Tuesday, October 31, 2017

When the Snow Falls by Linda Sweeney - ADVISABLE

Sweeney, Linda Booth When the Snow Falls. PICTURE BOOK. Illustrated by Jana Christy. P. Putnam's Sons (Penguin), 2017. $16.99. 

Two children have a fun adventure with their grandparents on a snowy day--traveling through the snow, building snowmen and snow angels, and finally finishing the night with hot cocoa in front of a fire. This is a book written in sparse verse with beautiful and fun illustrations. The text focuses on descriptive words, allowing the reader to somewhat experience the snowy day with the illustrations. 

Overall this is a pretty book that adults will especially enjoy reading and its a nice one to add to a winter collection. I do not think it's destined to be a classic, but giving it a try is not a waste of time by any means.

Pre-K, EL (K-3), EL--ADVISABLE. Reviewer: TC

Imagine by John Lennon - OPTIONAL

Lennon, John Imagine, illustrated by Jean Jullien. PICTURE BOOK. Clarion Books, 2017. $18.99 978-1328808653

A picture book rendering of the classic Beatles song, "Imagine," this story follows a peace-loving pigeon/dove who is carrying olive branches to friends around the land. The text is nothing more than the lyrics to the song, and the illustrations are nothing extraordinary. As such, I feel like the book falls pretty flat. The book is being published in partnership with Amnesty International, so fans of John Lennon or those who want to help Amnesty will be interested in this book. But I don't think young readers will enjoy it at all. Yoko Ono Lennon wrote the foreword and Amnesty International included a note at the end.

EL (K-3), GIFT -- OPTIONAL. Reviewer: TC

Accident by Andrea Tsurumi - ADVISABLE

Tsurumi, Andrea Accident. PICTURE BOOK. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017. $17.99.

In Accident, Lola knocks over a pitcher of juice onto a white chair and decides to run away to the library. On her way to the library she runs into other animals who each have their own catastrophes and run away with Lola as well. The animals finally learn the word “accident” and what to do when one happens—help. 

I like the message of this book that it’s okay to have accidents as long as you help others and try to clean things up, and of course the fact that when everyone runs away they run to the library, but I wasn’t crazy about the illustrations. I liked how the pages had a lot going on, there was lots on each page to pick out and point to, but I didn’t find the animals cute or engaging enough to really draw me into the story. 

PRE-K, EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE. Reviewer: JQ

Good Night, Beautiful Moon: An Oona and Baba Adventure - ADVISABLE

Good Night, Beautiful Moon: An Oona and Baba Adventure. PICTURE BOOK. Penguin Young Reader’s Licenses (Penguin Random House), 2016. $9.99. 

In Good Night, Beautiful Moon the creatures of Puffin Rock are all abuzz about the occurrence of a supermoon. Oona the puffin wants to make sure all her friends know about the supermoon, but has a little trouble staying awake for the big event. After her friends and family worry she’s missing, Oona is found sleeping on the beach. Luckily she didn’t miss the silvery bright moon and all the friends on Puffin Rock get to watch the supermoon together. 

This is An Oona and Baba Adventure book based on the TV series Puffin Rock. The illustrations are fantastic, and there is just something so sweet about the story that captures the excitement of being a kid trying to stay up late for something. The book also has a little map of the island and a short introduction to the characters before the story begins which adds a fun touch.


Let’s Investigate with Nate: The Water Cycle, by Nate Ball, illustrated by Wes Hargis - ADVISABLE

Ball, Nate.  Let’s Investigate with Nate: The Water Cycle, illustrated by Wes Hargis.  Harper, 2017.  $17.99.  Content: G.  PICTURE BOOK.
Before the Science Museum opens on Saturdays a group of kids goes on scientific adventures with scientist Nate Ball.  Today they learned about the water cycle and all things liquid.  What happens to very hot water?  It boils.  What happens to very cold water?  It freezes.  What is half of your body made of?  Water.  The story is littered with interesting questions and fun facts.  They start their journey in the clouds where they learn about molecules.  Rain becomes puddles, puddles becomes a stream, and a stream can lead to a lake.  Estuaries, evaporation, snowflakes, ground water, and subterranean rivers are also covered.  A hands-on science experiment: Make Your Own Cloud completed with instructions and suggested observations.  The book also includes a very helpful glossary of the terms used.  Recommend to fans of The Magic School Bus. 

EL-ADVISABLE.  Samantha Hastings, MA, MLS. 

What Would Happen? Serious Answers to Silly Questions by Crispin Boyer - ESSENTIAL

Boyer, Crispin.  What Would Happen? Serious Answers to Silly Questions.  176 pages.  National Geographic Kids, 2017.  $14.99.  Content: G.  NON FICTION.
Have you ever wondered what would happen in zombies attacked?  If so, this is the book for you.  The book is split into eight chapters: You First, Wonders of the World, Second Nature, Time Warped, Tech Checked, Natural Wonders, Worst-Case Scenarios, and Reality Chucked.  The breadth of what is covered ranges from prehensile tails to wielding the Force.  Each topic is given a two-page spread with bright pictures, sound scientific information, and a section of Could It Happen?   What if cars drove themselves?  According to the author, Crispin Boyer, this could happen in the near future.  You could use your smartphone to summon an auto-taxi.  The format and style of this book make it an enjoyable read for just a page or two on a specific topic of interest, or to sit in a comfortable chair (or throne if you’re related to royalty—pages 152-3) to read it cover to cover.    
EL-ESSENTIAL.  Samantha Hastings, MA, MLS. 

Chomp! Fierce Facts about the Bite Force, Crushing Jaws, and Mighty Teeth of Earth’s champion chewers by Brady Barr - ESSENTIAL

Barr, Brady. Chomp! Fierce Facts about the Bite Force, Crushing Jaws, and Mighty Teeth of Earth’s champion chewers.  95 pages.  National Graphic Kids, 2017.  $12.99.  Content: G.  NON FICTION.
Learn fascinating facts about some of the most powerful biters in the animal kingdom.  Each two-page spread includes: information about the animal, what they eat, their bite force, and eye-catching, full-color photographs.  Meet the Beast section includes more information on the animal; such as, size and color.  What’s on the Menu section explains what the animals eat; such as, hippos eat grass—150 pounds of grass each night.  The Bite Business section gives more fascinating facts about the animal; such as, how gray wolfs hunt in packs of 20-30 members.  The Bite Force section explains the force of the animal’s bite in pounds; or in the case of a jaguar, a whopping one ton.  The 123 By the Numbers sections explains how many teeth and their size; a Humbolt Squid has 40,000 small teeth.  The Did You Know section is a short, interesting fact; such as elephants are right or left-tusked, just like humans are left or right-handed.  All of the information is presented in a clear and interested way.  Kids that are interested in animals will find this a fascinating book to bite into.    

EL-ESSENTIAL.  Samantha Hastings, MA, MLS. 

Knights of the Borrowed Dark: The Forever Court by Dave Rudden - ESSENTIAL

Rudden, Dave.  Knights of the Borrowed Dark: The Forever Court.  416 pages.  Random House, 2017.  $16.99.  Sexual Content: G.  Violence: PG.  Language: G (2 swears). 

The second book in the Knights of the Borrowed Dark series, takes place a few months after the last book.  Denizen is still struggling to connect with his mother who left him in an orphanage for thirteen years to pursue a suicidal revenge mission.  Denizen has over seventy cants in his mind, words with magical power that seem to want to be used.  But every time magic is used—there is a cost.  Mercy, the daughter of the Endless King, who Denizen helped rescue wants to meet with the Knights of the Borrowed Dark to talk peace.  The Palatine sees it as an opportunity.  Denizen sees it as a chance to see the girl he fancies.    
A new character is introduced named Uriel Croit.  He is the narrator of every other chapter.  His family lives on a hidden island and worships the Redemptress.  His twin sister Ambrel and he are both blessed with powers.  The Redemptress awakens and Uriel is disturbed at the changes in his sister.  The Redemptress wants to take over the world and doesn’t care who she hurts to do it.  The Croit family kidnaps Denizen and Uriel must pick a side to fight for.
Magic, mystery, knights, and a hint of romance.  What more could a middle-schooler want from a fantasy adventure book?  The plot moves quickly and the twists and turns all come back neatly together at the end.  Author, Dave Rudden has excellent world-building in both books, but this second one expands the reader’s understanding of the existence and the history of the Endless King, his daughter, and the Tenebrous.  Denizen continues to be a likeable character.  Uriel’s character development is the heart of his story.  How can he do what is right and still be loyal to his family?  A great book for boys (and girls).  This is the perfect series to recommend to Rick Riordan fans.    
MS-ESSENTIAL.  Samantha Hastings, MA, MLS. 

The Purlioning of Prince Oleomargarine by Mark Twain and Philip Stead - OPTIONAL

Twain, Mark and Philip Stead  The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine, 152 pgs.  Illustrated by Erin Stead.  Doubleday Books, 2017.  $24.99  Content: G. 

Johnny lives with his mean grandfather and his pet chicken.  When Johnny’s grandfather forces him to take the chicken to sell into town, Johnny meets a woman who trades him blue seeds for the chicken.  After the blue seeds grow a flower, Johnny eats the flower and then is able to understand animals.  The animals become his friends and help him build a nice house and have an adventure with rescuing the prince.  

The beginning of this book was fun and although it was sad and kind of dark, I thought it would be a great Mark Twain short story, but as it progressed it took a lot of confusing turns.  I’m not sure any kid would stick with this story and it’s a bit of a stretch to sell this as Mark Twain’s.  The story line is entertaining; however, it is hard to wade through all the extra comments from Philip Stead to get to the narrative.  The vocabulary is high for younger readers, but the message seems too simple for older readers.  The illustrations were pretty amazing though and I liked Johnny and the animals—I just wish their story wasn’t distractedly interrupted over and over with commentary that was pointless.  

EL – OPTIONAL.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.

Adolf Hitler by James Buckley Jr. - ESSENTIAL

Buckley, James Jr. Adolf Hitler (History's Worst), 191 pgs. Aladdin, 2017.  $7.99.  Language: G; Mature Content PG; Violence: PG.

James Buckley gives a succinct, clear picture about Hitler’s life from childhood through death.  This is no small feat since so much has been written about the man.  This book hits all the key points from this era in history.  One nice thing the author includes is small subchapters about key points, like “The Rise of Communism,” which help clarify the events of WWII and why Hitler could have wielded so much power.  

Buckley does a great job of making Hitler’s life accessible to young people.  Even though the book is biased, it’s hard to be objective about someone who is responsible for the Holocaust.  I would recommend this book to young people and older people alike.  The book was well researched, with a timeline and notes in the back.  This book would be a great help and a quick read for anyone studying the Holocaust.

MS, HS - ESSENTIAL.  Michelle in the Middle