Friday, August 31, 2018

A Boy, A Bear, A Balloon by Brittany Rubiano - ADVISABLE

A Boy, A Bear, A Balloon by Brittany Rubiano, illustrated by Mike Wall. PICTURE BOOK. Disney Press (Disney Book Group), 2018. $17.  9781368025881



A picture book reflecting the recent movie about a grown-up Christopher Robin coming back to the Hundred-Acre Wood. The beloved Disney characters inspired by the A. A. Milne books are all there. Christopher Robin is a bit “frownier” and somewhat impatient, but through misadventure he finds he still has affection for his old friends and things end well.

There is humorous appeal for adults as well as children. It is gentle and pleasant like the Disney cartoon. A book to be read to a child, or to yourself.

Maureen, Library Teacher

The Stuff of Stars by Marion Dane Bauer - ADVISABLE

The Stuff of Stars by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Ekua Holmes.  PICTURE BOOK.  Candlewick, 2018.  $18. 9780763678838



From the Big Bang, down through the centuries, the stuff of stars became – YOU!

The illustrations explode and shine from the pages on gorgeous colors.   Not really a book about evolution, so its not something to use in the school curriculum.  Could be a good gift option for a newborn baby.

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS

Wish Upon a Sleepover by Suzanne Selfors - ADVISABLE

Wish Upon a Sleepover by Suzanne Selfors, 208 pages.  Imprint (Macmillan), 2018.  $16.

Content: G.



Leilani dreams of having the best sleepover ever and impressing the Haileys (four girls all named Hailey) – the pops in their sixth grade class  - so that they will let her into their group.  Besides the Haileys, she will of course invite her best friend, Autumn, but there are three people Leilani doesn’t want at her party – she even makes a list.  But when she gets home, she finds that her grandmother, Tutu, has sent the invitations to the DO-NOT-INVITE list! Now what will happen?  Her party is ruined.  And instead of feeding them dinner, Tutu has left them instructions for gathering the ingredients for sleepover soup?  What?! As the kids make their way around their neighrborhood gathering ingredients, something interesting begins to happen.

I’m am so all about Selfor’s message that the popular kids are not always as great as you think they are and that you’d better learn someone’s story before you dismiss them as unfriendable!  Each of the sleepover guests gets a chance to shine and to grow.  The only thing I have issue with is the cover – it only shows the three girls from the party, not the boys – why exclude them?

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS

I Love You, Funny Bunny illustrated by Sean Julian - ADVISABLE

I Love You, Funny Bunny illustrated by Sean Julian.  PICTURE BOOK. Zonderkidz, January 2019. $18.  9780310765417



Mommy Bunny tells her baby bunny all about the ways she loves them.  

A very charming offering for a Valentine basket gift, a baby shower, a first birthday – from parent to child, grandparent to grandchild.

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS

Pocket Bios Sent #3 by Al Berenger - ADVISABLE

Pocket Bios by Al Berenger.  PICTURE BOOK/NON-FICTION. Roaring Brook Press, 2015. $15.



Each book is divided into about ten sections. Each section has a guiding topic at the top, two or three paragraphs, and a date or date range. These are each paired with a cartoonish illustration. Following the text is a timeline, map key, people to know page, and fun facts. 
I love the way the text is divided up into sections that make the biographies accessible. There is a lot of detail in these biographies without being hard to read. The illustrations are cartoonish which makes it less aesthetically pleasing but less intimating for young readers. These books do a good job covering the whole span of a life - not just the moments they are famous for. I am disappointed that there are only four women covered in the collection so far. 

Coco Chanel 9781250166258 
I learned a lot from this book that I didn’t know. One thing that stands out is learning that her very first design was a women’s riding outfit. 

Rosa Parks 9781250166173 
I learned about Rosa’s mom’s influence on her, teaching her about equality early on. 

Cleopatra 9781250166210 
I learned that Cleopatra took her own life by letting a poisonous snake bite her. 

Marie Curie 9781250166159  
I learned that Marie had to move from Poland to France because Poland would not let women attend college. 

Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders - ADVISABLE

Sanders, Rob Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag, illustrated by Steven Salerno. NONFICTION PICTURE BOOK. Random House, 2018. $18. 9780399555312.



Harvey Milk was a key gay rights activist in the 1960's and 70's. He ran for office and was elected in San Francisco. Shortly thereafter, he and his friends planned marches to protest the inequality they saw in American society toward lesbian and gay people. Harvey wanted a symbol to give hope to the cause and enlisted artist Gilbert Baker to create a flag. The rainbow flag Baker created became a lasting symbol of the movement--one that still stands long after Milk's shocking assassination in 1978.

This was a pretty typical nonfiction picture book in that it chooses a theme (hope and dreams) to tell the story of a figure of historical importance. The illustrations are perfectly suited to the purpose and the basic story of Harvey Milk and the establishment of the Pride Flag comes out fine.  There is a nice biographical note at the back, as well as a timeline and suggestions for further reading on the subject. This book definitely seeks to honor the work of Harvey Milk and memorialize the huge strides made in the search for LGBTQIA+ equality, and as such I am sure it will not be welcomed in all communities. Still, it is an important book to have available when covering all your bases on the continued quest for true equal rights in America.

Reviewer: TC

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, illustrated by Kim Smith - ADVISABLE

Buffy the Vampire Slayer illustrated by Kim Smith.  Quirk Books, 2018.  $19. 9781683690696



When Buffy was only right, she was afraid of the sounds coming from her closet in the dark.  With some teaching from Giles, her school librarian, and support from her friends Willow and Xander, she might be able to conquer her fears and make some new friends.

Of course you have to ignore the inconsistencies from the series – because Buffy fans will definitely want this for their own children or grandchildren – or theirs friends grandchildren!

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS

If You’re Groovy and You Know It, Hug a Friend! by Eric Litwin - ESSENTIAL



Litwin has written new words to a familiar song.  Your next story time has a great groovy book to add to the mix.  Get ready to stand up and move those bodies!  

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS

Summer Unscripted by Jen Klein - OPTIONAL

Summer Unscripted by Jen Klein, 300 pages.  Random House, 2017. $17.99

Language: R (94 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG13 (implied sex and innuendo); Violence: G



Rainie doesn’t know where life is taking her, so she tends to start things without finishing them. This pattern does not help Rainie’s cause when she asks her parents for help getting into a theater production for the summer—but this isn’t just about theater, it’s about Tuck. Tuck is going to be in the production, and fate has given Rainie a sign that she must be where he is. It’s time to take a risk.

Klein has written a fun, though admittedly dramatic, exaggeration of how most people inside when presented with no obvious choice for the future. A lot of things—hobbies or careers or people—sound great, but we, like Rainie, find it difficult to choose what we want in life. While I became frustrated with some of Rainie’s choices as I read, I also appreciate the reality that we make mistakes as we try to find our way, but that doesn’t mean we won’t find happiness when we get back up after falling.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

I am Actually a Penguin by Sean Taylor - ADVISABLE

I am Actually a Penguin by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Kasia Matyjaszek.  PICTURE BOOK.  Templar (Candlewick), 2018.  $17. 9781536202786



When the little girl gets a penguin suit from her aunt in Patagonia, she decides that she actually is a penguin, even though no one in her family agrees.  When Sunday night comes and her penguin suit needs to be washed, maybe it’s time for a change of character.

Parents with a child obsessed with a single costume will certainly relate to this.  I do love that the girl is willing to change at the end of the weekend – not always an easy thing to get them to change.  A silly offering.

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS

Imposters by Scott Westerfeld - ESSENTIAL

Imposters by Scott Westerfeld, 416 pages.  Scholastic Press, September 2018.  $19

Language: G (4 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (fighting training)



Welcome back to the world of the Pretties.  Frey’s destiny is to be her sister’s body double.  Except for her father, less than a handful of people know she exists.  Her job is to go into all of the dangerous situations.  That’s why when Frey is offered as a hostage to another country, she knows that her father has no intention of keeping any promises he made – Frey is the expendable one. But what happens when Frey starts to realize that there is a whole world out there besides being her sister’s shadow. That her father has always been an evil, sadistic man who cares not a wit for the younger twin?  How can Frey carve out a life for herself?  Since Tally Youngblood brought down the Pretty system, the world has become more rawer, but also more free.

You will have to number this #5 in the series, because you have to have read the others first to truly appreciate where this world started from, but clear some shelf space, because there is no way this is the last of Westerfeld’s new books.

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS

Not One Damsel in Distress: Heroic Girls from World Folklore by Jane Yolen - OPTIONAL

Not One Damsel in Distress: Heroic Girls from World Folklore by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Susan Guevara, 116 pages.  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018.  $16.  

Content: Language: G; Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG-13.  



This book contains fifteen different stories from around the world that feature strong girls who save themselves, their family or innocent others.  Some of the stories have quests, others are how the girls outsmarted the bad guy.  Each is illustrated with a black and white drawing.  

I wanted to love this book-how can you go wrong with Jane Yolen retelling folklore, but it seemed to be missing something-it felt rushed or as though she was trying to fit too much into each story.  The illustrations were bland and could have added so much more to the story.  Also, the violence is disturbing, making what could have been a book for elementary age kids, a middle school read and I’m not sure you will get a middle school kid to pick this book up.  The violence includes murdered and decapitated girls and cannibalism. The mature content is Mizilica flashes the sultan to prove that she is a girl.  

C. Peterson

A Mighty Bitey Creature by Ronda Armitage - OPTIONAL

A Mighty Bitey Creature by Ronda Armitage, illustrated by Nikki Dyson.  PICTURE BOOK Candlewick Press, 2017.  $16.  9780763698782  



A little green frog is bitten on his bottom and as he goes through the jungle warning other animals of something that bites, that mystery something bites them too.  All the animals go to the lion, because he is the king of the jungle.  When the lion is also bitten he uncovers a bush baby and the only reason it’s biting everyone is because it’s hungry, so the lion feeds it. 

I liked how the mystery builds up as to what is biting everyone.  I also liked the illustrations because they are bright and the confused animals’ expressions helps build the tension.  Once I found out it was just a hungry baby animal it was kind of disappointing and it would have been more fun if there were clues in the illustrations of the bush baby.  I thought it was going to be a flea or something small, because the animal isn’t shown at all until the lion finds it.   

C. Peterson

What’s Your Favorite Bug by Eric Carle and Friends - ADVISABLE

What’s Your Favorite Bug by Eric Carle and Friends. PICTURE BOOK. Godwin Books (Henry Holt and Company), 2018. $18. 9781250151759



Fourteen well known author/illustrators tell readers what their favorite bug is through either direct explanation or poetry. This is paired with an illustration by each different artist. The art is all beautiful and carefully curated. 

The effect of compiling various illustrators together makes the power of art stand out in a way that I think adult readers will appreciate more than young readers. This book could be used for a project in which the students themselves have to articulate what their favorite bug is and why and make a piece of art to accompany it.  

Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

Wednesday, August 29, 2018


Some kids just love a great scare, so I’m always on the lookout for books about haunted houses, ghosts and creepy characters who lurk. Mary Downing Hahn and Dan Poblocki have become the staples in this genre, but with the popularity of series, Grabenstein and Carman are definitely worth reading.  These books are my favorites.

There’s a mystery in Skeleton Creek surrounding a freak accident at a mining operation that’s long been abandoned. Ryan and Sarah are determined to get to the bottom of it. When Ryan is injured during one of their jaunts to dig up clues, his parents forbid the friends from seeing each other. While Ryan recovers, Sarah explores on her own, taking videos and sending them to Ryan via the internet. Spooky.

Molly’s family has suddenly gone missing. When a man claiming to be her uncle shows up, Molly reluctantly moves in with him. Immediately he creeps her out. He watches her. He looks emaciated. He locks her in her room at night. She didn’t possibly think the legend of the Skeleton Man could be true. Is she paranoid or is the Skeleton Man after her? Short and scary.

Serafina lives in the basement of the Biltmore Estate with her father, the mansion’s electrician. One night she witnesses a girl being kidnapped by a mysterious man in a black cloak. The man surrounds her with his cloak and she vanishes. One by one kids are vanishing and Serafina might be next unless she figures out who the terrifying man is and what he wants.

Zack’s family has just moved back to his father’s hometown and right away things are weird. There’s something sinister about the tree in their backyard that is close to the intersection where a truck and bus collided in a tragic accident many years ago. Ghosts seem to haunt this intersection, unable to rest, and one of them is not nice. Who is the mean women who puts flowers at the tree and what is the connection to Zack’s family?

Tessa is not happy about her new move to Chicago. Worse, she’s creeped out by all the weird things happening in the new house. Doors slamming. Mysterious drawings. But when her brother’s doll cries real tears, she knows she has to figure out who’s trying to communicate with her and what happened in that house.

Harper’s family has just moved into a new house and things start to get weird fast. Her brother’s imaginary friend doesn’t seem very friendly and she fears he might be possessed by a spirit. When she begins researching the history of the house, she learns that it has a unsettling past. It’s the kids version of The Amityville Horror.

When Neil and his sister visit their aunts for the summer, the first thing Neil wants to do is explore the infamous abandoned mental hospital to see if Nurse Janet haunts it as people say. Along with their new friend Wesley, they break in and get totally spooked. They decide to do some research to learn more about Graylock Hospital, but Neil gets the sense that a ghost of Graylock has latched on to him.

Mary Downing Hahn found her niche in ghost stories. She has written quite a few and this is her most recent. When Daniel’s family moves to a new town in West Virginia, he begins hearing strange stories about a ghost witch called Old Auntie who steals a child every 50 years. At first he doesn’t believe but when his sister goes missing he thinks maybe she is the latest victim.

Molly can’t believe her luck when she and her younger brother Kip are hired to take care of Windsor Mansion. It’s a bit run down and the family are peculiar, but she needs a job. Oddest of all is the strange man who enters the house every night, leaving muddy footprints behind. This certainly has something to do with the tree around which the house is built. Then there’s the nightmares. What’s happening in this house?

Big Brother Peanut Butter by Terry Border - ESSENTIAL

Big Brother Peanut Butter by Terry Border.  PICTURE BOOK. Philomel (Penguin), 2018. $18.  9781524740061



Peanut Butter is about to become a big brother, so he visits his friends to find out how be a great older sibling like they are.  It’s his best friend Jelly who gives him the final clue he needs before he becomes the proud older brother to an entire loaf!

I am a Border worshipper. His wit and creativity are epic. I need every one of this series and I would be a happy camper.

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS

El Chupacabras by Adam Rubin - OPTIONAL

El Chupacabras by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Crash McCreery.  PICTURE BOOK Dial Books for Young Readers, 2018.  $17.  9780399539299  



Carla lives with her father Hector on a farm with goats.  One night they hear a creepy sound and when they wake in the morning one of the goats has been made into a goat pancake.  Hector proceeds to tell Carla about “el Chupacabras”, or the goat sucker, who attacks goats, not killing them, but makes them flatten out.  Hector goes and gets magic dust from a beautiful flower lady and when he puts the dust on the goats they grow ginormous and start to head for town.  To solve this problem, Hector has to enlist the help of the Chupacabra to flatten the goats down to normal size.  

I wish I could recommend this book on the illustrations alone.  The goats have the funniest facial expressions and the pictures are fantastic.  The story is entertaining and fun, but I found it hard to read the mixture of English and Spanish text.  Within each sentence is a mix of  half English and half Spanish and it repeats itself so that if you cut and paste while reading you can get the whole meaning, but unless you speak Spanish it makes it hard to read aloud.  

C. Peterson   

Code Word Courage by Kirby Larsen - ADVISABLE

Code Word Courage by Kirby Larson, 233 pages. Scholastic Press, 2018. $17.00.

Language: G (0 swears 0 'f'); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (war violence, injuries)



11-year old Billie lives with her Aunt in California.  It's early on in WWII, and her brother Leo has recently joined the Marines. He comes home from camp on a weekend pass with a friend, Denny.  Denny, a Navajo (Diné), finds an injured dog, Bear, along the way and leaves him with Billie.

I loved the two perspectives: the battle field and the home front. It was good to see the relation the families at home had to the war and to each other.  I also liked the realistic portrayal of the discrimination against Mexicans, and the conflict Denny faced choosing Diné or Marines.  You can't go wrong with a dog book, combine it with WWII and it will get plenty of readers.

Lisa Librarian  

Good Night, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony - OPTIONAL

Good Night, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony.  PICTURE BOOK. Scholastic Press, 2018.  $17.  9781338275957



Mr. Panda is getting ready to go to bed.  As he says good night to his friends, the only one who seems to have taken all the steps too is Lemur.
Why don’t I understand the charm of Mr. Panda?  This the best of the ones I have read – its charming and doesn’t have the sarcasm that ruined the others for me.  I always love the illustrations!  For me that is Antony’s strength.  

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS

An Atlas of Imaginary Places by Mia Cassany - ADVISABLE

Cassany, Mia An Atlas of Imaginary Places, illustrated by Ana de Lima. PICTURE BOOK. Prestel, 2018. $20.



The places we imagine in our dreams can sometimes feel as real as the world we live in, but be a lot more fantastical. This wonderful book takes readers to places in an imaginary world with vivid and detailed illustrations.

I like a lot about this book. Its whimsical and beautifully illustrated--giving readers a lot to explore in the pictures alone. I love the idea of a "map book" about an imaginary world. This could be a fun side-lesson for a geography class or a good jumping off point for a fiction-writing exercise. I also think this will be a great gift book for adults who love a good magical-dreamlike picture book.

Reviewer: TC

And the Robot Went by Michelle Robinson -- OPTIONAL

And the Robot Went by Michelle Robinson, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier. PICTURE BOOK. Clarion Books (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), 2017. $17.00. 9780544586529




In this rhyming picture book, several animals and people find the pieces of a robot in a box. As each one adds something to the robot, the story builds on itself.

The illustrations are nice to look at, and the repetition and rhyming are designed to appeal to a younger audience. What took it from ADVISABLE to OPTIONAL was the ending, however, which leaves only one creature smiling and all the others frowning. The downer of an ending was entirely unnecessary, and I know my students would point it out if I read it aloud and many would find the characters' sadness distressing.

Reviewed by Sydney G., K-6 Library Media Specialist

In Harm’s Way by Iain Martin - OPTIONAL

In Harm’s Way: JFK, World War II, and the Heroic Rescue of PT 109 by Iain Martin, 219 pages.  Scholastic Press (Scholastic Inc.), 2018. $17.99

Language: PG (4 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG



World War II (WWII) was a difficult time for everyone involved, but it also allowed people to fight for what they believed in and to discover who they wanted to be. John F. Kennedy was one such man. In this book, readers get to learn about WWII by following the life of Kennedy – by seeing the war from the path that a real person chose instead of by reading overviews of the events of the war.

Martin helped history come to life for me by following what happened to Kennedy and those with him. Throughout the book, Martin helps explain terms and context for what was going on and why certain choices were made. I have gained more respect for those who act upon the draw of patriotism and a desire to serve one’s country, and I admire Kennedy’s determination to make and goals while never giving up on what he wants despite the obstacles put in his path.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

The Book Tree by Paul Czajak - OPTIONAL

The Book Tree by Paul Czajak, illustrated by Rashin Kheiriyeh.  PICTURE BOOK.  Barefoot Books, 2018.  $18. 9781782854050



When the mayor is hit on the head with a book, he destroys them all.  As the town’s spirit declines, an unhappy little boy decides to write his own books.
I wanted to love this book about the love of books, but I had such a hard time believing that the mayor could order every book destroyed and get away with it.  I just couldn’t suck myself into the story until the very end.

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS

Snared: Escape to the Above by Adam Jay Epstein - ESSENTIAL

Snared: Escape to the Above by Adam Jay Epstein, 306 pages.  Imprint (Macmillan), 2018.  $17.

Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (some fantasy fighting)



Wily Snare has lived his whole hobgoblin life in the underground lair of Stalag, an ancient wizard. Wily’s job is to build the traps keeping all of the adventurers far away from his master.  But when an intrepid group of heroes bypass all of his traps, Wily himself is the ransom!  Now he must venture into the dangerous unknown with a group of strangers – a blue-haired elf, a bald warrior whose right arm has a mind of its own, a moss giant (no, really – he’s made of moss), and his best hobgoblin friend.  Wily begins to suspect he’s not really a hobgoblin and the others push him towards a destiny he could never have imagined.

Epstein has certainly honed his writing skills.  All of his books are must-haves for elementary school libraries.   A great swash-buckling fantasy adventure with excellent steampunk monsters and inventions added in.  Memorable characters and just the right amount of action. Hmmm – it looks like a series, but I have no idea where it will go from here.

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS

Buddy by William Joyce - ADVISABLE

Buddy by William Joyce, 44 pages.  CHAPTER BOOK Atheneum Books, 1997.  $18.   Content: G  



When Gertrude Lintz was twelve, her mother died and she was sent to work on a farm where the caregivers weren’t very kind, but the animals on the farm were her friends.  When Gertrude got older she loved animals and they became her family.  Buddy was a baby gorilla whose parents were killed in the jungles of Africa and he was brought to America to be cared for.  Gertrude heard of the baby gorilla and knew that she just had to have him.  Gertrude raised Buddy and as he got older and bigger she would go shopping with him in public and put him on display at the World Fair.  Eventually, Buddy’s wild side became too much for Gertrude to handle so she found a place for him with other gorillas in a zoo, where she visited him often.  

This book gives a glimpse into some of the outlandish things people did in the 1920’s.  Gertrude and Buddy are easy to love and my son and I couldn’t put the book down because we had to know what would happen to them.  My only complaint is that there aren’t very many illustrations, it is mostly text which makes it less appealing to younger readers.  But the content is fascinating and the pictures that are there are great.  

C. Peterson

This is the Nest that Robin Built by Denise Fleming - OPTIONAL

This is the Nest that Robin Built by Denise Fleming.  PICTURE BOOK Beach Lane Books (Simon and Schuster), 2018.  $18.  9781481430838  



In the same style as This is the House that Jack Built, the reader is taken through the steps a robin takes in building her nest.  Different animals play a role in providing the supplies for a well-made nest, including straw from the horse barn and mud from the pig pen.  When the robin is done with her nest, her little blue eggs are placed inside until they hatch, grow up and leave the nest.  

If you are looking for a book about how nests are built, this is a simple and fun explanation.  Because of the rhythm, this makes for a fun read aloud.  The illustrations are a collage and it comes across a bit messy, which isn’t very appealing (especially the pig pen picture).  There is also a fold out page that shows the whole process, but I think fold out pages are hard for a library book as they tend to get ripped and folded up wrong.  

C. Peterson

Mama Dug a Little Den by Jennifer Ward - OPTIONAL

Mama Dug a Little Den by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Steve Jenkins. PICTURE BOOK. Beach Lane Press (Simon & Schuster), 2018 $18. 9781481480376



This text pairs a rhyming, rhythmic portion with an informational piece for each animal and their den habitat.  The spread includes one animal type, a rhyming portion that is four sentences long, and one paragraph explaining the den in detail. The illustrations are made from a collage of textured papers. 

I thought it was interesting to learn about the female role with these animals, but other than that it was kind of a boring read. I don’t think it will hold most students’ attention spans unless you are doing something deliberate with it - an art project on recreating an animals habitat, for example. The other option is just to read a few animals at a time to spark interest for animal reports. 

Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner - OPTIONAL

Unearthed (Unearthed, #1) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, 328 pages.  Hyperion, 2018.  $18.  

Content: Language: R (90 swears); Mature Content: PG-13; Violence: PG-13.  



Earth is in a dystopian condition, with resources running out, so when word of a planet named Gaia with a race of aliens called the Undying is presented there is rush to uncover their secrets.  Mia is a scaver, which means she is transported to the planet in the hopes of scavenging treasure that she can sell to buy back her sister who is enslaved.  Jules is a scholar’s son who is on Gaia to find the Undying’s resources because his father has been disgraced on earth.  From the beginning, Jules and Mia have to help each other just to survive on the oxygen deprived planet and to escape the other humans who are in a race to find the same things and aren’t afraid to kill for them.  

Mia and Jules are great characters and I enjoyed their backstory, romantic chemistry and determination.  I liked the premise of the story, but I was annoyed with the amount of details explaining the problem and wish that there would have been more action.  The beginning and end of the book kept my interest, but the middle was a bit of a slog.  There is also going to be a second book because this is just the first part of the story.  

C. Peterson

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

You’re my Little Sweet Pea by Annette Bourland - ADVISABLE

You’re my Little Sweet Pea by Annette Bourland, illustrated by Kit Chase.  BOARD BOOK.  Zonderkidz, 2019.  $10. 9780310766568



An adorable love song from a parent to a child.  Animal families dot the pages with softly colored illustrations.  A great gift idea for a baby shower or from a grandparent.

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS

Tigers & Tea with Toppy by Barbara Kerley - ADVISABLE

Tigers & Tea with Toppy by Barbara Kerley with Rhonda Knight Kalt, illustrated by Matte Stephens. PICTURE BOOK.  Scholastic Press, 2018.  $19.  9781338134278



Rhoda loves her weekends with her Toppy and Nonna.  Her Toppy takes her to the Natural History Museum and the New York Zoo.   All along the way he teaches her about art and looking and seeing, because her Toppy is a famous artist – Charles R. Knight.

Knight's personal story of perseverance is must-have if you are looking for stories about grit and growth mindset.  He lost much of his sight at an early age, but still pursued his dream of becoming an artist. Definitely a book to share with your teachers.

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS

Little Helpers by Michéle Brummer Everett -- ADVISABLE

Little Helpers: Animals on the Job! by Michéle Brummer Everett. NONFICTION. PICTURE BOOK. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018. $18. 9780544879553




This nonfiction picture book introduces children to a number of service animals who help their people with difficulties ranging from seizures to anxiety to blindness. An afterword gives more information about how individual animal species may be used.

This is a fascinating look at service animals, and I love that a portion of the proceeds will go to Helping Hands. Children will likely enjoy learning about talents their favorite animals possess and their symbiotic relationships with humans.

Reviewed by Sydney G., K-6 Library Media Specialist