Monday, December 31, 2018

The Origin of Day and Night by Paula Ikuutaq Rumbolt - ADVISABLE

The Origin of Day and Night by Paula Ikuutaq Rumbolt, illustrated by Lenny Lishchenko. PICTURE BOOK. Inhabit Media, 2018. $17. 9781772271805

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3), EL - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

The arctic fox and the arctic hare are at odds because one, the fox, can see better in the dark, and one, the hare, can see better in the light. They use their words to call forth the light or dark respectively, and the battle becomes wearisome. Finally, they decide to split the time and thus we have day and night. 

The illustrations look like chalk drawings on black and white paper and are very pretty. The story drags on a bit, but it is an interesting myth. I wish the book included more information of the Inuit beliefs and culture. 


Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

Building Books by Megan Wagner Lloyd - ADVISABLE

Building Books by Megan Wagner Lloyd, illustrated by Brianne Farley. PICTURE BOOK. Knopf, 2018. $18. 9781524773670

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

A brother and sister are divided on their interests - one likes books and one likes building. When the librarian hears their argument, she gathers both into the library and gives them each a task - one to read and one to shelf. During the process, the builder discovers she likes reading about construction and the reader discovers he likes stacking books. 

This is an enjoyable book that will speak to students that aren’t naturally inclined toward reading. These students often feel like school doesn’t value their other interests, but this book does a beautiful job of validating that and pushing its boundaries.  


Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

Me, Myselfie & I: A Cautionary Tale by Jamie Lee Curtis - ADVISABLE

Me, Myselfie & I: A Cautionary Tale by Jamie Lee Curtis, illustrated by Laura Cornell. PICTURE BOOK. Feiwel and Friends, 2018. $18. 9781250138279

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

For a mom’s birthday, her kids buy her a smartphone and teach her how to take selfies. This quickly gets out of hand as the mom takes selfies of everything that she does. The kids finally put a stop to it and they go back to enjoying family time together. 

The illustrations in this book are so busy that they are hard to look at closely. The message is one that could provoke an interesting discussion with readers about the technology habits of their families and what they think the ideal balance might be. 


Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

Here Comes Rhinoceros by Heinz Janisch - OPTIONAL

Here Comes Rhinoceros by Heinz Janisch, illustrated by Helga Bansch. PICTURE BOOK. Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2018. $19. 9781554554485

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

A rhinoceros is sad because his horn was bent in an accident and he wants to float away. The animals around him comfort him and assure him that he is wanted and needed in their community. 

The illustrations are lovely and the language is poetic, but I think a lot of the fluidity to the story is lost in translation. Originally in German, this is a somber but beautiful book. 


Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Abraham by Frank Keating Paintings by Mike Wimmer - Optional

Abraham by Frank Keating Paintings by Mike Wimmer PICTURE BOOK Simon & Schuster, 2017. $18. 1442493194

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Abraham Lincoln was born in poor circumstances, educated himself by reading lots of books and writing whenever he could. He became a lawyer without formal education. He was elected 16th President of the United States. 

Mike Wimmer's paintings are wonderful! However, this is an odd biography. Told in the first person, like an autobiography, it was strange to see quotes around his actual quotes. Also, the writing style is so jumpy - almost like it's in free verse, but it doesn't really read like that either. While I loved the paintings, I was underwhelmed with the text. 

Lisa Librarian

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Melia and Jo by Billy Aronson and Jennifer Oxley - ESSENTIAL

Melia and Jo by Billy Aronson and Jennifer Oxley PICTURE BOOK, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018. $18. 132891626X

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Melia is an inventor. She works and works on her inventions but none seem to function as she would like. Jo is Melia's new neighbor. Jo is a singer and a dancer who doesn't respect Melia's space, nor does she see the inventions the same way Melia does. But wait! When creative Jo and logical Melia work together, they make a friendship (and a lot of other great things)! 

Aronson and Oxley have presented a great picturebook which demonstrates why we need an A (Arts) in STEM - because creativity is so important! The illustrations are delightful, the story is spot on. I loved the smart resourceful girls, (and smart resourceful girls will love this book) 

Lisa Librarian

Bear Hug by Susanna Isern and Betania Zacarias - NO

Bear Hug by Susanna Isern and Betania Zacarias, PICTURE BOOK Nubeocho, 2017. $14.95. 8494633333

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - NOT RECOMMENDED

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Natuk, a young girl, discovers an abandoned polar bear cub and takes him home. They sleep together and she feeds him, but he grows quickly and is soon a very large bear. When the village's store of fish is missing, Bear is suspected and Natuk must take him far away from the village, and come back alone. But when she misses him and goes out to search for him, she is caught in a terrible storm.

Ugh! No, this book. Despite the poor choice of taking a wild animal home, the little girl is allowed to walk for miles and miles with no adult in sight, plus polar bears and penguins? Also, polar bears don't tease the seals, they eat them. Cute illustrations, but disappointing book.

Lisa Librarian

Max and the Superheroes by Rocio Bonilla and Oriol Malet - ESSENTIAL

Max and the Superheroes by Rocio Bonilla and Oriol Malet PICTURE BOOK Charlesbridge, 2018. $15. 1580898440

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Max loves superheroes! He dresses up for halloween (and other times), he listens to stories about the old-timey ones his grandpa tells, he reads all the comic books, but his favorite is Mega Power. She can do everything, rescue animals, control robots, deactivate bombs, and so much more, but that's not the best thing. Max knows one more cool thing about Mega Power, but that's a secret.

Comic book style illustrations paired with more realistic style pictures highlight this oversized picturebook. Mega Power is larger than life, so is this book. Such fun, and a great mother-son read. Loved this so much. 

Lisa Librarian

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Magic Tree House: Hurricane Heroes in Texas (#30) by Mary Pope Osborne - ADVISABLE

Magic Tree House: Hurricane Heroes in Texas (#30) by Mary Pope Osborne. CHAPTER BOOK. Random House, 2018. $14. 9781524713126

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3), EL - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Jack and Annie go to Galveston with some knowledge about the places that survived the hurricane. When the storm hits they are able to direct people to these landmarks that they know from their book are safe. 

I didn’t know anything about this hurricane, making it an interesting subject, and the timing of this book being published after the Houston flood this past year is notable. I think the connections this creates to past and present heroes in times of tragedy is valuable. 


Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

Magic Treehouse Fact Tracker: Texas by Mary Pope Osborne - ADVISABLE

Magic Treehouse Fact Tracker: Texas by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope BoyceCHAPTER BOOK/NON-FICTION. Random House, 2018. 9781101936498

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3), EL - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

This informational text covers some of the major points of Texas history and culture. Along the way, Jack and Annie add side notes and interesting facts in the margins of the pages. The major points of the book are the history of ownership over the state, the primary industries (cattle, oil, space), and the natural disastors in the state’s history.  

This book is a fast and interesting companion to the fiction book. I was surprised that it started by covering the history of Texas as a whole, instead of immediately making the connection to the companion book and discussing the hurricane. This might lose some readers who are picking it up because of the Magic Tree House.  


Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Goat’s Coat by Tom Percival - ESSENTIAL

Goat’s Coat by Tom Percival, illustrated by Christine Pym. PICTURE BOOK. Bloomsbury, 2018. $17. 9781681199016

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Alfonzo is pleased with his new coat and others take notice as he walks down the street. When he passes a pond he notices some frogs that need help and the cuffs of his jacket are just right for making a boat to help them. When he sees a cat with a hurt tail, the hem of his coat is perfect as a bandage. This continues until he has no coat. But not to worry, all his new friends come to the rescue when the night gets cold and make him a beautiful sweater. 

This hits all the right notes for me - text that is smooth to read, likable characters, and a good message. The rhythm and rhyming in this book is perfection, making it an ideal book to read aloud. The moral of the story is also pretty clear and easy for young readers to access. I think this would be a great book to then discuss whether students believe it is true that when you help others, good things will come back to you. 

Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

Errol’s Garden by Gillian Hibbs - ADVISABLE

Errol’s Garden by Gillian Hibbs. PICTURE BOOK. Child’s Play, 2018. 9781786280855

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Errol is good at growing things, but his apartment is too crowded to keep going. He discovers the rooftop of their apartment building and enlists the help of the other tenants to design, plant, and care for a garden. Each neighbor brings different things and the result is beautiful. 

The author did a great job of depicting all sorts of people and abilities in her portrayal of the apartment community. The text in this book is simple and would be a fast book to read. I always like when a books squeezes in two good messages - the value of community gardens and the value of diversity in communities. 


Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

The House of Lost and Found by Martin Widmark - ADVISABLE

The House of Lost and Found by Martin Widmark, illustrated by Emilia Dziubak. PICTURE BOOK. Floris Books, 2018. $18. 9781782505426

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Niles has lost a lot in his life and gloominess has set in. He no longer reads or smiles or takes care of his house. Then one day a neighbor drops by a pot for Niles to take care of while the neighbor is on vacation. As the plant starts to grow, Niles starts to feel joy and energy return to him. 

Large, beautiful and moody illustrations make this a book that will stick with the reader for a long time. The tone of this book is predominantly mellow and somber, but the message is lovely. This is a great book for identifying with more than one character - sometimes we are the neighbor reaching out and sometimes we are the gloomy old man. 


Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

Friday, December 21, 2018

Secrets of American History: Monuments and Landmarks by Laurie Calkhoven - ADVISABLE


BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3), EL – ADVISABLE  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE  

This book explains how the 1920’s created a building boom that gave America some of it’s most noticeable landmarks and monuments.  Then three different buildings/monuments that have secret rooms are discussed including the Chrysler building, Mount Rushmore and Grand Central train station in New York.  A little history is explained for each hidden room and it’s use.  At the end of the book there are 3-4 other unknown facts about other monuments.  

I enjoyed the simple explanation of the time period surrounding the building boom as well as the fun trivia about these well known places.  The illustrations are bright and attractive, and the facts are interesting.  For a first-time reader this has a lot of text and information so it’s best for a 1st or 2nd grader.  

C. Peterson

Bear Can't Sleep by Karma Wilson - OPTIONAL


Bear Can’t Sleep by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman.  PICTURE BOOK  Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon and Schuster), 2018.  $18.  9781481459730  

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) – OPTIONAL  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE  

Bear is supposed to be hibernating as it is winter time, but he can’t seem to give in to sleep.  His animal neighbors come and try to help him with their sleep remedies, but not much works.  Eventually, Bear starts to tell his friends a story and right before the ending he falls into a deep sleep.  

There are a bunch of books involving Bear and his friends, including Bear Snores On.  This book has adorable bright illustrations and cute rhyming text which makes for a fun read aloud.  As for the story, it’s not great and I think the other Bear books by this author have more interesting stories.  

C. Peterson 

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Star Wars: Millenium Falcon Book and Mega Model - OPTIONAL


Star Wars: Millenium Falcon Book and Mega Model.  Studio Fun International, 2018.  $18.  9780794442071

BUYING ADVISORY:  GIFT (EL to ADULT) - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Do you know someone who loves Star Wars? Especially fans of  Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon? Can’t afford the $800 Lego model version?  Then here is a great option for you for a holiday gift!  The accompanying 32 page book has some Falcon facts and some activity pages along with the directions for building the model.  The pieces are sturdy paperboard and the directions seem fairly easy to follow.  I would build it all once and the rebuild it using some glue for added strength and holding power.  A good shared activity or alone. 

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS


The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: pop-up book - OPTIONAL


The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.  POP-UP BOOK.  Studio Fun International, 2018.  $13.  9780794442033

BUYING ADVISORY:  EL (K-3), EL, GIFT - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

For little ones who adored The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, this is a nice optional holiday gift as a remembrance of the movie.  There are only five spreads to showcase the gist of the plot and that is about all you get. 

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS


Another Monster at the End of This Book: An Interactive Adventure - ESSENTIAL


Another Monster at the End of This Book: An Interactive Adventure.  INTERACTIVE BOOK.  Printers Row Publishing, 2018.  $15.  9780794441746

BUYING ADVISORY:  Pre-K, EL (K-3), GIFT - ESSENTIAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Grover has hear about another book with another monster at the end of it.  This time Elmo also wants to see the monster.  Grover will do everything he has to in order to stop Elmo from running into a potentially scary monster.

Even cuter than the original!  The interactive elements are sturdy and should hope fairly well. 

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS


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...