Friday, January 28, 2011

The Shifter by Janice Hardy

Hardy, Janice The Shifter 384 pgs. Balzer + Bray, 2009. Violence- PG-13; Language- PG (2 H); Sexual Content- G. $16.99. Nya, an orphan struggling to survive in her war torn country, is a Taker. Takers have the ability to heal injuries, pulling pain from the injured which is then deposited into an enchanted metal called Pynvium. However, Nya is different from other Takers in that she can't deposit her pain into the Pynvium; instead, she can only shift the pain from one person to another. Having been warned to never reveal her ability to shift pain, Nya is forced to expose her secret when her sister is taken captive. What starts out as just a one time thing of shifting pain becomes the only thing that can save Nya's sister, and ultimately, the entire city. Entertaining and interesting. The story is a change of pace from normal fantasy fare, although some passages may need to be re-read because of new vocabulary. Fantasy lovers will enjoy this one. EL/MS-ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher. 

The Great Toy Escape by Kitty Richards

Richards, Kitty The Great Toy Escape illustrated by Caroline Egan, Adrienne Brown, Scott Tilley, and Studio IBOIX, 32 pgs. Random House/Disney, 2010. EARLY READER. $3.99. Buzz, Woody, and the other toys are looking for a new home, but they get trapped in Sunnyside Daycare! With the help of other toys, Woody comes up with an escape plan, but will they ever find a new home?? With basic vocabulary and short sentences, this would be a great early reader to use with students, especially if they are already familiar with Toy Story 3. I love how a 2 hour movie can be condensed to 3 paragraphs! EL-ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher. 

Raf by Anke de Vries

de Vries, Anke Raf  illustrated by Charlotte Dematons 32 pgs. Lemniscaat, 2009. PICTURE BOOK. $16.95. Ben and his stuffed animal giraffe, Raf, are inseparable...that is until Raf comes up missing! Raf is nowhere to be found but when Ben checks the mailbox, SURPRISE! Raf has been found...but he is in Africa! Postcard after postcard arrives from Raf, documenting his adventures in Africa...but will he make it home in time for Ben's birthday? Fabulous illustrations to go along with a cute story. Kids will love the postcard formatting of the text. EL-ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher. 

Beautiful Yetta: The Yiddish Chicken by Daniel Pinkwater

Pinkwater, Daniel Beautiful Yetta: The Yiddish Chicken illustrated by Jill Pinkwater 32 pgs. Feiwel and Friends, 2010. PICTURE BOOK. $16.99. Yetta, beautiful Yetta, is a Yiddish chicken that escapes the coop and flies free in the streets of Brooklyn. Yetta has a hard time fitting in in the big city until a group of green parrots takes her in as one of their own. This is a multilingual story as all of Yetta's text bubbles are written in a different language so the book lends itself well to a story share about diversity. The unique text written in short quick sentences and the bright and vibrant illustrations will keep the students flying right along with Yetta. Love the author's sense of humor on the back cover as to how he is willing to go on record that Yetta's story is true, including that she speaks Yiddish. EL-ADVISABLE. Whitney, Library-Teacher. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Teenage Waistland by Lynn Biederman

Biederman, Lynn and Lisa Paxer. Teenage Waistland 317 pgs. Delacorte Press 2010. $17.99. Content - R 20+ swears/4 F-word. Char and her best friend, East, are morbidly obese. They apply and are accepted into a clinical Lap Band trial along with several other obese teenagers: Coco, Bobby, Marcie, and a few others. After getting their Lap Band, they are required to keep a food diary and meet as a group on a regular basis. The teens discover that their overeating is caused by one underlying issue or another. I thought this book gave great insight into teenage obesity and brought great awareness and sympathy to other teens in a similar situation. This book would be great for high school or for a child that has weight issues. HS - OPTIONAL (only because of language) Shauna, reading teacher.

The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri

Tafuri, Nancy, The Busy Little Squirrel. Little Simon, 2007 $7.99 Content G-BOARD BOOK. Squirrel is getting ready for winter by gathering and storing food. He disappoints his friends, bird, cat, frog and mouse because he can’t stay and visit with them.  I liked the repetitious nature of the story and it will help the little ones with prediction. The pictures have enough detail to keep an older child’s attention, but not so much detail that it is distracting to pre-readers.  ADVISABLE for HOME/FAMILY PRE-K, EARLY READER. Shauna, reading teacher.

My Moods and My Foods by Smiley World

Smiley World, Ltd (author/illustrator). My Moods Content G-BOARD BOOK. Little Simon, 2010 $5.99. With over a dozen different moods depicted through the classic yellow smiley face, your child will love to discover and practice these facial expressions. I liked the simple design/background and pictures. This is great for a pre-reader. ADVISABLE for HOME. Shauna, reading teacher.

Smiley World, Ltd (author/illustrator). My Foods Content G-BOARD BOOK. Little Simon, 2010 $5.99. With over a dozen different foods depicted your child is sure to  enjoy looking at it over and over. I liked the simple design/background and pictures.  Each food had a smile on it giving it a warm, happy feeling. This is great for a pre-reader. ADVISABLE for HOME. Shauna, reading teacher.

Stalling by Alan Katz

Katz, Alan. Stalling. Illustrated by Elwood H. Smith.  Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2010 $16.99.  PICTUE BOOK.  Dan’s mom wants him to go to bed, but he has too many things to do. With lines like “Train a flea! Watch TV! Part my hair…and the Red Sea!” how can you go wrong with this book? The combination of photography and illustrations in the book gave it a pop art feel that even adults will enjoy. This would be a great writing prompt for upper grades too. ESSENTIAL for ES, MS HOME. Shauna, reading teacher.

Three Little Mermaids by Mara Van Fleet

Van Fleet, Mara. Three Little Mermaids. Content G-BOARD BOOK/POP-UP/MOVEABLE. Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2011 $14.99.  The three little mermaids invite their friends to a tea party. Through this count-to-ten book, we meet all of their friends in an interactive and imaginative way. This book would appeal mostly to girls with the pink and purple illustrations. The moveable parts are very sturdy. I was absolutely impressed with the construction of the book. This is a book that I could give my one and three year old and not have to supervise their reading of it. ESSENTIAL for HOME, Pre/early-readers. Shauna, Reading teacher.

Mostly Monsterly by Tammi Sauer

Sauer, Tammi. Mostly Monsterly. Illustrated by Scott Magoon. Content G PICTURE BOOK. Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010 $14.99.  Bernadette is not your typical monster. On the outside, she looks like your average monster; She’s got fangs and claws, a tail and even a creepy necklace. Bernadette likes doing things that most monsters don’t such as, picking flowers, petting kittens and baking. The other monsters don’t take to kindly to Bernadette’s sweet ways until they realize that some of her interests can be of interest to them. This book had a great moral to it and would be good for kids that are afraid of monsters or to add to a character development library. ADVISABLE, early ES, HOME. Shauna, Reading teacher.

Touch and Feel Petting Zoo by Jeanne K. Grieser

Grieser, Jeanne K. Touch and Feel Petting Zoo. Illustrated by Caroline Pedler. Content G BOARD BOOK. Sterling, 2010 $9.95.  A family trip to the petting zoo is always an adventure. You never know what you are going to find. Each page is a surprise and just like the title indicates, something fuzzy, sticky, or bumpy is on each page.  The illustrations are beautiful and make me want to take my kids out to pet the wildlife too. ESSENTIAL Pre-K/HOME library. Shauna, Reading teacher.

Except If by Jim Averbeck

Averbeck, Jim. Except If. Content G-PICTURE BOOK. Atheneum Books for Young Readers. 2011, $12.99. As a little blue egg is about to hatch, imaginations run wild thinking about what could come out of this cracking shell and what will become of it. I thought this book a little on the abstract side. The publisher recommends ages 2-6 read it, but I would think anyone under 4 wouldn’t be able to follow the story. The pictures are very bright and simple and it follows the pattern of “except if” on every other page and I liked that. OPTIONAL, early ES, Shauna, Reading teacher.

I Must Have Bobo! by Eileen Rosenthal

Rosenthal, Eileen. I Must Have Bobo! Illustrated by Marc Rosenthal. Content G-PICTURE BOOK. Atheneum Books for Young Readers. 2011, $14.99. Willy woke up to trouble. He couldn’t find Bobo until he found Earl, the cat. It seems as if Earl has assumed ownership of Bobo the sock monkey and Willy is in for one long day of hide and seek if he wants to keep his Bobo. I liked the playful nature of the book and could see a cat and child fighting over a stuffed animal. ADVISABLE Pre-K, Shauna, Reading teacher.

Thumb Love by Elise Primavera

Primavera, Elise.  Thumb Love, 48 pages. Robin Corey Books, 2010.  PICTURE BOOK.  $16.99. Language-G; Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; Like a lot of children, Lulu loves to her thumb!  But everyone is laughing at her, and everyone is calling her a baby.  Thumb experts are saying that Lulu’s teeth will stick out if she continues to suck on her thumb.  “I love you,” Lulu told her Thumb.  “Ditto,” the Thumb told Lulu.  In an effort to quit this habit,  Lulu develops a “twelve-step program” to help her end her “Thumb Loving” habit.  Some steps include putting a sock or Play-Doh firmly over her thumb, or hiding her thumb under her pillow at night.  In the end, she succeeds in her quest and then turns to helping others overcome the habit of sucking their thumbs.  This is a humorous and fun-filled book.  We loved the illustrations!!!  The bubble quotes were entertaining as well. Pre K. ADVISABLE.  Reviewer: SL

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I Will Save You by Matt de la Pena

I Will Save You
De La Peña, Matt, I Will Save You. Random House Children’s Books, 2010. Language: PG-13 (20 swears, no “f”s. , Violence: PG-13, Sexual Content: PG-13

Running away from his group home, therapy, and past, Kidd is spending the summer working for Mr. Red, an eccentric man who owns a campsite near the beach. While working there, he meets Olivia, a local, and starts dating her. She seems to be hiding something from him, however. When a man named Devon from Kidd’s past shows up on the scene, he starts breaking the law and trying to get Kidd to do so as well. A man with a death wish, Devon refused to leave until he teaches Kidd a few things about life and Olivia. When his interactions become dangerous and he threatens to kill Olivia, Kidd must find a way to defeat Devon, confront his past, and save Olivia. Will he succeed?

A confusing book to follow. The plot is splotchy and leaves questions unanswered. The characters are wishy-washy. The ending is unfulfilling and doesn’t quite fit the book. Readers who like books about mental problems, and unrequited love may enjoy reading this book, but would not recommend to most people. MS. OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Jessica M, Library Media Specialist, Olympus Jr. High.

Mercury by Hope Larson - OPTIONAL

Larson, Hope Mercury. Atheneum Books, 2010. GRAPHIC NOVEL. 233 pages

Language: G, Violence: PG, Sexual Content: G

Told through the point of view of two girls from different time periods, comes the story of two love-bird couples. In 1859 Nova Scotia lives Josey Fraser and her family. Owning a farm, money is tight. When Asa, a gentleman prospector, comes to their farm looking for a chance to mine on their land. Josey and Asa hit it off, but her father and mother don’t approve of their relationship. Can Josey and Asa overcome the odds and end up together?

In the same town, 150 years later, Tara Fraser moves back into town after her family’s house burns down in a fire. Living with her aunt and uncle while her mom is doing a job far away from home, Tara meets a young boy named Ben, who looks just like her. After a misunderstanding, the two hit off and start dating. When Tara’s mom calls and says that she no longer wants to rebuild the Fraser house, Tara decides her only hope is to find the hidden Fraser treasure that her grandfather told her about. Can Tara find the treasure?

Although the story line is interesting, the way the author presented it in the book is extremely confusing. The characters are hard to keep straight. Graphic Novel fans who like adventure, romance, and a mystery will probably enjoy reading this book.


Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The City of Spies by Susan Kim

City of Spies
Kim, Susan, City of Spies. First Second, 2010. GRAPHIC NOVEL. Pgs. 172. Language: G, Violence: G, Sexual Content: G

The year is 1942 and it’s the height of World War 2. New York City is crawling with Nazi spies. The only thing that stands in their way: Zirconium Man and his sidekick Scooter. Their artist, Evelyn. Evelyn is a young girl who draws the comics in secret, but never imagined she could be a hero, too. When her friend, Tony uncovers a deadly secret plot being carried out by Nazi spies. The two jump on the case. Danger lurks around every corner, however, and they don’t know who to trust. Will the two save the day and America?

A little boring for a superhero graphic novel, but fans of spy fiction will enjoy this book. The illustrations are fitting of the time period personified and the text matches the text well. Readers who like graphic novels, superheroes, and adventure will probably like reading this book. EL (4-6), MS. OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.

The Firehouse Light by Janet Nolan

 Nolan, Janet.  Lafrance, Marie.  The Firehouse Light. 32 pages. Tricycle Press, 2010.  PICTURE BOOK.  $15.99.  Language-G; Sexual Content-G; Violence-G;  Inside book cover:  “Here is a true story of a little light bulb, located in a firehouse, that has stayed lit for more than one hundred years.  As horse-drawn carriages make room for automobiles, dirt roads vie way to paved streets, and new buildings transform small clusters of homes into bustling neighborhoods, a small town grows and changes.  And fighting fires changes too.” And through all these changes, the four-watt light bulb continues to glow.  The fact that the story is true makes the storyline all the more fascinating!  We loved this book!  It was fun to see the town change page by page, and see the advancements of technology and modern living.  This is a wonderfully written and illustrated book that has many applications in the classroom! A must have in every library!  EL (K-3) ESSENTIAL.  Reviewer: SL

If Stones Could Speak: Unlocking the Secrets of Stonehenge by Marc Aronson

If Stones Could Speak: Unlocking the Secrets of Stonehenge (National Geographic Kids)Aronson, Marc, If Stones Could Speak: Unlocking the Secrets of Stonehenge. National Geographic, 2010. INFORMATION.

Who really built Stonehenge? What secrets does the structure hold? Why did people 4,500 years ago drag 35-ton rocks mile after mile and tehn align them with the sun on two special days of the year? For centuries, Stonehenge has been a puzzle many have looked into. As a boy, marc Aronson was obsessed with this very structure as well. Growing up near it, he longed to be an archaeologist and dig into Stonehenge more deeply than anyone else had ever before. This is his story and what he discovered.

A fascinating non-fiction book about an even more fascinating structure. The images and text present themselves well and do a great job of painting answers to an age-old mystery. The research is well-done. This book would make an excellent addition to anyone’s collection as well as a good supplement to history classes’ discussion of Stonehenge and/or the time period in which it was built. Readers who like Stonehenge, England, non-fiction, and archaeology will more than likely enjoy devouring this book from cover to cover. EL (4-6), MS. ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian.

Two Dumb Ducks by Maxwell Eaton III

Eaton III, Maxwell.  Two Dumb Ducks, 32 pages. Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random), 2010.  PICTURE BOOK.  $12.99.  Language-G; Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; Steve and Carl are ducks.  Steve likes cans. Carl likes socks.  But Steve and Carl don’t like being called dumb by seagulls.  Steve and Carl don’t get mad.  Steve and Carl don’t get angry.  Steve and Carl get even, though not in the way they originally intended.  This book could be used in a unit on Anti-Bullying as well as a unit on Emotions.  The characters are adorable and easy to relate to.  My kids enjoyed this book and loved the silly antics of the two ducks and their efforts to solve their problem. EL (K-3)  ADVISABLE.   Reviewer: SL

Franklin’s Big Dreams by David Teague

Teague, David. Kulikov, Boris.  Franklin’s Big Dreams, 40 pages.  Hyperion Book, 2010.  PICTURE BOOK.  $16.99.  Language- G; Sexual Content- G; Violence-G;  Inside book cover: “While Franklin is trying to sleep, a construction crew busts into his room.  They’re here to build a railroad. As soon as the tracks are laid, the train passes, and Franklin notices the passengers look oddly familiar…  Where are all these people going?  How do they get there so quickly? And why are they traveling through Franklin’s room?  Franklin is about to find out.”  We enjoyed this book!  The drawings are fantastic.  The boy’s dog is adorable!  My kids were entertained and held in suspense through the book.  We loved the ending of this great story.  EL (K-3)  ESSENTIAL. Reviewer:  SL

Drum City by Thea Guidone

Guidone, Thea.  Newton, Vanessa. Drum City, 32 pages. Tricycle Press, 2010. PICTURE BOOK.  $15.99.  Language-G; Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; Children from the neighborhood are curious as they hear a young boy begin to beat on a kettle with his mother’s whisk and spoon. Soon, everyone joins in with pots and pans and cartons and cans across the neighborhood.   Together they create a catchy tempo as they drum and march and hum and pound! “Over the mountains and over the sea, drumming like you, drumming like me.  Together we drum.”  We really enjoyed this book.  The illustrations are captivating.  It’s a “good feel” book about making beautiful, cooperative, and appropriate noise! My kids reminisced about the days when a pot and metal spoon from our kitchen would entertain them for hours! This book could be used for various units:  Music, Cooperation, Creativity, and Rhyming. EL (K-3) ESSENTIAL.   Reviewer: SL

Samuel’s Baby by Mark Elkin

Elkin, Mark.  Wummer, Amy. Samuel’s Baby, 32 pages. Tricycle Press, 2010. PICTURE BOOK.  $15.99. Language-G; Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; Samuel so excited to soon be a big brother! But Samuel’s excitement dampens as his school mates point out that he will have to deal with sharing his toys with the new baby, stinky diapers, and too much crying.  Maybe having a baby isn’t going to be in his best interest?  This book is perfect for preparing siblings for the arrival of a new baby.  It is filled with humor and creative writing!  Samuel’s entire Kindergarten class wants in on the action, and before long, each of the students is expecting the arrival of their own “babies”: imaginary beagles, goldfish, triplets, twins.  All in all, their Kindergarten teacher is now looking forward to the arrival of 15” babies”!  We laughed and laughed while reading this book together.  The Kindergarteners were so adorable and so innocent in their efforts to sympathize with Samuel.  EL (K-3)  ESSENTIAL. Reviewer:  SL

There Are No Scary Wolves by Hyewon Yum

Yum, Hyewon.  There Are No Scary Wolves, 40 pages. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010. PICTURE BOOK.  $16.99.  Language-G; Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; Inside book cover: “Sometimes a boy just wants to go outside all by himself.  And if he’s wearing his sweater and boots and cape, and he feels absolutely big, what’s to stop him?”  This book entertains the thought of how dark and worrisome the world can be when Mom isn’t around.  “What if there are ….scary wolves?”   The author touches on the concept of how real and imaginary thoughts can sometimes be confused.  The story is unique and the illustrator helps the reader to understand between real and imagined parts of the story by using different colored backgrounds.  We enjoyed reading this book and discussing fears, safety, etc at the conclusion of the book.  EL (K-3)  ADVISABLE. Reviewer: SL

Beaver Is Lost by Elisha Cooper

Cooper, Elisha.  Beaver Is Lost, 40 pages. Schwartz & Wade, 2010.  PICTURE BOOK.  $17.99. Language-G; Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; After a young beaver climbs onto a narrow log and floats away from his family, he is hopelessly lost.  In this wordless book, the young beaver searches for his family while being chased by a dog, swims with an alligator, visits the zoo, gets lost in a crowd, and much more. This is a cute book! The illustrations are beautiful.  We snuggled together and enjoyed the adventures of this young beaver as he explored a new world while searching for his family.  EL (K-3) ADVISABLE. Reviewer: SL

Grandma’s Gloves by Cecil Castelucci

Castellucci, Cecil.  Denos, Julia.  Grandma’s Gloves, 32 pages. Candlewick, 2010.  PICTURE BOOK.  $15.99.  Language-G; Sexual Content-G; Violence-G;  This book is about a little girl, her grandmother, and their love of gardening.  Grandma is always on her knees in the dirt, with her gardening gloves on, talking to her roses.  A very special bond is developed between the two of them.  When her Grandmother’s health declines, and she eventually passes away, the little girl the girl inherits her grandmother’s gardening gloves. This is a beautifully written and illustrated story that teachers about love, goals, and the circle of life.  The storyline pulls at one’s heartstrings, and helps the reader to remember the important things in life.  We loved this book, and were touched at the sentiment and emotion involved in the plot.  We discussed many aspects of life at the conclusion of the book, especially the importance of the relationships in our lives!  EL (K-3)  ADVISABLE.  Reviewer: SL

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pet Shop Follies by Mary Ann Fraser

Fraser, Mary Ann.  Pet Shop Follies, 32 pgs.  Boyds Mills Press, 2010.  PICTURE BOOK.  $16.95.  Language-G; Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; The pet shop has opened, but no one is coming into the store. What can the animals do to attract customers? A hamster has an idea: ''Let's put on a show!'' The animals begin rehearsals. There are costumes, sets, and lights. Then it comes time for the big show.  This is an adorable and funny picture book!  There is creativity on every page.  We enjoyed reading this book.  Pre K.  ADVISABLE Reviewer:  SL

Unraveling Freedom by Ann Bausum

Bausum, Ann Unraveling Freedom: The battle for democracy on the homefront during World War I, 83 p. National Geographic, 2010. $19.95.  NON-FICTION.  Bausum explores the erosion of freedom after the sinking of this Lusitania and America’s entrance into WWI.  Middle school and high school teachers, of history, of government, of politics of any kind, all should read this book and share it with their students.  The behavior of Americans and politicians in the present day directly mirrors that same behavior from almost 100 years earlier.  The Espionage and Sedition Acts are no different from what happened after 9-11 and continues to happen today.  Don’t let your students forget.  MS, HS – ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher.

Dolphins, sharks, penguins and more! by Johnna Rizzo

Rizzo, Johnna Dolphins, sharks, penguins and more! National Geographic, 2010.  $14.95.  A little bit of information and a gorgeous full page photograph highlight fourteen types of animals from the great, wide ocean.  Other fascinating facts about the ocean intersperse the pages, making for an entertaining read.  It sized perfectly for an elementary library.  EL – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher.

The Dealer by Robert Muchamore

Muchamore, Robert Cherub: The Dealer, 308 p. Simon, 2010, 2004.  $16.99.  Language: PG; Violence: PG.  This is the second in the Cherub series.  

Here is my original review from 2004. 
This time James is on a mission to investigate a big time drug dealer. He and two other cherubs are supposed to get near the dealer's kids. Hundreds of millions of dollars and an international crime ring only add to the danger. A small amount of drug use and drinking, but a lot of excitement and danger. MS - ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Cherub: The Recruit by Robert Muchamore - ADVISABLE

Muchamore, Robert Cherub: The Recruit, 342 p. Simon , 2010, 2004.  $7.99.  Language: PG (British swearing); Violence: PG.  I originally reviewed this book back in 2004, when it was originally released.  Here is that review:
First in the CHERUB series. When James mother dies he enters a group home and gets in trouble with the police. Instead of getting kicked out of the home, he is instead recruited by a very elite group of junior spies for the British government. If he can make it through the grueling 100 day training period then he will be a full-fledged member of the team. If you can buy into (or overlook) the fact that these are 12 year old kids doing all of this, then you will enjoy this series. Akin to the Alex Rider series. MS – ADVISABLE.
I still love this series and point them out to students all of the time.  I like the new covers.  My only hope is that we will get the entire series this time around.  It was first published in England and they have 12 books in their series.  Only 6 of those have ever been released in the US.

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

White, Kiersten Paranormalcy, 335 p. HarperTeen, 2010.  $16.99. Content: G Language G (0 swears).  Evie is a normal teen who just wants a normal life. She'd give anything if she could just learn to drive, go to school, have a locker, and maybe even get asked to prom. But her life is far from normal. She lives in and works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency (IPCA), her best friend is a mermaid, and she's got the special ability to see through paranormals' glamours. So maybe she isn't quite as normal as she thinks she is.  Now someone is mysteriously killing the paranormals, and Evie begins to wonder if there is a link between her special abilities and the deaths. When her new boyfriend, a shape-shifter, is threatened, she does the one thing she can to try to save both him and her--escape the  IPCA and try to be the normal girl she always wanted to be--without being caught and killed. Will her life ever be normal again?  I loved this book. White writes with a humor and sarcasm that makes the paranormal something delightful. Just enough paranormal activity to interest your vampire fans, with a little romance sprinkled in for good measure. This book will resonate with teens who wonder what it means to be "normal."  The first in a trilogy, book two is scheduled to be released in August 2011.  MS, HS ESSENTIAL Rosanne M, MS Library Teacher

Orphan Rescue by Anne Dublin

Dublin, Anne Orphan Rescue, pgs 124. Second Story Press, 2010. $8.95. Language- G (0 , no "f"), Mature Content- G; Violence-G.  Miriam is an orphan and so is her brother.  They now live with their grandparents, who can hardly support themselves, let alone their grandchildren.  The sacrifices they make lead to Miriam's brother being put in an cruel orphanage. It's up to Miriam to help her brother.  This book is a VERY easy read and I recommend it to young readers.  It's really good at explaining the struggles real kids faced back in the day. ES- OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: BJS

Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales

Sales, Leila  Mostly Good Girls, pgs 347. Simon & Shuster Publishers., 2010. $16.99. Language- R (44-47 swears, 6 "f"), Mature Content- PG-13; Violence-PG.  Violet is a junior at an all-girls preparatory school with her overly rich friend Katie.  Together they decide that this is the year to change and instead of focusing on grades, they begin to focus on fun, parties, and boys.  Will this get in the way of their friendship? Or even their graduation?  I enjoyed this book although it had lots of swearing and got a little dull at some points. HS - ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: BJS

Wish I Might by Colleen Murtagh Paratore

Paratore, Colleen Murtagh Wish I Might, pgs 176. Scholastic Press, 2010. $16.99. Language- PG(1-2 swears, 0 "f"), Mature Content- PG; Violence-G.  It's finally summer here at Cape Cod, and Willa can't wait to spend the summer, untill she finds out that her boyfriend JFK, will be gone the entire summer.  With helping at her parents bed and breakfast, and trying to figure out the new guy claiming to be her brother. This will really be a summer that Willa will always remember. EL, MS- OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: BJS

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Betti on the High Wire by Lisa Railsback - ESSENTIAL

Railsback, Lisa Betti on the High Wire 288 pgs. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2010. 

Language-G; Violence- PG; Sexual Content-G. $16.99. 

Babo, with her "broken" eye and fantastical circus stories , is a "leftover" (orphan) from a war torn country and has only ever known poverty, hunger, and war. When she is unexpectedly adopted by an American "melon" family, she unwillingly must leave behind all she has known to start a new and unfamiliar life in America. Despite her constant efforts to be bad, Babo, now Betti, learns to adapt to her new home and family while realizing she doesn't have to forget her past. 

A combination of tragedy and comedy, this book enlightens the audience regarding contemporary issues. Betti's voice really comes through in the story, but the author leaves it up to you to decide where Betty is actually from. 

EL, MS - ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher. 

What About Bear? by Suzanne Bloom

Bloom, Suzanne What About Bear? 32 pgs. Boyd Mills Press, 2010. PICTURE BOOK. $16.95. In this classic tale of friendship, Fox wants to play with Bear and Goose. All is well until disagreement arises as to what they should play. This book goes through phases, illustrating the catch phrase "two's company, three's a crowd." But in the end, "the more the merrier" wins out! The illustrations are cute and add to the text of the story. EL-OPTIONAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher. 

The Eensy Weensy Spider Freaks Out! (Big Time!) by Troy Cummings

Cummings, Troy The Eensy Weensy Spider Freaks Out! (Big Time!) 40 pgs. Random House, 2010. PICTURE BOOK. $16.99. In this adaptation of the familiar children's song, the eensy weensy spider does not go up the spout again! The slippery waterspout scared this spider, but with the help of her ladybug friend, Polly, Eensy scales much more than a waterspout. From flower pots to dogs to rockets, this spider learns that the stars are the limit. With expressive insects and a retro, cartoonish flair, these illustrations, along with the text, are sure to entertain and encourage. EL-ADVISABLE. Whitney, Library-Teacher. 

Flying Lessons by Gilbert Ford

Ford, Gilbert Flying Lessons 40 pgs. Disney/Hyperion Books, 2010. PICTURE BOOK. $16.99. This flock of doves has their daily routine down to a T. They know just how they like everything so when a newcomer tries to join the flock, their feathers get a bit ruffled. Despite their obvious differences, an early arctic chill forces the doves to learn a new way to fly. Cute and unique story with a message that everyone can benefit from. The illustrations are fantastic, using dusty and dark hues of pink and blue. EL-ADVISABLE. Whitney, Library-Teacher. 

OH BABY! by Randi Reisfeld

Reisfeld, Randi and Gilmour, H B. OH BABY!, pgs 346. Scholastic Inc., 2010. $8.99. Language- PG-13 (13-18 swears, 0 "f"), Mature Content- R (sexual content, drinking, drugs, excessive partying); Violence-PG.  Abby and Jamie are best friends and just out of high school.  They decide to take the summer off and try nannying for the oh-so rich and famous. Problem: they're on opposite costs.  With new boys and new challenges, they find it hard to stay friends, and stay true to who they really are.  I really recommend this book.  I loved it. It was exciting and it showed the true challenges teenagers face. HS - OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: BJS

Lost Tales of Ga'Hoole by Kathryn Lasky

Lasky, Kathryn Lost Tales of Ga'Hoole, 180 pgs. Scholastic Inc., 2010. Language - G, Sexual Content - G; Violence - PG; A collection of short stories telling about the unknown part of six important owl's lives. The hard and sad stories are filled with adventure. Wisdom is also found, but only if looked for. I enjoyed these stories even without having read the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series myself. The hardships were tough to handle--even as a reader--and the perspective of an owl made it all the more exciting. EL, MS - ADVISABLE. Reviewer: CCH

The Complete History of Why I HATE Her by Jennifer Jacobson

Jacobson, Jennifer Richard The Complete History of Why I HATE Her, 181 pgs. Atheneum Books, 2010. Language - PG (31 swears, 0 "f"), Sexual Content - PG; Violence - G; Nola's sister has a tumor and has always been seen as "the girl with the sister who has cancer." This summer, Nola is going to be a waitress in Maine to get away and find out who she is. Making friends, fitting in, and working isn't as easy as she thought, and things don't always go as planned. I loved the deep bond between Nola and her sister and I enjoyed how much Nola's path at discovering herself didn't go how either of us thought it would. Song, Nola's sister, was my favorite character. Song had so much life in her--even though she had a tumor and every reason to hate her life. MS - OPTIONAL. Reviewer: CCH

Short: Walking Tall When You're Not Tall At All by John Schwartz

Schwartz, John Short: Walking Tall When You're Not Tall At All, 114 pgs. Flash Point, 2010. Language - PG (2 swears, 0 "f"), Sexual Content - G; Violence - PG; Though focused to help those that are shorter than the rest of us, anyone can take something from this book. It's all about how to boost your confidence and stop bullies. I think that everyone that feels picked on, or bad because of something they can't control, should read this book. It helps support that everyone is great and unique and that you're not the only one going through your problems. It also reinforces that just because you're short (or whatever else), it doesn't mean that you can't be successful or rich or find love, etc. You can be whatever you want to if you put your mind to it. EL, MS, HS - ADVISABLE. Reviewer: CCH

Empty by Suzanne Weyn

Weyn, Suzanne Empty, 183 pgs. Scholastic Press, 2010. Language - G, Sexual Content - G; Violence - PG; Gwen's world is falling apart. Her mom has left her and her brother, and now oil is running out. The U.S. is going to war with Venezuela to get their oil and a super hurricane is attacking the east coast. In a world where everyone is dependent on oil for gas, energy, and plastic, how will they survive? There is no doubt that this is an amazing book. I love apocalyptic books, but this one is the most realistic I've ever read. Oil is an nonrenewable energy source and sooner or later it will run out. I enjoyed how this book presented the idea of how it could be if we are unprepared. MS, HS - ADVISABLE. Reviewer: CCH

Last December by Matt Beam

Beam, Matt Last December, 156 pgs. Front Street, 2009. Language - PG-13 (37 swears, 6 "f"), Sexual Content - PG-13; Violence - PG; Steven has a hard life and is trying to figure out how to handle it. This book is a letter he's writing to his future sister and is his way of dealing with and figuring out everything. He tells his sister about one of the hardest weeks of his life and eventually, it works out. Though it has its good moments, I didn't especially enjoy reading this book. I didn't like how Steven was dealing with things, I didn't like the swearing, and I really didn't like all the drinking and partying that was involved. It sounded like a depressed kid telling a sad story and it was a pathetic waste of my time. HS - NO. Reviewer: CCH