Sunday, October 31, 2010

Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman

Cushman, Karen Alchemy and Meggy Swann, 166 p. Clarion (Houghton), 2010.  $16.00.  Meggy Swann has been fetched from her village by her alchemist father, who is look for from free assistance as he delves into mysteries and secrets.  When he discovers her twisted leg – and the fact that she is a girl – his disappointment and his indifference towards her leaves Meggy mostly on her own, to find food, friends, and a place in the dirty streets of Old England of the 1500’s.  Meggy Swann if definitely in a more difficult situation and has a more peppery disposition than Cushman’s earlier protagonists.  While Meggy may not appeal to quite as many readers as say, Birdie, her story gives another dimension into life way back when.  EL – ADVISABLE.  

Like the Willow Tree by Lois Lowry

Lowry, Lois Like the Willow Tree: Portland, Maine, 1918, 224 p. Scholastic, 2011.  $12.99.  Content: G.  After their parents die during the Flu epidemic of 1918, Lydia Pierce, 11, and her older brother, Daniel, are at the mercy of their uncle. When it is apparent that their no longer wants them, the pair are shipped off to the Shaker congregation at nearby Sabbathday Lake.  Though Lydia finds security and comfort at the Shaker site, Daniel is unhappy and cannot find peace.  There are only three Shakers adherents left in the entire world.  Lowry has deftly crafted a small look at the lifestyle of this dying religion.  I really like how Lydia and Daniel’s futures are not predictable.  I am so glad that Scholastic is adding more titles to this very popular and valuable series.  EL, MS – ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Star of Stone by P.D. Bacclario - ESSENTIAL

Baccalario, P.D. Star of Stone (Century Quarter II), 287 p.

Elettra, Harvey, Mistral and Sheng, after their dramatic events of the New Year in Rome, are reunited in New York City and continue on their quest to unravel the mystery left behind by Professor Van Den Berger.  Their clues – four cryptic postcards that will lead them all over the city and into certain danger.  New villains are waiting to thwart their search, or to just end their lives, and get to the solution of the great riddle first, but new friends are also waiting to aid the quartet on their hunt.  

If your students have not yet met the Century Quartet, please don’t wait any longer.  Baccalario has created a wonderful new mystery within the realm of modern fantasy.  

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

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Dashner, James The Scorch Trials, 384 p. Delacorte (Random), 2010.  $17.99.  Violence: PG-13.  Thomas, Teresa and the boys are free from the maze and safe from the trials and terrors there.  Or are they?  Straight from the frying pan and into the fire – Teresa is gone and the boys are on the run into Phase Two of WICKED’s plan to save the world from the Flare.  Danger and betrayal seem to be all that await the group as they forge through a desolate, Flare-victim ridden land.  WICKED is playing a very deep game, and even though Thomas has a few of his memories – or visions – he is still very in the dark as to the final purpose for his and his friends’ toil.  Kids will love the constant, persistent danger that unrelentingly follows Thomas and all.  New characters, more mysteries – how in the world will Dashner brings this all together?  I am on pins and needles.  MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Philippa Fisher and the Fairy’s Promise by Liz Kessler

Kessler, Liz Philippa Fisher and the Fairy’s Promise, 272 p. Candlewick, 2010.  $15.99.  The link between our world and the fairy world is in danger – if the link is closed forever, then both worlds will be in peril – loss of hope, loss of creativity, loss of dreams.  Philippa and Daisy are the only two who can solve this dilemma – but it will require ultimate sacrifice.  The story is more convoluted this time, but hold on tight and keep reading and it will all make sense.  EL – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride

McBride, Lish Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, 344 p. Henry Holt, 2010.  $16.99.  Language: R (72 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG (off page sex); Violence: R.  Nobody told Sam, but he is a necromancer.  For 18 years he has been hidden in plain sight in Seattle, but now the resident necromancer has seen him and Douglas does not have any friendly feelings, nor kind plans for Sam.  How about torture and death?  Luckily Sam has his fellow co-workers at his minimum wage job to look after him, even if Douglas reduced Brooke to only a head.  And being caged with a hot, clothes-less werewolf girl doesn’t make things worse – even though death may be really close.  It would have been very easy for McBride to reduce Sam and his friends to a campy romp – and it still would have been a great read.  But Sam has a tender soul that transcends the possible camp and a poignant end is very satisfying.  It will be very popular when it is discovered, though the high ratings will keep it out of many schools.  HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Small Medium & Large by Jane Donovan

Donovan, Jane Monroe Small Medium & Large.  Sleeping Bear, 2010.  $15.95.  Content: G.  A little girl is worried that Santa won’t find her in her new home, but is wonderfully surprised Christmas morning when he leaves her a small, medium and a large box, each with a small, medium and large friend do celebrate the rest of the joys of the holiday season with her.  While I have tried really hard to be skeptical about the new friends Sammy receives, I can’t help by remember how every child believes so fully in the power of the wish.  EL (K-3) – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher.

The Immortals by Paul Stewart

Stewart, Paul and Chris Riddell The Immortals, 669 p. David Fickling (Random), 2010.  $19.99.  Violence: PG-13 (abuse, including one really sad drawing).  Nate Quarter has to get out of the phraxmines, or he will certainly lose his life.  Escaping to the Great Glade, with his goblin friend Slip, Nate is much more important to the past, the present and the future of The Edge than anyone knows.  People, places and events all swirl around Nate and his fate is the fate of all.  I know it is really unfair of me to tell you almost nothing, but it is also unfair of Stewart and Riddell to cram Nate’s story into one massive volume, instead of giving him the three that he gave everyone else.  Just when you think things can’t get any more dangerous, they will get dangerous.  Just when you think there are no more loose ends, there are more loose ends.  And if you think you will be happy to see the end of the Edge, you instead will be writing letters to the authors begging for more.  EL, MS - ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell

Campbell, Chelsea A. The Rise of Renegade X, 340 p. Egmont, 2010.  $17.99.  Language: PG (12 swears, 0 ‘f’); Violence: G.  Mature Content: PG-13 (making out, unmarried pregnancy and talk of the need for birth control).  Damien Locke has been looking forward to his 16th birthday for a long time – and waiting for the “V” to appear on his thumb to prove that he is all villain, just like his mom.  Instead he gets the shock of his life and now he is stuck living with his Hero Dad – a man he never knew.  Is Damien Villain or Hero?  Maybe he isn’t even sure.  Damien’s predicament makes for much better reading than I thought it would.  Damien is torn between two worlds, torn between two girls and even torn between two parents, even though he’s only known his dad a few days.  Because Damien’s upset about his mother’s indiscretion, I would suggest this is best with an older crowd.  HS - ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Always Listen to Your Mother by Florence Heide

Heide, Florence Parry and Roxanne Heide Pierce Always Listen to Your Mother, illustrated by Kyle M. Stone.  Disney, 2010.  $15.99.  Ernest is a mild-mannered boy who is always helpful around the house.  When Vlapid moves next door, Ernest learns that he always listens to his mother, too, though the directions are a little bit different.  The two learn together to have a really great time.  While I think the message might be lost on children, I love the illustrations with their creepy, but happy feeling (you’ll have to check them out).  EL (K-3) – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Torment by Lauren Kate

Kate, Lauren Torment, 452 p. Delacorte (Random), 2010.  $17.99.  Language – PG-13 (20 swears, 0’f’).  Fallen angel Daniel and Cam, his former enemy, are ready to hunt down Outcasts and protect Luce, Daniel’s eternal love, but in order for the plan to work, Luce must be some place safe.  Off to an exclusive prep school in California – but don’t tell Luce why she’s being moved into a school for Nephilim.  Instead of feeling safe, Luce is just confused – and hurt and kind of willing to be more than friends with Miles, a sweet, kind guy who actually shows Luce that he cares.  While the plot gets a little more convoluted, Luce finally finds her spine – and is willing to take her own steps to understand what has kept her and Daniel apart – sending her through life after life through centuries.  I actually liked this volume better than the first.  Read on, friends.  HS, MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Other Goose by J. Otto Seibold

Seibold, J. Otto Other Goose: Re-Nursuried, Re-Rhymed, Re-Mothered and Re-Goosed.  Chronicle, 2010.  $19.99.  Seibold takes the familiar Mother Goose rhymes and updates them in his interminable way.  Adult fans of Nursery Rhymes will appreciate this much more than  a child would.  Some of them work well as modern “translations” of the old, but most of they are just for humor’s sake.  Give this to an adult with a wry sense of humor.  PARENTS. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Shadow by Suzy Lee

Lee. Suzy Shadow.  Chronicle, 2010.  $15.99.  Content:G.  A little girl has herself, an old, dusty attic and a light – as her imagination takes flight, the scene becomes much more than the eye can see – until the call for dinner interrupts the play scene. Or does it?  As a little girl, surrounded by brothers, I can well empathize with the little girl.  What a great book to show large, with  document camera, to help anyone release their inner child.  Pre-K, El (K-3) – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Reckless by Cornelia Funke - ESSENTIAL

Funke, Cornelia Reckless, 394 p. Little, Brown, 2010.  

Content: G (tense situations and danger only).  

For twelve years Jacob has hidden his knowledge of his disappeared father’s secret world from his mother and his brother.  In a rash moment, however, he let his brother, Will, see a way in – and now Will is stuck in the worls, struck by an evil curse and in danger of losing his humanity forever.  And his fiancĂ©e has followed him in, further complicating Jacob’s quest to save his brother.  

Fascinating creatures, new, clever twists and a world of wonder await the reader.  I enjoyed this more than the Inkworld trilogy.  It won’t fail to please.  I shared this with a teacher and she devoured it – and said it is perfect for her ADD students.  

EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher.

A Finder Keeper’s Place by Ann Haywood Leal

Leal, Ann Haywood A Finder Keeper’s Place, 259 p. Henry Holt, 2010.  $16.99.  Content: G.  Valley is almost impossible to control.  Esther, 10, knows, because she has been picking up after her mother and protecting her little sister, Ruth, ever since Ezekiel, the girls’ father, disappeared years earlier.  Esther scrounges for things to keep the household afloat and on the weekends, she and Ruth visit various nearby churches in search of their preacher father.  The girls’ life is complicated and precarious.  This is the third book that I have read in so may weeks that addresses a child dealing with a parent who has a mental illness.  This can be important for a child who is in this situation to recognize the signs of what their parent is going through and realize that they can ask for help from trusted adults instead of hiding.  EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher.

My Invisible Boyfriend by Susie Day

Day, Susie My Invisible Boyfriend, 276 pgs. Scholastic Press, 2010 Language- PG-13 (12 swears no "F") Sexual Content- PG, Violence- G.  Heidi is a not-so-popular teenager feels left out when all of her friends have boyfriends/ girlfriends. So she works up this brilliant plan to create a fake boyfriend who is very attractive and super romantic. To give evidence of his "existence" she creates Ed an e-mail account and e-mails herself. Soon Heidi's friends start e-mailing Ed about problems, some of them concerning Heidi. Not to long after Heidi receives mysterious e-mails from a person who calls himself "A Real Boy". Heidi's life seems to go straight down hill from there can she use her detective skills to figure out this whole mess?   I really didn't enjoy this book the plot wasn't always clear at times and it was boring through most parts. OPTIONAL for MS. Student Reviewer: EM

Lots of Dots by Craig Frazier

Frazier, Craig Lots of Dots.  Chronicle, 2010.  $15.99.  Content: G.  Frazier creates a brightly colored world illustrating the many ways that dots are a part of everything around us.  If you remember Frazier from his series of Stanley books, he has branched out with a very different style of illustration this time around.  Pre-K – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher.

“I’m Not Sleepy by Jonathan Allen

Allen, Jonathan “I’m Not Sleepy”.  Disney, 2010.  $14.99.  Content: G.  AS the sun comes up, Little Owl’s momma tells him that it is time for bed.  As many creatures of the forest tell him how sleepy he looks, Little Owl keeps up his protest – right up until he falls asleep.  Jonathan Allen’s wry wit shines through Little Owl’s predicament.  This will be much fun to read to a sleepy, protesting child as they get ready for bed.  Pre-K – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tina Cocolina: Queen of the Cupcakes by Pablo Cartaya

Cartaya, Pablo & Howard, Martin. Tina Cocolina: Queen of the Cupcakes, illustrated by Kirsten Richards. Random House, 2010. $16.99. PICTURE BOOK. Tina Cocolina was a cupcake without a topping and she couldn’t compete in the Cream of the Top Cupcake contest without one. Most of her classmates already had toppings like spicy buttercream and triple berry fudge swirl. Tina looked everywhere—a peanut butter brownie patch, fudge sauce stream, caramel tree, but no toppings would stick, no matter how sticky. Discouraged she came home and tried to create a fake topping. It failed. Her parents told Tina not to worry and that at the right time she would find her topping. She went to the contest, where Candyce was rude and handed her a banana peel and strawberry leaves. It was just the inspiration she needed to find her own topping and win. The story’s ending is too sugary sweet, but the concept that different children find talents at different times is an important one. The illustrations are bright and tasty. Chef Howard Martin shares cupcake and topping recipes that correspond with characters; parental assistance and supervision needed. Pre-K, EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

My Worst Best Friend by Dyan Sheldon

My Worst Best Friend
Sheldon, Dyan, My Worst Best Friend. Candlewick Press, 2010. Pgs. 298. Language: PG-13 (37 swears, no “f”s). Violence: G, Sexual Content: PG

Savanna and Gracie are exact opposites. Savanna is flighty, shallow, and rarely shows up to anything on time. Gracie is smart, community-conscious, caring person. Savanna starts ditching Archie, her boyfriend, Gracie, and their friends in order to go out with a college boy. In order to go on the dates, she manipulates Gracie into lying to everyone for her. As Gracie is forced to lie more and more, she coincidentally starts spending a lot more time with Cooper, Archie’s friend. Savanna, however, doesn’t approve of her relationship with Cooper and is even considering dumping Archie for her college boyfriend. When the two get into a huge argument over the lying, Savanna starts giving Gracie the cold shoulder. Will Gracie find a balance between hanging out with Archie and Cooper and Savanna? Will Gracie find a way to stand up to Savanna and still save her relationship with Cooper?

A good ending, but hard to read along the way. The swears interrupt the story line. Savanna and her mother seem unbelievable as characters. The other characters, however, are well-developed. Although the plot is complex enough, it doesn’t flow well and seems cropped together. Readers, however, who are fans of realistic fiction, romances, and friendship stories may enjoy reading this book. MS. OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Jessica M, Library Media Specialist, Olympus Jr. High

Blue Plate Special by Michelle Kwasney

Kwasney, Michelle D. Blue Plate Special 366 pgs. Chronicle Books, 2009 Language-R (111 swears 22 "F") Sexual Content-R Violence- PG-13 This book is about 3 different girls from different generations and tells each of their stories. This book is hard to focus on because of all the swearing and sexual content. I had to force myself to finish the book. NO, PUBLIC ONLY Student Reviewer: EM

Fat Cat by Robin Brande - ESSENTIAL

Brande, Robin Fat Cat, 327pgs. Knopf, 2009

Language: PG-13 (11 swears no "f"); Mature Content: PG-13; Violence: PG

Cat is a 17-year-old, over weight, high school student who is convinced she will defeat her nemesis since 7th grade, Matt McKinney, in the science fair. Her assigned topic is ancient hominoids and then and there Cat decides she is going to look like the woman in the picture...skinny. So for 207 days Cat gives up junk food and technology. When Cat starts slimming down she starts attracting the boys but she can’t stop thinking about her Matt. Will he get in the way of her winning and ruin everything? Or can she loose the grudge she's holding for reasons she might not be sure of?

This is a great book, funny and has a good storyline!


Student Reviewer: EM

Front Page Face Off by Jo Whittemore

Whittemore, Jo Front Page Face Off, 229 pages. Aladdin Mix, 2010. $5.99. Content-G.  Delilah is invited to be in the Debutantes which is one of the coolest clubs in the whole school, but when she finds out she is going to be competing for a spot with the new exchange student, Ava, it is not as cool as she expected. Even worse, Ava is a huge brat and will do anything to make sure that Delilah does not get the spot in the Debutantes. They both work for there school newspaper and whoever can write the best gossip story is the winner and will become a Debutant. If you want to find out who becomes a Debutant you will have to read Front Page Face Off. This wasn't my favorite book, and it was a little hard to get into, but there are parts throughout the book that you are so hooked you don't want to put it down for even a minute. I would recommend this book to any girl who enjoys a fight between girls. EL/MS-Optional. Student Reviewer: MM

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dark's Tale by Deborah Grabien

Dark's TaleGrabien, Deborah, Dark’s Tale, Egmont Books, 2010. Pgs. 300. Language: G, Violence: PG, Sexual Content: G

After his family’s child turns out to be allergic to Dark, they dump him off in the park. Dark quickly befriends Rattail, a raccoon, and Casablanca, another stray, who teach her about the natural order in the park. This includes humans, whom the animals label as Cores (homeless park residents), Warms (friendly), Dangers (not to be trusted), and Blanks (oblivious to the animals and one another). Uneasy around humans after being abandoned, he has a hard time trusting any humans. When she meets she encounters the Warms, Jack, Angie, and Jessie, she can’t help but start liking them. When coyotes invade the park and threaten her new home and friends, she realizes that her and the other cats are going to have to adapt and fight the greatest fight of their life to not only save themselves, but the Warms as well. Can they overcome their distrust of humans and each other long enough to save their park?

A fun adventure for cat lovers. The plot is well-developed. The characters are lovable and well-developed. Readers who like fantasy, cats, adventure, and survival stories will enjoy reading this book. EL (4-6). ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable by Dan Gutman

The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable
Gutman, Dan, Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable. HarperCollins, 2011. Pgs. 304. Language: G, Violence: G, Sexual Content: G.

Coke and Pepsi are 12-year-old twins and geniuses. But, when things turn upside down, they find themselves jumping off cliffs and escaping fires. With their teacher out to kill them who can they trust?

This fast-paced adventure will take you on a fact-filled trip across the country. Great for boys and reluctant readers. EL (4-6), MS. ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Jessica M, Library Media Specialist, Olympus Jr. High.

The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander

Rylander, Chris, The Fourth Stall, HarperCollins, 2011. Pgs. 320.

Content: G

Mac is in the business of solving problems and acquiring the hard to get. From his office in the 4th stall., he tames bullies and solves the problems of his fellow classmates. But the new crime boss-Stapless-is about to turn his world upside down. Will Mac and his best friend, Vince be able ot make it to the Cubs World Series Game, as planned?

The book is well-written. The characters are well-developed and likable. A great book for boys and reluctant readers.

EL, MS - ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Jessica M, Library Media Specialist, Olympus Jr. High.

Messages from Beyond by Stephanie Watson

Messages from Beyond (Night Fall)
Watson, Stephanie, Messages from Beyond. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. Pgs. 106. Language: PG (1 swear, no “f”s), Violence: PG, Sexual Content: G

Strange dreams and text messages from a boy named Ethan leave Claire spooked and amused. Her investigations lead her on a twisted search. Twists and turns may leave her running for her life.

This is a great, fast-paced horror story for Hi-Lo and reluctant readers. EL(4-6), MS. ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Jessica M, Library Media Specialist, Olympus Jr. High.

Blue Comet by Rosemary Wells

On the Blue Comet
Wells, Rosemary, Blue Comet. Candlewick Press, 2010. Pgs. 329. Language: PG (7 swears, no “f”s), Violence: PG, Sexual Content: G

When Oscar and his dad lose everything in the great depression, their lives change. Oscar’s dad leaves in search of work. Oscar stays behind with his aunt. Then one day Oscar meets the mysterious Mr. Applegate. During a crime, Oscar ends up in a train hopping time-travel adventure. Will Oscar be able to change the past and future?

This book is well-written and engaging. The characters are well-developed and easy to relate to. Readers who like historical fiction, science fiction, and time travel will enjoying reading this book. EL(4-6), MS. ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Jessica M, Library Media Specialist, Olympus Jr. High.

Unthinkable by Shirley Duke

Unthinkable (Night Fall)
Duke, Shirley, Unthinkable. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. Pgs. 106. Language: PG (1 swear, no “f”s), Violence: PG, Sexual Content: G

When Omar is troubled by a horrifying vision, he writes a story and posts it on Facebook, but then the visions start to come true and the neighbor is found dead followed by others. The police suspect Omar. Will he ever be able to stop the visions? Is he causing the deaths?

This short, horror story is a well-written novel for reluctant readers. MS. ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Jessica M, Library Media Specialist, Olympus Jr. High.

The Club by Stephanie Watson

The Club (Night Fall)
Watson, Stephanie, The Club. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. Pgs. 106. Langauge: PG, Violence: G, Sexual Content: G

When Josh moves to a new school, he makes some new friends and some new enemies. Josh and his new friends form a club based around an old game. But, is there more to the game than meets the eye?

Filled with horror and quick plot development, this is a great horror story for High/Lo readers.  MS. ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Jessica M,  Library Media Specialist, Olympus Jr. High.

The Reinvention of Moxie Roosevelt by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

The Reinvention of Moxie RooseveltKimmel, Elizabeth Cody, The Reinvention of Moxie Roosevelt. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2010. Pgs. 229. Language: G, Violence: G, Sexual Content: G

Moxie has always felt too ordinary for her extraordinary name. When she gets a music scholarship to Eaton Academy for Girls, a prestigious boarding school, she decides to reinvent herself. She tries Mysterious Earth Goddess (MEG), Hale and Hearty Sports Enthusiast (HHSE), and Detached, Unique, Coolly Knowing Individual (DUCKI), and more. Using a journal to keep track of her personalities and whom she uses them with, she gets exhausted keeping track of them. When her journal goes missing, she worries that it’s fallen into the wrong hands. Can Moxie figure out which personality she wants to be before it’s too late?

A fun, hilarious story about a girl and her journey of self-discovery. The characters are well-developed and likable. The plot is entertaining and keeps the reader’s attention. Readers who like humor, realistic fiction, and stories of self-discovery will enjoy reading this book. EL (4-6). ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.

Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth by Sandra Dutton

Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth

Dutton, Sandra, Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth. Houghton Mifflin, 2010. Pgs. 134. Language: G, Violence: G, Sexual Content: G

Mary Mae is a Christian. She’s also a lover of the sciences. When her teacher starts teaching her class about evolution, Mary has a hard time of reconciling the Bible’s version of creation and evolution. Her mom says that God is right and the Bible is God’s word, but there is evidence supporting her teacher’s theory of evolution. Can Mary find a way to reconcile her love of science and her love of the Bible?

A quick read that is overly religious. The characters are one-sided. The plot is poorly developed. Readers, however, who like realistic and Christian fiction may like reading it. EL (4-6). OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Jack Blank and the Imagine Nation by Matt Myklusch

Jack Blank and the Imagine Nation (Jack Blank (Trilogy))
Myklusch, Matt, Jack Blank and the Imagine Nation. Aladdin Books, 2010. Language: G, Violence: PG, Sexual Content: G

Jack doesn’t know who he is or where he comes from. All he know is the life he’s had at Ste Barmaby’s Home for the Hopeless, Abandoned, Forgotten, and Lost and his love of creating comic books. One day he gets to visitors. The first is a a deadly robot from one of his comic books. The second is the fast-talking Jazen Knight who says he’s come to rescue Jack and take back to his homeland, Imagine Nation. Imagine Nation turns out to be a hidden island where all the fantastic and unbelievable things in the human world originate. When Jack is discovered to be carrying a deadly robot virus, he soon realizes that he has superhuman powers, one of which is immunity to the virus. When Revile, a deadly alien, attacks the city and Jack becomes the only one who can stop him, Jack must discover his origins and learn to control his powers in order to save his newfound home. Can Jack master himself before it’s too late?

A great, action-packed adventure from start to finish. The characters are well-developed. The plot moves along quickly and keeps the reader’s attention. Readers who like fantasy, adventure, science fiction, robots and/or superheroes will enjoy reading this book and will want to read the planned sequels.  EL (4-6), MS. ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian,WHI Public Library.

Calendar Mysteries: April Adventure by Ron Roy

Roy, Ron Calendar Mysteries: April Adventure 70 pgs. Random House, 2010. EARLY READER. $4.99. In this new Stepping Stone Book, the four younger siblings of the famous four-pack from the A-Z Mysteries series embark on a mystery of their own. Bradley, Brian, Lucy, and Nate wake up to find a message from "the shadow" directing them on an Easter egg hunt. But right in the thick of the search they realize some of the hidden eggs have been stolen! Leave it up to the new, younger four-pack to crack this case! This is a fun, early reader series that will get younger kids reading! EL-ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher. 

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead

Stead, Philip C. A Sick Day for Amos McGee illustrated by Erin E. Stead 32 pgs. Roaring Book Press, 2010. PICTURE BOOK. $16.99. Amos McGee, the sweet and kind zoo keeper, always found a way to pass time with his dear animal friends. The elephant, tortoise, penguin, rhino, and owl always look forward to their time with Amos so when Amos gets sick and doesn't come to work they find a way to repay his kindness. This is a sweet story about friendship, and the soft, gentle illustrations add the perfect touch to this story. EL-ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Bed Hogs by Kelly DiPucchio

DiPucchio, Kelly Bed Hogs illustrated by Howard Fine 32 pgs. Hyperion Books for Children, 2004. PICTURE BOOK. $15.99. At bed each night, Little Runt gets squished and squashed by his family of pigs until he finds a way to kick them all out of bed. But not until he is all alone, cold and scared does he realize how much he actually likes those bed hogs! Great rhythmic text coupled with cute illustrations makes this a perfect bedtime story.EL-ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Daring to Dream by Suzanne Weyn

Daring To Dream (Wildwood Stables)
Weyn, Suzanne, Daring to Dream. Scholasdtic Press, 2010. Pgs. 165. Language: G, Violence: G, Sexual Content: G.

Taylor Henry loves horse, but her single mother can’t afford to buy her a horse or take care of her. When Taylor’s friend, Claire calls and needs her to help ASPCA rescue an emaciated horse and a pony from an abandoned house, they temporarily house the horse in Taylor’s front yard. When her neighbor complains, Taylor is forced to find them new homes. When she isn’t able to find a place for them to live and growing close to them, she worries about them getting separated or getting sold at an auction. Can Taylor find them a place to say where the horses together?

A sweet, quick read. The characters are memorable and likable. The story is thought-provoking and touching. Readers who like horse stories and realistic fiction will enjoy reading this book. EL (K-3), EL (4-6). OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.

Kevin the Star Striker by Joachim Massanek

The Wild Soccer Bunch, Book 1, Kevin the Star Striker
Massanek, Joachim, Kevin the Star Striker. Sole Books, 2010. Pgs. 147. Language: G, Violence: G, Sexual Content: G.

Meet the Wild Soccer Bunch. They live in Chicago. United by their love of soccer, 11 boys and 1 girl play by 5 unbreakable rules: 1) Be Wild, 2) Everything’s cool, as long as you’re wild, 3) Never, ever give up, 4) All for one and one for all, 5) Once wild, always wild. When the last of the snow melts, the gang rushes to their beloved soccer field only to find that Mickey and his gang known as the Unbeatables have taken over. Kevin, determined to have their playing field back, challenges the Unbeatables to a soccer game in 2 weeks time. Whoever wins gets to keep the soccer field as their playing field. When problems arise with teamwork, their home situations, and their friendship, however, their goal of getting their field back seems to get farther and farther away. Can Kevin lead his friends to victory or will they have to give up their soccer field of dreams for ever?

A fun, quick read for soccer fans everywhere. The characters are likable and easy to relate to. The plot is well-developed and has some serious themes in it, but the story is still funny and enjoyable. Readers who like realistic fiction, friendship books, and sports stories will enjoy reading this book. EL (4-6) ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library