Thursday, April 30, 2020

Who Got Game? Baseball: Amazing but True Stories by Derrick Barnes - ADVISABLE


Who Got Game? Baseball: Amazing but True Stories by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by John John Bajet, 172 pages.  NON-FICTION  Workman, 2020. $13.  

Content: G  

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS – ADVISABLE  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE  

This nonfiction compilation includes fun stories about baseball stars, statistics, legends and comebacks.  Each chapter has short 2-3 pages stories about amazing players who have contributed to the game of baseball, including women and minorities.  The chapter about statistics gives some of information about those who have broken different records in baseball.  The legends and comebacks are some quirky and cool stories that are fun. 

I read an ARC reader, so my illustrations were black and white and not complete, but I looked them up and they are going to be bright and attractive.  The stories are great for sports lovers, but because of the amount of text and page numbers, it will probably appeal to older elementary or middle school readers.  I have been watching baseball my whole life and I loved reading these unique stories about some of the greatest memories in baseball.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Fabien Cousteau Expeditions: Journey Under the Arctic by James O. Fraioli - OPTIONAL


Fabien Cousteau Expeditions: Journey Under the Arctic by James O. Fraioli, illustrated by Joe St. Pierre, 100 pages.  GRAPHIC NOVEL  Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon and Schuster), 2020. $13.  

Content: G  

BUYING ADVISORY: EL – OPTIONAL  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE  

Two junior explorers go into the deep Arctic waters with explorer Fabien Cousteau.  They explore the ice and its animals before taking a submersible to the depths of the ocean floor in search of a dumbo octopus.  While below the ice, they meet other arctic creatures and give facts about those animals.  

I felt like the premise of the two explorers being in the Arctic was confusing (maybe it's introduced in the first book?) and too many story lines were going on mixed with the facts.  The illustrations are comic book type coloring and facial expressions.  I enjoyed the nonfiction parts of the books, but as for the submersible I wasn’t sure what was true and what was part of the story.  There are three different ideas going on throughout the book and it made for a jumbled read.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson   

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller - OPTIONAL


When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller, 297 pages. Random House, 2020.  $17.  Content: Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: G.  

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS – OPTIONAL  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

In the summer between sixth and seventh grade, Lily and her mom and sister move to live with their ailing grandmother, Halmoni.  Lily loves Halmoni and all of her stories, so when a tiger from one of Halmoni’s stories shows up, and only Lily can see it, Lily has to figure out what the tiger wants.  Lily learns that the tiger has come for Lily’s Halmoni, who is dying of brain cancer.  Lily learns to find her own strength and take all of the things that her grandmother has taught her and be her true self.  

I loved Halmoni and was rutting for Lily throughout the story.  I loved the ending and the last fifty pages almost redeem the slow beginning.  Overall, the book felt slow and the mystical mixed with reality without clear boundaries, so that might confuse some readers.  I loved the author’s note at the end and I really wanted to love the story more.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson    

From a Small Seed: The Story of Eliza Hamilton by Camille Andros - OPTIONAL


From a Small Seed: The Story of Eliza Hamilton by Camille Andros, illustrated by Tessa Blackham.  PICTURE BOOK Christy Ottaviano Books (Henry Holt), 2019.  $19.  9781250297426  

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) – OPTIONAL  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE  

Eliza was an intelligent and empathetic child.  She was raised in a loving home with lots of siblings and when she grew up, she fell in love with an orphan boy, named Alexander.  Eliza had a hard life with lots of challenges, but she was always strong and helped others around her, especially orphans.  

I enjoyed the sweet illustrations of this book and imagining what Eliza was like as a child.  Since not much is known about Eliza, the author has taken some liberties with her account, one of which is a scene where she has Eliza meeting Abraham Lincoln and that is not a confirmed fact.  I liked the story, but I have a hard time putting this into kids’ hands who probably won’t read the author’s note to find out that not all of the information is historical fact.   

Reviewer, C. Peterson

Mother Jones and Her Army of Mill Children by Jonah Winter - ESSENTIAL


Mother Jones and Her Army of Mill Children by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. NON-FICTION/PICTURE BOOK Schwartz and Wade (Random House), 2020. $18.  9780449812914  

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3), EL – ESSENTIAL; MS, HS – ADVISABLE  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE  

Mother Jones was an agitator who spoke up against big business.  When Mother Jones saw children laborers who were being treated poorly, worked long hours and starving, she decided to bring it to the world’s attention.  Because newspapers were owned by the rich, they weren’t publishing her stories, so Mother Jones took a group of children and tried to march to see President Theodore Roosevelt.  The march lost steam and President Roosevelt wasn’t there when they arrived, but Mother Jones helped bring laws into place that protected child laborers.  

I read this book with my 10-year-old son and he was completely engaged the entire time. The narrative has phrases such as “diddly squat” and “riled up” that help describe Mother Jones’ emotions and make for a fun read aloud.  I think kids today can’t conceive of the situations these children laborers endured and this book is done so well.  I think it also encourages readers to speak up against injustices.  Fantastic message for all ages.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson    

Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay - OPTIONAL

Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay, 255 pages. David Fickling Books (Scholastic Inc.), 2019. $19.

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

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS – OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Ten harvests have passed since Samkad was born, and he is now old enough to have the Cut and become a man. Samkad and his father make an offering at the Tree of Bones the next morning, but something is wrong. When they return to the village, the ancients declare that Samkad cannot become a man until his soul brother Kinyo is brought back to his home, a task that brings more turmoil to their lives than they ever could have expected.

Based on true events and the native people in the Cordillera region of the Philippines, Gourlay tells a story to bring the people and places of her homeland into more books. This is a good book to showcase a culture that most Americans are unfamiliar with and to see that we aren’t always the heroes. Though there are many tragedies in Samkad’s story, Gourlay ends the story with a hope that can fill all readers on difficult journeys.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

The Princess Who Flew with Dragons by Stephanie Burgis - OPTIONAL



The Princess Who Flew with Dragons by Stephanie Burgis, 216 pages. Bloomsbury, 2019. $17.

Content: G

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS – OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Twelve-year-old Princess Sofia of Drachenheim has sworn to never leave the safety of her rooms at the palace ever again. When her sister, the Crown Princess, sends Sofia on a diplomatic mission to Villenne, though, she finds that life has just as many ups as it does downs and adventure appears around every new corner.

Sofia’s world is imaginative, introducing new creatures, like kobolds, among the humans, goblins, and dragons. While the third in a series, the prequels are focused on other characters and are not necessary to read before this one. I had a good feeling about the book only two pages in as the story started off feeling like a fun adventure. Somewhere in the middle, though, the excitement faded, and I had a hard time waiting to get to the point. If you can stick it out, the ending is full of warm-hearted reunions and good feelings.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

Who Did It First? 50 Politicians, Activists, and Entrepreneurs Who Revolutionized the World by Jay Leslie - ADVISABLE


Who Did It First? 50 Politicians, Activists, and Entrepreneurs Who Revolutionized the World by Jay Leslie, illustrated by Nneka Myers, 113 pages.  Henry Holt and Company, 2020.  $19.  

Content: G

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS – ADVISABLE  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE  

This is a compilation of 50 different people who have contributed throughout the last two hundred years to politics, humanitarian efforts and firsts in their professions.  Some of the well-known people included are Oprah, President Obama and Lebron James, but there are other lesser known first such as Muhammad Yunus, Ed Roberts and Katharine Graham.  Most of the summaries are 4-5 paragraphs long and cover a page, but a couple of the people are one short paragraph.  

I enjoyed the illustrations and most of the people included would be easy to include in lessons given by a teacher.  I’m not sure if a student would pick this book up and read it on their own, but I think that parts of it would be useful in the classroom.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson  

Who Did It First? 50 Scientists, Artists and Mathematicians Who Revolutionized the World by Julie Leung - ADVISABLE


Who Did It First? 50 Scientists, Artists and Mathematicians Who Revolutionized the World by Julie Leung, illustrated by Caitlin Kuhwald, 113 pages.  NON-FICTION  Henry Holt, 2019.  $19  

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS – ADVISABLE  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE  

This is a compilation of 50 different people throughout the last two hundred years who were the first to contribute to their fields.  Some are well known, like Jane Goodall or Ada Lovelace, but others I hadn’t heard of such as Claude Shannon or Thai Lee.  The summaries are usually 4-5 paragraphs long and concentrate on how that person was a first in their field and what they did. 

I love the illustrations in this compilation.  I loved the people that were included as they were inspiring for taking a chance and trying new things.  My only complaint is that I wanted more--more information and more illustrations.  It leaves just a taste of what these people contributed.  This would work best if directed by a teacher and used in the classroom because I’m not sure readers would pick this up and read it from cover to cover on their own.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson

Better You Than Me by Jessica Brody - ESSENTIAL


Better You Than Me by Jessica Brody, 424 pages.  Delacorte Press (Penguin Random House), 2018.  $17.  

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

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS – ESSENTIAL  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH  

12yo Skylar is a huge fan of tween star, Ruby Rivera.  When Skylar has a bad day at middle school, with mean girls making her life hard, Skylar hops a bus to nearby Burbank to take a studio tour of Ruby’s TV set.  While on the tour, Skylar sneaks into the prop closet and chances a meeting with Ruby, who is also having a bad day.  While in the prop closet they wish they had each other’s lives and they find themselves in a body switch.  Ruby and Skylar think they are doing a good job living the other person’s life, but then it starts to unravel.  

I read this book in two days.  It was a fun, fast read with good characters and I love the body switch premise.  I also liked the moral of empathizing with other’s hardships and finding your true self.  Great character growth and enjoyable read!  

Reviewer, C. Peterson

Monday, April 27, 2020

A Bowl Full of Peace by Caren Stelson and Akira Kusaka - ESSENTIAL

A Bowl Full of Peace by Caren Stelson, illustrated by Akira Kusaka, PICTURE BOOK, NON-FICTION Carolrhoda Books (Lerner Imprints), 2020. $18. 9781541521483

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Grandmother has a special bowl, it has been passed down from mother to daughter and is part of the gratitude that begins each meal. In August of 1945, the family, who live in the city of Nagasaki experience the Atomic Bomb dropped by the Americans. One family member is killed instantly, while others soon die from sickness. The family leaves the city for a while, but when they return and begin to dig through the rubble that was their home, they find Grandmother's bowl - still intact, not even a crack or a chip. Over the years, the remaining family members use grandmother's bowl to remember.

Based on a story in Caren Stelson's non-fiction Sachiko: A Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivor's Story, grandmother's bowl becomes a symbol for peace and remembering. I love the way Caren Stelson tells such a heartbreaking story in a gentle way - appropriate for the young reader and a nice way to tell the story of the bombing of Japan to a young audience. Includes an extensive author's note and illustrator's notes - with the original Japanese notes, too - and a recommended reading list.

Lisa Librarian

Did You Burp? How to ask questions . . . or not! by April Pulley Sayre and Leeza Hernandez - ADVISABLE

Did You Burp? How to ask questions . . . or not! by April Pulley Sayre, illustrated by Leeza Hernandez PICTURE BOOK, NON-FICTION Charlesbridge, 2019. $18. 9781580897372

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

There are all sorts of reasons to ask questions: you might be curious about something, or want to learn how to do things, , or maybe you are getting to know someone or starting a conversation. Some questions can be considered impolite when asked by the wrong person, or irrelevant when asked of the wrong person, but questions are how we learn about our world!

What a great primer on questions! April Pulley Sayre has covered all the bases - who what where when and why, plus what isn't a question and even what to say if we don't know the answer to a question asked of us. Leeza Hernandez illustrations are fun - the children are engaging and their questions are great. I can't wait to show this to my ELL teacher, great examples for our English Language Learners.

Lisa Librarian

Tomorrow I'll Be Kind Jessica Hische - ADVISABLE


Tomorrow I'll Be Kind Jessica Hische PICTURE BOOK Penguin Random House, 2020, $18. 9781524787042

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

A list of all the good things you strive to be tomorrow, helpful, patient, gentle, honest, generous, grateful, and kind. 

A wonderful thing to read right before you go to sleep. Jessica Hische's illustrations are sweet. The bunnies are cute and their acts of kindness, generosity, patience etc. are great examples. Each of the words have been hand lettered into the illustration, so that the important word is part of the illustration rather than the text, allowing the reader to slow down and ponder the idea.

Lisa Librarian

Clem and Crab by Fiona Lumbers - ADVISABLE

Clem and Crab by Fiona Lumbers, PICTURE BOOK Andersen Press, 2019. $18. 9781541596191

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

When Clem goes to the beach with her sister, she finds a crab with its claw caught in some plastic. She wants to bring it home as a pet but her sister says no, so they release it back into the water. But when Clem is going trough the treasures she has found on the beach, she discovers that the crab came home with her after all. The beach is the best place for the crab to live, but the environment needs some help for crab to be safe.

A darling story that shows that even a little effort can make a big difference. Beautifully illustrated in water color, a great story to read with your class or before a visit to the beach and as a reminder to leave the wildlife in the wild.

Lisa Librarian

Monument Maker: Daniel Chester French and the Lincoln Memorial by Linda Booth Sweeney - ESSENTIAL


Monument Maker: Daniel Chester French and the Lincoln Memorial by Linda Booth Sweeney, illustrated by Shawn Fields. 64 pages.  NON-FICTION/ PICTURE BOOK Tilbury House Publishers, 2019.  $20.  9780884486435  

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS – ESSENTIAL  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE  

Daniel grew up among lawyers and judges, but when he tried to go to school he had trouble with his math subjects and found himself working on the family farm. One day, Dan found a funny looking turnip and decided to carve it into a frog.  When he placed the frog on his family table, his dad realized that Dan had a talent and went and bought clay.  It quickly became apparent that Dan was an artist.  Over time, Daniel became a sculptor and sculpted a hundred plus monuments.  In Daniel’s later years he designed the Lincoln sculpture found in the Lincoln monument. 

I loved this biography about a kid who didn’t know where he fit.  Daniel’s journey is inspiring for not only artists but for anyone who is looking for their passion.  I loved the support Daniel’s family provided and the unique setting of Concord, Massachusetts at the time that Daniel was growing up among men such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Louisa May Alcott’s family.  The illustrations are amazing and contribute to the feel of the sculptures.  Great history and human-interest story. 

Reviewer, C. Peterson    

Bon Voyage, Mister Rodriguez by Christiane Duchesne - NO


Bon Voyage, Mister Rodriguez by Christiane Duchesne, illustrated by Francois Thisdale.  PICTURE BOOK Pajama Press, 2019.  $19.  9781772780895  

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) – NO  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE  

A group of kids like to keep their eye on the peculiar Mr. Rodriguez.  He is always doing crazy things such as floating down the street holding a dove on a string or sitting on a piano.  The adults in the community can’t seem to see Mr. Rodriguez, but the kids wake up every morning and seek him out.  Until one morning he disappears.  They write a message in the sand saying goodbye to him.  

I read this with my ten-year-old son and he turned to me and said, “This book is dumb”.  Maybe I don’t have an imaginative enough child to appreciate the magical story, but I’m unsure myself what the point of the book was.  I did enjoy the amazing life-like illustrations.  The story was lost on us though.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson

The Imaginaries: Little Scraps of Larger Stories by Emily Winfield Martin - ESSENTIAL

The Imaginaries: Little Scraps of Larger Stories by Emily Winfield Martin. PICTURE BOOK. Random House, 2020. $19. 9780553511031

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Predominantly full of images, this book is a collection of ideas conveyed through dynamic paintings and scrapes of found paper with small phrases. The ideas are mostly whimsical, including things like mermaids and young kids with masks.    

This book feels like looking into an artist’s soul. The paintings are magical and their potential to spark creativity is obvious. The ambiguity of the phrases and order of the art may be disorienting for some readers but will be rewarding for others.   

Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

I Got You a Present! By Mike Erskine-Kellie - ADVISABLE

I Got You a Present! By Mike Erskine-Kellie and Susan McLennan, illustrated by Cale Atkinson. PICTURE BOOK. Kids Can Press, 2020. $17. 978152530097

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

At a birthday party, presummable for the reader, the goose really wants to give the perfect gift. He tried a series of extravagant gifts but something went wrong with each one. Finally he reveals that the gift he is giving is this story of all the gifts, favorite things of the reader. 

The meta nature of this book is a kind of a fun brain game, reading a book that the author is also illustrating inside of the book. But it is tricky to imagine who the appropriate audience for this book is. Someone whose birthday it is? That is a limited audience.  I could see this being used as a way to prompt story creation as an art and capable of being used for gift giving. 

Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

Sunday, April 26, 2020

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead - ADVISABLE


A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philp C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead.  PICTURE BOOK Roaring Brook Press, 2010.  $30.  9781626721050  

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) – ADVISABLE  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH  

Amos McGee is a good man who wakes every morning to go to work at the zoo.  While at the zoo he loves and cares for his zoo animal friends.  One morning he wakes with a cold and is unable to go to work.  The animals miss their friend and decide to go to Amos’ house and care for him.  The friends enjoy an afternoon together and by the end of the day, Amos feels better.   

This story is adorable!  The heartwarming friendship between Amos and his animal buddies can teach us how simple it is to be a good friend.  The illustrations are basic but well done and the story made me smile.  That said, I don’t think the 10th Anniversary edition, which is the edition I’m reviewing, (which costs $30) is essential.  I’m sure you can find the hardcover for your library for a much more affordable price.  The 10th Anniversary edition has a note at the beginning from Philip Stead and a lecture that was given at the end by Erin Stead and comes in a cloth cover.  This is an old-y but a good-y and should be added to your elementary library.    

Reviewer, C. Peterson

A Voice Named Aretha by Katheryn Russell-Brown - ADVISABLE


A Voice Named Aretha by Katheryn Russell-Brown, illustrated by Laura Freeman.  NON-FICTION/PICTURE BOOK Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2020.  $18.  9781681198507  

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE  

Aretha grew up in a home where her preacher father had a lot of connections with Civil Rights leaders.  Aretha first started singing in church for her dad and her soulful sound was appreciated quickly.  When Aretha got older, she started singing hit songs that gained national recognition and her music has given others strength and joy.  

Aretha Franklin is amazing, and her music is powerful.  This history helps provide a summary with illustrations of the impact her life has had made on her listeners.  The illustrations are bold and bright, and the text is just enough information not to be overwhelming but to provide a good understanding of this talented woman.  There is an author’s note at the end that provides a more in-depth explanations of her life.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson

Finding Kindness by Deborah Underwood - OPTIONAL


Finding Kindness by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Irene Chan.  PICTURE BOOK Henry Holt, 2019.  $18.  9781250237897  

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) – OPTIONAL  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Kindness can be found in many small gestures if you look around.  Sometimes it’s a friend sharing a treat or family taking care of each other.  Sometimes it looks like forgiveness or service.  However kindness appears, it makes the world a better place.  

This colorfully illustrated book takes on the topic of kindness in simple acts.  What ends up happening however, is an odd list of objects and disjointed moments that can get lost on young readers.  I read this out loud to my kids and by the end it sounds like a list.  The word “it” replaces the word “kindness” so much that you have to remind yourself what you are reading a list of.  This might work with a guided discussion about how we can see goodness around us.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson

Quest for the Crystal Crown by Annabeth Bondor-Stone and Connor White - ADVISABLE

Quest for the Crystal Crown by Annabeth Bondor-Stone and Connor White, 267 pages. Random House, 2020. $14.

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

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

The only things 12-year-old Laura knows about the world outside her village is what she’s been taught -- and what she’s managed to glimpse from the cracks in the north wall. Laura and her people, Lysors, are supposed to be safe in the walls, but, when the walls start to fall, someone needs to leave to find the crystal crown to save them. Laura is willing to go.

On a quest to save her village, Laura’s quest is exciting to read about because of the bizarre problems and solutions it takes to be successful. I never knew what was coming next, and the ridiculousness of some situations was a delight to read. This book isn’t just about Laura, though; the ideas for this story came from an 11-year-old in New York, and the last third of the book is dedicated to tips, exercises, and encouragement for readers to write their own stories -- no matter your age or experience.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

Solid Liquids Gases and Plasma by David A. Adler - ADVISABLE

Solid Liquids Gases and Plasma by David A. Adler, illustrated by Anna Raff. PICTURE BOOK/NON-FICTION. Holiday House, 2019. $19. 9780823439621

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

The narrator of this book explains the concepts of matter and after each explanation gives the reader something they can do to test out the principle themselves. For example, you can break a bar of chocolate up and see all the pieces and that they are made of the same things as the whole was. 

This is a solid (see what I did there) book on matter and it is effective in conveying the information and would fit perfectly in a second grade science curriculum. That said, as a stand alone book for students to pick up off the shelf, it is a little bit boring - illustrations are helpful but not exciting, similar to the text. 

Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

My Ocean is Blue by Darren Lebeuf - ADVISABLE

My Ocean is Blue by Darren Lebeuf, illustrated by Ashely Barron. PICTURE BOOK. Kids Can Press, 2020. $18. 9781525301438

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Through paper cut collage illustrations, this book is a rhythmic cataloguing of all the things the ocean is to a young girl. It is loud and it is quiet. It is rotten and it is fresh. 

The young girl in the story uses double crutches but, while it is so good to see different abilities in a main character, the crutches do not become a showy part of the story. The pace and art is very soothing. 

Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

Diary of a Pug: Pug’s Snow Day by Kyla May - ESSENTIAL

Diary of a Pug: Pug’s Snow Day by Kyla May, 72 pages. CHAPTER BOOK. Branches (Scholastic), 2020. $25 
Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G; Violence: G.

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Pug does not like to be wet, so when he experiences snow for the first time he is very nervous. His nerves are compounded when he hears a scary dog barking next door. His human, Bella, is also nervous to meet the new neighbor but they conquer their fears together and end up making friends. 

This is an engaging book for new readers ready for slightly sustained content. Written in journal form and with a lot of illustration this book will appeal to a wide range of readers and I especially love that it is not gender specific. The dog is male and the human is female, so unlike The Owl Diaries, which is a similar form, this book will reach beyond genderization.   

Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

Arnold and Louise: All the Fun Winter Things by Erica S. Perl - ESSENTIAL

Arnold and Louise: All the Fun Winter Things by Erica S. Perl, 55 pages. CHAPTER BOOK. Penguin Workshop (Penguin Random House), 2019. 
Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G; Violence: G.

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Winter means hibernating time for Arnold, a bear, but Louise, a squirrel, has no intention of losing his friend for the winter. Louise tries to keep Arnold awake by organizing all of the winter activities for them to participate in until he decides that letting Arnold sleep and to simply check on him during the winter season. 

I think these Arnold and Louise books are excellent books for new chapter book readers, and this one is no exception. The pace is fast, but the story is simple enough for readers who are working hard focusing on the words to follow.    

Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Mice Skating by Annie Silvestro and Teagan White - ADVISABLE

Mice Skating by Annie Silvestro, illustrated by Teagan White, PICTURE BOOK Stirling Children's Books, 2017. $17. 9781454916321

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Most mice like to hunker down for the winter, but not Lucy - she has a warm hat and loves crunching through the snow and especially skating on the ice. When she tries to get her friends to come out with her, she discovers it's going to take more than a bit of convincing for her burrow bound friends to brave the chilly winter - but it will certainly be worth it.

I loved all the cheese puns, the text was charming, and oh! the illustrations! I wanted to climb into the warm and toasty burrow and have a cup with the mice. A delightful winter read.

Lisa Librarian

Brown Baby Lullaby by Tameka Fryer Brown and AG Ford - ADVISABLE

Brown Baby Lullaby by Tameka Fryer Brown, illustrated by AG Ford, PICTURE BOOK Farrar Straus Giroux (Macmillan), 2020. $17. 9780374307523

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre K - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

It's evening and time to get baby ready for bed. So much to do - mama makes dinner while baby plays and makes noise on the pots and pans, makes a mess while eating dinner, get a bath, and ready for bed - finally, after a story, tired baby goes to sleep. 

The rhythm of the text is beautiful, repeating phrases with a little Spanish mixed in. I loved the illustrations - the family loves this baby so much - I just wanted to hug them all! A perfect bedtime story, sure to rock your little one to sleep.

Lisa Librarian

Anna and Samia by Paul Meisel - ADVISABLE


Anna and Samia: The True Story of Saving a Black Rhino by Paul Meisel.  NON-FICTION/PICTURE BOOK Farrar Straus Giroux (Macmillan), 2019.  $18.  9780374305772  

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) -   ADVISABLE  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE  

Anna sees a baby rhino born and then abandoned by it’s mother, so Anna takes the baby rhino and nurses it.  She names the baby Samia and together Anna and Samia form a forever friendship. When Samia grows up, Anna helps her to rely on herself instead of the humans and Samia becomes a wild rhino.  However, whenever Anna and Samia see each other in the wild they go on long walks together and enjoy each other’s company.  

What a heartwarming true account of an orphaned rhino.  The illustrations of baby Samia are adorable and the developed friendship is amazing.  This type of book leaves me wondering what more can be done to protect our wild animals, especially after reading the author’s note at the end that describes the endangered rhinos.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson

A Way with Wild Things by Larissa Theule - ESSENTIAL


A Way with Wild Things by Larissa Theule, illustrated by Sara Palacios.  PICTURE BOOK Bloomsbury, 2020.  $18.  9781681190396  

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) – ESSENTIAL  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE  

Poppy loves nature and insects.  She feels at home with bugs but feels like a wallflower around people.  When Poppy’s grandmother has a birthday party, Poppy tries to stay quiet and hidden, but when a dragonfly lands in Poppy’s hands everyone starts to pay attention to her.  Poppy decides that she doesn’t need to be a wallflower but can be a wildflower.  

The best part of this book is the adorable illustrations.  Poppy is so cute with her big glasses and all the ways she blends into the scenery.  There is also the lovely message of having a passion and sharing it with others and how that passion is a part of who you are.  Great for introvert children.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson  

Benny McGee and the Shark: The Shark Report by Derek Anderson - ADVISABLE

Benny McGee and the Shark: The Shark Report by Derek Anderson, 61 pages. CHAPTER BOOK. Penguin Workshop (Penguin Random House), 2020. 
Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G; Violence: G.

BUYING ADVISORY:  EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Benny is scared to go swimming because he learned about sharks in his class. On his way back from the beach a shark starts following him and even spends the night sleepwalking around his room. After the shark returns to the ocean, Benny finds he is no longer afraid of the ocean. 

This is a great transition book from picture books to chapter books. The story is predictable which leaves it a little dry, but also makes it easy for new chapter book readers to follow.  

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...