Monday, May 30, 2011

The Unidentified by Rae Mariz - OPTIONAL


Mariz, Rae The Unidentified, 296 p. Balzer + Bray (Harper), 2010.  Mature Content: G.  Violence: PG, Language: PG-13 (43 swears, 0 ‘f’).  $17.  Kid, 15, is kind of stuck in her advancement through The Game – the corporate-sponsored replacement for public schools after so many economies collapsed and public entities couldn’t afford to fund them any more.  Then comes the day when she is shocked out of her apathy, when an anonymous group of students play a prank that makes her think.  Now, suddenly, Kid is the object of much speculation – by corporate sponsors who suddenly brand her an “It” girl and get her to sign away her identity, to former friends who turn their backs on her and new friends who are probably looking for ways to use her.  Mariz’s premise is very interesting, especially because so many schools use mild corporate sponsorship in one form or another already, but it is definitely written for teens, without a lot of depth or exploration of the issues, relying more on action and rushing to the end.  HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Gibbus Mooney Wants to Bite You! by Leslie Muir - ESSENTIAL


Muir, Leslie Gibbus Mooney Wants to Bite You! Illustrated by Jen Corace.  Simon, 2011.  When Gibbus Mooney’s grown-up fangs start showing, he gets a little itchy – and even though he is a fruit-eating vampire, he has the urge for some neck-biting.  On his search for the perfect neck, he meets another little boy he teaches him something important about biting.  I love Gibbus and I love his anti-biting message.  What a great way to talk to children about not biting without being preachy! EL (K-3), Pre-K – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Break and Enter by Norah McClintock - ADVISABLE


McClintock, Norah Break and Enter, 212 p. Kane Miller, 2011.  $5.99.  Content: G.  Mr. Lawry has a bone to pick with Chloe and someone is using that tension to make matters worse – going so far as to frame Chloe for murder.  Add in Davis, a cocky transplant from Toronto who hates everything about small town East Hastings, including everything to do with the school newspaper and Chloe is not destined for an easy time.  In order to clear her name and solve the murder, Chloe will have to put herself into danger again.  MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Dark Life by Kat Falls - ADVISABLE


Falls, Kat Dark Life, 297 p. Scholastic, 2010.  $7.  Violence: PG.  Ty has lived his whole life in the deep ocean.  The adults don’t know it, but living here has given Ty some special gifts – dark gifts.  When the Seablite Gang and their ruthless leader Shade attack his neighbors’ homestead, the land-based government forces the colonists to hunt the Gang on their own or they will lose their charters.  And Gemma, a topsider who is afraid of the ocean is major distraction to Ty, because she needs his help to look for her brother.  Falls has created a well thought out world under the water and the fast-paced narrative leaves you only a little time to enjoy the scenery.  EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Squish Rabbit by Katherine Battersby - OPTIONAL


Battersby, Katherine Squish Rabbit.  Viking (Penguin), 2011.  $13.  PICTURE BOOK.  Squish is just a little rabbit who doesn’t have any friends to play with.  His friend he made himself is only entertaining for a little while, but Squish doesn’t know what to do until he finds an unlikely prospective companion.  I like the author’s multi-media illustrations and think that very small children might enjoy Squish’s story.  Pre-K – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher.

With the Might of Angels by Andrea Pinkney - ESSENTIAL


Pinkney, Andrea Davis With the Might of Angels: The diary of Dawnie Rae Johnson, Hadley, Virginia, 1954.  302 p. $13.  When Brown vs The Board of Education ends segregation in public schools, Dawnie is the only black student to enroll in Prettyman Coburn, the local white school.  Most everyone is determined to keep Dawnie, and every other black person in the community, in her place, strewing obstacles in her way.  Only a few kind people are willing to reach out, including Gertie Feldman, who is also Dawnie’s rival for the coveted job of school bell ringer.  Dawnie must endure all kinds of slights, taunts and slurs in her first year.  Pinkney has done an excellent job of showing the stressful situations those first brave students went through, without devolving into an angry tirade.  Our own imaginations can supply the words, thank you.  I am so glad that Scholastic is adding more books to the Dear America series and reprinting the older titles.  EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Up & Down, Counting, Opposites AND Colors by David Color - ESSENTIAL






Saturday, May 28, 2011

Scared to Death bu Norah McClintock - ESSENTIAL


McClintock, Norah Scared to Death, 202 p. Kane Miller, 2001, 2011.  $5.99.  Chloe is not really great friends with Tessa, so when Tessa shows up looking for Levesque, Chloe is quick to point her at the police station and out of her life – for good, as it turns out, because Tessa is found dead not long after.  Now Chloe is on the hunt for a murderer, but is it the on-again-off-again boyfriend or is it Ross, the editor of the school paper and Chloe’s friend, who seems to have been seeing Tessa on the side?  Or is someone else, with a darker purpose, lurking in the wings.  I have finally got my hands on most of McClintock’s titles.  She is from Canada, so we haven’t seen much of her in the U.S. before now.  Now I have 31 titles by her on my shelves – she has definitely turned my holy trinity (Cooney, Duncan, Nixon) has now become a quartet!  MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Dinosaur vs Bedtime by Bob Shea - ESSENTIAL


Shea, Bob Dinosaur vs Bedtime, 28 p. Disney (Hyperion), 2008, 2011.  $6.99.  BOARD BOOK.  Shea’s hilarious picture book is now in board book form!  Now it will be sturdy enough to handle any little one’s roaring and gnashing of teeth as they mimic dinosaur during their own bedtime adventures.  Pre-K – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Power Play by Ridley Pearson - ESSENTIAL


Pearson, Ridley Power Play (Kingdom Keepers IV), 433 p. Disney (Hyperion), 2011.  $18.  Content: G.  The Kingdom Keepers should have known that quiet times in the parks just mean that the Overtakers are hatching plots.  While Chernabog and Maleficent are being kept in maximum security, the remaining Overtakers are determined to make the Keepers lives miserable, including forcing them into the parks and putting them in danger.  New Disney characters join the show and new bits of information are leaked.  The Overtakers seem to playing a long game, but a very important clue will be revealed!  Book number 4 in what seems to be a 7 books series doesn’t advance the over-arching plot a whole lot, but is not a waste of action and adventure.  New villains (got to have lots of villains) and a few real friends Disney show up this time.  Young minds will really love it.  EL – ESSENTIAL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Everything I Need to Know Before I’m Five by Valorie Fisher - ESSENTIAL

Fisher, Valorie. Everything I Need to Know Before I’m Five. Schwartz & Wade (Random House), 2011. $17.99. PICTURE BOOK. Several concept books combined into one; including: numbers, opposites, shapes, colors, seasons, weather, and the alphabet. What brings this title above others like it are the bright bold colors and charming layout. The pictures consist of vintage looking toys and dolls. This book is a great resource to prepare children for kindergarten. Pre-K – ESSENTIAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Itsy Mitsy Runs Away by Elanna Allen - ADVISABLE

Allen, Elanna. Itsy Mitsy Runs Away. Atheneum (Simon & Schuster), 2011. $16.99. PICTURE BOOK. Itsy Mitsy hates bedtime, so she’s going to run away. Her dad reminds her to pack a few things on her way out – stuffed animals, food, lamp for light, a house to plug the lamp into, and of course her dad to mow the lawn. The illustrations are expressive and endearing with a vintage look. Pre-K, EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Because by Richard Torrey - ESSENTIAL

Torrey, Richard. Because. Harper, 2011. $16.99. PICTURE BOOK. Why did the little boy put band aids all over his body? Because. Why is he sitting in the laundry basket, holding a bat? Because it is his spaceship. A clever book about the excuse “because” and how children use it. The illustrations are fantastic and tell most of the story. A charming book to read aloud. Pre-K, EL – ESSENTIAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Perfect Square by Michael Hall - ESSENTIAL

Hall, Michael Perfect Square 40 pg. Greenwillow Books, 2011. PICTURE BOOK. $16.99. This is a must for any library collection! It all starts with a perfectly perfect square, but day after day the square is cut and poked and torn and shattered so it has to transform itself into something new each time. This book works well on so many levels. The bold colors and easy text will attract little ones. The shapes and art will attract others. And still the deeper meaning of the book--that we are sometimes twisted and shredded and snipped yet we can still transform ourselves into something beautiful--will resound with others. There are so many curricular connections that could be made with this book. It is a must! EL-ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher. 

Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion by Mo Willems - ESSENTIAL

Willems, Mo. Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion. Balzer & Bray (Harper Collins Publishers), 2010. $17.99. PICTURE BOOK. Knuffle Bunny returns for a world adventure. Trixie and her parents are flying to see her grandparents in Holland. She leaves Knuffle Bunny on the airplane. Trixie is distraught until she dreams of Knuffle Bunny’s many adventures around the world making other children happy. Trixie then enjoys her vacation. The charming illustration combination of cartoon ink art layered with black and white photographs continues with this third installment. The photographs include iconic pictures from around the world. This book is truly a delightful, “unexpected diversion.” Pre-K, EL – ESSENTIAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.

ZigZag Kids: Big Whopper by Patricia ReillyGiff - OPTIONAL

Giff, Patricia Reilly ZigZag Kids: Big Whopper 80 pg. Yearling, 2010. EARLY READER. $4.99. In this new series, join the Zigzag kids in their after-school adventures. Destiny Washington is in a bind when everyone but her discovers something new during discovery week. What will she discover? How will she get out of telling her big whopper? 
This is a good beginner book with its short story, easy text, and simple sentences. However, I feel like there are better easy read series...this wouldn't be my first pick for the library. EL-OPTIONAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher. 

Little White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes - ESSENTIAL

Henkes, Kevin Little White Rabbit 40 pg. Greenwillow Books, 2011. PICTURE BOOK. $16.99. Little White Rabbit is an imaginative bunny who wonders all kinds of things about the world. What would it be like to be green, to be tall, to flutter through the air? His wondering stops when he sees a cat and gets frightened, but when he gets home, he doesn't have to wonder who loves him. 
Sweet story with sweeter illustrations. Henkes uses bold outlines and pastel colors and after each Little White Rabbit wondering there is a two page spread illustration. Perfect book to use to hop into Spring and would be great to use as a lesson prompt! EL-ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher. 

One Foot Two Feet: An Exceptional Counting Book by Peter Maloney and Felicia Zekauskas - ESSENTIAL

Maloney, Peter and Felicia Zekauskas One Foot Two Feet: An Exceptional Counting Book 48 pg. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2011. PICTURE BOOK. $12.99. In this unique counting book, each page has a die-cut framing the counted object and when the page is turned, the other counting objects are revealed. Also unique about this book is that the objects being counted are all irregular plural nouns (geese, mice, feet, oxen etc.). Along with the energetic illustrations, kids will enjoy the format and finding the hidden airplane on each page. This is definitely an exceptional counting book! Pre-K/EL(K-3)- ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher. 

Rain Brings Frogs: A Little Book of Hope by Maryann Cocca-Leffler - ESSENTIAL

Cocca-Leffler, Maryann Rain Brings Frogs 32 pg. Harper Collins, 2011. PICTURE BOOK. $9.99. Even when it is raining, muddy, ugly, or cloudy, Nate can see the bright side of things! Darling picture book about optimism and the power of positive thinking. This would be a great book to use for a social skills lesson! What a wonderful world it would be if all kids were this positive...EL-ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Quest for the Spark: Book 1 (A Bone Novel) by Tom Sniegoski -OPTIONAL

Sniegoski, Tom & Illustrated by Smith, Jeff Quest for the Spark: Book 1 (A Bone Novel), 224 pgs. GRAPHIX, 2011. $6.24. Rating: PG
When a sleeping darkness spreads from ‘the Dreaming’ into the waking world covering all in its path, Tom, a 12yo turnip farmer finds himself in charge of gathering a group to fight it. Thanks to the magical shard he found, he is given visions of who should join his team. In a haphazard way he reluctantly sets out to collect them. This features a warrior, a couple of rat Creatures, The Bones family–an uncles and his twin niece and nephew with their flying ship, and his best friend –a raccoon named Roderick.
This book is fully an introduction to the series, where all the main characters are introduced and gathered. It doesn’t have too much of a stand alone plot, so it’s quite disappointing. There are scattered graphic novel like illustrations but they are few and far between. A few of the antagonists are the clumsy dumb type which I find to be really annoying. I would be willing to see how the plot continues but don’t recommend purchasing until further novels in the series are released.
Elementary, MS –Optional. Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate.

Skeleton Key: The Graphic Novel (Alex Rider Adventure) by Anthony Horowitz -OPTIONAL

Horowitz, Anthony Alex Rider: Skeleton Key, 128 pgs. Philomel, 2009. $10.19.GRAPHIC.Violence: PG13
Alex Rider is a 14 year old spy who is taking a break, just surfing and being a normal teen. When he is dragged back into action by MI6 agency, Alex finds himself trotting the globe trying to solve a mystery that is still unfolding. Alex faces a few hurdles in the process, from battling an aging communist with a deadly agenda, fighting off a shark, and being attacked a skilled nemesis.
I have no problem with a junior 007 style book, it leads to adventures that are both action packed and interesting. However the plot in this book is very old school 007 style with an outdated plot featuring old Russia and communism. This art was typical manga style, but not particularly creative or unique. While Alex Rider is a series, this book could function as a stand alone. Buy if you need to beef up your graphic novel selection.
MS –Optional. Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Blackout by John Rocco - ADVISABLE


Rocco, John Blackout.  Disney, 2011.  $17.  PICTURE BOOK.  Every once in a while, a hot, sticky summer night in the city can mean BLACKOUT!  A little girl and her family find ways to cope and ways to enjoy the lack of electricity.  Rocco’s illustrations are gorgeous!  While he story is a simple look at a city-wide blackout, it is enough for small children to not be afraid when the lights go out.  I think it would be great for story time and discussion.  Pre-K, EL (K-3) – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Greek Myths by Ann Turnbull - ESSENTIAL


Turnbull, Ann Greek Myths, illustrated by Sarah Young.  167 p. Candlewick, 2011.  $19.  Through 16 profiles and gorgeous illustrations, Turnbull and Young have created an extremely interesting and useful book at the perfect time.  While the characters are not all famous, they are still essential and well portrayed and their stories intersect with a large number of the Greek pantheon.  Our 9th grade Language Arts teachers are creating a new Mythology unit to go with the Common Core and they want to use this book extensively.  We are buying four more copies so that we can take them apart and create booklets for students to use in small group activities (yes, I did get permission from the publisher!).  I wish someone would take Bernard Evslin’s iconic Greek Gods book and refresh it for the modern age – not the writing, but the changing the formatting and adding illustrations would go a long way to making the book fresh for a new generation.  EL, MS, HS – ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher.

Weiner Wolf by Jeff Crosby - ADVISABLE


Crosby, Jeff Weiner Wolf.  Disney, JULY 2011.  $16.  PICTURE BOOK.  Weiner Dog is tired of his cushy life at Granny’s house, so he takes off into the wild woods to find new friends and new adventures and becomes Weiner Wolf.  Everything is perfect until one shocking moment he remembers why little weiner dogs belong at home.  When he returns home, he discovers has also learned that her faithful companion needs some friends of his own.  At first I thought this was a Halloween story, but it is nothing of the sort.  It is chockfull of some really great life lessons, but is really just fun to read.  EL – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Real Live Boyfriends by E. Lockhart = OPTIONAL


Lockhart, E. Real Live Boyfriends, 222 pgs. Delacorte Press, 2010. $16.99. Language-PG(6 swears);Mature Content-PG(suggestions, no descriptions); Violence-G Ruby Oliver is not a normal teenager, she has problems: with friends, family, and even her mental health. When she has a misunderstanding with her boyfriend, it all seems to go down hill from there. Can Ruby figure out her relationships in life or is she going to have to endure yet another mental breakdown? This book is okay, personally not one of my favorites. The author has a different way of portraying humor, very strange. MS/HS-OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: CGM    

The 13 Nights of Halloween by Guy Vasilovich - ESSENTIAL


Vasilovich, Guy The 13 Nights of Halloween.  Harper, 2011.  $17.  PICTURE BOOK.  As Halloween approaches, a little witch excited as each day her mummy gives more and more exciting gifts to celebrate the season.  A wonderful twist on the famous Christmas song with vibrant, funky illustrations.  I would love for a remake of the tune to go with it, as the bouncy Christmas version just doesn’t seem to fit.  EL (K-3) – ESSENTIAL! Cindy, Library Teacher.

A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell–ADVISABLE

Sandell, Lisa Ann A Map of the Known World, 288 pgs. Scholastic Press, 2011. $8.99. Sexual Content-PG
Cora's life has been shattered by the death of her older brother Nate. Her parents are like walking shells of their former selves, her best friend is changing for the worse, and she is nervous to start High School. Cora really just wants to leave her small town and experience the world. Once school starts she jumps into her artwork and finds new friends. Cora even finds herself becoming friends with Damian, her brother’s best friend who was in the car when he died, enemy number 1 to her parents. Can Cora find a way to heal herself and her family?
I would like to nominate this book for the ‘cheesiest last paragraph’ award. Besides that I really enjoyed this story of how a young girl comes to terms with her grief and finds a way to make it a tool for healing. The characters are interesting and the story is an authentic good balance of emotions and action.
MS, HS –Advisable. Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate.

The Painted Boy by Charles deLint –ADVISABLE

deLint, Charles The Painted Boy, 431 pgs. Viking Juvenile, 2010. $12.91.
Violence: PG13 Sexual Content: PG Language: PG13 Swear Count: 9
James has a secret and a quest, but he doesn’t understand either. When he finds himself in a small town in Arizona, one that is ruled by gang violence, he hopes to fly under the radar. But its leader, who is ominously nicknamed El Tigre, immediately takes notice of James. James must find out if his dragon tattoo, which mysteriously appeared on his back when he was 11, is more than just art. Does he have the power to change the world and take care of all his new friends?
This book is a wonderful culture portrait of Spanish speaking community dealing with the violence and fear brought on by gangs. It is infused with multiple cultures and mythology, magic, music, and friendship. My only complaint is that the book was way too long for the plot. Overall a great read!
MS, HS –ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate.

Tombs of Terror by T.Lynn Adams –ADVISABLE

Adams, T.Lynn Tombs of Terror, 195 pgs. Bonneville Books, 2010. $11.69.
Violence: PG
Jonathon doesn’t want to go with his father, an archeologist, to Peru. He isn’t interesting in old things, nor spending time with his father. When Jonathon’s sullen attitude leads him into taking a wrong turn near the ruins at Machu Picchu, he must confront numerous dangers: starvation, traps, terrorists, and bugs. He must learn to skate the line between a modern culture and an ancient culture if he wants to live. Did I mention there are mummies?
A junior Indian Jones type adventure, this story is packed full of interesting tidbits of both anthropology and archeology. The story is interesting and fast paced. The only thing that bugged me was when Jonathon’s inner voice kept talking to him, it was super repetitive. Older Elementary & Middle School students will love this book, and maybe it will inspire a future career!
ELEMENTARY, MS –ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Hole in the Wall by Lisa Fraustino - ADVISABLE

Fraustino, Lisa Rowe The Hole in the Wall, 280 p. Milkweed (   ), 2011.  $16.95.  Content: G.  Sebby’s home is being strip-mined to death.  The beautiful green countryside to turning to ugly scars as the town’s savior, home boy Stanley Odum, buys up the buildings and the land.  And weird things are happening to Sebby’s family.  Not just because of his out-of-work, angry father, not just because the oldest brother has disappeared, but also because the family relies are their chicken eggs to supplement their meager income and something weird is definitely happening.  I mean what are you supposed to do with a solid egg? Sebby, 11, finds his own escape inside a secret spot of wilderness that has been left within the ugliness of the mine.  And he and his twin, Barbara, are determined to solve the mystery of the walls covered with colors that move and chickens that seem frozen, but still very much alive.  This is a great book for 5th and 6th graders who want mystery and adventure and a smart, young character.  It reminds me of Carl Hiaasen’s novels but for a younger audience.  Its too bad the novel isn’t based completely on reality, because it would be a great novel to use in a unit about conservation.  EL – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Hornbooks and Inkwells by Verla Kay - OPTIONAL


Kay, Verla Hornbooks and Inkwells, illustrated by S.D. Schindler.  Putnam (Penguin), 2011.  $17.  PICTURE BOOK.  Ms. Kay uses rhyme to compliment very detailed drawings of what a day, a week, a year looked like in a 1970’s schoolhouse.  I really adore the illustrations – you can learn a lot just by looking at them.  The short rhymes, however, do not convey enough information to really enjoy each page’s lesson.  I wish the author had gone with sentences instead.  EL – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson - ESSENTIAL


Johnson Maureen The Last Little Blue Envelope, 213 p Harper, 2011.  $16.99.  Content: G.  

Ginny was sure that her adventure was over – the last envelope from her aunt had been lost along with her backpack, though the memories of that summer would endure.  Then a stranger – Oliver – calls her up and says that he has the last envelope and he would be willing to help Ginny – but she has to give him half of the money from the sale of the art that awaits on the other end.  Plus she has an excuse to go back to England and back to Keith – her long distance boyfriend who has been more and more distant lately.  Ginny will be forced to interact with Keith, his new girlfriend (who Ginny can’t help but like) and Oliver – who isn’t giving up anything about himself, or about the envelope’s message so that he can make sure to get his cut at the end.  And the group of off to revisit a handful of the places that she went to last summer to find a special prize at the end.  

I have to admit that I have not read the first book of the duology – mostly because it is usually checked out – but I didn’t really need to inorder to enjoy this one.  And I did like Ginny’s adventure, the assembly of the cast of characters, the assembly of her aunt’s final piece.  However, I personally didn’t find anything that I liked about Oliver, which means that I didn’t like the end.  But that’s just me.  I enjoyed the ride and I know my students will too.  

MS, HS – ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Even Monsters Need Haircuts by Matthew McElligott - ESSENTIAL


McElligott, Matthew Even Monsters Need Haircuts.  Bloomsbury, 2010.  $17.  PICTURE BOOK.  A little boy’s father cuts hair every weekday, but once a month, on a full moon night, after midnight, the little boy in secretly in charge of the shop.  After a parade of bizarre and creepy customers come through, the boys and his friend Vlad must very carefully clean up for the next day’s human customers.  I couldn’t resist this creepy cute book.  Just looking at the hairstyle variety on the back will get any kid old enough to not be creeped out to open and enjoy the book.  EL – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon - ADVISABLE


Pon, Cindy, Fury of the Phoenix, 317 pages, Greenwillow books, 2011, language: PG (one or two minor swears) sexual content: PG13 (vague sexual circumstances, almost no description of them) violence: PG
Ai Ling finds herself in grave danger when she follows her old friend, Chen Yong, on a ship to join him on his mission to find his birth father The sailors believe woman on a ship means almost certain destruction, and she narrowly escapes being thrown overboard when caught. In addition, she is plagued by visions of the past- memories belonging to the man she killed not long ago. In this awe-inspiring sequel to Silver Phoenix, readers will find themselves addicted to the nearly constant suspense. Balancing a strong female lead, beautifully written romance, and most importantly all of the action and suspense. This Book had a kind of slow start to me, probably because I hadn't read the first book, but once I got into it I literally couldn't put the book down until I had finished. The only problem I could find is how the chapters switched between Ai Ling and Zhong Ye were a bit confusing to me, it took about half of the book for me to realize what was going on. MS-HS-ADVISABLE. Reviewer: BT

Trance by Linda Gerber - ESSENTIAL

Gerber, Linda Trance, 277 pgs. Speak, 2010. $7.99. Language-PG(3 swears); Mature Content-PG; Violence-PG Ashlyn and her sister, Kyra, have been able to see visions since preschool. When their mother dies in a car crash, Kyra moves away from home and Ashlyn feels responsible for the whole ordeal. The trances are stopped for a time, until Ashlyn meets Jake. At that point Ashlyn is certain of two things: someone is about to die, and she does not know what she can do to help stop it. This book is wonderful. It sucks you in from the very beginning, has a great story line, and is written very well. I would recommend this book to those who like to read mystery/action stories with a little bit of romance. MS/HS-ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer:CGM     

Cloudy with a Chance of Boys by Megan McDonald - OPTIONAL


McDonald, Megan Cloudy with a Chance of Boys, 260 pgs. Candlewick Press, 2011. $15.99. Language-G; Mature Content-G; Violence-G. Stevie does not know a lot about boys, but that all changes when a boy from her Earth Science class is developing a crush on her. Stevie does not know what to do, so she asks advice from her sisters, Alex and Joey. Alex tells Stevie to go for it, but Joey would rather kiss a frog than a boy. This book is creatively written, the format is confusing at some times through out the book though. It was kind of hard to get interested in the beginning though, need a better hook line/story. I would recommend this book to young girls who would like a good book to read. EL/MS-OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer:CGM

Crash Test Love by Ted Michael - NO


Michael, Ted Crash Test Love, 335 pgs. Delacorte Press, 2010. $8.99. Language-R(29 swears, f-5); Mature Content-R(describes some sexual things); Violence-G Henry is used to jumping from girl to girl, but that all changes when he meets Garrett. Garrett is new in town, and when she meets a group of girls at school, she has to do one thing to earn their friendship: get Henry to take her to the biggest party and dump him in front of everyone. Henry and Garrett both do not know what is in store from them. This book was fine, I would not recommend it. It was written kind of poorly, and some of the conversation outlines were confusing. HS-NO. Student Reviewer:CGM

Leap Back Home to Me by Lauren Thompson = OPTIONAL


Thompson, Lauren. Leap Back Home to Me.  Illustrated by Matthew Cordell. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2011. $15.99.  Content G-PICTURE BOOK. When the baby frog begins leaping it has little confidence, but as it leaps more and more it leaps farther and farther until it can go wherever it wants. Each time the frog returns, he finds his mother waiting for him with exactly what he needs. Even though it’s a picture book, I think it is geared more toward adults. It’s a coming of age book that kids won’t understand.  The pictures aren’t engaging enough to keep the attention of young readers unless they are crazy about frogs. OPTIONAL. Pre-K, YA/Adult. Shauna, Reading teacher.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Clarity by Kim Harrington - OPTIONAL


Harrington, Kim Clarity, 242 pgs. Point, 2011. $16.99. Language PG-13 (26 swears) Sexual Content PG; Violence PG-13;  Clarity and her mom and brother are physics, the real kind. Clair can touch things and feel a memory from them, her brother Perry can talk to the dead, and her mom can read minds. When a murder occurs right after a new deputy arrives Clair is recruited to help with the murder case. By agreeing to help Clair ends up working with the new deputy hot son and her ex-boyfriend. This book is filled to the brim with twist and turns. One moment you think you know who the killer is, and the next your left guessing once again. The ending left me hanging and wanting more. I didn't really like how the book was wrapped up. MS - OPTIONAL Student Reviewer: KU

Consumed by Kate Cann


Cann, Kate Consumed, 325 pgs. Point, 2011. $16.99. Language PG-13 (25 swears), Sexual content PG; Violence PG-13;  Rayne is a tearoom worker at an old mansion where their main focus is to keep the darkness of the "haunted" house away from the tours of the famous house. But now all of the that's going to change when Miss Skelton comes to take over the haunted house. The worst part is that Ranye know that Miss Skelton can change everything and draw on the darkness and become a dangerously powerful. She should know, her ex-boyfriend tried to do the same and in doing so she almost got killed. This book was a frightening read. The darkness in this story keep me up to late hours trying to figure out if the darkness was going to win the race to freedom or the fire men. I enjoyed reading this scary, thrilling book. HS - OPTIONAL Student Reviewer: KU

Stop Snoring Benard! by Zacharia O'Hora


O’Hora, Zacharia Stop Snoring Benard!, (Picture Book)  Henry Holt Pub., 2011. $16.99 Language- PG; Mature Content PG ; Violence-PG. Bernard can’t seem to find the right place.  Wherever he goes he can’t stop the snoring.  After almost going everywhere Bernard doesn’t know what to do.  Little does he know that he always has his friends have his back.  This is a really cute book, and ideal for kids in the beginning to read level and on.  EL- ADVISABLE (Not for a middle school library, but yes for a Elementary.). Student Reviewer: BJS

My Double Life by Janette Rallison


Rallison, Janette  My Double Life, 265 pgs. G.P. PUTNAM'S SONS,  2010.  $16.99. Language- PG (Mentions Swearing but not with actual words), Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; My Double Life follows the story of Alexia Garcia who has been told all of her life that she looks like the famous rock star Kari Kingsley besides her being brunette. When tracked down by Kari's agent she is offered and accepts the job of being Kari's double. Whisked to Hollywood she tries to track down the whereabouts of her lost father. Living the life of the Rich and Famous, she falls in love with another celebrity, but he thinks that she is Kari Kingsley. This book is a great pleasure to read. It also shows how Hollywood may not seem so glamorous all the time. EL, MS - ESSENTIAL Student Reviewer: HF

The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier -ADVISABLE

Neumeier, Rachel The Floating Islands, 400 pgs. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2011. $11.55. Violence-G
Trei is a half breed, his parents each from very different lands. After a huge tragedy, Trei is rejected by one culture and accepted by another. The people of the Floating Islands, a land full of magic and dragons, have not only taken him in but made him one of their elite flying sky warriors, the kajuraihi. When those two countries go to war, Trei must decide where his loyalties lie. In the meanwhile his cousin, Araene, has her own battles to fight in a society that doesn’t see women as equal, and in time when the magic she didn’t know she had, might be exactly what is needed to help save her land.
This was a great page turner! I loved the dual perspective of cousins, a teen boy and girl, each with their own thoughts and adventures. With the typical romance component removed there was plenty of room for a wonderful story. Lots of imagination, glossed over violence, and tons of action. Appropriate for middle school as well as high school.
MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hope in Patience by Beth Fehlbaum


Fehlbaum, Beth  Hope in Patience, pgs 309. West Side Books, 2010. $16.95 Language- R  (77  swears, 16 "f"), Mature Content- R (drinking, violence, sexual abuse) ; Violence-R. Ashley has had a very tough life.  Her father not only left her mom when she was a baby, but the worst came many years later.  Her mom later remarried Charlie, who was not only a horrible person but also emotionally and sexually abused her throughout her life.  Ashley is finally sent to live with her dad in Patience where she is trying to get back the life she never had.  This book is for those who can take consecutive swearing and sexual content.  HS- OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: BJS

Yasmin’s Hammer by Ann Malaspina - ESSENTIAL

Malaspina, Ann. Yasmin’s Hammer. Illustrated by Doug Ghayka. Lee and Low Books, Inc., 2010. $18.95. Content G-picture book.  Yasmin and her sister, Mita, would love nothing more than to go to school, but her parents need them to work to help pay the bills. They dream of going to school and learning to read. When Yasmin works extra hard at her job hammering rocks into bricks her boss rewards her with extra coins. She does something so remarkable with her extra coins that ultimately change her and Mita’s lives. I liked the perspective this book gave into a different culture. This could be used as a teaching tool, springboard into a service project or just plain entertainment for little ones.  On a side note, I gave it to some of my reluctant readers (9th graders) and they all liked it and all commented about how nicely written it was with a great message. ESSENTIAL, ES, MS. Shauna, Reading teacher

Time Traveling Fashionista by Bianca Turetsky - ADVISABLE

Turetsky, Bianca Time Traveling Fashionista, Hachette Book Group, 2011. $17.99 Language- PG (No swears); Mature Content PG ; Violence-PG. Louise has always loved vintage clothes.  Her mom was from England, and taught Louise to appreciate the beauty of clothes.  One day, she gets and invitation to a Vintage sale and is ecstatic to go.  While there she sees a beautiful dress and knows she had to try it on.  Little does she know just how special this dress really is. Not only is this dress just beautiful but it may have a story hidden in history.  I really enjoyed reading this book.  I really liked the illustrations of the clothes throughout the book and I would recommend reading this book.  MS- ADVISABLE Student Reviewer: BJS

FDR’s Alphabet Soup by Tonya Bolden - ESSENTIAL


 Bolden, Tonya. FDR’s Alphabet Soup New Deal America, 1932-1939. Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. $19.99. Content G. Alphabet soup was the nickname given to all the programs FDR implemented, most during his first 100 days in office, because they were referred to by their initials. FDR was faced with a severe economic depression and tried diligently to help the economy recover. Bolden has collected pictures, memorabilia, and reproduced primary documents along with detailed descriptions and background information on this period of some of the biggest changes the United States’ ever made. This is a great resource book as well as easily read cover-to-cover for any enthusiast of this time period. ESSENTIAL. MS, HS. Shauna, Reading teacher.