Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Joyride by Anna Banks - OPTIONAL

Banks, Anna  Joyride, 278 pgs.  Feiwel and Friends, 2015.  $17.99  

Content: Language: PG-13 (26 swears); Mature Content: PG-13; Violence: PG-13.   

Carly is a sixteen year old girl who works all night and studies all day in an attempt to make her and her family’s life better.  Carly lives with her brother, but her parents were deported to Mexico so they are doing everything they can to get them back.  One night while Carly is working at the convenient store, someone holds up her favorite customer in the parking lot.  Carly defends her customer and discovers that the kid, Arden, who is doing the hold-up goes to her school.  In a weird twist of events Carly and Arden become friends, which could ruin her family’s chance of being together.   

This is a fast paced read and I liked the characters personalities.  There was a lot of heavy topics such as: deportation, government corruption and death of family.  Overall, it wasn’t a bad read, but it isn’t for everyone either.  It’s not a light teen romance which is what the cover looks like.   

MS, HS – OPTIONAL.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.

Clark the Shark: Afraid of the Dark by Bruce Hale - ADVISABLE

Hale, Bruce  Clark the Shark: Afraid of the Dark Illustrated by Guy Francis  Harper, 2015.  $17.99  PICTURE BOOK  Content: G.  

Clark the Shark has prepared everything for his friend sleepover and can’t wait to play with his friends, but from the beginning he is worried about sleeping outside his house in the dark.  Clark and his friends have a ton of fun together, but when it’s time to go to bed they are all spooked.  They work together to make a song about not being afraid of the dark and then sing it until they fall asleep.  

My boys love Clark the Shark—I’m not sure I see the appeal because the illustrations are kind of muted and the story line has a weird solution.  The facial expressions on the fish are expressive and I think young readers relate to being afraid of the dark and afraid that their friends will make fun of them.  My review would be optional, but if it was up to my kids, who are the real audience of a children’s picture book they would make it advisable.  

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

Mission Titanic (The 39 Clues Double Cross #1) by Jude Watson -No

Watson, Jude Mission Titanic (The 39 Clues Double Cross #1) 235 pgs. Scholastic, 2015 $16.99 Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: PG Violence: PG
Even though he is young Ian Kabra is head of the Cahills. He wields a ton of power and he is capable of big mistakes as well. A mystery person is challenging him to stop re-creations of four of history’s greatest disasters, in this book it’s the sinking of the Titanic. Ian decides to seek out Amy and Dan in hopes they can all work together to stop this disaster.
This book felt like stepping into a spy movie for growups, halfway through. I thought it was heavy,un-interesting and had to force myself to read it. Its odd because the kids are really grownup, so why even pretend? I would say that unless you have read other 39 clues, this book should wait. It’s not a read alone.

MS, HS -NO Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Emily Windsnap and the Ship of Lost Souls by Liz Kessler-OPTIONAL

Kessler, Liz, Emily Windsnap and the Ship of Lost Souls. Pgs. 288. Candlewick Press, 2015. $15.99. Language: G, Mature Content: PG, Violence: PG

When Emily’s eighth-grade class arrives at Fivebays Island for an excursion, they discover that their course leader, Lowenna, is missing. Soon, a camping trip meant to encourage human/merpeople relations turns into a mystery that no one’s willing to talk about. With the help of her boyfriend, Aaron, the two set about trying to figure out what happened to her. When the two find her, they discover that she got trapped on a ghostly ship on her way to Atlantis. With the help of Lyle, the mysterious person who runs the island, will they be able to save Lowenna? To make matters worse, Emily is not sure what to think of her feelings for Aaron. Will she figure out if she loves him? How did Lowenna get stuck on the ship and why was she heading to Atlantis?

The plot is well developed and engaging. The characters are intriguing and engaging. The romance issues feel a little contrived and forced, but a follower of the series probably won’t care. Readers who enjoy mermaids and who have read the other books in the series will delight in this newest Emily Windsnap adventure. EL. OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.

The Murders in the Rue Morgue and other tales by Edgar Allan Poe adapted by Jean Morvan and Corbeyran –NO

Adapted by Morvan, Jean and Corbeyran The Murders in the Rue Morgue and other tales by Edgar Allan Poe Papercutz, 2013 Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: PG13 Violence: R $13.99 GRAPHIC NOVEL
This book contains graphic novel adaptions of the Edgar Allan Poe stories of the Murders in the Rue Morgue, the Gold Bug, and The Mystery of Marie Roget.
To be honest, if your not going to read the original of these stories than the cliff notes version would be easier than this graphic novel. The cadence of the language and the vocabulary is kept intact here, making it as difficult as the original. This is where the graphic novel imagery steps into help out right? I found it to be less than helpful, especially in the first story where the characters look very much alike. There is detailed scenes of female murder victims as well, which add more gore than just reading from the book. I am still not liking almost everything that Papercutz puts out.

HS  –NO Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

School for Sidekicks by Kelly McCullough-OPTIONAL

McCullough, Kelly, School for Sidekicks. pgs.336. Macmillan Books, 2015. $16.99. Language: PG, Mature Content: PG, Violence: PG  Most kids get clothes, DVDs, or some other item for their birthday. Evan Quick, however, gets super powers. Long before he was born, a mysterious “Hero Bomb” went off and  endowed some people with superpowers. Some were superheroes known as Masks, like Evan’s idol Captain Commanding. Others were known as supervillains called Hoods. When a mysterious machine gives him a Mask costume, Evan’s elated to find it gives him superpowers as well. Nothing is like what he expected. Sent to train at the Academy for Metahuman Operatives, he is sad to learn that few newcomers ever advance beyond sidekick. To make matters worse, he must become sidekick to failed Mask and recovering alcoholic Foxman—who loathes Evan’s hero. As secrets get revealed and , Evan known there is something wrong.  What is really going on with the superhero regulatory agency OSIRIS? Why do Hoods always get out of jail, no matter how many they kill?

Despite what it appears, this book is more of a character or world-building type book. The story's pacing is a bit uneven, and the other characters are hard to keep straight, but Evan is a character readers can’t help but relate to. His quirky, funny personality adds depth and dimension to the plot while drawing the reader into the story. The author’s mix of mystery and wit works mostly well with the story and characters and keeps readers wanting to read more. People who enjoy humorous superhero stories where things are not so black and white will like reading this book.  EL. MS. OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Messenger: The Legend of Joan of Arc by Tony Lee - OPTIONAL

Lee, Tony  Messenger: The Legend of Joan of Arc: A Graphic Novel  Illustrated by Sam Hart.  Candlewick Press, 2014.  $21.99  GRAPHIC NOVEL  Content: Language: PG-13 (15 swears); Mature Content: PG-13; Violence: PG-13.   

Jehanne d’Arc sees a vision in which the angel Michael tells her to lead France in the war against the British.  As she leaves her small village and her army leader of a father, Jehanne becomes Joan of Arc as she fearlessly faces the British.  Joan gives the tired French soldiers courage and hope as they believe in her visions.  But regardless of how much she accomplishes, she eventually is treated unfairly and burned at the stake.  Much later, she was made the patron saint of France.   

This is a good succinct telling of the life of Joan of Arc touching on the major points of her story.  I wanted to like this book, but I had a couple of major issues with it.  First, you can’t tell from the illustrations who is who among Joan’s advisers and sometimes you can hardly tell it’s Joan.  Second, there needed to be a map.  Third, the coloring of the graphics is dark and splotchy (I have no idea why there are so many spots on everything) and it’s feels unfinished.  The mature content is an attempted rape-it’s not overly graphic but it’s obvious that is what it going on.  The violence is war violence.  

 MS, HS – OPTIONAL.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.