's First Priva
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Seiple, Samantha
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 15, 2016
Dame, Anne
Allen Pinkerton had to flee Scotland because of political reason. In the US he became an active member of the Underground Railroad in Illinois while also working as a cooper (barrel maker). In a search for wood for his barrels, he found a deserted island with campsite that was currently empty but regularly used. He became suspicious and spied on the site and realized it was being used for illegal purposes. He went to the sheriff and they were able to apprehend the law-breakers. This started Pinkerton on a new career path as a private eye - the very first one. And his first really big job was to prevent Abraham Lincoln from being killed before he could be sworn in as president. His success, and his excellent training of other spy/detectives, led to him becoming the head of the newly developed Secret Service. Half of the book is dedicated to Pinkerton's time with Lincoln. The rest is dedicated to Pinkerton's agency and their efforts after Lincoln was assassinated, especially in the West with the numerous gangs and train robberies that were occurring. Lots of primary source photographs. It almost felt like two distinct books. Parts were a bit slow, but overall quite interesting.
Olympics Record Breakers
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Barnas, Jo-Ann
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 15, 2016
Dame, Anne
This 48 page book highlights the Olympic achievements of 5 different athletes from a variety of time periods and sports. 1. Bob Beamon, 1968, long jump 2. Nadia Comaneci, 1976, gymnastics 3. Greg Louganis, 1988, diving 4. Misty May-Treanor & Kerri Walsh Jennings, 2012, beach volleyball 5. Michael Phelps, 2012, swimming By necessity, each entry is quite brief but is a good starting place for someone just interested in the Olympics or wanting basic information about these individuals. There are also a few sidebars highlighting other Olympians throughout the book. While I enjoyed the information, I found they detracted from the person that I was currently focused on. There are also a few fun facts at the end as well as a glossary and a few print and one digital suggestions for further information. There is also a listing for the US Olympic training Center, a glossary, and an index.
Rebels Of The Lamp
Disney-Hyperion [Disney-Hyperion]
Speakman, Peter
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
January 18, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Parker has issues. That's why his Mom sent him to live with his aunt and uncle in New Hampshire. Now the kid who doesn't really connection actions with consequences has stumbled on a genii, and all the wishes in the world are within his grasp, if only briefly. Unfortunately this genii has a backstory--an evil wizard who created him, and fellow geniis who plan to take over the world. Life has now gotten complicated for Parker, his cousin Theo, and their friend Reese. This is a unique take on the fantasy genre, and has plenty of action and good character development. It is clearly the first in a series. The body count makes it unacceptable in an elementary library, but middle-schoolers should love it.
Way Back From Broken
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Keyser, Amber
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 19, 2016
Dame, Anne
Lots of things are difficult for Rakmen right now. His baby sister died, his parents are probably going to get a divorce, and he's failing miserably at high school. He is sent off with a friend of his mom's from support group and her 10-year daughter to go canoeing and camping for 8 weeks in the summer in order to help him get his life turned back around. I think this is probably a great addition to a collection for those who are grieving, dealing with death and loss. However, I found the plot extremely predictable and unsatisfying. I also never really liked any of the characters except the sort of grouchy neighbor, Edna, out at the lake.
Star Wars : The Empire Strikes Back : So You Want To Be A Je
Disney Lucasfilm Press [Disney Lucasfilm Press]
Gidwitz, Adam
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 19, 2016
Dame, Anne
This book is a re-telling of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, told from Luke SkyWalker's point of view. It is also interspersed with tips and tricks on how to become a Jedi. I think students who are interested in Star Wars will enjoy it.
Foolproof
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Tullson, Diane
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 19, 2016
Dame, Anne
Daniel is in high school, works at a fast food restaurant, and lives with his mom, his older sister and her young daughter. One day a cute girl from school comes into the burger place and gives Daniel a ride home after closing. They start dating and everything seems to good to be true. And when that is the case, it usually is too good to be true. A serviceable hi-lo book from Orca Soundings.
Black Power Movement
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Rissman, Rebecca
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 21, 2016
Dame, Anne
Part of the African-American History series, this 48 page book introduces the topic of the black power movement in the US. It gives a little background on the Civil Rights movement, relates some of the reasons why it was time for action and time for a change, important leaders in the black power movement, as well as how the movement weakened, ended, and some of the legacies it left behind. Some features include: primary source photographs and documents; multiple prompts and activity ideas for writing, reading, and critical thinking; charts, graphs, diagrams, timelines, maps, a glossary, an index, and some limited suggestions of resources for additional information. Other books in the series are: The Civil Rights Movement, The Jim Crow Era, The Reconstruction Era, Slavery in the United States, and African-American Culture. Could go as low as 3rd grade and up to middle school.
Civil Rights Movement
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Winter, Max
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 21, 2016
Dame, Anne
Part of the African-American History series, this 48 page book introduces the topic of the civil rights movement in the US. It gives a little background on the Civil Rights movement, relates some of the history of slavery and discrimination, Brown vs. the Board of Education, some of the boycotts and other reactions to the unfair treatment of blacks, the impact of MLK Jr., and the legacy of the movement. Some features include: primary source photographs and documents; multiple prompts and activity ideas for writing, reading, and critical thinking; charts, graphs, diagrams, timelines, maps, a glossary, an index, and some limited suggestions of resources for additional information. Other books in the series are: The Black Power Movement, The Jim Crow Era, The Reconstruction Era, Slavery in the United States, and African-American Culture. Could go down to 3rd grade and up to middle school.
Jim Crow Era
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Muldoon, Kathleen M
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 21, 2016
Dame, Anne
Part of the African-American History series, this 48 page book introduces the topic of the Jim Crow era in the US. It gives a little background on reconstruction and how it failed, how services for blacks were ruled that they were able to be equal from those for whites but they were supposed to be equal (and were not), how these laws existed for decades, how things changed in the 20th century and how the era ended. Some features include: primary source photographs and documents; multiple prompts and activity ideas for writing, reading, and critical thinking; charts, graphs, diagrams, timelines, maps, a glossary, an index, and some limited suggestions of resources for additional information. Other books in the series are: The Black Power Movement, The Civil Rights Movement, The Reconstruction Era, Slavery in the United States, and African-American Culture. Could also go down to 3rd grade and up to middle school.
Reconstruction Era
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Latta, Susan M
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 21, 2016
Dame, Anne
Part of the African-American History series, this 48 page book introduces the topic of Reconstruction in the US. It gives a little background on slavery and the civil war, relates how slaves were now free but had few rights and little ability to find work, violence that occurred in the South, legislation around reconstruction and how it ended. Some features include: primary source photographs and documents; multiple prompts and activity ideas for writing, reading, and critical thinking; charts, graphs, diagrams, timelines, maps, a glossary, an index, and some limited suggestions of resources for additional information. Other books in the series are: The Black Power Movement, The Civil Rights Movement, The Jim Crow Era, Slavery in the United States, and African-American Culture. Could go down to 3rd grade and up to middle school.
Slavery In The United States
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Rissman, Rebecca
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 21, 2016
Dame, Anne
Part of the African-American History series, this 48 page book introduces the topic of slavery in the US. It gives a little background on how slavery came to the colonies, how it spread, how it divided the nation, how the antislavery movement spread, and the end of slavery. Some features include: primary source photographs and documents; multiple prompts and activity ideas for writing, reading, and critical thinking; charts, graphs, diagrams, timelines, maps, a glossary, an index, and some limited suggestions of resources for additional information. Other books in the series are: The Black Power Movement, The Civil Rights Movement, The Jim Crow Era, The Reconstruction Era, and African-American Culture. Could go down to 3rd grade and up to middle school.
African-American Culture
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Bailer, Darice
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 21, 2016
Dame, Anne
Part of the African-American History series, this 48 page book introduces the topic of African-American culture in the US. It gives a little background on what culture is and how it is shared and spread. It also includes information on specific parts of culture tied to religion, literature, and music as well as how it appears in film, television, and theater. Some features include: primary source photographs and documents; multiple prompts and activity ideas for writing, reading, and critical thinking; charts, graphs, diagrams, timelines, maps, a glossary, an index, and some limited suggestions of resources for additional information. Other books in the series are: The Black Power Movement, The Civil Rights Movement, The Jim Crow Era, Slavery in the United States, and The Reconstruction Era. Could go down to 3rd grade and up to middle school.
Nonviolent Resistance In The Civil Rights Movement
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Terp, Gail
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 21, 2016
Dame, Anne
Part of the Stories of the Civil Rights Movement series, this 48 page book introduces the topic of nonviolent resistance in the civil rights movement. It gives a little background on using sit-ins as a peaceful way to promote a cause, some background of the civil rights movement, segregation and the Jim Crow laws, and reconstruction. Also included is information on the freedom rides of 1961, continuing nonviolent resistance, and some of the legacies of this movement. Some features include: primary source photographs and documents; multiple prompts and activity ideas for writing, reading, and critical thinking; charts, graphs, diagrams, timelines, maps, a glossary, an index, and some limited suggestions of resources for additional information. Other books in the series are: Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Freedom Summer 1964, James Meredith and the University of Mississippi, The Little Rock Nine, Martin Luther King Jr. and the March on Washington, The Passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Could go down to 3rd grade and up to middle school.
Lionel Messi : Soccer Sensation
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Logothetis, Paul
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 21, 2016
Dame, Anne
This 32 page book is an introduction to soccer star Lionel Messi and is part of the Playmakers series. It gives some basic information about Messi's childhood and is followed by a recounting of his soccer career, including challenges, rivals, and awards/records. There are full color photographs, fun facts and quotes, and a listing for a website with additional information. Other titles in the series include Rory McIlroy, Maya Moore, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mike Trout, and Michelle Wie.
Star Wars : Return Of The Jedi : Beware The Power Of The Dar
Disney Lucasfilm Press [Disney Lucasfilm Press]
Angleberger, Tom
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 21, 2016
Dame, Anne
Young fans of Star Wars will likely enjoy this re-telling of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. However, this seems to be one of those cases where the movie is actually better than the book. The prose is written at a low level, losing much of the description that one gets visually from a film. It also loses depth of plot and character; to resolve that it would need to be a much longer book and it is already over 400 pages (although font and spacing are quite generously sized). I think my students will like it more than I did.
The Terrible Two Get Worse
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
BARNETT, MAC and Jory John
Cornell, Kevin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 21, 2016
Turpin, Sharon
The second installment of the The Terrible Two that came out last year will be a welcome follow-up for fans of the first book. Though this one is not as totally surprising and clever as the first, it has enough action to keep intermediate readers, both boys and girls, entertained. Mile and Niles, AKA the self-proclaimed Terrible Two, continue their pranks without being caught by Principal Barry Barkin. But when he gets called before the school board after an embarrassing school photo thanks to Miles and Niles, they decide to save him, as part of their goal is to do no harm. Unfortunately former Principal Bertrand Barkin has decided to usurp his son’s power and take his old job back, sending Barry on an indefinite leave. He refuses to be pranked and keeps a daily public tally of how many days he’s succeeded. When the boys realize that his plan of not reacting to any pranks means there are no pranks they have met their match. Even limburger cheese in the furnace goes unnoticed by the beaten down students and teachers. Niles finally realizes they need to enlist the help of Principal Barry Barkin to find a weakness they can expose on the last day of school. The pen and ink illustrations prove integral to the tale. Gr. 3-6
Cristiano Ronaldo : International Soccer Star
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Logothetis, Paul
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 22, 2016
Dame, Anne
This 32 page book is an introduction to soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo and is part of the Playmakers series. It gives some basic information about Ronaldo's childhood and is followed by a recounting of his soccer career, including challenges, rivals, and awards/records. There are full color photographs, fun facts and quotes, and a listing for a website with additional information. Other titles in the series include Rory McIlroy, Maya Moore, Lionel Messi, Mike Trout, and Michelle Wie.
Rory Mcilroy : Golf Champion
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Logothetis, Paul
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 22, 2016
Dame, Anne
This 32 page book is an introduction to golf star Rory McIlroy and is part of the Playmakers series. It gives some basic information about McIlroy's childhood and is followed by a recounting of his golf career, including challenges, rivals, and awards/records. There are full color photographs, fun facts and quotes, and a listing for a website with additional information. Other titles in the series include Cristiano Ronaldo, Maya Moore, Lionel Messi, Mike Trout, and Michelle Wie.
Michelle Wie : Golf Superstar
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Bates, Greg
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 22, 2016
Dame, Anne
This 32 page book is an introduction to golf star Michelle Wie and is part of the Playmakers series. It gives some basic information about Wie's childhood and is followed by a recounting of her golf career, including challenges, rivals, and awards/records. There are full color photographs, fun facts and quotes, and a listing for a website with additional information. Other titles in the series include Cristiano Ronaldo, Maya Moore, Lionel Messi, Mike Trout, and Rory McIlroy.
Mike Trout : Mlb Superstar
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Hoblin, Paul
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 22, 2016
Dame, Anne
This 32 page book is an introduction to baseball star Mike Trout and is part of the Playmakers series. It gives some basic information about Trout's childhood and is followed by a recounting of his baseball career, including challenges, rivals, and awards/records. There are full color photographs, fun facts and quotes, and a listing for a website with additional information. Other titles in the series include Cristiano Ronaldo, Maya Moore, Lionel Messi, Michelle Wie, and Rory McIlroy.
Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide To Planet Girl
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Greenwald, Tommy
Coovert, J. P.
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 22, 2016
Dame, Anne
A good read-alike for Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans. In this 5th book of the series, Charlie Joe Jackson is is ready to talk about girls. Most of his friends seem to be pairing up, but he keeps getting into one mishap after another where girls are involved. Lots of humor and illustrations, but also pretty strong messages about friendship and communication.
Glorkian Warrior Eats Adventure Pie
FIRST SECOND [FIRST SECOND]
Kochalka, James
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
January 23, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
Glorkian mayhem gallivants across all 125 pages as brightly colored alien creatures find mischief, bullies and their favorite food – pie. Slapstick humor will have an audience amongst your graphic fans as well as all those readers wanting funny books with plentiful illustrations. Bully Buster Clark shoots down the Glorkian Warrior and his trusty backpack as they are trying to prevent a Space Snake from destroying a pie factory. Returning home, the duo is greeted by small Gorkian character Gonk and an alien baby whom promptly starts sucking out the Warrior’s brains. After not heeding the trusty backpack’s warnings they set off again with Alien baby still sucking brains, Gonk with telephone backpack, looking for more adventure. But our Glorkian Warrior collapses with his brains sucked out and no energy crackers when Bully Buster shows up again. The madcap adventures continue with flatulence as the main weapon and elbows and eyeballs making decisions. If you can figure this out with only one reading you deserve a medal of fluent imagination! Well worth purchasing and be prepared for constant circulation. Warning: Let readers discover the flatulence on their own.
Swing Sisters : The Story Of The International Sweethearts O
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Deans, Karen
Cepeda, Joe
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 23, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
World renowned in the 1940’s, the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, a talented group of African American women, toured the country and internationally playing swing jazz and drawing huge crowds. But their inauspicious beginnings were in the Piney Woods Country Life School as orphans under the tutelage of the music-loving founder, Dr. Laurence Clifton Jones. The orphans practiced hard and performed in churches, schools, and raising money for the school and after graduating lived in Washington DC and toured the country in their Big Bertha bus. Lush colorful oil and acrylic paintings celebrate the love of music and hopefulness of this pioneering band despite discrimination they faced as African Americans in Jim Crow south and as an all women band in the era of Count Basie and Louis Armstrong. This is a wonderful edition to your picture book biography section and introduces a little known part of American history. A brief Author’s note and Selected Bibliography conclude this vibrant biography.
Technology : Cool Women Who Code
Nomad Press [Nomad Press]
Diehn, Andi
Chandhok, Lena
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 23, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
While Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg are household names, their work builds on a century of technology pioneers including many women. Technology: Cool Women Who Code follows the lives of three women who living in different times and places have overcome many similar obstacles in order to pursue their technology career. Grace Hopper, born in the early 1900’s, helped create the COBOL computing language, while Shaundra Bryant Daily currently teaches at Clemson University, working with emotions and computers, and designing interactive programs that teach kids to code. Jean Yang is still working on her PhD in researching and designing new coding languages. Instead of a chronological format, readers can access primary sources and web based information through QR codes, are guided to answer essential questions, explore career options and can read mini biographies and quotes on a plethora of influential women in technology. Back material consolidates the Essential questions, lists the URLs for the QR codes, and includes a timeline, glossary, additional books, websites, places to visit, and an index. This exciting new series has the content and resources to be used in a classroom as well as the library.
IVY IN THE SHADOWS
FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX (BYR) [MACMILLAN]
WOODWORTH, CHRIS
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 23, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Ivy is at that difficult age when her friend is interested in boys and clothes and make-up, but Ivy isn't. Her stepfather has left and Ivy's mother starts a waitressing job to make ends meet. The new pastor seems interested. Her mother's best friend is facing her own problems. Then there's Caleb, who is staying with their family, and Ivy's new responsibilities taking care of her little brother now that her mom is working. Everything is changing. The only way Ivy thinks she can stay on top of things is by eavesdropping, staying in the background, and dong her best. That may not be enough, however. Readers will feel Ivy's pain as she negotiates new territory, forced to change to adapt to the situations but keeping that deep-down part of her that will always be Ivy. The cover implies an elementary audience, but several plot elements make this more appropriate for middle school. It's just the sort of book to hand to those girls who want "something sad." (It's actually not that sad, but the realism of the problems Ivy faces is usually what they're really looking for.)
Monday, Wednesday, And Every Other Weekend
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Stanton, Karen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 23, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
Vibrant acrylic and collage illustrations accompany the gentle narrative of Henry Cooper and his dog Pomegranate’s new life traveling between his divorced parents new houses. Monday, Wednesday at Mama’s and Tuesday, Thursday at Papa’s with every other weekends split evenly, is a familiar refrain for too many children these days. As school librarians face increasing numbers of children forgetting or losing books at one parent’s house, this type of book may comfort those youngest students affected and enlighten classmates to another’s situation. Life is different at each parent’s and the unique features of Mama’s city views and Papa’s row house without a digging yard are highlighted. When Pomegranate runs away, Henry Cooper knows just where to look and heads to the home where they all lived together. The use of the word home is telling and eventually leads to meeting the new family and saying goodbye to the house. The lack of parental discord and a satisfactory conclusion to a missing pet make this a book suitable for the youngest children but may not be as relevant to older elementary students.
Star Wars : Rebels : Sabine's Art Attack
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Heddle, Jennifer
Roux, Stephane
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 23, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
With the current popularity of Star Wars zooming skyward, it’s exciting to see some new early readers to satisfy the younger readers. Sabine uses art to fight the Storm Troopers. Painting a bird on an empire fighter plane but manages to escape capture. After one escape she adds a paint bomb to the painting and paints the troopers and plane with purples and blues. The book concludes with a simple statement: Sabine is a rebel. Library bound Level 1 readers contain simple text with only 1-2 short sentences per page and simple sentence structure. One large illustration per page contains just enough detail to maintain interest and provides context for early readers as they sound out unfamiliar words. Recommended for any school library as a high interest early reader.
Star Wars : Escape From Darth Vader
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Siglain, Michael
Roux, Stephane
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 23, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
With the current popularity of Star Wars zooming skyward, it’s exciting to see some new early readers to satisfy the younger readers. R2D2 & CP3O are trying to escape from another ship when Princess Leia entrusts secret plans to R2D2 before being captured by Darth Vader. Fortunately the two robots escape to a sandy planet where they seek help. Library bound Level 1 readers contain simple text with only 1-2 short sentences per page and simple sentence structure. One large illustration per page contains just enough detail to maintain interest and provides context for early readers as they sound out unfamiliar words. No glossary provided. Recommended for any school library as a high interest early reader.
Cow Tripped Over The Moon : A Nursery Rhyme Emergency
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Willis, Jeanne
Stewart, Joel
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 23, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
Where does a cow trip on the moon, Baby fall out of tree, a washer maid has her nose pecked by the blackbird, and Humpty Dumpty fall off the wall? Storyland of course, and thankfully an ambulance races from one emergency to another, saving the day. Colorful mixed media illustrations include other details from the nursery rhymes providing plentiful opportunity for discussion and other potential nursery rhyme emergencies are mentioned as well. After all Jack be Nimble could have burned his bum and Little Jack Horner could have swallowed a plum. Plenty of lessons available here for nursery rhyme studies with extensions using other rhymes topping my list. While not a necessary purchase, this is a fun addition for schools serving preschoolers and kindergarteners.
Marvels
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Selznick, Brian
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 24, 2016
Tucker, Merrilyn
I had been told that Selznick's newest book, The Marvels, was different from his other two illustrated novels, so was prepared for the worst. Instead, I am delighted and touched by this exquisite creation which is relayed by almost 400 pages of drawings in the first half of the book followed by nearly 300 pages of writing. Inspired by the real Jervis House in London, Selznick created a fictional story around Albert Nightingale and his nephew, Joseph Jervis. A story within a story is the fictional tale of The Marvels, a family of actors who stemmed from a boy, Billy Marvel, who survived a shipwreck in 1766. Mature topics such as AIDS, living as a gay (and a gay married) man may make this novel appropriate for ages 12+ in some libraries.
Zany Eats With Andrew Zimmern
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Finne, Stephanie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 25, 2016
Threlkeld, Sarah
If you get squeamish at the thought of eating elk testicles or bug larvae, then this might not be the book for you. This biography of Andrew Zimmern, part of the Reality TV Titans series by ABDO, presents information about the famous chef's life in a straightforward way, spicing it up with color photographs and fun facts. The first page provides an overview of Zimmern's life before jumping into a chronological biography. More challenging vocabulary words are printed in bold and can be found in the glossary in the back, along with a recipe for sticky chicken, a timeline, and an index. The writing style can feel formulaic and choppy, which will make it accessible to some readers and uninteresting to others. It's also important to note that the author doesn't sugar coat Zimmern's drug and alcohol addiction, which may prove too intense for younger readers to swallow. Overall, this title would be a decent addition to a school library that serves patrons clamoring for books about reality TV stars and could easily be used for modeling informational text features for intermediate students.
Story Of The Cotton Bowl
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Myers, Dan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 25, 2016
Dame, Anne
This 48 page text is part of the Bowl Games of College Football series. It briefly covers the history of the Cotton Bowl from its inception to the present day. It also includes stories, anecdotes, quotes, and photographs from those years. Football fans who like reading about past games will enjoy this series as it highlights a number of them as well. Other titles in the series are: The Story of the College Football National Championship Game, The Story of the Fiesta Bowl, The Story of the Orange Bowl, The Story of the Rose Bowl, and The Story of the Sugar Bowl.
Story Of The Fiesta Bowl
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Wilner, Barry
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 25, 2016
Dame, Anne
This 48 page text is part of the Bowl Games of College Football series. It briefly covers the history of the Fiesta Bowl from its inception to the present day. It also includes stories, anecdotes, quotes, and photographs from those years. Football fans who like reading about past games will enjoy this series as it highlights a number of them as well. Other titles in the series are: The Story of the College Football National Championship Game, The Story of the Cotton Bowl, The Story of the Orange Bowl, The Story of the Rose Bowl, and The Story of the Sugar Bowl.
Story Of The College Football National Championship Game
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Wilner, Barry
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 25, 2016
Dame, Anne
This 48 page text is part of the Bowl Games of College Football series. It briefly covers the history of the bowl championship series with its many changes and reiterations from its inception to the present day. It also includes stories, anecdotes, quotes, and photographs from those years. Football fans who like reading about past games will enjoy this series as it highlights a number of them as well. Other titles in the series are: The Story of the Sugar Bowl, The Story of the Cotton Bowl, The Story of the Fiesta Bowl, The Story of the Rose Bowl, and The Story of the Orange Bowl.
Story Of The Orange Bowl
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Campbell, Dave
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 25, 2016
Dame, Anne
This 48 page text is part of the Bowl Games of College Football series. It briefly covers the history of the Orange Bowl from its inception to the present day. It also includes stories, anecdotes, quotes, and photographs from those years. Football fans who like reading about past games will enjoy this series as it highlights a number of them as well. Other titles in the series are: The Story of the College Football National Championship Game, The Story of the Cotton Bowl, The Story of the Fiesta Bowl, The Story of the Rose Bowl, and The Story of the Sugar Bowl.
Story Of The Sugar Bowl
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Graves, Will
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 25, 2016
Dame, Anne
This 48 page text is part of the Bowl Games of College Football series. It briefly covers the history of the Sugar Bowl from its inception to the present day. It also includes stories, anecdotes, quotes, and photographs from those years. Football fans who like reading about past games will enjoy this series as it highlights a number of them as well. Other titles in the series are: The Story of the College Football National Championship Game, The Story of the Cotton Bowl, The Story of the Fiesta Bowl, The Story of the Rose Bowl, and The Story of the Orange Bowl.
Game Changer : John Mclendon And The Secret Game
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Coy, John
Duburke, Randy
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
January 25, 2016
Dame, Anne
This picture book relates the true story of a secret basketball game that took place in 1944. It had to be kept a secret because it involved a black basketball team playing a white basketball team which was unheard of in those days due to extreme prejudice and racism. Well-written and engaging. The illustrations were deliberately a bit dark and fuzzy which added to the overall feeling of secrecy of the topic. They also brightened at the end as the story took on a more positive note. At the end there is additional information about coach George McLendon as well as a timeline and a selected bibliography.
Mutts Winter Diaries
Andrews & Mcmeel [Andrews & Mcmeel]
Mcdonnell, Patrick
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 25, 2016
Dame, Anne
While I love critters and comics, I just could not get into this one. However, I believe students will not have the same quibbles and will likely enjoy it quite a bit. Earl and Mooch are ready for winter fun plus lots of snacks and naps. It gets very repetitive very quickly. Also, one of the critters has a lisp, which is fine except when it gets put in places where that sort of speech sound would not actually happen. Then it's just annoying. Cute illustrations.
Night On Fire
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Kidd, Ronald
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 26, 2016
Dame, Anne
It is the spring of 1961 and 13-year-old Billie is about to find out first hand what the fuss about segregated buses really means. She lives in Anniston, Alabama and does not understand the boundaries that rule black people's lives in her town. However, when the Freedom Riders bus is set on fire and she witnesses it, she feels the need to do something about the hatred and injustice. There does not seem to be as much material available about the Freedom Riders as there is for other events that occurred during the Civil Rights movement. Because of that lack, this is an important addition to a civil rights collection. It is well-written with character depth and development over the course of the novel. There is violence but at an appropriate level for a middle grade/middle school audience.
Video Games : Design And Code Your Own Adventure
Nomad Press [Nomad Press]
Ceceri, Kathy
Crosier, Mike
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 27, 2016
Weiss, Sue
Written by Laurie Amster-Burton. Promising to show you how to “design and code your own adventure,” this books gets into actual video games and coding in Chapter 4, more than halfway through the book. The preceding chapters about the history of games (all types of games, not just video, going as far back as “The Royal Game of Ur” played in Mesopotamia) and the psychology of why humans enjoy games present interesting information, but may disappoint readers who are eager to jump into video game design. Several of the promised 17 projects involve craft supplies like paper, cardboard, egg cartons, and even Rice Krispies. While these projects are appealing by themselves, they do not meet the promise of “video games” in the title. Chapter 4 gets into coding with Scratch, followed by a chapter on computer graphics and concluding with how to prepare for a career in video game design. Books specifically about video games, such as Super Scratch Programming Adventure (No Starch Press, 2013) are more likely to satisfy students who are eager to start coding.
Seen and not heard
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
Green, Katie May
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 27, 2016
Porter, Heidi
Framed pictures of stiffly dressed children in a nursery give rise to this delightful picture book adventure. As night falls and the house is quiet, the angelic-looking paintings emerge from their frames to run riot through the grand old house. They jump on the beds, raid the kitchen and paint treacle on the distinguished portraits in the hall. Finally, as the sun rises, they make a mad dash to return to their frames before morning. Children will be charmed and amused by the rhyming text and clever illustrations. The original portraits of the children show just a hint of the mischief of which they are capable. Audiences should quickly identify the theme of putting on a polite and well-behaved front while plotting otherwise. More sophisticated readers will enjoy the clothing of different eras which dates the children and many other small details in the illustrations. This would make a fine read-aloud for Kindergarten-2nd grade audiences.
Tractor Mac Arrives at the Farm
Farrar Straus Giroux [Farrar Straus Giroux]
Steers, Billy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 27, 2016
Porter, Heidi
The story of the newly obsolete animal/worker/machine is not a new theme in the world of children's books. In this book, a farm horse called Sibley finds himself replaced by a new tractor and struggles with feelings of being unneeded and upstaged. Finally, he rescues the tractor when it becomes stuck in the mud after a heavy rain. Despite the lack of original storyline, this book has many features that will appeal to children. Billy Steers' illustrations are warm and expressive, displaying Sibley's discomfort and Tractor Mac's mechanical cluelessness beautifully. Children will love the labeled drawings on the endpapers of Sibley's tack and Tractor Mac's various parts. This would be a solid addition to any collection, and would attract children interested in stories about animals or anthropomorphized machines.
Space Dumplins
GRAPHIX [GRAPHIX]
Thompson, Craig
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 27, 2016
Dame, Anne
Violet is a strong-willed girl who loves her family and adventure. They live in outer space where her dad is a day laborer doing hazardous work and her mom is a fashion designer who is just starting to get some attention. When Violet's dad goes missing, she sets out with a friend (and gathers more along the way) to find him. Vivid, colorful graphics complement the text in this graphic novel and bring this particular outer space world to life. Some higher level vocabulary as well as the length make this a good choice for fairly competent readers. Parts of the story-line, especially around environmentalism, seem a bit pedantic but I doubt students will pick up on that.
Bears Don't Read!
KANE PRESS [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Clark, Emma Chitchester
CLARK, EMMA C.
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 28, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
George the bear philosophically wonders if there was more to life than just doing the “usual bear things.” When he finds a book lying under a tree he sees pictures of a bear, but unable to read the words decides to find the book’s owner and learn to read. As George wanders into town causing quite the alarm, the Chief of Police dressed in full gear accosts him and orders George to surrender. Fortunately Clementine, the little girl who owns the book, walks in and invites him home to learn to read. Charming illustrations show the hopeful bear leaving a bucolic woodsy environs, setting off on his journey with butterflies, walking through fields of flowers, and entering a picturesque village with flower boxes in the house windows and awnings covering the store fronts. The message that reading will open up the world will resonate with younger students and the large colorful illustrations are ideal for reading to a group. Pair with Rocket Learns to Read for a double dose of reading motivation.
Poppy The Pirate Dog And The Missing Treasure
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Kessler, Liz
Phillips, Mike
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 28, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
Tim and Suzy are preparing a pirate show for Mom’s birthday and Poppy, the Pirate dog job is to guard the treasure. But mishaps happen as Poppy carries the treasure to a safer place when she trips over Tim’s boat injuring her eye and spilling all the treasure. Poppy returns from her vet visit with a collar to keep her from further injury and while sulking in the yard notices that some of the treasure is caught on a rock that sprouts legs and walks away. Later that afternoon it appears the celebration will be ruined though when Dad discovers his birthday necklace present is missing and the neighbor’s can’t find their tortoise. Poppy overhears and putting the information together and leads Tim to her discovery and both tortoise and necklace are recovered. Lively ink and watercolor illustrations are interspersed with an entertaining story that will appeal to both boy and girl readers. This is the third book in the Poppy the Pirate Dog early chapter book series and sets the bar high with its well-developed story elements, engaging plot and creative mix of animal and child characters. Highly recommended. F & P Level L.
Baseball's Best : All-Time Greats
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Rivkin, Jennifer
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 28, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
Crabtree’s trademark non-fiction style delivers solid introductory information on a variety of subjects in a highly stimulating format with plentiful non-fiction text features and ideas for further research. Baseball’s Bests highlights great players at different positions as well as famous teams throughout it’s history. Stressing the importance of statistics in the game, long-term record holders, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Yogi Berra, Sandy Koufax, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Aaron, and Yogi Berra are mentioned but the majority of other players are ones from the past 15 years, some still playing. Pitchers, catchers, and fielders featured include: Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw, Walter Johnson, Mariano Rivera, Buster Posey, Yadier Molina, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Miggy Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Mike Trout, Andrew McCutcheon, and Ichiro Suzuki. Successful women players and the longstanding Yankees and Boston Red Sox rivalry are also discussed. Fact boxes, historical photographs address attention-grabbing topics while large white baseballs found on every few pages provide “Off the Bat” special interest factoids and add to the visual impact. Also included are a glossary, index and recommended books and websites.
Play Ball! : Baseball Tips And Tricks
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Stuckey, Rachel
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 28, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
Crabtree’s trademark non-fiction style delivers solid introductory information in a highly stimulating format but this book is more of a How-to, introducing beginning players to the sport, and even young but more seasoned players can glean some excellent tips. The field is diagrammed; basic rules, and game play are explained along with suggestions for general warm up exercises. Batting, fielding, throwing, base running, and pitching tips are described for each position with photographs of current players and youngsters demonstrating the activity. Softball is mentioned as the most popular sport in America and played by both men and women. Fact boxes add historical information as well as brief tidbits, while large white baseballs found on every few pages provide “Off the Bat” special interest factoids and add to the visual impact. Also included are a glossary, index and recommended books and websites. Paperback copy reviewed could easily be lost on the shelf so purchase a library bound one.
Discover Bottlenose Dolphins
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
Loh-Hagan, Virginia
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 28, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
21st Century Basic Skills books combine leveled text with photographs and higher level thinking questions for beginning and early independent readers. The two-page layout features a stock photo on the left with several short sentences detailing basic information about the dolphins on the right. Subject specific language is in bold and defined in the glossary and colored bands on several pages direct readers to think, look, or create using the information provided. Unfortunately, I think the series misses an opportunity by not including labeled diagrams, food, and lifespans while emphasizing intelligence used to learn tricks. Also, the information given appears generic for most dolphins making me wonder why the title was specified as Bottlenose. Despite these failings, younger readers gain some good subject specific vocabulary with a high-interest topic and if self-motivated can apply some of the information with the thinking questions. Only one book and SeaWorld parks website are offered as additional resources.
Marie Curie : Genius Researcher Of Radioactivity
Enslow Publishing [Enslow Publishing]
Poynter, Margaret
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 29, 2016
Sonnen, Dave
This 96 page book is part of the "Genius Scientists and Their Genius Ideas" series. Having read several biographies about this remarkable scientist, this is one of the best. The well-written text describes her life chronologically, we learn about her dreams, successes, and challenges. The reader will also gain an understanding of her motivations. Gray-scale photographs and diagrams are found throughout. My only complaint would be that the gray-scale used in the periodic table is not effective as it is hard to see the differences. The book is complete with a table of contents, timeline, source notes, glossary, index, and bibliography. When doing biographical research on Curie or learning about radioactivity, this will be the book to have on hand.
Pout-Pout Fish In The Big-Big Dark
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Diesen, Deborah
Hanna, Dan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 29, 2016
Turpin, Sharon
This board book edition of the 2010 picture book works well in this more durable and smaller format. The story begins with the lines, “A doozie of a drowsy Made Ms. Clam yawn. Then a big current whooshed And her pearl was GONE!” Mr. Fish, being a good friend, promises to find Ms. Clam’s pearl and return it to her. As he ventures deeper into the sea, he has to remind himself that’s he’s strong, smart, and fast, but afraid of the dark. A quiet voice helps guide him on his journey and this is eventually revealed as Ms. Shimmer, who can be seen on those pages. He’s just about to turn back, but with Ms. Shimmer, they’re faster, stronger and smarter, helping him to face the dark and find the pearl. The rich word choice and rhyming language can be enjoyed by all, even though some words will be more difficult such as, “Mr. Fish felt a pout-pout Poach on his hope.” The message about friends helping each other rings loud and clear. Cute, detailed, colorful drawings depict a myriad of sea creatures and make a feast for the eyes. This longer than normal board book in 30 some pages, makes it cost effective.
Boy Asked The Wind
RED DEER PRESS [RED DEER PRESS]
Nickel, Barbara
Newland, Gillian
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 29, 2016
Burton, Paula
Beautiful illustrations are part of this lyrical account of the wind. The wind is portrayed by calligraphic lines, swirling and twirling atop landscapes and cities all over the world. The idea of the book came from the author’s son who asked where the wind lives, which is portrayed on the first page where a boy is looking at leaves taken by the wind. After that the boy is mentioned in the text but not seen again. His house is shown on the last page which completes the wind’s journey around the world. The story takes on information about the natural aspect of the wind, the names it has like Chinook, Zephyr and Shamal but it also informs about different countries and their people. When the Shamal is discussed, and its country, war scenes are part of the illustrations depicting soldiers with guns and splatters of ink that could be interpreted as blood. An author's note on the last spread explains all these references and displays where they take place on a map of the earth.
Lola And I
FITZHENRY & WHITESIDE [FITZHENRY & WHITESIDE]
Segre, Chiara Valentina
Domeniconi, Paolo
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 29, 2016
Burton, Paula
Pastel colored illustrations accompany this story of a girl and her dog. She describes regular activities, like taking walks, eating dinner, and likes and dislikes they have together. Lola was not always very comfortable when it came to noise and surroundings, but learns to live in the city after the two meet. When life becomes more bearable for both of them, they have a chance to travel together; in the winter to the mountains and in the summer to the beach. As the book continues they become inseparable. It is not until the last pages where the truth is revealed about who the narrator is of this story; it is not the girl but the dog. The beginning of the book is awkward and the reader might know that it’s not the girl who is narrating but the end result is worth it and could be recognizable for someone who has lost their sight. The cover of the book mentioned this book receiving the 2015 IBBY Outstanding book for young people with disabilities.
Great Big Cuddle : Poems For The Very Young
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Rosen, Michael
Riddell, Chris
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 29, 2016
Burton, Paula
A lovely collection of poems by well-known author Michael Rosen that would be great for little ones. Reading the poems aloud would create fun, short word celebrations with lots of repetition. There are poems that use typography, letter size, and color to make the words look just as intriguing as they sound. Poems can take up several pages, but playful illustrations take up more room than the words for these poems, or are dedicated to one page. The book is as big as a picture book and the soft colored illustrations add to the appeal for small children. Silly poems, active poems, poems about feelings, and poems that make you want to cuddle, there’s something that can be read at any time of the day in any situation.
Monsters On The Run
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Sherry, Kevin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 29, 2016
Burton, Paula
A group of charming characters are called upon to help their friend Nessie, full name Vanessa, who lives in Loch Ness. She is lonely and might have to leave Loch Ness if she can’t find someone she can talk to. The team of cryptids and its leader Blizz Richards, a yeti, is ready to help her. The group, Gunthar (a little monster with big fangs), Frank (an arctic fox), Noodles the dog, and the elf Alex, are using their friends and skills to travel back in time, 65 million years, to find a creature just like Nessie. Although the reader dives right into the story, it would help if the first book in the series has been read, the black and white comic like illustrations are wonderful and the text easy enough to make this an interesting read for a reader ready to start simple chapter books or a reluctant reader in a higher grade. This particular adventure would appeal to boys interested in dinosaurs but the series is appealing to kids who like monsters and adventure with some humor.
Little Bird's Bad Word
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Grant, Jacob
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 29, 2016
Burton, Paula
Papa bird drops a very juicy worm that he and little bird caught. At that moment he uses the very bad word Blark. Although he tries to correct himself, little bird feels that this word is powerful and he always wants to learn new words especially when papa bird mentioned “That’s not a word for little birds”. Little bird is starting to use this word with all his friends. When his friend turtle retrieves into his shell after he hears Blark from little bird’s beak, little bird realizes he is using a bad word. He replaces the bad word with another word which make things right. Colorful illustrations and simple text accompany this funny story that can be a lesson for the very young and adults, to be honest about the words we use and what they mean to others.
Happy
NOSY CROW [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Dodd, Emma
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 29, 2016
Turpin, Sharon
This very sweet book delightfully depicts a mother owl and her owlet. The mother’s voice begins each double page spread with, “I know that you are HAPPY when you…” Among the things she enumerates as evidence of her child’s happiness include waking with a song, hopping and skipping along, giggling while playing, and when games are fun and loud. She reassures the baby that when it tries new things she will be there to help if needed. It ends very lovingly letting the child know this mother is happiest when her child is happy too. The rhyming text is simple and comforting as are the soft digital illustrations that include gold on every other page in a tasteful manner. Parents should love reading this book to their young children. See review for a companion book Wish by the same author.
Wish
NOSY CROW [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Dodd, Emma
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 29, 2016
Turpin, Sharon
This sweetly illustrated book imparts a mother wolf’s thoughts about her plans for sharing the wonderful world with her new, darling pup. It’s again a tale of hope and reassurance that a child is loved and how much there is to look forward to. The digital illustrations with silver on every other double page spread reinforce this positive message and emphasize the winter colors of snow and blue and lavender skies. This is not as specific as the companion piece Happy by the same author/illustrator.
What We Get From Chinese Mythology
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
Marsico, Katie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 29, 2016
Sonnen, Dave
This 32 page book is part of the "21st Century Skills Library: Mythology and Culture" series. The text describes where Chinese mythology comes from, both historically and geographically, and how the mythology fits into the Chinese culture, arts, and entertainment. The reader learns about some of the myths and character and their use today. This is a very brief overview of a large topic. Common core activities are found throughout, having students look at pictures, think about concepts, and dig deeper into the material. Most readers will skip over these items. The book is complete with a table of contents, bibliography, index, and glossary.
Presidency Of George Washington : Inspiring A Young Nati
Compass Point Books [Compass Point Books]
Smith-Llera, Danielle
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 29, 2016
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Greatest U.S. Presidents" series, this 64 page biography looks at our first president. The book opens with his journey to New York City for his first inauguration. We learn how he became president, his past accomplishments and his youth. The remaining chapters focus on his presidency. The well-written text describes how he set the tone and traditions for future presidents. We learn about the creation of the cabinet, avoidance of war with Britain, and bringing the states together as a nation. Fact boxes and color, captioned illustrations focus the reader and provide additional information to assist with understanding. The book is complete with a table of contents, timeline, index, glossary, source notes, bibliographies, and author information. Common core related questions can serve both in pre or post reading. This book will be useful in biographical research.
Jp And The Polka-Dotted Aliens : Feeling Angry
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Crespo, Ana
Sirotich, Erica
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 29, 2016
Burton, Paula
A series of books that talks about emotions. The simple black outlined illustrations add to the straightforward message. In this particular book J.P. has to share the playground with two girls. He was imagining himself as a monkey in space but the girls would like to play tea party. It makes J.P. very mad because he does not want to change his play agenda. This is also the illustration on the front cover in the mood-o-meter; mad, a guide for parents to turn to when looking for a specific feelings topic. J.P is able to turn his mood around and join the girls and play his own imaginary scenario; a tea party in space. The good behavior is modeled in the end which could be a good influence to children dealing with this particular emotion. There is a guide for parents and teachers on the last page with suggestions when children have a temper tantrum.
Wild Feelings
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Milgrim, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 29, 2016
Burton, Paula
The book starts with a simple question; Do you ever feel like... and continues to use simple animal comparisons to feelings young children have. Illustrated are the stubbornness of a mule, clumsiness of an ox, or as small as a mouse. Exaggerated Black outlined illustrations accompany these feelings; giant feet surrounding a tiny child dressed up as a mouse or a mule where the latter child is pushed by his dad to go to bed. Young children could relate to the situations and notice that their feelings are, as the author/illustrator states it, natural. A cute book for the younger kids to talk about feelings or share in story time.
Out Of The Woods : A True Story Of An Unforgettable Event
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Bond, Rebecca
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 30, 2016
Tucker, Merrilyn
This sweet story recalls an event remembered by the author's grandfather. When the grandfather was five, he lived in a hotel with his mother in the woods of Ontario. One day a fire broke out in the forest and all of the people stood in the nearby lake to escape the heat and danger of the spreading fire. Soon, all of the animals of the forest came into the lake as well. Predator and prey stood side by side in harmony, facing a common threat. When the fire subsided, the animals went back to the forest and the people returned home. I read this book to a first grade class, thinking that they would enjoy the story. It was too text rich for them, but they thoroughly enjoyed the part about the animals and people coming together in the lake. Second graders would be the right age for this story. The pen, ink, and water color illustrations are beautiful and provide perfect support for the text.
Queen's Hat
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Antony, Steve
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 30, 2016
Tucker, Merrilyn
This whimsical book is made of simple illustrations with a limited pallet of colors. The Queen's hat blows off her head and her guards chase it all over London: the British Museum, Trafalgar Square, and more. The Queen and her dog also join the chase! I read this book to a kindergarten class and they exploded with laughter to see the guards cover Big Ben and the London Eye. They also loved the little surprises the author slipped in on the last page and the end papers. Lovely and engaging for the younger set!
The Dark Eagles First Flight
Fundautum Publishing [Fundautum Publishing]
Smith, David B.
Smith, Jenelle Marie
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
7th grade to 9th grade
January 30, 2016
Tucker, Merrilyn
Many grammar errors interrupt the reading process: Comma splices, dangling participles, comma missing before he said/she said. Commas are a big problem altogether! I wonder if this book was self-published and, therefore, did not have a professional editor look at it. The story was somewhat engaging, but too difficult to follow because of errors.
How Jelly Roll Morton Invented Jazz
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Winter, Jonah
Patrick Mcdonnell
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 30, 2016
Wittmann, Teresa
Jonah Winter How Jelly Roll Morton Invented Jazz Ad+ gr 3-6 This picture biography tells the life of Jelly Roll Morton in a fanciful and magical way in verse that fits with his music, but isn’t straightforward. For example, “Let’s say you had a godmother, and she put a spell on you because she was a voodoo queen.” It also tells how he made money playing piano as a teenager and his great-grandmother threw him out because she thought musicians were lowlifes. Jelly Roll Morton eventually traveled the country spreading the word about jazz which he claimed to have invented. The vibrant full-page acrylic paintings add to the emotion and music of Jelly Roll Morton’s life. Students will understand it best if they hear some of his jazz music. Author’s note at the end explains more details about his life and also how he might have invented jazz, but certainly made it more popular. A short list of resources is included.
Explore With Ferdinand Magellan
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Powell, Marie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 30, 2016
Wittmann, Teresa
Ferdinand Magellan’s life and travels around the world are described in thematic chapters rather than chronologically. Each two-page chapter looks like a scrapbook with titled fact boxes and occasional small photographs or period illustrations without captions. There are also writing prompts called “My Explorer Journal” and some quotes from the diary of a sailor who traveled with him. The multiple fonts, colors, and overlapping arrangement of fact boxes and illustrations makes it good for browsing, but not easily accessible for research. Chapter topics include people, nature, cities, culture, trading, and science in terms of Magellan’s life and travels. The third chapter is a large map showing his journey to and from Asia with details on some key places. At the end is a timeline, glossary, list of resources and index. It is part of the Travel with the Great Explorer series and the copy reviewed was paperback.
Explore With Marco Polo
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Cooke, Tim
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 30, 2016
Wittmann, Teresa
Marco Polo’s life and travels to and from Asia are described in thematic chapters rather than chronologically. Each two-page chapter looks like a scrapbook with titled fact boxes and occasional small photographs or period illustrations without captions. There are also writing prompts called “My Explorer Journal” and some quotes from his book. The multiple fonts, colors, and overlapping arrangement of fact boxes and illustrations makes it good for browsing, but not easily accessible for research. Chapter topics include people, nature, cities, culture, trading, and science in terms of Marco Polo’s life and travels. The third chapter is a large map showing his journey to and from Asia with details on some key places. At the end is a timeline, glossary, list of resources and index. It is part of the Travel with the Great Explorer series and the copy reviewed was paperback.
Carl's Halloween
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Day, Alexandra
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 30, 2016
Wittmann, Teresa
Carl the dog and his very young owner are left alone on Halloween to hand out candy while her mother goes to help grandma. Instead of staying at home they dress up and the little girl rides Carl around the neighborhood and they go trick-or-treating and to a Halloween party. Carl gives his basket of candy to a neighbor so she can hand it out to children. They get home just before the mother comes home and she doesn’t know what they have done. There is text only on some pages, but most of the story is told in the illustrations. The fact that the very little girl is left home alone might be disturbing to adults, but young children are sure to enjoy the freedom and adventures she has in the safety of her dog Carl.
When Sophie's Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt
BLUE SKY [BLUE SKY]
Bang, Molly
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 30, 2016
Wittmann, Teresa
After 15 years here is a sequel to the Caldecott Award-winning book When Sophie Gets Angry-Really, Really Angry. Sophie’s teacher asks the class to look very carefully at their favorite tree and memorize it so they can paint it the next day. Later Sophie looks very carefully at her favorite birch tree that she climbs when she is angry and needs to calm down. The next day she tries to paint it, but gray is too sad for the tree so she paints it turquoise with chartreuse leaves, orange sky, and a yellow outline to make it shine (just like Molly Bang’s signature painting style). Another student makes fun of it and she feels awful. Then the teacher has her explain her painting and everyone understands and they find something special about each tree painting. The lesson about respecting others' differences without hurting them is a bit obvious, but young students will empathize with Sophie as she struggles with hurt feelings and expressing herself. This would be a good introduction to an art lesson also.
Plan
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Paul, Alison
Lehman, Barbara
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
All ages
January 30, 2016
Wittmann, Teresa
This unusual book tells the story of a girl, her father, and their human-like dog using simple detailed illustrations and only twenty words that change just one letter at a time to reveal the story. It starts with the word “plan” on an illustration of the girls’ scrapbook showing how she wants to travel in a plane to Saturn. The next page has the word “plane” with an illustration of an old biplane in the farmyard of her home. The story continues with the word changing on some pages and others tell the story with just illustrations. Her father’s album shows her traveling with her mother and father as a baby in the plane. The girl and father fix up the plane, visit the mother’s grave, and fly the plane (but not to Saturn) with the word on the page once again “plan” to show her plan was fulfilled. This is a creative book that may inspire students to write a wordless or almost wordless book and possibly with words that change just one at a time. The emphasis is on showing action and emotion with illustrations to tell a story.
Cool Birds & Bugs : Great Things To Do In The Great Outdoors
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Hengel, Katherine
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 30, 2016
Wittmann, Teresa
Seven simple craft projects having to do with feeding or watching birds and insects are described with clear instructions and photographs, list of materials, and tips. Projects include bird and butterfly feeders, decorated insect journal, and bug jar. The project providing small pieces of brightly colored yarn for birds to build nests may not be the best idea since it introduces manmade materials into nature. The format is appealing, but the craft projects are not very original and there are only seven. The first third of the book has general information about safety outdoors, materials, benefits of birds and insects, and respecting wildlife. An index and glossary are included. It is part of the Cool Great Outdoors series.
Neptune Challenge
Disney-Hyperion [Disney-Hyperion]
Holyoke, Polly
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 31, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
The oceans have risen. Must man return to the sea? Two scientists have competing visions. Both create young people who can live underwater, but one merges dangerous genes creating shark-humans, and others with deadly abilities. Nere's father leads the group at Safety Harbor and Nere and her group hope the name is true. They had a long hard journey getting there in the first book "The Neptune Project." Now, however, their new home is in danger and they are sent on a mission to their foe's undersea headquarters. It's both a rescue mission to retrieve hostages and espionage. Their foes may have something that could save the oceans and the planet. Captured, Nere and her team discover what life can be under the thumb of a twisted megalomaniac. Can they survive long enough to complete their mission? Telepathy, new friendships, deadly enemies--it's all here. And, this being a teen book, there is also romance. Death, danger, and destruction make this more appropriate for a secondary school. Fans of the first book will demand this one. My one problem with the book is that the author doesn't clearly define settings and transition the characters from wet to dry locations and back again without clearly informing the reader.