Saturday, October 31, 2015

Sofia's Princess Adventures by Bill Scollon - ADVISABLE

Scollon, Bill.  Sofia’s Princess Adventures.  Disney Press, 2015.  $10.99.  BOARD BOOKS.  This is a collection of four board books in a handy little tote.  The titles are: Magic Class, Sofia’s Amulet, Best Friends, and Good Sports.  In Magic Class, Sofia has difficulty with a spell and her sister Amber helps her.  In Sofia’s Amulet, rather than a small story, it is an overview of what the amulet can do and a few princesses that have visited Sofia.  In Best Friends, Sofia and Clover’s friendship is highlighted and Clover’s love of blueberries.  Good Sport is about Sofia and her brother James’ love of sports.  The illustrations are by Character Building Studio and the Disney Storybook Art Team and are just like the television show on Disney Junior.  Young fans of Sofia will love these simple stories and sturdy books.
Pre-K-ADVISABLE.  Samantha Hastings, MA, MLS.   

Friday, October 30, 2015

Freddy & Frito and the Clubhouse Rules by Alison Friend- OPTIONAL

Friend, Alison. Freddy & Frito and the Clubhouse Rules, PICTURE BOOK. Katherin Tegen Books, 2015. $17.99. Content: G. Freddy and Frito are best friends. They need to find a place of their own to play because at Freddy’s house things have to be too neat and tidy and at Frito’s house there are too many people and it’s too noisy. These things are nice sometimes, but Freddy and Frito decide to build a treehouse in the park. They invite everyone over for a housewarming party, but they find that they run into some of the same old problems and some new ones too. When everyone finally leaves, they have the place to themselves and can make their own rules. This is a great attempt, but it felt a little slow and lacked a little energy. EL (K-3)- OPTIONAL. Reviewed by Shay, School Librarian

Itty Bitty Kitty by Joan Holub- ADVISABLE

Holub, Joan. Itty Bitty Kitty, PICTURE BOOK. Harper, 2015. $17.99. Content: G. Ava really wants her own cat. When her parents tell her that she is too little to have one, she goes outside to soak in her disappointment. She finds a kitty in a box and decides to take it home. Her parents are too busy, so she decides to tell them about the kitty a little later and take care of him herself. Itty Bitty Kitty gets big very quickly and is eventually discovered. When he saves the family’s baby is hero of the day and Eva’s parents tell her she can keep him. The pictures in this book are great. The story is simple and sweet and any child (or adult) who has ever longed for a pet will really connect with it. PRE-K, EL (K-3)- ADVISABLE. Reviewed by Shay, School Librarian

Eva and Sadie and the Best Classroom Ever! by Jeff Cohen- OPTIONAL

Cohen, Jeff. Eva and Sadie and the Best Classroom Ever!, PICTURE BOOK. Harper, 2015. $17.99. Content: G. Sadie is getting her little sister, Eva, ready for Kindergarten. She quizzes her on letters, numbers, math, recess, and practices going to lunch. All of this preparation makes Eva feel overwhelmed and even more nervous for school to start. Sadie helps her sister get to school on the first day and finds out that Eva is much more prepared for Kindergarten than she thought she’d be. This book seemed to take a lot more explanation at the beginning of the story than I thought was actually necessary. The sister relationship is very sweet, but the story felt like it didn’t really go anywhere. PRE-K, EL (K-3)- OPTIONAL. Reviewed by Shay, School Librarian

I'm Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton- ADVISABLE

Barton, Bethany. I’m Trying to Love Spiders, PICTURE BOOK. Viking, 2015. $16.99. Content: G. The narrator of this book really doesn’t like spiders, but is trying really hard to learn to like them. To reach this goal, he or she is finding out factual information about spiders (i.e. where they live, how they eat, what they do to benefit our planet). As the book progresses however, every few pages, a spider appears and the narrator can’t help but squish it. At the end of the story you have learned all sorts of information about spiders and the narrator is coming around to the idea of liking them. This is a unique take a subject that typically gives many people the heebie jeebies (myself included). It helps to keep it more engaging by taking a funnier approach to how the facts are presented, but I think maybe it was just slightly too much for my spider-sensitivity issues. Smart presentation, great facts, but still might make those who struggle with spiders a little queasy. EL- ADVISABLE. Reviewed by Shay, School Librarian

Seen and Not Heard by Katie May Green

Green, Katie May. Seen and Not Heard, PICTURE BOOK. Candlewick Press, 2014. $15.99. Content: G. The children of Shiverhawk Hall stay in their picture frames all day, but when nighttime comes and the rest of the house is asleep, they sneak out of their pictures and head to the kitchen to eat. They make messes and are loud. They paint the walls with their artwork. When the sun starts to rise they must make it back to the picture frames. I really wanted to like this book. The pictures are a great style, it seemed like it would be a little quirky... but the pointlessness of it just gets to me. It was never really clear why they had to get back to the frames or why they could even get out in the first place. Why did they just want to eat and make a mess? It seemed like the children might be creepy or the book would be a little spooky, but mostly the kids were just slightly naughty. I’m totally ok with some unanswered questions, but this just seemed pointless. Did I said “pointless” already? That’s because it really is the best way I can describe it. EL (K-3)- OPTIONAL. Reviewed by Shay, School Librarian.

Growing Up Pedro by Matt Tavares- ESSENTIAL

Tavares, Matt. Growing Up Pedro, PICTURE BOOK. Candlewick Press, 2015. $16.99. Content: G. A chronicle of the life of the baseball player Pedro Martinez and his brother Ramon, as they make their way to the major league. The story follows specific events and how they affected the two brothers personally and professionally as they move from their home in the Dominican Republic to the United States and Canada. I am really not a sports fan at all, but I found this book so interesting. The details about Martinez’s experiences were well portrayed through the writing and the pictures and it was very engaging. The book is a little lengthy, but for baseball fans as well as those of us who might not be as involved in the sports world, this is a fantastic biographical picture book. EL- ESSENTIAL. Reviewed by Shay, School Librarian

Land Shark by Beth Ferry- ESSENTIAL

Ferry, Beth. Land Shark, PICTURE BOOK. Chronicle Books, 2015. $16.99. Content: G. 

When you love sharks as much as Bobby does, it’s only natural that you’d want one for your birthday gift. Because Bobby sent subliminal “pets make great gift” messages to his parents for days, he knew he was getting that shark. On his birthday, Bobby is disappointed to find out that instead of a shark, his parents got him a puppy. As the days wear on the new puppy slowly tears apart the house and everything in it. Bobby is so pleased, because he knows that his parents will have to take the puppy back and finally get him a shark instead. With each day that passes, Bobby starts to notice more and more similarities between his destructive pet and sharks and he eventually begins to love it more than he ever expected to. 

I loved this book. It was really clever and heartfelt. The illustrations are well done and the whole package is awesome. Students will love the similarities between the dog and the shark and as well as my favorite part when the whole family was telling the dog to “shhh...” and he was saying “ark!” in between. 

EL (K-3) -ESSENTIAL. Reviewed by Shay, School Librarian

B. Bear and Lolly: Catch That Cookie! by A.A. Livingston- ADVISABLE

Livingston, A.A. B. Bear and Lolly: Catch That Cookie!, PICTURE BOOK. Harper, 2015. $15.99. Content: G. B. Bear and Lolly are best friends who are building a machine called the Porridge Perfecter. Unfortunately, they just can’t seem to get it working quite right. While they are trying to get things working properly, the Gingerbread Man comes running through and knocks everything to pieces and keeps running without stopping to help clean up or apologize. B. Bear is sad and Lolly is mad. They chase after the Gingerbread Man and when they finally catch him, he helps clean up and helps solve their porridge problems at the same time. This is a bit of a fractured fairy tale involving a couple of favorite fairy tale characters. The real star of the book is the illustrations. Definitely visually appealing and includes a romp through fairy tale land as the characters chase the Gingerbread Man. I wish the story itself was a little more up to par with the graphics, but still a cute addition to the library. PRE-K, EL (K-3) -ADVISABLE. Reviewed by Shay, School Librarian

Ginny Louise and the School Showdown by Tammi Sauer- ADVISABLE

Sauer, Tammi. Ginny Louise and the School Showdown, PICTURE BOOK. Disney Hyperion, 2015. $16.99. Content: G.  There are three troublemakers at Truman Elementary. They’ve got their faces on wanted posters for all sorts of things: not doing homework, tardiness, talking back to the teacher, worst of all… not playing well with others. They get into trouble every single day. Every day until Ginny Louise shows up. Ginny Louise dances to the beat of her own drum. She likes to learn, she is kind, and she tends to hear only what she wants to. So when the Truman Elementary Troublemakers put her in their sites, she has no choice but to make them her friends. Ginny Louise ends up making a rag tag bunch into a fun group of students for her classroom. With endearing pictures and sweet text, the message of kindness and friendship stands out strong in this book. Sometimes kindness really does bowl people over. PRE-K, EL (K-3) -ADVISABLE. Reviewed by: Shay, School Librarian

Friendshape by Amy Rosenthal- ESSENTIAL

Rosenthal, Amy. Friendshape, PICTURE BOOK. Scholastic Press, 2015. $16.99. Content: G. 

Four little colorful shapes (a rectangle, a triangle, a circle, and a square) describe what friendship is. They use words, as well as themselves, and puns to create pictures of all the amazing, and occasionally frustrating, parts of friendship and how it makes you feel. 

This book has a really basic graphic layout in a really fun style, and it wins with well delivered standards about friendship combined with matching illustrations. The premise is that true friends are special, accepting, kind, and fill our lives with joy and love. 

PRE-K, EL (K-3) -ESSENTIAL. Reviewed by: Shay, School Librarian

My First Day by Leilani Sparrow- OPTIONAL

Sparrow, Leilani. My First Day, PICTURE BOOK. Little Bee Books, 2015. $16.99. Content: G. A little bear is about to start his first day of school. He takes us through all of the highlights like putting his things away, making friends, playing with toys, eating snacks and lunch, and practicing his letters. He even takes a dreaded “tumble” and pulls through it like a champ. This is a simple book good for showing the very littlest of children what a typical school day is like. The pictures are outstanding and it is a good primer for younger children to get an idea of what school will be like.  PRE-K, K -OPTIONAL. Reviewed by: Shay, School Librarian

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Archie the Daredevil Penguin by Andy Rash - ADVISABLE

Rash, Andy  Archie the Daredevil Penguin  Viking, 2015 (Penguin).  $16.99  PICTURE BOOK  Content: G.  

Archie the penguin is known around his ice village as brave and willing to try anything.  When the other penguins plan a fish fry on another iceberg, Archie is trying frantically to invent a way to fly there, because secretly (or not so secretly) he is scared to swim.  Archie ends up in the ocean after one of his flying tricks fails and he realizes that swimming in the ocean is super fun.   

This is a cute book about overcoming our fears.  The bright colors and adventurous penguin are fun and my son and I anxiously read to see what happened to Archie.  The story is told through conversation bubbles. 

 EL (K-3)-ADVISABLE.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.

Mr. Postmouse's Rounds - ADVISABLE

Dubuc, Marianne  Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds Kids Can Press, 2015.  $17.95  PICTURE BOOK  Content: G.   

Mr. Postmouse loads his red wagon with packages to deliver and then sets out through his village.  He delivers to all sorts of different types of animals, including some in the ocean.  His last package is a gift for his son’s birthday party.   

There is not much of a story line in this book, but the illustrations are detailed and creative.  The artwork is fun and she thinks of everything each creature might have if they had a house.  It reminded me a bit of Richard Scarry’s art.  My only qualm with this book is when he visits the rabbits there is a baby rabbit going the bathroom sitting on a toilet and his poop pellets were falling into a big hole full of poop.  I personally found this out of place and disgusting, my son on the other hand found it hilarious-so….   

EL (K-3)-ADVISABLE.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.