Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Otis and Rae and the Grumbling Splunk by Laura Espinosa - ADVISABLE

Espinosa, Laura and Leo Otis and Rae and the Grumbling Splunk. PICTURE BOOK, Houghton Mifflin, 2008.


Two friends go on a camping adventure, encounter a fearsome creature, solve the problem of finding their way back to camp, and make a new friend using the PB&B (banana) sandwich.

The book shows many characteristics of manga - text/picture panels, work bubbles, flat-color illustrations, and cartoon-like characters and plot. The story is appropriate for sharing with young children one-on-one or in a small group.

Beverly Stout, Area Library Media Specialist.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Chuck's Band by Peggy Perry Anderson - ESSENTIAL

Anderson, Peggy Perry Chuck's Band. PICTURE BOOK, Houghton Mifflin, 2008.


What Fun! Farmer Chuck goes to town, buys a banjo and starts a chain reaction that ultimately involves all of the animals, each with a musical instrument including a washtub, a washboard and a bucket - "With a strum and a hum, / a peck and a pluck, they / all played a tune / while the chicken / went 'cluck." Except Fat Cat Pat, who refuses all offers, holds out for something that suits her better and provides a comical ending to the story.

Short rhyming phrases and bold, bright illustrations make for vivid scenes and fun reading.

Beverly Stout, Area Library Media Specialist.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The River by Brigitte Sidjanski - ADVISABLE

Sidjanski, Brigitte and Bernadette Watts, Ill. The River. PICTURE BOOK, Minedition - Penguin, 2008.


This story tells how a trickle of water high in the mountains gradually grows into a streamlet, a stream, a river cascading down into a deep gorge, and finally part of the sea. Five little pinecones drop from a tree near the beginning and each find a favorable spot to land, the last on the seashore.

Descriptive language and beautiful illustrations make this a warm and sweet book.

Beverly Stout, Area Library Media Specialist

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great by Gerald Morris - ESSENTIAL

Morris, Gerald and Aaron Reiner, Ill. The Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great. 92 pp. Houghton Mifflin, 2008.


In this absolutely delightful first of his Knights' Tales series, Morris brings to a younger audience his love of the Arthurian legend. Light, humorous, and clever, the tale starts with Lancelot's desire to join Arthur's knights, who have "the bravest hearts, the noblest souls, and the shiniest armor in all the world." With his lance in his left hand - because he is cleaning the mud from his armor with a towel in his right - Lancelot accidentally becomes the best knight in the kingdom. From that point in rapid succession he goes from one adventure to another, from being imprisoned by female admirers to foiling a plot to get rid of Arthur's beloved queen.

You'll find very little darkness here, and Reiner's fanciful drawings aptly reflect the tone.

Beverly Stout, Area Library Media Specialist.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Blown Away! by Joan Hiatt Harlow - ESSENTIAL

Harlow, Joan Hiatt Blown Away! 248 pgs. Margaret K. McElderry.

Content - G


Jake, who lives in Islamorada, an island off the coast of Florida, gets to go with an eccentric fisherman on a trip to Key West, and they become fast friends. A new girl moves onto the island as well, and Jake befriends her. A hurricane is coming toward their island. It's going to be an exciting, scary summer for them all.

This book was very good. I thought it was simple in some ways, but in others, it was very deep. There was a lot of description in it that made you feel like you were really there, and you got to know and love the characters. This book was extremely well written. This book shows the dangers and horror of hurricanes very well, without being graphic or anything like that.

Student Reviewer - RG

Regarding the Bathrooms by Kate Klise - ADVISABLE

Klise, Kate Regarding The Bathrooms, 144 pgs. Harcourt.

Content - G


The basement bathrooms in Geyser Creek Middle School need fixing, and fast. The SPA (Society of Principals and Administrators) convention is coming up, and Principal Russ will be hosting it. He contacts Florence Waters to fix them up. Also, Dee Eel and Sally Mander have escaped from jail, making for a crazy summer!

This book was a good one, and I enjoyed the alternative style of writing the author used. The book could be considered educational, because it exposes you to different writing styles. The plot was all right, though this is definitely a book for younger audiences.

Student Reviewer: RG

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Train Stop by Barbara Lehman - ADVISABLE

Lehman, Barbara Train Stop,. WORDLESS PICTURE BOOK. Boston : Houghton Mifflin Company, c2008.


In this wordless picture book, a young girl takes a train ride. She experiences an unusual train stop and returns home to an unexpected visit from new friends. The reader must study the pictures carefully to understand the story. Attention to detail opens up the plot so that the reader says, "ahaa" when the story ends.

Marilyn Mann, Elementary Library Specialist

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hurricane by Terry Trueman - OPTIONAL

Trueman, Terry Hurricane, 144 p. HarperCollins, 2008.

Language - PG


Back in 1998, a killer hurricane struck the country of Honduras and wreaked havoc up and down the coast and further inland than the people have ever seen. José and his family live in a tiny village and disaster is about the strike. How many people in their village will be alive by morning and how will they be able to survive the next few days, let alone rebuild.

As poignant as José's plight is, I can only hope that America kids will respond to his world, even if it is so different from what they know. There are a handful of swears, but it all fits together. This would be a good read-aloud option if you need something short. I especially liked the speedy response from the Honduran government - it's a nice contrast to the after math of Hurricane Katrina.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Lucky Monkey, Unlucky Monkey - ADVISABLE

Kaczman, James Lucky Monkey Unlucky Monkey. PICTURE BOOK. Boston : Houghton Mifflin Company, c2008.


Two monkeys, Ed and Ted, have opposite experiences. Ed has a splendid day, a pleasant walk, and makes a lucky find. Ted has a not so splendid day, an unpleasant walk and makes an unlucky find.

This story has a lot of humor in both the story line and the illustrations. The story also states a unique perspective about animal characters found in children's stories. This story makes a great classroom discussion starter.

Marilyn Mann, Elementary Library Specialist.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ghost Letters by Stephen Alter - OPTIONAL

Alter, Stephen Ghost Letters, 227 p. Bloomsbury, 2008.


Gil has been kicked out of his boarding school and sent to live in a big, creepy house with his grandfather until his parents can figure out what to so with him. Gil meets Nargis, a girl from India, and they stumble immediately upon a peculiar mystery that involves a bony hand that appears when it wants to, a ghostly postman who delivers dead letters and a beautiful blue glass bottle that instantly exchanges messages between Gil and Sikander, a boy who "lives" in India 100 years before Gil's present day. Sikandar needs Gil's help, but what can Gil do from the future? The whole plot revolves around three very important letters.

Did I mention the genie? Creepy and a romp, suspension of disbelief is definitely necessary to enjoy this light-hearted read.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

The Robe of Skulls by Vivian French - ADVISABLE

French, Vivian The Robe of Skulls, 208 p. Candlewick, 2008.

Language - G


Lady Lamorna has the perfect vision of a new gown in her head and has placed the order with the Ancient Crones, but her treasure chest is empty. Meanwhile, Gracie Gillypot is determined to escape the clutches of her mean stepfather and her truly evil stepsister. With the help of a wily bat, she steps right into a great deal of trouble and has to take up a challenge to thwart her own stepsister to avert a greater evil.

While the cover of the book looks evil and dark, it is really light-hearted and reads more like fairytale. If your students like slightly creepy things, they will enjoy this very much.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Bear's Picture by Daniel Pinkwater - ADVISABLE

Pinkwater, Daniel. Bear's Picture. PICTURE BOOK. Boston Houghton Mifflin Company, c2008.


A bear wants to paint a picture, and he proceeds to do just that. He is criticized by two very fine and proper gentlemen, but the bear holds his own and guess what happens to his critics?

The illustrations are great. In fact, much of the story is told not by words, but by the art. This story is not just for the younger children. -

Marilyn Mann, Elementary Library Specialist.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Animals Christopher Columbus Saw by Sandra Markle - ESSENTIAL

Markle, Sandra Animals Christopher Columbus Saw, illustrations by Jamel Akib. Chronicle, 2008. PICTURE BOOK


With simple, concise language Ms. Markle lays out the course and circumstances of Columbus's first journey to find a sea route to China and Japan.

That part by itself would be enough to make this a valuable book to almost any class studying the World Explorers or American Explorers in particular. Instead, however, Ms. Markle has added information on each page about at least one animal that Columbus and crew encountered during that part of the voyage, ranging from the mundane (rats) to the fantastic (manatees thought to be ugly mermaids).

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Snoring Beauty by Bruce Hale - ESSENTIAL

Hale, Bruce. Snoring Beauty.  PICTURE BOOK.  Orlando, Florida : Harcourt, Inc., c2008.


What's a kingdom to do when their princess gets cursed and the spell must be broken? Nobody's perfect, but this is a perfect story.

Clever language and clever illustrations make for a great take on the typical fairy tale. Pair this story with a traditional fairy tale and have a lively discussion with your students, especially the older elementary students.

Marilyn Mann

Sunday, September 21, 2008

There's No Such Thing as Ghosts by Eeckhout - ADVISABLE

Eeckhout, Emmanuelle There's no Such Thing as Ghosts! Kane/Miller, 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


A little boy moves into a neighborhood with a supposed haunted house and is determined to prove that there is no such thing as ghosts. He makes a determined search of every square inch and marches away confident in his pronouncement. What he doesn't see, however, is the audience that he had every step of the way.

The stalwartness of the boy's attitude is a nice counterpoint to the antics of the friendly spirits every step of the way. Younger children will have a good laugh at his expense.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Dragon Flight by Jessica Day George - ADVISABLE

George, Jessica Day Dragon Flight, 272 pgs. Bloomsbury USA Children's Books

Language~G, Sexual Content~G; Violence~PG


In the sequel to her popular book Dragon Slippers, Day has brought readers back to the world of Creel, Prince Luka, and the King of the Dragons, Shardas. Creel’s seamstress business is booming and the Dragon War is over. However, Creel gets word that a neighboring country is breeding dragons for an attack. Prince Luka has been distant and Creel has begun to wonder where their friendship stands. Creel and Luka join forces again with Shardas to defeat this new threat to the peace.

Allison Madsen~Youth Services Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Wangari's Trees of Peace by Jeanette Winter - ESSENTIAL

Winter, Jeanette Wangari's Trees of Peace: a true story from Africa. Harcourt, 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


By the time that Wangari returns from her college education in America, most of the trees of Kenya had been cut down to make room for modernization. Now she saw that the women of the villages suffered in poverty, due in part to the loss of those trees. Starting with her own back yard and her own village, Wangri plants one sapling at a time and encourages others to join. After thirty years, thirty million trees have been planted, returning a canopy of green to Kenya. In 2004, Wangair was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts.

Buy this book now and give to every science teacher you have! Its message is laid out so simply that the power of its truth has a chance to reach every student.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

11,000 Years Lost by Peni Griffin - OPTIONAL

Griffin, Peni R. 11,000 Years Lost, 336 pgs. Harry N. Abrams

Language~G, Sexual Content~G; Violence~PG


Finding an arrow-head is always exciting, but what if you found one that was 11,000 years old? Esther discovered a Clovis arrowhead that has been buried since the Ice Age. Archeologists come to dig around the site to see what else can be found. While observing the archeologist work, Esther sees some odd looking girls playing in the distance. She goes over to investigate and her world changes. A portal back to the Ice Age has opened and Esther unknowingly walked through it. Now she is 11,000 years in the past! The mysterious girls, belong to a nomadic tribe and when Esther shows up they say she has come from the stars and is a ‘special/magical’ being that bestows luck upon all she touches. She becomes friends with the two girls and is adopted into their family. Unable to find a way home, Esther struggles learn the nomadic language and the ways of the nomads. Esther begins to fear that she will never get back home.

Descriptions of the nomadic way of life and its dangers are very interesting and the hunt for the mammoths exciting. The cover is slightly dull, therefore consider reading this story aloud.

Allison Madsen~Youth Services Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Big Little Book of Happy Sadness by Colin Thompson - ADVISABLE

Thompson, Colin The Big Little Book of Happy Sadness. Kane/Miller, 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


George lives with his grandmother, and though they love each other, there are both still lonely in their own little universes. Then George finds a friend - someone who George him as much as George needs someone. But George's new friend has challenges to face first.

There's no information in the book that I can find about the medium or process that Thompson used to create his illustrations, but they have an odd, intriguing quality about them that I can't resist. Even more so after I read that he is colorblind. George, his grandmother and the dog, Jeremy, are a quirky bunch and any child can relate to the wish of owning a pet.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Yoon and the Jade Bracelet by Recorvits - ADVISABLE

Recorvits, Helen Yoon and the Jade Bracelet, pictures by Gabi Swiatowska. Farrar, Strauss, Giroux, 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


Yoon is new in America from Korea. For her birthday she receives a beautiful jade bracelet that had been passed down from her grandmother. An older girl at school sees the bracelet and tricks Yoon into "sharing" it with her. Yoon has to find her courage in order to reclaim her possession.

The message within this picture book is an important one for children of any age - the fact that some people will use you just to get what they want and that you can and should stand up for yourself.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Vunce upon a Time by J. Otto Siebold - ESSENTIAL

Seibold, J. Otto and Siobhan Vivian Vunce Upon a Time. Chronicle Books, 2008. PICTURE BOOK


A young vampire is extremely fun of candy, but one day his stash runs out. A passing skeleton clues him in to the upcoming Halloween night. Dagmar enjoys his evening out with the ghost he met on the street, until the ghost takes off her costume, revealing a human underneath. Scared, Dagmar runs off and then the human proves herself to be a good friend.

This is a lovely little Halloween book. I love the funky illustrations from the man whose work you might remember from Olive, The Other Reindeer. And Dagmar is an endearing vampire.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

You're a Grand Old Flag by George M. Cohan - OPTIONAL

Cohan, George M. You're a Grand Old Flag, illustrations by Norman Rockwell. Atheneum (Simon), 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


The words to Cohan's song are illustrated with Rockwell's iconic illustrations. Any lesson on American symbols or patriotism could add this to their collection, otherwise it's interest is incidental, maybe for fans of Rockwell or as a gift.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

A Child's Day by Ida Pearle - ADVISABLE

Pearle, Ida A Child's Day: An Alphabet of Play. Harcourt, 2008.


Ida Pearle has created an abecedarian of verbs to delight a young child all day. I can totally see a parent and child laughing and acting out each and every page. This would make a terrific board book.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan - ESSENTIAL

Riordan, Rick Battle of the Labyrinth, 368 pgs. Hyperion.

Language~G, Sexual Content~G; Violence~PG-13;


Percy and his friends are back! Camp Half-blood is in Kronos’ sights and the entire camp is in danger. If the enemy can find its way through the Labyrinth, they will be able to bypass the secure borders of Camp Half-blood. Percy and his friends must prevent this. They begin a quest into the Labyrinth and many dangers await them.

Riordan has created yet another exciting volume in his Olympian saga, but this is not the end. Fans will eagerly await his next book.

Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Turtle's Penguin Day by Valeria Gorbachev - ADVISABLE

Gorbachev, Valeri Turtle's Penguin Day. Knopf Rrandom House), 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


Little Turtle loved his bedtime story about turtles. At school the next day, his turtle costume intrigues the other children and they spend a day practicing their turtle best. What will the next day hold? Well, tonight's story is all about monkeys!

An absolutely adorable picture book that celebrates the imagination and enthusiasm of the young.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Key to Rondo by Emily Rodda - ESSENTIAL

Rodda, Emily The Key to Rondo, 333pgs. Scholastic Press;



When Aunt Bethany died she left Leo her music box. The music box was a treasured family heirloom. The music that played when the lid was opened was almost hypnotic. But unlike most music boxes this one had 4 rules.

“Turn the key three times only.
Never turn the key while the music is playing.
Never pick up the box while the music is playing.
Never close the lid until the music has stopped.”

Why these rules existed, Leo didn’t know. The sides and top of the music box was painted with various scenes all which Leo knew by heart from the many times he had studied the box. Leo’s life changed the day his cousin Mimi turned the key four times! Characters from the music box came alive into the room! First it was blue butterflies, but the next time it was a beautiful lady all dressed in blue. Little did they know that the lady was an evil queen with evil intentions for Leo and Mimi. The evil queen kidnaps Mimi’s dog and returns to the music box. Mimi insists that they follow and thus begins Leo’s adventure in the land of Rondo.

Emily Rodda has once again created a fabulous fantasy tale for young readers to lose themselves in. This story would make an excellent class read-a-loud.

Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Mystery Ride! by Scott Magoon - NO

Magoon, Scott Mystery Ride! Harcourt, 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


A young bear and his siblings sometimes enjoy going on car rides with their parents. But other times, when mom and dad say, "Mystery Ride," they know it is not going to be so much fun. Sometimes at the end of errand running, though, there is a special treat waiting.

I didn't get the whole thing of a parent calling a trip of errands a mystery ride. I wasn't enchanted.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Snow by Cynthia Rylant - OPTIONAL

Rylant, Cynthia Snow, illustrated by Lauren Stringer. Harcourt, 2008. PICTURE BOOK.

Pre- K, EL (K-3) - OPTIONAL

Beautiful drawings of children playing and running in the snow are the best part of this homage to winter. The text is not as strong, however.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Twenty-Odd Ducks by Lynne Truss - ESSENTIAL

Truss, Lynne Twenty-Odd Ducks: Why Every Punctuation Mark Counts, illustrated by Bonnie Timmons. Putnam (Penguin), 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


Truss and Timmons score another home run with another companion to the Eats, Shoots and Leaves book. This time all punctuation marks are involved in this wonderful new book. English teachers at levels need this book right now!

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Friday, September 12, 2008

100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson - OPTIONAL

Wilson, N.D. 100 Cupboards, 289 pages


Henry's parents have disappeared, so he has been sent to live with his Aunt, Uncle and cousins in a tiny Kansas town. Henry unearths a long-hidden secret that puts him and his family in danger. An intriguing series of drawers and cupboards are windows into other places, worlds, times and dimensions. Henry's cousin Henrietta thinks the whole thing is a big joke and suddenly the whole family must work together to save them all from a long-lived menace.

I like Henry and his extended family and the story up to a point. But - once the time and place travel starts, situations develop rapidly without enough background to allow any reader to follow the action. This problem isn't unique to this novel; it's a common downfall of many time travel novels. I think a younger reader would be confused about the action. It sounds like there will be a sequel where the other worlds may be better explored.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Knaveheart's Curse by Adele Griffin - OPTIONAL

Griffin, Adele The Knaveheart's Curse, 131 p. Putnam (Penguin), 2008.


Maddy, a vegan vampire in New York, is on track to becoming a full-fledged human. She decides, however, that she is lonely, so she bribes another girl, Dakota, to be her friend. Maddy gets more than she bargains for, when it seems as though her older sister, Lexie, is changing and rumors are flying that the Knaveheart elder is in search of an heir.

This second installment of the Vampire Island Story is much better than the first. Younger children who like spooky stories may enjoy this too.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ever by Gail Carson Levine - ADVISABLE

Levine, Gail Carson Ever, 244 p. Harper, 2009


An immortal boy falls in love with a mortal girl. The only way they can be together forever is if he becomes a champion and she becomes a hero. Both of them must face their greatest weaknesses in order to have a happy-ending.

Instead of rewriting an old favorite, Levine has taken classic themes and created something completely new. While I don't think it is as strong as Fairest or Two Princesses of Bamarre, it is still a lovely fairy tale.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Independent Dames by Laurie Halse Anderson - ESSENTIAL

Anderson, Laurie Halse Independent Dames, illustrated by Matt Faulkner. Simon and Schuster, 2008. NON-FICTION PICTURE BOOK.


Slowly the women of the American Revolution are gaining the recognition that they deserve. Anderson’s book brings these women’s storied to the elementary age with her picture book which can be read on several levels. Each page has an illustration, accompanying explanation, a more detailed blurb about a particular woman and detailed information on the timeline running below each page. The information is rich enough that almost every level of American History teacher can use this in their classroom.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Magic Pillow by Demi - ADVISABLE

Demi The Magic Pillow. McElderry (Simon), 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


A young is given a gift of sleep on a magic pillow that shows him a life of fame, power and fortune. Upon waking, the boy can decide to follow that path or choose a different type of life.

A powerful life lesson wrapped up in a neat little package accompanied by Demi’s stylized Asian drawings.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Amigurumi Animals by Annie Obaachan - ADVISABLE

Obaachan, Annie Amigurumi Animals, 128 pgs. St. Martin's Griffin


This book teaches you how to crochet animals. Amigurumi was developed by the Japanese. Now you can learn on how to make creative and cute animals. First, they show the history of Amigurumi animals. Then, it's on to tips and instructions. Finally, in the back of the book, there is a gallery full of cute pictures! This book is really detailed in the instructions. It can be used by beginners and experts. But one thing I didn't like was that there were so many abbreviations. It made it a bit confusing.

Student Reviewer: CW

The Sister Switch by Jane B. Mason - OPTIONAL

Mason, Jane B. and Sarah Hines Stephens The Sister Switch, Pgs. 150. Scholastic.

Content- G


Caitlin and Andie are identical twins. Andie is athletic, and Caitlin isn't. Although, she is going to try out for the Jazz ensemble, but the P.E. teacher said that everyone has to go though an assessment. Caitlin doesn't think she will pass, so she asks her sister to do it for her. They promise that it would be a one time thing, then they both like being each other more than themselves.

I really didn't care for this book, because I prefer less predictable books. Even though, I think that it teaches kids that they can do anything that they set their minds to.

Student Reviewer: SH

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Fartiste by Kathleen Krull and Boris Kulikov - ADVISABLE

Krull, Kathleen and Paul Brewer Fartiste: An Explosively funny, mostly true story, illustrated by Boris Kulikov. Simon and Schuster, 2008. BIOGRAPHY PICTURE BOOK.


In turn-of-the-century France, a gentleman arrives in Paris with a highly unusual talent. He gained instant fame and was highly successful.

This tongue-in-cheek book with its terribly amusing illustrations looks at a real man with an unorthodox talent. If your library has Everyone Poops or the Gas We Pass, you can certainly carry this one!

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Callie for President by Robin Wasserman - OPTIONAL

Wasserman, Robin Callie for President, Pgs. 176. Scholastic.

Content- G


Student elections are coming up. Callie, Max and Fish have Social studies together. Max and Callie are talking and Max starts laughing. Their teacher asks what was so funny Max has no idea what to say and so she blurts out that she nominates Callie for president! Fish seconds that nomination. Callie is so mad, but she ends up learning a lot from the election. So she really doesn't care who wins.

This book, made me think of SBO elections. Most likely because there was competition. I liked this book, just not enough to go out and buy it. I also think that the author should have added more detail.

Student Reviewer: SH

Friday, September 5, 2008

Teeth by Sneed Collard - OPTIONAL

Collard, Sneed B. III Teeth, illustrated by Phyllis V. Saroff. Charlesbridge, 2008. NON-FICTION PICTURE BOOK.


Collard explores all kinds of teeth in all kinds of mammals in this picture book. The information is helpful without being overwhelming. The only thing I wonder is how it would have looked if the illustrations were photos instead of drawings.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Billy Bones by Christopher Lincoln - ESSENTIAL

Lincoln, Christopher Billy Bones: Tales from the Secrets Closet, 284 pages. Little Brown and Co.

Content - G


This book starts out with a silly "Guide to the Afterlife" which starts the chuckles off right away. The main story is about a skeleton named Billy Bones, his parents, one Sir Barkley Braggety Biglum VI, Miss Primly, Sir Barkley Braggety Biglum VI niece, Millicent, a kind old lady, and a ghost and the Grim Reaper. A cute little story a lot like Tim Burton's claymations.

I think any one could read this book and be thoroughly entertained. The characters are ones you could love or hate (depending on the character) and the story has a good moral.

Student Reviewer: RH

The Order of Odd-Fish by James Kennedy - ESSENTIAL

Kennedy, James The Order of Odd-Fish, 403 pages. Delacorte Press (Random).

Language-G, Sexual Content-G, Violence-PG.


Jo Larouche has lived 13 years with her Aunt Lily since she was found as a baby in her Aunt's laundry room with this note pinned to her blanket:
This is Jo. Please take care of her.
But beware.
This is a DANGEROUS baby.

Up to this point Jo has been as Aunt Lily says "as dangerous as a glass of milk," but that all changes at Aunt Lily's annual Christmas costume party when several strange things happen: a boy in a hedgehog costume shoots an elderly Russian Colonel, a talking cockroach is found tied in the basement moaning about how this will play in the tabloid press and a box falls from the sky addressed to Jo from the order of Order of Odd-Fish.

This book is like Monty Python and Roald Dahl mixed together. It's extremely funny and had me laughing out loud.

Student Reviewer: RH

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Monarch and Milkweed by Helen Frost - ADVISABLE

Frost, Helen and Leonid Gore Monarch and Milkweed. Atheneum (Simon), 2008. NON-FICTION PICTURE BOOK.


With beautiful illustrations and simple words, the authors explain the cycle of birth and regeneration for the monarch butterfly and the butterfly’s relationship with the milkweed plant.

If you have a teacher who loves living science, this is a perfect book to accompany a lesson on lifecycle. There are even kits available online to grow live monarch butterflies.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

The King and Fire Chanter by Arrand Wend - ESSENTIAL

Wend, Arrand The King and the Fire Chanter (Book One of The Runes of Medarya). 373 pages. Antiquity Publishing

Content - G


Shane and Mia flee for their lives to another planet and discover their mysterious connection to a royal king of the past and his vision to reestablish the lost kingdom. It's up to them to decipher riddles left by an evil mage long dead who set a bomb to kill them even after he died.

A great story with lots of humor and action. I loved it.

Student Reviewer: RH

From what I can tell, this book is hard to get ahold of. Amazon seems to be the best bet.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Gorilla Doctors by Pamela Turner - ESSENTIAL

Turner, Pamela S. Gorilla Doctors: Saving Endangered Great Apes, 64 p. NON-FICTION. Houghton Mifflin, 2005, 2008.


Copious amounts of full-color pictures accompany detailed information about the rewards and challenges of tending to the mountain gorillas of east-central Africa. Instead of being clinical, the book is peppered with first person stories of the gorillas and their doctors which are entertaining and educational to read. Any teacher who covers endangered species will be delighted to know about this book.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein - ADVISABLE

Grabenstein, Chris The Crossroads, 336 Pgs. Random House.

Language- G; Sexual Content- G; Violence- PG


Zack Jennings is an 11yo boy who moves to Connecticut with his dad and new stepmother. It seems like a pretty boring town until Zack meets a new friend, a crazy lady keeps coming to and oak in his back yard and a face in a tree wants to kill him.

This is an intense novel. It's thrilling and had me jumping and scared after just a few pages. It is very well written and I liked it a lot. Its a fun story that had me guessing 'till the end and I am now looking for more of Grabenstein's books.

Student Reviewer: AR

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

This is Your Life by Heather Miller - ADVISABLE

Miller, Heather Lynn This is Your Life Cycle: With special guest Dahlia the dragonfly, illustrated by Michael Chesworth. NON-FICTION. Clarion, 2008.


In the style of an old game show, Dahlia Dragonfly meets the insects and animals that were instrumental to her life to this point.

This comically illustrated book is not only amusing, but also contains the factual details of the dragonfly’s life. Younger students will be highly entertained by this lively offering. Perfect for an elementary school lesson.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

The Duck Who Played Kazoo by Amy E. Sklansky - ADVISABLE

Sklansky, Amy E. and Tiphanie Beeke, Ill. The Duck Who Played the Kazoo. PICTURE BOOK, Clarion, 2008.


In this rhyming story a duck is left alone after a hurricane with nothing but a kazoo to keep him company. He plays solitary songs each day with the recurring refrain, "zu zu." As the season changes and the days shorten, he packs his things and flies south to a river and some fellow ducks. He plays his kazoo for them and is invited to join their "fine-feathered crew." Again the season begins to change, so our kazoo duck invites his new fellows to visit his former home.

Rhyming and refrain give the story rhythm and continuity, and I love the illustrations, though the message is nebulous.

Beverly Stout, Area Library Media Specialist.

Monday, September 1, 2008

What the World Eats by Faith D'Aluisio - ESSENTIAL

D’Aluisio, Faith What the World Eats, photographed by Peter Menzel, 160 p. NON-FICTION. Tricycle Press, 2008.


From the creators of Material World and Hungry Planet comes this knockout book about what25 families around the world grow, make and buy to feed themselves for a week. Each family is photographed with all of the makings for their weekly meals. Full of details about nutrition and lifestyle without ever being boring.

This book is utterly fascinating and I really want posters of all of the family portraits and the ingredient lists for a fabulous display! I hope that Tricycle comes up with some related materials for this must-have title!

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Buffalo Music by Tracey Fern - ADVISABLE

Fern, Tracey E. and Lauren Castillo, Ill. Buffalo Music. PICTURE BOOK, Clarion, 2008.


The main character, Molly, is a fictionalization of Mary Ann Goodnight, who actually settled in the Texan Panhandle in 1876 when buffalo were still numerous in the area. Molly loves hearing "buffalo music" as the massive herds graze nearby. Within about six years, however, buffalo hunters have slaughtered the animals, and Molly is grief stricken. When a fellow settler brings her two orphaned buffalo calves to raise, Molly accepts the challenge, taking them into her dugout home to warm by the fire. The buffalo thrive, eventually more are added until Molly's herd numbers 100, and some are eventually sent to Yellowstone to help build the herd in the park.

Castillo's mixed-media illustrations enhance Fern's homespun expressions, making this an appealing book.

Beverly Stout, Area Library Media Specialist.

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...