Friday, August 26, 2016

Rookie of the Year by Phil Bildner - ESSENTIAL

Bildner, Phil Rookie of the Year, Illustrated by Tim Probert, 254 pages. Farrar Straus Giroux. 2016. $15.99. Language: G (0  swears, 0 "f"); Mature Content: G; Violence: G; 

Rip and Red are on top of the world as they enter fifth grade. They are excited to have the best teacher and rule the basketball court once again! They quickly realize that their year, on and off the court, will be turned upside down when Tiki, a spunky and charismatic girl, moves in. Join their adventure and find out the lessons they learn! 

Rookie of the Year is the perfect book for basketball fans and a great sequel to A Whole New Ballgame! Rip and Red are great friends that hook readers right from the beginning. Their basketball games are described play-by-play in a way that any basketball reader is sure to enjoy! 

EL - ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Amy, Elementary Teacher.

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey - ESSENTIAL

Pilkey, Dav Dog Man, 220 pages. GRAPHIC NOVEL.  Scholastic. 2016. $7.99. Language: G (0 swears, 0 "f"); Mature Content: G; Violence: G; 

Dog Man's character was created when a police man and his dog had a terrible accident. The only way to save both of them was to sew the head of the dog onto the body of the police officer. With this turn of events, Dog Man can now still act like a man or a dog. It sure comes in handy in different situations he finds himself in as a cop! 

Dog Man is action packed and hilarious! The illustration flip pages throughout are fun and engaging. This new graphic novel series is written by the same author as Captain Underpants and is sure to be hit! It's one that kids will want to read over and over again. Dog Man Unleased is set to be released January 3, 2017. 

EL - ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Amy, Elementary Teacher.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

My Weird School Fast Facts Sports by Dan Gutman - ADVISABLE

Gutman, Dan My Weird School Fast Facts Sports, 170 pages. NON-FICTION.   HarperCollins. 2016. $5.99. Language: G (0 swears, 0 "f"); Mature Content: G; Violence: G; 

Without even realizing it, kids will learn weird and fascinating facts about sports. Professor A.J. and Andrea playfully banter back and forth while teaching fascinating facts. Each chapter talks about a new sport from Basketball and football to the olympics. This is a great book to add to your My Weird School collection. It introduces nonfiction facts in a unique and interesting way that will catch the attention of young readers and sports fans. 

EL- ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Amy, Elementary Teacher.

Of Better Blood by Susan Moger - OPTIONAL

Moger, Susan Of Better Blood 285 pages.  Albert Whitman and Company, 2016.  Language:  G (0 swears); Mature Content: R (human sterilization); Violence: R (murder).

It is 1922, and Rowan Collier, 16, has lost the use of one of her legs to polio.  Her disability is a shame to her wealthy, high-bred father, who has abandoned her to institutional care.  While there, she is selected to act out a role in the “Unfit Family Show”, a scripted play illustrating the uselessness of the “unfit” and promoting societal acceptance of forced sterilization of the feeble, disabled, and mentally ill.  Rowan makes a best friend, Dorchy, and they contrive a plan to run away together.  But the organization Dorchy works for tracks them down, and ultimately they go to work as camp counselors on an island in which there are mysterious medical practices afoot.  An influenza outbreak at the camp could mean real peril for both campers and counselors, but not for the reasons you may think.

I applaud this story for exposing the warped beliefs (now completely discredited by genetic science) of the eugenics movement that was gaining general support in the 20th century.  The author gets carried away and takes things to an unbelievable level in the second half of the book, which I feel detracts greatly.  The book toggles back and forth between present time and reminiscences, and there are some puzzling scenes and characters that don’t have enough depth or explanation.  We get more description of the smell of the seaside than we do some of the characters.

HS – OPTIONAL         Reviewer: JA, High School Librarian 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Love Is My Favorite Thing by Emma Chichester Clark-ADVISABLE

Clark, Emma Chichester Love Is My Favorite Thing.  Penguin Young Readers Group, 2015. $16.99. PICTURE BOOK.  Plum is a beloved family dog who not only loves her family, but they in turn love her. Most days, Plum is a very obedient little dog.  But some days her exuberance gets in the way and chasing birds in the pond, or playing tug of war with a favorite child’s blanket causes her to hear the dreaded words, “VERY BAD GIRL!”.  When Plum is sent to “time out” and sits in the darkness of a room all alone, she wonders, “Would they ever love me again?” When her family comes to retrieve her and show her all the love and kindness in the world, Plum knows that everything will be just fine.  She tries from that day on to behave.  She still makes mistakes. But she knows that they love her in spite of her mistakes and that is why “LOVE IS HER FAVORITE THING”. The illustrations are detailed and so much fun.  The story line is easy to follow and very familiar to anyone who has pets and children.  This is a great book that could spark discussion about behavior, discipline and most importantly, love.  ADVISABLE. Pre-K.  EL (K-3).  Reviewer: SL.

The Opposite Zoo by Il Sung Na- ADVISABLE

Na, Il Sung The Opposite Zoo. Random House Children's Books, 2016. $19.99. PICTURE BOOK. With stunning illustrations and few words, Il Sung Na presents a magical walk through The Opposite Zoo to explore not only different animals, but also a fun way to introduce opposites to little ones. The tall giraffe vs the short pig, the hairy lion vs the bald hippo.  The illustrations bring the zoo animals to life. The story begins at the end of a zoo day when the gates are closed to the public and a monkey escapes in order to explore the other animals.  The story ends as the sun comes up, the monkey is back in her cage and a day of exploration and fun begins for spectators to view the zoo animals.  This great book could be used in a classroom teaching animals or opposites. ADVISABLE.  Pre-K.  EL (K-3). Reviewer: SL. 

Pedro and George by Delphine Perret- ADVISABLE

Perret, Delphine Pedro and George. Antheneum Books for Young Readers, 2015. $17.99. PICTURE BOOK. Can you tell the difference between a crocodile and an alligator? This adorable book will not only entertain you, but will give you information to help differentiate between the two.  Pedro is a crocodile.  George is an alligator.  Everyone confuses George as a crocodile and he is not only hurt by being mislabeled, he is a little fed up that people don’t know the difference. Pedro convinces George that children are to blame for the misunderstanding between the two and together Pedro and George set out to make things right.  This is a fun book with interesting font and black and white colored pages with a little splash of color.  The story is easy to follow and will interest little ones.  The ending of the book has a cute and unexpected twist.  ADVISABLE. Pre-K.  EL (K-3).  Reviewer: SL 

The Last Monster by Gonger Garrett - ESSENTIAL

Garrett, Ginger The Last Monster, 296 pgs. Delacorte Press, 2016. $16.99. Language G; Mature Content G; Violence PG.

Monsters: who needs them right?  Apparently society does.  Sofia has been battling cancer and how she sees herself.  A middle schooler, Sofia is given an ancient book that makes her the guardian of monsters. Can she handle the monsters?  Can she handle the truth?  Sofia has to make some big choices in her life.  

Okay, I’ll admit the cover didn’t do much for me and I put this book off.  At the first of the book, Sofia is such a downer I wanted to shake her even though she is going through a lot.  She is definitely a flawed character.  But then the book of monsters changes everything.  There are many frameable quotes from this book and a lot to ponder.  Is Sofia more afraid of living or dying?  This book could be read in layers, like an onion, or like Shrek.  I ended up loving it and the life lessons behind it.  I’m thinking that kids, especially middle school girls could identify with Sofia and learn from her. 

EL/MS-ESSENTIAL.  Michelle in the Middle