Saturday, November 27, 2021

The Girl Who Loved Giraffes by Kathy Stinson and Francois Thisdale - ESSENTIAL

The Girl Who Loved Giraffes and became the World's First Giraffologist by Kathy Stinson, illustrated by Francois Thisdale. 56 pages. NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHY Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2021. $20. 9781554555406 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

When Anne Innis was a little girl, she saw a giraffe in a zoo and decided she wanted to study giraffes when she grew up. After attending University and winning prizes in Biology, she headed to Africa - an unbelievable journey for a woman alone in the 1950s. And there for a year, she studied the majestic and beautiful animals, becoming a leading authority on giraffes. Unable to get a University position when she returned (despite her PhD) she turned to writing, authoring books about animals, women's rights and other things. The pace and the amount of information was perfect - full page, photo quality illustrations are they background to 1 or 2 short paragraphs of biography, and then a few short notes about Giraffes. 

 Oh, I want to see the movie about her now - 10 minutes ago I'd never heard of Anne Innis and now I want to meet her and see her beloved giraffes. The author's note wasn't a retelling as much as it was a more telling. The publisher's note says she is thrilled with the book and hopes it will inspire young readers to love the giraffes - I'm sure it will.


Lisa Librarian   

The Sun Shines on the Sea by Michael Slack - ESSENTIAL

The Sun Shines on the Sea by Michael Slack. BOARD BOOK. Candlewick Press, 2021. $10. 9781536215694.

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre-K - ESSENTIAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Beginning with the sun heating up the ocean, the reader follows the food chain from the phytoplankton on up to the larger creatures like sharks and whales. As the chain moves on, readers can lift flaps to see which animals (ex. sharks) have eaten smaller creatures (ex. tuna). 

I really enjoyed this early introduction to a basic earth sciences concept. The illustrations are well done and the story isn't boring but not overtly flashy, either. This is a great choice for Pre-K audiences--especially those showing an early interest in science and the marine world. 

Reviewer: TC

Maisy's Garage by Lucy Cousins - ADVISABLE

Maisy's Garage by Lucy Cousins. BOARD BOOK. Candlewick Press, 2021. $10. 9781536216837. 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre-K - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Maisy, a mouse mechanic, is going to fix her friend's car. Inside her garage, the reader gets to push, slide and play with a number of interactive pieces while Maisy does her work. 

This is a cheerful little board book that kids will like for the interactive element. The illustrations are boldly colorful and the story exists in its simplest form just to serve the pushing, sliding and whatnot. Sure to be a winner with the youngest of readers. 

Reviewer: TC

Friday, November 26, 2021

Hop Aboard! (Baby's First Vehicles) by Elliot Kruszynski - ADVISABLE

Hop Aboard! (Baby's First Vehicles) by Elliot Kruszynski. BOARD BOOK. Candlewick Press, 2021. $9. 9781536217780.

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre-K - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

In a board book clearly designed with babies in mind, readers discover a variety of vehicles from bikes to rocket ships. Each page has one line of text, some fun onomatopoeia, and boldly colorful illustrations. The final page has a mirror "surprise" for babies to see themselves in the vehicle. 

This is the sort of board book I'd recommend giving to young families--its got that comfortable, traditional feel to it and is straightforward in what it offers a reader. I loved pretty much everything about it--a winner of a board book!

Reviewer: TC

Fish by Fish by Giuliano Ferri - OPTIONAL

Fish by Fish by Giuliano Ferri. BOARD BOOK. Minedition (Astra Publishing), 2021. $12. 9781662650550.

BUYING ADVISORY: PARENTS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

A small fish goes after a tiny fish in hopes of a snack. As he opens his mouth to munch, an even bigger fish shows up to scare him off. As the bigger fish opens his mouth to munch, a fish even larger than himself arrives! Through carefully designed die cuts, the fish get bigger and bigger until the surprise ending. 

This is a fairly mundane board book. The illustrations are colorful but the story is about as one dimensional a tale as you could come up. A good choice if you simply want a colorful story for babies to look at. 

Reviewer: TC

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Nano: the spectacular science of the very (very) small by Dr. Jess Wade and Melissa Castrillon - OPTIONAL

Nano: the spectacular science of the very (very) small by Dr. Jess Wade, illustrated by Melissa Castrillon.
NON-FICTION PICTURE BOOK. Candlewick, 2021. $18. 9781536217667 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: LOW 

Wade takes us for a quick look at what nanoscience is and some ways is currently being used and a way it might be used in the future. 

I found a disconnect between the subject of the book, the amount of content, and the illustrations. If I have a teacher specifically teaching about nanoscience, I might invest, but otherwise, I find the disconnect and the jerk from subject to subject to be off-putting. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Tu Youyou’s Discovery: Finding a Cure for Malaria by Soungju Ma Daemicke and Lin - ADVISABLE

Tu Youyou’s Discovery: Finding a Cure for Malaria by Soungju Ma Daemicke, illustrated by Lin
. NON-FICTION PICTURE BOOK. Albert Whitman, 2021. $17. 9780807581117 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

After a serious bout with tuberculosis in the 1940s when she was 15, Tu knew that she wanted to be a medical researcher and help others heal too. When malaria made a huge resurgence in China, and wasn’t being cured by typical Western medications, Tu looked into Chinese herbal medicines. It took her and her team several years, but they finally find a plant and a preparation that did the trick. It wasn’t until 2015 that Youyou was recognized for her persistence. 

A great look at the process for compounding treatments, the contribution of herbal medicine to modern medicine, and, of course, the undervalued work of women in even the recent past. While the illustrations are childish, the information is still well worth reading with a middle school, especially if your science classes cover any of the topics. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The Real Santa by Nancy Redd and Charnelle Pinkney Barlow - ADVISABLE

The Real Santa
by Nancy Redd and Charnelle Pinkney Barlow.
PICTURE BOOK Penguin Random House, 2021. $18. 9780593178140 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

 It's Christmas, and one of his favorite traditions is the Santa figure his grandparents bring on Christmas Eve. This year it's a Santa with a list, and yes, his name is on the list. When it's time for bed, the boy wonders which is the real Santa? So, he tries to stay up all night to get a picture.

The sweetest illustrations - everyone in their matching pajamas. I loved the nod to Redd's "Bedtime Bonnet" as the family reads that a story together. A great Christmas book about Christmas traditions. and finding Santa.

Lisa Librarian

The Dog Walk by Sven Nordqvist - ADVISABLE

The Dog Walk
by Sven Nordqvist. 
PICTURE BOOK Floris Books, 2021. $20. 9781782507437 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

A child takes grandma's dog for a walk. But, this is a very unusual place, because the child boards a train into some wonderful, crazy illustrations with so much to see. 

 The child and the dog can be searched for in every illustration - sometimes they are there more than once. Lots of paths to follow in one illustration, an amazing zoo in another. A beach, a desert, my favorite was a library, (I think, maybe it was a museum?) I keep going back in to took again. A great book to get lost in.

Lisa Librarian

A Peek at Beaks: Tools Birds Use by Sara Levine and Kate Slater - ESSENTIAL

A Peek at Beaks: Tools Birds Use by Sara Levine, illustrated by Kate Slater.
NON-FICTION PICTURE BOOK. Millbrook (Lerner), 2021. $20. 9781541587342 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS, HS - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Fascinating! Levine tells us about all kinds of birds and their useful beaks. Slater’s illustrations compliment the text perfectly. Any age science class that talks about adaptations can fit this in with glee. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

More Than Just a Game: The Black Origins of Basketball by Madison Moore and Lonnie Ollivierre - ADVISABLE

More Than Just a Game: The Black Origins of Basketball by Madison Moore, illustrated by Lonnie Ollivierre
. NON-FICTION PICTURE BOOK. Albert Whitman, 2021. $17. 9780807552711 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Basketball originated within the walls of the segregated YMCAs in the late 1890’s. Soon it was played by all over the U.S. – even by Blacks, who had first been left out. Before the formation of the NBA, Black players formed Black Fives teams to play each other and also some white teams. Now more than 70% of the NBA players are Black. 

I loved the introduction to the Black Fives and their place in basketball history. The denser text makes this a book best for older elementary students, and can perhaps reach up to middle school in places with a robust picture book collection. 

 Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Long Distance by Whitney Gardner - ADVISABLE


Long Distance by Whitney Gardner, 317 pages.  GRAPHIC NOVEL Simon and Schuster, 2021. $21.99.  

Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: PG.  

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

  Vega's two dads have moved her to Seattle, Washington and she is struggling about leaving her best friend behind. In an attempt to help Vega get to know new people, her dads sign her up for a summer camp.  Vega feels socially awkward, and the camp has a weird vibe, but slowly she starts to make new friends. The new friends also notice that there is a boy who seems to live at the camp full time and the counselors aren't who they appear.  The clues are stacking up to make this the weirdest summer camp any of the campers have ever attended.

     I loved Fake Blood by Whitney Gardner, so I was excited to read this.  I liked Fake Blood better as this gets way out there and at a point I felt like I was watching a Saturday morning cartoon gone wrong. However, I like Vega and I think her struggles socially are something most kids can relate to.  Although the plot gets very sci-fi strange, I enjoyed the unpredictable plot.  The image are well done, bright and attractive and for those kids who devour graphic novels, this book will be a hit.

Reviewer, C. Peterson

Welcome to Kiss the Book Jr.!

Welcome! Kiss the Book Jr. is for board books, picture books, early readers, and chapter books.  Also, any novels and non-fiction that we ag...