Monday, October 31, 2016

The Great Leopard Rescue by Sandra Markle - ESSENTIAL

Markle, Sandra The Great Leopard Rescue, 45 pages.  NON FICTION.  Millbrook (Lerner), 2016.  $23.

Following up on her Great Monkey Rescue, Markle turns her talent to the leopards and  a few other big cats around the world.  In simple terms she explains the threats against and possible actions to save the beautiful beasts.  Perfect for an upper elementary student for a report, or anyone who loves learning about the giant cats.

EL - ESSENTIAL.  MS – ADVISABLE.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Owl Sees Owl by Godwin and Donlavey - ADVISABLE

Godwin, Laura and Rob Donlavey  Owl Sees Owl.  PICTURE BOOK.  Schwartz & Wade Books (Penguin Random House LLC.), 2016. $17.99. Content: G.  

Little owl hops off his branch one night and with a flutter of wings he is soaring through the autumn night.  What will he see?  Beautiful story told in reverso poem  form.  Lovely illustrations are sure to please young readers. Perfect for read aloud fun.

PRE-K, EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Jen M. Elementary Librarian

Juana & Lucas by Juana Medina - ADVISABLE

Medina, Juana Juana & Lucas, 90 pgs. Candlewick, 2016. $14.99. Content: G. 

Juana loves a lot of things, especially her dog Lucas, her mom, drawing, Bogota and Astroman.  But she doesn’t love Mr. Tompkin’s class, because he is teaching the English!  English is hard and confusing and she has to make sounds like TH which make her tongue tickle.  She’s hoping to get any of the adults in her life to give her a good reason not to learn the English, but no luck. In fact, her Abuelo announces that he’s taking her on a trip to the U.S. of A. (Florida) to Spaceland where she can meet her hero! But her mom won’t let her go unless she gets good grades and that means she’ll have to practice the English!  

A fun beginning chapterbook, this multicultural young reader has a great mix of Spanish (cognates mostly) and English.  I sort of expected Lucas to take a larger role, it’s not really about a girl and her dog, it’s about a girl learning English.  Ironic that the book is already in English, making an interesting juxtaposition for the reader.  

EL  (K-3)- ADVISABLE  Lisa Librarian

Can One Balloon Make an Elephant Fly? by Dan Richards -- NO

Richards, Dan Can One Balloon Make an Elephant Fly? Illustrated by Jeff Newman. PICTURE BOOK. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016. $17.99.

While at the zoo, a boy realizes his mom is ignoring him in order to look at her phone. He begins asking her how many balloons it would take to make various animals fly. When his mother finally looks up, she realizes he's actually referencing toy animals instead of real ones.

This book just didn't come together for me. The text feels incomplete, confusing, and vague. While illustrations in picture books generally complement the text and further enhance the story, in this case they did not mesh well, nor did they add the much-needed clarity. In addition, I found it troublesome that a child and his mother were carelessly releasing so many balloons and plastic toys into the sky, causing litter -- and possible choking hazards for animals in and out of the zoo.

EL (K-3) -- NOT RECOMMENDED. Reviewed by Sydney G., Teacher/Librarian

Little Big Girl by Claire Keane - ADVISABLE

Keane, Claire Little Big Girl PICTUREBOOK 32 pgs. Penguin (Dial) 2016. $17.99. Content: G.  

Matisse is a little girl in a big world.  She wears little shoes and brushes little teeth and goes to big places like the city, stores, an aquarium and even the beach. But one day, her mom has a baby - Now Matisse is not so little anymore.  

Big bold illustrations hightlight this sweet story about becoming a big sister.  Reminiscent of “The Family Circus” comics (the author/illustrator is Bil Kean’s granddaughter) there’s as much story in the pictures as there is in the text. A great gift for the new sibling.  

EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE  Lisa Librarian

Poop Detectives : Working Dogs in the Field by Ginger Wadsworth - ESSENTIAL

Wadsworth, Ginger Poop Detectives : Working Dogs in the Field, NON FICTION 80 pgs. Charlesbridge, 2016. $17.95. Content: G. 

For years, ecologists and animal scientists have studied threatened/endangered animals and their environment by capturing them, examining them and then setting them free.  This is dangerous for both the animal subject and the scientists, so, in the mid 1980s, the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington began examining animal scat (poop) instead.  But it takes people a long time to locate and collect it, so some drug sniffing dogs were retrained to find scat instead, and a new safer, more accurate, and quicker animal study began!  

This beautifully photographed story of several of the amazing dogs in the program who help find everything from grizzly bear scat to snakes, to turtle eggs, even whale poop!  Complete with index, bibliography and captioned pictures on every page this action packed informational book about animal poop and the dogs who find it is a great addition to your library’s dog or science section.  

EL, MS - ESSENTIAL Lisa Librarian

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Frogkisser! by Garth Nix - ADVISABLE

Nix, Garth Frogkisser! 384 pages.  Scholastic, March 2017.  Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (danger, some fighting).

Princess Anya’s stepfather is becoming more evil every single day.  Its only a matter of time before he decides to rid himself of Anya and her sister Morven, the Queen to be, for good.  When Morven’s latest suitor is turned into a frog by their stepfather, it is Anya who has to go on a quest to find the elusive ingredients to a lip balm that will break the spell on any transformed being even without true love’s kiss. 

While you might think E.D. Baker at first, the similarities are there, but Nix’s work is not as light.  This is more Vivian VandeVelde of Patricia Wrede stuff.

EL – OPTIONAL, MS – ADVISABLE.  Cindy, Library Teacher

10 Busy Brooms by Carole Gerber - OPTIONAL

Gerber, Carole  10 Busy Brooms, illustrated by Michael Fleming.  PICTURE BOOK. DoubleDay Books for Young Readers.  2016.  $12.99. Content: G.  

Witches fly on their brooms through this Halloween tale trying to escape spooky skeletons, mummies, bats and more.  More and more witches join the flight until finally they crash in the neighborhood just in time to join in “Trick-or-Treat” fun!  

Colorful and fun pictures fill this holiday counting book.  Rhyming text makes it fun for young ones to follow along. Lots to see on every page. Great book for lap time reading with the very young.

PRE-K, EL (K-3), - OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Jen M. Elementary Librarian.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Almost Autumn by Marianne Kaurin - OPTIONAL

Kaurin, Marianne Almost Autumn, 288 pages.  Scholastic, JANUARY 2017.  $18.  Language: PG (11 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: G; Violence – PG (some beatings).

1942, Oslo, Norway.  Hitler and the Third Reich are exerting more and more influence upon life in occupied Norway.  Ilse and her family, Jews,  are having hardships, but nothing so drastic that they are trying to leave the country.  Her biggest worry is whether the boy downstairs really likes her or not.  Hermann, the boy, has worries of his own; he is working with the Norwegian underground to spirit Jews to safety.  But when it comes to help Ilse and her family, he is a little reluctant, and in some cases he is also too late. 

It wasn’t until 148 pages into this book that I actually became interested it what I was reading.  The characters’ normal lives proceed slowly, with only glimpses at the problems caused by the Nazis – slow enough that it will lose most student’s attention.  I wouldn’t recommend this unless you have a pressing need for more Holocaust books.

MS – OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher