Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst

Durst, Sarah Beth. Enchanted Ivy, 310 pgs. Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster), 2010. $16.99. Sexual Content-G; Language-G (1 swear); Violence-PG. It is love at first sight when Lily Carter first sees Princeton University. She thought she was only accompanying her grandfather to his college reunion, but is surprised to learn that she is there for a Legacy admissions test. It’s not the typical test; the Vineyard Club wants her to locate the Ivy Key. To help her are two very different young men. One has tiger-striped hair and mysteriously appears and disappears. The other is handsome, blond, and the grandson of the Vineyard Club president. As Lily pieces together clues, she begins to realize that things aren’t what they seem. Statues are talking and she is attacked by a monkey-like creature. She learns that there are two parallel Princeton’s, one human and one magical, and the Ivy Key is needed to travel between the two worlds. She also learns that relations between the two worlds are in jeopardy as magical creatures called feeders are attacking people and that the Vineyard Club is draining magical creatures of their magic. This exciting, magical adventure, with a little romance, is sure to appeal to teens whether or not they are applying for college—yet. MS/HS – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gigi in the Big City by Charise Mericle Harper

Gigi in the Big CityHarper, Charise Mericle Gigi in the Big City. Robin Corey Books, 2010. $12.99.  PICTURE BOOK.  This lift-the-flap book tells about Gigi who goes in to the city and explores.  She sees buildings, goes into stores and shops, visits museums, talks to people, and gets a makeover.  In each of these activities, Gigi learns interesting information about all sorts of things--from types of books to different birth stones to phases in art history to types of professions.Her day is jam-packed and that makes it so the reader can learn a lot too.  Harper's book is full of flaps to lift and wheels to turns and levers to lift.  That way, the reader has variety from page to page.  The illustrations are excellent, and what is so good about this book is the huge audience that will enjoy it.  The youngest of readers will like looking at the pictures, lifting the flaps, and turning the wheels.  But the oldest readers will actually be able to spend a long time on each page and read and learn a lot.  It is a book that many girls will enjoy and parents and teachers can know that it is educational too.  Pre-K, EL (K-3), EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Brent Smith, Reading Teacher.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How the Pops Stole Christmas by Nancy Krulik

How The Pops Stole Christmas (How I Survived Middle School Super Speci)Krulik, Nancy, How the Pops Stole Christmas, Scholastic Press, 2009. Pgs. 173. Language: G, Violence: G, Sexual Content: G

Christmas is just around the corner and life at Joyce Kilmer Middle School is bustling with holiday spirit and parties. The popular girls, however, are up to mischief and cruelty as usual. Things get worse, however. Jenny draws Dana, the worst of the popular girls’ names, as her Secret Santa and has know idea to what to get someone who’s heart is made of stone. The worst blow, however, comes when she doesn’t receive an invitation to her friend, Marc’s New Year’s Eve party and everyone else she knows does. What will Jenny get Dana for Christmas? Why didn’t Marc invite her to her party? How will Jenny get her Christmas and New Year’s back on track?

A cute book for reluctant readers who like realistic fiction. The characters aren’t well-developed, but are likable. Although the story lags in parts, it holds the reader’s interest for the most part. Readers who like Christmas fiction, friendship stories, Candy Apple books, and school stories will probably enjoy reading this book. EL(4-6) OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library

Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

The MockingbirdsWhitney, Daisy, The Mockingbirds, Little, Brown and Company, 2010. Pgs. 332. Language: PG-13 (15 swears, 2 “f”s), Violence: PG-13 Sexual Content: R

Alex Patrick is a student at Themis Academy, a prestigious boarding school that’s administrative discipline is mild to non-existent. When Alex wakes up one morning naked in a unknown guy’s bed with no recollection of how she got there, her further investigation makes her believe she was date-raped. When the boy starts spreading rumors of their sexual activity that night, Alex becomes afraid to eat in the cafeteria, avoids the guy in the halls, struggles to remember what happened that night, and watches as her life at Themis starts to become unbearable. When her friend, T.S. and her sister, Casey convince her to turn to the Mockingbirds, a clandestine student organization bent on seeing justice service, for help, Alex has mixed feelings about confronting the boy about that night. Will Alex find the courage to stand up for what’s right and get her life back in order?

An excellent story that teaches an important lesson. The characters are well-developed. The plot is engaging and holds the reader’s attention. There are, however, a lot of mature themes and content in this book. As Alex’s forgotten night and the description of her date-rape become more vivid and her school situation becomes more uncomfortable, the content becomes less and less appropriate for younger readers. High school students who like realistic fiction, inspirational stories, and Laurie Halse Anderson books will, however, enjoy reading this book. HS. OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Jessica M, Library Media Specialist, Olympus Jr. High.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Donnelly, Jennifer Revolution 472 pgs. Delacorte Books for Young Readers Language~PG-13, Sexual Content~PG; Violence~PG-13

I could not write a more powerful or true review than the starred review by  The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. I have included that review below. 

However, I must share how much these characters affected me.  I haven't cared for or been so involved in a storyline for a long time.  Jennifer Donnelly has skillfully woven a story of grief, pain, loss, and most of all love.  I cannot express how deeply I enjoyed this story.  I listened to the audio performance and was astounded.  It was truly a performance of the highest degree.  If at all possible I would recommend that you purchase an audio copy of this title.

There is one "f" swear but other than that the language is pretty tame.  There is some alcohol use, after all they are in France for much of the story.

"Andi’s depression over her younger brother Truman’s death is deepening with time rather than waning, barely held in check by strong antidepressants and relieved only when she plays guitar until her fingers bleed. When her estranged, Nobel prize–winning father returns to find the family in shambles, he quickly dispatches her mother to a psychiatric hospital and insists that Andi accompany him to Paris over winter break, where he will be genetically testing a heart believed to belong to Louis-Charles, the boy dauphin imprisoned and abused until his early death following the French Revolution. While in Paris, Andi finds the diary of Alexandrine Paradis, the dauphin’s companion, hidden in an eighteenth-century guitar case. As Andi reads Alex’s first-hand account of the revolution, she identifies with Alex’s love for Louis-Charles and her guilt about the role she inadvertently played in the fate of the doomed prince; their relationship becomes inextricably woven into Andi’s grief narrative to the point where she enters into their world to complete Alex’s quest to reach out to the lost boy, a quest that facilitates her own grief work over Truman. Every detail is meticulously inscribed into a multi-layered narrative that is as wise, honest, and moving as it is cunningly worked. Andi and Alex are flawed artists, creatures of their time but also timeless in their self-absorption and aching need for forgiveness and redemption. The interplay between the contemporary and the historical is seamless in both plot and theme, and the storytelling grips hard and doesn’t let go. Readers fascinated with French history, the power of music, and/or contemporary realist fiction will find this brilliantly crafted work utterly absorbing. "

Upper Middle/High School ESSENTIAL(I can't say this strongly enough) Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dinosaur vs. the Potty by Bob Shea

Dinosaur vs. the PottyShea, Bob Dinosaur vs. the Potty. Hyperion Books for Children, 2010. $15.99.  PICTURE BOOK.  This book tells about "competitions" between a young dinosaur and the potty.  These competitions include making lemonade, splashing in the sprinkler, and drinking three juice boxes...all against the potty.  In other words, the dinosaur has to decide whether or not he will go to the bathroom after doing each of these activities.  Shea's book seems like it is trying to be clever, but it never really achieves its goal.  The whole idea of battling the potty is fun, but the execution of the story gives the book a rushed feeling to it.  The illustrations are busy and difficult to follow.  However, some people might enjoy the book because anything that will help toddler go to the bathroom is definitely good.  Pre-K, EL (K-3) – OPTIONAL. Brent Smith, Reading Teacher.

Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga

Goth Girl RisingLyga, Barry, Goth Girl Rising, Houghton Miffllin, 2009. Pgs. 389. Language: R (66+ swears, no “f”s), Sexual Content: PG-13, Violence: PG-13

After her mother died, Kyra Sellers and her father drifted apart. Seeming to blame herself or her father subconsciously for her mother’s cancer death, a dysfunctional family going from bad to worse causes Kyra to become suicidal. When her boyfriend, Fanboy, rats on her to her father about her cutting and possession of gun with a bullet, Kyra found herself in a hospital for crazy people in Maryland for six months.  Now she’s back, her father is being Mr. Dictator, and she wants to make Fanboy hurt for what he did. Getting back to life at school, however, is not easy. Her boyfriend has transcended their dark lifestyle and Kyra barely recognizes him. The principal and teachers say they’re trying to be helpful, but are only making her life worse. Can Kyra find her sense of normalcy? Will Kyra transcend her problems and stay with Fanboy or spiral herself into self-destruction?
A lot of swearing. No real character or plot development.  The audience appeal for this book is pretty small. Would probably not recommend for most schools. HS. NO. Jessica Moody, Library Media Specialist, Olympus Jr. High

Friday, December 17, 2010

National Geographic Wild Animal Atlas: Earth's Astonishing Animals and Where They Live

Nat Geo Wild Animal Atlas: Earth's Astonishing Animals and Where They Live, 64 pgs. National Geographic, 2010. $18.95. NONFICTION. This excellently crafted atlas is of only a few select animals from each continent of the world. The book begins with an overview map of the world with pictures of where the animals live and a short introduction on ecosystems. The book is split into sections per continent that are color coded. Each continent section has a map of the continent and brief introductory information about the content; i.e. size, ecosystems, climates, pictures of animals, brief information about the animals, and a spotlight on one animal. The spotlight includes facts about the animal’s habitat, lifespan, size, and diet. Throughout the atlas there are “Animal Bites,” interesting tidbits about specific species; for example, golden poison dart frogs have enough toxins in their skin to kill 20 people (page 23). The pictures are stunning and the content is interesting and pithy. EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rocky Road by Rose Kent - ESSENTIAL

Kent, Rose Rocky Road, 295 p. Knopf (Random), 2010.  $16.99.  Content: G.  

Tess and Jordan have been dragged from warm, sunny Texas to cold and snowy Schenectady, New York for a new life, so Mom says.  Her bright idea?  Spend the absolute last of their money purchasing and then fixing up an old ice cream shop.  In Winter?  In upstate New York?  But crazy is just par for the course for Tess – who is always keeping an eye on her deaf, little brother, because Mom rides a roller coaster of Shooting Stars – as Tess calls her mother’s undiagnosed bipolar disease.  A loving community will have to all hang together to save this little family from disaster.  

I thoroughly loved Kent’s look at another young person who is being the adult in a family piloted by a mentally ill parent.  There are many rich novels of this sort this year and this is one of my favorites.  

EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds

Hinds, Gareth The Odyssey: A graphic novel based on Homer’s epic poem.  249 p. Candlewick, 2010.  $14.99.  Content: PG (betrayal, lust, violence, in ancient times).  When I first glanced at the graphic novel, I was put off by how rustic and rough the graphics were.  When I got to ready the text however, I became immersed in the story and enjoyed the graphics just as a supplement to the tale.  Hinds has a magic way with words that makes the story so much more understandable.  Now I need to go back and read the real thing with my new found understanding.  Unfortunately theis first edition is in paperback.  I hope someone offers it in a re-bound form that will be able to hold up better.  MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Fantasy: An Artist’s Realm by Ben Boos

Boos, Ben Fantasy: An Artist’s Realm, 84 p. I don’t know if Ben Boos saw many of Brian Froud’s illustrations growing up, but he had to have been influenced by this great illustrator.  What Boos has done, however, has created something that looks like a workbook for a bored, talented teen who has spent many hours creating their own fantasy world with in the pages of a notebook while daydreaming during class.  The illustrations are backed up with explanations and purposes.  Now Boos needs an author to write some short stories or a novel to complement his world-building.  I already have a student who has spent some time on my office floor to read this, while he waits for me to finally put it in the library to checkout.  MS, HS – OPTIONAL.  GIFT. Cindy, Library Teacher

Pies & Prejudice by Heather Vogel Frederick

Frederick, Heather Vogel Pies & Prejudice, 371 p. Simon & Schuster, 2010.  $15.99.  Content: G.  The girls and their mothers are back again – this time reading Jane Austen’s beloved work Pride and Prejudice.  But things are strained – Emma’s family is moving to England for a year and they are trading homes with an English family that only has two, albeit handsome, boys.  Cassie is challenged by Tristan the oldest who is an ice dancer and needs a practice partner for the year.  Emma is unsure about being away from Spencer for a year, just as their romance is really starting to blossom.  Megan is whipping up trouble on the internet – sure to cause lots of hurt feelings and misunderstandings.  What I find interesting is that Becca doesn’t have one chapter that is hers.  I can’t remember if this is true of the other books also, but I did find it kind of curious.  I had a great time being with the girls again.  Do I dare hope that we will hear about another year of book club?  After all, they haven’t graduated from high school yet!  EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bron by Jonah Winter

Winter, Jonah Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx, illustrated by Edel Rodriguez.  Athenum (Simon),  2010.  $16.99.  BILINGUAL PICTURE BOOK.  Little girls, Latina girls, strong girls of any race should read the story of our newest Supremem Court justice and understand that anyone really can do what they want in this world if they have the guts to carve their path with lots of hard work.  Winter tells the judge’s story simply but in an engaging manner.  EL – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Stork by Wendy Delsol

Delsol, Wendy Stork, 357 p. Candlewick, 2010.  $15.99.  Language: G (3 swears, 0 “F”).  Mature Content:  PG (some drinking, kissing).  Bad enough that Katla has been forcibly moved from hip LA to backwards Minnesota, but now a weird inheritance has her taking her place as the newest, youngest member of a group of woman who serve as storks – yes, storks – deciding who does or doesn’t receive little spirits who needed guidance to choose their mother.  Add in a handsome young man whom seems to hate Katla before he even meets her, a kind of hostile school social scene (don’t get drunk and makeout with someone else’s boyfriend), secrets everyone is keeping from Katla and Katla has many reasons to hate Minnesota and her new destiny.  Weird?  Kind of, but Desol weaves her story masterfully, so that I never felt that I was reading something really off the wall.  Instead I was engaged and intrigued and happy with the whole tale – lots of danger and challenges, too.  MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Summer’s Bloodiest Days by Jennifer L. Weber

Weber, Jennifer L. Summer’s Bloodiest Days: The Battle of Gettysburg as Told From All Sides, 59 p. National Geographic, 2010.  $17.95.  Using historic accounts from Union and Rebel soldiers, townspeople, outsiders and government figures, Weber paints a vivid, but easily understood, portrait of the days of Gettysburg.  Accompanied by maps, photos, and gorgeous paintings by Don Troiani (look him up), this book is useful for many ages of students and extremely helpful for teachers needing resources.  EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Elephants by Laura Marsh

Marsh, Laura Elephants, 47 p. National Geographic, 2010.  $3.99.  EARLY READER (Level 3).  Learn all about elephants in this fact-filled, bright and photo-packed little book.  There is enough information here for any elementary level report and plenty of detail for any elephant-crazy kid.  It is only available in paperback, but the price is right for lots of replacement copies. EL (K-3) – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Great Migrations by Elizabeth Carney

Carney, Elizabeth. Great Migrations: Whales, Wildebeests, Butterflies, Elephants, and Other Amazing Animals on the Move, 45 pgs. National Geographic, 2010. $17.95. NONFICTION. This book is based on the National Geographic television event and includes an array of stunning photographs. Author Elizabeth Carney gives a brief introduction about migrations and of the making of the television event. Each animal is given a two-page picture spread followed by interesting facts, corresponding maps, numbers, the amount of travel, why each species migrates, and the dangers each species faces. For example, army ants travel about 6 miles each year (page 34). This book makes learning about migration assessable to younger readers and entertaining. EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

First Big Book of Animals by Catherine D. Hughes

Hughes, Catherine D. First Big Book of Animals, 128 pgs. National Geographic, 2010. $14.95. NONFICTION. This book is an introduction to animals created for “little kids” using fantastic photographs and fun facts that the children can relate to. The lay-out includes small paragraphs of information next to corresponding pictures, small word bubbles of interesting tidbits, and facts. The “facts” for each animal include: kind of animal, home, size, food, sounds, and babies (how many are born at a time). The “size” facts can include weight or height in comparison to things children can relate to. For example, Harp Seals weight about the same amount as a NFL player (p. 107). While the size relations are fun, the exact pounds or inches should have also been included. The book also includes two pages of tips for parents to “extend [their] child’s experience” which include a variety of activities. A color-coordinated animal map of the world shows kids where each animal calls home. A glossary and index are also included at the end to clarify terms and help kids and parents find exact pages. Both children and adults will be drawn to this beautifully put together book and the fascinating information inside. EL – Essential. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Winter Wonderland by Jill Esbaum

Esbaum, Jill. Winter Wonderland, 16 pgs. National Geographic, 2010. $5.95. Nonfiction. A part of the National Geographic’s Picture the Seasons, this book combines bright and appealing photographs with simple text about the season. The book explains about the weather, shorter days, and of course the holidays. The page lay-outs are all different and the text size and color changes and are visually interesting. The short length and minimal text make this book a good choice for a nonfiction storytime title. EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

My Little Pink Princess Purse by Stephen T. Johnson

My Little Pink Princess PurseJohnson, Stephen T. My Little Pink Princess Purse. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010. $19.99.  PICTURE BOOK.  Before this book even begins, it contains an invitation for the reader to attend the "Royal Springtime Ball".  Then, the remainder of the book has various items that a princess would need to bring to the "Royal Springtime Ball".  The reader can remove each of the items and place it in a purse, jewelry box, or container, etc.  The last two pages contain a letter from the reader's fairy godmother, a key, and a mirror that pops out of the page.  Also, each page reviews shapes and colors to help the reader learn too.  This book is, without a doubt, a jewel of a book because its charm is in the little sunglasses, perfume bottles, rings, and even the tiara that the reader can pull out of the one page and put it in the adjacent page.  Every girl who reads it will feel like a princess, and the different tasks to do can keep a girl occupied for hours and imagining for days.  It is the perfect gift for any young toddler-aged girl.  The book does contain small parts, and really young readers might ruin the book and/or choke.  Pre-K, EL (K-3), EL – ADVISABLE. Brent Smith, Reading Teacher.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Jack's Path of Courage: The Life of John F. Kennedy by Doreen Rappaport

Jack's Path of Courage: The Life of John F. KennedyRappaport, Doreen Jack’s Path of Courage: The Life of John F. Kennedy, illustrated by Matt Tavares. Hyperion Books for Children, 2010. $17.99.  PICTURE BOOK.  Telling the story of John F. Kennedy’s life, this book helps readers know a little about Kennedy’s family life, military accomplishments, and achievements earned through writing.  The text is easy for readers of all abilities, but it provides sufficient information to help people learn the highlights of our thirty-fifth president’s life.  While younger readers might not care about learning about John F. Kennedy, some older readers could really enjoy reading this book.  Plus, the illustrations are very accurate; a reader actually thinks that she is looking at a photograph.  EL, MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Brent Smith, Reading Teacher.

We Are In a Book! by Mo Willems

We Are in a Book! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)Willems, Mo We Are In a Book!. Hyperion Books for Children, 2010. $8.99.  PICTURE BOOK.  This is one of many “Elephant and Piggie” books written by Mo Willems. In this book, Elephant and Piggie realize that someone is looking at them.  Once they understand that the person looking at them is the reader, they begin to have fun with him/her.  We Are In a Book! is delightful, fun to read, and the illustrations are both simple and interesting to look at.  The words on each page are easy to read, thus allowing an early reader to be successful.  Adults reading the book to nonreaders will also find themselves laughing out loud.  This is a wonderful read.  PreK, EL(K-3), EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Brent Smith, Reading Teacher.

Penny Loves Pink by Cori Doerrfeld

Penny Loves PinkDoerrfeld, Cori Penny Loves Pink. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2011. $15.99.  PICTURE BOOK.  This book tells the story of Penny, who loves pink.  She loves pink anything, but she is not happy when something not pink comes into her life.  It is a story of learning to love things different.  This book is perfect for young, preschool-aged girls.  Doerrfeld’s illustrations are vibrant and cute.  The pink that abounds would delight most young toddler girls. The book also allows for a discussion with older readers about accepting other people's differences.  PreK, EL(K-3) – ADVISABLE. Brent Smith, Reading Teacher.

Trucktown: Garage Tales by John Scieszka

Garage Tales (Jon Scieszka's Trucktown)Scieszka, John Trucktown: Garage Tales, Illustrated by David Shannon, Loren Long, David Gordon. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2008. $12.99.  PICTURE BOOK. 

This book tells three short stories.  In “Uh-Oh, Max” Monster Truck Max jumps off a ramp and lands upside down; it is an ordeal to flip him back over.  In “Pete’s Party” Gabriella Garbage Truck and Jack Truck drive to Payloader Pete’s party; it takes them a while to arrive.  Finally, in “Dizzy Izzy” Izzy Ice Cream Truck tries to get dizzy, but it’s not as easy as one might think. 

While Scieszka’s Trucktown books are not nearly as fun to read as some of his other titles, they still offer some delights.  Garage Tales is no different.  The stories do end with ironic twists and they have fun silliness that parents and children both will at least smile at.  Also, there is the usual wordplay in this book that is common in all Scieszka books, and the illustrations are great.

PreK, EL(K-3), EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Brent Smith, Reading Teacher.

The Tortoise or the Hare by Toni and Slade Morrison

The Tortoise or the HareMorrison, Toni & Slade Morrison The Tortoise or the Hare, Illustrated by Joe Cepeda. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010. $16.99.  PICTURE BOOK. This book is a retelling of the classic Tortoise and the Hare story.  However, in this book, the hare is so fast no one wants to be around him and the tortoise is so smart no one wants to be around him.  I loved the set up of this book.  It had style and flare.  I thought it had a fresh and creative way of telling this old story.  I was looking forward to the ending, to see what happened.  Unfortunately, I was left disappointed.  Still, some might be willing to overlook the poor ending because the rest of the book is quite enjoyable.  The book does offer the possibility for a discussion of whether or not winning is most important in competitions.  PreK, EL (K-3), EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Brent Smith, Reading Teacher.

Clackers: Duck by Luana Rinaldo

Clackers: DuckRinaldo, Luana Clackers: Duck. Robin Corey Books, 2008. $5.99. PICTURE BOARD BOOK. This book tells a brief story about Duck dives with Fish, plays with Frog, swims with Turtle, has lunch with Goose, and splashes with the other ducks.  The book is quick and has bright illustrations, making it perfect for a young audience.  The book's best feature, however, is the hole attached to the book's binding.  The hole allows young infants and even toddlers to hold onto the book and flap the pages of the book (hence the name "Clackers").  Young readers would enjoy these books.  PreK - ADVISABLE.

Counting Chickens by Harriet Ziefert

Counting ChickensZiefert, Harriet Counting Chickens, Illustrated by Flensted Mobiles. Blue Apple Books, 2010. $16.99.  PICTURE BOOK.  This book uses illustrations based on mobiles created by Flensted Mobiles, a company in Denmark.  The book has various animals and shapes attached to drawn wires, like a mobile would.  The text asks questions, having the reader count, add, and even subtract.  While readers do get the opportunity to practice counting, the youngest of readers might be confused by some illustrations and for sure the “Extra Credit” questions, which require much higher-level thinking. Thus, this book can be a useful learning tool, but it also requires much adult help for early learners.  PreK, EL(K-3) – OPTIONAL. Brent Smith, Reading Teacher.

Clackers: Bunny by Luana Rinaldo

Clackers: BunnyRinaldo, Luana Clackers: Bunny. Robin Corey Books, 2008. $5.99. PICTURE BOARD BOOK. This book tells a brief story about Bunny, who loves to bounce.  Bunny bounces near fish, birds, hens, lambs, and other sleeping bunnies.  The book is quick and has bright illustrations, making it perfect for a young audience.  The book's best feature, however, is the hole attached to the book's binding.  The hole allows young infants and even toddlers to hold onto the book and flap the pages of the book (hence the name "Clackers").  Young readers would enjoy these books.  PreK - ADVISABLE.

Potty by Leslie Patricelli

Potty (Leslie Patricelli board books)Patricelli, Leslie Potty. Candlewick Press, 2010. $6.99.  PICTURE BOARD BOOK. When the baby in this book has to go to the bathroom, the baby must decide whether or not to go in the diaper.  Once the baby decides not to go in the diaper, then the question of where to go remains.  After learning from the cat and dog, the baby realizes the potty is the best place to go to the bathroom.  This book has some positive features to it.  Perhaps one of the best aspects of it is the fact that the baby is not gender specific so that both boy and girl potty-trainers could relate to it.  The sentences and pictures are simple enough to move quickly through the book and read it several times, thus reinforcing over and over the need to use the potty. PreK - OPTIONAL. Brent Smith, Reading Teacher.

Winnie’s Midnight Dragon by Valerie Thomas

Thomas, Valerie and Korky Paul Winnie’s Midnight Dragon
. Harper Collins Publishers, 2006. $16.99.  PICTURE BOOK.  This book tells a story of Winnie the witch, who goes to bed at midnight (because that is always when witches go to bed).  However, shortly after Winnie goes to bed, a baby dragon shows up inside Winnie’s house.  The story tells of how the witch gets the dragon out of the house and helps it find its mother (getting the dragon out of the house is anything but easy). The illustrations are annoying to look at, and the story itself is too weird and pointless. This book has few redeeming qualities to it.  EL, MS – NO. Brent Smith, Reading Teacher.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Monster Trucks by Susan E. Goodman

Goodman, Susan E. and Michael J. Doolittle Monster Trucks, 47 p. Random House, 2010.  $3.99.  EARLY READER (Step 3).  Be careful librarians – you will have a bunch of car-crazy kids on your hands if you buy this book.  From the very first monster truck to the races of today, this little book covers the history with lots of photographs and information at a level young readers can peruse for themselves.  EL (K-3) – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Wild Oceans by Lucio Santoro

Santoro, Lucio and Meera Wild Oceans.  POP-UP BOOK.  Little Simon, 2010.  $27.99.  

More than a pop-up book, the Santoro’s have filled their book with lots of well-drawn illustrations and accurate, interesting information.  Kids will be fascinated by the scary, wonderful pop-ups, but they will also learn a lot about the ocean and its creatures along the way.  I don’t know where your library stands on pop-ups, but if you buy them, this is a great one! 

EL, PARENTS, GIFT – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Beauty and the Beast by Robert Sabuda

Sabuda, Robert Beauty and the Beast: A pop-up classic fairy tale.  POP-UP.  Simon, 2010.  $29.99.

  Sabuda just keeps getting better and better.  His Beauty and the Beast is not just a gorgeous, innovative pop-up, but is also a well-adapted telling of the tale.  What a wonderful holiday present for some lucky girl, or woman!  

PARENTS, GIFT, EL – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Bats by Elizabeth Carney

Carney, Elizabeth Bats.  31 p.  EARLY READER (Level 2).  National Geographic Kis, 2010.  $3.99.  National Geographic turns its considerable talent – for photography, research and writing – to books for new readers.  Bats is filled with st.  unning full-color photos and a wealth of information written just on level for a child who is reading independently.  And the paperback format makes them just the right price to be loved to death in a multitude of libraries.  EL (K-3) – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Rocks & Minerals by Steve Tomecek

Tomecek, Steve Rocks & Minerals, illustrated by Kyle Poling.  PICTURE BOOK.  National Geographic, 2010.  $16.95.  Tomeck has an easy way with words that makes this book about rocks and the formation of rocks.  The explanations are clear and the graphics go far to support the learning material.  Its only fault is that it really doesn’t talk about minerals, except for one page about salt.  I am keeping this one in my middle school library, because it is a really vibrant introduction to the topic.  EL - ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher