Reviews for month


Aliens In The Backyard
Andrews & Mcmeel [Andrews & Mcmeel]
Bolling, Ruben
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
July 02, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
First, note that the listed title is not the title on the book which is "Alien Invasion in my Backyard." The EMU Club Adventure books are remarkably silly beginning chapter books. Stuart, his little sister Violet, and his friend Brian make up the EMU (Exploration-Mystery-Unbelievable) Club. Their job is to investigate weird happenings...or any happenings at all. However, they always turn out weird. In this case a search for a missing game controller turns into a desperate, and ridiculous, fight to save the planet. Short chapters are accompanied by occasional sketches and illustrated photographs, as the book is written in the form of a case book. Yes, there are giggles here and a certain lack of continuity that will appeal to kids who just want the adventure without all of that silly backstory and plot flow. I'm sure this will be a popular series for transitional readers.
Strange Mr. Satie
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Anderson, M. T.
Mathers, Petra
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
July 03, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Erik Satie was not your typical composer. In fact, this unusual Parisian broke all the rules in creating his unique music. He wasn't out to inspire legions of fans, however. This was a man who followed his own muse wherever it led him. In this simple and flowing biography M.T. Anderson's sparse and lyrical prose dances around Petra Mathers' delightful illustrations giving a nice overview of Satie's life. This would be a good introduction for young readers, but it would be best read accompanied by some of his music.
The Great White Shark Scientist
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company [Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company]
MONTGOMERY, SY
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
July 03, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
I love the "Scientists in the Field" series and this is another stellar entry. Sy Montgomery takes readers along to track great white sharks off the coasts of Cape Cod and Mexico. Not all shark hunts are equally successful and the author clearly shows that, giving young readers an accurate view of the job. That makes the successful moments all the sweeter. Along the way readers learn about shark diets, ranges, habitats, and more. The pictures were taken on the expeditions which adds to the accuracy, but leads to a lot of landscape shots to fill up the pages. (Sharks aren't that easy to photograph, it turns out. It would have been nice to add a few from other sources, particularly when the author describes a sunfish, leaving readers desperate for a visual. Nevertheless, this is a fascinating look into an interesting job and will enthrall shark enthusiasts. It includes an excellent bibliography, website list, and index. The writing is rather dense, however, and without lots of photographs of sharks this won't really be accessible to your younger readers. Too bad. Middle schoolers will love it.
Playing With Fire : A Claire Abbott Mystery
RAVEN BOOKS [RAVEN BOOKS]
Anderson-Dargatz, Gail
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
July 04, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Claire Abbott is a reporter for a small paper in an equally small town. She also has an unusual ability--occasionally she gets visions. Is she a crackpot, or a potential resource? In the first book in the series she saved a kidnapped girl, and met a hunky search and rescue guy. In this book her life gets a little more complicated. I mean, sure, Matt is cute and all, but so is that firefighter, Trevor. Which to choose? It doesn't help that the town is having problems with an arsonist and Claire's visions appear to be giving conflicting information. Can she sort them, and her love life, out before the whole town goes up in smoke. This is another short chapter book aimed as a quick read for adults. It's a fun book, but not quite as good as the first one.
Julius Zebra : Rumble With The Romans!
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Northfield, Gary
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 07, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Julius Zebra thinks his life on the savanna is hard, what with his annoying brother and pushy mother. And let's face it--that waterhole is foul. However, when he is kidnapped with some other animals to be a spectacle at the Roman Colosseum things aren't exactly looking up. A little bravado and soon the animals are not just easy prey in the Circus, but are actually training to be genuine gladiators. It doesn't help that they've alienated the human gladiators. This is silly fare, with plenty of black and white illustrations. Think of it as "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" in ancient Rome, starring wacky animals. There's many a chortle to be had here, and the occasional guffaw. Clearly this is headed for a series and why not? It's good fun, and you actually learn a little about ancient Rome along the way. Besides, there's something about a frantic zebra in a subligar that strikes at anyone's sense of the ridiculous.
Bite Into Bloodsuckers
FITZHENRY & WHITESIDE [FITZHENRY & WHITESIDE]
Winters, Kari-Lynn
Malenfant, Isabelle
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
July 07, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Who vants to suck your blood? Turns out there are many blood-sippers out there and this book provides considerable information about them. Naturally not all of the villains are after people, but this is a fascinating look into hematophagy. Illustrations, fact boxes, and photographs abound as the densely-written text walks readers through the facts regarding bloodsucking. Mammals, including humans, who use blood in their diets are examined. Then there are the vampire birds. Let's not forget insects. This book covers everything from leeches to lice, examining not just bloodsuckers but also their victims. There are graphs and tables, parasites from both the past and present, and scientific speculation about how different animals evolved to enjoy this diet. Positive aspects of some bloodsuckers are examined, and their place in the food web is emphasized. Naturally negative aspects of this subject are also highlighted--disease transmission for example. The book was published before the Zika virus became worldwide news, but the information in it would certainly expand to fit that situation as well. This is a clear and fascinating look at an interesting subject.
Dodge Viper SRT
BELLWETHER MEDIA [BELLWETHER MEDIA]
Cruz, Calvin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 07, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
Car lovers will clamor for any book on racing cars and an elementary library rarely has enough to satisfy the need. The sleek Viper was first unveiled in 1989 but by the third generation was being designed by the SRT (Street and Racing Technology) team. A brief history with historical photograph tells the history of the Dodge brothers and their early cars. Chrysler purchased the company and continues to make cars today under both names. The cars specifications, materials used, design features, and internal components are shown in a chart and inset photographs and described in the text. Vocabulary words stand out in yellow print and the beautiful yellow, red, blue and silver cars glisten in the photographs adding the graphic appeal. Back material includes a glossary, recommended books and to an unimpressive web hub, factsurfer.com. The web links are all to car companies, more appropriate for teen readers and another link is to an unrelated product. Still, once this book is discovered, it and others in the Car Crazy series will fly off the shelves.
Slinky Innovators : The James Family
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Slater, Lee
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 07, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
Do you remember the Slinky jingle – longest advertising jingle ever? Advertising and demonstrations made the original toy popular and even Toy Story featured a Slinky Dog. Listen to the original ads for a nostalgic journey. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lhVIbifKGU This story of the James Family innovative toy traces Slinky’s origins from an engineering accident to a multimillion dollar product with many toy variations, used to teach physics principles and even for experiments in space. But Richard dissatisfied with his life, donated millions to religious charities and moved to Bolivia where he died 14 years later at the age of 60. Betty, facing bankruptcy employed strategic marketing techniques and Slinky innovations to pull the company from ruin and eventually selling the company. Like all other toy entrepreneurs featured in this Toy Blazers series, successful marketing proved a key to overcoming the doubts and obstacles to the toy’s success. Purchase the set for a STEAM collection and an example of how some of our favorite toys were created by accident. Fun facts, advertising jingle lyrics, graphic depiction of the manufacturing process, historical photographs, timeline, detailed glossary, index and web links are included.
Play-Doh Pioneer : Joseph Mcvicker
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Slater, Lee
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 07, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
Who doesn’t remember playing with Play-Doh, trying unsuccessfully to keep the colors separate, rolling out patterns and coils, and leaving the lids off drying out the whole bunch? And who can forget the ubiquitous aroma and plasticity when opening up the new containers? But did you know that play dough’s origin was as a wall-cleaning compound used to clean coal soot from walls. When the company faced a diminishing cleaning market, Joseph came up with a plan. After an elementary teacher told him that the flour, water, and salt cleaning compound made great modeling Joseph created the product now known as Play-Doh. At first marketed in bulk to schools, McVicker and partners soon packaged small containers for home and added colors. They worked a deal with Captain Kangaroo, the favorite children’s TV program, to use it daily on the show in return for a percentage of profit. Biographical details of McVicker’s struggle with a rare cancer and radiation trials, family life, and continuing theme of a spiritual questing are woven with details of the creation and success of the product. Fun facts, historical photographs, timeline, detailed glossary, index and web links extend the text.
Lego Manufacturers : The Kristiansen Family
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Slater, Lee
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 07, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
Who doesn’t remember playing with Play-Doh, trying unsuccessfully to keep the colors separate, rolling out patterns and coils, and leaving the lids off drying out the whole bunch? And who can forget the ubiquitous aroma and plasticity when opening up the new containers? But did you know that play dough’s origin was as a wall-cleaning compound used to clean coal soot from walls. Facing a diminishing cleaning market, Joseph up with a plan. After an elementary teacher told him that the flour, water, and salt cleaning compound made great modeling Joseph created the product now known as Play-Doh. At first marketed in bulk to schools, McVicker and partners soon packaged small containers for home and added colors. They worked a deal with Captain Kangaroo, the favorite children’s TV program, to use it daily on the show in return for a percentage of profit. Biographical details of McVicker’s struggle with a rare cancer and radiation trials, family life, and continuing theme of a spiritual questing are woven with details of the creation and success of the product. Fun facts, historical photographs, timeline, detailed glossary, index and web links extend the text.
Board Game Builder : Milton Bradley
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Slater, Lee
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 07, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
Remember Candy Land, Jenga, Operation, Twister, Trouble, Battleship, and Yahtzee? These are just a few of the games created by the well-known company founded by Milton Bradley. Bradley originally a lithographer by trade was inspired to create The Checkered Game of Life, (today known as The Game of Life) in 1860 after playing a British imported game. Bradley’s life could be described as a checkerboard of passions, dreams and entrepreneurship. During the Civil war, he packaged kits of games including chess, checkers and his Game of Life for lonely and bored soldiers. Perhaps lesser known is Bradley’s role in promoting America’s kindergarten movement from its beginning years; creating colorful blocks, papers, inexpensive paint and coloring supplies, and even donating them as an incentive to open new kindergartens. His company was one of the earliest to use the U.S. Postal service to rural areas and market products in mail-order catalogs. This Checkerboard series’ book weaves both biographical details of Milton Bradley’s life, as well as a history of his company that although today owned by Hasbro, continues to be known by its original name. Fun facts, historical photographs, timeline, glossary, index and web links are included.
Tractor Mac Farmers' Market
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Steers, Billy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 07, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
Young tractor lovers are in for a fun-filled farm series that features Tractor Mac, other talking animals, and a rotating assortment of other farm equipment and random characters such as a dinosaur and train. Inside each back cover is a very complete labeled diagram of Tractor Mac, with the inside of the front displaying a detailed diagram of another major character. In each book, Tractor Mac faces a common situation such as making new friends, jealousy, being overwhelmed by a task. Supported and reassured by his friends, Tractor Mac models the emotions experienced and comes out on top. Pig brothers, Pete and Paul, receive a lesson in healthy eating when they go to the farmer’s market. A diagram of Farmer bill inside the front cover, labels body parts with the corresponding fruits and vegetables considered important for good health. General nutritional information and recipes including, sautéed kale, basil pesto, blueberry muffins, and applesauce conclude the book. The inside diagram features the workings of a carousel including, the drop rods and cranking rod, and “jumper” and “stander” horses. The plethora of detail in the colorful illustrations invites close scrutiny by the younger readers. A good addition for PreK – 1st.
Tractor Mac New Friend
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Steers, Billy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 07, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
Young tractor lovers are in for a fun-filled farm series that features Tractor Mac, other talking animals, and a rotating assortment of other farm equipment and random characters such as a dinosaur and train. Inside each back cover is a very complete labeled diagram of Tractor Mac, with the inside of the front displaying a detailed diagram of another major character. In each book, Tractor Mac faces a common situation such as making new friends, jealousy, and being overwhelmed by a task. Supported and reassured by his friends, Tractor Mac models the emotions experienced and comes out on top. The scene is set when a new, smaller tractor Daisy is brought in to prepare and plant an area of the field too small for Tractor Mac. When overwhelmed by the task, Cathy the farmhand helps clear the strangling ivy, and Tractor Mac provides the winning advice to break the job into smaller tasks. Success reigns and Tractor Mac makes a new friend. The inside diagram of Daisy features her planter accessories including the seed hopper, row marker, and rear cultivator. The plethora of detail in the colorful illustrations invites close scrutiny. A good addition for PreK – 1st.
Tractor Mac Parade's Best
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Steers, Billy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 07, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
Young tractor lovers are in for a fun-filled farm series that features Tractor Mac, other talking animals, and a rotating assortment of other farm equipment and random characters such as a dinosaur and train. Inside each back cover is a very complete labeled diagram of Tractor Mac, with the inside of the front displaying a detailed diagram of another major character. In each book, Tractor Mac faces a common situation such as making new friends, jealousy, being overwhelmed by a task. Supported and reassured by his friends, Tractor Mac models the emotions experienced and comes out on top. Parade day has arrived and all the farm machines and horses vie for which float they will pull. Tractor Mac realizes the most desirable floats have been taken and he has been left with Posies, Ribbons and Roses. As he hides out in the barn, Tractor Mac spots a photograph of Mrs. J as a little girl on a toy tractor in the parade and decides to help her out. A plethora of detail in the colorful illustrations invites close scrutiny by the younger readers. A good addition for PreK – 1st.
Tractor Mac Family Reunion
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Steers, Billy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 07, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
Young tractor lovers are in for a fun-filled farm series that features Tractor Mac, other talking animals, and a rotating assortment of other farm equipment and random characters such as a dinosaur and train. Inside each back cover is a very complete labeled diagram of Tractor Mac, with the inside of the front displaying a detailed diagram of another major character. In each book, Tractor Mac faces a common situation such as making new friends, jealousy, being overwhelmed by a task. Iron Dave gives Tractor Mac a lesson in different families as he explains the different railroad cars he pulls. Tractor Mac is proud to be an only until the flatcars arrive with a plethora of red tractors of all sizes and styles. Believing this is his family, Tractor Mac wants to stay with them but learns they are at a dealership and realizes the farm is where his real family lives. A labeled diagram of Iron Dave, the engine, will appeal to train lovers as well. The plethora of detail in the colorful illustrations invites close scrutiny by the younger readers. A good addition for PreK – 1st.
Tractor Mac You're A Winner
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Steers, Billy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 07, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
Young tractor lovers are in for a fun-filled farm series that features Tractor Mac, other talking animals, and a rotating assortment of other farm equipment and random characters such as a dinosaur and train. Inside each back cover is a very complete labeled diagram of Tractor Mac, with the inside of the front displaying a detailed diagram of another major character. In each book, Tractor Mac faces a common situation such as making new friends, jealousy, being overwhelmed by a task. Supported and reassured by his friends, Tractor Mac models the emotions experienced and comes out on top. Tractor Mac has been practicing for the tractor pull competition at the county fair but loses by just a foot to Zeke, a larger tractor. When the carousel breaks, Farmer Bob steps in to hitch Tractor Mac to the contraption and pull the carousel around. Tractor mac is a winner after all! The inside diagram features the workings of a carousel including, the drop rods and cranking rod, and “jumper” and “stander” horses. The plethora of detail in the colorful illustrations invites close scrutiny by the younger readers. A good addition for PreK – 1st.
Emily Windsnap And The Ship Of Lost Souls
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Kessler, Liz
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 08, 2016
Cook, Kathryn
The sixth title in Kessler's Emily Windsnap series sees our favorite half mermaid, half human heroine off on another fantastical mystery adventure. Emily and classmates are on a week long, eighth grade field trip to Fivebays Island. This history making field trip includes students from Brightwater High School and Shiprock High Mer-school with Emily's half mer boyfriend, Aaron, and mermaid best friend Shona. Upon arrival they find a mystery - no one is there to meet them and nothing goes as planned, Lowenna Waters, the person in charge of the week is missing. Her husband Lyle seems distracted. A cruise ship, with all of the passengers and Lowenna on board is missing after an undersea earthquake drew it toward mystical Atlantis. Only Emily and Aaron can see the ghost ship. and only Emily can save everyone on board from oblivion. The well drawn, familiar characters and suspenseful,mystery make for a fun tale. For the tween set a slight bit of teenage romance and beginning boy/girl dating angst iwill entice the preteen female audience. Anyone who is a fan of Emily Windsnap or mermaids will enjoy this read.
Bubonic Panic : When Plague Invaded America
Calkins Creek [Calkins Creek]
Jarrow, Gail
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
6th grade to 12th grade
July 09, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Everyone has heard of the plague, but do you know the whole story? This book tracks it down from 542 AD to the present, exploring various outbreaks around the world, the toll the disease took on worldwide populations, and the search for a cause and a cure. From ancient belief that the plague was a curse from God and could be thwarted with various folk remedies, to modern-day treatments, this is a fascinating look into not only the disease, but its impact on politics, immigration, trade, and racial prejudice. The author has done the research and written a compelling volume with most of the resources a person could desire. I wanted a timeline and checked in the back--behold, a timeline! There's a solid glossary and copious source notes as well as an index. The book is accompanied by both photographs and historical artwork, as well as political cartoons showing that truth often fell vidtim to political expediency. The only thing the book lacks is a clear table showing the differences between bubonic, pneumonic, and septicemic plague, although the information can be garnered from the text. Fascinating, frightening, and thought-provoking, this merits a place in all secondary and public libraries.
Abracadabra : The Story Of Magic Through The Ages
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Newquist, H P
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
July 13, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Magic tricks have been around for thousands of years. This book provides readers with a brief history of magic from the ancient Egyptians to modern magicians. Different types of magic--sleight-of-hand, escapes, illusions, and mind-reading--are examined and a few trade secrets are revealed...a very few. Some of the highlights from magic's history are described and different magical trends are examined. This is a fun book and young magicians will love it. The only problem I had was with the formatting. Inserted throughout the text are supplemental pages describing particular tricks or trends in detail. They're quite interesting, but they often interrupt the flow of the main text, making the reader have to skip ahead several pages to maintain continuity. These would have been better placed at the end of chapters, or in an appendix. Still, wanna-be magicians will find this book revealing and encouraging, and those who love to watch magic will learn some of the tricks magicians use to deceive your eyes and mind.
Week Without Tuesday
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Lewis, Stevie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
July 13, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
In this sequel to "Finding Serendipity" Tuesday finds herself thrust back into the place where authors go to find, develop, and create their stories. She and her winged dog must try and solve the mystery of why authors are disappearing, and then reappearing in odd locations with serious injuries. For some reason story worlds are colliding. Can she save the day, and what kind of sacrifice will be required? This is a delightful romp with lots of adventure and some very tongue-in-cheek author insights. The occasional black and white illustrations are unnecessary but a nice addition. Readers who know their stuff will recognize some favorite characters and settings along the way as Tuesday works to complete her mission. This is a book for those who love both reading and writing and that particular audience will find it imminently satisfying.
Murk
Disney-Hyperion [Disney-Hyperion]
Lettrick, Robert
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
July 14, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
This is an interesting book. The first chapter seems random, but starts things off with a bang. Then things seem completely unrelated to the cover. Then the story picks up speed and it's nothing but death-defying excitement. Hmmmm. Piper lives with a certain amount of guilt that her life as a pageant contestant doesn't seem to solve. It has to do with the incident in the first chapter. Because of that incident she has also dropped her best friend, science nerd Tad. Now, with lives in the balance Piper is grasping at straws that may get herself and others killed, all to save someone she loves. This is a heart-pounding adventure story that also teaches readers quite a bit about the flora and fauna of the Okifenokee swamp...and the hidden danger that lurks there! Suspend disbelief and just enjoy the ride.
African Elephants
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Furstinger, Nancy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 14, 2016
Averill, Linda
This informational book supplies many specific statistics about elephants, such as the number of muscles in a trunk, how long they live in the wild, and how much the largest elephant weighed. It gives a couple of brief sentences about how ears are used as fans and how rolling in the mud protects the skin from bugs and sun. It does distinguish between the two types of African elephants, but the main focus is the elephant's ivory tusk and how these draw poachers and are leading to the extinction of the mammal. Photographs enhance the facts given. A table of contents, glossary, and index are included as is a "what you can do" list of 3 things that aims to educate and encourage children to help save the African elephants.
Little Cub's Home
RED DEER PRESS [RED DEER PRESS]
Graham, Georgia
Lott, Sheena
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 14, 2016
Averill, Linda
CUBS JOURNEY HOME - A black bear cub is born during hibernation. As winter departs Mother bear takes the cub from the cave and teaches him to find food like insects and honey, and how to climb trees. When a forest fire separates Mother and cub he has to take care of himself. He meets a wolverine and other bears, none friendly. In the final pages Mother and cub are reunited. The detailed paintings show the 2 bears and their environment through the changing seasons, enhancing the story.
Untold Story Of The Black Regiment : Fighting In The Rev
Compass Point Books [Compass Point Books]
Burgan, Michael
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 14, 2016
Averill, Linda
This five chapter book gives a very detailed picture of the Black role in the American Revolution. The first Blacks on the battlefield are acknowledged as are the first Blacks killed. It gives reasons why Blacks fought on both sides during the war. Colorful illustrations, charts, maps, a timeline, glossary, index, bibliography and source notes add to the value of this book as a research tool for young history buffs.
Joe Namath's Super Bowl Guarantee
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Donnelly, Patrick
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 14, 2016
Averill, Linda
A great addition to the sports collection, this title covers the history of the NFL (National Football League), the AFL (American Football League) and their merger. It gives details that cover Super Bowl history and the basis of Namath's prediction of a win. The book includes fact boxes, appealing photographs, a timeline, glossary and index.
Clintons
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Perdew, Laura
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
July 14, 2016
Averill, Linda
This book gives some biographical history of the Clintons' childhood years, college and how they met. It explores how they got their start in politics, their successes, failures, scandals (personal and political) and legacy. It includes a timeline, glossary, index, source notes, fun facts and a list of additional resources.
Hockey Record Breakers
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Myers, Jess
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 14, 2016
Averill, Linda
The six short chapters each focus on an individual or team and the records set in the National Hockey League. A one-third page side bar in each chapter examines another team or individual record and as in the "Floundering Sharks" points out the all time losing streak of seventeen in a row. The glossary has 8 words defined. This could have been expanded to include the Hockey League abbreviations and the hockey awards and trophies. Large action photographs paired with statistics may make this appealing to hockey fans.
Tiger Woods Makes Masters History
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Williams, Doug
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 14, 2016
Averill, Linda
The main focus of this book is on Tiger's win at Agusta in 1997 at age 21 with an almost stroke-by-stroke replay of the historic event. It does give a brief review of 2 of the Black golfers that paved his way. The biographic information about his childhood and family are golf centered. Boxes titled "In the News" give media views of Tiger's accomplishments and records. A timeline, glossary and bibliography provide helpful facts.
Beluga Whales, Grizzly Tales, And More Alaska Kidsnacks : Fu
Little Bigfoot [Little Bigfoot]
Bugni, Alice
Brooks, Erik
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
July 14, 2016
Averill, Linda
This book has twenty-five recipes that are quick, rely on processed food (instant pudding, ready made cookie dough or bread dough) and and will be easy for children to do with adult help and supervision. Several of the recipes, like "bugs on a spruce log" are familiar (peanut butter, celery and raisins) and are given an Alaskan name. The watercolor illustrations are pleasing and each recipe title is tied to the picture with one sentence that relates to Alaska.
Maya Moore : Wnba Champion
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Ervin, Phil
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 14, 2016
Averill, Linda
Short sentences give a brief history of Moore's basketball career, focusing on the highlights in high school, college, and at the Olympics as well as on National Basketball teams. Family dynamics, moves schooling and grades are mentioned in passing as they relate to basketball. A glossary and index are included.
Stunt Performer
A&d Xtreme/abdo [A&d Xtreme/abdo]
Hamilton, S L
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 14, 2016
Averill, Linda
This title provides a simplified description of a stunt performer's job; from taking a punch to crashing through glass. Protective equipment is explained and the education and training needed are discussed. Each two page spread details a specific type of exciting stunt. The seven stunts covered are precision driving, high falls, fire, crashing through glass, explosions, punches and jumps. That information with the photographs will capture a young reader's interest. An index, table of contents and glossary are included.
Heaven Of Animals
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Tillman, Nancy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 14, 2016
Averill, Linda
Rhyming couplets and pretty pictures depict Animal Heaven as a peaceful, happy place filled with a variety of animals, tame and wild. The children with them, unlike the animals, have wings attached. The children are pictured petting, cuddling and playing with the animals. A few of the children are minorities but the majority appear to be blond Caucasians. The rhyme reassures the reader that when a pet and owner are reunited in Animal Heaven the pet will recognized the owner and still see him as a child though much time may have passed.
Deadly Flowers : A Ninja's Tale
Boyds Mills Press [Boyds Mills Press]
Thomson, Sarah L
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
July 15, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Kata has been trained from early childhood as a ninja. She has been trained to be stealthy, heartless, and a sure weapon. On her first assignment, however, she fails to assassinate her target and soon finds herself on the run with two companions, chased by her own colleagues and beset by demons of all kinds. She has been entrusted with much, but trust is something she does not easily give. Too much is at stake, and not just her own life. This is a fabulously written story with an authentic Japanese setting in the time of samurai and ninjas. Adventurous, at times horrifying, and frequently thought-provoking this introduces a strong female protagonist who faces moral dilemmas with strength and wisdom.
Paloma
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Lord, Cynthia
Mcguire, Erin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
July 17, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
Suzannah and her Shelter Pet Squad friends are delighted when six Sato (rescued) puppies from Puerto Rico arrive at the Shelter and need intensive care. After making dog beds, picking out toys and befriending them, the kids introduce the dogs to potential adoptees. Suzannah has made such a strong attachment to Paloma she keeps her back and Paloma is the last puppy left. When her class decides to have a Pet Day, Suzannah vows to use this opportunity to find Paloma a home. Friendship, minor obstacles and volunteering at a Pet Shelter are just right themes for the young middle grade target audience. Despite over 100 pages of text, the large font and double spacing mixed with some full-page black and white illustrations make this an excellent stepping stone before the denser text of longer chapter books. Author Cynthia Lord, a shelter volunteer, includes several pages of valuable back material - facts about dogs, ways to help shelter animals, caring for a pet, and two activities making a no sew dog pillow bed and plastic treat balls. She concludes with a note detailing her family’s pets and her volunteer experience.
Engineering : Cool Women Who Design
Nomad Press [Nomad Press]
May, Vicki V
Bruce, Allison
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 17, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
Designing medical equipment, solar lighting, and optical devices using lasers are the primary areas of work for three successful women engineers, Amy Kardok, Anna Stork, and Elise Garmire, PhD. After a brief history of engineering, biographies of these three describe their childhood, obstacles they faced in their pursuit of their careers, and major contributions addressing human needs through engineering. What distinguishes this series from other biographies is the inclusion of mini-biographies of other women engineers, QR codes to access online content, such as a 3-D doodle pen, catapult design, TED talks, and surgical robots. Beginning with a “How to use this book” page, readers are directed to high quality Essential Questions in “Ask & Answer” boxes, “She Says” quote boxes, “Cool Career” suggestions, and Primary Source symbols linked to the QR codes. Back material includes a listing of all the Ask & Answer questions, timeline, glossary, additional books, websites, and places to visit, a listing of all the URL’s for the QR codes, and an index. An appealing graphic design and well-written text is only missing a few photographs of the women featured. Still a recommended purchase.
Zen Socks
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Muth, Jon J
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 17, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
What does “sock-it-to-me” have to do with Zen and a picture book? That is how author Jon J. Muth describes the content of his newest book –stories driven by the experiences children “socked” him with - motivating the selection of the three separate lessons within. Leo and Molly have moved across the street from Mr. Stillwater, the Zen Panda. In the first story, Stillwater tells Molly a traditional Zen story, The Taste of Banzo’s Sword, a lesson about patience in response to her haste to become as good a dancer as her auntie. In the second, Leo learns about sharing and being aware that labeling people bad guys and good guys, can be deceptive as those we think of as bad guys may not don’t see it that way. And in the third story, Mr. Stillwater and the kids walk the beach throwing stranded sea stars back in the sea, a story from Loren Eiseley’s, The Star Thrower. The watercolor palette matches each story lending a calming reading experience that all ages may enjoy. Subtle humor is speckled throughout. Muth concludes with a page describing the sources and motivation for writing this thought-provoking picture book.
IF ONLY
Scholastic Press [Scholastic Press]
GEITHNER, CAROLE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
July 21, 2016
Turpin, Sharon
This debut novel by a clinical social worker chronicles the year in the life of a 13-year-old girl following her mother’s death from a late diagnosis of cancer. In much of the book Corrina is trying to come to terms with how to act in front of her friends and their missteps, find others who have lost a parent to understand the experience, find new ways to make a life with her very sad dad, and negotiate a budding romance with a boy of interest. Due to the content parts can be very repetitious as Corrina documents her feelings of anger, fear, resentment, frustration and grief in a journal, but this most likely portrays the reality of such a situation. Corrrina and her dad have made great strides by the time, a year after the death, they go to Japan, a life-long dream of her mother’s to return to a joyous time of her life. The school support group proves one of the more interesting parts as kids who’d lost parent in all different ways come together to share and learn with guidance from a kindly adult. Reading her mother’s journal also adds insight into parts of her mother’s life she never knew. There is an audience out there for bibliotherapy or empathy. Gr. 5-9
Parakeet Named Dreidel
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Singer, Isaac Bashevis
Berkson, Suzanne Raphael
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
July 26, 2016
Wittmann, Paula
It is the last day of Hanukkah and a family is enjoying the lights of the holiday, frying latkes and playing dreidel when a yellow and green parakeet shows up on their snowy windowsill. The bird is welcomed inside and it soon becomes clear that it is a pet used to humans; in fact, it can even speak some Yiddish. Though the family hangs flyers and even advertises to find the owners no one comes to claim the parakeet now named Dreidel. Years go by and the son, David, of the family grows from a child to a college student. There, when telling the story of Dreidel at a Hanukkah party, David meets the daughter, Zelda, of the family that lost the parakeet nine years before. The bird is reunited with its original family and Zelda and David become engaged. When they are married Dreidel will live with them united with his two families. This is a warm tale, originally published in Singer’s anthology The Power of Light in 1980, is perfect for family sharing during the holidays.
Time For Cranberries
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Detlefsen, Lisl
Henry, Jed
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 26, 2016
Wittmann, Paula
A young boy shares the story of his first cranberry harvest helping on his family’s farm. Step by step readers find out how the berries are harvested at his family farm and how the whole family works together to harvest the crop. From picking, flooding, corralling, cleaning and finally delivering the berries the process is detailed through the boy’s experience. The illustrations clearly show the variety tools and machines used in the harvest and, if you search the background, a variety of wildlife. Included in the back are two recipes, the history of the author’s family cranberry farm and diversity in harvesting techniques and a glossary. This is an unusual fall harvest book with a family twist.
Alan's Big, Scary Teeth
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Jarvis
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
July 26, 2016
Wittmann, Paula
Alan the alligator loves scaring the other animals in the jungle; it is what he does best. He has a secret though; the big scary teeth are fake! When Barry the beaver happens to find Alan’s dentures in their night hiding place he takes them. Alan soon finds out that with out his teeth he isn’t so scary. In fact, the animals find his antic hilarious. Crushed, Alan slinks away. The other animals, however, come up with a plan. If Alan helps out in other ways – gardening, hairdressing and dental care- they will give him his teeth back. As for scaring, Alan can still tell plenty of scary stories at night. Alan the bully becomes Alan the helper and seems to be happy with the outcome. The illustrations in the book are bold and fun even if the story is a little slight.
Food Safety Basics
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Laine, Carolee
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 26, 2016
Wittmann, Paula
The importance and history of food safety are covered in this book. Early preservation such as drying, cooling, heating and canning foods are discussed. The history and growth of the USDA is also covered. There is practical information on how businesses such as grocery stores and restaurants keep food safe. Finally, there is a section on how to keep foods safe in your home during shopping, cooking and clean up. Included are excerpts from other sources, a project, and a “stop and think” section. Part of the Food Matters Core Library series by Abdo.
Night Of The Living Worms : A Speed Bump And Slingshot Misad
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Coverly, Dave
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
July 26, 2016
Wittmann, Paula
Speed Bump, a large headed, small winged bird, would love to catch a worm. However, he tends to sleep in and can’t fly fast with his stubby wings. Also his brother is Early Bird who always brings the first worm of the day home. Finally, Speed Bump decides to bring along his best friend, Slingshot, and stay up all night to get the worm. When the two friends come to a field of night crawlers they overhear them planning an attack on Early Bird. With an elaborate plan involving Speed Bump being shot by a slingshot ahead of his brother, Early Bird is saved from the plot of the evil night crawlers. Full of puns and wordplay and many entertaining pen and ink, cartoon illustrations, this should find a fan base among readers that like humor and adventure. The character is from Coverly’s syndicated cartoon Speed Bump.
Isabel Feeney, Star Reporter
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Fantaskey, Beth
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 26, 2016
Wittmann, Paula
It is 1920’s Chicago and Isabel Feeny lives in a city overrun with mobs, violence and crime. Isabel may be a 10-year-old school dropout selling newspaper to help her family survive, but she has dreams of being a news reporter. When she is first on the scene of a murder and it looks like one of her favorite customers, Colette Giddings, might be blamed, Isabel becomes involved with the murder investigation. She becomes acquainted with Maude Collier- a Chicago Tribune reporter- who encourages her to investigate and write of her findings. The police seem to be determined to pin the crime on Miss Giddings, but Isabel’s tenacity and willingness to investigate anyone and everyone uncover the real murderer. She scours the scene for clues, befriends both the son of the accused and the daughter of the murder victim, and accuses several adults of the murder. Isabel’s pluck and personality should win readers over even as they cringe as she says and does things that could get her in big trouble.
Nutrition Basics
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Reinke, Beth Bence
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 26, 2016
Wittmann, Paula
The importance of decision-making in eating a balanced and nutritious diet is covered in this volume. Macronutrients protein, fat, carbohydrates and water are discussed and micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals are introduced as well. Portion size, nutrient labels, and nutrient rich choices are also discussed. The author is careful to say that it is okay to eat less healthy foods sometimes. Included are excerpts from other sources, a project, and a “stop and think” section. Part of the Food Matters Core Library series by Abdo.
Processed Foods
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Rissman, Rebecca
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 26, 2016
Wittmann, Paula
Processed food is defined and then examined in this book. The history and forms of processing are touched on. Nutritional pros and cons of processing, buying and eating processed foods are discussed. The author is careful to push moderation and working to balance processed and non-processed foods in ones diet. Included are excerpts from other sources, a project, and a “stop and think” section. Part of the Food Matters Core Library series by Abdo.
Untwine
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Danticat, Edwidge
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
July 26, 2016
Wittmann, Paula
Twins Giselle and Isabelle Boyer are in the back seat of their parents’ car on the way to Isabelle’s high school concert when a car smashes into them. When Giselle becomes aware again she is in the hospital unable to communicate and slipping in and out of consciousness. As she works to make sense of what has happened in bits and pieces she finds out that her mother and father, though bruised and broken are recovering, but her twin sister has died. Giselle, locked in her own head injury, works to make sense of the situation in her mind. What are you when you are a twin with out your twin? Giselle and Isabelle have always had individual interests and friends, but they have also shared a womb, a language, and the unique bonds of twin-ship. To add to the complexity of the situation Giselle’s Hatian born parents had just announced their separation before the accident. Slowly she and her parents get recover physically, but the process of recovering emotionally is even longer and more arduous. Through strong family and friendship support Giselle is able to move on- but life will never be the same. Thoughtful and well written this book should appeal to many readers.
Abby Wambach
Pebble Plus/capstone Press [Pebble Plus/capstone Press]
Porter, Esther
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
July 26, 2016
Sievers-Bailey, Jocelyn
Great non-fiction book. Soccer lovers will enjoy the book as they learn about Abby's soccer career. Pictures are bright and interesting, Facts given are clear and concise. AR test provided 2.4 reading level.
Lucky Tucker
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
McGuirk, Leslie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
July 27, 2016
Tucker, Merrilyn
This board book will be delightful for very young readers who have or love dogs. Tucker goes from having a bad day to a gloriously lucky day all because he rolled in some clover and met a leprechaun. If only life were so easy! The font is small, so this would have to be read to a child. There are no fuzzy patches or sound-makers, but it would make a sweet addition to a baby's board book collection, especially if there is a dog around the house.
Hit And Run
DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS [DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS]
Mcclintock, Norah
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
July 27, 2016
Tucker, Merrilyn
Please see my review of other Norah McClintock mysteries. This story follows the blame and then clearing of a boy blamed in a hit and run accident.
Last Great Adventure Of The Pb & J Society
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Johnson, Janet
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
July 28, 2016
Turpin, Sharon
10-year-old best friends Annie and Jason are the only members of the PB & J Society for which they’ve developed rules and traditions, one of which is cermoniously burying smushed sandwiches. These would-be spies use their imaginations in play, but this is disrupted by their discovery that Jason’s house is now in foreclosure since his father has been out of work. It becomes their mission to try to remedy this situation and keep Jason from moving to California by brainstorming solutions from selling an appendix on eBay to bake sales. Annie tends to be the go-getter in these plans, with Jason the voice of reason. When their grumpy neighbor Mrs. Schuster, suddenly turns fun, takes an interest in them and shares a chest of pirates’ garb with treasure map along with the tale of Cap’n Black Marge, a distant relative, their quest takes on new meaning. As that relationship develops Annie holds out hope that it’s true whereas Jason never truly believes. Most of Annie’s plans, despite her good hearted intentions have disappointing if not disastrous ramifications. This rollicking debut novel is a great story about friendships and paints an ultimately realistic picture of family life and the realization that life is full of changes.
Beatles : Defining Rock 'n' Roll
Edge Books/capstone Press [Edge Books/capstone Press]
Tougas, Joe
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
July 29, 2016
Tucker, Merrilyn
32 pages of primary photos and many captions and sidebars give a cursory look at who The Beatles were, from Liverpool to present day. If a student wanted to study the group in-depth, this would not be the book to select. If a student wanted to look at some photos and get a general idea of what the band looked like, then this would be the perfect choice. Table of Contents, Index, websites and bibliography for further research are included.
Sea Tiger
TEMPLAR [TEMPLAR]
Turnbull, Victoria
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
July 29, 2016
Tucker, Merrilyn
This lovely picture book contains an important message for children: Sometimes children need to be urged to make friends with people other than their one best friend. In this story, Sea Tiger and Oscar are friends only with each other. Sea Tiger is an actual tiger, not a Sea-Tiger fish. Oscar is a merboy (for lack of a better term). Sea Tiger protects Oscar from monsters and they play, watch the stars, and sleep together. Sea Tiger is apparently more mature than Oscar and sees that Oscar could benefit from making friends with others. So, to set an example, Sea Tiger makes a new friend which encourages Oscar to make a new friend, too (with a mergirl and they make music together). I read this to a second-grade class and their reaction was pretty flat, although they did enjoy the beautiful pictures in this debut book by Victoria Turnbull.
Counting Lions : Portraits From The Wild
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Cotton, Katie
Walton, Stephen
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
July 29, 2016
Tucker, Merrilyn
Gorgeously illustrated (so detailed that you will swear they are photographs) and succinctly worded, this book will be an excellent addition to any elementary school library, although the book is oversized and may actually have a difficult time fitting on a shelf! Each double-spread page contains a pencil illustration of an animal (10 in all) and a bit of prose explaining the animal briefly. In the back of the book, there is a paragraph noting each animal's place on the endangered list (some are "least concern" or "near threatened") and websites where one can go for further information. The author's point is that all of these animal populations are shrinking (Virginia McKenna, wildlife advocate speaks to this topic in the Foreword) and this book certainly helps to raise awareness about that issue.
Bone Collection : Skulls
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Colson, Rob Scott
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
July 29, 2016
Tucker, Merrilyn
This fascinating 96-page book introduces the young reader to bones in all sorts of creatures' heads. On each double spread, there is a photo of a skull, and then many sidebar-ish captions explaining where the animal lives, what it eats, what class of animal it is, how it raises its young, how human skulls are different than other animals' skulls (and the reason for that), and why animals' skulls are the shapes they are. There is just enough information to keep a young reader interested and turning the pages. It can also work as a read-aloud if a group is working on a unit about bones or animals. The drawback to this book is that it comes in paperback format, albeit with a stiff cardboard cover, and will not stand up very long to the stress test of many young hands in an elementary school library.