Reviews for month


Bolds To The Rescue
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Clary, Julian
Roberts, David
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 02, 2017
Turpin, Sharon
The Bolds are a family of hyenas passing as humans in an English town. News had spread that they take in other animals hoping to leave their previous lives and learn the ropes of acting human. The house becomes packed with its new guests—a crocodile, sheep, poodle, and two race horses not to mention seagulls, kittens and a marmoset. Mr. & Mrs. Bold set up a training program to help these creatures make the transition into society with mixed results. This outlandish tale is heartwarming in how this clan cares about each other, enjoys each animal’s success in the new world, and works together to save the horses when they get recaptured by their mean owner. Britishisms shouldn’t hurt the message though the humor can be a bit more bawdy even in the many detailed illustrations—sheep pooing on a dining plate, seagulls pooing on the bad guy, hyena bottom rubbing. Overall this is very entertaining, totally unbelievable, but fun to imagine. First of these was The Bolds. Great pen and ink illustrations proliferate along with Mr. Bold's near constant jokes.
Witching Hour
DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS [DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS]
Fallenstein, J
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 02, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
When Rosie moves to Middleton to live with her father, she enters a broken community. A young man has died, his twin is devastated, and their best friend is blamed for what was probably a tragic accident. Rosie understands loss. The death of her sister is the reason her parents split up. Now, as an outsider, perhaps she has a different view of the situation. Then eerie things begin to happen. Messages appear. Is a vengeful ghost haunting the town, or is something else going on? This is a nicely done story about loss, fitting in, and friendship, with just the right touch of horror to draw in the intended audience. It is also a quick read, making it a good choice for hi/lo collections, although it will appeal to a much larger audience.
Cody And The Rules Of Life
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Springstubb, Tricia
Wheeler, Eliza
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 02, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
Ownership--it's a concept that is often problematic. Cody owns Gremlin, a stuffed toy that used to belong to her brother. Her brother owns a fancy new bike that she bought with his own money. Cody's best friend owns an endangered animal stuffed toy collection. When the bike is stolen, and Cody's friend almost forces her into trading stuffed toys, things get all mixed up. Will the bike be found? When Cody "solves" her problem will she take ownership of her mistake? This is a warm piece of realistic fiction with fully-developed characters and real-life issues. It will please fans of the first book.
At The Edge Of The World
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Jones, Kari
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
June 02, 2017
Datisman, Eve
Lex 750 Friends keep each other’s secrets. Period. Maddie and Ivan have just graduated; it’s their last summer to party, surf, and hang out in Canada’s Bear Harbor before everything changes. Some things have already changed. Maddie is, going to uni .according to her overly protective and sometimes over-bearing parents. She’s thinking of ways to take control of her life and make her way in the art world. Ivan is the responsible one in his two person family. When his mom left 10 years before, he became the caretaker of his erratic, barely-functional, alcoholic father, Des. This summer Ivan is stuck in an endless loop of cleaning up the messes his father makes so the community won’t find out about him; She’s desperate to help Ivan without betraying his trust, and she struggles to understand why he cannot leave Des behind and move on with his life. First-person chapters alternate between Ivan's and Maddie's perspectives. This should have been an opportunity to dig into the characters and explorer Ivan’s despair and Maddie’s turmoil. It doesn’t; opportunity lost; about mid-way readers don’t care. Lots of Language, underage drinking, and risky behavior. Marginal.
Jack London And The Klondike Gold Rush
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Lourie, Peter
Minor, Wendell
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 02, 2017
Datisman, Eve
Lex 1200 BkList* Like thousands of others, Jack London was swept up in the Gold Rush of 1897 and headed north to strike it rich. Readers go along on his arduous trek and in his search for gold. He didn’t return rich, but he did have the raw material for his best-known writings, earning him both fortune and fame. Lourie combines his narrative with background on London's boyhood, personality, and literary aspirations, and he quotes from the work of London and his contemporaries to convey the backbreaking rigors, awe-inspiring landscape, grime, isolation, dangers, and friendships of the journey. An epilogue offers more historical information about what happened to London, other miners, the Yukon in general, and he clearly identifies "wilderness" as a cultural construct of white settlers and not a reflection on the many First Nations people who lived there before white settlers and still do. However, Lourie acknowledges that he has taken a "few liberties" in regard to London's experiences but does not go into specifics. Timeline, glossary, bib. and source, index.
Mystery
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Morris, Rebecca
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
June 02, 2017
Datisman, Eve
Lex 1100 This title examines the genre of science fiction in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The Westing Game, A Spy in the House, and the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It features four analysis papers using the tools of literary theory and criticism of mystery fiction to consider the elements and characteristics, writing techniques, or aspects of the genre. Critical thinking questions, sidebars highlighting and explaining each thesis and argument, and other possible approaches for analysis help students understand the mechanics of essay writing, many of which are featured in sidebars using orange and blue respectively to differentiate between tips for writing and notes about elements. B/W and color photos of the authors and stills from movies are included. Features include suggestions for other approaches to criticism for each title, a glossary, references, websites, source notes, and an index. Aligned to Common Core Standards and correlated to state standards. While, intended for middle school up, the choice of novels and the ideas approached are more in line with instruction at high school.
Vladimir Lenin And The Russian Revolution
Enslow Publishing [Enslow Publishing]
Schmermund, Elizabeth
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
June 02, 2017
Datisman, Eve
Part of the People and Events that Changed the World series. GR. 6-9, Schumermund and Edwards detail the historical and political conditions that ended a 200-year-old-tsarist regime brought Lenin to power and communism to the masses. They include biographical details and include primary sources that shed light on Lenin and the major events of the Russian Revolution and it’s consequences Bibliographical references, glossary, suggestions for further reading and websites to explore, and index.
Two Strikes
Lorimer (Lerner) [Lorimer (Lerner)]
Boateng, Johnny
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 02, 2017
Averill, Linda
Kal, a 13-year-old girl of mixed race is the newcomer when her dad is assigned to an RCMP post in Trail, BC. This is a change from Halifax, a larger city, where Kal had played baseball. Here girls play softball, boys play baseball. Kal has to deal with bullying by the girls who play mean tricks and want to exclude her from their softball games. The boys don’t want her on their team though she has demonstrated her ability. She continues to practice with the boys, shows up for the games and when one player is injured she gets a chance to play. Kal’s persistence earns her a spot on the All Star Team.
From Above
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Mcclintock, Norah
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 02, 2017
Datisman, Eve
When a football player from Riley Donovan's school falls to his death from the top of a recreation center, a hunch makes her wonder if he was pushed. But who would do such a thing, and why? The police—including Riley’s guardian, Aunt Ginny—are less than thrilled to see the young white gumshoe there, especially when she tells them of a figure she saw on the roof. That fact, along with other evidence, leads investigators to believe that the death wasn’t strictly accidental. From Above is the title of a photo contest several students at school are participating in and it has the potential to add a bit more depth to the story, but it isn’t used as well as is it should be. Barring that, the reveals, gaining access to the football team and learning what the know, the adventures with junk yard dogs are well-paced. There is enough action and enough complication to make this a good solid mystery for middle and high school collections.
How The Queen Found The Perfect Cup Of Tea
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Hosford, Kate
Swiatkowska, Gabi
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 02, 2017
Averill, Linda
A very dignified Queen no longer likes the tea her butler brews so they go on a world tour visiting children in Japan, India and Turkey while the Queen sips tea in hopes of finding the perfect cup. Each child prepares tea for the Queen, having her help and teaching her about friendship, self-reliance and having fun. When the Queen has learned how to prepare tea and how to have fun and take care of herself she invites the children to her garden for a tea party. Youngsters will enjoy the repetition of phrases as the Queen interacts with her butler and the children.
Storm Whale In Winter
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Davies, Benji
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 02, 2017
Averill, Linda
This is a sequel to The Storm Whale. In that story Noi, a young boy, rescued a young whale the previous summer. Noi misses the whale, and as we watches for his friend readers will see and feel winter’s return through the illustrations. Now it is winter, the landscape is cold and bleak, the sea is beginning to freeze and his father is making a last trip in his small fishing boat. As night falls and his father doesn’t return Noi becomes worried, he walks out on the ice, determined to find his father. He finds the boat, frozen in the ice but his father isn’t there. Noi is afraid but the Storm Whale and his family rescue Noi, breaking ice and pushing the boat to the lighthouse where his father has taken shelter. Beacons of light shine in the illustrations giving a hint of warmth to the dark and cold.
Call Of The Osprey
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw
Munoz, William
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 04, 2017
Kline, Karen
Zoologist and acclaimed author Dorothy Hinshaw Patent has once again made science accessible and captivating to kids. Adults will appreciate this book too! From the Scientists in the Field series, readers get a bird's eye view of the world of these captivating raptors through the outstanding lens of photographer William Munoz. The accompanying text tells the story of University of Montana research scientists who are studying the effects of mining pollution on the ecosystem in the Missoula area by taking blood samples of the chicks of ospreys at the top of the food chain. The six-chapter book connects STEM topics like webcams and satellite transmitters with basics of chemistry and biology and explores how mercury poisoning affects the environment. Student scientists, school groups, ranchers, and internet viewers from around the world are taking part in observing and contributing to this project. Educators will find the research and topic perfect for sharing in the classroom. Sidebars, sub-headings, index, and more make the book a resource that can be easily pared down, but the engaging narrative will catch many birder and wildlife enthusiasts and keep them reading.
My First 1000 Animals
FIREFLY BOOKS [FIREFLY BOOKS]
Besson, Agnes
Surein, Manuel
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten
June 05, 2017
Turpin, Sharon
With a large format and shiny pages this illustrated book of animals for toddlers hits the mark. 1000 does sound a bit overwhelming, but it provides a young reader with much to pore over especially with an adult reader as helper. Starting with a 2-page table of contents, the book is divided into three main sections—animals in their environment, the lives of animals and amazing animals. The environments include pets in the home, parks and gardens, country, and farm before continuing into more standard habitats. Lives of animals shows birth from eggs or bellies, babies, cleaning, communicating, etc. Amazing animals includes extinct and make-believe creatures (briefly). The headings are in attractive cursive whereas every creature and item is labeled in clear printing. The appealing illustrations are realistic with a tiny bit of cuteness. My 2-year-old reader spent a long time naming the ones he knew, but will learn many more specific critters in this well made, nicely designed 62-page volume with waxy, semi-thick pages made more to last.
Everyone...
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Neal, Christopher Silas
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 05, 2017
Threlkeld, Sarah
Everyone has emotions that change, sometimes from one moment to the next, and it's important to share those feelings. That's the message of this quiet picture book that will appeal to thoughtful young readers. A simple color palette of blues, black and white complements the text perfectly, and everyone will find a moment or two they can connect to. Sometimes the text feels a little too sparse and the last sentence is a tad obtuse, but in general this is a sweet story that could be effectively used to talk to primary students about feelings and help build empathy.
Astronomy In The Real World
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Hamen, Susan E
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
June 06, 2017
Dame, Anne
This 48 page book is part of the STEM in the Real World series. It gives as basic introduction to what astronomy is, the history of astronomy, careers in astronomy, and the future of astronomy. There are a few primary source document excerpts, fast facts, a glossary and index, and some suggestions for additional resources regarding this topic. There are full color photographs that display gender equity but not racial diversity. Other books in the series include: Bioengineering, Computer Science, Mathematics, and Physics.
Bioengineering In The Real World
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Marquardt, Meg
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
June 06, 2017
Dame, Anne
This 48 page book is part of the STEM in the Real World series. It gives as basic introduction to what bioengineering is, the history of bioengineering, careers in bioengineering, and the future of bioengineering. There are a few primary source document excerpts, fast facts, a glossary and index, and some suggestions for additional resources regarding this topic. There are full color photographs that display gender equity but not racial diversity. Other books in the series include: Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, and Astronomy.
Computer Science In The Real World
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Idzikowski, Lisa
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
June 06, 2017
Dame, Anne
This 48 page book is part of the STEM in the Real World series. It gives as basic introduction to what computer science is, the history of computer science, careers in computer science, and the future of computer science. There are a few primary source document excerpts, fast facts, a glossary and index, and some suggestions for additional resources regarding this topic. There are full color photographs that display gender equity but not racial diversity. Other books in the series include: Bioengineering, Mathematics, Physics, and Astronomy.
Mathematics In The Real World
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Zuchora-Walske, Christin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
June 06, 2017
Dame, Anne
This 48 page book is part of the STEM in the Real World series. It gives as basic introduction to what mathematics is, the history of mathematics, careers in mathematics, and the future of mathematics. There are a few primary source document excerpts, fast facts, a glossary and index, and some suggestions for additional resources regarding this topic. There are full color photographs that display gender equity but not racial diversity. Other books in the series include: Bioengineering, Computer Science, Physics, and Astronomy.
Physics In The Real World
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Marquardt, Meg
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
June 06, 2017
Dame, Anne
This 48 page book is part of the STEM in the Real World series. It gives as basic introduction to what physics is, the history of physics, careers in physics, and the future of physics. There are a few primary source document excerpts, fast facts, a glossary and index, and some suggestions for additional resources regarding this topic. There are full color photographs that display gender equity but not racial diversity. Other books in the series include: Bioengineering, Computer Science, Mathematics, and Astronomy.
Mutant Rat Attack!
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Cooper, Jay
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 06, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
Mr. McFur may not be the best science teacher in the world. In fact, his obsession with creating electricity through rat farts is a little edgy. Still, when his rats are confiscated and he feeds radioactive broccoli to his favorite, creating a giant monster, Dexter springs into action. Teaming up with a computerized skateboard, he becomes a super spy to defeat the giant rodent, save his teacher and principal, and bring justice to the world. Great silliness and grossness, naturally, abound. Clearly aimed at the Captain Underpants audience with plenty of black-and-white illustrations, this is the first in a projected series. Is it classic literature? Does it matter? It will obviously attract an audience.
Knights Of Boo'gar
Andrews & Mcmeel [Andrews & Mcmeel]
Roche, Art
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 08, 2017
Shirts, Brooke
All is not well in the tiny kingdom of Boo’Gar: Princess Phlema’s pet goat, Babycakes, has been kidnapped by the Nose Goblins, who demand the magical Book of Loogey as ransom. With no army or riches, King Mewkus must call upon the fabled Knights of Boo’Gar, of which there is only one left: thirteen year old Rowland. Can Rowland succeed in rescuing Babycakes before she falls into the clutches of evil King Sinius? This an incredibly silly jaunt that is perfect for fans of Captain Underpants -- almost all the names are booger jokes (the monks are named Pik and Flik, the ancient language is Gazoon’Tite), Rowland rides an ostrich and has a pet turtle which breathes fire. The plot involves cantaloupes worth their weight in gold and a steam-powered robot invented by Princess Phlema -- in other words, a wild mishmash of comedy. Cartoony, full-color illustrations accompany the text, which is printed with a large font to facilitate easy reading. Modern-day colloquialisms are mixed in with Ye Olde Language, but stays within range for beginning chapter book readers. There isn’t anything particularly clever or new here, but kids old enough to recognize the fantasy tropes being parodied will love it.
Perfect Day
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Smith, Lane
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 08, 2017
Shirts, Brooke
Wouldn’t it be nice if you only needed one thing to make you happy? For cat, it’s a sunny patch; for dog, a wading pool; for bird, it’s birdseed; and for squirrel, it’s a corncob. Of course, this scene of outdoor bliss is interrupted when a big black bear galumphs in, cheerfully gobbling up the corn, sloshing down the water and rolling around in cat’s flower garden. Suddenly the repeated statements of happiness (“It was a perfect day”), with a slight change in word emphasis, has the opposite meaning (“It WAS a perfect day”). Our story ends with all of the characters huddled indoors, looking flabbergasted as Bear has his own perfect day. The tone here is both comic and sincere; Smiths’ illustrations are a pastel wonderland, full of textured spatter paint and scribble-style collage flowers. His bear is hilarious, easily enjoying himself while remaining baffled as why the other characters are screaming and running away. The page design and character design are specific and beautiful; the eye is lead exactly where it needs to go. Along with the brief text, this makes a great read-aloud for young kids, especially when paired with classics like “The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear.”
Backfire
DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS [DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS]
Acton, Vanessa
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 08, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
Elijah's grounded, while his three friends are off on a hike. Bummer. This is going to be the worst summer ever. He had no idea. The story switches back and forth between Elijah and his friends as they face the horror of a rapidly growing wildfire. What can the hikers do to survive? What about Elijah? Can he rescue a neighbor and convince his uncle to leave the house he's worked so hard to build? Both forest and town are endangered. The author weaves solid survival information into a compelling story about teens in danger. Part of the "Day of Disaster" series, this short chapter book is a quick, but action-packed, read. If the rest of the series is as good it would be a terrific addition to secondary libraries serving students who enjoy reading but don't want to commit to a huge book.
Journey Across The Hidden Islands
CLARION [CLARION]
Durst, Sarah Beth
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 10, 2017
Averill, Linda
This coming of age fantasy has two Asian princesses, twins, who were best friends until they were separated at age 11. The older, Princess Seika was kept at the palace and trained as the next ruler while her twin, Princess Ji-Lin was sent away to be trained as a guard and her sister’s protector. On their twelfth birthday they begin the traditional Emperors Journey with the goal of renewing an agreement with a dragon who maintains a barrier to keep the Islands hidden from the outside world. This fast-paced adventure will keep readers engaged as they visualize the dragons, monsters and flying lions.
Bravo, Albert! : Patterns
KANE PRESS [KANE PRESS]
Houran, Lori Haskins
Melmon, Deborah
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 10, 2017
Averill, Linda
Albert, a little mouse, learns about patterns. He helps his grandmother put squares for a quilt in a pattern. He learns that if there isn’t a pattern it “looks kind of messy”. As he walks about he notices patterns on hats, store awnings and in gardens. He helps his sister string beads for necklaces for her singing group. When the group arrives at the auditorium they are in different colored shirts, some orange, some purple and others in pink. Sister is concerned that they will look messy on stage. Albert remembered what he learned and put them in a colorful pattern. This is an introduction to sequential patterns and can encourage children to focus on the environment and recognize patterns around them.
World's Weirdest News Stories
Enslow Publishing [Enslow Publishing]
Torres, John
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 11, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
This is designed for the reader who likes small nibbles of odd factoids, loosely arranged by subject. Are these the world's weirdest news stories? Not really. However, they are interesting and run the gamut from robots to weird animals to cannibalism. Stories are both modern and historical. Most are given just a paragraph or two, but a few receive longer treatment. Occasional photographs and fact boxes accompany the concise text. This is chockablock full of the kind of odd information that folks like to pull out to amaze and disgust their friends. The book includes a glossary, bibliography, website list, and minor index which in no way categorizes everything it contains. This is the volume for the trivia buff.
You Can't Hide
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Poblocki, Dan
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 11, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
Five children are trapped in Larkspur, while five other masked children lurk in its hallways. Are they ghosts? Who are the ones that came before? There are puzzles to be solved and dangers to be faced. But what is real? Is this all a movie script? Shadow House is an enigmatic series with all your typical fright points. Sure to appeal to young horror fans, no book in the series stands alone. Pictures are linked to an app. Join the message board. This is designed to be interactive. The question is, is it too disjointed to follow? Will readers be able to maintain interest beyond their appreciation of the macabre. I guess we'll see.
Scooby-Doo! : A Science Of Energy Mystery : The High-Voltage
Scooby-Doo!/capstone Press [Scooby-Doo!/capstone Press]
Peterson, Megan Cooley
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 12, 2017
Averill, Linda
The 5 characters, Daphne, Velma, Fred, Shaggy and Scooby of Scooby-Do cartoon fame, are running out of gas and there isn't much heat left in the car. One of the girls observes "it's way below zero". The illustrations show that no one is wearing a hat, only 1 is wearing gloves, and one of the girls is in a short skirt and buckle shoes. (They are on a skit trip and none of their skis items are visible in any illustrations.) When they reach a deserted town and discover it has no power they pursue the reason and solve the mystery; explaining the different forms of energy in one or two sentences as they follow the clues. Chemical energy, heat energy, electrical energy, potential energy, sound energy, light energy, stored energy, kinetic energy and solar energy are covered in 28 pages as the characters unmask the high-voltage ghost. The small print is offset by the large colorful cartoon illustrations. A few "Fact File" boxes distributed through the story help clarify some of the scientific explanations. A glossary and index are included.
Bear Who Wasn't There
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Pham, Leuyen
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 13, 2017
Threlkeld, Sarah
From the cover to the end papers to the dust jacket, this picture book is brimming with charming details. Luckily, the story itself is pretty darn funny and will have young readers guffawing over every page. The plot isn't particularly complex - the main character, a bear, can't be found and a very enthusiastic duck attempts to replace him as the star - but it is executed brilliantly, with asides to the audience, silly puns, and even an appearance by the author/illustrator. Some pages have so much dialogue from different characters that it can be tricky to pull off a successful read aloud, but overall the book will delight readers of all ages and be checked out again and again.
Madison Bumgarner
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 13, 2017
Threlkeld, Sarah
The author successfully pulls readers in by ratcheting up the suspense in just a few opening paragraphs with a description of Bumgarner’s role in game 7 of the 2014 World Series, which pitted the San Francisco Giants against the Kansas City Royals. From there, readers learn about the pitcher’s life in chronological order, with each section running 2-3 paragraphs over as many pages. Large photographs often spill across the gutter and many pages include boxes of “Fast Facts”; there is a lot to look at, which may satisfy some readers and distract others. Many baseball terms are sprinkled into the text without explanation, although there is a glossary, so readers who aren't very familiar with America’s favorite past time may get confused. Overall, a biography that will appeal to hardcore baseball fans, but probably won't get checked out by students who like to browse.
Gone Camping : A Novel In Verse
Hmh Books For Young Readers [Hmh Books For Young Readers]
Wissinger, Tamera Will
Cordell, Matthew
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 13, 2017
Dame, Anne
This novel in verse tells the story of siblings who were supposed to go on a camping weekend with their parents. Then Dad got sick, so he and Mom stayed home and the kids went camping with Grandpa instead. Lucy, Sam, and Grandpa all take turns telling the story. Wide variety of poetry styles used (all of which are listed and explained at the end of the book). Great mentor text.
I Survived True Stories : Tornado Terror : True Tornado Surv
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Tarshis, Lauren
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 13, 2017
Dame, Anne
Two factual accounts of devastating tornadoes. One occurred in 1925, the other in 2011. The wide time span between the two events allows readers to see how much has changed in our knowledge about and responses to tornadoes. Lots of primary source photos as well as maps and "fast facts". Young readers will enjoy but will also hold appeal for struggling/reluctant readers.
Level The Playing Field : The Past, Present, And Future Of W
Owlkids Books, Inc [Owlkids Books, Inc]
Rutherford, Kristina
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 13, 2017
Dame, Anne
Women have always struggled for equal rights and this remains true in the sports arena. This informational text looks at the past, present, and future of women in sports. Text is fairly dense but there are lots of full-color photographs to break it up a bit. There are several interviews interspersed throughout the book as well. Wide variety of sports and diverse ethnic representation as well. There is also a short focus on women as coaches and trainers. An index and biography are listed in the back. Overall, very well done. Would be nice to also have some additional resources and websites listed, however.
Ghostbusters : 2 : The Most Magical Place On Earth : Part 1
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Burnham, Erik
Schoening, Dan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 13, 2017
Threlkeld, Sarah
Creepy green ghosts taken over your amusement park? Not sure what to do to lure back all of your customers? Who ya’ gonna’ call? The Ghostbusters, obviously! They may be a bit older and out of shape, but they’re your best bet when it comes to demolishing supernatural baddies. This graphic novel moves at a good clip and ends with a cliffhanger that made me want to immediately jump into the next part. The level of humor, action and horror make this more appropriate for middle and high school collections. The only real drawback is the length. It would be a lot more satisfying (and fiscally sound) if the entire volume was bound as one book. Definitely worth adding to your collection if you can’t keep graphic novels on the shelves.
Pro Wrestling's Greatest Faces
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 13, 2017
Threlkeld, Sarah
Don't be fooled by the title, which refers to wrestlers who played the good guy role in the ring and not just famous wrestlers. Unfortunately, that distinction isn't too clear and readers who are unfamiliar with WWE may completely miss the theme of this title in ABDO’s Pro Wrestling’s Greatest series. Like the other titles in the series, this one presents information in a countdown format from ten to one, with Hulk Hogan earning the title of Greatest Face (although he later became a heel, or villain). Each biography is one to two paragraphs and is accompanied by multiple color photographs, many of which were taken during matches. The text is on the large side and the photos are captioned, making this accessible to intermediate readers. The book also includes a table of contents, glossary, index, author info, and a list of further resources. This title isn't as strong as others in the series, but fans of wrestling as entertainment will still devour it.
Cutter Boy
Lorimer (Lerner) [Lorimer (Lerner)]
Watson, Cristy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 16, 2017
Dame, Anne
Travis deals with the emotional pain from his school and family issues by cutting. However, a new friend plus the recommendations of a long-term substitute teacher help him find an outlet through art instead. Unrealistic friendship plus mad art skills heretofore unknown made this a less than satisfying read. Better book on this topic is "Cut" by Patricia McCormick. I did like that the protagonist was a boy, however.
Factory Girl
CLARION [CLARION]
La Valley, Josanne
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 16, 2017
Dame, Anne
Roshen is 16. She is one of the Uyghur people who live in Northern China. She loves school and hopes to be a teacher one day. However, a cadre from the Chinese government come and basically conscript her into working at a factory far from her home. She and the other girls are treated harshly for very little pay. But Roshen is tough and determined to survive this and return to her family. Based on real events that are little known. I think this is an important book for awareness of the Uyghur culture and for the forced labor that is happening in China. Sexual situations, including a brothel make this a better choice for more mature readers.
United We Stand
Doubleday Canada [Doubleday Canada]
Walters, Eric
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
June 16, 2017
Dame, Anne
Sequel to We All Fall Down Will was at the World Trade Center with his dad when the airplanes struck the towers on 9/11, 2001. Now he and his family and friends are dealing with the immediate aftermath of the attack. Not quite as engaging as book 1, but still a very insightful look into a time period that is now before any of my students were even born.
We All Fall Down
Doubleday Canada [Doubleday Canada]
Walters, Eric
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
June 16, 2017
Dame, Anne
First book in a duology. September, 2001. Will and his best friend James have just started another year in their NYC high school where they will soon be spending a day on the job somewhere learning about different career opportunities. James is going with his dad, a firefighter; Will is going with his dad who works for an international finance company in the World Trade Center. It just happens to be Sept. 11, 2001 so Will is in the WTC when the planes hit. He and his dad try to find a way safely out of the south tower. Well-written and engaging. Gives a really good perspective and insight for an event that has now happened before any of my students were even born.
Space Exploration
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Kruesi, Liz
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 19, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Cutting Edge Science + Technology" series, this book focuses on space exploration. The dense, informative text introduces readers to unmanned exploration--probes, rovers, orbiters, etc.--as well as manned space flight. The entire theme is exploration, rather than a history of man in space. The author brings up missions to comets and asteroids, potential missions to Mars, different types of space craft, and future exploration possibilities. Fact boxes and picture captions are fascinating, but interrupt the flow of the text as the reader is drawn away on interesting tangents. Important modern scientists are highlighted as well. This is a thoughtful, fascinating look at the subject that takes readers up to 2015 and into thoughts of the future. It merits a place in secondary libraries and adults will also find it an interesting read.
Princess And The Page
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Farley, Christina
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 22, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
Keira's parents are weird. They have banned her from writing and limited her to nonfiction. C'mon, what's going on here? When Keira uses a special pen to write a fairy tale, and wins a trip to a real castle, she begins to understand. She is a Word Weaver and her words have real power. Now she is living the fairy tale, or elements of it, that ends unhappily ever after. Being in your own story has dangers. Now she and her friends are facing magic, ghosts, and strange disappearances. Can she fix what she started, and what is ahead for this young Word Weaver? Inspired by the story of Gabrielle d'Estrees, this story should be better than it is, yet it reads like a the author's first book, which it is not. The rules for the magic in the story are never clearly defined, and the story lacks cohesion. I expected to gobble it down, but ended up dragging my way through it. The cover is attractive, and the idea is appealing. Something happened in the execution. There may be young fantasy fans who will enjoy it, however.
Night Witches : A Novel Of World War Ii
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Lasky, Kathryn
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
June 23, 2017
Averill, Linda
A historical fiction account of an all-woman regiment of WWII Russian pilots, the Night Witches, is the story of Valya and her older sister. They were capable of flying a variety of aircraft by age 12, taught by their father, a military flight instructor based near Stalingrad. As the Germans advance to their city Valya's father disappears, sister is allowed to join the Night Witches, but Mother insists Valya is too young. Then Grandmother and Mother are killed and Valya must rely on herself, make her own decisions and when she decides to join the Night witches she has to make her way through the war-torn area to a hidden airfield. There she is put on a ground crew but finally earns a spot in the cockpit, making night runs where she bonbs supply reserves, tanks and search lights. This fast-paced narrative provides a fascinating view of WWII Soviet Union history.
Ninja Plants : Survival And Adaptation In The Plant World
TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS [TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS]
Blevins, Wiley
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
June 25, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
Plants are not those sweet little stationary bits of greenery you might suppose. No, some plants have a specific agenda and will use whatever it takes to achieve it. That's the message of "Ninja Plants" which takes a close, scientific look at specific plant adaptations. The author first examines botany, nomenclature, and plant reproduction with far more specificity than you usually find. He then goes on to show specific adaptations--smell, many varieties of mimicry, ways in which seeds are spread, poison and ways plants protect themselves, and even the use of fire as a survival technique. He ends with a push for environmental awareness and activism. There's an extensive bibliography, glossary, and index. The author uses examples from all over the world and well-captioned photographs abound. The writing is crisp and compelling, filled with amazingly detailed facts. It's all quite fascinating and will enthrall future botanists.
Secrets & Sequences
FIRST SECOND [FIRST SECOND]
Yang, Gene Luen
Holmes, Mike
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 26, 2017
Wittmann, Teresa
The action starts on the first page in this graphic novel with Hopper and her friends solving a problem by creating code to control a robot. It turns out that Professor Bee, Pascal Pascal, and Hopper’s father Albert Gracie were all at school together which might be the clue to why Hopper’s father is missing. The group uses code to open a Path Portal and go to Dr. One-Zero’s castle. He is really Pascal Pascal who has turned into a green-skinned villain and they must use code once again to escape. The action is fast-paced with intervals of coding and the illustrations are black and white with green highlights. This is the third book in the graphic novel series where the characters use coding to solve problems and save the day.
Nice Girls Endure
Switch Press/capstone Press [Switch Press/capstone Press]
Struyk-Bonn, Chris
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
June 27, 2017
Dame, Anne
Chelsea has perfect feet. And a beautiful singing voice. But that's not what other people notice about her. All they seem to notice is that she is fat. Things are starting to change for the better when she meets Melody who always dresses in the most amazing outfits and encourages Chelsea to join choir. However, all this is subverted by bully Nicholas Dunn and his nasty friends. Chelsea has always been told that she has to be nice - but she also realizes that at some point she needs to stand up for herself. Due to some teen drinking and sex-related violence, this is better for high school or mature middle school. This is a book with a message and it doesn't try to hide that fact. Mostly the plot pulls the reader along so that the message is not shoved down the reader's throat, however.
Single Stone
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Mckinlay, Meg
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 27, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
Life has been hard in the valley since the rock slide closed the pass, trapping the people there for generations. In the winter snow piles high. Their only hope is the mica mined from the mountain. It can be burned to provide heat. Their mythology, however, is strict about obtaining it. Only a team of 7 girls can negotiate the narrow passages, seeking out the life-giving mineral. Jena is the leader of the line--girls whose slender stature (often the result of binding) saves their people. Her past still haunts her, and her future is uncertain. Nobody can be on the line forever. When she finds evidence that the matriarchs of the community are deliberately causing premature births in the hopes of attaining even thinner girls she begins to doubt the entire society in which she lives. Is there something outside the valley? A second story line provides readers with a different perspective. Crispy written, and compelling told, this is a fascinating story with hints of "The Giver", a taste of "Princess Academy", and a mythos all its own. It's hard to put down.
World War I Heroes
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Zullo, Allan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 29, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
the "10 True Tales" series provides ten stories of heroes from various conflicts--some famous and some less so. This volume focuses on WWI. In it readers learn the stories behind many Medal of Honor winners from pilots to doughboys to ambulance drivers. Sergeant York, Eddie Rickenbacker, and more are highlighted. The stories of the actions are carefully researched and compellingly retold. The author also provides information on their later lives. I have several books from the series in my library and have had young readers ask for more. I'll gladly fulfill that request. These are the inspiring stories that should not be forgotten.
Titanic : Young Survivors
SCHOLASTIC NONFICTION [SCHOLASTIC NONFICTION]
Zullo, Allan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 30, 2017
Bateman, Teresa
The "10 True Tales" series consists of ten true stories about people involved in historic events. Other books in the series focus on war heroes. This entry in the series provides an inside look as the stories of ten of the young survivors from the titanic are examined. What is universally true about the series is that each story is well-researched, and compelling retold. The author adds in details that throw the reader onto the deck of the sinking ship--sounds, tactile details, smells, emotions. While the stories of the children are the central themes, other people on the ship play roles, and many of the stories overlap. At the end of each chapter the author provides information on what happened to the highlighted child, and those associated with him or her. These are incredible books and I have students clamoring for them--the same readers who are attached to the "I Survived..." series. They are a worthy addition to any collection.