Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Sandwich Swap by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah

Al Abdullah, Queen Rania The Sandwich Swap with Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Tricia Tusa 32 pgs. Disney/Hyperion Books, 2010. PICTURE BOOK. $16.99. 
Yes, this book is really written by a queen! Queen Rania, queen of Jordan, wrote this book based on real life events. Salma and Lily are best friends and do everything together, including eating lunch. Salma always has a hummus and pita sandwich and Lily always has a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Well one day while eating lunch, the truth comes out that they each think the others sandwich looks disgusting. Mean words are spoken, food is thrown, and the girls stop doing things together. Only when they decide to swap sandwiches do they learn that even though it's different, it can be good!
This is a sweet story about understanding other points of view rather than jumping to conclusions, and the illustrations are sensational! EL-ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library Teacher.  

The Sons of Liberty by Alexander Lagos

Lagos, Alexander and Lagos, Joseph The Sons of Liberty, 172 pgs. Random House, 2010. Language - PG (7 swears, 0 "f"), Sexual Content - G; Violence - PG-13; Brody and Graham are runaway slaves who bump into a crazy scientist that gives them powers. Brody and Graham try to keep a low profile, but when their mentor is killed they can't help but aim for revenge. What will happen? Not even they know. I enjoyed the story a lot and thought it was a great twist on history. I liked the characters, especially the boys. The only thing I would change about this book would be the occasional gory pictures. MS, HS - OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: CCH

Sleepless by Cynthia Balog

Balog, Cynthia Sleepless, 215 pgs. Delacorte Press, 2010. Language - PG (32 swears, 0 "f"), Sexual Content - PG; Violence - G; Eron is a sandman over three people--one of which is Julia. He has watched over Julia since she was a baby, and has had the job for years before she was born. Eron knows all the rules and therefore knows that what he feels for Julia could become a problem. These problems multiply when Julia's boyfriend dies and is put under Eron to soon become his replacement after 100 years of servitude. Can Eron gain his freedom and still get the girl he loves? When I started this book, it wasn't anything like I imagined--it was ten times better. I enjoyed this book with every ounce of my being. I loved how old-fashioned, sweet, and protective Eron was and I loved the drama that was created with Bret and Griffin thrown in the mix, too. MS, HS - ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: CCH

Black Angels by Linda Brown

Brown, Linda Beatrice Black Angels, 260 pgs. Putnam, 2009. Language - PG (26 swears, 0 "f"), Sexual Contwnt - G; Violence - PG; Luke, Daylily, and Caswell are all out in the woods because of one main cause: the Civil War. They find each other in the woods and soon become friends to survive. They stay together through hunger, sickness, and everything else because all they have is each other. This is the best historical fiction book I have ever read. I enjoyed the action and tribulation the was caused and I loved how much they cared about each other even though they only knew each other a short while. But the thing I loved most was that they made an unbreakable friendship and kept their promise to each other. MS - ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: CCH

The Fire Opal by Regina McBride

McBride, Regina The Fire Opal, 292 pgs. Delacorte Press, 2010. Language - PG (1 swear, 0"f"), Sexual Content: G; Violence: G; Ever since Maeve's little sister died her mom hasn't been herself. Then Maeve's mom insists that Ishleen is coming back to them and is labeled as crazy. The night that the new Ishleen is born, two things happen: Maeve sees that it really is Ishleen and her mother becomes despondent. Maeve now has to face upand do things she couldn't ever have thought of, in order to get her mom back. I was sucked into all the action that comes up in this book. I didn't expect there to be as much action as there was. I also loved that Maeve had a weakness that brought trials and made her think in order to get out of them. MS, HS - ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: CCH

Numbers by Rachel Ward

Ward, Rachel Numbers, 325 pgs. Chicken House, 2010. Language - F (121 swears, 27 "f"), Sexual Content - PG-13; Violence - PG;  Jem can see your number. Your number is your expiration date, and all she needs is to look into your eyes.  Jem lets the numbers control her life. She doesn't care about anyone because she doesn't want to lose them. But of course, that means that someone has to come into her life that she loves; his name is Spider. Spider is going to die in a few weeks and she wants to know: is it all her fault? I absolutely adore this book. I love both Jem and Spider, I love how the story unfolds, and I love how it all turned out. The only reason I would advise against this book is the unnecessary swearing. HS - OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: CCH

Wereling by Steve Feasey

Feasey, Steve Wereling (first published as Changeling), 266 pgs. Feiwel and Friends, 2009. Language - PG (41 swears, 0 "f"), Sexual Content - PG; Violence - PG; Trey was finally accepting his situation when suddenly his situation changes. He runs away from his home with a vampire and finds out that he's a werewolf. Oh yeah, and he has to help save humanity--you'd faint too. After reading the first page of this book I was laughing at how Feasey seemed to be trying too hard to use a higher vocabulary. But after a while, I really got into the story and couldn't set it down. The end was unpredictable, which made it all the more captivating. It left me desperately needing the next book. HS - ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: CCH

Token of Darkness by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Atwater-Rhodes, Amelia Token of Darkness, 197 pgs. Delacorte Press, 2010. Language - PG (31 swears, 0 "f"), Sexual Content - PG; Violence - PG; When Cooper woke up in the hospital after an accident, Samantha was there. Samantha is different, not just because of her fashion sense, but because she's a ghost. Cooper tries to help Samantha find out who she is and where she came from. In the process he gains new friends, power, and knowledge. I had great expectations for this book because I have read all the rest of Amelia Atwater-Rhodes books and loved them, but this one just fell a short. I enjoyed reading it, and it was a good read, but it wasn't as good as her others and it disappointed me. MS, HS - OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: CCH

Foiled by Jane Yolen

Yolen, Jane Foiled, 160 pgs. First Second, 2010. Language - PG (11 swears, 0 "f"), Sexual Content - G; Violence - G; The only two places Aliera likes to be are the fencing gym and her cousin Caroline's house playing games. She always knew she was a little different, but one odd day at Grand Central she discovers a whole new world. Will she ever find where she belongs? I liked this comic book. It was cute, short, and Aliera is an exciting character. And one cannot forget the beautiful illustrations. EL - ADVISABLE. MS - OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: CCH

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pepi Sings a New Song by Laura Ljungkvist

Ljungkvist, Laura Pepi Sings a New Song 40 pgs. Beach Lane Books, 2010. PICTURE BOOK. $16.99. Pepi the parrot sings to Peter every night as he stargazes, but his song is becoming tedious. So Pepi embarks on a quest to find a new song, looking in all kinds of places like Manuel's bakery, Aurora's art studio, and Cynthia's dog park for new things to sing about. After some creative changes, Pepi's new song is a hit! Colorful pages and unique illustrations make for an entertaining and interactive story. EL-ADVISABLE. Whitney, Library-Teacher. 

Cha-Cha Chimps by Julia Durango

Durango, Julia Cha-Cha Chimps illustrated by Eleanor Taylor 32 pgs. Simon and Schuster BFYR, 2010. PICTURE BOOK. $6.99. 
This is a darling counting book with catchy rhymes and vibrant illustrations. Ten little chimps head to Mambo Jamba's for a night of moving their feet while dancing to the beat. But uh-oh, here comes mama chimp...! Kids and adults alike will be tapping their toes to the cha-cha beat. Upbeat, fun, and energetic! EL(K-3)/EL-ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher. 

Stella Stands Alone by A. LaFaye

LaFaye, A. Stella Stands Alone 245 pgs. Simon and Schuster BFYR, 2008. Language- G, Sexual Content- G, Violence- G. $7.99. 
Taking place post-Civil War, this book is the story of Stella Reid and her fight to maintain her family's plantation for herself and for the people who have worked on it for generations. It was her father's dream before dying to deed the land to those who worked on it, but Stella struggles to figure out where he could have left the documents that are so vital to saving the plantation before it goes up for auction. Will she be able to pull through on her and her father's promise to the workers despite the opposition coming in on all sides? Facing challenges and adversity at every turn, Stella shows courage and enduring faith few can ever hope for. 
Although this may be a slower read for young adults, the book has a plethora of simple yet poignant passages. Stella's southern voice is true to the time and setting. My one big qualm with the book is that it never stated Stella's age so the whole time I didn't know if she was 10 years old or 17 years old. She looks like she is 6 on the cover so I couldn't figure out how such a little girl was doing such big girl things. EL/MS-OPTIONAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher. 

How to Ride a Dragon’s Storm: The Heroic Misadventures of Hiccup the Viking by Cressida Cowell

Cowell, Cressida. How to Ride a Dragon’s Storm: The Heroic Misadventures of Hiccup the Viking, 254 pgs. Little, Brown & Co., 2010. $10.99. Sexual Content-G; Language-G; Violence-PG.

How to Train Your Dragon, book 7 continues the hilarious and violent Viking adventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third. Hiccup isn’t looking forward to the Intertribal Friendly Swimming Race—swimming as long as you can, in full armor, in freezing water doesn’t sound like fun. Hiccup’s crazy grandfather tells him not to return for three months, five days, and six hours. Hiccup and his two friends Fishlegs and Camicazi are kidnapped mid-race by Norbert the Nutjob. Norbert is on his way to America and plans on murdering Hiccup when he gets there. Meanwhile Madguts the Murderous has presumably won the race and demands the lives of Hiccup’s father and Big-Boobied Bertha as his prize. Their only hope is that Hiccup and his companions can come back and win the race.

The illustrations are reminiscent of a child’s doodling in the margins, but have a professional consistency. This zany adventure is sure to appeal to boys and reluctant readers.

EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills

Hills, Tad. How Rocket Learned to Read. Schwartz & Wade Books, 2010. $17.99. PICTURE BOOK. Rocket is a dog who likes to take a nap under his favorite tree. One day a bird comes and announces that he is her first student. Rocket declines to be taught to read, but can’t help but be interested when the bird starts reading a story. The bird flies away before the story ends. Rocket is eager to hear the ending, so he arrives early the next morning at his favorite tree. Every day after that, the bird taught Rocket a new letter. During the winter, the bird flew south, but Rocket still practiced his letters by writing them in the snow. Early spring the bird was back and together they read stories together. The illustrations are a combination of oil paint and colored pencils, and are bright and appealing. The book will appeal to children learning how to read and those who love reading. Pre-K, EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Rags and Riches: Kids in the Time of Charles Dickens by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce

Osborne, Mary Pope & Boyce, Natalie Pope. Rags and Riches: Kids in the Time of Charles Dickens, illustrated by Sal Murdoca. 113 pgs. Random House, 2010. $4.99. Content-G. A nonfiction companion to A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time, this book highlights the Victorian age, particularly the lives of children, and biographical information on Charles Dickens. Authors Osborne and Boyce gently, but openly deal with the grislier details of Victorian life, such as child labor, sanitation, mortality rate, etc. Illustrations and pictures from the time period highlight the facts and add to the flow of the book. Jack and Annie, from the Magic Tree House series, give short comments and explanations in the margins. A good book to transition children between facts and fiction. EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time by Mary Pope Osborne

Osborne, Mary Pope. A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time, illustrated by Sal Murdoca. 113 pgs. Random House, 2010. $12.99. Content-G. Jack and Annie are on a Merlin Mission in Magic Tree House #44. They need to help Charles Dickens get past a writer’s block. They have a magic violin to help them and a book about Victorian times. Both are dressed as boys and they have money in their pockets. They take a hackney coach to Dickens’ house, but don’t get to see him because he isn’t seeing anyone. Annie has the idea to change clothes with some chimney sweeps as a way to enter the house. As soon as they see Dickens, he leaves. They are accused of stealing by the vagrant who stole their money. Dickens saves them from arrest and tells them about his childhood. Jack plays the magic violin and Annie makes up a song that makes Dickens’ see three ghosts, similar to the ones in A Christmas Carol. Details about Victorian life and the dichotomy between the haves and the have-nots are littered throughout the story. The numerous illustrations help tell the story. Fans of the series will eagerly clamor for another tale of two children. EL – ESSENTIAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Search for WondLa

DiTerlizzi, Tony. The Search for WondLa, 466 pgs. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010.

RATINGS : G for language and sexual content ; PG for violence.

Eva Nine longs to leave her Sanctuary and visit someone in another Sanctuary, or explore the surface, but Muthr, her robot caretaker, says she's not ready. She failed her survival skills test, and now Muthr says she has to start her training all over again. Eva seeks comfort after this newest setback in a secret hallway among her old toys and a scrap of a picture that shows a girl, a robot, and part of an adult who all look so happy. She's named the picture WondLa, from the few legible letters she can decifer, and it represents everything she longs for -- the whole truth from Muthr, and human friends. When the Sanctuary is attacked by the unrelenting huntsman Besteel and his powerful boomgun, she is forced to the surface where she encounters a reality completely different from the one she's been training for. Armed with her Omnipod, a compassionate heart, and a clever mind, and aided by a telepathic water horse, a sympathetic blue being named Rovender, and the ever maternal Muthr, Eva Nine struggles to remain free while seeking others like herself. With wonderful "augmented reality" pages -- illustrations -- scattered throughout and a well-crafted web component, this story has dangers, narrow escapes, fanciful creatures, friendships, and villains. It is a wonderful adventure for the modern reader.
EL, MS : ESSENTIAL. Reviewed by PKFoster, teacher-librarian.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus by R. L. LaFevers

LaFevers, R. L. Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus, illustrated by Yoko Tanaka. 375 pgs. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010. $16.00. Sexual Content-G; Language-G; Violence-PG.

Theodosia Throckmorton is no average girl. She spends most of her time at her parent’s museum, removing curses from artifacts. Her special talent for recognizing Egyptian curses and magic has come in handy in the past (Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos, 2007, and Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris, 2008). She goes with her friend Sticky Will to see an Egyptian magician, Awi Bubu, perform. She senses immediately that there is more to him than meets the eye. Theodosia’s younger brother Henry is back from school for the Easter Holidays and is constantly underfoot. He breaks an artifact and they discover that it was really a cover for the Emerald Tablet. Secret societies from all over London try to get a hold of the Emerald Tablet, including Awi Bubu. Who can Theodosia trust? Libraries looking for a strong, smart, female protagonist need not look further. The action and adventure should appeal to boys as well. Read the series in order.

EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Christmas with the Mousekins by Maggie Smith

Smith, Maggie. Christmas with the Mousekins: A Story with Crafts, Recipes, Poems and More! Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. $15.99. PICTURE BOOK. Celebrating Christmas with the Mousekins is full of fun. They pick a Christmas tree and make holiday decorations with Nana (instructions included: Mittens-in-a-Row, Christmas-Trees-in-a-Row, and Christmas Tree Hat). Then they make cookies to eat and give away (recipes included for Cinnamon Snails and Gingerbread Mice). Nana tells her Christmas Eve Story about how Santa Mouse saved Grandpa and the next day they open presents. Additional activity instructions include: Christmas Mobile, Mousie Sock Puppet, Mitten Bookmark, and Angel-Mouse Tree-topper. The illustrations are busy and colorful. Pre-K, EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

A Joyful Christmas, collected by James Ransome

Ransome, James. A Joyful Christmas: A Treasury of New and Classic Songs, Poems, and Stories for the Holiday. Henry Holt and Co., 2010. $19.99. PICTURE BOOK. Illustrator James Ransome collected Christmas songs, poems, and stories from many cultures. The songs include old traditional favorites like “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night” with simple sheet music. The culturally rich poetry selections feature well-known authors such as: Pam Munoz Ryan, Langston Hughes, Margaret Hillert, Joseph Bruchac, and more. The story selections are equally diverse; they include the story of the Christ child, history of the holiday, letters to Santa, Christmas morning, and more. The stand-out feature of this collection are the gorgeous, oil painting illustrations. EL - ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

The Brimstone Key by Derek Benz

Benz, Derek & Lewis, J.S. Grey Griffins: The Clockwork Chronicles: The Brimstone Key, 369 pgs. Little, Brown and Company, 2010. Language - G, Sexual Content - G; Violence - PG; The Grey Griffins got accepted to Iron Bridge Academy and both excited and nervous. When they arrive at their new school they have friends, enemies, and questions. The questions that never get asked, though, are the most important: what if something went wrong? What if it's not safe? Will we survive? I advise that you read the Grey Griffins original trilogy before the Clockwork Chronicles. Although not technically part of the series,            it will make it less confusing because they make references to them throughout the book. Even without reading them, though, I found it very alluring. It has a mystery element and lots of action. The end left me very unhappy only because I don't have the second book available. MS - ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: CCH

The Cardturner by Louis Sachar - ADVISABLE

Sachar, Louis The Cardturner, 336 pgs. Delacorte Press, 2010. 

Language - PG (20 swears, 0 "f"), Sexual Content  - PG; Violence - G; 

Alton's mom has pushed him to suck-up to rich uncle Lester ever since he was a little kid. This requires him to tell Uncle Lester that he's Alton's favorite uncle whenever he calls. Now, though, Uncle Lester is old and, because of diabetes, blind. This compels Uncle Lester to call Alton for his help in playing bridge. Alton agrees and his mom gives him five words of advice: don't screw it up, Alton. 

I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this book. It is told by Alton like he's looking back on it and he goes off on tangents every once and a while. Usually, I find this bothersome and annoying but this wasn't the case. I found it fascinating how Alton learned so much from bridge that he could apply to his life and how, as he continued helping Lester, bridge and Uncle Lester became a part of him. 

HS - ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: CCH

The Bat-Chen Diaries by Bat-Chen Shahak

Shahak, Bat-Chen The Bat-Chen Diaries, 112 pgs. Kar-Ben Publishing, 2008. Language - G, Sexual Content - G; Violence - G; Bat-Chen was all about peace--no wars, no fear of wars. She wrote poems in her diaries, and this book is filled with her writing. I enjoyed Bat-Chen's poems, my favorite being Songs. I love the vision Bat-Chen had and wish she would've lived through the bombing - she died in at age 15. The world needs more people like her. EL, MS, HS - ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: CCH

Rock 'N' Roll Soldier by Dean Kohler

Kohler, Dean Ellis with VanHecke, Susan Rock 'N' Roll Soldier, 280 pgs. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. Language - R (117 swears, 2 "f"), Sexual Content - PG-13; Violence - PG-13; Dean is a musician, always has been and always will. But when he gets drafted into the Vietnam War, everything changes--including him. But does living in war change him for the better? Or for worse? Despite all the swearing, I adore this book. I love all the hope and faith that is expressed in it. I always knew that war was hard, but I have a new appreciation for all those who have and will serve. MS – OPTIONAL (note the swear count); HS - ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: CCH

Society of Unrelenting Vigilance by Glenn Dakin

Dakin, Glenn Candle Man: The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance, 300 pgs. Egmont, 2009. Language - PG (3 swears, 0 "f"), Sexual Content - G; Violence - PG; Theo isn't allowed to know anything about the outside world. He is stuck in the same room, seeing the same three people, eating the same food, and doing the same things day after day. Through out all of this, almost all he has been told are lies. Theo is sick of all of this, but how he feels after finally gaining his freedom and ending up in a war is a different story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Theo's tale of being trapped, finding freedom, and discovering new things. I liked the characters too--especially in the mythical creatures department. I am anxiously awaiting the moment I get the sequel in my hands. MS - ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: CCH

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz

Zafón, Carlos Ruiz The Prince of Mist, 214 pgs. Little, Brown and Company, 1993. Language - PG (22 swears, 0 "f"), Sexual Content - PG; Violence - PG; Max's family is moving to a new house to get away from the war. The new house is on the beach and has a scary story behind it. Only half the story is publicly known, and no one could ever guessed the other half that Max gets mixed up in and will change his and his sister's lives forever. This book is not what I imagined - it was so much better!  I relished all the mystery, romance, and creepy elements that went into it. It was a great book, that is something no one could deny, I only wish it had a happier ending. MS, HS - ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: CCH

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman - ADVISABLE

Gaiman, Neil Odd and the Frost Giants, 117 pgs. HarperCollins Children's Books, 2009. CHAPTER BOOK.

Content - G

Odd's father has died and his leg was shattered in an accident. When his mother remarries, Odd's new dad doesn't like having a crippled son and treats Odd poorly. That's why he decides to run away. He goes out into the woods where he discovers three talking animals--a fox, a bear, and an eagle--that will change his life. 

It was a fun, short story to read. I love Odd's personality and signature smile. I enjoyed the humor and wit the characters use as well, And of course a happy ending is always nice to read. 

EL - ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: CCH

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hubknuckles by Emily Herman

Herman, Emily. Hubknuckles, illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray. Crown Publishers (Random House), 1985. $14.99. PICTURE BOOK. Every year Hubknuckles, a ghost, comes to their window on Halloween. Lee tells her siblings that Hubknuckles is just really one of their parents and that she is going to go outside and catch them. At dinner, Lee wasn’t hungry for her favorite spaghetti. She was feeling nervous as their friends arrived in costumes for the party. Then she saw Hubknuckles at the window and she couldn’t see her Pa anywhere. So she ventures outside and discovers Hubknuckles is real. Together they dance in the woods. She goes back inside and finds both of her parents. The powdered graphite and pencil illustrations are perfect match for this ghost story. A gentle ghost story that is age-appropriate and fun. EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Dugout Rivals by Fred Bowen

Bowen, Fred Dugout Rivals, 119 pgs. Peachtree Publishers, 2010. Language - G, Sexual Content - G; Violence - G; Jake plans on being the starting shortstop this season, and has a good shot of doing it too--before Adam shows up. Adam is good at hitting, pitching, catching, running, everything--including being a good shortstop. Jake goes along with it and keeps practicing, but he gets tired of everything being about Adam. But can he see that no one--even Adam--can be a one-man team? Teamwork is important--in sports especially--and this book really shows hat. No one can be a one-man team, not even the world's best players. I enjoyed the short story and found myself cheering them on out loud! I was very surprised at myself for liking this book so much because sports aren't really my thing, but I loved it. EL - ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: CCH

Fish by Gragory Mone

Mone, Gregory Fish, 241 pgs. Scholastic Press, 2010. Language - PG (2 swears, 0 "f"), Sexual Content - G; Violence - PG; 

The unusual talent of being able to swim gave Fish his name, and how great his talent turned out to be! It becomes especially useful when he finds himself aboard a pirate ship. But can he still accomplish what he set out to do along with his new adventures? A fun adventure story about a kid that stands out a little. Sounds like the usual hero story right? Well, Fish is not your average story. Bad guys you don't expect, a carefully hidden treasure, and a pacifist on a pirate shop made this story one of my top ten favorite books. 

MS - ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: CCH

Portia's Exclusive and Confidential Rules on True Friendship by Anna Hays

Hays, Anna Portia's Exclusive and Confidential Rules on True Friendship, 209. Simon & Schuster, 2009. Language- G (0 swears, 0 "f"), Sexual Content- G; Violence- G; Portia, a student detective at Palmville Middle School, is stuck in the middle of two perplexing cases: One, trying to find her missing Dad, and two, discovering the reasons behind her new friend Misty Longfellow's stray animal-saving behavior. Her friend, Amy, doesn't like Portia hanging out with Misty, and Portia tries to retain her friendship and keep Misty's case at the same time. This book was a pleasant read, fun and mystifying: a mystery. I personally enjoyed how I felt like I WAS the character, fitting into their daily lives, instead of just looking through a window. I also liked the ending: everything is mostly resolved, but with a little cliffhanger. EL-ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: A.W.

When Lulu went to the Zoo by Andy Ellis

Ellis, Andy When Lulu went to the Zoo. Andersen Press Ltd. 2008.  $16.95. Content G. Content G.  PICTURE BOOK.  Lulu is distraught when she goes to the zoo and finds all the animals would rather be free.  Lulu’s solution to this is to bring them to the house and trouble arises when they run out of room. This book was a cute book with rhyming couplets. The artwork was a great compliment to the text. ES OPTIONAL. Shauna, reading teacher.

Elmer and Rose by David McKee

McKee, David Elmer and Rose.  Andersen Press Ltd, 2010. $16.95. Content G. Content G.  PICTURE BOOK. 

Elmer thinks he’s a unique elephant because he is not gray like most others. When he meets Rose, a pink elephant, and her herd, he learns a valuable lesson about how everyone is unique in their own way. 

This book teaches a great lesson about outside differences don’t change who we are on the inside. It would be a great addition to a character education collection. 

EL, MS - ADVISABLE. Shauna, reading teacher.

Mr. Peek and the Misunderstanding at the Zoo by Kevin Waldron

Waldron Kevin, Mr. Peek and the Misunderstanding at the Zoo.  Templar Books (an imprint of Candlewick Press), 2008 $15.95. Content G.  PICTURE BOOK.  

Mr. Peek gets dressed before work to find his jacket is too small, then becomes self-conscious about his weight, age, hygiene, and just about everything else until he finds the real reason his jacket doesn’t fit. He speaks these negative thoughts out loud to himself, but the animals overhear and think he is speaking to them.  

This book teaches a valuable lesson about how gossip and making assumptions can be detrimental to those you don’t even think you are having an effect on.  This is another great book to add to a character education collection.  

EL, MS - ADVISABLE, Shauna, reading teacher.

The Quiet Book by DEborah Underwood

Underwood, Deborah The Quiet Book, ill by Renata Liwska, 30 pgs. Houghton Mifflin. 2010 $12.95. Content G.  PICTURE BOOK.  The Quiet Book illustrates different kinds of quiet; excited kinds of quiet like right before yelling, surprise and discovering new things. Quiet like meeting an iguana for the first time. I like how the pictures captured the moment. Like with many picture books, the beautiful illustrations make the book. This would be a good book for a writing prompt for students to come up with their own kind of quiet and write about it. ES, MS - ADVISABLE. Shauna, reading teacher.

Lincoln Tells a Joke by Kathleen Krull

Krull, Kathleen and Paul Brewer, Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President (and the Country). Harcourt Children’s Books, 2010. $17.00. Content G.  PICTURE BOOK. This biography of Abraham Lincoln shows a different side of the president and legend. It illustrates his quirks and failures and has a humorous side to the president usually thought of as serious. EL, MS - OPTIONAL. Shauna, reading teacher.

Palazzo Inverso by D.B. Johnson

Johnson, D.B. Palazzo Inverso.  Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010. $17.00. Content G.  PICTURE BOOK. Mauk is an assistant to an artist who is drawing a palazzo.  Sometimes when his Master goes to sleep Mauk looks at and often rotates the position of the drawing. Because of this, people are walking on the ceiling and all sorts of odd places; it becomes a dream that can’t be awakened. When the reader gets to the last page in the book, you turn the book upside down and read text different text that goes with the pictures. Interesting book with M.C. Escher types of artwork that skew the perception of up and down, right and wrong. It was very difficult for me to get into because of the unique formatting.  NOT RECOMMENDED, Shauna, reading teacher.

The Outside of a Horse by Ginny Rorby

Rorby, Ginny  The Outside of a Horse, DIAL, 2010. 360 pgs. Language-PG (6 swears, no "f"); Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; When her dad comes home form the war injured, Hanna Gale find her only comfort in the horses at the stables down the street. When her dad’s condition only get worse, Hanna tries to get him to work with the horses. They may just be his last chance to escape his horrible war memories. I absolutely loved this book. It was one of those books that just held you until the end. It was well written and showed emotion really well. MS-HS ESSENTIAL Student Reviewer: CRH

Blogging Award!

Much thanks to Annell at Dragonflowers and Books for noticing our blog and sending us this award. I will post the names of the blogs that I am passing this to in a later blog.  

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Golden Christmas Tree by Jan Wahl

Wahl, Jan. The Golden Christmas Tree, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard. Golden Books, 2003 (1988). $8.99. PICTURE BOOK. The animals celebrate Christmas together by decorating a tree. There is no “growling, howling, meowling” between the different animals. Kangaroos pick pine cones, tiger’s string berries, monkeys decorate, and of course, a giraffe places the star on top of the tree. Birds drop nuts and fruit for everyone to eat and everyone dances all night long. The illustrations are warm and colorful making this a delightful holiday read. Pre-K, EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown

Brown, Peter. Children Make Terrible Pets. Little Brown and Co., 2010. $16.99. PICTURE BOOK.
Lucy is a bear who finds a cute critter in the forest and takes him home for a pet. Her mother is appalled and tells Lucy, “Children make terrible pets.” Lucy begs to keep him and her mother lets her on one condition—she must take care of him herself. At first everything goes well, they eat together, nap together, and played together. But her pet wouldn’t potty train, ruined the furniture, and then disappeared. Lucy catches his scent and finds her pet with a human family. She walks home dejected, but agreeing with her mother that children don’t make good pets. The book ends with Lucy spotting a new pet. The story is a humorous spin on children who find pets and take them home. The expressive cartoon illustrations and speech bubbles make this a visually enjoyable read. Pre-K, EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Hunting the Dragon by Peter Dixon

Dixon, Peter  Hunting the Dragon, Disney-Hyperon, 2010. 208 pgs. 

Language-PG-13(57 swears, no "f"); Sexual Content-G; Violence-PG-13; 

Billy gets a job on a tuna clipper named Lucky Dragon. What Billy doesn't know is that the Lucky Dragon finds tuna by following dolphins. When Billy tries to rescue the dolphins trapped in the net, he is thrown overboard with all of his belongings. After his new dolphin friend named Chatter tows him to shore, he teams up with Benny, an activist for dolphins, and pursues the Lucky Dragon.  

HS - OPTIONAL Student Reviewer: CRH

The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen

Bodeen, S.A.  The Gardener, Fiewel and Friends, 2010. 240 pgs. Language-Pg (7 swears, no "f"); Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; Mason has never known his father, but longs to. All he has of him is a DVD of a man whose face is never seen, reading a children's book. One day, on a whim, he plays the DVD for a group of comatose teens at the nursing home where his mother works. One of them, a beautiful girl, responds. She is part of a horrible experiment intended to render teenagers into genetically engineered, self-sustaining life-forums who don't need food or water to survive. Before he knows it, Mason is on the run with the girl, and wanted, dead or alive. I really liked this book. It’s was a very good thriller and very well written. It held me until the last word. MS-HS ESSENTIAL Student Reviewer: CRH

Episodes by Blaze Ginsberg

Ginsberg, Blaze  Episodes, RB, 2009. 274 pgs. Language-R (14 swears, 3 "f" up to the point I read) Sexual Content-Pg; Violence-G; An autobiography of Blaze Ginsberg, a high functioning autistic teenager. I couldn't finish this book. The layout and writing style was messing my brain up. That and it was definitely uncensored. NOT RECOMMENDED Student Reviewer: CRH

Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland

Eland, Lindsay Scones and Sensibility 320 pgs. Egmont, 2009. 



While swooning over Pride and Prejudice and Anne of Green Gables, 12yo Polly Madassa decides her purpose in life: to help lonely hearts in search of love. With the summer stretching before her, and no obligations except to make deliveries for her parents' bakery, this young cupid has ample time to find and mend some broken hearts in her New Jersey Shore town. 

This book was terrible. I didn't even get fifty pages before I just couldn't read it anymore. The whole time I was reading I wanted to scream that no one talks like that. Especially 12yo girls. 

Student Reviewer-CRH

Epitaph Road by David Patneaude

Patneaude, David Epitaph Road 272 pgs. Egmont, 2010. Language-PG (8 swears, no "f") Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; In 2067, an airborne virus wipes out 97% of the male population. Thirty years later, women rule the now perfect world. Growing up in this utopia, fourteen-year-old Kellen Dent feels isolated, as he is one of the few males alive. When a rumored outbreak of the virus threatens Kellen's outcast father, he knows that he must warn him of the coming danger. During his desperate race to find his dad, Kellen uncovers a secret so frightening that his life and the future of the world will never be the same. I absolutely loved this book. It was well written and worded. It was a great thriller. MS, HS--ESSENTIAL Student Reviewer-CRH

City of Screams by John Brindley

Brindley, John, City of Screams, 407pgs, Carolrhoda Books, 2008, Language: G (0swears, 0 "F") Violence: PG, Sexual content: G.  Phoenix is a ground Agle, meant to stay firmly on the ground. All she wants to do is fly with the air Agles and be with Gabriel, who she is in love with. But soon, that will seem like nothing compared to the horrible danger brewing. An ancient enemy of the Agles, The Adults, have come once again. And they plan on torturing and killing Gabriel and all of the other "mistakes of nature". Phe must go on a long journey, and even ally herself with another group of Adults to save her family and friends from horrible peril. I completely adored this book, and it was the first book that actually made me cry really hard. It supplied an amazing new point of view religion wise as well. I recommend reading The rule of the claw first, as it is the first of the series. It was an extremely well written book!  MS/HS – ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: BT

It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

Han, Jenny It's Not Summer Without You, 277 pgs. Simon & Schuster, 2010. Language - PG-13 (52 swears, 2 "f"), Sexual Content - PG-13; Violence - PG; Belly and her family spend every summer at a summerhouse on the beach belonging to a close friend of her mom. Well, every summer before her mom's friend Susannah dies, that is. Now Belly's mom is practically a vegetable and Belly hasn't talked to Susannah's sons, and her friends, Conrad and Jeremiah in a while. Then Jeremiah calls for Belly's help because Conrad has disappeared. Belly jumps on the chance to see Conrad again because she is hopelessly and helplessly head over heels for him--even if he doesn't feel the same. This book was very fun to read because of all the drama. Belly doesn't want to get over Conrad, a love triangle is revealed, and new problems arrive when they find Conrad and his hiding place. Jeremiah was my favorite character because he's so nice, unlike his jerk of a brother. MS, HS - ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: CCH

The Other Side of Blue by Valerie O. Patterson

Patterson, Valerie O. The Other Side of Blue, 223 pgs. Houghton Mifflin, 2009. Language-G, Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; The summer after Cyan’s father drowned off the island of Curacao, she, her mother, and her soon-to-be step sister return to the house their family has stayed at every summer. But, Cyan decides to use her summer trying to figure out what really happened to her father. This book is all about hope, forgiving, and healing. It is very well written, and has intricate word choice. I really enjoyed reading this book. MS- ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: HW

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Modern Fairies, Dwarves, Goblins & Other Nasties: A Practical Guide by Miss Edythe McFate, by Lesley M. M. Blume

Blume, Lesley M. M. Modern Fairies, Dwarves, Goblins & Other Nasties: A Practical Guide by Miss Edythe McFate, 256 pages. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2010. Sexual Content-G; Language-G; Violence-PG. Miss Edythe McFate’s practical guide is no light-hearted “fairy” book. It is truly a compilation of cautionary tales set in New York about dealing with modern fairies and other magical creatures. A girl helps a distraught mermaid capture the attention of a sea captain, whom she lures to his death. A young man finds a secret door in Lincoln tunnel and picks a ruby off of a dwarf’s tree with disastrous results. A little girl is ugly and unloved, so the fairies turn her into a flower. Another little girl helps brownies relocate after their hotel is taken over. The writing style is conversational and draws the reader into the stories. Between stories, Miss Edythe McFate gives further tidbits and advice on dealing with fairies, such as how to tell a good one from a bad one. The illustrations by David Foote haunt every page with their inky black lines. EL- ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian