Saturday, June 26, 2010

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Oliver, Lauren Before I Fall, 470 pgs. HarperCollins; Language~PG-13, Sexual Content~PG-13; Violence~PG

You know that movie Groundhog Day where the reporter relives the day over and over again until he gets something right? This book is written in that exact formula. Samantha is in a clique of popular girls. She parties, drinks, does drugs occasionally, and she relishes being popular. Then coming home from a party one night their car crashes. Next thing she knows, her alarm clock is ringing and it is “Cupid Day” all over again. This book got really old really fast. I made it to page 222 before I couldn’t take it anymore and quit. There are plenty of swears but no “f”’s at least in the first 222 pages. There is also a lot of talk about sex. At the beginning of the book Samantha is planning on losing her virginity that night. Later on there is also some teacher/student action. I would not recommend this book. I found it boring, pointless, and blasé. Not worth your money.

MS/HS NO Allison Madsen~Youth Services Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Micro Monsters from Kingfisher

Micro Monsters, 47 p. Kingfisher, 2010.  $14.99.  From the Jumping Spider (all of 6mm long), down to the Amoeba (tiny at 0.075mm), beautiful full-color photographs will thrill, disgust and enlighten all at the same time.  Chills go up my spine just flipping through these pages!  If your science teacher ahs a document camera, they will be thrilled to have this available!  EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines

Haines, Lise Girl in the Arena, 324 pgs. Bloomsbury, 2009. Language - PG (44 swears, 0 "f"), Sexual Content - PG; Violence - PG;

Lyn's seventh father Tommy is going to fight in his third to last battle against Uber. Lyn gives Tommy her dowry bracelet for good luck, but it turns out to be bad luck for her. Uber cuts off Tommy's hand, making the bracelet fall off, and then kills him and picks up the bracelet. Now, according to law, Uber and Lyn have to marry, but Lyn will come up with a crazy plan to prevent it. I enjoyed reading this book with so much action packed into it. I consider this book extraordinary for well balanced--some parts made me cry while others made me laugh--and for great characters in an interesting plot.


Change of Heart by Shari Maurer - ADVISABLE

Maurer, Shari Change of Heart, 286 pgs. WestSide Books, 2010. Language - PG-13 (56 swears, 0 "f"), Mature Content - PG; Violence - G;

Soccer is Emmi's life. She's one of the best players on her high school team, she goes to soccer camps, she wants to be a professional soccer player, the whole enchilada. While at a soccer competition in Maryland, though, she feels bad and blacks out. When she goes to the hospital, she finds out that she needs a heart transplant. Until then, Emmi can't go to school, she can't play soccer, and her relationships with her friends fall apart.

While reading this book, I found myself drowning in emotions and drama. I loved the way the story flowed and unfolded, I enjoyed every moment I spent reading it--even through the tragic ending.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Little Miss Red by Robin Palmer

Palmer, Robin Little Miss Red, 288 p. Speak (Penguin), 2010.  $7.99.  Content: G (2 swears, no “f”).  Instead of spending spring break somewhere fabulous, Sophie Greene is schlepping down to her grandmother’s retirement village in Florida.  Since her boyfriend has put their relationship on “pause”, she doesn’t feel bad at all about flirting with the very cute guy in the seat next to her, nor taking him to Grandma’s with her.  Sophie is totally obsessed with the main character in the romance novels written by her best friend’s mother and is determined to live her life the way Devon (the character) would.  In the case it may mean hanging out with someone who is more like the Big Bad Wolf, instead of someone she usually goes for.  I still don’t think Palmer has been able to match the magic from the first book in this series (Cindy Ella).  Sophie’s voice grates on the nerves and both male characters are so poorly fleshed that I couldn’t understand why she would want to be with either of them.  On the other hand, it is a fluffy romance novel printed in paperback, so it may catch a few eyes.  MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

The King’s Rose by Alisa M. Libby

Libby, Alisa M. The King’s Rose, 304. p. Dutton (Penguin), 2009. $17.99.  Sexual Content: PG-13 (the whole thing is about bedding and keeping the attention of King Henry VIII while having an affair or affairs).  Catherine Howard has been placed under the eye of King Henry VIII as a replacement for the latest bride that he beheaded or put away.  Now that she has that magic ring, how can she pretend that she is an innocent virgin and keep his attention from all of the other ladies that want to warm his bed – all while trying to bear the next heir to the throne.  Secrets from her past, including former loves, keep intruding and Catherine may be going out the hard way.  If you want an eyeful of the sexual dalliances and intrigues within England’s historic courts, here you go.  Not as harsh as it could be, it nonetheless is very clear about the many different relationships among the court.  Younger students would be better off with Carolyn Meyer’s books which are not quite so blunt.  HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Pfeffer, Susan Beth This World We Live In, 239 p. Harcourt, 2010.  Content: G.  Almost a year has passed since the moon was knocked off course by the asteroid.  Everything is colder, Miranda and her family are still surviving – but just barely.  Then her brother comes home, married to a girl he just met and her dad comes back to town with his new wife, their baby and three other strangers – Julie, Alex and Charlie – people they met up with in one of the evacuation centers.  Now food is suddenly a much bigger problem, but that may be the least of their worries.  While Pfeffer has added more information to her riveting world, she has raised more questions than she has answered and I, for one, can only hope that there might be at least one more book forthcoming – I hope, I hope, I hope.  MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan - ESSENTIAL

McCahan, Erin I Now Pronounce You Someone Else, 272 p. Arthur A. Levine (Scholastic), 2010.  $16.99.  Language: PG (13 swears, no “f”), Sexual Content: PG-13 (under the bra).  

Bronwen Oliver, senior,  is sure that she was switched at birth – try as she might, she does not fit into her blond family, especially not since her father died.  Oh, her stepdad is all right, but nothing can replace the feeling of having a father.  Then she meets Jason Sondervan – college senior – and the two feel like this may be it – love at first sight.  But every kind of love has its ups and downs, and when Bronwen tries to reconcile getting married and being married as a college freshman, those old family ties and insecurities rear their ugly heads.  

This could have so easily been just another fluffy romance book.  Instead, McCahan has written a lovely, deep, piece of literature that will touch your heart.  She very carefully addresses the multiple dimension of the human experience with tenderness, not treating anything cavalierly.  I just felt wonderful when I was done.  I am eagerly looking forward to McCahan’s next novel.  

HS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev

Mantchev, Lisa Perchance to Dream, 333 p. Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan), 2010.  Content: G.  Beatrice Shakespeare Smith has been named the Mistress of Revels, but the first duty in her heart is to rescue the love of her life, the pirate Nate, from the clutches of the evil Sea Goddess, Sedna.  Ariel, her four fairie friends and a cast of others join her as she leaves the theatre and comeces on what may be a hopeless journey.  A few new characters, including the Scrimshander and Waschbar the sneak thief, add to the production and the drama – answering a few questions and rasing some others.  A definite must for your hardest sore fantasy fans – it won’t be popular with everyone, but will be adored by the smartest!  MS, HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

My Boyfriends’ Dogs by Dandi Mackall

Mackall, Dandi Daley My Boyfriends’ Dogs, 265 pgs. Dutton Children’s Books, 2010. Language-G, Sexual Content-PG, Violence-G; Bailey Daley has fallen in love, or what she thinks is love, three times. From those loves, she has received 3 dogs, but she’ll never forget how she got them. As the story unfolds, it teaches many great life lessons that all teens need to learn. It is very well written, and is for any romance loving reader. MS, HS- ADVISABLE. Reviewer: HW

Captivate by Carrie Jones

Jones, Carrie Captivate, 336 p. Bloomsbury, 2010.  $16.99.  Violence: PG.  Zara and her friends have managed to survive the attack by Zara’s pixie father and now they have a whole bunch of pixies captive in a house bound round with cold iron.  Now, however, despite the fact that Zara is thoroughly in love with her were-wolf boyfriend, Nick, another  pixie king, Astely, has arrived and warns the group that more terrible things are to come if they don’t release the pixies and help Zara’s father regain his powers.  Zara and her friends have not one ounce of trust in the word of a pixie – which can only mean that WORSE will be coming sooner, rather than later.  I actually didn’t read the first book in this series, but enjoyed this one despite that.  The covers are gorgeous and will lead many students to discover their power.  I can’t wait for #3!  MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Planet Earth by Dan Gilpin

Gilpin, Dan Planet Earth: What Planet Are You On? 128 p. Kingfisher, 2010.  $8.99.  I don’t know if Basher is a person or a group, but the very clever illustrations are perfectly accompanied by Green’s text in this in-depth look at our home planet.  You need every one of these titles.  EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher 

Planet Earth by Dr. Mike Goldsmith

Goldsmith, Dr. Mike and Nicki Palin Planet Earth (Flip the Flaps), 17 p. Kingfisher, 2010.  $9.99.  Simple text and good illustrations combine for a basic look at the form and processes of our planet.  This book is best for a young audience who are just learning about the Earth.  EL – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

How to Clean Your Room in 10 Easy Steps by Jennifer Huget

Huget, Jennifer LaRue and Edward Koren How to Clean Your Room in 10 Easy Steps.  Schwartz & Wade (Random), 2010.  $16.99.  PICTURE BOOK.  

Are you in trouble because you haven’t cleaned your room lately?  Follow these ten easy steps to make your mom ever so proud of you.  Be careful if you read this book to your child – they may start following its suggestions!  

EL – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Ancient Rome by Philip Steele

Steele, Philip Ancient Rome, 48 p. Kingfisher, 2009. $10.99. Take a quick tour through historic Rome.  With photos of historic places, some CGI and lots of well-executed recreations (they work so much better than poorly done drawings that you find in so many books), you get a great panoramic look at the empire at its peak.  Just enough information and lots of beautiful illustrations to hold a young student’s attention. EL, MS - ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Monday, June 21, 2010

Kerka’s Book by Jan Bozarth

Bozarth, Jan Kerka’s Book (Fairy Godmother Academy #2), 191 p. Yearling (Random), 2010. $6.99.  Content: G.  After her adventure with Birdie, Kerka is excited for he own quest in Aventurine.  She has worked hard to master the basic steps of the Kali s dance, but is surprised to find that her quest is to retrieve her little sister’s voice – how do you find a voice?  Instead of other fairy godmothers in training, Kerka’s companion is a talking reindeer – and they both feel threatened by the wolf which seems to be stalking them. Kerka’s adventure has a finite time limit and she afraid that she will not make it.  Little girls in love with magic and fairies will be delighted.  These girls seem tailor made for a TV show or extra books of all sorts.  EL – ADVISABLE.  Cindy, Library Teacher

The Kingfisher Dinosaur Encyclopedia by Mike Benton

Benton, Mike The Kingfisher Dinosaur Encyclopedia, 157 p. Kingfisher, 2009.  $19.99.  Professor Benton’s book is a wealth of information, drawings, photos and CGI of the entire world of dinosaurs and dinosaur excavation.  As new technology and methods of analysis are created, the picture of dinosaurs has greatly improved.  If your dino books are more than five years old, it is time to toss them and replace with new – starting with this one!  EL, MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Andrew North Blows up the World by Adam Selzer

Selzer, Adam, Andrew North Blows up the World. Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2009. Pgs. 128. Violence: G, Sexual Content: G, Language: G.

Andrew North is a spy in training. He strongly believes that his brother and his father are secret agents and that he is destined to join the family business when he’s old enough. When one day he borrows his brother’s fancy calculator and types in that he’s ready to become a pro, weird numbers and dots appear on the screen. Before he can figure out what he did, his third-grade teacher takes the calculator and puts in Storage Room B for the weekend. When he gets home, his brother discovers the missing calculator and needs it back by Monday. Thinking that getting the calculator back from the evil janitor is a matter of life and death, Andrew risks expulsion and major trouble to get it back. Will Andrew succeed or will he be caught? Are Andrew’s brother and dad really spies?

A fun, fast read that will keep children intrigued and laughing. Although the secondary characters aren’t well-developed, the lack of development adds to the mystery of the story. The plot is light-hearted and moves along at a fast enough pace to keep a reluctant reader interested. Readers in Grades 2 to 4 who like realistic fiction, adventure, and spies will probably enjoy reading this book. EL(K to 3)/ EL (4 to 6). ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira, Youth Services Librarian, HUN Public Library

Stupid Cupid by Rhonda Stapleton

Stapleton, Rhonda Stupid Cupid, 244 p. Simon, 2009.  $9.99.  Language: PG-13 (40+ swears, no “f”).  All Felicity wants is a job – but when she applies for a job at a match-making company, she finds so much more.  Now Felicity is officially a cupid – but instead of arrows, she uses email.  She’s sure that she can find the perfect guy for her best friend, rekindle the romance between her parents and make everyone at her high school feel the throes of true love.  She has a little to learn!  I would have really enjoyed Felicity’s story if the pages weren’t peppered with unnecessary swears.  Instead of being an enthusiastic review, the language really hurts the flow and detract from what should be a light book.  HS – OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien

O' Brien, Caragh Birthmarked 361 pgs. RB, 2010. Language-Pg (3 Swears, 0 "f"); Sexual Content-Pg; Violence-Pg; Gaia's mother is a midwife and so is she. They spend their days delivering babies. The only part Gaia doesn't like is turning the first three babies of every month over to the Enclave. When Gaia's parents are arrested for unknown reasons she sets off on an amazing adventure through the Enclave, the world hidden behind the wall. I loved this book. It was absolutely amazing. My favorite part was that it tested my brain. I really had to think. I like the mystery alot. I wouldn't suggest it for younger kids though because its kind of a difficult brain twister. MS-HS - ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: CRH

Heart to Heart by Lurlene McDaniel

McDaniel, Lurlene Heart to Heart 224 pgs. Delacorte Press, 2010. Language-Pg (6 swears, no "f") Sexual Content-G Violence-G; Elowyn and Kassey are best friends. When Elowyn turns sixteen she gives a set of keys to her new car to Kassey. What Kassey doesn't know is that Elowyn is signed up for organ donation. When Elowyn's life giving wish is granted how will Kassey manage? I personally didn't enjoy this book. It wasn't horrible or anything but it was kind of boring. I didn't really want to finish reading this. The end wasn't very good either. MS - OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: CRH 

Is It Night or Day? by Fern Schumer Chapman

Chapman, Fern Schumer Is It Night or Day?  Farrar (Macmillan), 2010.  $17.99.  Content: G.  With anti-semitism raging around her, Edith is one of the lucky few being evacuated to America, out of Hitler’s Germany.  At 12, however, she doesn’t feel very lucky.  Instead of being with her loving parents, she instead is stuck in a loveless household with her uncle, an aloof cousin and an aunt who sees her only as free labor.  Finding her own place in this great big country will be the hardest thing she has ever done.  Chapman’s novel is based on her own mother’s experience as part of a rescue mission at the beginning of WWII.  The book adds another dimension to the stories surrounding this war.  It would fit best into a large collection.  EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Once Upon a Time in the Kitchen by Carol Odell

Odell, Carol Once Upon a Time in the Kitchen: Recipes and Tales from Classic Children’s Stories, illustrated by Anna Pignataro.  Sleeping Bear, 2010.  $12.95.  PICTURE BOOK.  Odell takes scenes from twenty-one classic children’s stories and creates recipes inspired by the tale.  For the most part the recipes are pretty basic and sometimes it is hard to find the connection.  As a cookbook it is kind of elementary – and there are lots of other really great beginning cookbooks out there.  I really wish she had taken the time to find stories and passages with real recipes the reader could make instead.  EL – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Gossie Plays Hide and Seek by Olivier Dunrea

Dunrea, Olivier Gossie Plays Hide and Seek.  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009.  $13.99.  BOARD BOOK.   Gossie and the goslings are playing hide and seek.  While Gossie quickly finds all of the others, Ollie is hiding so well that no one can find him.  So much more than a board book, feel free to lift, push, scratch and squeak your way through this adorable story.  You will be hard pressed to keep this one in good condition, it will be used so much!  PreK – ESENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

The Horrors of Andersonville by Catherine Gourley

Gourley, Catherine The Horrors of Andersonville: Life and Death inside a Civil War Prison, 179 p. Twenty-First Century (Lerner), 2010.  $28.95.  NON-FICTION.  With photographs and illustrations from the time period, Gourley weaves a fairly comprehensive look at the horrible conditions surrounding the Andersonville prison – the camp set up for Union soldiers in Georgia.  The North doesn’t come out unscathed either – Gourley freely describes similar problems and other headaches and bumps in the North, including political wrangling between Lincoln and the South.  Her meticulous research shines through – the a student doing research on the subject will find everything they need here, includes a bibliography of print and web-based resources for further research.  This is an excellent piece of writing, valuable for any school doing higher level Civil War research.  MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton

Burton, Virginia Lee Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel.  Houghton Mifflin, 1939, 2010.  $11.99.  BOARD BOOK.  Mike and Mary Anne come in boar book form this time.  Every thing that you loved about the original is here, just in a sturdier format, ready for sharing with a grandchild.  PreK – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Sharks by Miranda Smith

Smith, Miranda Sharks, 61 p. Kingfisher, 2008 (paperback 2010).  $8.99.  Sharks come in all shapes and sizes – and Smith’s looks at many of them and into many detailed facts about them.  Every page is fully colored with drawings, photographs or CGI.  Whether you have shark enthusiasts or students who need to do research for a report, they will find what they need in this book.  I would suggest that you get it in the rebound for libraries version if you can, because it will see lots of use!   EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Goose Chase by Patrice Kindl

Kindl, Patrice Goose Chase, 214 p. Sandpiper (Houghton), 2001, 2010.  Houghton as repacked this fabulous fantasy retelling in a bright new paperback cover.  The story of a beautiful peasant girl who being held captive as a prize between two rivals, Alexandria is no shrinking violet.  With her wits and her companion geese, she must find a way to forge her own future – not that of a prize, but as a leader.  Always well worth reading again!  EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

The Clearing by Heather Davis - ADVISABLE

Davis, Heather The Clearing, 215 p. Graphia (Houghton), 2010.  $8.99. 

Content: PG (reference to off page abuse and an off page intimate relationship). 

Amy’s junior year was really bad – bad enough that she is more than willing to leave her Seattle high school and go to live with her great-aunt Mae in her trailer home in the Northern Cascade Mountains, just to break away from her abusive boyfriend.  Henry, along with his grandfather and his ailing mother,  has lived the same summer, over and over again for more years then he really knows – ever since a fateful summer in the 1940’s.  Then one day Amy walks out of the mist surrounding Henry’s world – unknowingly ready to change both their worlds. 

The Clearing is tender and wistful and full of love.  Davis’ writing is so sweet, without being sugary,  that I couldn’t put it down.  It feels like an old-fashioned romance novel.  Beautiful. 

MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Good Fortune by Noni Carter

Carter, Noni. Good Fortune, 470 pgs. Simon & Schuster, 2010.

Ratings : PG-13 for violence (whippings and other brutalities against African-Americans; rape is mentioned and feared, but never shown nor described) ; G for sexual content and language.

A young teenager now known as Sarah is a slave on a plantation in Tennessee. Relived through dreams, Sarah recalls snippets of what her life was like before being captured in Africa as a four-year-old, and how she ended up as a slave, memories too painful to recall while awake. When her "mom" arranges for her to start working in the house, she gains an opportunity to secretly learn along with the owners' children but also gets noticed by the plantation's heir, whose dishonorable intentions soon become unbearably clear to her. On the eve of running for her freedom, the young man she loves is savagely whipped for dancing with her, and Sarah is forced to leave without him. She eventually makes it to Ohio with her "brother" where she changes her name to Anna and finds work in a free black society. However, freedom is not as free as she imagined, and she still must struggle against prejudices and violence to gain an education and secure her own good fortune and freedom. Noni's passion for her subject is evident in the multitude of circumstances her protagonist finds herself in during this Pre-Civil War period, as well as in the informative Facts and Fiction notes she includes at the end. Readers will witness quite a few events true to this period of history. However, the story would have been twice as powerful if it could have been half as long. Carter's main character moves too often from one to another slavery circumstance to work well as one story.

MS, HS : OPTIONAL. Reviewed by P.K. Foster, MS teacher-librarian.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem by Mac Barnett

Barnett, Mac, Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem. Hyperion Books for Children, 2009. PICTURE BOOK.
Billy Twitters is very messy, doesn’t like eating his peas, and doesn’t like to brush his teeth. His parents buy him a blue whale to try and straighten him out.  At first, Billy hates having to lug around the whale, but he soon realizes having a whale can be fun as well.
The book is funny and the illustrations are entertaining. The illustrations also complement well the text and bring to life a whale of a story. Children who like whales and humorous stories will enjoy reading this story or having it read aloud to them.  PreK/EL (K-3). ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira Moody, Youth Services Librarian, HUN Public Library.

A Walk in New York by Salvatore Rubbino

Rubbino, Salvatore, A Walk in New York. Candlewick Press, 2009. PICTURE BOOK. On a boy’s first visit to New York, he gets to see many great sites: Empire State Building, Union Square Park, Macey’s Department store, and really gets a good look at what makes New York, New York.
The illustrations are well-done and seem to reflect New York well. The text is simple, but informative. The text and pictures work well together to bring to life a city known more by name then by what it holds. Young readers and preschoolers will probably enjoy reading this book and or having it read aloud to them.  PREK/EL (K-3). OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Kira Moody, Youth Services Librarian, HUN Public Library.

Louise the Big Cheese and the La-Di-Da Shoes by Elise Primavera

Primavera, Elise, Louise the Big Cheese and the La-Di-Da Shoes. Simon and Schuster, 2010. PICTURE BOOK.  Louise has always wanted La-Di-Da shoes that were shiny, black, patent leather pumps. Her mother, however, always insisted that she get brown –laced school shoes that squeaked when she walked. One day her best friend shows up to school with la-di-da shoes and begins to treat everyone like she’s better than anyone else in their class.  When Louise gets jealous and forgets to be a good friend, things get heated between the two girls. They soon realize however, that having a little la-di-da in one’s life is great, but  there are more important things in life.
Little girls who like Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Conner and books like Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann, will enjoy reading this books. The pictures are fun to look at and the text reflects what many little girls think about dressing fancy and wearing fancy shoes.  A fun read aloud for parents and princesses of all ages.  PreK/EL (K-3). ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira Moody, Youth Services Librarian, HUN Public Library. 

Let's Make Rabbits by Leo Lionni

Lionni, Leo, Let’s Make Rabbits. Dragonfly Books, 1982. Republished 2010. PICTURE BOOK. When a pair of scissors and a pencil make two rabbits, the rabbits set out exploring. They soon discover that there’s more to them then being made of paper.
A cute fable, but it’s really short. Young readers who are learning about fables will enjoy the rabbits, but may have trouble following the story due to the over-simplistic text.  The illustrations, however, are well-done and fun to look at and this book would make a decent read aloud for younger children.  Pre-K/EL (K-3). OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Kira Moody, Youth Services Librarian, HUN Public Library. 

Me With You by Kristy Dempsey

Dempsey, Kristy, Me With You.  Philomel Books, 2009. PICTURE BOOK.  With a loving grandpa, the world looks a little different. Whether she’s having , dancing, or doing something on her own, she knows who she is and loves herself and grandpa just the way they are. Nothing, however, can compare to the her she is when she’s with grandpa.
A touching, beautifully illustrated picture book. The rhyming text is simple, but endearing and the picture complement the text well. Parent will enjoy reading this book aloud to their children. PRE-K. ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Kira, Youth Services Librarian, HUN Public Library.

Yucky Worms by Vivian French

French, Vivian Yucky Worms illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg 32 pgs. Candlewick Press, 2009. PICTURE BOOK/NON-FICTION. $16.99. In this clever and humorous book, kids will be delighted and perhaps a bit disgusted as they learn all about wiggly worms. This book does a fantastic job of combining a fun story with true information. It spans information from where earthworms live and how they look to how they eat, move, poop, and breathe. I was fascinated by all of the things there are to learn about earthworms....but I still wouldn't want to touch one! The illustrations are bright and colorful and kids will enjoy learning more about these underground farmers! Included at the back is a guide on how to be a "wormologist" as well as an index to find out all about wormy things! EL-ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher. 

Never Smile at a Monkey: and 17 Other Important Things to Remember by Steve Jenkins

Jenkins, Steve Never Smile at a Monkey: and 17 Other Important Things to Remember 32 pgs. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2009. PICTURE BOOK/NON-FICTION. $16.00. Most people know that you should never pet a rattlesnake or tease a tiger, but did you know that you should also never confront a kangaroo or clutch a cane toad?! This fascinating book tells us all about different animals and creatures that are unexpectedly dangerous. Learn all about the weapons they use to survive and protect themselves from predators. Kids will be enthralled as they discover more about the animal kingdom in this dynamic picture book. Also included at the back is a small blurb on each of the animals. EL-ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Kathryn and Flynn, 1875 by Kathleen Duey

Duey, Kathleen, Margaret and Flynn, 1875. Puffin Books, 2008. Pgs. 176. Language: G, Violence: G, Sexual Content: G.
Margaret and her sister, Libby are orphans. Ever since she can remember, Libby has never stayed in one place more than a couple of months. Now they are living with Mrs. Fredericksen, a kind, old lady who runs a farm and has horses. When Margaret falls in love with a stray horse she names Flynn, she decides to train him so they can enter and, hopefully, win the Harvest Day Race, convince Libby to stay, and buy the horse with the prize money from the owner who might be at the race to claim him. Libby, however is starting to threaten to leave again and not let Margaret race. Will Margaret get to ride Flynn in the big race? Will Libby and Margaret ever find a place to call home?

A touching story about perseverance, family, and self-discovery. Readers will feel for Margaret and her longing for a place to call home and enjoy watching her relationships with her sister, Mrs. Fredericksen, her new friend, Cory, and Flynn grow. Although the plot doesn’t move along very fast and drags on in places, people who like horse stories and historical fiction will probably enjoy reading this book. EL (4 to 6). OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Kira, Youth Services Librarian, HUN Public Library.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Max Cassidy: Escape From Shadow Island by Paul Adam

Adam, Paul. Escape From Shadow Island, Walden Pond Press, 2010. Pgs. 304. Language: G, Violence: PG, Sexual Content: G

Authorities tell Max his father’s dead and his mother killed him. Not believing what he’s been told, Max and his guardian, Consuela have been trying to exonerate Max’s mother. One night, after his magic show act, Max is told by a stranger that his father is still alive, but the man is found murdered in his hotel room before Max can find out where. With only the knowledge of where his father was last seen, Max set out to save his dad. Corrupt cops, a powerful billionaire, and thugs, however, don’t want Max’s dad found and will do anything to keep it that way. Will Max rescue his dad and escape his biggest challenge yet?

An action-packed adventure filled with mystery. The characters are well-done and the plot line is engrossing. Readers who like spy fiction, action, adventure, and mystery books will enjoy reading ESCAPE FROM SHADOW ISLAND. EL (4-6)/MS.  ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira, Youth Services Librarian, HUN Public Library.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Truce by Jim Murphy

Murphy, Jim Truce: the Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting. 128p.  Scholastic Press, 2009. $19.99.  Violence: PG (war situations), Language: PG (little mild swearing). This book tells the story of how German and British troops refused to fight on Christmas Day during World War I.  Murphy provide the reader with sufficient background knowledge so as to understand the events leading up to World War I and the battles between the Germans and English soldiers preceding their Christmas Day truce.  The book then goes on to inform readers about how superior officers responded to the news of the truce and how the War reconvened.  Murphy's writing is detailed, yet it does not get too bogged down in providing too much information for readers.  I always enjoy Murphy's books, and this one is as good as any (if not better).  The book allows for discussions about what happens in war if we see the "enemy" as real people.  EL, MS, HS – ESSENTIAL.  Brent Smith, Reading Teacher.

Bye-Bye, Big Bad Bullybug! by Ed Emberley

Emberley, Ed Bye-Bye, Big Bad Bullybug! LB Kids, 2007. $14.99.  PICTURE BOOK.  In this book, a mean "bullybug" comes down to earth in a spacecraft.  He then tries to scare the other, smaller bugs, threatening to eat them.  As the reader turns each page, a new body part of the "bullybug" is seen (first the eyes, then the mouth, and even the stomach).  What is good about the book is that the little bugs have many funny reactions to the threatening "bullybug" and the end provides an unexpected twist to help save the picked-on bugs.  Besides being fun to read, the book provides an opportunity to teach about basic body parts, and allows for a conversation about bullying with older readers.  PreK, EL (K-3) – ADVISABLE.  Brent Smith, Reading Teacher.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab

Jarzab, Anna All Unquiet Things, 352 pgs. Delacorte, Jan 2010. Content - R (80+ swears, 20+ "f", sex, underage drinking, drugs). Carly was murdered at the beginning of her junior year of high school. Her uncle was convicted of the murder. But Carly's cousin Audrey doesn't believe her father did it and is determined to find the real killer. As they begin their senior year, Audrey convinces Carly's ex-boyfriend, Neily, to help. I loved this book! I could not put it down; I was riveted by the mystery of Carly's murder. I keep thinking about it even now, days after I've finished it. But because of content, I suggest letting public libraries buy this one. HS - NO. Rebekah, Public Librarian.

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm

Holm, Jennifer Turtle in Paradise, 208 p. Random House, May 2010. Content - G. In 1935 Turtle is sent to Key West to live with her aunt and cousins (who she's never met before) when her mother gets a job as a live-in-housekeeper and her employer doesn't like children. Based on her great-grandmother's stories of living in Key West during the Depression, this is a great historical fiction novel. Turtles observations are hilarious. EL - ADVISABLE. Rebekah, Public Librarian