Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Splat the Cat Makes Dad Glad by Rob Scotton –ADVISABLE

Scotton, Rob  Splat the Cat Makes Dad Glad 32 pgs. HarperCollins, 2014. $16.99. Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G Violence: G. EARLY READER
Splats dad is sad and Splat is determined to cheer him up. He learns about a contest at the Cat School Picnic and decides that winning that with his dad would cheer him up. So Splat practices with his little mouse friend Seymour. When it comes time for the daddy/son contest, things don’t go quite as planned. Will Splat go splat?
Splat is pretty popular at my school library –so any read from this series would go over well. The plot is fairly cute and the lesson is nice. I think students will enjoy the accidents that Splat has. The artwork is fairly good,  not my favorite art style. I didn't like the attempt to have a rhyming scheme to the story, since words that were awkward had to be used in order to not break the rhyme. For example the word Lad. Ugh.

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

The School of Nonsense (Ernest and Rebecca Book #5) BY Guilluame Bianco –NO

Bianco, Guillaume The School of Nonsense (Ernest and Rebecca Book #5)48 pgs. Papercutz, 2014. $12.99. Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G Violence: G. GRAPHIC NOVEL
Rebecca is a six year old girl who was sick and made a very special friend named Ernest. He is a microbe. But now she is healthy and he has disappeared. When a bad virus attacks the school, Rebecca does her best to fend it off, but really wishes Ernest would come back. In the meantime she is worried about her Grandpa who is sick. Her big sister has a secret admirer and they have been texting back and forth.
As book #5 in the series, this one is definitely built on the past books, so this is not a read-alone. I don’t know what to make of the age recommendation, the main character is 6 years old but the vocabulary and the plot lines that involve older characters don’t mesh well with that, so I decided on the middle ground, middle school. I found myself annoyed by the main character. I thought the microbe thing was confusing. I thought Rebecca’s school teacher was a bit creepy. The artwork is adorable and bright and fun but that’s not enough for me to recommend this read.

MS?– NOT RECOMMENDED Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Worse Things Happen at Sea! A Tale of Pirates, Poison, and Monsters by Alan Snow - ADVISABLE

Snow, Alan.  Worse Things Happen at Sea! A Tale of Pirates, Poison, and Monsters.  332 pages.  Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2013.  $17.99.  Language: G.  Adult content: G.  Violence: G.  Author/illustrator Alan Snow concocts an unforgettable, zany pirate tale with plenty of cheese.  The Ratbridge Nautical Laundry, a rat-pirate ship that cleans and starches clothes, is in trouble when they are sued by someone who saw drying underwear on the rigging.  Arthur’s grandfather owns the ship and is very sick.  Arthur takes his grandfather to a doctor who gives out his special medicine, Black Jollop, for free.  Grandfather is immediately better, but the doctor is out of Black Jollop and needs to sail off to find the secret ingredient.  Arthur and his boxtroll, Fish, stowaway and have an exciting adventure including: mechanical monsters, poison, and forbidden cheese.  The ink illustrations abound with quirky personality and whimsical personality.  A fun read that will have boys asking “Arrrghhh there anymore?”

EL/MS: ADVISABLE.  Samantha Hastings, MA, MLS.

My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish: The Seaquel (Book #2) by Mo O’Hara –OPTIONAL

O’Hara, Mo My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish: The Seaquel (Book #2) 208 pgs. Feiwel & Friends, 2014. $12.99. Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G Violence: G.
(Please note that Sequel is spelled Seaquel for fun on this title. Not a spelling error.)
Tom is still Frankie the Zombie Goldfish’s owner and guardian. Tom is excited to go on a family vacation to the ocean, but there is a sign by the lighthouse that says that an evil eel lives there. Tom’s brother Mark, the Evil Scientist wants to catch it. Frankie and the Evil Eel might end up facing off.  When Mark tries to mess with Tom’s school play of Robin Hood, Frankie is going to have to swim in.
Again, a great cover. This book was actually a bit better than the first, less confusing because the plotline was focused in more. The illustrations are ironically cute as they illustrate analogies in the text as well as plot elements. There was much less ‘morons’ and other mean talk from the older brother in this one as well. This second book was more readable and fun, but I don’t think it could function as a stand alone, since students will be confused about how the goldfish became the way he is.
EL – OPTIONAL Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish (Book #1) by Mo O’Hara –OPTIONAL

O’Hara, Mo  My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish (Book #1) 198 pgs. Feiwel & Friends, 2013. $12.99. Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G Violence: PG.
Tom’s big brother, Mark decides to become an evil scientist. Tom is horrified, especially when Mark decides to experiment on a poor goldfish. He puts a toxic mix in its fishbowl and it dies. Tom and his best friend bring it back to life with a battery. But the fish, Frankie, is different –smarter and capable of hypnotizing people. He is out for revenge and when Mark and his friend cause big trouble at Tom’s school –Frankie might just be able to get what he wants and help Tom too.
The cover of this book is incredibly appealing, especially for reluctant readers. I found the story a bit harsh, lots of degrading language from the big brother, introduction of the concept of harming one’s pet, and lots of violence. The story gets more crazy and convoluted as it goes on, and I felt totally uninterested. The character of the best friends little sister is so annoying that I couldn't bear to read her catch phrase one more time. I wouldn't add this to my school library, but its no worse than captain underpants.

EL – OPTIONAL Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

McElligot's Pool by Dr. Seuss-ESSENTIAL

Seuss McElligot’s Pool. PICTURE BOOK Random House Children’s Books, 2014. $17.99.  Winner of a 1948 Caldecott Award, this Dr. Seuss book is still a favorite.  Marco is accused of being a fool when he tries to catch fish in McElligot’s Pool.  “I’ve been here three hours without one single bite, there might be not fish… but, again, well, there MIGHT!” Marco then goes on an imaginative adventure guessing what MIGHT be in the pool “cause you never can tell what goes on down below!”  In the end of the story Marco explains that the sea is full of so many fish that if he is patient, he might get his wish.  The story is positive and uplifting with a great message for young readers.  The illustrations are bright and bold and classic to what only Seuss can produce.  EL (K-3). EL. ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: SL.   

I Can Read: It's Valentine's Day by Jack Prelutsky-ADVISABLE

Prelutsky, Jack It’s Valentine’s Day. PICTURE BOOK. Content: G. Jack Prelutsky has written and published 14 fun poems about Valentine’s Day in this great “I Can Read” independent reader.  The words are silly and easy to read. “I made my dog a valentine, she sniffed it very hard, then chewed on it a little while and left it in the yard!” With poems about teachers, best friends, cakes and mailboxes, and more there is a poem that will interest all readers.  The poems are sweet and funny with detailed illustrations by Marylin Hafner. This book could be used in a unit on poetry or Valentine's Day celebration. EL (K-3). ADVISABLE. Reviewer: SL.