Saturday, March 31, 2018

Silas’ Seven Grandparents by Anita Horrocks - OPTIONAL

Horrocks, Anita Silas’ Seven Grandparents, illustrated by Helen Flook.  PICTURE BOOK.  Orca Books, 2010.  $11.  9781459816404.

Sometimes Silas’ seven grandparents are just too much, but most of the time he remembers how much he loves them all.  When his parents are going away on a business trip, Silas needs to decide which place he wants to go stay.  But maybe Silas can come up with an even better idea!

I think that the first thing kids are going to ask is – how does Silas have seven grandparents?  But there is no explanation, so it may be a good jump off point to discuss the many different forms of family.  Silas’ final idea is cute.

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

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi - ESSENTIAL

Adeyemi, Tomi Children of Blood and Bone, 525 pages.  Henry Holt (Macmillan), 2018.  $19.  Language: PG-13 (40+ swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG-13 (several deaths and fighting).

Zelie’s life has never been the same since she watched her mother murdered by the king’s guards on the day that everyone just calls The Raid.  She has the telltale white hair of a diviner, a potential magic user, but magic has disappeared from the world.  She and her brother have traveled to the royal city in order to get a better price on their fish so that they can pay the new exorbitant taxes the king has levied.  Instead she gets caught up with the princess Amari who is on the run from her father and his guards, because she has stolen a scroll – a scroll that ignites magic in diviners.  Now the siblings and the princess are on a desperate flight – their chief pursuer is Amari’s own brother.  Their success will determine whether magic returns or not – whether the remaining diviners will live or not.

ADeyemi writes a tense fantasy novel that will attract many readers.  Its quality and plotting reminds me of Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta – in all the best ways.  Excellent high level fantasy reading!

MS, HS – ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Race Cars on the Go by Beth Reinke - OPTIONAL

Reinke, Beth Bence  RaceCars on the Go, 24 pages.  NON-FICTION.  Bumba Books (Lerner), 2018.  $26 (library binding).  9781512482508

This simple non-fiction books uses a few words and color photographs to show early readers what race cars are like and what they do.  The simple concept works well for a lap book or a read together. If I were buying this for home consumption, I would buy the $8 paperback version, though.

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

Dance in the Dark by Sophie Cleverly - OPTIONAL

Cleverly, Sophie Dance in the Dark (The Lost Twin #2), 320 pages.  Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, MAY 2018.  $8 (paper).  Language: PG (4 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (some danger).

Twins Scarlet and Ivy Gray are both safely back in Rookwood School.  Now that the evil headmaster Mr. Bartholomew and the cruel Miss Fox are both gone, life is much simpler.  When the ballet teacher, Miss Finch, announces that the school ballet this year is going to be Sleeping Beauty, Scarlet can only see that she wants to be the titular character.  Ivy, though, is dealing with a bully and when Miss Finch goes missing, she gets only more upset and worried.  Something is still not right at Rookwood, but no one will listen to her.

Younger readers may enjoy this light mystery after having read the first in the series.  This one is not quite as tense and dangerous as the first, though.  I don’t see how this can go any further than the two.

EL – OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Open the Suitcase by Ruth Wielockx - OPTIONAL

Wielockx, Ruth Open the Suitcase.  PICTURE BOOK.  Clavis, 2017.  $18.  9781605374017.

A series of suitcases and a series of animals.  Which ones belong together?  Lift the open to open each case and solve the puzzle and see the animals at work. 

Such a  cute idea and great illustrations, but … I have a couple of qualms.  One – the flaps are regular book page – not very sturdy.  Two – each page asks you to find the items on the page that were in the suitcase, but you have to flip back and forth to do the matching.  If they were side by side it would be so much easier.  A little advance product testing would have highlighted these flaws quickly.

Pre-K – OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Friday, March 30, 2018

Harriet Gets Carried Away by Jessie Sima- OPTIONAL

Sima, Jessie. Harriet Gets Carried Away, PICTURE BOOK. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018. $17.99.  

Harriet loves costumes and she wears them all the time, any day of the year. When Harriet and her parents need to go to the store for more party supplies for her birthday, Harriet wanders off to the freezer section where she finds… penguins! Because she’s dressed as a penguin for the day, she joins them as they head out of town so they can hot air balloon back home.  Harriet realizes she should not be with the penguins. She should be at the grocery store with her parents. She tries plan after plan but us unable to fly home. Finally a friendly Orca offers to take her. Once there, she finds her family and they head home, where she changes into her birthday costume. Her party is so much fun and no one gets carried away… except for one friend who brings wolves with her.

The illustrations in this book are really superb. Sima is the author of Not Quite Narwhal, another popular book and the pictures have a special appeal. Little ones who enjoy dressing up will love Harriet and relate to her wild imagination. I really love this book, but have to make one note. Harriet’s parents are both men in this story. They are pictured together as a family of three and it is made mention of  “Harriet’s dads” but that is all there is. It’s just simply there. My daughter and husband read this book together first and she didn’t bat and eye, or even really seem to notice. She also thought it was hilarious. She was telling me how silly it was because of the penguins before we even started reading together. I realize that for some libraries however, this might not be the right book for your community.  

PRE-K, EL(K-3)- OPTIONAL. Reviewed by Shay, School Librarian

From Morning to Night: A Book of Hidden Shapes by Flavia Ruotolo- OPTIONAL

Ruotolo, Flavia. From Morning to Night: A Book of Hidden Shapes, PICTURE BOOK. Princeton Architectural Press, 2018. $14.95.

With alternating pages of illustrations, we see how specific designs are altered to become slightly different pictures of a variety of objects. The combinations are well thought out, yet could be too abstract for some younger children to see. Because the book seems to be directed towards those early readers, it misses the mark just a little bit. I do like the orange and blue color combinations and unusual images. Though some images will need explanation from adults.

PRE-K, EL (K-3)- OPTIONAL. Reviewed by Shay School Librarian

Sidetracked by Diana Harmon Asher - ESSENTIAL

Asher, Diana Harmon Sidetracked, 233 pages. Amulet, 2017. $17. Content: Language: PG (1 swear); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG.

Joseph has ADD, but when his resource teacher tells him to try out for track, he gives it a go.  Track is hard and Joseph struggles, but he meets some new friends and learns that he can do hard things.  Joseph’s seventy-nine year old grandfather also has to move in with Jospeh's family and his relationship with Joseph is sweet and entertaining.  

I enjoyed this book.  Joseph is a good kid who is easily distracted but is kind and wants to succeed.  He has to navigate through middle school and the different personalities there.  As far as mature content, Joseph checks out a health book and it lists different health problems including the term sexually transmitted diseases.  It doesn’t go further than listing it, but I thought it is worth noting.  Violence is bullying, pushing and a punch.   

EL – ADVISABLE.  MS – ESSENTIAL.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.