Monday, August 31, 2009

Solace: Unsheltered by M. West

West, M. Solace:Unsheltered 316pgs. AuthorHouse ~Language PG, Sexual Content~PG, Violence~PG-13

Agnis had a busy, yet normal life. Her beloved father travels a great deal and is dearly missed while away. She gets along with her siblings, as well as anyone does. Her mother is strict, but loving. She would never trade her life for another. Then she is suddenly awoken by her father, who is supposed to be traveling, and told to run and meet them at the Whells. Agnis misunderstands and goes to the old wells. There she waits and waits. No one comes. She witnesses vandals enter her house, ransack it, and burn it to the ground. She waits until all sign of life has gone and goes through the ruins to see if anything has survived. Finding her parents' old, forbidden, trunk she breaks the lock and takes what she finds inside. There is an old book that mentions something about a group called the Forbidden. Her parents' names are mentioned among the members. Were her parents involved in a secret society? Agnis decides she must find her parents and thie book holds the answers. Her decision begins a journey across the waters to find out who would want her family harmed and why.

This is an exciting novel filled with magic, intrigue, and romance. This is the author's first published work and the story leaves the reader anxiously awaiting a sequel. The romance is light and sweet. The violence is mostly from wild animal attacks. This novel would be considered a clean adventure fantasy.

MS/HS ADVISABLE Allison Madsen~Youth Services Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ash by Malinda Lo

Lo, Malinda Ash, 264 p. Little, Brown, 2009. Content: G (unless two girls finding love disturbs you). $16.99. Aisling adored her mother so much, that when she died, it took her years to come close to accepting that fact that she was gone forever. Her father’s new marriage doesn’t help things, and when he dies, Ash is left to work as a prisoner and a slave wherever her stepmother decides to take her. When Ash strikes up a friendship with Kaisa, the king’s Huntress, she must turn to an old acquaintance to help make her wishes come true, even if it means giving up part of her soul. At times I was thoroughly disgusted with Ash, as she violated everything she had ever learned about dealing with the Fair Folk, at other times I felt the pathos of her predicament as she slaved away for her stepmother. The romance is very light and well done – there is absolutely nothing to shy away from here. For schools where re-imagined fairy tales are popular, this one will go over well. MS –OPTIONAL, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher

The Outlandish Adventures of Liberty Aimes by Kelly Easton

Easton, Kelly The Outlandish Adventures of Liberty Aimes, 336 p. Wendy Lamb (Random House), 2009. Content: G. $15.99.

Liberty Aimes has been “homeschooled” for all of her ten years. That is, she stays at home and does everything that her parents tell her to do, including cooking for her obese mother and cleaning for her angry father. Then a series of small occurrences change Liberty’s life forever, as she takes her fate into her own hands.

Talking animals, humans floating through the air, and scoundrels galore populate the pages of Liberty’s adventures and outlandish they are. While the page count is high, there is plenty of white space for the younger reader. This would make a great elementary read aloud – or a cherished book for a parent and child.

EL – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Magic Study by Maria Snyder

Snyder, Maria V. Magic Study, 443 p. Mira Books, 2006. Content: PG-13 (several mentions, but not descritptions, of past torture and rape). $9.99. Yelena has been exiled to Sitia with Fourth Magician Irys, who is more than happy to reunite Yelena with her family, but insists that she come swiftly along to the Sitian capital for further magic training. Distrust from her own brother, capture and near death at the hands of a seceret Ixtian proclaimer to the Commander’s throne, another life-threatening scene at the hands of the very magicians who are supposed to train Yelena’s rogue powers, and an evil magician who is killing young girls to suck the power out of them all conspire to make Yelena’s first few weeks in Sitia a dangerous mess. Yelena will need all of training in order to come out of here alive. These books are a wonderful addition to a high school level collection where fantasy is always in high demand. I would not recommend this at the middle school level, just because of the nature of the discussion in the first book in the series. HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher

The Seige of Macindaw by John FLanagan

Flanagan, John The Seige of Macindaw, 293 p. Philomel (Penguin), 2009.

Violence: PG. $17.99.

Ranger Will is hiding in the forest outside Macindaw, working with Malcolm, the supposed wizard, to find a way to rescue Alyss fromt eh clutches of the evil Keren, who has killed the former Lord of the castle and made a pact with the Scottito allow them to invade all of Araluen. With the help of his best friend Horace, the craft of Malcolm and his fellows and even the aid of a crew of Skandians, there may just be hope for everyone.

Flanagan has finally released the second half of the third scenario in the Ranger’s Apprentice series. I’m glad I held my patience, for I certainly enjoyed the read. Fans of the series will not be disappointed – but remember to encourage new readers to start from the beginning!

EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher

The Prom Queen Curse by Michelle Kehm

Kehm, Michelle Suzi Clue: The Prom Queen Curse, 309. Dutton (Penguin), 2009. Language: PG-13 (30 + swears). Sexual Content: PG-13. $16.99.

Freshman Suzi Clue is intrigued when it looks like someone may be targeting the prom queen candidates at her high school. Someone doesn’t seem to appreciate Suzi’s sleuthing abilities, as she is thwarted and blocked at almost every turn. Will she be able to solve the mystery and save the prom? Or will someone solve the problem of Suzi?

This is a book that would be better released in paperback than in hardcover. While Suzi is rather charming, I got tired of her antics half way through the book. And I got really tired of the swearing and nakedness and the inappropriate (unrealistic) behaviors of the teachers. I would have been happier with zombies or demon queen being the cause of the problem rather than the actual resolution.

HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher

Swoon by Nina Malkin

Malkin, Nina Swoon, 421 p. Simon Pulse, 2009. $17.99. Sexual Content : R, Language: R (50+ swears). Candice, or “Dice”, has found the love of her teen-aged life - unfortunately he has been dead for over 200 years and he is the part-time inhabitant of her female cousin’s body. Even if Dice can free Sinclair “Sin” Youngblood Taylor from her cousin’s body, he may not be all that she ever dreamed and the only way to protect everyone around her may be to end Sinclair’s existence forever. This is a sex-obsessed spirit who really turns me off. What good writing exists int his book is overshadowed by the titillation of the rest of the book. NO. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin - ADVISABLE

Lin, Grace Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, 282 p. Little Brown and Company, 2009. $16.99 Language G, Sexual Content G, Violence G –

Minli is a strong female character who sets out on a quest to find the old man on the moon who has the answers to improve her family's future. She uses the wisdom she has gained from the old stories her father has told her to save her family.

You can judge this book by its cover. Grace Lin's richly colorful and intricate cover art is reminiscent of ancient Chinese textiles. The elegant illustrations continue throughout this lovely book that is both a collection of folk and fairy tales and a magical fantasy. The story is every bit as rich and beautiful as the cover.

EL- ADVISABLE. Janell Pearce-Mattheus, Youth Services Librarian, Whitmore Library.

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

Livingston, Lesley Wondrous Strange, 336 p. Harper, 2008. Language: G (5 swears); Violence: PG (fantasy creature deaths). Paperback Release – September 22. Kelley, 17, has come to New York to find fame and fortune on the theatre stage. What she will find, however, is who she really is – and it isn’t human. IN order to save her new-found friends and her new love, she will have to find her own power deep within. While this novel starts out a bit confusing and slow, the end is definitely worth the pages. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary by Brandon Mull

Mull, Brandon Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary, 527 p. Shadow Mountain, 2009. Content: G.

One of the remaining hidden artifacts is protected by the dragons at one of the forbidden sanctuaries, Wyrmroost. Kendra’s particular skills will be needed, but what will Seth do if he gets left behind? If you thought centaurs were peculiar – you haven’t met the inhabitants of Wyrmroost.

Mull continues to hit the writing right out of the ballpark! Too bad there’s only one left in the series.

 EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Immortal by Gillian Shields

Shields, Gillian Immortal, 368 p. Harper, 2009. Evie has been banished to the isolated and lonely Wyldcliffe Abbey School where she has a difficult time making any friends. Her only confidante is Sebastian, a mysterious young man whom she can only hangout with after dark. Evie’s future is connected to Wlydcliffe’s past and mysterious girl who looks very familiar. If your students really love Libba Bray, they might enjoy this boarding school spook novel. I don’t think it’s Shields best work. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund - ADVISABLE

Peterfreund, Diana Rampant, 416 p. Harper, 2009. Violence: PG-13.

According to Astrid’s mother, unicorns are vicious, man-eating evil beings which, thankfully, are all extinct thanks to Astrid’s sword-wielding ancestress. Oops – maybe not. In order to save the world from the re-emerging species, Astrid must join other descendants – only virgin maiden descendants – of the original huntresses in a cloister in Italy, where they are funded by a pharmaceutical company who wants the secret to the unicorns’ restorative powers.

There are lots of bloody battles in this fast-paced novel and an off-page rape that is only referred to. The twist on the unicorn mythology is kind of fun, but the action can get bloody.

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

Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman - ADVISABLE

Whitman, Emily Radiant Darkness, 288 p. Harper, 2009. Language: G (5 swears).

Persephone loves her mother Demeter, but feels captive in the beautiful cage that her mother has created for her to live in. One day, however, a darkly handsome man appears and quickly courts the girl until she agrees to run off with him – to the Underworld. There Persephone is blissfully happy, until she realizes that her disappearance has caused problems in the world above.

This fleshed out version makes for a great love story.

MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

A Sweet Disorder by Jacqueline Kolosov

Kolosov, Jacqueline A Sweet Disorder, 432 p. Disney/Hyperion, 2009. Content: G. Miranda, 16, is stunned by the news of her father’s death, but is even more distressed that she must leave her remaining family and be fostered with a cold, austere Earl and his wife, who have plans to sell her in marriage to the highest bidder. Her only hope is if she can somehow impress Queen Elizabeth with her sewing skills and earn her freedom and place in the Queen’s household. The historical detailing is drawn with great skill, but the romance with the son of Sir Walter Raleigh falls a bit flat. Those who absolutely love historical fiction may be satisfied, but it will not draw a wider audience. HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Just Another Hero by Sharon Draper

Draper, Sharon M. Just Another Hero, 280 p. Atheneum (Simon), 2009. Joshua is dead and November has had her baby – things may just have a chance to return to normal, or what passes for normal at their urban high school. Catch up with the cast of characters from the first two novels and meet a few more teens who have a skill for upsetting the daily classroom routine. As such as I liked catching up with November and her friends, seeing the trials and triumphs, the action is very slow until the last 50 pages, when the info from the teaser actually comes into play. Only lovers of the first two in the series will hold on long enough to get to this point. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Dessen, Sarah Along for the Ride, 383 p. Viking (Penguin), 2009. Language: PG (35 swears, no “f”). Auden, 18, has her summer all mapped out – studying her textbooks for her freshman year of college in order to get a jump on the competition. What else is there in life besides academics? That is until she answers the invitations from her father’s new wife to come meet her brand new baby half-sister. Thrust into a tense situation in a beachy little town, Auden can either hide in her room all summer, or take the plunge into the unknown social world of Colby. Dessen maps out a charming book that doesn’t rely on beach bodies or sexy scenes to make its points. I don’t know how she keeps giving such wonderful books. FYI – there is an off page makeout scene early on that is implied. MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Alis by Naomi Rich

Rich, Naomi Alis, 288 p. Viking (Penguin), 2009 p. Violence: PG. Alis has been brought up within a strict religious community and yearns to have a different life. When she goes to another Community town as a companion, she finds that her life was actually pretty easy. This Community has a decidedly anti-female stance and Alis’s life may be in danger. Just as she is first finding love, Alis may lose everything. While Alis’ story had potential, that potential is unrealized in this flat novel, which is unfortunate. This one wil have a very hard time charming anyone. NO. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Unclaimed Heart by Kim Wilkins

Wilkins, Kim Unclaimed Heart, 320 p. Razorbill (Penguin), 2009. Content: G. Constance’s mother left when the girl was just a toddler. Now, as her father returns from his latest ocean voyage, she overhears word of her mother being spotted years earlier in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Constance takes the plunge and stows away on her father’s voyage. In Ceylon, she tries to befriend the daughter of the Dutch family who hosts them, but both girls are drawn to Alexandre Sans-Nom, a pearl diver who was rescued by her father. Mystery, contention and betrayal will rock Constance’s world. Set in 18th century Britain and Ceylon, Wilkins paints a pretty picture of the time and its conventions. The romance is just enough for a light read. MS, HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What Can you do with a Paleta? by Carmen Tafolla

Tafolla, Carmen, illustrated by Magaly Morales What Can You Do with a Paleta? Tricycle Press, 2009. $14.99. PICTURE BOOK - Language G, Sexual Content G, Violence G – One of my favorite memories of childhood is the music of the Ice Cream Man's truck. Tafolla give us the Mexican version of this summer treat. When the paleta wagon rings its tinkly bell in the barrio, the children paint their tongues with the fruit popsicles, scare each other with them and make new friends. But this sweet multicultural story with spanish words sprinkled throughout is diminished by awkward illustrations of rather frightening looking children. Their oddly shaped and unnaturally open mouths spoil the brighltly colored acrylic illustrations. Pre-K, EL (K-3) ELEMENTARY- OPTIONAL. Janell Pearce-Mattheus, Youth Services Librarian, Whitmore Library.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney - ESSENTIAL

Pinkney, Jerry, The Lion and the Mouse, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 2009. PICTURE BOOK.

Sometime even a king needs help from little friends.

Pinkney does a fantastic job of “retelling” this traditional fable of the Lion and the Mouse. The pictures are exquisite and have such amazing intricate detail put into them. The lion is shown as being a compassionate creature, not just someone looking for a quick meal or who believes only in his superiority. This book is a must-have for any public or elementary-school library.

Pre-K, EL (K-3) - ESSENTIAL.

Reviewer: Kira-HUN Public Library.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sugar Would Not Eat It by Emily Jenkins and Giselle Potter

Sugar Would Not Eat It  by Emily Jenkins illustrated by Giselle Potter Random House, 2009. $16.99. PICTURE BOOK

A boy brings home a stray kitten, names her Sugar and tries to feed her a piece of cake. But Sugar would not eat it. Leo asks the adults in his neighborhood for advice on how to get Sugar to eat the cake. For some unknown reason none of them explain to Leo that cats don't eat cake and instead give him all the platitudes and threats that parents use to get their children to eat their vegetables from "eat it or you won't grow up big and strong" to "children in other parts of the world are going hungry." Of course none of the advice works. Leo finally shares his milk and chicken sandwich with Sugar and they are both happy until Leo decides to give Sugar a bath.

Potter's illustrations done in watercolor, gouache, ink and gesso are full of interesting perspectives perfect facial expressions. But her signature style is flat and old fashioned and is more suited to adult tastes.

Pre-K, EL (K-3), EL - OPTIONAL. Janell Pearce-Mattheus, Youth Services Librarian, Whitmore Library.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sylvie by Jennifer Sattler - ADVISABLE

Sattler, Jennifer Sylvie Random House, 2009. $15.99. PICTURE BOOK

When Sylvie learns that she and all flamingos are pink because of the pink shrimp that they eat, she decides to experiment with eating more colorful food. Just like the chameleon in Leo Lionni's classic, A Color of His Own, Sylvie becomes many different colors. She becomes positively purple after eating grapes and stripy after eating a towel. She has fun but after awhile she doesn't feel like herself at all and decides to go back to eating little pink shrimp so she can go back to her original color.

While the story is not very original, the illustrations are big and bright and full of fun. The surprise ending makes it perfect for preschool storytime.

Pre-K, EL (K-3), EL - ADVISABLE. Janell Pearce-Mattheus, Youth Services Librarian, Whitmore Library.

Fanny and Annabelle by Holly Hobbie

Hobbie, Holly, Fanny and Annabelle, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 2009. PICTURE BOOK. Fanny decides to write a picture book about a girl named Annabelle who lived with her Aunt Sally. Annabelle soon remembers that her Aunt Sally’s birthday is coming up and she needs to get her a present. She needs more money and finds 2 $50 on the sidewalk. Is it okay for her to keep the money or does she need to give it to someone? What will she get for Aunt Sally for her birthday. Fanny and Annabelle’s story parallel each other as you read the picture book. Readers soon realize that it is really Fanny who finds the money and has the birthday present problem. The illustrations are well-done and the text is very realistic looking compared to the age of the child writing the book. Children will enjoy having this book read aloud to them. EL(Pre-K to K)-OPTIONAL Review: Kira: Children’s Librarian-HUN Public Library

Me and You by Geneviève Côté

Côté, Geneviève, Me and You. Kids Can Press, 2009. PICTURE BOOK.

When a pig and bunny are painting together, they decide to try and be each other for a day. From painting each other different colors to changing the appearance of one’s tail to look like the other animal’s, these two do a very good job of imitating each other. They soon decide, however, that they like each other just the way they are.

A cute story, has fun illustrations. Would make a good storytime book or a first day of school book for kindergartners.

Pre-K, EL (K-3) - OPTIONAL.

Reviewer: Kira, Children's Librarian-HUN Public Library.

Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars: The Mystery of the Conjured Man by Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin

Mack, Tracy and Citrin, Michael, Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Streeet Irregulars: The Mystery of the Conjured Man. Scholastic, Inc. pgs. 208. Language: G, Violence: G, Sexual Content: G. Scholastic Press, 2009. CHAPTER BOOK

Holmes, Watson, and the Baker Street Irregulars (a group of kids who live on the street) are on the case when a young lady named Elsa comes to Sherlock Holmes to ask his help in solving the mysterious death of her aunt. Things start to get a little dangerous, however, when the gang realizes that the supposed psychic con-artists Elsa’s aunt was dealing with might really be thieves and murderers. When Elsa gets kidnapped, it’s up to our heroes to save the day and solve the mystery of the conjured man. This is a fun mystery that has humor, adventure, and even a little suspense in it. Readers will enjoy trying to solve the mystery along with the characters in the book. Perfect for mystery, suspense, and historical fiction lovers.

EL - ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira-Youth Services Librarian-HUN Public Library.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Tree for Emmy by Mary Ann Rodman

Rodman, Mary Ann. Illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss A Tree for Emmy Peachtree, 2009. $15.95. PICTURE BOOK - Language G, Sexual Content G, Violence G – Emmy loves all kinds of trees. But best of all, she loves the mimosa tree in her Gramma's pasture that is stubborn and strong and a little bit wild just like she is. For her birthday Emmy wants a mimosa tree of her own so she can play with the pink blossoms and swing on the low branches and shake its rattly seedpods. The problem comes when no one sells the wild trees. Emmy solves the problem in a sweetly illustrated story that extolls the beauty of the natural world as well as the spunky spirit of a stubborn little girl. Pre-K, EL (K-3) ELEMENTARY- ADIVSABLE. Janell Pearce-Mattheus, Youth Services Librarian, Whitmore Library.

Kira by Kate O'Hearn - ESSENTIAL

O’Hearn, Kate Kira (Shadow of the Dragon book 1), 306 p. Kane Miller, 2009.

Violence: PG.

When the King declares war on the neighboring countries, Kira, 12, and her sisters are outlaws just because they are unmarried. Her father, mother and brother are taken to the castle – her father as the best dragon knight trainer in history and her brother to take up the danger of being a dragon knight. Only Kira and one of her sisters escapes – and thus gain the wrath of the king. More than his ire awaits the girls however, as the take refuge right under the nose of an untamable, rogue dragon. This doesn’t stop Kira and her sister from saving and loving one of the Rogue’s own offspring.

This is a fine tale of high fantasy – the only shame is that everyone will now have to wait for the next books in the series – and waiting is VERY hard to do when the book catches you imagination and heart like this one does!

EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Max by James Patterson

Patterson, James Max, 320 p. Little Brown, 2009. Language: G; Violence: PG. Max and her flock are still trying to save the world. This time however, they are in the shores off of Hawaii, researching the mysterious deaths of large amounts of fish – and trying to rescue Max’s mother from the clutches of the latest group of people out to use or kill the winged ones. You would think that with winged main characters that I would remember that this is all a fantasy – and yet I still find myself getting upset that the villains in these latest books are so freaking unbelievable! Oh well, the action is non-stop, Max is herself to a tee. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund

Osterlund, Anne Academy 7, 259 p. Speak (Penguin), 2009. $8.99. Language: PG (12 swears). Aerin Renning is an escaped slave on the run from a brutal regime. Dane Madousin is a pampered son of wealth on the run from an emotionally abusive father. When the two meet at their first day at the very prestigious Academy 7, it’s not necessarily sparks that fly, but there is a force that seems to be drawing to two together – for better or for worst. Both are determined to be the top of their space-faring class – and neither of them are strangers to competition. I did not guess from the cover that this was a science fiction novel, but I was not disappointed with the discovery. It’s a nice little package of romance, danger and excellent piloting skills. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

13 Ghosts of Halloween by Robin Muller

Muller, Robin 13 Ghosts of Halloween. Kane Miller, 2009. PICTURE BOOK. $7.99. A group of children are determined to prove that they are brave, even in the face of every increasing numbers of scary creatures. A humorous take on the original 12 Days of Christmas – a ghoulish delight for young children. EL _ ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Goldilocks by Ruth Sanderson - ADVISABLE

Sanderson, Ruth Goldilocks. Little, Brown, 2009. PICTURE BOOK. $16.99.

This retelling of the classic Goldilocks proceeds as expected, until the end, when the young intruder stays to make amends, instead of running away in fright.

The lush illustrations are a beautiful setting for this interesting retelling.

EL – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Ghosts of War by Ryan Smithson

Smithson, Ryan Ghosts of War: My Tour of Duty, 320 p. HarperTeen, 2009. $16.99. Language: R (60 + swears, 6 ‘f’); Violence: PG (war scenes, but nothing graphic). At nineteen, Ryan Smithson is deployed to Iraq as part of a corps of Army engineers. Through short chapters, he retells his Army experience, from his first decision to join the Armed Forces until he comes to grips with what he went through at the end of his service. If you have a son or daughter who is thinking of joining the service, or if you the loved ones of someone who has left you behind, this is an excellent way to get an intimate glimpse into the behind the scenes action of this war, without being violently graphic. These are the feelings that returning soldiers need to share but are usually unable to articulate. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby - OPTIONAL

Ashby, Amanda Zombie Queen of Newbury High, 208 p. Speak (Penguin), 2009. $7.99.

Language : PG (OMG variety).

All Mia wants to do is make sure that her hunky boyfriend Rob, football superstar, doesn’t dump her just before the before due to the machinations of the school tramp. Instead of a simple love spell, however, she unleashes a zombie-creating mess instead – and she is their queen (which means that they want to fatten her up to eat first). Only with the help of zombie hunter Chase does she have even the slightest chance of reversing the spell.

Mia’s campy antics are a hoot to read in this fast-paced adventure. There’s not a lot required of the reader except to sit back and enjoy.

MS, HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr

Marr. Melissa Fragile Eternity, 400 p. HarperTeen, 2009. $16.99. Language: PG-13 (7 swears, 1 “f”) Aislinn has agreed to be Keenan’s Summer Queen, but that doesn’t mean that she is willing to give up her mortal lover, Seth. The trio tries to maintain an uneasy truce, but Keenan desires all of Ash’s attention in order to restore his faerie court to prominence. Seth, on the other hand, is determined to do whatever he has to remain by Ash’s side for eternity – even if it means turning to an unlikely source to fulfill his dreams. War, in the form of Bananach, is happy with all of the contention being sowed amongst the faerie courts. Finally, Marr brings us the sequel to her original Wicked Lovely. I’m not sure why she throws in such a minor amount of swearing – it feels purposeless. But despite that, she has created a worthy sequel, with just enough meat to make this better than the first – and to keep you waiting anxiously for the sequel. MS – OPTIONAL; HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Ghostgirl: Homecoming by Tonya Hurley

Hurley, Tonya Ghostgirl: Homecoming, 284 p. Little, Brown, 2009. $17.99. Language: PG-13 (15+ swears, no ‘f’). Charlotte has made it to the afterlife, but amazingly, it looks a lot like a call center. All of the other spirits have been reunited with loved ones who make the hours outside of the call center quite wonderful, but Charlotte and her roommate Maddy are left on their own. And Charlotte’s phone never rings! Then she finds out that Petula, the hated sister of her best friend Scarlet is in an accident-induced coma. Unless Petula’s spirit can be reunited with her body before the Homecoming Dance, both Petula and Scarlet may pass on. I must say, I love the look of the Ghostgirl illustrations – and yes, there is some merchandise available on the net. The story is a bit weirdly complicated, but fans of the first book will not be disappointed. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank-you Notes by Peggy Gifford

Gifford, Peggy Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank-you Notes 176 pgs. Schwartz & Wade ~Language G, Sexual Content~G Violence~G

In her 2nd Moxy Maxwell novel, Gifford presents us with a girl who is bound and determined to get out of writing the 13 thank you notes for the Christmas presents she received. Her mother has given her an ultimatum. She must finish them all “today” or there will be consequences!
As readers familiar with Moxy will guess, she comes up with the most ‘creative’ ways to complete her task. Most of which involve poor choices on Moxy’s part. Hilarious at times, teeth grinding at others, this new Moxy book is definitely full to the brim with Moxie.

EL ADVISABLE Allison Madsen~Youth Services Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Chicken Little by Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley

Emberley, Rebecca and Ed Emberley Chicken Little Roaring Brook Press, 2009. $16.95. PICTURE BOOK - Language G, Sexual Content G, Violence G – Caldecott award winner, Ed Emberley and his daughter Rebecca have combined their talents to create a comic interpretation of the time honored classic. In their version Chicken Little literally bumps into Henny Penny, Lucky Ducky and Loosey Goosey with Bonk!, Awk!, and Onk! sound effects. The highly saturated colors of the birds as well as their simple cut paper shapes are fun and eye catching, but the snarky and shortened story does not evoke the same meaning as the traditional repetitive tale. Add as an alternate telling but not as your primary version of the fable. EL (K-3) ELEMENTARY- OPTIONAL. Janell Pearce-Mattheus, Youth Services Librarian, Whitmore Library.

After the Moment by Garret Freymann-Weyr

Freymann-Weyr, Garret After the Moment 336 pgs. Houghton Mifflin~Language PG-13, Sexual Content~PG-13 Violence~PG-13

Leigh Hunter moves to his father’s home, changes schools, and separates from his girlfriend Astra, in order to be part of a support group for his half-sister Millie. As part of this move he is also introduced to his sister’s older friend Maia, who is Leigh’s age. Maia is what most would consider a troubled teen. She is a recovering anorexic, cutter, and alcoholic. At first Leigh can’t keep his eyes off of her because she is ‘strange,’ but as he gets to know her he slowly finds he has fallen in love with her.

This is a unique coming of age novel because of its male protagonist. Not surprisingly, due to the fact that this is told by a young man there are many comments about sex. There is no described sex, but the character mentions having it and a gang rape occurs but is not described.
I would advise most conservative schools to let the public library buy this one. Public librarians should consider this title strongly ADVISABLE.

HS OPTIONAL Allison Madsen~Youth Services Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle

Myracle, Lauren Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks 292 pgs. Dutton Juvenile ~Language PG-13, Sexual Content~PG-13 Violence~G

Lauren has always been there for Carly. As the older sister, she is the protector and built in best friend. Coming back from her summer long volunteer project as a tree hugger, cleaning up the forest and trail building, Lauren discovers that Carly is now the bigger(in the chest) and the more beautiful(at least Lauren thinks so) of the two. As they start school, these two facts begin to wear on Lauren. To make matters more complicated as only a boy can do, Lauren develops a crush on the new kid in school. With all the new added attention her younger sister is getting and the fact that she can’t seem to get HIS attention, Lauren’s world is not turning out how she wants it to and she begins to resent the sister she loves most.

In her new book, Myracle dives into the tricky world of sisters. The title will catch their attention and the storyline will too.

This novel includes a lot of references to girl parts, ie bosoms, and other sexually related topics. While there is no actual sex, this reader was taken aback by the frankness of the writing concerning body parts. This may not be for all readers. Swears referring to deity are present as well.

HS ADVISABLE Allison Madsen~Youth Services Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mom and Me by Marla Stewart Konrad

Konrad, Marla Stewart Mom and Me, 24 pgs. Tundra Books ~Language G, Sexual Content~G Violence~G

“Mom loves me like no one else.” This sweet sentiment from the last page of this exceptional book brought tears to my eyes as I concluded the story. In brief sentences, Konrad has taken images of a mother and child from many different cultures and many different walks of life, and created a story about what moms do for us. Readers will learn that mom’s are fundamentally the same all over the world. This title would be especially poignant in communities that lack multicultural influences. Extremely well done.

EL. ESSENTIAL Allison Madsen~Youth Services Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Bridget Fidget and the Most Perfect Pet by Joe Berger

Berger, Joe Bridget Fidget and the Most Perfect Pet. Dial (Penguin), 2009. $16.99. PICTURE BOOK. Bridget has always longed for a pet, so when a great big box arrives, she tears into it, but only finds another, much smaller, box. When her parents give her the present inside the box, she is happy, but not overwhelmed. As consolation, she does find a pet, who might be everything she ever wanted –maybe. I thought Bridget was pretty cute – up until the reveal of her new pet – that underwhelmed me to no end. DO you want to know what Bridget’s new pet is? Highlight with your cursor from here… LADYBUG … to there. PreK – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher.

The Cow that was the Best Moo-ther by Andy Cutbill

Cutbill, Andy The Cow that was the Best Moo-ther, illustrated by Russell Ayto. HarperCollins, 2009. $17.99. PICTURE BOOK. Marjorie the Cow enters her unusual-looking calf(?) into the farmer’s beauty contest, where her beautiful baby turns out to be something special after all. The illustrations in this book are lots of fun and littler children will laugh at Marjorie’s silly baby. PreK-K – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher. Cindy, Library Teacher.

My Little Polar Bear by Claudia Rueda

Rueda, Claudia My Little Polar Bear. Scholastic Press, 2009. $16.99. PICTURE BOOK. As he and his mother wander through their territory, a little polar bear wonders how his mother knows for sure that he is a polar bear. The blue and white illustrations bring the feel on the Arctic right into the book. I wish this were a board book, though, because that’s what it feels like. PreK-K – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Yours Truly, Louisa by Simon Puttock

Puttock, Simon Yours Truly, Louisa, illustrated by Jo Kiddie. HarperCollins, 2009. PICTURE BOOK. $17.99. Louisa Pig has all kinds of ideas for sprucing up the farm and Farmer Joe is more than happy to comply with her letters – at least until a huge rainstorm comes by and destroys all of his hard work. When Louisa leaves in a huff, she finds out the old wisdom that wherever you go, there you are. The illustrationsa re perfect for this cute little book; it’s a good way to show children that it’s no good just to complain about something – you need to be willing to change sometimes, too. EL – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher.

The Travel Game by John Grandits

Grandits, John The Travel Game, illustrated by R.W. Alley. Clarion, 2009. $16.00. PICTURE BOOK. A little boy loves helping out in his grandfather’s tailoring shop on the weekends, but when his mother wants him to take a nap, his Aunt Hattie plays his favorite game with him – The Travel Game – where they spin the globe and visit exotic places through Hattie’s stories. This time? China! If a teacher were really knowledgable and flexible in their teaching style, I could see this as a fun thing to do with an extra half hour in the school day as a way to talk about the world for just a bit, and not a whole unit. EL – OPTIONAL.

Please Don’t Tease Tootsie by Maragret Chamberlain

Chamberlain, Margaret Please Don’t Tease Tootsie. Dutton (Penguin), 2008. $16.99. PICTURE BOOK. Not just Tootsie the cat, but every other cuddly (and not so cuddly) animal deserves to be treated with kindness. With simple, fun pictures and straightforward language, Chamberlain’s message should resound with any young child. EL (K-3) – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher.

This is the Firefighter by Laura Godwin

Godwin, Laura This is the Firefighter, pictures by Julian Hector. Disney/Hyperion, 2009. $15.99. PICTURE BOOK. With simple rhyming text and the perfect accompanying pictures, Godwin and Hector create a book that small boys will particularly love. PreK-K – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher.

The Art of Freedom by Bob Raczka

Raczka, Bob The Art of Freedom: How Artists See America. Millbrook (Lerner), 2008. $9.95. PICTURE BOOK. With unadorned text accompanying historic and modern works of art. Raszka has put together an easily read book, and yet one that could spur many lesson plans for art class or American History on any level, when given to the right teacher. EL, MS, HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher.

How Many Cats? by Lauren Thompson

Thompson, Lauren How Many Cats? Illustrated by Robin Eley. Disney/Hyperion, 2009. $15.99. PICTURE BOOK. A dog looks lonely, until a series of cats come though his door and get up to their mischievous cat ways, until all tired out they head themselves back out the door. Adding, subtracting and grouping all come into play in this ambitiously fun book. The cats are adorable as they prance through their cat antics (though they do spend a lot of time on their back paws). A smaller child will have a lot of fun counting the cats on every page. PreK-K – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Beautiful Ballerina by Marilyn Nelson

Nelson, Marilyn Beautiful Ballerina, photographs by Susan Kuklin. Scholastic Press, September, 2009. $17.99. PICTURE BOOK. Nelson celebrates the strength, courage and gracefulness of beginning ballerinas in her ode to the dancer and to the beauty of the black woman. This is an homage to the Dance Theatre of Harlem, using five young dancers. While I understand the author’s love of DTH, this picture book would have an even wider audience if it were a bit more diverse. EL-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.