Thursday, December 31, 2009

About Penguins: A Guide for Children by Cathryn Sill

Sill, Cathryn. About Penguins: A Guide for Children, illustrated by John Sill. Peachtree, 2009. $15.95. Content—G. Eighteen full page beautifully illustrated plates highlight the different characteristics and species of penguins. Author Cathryn Sill shares a pithy sentence about picture and then at the end of the book gives a paragraph explanation of each plate. This book provides a basic, general overview of penguins. EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Robot Zot by Jon Scieszka

Scieszka, Jon. Robot Zot, illustrated by David Shannon. Simon & Schuster, 2009. $17.99. PICTURE BOOK. Robot Zot lands on earth and begins his attack. With a boop and a bleep he attacks the blender, the toaster, and then the gigantic and insulting foe—the TV. And then Robot Zot sees her—a toy lady telephone. He must rescue Earth Queen from the fearsome and slobbery Commander General (d0g). Wham bot! Author Jon Scieszka’s humor will definitely appeal to boys. David Shannon’s illustrations are polished and engaging as always. EL – ESSENTIAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.

I Really Absolutely Must Have Glasses by Lauren Child

Child, Lauren. I Really Absolutely Must Have Glasses, illustrations from the TV animation produced by Tiger Aspect. Grosset & Dunlap, 2009. $3.99. PICTURE BOOK. Charlie’s little sister Lola has to go to the optician to have her eyes checked. She absolutely does not want to go until she sees her friend Mini’s new glasses. Then Lola is sure she can’t see anything, she must absolutely get flowery new glasses. Fans of the Charlie and Lola TV series will absolutely must have to read it. Others, like Lola’s brother Charlie, will find the language and Lola “very funny.” EL – ESSENTIAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mothstorm by Philip Reeve

Reeve, Philip. Mothstorm, or, The Horror from Beyond Georgium Sidus! Decorated Throughout by David Wyatt. 320 pgs. Bloomsbury, 2008. $16.99. Sexual Content-G; Language-G; Violence-PG.
Arthur Mumby with the help of his sister Myrtle share their third adventure (Larklight, 2006; Starcross, 2007) in Victorian space. The Mumby’s and their friend’s Christmas celebration is ruined when their Christmas pudding goes rogue and a space ship from Her Majesty’s Navy arrives. There is an unknown cloud near Uranus and they go to investigate. They discover shaper and her alien minions who have come to conquer and enslave our universe. Will Art’s ingenuity and Myrtle’s manners be enough to save the day? This original and entertaining series combines history, science fiction, and adventure with a dash of romance. MS – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

The Word Snoop by Ursula Dubosarsky

Dubosarsky, Ursula. The Word Snoop, illustrated by Tohby Riddle. 246 pgs. Dial Books, 2009. $16.99. Content- G.
Who knew that the English language could be so much fun? Author Ursula Dubosarky shares the odd and interesting aspects of the English Language: from doublespeak to Pig Latin, from apostrophes to acronyms. She gives explanations, examples, and interactive clues for the reader. Dubosarky covers the history of alphabet to current texting. The illustrations by Tohby Riddle are whimsical and fun; often combining heads of famous people with cartoon bodies (e.g. Benjamin Franklin kicks the alphabet).
EL- ESSENTIAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson - ADVISABLE

Pearson, Mary E. The Miles Between, 264 p. Henry Holt, 2009. $16.99. 

Language: PG (4 swears)

Destiny has been attending boarding schools since she was 7 years old – going from school to school to school, as she tries never to become too close to anyone. On one special morning, however, she decides that it is time for one fair day, so she steals a beautiful pink car she finds with the keys in the ignition, drags along three random kids from her school and sets off on a day long adventure – a field trip, you might say. Destiny’s journey has a very unexpected destination. 
I actually read this book twice. I know! How often do I take the time to do that. But I really enjoyed Destiny and her new friends and was totally blind as to her real destination. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher

The Brother’s Story by Katherine Sturtevant

Sturtevant, Katherine The Brother’s Story, 271 p. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009. $16.99. Sexual Content – R.

Kit and Christy are twin brothers, barely surviving with their mother in a tiny, rural English village during the hard winter of 1683. Kit is tired of guiding and saving his dimwitted brother, so he quietly leaves and heads off for London. There he finds some friends, many new challenges and maybe the strength to choose the direction for his life. It’s too bad that Kit is so preoccupied with sexual things. Even though the descriptions use the vernacular of the day, the situations are still obvious, descriptive and distracting. I would have enjoyed his story much more without them.

NO. Cindy, Library-Teacher

Stuck in the Mud by Reverend Awdry

Awdry, Reverend W Stuck in the Mud. Random House, 2009. $3.99. STEP INTO READING Level 1.

Thomas the Tank Engine finds an old broken down engine on an abandoned track and must race Spencer to Sir Topham Hat to see if they can help Hiro or not. Train-crazy little boys will love this first reading book. They can memorize all of the words or actually learn to read them.

PreK – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher

Never After by Dan Elconin

Elconin, Dan Never After, 295 p. Simon and Schuster, 2009. Language: R (45 “f”, 130 other – I stopped counting after 130 pages); Violence: R; Sexual Content: PG-13.

Ricky Darlin is desperate to escape his tense family situation, so when a intriguing young man offers to take him away to a magical place where he can forget his worries, he jumps at the offer. Stepping right into his worst nightmare. Now Ricky is stuck on a tiny island, with just a handful of other teens who are trying to escape Peter’s clutches. Unfortunately, Peter is protected by a crew of zombies. Together, James Hooke, Mariah Bell, Nigel, Alex and Ricky – with some help from the local Indian princess – will have to defeat Peter and find their way back home. While this book is an interesting take on the legend of Neverland, the angst and anger of these teens comes out in a spew of swear words. I finally just had to stop counting just so that I could get through the book. Too bad.

NO. Cindy, Library-Teacher

I Can Draw Wild Animals by Simon Abbott

Abbott, Simon I Can Draw Wild Animals. Kingfisher, 2009. $6.99. BOARD BOOK.
Kids can learn to draw cartoon versions of six wild animals in this cute board book – including pen. Instead of having your kids watch a DVD on a road trip, give them this instead, because you don’t just have to draw animals – how about tic-tac-toe? Make sure to pack lots of Kleenex for wiping!
PARENTS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher

Dinosaur Park by Hannah Wilson

Wilson, Hannah Dinosaur Park. Kingfisher, 2009. $17.99. POP-UP BOOK. Welcome to Dinosaur Park.
Are you ready to read the information, ready the dinosaurs and then re-enact your own prehistoric scenes? The dramatic cover is only the beginning of this wonderful, gift-giving ready book for a dinosaur-crazy child. There are four pop-up backdrops, eight punch-out dinos and a supporting book of information to re-create each scene. Or, you can do as I would and make all of the dinos attack each other. Either way, it’s still a lot of fun! And if your recipient already owns some plastic dinos, they will be a welcome addition to the scenes!
PARENTS – EL (K-3) - OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher

Cashing In by Susan Colebank

Colebank, Susan Cashing In, 314 p. Dutton (Penguin), 2009. $16.99. Language: PG (5 swears). Reggie (Regina) is a senior, just barely making it through school, working diligently every day at the local Cashmart, so that she can earn enough money to get out of town and get away from her money-hungry, gambling, infomercial-shopping mother. Her dad died a couple of years earlier and since then her mother has barely held things together, mostly by using lots of credit cards or bumming money from Reggie and her brother. Then Mom pops the good news – she’s won a huge jackpot – so the family starts spending money like water. Something will have to happen to reign in Mom and get Reggie to stand up for herself. Reggie’s life is like a train wreck – you know that something bad is going to happen and you just can’t look away. She has good friends and a possible love interest – you can only hope that Reggie will make the right decisions. HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher

Lost Worlds by John Howe

Howe, John Lost Worlds, 88 p. Kingfisher, 2009. $22.99. Take a journey to 24 worlds – most historic, some imaginary, all wonderful – through the eyes of John Howe, the concept artist for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. From the realm of Faerie, through Timbuktu and on to the city of Troy, this is a journey to delight the eye. I am not sure how it fits into ta library collection, but if you have students who love reading about wonderful worlds, drawing imaginary creatures, then this book will be one they will want to see. If you have die-hard LOTR fans, they will probably want this because of the author and illustrator. PUBLIC. Cindy, Library-Teacher

Gnash, Gnaw, Dinosaur! by Tony Mitton

Mitton, Tony Gnash, Gnaw, Dinosaur! Illustrated by Lynne Chapman. Kingfisher, 2009. LIFT-THE-FLAP BOOK. $12.99. 

 With short poems and cute illustrations, meet seven dinosaurs. While the lift-the-flap part is fun, there, unfortunately is no background information for a child who is more serious about their dinosaur knowledge. 

 EL (K-3) – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher

Animal by Miranda Smith

Smith, Miranda Animals, 48 p. Kingfisher, 2009. With many photographs and some illustrations, lots of information and a wide-ranging variety of animals, explore the natural world in its infinite variety. Each topic, such as Finding Food, Hunting Skills and Self-Protection, showcases a different family of animals. While there is not enough information for any one research project, this eye-catching book will probably be pulled from shelves for just pure enjoymeny. EL (K-4) – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher

Friday, December 25, 2009

Time Quake by Linda Buckley Archer - OPTIONAL

Buckley-Archer, Linda Time Quake (Gideon #3), 440 p. Simon and Schuster, 2009. $17.99. 

Violence: PG. 

Kate and Peter are stuck back in 1763. Their travels through time have landed them on the wrong side of the continuum. Now Lord Luxon has control of the machine and he is determined to find a way to go back and stop the American Revolution in its tracks and win modern America for England. Meanwhile, the world is fragmenting into different time lines and Kate is starting to disappear – her grasp on time and life is quickly slipping away. Gideon and the Tar Man (his brother) will have to combine forces and do something really desperate in order to save the lives of the children they have come to love. 

Writing about time travel can get very confusing, but Buckley-Archer has done a very good job in this series of keeping the convoluted paths from becoming quagmires. While these books may never be the most used in your library, they are a solid addition to a larger collection with a strong fantasy clientele. 

EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow by Marilyn Kaye

Kaye, Marilyn Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, 212 p. Kingfisher, 2009. $7.99. Content: G. Amanda is the focus of this third book in the Gifted series. She supposedly has the ability to predict the future, but most of the time she doesn’t interpret her visions very well. Now kids from the gifted class are disappearing and Amanda will have to sharpen her vision if any of them are going to be rescued. In fact, every member of the class will have to step up to the plate for this challenge. MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher

Scat by Carl Hiassen

Hiaasen, Carl Scat 371 pgs. KNOF,2009. Language - PG13 (21 swears, 0 "f") Sexual Content - G; Violence - PG. 

Nick Waters is an average student, and so is his friend Marsha. But one student is strange. Everyone calls him Smoke. After a tiff between Smoke and the biology teacher, a field trip to the Everglades goes horribly wrong. A wildfire starts deep in the swamp and the biology teacher doesn't return. Nick and Marsha think Smoke has something to do with it. And he does, just not in the way they think. This book was definitely a great reading adventure for me. I love whodunnit books. All the answers were kept till the end of the book so I really had To think. Younger elementary might not enjoy it though because of its large size and confusing content. It was a page turner for me even though it made me think. 

MS-HS - ESSENTIAL Student Reviewer: CRH

When Heaven Fell by Carolyn Marsden

Marsden, Carolyn When Heaven Fell 177 pages Candlewick Press 2009 Language- G (0 Swears No F) Sexual Content- G Violence- G. 

9 year old Binh lives is a little village in Vietnam selling fruit to earn money for her family. When on day her grandmother, Ba Nyoai surprises everyone when she says she has a daughter in America who is coming to visit. Binh is convinced that her new auntie, Di Thao will bring them a lot of money, even take them to America, but Thao is only a school teacher. Will Di Thao live up to Binh's expectations? 

This is a very good book its an easy read and tells a great story with a good message. 

ADVISABLE to MS/HS Student Reviewer: EM

The World of Fairies by Calliope Glass

Glass, Calliope The World of Fairies: At the Dawn of Pixie Hollow, 144 p. Disney/Hyperion, 2009. $19.99. Return to the land of the Never Fairies. Meet more fairies, learn about their talents and lives, their quirks and their fun. This book is more illustration than text and will happily poured over for hours. EL – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher

Walt Disney by Russell Schroeder

Schroeder, Russell Walt Disney: His Life in Pictures. Disney Press (Hyperion), 2009. PICTURE BOOK. $14.95. A wealth of photographs, from the Disney archives and from the Disney family, accompanying a large amount of easily read information about the life of Walt Disney and the birth of the Disney corporation. This book, combined with any other treatise of Disney’s life would make a quick study for any basic level biography project. EL – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Auntie Claus: Home for the Holidays by Elise Primavera

Primavera, Elise. Auntie Claus: Home for the Holidays. Simon & Schuster, 2009. $17.99. Sophie Kringle has always wanted to be the Sugar Plum Fairy in the school play, but she every year she leaves to go to the North Pole to help her Auntie Claus. Her teacher Miss Crumpet explains that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. When Sophie tells this to Auntie Claus, she says that’s “Rubbish!” Auntie Claus moves the North Pole to New York. One of the many guests is the real Sugar Plum fairy who takes the phrase “you can have your cake and eat it too” too seriously and can no longer fit in her tutu. Sophie knows that the Sugar Plum Fairy could fit into her tutu, but she’s not sure she’s willing to share. Luckily Santa helps Sophie save the day. The author and illustrator Elise Primavera combines traditional Christmas characters with new ones creating another fun Auntie Claus book. The illustrations are cheery and charming.
EL-ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

"Shwatsit!": No One Knows Just What It Means by Christin Ditchfield

Ditchfield, Christin. “Shwatsit!”: No One Knows Just What It Means, illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw. Golden Book, 2009. $15.99. Content-G. His little sister who is a toddler keeps saying the word “shwatsit” but no one knows what it means. Could it be a food? Something inside or outside? A name for a family member? The brother finally figures out what “shwatsit” is. The bright and cozy illustrations show a happy and loving family.
EL-ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Kiss, Kiss by Selma Mandine

Mandine, Selma. Kiss, Kiss. Translated by Michelle Williams. Golden Books, 2009. $9.99. Content-G. Originally published in France, this simple and charming story has been translated into English. A teddy bear asks his owner what a kiss feels like. The girl explains the different types of kisses and the people who give them; from soft and woolly to prickly like a cactus. The illustrations are stylized and sumptuous.
EL-ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Have You Ever Seen a Sneep? by Tasha Pym

Pym, Tasha. Have You Ever Seen a Sneep? Illustrated by Joel Stewart. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009. $16.95. Content-G. Haven’t you ever seen a sneep? Snook? Grullock? Floon? Or Knoo? You are lucky because they will steal your lunch, ruin your reading, and even gobble you up. The book’s format is simple questions and assumed answers. The illustrations are an odd combination of old-fashion clothing and settings with contemporary items.
EL – OPTIONAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Pigs Make Me Sneeze! by Mo Willems

Willems, Mo. Pigs Make Me Sneeze! 57 pgs. Hyperion, 2009. $8.99. Content-G. Elephant and Piggie are back with aaaaa-choo! Gerald (the elephant) can’t stop sneezing and he’s afraid that he is allergic to his best friend Piggie (the pig). Luckily he goes to Doctor Cat who explains that he is not allergic to pigs or cats, he just has a cold. Mo Willems’ simple illustrations are expressive and humorous. Children will enjoy reading or listening to this fun story.
EL – ESSENTIAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Squire's Quest by Gerald Morris

Morris, Gerald. The Squire’s Quest, 272 pgs. Houghton Mifflin, 2009. $16.00. Sexual Content: PG; Language: PG (11 swears); Violence: PG. The Squire’s Tales series continues with Squire Terrence’s latest Arthurian adventure. Camelot is being overrun with foreign dignitaries visiting to acquire polish; including Alexander, the Holy Roman Emperor and his entourage. Terrence is tired of being a squire, but devoted to King Arthur. He believes that Mordred may be responsible for a rebellion against the king and several murdered knights. Terrence accompanies Alexander back to Constantinople where he discovers the truth about the rumors, lies, and courtly love. The plot is a bit choppy. Murders and political machinations, immorality and incest, make this tale darker than those previous. Most children will not be interested in middle-aged characters from the middle-ages, unless they have read the previous titles. Purchase only if the series is popular at your library.
EL/MS – OPTIONAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Bringing Down the Moon by Jonathan Emmett

Emmett, Jonathan. Bringing Down the Moon, illustrated by Vanessa Cabban. Candlewick Press, 2009. $6.99. First published in 2001 as a picture book, this is the first board book edition. Mole awakes one night to discover the moon. He tries to take it from the sky, despite warnings from Rabbit, Hedgehog, and Squirrel that the moon is farther away than it looks. The author's word choices, such as "hot diggety" and "plink and plinkety", make this a delightful book to read aloud. The charming illustrations propel the story along. Pre-K/EL-ESSENTIAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.

How Do Lions Say I Love You by Diane Muldrow

Muldrow, Diane. How Do Lions Say I Love You? Illustrated by David Walker. Golden Book, 2009. $7.99. Learn how different animals demonstrate love to each other. Hens cluck, nightingales sing, giraffes neck, cows nuzzle, etc. Some rhymes feel awkward, but on the whole the text flows well. The charming illustrations are well above par for board books. Pre-K/EL-ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

This is Olivia, illustrated by Patrick Spaziante

This is Olivia, illustrated by Patrick Spaziante. Simon Spotlight, 2009. $7.99. Each page folds open to a large picture of Olivia being her favorite things: a ballerina, magician, friend, and astronaut. The last page asks "What do you want to be?" Fans of Olivia's TV show and/or books will enjoy this introduction to her life. PreK-K - OPTIONAL. Samantha, Public Librarian

Olivia Leaps by Natalie Shaw

Shaw, Natalie. Olivia Leaps, illustrated by Jared Osterhold. Simon Spotlight, 2009. $8.99. Olivia is leaping into ballet lessons and a new outfit. Olivia with the help of her friend Julian preforms a ballet lift at her school's show-and-tell. The board book illustrations are from the animated Nickelodeon TV show, rather than the books.
PreK-K /EL- OPTIONAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Cat o' Nine Tails by Julia Golding

Golding, Julia. Cat o’ Nine Tails, 373 pgs. Roaring Book Press, 2009. $16.99. Sexual Content: PG; Language: G; Violence: PG .
The curtain rises on the fourth adventure of Cat Royal. Cat is bored with the life of a lady. She receives a letter from Syd’s parents informing her that he is missing. Cat, Pedro, and Frank, accompanied by his cousin Mr. Will Dixon, head to the docks in search of Syd. They are attacked and Cat, Pedro, and Frank are forced to become sailors on the Royal Navy’s boat the Courageous. Pedro and Frank find their sea feet fast, except for Cat (pretending to be a cabin boy) is being picked on by everyone. Cat wanted adventure, but she didn’t plan on proving herself on the high seas. Will she be able to escape the ship, Mr. Maclean, and the Creek Indians to find her friends before her final curtain? Author Julia Golding continues to create memorable characters and polished historical adventures. Recommend to fans of L. A. Meyer’s Bloody Jack series.
MS/HS – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My Rotten Life by David Lubar - ESSENTIAL

Lubar, David, My Rotten Life. Starscape. 2009. Pgs. 160.

Language: G, Violence: G, Sexual Content: G.


Ten-year-old Nathan’s life is fairly normal until the worst day of his life happens. The most popular girl in school tells him about a party, but says he’s not invited, the class bully picks on him, and he gets picked last in gym. When he meets Abigail, she convinces him to come to her uncle’s lab to try the Hurt-B-Gone: a serum that’s supposed to remove your bad feelings. Things go terribly wrong, however, when he gets doused with the serum and gets turned into an accidental zombie right as Abigail’s uncle gets arrested for having endangered plants in his lab. Nathan’s only hope: to race against time to find a cure before it’s too late and the zombie problem becomes permanent.

This book is a funny, well-written tale about trying to fit in with a zombie twist. Fans of David Lubar, humorous fiction, and science-fiction/fantasy will enjoy reading this book.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Nate the Great and The Hungry Book Club by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and Mitchell Sharmat

Sharmat, Marjorie Weinman and Mitchell Sharmat Nate the Great and The Hungry Book Club illustrated by Jody Wheeler, 64 pgs. Delacorte Press, 2009. EARLY READER. $12.99. In this episode of Nate the Great, Nate is on the hunt for the evil monster who tears, rips, and ruins books! (As a librarian, I could really sympathize with his case...I wanted him to find the evil monster that would dare treat books like that:)) But before long, he is also on the hunt for the missing has turned into a double case!! Using his great skills of deduction, Nate the Great is able to figure out both mysteries! This book, along with any other Nate the Great detective story, is a great way to get kids into reading. The repetition of words and interesting plot are sure to keep their attention and build their reading skills. EL-ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

A is for Anaconda: A Rainforest Alphabet by Anthony D. Fredericks

Fredericks, Anthony D. A is for Anaconda: A Rainforest Alphabet illustrated by Laura Regan, 34 pgs. Sleeping Bear Press, 2009. PICTURE BOOK. $17.95. What a wonderfully educational and entertaining book! With each respective alphabet letter, each page reveals something about the rainforest from the animals that live there to the types of medicine that can be found. It can be a quick and easy read, but if desired, more time can be spent on each page learning in more depth about the specific letter item. With captivating pictures, this book will fascinate kids from kindergarten all the way through sixth grade and beyond! EL-ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Imogene's Last Stand by Candace Fleming

Fleming, Candace Imogene's Last Stand illustrated by Nancy Carpenter 40 pgs. Schwartz and Wade Books, 2009. PICTURE BOOK. $16.99. Imogene Tripp is a born and bred history buff. Her first words were "Four Score and Seven Years Ago" and from there all she would eat, think, and breathe was history. All of her attention is now focused on saving the towns historical society house. She cleans the place up and gets it all ready for tours, but nobody comes. Soon, she finds out that the house is going to be torn down to make a shoelace factory.....but not if she has anything to do with it!! All week she schemes and begs people to come and visit, but it isn't until she finds out a great secret about the house that people finally realize how great history can be. This is a cute story with a lovable character. It would be a great to use to perk students' interest in history. There are also mini bios on the front and back flaps about the historical figures that are referred to and quoted (by Imogene!) in the book. Loved it! EL-ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Angel Girl by Laurie Friedman

Friedman, Laurie Angel Girl illustrated by Ofra Amit, 32 pgs. Carolrhoda Books, 2008. PICTURE BOOK. $16.95. 

Absolutely amazing. It is the true story of a boy, Herman, who during World War II was forced to work in a labor camp in Germany at the age of 11. Day by day he loses hope until one day his "angel girl" appears on the other side of the fence. She brings him an apple every day, at great risk to both of them. At last, Herman is liberated from the camp and starts a new life in America, never able to forget the past or his angel girl. Miraculously, he meets his angel girl on a blind date and soon after they marry. 

This book brought out an array of emotions from beginning to end. Despair. Sorrow. Pain. Hope. Happiness. Love. Every word tugs at your heart. The authors use of short, quick sentences and the illustrators long, sad pictures will make this story one that you will remember a lifetime. 

EL/MS/HS- ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

The Seven Sneezes by Olga Cabral

Cabral, Olga The Seven Sneezes illustrated by Bruce Ingman, 40 pgs. Golden Book (Random House), 2009. PICTURE BOOK. $15.99. Originally written in the 1940s, this silly story about life-changing sneezes has been re-illustrated by Ingman, and what a delight they are! Using a combination of hand-drawn and painted pictures, the story tells of the time a rag man came to town and turned it upside down with his sneezes. The dog now meows, the cat has bunny ears, the duck has no feathers, and the little girl has no pigtails! In a huff, they set out to find the rag man so he can make it right again....but it takes several tries before he can find the right magic sneeze to put them back together again! I thought the story was a bit too long and there was just a lot of text on each page so I could imagine children might get restless, but then again, it is a silly story with cute pictures so the text overload might not be a problem! EL-OPTIONAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

Scott, Elizabeth The Unwritten Rule pgs. 224 Simon Pulse Language~PG-13, Sexual Content~PG-13; Violence~G

“There are a million rules for being a girl. There are a million things you have to do to get through each day. High school has things that can trip you up, ruin you, people smile and say one thing and mean another, and you have to know all the rules, you have to know what you can and can’t do. And one of them is this: YOU DON’T KISS YOUR BEST FRIEND’S BOYFRIEND! (taken from The Unwritten Rule)

Sarah has been best friends with Brianna forever it seems. Now Sarah has a secret that could ruin that friendship forever. She is in love with Ryan, Brianna’s boyfriend. Sarah had given up thinking she could ever be with Ryan, because Brianna is 1-georgeous and 2-irresistable. However, things get all confused when Ryan kisses her.

This new book by Elizabeth Scott is a great book about friendship and what we will do or not do for that friendship to continue. A realistic look at relationships: parent to child, friend to friend; boyfriend to girlfriend. This book is another winner from teen writer Elizabeth Scott.
I read it in one sitting. . . . I couldn't put it down. Teens will devour this book.

There are only 3 swears but 2 are 'f's.

MS/HS ESSENTIAL Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Book of the Maidservant by Rebecca Barnhouse

Barnhouse, Rebecca. The Book of the Maidservant, 231 pgs. Random House, 2009. $16.99. Sexual Content: PG; Language: G; Violence: PG.
Johanna is a servant to Dame Margery Kempe, who is renowned (or despised) for excessive holiness and weeping. When Dame Kempe’s father dies, she decides to go on a medieval pilgrimage to the holy land. Dame Kempe brings Johanna along to clean, cook, and care for her and others on the trip. The company is attacked by robbers. There is dissent within the group. An exhausted Johanna hopes to make it home alive; with or without the hypocritical Dame Kempe. Author Rebecca Barnhouse bases her story on a medieval text The Book of Margery Kempe. The story is mostly fictional, but the details are well researched and the book is well written. Recommend to fans of author Karen Cushman.
MS – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

When I Wore My Sailor Suit by Uri Shulevitz

Shulevitz, Uri When I Wore My Sailor Suit 32 pgs. Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2009. PICTURE BOOK. $16.95. This is such a sweet story about the grand imagination of a little boy. Despite the rigors of a sailor's life, this little guy is courageous and braves all of the things a sailor must face....dangerous seas, pirates, and a scary man. He defeats all he must at sea, but soon realizes that his biggest battle is at home with the scary man watching him on the wall. Kids' imaginations will set sail, and they will love going on this sailing adventure! This story is also reminiscent of the author's life in Poland before World War II which makes the story come more alive for the reader. EL-ADVISABLE. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

The Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis

Willis, Jeanne The Bog Baby illustrated by Gwen Millward, 32 pgs. Schwartz and Wade Books, 2008. PICTURE BOOK. $16.99. Instead of going to their friend Annie's house, Chrissy and her sister decide to sneak away to fish in the magical pond in Bluebell Wood. The only thing they end up catching is a Bog Baby with boggly eyes and a spiky tail. It is their little secret as they take him home and love and care for him until he gets sick. The only cure is that he be returned to his home. Although I didn't really care much for the story, I thought the illustrations were sensational. They certainly added a magical feel to the story with their soft, sparkly hues. EL-OPTIONAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Krosoczka, Jarrett J. Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians 96 pgs. Knopf Books for Young Readers $5.99 Language~G; Sexual Content~G Violence~G

It’s a bird, It’s a plane. . . . . it’s the Lunch Lady? That’s right! This lunch lady serves justice up on a plastic tray!

In this exciting and hilarious episode the librarians are up to something. Determined to undermine the new gaming system coming to town the public, elementary and high school librarians pool their resources and devise an evil plan to get rid of the terrible X-Station 5000. The lunch lady soon discovers their plan and with the help of the Breakfast Bunch, she foils the plot of the evil librarians.

This second volume is not quite as brilliant as the first, but this new graphic novel series aimed at elementary school kids with capture their attention.

*On a personal note I was disappointed that the librarians and their books were the evil in this episode. I think there is a place for both video games and books. Both get kids to read.*

ELM –ADVISABLE Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Who Lives Here? Forest Animals by Deborah Hodge

Hodge, Deborah Who Lives Here? Forest Animals illustrated by Pat Stephens 24 pgs. Kids Can Press, 2009. $14.95. Similar to the previous post, this book discusses the variety of animals that live in the forest. Each page displays a large picture of the animal along with three smaller pictures and facts about the animal. I think that kids will find this book interesting and will learn lots of new things....I didn't even know about some of the animals that lived in the forest! The illustrations are realistic, and there is also an information section included in the back for parents and teachers. El-ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Who Lives Here? Savanna Animals by Deborah Hodge

Hodge, Deborah Who Lives Here? Savanna Animals illustrated by Pat Stephens 24 pgs. Kids Can Press, 2009. $14.95. In this informational book, kids will learn loads of new information about savannas as well as what kinds of animals live in the savanna. Each page consists of a picture of the specific animal along with three smaller pictures with three more separate facts about each animal. Some of the animals included are elephant, wildebeest, giraffe, meerkat, zebra etc. The information is interesting, and it is coupled with realistic illustrations. There is also a section of information for parents and teachers to use in the back of the book. This would be a great book to use when talking about animal habitats and how they adapt to the habitat they live in. EL-ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Polo and the Dragon by Regis Faller

Faller, Regis Polo and the Dragon 32 pgs. Roaring Brook Press, 2003. PICTURE BOOK. $9.99. In this Polo adventure, Polo decides to risk it and travel in his boat under a snowy sky. He is quickly blanketed in snow until he finds a magical door that leads him to a scary dragon...or is he scary? Ride along with Polo on this daring dragon adventure! There is no text in this book, but the pictures are wonderful, and kids are sure to quickly create their own imaginative story. EL-ADVISABLE. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Have You Ever Seen a Duck in a Raincoat? by Etta Kaner

Kaner, Etta Have You Ever Seen a Duck in a Raincoat? illustrated by Jeff Szuc, 32 pgs. Kids Can Press, 2009. PICTURE BOOK. $14.95. In this brightly illustrated book, comparisons are made between what people wear and what animals wear...or rather, what animals don't wear. Kids will be engrossed as they learn about various animal adaptations and will love seeing the silly illustrations of animals dressed up in different clothing items. This is a fun way to teach kids about animal characteristics and adaptations. Also included is a tic-tac-toe game that kids can follow up with at the end of reading. EL-ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Amazing Animals: Rainforest Romp by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker

Mitton, Tony and Parker, Ant Amazing Animals: Rainforest Romp 24 pgs. Kingfisher, 2009. PICTURE BOOK. $9.99. Come along with Rabbit, Mouse, and Bird as they take us on a tour of the South American rainforest! This is a cute rhyming book that will teach young kids all about the different kinds of amazing animals one would expect to see in a rainforest including sloths, howler monkeys, anacondas, and jaguars. There is also a look and find page at the end of the book which kids are sure to love! EL-ADVISABLE. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Babymouse Dragonslayer #11 by Jennifer L. Holm

Holm, Jennifer L. Babymouse Dragonslayer #11 96 pgs. Random House Books for Young Readers Language~G; Sexual Content~G Violence~G

Billed as “The next big epic fantasy!,” Babymouse #11 does not disappoint!

After failing a math quiz, Babymouse is sent to work with the Mathletes. This group calls themselves the Fighting Fractions. Babymouse is unsure of her abilities and doubts herself. After much study and practice the Math Olympics arrives. Will all her work pay off or will she fail again?! Don’t miss Babymouse Dragonslayer!

This terrific volume of Babymouse stories includes reference to some of the classic literary works of fantasy. Fans will cheer her on!

ELM –Essential Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara

Kohara, Kazuno Ghosts in the House! 32 pgs. Roaring Brook Press, 2008. PICTURE BOOK. $12.95. The ghosts that live in this haunted house are in for a real surprise when a little girl--who turns out to be a witch--also turns out to be a seasoned ghost hunter. They don't scare her! She makes good use out of the ghosts after she catches and washes them (though I think it is a little weird that the washing machine is in the kitchen). Some become curtains, others a tablecloth and still others are used as a nice, comfy blanket. The text in this book is simple and borderline boring, but the illustrations help set it apart as the only colors used are black, orange, and white. This woud be a great Halloween story for those little ones that don't like the scary ones:) EL-OPTIONAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher.