Reviews for month


Animal Strength And Combat Sports
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Thomas, Isabel
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 03, 2016
Garrard, Thom
Imagine that animals competed in the Olympics in strength and combat sports. This book from Capstone’s Animalympics series does just that, comparing specific animals in weightlifting, fencing, boxing, archery, and wrestling, and awarding bronze, silver, and gold medals based on their relative abilities. Although many of the animals are familiar, some of their behaviors may not be, such as wrestling by rattlesnakes. Interesting information about each contestant is printed in a large font and is accompanied by a labeled photograph that covers half the page, and makes it easy for reluctant readers to access. As the author points out, animals use these characteristics not for sport but as adaptations that help them survive. The inclusion of the idea that scientists study these animals in order to design robots, along with a full page photo of a robotic cheetah, is an unnecessary distraction. Then, just prior to the glossary, resource list, and index, the book capitalizes on the opportunity to explain how the animal kingdom is divided into groups (classes), and the animal winners are sorted into a medal table according to those groups. This book is likely to find a wide and appreciative audience.
Kid From Diamond Street : The Extraordinary Story Of Basebal
CLARION [CLARION]
Vernick, Audrey
Lindsay, Marion
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 03, 2016
Garrard, Thom
Edith Houghton was a talented shortstop who became a professional baseball player in 1922 when she made the all-female Philadelphia Bobbies - despite being only ten years old. After several years of playing against men’s teams in the area, the Bobbies were invited to tour Japan and play against college-age men’s teams. Edith and the rest of the team crossed the country by train, the Pacific by ship, and spent two months there, winning more games than they lost and experiencing the culture together. Mixed-media illustrations with digitally added color work both to reinforce Edith’s love of the game and to add historical context to the team’s adventures. The author’s note, enhanced with several historical photos, explains that Edith’s career continued with a few other women’s teams before WWII. After the war, her knowledge of the game led to a job with the Philadelphia Phillies as only the second woman baseball scout for a major league baseball team. This well-executed book about an intriguing female athlete will appeal to primary students whether they are sports fans or not.
Secret Coders
FIRST SECOND [FIRST SECOND]
Yang, Gene Luen
Holmes, Mike
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 04, 2016
Wittmann, Paula
Hopper is not excited about starting a new school. It is creepy looking and there are flocks of weird looking birds- even if her mother insists it is the best in town. From the moment she walks on campus things don’t go well- kids are rude, teachers are boring, and the custodian is downright hostile. However, Hopper soon finds a friend in Eni. Together, they start to discover odd things such as the four eyes of the birds open and shut in binary code when exposed to different numbers. Hidden in the custodian’s shed is a turtle robot that responds to command codes. When Hopper gets in trouble with the Mandarin Chinese teacher, who happens to be her mother, and goes to the principal she realizes that Eni is a true friend and things are even odder that they thought. This graphic novel, with its engaging characters, coding puzzles and cliff hanging end should be popular with readers who will be waiting anxiously for the next volume. It also is a great addition to encourage kids to investigate coding.
Green City : How One Community Survived A Tornado And Rebuil
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Drummond, Allan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
September 04, 2016
Wittmann, Paula
When Greensburg, Kansas was mostly demolished by a tornado in 2007, many believed it would be the end of the small town. However, many residents decided that it was worth rebuilding and that they should rebuild differently. With leadership from a few dedicated people and grants to help make their plan possible the town has rebuilt “green” and worked to be “tornado proof”. Drummond chronicles the story of the initial disaster and subsequent rebuilding through the eyes of a boy whose family is able to make the choice of rebuilding and doing it in a way that is sustainable and sees the choices the town as a whole makes to do the same. Though the town is smaller by more than a third, it has rebuilt as a community hub for the region and has earned the nickname of “Green City.” This narrative non-fiction, with occasional extra sidebars should be popular with readers and teachers looking for ways to teach what it means to go “green.”
Music Class Today!
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Weinstone, David
Vogel, Vin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
September 04, 2016
Wittmann, Paula
A toddler music class is underway and the kids are busy using rhythm instruments, singing songs and dancing. Well, almost all the kids, there is one shy boy watching from his mother’s lap. Eventually, he warms up and joins the others as they parade behind the teacher. After cleanup they sing a goodbye song and the shy boy doesn’t want to go- but there will be another music class soon. Warm, welcoming illustrations filled with multicultural preschoolers add to the text. Written by the founder of a preschool music class taught across the country this story song book, with an available download of the music, should be popular with preschoolers and their caregivers.
Case Of The Feathered Mask
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Webb, Holly
Desjardins, Vincent
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 04, 2016
Wittmann, Paula
Maisie Hitchens, Victorian girl detective, is back in her fourth adventure. This time, Professor Tobin, one of her grandmother’s borders, is getting ready to donate many of the treasures he has gathered to the British Museum. Unfortunately, a valuable Amazonian mask is stolen just before the donation. Maisie is out to discover who has taken it. Is it the pushy museum curator? Or is there another suspect? When Maisie discovers the true culprit she and the professor, work to allow the thief to escape with the mask. This book touches on ethics of taking from other cultures treasures for collections and museums in a satisfying way. Fans of the series should be happy with this volume.
Knowing Book
Boyds Mills Press [Boyds Mills Press]
Dotlich, Rebecca Kai
Cordell, Matthew
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
All ages
September 04, 2016
Wittmann, Paula
A young rabbit is reminded in gentle language of its place in the world and the opportunities and challenges that arise in life and how to face them. In a style reminiscent of Desiderata, Dotlich shares a possibility of how to be in the world. Adults may love to share this book with its wisdom of slowing down, noticing the world, and pondering the possibilities. However, children will probably not be drawn to it on their own. It has the tone of a graduation gift, but the pictures seem aimed at young children making me wonder whom the audience for this book really might be.
Crafting With Papier-Mache
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
Rau, Dana Meachen
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 04, 2016
Wittmann, Paula
Giving a brief history, overview of the papier-mache process, and basic supplies as well as six specific projects this is a serviceable, though not terribly inspiring introduction to papier-mache. The projects chosen are a slightly odd assortment from a decorative bowl, a birthday cake, to a puppet that seem like they might have limited audience appeal. In addition the book is illustrated with line drawing that are serviceable but uninspiring. If you need a basic book on the subject this will do, but a browser in the craft section probably won’t pick it up with out a specific reason.
Hacking Fashion : Fleece
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
Fontichiaro, Kristin
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 04, 2016
Wittmann, Paula
The idea of this book- using old fleece to create new things is appealing, however, the book itself is disappointing. After an introduction of the benefits of reusing clothes to create something new- it is fun, cheaper than buying new fabric and good for the environment -this book gives direction on making scarves, hats, mittens and decorations. Unfortunately, the photographs are lackluster, the directions wordy and difficult to follow. Readers might find an idea to try but the ideas could have been much more engagingly and thoroughly explored with better pictures and fewer words.
Gator Dad
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Lies, Brian
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 04, 2016
Garrard, Thom
A gator dad rouses his three kids so they can “squeeze the day.” In their own fun and imaginative way, the four of them have breakfast, run errands, play in the park, read, build a fort out of cushions, dance, play with toys, have supper, and take a bath. After watching a thunderstorm, reading one more story, and having one more squeeze, it’s bedtime, but gator dad is already planning to squeeze the next day, too. The poetic but non-rhyming text is limited to a sentence or two on each spread. With the advantage of being his own illustrator, the author is able to integrate the writing perfectly with richly colored acrylic illustrations that contain many interesting details. Equipped with his own parenting style, this is one dad whose focus is clearly on his kids and making the most of their time together. The obvious affection between the dad and his children is heartwarming and infectious and should lead to repeated readings.
One Silver Summer
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Hickman, Rachel
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
September 04, 2016
Tucker, Merrilyn
After her mother dies, American teenager Sass is sent to live with her artist uncle in England. As she is out walking one day, she finds a beautiful horse behind a locked gate. Sass makes it a habit of climbing over the gate to visit with the horse daily. One day, she meets a young man there who later turns out to be the Prince of Wales. They fall for each other and overcome a number of obstacles to be together. This is a fun and fluffy story, perfect for middle grade and up readers who want to believe in modern fairy tales.
Tiger And Badger
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Jenkins, Emily
Gay, Marie-Louise
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 04, 2016
Korf, Clarence
An entertaining book about two animal friends who do not always get along. They argue about with each other about who is the best friend, whose chair, sharing an ice pop, throwing Bad Monkey and calling each other mean. But through it all they recognize they have a need for each other and want to help each other in a jam. When things seem to be at a point of no return, Tiger decides to change his tactics and renews their friendships. This will be a fun read for beginning readers with simple, repetitive text and large print. The illustrations remind one of Calvin and Hobbes with Tiger looking and acting much like Hobbes.
Everland
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Spinale, Wendy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 04, 2016
Tucker, Merrilyn
The intriguing plot line based on Peter Pan, the Darling Family, Captain Hook, the Lost Boys, and Neverland immediately caught my attention. London has been bombed to smithereens by the evil Queen Katherina's army of Captain HOOK (the queen's own son) and his army of Marauders. Gwen takes care of her younger brother and sister, Mikey and Joanna, ever since their parents left at the time of the bombing. Gwen risks her life daily while scavenging for food. One day, just moments before she is detected by the Marauders, Pete (as in Pan) and Bella aka Tinkerbell swoop in to save Gwen's life. What happens from there is pretty much nonstop action with the Lost Boys and Girls, the Marauders, Professor, Smeeth, and HOOK all seeking to stop or find the cure for the virus that has killed the adults in London and is now wiping out the entire population of children..except for Gwen. First in a series. I will definitely read the second book!
Fort
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Defelice, Cynthia
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 04, 2016
Korf, Clarence
When Wyatt and Augie decide to build a fort over the summer, they do not anticipate invaders into their fort. The two boys have created a strong bond during the summer hanging out and they want a little more excitement. They first steal a stuffed owl belonging to Augie's uncle so they can attract other birds for moving targets. When they build their fort, two older boys wreck their fort and they promise to get even but not inflict bodily harm through a variety of trip wires and a flying owl. The positive traits are the relationship which Wyatt and Augie have and the friendship they develop with a developmentally delayed boy who needs an advocate. The boys are respectful of the adults as well. The solution for dealing with the bullies included telling adults but is a bit easy. This book is better for middle school ages since it has a repetitive focus on a pin up calendar and Aunt Hida's bosom.
Superstars Of History
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Basher, Simon
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 04, 2016
Korf, Clarence
Superstar of History includes 40 superstars from different eras in history. They include the Ancient World, Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Revolution and the Enlightenment and the Modern Era. Primarily focused on world leaders such as Ramses II, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, George Washington, Adolf Hitler and Mao Zedong but also includes explorers, scientist and civil rights leaders. Each historical figure is given a two page spread with one page being a manga style drawing from Simon Basher. The opposite page provides a brief summary from a first person point of view, timeline, legacy and other important facts. A good book for giving readers a brief introduction to some of the major players in history which may spur readers to research more about people of interest. As with any historical introduction, it is not meant to be all inclusive.
Alpha
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Arsenault, Isabelle
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
September 05, 2016
Seasholes, Craig L
Ever have to spell out a word across a poor telephone signal? For those times when crystal clear communication may be a matter of life-or death, we now have a new and intriguingly illustrated book. Full page watercolor paintings illustrate the NATO phonetic alphabet, this Alpha, Bravo, Charlie system of standard word-letter associations is used by emergency services and the military as a way to communicate clearly in urgent situations. An attractive and thought-and conversation-provoking abecedarian, with intriguing details in the illustrations that provoke conversation that might help (Hotel-Echo-Lima-Papa) jog our memory when needing to employ these standard terms. For example: Hotel is illustrated with a red hotel from the Monopoly board game, Echo with a boy throwing a paper airplane in obvious retaliation for another at his feet, Lima with the big white bean, and Papa is depicted by a man's wallet, with a child's picture showing through a vinyl window. An all together attractive and thought-provoking addition to the 428 shelf in any library.
Saved by the boats : the heroic sea evacuation of September 11
Encounter [Capstone]
Gassman, Julie
Moors, Steve
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 05, 2016
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 850 -- Gr 3+ The 15th anniversary of the World Trade Center’s destruction is this year. Gassman and illustrator Steve Moors tell the story of how nearly 500,000 people were evacuated from Manhattan island by the boats and crews of the boats anchored in the harbor. There were tugs, ferryboats, private and party boats; the Coast Guard coordinated events and even though visibility was difficult because of the dust and smoke all of the captains and crews answered the call to help. They helped the shocked people coming from Ground Zero, loaded them on board to sail across the Hudson River, many to Jersey City where the captains knew they would be safe and could be housed. The boats made trip after trip, hour after hour pulling up to the eerily quiet piers and loading the waiting evacuees and returning with rescue workers, water, and other supplies. It was the largest sea evacuation in history and a light in the city’s darkest hour. The telling is all the more poignant because this is Gassman’s personal story. Moor’s limited palette coupled with intricate drawings adds depth and feeling. Glossary, suggested reading, Internet sites, and source notes.
Let your voice be heard: the life and times of Pete Seeger
CLARION [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Silvey, Anita
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 05, 2016
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 1050 Gr5+ Pete Seeger was a crusader whose weapons of choice were a banjo, a voice, and music. Like his friend Woody Guthrie, he believed that his instrument was a way to fight against fascism and for, justice, civil rights, racial equality, for the rights of labor , world peace and a clean planet. His career spanned 7 decades. He and his folk group the Weavers: Seeger, Lee Hays, Fred Hellerman, and Ronnie Gilbert, focused on folks songs from around the world; they simplified them and interpreted them so that their audience would feel they stories in the songs were theirs as well. In 1955 they were falsely denounced as Communists during the McCarthy years and blacklisted would not and could not be silenced. They fell back on playing in small bars, wrote columns, and bringing to prominence songs like “Michael Row the Boat Ashore” and “Guantanamera.” He became the man who challenged the establishment, and won; and he inspired Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie, Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp. He became a light for millions with his songs and presence. Seeger’s life is a bright note in our own turbulent times. Source notes, bibliography, index. Must have for music and history studies.
Che Guevara's Face: How a Cuban photographer's image became a cultural icon
Capstone Press [Capstone Press]
Smith-Llera, Danielle
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 05, 2016
Datisman, Eve
Lexile1050 Gr. 5+ In pre-Revolutionary Cuba, Alberto Korda worked for the anti-government paper Revolución. On March 4, 1940 he was in the right place to snap a picture of Dr. Che Guevara as where he was part of a funeral march for survivors of the La Coubre explosion. It was captioned “Guerrillero Heroico” and became the “most famous photograph in the word and a symbol for the 20th century.” This title covers just how that photograph reached such prominence. The book is divided into four sections chronicling the explosion in Havana, the struggle for independence led by Castro, the story of Korda’s own desire to erase the inequalities of the Cuban people and his self-exile to France after Castro’s regime became just as harsh and oppressive as the one before it, and the story of the image as a universal icon of revolution and desire for change. Side notes about the Guevara families battle with commercialization of their father’s image. Timeline beginning with Fidel Castro’s birth in 1929 and ending with President Obama’s visit in 2016. Glossary, Further reading, Internet sites, Critical thinking questions and index.
Ground Zero: How a photograph sent a message of hope
Capstone Press [Capstone Press]
Nardo, Don
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 05, 2016
Datisman, Eve
Lexile1130 On Sept. 11, 2001, the attack on New York City’s World Trade Towers sent shock waves through the world that are being felt even now. Nearly 3,000 people died and thousands more were injured. On the afternoon of the attacks, three fire fighters paused in their rescue work to raise an American Flag at Ground Zero; photographer Thomas Franklin was there to snap the picture and immortalize the moment. The photo has been compared to the iconic Rosenthal photo of Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima in WWII for its ability to encapsulate the moment and convey bravery and hope. Also included is an overview of Osama Bin Laden and the growth and aims of al-Qaida, the world-wide terrorism campaign waged by them. Four sections: Events of 9/11/2001, Paths to a Fateful Place, Analyzing and iconic image, and Ongoing legacy. Timeline beginning in 1998 and ending with May 2, 2011; glossary; additional resources; source notes; selected bib and index.
Robotics : From Automatons To The Roomba
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Foran, Racquel
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
6th grade to 12th grade
September 05, 2016
Seasholes, Craig L
One of eight books in ABDO's "History of Science" series, the history of human development of robots is presented with crisp photographs and informational text sufficient to survey this topic of considerable attention. Text boxes highlight specific robots and innovators who may pique interest and lead readers to pursue further detailed investigation. Timeline, glossary, text notes and additional resources round out the 100 page treatment of this exciting topic; but the fast paced nature of innovation and an outpouring multimedia STEM formats may make this 100 page book of limited value to limited school library budgets.
Every Breath We Take : A Book About Air
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Ajmera, Maya
Browning, Dominique
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 05, 2016
Korf, Clarence
Air is important for all living things and this picture book provides us through photographs what it should and shouldn't look like. The author explores the idea we all need clean air in order to survive. Even though air is invisible, the clear multi-culturally balanced photographs give evidence of its presence through a variety of our senses. It briefly explore the problem of pollution and what we can do about it. The last pages include additional facts about air, air pollution, global warming and what we can do about it. This book is a good introduction for young students about the concepts of air. This book is supported by the Environmental Defense Fund and Moms Clean Air Force.
San Francisco Abc
Little Bigfoot [Little Bigfoot]
Skewes, John
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 05, 2016
Korf, Clarence
A Larry Gets Lost book about San Francisco where Pete and Larry go exploring throughout the city. For many students in our area, they may know very little about a city in California and will need additional background knowledge to appreciate the various locations. A few of the letters will need further explanation such as "Q for quake" and "R for rainbow." The simple book can help solidify alphabet knowledge in a new context.
Computer Engineer Ruchi Sanghvi
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Waxman, Laura Hamilton
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 05, 2016
Seasholes, Craig L
This "STEM trailblazer BIO" of an early Facebook software engineer succeeds as one of 12 titles from Lerner that helps students see themselves in the fast-growing STEM fields. Ruchi Sanghvi came to the US from India as an undergraduate and has stayed to devote herself to opportunities available in computer sciences. She was Facebook's first female engineer and who helped lead the design the news feed features that have changed the way social networking has impacted news gathering the world over. She's gone on to engage in other companies and to speak up for equal rights and opportunities for young women in the world of computer science. Plenty of pictures of this bright young woman accompany succinct but well written account of her rise to prominence. A timeline, glossary, text notes and resources for further investigation make this a fine addition to science and biography collections, especially notable for inspiring girls to consider and pursue STEM fields.
Life Without Nico
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Maturana, Andrea
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 05, 2016
Seasholes, Craig L
Bittersweet picture book gently fathoms the loss felt when Maia's best-friend Nico moves away that acknowledges how time helps heal the pain. Translated from Spanish, but universal in appeal, Maia's sadness dissipates and her life refills with joy when she finds a kitten, makes a new friend and discovers a distraction in the piano. Then Nico returns, and while both are anxious at first, they both are relieved to find that there are some things that time cannot change. A common and significant event in many children's lives, this book is a worthy read-aloud that will also find many an appreciative reader in the quieter moments of reading with a loved one at home. Recommended.
Scritch Scratch Squawk Kerplop
ENCHANTED LION BOOKS [ENCHANTED LION BOOKS]
Crowther, Kitty
Yoon, Joohee
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 05, 2016
Seasholes, Craig L
A sweet story of a little frog overcoming his fear of noises in the night with the help of his dad. Kitty Crowther's colored pencil drawings show the little guy going through the getting ready for bed routines familiar to most children. Twice the little frog has to splash down the hall to his parents bedroom to report the scary "Scritch Scratch Scraww Plop!" noises, where his father scoops him up and returns him to bed with ineffective "there's nothing to worry about." Finally the dad lays down in his child's room, hears the noises and helps the little frog go out into the night on the pond, listen and confront the sounds (a mole digging Scritch Scratch" a bird calling "Scraw" and a silver fish leaping "Plop" into the pond. Sort of a "Goodnight Moon meets Frog and Toad" this is a gentle bedtime book for youngsters and their caregivers.
Your Digestive System
Qeb Publishing - Quarto Library [Qeb Publishing - Quarto Library]
Hewitt, Sally
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 05, 2016
Cook, Kathryn
Want to know what goes on inside us when we you eat that apple, hamburger, or drink that glass of juice? This well written text takes the reader on a journey through your digestive system, following the food we eat in nine easy to understand two page chapters. The short information filled paragraphs, one or two to a page will answer such questions such as “What happens to food in your stomach? How long are your intestines? or, What does our liver do?” Filled with bright color photographs and diagrams, all clearly labeled, side notes, and suggested fun activities that will illustrate some of the bodily functions discussed, this title provides a great introduction to our digestive system. There is enough information for the beginning researcher and for the avid information junkie. Most terms are explained in the text, but a glossary is included in the back along with an index and a page of suggested “Next Steps” – a list of suggested activities for partners or small groups. It is library bound but the paper on board cover won’t last long.
Ideas Are All Around
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Stead, Philip C
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 05, 2016
Cook, Kathryn
“I have to write a story today. That’s my job. . . But, today I don’t have any ideas.” Writing in the first person poetic free verse author Philip C. Stead needs to write a story but has writer’s block. His dog, Wednesday, would rather go for a walk, so they walk around the neighborhood as the author recounts all he sees and thinks on their walk, from the painted turtle he has name Frank, a man in a wheelchair at the soup kitchen who once had a dog like Wednesday, and their friend Barbara. You can hear and see the ideas take shape as he talks with people, watches a train and walks on the tracks. The mixture of photographs, collage and spatter paint techniques create an interesting visual experience that works well with the text. Though this text is highly recommended by SLJ, Booklist, Hornbook, Kirkus Reviews, and Publisher Weekly it might be used more by teachers in conjunction with writing assignment than by students picking it up to read.
Ten Of The Best Mythical Hero Stories
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
West, David
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 05, 2016
Cook, Kathryn
This slim volume contains 10 hero stories, nine from ancient civilizations. The stories of Theseus, Perseus Heracles, and Jason from Greece; Horatius of Rome; Mayan Hero Twins, Mayan civilization; Rustam from Persia as well as Sinbad are all from ancient civilizations. The story that stands out as not really fitting the collection is the story of William Tell. The slight two page spread includes a large center illustration straddling the gutter and two or three small thumbprint size illustrations with small bits of information such as: “The labyrinth, a maze of tunnels, was under King Mino’s Palace of Knossos. Legend said that no one could find a way out.” The stories are a straight forward “Cliff Note” version – more a summary than a story. The title and illustrations will draw the attention of those interested in myths and legends, but will only provide a brief overview. As an example, the story of Heracles, aka Hercules, says he is given 12 labors but only tell of two. A list of all twelve is provided at the end of the entry. This title will add little to any collection of myths and legends.
Mcelligot's Pool
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
Seuss, Dr
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 05, 2016
Cook, Kathryn
A reprint of a classic Dr. Seuss title. First published in 1947 and winner of the 1948 Caldecott Medal McElligot's Pool is the first to have full color illustrations on every other page. This title features Marco from And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street fishing in a pond in a farmer’s pasture. Upon being told “You’ll never catch fish in McElligot's Pool!” “The pool’s too small. and you might as well know it, when people have junk, here’s where they throw it.” Young Marco imagines an underground river flowing all the way to the sea and his imagination takes off as he describes a variety of sea life that might just appear. With rhyming as only Dr. Seuss can write McElligot’s Pool is a book that children will never get tired of hearing and adults never get tired of reading. It is best read aloud. A must have in any Dr. Seuss collection.
Little Gray's Great Migration
Arbordale Publishing [Arbordale Publishing]
Lindsey, Marta
Gabriel, Andrea
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 05, 2016
Cook, Kathryn
Little Gray, a gray whale calf loved the lagoon off of Baja California, he loved breaching, blowing bubbles and showing himself to all of the people. He did not understand why Mama said they had to leave and swim in the deep, dark, cold ocean. As he followed Mama he missed everything he knew, growing sadder and slower until the day he lost sight of Mama. When he finally found her Little Gray noticed how thin she had become and began to understand that Mama needed “grown-up” food. When Mama becomes weak, Little Gray takes the lead following other whales' sounds, using echolocation; finding the opening they need to take them to the feeding grounds. The factual information contained in the story have been fact checked by a marine scientist from the National Park Service. Five pages of slightly more difficult to read additional facts and information are included and contain a migration map, a page on whale food and whale behavior terms as well as a list of fun facts. Realistic and beautiful cut-paper illustrations enhance the readers’ enjoyment of this narrative non-fiction text.
Mother's Day And Father's Day
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Nguyen, Dustin
Nguyen, Dustin
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 05, 2016
Cook, Kathryn
Capstone’s Stone Arch Books has taken another one from DC Comics originally titled: Batman: Li’l Gotham. Each title in the series centers on two different holidays; this offering revolves around Mother’s Day and Father’s Day staring Damian Wayne, Batman’s son and the Gordons In the first story Damian and friend search for the meaning of family – it is a confusing to a non-DC Comic book reader / Batman follower. The second story has the Gordon’s sitting with a family of super villains, but interspersed with the story of Batman’s offspring trying to honor Alfred. If you are a DC Comics Batman follower you may be able to follow the stories better than someone who has read few of them. The comic book style illustrations are done in soft watercolors and are not the usual bright sharply colored graphics for a comic book story. This one will most likely be picked up and read by your Batman fans. The publisher includes a comics glossary, visual discussion questions, and writing prompts in an effort to make more desirable to those who do the purchasing. If you have students who will read it - hope for a donation.
Scooby-Doo And The Truth Behind Zombies
CAPSTONE PRESS INC [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
Collins, Terry
Neely, Scott
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 05, 2016
Cook, Kathryn
When Scooby and Shaggy worry about Zombies the gang jumps in to ease their minds explaining zombie folk lore. A discussion ensues; answering such questions as how people turn into zombies, how zombies act and how to protect yourself. The familiar cartoon illustrations and speech bubbles containing superficial information. This is an adequate introduction for the young monster fan. Presented as non-fiction with a slight glossary, index and list of internet sites to visit this is light on information but will attract young graphic novel fans as well as Scooby-Doo fans. Some might pick it up because the topic is Zombies. If you can get it as a donation, okay take it – otherwise the price tag is a little steep for my money.
Cool Refashioned Hardware : Fun & Easy Fashion Projects
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 05, 2016
Garrard, Thom
Ten ideas for using hardware to modify or create something are included in this title from Abdo’s Cool Refashion series, such as jewelry items, belts, and refreshing old clothes, bags, or cases. Introductory pages discuss having adult permission, staying safe, and being prepared. Two pages of photos of tools and supplies precede the projects. Each two page spread has a large photo of the finished product on the left with needed materials listed in a text box with rather small font. The instructions include 3-7 clearly written steps, three of which are illustrated with photos. The book concludes with a glossary and an index. Children with an interest in crafting will find this a good starting place. The combination of straightforward directions and a sufficient number of illustrations should make the projects accessible to most of the target audience. Few of the projects will actually require adult participation, since none involve anything more dangerous than nail polish, spray paint, or scissors. Using hardware in this way should inspire creativity and fit into the ethic of reusing and recycling.
Who Is The Mystery Bat-Squad?
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Fisch, Sholly
Clugston, Chynna
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 05, 2016
Cook, Kathryn
Capstone’s Stone Arch Books has taken DC Comics Super-friends #11 and published it as a graphic novel with library binding and a paper on board cover. In this installment, one of four titles, Batman’s number one fan, Bat-Mite, an imp from the fifth dimension, shows up. He insists that Batman can take on the bad guys – the “Royal Flush Gang” – all by himself. He so wants to be alongside Batman he persists in “helping” only to create havoc. In the end he learns a lesson about teamwork, which is handled just a little heavy-handedly. Standard, brightly colored comic book illustration is filled with action as expected. Included are a comic glossary, visual discussion questions and writing prompts. The story will appeal to any graphic novel/comic/superhero buffs.
Cool Refashioned Sweaters : Fun & Easy Fashion Projects
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 05, 2016
Garrard, Thom
Nine ideas for reusing old sweaters are included in this title from Abdo’s Cool Refashion series, such as turning old sweaters into new ones, winter wear, earrings, socks, and boots. Introductory pages discuss having adult permission, staying safe, and being prepared. Two pages of photos of tools and supplies precede the projects. Each two page spread has a large photo of the finished product on the left with needed materials listed in a text box with rather small font. The instructions include 4-7 clearly written steps, three of which are illustrated with photos, except for the final project which has 10 steps and nine illustrations over four pages. The book concludes with a glossary and an index. Children with an interest in crafting will find this a good starting place. The combination of straightforward directions and a sufficient number of illustrations should make the projects accessible to most of the target audience. Still, kids cannot just be turned loose with this book and some old sweaters, since about half involve an iron, a glue gun, or dye, and will require adult participation.
Perilous Peril!
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Kunkel, Mike
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 05, 2016
Cook, Kathryn
Billy just wants to stay Captain Marvel and not change back to his 11 year-old self while searching for Black Adam until he is reminded by his sister Mary that he has detention. Not only does he have trouble at school but his arch enemy Theo Adam is searching for him so he can learn the word that gives Billy his powers. After his time in detention Billy is caught by his nemesis only to be “rescued” by his sister Mary – who inadvertently gives Theo/Black Adam the secret word and trouble ensues. Billy ends up victorious. This is the 3rd volume in the series: Billy Batson and the magic of Shazam which may be why it feels as if you are jumping into the middle of a story and are not sure what is happening in the beginning. Typical comic book style illustrations with updated stories will attract your comic book fans familiar with the characters. If you want this title for your collection you should be prepared to purchase all of the titles
Wetland Ecosystems
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Bethea, Nikole Brooks
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 05, 2016
Garrard, Thom
In habitats where the wetness of the soil inhibits the decay of dead plant matter, plants and animals must adapt in order to survive. Wetland Ecosystems, part of Abdo’s Ecosystems of the World series, explains what a wetland is, how the water cycle impacts wetlands, that different plants grow in different types of wetlands, how the animals that live in wetlands are connected in a food web, how humans have impacted wetlands and why that matters, and the outlook for wetlands in the future. An additional spread contains a paragraph of information about each of four well-known wetlands. Every two-page spread includes at least one photo, diagram, or sidebar that adds visual interest and provides additional information. Unfortunately, questions and activities that are supposed to support the Common Core are scattered throughout the book. These features may help sell the book to some, but they also make it feel like a textbook, which could put a damper on a student’s enthusiasm for the topic.
One Day, The End. : Short, Very Short, Shorter-Than-Ever Sto
Boyds Mills Press [Boyds Mills Press]
Dotlich, Rebecca Kai
Koehler, Fred
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 05, 2016
Garrard, Thom
All nine stories in this book begin with “One day…” and conclude with “The End,” but as the author tells us on the first page, what happens in the middle makes all the difference. In this case, each middle consists of a pair of simple sentences in a large and sometimes playful font. The accompanying illustrations provide many details that reveal much more about what took place. For example, when she runs away to avoid sweeping, the letters gradually become more tree-like as she departs, has a picnic, gets farther away from home, and gets lost. Then a bird grabs her blanket, and as she chases it back to familiar ground, the letters slowly return to normal. In many of the stories, things have a tendency to go wrong for the imaginative, emotional main character, but the endings are mostly happy ones. The colorful cartoon illustrations are integral to the book as they expand the story far beyond the text and provide humorous details. Beginning writers and illustrators may find inspiration for their own work in this charming book, or at least develop an understanding about the importance of a story’s middle.
Ocean Ecosystems
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Watts, Pam
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 05, 2016
Garrard, Thom
Ocean ecosystems vary widely in temperature, levels of light, pressure, and oxygen, and proximity to land. This title from Abdo’s Ecosystems of the World series explains that organisms have evolved to survive in the specific conditions in which they live, that microscopic phytoplankton are the main producers at the bottom of the ocean food chain, that animals live higher on the food chain by consuming, scavenging and decomposing, that humans have impacted oceans and why that matters, and the outlook for oceans in the future. An additional spread contains a paragraph of information about each of the world’s oceans. Every two-page spread includes at least one photo, diagram, or sidebar that adds visual interest and provides additional information. Unfortunately, questions and activities that are supposed to support the Common Core are scattered throughout the book. These features may help sell the book to some adults, but they also make it feel like a textbook, which may dampen student enthusiasm for the topic.
Smooth Sea And A Fighting Chance : The Story Of The Sinking
CAPSTONE PRESS INC [CAPSTONE PRESS INC]
Otfinoski, Steven
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 05, 2016
Seasholes, Craig L
Narrative non-fiction account succinctly written for an apparently unsinkable interest in the story of the Titanic. Told along a timeline from striking the iceberg through rescue by the SS Carpathian, one and two page vignettes of the words and deeds of two dozen passengers and crew of the ill-fated maiden voyage give the reader a glimpse to the 3.5 mid-night hours of chaos that was faced by the 705 survivors and 1500 victims of the mid-Atlantic sinking. An epilogue, glossary, recommended reading and Capstone online resources will guide unsinkable interest to further information beyond this title's 100 page treatment. A fine additional purchase to meet the need of 3-5th grade readers.
Coral Reef Ecosystems
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Gagne, Tammy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 05, 2016
Garrard, Thom
The hard skeletons of coral, tiny animals that live in gigantic colonies, form the structure that is the basis for coral reef ecosystems. Part of Abdo’s Ecosystems of the World series, this title explains what a coral reef is, why reefs are found in warm, shallow water, that algae and other plants are crucial to the health of a reef, the role that fish and other animals play in the reef ecosystem, how humans have impacted coral reefs and why that matters, and the outlook for wetlands in the future. An additional spread contains a paragraph of information about each of four well-known coral reefs. Every two-page spread includes at least one photo, diagram, or sidebar that adds visual interest and provides additional information. Unfortunately, questions and activities that are supposed to support the Common Core are scattered throughout the book. These features may help sell the book to some, but they also make it feel like a textbook, which could put a damper on a student’s enthusiasm for the topic.
Tales From My Closet
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Moses, Jennifer Anne
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 05, 2016
Sievers-Bailey, Jocelyn
Tales From My Closet is a novel that tells about the lives of five girls in high school. The book starts with Justine moving into yet another school and all the stresses that go with a new place......the paper dress she wears the first day is a disaster! The four other girls who are popular have their own fashion rules and the reader learns about each of them. The book explores the girls having nothing in common to everything in common, daily high school struggles and life as a teen.
Types of Money
Children's Press [SCHOLASTIC]
SCHUH, MARI
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 05, 2016
Garrard, Thom
Early readers will find this introduction to different types of money easy to understand. One of five titles in the Money Matters series from Scholastic’s Children’s Press imprint, this Blastoff Readers level 2 book explains that money has been used as a way to pay for things people need and want throughout history and in countries around the world. Cash, checks, and credit cards are each covered separately. A final section on using money wisely suggests putting needs before wants and staying out of debt. One or two sentences per page are accompanied by large color photos and/or well-organized charts and labeled diagrams. Definitions of bold-faced can be found in the glossary in the back. Curiously no mention is made of debit cards, which research shows became the preferred payment method of American consumers several years. In fact, PayPal and other alternative payment methods are more popular than checks. While omission of this latter type of money is understandable, a book published in 2016 that fails to explain debit cards can have only limited utility.
History Of Film
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Eboch, M M
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 05, 2016
Korf, Clarence
The History of Film review from a time of shadow puppets to computerized animation. Moving pictures are a relatively new art form beginning in the early 1900's. Film has progressed from silent pictures to 3-D movies with sound amplification to enhance the audience experience. Important milestones include sound, color, animation and computer generated imagery (CGI). Movies have played an important role of sharing different viewpoints and bringing out important controversial issues. The book provides a good overall history of the changes and impact of film. Sidebars are effective and support the theme. The book includes a timeline, glossary, source notes, additional information and an index. The graphic layout with sepia cover appearance and color scheme throughout did not help the book. It would have helped as color was influencing movies that the photographs in the book would have supported the historical progression.
Behind The Badge : Crimefighters Through History
ANNICK PRESS [ANNICK PRESS]
Butts, Ed
Williams, Gareth
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 05, 2016
Korf, Clarence
Fighting crime and keeping a society safe has been around as long as their have been structured societies. Sometimes rules were administered with ruthlessness and no fair trial. As civilization has progressed, the need for having law and order is critical. The book explorers the law and order of the ancient world, medieval world and the birth of our current police departments. A complete chapter is given to how women have taken on the role and have affected modern police forces. Another chapter explorers how bad police have taken bribes to allow drug smuggling or allow a crime boss to continue their illegal activities. The descriptions of how justice was handed out with dictatorships, secret police and vigilantes are blunt which is more appropriate for older middle school readers. The illustrations range from half to full page are colorful, clear and enhance the text. Sidebars relate and support the text throughout. The book includes glossary, timeline, bibliography and index.
Little Elliot, Big Family
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Curato, Mike
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 06, 2016
Threlkeld, Sarah
One cold winter morning Mouse announces that he's heading to his family reunion, which means Elliot will spend the day alone. The polka-dotted elephant wanders around New York City, observing different family members engaged in various activities. He notices sisters sharing secrets at a diner, uncles giving advice in Chinatown, and fathers playing with their daughters in Central Park. After watching a movie in an empty theater Elliot is thrilled to be found by Mouse and invited back to the Mouse family reunion. This heart-warming story about family, that also showcases the diversity of New York, will appeal to younger readers and, as a read aloud, could lead to some wonderful conversations about the definition of family.
Stickiest, Fluffiest, Crunchiest : Super Superlatives
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Brocket, Jane
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 06, 2016
Threlkeld, Sarah
Ooey, gooey pizza, crunchy carrots, juicy strawberries, stinky garlic and so many more foods make an appearance in this delightful (and hunger-inducing) book about superlatives. The author starts out by briefly explaining that superlatives are words used to compare things and then goes on to describe all kinds of foods. Readers are also invited to think of other treats that fit the different categories, like the stickiest or crunchiest food they've eaten. Bold, close-up photographs fill each page and will have students looking forward to lunch. This is a wonderful book for teaching primary students about superlatives.
Wax
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Damico, Gina
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 06, 2016
Datisman, Eve
Lexile 800 YA Poppy Jubilation Palladino lives in Paraffin, Vermont and is trying to live down her ghastly performance on the nationally televised Triple Threat. Where, in true “the show must go on” fashion she performed a number from The Sound of Music after she had slipped, gashed open her forehead, then blacked out from loss of blood. So now she’d trying to rebuild her previously stellar reputation in town even as her nemesis Blake Bursaw finds new ways to humiliate her and post the video on YouTube. In an attempt at normalcy and revenge, she and her best friend Jill decide to visit the Grosholtz Candle Factory to see if she can get a wax likeness of Blake to her surprise she finds Anne-Marie Tussaud. Later, she's shocked when one of the figures--a teenage boy who doesn't seem to know what he is--jumps naked and screaming out of the trunk of her car. Poppy wants to return him to the factory, but before she can, a fire destroys the mysterious workshop. With the help of the wax boy, who answers to the name Dud, Poppy tries to find out who was behind the fire. Along the way, she discovers that some of the townspeople are starting to look a little . . . waxy. Campy characters, witty, horror plot, identity quest, fast pacing. FUN.
Best Friends For Never
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Vrettos, Adrienne Maria
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 06, 2016
Tucker, Merrilyn
In a small New England picture perfect town, new sixth-grade girl Hattie unknowingly jinxes herself during the Harvest Festival, which causes her friends to forget who she is. When she is aced out of that friendship circle, Hattie finds new opportunities opening up to her. She is partnered with ex-mean girl, Zooey, to research a history project. In that endeavor, they meet and befriend Maude who went to MIT at age 12 and now runs the local historical society. Hattie finds a poem that explains the jinx and she comes to realize that being someone she thought her friends would have approved of is partly why the jinx worked. So, lessons are learned and friendships continue, better than in the pre-jinx days. Topics of bullying, magic, popular kids, and friendships won and lost may attract middle school girl readers.
Daredevil
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
September 06, 2016
Garrard, Thom
Daredevils risk their bodies and lives by performing dangerous and amazing stunts for money. This title from Abdo’s Xtreme Jobs series opens with a brief overview of the history of this occupation. The discussion then turns to the work of tightrope walkers, climbers, wing walkers, air show pilots, stunt drivers, motorcycle stunt riders, and people who do daring tricks with animals. Each section includes a straightforward description of the stunt, how daredevils prepare for it, and any special dangers they must consider. An eye-catching action photograph entirely covers both pages in each spread, with the text superimposed in white or black where it won’t obscure the central focus. Small text boxes with quotes or additional related facts are also included on every other page. A glossary and index complete the book. The high-interest topic of this book will entice students, whether they would only ever be among the spectators or whether they would actually consider taking on the job of daredevil.
Graces
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
Eve, Laure
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 06, 2016
Tucker, Merrilyn
When River starts at her new high school, she has a different name, her father has disappeared, and she eats lunch alone in the library every day. She has heard rumors about the Grace family: they are witches and the Grace name goes way back in the town's history. The twins, Fenrin and Thalia, are 17 and Summer is River's age, a few years younger. Summer befriends River (who by now has changed her name) and draws her into the Grace family. There are spells cast, wild parties on the beach, and mysterious activities and people. River is desperate to become like the Graces, and she is also in love with Fenrin. She discovers that he is in love with someone else who, accidentally, drowns on one of their beach escapades. That is when the reader realizes that River has some serious magic powers of her own. The reveal of her powers and the way in which the Graces turn on her makes the last third of the book a series of twists and turns. The story is intriguing and compelling. Many characters are introduced, but then dropped. This is the first book in a series. Language and references to sex and alcohol make this a book for teenagers.
Edible Colors
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Bass, Jennifer Vogel
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten
September 07, 2016
Turpin, Sharon
Bright photos of fruits and vegetables on clean, white backgrounds adorn each sumptuous page of this board book version of a 2014 title teaching young children about colors and adults about these exotic foods. It begins, “Carrots are ORANGE (with a clear photo below) followed on the opposite page with, “They are also PURPLE (with its accompanying photo). The next double page spread states, “Look what else can be PURPLE!” with a dozen or so purple edible items. Throughout the book each food is clearly and specifically labeled in very tiny type for the adult reader. Eventually a young child might be able to learn these specifics as the adult will most likely find very unusual items—Sicillian Violet broccoli, Black Velvet apricot, Cherokee Purple tomato, just to give a sample. This is a visual treat and can be used for the simplest concept of colors and then for learning the fruits and vegetables, and if so inclined, the more specific entities. Some of the actual colors i.e. purple, blue and black are not as distinct as their color might indicate.
Edible Numbers
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Bass, Jennifer Vogel
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten
September 07, 2016
Turpin, Sharon
In the same brilliant format of its counterpart Edible Colors, this board book offering also uses clear color photos of fruit and vegetables on stark white backgrounds. The numbers range from 1 to 12 each featuring a different fruit or vegetable. The left page is always 1 of that item opposite the sequential number of the same item. Thus 1 pea pod is opposite 2 pea pods; 1 apple is opposite 3 apples and so on. Who knew there were 13 varieties of eggplant! It concludes with a nice summary visual of each food item from 1 to 12 growing from left to right. As with Colors, each food is clearly and specifically labeled in very tiny type for the adult reader. Another joyful, fun educational offering that will be enjoyed by the very young and older readers, originally published in a larger format in 2015.
Too Many Carrots
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Hudson, Katy
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 07, 2016
Elders, Ann
Rabbit’s love of carrots may lead to disaster and the loss of many friends. When rabbit collects and stores too many carrots in his home, there is no room for him. He decides to move into tortoise’s house and take his carrots with him which quickly leads to a giant crash. From there they carry carrots up the tree to live with bird in his nest, as well as several other animals including squirrel and beaver. Finally, rabbit realizes that carrots aren’t for collecting; they are for sharing. Illustrations are wonderful with each catastrophe funnier than the last. Piles of carrots are delightful in the pictures. Pair this book with Creepy Carrots and a nonfiction book on carrots.
Canada Today
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Corrigan, Kathleen
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 07, 2016
Elders, Ann
Maps, photographs, and large print text introduce Canada today. Information includes basic information about cities, land and climate, bodies of water, people, languages, schooling and workers, entertainment, sports, landmarks, and Canadian symbols. Making a symbols collage is a suggested project with directions. A glossary, index, and further sources of information are provided. Several topics include a “Did you know” text box. Photographs are clear and labeled. For a basic information on Canada this will be a good starting point for children. Each chapter has a 2 page spread with pictures, labels, and text.
Friend For Mole
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Armo, Nancy
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 07, 2016
Elders, Ann
This is an adorable story of friendship with elegant descriptions of setting. After hearing shouting and laughter above him, Mole decides to crawl out of his tunnel to see what is happening. The bright light and noises scare him as he sees a variety of animals. In his fear he can’t find his hole and panics. Falling asleep in a dark push, he wakes at night. A young wolf is lost and frightened too. This unlikely pair become friends and play games to get each other through the night. In the morning they search for their homes to discover they live close to each and can continue as friends. Illustrations are delightful enhancing the descriptive words for their activities. This lesson in friendship will be a favorite with the children.
Noisy Touch and Lift Truck
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten
September 07, 2016
Turpin, Sharon
As its title indicates the very young reader is introduced to five sounds five vehicles make—beep, chug, whoosh, whee-oh, and cry, which are depicted in words, but mostly in sounds. By lifting flaps, scratching sand, or pressing a grille, the young reader will hear the actual sounds. Bright colorful photos fill the busy pages with little bits of information and labels. Vehicles, despite the title, include a truck, tractor, dump truck, fire truck and bulldozer. This creative offering will not last for many uses. The foam cover is helpful, but repeated use of pressing for the sounds will wear out the pages in between. The on-off button for the sounds is located on the back of the book.
Hurricane Katrina Survival Stories
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Ford, Jeanne Marie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 07, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
A dramatic cover photograph of a Coast Guard helicopter rescue in the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina will grab readers' attention as will the four survival stories portrayed within. An overview and timeline of the storm provide only minimal background as the book's focus is on the four stories highlighting the courage and resourcefulness displayed in desperate conditions. A newborn is evacuated after the power has failed and the hospital runs out of food and a visiting musician trapped in the Superdome plays Bach after sanitation failure, heat, and lack of food lead to shootings. The two other stories feature a Coast Guard rescue swimmer makes over 50 lifesaving hoists in one day, and police officers who had refused to leave the job barely escaping drowning. The stories' brevity are not as compelling as the more extensively developed middle-grade fiction such as Zane and the Hurricane or the Ninth Ward, but could be effectively paired for discussion on how authors use true events as a basis for their fiction. Several photographs exemplify the dangers and ferocity of the hurricane, while others depict the survivors after the storm. Source notes, infographics, glossary, index and resources included.
Child Convicts
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Brennan, Net
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 07, 2016
Korf, Clarence
Anticipation in reading a book can frequently come from just the title. Eagerly looking forward to reading about child convicts and having students read about students in other parts of the world or time period helps gives them a different perspective. Yes, this book gives short paragraphs about a few of the child convicts who were sent from England to Australia from 1788-1868 but the boook is mostly about England sending its prisoners to Australia to set up penal colonies. This book contains many historical paintings, drawings, photographs and maps which do support the text well. A timeline is spread over several pages on the bottom of several pages but it does not consistently match the text on each page. The book should have been more aptly titled “How Convicts Established Austrailia.”
Helen Thayer's Arctic Adventure : A Woman And A Dog Walk To
Encounter/capstone Press [Encounter/capstone Press]
Isaacs, Sally
Sasheva, Iva
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 07, 2016
Korf, Clarence
Biographies need to come in all shapes and sizes so a variety of elementary aged students are able to access great people. Helen Thayer is an athlete, climber, adventurer and an explorer. Her story of being the first women to ever go exploring in the Polar Regions. She wanted to circumnavigate the magnetic North Pole which was a 364 mile journey. The adventure would not have been possible without the companionship of a dog she named Charlie. Charlie was there to protect her from the polar bears which were a constant threat throughout her journey. This is a picture book of her adventure which is condensed from Helen’s book the Polar Dream. The short text articulates well the struggles and challenges she had throughout the trek. The adequate illustrations are realistic and the reader gets an idea about how rough and cold the Arctic can be. The book includes a note from the author, additional information about Helen and Charlie, glossary, additional resources, common core linked questions and an index.
Bears Make The Best Reading Buddies
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Oliver, Carmen
Claude, Jean
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 07, 2016
Korf, Clarence
There are many kids who would love to have a bear for a reading buddy. Adelaide came to school with her bear in tow and convinced her teacher that bears make the best reading buddies. The reasons have all the basic rules for being a great reading buddy as sitting side by side and having the book in the middle and how to help your reading buddy with challenging words. Unfortunately, from a librarian’s point of view, a bear has downsides because it can easily tear a page with a claw and the good news, bad news is the bear is able to fix the page with honey. It is fun and charming story about the possibilities of a bear reading buddy and encourages the thrill of getting lost in a book. Illustrations are colorful and inviting with very expressive characters. A good book to begin the discussion of reading buddies with young readers.
Problem With Not Being Scared Of Kids
Boyds Mills Press [Boyds Mills Press]
Richards, Dan
Neubecker, Robert
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 07, 2016
Garrard, Thom
Monsters who are not scared of kids and want to make friends have a problem. Kids don’t want to hang out with them, have sleepovers with them, or sit with them on the bus. Their claws damage the gifts they make. They try to share things or activities that they shouldn’t. They find themselves isolated on one side of a game of a tag or a snowball fight. When the monsters’ perseverance is finally exhausted and they are ready to give up, a child comes along who is not scared of them. There’s no longer a problem, and all the kids become their friends. The spare text depends upon the bright, digitally colored pen and ink drawings to carry the story forward. These lend moments of humor, though sometimes the connection between the text and an illustration’s attempt at humor seems forced. If sleepovers end early, for example, it is reasonable to question how they get started in the first place. Further, one has to wonder why a monster would be motivated to keep trying to be friends with angry-looking kids who pelted it with snowballs, especially when it already has a couple of monster friends. The idea that our differences need not prevent us from becoming friends is still identifiable, but the creators sometimes get in their own way.
Learning About Australia
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Owings, Lisa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 07, 2016
Elders, Ann
This introduction to Australia includes information on the land and oceans, states and cities, landforms and climate, people and cultures, and economics of the country/continent. Chapters have text, photos, and captions for the pictures. Questions, such as “What other animals live in the continent’s forests?”, promote further research though it would help if some were answered in the book. In the description of the oceans surrounding it, the book does not show on the map or in the text what the ocean south of Australia is called. Photos are interesting but a touch dull. Glossary, further reading, and index are useful.
Empty Places
Calkins Creek [Calkins Creek]
Wiechman, Kathy Canon
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 07, 2016
Turpin, Sharon
Set in a Harlan County, Kentucky, coal mining town in 1932, this novel captures the lifestyle and dialect of spirited 13-year-old Adabel Cutler, one of 4 children in a motherless family struggling to survive. Her world is limited to the small company town where her now alcoholic and sometimes abusive father works a few days a week, and only her younger sister attends school. Adabel tries to unravel the past she can’t remember, mostly involving her mother, who left when she was six. In between chores and a closed mouth family, she seeks out clues from townsfolk who knew her mother. The short chapters are rich in character, dialogue, and enough action to keep the reader trying to solve the mystery of her past as well. Some interesting boys, a sleezy man, a bootlegger, and generous folk all make for a well-rounded tale. The title theme is capsulized in her statement, “A mind full of empty places was worse’n the awfullest memories a body could have.” The author, who is familiar with Kentucky and its accents, included an eight-page author’s note explaining the Hard Times, coal mining, and alcoholism along with photos depicting the area and mines. This is very satisfying historical fiction despite a rather quick ending. Gr.5-8
Forensics : Cool Women Who Investigate
Nomad Press [Nomad Press]
Yasuda, Anita
Bruce, Allison
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 08, 2016
Sepessy, Lona
Christine Gabig-Prebyl, Jessica Frances Lam, and Stephanie Kristen Callian are three current forensic scientists working at crime scenes and crime labs, combining engineering and 3-D crime detection methods, and working with DNA evidence and testifying in court. A brief history of forensics highlights milestones in the profession including mention of Sherlock Holmes and development of blood typing, finger printing and botany. Biographies of the three featured women focus on their education and work life but also include details of their childhood and personal obstacles each faced on their career paths. Women are fully represented in forensics and the author speculates that CSI and other crime shows have spurred interest. The biographies are punctuated by “Ask and Answer” and quote boxes, QR codes to online information and multimedia resources, career suggestions, links to Primary sources and mini biographies of many other women forensic scientists, historical and current. This is in addition to extensive back material including a timeline, glossary, additional books, websites, and places to visit, a listing of all the URL’s for the QR codes, and index.
Battle To The End
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Kogge, Michael
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 08, 2016
Korf, Clarence
The continuing battle with the evil Empire continues with the Star Wars Rebels. Battle to the End is the first in the series which is based on the animated television series. If you like Star Wars action, fighting and the struggle with overcoming the Empire, this book is fast paced adventure with saving fellow Jedi knights. Kanan is taken from the others when the rebels take over a rebel communication tower to send a message to any rebels in the galaxy. Their efforts to find others in the fight against the Empire and to give hope to all rebel cells. This book has all the elements of a good Star Wars story with storm troopers, droids, rebels, Jedi, lasers, star destroyers, battles and laser duels. This book will appeal to your Star Wars fans.
Poppy Muddlepup's Daring Rescue
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Meadows, Daisy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 08, 2016
Administrator, PSC
Grades 1-3 ages 5-8 Jess and Lily return to Friendship Forest to visit their magical animal friends. When Grizelda the witch puts a spell on puppy Patch that will make him sleep, the girls and puppy Poppy must find the secret ingredients needed to free him from her magic. Their adventure takes them to find a tiny feather the color of sunlit leaves, some jewel water, and an unknown ingredient. Other magical animals help them while Grizelda does her best to stop them. Each ingredient leads them to a new challenge including climbing up Grizelda’s castle. This book will appeal to lovers of the Rainbow Magic Series by the same author with its magic, sparkle and fun. Review by member not by PSC Administrator
One Family
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Shannon, George
Gomez, Blanca
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 09, 2016
Threlkeld, Sarah
What makes a family? Can a family be one person enjoying a book with her cat or a child with two sets of parents or a brother and sister being raised by their grandparents? This sweet picture book illustrates a different type of family on each set of pages, starting with one and ending with ten, while also including objects that often come in sets of that number, like a bunch of five bananas and five cards in a hand. While the message of the book is an important one, the execution falls a tad flat at times and the sparse text feels repetitive. The illustrations will catch young readers' eyes and this could lead to a valuable discussion about family, but there are more interesting titles out there that showcase familial differences.
My Dog Is The Best
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Thompson, Laurie Ann
Schmid, Paul
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 09, 2016
Threlkeld, Sarah
As every dog owner knows, there are active dogs and then there are dogs who prefer to snooze on the couch all day and they look at you with disdain if you dare to mention going for a walk. The dog in this book is definitely the latter. His human, a little boy with an active imagination, believes his companion is strong and brave and smart, though. He concocts all kinds of scenarios in which the dog is actively involved, when in reality he is simply lying there like a lump. After playing a whole heap of games with his dog, the boy is finally tuckered out...at about the time when his dog is ready to play. This is a sweet story with simple text that will appeal to young children, especially those with a dog.
On The Hunt With African Lions
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Pope, Kristen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 09, 2016
Seasholes, Craig L
Author Kristen Pope writes in a narrative style that makes the most of the drama of the daily life of this top predator of the African grasslands. Four chapters quickly cover hunting, daily life, behavior and reproduction and life cycle in this thin, sturdy volume with dramatic close-up photographs of this mighty predator. Glossary, index and selected reference for further reading round out each of the 8 books in the "On the Hunt with Animal Predators" series written for independent readers at F&P level N, ATOS 3.7 the series is easily recommended for engaging style and high-interest topic for "animal study units" common in elementary school.
Poppy Muddlepup's Daring Rescue
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Meadows, Daisy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 09, 2016
Elders, Ann
Jess and Lily return to Friendship Forest to visit their magical animal friends. When Grizelda the witch puts a spell on puppy Patch that will make him sleep, the girls and puppy Poppy must find the secret ingredients needed to free him from her magic. Their adventure takes them to find a tiny feather the color of sunlit leaves, some jewel water, and an unknown ingredient. Other magical animals help them while Grizelda does her best to stop them. Each ingredient leads them to a new challenge including climbing up Grizelda’s castle. This book will appeal to lovers of the Rainbow Magic Series by the same author with its magic, sparkle and fun.
It is who we are! All About Being the Same and Being Different (Let's Talk about You and Me)
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Harris, Robie H.
Westcott, Nadine Bernard
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 10, 2016
Wittmann, Paula
A mixed race family spending the day at an amusement park is the central examples in this straight talking book on similarities and differences in people. In a mix of explanatory text and speech bubble discussions between the older sister and brother of the family differences and similarities in people are discussed. Sexual differences are addressed and then ignored, “people’s bodies are mostly the same – except for the parts that make them a girl or boy, or a man or woman.” Instead the focus is on body shape, skin color, and details like eye shape and color and type of hair. The last few pages address that sometimes people say things that aren’t nice about how others look and how that can hurt feelings- and how being sympathetic to others when that happen can help. Finally, it touches on how people can also have different personalities but it just makes the world a more interesting place. Parents, teachers and caregivers will appreciate matter of fact tone of the text with the children adding their comments. It begs to be shared and discussed with children about an important topic. This is part of the Let’s Talk About You and Me series.
Sam And Jump
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Mann, Jennifer K
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 10, 2016
Threlkeld, Sarah
When I was a little girl I left my beloved Curious George doll on a chair at LAX and when I returned for him he was gone. I was gutted, so I know exactly how Sam, the protagonist of this sweet story, feels when he accidentally leaves his precious stuffed bunny, Jump, at the beach. Sam imagines all kinds of terrible scenarios for Jump and can't wait to return to the beach the next day to search for his best friend. Luckily, Thomas, the little boy he met the day before, took Jump home with him and returns him to Sam safe and sound. This would make a lovely read aloud for younger students, prompting them to make predictions about Jump's whereabouts and sparking discussion about favorite toys.
Pop Star Pirates
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Pearson, Maggie
Chernett, Dan
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 10, 2016
Threlkeld, Sarah
Each paperback title in the Race Further with Reading series contains 5 short chapters, color illustrations on every page, and a list of discussion questions in the back. The stories are intended to be a mix of humor and adventure starring kids who save the day or solve a problem. Unfortunately, the plot lines are not particularly interesting, the narrative feels forced, and the sentences are choppy. There are far more superior titles available to students who are transitioning from picture books to chapter books.
Magic Scooter
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Jarman, Julia
Hearn, Sam
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 10, 2016
Threlkeld, Sarah
Each paperback title in the Race Further with Reading series contains 5 short chapters, color illustrations on every page, and a list of discussion questions in the back. The stories are intended to be a mix of humor and adventure starring kids who save the day or solve a problem. Unfortunately, the plot lines are not particularly interesting, the narrative feels forced, and the sentences are choppy. The one saving grace for this particular book is the inclusion of historical tidbits about ancient Rome. There are far more superior titles available to students who are transitioning from picture books to chapter books.
Pirate Treasure
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Miraucourt, Christophe
Vaufrey, Delphine
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 10, 2016
Threlkeld, Sarah
Each paperback title in the Race Further with Reading series contains 5 short chapters, color illustrations on every page, and a list of discussion questions in the back. The stories are intended to be a mix of humor and adventure starring kids who save the day or solve a problem. Unfortunately, the plot lines are not particularly interesting, the narrative feels forced, and the sentences are choppy. There are far more superior titles available to students who are transitioning from picture books to chapter books.
Pirate's Daughter
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Miraucourt, Christophe
Vaufrey, Delphine
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 10, 2016
Threlkeld, Sarah
Each paperback title in the Race Further with Reading series contains 5 short chapters, color illustrations on every page, and a list of discussion questions in the back. The stories are intended to be a mix of humor and adventure starring kids who save the day or solve a problem. Unfortunately, the plot lines are not particularly interesting, the narrative feels forced, and the sentences are choppy. There are far more superior titles available to students who are transitioning from picture books to chapter books.
Egyptian Cat Mystery
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Dolan, Penny
Elkerton, Andy
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 10, 2016
Threlkeld, Sarah
Each paperback title in the Race Further with Reading series contains 5 short chapters, color illustrations on every page, and a list of discussion questions in the back. The stories are intended to be a mix of humor and adventure starring kids who save the day or solve a problem. Unfortunately, the plot lines are not particularly interesting, the narrative feels forced, and the sentences are choppy. this title was particularly difficult to get through. There are far more superior titles available to students who are transitioning from picture books to chapter books.
Apple Tart Of Hope
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Fitzgerald, Sarah Moore
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 11, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Friendship is not always easy, especially long-distance. Meg and Oscar have been friends for what seems like forever. When Meg's parents move the family to New Zealand for a temporary job assignment, thing start to fall apart. First published in Great Britain, this is a middle school book about friendship, bullying, and hope. Oscar has always been a popular and kind boy, with a rare ability to make an apple tart that almost magically provides hope and joy to those who get the chance to consume it. It is more of a gift than a talent. The new girl in school, however, sets out to destroy his life and does a terrific job of manipulating everyone around her so she ends up looking like the injured party, while he increasingly finds himself in a life that is no longer worth living. Now Oscar's bike and shoes have been found floating. Did he ride his bike off the pier in despair? Meg returns to a memorial service and talk of a boy she hardly recognizes. What happened while she was gone? Can it be put right again? Is he really dead? This is a thoughtful, poignant novel that leaves readers to ponder the role of friendship, and the damage that can be all too easily done by a selfish person with an agenda..
Stink And The Attack Of The Slime Mold
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Mcdonald, Megan
Reynolds, Peter H.
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 11, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Science is cool. that much is clear. Stink is convinced of it, especially when he starts growing slime mold as part of science class. When his imagination kicks in regarding horror movies (think Bill Cosby's "Chicken Heart"), Stink becomes concerned that his science experiment will take over his room and, perhaps, the world! His big sister, Judy Moody, must put up with his silliness. This is another fun and enthusiastic romp from Megan McDonald. It is filled with hyperbole and kid humor. This is sure to please fans of the series.
Evertree
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Lu, Marie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 11, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Most of the talismans, so hard-won, are stolen. Is all lost? Conor, Abeke, Meilin, and Rollan (as well as their spirit animals) are undeterred. They know where the talismans are being taken, and where the final battle will occur. Now they must get there, and the enemy before the world is irreparably damaged. What was Shane's plan? Why is he doing this? The final battle will take place at the Evertree, and sacrifices must be made--painful sacrifices. Even that may not be enough. Yet, if Kovo is released from captivity all is lost. This is book #7 in the "Spirit Animals" series. Each book in the series is written by a different author, and includes computer links to a connected game. Mari Lu writes a powerful end to a popular series. (Yes, of course another "Spirit Animal" series is right on its heels.)
Rise And Fall
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Schrefer, Eliot
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 11, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Conor, Abeke, Rollan, and traitor Meilin, as well as their spirit animals, are no longer a cohesive unit, but the quest for the magical talismans goes on. These must be kept out of enemy hands or the result would be devastation. Leaving the ocean behind this quest takes place in the desert as some of the team seeks the Great Lion Cabaro, and his talisman. The enemy is hot on their heels, and battle seems inevitable. The cost of this mission may be particularly hard, but can it be successfully completed? They have new allies, but an old enemy knows the quest is coming to an end and is pulling out all the stops to keep them from their goal. This is Book #6 in a multi-format series where each book is written by a different author. The series features high action, magic, suspense, and good character development. Fans won't be disappointed with this entry in the series.
Against The Tide
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Sutherland, Tui T
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 11, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
In this, book #5 in the "Spirit Animals" series, our heroes Conor, Abeke, Meilin, Rollan, and (of course) their spirit animals, are still on their quest to gather the talismans that they need to save the world. Of course they are competing against an enemy who also wants the talismans, but for a much darker purpose. To achieve their goal they need to meet some of the mythical great beasts and in this book they go beneath the ocean to see if they can persuade Mulop, an overgrown and irritable octopus, to give them what they need. This will not be without cost, however, and not just fort them. Those who aid them also are punished. Worse, the enemy knows everything they are doing because one of their party is a traitor. Is all lost? Much is left hanging and readers will leap to the 6th book to find more answers. This is one of those series where each book is written by a different author. the writing here is compelling and interesting, and will not disappoint fans of the series.
Odd Socks
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Robinson, Michelle
Ashdown, Rebecca
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 11, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
In this very British book young readers get acquainted with Suki and Sosh--a happily married pair of socks. When Suki gets a hole Sosh is horrified. What's going to happen to her? Then Suki disappears. Is Sosh destined to be an odd sock, spending the rest of his sock life unmated? The horror! He searches for his love everywhere, including the dust bin. When he is damaged by the family dog he is sure Suki's fate will soon be his own, which is true but it's not what you expect. A delightful solution awaits that will keep Suki and Sosh together for many years to come. This is a rhyming story with bright illustrations, sure to tickle young readers. There's also a lovely reduce, reuse, and recycle message.
Nate Likes To Skate
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Degen, Bruce
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 11, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Kate and Nate are good friends, but they are not at all alike. Nate likes to skate. Kate likes hats. Sometimes this can create conflict. When Nate skateboards into a grate and falls, they both decide to widen their horizons and Kate tries skateboarding while Nate tries hats. This "I Like to Read" easy reader contains very simple text with a strong emphasis on the short and long sounds for the letter "a". Soft colored pencil illustrations go with a tale that is clearly designed for those just learning to read.
Drew The Screw
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Cerato, Mattia
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 11, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Every tool on the bench has a use--a purpose. The pencil draws lines. The tape measure measures. The clamp holds things firmly together. But Drew the Screw...what is he good for? Bright digital illustrations show a boy working on a project, step-by-step, drawing readers along as they try to figure out what he's making. Where is Drew's place in this project? He is essential in the finishing touch on the birdhouse. This is a great book for kids who love tools. Teachers could use it for prediction, and sequencing. Then there's the nice message that everyone is important and has a special role to play. The brief text makes this a good choice for beginning readers.
Up
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Cepeda, Joe
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 11, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
On a fine, fresh, overly-windy day a young boy takes a pinwheel and soon is flying over homes and fields, accompanied by a variety of wind-blown farm animals. When all return home the boy's brother eagerly awaits his chance with the pinwheel. Illustrations sweep across double-page spreads, filled with motion and fun details. This is an imaginative flight of fancy with a very limited and repetitive text--perfect for beginning readers.
Cat On The Bus
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Kim, Aram
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 11, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Pastel and watercolor illustrations on the brown and yellow end of the palette fill the pages and tell the story in this practically wordless picture book. A lonely cat with distinctive markings is having a hard time finding a place it can call its own. A bus ride opens the door to a new life for the cat, and a home and family of its own. The illustrations show a smug, street-smart cat whose longings are eventually satisfied. Careful observers will see hints of Christmas in the pictures, adding another layer to the story. Pre-readers will love this book as they can use their own words to tell the story. Teachers will also find it useful when doing units on onomatopoeia.
Little Brother Pumpkin Head
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Panzieri, Lucia
Enria, Samantha
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 11, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
A new baby is coming--a little brother for a young boy. However, the mother's craving to eat pumpkin-based foods during her pregnancy has the boy worried. Will all that pumpkin show up in his new sibling? What if the baby is born with a pumpkin head? He develops a plan to widen his yet-to-be-born brother's horizons. Samantha Enria's curvy bright illustrations accompany the first person text as readers see the months go by until the new baby arrives. This is an Italian import, which may explain why the text is so wordy and carries an adult voice instead of that of a young boy. In that way the writing is rather off-putting, but the illustrations save the day.
May I Please Have A Cookie?
CARTWHEEL BOOKS (SCHOLASTIC) [CARTWHEEL BOOKS (SCHOLASTIC)]
Morris, Jennifer E
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 12, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
OK. Yes, this is basically the Scholastic reader book we all know and love, now issued in a board book format. Alfie the alligator loves cookies. Mom is baking cookies. Alfie wants cookies. He tries various creative ways of getting them, but his mother gently thwarts him and says he should think of a better way. With some coaxing he finally asks politely, and is delighted with the results. Bright rounded illustrations, along with a gentle lesson on manners and a lot of humor, make this a winner for the preschool crowd. They will definitely sympathize with Alfie, and most should be able to come up with the best solution on their own...or, like Alfie, with a little parental prompting.
Ten Hungry Pigs : An Epic Lunch Adventure
Orchard Books (Scholastic) [Orchard Books (Scholastic)]
Anderson, Derek
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 12, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Great silliness abounds as one pig just wants a nice peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He and his duck friend are perfectly fine until, one by one, nine other pigs show up. Each has something to add to the sandwich--something ridiculous. Pickles, peas, fruit, mac and cheese, pancakes, a truck full of gravy... This is going to far! Pig Eleven seems to find the whole thing rather tasty. Wait--Pig Number Eleven? There are only ten pigs! Hey, it's a wolf! A bit of cleverness allows the first pig a little peace. A bouncy rhyming text combine with hilarious bright illustrations, bursting at the seams, to create a funny cumulative tale that would be a terrific addition to preschool story times.
Mystery Of The Haunted Farm
Nosy Crow [NOSY CROW]
Dolan, Elys
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 12, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Oh no! Something strange is going on at the farm and the Three Pigs Ghost-Hunters are on the job. They've been called in by the farmer who's had bouts of missed time, and sleepwalking. Now his farm appears to be filled with ghosts and vampires and other dangerous critters of the night. But are they real? Something certainly is up at the farm. This is a highly amusing book with complex and detailed illustrations showing the careful machinations behind the animals' theatrics. The reason for their histrionics, however, will surprise readers even more. Parents will giggle as they note references to classic horror movies, sometimes altered for the farm. (I ain't afraid of no goats!) There's kid humor aplenty here as well. This is a mishmash of the not-so-supernatural...except for one notable exception. It would be a lousy read-aloud, but a lot of fun for family sharing, or individual reading.
Green Foods
Little Pebble/capstone Press [Little Pebble/capstone Press]
Rustad, Martha E H
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 12, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Colorful Foods" series--with one book each focusing on red, orange, yellow and, in this case, green foods--this sturdy 24 page F&P Level G nonfiction book does just what it says. Crisp photographs cross over the gutter and face a few simple sentences of text as three green fruits and five green vegetables are very briefly highlighted. Children from many ethnic backgrounds are shown joyfully enjoying nature's bounty. The book includes all standard text features. it's beautifully put together, but ultimately rather slight.
Pirate Jamboree
Orchard Books (Scholastic) [Orchard Books (Scholastic)]
Teague, Mark
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 12, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Ah, those long days of summer when you can let your imagination sail away with you! In this case the neighborhood children are off on a voyage to a pirate jamboree. Each has a role to play as they buckle their swashes, and poke their peg legs into every chance for nautical adventure. This has a rollicking rhyming text and Teague's wonderful bright rich illustrations. As a merry jaunt into imaginative play this is a treasure.
Fuchsia Fierce
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Jones, Christianne
Canby, Kelly
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 12, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Fuchia Fierce feels misnamed. She is quiet and timid and shy. She doesn't like to try new things. Sent to Camp Confidence she finds any number of excuses to avoid new experiences. Still, she eventually notices that she's running out of excuses, and everyone else seems to be having a lot of fun. it takes time, but she begins trying new things. Sometimes she's successful, sometimes not. She doesn't always feel confident now, but she knows she can be brave. This is a message that a certain type of young child needs to hear. Yes, it's basic bibliotherapy. Nevertheless, Fuchsia is a fun character and very likeable. Kelly Canby's illustrations are filled with patterns and have a limited color palette leaning heavily on...you got it...shades of fuchsia. The bright pink cover with the defiant girl radiating confidence is sure to attract young readers.
Bedtime For Batman
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Beavers, Ethen
Beavers, Ethen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 13, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
A young boy with Batman pajamas gets ready for bed, as the Caped Crusader gets ready for a night of crime-fighting. Two pictures per page show the two preparing for their great adventures--bedtime and conquering evil. This is a fun compare and contrast idea, with bright digital illustrations with a large format graphic novel feel. Superhero fans, especially boys, will find it delightful.
Velocidad Sin Vuelo : Avestruz
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
Calhoun, Kelly
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 13, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Adivina" series this well-bound simple 24-page book is the Spanish-language version of "Fast and Flightless." On each page readers are show a part of the animal, and given a little information about that part. At the end, after eight clues (both visual and textual) readers can guess the animal and see if they're right. In this case the animal is an ostrich. Five additional ostrich facts, as well as a small glossary and index, are included. Kindergarten teachers might use this for prediction. It's beautifully formatted but, once you've seen it, the mystery is gone.
I Love You, Too!
CARTWHEEL BOOKS (SCHOLASTIC) [CARTWHEEL BOOKS (SCHOLASTIC)]
Bunting, Eve
Sweet, Melissa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 13, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Originally published in 2004 as a picture book, this sweet offering by Eve Bunting is now back in a board book format. Young animals bring gifts to their mothers that they are sure their mothers will love. The mothers do love the gifts, but also remind the little ones that they are loved as well. The gentle text includes occasional rhymes, and the soft pastel illustrations are like a warm hug. This is a lovely lap book for sharing.
Earthworms
Little Pebble/capstone Press [Little Pebble/capstone Press]
Amstutz, Lisa J
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 13, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Little Pebble" series, this well-bound 24-page book shows you what easy nonfiction should be like. The book contains solid content, written in clear and interesting text over wonderful close-up photographs that perfectly complement the information. Every page provides interesting facts and great visual appeal. You'll also find all your basic text features here. this is perfect for first-grade report-writing, and the website link will allow children to seek further information. Can the rest of the "Little Critters" series be as good? I hope so!
Backhoes
Little Pebble/capstone Press [Little Pebble/capstone Press]
Clay, Kathryn
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 13, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
This sturdy 24-page "Little Pebble" book is part of the "Construction Vehicles at Work" series. It's a small format book with an F&P level of G and contains solid information about backhoes. Crisp labeled pictures and clear text examine the different features of backhoes, and the jobs they do. The book includes a weblink as well as a glossary, bibliography, and index. This is solid easy nonfiction for the early reader set.
Show Me Happy
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Allen, Kathryn Madeline
Futran, Eric
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
September 13, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Crisp, beautiful photographs, showing children from a variety of ethnicities, are the highlight of this simple board book. Each page contains a "show me" sentence--show me happy, show me helping, show me up, show me down, etc. The simple text is accompanied by an adorable photograph. As educators we are supposed to ask the students "what does that look like?" This book is a good beginning for the very young.
Lion Inside
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Bright, Rachel
Field, Jim
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 13, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
A little mouse lives on the savannah He is small, quiet, meek, and often ignored. Nearby lives a fierce lion. Everyone pays attention to the lion. is it because of his impressive roar? The mouse begins to believe that if only he could roar like the lion his whole life would change. So the meek little creatures does a very brave thing. He literally beards the lion in his den. Much to his astonishment, the little mouse proves to be the lion's biggest fear. They become friends. The story is light and rhyming with wonderful word choices that are evocative and sensory. There's some real creative language at use here, as well. Then there are the illustrations--oh my! There are the colors of the African savannah here, and the textures in the lion's mane are absolutely delightful. This would be a fun book to add to any preschool or kindergarten story time about being yourself, and about friendship.
Super Bugs
Orchard Books (Scholastic) [Orchard Books (Scholastic)]
Meadows, Michelle
Mayer, Bill
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 13, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
If your insect town's in danger, and you need a helping hand, then the super bugs will be there--they're a mighty, super band. Is a bug in need of rescue? Is there danger lurking near? Then the super bugs will be there--all the other bugs will cheer. There is rhyming, repetition, illustrations that are fun. (Read the note upon the verso. It'll tell you how they're done.) Short and speedy, full of action, with a visual appeal. This would be good for a story time about bugs, fake and real.
How To Dress A Dragon
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Godin, Thelma Lynne
Barclay, Eric
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 13, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Dressing a dragon can be difficult. First you have to catch him, then you must deal with tickly bellies and toes and the selection of the correct pair of underwear. (Dragons love underwear in a variety of patterns but froggy superhero ones obviously win out.) Dragons loath shirts, but love capes, and have other likes and dislikes that make clothing them a challenge. Now he's dressed and he's ready to play, but what costume will that entail? This is a delightfully fun book with bright colorful illustration. It is sure to draw in readers with its cover picture of a dragon facing a boy holding a giant pair of polka-dot BVDs. Great silliness abounds, which is why children will enjoy the book.
Secret Agent Man Goes Shopping For Shoes
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Wynne-Jones, Tim
Won, Brian
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 13, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Secret Agent Man (S.A.M.) leads a life filled with intrigue and mystery. Today his mission, should he decide to accept it, is to go shoe-shopping with his mother, K. Does that shoe salesman look shifty? Which shoes will be best? He and his mother both pick the same shoes. Those shoes come in handy later for a rescue mission. Wait, did S.A.M. manage to tie his own shoelaces? WOW! This is a humorous, imaginative story of a boy and his mother doing ordinary things with an imaginative subtext. The digital illustrations contain sharp lines and go from regular views to a more superhero style when the boy is deep into his secret agent role. This is a fun book that will appeal to kids who like to make life more interesting than it sometimes is. The subtheme of tying your shoelaces is not very important, but may appeal to parents teaching this skill to their children.
Valientes Plumiferos : Aguila
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
Calhoun, Kelly
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 13, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Adivina" series this well-bound simple 24-page book is the Spanish-language version of "Feathered and Fierce." On each page readers are show a part of the animal, and given a little information about that part. At the end, after eight clues (both visual and textual) readers can guess the animal and see if they're right. In this case the animal is a bald eagle. Five additional bald eagle facts, as well as a small glossary and index, are included. Kindergarten teachers might use this for prediction. It's beautifully formatted but, once you've seen it, the mystery is gone. Still, it would be useful for helping young children learn to draw conclusions from evidence.
Superheroes Don't Eat Veggie Burgers
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Kelley, Gretchen
White, Lee
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 13, 2016
Dame, Anne
Everyone knows middle school can be tough, so Charlie Burger devises a plan to deal with it: be as invisible as possible. However, some bullies make this impossible plus the fact that his dad runs a well-known veggie burger restaurant and take-out business. (Burger's burgers, anyone?) Charlie's science teacher gives everyone a journal and when Charlie starts writing in it, seems thing to happen in conjunction with what he writes. This is a debut novel. I picked it up because I thought it would be funny. I did not find it funny. I think younger readers (4th-6th grade) will enjoy it, but it is too young for the middle school students that I work with.
Kiss Means I Love You
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Allen, Kathryn Madeline
Futran, Eric
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
September 14, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
In this lovely circular board book we start with "A kiss means I love you." We move on to what a wave, a smile, a tug, a laugh, and more mean. In the end we return to the kiss before bedtime. Warm color photographs show children, and the occasional parent, of many ethnicities illustrating the simple sentence of text. This would be a fun lap book to prompt both movement and response.
This Is The House That Monsters Built
CARTWHEEL BOOKS (SCHOLASTIC) [CARTWHEEL BOOKS (SCHOLASTIC)]
Metzger, Steve
Lee, Jared
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 14, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
In this Halloween book with illustrations by Jared Lee (known for his Black Lagoon art) we have a cumulative tale. This is the spooky house that monsters built. This is the mummy who raised the wall, this is the spider who started to crawl that shocked the mummy who raised the wall. Pretty soon you have a werewolf, a skeleton, Frankenstein, black cats, and more. Then trick-or-treaters come to the door and trip the verse that goes through all the not-so-scary creatures. This is a fun addition to the Halloween shelf.
Goats
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Berendes, Mary
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 14, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "In the Barnyard" series, this nicely-put-together nonfiction book features short paragraphs of clear factual text facing crisp color photographs. Readers learn about some basics about goats--appearance, diet, life cycle, and how various goat products are used. There's a glossary, bibliography, web link, and index. This is solid easy nonfiction that is visually appealing and informative. If you're looking for farm animal books this series might be a good choice.
Little Red And The Very Hungry Lion
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Smith, Alex T
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 14, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Set in Africa, this is a bouncy, vibrant new version of "Little Red Hood." This Little Red is off to bring Aunt Rosie some spot medicine. She skips past the crocodiles, giraffes, monkeys, and other critters then takes a rest in the shade of a tree. That's where she encounteres the Very Hungry Lion (who has a rather Cat In The Hattish look.) The naughty lion forms a clever plan to sneak into Aunt Rosie's house, dress up as the woman, eat Little Red, and then have the aunt for dessert. Little Red, however, is nobody's fool and she immediately sees what is going on. Before he can do anything, the lion is subject to an extreme make-over of hair, teeth, and outfit. Scolded by his potential victim he mends his ways and finds there are other things he can eat. The writing is crisp, jaunty, and giggle-worthy. It fits perfectly with the delightfully flambouyant illustrations. This is a winner, and will undoubtedly be up for awards.
Do Not Bring Your Dragon To The Library
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Elkerton, Andy
Elkerton, Andy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 14, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
A love of books calls us to library doors. And storytime thrills can attract even more. Still, even though it might seem rude, you will find that it's better if you leave your dragons behind. Sure, they would adore every volume and shelf, as much as you probably love them yourself. Still, dragons ignite more than imagination, and their presence just might cause a great conflagration. They might knock things over, or cause other trouble. Their antics might leave things in sort of a rubble. You don't have to bring them. C'mon, use your head. You bring the books home to your dragons, instead. Bright, colorful pictures are really a treat. Verse sometimes staggers and loses its beat. Still, this is a cute book to add to your shelf. (If you have any questions, then read it yourself!)
Who Broke The Teapot?
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Slavin, Bill
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 14, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
There is a mystery afoot. Mom's favorite teapot lies shattered on the floor. Who is responsible? Everyone in the family has an alibi. Baby was in the high chair. Brother was stuck on the ceiling fan. Dad was reading the paper in his underwear. Even Sister and the pets have a good excuse. So....who broke the teapot? Step back a bit and take a look BEFORE the teapot broke. A chain of events is shown and the culprit is, surprisingly, revealed. Bouncy humorous rhyming text in fun and colorful fonts jigs across the pages as wonderful acrylic illustrations on gessoed board (which provides a real tactile feel) show clearly just exactly what happened. The book is a visual treat, and the last picture is sweet. This might be a fun book for cause and effect.
Giant Pandas
SCHOLASTIC NONFICTION [SCHOLASTIC NONFICTION]
Anderson, Annmarie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 15, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
In this paperback Level 2 Scholastic Reader young readers are introduced to giant pandas. In 32 pages they learn a little about anatomy, diet, life cycle, habitat, and behavior. This is all done with crisp informative text, large and small pictures, along with comparisons, a map, the occasional fact box, and plenty of kid-friendly formatting. There's a glossary and index as well. This is a quick introduction to a popular mammal. I just wish that, after mentioning panda-cams, it included a link to one. (Of course I understand why they didn't--things go out of date quickly. Still...)
Lionheart
David Fickling Books [David Fickling Books]
Collingridge, Richard
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 15, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
How do you deal with fear? A young boy fears bedtime monsters and flees in his lion pajamas with his stuffed lion. He feels he's being chased and runs out of the city into the forest and, finally, into a magical jungle. He keeps running until he meets Lionheart--a huge noble lion. Together they face his fears and conquer them. This is a piece of bibliotherapy designed to sooth a fearful child. The illustrations are gorgeous and lush, filling the pages of this large format picture book. The cover is a kid magnet. This will fulfill a need.
I Want To Be A Brachiosaurus
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Troupe, Thomas Kingsley
Tejido, Jomike
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 15, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Brock is shorter than the other kids on the playground. He can't reach the monkey bars. Wouldn't it be great if he were a brachiosaurus? Then he'd be ENORMOUS! His imagination takes him back to the late Jurassic period as the dinosaur he dreams of. Readers learn a about the brachiosaurus as Brock explores the possibilities of his new existence. When the bell rings he's back to himself, but he's feeling much larger. Pencil illustrations, colored digitally, fill the pages. The book includes a glossary, bibliography, and index and is part of a series. It walks that narrow line between fiction and nonfiction, making it difficult to shelf. Nevertheless it will be popular with dinosaur fans.
Hey, That's My Monster!
FLASHLIGHT PRESS [FLASHLIGHT PRESS]
Noll, Amanda
Mcwilliam, Howard
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 15, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Delightful pencil and digital illustrations are the highlight of this sequel to "I Need My Monster." Sure, now Ethan has his own monster under the bed, but his sister is in dire need of the same. She's always out of bed and bopping around the house when she should be asleep. A monster under her bed would take care of that. However, though many candidates apply she is frightened by none of them. Is Ethan going to lose his own monster to his sister's needs? Wait, his monster has a kid sister, too. Maybe things are going to work out after all. There's a feel of "Monsters, Inc." here, so this is a tad derivative. Nevertheless the story is fun and the vivid three-dimensional illustrations are truly amazing. This will not be a shelf-sitter.
Snakes
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Arnold, Tedd
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 15, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Fly Guy and Buzz are off to the snake house at the zoo to learn more about these fascinating reptiles. This is a quick introduction to a big topic, providing no more than an overview. The parts with Buzz and Fly Guy are illustrated, but the majority of the book is packed with photographs and facts. Young readers learn a little about reptiles in general and snakes in specific including snake physiology, anatomy, varying habitats, senses, diet, life cycle, and behaviors. Many different types of snakes are briefly mentioned. This is not an in-depth study, but would provide young snake enthusiasts with plenty of fascinating facts to share with their friends.
Life On Mars
SCHOLASTIC NONFICTION [SCHOLASTIC NONFICTION]
Carson, Mary Kay
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 15, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Is, or was, there life on Mars? That's a question that's puzzled mankind for centuries. In this Level 2 Reader from Scholastic young readers get a quick and interesting look at the red planet. It is compared to earth, and then examined more closely. Movies about invading Martians are mentioned and the various spacecraft we've sent to, and around, Mars are introduced, and their missions briefly explained. It's all quite fascinating, really, and presented in a kid-friendly format with plenty of photographs, fact boxes, new word introductions, and traditional text features such as glossary and index. This is an attractive introduction to an interesting topic.
Whale Vs. Giant Squid
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Pallotta, Jerry
Bolster, Rob
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 16, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
What would happen if a sperm whale battled a giant squid? That's the question in this entry in the "Who Would Win?" series. In 32 pages readers learn some solid facts about sperm whales and whales (and mammals) in general, and giant squids and mollusks in general. Teeth, eyes, speed...they're all briefly presented, usually on facing pages. Then the battle is joined. Who will swim away? This is a popular and fun series that contains good information and draws the students in with its "combat" format. These books are not shelf-sitters.
Hundred Hours Of Night
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS]
Woltz, Anna
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 18, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
15-year-old Emilia is running. She's running from an impossible situation caused by her father's stupidity that has made her native Amsterdam unlivable for her. She's running from Internet threats and school gossip and a self-absorbed mother. More than that, she's running TO someplace--New York. She found a place she could rent online, got a flight using her father's credit card, and has all her ducks in a row...or so she thinks. It turns out the place she was renting was a scam, her OCD fear of bacteria is hampering her ability to cope, and New York is about to be hit by Hurricane Sandy. Taken in by a brother and sister whose mother is out of town, and offering shelter to the model-handsome guy across the street who has a seriously injured hand, Emelia has to deal with her own situation, and theirs. It's amazing what inner resources you discover when the lights go out. There is a true sense of reality in this book that echoes many of the writer's own experiences, including being in New York during and after Sandy. The writing is compelling and the characters are well-rounded and fascinating. However, the fairly frequent use of the "f" word make this a better choice for high school readers.
Whistle-Blowers : Exposing Crime And Corruption
TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS [TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS]
Doeden, Matt
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
September 18, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
What is a whistle-blower, and why does someone choose to expose corruption, even at personal risk? Explaining that is the intent behind this well-written, nicely organized, and interesting nonfiction book. Matt Doeden carefully examines some of the more notorious whistle-blower cases. Deep Throat, Jeffrrey Wigand and Big Tobacco, Kathryn Bolkovac and her work exposing UN Peacekeeper involvement with human trafficking, Eric Snowden and more are examined with enough background to provide reader with a foundation for close examination of their actions. Are they heroes or traitors? Honest, or law-breakers? What laws support them, and what can result from exposing corruption? This is quite fascinating and would be a useful resource for report-writing and classroom discussion. There is an editing error on page 12--it should be "poring", not "pouring." Nevertheless this is a thoughtful and insightful book that examines and important issue.
Lost Expedition
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
Krpata, Mitch
Merritt, Kory
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 18, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
In this, book #2 of the Poptropica series, our three erstwhile adventurers--Oliver, Mya, and Jorge--have escaped Vikings and still have hopes of finding their way home. If only that magical map wasn't so obstinate! It doesn't help that they've being chased by a villain and a group of tattooed people who appear to wish them ill. Encountering Amazons, polar bears, and a ship trapped in ice are all part of their package of disasters. Each character is unique and a lot of fun. This is a graphic novel series with wonderful, crisp artwork and a fun, compelling plotline. Both elements make this a kid-pleaser.
Beauty Queen
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Mlynowski, Sarah
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 18, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
In this 7th entry in the "Whatever After" series Abby and Jonah are sucked into the tale of "Beauty and the Beast." Naturally they manage to mess up the story. Part of the problem arises from Jonah's loss of memory in the previous book. The other is from Abby's all-fired determination to get this story right. This, in spite of the fact that neither Beauty nor the Beast really have anything in common. Abby's matchmaking may break a curse, but is it worth it? it doesn't help that it brings out a magical trickster who complicates everything. Fans of the series will be pleased.
Brilliant Bats
SCHOLASTIC NONFICTION [SCHOLASTIC NONFICTION]
Brown, Laaren
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 18, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
This 32 page paperback Level 2 reader is part of the "Icky Sticky Readers" series. That means it comes complete with 50 stickers designed to be placed in strategic locations throughout the book. This, naturally, precludes the book from library usage. Other than that, this is a quick general overview of bats. Young readers learn a little about the wide range of bats in the world, about their anatomy, behavior, and diets. Echolocation is described. Bracken Cave receives particular emphasis. There's also information about a bat's life cycle. Fact boxes and color photographs abound. the book also includes a glossary and index. This would be a fun at-home book for children who want to learn a little about these night-flyers.
Feathered
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Kerbel, Deborah
Howells, Tania
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 19, 2016
Korf, Clarence
Finch believes the scar on her neck was where a feather was plucked when she was young. She dreams one day her all her feathers will grow so she can escape her lonely life. Finch's father dies of cancer, her mother is so depressed she disconnects from everyone including her family and who was her best friend has abandoned her. Life is more miserable because her older brother's friend is bullying her and she is getting a teacher for sixth grade who has not been nice to her. The only light of hope are the new neighbors with a girl who is her age. Unfortunately for Finch, her neighbors want to lead a quiet and private life and do not allow the girl to interact with her. When at school, Finch just wants to disappear and writes those words on the wall of a bathroom stall. When someone responds, an adventure of new relationships begins and helping Finch discover her wings. The book covers many topics which can spur classroom discussions as a read aloud or small group reading groups. The topics include parental loss, depression, bullying, puberty, cross cultural friendship and international child abduction.
Tyrannosaurus Rex And Its Relatives : The Need-To-Know Facts
A+ Books/capstone Press [A+ Books/capstone Press]
Peterson, Megan Cooley
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
September 19, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
This larger-format 32-page book features big, realistic illustration and solid fact lists about dinosaurs related to T-Rex. (Well, as solid as you can get when the science changes almost daily.) 13 dinosaurs are highlighted, each given a two-page spread. Each page features the name of the dinosaur, a pronunciation guide, the name's meaning, the time period in which the dinosaur lived, information about length and weight as well as diet, and some facts about physical features. A map shows where this dinosaur lived. A few fact boxes provide further information. The digital illustrations are very realistic and emphasize avian features like feathers. There's a glossary, index, bibliography, and website link. This contains snippets of information, only, but is sure to be a hit with dinosaur fans.
Aardvarks After Dark
Enslow Publishing [Enslow Publishing]
Niver, Heather Moore
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 19, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Animals of the Night" series, this interesting 32-page book gives young readers a solid overview of aardvarks. There is information here about anatomy, life cycle, behavior, diet, and habitat. "Fun fact" boxes add additional snippets of information. Clear photographs accompany white text on a dark background, sending readers figuratively into the night. The book includes a safety page, website list, bibliography, and index. This is a solid book that would be a nice fit for the animal shelves of your library.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles : New Animated Adventures : 4
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Burnham, Erik
Brizuela, Dario
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 19, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Hey, I'm not afraid to say it--I enjoy the TMNTs. I like the repartee, the silly action, and the ridiculous juxtaposition of a leader who exemplifies peace and meditation while training hot-headed and impulsive teens in turtle shells to fight, fight, fight. In this entry in the graphic novel series our boys are concerned to notice ninjas in the neighborhood. Worse, they've poisoned Raph and now are setting an ambush around the cure. Can our heroes survive? Well, of course, but there will be a lot of butt-kicking involved. These books fly off my library shelves.
Bull Sharks After Dark
Enslow Publishing [Enslow Publishing]
Niver, Heather Moore
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 19, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Animals of the Night" series, this well-bound 32-page book focuses on bull sharks. Readers learn about the bull shark's anatomy, behavior, habitat, diet, and life cycle. Interesting facts are presented in fact boxes. Their ability to survive in both fresh and saltwater is examined. The book includes a page on staying safe around sharks as well as a bibliography and index. One concern--on the page of safety tips it says: "Bull sharks are nocturnal. They don't swim at night or early in the morning." Huh? I think someone dropped the editing ball there. I always understood sharks had to keep swimming to survive, and doesn't nocturnal mean they ARE active at night? Just sayin'...
Ruby Lee & Me
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Hitchcock, Shannon
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 20, 2016
Korf, Clarence
Sarah Beth's sister is hit by a car and she believes it is all her fault. Her parents need to be at the hospital and she is sent to her grandparents in the country. Her grandmother tries to keep her mind off of her sister by teaching her how to cook, helping around the house and spending time with their neighbors. There neighbors are black and Sarah has always enjoyed spending time with Ruby Lee who is the same age but she senses the racial tension between the families even though they are friends. In 1969, racial integration is happening in North Carolina and Ruby Lee and Sarah are finding out that being friends is easy out in the country but can be challenging when they need to go to school. The girls struggle with their friendship as well as how to be instruments of change in their community. Even through all of personal and community challenges, there is a need for courage and strength to make this a great read to help with understanding interracial tension and the need for forgiveness.
Digby O'day Up, Up, And Away
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Hughes, Shirley
Vulliamy, Clara
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 20, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Digby and Percy are dogs-about-town who share simple and amusing adventures. In this, the third book in the series, their neighbor is a problem. She's self-absorbed and goes through pets like most people go through boxes of Kleenex, losing interest quickly. Her latest acquisition, Ariel, is a parrot. Digby, Percy, and Ariel escape the neighbor and wind up in a hot air balloon. It is though this experience that Ariel finds a new home away from her former owner. This is a silly, fast-paced, highly illustrated chapter book that will tickle the transitional reader set.
Meet The Bobs And Tweets
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Springfield, Pepper
Caldwell, Kristy
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 20, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
In this painfully rhyming story the author, with obvious Seussian leanings, tells the lengthy story of the Bobs who are very messy and spontaneous, and the Tweets who are neat and tidy and organized. A change of address for each family puts them side by side and causes friction. There are 7 Bobs and 7 Tweets. The youngest in each family breaks the mold--a Bob who is organized, and a Tweet who is spontaneous. They become friends. What fun! Bright cartoonish illustrations splash across pages of this chapter book. Sigh. And it is the first book in a series! Don't waste your money.
If : A Mind-Bending New Way Of Looking At Big Ideas And Numb
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Smith, David J
Adams, Steve
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
All ages
September 20, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
How do you explain big things in ways that people can understand? One way to use scale. Break it down into something people can relate to.in their own lives. This fascinating 40 page picture book introduces the concept of scale and shows it in use in a wide array of examples. What if the solar system were a dinner plate? How big would the planets and sun be? What if the Earth were the size of a baseball? If the 4.5 billion year history of Earth were compressed into a single year where would humans be? (Near the last day of December.) How about inventions? Potable water? Populations? Energy? What if your life was a jumbo pizza divided into 4 slices. (4 of them would be spent sleeping.) This is all terrifically interesting and the author's note at the end provides additional ideas for explaining scale. A teacher using this book would want to apply its principles and have students do the math to create their own scale models. Amazing. I have never seen a book that dealt with the topic so well (although "How Big Is It" does a nice job visually.) This merits a place in your library, but will require some selling to get people to realize how cool it is.
Sit, Stay, Love
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Howard, J J
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 20, 2016
Gustafson, Chris
Girls all the way through middle school will enjoy spending time with Cecelia, a shy girl who loves to help at a small local animal shelter although her family situation prevents her from having her heart's desire, a dog. Cecelia takes special care of Potato, a pug that ends up in the shelter, and she thinks her mom might come around and let her bring Potato home, but Eric, a classmate whose family shows dogs is interested in adopting Potato. Cecelia is sure this would be a terrible future for the dog she loves, but when Eric offers to let Cecelia help him train Potato, maybe she can overcome her presuppositions about the world of show dogs. Pink cover, cute dog, straightforward narrative style.
Memoirs Of A Sidekick
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Skuy, David
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 20, 2016
Gustafson, Chris
Narrator Adrian is the sidekick to classmate Boris Snodbuckle; they are the stereotypical school nerds coping with a set of stereotypical school bullies in a school managed by stereo-typically mean and clueless adults. They firmly subscribe to the "code" and refuse to tell any adults about the bullying, and the adults are unrealistically thoughtless and unobservant. The plot revolves around school elections and has very little that is new or fresh to offer. Difficulty of language can be uneven, with Adrian at one point declaring that he is, "a bit peckish." Not sure just who will enjoy this.
Run
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Keplinger, Kody
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
September 20, 2016
Gustafson, Chris
Agnes is legally blind and the protection provided by her helicopter parents feels suffocating now that she's in high school. In their small town, Agnes has always been warned to keep away from the Dickinson family, but when Agnes's best friend betrays her, a friendship with near neighbor Bo Dickerson and Bo's cousin Colt gives Agnes hope for a different future. The story is told in alternating chapters from alternating points in time by Agnes and Bo, which may confuse less capable readers who are attracted to the work of this author. Characterization feels heavy-handed, conveyed by Bo's less standard English, and there is a heavy reliance on stereotypes to advance the plot. The reader is in the room when Agnes and Colt have sex, so this is a better fit for older readers. I might not be the best reviewer for this book; The Duff was hugely popular but I could not finish reading it which is unusual for me.
27 Magic Words
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Moranville, Sharelle Bya
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 20, 2016
Gustafson, Chris
Before fifth grader Kobi's parents disappeared while on a cruise five years ago, Mom, a writer, gave Kobi 27 magic words, each on a post-it. Kobi and older sister Brook, who is struggling with some OCD, have been living with their grandmother in Paris, but now grandmother is getting married and doing some traveling with her new husband, so the girls are sent to live with Uncle Wim in the U.S. for a few months. They've always been tutored at home, but Brook manages to fit in to middle school fairly quickly, while Kobi struggles with making friends in a class full of fifth graders. Kobi believes that the magic words from her mother will help her to cope with events in the present, and once Kobi unlocks the meaning of all the words, she is sure her parents will be able to return from the desert island where Kobi are is positive they are marooned. The entire cast of characters live full, rich, complex lives that are intriguingly related. The reader may realize before Kobi does that her parents are not really alive, and that Kobi's lying and imagining are her defense against that reality. For more capable, thoughtful readers.
She Stood For Freedom : The Untold Story Of A Civil Rights H
Shadow Mountain [Shadow Mountain]
Mulholland, Loki
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
September 20, 2016
Gustafson, Chris
What is a white ally? Readers will find some answers in this short biography of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland. Joan grew up in the south where her mother was raised, but Joan was more influenced by her father, a northerner. Joan absorbed the lessons she learned in church about equality and the Golden Rule, and she decided early on that the segregated society of the 1950s was wrong. Joan became active in the Civil Rights Movement while a student at Duke University and her involvement encompassed lunch counter sit-in, freedom rides, and the March on Washington. She was imprisoned along with her African American friends. Many primary source documents are included, Reviewed from the ARC, and the lack of captions for pictures was a significant difficulty in reviewing the book - if they are high quality, this will be a top-notch offering. One slight caution; at one point Joan convinces the arresting officers who want to separate her from her friends that she really is not white, she just had a white father and that her mother had "native american blood." I could imagine Debbie Reese cringing.
Fuzzy
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
Angleberger, Tom
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
September 20, 2016
Gustafson, Chris
Government officials place Fuzzy, a robot programmed to respond and adapt using fuzzy logic, in a middle school, figuring that 7th grade is the place to learn how to quickly responding to a variety of situations. Max is assigned to be Fuzzy's student guide and though she is initially skeptical, Max soon becomes Fuzzy's friend. School bullies provide some conflict, but their true enemy is the school's virtual vice principal, who is determined to get Fuzzy in enough trouble to end the project. Longer and more complex than the author's Origami Yoda books so some of Angleberger's fans may have trouble making the leap to a longer, not illustrated text. Plot driven, quite a bit of action, and an interesting plot twist at the end.
Fiery Sky
Doubleday Canada [Doubleday Canada]
Wilson, John
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
7th grade to 9th grade
September 22, 2016
Gustafson, Chris
After Belgium is invaded by Germany early in World War I, Manon escapes and pursues nursing training, ending up in London. There she is recruited, trained as a spy,and flown back to Belgium. Manon moves in with her mother and German-leaning brother, begins to work tending German soldiers in the local hospital, and passes on information to her contacts. As the requests from her contact require more action, Manon finds herself in greater and greater danger; after a slow and a bit stilted start this book is a true page turner as Manon tries to protect a downed English flier. I would have rated the book more highly except for the lack of strong curriculum connections - World War I is rarely taught until high school and even then is often skipped over lightly. Historical fiction fans and readers who like war and suspense will like this with a little hand-selling. Reviewed from an ARC titled A Dangerous Game, so not sure what the actual title will be.
Aaron Rodgers
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 22, 2016
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Football's Greatest Stars" series, this 32 page biography describes the life of Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is an elite, NFL quarterback who plays for the Green Bay Packers. The book opens with the story of Rodgers role in Green Bay's 2011 Super Bowl victory. Then the book follows his life chronologically from birth in 1983 though 2014. We learn about his high school, community college, and college years, as well as, the awards and recognition he has received. Color photographs are captioned and found throughout the book. Fact boxes give the reader additional information. The book has the usual non-fiction text features: table of contents, index, glossary, timeline, and a few sentences about the author. This book will appeal to your football crowd. Since Rodgers is still a current player, this book will become quickly out of date making this an additional purchase.
J.j. Watt
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 22, 2016
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Football's Greatest Stars" series, this 32 page biography explores the life of J.J. Watt. Watt is a popular, defensive player for the Houston Texans NFL team. The book opens with the story of Watt causing a fumble that allows his team to beat Indianapolis and move into the 2012 playoffs. Then the book follows his life chronologically from birth in 1989 though 2014. We learn about his high school and college years, as well as, the awards and recognition he has received. Color photographs are captioned and found throughout the book. Fact boxes give the reader additional information. The book has the usual non-fiction text features: table of contents, index, glossary, timeline, and a few sentences about the author. This book will appeal to your football crowd. Since Watt is still a current player, this book will become quickly out of date. Also, there is no mention of his philanthropy, making this an additional purchase.
Rhino Rescue! : And More True Stories Of Saving Animals
National Geographic/childrens [National Geographic/childrens]
Meeker, Clare Hodgson
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 23, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
When you're talking National Geographic you know you're going to have a high-quality product with excellent photographs. That is the case here, but the title is a tad misleading. The book contains 3 stories of animal rescue, the last of which deals with rhinos. First readers learn about the rescue of Honey Girl, a monk seal in Hawaii. The following story tells of twin tigers. Both Honey Girl and the tigers are rescued, cared for, and then successfully released into the wild. The final story deals with an airlift relocation of rhinos to an undisclosed location to keep them safe from poachers. All stories are well written and compelling. They personalized the stories and are both interesting and compelling. This is a good book to show how people can positively impact animal populations.
Digger, Dozer, Dumper
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Vestergaard, Hope
Slonim, David
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten
September 26, 2016
Burton, Paula
This is the same version as its larger picture book format but then as a board book. The review by Teresa Bateman from 12/16/2013 said it all. Since it is a board book, it might be the best purchase for an elementary school. "Oh those big machines--dozers, diggers, dumpers, sweepers. Kids love 'em, and why not? This is a collection of short poems about big machines and what they do. Each poem focuses on a particular machine and is accompanied by acrylic and charcoal illustrations that give the machines facial expressions and show kids, and a dog, driving and using them. The poems are direct, clever, and informative, with bouncy rhymes and solid rhythms. The final illustration, showing children playing with toy machines, adds just the right touch. This would provide a nice poetry tie-in with "I Stink" and appeal to the truck-lover in all youngsters."
Cleopatra In Space : 3 : Secret Of The Time Tablets
GRAPHIX [GRAPHIX]
Maihack, Mike
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 26, 2016
Burton, Paula
This is the third installment for the series and the action, like it’s two predecessors, picks up right where the reader left off. Cleopatra and her friends from the Yasiro academy are surrounded by Xerx spaceships. They are forced to take smaller pods to Hykosis City, where the desirable tablets are hidden. Lots of action, humor and returning of enemies make this colorful graphic novel a hit with not only those who like the series but also fans of Zita the spacegirl.
Mighty Dads
CARTWHEEL BOOKS (SCHOLASTIC) [CARTWHEEL BOOKS (SCHOLASTIC)]
Holub, Joan
Dean, James
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
September 26, 2016
Burton, Paula
This is the board book version of the picture book that came out in 2014. Illustrated by the Pete the cat series illustrator James Dean. Although centered not around one central character but looking at construction machines and geared towards a different audience. the topic is: dads with their kids. Rhyming text with lots of repetition and accompanying noises that trucks make. A sure hit with the targeted audience and a great read aloud for the younger kids.
Rip Haywire : Escape From Camp Cooties
Andrews & Mcmeel [Andrews & Mcmeel]
Thompson, Dan
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 26, 2016
Burton, Paula
This fast paced fiction hybrid graphic novel is a book full of humor and adventure. Rip haywire spends most of his time accompanying his dad to save the world with his talking dog TNT, the name does not match the dog’s personality. His father thinks it would be a good idea to spend more time with kids his own age and sends him off to summer camp. To make matters worse for Rip, his dad signed him up for a girl summer camp without an escape route. As Rip is getting adjusted to camp, he is reminded of past adventures in similar situations. It even throws in a puzzle here and there. Rip does meet someone who will make camp more interesting for him and might have an escape too. There is no diversity to be found in this book and the artwork looks like comics from the 30’s and 40’s but it probably will appeal to reluctant readers or those transitioning to chapter books.
Nightmare Escape
GRAPHIX [GRAPHIX]
Grunberg, Greg
Turnbloom, Lucas
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 26, 2016
Burton, Paula
Ben wakes up in a weird place where he is chased by doctors, sees his friend tied up with bacon, and where a cute white bunny leads him through a dark forest to get away. And then he wakes up. By the title of this graphic novel you can tell Ben must be in a dream or as he mentioned when you see him sitting in his bed; a nightmare. All the characters from Ben's dreams return in the following pages and it turns out Ben appears in other kids dreams and fights their demons. A nice gesture but when he is in the hospital for a sleep study, many people from his dreams are in ward Z; the Permanent sleep stage. During his sleep study, Ben ends up in ward Z too. He is summoned to the dream world by the bunny because evil is trying to take over. The art is very expressive and helps this action packed graphic novel to be an interest for adventurists. It will have a follow up.
Crow Smarts : Inside The Brain Of The World's Brightest Bird
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Turner, Pamela S
Comins, Andy & De Filippo, Guido
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
6th grade to 12th grade
September 26, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
How do we define intelligence? What separates humans from other animals? Can it be the use of tools? Other animals use tools. How about creating and modifying tools? In this "Scientists in the Field" entry the author takes readers to meet the New Caledonian crows who make, use, and modify tools. Is it nature? Is it nurture? Is it both? In her breezy and very informative style, Pamela Turner brings readers along on a scientific expedition to see the crows in action, and the scientific method applied. Crisp color photographs abound and perfectly complement the text, providing just the visuals readers want. 74 pages of clear and interesting text provide fascinating insights and raise thought-provoking questions. In following one particular baby crow readers are drawn in to the crow family with both humor and curiosity. This would make a terrific read-aloud, and there is plenty of narrative here to meet that narrative nonfiction need. This is well worth having on your library shelves.
See How They Run
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Carter, Ally
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
6th grade to 12th grade
September 27, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
All right, I'll come right out and admit it. I love the "Embassy Row" series. In the little country of Adria several embassies stand in a row. The teens whose parents work at the embassies form friendships that cross country lines, which begin and end at each embassy's gates. That sounds lovely and friendly. It's not. Grace has a secret involving the death of her mother. The previous book ended with a bang, literally. Now she's discovering that she is surrounded by secrets and someone seems to be trying to kill her. When her brother comes to visit from West Point, and his accompanying friend shows up dead things go from bad to worse. A cherished friend appears to be guilty. Is Grace imagining things? She's had her issues with mental illness. But perhaps she's the key to the whole mystery. These are clean, compelling, exciting books with espionage, murder, and plenty of suspense. Fabulous! I'll be passing this book around to other avid readers in my family. Now I'm on tenterhooks until the next one comes out.
Lost Treasure Of Little Snoring
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Gardner, Lyn
Asquith, Ros
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 27, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Great silliness abounds in "The Ghastly McNastys" series. The McNastys are horrible pirates--meaning that they are both horrible, and do a poor job of it. The small town of Little Snoring is forced to deal with these villains who say vile things like "sweaty socks!" and "squeaky underwear!" though various misadventures. In this entry in the series the residents of the village are dealing with a shoe thief, and a treasure map offers hope to young Tat and Hetty that Tat's family might find its way out of the hole it's in. Of course a treasure map is all it takes to lure the McNastys in as well. Can the town survive the pirates? Can the pirates survive the children? And what role will booger-laden Mrs. Slime have to play? Gross humor, remarkable mischief and a big load of off-centered whimsy are what bring this series to life.
Antoine Lavoisier : Genius Of Modern Chemistry
Enslow Publishing [Enslow Publishing]
Yount, Lisa
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
September 27, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
I had never heard of Antoine Lavoisier before reading this book, but now I'm fascinated by the man. Born in France in 1743, he died in the remnants of the French Revolution in 1794. But oh the things he did between those two dates. We often speak of Leonardo da Vinci as a Renaissance man, but Lavoisier was one as well. His quick mind and inquisitive nature led to major shifts in the field of chemistry, much of which forms the basis for our knowledge of chemistry today. Beyond that he also dabbled in gunpowder, accounting, government service, and new farming techniques. It seemed there was little to which he could not turn his hand. This book is well-researched and the writing draws readers into the great man's life, providing historical context and a solid history of the science that led to Lavoisier's discoveries. There's an experiment, an index, a bibliography, a timeline, and plenty of source notes. What I drew from the book, however, is a clear view of how one man's insights can change the world of science.
Somewhat True Adventures Of Sammy Shine
Peachtree Publishers [Peachtree Publishers]
Cole, Henry
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 28, 2016
Turpin, Sharon
Henry Cole has created a fell-good adventure with a kind, heroic mouse. Sammy Shine lives in a shoe box until Hank’s older brother enlists his services to pilot a remote controlled airplane experiment. When the remote gets damaged after take off, Sammy quickly learns to operate the plane. He gains control until he crashes into some woods far afield from his farmhouse and is helped by a friendly band of mice. They must stay clear of the bully weasel Mustela, who has his sights set on Sammy’s new friend Phoebe along with the magical flying machine. To keep his rescuers safe, Sammy sets off alone in search of his plane and a wise raccoon, the fixer of mechanical things. On the way he picks up a set of new friends—a flightless crow, a helpful shrew, a grumpy newt and a tortoise forming a rapid family bond, and with the help of the raccoon outwit the dreaded weasel. This well written, quick paced story of friendship, adventure and fantasy in the animal kingdom would make a pleasant read aloud or good transitional novel. Cole’s frequent pencil drawings interrupt the 269 pages making it not as threatening.
Pete Likes Bunny
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Mccully, Emily Arnold
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 28, 2016
Burton, Paula
In a classroom depicted by animals, the pig Pete likes the new student in the class; a bunny. When one day the seat next to bunny is empty on the bus, he sits next to her which starts the cheers from the rest of the class: “Pete likes bunny”. Soft watercolor illustrations makes this a sweet story for beginning readers. Large type face and one or two sentences on a page emphasize the intended audience. This is one of several Pete books written and illustrated by the same author.
Hilda And The Bird Parade
Flying Eye Books [Flying Eye Books]
Pearson, Luke
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
September 28, 2016
Burton, Paula
Hilda the well known character of graphic novels with her name in the title, has moved to the city. The girl that discovered the woodman and loves to draw what she observes outside her home in the middle of nowhere is now in a busy city. There she is introduced to all the best places by some of the kids from the neighborhood. One of the games they play is finding rocks, but they’ll throw them at the birds in the tree. One of the birds is hit and Hilda notices it is still breathing. In true Hilda style, the bird talks. As she explains the city to the bird the reader notices that Hilda in the city is no different from Hilda in the country; she will observe what is around her, and find that everything you see is unique. Even those who are new to the Hilda books, can easily pick up the story. Humor and adventure are accompanied by whimsical illustrations with imaginary characters.
Before Morning
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Sidman, Joyce
Krommes, Beth
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 28, 2016
Burton, Paula
Prose like text from Newbery honor winner Joyce Sidman accompany the illustrations of Caldecott medalist Beth Krommes. The illustrations look similar to her winning book House in the night. The nocturnal topic can also be found but that is where the similarities end. There is more color added, and the scenery is a city. The reader follows a mother and her daughter home where it becomes clear that the elder has to leave for her work as a pilot. The daughter is upset about this. When the mother leaves, it starts to snow and as we follow her to the airport it becomes clear it is a winter storm which creates a peaceful quiet town instead of the busy city we met on the first pages. Although clear the child does not want her mother to leave, it is not so clear it is her wish or invocation for it to snow and her mom not being able to fly out as the author explains in an afterword. This did not influence my opinion of the book which would be a great discussion piece among the younger grades about wishes, parents having to work, and obligations in an adults live.
Dino Safari
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Arlon, Penelope
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 28, 2016
Burton, Paula
The popular toy company and Scholastic have come out with a nonfiction readers series that would appeal to kids who love LEGOs and are developing readers. The cover displays that it is a Level 2 book. This particular installment of the series is about dinosaurs. Photograph like illustrations of the dinosaurs and its surroundings are combined with illustrations of the popular LEGO minifigures. There are two central characters who take the reader through a dino safari. Some of these minifigures’ text is displayed in speech bubbles. Most of the pages have a “build it” segment with simple instructions to build related items to the topic of the spread. At the end of the book there is a page of stickers, an index and some topic related words. This could be used to start building with kids or an additional reader on the topic of dinosaurs.
Planets
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Arlon, Penelope
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 28, 2016
Burton, Paula
The popular toy company and Scholastic have come out with a nonfiction series that would appeal to kids who love LEGOs. This particular installment of the series is about planets. Facts and humor combined are presented by all kinds of LEGO mini-figures who are sometimes dressed in a spacesuit but could also relate to the joke. Most of these mini-figures’ text is displayed in speech bubbles. Photographs are also used to emphasize the facts. In addition it has LEGO play suggestions on most pages that could spark the imagination with stories of their own. Included in the 64 pages is an index and a glossary at the end of the book. The book covers much of what is in space; planets, stars, astronauts and the history of traveling to space and would be a great addition for all kind of readers.
Knights & Castles
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Arlon, Penelope
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
September 28, 2016
Burton, Paula
The popular toy company and Scholastic have come out with a nonfiction series that would appeal to kids who love LEGOs. This particular installment of the series is about knights and castles. Facts and humor combined are presented by all kinds of LEGO mini-figures who are most of the time dressed in character but could also relate to the joke. Most of these mini-figures’ text is displayed in speech bubbles. Photographs are also used to emphasize the facts. In addition it has LEGO play suggestions on most pages that could spark the imagination with stories of their own. Included in the 64 pages is an index and a glossary at the end of the book. The book covers many topics related to knights and castles; the people (lords, knights, joust), the time period and different activities during that time period. It would be a great addition for all kind of readers that need to know about this topic.
Deep Dive
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
September 28, 2016
Burton, Paula
The popular toy company and Scholastic have come out with a nonfiction readers series that would appeal to kids who love LEGOs and are developing readers. The cover displays that it is a Level 2 book. This particular installment of the series is about ocean. Photograph are combined with illustrations of the popular LEGO minifigures. There are two central characters who take the reader on an ocean ride. Some of these minifigures’ text is displayed in speech bubbles. Most of the pages have a “build it” segment with simple instructions to build related items to the topic of the spread. At the end of the book there is a page of stickers, an index and some topic related words. This could be used to start building with kids or an additional reader on the topic of oceanography.
Pug
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Long, Ethan
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 29, 2016
Burton, Paula
Another beginner reader in the “I like to read” series. This series is a slightly larger format than the usual reader which makes it an excellent choice for those graduating picture books and starting to read themselves. Very short repetition in text, sentences of more than three words are rare, are an addition to the wonderful story told by the illustrations. A pug sees his friend Peg from his window out in the street. He tries with a lot of yapping to get the attention of several members in his household to go outside. Tad is the one, although still sleeping at the first attempt, on which he settles. The pug even threatens to relieve himself on the bed. When they finally catches up with Peg, the reader notices Peg is not a human, as implied by the illustrations, but a pug too
Emma And Julia Love Ballet
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Mcclintock, Barbara
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
September 29, 2016
Burton, Paula
Soft watercolor illustrations compare the lives on opposite pages of Emma, a red haired girl, and Julia, a young African American woman, who like the title announces Love Ballet. They start the day waking up, getting breakfast and getting to their ballet class. Julia takes the bus and Emma is driven by her mother. In class they also do much of the same routines. It is when the performance is announced where their lives take a different turn because Emma is a spectator and Julia is a performer. It isn’t until the end where they meet one another and Julia tells Emma, she once dreamed of becoming a ballet dancer. A wonderful story for any girl or boy who dreams to be a ballet dancer and see that dreams can become a reality. The text is straightforward and simple to appeal to a young audience and the details in the illustrations make this a winner for all that love ballet.
Bullying
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Perdew, Laura
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
September 29, 2016
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Essential Issues" series, this well-written and researched book examines the issues of bullying in depth and explores options for change. Bullying and cyberbullying are defined. Their impacts are discussed. The author provides insights on bullies, those who are bullied, and bystanders and their roles. Various reasons for bullying, landmark cases, and the effects of programs designed to reduce bullying are all examined. Ways of taking action, including legislation, are included. The book is filled with vignettes of actual teens and adolescents whose lives changed, or ended, due to bullying. The result is a somber, thought-provoking approach to the subject that merits a place in any secondary school.