Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Scaredy Squirrel at Night by Melanie Watt - ESSENTIAL

Scaredy Squirrel at Night by Melanie Watt. PICTURE BOOK. Kids Can Press, 2009. $17


Scaredy Squirrel illustrates the important reasons for a good night’s sleep as our friend tries to stay awake in order to avoid scary dreams. 

This cute picture book makes the point brilliantly – and would be great for children of many ages. The Teen Living teacher will be using it at my school! 

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Gettysburg Address illustrated by Michael McCurdy - ESSENTIAL

The Gettysburg Address, illustrated by Michael McCurdy. PICTURE BOOK. Houghton, 1995 (reissued 2009). $14.95.  


The Gettysburg Address is actually a very short speech that Lincoln gave at the dedication of the Soldiers’ Cemetery at Gettysburg. Michael McCurdy has paired powerful black and white drawings with Lincoln’s words to create a book well worth sharing with any unit on Lincoln, the Civil War or war in general. 

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mary Had a Little Lamp by Jack Lechner and Bob Staake - OPTIONAL

Mary Had a Little Lamp by Jack Lechner, illustrated by Bob Staake. PICTURE BOOK. Bloomsbury, 2008. $15.95. 


An eccentric girl named Mary carries her favorite lamp with her wherever she goes. 

The rhyme and meter of the story doesn’t really fit the well-known song, but the vibrant pictures are fun and Mary is delightfully odd. 

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Bus Ride That Changed History by Pamela Edwards - OPTIONAL

The Bus Ride That Changed History: The Story of Rosa Parks by Pamela Duncan Edwards, illustrated by Danny Shanahan. PICTURE BOOK. Sandpiper (Houghton), 2005 (paperback 2009). $6.99. 


In the style of “This is the House that Jack Built,” follow the journey of Rosa Parks as she decides not to stand up to make room for a white man on her bus. 

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Stanza by Jill Esbaum and Jack E. Davis - ADVISABLE

Stanza by Jill Esbaum, illustrated by Jack E. Davis. PICTURE BOOK.Harcourt (Houghton), 2009. $16.00. 


By night Stanza terrified the streets of his town with his brothers, Dirge and Fresco. By night however, Stanza wrote beautiful poetry and was afraid that he secret might be discovered. Then one day he can’t resist entering a jingle contest – how will his brothers react of Stanza turns out to be more than just a thug?

Stanza and his world is pretty cute and he send s a message about bring more than what others label you as.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Friday, June 19, 2009

Winter Wood by Steve Augarde - ADVISABLE

Winter Wood by Steve Augarde, 504 pages. David Fickling (Random House), 2009. $18

Content: G


Who knew that after all these years that Midge’s great-great aunt Celandine was still alive. The Various need Celandine to keep her promise, but she cannot, or will not, rememeber the tiny people – or what she did with the Orbis. Without the Orbis, the Various will not survive much longer in this world. It is up to Midge to pursue the secret and put together the pieces of the puzzle. 

It’s been awhile since Celandine (number 2 in the series) was published – and since then the covers have been reworked – THANK GOODNESS! It was so hard to sell these books to students with the bland covers! Now the covers match the adventures MUCH better! If you ahven’t bought the series before, do it now, making sure you get the new covers. 

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Robot and the Bluebird by David Lucas - ADVISABLE

The Robot and the Bluebird. by David Lucas. PICTURE BOOK. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007. $17


A robot who is sure that his heart is broken, finds purpose in helping a bird who is late starting on its trip to the south. 

I actually didn’t expect to be so touched by this little book, but it reminds me of the Giving Tree. Sweet, without being sickly! 

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Most Loved in all the World by Tonya Hegaman - ADVISABLE

Most Loved in all the World by Tonya Hegaman, illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera. PICTURE BOOK. Houghton, 2009. $17 


Every night, after she finished her work in the cotton fields, a slave mother stitches the pieces of a quilt for her daughter to remember her – after mother sends daughter on a trip to freedom on the Underground Railroad. 

While this book is not based on any one particular event, the book adds to what might be true about slaves, quilts and the Road, though much has been lost to history. It is a very loving story. 

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Down, Down, Down by Steve Jenkins - ESSENTIAL

Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea by Steve Jenkins. PICTURE BOOK. Houghton, 2009. $17.00. 


Using cut-paper art, the author dramatically illustrates the variety of life at the different depths of the ocean – from above to surface to the depths of the Marianas Trench. While just the words on each page would make this a valuable book for sharing with any class, there is even more information at the back of the book. 

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Monday, June 15, 2009

Button Up! Wicked Rhymes by Alice Schertle and Petra Mathers - no

Button Up! Wicked Rhymes by Alice Schertle, illustrated by Petra Mathers. PICTURE BOOK. Harcourt (Hougton), 2009. $16.00. 


Shoes and jimmies, shirts and undies – many pieces of clothing are explored in this book of rhymes. 

What I don’t understand – the picture on the cover is nowhere in the book. While it’s fun, I don’t really get it.  

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan - ESSENTIAL

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan, 381 pages. Disney Hyperion, 2009.

Violence: PG


Percy and his friends are gearing up for the final battle against Kronos and his minions. The Gods themselves are struggling against Typhon, a Titan let loose on America’s heartland, but Percy and his friends are sure that the final battle will center around New York City and the entrance to Olympus itself. The will gather what forces they can and make their final stand. But according to the prophecy, one hero will die.

The identity of the Last Olympian is not whom you may think, and I actually enjoyed the concept very much – it’s a sweet idea that makes you fell as if the whole struggle and the death and destruction is well worth it.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Come to the Castle, by Linda Ashman, illuminated by S.D. Schindler - NO

Come to the Castle by Linda Ashman, illuminated by S.D. Schindler. PICTURE BOOK. Roaring Brook (Macmillan), 2009. $17


A bored Lord decides to host a celebration and the different members of his court react as they must to prepare every needful thing. 

Ashman’s book looks at life in the Middle Ages in a sarcastic, derogatory way – it does not read as humor to me. 

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Friday, June 12, 2009

The 3 Bears and Goldilocks by Margaret Willey and Heather M. Solomon - ADVISABLE

The 3 Bears and Goldilocks by Margaret Willey, illustrated by Heather M. Solomon. PICTURE BOOK.Atheneum (Simon), 2008. $16.99. 


If Goldilocks were to really walk into the homes of three bears, what she be most likely to find? 

I found Willey’s retelling of the classic tale entertaining and charming – it makes the original versions look antiseptic.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody by Michael Rex - ESSENTIAL

Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody by Michael Rex. PICTURE BOOK. Putnam’s (Penguin), 2008. $15


Rex takes the classic Goodnight Moon and recreates it as a wonderfully ghoulish bedtime story. Vivid, spooky illustrations add to its draw and will be a great tale to read aloud come Halloween – or any time of year, for those who really love their creepies! 

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Yuki’s Ride Home by Manya Tessler - OPTIONAL

Yuki’s Ride Home by Manya Tessler. PICTURE BOOK.  Bloomsbury, 2008. $17

A little girl is excited about the first night she gets to ride her bike all the way home alone. But when the fog rolls in, she is not so sure that alone is how she wants to be. 

It may be hard for an adult to remember those first childhood steps of independence, but the spirit of this book captures that feeling again. 

EL (K-3) - OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Watcher in the Woods by Robert Liparulo - ADVISABLE

Watcher in the Woods by Robert Liparulo, 290 pages. Thomas Nelson, 2008.


The King family is desperate to find their missing mother, but every time they go through one on the mysterious doors in their house, their lives end up in danger. A dangerous stranger from within the worlds and another strange man from their own world make every move impossible. Will they never be able to rescue their mother?

Book #2 is a bit weirder and while it is packed with action and danger, it is very short on plot development. All of the action takes place within only three days – not much time to tell us about our characters, but plenty of time to almost get them killed several times, I guess. From what I have read on the web, the following books are more of the same – great for kids who love dangerous books – perfect for the young and others with short attention spans. They should do well in upper elementary and middle schools.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Monday, June 8, 2009

Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn - ADVISABLE

Violence: PG


When Logan moves into a new town, the first kid he meets, Arthur, is a bit younger and definitely weird. But as the two explore the town, they find a mystery to solve and become good friends. Everything is connected to Logan’s new home and the deteriorating, closed-up amusement park on the outskirts of town. And someone may be willing to kill to keep their secret. I think Hahn just gets better as she keeps writing. 

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make you a Pie by Robbin Gourley - OPTIONAL

Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make you a Pie: a story about Edna Lewis by Robbin Gourley. PICTURE BOOK. Clarion, 2009. $16


A young girl rejoices through the seasons as each crop ripens and her family can enjoy the new flavors – and set some aside to save for the winter. 

Modern children who are used to grocery store food, where pretty much everything is available all year long, may get a kick out a book that reminds them that not everyone can have strawberries in the depth of winter. 

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Spirits in the Park by Scott Mebus - ADVISABLE

Spirits in the Park (Gods of Manhattan 2) by Scott Mebus, 372 pages. Dutton (Penguin), 2009. $18

Content: G (some tension and a small amount of violence).


For the last month, Rory Hennessy has been secretly protected from danger by the M’Garoth Clan, but his idyll is about to end. The Trap around Central Park that is holding the spirits within is becoming more violent in its attempts to loosen. Rory must combine efforts with the Rattle Watch and trust his little sister, too, if he not only wants to lower The Trap safely, but also wants to ensure that the Park spirits and the City Spirits don’t kill each other on sight.

The cast of spirit characters gets larger and the plot gets more complicated in this sequel. The danger and adventure are even greater; the only thing I worry about is that kids who are too young to know much history won’t be as amused by the names and titles of the Mannahattan Gods and other characters. It really is a fine adventure.

Cindy, Library Teacher

Friday, June 5, 2009

Monsters on Machines by Deb Lund - ADVISABLE

Monsters on Machines by Deb Lund. Harcourt, Inc, 2008 PICTURE BOOK. 


Mix backhoes, front loaders and bulldozers with monsters and what do you get? A bunch of young monsters working on a construction site. 

It would seem that the combination of monsters and tractors would be magical; instead Monsters on Machines is only serviceable. Told through sometimes clunky rhyme, this tale might leave some cold. 

Laura Berube ~ Youth Services Librarian, Draper Library

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Forget Me Not by Coleen Murtagh Paratore - ADVISABLE

Forget Me Not by Coleen Paratore, 194 pages. 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.

Monday, June 1, 2009

A Very Curious Bear by Tony Mitton - ESSENTIAL

A Very Curious Bear by Tony Mitton. PICTURE BOOK. Random House Children’s Books, 2009.


Why does the sun come and light up the day? Why does the wind rush around in the air? Why does the rain come and wet the world through? These are all questions a young, curious bear asks his mother. Her answers back are unique and heartwarming. 

The story is in a simple question and answer format and the pictures only add to the story. Young children everywhere will enjoy having this story read to them. 

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

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Marvels in the Muck by Doug Wechsler - ADVISABLE

Marvels in the Muck: Life in the Salt Marshes by Doug Wechsler. NON-FICTION PICTURE BOOK. Boyds Mill Press, 2008. $17.95. 


Explore the flora and fauna of the salt marshes in this non-fiction title. Beautiful photographs on each page accompany detailed in formation on life cycles, food webs, and the interdependence of the species of the marsh. A classroom teacher could pick out certain pictures and pages to share with their students, but also any student doing biome research will find exactly what they need for their reports.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Friday, May 29, 2009

Independence Hall by Roland Smith - ESSENTIAL

I, Q: Book One: Independence Hall by Roland Smith, 293 pages. Sleeping Bear Press, 2008. $9

Content: G


On the day of their parents’ wedding, Angela and Q are forced to help each other find their way through the treacherous path of step-sibling-dom. But more dangerous paths await the pair, because Angela’s real mother was a Secret Service agent, killed in the line of duty – or so everyone thought. It’s much more complicated than that! It involves international espionage, an unknown twin sister and a private firm of bodyguards who are willing to die in order to keep Angela from being kidnapped!

WOW! What a rollercoaster ride! Perfect for all of those students who are digging fast-paced detective novels right now.

 Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bell’s Star by Alison Hart - ADVISABLE

Bell’s Star (Horse Diaries) by Alison Hart, 144 pages. (including appendix). Random, 2009. $6

Content: G


Bell’s Star is a beautiful Morgan Horse, bred to work hard, but longing to run free with his beloved human Katie. Then one day Kate and Bell rescue a runaway slave girl and Bell and Kate must out themselves in danger to save her from the slave catchers. 

These books are very cute, have good back information on the specific horse breed in the book and horse-crazy little girls, who aren’t quite ready for Black Beauty, will love them.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame - OPTIONAL

The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame, illustrated by Inga Moore, 182 pages. Candlewick, 2003, 2009. $13


Inga Moore’s abridgement of Grahame’s classic work is now out in paperback. The illustrations have lost none of their charm (Toad in a dress is adorable). The only thing I don’t like is that it an abridgement – less than half of the original text – so best suited for younger readers.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan - ADVISABLE

Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan, 96 pages. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2008

Language – PG; Sexual Content – G; Violence – G


This collection of 15 short stories – some very short, only a paragraph or two long – are combined with illustrations that relate stories about events and characters in a most unusual suburb. There is a water buffalo that offers directions, stick figures whose presence confuses the other residents, an amnesia machine, and a missile in every back yard. Brothers travel to the end of the map; a family takes in a foreign exchange student; grandpa relates the events of his wedding day.

From curious to thought-provoking, these stories offer interesting reads. Useful to discuss relationship between text and images, or to practice predictions.

Reviewer: P.K. Foster, MS teacher-librarian

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Here’s How I see It; Here’s How It Is by Heather Henson - OPTIONAL

 Here’s How I see It; Here’s How It Is by Heather Henson, 264 pages. Atheneum (Simon), 2009. $17


Something is wrong with 12yo Junebug’s summer – her mom has moved across the property and Dad is running their summer stock theater by himself. To add insult to injury, a gorgeous actress from New York seems to be taking up her dad’s attention and a strange young man, who June nicknames Thespis, seems to want to take over her place in the company.

Turning 13 is hard enough without all of this other turmoil. Each short chapter starts with Junebug’s observation on how she wishes the world would be and then goes on to explain what is really happening. I have a feeling that adults will be charmed by the format and characters – and I think most students will give it a pass.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Monday, May 25, 2009

Keep On! The Story of Matthew Henson by Deborah Hopkinson and Stephen Alcorn - ADVISABLE

Keep On! The Story of Matthew Henson, Co-Discoverer of the North Pole, by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Stephen Alcorn. Peachtree, 2009. NON-FICTION PICTURE BOOK.


This very dense picture book contains a wealth of information about Matthew Henson and his trip with Robert Peary to find the North Pole – first. Whether for Black History Month or for a unit on Scientists and Explorers. This is not a book that could be read in one day – instead using only parts of it would be best in a classroom situation.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Dinosaur by Stephanie Stansbie - ESSENTIAL

Dinosaur by Stephanie Stansbie, 40 p. Little, Brown, 2008. MOVABLE BOOK.


You really need to get your hands on this book! Stansbie has distilled the new information about dinosaurs and added amazing graphics and all kinds of flappable flaps and foldout pages that will fascinate anyone who picks it up. 

If you have dinosaur books that are older than three years, its time to replace them – the whole realm of dinosaur classification has changed and this book contains a wealth of facts, figures and pictures. Yes, you may lose a few of the removable pieces, but what is left is still well worth having. And any dinosaur crazy child would love this as the perfect gift.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hillary Rodham Clinton: Dreams Taking Flight by Kathleen Krull and Amy June Bates - ADVISABLE

Hillary Rodham Clinton: Dreams Taking Flight by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Amy June Bates. Simon, 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


The Hillary Clinton’s dreams are laid out as Ms. Krull looks at her life from just a little girl to the woman who almost became the candidate for president. Ms. Bates’ illustrations are a perfect companion for the succinct text, and together they make their point without preaching. This is as much a book about the change in the opportunities available to women as it is a look at Clinton’s life.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Friday, May 22, 2009

Artful Reading by Bob Raczka - ESSENTIAL

Artful Reading by Bob Raczka. First Avenue (Lerner), 2007. $10. PICTURE BOOK.


Through 24 paintings and a simple rhyming text, Raczka unfolds the worlds and dimensions of reading. Old masters and modern classics are side by side, showing how easy it can by to collect art that relates to a theme. I adore Raczka and I want to share this book (now in paperback) with both my art teachers and my Language Arts teachers.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Oooh! Picasso by Mil Niepold and Jeanyves Verdu- ADVISABLE

Oooh! Picasso by Mil Niepold and Jeanyves Verdu. Tricycle Press, 2009. PICTURE BOOK.


Nieplod and Verdu have taken five of Picasso’s sculptures and brought them to life through re-imagining the parts and the whole, as they explore the whimsy and the expression of his art. While there are few words with the pictures, the multitude of lessons ideas that can come from this one book make this an important title to share with your art teachers.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Galileo’s Leaning Tower Experiment by Wendy MacDonald and Paolo Rui - ADVISABLE

Galileo’s Leaning Tower Experiment by Wendy McDonald, illustrated by Paolo Rui. PICTURE BOOK. Charlesbridge, 2009. $8 


A young boy who is dropping his uncle’s lunch to him from a bridge, catches Galileo’s attention and leads the two to experiment. Based on a legend (never documented) of Galileo throwing things from the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in order to disprove Aristotle’s teachings about falling objects.

Share this one with your science teachers, but be careful – if you read this one to your students, they will probably start dropping all manner of things from all manner of heights!

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Happenstance Found by P.W. Catanese - ESSENTIAL

Happenstance Found (Books of Umber #1), by P.W. Catanese, 342 pages. Aladdin (Simon), 2009. $17

Violence: PG


One minute the boy opens his eyes and it feels as though that was the beginning of his everything. Minutes later his life is in danger as people find them and they must together escape for their lives, first from a gigantic worm monster intent on eating them and then from a fast-sinking island. Umber, the man who rescued the boy, whom he dubs Happenstance, takes Hap back to his castle and tries to integrate him into his household. Hap wants to know who he is and why an assassin is chasing him, but he doesn’t realize he should probably instead ask who is Lord Umber.

A grand piece of fantasy – I can’t wait to collect the series – how ever long it may be.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

First Stop, New York by Tracey West and Katherine Knoll - NO

First Stop New York by Tracy West and Katherine Knoll, 144 pages. Grosset and Dunlap

EL, MS – NO 

There are no ratings for this book, because I couldn’t get past the first ten pages without being absolutely turned off by how poorly written this book is. I highly doubt there are any swears or even hints at sexual anything. I was insulted at the pedantic and relatively stupid dialog. The writing is so ‘lame’ no teen would stick with it beyond page 1. Needless to say, I didn’t read the book in its entirety. I skimmed it and seeing that it didn’t get any better, I tossed it. I wouldn’t waste my time or money on this series.

Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

Too Perfect by Trudy Ludwig and Lisa Fields - ESSENTIAL

Too Perfect by Trudy Ludwig, illustrated by Lisa Fields. Tricycle Press, 2009. PICTURE BOOK.


Maisie thinks that she is a little too pudgy, a little too messy and not all together perfect, just like she thinks Kayla is – a girl who seems to be everything that Maisie is not. When the girls are assigned a project together, however, Maisie learns that what you see from a far is not always what is inside. Maisie’s mother helps her to learn to be happy with herself.

Trudy Ludwig has a way with books that help us to look at ourselves. Her books are not just for children, but for anyone who has a child or works with children. Perfect for a Teacher Advisory lesson.


Monday, May 18, 2009

The Story of Samson by Kathleen Duble - OPTIONAL

The Story of Samson by Kathleen Benner Duble, illustrated by Alexander Farquharson. NON-FICTION. Charlesbridge, 2008. $8. PICTURE BOOK


From its creation in 1885 and on through its destruction in 1953, the sailing ship Samson lead a varied and wild life of rescue, exploration and exhibition. The most disputed part of the Samson’s tale is that it might have seen the sinking of the Titanic, but did nothing to help. Told through the reminiscing of an old man as he retells the various pieces of the story to his grandson.

As much as I enjoyed reading the book, I am a little stumped on how it should be used, or what audience it would appeal to. Any suggestions?

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Walking to School by Eve Bunting - ADVISABLE

Walking to School: A Story from Northern Ireland by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Michael Dooling. Clarion, 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


Allison was excited to go to her Catholic school, until the first day, when she and the other Catholic students had to walk a gauntlet of taunts, threats and projectiles as they walked with their parents along the edge of a Protestant neighborhood. Today it is her mother and her Uncle Frank with her, but Allison knows that Frank has caused problems for Protestants in the past and she doesn’t understand why – all she wants to do is to go to school.

This picture book would be an excellent classroom addition, especially if paired with The Other Side by Woodson or Across the Alley by Michelson.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Elvis and Olive by Stephanie Watson - OPTIONAL

Elvis and Olive by Stephanie Watson, 224 pages. Scholastic, 2008

Content: G


Natalie Wallis's summer is turned into an adventure one day when she meets the new girl in her neighborhood named Annie. Soon they decide to spy on their neighbors using secret code names, Elvis and Olive. But are some things better kept secret?

This book was OK. I prefer more of a thrilling adventure and this really wasn't very captivating to read in the slightest. The story was good and the characters were well formed, but the ending was a little rushed.

Student Reviewer: KH

Follow that Map! by Scot Ritchie - OPTIONAL

Ritchie, Scot Follow that Map! A First Book of Mapping Skills. Kids Can Press, 2009.


Sallie’s cat and dog are missing and her friends rally around her to find the errant pair. Using a legend and symbols you might find on a map, the kids search the town, while the narrator teaches how to use important parts of a map.

It is pretty basic and might be useful in an elementary level class.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Attack of the Growling Eyeballs by Lin Oliver - ADVISABLE

Attack of the Growling Eyeballs (Who Shrunk Daniel Funk, book 1) by Lin Oliver, 146 p. Simon, 2008.

Content: G (some body humor).


First he’s eating goulash and then he’s no bigger than a toe. Then Daniel finds out that he has a tiny twin brother who his grandmother has kept hidden all these years. The twins set out to create some more-than-pint-sized mischief. If Daniel can work out the goulash mystery, then maybe he could go back and forth between normal-sized kid and Paulo-sized playmate whenever he liked.

The Hank Zipzer crowd has another friend to enjoy. Daniel and Paulo are lots of fun!

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Robert Smalls: The Boat Thief by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Patrick Faricy - OPTIONAL

Robert Smalls: The Boat Thief, by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., illustrated by Patrick Faricy. PICTURE BOOK. Hyperion, 2008. $17. NON-FICTION.


In 1862, a small group of slaves stole the fastest gunship in the Confederate arsenal and made an audacious escape to freedom. Robert Smalls, the mastermind, went on to captaincy in the Federal Navy and remained an activist all his life. Though this may look like a picture book, there is a huge amount of content on every page and not as many pictures as you would expect.

This would be daunting for young student to read for enjoyment. But, that means it has a wealth of information for older students who might be writing a report. 

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle by Alison Inches - ADVISABLE

The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle by Alison Inches, illustrated by Pete Whitehead.  NON-FICTION PICTURE BOOK. Little Simon, 2009. $4


Join a thick ooze of crude oil as it journeys through life as plastic, into bottles, and recycled back into the system.

The information in the book is very good and aimed right at the younger students. They will enjoy the fun, upbeat graphics and easily follow the bottle’s path.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson - ADVISABLE

Dandelion Fire by N. D. Wilson, 466 p. Random House, 2009. $17

Content: G


All seems to be back to normal on Henry’s uncle’s farm until the day that Henry is struck by lightning (or is he?) and loses his sight. Blind, he is kidnapped and taken through the cupboards. His family decides to follow them in, along with a couple of neighbors stuck with them in some sort of alternate Kansas. Adventures ensue until all are reunited.

I actually liked this one better than the first – the picture of the cupboards and the various universes become somewhat clearer and Henry becomes a stronger character. I am so VERY glad that his cousin Henrietta gets a good figurative spanking, because she was way too smug in her supposed cleverness for my taste.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dracula Madness by Mary Labatt - ESSENTIAL

Dracula Madness by Mary Labatt, 95 pages. CHAPTER BOOK. Kids Can Press Ltd., 2009.



Sam has just met a new friend named Jennie. It turns out that she can "hear" her thoughts. Together, they get wound up in a mystery about a man in a haunted house that they assume to be Dracula. Is he really Dracula though? And what is going on in that "haunted" mansion? I liked this book. I enjoyed all of the pictures in it (of course, it is a comic!). I also enjoyed the mystery of it. I would highly recommend it.

Student Reviewer: MB

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Chancey of the Maury River by Gigi Amateau - ESSENTIAL

Chancey of the Maury River, by Gigi Amateau, 246 pages. Candlewick, 2008.

Content: G


When Chauncey is left abandoned in a field, he is sold to a lady in the Blue Mountains by the Maury River. He helps to heal a girl whose parents are going through a divorce. In turn, she helps him overcome his rough past and they learn how to let love into their lives again.

I really enjoyed this book. It was easy to get into and had some really good morals. It’s a book I would call “good and clean”.

Student Reviewer: AR

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Jackson and Bud’s Bumpy Ride by Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff and Wes Hargis - ADVISABLE

Jackson and Bud’s Bumpy Ride: America’s First Cross-Country Automobile Trip by Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff, illustrated by Wes Hargis. Millbrook Press (Lerner), 2009. $17. PICTURE BOOK.


The automobile was still pretty new – well out-numbered by horse-drawn conveyances – when Horatio Jackson, his mechanic and their acquired stray dog Bud, work their way across the USA from West to East, all for a $50 bet that Jackson never collected. With only 150 miles of paved road in the entire country, no such things as road maps and with the help of a few friendly horses, the trio drove their way in to the history books.

Kids are used to cars today that this is a great way for them to get a look at the auto in the 1900’s. It’s extremely cute.


Sword of Waters by Hilari Bell - ESSENTIAL

Sword of Waters (The Shield, Sword, and Crown #2) by Hillari Bell, 363 pgs. Simon and Schuster

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


The Falcon has just recovered the shield and is now lord commander of the army. Arisa, the Falcon’s daughter, is thrown into palace life. Usually every girl loves to be pampered; not this girl. Her life before was one of a bandit’s. How could her mother change from leader of bandits to lord commander of the army? Arisa could hardly believe it herself. Now Arisa is put in charge of finding the sword that goes with the legendary shield. But, that is not her only mission. She has to get to know Prince Eldoran, who she thinks is obnoxious, and figure out what is really going on with the conspirators around the kingdom. Can Arisa do it all?

This book was a great thrill throughout the entire book! IT was juicy with mystery and had a ton of twists and turns. What happened towards the end surprised me so much; the author really made it suspenseful. A great trilogy for anyone who likes a little treachery. The first book is Shield of Stars.

Student Reviewer: CW

Monday, May 11, 2009

One Beetle Too Many by Kathryn Lasky and Matthew Trueman - ADVISABLE

One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwinby Kathryn Lasky, illustrated by Matthew Trueman. Candlewick, 2009. PICTURE BOOK. $18


Fun, quirky illustrations complement the text in this short bio on Charles Darwin. While pictures would be fun to show to a class, any teacher would want to choose which text to read, as there is more detail than you might expect. If I were still in elementary, this is the kind of bio that I would want to read.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

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...