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.

Warriors vs Warriors ill. by Steve Stone - ESSENTIAL

Brereton, Catherine. Warrior vs Warriors. Ill. By Steve Stone. 64 pages. Kingfisher Press. 2009.


The most top-notch, ruthless fighting warriors throughout history have been brought together in the book’s arena to see who is the best fighter in history. Who will win?

The illustrations in this book are excellent. The facts are presented in a fun, easy-to-read format. Reluctant and avid readers alike will enjoy figuring out who will be deemed the most effective warrior in history.

Reviewer: Jessica, Librarian, Olympus Jr. High.

An Eye for Color: The Story of Josef Albers by Natasha Wing - ESSENTIAL

Wing, Natasha An Eye for Color: The Story of Josef Albers illustrated by Julia Breckenreid  PICTURE BOOK. 40 pgs. Henry Holt and Company, 2009. $17


Learn all about the life and art of Josef Alber in this picture book biography. This would be a wonderful book to use to introduce students to colors, different art forms, and artists.

The actual story text isn't overly-long, but there are more details provided in the back of the book if you wanted to learn more about Josef Alber. Also included are different art activities you could do on your own. The art in the book is vibrant and colorful and portrays what I think Alber wanted to express through color. The fact that the author knew Josef Alber adds a nice personal touch to the story.

Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Apple Countdown by Joan Holub - ADVISABLE

Holub, Joan Apple Countdown illustrated by Jan Smith  PICTURE BOOK 32 pgs. Albert Whitman & Company, 2009.  $17


In this apple countdown tale, the students in Mr. Yee's class go help Farmer Applebee pick apples. Throughout this rhyming adventure, students are counting down from 20 to 1, sometimes using grouping and simple addition.

It would be great to use this book to introduce those concepts to young students! The illustrations are bright and vibrant and apple facts are included on the front and back covers.

Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Andy and Sam by Liesbet Slegers - ESSENTIAL

Slegers, Liesbet Andy and Sam: Hide-and-Seek PICTURE/ACTIVITY BOOK 28pgs. Kane Miller, 2010. $15


What a fun hide-and-seek book! Kids will love to follow along with Andy as he and his cat, Sam, go to the beach, the pond, the farm, the sky, and the forest. Along with a short story, kids are instructed to find Sam as well as other items on each page.

The illustrations are bright and eye-catching. The color-coordinating answers to each page are included on the last page of the book. Fabulous book!

Whitney, Library-Teacher.

You're Lovable to Me by Kat Yeh - OPTIONAL

Yeh, Kat You're Lovable to Me illustrated by Sue Anderson PICTURE BOOK 26 pgs. Random House, 2009.  $16


This is a sweet story about unconditional love. Mama bunny tucks her little bunnies into bed at night, and recalling the days past events, they wonder how she could still love them?? She tells them why in a simple, short way.

The story reminds me of (but isn't nearly as cute as) the Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney. This would be a cute Valentine gift.

Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Dinner with Olivia by Emily Sollinger - OPTIONAL

Sollinger, Emily Dinner with Olivia illustrated by Guy Wolek, PICTURE BOOK 24 pgs. Simon Spotlight, 2009. $4


Olivia gets invited to her friend Francine's house for dinner. Although Olivia is excited, she is nervous too because she wants to make sure she does everything properly so she can impress Francine's family. She practices with her stuffed animals at home but nothing can compare to the real thing at Francine's!! She gets in trouble for telling funny stories and for spilling could everything go so wrong?

This is a very cute picture book and a cute story, but there is a lot of text on each page making it hard to keep kids' attention.

Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Seymour and Henry by Kim Lewis - ADVISABLE

Lewis, Kim Seymour and Henry, PICTURE BOOK 32 pgs. Candlewick, 2009.


Seymour and Henry are a pair of sweet ducks that love to swim. When their mother says it's time to leave the pond for home, the two little ducklings scamper away and eagerly wait to be found. Soon rain spoils their fun, and off to mother they run. It is a simple tale that will entertain a preschool age audience.

Jennifer Rodriguez - YA Librarian

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Loudest Beagle on the Block by Sutherland - ADVISABLE

Sutherland, T.T. Pet Trouble: Loudest Beagle on the Block, 176 pgs. Scholastic Inc., 2009.

Content: G


Ella just inherited her Aunt Golda’s beagle, and all it does is bark. Ella needs to practice her piano and singing for the school talent show, but her dog just doesn’t know when to be quiet. Will Ella’s musical career be put in jeopardy? I thought this book was very good, and well written, but it wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read. It was a very intriguing book and kept me reading. 

 Student reviewer: HW

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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...