Monday, August 31, 2015

The Case of the Missing Moonstone (The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency) by Jordan Stratford -ADVISABLE

Stratford, Jordan The Case of the Missing Moonstone (The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency) 203 pages Knopf (Random House) 2015. $8.00 Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G Violence: G
Much in the skein of Sherlock Holmes and his trusty Watson, readers meet Lady Ada Byron, a misunderstood lonely genius and Mary Godwin, a girl with a head on her shoulders and quite a bit of smarts herself. When brought together to be tutored, the girls decide to try their hand at detective work and they are able to land a case. Now its up to the two of them to find a stolen acorn moonstone, but along the way they will find themselves in the middle of more mysteries than they thought and some dangerous situations.
I think students will enjoy this book and getting to know these characters. Many younger readers aren’t familiar with the Holmes/Watson dynamic and this will read as very fresh to them. I like that the author did her research, basing the characters on real people, which was interesting. I thought the cover was incredibly unappealing and may result in this series being a total dud. It has zero cover appeal, and is very dark but not in an intriguing way. I am going to give this first one a try with students and base future purchases on the number of checkouts.
EL –ADVISABLE Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

The Feast for the King by Marlies Verhelst and Linde Faas -NO

Verhelst, Marlies, and Faas, Linde The Feast for the King Lemniscaat, 2014. $16.95 PICTURE BOOK
Tarantula has created a beefed topped cake for the Kings Birthday, the problem is that the beef has disappeared! One by one Tarantula confronts the jungle animals and even asks to see in their mouths. He finds out that elephant eats sticks, giraffes only eat plants, and more. Will he find the thief in time for the party?
I found the illustrations to be so abysmal that I can’t recommend this book. I like the idea of it, introducing younger readers to jungle animals, and the concept that animals have different diets (herbivore vs carnivore vs omnivore, ect), but there was a stilted awkwardness to the wording that I found a bit off as well. I wouldn’t add this to my school library.
EL(K-3)  –NO Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Lulu’s Party by Kit Chase - OPTIONAL

Chase, Kit Lulu’s Party.  PICTURE BOOK.  Putnam (Penguin), 2015.  $17.
Lulu invites Oliver and Charlie over for a rainy day party, but her surprise treat tastes awful.  She goes away, sad, but her friends find a way to save the day. 
Lulu’s friendship is story is sweet to read; the message is very simple and a couple of important clues are visual, so you can talk things through with your little one. 
Pre-K, EL (K-3) – OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Job Wanted by Teresa Bateman - ESSENTIAL

Bateman, Teresa Job Wanted, illustrated by Chris Sheban.  PICTURE BOOK.  Holiday House, 2015.  $17.

An old, tired dog makes his way to a farm, looking for a job.  When the farmer says he has no use for a dog, he tries his hand as a cow, a horse, and a chicken in order to prove his worth.

The story and illustrations are utterly charming.  The only thing I don’t understand is why a dog would need to convince a farmer that he has value.  I have never been to a farm that didn’t have at least one dog running around already.  Nevertheless, every listener will be captivated.

EL (K-3) – ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

I Can Roar! by Frank Asch - ESSENTIAL

Asch, Frank I Can Roar!  BOARD BOOK.  Kids Can Press, 2015.  $15. 
Bring out your inner animal and get ready to laugh.  This very simple concept will be highly entertaining as you and a little friend try out all of the sounds to go with the pictures – you supply the face!
Pre-K – ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian - ADVISABLE

Tashjian, Janet My Life as a Book, cartoons by Jake Tashjian, 224 pgs. MacMillan (Henry Holt), 2010. $17.99. 

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

12-year-old Derek Fallon doesn’t want to read his summer reading book. Oh, he likes to read comic books, but reading books just isn’t fun. Now, his parents are sending him to “learning camp” for the summer. But when Derek finds a newspaper article about a girl who drowned 10 years ago, his curiosity gets the better of him and he starts reading more.  And then a counselor at learning camp teaches Derek to see the pictures in his mind.  Maybe reading isn’t so bad afterall.  

Delightfully illustrated with stick figures to represent the vocabulary words, this quick read will entertain even your most reluctant readers.  


Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt - ESSENTIAL

Daywalt, Drew The Day the Crayons Came Home, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. PICTUREBOOK. Penguin (Philomel), 2015. $18.99.  Content: G.  

Duncan’s crayons are back! Well, they are writing to him again anyway.  This time, it’s the lost and forgotten ones, sending postcards to Duncan asking to be brought back home. And one who has requested a name change and is trying to run away.  

Fluorescent Red and Burnt Sienna are my favorites.  Another delightful read! The postcards are a lot of fun, and add an "address" element not seen in The Day the Crayons Quit. Your library should have them both.

Pre-K EL (K-3) - ESSENTIAL  Lisa Librarian

Wilder Boys by Brandon Wallace - OPTIONAL

Wallace, Brandon Wilder Boys, 230 pgs. Simon & Schuster (Aladdin), 2015. $16.99. Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG.  

Jake (13) and Tyler (11) have run away from home.  Their mother has had an “accident” probably at the hands of her boyfriend Bull, and social services plans to leave the boys with him.  Afraid of his violence, the brothers hit the road, crossing the country from Pennsylvania to Wyoming in search of their father, who is a naturalist and has found a remote home for his family somewhere near Grand Teton National Park. Can the boys find their long lost father before Bull catches up with them?  

This survival story is fast moving and exciting, however, I find it hard to recommend as the boys make dangerous choices: accepting rides with strangers, hopping trains, backcountry hiking without proper supplies, running off alone. Still, your adventure lovers (Hatchet, Touching Spirit Bear) will find this a good read.   

EL - OPTIONAL     Lisa Librarian

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Walrus Who Escaped by Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tingsley -OPTIONAL

Qitsualik-Tingsley, Rachel and Sean The Walrus Who Escaped Inhabit, 2014. $16.95 PICTURE BOOK
An Inuit folktale of how of the Walrus got nearly straight tusks. The strength of the land was a power that all living creatures could access, if they used it for good or evil was up to them. A raven chose to use it for evil out of greed and jealousy. The Walrus must give up his curly tusks if he is to free himself from Raven’s trap.
This is a nice folktale with lessons about greed, jealousy and regret. Its beautifully illustrated…except for the Cover, which is just awful! I would add this to my folktales collection. Luckily mostly myself and teachers utilize the folktale collection, so we can get over the cover and share the book with students.
EL(K-3)  –OPTIONAL Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Ramadan Moon by Na’ima B Robert -ADVISABLE

Robert, Na’ima B Ramadan Moon Frances Lincoln 2009. $8.00  NON-FICTION
This book tells all the experiences of a families during the month of Ramadan including the daylight fasting, giving to charity, the night of power, and the closing festivities. Features collage style illustrations that show lots of texture and color.
This book could easily be added to a world holidays collection. It sticks to the traditions and does not get into the religious reasoning behind the event, which is helpful for an elementary school library. The illustrations are big and bright enough to share with a group. I think I would have like it better for students readers, if the story followed a child more closely, why they were excited and their favorite parts of the event.
EL(K-3), EL  –ADVISABLE Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi - ADVISABLE

Mafi, Tahereh  Ignite Me, 408 pgs. Harper, 2014.  $17.99  Content: Language: PG-13(200+ swears); Mature Content: PG-13 (undress each other, and heated make out sessions); Violence: PG-13.  

In the final book in the Shatter Me series, Juliette wakes up after being shot in the chest and decides to ally with Warner, her enemy, against the Reestablishment and especially against Warner’s father, Anderson.  Juliette begins to trust Warner and has to convince the survivors of Omega Point to believe in Warner.  Juliette and her friends train at Warner’s compound and have to come up with a plan to bait Anderson to Sector 45, so they can bring down Anderson’s reign of terror.   

I love this series.  Some reviews complain about the author’s stream of conscience style of writing, but I think she is a great writer and makes the reader feel what the characters are feeling.  This is a satisfying conclusion to this series, even though it is sad to let these characters and their world come to an end.  There are a lot of swears, but I still loved it and feel like there are girls out there who would devour this series.  

 MS-OPTIONAL, HS-ADVISABLE.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.