Friday, January 31, 2014

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo - - ESSENTIAL

DiCamillo, Kate Flora and Ulysses, 233 pgs. 2013 Candlewick Press $17.99.  

Language: G (0 swears); Violence: PG; Mature Content: G.  

10-year-old Flora rescues a squirrel who has had a run-in with a vacuum, only to find that now the squirrel has super powers.  She names him Ulysses, takes him home and hopes that the squirrel, like her comic-book hero Incandesto, can save the day.  But when her mother thinks Ulysses is sick, Flora has to be the hero and save her new friend.  

This 2014 Newbery Award winner, beautifully illustrated by K.G. Campbell is delightfully funny with a terrific cast of characters.  Flora is a spunky girl who is brave, capable and loyal. This book will be a great read-aloud for younger elementary, and enjoyed as an independent read through middle school.  

EL, MS - ESSENTIAL - -Lisa Librarian

Hereafter by Kate Brian-ADVISABLE

Brian, Kate, Hereafter. pgs. 306. Hyperion, 2013. $17.99. Content: Language: PG-13, Mature Content: PG-13, Sexual Content: PG-13.

After a serial killer brutally murdered them, Rory and her family wound up in limbo in a summer island called Juniper Landing without knowing they were dead. Destined to forever usher others into entering the afterlife, Rory is labeled a Lifer. Something, however, is not right. One of the Lifers is sick of wants out no matter the cost and is trying to put the blame on Rory. Forced to prove her innocence, Rory must find out who is sending spirits, good and evil, to the Shadowlands, the place where there’s no way back. If she fails, she will be she’ll be sent there herself. Can Rory restore the balance of good and evil and save herself?  

Although the characters are a little shallow and hard to keep track of, the natural dialogue helps to distinguish them and help readers to relate to them. Like the first one, the plot drags in places and isn’t quite as suspenseful, readers who like intrigue and mystery will enjoy reading this book. It is best, howeer, to read the first book before reading this one. MS, HS. ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.

Shadowlands by Kate Brian-ADVISABLE

Brian, Kate, Shadowlands. pgs. 328. Hyperion, 2013.$17.99. Content: Language: PG-13, Mature Content: PG-13, Sexual Content: PG-13.

After a mad man attempts to rape and kill her, Rory Miller and her family are put into witness protection. On their way there, Rory has a dream that the mad man serial killer, Steven Nell caught up with her and her family and killed them all. Not, however, until Rory had killed him. When she wakes up, she finds herself crossing the ferry into Juniper Landing, a picturesque vacation town cut off from the world. They soon fall into a group of care-free teens who like to surf and spend the day at the beach. When one of her friends goes missing, however, the disappearance is too coincidental. To make matters weirder, her sister, Darcy can’t remember the people after they’re gone and Rory keeps having violent dreams that involve her family’s deaths. What’s really going on on this small island? Could the violent dreams really be memories? Has Steven found her? Why can’t her sister remember those who’ve gone missing?

The characters are a little shallow and the plot has a lot of holes and parts where it drags. Readers, however, who enjoy Twilight Zone type books like Last Academy by Anne Applgate or who like mystery and suspense will enjoy reading this book. Recommended for most libraries. MS, HS. ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.

The President Has Been Shot by James L. Swanson-ESSENTIAL

Swanson, James L., The President Has Been Shot!: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy. Pgs. 288. Scholastic Press, 2013.$18.99.  INFORMATION.

Gr 7 and up- What was going on in the world prior to Kennedy’s assassination? What’s the story behind his assassination? Why has his murder remained unsolved definitively? Learn the answers to these questions and more in this book.

The diagrams in this book are detailed and useful. The format is told like a narrative, much like teens like. The facts and background information are accurate and intriguing, especially the lesser known facts. A great addition to any American History lesson or for pleasure reading. MS, HS. ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Jessica Moody, Library Media Specialist, Olympus Jr. High.