Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Forky in Craft Buddy Day by Drew Daywalt - ESSENTIAL



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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Forky is kind of bored by himself at kindergarten with Bonnie, until the day her teacher suggests that all of the kids make their own buddies.  As the kids go out to recess, the new friends start waking up, but they are having a hard time transitioning to being toys.  Can Forky help them make the leap?

So freaking adorable!  I am pumped to see the latest Toy Story movie and this is a great starter for any crafting class at so many ages.  Of course, I can’t help you if the kids are sad when their creations don’t come to life!

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS


Robert Bateman: The Boy Who Painted Nature by Margriet Ruurs - ADVISABLE


Robert Bateman: The Boy Who Painted Nature by Margriet Ruurs, illustrated by Robert Bateman.  NON-FICTION/PICTURE BOOK  Orca Books, 2018.  $30.  9781459819924  

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE  

In this biography, the paintings of Robert Bateman are interspersed with his paintings of nature.  The book starts with Robert’s childhood and his innate love of nature and the world around him.  As Robert grew older, he started to study and learn the names of plants and animals and tried different art forms.  He has traveled the world and advocates for environmental protection of nature and wildlife and brings attention to the world’s beauty through his paintings.  

The main attraction of this picture book is Robert Bateman’s paintings.  They are beautiful and as detailed as a photograph.  I also enjoyed the story of Robert’s life and his love of the world.  This is great for art classes, art lovers and those who love nature.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson

What Makes a Hero by Pamela Bobowicz - ESSENTIAL

What Makes a Hero by Pamela Bobowicz, illustrated by Eda Kaban, PICTURE BOOK. Marvel, 2019. $13. 9781368048071

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ESSENTIAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

The Marvel cinematic female heroes give a pep talk and tell how to be a better person based on their experiences. Captain Marvel encourages stepping up for those who need hope, Nebula and Gamora talk about being stronger from working together, and Maria and Monica Rambeau say keep moving forward through difficulty.

There are 16 heroes in all. Bobowicz presentation of the heroes is a great message - even the ones who don't have super powers are heroes and give a great message about doing hard things. Although they are all female, the messages are not gender specific, so the boys will like this as much as the girls.

Lisa Librarian

Honeysmoke by Monique Fields - ESSENTIAL

Honeysmoke by Monique Fields, illustrated by Yesenia Moises. PICTURE BOOK. Imprint (Macmillan), 2019. $18. 9781250115829

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ESSENTIAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

While coloring a picture of herself, Simone starts to feel that she would like a color that easily matches her own skin. Her mom is black and her dad is white and neither has the answer she wants for what color she is. She sits on this problem for a while and then combines what color she got from her mom - honey, with what she got from her dad - smoke. Honeysmoke.

This is a beautifully illustrated story of finding your identity, for all kids, but especially for kids of color. I’m not sure my own kids had ever realized how isolating it could be to not have a “color” and they loved reading this book and talking about their own experiences with this.      

Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

Beastly Puzzles: A Brain-Boggling Animal Guessing Game by Rachel Poliquin - ESSENTIAL

Beastly Puzzles: A Brain-Boggling Animal Guessing Game by Rachel Poliquin, illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler. Kids Can Press, 2019. $17. 9781771389136

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ESSENTIAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Illustrated on a two page spread is a room or specific space with items that are labeled. These items are clues to an animal. You unfold one of the pages to discover what animal it could be. For example, the first room is a game room and some of the items are a billiard ball, a hose, a feather duster, and a dinosaur foot sculpture. The animal is an ostrich.

We loved reading this book as family. The clues were just the right amount of hard. We got about half right and spent a lot of time discussing what animal we thought it was going to be. This would be fun in a library and a great book to get a group involved.  

Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

You Make Me Happy by Smriti Prasadam-Halls - OPTIONAL

You Make Me Happy by Smriti Prasadam-Halls, illustrated by Alison Brown. PICTURE BOOK. Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2019. $18. 9781681198491

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

A fox and a hedgehog enjoy each other’s company and and wax nostalgic about all the things they like about each other.

This is a sweet sing-songy text that would be charming at bedtime. I thought the relationship between the two animals was enough confusing that it was distracting - were they parent and child, siblings, friends?

Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

The Quiet Crocodile Goes to the Beach by Natacha Andriamirado - ADVISABLE

The Quiet Crocodile Goes to the Beach by Natacha Andriamirado, illustrated by Delphine Renon. PICTURE BOOK. Princeton Architectural Press (McEvoy), 2019. $18. 9781616898014

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Fossil, the crocodile, is loving the beach and all the activities he can enjoy on the sand. He is surrounded by friends who want him to get in the water. He claims fear, but it turns out he is only afraid of creating a giant wave for his friends.

The illustrations in this book are so delightful. The animals are all wonderful and charming and there are a lot of details to look at in each illustration. The story is cute but a little confusing at the end. It is hard to make the connection between the crocodile’s fear and the wave.   

Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

Today You Can’t Play by Pilar Serrano - ESSENTIAL

Today You Can’t Play by Pilar Serrano, illustrated by Canizales. PICTURE BOOK. nubeOCHO, 2018. $16. 9788417123468

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ESSENTIAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

When a new girl, Emma, arrives at school she disrupts the dynamics between friends and causes many peers to feel left out. Emma teases, steals, and leaves out kids in her class. At first they all go along with it, but they slowly start to stand up to her and form their own more inclusive group of which she is not a part.

The ending is a little harsh, but has the potential to spark a conversation - would you include a bully in your friend group? Many readers will find their own experiences reflected in this book and may deeply value having language and ideas for their own situation.    

Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

Never Caught: The Story of Ona Judge (Young Readers Edition) by Erica Armstrong Dunbar - ESSENTIAL

Never Caught: The Story of Ona Judge (Young Readers Edition) by Erica Armstrong Dunbar and Kathleen Van Cleve, 252 pages. NON-FICTION. Aladdin (Simon and Schuster), 2019. $19

Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG.

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ESSENTIAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Ona Judge was a slave of the Washington’s and was highly regarded by Martha and George. The Washingtons felt like they treated Ona well and for this reason they were devastated and angry when Ona ran away. Ona, despite being relatively well treated, was a slave and for that reason alone found the courage to run.

I find it so exciting that this next generation of readers will grow up with books that challenge them and offer complexities and dualities that they must examine critically. These young readers learn about George Washington in the context of being the president, but a book like this offers a competing image of the Washingtons as slave owners.  

Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

Monday, April 29, 2019

Peekity Boo What You Can Do! by Heidi Bee Roemer - ADVISABLE

Peekity Boo What You Can Do! by Heidi Bee Roemer, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka. PICTURE BOOK. Christy Ottaviano Books (Macmillan), 2019. $18. 9781250122322

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre K - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Baby can do so many things! He can take off his shirt and socks for his bath, he can play in the tub, he can help get ready for bed, sing songs, read books, and settle down for sleep.

Hooray for bedtime routines! Large illustrations of loving parents and a sweet child make this a perfect "time for bed" book. So positive and caring, I just want to cuddle that baby myself.

 Lisa Librarian

Fairy in Waiting by Sophie Kinsella - ADVISABLE

Fairy in Waiting by Sophie Kinsella illustrated by Marta Kissi, 147 pages. Delacourte Press (Random House), 2018. $15. Content: G.

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Ella Brook is back - you know her, the girl whose mother is fairy? Well, no one knows she's a fairy - Ella has to keep that a secret, but they sure get in a lot a trouble together, Ella and her mom. When Ella and her mom are trying to find a lost parrot, they get turned into monkeys, that was easy, turning them back is much more difficult. A new antique wardrobe that needs repair has a magic all its own, and a family vacation to Florida may be cancelled after Ella's mom disappears everyone and everything in the airport. 

Sophie Kinsella knows how to write a funny story - even an easy read. I just know Ella's mom is going to start some big problem as soon as she decides to use magic! Good thing Ella has been listening to the fairy lessons, too. Otherwise she might not know how to save the day! 

 Lisa Librarian

Tractor Mac: New Friend by Billy Steers - ADVISABLE

Tractor Mac: New Friend by Billy Steers. PICTURE BOOK. Farrar Straus Giroux (Macmillan), 2015. $6. 9780374308155

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

A new tractor joins the farm to help clear a field that has been long forgotten. This tractor is overwhelmed at first, but she gets to work and is able to clear the field and see the literal fruits of her labor.

I am so glad the farmer that rode this new tractor was a girl. This book ends with a good lesson and has a good pace throughout. The appeal of this book will be somewhat limited to those who enjoy tractors.  

Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

From Tree to Sea by Shelley Moore Thomas - ADVISABLE

From Tree to Sea by Shelley Moore Thomas, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. PICTURE BOOK. Paula Wiseman (Simon & Schuster), 2019. $18. 9781481495318

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

“Earth shows my many things” is the premise on which this book rotates. The stones on the ground show us how to be strong and the clouds in the sky show us how to rise above difficulties.

This poetic book is a beautiful rumination on the lessons in nature, albeit a little slow. The pace makes it difficult to keep the attention of young readers, but it could be used in a creative writing lesson on what we personally have learned from nature. The illustrations calm and captivating.    

Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

The Night Flower by Lara Hawthorne - ESSENTIAL

The Night Flower by Lara Hawthorne. PICTURE BOOK. Big Picture Press (Candlewick), 2018. $17. 9781536206166

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ESSENTIAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

One night a year, a flower blooms atop a saguaro in the desert. Leading up to this moment, we learn about all the ways the desert comes alive and leans in toward this big natural event.  

Rarely have I seen an informational text that is able to use rhymn without it feeling heavy-handed. This book has a light touch and yet is also packed full of good information. And what a fun subject to learn about - my entire family was delighted by this flower.

Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

A Green Place to Be: The Creation of Central Park by Ashley Benham Yazdani - ADVISABLE

A Green Place to Be: The Creation of Central Park by Ashley Benham Yazdani. PICTURE BOOK/NON-FICTION. Candlewick Press, 2019. $18. 9780763696955

BUYING ADVISORY: El (K-3) - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

We often imagine that things as they are now are how they have always been. In the case of Central Park in New York City, the beautiful space was once a bog full of boulders. It took imaginative designers and engineers to make the park a reality and this book covers the entire process.

This story will land the best with readers who have actually experienced Central Park. The book functions on the idea that the reader already values the park. It is an interesting story that draws in threads of natural spaces in cities and park design. It also offers an insight into the 1850s.   

Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L. B. Deenihan - ESSENTIAL



BUYING ADVISORY: EL - ESSENTIAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

A little girl wants a whole list of gadgets for her birthday, but ... SURPRISE!  Grandma gives her a lemon tree instead.  What is a girl to do?

Deenihan has taken the adage “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” to its literal end.  So much fun! Great mini lessons on perseverance, ingenuity, and friendship.

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS

Seashells: More Than a Home - ESSENTIAL

Seashells: More Than a Home by Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen.  NON-FICTION/PICTURE BOOK.  Charlesbridge, 2019.  $16. 9781580898102

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ESSENTIAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Such a  lovely variety of seashells populate our world.  Stewart compares several different kinds of shells (and the creatures that populate them) to things that we as humans also do.  

The information on the page will be the spark for a great science lesson both in elementary schools and middle schools. The back matter contains a great short piece about the importance of research and how long it can last!  I like having Brannen’s illustrations instead of photographs.

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS


Sunday, April 28, 2019

World of Reading: This is Captain Marvel - ADVISABLE

World of Reading: This is Captain Marvel. PICTURE BOOK/EARLY READER. Marvel (Disney), 2019. $5. 9781368026697

BUYING ADVISORY:  EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

With one sentence per page, this book introduces the skeletal outline of the creation story of Captain Marvel and her super powers. This is a level one book and matching a late kindergarten and early first grade reading level. The book also contains stickers.

This book is exactly what you would expect. It won’t hold its appeal forever, but right now while students are interested in the movie, I am sure it will get a lot of traffic.   

Jen Wecker, HS English 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...