Saturday, July 14, 2007

Picture Books for fun and profit

Matthews, Tina Out of the Egg PICTURE BOOK Houghton Mifflin – Every thinks they know the story of the Little Red Hen – but do you know what happened next? The Red Hen learns an important lesson from her own chick in this artfully done continuation of the classic. The Japanese wood block prints work just right to illustrate this story. Any elementary school and other schools with Teacher Advisory programs need to add this to their collections. EL, MS – ADVISABLE

Noyes, Deborah When I Met the Wolf Girls, illustrated by August Hall PICTURE BOOK Houghton Mifflin – One day, a missionary brings two feral little girls to his orphanage in the jungles of India. Seen through the eyes of one of the other charges, the adults attempt to “domesticate” the girls with love and kindness. The haunting story will be loved by elementary students; the illustrations, done in acrylic by a master of Disney, Pixar and ILM, delight the eye. EL – ADVISABLE

Lehman, Barbara Rainstorm Mifflin – Trapped in the house during a rainy day, a young boy finds a key that leads him to a different place and new friends. Told without words, the watercolor, gouache and ink illustrations lead you on a marvelous journey to friendship. Wordless books are a wonderful tool for prediction and narration for younger and older students. This particular title will be well loved. EL, MS – ADVISABLE

Pickering, Jimmy Skelly the Skeleton Girl, PICTURE BOOK Simon and Schuster – A little skeleton girl finds a mysterious bone and sets off to find its owner. My macabre predilections may be showing through, but this quick read with its funky, mixed media illustrations is the kind of book my own children and I would read through many times. This is definitely a book to buy and one that will be reread during Halloween time or any time at all. EL – ESSENTIAL


Summer reading keeps rolling along

Meyer, Kai Pirate Emperor, 298 p. McElderry (Simon and Schuster) – Jolly and Griffin have survived one danger and find themselves on an island with a madman, building a bridge into nothingness. A bridge leading the two straight into more danger. Another narrow escape, with the help of the Ghost Trader, who leads them to a fantastic city of coral, where they are reunited with their friends Munk and Princess Soledad. Everyone knows what must be done, but everyone seems to have other priorities, which lead only into more danger. Swashbuckling and rollicking are two perfect worlds to describe the second of the Wave Walker series. This is actually a better book than the first. EL, MS – ADVISABLE

Beddor, Frank Seeing Redd, 384 p. Dial (Penguin) – Since she defeated her evil Aunt Redd, Alyss Heart, queen of Wonderland, has tried to find time for herself amongst the hustle and bustle of rebuilding an entire land. However, Arch, king of a neighboring land, has other things in mind for Alyss, none of which include peace. Outright lies, subtle deceptions and vicious attacks take center stage in the latest Wonderland book. Quite dark and utterly fascinating with a completely gorgeous cover that will inspire many a Halloween costume, if I am not mistaken. MS, HS – ESSENTIAL

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Keep up with me folks!


And here are some more reviews!!! The summer book pile had been great so far.

Kemp, Kristen Breakfast at Bloomingdale’s, 304 p. Scholastic – Cat (not her real name) has come to New York and remade herself after the death of her beloved grandmother. Lying through her teeth, she talks her way into a class for brilliant teen clothing designers destines to enter New York’s most prestigious contest for her age group. But in order to get what she wants, she also has to come to terms with all that she left behind: an ex-boyfriend, an emotionally absent mother and too many memories of her Nina. Cat’s clothing brilliance is not going to be enough, necessarily, to win the day. About a dozen swear words are the only thing that mar this otherwise perfect novel, tailor-made for the Project Runway crowd. And I must say it is a refreshing change from the current slew of novels about teens who only want to wear or market the clothes that this group of teens will create. And a passing nod to one of my favorite blogs (www.dressaday.com) doesn’t hurt! MS – OPTIONAL, HS – ADVISABLE


Lubar, David True Talents, 320 p. TOR – As Trash starts to wake, he finds himself in the midst of a nightmare – kidnapped and held prisoner as someone experiments with his power to moves objects telekinetically. A narrow escape only leads him into more danger. Somehow he needs the help of the rest of his group of friends from Edgeview Alternative – Cheater, Lucky, Flinch, Torch and Martin. And they will need his help too, as the evil which captured Trash discovers their potential also. In plot, in dialogue. in writing and in sheer genius, this sequel to Hidden Talents far outstrips the original. Which is saying a lot, because the original is SOOO AWESOME! I am so glad that Lubar waited for the exact perfect inspiration before he wrote a sequel (unlike Sachar and the disappointing Small Steps), because I just can’t say enough good things about this book. Thank you for another masterpiece! EL, MS - ESSENTIAL


Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker The Lacemaker and the Princess, 196 p. Simon and Schuster – On an errand for her grandmother, a lacemaker, Isabelle catches the eye of Marie Anoinette, the Queen of France, and finds herself becoming the playmate of the queen’s daughter. Together, with Ernestine, Therese’s other companion, she learns the life of a royal and sometimes has difficulty going back to the hard life she comes from – the demands that her mother and grandmother make on her are the ordinary demands of life for a peasant of the time, but its some much easier to pretend to be a princess. Her brother George, who works in the palace stable, warns her that changes are coming, but Isabelle doesn’t want to see. Set in the few months leading up to the French Revolution, it is a wonder to see the events through Isabelle’s and George’s eyes. Bradley is just as skilled as Carolyn Meyer in her weaving of historical fiction. This would be a great read aloud if a teacher spends any time at all looking at these events. EL, MS – ADVISABLE

Yancey, Rick Alfred Kropp: The Seal of Solomon, 336 p. Bloomsbury – Alfred Kropp is kidnapped right out of the wretched foster home he is currently existing in. You would think a young man who controls a billion dollar corporation could do better for himself. But being dragged around the world to face demons released from hell is better than listen to his foster father plot to control his money any day. With the best intentions, Albert continues to do right by messing everything and everyone up. His dogged perseverance and unassuming personality help this book shine. However, it and its companion book still win the prize for ugliest cover, so you will have to direct students to it – they won’t pick it up on their own, unfortunately. Kropp is a lovely antidote or “Harry-it is”. MS – ESSENTIAL


Summer book-tastic

There's no such thing as book review overload. I have read some fantastic books so far this summer and want to share as much as I can! You should pick some of these up and read then for yourself!

Rayban, Chloe Hollywood Bliss My Life So Far, 288 pgs. Bloomsbury. Language- PG; Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; Hollywoodand having everything they do in the news. I loved this book. I the "inside" look showed you what a celebrity’s life is like, being followed everywhere all of the time. It was written really well, and it kept your attention the whole way through it. It had a surprising amount of action for how small it looks. MS-ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: KD

Delaney, Joseph Night of the Soul Stealer, 512 p. Greenwillow (Harper) – Tom Ward is headed to the Spook’s winter house to show the creepy crawlies that someone is there to defy them. The pair leaves Alice behind, but close, at a neighboring farm. The trio will have to work together to conquer the baddies in this installment of The Last Apprentice series, including a necromancer, feral lamia witches and a demon called forth by evil rituals. Another spine-tingling effort by Mr. Delaney. Dark and foreboding on every page. I definitely want more titles from this series, though I kind of hope that a little more time (novel time) passes before the next title begins. I hope you already own the other titles in the series! MS – ESSENTIAL

Frederick, Heather Vogel The Mother-Daughter Book Club, 245 p. Simon and Schuster – To their extreme embarrassment, their mothers have created an exclusive book club for themselves, Emma, Jess, Megan and Cassidy. Emma and Jess are best friends; Emma and Megan used to be best friends (until Megan joined the sixth grade’s groups of queen bees); Cassidy is the jocky new girl from California. Together the group is supposed to read Little Women, penned by one of their town’s famous resident authors. And somewhere along the way, the girls may reach a meeting of the minds, as they all try to work through life’s challenges. The chapters are well crafted as they follow the plot through a different girl’s point of view. The problems are pretty typical, which the novel that much more meaningful to its readers. And there will be lots of readers. Its hard to remember the characters are only sixth graders and I don’t think that will stop older readers. Adult readers will enjoy the Louisa May Alcott tidbits. Perfect for fans of Cathy Cassidy! EL, MS – ADVISABLE

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Wicked new fantasy


Marr, Melissa Wicked Lovely, 328 p. Harper - Aislinn’s grandmother has drummed the rules about faeries into her head all of her life. Unfortunately, two particular faeries are forcing her to break every single rule. Keenan, the King of the Summer Faeries has decided that Aislinn is destined to be his bride, even though Aislinn is in love with her best friend, Seth. Donia, the Winter Girl, is supposed to keep Aislinn from believing Keenan, but in her cold heart, she wants him for herself. And Keenan’s mother, the Winter Queen doesn’t want anyone to be happy. Rules and lives will be rearranged before this one is over. How can I not love a book that mentions Clare Dunkle, one of my favorite authors, within its pages. Readers of Stephanie Meyer, lovers of elves and faeries will love this one, too. I don’t really understand the presence of six swear words (TWO of them “f”), because otherwise the book is so well crafted, it is almost impossible to put down. Kind of reminds me of Charles DeLint’s Blue Girl. HS – ESSENTIAL, MS – ADVISABLE