Saturday, July 23, 2016

Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliott - ESSENTIAL

Elliott, Kate Poisoned Blade, 468 pages.  Little, Brown, 2016.  $18.  Language: OG (4 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG-13 (graphic deaths).

Jessamy has won her game at the Royal Court of Fives, propelling her to Challenger status, but badly damaging her relationship with Kal, whom she humiliated on the court.  She now walks a delicate tightrope between pleasing Lord Gargaron, keeping her mother from his sight, searching for her missing twin, and finding a way to show Prince Kal that she still loves him.  The danger has moved from the Court of Fives and into the real world, in a very real way. 

Elliott has tightened her plot lines and extended Jessamy’s story in fabulous ways.  I have no idea if this is the second book in the trilogy or the end of the series, but it doesn’t matter, because I am exceedingly happy with the action and ending of the book.

MS, HS – ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen - ESSENTIAL

Nielsen, Jennifer A. The Scourge, 368 pages.  Scholastic, 2016.  $17.  Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (some bullying).

The Scourge has taken its toll on Ani’s country.  As one of the River People, she has always been treated like a second-class citizen.  When she is captured during an ill-advised theft, she and the town girl she rescues are tested positive for the Scourge and shipped off to Attic Island – the holding place for Scourge victims, where people enter, but from which no one ever returns.  Ani’s best friend Weevil joins her on the Island and along with upsetting the status quo to extreme degrees, she also uncovers a deeply hidden, high-reaching plot that could spell disaster for every citizen of Keldan.

Nielsen takes a sharp turn from the False Prince series and dives into excellent nail-biting writing.  This will be fun to share with students are back in school.

EL, MS - ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron - ESSENTIAL

Cameron, Sharon The Forgetting, 403 pages.  Scholastic, 2016.  $19.  Content: G.

Every twelve years something terrible causes everyone in Canaan to completely lose their memories.  That’s why every day they write things down in their books – without your book you are nobody.  But Nadia is different; she actually kept her memories after the last Forgetting.  She is more willing to take risks, like going outside the walls of the city.  Coming back one day she hears a mysterious conversation that makes her suspicious about what everyone has always accepted as fact.  Now she may have a chance to change everything.  But with it beng so close to the Forgetting, who will want to believe her?

Awesome!  Really, that’s the best word to describe this.  I already like Sharon Cameron’s writing (The Dark Unwinding) and I am so glad that her maturity as a writer is making her even better.  I think this will be very popular as students discover it, and I will do my best to help them take notice!

MS, HS – ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Celebrating Louisiana by Jane Kurtz -OPTIONAL

Kurtz, Jane Celebrating Louisiana 35 pages. Houghton Mifflin, 2015. $3.99.  Content: Language: G (0 swears) Mature Content: G Violence: G EARLY READER
Mr. Geo is a geography teacher who visits states in the series. In this book he is in Louisiana. Mr. Geo shows readers natural wonders, things to see and do, history, and interesting facts. This one features cooking gumbo, oil in and the gulf of Mexico, mardi gras, and jazz music. The illustrations are stellar.
Sorry to repeat my opinion but it hasn’t changed. I am torn on this series. I sometimes have a run of younger students interested in the states, but the big push is in fifth grade, making this series way too easy to read. This is my personal opinion, but mustaches guys kind of creep me out, wish the host of the series was different. If you purchase the paperback versions, you can buy the whole series on the cheap, and maybe you can start a run of younger readers interested in the States.

EL(K-3)  – OPTIONAL.  Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Celebrating Colorado by Jane Kurtz -OPTIONAL

Kurtz, Jane Celebrating Colorado 35 pages. Houghton Mifflin, 2015. $3.99.  Content: Language: G (0 swears) Mature Content: G Violence: G EARLY READER
Mr. Geo is a geography teacher who visits states in the series. In this book he is in Colorado. Mr. Geo shows readers natural wonders, things to see and do, history, and interesting facts. This one features native American history, the great outdoor sports like rock climbing and hiking, and the art museum with the big blue bear. The illustrations are stellar.
I am torn on this series. I sometimes have a run of younger students interested in the states, but the big push is in fifth grade, making this series way too easy to read. This is my personal opinion, but mustaches guys kind of creep me out, wish the host of the series was different. If you purchase the paperback versions, you can buy the whole series on the cheap, and maybe you can start a run of younger readers interested in the States.

EL(K-3)  – OPTIONAL.  Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Nevergirls: Into the Waves (Book #11) by Kiki Thorpe -OPTIONAL

Thorpe, Kiki The Nevergirls: Into the Waves (Book #11), 192 pages. Random House , 2016. $5.99.  Content: Language: G (0 swears) Mature Content: G Violence: G
Mia, Lainey, Kate, and Gabby go to Neverland together to show off Lainey’s new pet goldfish. But when the fish escapes into the river, they go on a rescue mission. It’s a very dangerous journey and the girls take along a fairy who can speak to underwater creatures. Will they find the fish before its too late?
This is probably my least favorite in the series, with the swamp and the growing danger to the girls. Although the girls have been sneaking off to go to Neverland for 10 books now, this one felt the most devious, with them taking a boat and going into quite a bit of danger. Also there is a fairy without wings, but its never explained how the fairy lost her wings, which I think will frustrate readers. In the school library there are very few series I buy past book five or so, I think this would be similar.

EL(K-3), EL  – OPTIONAL.  Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Treat by Mary Sullivan -OPTIONAL

Sullivan, Mary Treat Houghton Mifflin Harcourt , 2016.  $14.99.  PICTURE BOOK
This picture book features only a single word used over and over “Treat”. That is because there is a family dog who is obsessed with treats. After he pesters everyone in the family for treats, will one family member learn the lesson and give the dog a special treat? Illustrations are harmonious and told in a light comic book format.
Anyone who has a dog knows that this is probably the single word in their dogs head as well. But even as a dog owner myself, I thought the repetitiveness was annoying after a while. The art is adorable and could easily work for pre-k,or a gift for a dog lover, but I probably wouldn’t at it to my school library.

Pre-K, EL(K-3) – OPTIONAL Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.