Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Walsh, Ellen Stoll Mouse Count (Cuenta de Ratón). Houghton Mifflin, 1991 (2009). $11.99. BOARD BOOK. BILINGUAL. Ten little mice are curled up for a nap when a hungry snake comes by to count them up and eat them for lunch. Quickly the mice must distract the snake and uncount themselves. A little bit scary and for a counting book, but the danger is short lived! Pre K-K – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Moeyaert, Bart Dani Bennoni: Long May he Live, 93 p. Front Street, 2008 (2004). Sexual Content: PG-13. Language: PG. Translated from the original Flemish. Bing is home, without his big brother Mone who has been drafted in to the Belgian army in 1939. When Bing tries to get the local soccer star to teach him how to play, so that he can play with Mone when he returns, Dani refuses and Bing decides to get revenge – ultimately setting up the revealing of the secret that Bing thought he held over Dani’s head. This novel is more obscure than it is illuminating or entertaining. NO. Cindy, Library-Teacher.
Fusilli, Jim Marley Z and the Bloodstained Violin, 164 pgs. Penguin Group Inc., 2008. Language-G, Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; Marley finds herself in the middle of another mystery when a police arrives and accuses her friend of stealing the famous Habishaw violin. She sets out to figure out who is behind this. This is a very interesting book. It definitely keeps you thinking. I like the location that they put this; they came up with some very cool characters as well. EL, MS -ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: MB.
Sutherland, Tui T. Kingdom of Twilight, 344 p. EOS (Harper), 2008. Diana has been betrayed and stabbed by one of the other avatars. Now she is stuck in the underworlds (all of them) and is trying to find her way back to the real world. The other avatars have headed off to Africa in order to escape from the gods pursuing them and hopefully also a healer for Diana. None of them are trying to think of the final outcome – that only one avatar is supposed to survive and take on all of the power of the gods. This is an odd little series – and I’m not sure I really like the titles or covers – but the overarching concept has been a lot of fun to read and enjoy. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher
Rockwell, Anne Big George: How a Shy Boy Became President Washington, illustrated by Matt Phelan. Harcourt (Houghton), 2009. $17.00. PICTURE BOOK. 300 years ago, George Washington was a shy young boy being raised by his adult half brother. He educated himself and traveled with Lawrence, his brother – and when the French-Indian Wars began, he answered the call of the King of England. This picture book is not about any one specific incident in Washington’s life, but instead uses simple language to cover the panoply of his life – from a young age until his years as the President. There’s almost enough material here for a younger student to write a biography from – a teacher could certainly use it for a unit in class. EL – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher
Barber, Alison The Little Green Pea, illustrated by Paige Keiser. Sleeping Bear Press, 2009. $15.95. PICTURE BOOK. A little green pea dreams of growing into something big, but he needs the help of a wiggly worm to get to a place where he might have a chance. As much as I liked the illustrations in this book, the text mystified me. It seems to imply that the peas had a chance to grow into a tree, or maybe it was just saying that the pea became fertilizer for a real tree. Either way, the ending fell flat for me. NO. Cindy, Library-Teacher.
McGill, Alice Molly Bannaky, illustrated by Chris K. Soenpiet. Sandpiper (Houghton), 1999 (paperback 2009). $6.99. PICTURE BOOK. At the age of 17, Molly Walsh was sentenced to seven years indentured servitude in the New World for twice allowing a cow to kick over her pail of milk. In the New World, Molly served her time, cleared herself some land and bought a slave, Bannacky, whom she later married and with whom she raised a small family. In time, her grandson Benjamin Banneker became a learned man, a scientist and a mathematician. It is nice to discover true stories of courageous women and men from a time where history seems to try to tell us that every black was stupid and women were only fit to be ruled by their men. EL – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
In today’s world of an all volunteer military, the draft doesn’t stir up the sense of fear that it once did. During both World Wars and Vietnam our country has drafted men to build their military. This meant that if your draft number came up, you stopped your life and became a soldier. . . . and sometimes you didn’t come home.
Ellie adores her older brother. He makes her feel special and important in a way no one else does. Then one day he receives a telegram calling him to service. Ellie’s world is shaken, but she is sure he will be back by Christmas. She lives for his letters and is so proud of the star hanging in her window that tells everyone he is serving his country. Then one day their family receives the dreaded telegram telling them that her beloved Jimmy has died.
This novel is a poignant yet sweet story of a young girl growing up in war time and how she deals with the worst news any family could get. Nicely done.
Upper EL/MS ADVISABLE Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Librarian
Elwell, Peter Adios Oscar: A Butterfly Fable. Blue Sky Press (Scholastic), 2009. $16.99. PICTURE BOOK. Oscar the caterpillar is certain that he will turn into a butterfly that migrates to Mexico, so he studies hard and works on his Espanol. When he emerges from his cocoon as a moth, however, he is somewhat disappointed until his best friend Edna reminds him that he can be a moth that thinks like a butterfly. Oscar is a pretty adorable caterpillar and it is fun to watch him realize his dream. EL – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher
Potter, Alicia Fritz Danced the Fandango, illustrated by Ethan Long. Scholastic, 2009. $16.99. PICTURE BOOK. Fritz the Goat sets out to find other goats who might dance the fandango with him, but instead finds his place with a yodeling sheep and a herd dog with a glockenspiel. The simple, bright line drawings fit this tale perfectly; I’m so glad Fritz found some friends and children will be too. EL, - OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher
Scaletta, Kurtis Mudville, 264 p. Knopf (Random House), 2009. Moundville ahs been known as Mudville for longer than Roy, 12, has been alive. Why? Because the rain has not stop since the dramatic postponement of the big baseball game 22 years ago. Then one day, soon after Roy acquires a foster brother, the rain stops – and no one is sure what to do. Except the kids, who know that it is time to resurrect the old ball field and start up their own game. This book would be much better without the last two pages – I just don’t understand the need. EL – OPTIONAL.
Kudlinski, Kathleen V. Boy, Were We Wrong About the Solar System! Illustrated by John Rocco. Dutton (Penguin), 2008. $15.98. PICTURE BOOK. With bright, funky pictures, Kudlinski and Rocco explore the different ways that our views about space have changed through the centuries. A simple timeline in the back fills in the details that were not in the text – just enough information without being pedantic. Any science classroom could easily use this picture book to talk about the importance of discovery, technology and the changing understanding of our world and solar system. EL, MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Everyone–ESSENTIAL Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Haarsma, P.J. Wormhole Pirates on Orbis 3 (Softwire #3), 378 p. Johnny and the others are moving on to Orbis 3. But this time they are not slaves – they have a guardian and are going to school with the children of the citizens. The citizens don’t like it much, but they have no choice, especially when Johnny and the others have the highest test scores in the history of Orbis 3, beating the pants off the “regular” students. Entertainment here revolves around Lyld-den-oo, a game that the space kids know as Quest-Nest. Johnny and a few others will be drawn into a life-or-death version of the game, at the mercy of a group of wormhole pirates, one of which seems to have a personal vendetta against Johnny. This kind of space novel is more for hardcore space fans, a much smaller audience than your fantasy readers. I like Johnny and his friends, but you will have to point students at it. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher
Downing, Erin Drive Me Crazy, 210 p. Simon Pulse, 2009. $6.99. Content: G. Kate is ready for a summer road trip with her best friends, especially since the prize at the end is being reunited with Lucas, her summer love from last year. Unfortunately, she must share the ride with Adam, Alexis’s sarcastic cousin, who rubs Katie the wrong way. The road to true love is never smooth – and maybe the destination is not what Katie thinks. I can’t get enough of the Romantic Comedies series. Cute and funny and well worth buying. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher
Dee, Barbara Solving Zoe, 223 p. Margaret K. McElderry (Simon), $15.99. Content: G. Zoe doesn’t have the showy talents of her siblings or even of her other friends at her exclusive performing arts school. But an eccentric new student arrives, sure that Zoe does have a special talent, and his antics push Zoe away from her friends and almost out of school all together. Zoe can’t survive on daydreaming her way through school any more – now she has to engage and decide where she actually wants to be. Unfortunately, this book is not as charming as Dee’s Just Another Day… book. Zoe and her friends are so far removed from most kids’ school experiences that this will have a harder time finding an audience. MS – OPTIONAL.
Howell, Frank The Art of Frank Howell, text by Michael French. 150 p. Doubleday (Random House), 1997. $35.00. While he is Native American and the subjects of his paintings are Native American, Frank Howell is not a niche artist. This beautiful book explores a large number of Howell’s works and his history, his triumphs and his struggles with his art. Schools with an intense art program or with a Native American bent should add this to their collections. HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.
Young, Judy Minnow and Rose: An Oregon Trail Story, illustrated by Bill Farnsworth. Sleeping Bear Press, 2009. $17.95. PICTURE BOOK. Minnow, a Native American girl is fascinated by Rose a white girl, who is in return drawn to Minnow. The girls need each other when there is trouble as Rose’s family gets help from Minnow’s tribe as they ford their wagons across a wide river. Young’s fictional account of two little girls from different lives meeting provides a nice counter balance to later stories of war and mutual destruction along the Oregon Trail. EL – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.
Collard, Sneed B. III The Prairie Builders: Reconstructing America’s Lost Grasslands, 69 p. Houghton Mifflin, 2005. $8.95. PICTURE BOOK (now in paper). By the early 1900’s, 96% of America’s tallgrass prairie had been plowed under. In 1992 , scientists in Iowa embarked on a bold experiment to recreate the flora and fauna of the tallgrass prairie and create from scratch a new ecosystem. The amount of detail makes this book best for the teacher, who can then extract what they want to share with their classes – or as a primer for a class/school butterfly garden project – the more long term the better. The pictures are beautiful and inspiring! EL, MS - OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Emberley, Rebecca, Adrian and Ed There Was an Old Monster. Orchard (Scholastic), 2009. $16.99. PICTURE BOOK. In the tradition of the old woman who swallowed a fly, join a monster who tries to get rid of a tick he swallowed with larger and larger creatures. Not just for Halloween – young students will enjoy the increasing creepiness as the monster tries harder and harder to rid himself of the original pest! Now we just need a hand puppet for the read aloud! EL – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher
Beck, Ian Pastworld, 320 p. Bloomsbury, November 2009. $16.99. Violence: PG-13. Caleb is visiting Pastworld for the first time with his father, one of the original creators of the project – a restoration of the entire city of London to its Victorian past. There is enough danger on the means streets of the step back into the past, but the reappearance of the Fantom, a creature who seems to be a reincarnation of Jack the Ripper, means that Caleb is personally in danger. When he meets Eve, a lifelong resident of the park, the two of them together are the catalyst to the final confrontation. At times I was thoroughly absorbed in that plot at others I couldn’t tear my eyes away because it read like a train wreck – the fluctuations in quality were very disconcerting. It Probably need another 50 pages to flesh things out. HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher
Watt, Melanie Scaredy Squirrel at Night. Kids Can Press, 2009. $16.95. PICTURE BOOK. Scaredy Squirrel illustrates the important reasons for a good night’s sleep as our friend tries to stay awake in order to avoid scary dreams. This cute picture book makes the point brilliantly – and would be great for children of many ages. The Teen Living teacher will be using it at my school! EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.
Kovac, Tommy Wonderland, illustrated by Sonny Liew, 160 p. Disney Press, 2009. $19.99. GRAPHIC NOVEL. Alice has left Wonderland, but now Mary Ann, the White Rabbit’s maid has returned from her errands and must protect her employer from the wrath of the Queen of Heats, who wants to know who betrayed her. Originally published as five comic books and now gathered together. The illustrations are beautiful! And it’s all pretty funny. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher.
Lincoln, Abraham The Gettysburg Address, illustrated by Michael McCurdy. Houghton, 1995 (reissued 2009). $14.95. PICTURE BOOK. The Gettysburg Address is actually a very short speech that Lincoln gave at the dedication of the Soldiers’ Cemetery at Gettysburg. Michael McCurdy has paired powerful black and white drawings with Lincoln’s words to create a book well worth sharing with any unit on Lincoln, the Civil War or war in general. EL, MS, HS - ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher
Lechner, Jack Mary Had a Little Lamp, illustrated by Bob Staake. Bloomsbury, 2008. $15.95. PICTURE BOOK. An eccentric girl named Mary carries her favorite lamp with her wherever she goes. The rhyme and meter of the story doesn’t really fit the well-known song, but the vibrant pictures are fun and Mary is delightfully odd. EL – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Lucas, David The Robot and the Bluebird. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007. $16.95. PICTURE BOOK. A robot who is sure that his heart is broken, finds purpose in helping a bird who is late starting on its trip to the south. I actually didn’t expect to be so touched by this little book, but it reminds me of the Giving Tree. Sweet, without being sickly! EL – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher
Jenkins, Steve Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea. Houghton, 2009. $17.00. PICTURE BOOK. Using cut-paper art, the author dramatically illustrates the variety of life at the differet depths of the ocean – from above to surface to the depths of the Marianas Trench. While just the words on each page would make this a valuable book for sharing with any class, there is even more information at the back of the book. EL, MS, HS - ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher