Friday, October 31, 2008

Off to First Grade by Louise Borden - ESSENTIAL

Borden, Louise Off to First Grade, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2008. PICTURE BOOK


Using free-verse poems, Borden gives little snapshots of each child's or school staff member's experience on the first day of first grade-from leaving mom to wondering about the new teacher. 

This is a fantastic first-day-of-school book; it clearly expresses all of the many feelings that kids, parents, and teachers initially have. The sweet pictures and appealing verse made me wish I had a first grader to enjoy it with me. 

Kami, Children's Librarian

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Pipkin of Pepper by Helen Cooper - OPTIONAL

Cooper, Helen A Pipkin of Pepper
. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2005.


Duck has made the perfect pumpkin soup, except it needs a bit of salt. Duck convinces Cat and Squirrel to let him go into the city with them, but Duck is distracted by a shop of pepper and finds himself lost in the big city.

This is a reprint in paperback from the original. The young animals are adorable; the big city of fun and bustling. The story is a little odd, but when you are young, sometimes the pictures are more important than the plot.

Cindy - Library-Teacher

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pink! by Lynne Rickards and Margaret Chamberlain - ADVISABLE

Pink! by Lynne Rickins, illustrated by Margaret Chamberlain. Chicken House (Scholastic), January 2009.


Patrick Penguin has woken up PINK! His mom takes him to the doctor and they decide that Patrick may feel best living with a flock of penguins. Patrick makes his solo trip to Africa and tries his best, but decides that even pink, he still is a penguin.

Okay, so I adore penguins! But Patrick's plight is compelling (how can a boy be Pink!), the line drawings are adorable, and how can anyone resist a penguin.

Cindy - Library-Teacher

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Crocodile Safari by Jim Aronsky - ADVISABLE

Aronsky, Jim Crocodile Safari. Scholastic, March 2009.


Jim Arnosky and his wife took a trip to the Florida Everglades to research and film crocodiles for this book. Their adventures become the centerpiece for the facts about crocs in America; it adds that spice to what could have been just a traditional non-fiction book. The pages are packed with facts, and Arnosky's paintings complement the text with an earthy feeling.

Cindy - Library-Teacher

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tillie Lays an Egg by Terry Golson - ADVISABLE

Golson, Terry Tillie Lays an Egg, with photographs by Ben Fink. PICTURE BOOK. Scholastic, 2009.


All of the other hens take turns laying their eggs in the nesting boxes. Tilly, however, lays her eggs wherever she is at the moment. Can you find Tillie's eggs through the week?

The author uses her own chickens (yes, Tillie did inspire the book), with great photos that are propped with Golson's own stuff. The find-the-egg is perfect for little ones with quick minds and excited eyes.

Cindy - Library-Teacher

Boo Hoo Bird by Jeremy Tankard - ADVISABLE

Tankard, Jeremy Boo Hoo Bird. Scholastic, 2009. PICTURE BOOK.


Bird and Racoon are playing a game of catch when Bird gets bonked on the head. Nothing the wide group of friends comes up with seems to cure Birds boo-boo. Then something happens to startle Bird right out of the hurt.

Parents will see their little ones in this book. The vibrant colors will catch their child's eye and they will certainly have sympathy with Bird's hurt.

Cindy - Library-Teacher

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Philippa Fisher's Fairy Godsister by Liz Kessler - ADVISABLE

Kessler, Liz Philippa Fisher's Fairy Godsister, 256 p. Candlewick, 2008.


Philippa is devastated when her best friend moves away. Now she feels like a third wheel at school. Daisy is a fairy who needs a lesson on how to interact with humans. At the great age of 12, Philippa is too old to believe in fairies, but she really does need a little magic in her life. Daisy thinks that Philippa is too uncool to have any actual value. Together, the two must come to terms or Daisy's very life will be over, a failure.

Was that a happy coincidence in your life? Or was it a fairy at work? After you read this book, you may just be ready to believe.

Cindy - Library-Teacher

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Madeline and the Cats of Rome by John Bemelmans Marciano - ADVISABLE

Marciano, John Bemelmans Madeline and the Cats of Rome. Viking (Penguin), 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


Madeline and the girls leave Paris for the sights and sounds of Rome. When the nun's camera is stolen, Madeline picks up the chase and loses herself in the sideways and byways of the bustling city. A gypsy-like girl seems to be her nemesis and challenge.

Ludwig Bemelman's grandson has picked up the Madeline torch and carried the little girl to new sights and fine adventures. I think we will see many more new books in the Madeline series, well worth reading.

Cindy - Library-Teacher

Friday, October 24, 2008

South by Patrick McDonnell - ESSENTIAL

McDonnell, Patrick South. Little, Brown, 2008. WORDLESS PICTURE BOOK.


Without a single word, McDonnell tells a poignant story of a lost little bird and the cat who befriends her. I don't think this book can get any cuter than this!

Cindy - Library-Teacher

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Starlight Goes to Town by Harry Allard - ESSENTIAL

Allard, Harry Starlight Goes to Town, pictures by George Booth. Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


Starlight (aka Ethel Fae) feels too big for the henhouse and barnyard, so when her fairy godmother (chicken) arrives, she follows her dreams in a very unusual way (I am not giving it away). Across the ocean and back to the states, Starlight dreams large and finds a way to get the life she wants. This book is too, too funny!! The whole story is fresh and Starlight's antics in the pictures are priceless. I can see her having her own Saturday morning cartoon.

Cindy - Library-Teacher

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wish by Roseanne Thong - ADVISABLE

Thong, Roseanne Wish, art by Elisa Kleven. Chronicle, 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


Children from all over the world frolic and play and caper across brightly colored pages, while, in that special way unique to their city, country or culture, make a wish for happy things.

I have to admit the children and the pictures are my favorite part of this book. But I can totally see an elementary teacher building an lesson around this information . There is extra info at the end of the book explaining each celebration a bit more and also a fun hidden picture challenge.

Cindy - Library-Teacher

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderful by John Scieszka - ESSENTIAL

Scieszka, John Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland, pictures by Mary Blair. PICTURE BOOK. Disney Press (Hyperion), 2008.


Scieszka takes Lewis Carroll's brilliant novel and distills its essence, making it accessible for the youngest of readers or listeners, without having to even resort to the movie. Mary Blair is my favorite Disney artist - while she has passed away, reams of her art still exists in Disney archives and all over the park. Her original drawings helped set the look for the movie and while her pictures are not copies of the film, her personality shines through.

I would buy this for my own collection just because it has Blair's name on it, but read it again and again for Scieszka's wry sense of humor and his spin of the original.

Cindy - Library-Teacher

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Day Leo Said I Hate You! by Robie H. Harris - ESSENTIAL

Harris, Robie H. The Day Leo Said I Hate You! Illustrated by Molly Bang. PICTURE BOOK. Little, Brown, 2008.


Leo is so tired for his mommy saying NO to everything he does to entertain himself, so when he reaches his boiling point, he screams out "I hate You!" Immediately, he feels awful; but a loving mom helps him find a way to say "I'm sorry." Younger readers may not always know how to handle their emotions, and this title is a great way to illicit talk at school or home.

Cindy - Library-Teacher

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Night of the Moon by Hena Khan - ADVISABLE

Khan, Hena Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story, illustrated by Julie Paschkis. Chronicle Books, 2008.


Yasmeen, a Pakastani-American girl, is too young to fast during Ramadan herself, but that doesn't stop her from sharing the holiday with her school friends and participating in her family's celebration.

The bright illustrations are a perfect compliment to the text in this picture book. While Yasmeen is a little girl, she still gives a good look at this Muslim holy month. Even high school geography teachers could read this to their students as a quick ways to explain how Ramadan works.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

What the World Eats by Faith D'Aluisio - ESSENTIAL

D'Aluisio, Faith What the World Eats, photographed by Peter Menzel, 160 p. 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.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Madam President by Lane Smith - ESSENTIAL

Smith, Lane Madam President. Hyperion, 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


A little girl looks at her day as if she were the President of the USA.

While the premise is pretty basic, Lane Smith makes it into a treat that can not be enjoyed with words alone. Each page is visual delight that needs to be thoroughly explored. And it really puts the President's job into perspective, while giving it that Lane Smith twist.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Friday, October 17, 2008

My Chincoteague Pony by Susan Jeffers - ESSENTIAL

Jeffers, Susan My Chincoteague Pony. PICTURE BOOK. Hyperion, 2008.


A little girl wants a pony of her own and raises the money for the Chincoteague auction. She doesn't have quite enough money and the ponies are all gone, except one is returned and strangers start handing her cash so that she can fulfill her dream. I read Marguerite Henry's Chincoteague books many years ago.

When I picked this picture book up, I had no idea that I would be so affected (tears in my eyes) by a pink book with glitter on the cover. But horsey girls and not so horsey gilrs all over the world will adore this story. The author's forward is also a must read, as well as her own letter from Ms. Henry.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Charlie Bone and the Shadow by Jenny Nimmo - ESSENTIAL

Nimmo, Jenny Charlie Bone and the Shadow, 464pgs. Orchard Books (Scholastic), 2008.

Language: G, Sexual Content: G, Violence: PG


Count Harken will stop at nothing to get Charlie Bone for what he did to him. One day, Charlie's grandmother brings home a mysterious painting. Having his endowment, he was tempted to just have one look at the painting. One look and that was all it took to drag him into a land he didn't want to be in.

This in one of my favorite series. If you read Harry Potter, you should read these books. I love Nimmo's books. They mystify you and make you tense until you realise it is the end. I can't wait for the next book! Seventh in the series.

Student Reviewer: CW

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dragon Moon by Carole Wilkinson - ESSENTIAL

Wilkinson, Carole Dragon Moon, 328 pgs.

Language: G, Sexual Content: G, Violence: PG


Ping and her dragon, Kai, have been living in the palace for awhile. Ping figures it is time to find the dragon haven. She was not going to live forever to take care of her growing dragon. She sets off on a difficult journey; full of hurt and triumphs.

It was thrilling and fun at the same time. I laughed at Kai's silly antics and traveled along with Ping in her journey. Amazing conclusion to the trilogy. Dragon Keeper and Garden of the Purple Dragon are the first two. There may be a bit of confusion because of the Chinese used in the book. There is a glossary and guide at the end of the book to help.

Student Reviewer: CW

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Moonpowder by John Rocco - ESSENTIAL

Rocco, John Moonpowder. Hyperion, 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


Eli has been having scary dreams, so he is determined to stay awake all night. Then into his room comes Mr. Moon, who desperately needs his help. The Moon powder factory is broken and people are having fewer and fewer sweet dreams. Mr. Moon and friends are sure that Eli is the one they need to fix the factory and return sweet dreams to the world.

This is one of those so sweet picture books that you just need to have on your shelves.

Cindy: Library-Teacher

Monday, October 13, 2008

Smelly Locker by Alan Katz - ESSENTIAL

Katz, Alan Smelly Locker: Silly Dilly School Songs, illustrated by David Catrow. Margaret K. McElderry (Simon and Schuster), 2008.


The kings of silly songs are back with a tribute to all things school related. Adults will enjoy this as much as or even more than kids.

Cindy: Library-Teacher

In the Pocket: Johnny Unitas and Me by Mike Leonetti - OPTIONAL

Leonetti, Mike In the Pocket: Johnny Unitas and Me, illustrated by Chris O'Leary. Chronicle, 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


Billy wants to be the quarterback of his local team so bad, but his coach says that he is too small. His best friend leads him to the home of Johnny Unitas, quarterback for the Baltimore Colts, who gives Billy advice and encouragement.

Old-time football fans may enjoy this more than young children; there is an awful lot of text on each page. The story is worth a read for its message of the value of hard work, dedication and education.

Cindy: Library-Teacher

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Robot Dreams by Sara Varon - ESSENTIAL

Varon, Sara, Robot Dreams, 208 pgs. GRAPHIC NOVEL. First Second



We all have dreams, things we want to become, strive to do, or want to try. Who would’ve thought that robots do too? In her newest book, author/illustrator Sara Varon tells the story of a dog and his robot. This wordless story begins with the dog sending in a mail order form for a robot. When the robot arrives, Dog quickly assembles it and they immediately go to the municipal library where they check out a movie starring robots. The next day, after returning the movie to the library like good library patrons, Dog checks out a book on dog beaches and the two set off for a day at the beach. This adventure turns out disastrous for Robot who, after spending time in the salty sea water, stiffens up and cannot move. Dog not knowing what to do, leaves Robot on the beach. Robot unable to do anything but think begins to dream of what the day could’ve been if he had not gone into the water, end of chapter one.

Varon continues the story for several more chapters alternating between what is happening to Robot and what is happening to Dog. It is a sweet story that will resonate with kids at several different levels. This would be an excellent choice as an introduction to graphic novels for younger audiences

Allison Madsen~Youth Services Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

The Pout-pout Fish by Deborah Diesen - ADVISABLE

Diesen, Deborah The Pout-Pout Fish, pictures by Dan Hanna. Farrar, Straus Giroux, 2008. PICTURE BOOK.

Pre-K, EL (K-3)  - ADVISABLE

A pouty-faced fish swims glumly around the ocean bottom every day until a beautiful, mysterious fish gives him a new purpose in life.

This ocean world is a little glittery, a little bit sparkly and very detailed, populated with all kinds of friendly creatures. Pout-pout fish's story is a succinct look at how sometimes we choose our mood.

Cindy: Library-Teacher

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Art From her Heart: Folk Artist Clementine Hunter - OPTIONAL

Whitehead, Kathy Art From Her Heart: Folk Artist Clementine Hunter, illustrated by Shane W. Evans. Putnam, 2008. NON-FICTION PICTURE BOOK


Clementine Hunter started painting in the 1940's, in the middle years of her life, using left over paint and scraps of boards, window shades or anything else she could find. She gained fame during time of segregation and had to be sneaked in to one of her own art exhibits.

This picture book speaks mostly about Hunter's history and inspirations, and not so much about her life as a recognized artist. While it nay be useful, it is not outstandingly inspirational.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Gobble, Gobble, Crash by Julie Stiegmeyer - ADVISABLE

Stiegmeyer, Julie Gobble, Gobble, Crash: A Barnyard Counting Bash, illustrated by Valerie Gorbachev. PICTURE BOOK. Dutton (Penguin), 2008.


Four wild turkeys bash and crash their way through the barnyard, waking up all the animals on the farm and close around.

Counting books may abound, but this is a worthy addition to any young reader's collection. The animals are not always easy to count and baby animals are just so adorable anyway!

Cindy: Library-Teacher

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bone Soup by Cambria Evans - ESSENTIAL

Evans, Cambria Bone Soup. Houghton Mifflin, 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


A scary, ravenous Eater, Finnigan, has a reputation of eating towns out of house and home. A quaking village hides all their food from him, but when Finnigan prepares a pot of bone soup, he will need everyone's cooperation to make a satisfying feast.

Stone Soup meets Halloween in this gently twisted version. It makes for a lightly spooky tale with the same, important message.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

The Faerie Door by B.E. Maxwell - ADVISABLE

Maxwell, B.E. The Faerie Door, 471 p. Harcourt, 2008.


Victoria, 11, steps through a magic gate and finds herself in a place almost 100 years later and across the world, the home of Elliot, a boy who also has a magic gate. The two children find that the Queen of Faeries needs their help, but they must endure separate quests, with very different challenges and dangers, before they are reunited, just in time to face their final danger.

While the story bogs down a bit in the middle, the good bite greatly outweigh the slower bits.

Cindy: Library-Teacher.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bats at the Library by Brian Lies - ESSENTIAL

Lies, Brian Bats at the Library. Houghton Mifflin, 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


The Bats find a an open window into the public library and enjoy an evening of tales.

It was especially nice to see the restlessness of the little ones until they became so absorbed in the stories that all of the bats were almost too late exiting the building. It's not quite as adorable as Bats at the Beach, but will be fondly read during story time in libraries all over.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Tansy's New Petals by Kay Woodward - ADVISABLE

Woodward, Kay Tansy's New Petals. CHAPTER BOOK. Frederick Warne and Co.



Tansy is a flower fairy and her flowers are growing out of control. When her friends ask her to leave the flower fairy garden and live on kings highway she discovers that change can be good.

I think this book is great for young kids. It shows that change can be a good thing, even though it may disappoint you at first.

Student Reviewer-MP

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Raining Cats and Dogs by Will Moses - ESSENTIAL

Moses, Will Raining Cats and Dogs. Philomel (Penguin), 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


Moses' book is crammed with more than 40 idioms that are defined correctly, but illustrated with clever drawings that emphasize the literal interpretation. My only gripe with the book is that I wish each saying has its own page and that the book were more over-sized. A teacher really needs a document projector in order to use this text well.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Dark Whispers by Bruce Coville - ESSENTIAL

Coville, Bruce Dark Whispers. Pg. 462: Scholastic Press, 2008.

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


Cara continues on another adventure in luster with the unicorns and a couple of old friends. This time she's after and old story and she and her friends must head to the valley of the centaurs.

This was a really good book. I have not read the rest of the series but I would really like to now. This is a book that I really enjoyed.

Student Reviewer-MP

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Lila and the Secret of Rain by David Conway and Jude Daly - ESSENTIAL

Conway, David Lila and the Secret of Rain, illustrated by Jude Daly. Francis Lincoln, 2007.


Lila is worried because the sun is so hot on her African village that no one has the strength to even milk the cows. When her grandfather tells a story about the secret of rain, Lila follows the advice and sets off to bring the rain.

While this story has the feel of an authentic folktale, there is nothing to indicate that it was. What we have instead, then, is a wonderful piece of original writing that feels totally authentic.


Uncharted by Catherine Hapka - OPTIONAL

Hapka, Catherine Uncharted, 251 p. Disney Press (Hyperion), 2008.


Adam and Eleanor Gates come from a long line of treasure hunters. When Eleanor hears of an exploration through the new Louisiana Purchase, as it's called, they want to go. Instead, they find themselves on the run from three mean brothers, the Brewster's, who are also after treasure and are willing to use the kids to get what they want. The twins escape into the wilderness with an almost feral younger boy, who may have the key to solving their mystery.

While the bones of this story have the makings of a thrilling tale, I got really tired of the children running into the Brewster brothers at every single turn of their journey. I just couldn't suspend my belief the way the story needed in order to be enjoyed.

Cindy: Library-Teacher

Brand-new School, Brave New Ruby by Derrick Barnes - NO

Barnes, Derrick Brand-New School, Brave New Ruby (130 p.) AND Trivia Queen, 3rd Grade Supreme (133 p.) Scholastic, 2008.


Ruby goes to a new school with all of her brothers. She is sick of being hidden in the shadows by all of them. A talent show is coming up and Ruby decides she will make her name known to the whole school. In Trivia Queen, 3rd Grade Supreme there is an animal trivia contest. The winner gets season passes to the zoo for their whole grade. She needs help if she wants to win it though, but help has always come from her brothers and she has to face to of them! I didn't like this book at all.

Student Reviewer: SH

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Frog Bride by Antonia Barber and Virginia Lee - ADVISABLE

Barber, Antonia The Frog Bride, illustrated by Virginia Lee. Frances Lincoln, 2007.


The youngest of three princes has reluctantly found a frog for a bride. When he has already won the transformed girl's heart, he ruins it and must undergo a journey to regain her hand in marriage.

This version of the Russian fairytale is beautifully illustrated and lovingly retold. It is an instant classic.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry - OPTIONAL

Lowry, Lois The Willoughbys, 112 pgs. Houghton Mifflin/Walter Lorraine Books

Content ~ G


In her newest novel, Lois Lowry pays tribute to famous children’s books of the past. The Willoughbys are a VERY dysfunctional family. Within the first few chapters the parents and children are both scheming to get rid of the other. But what would a great story be if the parents were around to help . . .err, I mean intervene? Left in the care of an ‘odious’ nanny and told to hide whenever the realtor arrives with potential buyers, mayhem ensues. Living not far away from this quirky bunch is a miserly old man who used to be a famous chocolatier who invented marvelous candy (sound familiar?)

These two storylines converge in a humorous and unique way. If the reader is unfamiliar with the famous novels spoofed in this book, Lowry has included a brief synopsis of each story at the back of the book. This book isn’t for everyone, but if you can find the right audience it will go.

Allison Madsen~Youth Services Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Robe of Skulls by Vivian French - OPTIONAL

French, Vivian., Robe of Skulls, 208 pgs. Walker Books Ltd



The infamous Lady Lamorna is dying to get her hands on a new dress embroidered with cobwebs and studded around the hem with skulls. The only problem is she can’t afford it! Sorcery isn’t paying what it used to and Lamona is broke. She comes up with a money making scheme involving turning princes into frogs. An unlikely hero appears in an orphan runaway named Gracie Gillypot. Full of slapstick comedy and depressing situations, French has written a mediocre tale that doesn’t do much to excite the reader.

Allison Madsen~Youth Services Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Superior Saturday by Garth Nix - ADVISABLE

Nix, Garth Superior Saturday, 278 p. Scholastic, 2008


Arthur is in trouble. The Lower House is about to be completely engulfed by Nothing and there doesn't seem to be a way out. He must do the impossible and find his way into an extremely well-guarded Upper House in order to find the next part of the Will and challenge Superior Saturday for possession of the 6th key.

You would think that 278 pages would be enough to create a deep, satisfying story, but I really felt that almost everything got short-shrift in #6 of The Keys to the Kingdom. Leaf was in grave danger on earth and her fantastic challenge was barely given any room. Arthur overcomes insurmountable obstacles, but his battle with Saturday in anti-climatic and disappointing. I know the books are geared towards younger readers, but even they deserve a bit more than this. Exciting? YES. Excellent plot structure? NO. But any fan of the series will be chomping at the bit in order to read this one, so you'd better have it on hand. I will be happy to wait longer for #7, if MR. Nix will do a better job of crafting it.

Cindy - Library-Teacher

Groosham Grange by Anthony Horowitz - ESSENTIAL

Horowitz, Anthony, Groosham Grange, 304 pgs. Penguin Group

Language: PG; Sexual Content: G; Violence: PG-13


Ten years before Harry Potter began, Groosham Grange was introduced to children and teens in the UK. What is Groosham Grange you say? Think Harry Potter, more gruesome and without the happy parts. Thirteen year-old David Elliot’s life is miserable. His inept parents wish that he didn’t exist and tell him that at every opportunity. Then David receives a letter that accepts him into the boarding school called Groosham Grange. This school is suspect from the beginning. There are no holidays and you can only return home once a year for a day. Needless to say, David’s parents are thrilled and send him packing. On his way to the school he meets a boy and a girl who have also been accepted into Groosham. These three form a quick friendship. They soon find out that Groosham Grange is like no school they have ever attended.

Beginning with signing their names in blood Horowitz tells a creepy ,yet funny at times, tale of a school with monsters, demons, and all things gruesome. Fans of creepy but not completely horrific fiction will enjoy the macabre.

Allison Madsen~Youth Services Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Eye of the Forest by P.B. Kerr - ADVISABLE

Kerr, P.B. Children of the Lamp: The Eye of the Forest, 432 p. Orchard Books (Scholastic), January 2009.

Content - G


The twins' mother is not herself, literally, since she took over the body of their deceased housekeeper. So, she has taken a vacation to Braxil, where the best djinn plastic surgeon in the business can fix her. The twins, meanwhile, are headed straight into mortal (or djinni) danger, as they race off to the Amazon to thwart an evil plot to awaken forces that have slept peacefully for hundreds years and steal the power. The twins are joined by their Uncle and by a classmate, who has unkind ulterior motives.

While Kerr has written another fine adventure for the djinni twins, she needs to be careful, because the subplots are becoming many and complicated - even Dybbuk makes an appearance - giving those characters short shrift. Fans of the series will still gobble it up and not be disappointed.

Cindy - Library-Teacher

The Diamond of Drury Lane - ADVISABLE

Golding, Julia The Diamond of Drury Lane. Pg. 419: Roaring Brook Press.

Language: PG; Sexual Content: G; Violence: PG


Catherine Royal, also known as Cat, lives in the theater on Drury Lane. One day Cat discovers that Mr. Sheridan, a man in the theater, is hiding a diamond. After many adventures with her friends and searches for the diamond, Cat soon discovers that it's not a real diamond but something even better.

This was a really good book that was funny, had adventure in it and it had a mystery all at the same time. I would gladly read this book again.

Student Reviewer: MP

Friday, October 3, 2008

Wings: A Fairy Tale by E.D. Baker - OPTIONAL

Baker, E.D., Wings: A Fairy Tale, 320 pgs. Bloomsbury USA Children's Books



Tamisin loves to dance. She has ever since she was a little girl. The compulsion to dance gets stronger as the moon waxes full and on the eve of a full moon, nothing can stop her. Her parents have even had to lock the door to keep Tamisin from dancing in her pjs in the moonlight. So, it should be no surprise that Tamisin auditions and makes the dance team at her school. But the compulsion to dance is not the only thing odd about Tamisin. She can see things . . . goblins and fairies and the goblins are after her. Tamisin soon learns that there is more to her past than she thought and that she has an essential role to play in the world of the Fey.

This story had such potential, but the author dropped the ball. After her wings grow in the conflict in the world of Fey and its resolution fall flat.

Allison Madsen~Youth Services Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Jorge el Curioso by H.A. Rey - ADVISABLE

Rey, H. A. Curious George - Jorge el Curioso. PICTURE BOOK, Houghton Mifflin, 1993 (Spanish Translation). 

EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE (for schools with Spanish-speaking students)

This decades-long favorite of children is now available in a bilingual edition with the English version and its Spanish translation on each page, together with the original illustrations. 

Beverly Stout, Area Library Media Specialist.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The House in the Night by Susan Swanson - ESSENTIAL

Swanson, Susan Marie The House in the Night, illustrated by Beth Krommes. Houghton Mifflin, 2008. PICTURE BOOK. 

Pre-K, EL (K-3) - ESSENTIAL 

This inviting story begins with a key that belongs to a house. It builds up (much like the pattern of "This is the house that Jack built") to a book in the house that sends the reader through a splendid dream and back. 

Each page is a gorgeous black and white scratchboard picture with warm, yellow highlights-I wanted to climb into the bed, too! Kids will enjoy searching the illustrations carefully to find the girl on the bird. An ideal goodnight book. 

Kami, Children's Librarian

Thor's Wedding Day by Bruce Coville - ADVISABLE

Coville, Bruce Thor's Wedding Day, pgs.132 Magic Carpet Books.

Content - G


Thor the thunder god is forced to put on a bridal gown when his hammer is stolen by the king of the giants, Thyrm, who won't give it back until he get's to marry Freya, the goddess of love. Freya will NOT marry Thyrm though so it's up to Thor to dress up a Freya and steal the hammer back.

A great book. It will have you giggling all the way through.

Student Reviewer: RH

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Frankenstein Takes the Cake by Adam Rex - ESSENTIAL

Rex, Adam Frankenstein Takes the Cake, Harcourt, 2008. PICTURE BOOK. 


In this book of ghastly poetry, Frankenstein and his bride are preparing for their wedding while the rest of the monsters battle contend with various troubles: the Headless Horseman has a blog detailing his dismay at people wanting to eat his head instead of finding it scary, Dracula Jr., who is only 92 years old, decides he wants a "big-boy" bed, and much more! 

Frankenstein Takes the Cake is the second wonderful monster poetry book by Adam Rex, and I liked this one just as much as the first. The illustrations and the verse are monstrously entertaining! 

Reviewer: Kami, Children's Librarian

Riding the Storm by Salamanda Drake - ADVISABLE

Drake, Salmanda Dragonsdale: Riding the Storm, pgs. 302 Scholastic.

Content - G


Breena doesn't mean to be jealous but even though Cara has been riding for only a little while she's already a top competitor. But when they fight Breena goes to clear her head with Moonflight on a midnight flight- and sonething goes horribly wrong! Filled with Dragons, Merguys, and a snobby dragonrider.

A good story with a good moral.

Student Reviewer: RH

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