Saturday, September 11, 2010

Elspeth by Kate O'Hearn - ESSENTIAL

O’Hearn, Kate Elspeth (Shadow of the Dragon #2) Kane Miller, 2010. $17

Violence: PG


Kira, her siblings and her friends have freed the captive girls and escaped Lord Dorcon’s forces – but something has gone awry. While Kira and most of the group has stayed together, they have been thrust 3000 years into the future. Elspeth, however, has been propelled into the past – just before the beginnings of First Law – with only her dragon and Onnie, the fox, for company. Only with a great sacrifice on the side of Paragon will the two groups be reunited. But even if they do make it safely back to their own time, they still have to contend with King Arden, but more importantly they will have to evade Lord Dorcon. 

I sat down late one night and read this from cover to cover! I couldn’t stop because I was so engrossed. It is so nice that the second book in the series is as good as the first. Is there a third? I don’t know, but I certainly hope so! 

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Groundhog Weather School by Joan Holub - ESSENTIAL

Groundhog Weather School by Joan Holub
. PICTURE BOOK. Putnam Juvenile 2009. $17.


Groundhog day is here and rabbit is so excited, the prediction is that it will be spring. Rabbit puts on his Hawaiian shirt and heads outdoors to find snow on the ground. He writes a letter complaining that maybe the weather groundhog should hire more helpers to cover the weather all over the country. The weather groundhog thinks this is a great idea and soon recruits more groundhogs to help him. They have to go through Groundhog Weather School first. Once the students have learned what seeing their shadow means, how to dig a burrow, and why they hibernate they are ready to help the weather groundhog. On the next Groundhog Day, they all come up and give their predictions. The predictions are sent to the main headquarters, where the weather groundhog predicts that it will be winter for another six weeks. Rabbit is excited and heads outside with a sled. He finds sunshine and realizes that it is hard to predict the weather. 

This is a cute and informative book about groundhogs and explains how Groundhog Day works. 

Anna Mattheus, Elementary Teacher.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Higher! Higher! by Leslie Patricelli - Advisable

Patricelli, Leslie Higher!Higher!, 32 pgs.Candlewick, 2009.


How far can a little girl go on a swing with her dad and wild imagination? To the stars! This delightful picture book is sure to expand a toddler’s imagination and invoke a few giggles. The images are bold and full of fun surprises. A definite read for storytime!

Jennifer Rodriguez - YA Librarian

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ancient Egypt Explorer by Philip Steele - ESSENTIAL

Steele, Philip Ancient Egypt Explorer (Spotlight), 23 p. Silver Dolphin (Nat'l Geo), 2008. $16


Roam the dark corridors of an Egyptian pyramid, through ruins and tombs and the banks of the Nile with this engaging book. Five spinning wheels make you feel as if you are really shining a flashlight into the hidden corners, while filling your mind with worthwhile facts and tidbits of knowledge. 

I know that there are more books in the series. They would be highly popular, especially at the elementary level or as gifts for a budding explorer. 

Cindy, Library Teacher

The Wish Stealer by Tracy Trivas - ADVISABLE

Trivas, Tracy The Wish Stealer, 281 p. Aladdin (Simon), 2010. $17 

Content: G. 


Through a petty bit of trickery, Griffin Penshine has been burdened with a curse - she must find the original owners of several wish-pennies, or find a way to fulfill that kind of wish, if she doesn't want to become a wish stealer. From world peace to the desire for a puppy, she has a variety of wishes to fulfill, all while juggling the pressures of 6th grade, a huge science fair project and the enmity of the school's queen bee. Griffin will need the love and support of many around her in order to un-fulfill this destiny. 

Very cute, very fun and a delight to read. Great for a high-traffic fantasy collection. 

Cindy - Library Teacher

Thursday, February 4, 2010

February Friend by Ron Roy - ADVISABLE

Roy, Ron. February Friend, illustrated by John Steven Gurney EL – ADVISABLE  69 pgs. Random House, 2009. $4.99. 

Content: G

The second book in the Calendar Mystery Series, celebrates Valentine’s Day at school by bringing cards and treats. Their teacher Mr. Vooray finds a surprise in his closet. Someone has left a rabbit named Douglas to the class. Douglas is scared and won’t open his eyes. Bradley and Brian’s mom Mrs. Pinto takes Douglas to the veterinarian who explains that nothing is wrong except that the rabbit misses his owner. Douglas won’t eat, so the twins and their friends use clues to find out who the real owner is. 

A gentle mystery with lively illustrations that young readers will enjoy.

Samantha, Public Librarian

Red Ted and the Lost Things by Michael Rosen - ADVISABLE

Rosen, Michael Red Ted and the Lost Things illustrated by Joel Stewart PICTURE BOOK/GRAPHIC 40 pgs. Candlewick Press, 2009. $17


Written in comic book style, this book is about Red Ted, a teddy bear who gets lost from his owner. Put on a shelf with other "lost" items, he decides that he must go and find Stevie (his owner). Crocodile, another lost item, goes with him on this crazy adventure through the city. On the way, they meet Cat who is willing to help, but only because there is cheese involved! All is well when in the end they find Stevie and the cheese!

The illustrations are so unique and highlight all of the right details in the story.

Whitney, Library-Teacher

Mr. Putter and Tabby Run the Race by Cynthia Rylant - ESSENTIAL

Rylant, Cynthia Mr. Putter and Tabby Run the Race illustrated by Arthur Howard EARLY READER 44 pgs. Sandpiper, 2008.  $6.


Rylant's books are some of my favorites! She creates fun and creative stories that kids will love reading; and I absolutely love Howard's illustrations! This particular story is about Mrs. Teaberry trying to convince Mr. Putter to run a senior's marathon with her, but Mr. Putter can't even remember how to run! She convinces him to do it because the second place prize is a train set, and Mr. Putter loves train sets. He does what training he can (touching his knees!) and the day of the race arrives. With lots of trips and turns, the race doesn't turn out how expected, but everyone is happy in the end!

The only thing I didn't like about this story was the fact that everything turned out perfectly even though Mr. Putter didn't work for his goal nor did the race really happen "fairly." Might give kids the wrong message.

Whitney, Library-Teacher.  

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

When the World Is Ready for Bed by Gillian Shields - ADVISABLE

Shields, Gillian When the World Is Ready for Bed illustrated by Anna Currey PICTURE BOOK. Bloomsbury, 2009.  $15


This little rabbit family settles down for the night after having dinner and cleaning up toys. The rhyming text, although not my favorite-it seems a little forced- has a gentle rhythm that makes it sound like a quiet lullaby. The last page is my favorite as it makes a promise that "Always lovely, always new, tomorrow's waiting just for you."

Great for kids before bed.

Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Charles Darwin and the Beagle Adventure by A.J. Wood - ADVISABLE

Wood, A.J. and Clint Twist Charles Darwin and the Beagle Adventure, 30 p. Templar Books (Candlewick), 2009. $20


If your students like the “-ology” books, they will also enjoy this biographical work. There are so many details of Darwin’s voyage – I can’t imagine that this wouldn’t be useful at almost any grade level. The format is perfect for the younger crowd, but the detail is also engrossing for the olders. There are a few small parts that might get lost, but on the whole it is well worth the risk. 

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya by Donna Jo Napoli - ESSENTIAL

Napoli, Donna Jo Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya illustrated by Kadir Nelson PICTURE BOOK/NON-FICTION 40 pgs. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010. $17


An amazing story of Wangari Maathai, the first African American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. Wangari had a love for nature and peace. This is how she transformed Kenya, tree by tree. Each time a village woman came to Wangari seeking help, she gave them a seed and told them to plant the mukinduri trees. Each time, these seeds proved to be the things these women needed for their children, wood for fire, medicine for sick cattle, timber for buildings. After a time, the trees that had been gone so long from Kenya finally returned. It was again as it had been before, strong and peaceful. 

The illustrations in these books are so unique in that each page is a collage of brightly colored paper. The collages are so seamless that on you have to look very closely to see how things are put together. This is an inspiring, true story of a woman that changed the world one tree at a time.  

Whitney, Library-Teacher

January Joker by Ron Roy - ADVISABLE

Roy, Ron. January Joker,
illustrated by John Steven Gurney. 77 pgs. Random House, 2009. $5 

Content: G


The first book the Calendar Mysteries Series, author Ron Roy highlights the younger siblings of his popular A to Z Series. Bradley Pinto sees a bright light and finds unusual snow tracks in his backyard. He alerts his twin Brian and their friends Lucy and Nate. The four go to investigate and find that their dog and horse are missing. They go back to the house and their older siblings are gone too. Are they being abducted by aliens? What should they do? 

Young readers will enjoy solving the mystery with the characters. The illustrations are truly "out of this world."

Samantha, Public Librarian.

Paulie Pastrami Achieves World Peace by James Proimos - ESSENTIAL

Proimos, James Paulie Pastrami Achieves World Peace 40 pgs. PICTURE BOOK Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009  $16 


Paulie Pastrami is just an ordinary seven year old. He gets picked last in sports, his socks don't always match, and he can't whistle. What makes him unique though is that he achieved world peace before he turned eight years old. How you ask?! By simple acts of kindness. He started out just being kind to animals. He read to trees. He apologized for being mean to his sister. He offered compassion to those in need. He listened to his teacher. But when he had achieved peace at his school, he realized it wasn't enough....he wanted to achieve world peace! So off he and his parents went to deliver peace (in the form of a cupcake!) to stores around town. 

With bright illustrations and pages, kids will laugh and be delighted by the things Paulie does...and will hopefully be inspired to spread a little world peace (or cupcakes) themselves! This would be a great book to use during a class lesson about kindness and/or character. 

Whitney, Library-Teacher 

How to Build Your Own Country by Valerie Wyatt - OPTIONAL

Wyatt, Valerie How to Build Your Own Country, illustrated by Fred Rix. 39 p. Kids Can Press, 2009. 


This tongue-in-cheek book delivers some real-life facts about the nitty-gritty of building, running, growing and leading a country. 

Children might be entertained with the thought of setting up their own sovereign space. However, as a Geography teacher, I actually talked my students through the logistics of creating their own countries and we actually did this project as a culminating project. If I had had this book in hand, I wouldn’t have had to create a lot of things from scratch. 

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. by Kate Messner - ADVISABLE

Messner, Kate. The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z., 195 pgs. Walker & Company, 2009. $17

Content: G


Gianna Z. won’t be able to run in sectionals unless she completes her 25 leaves identification project for science class on time. The project seems doomed by her grandmother Nonna’s increasing forgetfulness, the sabotaging of a peer, and the death of a schoolmate’s grandmother. Gianna has to find a way to do her homework, deal with life and death, while being driven to school in a hearse.

Author Kate Messner creates warm and realistic characters that tween and young teens will fall for.

Samantha, Public Librarian

Come Back Soon by Daniel Schallau - ADVISABLE

Schallau, Daniel. Come Back Soon. PICTURE BOOK Houghton Mifflin, 2009. $17.


The penguins of Icetown invite Mr. Elephant the architect for the dedication of his creation. Elephant packs quickly and takes a boat, but forgets to bring his suit. He arrives at Icetown where he goes to a restaurant, a hotel, and to Tailor Guin’s for a new suit. Elephant wears his new suit to the ceremony but his weight causes part of the ice to crack. Elephant and many penguins are stuck floating on a piece of ice until a postwhale comes along and pushes them back to Icetown where Elephant makes everything right. 

The story is a little long, but the illustrations are detailed, original and fun.  

Samantha, Public Librarian.

Little Blue Truck Leads the Way by Alice Schertle - ADVISABLE

Schertle, Alice. Little Blue Truck Leads the Way, illustrated by Jill McElmurry. PICTURE BOOK Harcourt Children’s Books, 2009. $16


Little Blue Truck drives into the big city and thinks the buildings are pretty, but the other cars aren’t very nice. No one will wait their turn. There’s a big traffic jam and the mayor’s limo dies. Blue offers the mayor a ride. The mayor stands in the back of the truck and invites all to take their turn one at a time following Blue in a line. The traffic clears and everyone goes their way.

The simple rhymes and meter make this book fun to read aloud. The painted illustrations capture the beauty of an urban city and both the motion and emotion of the vehicles.

Samantha, Public Librarian

1 2 3 I Can Build! by Irene Luxbacher - ESSENTIAL

Luxbacher, Irene 1 2 3 I Can Build! PICTURE BOOK NON-FICTION 24 pgs. Kids Can Press, 2009. $15


Kids learn the basics about architecture in this fun and creative book. The book defines terms such as foundation, structure, function, interior, exterior, pillar, tower, and architect. 

The book goes through the step-by-step process of creating different buildings included a breezy birdhouse, a mushroom mansion, a fabulous funhouse, and a perfect palace! Also included are some helpful hints for parents and teachers as they help their young architects build. With its bright illustrations and unique ideas, kids will definitely be entertained by this fun and imaginative book!

Whitney, Library-Teacher.

1 2 3 I Can Collage! by Irene Luxbacher - ESSENTIAL

Luxbacher, Irene 1 2 3 I Can Collage! PICTURE BOOK, NON-FICTION. 24 pgs. Kids Can Press, 2009.  $15


What an equally fun and creative book! In this book of the Starting Art collections, kids will be inspired to create something unique on their own. The book explains different collage techniques including cut paper collage, torn paper collage, decoupage, patterns, weaving, and mixed media collages. It focuses on using those techniques to create different sea creatures including a flying fish, an awesome octopus, a whopper of a whale, and a cute crab! 

Given the step-by-step process of making different collages, kids will feel a sense of accomplishment as they create their own sea creature! Also included are helpful ideas and hints as parents and teachers help their young artist-in-the-making.

Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Passing By by Yona Tepper - Advisable

Tepper, Yona Passing By illustrated by Gil-Ly Alon Curiel PICTURE BOOK 40 pgs. Kane Miller, 2010.  $16


Yael, like any other child, is curious about the world around her and loves to watch things come and go on her street. She watches from her second story balcony as different things come and go...a dog, a cat, a red car, a tractor, and a man riding his bike. But the best things is yet to come at the end of the day...her dad! 

Sweet story that uses repetition on each page for children. The illustrations are fabulous and help depict things unique to the life of the Israeli author. 

Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Skin Like Milk, Hair of Silk by Brian P. Cleary - ESSENTIAL

Cleary, Brian P. Skin Like Milk, Hair of Silk: What are Similes and Metaphors? Illustrated by Brian Gable. Millbrook (Lerner), 2009. $15.95. 


Cleary and Gable continue their collaboration in this look at the difference between simile and metaphor. After you are finished, you will wonder why you were never able to remember the difference before!  

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Fairies and Elves by Shannon Knudsen - OPTIONAL

Knudsen, Shannon Fairies and Elves, 46 p. Lerner, 2010. $21 


From the very first fairy tales to the modern world, Knudsen looks at the lore of the fairy and how it has evolved over the centuries. 

At first, at only 46 pages, I thought this title might be scant on information. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading it. If you have the money for a series for entertainment, then Lerner’s Fantasy Chronicles (5 titles to date) may be just the ticket. 

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Lunch Lady and the Author Visit Vendetta by Jarrett Krosoczka - OPTIONAL

Krosoczka, Jarrett J. Lunch Lady and the Author Visit Vendetta 96 pgs. Knopf Books for Young Readers

Content: G


It’s a bird, It’s a plane. . . . . it’s the Lunch Lady? That’s right! This lunch lady serves justice up on a plastic tray!

In this exciting and mysterious episode the villain is a children’s book author with his league of vicious bunnies! The school is all a buzz with excitement over the scheduled author visit. Unfortunately, this author doesn’t seem to like being around kids. Soon after his visit, the gym teacher mysteriously disappears. Is there a connection? Yes, and the Lunch Lady is on the case!

This third volume will engage fans of the series, but if you don’t have a following, you may want to pass on this one.

 Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

Wishing For Tomorrow by Hilary McKay - ESSENTIAL

McKay, Hilary Wishing For Tomorrow, 273 p. McElderry (Simon), 2010. $16.99. 

Content: G. 


Sara Crewe and Becky have left Miss Minchin’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies, but all of the others have been left behind. Such dramatic events can’t but change those who were involved. What will happen to Lavinia, Lottie, Ermengarde and even the stiff Miss Minchin? 

Ms. McKay gives us a rich look at the subsequent lives of the girls and their teachers – and you probably wouldn’t have been able to predict one things that happens, but you will certainly enjoy it all just as I did. I am thinking of putting this on the shelf right next to the original so that students who want it will be able to find it easily. If you have A Little Princess in your library, you had better buy this! 

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Calamity Jack by Shannon and Dean Hale, illustrated by Nathan Hale - ESSENTIAL

Hale, Shannon & Dean Illustrated by Nathan Hale Calamity Jack 144 pgs. Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Language: G; Mature Content: G Violence: PG


Rapunzel and Jack are back in an exciting and new graphic novel! Jack has always been a little to the left of the law until one day his antics go too far. That was when he first met Rapunzel. Now as Jack returns home he finds out the giant Blunderboar has kidnapped his mother and taken over the town. With the help of a few friends Jack begins to cook up a plan that will rescue his mother and save the town to boot. Until he is betrayed! Now is their goose truly cooked? Find out by reading Calamity Jack.

In a second graphic novel adventure, Rapunzel and Jack return to entertain readers with their crazy adventures! Fans of graphic novels will love the combination of comedy and adventure that only the Hale trio can bring.

 Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library 

night-night, baby! by A. J. Wood and Emily Hawkins - GIFT

Wood, A. J., & Hawkins, Emily. night-night, baby! BOARD BOOK Silver Dolphin Books, 2007. $13


This multi-textured book is sure to appeal to its target audience. Includes black and white pictures of baby faces, simple illustrations, touchable sheep’s wool, and a star cut out. The text is simple and unoriginal.

Samantha, Public Librarian.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Pinata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas by Pat Mora - ESSENTIAL

Mora, Pat. A Piñata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas, illustrated by Magaly Morales. Clarion Books, 2009. $16.00. PICTURE BOOK.


A little girl enjoys the 12 days of Christmas (Christmas Day to Three Kings Day) with foods and traditional Latino items from her amiga. Such as pastelitos, luminarias, and campanitas sonando, to name a few.

Each page includes a pronunciation of the number and the gift; e.g. piñata=pee-NYAH-tah. The back of the book includes: a Spanish glossary and pronunciation guide, an author’s and illustrator’s note, as well as the music of the song. The acrylic illustrations are bright and beautiful. A great book to read aloud

Samantha, Public Librarian.

Supersister by Beth Cadena - ADVISABLE

Cadena, Beth. Supersister, illustrated by Frank W. Dormer. PICTURE BOOK Clarion Books, 2009. $16


Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s supersister swooping into save the day. She pours cereal, ties shoelaces, and goes to school where she thinks of more ways to help her mom. When she gets home she walks to the dog, sets the table, and when she goes to sleep counts sheep. She can’t wait until she becomes a supersister. Her mom says it will be soon.

The super cartoon illustrations combine traditional picture book format with comic book scenes. This book is a good choice for children who are expecting a new sibling.

Samantha, Public Librarian.

Dodsworth in London by Tim Egan - ADVISABLE

Egan, Tim. Dodsworth in London. Houghton Mifflin, 2009. $15

Content: G 


Pack your umbrella Dodsworth and his duck are visiting London. Arriving via hot air balloon the duo sees Buckingham Palace. The duck wants to stay there, but Dodsworth explains that’s where the queen lives. Dodsworth and the duck begin viewing the sites but get divided due to a duplicate duck and a double-decker bus. Dodsworth and the Royal Duck look for his friend duck all over London and finally find him in a royal situation.

Readers will enjoy touring London with Dodsworth and duck and learn a little trivia too. The cartoon animal illustrations are attractive and sure to appeal to beginning readers.

 Samantha, Public Librarian.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Wonders Inside: The Human Body - ESSENTIAL

The Wonders Inside: The Human Body, 90 p. Silver Dolphin (National Geographic), 2009. $20 


Once you show this fabulous book to any teacher of science, you will hard pressed to get it back. It doesn’t matter that it isn’t a multimedia, interactive, spectacle. The detail and brilliance of the technical drawings inside our bodies is endlessly fascinating. Each page is large enough for a class to see the detail – and if your teacher has a document camera, then so much the better. Be careful – because you made need to order more than one. Straight forward looks at the body educate without any titillation. Be confident of putting this on your shelf. And at this price – you can afford more than one!

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko

Choldenko, Gennifer Al Capone Shines My Shoes (Al Capone at Alcatraz #2) 274 pgs. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2009.  $18

Content G


Moose Flanagan and his family live on Alcatraz island during the 1930s with some of the most dangerous criminals known to man. Following up from the previous book, Al Capone, notorious gangster who is in prison at Alcatraz, wants payback for helping Moose get his sister, Natalie, into a prestigious school for autistic children. As the criminals do all of the laundry for the island, Moose gets a note from Capone that simply states "your turn". Throughout the rest of the book Moose is looking over his shoulder for what will happen next. Through a series of events--some humorous, some chilling-- Moose learns that the line between good and bad is clearer than it seems.

The author did a fabulous job of really endearing you to the different characters, and I found myself liking each one if a different way. Also, although this is a sequel to the book Al Capone Does My Shirts, the reader will still be able to understand what is going and the book can stand alone.
That said, I was really excited to read this book because I knew that the first book was a Newbery Honor winner. After reading it I felt a bit let down. It was not a gripper by any means, and I feel like I had to trudge my way through it. I feel like there was a lot of build up in a lot of different spots and then nothing would happen so I felt let down again and again. I felt like the ending was the only time there was a real, satisfying resolution to all of the climax that had been going on. At any rate, there were enjoyable parts, and it was a very interesting book about the history and life of Alcatraz in the 1930s.

Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Leanin' Dog by K.A. Nuzum - ESSENTIAL

Nuzum, K.A. The Leanin' Dog179 pgs. Joanna Colter Books, 2008, 

Content: G


Dessa Dean can't go outside. She hasn't been able to since she saw her mother die on the cold snow. One day a dog comes to her doorstep and gives her hope. But will the dog stay? 

This story touched my heart. This girls love for the dog is just so sweet. I love the way her father cares for her and does what he has to help her. This story definitely deserves to be read.  

Student Reviewer: CRH

Just Grace and the Snack Attack by Charise Mericle Harper - ADVISABLE

Harper, Charise Mericle. Just Grace and the Snack Attack, 164 pgs. Houghton Mifflin, 2009. $15

Content: G


Just Grace’s class is studying food from around the world. Each student can create their own food project. Just Grace chooses to do her report on potato chips from around the world after her neighbor Augustine Dupre gives her a bag of French potato chips and her first zine. Her best friend Mimi plans on writing her report on hot dogs of the world. Just Grace’s dad knows a lot about hot dogs and helps Mimi with her project. Just Grace is jealous of the attention and help. She’s so grumpy that she throws her pencil at Owen 1. What should she do?

The author’s chatty journalistic style with lists and simple illustrations make this a fast and friendly read. Author includes instructions on how to make a zine. Recommend the Just Grace books to fans of Judy Moody.

Samantha, Public Librarian.

Stage Fright by Meg Cabot - ESSENTIAL

Cabot, Meg, Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Stage Fright. Scholastic Press. 2009.

Content: G.

Allie’s class is putting on a play called “Princess Penelope and the Realms of Recycling.” Every girl wants to be Princess Penelope, including Allie. With the help of her Uncle Jay, who once was a theater major, she practices really hard and has an excellent audition. She feels she’s a shoo-in for the main part, but Mrs. Hunter picks her best friend, Sophie instead. When Allie gets the part of the evil stepmother, she tries to be the best evil stepmother she can be, but the play seems to be going to people’s heads, including her best friend’s. With people refusing to act their parts, Allie’s enemy trying to steal Sophie’s part, and Allie’s inability to discover the motivation of her character, Allie starts getting worried whether or not her class is going to be able to pull off their play. Will Allie discover her character’s motivation in time to perform her best? Will her classmates stop acting childish and start acting?

This book is an excellent addition to the other Allie Finkle books. Allie’s personality just keeps getting better and better as she grows up and learns more about the importance of friendship. The other characters are also well developed. The plot is well-written, and the humor complements well the story. Girls will have fun reading this book as well as Allie’s rules. Readers who like realistic fiction, Meg Cabot, and humorous books will enjoy reading this book.

Reviewer: Kira, Youth Services Librarian -HUN Public Library

Monday, January 18, 2010

DarqStarz Rising by Allyson Black and Patrick Spaziante - OPTIONAL

Black, Allyson and Spaziante, Patrick. Darqstarz Rising. Simon Spotlight. 2009.


Scarlett and Crimson are trying to start up a new way of thinking through their band and website. The opportunity of a lifetime comes up when they join a Battle of the Bands contest. The Leetz (the popular girls at school), however, are trying to make it so that they win and not Scarlett and Crimson. Will Scarlett and Crimson win the Battle of the Bands and shine like the Darqstarz they are or will the Leetz get their way in the competition?

A fun book about self-discovery and friendship. Readers who enjoy music and realistic fiction type books will enjoy reading this story.

Reviewer: Jessica, Librarian Olympus Jr. High.

A Really Short History of Nearly Everything by Martin Sanders - OPTIONAL

Bryson, Bill. A Really Short History of Nearly Everything. Ill. By Martin Sanders. 161 pages. Kingfisher Press, 2003


Ever wondered how the universe was created? How inventors came up with their wonderful ideas and inventions?

This book will introduce you to space, Earth and its origins, and more. This book is a good overview to questions students may ask, but is not an end-all information book. Some things it mentions and talks about like they’re scientific facts are only theories. Despite it being very simplified for the average reader, those who joy question and answer books, are reluctant readers, or enjoy science and space book will enjoy reading this book.

Reviewer: Jessica, Librarian, Olympus Jr. High.

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...