Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Chasing Augustus by Kimberly Fusco - ESSENTIAL

Fusco, Kimberly Newton Chasing Augustus 326 pages . Alfred A. Knopf (Random House), 2017. $16.99. Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: G.

Rosie has a hole in her heart as big as the sun. It’s been there since the day her mom gave her dog away. Her mom has been nothing but a disruption in her life since she left when Rosie was a baby. Her father has been her guiding light, but now that he’s had a stroke, it’s just her and Grandpa Harry. Though grumpy and irritable for getting stuck raising his grandchild, Rosie eventually begins to see the difference between her grandfather and her mother. With all the disappointment in her life, Rosie has one goal. She will stop at nothing until she finds the dog that filled her heart. Going on a tip that “crazy lady” Swanson has her dog, she sets out every day with a plan to steal back her dog.

Rosie is a spunky, hard-headed, independent, quirky 11-year-old that will stop at nothing to find her dog. Despite all that, it’s hard not to love her. In fact, all the characters are lovable despite their flaws due to the author’s superb writing. This is a fresh, new book that is sure to please the animal loving crowd, especially those who loved Shiloh and Because of Winn-Dixie. There are few books that I have a hard time putting down. This was one of them because the characters are so fully developed and interesting.

EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Valerie McEnroe, Media Specialist

Sarah at the Wedding by Pauline Our - ADVISABLE

Oud, Pauline Sarah at the Wedding.  PICTURE BOOK.  Clavis, 2017.  $17.

Sarah and Ian are excited to help and their Aunt Olivia’s wedding.  They have important duties to perform and all kinds of fun at the reception. 

What a fun book for someone young who’s relative is getting married.  It goes through the major events ins simple, sweet way and is paired with exuberant drawings.

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

The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein - OPTIONAL

Wein, Elizabeth  The Pearl Thief (Code Name Verity, #0.5), 324 pgs.  Hyperion, 2017.  $18.99  Content: Language: PG-13 (5 swears); Mature Content: PG-13 (homosexual kissing); Violence: PG-13.  

Julia Beufort-Stuart returns home to Scotland to spend the summer at her grandfather’s estate one last time, before it is sold.  When she first arrives, she is hit over the head and left for dead by the river, but is rescued by a brother and sister who are known as Tinkers.  As Julia tries to piece together what happened to her that day at the river, another mystery occurs involving a missing man.  Julia works with her new Tinker friends to figure out what is happening.  

The much loved character of Julia from Code Name Verity is the main character of this mystery.  I loved the history of the Scottish pearls and the plot line was a fun who-done-it mystery. I didn’t love how Julia’s character was willing to kiss anyone that came her way, and it distracted from the story-to the point of ridiculousness. This book has a lot of content including police brutality, attempted rape, and a grisly dead body.  

HS – OPTIONAL.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.

Stellaluna by Janell Cannon - ADVISABLE

Cannon, Janell Stellaluna BOARD BOOK. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1993. $7.99.  978-0152062873

 Stellaluna is a baby bat who gets separated from her mother and ends up being raised with a trio of baby birds in their nest. Going against her nature, she learns to eat bugs, sleep right side up, and sleep at night. Once she learns to fly, Stellaluna is found by her bat family and is ecstatic to discover creatures like herself who eat delicious fruit and sleep upside down and do all the things she feels most comfortable. Returning to her bird family, the birds and Stellaluna discover they can be friends and embrace both their similarities and their differences.

This book has been around for over twenty years and there's a reason it is still a favorite. The story of Stellaluna is timeless and one kids and adults can continue to appreciate. I love the unique nature of this story--who would ever figure on a fruit bat being the protagonist of a picture book?--as well as the simple but lovely illustrations. This is a great choice for a board book, allowing it to be shared with a younger audience.

Pre-K--ADVISABLE. Reviewer: TC

Runaways by Christopher Golden - OPTIONAL

Golden, Christopher. Runaways, 348 pgs. Marvel Press (Disney Book Group), 2018. Language – R (88 swears plus 4 more in the tag story after the ending, 0 “f”), Mature Content – PG13 (homosexual and heterosexual couples); Violence – PG13; 

The Runaways are five friends united by their unique abilities and literally murderous parents. They didn’t think their situation could get more complicated after killing their evil parents and having to go on the run, but they were wrong: their parents weren’t the only group murdering innocent people for power. Now that the Runaways know that evil is still running amok in LA, the five must decide what they can—and should—do before more lives are lost.

This book makes references to seasoned Marvel characters, like the Avengers, but the Runaways are more similar to Marvel’s Spiderman. The five members of the Runaways are all under 18 years old, and, while they have been forced to grow up quickly, I like that they are so real as they are trying to find their place in this world—only on a slightly more complicated level than the normal teenager. As the story started out, I found the progression slow and switching between all five points of view complicated, but it grew on me. The Runaways’ story is not over, but I love these new heroes.
Note: There is a bonus short graphic story at the end of the book that has nothing to do with the main story besides the same characters.

HS - OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen.

Ninja Claus! by Arree Chung - ADVISABLE

Chung, Arree Ninja Claus!  PICTURE BOOK.  Henry Holt (Macmillan), 2017.  $18.

Maxwell is out to capture Santa with his ninja traps.  But the Santa man is oh so clever.  He avoids the traps and leaves something extra special for Maxwell – who hasn’t really given up on catching him!

I admit it – I postponed reading this until well after Christmas and I regret it.  It is super cute and fun to read.  I am a fan of Maxwell.  While I don’t condone setting traps for Santa, the spirit of the book of playful and kind.

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