Saturday, August 19, 2017

Ever the Brave by Erin Summerill - ADVISABLE

Summerill, Erin Ever the Brave (Clash of Kingdoms #2), 464 pages.  Houghton Mifflin, DEC 2017.  $18.  Language: PG-13 (36 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG (share body heat for warmth); Violence: PG (battles)

Lord Jamis is in the dungeon, but Phelia, the evil Channeler is on the run.  While Cohen pursues her into Shaeridan, but finds out that it was a distraction while Phelia and other conspirators carry out their plans to usurp King Aodren’s throne.  While Britta is getting used to the implications of her new bond with Aodren, Phelia comes, with awful news for both Britta personally and the kingdom as a whole.  Britta will have to figure out how to use her new Channeler powers and control them for good if she is going to save the entire kingdom and herself.

The romantic tension ticks up a notch as the bond between Cohen and Britta is broken and Aodren enters the picture.  For girls who love romantic fantasy this is an easy call.

MS, HS – ADVISABLE.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Here Comes Teacher Cat by Deborah Underwood - OPTIONAL

Underwood, Deborah Here Comes Teacher Cat, pictures by Claudia Rueda.  PICTURE BOOK.  Dial (Penguin), 2017.  $17.

Cat has been called in to help Ms. Melba at Kitten School as a substitute teacher.  Even though nap was next on his list for the day, Cat takes up the challenge and has a great day with the kittens, even though he leaves a little Cat-style mess behind.

I think that Santa Cat is my favorite of the Cat books so far.  Teacher Cat is cute, though.  It might be good for a preschool child who wants to imagine what is going on while his older siblings are away at school.

Pre-K – OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Lost Boys by Darcey Rosenblatt - ESSENTIAL

Rosenblatt, Darcey Lost Boys, 288 pages.  Henry Holt (Macmillan), 2017.  $17.  Language: G (1 swear, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG-13 (piles of bodies, beatings)

Reza’s mother has been pressuring the twelve year old to join Iran’s army in the fight against Iraq in 1982.  His favorite uncle, however, is an Iranian rebel, who has nurtured Reza’s love for Western music, so he has been resistant.  When his best friend, Ebi, joins up, though, Reza feels obligated to stay by his side.  The boys are shattered, however, when they find out that their final purpose for the Iranian army is to act as human minesweepers.  When Reza finally wakes up, he has been sent to a detention camp and Ebi is missing, perhaps dead.  Life in the detention camp is harsh, made harsher by a guard with a cruel streak who seems to have it out for Reza.

Rosenblatt has chosen a little known (for Americans) war as the background for a book about hope and courage.  The descriptions of life in the detention camp would be excellent to read aloud in any modern history class to help students connect to the harshness of life in a war zone.  In elementary schools, I would only suggest this for sixth graders.  For middle schools, hand this to your boys who read books about war – its an easy sell and a very good look at another aspect of war.

EL (6th grade only) – ADVISABLE; MS – ESSENTIAL  Cindy, Library Teacher

Renato and the Lion by Barbara DiLorenzo - OPTIONAL

DiLorenzo, Barbara Renato and the Lion.  PICTURE BOOK.  Viking, 2017.  $18.

When Renato and his family leave Florence, Italy during WWII, he bemoans leaving behind his favorite lion statue in the Piazza.  But his father surprises him by creating a brick enclosure for the lion, just like he did for the famous statues in the museum.  It isn’t until many years go by that he returns to Florence with his granddaughter to see his old lion friend.

I was hoping that this picture book was based on more actual events, but it is instead only painted a broad picture of one way Italians used to protect fine art during the war.  As such, it might be okay as a springboard into the topic of art protection or the unseen costs of war. 

EL – OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Friday, August 18, 2017

Bull by David Elliott - OPTIONAL

Elliott, David Bull.  200 pages. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.  $17.99.  Content:  Language:  R (8 swears, 5 “f”); Mature Content: R; Violence:  PG-13.

This book is a poetic retelling of the Greek myth Theseus and the Minotaur. The book is told in three books with a prologue and epilogue and is told through the points of view of six different characters.  Author Elliott, writes each of the characters using a different poetic form.  

This book is a short, quick read that has been likened to Hamilton meets Greek mythology.  I was unfamiliar with this particular myth before reading the book, but a quick Google search gave me the background I needed. Elliott admits to being imaginative and taking liberties with parts of the story.  I think this book has a writing style that will appeal to high school students.  However, this book uses vulgar language and has adult themes that may not be welcome in some classrooms or school library shelves. 

HS – OPTIONAL. Reviewer:  Nancy W.