Monday, November 30, 2015

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han - OPTIONAL

Han, Jenny  P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, #2), 337 pgs.  Simon & Schuster, 2015.  $17.99 Content: Language: R (56 swears; 11 “F”; God overused); Mature Content: PG-13 (crass sexual comments and open sexual discussions); Violence: G.   

Lara Jean really likes Peter, but since their night in the hot tub at the last overnight school field trip, she is unsure how to define their relationship.  As Peter and Lara Jean become more serious, an old friend shows up that is interested in Lara Jean.  The fact that Peter is keeping a secret with his old girlfriend, makes Lara Jean wonder if she can trust him.   

The back and forth between Lara Jean and the two boys in the book keeps you guessing.  The content makes it hard to recommend for a school library—the “F” word feels forced and the sex talk is pretty blunt.  I like Han’s characters and it’s a fun romance, but the content moves it to optional. 

HS-OPTIONAL.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.

The Big Orange Book of Beginner Books by Dr. Seuss - OPTIONAL

Seuss, Dr.  The Big Orange Book of Beginner Books, 240 pgs.  Random House, 2015.  $15.99 EARLY READER  Content: G.   

This collection of six early readers includes the following books:  The Shape of Me and Other Stuff, Ten Apples Up On Top!, Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!, Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo!, Hooper Humperdink…? Not Him!, and In a People House.  Unlike the Big Blue Book or the Big Red Book, this collections doesn’t seem to have a familiar book in the bunch.  The most enjoyable books are Because a Little Bug went Ka-Choo! And Ten Apples Up on Top! But the other books are hard to recommend and read like a list instead of a story.  The Hooper Humperdink story is about not including a boy at a party and although at the very end they finally invite him, it still feels very mean.   The illustrations are bright and fun to look at and it is Dr. Seuss so how bad can in be, but the other two collections have better compilations.   

PREK, EL (K-3)-OPTIONAL.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin - OPTIONAL

Benjamin, Ali The Thing About Jellyfish, 339 pages.  Little Brown, 2015.  $17.  Content: PG (scene with urine; and while there is one gay relationship in the book, it is a peripheral plot point).  

Suzy and Franny used to be best friends, but  last year, since the start of 6th grade, Franny was actively antagonistic toward Suzy, choosing new friends and ignoring Suzy.  Suzy cements the estrangement by committing a heinous act right at the end of the year.  Then Franny dies on summer vacation - and Suzy stops speaking, becoming obsessed with the thought that Franny was killed by an undiagnosed jellyfish sting.  Her seventh grade year is a year of challenges and growth for Suzy - a year of obsession, but possibly a year of good changes.

Except for my love of reading, I am not an obsessive person.  Even in childhood I wasn’t dependent upon one person for my happiness, but had friends who spanned many different social groups and I would hangout with different people for a wide variety of activities.  So I have always had a hard time relating to this recurring theme of children who are deeply wounded by growing apart from their friends.  While I enjoyed most of Suzy’s story, her obsession with jellyfish left me a little cold - way too much jellyfish information for me.  This will mostly be a book that adults buy for children based on the recommendation of a book seller somewhere - not a book that children will share with each other.

EL, MS - OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

The Inventor’s Secret: What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford - ESSENTIAL

Slade, Suzanne The Inventor’s Secret: What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford, illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt.  PICTURE BOOK.  Charlesbridge, 2015.  $17.  Content: G.

Thomas Edison was already famous for many inventions before Henry Ford met him in 1896.  Henry Ford has already tried many different ways to build a moving vehicle for the masses before he met Thomas Edison in 1896.  After that meeting, and the big secret to inventing that Edison told Ford, the two became fast friends.  And eventually Ford was able to build a vehicle that would make him famous and bring automobiles to everyone.

What a  great book for any science or technology class - or really any class that deals with creating.  Pair this with Ashley Spires Most Magnificent Thing for a great mini lesson on perseverance and the sweat equity involved in inventing.

EL, MS, HS - ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher