Thursday, June 19, 2008

Out of the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst - ADVISABLE

Durst, Sarah Beth Out of the Wild, 260 p. Razorbill (Penguin), 2008. 


Since the Wild was banished back underneath her bed, Julie’s life has been fairly tame. Than one day one of the Three Blind Mice goes into the Wild and Julie’s father, Rapunzel’s Prince, comes out, sending the entire world into chaos, strengthening the Wild and sending Julie on a fast-paced trip across the United States, vainly attempting to do damage control. 

At times the action is so fast paced that it can be a bit confusing, but at the same time, I felt compelled to read on, working my way to a very satisfying ending. 


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Well-Witched by Frances Hardinge - OPTIONAL

Hardinge, Frances Well Witched, 400 p. Harper Collins, May 2008. 


Ryan and his friends just want to get home safely from a bad part of town, so Josh, the brave one steals money from the old wishing well. Now new, strange powers plague all of them and they finding themselves compelled to do the well-witch’s business – attempting to grant the wishes of the coins they stole. The powers, however are a bit warped, as are the secrets behind many to the wishes. Lives, including their own, are in danger unless the trio can find a way to stop the witch. 

I feel like I have read this book before, but many years ago. I certainly liked it much better than this author’s first book, Fly By Night. If you need a kind of creepy book for a younger audience, by all means get this one! 

Cindy Mitchell, Library-Teacher.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Shooting the Moon by Frances Dowell O'Roark - OPTIONAL

Dowell, Frances O’Roark Shooting the Moon, 163 p. Atheneum (Simon), 2008. 


The child of a career Army man, Jamie, 12, is proud when her big brother volunteers for duty in the Vietnam War. She can’t understand why her dad tries so hard to talk TJ out of it. When TJ’s letters start arriving, all Jamie gets are rolls of film, which she must learn to develop. As the war unfolds through TJ’s camera lens, Jamie learns almost too much about war and its consequences. 

Dowell has written a book that younger students can use to get inside the idea of war, without being inundated with violence and death. I am worried that it will have trouble finding its audience, as the title lends nothing to the experience and only becomes clear after the fact. So, librarians, you may need to baby this one along. 

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Itch by Michelle Kwasney - OPTIONAL

Kwasney, Michelle D. Itch, 236 p. Henry Holt, 2008. 


Itch is all out of sorts. Her beloved grandfather has died and now her grandmother has moved has household from sunny Florida to a trailer park in frozen Ohio. Plus, Gram has decided to sell Gramps car; Itch isn’t sure she can take much more. She meets a popular girl at her new school who seems friendly enough, but soon realizes that everything is not right in Gwendolyn’s life, either.      In fact, her problems may be so big that Itch is afraid to say a word to anyone who might be able to help. 

While this book deals with death and loss, it also covers the idea of taking a chance and asking an adult for help when you know that something is wrong. Younger students who are fans of Frances O’Roark Dowell or Betsy Byars should enjoy this selection. 

 Reviewer: Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Floods: Good Neighbors by Colin Thompson - OPTIONAL

Thompson, Colin The Floods: Good Neighbors, pgs. 210 HarperCollins.

Language~PG; Mature Content~G; Violence~PG


This is the first book in a new series. This family’s story is a mix between The Series of Unfortunate Events and the Adam’s Family. The Floods are almost the exact copy of the Adam’s Family. The family consists of a beautiful dark haired mother, a slightly dumb father, and several weird children one of which is completely covered in hair like Thing.

Opposite of what the title suggests, the Floods are not good neighbors. Their neighbors begin to bother them so much that they come up with creative ways to get rid of them. This book is full of gruesome dark humor and the Flood’s neighbors have such terrible manners and treat each other horifically. This book will be enjoyed by those who can set aside reality and ethics and can just enjoy the dark humor. 

Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

Colonial Voices by Kay Winters - ADVISABLE

Winters, Kay Colonial Voices: Hear Them Speak, illustrated by Larry Day. Dutton (Penguin), 2008. PICTURE BOOK. 


Through the voices of a variety of townspeople, Ms. Winters gives us a collage of the nights before the Boston Tea Party. Not all of the voices are of patriots; loyalists are also represented. It is at once a look at life in the colonies and at the variety of opinions surrounding the rebellion. This is, however, not a first person account; the vignettes are instead composites based on a huge amount of historical research. The illustrations are complimentary, without being distracting. This picture book could be used in many ways by a clever teacher at any level. 


Friday, June 13, 2008

Fleas! by Jeanne Steig - ESSENTIAL

Steig, Jeanne Fleas! Illustrated by Britt Spencer. PICTURE BOOK. Philomel (Penguin), 2008. 


 Quantz' good deed - giving a dog a scratch- leaves him with a reward of fleas. When Quantz trades his fleas for an annoying uncle, his problem continues to get worse and worse, in an "Old Lady Swallowed a Fly" manner, until it reaches a very pleasant conclusion. Vivid pictures an a quirky story with a very satisfying ending will delight children of many ages. 


Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa by Silverman - ESSENTIAL

Silverman, Erica Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: School Days EARLY READER. Harcourt, Inc. 


In the first chapter, much to her horse Cocoa's dismay, Cowgirl Kate leaves him to go to school. He follows the bus like Mary's little lamb until the driver stops and sends Cowgirl Kate back home with her horse. Next, Cocoa feels their friendship is threatened when Cowgirl Kate brings a friend home from school, but he soon realizes she is his friend too. Cocoa poses for a painting in one chapter and helps Cowgirl Kate with her report on horses in another. 

The delightful watercolor illustrations and bright colors against the white background make this a very inviting chapter book for beginning readers. The characters are believable and their friendship shines through in each story. This series would definitely find an audience in elementary school. 

Reviewer: Debbie Herget, Elementary Library-Teacher

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Potato Joe by Keith Baker - ESSENTIAL

Baker, Keith  Potato Joe. PICTURE BOOK. Harcourt, Inc. 


This counting book in rhyme features potatoes with real personality. The illustrations are simple but expressive and flow with the text. The potatoes count up to ten then back down again with additional rhyming comments thrown in. Children will enjoy this book. 

 Debbie Herget, Elementary Library-Teacher
Baker, Keith Potato Joe 34 p. Harcourt, Inc. PICTURE BOOK. This counting book in rhyme features potatoes with real personality. The illustrations are simple but expressive and flow with the text. The potatoes count up to ten then back down again with additional rhyming comments thrown in. Children will enjoy this book. Grades 1- 3 ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Debbie Herget, Elementary Library-Teacher

Maybelle in the Soup by Katie Speck - ESSENTIAL

Speck, Katie Maybelle in the Soup, illustrated by Paul Ratz de Tagyos. 57 pgs. CHAPTER BOOK. Henry Holt and Company, 2007.


Maybelle is a cockroach who lives with the Peabodys. She follows a set of rules like: “When it’s light, stay out of sight; if you’re spied, better hide; and, most important of all, never meet with human feet.” But just once she would like to take food before it hits the floor! When the Peabodys have the Snodgrasses over for dinner, Maybelle gets her chance. Unfortunately she falls into the turtle soup and is discovered. A romp ensues. Maybelle and her flea friend hatch a plan to avoid the exterminator and all works out in the end. 

This delightful chapter book will be enjoyed by all.

 Susan huff, Area Library Media Specialist.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Keep Your Eye on the Kid by Catherine Brighton - OPTIONAL

Brighton, Catherine. Keep Your Eye on the Kid; The Early Years of Buster Keaton. PICTURE BOOK. Roaring Brook Press, 2008.


Buster Keaton was a star of the silent movie era known for his slapstick comic tumbles and falls and his straight face. This story recounts some of the adventures that Buster talked about, including being sucked out a window by a tornado and deposited on the sidewalk unharmed.

The title refers to the fact that Buster started out in Vaudeville in an act where his father would throw him across the stage and yell, "Keep your eye on the kid." The illustrations evoke the turn of the century era but struggle to capture the Keaton stunts they illustrate. There is an author’s note on Buster Keaton at the end, which provides more information about the man. Kid’s today are so far removed from the idea of silent pictures, Vaudeville, and slapstick comedy, that some background may be called for so that the children can appreciate the story.

Reviewer: Susan Huff, Area Library Media Specialist

Twenty Heartbeats by Dennis Haseley and Ed Young - ESSENTIAL

Haseley, Dennis. Twenty Heartbeats, illustrated by Ed Young. PICTURE BOOK. Roaring Brook Press, 2008.


  A man loves his horse so much that he hires the best painter in the country to draw his horse. The years pass and the picture is not produced. The horse and his master age, and finally the master goes to the painter in anger and demands his picture. The artist complies and sits and quickly draws the horse. The master is angry, but all is not as it seems. He soon discovers the secret behind the painting.

Ed Young’s illustrations never let you down. They are so rich and convey a diversity of emotions. This story and the evocative pictures bring tears to the eyes. This memorable book is a perfect combination of words and art.

Reviewer: Susan Huff, Area Library Media Specialist

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hogwash by Arthur Geisert - ADVISABLE

Geisert, Arthur Hogwash. PICTURE BOOK. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008.


Ever wonder how pigs get so muddy? Well it is no easy task. This wordless book shows us how it happens. Then it shows us exactly how they get all cleaned up!

And you won’t believe your eyes. The illustrations certainly tell the fun story. They are complex and speak a thousand words.

Reviewer: Susan Huff, Area Library Media Specialist

A Book by Mordecai Gerstein - ESSENTIAL

Gerstein, Mordecai A Book. PICTURE BOOK. Roaring Brook, 2009. $17


A young girl and her family live within the pages of a book. Everyone seems to know their tale, except for the girl, so she sets off to see if she can find her own story. She wanders through fairy tale, mystery and adventure, among others. When she arrives home, she realizes just what her story should be.

With a reader’s eye view of the girl’s adventure, Gerstein has created a fun book that is well-worth reading aloud, again and again.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Monday, June 9, 2008

Pearl Barley and Charley Parsley by Aaron Blabey - ESSENTIAL

Blabey, Aaron. Pearl Barley and Charley Parsley. PICTURE BOOK. Front Street, 2007


Pearl and Charley are different in every way. For instance, Pearl Barley likes to “run amok,” and Charley Parsley likes to “sit and think.” But they are best friends and comfort each other and cheer each other up.

This book is sprinkled with humor that fits the fun illustrations. It will cheer anyone up and if it doesn’t, Pearl will “dance up a storm.”

Reviewer: Susan Huff, Area Library Media Specialist

Sam's New Friend by Thierry Robberecht and Philippe Goosens - ADVISABLE

Robberecht, Thierry, Sam’s New Friend, illustrated by Philippe Goossens. Unpaged. Clarion Books, 2007.


Sam is tough and brave and he only likes playing with the boys. But his mom brings her friend’s daughter over for the evening and the night and Sam has to play with her and share his room with her. When she cries in the night, it is Sam who helps. Sam is still strong and brave, but he plays with his new friend, Ellie. Great illustrations.

Several good topics for discussion like divorce, sharing, and playing with girls! The same message could be conveyed a little more subtly.

Susan Huff, Area Library Media Specialist.

Sam is Not a Loser by Thierry Robberecht and Philippe Goossens - ADVISABLE

Robberecht, Thierry. Sam is Not a Loser, illustrated by Philippe Goossens. Unpaged. Clarion Books, 2008.


Sam likes to play but he doesn’t like to lose. Sometimes he throws fits when he loses. He likes to play games with grandma because he ALWAYS wins. He chooses to skip a soccer game because the other team is bigger and his team will probably lose. Grandma convinces him that if he doesn’t play, he doesn’t have a chance to win and he ends up playing.

The illustrations are bold and bright with color, but the story seems preachy.

Reviewer: Susan Huff, Area Library Media Specialist.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Forget Me Not by Coleen Murtagh Paratore - ADVISABLE

Paratore, Coleen Murtagh Forget Me Not. Scholastic Press, 2009.

Content: G


Willa has a great life. Her boyfriend, JFK and her were voted most compatible couple at Bramble Academy, she has a great step-father, and now she gets to plan her Aunt Ruthie’s wedding! Thing take a turn for the worst, however, when Willa and her boyfriend seem to be drifting apart. With baseball season starting and new girls to draw his interest away, Willa seems to be taking a backseat! Even her friends are starting to hang out with other people who are intolerable. When Aunt Ruthie turns out to be Bridezilla, Willa has to use all of her determination to keep herself from going crazy. When a dog appears in her life, however, things start to look up when a mysterious boy starts appearing out of nowhere and making JFK jealous. Who is the mysterious boy? Who does the dog belong to? Does JFK still like her?

Filled with humor and observations that are true to teenage life, this book is a great addition to any library. Girls will enjoy the unique perspective and mishaps Willa has to face. They may also enjoy the prequels to this series (Wedding Planner's Daughter, The Cupid Chronicles, and Willa at Heart)

Reviewer:Kira-Youth Services Librarian-HUN Public Library.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Climbing Rosa by Shelley Fowles - ESSENTIAL

Fowles, Shelley Climbing Rosa. Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2008. PICTURE BOOK


Rosa loves to climb. This is a good thing, because her evil stepmother and stepsister make her sleep on the roof. Everything changes, however, when word gets to her about a bookworm prince that is looking for a wife. The king of the kingdom decrees that whoever can make it to the top of the tallest tree in the kingdom and bring down with them some seeds from the tree, will win the prince’s hand in marriage. Rosa doesn’t just face the challenge of climbing the tree, though, she must also outwit one of her stepsisters. Will she make it to the top of the tree? Will she get to marry the prince or forever be stuck sleeping on the roof?

The text and illustrations are funny and are enjoyable to look at. The illustrations complement well the text. Children of all ages will enjoy reading about a Cinderella who’s not your typical damsel in distress and a prince that has a rather unusual personality.

Reviewer: Kira, Children's Librarian-HUN Public Library

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...