Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Firestorm! by Joan Hiatt Harlow

Harlow, Joan Hiatt. Firestorm! 336 pgs. Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster), 2010. $16.99. Sexual Content-G; Language-G; Violence-G. Poppy is twelve-years-old and tired of stealing for Ma Brennan and living in a rough Chicago neighborhood. She begins to plan her escape. By chance she meets Justin Butterworth whose life is the opposite of Poppy’s. He is the son of a wealthy jeweler, lives in a beautiful house, and has a new pet goat named Ticktock. Justin takes Poppy to see his goat and she meets his sister Claire who gives Poppy her old clothes. Ma Brennan finds out about Poppy’s new friends and threatens to hurt Ticktock if Poppy does not get her a key to the jewelry shop. Although Poppy does not steal from jewelry shop, she overhears Justin’s father accuse her of stealing. She runs away and takes Ticktock with her. The night of the Great Chicago Fire, Justin and Poppy struggle with thousands of others to escape the fire. The narrative switches each chapter between Poppy and Justin; both characters represent the time period, but lack a spark of originality. The plot moves steadily until the night of the fire, where the action and details are literally on fire. Author Joan Hiatt Harlow provides an Afterword with additional information about the Great Chicago Fire and clarifies which parts of her book were based on facts and real people. EL-ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fabled Fifth Graders of Aesop Elementary School by Candace Fleming

The Fabled Fifth Graders of Aesop Elementary SchoolFleming, Candace, The Fabled Fifth Graders of Aesop Elementary School. Schwartz and Wade, 2010. Pgs. 176. Language: G, Violence: G, Sexual Content: G

The worst class in a long time at Aesop Elementary School, the fifth grade class are handfuls. No teacher dares take them on. Luckily, Mr. Jupiter, an eccentric world traveling man who sees the class as his newest adventure, has agreed to take this class on for the second year in a row. Filled with wisdom, cleverness, and ingenuity, Mr. Jupiter will need all of the above to get through to his class and make a difference in their lives. Will he succeed?

Filled with modernized versions of some of Aesop’s most famous lessons, this book entertains, delights, and instructs. A great book for fables units, but also a fun read by itself. The characters are entertaining. The plot flows well despite each chapter being short story-like. Readers who like fables, realistic fiction, and humorous books will enjoy reading this book. EL (4-6). ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Christmas Delicious by Lyn Loates

Loates, Lyn. Christmas Delicious, illustrated by Mark Jones. Blue Apple Books (dist. by Chronicle Books), 2010. $16.99. PICTURE BOOK. Two fat mice named Raisin and Rice lived at Zanzibar’s Deli. They decide to have a Christmas Feast and make a list and cook all of their favorite foods. When Christmas day comes the two mice have decorated nice, but when they check their list twice they realize they forgot to invite their friends. So Raisin and Rice knock on all of their friend’s doors and are delighted when everyone comes to share in their Christmas celebration. The delicious illustrations are bright and full of holiday cheer with a New York deli twist. The meter and rhyme are perfect for reading aloud, making it a good choice for a non-religious holiday story-time. A recipe for Raisin and Rice Christmas treats is also included. Pre-K, EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Counting: A Bugs Pop-up Concept Book by David A. Carter

Carter, David A. Counting: A Bugs Pop-up Concept Book. Little Simon (Simon & Schuster), 2010 (1993). $7.99. PICTURE BOOK.

Count the colorful bugs as the pop-up: one, two, three, four, five, six, “bugs galore.” Each bug is colorful and original and set against a plain green background. Children will enjoy counting the bugs and seeing them move as their wings fly open and closed.

Pre-K – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Show Me the Honey by Tish Rabe

Rabe, Tish. Show Me the Honey, illustrated by Christopher Moroney. 48 pgs. Random House, 2010. $3.99. EARLY READER. A simple and sticky adventure based on the PBS Kids show “The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That.” Nick and Sally are eating breakfast, but they are all out of honey. Luckily, the Cat in the Hat shows up with an invitation to Queen Buzzoo’s bee party. The only catch is you have to be a bee. Call in Thing One and Two, and when they are through everyone is striped like a bee and ready to dance at the beehive. Sally and Nick learn how to make honey by sucking nectar from flowers and spitting it into the combs to dry. As a parting gift, Queen Buzzoo gave Nick and Sally jars of sweet, sticky honey. The illustrations are colorful and Dr. Seuss-like. EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Scarum Fair by Jessica Swaim

Swaim, Jessica. Scarum Fair, illustrated by Carol Ashley. Wordsong (Boyds Mills Press, Inc.), 2010. $17.95. PICTURE BOOK. Author Jessica Swaim cleverly takes common fair rides, foods, critter contests, homemade wares, and booths and makes them “scary.” On “The Scary-Go-Round” literally the “fun never ends.” The teacup ride has an interesting twist, while spinning, tea is spilling on you. The frightening food selection includes: sizzling “devil’s food cake,” chilly “I-scream,” and regurgitated “Cat-Hair Stew.” Each poem is filled with clever wordplays that are scary enough to entertain older children, but not too scary for the younger ones. The illustrations by Carol Ashley are ghoulishly good. She combines several mediums (acrylics, graphite, and pen and ink) to achieve a darkly colorful, cartoonish style. A charming poetry collection to read around Halloween or any other time of the year you are interested in a charming scare. EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Fat Vampire by

Rex, Adam Fat Vampire, pgs. 336. HarperCollins, 2010. $16.99. Language- PG-13 (96 swears, 32 "f") Mature Content- Pg-13; "Sucks to be him" Doug is fifteen, fat and has just been turned into a vampire. He needs blood, but ends up gorging on cows. Then Sejal comes along, a new Indian exchange student. Doug falls for her, he wants to bite her and make her his forever, but it's not that easy. On top of that "Vampire Hunters" is trying to hunt him to boost some ratings and keep there show on air.       Wow -  love, vampires, high school. I liked this book, but it wouldn't be one of the first books I would recommend. It had some good parts, but some were a little boring. One of the things I like about this book was the perspective. It didn't just have one person's perspective, it had a couple to get some point of view. I rated this book pg-13 because it had some sexual language and swearing. MS - OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: CG

Manifest by Artist Arthur

Arthur, Artist Manifest (Mystyx 1), 256 p. Kimani Press (Harlequin), $9.99.  978-03738-31968.  Language – PG13 (30 swears, O “F”); Mature Content – PG13 (lewdly mentions pictures of naked teens who have been drugged).  Krystal isn’t sure how she could be less happy; her mother has remarried a man whom Krystal despises and they have moved away from everything she knows.  To make matters worse, she thinks she may be going crazy, because she can see a dead, though handsome, boy in her bedroom.  Unfortunately, dead boy also has a very beautiful dead girlfriend.  Some kids at school know that Krystal has special powers and they insist that she work with them.  When Krystal realizes that someone is taking provocative pictures of girls, just before they kill them, and she may be the next target, she knows she must snap out of her funk and get to work.  Older teens who like special powers, ghosts and a really dramatic mystery will dive into this series.  I hope that the other kids with powers get a book to highlight them, because they came off as superfluous in this installment.  HS – ADVISABLE.  Cindy, Library Teacher.

Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber

Schreiber, Ellen Once in a Full Moon, 289 p. Harper, 2011.  Celeste is dating Nash, the hottest guy in her school, but her thoughts are filled with Brandon, the new outsider from the west side.   Ever since their kiss on a snowy night, she has never been the same.  And there is something different about Brandon - he was bitten when he saved he from a wolf pack and Celeste thinks that Brandon may be the new werewolf of Legend's Run.  I gotten kind of used to Schreiber's style from the Vampire Kisses books, but this time it doesn't work as well for me. I don't know if this is supposed to be a series or not, but it asks so many questions without supplying any answers.  I felt unfulfilled and bothered.  On the other hand, if a student wants a very light werewolf romance, this would be fine.  I prefer Jennifer Barnes Raised by Wolves or Claire Dunkle's By These Ten Bones.  MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Old Photographs by Sherie Posesorski

Posesorski, Sherie Old Photographs, pgs 213. Second Story Press, 2010. $10.95. Language- G (no swears, no "f"), Sexual Content- PG; Violence-PG.

Phoebe can't help but notice her sweet older neighbor, Mrs. Tomblin, is struggling.  She decides to spend her summer helping and entertaining Mrs. Tomblin.  One night though Mrs. Tomblin is robbed and badly beaten.  It's up to Phoebe to crack the case one step at a time and make sure no one bothers Mrs. Tomblin again.  I enjoyed this book, although at times it got kind of dull and long.  Other then that it is a great book for girls ranging from 6th grade and beyond. 

MS- OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: BJS

The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group by Catherine Jinks

Jinks, Catherine The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group, 416 p. Harcourt (Houghton) APRIL 2011.  $16.99.  Violence: R (LOTS of bloody fighting); Language:  R (100+ swears, 0 “F”); Mature Content: G.  Toby woke up in the dingo pen of the local zoo – naked.  Thankfully only a few people know that detail.  But just enough people do that some scruffy characters are sniffing around him, including a teen named Reuben and his priest friend.  Toby refuses to believe that he might be a werewolf – IS a werewolf – and that he is a great danger to all around him a few days a month.  But when the dangerous dudes kidnap him and toss him into a barebones cell, Toby is more convinced.  Here comes Reuben to the rescue, and also Danny, another of the kidnappers’ former victims and his pack of vicious trained dogs.  Oh and don’t forget Nina and other assorted members of the Reformed Vampire Support Group.  Where the first book in the series was poignant among its danger and bravery, this book is heavy on the viciousness, angst and down-right hostility.  I found it too angry for my taste and could never enjoy returning to this world that I loved so much the first time. HS – OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher.

Accomplice by Eireann Corrigan

Corrigan, Eireann Accomplice, pgs 296. Scholastic Press, 2010. ARC. Language- PG-13 (39 swears, no "f"), Sexual Content- PG; Violence-PG. Community Service & good grades just aren't enough anymore to get into college, and Finn and Chloe are finally beginning to realize this. They decide that they will have to attract attention some other way even if it means faking their own kidnapping.  It takes everything Finns got to keep Chloe's secret safe even if it means betraying others on the way.  I really enjoyed this book because it really shows you what its like to keep a secret from many people, maybe even millions.  MS- OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: BJS

A to Z Mysteries Collection #1 by Ron Roy

Roy, Ron. A to Z Mysteries Collection #1, illustrated by John Steven Gurney. 358 pgs. Random House, 1997, 1998. $8.99. Sexual Content-G; Language-G; Violence-G. Reprint.

The collection includes the following titles: A is for Author, B is for Bandit, C is for Canary, and D is for Dungeon. Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose are three friends who live in Green Lawn where they solve various mysteries. In A is for Author, Dink is excited to meet his favorite author Wallis Wallace, but when he doesn’t show up at the book signing Dink suspects he’s been kidnapped. Dink and his friends take Wallis Wallace’s itinerary and follow the steps to find out what really happened. In B is for Bandit, a private detective asks the three friends to help him find a red-headed teen who filmed a robbery. They discover the teen and something about the private detective. In C is for Canary, pets around the neighborhood are missing and soon after they are returned, the houses are burgled. The three friends stake out a house to discover if the person returning the pets is also the thief. In D is for Dungeon, the three friends are visiting author Wallis Wallace in her castle Moose Manor, when they decide to discover who is making the spooky noises. Plenty of pencil illustrations adorn and add to the stories. These gentle, age-appropriate mysteries that will appeal to both boys and girls.

EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Animal Pop! by National Geographic

National Geographic Animal Pop!, pgs 15. National Geographic Society, 2010. $14.95 Language- G (no swears, no "f"), Sexual Content- G; Violence-G. Take a journey and learn so much more about tigers, dolphins, wolves, pandas, and even turtles as you explore these beautiful animals and their surroundings in a whole new way, with life size posters and so much information this is a great way to experience the world of animals. I really thought this book was interesting, it was so knowledgeable on the animals and gave you whole new perspective on wildlife, the food they eat, and how they grow & surround us.  My favorite animal was the dolphin because it was amazing to read about how they use their resources throughout the water to survive. EL - OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: BJS

Haunted Castle on Hallows Eve by Mary Pope Osborne

Osborne, Mary Pope. Haunted Castle on Hallows Eve, illustrated by Sal Murdocca. 109 pgs. Random House, 2003. $4.99. Sexual Content-G; Language-G; Violence-G. Reprint. Jack and Annie are preparing for Halloween when they receive a summons from Merlin. The fate of Camelot is in their hands, they must “bring order to the duke’s castle.” When they arrive at the duke’s castle they can’t see anyone, but they hear things. At first they think of ghosts, but Annie figures out that they are invisible people. Jack and Annie ask the people what happened and they explain that the raven king has stolen the diamond of destiny. Jack and Annie turn into ravens and go to retrieve the diamond that will turn everyone back to normal. As usual, a simple plot line with adventure, mystery, and ample illustrations to assist in the storytelling. Sure to appeal to its target audience. This edition includes stickers, a recipe, and a puzzle. EL – ESSENTIAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Love Ya Bunches by Lauren Myracle

Myracle, Lauren Love Ya Bunches, 335 pages. Amulet Books, 2009. $15.99. Language-G (0 swears), Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; 5th graders Violet, Milla, Katie-Rose, and Yasaman were never really friends before fifth grade and besides all having flower names they had just about nothing in common. Milla has a special good luck turtle that she got from her parents and one day it goes missing and its blamed on Yasaman when really it's Katie-Rose and Violet is watching it all from the corner of the room. When mean Modessa or known to the girls as Medusa starts spreading rumors these girls grow closer and learn that they have something even better than the truth, they have friendship. This was a cute book even though it's geared towards 4th and 5th graders it was fun to read and to watch these girls grow closer and find the friendship hidden deep in there hearts. I thought it was a little strange though that this book only took place over a five day time period, because at the begining they didn't even know each other and four days later they are best friend. I think this would be a good book for little girls and I think they would have alot of fun reading it. EL-ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: MM

The Boy Who Could Fly by James Norcliffe - ADVISABLE

Norcliffe, James  The Boy Who Could Fly, 312 p. Egmont, 2010.  $16.99.

Content: G (Sisters demonstrate rude behavior, but not offensive to reader.  The only time there was violence in the book was when a person tries to kidnap and kill the Loblolly Boy with a jar of poisonous leaves. This scene is not frightening to the reader.)

A boy named Michael, an orphan, meets a strange boy called the Loblolly Boy.  Michael magically changes into the Loblolly Boy.  He gains the power of flight, but he can only have communicate with certain humans.  He later meets his sisters Meg and Suzy who help him become himself again.  

I liked this book because it was full of surprises.  I didn’t like the way there was a gap in the long back-story.

EL, MS- ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: AS

Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates

Yates, Louise. Dog Loves Books. Alfred A. Knopf (Random House), 2010. $16.99. PICTURE BOOK. Dog loves books—a lot. So he decides to open a bookstore. He gets everything prepared and waits and waits for people to come. A few people stop by, but not to buy books. Dog is discouraged, but then decides to read while he waits. He goes on several adventures by reading and when customers do come, he knows just what books to recommend. The whimsical pencil and watercolor illustrations are out of this world—literally. A great book to read aloud about the voyeuristic joys of reading. EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Secret Society by Tom Dolby

Dolby, Tom Secret Society 341 pgs.Harper Teen, 2009.  $16.99 Language- (16 swears, 0 "f"), Sexual Content- PG; Violence- R;   Imagine if there was a secret society that could get you anything you wanted,and all you had to do was keep it a secret. Imagine if you could get what ever career you wanted, and all you had to do was become successful at all costs. But it's not that easy. This society has dark secrets, unethical secrets, horrible secrets and methods. And they can never ever be exposed. I did not really like this book. Secret Society had a wonderful concept, but was not executed very well. The characters were drinking and doing drugs constantly, which distracted from the main idea. I also did not like the fact that every paragraph the character who was "speaking" would change. That made this book hard to read. Otherwise, this book has a very compelling idea, and would be a good book for others. HS-OPTIONAL  Student Reviewer: TIG

Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens by Brandon Sanderson

Sanderson, Brandon. Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens, 304 pgs. Scholastic Press, 2010. $17.99. Sexual Content-G; Language-G; Violence-PG. The fourth volume of Alcatraz Smedry’s biography is missing chapter one with all the background information for new readers, so it is recommended to read this series in order. There are several chapters missing in the book, which is a part of an authorial conceit which adds to the humor and zany feel of the book. In Chapter 2, the reader learns that Alcatraz’s friend Bastille is concerned about the country of Mokia which is about to be defeated by the librarians. The knights of Crystallia will not defend it unless there is an heir to the kingdom or a Smedry there. All Smedrys have a special talent; such as being late or getting lost. So Alcatraz, Bastille, his uncle Kaz, and a cousin fly to Mokia to ensure the knights follow. Librarians with giant robots are attacking the city and Mokia is about to fall. Since Alcatraz is a Smedry, he is made king and launches a defense of the city using his special Smedry talent—breaking things. An off-the-wall, humorous series that is sure to appeal to boys and fantasy fans. EL/MS – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Reality Check by Jen Calonita

Calonita, Jen Reality Check, 277 pages. Poppy, 2010. $16.99. Language- G(1 swear, 0 "F"), Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; 16 year olds Charlie, Hallie, Keiran and Brooke all get the chance to have there own reality show called The Cliffs, as soon as they here about this opportunity there all for it. As they get into the first couple of tapings they learn this show is tearing there wonderful friendship apart. They do a scripted reality so when they get in a huge fight on camera it isn't recorded well enough, so they have to redo the whole thing witch makes it a whole lot worse.  When Brooke meets a new friend who all the other girls hate there friendship gets even worse because Brooke's friend is like a new addition to the show and the other girls hate it. I really enjoyed reading this, from the first page to the last page I was hooked. If I would have had time I could have sat down and read this in one sitting, that's how good this book was. I would recommend this book to every girl, this is probably my new favorite book. MS/HS- ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer:MM

My First Love by Callie West

West, Callie My First Love, 171 pages. Random House, 1995.$ 7.99. Language-G( 2 swears, 0"F"), Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; Amy thinks she has the perfect life except she is missing one thing a boyfriend, but surprisingly she doesn't want one because she thinks it will get in the way of her swimming scholarship, goals, and dreams in life. Her mood changes though when she meets Chris a cute senior from her swim team, and he won't even get in the way of her goals or so she thinks, but when her grades drop and she starts swimming less and less she doesn't know what to think. Amy thought she finally had it all but she might just have nothing instead. This wasn't the worst book I have ever read but it was for sure not the best, it had an older time period (1990's) and I prefer to read books that are more my time. MS/HS- OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: MM
FYI - This is a reprint from the 1990's Love Stories series.  This series is still popular in my library - so I hope Random House is going to reprint more of them!

Slick by Sara Cassidy

Cassidy, Sara Slick,121 pages. Orca books, 2010. $9.95. Language-G (1 swear, 0 '"f"), Sexual content-G; Violence-G; Liza's parents got divorced just a couple of months ago, but her mom already has a new boyfriend (Slick) that she hates. One day Liza is watching a video of how an oil company is ruining Guatemala and she learns that it is Slick's company, after that Liza is determined to do anything to help the Guatemala people and to ruin Slick's company. I didn't really enjoy reading this book but it wasn't the worst book I have ever read. Even though the main character of this book is a girl I think this is a book that would be more entertaining for boys. MS - OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer-MM

Tweet Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick

Rudnick, Elizabeth Tweet Heart, 264 pgs. Hyperion, 2010. $7.99. Language PG (S: 1, F: 0, G: 2), Sexual Content G; ViolenceG; ClaireRBear is so excited when her crush starts to tweet her. He is so sweet and a great conversationlist, but when they star talking at school he seems nothing like he is on the tweets. How will Claire handle the big news of who she is really crushing on and will she be able to crush on him back? I loved this book! It's very different because it is written compleetely in tweets, emails, and blogs. I loved the story and how true the story is compared to real life. Its sweet and has a really happy ending. MS ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: KU.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

Shepard,Sara The Lying Game, 307 pages. Alloy Entertainment, 2010. $16.99. Language- PG 13 (35 swears, 1 "F"), Sexual Content-G; Violence-G (There is a little underage drinking but not a ton.); 17 year old Emma has lived in foster care since she was five years old but still remembers the day her mom took off, everyday Emma wishes she could have her mom back and wonders what she did to make her mom leave her all alone. One day Emma finds a video online that has a girl named Sutton in it that looks exactly like Emma, so she decides to search this girl on Facebook and finds out she has a long lost twin sister. When Emma goes to meet her twin sister she gets kidnapped by her sisters friends and is forced to live in Sutton's life. Everytime Emma tries to tell people that she is not Sutton she is Emma no one believes her. What will happen to Emma, and will she ever find her twin sister Sutton? I really, really enjoyed this book, and it is one of the best books that I have ever read. It is a little scary but keeps you on the edge of your seat and that is what I liked about it. Although this book was a little confusing because in random spots it would switch from one person talking about one thing to another person talking about another thing. Besides the confusing parts I really liked this book. MS/HS- ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: MM

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Adornetto, Alexandra. Halo, 484 pgs. Feiwel and Friends, 2010. $16.99. Language-G; Sexual Content-PG; Violence-PG. 17 year-old Beth is an angel sent to earth to enroll at Bryce Hamilton High School in Venus Cove, Australia. A Romeo and Juliet romance pursues when Beth meets the handsome, popular, and mysterious Xavier.  Their romance is threatened when Jake, a demon, takes a special interest in befriending Beth and all havoc is let lose. The powers of good and evil are running rampant in Venus Cove, will good overcome evil? And, will love save or destroy Bethany? The first book in Adornetto’s angel trilogy is sure to be a hit with Twilight fans looking for a supernatural romance. Howerver, Adornetto’s immaturity shines through in her sappy, overdramatic, and lengthy writing. Editing out about half of the book would make it a much better read. MS/HS - ESSENTIAL. Anna, School Library Media Specialist. 

The Knife That Killed Me by Andre McGowan

McGowan, Andre. The Knife That Killed Me, 216 pgs. Delacorte Press, 2008. $16.99.Lnguage-PG (No “f”); Sexual Content-PG-13; Violence-R (for being gross) : Paul is a loner at a rough catholic high school in England, easily the object of bullying, Paul longs to fit in somewhere. Unfortunately, Paul finds that he is torn by two different groups the school gang and the school freaks. Paul finds that he prefers the freaks, but he can’t refuse Roth, the gang leader and becomes the go between for two rival gangs which leads Paul into deathly danger when he’s expected to bring his knife to a war. There are some beautifully written passages in this book, however, there are so many minor characters to keep straight that I was confused for the first several chapters. Also, McGowan mixes some passages that take place in the future in between chapters, this was also confusing, I didn’t understand what was going on. There is some guy talk and references to sex that are graphic, the language was moderate, and the violence disgusting (i.e. Paul is attacked by the jaw and teeth of a dog corpse). Yet, as I got into the story, I found myself wanting to read more to find out how the Paul’s relationships with the other characters developed. HS - OPTIONAL. Anna, School Library Media Specialist.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Discovery in the Cave Step Into Reading by Mark Dubowski

Dubowski, Mark Discovery in the Cave 48 pgs. Random House Books for Young Readers 2010. $3.99. Marcel and his dog, Robot, found a cave in France. They explored it with some of their friends and soon discovered that the walls were decorated with ancient drawings and paintings. This was during the time that France was at war, and they were worried that someone might ruin their cave. They told their old teacher, Leon Laval, and he thought it was so amazing that he brought in Henri, who is an expert in ancient art. It turns out that the cave's art is rare, and soon the cave becomes protected. People from all over the world are now able to come and look at the artwork on the walls. This is a good non fiction text and keeps your attention. EL (K-3) - ESSENTIAL. Anna M - teacher.

DC Super Friends Brain Freeze! by J.E. Bright

Bright, J.E. DC Super Friends Brain Freeze! 32 pgs. Random House Books for Young Readers, 2010. $3.99. The City of Metropolis just got a new computer called the Brain. Mr. Freeze, the villian, wants to freeze it so that the whole city won't be able to function. The city turns to mayhem, the water freezes, the trains stop, and the whole city is at a stand still. It is up to Batman and Superman to save the day. Working together, they are able to use both of their strengths to overcome Mr. Freeze. Since this is a Step 2 Step Into Reading book, the sentences are short and there is not a lot of detail. PRE K, EL (K-3) - OPTIONAL. Anna M - teacher.

Ugly Pie by Lisa Wheeler

Wheeler, Lisa Ugly Pie Illustrated by Heather Solomon. 32 pgs. Harcourt Children's Books, 2010. $16.00. PICTURE BOOK. Ol' Bear wanted to make some ugly pie to eat. He realize that he didn't have any of the ingredients, so he want and visited his neighbors. His neighbors don't have any ugly pie, but they do have wrinkled red raisins, sour green apples, and bumpy brown walnuts. Ol' Bear takes these ingredients home and makes his own ugly pie. The only thing he is missing now is company. He invites all of his friends over to eat some of his ugly pie. There is actually a recipe at the end of the book for Ugly Pie, look interesting! EL(K-3) - OPTIONAL. Anna M - teacher.

The Goose Man The Story of Konrad Lorenz by Elaine Greenstein

Greenstein, Elaine The Goose Man The Story of Konrad Lorenz 32 pgs. Clarion Books, 2010. $16.00. PICTURE BOOK. Konrad Lorenz was supposed to be a doctor, instead he chose to study geese. As a boy he liked to play with the geese and imitated their behavior. When he grew up, he began to study them formally. He learned their behavior patterns and had 1 goose that he named Martina that followed him around like a pet. Many thought that Konrad's behavior was odd, but many years later he actually won the Nobel Prize in 1973 for his research. EL - ADVISABLE. Anna M - teacher.

Chavela and the Magic Bubble by Monica Brown - OPTIONAL

Brown, Monica Chavela and the Magic Bubble Illustrated by Magaly Morales 32pgs. Clarion Books, 2010. $16.00. PICTURE BOOK.

Chavela loves to chew gum. She can blow bubbles inside of bubbles and can even make animal shapes out of her bubbles. She abuelita recognizes that she is talented and buys her magic gum from the store. Once Chavela begins to chew it, she floats off into the air. She flew over forests and lands next to a sapodilla tree where she meets some children also chewing the magic gum. Chavela doesn't think she can get home, until the tree drops some sap, and she is able to chew it and float home.

This is an interesting story about how gum is made.

EL- OPTIONAL. Anna M - teacher.

Don't Call me Pruneface! by Janet Reed Ahearn

Ahearn, Reed Janet Don't Call Me Pruneface! Illustrated by Drazen Jozjan 32 pgs. Hyperion Books, 2010. $16.99. PICTURE BOOK. Paul is a good kid, at least he thought so until his new neighbor moved in next door. She walked her cat on a leash, and Paul thought she was crazy. He tried to be nice to her, but in return she began to call him Pill, and addressed his dog as Oops instead of Bobo. Paul tries to be patient, but she is so mean to him he eventually coins the nickname, "Pruneface" for her. He decides that he needs to confront her, and when he finally does, he realizes that they are not so different at all. EL- OPTIONAL. Anna M - teacher.

Odetta the Queen of Folk by Stephen Alcorn

Alcorn, Stephen Odetta the Queen of Folk 40 pgs. Scholastic Press 2010. $17.99. PICTURE BOOK. This story about Odetta, a famous black folk singer from the 1960's is told beautifully. The story is written in rhymes and there are play on words. The story describes Odetta's life as a child, and how she grew up in "Burning Ham." She thought Jim Crow was a person, and later learned they were just laws. After she moved to Los Angeles, she learned how to play the piano and then realized that she could sing as well. She goes on to become a famous singer that sings about the swamps, cotton fields, and Mr. Jim Crow. One of her most famous songs in Gonna Let it Shine. The artwork is great and this provides a good way to get some basic background knowledge on our history during this time period. EL- ESSENTIAL. Anna M - teacher.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Where Is Friendship Bear? by Romero Britto

Britto, Romero. Where Is Friendship Bear? Simon and Schuster, 2010. $12.99. PICTURE BOOK. Help Love Bear find Friendship Bear by lifting the flaps. Love Bear meets several other bears that have touch-and-feel textures, but gets discouraged that he can’t find Friendship Bear. Luckily, Friendship Bear is hiding behind his paws and all the bears can play. The text rhymes, but the meter is inconsistent and the story rather banal. The illustrations are busy and bright with many different distracting patterns and textures; however, small hands will enjoy opening the flaps and feeling the textures. Pre-K – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

A Busy Day in Busytown by Natalie Shaw

Shaw, Natalie. A Busy Day in Busytown. Simon and Schuster, 2010. $5.99. BOARD BOOK. Huckle Cat and Sally Cat wonder why Busytown is so busy today. They start their investigation by asking people who were in a traffic jam; Mr. Mouse was going to a movie, Hilda hippo was buying plants, Mr. Frumble was on his way to post a letter, Pig Will and Pig Won’t wanted candy, and Banana Gorilla was just going bananas from the traffic. Huckle Cat and Sally Cat come to the conclusion that Busytown is just a busy place. Luckily Lowly Worm invites them to relax at the park. The fun cartoon illustrations are from the TV series Busytown Mysteries, which is created from Richard Scarry’s characters. The text on each page is a little lengthy for the ages of the audience, but the animal illustrations and fruit-like cars are sure to catch their attention. Pre-K – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri

Tafuri, Nancy. The Busy Little Squirrel. Simon and Schuster, 2010. $7.99. BOARD BOOK. Reprint. Fall is here and the busy squirrel must prepare for winter. He can’t eat pumpkin with the mice or even rest in the tree with birds to be nice. He can’t hop rocks with the frogs or run in the field with the dogs. He’s just too busy preparing for winter. Each colorful illustration conveys movement, artistically showing the busy squirrel’s rush to stock up. A simple story with short text on each page that would work well read aloud. Pre-K – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Kai-lan's Book of Words by Ellie Seiss

Seiss, Ellie. Kai-lan’s Book of Words. Simon and Schuster, 2010. $7.99. BOARD BOOK. Learn how to say Kai-lan’s favorite words in Chinese, including: greetings, colors, numbers, foods, clothes, and toys. This interactive book has both the English word and the Chinese word. Children can pull down the page, spin the tab, or lift the flap to see the Chinese word. The cartoon illustrations are bright and appealing, but the cleverly placed flaps and overall interactive nature of the book is what will draw small readers in. Pre-K – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

A Present for Kai-lan by Ellie Seiss

Seiss, Ellie. A Present for Kai-lan. Simon and Schuster, 2010. $5.99. BOARD BOOK. It is Kai-lan’s birthday and her friends: Hoho, Lulu, Rintoo, and Tolee decide to give her a special present. They put in a box all the things she loves: flowers, balloons, and dinosaurs. But before they can give it to her, Tolee ruins the present. Kai-lan and her friends clean it up and she explains that friends are the best present. The thick “chock-a-block” pages are fun and easy to turn for small fingers. The cartoon illustrations are bright and the characters familiar. Pre-K – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Trickster’s Girl by Hilari Bell - OPTIONAL

Bell, Hilari Trickster’s Girl, 288 p. Houghton, 2011.  $16.00.  

Language: PG (12 swears, 0 “F”); Other Content: G.  

Kelsa is still mourning her father’s death from cancer.  When she honors him with a private burial, she is suddenly swept up by a mysterious figure who calls himself Raven and joins him on a supernatural quest to restore balance to nature – because what humans have destroyed, humans must restore.  Kelsa doesn’t know, however, that it is just her and Raven against all of the other nature beings and a large host of hostile bikers.  Kelsa will have to think quickly and take huge risks in order to preserve herself and fulfill the quest.  

The ecological bent of this novel is very evident (obvious), but the action and danger almost make up for it.  This is much shorter than most of Bell’s novels and while the character is a teen, it really reads better for elementary.  I would suggest T.A. Barron, or Bell’s other books for older students who want something similar.  

EL, MS – OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher.

Mamba Point by Kurtis Scaletta

Scaletta, Kurtis  Mamba Point, 271 p. Knopf, 2010.  $16.99. Content: PG (Teenage parties, drinking alcohol, and smoking without parental knowledge).  G (15 swears), Violence - Snake Violence.  Linus Tuttle, a regular American kid, moves to Liberia, Africa, and after a few days he starts to see black mamba snakes.  He befriends the snakes, and forgets that they are wild animals.  Linus is a nice kid, and tries to help other people.  Linus has trouble getting along with his brother Larry "Law" who makes bad decisions.  I liked how Linus is able to see the good in things that are often scary to other people.  I didn't like his brother "Law" because he left his family, and did what he was taught not to do.  MS- ESSENTIAL.  Student Reviewer: AS

The Wonder of Charlie Anne by Kimberly Newton Fusco

Fusco, Kimberly Newton  The Wonder of Charlie Anne, 264 p. Knopf, 2010.  $16.99.  Content: G (No swearing or profanity, some bullying, violence- rock throwing, arguments, and pushing.)  Charlie Anne a small girl in the 1930's has lost her mom, and her dad has gone to build roads. While their dad is away aunt Mirabel takes over. She tries to turn Charlie into a real lady, while Charlie becomes friends with a black girl named Phoebe. I loved how Kimberly describes the world through Charlie Anne's eyes. I can't think of anything I didn't like about the book. EL, MS -ESSENTIAL.  Student Reviewer: AS 

The Last Full Measure by Ann Rinaldi

Rinaldi, Ann The Last Full Measure, 224 p. Harcourt (Houghton), 2010. $17.  Language: PG (15 swears, 0 “F”), Violence – PG (war, soldier violence).  Tacy, 14, is the only girl at her family’s Gettysburg home.  And while her father and other brothers are fighting for the Union, her older brother David, who has an injury, is forced to keep Tacy in line.  But Tacy has other ideas and when the Civil War approaches her village and her very home, she will do what she sees fit to help the efforts, even if it strains relations with David to the breaking point.  Instead of putting us on the Gettysburg battlefield with a soldier, Rinaldi shows us that war through the eyes of civilians, doing it in that skillful way that almost reaches the brilliance of her earlier novels – all it lacks is breadth to go with the depth.  While the book is short, it is a crucial piece of historic fiction that boys and girls should enjoy.  EL, MS – ADVISABLE.  Cindy, Library Teacher

The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn

Hahn, Mary Downing The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall, 160 p. Houghton, 2010.  $17.00.  Content: G (scary, but not violent).  Orphaned Florence has been sent to Crutchfield Hall to live with her aunt, uncle and her invalid cousin James.  She quickly finds out about her dead cousin Sophia, James’ sister, who tragically died not even a year earlier.  Sophia’s jealous nature, however, has no plans to stay dead.  She would be more than happy to have James or Florence take her place in the after life.  As Sophia builds her powers, Florence and James must joins forces to thwart her evil intentions.  Hahn has a skillful word with the ghost novel.  Her venture into the past does no harm to the creepiness of her tale.  EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Wildthorn by Jane Eagland

Eagland, Jane Wildthorn, 352 p. Houghton, 2010.  $16.  Mature Content: PG-13; Language: G (3 swears, 0 “F”).  Louisa Cosgrove? Lucy Childs? Who is the girl who has been brought to Wildthorn Hall?  She is sure that she is Louisa Cosgrove, the cosseted daughter of a recently deceased physician in turn of the century England.  But her keepers tell her she is not – and that her insistence is just a manifestation of her illness.  Try as she might, Louisa can see no way out of her predicament, and her machinations just pull her further and further down a path towards cruelty and madness.  Who could hate her enough to put Louisa in this place?  And who will help her escape?  Almost like a gothic romance, Eagland weaves a story based on the ways women were treated in the late 1800’s.  And especially the methods used in places that pretended to treat mental illness.  I would only recommend this for older readers, however, because Louisa discovers the love of a woman, and in the epilogue it becomes steamy on-page.  HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Split by Swati Avasthi

Avasthi, Swati  Split, 240 p.  KNOPF, 2010. 240 pgs. Language-R (50+ swears, 12 'f'); Sexual Content-Pg 13; Violence-Pg 13; Jace, kicked out of his home by an abusive father escapes to his brothers house. Can they get his mother to come to? I really liked this book. I usually don't read books with very strong language but I really wanted to get to the end. I couldn't stop turning the pages. HS - OPTIONAL Student Reviewer-CRH

How I Made it to Eighteen by Trace White

White, Trace  How I Made it to Eighteen, 149 p.   Roaring Brook, 2010.  Language-Pg 13 (23 swears, 5 'f'); Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; Stacy Black is in a hospital. Can she cope with her own self? I guess this book was OK. The art work wasn't very good and the storyline kind of picked up in the middle of a story and dropped off before the story was over. You don't really get to know how it ends. That and I didn't really see where the story line was supposed to be going. No rising action. MS, HS - OPTIONAL Student Reviewer-CRH

Bullet Point by Peter Abrahams

Abrahams, Peter  Bullet Point  Harper Teen, 2010. 304 pgs. Language-R (50+ swears, 22 'f'); Sexual Content- Pg 13; Violence-Pg; Wyatt never really thought much about his dad, a lifer in prison. But when Wyatt meets a crazy-hot girl named Greer with a criminal dad of her own, a criminal dad who is in jail with Wyatt's dad. After a few visits to his dad Wyatt is sure he is innocent. I liked this book. It wasn't my favorite but it was good. It was very languagey. I liked how the suspense was kept up to the last few pages. Very well written. HS - OPTIONAL Student Reviewer-CRH

Roll Up the Streets by John Bladek - ADVISABLE

Bladek, John Roll Up the Streets 213 pgs. Kane Miller, 2010. $15.99.  

LANGUAGE – PG; Sexual Content – G; Violence – PG (Brief skirmishes).  

Jake Matchet moves to a new town, and stumbles across a mystery.  Along with his new friend, Sammie, Jake seeks to find the source behind the puzzling smell permeating throughout the town, the citizens’ obsession with corndogs, and what the “Golden Idol” really is.  

This is a fun book that, although a bit unbelievable, it is witty enough to keep readers entertained.  I especially like the use of funny footnotes and Jake’s many sarcastic comments (although they may cause confusion for younger reader who may not pick up on it).  

MS – ADVISABLE Reviewer: Margaret Winn, Middle School Teacher