Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Warrior Princess of Pennyroyal Academy by M. A. Larson - ESSENTIAL

Larson, M. A. The Warrior Princess of Pennyroyal Academy (#3), 359 pages.  Putnam (Penguin), 2017.  $17.  Content: G (some danger)

The students of Pennyroyal Academy are supposed to be heading home for the summer, but a concerted attack by a massive force of witches turns many of them back to the safety of the magic barrier.  Then a trio of giants set-up shop outside the border, effectively stopping the Academy from ever getting out a plea for help.  The barrier will be coming down any day, so Evie, and her friends plot a way out to make a run for help.  Along the way, however, each of her friends seems to have a slightly different mission, leaving Evie almost completely alone when she needs them the most.

So many unanswered questions at the end of this – but in a very good way.  Larson still has me enthralled with the interactions and plot devices.  I do hope, however, that this series will find a natural end soon, so that I can meet new characters and places form inside the author’s mind. 

EL, MS – ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

My First Ballet Class by Alyssa Capucilli - OPTIONAL

Capucilli, Alyssa My First Ballet Class, EARLY READER. Simon & Schuster. 2016. Content: G. 

A Ready-to-Read book that ballet dancers will love! Ballet class is fun. Read the account of a young dancer's experience in class. After the description of what happens in class, there are several pages that give step by step instructions on how to try some ballet moves where ever you are. This book has real pictures and readers can feel like they have experienced their very first class. If a young dancer wants to calm their nerves about trying ballet or just enjoy comparing their own dance experience with that in the book, they can read and follow along. 

PRE-K, EL (K-3) - OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Amy, Elementary Teacher.

William Wenton and the Impossible Puzzle by Bobbie Peers - NO

Peers, Bobbie William Wenton and the Impossible Puzzle, 258 pages.  Aladdin (Simon), 2017.  $17.  Content: G (some danger)

William had his parents have been living a very quiet life in Norway.  But when he hears about a puzzle contest with a seemingly unsolvable puzzle, he can not resist.  He’s inherited the puzzle-solving gene from his grandfather.  So William sneaks away, solves the puzzle, and then is kidnapped.  His kidanppers say that they mean no harm, that they know his grandfather, but how can William trust them?  The only person in this crazy place of talking furniture and overconfident kids he can seem to trust is Iscia, and even she seems to have a hidden agenda.

The first thing I asked myself upon finishing was – what was the purpose of that? Seriously – why did I read this book?  While it had action, there was not enough compelling action to disguise the fact that there was minimal character development or plot.  Yes, William finds a pretty gigantic secret, but what is the point of it?  If this is meant to setup a series, it didn’t do the job.

NO – Cindy, Library Teacher

Miffy at the Library by Maggie Testa - OPTIONAL

Testa, Maggie Miffy at the Library, PICTURE BOOK. Simon & Schuster. 2017. Content: G. 

Trips the library are always fun! Miffy and Grunty love books and get to help Aunt Alice at the library today. They enjoy stamping and finding the right spot to put books away. This is a simple Ready-to-Read book that introduces readers to the library. It can be a place young children enjoy and a place where they can look forward to going. There are more Miffy books to look forward to reading. Emergent readers will enjoy the bright, life-like illustrations. 

PRE-K, EL (K-3) - OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Amy, Elementary Teacher.

Train by Chris Demarest - OPTIONAL

Demarest, Chris Train. BOARD BOOK. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1996. $6.99. 

A board book for the youngest of readers, this story takes you on a train ride through the country. Cows moo as you pass farms and go over hills, and eventually make your way back home. 

I enjoyed this board book for its simplicity with a rhyming text and very plain but colorful illustrations. However, there is nothing unique or surprising in this book, overall. Its called "Train" and a stereotypical train ride with nothing out of the ordinary trope is what you are going to get. Like its companion book, "Bus," this is a good choice for parents reading to their babies--the color palette and minimal text make it a good choice for this purpose. I just liked "Bus" a little better. 

Pre-K--OPTIONAL. Reviewer: TC