Saturday, July 22, 2017

Libby and Pearl the Best of Friends by Lindsey Bonnie - OPTIONAL

Bonnice, Lindsey Libby and Pearl the Best of Friends. PICTURE BOOK. Harper (Harper Collins), 2016 $14.99.

  Libby and Pearl the piglet have an unlikely friendship. Despite being very different in appearance, they have a lot in common where it counts.  Libby and Pearl play, share, and go on adventures together.  

This book is filled with cute color photographs of Libby and Pearl but it feels more like a blog rather than a book.  Children will enjoy looking at the pictures of the piglet all dressed up doing different activities and wish they had a piglet friend too.  It is definitely a cute idea, but not one I would put on my favorites list.  

Pre-K--OPTIONAL Gina, Media Specialist

Friday, July 21, 2017

Sparks of Light by Janet B. Taylor - optional

Taylor, Janet B. Sparks of Light, 435 pages.  Houghton, 2017.  $17.  Language: R (90+ swears, 4 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG-13 (sexual abuse, rape mentioned); Violence: PG-13 (deaths, medical torture)

Celia Alvarez and her minions are on their way to the past again – this time to con Nikola Tesla into creating a special device for them – one that will allow them to go back to the same point in time as many times that they like.  Hope Watson and the Viators have to stop them now, otherwise they will be helpless to thwart Celia moving forward.  So back to 1890’s New York they go – a time which has its own dangers for biracial Doug and for Hope, who can easily be accused of being a hysterical, unnatural woman who needs correction.

When the team goes back into the past, they only have 72 hours to complete their mission.  Taylor chooses to place Hope in a situation where rescuing her becomes the focus, instead of working on the mission.  While that makes sense in the first book where we were just beginning to meet Hope and the crew, I would have liked a book where she was part of the work, instead of a distraction.  So much of their time is spent on Hope, that the resolution to the mission is rushed and treated like an afterthought.  Taylor does reveal interesting new threats and enemies, but I wonder if she will take the time to explore them or if they will fall by the wayside in pursuit of focusing only on Hope.  And there is one big question I have, with the ensuing change in the timeline, but I can’t mention it here because it is a gigantic spoiler.

HS – OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Buried Heart by Kate Elliott - ESSENTIAL

Elliott, Kate Buried Heart (Court of Fives #3), 465 pages.  Little Brown, 2017.  $18.  Language: G; Mature Content: PG (implied sex); Violence: PG-13 (some torture).

In a bold move, Jessamy’s life is upended when she, with aid from her General father, help Kalliarkos ascend to the throne of Efea.  Her life gets even worse when she is captured by Lord Gargaron and left as a prisoner in the company of the priests working one of the gold mines.  Jessamy’s fate and the fate of Efea are as complicated as a Fives court.  She will have to anticipate every move of every enemy and trust others as she has never trusted before.

I was a little worried that the story would become bogged down in the Kal/Jessamy romance, but once Jessamy is captured by Gargaron, the plot explodes into action in a very satisfying way.  The rush to the end is heady and intricately plotted and ultimately very satisfying.

MS, HS – ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

The Snurtch by Sean Ferrell - ESSENTIAL

Ferrell, Sean The Snurtch, illustrated by Charles Santoso.  PICTURE BOOK. Antheneum (Simon & Schuster), 2016 $17.99. 

Ruthie's got a problem.  There is a Snurtch that keeps getting her into trouble at school.  It throws pencils, makes rude noises, and forgets questions.  It even tears up others drawings in art class.  Ruthie, decides she has got to do something about the Snurtch.  She focuses really hard and begins to draw the Snurtch.  She even shares her drawing with the class so they can see the Snurtch too. Then very bravely, Ruthie apologizes for her bad behavior and tries to do better at controlling her inner Snurtch.  

This is a great story for teaching children about appropriate behavior in school.  When Ruthie realizes all the children in her class have a  Snurtch of their own that they struggle with, it lets her know she is not alone.  Children will love the illustrations and the book will spark a great discussion about good behavior strategies for being successful in school.  

EL (K-3), EL --ESSENTIAL Gina, Media Specialist

This Book Will Not Be Fun by Cirocco Dunlap -- ESSENTIAL

Dunlap, Cirocco This Book Will Not Be Fun, illustrated by Olivier Tallec. PICTURE BOOK. Random House, 2017. $17.99. Content: G.

An uppity mouse is convinced that nothing interesting will happen in this particular book. Except...there is a flying whale. And what's this? A glow-in-the-dark worm that does kung fu? How strange... and rather fun. And, wow, what's that on the next page?

This Book Will Not Be Fun is most definitely a fun book. The illustrations are hilarious, and many children will enjoy the journey as this hard-to-impress mouse ends up enjoying the book after all. It's kid-approved, too: my seven-year-old, her friends, and I all found this one ESSENTIAL.

Pre-K, EL (K-3) -- ESSENTIAL. Reviewed by Sydney G., K-6 Library Media Specialist

Thursday, July 20, 2017

May I Have a Word? by Caron Levis -- ESSENTIAL

Levis, Caron May I Have a Word? Illustrated by Andy Rash. PICTURE BOOK. Farrar Straus Giroux (Macmillan), 2017. $16.99. Content: G.

From their spot on the refrigerator, the K and C magnets begin to argue, each convinced the other gets to start all the best words. Then K takes it one step further by accusing C of confusing readers. Can the two ever learn to get along, or will CK words like LUCK and PICKLES no longer exist?

This is a playful examination of the roles the letters K and C play in the English language. It also serves as an example of conflict resolution among jealous playmates -- something many young children (and, well, even adults!) can empathize with. Naturally, this book would work especially well in a kindergarten or first-grade class studying the letters C and K -- both separately and together -- as well as K's silent form.

EL (K-3) -- ESSENTIAL. Reviewed by Sydney G., K-6 Library Media Specialist

Mr. Lemoncello’s Great Library Race by Chris Grabenstein - ADVISABLE

Grabenstein, Chris Mr. Lemoncello’s Great Library Race, 288 pages.  Random House, OCT 2017.  $17.  Content: G. 

Mr. Lemoncello has more tricks up his sleeve..  He wants to send out ambassadors to introduce his latest 3D technology to children all over the US.  In order to choose the ambassadors he has devised a contest, of course.  When the teams are on their way to the final challenge they stumble upon something that gives them pause.  Did Mr. Lemoncello copy his first, iconic game from another inventor?  Instead of finishing the game, Kyle and the others are determined to uncover the truth – even if it means the end of their favorite adult.  Meanwhile, the Chillington family and the Krinkle brothers are waiting to watch them fail.

Happy Day!  Grabenstein has another clever book to the puzzle-mystery genre.  He also has plenty of room to include more books in the series, though I ‘d love to see a different type of plot – as Mr. Lemoncello always seems to be the one in danger from the same antagonists. 

EL, MS – ADVISABLE.  Cindy, Library Teacher