Saturday, September 30, 2017

Lead the Way by Ace Landers - OPTIONAL

Landers, Ace  Lead the Way  Illustrated by Garret Taylor  PICTURE BOOK Disney Press, 2017.  $16.99  Content: G.  

Lightening McQueen reflects on all the lessons that he has learned from his friends.  He remembers overcoming hardships, celebrating with those he cares about and helping others.  In the end, he teaches someone to pay it forward.  

This is a sweet book about appreciating those who teach us, helping others because we have been helped and making memories.  Although there are some glimpses of characters from Cars 3, it isn’t a retelling of that movie.  It is more a list of life lessons.  Great for Cars fans.  

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

Miles Morales: Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds - ADVISABLE

Reynolds, Jason  Miles Morales: Spider-Man, 261 pgs.  Marvel Press, 2017 (Disney).  $17.99  Content: Language: PG-13 (21 swears); Mature Content: PG-13; Violence: PG.  

Miles Morales has a secret-he’s Spider-man.  Miles loves his family, but they come from a shady criminal background.  Miles has weird dreams at night about his uncle.  Miles and his uncle used to be good friends, but his uncle found out he was Spider-man, so he used that against Miles to try and pay off a debt to a crime boss.  The uncle dies trying to kill Miles.  When Miles tries to be a helpful Spider-man, he is haunted by his uncle who said Miles is corrupt like him.  Miles goes on an adventure to try and decode one of his dreams and become the Spider-man that he wants to become.  

I thought the main characters were well developed-you like Miles’ friends and family.  I liked the setting.  I felt like the story was confusing at times because I couldn’t always make the connection between the dream and reality.  The ending doesn’t have a lot of closure and there are a few crass comments.  Overall, it’s fun to read another view of Spider-Man.  

MS – ADVISABLE.  Reviewer, Isabelle, (8th grade).

Fairy Houses by Mike and Debbie Schramer - ADVISABLE

Schramer, Mike and Debbie Fairy Houses: How to Make Amazing Fairy Furniture, Miniatures, and More From Natural Materials, 169 pages.  Familius, 2015.  $25.

Get out your glue guns and your harvest baskets!  Be ready for months of inspiration for your fairy garden.  The Schramers are masters when it comes to seeing nature in a creative way.  The only thing that worries me is that a lot of the structures are framed with cardboard, so nothing is really meant to stay outside.  But it is all so beautiful, I almost don’t mind.  This is too much for a school library situation – way too much detail and complicated construction.  But for a crafty adult, this is a fascinating read.

ADULTS, GIFT – ADVISABLE.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Amazon Adventure by Sy Montgomery - ESSENTIAL

Montgomery, Sy Amazon Adventure: How Tiny Fish are Saving the World’s Largest Rainforest, pictures by Keith Ellenbogen.  66 pages.  NON-FICTION.  Houghton Mifflin, 2017  $19.

The largest rainforest in the world may be saved by the tiniest fish- the kind you pay premium bucks to add to your aquarium.  Despite the machinations of well-intentioned but ill-informed conservationists, the natives of the area are sustainable fishing the tiny aquatic jewels and they could be the secret to shifting the economy of the area from chopping down trees to an entirely different product.

Sy Montgomery must lead a charmed life.  She has pursued science stories all over the world.  This time she has taken to the Amazon for a very timely story about good intentions of conservation efforts needing to take a minute and learn from those who live the life.  As always, excellent scholarship and beautiful photographs blend together to form an excellent new look at current scientific research.

EL, MS – ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley - ESSENTIAL

Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker The War I Finally Won, Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin), 2017. $16.99. Language: G (0 swears, 0 “f”0; Mature Content: G; Violence: G. 

In this stirring sequel to “The War that Saved My Life”  Ada and Jamie are back with Susan, but Susan’s house has been destroyed by a german bomb, so they are now living on the Thornton estate in the old game keeper’s cottage.  World War II is making things difficult in England - rationing, blackouts, and the government has taken over the manor house, so Lady Thornton is living with Susan and the children. Susan has arranged for Ada to get the surgery to help her club foot, and Lady Thornton has agreed to pay for it, but there’s something about Lady Thornton that Ada just can’t seem to get along with. Now, Lord Thornton has sent a young Jewish German girl to be tutored in maths by Susan, and Lady Thornton is not having it! A German on her estate? 

This poignant story of life on the home front is bitter sweet and tender without getting sappy.  I loved how the reader’s understanding of the events of the war (the difficulty the Jews were facing in Germany and the horrors of being at war) are tempered by Ada’s innocence. So well written, I can recommend this to adults as well as to upper elementary and up.  It’s best to read “The War that Saved My Life” first.  

EL, MS - ESSENTIAL  Lisa Librarian

Into White by Randi Pink - OPTIONAL

Pink, Randi Into White, 279 pages. Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan), 2016. $17.99. Language: PG-13 (13 swears, 1 “f”); Mature Content: PG-13 (sexual references, sexual assault, racial slurs) Violence: PG-13 (sexual assault, bullying) 

Into White centers on Toya, a black teen who lives in a mostly white area. Toya prays that God make her anything but black, and much to her surprise wakes up finding out that her prayer has been answered. The story follows along as she navigates her new life at school as a blond and blue eyed white student. 

While this book does deal with some of the complexities of teenage life such as bullying, sexual assault, family relationships and being popular, the characters were flat and it felt like some of the racial inequalities and realities were glossed over and not dealt with more than just superficially. 


Meltdown! by Jill Murphy - OPTIONAL

Murphy, Jill   Meltdown! PICTURE BOOK.  Candlewick Press, 2016.  $15.99.  Content: G.  

Roxy is helping her mom do the grocery shopping.  She loves to help place items in the grocery cart.  She is doing a good job, until she sees her favorite “piggy cake”.  Roxy loves the piggy cake and she wants it right now.  When mom tells her she must wait a meltdown ensues. 

This is a cute book showing a temper tantrum at it’s best. A good tool for getting young children to recognize their actions and talk through their frustrations. 

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

Where’s the Hen? by Ingela Arrhenius - ADVISABLE

Arrhenius, Ingela P. Where’s the Hen? BOARD BOOK.  Nosy Crow (Candlewick), 2017.  $9.

Find the farm animals under the felt flaps in this sturdy peek-a-boo book.  I love the shiny mirror at the end of each book for a little friend to see themselves.  All of these Nosy Crow books make great additions to a new baby gift.