Thursday, April 27, 2017

Our Father by Rainier Oberthur- PUBLIC

Oberthur, Rainier. Our Father, PICTURE BOOK. Eerdman’s Books for Young Readers, 2016. $16.00. This book goes through The Lord’s Prayer, breaking it down into sections for early readers. It gives explanations about what the different phrases mean and how to interpret them for a children’s beliefs and life. This is definitely a religious book for the Christian faith. It is somewhat lengthy and dense for young readers and should be accompanied by an adult for explanation. It’s not poorly done, other than some repetition and the length, but it wouldn’t be appropriate for a school library. EL- PUBLIC. Reviewed by Shay, School Librarian

Miss Muffet, or What Came After by Marilyn Singer- NO

Singer, Marilyn. Miss Muffet, or What Came After, PICTURE BOOK. Clarion Books, 2016. $16.99. Written as if through acts in a play, we hear Miss Muffet’s story of what happens after she meets the spider. According to this story, Miss Muffet loves to play the violin and her mother doesn’t like that. Miss Muffet decides to run away to pursue her dream with a music-loving spider she just met. Along the way they run into Little Bo Peep, who also happens to be a violinist. They become friends and play lovely music, which the spider (who can talk) sings to. They eventually become a trio after thwarting a theft and end up at the castle, playing for the king. This story was much too convoluted. There was too much going on with the stage directions, singing chorus, and much too lengthy soliloquies. I could barely hang in there to finish it, I can’t imagine a younger reader doing so. EL- NO. Reviewed by Shay. School Librarian

Shalom Everybodeee! Grover's Adventures in Israel by Tilda Balsley- ADVISABLE

Balsley, Tilda. Shalom Everybodeee! Grover’s Adventures in Israel, PICTURE BOOK. Kar-Ben Publishing, Inc., 2016. $16.99. Grover goes on an adventure through Israel and emails his friends back on Sesame Street along the way. He visits famous Israeli landmarks such as the Western Wall, the Machane Yehuda market, and the Dead Sea. He also experiences working in a kibbutz (a farm community), eating falafel, and participating in a camel race. The story is read through the point of view of the emails that Grover sends to his friends. He tells them about his experiences and asks them questions. I read this entire book with Grover’s voice in my head as narration. It’s a great book. I liked the specific information about the country and it highlighted a lot of things that young readers will be interested in. But, Grover’s voice helped sell me on it. I think the fact that most (are there any?) people won’t be able to replicate that voice while reading it aloud and that takes away some of the magic. PRE-K, EL (K-3)- ADVISABLE. Reviewed by Shay, School Librarian

Daydreaming by Mark Tatulli- OPTIONAL

Tatulli, Mark. Daydreaming, PICTURE BOOK. Roaring Book Press, 2016. $17.99. Starting with falling into a cereal box, Henry goes on a series of daydreaming adventures. After breakfast, he goes to school and daydreams of a world of ABC's, globes, and books. Then later, at recess, he pretends to be micro-sized and riding bugs. The reader eventually finds out that Henry is just a toy being used in the daydreams of his owner’s imagination. This picture book was too long for me for the intent of the story. It definitely has a comic book vibe which is the author’s usual job. The twist was fun at the end but I thought it took too long to get to it and didn’t spend enough time on it either. PRE-K, EL (K-3)- OPTIONAL. Reviewed by Shay, School Librarian

The Lonely Giant by Sophie Ambrose- ADVISABLE

Ambrose, Sophie. The Lonely Giant, PICTURE BOOK. Candlewick Press, 2016. $16.99. Giants are supposed to rip out trees, toss the trunks like spears and smash mountains. So, a giant in the middle of the forest does all those things. All day, every day. Eventually, the forest gets smaller and smaller and all the trees and animals disappear. The giant gets very lonely. One day, a little yellow bird appears and follows the giant around all day, singing a song. He loves the singing so much, he catches the bird in a cage so he can listen to her sing all day and he won’t be lonely anymore. The bird becomes more and more sad in her cage and stops singing altogether. The giant sets her free and he decides that if he wants to see her again, he needs to fix what he has destroyed and bring the forest back. Once he does, the animals return and he was never lonely again. I love the pictures in this book. The texture and shading are such a treat to look at. I really like the message about taking care of our planet and not caging anything in. It’s a pretty deep message, but done well for young readers. PRE-K, EL (K-3)- ADVISABLE. Reviewed by Shay, School Librarian

Cat on the Bus by Kim Aram- ADVISABLE

Kim, Aram. Cat on the Bus, PICTURE BOOK. Holiday House, 2016. $16.95. A stray cat finds a perfect place to warm up one cold day, when it boards a bus after looking for places to take shelter. The cat befriends a man and they cuddle up while they ride. The cat finds its way home with the man to another new friend. A little girl. This book has few words and tells the story mainly in pictures. It is a cute premise and the pictures are attention-grabbing. PRE-K, EL (K-3)- ADVISABLE. Reviewed by Shay, School LIbrarian

Hand in Hand by Rosemary Wells- ADVISABLE

Wells, Rosemary. Hand in Hand, PICTURE BOOK. Henry Holt and Company, 2016. $17.99. A little bunny talks to his or her mama about all the things that the little bunny wants from her. The mama should a teacher, a first talker, a best playmate, and a first reader, among many other things. The pictures are classic Rosemary Wells illustrations and the message is nothing short of adorable. The problem is, that this book seems more to be meant for adults, particularly mothers. So, this would be a fantastic gift for Mother’s Day or a new mom-to-be, but for a school library, it’s not a great choice. PRE-K/GIFT- ADVISABLE. Reviewed by Shay, School Librarian

Gabe and Goon by Iza Trapani- OPTIONAL

Trapani, Iza. Gabe and Goon, PICTURE BOOK. Charlesbridge, 2016. $16.95. Gabe really wants to meet a monster. Luckily, he has one living in his closet named Goon. The only problem is that the monster is very afraid of children. But after Gabe has a particularly sneezy night, Goon bursts out of his closet terrified of all the sneezing. After teasing one another for being scared of different things, they finally decide that they can be friends. It seemed like the meter for the rhyming of this book was a bit off at times. I also thought Gabe and Goon were a little more harsh with each other than necessary and wasn’t very realistic. Although I liked that they decided they were more alike than different even if it didn’t seem so, the parts of the whole of the book were disjointed. PRE-K, EL (K-3)- OPTIONAL. Reviewed by Shay, School Librarian

My Kite is Stuck and Other Stories by Salina Yoon- ADVISABLE

Yoon, Salina. My Kite is Stuck and Other Stories, PICTURE BOOK. Bloomsbury, 2017. $9.99. This book contains three very short stories about friends, Big Duck, Little Duck, and Porcupine. In the first, Big Duck’s kite gets stuck in a tree and all the friends have to band together to get it down. In the second story, Porcupine becomes friends with a bee and Big Duck has an opinion about that. In the last story, the animals decide to build a lemonade stand, but forget the most important part: the lemonade. Little Duck saves the day. This set of stories was so much more humorous and enjoyable for me than the last set. This set has a much nicer flow and comprehension. These books are set up so that the story is created through the word bubbles that the characters speak. PRE-K, EL (K-3)- ADVISABLE. Reviewed by Shay, School Librarian

Grandmother Fish by Jonathan Tweet- ESSENTIAL

Tweet, Jonathan. Grandmother Fish, PICTURE BOOK. Feiwel and Friends, 2015. $17.99. Starting with Grandmother Fish, the reader sees the evolution of various animals from reptiles to mammals, to apes, to humans. Each animal has a very short description of how they can move and function. At the end of the book there is an evolutionary family tree. This is a really well done book. The illustrations are really bright, colorful and detailed and help add substance to the book. It encourages the reader to compare themselves to the various animals to demonstrate if they can breathe, cuddle, crawl, grab, etc. The graphic maps help to show the correlation between the different animals and how they evolved. EL (K-3), EL- ESSENTIAL. Reviewed by Shay, School Librarian

Listen to Our World by Bill Martin Jr.- ADVISABLE

Jr, Bill Martin. Listen to Our World, PICTURE BOOK. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016. $17.99. We travel through the world viewing different animals in their habitats and listening to the sounds they make. We see and hear animals from deserts, rainforests, oceans, and many more places. At the end the reader sees and hears a child at home with her mom. There is information about all of the depicted animals and their habitats at the end of the book. This was a simple book with strong illustrations and a nicely created text pattern. The pictures could have been cleaned up a little more, but readers will really enjoy the book as a whole. The animal information at the end is a smart touch. PRE-K, EL (K-3)- ADVISABLE. Reviewed by Shay, School Librarian

Plenty of Love to Go Around by Emma Chichester Clark- OPTIONAL

Clark, Emma Chichester. Plenty of Love to Go Around, PICTURE BOOK. Nancy Paulsen Books, 2016. $17.99. Plum the dog has a loving family and wonderful neighbor friends who adore him. He is their special one. One day the neighbors get a cat too. They also adore the cat, who really likes Plum, and Plum feels very annoyed. How can he be nice to the cat when he’s so worried he’s not the special one anymore? Plum finally realizes that there is enough love to go around and he and the cat can both be special. I didn’t love this. The pictures are pretty nice and well-detailed. The story felt a bit long and never had a particular moment that really just grabbed me. PRE-K, EL (K-3)- OPTIONAL. Reviewed by Shay, School Librarian