Book review: Hideout, by Watt Key

Key, Watt. Hideout. Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, 2017. $16.99. ISBN 9780374304829. 311 pages. Grades 5-9. P7 Q7

Hideout is a buddy adventure set in the mysterious swampy areas of the Gulf Coast. Sam’s new fishing boat has broadened his small world to include the very wild bayou that stretches for miles around his house. While exploring, Sam discovers a dilapidated hunting camp and, to his surprise, a very hungry boy named Davey attempting to inhabit one of the crumbling cabins. In his effort to help his new friend, while keeping it a secret from his family, Sam quickly realizes that Davey could be in serious trouble. Hideout is very much in line with Watt Key’s previous young adult novels. It features a male lead, takes place along the Gulf Shore, and discusses the complexities of family relationships. Young readers will enjoy the adventure and danger of Hideout. Male readers will relate to Sam and Davey’s sense of adventure and their views of what it means to be a brother.

Verdict: Hideout is a suspenseful story that will keep young readers interested. It would be a popular edition to a school library. The target audience is young boys. There is mention of smoking and drug use and a description of a dead body.

June 2017 review by Lillian Curanzy.

Book review: Barefoot Books World Atlas, by Nick Crane, illustrated by David Dean

Crane, Nick. Illustrated by David Dean. Barefoot Books World Atlas. Barefoot Books, 2011. ISBN 9781846863332. 47 pages Ages 3-12. P7 Q8

This is an in-depth, illustrated atlas meant to introduce young readers to the story of planet Earth and how it has been mapped in recent history. It begins with a discussion of the solar system, human evolution, and mapmaking. Then each ocean and landmass is presented by region in fully illustrated pages. In addition to geographical boundaries, we are shown cultural, historical, and biologically relevant objects from every part of the world. The text is organized into sections for each ocean or landmass: physical features, climate and weather, natural resources, environment, wildlife, and transport. This creates an informative book with content that is easily referenced. Following the main text of the book is a glossary and an index. There  is also an illustrated atlas poster with information about animal and human migrations included in the back of the book. World Atlas is an organized, approachable introduction to geography and world cultures.

Verdict: Recommended for young readers in a home or guided classroom setting. Fold-out pages and paper flaps may not be practical for public or school library use.

June 2017 review by Lillian Curanzy.

Book review: Waiting for the Biblioburro=Esperando el Biblioburro, by Monica Brown, illustrated by John Parra, translated by Adriana Dominguez

Brown, Monica. Illustrated by John Parra. Translated by Adriana Dominguez. Waiting for the Biblioburro=Esperando el Biblioburro. Tricycle Press/Penguin Random House, 2016. $16.99. ISBN 9789533538793. Ages 3-7. P8 Q8

This bilingual edition of Waiting for the Biblioburro was originally published in English in 2011. Ana loves her only book, but the town’s teacher who gave it to her has moved away. Soon, her town is visited by a traveling librarian—the Biblioburro, and her love of reading is jump-started. The book’s author, Monica Brown, was inspired to write the book by the story of a Colombian  librarian who delivered books to children in remote villages. He did this by traveling long distances with his two donkeys. In this edition, Ana’s story is translated in a very literal way to Spanish. There are Spanish words included in the English edition that are translated in the text; this translation takes the Spanish language component of the story to the next level. The original edition had a glossary of Spanish terms in the back and it remains in this new edition.

Verdict: This is a sensical translation that works with the subject matter. It is great for a bilingual classroom or a new reader of English or Spanish.

June 2017 review by Lillian Curanzy.

Book review: Short Mysteries You Solve with Math!=Misterios cortos que resuelves con matemáticas!, by Eric and Natalie Yoder

Yoder, Eric and Natalie Yoder. Short Mysteries You Solve with Math!=Misterios cortos que resuelves con matemáticas! (One Minute Mysteries series) Science, Naturally!, 2017. $12.95. ISBN 9781938492228. 224 pages. Includes Glossary, Index, and Conversion Table.  Ages 10-14. P6 Q8

Bilingual (English/Spanish) book with vignettes of realistic things that could happen and some silly stories provoke thoughts to explain the mystery. Using higher level thinking skills the reader can predict the explanation and then check the following pages to learn the answer and the mathematical explanation.

Verdict: It is great for a bilingual classroom as a transition read aloud or daily discussion.  Also for the Talented And Gifted (TAG) students or students that need additional challenges, it would be an engaging book to provide an extension to their thinking.

June 2017 review by Deborah Gwynn.


Book review: Hattie and Hudson, by Chris Van Dusen

Van Dusen, Chris. Hattie and Hudson. Candlewick Press, 2017. $16.99. ISBN 9780763665456. Unpaged. Ages 4-10. P8 Q9.

Hattie McFadden explores a lake and makes a friend with a large mysterious creature she names Hudson. She is determined to convince the town that Hudson is not harmful but friendly. Endpapers are a relaxing pond scene. Illustrations are very detailed and adorable.

Verdict: With the higher vocabulary, it is a great read aloud for discussion for a discussion of friendship or for an advanced reader. 

June 2017 review by Deborah Gwynn.

Book review: Frankie, by Mary Sullivan

Sullivan, Mary.  Frankie. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017. $12.99.  ISBN 9780544611139. Unpaged. Ages 4-10. P8 Q8.

Frankie is the new dog introduced to a home that already has a dog–Nico.  The two dogs go through the struggle of not wanting to share and then they develop a relationship. Cute illustrations have soft borders. The emotions of the dogs are clearly illustrated. The book is written only in think and talk bubbles that change shapes with the emotions expressed, but it is not in the format of the cartoon style of a graphic novel.  The endpapers have cute hearts.

Verdict: This is an adorable book for a young readers and a good addition to a library.

June 2017 review by Deborah Gwynn.

Book review: Looking Up! The Science of Stargazing, by Joe Rao, illustrated by Mark Borgions

Rao, Joe. Looking Up! The Science of Stargazing. Illustrated by Mark Borgions. (Science of Fun Stuff series ; Ready to Read series, level 3) Simon Spotlight, 2017. $3.99. ISBN 9781481479172. 48 Pages. Includes Table of Contents and Quiz. Ages 8-12. P 7 Q 8.

This non-fiction book is up to date on the scientific research on planets and information about space.  It is very relevant to read now with the solar eclipse coming on August 21, 2017, providing information about viewing and safety.  It also explains the sun, moon, planets, meteors, and lunar eclipses.  Using fun illustrations (no photographs) the reader is engaged in learning about space.

Verdict: It is a great book to make sure children are reading now to prepare for the eclipse and for students interested in space.

June 2017 review by Deborah Gwynn.