Monday, May 22, 2017

Thunder Underground by Jane Yolen - ESSENTIAL

Yolen, Jane  Thunder Underground  Illustrated by Josee Masse  PICTURE BOOK  Wordsong, 2017.  $17.95  Content: G.  

This is a collection of poems that have to do with the word “under”.  Some of the poems are about insects or animals that live underground, roots, lava or other natural elements.  And some of the poems are about people underground in subways, tunnels, and archaeology.  There are also poems about things that are buried underground such as treasure, fossils and caves.  The last poem has two kids sitting under the night sky.  

This is a great book of poetry that also feeds the curiosity of young readers and the world beneath them.  The poems have interesting facts and at the end of the book there is a key that explains more about what scientists know of those underground worlds.  The illustrations are well done and my kids loved this book.  

EL (K-3) – ESSENTIAL.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.

Hattie and Hudson by Chris Van Dusen - OPTIONAL

Van Dusen, Chris  Hattie and Hudson  PICTURE BOOK  Candlewick Press, 2017.  $16.99  Content: G.  

A lake monster lives in a cave at the bottom of the lake.  He is lonely even though there are a lot of people who play on the lake top.  One day a little girl, Hattie, draws the monster to the surface with her singing and they become friends.  Other people are afraid of the monster and think they need to catch it, but Hattie hatches a plan where Hudson the monster saves her and then the people see that he is a nice monster.  The plan works and soon Hudson is a friend to all who play on the lake.  

The illustrations in this book are fantastic, especially the adorable lake monster, Hudson.  The story is a fun look at how friendship can come unexpectedly.  There is a lot of text, so it’s not a fast read but it is a sweet story.  

EL (K-3) – OPTIONAL.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.

The Adventurers Guild by Clark and Eliopulos - ESSENTIAL

Clark, Zack Loran and Nick Eliopulos The Adventurers Guild, 320 pages.  Disney, OCTOBER 2017.  $17.  Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (similar to Brandon Mull or Rick Riordan books).

Zed thinks he has a chance to join the Silverglows, the Mages Guild in his hometown of Freestone.  When the Archmagus claims him for that group, he feels like his dreams have come true.  A few moments later, his hopes are crushed when the Sea of Stars, the Adventurers Guild, invokes their right of draft and takes him instead.  Right behind him, his best friend, Brock volunteers for the Adventurers – supposedly to help keep Zed safe.  What Zed doesn’t know is that Brock has an ulterior motive for joining him – he has been secretly asked by the Merchant’s Guild to infiltrate the Sea of Stars and find a way to bring down its leader, Alabasel Frond. From their first night, the boys are in constant danger, as the Adventurers are the only beings allowed outside the tall, strong, city walls because of the inhuman Dangers that have taken down all life in the entire country except for the few cities that survived. 

Wow!  I loved this so much!  I think we may have another hit fantasy series on our hands!  The authors combine engaging plot, with action, introspection, and world-building to make a novel that is sure to attract attention quickly.

EL, MS – ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines by Jeanne Harvey - ADVISABLE

Harvey, Jeanne Walker Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines, illstrtaed by Dow Phumbrick.  PICTURE BOOK/NON-FICTION.  Henry Holt (Macmillan), 2017.  $18. 

In 1981, Maya Lin was a senior in college when she won the design contest for a memorial to honor the fallen soldiers of the Vietnam War. 
While this picture book is brief, its applications are numerous.  Whether about creativity, women working, architecture, monuments, the Vietnam War, Washington D.C. – almost any age level can find a place for this.

EL – ADVISABLE; MS, HS – OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Beautiful Lost by Luanne Rice - ESSENTIAL

Rice, Luanne The Beautiful Lost, 304pgs. Point Publishing, 2017. $10.79 Language: G; Mature Content: PG; Violence: G

When her mother leaves, Maia sinks in to a deep depression. The depression worsens when her father is going to get married again to Astrid. Maia’s depression gets so bad that she needs to be hospitalized for her own safety. Maia wants things to go back to the way they used to be; just her, her father and her mother. Maia dutifully takes her medication, but misses her mother. She dreams of finding her and together they will watch whales and listen for whale songs.
Maia has a secret crush on Billy, a boy that attends her school, but lives in a group home. Rumors swirl about his troubled past. Maia watches out her window every night for Billy in his window up on the hill.
Astrid thinks Maia needs to be hospitalized again for her own protection. Maia secretly sneaks out of the house and runs away. Surprisingly, Billy comes with her. Billy knows a lot about how to evade authorities and how to stay hidden. Together Maia and Billy go on a road trip full of surprises and personal discoveries.

This was an amazing story, and I was unable to put it down. First I thought I wouldn’t like it because of all the talk about depression, teen suicide and running away. However, the book was not like I first thought. I loved the way Maia and Billy’s friendship developed, how they came to trust each other and how they dealt with what happened when it wasn’t what they had imagined at all. This is a book about self discovery, standing up for what is right, believing in yourself and being strong even when things do not go right. There is always a better way and you will always come through the hard times. There are several really great passages in this book and they are so well expressed.

MS, HS – ESSENTIAL      Reviewer Ellen-Anita librarian

It's Raining, It's Pouring by Poppy Green -- ADVISABLE

Green, Poppy It's Raining, It's Pouring (The Adventures of Sophie Mouse #10), CHAPTER BOOK. Simon & Schuster, 2017. $5.99. Content: G.

Sophie Mouse is disappointed when a light rain ruins her family's picnic. But that week at school she and her friends begin learning about the water cycle and about the dangers of droughts. Suddenly Sophie realizes that an occasional downpour is necessary and often welcomed -- even if it means a ruined picnic.

Like the others in the series, this is a fun, quick read with a sympathetic heroine and plenty of engaging illustrations. The large font and short chapters help young readers who are transitioning between picture book stories and ones with chapters. Information about the water cycle is woven in -- just enough to inform but not enough to bog down the story with detail. (No pun intended...)

EL (K-3) -- ADVISABLE. Reviewed by Sydney G., K-6 Library Media Specialist

Rise of the Heroes by Andy Briggs - OPTIONAL

Briggs, Andy HERO.COM: Rise of the Heroes, 251 pgs. Walker & Company, 2008. $7.99 Language – PG (3 swear, 0 “f”), Mature Content – G; Violence – PG; 

As much as people imagine having superpowers, no one actually believes that they can receive them. Until it happens. At first, Toby and his friends like the adventure and excitement of doing the impossible, but then they realize that having these powers isn’t just a game. Now they’re off to defeat a real supervillain, but what can a bunch of inexperienced kids do?

Of course the premise is exciting to think about, because we ponder superpowers and love the impossible, but I also liked the idea of anyone becoming a hero. Becoming a hero is what we do, not necessarily the powers behind what we do. However, I did not like the opening scene of the book; not that it’s a bad scene, but that Toby flashes back to the real beginning of their story. I didn’t like it because it felt like a trick and I became annoyed after just starting the book. 

MS – OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Dill & Bizzy: An Odd Duck and a Strange Bird by Nora Ericson -- ADVISABLE

Ericson, Nora Dill & Bizzy: An Odd Duck and a Strange Bird, illustrated by Lisa Ericson. PICTURE BOOK. HarperCollins, 2016. $17.99. Content: G.

Dill is convinced he is a perfectly ordinary duck. But when Bizzy the strange bird shows up, she brings out Dill's uniqueness. If they stick together, they can have a very different -- and entertaining -- sort of fun.

This is a cute story about two friends showing the strengths in each other, and about how no one is really as "ordinary" as she or he might think. The illustrations are lively, and Dill and Bizzy are easy to cheer for.

Pre-K, EL (K-3) -- ADVISABLE. Reviewed by Sydney G., K-6 Library Media Specialist

Friday, May 19, 2017

A Dog in the Cave by Kay Frydenborg - ADVISABLE

Frydenborg, Kay A Dog in the Cave: The Wolves that Made Us Human, NON-FICTION 246 pages. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2017. $18.99 Language: G (0 Swears, 0 F) Mature Content; G; Violence; G.

What I learned about the book is that, dogs have been our non-human best friends for thousands of years. Dogs and humans have shared a very deep and unique bond. The dog is the one animal we communicate best with. Some interesting facts from the book was that, dogs have evolved:  dogs used to be just big. Now dogs come in all shapes, big and small.  Scientist believe that dogs have been our good companions for over 20,000 years. A dog is a very special animal. Dogs can detect if we have cancer or a disease. A dog can improve our health life.

I recommend this book because you can learn a lot about dogs. This book will teach the values of having a pet dog.  I liked this book because it had many pictures. It was a bit boring at first, but after I started to read I enjoyed the book. I feel like this book might be a little bit harder for younger readers because of all the facts. I learned may things about dogs that I didn't know before. I have read many boring non fiction books but this one was definitely different.

MS - ADVISABLE, HS-OPTIONAL  8th Grade Student Reviewer KOG

The Rat Prince by Bridget Hodder - OPTIONAL

Hodder, Bridget The Rat Prince, 260. Farrar Straus Giroux Books For Young Readers, 2016. $16.99. Language: G( 0 swears,0 ‘F’); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG.

Prince Char, the rat prince, lives at the Lancastyr Manor (which is his castle). He and his royal advisor, Swiss, are trying to help Rose/Cinderella. They want her to escape the life she is living and marry Prince Geoffrey (even though she doesn't want to). But the more Prince Char helps Rose the more he comes to glimpse how he feels about her. Then he truly finds out how he feels when he becomes human. But when they get to the ball, his feelings get stronger.  Prince Char has until midnight to spend with the love of his life, until he becomes a rat again. But then something happens at the royal ball, if Char doesn't accept it could put the whole kingdom in despair. But he can’t tell the King of Agland why he can’t accept his offer because he will turn into a rat at the end of the day.

This book was great. I love the main characters and how they were described and developed. The start of the story was just not for me I did not like it, it didn’t feel like it fit well with the rest of the story. It took a long time to get the story going. The story line for the ending of the book was amazing because everything fit together so well and there was so much detail I could see everything happening in my mind. Some parts started to creep me out. If some parts of the book had not happened I would have been good but when those weird things happened it was hard for me to finish the book because I was too scared to read the rest but I did because I wanted to know what happened next. But I liked how the author put a twist on this story even though it was somewhat disturbing.

EL, MS - OPTIONAL 8th Grade Student Reviewer JM