Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson - ESSENTIAL

We Are The Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson, 96 pages.  NON-FICTION. Hyperion (Disney)

Content - G


We Are the Ship is a beautifully illustrated and written history of Negro League Baseball. The title of the book comes from a quote "We are the ship; all else the sea." by Rube Foster, founder of the Negro National League. Many casual baseball fans are ignorant that a segregated baseball league existed, let alone the phenomenal players that never made it onto mixed-race teams! 

A wonderful look at a time in history that many have forgotten or never knew happened. This title was awarded the 2009 Robert F. Sibert Medal & the 2009 Coretta Scott King Author Medal.

Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

Monday, April 27, 2009

Imperfections by Lynda Durrant - ADVISABLE

Lynda Imperfections by Lynda Durrant, 172 pages. Clarion Books, 2008

Language G; Sexual Content PG; Violence PG


Rosemary Elizabeth’s mother left her children in the Shaker community of Pleasant Hill Kentucky to save them from their drunken and violent father as well as the Civil War. They are safe and well fed but must live a very circumscribed life. Rosemary must sleep on her back, hands folded across her chest; she must always walk with her right foot first and take everything with her right hand. Perfection is the goal. She is thankful for the clean and peaceful home but fights against strict rules that are supposed to govern everything she says and does and even what she dreams. She worries that if she eliminates all the imperfections the Shakers find in her, there will be nothing of her left. Rosemary Elizabeth eventually comes to appreciate her own imperfections realizing that they are what make her unique.

This carefully researched story takes the reader inside a Shaker community during the Civil War and tells the story of spirited young Rosemary Elizabeth and her younger brother and sister. Little is generally known about Shakers which adds to the interest of this historical fiction. There are frank discussions about the fact that Shaker men and women live separately and believe in celibacy. There is mild violence where one of the older Shaker women dies.

Janell Pearce-Mattheus, Youth Services Librarian, Whitmore Library

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman - ADVISABLE

The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman. PICTURE BOOK. HarperTrophy

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


Author Neil Gaiman has written a superb picture book for older readers, terrifying but terrific! Lucy is a young girl who begins to hear what she absolutely without a doubt knows are wolves in the walls of her house. Her mother doesn’t believe her. She tries to warn her father, but he brushes her off. Her younger brother thinks she has finally gone over the edge. Only her pig puppet believes her, until the wolves breach the walls and chase Lucy and her family out of their house! Tragically pig puppet is left inside and Lucy realizes that she must find the courage to go and rescue her friend from the terrifying wolves.

This title will be too scary for most young children; however this would be an excellent read-a-loud for older elementary students and even students in secondary schools. I love this title and would highly recommend it!

 Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sneezy Louise by Irene Breznak - OPTIONAL

Sneezy Louise. by Irene Breznak. PICTURE BOOK. Random House Children’s Books, 2009. 

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

When Louise wakes up with itchy eyes, a wheezy throat, and a very, very sneezy nose. With unexpected sneezes, her day goes from bad to worse and everyone keeps yelling at her to cover her mouth. Will anyone begin to understand her problem or will she continue to have a really bad day? 

Cute illustrations, short, easy-to-read text. A good read aloud for preschool and kindergartners about germs and/or family. 

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

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Road to Oz by Kathleen Krull - OPTIONAL

The Road to Oz: Twists, Turns, Bumps, and Triumphs in the Life of L. Frank Baum. by Kathleen Krull. BIOGRAPHY PICTURE BOOK


L. Frank Baum was always a dreamer and loved to create stories that everyone would enjoy. He didn’t start out writing the books readers fell in love with, though. From risky enterprises such as breeding chickens and creating play troupes to writing unsuccessful non-fiction books and newspaper articles , he still kept writing and striving to write something that would make a difference in his life as well as others.

An inspirational picture book about following your dreams and being true to yourself, this story will enchant and delight teacher and students alike as they read it on their own or aloud together.

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

Abigail Iris: The One and Only - ESSENTIAL

Abigail Iris: The One and Only by Glatt, Lisa Glatt and Greenberg, Suzanne Greenberg, 148 pages. Walker Publishing Company, Inc, 2009.

Content: G


Abigail is tired of having not being an only child. She can’t have fancy shoes like Heelys, she has to share a bedroom, and her family never gets to go on fancy vacations. When her friend, Genevieve, who’s an only child, invites her to go on vacation to San Francisco with her family, Abigail soon discovers that being an only child may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

The personality of an 8yo girl is truly captured by Suzanne and Lisa. This lively, humorous tale is unique and will delight young readers who like books like Junie B. Jones and Judy Moody. 

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

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cat Magic by Holly Webb - ESSENTIAL

Cat Magic by Holly Webb, 130 pgs. 2008. Scholastic, Inc.

Content: G


When Lottie goes to live with her uncle while her mom is working in Paris, she starts thinking that there is something more to her uncle’s pet shop than meets the eye. When the animals start talking back to her and weird things start happening around her, she soon realizes that magic has always been around in her life and she just never noticed. What really happened to her father? Why does her mother not like going to her uncle’s shop. More imporatantly, can magic mend the gap that is forming between her and her mom?

A fun-filled fantasy full of fantasy, mystery, bravery, and friendship. A great story for those who liked the Warriors series by Erin Hunter.

Kira-Youth Services Librarian-HUN Public Library.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Charlie Small: The Puppet Master by Charlie Small - OPTIONAL

Puppet Master, by Charlie Small, 181 pages. Random House Children’s Books, 2009.

Content: G


Charlie Small is a 400-year-old guy in an 8-year-old’s body. One day he left home and still has been able to make it back. On this latest adventure, he finds himself saved by a Mr. Jakeman in a submarine shaped like a whale, gets kidnapped by a puppet master, and gets himself into a real mess that will take every ounce of bravery, cleverness, and creativity that he has in order to get out of it. Will he be able to defeat the Puppet Master or will he remain a puppet forever? Will his old pirate nemesis finally succeed in capturing Charlie and getting his revenge?

A great adventure filled with mystery, friendship, and even a little bit of humor. Great book for those who love adventure and fantasy and/or have enjoyed such books as Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney.

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

Monday, April 20, 2009

Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman - OPTIONAL

Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman. PICTURE BOOK.  HarperCollins Canada


Blueberry Girl is an eclectic but beautiful prayer for a child newly born. Gaiman expresses ideas of gifts and talents that would be wonderful for a young girl to be blessed with as she grows from a baby to a young girl to a woman.

Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Helen's Eyes:A Photobiography of Annie Sullivan Helen Keller's Teacher by Marfe Ferguson Delano - ESSENTIAL

Helen’s Eyes: A Photobiography of Annie Sullivan Helen Keller’s Teacher by Marfe Ferguson Delano, 64 pages. NON-FICTION BIOGRAPHY. National Geographic Children's Books.


There are millions of different biographies on Helen Keller and her discovery of language with the help of her teacher Annie Sullivan. But who was Annie Sullivan and how did she develop the skills necessary to help Helen? In a new biography on Annie Sullivan we learn about Annie from her terrible beginnings in an orphanage to life with Helen after the famous break though at the water pump.

This biography is full of photographs and images of Annie and her writings. This is a must have for any non-fiction collection.

Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

Friday, April 17, 2009

Masterpiece by Elsie Broach - ADVISABLE

Masterpiece by Elsie Broach, 304 pages. Henry Holt and Co. (Macmillan)



Beetle named Marvin and boy named James have an unusual friendship. James’ parents are separated and that has been hard on James. Both of his parents are involved in the art world of New York. One night Marvin stumbles upon an ink & pen art set that James received for his birthday. Marvin begins to experiment and finds he has a talent for sketching. When James’ parents see the sketch they believe that it is James’ and can’t wait to present their prodigy to the art world. However, James is in a pickle. He didn’t draw it, but he quickly discovers Marvin and his talent and together they keep up the pretense until a real masterpiece is stolen and James and Marvin are key to its recovery.

Masterpiece is truly just that, a novel masterpiece, with the style and charm that reminds me of A Cricket in Times Square. This story is a delight to read and has recently been announced as a finalist for the 2009 E.B. White Read-Aloud award

Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tumtum and Nutmeg: Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall by Emily Bearn - OPTIONAL

Bearn, Emily Tumtum and Nutmeg: Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall by Emily Bearn, pgs. 512 Little, Brown Young Readers



Tumtum and Nutmeg are a gentle mice couple who live in the broom closet of Rose Cottage. The humans who live in Rose Cottage consist of a single father who is an eccentric inventor and his two children. The father is absentminded when it comes to his children so the mice decide to help out. They begin to make nightly visits to the children’s attic room to make repairs and to spruce up the place.

Bearn, in an attempt to bring to readers new stories in the style of Wind in the Willows and the Tales of Beatrix Potter, fails to capture the charm and staying power of those classics. This disappointing, overly long novel takes this cast of characters on three different adventures. I think that the publisher would have had better luck publishing these as three individual stories. The reading level of these stories is more advanced than the age of the audience that would enjoy them. The stories may improve on being read aloud.

Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sammy Keys and the Cold Hard Cash by Wendelin Van Draanen - ESSENTIAL

Sammy Keys and the Cold Hard Cash by Wendelin Van Draanen, 272 pgs. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2008. 



Sammy Keyes always manages to get into the middle of everything. When she supposedly scared someone to death and the man tells her to through away a lot of money, she can't help but become interested in what is going on. All of a sudden she is in a middle of another mystery. I liked this book. The characters in it are very fun and they make me laugh. they do some pretty silly things in this book. The only thing that I did not like about this book was that it had just a few bad words. I really liked it though.

Student Reviewer: MB

Friday, April 10, 2009

Seven Wonders of the Ancient Middle East - ESSENTIAL

Seven Wonders of the Ancient Middle East by Woods, Michael Woods and Mary B. Woods 72 p. NON-FICTION. Twenty-First Century (Lerner), 2009.


Instead of the seven wonders of the whole world, the Woods team have seven books about seven wonders on each of the seven continents. This particular title is about the man-made wonders in the Middle East. Each page has beautiful illustrations of some sort, mostly full-color photographs, and detailed explanations of the history and importance of the places. I think these books are fabulous and could easily supply a unit of study – whether singularly or as a set.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The SIlver Door by Holly Lisle - ESSENTIAL


Lisle, Holly The Silver Door by Holly Lisle, 386 pages. Orchard (Scholastic), 2009.


Genna has found her destiny – to be the Sunrider and free her people and the good nightlings from slavery – and she is trying hard to learn how to accomplish this. Following the instructions of her teacher one day, she and her best friend Catri are, instead, swallowed by a dragon and taken to the Spire, an ancient, now empty, place from where humans used to rule the world. Genna desperately wants to learn her path, but the Spire has ideas of its own – and the two goals may not coincide. If anything, Genna will learn that being the Sunrider means she will have to make very difficult choices.

It is so exciting to see the second book in this series! It is a great series for young fantasy lovers.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Stroll and Walk, Babble and Talk by Brian P. Cleary - ESSENTIAL


Stroll and Walk, Babble and Talk by Brian P. Cleary, illustrated by Brian Gable. Millbrook (Lerner), 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


What English teacher hasn’t had to talk to the students about spicing up their word choice. This quick little picture book gets the topic rolling and also provides a teacher with a great list of words to start with in stretching vocabulary skills. Every book in this series should be used at every level of education. A clever English teacher can use every title for fun, yet necessary lessons.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Who Discovered America? by Valeria Wyatt - ADVISABLE

Who Discovered America? Valerie Wyatt. NON-FICTION PICTURE BOOK. Kids Can Press, 2008.


Wyatt explores the many people and groups who all had a hand in the ‘discovery’ of the Americas: Columbus, Corte-Real, the Chinese, the Vikings, the Norse. It also looks into the peoples who were already in the Americas when they were ‘discovered’. The book is succinct, yet informative, including maps, paintings, photos and illustrations. And a handy timeline in the back directs you to the pages that tell about the different ‘discoverers’. It’s a good beginning level look at this interesting discussion.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

How I Learned Geography by Uri Shulevitz - ESSENTIAL


How I Learned Geography by Uri Shuklecitz. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


When the author was four, his family fled the Warsaw blitz and landed in what is now Kazakstan. One night, even though the family was starving, Uri’s father brought home a huge world map, instead of the much needed bread. At first Uri was resentful, but the map made his hungry nights more bearable.

Any teacher of geography would appreciate this book as a gift and will share it with their students as an illustration of the power of learning about our world and how even poverty can starve the mind.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sunny Side Up by Marion Roberts - ADVISABLE

Sunny Side Up by Marion Roberts, 219 pages. Wendy Lamb Books, 2008 

 Language G, Mature Content PG, Violence G 


 Sunny Hathaway, 11yo, narrates the story of the summer "when everything started to change, and... change is not my strong point." Her world changes when her mother's boyfriend moves in with them along with his two slightly annoying children and their cat, her father's new wife is pregnant, her best friend starts to like boys, and her grandmother is dying. 

Sunny is quirky and funny and a very real and loveable character.  The Australian setting and language give the story an interesting flavor and Sunny's personal journey is full of life lessons. Some very frank discussions of Sunny's bum-sniffing dog and her step-mother's pregnancy and nursing may offend some sensitive readers. 

 Janell Pearce-Mattheus, Youth Services Librarian, Whitmore Library.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Talia Talk by Christine Hurley - ADVISABLE

Talia Talk by Christine Hurley, 184 p. Delacorte (Random), 2009. 

Content: G 


Talia is constantly embarrassed by the personal stories that her mother tells the entire town on mom’s daily morning talk show. Now, Talia has a chance to turn the tables as she wins the spot as an anchor on her middle school’s daily announcement show. As a 6th grader, she has to learn to avoid the pitfalls of middle school, as two of her close friends have now Talia’s best friend, Bridget as too loud, too childish and too lame for them. Talia doesn’t know what to do.

The girl on the front cover looks older than the main character actually is, but the contents scores right on with the pitfalls of middle school. 

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...