Reviews for month


Lost. Found.
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Arnold, Marsha Diane
Cordell, Matthew
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 02, 2017
Garrard, Thom
A bear loses his scarf. A pair of raccoons find it, have a tug of war, and then lose it. A beaver finds it, makes a turban, and then loses it. In quick succession, an otter, a fox, a trio of mice, a couple of weasels, and a pair of squirrels find the scarf, put it to some crazy use, and then lose it. When all the animals find it at once, the scarf unravels in the ensuing melee. Bear returns, gathers up the yarn, and everyone helps re-knit the scarf. As reconstituted, it is now long enough to reach around the campfire where all the animals are seated together. The entire text of the book consists only of the words “lost” and “found,” which works wonderfully well, for it is the illustrations that tell the story. Using pen and ink and watercolor, illustrator Cordell has captured the zaniness of the animals’ ideas, the sheepishness of the animals when the scarf is destroyed, and the warmth of the community that is created by their joint rebuilding project. Young children will enjoy the animals’ antics, the alternating pattern of the text, and verbalizing what is depicted in the illustrations.
Love Monster And The Last Chocolate
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Bright, Rachel
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 02, 2017
Garrard, Thom
Love Monster returns from vacation to find a box of chocolates on his doorstep. He realizes he should share them with his friends. When he imagines the terrible possibilities that there are none left, or his favorite gets taken, or he gets left with the coffee one (horrors!), he decides not to share. He finds he can’t stick with that decision, however, so he runs to his friends and confesses. When they prompt him to open the box, he finds the box only contains one chocolate, his favorite, that his friends saved for him because they missed him. The book’s moral is: “When you stop to think of others…you...find out just how much they think of you.” The illustrations were created with solar etching, a printmaking technique in which ultraviolet light is used to create the plates. The heavy black outline of the characters and most objects contrasts with the bright colors inside and makes the illustrations even more eye-popping. Font sizes vary throughout, sometimes for emphasis, but sometimes randomly, which is only tolerable in such a short book. Yet, an adorable little monster, chocolate, and a feel-good story of friendship and sharing are a winning combination.
Looking For Bongo
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Velasquez, Eric
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 02, 2017
Garrard, Thom
Bongo is missing! An Afro Latino boy asks his grandmother, his parents, his dog, his cat, and even the package deliveryman if they have seen Bongo. Just when he concludes that Bongo is lost forever, he spots his stuffed toy animal. He just can’t figure out how it got there, since he had it when he went to bed. The penultimate page reveals what happened and the surprising trick that solved the mystery. The vibrant oil color illustrations are masterful and carry the plot forward with a minimal need for text. Though some backgrounds are plain, others subtly convey the family’s love of music, books, and art. Several Spanish phrases are incorporated in the dialogue, followed immediately by the same phrase in English. An illustrated glossary of four words occupies the final page. This type of multicultural book is really needed, but the last part of this story’s structure is its biggest drawback. After the climactic revealing of the thief, no resolution or conclusion is offered. The story just abruptly ends. What follows could certainly be a discussion point for its readers, but the book feels incomplete without a proper ending.
Lionel Messi : Top-Scoring Soccer Star
Enslow Publishing [Enslow Publishing]
Torres, John
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 02, 2017
Garrard, Thom
Argentine Lionel Messi, one of the world’s best soccer players, is the subject of this biography from Enslow Publishing’s Influential Latinos series. Though clearly talented as a young child, a growth hormone deficiency diagnosed when he was ten threatened to leave him too undersized to realize his potential. Treatment was possible, but the expense was a barrier that eventually drove his father to take him to Barcelona, where the professional team gave him a contract and paid for his daily hormone injections. He has been leading Barcelona and the Argentine national team and scoring numerous goals ever since. Unfortunately, the writing is plodding and the editing is lacking (“The was actually a youth training team…”). The book contains twenty full-page sidebars in red with white text. Many of the assorted topics are irrelevant, such as Iran (because Messi played their team in the World Cup), Che Guevara (because they share a hometown), and Lionel Ritchie (because Messi may have been named after him). At least there are forty color photographs, though a third of these do not include Messi. Soccer fans will probably check this out, but surely a better biography is available.
Kenya's Art
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Trice, Linda
Mitchell, Hazel
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 02, 2017
Garrard, Thom
When spring break ends, Kenya will be expected to tell her class what she did during the vacation, but she hasn’t done anything yet and time is running out. When her dad takes her to the museum, the guide shows them the exhibit of recycled art and points out that clean, safe objects can be reused or made into art. Back at home Kenya collects her toys that are broken but still safe, and the whole family gets into the act, decorating a picture frame, making a card, and creating a paper plate mask. Kenya makes a thingamabob, her art teacher’s name for something that has no other name. She shares her broken-toy sculpture with the class to demonstrate how she learned to recycle, reuse, and make art. The watercolor, graphite, and digital illustrations are bright, colorful, and appealing. The dynamic within Kenya’s African American family is positive, and her dad’s attentiveness and gentle humor are marvelous. The excessive amount of attention given to her classmates’ spring break activities detracts somewhat from the environmental theme, but this book would serve as a fitting choice for Earth Day.
Toy Brother
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Steig, William
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 02, 2017
Garrard, Thom
In this reissue of William Steig’s 1996 story set in medieval times, serious Yorick, apprentice to his alchemist father, is constantly annoyed by his silly younger brother Charles. When their parents leave them to go on a trip, Charles hopes they will play together, but Yorick enters the forbidden lab and gets to work inventing a potion. Unfortunately, one taste shrinks him to cockroach size. Charles responds by making him a toy house, saving him from a hailstorm, entertaining him, and promising to care for him for as long as he remains small. Upon their parents’ return, their father eventually concocts a successful antidote to restore Yorick to proper size, but the brothers’ relationship has been forever changed. As both author and illustrator, Steig created colorful cartoon-like illustrations in his signature style that perfectly fit the story. However, the text includes medieval and other uncommon vocabulary words that will be stumbling blocks for the target audience. Given enough adult assistance, children will find an enjoyable tale about a toy-sized sibling and the growth of brotherly love.
Not-So-Heroic Knight
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Cunyat, Pol
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 03, 2017
Tucker, Merrilyn
Set in Twelvity Five A.D., two nine-year-olds, a girl (Thud) and a boy (Blunder) are young knights awaiting a quest. When an adult knight comes along, he promises to take them on his travels. It turns out that the knight is afraid of too much work and only wants the fame associated with his quests. He also loves to dance and seeks fame so he will be invited to a ball where he can pirouette and nae nae. In the end, Thud and Blunder help the knight by conquering an evil witch, thereby giving the knight the fame he sought. This is an easy-to-read chapter book, about 55 pages in length, with color digital illustrations on every other page. The humor and puns abound (although I didn't find them very funny). There are "Talk About the Tale!" and "Write About the Adventure!" sections at the end of the book, along with a glossary, information about the author and the illustrator. I am curious to see how kids respond to this book, which is one in a four-part series.
Du Iz Tak?
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Ellis, Carson
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 03, 2017
Tucker, Merrilyn
This is children's picture book whimsy at its finest. Du Iz Tak? (What is that?) is the story of damselflies enjoying the delights of spring and summer. They introduce themselves and an array of insect friends to a sprouting plant that they can make into a fort. A made-up language that the insects speak will lead children to guess what the characters are discussing. There are many details of the pictures, which span a full spread of pages, to follow developments in: grass growing in the rocks, the emergence of the walking stick, not to mention the home of Mr. and Mrs. Centipede. This is a must-purchase item for a children's collection and is created by Carson Ellis, who also illustrated the Wildwood series written by husband Colin Meloy.
Sea Otter Rescue
Owlkids Books, Inc [Owlkids Books, Inc]
Eszterhas, Suzi
Bougaeva, Sonja
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 03, 2017
Tucker, Merrilyn
After reading Sea Otter Rescue by Suzi Eszterhas, I had a new admiration for all of the work that the Seattle Aquarium undertook for the rescued sea otter, Rialto! In 44 pages, Eszterhas documents with photos and text how otters are rescued and cared for until they find their forever homes. This book would lend itself nicely to being read aloud to a class (third or fourth grade, perhaps) with a follow-up activity online. Facts such as air pockets in otters' fur to keep them afloat, underarm pockets to store food and tools, and otters being very social animals will fascinate the adult as well as the child reader. Also interesting are "Kids ask Suzi," and Sources sections (many of her sources are from discussions with the attending veterinarians!). This was a Junior Library Guild selection and is the third in the Wildlife Rescue series (Koala Hospital, Orangutan Orphanage) by Eszterhas .
Burned
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Deen, Natasha
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 03, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
Josie has been living on the streets since the murder of her mother, brother, and friend. She knows a crooked cop was behind it, and is determined to bring her down and avenge her loved ones. To do so, however, she needs help--a computer hacker, his burly (and cute) brother, and a girl who likes climbing buildings. But perhaps Josie has overestimated her own abilities, especially when she is kidnapped. This is part of the 3-book "Retribution" series, and is compellingly written. Adult themes and occasional language issues definitely make this YA. The way the last quarter of the book jumps from exciting moment to exciting moment, often without clear links between them, keeps this from being an "R". Nevertheless, the short chapters, fast pace, and compelling cover will make this a hit with high-schoolers, especially reluctant readers.
Buckle And Squash : The Gigantic Giant Goof-Up
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Courtauld, Sarah
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 04, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
Great silliness abounds in this second "Buckle and Squash" book, a sequel to Tthe Perilous Princess Plot." Once again we visit Tumbledown Farm. Grandma is irascible. Eliza is practical. Bonnet is a very very small giant. The goat, Gertrude, still eats everything in sight. And Lavender...ah yes, Lavender, still dreams of marrying a prince. Unfortunately, in a mass wedding, every single prince just got married, smashing her daydreams. That's why she goes and visits the witches and somehow ends up with the magical Holy Snail who can grant wishes, but doesn't do it well. Lavender's wish to be like Thumbelina and find a very small (and still available) prince results in a general kidnapping by giants, followed by mayhem, madcap adventures, and a good deal of nonsense. This is another very funny book with a slapdash style that will capture young future fans of Terry Pratchett.
Treasure Of Maria Mamoun
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Chalfoun, Michelle
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 05, 2017
Tucker, Merrilyn
Maria is a 12-year-old growing up as a latchkey kid in New York City. She has no friends, is bullied by the "Bad Barbies," and spends most of her time alone since her single mother has to work two jobs to support them. When the story begins, it seems like a hopeless situation. After Maria is physically bullied by the girls, her mother realizes Maria cannot be raised in such dire conditions; so, the mother finds a job as a registered nurse on Martha's Vineyard and they move there forthwith. Slowly, Maria and her mother become attached to the rich old man that mother is nursing. Then, mother and daughter start to assimilate into the island life. Maria finds a treasure map, gets involved in the mystery of The Last Privateer, and begins to search for the gold that she knows will keep her and her mother from ever having to return to the city. Maria's friendship with a local boy who assists her search, her genuine affection for the old man, and the lovely interaction between Maria and her Lebanese-born mother make this a perfect choice for 4th - 6th grade readers.
Burning
Epic Press/abdo [Epic Press/abdo]
Skogen, Jennifer
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 05, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
The little town of Grey Hills has a tragic history--50 years ago the old high school burned down, with students caught in the flames, unable to escape. Macy has her own tragic past. She recently lost her brother to a car accident. Now she's starting to see things...or people...or ghosts. Three new students at her high school enlightener her. They, too, see ghosts, and they help send them on their way. That's a job they've taken upon themselves. Things are getting weirder and weirder at school as Macy starts seeing things and people burning. Some are real, some less so. Still, that hunky new ghost-hunter guy, Dom, might help. But when the Senior Sleep-in at the school turns into a tragedy, what are they going to do to stop the ghosts? And is it the right thing? The premise of "The Haunting of Grey Hills" is good--kind of a teen Grimm, Ghosthunters vibe with angst. This is the first book. What I find off-putting is the constant foul language. It's like the author is using f*** and s*** as punctuation. Trust me, there's no character development there. It served no purpose. It was like it was there to disguise a weak plot. Sigh.
Forests Of The Night
Epic Press/abdo [Epic Press/abdo]
Skogen, Jennifer
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 05, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
In this, the second book of "the Hunting of Grey Hills" series, Macy is honing her ghost-dissolving abilities. Unfortunately her three ghost-hunting friends seem to be actively seeking danger, and it finds them. It doesn't help that in the first book a door was opened and ghosts are now pouring into their town. When Macy befriends a ghost, and throat-slashing murders start occurring in town, things get tense. Will she be the next victim? Then there's that cute guy, Dom, The series premise is good--ghost-hunting teens. However, it's like the author had a list of sure-fire teen-pleasers, put them in a bowl, and mixed. Angst, romance, danger, blood, foul language...more foul language...more foul language. Profanity is not plot development and I found myself unable to really like any of the characters. I'm not saying you wouldn't find readers for this series. I'm saying I wouldn't put it in a secondary library. It's just too shallow.
Ed & Bo Get Wooed
Epic Press/abdo [Epic Press/abdo]
Mcgehee, Laura
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 06, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
Ed & Bo just managed to squeak through high school by coming up with a service company that delivers whatever people want at night--mostly snacks. Now they are being wooed by a big corporation. A trip to California, video games, a skate park, a pool, a hot executive, plenty of marijuana and salt and vinegar chips--does it get better than this? The two stoners are in heaven, but then get a little suspicious. Is it all TOO good? Maybe they should read the contract before they sign it. This is the second book in the series. The two are immature but amiable, and frequently buzzed out of their minds. Their language is not so pure, nor are their thoughts whenever they look at girls. They have few redeeming qualities beyond their total lack of connection with reality. Still, they're likeable. For this book think "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" with a corporate angle.
Patron Saint For Junior Bridesmaids
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Tougas, Shelley
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 07, 2017
Tucker, Merrilyn
When Mary is asked to be a junior bridesmaid in her cousin's wedding, she doesn't fully realize the responsibilities she is taking on! Her cousin, Eden, has anxiety disorder and doesn't want a big wedding; it's grandma who is making all the decisions. Mary already has enough going on in her life: her dad has moved to South Dakota to take an oil job after the family business shut down, her mom is stressed out having to manage two kids and a job, and, to top it all off, Mary has punched a boy in the face. The worries and guilt that weigh on Mary are not alleviated by her prayers to various patron saints (St. Anthony of Lost Causes, St. Dominic for Juvenile Delinquents are among them) who do not seem to be acting on her behalf. What does a Catholic girl do? Lose her faith? Stop praying? In the end, Mary finds out what believing in God truly means to her. I enjoyed this story very much, but wonder how non-Catholics will tolerate the many religious references. If girls like tales about being involved in weddings, they might simply focus on the bridesmaid aspect of the story.
What Dread Hand
Epic Press/abdo [Epic Press/abdo]
Skogen, Jennifer
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 07, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
The town of Grey Hills is haunted. Every 50 years human sacrifice must take place in order to keep a door to the other side closed. This sacrifice usually takes the form of a multi-fatality "accident" that becomes part of the town lore. There are those in town who know the truth--those who will kill to keep the door closed, and those who dispatch the ghosts who make it through. This series started out with the present day "accident" and modern teens. In this 3rd book in the series we end book #2's plot and go back 50 years to the previous "accident" and the people involved. You need the entire series to have the full story. This volume has less profanity than the previous two (they swore less in the 60's?) but more sex. The concept is compelling, but the execution is merely adequate, and the intense profanity in the first two books make it hard to recommend the series.
Underdogs
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Hammel, Sara
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 08, 2017
Tucker, Merrilyn
Chelsea and Evie have to hang out all summer at the local country club because their parents work there. Both Chelsea and Evie come from dysfunctional and/or abusive homes and have been adopted into better circumstances. Evie hides in the back room, feeling fat and unliked. It doesn't help that she is bullied by one of the rich kids at the tennis camp. Chelsea hangs with Evie, at least for a while, giving her the friendship that no one else offers. When a popular 16-year-old member of the club is murdered, Chelsea and Evie take up amatuer sleuthing. Who committed the crime? The popular young Czech tennis star? Lisa, the flirtatious front desk clerk? Detective Ashbury is at the club every day, questioning members and letting Chelsea and Evie in on some of the evidence. Two twists at the end of the story leave the reader both satisfied and surprised and almost wanting to start the story all over again to see what clues were missed!
Biters
45Th Parallel Press [45Th Parallel Press]
Loh-Hagan, Virginia
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 08, 2017
Kline, Karen
This book gets the creepy photo award! Want to see a snake biting the head of a mouse? A Komodo dragon feasting on the bloody carcass of a yak? At least it could be a yak, though the caption does not say. This book will have readers and photo browsers’ attention as they learn about where these deadly animals live and how they attack their prey. Two to four page chapters for each of the animals describe how teeth, fangs, and venom work. According to Florida State University’s biology department there are actual metrics that are used to measure the force of animal bites, but this book does not mention such tools. While there are ten compelling and interesting creatures in this book including mosquitoes, readers don’t know which creature is the most forceful biter (Australian saltwater croc) or which the author intends us to consider the least forceful of the ten. An eleventh and twelfth animal are given additional one page write ups -- humans and raccoons -- so readers may be confused by the math. Small quibbles for an otherwise engaging read. Table of contents, glossary, and index included. Other titles in the eight-book Top 10 series include: Daredevils, Oddities, Stinkers, and more.
Explore Norse Myths! : With 25 Great Projects
Nomad Press [Nomad Press]
Yasuda, Anita
Stone, Bryan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 08, 2017
Kline, Karen
This book laid out in six chapters covers a lot of Nordic ground. While the title suggests that it is about myths, the book also delves into history of Nordic culture, explorers and more. And as the subtitle suggests, the book also includes a variety of activities -- twenty-five in all. The activities range from science (Constellation Night Light) to art (Design a Viking Helmet). Text boxes on most pages break up the layout with essential questions, “did you know” tidbits, “then” and “now” comparisons, “meet the gods” info and more. Colorful illustrations throughout support the text. An extensive index is appended and makes the book well-suited for research. QR codes throughout are indexed as well for extension and location of some primary resources. All-in-all this book exceeds expectations. Educators will find plenty here to tie in with popular Norse myth kid-lit. Kids will just enjoy the magazine-like format and interesting text. Available in hardcover and paperback (reviewed pb). Guided reading level W printed on back cover.
Ed & Bo Get Cultured
Epic Press/abdo [Epic Press/abdo]
Mcgehee, Laura
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 08, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
Ed and Bo are stoner friends whose idea for a small business has gained them some notoriety. Now the two doofs are off to Paris to see someone who wants to negotiate an app. It turns out that they are not meeting businessmen, but two cute girls. Many landmarks are visited, much boy/girl angst is imagined, and plenty of marijuana is smoked. Unfortunately the French Mafia gets involved, there's a kidnapping, and a rescue. This is a weird little series. The main characters are likeable buffoons with one foot in reality and the other on a banana peel. There are mild language issues with the book. Think of it as a literary "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" only with more drug use.
Sinews Of Thy Heart
Epic Press/abdo [Epic Press/abdo]
Skogen, Jennifer
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 08, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
Grey Hills has a long history of "accidents" that happen every 50 years, killing many. These orchestrated events are all about a door to the other side. In this, book 4 of the series, we're back in modern times with our ghost hunters. Macy is dead, and Jackson is trying to cover it up. He doesn't think he did it, but now it appears that he may be possessed. What's going to happen? If you buy one book in this series you have to buy them all, because they're all connected. The premise is interesting, but profanity abounds to the point where it is distracting, and after four books I find myself still not caring about any of the characters. That's not a good sign.
Distant Deep
Epic Press/abdo [Epic Press/abdo]
Skogen, Jennifer
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 09, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
In this 5th book in "The Haunting of Grey Hills" series readers continue the plot of the previous books. Jackson is possessed by the evil spirit of Eli Grey Hills. Is he lost forever? The solution of killing him, thus getting of the ghost, doesn't sit well with Sam. She, instead, drugs her friends and takes him to Seattle where she hopes to find another solution. It may all come back to the ghost in the movie theater. This has a little less profanity than most of the series, but I'm still having trouble really caring about any of the characters. Still, for YA readers who want a serial ghost story this might be a series they would enjoy, if they can handle the foul language.
Airport Book
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Brown, Lisa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 10, 2017
Shirts, Brooke
Who’s ready to go on a trip? Lisa Brown’s take on air travel is as streamlined and efficient as we all wish air travel could be. A young boy sets off for a trip with Mom, Dad, and little sister. Along the way, he describes the travel process, from ticketing to security, liftoff to touchdown. Meanwhile, little sister is concerned for the welfare of her favorite sock monkey, which has its own adventure tucked into the family’s luggage. Brown’s illustrations and design rewards re-reads; her pages burst with colorful, clean-lined figures laden with bags, bustling and carting themselves around the airport. Kids with sharp eyes will recognize other travelers from page to page, from the coach flying with a girls’ athletic team, to the businesswoman constantly gabbing on her phone. In a smart design move, the airport and airplane itself are white spaces outlined in black, like untouched pages in a coloring book, allowing readers to clearly see the flow of people as they move through lines, down ramps, and through the boarding gates. Upon arrival (at the beach with grandparents!) the world blossoms into full color. As a nice touch, Brown also chose to depict our protagonist as a member of an interracial family.
Ed & Bo Turn Into Suits
Epic Press/abdo [Epic Press/abdo]
Mcgehee, Laura
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 10, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
Stoners Ed and Bo are best friends who came up with a business idea--Square One--that supplies people with stuff they need. In this, the 4th book in the series, their business has grown to the point where they actually have an office in New York. Ed is starting to buy into the whole suit culture, while Bo is still the laid-back bozo he always was. Clearly the two are changing, but what could this lead to? Well, possibly betrayal and a splitting up of the friendship. In previous books they've been lovable doofuses with a penchant for marijuana and salt and vinegar chips. Clearly they're starting to grow up, but in different directions. However, does that mean one is right and the other is wrong? These are silly books, with little nutritional value, but I'm sure there's an audience out there.
Tyger, Tyger
Epic Press/abdo [Epic Press/abdo]
Skogen, Jennifer
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 10, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
In this the sixth and final book in "the Haunting of Grey Hills" series our young ghost-hunters are facing their final battle...or are they? Jackson is rid of his possessing ghost who has moved on to more powerful prey. Cracks are opening that will turn into doors. Ghosts are spilling out. Can Grey Hills be saved? Ghosts may be the key. I wish I could recommend this series, but I found myself plowing through it, hoping for an end. Profanity abounds, but character development does not. I really couldn't deeply care about any of the characters. And yet the author leaves the door open for a possible second series. Maybe she could find some characters who don't think the F word is the height of erudition?
Ed & Bo Break Up
Epic Press/abdo [Epic Press/abdo]
Mcgehee, Laura
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 11, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
Ed and Bo have been friends for years. They managed to graduate from high school by creating their own business, called Square One. In this, the 5th book in the series, they are dealing with the fall-out from that business that led to them breaking up. Now Ed is at the University of Washington, discovering he doesn't really fit in. Bo is at a wolf sanctuary, finding he only fits in with the wolves, not the other workers. Each is having a bit of an epiphany that, for once, is not marijuana-driven (not that marijuana doesn't play a role in the book, as in the rest of the series.) Can they mend fences and find out who they really are? Let's hope so because there's only one more book in the series!
Ed & Bo Take On The World
Epic Press/abdo [Epic Press/abdo]
Mcgehee, Laura
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 12, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
In this the 6th and, thankfully, final book in the "Stoopid" series, Ed & Bo are out for revenge. The business they started in high school has been taken over by a shyster. Only now are they truly realizing the depth of the deception. Now all the players from previous books are going to help bring justice to the perpetrator. Do they have the smarts to carry it off? The two lovable, if juvenile, tokers have shown some growth through the series. The language has cleared up a little, and the drug use is down slightly. In the end you want them to succeed. Nevertheless, this is hardly classic literature and I'd have a problem recommending the series to school libraries because money could be better spent elsewhere.
Sorrow's Knot
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS]
Bow, Erin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 13, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
Otter is a binder, like her mother and grandmother. In her society there are many roles--binder, story-teller, ranger. A binder can imbue power into string figures that can repel the dead that threaten the community. Her knots are used to bind the corpses of those who die, so they do not roam. She is friends with a ranger and a story-teller--Kestrel and Cricket--who marry. Their friendship is of long-standing, but then tragedy strikes, and strikes again and again. Can Otter find the truth in all the traditions? This is a brilliantly told story--an unusual fantasy with a Native American flavor. The characters are beautifully developed and the premise is unique. Often scary, frequently thought-provoking, always enthralling, this would be a good addition to secondary collections.
Dragonwatch : A Fablehaven Adventure
Shadow Mountain [Shadow Mountain]
Mull, Brandon
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 14, 2017
Gustafson, Chris
The powerful dragon Celebrant is determined to return dragons to power in the Fablehaven world. Kendra and Seth, beloved by Fablehaven fans, are jointly commissioned to become co-caretakers of Wyrmroost along with Celebrant but it’s a partnership that’s bound to unravel and Celebrant wishes to take power away from Seth and Kendra. There’s a journey, a quest, plenty of magical creatures to battle and befriend, and Kendra and Seth get pretty equal billing. Those looking for a lot of character development will be disappointed but Fablehaven fans will feel comfortably at home.
Beluga Whales
Abdo Zoom [Abdo Zoom]
Statts, Leo
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 16, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
Simple facts about beluga whales are introduced in five short chapters of two to four pages. Each two-page spread has a couple of sentences on a topic such as body, habitat, food, and life cycle with one or two uncaptioned color photos to support the text. A map is included in the habitat chapter. The facts are accessible for beginning reader, but with very little detail. More information can be gathered from the clear, close-up photographs. Two pages have “Quick Stats” comparing the size and weight of the animal to a common object. A simple index, glossary, and publisher-supported link with more information are included. It is part of the Zoom In on Polar Animals series.
Orangutans
Abdo Zoom [Abdo Zoom]
Statts, Leo
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 16, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
Simple facts about orangutans are introduced in five short chapters of two to four pages. Each two-page spread has a couple of sentences on a topic such as body, habitat, food, and life cycle with one or two uncaptioned color photos to support the text. A map is included in the habitat chapter. The facts are accessible for beginning reader, but with very little detail. More information can be gathered from the clear, close-up photographs. Two pages have “Quick Stats” comparing the size and weight of the animal to a common object. A simple index, glossary, and publisher-supported link with more information are included. It is part of the Zoom In on Rain Forest Animals series.
Alligators
Abdo Zoom [Abdo Zoom]
Statts, Leo
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 16, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
Simple facts about alligators are introduced in five short chapters of two to four pages. Each two-page spread has a couple of sentences on a topic such as body, habitat, food, and life cycle with one or two uncaptioned color photos to support the text. A map is included in the habitat chapter. The facts are accessible for beginning reader, but with very little detail. More information can be gathered from the clear, close-up photographs. Two pages have “Quick Stats” comparing the size and weight of the animal to a common object. A simple index, glossary, and publisher-supported link with more information are included. It is part of the Zoom In on Swamp Animals series.
Zebras
Abdo Zoom [Abdo Zoom]
Statts, Leo
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 16, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
Simple facts about zebras are introduced in five short chapters of two to four pages. Each two-page spread has a couple of sentences on a topic such as body, habitat, food, and life cycle with one or two uncaptioned color photos to support the text. A map is included in the habitat chapter. The facts are accessible for beginning reader, but with very little detail. More information can be gathered from the clear, close-up photographs. Two pages have “Quick Stats” comparing the size and weight of the animal to a common object. A simple index, glossary, and publisher-supported link with more information are included. It is part of the Zoom In on Savanna Animals series.
German Shepherds
Abdo Zoom [Abdo Zoom]
Statts, Leo
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 16, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
Simple facts about German shepherds are introduced in five short chapters of two to four pages. Each two-page spread has a couple of sentences on a topic such as body, care, personality, and history with one or two uncaptioned color photos to support the text. The facts are accessible for beginning reader, but with very little detail. More information can be gathered from the close-up photographs although some seem to have the background added. Two pages have “Quick Stats” comparing the size and weight of the animal to a common object. A simple index, glossary, and publisher-supported link with more information are included. It is part of the Zoom In on Dogs series.
Anacondas
Abdo Zoom [Abdo Zoom]
Statts, Leo
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 16, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
Simple facts about anacondas are introduced in five short chapters of two to four pages. Each two-page spread has a couple of sentences on a topic such as body, habitat, food, and life cycle with one or two uncaptioned color photos to support the text. A map is included in the habitat chapter. The facts are accessible for beginning reader, but with very little detail. More information can be gathered from the clear, close-up photographs. Two pages have “Quick Stats” comparing the size and weight of the animal to a common object. A simple index, glossary, and publisher-supported link with more information are included. It is part of the Zoom In on Rain Forest Animals series.
Labrador Retrievers
Abdo Zoom [Abdo Zoom]
Statts, Leo
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 16, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
Simple facts about Labrador retrievers are introduced in five short chapters of two to four pages. Each two-page spread has a couple of sentences on a topic such as body, care, personality, and history with one or two uncaptioned color photos to support the text. The facts are accessible for beginning reader, but with very little detail. More information can be gathered from the close-up photographs. Two pages have “Quick Stats” comparing the size and weight of the animal to a common object. A simple index, glossary, and publisher-supported link with more information are included. It is part of the Zoom In on Dogs series.
Camels
Abdo Zoom [Abdo Zoom]
Statts, Leo
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 16, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
Simple facts about camels are introduced in five short chapters of two to four pages. Each two-page spread has a couple of sentences on a topic such as body, habitat, food, and life cycle with one or two uncaptioned color photos to support the text. A map is included in the habitat chapter. The facts are accessible for beginning reader, but with very little detail. More information can be gathered from the clear, close-up photographs. Two pages have “Quick Stats” comparing the size and weight of the animal to a common object. A simple index, glossary, and publisher-supported link with more information are included. It is part of the Zoom In on Desert Animals series.
Polar Bears
Abdo Zoom [Abdo Zoom]
Statts, Leo
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 16, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
Simple facts about polar bears are introduced in five short chapters of two to four pages. Each two-page spread has a couple of sentences on a topic such as body, habitat, food, and life cycle with one or two uncaptioned color photos to support the text. A map is included in the habitat chapter. The facts are accessible for beginning reader, but with very little detail. More information can be gathered from the clear, close-up photographs. Two pages have “Quick Stats” comparing the size and weight of the animal to a common object. A simple index, glossary, and publisher-supported link with more information are included. It is part of the Zoom In on Polar Animals series.
Elephants
Abdo Zoom [Abdo Zoom]
Statts, Leo
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 16, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
Simple facts about elephants are introduced in five short chapters of two to four pages. Each two-page spread has a couple of sentences on a topic such as body, habitat, food, and life cycle with one or two uncaptioned color photos to support the text. A map is included in the habitat chapter. The facts are accessible for beginning reader, but with very little detail. More information can be gathered from the clear, close-up photographs. Two pages have “Quick Stats” comparing the size and weight of the animal to a common object. A simple index, glossary, and publisher-supported link with more information are included. It is part of the Zoom In on Savanna Animals series.
Horses
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Murray, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 16, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
This a very basic introduction to horses with large photographs and one to three very simple sentences on each two-page spread. There is a table of contents, but only one chapter and then a page called “Some Kinds of Horses” with four small labeled photographs. There is a 2-word glossary with photos and an 18-word index. The focus is on domesticated horses with many of the photos including a variety of children. There would not be enough information for a young student to do much research, but it does introduce the animal in a general way with interesting photographs and is accessible to very beginning readers. It is part of the Abdo Kids I Like Animals! series.
Lizards
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Murray, Julie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 16, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
This a very basic introduction to lizards with large photographs and one to three very simple sentences on each two-page spread. There is a table of contents, but only one chapter and then a page called “Some Kinds of Lizards” with four small labeled photographs. There is a 2-word glossary with photos and a 12-word index. The focus is on wild lizards and not pet lizards, but there is one photograph of a child holding a lizard. There would not be enough information for a young student to do much research, but it does introduce the animal in a general way with interesting photographs and is accessible to very beginning readers. It is part of the Abdo Kids I Like Animals! series.
Poodles
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Hansen, Grace
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 16, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
This is a basic introduction to pet poodles with large photographs and two to four simple sentences on each two-page spread. There three six-page chapters covering body, personality, and care. The book includes a facts page with three facts, 2-word glossary, table of contents, and short index. It is slightly more difficult and detailed than several other Abdo Kids series, such as Farm Animals, Pet Animals, and Everyday Animals. There is enough information for a very basic research report. It is part of the Abdo Kids Dogs series.
Ostriches
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Hansen, Grace
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 16, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
This is a basic introduction to ostriches with large photographs and two to four simple sentences on each two-page spread. There three chapters of four to eight pages titled Big Birds!, Body, and Eggs & Chicks. It includes a facts page with three facts, 4-word glossary, table of contents, and very short index. It is slightly more difficult and detailed than several other Abdo Kids series, such as Farm Animals, Pet Animals, and Everyday Animals. There is enough information for a very basic research report except habitat and food information is not included. It is part of the Abdo Kids Super Species series.
Boxers
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Hansen, Grace
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 16, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
This is a basic introduction to pet boxers with large photographs and two to four simple sentences on each two-page spread. There four chapters and the first one is twelve pages with basic information about size and body. The other three chapters are two pages each and cover grooming, exercise and play, and personality. The book includes a facts page with three facts, 5-word glossary, table of contents, and short index. It is slightly more difficult and detailed than several other Abdo Kids series, such as Farm Animals, Pet Animals, and Everyday Animals. There is enough information for a very basic research report. It is part of the Abdo Kids Dogs series.
Jellyfish
BELLWETHER MEDIA [BELLWETHER MEDIA]
Leaf, Christina
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 16, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
There are many diverse jellyfish around the world, but this book does a great job of giving a clear overview with some specifics. The four short chapters each have a few paragraphs of text on a topic with close-up photographs, diagram, or map on bright backgrounds. The photographs are labeled except one and smaller photographs often help explain the more detailed information. Topics covered include range of habitats, bodies and sizes, movement, life cycle, food, and predators. A table of contents, index, glossary, and list of resources are included. This is an appealing introduction to jellyfish with enough information for a basic research project. It is part of the level 3 Blastoff! Readers series called Ocean Life Up Close.
Grains
Qeb Publishing - Quarto Library [Qeb Publishing - Quarto Library]
Parker, Vic
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 16, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
Vic Parker Grains R gr 1-4 This is a basic book about grains that covers a lot of topics related to grains in an interesting way. There are nine two-page chapters cover topics such as different kinds of grains and where they grow, grains as part of a healthy diet, parts of grain, and how rice, wheat, and corn are each grown. The most basic information is in larger text with supplemental information in slightly smaller text. The information is complemented and expanded with one experiment, four recipes using grains, photographs, diagram, map of where grains grow around the work, and fact boxes. The experiment, recipes, and information about growing different grains are numbered in steps which are good examples of how to write how-to information. A table of contents, short glossary, and index are included as well as a list of follow-up activities. It is part of the Eat Smart series.
Rabbit & Robot And Ribbit
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Bell, Cece
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 16, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
Rabbit shows up unexpectedly at his friend Robot’s house and is surprised to see that Ribbit the frog is there already. Robot invites Rabbit to join them, but Rabbit has difficulty enjoying himself because he can’t understand Ribbit and he is jealous. When Rabbit and Ribbit start arguing over who gets to be Cowboy Jack, Robot’s Emotion Detector gets overloaded and he collapses. Rabbit runs around panicking, then finally understands that Ribbit wants him to read the button on Robot to restart him. When Robot is better they all do a better job of understanding each other and playing together. There is humor, illustrations on every page, and the characters have great personalities. This is a fun and well-written easy chapter book about friendship that everyone will enjoy.
Plants Can't Sit Still
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Hirsch, Rebecca E
POSADA. MIA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 16, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
This nonfiction picture book covers how plants move in a variety of ways. Some of the types of movement include sprouting seeds, movement to face sun or moon, closing at night, movement to hide from or catch animals, and the various ways seeds travel. The informational text flows across the full-page illustrations with key words in larger font and another color for emphasis. The wonderful illustrations are cut-paper collage with watercolor and add realistic detail to supplement the text as well as depth and visual appeal. Four pages at the end give more information about the movement of sixteen plants featured in the illustrations and also several detailed paragraphs about the topic in general. A glossary and list of resources are included at the end. This is quality book that is appealing for browsing, but also could be used by a teacher during a unit on plants or an art lesson.
Giraffes
Abdo Kids [Abdo Kids]
Hansen, Grace
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 16, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
This is a basic introduction to giraffes with large photographs and two to four simple sentences on each two-page spread. There only two chapters and the first one is fourteen pages with basic information about size, body, and food. The second chapter is four pages and is about baby giraffes. The book includes a facts page with three facts, 3-word glossary, table of contents, and short index. It is slightly more difficult and detailed than several other Abdo Kids series, such as Farm Animals, Pet Animals, and Everyday Animals. There is enough information for a very basic research report. It is part of the Abdo Kids Super Species series.
How Do Formula One Race Cars Work?
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Silverman, Buffy
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 16, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
If you have every wanted to know the basics about why Formula One race cars are made the way they are, this is book is a great place to start. There are four chapters covering the car body and basics, engines, tires and wings, and safety. In each chapter there are several short simple paragraphs on a bright color or photograph background. There are also captioned and uncaptioned photographs to support the text. Also included are a table of contents, diagram, fun facts, glossary, list of resources, and a short index. This is an appealing book that clearly explains Formula One race cars which will appeal to young readers who love vehicles and want to know the basics of how they work. It is part of the Lightning Bolt Books How Vehicles Work series.
Henry & Leo
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Zagarenski, Pamela
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 17, 2017
Gallagher, Donna
A stunningly illustrated picture book about a boy and his beloved stuffed lion “Leo.” Zagarenski’s dream like mixed media illustrations transport the reader into the imaginary world of Henry’s experience and imagination. Reality to children is subjective, often flooded by overwhelming emotions, and in this deeply moving book, love. Henrys deep love for his dear friend Leo brings great distress when separated but true to the eternal omnipotent nature of love, Leo will find his way home. As we all know, love conquers all obstacles. So Leo the stuffed beloved lion will find a way to reunite with his dear friend, Henry. The illustrations reinforce the fantastic world of imaginary characters so necessary for children’s development. They communicate the alternative reality of Leo’s experience and let the reader journey with Leo back to Henry’s confident, waiting arms reinforcing that the world is quite wonderful and extraordinary things truly do happen!
Are You Sure, Mother Bear?
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Hest, Amy
Friend, Alison
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 17, 2017
Gallagher, Donna
“Are You Sure, Little Bear?” by Amy Hest, Illustrated by Lauren Tobia The beautiful illustrations immediately draw readers into the silent awe inspiring experience of an evening snowfall, transporting the reader from the oh so cozy home to the snow covered woods on a magical night. As Mother Bear and Little Miss Bear snuggle and watch the snowfall overnight the traditional expectation for bears is revealed. “Winter is for sleeping” Mother Bear explains. Little Miss will have to wait to see the stars, the moon and the hills to roll on, in the spring. Not convinced that the snow should be forgone for hibernation Little Miss petitions Mother Bear to take one last roll on the moonlit snowy hills. Her mother lovingly accepts her need to experience this quiet joy. They pull on their boots, wrap their noses, button up their bathrobes and explore the new fallen snow together. Curiosity sated, Mother Bear and Little Miss return home to hibernate until they wake, still together, in the spring.
Peter Jackson : Director Of The Lord Of The Rings And The Ho
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Felix, Rebecca
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 17, 2017
Sonnen, Dave
This 32 page biography is a part of the “Movie Makers” series. It looks at the life of screenwriter, director, and special effects creator, Peter Jackson. Jackson is primarily known for his work on the Lord of the Rings movies (1999-2003). The book follows his life chronologically from birth in New Zealand in 1961 to 2010. We learn about how his passion for movies and special effects developed, how he was able to create the Lord of the Rings movies, and some of the awards he earned for his work. The text is well-written and is accompanied by color, captioned photographs. Fast fact and other call out boxes provide additional information to the reader. The book contains a table of contents, timeline, index, and glossary. As Jackson is still alive, there may be more to his story in the future. This will make the book out of date sooner than later. Also, this title may have limited appeal (to those students who have seen the Lord of the Rings Movies), however, it can add to the breadth of your biography collection.
Beyonce : Singer, Songwriter, And Actress
Enslow Publishing [Enslow Publishing]
Kampff, Joseph
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 17, 2017
Sonnen, Dave
This 24 page biography is a part of the “Exceptional African Americans” series. The book explores the life of singer, songwriter, and actor Beyonce’ chronologically from birth in 1981 up to 2013. The reader will learn about her family, performing groups, and other activities such as clothing design and acting. The text is simple and understandable. Color, captioned photographs are found throughout the book. There are also quotes from Beyonce' in a talking bubble. The book has a glossary (on page 2, before the contents), table of contents, timeline, bibliography, and index. Since her live is continuing to evolve, this book may be out of date soon, making this an additional purchase.
Andrew Jackson
Big Buddy Books/abdo [Big Buddy Books/abdo]
Gunderson, Megan M
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 17, 2017
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the “The United States Presidents” series, this 40 page book explores the life of our 7th President, Andrew Jackson. The biography opens with some of the important facts of his life and a timeline, then the book describes his life chronologically. Jackson was the first president from a poor family and was a hero in the War of 1812. Captioned illustrations are found throughout the book and enhance the well-written text. The end matter (common to all books in the series) include information about the office, line of succession, benefits, and a list of presidents to Obama. The book has a table of contents, glossary, and index. A solid presidential biography for this age level. Buy if you have a need.
Andrew Johnson
Big Buddy Books/abdo [Big Buddy Books/abdo]
Gunderson, Megan M
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 17, 2017
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the “The United States Presidents” series, this 40 page book explores the life of our 17th President, Andrew Johnson. The biography opens with some of the important facts of his life and a timeline, then the book describes his life chronologically. Johnson became president after the assassination of Lincoln and was the first president to be impeached. Captioned illustrations are found throughout the book and enhance the well-written text. The end matter (common to all books in the series) include information about the office, line of succession, benefits, and a list of presidents to Obama. The book has a table of contents, glossary, and index. A solid presidential biography for this age level. Buy if you have a need.
Friends Is Friends
FIRST SECOND [FIRST SECOND]
Cook, Greg
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
January 17, 2017
Burton, Paula
A graphic novel about a hobo elephant. He arrives in a town and befriends a child like boy pig. The relation goes sour and the little pig calls him a fatso and tells the elephant he hates him. A girl pig is the next one to strike up a conversation with the elephant. The girl is looking for her snowman Freezee. She is very disappointed she cannot find him, and drowns her sorrow with the elephant in a bottle of liquor. Within the first twenty pages there is swearing, drinking, and behavior that is not suitable for a young audience and although the illustrations are sweet and the chapters short, this is a graphic novel for a mature young adult that could fit into the high/lo category because of its simple text. The illustrations are black and white with a dark outline.
Sleeping Gypsy
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Gerstein, Mordicai
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
January 18, 2017
Gallagher, Donna
“The Sleeping Gypsy” by Mordicai Gerstein Author and illustrator Mordicai Gerstein guides his readers through the art appreciation process one loving page at a time. Using the famous “The Sleeping Gypsy” as his entree to the process of reading a painting, Gerstein models the questions viewers might ask themselves when assessing the mystery of the painting. The surreal emotive qualities of danger, peace, and contentment portrayed in the original painting are jumping off points for the book's backstory. Rousseau's original primitive treatment created the sense of surrealism as the gypsy practically slips of the canvas yet is anchored firmly by the lions stance. In an age of realism Rousseau's painting was highly influential to artists Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. The viewers in 1844 were unused to such strong emotional reactions to paintings and became quite famous for his jungle scenes. An excellent title as a mentor text for art appreciation.
Steven Spielberg : Director And Producer Of The Jurassic Par
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Felix, Rebecca
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 18, 2017
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Movie Makers" series, this 32 page biography examines the life of director and producer, Steven Spielberg. The book opens explaining why Spielberg is a Hollywood legend and then surveys his life chronologically. The reader learns about how his interest in movies began, how he developed his talent, and his movie making successes. The text is well-written and accompanied by color, captioned photographs. Call out boxes provide additional details. A critic page shares a positive and negative review of "Jurassic Park." The book in complete with a table of contents, timeline, glossary, and index. Web resources are available through the publisher's website. As Spielberg is still alive, this book will become out of date quickly, however, young movie makers will find this simple biography interesting and might encourage them in this field.
Science Of Hockey : The Top Ten Ways Science Affects The
Sports Illustrated Kids/capstone Pr [Sports Illustrated Kids/capstone Pr]
Chandler, Matt
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 19, 2017
Dame, Anne
I feel like this book might have been written because of all the STEM emphasis in education curricula these days. With that said, there is a lot of great scientific information in this book and a lot of great hockey information as well. For me, however, it seemed to be forcing a blend of the two with neither really coming out ahead. I can see students getting engaged with the full color photographs on each page and hockey lovers will likely get the most out of this 32 page book. There is a glossary at the back, plus definitions in a text box on the page where they occur. Also included: suggestions for further reading and a website for further information.
Cristiano Ronaldo
Pebble Plus/capstone Press [Pebble Plus/capstone Press]
Schuh, Mari
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 19, 2017
Dame, Anne
Easy to read, with roughly 15-20 large font words per two page spread. Full color photographs on each two page spread. Clever timeline on each two page spread that uses soccer balls to mark the dates and important events in Ronaldo's life. Perfect beginning reader biography for those with an interest in soccer.
Music In George's Head : George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody In
Calkins Creek [Calkins Creek]
Slade, Suzanne
Koehler, Fred
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 19, 2017
Dame, Anne
Shades of blue dominate the lovely illustrations of this book describing Gershwin's creation of his famous piece "Rhapsody in Blue". The words on the page are also written in a manner that enhances the feel of both the music and the events being depicted. A lovely and engaging story - it made me find the song on YouTube while I was reading it and it just happened to coincide with the exact moment being described on the page. Love it! Great addition to a library collection, but I could also see an elementary music teacher using the book and the music in a classroom setting.
Wright Brothers
Abdo Zoom [Abdo Zoom]
Strand, Jennifer
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 19, 2017
Sonnen, Dave
This biography is part of the "Zoom In On: Incredible Inventors" series. The 24 pages look at the lives of airplane inventors, Orville and Wilbur Wright. This is a simple book with easy text appropriate for emerging reader. Each chapter is 2 or 4 pages and contains several simple sentence and photographs. We learn about where they were born, their invention and legacy. While the book will in no way serve in depth research, it will give readers a basic overview of their lives. The book has the usual non-fiction text features: table of contents, glossary, timeline, index. There is no bibliography, however, readers are referred to the publisher's website for more information. This would be a good book for students learning about biographies.
Benjamin Franklin
Abdo Zoom [Abdo Zoom]
Strand, Jennifer
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 19, 2017
Sonnen, Dave
This biography is part of the "Zoom In On: Incredible Inventors" series. The 24 pages look at the life of Benjamin Franklin. This is a simple book with easy text appropriate for emerging reader. Each chapter is 2 or 4 pages and contains several simple sentence and photographs. We learn about his childhood, his inventions and publications and his legacy. While the book will in no way serve in depth research, it will give readers a basic overview of their lives. The book has the usual non-fiction text features: table of contents, glossary, timeline, index. There is no bibliography, however, readers are referred to the publisher's website for more information. This would be a good book for students learning about biographies.
Dr. Seuss
Abdo Zoom [Abdo Zoom]
Strand, Jennifer
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 19, 2017
Sonnen, Dave
This biography is part of the "Zoom In On: Amazing Authors" series. The 24 pages look at the life of author/illustrator, Theodor Geisel. This is a simple book with easy text appropriate for emerging reader. Each chapter is 2 or 4 pages and contains several simple sentence and photographs. We learn about where he was born, how he found writing, and his publications. While the book will in no way serve in depth research, it will give readers a basic overview of their lives. The book has the usual non-fiction text features: table of contents, glossary, timeline, index. There is no bibliography, however, readers are referred to the publisher's website for more information. This would be a good book for students learning about biographies and to share with younger audiences for Read Across America Day.
Jane Goodall
Abdo Zoom [Abdo Zoom]
Strand, Jennifer
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 19, 2017
Sonnen, Dave
This biography is part of the "Zoom In On: Great Women" series. The 24 pages look at the life of primate researcher, Jane Goodall. This is a simple book with easy text appropriate for emerging reader. Each chapter is 2 or 4 pages and contains several simple sentence and photographs. We learn about where she was born, how she became interested in her field, her accomplishments and legacy. While the book will in no way serve in depth research, it will give readers a basic overview of their lives. The book has the usual non-fiction text features: table of contents, glossary, timeline, index. There is no bibliography, however, readers are referred to the publisher's website for more information. This would be a good book for students learning about biographies.
Nelson Mandela
Abdo Zoom [Abdo Zoom]
Strand, Jennifer
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 19, 2017
Sonnen, Dave
This biography is part of the "Zoom In On: Legendary Leaders" series. The 24 pages look at the life of activist and eventual president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. This is a simple book with easy text appropriate for emerging reader. Each chapter is 2 or 4 pages and contains several simple sentence and photographs. We learn about where he was born, his activism to end apartheid, his presidency, Nobel Prize, and legacy. While the book will in no way serve in depth research, it will give readers a basic overview of their lives. The book has the usual non-fiction text features: table of contents, glossary, timeline, index. There is no bibliography, however, readers are referred to the publisher's website for more information. This would be a good book for students learning about biographies.
Rat Prince
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Hodder, Bridget
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 19, 2017
Tucker, Merrilyn
If you are looking for a fresh look at the Cinderella story, this is the book for you. Told alternately by Rat (Char) and Lady Rose aka Cinderella, the fairy tale unveils previously unknown facts. Lady Rose's father had been tricked into marrying evil Wilhemina, mainly because he was developing dementia and was not aware of her wily ways. Wilhemina had two daughters, one evil and one who was very attached to Lady Rose. Cook sided with Wilhemina and was mean to Cinderella, while the housekeeper was an ally to the girl. The biggest surprise was that Cinderella had a pet rat, Char, who always kept an eye out for her personal safety. When the ball invitation came, Cinderella was aided by the family goddess. She clothed, shoed, and carriaged the girl and turned the rats into footmen. It was when Char became a man that he could express his love for the Lady Rose and she for him. The prince turned out to be not such a nice guy, after all, and he...I definitely do not want to spoil the ending for you readers. Suffice to say that almost everyone lived happily ever after. This is a charming tale and I can only hope that first time Hodder has more stories to come in the future!
World War I through the Eyes of Woodrow Wilson
ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
Lanser, Amanda
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 19, 2017
Sonnen, Dave
Part of the "Presidential Perspectives" series, this 48 page book looks at World War I though the Wilson presidency. The book opens with a description of Wilson's speech to congress asking for a war declaration. The text then describes the beginning of the war, how the US remained neutral at first, and finally how America got involved. The book finally explains the treaties ending the war and the aftermath. The text is well-written and clearly describes the events. Captioned photographs are found throughout and add to the narrative. Sidebars, timelines, maps, and primary source quotes are also present and helpful. Common core related activities are found at the end of each chapter and in the end matter. The book has a table of contents, glossary, index, bibliography (web resources are provided through the publisher's webpage) and author information. This would be a strong addition to your World War section, however, curriculum use at elementary level might be limited.
Coca-Cola
BELLWETHER MEDIA [BELLWETHER MEDIA]
GREEN, SARA
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 19, 2017
Sonnen, Dave
An appealing book in the "Brands We Know' series. The 24 page book takes a look at soft drink giant, Coca-Cola. The reader learns what coke is, the inventor- John Pemberton, how the company grew and evolved, commercial, and brands. The text also speaks to the issue of sugar and obesity. The final section describes the company's philanthropy. Captioned photographs are found throughout. The book has the typical non-fiction text features: table of contents, timeline, glossary, bibliography (web resources are found on the publisher's website), and index. This book may be used in health research and for occasional browsing.
Zabajaba Jungle
Square Fish [Square Fish]
Steig, William
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 19, 2017
Williams, Karen I.
William Steig's classic tale of Leonard being the first human to hack with a bolo his way into the Zabajaba Jungle and how he gets away from carnivorous flowers, befriends a big butterfly who returns the favor later, walks through a petrified monster, awakens in his hammock to find a pile of snakes below. At the urging of a big bird sips the nectar of a huge, yellow flower which rises up into the sky, jumps out to land on fern fronds when he is dragged off by a bunch of mandrills with blue behinds. They dump him into a hole and then return to get him to take him before three judges who tell him that it is against the law to take a sip of Jabazaba nector. At the urging of a voice from the bushes, Leonard takes fireworks out of his knapsack and sets them off which hypnotizes the others. Flora the bird helps him to escape and head out. As he climbs over some rocks, he is surprised to see his parents in an enormous bottle which he finally breaks to release them and they leave the jungle together. Flora and fauna are unlike anything we usually see but the story is creative and has been a favorite for years and will be for years to come. Review copy in paperback.
Roland The Minstrel Pig
Square Fish [Square Fish]
Steig, William
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 19, 2017
Williams, Karen I.
In William Steig's first published children's book, Roland the Minstrel Pig is encouraged to share his talent with others by his friends. After setting out, Roland is befriended by a fox, Sebastian, who offers to take him to perform before the King. But after surviving a couple of "accidents" with a huge bolder, hornets, a lute wire around his neck, Roland is hoisted up in a tree to see over the trees for the towers of the castle. No luck but when he looks down, he discovers that he is over a fire and learns that the fox is not his friend. Roland sings a final song which is heard by the King who rescues Roland and takes him to the castle to continue singing. While the animals and vegetation do not always seem to be from the same continent, the story is a classic to be enjoyed by generations to come. Review copy in paperback.
Practical Origami
Enslow Publishing [Enslow Publishing]
Butler, Tom
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 21, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
Eighteen origami projects with a practical use are explained step-by-step after an introduction and two pages of origami folds and symbols. Each two-page spread includes a description of the project, small color photo of the finished project, and steps for each project with a diagrams and text. The projects includes cards for special days like Valentine’s Day and Halloween as well as cards with origami decorations. There are also several gifts like an origami bookmark, boxes and masks. Some are fairly simple, but the last project called Sunburst requires 24 origami papers. Origami enthusiasts will enjoy using their origami skills to make gifts.
School's First Day Of School
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Rex, Adam
ROBINSON, CHRISTIAN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 21, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
An elementary school gets built over the summer and he talks with the janitor as he cleans. The janitor says many children would be coming to school the next day. The school is a bit worried as so many children arrive. Some don’t like it there and the school thinks he must be awful. Then the school accidentally has a fire drill and silently apologizes to all the students. He listens in on a kindergarten class, laughs at a joke, and learns some new things. At the end of the day he tells the janitor that he wants the children to come back. This is an unusual story from the point of view of the school and elementary students will enjoy imagining what their school would think and feel. Christian Robinson’s acrylic paint and collage illustrations fit the story perfectly and there are plenty of details that will delight readers.
Max And The Won't Go To Bed Show
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Sperring, Mark
Warburton, Sarah
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 21, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
Max performs many “tricks” to avoid going to bed, but they don’t really work. For example, he performs The Great Disappearing Boy Trick and it turns out he is just in the bathroom brushing his teeth. Even with pajamas to put on, stuffed animals, and bedtime stories Max gets to sleep fairly quickly. Younger children will enjoy the story and adults will like how swiftly Max goes to bed. The bright full-page illustrations are full of fun details and add to the simple plot line. Younger children will enjoy the story and adults will like how swiftly Max goes to bed.
Such A Little Mouse
ORCHARD BOOKS [ORCHARD BOOKS]
Schertle, Alice
Yue, Stephanie
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 21, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
A little mouse lives in a cozy home under a meadow. He spends the day visiting other animals and collecting food. This continues throughout the seasons until he reads a book and goes to sleep for the winter. The illustrations are cute, but there is no real plot to the story. The mouse just does things throughout the days.
Genetics
CHILDRENS PRESS [CHILDRENS PRESS]
Taylor-Butler, Christine
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 21, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
The basics of genetics are clearly explained from the history of genetics to the future of genetic research. Five chapters cover topics such as the definition of genetics, historic breakthrough, genetic “fingerprints”, and modern use of genetics. Each chapter has sections with subtitles and a captioned illustration, diagram, or photograph on almost every page. A list of statistics, list of three resources, index, and glossary are included. The information is not detailed but it gives a very informative overall understanding of genetics and introduces the most important genetic topics and scientists. It is part of the True Book series.
Best Frints In The Whole Universe
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Portis, Antoinette
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 21, 2017
Burton, Paula
From the author who wrote and illustrated Not a box, Froodle and Wait this is a new picture book. Two aliens who are the best friends, which is not easy on their planet Boborp “where teef are long, and tempers are short” Omek and Yelfred do everything together. When it comes to sharing a “blurfday” gift, Yelfred does not agree with Omek to drive his new spossip (spaceship), but Omek does it anyway. Omek “shmackle the spossip a little bit” The spaceship is in ruins in a crater in the background when the friends do argue. In the end they do make up and work together to fix the “spossip”. This is a simple, humorous story about friendship, sharing and helping out a friend. Imaginative words are used close enough to English that children will figure out what the two aliens are talking about. If not, there are explanations with clear illustrations on the endpapers. The repetition of the sentence “Not like here on planet Earth” will make fun of the fact that only aliens have disagreements. Colorful, black outlined illustrations will help listeners and early readers resonate with the message about true “frintships”.
Dc Super Friends : The Missing Batmobile
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 21, 2017
Burton, Paula
A lift the flap board book with all the favorite DC characters. The joker has stolen the bat-mobile. Batman will ask all his friends, like Superman, the Flash, and Wonder woman, to help him get it back. First up is Superman. Tabs with pictures on the side will tell the reader which character is on the spread. Two lift the flaps reveal characters enemies or friends. The last page opens up to a foldout with all the superheroes and the line “Super Friends always win”. With the bright colorful illustrations, this will be a sure hit with fans of DC superheroes or their first DC character book.
Blue Penguin
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Horacek, Petr
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 26, 2017
Fisk, Rhetta
Blue Penguin is a simple story about a penguin who isn't quite exactly like the other penguins. He can fish and dive, but he isn't quite the right color. Alone, he dreams of a beautiful white whale. After days of emptiness, another penguin joins in play to learn his song. Now the other penguins join in listening, just as the whale in his dream comes to end his loneliness. "I belong here," says Blue Penguin and he sings a new song of friendship. The story doesn't quite flow in a logical sequence, but the students I read it to didn't care. The textured illustrations--deep blues, white, and greens--set the tone of the text.
Ghosts
GRAPHIX [GRAPHIX]
Telgemeier, Raina
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 26, 2017
Fisk, Rhetta
Raina Telegemeier is the successful and popular author of "Sisters," "Drama," "Smile," and the graphic novel formats of the Babysitter Club books. This graphic novel book is the story of Catrina and her family who moves to Northern California to help her sick sister Maya who has cystic fibrosis. Here they make new friends and confront the seriousness of Maya's illness. They journey through the Hispanic communities that embrace the ghosts of their families.Catrina and Maya explore their fears and relationship during the season of El Dia de los Muertos when family and loved ones meet again. R Starred in Kirkus Review and School Library Journal. Highly in demand by Telegemeier readers.
I'll Wait, Mr. Panda
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Antony, Steve
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 26, 2017
Fisk, Rhetta
This is the second book of panda and friends and their donut obsession. Panda is baking something but his friends have to be patient and wait for the surprise dessert. Flour, milk, and sugar will make what? ---A giant donut of of course! "Please Mr. Donut" reminds children of please and thank you. "I'll Wait, Mr. Panda" reminds them that in an adult-focused world there is always waiting. Kids love it as much as the first.
Tower Of Giraffes : Animals In Groups
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Wright, Anna
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 26, 2017
Shirts, Brooke
A mischief of mice, a troop of monkeys, a prickle of hedgehogs! Anne Wright's tour through the wild kingdom is a great introduction to the quirky and sometimes witty concept of animal group names. Each is dedicated to a marvelous portrait of a group of animals, whether squirrels, hedgehogs, or giraffes, the animals' group name shown in an elegant calligraphed scrawl. The animal illustrations are marvelous, with thick ink outlines showing large, expressive eyes and limbs that seem ready to move off the page. The ink outlines are colored in a variety of ways; some use watercolors, some thick smears of metallic spatter paint, others employ feathers and fabric. The only disappointment is the text, which, while interesting and informative, is somewhat dry in comparison to the lively illustrations. But it's a great resource for kids interested in this topic.
Loula And Mister The Monster
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Villeneuve, Anne
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 27, 2017
Elders, Ann
Loula and her dog Mister are inseparable. One day Loula overhears her mother say, “I can’t live with that MONSTER anymore!” and knows her mother is talking about Mister. Loula goes on a campaign to teach Mister good manners. All of her lessons turn into disaster, from eating cheese tartines, chasing a squirrel into a museum, playing in a fountain. Desolate at the failure to teach him manners, she returns home to discover that Mister is dearly loved by her mother and not the “Monster” to be thrown out. Illustrations are delightful. Children will love the situations Loula and Mister get into and the frustration of teaching Mister to behave. Dog lovers will enjoy this immensely and understand the love of child and dog. Delightful!
Sign Of The Cat
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Jonell, Lynne
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 27, 2017
Elders, Ann
Much of Duncan McKay’s life was hidden, including his ability to speak to cats. Though very smart Duncan’s mother instructs him to never do his best. Duncan’s life becomes a quest to save the cats of Arvidia from a kitten-squishing villain and learning his own identity and his role in the kingdom. With the king dying and the princess missing, Duncan goes on an epic journey to discover what is truly going on the kingdom of Arvidia and to find the missing cats. This journey will eventually lead Duncan to academic success, to achieve political fame, and to use his sword-fighting excellence. The story is full of intrigue. Cat-lovers will be both horrified and thrilled with this tale. The author illustrates her own story.
Anastasia's Chosen Career
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Lowry, Lois
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 27, 2017
Elders, Ann
This is a reprint of the popular Anastasia books of the 1980’s. As part of a required school project on her chosen career, Anastasia decides to take a modeling course in Boston to gain self-confidence. Taking the bus into Boston by herself is a major step. She learns that there is more to modeling than just being pretty. As she learns about modeling, she also makes friends with some other students in the class including weird Robert Giannini whom she has known for years. These young people discover much about themselves as they learn about make-up, clothing, hair styles, movement, and camera confidence. While in Boston she also goes to a bookstore to interview a bookstore owner. Being a bookstore owner is more likely to be her chosen career. The story includes segments from her report. There are some valuable personal skills revealed in this story. Ignoring the time of the story, girls will find this an interesting book even today.
Slickety Quick : poems about sharks
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Brown, Skila
Kolar, Bob
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
January 27, 2017
Elders, Ann
Sharks create the perfect opportunity immerse students in poetry. This book does it extremely effectively. Each short poem is about a different type of shark—from the familiar great white shark to the goblin shark and others not so well known. There are 16 types included. Illustrations are all underwater drawings reflecting the uniqueness of each. Poetry form is different for each shark making it appealing as a teaching tool too. These give the impression of being in the water with them. Accompanying the poem is a descriptive factual sentence. Beautifully written and drawn, students of all levels will devour the book and want to read it over and over.
Hercufleas
CLARION [CLARION]
Gayton, Sam
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 27, 2017
Lewis, Jo
Believing that his size does not determine his success, Hercufleas plans to become a superhero. He sets out to collect the last bit of Black Death in order to defeat Yuk, the murderous giant, but has to make a difficult choice in order not to endanger the whole world. Changing many words to portray the fleas’ world makes for some lack of smooth reading, but it is charming. (“family” becomes “fleamily” etc.) Line drawings would have added to the charm; my mind was busy filling in those pictures. Greta, a girl who has lost her family to the giant has a significant role in this adventure. Might be a good read aloud if the reader is comfortable saying a lot of “snot-like” words out loud… and you’re good with alternate pronunciations.
Boy Called Christmas
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Haig, Matt
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 27, 2017
Lewis, Jo
Nikolas and his woodcutter father live in the middle of nowhere somewhere in Norway. When his father accepts a challenge that will earn him a lot of money if successful, he leaves Nikolas in the hands of his cruel aunt and takes off. After some time, Nikolas decides to go in search of his father and the adventure begins. Throw in a mouse, misguided elves, dangerous woodcutters, a flying reindeer and see Nikolas beat the odds. This very unusual take on Santa Claus is not a sweet story. There is violence and danger. A British import that will appeal to fans of Dahl and Lemony Snicket. Read before sharing
Princess In Black Takes A Vacation
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Hale, Shannon
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 27, 2017
Lewis, Jo
Tired from controlling monsters who threaten her country, Princess in Black decides to take a vacation at the beach only to find a roaring monster there as well. Alternating story lines may be somewhat confusing as we read about Goat Avenger in his own battle with a monster back on his mountain. Full color illustrations on most pages with a lot of white space around the text should appeal to early readers.
Bramble And Maggie : Snow Day
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Haas, Jessie
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 27, 2017
Lewis, Jo
Preparing for a coming snowstorm, Bramble and Maggie don’t foresee all the possible problems. Although Maggie thinks she has everything under control, Bramble has other ideas and outsmarts Maggie. Luckily Bramble can help Maggi and the neighbors when they become trapped by snow in their homes. Early chapter book readers with enjoy this story about a girl and her horse and the camaraderie so perfectly portrayed in the charming illustrations. The story is told in three chapters: before during and after the storm. Readers will also learn some interesting facts about horses adaptations to snow.
Clara Humble And The Not-So-Super Powers
Owlkids Books, Inc [Owlkids Books, Inc]
Humphrey, Anna
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 27, 2017
Lewis, Jo
Clara believes that she has super powers as she can spill things without touching them, communicate with chinchillas and wake up at the same time of day. A fun story about a fourth grader dealing with every day issues. Although the publisher touts this as a middle school novel, I found the story rather more apt to appeal to lower grades because of typeface and illustrations. Wouldn’t be a first choice for me.
Last-But-Not-Least Lola And A Knot The Size Of Texas
Boyds Mills Press [Boyds Mills Press]
Pakkala, Christine
Nichols, Lori
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 27, 2017
Lewis, Jo
In her fourth adventure, Lola, wanting to be kind to her friends, takes on the job of dog-sitting for two of her friends over Thanksgiving without getting permission from her parents. As the parent of a very curly-headed son, I found the descriptions of Lola trying to deal with her curly knots very true to life. She also must figure out a way to complement her two grandmothers on their very different pumpkin pies. Numerous charming line drawn illustrations add to the fun.
Jolly Regina
Amulet Books [Amulet Books]
Lareau, Kara
Hill, Jen
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 27, 2017
Gustafson, Chris
With sisters named Jaundice and Kale as main characters, you might guess you are in Lemony Snicket territory, and there's a good deal of snarky humor here. When their parents disappear, Jaundice and Kale just keep going in their bland, isolated home, not so much out of pluck but in a spirit of habit and inertia. When they are pulled out of their regimented existence and into a series of quirky adventures with an intriguing band of female pirates, they decline an opportunity to reunite with their parents in favor of returning home. Advertised for fans of Roald Dahl, but not sure that's an apt comparison.
Barracuda
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Brouwer, Sigmund
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 27, 2017
Gustafson, Chris
n Seven, the Orca Publishers series, seven different authors each tell the story of a grandson who is taken on national and international adventures with their grandfather. A companion series, The Seven Sequels, followed. Now there's the Seven Prequels, the third entry in this set of companion books which can be read in any order, although it is possible that readers might feel more connected if they began with at least one of the first series as their first read. In this prequel, Jim goes to a Florida resort with grandfather and tries to solve a cold case that has gone unsolved for years. For fans of the series.
Missing Skull
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Wilson, John
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 27, 2017
Gustafson, Chris
n Seven, the Orca Publishers series, seven different authors each tell the story of a grandson who is taken on national and international adventures with their grandfather. A companion series, The Seven Sequels, followed. Now there's the Seven Prequels, the third entry in this set of companion books which can be read in any order, although it is possible that readers might feel more connected if they began with at least one of the first series as their first read. In this prequel, Steve is jealous that his twin brother got to take a trip to Central America with grandfather, but a road trip to a lake gets more interesting when grandfather invites Steve to try to solve the mystery of a missing skull. For fans of the series.
Jungle Land
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Walters, Eric
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 27, 2017
Gustafson, Chris
n Seven, the Orca Publishers series, seven different authors each tell the story of a grandson who is taken on national and international adventures with their grandfather. A companion series, The Seven Sequels, followed. Now there's the Seven Prequels, the third entry in this set of companion books which can be read in any order, although it is possible that readers might feel more connected if they began with at least one of the first series as their first read. In this prequel, D.J. goes to Central America with grandfather but an attempted kidnapping sends D.J. fleeing with Alexandra, the capable and attractive granddaughter of one of grandfather's good friends. There's rapids, waterfalls, chases by shadowy enemies and the intimation that grandfathers import/export might not be as innocent as it seems. In the end, were D.J. and Alexandra really in danger? For fans of the series.
Slide
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Mcclintock, Norah
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 27, 2017
Gustafson, Chris
n Seven, the Orca Publishers series, seven different authors each tell the story of a grandson who is taken on national and international adventures with their grandfather. A companion series, The Seven Sequels, followed. Now there's the Seven Prequels, the third entry in this set of companion books which can be read in any order, although it is possible that readers might feel more connected if they began with at least one of the first series as their first read. In this prequel, there's a slight twist as Rennie is sent off on a ski trip with his grandmother. An injury takes grandmother out of the picture and Rennie finds himself part of a plot involving avalanches and murder. For fans of the series.
Weerdest Day Ever!
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Scrimger, Richard
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 27, 2017
Gustafson, Chris
In Seven, the Orca Publishers series, seven different authors each tell the story of a grandson who is taken on national and international adventures with their grandfather. A companion series, The Seven Sequels, followed. Now there's the Seven Prequels, the third entry in this set of companion books which can be read in any order, although it is possible that readers might feel more connected if they began with at least one of the first series as their first read. In this prequel, Bunny, his older brother, and grandfather go camping, but once they get their camp site set up, grandfather is distracted by an old friend, older brother gets involved with a group of Revolutionary War rein-actors who are filming at the camp site, and Bunny has a chance to make his own adventures. Not very fast moving, for fans of the original series.
Speed
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Staunton, Ted
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 27, 2017
Gustafson, Chris
In Seven, the Orca Publishers series, seven different authors each tell the story of a grandson who is taken on national and international adventures with their grandfather. A companion series, The Seven Sequels, followed. Now there's the Seven Prequels and then third entry in this set of companion books which can be read in any order, although it is possible that readers might feel more connected if they began with at least one of the first series as their first read. In this prequel, Spencer, younger brother Bunny, and grandfather go to a campground where Spencer becomes involved with a group of slightly older Revolutionary War rein-actors. Spencer helps with some filming, gets to play a bit part, and learns to be more cautious about where he puts his trust while grandfather is busy with an old friend and Bunny disappears; I was alarmed but none of the characters seemed worried. For fans of the series.
Separated
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Peacock, Shane
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
7th grade to 9th grade
January 27, 2017
Gustafson, Chris
In Seven, the Orca Publishers series, seven different authors each tell the story of a grandson who is taken on international adventures with their grandfather. A companion series, The Seven Sequels, followed. Now there's the Seven Prequels and then third entry in this set of companion books which can be read in any order, although it is possible that readers might feel more connected if they began with at least one of the first series as their first read. In this prequel, cautious and somewhat fearful Adam travels to Sweden with his grandfather, who tries to give Adam some confidence by leaving him on his own in the city. Although grandfather has arranged for Adam's protection, Adam doesn't know that and is truly scared by some of his encounters with street people. There's a sense danger that is never quite explained and the unsolved mystery of grandfather's disappearances may intrigue readers, or just annoy them.
Star Is Born
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Hamilton, Sable
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 27, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
Cool--horses with a twist! The Stardust Stables series is about stunt riders who work in movies, commercials, TV shows. Kami is new to Stardust Stables and is just learning the trade, based on her excellent riding skills. Will she be able to get a job as a stunt double for a famous movie star? if she does, what will happen to her budding romance with a fellow stunt rider, when a cute movie actor is in the scene. This is fun fluff that will attract both those seeking horse stories, and those who want a romance.
Watchmen Of Port Fayt
David Fickling Books [David Fickling Books]
Mason, Conrad
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 27, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
Grubb is a mongrel--half goblin, half human. It was because of their love that his parents died. He's not that unusual in Port Fayt, however. There you can find fairies, goblins, witches, shape-shifters and more. However, now the League of Light from across the sea wishes to "purify" the town, eliminating its non-human inhabitants. Does that have anything to do with the enchanted wooden spoon that was dropped by a smuggling pirate? Grubb ends up teaming with an unusual group of watchmen to save Port Fayt from a fate worse than death. Along the way he'll regain his proper name, find friends, and become part of something bigger. But will it be enough? This is obviously the first book in a series. There's plenty of action and adventure and fun characters. And, while one problem is resolved, the next one...for the next book...is a doozy. Now how long do we have to wait?
Rudas : Nino's Horrendous Hermanitas
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Morales, Yuyi
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 28, 2017
Seasholes, Craig L
A second adorable adventure with Nino again battling his twin toddler-sisters Las Horrendous Hermanitas. With his red lucha libre wrestling mask and tighty-whitey underpants, Yuyi Morales' mini-super-hero is first faced with the twin toddler's "Boom Boom, Boom! the Poopy Bomb Blowout!" He must call on his previously subdued opponents (La Llorona, El Extraterrestre, Cabeza Olmeca to accomplish the diaper change. Their next hideous move of the teething toddlers comes as they evade La Momia, bite the tail of El Chamuco and a double-trouble crying fit seems unstoppable Fortunately our clever hero escapes to his spaceship to return with his secret weapon, a book (this book). Reading this to toddlers is a secret weapon indeed, especially for those ninos familiar with Mexican American culture. Here's proof we all need diverse books!
My First 1000 Words
FIREFLY BOOKS [FIREFLY BOOKS]
Modeste, Caroline
Modeste, Caroline
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 28, 2017
Burton, Paula
A large colorful book, with everyday words for objects and activities. Babies and toddlers are familiar with most words since they are all that happens in a child’s life. The illustrations are cute and perfect for a young audience. The contents page shows three categories the 1000 words fall under; The day, Activities, and The World Around You. Characters used are toddlers and preschool age kids but also some animals like a bunny and a dog. There are arrows for the words that point to particular items within a scene or situation. Other words stand alone. Pages are thicker and have plastic film which makes it resistant to mild moisture or spills. Ideal for little readers.
Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Pak, Kenard
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 28, 2017
Burton, Paula
The transition from late summer to autumn is beautifully depicted in this picture book by illustrator Kenard Pak. Watercolor illustrations accompany simple text; a repetition of a girl greeting what comes on her path from her house, through the woods into town and back home again. Along the way she meets animals, weather elements, and humans who are also preparing for fall and responding with a greeting of their own telling the girl of the changes taking place. She sets out in the morning and returns when it gets dark. Very appropriate the last line is “Goodbye summer” as it is getting dark and the girl steps into a well lit door frame. A almost poetic approach to the subtle changes in nature during the transition time from summer into fall. The details in the illustrations might be to subtle for a read aloud to a group but could be easily caught looking at the book up close. This is Mr. Pak’s debut as an author.
Heartless Troll
ENCHANTED LION BOOKS [ENCHANTED LION BOOKS]
Torseter, Oyvind
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 28, 2017
Burton, Paula
This graphic novel starts with a page long explanation of what happened before the reader is introduced to the characters; Prince Fred, who looks more like a lost cowboy than a prince, and his nervous and talking horse who has a bandage on one of his legs. They are set out to free prince Fred’s six brothers who were turned into stone by a troll, who lives in a mountain. At the bottom the horse will just wait for prince Fred “if you get really stuck, just think of me and I’ll be there.” In the mountain he finds a fair and realistic princess. None of the other saviors came alive out of the mountain. She informs him that the Troll has hidden his heart, which is what prince Fred is after. She is willing to help him find the heart of the troll. A story according to the back blurb is a retelling of an old fairytale with all the familiar characteristics; adventure, a hopeful protagonist, a beautiful princess, and an ugly villain. Line drawings with subdued colors make this not your mainstream graphic novel but an interesting read for those fantasy, fairy tale, adventure readers not taken aback by some gruesome drawings. Some of the illustrations have a collage quality to them.
Rebel Genius
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Dimartino, Michael Dante
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 28, 2017
Tucker, Merrilyn
DiMartino has created the beginnings of a new series and it's a great one. Formerly the co-author of The Last Airbender, DiMartino had some fantasy ideas working inside of him and he truly outdid himself with this "genius" of a novel. Giacomo leaves his sewer home, finds his way to a broken down artist's colony and, when he arrives, is attacked by two Lost Souls and then rescued from imminent death by two children unknown to him. They take him to Baldassare's (a member of the government) villa where other artists and their geniuses (birds) live. Art is against the law in this world order, but here, under the protection of an official, is where art survives. Pietro, a blind artist, tries training Giacomo in the arts, but realizes there is more to this boy than simply a sewer rat with an ability to draw. The reader then follows Giacomo and his fellow artists on a quest to find the Supreme Creator's tools. And what an exciting quest through art, math, life, and death it is! Can't wait for the next book in the series.
In Plain Sight : A Game
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Jackson, Richard
Pinkney, Jerry
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 29, 2017
Wittmann, Paula
Sophie visits her wheelchair bound grandfather in his room each day when she gets home from school. Everyday he has hidden a small object “in plain sight “ that she hunts for and returns to him. One Sunday, when she is about to visit him her mother tells her he is still asleep which gives her an idea. With her parents permission, she tiptoes into his room and hides behind the curtains “in plain sight” for him to discover. This is a sweet story of a special relationship between a child and grand parent and the little rituals that make everyday life satisfying. Beautiful illustrations by Jerry Pinkney make this even more satisfying.
Frida And Bear Play The Shape Game!
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Browne, Anthony
Bartholin, Hanna
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 29, 2017
Wittmann, Paula
Anthony Browne revisits the game from his previous book, The Shape Game, introducing it to a younger audience with the help of Danish Illustrator, Hanne Bartholin. Frida, an elephant drawn by Bartholin, loves to draw. So does Bear, illustrated by Browne. When bear asks Frida what to draw she draws him a shape and tells him to make something from it. And so starts a game that becomes a daily habit. Usually it is a drawn shape that is given, but sometimes it is a scrap of paper or even a found object. Classes that I read this book to were captivated and several parents reported to me later that their children were playing the game at home as well. This is a great introduction to a classic imaginative drawing game.
Friday Barnes, Under Suspicion
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Spratt, R A
Gosier, Phil
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 29, 2017
Wittmann, Paula
Friday Barnes is not your average prep school student. She is a genius who is paying her own way through the exclusive Highcrest Academy by solving mysteries. This is partially for the education and partly to escape a brilliant, but neglectful family of astrophysicists. Mysteries abound at the school and it is through Friday’s dogged work, that she begins to see the how many are connected and ultimately brings them to a satisfying conclusion. Full of light hearted humor, entertaining characters, and heart. Readers wanting a lighthearted mystery with a touch of friendship and a dash of possible romance should enjoy this, the second in the series. The book ends with Friday learning that her mother has disappeared – readers should want to read on to see what happened.
Gertie's Leap To Greatness
Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr) [Farrar Straus Giroux (Byr)]
Beasley, Kate
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 29, 2017
Wittmann, Paula
Gertie is bound and determined to make her mark during fifth grade. She has the perfect plan to start the year out with a bang- a zombie frog to share! However, things don’t work out like she plans. A new girl, Mary Sue Spivey, is always stealing the spot light. The more Gertie tries, the more she seems to alienate her friend Jean. To make things worse, Gertie’s mother, who abandoned her as a baby, is moving away and Gertie just wants to make her understand what a wonderful kid she gave up. Things don’t work out perfectly, but by the end Gertie realizes that maybe she doesn’t need to be the best to have a good life. Gertie is a little clueless, but so full of spunk and life that you can’t help but cheer for her as she muddles through the year. Fabulous illustrations Jillian Tamaki just add to the charm.
Polar Bear
ENCHANTED LION BOOKS [ENCHANTED LION BOOKS]
Desmond, Jenni
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 29, 2017
Wittmann, Paula
A girl picks up a book and becomes immersed in the world of a non-fiction book about polar bears. As interesting and well written information on polar bears is shared the illustrations show the girl imaging scenes and reading in a variety of situations. The text is full of interesting facts and is an excellent source of information. The frame story of the little girl reader could be a discussion starter about the power of imagination to increase understanding even while reading non-fiction. However, classes I read the book responded well to the informational text, but felt that the story of the girl was a bit distracting and didn't add to the text.
There Is A Tribe Of Kids
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Smith, Lane
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 29, 2017
Wittmann, Paula
A child moves from a tribe of kids (of the goat variety) through a variety of groups animals, birds, and even inanimate objects all described using collective nouns. Eventually he ends up back with a tribe of kids- but this time they are of the human variety. Lane Smith’s illustrations make the journey come alive with humor and imagination. Readers should find lots of details to encourage rereading. Teachers should find plenty to work with as well.
Like A Bird : The Art Of The American Slave Song
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Grady, Cynthia
Wood, Michele
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
All ages
January 29, 2017
Wittmann, Paula
Artist Michelle Grady researched and based a series of paintings on slave songs. The paintings are beautiful and rich in images that evoke the history of the times the songs were sung. She, in turn, asked writer Cynthia Grady to research the history, listen to the songs and study the paintings to add commentary to her work. The result is a multilayered experience of learning about the songs, their words, and how they were used in the slave culture to pace work, entertain, and communicate. Each spread includes a painting, the music of the song that inspired it and a short essay on the history, the song, painting or how they intersect. At the end are additional lyrics, a detailed glossary, selected bibliography and suggestions for further reading and websites that often include audio versions. This should be a valuable resource for art teachers, music teachers as well as students interested in history.
Juana & Lucas
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Medina, Juana
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
January 29, 2017
Wittmann, Paula
Full of life, Juana is a perfect guide as she shares her life in Bogota, Colombia. In chatty conversation Juana shares some of her favorites place, her life with her mother and dog Lucas, what school is like and the fun she has when she visits her aunt and grandparents. The reader will also find out that there is plenty that Juana does not like. What Juana DOES NOT like most of all is learning English. Everyone tells her it will be useful, but it is only when her family travels to the United States to visit Spaceland that Juana realizes that knowing more than one language is really fantastico! This is a strong start to an unusual series. Readers will be looking for more.
Leave Me Alone!
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Brosgol, Vera
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 29, 2017
Wittmann, Paula
This is a fabulous mash up that should leave young readers happy and ready to read it again. A Russian grandma is just trying to sit down with her knitting before winter comes but her large family won’t leave her in peace. So she packs up a bag and tries to find peace in the woods, but the bears come. Moving on she tries the mountains- interrupted again. She even tries the moon but little moon-men won’t leave her alone. When she crawls through a wormhole she finally finds a place to knit in peace. When her yarn is gone and thirty sweaters have been finished she crawls through another wormhole back to her family in a happy reunion. Charming bold illustrations, quirky illustrations and a refrain of “Leave me alone” that begs to be read in choral should make this a winner at story time. It won a Caldecott honor for 2017.
People On Earth
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Richards, Jon
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 29, 2017
Wittmann, Paula
Population growth, age, literacy, and language are some of the topics touched upon in this volume of the Mapographica series. Bright, informative, map based infographics cover a lot of information in relatively little space. Each two-page spread is clearly titled with a short introduction however sometimes the layout and amount of information covered can be a little overwhelming. The infographics mainly use a combination of color, labels and scaled symbols to highlight the topic. Many include a key to aid understanding and others have short paragraphs highlighting pieces of information. Unfortunately, there is little discussion of where the information and data was found, though there are four websites listed in the back as well as a glossary, index and a page discussing maps. For students who like to slow down and take time to ponder the world this series should be a winner.
Art, Culture, And Sports
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Richards, Jon
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 29, 2017
Wittmann, Paula
Sports, architecture, tourism, and entertainment around the world are some of the topics highlighted in this volume of the Mapographica series. Bright, informative, map based infographics cover a lot of information in relatively little space. Each two-page spread is clearly titled with a short introduction and is inviting to look at. However, sometimes the layout and amount of information covered can be a little overwhelming. The infographics mainly use a combination of color, labels and scaled symbols to highlight the topic. Many include a key to aid understanding and others have short paragraphs highlighting pieces of information. Unfortunately, there is little discussion of where the information and data was found, though there are four websites listed in the back as well as a glossary, index and a page discussing maps. For students who like to slow down and take time to ponder the world this series should be a winner.
Human-Made World
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Richards, Jon
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 29, 2017
Wittmann, Paula
Resource distribution and use, architecture, money and technology are some of the topics in this volume of the Mapographica series. Bright, informative, map based infographics cover a lot of information in relatively little space. Each two-page spread is clearly titled with a short introduction however sometimes the layout and amount of information covered can be a little overwhelming. The infographics mainly use a combination of color, labels and scaled symbols to highlight the topic. Many include a key to aid understanding and others have short paragraphs highlighting pieces of information. Unfortunately, there is little discussion of where the information and data was found, though there are four websites listed in the back as well as a glossary, index and a page discussing maps. For students who like to slow down and take time to ponder the world this series should be a winner.
Natural World
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Richards, Jon
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 29, 2017
Wittmann, Paula
Physical geography, plant and animal life, volcano and earthquake hotspots and ecosystems are some of the topics touched on in this volume of the Mapographica series. Bright, informative, map based infographics cover a lot of information in relatively little space. Each two-page spread is clearly titled with a short introduction however sometimes the layout and amount of information covered can be a little overwhelming. The infographics mainly use a combination of color, labels and scaled symbols to highlight the topic. Many include a key to aid understanding and others have short paragraphs highlighting pieces of information. Unfortunately, there is little discussion of where the information and data was found, though there are four websites listed in the back as well as a glossary, index and a page discussing maps. For students who like to slow down and take time to ponder the world this series should be a winner. *Note- the review copy was bound with the last third of the pages out of order- hopefully it was not the entire run of printing.
Kai To The Rescue!
Orchard Books (Scholastic) [Orchard Books (Scholastic)]
Penn, Audrey
Yamada, Mike
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 30, 2017
Fisk, Rhetta
Kai is a little pumper truck fire engine who is too small and not the right color. The larger, red engines dismiss him as not fitting in, until he is needed for a brush fire in a cluster of tight trees. Illustrations are similar to Disney's "Cars" and the author provides a somewhat catchy rhyming scheme. The story will be a hit with fire engine fans, teachers wanting an approachable lesson on differences, and parents ready for a good bedtime story.
No Fair! No Fair! : And Other Jolly Poems Of Childhood
Orchard Books (Scholastic) [Orchard Books (Scholastic)]
Trillin, Calvin
Chast, Roz
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 30, 2017
Fisk, Rhetta
Calvin Trillin is a writer for adults of essays, poems and memoir, winning the 2013 Thurber Prize for American Humor. He has been a guest on talk shows, including PBS's Charlie Rose Show so the grown-up will know who he is. This collection of childhood poems is humorously off-center. Older students with a more attuned sense of humor will enjoy the turns and flips of these quirky poems. Adults who know Trillin past work will enjoy the voice of his writing that they have come to delight in.
Dinosaurs In Disguise
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Krensky, Stephen
Munsinger, Lynn
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 30, 2017
Fisk, Rhetta
Stephen Krensky and Lynn Munsinger have come together to create a picture book story about dinosaurs who have hidden themselves in a variety of disguises. They are not really extinct, disguising themselves as pyramids, the sphinx, Santa Claus, and a pilgrim. But then again, a little boy considers, with traffic congestion, and technology overload, unhealthy fast food, ...maybe they should just stay hidden for a while longer. The illustrations add personality and humor to the weak storyline.
Projekt 1065 : A Novel Of World War Ii
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Gratz, Alan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 30, 2017
Dame, Anne
Michael and his parents are in Germany during WWII as ambassadors from Ireland. They are out on Kristallnacht and see a man being beaten up. Michael wants to go to his aid, but his parents stop him, saying that their overall mission is more important than one person. Despite Ireland's neutrality, they are actually there as spies. Because Michael is gifted with a photographic memory, they often use him to help the cause and when he is old enough he joins the Hitler youth as a spy. Action-packed. Fans of Prisoner B-3087 will be thrilled by Gratz' latest. Good recommendation for those interested in WWII. *Some fairly graphic violence*
What A Treasure!
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Hillenbrand, Will
Hillenbrand, Will
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
January 30, 2017
Burton, Paula
Mole is digging for treasures and finds many of them. A twig for bird, a shell for snail, and an acorn for squirrel. The last thing he digs to is another mole; a new friend. Imaginary story for little ones, this board book version of the picture book will be an attractive one for those ready for a more challenging story but not ready for thin paper pages. Although the mole has a shovel to dig with and wears a headlight, the repetition of text and the charming story makes this a great addition.
Genuine Sweet
CLARION [CLARION]
Harkey, Faith
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 30, 2017
Fisk, Rhetta
Genuine Sweet is a 12 year old girl whose grandmother reveals to her that she has the gift of granting wishes. She and her grandmother live with her out-of-work, mostly drunk father, but life is sweet for her. Consternation comes when the townspeople find out that she can grant wishes by baking up biscuits and wishing on a star. But how can she get the things she wishes for? This story is as sweet and light as Genuine's biscuits, with a small town voice that rings true.
Would You Rather Be A Princess Or A Dragon?
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Saltzberg, Barney
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 31, 2017
Lindquist, Sabrina Porter
"A princess loves her bubble baths. A dragon never bathes. A princess is polite. A dragon misbehaves." That's the set-up of this compare-and-contrast book, until author-illustrator Barney Saltzberg saves it from quaint predictability by acknowledging that "From time to time a princess needs to take a little break," as she removes her pink shoes and socks and tosses her tiara. He uses this turning point to attempt to show that princess and dragon personalities are more than skin-and-scales deep, but it's easier to reveal a princess' dark side (she sticks out her tongue!) than the converse. In the dragon's less satisfying transformation, the former princess makes a head-first foray into his smiling maw. She emerges unscathed and also smiling but the idea that the dragon has a softer side doesn't come across as convincingly. The girl disappearing into the dragon's mouth could even be mildly alarming to the most sensitive young readers. Although this attempt to challenge gender stereotypes for children doesn't quite hit the mark, its simple, bouncy text and cartoon-style, digitally collaged art will find an audience in most kindergarten and first-grade classes. Roaring Brook Press, 2016.
Every Day Birds
Orchard Books (Scholastic) [Orchard Books (Scholastic)]
Vanderwater, Amy Ludwig
Metrano, Dylan
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 31, 2017
Lindquist, Sabrina Porter
Author Amy Ludwig VanDerwater captures the essence of this lovely book in her author's note: "Every day, birds add a layer of beauty and interest to our lives ... There are many feathered creatures to discover, and here is a place to begin." She provides this starting point by surveying 20 common North American birds that children are likely to see and come to identify. This is accomplished through a short, rhyming poem that gives each bird one sentence, accompanied on its own page by a close-up illustration of textured, colored paper precisely cut and layered by illustrator Dylan Metrano. The resulting 3-D effect is bold, colorful and eye-catching. This detailed yet simplified approach using saturated color and black outline puts the focus on each bird's shape and distinctive features. The text has introductory and concluding quatrains which satisfyingly frame the bird-by-bird descriptions. The book's usefulness is extended by a 4-page index featuring a small reproduction of each bird's illustration paired with a short description of its feeding and nesting behaviors and a noteworthy fact. The verso includes a short bibliography of seven additional sources. A wonderful welcome to a lifetime of bird watching! Orchard Books, 2016.
Pocket Change : Pitching In For A Better World
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Mulder, Michelle
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
January 31, 2017
Dame, Anne
Kids looking for a way to make a difference in the world will find some ideas here. Full color photographs add much to the layout of this book. Many text boxes with features like "My Two Cents Worth" where the author shares things that she has done and seen to make a change for the better, as well as "Fact Share" notes throughout. To me, the best pages were in the back in a section called Hidden Riches where the author lists 6 different concrete ways to make a difference. Also included are a glossary, index, and print and digital resource lists.
Cat Speak : Revealing Answers To The Strangest Cat Behaviors
Snap Books/capstone Press [Snap Books/capstone Press]
Webster, Maureen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
January 31, 2017
Dame, Anne
Lots of fun and interesting information about cats as well as full color photographs. Vocabulary words are bolded on the page, with definitions below as well as in the glossary at the back. Plentiful text boxes with additional facts may be a bit distracting to some readers but are also interesting tidbits. Additional features include two pages of tricks to teach your cat, glossary, index, additional print and digital sources, and some critical thinking questions based on Common Core Standards. Young cat lovers will enjoy but it never did answer my question of why my cat likes to drink from the bathroom sink.
Violence Against Women
Crabtree Publishing Company [Crabtree Publishing Company]
Marriott, Emma
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
January 31, 2017
Dame, Anne
48 pages of densely packed information about violence against women. Multiple full color photographs and assorted text boxes on each page can be a bit intimidating, even for strong readers. Many, many topics are covered so it is a good beginning point with basic information about various topics such as grooming young girls, mass rape of Congolese women, missing women in Mexico, etc. Definitely not for the faint of heart as it can be overwhelming and depressing. A few of the pages toward the end talk about taking action and making a change. I was surprised to find that there aren't additional resources listed at the back.
Rescued
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Schrefer, Eliot
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
January 31, 2017
Dame, Anne
Schrefer addresses the topic of orangutans taken from their jungle homes and families in the 3rd book of a 4 book series. John's dad works for a company that does work overseas. While on a trip there, he remembers John making a comment about how cool it would be to have an orangutan. John never really thought it was a possibility until his dad brought baby Raja home. Now they have grown up together but mom and dad are getting a divorce and they need to figure out what to do with Raja (who is totally bonded to John by the way). A heartbreaking look at what happens when humans interfere with animals and their natural environment. There is definitely a MESSAGE in this book and it's relatively subtle until the very end.
Garvey's Choice
Wordsong [Wordsong]
Grimes, Nikki
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
January 31, 2017
Dame, Anne
Novel in verse Garvey loves books, space, math, and music. His dad, however, wants him to be interested in sports. This isn't going to happen, especially since Garvey is not good at it and he's overweight and self-conscious about that. Luckily he has his best friend Joe, but even Joe doesn't really see the whole picture. A well-written middle grade navel about being true to who you are and who you want to be.
Discover Air
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Vogel, Julia
Yamada, Jane
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
January 31, 2017
Lindquist, Sabrina Porter
From the Science Around Us series published by The Child’s World, 2015. Also included in the series are books on dirt, electricity, energy, magnets, shadows, sound and water. This book is an attractive and effective introduction to the properties of air for the youngest readers. It has all the features primary teachers want when they ask for informational books: a table of contents page (listing the 5 chapters), plus one page each for a glossary of vocabulary words that are bolded in the text, a bibliography (“To Learn More”) of both print and online sources, and an index. (Although the weblinks are at a higher reading level, they are operable and informative.) The 24 pages contain minimal text per page, with short sentences, easy-to-follow explanations, and relatively lively descriptions for such basic treatment. A minimalist but colorful grid frames each page and lends a clean and inviting look. Captions appear within photos in white text against a color-block background, and the full-color photos on nearly every page are engaging, natural, and fully relevant to the accompanying text. The reinforced binding should hold up to what could be heavy handling by budding physical scientists.