Sunday, November 29, 2020

Field Trip to the Ocean Deep by John Hare - ESSENTIAL

Field Trip to the Ocean Deep by John Hare
. PICTURE BOOK. Margaret Ferguson Books (Holiday House), 2020. $18. 9780823446308 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre-K, EL (K-3) - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

A group has descended to the depths of the ocean. One of the members wanders away and finds an amazing new friend in the ocean depths. 

So, so cute! My favorites are the giant isopods that follow the explorer (who turns out to be a young boy) around – how can you make something that looks like a rollypolly bug have such expression? Well, Hare does it! I hope he has several more field trips planned, because I want them all! 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Eleanor, Alice, and the Roosevelt Ghosts by Dianne K. Salerni - ADVISABLE

Eleanor, Alice, and the Roosevelt Ghosts by Dianne K. Salerni,
240 pages. Holiday House, 2020. $18 

Content: G 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

There are three kinds of ghosts – Unawares, Friendlies, and Vengefuls – if a Vengeful invades your house, you’d better just vacate and tear it down immediately! 13yo Eleanor Roosevelt lives with her stuffy grandmother in their New York house with a couple of Unaware ancestors. When her cousin Alice, 14yo, is sent to live with their older, preganant, Aunt Bye, a new ghost erupts in that house – a ghost which is diagnosed by Nellie Bly herself as a Friendly. But Eleanor and Alice feel that something is wrong, and Alice, for one, is determined to find the root of the problem and banish the ghost for good. With the help of their other cousin, Franklin, the girls might be successful – if they can avoid the very real danger. 

A solid ghost story offering. I don’t think that the historical characters add anything to the story – only adults will really know who the characters are – and only adults will probably do any research to understand the futures of all of them. But the girls have spunk and I enjoyed the alternate history. I hope that there may be more books with the two girls ghost-hunting together. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Goodnight Mermaid by Karla Oceanak and Allie Ogg - ADVISABLE

Goodnight Mermaid by Karla Oceanak, illustrated by Allie Ogg
. PICTURE BOOK. Balliwick Press, 2020. $18. 9781934649800 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre-K, EL (K-3) – ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Oceanak’s mermaid lullaby is a fun read to send your own mermaid off to sleep. If you have a young one with a mermaid tail blanket, this is an even better choice! Or take the opportunity to gift a mermaid blanket with the book as a holiday gift. Oceanak’s rhyming text flows beautifully. Ogg’s illustrated mermaids are delightfully multicultural. The images are colorful, but without any depth – had they been just a little more dimensional this could have been an ESSENTIAL. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Stick With Me by Jennifer Blecher - ADVISABLE

Stick With Me by Jennifer Blecher
, 256 pages. Greenwillow (Harper), 2020. $17 

Content: G (4 swears) 

 BUYING ADVISORY: EL – ADVISABLE; MS - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

12yo Izzy and Phoebe used to be best friends, but now Phoebe hangs out with the school’s queen bee. Wren, also 12yo, is on her way to being an Olympic ice skater, but her little sister has cancer and their family is headed to Boston for Hannah to have surgery, which means Wren can’t get the training she needs before sectionals. Wren’s family is renting Izzy’s house, while Izzy’s family stays above the garage for the week. The two girls make tentative inroads into friendship, but both girls are signed up for theater camp for the week – not only is Phoebe there, but so is Daphne, and the two are ready to make Izzy miserable – and maybe use Wren to help along their schemes. 

 I was so glad that Izzy didn’t have a psychosis – she’s just a girl who is trying to figure out life and friendship. Despite their misunderstandings, the two girls become friends – and they find a very clever way to put the mean girls in their place and give Izzy the courage that comes from true friendship. An excellent paperback choice. 

 Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson - ADVISABLE

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson
, 176 pages. Nancy Paulsen Books (Penguin), 2020. $18 

Content: G 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

When ZJ was 10yo, his family started seeing the first effects of the multiple concussions his father, a tight end on a professional football team, suffered. At first the memory lapses are a bit embarassing, but now, 2 years later, the effects are debilitating – and everyone knows that Zachariah 44 will never be back on the field. 

 Set in 1999, before the devastating effects of concussions were acknowledged, Woodson takes us through the descent of one man. She is a master of unfolding the emotional tidal wave. I didn’t even mind that it is written in free verse. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

I Love My Fangs! By Kelly Leigh Miller - ADVISABLE

I Love My Fangs! by Kelly Leigh Miller.
PICTURE BOOK. Simon & Schuster, 2020. $18. 9781534452107 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre-K, EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

When a young vampire loses one of his fangs, he is freaked out and despondent. And when the Tooth Fairy comes to take it away, he is even more upset. Finally, his parents step in and explain what’s happening. 

Though the main character is a vampire, this is not a Halloween book. It is a fun, silly way to talk to young ones about losing a tooth. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

How to Find a Bird by Jennifer Ward and Diana Sudyka - ADVISABLE

How to Find a Bird
by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Diana Sudyka.
PICTURE BOOK. Beach Lane (Simon), 2020. $18. 9781481467056 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3), EL - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Ready to foster a new generation of birdwatchers? Ward’s book introduces kids to a wide variety of places (not just up) to look for birds. The illustrations include a lot of different birds and thankfully each is identified. Includes some of the most adorable endpapers that I’ve seen. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Shuri: a Black Panther novel by Nic Stone - OPTIONAL

Shuri: a Black Panther novel by Nic Stone
, 272 pages. Scholastic, 2020. $18 

Content: G 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

13yo Shuri has been asked by her brother, the Black Panther, the King of Wakanda, to make him a new Black Panther suit. Shuri knows that the high-tech Vibranium fabric needs the help of the Heart-Shaped herb, the herb that every king ingests to give him is super powers. There are only 5 days to Challenge Day – when anyone can try to take Wakanda’s throne. Unfortunately, the Heart-shaped herb is dying. If Shuri doesn’t move fast, there may be no herb forever. In order to find answers, Shuri and her Dora Milaj in training, K’Marah, will need to go outside Wakanda’s borders – where new friends and new dangers lurk. 

If the various Marvel books circulate well in your library, add this offering. I will probably cross my fingers for a paperback later, because they just haven’t found their audience here. The only grating note to Stone’s novel is Shuri’s mother – I don’t understand how she can see how important Shuri’s work is, and yet thwart her at every turn with her superficial orders. I would be happy with a Wakanda without the Queen Mother. 

 Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

The Tiny Baker by Hayley Barrett and Alison Jay - OPTIONAL

The Tiny Baker by Hayley Barrett, illustrated by Alison Jay
. PICTURE BOOK. Barefoot Books, 2020. $18. 9781646860708 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

The baker bee is ready for a new day of dispensing treats to her any customers. When her ladybug helpers all swarm, leaving behind a kitchen catastrophe, the ants pitch in and clean everything like new. 

As much as I love Alison Jay’s adorable illustrations, but I am not a fan of the text set up as rhyming couplets. I tried reading it out loud and it was a disaster as I couldn’t figure out whether to follow the sentence structure or stay true to the couplets. As nice as the story is, the rhyming text just makes it difficult to read. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

The Bread Pet: a sourdough story by Kate DePalma and Nelleke Verhoeff - OPTIONAL

The Bread Pet: a sourdough story by Kate DePalma, illustrated by Nelleke Verhoeff
. PICTURE BOOK. Barefoot Books, 2020. 9781646860654 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3), EL - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Uncle JB has left his “Bread Pet” (sourdough starter) with Cora to tend while he is gone for a few days. Things get very out of control and now the bread pet is many bread pets. Cora will have to be very clever to save her home from being completely overrun – sharing may be the best way to go! 

I’m a little torn about this book – I really don’t get why JB tells Cora to feed the bread pet twice a day. I get that the author wanted to multiply the pet as quickly as possible – but this amount is extremely over the top. And there are some other contradictory statements, too. But Cora is clever and it all comes right in the end. And it is a fun opener for a baking lesson, or a math lesson about doubling. Plus bread baking has become quite a thing during the pandemic. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Rot: The Bravest in the World by Ben Clanton - AVERAGE

Rot: The Bravest in the World by Ben Clanton
. PICTURE BOOK. Atheneum (Simon), 2020. $18. 9781481467643 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Rot wants to bask in the stinky, slimy pile of muck, but his big brother Snot warns him to watch out for “the Squirm”. Rot can’t stay away, though and worried about what The Squirm really is. 

“The Bravest” is the second book about Rot – He is a gross character, but his messages are on point. This time about kind-hearted teasing between siblings and not letting someone else steal your confidence. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

It’s Only One! By Tracey Corderoy, illustrated by Tony Neal - ESSENTIAL

It’s Only One! by Tracey Corderoy and Tony Neal
. PICTURE BOOK. Tiger Tales, 2020. $18. 9781680102277 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre-K, EL (K-3) - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Sunnyville was a tidy, pretty town, until Rhino casually tosses trash on the ground – it’s only one, after all. But when others follow, the garbage stacks up quickly. Then Giraffe picks just one flower from the park – it’s only one – right? How can Sunnyville get back on track and become lovely again? Timely, sincere, simple – an adorable book for the heart and the eye. 

 Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

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...