Thursday, May 31, 2018

Whisper by Lynette Noni - ADVISABLE

Whisper by Lynette Noni, 312 pgs. KCP Loft (Kids Can Print), 2018. $10.99 Language – PG (36 swears, 0 “f”), Mature Content – PG; Violence – PG; 

HS – ADVISABLE. 

They call her Jane Doe. She doesn’t correct them. They put her through physical and mental tests to figure her out. She refuses to give them any response. They give her one more test. She finds a reason a live.

I was enraptured by Jane Doe and her story. While I, as the reader, was given very little information through the first quarter of the book, I loved forming theories about what was going on before explanations started being given to Jane. The desire to know more kept me on the edge of my seat, and I didn’t put Whisper down until I finished it. The messages of our potential and how powerful our minds are made me think about what holds me back in my life. 

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

Where Has the Moon Gone? by Hiroyuki Arai - ADVISABLE

Where Has the Moon Gone? by Hiroyuki Arai, illustrated by Yukiko Kobayashi. PICTURE BOOK. StarBerry Books (Kane Press), 2018. $17. 9781575659701.

Pre-K - ADVISABLE. 

Two mice love to hang out under the moon each night. One morning they begin to wonder where the moon goes during the day, so they set off to find the moon. In seeking to find the moon, they mistakenly find an orange, a balloon and more round yellow objects. Its a delightful adventure that ends with another night with their friend, the moon. 

This is a fun little story for preschool readers that works as a great read-aloud. The text is not too long and tells the story fairly directly. I enjoyed the illustrations and especially the color palate the illustrator chose to use. Kids will appreciate the adventures of the two mice and adults will love that its a simple but nice story. 

Reviewer: TC

The Lost Causes by Etting and Schwartz - ADVISABLE

The Lost Causes by Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz, 341 pgs. KCP Loft (Kids Can Print), 2017. $17.99 Language – PG13 (50 swears, 0 “f”), Mature Content – PG13; Violence – PG; 

HS – ADVISABLE. 

Z, Sabrina, Andrew, Gabby, and Justin have all been given up on—their problems are too much to handle, and they are too far gone. Then the five get a chance to prove to themselves and their community that they are worth something: the FBI gives these five high schoolers a serum to unlock parts of their brains with psychic abilities and recruits them for help on a murder case. With this new found purpose, these five lost causes start to become more than they thought they could.

The murder mystery was fun and made more exciting with the five teenagers trying to figure our their new abilities. However, I was disappointed by the lack of clues throughout the story to figure out the ending. In the end, everything was revealed and fell into place quickly after agonizing for so long on the wrong track in the book. Other than that, though, I enjoyed the story and how the five wanted to change and become more than they were once they decided not to give up on themselves. 

HS – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang - ADVISABLE

Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang, illustrated by Max Lang.  PICTURE BOOK. Random House, 2018.  $18.  9780553537864

Pre-K, EL (K-3) – ADVISABLE.

All of his friends keep telling Jim Panzee that’s he is grumpy, and even though he insists he isn’t, they also have lots of advice for how to cure him of the blues.  SO Jim stomps off in order to find some quiet alone time and maybe a bit of sympathy.

I dare you to look at Grumpy Monkey’s face on the cover and not go “aaawwww”.  I would use this to start a discussion about how to own your feelings, misguided attempts to cheer up someone, and technics to dal with sadness or grumpiness.  You can also just read this is an incredibly cute book with an adorable main character.

Cindy, Library Teacher

Shy Girl and Shy Guy (Quartz Creek Ranch Book) by Kiersi Burkhart -ADVISABLE

Burkhart, Kiersi Shy Girl and Shy Guy (Quartz Creek Ranch Book), 233 pages. Darby Creek (Lerner), 2017.  $20.  Language: G (o swears); Mature Content: G; Violence: G.

Hanna ends up at Quartz Creek Ranch for six weeks because she is having trouble with stealing at home. Her parents think the camp will be therapeutic and helpful to her. But riding horses doesn’t sound like Hanna’s idea of a good time. Then she meets Shy Guy, a beautiful but wild horse, who was lost and possibly abused, and no one can tame him because he is afraid of humans. But gradually Hanna ends up earning Shy Guy’s trust, even helping to bring him home after he runs away. But when the former owner comes to take him away, Hanna knows she can’t let that happen.

This book was far and away better than the other book I reviewed from this series. This story was really truly about a girl and a horse bonding. The author does a great job creating memorable characters and a pace of plotline that creates a believable relationship. I think horse fans would adore this book!

EL– ADVISABLE Stephanie, Elementary School Librarian & Author

The Space Adventurer's Guide by McMahon and Holinaty - ESSENTIAL


EL - ESSENTIAL. 

With our rapidly advancing 21st century technology, space travel is beginning to be an available option to more than just an exclusive band of highly trained astronauts. This book explores the many options for space travel now and in the future--whether its a simple hop into an orbit of earth or something as crazy as landing on a comet. Each chapter explores a different space adventure, discusses the technology needed for such a flight (and how far out we might be in actually achieving it!), details what sorts of things you might see, and includes lots of great pictures. There is a nice index and credits section in the back. 

I can see this book being a big hit with elementary readers who are interested in space travel. There is loads of great information, quotes from real astronauts and other space experts, and I especially liked the photographs and illustrations. The layout of the book as a "tour guide" is a really fun concept and should make it more accessible to kids. And overall its an exciting thing to read about the real possibilities of space travel in the near future! 

Reviewer: TC

Jungle Cruise by Erwin Madrid - ADVISABLE

Jungle Cruise illustrated by Erwin Madrid.  Disney Press, 2018.  $19.
9781484709856

Pre-K, EL (K-3), GIFT – ADVISABLE.  

Take a trip on the Disney Jungle Cruise from the comfort of your own home.  Complete with CD narration to immerse you into the experience, using many of the popular jokes that are used by the skippers aboard the Jungle Cruise itself.  

While not all of my favorites are there, I enjoyed the ones I hadn’t heard before.   The illustrations are a nice compliment.  I would be just as happy listening to the CD and seeing the real thing in my imagination. A great gift for someone who is a Disney fan, too.

Cindy, Library Teacher

Rocket and Groot: Keep on Truckin’ (Guardians of the Galaxy Book #2) by Tom Angleberger -OPTIONAL

Angleberger, Tom Rocket and Groot: Keep on Truckin’(Guardians of the Galaxy Book #2), 270 pages. Marvel, 2017.  $14.  Language: G (o swears); Mature Content: G; Violence: G.

Rocket and Groot are on their way back to the Guardians when they start to run out of fuel for their space ship (Rakk n’Ruin) and end up on a world they were trying to avoid called HappyHappyFunFun. Turns out self-driving cars have taken over the planet, and its supercomputer Big Mama wants to rule the world. If Rocket and Groot want to continue on their journey they must help.

This book is a fun read for reluctant or low readers in 2-3grade as it is filled with illustrations, cartoons, variations in font size, and crazy page layouts. Its funny, silly, and fast paced. (and Groot is still SO annoying!!) Its possible that there will be more movies in the Guardians of the Galaxy series, so this book should have a nice shelf life for another 5 years or so and would see circulation. That being said, it’s a total junk food book –just for silly and almost nonsensical.

EL (K-3) – OPTIONAL Stephanie, Elementary School Librarian & Author

Gamora’s Galactic Showdown (Guardians of the Galaxy Chapter Book) by Brandon Snider -ADVISABLE

Snider, Brandon Gamora’s Galactic Showdown (Guardians of the Galaxy Chapter Book), 119 pages. Marvel, 2017.  $6.  Language: G (o swears); Mature Content: G; Violence: G.

This is the story of Gamora taking time off from the guardians to confront the trauma of her past. She is looking for a box that was valued by her evil father. She runs into Rocket and they end up going together. They run into friend after friend, who each help in their own way with the quest: both in battle and in advice for Gamora on how to cope with her past. Eventually things come to a head as she must face her evil sister, Nebula.

Due to an extremely high vocabulary level, I would say 3 grade and up would have the best comprehension. Though the book is kind of laid out like an chapter book with lots of color illustrations, font changes to represent different characters speaking, and creative layouts. I think this series would be great for those 3-5 grade reluctant and/or low readers. The plot was very much about healing and resolution for Gamora, which could be a weighty topic for younger readers.

EL (K-3), EL – ADVISABLE Stephanie, Elementary School Librarian & Author

Spliced by Jon McGoran - ADVISABLE

Spliced by Jon McGoran, 360 pgs. Holiday House, 2017. $18.99 Language – R (113 swears, 0 “f”), Mature Content – PG; Violence – PG; 

HS – ADVISABLE. 

Jimi does what is expected of her and tries to prevent her best friend, Del, from doing anything too crazy. Del is Jimi’s only friend, and they support each other when family drama overwhelms them. But then their lives are interrupted by politics of the times and questions about the legality of performing genetic changes by giving people animal DNA. As society divides and riots become common, Del goes missing, and Jimi will do anything to find him.

My first though after finishing this book was “wow,” and I just sat speechless for a moment. My second thought was that I hope McGoran writes a sequel. The characters in Spliced feel like dear friends to me now that it feels like I’ve gone through this grim time with them. With Jimi and her chimera friends, I rode the rollercoaster of hope and disappointment, I questioned what the right thing to do was, and I pondered the definitions of person and human. For me, the best part of Jimi’s journey was seeing different sides of humanity and which definition should be the politically correct and socially accepted one. 

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

Little Robot Alone by Patricia MacLachlan - OPTIONAL

Little Robot Alone by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest, illustrated by Matt Phelan. PICTURE BOOK.  Houghton Mifflin, 2018.  $18. 9780544442801

Pre-K, EL (K-3) – OPTIONAL. 

Little Robot lives a sweet, quiet life in the white house at the top of the hill.  Until the day he realizes that he is lonely.  But he knows a way to fix that! With some elbow grease and ingenuity, he can make himself a new friend for company.

While we humans can’t make our own friends, Little Robot’s story is still a sweet recognition that everyone really does want a friend for good company.  This could be a nice segue into a discussion about what it means to be a friend, what friendship looks and sounds like, and what to do when you are not friends any more.

Cindy, Library Teacher

Tokoyo: The Samurai’s Daughter by Faith L. Justice - ADVISABLE

Tokoyo: The Samurai’s Daughter by Faith L. Justice , 101 pgs. GRAPHIC NOVEL.  Raggedy Moon Books, 2017. $6.99 Language – G (0 swears, 0 “f”), Mature Content – G; Violence – G; 

MS – ADVISABLE. 

As the daughter of an honored samurai, Tokoyo has lived a comfortable life with more freedom than others think she should have. Then her father is framed for treason, and Tokoyo is thrown out of her home penniless. Only by using the samurai skills her father taught her does Tokoyo stand a chance to clear his name and find the real criminal.

The story of Tokoyo illustrates several Japanese ancient traditions, including samurai honor, ancestor worship, and mythology. I love that such a short story can still reveal the beauty of a different culture. Following Tokoyo’s quest to save her father teaches readers of honor, love, and sacrifice. Furthermore, the illustrator, Kayla Gilliam, does a fantastic job alongside Justice. I looked forward to seeing Gilliam’s portrayals of Tokoyo’s journey. 

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

How To Trick the Tooth Fairy by Erin Danielle Russell - OPTIONAL

How To Trick the Tooth Fairy by Erin Danielle Russell, illustrated by Jennifer Hansen Rolli. PICTURE BOOK.  Aladdin (Simon), 2018.  $ 18.  9781481467322

Pre-K, EL (K-3) – OPTIONAL. 

Kaylee may be a prankster princess in her own home and neighborhood, but she doesn’t know what she’s in for when she tries to prank The Tooth Fairy.  Ms. Tooth Fairy has Kaylee’s number and an epic battle of wits is about to get real.

Your princess and fairy loving little girls will love the sparkly, pink illustrations.  When the narrative wanders into the If You Give A Mouse A Cookie rhythm it bogs down a bit, but if you can get over that mentally it works just fine.  Try The Tooth Fairy Wars by Kate Coombs for a boy’s eye view of the battle over teeth.

Cindy, Library Teacher

The Hidden Loch by Marlaine Maddux White - OPTIONAL


White, Marlaine Maddux The Hidden Loch, 138 pages.  Illustrated by Claude St. Aubin.  GRAPHIC NOVEL  Penny-Farthing Productions, 2017. $15. Content: G. 
Deep beneath Loch Ness where the Loch Ness monster myth originates, is a place called the Hidden Loch.  Nessandra and her parents are the paddle giants who are royalty and maintain the safety of the Hidden Loch from the drywalkers (humans) above.  When Nessandra’s grandmother goes into Loch Ness for her annual arck (a time to check on the world above), she is wounded by a human and eventually dies.  Nessandra’s responsibilities increase and she feels a need to investigate other parts of their waters, but she finds trouble and it will take the help of all of her friends before she can keep the Hidden Loch safe. 
Reading this graphic novel was like watching a B-rated children’s animated cartoon.  It is a good story with great values like friendship, family, conservation and loyalty.  The illustrations are bright and attractive.  I had to be patient with the beginning because there are so many different character names and the made up terms such as “arcking” and “drywalkers” were confusing, but it came together and was a decent story. 
EL (K-3), EL – OPTIONAL.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.

Dear Martin by Nic Stone - OPTIONAL

Stone, Nic  Dear Martin, 210 pages. Crown (Random House), 2017.  $18. Content: Language: R (100+ swears; 15 “f”): Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG-13.   
Justyce is a good student who has beaten the odds of his poor neighborhood, is going to an upscale high school and has been accepted into Yale.  One night while trying to help his intoxicated ex-girlfriend into her car a policeman misunderstands Justyce’s intentions and violently arrests him. Justyce’s outlook on life and what it means to be black is shaken and he becomes more aware of the prejudices around him.  When Justyce’s friend is killed in a racial altercation, Justyce has to find the strength to carry on, be true to himself and avoid the pull towards gang violence. 
This book is very well done.  Nic Stone addresses a lot of the issues that are in the headlines right now regarding race.  I like how this book explains the talking points through a class discussion because it allows for both points of views to be examined.  Justyce is a great character that is easy to love and it made me more empathetic towards his concerns and his hopes.  I wish the swear count was lower, because for as short as this book was it had a ton of language that wasn’t necessary and it would have been easy to recommend as essential.  
HS – OPTIONAL.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.   

Squirrel Meets Girl by Shannon Hale - OPTIONAL

Hale, Shannon and Dean Squirrel Meets Girl (The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1), 324 pages. Marvel (Disney), 2017. $14. Content: Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: PG.  

Doreen Green just moved to New Jersey and is starting the ninth grade.  Doreen has a squirrel tail and other squirrel attributes, but her parents tell Doreen to keep them hidden.   When crimes are committed in Doreen’s new neighborhood she can’t help but get involved.   Her upbeat and positive personality takes on the middle school social life, where she finds a new friend named Ana Sofia.  Doreen also finds friends among the squirrels in her neighborhood and they bound over fighting against a super villain.  

Doreen has a likable personality because she is kind and has great self-confidence.  She has a lot of energy and likes to use it for good.  I love the Marvel superheroes, but I have a hard time buying into the idea of a squirrel girl as the story line got to be a bit ridiculous at times.  That said, this book is clean and I liked the funny young superhero.  

EL, MS – OPTIONAL.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Flying High 2 by Julian Edelman - OPTIONAL

Edelman, Julian  Flying High 2, illustrated by David Leonard.  PICTURE BOOK Superdigital, 2017.  $20. 9780692979075  

Jules is a squirrel who likes to play football.  He works hard, practices, eats right and goes to bed on time to try and be ready for the big football game against the Falcons.  When Jules and his team play the Falcons they struggle in the first half, but after a pep talk by the coach they start to believe in themselves and work hard to win.  

The first page of this story says, “This is a true story”, and the back cover explains that Julian Edelman is a professional football player.  For fans of football and sports, this is a simplified version of what it takes to win.  The illustrations are cute, but it might be confusing that this is a true story when all the characters are animals.  Also, I'm not sure what the 2 means in the title.  

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

These Ruthless Deeds by Tarum Shanker and Kelly Zekas - ADVISABLE

Shanker, Tarun and Kelly Zekas These Ruthless Deeds (TheseVicious Masks, #2), 313 pags. Swoon Reads, 2017. $11. Content: Language: PG-13 (16 swears); Mature Content: PG-13; Violence: PG-13.  

Evelyn has the power to heal others, but since the loss of her sister she feels untethered.  When the Society of Aberrations tries to recruit Evelyn, she is hesitant because they collect people with powers and assign them missions that don’t always seem on the up and up.  Evelyn has her close friends, Mr. Kent and Sebastian, the boy whose powers she off-sets because he has the power to take life, but she is still unsure if the Society is for good or bad.  When a mission goes wrong, Evelyn has to decide for herself and the friends that are loyal to her, if she is going to challenge the Society of Aberrations.  

I enjoy this series.  Even though it’s a second book, the action is non-stop and I could quickly remember what happened in the first book.  I love the characters and the setting of 1880 England.  The mature content is French kissing and the violence includes torture.  

MS, HS – ADVISABLE.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.

These Vengeful Souls by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas - ADVISABLE

Shanker, Tarun and Kelly Zekas  These Vengeful Souls (These Vicious Masks #3), 290 pages.  Swoon (Feiwel and Friends), 2017. $11.  Content: Language: PG-13 (29 swears); Mature Content: PG; Violence; PG-13. 
Evelyn, Sebastian and her group of friends are on the run since Captain Goode has pinned the deaths of a hundred plus people on their magical powers.  Goode has duped the government leaders as well as most of London into believing that he is the good guy because he can suppress the special powers of others, but he is simply creating illusions of his heroics.  Evelyn has to outsmart Captain Goode to save those like her with the help of her closest friends. 
I enjoyed this trilogy and I think that the world and it’s magical powers are well explained and make sense as different problems are solved.  Even though there are a lot of characters, they are distinguishable and their powers are unique. I especially liked Mr. Kent’s humor.  My only issue with this book is the epilogue-specifically the date of the epilogue in relation to the end of the book-it was disappointing.  The violence is threat of torture and battling with magic. 
MS, HS -  ADVISABLE. Reviewer, C. Peterson. 

The Losers Club by Andrew Clements - ESSENTIAL

Clements, Andrew  The Losers Club, 227 pages. Penguin Random House, 2017. $17. Content: Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: PG. 
Alec loves to read so much he often finds himself in the principal's office for reading during class. Mrs. Vance tells Alec to not read in class because if he continues he will have to go to summer school. Not reading during class is killing Alec so he decides to create a club in Extended Day Program, an after school program. He dedicates his club to reading and calls his club the Losers Club. The name is to keep other kids from joining the club so he can spend his time reading by himself.
This book is about Alec’s journey through friendship, dealing with his ex-friend turned bully, his crush, and learning about himself. This book was super cute. I loved how it got the good and the bad of being a kid. I thought that the characters were well developed and I loved the way the book was written.
EL – ESSENTIAL.  Reviewer, Isabelle, student reviewer.   

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Siege by Roxanne Orgill - NO


Orgill, Roxanne  Siege:How General Washington Kicked the British Out of Boston and Launched a Revolution, 221 pages.  Candlewick Press, 2018.  $18.  Content: Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: PG-13. 
George Washington is elected to lead the troops against the British, but it is not always easy because the supplies are low and they don’t have much financial backing.  When the British gain control of Boston, the rebel American troops concentrate their efforts on removing them slowly.  With disease and shortage of supplies many suffer as the battle is waged, but eventually Washington beats out the British. 
This book is written in free verse, which is where everything went wrong.  There is not a storyline to follow and unless the reader has a pretty extensive knowledge of the Revolutionary War I’m not sure they would understand most of what is being presented.  The verses read like incomplete sentences and even the fictional character who occasionally cropped up throughout didn’t bring any personal interest to the history.  The violence includes torture, capital punishment for soldiers who abandon their post and one reference to a man’s head being blown off.  Great cover though.
MS – NOT RECOMMENDED.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.

Day at the Beach by Tom Booth - ESSENTIAL

Booth, Tom Day at the Beach.  PICTURE BOOK Aladdin, 2018. $18. 9781534411050 
Gideon and his sister Audrey make a sandcastle at the beach every summer.  Gideon is in charge of the dimensions of the towers and Audrey is in charge of decorating it with seashells and sea glass.  Gideon has decided that this summer will be different and he is going to build the ultimate sandcastle without Audrey’s help.  After a few disastrous tries, he finally constructs the perfect sandcastle and gets the accolades of everyone on the beach.  But when he looks over and sees his parents building a sandcastle with Audrey he decides it’s more fun to do things together. 
I love the adorable and bright illustrations that add to the story line.  The short and simple text has a great moral that sometimes it’s not about what everyone else thinks, but it’s about doing things together with those we love.  I especially loved the drawings of the cute seagulls. 
EL (K-3) – ESSENTIAL.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.    

The Case of the Best Pet Ever by James Preller -OPTIONAL

Preller, James The Case of the Best Pet Ever, 72 pages. Feiwel and Friends, 2013 (2017 reprints).  $5.  Language: G (o swears); Mature Content: G; Violence: G.

Jigsaw and sidekick Mila have been hired to do detective work by untrustworthy school bully Solofsky. He was accused of stealing a prize medal from a pet shop –its needed to a pet talent show later that week –then he is banned from the store. He wants his name cleared so he can go visit a puppy that is for sale at the shop. Jigsaw and Mila get to work –both on the mystery and on training Jigsaw’s dog Rags to have a talent.

This book (the 4th I have reviewed in the series) actually had a little intro –rather than just jumping right into the story. Since the books aren’t numbered, this helped a bit. I am still of the opinion that no matter how wholesome –students will judge this book by its dated cover with muted colors and it won’t see a whole lot of circulation. Best for 1-2 grade readers. 

EL (K-3) – OPTIONAL Stephanie, Elementary School Librarian & Author

Outrageous Animal Adaptations by Michael J. Rosen - OPTIONAL

Rosen, Michael J. Outrageous Animal Adaptations, 96 pages.  NON-FICTION  Twenty-First Century Books (Lerner), 2018.  $37  Content: G. 
Twenty-four different animals are highlighted in this book about animals who have physically adapted to their environments.  Some of the animals include: Geoduck, Vampire Squid, Waxy Monkey Tree Frog and Naked Mole Rat.  Each animal has their picture, a classification, their adaptation and some interesting facts about them.  At the end there is a glossary as well as references for videos and other books to find more information. 

This book is very visually appealing with bright photographs of weird looking animals.  I was fascinated and sometimes repulsed by the different animals and enjoyed reading about lesser known species.  The information is text heavy with higher level vocabulary so it is geared towards older readers-maybe middle school or high school.  Also, sometimes the author tries to be funny but it’s such a factual book that the jokes seem random and aren’t consistent throughout all the animals. 

MS, HS – OPTIONAL.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.

Multiple Mayhem (Gabby Duran #3) by Elise Allen and Daryle Conners - OPTIONAL

Allen, Elise and Conners, Daryle Multiple Mayhem (Gabby Duran #3), 211 pages. Disney Hyperion, 2017.  $17.  Language: G (o swears); Mature Content: G; Violence: G.

Gabby has two extreme challenges to deal with in this third book of the series. Not only is she given care of a world ending alien artifact, but faces hers biggest alien babysitting job yet. On top of everything else her human nemesis Madison will not leave her alone and is making her life even more complicated. Additionally her mom is dating a man she suspects of being either a bad alien or in league with them. Thankfully one of her best friends knows about everything and can help –the other, well he is trying to process everything still.  

I really liked the first book in this series (and it has been popular in my library). This one is really fun and interesting as well. It has authentic dialogue, well crafted characters, a complex yet lighthearted plot, and lots of fast paced action. The BIG problem –the new covers for the series. The first one was appealing and intriguing to upper grade students. This one is VERY dated and boing looking –not to mention it gives away the plot. I honestly think it this could ruin it chances for circulation with the age group that is able follow the complex and continuing plotlines.

EL  – OPTIONAL Stephanie, Elementary School Librarian & Author

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West - ADVISABLE

West, Kasie  Listen to Your Heart, 324 pages. Point (Scholastic), 2018. $18. Content: Language: G; Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG. 

Kate is a high school-er who loves living by a lake in a small town. Her best friend Alana convinces her to a take a class at school that does a podcast for the community.  Kate is not big on the idea of taking the class but eventually winds up the hostess of the podcast.  Kate realizes that she enjoys hosting the podcast. The podcast receives a call from a boy the hosts refer to as “Looking for Love”. Kate and her friend Alana think that Alana’s crush, Diego Martinez, is the anonymous caller asking for relationship advice. But sooner or later Kate has to figure out that she has her own feelings for Diego. While Kate gives advice she has to keep up with helping herself too.

 This book was good. The author has written better books such as On the Fence and Fill-In Boyfriend so I wouldn’t recommend this one to you if you haven’t read Kasie West yet because she has better books. This book was almost like a Hallmark movie because everything is fine until the character messes up and only has twenty pages to realize her mistake and fix everything. I liked that they characters were well developed and the content was clean.

MS, HS - ADVISABLE.  Student Reviewer, Isabelle, 8th grade.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Spring Hare by Eugene Yelchin- OPTIONAL

Yelchin, Eugene Spring Hare. PICTURE BOOK. Henry Holt and Company, 2017. $17. 9781627793926

A little rabbit follows a young girl on imagined adventures through the sky. They jump from a trampoline up into the air where the bunny chases the girl as she flies on a plane. The bunny is harassed by Canada Geese as they follow the plane and then bumps into a hot air balloon, which is holding the little girl. They slide on rainbows and float in space, eventually landing back on the trampoline.

The pictures in this look like they were drawn by a child, but not in an endearing or interesting way. It just looks a bit sloppy. There are no words in this picture book so the reader has to follow along with the story and create their own understanding of how it progresses and makes sense. I’m not sure I was even clear on that, so I think it would be difficult for most early readers.

Pre-K- OPTIONAL. Shay, School Librarian

Star Struck by Jenny McLachlan - ADVISABLE

McLachlan, Jenny Star Struck, 264 pages. Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan), 2018. $19. Language: PG (3 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG (teen smoking and mild drinking, same sex kissing); Violence: PG13.

Pearl is sure she will land the role of Juliet in this year’s school musical, which means she will get to kiss super hot Jake Flower, so when a new girl auditions on her first day at school and “steals” the part, Pearl is out for revenge. But her plan to make Hoshi’s life miserable by becoming her frenemy backfires when she finds more friend in her than enemy. 

 What started as a light, funny read ended darker than I expected. There are some pretty serious undertones in this book - the mother doesn’t protect her daughter from the physically/emotionally abusive brother. Probably most appropriate for a high school interest level. 

HS - ADVISABLE Lisa Librarian

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Lonely Giant by Sophie Ambrose- OPTIONAL


Ambrose, Sophie The Lonely Giant. PICTURE BOOK. Candlewick Press, 2016. $17. 978076368225

There is a giant who loves to bash and crash all day long. He knocks down mountains, he yanks out trees, and scares all of the animals away. Eventually, he bashes and crashes so much, that there are no places for any animals to live and he is running out of wood for his fire at night. He finds that he misses the birdsong and animal noises. One day a small yellow bird follows him while he destroys things and sings to him. He loves the bird’s song and catches her in a cage so that he won’t be lonely anymore. The bird gets sadder and sadder and the giant lets her go. When he can’t find her again, he decides to fix what he has broken to bring all the animals back.

I like how the giant makes a mistake in this book and owns up to it to fix the problem himself. I think that’s a good lesson that most children don’t always see, or understand. I don’t like how there isn’t really any major conflict in the story and it’s wrapped up a little too quickly and neatly. The illustrations are really lovely and do a great job of first showing how the forest is slowly destroyed, and then later, how it slowly regrows.

Pre-K, EL (K-3)- OPTIONAL. Shay, School Librarian

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Beat Bugs: Help! by Anne Lamp- OPTIONAL

Lamb, Anne Help! (Beat Bugs).  PICTURE BOOK. HarperFestival (HarperCollins), 2017. $4. 9780062640604

There is a new catapult invention in Beat Bug Village and Jay really wants to try it out. Even though his friends think it’s a dangerous idea, he catapults himself up into the air and lands very far away in a jam jar. He can’t get out and has to wait for his friends to find him to help him, even if he doesn’t think he ever needs help or advice from anyone.

The pictures in this book are shots from the animated TV show. Because of that, they are really blurry and unappealing. They are difficult to see. The story is fine, but will be more interesting to readers who enjoy the television show. It won’t likely be picked up by many who don’t know much about it already. The lyrics to the song, “Help” by The Beatles are included in the back of the book.

Pre-K, EL (K-3)- OPTIONAL. Shay, School Librarian