Saturday, August 31, 2019

Guardians of the Wild Unicorns by Lindsay Littleson - ADVISABLE

Guardians of the Wild Unicorns by Lindsay Littleson, 208 pages. Kelpies (Floris Books), 2019         $10                 

Language: G( 0 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (threats, animal shot)

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS  - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Lewis is forced to go to summer camp in the Scottish Highlands with his best friend Rhona.  He would rather spend his summer indoors playing video games. While she excels at repelling or abseiling, he is terrified, and throws up on the popular girl.  Lewis runs away from the situation and into an amazing sight, a unicorn. Could it be real?  No, he is just seeing things.  Scotland is known for it's love of the mythical beasts, but can they still be alive somewhere deep in the Scottish woods?  When Rhona finally sees one, can she convince Lewis they are real and save them from a greedy gamekeeper who wants to destroy the herd altogether?           

Guardians is written by a Scottish author who understands how kids think and weaves an entertaining story with realistic dialog and interactions.  Lewis and Rhona are independent and Lewis changes immensely over the week of summer camp.  By the end, he steps outside himself to become a strong, capable camper.  I loved the witty banter between the tweens and the vocabulary.  Some words might be new to American readers, but that makes it all the more fun and I love unicorns!       

Michele Edgley, Library Technology Teacher in Salt Lake City School District  

Friday, August 30, 2019

Una Huna: What is That? By Susan Aglukark - OPTIONAL


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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: LOW    

As a first nation child, Ukpik is interested in her new husky puppy and the traders who come to visit her village.  The traders bring utensils, which her tribe has never seen.  She is curious though and figures out how to use them and then teaches everyone else.  Will she adapt to the modern changes that come?  Will she find a good name for her new puppy?  Una Huna is a view into the Inuit way of life.

Aglukark writes a simple story from a child's perspective. For those rounding out a diverse collection of books, it gives a window into culture that you may not have experienced in other books.  She also uses a lot of Inuit words and has a helpful glossary for non-Inuit readers. The text also explains meanings frequently and though the illustrations are pretty and interesting, the prose is a bit lack luster.  With a predictable ending, I found myself liking the puppy!       

Michele Edgley, Library Technology Teacher, Salt Lake City School District

Blue Cat by Charlie Eve Ryan - ADVISABLE

Blue Cat by Charlie Eve Ryan. PICTURE BOOK. StarBerry Books (Kane Press, Inc.), 2019. $18 9781635921342

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE        

Blue Cat is an adventurous kitten.  She swats. She plays with yarn and pounces on red cat.  She is exploring her house.  Blue cat is cute and curious.           

This book has cool, textured illustrations that are very eye-catching.  The colors and style of art are cute and fun.  As a quick read aloud or first reader for children, this book is great.  It has only a few words on every page. Blue cat is a little mischievous and will make readers smile.  I liked this book a lot and though it isn't an essential addition to my collection, I will add it and it will check out a lot.      

Michele Edgley, Library Technology Teacher, Salt Lake City School District

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Cape by Kate Hannigan - OPTIONAL

Cape (League of Superheroes #1) by Kate Hannigan, 307 pages. Aladdin (Simon), 2019.  $18.

Language: G (0 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (some violence)

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Josie may not be able to fight in WWII, but she will do her part to keep her family together while her father is. After being brushed off for a job as a decoder.  She and the other girls who were rejected band together. And through odd circumstances the girls discover that together they have superpowers!  But all of the superheroes have disappeared!  What can three young girls do to even the odds again?  And who is the evil man who has the power to destroy them?

As popular superhero movies are, I have had a hard time getting my students interested in actually reading books about them.  And this one is set during WWII – making the time period less accessible for them. The action and adventure and swash-buckling fun, so this should be placed in the right reader’s hand.

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS

Wake Up, Color Pup by Taia Morley -- ADVISABLE

Wake Up, Color Pup by Taia Morley. PICTURE BOOK. Random House, 2019. $18. 9780399559457

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

A puppy explores the world one morning, discovering the many different colors available in nature.

The colorful illustrations are eye-catching, and the puppy's enthusiasm is adorable. This would be a good introduction to a lesson on colors for very young children.

Reviewer: Sydney G., K-6 Library Media Specialist

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

A Box of Bones by Marina Cohen - OPTIONAL

A Box of Bones by Marina Cohen, 281 pages.  Roaring Brook (Macmillan), 2019.  $17

Content: G 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Kallie, 12, is allergic to lies.  Since her mother died during a ferry crossing she has lived with her father and grandfather and never allowed to imagine. When the mysterious man at the local Festival of Fools hands her a puzzle box, Kallie is intrigued despite herself. She doesn’t realize that unlocking the box may also uncover answers she doesn’t want to hear. Meanwhile, Liah is the apprentice to a bone carver.  As they travel to see the queen, Liah makes a misstep and now has an epic task.

The back and forth between the two girls lives is a little confusing.  Now that I’ve finished I am a trifle curious to reread each story separately. It does work best as written, I just want to read it linearly – maybe.  

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS

The Startup Squad by Brian Weisfeld and Nicole C. Kear - ADVISABLE

The Startup Squad by Brian Weisfeld and Nicole C. Kear, 160 pages. Macmillan Publishing, 2019. $17

Content: G 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS  - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Mrs. Davis is taking her class to Adventure Central, an amusement park. The students are expected to pay their own way to the park. She assigns groups and lets students know they have to open a lemonade stand. The group that sells the most lemonade will win fast passes to the rides at the park. The winning team will win line skipping passes to the rides at the park. Resa is ready to be a leader and make sure her team wins the line-skipping tickets. The four girls, Resa. Didi, Harriet and Amelia have to learn to work together and not let their personalities stand in their way. They need to learn to cooperate.        

The four girls each have strong personalities and they are each sure that they are the one that should be team leader. It takes the girls some time, even losing profit to the competition before they learn to work together. I liked the book, it was a fast and fun read. I think this book offers some real advice and ideas for girls that want to start a business and be leaders. In the back of the book you will find helpful hints, and an interview with a girl that started her own business. The characters are believable and it was great to see how the group of girls in the book made a success out of their lemonade stand by working together.  You will have to read the book to learn whether the girls won the contest or not.      

Ellen-Anita, Librarian

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Legends of the Sky by Liz Flanagan p ESSENTIAL

Legends of the Sky by Liz Flanagan, 357 pages. Scholastic, 2019. $19

Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (War battles)

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ESSENTIAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Milla is orphaned and has been taken in by Nestan  on the island country of Arcosi as a servant and companion to his daughter Tarya. While hidden in a tree a stranger hangs a beautiful pannier up in the tree to hide it. All her life Milla has heard the old legends about dragons and dragon riders. The man that hides the pannier is killed and Milla is frightened. She takes the pannier and hides it before looking inside. When she checks, she finds four beautiful, large eggs. Could they be dragon eggs? Will the dragons return to the island? She protects the eggs and finally confides her secret to her best friends, twins Tarya and Isak. The eggs are stolen. A mysterious woman, Kara, gives Milla a riddle. Milla has be present when the dragons hatch. Will she make it in time? What will happen when the dragons hatch? All this takes place while three groups of people struggle for control of the island kingdom. There is a lot of political struggle and finally a big uprising. Can the dragons and their riders help the people see that they can all live in peace?          

This is a wonderful, fast paced, epic fantasy about dragons and dragon riders, the fight and struggle between Norlander, Arcosi and Sartolan people. I could not put this book down. It was great. The characters and their struggles, good times and bad times were told and explained so well. The characters were so well written, they seemed real. The story became like a movie in my mind while I was reading it. It was great! If you liked Eragon, you will also love this book. 

Ellen-Anita, Librarian

The Little Green Hen by Alison Murray - OPTIONAL

The Little Green Hen by Alison Murray. PICTURE BOOK. Candlewick Press, 2018. $17. 9781536206104

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

The Little Green Hen is a story that follows the format of The Little Red Hen. Little Green Hen needs help caring for the beautiful, green apple tree. Some animals pitch in and help. Others are not so willing to help. This is cute story with a new twist to it; a big rain storm. What will the animals do when the rains do not stop for a very long time?      

It was cute and the environmental twist on the story adds a several new discussion point. This would be cute for Pre-K through maybe 1st grade. I would recommend this book to teachers and parents of young children.       

Ellen-Anita, Librarian

Monday, August 26, 2019

Cake by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet - OPTIONAL

Cake by Sue Hendra, illustrated by Paul Linnet. PICTURE BOOK. Aladdin (Simon), 2018. $18. 9781534425507  

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: LOW

Cake has been invited to his first party and struggles with what to wear. He finally finds the perfect outfit. He puts on his new outfit and rides his bike to the party. He has fun till his his candles start burning and he feels a draft. He is not so sure about this party anymore.       

The book was OK. The illustrations are cute and the story is told with both words and pictures. I think very young children might like "reading"the story just with the pictures and the having the words in the book read to them after. Lots of good discussion with the children could happen after this activity.      

Ellen-Anita, Librarian

Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life by Beverley Brenna - OPTIONAL

Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life by Beverley Brenna. 148 pages. CHAPTER BOOK. Pajama Press, Inc., 2019. $17. 

Language: G; Mature Content: PG; Violence: G.

BUYING ADVISORY: EL – OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Sapphire is a hamster looking for freedom. Jeannie is girl looking for a hamster. Told in short chapters from the perspective of each main character, the reader learns more about Jeannie’s family life through her adventures and bonding with Sapphire. Her life was upended when her father left just before Christmas. Now she is trying to understand why he isn’t coming back.

Dealing with themes of divorce, homosexuality, and transgender adults, this book takes a gentle approach to some big issues. The mature content rating is for the aforementioned issues. Author Beverley Brenna is known for creating diverse characters and this book is no exception. Illustrator Tara Anderson adds some cute hamster sketches to round out the book. It could be a welcome read for a student who is struggling to understand gay and transgender issues with an adult in their life. Best suited for upper elementary students.

LMA, elementary school teacher

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Tiny-Stego Stampede by Dustin Hansen - OPTIONAL

Tiny-Stego Stampede (Microsaurs #4) by Dustin Hansen. 211 pages. Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan Publishing Group), 2018. $14. 

Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: G.

BUYING ADVISORY: EL – OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Danny and Lin are ready to head back into the Microterium when Lin’s mom asks them to watch Lin’s little sister, ChuChu. Danny doesn’t think it’s such a good idea, but Lin convinces him that taking ChuChu with them to see the Microsaurs is the perfect thing to do. But when the biggest Microsaur starts a stampede, they must figure out how to save ChuChu and prevent the Microterium from being completely destroyed.

Utah author Dustin Hansen, continues his series about microscopic dinosaurs. The series is fun and entertaining with two kids as the main characters. I like Lin’s tomboy attitude and Danny’s can-do spirit. Hansen always ends each book with some factual information about life-size dinosaurs. The series is probably best for second through fourth grade. The series would be a decent addition to an elementary school library but not mandatory.

LMA – Elementary school teacher

Beware the Tiny-Spino by Dustin Hansen - OPTIONAL

Beware the Tiny-Spino (Microsaurs #5) by Dustin Hansen. 211 pages. Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan Publishing Group), 2019. $15. 

Content: G

BUYING ADVISORY: EL – OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Vicky Van-Varbles, the girl who travels to Paris for cooking school, is always dressed in fancy designer clothes, and is Lin’s worst enemy, has discovered the secret of the Microterium. Now Danny and Lin must convince Vicky to never tell anyone about the Microsaurs. Despite ruining her favorite sparkle vest, Vicky is determined to be a part of the Microterium crew. All she has to do now is pass the difficult and dangerous test that Danny and Lin have devised for her.

Dustin Hansen is back again for his fifth book of this series. Imagine a world in which dinosaurs are the size of an ant. Now imagine that world exists within our own world. The books are entertaining enough but not my favorites. This series is good for an elementary school library that would like to have a collection by a local author. The chapters are fairly easy to read, and Hansen adds his own illustrations throughout the book. It is best suited for second through fourth grade students.

LMA – Elementary school teacher

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Trial by Winter by Anne Patton - OPTIONAL

Trial by Winter (Crisis in Barr Colony #3) by Anne Patton, 196 pages.  Coteau Books, 2019.  $11.

Content: G 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Dorothy and her family have their sod house in the Canadian wilderness and winter is descending quickly. When her father leaves to find a paying job for the winter, the girls and their mother must keep themselves alive. It will take grit, heart, and ingenuity to stay alive.

The only reason this is rated OPTIONAL is because historical fiction is hard to get kids to read.  I love it – them not so much.  If you are looking for an alternative to or supplement for the Little House books, this series is an excellent option.

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS

The Pinata that the Farm Maiden Hung by Vamos and Serra - ADVISABLE

The Pinata that the Farm Maiden Hung by Samantha R. Vamos, illustrated by Sebastia Serra. PICTURE BOOK. Charlesbridge, 2019. $18. 9781580897969      

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE        

This "This is the House that Jack Built" story is fun, colorful and educational. It follows a farm maiden as she, with the help of all the animals on the farm, makes a pinata. The story includes a cute pinata song, both in Spanish and in English. The illustrations and colorful and lively.        

This cute story teaches you step by step how to make a pinata. The bright, happy and colorful illustrations are vivid and beautiful. At the end of the book is a glossary and directions and a list of materials needed to make a pinata.  I liked this book. It was a fun read and my grandchildren loved the story and the illustrations. I would recommend this book to teachers and students.

Ellen-Anita, Librarian

Friday, August 23, 2019

Epic Athletes: Stephen Curry by Dan Wetzel - ESSENTIAL


Epic Athletes: Stephen Curry by Dan Wetzel, illustrations by Zeke Pena, 160 pages. NON-FICTION  Henry Holt, 2019.  $17.  

Content: Language: G: Mature Content: G; Violence: G.  

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS – ESSENTIAL  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH  

Stephen Curry was not a very big kid throughout his childhood and teen years, but he loved basketball.  Steph spent a lot of time playing the sport with his father who was a former NBA star and they learned to adjust his shots even though he was at a height-disadvantage.  Steph performed so well that he was picked up by Davidson for college and later signed on with the Golden State Warriors.  Steph is a humble team-player who also loves his family and God.  

I read this book with my nine-year old son who loves basketball.  He couldn’t wait for bedtime to read it, so sometimes we had reading time in the middle of the day.  Steph’s story is inspiring because he is a hard worker and overcomes hardship and injuries.  My son loved the descriptions of the games and the stats.  The illustrations are few and far between, so there is a lot of reading material, making it work for both elementary and middle school.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson.     

Motor Mouse by Rylant and Howard - ESSENTIAL

Motor Mouse by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Arthur Howard. PICTURE BOOK. Beach Lane Books, 2019. $18. 9781481491266         

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH    

Motor Mouse includes three short stories. In "The Friday Cake Day", Motor Mouse and his friend, Telly learn about being flexible when the cake store is closed. In "Going for a Look-About", Motor Mouse takes a cab to look around the city at places he remembers. In "Front Row at the Picture Show", Motor Mouse and his brother, Valentino go to the movies and argue about the popcorn.     

Cynthia Rylant does not disappoint with this vividly-colored, charming story about a mousse and his friends. Friendship, compassion, flexibility, and compromise are taught through the adventures of Motor Mouse.

Molithia Spencer, Media Specialist                                                              

Grandpa's Noises by Thomas and Rowe - ESSENTIAL

Grandpa's Noises by Gareth St John Thomas, illustrated by Colin Rowe. PICTURE BOOK. EK Books, 2019. $18.     9781925335989      

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH    

Visiting Grandpa is always an adventure. He makes all kinds of noises and some are very weird.    

I loved the use of figurative language throughout the book, especially the onomatopoeia.  Although the "bottom" noises were not to my liking, children will find the noises hilarious.        

Molithia Spencer, Media Specialist

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Make a Wish, Henry Bear by Liam Francis Walsh - ESSENTIAL

Make a Wish, Henry Bear by Liam Francis Walsh. PICTURE BOOK. Neil Porter (Macmillan),2019. $18. 9781626723320            

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE    

Henry Bear's parents are not average parents.  They act very immature causing Henry Bear to worry.  At school, Henry Bear meets Marjani, a new friend.  He invites her to his birthday dinner that night and explains the importance of his birthday wish.   

Children will enjoy this cute story and like the immaturity of the parents. The character development of Marjani was awkward and could have been developed more.          

Molithia Spencer, Media Specialist

Nighttime Symphony by Timbaland and Christopher Myers - ESSENTIAL

Nighttime Symphony by Timbaland and Christopher Myers, illustrated by Christopher Myers and Kaa Illustration. PICTURE BOOK. Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon), 2019. $18. 9781442412088           

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH    

The story is told as a lullaby for children. The focus is on images and sounds, both scary and calming. The author emphasizes the safety of the sleeping child.            

I was very moved by this story. The sweet lullaby is accompanied by amazing artwork depicting an African American family and community. This book is essential for any library with young patrons.       

Molithia Spencer, Media Specialist  

Project Middle School by Milano and Rigaud - OPTIONAL

Project Middle School (Hope #1) by Alyssa Milano and Debbie Rigaud, illustrated by Eric S Keyes. 193 pages. Scholastic, OCTOBER, 2019. $15.            

Content: G 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: LOW

Hope is in middle school, loves Galaxy Girl comic books, and science. She is a great student, loves to learn and her favorite thing about her new middle school is that she is on the robotics team. She does not have any classes with her best friend and in the beginning of the story this strains the friendship. But, as the problems with the robotics project get solved, so do the friends find a way to be friends again.

This was an OK book. The first half of the book was a little "flat" and the characters not really well developed. The last part of the book was better. It is a fast read, big print, lots of illustrations and a lot of white space.  I would maybe be a good book for a student to read as their first "on my own " chapter book.            

Ellen-Anita, Librarian
  

All the Colors of Magic by Valija Zinck - ESSENTIAL

All the Colors of Magic by Valija Zinck. 277 pages. Scholastic, DECEMBER 2019. $18.

Content: G 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ESSENTIAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH    

Penelope lives by the swamp forest with her mom and grandma. They house they live in is run down and the paint is peeling, making it look like speckled red and green. Penelope calls it the "dragon house." Penelope is unusual because she has gray hair and she smells like smoke. She misses her dad and once a month he sends a dark gray envelope with $5 or sometimes, just sand. One day Penelope mom was hit by a tractor and is in the hospital. Penelope wakes up with bright red hair, the road starts talking to her and she discovers that she can fly.          

I could not put this book down! It was a fun, fast paced story and Penelope is a delightful heroine, and her life is full of unexpected, twists and turns. She takes matters into her own hands and brings the story to an unexpected end. I can't wait for the next book from this talented author. I will definitely recommend this book to the students at my school.      

Ellen-Anita, Librarian

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Her Own Two Feet by Davis and Uwitonze - ESSENTIAL

Her Own Two Feet: A Rwandan Girl's Brave Fight to Walk by Meredith Davis and Rebeka Uwitonze. 193 pages. BIOGRAPHY. Scholastic, OCTOBER 2019   18                   

Content: G 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS  - ESSENTIAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH    

Rebeka was born in Rwanda with twisted feet and not looking right. Even though eighbors and friends wanted her parents to not keep the baby, her parents said they would love her no matter what. Rebeka was a happy child and by the time she was nine, she had taught herself to walk on the tops of her feet. She was offered a chance of a lifetime to come to America for treatment. She would have to leave her family and live with strangers, speaking a language she did not know, in a new land. Rebeka's father said "chance comes once."         

Rebeka has a heart warming story of bravery. I will book talk and recommend this book to students and teachers alike. I could not put this book down and read it in one sitting. I was deeply moved by Rebeka's story and I was touched by all the good people do to help others.     

Ellen-Anita, Librarian

The Cyclops Witch and the Heebie Jeebies by Kyle Derek Sullivan - OPTIONAL

The Cyclops Witch and the Heebie Jeebies by Kyle Sullivan and Derek Sullivan. PICTURE BOOK. Hazy Dell Press, 2019. $18. 9781948931007                        

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: LOW    

The Cyclops Witch and the Heebie Jeebies is a rhyming picture book. Though the witch is adventurous and not much could make her "shiver, quiver, or twitch," she is afraid of children.  The illustrations of scary creatures are fun and engaging.       

The Cyclops Witch and the Heebie Jeebies entertains as a scary story for younger children who don't want to be too scared. Illustrations are engaging but the book has a somewhat predictable story line. I liked The Cyclops Witch who was pretty cute and her world evoked the fun of Halloween for me. I love rhyming books to read aloud! The book was really long for a picture book though and would have been an amazing read aloud, if shorter.           

Michele Edgley, Library Technology Teacher

A Royal Ride Fulton and Lucy Fleming - ADVISABLE

A Royal Ride: Catherine the Great's Great Invention by Kristen Fulton, illustrated by Lucy Fleming. PICTURE BOOK/NON FICTION. Margaret K. McElderrey Books (Simon and Schuster), 2019.   $18. 9781481496575         

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE        

Weaving bits of Russian history and the story of  Catherine the Great, Fulton looks at the invention of the roller coaster. After improving education in Russia, she built universities and museums.  The interesting part is how much Catherine loved sledding in the Russian winters which lead to a new idea.  She commissioned her builders to make a sled that would work in the summer.  Great non fiction illustrations of the building and a timeline add to the information in this inventive retelling of her story.          

A Royal Ride has lovely illustrations that make reading the book a pleasure.  Fleming has also illustrated beautiful books like Ponyo and The Snow Queen.  Catherine the Great's idea to launch a summer slide piqued the world's imagination about the roller coaster in 1784. I love the fun applications for STEM activities with the book (building a roller coaster) as well as it being a useful addition to the biography section for young readers.  It was quick enough to read aloud and the story flowed nicely. If you like non fiction like Doreen Rappaport's big book series, this is a must-have!     

Michele Edgley, Library Technology Teacher
                                                             

Animal Habitats by Dennis and Hutchinson - ESSENTIAL

Animal Habitats (Search and Find) by Sarah Dennis and Sam Hutchinson. PICTURE BOOK/NON FICTION. Princeton Architectural Press, 2019. $17. 9781616898496         

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE        

Animal Habitats is an engaging, non-fiction look at biomes. It has three levels of the food chain including producers, primary consumers, and secondary and tertiary consumers. It also has a cool "Where's-Waldo-style" picture page where you can pick out the animals and plants included in the biome studies. Lots of interesting facts make it easy to read and navigate it's amazing text and colors. The art enhances an already unique book.   

I love to read non fiction books about animals and the colors and cut outs make this book singular. Many illustrations look like Scherenschnitte (die cuts). I loved the die cut turtle in the beginning.  With text bubbles and short paragraphs of explanations, this book is simple enough to engage a young child and has sophisticated ideas and graphics to keep an older student learning.  Students who love animal books, I Spy or Look and Find books will love this book.

Michele Edgley, Library Technology Teacher

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Farmer by Ximo Abadia -- OPTIONAL

The Farmer by Ximo Abadia. PICTURE BOOK. Holiday House, 2019. $18. 9780823441587

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: LOW

A hard-working farmer grows his crops while everyone in the village rests. But when a drought comes, he finds help from an unexpected source.

This is an okay picture book, with mostly unappealing illustrations and a pretty forgettable plot. 

Reviewer: Sydney G., K-6 Library Media Specialist

Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden by Karina Yan Glaser - ESSENTIAL

The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden (The Vanderbeekers,#2) by Karina Yan Glaser, 327 pages.  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018.  $17.  

Content: Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: G  

BUYING ADVISORY: EL – ESSENTIAL; MS – ADVISABLE  
AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH  

Josie and Mr. Jeet are the Vanderbeekers beloved upstairs neighbors, so when Mr. Jeet has a stroke and is rushed to the hospital the Vanderbeeker kids are upset.  Josie and Mr. Jeet, who love plants, always encouraged the kids to make use of the garden next to the church, so the kids decide they want to surprise their neighbors when the return from the hospital.  The Vanderbeekers, with the help of some friends, secretly work on beautifying the garden.  

I love these sweet Vanderbeeker kids and their lovely neighbors and friends.  If you have readers who enjoy the Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall, then they will adore the Vanderbeekers as well.  The kids range in age from 5-13, and this is a great read.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson.    

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Forest by Kate Moss Gamblin -- OPTIONAL

Forest by Kate Moss Gamblin. NON-FICTION. Groundwood Books (House of Anansi Press), 2019. $17. 978-1-55498-87902.

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

In a series of questions, this book asks young children what they know about forests as a way to introduce them to that biome.

While it is a sweet book, it doesn't go beyond questioning to actually inform readers. Because of this, other nonfiction books about forests may be more helpful to have on the library shelves. It could, however, work as an introduction to the topic in classes with very young students.

Reviewer: Sydney G., K-6 Library Media Specialist


Friday, August 16, 2019

Super Summer by Bruce Goldstone – ADVISABLE


Super Summer by Bruce Goldstone, 25 pages. Henry Holt (Macmillan), 2019 $19 NONFICTION  Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G; Violence: G.

BUYING ADVISORY: EL(K-3)  -ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

This book covers a broad spectrum of what makes summer super. It features information about nature: season, daylight, temperatures, what food grows, and how animals deal with the heat. It goes over the elements of summer for people, like wearing sunscreen, fun activities to do, the tastes and shapes and sounds of summer, and more. Stuffed with tons of bright modern photographs.

This is a fantastic book (and series) to add to your school library. Its perfectly suited to read-a-loud to K-2 graders with large easy to share pages. Its also a great jumping off point for activities like how does summer look, taste, sound, and feel. There are some activities in the last pages of the book like Popsicle and sundial making. This series is my favorite I have read about the seasons.

Reviewer: Stephanie MLS & Author.

A Surprise for Little Mole by Orianne Lallemand -- OPTIONAL


A Surprise for Little Mole by Orianne Lallemand. PICTURE BOOK. Auzou Publishing, 2019. $15. 9782733867327.

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Little Mole is surprised when someone knocks on her door one morning, and she looks outside to discover a baby animal bundled up on her step. She names the creature Baby Who-zit, and sets off to find out where it really belongs.

Despite the cute premise, I have pretty lukewarm feelings about this book. The story seems to wander a bit, with random elements thrown in (a wolf, a birthday...) and there are too many plot holes. (Where did the baby come from? How did its mother know it was hers? Why did all the animal parents take their little offspring with them to scare off the wolf, since it's a pretty dangerous task?)

Reviewer: Sydney G., K-6 Library Media Specialist

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Make Music! By Norma Jean Haynes, Ann Sayre Wiseman, and John Langstaff –OPTIONAL


Make Music! by Norma Jean Haynes, Ann Sayre Wiseman, and John Langstaff, 144 pages. Storeybooks (Thomas Allen and sons), 2019 $27 NONFICTION  

Content: G

BUYING ADVISORY: EL  - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

This book features instrument and music making for kids. It starts with Body music: with things like clapping and drumming. The next chapter is household things, how to use things from your home to make creative music, like pans, colanders, and a fork. There are also chapters on Percussion, Breath Music, Strings, and Instruments that take a workshop to make. The book features tons of photographs, simple to understand text, and interesting facts.

This book is so close to being really awesome, but some of the items are difficult to find (Who has a triangle at their house?) and the workshop instruments chapter is a total loss, maybe one in a hundred children have access to a wood working shop. Other chapters are so amazing with their creative suggestions, like bottle caps on your shoes to make tapping noises or gloves with buttons on them. I wish this book was just a collection of those creative, easy to access, ways to make music.

Reviewer: Stephanie MLS & Author.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Singing Rock and Other Brand-New Fairy Tales by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer –ADVISABLE


The Singing Rock and Other Brand-New Fairy Tales by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer and Illustrated by Simini Blocker, 97 pages. First Second, 2019 $18 Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G; Violence: G.

BUYING ADVISORY: EL  -ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

A graphic novel featuring four short new fairy tales. Hip Hop wish is about a genie who is determined to grant the person who released him the requisite wishes. The singing rock is about a witch who hates to hear singing. The sorcerer’s new pet is about a wizard who is too lazy to come up with his own spells. Ogreish art is about a painter who is only able to discover the true joy in creating once he is in grave danger.

This is a fantastic book that would be a great addition to an elementary library graphic novel collection. It could be used as part of a lesson about fairy tales, what are the elements that make a story a fairytale, can there be new fairy tales? The stories are interesting, well written, quirky, and lighthearted. My favorite was the longest one, Ogreish Art, is reminds us all about honesty and the joy of creativity. The artwork is just fantastic.

Reviewer: Stephanie MLS & Author.

One Fox: A Counting Book Thriller by Kate Read –NOT RECOMMENDED


One Fox: A Counting Book Thriller by Kate Read.  PICTURE BOOK. Peachtree, 2019. $17.  9781682631317

BUYING ADVISORY:  PRE-K -NO

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

As readers count up to ten they discover a fox is stalking hens in a henhouse at night. Two sly eyes, five snug eggs, and so on. The artwork is simple and large enough to share with a group.

This book is a dose of reality I guess, as it appears the hens get eaten. I think children will be worried about that, worried about the eggs, and confused if they were truly eaten or not. The surprise ending is also a bit confusing, with the number 100 suddenly making an appearance with animals that were not introduced before. The artwork is lovely, with the fox a well-crafted character.

Reviewer: Stephanie MLS & Author.

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...