Monday, May 2, 2016

Cinderella by Ed Bryan - ADVISABLE

Bryan, Ed  Cinderella  Nosy Crow, 2016 (Candlewick).  $9.99  PICTURE BOOK  Content: G.   

This is the classic telling of Cinderella.  Cinderella is a slave for her stepmother and stepsisters, but after being temporarily magically transformed by her fairy godmother Cinderella goes to the royal ball.  While at the ball, the prince falls in love with Cinderella, and after they are separated the prince finds her and marries her.  

I like that this picture book sticks to the classical version of Cinderella.  The text is 3-4 sentences per page spread and simple.  The illustrations are adorable with bright colors and cute characters.  If you need a new face for an old story, this is a great pick.  

 EL (K-3) – ADVISABLE.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.

Playing from the Heart by Peter H. Reynolds - GIFT

Reynolds, Peter H.  Playing from the Heart  Candlewick Press, 2016.  $15.00  PICTURE BOOK  Content: G.   

As a little kid, Raj plays soothing music that he makes up on the piano.  Raj’s father is impressed with Raj’s skills and hires him a piano teacher.  As Raj grows, he masters the technique of piano, but loses the fun of playing.  Raj grows to be a successful businessman, but one day he is called home because his father is sick.  Raj asks his father how he can comfort him, and all his father wants is for Raj to play his original soothing music, and Raj remembers why he loves the piano.   

I love Peter Reynolds illustrations.  This is a sweet story about not losing the joy and fun of art in our attempt to master an art form.  The message is great and the story is touching.  Although this is a picture book, the message can reach all ages, making it hard to categorize.  
 EL (K-3), EL, ADULT - GIFT   Reviewer, C. Peterson.

The William Hoy Story by Nancy Churnin -ESSENTIAL

Churnin, Nancy The William Hoy Story 20 pgs. Albert Whitman and Company, 2016. $16.99 PICTURE BOOK/NON-FICTION
This is the story of famous early baseball player William Hoy. He became deaf as a child and learned to read lips. Baseball was his true passion and kept practicing  and playing despite rejections, cruelty, and setbacks. Eventually he found a better way to communicate with the umpire. This new way of using arm gestures to go along with the spoken call, turned out to improve the game for everyone involved, including the audience. Willaim’s success as a player and as a person overcoming challenges makes for a wonderful picture book. The artwork is basic and easy to share with a group. This could work for a teacher for a lesson on history, overcoming challenges, never giving up, and innovation. Baseball fans would enjoy this book no matter the lessons involved.
EL(K-3), EL  -ESSENTIAL Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

The Nightmare Escape (Dream Jumper #1) by Greg Grunberg and Lucas Turnbloom -OPTIONAL

Grunbert, Greg and Turnbloom, Lucas The Nightmare Escape (Dream Jumper #1) 208 pgs. Scholastic, 2016. $12.99 Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G Violence: G GRAPHIC NOVEL
Ben just thinks he has vivid interesting dreams, but it turns out that the dream world is a real place that connects between dreamers, and it’s a dangerous place. Ben finds out that he can battle nightmare creatures, and when a group of fellow students fall into comas, it will be up to Ben and his new bunny friend to save them and help them wake up.
Younger readers would balk at the idea that bad things can really happen to you in nightmares, but older readers may find the concept interesting. The plot is fairly linear and doesn’t really build a world for me. I would prefer to spend the library money on epic graphic novels like Amulet. The artwork is typical from Scholastic, cartoony. I need better content or better artwork for this to be added to the collection.
EL, MS  -OPTIONAL Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Fenway and Hattie by Victoria J. Coe - ADVISABLE

Coe, Victoria J.   Fenway and Hattie  162 pages. G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2016. $15.99. Language: G; Mature Content: G ; Violence: G

Fenway, an excitable Jack Russell terrier, tells the story of how he and his family - his most beloved Hattie, Food Lady, and Fetch Man - move from the city to a house in the suburbs and deal with the ensuing changes. 

Fenway is a classic unreliable narrator. Told entirely in his voice, I found it curious what words and concepts he, being a dog, could express and understand, and which ones he couldn't. I think the author captures this point of view quite well. It would be a good read-aloud to teach point of view, voice, and narrator.

EL - ADVISABLE. Reviewed by P.K.Foster, teacher-librarian

Never Insult a Killer Zucchini! by Elana Azose and Brandon Amancio - ADVISABLE

Azose, Elana and Brandon Amancio   Never Insult a Killer Zucchini!  Illustrated by David Clark. Unpaged. Charlesbridge, 2016. $16.95. PICTURE BOOK

Hoping to avoid a repeat of some unnamed disaster from the previous year, the science projects are lined up in alphabetical order. Mr. Farnsworth walks through the exhibits as the judge, stalked by the killer zucchini who hears Mr. Farnsworth say he loves zucchini but then finds out that Mr. Farnsworth only loves zucchini as a snack with ranch dressing. The fair includes such exhibits as an eraser beam, photoplasm, and a shrink ray.

Starting on the title page, the story is told with cartoonish illustrations, labels, and speech bubbles with lots of sure-to-be-appreciated silliness. What makes this book even more appealing, though, are the last four pages which provide real-life connections to every project in the science fair. Kids could pour over those pages for hours. The only problem is that the style of the cartoons will appeal to younger students, but the humor and back matter will best be understood and appreciated by older students.

EL - ADVISABLE. Reviewed by P.K.Foster, teacher-librarian

Super Jumbo by Fred Koehler - ADVISABLE

Koehler, Fred   Super Jumbo  Unpaged. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2016. $16.99. PICTURE BOOK

Being a super hero is a thankless job. It is never easy, but Jumbo tirelessly helps the weak and crusades against evil (whether the recipients of his actions want his "help" or not). When he sees someone truly needing his help, he resists his greatest weakness and comes to the rescue, finding a friend in the process.

Using the same characters from How to Cheer Up Dad, Koehler offers a humorous story where the illustrations add much to the meaning of each situation. This would be a solid addition for younger readers.

EL - ADVISABLE. Reviewed by P.K.Foster, teacher-librarian