Friday, June 30, 2017

Battle for the Emerald Buddha by Elizabeth Hunt - OPTIONAL

Hunt, Elizabeth Singer Battle for the Emerald Buddha: Thailand (Secret Agents Jack and Max Stalwart #1), 144 pages.  Weinstein, 2017.  $6.  Content: G (some fighting).

Jack and Max have retired from the Global Protection Force and are on vacation in Thailand with their unsuspecting parents.  Just because they say they are no longer secret agents, doesn’t mean that intrigue and danger won’t find them.  As they go to view the Emerald Buddha, a statue sacred to the Thais, instead, they find it missing, stolen by a group of teens.  Jack and Max are back on the trail of thieves and spies.

I have not read any of the original series – Secret Agent Jack Stalwart.  I’d love to hear from someone who has.  At $6 a book, it might be worth buying the first few books in the original series (there are 16) to see how they do.  They are definitely written for a very young audience.  I had a hard time swallowing that a group of teenagers were crafty enough to steal the Mona Lisa.  This particular one would be a okay chapter book for a 3rd  or 4th grader just reading on their own.  I am very hesitant to suggest buying the complete series, however.  Most kids at that age don’t have the staying capacity to read 17 books.

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

Circle, Triangle, Elephant by Kenji Oikawa - ADVISABLE

Oikawa, Kenji Circle, Triangle, Elephant, with Mayuko Takeuchi.  BOARD BOOK.  Phaidon, 2017.  $10.

Oikawa’s book advertises lots of shapes, but why does it just have to be a circle, a triangle, or a square?  It doesn’t!  How about an elephant?  Or a hat?  This book is delightfully mixed up – especially after a surfeit of classic shapes books.

Pre-K – ADVISABLE.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Secrets & Sequences (Secret Coders #3) by Gene Luen Yang -ADVISABLE

Yang, Gene Luen Yang Secrets & Sequences (Secret Coders #3) 103 pages. First Second, 2017. $18.99. Language: G ( 0 swears) ; Mature Content: G; Violence: G. GRAPHIC NOVEL
In this third installment of the series, readers find Hopper and her friends facing off with a criminal mastermind. They must use their coding skills, teamwork, and a little help from some frenemies if they are to save their beloved teacher and stop a mad man. Features green and black illustrations. Reader can participate in the adventure as each coding challenge the characters face is also a challenge for the reader, new coding techniques being introduced and added. 
The coding in the book has gone beyond my skill level. The students who like graphic novels love the first book, but lose interest as the skills required to meet the challenges have gotten harder. That being said, I have had a few die hard fans who have loved this series and it always gains popularity during December, after our school participates in The Hour of Code. But it would be a great fit for Middle School, and could even be used for an (the funnest ever) assignment for a computer class/coding class. 
EL, MS –ADVISABLE Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

What would Captain Picard Do? by Brandon Snider -NO

Snider, Brandon What would Captain Picard Do? 40 pages. Penguin, 2017. $12.99. Language: G ( 0 swears) ; Mature Content: G; Violence: G.
This book is a collection of glossy stills from the show Star Trek: The Next Generation, with a focus on Captain Picard. It features life advice disguised as references to the show. 

This book is very specific, only a fan who knew every episode and watched them multiple times, would understand the references. (That would be me). That being said, it wasn't interesting or funny, much of the text was just fairly lame, even for a (Huge) fan. Middle School and High school fans of the show, would probably find this book even more boring than I did. The only thing that could have saved this would have been a free poster size of the captain for me to hang up in my trekkie collectibles room (Ok, I don't really have one of those).
MS, HS –NO Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Mrs. McBee Leaves Room 3 by Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan -- ADVISABLE

McLellan, Gretchen Brandenburg Mrs. McBee Leaves Room 3, illustrated by Grace Zong. PICTURE BOOK Peachtree Publishers, 2017. $16.95. Content: G.

Mrs. McBee has just informed her class that she will not be back after summer break. Her students are stunned. After all, they may have a new teacher next year, but they were still counting on seeing Mrs. McBee around. The school won't be the same without her there. How can they possibly cope?

This book touches on a very real topic for many children who, while they may move on to a new teacher, often love to see their previous teachers around the school. This would be a good read-aloud and discussion-starter for a class whose teacher is either retiring or moving. It would probably need a knowledgable librarian to hand it to a teacher, however, since many will not think to look for such a book on their own. A helpful addition to a library collection.

EL (K-3) -- ADVISABLE. Reviewed by Sydney G., K-6 Library Media Specialist

Pizza (Cook in a Book) - ADVISABLE

Pizza (Cook in a Book), illustrated by Lotta Nieminen.  INTERACTIVE BOARD BOOK.  Phaidon, 2017.  $15.  978-0714874098

Want to make pizza?  Follow a real recipe in this interactive board book and make a pizza that you can pretend to eat.  Knead the dough, spread on the sauce, and enjoy a tasty delight.

Pre-K – ADVISABLE.  Cindy, Library Teacher

The Waking Land by Callie Bates - OPTIONAL

Bates, Callie The Waking Land, 400 pages. Del Rey, 2017.  

Language: PG-13 (29 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: R (on page sex); Violence: PG-13 (fighting, death).

Elanna has been a hostage for 14 years as ransom for her father’s good behavior.  When she accused of murdering her protector, King Antoine, by his greedy heir, the new Queen Loyce, She must run for her life, and perhaps towards her destiny.  Along the wasy she will learn about friendship, about love, and about the three-part power of her land.

Bates writes a tour-de-force of high fantasy.  I can’t wait to read more in the series.  Rich in detail, in magic, and connections.  Were it not for the scene where Elanna “weds the land” it would be appropriate for a much wider audience.

HS – OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Away by Emil Sher - ADVISABLE

Sher, Emil Away, illustrated by Qin Leng.  PICTURE BOOK.  Groundwood Books, 2017.  $19.

A busy little girl and her mother communicate through love and post-it notes.  The little girl is anxious about going to sleepaway camp.  Then a  visit from her grandmother reveals something about her mother’s own history with camp – a little something that gives her the courage to go and build her own memories.

Leng’s watercolor illustrations are a fitting compliment to Sher’s sparse, but telling narrative.  A great book to explore and teach a child to look as carefully at the pictures to understand the full meaning of the text.  A nice sideways step from wordless picture books.

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