January 2010 Book Reviews
Bauer, E.D. Wings: A Fairy Tale. Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books, 2008. $16.99 ISBN: 9781599901930 307 p. Gr. 6-10
This is a nice little fairy tale about a girl named Tamisin. She knows she is different than other girls, but doesn’t know why. She has freckles that sparkle, the moon calls to her to dance, and now she has sprouted wings. When Jak (the new boy at school) throws a Halloween party everything seems to change and become clear. I liked the book because it was very descriptive and had a cute story behind it all. Review by M.S-O., 11th grade
Strasnick, Lauren. Nothing Like You. Simon Pulse, 2009. $16.99 ISBN:9780416982647 209 p. Gr. 9-12
Holly doesn’t have a purpose in her life, and she’s going all out to find one. After making a few risky decisions with a guy she barely knows, her life does begin to change, but not in the best way. Since her mom died, Holly feels like she’s numb to her surroundings and her new impulses make her feel good about herself. Once the consequences show, Holly questions everything, including the boy who made her start it all. This was a solid book, with good character interaction. I loved the tone of the book; where the story keeps ending up is not always what’s expected. Review by C.L., 11th grade
Reed, Amy. Beautiful. Simon Pulse, 2009. $16.99 ISBN:9781416978305 233 p. Gr. 9-12 Cassie is a young teenager, who, after moving to a big city, wants to change her life. She wants to stop being a “good girl” and become someone else. Once a girl introduces her as beautiful, her whole life goes from average to drug-filled, hectic, and out-of-control: something she never wanted or expected. Cassie’s put in some situations that she really can’t handle, and her decisions build until the weight is too much, and it’s either change them or give up altogether. This book offers a really raw look at life. I mean, she’s only 13 and does a lot of things that make you hurt for her. It’s a good book to read because it shows another side of life that’s not always made public. Review by C.L., 11th grade
Sheinmel, Courtney. Positively. Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2009. $16.99 ISBN: 978-1416971696 224 p. Gr. 9-12
Emmy was 4 when she found out that she was HIV-positive – and so was her mom. By the time she’s 13, her mom has died and Emmy’s heartbroken. She goes to live with her dad and his new family, and goes to a camp for HIV-positive girls. There, she really learns a lot about herself and you see the difference in her words. It’s sort of a growing up time in her life, coping with her mom’s death, her own life-threatening disease, and she finds ways to handle it all. I liked this book; I don’t see too many books on AIDS for teenage girls. It was a different way of looking at it, a lot more personal since her mom had already passed and she had trouble coping. It was very well-written. Review by C.L., 11th grade
Black, Holly. The Good Neighbors: Book Two: Kith. Illustrated by Ted Naifeh. Graphix, 2009. $Price ISBN:9780439855631 122 p. Gr. 9-12
This is the second book in a series. It’s wonderfully written and drawn. The art is amusing and really takes you in. The story is of a girl named Rue, who lives in a bizarre world of faeries and is plunged into a conflict between good and evil. Very well written and a dark read. Review by N.T., 11th grade
Larbalestier, Justine. Liar. Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children’s Books, 2009. $16.99 ISBN: 9781599903057 376 p. Gr. 9-12
Micah is known as a liar and a weirdo. But in this story, told from first person point of view, she promises to tell the truth to her readers. It follows Micah as the mysterious death of a boy (very close to her) unfolds. The barriers between Micah and everyone else in her school thicken and she has to decide where she belongs. Calling herself “not girl, not boy, not black, not white,” she has to choose between life in New York City, where she never fits in – or with her crazy extended family out in the country. Most of all, can she be honest? This book delves deep into Micah’s mind and it isn’t until part 2 that she reveals her family’s biggest secret: they’re werewolves. But it’s actually explained in a believable, well-written way (except for the unnecessary last chapter.) Review by K.J., 11th grade.
L.R. for Siletz Library
Morrison, Toni & Slade. Peeny Butter Fudge. Il. Joe Cepeda. Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2009, unpgd. Ages 4-8. ISBN 9781416983323 $16.99 P8Q8
From the bright, inviting cover to the feel-good story about a grandma who takes care of the grandkids for the day, this book makes the reader want to be there for the fun! Author Toni Morrison and her son, Slade have written a book based on experience and a family recipe. The grandma tries to follow the healthy schedule left by the mother, but veers off when it comes to the granola bar “snack.” However, mom isn’t angry with her mother when the smells bring her warm memories of her childhood. Written in rhyme, this book cries out to be read aloud.
Shreeve, Elizabeth. Oliver at the Window. Il. Candice Hartsough McDonald. Boyds Mill Press, 2009, unpgd. Ages 4-6. ISBN 9781590785485 $16.95 P5Q5
McDonald’s illustrations inside this book are perfectly charming, but the cover does not seem inviting. It hints of a rather bleak story, and in some ways, it is. Oliver’s parents have separated and he has just started at a new preschool. Every day he waits by the window, not knowing which parent will pick him up that day. It is winter outside, and the view outside is always gray, adding to the feeling of sadness. Little by little, he waits less and becomes adjusted. This may be a helpful book for helping a child in similar circumstances and encouraging empathy on the part of young children. On the other hand, it might just make them sad.
Lechner, John. Sticky Burr: The Prickly Peril. Candlewick Press, 2009, unpgd. Ages 8-12. ISBN 9780763645809 $6.99 P9Q10
Who could ever imagine that an illustrator could draw a shape that most preschoolers have mastered easily, put a face on it, give it a name and insert it into a village of similar “burrs” and have a hit story? This highly entertaining comic book style is the story of Scurvy and Spiny Burr, who attempt to take over Burrwood and try to get rid of the nice burr who wants to put on plays and harvest festivals. To bolster their evil intentions, they enlist Burrweena, an exiled, bitter burr who keeps spider henchmen on chains in her forest lair. The cover of this paperback is inviting, and provides a sampling of exciting scenes from the book. The minute a child picks it up and starts reading, they will be hooked and most likely read the whole book at a sitting. Author-illustrator Lechner has written one other “Burr” book and a couple of other children’s books—one about a stick! I would be tempted to buy them all for a library!
Riggs, Kate. Jets: Now That’s Fast! The Creative Company, 2009, 24 pgs. Ages 5-10. ISBN 9781583419137 $16.95 P6Q9
A book about things that go fast will always have an audience and this series “Now That’s Fast” is a quality product. The big, glossy photographs are very artistic and text is just long enough to be informative, but not overwhelming. The words that are included in the glossary at the back of the book are highlighted in the text, so the reader can go back and refer to that page while still staying engaged in the descriptions. There is also a timeline showing the relative speed of everything from a skateboard to a jet, a “fast fact” page and websites for more information.
Riggs, Kate. Motorcycles, ISBN 9781583419144 and Stock Cars, 9781583419168 P6Q9
The photographs may not be quite as beautiful as the book on jets, but they are visually interesting and all the same features are in these two books about things that go fast. These two books include sepia toned historical photos that I found interesting. One of an old “Indian” brand motorcycle, (too bad they didn’t tell the reader what year it was) and a photo of stock car races on the beach in the 1940’s. This whole series of six would be a great purchase for a library.
Stringer, Helen. Spellbinder. Feiwel and Friends, 2009, 372 pgs. Ages 10-16. ISBN 9780312387631 $17.99 P9Q9
A first novel by Helen Stringer, this book could definitely be recommended to fans of Harry Potter and it will not disappoint. Not that it is a knock-off of the wizardry books, but it has the same theme of a pre-teen (this time a girl) who loses her parents, finds odd things happening in her everyday life, and is thrust into a role of battling evil forces. She finds a friend who also happens to be a misfit, but turns out to be brave and true. This book does not have the same humor that the Potter books have, but it definitely has the same suspense, play on names, (The school is named “Dullworth”!) and odd characters. It also uses a fairly sophisticated vocabulary and will educate the reader on British terms.
(trainers, semidetacheds, tea, shops, etc.) The end of the book hints at a sequel, and this one will be one that readers will look forward to!
Book Reviews-B.R. Newport Intermediate School
Baek, Matthew J. Panda & Polar Bear. Dial Books for Young Readers, c2009. ISBN 978-8037-3359-6. Unp. $16.99. Gr. PreS-2nd. P8 Q8. (Written by a Newport Intermediate School 6th grader. LT)
The book was about a panda and polar bear who were trying to get to each other. The polar bear was too high off the ground and the panda was too low to get up. One day the polar bear got down and went fishing with the panda. The polar bear missed his parents and wanted to go back up. The bears built a ladder and got up to the polar bears area. (Written by a Newport Intermediate School 6th grader. CL) I think that the panda & polar bear story was great. They played games and told their differences was cute. I loved the book and can’t wait for the next one.) (This book is about an unusual friendship, how they meet, played and worked together. Together they solved the problem of getting polar bear back home. At the end of the book we find out they live in a zoo. This is a great book about diversity and could be used teaching a unit in that area. BR)
Urban, Linda. Mouse Was Mad. Ills. by Henry Cole. Harcourt Children’s Books, c2009. ISBN 978-0-15-205337-6. Unp. $16.00. Grs. PreS-3rd. P8 Q7
(Written by a Newport Intermediate School 5th grader. MH) Mouse was mad and he was hopping mad. Then hare came along and taught him how to hop. Then mouse was stomping mad and bear came along and taught him how to stomp. Then mouse was screaming mad and Bobcat came along and taught him how to scream. But mouse didn’t learn anything and he was still mad, until he stood still without moving a finger. The other animals tried to stand still but they couldn’t so then he felt much better. (A great book to teach young people that there is something each of us can do well. BR)
Rim, Sujean. Birdie’s Big-Girl Shoes. Little, Brown and Company, c2009. ISBN 978-0-316-04470-7. Unp. $15.99. Gr. 1st-5th. P6 Q8
(Written by a Newport Intermediate School 6th grader. CL) Birdie wanted to wear her mom’s shoes and she begged her mom. Her mom finally said yes so she started to dance in them, did a cartwheel in them and played hide and seek in them. Birdie did not want to wear them anymore because her legs got all shaky. She liked it better when she had bare feet. (After wanting to wear her mother’s fancy shoes very badly, Birdie decided in the end that going barefoot was much better. A fantastic book about yearning for something and it really wasn’t what was expected.BR)
Bansch, Helga. I Want a Dog. NorthSouth, c2009. ISBN 978-0-7358-2255-9. Unp. $16.99. Grs. PreS-4th P6 Q8
(Written by a Newport Intermediate School 6th grader. KH) Lisa wants a dog but her parents say the apartment is too small. She always gets dog stuff for her birthday but never a real dog. Then she made signs saying if people needed their dog to have a pal. Then an old guy came because he was too old to walk the dog every day and now Lisa has a dog.
(Wanting a dog becomes a challenge for Lisa because her parents say the apartment is too small for one. You can’t just make an apartment bigger so Lisa finds another way to get what she wants. A note on trees in the park, Wanted Dog to borrow. Walking, brushing, petting, playing, walking. Your pet needs a pal. This solved not only her problem but the problem that an older man could not keep up with his dog. The author wanted the reader to learn that you must keep on working for solutions for your problem. BR)
Blabey, Aaron. Sunday Chutney. Front Street, c2008. ISBN 978-1-59078-597-3. Unp. $15.95 Grs. K-4th . P5 Q7
(Written by a Newport Intermediate School 4th grader. CP) It is really good especially the pictures. It was about a girl. She had creepy eyes too. She lived all around the world but wanted one house. (Living all over the world is great except for having to always start at new schools. Sunday loves her life but feels a bit lonely sometimes. ONLY if she could have one wish she would wish to always have the same house. BR)
Dubosarsky, Ursula. The Terrible Plop. Ills. By Andrew Joyner. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, c2009. ISBN 0-374-37428-7. Unp. $15.99. Grds. PreS-3rd. P6 Q7
The lively rhyming text takes the reader/listener on an adventure of learning that things in life aren’t as scary as they seem. The little rabbit sits under the apple tree by the lake. An apple falls, PLOP, into the water and it scares not only him but all the other animals.
Bauer, Marion Dane. The Longest Night. Ills. By Ted Lewin. Holiday House, c2009. ISBN 978-0-8234-2057. $17.95. Grs. 3rd-5th. P4 Q5
(Written by a Newport Intermediate School 4th grader. JR) The crow said, “Where is the sun?” The fox said, “it disappeared,” so the crow said, “I’m going to the sun to get him back” and he couldn’t so the moose said, “I would go there with my horns and get the sun too,” and he tried and he didn’t and the fox did it too and he couldn’t and a bird did and the wind told him to get the sun and he did it. Everyone cheered.
(The sun has disappeared and the bold and courageous animals of the night each say they can bring it back. Not until the little chickadee comes along does the sun reappear. The night pictures of these animals done in watercolors of green, blue, and brown show the strength of the animals. BR)
Kuszyk, R. Nicholas. R Robot Saves Lunch. G. P. Putman’s Sons, c2009. ISBN 978-0-399-24757-6 $16.99. Grs. K-2nd P6 Q7
R Robot goes to work and needs to find a missing robot and by lunchtime something is wrong with Big Cooker robot. R Robot goes into action and enters the Big Cooker’s stomach. Yes, inside is the missing robot. There is a big noise coming from the stomach and KABOOOOM out comes the missing robot which had plugged up Big Cooker’s stomach.
Hicks, Barbara Jean. Monsters Don’t Eat Broccoli. Ills. By Sue Hendra. Alfred A. Knopf,c2009. ISBN 978-0-375-85686-0. $16.99. Grs. K-2nd. P6 Q7
According to this rollicking rhyming book monsters only eat things such as fish “n” ships, boulders, wheely, steely stew. No vegetables especially broccoli. But they do eat redwood trees, so if you disguise the broccoli as trees you might get them to eat it.
Ericsson, Jennifer. A. Whoo Goes There? Ills. By Bert Kitchen. Roaring Brook Press, c2009. ISBN 978-1-59643-371-7. $17.99. Grs. PreS-3rd. P8 Q7
Hungry Owl was sitting on a tree branch waiting for something to come along for his dinner. He hears a sound in the brush, “Who goes there?” Owl thinks. A mouse would be good for dinner. It was a cat and he didn’t think a cat would be good to eat. Next he thinks he hears a squirrel, “Who goes there?” Owl thinks. A squirrel would be good to eat. It was a skunk. He didn’t want a skunk to eat. And so goes the night until he finally spies a mouse. Owl spreads his wings and swoops down to catch his dinner, but CRASH! CRASH! It was two raccoons knocking over the trash cans. A man comes out of the house “Who goes there?” he calls. No one is there, owl flies away. Mouse? Well, he is still searching for his dinner?
Keane, Dave. Bobby Bramble Loses His Brain. Ills. By David Clark. Clarion Books, c2009 ISBN 978-0-547-05644-9. $16.00. Grs. 1st-4th. P7 Q8
Bobby Bramble is the kind of boy who just can’t seem to stay still. He is constantly doing something, usually dangerous. He mother is always saying “Bobby Bramble you’ll fall and crack your head open just like Humpty Dumpty!” Yes, one day he does just that and his brain dashes away. Everyone in town tries to help catch the brain until Bobby himself comes upon it and just automatically grabs it and puts it back. Does that stop Bobby from doing those crazy things? No, but he will not lose his brain again because the mayor of the town gave Bobby a helmet to wear.
Seuss, Dr. What was I Scared of? Random House, c1961. ISBN 978-0-375-85342-5. $11.99. Grs. K-4th. P5 Q7
This glow in the dark book is an encounter between a Dr. Seuss’s Sneetch-like character and a pair of empty pants. While walking at night through the park this character comes upon a pair of pale green pants with nobody in them. Of course he is afraid and runs away. Every night he goes out he comes upon these same pale green pants with nobody in them. Each time he runs away until one night he could not run. He screamed and shrieked when a strange thing happened. The pants were whimpering. They were just afraid of him as he was of them. They became friends, and when they meet, which is quite often they never shake or tremble. Both smile and say “HI!”
[Editor’s note: This reissue of one of the short stories in Dr. Seuss’s 1961 book, Sneeches and other Stories, uses glow-in-the-dark ink in illustrations of a lonely pair of pants.]
Adler, David A. and Michael S. Adler. A Picture Book of Harry Houdini. Ills. By Matt Collins. Holiday House, c2009. ISBN 9780823420599. $17.95. Unp. Grs. 1st-3rd . P5 Q8
This picture book takes us from Houdini’s humble beginnings through his fantastic life as an escape artist. The author’s careful research shows several discrepancies that exist with regard to Houdini’s background. He was born in Budapest, Hungary and named Ehrich Weisz. He later changed his performance name to “the Prince of the Air”, “Eric the Great” and finally to Harry Houdini. Any child who is interested in the art of magic should enjoy this book.
Postgate, Daniel. The Snaggle Grollop, Ills. By Nike Price. Scholastic, c2009. ISBN 9780545104708. $16.99. Unp. Grs. PreS-3rd. P6 Q7
Sam is always asking for a dog or cat, but his parents are always saying no. When he uses his imagination and creates an imaginary creature, a snagglegrollop they immediately say okay. This creature is high in maintenance but takes the family on fabulous weekend adventures. When his friend Emily tells Sam of her parents also not letting her have a pet, Sam tells her what he did. She ends up with a quibblesnuff, which is a female version on his snagglegrollop. The two imaginary pets fly off hand in hand. At the end Sam asks about getting a dog for a pet, Dad replies, maybe.
Lakin, Patricia. Camping Out. Ills. By Scott Nash. Dial Books, c2009. ISBN 9780803733091. $16.99 Unp. Grs. PreS-2nd. P6 Q5
Sam, Pam, Will and Jill decide to go camping although no one has any skills in camping. They hike, cook, sing and of course nothing goes quite right for this foursome. In the end they all have a great time and are happy.
Benedict, Helen. The lonely soldier: the private war of women serving in Iraq. (Boston: Beacon Press, c2009): 264 p.
Includes extensive bibliographical notes and index. Ages 15-up. P6Q9 Since the passage of the infamous “No Child Left Behind” legislation, U.S. military recruiters have legally mandated access to personal information on all high school students attending schools which receive federal funds. Although it is legal for parents to opt out of having their children included, most are not aware of the choice. Military recruiters may guarantee education, training, deployment to potential recruits, but most do not explain that the military is not required to honor any part of the contract. Columbia University journalism professor Helen Benedict distills the experience of women soldiers serving in Iraq through the stories of 5 women, from their early decisions to join the military, through recruitment, basic training, deployment, conditions under combat, and life after serving in Iraq. Problems that each woman found included sexual assault/harassment/rape by fellow U.S. soldiers of all ranks, brainwashing, homophobia, lack of equipment, lack of awareness of women’s medical needs throughout the military, inadequate planning and infrastructure for veteran’s medical and mental health needs. Benedict further explains the political background which led to the war, the results of outsourcing essential military supplies and services, the culture of misogyny and homophobia throughout the U.S. military, I am convinced that this book should be held by all public, high school and middle school libraries in the United States. In fact, military recruiters ought to be mandated to give copies to all potential recruits. A title on the 2010 Amelia Bloomer List.
Kannel, Beth. Darkness Under the Water. Candlewick Press, 2008. $16.99 304 pp. ages 12 up ISBN 978-0-7636-3719-4 P7/Q8
An Abenaki Indian family in Vermont in the 1930’s lives alongside a river that is being dammed. The father works with the floating of logs down the river from the logging sites to market. Later he works on the new dam whose reservoir will inundate their valley. The protagonist of the story is a 16-year-old girl who has to live in the shadow of her drowned sister, and seems doomed to take in laundry all her life. The story portrays a number of harsh realities of the day: childhood mortality, deathbed fever, tuberculosis, prejudice, against the background of the continuing Abenaki culture they nurture while trying not to draw attention to themselves. The story gives some feeling to kids today about what their grandparents and great-grandparents had to deal with and so why they often times would deny that they were Indian, or try to hide it. The afterword describes the Vermont Eugenics Project. The story is pretty dark, but there is a promise of cultural continuity and hope for the future, even though one disaster after another befalls this family.
Pfeffer, Susan Beth. Life As We Knew It. Harcourt, 2006. $17 337 pp. ages 12 up ISBN 0-15-205826-5 P8/Q8
As science fiction, this story is light on the futuristic science but does deal with a popular current theme: massive climate change. Miranda, 17-year-old resident of a Pennsylvania town, lives a normal
life with her friends. Her journal becomes the basis for the story. An asteroid hits the moon, and contrary to scientists’ expectations, the moon is knocked closer to Earth, creating massive tidal changes and weakening of the Earth’s crust. Volcanoes create massive ash cover, cooling the Earth’s climate. The story covers coping with various disruptions in our modern society (e.g. lack of electricity and internet), though it underestimates the impact of some services (e.g. water and toilets). This book would be an interesting companion to “The Brother’s Story”, which recounts life during the worst winter recorded, back in the 17th century. Though the book has a lot of pages, it’s a pretty fast read.
Marino, Nan. Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me. Roaring Brook Press, 2009. $16.95 154 pp. ages 8-14 ISBN 978-1-59643-499-8 P7/Q7
Her best friend moved away without notice, and now some new boy lives in that house, and 10-year-old Tamara is mad. She resents his presence in every way and makes his life miserable. It’s interesting seeing the action from inside the head of someone who some might consider bullying, who matures during the story and begins to see others with more depth. The author gets the stubborn character of this 10-year-old down well, and the story ending is touching.
Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody. Suddenly Supernatural: School Spirit. Little, Brown & Co, 2008. $10.99 308 pp. ages 10-13 ISBN 978-0-316-06683-9 P7/Q7
Kat is a 7th grader with an unusual mother and an unusual skill: Her family tends to produce psychic mediums who can see and talk to the dead. Understandably, Kat has social adjustment problems. She tangles with the popular girls, but finds an ally in a new girl who is reportedly an excellent musician but who now refuses to play. Kat displays uncommon sensitivity also to people’s feelings and is able to orchestrate a scene where the ghost haunting the school is helped at the same time that her friend and her friend’s teacher are helped. The book has large type and an easy style and is likely to appeal to intermediate grades as well as middle school. I’m guessing it could produce a series.
Becker, Tom. Darkside. Orchard Books (Scholastic; first pub. in UK 2007), 2008. $16.99 294 pp. ages 10 up ISBN 978-0-545-03739-6 P7/Q7
This dark fantasy follows a boy, Jonathan, as he tries to discover what his comatose father was trying to pursue: an opening to the “darkside”. The Darkside turns out to be a sort of parallel universe, a Victorian cess pool of bad actors and horror that exists alongside modern “lightside” London. Jonathan turns out to be brave and resourceful, and surprisingly able to battle the dark forces once he links up with his father’s friend there. This story should appeal to fans of fantasy and action, especially those who like tales of vampires and werewolves. It is the first of a new series; the next installment, “Lifeblood”, has a preview in the back of the book.
Townsend, Wendy. Lizard Love. Front Street (Boyds Mill Press), 2008. $17.95 195 pp. ages 10-14 ISBN: 978-1-932425-34-5 P7/Q7
Grace loves her life in the country, with its various wild reptiles, amphibians, and other animals. When she has to move to the big city, she discovers a reptile & amphibian pet store and the boy who works there. Over the course of the year, she begins to hit puberty and has to deal with it whether she wants to or not. The book is entirely about Kat and her changing feelings and social life, with a little bit of reptile stuff to give it a unique flavor. Readers who love lizards will love the cover; conversely anyone phobic about them won’t pick it up. It’s a nice little story.
Shaw, Susan. One of the Survivors. Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster), 2009. $15.99 199 pp. ages 10 up ISBN 978-1-4169-6129-1 P8/Q9
High school student Joey has survived a fire which destroyed the school & killed all of his class but he and his friend, Maureen. The other students made it out, but it took an act of courage and defiance for him to get out alive, yet other people blame him and Maureen. Dealing with survivor’s guilt is a tough subject, and this book does it well. It opens with action and keeps the interest up throughout the book. Joey’s father is portrayed as patient and sympathetic, and Joey’s grief is played out through its stages. To try to tackle his feelings, Joey writes a journal and thus opens up his feelings to the reader. The book gives many opportunities for discussion, and could be a valuable tool for helping a young person try to resolve survivor’s guilt, or any loss or act of defiance.
Alexander, Jill S. The Sweetheart of Prosper County. Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan), 2009. $16.99 212 pp. ages 10 up ISBN 978-0-312-54856-8 P6/Q7
Aspiring to be the county’s Future Farmers of America “sweetheart”, who rides on the truck in the annual Christmas parade, 15-year-old Austin (a girl) works to promote her social position. This rural Texas town tale covers topics such as loss, single-parent families, and small-town society, but it is strongest in dealing with bullying. The bully, from a rich, arrogant family in town, arises everywhere Austin goes it seems. By the end of the story he’s not been defeated so much as overcome. I suspect this story will appeal to younger readers, such as those in middle school. Chicken-lovers will also appreciate this book.
Book Review – Carol Bernardi
Barnhouse, Rebecca, The book of the maidservant, Random House, 2009, 232 pgs., $16.99, ISBN”0375858563, Gr. 8+, P 7, Q 8,
Johanna, is a young serving girl who works for Dame Margery Kempe, a medieval holy woman, who decides to go on a pilgrimage to the holy lands. Joanna’s is abandoned by Kempe while on the pilgrimage and Joanna’s life is even more difficult when the group they are traveling with demands that she now serve them. After walking all day she must start the fire, cook the meal, clean and mend the clothes before she can sleep. The whole journey is wonderfully told as Johanna struggles through rain, snow and the difficult journey over the Alps. Attacked by a member of the group Johanna runs away and must find her way to Rome by herself. This is story which will appeal those who like medieval tales. In a note from the author at the end of the book she tells us that she drew upon a fifteenth century book “The book of Margery Kempe” in order to write this story.
Fleischman, Paul, The dunderheads, illustrated by David Roberts, Candlewick Press, 2009, 56 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:0763624985, Gr. 4+, P 9, Q 9,
Many children have had a teacher in their lives whom they are afraid of and Mrs. Breakbone is the persona of such a teacher. Not only is she feared and hated but the spooky house she lives in is as just sinister. It is to the house Mrs. Breakbone takes all confiscated lout that she takes away from her students. They believe she sales the items so that she can buy such things as an electric chair. When Theodore’s cat is taken away the whole class bans together to help rescue the cat. This class of underdogs find themselves through their journey. David Robert’s colored illustrations are wacky crazy and will appeal to all who read this book. I highly recommend that this book be placed in all libraries.
Gardner, Sally, The silver blade, Dial Books, 2009, 362 pgs., $17.99, ISBN:0803733771, Gr. 7+, P 7, Q 8,
Sido’s adventures continue from Gardner’s first book “The red necklace.” It is now 1794 and the French Revolution is at its height of terror. Yann is now safe in England and Sido, the silver blade is back in France trying to save as many as he can from the guillotine. Only he doesn’t know that deep in the catacombs, under Paris streets, Count Kalliovski is still alive and seeking Yann, who was to have been his bride. It is up to Sido to find Yann after she is kidnapped and to rescue her from the clutches of the Count. A historical mystery adventure that is sure to draw readers in as they follow the further adventures of these two characters.
Hale, Shannon, Forest Born, Bloomsbury, 389 pgs., $17.99, ISBN:1599901676, Gr. 7+, P 8, Q 8,
This is Hale’s fourth book in the land of Bayern fantasy series. Rinn, her new chatacter, has always lived in the forest and has been able to hear the trees talk, something that she has learned to keep to herself as others see this ability as strange and dangerous. One day she uses this power in the wrong way and the trees that she listened to and drew comfort from turn their backs on her and she now feels only angry words and feelings from them. Razo, her brother returns home and she accompanies him back to court to join the court of Queen of Bayern, Isi. Though war has just ended terrible happenings of fire are killing the citizens of Bayern. Rinn soon joins the ranks of Isi, Enna, and Dasha as they all try to discover who is behind the burnings and to save Bayern and Queen Isi’ son. This fantasy adventure, while part of the Bayern series is one that will stand on it’s own.
Horowitz, Anthony, Crocodile tears, Philomel Books, 2009, 388 pgs., $17.99, ISBN:0399250565, Gr., 5+, P 8, Q 9,
Alex Rider, is at it again in yet another adventure in which we find him saving the world from a virus that is to be released from wheat, which has been genetically alliterated. I love Horowitz’s writings and I again had to finish this book in one setting. The Alex Rider series is one that I point out to the students in my school over and over and I now have many waiting for this book to be out on the shelves. I love the fact that Horowitz is making Alex’s character more human as the series continues. After all he has had seven adventures in only one year, who wouldn’t get tired after that many, and Alex has become tired and disillusioned. I look forward to more adventures from this young man as he again will save our world from some calamity.
Lane, Kathleen, Nana cracks the case!, illustrated by Sarah Horne, Chronicle Books, S2009, 110 pgs., $14.99, ISBN:0811862585, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 8,
I always dreamed of having a really fun grandmother who was as quirky as Nana is. What an adventure she has with her two grandkids and she even covers for them when they get in trouble. Disobeying their mother Bog and Eufala sneak out of the house and soon find themselves in trouble. Who else can help them but Nana who comes to their rescue in a series of high jinks that seem to make matters even more complicated. This is a book which had it’s concept created by Cabell Harris but written by Kathleen Lane. The illustrator to is right on with her black and white illustrations that are just as quirky as Nana. What fun to find a book that will draw younger students to it and one that will keep their attention through out the story. I can’t wait to see if there will be a sequel to this book.
Mazer, Harry, My brother Abe : Sally Lincoln’s story, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2009, 292 pgs., $15.99, ISBN:1416938842, Gr. 4+, P 7, Q 8,
Sally Lincoln is Abraham Lincoln’s older sister, and of whom not much is known about. This story brings to life, Sally, a spunky tomboy who speaks her mind, something women of this time often didn’t do. Mary Lincoln is shown to be a very religious woman who called her husband Mr. Lincoln and installed in her children a sense of learning. The story is narrated by Sally who tells of her family’s frontier life and the difficulties that the family faced each day. Those who like historical fiction will like this book as well.
North, Pearl, Libyrinth, Tom Doherty Associates Book, 2009, 332 pgs., $17.99, ISBN:0765320967, Gr. 8+, P 8, Q 8,
Set in a future world where Haley works in a vast labyrinth, library, so vast that books go on for miles and people have become lost in the stacks. It is also a world where different factions are battling for control of the world. It seems the singers are going to be the winners. The singers not only want to destroy the written word so when a new labyrinth cache is found all books are destroyed. They capture Haley, who has an ability to hear the books she cares for, and through her they know they can use there secret weapon to destroy all the other groups on Earth. As each book is found or burned it speaks to Haley in different voices. Such as when the Diary of Anne Frank is found it speaks with a strong voice while burning Charlotte’s Web it speaks with a soft voice. The other characters which help Haley save Earth are Nod the imp, who holds the secret to Haley existence and Selene, Haley’s mistress who helps Haley finally find herself. This is a fast paced science fiction adventure that will capture older reader’s attention.
Sensel, Joni, The farwalker’s quest, Bloomsbury, 2009, 372 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:1599902729; Gr. 7+, P 8, Q 8,
Living in a future world where all machines have become obsolete 13 year-old Ariel and Zeke can’t wait for their naming day. Zeke seeks to become a treetalker and Ariel a healtalker. What occurs instead is a journey, a quest that will take them far from home. They meet new people, face deserts mountains and forests as the human race has become isolated and hardly any contact is being made between villages. Ariel and Zeke must learn to trust each other and the new powers that each develops. Strong characters and a fast pace story adventure is sure to appeal to older readers.
Wright, Eric, Frankie Pickle and the closet of doom, Simon and Schuster for Young readers, 2009, unp., $9.99, ISBN:1416964843, Gr., 4+, P 8, Q 8,
This graphic novel finds Frankie, a forth grade boy, being told to he has to clean his room. Only problem it’s a great sunny day and who wants to clean a room on a sunny day. Frankie soon finds himself reinvented as Frankie Pickle, his alias, in combat with his robot, lost but now found in his messy room. The results of the combat a clean room no, a messier room that ever. His mom discovers him in the room and tells him that he can just go ahead and live with his mess. Frankie is so happy that is until even the filth gets to him. A truly charming adventure that is sure to have sequels to follow.
Boden, Valerie, Man walks on the moon, The Creative Company, Mankato, Minnesota, 2009, 48 pgs., index, $32.80, ISBN:1583417354, Gr. 5+, P 7, Q 8,
Boden, Valerie, Columbus reaches the new world, The Creative Company, Mankato, Minnesota, 2009, 48 pgs., index, $32.80, ISBN:158341732X, Gr. 5+, P 7, Q 8,
Riggs, Kate, The French Revolution, The Creative Company, Mankato, Minnesota, 2010, 48 pgs., index, $32.80, ISBN:1583417346, Gr. 5+, P 7, Q 8
These are just three books that are part of a series, Days of change, which The Creative Company has produced. At first I thought they would be for a much younger audience but to my surprise the full color pictures and accompanying text were well researched and written. I especially liked the fact that in the book on Columbus that the Native American point of view was so strongly presented, something that is not always presented in books on Columbus. The French Revolution was another surprise one which I really enjoyed as the author hit all the major points of the revolution. My daughter who spent a year in France felt however that Robespierre should have had more of a major role in what was written about him as he did play such a big part of the revolution. I think this book is one you would use as a starting point for Robespierre and that other texts would offer more in depth research. Man Walking on the Moon was one of the must exciting times in history. This book not only deals with the actual walking on the moon but the political climate of the time as well. From Martin Luther King to Castro all are great additions to have included in the text as they give the reader a sense of what the sixties were all about. An index at the back of the books is included for fast reference too.
Boden, Valerie, Concrete poetry, The Creative Company, Mankato Minnesota, 2009, 32 pgs, index, glossary. $28.50, ISBN:1583417753, Gr. 5+, P 7, Q 8,
Boden, Valerie, Haiku, The Creative Company, 2009, 32 pgs., index, glossary, $28.50, ISBN: 1583417761, Gr. 5+, P 7, Q 8,
Boden, Valerie, Limericks, The Creative Company, 2009, 32 pgs., index, glossary, $28.50, ISBN:158341777X, Gr. 5+, P 7, Q 8,
Boden, Valerie, Nursery rhymes, The Creative Company, 2009, 32 pgs., index, glossary, $28.50, ISBN:1583417788, Gr. 5+, P 7, Q 8,
Valerie Boden has written all four books in the series, Poetry Basics. I love to write poetry but have not always found a resource which is as clear as these four books. Using actual pieces of the artist work Boden demonstrates how sound, tone and color of words affects a work of poetry. She also discusses the uses imagery and syllables in the concrete form of poetry so that the reader can better understand this unique form of writing. The history of each poetry form is also included in each of the books as well as glossary and a index.
Bryson, Bill, A really short history of nearly everything, Delacorte Press, New York, 2003, 2008, 169 pgs., index, $19.99, ISBN:0385738102, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 8,
Bill Bryson caricature is printed on the foreword of this book and I was reminded of a sloppy John Nye the Science Guy or a sloppy Bill Gates. It was a real toss up. His presentation of history through a scientific look is not a toss up however. It is instead a clear and precise look at history which he has broken up into six different chapters: Lost in the cosmos, the size of the Earth, a new age of dawns, dangerous planet, life itself, and the road to us. He presents the size of earth using scientists such as Newton and other mathematicians who explored different theories to determine the earth size. This is a book which I laid down and returned to often till I finally finished it. It is one that I know not only students will use but also teachers as a supplement to their lessons on history. This is book which should be included in all middle and high school libraries.
Gish, Melissa, Crocodiles, The Creative Company, 2009, 48 pgs., index, glossary, $32.80, ISBN:1583417389, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 8,
Gish, Melissa Monkeys, The Creative Company, 2009, 48 pgs., index, glossary, $32.80, ISBN:1583417400, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 8,
Wimmer, Teresa, Wolves, The Creative Company, 2009, 48 pgs, index, glossary, $32.80, ISBN:1583417442, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 8,
Living Wild is another series of books The Creative Company is producing and one which I intended to purchase. Great colored pictures of these animals were used to show the animals in their natural environment and also in man’s environment. The threat of man to these animals is discussed along with the preservation that we are now trying to do to protect them and their dwindling habitats. The history of each these species is included and how through time they have been used in religious practices. Also included are side tabs which give additional information on the animals. All three of these animals were ones that students at my school were doing research on. I wish that I would have had them so that they could have been used for their research.
Geary, Rick, The adventures of Blanche, Dark Horse Books, 2009, 103 pgs., $15.95, ISBN:1595822585, Gr. 8+, P 8, Q 9,
A graphic novel that tells of the adventures of Blanche, a young woman who in 1907 arrives in New York City where she studies with a renowned concert pianist, Professor Pellegrini. Here her adventures begins as she discovers a underground network, the guardians of an egg, which they want to hatch but will destroy New York. Blanche discovers the underground cavern and foils the group’s plans, the professor is the group’s leader. She jumps from the Brooklyn Bridge and becomes the toast of New York City. She then moves to Hollywood in 1915 where she becomes involved with the movie industry and attempts to unionize the movie industry. She again escapes, in a hot air balloon when the union fighters try to kill her. Blanche’s adventures continue in Paris in 1921 where she eventually has to be rescued from the Eiffel Tower. This is a gutsy spunky lady who overcomes all that is thrown at her.
Gownley, Jimmy, What makes you happy, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2006, 2009, 162 pgs., $9.99, ISBN:1416986057, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 8,
Gownley, Jimmy, The whole world’s crazy, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2006,162 pgs., $9.99, ISBN:1416986049, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 8,
Gownely’s graphic novel series is about Amelia Louise McBride a 4th grade girl who has moved to a small town from New York city. Amelia is nine years-old and lives with her mom and Aunt Tanner, her parents are divorced. She’s is a tomboy who is out to prove herself to all including her friends Reggie, Pajamaman and Rhonda. Though Rhonda, is not always her friend as she is always hoeing in on her time with Reggie. There is great humor and adventure that kids will find appealing. The art work is colored illustrations that show Amelia jumping, pouncing and strategizing her way through her adventures. These novels are ones that will appeal to younger students. Though I too found this young Amelia so appealing I’m now looking for more of her adventures to purchase for my library.
Green, Dan, and Basher, Simon, Rocks and minerals : a gem of a book!, Kingfisher, 2009, 125 pgs., index, glossary, $8.99, ISBN:0753463148, Gr. 4+. P 7, Q 8,
The 4th grade at my school study rocks and minerals and in the pages of this book they will find all the answers to the questions that they were asking me. It truly is a gem of a book in that the information is clear and understandable and presented as if each rock and mineral is talking to you. Each mineral or rock is devoted there own page and has a colored cartoon illustration on the preceding page, which gives a spark to each personality. This book is a must for any school library.
Horowitz, Anthony, and Johnson, Antony, Skeleton Key: the Graphic Novel, illustrated by Kanako Damerum and Yuzuru Takasaki, Philomel Books, 2009, unp., $14.99, ISBN:0399254188, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 9,
Alex Rider in another graphic novel and which also sticks to the plot very well. This book was however illustrated by two illustrators, who are sisters, who are known for their manga style illustrations. They also live on complete opposite sides of the world and worked together by sending their work to each other over the internet. The result is one which enriches this story with bold clear colored graphic designs that draw the reader even further into the story. I will be looking for more of Alex Rider graphic novel series.
Silverstein, Alvin, Virginia B. Silverstein, and Laura Nunn Silverstein, Hurricanes : the science behind killer storms, Enslow Publishers, 2009, 48 pgs., glossary, index, $23.93, ISBN:0766029719, Gr. 4+, P 7, Q 7,
Weather is part of my school’s 5th grade curriculum so I was overjoye….d to find this book. This book is part of the science behind natural disasters series that has two other books, tornadoes and earthquakes, included in it. This book covers the science of hurricanes, from what a tropical storm is, how they form and what the different types are. Also used to this book are current colored photos and graphs and side bars for additional information. I know that this book will be used by my 5th grade teachers when they teach their unit on hurricanes.
Turner, Tracey, Deadly perils: and how to avoid them, illustrated by Ben Hasler, Walker and Company, 2009, unp., $11.99, ISBN:080278738X, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 7,
A quick guide, to read before going on a vacation, one that will ensure that you will know how to avoid dangerous creatures on land, in the air or in the ocean. If for some reason you are stung, bitten or harpooned by one of these creatures you can be better prepared for possible survival if you have read the contents of this book. There are some creatures however that there is no cure, vaccination or anti-venom that has been produced to counteract harm that they can impose on the body. Don’t forget to read about how weather and earthquakes can be dangerous too. Broken down into eight chapters: menaces from the deep, deadly planet, unexpected perils, animal attacks, small but lethal, perilous weather, everyday perils, and adventurous perils, the author has rated each of theses dangers on a scale of 1 to 10. The last chapter which is not really a chapter is titled “don’t panic” with a skull and cross bones for added emphasis. A fun book to read but which also gives great information on tragedies that can happen.
Van Wyk, Chris, Nelson Mandela: long walk to freedom, illustrated by Paddy Bouma, Roaring Book Press, 2009, unp, timeline, glossary, $16.99, ISBN:1596435666, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 9,
This is an abridged copy of Chris Van Wyk’s book which he has adapted for younger readers. Nelson Mandela life and the 27 years he spent behind bars are presented in the pages of this book. I found it to be more a celebration of his life however from his birth to finally becoming the President of South Africa. He did this with dignity and forgiveness as he drew a nation together that had been separated by race, violence and discrimination. The soft watercolors which depict Nelson Mandela’s life are on each page and engage the reader more in this autobiography. There is a map at the front of the book and timeline and glossary at the back for quick reference. There is also a black and white photo of Mandela at the front of the book. This book should be in all elementary libraries.
February 2010 Reviews
Mackler, Carolyn. Tangled. Harper Collins Publishers, 2010, 308 pgs. Ages 16-19. ISBN 9780061731044 $16.99 P5 Q4
Carolyn Mackler had an interesting method of delivering her story of four teens learning to become comfortable with who they are. The first section describes an encounter where all four are in the same place and have different degrees of interaction, mostly focusing on developing one of the characters. Then there are three more sections, which explain the motivations of the other three in the opening encounter. All of the characters grow and become more likeable in the rest of the book. However, they still come off as self-absorbed, spoiled teens. It is hard for the reader to feel very much sympathy with any of the characters and frankly, the action doesn’t move along fast enough to keep the reader involved. The tragic events don’t seem all that tragic, and the comedic elements are few and far between.
Scieszka, Jon. Trucktown: Melvin’s Valentine. Il. David Shannon, Loren Long, David Gordon. Simon and Schuster, 2010, unpgd. Ages 4-6. ISBN 9781416941446 $3.99 P8 Q 8
This level one reader about talking trucks has very engaging pictures and a sweet, simple story. Melvin, a cement truck, has received a valentine in the form of a license plate with “Be Mine” imprinted on it. He worries about it and goes around to all the other machinery asking who gave it to him, while Rita, the ambulance follows at a distance. Rita finally realizes that it is causing poor Melvin some discomfort, so claims it as her own and everything is well! Large letters, a repetitive text and very expressive pictures make this a winner. One drawback is the very thin cover and paper used. The book won’t stand up to much library usage.
Mandine, Selma. Kiss Kiss. Random House Children’s Books, 2009, unpgd. Ages 1-3. ISBN 9780375864315 $9.99 P9 Q9
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Kiss Kiss explains in simple terms and gentle illustrations what a kiss feels like. This book would be very appropriate for story time for preschoolers or a lapsitting book. It has a sturdy cover and sewn binding, and would make a good library purchase.
Hall, Michael. My Heart is Like a Zoo. HarpersCollins Publishers, 2010, unpgd. Ages 1-5. ISBN 9780061915109 $16.99 P9 Q9
This rhyming book explains how love can be many things: “cool as a penguin, crafty as a fox…gloomy as a lone coyote walking in the fog.” The illustrations are exceptionally creative, as each animal used as an example is constructed out of hearts or part of hearts. This would make a great storytime and craft activity to read the book, then let the children try to duplicate one of the animals. It could also be used for counting and talking about the characteristics of each animal. This book is more expensive than the previous selection, but will be a popular book.
Myers, Walter Dean. Muhammad Ali: The People’s Champion. Il. Alix Delinois. HarpersCollins Publishers, 2010, unpgd. Ages 7-12. ISBN 9780060291310 $16.99 P7 Q8
Walter Dean Myers wrote a previous juvenile nonfiction book of 172 pages on Muhammad Ali in 2001. His attempt to scale down the subject into a picture book is admirable, but he missed the mark. The jacket of this book states that it is for ages 5-8, but even though it looks like a picture book, it has enough text and facts to appeal to older readers, who might not pick it up because they assume it is for little kids. It tells the life story of Muhammad Ali and the bold illustrations perfectly complement this active and colorful personality. The inside covers use some well-known quotations from Ali, illustrating the growth of his character over the years. The story does a pretty good job of explaining what was happening in American society while Cassius Clay was becoming a famous boxer, but to a child who does not know anything about the Equal Rights Movement, or the Vietnam War, it might lead to more questions than answers. It assumes some prior knowledge of history and sometimes the illustrations depict something that is barely alluded to in the text.
Newport Intermediate School – B.R.
Evans, Lezlie. Who Loves the Little Lamb. Ills. By David McPHail. Hyperion Books, c2010. ISBN 97814231169592.Unp. $15.99 Grades PreS-1. Q8 P6
Who loves the fussy lamb? Who loves the messy pup? This book goes on through many animals who has somehow tried the patience of their mothers but never losses their love. This book is the gentle story of children craving reassurance and for the parents who hunt for words to express their love for their child.
Dewan Ted. One True Bear. Walker & Company, c2009. ISBN 100802784957. Unp. $14.99. Grades PreS-1st. Q7 P7
From Bear Force Headquarters, Darcy Brewster volunteers to go to Damian to be his special bear. Damian had destroyed all other bears sent to him. Darcy perseveres through Damian’s destructive antics. In the end Darcy lies under a bed for years until Damian is grown up and is on a rescue mission. He finds Darcy and takes him to give to a young girl when he rescues her from flooding waters.
Patter, Bruce Van. Tucker Took It! Boyds Mills Press, c2010. ISBN 9781590786987 Unp. $16.95. Grades PreS-1st. Q8 P7
This is a delightful story about jumping to conclusions and finding out they are wrong. When things started disappearing from around the farm everybody assumed Tucker, the goat, took it. After all everybody knows that goats eat everything in sight. In the end they all find that Tucker has made a scare crow from the items to scare off the crows so they don’t eat all the corn before it is ready to harvest.
Schröder, Monika. The Dog in the Wood. Front Street, 2009. $17.95 ISBN: 978-1590787014 162 p. Gr. 6-10
This book is about a 10 year old boy named Fritz. He lives in Schwartz, Germany at the end of World War II. Russian soldiers arrive and separate Fritz’ family. His grandpa Karl (a Nazi) tries to defend the Friedrich family. This is a good story about the life of a young boy in 1945. I like this book because the author has the same name as me and the story is so easy to believe. It gives a lot of facts about the people in Germany after World War II. Review by M.S-O., 11th grade
Westerfeld, Scott. Leviathan. Illustrated by Keith Thompson. Simon Pulse, 2009. $19.99 ISBN: 978-1416971733 448 p. Gr. 9-12
This science fiction book is based in the historic event of the beginning of WWI, however, there is a twist that the reader finds within the first page of the book, that it is not the British, Germans, Austrians, etc. but instead, it is really only two factions, the Darwinists and the Clankers. The only difference between the two (besides location) is that one side uses machines as their main source of labor, transportation and warfare (this is the Clanker side), while the other side uses “fabricated” creatures for their replacements of machines (the Darwinists). Both factions are on the brink of war when one of the main characters, a young Austrian prince by the name of Aleksander finds out that his parents have been murdered. This is based on how WWI actually started, with the
assassination of an Austrian ambassador. Before Alek finds out, he is taken on a journey across Austria, Hungry, and Germany with the hopes of reaching neutral Switzerland. While this story is being told, the tale of the other main character is being unveiled. This character belongs to the Darwinist faction; she is a young girl wanting to serve in the British air force, which in order to do so, she has to dress up as a boy. She eventually has them all fooled, and begins taking her pilots exam. It is during this time period that the reader gets to see what the Darwinist creatures look like, thanks to the illustrations in the novel, which are a complete necessity for the reader to understand what on earth the author is talking about. Anyway, through a series of misadventures, Deryn Sharp (the girl aforementioned) is able to get aboard the leviathan; a huge airship constructed around a whale that was modified to produce hydrogen. From there on out in the book, it is just the adventures of the two main characters, and how their lives came together. I rather enjoyed this novel; I found it to be entertaining enough for me to always want to read it, yet not so over the top that I worshiped it. I liked how the historical element was dragged into a rather steampunk ideal for a story. The way the characters interacted was always interesting to me; I also found the illustrations to be engaging and mesmerizing, ranging from the wild designs of the Darwinists; to the intricate sketches of the Clanker war machines. Review by I.F., 11th grade
Marr, Melissa. Fragile Eternity. HarperCollins, 2009. $16.99 ISBN: 978-0061214721 400 p. Gr. 9-12
The third book in Marr’s “Wicked Lovely” series is undoubtedly one of the best fairy books of all time. Seth and Aislinn struggle to stay true to each other, even with all the stress. Aislinn tries to be the best queen she can be, while keeping Kennan as far away as he can be from her Dating the Summer Queen in fairy world can’t be all sunshine and daisies. Seth has to share Aislinn with her whole court and suffers from not seeing her as often as he would like. Review by A.C., 11th grade
Wasserman, Robin. Crashed. Simon Pulse, 2009. $16.99 ISBN: 978-1416974536 448 p. Gr. 9-12. The sequel to Skinned, this book carries on Lia’s journey to finding herself after death. After an unforgettable trip, Lia runs away with Riley, hoping to find a safe spot for now When an organization forms to kill all mechs, Lisa has to decide which team to join. Should humans die for a chance for the undead to live? Are mechs alive, or are they just robots? Robin Wasserman is like the female version of Scott Westerfeld. I normally don’t read sci-fi, but I love this series! Review by A.C., 11th grade
Lyons, Jayne. 100% Wolf. Atheneum, 2009. $16.99 ISBN: 978-1416974741 256 p. Gr. 6-8
Changing into a poodle instead of a wolf during your first change can’t be the most honorable thing for a werewolf, especially if you are Freddy Lupin. Freddy has never been the most respectable boy and he is also known to cause a lot of problems. Told through a ten year old’s view, this book is a sure comedy. This book is too young for me, but being a werewolf fan, it was interesting to read about a different view of them. Review by A.C., 11th grade
Shusterman, Neal. Everwild. Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2009. $16.99 ISBN: 978-1416958635 432 p. Gr. 8-11
This is the third book in a Shusterman’s “Skinjacker Trilogy”, which began with Unwind and was continued in the second book, Everlost. Everwild brings in new characters with a mix of the old. Still looking for more children to save, Nick, the chocolate ogre, is faced with sweet and sticky situations. Mary Hightower finds some bump-in-the-road peoples to help her with ruling, but can she stay top dog forever? Allie and Mikey test their love for one another when a mysterious stranger comes skinjacking along. Can you keep up with all the twists and turns and never stay Everlost? I liked this book; it has really strong messages and can keep anyone captivated until the very end. Review by A.C., 11th grade
Bendinger, Jessica. The Seven Rays. Simon & Schuster, 2009. $16.99 ISBN: 978-1416938392 336 p. Gr. 9-12 What if you found out that your only parent kidnapped you? That your whole life, even your name, is a lie? In Jessica Bendinger’s first book, The Seven Rays, you will be shown a different way to look at life and yourself. New loves, hidden powers, and revealed secrets make this a perfect read when you need to escape. I liked this book: it talks about what real teenagers face, through fictional characters’ eyes. The way it makes you see the world is so unreal. I want my own copy!
Review by A.C., 11th grade
C.S. Siletz Public Library
Bodden, Valerie. Northern Lights (Big Outdoors series). Creative Education, 2010. 24 pgs. $16.95. ISBN 9781583418185. Ages 5-7. P7Q8.
This book, written at an accessible level for young readers, is has very basic but interesting information about the Northern Lights. The pictures are very nice. I read this to a story time group- the older children (8 and 9) were interested but wanted more information than the book provided. This would be a good book to use as a part of a unit about weather, natural events, Alaska, etc.
Odanka, Barbara. A Crazy Day at the Critter Café. Lee White, ill. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2009. Unpaged. $16.99. ISBN 9781416939146. Ages 4-8. P8Q9.
My story group loved this silly rhyming book. A bus load of noisy, demanding animals invade the Critter Cafe, causing chaos and irritation for the staff. The kids found the pictures hilarious and the rhyming story very engaging. I would recommend this as a read aloud for a day when you need to get the kids revved up a little.
Carlstrom, Nancy White. Mama, Will it Snow Tonight? Paul Tong, ill. Boyds Mill Press, 2009. Unpaged. $16.95. ISBN 9781590785621. Ages 4-8. P7Q8.
This is a quite, pleasant story about a baby fox, a baby rabbit, and a young girl all asking their mothers, “Will it snow tonight?” I think this would make a great bedtime story at this time of the year. The pictures are soft, colorful and pleasant.
de Sève, Randall. The Duchess of Whimsy. Peter de Sève, ill. Philomel Books, 2009. Unpaged. $17.99. ISBN 9780399250958. Ages 4-8. P8Q9.
I loved this book for its rich, beautiful illustrations (look carefully for all the details) and rich vocabulary. It deals with a pair of opposite personalities and how the two people come to value each other for their differences. Although there is a lot of vocabulary that small children won’t know, I read this book to my story group. Despite not knowing words like whimsy, truffle canapés, delectable, flamboyant, etc., the kids followed the story well and were fascinated with the pictures.
Yolen, Jane. Come to the Fairies’ Ball. Gary Lippincott, ill. Wordsong, 2009. Unpaged. $17.95. ISBN 9781590784648. Ages 4-8. P7Q8.
This beautifully illustrated book is about a fairy ball, and the guests’ preparations for it. The vocabulary level may be a bit high for younger readers, but it worked well as a read along for the older children in my story group. The younger kids lost interest fairly quickly.
Becker, Bonny. The Magical Ms. Plum. Amy Portnoy, ill. Alfred A. Knopf, 2009. 104 pgs. $12.99. ISBN 9780375856372. Ages 8-11. P7Q7.
A funny, light book about an elementary school with a very unusual classroom. Each time the teacher, Ms. Plum, sends a student to the supply closet; a magical animal comes out with the student. The animal then teaches a lesson that the particular student needs to learn. It’s unclear whether the magic comes from Ms. Plum or the supply closet. There are funny black and white drawings illustrating various scenes from the story. Children who have trouble fitting in at school might appreciate this story.
Young Adult Fiction
Higgins, F. E. The Eyeball Collector. Feiwel and Friends, 2009. ISBN 9780312566814. $14.99. 251 pgs. Ages 13+. P8.5Q8.
I wondered if I would like this book- the title was a little off-putting, but I really enjoyed this dark, atmospheric book, set in an alternate universe with a Victorian flavor. There are really, really bad villains, poisonings, intrigue, lavish feasts, revenge, pick-pocketing orphans, and much more. Through the book, Hector (our hero) is driven by the desire for revenge against the man who caused his father’s death, but in the end, he realizes that revenge is the last thing he wants and he actually tries to save the man. The title refers to the villain’s collection of fake eyes, inset with precious jewels. One of these is involved in his death at the end.
Jinks, Catherine. Babylonne. Candlewick Press, 2008. ISBN 9780763636500. $18.99. Age: Young adult. P7Q8.
This is the fifth novel in a series that takes place in Europe in the 1200’s. It explores the life of a sixteen year old girl, Babylonne, born out of wedlock, and into a family of Cathars (who were considered to be a heretical Christian sect and were persecuted at the time). We learn a lot about the daily life of Cathars, and follow Babylonne’s adventures as she runs away to travel with a Catholic priest to avoid her grandmother’s plan to marry her to an old man. The events described really happened, and readers will become aware of the horribly violent things that happened during the Crusades. I really liked this novel- the character of Babylonne is very well developed and the story was very engaging even though I had not read the previous books, which I will make a point of reading.
Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers Reviews by M.D.
Hostetter, Joyce Moyer. Comfort. Calkins Creek, 2009. $ 17.95 ages middle & high school. 306 pgs. 978-1-59078-606-2 p 7/ q 8
This story seems like the author is writing a biography but neither she nor her husband has ever had polio. This story takes place in 1945 in Hickory, North Carolina. Ann Fay’s father is back from the war but he seems to be suffering from the effects of the war. He has to move out because he is becoming violent and isn’t able to even work and help with the family budget. Ann Fay is back from the polio hospital but she needs to work hard so she can go to President Roosevelt’s Georgia Warm Springs Foundation. She loves it there she feels normal and is glad to be one of the “polios”. She is distraught because she has to leave before she is ready to go home and help her mom. This book has a lot of history in the story. This book would be great for students who may have a physical handicap or whose parents are having marital problems.
Powell, Randy. Swiss Mist. Farrar Straus Giroux. 2008. $16.95. ages middle & high school. 210 pages. 978-0-374-37356-6 p 7/q7
Milo is in the fifth grade, his parents got divorced, and he loves his teacher Ms. Swinford. She talks about living in Switzerland and how great her college times were. He loves her and her dreams help him deal with his wondering father. His mom can’t figure out what she wants to do and Milo has to parent himself. By the end of the book Milo is in 10th grade and he looks up Ms. Swinford, she had been fired from her teaching job when he was younger. When they meet up he learns that all her stories of Switzerland were all made up. This was a story about being better despite ones parents.
Moss, Jenny. Winnie’s War. Walker & Company, 2009. $16.99 ages middle school. 178 pgs. 978-0-8027-9819-0 p 7/q8
Twelve year old Winnie lives right next to the cemetery in Texas. The time is 1918 ant the Spanish influenza is raging and people are dying all around town. He father builds coffins and her mother is suffering after a miscarriage and is of no help with the two little children. Winnie has to listen to her grandmother who they live with because her mom and dad are sick. Things are really scary and Winnie does everything she can to keep her family safe from the flu. This book is enjoyable because it is historical fiction and if a student is learning about this in history class this will help to make the time frame more relevant. If a student had family members who are sick this story may help them deal with the situation.
Mordecai, Martin. Blue Mountain Trouble. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2009. $16.99. ages middle school. 340 pages. 978-0-545-04156-0 p 7 q/ 7
I enjoyed this story but it is written like Pollyread and Jackson would talk and they are twins from Jamaica so the language is hard to understand sometimes. A thug named Jammy has moved onto their property and he is growing some kind of drugs. They see a magical floating goat that is good luck in the Jamaican culture. The family has a secret and in the end it comes out that Jammy is really their cousin. This is a fun story but may be hard for a young reader to understand.
Howard, Ellen. The Crimson Cap. Holiday House, 2009. $16.95. ages middle school. 177 pages. 978-0-8234-2152-7 p 7/q 7
Pierre must leave his mother and siblings behind to go and help the French explorer to find help for his settlement. His father has disappeared and they are hungry and the group can not find the Mississippi River route to New France. This historical fiction book takes place in 1687. The story has murder, illness, Hasinai Indians, and tells of a great survival story. This book would be a great way to introduce the history of this time period because it brings the history into a relevant venue for younger readers.
Book Review – C.B. NIS/INMS
Arnold, Tedd, I spy fly guy!, Scholastic, 2009, 30 pgs., $5.99, ISBN:0545110289, Gr. 1+ , P 8, Q 7,
This is the first book that I have read about Fly Guy and Buzz. I now know the younger students at my school have been clamoring for the “Fly Guy” books. Tedd Arnold’s cartoon drawings of these two characters would appeal to any who pick this book up. This silly adventure will appeal to younger children as Buzz tries to rescue Fly Guy from the dump after the hide and seek game goes terribly wrong.
Augarde, Steve, Leonardo Da Vinci, illustrated by Leo Brown, Kingfisher, 2009, 63 pgs., index, glossary, $16.99, ISBN:0753461749, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 8,
When Paolo Valenti is 10 years old he becomes an apprentice to Leonardo Da Vinci and for the next eight years learns the secrets of his master. Set in 1490 Italy young Paolo’s diary entries show us glimpses into Leonardo’s life in Venice and his many different interests. Leonardo not only studied human and animal anatomy he also worked on drawing many different machines. There are several side bars where the reader can find more details about this time. A section at the end of the book goes into more depth about the Renaissance and the history of Italy. The colored illustrations, by Brown, are engaging. He also has many reproductions of Da Vinci works which could be used to introduce a unit on painting in classrooms.
Durango, Julia, Sea of the dead, Simon & Schuster for Young Readers, New York, 2009, 132pgs., $1416957782, Gr. 4+, P 7, Q 7,
Kehl, is the 13 year-old son of Prince Amatec, the king’s strategist general, who is determined to capture or kill Temoc, leader of the fallen. Kehl is about to enter a warrior school where he will one day join the ranks of his older brothers in serving the king. Kidnapped by Temoc, Kehl sees a new side of life and realizes that all he has been taught is not necessarily true. He learns that the king is not all knowing, his father truly is a brute who enslaves and destroys villages in the kings name and that Temoc is not a bad man. This book will engage those who love historical adventures.
Fox, Helen, Eager’s nephew, Wendy Lamb Books, 2006, 295 pgs., $15.95, ISBN:0385746733, Gr. 4+, P. 8, Q. 7,
This is the sequel to Fox’s first book Eager where ten years later we now find Eager visiting his friends in England. This futuristic England is now restricted by the government on the type of robots that can be manufactured. Eager, who is able to think for himself, has been in hiding with his creator for he is illegal under the law now and should be destroyed. Eager visit to England is secret and even more complicated when his young nephew Jonquil stows away for the visit. Eagar must use his nephew’s, robotic, ability, to send parts of himself into other machines to rescue his human friend who is being held in space. This is a book that will appeal to those who liked the first but one which may confuse those who are not familiar with this futuristic society.
Funke, Cornelia, translated by Helena Ragg-Kirk, Ghosthunters and the gruesome invincible lightening ghost!, Chicken House, 1994, 2006, 131 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:0439849624, Gr. 3+, P. 8, Q. 8,
When Tom and Hetty Hyssop are summoned to Seafront Hotel to deal with a ghost that is causing problems, they think this should be just routine case for them. So when they hop onto the train they dream of relaxing by the sea for a few days. What this ghost buster teams comes up against is a Fire Ghost, the most terrible in the world, and they must conquer it before it takes over the hotel and maybe even the world. Using Hugo, their ASG (Averagely Spooky Ghost) to slime the hotel they hope to trap the Fire Ghost before he reaches the sea. The black and white illustrations will make the reader howl with laughter as this ghost busting team strives to capture the fire ghost.
Grant, K. M., White heat, Walker & Company, 2008, 2009, 260 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:0802796958, Gr. 7+, P. 7, Q. 8,
K. M. Grant is one of my favorite authors as she puts so much detail into her writing and I soon find myself so immersed in her characters and plot that I can’t put the book down. I again found this with White Heat the sequel to Grant’s Blue Flame. This story is set against 13 century France in a small region known as Occitan. Raimon is surrounded by opposing forces and his people, the followers of the blue flame, are starving to death. They will not however give up as they believe forces will soon come to their aid. Yolanda, Raimon’s sweet heart, is in Paris where she is soon to become the unwilling wife of Sir Hugh. My favorite character is Laila, maid to Yolanda, who gets herself out of any troublesome situation by using her wits, sarcastic language and sheer guts. This historical fiction book will appeal to those who love this type of literature.
Haddix, Margaret Peterson, Claim to fame, Simon & Schuster, 2009, 256 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:1416939172, Gr. 7+, P 8, Q 8
Lindsay Scott, is 16 years old and has spent the last 5 years secluded in her father’s house. Having been a child star she is recognized many by people, from having watched shows reruns on T.V. Two young men discover where she lives and kidnap her from her house. Away from the safety of her home Lindsay is plagued by voices that are talking about her and only her. When she is finally returned to the safety of her house the voices stop and she is secure in her room again. This is an interesting story of a young girl’s unusual ability to hear people talking about her from far away, including overseas. Students who like to read unusual mysteries will be drawn to this well written book.
Kadohata, Cynthia, A million shades of gray, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2010, 216 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:1416918833, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 8,
As a young girl I remember watching television and seeing the horrors of the Vietnam War on the screen. Kadohota writes about the Vietnam War and the effect that the U.S. had on the people of this country during and after the war. Y’Tin lives in a small village in Vietnam where he is the youngest elephant trainer. The Communists are still trying to take over Vietnam so a war is still being fought by the people. The Communists are also looking for those who sided with the U.S. Y’Tin’s father was one these collaborators and as the Communist forces approach his village he worries. Y’Tin hates school but loves working with his elephant. It up to him to save her and bring her to safety when the Communists over run the village, killing all those left behind. This is a great book that offers readers a look at this turbulent time in history.
Kidd, Ronald, The year of the bomb, Simon & Schuster for Young Readers, 2009, 202 pgs., $15.99, ISBN:1416958924, Gr. 4+, P 7, Q 8,
When a film crew comes to Sierra Madre, California in the 1950’s to film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, four boys, David, Eugene, Arnie and Oscar, in the 7th grade can’t wait to watch. What they find is a scary movie being made and a FBI agent who is looking for communist in the film industry. It is the height of the McCarty era and the boys are soon looking for communist traitors. They think they find one too when they start to investigate the professor, who worked on the Oppenheimer Project, they think he’s selling information to Russia. This fast paced book will appeal to those who love historical fiction
Sniegoski, Thomas, Legacy, Delacorte Press, 2009, 213 pgs., $15.99, ISBN:0385737149, Gr. 8+, P 8, Q 8.,
Lucas is 18 years old the year he finds out that his father is the super hero known as the Raptor. When father finally shows up Lucas wants nothing to do him. With the appearance of his father those who seeking revenge against the Raptor follow him and attack the trailer park where Lucas lives. They kill his mother and friends and destroy the trailer park. Lucas moves in with his father and starts training with him so he can find those who killed his mother. Lucas is to become the Raptors legacy. He learns instead that he is one of many children that his father fathered so that he could later find the strongest one to take his place. Lucas soon realizes that he must defeat his father and bring peace back to the city his father has corrupted.
Thompson, Kate, Highway robbery, illustrated by Jonny Duddle and Robert Dress, Greenwillow Books, 2008, 117 pgs., $15.99, ISBN:0061730343, Gr.4 +, P 8, Q 9,
This story is narrated by the main character, a street urchin who lives in England. He is thrilled the day he gets to hold the reins of Bess, a horse that stands 16 hands high, and which comes with a promise of a golden guinea from the rider who came tearing into town on the horses back. He doesn’t realize until the kings men come thundering in town that he is in reality holding the horse for the highway man, Dick Turpin. The black and white illustrations that accompany the book help to tell the story as this street urchin’s adventure. This chapter book would make a read great aloud to use in any class.
Howe, John, Lost worlds, Kingfisher, 2009, 95 pgs., glossary, index, $22.99, ISBN:0753461072, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 8,
John Howe uses a full colored double page layout as he introduces different places and times in history. What is great about this book is that he includes things that are both mythical, legendary and factual as well. This is a book that will fly off the shelves and one that students will scrutinize as they read about, Babylon, Thebes, and Atlantis.
Kumin, Maxine, Mites to Mastodons: a book of animal poems, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, Houghton Mifflin, 2006, unp., $16.00, ISBN:0618507531, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 8,
This collection of poetry is presented with bright colored illustrations that help to convey each of these humorous nonsense animals. An added plus to this book are the animal facts that are included about each animal from their habit to their diet. From a tiny polliwog to a towering mastodon Kumin has a collection of poems that will appeal not only to younger children but older ones as well.
Caffrey, Scott, The story of the Oakland Raiders, The Creative Company, 2009, 42 pgs., index, $32.80, ISBN:1583417656, Gr. 6+, P 8, Q 8,
LeBoutillier, Nate, The story of the Chicago Bears, The Creative Company, 2010, 42 pgs. index, $32.80, ISBN:1583417508, Gr. 6+, P 8, Q 8,
O’Hearn, Michael, The story of the New England Patriots, The Creative Company, 2009, 42 pgs., index, $32.80, ISBN:158341763X, Gr. 6+, P 8, Q 8,
Omoth, Tyler, The story of the Indianapolis Colts, The Creative Company, 2009, 42 pgs., index, #32.80, ISBN:1583417583, Gr. 6+, P 8, Q 8,
I think what I like most about this book and others that I have read from the Creative Company are the high quality gloss pictures and the fact that all the pages are sewn. These books offer a look into the formation of these teams. From the owners, coaches, players and stadiums that they played in all of this and more are presented to the reader in clear and informative manor. Football enthusiast will enjoy this book.
Paolini, Christopher, Eragon: guide to Alagaesia, illustrated by Fred Gambino, Larry McDougal, Ian miller, David Wyatt, Alfred A. Knopf, 2009, unp., $24.99, ISBN:0375858237, Gr. 5+, P 8,Q 8,
This team of illustrators has brought to life the characters in Christopher Paolini’s books with bright delicately colored pictures. I now know what all these different and weird beings look like. With fold outs and maps students will spend hours pouring over all the detailed information that this book contains. My only wish is that it would have been printed earlier so that I could have enjoyed it sooner. A must for any library who have the Eragon series in their collections.
Spilsbury, Richard, Counterfeit! Stopping fakes and forgeries, Enslow Publishers, 2010, 48 pg., glossary, index, $23.93, ISBN:0766033783, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 8,
Counterfeiting is a growing crime in the United States and the world. From knock offs of purses, clothing, and money are all looked at in the pages of this book. How we are trying to stop this crime is also explored, from the paper and ink in money, to how a garment and purse are sewn. Cars, jewelry, music, even drugs are just a few more items that being counterfeited and examined in this book. This is a book that will surely appeal to those who are researching this growing crime.
Sterling, Rod, adapted by Mark Kneece, The twilight zone : Will the real Martian please stand up?, illustrated by Rich Ellis, Walker and Company, 2009, unp, $9.99, ISBN:080279727X, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 7,
It was just the other day that a student requested that I buy more of “ The Twilight Zone” graphic novels. So I was pleased to find and read these two books. Mark Kneece has adapted the script of these two books from Rod Sterling scripts for the T.V. show The Twilight Zone. Two police officers go to investigate a report of hearing a loud noise that was heard and a bright light in the sky’s overhead. What they find on this cold snowy night are trees that are bent and have broken tops. They also find strange footsteps leading away from the lake that the object has landed in. Following the footsteps to a diner they have to determine if there is an alien among them or not. Ellis’s illustration are right on the mark as they convey to the reader the worry and mistrust and growing anxiety of the fellow dinners and the police officer.
Sterling, Rod, adapted by Mark Kneece, The twilight zone : the big wish, illustrated by Chris Lie, Walker & Company, 2009, unp, $9.99, ISBN:0802797253, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 7,
The television series “The Twilight Zone” was used to recreate this story adapted from a Rod Sterling script by Mark Kneece. With the help of Chris Lie’s illustrations which are dark and menacing the story of the boxer, Bolie Jackson, and the wishes of a little boy, Henry are told. Bolie only has to believe like Henry does, in wishes and all of Bolie’s dreams will come true. Those who gravitate towards graphic novels will love this one too.
Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers Reviews by Nel Ward
Giblin, James Cross. The Rise and Fall of Senator Joe McCarthy. Clarion, 2009. $22. 978-0-618-61058-7. 294 p. Ages 12+:
Over 50 years ago, a U.S. senator destroyed lives when he used the fear of Communists to “investigate anybody,” according to his words. What compelled him to become a demagogue and how he achieved his power is the subject of this detailed biography of a man who lied and gambled his way into control over a government that finally brought him down. Although the extensive detail may be too much for younger readers, the black-and-white photos and the author’s passion for his subject provides fascinating reading in much of this book. When one considers the extensive use of fear in today’s politics, this is a vital subject, and this analysis of McCarthy is the best thus far for young readers. P4Q9
Horning, Kathleen T. From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children’s Books. Rev. Ed. HarperCollins, 2010. $14.99; $24.99. 978-0-06-077757-9/978-0-060977756-2. 212 p. Ages: Adult:
Anyone interested in books for young readers, whether they are analyzing or reviewing, should carefully examine this definitive guide. Beginning with a brief history of publishing children’s books, the text quickly moves forward into an explanation of critically examining children’s literature, both fiction and nonfiction, and concludes with a chapter on writing a review. Clarity and simplicity make this book accessible to anyone wishing to assess the strengths and weaknesses of children’s books. The first edition, published over a decade ago, contains much of this information, but Horning has added information about more contemporary genres such as fractured fairytales and graphic novels and a section on literary fiction genres as well as updating the examples, making them more exciting. P8Q10
Mann, Charles C. Before Columbus: The Americas of 1491. Adapt. Rebecca Stefoff. Atheneum, 2009. $24.99. 978-1-4169-4900-8. 117 p. Ages 10-13:
Most people look upon the people of the Americas before Columbus as backward and undeveloped savages. Mann explodes this myth through his description of South America from 11,000 years ago to the fateful year 1492 that began the destruction of great civilizations. Lush illustrations and layout provide the background for this adaptation of Mann’s books for adults, 1491. In easily accessible storytelling style, he uses three questions to organize the wealth of information in the book: What happened before Columbus arrived, why did the Europeans succeed in destroying their culture, and how did the natives provide sensible ecological policies to their land use. His information should change history textbooks. P5Q9
Micucci, Charles. The Life and Times of Corn. Houghton, 2009. $16.00. 978-0-618-50751-1. 32 p. Ages 5-9:
This chipper view of the “giant of grains” gives the reader lots of happy trivia about its growing and uses from its origin from Native American maize to today’s rubber substitute. Succinct text is scattered among the plethora of cheerful, homely illustrations and their brief factoid captions. Although this book covers a great deal of information, it ignores the negative part of corn when it becomes glucose and causes obesity. P7Q7
Thomas, Jan. Here Comes the Big, Mean Dust Bunny! Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster, 2009. $12.99. 978-1-4169-9150-2. unp. Ages 3-5:
The neon-colored creatures with thick black outlines in Rhyming Dust Bunnies have returned to again reassure young readers that bullies will have their come-uppance and perhaps even turn into nice guys. This time the effervescent dust bunnies are pursued by the gray, grumpy title character who has very sharp teeth. It’s only after the cat flattens the big, mean dust bunny that Ed, Ned, Ted, and Bob save the day and change the mean attitude. And the rhyming rolls on! P9Q9
Salley, Coleen. Epossumondas Plays Possum. Il. Janet Stevens. Harcourt, 2009. $16. 978-0-15-206420-4. unp. Ages 1-7:
Although Mama warns the possum to avoid the swamp because of the monsters that live there, young Epossumondas follows a butterfly and encounters various fearsome creatures. He escapes death from all, including the dread loup-garou, by playing dead until the swamp buzzard makes him move by tickling him—and then rejects him because he’s alive. In this fourth and last book about the lovable possum from the late Salley, she uses her usual gentle humor, Southern flavor and lyrical repetition to tell her story. And as in the earlier books, Stevens’ watercolors evoke the tale’s mood, especially with Salley as the model for Mama. P8Q9
Thong, Roseanne. Fly Free! Il. Enjin Kim Neilan. Boyds Mill, 2010. $17.95. 978-1-59078-550-8. unp. Ages 4-8:
Karma—the Buddhist belief that a person’s thoughtful acts will return to them. And Mai’s simple act of feeding the caged sparrows by a temple in Vietnam moves through the generous acts of six others in a samsara or wheel of life in which past deeds circle back to affect our present and future. Muted watercolors on board illustrate the simply-told story reflecting the Vietnamese culture and philosophy as a man benefiting from the circle of good acts pays the sparrows’ owner to free them. Young readers will also benefit from learning the advantages of thoughtfulness. P8Q8
Phelan, Matt. The Storm in the Barn. Candlewick, 2009. $24.99. 978-0-7636-3618-0. 201p. Ages 9-13:
When his farming family is almost destroyed by the terrible dust storms of the 1930s, 11-year-old Jack Clark, bullied by other boys, fights to bring back the rain and thus gains the respect of his father who thought he was worthless. The almost wordless picture strips evoke the shy boy’s loneliness, his father’s grimness, and the overwhelming dust that creates illness and rising tensions in their small town. Jack is surrounded by fantasy: his sister reads The Wizard of Oz; his friend tells min folktales about another Jack; and his mother tells about their lands in the past as a fertile paradise. The simple language matches well with the largely sepia-toned blurry watercolors and drawings of the monster Dust. A magical thriller told by a man caught up in Dorothea Lange’s photography of the Dust Bowl. P8Q10
Beaufrand, Mary Jane. The River. Little, 2009. $16.99. 978-0-316-04168-3. 215p. Ages 12+:
When teenager Veronica (Ronnie) Serverance’s world is turned upside down by her family’s move to rural Oregon from their city home in Portland, she is determined to stay isolated. Only ten-year-old Karen can pull her from her self-imposed separation, but Karen is murdered. Ronnie determines that she will find the killer, a goal that leads her into the dangerous world of teenage drug dealers and DEA agents. More than just solving a mystery, however, Ronnie finds herself in the middle of deadly secrets—those of a defense attorney father who decides to run a B&B because of his mental breakdown, an overachieving mother who pays little attention to Ronnie, a friend who is addicted to meth, and the Santiam River itself that becomes like a person to her. A superb atmospheric piece of fiction with excellent pacing and characterization, this will be delight especially to young readers in Oregon. P8Q8
Cooper, Michelle. A Brief History of Montmaray. Knopf, 2009. $16.99. 978-0-375-85864-2. 296 p. Ages 13-16:
Romance and adventure are the hallmarks of this mythical tale about a very small royal family living in poverty on a remote island kingdom off the English coast in 1936. The characters are memorable—16-year-old Sophie who provides the common sense, a younger unruly tomboy sister and older budding scholar cousin, an uncle suffering from dementia, and a willful “servant.” The arrival of Nazis determined to take over the island begins the chain of events that combines survival, betrayal, haunting, espionage, and murder. This fantasy combines with historical fact to rival the suspense novels of the Brontes. P7Q9
Elliott, Patricia. The Pale Assassin. Holiday House, 2009. $17.95. 978-0-8234-2250-0. 336 p. Ages 13-16:
Before the French Revolution, Eugenie is a spoiled 14-year-old, concerned only with clothing and food, parties and idle pursuits. Between the annihilation of the upper class and Eugenie’s betrothal to an enemy of her family, her life become one of survival and hunger as she tries to save her royalist brother and his compatriot. The book has a variety of facets: rich description of the 1790s of both the wealthy aristocracy and the starving peasants, continual excitement as Eugenie flees her enemies, a romance with a handsome young man, and the change in Eugenie’s philosophy as she moves from being self-centered to growing aware of the disadvantaged around her. Although some aspects of the novel are predictable to the experienced reader, lovers of historical fiction will delight in Eugenie’s adventures. The open ending offers an opportunity for a sequel. P7Q7
Goodman, Alison. Eon: Dragoneye Reborn. Viking, 2008. $19.99. 978-0-670-06227-0. 531 p. Ages 13+:
Political power belongs not only to the emperor but also to the Dragoneyes, men who channel the strength of 12 energy dragons using the names and characteristics of animals from the Chinese zodiac. One 12-year-old working to be chosen as apprentice is not only lame but also hides a deadly secret—“he” is a she, a secret that could get her killed if those in power find out. First published in Australia, this Asian-inspired fantasy provides a world of intrigue and danger as Eon is chosen by the Mirror Dragon, a creature that no one has seen for 400 years. Befriended by transgendered Lady Dela, Eon—who becomes Eona in the sequel to this exciting adventure, uses her magic to protect the emperor and oppose his opponent, the ruthless Lord Ido. This feminist novel has it all—action-filled plot, realistic setting, and strongly depicted characters. P7Q9
Morris, Paula. Ruined. Point/Scholastic, 2009. $16.99. 978-0-545-04215-4. 309p. Ages 13-16: Frustrated because her father has sent her from her luxurious home in New York to live in a creepy house in New Orleans and attend a snooty prep school where others reject her, Rebecca finds that these are the least of her worries. Her exploration of the nearby cemetery leads to her decision to help a ghost find peace and her discovery of a curse that may kill both her and her father. Lots of foreshadowing, adventure, and spookiness make this a fun read despite the sometimes maudlin, overdone language. P8Q7
Hiatt, Shelby. Panama. Houghton, 2009. $16.00. 978-0-547-19600-8. 250p. Ages 14-17:
Fifteen and the girl is ready for anything to happen. What happens is that she is transplanted from her Ohio home to Panama during the building of the Canal in 1903. But nothing happens because the Americans there have created an insular society, identical to the one they left in the United States. The girl—who remains nameless throughout the book—shares her experiences in a journal as she breaks out of this cocoon into a world of social inequity and a secret love affair with Spanish aristocrat and canal laborer who teaches her about the abusive treatment of international laborers. The novel breaks young adult book tradition in at least three ways: it covers three years, showing the growth of the protagonist from mid-teen to almost-adult age; it has no obvious message; and it provides a satisfying ending given by the girl as an adult married woman. In her first book, Hiatt captures the sultry feeling of Panama at the turn of the twentieth century, its indigenous people, and the growth of a girl’s sexual experiences as she falls deeply in love. A rich addition to romance and historical fiction. P7Q8
March 2010 Reviews
C.S- Siletz Public Library
Young Adult Fiction
Klass, Sheila Solomon. Soldier’s Secret. Christy Ottaviano Books, Henry Holt & Co, 2009. ISBN 9780805082005. $17.99. 215 pgs. Ages 12+. P7Q8.
This is a fascinating look at the real-life story of Deborah Sampson, a young woman who disguised herself as a man, enlisted in the army, and lived the life of a soldier for two years during the Revolutionary War. The author takes us through her motivation to join up, and how she managed to keep her disguise for so long. This was a difficult and dangerous undertaking. She could have been killed in the fighting, and if her own comrades or commanders had discovered her, her end could have been very bad. I enjoyed reading about this spunky girl who didn’t accept the limitations society placed on her. I think there are many teenage girls who would be interested in this story.
Perkins, Mitali. Secret Keeper. Delacorte Press, 2009. ISBN 9780385733403. $16.99. 225 pgs. Age: 13+. P7Q9.
This novel tells the story of Asha, a teenage girl in a traditional Indian family. When her father goes to New York to find work, Asha and her sister and mother move to Calcutta to live with family until they can go to the US. Life is more restrictive there, and Asha relies on her diary (her secret keeper) to work out her feelings about things. When she becomes friendly with the neighbor boy, she struggles with the clash between her interests and dreams, and what her family expects of her. Her father is killed in an accident in NY, and Asha then makes an enormous sacrifice to help her sister and mother. I found this story engrossing- it’s nicely written and I had a great deal of sympathy for all of the characters. I highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in learning something about Indian culture, or who enjoys a good, dramatic story.
Simner, Janni Lee. Bones of Faerie. Random House, 2009. ISBN 9780375845635. $16.99. 247 pgs. Age: 12-16. P7Q7.
This is a fantasy novel that deals with coming of age, facing one’s fears, stereotyping, and fighting false ideas. There has been a war between humanity and Faerie, which was devastating for both sides. Now the natural world is more threatening than it used to be, and anything strange is a threat. Liza is pulled into an adventure along with her cat and a good friend. I liked this book. It is dark, but has some beautiful language. However, it was confusing at times and seemed to lack some connecting points that would make it more understandable. Fantasy lovers will still enjoy this book.
Juvenile/ Young Adult Non-Fiction
Silvey, Anita. I’ll Pass for Your Comrade: Women Soldiers in the Civil War. Clarion Books, 2008. ISBN 9780618574919. $17.00. 115 pgs. Age: 9-15. P8Q9.
This is a fascinating history about women who participated in the Civil War. Most of the women in this book disguised themselves as men and served as soldiers in the war. The author looks at both Union and Confederate soldiers, and explores how and why they did this, and how they survived. I am in awe of these women! I would suggest this book for classes studying the Civil War era- History can be so interesting when we see stories of the daily lives of such unusual people. The book has black and white illustrations (some photos and some drawings) that are interesting. I especially liked the side-by-side photos of the women dressed in women’s clothing and then in their uniforms.
Slavicek, Louise Chipley. Women and the Civil War (The Civil War: A Nation Divided series). Chelsea House, 2009. ISBN 9781604130409. $35.00. 128 pgs. Age: 12-17. P7Q8.
Here is another book about women in the Civil War. It begins with a time line of the war, and ends with a glossary of useful terms. This book is different from the previous one in that it looks at women in different areas of work- nurses, soldiers in disguise, spies, etc. The author doesn’t forget about women left behind and keeping things running at home either. There are chapters on women from the north and from the south, and one on African-American women. This last chapter is really interesting, since not many black women at the time were literate. This means that they didn’t leave much behind in the way of diaries or letters, so it is much harder to know what they did. There is so much information packed in this little book. It would be a great addition to a high school library or history teacher’s collection. I think young people, especially girls, would find this very interesting.
Hale, Shannon, and Dean Hale. Rapunzel’s Revenge. Nathan Hale, ill. Bloomsbury, 2008. ISBN 9781599902883. $14.99. 144 pgs. Age: 9-14. P8Q8.
I have never made it through a graphic novel before, but I read this one from cover to cover over a weekend. It’s a fun retelling of the old Rapunzel adventure, with a heroine who is resourceful, mature, strong, and funny. Her sidekick is Jack (from the Beanstalk story). He’s a bit short in the honesty department, and Rapunzel’s struggle with this is a theme in the story. The illustrations are easy to follow, and the writing is clever and fun. It was interesting that the atmosphere in the book is like a western movie. Lots of rowdy outlaws, pistols being whipped out of villains’ hands with Rapunzel’s braids, etc. I highly recommend this book just for the fun of it.
Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers Reviews by M.D.
Ali, Rubina,in collaboration with Anne Berthod and Divya Dugar. Slumgirl Dreaming: Rubina’s Journey to the Stars. Delacorte Press, 2009. $ 9.99 187 pgs. 978-0-385-73908-5 p 8/ q 8
This book is great and students will enjoy learning the real story. The center has several pages of color photographs from the movies “Slumdog Millionaire” as well as from Rubina’s life. The hard part is knowing that after all of the fame she had to go back to the slum. She has a very positive outlook on life and students who feel they have life hard may realize that there is always someone worse off and to be grateful.
Bragg, Georgia. Matisse on the loose. Delacorte Press, 2009. $16.99. ages middle school 149 pages. 978-0-385-73570-4 p 8/q7
Matisse has the same name as a famous artist and things get crazy when he accidentally takes home the real Matisse masterpiece. Matisse’s family is crazy and embarrassing he has to learn to stick up for himself. Matisse gets the painting back in the museum before his mother gets fired and learns who he is. This book would appeal to young boys, artists and those who like mysteries with suspense.
Mankell, Henning. A Bridge to the Stars. Delacorte Press, 2005. $15.99 ages middle school. 164 pgs. 978-0-385-73495-0 p 7/q8
The book was translated from the Swedish by Laurie Thompson and when I read this it all makes sense. I enjoyed the images that this story brings to the mind but it was a little different. The story takes place in Sweden in 1956 and is about Joel who is eleven years old. His father who was once a sailor but now has to log. They both want to get back to ocean but there home is in the woods and a new life. This is a compelling story about family relationships and change.
Mankell, Henning. Shadows in the Twilight. Delacorte Press, 2005. $15.99 ages middle school. 199 pgs. 978-0-385-73496-7 p 7/q8
The story of Joel continues. He is now twelve, lives with his father in Sweden in 1957. Joel gets run over by bus and survives without a scratch. He goes around doing good deeds to pay back the miracle. This story would relate to students who are from a single parent family and who are trying to figure out who they are and what there place is in their world.
Weissman, Elissa Brent. The Trouble with Mark Hopper. Dutton Children’s Books, 2009. $16.99 . ages middle school. 277 pages. 978-0-525-42067-5 p 8/q 8
Another kid moves to Mark’s school and he has the exact same name. Things get really confusing because the new Mark Hopper is a bad kid and is making a bad name for Mark. They both want to compete for the Mastermind trophy but things get out of hand. This is a very compelling story and would help students realize that what they say and do has great consequences. In the end they all learn that people are not what they seem and need second chances. I think both boys and girls will enjoy this story and can relate.
Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers Reviews by N.W
Bolden, Tonya. FDR’s Alphabet Soup: New Deal America, 1932-1939. Knopf, 2010. $19.99. 978-0-375-85214-5. 136 p. Ages 13-16:
The first 100 days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidency is unique in American history in its creation of policies and legislation that laid the groundwork to bring the United States out of the Great Depression. But the president didn’t stop there; he continued the “New Deal” to create programs that strengthened the country and continues to make life better for us today. Social Security, buildings, roads, rural electricity, recreational facilities, water dams, bridges, insurance for bank deposits, artists’ works—these are only a few of the benefits resulting from Roosevelt’s 13-year presidency. The term “alphabet soup” describes the collection of initials for each program in this attractively designed book with informational sidebars, boldface quotations, factoids, and photos make the book highly readable. Although there is no direct reference made, the explanation of events leading up to the Depression can be seen as a parallel to those of the past few years, showing the value of studying history. P5Q9
Jurmain, Suzanne. The Secret of the Yellow Death: A True Story of Medical Sleuthing. Houghton, 2009. $19. 978-0-618-96581-6. 104p. Ages 10-14:
“Red oozes from the patient’s gums.” This sample of Jurmain’s descriptive writing shows her ability to involve the reader in the mystery of this disease with no known cause until 1900 and one that still has no cure despite the development of its prevention. The author follows Walter Reed and his team of doctors that spent six months in Cuba inoculating people with bacteria that might cause the dreaded plague until they ascertained that yellow fever was spread by the lowly mosquito. The book, complete with doctors’ letters and reports, reads like a murder mystery, communicating the heavy heat of the island, the whine of the mosquitoes, and the stench of the disease. Part of this book concentrates on the scientific process, the cooperation of the team members, and the care that researchers took to ensure accuracy in their conclusions. The book would be equally useful for history, psychology, and science. P6Q9
Pinkney, Andrea Davis and Brian Pinkney. Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride. Jump at the Sun Books/Disney, 2009. $16.99. 978-078680767-3. unp. Ages 5-8:
Big, black, and beautiful, Belle, born into slavery, had to endure the cruelty of several masters until she escaped to freedom. This powerful portrait of Sojourner Truth, formerly Belle Baumfree, speaks with the same fire that its subject, beginning with the ugliness of slavery and then moving into her mesmerizing speeches of abolition and feminism, demanding equal rights for blacks and women. Vigorous, broad strokes backed with bold yellows and oranges match the lively narrative followed by the two-page biography and bibliography at the end. This book makes a magnificent read-aloud to show children how her courage helped change America. P8Q9
Reef, Catherine. Ernest Hemingway: A Writer’s Life. Clarion, 2009. $20. 978-0-618-9705-4. 183 p. Ages 11-14:
For many years, the novels and short stories of Hemingway have been revered, providing him with the Pulitzer and Nobel prizes. Yet he concluded a life displaying his temper and penchant for drinking and adultery with his suicide. With vivid images and unglamorized writing, Reef provides the biographical background for Hemingway’s writing as an ambulance driver in Italy during World War II followed by his carousing throughout the world and his four unsuccessful marriages. She also discusses Hemingway’s writing style and influences on other writers. Black and white photos add to this chronicle of his early life with an unloving mother, his friends and wives, the places where he traveled, and Hemingway himself. A riveting read from the biographer of e. e. cummings and Sigmund Freud. P6Q8
Drake, Ernest. Drake’s Comprehensive Compendium of Dragonology. Ed. Dugald A. Steer. Il. D. Carrel, et al. Candlewick, 2009. $19.99. 978-0-7636-4623-3. 181 p. Ages 10+:
A guide to dragon species, biology, habits, riddles, recipes, communication, and much more, this handsomely illustrated volume in sepia tones purports to avoid deaths of both humans and dragons through its presentation of knowledge. This is a book that dragon lovers will want to own so that they can pour over the drawings and lore at length! P9Q9
Hopkinson, Deborah. The Humblebee Hunter: Inspired by the Life & Experiments of Charles Darwin and His Children. Il. Jen Corace. Hyperion, 2010. $16.99. 978-142311356-0. unp. Ages 4-8:
Charles Darwin, the scientist, had ten children, seven of whom reached adulthood. His third child, Etty, helped her father with his work and later helped him edit The Descent of Man. In this simple fictionalized biography, Etty briefly tells about her father’s experiments and journeys before she details his examination of how many plants a “humblebee,” now known as bumblebee, would visit in one minute. Bold Japanese-stylized illustrations accompany the narrative about the man who developed the theory of natural selection, the process in which all life on earth evolved over millions of years. P9Q9
Na, Il Sung. The Thingamabob. Knopf, 2010. $15.99. 978-0-375-86106-2. unp. Ages 3-5:
What happens when a curious elephant finds a mysterious red object? Of course, he tries to find out what it is. Young people familiar with the red object will keep trying to tell the silly elephant that it’s an umbrella; those who don’t know what it is will enjoy helping to solve the mystery. The author of the relaxing The Book of Sleep has gone 180 degrees into this magical energetic mystery filled with a variety of creatures in rich soft and vibrant textures. A real delight that children will want to read again and again. P10Q10
Von Buhler, Cynthia. But Who Will Bell the Cats? Houghton, 2010. $16. 978-0-618-99718-3. unp. Ages 4-8:
Finally, the answer to the age-old question posed in Aesop’s Fables! In this solution, a mouse and his bat friend live in the drafty cellar of a magnificent castle with a princess and her eight cats. The mouse wants to enjoy the delicious treats to be served on the princess’s birthday, but the cats are in the way. Von Buhler created—and then photographed—the scenes with a collage of dollhouse furniture, highly decorated backgrounds, and cutout paper dolls. In much of the story, the reader sees action both upstairs and downstairs with split, two-tiered settings as the mouse devises a series of schemes to bell the cats before he comes up with the successful idea. At times the illustrations almost overwhelm the narrative, and the print font styles may create difficulty for young readers but this only makes for several readings. P9Q8
Yolleck, Joan. Paris in the Spring with Picasso. Il. Marjorie Priceman. Schwartz & Wade, 2010. $17.99. 978-0-375-83756-2. unp. Ages 5-8:
The artists of early 20th-century Paris come to life in this walk through the streets, across the river, and to the famous salon of poet Gertrude Stein. The poet Guillaume Apollinaire watches an acrobat perform, Pablo Picasso works hard in his studio, and Max Jacob sleeps late before starting his writing before they join Stein and her partner Alice B. Toklas with her other guests. Fierce strokes of black surrounded by deep colors create a frenetic pace to the adventures. Animals, usually a cat or dog, can be found on almost all the two-page spreads, providing a “where’s the animal” venture for young readers. Completing the book are photographs of the main characters with brief biographies. P7Q7
Akira, Shouko. Monkey High! Vol. 7. Trans. Mai Ihara. VIZ Media, 2009. $8.99. 978-1-42152462-7. 200 p. Ages 13-15:
The first volumes of this manga tell how high school student Haruna Aizawa was forced to transfer from her preppy academy after her politician father got into trouble. The name comes from her belief that a school’s social hierarchy resembles a zoo’s monkey mountain, and the boy who attracts her, Masaru Yamashita, even looks like a monkey. By this volume, Macharu and Haruna are tired of being separated by different classes, college prep, and her disapproving father. After they win tickets for an overnight stay at a resort, they decide to take their relationship to the next level. But as in all love affairs, nothing goes smoothly. This graphic story breaks the shojo teen romantic comedy Golden Rule, the one that dictates the male must be taller than the females. The black-and-white shaded illustrations are far better than color because the action stands out more clearly with typical long, lanky builds and huge eyes for the characters. Although this is the seventh volume in the series, it can be read without the first six. The reader may also wish to find the earlier manga. A nice view of another culture that’s not too different from ours. P9Q8
Craddock, Erik. Superhero Stampede. [Stone Rabbit: 4] Random House, 2010. $5.99. 978-0-375-85877-2. 96 p. Ages 9-11:
Our quick-tempered and quick-witted hero, Stone Rabbit, finds himself inside the pages of his favorite comic book along with his friends Judy, Milton, Andy, and Dr. Goat after being zapped by a homemade reality transmutation device. As usual, there’s lots of action in full color as well as the evil opponents, this time Lord Morbad and his sidekicks as well as Stone Rabbit learning to get along with others. P9Q8
Holm, Jennifer L. & Matthew Holm. Babymouse Burns Rubber. Random House, 2010. $5.99. 978-0-375-85713-3. 96 p. Ages 8-10:
Race car driving is the focus of the twelfth Babymouse book. And it exerts just as much energy as all the former ones. This time Babymouse spends her time persuading her best pal, Wilson, to build her soap box for the race—despite the fact that the rules say she must do it herself. Wilson spends so much time working on hers that he doesn’t have enough time for his own. Hint: Babymouse does display a bit of compassion in this story. Meanwhile the Holm brother and sister have concocted new side situations such as when the aliens come down and cause Babymouse’s fractions to disintegrate. Another hint: the teacher doesn’t believe her! As always, manic pink-toned black-and-white cartoons relate Babymouse’s fantasies and adventures. [No. 13, Cupcake Tycoon, arrives this fall!] P9Q9
Krosoczka, Jarrett J. Lunch Lady and the Author Visit Vendetta. Knopf, 2009. $5.99. 978-0-375-86094-2. 96 p. Ages 8-10:
The fourth book of this series features an author, Lewis Scribson, who refuses to sign a copy of his book and missing gym teachers. Our intrepid detectives Dee, Terrence, and Hector, accompanied by school cafeteria cooks Lunch Lady and Betty, who has developed new—and entertaining—detective devices, save the day by rescuing the gym teachers forced into slavery to serve the author. Lots of gym jokes combine with the cartoon illustrations in black and white touched with shades of yellow.
Matthews, John. Sword of Fire and Ice. Il. Mike Collins. [The Chronicles of Arthur] Aladdin, 2009. $14.99. 978-1-4169-5908-3. 123 p. Ages 9-12:
Seven hundred years before the Round Table, 537 AD, there was a real Arthur, a warrior who fought the cruel Saxons who were determined to conquer the Britons. Matthews introduces his tale of King Arthur as a teenager in a time of magic. All the predictable parts of Arthur’s chronicles are present in this exciting story illustrated in superhero fashion—Merlin, Avalon, Uther Pendragon, Mabon, and, of course, Excalibur—as the great wizard educates the young king-to-be. Yet Arthur appears a real boy, persecuted because he is a “child without a father” which connects him to teenage boys of today. P9Q7
Taylor, Sarah Stewart and Ben Towle. Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean. Hyperion, 2010. $17.99. 978-142311337-9. 79 p. Ages 9-12:
The loss of Amelia Earhart on July 2, 1937 in her attempt to fly around the world has recently been well publicized through books and a feature movie. Stewart and Towle have chosen a different flight, that of her triumphant crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in 1928, as the focus for this book illustrated in black, white, and teal. The protagonist for this fictionalized biography is aspiring journalist Grace, a girl who lives in Trepassey, Newfoundland, where Earhart started her record-breaking flight. The brief narrative and evocative illustrations combine to create images of the event . Eisner Award-nominated Towle’s varied style from the close-ups of Trepassy to the double-page depictions of the ocean’s vastness during Earhart’s flight show the courage of those willing to risk everything. The introduction by Eileen Collins, first female pilot of a Space Shuttle, and the “panel discussions” at the end highlight Earhart’s feminist influence in her commitment to open doors for all women. P9Q9
Carter, Ally. Heist Society. Hyperion, 2010. $16.99. 978-142311639-4. 287 p. Ages 13-16:
The good news and the bad news. Bad first. The Gallagher girls of I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You and its sequels are gone. The good news? Katerina Bishop, con and thief par excellence, has arrived. In this first of the series, all she wants is to have a normal life in a normal school. But when her father may be killed because he is suspected of stealing the paintings of a vicious Italian mobster, she puts together a team of teenage master thieves to find the paintings and steal them back. It’s a Charade for teen readers—a bit of romance spiced with danger and intrigue—and the cover with an attractive girl in oversize sunglasses is inviting. Plus watch for the sequel! P9Q7
Davis, Tanita S. Mare’s War. Knopf, 2009. $16.99. 978-0-375-85714-0. 341 p. Ages 13-16:
The lives of an African-American woman growing up in the 1930s and 1940s and two teenagers living in spoiled contemporary luxury mesh when the parents of Octavia, 15, and Tali, 17, force them to accompany their grandmother, Mere, on a road trip from California to Florida. Mere shares her childhood life of domestic work as she tries to protect herself and her younger sister from their mother’s lecherous boyfriend before she runs away to enlist in the Army during World War II. The characters are memorable: Mere drives a bright-red sports car and matches it with her flamboyant manner and dress; self-absorbed Octavia and Tali incessantly complain—at least at first. Their journey is as much toward becoming more mature family members as it is physical. The historical pieces about the treatment of African-Americans during the war years in both military and civilian life show Mere’s responsibilities and social life, as it changes from racial acceptance to bigotry. The alternating chapters between the current travels and Mere’s past provide an introduction to a larger-than-life woman and her influence on two teenage girls. P7Q9
Lee, Y. S. The Agency 1: The Spy in the House. Candlewick, 2010. $16.99. 978-0-7636-4067-5. 335 p. Ages 13-16:
At 12, orphaned Mary Lang is sentenced to hang as a thief. At 17, Mary Quinn begins her adventures as a detective. Both Marys are the same person: a woman posing as a warden rescued Lang and took her to be educated at Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls. On her first case helping to trace a rich merchant’s missing ship cargos, she poses as a teenage girl’s companion. And as she learns, nothing is as it seems—not the handsome man who appears to treat her badly, not the merchant’s wife who claims to be in ill health, and not her background as the daughter of a Chinese man and Irish woman. For those who delight in reading about the gritty backstreets and the wealthy homes of Victorian London in Nancy Springer’s Enola Holmes mysteries, this series brings a new daring young detective in a life of action, suspense, and romance. The feminist bent of the novel comes from Lee’s desire to write “a totally unrealistic, completely fictitious antidote to the fate that would otherwise swallow a girl like Mary Quinn.” P8Q7
Lurie, April. The Less-Dead. Delacorte, 2010. $16.99. 978-0-385-73675-6. 229 p. Ages 13-16:
The conflict between the homophobic religious beliefs of his father, a Christian radio show host, and his growing involvement in solving the mystery of the serial killer targeting gay teens in foster homes moves 16-year-old Noah Nordstrom more toward the antievangelical side and closer to losing his own life. Lurie shows the progression of a teenager growing to understand gays as Noah begins with the fear that is new friend Will might be coming on to him and then going into guilt after Will is killed. The term “less-dead” comes from the people whose deaths are not important to society with only Noah seeming to prove that someone cares. Although some of the action is predictable and Will’s death is in the Prologue, the author shows compassion for her characters and provide a good adventurous mystery. P7Q7
MacCullough, Carolyn. Once a Witch. Clarion, 2009. $16.00. 978-0-547-22399-5. 292p. Ages 13-16:
Bitter because she’s the only family member who lacks a magical Talent, 17-year-old Tamsin takes on the task of finding an heirloom for a charismatic Scottish stranger. Predictably, her impulsive decision leads to great danger, but Tamsin discovers throughout the adventure that she has greater power than her arrogant older sister. The plot is exciting, the writing smooth, and the reading easy. Combine this with the budding romance between Tamsin and her friend Gabriel as they travel through time and the family conflicts, and you have a light urban fantasy that’s sure to be followed with a sequel. P8Q7
Newbery, Linda. Flightsend: A Summer of Discovery. David Fickling Books, 2010. $15.99. 978-0-385-75203-9. 242 p. Ages 12-15: Sixteen-year-old Charlie is sure that her life will be a disaster when her mother, Kathy, insists on moving to an isolated cottage. Kathy had given up everything after her baby died in utero; she resigned from her job, sold their house, and rejected her boyfriend, Sean. But the cottage, Flightsend, was actually an opening to a new life after Charlie and Kathy met a wealthy German whose father had died in a plane crash nearby during World War II and Charlie overcomes her crush on Sean. Some of the events are predictable, and others are heavy-handed, particularly the issue of child abuse. But Charlie’s family conflicts and growth are realistic, and the events show that beginnings can come out of what seems like the end. P7Q7
Peters, Julie Anne. By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead. Hyperion, 2010. $16.99. 978-142311618-9. 200 p. Ages 13+:
Daelyn Rice is determined to be successful in committing suicide after several botched attempts, one which has left her unable to speak because she scarred her throat when she drank a caustic chemical. Her solution this time is a blog for “completers” that gives advice about killing oneself but requires her to wait 23 days. What she doesn’t realize is that the information is actually discouraging because it describes the pain endured by those who commit suicide and the serious issues if the attempt is a failure. The subject is grim and the writing intense, but Peters shows Rice’s growth as she grudgingly makes friends with a boy and begins to change her mind about her end goal. The emails sent to the blog show the tragic effects of bullying about body size and gender identification as well as interpersonal relationship failures. At the end of the book is a no-nonsense guide to bullying, defining it and then giving common-sense advice for stopping it. The entire book may be a bit heavy-handed, but it should be required reading for all young adults and adults. The website cited in the book, http://www.through-the-light.com provides information about the book, discussion questions, and information about bullying and suicide. P9Q8
Schlitz, Laura Amy. The Night Fairy. Il. Angela Barrett. Candlewick, 2010. $16.99. 978-0-7636-3674-6. 117 p. Ages 6-10:
Three months old, fierce Flory is a night fairy, complete with extravagant wings. That is, until a bat munches on them, mistaking Flory for a luna moth. Thus begins a survival tale like no other, as Flory becomes a day fairy living in a wren house and using a hungry squirrel for her transportation. Readers both young and old will delight in following Flory’s adventures as she learns find food, clothe herself, and provide for other necessities of life in the huge world surroundings. Flory is a fairy like no other, full of sarcastic comments, rudeness, and, most of all, determination. Full-page exquisite illustrations in this small book create a portal into a miniature world. This fantasy from a Newbery Medal winner is destined to be a classic. P9Q9
Book Review By D.B.
Jamieson, Victoria. Bea Rocks the Flock, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2009. $16.99 age 5-10. 30 pages. ISBN 1599902605.
The illustrations grabbed me. The story kept me reading. This is a silly book with a message. Bea wants to be herself and not follow the other sheep. She leaves the flock so she can have an adventure and be unique. She finds it is lonely without her flock. When she returns, the flock is ready to let all sheep be their unique selves. P9Q8
Root, Phyllis. Paula Bunyan, Farrar, Straus Giroux, 2009. $16.95 ages 6-10. 30 pages. ISBN 0374357595
A story where you can use your imagination. Paula is the sister to Paul Bunyan. She is tall and strong and wants to live alone with her animal friends. She outsmarts loggers by using chicken size mosquitoes to run off the men who want to cut her forest down. P6Q5
Weeks, Sarah. Cat Fish Kate and the Sweet Swamp Band, Simon and Schuster, 2009, $16.99 ages 4-8. 30 pages. ISBN 9781418940265
Kate and the girls want to play music under the moon in the swamp. Skink and the boys want to read in the swamp. Neither group will leave. Kate suggests a compromise. Kate and the girls fly off and collect cattail fluff. She tells the boys to put the cattail fluff in their ears and all can be happy. Kate and the girls can play music and Skink and the boys can read. P8Q9
Book Review By D.B.
Schertle, Alice. Little Blue Truck Leads the Way, illustrated by Jill McElmurry. “Harcourt Children’s Books.” Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. $16.00 ages 5-8. 36 pages. ISBN 9780152063894
Little Blue Truck is stuck in a traffic jam in the city. The mayor’s limo breaks down and Little Blue asks if the mayor would like a ride. The mayor gets out of the limo and gives a little speech about taking turns. The cars take turns and follow Little Blue to end the traffic jam. P9Q8
Chichester Clark, Emma. Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Candlewick Press 2009. $14.99 ages 5-7. 30 pages ISBN 9780763646806
A classic story with pretty pictures. P8Q7
[Editor’s note: Chichester Clark’s retelling of the traditional Grimm brothers’ fairy tale gives vent to Father Bear’s frustration at Goldilock’s damage to the bears’ snug mountaintop cottage, brightening up the old favorite with new language and cheerful illustrations.]
Basen, Ryan. Kyle Busch: Gifted and Giving Racing Star, (Stars who give back series) Enslow Publishers, 2010. $23.95 ages 10 and up. 128 pages ISBN 9780756035898
If you are interested in car racing you will love this book. The book takes you to the start of Kyle’s driving career. Race car driving was a family hobby and life style. The book moves through the years of sibling rivalry to his successful career. Today Kyle is a successful driver who gives his time and money to children’s charities. P8Q9
Book Review By D.B.
Saltzberg, Barney. All Around the Seasons, Candlewick Press, 2010. $11.95 26 pages ages 2-5 ISBN 978-763636944
A book describing the 4 seasons in simple and rhyming sentences. The illustrations are bright and cheery. P8Q8
Venezia, Mike. Rachel Carson: Clearing the way for environmental protection.Children’s Press, Scholastic, 2010. 32 pages ages 7-12. ISBN 978521237045
–. Mary Leakey: Archaeologist who really dug her work. Children’s Press, Scholastic, 2009, 32 pages ages 7-12. ISBN 100531237271
–. Marie Curie: Scientist who made glowing discoveries. Children’s Press, Scholastic, 2009, 32 pages ages 7-12. ISBN 100531149773
The three above books are written similarly. They begin when the women where young and describe how they became interested in the fields they worked. There are photos from their childhood through adult. They are easy reading and explain each field in a simple and interesting way.
Book Reviews by WHS Staff & Students
Giles, Gail. Right Behind You, Reprint edition. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2008. Young Adult, Paperback: 320 pages,
Nine-year-old Kip McFarland killed Bobby Clarke by setting him on fire. Trying to leave this awful incident in their past, the McFarlands move to Indiana where Kip becomes Wade Madison, a young man with a bright and happy future. Unfortunately, he ruins it for himself again by drunkenly telling what he had done and who he was before. A book about consequences and forgiveness, RBY is a page turner and an easy read besides. Q. 8 P. 8/9
Caletti, Deb. Wild Roses, Simon Pulse, 2008. Young Adult, 320 pages.
Cassie’s mother has married a famous, but abusive musician. When Ian appears at her doorstep, Cassie discovers that he is Dino’s new apprentice. It doesn’t hurt that the young man is handsome and fun to get to know. Eventually, the two fall in love, but Dino isn’t about to let Ian have a relationship because he believes the young man should only be devoted to his music. Near-tragedy ensues for the young couple until Dino is finally sent to a mental hospital where he is no longer a barrier to their relationship. SF said, “I would recommend this book for anyone who likes music or books. Personally I loved the book, and I believe that the theme of this book is never let a family member stand in the way of what your heart wants.”
Nadol, Jen. The Mark, Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books, 2010. Young Adult, 240 pages.
Cassie has a unique ability to see an aura or glow about people who are going to die. She doesn’t know what to do with this gift and knowing this about others is hard for her to deal with. Eventually, she finds a use for her gift when she sees “the mark” or glow around her boyfriend. She keeps him with her, rather than allowing him to go home and the glow fades away. CH wrote, “Cassie is a fantastic heroine, thoughtful, intelligent, but still very much the uncertain teen coping with an impossible ability that is so much larger than herself. I liked her and the story a lot.” Q. 8 P. 8
Zevin, Gabrielle. Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, 1 Reprint edition. Square Fish, 2009. Young Adult, 304 pages.
Naomi Porter, a senior, is the co-editor of the high school yearbook, The Phoenix. She also has a wonderful boyfriend. The trouble is, she can’t remember any of it. Coming back from an errand, she fell and tumbled down concrete stairs. When she is discovered by James Larkin, he introduces himself to the EMTs as her boyfriend and she cannot argue because she has forgotten everything. Later, James’ influence turns her into a very different young lady than she was before and when her memory does come back, Naomi doesn’t tell anyone so she gets to see what other people had been thinking about her. Eventually, she tries to find a balance between the “old” Naomi and the “new” one without dwelling on the past. It’s a quick read, but an interesting one, according to M.P. who read it in three days’ time. Q. 8 P. 8
Gottfried, Ted. Censorship (Open for Debate). Benchmark Books, 2006.Young Adult, 143 pages.
I’ve had this book for a couple of years and finally one of my students was actually excited to read it. J.W. wrote, “This book gave both views on censorship issues such as porn, television, protecting the young and more. The author references a lot of court cases…As time progressed from the 20th century until now, laws generally became more lenient. This leniency is attributed to the expansion, and difficulty of controlling, the media. Freedom of expression and speech was often the reason the courts would become more liberal on censorship. The book gives many examples of how censorship laws have changed. I liked this book, and wouldn’t mind reading more books in the series. The author was very fair, and I never once noticed him having a bias one way or the other. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in studying law, morality, ethics, and the like.”
Hostetter, Joyce Moyer. Healing Water: A Hawaiian Story. Calkins Creek Books, 2008. Young Adult, 217 pages.
When Pia shows evidence of leprosy, he is sent away from his island home to Moloka’l so that the contagious disease can be contained among others who suffer from it. Pia’s best friend and father figure, Kamaka abandons him to his fate where there is no law or support for Pia or the other refugees. Eventually Pia’s feelings of betrayal and hatred toward Kamaka come between his succeeding and living a healthy life on the island. Even though Pia does not do so, the reader learns the value of forgiveness. M.B. wrote, “I recommend this book to anyone who wants a good read. It is a very moving story.” Q. 8 P. 8
Updale, Eleanor. Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman. Scholastic Paperbacks, 2005. Ages 9-12, 240 pages.
Montmorency lives a double life as a gentleman and a thief, Scarper. The story begins with Montmorency in jail, suffering from a surgical wound in his thigh, the result of an accident when he fell through the glass roof of a house he had just robbed. The story is about his efforts to keep his two lives separate from each other as he interacts with the interesting characters in the novel. Much of the novel is concerned with people knowing their place in society, people who, through fate, are thieves because they had no other choice. This is the beginning of a series. Q. 7 P. 7
Saulnier, Beth. Ecstasy, Mysterious Press, 2003. Young Adult. 384 pages.
Alex Bernier is a reporter for a local newspaper and so she is sent to the Melting Rock Music Festival where three teenagers are killed and drugs are rampant. Realizing that the deaths are not accidental, Bernier attempts to solve the mystery with the help of her policeman-friend. A.P. wrote, “This book is not for the faint of heart. Truly awful things happen in this story, but, sadly, truly awful things are happening everyday.” The only problem with the novel is the distractions; the author doesn’t stay on track for the plot and ends the novel with a lot of loose ends. Q. 7/8 P. 7
Reinhardt, Dana. Harmless. Wendy Lamb Books, 2008. Young Adult. 240 pages.
From J.R.: “This was actually the best book I have ever read. The story’s plot seemed so real. The main characters were just average teenage girls trying to get through life in one piece. To tell the truth, this book is a true tear-jerker. It makes you want to cry because things like this plot happen all the time. It also made me want to cry because I have gone through a lot of the same rough times these girls went through: situations where you tell a lie and it starts growing and becoming more serious than before and it’s hard to decide what to do. You have to pick and choose, one of the other: reputations and friends or honesty and trust. This book was also sad because Emma drinks too much and has sex with an older guy when she wasn’t ready. What was supposed to be a spectacularly special moment, she can’t remember much of it.” Any book that teens can relate to like this reviewer does, is worth having in school. Q. 9 P. 9
Book Review by Carol Bernardi
Harlow, Joan, Secret of the night ponies, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2009, 300 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:1416907831, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 8,
In 1965 13 year-old Jessie lives on island close to Gull Harbor, Newfoundland with her family who make a living fishing. It is also a time that the Canadian government is moving families from the remote islands to Gull Harbor leaving behind the Newfoundland ponies. While visiting Gull Harbor one day Jessie learns that a local man is capturing the ponies and intends to sell them to meat plant in Quebec, Canada. Jessie, her friends and her family steal the horses and hide them till they are able to find homes for them. This is a story that is based on true events that will touch the hearts of horse lovers.
Ketchum, Liza, Newsgirl, Viking, 2009, 327 pgs., $17.99, ISBN:0670011193, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 9,
This book not only offers the reader action but also has a great story line. In 1851, Amelia Forrester, who is 12-years old, travels from Boston to San Francisco with her mother and family friend Estelle. San Francisco offers these two women the chance to become business women and to own their own business. For Amelia it offers new adventures at every turn. She cuts her hair, dresses as a boy and becomes a newspaper seller of old Boston newspapers. She is carried away in hot air balloon, crash lands is rescued and spends the winter in the mining camps. This is an action adventure that will appeal to those who love this type of story.
Klise, Kate, Over my dead body: 43 Old Cementary Road, ill. by M. Sarah Klise, Harcourt, 2009, 116 pgs., $15.00, ISBN:015205734X, Gr. 4+, P 7, Q 8,
This book is the sequel to Dying to Meet You. 11-year old Seymour Hope is living happily with Olive C Spruce, a 190-year old ghost, and 64 year old Ignatius B. Grumpy writing ghost stories together. Seymour and the other occupants of the house have been busy and Seymour has been the main illustrator of the stories. The only person not happy with the arrangement is Dick Tater, the local enforcement officer of the IMSPOOKY organization and who is out to stop even Halloween. Illustrations by Sarah Klise are wonderful black and white drawings which not only make you laugh but help to tell the story. If you are planning a unit on letter writing this is the book for you as the main characters communicate to each other through a series of letters.
McCoy, Chris, Scurvy Goonda, Alfred A. Knopf, 2009, 324 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:037585598X, Gr. 5+, P 7, Q 8,
Having had an imaginary friend when I was little I found this book to be a delight. Young 14-year old Ted has had an imaginary friend, Scurvy Goonda, since he was seven years old. Scurvy however has never left Ted and he is now ruining Ted’s life. As others are unable to see or hear Scurvy, who happens to be a pirate, it seems that Ted is talking to himself. Not something that you want others to see especially now that Ted is in high school. The day that Scurvy walks out of Ted’s life he thinks everything will be better but it isn’t. When all over the word other children’s imaginary friends start to disappear it is up to Ted to find Scurvy and bring the world back in to order.
Fisher, Catherine, Incarceron, Dial Books, 2007, 2010, 442 pgs., $17.99, ISBN:0803733968, Gr. 8+, P 8, Q 9,
From the first page the author grabs your attention and the fast paced action carries you through the rest of the book. This science fiction / fantasy adventure is one that will appeal to older students. Plot twists and the discovery that there is more than one world all lead to a story that the reader can’t put down. Here in the bowels of a prison world the characters must find a way out to another world where safety awaits. Claudia, the warden’s daughter, helps Finn escape to her world. Finn does so only with a promise that he will return to help those he has left behind.
Owen, James, The Indigo King, Simon & Schuster Books for Young People, 2008, 272 pgs., $17.99, ISBN:1416951075, Gr. 6+, P 7, Q 8,
This third book in the series “Chronicles of Imaginarium Geographica” finds the characters John and Jack trying to find their friend Hugo who has fallen through a door which takes him back in time. The author has woven other stories, such as the tales of the King Arthur, in to this book as he has with the others that he has written. Again these characters must work together to save the world. If you like the other books in this series you will enjoy this one as well.
Springer, Nancy, The case of the cryptic crinoline, Philomel Books, 2009, 160 pgs., $14.99, ISBN:0399247815, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 8,
14 year-old Enola is at again, this time she is determined to find the kidnappers of her landlady and why Florence Nightingale is involved with mystery too. She has to do all this as she hides from her brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft. They are determined to find Enola and then put her in school for young ladies. Enola is just as determined to hide and to continue her career as a detective. If you like the other book in this series you will enjoy this one as well.
Vernon, Ursula, Dragonbreath: attack of the ninja frogs, Dial Books, 206 pgs., $12.99, ISBN:0803733658, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 8,
Danny Dragonbreath just cannot figure out why Wendell is so love sick over the new girl, Suki, an exchange student from Japan. She is going to ruin every thing if Wendell can’t get over being so stuck on her. So what else can Danny do but be her friend too. With this decision Danny starts another adventure that involves Ninja, Japanese folklore and an attempted kidnapping. Not only is this engaging tale of Danny and his friends it will bring laughter to any who read it.
Williams-Garcia, Rita, One crazy summer, Amistad, 2010, 218 pgs., $15.99, ISBN:0060760885, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 9,
This story is told by 11 year-old Delphine, who together with her sisters, Vonetta and Fern have to fly to Oakland, California to spend the summer, of 1968, with Cecile, who left them years ago. What transpires is a summer of adventure, reckoning, and understanding as the girls are subjected to a mother they don’t know or understand. It is a summer that they spend with the Black Panthers, who feed them breakfast and where they attend a summer camp and get a “radical” education. This book offers the reader a look at America’s past which for us was a chaotic and turbulent time.
Bildner, Phil, The hallelujah flight, ill. by John Holyfield, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2010, unp. $16.99, ISBN:0399247890, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 9,
When I first saw this book the song lyrics “Come fly, come fly with me” came to mind. James Banning and his copilot, Thomas Allen became the first African American men to fly from California to New York when they decided that they would fly across the United States . They did this in only 21 days and flew 3,330 miles. There were two things that stood in their way the prejudice of the time and the fact that they had no money as this was in the middle of the depression. They became known as the “Flying Hobos” as they flew across the United States. You could sign your name to the wing of the plane and become part of history. By soliciting for money they were able to buy gas. They also spent the night where they could and ate with the families who were willing to put them up. John Highfield’s colored illustrations bring this journey to life as we learn of this little known flight. This book is sure to appeal to those who stories of flying.
Bowen, Fred, No easy way: the story of Ted Williams and the last .400 season, ill by Charles Pyle, Dutton’s Children Press, 2010, unp., $16.99, ISBN:0525478779, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 8,
This picture book brings back a time that was slower paced and baseball was Americans favorite past time. The colored illustrations by Charles Pyle bring baseball and the past to life. The story of Ted Williams love of baseball from childhood to adulthood are featured in the pages of this book. Ted Williams was the last baseball player who ended his season with a .400 batting average. Those who love baseball will enjoy the story of this extraordinary man.
Buckley, Carol, Tarra & Bella: the elephant and dog who became friends, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2009, unp., $16.99, ISBN:0399254439, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 8,
Never have there been two such different friends as Tarra and Bella. Tarra, a retired circus elephant, now lives on an elephant reserve in Tennessee. She had a hard time making friends until Bella a stray dog appeared and made friends with Bella. The colored photographs show the truly amazing relationship between these unlikely friends. They also help to demonstrate the close bond the two shared when Bella became injured and Tarra would not leave till someone came and found the injured dog. This is book that will appeal to all who read it.
Firestone. Mary, Top 50 reasons to care about elephants : animals in peril, Enslow Publishers, 2010, 101 pgs., index, $31.93, ISBN: 0766034542 Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 8,
This is wonderful book packed full of information and photographs of elephants. The subject matter covered is elephant behavior, elephants in culture, threats to elephants, elephant conservation and getting to know elephants. The pictures that accompany the text are what I found so appealing
especially the elephants teeth. This unique at elephants will appeal to students who like books on animals.
Gardner, Robert, Whose fingerprints are these? crime solving science projects, Enslow Publishers, 2010, glossary, index, $23.93, ISBN:0766032450, Gr.5+, P 7, Q 7,
Many students have asked for books that would help them to discover how to finger print someone. This book discusses terminology such as hypothesis and scientific method, and what DNA is. It also talks about how finger, lip and teeth prints are all different and how they are able to gather this information from a crime scene. This how to do it yourself approach will appeal to readers who are interested in crime solving matters.
Moss, Marissa, Sky high: the true story of Maggie Gee, ill. by Carl Angel, Tricycle Press, 2009, $16.99, ISBN:1582462801, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 8,
Maggie Gee spent her time as little girls do playing with dolls. Her family liked to go to the airport and here she saw Amelia Earhart and here her dreams of flying were born. Everyone told her girls can’t fly but she proved them wrong when she joined the WASP and became a woman pilot. She was one of the first Chinese American women to not only fly but became a trainer for other pilots. The colored drawings depict Maggie’s life from a young girl to her career in aviation. Photographs of Maggie Gee are included at the end of the book. This is book that should be read aloud to students as proof that dreams can true and that women can do anything that they want to.
Mullin, Rita, Anne Frank : hidden hope, Sterling, 2009, 128 pgs., index, $12.95, ISBN:1402765398, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 8,
This biography of Anne Frank is written for a younger audience. In fact I found it to be a refreshing look at Anne Frank, as they discussed the people who hid her, her friends, and her life in hiding. There was discussion about those who had seen her in the concentration camp and her father’s life after the war ended. This is book that will appeal to all who read it.
Scholastic year in sports 2010, Scholastic, 2009, 191 pgs., $9.99 ISBN:0545160618, Gr. 5+, P 9, Q 8,
Students are clamoring for books like this all the time and boy were they excited about it when I shared the book with them. I heard “look at the pictures, they are so cool.” There are colored pictures of the athletics in action and the stats are bold and in large print. All sports are represented including Nascar. This is a book that already has a waiting list for student check out.
Silvey, Anita, I’ll pass for your comrade: women soldiers in the Civil War, Clarion Books, 2008, 115 pgs., index, ISBN:0618574913, Gr. 6+, P 7, Q 8,
There are several reasons why women were soldiers in during the Civil War and this book takes a more in depth look at those reasons. There are seven chapters: The first battle of Bull Run, reasons for becoming a soldier, enlisting in the military, a soldier’s life, hospitals and prisons and after the war deal with this topic. Presented in a clear format and with black and white pictures, of the era, students are able to see more clearly the horrors of this war. History buffs will enjoy reading this book.
April 2010 Reviews
Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers by N.W.
Flannery, Tim. We Are the Weather Makers: The History of Climate Change. Adapt. Sally M. Walker. Candlewick, 2010. $9.99. 978-0-7636-4656-1. 303 p. Ages 13-17:
In the recent tradition of adapting best-selling books for adults for younger readers, this adaptation of Flannery’s 2005 publication, The Weather Makers, shows how people have changed weather and what the outcomes for the planet is with these changes continuing. The writing and printing are dense, and the photos and cramped charts and maps are grainy and dim. The book is worthwhile for everyone, however, because of the “Call to Action” at the end of each chapter. Most of the suggestions are simple ones that anyone can carry out without a great deal of effort although young people may have to nag adults into doing them. Unfortunately the research and issues surrounding global warning have not been updated for this book, omitting the Copenhagen Climate Conference and not updating the research on endangered animals past 2005. P3Q7
Selzer, Adam. The Smart Aleck’s Guide to American History. Delacorte, 2009. $12.99. 978-0-385-73650-3. 321 p. Ages 13-17:
Jon Stewart, move over; there’s another crazy view of American history. Well, yes, this volume is smaller than Stewart’s tome and the pictures are all in black and white, sometimes almost impossible to see. But it still follows our historical events from “The Earliest American Settlers” to “And On into the Future.” In the 11 chapters, Selzer pokes fun at behavior, appearance, and other pieces of lesser-known history as he provides give profiles of historical figures, events, and concepts, along with photographs, sidebars, and end-of-chapter questions. Those who couldn’t get enough of the jokes can check out the companion web site with new assignments provided by readers. This isn’t a book that most people will read from beginning to end, but it does provide the opportunity to dip into different eras. And there’s even an index! P7Q8
Simon, Seymour. Global Warming. Collins, 2010. $17.99. 978-0-06-114250-5. 32 p. Ages 6-9: Following the format of Simon’s other science books, full-page beautiful photographs are accompanied by concerns about climate change. A description of he disappearance of glaciers, the greenhouse effect, changes in animals’ feeding patterns and behaviors, the rise of ocean temperatures is followed by an explanation of how people are trying to slow down global warming and how each person can help. Simon distills the complex issues into understandable concepts for the young reader. This book is only a beginning for young readers who are not familiar with the problems inherent in this situation. P5Q8
Baker, Keith. LMNO Peas. Beach Lane/Simon &; Schuster, 2010. $16.99. 978-1-4169-9141-0. unp. Ages 3-6:
Rhyming green peas lead little ones from astronaut to zoologist in this parade of workers, both paid and unpaid. The creatures of green circles occasionally wear such accessories different kinds of hats and carry appropriate objects; i.e., forks for “eaters” and flags for “flaggers.” They joyfully kayak down “K” and sunbathe at the foot of “S.” Digitally rendered illustrations are bold and luminous with large upper-case letters forming the background for text and active peas. This book is a handsome addition to a collection of alphabet books. P10Q10
Fleming, Candace. Seven Hungry Babies. Il. Eugene Yelchin. Atheneum, 2010. $16.99. 978-1-4169-5402-6. unp. Ages 3-6:
The count-down of a harried hen finding food for her chicks, one at a time, will be enjoyable for a large group who will enjoy chanting the refrain, “Feed us, feed us!” Bright humorous illustrations of the chicks in the nest waiting for their Mama Bird who perches on a limb before flying off to find food in a variety of locations show her decreasing energy and frustration, especially when they all start crying for food after the last one has been fed. The meter isn’t always on target, but the joyful rhymes are sure to entertain. P9Q8
Florian, Douglas. Poetrees. Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster, 2010. $16.99. 978-1-4169-8872-0. 45 p. Ages 8-11:
From “The Seed” to “Yew,” these brief 18 poems complement Florian’s characteristic abstracts to celebrate the wonders of trees. Facts are planted into the poems (for example, the giant sequois is the world’s tallest tree and the Banyan covers an acre with its canopy). As Florian says, “This book is ripe with poetrees/They’re grown to educate and please.” Punny wordplay ends with a glossatree that provides notes. Even without the text, the glorious visuals of watercolor, colored pencil, rubber stamps, oil pastels, and collage on brown paper bags make this book will worth a long look. P8Q10
Sharing the Seasons: A Book of Poems. Sel. Lee Bennett Hopkins. Il. David Diaz. McElderry, 2010. $21.99. 978-1-4169-021-2. 83 p. Ages 8-11:
Classic quotations and a poem by Hopkins introduce each of the four seasons; the 48 poems range from those by well-known poets such as Carl Sandburg to specially commissioned ones by contemporary children’s poets. What makes this collection special, however, are the richly colored stenciled illustrations and backgrounds that glow without overwhelming the poems. No poem is longer than two pages, and many are just one, making this a delight for a continuing read-aloud. P8Q9
Stutson, Caroline. Cats’ Night Out. Il. J. Klassen. Simon & Schuster, 2010. $15.99. 98-1-4169-4005-9. unp. Ages 3-6:
A counting book by twos from two to 20 uses pairs of cool cats dancing throughout the night in the city’s hot spots—alleys, fire escapes, rooftops, neon signs, clotheslines, etc. The jazzy feel is heightened by the cats’ costumes such as poodle skirts, capes, dotted Swiss, and flip-flops. The syncopated rhyme flows for a natural read-aloud, and the hidden numbers in the gray and brown urban landscapes make for close examination of the pages. Although small children will need words such as the types of dances (tango, fox trot, rumba, polka, etc.) started by a trumpet “riff” defined, this provides an opportunity to talk with them about another time and place. P7Q9.
Beck, Glenn. The Christmas Sweater. Il. Brandon Dorman. Adapt. Kevin Balfe and Jason Wright. Aladdin, 2009. $17.99. 978-4169-9543-2. unp. Ages 4-8:
Disappointed because he gets a hand-knitted sweater from his mother for Christmas instead of a bicycle, Eddie is taught a lesson by his grandfather, Santa Claus, that the sweater can make him feel “true warmth for the first time in his life.” Adapted from Beck’s novel of the same name, the narration and message are saccharine, and the illustrations are reminiscent of poorly-done Disney drawings. Parents and grandparents will buy this book. P5Q4
Gravett, Emily. Dogs. Simon & Schuster, 2010. $15.99. 978-1-4569-8703-1. unp. Ages 2-5:
With her usual minimal text, the author/illustrator follows the unseen narrator, describing the kinds of dogs liked in opposites—big and small, tough and soft, etc. Watercolor over pencil drawings illustrate the personalities of almost two-dozen breeds of dogs, some of them identified on the end papers. The final clever text, “any dog that won’t chase me,” is paired with a cat running away from a dog pack. Simple and sure to be asked for a repeat reading. P9Q9
Jeffers, Oliver. The Heart and the Bottle. Philomel, 2010. $17.99. 978-0-399-25452-9. unp. Ages 6-10:
The painful process of grieving is the focus of this book about a child who loses a man important to her, possibly her father or grandfather. Not wanting to feel this pain again, the girl protects her heart by putting it into a bottle, keeping her from feeling curious about the world around her. Then she has the dilemma of how to get the heart back out. The subtlety of the story’s execution, for example death being illustrated through an empty chair, makes it important to carefully examine the illustrations as does the clever way that Jeffers puts images of thoughts instead of words into balloons, balloons that disappear after her loss. Although the text is simple, the complexity of the illustrations and message makes this for slightly older readers. P7Q10
Newman, Jeff. The Boys. Simon & Schuster, 2010. $15.99. 978-1-4169-5012-7. unp. Ages 4-8:
An androgynous-appearing child wants to play baseball with “the boys” but is so shy that he ends up sitting on a bench with four oldsters who teach the child to play. Although the description for this wordless picture book identifies the child as a “boy,” the child could be either gender, allowing for different interpretations. Energetic cartoon gouache and ink renderings move the action along to the conclusion in which the child finds the confidence to ask to be included in the baseball game. Part of the humor in the book is the child’s deciding to be just like the men on the bench with gray-streaked hair and wildly-colored trousers. A good view of overcoming shyness to join in the fun. P7Q9
Williams, C.K. and Stephen Gammell. How the Nobble Was Finally Found. Harcourt, 2010. $18.00. 978-0-15-205460-1. unp. Ages 8-12:
After 4323 years, three months, and fourteen days of being alone, Nobble, “with huge eyes and dangly ears and long hair and two lovely wings and little claws on his fingers,” sets out into a fantastical world to find company. The tale is as magical as Gammell’s whimsical illustrations both in the scary city that he discovers on his journey. Listeners will delight in the lack of understanding he shows in using a telephone and knocking on a door. Fortunately, he gets help from a young girl to find another Nobble just like him. Playful language leads the reader into this story of how courage can help a Nobble—or person—discover a soulmate. P10Q10
Williams, Karen Lynn. A Beach Tail. Il. Floyd Cooper. Boyds Mills, $17.95. 978-1-59078-712-0. unp. 3-6:
A close relationship between father and son, not frequently seen in picture books, is the basis for this story of a child, Gregory, who promises not to leave his sand drawing, Sandy, but stretches the promise through the long tail that he draws as he walks a long way down the beach. While he wanders, he finds a jellyfish, a sandcastle, a ghost crab, and finally a jetty where Sandy’s tail disappears. Fortunately, he follows his way back to his father by identifying the landmarks. Muted, grainy illustrations suggest the beach sand, and the large illustrations of Gregory provide a feeling of closeness to the protagonist. The narrative is not outstanding, but the Floyd Cooper’s pastels make the book a striking read-aloud. P9Q8
Hale, Shannon and Dean. Calamity Jack. Il. Nathan Hale. Bloomsbury, 2010. $14.99. 97-1-59990-373-6. 144 p. Ages 10-15:
The character of Jack, who first appeared in Rapunzel’s Revenge, is fleshed out as this sequel beings with his birth in the city of Shyport and carries out his cons as he tries to make enough money for his mother to rebuild her bakery after it is destroyed. Accompanied by a hat-lover pixie, Pru, he uses magical beans to steal from a corrupt giant, obtaining only the golden goose. The adventure is fast and furious as Jack leaves, finds Rapunzel, and then returns only to discover that the town is in control of the giant. The expressive character sketches with rich colors follows a fairy-tale, superhero version of western life with Rapunzel playing a prime part of saving the city. A rip-snorting good read! P7Q8
Larson, Hope. Mercury. Atheneum, 2010. $19.99. 978-1-4169-3585-8. 234 p. Ages 14+:
Past Nova Scotia blends with present in two different coming-of-age stories, each with a very different ending, that show the perspectives of family and romance at each end of a 150-year span. Following a brief pictorial history beginning in 1400, the black-and-white graphic novel begins with Tara living with relatives after their farmhouse burned down and Tara’s mother moved away to support them. Meanwhile Josey, Tara’s ancestor, falls in love in 1859 with a gold dowser who ends up cheating the family when he convinces Josey’s father to open a mine. Tara needs gold to replace the farmhouse and discovers that she has a knack for dowsing. Details of Canadian life and history combine with the two stories. Larson won an Eisner Award in 2007 and is developing a niche of girl-centric graphic novels begun by Salamander Dream and Gray Horses. P7Q9
Diaz, Alexandra. Of All the Stupid Things. Egmont, 2009. $16.99. 978-1-60684-034-4. 258p. Ages 13-16:
Three very different friends come to an impasse when one tells another that her boyfriend has been having sex with a cheerleader—a male cheerleader—causing her to lose trust. Whitney Blaire (and use the full name, please) is an empty-headed wealthy girl whose parents are almost always gone from home. Pinkie is the OCD over-achiever, desperate to mother others because she saw her mother die 13 years earlier. And Tara, an aspiring marathon runner, creates a barrier when she falls in love with a beautiful gymnast and tells her friends that she is gay. The differences among the girls is somewhat contrived, but Tara’s coming out is convincing and the issues that they all face are real. Almost every reader will find someone to identify with in this mélange of characters. P7Q7
Mahy, Margaret. The Magician of Hoad. McElderry, 2009. $18.99. 978-1-4169-7807-7. p. Ages 13-16:
“A Hero, a Magician, a farm boy, a noble girl, and a Prince” are the center of this fantasy that begins with Heriot Tarbas, a young man known for fits and prophetic dreams, who becomes the Magician of Hoad despite the danger that surrounds him. Mahy follows him through 15 years of frustration as he is required by the king to read the minds of those surrounding the royal personage to determine any treachery. The real treachery, however, can be found in one of the king’s three sons and the “Hero” who co-rules with the king and wants more. But the plot is far more complex that this: Heriot finds himself increasingly drawn to Cayley, a gutter rat who he believes to be a young boy and who saves him from assassins. As Horn Book says, “[An] epic quest for identity . . . wrapped up in terror, romance, surprise, and suspense.” Award-winning author Margaret Mahy conjures a faraway, majestic land where truth is an illusion, freedom is a battle, and pure magic may be the only saving grace. P7Q10
Kadohata, Cynthia. A Million Shades of Gray. Atheneum, 2010. $16.99. 978-1-4169-1883-7. 216p. Ages 11-14:
The desperation of living unprotected in a jungle during a time of war is shown with great dispassion and yet sympathy in this novel about 13-year-old Y’Tin who just wants to be an elephant handler in 1975 Vietnam. But the Americans have left and don’t return although they promised they would. The Vietcong takes over the tiny village and massacres everyone who has not escaped. Although Y’Tin manages to run away with his elephant and two other boys, he finds the truth of what his father tells him: the jungle changes a man. And he doesn’t mean for the better. The teenage boys, once close friends, argue to the point that their relationship cannot be resurrected even when they join their families. Newbery medalist Kadohata shows the soul of a boy who wants only to live a simple life but must kill in order to save his life. Her description of the discrimination against the Dega people of the Central Highlands also shows the factions within an ethnic group. This is a fascinating look at another part of the world demonstrates how similar people are. P8Q8
Meyer, L. A. Rapture of the Deep: A Bloody Jack Adventure. Harcourt, 2010. $17.00. 987-0-15-206501-0. 454 p. Ages 13-15:
Will Jacky Faber marry her beloved Jaimy Fletcher? Events lead the high-spirited hero from her most important wish in 1806 when the British Royal Navy kidnaps her for more excitement, this time finding Spanish treasure on a sunken ship off the Florida Keys. As always the plot moves quickly through a variety of adventures, including cock fighting and skirmishing with pirates. The plot development is slight, but no one reads Bloody Jack books for that. More fun that some of the earlier six in this series. P8Q7
Book Review for By DB
Salisbury, Graham. Calvin Coconut – Dog Heaven. Wendy Lamb Books, 2010. $13.00, ISNB 9780385737036 150 pages, age 9-11. P7Q8
Calvin Coconut is a series; I started with the third book. This was an interesting story that I think young readers will be able to relate. Calvin’s mom is divorced with a new boyfriend, mom works many hours, and he has a foster sister.
Teachers will be able to read this book aloud and use it as an example of writing a persuasive paper and rewriting the paper until it is perfect. Calvin was able to persuade his mom into letting him have a dog.
French, Vivian. Caterpillar, Caterpillar. illustrated by Voake, Charlotte. Candlewick Press, 2010. $9.00, ISBN 9780763640026 20 pages, ages 5-8. P5Q7
The illustrations are beautiful. I learned that stinging nettles are a good thing; they grow butterflies. The story starts at the beginning when a caterpillar makes a cocoon and the stages that happen until it turns into a butterfly. A nice story about a grandfather teaching his young granddaughter about butterflies.
Willems, Mo. Cat The Cat, Who Is That. HarperCollins, 2010. $11.00 22 pages, ISBN 9780061728402 ages 5-6 beginning readers. P4Q8
—. Let’s Say Hi To Friends Who Fly HarperCollins, 2010. $11.00 22 pages, ISBN 978006178426 22 pages, ages 5-6 beginning readers. P4Q8
The illustrations are simple with bright colors. A beginning reader would be able to check these books out and be able to read it with some help from parents. [Editor’s note: Two very easy readers from Caldecott Medalist, Mo Willems, introduce young children to Cat the Cat and her world.]
Janni, Rebecca. Every Cowgirl Needs A Horse, illustrated by Lynne Avril. Dutton Children’s Books, 2010. $17.00 26 pages. ISBN 9780525421641 ages 5-10 P7Q6
At first glance, the book is a very pink girly book. This will grab young girl’s attention and they will want to check it out of the library. They will enjoy reading it because of the subject, wanting a horse for your birthday. The illustrations captured my attention and helped me to see how Nellie Sue saw her world.
Schories, Pat. When Jack Goes Out. Boyds Mills Press, 2010. $14.00 24 pages. ISBN 9781590786529 ages 5-9 P7Q8
This picture book’s cover caught my attention–what will happen to Jack? I can see teachers using this book as a writing prompt for students. This book would have been fun to have when my children where young, we could have made up many stories.
Boyle, Bob. Hugo and the really, really, really, long string. Random House, 2010. $16.0022 pages. ISBN 9780375834233 ages 5-8 P5Q5
The cover made me curious; the illustrations reminded me of a video game. If the story was read aloud, it might embarrass students. Hugo is hoping for treasure but the red string is from an old pair of his underwear.
Brown, Alan James. Love-A-Duck. Illustrated by Francesca Chessa. Holiday House, 2010. $17.00 22 pages. ISBN 9780823422630 ages 5-6 P5Q5
The book has bright colors and good size illustrations. It would keep young children’s attention wondering where the duck would land next. [Editor’s note: One day, Jane’s rubber duck loses its squeak and falls out of a window, leading to adventures in the park. Will Love-a-Duck make it back home to Jane–and will it ever squeak again?]
Voake, Steve. Insect Detective. Candlewick Press, 2010. $17.00 24 pages. ISBN 9780763644475 ages 5-9 P6Q6
The illustrations are beautiful. The book has many facts about a variety of insects. Teachers can use this book when they are teaching an insect unit. This book could be difficult to read aloud in a large group because of the soft colors.
First Thursdays Book Review Group L.R. for Siletz Library
Blackaby, Susan. Cleopatra: Egypt’s Last and Greatest Queen. Sterling Publishing, 2009, 124 pgs. Ages 12-Adult. ISBN 9781402765407 $12.95 P8Q9
This hardcover, stitched binding biography of Cleopatra is a great value. The colorful cover and numerous color and black and white illustrations inside are fascinating. The only problem is that the slightly less than 8” by 6” book necessitates very small illustrations of the maps, artwork and photos that are included, forcing the reader to nearly plant the nose on the page to examine them. But the small size is nice for holding in one hand and comfortable reading. The story of Cleopatra and her many conquests is spellbinding, and backed up with a bibliography and source notes. It is also interesting that, at the end of the book, it explains that there is no historical record of Cleopatra’s reign and all information is gleaned through references of her in other documents, artifacts and historical writings and paintings. It is explained that many of these historians had their biases against her and that needs to be taken in consideration in making any judgments about her character or reign. It is also interesting to note that her tomb has never been found, and the district of Alexandria where she lived is now under the Mediterranean Sea.
Wolf-Morgenlander, Karl. Ragtag. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. 225 pgs. Ages 8-13. ISBN 9780547074245 $16.00 P5 Q5
The author had an interesting idea for a plot after witnessing a falcon attack some pigeons in Boston. Unfortunately, he got a little carried away with imbuing his bird characters with human characteristics. It is understandable that the author would have to have the birds of many species be able to communicate in their war of the city birds vs. the country birds, but it is annoying when they lay down on beds of moss to rest and when they claim to have been “born” in a Boston church. A crow who betrays the city birds later changes sides and dies defending his former enemies. All of these things could have been left out or portrayed more realistically and there still would have been a story. The ending is also very predictable. Surely some sort of surprise could have been inserted to make it a better story.
Egan, Tim. Dodsworth in London. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. unpgd. Ages 7-10. ISBN9780547138169 $15.00 P8 Q7
Dodsworth is some sort of anteater-y sort of animal who travels with his mischievious white pet duck, who is only referred to as “the duck.” Traveling this time in foggy London, the duck gets separated from Dodsworth, who mistakes another white duck for his pet. This white duck happens to be “The Royal Duck,” and has a hard time convincing Dodsworth that he truly is British. It is a silly story, but the illustrations are engaging and a child who has been exposed to pictures or movies of London will recognize lots of places and names, even if they are hard to pronounce! Children just getting into chapter books should enjoy this one.
Yee, Wong Herbert. Mouse and Mole: Fine Feathered Friends. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. unpdg. Ages 7-10. ISBN 9780547152226 $15.00 P8 Q7
Mouse and Mole are another odd couple who like to go bird watching. Not having much success, they glue paper feathers to their clothes and sit disguised in a “nest” in a tree. From that vantage point, they see and hear lots of birds. There are lots of sound effects in this book, and the bird calls are particularly charming. The two friends draw pictures and write poems about the birds they spy. This book might inspire similar activities or at least inspire readers to stop and listen to bird songs. Again, a silly story, but entertaining.
Smith, Jeff. Little Mouse Gets Ready. RAW Junior, 2009. 31 pgs. Ages 4-7. ISBN9781935179016 $12.95 P9 Q8
This is an interesting format for beginning readers: a hardcover comic book that they can read to themselves. It is the story of a little mouse who is called to go to the barn with his brothers and sisters, and so he gets dressed. Many pages are spent with his efforts at dressing, and kids will giggle at the mouse underpants. When he is finally done, his mother looks at him and asks him why he is wearing clothes, when mice don’t wear clothes! Not a great plot, but kids will relate to the efforts of dressing. Some of the words, such as “underpants” and “snapping” might be a little hard for first time readers, but most of the text is repetitive and the pictures certainly cue the reader. Beginning readers will enjoy the transition from reading “baby” books to having their own comic to read.
Book Reviews by A.G.
Patterson, Valerie O. The Other Side of Blue. Clarion Books (Houghton Mifflin), 2009. $16.00 223 pp. ages 11 up ISBN 978-0-547-24436-5 P 7/ Q 7
Cyan is a young girl missing her father who died mysteriously the previous summer while out in his boat. Cyan’s mother is an artist who is emotionally disconnected from her daughter. The family is once again summering in Curacao in the Caribbean, so the story has a tropical flavor. It’s an emotional, dealing-with-grief and coming-of-age story as Cyan tries to establish her own identity and interests as she observes her mother’s mentorship of a new step-sister. The mystery of her father’s death is not wholly resolved, but by the end of the book Cyan has made a little headway in discovering herself. Not for the high action adventure reader, this book is more subtle, dealing primarily with social relationships.
Dowd, Siobhan. Solace of the Road. David Fickling Books (Random House), 2009. First published in Great Britain. $17.99 261 pp. ages 13 up ISBN 978-0-375-84971-8 P7/Q8
Holly Hogan’s struggle to put her family past in perspective consumes her 14-year-old life. Having lived in foster homes and shelters since she was 5, she’s never known a stable family, though she’s made friends. One social worker in particular affected her, and she keeps thinking of their conversations as she tries to fit into a new foster family. Freaking out at one point, she takes off and hits the road to try to find her mother in Ireland, and adopts an alter-ego as she dons a borrowed wig, with a notable name: Solace. Any teen thinking about running away may think twice after reading about Holly’s difficulties.
The story uses a fair amount of English slang, but not so much as to make it impossible for an American teen to understand. Its writing is so compelling that I couldn’t put it down despite it being the only warm sunny day here in months. Sad to see that it’s the author’s last book; she died from cancer 3 years ago. Also written by Dowd was “A Swift Pure Cry”.
Carmichael, Clay. Wild Things. Front Street (Boyds Mills Press), 2009. $18.95 249 pp. ages 11 up ISBN 978-1-59078-627-7 P7/Q8
Zoe, age 11, has had an unpredictable life, never knowing her father and living hard with her mother who has just died. Zoe goes to live with her uncle, and slowly discovers that he’s much more than just a crotchety, grieving sculptor who lives in the country. There’s a cat that’s hanging around, and Zoe’s efforts to befriend it parallel her efforts to befriend the other people around her. There’s a mysterious stranger, a white deer, a bully, and finally a resolution on many points. The story is as much an adventure and mystery as it is a development of character. Black and white drawings of the cat, illustrations by the author, show up every so often, inspired by a Japanese story of a boy who loved to draw cats (referred to in the story).
Enslow, Anne & Enslow, Ridley, with Jacqueline Schwab on piano. Music for Abraham Lincoln: Campaign Songs, Civil War Tunes, Laments for a President. (CD) Enslow Pub., Inc. 2009. about an hour length. ages 8-up ISBN 978-0-7660-3635-2 P7/Q8
Teaching the Civil War can be a dry topic without a variety of media; this CD offers up some historically accurate tunes that could save the day. Also appropriate for Lincoln’s birthday celebrations (does anyone remember any more what President’s Day holiday is about?), these songs could inspire a sing-along or just background music. They’ve been carefully chosen to represent songs written for or about Lincoln, with the parlor instruments and sound of the time. A male and female voice is accompanied by hammer dulcimer and piano. An accompanying booklet gives the history of each tune as it relates to Lincoln and his times, as well as the lyrics. A teacher’s guide for it is also available online.
Wooding, Chris. Malice. Scholastic Press, 2009. $14.99 379 pp. ages 8 up ISBN 978-0-545-16043-8 P8/Q6
The most striking thing about this book is its bas-relief cover and heft. If you ever need to use a book as a weapon, this would be the one to choose. Funny thought, because that’s the kind of thing this story calls up. Part novel, part comic, the story follows some kids who magically (and much to their regret) enter into a comic book’s evil story, disappearing from the real world and having to fight for their lives in the comic’s. It has a good combination of prose and graphics, enough prose to explain the obscure storyline the comics depict, and enough graphics to relieve the prose. Annoyingly, like a comic, the story is not actually concluded at the end, and the reader is forced to buy the next in the series to see if the heroes will be saved in time. Still, I’m likely to want to do that, because the story has made me care about the characters. This book is one that may inspire comic-book devotees to branch out into prose fiction, and I’d recommend it to a reluctant-reader middle school boy, though a girl will also find characters with whom to identify.
C.S. – Siletz Public Library
Skeers, Linda. Tutus Aren’t My Style. Anne Wilsdorf, ill. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2010. ISBN 9780803732124. $16.99. Unpaged. Ages 4-8. P8Q9.
My story time group loved this book! It’s a cute story about an adventurous girl who receives a gift of a tutu from her uncle, when she really wanted a pirate hat or a lizard. Emma spends some time trying hard to make herself into a ballerina and finally finds a unique way to do that. In the end, we find out that Emma’s uncle thought he had sent her a safari outfit. The very cute illustrations had several of my girls doing pirouettes in the kids’ room of the library. This book will appeal to little girls who have wider interests than traditional “girly” topics.
Dewdney, Anna. Roly Poly Pangolin. Viking, 2010. ISBN 9780670011605. $16.99. Unpaged. Ages 4-8. P8Q8.
This book is so cute! We follow a timid baby pangolin through a scary adventure. The text is rhymed and the illustrations are very sweet. The last page has information about pangolins and a website for more information. Several parents have picked this book up and read it to their small children- the cover attracted them and the kids enjoyed the story very much.
Trivas, Tracy. The Wish Stealers. Aladdin, 2010. ISBN 1416987253. $21.99. 283 pgs. Ages 9-12. P7Q7.
I enjoyed this novel about a 6th grade girl, Griffin, who receives the gift of some lucky pennies. These pennies aren’t so lucky for her- it turns out that they are the stolen wishes of others, and that she has become a wish stealer by accepting the gift: a wish stealer is someone who makes fun of other people’s dreams and whose own selfish and unpleasant wishes come true. Griffin is an engaging character. She is curious, artistic, musical, and a hard working student. She cares deeply about her family and they love her back. She has trouble with some stereotypically mean girls at school, but she makes improvements in the way she responds to them- not lowering herself to their level (this is important because as a wish stealer, her bad wishes come true). The writing is simple and clean, and I think kids who struggle a bit with reading might find this book worth working at.
Ebbitt, Carolyn Q. The Extraordinary Princess. Bloomsbury, 2009. $16.99. 324 pgs. Ages 9-12. P8Q7.
This is an adventure tale about Amelia, the youngest of four princesses who feels too ordinary to compete with her beautiful, talented older sisters. A series of disasters strike the kingdom and Amelia is called upon to save her family and her people. The book is fun, though the characters are a bit flat. There is a lot of good vs. evil tension, and the reader knows very clearly who to back. I think lower level readers might have trouble with some of the vocabulary, but kids who read a bit above grade level might enjoy this novel. The one thing that turned me off about the book was the cover– the illustration is too childish for the writing style.
Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers by M.D.
Choldenko, Gennifer. Al Capone Shines My Shoes. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2009. $ 17.99. Ages middle school. 274 pgs. 978-0-8037-3460-9 p 8/ q 8
This book is a sequel to “Al Capone Does My Shirts” and I believe most young boys will enjoy reading about the famous Alcatraz and Al Capone. I have visited this historic prison so it made it more vivid in my mind when I was reading about the happenings of the young people who lived on the island while the prison was operating. The story is fictional but seems very realistic and is set in 1935 but I believe it will appeal to readers of today. The book has a table of contents and a photograph/map of the island and where things are located in the book. It is a mystery and adventure story at the same time. The book ends with a section of notes so one can see where the author got her facts for a real life edge to the story.
King, Billie Jean with Christine Brennan, preface by Holly Hunter. Pressure is a Privilege: Lessons I’ve Learned from Life and the Battle of the Sexes. LifeTime Media, 2008. $19.95. ages middle and high school. 192 pages. 978-0-9816368-0-1 p 7/q7
This book has a contents section, black and white photos, and text blocks with important thoughts and information. I think this would make a great book for a student to write a report from because it has lots of history and detail without being boring or hard to read. I enjoyed learning more about the famous battle of the sex’s tennis match and the changes it helped to initiate for female athletes. As time passes younger students have no idea who some of the great heroes of change have been. This book really will help a student athlete know how to play to their best and make concrete improvements in their game. The book has such chapters as “Bring all of Yourself” and at the end of each chapter there is a helpful instant replay section.
Almond, David. Raven Summer. Delacorte Press, 2008. $16.99 ages middle and high school. 198 pgs. 978-0-385-73806-4 p 8/q8
This is a very compelling story and a very quick read about war, family problems, and friends who grow apart. Liam a fourteen-year-old boy is led by a raven to an abandoned baby. He also meets two foster children who have experienced terrible violence of the wars in Liberia. Oliver has done terrible things and he and his sister are trying to learn how to be normal. The story takes place in England where the author is from so it has interesting landscapes and visuals. I think students will enjoy reading this story because it has mystery and also talks about things they may be learning about in school classes. It brings the world into view for students who have never traveled or met people from other nations.
Kline, Lisa Williams. Write Before Your Eyes. Delacorte Press, 2008. $15.99 ages middle school. 178 pgs. 978-0-385-73568-1 p 7/q 7
Gracie, a twelve-year-old girl, finds a magical journal at a yard sale and everything she writes in the book happens. She has lots of power and what will she do with it. The journal falls into the wrong hands and she and her friends fight to get it back. She wants to do good things with it like solve global warming but she is too busy trying to get the book back. She falls for Dylan and things get really crazy. Most young girls will enjoy this book because who hasn’t dreamed of being able to make things happen by just writing them down. This is a fun mystery fantasy book.
Harvey, Sarah N. The Lit Report. Orca Book Publishers, 2008. $12.95 . ages high school. 197 pages. 978-1-55143-905-1 p 8/q 8
It will take all of Julia’s wit and compassion to help her best friend Ruth through her unexpected pregnancy. Julia has a very restrictive life and makes it a challenge to help her friend get through this ordeal. This is a very funny and real to life book that any teenage girl will enjoy reading. It is a very quick read and compelling. Each chapter starts with a quote from different movies or famous authors. The quote has a tie-in to the chapter. I think this book will help teens realize and think about hard it is to be a teen mother.
Peet, Mal. Exposure. Candlewick Press, 2009. $18.99. ages high school. 430 pages. 978-0-7636-3941-9 p 8/q 8
This fictional story reminds me of the great soccer star Beckham and his wife Victoria. This is a novel loosely based on Shakespeare’s play, Othello. So students who are studying this in English may enjoy reading this story to gain a better understanding of Shakespeare. I like when stories help students relate to things they have to study in school and give it a real life perspective. Paul, one of South America’s best soccer journalists, reports on Otello and his wife Desmerelda and their crazy life. This book has a sad ending as they break up but it is very intriguing and compelling. This story is about murder, fame and marriages gone badly. I think that students will enjoy reading this compelling story.
Book Review by C.B. NIS/INMS
Calkhoven, Laurie, Boys of wartime: Daniel at the siege of Boston 1776, Dutton Children’s Books, 2010, 195 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:0525421440, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 8,
This historical novel is set in 1776 Boston where 12 year-old Daniel and his family gather information for General Washington. The British officers are living is Daniel’s family tavern making it the ideal place to gather information. Daniel is able to hear the conversations or explore the rooms of the British officer’s to gain the information that he is able to get to the Continental Army. When Daniel father joins the army and the Boston is under siege it is up to Daniel to cross the river and to get the information to General Washington.
Pinfold, Levi, The Django, Templar Books, 2010, unp., $16.99, ISBN:0763647888, Gr. 3+, P 7, Q 8,
Jean Reinhardt was a famous jazz musician and this book is fictionalized story of his life and his Django, a mischief making character. Django makes his life miserable as he keeps doing things that that Jean has to take the blame for. Djanago is invisible and can be seen only by Jean. When Jean wishes Django gone and after he disappears Jean misses him. By picking up his banjo and starts to play he discovers that Django is back. At the end of the story there is factual information include on Jean “Django” Reinhardt. The colored illustrations depict the life of a Romany family as they travel together.
Lloyd, Alison, Year of the tiger, Holiday House, 2008, 2010, 194 pgs., $16.95, ISBN:0823422771, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 8,
Set in China during the Han Empire two boys, Hu and Ren, both 12 years-old and from totally different backgrounds become friends. Hu comes from a peasant family who make noodles for a living. Ren is the son of the commander of the emperor’s forces defending China’s Great Wall from the evading barbarians. These two friends, who were born in the year of the tiger, must work together to save the empire from the barbarians who are planning on attacking China. This is adventure story that is sure to appeal to those who like historical fiction.
Malone, Marianne, The sixty-eight rooms, Random House, 2010, 274 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:0375857109, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 9,
Ruthie and her best friend Jack are both in the 6th grade the year that their class goes on a field trip to Chicago Art Institute, and they discover the Thorne Rooms. This is a display of 68 rooms of unbelievable miniatures that represent different time periods. When Jack and Ruthie find a magical key that shrinks Ruthie and allows her access to these extremely detailed rooms the adventure starts. Jack who is also able to shrink if he holds on to Ruthie is soon in the adventure too as they go from room to room to discover a hidden treasure that has more meaning to a friend than to them. A crazy adventure that will delight younger readers.
Marchetta, Melina, Finnikin of the rock, Candlewick Press, 2008, 2010, 399 pgs., $18.99, ISBN:0763643610, Gr. 8+, P 9, Q 10,
I loved this fantasy adventure from the start to the end. The plot has twists and discoveries that keeps your attention and so absorb that when you finish with the story you want it to go on. When the royal family is murdered in the kingdom of Lumatere, only some of the people are able to escape the kingdom before a evil spell is cast sealing it off from the rest of the world. Ten years later 19 year-old Finnikin has wander the kingdoms and lands looking for survivors and writing name of dead down in a book. He is the son of the former royal guard, who has been imprisoned for the last ten years and his where has been kept a guarded secret. In order to return to their kingdom Finnikin with the help of Sir Topher, a former advisor to the king, and a young novice they must find the royal guard, bring all the survivors together and break the magical spell. All of these tasks spell out a great adventure that older readers will enjoy.
Martino, Alfred, Over the end line, Harcourt, 2009, 304 pgs., $17.00, ISBN:0152061215, Gr. 9+, P 8, Q 8,
Jonny Fehey is in his senior year of high school and is friends with Kyle Saint-Claire, one of the most popular boys in the school. Jonny plays on the soccer team but only as a substitute, in the last game of the year he makes the winning goal and becomes a instant hero. Before this Jonny had been bullied and had few friends. Invited to a party, where all the popular kids go after a game, Jonny witness an attempted rape. This event is the catalyst to whole story and from this point the story has plot twist and a surprising ending that will make the reader gasp in surprise.
McCaughrean, Geraldine, The death-defying Pepper Roux, Harper, 2009, 328 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:0061836656, Gr. 6+, P 8, Q 9,
When Paul Roux is born his very devout Catholic aunt predicts that he will die by his 14th birthday. Set in France Paul who becomes known as Pepper runs away on his 14th birthday and has a series of remarkable misadventures. He becomes the captain of a ship, by assuming his father’s identity, slices meat in a deli, where he also plays Cupid, becomes a journalist, who makes up stories, and finally joins the French Foreign Legion. No matter what he takes on it ends with Pepper just ahead of the people who searching for him and the death that he thinks is going to happen at any time. This wacky adventure will appeal to those who love adventure stories.
Rinaldi, Ann, Leigh Ann’s Civil War, Harcourt, 2009, 308 pgs., $17.00. ISBN:015206513X. Gr. 8+, P 8, Q 8,
Leigh Ann is 11 years-old the year and living in Roswell, Georgia the Civil War breaks out. Her family owns a plantation and also a local cotton mill which produces cloth for to be used in the Confederate armies uniforms. This is a fast paced historical novel which is based on actual events that took place in the Civil War. Sherman’s march to the sea effected this tiny community as they actually did burn the local cotton mill and all the workers and the owners family were transported to other cities to be used as workers in factories and mills. Leigh Ann’s family is fictionalized and helps to tell the story of the events of this time. The ending of the book is very abrupt and ends with the family making a decision to move or stay after the war. Rinaldi does mention this too in the author notes at the end of the book.
Skelton, Matthew, The story of Cirrus Flux, Delacorte Press, 2009, 288 pgs., $17.99, ISBN:038573381X, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 8,
In this science fiction novel 12 year-old Cirrus Flux is the oldest orphan living in the foundling home in 18th century London. This alternative world finds Cirrus taking an ride in a hot air balloon with Mr. Hardy, a man who served on board a ship with his father. Cirrus father left him at the orphanage so that he could go to the Arctic to find the “Breath of God.” Now years later everyone knows who Cirrus is and they think he has the “Breath of God and they are all determined to have it. This science fiction adventure is sure to appeal to both middle and high school age students.
Stadler, Alexander, Julian Rodriguez episode two: invasion of the relatives, Scholastic Press, 2009, 132 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:0439919673, Gr.3+, P 7, Q 7,
Is the main character of this book of alien or a child with a really vivid imagination? Julian thinks he is he having a conversation with “the mother ship” every time he is asked to do something or asked a question. I found the story to be confusing but maybe a young student will make more sense of it than I was able to.
Bill, Tannis, Pika: life in the rocks, photographs by Jim Jacobson, Boyds Mills Press, 2010, 32 pgs., $18.95, ISBN:1590788036, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 8,
The pika is a animal that looks like a mouse, with round ears, whiskers and bright little eyes, which is related however to the rabbit. The photographs by Jim Jacobson display this little hoarder building a hay pile, which he lives on in the winter, and escaping from his predators. At the end of the book facts are given on the Pika, and his predators. This book is sure to delight younger readers.
Bourke, Anthony, & Rendall, John, Christian the lion, Delcorte Press, 2009, 120 pgs., $14.99, ISBN:0385738560, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 8,
When I first started to read this book it reminded me of the movie “Born Free.” Christian is young lion that was born in captivity in zoo in England. He was purchased from the zoo and put up for sale in the department store, Harrods in London. The two authors saw Christian and bought him. For a year he lived with them in the basement of their antique shop. It became apparent to the authors that Christian was not happy and with the help of the owners of Elsa, the lion in “Born Free,” they relocate Christian to reserve in Kenya, Africa. Christian lives on this game reserve with other lions and the authors visit him in his new home.
Brimner, Larry, Birmingham Sunday, Calkins Creek, 2010, 48 pgs., $17.95, ISBN:1590786130, Gr.4+, P 7, Q 9,
In 1963 four African American girls were killed when the Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed. Using black and white photographs, a double page spread, from time. The racial bigotry of the Police Commissioner Connors is revealed along with the KKK presences during this time. From the sit-ins, to Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and the struggle to overcome segregation and the fight for civil rights are all included in this detailed text. This is a book that must be in all public and school libraries.
Butterworth, Chris, Sea horse: the shyest fish in the sea, illustrated by John Lawrence, Candlewick Press, 2006, $8.99, ISBN,0763646504, Gr. 3+, P 7, Q 8,
The mystery of the sea horse is revealed with beautiful colored illustrations that showcase this shy and unusual fish. Though there are many different sea horses, the author has chosen to concentrate on the Barbour species. Facts about the sea horse habitat, diet, and predators are all discussed. My favorite is that the male carries the young till their birth. A CD is included that students can listen to as they read along with the text. This book would be great to use in oceanography unit.
Croswell, Ken, The lives of stars, Boyds Mills Press, 2009, 72 pgs., glossary, index, $19.95, ISBN:1590785827, Gr. 6+, P 7, Q8
Featuring digital pictures, using glossy pages, stars, galaxies, red giants, dwarf stars, to nebulae and more are presented in this book. Just to see the heavens displayed using full colored pages is awe inspiring. The book is supported with a detailed text that is easy to understand and follow. This book will be a sure winner with middle and high school age students who like to learn about the stars.
Harris, Caroline, Science kids: Weather, Kingfisher, 2006, 48 pgs., $6,99, ISBN:0753463156, Gr. 3+, P 7, Q 8,
How weather evolves is highlighted in this book with a clear text and pictures that will appeal to younger students. Three activities are included at the end of the book that students can do themselves.
Llewellyn, Claire, Ask Dr. K. Fisher about planet Earth, illustrated by Kate Sheppard, Kingfisher, 2009, 32 pgs., $10.99, ISBN:0753463040, Gr. 1-4th, P 8, Q 8,
Dr. K. Fisher is here to answer questions about the Earth. The little blue bird with a yellow breast and orange spots receives the questions in postcards, emails, and even letters. The questions come from animals, penguin, an aardvark, ostrich and many others who are illustrated by Kate Sheppard. These
animals come in a variety of formats from photographs, line drawings and mixed media that show the animals in their environments or with off spring. The information given is clear and precise but does not offer an in depth look at the subjects, but is rather a place where they can start looking for information. This book will appeal to a younger audience and to teachers who are planning a science unit on the Earth.
Stamaty, Mark, Shake, rattle & turn that noise down! How Elvis shook up music, me and mom, Alfred A. Knopf, 2010, unp., $17.99, ISBN:0375846859, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 8,
As a young woman I had the opportunity to see Elvis perform in concert in Eugene, Oregon. This was a time later in Elvis’s life and he was not in the greatest of shape, but boy could he deliver a song. I sat in this dark concert hall and could finally see what all the excitement was about this performer. This book showcases the author at a young age who was exposed to Elvis music and how he came to emulate the performer that turned him on to rock and roll. My favorite part of this book is the mom yelling at her young son to not listen to the rock and roll music that was sure to bring down the young of this country. The colored illustrations show not only Elvis dancing and singing but also the author as well.
Tavares, Matt, Henry Aaron’s dream, Candlewick Press, 2010, unp., $16.99, ISBN:0763632244, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 8,
Hank Aaron as a young boy dreamed of playing major league baseball in America. Hanks own father warned not to dream because this was a time in America where would be allowed to play only “colored” team. He grew up in south, Mobile, Alabama where after high school he joined with the “Indianapolis Clowns, to play baseball. On this team he faced racism and hardships by jeering white fans. Hank Aaron did finally sign with the Milwaukee Braves, in 1954 played for the major leagues. It was not an easy thing as segregation and racism followed in his career. This book with it’s poignant pictures are inspiring as we watch this skinny little boy become one of greatest baseball players of his time. This is a biography that will appeal to all ages.
Yolen, Jane, All star! Honus Wagner and the most famous baseball card ever, illustrated by Jim Burke, Philomel Books, 2010. unp., $17.99, ISBN:0399246614, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 8,
Honus Wagner is a baseball player that I had never heard of. Honus was born in 1874 in Chartiers, Pennsylvania to Kathryn and Peter Wagner who were immigrants from Germany. He went to school till the 8th grade and then worked in the coal mines six days a week. It was on Sunday that he played baseball and soon followed his older brother Al for a career in Baseball. Here he soon was earning a $125.00 a month for playing in a game that he loved. His baseball card sold for almost three million dollars at an auction.This funny little bow legged man was one of the first five men to in inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936. The full page colored illustrations help to tell the story of this little known baseball player.
May 2010 Reviews
First Thursdays Book Review Group
L.R. for Siletz Library
Sorrells, Walter. White-Out: A Mystery. Dutton Children’s Books, 2009, 312 pgs. Ages 13-17. ISBN 9780525421412 $15.99 P9 Q8
The intriguing cover depicting a lone figure walking off in deep snow with a foreground of barbed wire and drops of blood actually accurately depicts what goes on in the book! It is a thriller, with the main character, a very likeable teen girl getting herself in a wild line-up of escapes from death or serious injury all in the matter of about 12 hours. She gets lost in a never-ending blizzard several times, escapes two building fires, manages to get away from a real ravenous wolf and get away from a man determined to shoot her. But even with this over-the-top action, there is some time for character development, mostly in the people of the small rural town on Minnesota in which this young adventurer has landed. The description of the white-out that opens the book opens the reader’s imagination to the cold, quiet disorienting place that reinforces the character’s panic. Both male and female teens should enjoy this book and although it is book three of a series, it is not necessary to have read the first two—but they probably will want to!
Pearson, Ridley. Steel Trapp: The Academy. Hyperion Books, 2010. 408 pgs. Ages 13-16. ISBN 9781423115328 $15.99 P8 Q8
A fourteen year-old boy with a photographic memory is placed in an exclusive boarding school, along with a friend he met at a science fair. She also has special skills in learning languages and imitations. They are recruited to be “kid spies,” presumably by the government, and by Halloween of their freshman year, are on their first assignment. Other characters are woven in and out of the plot, and it is not clear to the reader who are the good guys and who are the bad guys in the story. Lots of exciting escapades take place, with secret tunnels, midnight rendevous, technical surveillance and a few stolen kisses. This is definitely a thriller and will keep boys and girls interested in the plot, but younger readers may not quite grasp the spying aspect. The book says it is for readers 10 and up, but that seems a little young to understand the story.
Adler, David A. Cam Jensen and the Basketball Mystery. Il. Joy Allen. Viking, 2009, 57 pgs. Ages 6-8. ISBN 9780670011988 $14.99 P8 Q8
Cam Jensen, a young girl with a photographic memory, solves another mystery when a valuable signed basketball goes missing. This series of easy chapter books is a nice transition from beginning books with short chapters about 6 pages long and lots of pencil illustrated pictures. It should appeal to both boys and girls and although there is a villain in the story, there is no violence.
Fusilli, Jim. Marley Z and the Bloodstained Violin. Dutton Children’s Books, 2008, 164 pgs. Ages 12-14. ISBN 9780525479079 $16.99 P8Q8
Marley Zimmerman is the next step up into children’s detective literature from the previous book. She is a cool 14 year-old living in New York City who is not shy about taking over a case that the NYPD doesn’t seem to make any headway on. Young teens will enjoy reading about this smart, confident girl who is close to her parents but seems to have a lot of freedom. She has a host of multi-ethnic friends and sticks up for them. This story, also, has suspense, but no violence.
McGhee, Alison. Julia Gillian and the Quest for Joy. Il. Drazen Kozjan. Scholastic Press, 2009, 313 pgs. Ages 7-11. ISBN 9780545033503 $16.99 P7Q7
Even though this book has 313 pages, it is definitely for the younger reader. The cover gives a true picture of the book, with two carefree elementary school kids and a dog taking a romp in a park. The two main characters have been hiding their problems from each other and their problems grow in their minds, until they finally talk to each other. Nothing really exciting happens in the book, but it does teach kids to talk out the things that are bothering them and not try to handle everything themselves.
Pryor, Bonnie. Pirate Hannah Pritchard: Captured! Enslow Publishers, 2010, 160 pgs. Ages 10-15. ISBN 9780766033108 $15.06 P8 Q8
This is the second in a series about a young girl who joins a privateer ship disguised as a cabin boy during the Revolutionary War. In the second installment, Hannah is shipwrecked after her ship is fired on and sunk by British forces, then she and three others are taken prisoner by the British. The descriptions of the prisons, food and treatment of the prisoners is grim and accurate, as the afterward explains. The descriptions of smallpox and one attempt at a crude form of vaccination, called variolation, are particularly interesting. The afterward goes on to tell about how a real vaccine was developed, and for young readers with no knowledge of this devastating disease, this is an engrossing method of learning about it. Suggestions for further reading and internet addresses are included and the book has a tough library binding. It might have been nice if the disguised girl on the cover didn’t look quite so much like a Maybelline cover girl, but readers will enjoy the book.
Sharmat, Marjorie Weinman and Mitchell Sharmat. Nate the Great and the Hungry Book Club. Il. Jody Wheeler. Delacorte Press, 2009, 64 pgs. Ages 7-10. ISBN 9780385736954 $12.99 P7 Q8
Nate the Great is a detective, along with his dog, Sludge. He is asked to solve the case of pages being torn out of books that are read by Rosamond’s book club. The solution to the case is not very interesting, but the illustrations are wonderful. Young readers will breeze right through this easy chapter book and fall in love with the culprits who are so entertainingly depicted.
Ford, Gilbert. Flying Lessons. Disney Hyperion Books, 2010, unpgd. Ages 3-7. ISBN 9781423119975 $16.99 P6 Q6
This book has a very weird plot and weird illustrations to match, so at least it is consistent! It is about a flock of doves who follow their daily and seasonal patterns, but are annoyed by a newcomer: a jetliner who wants to fly along with them. It soon becomes clear that, yes, the jetliner is not just flying to Boston and in their flight pattern by happenstance, it really wants to do what the doves do. They chastise the jetliner and send him away, but then one summer, an unusual cold snap hits and they cannot fly south. Who should save the day but the jetliner, who gives them a ride and “shows them a new way to fly.” Kids will enjoy the illustration of the birds boarding the jet in the snow, but for the life of me, and I can’t really figure out what the lesson is here. Tolerance? Like I said, weird.
Jordan, Deloris. Baby Blessings: A Prayer for the Day You Are Born. Il. James E. Ransome. Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010, unpgd. Ages 3 and up. ISBN 9781416953623 $16.99 P6 Q8
There are lots of books to show a young child how much his parents love him, but this book seems to be more for parents to remind them how much they love their kids. It does that beautifully and sentimentally, with gorgeous paintings of a young couple and their growing baby boy. As the title states, the text is a blessing, a prayer for the child and also a pledge by the parents that they will always be there to stand by the child. The author is an advocate for children and families and this book definitely has a place on the bookshelves of any women’s shelter or family counseling center. A librarian might recommend it to any parent who is obviously having a rough day with the children. But it is not necessarily a story time book.
Weaver, Tess. Encore, Opera Cat. Il. Andrea Wesson. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009, 32 pgs. Ages 5-7. ISBN 9780547146478 $16.00 P6 Q9
Alma is a cat who lives with Madame SoSo, a famous opera diva. It just so happens that Alma also happens to have a beautiful opera voice and a passion to sing on the stage. The Madame, who loves her cat, schemes to disguise her in gown and wig and pass her off in a duet to make her dreams come true. But just as the little cat is to go on stage, she catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror and realizes no one will be fooled. She is seen walking sadly down the hall, and supposedly, away from the stage. But the little cat is determined to let the audience see her as she is and take her chances. Of course, she is a great hit and the fun little punch line at the end of the book is that now the audience is bringing cats, dogs and parrots to the opera to enjoy! If a parent or teacher is trying to introduce opera to children, this would be a great story to teach that opera can be appreciated by anyone. If the child has been so lucky to actually attend an opera, they will enjoy the detailed and humorous illustrations of the opulent opera house, the audience in their finery and the orchestra in the pit. This book would be a great addition to any library collection.
French, Vivian. Polly’s Pink Pajamas. Il. Sue Heap. Candlewick Press, 2010, unpgd. Ages 2-4. ISBN 9780763648077 $14.99 P9 Q9
The cover of this book makes you want to get into your pajamas and dance! It would be great for story time, with a simple, but fun little story and happy ending. Polly wears her pink pajamas everywhere, but when she is invited to a party, she doesn’t know what to do. Her friends help her out and loan her colorful articles of clothing, which she dons over her pajamas. It has a sturdy, wipe cleanable cover and large illustrations for showing to a crowd. This would be a great buy for a library and is a little cheaper than the average picture book, too.
Bodden, Valerie. Sharks. The Creative Company, 2010, 24 pgs. Ages 5-8. ISBN 9781583418123 $16.95 P8 Q7
This series of books called “Amazing Animals” is a very attractive set of nonfiction books. There are beautiful colored full page photos of sharks and information in big print. Definitions of words, such as “cartilage”, are offered in smaller print at the bottom of the page, so one does not have to go to the back of the book to find it. At 24 pages, it is not too long to read at a story time setting or in a classroom.
B.R. Newport Intermediate School
Partridge, Elizabeth. Big Cat Pepper. Ills. By Lauren Castillo. Bloomsbury, c 2009. ISBN 978-1-59990-024-7. Unp. $16.99. PreS-4th Q8 P7 (Written by a 5th grader at NIS,)
Big Cat Pepper is about a cat. He likes to play at first but at the end the cat dies. The author wrote this story because she wants us to say good-bye to a loved one. (This is a beautifully written book about losing a loved one and the way a person grieves with that loss. The book would be a wonderful present to any youngster either facing or already have had a great loss in their life.) BR
Kimmel, Eric A.. Stormy’s Hat. Ills. By Andrea U’Ren. Farrar, Straus Giroux, c2008. ISBN 0-374-37262-4.Unp. $16.95. Grades K-3rd. Q8 P8 (Written by a 5th grader at NIS.)
Stormy, a railroad engineer, whose head was small and most hats he wore would fall off or catch on fire, give him headaches or were too warm to wear. His wife Ida made a special hat that didn’t catch on fire or fall off or give him headaches or be too warm. (Eric Kimmel has written a book about communicating with one another using the story about how engineer’s hats were developed.) BR
Judge, Lita. Pennies for Elephants. Hyperion Books, c2009. ISBN 978-142311390-4. $16.99. Grades 1-4th. Q 7 P 9
When animal trainers decide to retire, a family of 3 elephants is up for sale. Boston Zoo does not have the money to purchase the elephants but the children have been given two months to earn money for the purchase. Soon the children up and down the east coast are earning money to donate. This true story of compassion and believing will delight children of all ages.
Litwin, Eric, Pete the Cat, I Love My White Shoes. Ills. By James Dean. Harper, c2009. ISBN 978-0-06-190622-0. $16.99. Grades PreS-2nd. Q7 P7
Pete the Cat goes walking with his new white shoes. Along the way he encounters a large pile of strawberries which turn his shoes red, a pile of blueberries which turn his shoes blue, etc. He finally steps in a bucket of water and his shoes becomes white again. All the time he loves his new shoes. At the end of the book, the author even tells you the moral of this story. “No matter what you step in, keep walking along and singing your song………because it’s all good.”
Espinosa, Laura and Leo. Otis and Rae and the Grumbling Splunk. Houghton and Mcfflin Co., c2008. ISBN 0-678-98206-X. Unp. $12.95. Grades 1st-4th. Q 8 P8
This graphic novel takes Otis and Rae on their very first camping trip. As you might expect: setting up their tent, building the campfire, even telling scary stories by the fire are all covered in this book. In the middle of the night the hungry Splunk comes along and the chase is on. Everyone gets lost and finally find their way home. This book is about friendship and helping one another.
Shaw, Hannah. Erroll. Random House, c2009. ISBN 978-0-375-86105-5. Unp. $15.99 Grades PreS-3rd. Q8 P6
Bob was eating a package of nuts and out pops Errol, a squirrel. Errol is no ordinary squirrel. He could talk. He also could eat many many peanut butter sandwiches, take a bath, run and climb all over the house. Yes he is messy and Mom is not happy. They decide to take him back to the forest so he could be with his friends. Problem over? NO, Bob opens a box of Chewy Crunchy Monkey Munchey. Can you guess what happens?
O’Connor, Jane and Robin Preiss Glasser. Fancy Nancy, Poet Extraordinaire! Harper, C2010. Unp. $12.99. Grades 2nd-4th. Q8 P7
Fancy Nancy is back in another adorable book. Full of bling and exquisite clothing this book will delight little girls. Nancy’s teacher assigns the class to write a poem. After reading many different kind of poems she finally comes up with her own. Using fancy words, and explaining what they mean makes very interesting reading.
Czekaj, Jef. Hip & Hop Don’t Stop, Hyperion Books, c2010. ISBN 978-145311664-6 Unp. $16.99. Grades K-3rd. Q8 P8
A new twist to an old story “The Tortoise and the Hare”, this time we have a rapping girl bunny and boy turtle. Separately they find posters that advertises a rap off. They become friends and enter the contest. Their friends could not understand how a bunny and a tortoise could become friends. The judges could not decide which rapping was better, the fast bunny or the slow tortoise. They both came in first place and shared the prize. Old story, new moral, “Doesn’t matter if you are fast or slow everyone can win in the end.”
Blake, Stephanie. I Don’t Want to Go to School. Random House, c2009 . ISBN 978-0-375-85688-4. Unp. $12.99. Grades PreS-1st. Q8 P8
When Simon finds out he is going to school the next day, he freaks. “No Way” he says. No matter what Mom and Dad tell him, he is scared. The day of school he has such fun when it is time to go home—-“No Way” he says. This would be a wonderful book to read to children who are expressing fears about starting school.
Willem, Mo. I am going. (Elephant and Piggy series) Disney-Hyperion, 2010. $8.99. ISBN 978-1423119906 Grades PreS-3rd. Q8 P8
Piggy and Elephant are at it again. These two love to disagree. This time Piggy is going and Elephant says he can’t. After all who will skip with him, play ping-pong or wear silly hats?
Rosen, Michael. Bear Flies High. Ills. By Adrian Reynolds. Bloomsbury,c2009. ISBN 978-1-59990-386-6. Unp. $16.99. Grades PreS-2nd. Q7
When Bear wanders on the beach singing he sees the birds flying high and decides that he would like to do that. He meets four new friends who take him to an amusement park and treat him to a ride on the roller coaster. Yes, he feels like he is flying high.
Bond, Rebecca. In the Belly of an Ox, The Unexpected Photographic Adventures of Richard and Cherry Kearton. Houghton Mifflin, c2009. ISBN 978-0-547-07675-1. Unp. $16.00. Grades 1st-4th. Q8 P5
This picture book is a biography of two late-19th century photographers, from Yorkshire, England, who produced the first photographic nature book. Richard and Cherry Kearton loved going into the countryside to take pictures of birds. They designed many disguises to help them conceal themselves. Yes, they actually had a taxidermist make a blind out of an ox. Inside a tree trunk, inside a lamb, even a tree trunk mask was only a few of the many disguises they used. Many people thought they were foolhardy, dragging their heavy equipment around more than 30,000 miles, sleeping wherever they could find, wading through bogs and almost always being in uncomfortable situations.
Harper, Jessica. Uh-oh, Cleo I Barfed on Mrs. Kenly. Ills. By Jon Berkeley. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, c2010. 60pgs. $14.99. Grades 1st-4th. Q8 P7
Cleo is off to her friend’s birthday party but has eaten pancakes before leaving. Maybe she shouldn’t have as she gets car sick and throws up on Mrs. Kenly’s fur coat. Highly embarrassed, Cleo decided to continue on to her friend’s birthday. Mrs. Kenly was so very nice throughout all this trouble.
Landau, Elaine. Beluga Whales, Animals of the Snow and Ice. Enslow Publishers, 2010. ISBN 978-0-7660-3459-4 30 pgs. $22.60. Grades K-3rd. Q8 P6
Pictures of the beautiful beluga whale coupled with the many facts make this book great for reports. Learning about this cold water whale, its life cycle, diet and other features will be fun with this book.
Poydar, Nancy. Fish School. Holiday House, c2009. ISBN 978-0-8234-2140-4 Unp. $16.95. Grades PreS-3rd. Q8 P8
When Charlie got a goldfish “Wishy” for his birthday, he wanted him to learn, so he took him on the class trip to the aquarium. It was fascinating to see the sharks, barracudas and eels in the large tank. Then off to the dolphins doing tricks. In all the excitement Charlie loses his backpack. The class hunts and finally finds it. When everyone gets back to school they are to draw a picture of the most exciting thing they saw. Everybody drew a picture of Wishy.
Miller, Edward. Fireboy to the Rescue. Holiday House, c2010. ISBN 978-0-8234-2222-7. Unp. $16.95. Grades PreS-3rd. Q7 P6
Need some tips of fire safety, this is the book! Fireboy, in his flashy red and yellow superhero suit, is here to tell you about how fire can help you. Roasting marshmallows, keeping you warm, cooking dinner and even lighting up your birthday cake are some good things fire does. But look out for fire can also be very harmful. The bright colorful illustrations will lead you through procedures to keep you safe once a fire starts. A really great book for Fire Safety Week.
Arnosky, Jim. Slow Down for Manatees. G. P.Putnam’s Sons, c2010. ISBN 978-0-399-24170-3. Unp. $16.99. Grades 1st-3rd. Q9 P8
The slow moving manatees are very gentle creatures which eat the leaves of mangrove trees. They have no natural predators, their only danger coming from humans and their boats. Yet they are an endangered species. This is a story about one mother manatee that has been injured by a boat and how she is taken to an aquarium until she becomes well enough to return to the wild. The soft water colors used throughout the book creates a sense of calm and well-being. A great book to add to any library, whether it be at home, school or public.
Kimmelman, Leslie. Mind your Manners, Alice Roosevelt! Ills. By Adam Gustavson. Peachtree, c2009. ISBN 1-56145-492-3. Unp. $16.95. Grades 1-4 Q5, P5
Alice Roosevelt! Oh-my what a fantastic personality. This book not only portrays Alice’s life, it also includes many tid-bits about her father, Teddy Roosevelt, as a father and president of the United States. In a time when women were suppose to be refined and shy, Alice was just the opposite. Driving a car, too fast, keeping a pet snake, riding a bicycle, she was always into mischief. This was an absolutely fun to read.
Bloom, Suzanne. What About Bear? Boyds Mills Press, c2009. ISBN 978-1-59078-7. Unp. $16.95. Grades PreS-3rd. Q8 P8
Goose and Bear are good friends and love to play together. Fox comes along and wants to play. Goose becomes upset with Fox because he wants to leave Bear out of their play. Bear is feeling lonely when Goose calls him back to join them. Bring out this book and read it to them when you have children playing the game “I won’t be your friend if you are So and So’s friend.”
Horton, Joan. Math Attack! Ills. By Kyrsten Brooker. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, c2009. ISBN 0-374-34861-8. Unp. $16.95. Grades 1-4th. Q7 P6
Trying to remember just one more arithmetic fact (seven times ten) sends this girl’s brain into overload. Out popped numbers and arithmetic symbols everywhere. The teacher sends her to the school nurse but by that time her brain has settled down. When asked how this happened, the girl said it again (sevens time ten). Out popped the numbers and symbols again. This happened everywhere for her. Finally her brain remembers “70”. How proud she is of herself. Things are going well until her teacher says “What is eleven times nine?” Watch out! Here come the numbers and symbols again. Written rhyming text makes this an easy read-a-loud book. This would be a fantastic book to read in the middle of a unit on multiplication.
Spinelli, Eileen. Princess Pig. Ills. By Tim Bowers. Alfred A. Knopf. C2009. ISBN 9780-375-84571-0 Unp. $16.99. Grades PreS-2nd. Q9 P8
Doesn’t every little girl want to be a princess? This little pig has visions of being one too. One day she wakes up after a nap and finds a princess’s sash draped over her and she just knows now she is a princess. Goat says she doesn’t have a crown so she can’t be a princess. Pig promptly makes her a crown. Next cow says she needs a necklace. Yes, pig makes herself a beautiful necklace. On and on through out the farm yard she is told she needs something else. When evening comes she is all alone and the other animals are in the barn having a party. Princess Pig wants to join them but they tell her it is just a regular party so she might not want to come. Pig decides having friends is better than being a lonely princess.
Artell Mike, and Jim Harris. Jacques and De Beanstalk. Dial Books for Young Readers, c2010. ISBN 978-0-8037-2816-5 Unp. $16.99. Grades 1-5th. Q6, P5
A new setting for an old tale. Jacques lives in the bayou and is sent off to sell the cow to buy other food. The traditional things are all in this story, the man who trades him beans for the cow, goes home, plants the beans, meets the giant, gets the golden goose. Etc. Written in a rhyming Cajun dialect, I found this book very hard to read. In fact by the second page I was tired of trying and put the book up. Will I take it out and try again? I don’t know.
Nelson, Marilyn. Beautiful Ballerina. Ills. By Susan Kuklin. Scholastic Press, c2009. ISBN 978-0-545-08920-3. Unp. $17.99. Grades 3th-5th. Q8 P6
Beautiful Ballerina, written as a tribute to the grace and power of dance, will delight the little girl who dreams of being a ballerina. Its poetry tells of the attributes one has as a ballerina. Its photographs show the grace and beauty of the dance.
Brynie, Faith Hickman. Do Animals Migrate? Enslow Publishers, c2010. ISBN 978-0-7660-3325-2. 31 pgs. Grades 1st-4th. Q7 P7
Starting with a Table of Contents and Glossary, this book has fascinating facts about some migrating animals. Elephants, spiny lobster, bats, crabs are only a few animals featured in this book. It answers where and how they live, when and where they migrate. Just a short burst of information for each, but enough to understand. Beautiful photographs accompany the informational text. To complete this book there is a section giving other books and web sites to investigate and an index.
Consentino. Ralph. Superman, The Story of the Man of Steel. Viking, c2010. ISBN 978-0-670-06285-0. Unp. $16.99. Grades K-4th. Q6 P7
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s SUPERMAN! Starting from the birth of Kal-el (Superman) to arriving on Earth in a capsule through his growing up and becoming the strongest man on Earth, this graphic novel, with its bold and crisp illustrations, reintroduces super hero Superman. Only one drawback of this book, on the end page Superman states “I fight a never ending battle for Truth and Justice.” I recall “and the American Way” as being in his declaration when I was young. It seems to me that something important has been left out. Although new readers will probably not notice this omission.
Duddle, Jonny. The Pirate Cruncher. Templar Books, c2010. ISBN 978-0-7636-4876-3. Unp. $15.99. Grades 1st-4th. Q8, P8
Written in poetry form, this book introduces a pirate crew that has a fun time sailing on their ship hunting for an island bursting with treasure. After reaching the island they find a scary surprise, a monster lurking under the island waiting to attack. I enjoyed the pictures showing what lies under the waterline.
French, Vivian. Polly’s Pink Pajamas. Ills. By Sue Heap. Candlewick Press. C2010. ISBN 978-0-7636-4807-7. Unp. $14.99. Grades PreS-2nd. Q8, P7
This is a story about friendships. Polly loves her pink pajamas and wants to wear them all day and night. When she is invited to a party she doesn’t have anything to wear. Friends, she went to her friends to borrow the right essentials. A red polka-dotted dress, a green sweater, striped socks, and blue shiny shoes but it is not the look she wanted. As she is in tears, she finds out it is a sleepover party. Her beautiful pink pajamas are exactly the right outfit.
Cox, Judy. Cinco De Mouse’o! Ills. By Jeffery Ebbeler. Holiday House, c2010. ISBN 978-0-8234-2194-7.Unp. $16.95. Grades K-2nd. Q7, P7
On the fifth of May, Mouse woke to the smell of spicy smells. A Mexican fiesta is coming, Fantastico! As mouse scampers out of bed to find the festivities, a greedy cat stalks mouse for his own feast. All over town people are getting ready to celebrate Cinco De Mayo! This is a great story to help teach students about an important day in Mexican and Latino Communities. There is a very short blurb about this holiday at the beginning of the book.
Bildner, Phil. Turkey Bowl. Ills. By C. F. Payne. Simon & Schuster Books, c2008. ISBN 978-0-699-87896-1. Unp. $15.99. Grades PreS-4th. Q8, P7
Ethan loved Thanksgiving and had been waiting for nine years to play in the family Turkey Bowl. This year the weather was very bad and the family members were not going to arrive for Thanksgiving. Ethan was disappointed, but didn’t let that stop the Turkey Bowl. He gathered up the neighborhood children and started their own Turkey Bowl. Perfect for reading at holiday time the illustrations in this book gives a nostalgic feeling.
Root, Phyllis. Creak! Said the Bed. Ills. By Regan Dunnick. Candlewick Press, c2010. ISBN 978-0-7636-2004-2, Unp. $15.99. Grades PreS-2ns. Q 7, P8
One cold and stormy night………Yes another bedtime story that is fun to read. This story comes with all the usual, stormy night, cold and scared children. One by one they come looking for comfort in Mom and Dad’s bed, As each child creeps into the bed it creaks just a little bit more. Dad sleeps through this process when finally the dog decides he wants to join the family and CREAK the bed falls apart! This is a delightful bedtime story to read.
Riz, Karen. Windows With Birds. Boyds Mills Press, c2010, ISBN 978-1-59078-656-7 Unp. $16.95. Grades PreS-4th. Q8 P7
Karen Riz has written a lovely story about a boy and his special friend a cat. They live in a house with windows with birds, twenty-six stairs, twenty-nine hiding places, and one foolish mouse in the basement. One day the boy comes home and zips the cat in his jacket and takes him to an apartment to live. Cat is sad but eventually comes out of hiding and what does he find, a window where he can see birds. Moving isn’t so bad after all. This would be a wonderful book to read to a young child who is concerned about moving.
Lum, Kate. Princesses are Not Perfect. Ills. By Sue Hellard. Bloomsbury, c2019. Bloomsbury, c2009. ISBN 978-1-59990-432-0. Unp. $16.99 Grades 1st-4th. Q8, P7
“Princesses are Not Perfect” will delight young ladies of all ages. With their fancy dresses and equally elaborate hair styles, Princess Allie, Libby and Mellie are very busy people doing the things they do best. When they get tired of doing only those things they decide to exchange jobs. Getting ready for a Summer Party they find out they are not good at doing each other jobs and during the night get up and straighten up each other’s messes.
Lamstein, Sarah Marwil. Big Night for Salamanders. Ills. By Carol Benioff. Boyds Mills Press, c2010. ISBN 978-932425-98-7. Unp. $1795. Grades PreS-5th. Q6 P7
Evan, a young boy, and his parents spend the first heavy rainy night in spring out in the road helping baby salamanders cross the road so they won’t be run over. They sometimes stop cars and ask drivers to be careful. Evan makes a sign asking drivers to GO SLOW. The family finally finishes for the night and leaves Evan’s sign. The book ends with the lifecycle of the salamander. The illustrator does a wonderful job of making the story come alive with her art work of a rainy night. This would be a great addition for a unit on salamanders. I do question teaching children the to being out on the road on a dark, rainy night.
Holt, Sharon. Did My Mother Do That? Ills. By Brian Lovelock. Candlewick Press, C2009. ISBN 978-0-7636-4685-1. Unp. $15.99. Grades PreS-1st. Q7, P6
Holly loves to hear the story about the day she was born and bedtime is just the right time for Dad to tell her. Comparing her mother to different animals, Holly learns many facts about baby animals and their mothers. Chicks are hatched from eggs, the mother owl feeds her babies mice, if she were a kangaroo she would have been kept in a pocket. At the end she is reassured that Mom and Dad were very happy the day she was born.
Bryan, Ashley. All Things Bright and Beautiful. Atheneum Books, c2010. ISBN 978-4-4169-8939-4. Unp. $16.99. Grades PreS-3rd. Q7 P8
Ashley Bryan took her mother’s embroidery scissors, some beautifully colored paper and illustrated this beautiful hymn by Cecil F. Alexander. Children will be amazed at the fabulous layouts of nature and people.
Hachler, Bruno. Anna’s Wish. Ills. By Friederike Rave. NorthSouth, c2008. ISBN 978-0-7358-2207-8. Unp. $16.95. Grades PreS-2nd.
Don’t all children’s thoughts turn to snow on a cold winter day? Anna is no different, but she has never seen snow. One day as she and her mother were shopping; Anna thought she felt a cold touch on her cheek. Anna wished and wished very hard for snow. Yes, it started to snow. All the things people do with snow began; building snowmen, sledding, shoveling snow.
Chichester Clark, Emma. Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Candlewick Press, c2009. ISBN 978-0-7636-4680-6. Unp. $14.99. Grades PreS-2nd Q8 P8
Same old Goldilocks story with some new growling from Papa Bear. When Papa finds the broken chairs he says “That someone is a hooligan and a thief, and if I find them, there’s going to be trouble.” Later in the story when Goldilocks is found, she is so frightened her hair stands on end. And finally at the very end the bears are laughing about the “Naughty” little girl. The illustrations create a believable atmosphere of a bear’s home. The end papers show their beautiful cottage in the midst of a fabulous forest. This book would be a great addition to the traditional Goldilocks in any collection.
Working for Change The Struggle for Women’s Right to Vote. Raintree, c2008. ISBN 978-1-4109-2700-2. 32 pgs. Grades 4th-8th Q7, P4
Not all encompassing and not a lot of depth, this book brings the plight of women trying to gain equal rights from the day the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776 through the passing of woman suffrage amendment on August 26, 1920. Working for Change mentions some of the more notable women in history who worked towards women’s rights. Included is a glossary, a section for books and websites to further your knowledge, and an index. This book should be included in libraries, especially for the younger students.
Winter, Jonah. Peaceful Heros. Ills. By Sean Addy. Arthur A. Levine Books, c2009. ISBN 978-0-439-62307-0. 59 pgs. $17.99. Grades 5-8 Q5 P4
This is a very powerful book about people who risked their lives to help others. Working through peaceful ways, these fourteen individuals have helped create the world into a better place to live. Martin L. King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus of Nazareth, and Clara Barton are among the more known persons but it also includes some lesser known heroes.
Book Review by D.B. Toledo Elementary
Horowitz, Dave. Duck Duck Moose. G.P.Putnum’s Sons, 2009. 30 pages $17.00 ISBN 9780399247828 ages 4-7. P5 q5
The cover drew me in; I want to know where the moose is going. Colorful illustrations that is big enough to use as a read aloud book. This book could be used for a discussion on climate north and south.
Durango, Julia. Go Go Gorillas. Illustrated by Eleanor Taylor Simon and Schuster, 2010. $20.00 30 pages. ISBN 9781418937791 ages 5-8 P5q5
The cover didn’t excite me. The interior illustrations where bright and interesting. The book has collecting and counting, the end of the story is showing off a new baby. I don’t think this book would work in a classroom.
Geringer, Laura. Boom Boom Go Away. Illustrations, Bagram Ibatoulline. Simon and Schuster, 2010. $16.00 30 pages. ISBN 974068965000936 ages 5-8 p6q6
When I looked at the cover, I thought of a toy store. When I read the story, it was about musical instruments. Music teachers and classroom teachers could use this book to introduce instruments to students.
Gorbachev, Valeri. The Best Cat. Candlewick Press, 2010. $16.00 30 pages. ISBN 9780763636753 ages 5-7 p6q5
The cover is cute and made me want to see what was inside. Young children will enjoy this story. It could be read aloud and the illustrations are large and colorful. The story made me smile and think of my cat.
C.S.- Siletz Public Library
Bennett, Artie. The Butt Book. Il. Mike Lester. Bloomsbury, 2010. $16.99. ISBN 9781599903118. Unp. Ages 4-8.
This is a hilarious picture book about the butts of a variety of animals, including people, elephants, and fish. The pictures are colorful and funny, and explain the vocabulary that might be unknown to younger readers. I was scolded by one parent who considers the word “butt” to be inappropriate for young kids, so if you’re looking for books for a story group, you might want to think about this. P9Q8.
Bodden, Valerie. Big Outdoors: Mount Everest. Creative Education, 2010. $16.95. ISBN 9781583418178. 24 pgs. Ages 4-8.
Bodden, Valerie. Big Outdoors: Amazon River. Creative Education, 2010. $16.95. ISBN 9781583418178. 24 pgs. Ages 4-8. See the review above. P7Q8
Bodden, Valerie. Big Outdoors: Grand Canyon. Creative Education, 2010. $16.95. ISBN 9781583418178. 24 pgs. Ages 4-8. See the review above. P7Q8
These books, like Big Outdoors: Northern Lights that I reviewed a couple of months ago is written at a nicely accessible level for young readers. The information is basic but may whet the appetite for more information. P7Q8
Bryan Obed, Ellen. Who Would Like a Christmas Tree: A Tree for All Seasons. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2009. $16.00. ISBN 9780547046259. Unp. Ages 4-8.
The author of this sweet book asks the question, “Who would like a Christmas tree in January (February, March, etc.)? An animal answers for each month. In January, it’s the chickadee who talks about eating bugs from under the bark and sheltering in the branches at night. In May, it’s the robin who likes to build her nest there. I liked this book for the message that what we see as a Christmas tree is important to many animals for many reasons, probably more important than ours! The pictures are colorful, watercolor and pen paintings that give a nice sense for each month’s weather and events. P8Q8.
Farrell, Darren. Doug-Dennis and the Flyaway Fib. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2010. $16.99. ISBN 9780803734371. Unp. Ages 4-8.
This is a silly but cute book about Doug-Dennis (why such an awkward name?) who tells a lie and then regrets it. The illustrations are quirky and fun. The younger kids at my story time found them very funny. The message is good- that a little fib can stretch into a big fat lie that becomes very difficult to deal with. I think this could lead to a good discussion with the right group of children. P8Q8
Feldman, Eve B. Billy & Milly: Short & Silly. Il. Tuesday Mourning. G.P. Putnam & Sons, 2009. $16.99. ISBN 9780399246517. unp. Ages preschool.
This colorful, funny book has 13 very, very short stories (4 or 5 words per story!). Each page has only a couple of one word sentences on it, but they tell the story effectively. I tried this out on a new group of kindergarten students as an icebreaker introduction to the library and they liked it a lot. P9Q9
Holt, Sharon. Did My Mother Do That? Il. Brian Lovelock. Candlewick Press, 2009. $15.99. ISBN 9780763646851. Unp. Ages 4-8.
This is a sweet picturebook written in a question/ answer style between Holly and her father. Dad is telling Holly about when she was born, and Holly asks questions about what her mother would have done if she had been a kitten, baby owl, baby shark, etc. The illustrations are done in soft, pastel colors and are very restful. There’s humor here too- when Holly asks, “What if I were a baby owl?”- her father answers, “If you were a baby owl your mother would have fed you mice.” My story group of younger kids liked this book a lot. P8Q8
Katz, Alan. Too Much Kissing and Other Silly Songs about Parents. Il. David Catrow. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2010. $16.99. ISBN 9781416941996. Unp. Ages 4-8.
This book of poetry for younger readers is full if hilarious illustrations by David Catrow, who has illustrated many books and did the pictures for last year’s summer reading program. The poetry is fun too, in a way. Each poem can be sung to the tune of a popular song. I found the main theme of the poetry kind of sad- they’re mostly about parents who don’t have time for their children, or the difficulty children and parents have in communicating. P8Q7
Katz, Bobbi. Nothing But a Dog. Il. Jane Manning. Dutton Children’s Books, 1972/2010. $16.99. ISBN 9780525478584. Unp. Ages 4-8.
The story time children loved this book and had a lot of fun looking for the dog motifs in the pictures. The book talks about how wanting a dog is an all-consuming thing, that nothing else will satisfy a person who has dog on her mind-not games, other pets, nice clothes, hobbies. Nothing! The illustrations are very pretty- soft, gentle paintings that the children respond very well to. P9Q9
Spencer, Britt. Zarafa: The Giraffe Who Walked to the King. Il. Judith St. George. Philomel Books, 2009. $16.99. ISBN 9780399250491. unp. Ages 4-8.
This attractive picture book tells the story of a giraffe’s journey from Africa to France in the early 1800’s. Zarafa (which means charming or lovely one in Arabic) made her journey was done by felucca, ship, and on foot. The author suggests that the journey was nothing but pleasant for Zarafa, which seems a little unbelievable to me, but young readers will be charmed by the colorful pictures and interesting story. P8Q8
Waddell, Martin. The Super Hungry Dinosaur. Il. Leonie Lord. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2009. $16.99. ISBN 9780803734463. unp. Ages 4-8.
My story group kids loved this book. It was hard to finish reading it, though, because of all the dinosaur noises and actions that followed the first few pages. The illustrations are a funny style- like children’s drawings, and a little bit of comic book style. The story is funny too. The dinosaur is hungry and wants to eat various people, and spends a lot of time chasing Hal and his dog Billy. Hal subdues the dinosaur, makes him apologize for the trouble, and then feeds him dinner. They part on friendly terms. P9Q9
Winter, Jonah. Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude. Il. Calef Brown. Antheneum Books for Young Readers, 2009. $16.99. ISBN 9781416940883. Unp. Ages 9-12.
This picture book is about Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. It is written in a playful, repetitive style, which is like that of Stein herself. Younger kids might enjoy some parts of this a read aloud, though it seems to be meant for older readers, judging from the content. I liked the illustrations- they remind me of Picasso, Matisse and others from the early 20th century. I’m not sure that kids would pick this up on their own, but it might be really useful in a history or English class talking about authors or writers from that time. P7Q9
NHS Student Reviewers, 11th grade
Selzer, Adam. I Kissed a Zombie, and I Liked It. Delacorte Press, 2010. $7.99 ISBN: 9780385735032 177 p. Gr. 9-12
Alley lives in the world of the post-human era, when undead people are part of everyday life. She never thought that she would fall for a post-human like many of her friends, but by accident she does. When the school’s vampire clique finds out Alley is going out with a post-human they have plans for Alley’s future. But does she really want to become post-human, too? I liked this book because it is different from the vampire world. There are not that many zombie books being promoted right now, and this book has comedy, romance, and a good ending. By M. S-O., 11th grade
Ryan, Carrie. The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Delacorte Press, 2010. $16.99 ISBN-13: 978-0385736817 p. Gr. 9-12
This is a story about Mary in a town where all her life she was told there was nothing outside of the fence that surrounds the town. Mary loses her father and Mother to the Return and her brother disowns her. She doesn’t get chosen by any of the men in town, so what is she supposed to do, join the sisterhood? When Mary joins the sisterhood she uncovers some secrets; what will happen to her when they find out what she knows? This book was well-written and it was believable. This is my type of book: it was nice to read a fantasy novel that wasn’t about vampires. By M. S-O., 11th grade
Roberts, Laura Peyton. Green. Delacorte Press, 2010. $16.99 ISBN-13: 978-038573558 272 p. Gr. 6-8
This story is about a young girl named Lily. A year ago, Lily lost her grandma and she misses her so much. Lily feels left out because she is the new girl, but she meets a girl named Kendall and she thinks they could be friends, when she gets stolen by leprechauns. She finds out that her grandmother was part leprechaun and she is now the keeper for the leprechauns. She must pass 3 tests before she can prove she is the keeper and go home. Will she pass? By M. S-O., NHS Student Reviewer, 11th grade
Friend, Natasha. For Keeps. Viking Juvenile, 2010. $16.99 ISBN: 978-0670011902 272 p. Gr. 6-9 Told in first person point of view, Josie Gardner relates her story of being reunited with her father. Before her birth, Paul Tucci, Josie’s father left to pursue a college education. Unbeknownst to him, his girlfriend stayed behind to give birth to Josie. After Josie’s mom, Kate, sends a letter informing Paul of his daughter she never receives any letter back. Together, mother and daughter muddle through life and “boy problems” while coping with the long lost past. One day, through extenuating circumstances, Paul shows up in town and rocks the world of these two women. Nevertheless, unopened letters from Paul are revealed and a resolution is found. I liked this book; it was a farfetched, amusing tale. Very easy to read in consideration of vocabulary and enjoyable in the witty, first person point of view. Very good for youth/young adult audiences. Review by J.N-G., 12th grade
Gray, Amy. How to be a Vampire: A Fangs-On Guide for the Newly Undead. Candlewick, 2009. $14.99. ISBN: 978-0763649159 144 p. Gr. 9-12.
This book tells you everything you need to be a vampire (or at least pretend to be one.) From advice on finding a sire to vampire movie suggestions, this book has it all. If you want to know what you should wear for Halloween or just want some more information about the myth this book is perfect. I liked this book; it was funny and some of the history was interesting. Review by K.C., 11th grade
Chandler, Elisabeth. Dark Secrets 1: Legacy of Lies and Don’t Tell. Simon Pulse, 2009. $9.99 ISBN: 978-1416994619 496 p. Gr. 9-12.
Two books in one, Dark Secrets #1 is a paranormal romantic mystery collection set in the town of Wisteria. Legacy of Lies is the story of Megan, a 16-year-old. One summer she suddenly gets and order from her estranged grandmother to visit. Megan’s grandmother is quite odd, never having recovered from the death of Megan’s great Aunt, her sister, 60 years before. Don’t Tell is Lauren’s story. One summer, she visits her grandmother, seven years after her mother died at her grandmother’s house after being haunted by knots. The day after Lauren arrives, Lauren is haunted by those same knots. Nora, her cousin, obviously has some mental problems and she is the one who caused Lauren’s mother’s death 7 years earlier. I liked this book; I could not put it down. It was creepy enough to keep you reading, but not creepy enough to make you stop. The events were not entirely realistic, but within the confines of the novel. My only complaint was that the ending of both stories seemed a bit rushed. Review by B.J., 11th grade
Fitzpatrick, Becca. Hush-Hush. Simon & Schuster, 2009. $17.99. ISBN: 978-1416989417 400 p. Gr. 9-12.
Nora Grey was never interested in anyone at school. Her best and only friend, Vee, is always trying to set Nora up. But when Patch, a strange, enigmatic boy shows up, nothing stays the same and nothing is as it seems. Faced with danger at every instant, the wrong choice will spell death for Nora or those close to her. I couldn’t stop reading this book. It’s an angelic version of Twilight, complete with strange biology classes, but it is so much better written. The characters are strong and the plot is unpredictable. Review by B.J., 11th grade.
Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers Book Reviews Reviews by S. J. Isaac Newton Magnet School, and selected students
Jennifer Allison. GILDA JOYCE, PSYCHIC INVESTIGATOR. Dutton Juvenile, 2005. ISBN: 978-0525473756. Pgs. 336. $13.99. Gr. 5 – 9.
Gilda Joyce- Psychic Investigator is a mystery story about ghosts, cousins, and a long ago suicide. Gilda Joyce decides to visit some distant relatives in foggy San Francisco purely to escape the boredom of her small town in Michigan. She’s counting on a vacation and maybe a chance to investigate some hauntings and to launch her career as a psychic investigator. But what she doesn’t count on is moody cousins, brooding uncles, a haunted tower, and a long-buried family secret. I recommend this book for 6th and 7th grade girl readers. P: 6, Q: 7
Bodil Bredsdorff. THE CROW-GIRL: THE CHILDREN OF CROW COVE. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004. ISBN 0-374-31247-8. Pgs. 155. $16.00. Gr. 4 – 7.
This book is about a young girl whose grandmother has just died. She decides to travel the lands because it would just be too sad in the cottage without her grandmother. Along her journey she meets a little boy named Doup, a woman, Foula, and her daughter Eidi. They travel together and meet a very nice man named Rossan, but they eventually end up right back where they started, at the cottage. This journey about finding yourself will appeal to girls in the fourth through seventh grades. P: 7, Q: 8
Georgia Byng. MOLLY MOON’S HYPNOTIC TIME TRAVEL ADVENTURE. Harper Collins Publishers, 2005. ISBN 0-06-075033-2. Pgs 392. $15.99. Gr. 4 – 6.
Molly Moon’s precious pug, Petula, has been kidnapped and taken through time and Molly must travel through time to rescue him. Along the way, she encounters four different versions of herself! Her best friend, Rocky, and a hippie named Forrest are also kidnapped and taken through time. Can Molly get home and get all of her selves, her friends, and her Pug back to the correct times? In this delightful adventure the reader will encounter a clever and quirky character in Molly Moon. I recommend this book for ages 10-14 years of age because it was an easy read. This book is mostly for girls and maybe guys. P: 7, Q: 9
Don Calame. SWIM THE FLY. Candlewick, 2009. ISBN: 978-0763641573. Pgs. 352. $16.99. Gr. 8 -12.
This story is about two boys that are best friends, and always have a summer goal. This summer their goal was to see a naked girl. One day at swim team a new girl shows up at practice, and they both form a crush on the girl. I suggest this book for 7th-9th grade boys that are mature. (A female middle school reviewer read this book. After perusal, I find it might be enjoyable to a wide range of readers. It has humor and flows quickly. I’d rate the P and Q as 8 and 9 respectively. SJ) P: 6, Q: 5
Maurine F. Dahlberg. ESCAPE TO WEST BERLIN. Farrar, Straus Giroux, 2004. ISBN: 978-0374309596. Pgs. 192. $16.00. Gr. 4 – 8.
Escape to West Berlin is a thrilling historical fiction and adventure story about one girl’s fight with the controlling government of East Berlin, and her narrow escape to the freedom of West Berlin. Heidi is a normal girl; she lives in a nice apartment in East Berlin, but her father is not well liked. He works in West Berlin. Suddenly, life for the Klenks changes; Heidi’s family flees west, but Heidi is lost and left behind. Can she make it to West Berlin before the wall goes up? I recommend this book to middle school girl readers. P: 8, Q: 7
Cynthia DeFelice. BRINGING EZRA BACK. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2006. ISBN 0-374-39939-5. Pgs. 148. $16.00. Gr. 4 – 7.
Bringing Erza Back is about a boy traveling a long way and facing a lot of dangers to find a lost family friend. Nathan lives with his dad and sister Molly in a cabin in the woods. For a while an Indian man named Ezra lived with them as a servant, but Erza is gone now, and the family misses him. So when a traveling man brings them news that a circus has Erza in it, Nathan knows that he needs to rescue his friend. He goes through a series of adventures to bring Erza back. I don’t whole-heartedly recommend this book, but it may not appeal to some middle school boys and girls. P: 6, Q: 9
Michael Delaney. THE GREAT SOCKATHON. Dutton Children’s Books, 2004. ISBN 0-525-46856-0. Pgs. 184. $16.99. Gr. 4 – 6.
In the book The Great Sockathon, two girl friends, Ginny and Eliza, are climbing in the balm of Gilead tree, suddenly the branch Eliza was on broke and Eliza fell from the tree to her sad death. Many years later four friends hear that the town was planning to cut down the 100 year old tree historic tree. They have a problem with that so they start to save money to buy a brace for the balm of Gilead tree by creating a Sockathon (a chain of socks that is supposed to stretch across town). Later on, a tropical storm comes through and not only wrecks the sock chain, but the tree as well. It falls over. I would recommend this book to readers that want a book so good that they simply can’t put down. Also girl readers might like this book more. P: 8, Q: 10
Kathleen Duey. HOOFBEATS: KATIE AND THE MUSTANG (BOOK 2). Dutton Children’s Books, 2004. ISBN 0-525-47273-8. Pgs 132. $15.99 Gr. 4 – 6.
In the 1950’s, Katie is a lonely girl who has lost both her parents and her sister. Mr. Stevens purchases a mustang and gives it to Katie to ease her loneliness. Katie decides to travel the Oregon Trail to find her uncle and once again belong to a family. The middle school reviewer recommended this book to 4th – 6th graders. P: 6, Q: 8
Alane Ferguson. THE CHRISTOPHER KILLER: A FORENSIC MYSTERY. Penguin Books, 2006. ISBN: 0-670-06008-9. Pgs. 274. $15.99. Gr. 8 and up.
This intriguing mystery is about seventeen-year-old Cameryn, who is interested in forensics and becomes her coroner father’s assistant. Cameryn’s friend is murdered by the Christopher Killer, a murderer that leaves a medal of St. Christopher somewhere on the body of each girl he/she kills. Can Cameryn figure out who it is? The novel contains a plot filled with twists, a “psychic” T.V. show host, a devious deputy, and an old family secret. The Christopher Killer is a fast-paced novel for grades 7 – 10. Because they deal a lot in forensics, there is a bit of scientific “gore,” but I think teens in these grades should be able to handle it. P: 8, Q: 9
D. Dina Friedman. ESCAPING INTO THE NIGHT. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2006. ISBN: 978-1-4169-0258-4. Pgs. 199. $15.95. Gr. 4 – 7.
Escaping Into the Night is a wonderful book about thirteen year old Halina during World War II. She has escaped the ghetto that she and her mother lived in before the Nazis invaded it. She escapes with her friend, Batya, and a set of three brothers. They make it to a safe camp, but not without a loss, which includes some of the people closest to them. I recommend this book to kids in the 5th and 6th grades, because they are old enough to understand it, but it is still a younger book. P:7 Q: 8
Sarah Gauch. Illus. Roger Roth. VOYAGE TO THE PHAROS. Viking, 2009. ISBN 978-0-670-06254-6. Pgs. 40. $16.99. Ages 5 and up.
Voyage to the Pharos is a story about a young male named Dino and his father and their quest to find the Pharos Lighthouse, one of the tallest buildings in the world. The voyage to Alexandria from their home in Greece is a fantastic tale. This was the very first time that Dino’s father actually agreed to let him come along on this journey. This is a fascinating historical book combining imaginative storytelling and wonderful illustrations of Dino’s adventure on the ship, Hermes. I would recommend this story to children aged 6 and up because this book has new vocabulary in it as well as a mixture of great illustrations. P: 8, Q: 10
Bonnie Geisert. PRAIRIE WINTER. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2009. ISBN 978-0-618-68588-2. Pgs. 220. $16.00. Gr. 5 – 7.
This book takes place in a cold, dark forest. A girl named Rachel loves her new middle school, but because of the harsh North Dakota winter weather she cannot travel to school Her dad sends three of his children to a city about 100 miles away from home. They stay in a hotel room, with no parents and chores. They have whatever they want for breakfast, dinner, and dessert. I recommend this book for middle school girls. P: 8, Q: 10
Patricia Reilly Giff. WILLOW RUN. Wendy Lamb Books, 2005. ISBN: 0-385-73067-5. Pgs 149. $15.95. Gr. 4-7.
Willlow Run is a fast read about Meggie Dillon, a girl living during World War II. Her father moves the family to Willow Run, Michigan, where he gets a job at a factory making planes for the war. Meggie has to make new friends while worrying about her grandfather who they left behind in New York and her brother Eddie, who is in the war. When her brother is declared missing in action, she and her family must learn to cope? This story about true friends and finding your identity will appeal to kids in the 4th-6th grades. P: 6, Q: 6
Carolyn Hennesy. PANDORA GETS VAIN. Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2008. ISBN 978-1-59990-197-8. Pgs. 273. $14.99. Gr. 4 – 7.
Pandora Gets Vain is the funny second book in the Pandora series. Pandora just captured jealously, and now she’s chasing the second plague, Vanity. It takes her to a nasty desert temple in Egypt and a mysterious traveling caravan. From the leader of that caravan, she gets a ride through some crystal panels before she lands in Egypt. While there, she discovers Vanity; and comes face to face with two gods. I recommend this book to fifth and sixth grade girls. P: 7, Q: 7
Holly Hobbie. TOOT AND PUDDLE: THE ONE AND ONLY. Little, Brown, and Company, 2006. ISBN 978-0-316-36664-9. Pgs. 32 $16.99. Gr. K – 2.
Toot and Puddle: The One and Only is a charming story about Bubbles, the new student in Opal’s class, and how she outshines Opal to become the teacher’s pet and the most popular student in the class. There can only be one “One and Only” in Opal and Bubble’s class, so you’ll just have to read this marvelous story to discover who it really is. This story is based around animated pigs that show an outlook on human life. The illustrations in this story are great and they’ll keep you interested the whole way through. I would recommend Toot and Puddle: The One and Only to 2nd and 3rd graders who love sweet stories that have lots of illustrations in them. P: 9, Q: 8
Tony Johnston. THE SPOON IN THE BATHROOM WALL. Harcourt, Inc., 2005. ISBN 0-15-205292-5. Pgs. 134. $16.00. Gr. 3-4.
The Spoon in the Bathroom Wall is about a girl named Martha Snapdragon whose dad is the head janitor at Horace E. Bloggins School. Martha always got bullied by a boy named Rufus and he always made fun of her because of her dad being a janitor. One day, Martha discovered magical dancing and talking eggs that no one knew about. The eggs told her about a magic spoon that was located in the bathroom. I thought it was too easy and kind of pointless. I thought this book was very creative though. P: 7, Q: 6
Jennifer B. Jones. THE (SHORT) STORY OF MY LIFE. Walker and Company, 2004. ISBN 0-8027-8905-6. Pgs. 134. $16.95. Gr. 4 – 7.
This book is about a sixth grader named Mikey. Mikey has a crush on a girl named Macy, but Macy is a lot older than he is. He thinks Macy is starting to like him and everything is going good, until, Ben, Mikey’s best friend, tells him Ben saw Mikey’s big brother holding hands with Macy. Mikey falls apart. He has got to get over Macy and get on with his life. Will Macy still be the love of his life or will he find a new one? This book will appeal to boys and girls in the fifth and sixth grades. P: 6, Q: 7
Elizabeth Cody Kimmel. LILY B. ON THE BRINK OF COOL. Harper Collins Publishers, 2003. ISBN 0-06-000586-6. Pgs 239. $15.99. Gr. 5 – 8.
Lily B. on the Brink of Cool is a book about friendship and family. Lily’s met Karma, a new girl in town, and a friendship has developed, but Lily’s parents object to the friendship. To Lily, Karma and her parents appear cool and intriguing and despite her parents’ wishes, Lily pursues her friendship. When things get out of hand and there is an “accident” in Lily’s house when her parents aren’t home Lily learns she and her family are the victims of a con. I recommend this book for middle school girls. P: 8, Q: 10
R.L. LaFevers. Illus. Yoko Tanaka. THEODOSIA AND THE SERPENTS OF CHAOS. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2007. ISBN 978-0-618-75638-4. Pgs. 344. $16.00. Gr. 4 – 8.
This is the first book about eleven year old Theodosia Throckmorton [Theo for short]. Theodosia is the daughter of the overseer of the Museum of Legends and Antiquities in London. Theodosia is able to detect curses on objects and remove them carefully without the knowledge of her parents. When her mother discovers a valuable artifact named the Heart of Egypt, and it gets stolen, Theodosia has to rescue it from a secret organization called the Serpents of Chaos and return it to its rightful owner–the tomb of Thutmose in Egypt. This thrilling adventure will appeal to girls in the fifth through eighth grades. P:8, Q:9
R.L. LaFevers. Illus. Yoko Tanaka. THEODOSIA AND THE STAFF OF OSIRIS. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008. ISBN 978-0-618-92764-7. Pgs. 387. $16.00. Gr. 4 – 8.
This is the second book about eleven year old Theodosia Trockmorton. Theodosia is the daughter of the overseer of the Museum of Legends and Antiquities in London. Theodosia is given the task of cataloging the long term storage of the museum. A valuable staff is stolen and Theodosia has to think creatively to save the day. This thrilling adventure filled with action and frustration will appeal to girls in the fifth through eighth grade. P:8, Q:9
Rebecca Lisle. COPPER. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2002. ISBN 0-399-24211-2. 186 pgs. $16.99. Gr. 3 – 6.
Copper is a young girl who was mysteriously taken away from her parents when she was four. Now she lives with her Aunt Ruby. Aunt Ruby is a somewhat old lady with jet black hair who dresses very oddly. Copper is confused, but luckily she has Ralick, her stuffed animal to help her. Once in the spindle house of her Aunt, things begin to seem familiar to Copper. She embarks on an adventure trying to find her mother who made a charm bracelet for Copper containing magical powers. Along the way, she finds her dad and more than she bargained for. I would recommend this book to 6th graders. P: 7, Q: 7
Mary E. Lyons. LETTERS FROM A SLAVE BOY: THE STORY OF JOSEPH JACOBS. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2007. ISBN 978-0-689-87867-1. Pgs 197. $15.99. Gr. 4 – 8. This book is about the life of Joseph Jacobs, a slave boy. Joseph has grown up without the love of a father or mother. His mother “ran away” from her master; actually she’s hiding in the house where her children grew up. She never told Joseph who his father was. When Jacob is forced to run and escape his master, he goes to Boston, Massachusetts, but he is not free yet. When his master pursues Joseph and he has to find a way to escape and finally become free. This adventure is about discovering yourself and it will appeal to readers in the fifth, sixth, and seventh grades. P: 6, Q: 8
Lensey Namioka. HALF AND HALF. Delacorte Press, 2003. ISBN 0-385-73038-1. Pgs. 136. $15.95. Gr. 4 – 7.
This book is about eleven year old Fiona Cheng. Fiona is half Chinese and half Scottish, and both sets of grandparents are coming for the Folk Fest, a festival celebrating all different cultures. Both her mother’s parents and father’s mother want her to participate in the Folk Fest for their countries, but the events are at the exact same time. Fiona has to find a way to be able to participate in both. This tale of influential decisions and self-perception will appeal to girls in the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades. P: 7, Q: 7
Tyne O’Connell. PULLING PRINCESS (CALYPSO CHRONICLES). Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books, 2004. ISBN: 978-1582349572. Pgs. 208. $16.95. Gr. 7 – 10.
This is the remake of the classic story of a girl falling in love with a guy that’s way out her league and she will do anything to be popular. Calypso Kelly is going to a boarding school in Britain; while there, she meets the amazing Prince Freddie. After being picked on for years she finally snags a spot in the popular crowd, which means she gets invited to all the parties and banquets. While at one banquet she meets up with Prince Freddie and they sneak off and kiss in some bushes. She wakes up the next morning to find her face splattered across the media, and not in a good way. This is a story about an American girl trying to make it in a British boarding school. It is filled with all sorts of emotions, and a whole new vocabulary! It was funny, and there were a lot of strange little twists. The only problem I had was that throughout the whole book I was waiting for something big to happen, it was slow at times. I did however like all the new British vocabulary P: 7, Q: 9
Robert B. Parker. CHASING THE BEAR: A YOUNG SPENSER NOVEL. Philomel, 2009. ISBN: 978-0399247767. Pgs. 176. $15.99. Gr. 7 and up.
Chasing the Bear is an amazing adventure novel about a young boy living with his dad and two uncles. Spenser lives in a small Midwestern town; he has never known his mother. The only female he is close to is his best friend Jenny, whose father is always drunk, and sometimes abusive. So when Jenny is kidnapped by her father, Spenser feels called to rescue her. He sets off down the river in a small boat with some supplies. Spenser manages to rescue Jenny, but her father comes after them. I recommend this book to 7th and 8th grade boys. P: 8, Q: 8
Deborah Kogan Ray. TO GO SINGING THROUGH THE WORLD. Frances Foster Books Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2006. ISBN 0-374-37627-1. Pgs. 40. $17.00. Gr. 3 – 6.
To Go Singing through the World: The Childhood of Pablo Neruda is based around a young male named Pablo who grows up in a small town called Temuco along Chile’s southern frontier. As you read through this book you’ll find that Pablo truly wanted to express something extraordinary so he secretly wrote down his thoughts on paper. His writing became rich and powerful and when he turned 16 years old he started to distinguish himself as the People’s Poet, the most celebrated writer in Latin America of all time. This book will take you on a magnificent journey as you learn about Pablo’s life. Each page provides colorful artwork and illustrations to keep young readers entertained. I would recommend this book to 3 – 5 graders because it is an easier read, but has some challenging vocabulary squeezed into it as well. P: 7, Q: 9
Marion Roberts. SUNNY SIDE UP. Wendy Lamb Books, 2008. ISBN 978-0-385-73672-5. Pgs. 217. $15.99. Gr. 4 – 7.
Sunny Side Up is about a girl named Sunny who is struggling with change. Eleven year old Sunny likes her life the way it is, yet her mother invites her boyfriend and his two children to live with her and Sunny. Sunny’s best friend starts showing interest in the bully named Buster. That will further change their Friday night business, “Pizza-a-go-girl.” The middle school reviewer “thinks this book is for girls of all ages.” P: 8, Q: 8
Matthew Skelton. THE STORY OF CIRRUS FLUX. Delacorte Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-73381-6. Pgs. 304. $17.99. Gr. 4 – 7.
This is a story about a boy who finds out that he was given the world’s most powerful powers, the Breath of God. Now he has to get away from the bad guys and keep the powers away from evil. Will he keep his power and prevent evil from getting it? Will he win the showdown? I recommend this book to 5th and 6th graders. P: 7, Q: 7
Laini Taylor. Illustrations by Jim Di Bartolo. DREAMDARK: SILKSINGER. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2009. ISBN 978-0-399-24631-9. 445 pgs. $18.99 Gr. 5 – 9.
Magpie, Talon, and the Crow brothers are on a mission as they try to gather the djinn that created the world. Step into a unique world created by Taylor where the faeries are tough, fully realized characters. This book was read without benefit of reading the first one and the reviewer found it rather confusing. However, she does note that if the first one were read and enjoyed then 7th and 8th graders would probably want to read this one. This series will appeal to both genders. P: 8, Q: 7
Tim Tharp. KNIGHTS OF THE HILL COUNTRY. Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. ISBN 0-375-83653-5. Pgs. 233 $16.95. Gr. 8 and up.
Is it true? Can they do it? The Kennisaw Knights football team is going for its fifth straight undefeated season. If they succeed, they’ll be more than the best high school team, they’ll be legends. Hampton is trying to make his team the best ever. But is it worth it? This is the tale of a boy becoming a man and discovering the true meanings of sportsmanship and loyalty. I recommend it for boys grades 7 and up. P: 7, Q: 8
Lee Wardlaw. 101 WAYS TO BUG YOUR TEACHER. Dial Books, 2004. ISBN 0-8037-2658-9. 246 pgs. $16.99. Gr. 5 – 8.
An inventor known as “Sneeze” for his frequent sneezing, faces the torment of being looked upon as a genius. Everyone expects another invention, expects him to fix their broken machinary, and expects him to perform as a Mr. Fix-it. His teachers and parents expect him to skip the eighth grade and head straight to high school the following year. Sneeze finds this completely unacceptable, and, in an effort to remain at the middle school and not let down his parents or friends, Sneeze turns to his marvelous plan of “101 ways to bug your teacher.” Although this book is an easy read, it is quite funny with multiple unexpected situations. I recommend this book to anyone who can read. P: 8, Q: 10
Lea Wait. FINEST KIND. Margaret K. McElderry, 2006. ISBN 978-1416909521. pgs 256. $16.95. Gr. 5-8.
Finest Kind is an amazing story about family secrets, moving, and new neighbors. Jacob didn’t want to leave Maine, but when his father lost his job, the family had to move to Boston. Adding to the difficulties of moving, Jacob is tasked with keeping the family secret, a sibling with disabilities. In 1838 America, the stigma was just too much to bear and the family tried to keep the child’s existence secret. However, with the help of new friends and neighbors, Jacob finds a level of acceptance. The middle school reviewer recommends this book to mature middle school readers. P: 6, Q: 7
Mary Waldorf: THE GOLD RUSH KID. Clarion Books, 2008. ISBN 978-0-618-97730-7. Pgs. 232. $16.00. Gr. 4 – 7.
Billy and his sister, Edna, embark on a journey across the Yukon in search of their father in the gold fields after their mother dies. Edna dresses as a boy and becomes Ed and they experience more than their share of luck as they escape one harrowing incident after another. Eventually, they find their father yet Billy does not feel a part of his family when he is left out of key decisions. He decides to strike out on his own and find his sled dog that was sold to help the family financially. P: 7, Q: 6
Leander Watts. TEN THOUSAND CHARMS. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005. ISBN 0-618-44897-7. 228 pgs. $16.00. Gr. 6 and up.
Thea flees home with her two other sisters, and their dad: kingdom-less King Ivar. The King, thirsty for amusing “charms,” brings together a child desperate for a home into his family, and at the same time pushes Thea into harm’s way. Thea is forced to make decisions regarding her father’s threatened life, accept an unwanted boy, and to survive the demanding Parliament of Crows. Will she choose to save herself or her lost dad? This novel is high school level, for the readers with appetites for an indulging read full with suspense, affection, and a deep dose of darkness. P: 7, Q: 7
Michael Winerip. ADAM CANFIELD, WATCH YOUR BACK! (ADAM CANFIELD OF THE SLASH). Candlewick, 2007. ISBN: 978-0763623418. Pgs. 336. $15.99. Gr. 5 – 7.
Adam Canfield is a normal middle schooler. Well normal until he got mugged by a group of high school kids. They steal his shoveling money (a measly 40 dollars), and Adam gets a swollen nose. Rightfully, his mother calls the police, but that sets his whole life off track. He writes for his school newspaper, the “Slash”, and enjoys sports. This issue of the Slash, however, will not be an ordinary one; he will investigate some (possibly racial) tension between the zoning board and the Willows, they will try to save a 300 hundred year old climbing tree, and make a “Biggest bully” poll. How will Adam ever manage all this? He won’t, not without the help of his friends Jennifer, Shadow, Danny, and the barely helpful, Phoebe. I’d recommend this book for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. P: 9, Q: 9
Linda Zinnen. HOLDING AT THIRD. Dutton Children’s Books, 2004. ISBN 0-525-47163-4. Pgs. 152. $15.99. Gr. 5 – 8.
Matt is a gifted and talented athlete. His baseball skills are the stuff that the professionals envy. Yet, he enters a major league slump when he learns his brother must battle cancer. With the help of a coach, Matt learns that life isn’t about all one thing or another. It’s enough to seek balance. The middle school reviewer recommends this book for those who love baseball and kids in middle school. P: 7, Q: 8
June 2010 Reviews
B.R. Newport Intermediate School
Karas, G. Brian. The Village Garage. Henry Holt, c2010. ISBN 978-0-8050-8716-1. Unp. $16.99. Grades PreS-2nd. Q8 P9
Workers at the Village Garage are always busy no matter what the weather. In the spring they take their trusty truck and help cleanup sticks, sand and leftover leaves from autumn. Warm weather comes and the workers wash their trucks. Along comes summer and it is time to patch those potholes. Autumn brings the big machine, the Elephant Truck, and sucks up all those leaves. Don’t forget winter with all the snow. The trucks roll out with chains rattling, plows scraping, sand and salt spraying into the night. Children will enjoy looking and hearing about trucks which work throughout the seasons.
Jacobs, Paul DuBois and Jennifer Swender. Fire Drill. Ills. By Huy Voun Lee. Henry Holt, c2010. ISBN 978-0-8050-8953-0. Unp. $15.99 Grades PreS-1st. Q8 P8
The children in this Kindergarten class know just what to do when the fire alarm goes off. Put down toys, get in line, and quietly follow the teacher. This would be a wonderful book to read to younger children before their first fire drill.
London, Jonathan. I’m a Truck Driver. Ills. By David Parkins. Henry Holt, c2010. ISBN 978-0-8050-7989-0. Unp. $12.99. Grades PreS-2nd. Q8 P8
Boys and girls are driving 12 huge trucks, some of which are scooping up sand, flattening tar, harvesting grain, plowing snow or racing to a fire. The artist used acrylics on canvas to create the bright and colorful pictures for this book. The end papers have lots of trucks to examine.
Tierney, Fiona. Lion’s Lunch? Ills. By Margaret Chanberlain. Scholastic, c2010. ISBN 978-0-545-17691-0. Unp. $17.99 Grades PreS-2nd. Q8 P9
Sarah is walking through the jungle when Lion, the jungle king, growls at her “What are you doing in my jungle?” Sarah whispers, “Please Mr. Lion, I was only going for a walk.” No one just walks through his jungle, they must jump, slither, squeak, run, etc. But Sara has another talent nobody else has. She can draw. When she draws Lion a picture of him, Lion is not amused. His picture looks like a grump. Of course he is, all the other animals tell him. Sarah draws all the other animals, with happy faces and when she shows them to Lion he finally understands. A nice book about bullying.
Robinson-Pete, Holly and Ryan Elizabeth Peete. My Brother Charlie. Ills. Shane W. Evans. Scholastic Press, c2010. ISBN 978-0-545-09466-5. Unp. $16.99. Grades PreS-3rd. Q8 P7
Charlie and Callie are twins who have a lot in common, but also are very different. Charlie has autism. As Callie tells this story, she creates a mood of love and tolerance for her brother. He does not seem to be able to tell someone he loves them, not in words but he does tell them in actions. This picture book gives a few facts about autism. This would be a great gift to any family facing this difficulty in their lives.
Depalma, Mary Newell. The Perfect Gift. Arthur A. Levine Books, c2010. ISBN 978-0-545-15402-4. Unp. $16.99. Grades PreS-2nd. Q7 P9
A young bird found a ripe strawberry to take to her grandmother but the delivery wasn’t easy. This adventure unfolds for Lori as she meets new friends who try to be helpful but doesn’t succeed. Lori has dropped her gift into the river and can’t retrieve it. Chipmunk tries but just couldn’t reach. Goose comes along but still couldn’t reach it. Then along comes Frog who jumps in, dives into the deep and brings up the strawberry. Along comes crocodile and eats all four of them. They escape but the strawberry doesn’t. Together the friends make a book about their adventure. Grandma loves her present. This would be a great book to read during a unit on writing.
Perdomo, Willie and Collier Bryan. Clemente! Henry Holt and Company, c2010. ISBN 978-0-8050-8224-1. Unp. $16.99. Grades 3rd-5th. Q9 P7
In Puerto Rico a young boy learns about his namesake, Robert Clemente. Clemente was the first Latin American baseball player accepted into the Hall of Fame. Not only did he play exceptional baseball, he also was extensively involved in charity work in Latin America. He played for the Pittsburg Pirates and died in an airplane crash taking supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Included at the back of the book is a time line of his life and a Learn More page with book sources and web sites.
Jewell, Nancy. Alligator Wedding. Ills. by J. Rutland. Henry Holt & Co., c2010. ISBN 978-0-8050-6819-1. Unp. $16.99. Grades PreS-2nd. Q9 P9
The festivities and fun of a wedding are portrayed in this fun book Alligator Wedding. In a gown of moss and her cobweb veil, the bride looked lovely. The guests were all decked out in their finery. They had a feast, dancing and when the newly married couple, in their elegant traveling hats, was ready to leave, the raft started to sink. So they just swam away.
Rosenthal, Betsy R. Which Shoes Would You Choose? Ills. by Nancy Cote. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, c2010. ISBN 978-0-399-25013-2. Unp. $15.99. Grades PreS-1st. Q8 P8
This book takes you through the day of Sherman, a young boy who has to make decisions about what shoes to wear with which activity. Written in rhyming question and answer form will keep a young child thinking and making decisions. They will enjoy guessing what kind of shoes to wear.
Himmelman, John. Pigs to the Rescue. Henry Holt and Company, c2010. ISBN 978-0-8050-8683-6. Unp. $16.99 Grades PreS-3rd. Q9 P9 When something goes wrong and you can’t fix it, watch out! The pigs will rush to help leaving a path of destruction. By using each day of the week for each helpful event, this book could be used for helping teach the days of the week.
Buzzeo, Toni. No T. Rex in the Library. Ills. by Sachiko Yoshikawa. Margaret K. McElderry Books, c2010. ISBN 978-1-4169-3927-6. Unp. $16.99 Grades PreS-2nd. Q 8 P8
Tuesday morning Mom and Tess head to the library. Tess is out of control, she snarls and roars. Mom shouts “Time Out”. Mom leaves Tess for just ten quiet minutes. Whoops, Tess knocks over a cart of books. Out jumps a T. Rex from an adventure book. She jumps onto his back and rides him through the library, trying to calm him down. She finally herds him back into his book and quiet reigns again.
Andres, Kristina. Elephant in the Bathtub. NorthSouth, c2010. ISBN 978-0-7358-2291-7. Unp. $12.95 Grades PreS-1st. Q7 P8
Elephant in the Bathtub is a cute story about friends going on an adventure together. Elephant, with his little rubber ducky, gets into the bathtub but is not alone for long. Cat, with his box of tub toys, joins him. Soon Baby Giraffe drops in with her tub toys. Mice, bear, cow, all crawl in. Soon the tub is full and they decide to go fishing. They catch a fish that smells like banana, but where did all the water go?
Lord, Cynthia. Hot Rod Hamster. Ills. Derek Anderson. Scholastic Press, c2010. ISBN 978-0-545-03530-9. Unp. $16.99. Grades PreS- 1st. Q8 P8
Hamster wants to join the big boy’s race. He goes to bulldogs junkyard to get his needed items, something very small for a small animal. Children will love to help choose what is needed, “Smooth wheels, stud wheels, driving through the mud wheels, fat wheels, thin wheels, take her for a spin wheels”. After getting his car completed he races against the big boys. In the end the little guy wins.
Edwards,Pamela Duncan. While the World is Sleeping. Ills. by Daniel Kirk. Orchard Books,c2010. ISBN 978-0-545-01756-5. Unp. $16.99. Grades PreS-2nd. Q7,P7
Combining nocturnal animals with a bedtime story, Pamela Edwards has created a reassuring bedtime poem. A small child climbs aboard a white owl and explores the night animals, flying off to see swimming fish, dam-building beavers, a bright-eyed fox and more. The lulling rhythm of the rhyming text will take a young one into sleepy bliss.
Dods, Dayle Ann. Teacher’s Pets. Ills. by Marylin Hafner. Candlewick, c2006 ISBN 978-0-7636-4637-8. Unp. $6.99. Grades PreS-2nd. Q8 P8
A patient and gentle teacher, Miss Fry allows her students to bring a pet to share. Somehow each pet stays until the end of the year. Miss Fry just feeds them and she and the children go home for the night. On the last day of school all the children take their pets home except for one. Miss Fry takes home the cricket and puts it in her flower garden.
Leedy, Loreen. The Shocking Truth about Energy. Holiday House, c2010. ISBN 978-0-8234-2220-3. 32 pgs. $17.95. Grades 2-5 Q8 P8
Erg, the pure energy lightning bolt, takes the reader through many forms of energy. He explains what energy is, its forms and how they are used. He tells us good news and bad news about the energy form. Included in this news is plant power, wind power, water power along with nuclear, solar and many more. Done in a great format the illustrations will keep a youngster interested and engaged. At the end there are energy saving tips to help save money and energy. Also included is a page giving Web links, more on saving energy and money and one with more bad news about Fossil Fuels.
C.S. Siletz Public Library
Fischer, Hans. Pitschi (The Kitten Who Always Wanted to be Something Else: A Sad Story that Ends Well). Trans. Marrianne Martens. NorthSouth, 1993/2010. $16.95. ISBN 9780735822788. Unp. Ages 3-8.
This is a delightful book about a small kitten who wants to be something else. Pitschi tries out being a rooster, a duck, a goat, and a rabbit, but finally has a scare which makes her very sick. After that she realized that being a kitten, safe with her person Lisette, is an okay thing. The illustrations (lithographs) are cheerful and fun. The Swiss writer and illustrator, Hans Fischer has been famous in Europe for his illustrations since WWII. P8Q9.
Freedman, Claire. Dinosaurs Love Underpants. Il. Ben Cort. Aladdin, 2008. $15.99. ISBN 9781416989387. Unp. Ages 4-8.
This silly story will crack up readers under the age of 10. It tells readers the origin of underpants, and the story of the demise of the dinosaurs (it’s all to do with the dinosaurs’ underpants jealousy). The pictures are brightly colored, and the rhyming story is great for a read aloud. My group of 5 and 6 year olds found it hilarious. P9Q8.
McDonnell, Patrick. Wag. Little, Brown, & Co., 2009. $15.99. ISBN 9780316045483. Unp. Ages 3-6.
My story group really liked this one. The pictures are simple and clear, and the story about Earl the dog is really sweet. There are a lot of sound effects indicated in the pictures that the kids will enjoy a lot. The author is the creator and artist of the comic strip MUTTS, so his style may be familiar. P8Q8.
French, Vivian. Yucky Worms. Il. Jessica Ahlberg. Candlewick Press, 2009. $16.99. ISBN 9780763644468. 28 pgs. Ages 5-8.
I found this book delightful. Many people have a negative response to the idea of a worm, but reading this book might change their minds. A grandmother educates her grandson about the value of earthworms in the garden. The soft illustrations are paired with the simple dialog and interesting facts about the lifecycle of worms, what they eat, how they move, and the good they do for us and the earth. The last pages tell “How to be a Wormologist,” giving advice about how to gently observe them. There is an index. P7Q9.
Hansen, Amy S. Bugs and Bugsicles: Insects in the Winter. Il. Robert C. Cray. Boyds Mills Press, 2010. $17.95. ISBN 9781590782699. 32 pgs. Ages 7-11.
This informative book is nicely illustrated in acrylics. Each picture goes along with the text to teach the reader about how insects manage to either survive or leave offspring that will make it through the winter. While the language level is suitable for kids between the ages of 7 and 11, I read it to a younger group of children (5 and 6) and they enjoyed it very much and had a lot of questions and comments about insects. I think this would be a great addition to any school library or science class bookshelf. P7Q8.
Clements, Andrew. Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School: We the Children, Book 1. Il. Adam Stower. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2010. $14.99. ISBN 9781416938866. 142 pgs. Ages 9-12.
This is an entertaining adventure about two children (a boy and a girl) who set out to save their school from being knocked down to make way for a theme park. There is a dying man’s request, intrigue, a map, an old book, and a good villain mixed up in this story. I think kids will find this book fun to read until they reach the last page, when they find that they have to wait for the next book to learn the end of the story! There are nice illustrations that add a lot to the book, and the setting may appeal to children in our area- it’s set in coastal Massachusetts, and involves the sea in various ways- sailing, nautical terms, etc. P8Q7.
Sorrells, Walter. Eratum. Dutton Children’s Books, 2008. $17.99. ISBN 9780525478324. 298 pgs. Ages 9-12.
When 10 year old Jessica finds a book called Her Lif (which has a misprint in the title), things get interesting. The book is actually about her life, and as she makes choices, the story changes. We find out that Jessica is the guardian of the universe and has to keep things going on the correct path. She is a smart, interesting heroine, and her friend Dale is a believable character too. The idea of alternate universes is fascinating, but the really interesting point about this book is that the choices we make now can affect what happens to our futures. I think that middle school/ junior high students will enjoy this book. P8Q8.
Book Review June 2010 – C.B.
Askounis, Christina, The dream of the stone, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1993, 288 pgs., $17.99, ISBN:1416935681, Gr. 6+, P 8, Q 8
Sarah, is almost 15 years-old the year her parents die in freak air plane accident. She must now live with her Aunt and Uncle instead of her great aunts who live in London. This fact alone surprises Sarah, but what can she do about it, her parents will has placed he in their care. Her brother Sam, who works for the CIPHER Company in California promises to get her as soon as he is done with his big project. Sam also calls and writes letters to Sarah, that is until one day they stop coming and she can no longer talk to him on the phone. When a package from Sam arrives with a mysterious rock inside she knows that Sam must be in trouble. When Sarah discovers that the rock came from another world and that Sam might be there, it up to her to save both worlds and to get all of them back to Earth safely. This is great suspenseful science fiction story that middle and high school age students would enjoy.
Brandeis, Gayle, My life with the Lincolns, Henry Holt and Co., 2010, 248 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:0805090134, Gr. 7+, P 7, Q 8,
The summer of 1966, will bring a lot of changes to Mina’s world. The story is set against the Vietnam War and Dr. Martin Luther Kings freedom marches. Mina with her rather over active imagination thinks that her family is the reincarnation of the Lincoln family. Her father is known as “Honest Abe” and proudly dresses up like him when ever there is a parade or a sale in his furniture shop. Mina and her father are soon going to freedom marches, and attending speeches given by Dr. Martin Luther King in Chicago, Illinois. Her parents seem to be drifting apart, her father going to peace movement activities and her mother determined to impress her posh friends. This is a coming of age story that will appeal to middle and high school students.
Chapman, Fern, Is it night or day? Farrar Straus Giroux, 2010, 205 pgs., $17.99. ISBN:0374177449, Gr. 6+, P 7, Q 9,
It’s 1936, Edith lives with her parents, Vati and Mutti in a small town in Germany. Being Jewish and fearing rise of anti-Semitism that is growing in Germany, Edith’s parents have already sent her sister to America to live with realtives. After Vati is beaten to Nazi’ the struggle is now how to get Edith, also known as Tiddy, to America too. So the year, 1937, that Tiddy turns 12, she is sent to live with her Onkel Jacob in Chicago. She leaves behind a world that is changing fast and one that cannot guarantee that she will return to home after the war. What she finds in Chicago is an aunt who treats her as a servant, a school that places her in the 1st grade, a language she doesn’t understand and prejudices towards her because she is both German and Jewish. This story is based on the author’s grand mother, Edith Westerfield, escape from Nazi Germany and the difficulties that she faced in America.
Cohagan, Carolyn, The lost children, Aladdin, 2010, 313 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:1416986162, Gr. 5+, P 7, Q 8,
Josephine Russing is 12 years-old the year that she follows Fargus, a mute, boy into the tool shed and falls into an alternate world. Josephine finds her way to the Higgins Institute where she is reunited with Fargus, an orphan in this world. Fargus and Ida, a fellow orphan, know that they must escape this orphan asylum for they know that they are to be sent to the evil Master next. Escaping with Josephine the three make it to the near by city of Gulm. Gulm is a city of mostly adults who have had to give their own children to the Master. It is up to Josephine to come to the rescue, saving not only Fagus and Ida but all the children being kept captive and to return to her own world. The main characters of this story are well developed and the plot is one that captures the reader attention. As the plot unfolds this fantasy adventure is one that is sure to appeal to middle and high school age students.
Heldring, Thatcher, Roy Morelli steps up to the plate, Delacorte Press, 2010, 229 pgs, $15.99, ISBN:0385733917, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 7,
Roy Morelli, 13 years-old, sits in class ignoring what the teacher is teaching instead he and two other students try to toss paper in purses or garbage cans. After all why does he need to know any of subjects that are being taught in any of his classes. Roy Morelli has been on the local All-Star team since 6th grade, he knows that he will professional baseball and that is all he needs to concentrate on. His divorced parents however have something else planned for Roy no All-Star team unless the grades don’t come up. He thinks they are fooling around and finds him self not on the team but one that he feels is beneath. He is also put with a teacher who will tutor him a girl during the summer. The tutor also happens to be his father’s new girl friend. This is baseball story that will appeal to those who love to play baseball. I enjoyed this story for the author makes it apparent to the reader that sports are not enough to make it in the world, you also have to have an education.
Hobbs, Valerie, The last best days of summer, France Foster Books, 2010, 197 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:0374346704, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 9,
Lucy has always spent some of her summers with her grandmother, a gifted artists, alone where it is just the two of them. She can’t understand why this summer her parents are thinking of not letting her go. She will be a 7th grader next year and she has done everything they want her to do this summer. She has even spent her summer working with a Eddie, a boy with Down Syndrome, who will also be going into the 7th grade next year. There is also her friend Megan who spent the summer coming up with plans to ensure that they will be popular in school next year. When Lucy parents finally agree to her time with Grams, Lucy discovers what her parents have been shielding from her. Grandma isn’t the same she now has someone stopping by to check on her and to bring her food. This is to be their last summer at the lake that the two of them will have together. Anyone who has a relative suffering from Alzheimer’s will find this book one that could be read aloud and to be used as a introduction to this disease.
Lasky, Kathryn, Chasing Orion, Candlewick Press, 2010, 362 pgs., ISBN:0763639826, Gr. 8+, P 7, Q 9,
As a young girl growing up in Jackson, Wyoming, in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, I was around water most of the summer. I remember my mother telling me to stay out of the creek that ran behind our house. She even went so far as to put a chicken wire fence up so that we stayed out of the water. This was because water was associated with Polio. So this book struck a chord with my life and memories. Georgie is 11 year-old the summer in 1952 when she meets Phyllis. Phyllis and her family moved into the house next door and is a senior in high school and should be attending there this fall. Phyllis is also the first person that Georgie has met that has had Polio. Phyllis lives in a iron lung that helps her to breathe.
Georgie’s brother falls for Phyllis and it is up to Georgie to help her brother to see that Phyllis wants more from them than he knows. This is a quick moving book that should appeal to older readers.
Marsden Carolyn, and Niem, Thay Phap,The Buddha’s diamonds, Candlewick Press, 2008, 100 pgs., glossary, $14.99, ISBN:0763633801, Gr. 5+, P 7, Q 7,
Niem at the age of ten is finally going to be allowed to help his father, a fisherman in Vietnam, on his boats. He has always wanted to go with his father but he also wants to be able to able to fly kites with his friend, Tinh. His first day is all that he has dreamed of, his father, Ba, has even entrusted him with tying the boat up for a storm is brewing off the coast. Niem becomes frightened instead and doesn’t secure the boat right. For a family who makes it’s living from the sea the loss of the boat is one that they may not ever be able to recover from. This book offers a look in the simple life of a fisherman on Vietnam. The author introduces the Buddha religion and terms to the reader.
Paulsen, Gary, Lawn boy returns, Wendy Lamb Books, 2010, 101 pgs, $12.99, ISBN:0385746628, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 8,
This is Gary Paulsen’s sequel to the Lawn Boy where we again find Joey Pow riding his lawn mower to mow someone’s lawn. He is still making money and Arnold, his stockbroker, is talking about going even bigger. Joey now needs a public relations manager, two new accounts and Arnold wants him to diversify by buying real estate around town. This is all set against a cousin who moves into Grandma’s drive way and is determined to help Joey and his grand mother with all the money they are earning. This is a book that will make you laugh and is sure to appeal to those who read Paulsen’s other books.
Riordan, Rick, The red pyramid, Hyperion Books, 2010, 515 pgs, $17.99, ISBN:1423113381, Gr. 6+, P 9, Q 8 ,
All year my students have been asking for the Percy Jackson books. They have been off my shelves since the first day of school. They have been so popular that I have even had to but multiple copies of the books. Sadly I have not been able to get my own hands a single copy all year. So when I saw The red pyramid I grab a copy and now understand what the excitement has been all about. From the first page this book, seeped in Egypt mythology, I was hooked and could not put it down. Carter and Sadie Kane are brother and sister who have been raised apart from the time that their mother died. On Christmas Eve they pick Sadie up in London England and go the British Museum to see the Rosetta Stone. Here Carter and Sadie see their father use this stone to bring forth a Egyptian God who will aide their father in bring back their mother. What he unleashes is an Egyptian God who is determined to destroy the Earth and become the leader of the world. This is book that I know will be flying off my shelves in September. I have plans to get at least one more copy for my school’s library.
Shefelman, Janice, Anna Maria’s gift, illustrated by Robert Papp, Random House, 2010, 104 pgs., $12.99, ISBN:0375858814, Gr. 4+, P 7, Q 7,
Anna Marie is just 9 years old the year that her father, a gifted violin maker, dies and she is sent to Venice, Italy. Here she will live and study at the orphanage, Pieta, under the tutelage maestro Antonio Vivaldi. The only thing that Anna Marie’s father has left her is one of his prized violins that when she plays makes her feel closer to her father once again. This simple story is one that younger students will find pleasing as they are introduced to this cast of characters.
Sheth, Kashmira, Boys without names, Balzer + Bray an imprint of HaperCollins Publishers, 2010, 316 pgs., $15.99, ISBN:0061857602, Gr. 7+, P 7, Q 8,
Gopal, is 11 years-old the year that his family sneaks out of their village, they own money to the money lenders, and make their way to Mumbai, India. Here Gopal’s father, Baba is sure to find work. Baba and his family become separated on the journey. When Gopal and his family finally arrives it Mumbai, Gopal is determined to find his Baba once again. What he in counters is child slavery where he and five other boys are starved, beaten and forced to work long hours in a sweat shop. Never has a book moved me more strongly that this tale of drudgery and survival. I would recommend this book to anyone who is studying the India culture.
Williams, Sarah DeFord, Palace beautiful, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2010, 232 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:0399252983, Gr. 6+, P 8, Q 9,
This story is set in the mid 1980’s in Salt Lake, Utah. Here 13 year-old, Sadie, the narrator of the story, has just moved into their new house with her father, pregnant step mother and her little sister, Zuzu. The house is old with lots of character. Sadie has to explore it and in the attic she finds a little hidden room. It is just big enough for her to crawl into here she finds a journal and necklace. The journal she discovers is from a previous inhabitant, a little girl her age who had lived here during the big flu epidemic of 1918.
Arnold, Caroline, Global warming and the dinosaurs: fossil discoveries at the poles, illustrated by Laurie Caple, Clarion Books, 2009, 40 pgs., index, $17.00, ISBN:0618803386, Gr., P, Q,
If you ever wondered how the dinosaurs were able to survive during the Mesozoic Era on Earth, this book might have your answers. The author discusses not only the dinosaurs of this time but also the flora and fauna. Breaking the Earth into regions the author reports on the fossils found in each of there regions and uses to introduce how each dinosaur may have survived. Caple’s full page watercolor paintings make the dinosaurs come to life. This is book of dinosaur will appeal to those who love reading about these giants.
Bredson, Carmen, Hair-shooting Tarantulas and other weird spiders, Enslow Publishers, 2010, 24 pgs., glossary, index, $21.26, ISBN:0766031276, Gr. 2+, P 7, Q 7,
This book is part of the “I like weird animals series,” where the author presents younger readers with spiders. One has a smiling face on it’s back, and another looks like bird droppings. Bright colored photographs introduce these strange spiders to the readers. My daughter who teaches 2nd grade was excited about this book, she teaches a unit on spiders. According to her science books are hard to find for this age group.
Claybourne, Anna, 100 most disgusting things on the planet, Scholastic, 2010, 112 pgs., $7.99, ISBN:0545197759, Gr. 4+, P 9, Q 7,
On the cover of the book there is a warning that states “prepare for the worst” I should have known that it was going to be bad. Revolting, however is what I found. The author has arranged the content of the book into categories plants, offensive animals, germs, fungus, and snot these are just a few of the disgusting things that author writes about. She even went so far as to include a “Yuck Factor” so that the reader knows how yucky they are. This is a book that I know will fly of my shelves.
Fangs, Scholastic, 2009, 95 pgs., $8.99, ISBN:0545202949, Gr.3+, P 8, Q 7
Any mammal or reptile that has fangs has been included in this book. Reptiles, snakes, bears and walrus are just a few that this book describes. From their scientific name, to their length and habitat are presented with a text that younger students can understand. The photographs are colored, clear and up to date. This book offers a starting point for students who are doing research on one of the animals found in this book.
Murrie, Matthew, & Murrie, Steve, Up close: our extraordinary world, Scholastic, 2010, 79 pgs., $6.99, ISBN:054515605X, Gr.5+, P 7 , Q 7,
A variety of different animals are presented and discussed using up to date colored photographs and facts. Blown up sections show case the different animals and gives the reader a better view of what an elephant’s skin looks like. The book itself is printed on recycled paper and at the back of the book they give ideas on how we can recycle. This book would be used as a starting part for a student doing research on one of the animals included in the back.
Hinman, Bonnie, Danica Patrick, Morgan Reynolds, 2009, 112 pgs., index, web sites, ISBN:1599350793, Gr. 7+, P 8, Q 8,
This book on Danica Patrick is part of the “Xtreme athletes” series. It is great to see a book about a woman who has broken into a male dominated sport. She started racing in karting in 1992. By 1998 she had quit school to pursue her dream of driving race cars in England. Ms. Patrick is an example to all that if you work hard enough your dreams can come true.
Price, Sean, Cixi: evil empress of China? Franklin Watts, 2009, 128 pgs., glossary, index, $30.00,ISBN:0531185559, Gr. 9+, P 7, Q 8,
Vincent, Zu, Catherine the Great: empress of Russia, Franklin Watts, 2009, 128, pgs., glossary, index, $30.00, ISBN:0531218023, Gr. 9+, P 7, Q 9,
Both of these two books, which are part of Scholastic’s Wicked History” series, present these two wicked ladies with a clear text that is easy for the reader to follow. Cixi is described as a power hungry monarch who even was willing to bypass her son to be the next ruler of China. She felt the nephew would be easier to control than her son, who hated her as he saw her as the murderer of his father. Catherine the Great while seen as a power hungry monarch also did much to bring enlightenment to Russia. She brought poets, writers, scientists and artists to the Russian court. These books would be great to include in any high school library.
Book Reviews By C.E. NMS/INMS
Swinburne, Stephen, Whose Shoes? Boyds Mills Press, 2010. UNP. $16.95 ISBN: 978-1-59078-569-0 Grade: K+. P7 Q7
Ever wonder how many different types of shoes there are? The photos in this story show these many different kinds of shoes and the jobs that go with them. From boots to clown shoes. I like the way the author uses the different types of shoes to show the different types of jobs there are and how kids can used there imagination to fill the shoes when they grow up. I think this book would be a great read aloud for pre-school and up. It would also make a good book for little girls who have a shoe fetish.
Redbank, Tennant, Beck’s Bunny Secret Illustrated by Shimabukuro, Denise. Random House, 2010, 48 p., $3.99, ISBN: 978-0-7364-2643-5 Grade: K-3 P8 Q8
Another adventure for the Disney Fairies. Brightly, water colored illustrations bring this cute fairy story to life. A cute adventure of a little lost bunny, Bitty. Beck keeps the little bunny secret from Fawn and Fawn is keeping the same secret from Beck, the secret being that they are both taking care of Bitty and doesn’t want the other fairy to know about it. This would be a good book for story time.
Surgal, Jon, Have You Seen My Dinosaur? Illustrated by: Mathieu, Joe. Random House, 2010, UNP., $8.99, ISBN: 978-0-375-85639-6 Grade: K+, P8 Q8
Written in rhyme with brightly colored and detailed illustrations of these wonderful characters who help bring this story to life of a little boy who searches for his lost dinosaur. Another successful story from the world of I can read it all by myself books. This would be a good addition to any library and it would make a good read a loud for story time too.
Rockwell, Anne, At The Supermarket. Henry Holt & Co., 2010. UNP., $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-8050-7662-2 Grade: K-3 P8 Q8
“The Supermarket” was originally published over 30 years ago and has now been updated by the same author. The art work in this story has also been updated from three-color separations to acrylic gouache on cold-press watercolor paper. Written in bold print, this story is easy to read.
Edwards, Pamela Duncan, Princess Pigtoria and the Pea. Illustrated by Cole, Henry. Orchard Books, 2010. UNP., $16.99, ISBN: 978-0-545-15625-7 Grade: K+ P8 Q8
What a twist on an old story. I don’t remember the Princess and the Pea having so many “P’s” in it. I love the brightly colored and detailed illustrations that bring to life these amazing characters. Written in bold print would make this story easy to read for younger readers, but all the “P” words makes it a tongue twister to read. Still a cute story this would make a wonderful read aloud for story time. I would also recommend this book for any library.
Burg, Sarah Emmanuelle, Do You Still Love Me? NorthSouth, 2010. UNP., $14.95, ISBN: 978-0-7358-2293-1 Grade: K+, P8 Q8
This is a good story to show children that mommies and daddies have bad days too. It also shows that friends can help each other when they are feeling down. The brightly colored, gold tone illustrations are done in watercolors. This would be a good book to add to a counselors office to show that no matter how Mommy’s and Daddy’s feel about each other, they still love there children no matter what. I would also recommend it for any library or classroom.
Wright, Randall, The Geezer in The Freezer Illustrated by Wickstrom, Thor. Bloomsbury Childrens Books, 2009. UNP. $16.99 ISBN: 978-1-59990-135-0 Grade: 2+ P8 Q8
The oil painting illustrations in this book are wonderful. I love the brightly colored pictures which bring the characters to life. The details make these pictures jump off the pages. They make you feel like you are part of the story. I like the way the author wrote in rhyme and all the silly expressions that he used to tell of a wonderful story of a Geezer in the Freezer. I would recommend this story for any library or a fun read a loud.
Braeuner, Shellie, The Great Dog Wash Illustrated by Neubecker, Robert. Simon & Schuster, 2009. UNP. $15.99, ISBN: 978-1-4169-7116-0 Grade: K+, P9 Q9
Big, Bright, Colorful illustrations greet you at the beginning of the story and continue throughout the story. Written in different kinds of text makes this story even more exciting and leaves you wanting more of the same as you turn each page. As the excitement builds in this story page after page you can’t wait to see what happens next at the dog wash. As the Winner of the Cheerios new author contest, this book should be a winner in any library. It would also make a great story time book.
Crum, Shutta, Thunder-Boomer! Illustrated by Thompson, Carol. Clarion Books, 2009, 32 p. $16.00, ISBN: 978-0-618-61865-1 Grade: K+, P8 Q8
The illustrations in this book are done in many different formats which brings color, detail and expression together. Soft pastels to bold blacks and grays, bring out the settings of this story. The use of onomatopoeia within the pictures adds extra sound effects to the story. This is a quick and fun read and would be a great addition to any library.
Compestine, Ying Chang, Boy Dumplings Illustrated by Yamasaki, James. Holiday House, 2009, UNP. $16.95, ISBN: 978-0-8234-1955-5, Grade: 3+, P7 Q7
The boldly bright watercolors and gouache illustrations found in this story really bring the characters to life. What I thought was another ghost story turned out to be a story of a Chinese Halloween treat. During the Ghosts Festival Chinese believe that Ghost roam the streets in search of food. The people of Beijing toss sweet treats and dumplings out into the streets in front of their houses so the hungry ghost will not haunt their families. This would be a good book to introduce Chinese Holidays to children. The pictures themselves would make a great story.
Hasler, Eveline, In My Dreams I Can Fly Illustrated by Bhend, Kathi. NorthSouth, 2008. UNP. $16.95, ISBN: 978-0-7358-2259-7 Grade: 1+, P8 Q8
Illustrations are done with soft pastel colors that bring to life the characters in this story. A story of a long cold winter told in a different way. This story is told by the insects that live underground. 5 friends spend the winter underground playing cards and keeping each other company. Then one warm spring day they discover something new. Their friend’s dream has come true as she has turned into a butterfly and flownw away ready to enjoy a lovely spring day. I would recommend this book for any library.
Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers by M.D. ASPIRE
Pignat, Caroline. Greener Grass. Red Deer Press, 2009. $12.95. 978-0-88995-402-1. ages middle & high school. 276 pgs. p8/q8
This is a fiction story but has a great deal of history. If a student was learning about Ireland and the great potato famine from the 19th century this would bring that time frame to life. I really enjoyed the story of the Bryrne’s family and fourteen year old Kit. I believe if a student was having troubles with being evicted, job loss or shortage of food they could relate to this story. It shows how a fourteen year old girl can make a big difference for her family’s survival. Very realistic face paced intriguing story.
Thompson, Ricki. City of Cannibals. Front Street, 2010. $18.95. 978-1-59078-623-9. ages middle & high school. 269 pgs. P8/q8
This is a very interesting book about Dell and her adventures as she leaves the village for the city. Her father has told her that in the city the cannibals will eat her alive. She meets a boy Ronaldo who is about to become a Benedictine monk. She is taken in by John the Joiner who helps her figure out the city and not fall into the wrong hands. She helps the rebels who don’t want to sign the King’s oath or die a traitor’s death. This book is suspenseful and helps one understand the history of 1527 and England. At the end of the story is an Author’s note that helps to place this fictional story in history. I think books like these help students enjoy the history they have to learn about in social studies classes.
Marsden, Carolyn. Take Me With You. Candlewick Press, 2010. $14.99. 978-0-7636-3739-2. ages middle school. 158 pgs. P7/q8
This is a fictional story of girls who are raised in an orphanage after World War II . This story deals with the biracial issues as one of the girls has this heritage and how people were treated at this time in history. This book deals with adoption as the girls fear being adopted and separated. The his history takes place in Italy and has a glossary in the back of Italian words and their meaning. I think when students read books with foreign language mixed in if they are a low level reader it makes it hard for them to understand the paragraphs unless they are willing to use the tools such as the glossary. This story would relate to students who are struggling with adoption and what it is like to have a home.
Colbert, David. Michelle Obama: An American Story. Sandpiper Books, 2009. 978-0-547-24770-0 ages middle and high school. 151 pgs. P7/q7
The book has color photos of Michelle growing up, as well as a notes section at the back with dates and bibliography. This book gives a very favorable biographical look at the President’s wife, how she grew up and the choices she made in life to become what she is today. Michelle is an inspiration to all strong women and girls. This was an easy fast read and enjoyable.
Ives, David. Voss: How I Come to America and Am Hero, Mostly. The Penguin Group, 2008. $17.99. 978-0-399-24722-4. ages middle and high school. 200pgs. P7/q7
This is a funny story of a 15 year old boy Voss from Slobovia – a fictional place that helps the reader learn about emigration and immigration. It also has mystery and as it talks about organ and tissue donation and the black-market. It is has humor as he smuggles himself to America in a shipping container of cheese puffs. I found the accent hard to follow at times as the story is told in letters that he sends home. The broken English he uses was sometimes hard for me to understand but it is a very comical story.
Franco, Betsy. Metamorphosis: Junior Year. Candlewick Press, 2009. $16.99. 978-0-7636-3765-1. high school. 114pgs. P8/q8
Ovid a high school junior and artist makes up a story of his classmates lives in the style of a Roman mythology. He is struggling with his family dynamics as his family expects perfection because they are worn out from dealing with their meth-addicted daughter. Students who were having family or emotional problems may gain some insight by reading this story. This book also explains who Ovid is in Book one of Metamorphoses a Roman poet Ovid. This book may help a student understand when reading about mythology. This book also has some very interesting pictures that melt the mythology and Ovid’s friends.
Couloumbis, Audrey. Love Me Tender. Random House Children’s Books, 2009. $16.99. 978-0-375-83839-2. middle school. 210 pgs. p8/q9
Thirteen year old Elvira worries about her family when her dad leaves for Las Vegas after a fight. He wants to be an Elvis impersonator and leaves his pregnant wife. Her mom takes Elvira and her younger sister to Memphis for a visit with their grandmother. When her mom gets there she falls apart and Elvira fights to save her mom and family. Elvira realizes that love comes in many different forms and that with the help of her grandmother and Aunt she can heal. This book deals with family problems and growing up. I enjoyed this story and I can see that many students could relate.
Colebank, Susan. Cashing In. Dutton Books, 2009. $16.99. 978-0-525-42151-1. high school. 314 pgs. P8/Q8
Regina has had to be both daughter and mother to her own mother. It has been 3 years since her father died and her mother is gambling her sorrows away. Regina overeats to deal with her stress but then her mother wins the lottery and she hopes all of her troubles are over. She has to deal with people who act like her friends now that she has money and trying to control her mother. This book deals with death, loss, friendship, and a girl who is trying to discover who she really is. The book ends with a chapter called “Two Weeks Later” which I like when they tell the whole story. Each chapter has a little text message that starts off the mood of the chapter. I don’t think the cover is a good depiction of what this story is really about – I don’t think her mom would look like the person on the cover.
Teller, Janne. Nothing. Atheneum Books for Young Readers. New York. 2010. $16.99. 978-141-698579-2 high school. 227pgs. P 8/q9
This book is very intense and I’m not sure if impressionable students should read this book. It talks about how a group of 7th graders are tormented by Pierre who has decided life has no meaning. Pierre quit school and climbed in a tree and yells at his classmates daily. They decide that they will build a pile of meaning in an abandoned saw mill. Things get strange as the students start choosing what each other have to throw on the pile of meaning. This book cover jacket says “A Lord of the Flies” for the twenty-first century.” – but the story gets really crazy when they force one girl to give up her innocence, they cut off a dog’s head and then to top it all off they cut off a boys finger. I really worry that students who read this may get some crazy ideas and want to do this themselves. This book needs a disclaimer with it because some wild students should be supervised when reading this.
Walsh, Peter. With illustrations by John Henrix. It’s All Too Much, So Get It Together, Less Junk. Clearer Mind. Better Life. Simon & Schuster, 2009. $12.99. 978-1-4169-9549-4. middle and high school. 278 pgs. P7/q8
This book is written by New York Times Bestselling author Peter Walsh, a professional organizer from TLC’s Hit Series Clean Sweep. This is a great book about how to unclutter you life. It is a very quick read with easy steps to follow so a messy person can really make a quick difference. It has a section about clutter, decluttering, and applying these skills to the rest of your life. It even has a section about future jobs and how to be effective and organized. The book is very student friendly with pictures and tips in a easy format.
Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers
Reviews by N.W.
Albee, Sarah. Poop Happened! A History of the World from the Bottom Up. Il. Robert Leighton. Walker, 2010. $15.99. 170p. 978-0-8027-2077-1. Ages 9-13:
With its popular topic Albee provides a romp through history from ancient Greece to the early twentieth century, showing the importance of this bodily function on health, architecture, politics, and human behavior. According to Albee, three of the four ways to spread disease—air, water, touch, and insect bite—can come from bad plumbing which is affected by a rapidly growing population, problems with waste disposal, and the result of poor bathing. The enticing format of this paperback uses lime and blue on white background with drawings and photographs; the fluid writing style and humor slyly educate while entertaining, bringing history accessible. A captivating find for those who both hate and love to read. P8Q9
Blasberg, Derek. Classy: Exceptional Advice for the Extremely Modern Lady. Razorbill, 2010. $16.99. 240p. 978-1-59514-279-5. Ages 12+:
The importance of looking good so that women can be more important and find a husband is this book’s message. Blasberg, a fashion writer, throws around the word “tramp” with abandon as his anonymous illustrator exaggerates the appearance of “lady” and “tramp.” The author considers himself a “Manhattan man-about-town,” and his advice may have value for those who aim for “high society.” ELLE, Teen Vogue, and Vanity Fair all had positive reactions to Classy. Readers who tolerate the book’s sexist approach that girls have to dress to appeal to males and any failure in finding a boyfriend will be the girl’s fault may find it “hilarious” with “tons of practical tips and tools for learning to flaunt what you’ve got” as the promotional material states. P8Q5
Guiberson, Brenda Z. Disasters: Natural and Man-Made Catastrophes through the Century. $18.99. 228p. 978-0-8050-8170-1. Ages 10-14:
How could one not be fascinated with a book about disasters (although the term “man-made” indicates that women never create catastrophes)? Ten chapters cover such subjects as the Great Chicago Fire, the Johnstown Flood, the San Francisco earthquake, the Titanic, and Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans. What will make this book less popular than other disaster books is that each of chapters begins with a detailed (and sometimes long) description of what led up to the disaster: for example, the first eight pages of the Chicago fire begin with the use of the area as a crossing for Native Americans and then move on to the settling of the area. The chapter on the Titanic begins with the Vikings’ crossing the ocean. Another detraction of the book is the muted grey illustrations. Even the close-up of the alligator crossing the freeway does not inspire much emotion. This title is useful for general history, and the specific information about each disaster is interesting for those who enjoy reading. But it’s not going to be an immediate attraction for most middle-school students. P4Q7
Craig, Lindsey. Dancing Feet! Il. Marc Brown. Knopf, 2010. $16.99. unp. 97-0-375-8618-9. Ages 3-7:
Collages of hand-painted paper in bright, textured shapes highlight the mystery of who belongs to the feet that dance across the double-spread with the joyful poem asking “Who is dancing . . . ?” The answers come from clues in the artwork and the words used in the rhymes: thumpity, tippity, creepity, etc. The repetition, sing-song beat, and the surprise ending will result in a rocking room as young listeners participate in all the fun.
Arnold, Tedd. Fly Guy Meets Fly Girl! Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2010. $5.99. unp. 978-0-545-11029-7. Ages 4-6:
Fly Guy has come a long way from Hi! Fly Guy in this eighth beginning chapter book of the series. In this one, Buzz, the buy-eyed boy with the bug-eyed fly, meets Lizzz, the Fly Girl—and yes, she’s also bug-eyed with a bug-eyed fly. And she’s also much better at everything than Fly Guy. As usual, Arnold’s simple, bold drawings show lots of gross things with a happy ending and hopes of more Fly Guy—and Fly Girl—adventures.
Gal, Susan. Please Take Me for a Walk. Knopf, 2010. $15.99. unp. 978-0-375-85863-5. Ages 3-6:
A fuzzy white terrier fantasizes about all the wonderful things it could do if only someone would take it on a walk. The illustrations of charcoal and digital collage in a riot of color and texture give a folk-art feeling to the autumn scenes in a neighborhood replete with families, a mail carrier, business people, and—perhaps most important—other dogs. “I want to feel the wind life my ears,” says the dog, “and the sun warm my belly.” The book is a paean to favorite places in a child’s world. Although the flyleaf describes the puppy as “he,” the illustration is of a female dog. P9Q8
Michaelson, Richard. Busing Brewster. Il. R. G. Roth. Knopf, 2010. $16.99. unp. 978-0-375-83334-2. Ages 6-8:
Bryan discovers that being an African-American in an Anglo school isn’t fun, especially when the kids resent the busing of kids across the city. The author uses his experiences of “time-out” in the library to show how Brewster benefited from having detention after a fight on his first day of the new school. The book demonstrates the struggles of busing in the 1970s as angry adults carried hateful posters, jeered, and threw rocks at the bus. Roth’s understated watercolor abstracts of figures and places show the frustrations through the expressive body language and the angular objects, and Michaelson directly confronts the problems of the time. For example, Bryan and the boy he fights and calls Freckle-face, bond while they’re in the library, but Freckle-face looks away from Bryan when his father says, “Wish them colored all stayed at Franklin.” References to Kennedy and the importance of a good education and supportive family are both incorporated into the story and discussed in the Author’s Note at the end of the book that gives a brief history of public-school integration. One of Brewster’s dreams, because of his mother’s encouragement, is becoming president. The story for the book was written in 2003, five years before the U.S. elected its first African-American president. This is a book designed to give everyone hope. P7Q10
Piven, Hanoch. My Best Friend Is As Sharp As a Pencil: And Other Funny Classroom Portraits. Schwartz & Wade, 2010. $17.99. unp. 978-0-375-85338-8. Ages 4-7:
Bold drawings and collages of ordinary objects show how a girl explains her grandmother in her portraits of teachers and friends, including Mildred, the turtle made from paper, walnuts, snail shells, and lettuce. The bonus of this delightful book is the plethora of similes—just like the title. The page before each portrait illustrates objects and descriptions used for the portrait on the following page, creating a guessing game for readers. Useful for both descriptive language and art, the book is also just a fun read.
Schubert, Ingrid and Dieter Schubert. Elephant Soup. Lemniscaat/Boyds Mill Press, 2010. $17.95. unp. 978-1-59078-807-3. Ages 3-6:
The old story of stone soup takes a wicked twist in this story about the sad mouse who lifts his spirits by organizing a party of friends who bring all the vegetables to accompany the captured elephant. Children will worry about the poor elephant, put into the pot of hot water, until his escape and change into playmate for the mice. Watercolors of their antics against pastel backgrounds add to the delight of the story as listeners cheer, time and again, at the elephant’s escape. P9Q8
Tolman, Marije and Ronald Tolman. The Tree House. Lemniscaat/Boyds Mill Press, 2010. $17.95. unp. 978-1-59078-806-6. Ages 3+:
An elaborate wooden structure at the top of a tree is a wonder as a polar bear escapes the rising water only to be joined with a variety of other bears, animals, and birds with the same goal. While there, they enjoy themselves in different ways until the water recedes, leaving the white bear and the brown bear to enjoy their winter solitude. Brown and green outlines of the tree and house are set against changing pastels illustrating weather conditions—rain, wind, sun, and snow—and times of the day, culminating in the deep blue of night. Details of the creature that come to the tree house, especially the huge flock of flamingoes, are sure to entertain readers for a long time. This oversize, wordless book demonstrating the importance of accepting others comes from a father-daughter team. P9Q9
Young, Amy. The Mud Fairy. Bloomsbury, 2010. $16.99. unp. 978-1-59990-104-6. Ages 4-8: Dispensing with the myth that fairies earn their wings by being good, Emmelina retains her independence, going against the code of doing dainty things such as painting colors on a rainbow. Young captures the personalities of both the usual fairies and the tomboy Emmelina as she plays in the mud with the frogs. The way that she earns her wings may not be entirely rationale (frogs should know that the tadpoles will grow up), but she shows a strong environmental concern as she protects these vulnerable creatures. The detailed watercolors with personable small creatures are as sure to delight as the story. P9Q8
Krosoczka, Jarrett J. Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown. Knopf, 2010. $16.99. 96p. 978-0-375-86-95-9. Ages 7-10:
Our intrepid trio, Dee, Hector, and Terrence, discover that Lunch Lady and her faithful sidekick, Betty, have been hired to cook at their summer camp. It’s a good thing, too, because everyone fears the menacing Swamp Monster—everyone, that it, except the one person impersonating the fearsome creature. And it’s Lunch Lady who spearheads the discovery of that person. The humor in the black and white pen-and-ink drawings highlighted in yellow matches the tongue-in-cheek approach to the action. Lunch Lady lovers will be drawn to the fourth book in the series. P9Q8
Lagos, Alexander and Joseph Lagos. The Sons of Liberty. Il. Steve Walker and Oren Kramek. Random House, 2010. $12.99. 176p. 978-0-375-85667-9:
Four newcomers to the world of graphic novels for young readers have tackled the subject of the American Revolution using two runaway slaves, Brody and Graham, who developed superhero powers through electrocution. Their mentors—and rescuers from the plantation owner who wants them back and the slave hunter who wants them dead—are Benjamin Franklin, who thinks they should keep a low profile, and Benjamin Lay, who teaches them martial arts so that they can fight for abolition of slavery. The artwork, much of it bluish-purple for night scene and some sepia for dreams, is vigorous with a great deal of movement. The facial figures, however, are sometimes amateurish, and the African-Americans tend to look like Anglos with a deep tan. The teacher’s guide to the book will be useful because the historical pieces in the book are confusing and sometimes inaccurate. Benjamin Franklin’s son William is depicted as an evil man who experimented on both animals and Brody and Graham with electrical shock. The authors plan a series following this book. P6Q5
Telgemeier, Raina. Smile. Graphix/Scholastic, 2010. $10.99. 216p. 978-0-545-13206-0. Ages 9-12: The pain of being in sixth grade is made much worse by the loss of Raina’s two front permanent teeth in an accident and the ensuing series of dental surgeries and brace tightenings accompanying by her fear of social ostracizing. Although based on the author’s personal experiences, the fast-paced graphic book with its full-color artwork reads like a novel with lots of close-ups to show emotional angst. Middle-school readers going through the misery of crushes, maturing bodies, and family issues may learn to lighten up a bit from the comedy in the book as well as understand that they are not alone in their feelings. P8Q8
Klimo, Kate. The Dragon in the Library. [Dragon Keepers, Book 3]. Il. John Shroades. Random House, 2010. $15.99. 218p. 978-0-375-85591-7. Ages 8-12:
In this third book about the adventures of Jesse and Daisy after they adopt an infant dragon—that grows very fast—the two dragon keepers search for Professor Andersson, the dragon expert, after Sadie Huffington, girlfriend of arch-enemy St. George the Dragon Slayer. Although they encounter the witch and her vicious dog-men, the excitement seems to be less than in the first two books which addressed danger throughout the entire books. The extensive use of a magical library filled with shelf elves and search for their red book may be of more interest to adults (at least librarians) than young readers, and the problems of raising Emmy, the dragon, have also subsided. Readers who enjoyed the first two books, however, will want to keep up with the adventures of the threesome and look forward to the next in the series. P7Q6
Reeve, Phillip. Fever Crumb. Scholastic, 2010. $17.99. 325p. 978-0-545-20719-5. Ages 13+:
Many books about the future show high tech in a dazzling world; Reeves goes in the opposite direction with his setting of a dysfunctional society lacking the advantages available to readers now. Having killed the Scrivens, a mutant race of people with speckled skin that led the country, the Skinners, named because they literally skinned the Scrivens, now operate with a mob mentality resulting in danger for everyone. Growing up in this world is Fever, the adopted daughter of Dr. Crumb and the only female member of the Order of Engineers. A prequel to Reeve’s Hungry City Quartet Chronicles, the book uses London as its background, but it is a London that has been largely destroyed, giving the novel a feel of Charles Dickens and the time of the French Revolution. Although the concept of Reeve’s book is grim, his humor emerges in such details as the engineers living in a seven-story-high building shaped like a head which was meant to be a huge statue with the entrance in the nostril. The adventure comes from Fever’s search for her heritage and the possibility that she is part Scriven. The ending promises a sequel, hopefully to be as thoughtful and fast-paced as this book, and the connection to the Chronicles may cause some readers to seek out that quartet. P7Q10
Trivas, Tracy. Wish Stealers. Aladdin, 2010. $16.99. 281p. 978-1-4169-8725-3. Ages 8-12:
Tricked into accepting a box of cursed pennies that were stolen from a wishing fountain, Griffin Penshine finds herself miserable because everything she wishes results in the opposite of what she wants. The focus of the book then becomes her attempts to return the coins to the wishers and/or grant their wishes. The purpose of the book is honorable, and part of the message seems to be that one creates one’s own luck. But there are too many lucky coincidences and good fortune as Griffin proceeds. The characters are stereotyped: her grandmother is perfect, and the mysterious old woman is totally evil. Some of problems are not resolved, for example when other students first dislike her for their teacher requiring them to work on a science project and suddenly change their minds. Nevertheless, young readers will enjoy the adventure, and Griffin’s desire to help others is commendable, even if one of the wishes she grants is to give a puppy to a 92-year-old woman in living in a nursing home. P8Q6
September 2010 Reviews
First Thursdays Book Review Group L.R. for Siletz Library
Gleitzman, Morris. Once. Henry Holt and Company, 2010. 163 pgs. Ages 10-Adult. ISBN 9780805090260 $16.99 P7Q10
This book should be required reading for middle school students and the bonus is that they will enjoy it! Felix was left in a Polish orphanage by his parents three years and eight months ago. He has never lost faith that they are coming back to get him, and has passed the time by writing stories of the adventures that the parents encounter in “trying to save their bookshop.” When he decides that it is time to go find his parents, he painfully and gradually comes to realize who the Nazis are and that they are a grave threat to people like Felix. A very grim story of the displaced Jewish children in 1942, the book is not without humor and engaging characters. Despite being quite a normal little boy, Felix has a deep sense of compassion and manages to accomplish some heroic feats, including saving the daughter of a Nazi officer from going to a death camp.
Stewart, Paul and Riddell, Chris. Barnaby Grimes: Phantom of Blood Alley. David Fickling Books, 2009, 202 pgs. Ages 10-14. ISBN 9780365751346 $16.99 P8Q8
An adventure taking place in Victorian London, the plot of this book has a young “tick-tock” lad solving a mystery to clear the name of a middle aged governess. The new fashion of photogravure portraiture is the catalyst for a story of artistic jealousy and murder involving the caustic chemicals used for the new art form. The drawings by Riddell are perfect in illustrating the clothing of the Victorian characters and the author uses lots of authentic terms to describe the period. One interesting little addition is the invention, called a “wheelboard,” by one of the characters. Young readers will recognize the first skateboard, ridden by a young lad dressed in a stovepipe hat and a waistcoat!
Golding, Julia. Den of Thieves. Roaring Brook Press, 2007, 417 pgs. Ages 11-15. ISBN 9781596434448 $16.95 P7Q7
The third book in a series about a teenage orphan girl living in London in the 1790’s, Den of Thieves is packed with adventure and colorful characters. The main character is feeling uncharacteristically insecure (They call her “Cat” because she always ands on her feet.) after her home, a theater in Drury Lane, is torn down and she has no where to go. She ends up in Paris just as the French Revolution is heating up and is accused of being a spy. Even though the descriptions are romantic and the desperation of the times is glossed over, there is enough realism for the reader to get some idea of how chaotic Paris was in those times. The ending is wrapped a little too sweetly, but it won’t give the reader nightmares.
Elya, Susan Middleton. A Year Full of Holidays. Il. Diana Cain Bluthenthal.G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2010, unpgd. Ages 3-7. ISBN 9780399237331 $12.99 P8Q8
I used to have a book similar to this one called The Campbell Kids Have a Party or something like this. The brother and sister in the book hosted parties for every holiday in the year and I loved that book! This one is about a little girl named Nell who has an August birthday and wants to know what special occasion will come after that. The book starts with August and explains a whole year of holidays until her next birthday comes around again. It would be a great story time book, except the illustrations, charming as they are, are a little small to show to a group of kids. This will be a popular book.
Edwards Roberta. Flight of the Butterflies. Il. Bob Kayganich. Grosset & Dunlap, 2010, 48 pgs. Ages 7-9. ISBN 9780448453965 $3.99 P7 Q8
Part of the “All Aboard Reading” series, this book is a level 2 beginning reader. It uses photos, enhanced photos and drawings to explain the incredible migration of Monarch butterflies. It draws the reader in to this fascinating phenomenon and gives some details about how such a delicate creature can survive the 2 or 3,000 mile trip. At $3.99, this is a great price for classroom or library purchase.
Sullivan, Sarah. Once Upon a Baby Brother. Il. Tricia Tusa. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2010, unpgd. Ages 5-8. ISBN 9780374346355 $16.99 P8 Q8
Lizzie is a second grader who tells and writes stories to entertain everyone she encounters. Her new baby brother annoys her as he grows to a toddler and gets into everything and she blames him for a writer’s block. In the end, it turns out he is her muse and everything is back on track. The illustrations are interesting—using muted pastels instead of the typical bright, primary colors, and the pictures have small details that require some examination. Lots of humor is inserted into the details of the illustrations, which would be hard to see in a storytime venue. The cover is engaging and should contribute to the book’s popularity.
L.F., Newport Prep Academy and Newport High School
Bodeen, S.A. The Gardener. Feiwel and Friends, 2010. ISBN: 9780312370169. $16.99 240 pgs. Gr. 5-12
High schooler Mason is a study in contrasts: football player-honor student, rebel-mamma’s boy. There’s something in Mason that nearly every reader will find to relate to. When Mason senses something isn’t right with the patients in the care facility where his mother works, he becomes determined to find out why. In the process, he uncovers a very twisted plot and finds out who his father really is – and, most importantly, Eli finds himself. There’s a lot of foreshadowing in this, but it doesn’t make it less engaging, it pushes the reader to turn the pages and see if their intuition is right. This technique also makes the reader more of a participant in the plot. Carrying much of the same tones as The Compound, Bodeen’s other book for young adults, The Gardener is a glimpse into a dark, dystopian fate that the protagonists help save us from. P7 Q8
House, Silas. Eli the Good. Candlewick Press, 2009. $16.99 ISBN:9780763643416 296 p. Gr. 7-12
This is a very complicated, very real book about a family wrenched by rebellion, post-traumatic stress disorder, and secrets. Set in 1976, the story is told through the eyes of 10-year-old Eli. Eli witnesses his father brutally attack his mother in a horrific PTSD flashback and becomes determined to understand why his father has become this way. There are several other stories weaving through the main plot, making this engaging read interesting and deep. All of the characters are strong and believable and there’s a character for every YA age level to relate to, making this book one that would appeal to middle schoolers through 12th graders. P6 Q9
Thompson, Ted, Editor. Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things… Delacorte Press, 2005. $12.99 ISBN: 978038573747 201 p. Gr. 7-12 This off the wall book has everything going for it to help it fly off the shelf except for one thing: it’s a collection of short stories. I don’t know about the rest of you, but short stories just aren’t popular with these readers unless it’s a graphic novel. Hopefully, there’s enough graphics in this tome to help suck in those readers; once the hilarity grabs ahold of them, they’ll never let this go. In fact, it might not ever return to the library. There are stories in here from all the great ones: Lemony Snicket, Neil Gaiman, Jon Sciezka, and more. Most are pretty funny, but there are a couple of fantasy pieces that are a little bittersweet. The graphics are artsy-fartsy and give this book a wider age appeal. At the end of the book is a funny “Extremely Difficult Crossword Puzzle” with most of the clues based on stories in the book. P5 Q8
Holmes, Sara Lewis. Operation YES. Scholastic, 2009. $16.99 ISBN:9780545107952 234 p. Gr. 6-9 This book is everything Eli the Good isn’t: it’s saccharine, unrealistic, and stupid. It portrays military base life as being pretty idyllic. The characters are simply generalizations, with one notable exception: Gari. Gari is a girl who is terrified to lose her mother in a war that Gari doesn’t want to understand. Gari is a self-absorbed, selfish teen who is forced to move to the east coast to live with her aunt and uncle on a military base when Gari’s mom is stationed in Afghanistan. As a protest she creates a bloody battle scene with little plastic army men in one of the bathrooms at school. The rest of the book is about her getting caught for this and about this incredible (and not too believable) drama teacher in their base school who manages to break through Gari’s defenses and teach her a lesson about sacrifice for her country. You can almost hear the fifes playing the National Anthem in the background at the end. This book – because of the green army men on the cover and the print size (they used a sans serif, Arial-like font with lots of white space) – will likely attract a few readers. I’ll be waiting to hear their reviews; possibly the book is a lot more likeable than I think it is. The reviewers on amazon.com totally disagreed with me, so who knows? P6 Q5
Silvey, Anita. I’ll Pass for Your Comrade. Clarion Books, 2008. $17.00 ISBN:9780618574919 115 p. Gr. 6-12
“The fact that women disguised as men served in both the Union and Confederate armies is one of the best-kept secrets of the Civil War.” Silvey exposes that secret in this engaging, well-organized, and meticulously researched book. Peppered with photos and maps, information presented in this book is accessible for middle school but is substantive enough for high school. Silvey organizes it by topic: “Reasons for Becoming a Soldier”, “Don the Breeches”, and “A Skirmish drill is the prettiest
drill” are three of the seven chapters. Though individual soldier stories are very brief, they do a great job of portraying the sacrifices and hardships these courageous women endured. Also includes a bibliography, source notes, and an index. P5 Q9
Stille, Darlene R. Madam C.J. Walker: Entrepreneur and Millionaire. Compass Point Books, 2007. $35.32 ISBN:9780756518837 111 p. Gr. 6-12
This is a tidy little biography of an amazing woman. Walker was the very personification of perseverance, ingenuity, fortitude, and chutzpah. She overcame gender and racial prejudices to begin an amazing business empire. Stille does a good job of bringing this all together in a scholarly fashion and presents her subject’s chronology in an engaging manner. Includes a timeline, “life at a glance”, additional resources, glossary, source notes, bibliography, and an index. P5 Q7
Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers
Reviews by N.W.
Fakhrid-Deen, Tina with COLAGE. Let’s Get This Straight: The Ultimate Handbook for Youth with LGBTQ Parents. Seal Press, 2010. $15.95. 978-1-58005-333-4. 173p. Ages 10+:
Family structures are rapidly changing, and millions of children have one or more lesbian, gay, bi, or trans parent. This book shows these young people that they are not alone and gives assistance in coping with everyday life. Through this information and exercises, they can learn to have pride in their families and protest the injustice of homophobia. With the assistance of Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere (COLAGE), the author has brought together the voices of 44 people with lgbtq parents to discuss how to talk to people about these families and how to communicate with parents through the development of a community that overcomes the feelings of isolation. Simple and sometimes funny, the book shares experiences and gives advice about overcoming challenges.
Fleischman, Sid. Sir Charlie: Chaplin, the Funniest Man in the World. Greenwillow, 2010. $19.99. 978-0-06-1896410-8. 268p. Ages 10+:
From a miserable childhood living in poverty with a mentally unstable mother and a brother who struggled to provide for the family of three to his wealthy conclusion with a devoted wife of 34 years, Chaplin is the classic rags-to-riches character who created what some view as the greatest film comedies. While doing that, he suffered through miserable—albeit short—marriages and a stint of accusations during the McCarthy era regarding his potential Communist leanings. His story shows the development of film during the twentieth century as Chaplin steadfastly refused to use dialog even with the advances in sound. The author, who died in March 2010, carries his admiration for the filmmaker to extremes, but his witty narrative and copious black-and-white photos carry the book from beginning to end. As in Fleischman’s book about Mark Twain, the print is large with wide white space between the lines, making it appear for a younger audience. But the sophisticated writing, full of metaphoric language, may cause problems for younger readers not comfortable with this style. Most young people now are also not familiar with Chaplin which makes the subject matter less interesting to them. Yet this is an excellent resource for older readers and adults. P5Q9
Gherman, Beverly. Sparky: The Life and Art of Charles Schulz. Chronicle, 2010. $16.99. 978-0-8118-6790-0. 125p. Ages 10-14:
For more than 50 years, a self-effacing man penned a daily column about the trials and tribulations of a self-effacing boy and his friends, including a dog and a bird. Through Peanuts, Schulz became possibly the most famous cartoonist worldwide during the twentieth century. This highly accessible and colorfully designed biography, including some of his comic strips, describes his personal life and the ways that it influenced his art. Although young people may not be familiar with Peanuts, they will relate to his personal struggles throughout his life. P7Q10
George-Warren, Holly. The Cowgirl Way: Hats Off to America’s Women of the West. Houghton, 2010. $18.00. 97-0-618-73738-3. 112p. Ages 9-12:
Over the past two centuries women active in riding and roping, first as a necessity of ranch life and then using these activities for entertainment, broke down social and economic barriers for females. The lavish photographs and posters in this book help show the evolution of the “cowgirl” through many brief biographies that include female actors and singers, fashion statements, and shifts in political attitudes toward woman’s place in America. Most of the book concentrates on personalities, so many that they start to run together, but the illustrations will entertain. The busy layout sometimes detracts from the reading. P7Q7
Kerby, Johanna. Little Pink Pup. Putnam, 2010. $16.99. 978-0-399-25435-2. unp. Ages 3-6:
The runt of the pig litter, only three pounds, almost didn’t survive until his family brought him into the house to a new mom, Tink the dachshund. The joy of this book is in the charming photographs of Pink with his new siblings that show his personality and relationships. This star of Good Morning America and The Ellen DeGeneres Show shows that families are made of love, not biology. Basic text and delightful illustrations provide a pleasant read-aloud. P9Q7
Stotts, Stuart. We Shall Overcome: A Song That Changed the World. Il. Terrance Cummings. Foreword by Pete Seeger. Clarion, 2010. $18.00. 978-0-547-18210-0. 72p. Ages 8-11:
From the origin of singing, people have used this to express emotions, celebrate occasions, develop strength, and create unity. Slaves also used their songs to provide directions for runaways. In clear, accessible language, Stotts uses this one song, adapted by Pete Seeger in the middle twentieth century, to trace struggles during the twentieth century to change society during the turmoil of union strikes, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Vietnam War protests as well as the current use to overcome personal difficulties. Dramatic stories of the song’s use, combined with photographs, drawings and the strong red, black, and white visual introducing results in an inspiring book about America’s culture during the past century. Included is a CD of Pete Seeger’s performing the song.
Wooldridge, Connie Nordhielm. The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton: A Biography. Clarion, 2010. $20.00. 978-0-547-23630-8. 184p. Ages 11-15:
To most people, Edith Wharton was the author of a few books written over a hundred years ago that have been made into movies or were required reading in high schools. Through the use of letters, diaries, and photographs, Wooldridge shows that she is much more: the first woman Pulitzer-prize winner who made a living with her prolific writing lived life the way that she chose, receiving the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, France’s most distinguished award, for her volunteer work during World War I. She grew up in the prominent New York family that inspired the old saying “keeping up with the Joneses” in a repressive society. Wooddridge said about Wharton, “I’d read plenty of books about people who escaped from poverty to pursue their dreams. What I discovered about Edith Wharton was that she escaped from a life of wealth and luxury to pursue hers: New York society women of the Gilded Age didn’t work, and they most certainly didn’t write fiction. Edith Wharton defied the expectations foisted upon her to become a best-selling, Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist who made a terrific living with her pen.” The first half of the book is the most interesting; the second half concentrates on her relationships with a variety of male friends, during and after her unhappy marriage. The many personal touches make this an enjoyable read. P6Q8
Amann, Jurg. The Fairy Tale of the World. Il. Kathi Bhend. Based on a story by Georg Buchner. Trans. J. Alison James. NorthSouth, 2010. $16.95. unp. 978-0-7358-2316-7. Ages 8+
In this dystopian story, an orphan, alone in the world, searches the universe for beauty but discovers only ugliness in the moon, the sun, and the stars before returning to an earth, equally empty of nourishment. Originally conceived by a German writer who died at the age of 23 in the early nineteenth century, this view of the world reflects the social injustice of his time. Despite its black view of life, Amann’s lyrical writing and Bhend’s startling visuals are a wake-up call to the effects of poverty and contemporary life for many children. P5Q10
Archer, Peggy. Name That Dog! Puppy Poems from A to Z. Il. Stephanic Buscema. Dial, 2010. $16.99. 978-0-8037-3222-0. Ages 4-7:
Retro art on different colored background accompany the poems about 26 different dog types with the breed listed at the bottom of the page. Narrative and visuals show the reason for the names selected by Archer—Bandit for a Boston terrier, Noodles for a poodle, Xerox for two Manchester terriers, etc. The concept is clever, but those wishing to read the book aloud should practice first because of some of the awkward scanning in the poetry. Definitely a book for dog lovers. P7Q7
Chall, Marsha Wilson. One Pup’s Up. Il. Henry Cole. McElderry, 2010. $16.99. 978-1-4169-7960-9. unp. Ages 3-6:
A counting book with bold type and simple watercolors follows a litter of ten puppies from the first one getting up until the last one goes to sleep before . . . . Young readers will enjoy watching the fuzzy puppies through their daily antics, tussling and eating before they collapse. The differences in the puppies’ appearances and their facial and body expressions make for a great book to discuss not only numbers but baby dogs. P9Q9
Jay, Alison. Red, Green, Blue: A First Book of Colors. Dutton, 2010. $16.99. 978-0-525-42303-4. unp. Ages 3-6:
On a gray and rainy day, a boy discovers 14 colors as he prowls through the world of 20 nursery rhymes, identified at the end of the book, to finish with a rainbow. The bright but subdued illustrations, stylized from an earlier century, have crazed lines through them that sometimes distracts from their appearance, and the poetry sometimes does not scan well. The book will mean more to children familiar with the nursery rhymes, but it will make an interesting addition to larger collections or ones that need books identifying colors.
Shannon, George and Lynn Brunelle. Chicken Scratches: Poultry Poetry and Rooster Rhymes. Il. Scott Menchin. Chronicle, 2010. $14.99. 978-0-8118-6648-4. unp. Ages 4-8:
Different types of poetry accompany cartoons of chickens in a variety of occasions as they hula, trick or treat, take a trip back to the dinosaurs, use the slide at the playground, and other non-chicken activities. Young listeners will produce lots of giggles as the reader struggles through the difficult-to-read poems because of the awkward scanning. P6Q8
Sidman, Joyce. Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors. Il. Beckie Prange. Houghton, 2010. $17.00. 978-0-618-71719-4. Ages 7-10:
Art, poetry, and science come together in the 14 spreads of this magical book about earth’s long-lived species beginning with bacteria and its 3.8 billion-year history to one of the newest at only 100,000 years old, the human. Detailed watercolor-tinted linocut illustrations begin with the creative maze-like ribbon graphic in the endpapers from the newly-formed earth 4.6 billion years ago and continuing with where each of the described species first appeared on earth. Supplementary background information and the drawings tend to be better than the poetry, but readers will enjoy connecting the information in both poetry and prose. The visual presentation will surely humble the reader.
Cooper, Elisha. Beaver Is Lost. Schwartz & Wade, 2010. $17.99. 97-0-375-85765-2. unp. Ages 3-6: Separated from his family, Beaver floats down the river toward the city. His adventures include being chased by a dog, visiting a zoo, meeting a (probably fake) crocodile in a swimming pool, and wandering through a large crowd of people before he gets home again. Cooper’s expressive watercolors in sizes from double-page spreads to small panels in this almost wordless book are an excellent introduction to graphic novels for small children. P8Q8
Fenton, Joe. BOO! Simon & Schuster, 2010. $12.99. 978-1-4169-7936-4. unp. Ages 4-8: One joy of this book is that the ghosts who share a Victorian-style house are not scary—but they are odd. The spots of color, such as the gold door knob on “Baby’s Room” and the red velvet chair as a background for the cat, pop out of the gray to black background in this wordless book except for book and newspaper titles complemented with an occasional “BOO!” This is a book that may require an adult explanation to young readers about what is going on—or perhaps the reverse! P8Q9
Frazier, Debra. A Fabulous Fair Alphabet. Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster, 2010. $16.99. 978-1-4169-9817-4. Ages 4-?:
The creator’s fascination for the garish cacophony of fairs has resulted in a tour through these events combined with a wildly diverse collection of letter types and fonts. With the cluttered appearance of the bright colors on a white background, the visuals call on the fair’s energy but may be difficult for beginning readers who need more consistency in determining their letters. The word “zucchini” following “yawning” seems to let down the reader—but how many fair objects begin with “z”?! The fun in this book will be to identify the words and letters, discuss fair experiences, and create more art like this. P7Q8
Geisert, Arthur. Country Road ABC: An Illustrated Journey through America’s Farmland. Houghton Mifflin, 2010. $17.00. unp. 978-0-547-19469-1. Ages 3-6:
Focusing on contemporary rural life throughout the four seasons, Geisert gives each upper-case, bright-red letter a two-page spread with a word that might be used on a farm and a large colored rendering of a scene on the farm, along a country road, or in a small town. Words vary in complexity from ammonia fertilizer to milking with a final glossary defining each term. Geisert’s detailed etchings, as usual, provide many images of pigs. The book provides a great look at a working farm, some complex terminology, and—of course—the alphabet. P9Q9
Haughton, Chris. Little Owl Lost. Candlewick, 2010. $14.99. unp. 978-0-7636-5022-3. Ages 3-5: Neon-bright watercolors, some full page and others against a bright white background, show Little Owl searching for its mommy after it falls out of its nest. The humor of the search lies in Squirrel identifying “Mommy” in a variety of species because of Little Owl’s description—big, pointy ears, and big eyes—although Little Owl knows that none is its mommy and in the last scene where Little Owl starts, once again, to fall from the nest. The gender of Little Owl is not identified, leaving the reader to imagine the protagonist as either male or female. A quiet, reassuring book that shows getting lost is not permanent. P9Q9
Hendra, Sue. Barry, the Fish with Fingers. Knopf, 2010. $15.99. 978-0-375-85894-9. unp. Ages 3-6:
Life under the sea is boring for its inhabitants until Barry shows how much fun they can have with fingers—finger puppets, finger painting, counting to ten, knitting, and much more. And he even shows them how to get fingers. The bright gouache watercolors make the cartoon fish pop out from the dark backgrounds as if they were cutouts. Not only fun for reading, the book will help create lots of ideas about the use for fingers. P9Q9
Howe, James. Brontorina. Il. by Randy Cecil. Candlewick, 2010. $15.99. unp. 978-0-7636-4437-6. Ages 4-6:
Determined to be a ballerina, the humongous dinosaur gets help at Madame Lucille’s Dance Academy for Girls and Boys in this funny view of how very different characters can “fit in.” The story provides food for thought about acceptance, pursuing a dream, and finding solutions to problems while the bright-orange brontosaurus set against muted oil illustrations peopled by almost abstract children with their elderly teacher will produce many giggles. P9Q9
Jackson, Shelley. Mimi’s Dada Catifesto. Clarion, 2010. $17.00. 978-0-547-12681-4. Ages 6-9: Combine a fun story, a feisty protagonist, creative mixed media illustrations, and an introduction to Dadaism, and you have this great book. With her “soul of an artist,” Pumpkin-colored Mimi selects another artist, Mr. Dada, for her human. Despite his reluctance, she is determined to entrance him with the montage of paintings, newsprint, music, cut-outs, etc. as well as sound-poems and randomly-generated poetry. Thus she explains through her journey the concept of Dadaism, an “anti-art” movement that began in early twentieth-century Zurich. The cockroach couple are reminiscent of Don Marquis’ Archy and Mehitable. The final author’s note also provides names of artists that inspired her which can be used for further inspection of nonsensical experimentation in art. Just as Dadaism itself resulted in responses from confusion to delight (with disdain somewhere in the middle) so will this book provoke myriad reactions. P7Q10
Kemp, Anna. Dogs Don’t Do Ballet. Il. Sara Ogilvie. Simon & Schuster, 2010. $15.99. 978-1-4169-9839-6. unp. Ages 5-8:
Stepping out of the stereotype of a pug dog, Biff works on his technique until he lightly dances across the stage, saving the ballet after the prima ballerina falls. In humorous brown-lined drawings filled with a variety of colors—pink for Biff’s tutu—Ogilvie traces the mystery of why Biff’s owner feels as if she’s being followed up to the successful conclusion of a male dog who breaks out of his typical gender identity. Great fun and done with love, this book is one that can be read aloud again and again. P9Q9
Kontis, Alethea. AlphaOops! H Is for Halloween. Il. by Bob Kolar. Candlewick, 2010. $15.99. unp. 978-0-7636-3966-2. Ages 5-8:
Those who enjoyed the re-arranged alphabet sequence in AlphaOops! The Day Z Went First will treasure this story of the letter Z ordering the letter H to begin the pageant because “Halloween can’t start with any other letter.” Each individual letter is dressed in a costume that matches its character, i.e., “N is for nightmare”; and each has a personality. For example, while the shy letter B tries to shine, he has such problems as his pirate costume taken by the letter P and a blackbird perches on his head. As the reader knows, however, the letter B is for “Boo!” which concludes the play. Bold, spooky settings match the silly plot, creating enjoyment in identifying letters. Readers will find the misbehaving alphabet howl-arious. P9Q9
Marino, Gianna. One Too Many: A Seek & Find Counting Book. Chronicle, 2010. $16.99. 978-0-8118-6908-9. unp. Ages 2-6:
Following the flea flinging itself through the barnyard, young readers will marvel at the animals that start to appear: two cows, three horses, etc. up to 78 creatures not including the skunk that empties the place. There are lots of things to trace in each full-color double-page spread replete with gouache backgrounds to the subjects, as the animals proliferate and the flea keeps flinging. Marino also adds six challenges, fortunately providing the answers. A book that young ones will pour over for a long time. P9Q9
Rex, Michael. Furious George Goes Bananas: A Primate Parody. Putnam, 2010. $15.99. 978-1-399-25433-8. unp. Ages 4-7:
The charming but trouble-making chimp from Curious George is transformed into an angry ape in this satire about his capture and new life in the city. Locked in a cage and mocked, George becomes furious until he discovers that getting mad won’t solve his problems. His solution is tricking “the man in the funny hat” into going into outer space so that he can parachute home to his jungle. Photoshop colored illustrations provide bold images similar to those in older picture books, and Rex makes liberal use of the color orange, particularly in the scenes in which George loses his temper. In the end George shows that tricking someone might get him what he wants. P9Q7
Roberton, Fiona. Wanted: The Perfect Pet. Putnam, 2010. $16.99. 978-0-399-25461-1. unp. Ages 3-7:
What does someone do to find the perfect pet? Henry advertises in the newspaper. But he got much more than he bargained for when a lonely duck disguises himself as a dog and applies for the job of Henry’s best friend. Amusing line drawings follow the antics of a duck unable to do dog things and a boy who shifts his priorities. A must for children who are sure of what they want. Divided into two chapters, this also gets young readers started on the path of “chapter books.” P9Q9
Willems, Mo. Time to Sleep Sheep the Sheep! Blazer+Bray/HarperCollins, 2010. $10.99. unp. 978-0-06-172847-1. Ages 3-5:
As the background of the simple, colorful illustrations goes from a light blue to a star-filled navy, Cat goes through her bedtime ritual telling her friends goodnight while helping some of them–handing Pig a towel to use for drying himself, Giraffe some toothpaste, etc. Willems’ gentle humor comes through in such episodes as Cat’s embarrassment at seeing Horse sitting on the pot and Owl’s wakefulness while the other seven curl up in bed. This super, soothing bedtime tale not only demonstrates a willingness to go to bed but also provides the opportunity to identify eight different creatures and their nighttime activities. P9Q9
Yaccarino, Dan. Lawn to Lawn. Knopf, 2010. $17.99. 978-0-375-85574-0. unp. Ages 4-6:
When Pearl moves to a new house, far away, four lawn ornaments—a flamingo, jockey, troll, and deer—are determined to reunite themselves with their beloved playmate. This journey, reminiscent of The Incredible Journey, is focused on avoiding the dreaded trash trucks as the foursome encounter gargoyles, other lawn gnomes and flamingos, a moose statue, and a wide variety of statuary. Yaccarino’s illustrations have a feel of the 50s and not all children may be familiar with yard art, but the bonding among the major characters is truly heart-warming. The book may need to be shared with an adult, but the effort is well worth it. P7Q8
Graphic Novel beyond the Basics: Insights and Issues for Libraries. Ed. by Martha Cornog and Timothy Perper. Libraries Unlimited, 2009. $45.00. 978-1-59158-478-0. 281p. Ages 16:
This one-stop-shopping guide has a bit of everything: history, description, definition, themes, types, collection development, library programming, cataloging, censorship, and defense of graphic narratives and does it well. Experts from a variety of these areas add to its usefulness, and the extensive references greatly extend the book’s usefulness. Perspectives from different people, however, provides some repetition, not a bad thing for the graphic narrative novice. Other flaws exist in the inconsistency of the index and the use of two areas titled “Appendix A.” The book also ignores most graphic narratives for the younger readers such as Baby Mouse and some important stand-alone titles such as Coraline. That said, the information and readability of this makes it invaluable for the person just getting to know the subject or the one who thinks s/he might have missed something. For the librarian dealing with a younger audience, the chapter on censorship and fielding challenges is definitely worth a read. Although the book’s price is steep for a small library, it is a vital addition for a central location which makes the book available to a number of libraries. P5Q8
Weigel, Jeff. Thunder from the Sea: Adventure on Board The HMS Defender. Putnam, 2010. $17.99. 978-0-399-25089-7. 48p. Ages 7-11:
This large-format book crosses between a graphic novel and an informational book with its sidebars explaining the terms used in the graphic novel regarding English naval operations. Although the plot (Jack Hoyton as a boy enlisting in the Royal Navy and saving the midsized frigate from French invasion) may be interesting, the sidebars interrupt the story. The book cannot decide whether to be an exciting adventure or an informative book set two centuries ago. The book also treats the cruel practice of impressing sailors lightly as the villain is an Irish man who tries to escape by giving information to the French about destroying the frigate. Yes, it’s adventurous, but the book has serious flaws. P5Q7
Baratz-Logsted, Lauren. The Education of Bet. Houghton, 2010. $16.00. 978-0-547-22308-7. 116p. Ages 13-15:
In her nineteenth-century English home with a wealthy, older man and his great-nephew Will, also orphaned, 16-year-old orphaned Bet lives a life halfway between a servant and a guest. Bet wants to attend school; Will wants to join the military. They strike a deal: she masquerades as a male in a boarding school, and he gets his wish. The author shows the gender restrictions of the time, but Bet’s challenges are almost too easily overcome as she is befriended by a woman at the school to continue concealing her identify. The rest of the plot is predictable. Bet is actually Will’s half-brother, and her roommate falls in love with her just as she wishes. The novel works on the level of a light romance with a lively appealing heroine.
Cushman, Karen. Alchemy and Meggy Swann. Clarion, 2010. $16.00. 978-0-547-23184-6. 167p. Ages 12-15:
Elizabethan England in all its filth and splendor comes alive in this story of 13-year-old Meggy Swann, unable to walk without using two sticks since birth, who is sent away from her English village by an uncaring mother after her gran’s death to live with an equally uncaring father, an alchemist determined to turn ordinary metal into gold. As in her other well- known and loved books, including The Midwife’s Apprentice, Cushman has filled her book with colorful characters—a boy wanting to be an player in the theater, a kindly printer who helps Meggy, the driven father who is willing to sell poison in order to make money for his ventures, and a set of rogues and thieves—as well as with vivid descriptions of London over 400 years ago. Meggy is a delightful, witty character, but the action seems a bit slower than Cushman’s earlier books. The bonus of the book is Meggy’s disability, something rarely seen in historical fiction, that rings true. P6Q8
Horner, Emily. A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend. Dial, 2010. $16.99. 978-0-8037-3420-3. 259p. Ages 13-16:
Using a “then and now” technique, Horner follows 17-year-old Cass as she mourns the death of her best friend, Julia, in a car accident by taking her ashes to California and participating in the production of Julia’s musical, Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad. The revelation of Cass’s experiences during those six months are as disjointed as Cass as she slowly accepts that she is a lesbian and
overcome her dislike for another girl, Heather, who had tormented Cass because of a crush on her. Some of the pieces come across as unrealistic, such as Cass’s willingness to let her bicycle by herself across the continent and the drama teacher’s allowing the group to secretly put on the musical at the high school. But A Love Story is Horner’s first novel; these issues may be ironed out in future ones. P6Q6
Lee, Y.S. The Body at the Tower. [The Agency series] 2010. Candlewick, $16.99. 337p. 978-0-7636-46968-5.
Readers who miss Nancy Springer’s Enola Holmes should check out 18-year-old Mary Quinn in her second adventure, the sequel to A Spy in the House, set in the 1850s. To complete her detective assignment in The Body, to determine why the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament in London is so slow to be completed, Mary must move out of Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls while she masquerades as a 12-year-old boy living in poverty. There’s plenty of adventure, a bit of romance, and a continuation of Mary’s struggle with being biracially Asian and English. The author also includes more about class differences and Victorian era discrimination against women. P7Q9
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Alice in Charge. 2010. Atheneum, $16.99. 978-1-4169-7552-6. 321p. Ages 14-16:
Alice is now a high school senior with all the problems of too many activities, longing for Patrick in his freshman year at a university away from her, and the racial problems that have descended on her school. The book is almost too busy with all these issues, the possibility of her stepmother’s having breast cancer, Alice’s befriending a mentally-challenged classmate who may have been sexually molested by a substitute teacher, the death of a classmate during the past summer, Alice’s trying to find a college for the next year, her older brother’s getting his master’s degree, and on and on. Despite the frenetic pace of these events, Alice seems to be an idealized Everyseniorgirl. Yet she has had her following throughout the past 24 books, and readers will probably want to see Alice through high school. P8Q6
Preus, Margi. Heart of a Samurai. Amulet/Abrams, 2010. $15.95. 978-0-8109-8981-8. 301p. Ages 12+:
The first Japanese to come to the United States may have been Manjiro, a 14-year-old boy marooned on a deserted island with four friends after their fishing vessel capsized. The adventures of this boy, beginning 170 years ago and covering the next 12 years, follows him to New England after a sea captain adopts him, on to San Francisco panning for gold, and then back to Japan where he is imprisoned for consorting with outsiders. In her first novel, Preus based her exciting tale on a true story at a time when Japan is forced to communicate outside their culture and rigid boundaries are broken. The book is valuable on several levels: a fast-paced read, a view of racism, a study in cultures, and a turning point in Japanese-American relations. Recommended for all young reader collections and a possibility for a read-aloud. P9Q9
Rinaldi, Ann. The Family Greene. Harcourt, 2010. $17.00. 978-0-547-26067-9. 250p. Ages 13-15: In her latest historical novel, Rinaldi tackles colonial America, beginning in 1764 with teenager Catherine Littlefield’s courtship with and marriage to Nathaniel Greene, a war hero, and continuing with Caty’s daughter Cornelia on a Georgia plantation as Caty creates scandals because of her excessive flirting. Although the 1700s background is strong, the emphasis is on family problems including Cornelia’s vicious older sister who persuades Cornelia that Anthony Wayne is her father instead of Greene. Although a weakness of the novel is that it is almost entirely fiction, it has more dimension than some of Rinaldi’s more recent ones: the characters are more fully realized; and the issues, including marital infidelity, are infrequently addressed in historical novels for young readers. P6Q8
Seabrooke, Brenda. Wolf Pie. Il. Liz Callen. Clarion, 2010. $16.00. 978-0-547-04403-3. 48p. Ages 5-7:
If the wolf Wilfong really cares, he may be able to make friends with the skeptical Pygg brothers James, Marvin, and Lester. Thus comes a whimsical beginning chapter book about the misadventures of the four as they grow from adversaries to pretty good friends before the gang of booted, evil wolves decide that the Pyggs would be good munching. The humor of the situation is carried through in the pencil, watercolor, and digital-media illustrations; for example, Wilfong appears in a teal fuzzy sweater (to match his shoes), purple pants, bright pink scarf, orange-striped socks, and an orange night hat. Small groups will enjoy this for a read-aloud as well as individuals diving into the book or sharing with others. P8Q8
Springer, Nancy. The Case of the Gypsy Good-bye: An Enola Holmes Mystery. Philomel, 2010. $14.99. 978-0-399-25236-5. 166p. Ages 11-14:
Farewell, Enola. In the sixth of the series about the 14-year-old, one of the best series for young readers, she solves what seems to be the last mystery—at least for a while—and finds her mother who deserted her a year ago. Fast-paced, the book takes the reader to the dangers of the underground subway when Enola enlists the aid of both her brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft, to find a missing duchess. As usual in the series, Springer describes the unfortunate treatment of women during the Victorian time, in particular the cruel corset that kept women from being able to freely move around. A bonus is Enola’s decision on her 15th birthday about the direction that her life will take. P8Q8
Springer, Nancy. Possessing Jessie. Holiday House, 2010. $16.95. 978-0-8324-2259-3. 88p. Ages 13-16:
Crushed under the guilt that she might have caused the death of her popular younger brother, Jason, in a car crash, Jesse begins to take on more and more of his persona—first wearing his clothes and talking like him and later behaving like him so much that their mother thinks Jesse is actually Josh. The mother may be close to right after Jesse fails to contact her long-estranged father who is told that Jesse died in the crash, not Jason. This novel is quietly frightening in its psychological demonstration of how one person’s personality can be destroyed through grief. P8Q8
October 2010 Reviews
Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers Book Reviews Reviews by S.J. and the students of Isaac Newton Magnet School
Bodil Bredsdorff. THE CROW GIRL. Farrar, Straus Giroux, 2006. ISBN 978-0374400033. 160 pgs. $14.80. Gr. 4 – 7.
This book is about a young girl whose grandmother has died. To escape her circumstances and an evil woman of the village, Crow-Girl decides to travel the land. Along her journey she meets a little boy named Doup, a woman, Foula, and her daughter Eidi. They travel together and meet Rossan. Eventually they end up right back where she started, at the cottage. This journey, about finding yourself, will appeal to girls in the fourth through seventh grades. P: 7 Q: 8
Georgia Byng. MOLLY MOON’S HYPNOTIC TIME TRAVEL ADVENTURE. Harper Collins Publishers, 2005. ISBN 0-06-0750332. 392 pgs. $17.89. Gr. 3-7.
Molly Moon’s beloved pug, Petula, is kidnapped, err dog-napped, and Molly must travel through time to save him. The adventure unfolds at top speeds as Molly goes back to 1870 India and meets a maharajah who kidnaps her at three different ages! Can Molly get home and get all her selves back to their correct times without altering the future significantly? I recommend this book for readers aged 10-14 years of age. This book is mostly for girls; some boys may like the adventure. P: 7, Q: 8
Cynthia DeFelice. BRINGING EZRA BACK. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2006. ISBN 0-374-39939-5. $16.00. Gr. 4 – 7
Bringing Ezra Back is about a boy named Nathan traveling a long way and facing dangers to find a lost family friend. Nathan lives with his dad and sister, Molly, in a cabin in the woods. For a while an Indian man named Ezra lived with them as a servant. Erza is gone now, and the family misses him. So when a traveling man brings them news that a circus has Erza, Nathan knows that he needs to rescue his friend. He goes through a series of adventures to bring Erza back. I recommend this book for middle school boys and girls. P: 7, Q: 7
Michael Delaney. THE GREAT SOCKATHON. Dutton Children’s Books, 2004. ISBN 0-525-46856-0. 192 pgs. $16.99. Gr. 4 – 6.
Two friends, Ginny and Eliza, are climbing in the balm of Gilead tree, suddenly the branch Eliza was on broke and Eliza fell from the tree to her sad death. Many years later four friends hear that the town was planning to cut down the 100-year- old tree historic tree, They have a problem with that so they start to raise money to buy a brace for the balm of Gilead tree by creating a Sockathon (a chain of socks supposed to stretch across town). Later on, a tropical storm comes through and not only wrecks the socks chain, but the tree falls over. I would recommend this book to readers that want a book so good that they simply can’t put it down also girl readers might like this book more. P: 8, Q: 10
Alane Ferguson. THE CHRISTOPHER KILLER. Viking, 2006. ISBN 0-067-06008-9. 274 pgs. $15.99. Gr. 7 and up.
This intriguing mystery is about seventeen-year-old Cameryn, who is interested in forensics and becomes her coroner father’s assistant. When Cameryn’s friend is murdered by the Christopher Killer, a murderer who leaves a medal of St. Christopher somewhere on the body of each girl s/he kills. Can Cameryn figure out who it is? With a plot filled full of twists, a “psychic” T.V. show host, a devious deputy, and an old family secret, the Christopher Killer is a fast-paced novel for grades 7 – 10. Because they deal a lot in forensics, there is a bit of scientific “gore,” but I think teens in these grades should be able to handle it. P: 8, Q: 9
Sarah Gauch. Illus. Roger Roth. VOYAGE TO THE PHAROS. Viking, 2009. ISBN 978-0-670-06254-6. $16.99. Ages 5 and up.
Voyage to the Pharos is a story about a young male named Dino and his father and their quest to find the Pharos Lighthouse. The voyage to Alexandria from their home in Greece is a fantastic tale. This was the very first time that Dino’s father actually agreed to let him come along on this journey. This is a fascinating historical book combining imaginative storytelling and wonderful illustrations of Dino’s adventure on the ship, Hermes. This story is magical and memorable. I would recommend this story to children aged 6 and up because this book has new vocabulary in it as well as a mixture of great illustrations. P: 8, Q: 10
Bonnie Geisert. PRAIRIE WINTER. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2009. ISBN 978-0-618-68588-2. 224 pgs. $16.00. Gr. 5 – 7.
Rachel loves her new middle school, but because of the harsh North Dakota winter weather she cannot travel to school. Her dad sends three of his children to a city about 100 miles away from home. They stay in a hotel room, with no parent supervision, no guidance nor chores nor responsibilities. They have whatever they want for breakfast, dinner, and dessert. I recommend this book for middle school girls. P: 8, Q: 10
Carolyn Hennesy. PANDORA GETS VAIN. Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2008. ISBN 978-1-59990-197-8. $14.99. Gr. 4 – 7.
Pandora Gets Vain is the funny second book in the Pandora series. Pandora just captured jealously, and now she’s chasing the second plague, vanity. Her adventure includes joining a mysterious traveling caravan. From the leader in that caravan, she gets a ride through some crystal panels with a nasty aftereffect, and lands in Egypt. While there, she discovers vanity; and comes face to face with two gods. I recommend this book to fifth and sixth grade girls. P: 7, Q: 7
Holly Hobbie. TOOT AND PUDDLE: THE ONE AND ONLY. Little, Brown, and Company, 2006. ISBN 978-0-316-36664-9. $16.99. Gr. K – 2.
Toot and Puddle: The One and Only is a charming story about Bubbles, the new student in Opal’s class, and how she outshines Opal to become the teacher’s pet and the most popular student in the class. There can only be one “One and only” in Opal and Bubble’s class, so you’ll just have to read this marvelous story to discover who it really is. The illustrations are great and they’ll keep you interested the whole way through. I would recommend Toot and Puddle: The One and Only by Holly Hobbie to 2nd and 3rd graders who love sweet stories that have lots of illustrations in them. P: 7, Q: 9
Tony Johnston. THE SPOON IN THE BATHROOM WALL. Harcourt, Inc., 2005. ISBN 0-15-205292-5. $16.00. Gr. 3-4.
The Spoon in the Bathroom Wall is about a girl named Martha Snapdragon whose dad is the head janitor at Horace E. Bloggins School. Martha was continually bullied by a boy named Rufus; he always made fun of her because of her dad being a janitor. One day, Martha discovered magical dancing eggs that no one knew about and the eggs talked. The eggs told her about a magic spoon that was located in the bathroom. I recommend this book for 4th and 5th graders. They may find it an easy read, yet a creative story. P: 6, Q: 7
Jennifer B. Jones. THE (SHORT) STORY OF MY LIFE. Walker and Company, 2004. ISBN 0-8027-8905-6. 134 pgs. $16.95. Gr. 4-7.
Sixth grader, Mikey has a crush on an older girl named Macy. Mikey thinks she may be starting to like him, when he learns from his best friend, Ben, that Macy was actually holding hands with Mikey’s big brother. Mikey falls apart. Will Macy still be the love of his life or will he find a way to carry on without her? This book will appeal to boys and girls in the fifth and sixth grade. P: 7, Q: 7
Elizabth Cody Kimmel. LILY B. ON THE BRINK OF COOL. Harper Collins Publishers, 2003. ISBN 0-06-000586-6. 239 pgs. $15.99. Gr. 5 – 8.
Lily B. on the Brink of Cool is a book about friendship and family. Lily’s met Karma, a new girl in town, and a friendship has developed, but Lily’s parents object to the friendship. To Lily, Karma and her parents appear cool and intriguing and despite her parents’ wishes, Lily pursues the friendship. When things get out of hand and there is an “accident” in Lily’s house when her parents aren’t home Lily learns she and her family are the victims of a con. I recommend this book for middle school girls. Q: 10, P: 8
R.L. LaFevers. Illus. Yoko Tanaka. THEODOSIA AND THE SERPENTS OF CHAOS. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2007. ISBN 978-0-618-75638-4. 343 pgs. $16.00. Gr. 4 – 8.
This is the first book about eleven year old Theodosia Throckmorton (Theo for short). Theodosia is the daughter of the overseer of the Museum of Legends and Antiquities in London. Theodosia is able to detect curses on objects and remove them carefully without the knowledge of her parents. When her mother discovers a valuable artifact named the Heart of Egypt, and it gets stolen, Theodosia has to rescue it from a secret organization called the Serpents of Chaos and return it to its rightful owner–the tomb of Thutmose in Egypt. This thrilling adventure about a girl who is never heard will appeal to girls in the fifth through eighth grades. P: 8, Q: 9 R.L. LaFevers. Illus. Yoko Tanaka. THEODOSIA AND THE STAFF OF OSIRIS. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008. ISBN 978-0-618-92764-7. 400 pgs. $16.00. Gr. 4 – 8. This is the second book about eleven year old Theodosia Trockmorton. Theodosia is the daughter of the overseer of the Museum of Legends and Antiquities in London. Theodosia is given the task to catalogue the long term storage of the museum. She catalogs a staff that is eventually stolen, and Theodosia has to think creatively to save the day. This thrilling adventure filled with action and frustration will appeal to girls in the fifth through eighth grade. P: 8, Q: 9
Rebecca Lisle. COPPER. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2002. ISBN 0-399-24211-2. 186 pgs. $18.94 Gr. 3 – 6.
Copper is a young girl who was mysteriously taken away from her parents when she was four. Now she lives with her Aunt Ruby. Aunt Ruby is a some-what old lady with jet black hair who dresses very oddly. Copper is frustrated, but luckily she has Ralick, her stuffed animal. Cooper is an adventure where the title character tries to find her mother who made her a charm bracelet that has magical powers. Along the way, she also has to find her dad. I would recommend this book to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. It has a somewhat challenging vocabulary. P: 7, Q: 7
Lensey Namioka. HALF AND HALF. Delacorte Press, 2003. ISBN 0-385-73038-1. 136 pgs. $15.95. Gr. 4-6.
Eleven year old Fiona Cheng is half Chinese and half Scottish, and both sets of her grandparents are coming for the Folk Fest, a festival celebrating all different cultures. Both her mother’s parents and father’s mother want her to participate in the Folk Fest for their countries, but the events are at the exact same time. Fiona has to find a way to be able to participate in both. This tale of influential decisions and self-perception will appeal to girls in the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades. P: 7, Q: 7
Robert B. Parker. CHASING THE BEAR; A YOUNG SPENCER NOVEL. Philomel Books, 2009. ISBN 978-0-399-24776-7. 169 pgs. $14.99. Gr. 7 and up.
Chasing the Bear is an amazing adventure novel about a young boy living with his dad and two uncles. Spenser lives in a small Midwestern town; he has never known his mother. The only female he is close to is his best friend Jenny whose father is always drunk and sometimes abusive. When Jenny is kidnapped by her father Spenser feels called to rescue her. He sets off down the river in a small boat with some supplies. Spenser manages to rescue Jenny, but her father comes after them. I recommend this book to 7th and 8th grade boys. P: 8, Q:10
Deborah Kogan Ray. TO GO SINGING THROUGH THE WORLD. Frances Foster Books Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2006. ISBN 0-374-37627-1. 40 pgs. $17.00. Gr. 3 – 6.
To Go Singing through the World: The Childhood of Pablo Neruda is the story of Pablo who is growing up in a small town called Temuco along Chile’s southern frontier. Pablo truly wanted to express something extraordinary, and he secretly wrote down his thoughts on paper. His writing became rich and powerful and when he turned 16 years old he started to distinguish himself as the People’s Poet, the most celebrated writer in Latin America. Along with his written poetry and official notes, each page provides colorful artwork and illustrations to keep young readers entertained. I would recommend this book to 3 – 5 graders because it an easier read, but has some challenging vocabulary squeezed into it as well. P: 7, Q: 9
Marion Roberts. SUNNY SIDE UP. Wendy Lamb Books, 2008. ISBN 978-0-385-73672-5. $15.99. Gr. 4 – 7.
Sunny Side Up is about a girl named Sunny who has a pizza delivery service called “Pizza-Go-Girl” with her best friend, Cloud. Sunny’s got to find a way to keep her best friend her best friend. Cloud likes a bully named Buster. Sunny is jealous because Cloud is always with Buster. I think this book is for girls of all ages. P: 6, Q: 7
Matthew Skelton. THE STORY OF CIRRUS FLUX. Delacorte Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-73381-6. 304 pgs. $17.99. Gr. 4 – 7.
This is a story about a boy who finds out that he was given the world’s most powerful powers, the Breath of God. Now he has to get away from the bad guys and keep the powers away from evil. Will he keep his power and prevent evil from getting it? Will he win the showdown? I recommend this book to 5th and 6th graders. P: 7, Q: 7
Laini Taylor. Illustrations by Jim Di Bartolo. DREAMDARK: SILKSINGER. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2009. ISBN 978-0-399-24631-9. 445 pgs. $18.99 Gr. 5 – 9.
Magpie, Talon, and the Crow brothers are on a mission as they try to gather the djinn that created the world. Step into a unique world created by Taylor where the faeries are tough, fully realized characters. This book was read without benefit of reading the first one and the reviewer found it rather confusing. However, she does note that if the first one were read and enjoyed then 7th and 8th graders would probably want to read this one. This series will appeal to both genders. P: 8, Q: 7
Lea Wait. FINEST KIND. Margaret K. McElderry, 2006. ISBN 978-1416909521. 246 pgs. $16.95. Gr. 4 – 7.
Finest Kind is an amazing story about family secrets, moving, and new neighbors. Jacob didn’t want to move to Maine. It was hard enough leaving their house, the city, and his friends, but nothing could compare to the hardships Jake faces now in Maine. He is responsible for the household while his mom cares for his younger brother who has cerebral palsy. In addition to his many responsibilities, 12 year old Jake is also expected to keep the family’s secret about his brother’s existence. The middle school reviewer recommends this book to mature middle school readers. P: 8, Q: 9
Mary Waldorf. THE GOLD RUSH KID. Clarion Books, 2008. ISBN 978-0-618-97730-7. 232 pgs. $16.00. Gr. 5 – 8.
After the sudden death of their mother, Edna and Billy, embark upon a journey through the Yukon to the Klondike gold fields to find their father. With 16-year-old Edna dressed as a boy leading the adventure, Billy has little choice but to follow or face being sent to live with distant relatives. Though he doesn’t believe he can necessarily make his own luck on the gold fields, he does know that finding his father is paramount. This book melds the two genres of historical fiction and adventure in an exciting tale. P: 7, Q: 8
Lee Wardlaw. 101 WAYS TO BUG YOUR TEACHER. Dial Books, 2004. ISBN0-8037-2658-9. 246 pgs. $16.99. Gr. 5 – 7.
An inventor known as “Sneeze,” for his frequent sneezing, faces the torment of being looked upon as a genius. Everyone expects another invention, or expects him to perform as a Mr. Fix-it. His teachers and parents expect him to skip the eighth grade and head straight to high school. Sneeze finds this completely unacceptable, and, in an effort to remain at the middle school and not let down his parents or friends, he turns to his marvelous plan of “101 ways to bug your teacher.” Although this book is an easy read, it is quite funny with multiple unexpected situations. I recommend this book to anyone who can read. P: 8, Q 10
Leander Watts. TEN THOUSAND CHARMS. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005. ISBN 0-618-44897-7. 228 pgs. $16.00. Gr. 6 and up.
Thea flees home with her two other sisters, and their dad: kingdom-less King Ivar, The King, thirsty for amusing “charms,” brings together a child desperate for a home into his foreign family, and at the same time pushes Thea into harm’s way. Thea is forced to make decisions regarding her father’s threatened life, accept an unwanted boy, and survive the demanding Parliament of Crows. Will she choose to save herself or her dad? This novel is high school level, for the readers with appetites for an indulging read full of suspense, affection, and a deep dose of darkness. P: 10, Q: 10
Linda Zinnen. HOLDING AT THIRD. Dutton Children’s Books, 2004. ISBN 0-525-47163-4. 152 pgs. $15.99 Gr 4 – 7.
This book is about Matt Bainter, a boy who is really good at baseball until his brother gets diagnosed with cancer. Then he goes in a slump and he can’t get out of it. I recommend this story for those who love baseball and kids in middle school. P: 8, Q: 7
C.S.- Siletz Public Library
Brown, Peter. Children Make Terrible Pets. Little, Brown and Company, 2010. $16.99. ISBN 9780316015486. Unp. Ages 4-8.
This cute picture book tells the story of a boy who is taken home by a bear and kept as a pet. Things don’t work out so well, because “children make terrible pets.” This book would be a great one for a child who wants to keep insects or animals that she or he finds as pets, and has to be convinced that it isn’t such a good idea. I didn’¦t care much for the illustration style, but the two groups of children I read this book to loved it and found the pictures easy to follow as I read the story. P9Q8.
Howe, James. Brontorina. Il. Randy Cecil. Candlewick Press, 2010. $15.99. ISBN 9780763644376. Unp. Ages 4-8.
This funny story was a hit with my story time groups. It looks at a character who wants to take part in a fun activity, which on the face of it seems impossible. She has the desire, but doesn’t fit in physically. We see Brontorina’s frustrations with being too large for the dance studio room, but in the end a solution is found- the dance instructor realizes that Brontorina isn’t too big for the room, but the room is too small for her, so they find a new location where everyone can participate. The illustrations are colorful and fun and keep the listeners following along. P9Q9
Young Adult Fiction
Johnson, Varian. My Life as a Rhombus. Flux, 2007. $9.95. ISBN 9780738711607. 304 pgs. Ages 13+.
This novel follows the activities of an extremely bright young woman named Rhonda. She is gifted in math, and has plans to study engineering in college. Her grades are the most important thing for her. The topic of teen pregnancy and abortion is very important in this novel. Rhonda had an abortion several years before, and she develops an unexpected friendship with a schoolmate who is also pregnant. Family expectations and personal responsibility are strong themes. I found it interesting that the author is a man- he does manage to write convincingly from the point of view of a young woman, which I don’t imagine is easy! P9Q8.
Frazer, Angie. Everlasting. Scholastic Press, 2010. $17.99. ISBN 9780545114738. 329 pgs. Ages 13+.
Everlasting is a fantasy/ adventure set in 1855. Our heroine, Camille, is only 17 years old, but is given great freedom by her widowed father, who is a ship captain. There is a mystery about Camille’s mother and what actually happened to her, and an impending marriage to someone Camille doesn’t love but will marry to help the family’s fortunes. The story doesn’t have much fantasy for a long time, but eventually we encounter monsters and strange happenings that test Camille and her friends. There is an excellent villain in the book. I enjoyed this one a lot, but young adults may find the timeframe foreign. P7Q8.
First Thursdays Book Review Group
L.R. for Siletz Library
Hobbie, Holly. Everything but the Horse. Little, Brown & Company, 2010. unpgd. Ages 4-8. ISBN 9780316070195 $16.99 P9 Q9
The very sweet watercolor painting on the cover depicting a beautiful horse nuzzling a mischievous looking little girl in jodhpurs sets off a few warning bells. The book looks like it has the potential to be extremely saccharine! But surprisingly, this “childhood memory “gives the reader a realistic picture of a little girl and her family who are transplanted to a ramshackle farm, with “unpettable” wild cats lurking in the bushes and the inconveniences of no electricity or modern plumbing. It is no surprise that the little girl wants, more than anything on earth, a horse. But it is a nice surprise that she doesn’t get it and is happy with the alternative! The illustrations are really charming and evocative of the author’s memories. Some of the details outside of the paintings are deliberately gauzy, reminding the reader that these are memories.
Rosenthal, Amy Krouse. Bedtime for Mommy. Il. LeUyen Pham. Bloosmbury USA, 2010. unpgd. Ages 3-6. ISBN 9781599903415 $16.99 P8 Q8
What parent hasn’t, at one time or another, played silly role reversal games with the kids? The cover illustration of this book depicts a little girl and her mother playing one of these games with the mother, in pink striped jamies jumping into bed at 8:00 o’clock. The author captures “bedtime language” perfectly with the mother asking for five more minutes and the child replying succinctly “Okay, five minutes, but that’s it.” Most children and parents (and grandparents) will identify with this situation and get a giggle or a chuckle out of this fun little story. This would be a great story time book, with large, uncluttered illustrations.
Milgrim, David. How You Got So Smart. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2010. unpgd. Ages 6-18. ISBN 9780399252600 $16.99 P8 Q9
In the author’s notes, David Milgrim does not claim to be very smart, but he is obviously brilliant! He has written the book to replace Dr. Seuss’s Oh, The Places You’ll Go! as the number one gift for parents to give to their high school graduates. With clever rhymes and cartoons, the author explains to a child “how he got so smart.” The joyful, bright colored illustrations show a child exhibiting a zest for life, unafraid to try new things. The last pages shows the boy being lifted up by parents and grandparents and proclaiming “You got where you’re going. You did it your way. Three cheers for you….Hip! Hip! Hooray!” Of course, it can be read to any age for an instant uplifting.
Magenta, Emma. Orlando on a Thursday. Candlewick Press, 2010. unpgd. Ages 2-5. ISBN 9780763645601 $15.99 P7 Q7 The cartoon cover of a little boy in a striped shirt and pirate hat indicates that this book might have great adventures inside. Unfortunately, the book is a rather lackluster story of how a little boy spends most days with his “Mami,” but always Thursdays with “Papi.” The boy is obviously very attached to his mother, and even though his dad plays the steel drum for him, helps him ride his tricycle, goes on a nature walk and makes him pancakes for supper, he is intermittently sad about missing his mother. There is nothing unusual in this scenario, and that is the point. The book has no surprises. The illustrations are done in a preschool drawing style with clumsily hand printed words popping up on the pages every now and then.
Van Draanen, Wendelin. The Gecko & Sticky: The Power Potion. Il. Stephen Gilpin. Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. 231 pgs. Ages 8-11. ISBN 9780375843792 $12.99 P7Q8
Stephen Gilpin’s illustrations inside the book are really entertaining and help you visualize the crazy characters in this book, but the cover really misses the mark. There is a monkey in the book who is addicted to coffee and carries an emergency supply in a knapsack. The author uses great wordplay in the book: “java junkie monkey, a creature of habit with a habit, the reckless rhesus” about the monkey and all the characters, but the cover illustration doesn’t give the reader much of a hint about the wackiness inside. However, if the reader has read any of the other Gecko and Sticky books, they will know what a treat they are in for. There is a bit of bathroom humor which seems ubiquitous in books for middle school boys these days, but it is a minor part of the story.
Erickson, John R. Hank the Cowdog: The Case of the Coyote Invasion. Il. Gerald L. Holmes. Puffin Books, 2010. 123 pgs. Ages 7-Adult. ISBN 9780142415924 $5.99 P9Q9
John Erickson is a master at capturing the essential elements of farm animals (and coyotes) and using these characteristics to invent (almost) believable stories about them. Even the dialogue of the animals rings true. You find yourself believing that the rooster told the cowdog about the chickens’ disaster drill in which they run around in circles, squawking “Disaster! Help! Run! Earthquake! Fire! Murder! The sky is falling!” The reader also accepts that the dog bathes in the septic system because he believes it is a healing spa called the Emerald Pond. I listed the ages for readers of this series to be 7-adult, because Erickson slyly inserts some adult humor here and there, making it an enjoyable read for just about any age. Holmes’ cartoon illustrations, though simple, are perfectly adequate for conveying the tone of the story, and the covers always make you want to look inside the book.
Le Vann, Kate. things i know about love. Egmont, 2006. 153 pgs. Ages 15-18. ISBN 9781606840788 $15.99 P7 Q5
As the title indicates, this book is definitely a teen romance but it has a bit of depth to it. The heroine is a 17 year old cancer survivor who is finally getting to spread her wings after being in and out of the hospital and missing out on typical teen experiences. She keeps a private blog diary of her thoughts and activities. Her boyfriend also starts writing a diary and the reader gets both sides of the story. In fact, this is how the reader finds out that the girl has gotten sick again, and dies suddenly. That comes as a surprise which saves the book from being too predictable.
Littman, Sarah Darer. Life, After. Scholastic Press, 2010. 281 pgs. Ages 15-18. ISBN 9780545151443 $17.99 P8 Q8
This teen romance has a lot of the same elements as the previous book—a teen girl having to endure some personal challenges and longing for love and acceptance. However, it has more levels of interest added to the plot. Dani is an Argentinean teenager who comes to America with her family after they lose all their savings in the “Crisis” of 2001. There is also a thread of terrorism to the plot, as Dani has lost a relative to a bombing in Argentina, and new friends in America have recently lost relatives in 9-11. Gentle touches of humor are added when Dani tries to learn American colloquialisms, and the Spanish words and phrases sprinkled throughout the book are wonderful, but I wonder if the author didn’t get a bit lazy with the English dialogue. Dani always seems to speak perfect English in her new surroundings. It would have been more authentic to have her drop some prepositions or reverse the noun-verb order occasionally! Life, After is a thought provoking book and certainly timely right now with the current debate over immigration in this country.
N.B.’s Oceanlake Book Reviews
Meadow, Michelle. Hibernation Station. Illustrated: Kurt Cyrus. Simon & Schuster, 2010. $16.99. ISBN: 978-1-4169-3788-3. Pgs: 36. Author’s Note about hibernation. Age: k-3. P7/Q5 This book would be great in a primary classroom used for rich vocabulary, depiction of the transformation of the seasons, and why animals hibernate. There is no great in-depth discussion or information of this book, the ideas are very general, but the pictures are colorful, interesting, and capture the imagination.
Cuyler, Margery. Guinea Pigs Add Up. Illustrated by Tracey Campbell Pearson. Walker and Company, 2010. $16.99. ISBN: 978-0-8027-9795-7. Pgs: 38. Age: k-2. P8/Q6.
Kids would spend a lot of time pouring over all the little details of the illustrations that draws the reader in. It is also a great math problem for primary kids to figure out. It touches on math and building vocabulary of kids. There is not a lot of substance to this book, but it is an all around nice simple book.
Reidy, Jean. Too Pickley. Illustrated by Genevieve Leloup. Bloomsbury, 2010. $11.99. ISBN: 978-1-59990-309-5. Pgs: 30. Ages: 3-7. P6/Q3
A little boy is very hungry and he finds all the foods he wants to eat are not everything for him to eat; there is always a reason to walk away from the food. He is very angry and dramatic about his food choices, and then on the last page it jumps to him being all done with his food. There is no rhyme or reason to the story. Kids would like it for its theme and ideas, which they could relate to. The illustrations are very general and there is not a lot of detail. The book was a very simple read, without a lot of draw to want to read it again. From a teacher’s perspective it is an ok book to use for word description.
Docherty, Thomas. Big Scary Monster. Templar Books, 2009. $15.99. ISBN: 978-0-7636-4787-2. Pgs: 32. Ages: 4-8. P7/Q6.
A scary monster lives on top of a mountain, where he likes to scare all the animals around. One day he goes down the mountain; where he discovers the things around him are big and scary. The monster becomes scared by another animal, when he goes back up the hill. The animals on the mountain come out and cheer him up, they become friends, and their favorite game is to play “boo.” End pages and the rest of the illustrations really draw the reader in and help the story come alive. This book would be good in any library, classroom, or child’s collection of books. Tells a very simple and moral tale; about treating others the way you would want to be treated.
Martin, Ruth. Moon Dreams. Illustrated by Olivier Latyk. Templar Books, 2010. Pgs: 38. $15.99. ISBN: 978-0-7636-5012-4. Ages 4-8. P6/Q6
Luna, a little girl always wonders where the moon goes during the day; this book is her adventure of attempting to discover the answer to her question. In the end Luna discovers through her dreams; that the moon is always there watching over her. The dream like quality of the words is reinforced by the quality of the illustrations. The worth of the illustrations helps to make this book one kids will enjoy and want to read again. Just a solid little book that is a fun read.
O’Connor, Jane and Robin Press Glasser. Fancy Nancy: Ooh La La! It’s Beauty Day. Harper, 2010. Pgs: 33. $12.99. ISBN: 978-0-06-191525-3. Ages 4-7. P9/Q2.
Nancy’s parents are going out on the town and she wants to give her mom a makeover. So they spend the day having an at home spa day. But things go wrong, and Nancy has to call in some help, to fix her mom’s hair. This series is very popular with the girls; they are always drawn in by Nancy’s adventures, but the story is very simple, and over glamorized. Girls will like it for Nancy, the story, and the fact that there are recipes and hints on how to have a spa day at home. For popularity I would buy this book, but not in hard back. Too much pink, and ooh la, la.
Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers
Reviews by N.W.
Bartoletti, Susan Campbell. They Called Themselves the KKK: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group. Houghton, 2010. $19.00. 978-0-618-44033-7. 172p. Ages 12-15:
The Civil War may have freed the African Americans from slavery but not from terror. The fear and hatred of whites during the Reconstruction era (1865-1877) led to a growing terrorist group that became famous for hiding behind white costumes and murdering anyone who opposed their desire to keep freedom from African Americans. This description of the Ku Klux Klan from its beginning with six men in a law office to hundreds of thousands of angry secret dens uses facts, anecdotes, journals, diaries, narratives, historical quotes, illustrations, and an annotated bibliography to show the development of this destructiveness organization and societal forces that result in hate groups. An interesting writing style and subject will involve teenagers in this book that has received stars from Booklist, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Horn Book. They agree that this is a must for school and public libraries. P7Q10
Jenkins, Steve. Bones. Scholastic, 2010. $16.99. 978-0-545-04651-0. 48p. Ages 8-11:
A life-sized depiction of a human skull set against a brick-red cover will immediately engage the young reader in an exploration of this book that includes foldouts of a complete skeleton, life-sized animal bones, a python complete with all 200 ribs, and a collection of skulls. The white-to-gray cut-paper collages set against rich background colors are attractive, and comparisons among bones from different species and the collection of fascinating facts are useful. Humor comes from subheadings such as “Head Case”.
Long, Ethan. One Drowsy Dragon. Orchard, 2010. $16.99. 978-0-545-16557-0. unp. Ages 3-6:
A sleepy adult dragon becomes increasingly annoyed as the crowd of chaotic little ones grows from ONE marching dragon to NINE rockin’ dragons. Fortunately this is followed by TEN tuckered dragons although the peace does not last long. The rhymes do not always scan well, but the choice of adventurous words will add to the listeners’ vocabularies and the lively digital illustrations in bright colors add to the joy of the book. Sound effects will promote a noisy read aloud while the silly figures will create the need to look at this book again and again. Counting, colors, dragons, and bedtime—they’re all here. P10Q8
Lerch. Swim! Swim! Scholastic, 2010. $16.99. 978-0-545-09419-1. unp. Ages 2-5:
Large childlike illustrations in bold colors outlined in thick black lines show Lerch, the goldfish, with a tiny red hat as he mourns his solitary life. The comic book format with large font and few words in balloons uses teal and blue backgrounds to depict the water as well as bright yellow and red to show different emotions. Young listeners will giggle at Lerch’s attempts to make friends with the pebbles, the fishbowl ornaments, and finally the bubbles that rise to the surface. Even funnier is the way that he finds another fish friend (Dinah—for Dinner) from a cat that thinks the goldfish will be lunch. (Get it? Lunch? Lerch?) The book is funny, a bit scary, and sure to get repeat readers. P10Q9
Pien, Lark. Mr. Elephanter. Candlewick, 2010. $14.99. 978-0-7636-4409-3. unp. Ages 3-6: In this deceptively simple book that appears as if a young child could have done the detailed watercolor illustrations and lettering, a human is the caregiver for three active “elephanties.” The charming book follows them throughout the day as he fixes them breakfast, takes them to the pool and park, and tries to keep them from getting into trouble. Young children who already have a daily sitter can identify with the events, and others who face this situation will be reassured. Clever wording adds to the warm humor. P8Q8
Craddock, Erik. Ninja Slice. [Stone Rabbit] Random House, 2010. $6.99. 978-0-375-86723-1. Ages 6-9: Stone Rabbit is joined by Henri and Andy to save Grandpa Tortoise’s Homestyle Pizzeria after a ninja warrior, past pizza deliverer for Grandpa, opens a competing business across the street. As in the first four of this series, color and adventure make for a fast-paced thrill-filled romp with the protagonist. P9Q8
Deutsch, Barry. Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword. Amulet/Abrams, 2010. $15.95. 978-0-8109-8422-6. Ages 10-14:
Eleven-year-old Mirka Herschberg doesn’t want to knit or find a husband; she just wants to fight dragons which aren’t available in her Orthodox Jewish community. So she fights the bullies, battles a huge pig, and accepts the challenge from a mysterious witch that leads her to get a sword—if she defeats the giant troll. This blend of fantasy, adventure, ‘tween angst, and Jewish cultural traditions has funny dialog, some of it Yiddish with definitions at the bottom of the page, and situations shown through exciting visuals. The book description says that it’s in full color, but even the black-and-white proof makes for a delightful read. P7Q9
Dunning, John Hattis and Nikkil Singh. Salem Brownstone: All Along the Watchtowers. Candlewick, 2010. $18.99. 978-0-7636-4735-3. 96p. Ages 12+:
Surrealistic pen-and-ink illustrations and creative graphic layout provide the story of Salem, who inherits a mansion from the father he never knew and all the problems, including the deathly Shadow Boys who want a scrying ball held by a mysterious contortionist. This brilliant book, featuring the colorful performers of Dr. Kinoshita’s Circus of Unearthly Delights is perfect for fans of Alice in Wonderland and the tales of H.P. Lovecraft. Hopefully, Salem will return in another adventure. P7Q10
Gownley, Jimmy. Amelia Rules! The Tweenage Guide to Not Being Unpopular. Simon & Schuster, 2010. $10.99. 978-1-4169-8609-9. 187p. Ages 9-12:
A cross between a self-help book and a novel, the fifth book in the Amelia series follows her throughout middle school in her attempt to be popular with Rhonda, Reggie, and new sidekick Joan. No matter what they do, they end up being social outcasts—even following all the advice in the guide they read about attempting new hairstyles and attitudes. The depictions of emotions (embarrassment, depression, anger, etc.) are especially well-done, but the ending in which Amelia gives up something she really wants to make Rhonda happy doesn’t ring true. Yet the dialog and humor make this book a good demonstration of the bridge between childhood and adolescence. The strong presence of Amelia’s mother and aunt add to the depth of the book. P8Q8
Holm, Jennifer L. & Matthew Holm. Babymouse: Cupcake Tycoon. Random House, 2010. $7.99. 978-0-375-86573-2. 94p. Ages 5-8:
In the thirteenth of this really PINK graphic-novel series, Babymouse is determined to win the school library fund-raiser by selling the most cupcakes. Never mind that the library needs the money to replace books that Babymouse accidentally destroyed. She wins—for once—over arch-enemy Felicia Furrypaws, but the award is bittersweet because her name is misspelled on the plaque. A bonus at the end is the announcement of a new series, this time GREEN, about Squish the Amoeba. More fun on the way. P10Q8
Neri, G. Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty. Il. Randy DuBurke. Lee & Low, 2010. $16.95. 978-1-58430-276-4. 94p. Ages 12:
In 1994, an 11-year-old boy killed a 14-year-old girl, Shavon Dean, on Chicago’s South Side. The murder was caused by a stray bullet because Robert “Yummy” Sandifer was trying to prove himself to the Black Disciples Nation. Roger, a fictional classmate, pursues the reasons for Yummy’s violence during the three days that he is on the run before the gang kills him. Neri shows the dichotomy of this child from his carrying a teddy bear and his love for candy to his career as an arsonist and extortionist through a failed system that allows a crime-ridden neighborhood and absentee parenting. Stark black and white drawings with deep shadows and clear faces are accompanied by straightforward narration about this tragedy based on public records, media accounts, and personal stories. P7Q9
Reynolds, Peter H. Zebrafish. Atheneum, 2010. $16.99. 978-1-4169-9425-8. 118p. Ages 10-14: Looking for friends at her new school, purple-haired Vita holds auditions for her rock band Zebrafish. Imaginative color panels on a variety of backgrounds follow the plot as she struggles with the lack of musical talent but forges ahead with them to create a music video. The crux of the story is the group’s protective attitude toward one of the members, Tanya, who finally reveals that she has leukemia, knowledge that results in their holding a fundraising concert to obtain a needed piece of equipment for the hospital. The characters are fleshed out by Vita’s relationship with her brother, a cancer researcher at the hospital. Although the subject can be grim, the approach shows enthusiasm and a desire to make the world a better place with thoroughly likable characters.
Smith, Jeff. Bone Handbook. Graphix/Scholastic, 2010. $9.99. 978-0-545-21142-0. 124p. Ages 10-14:
For those who missed the first few Bone books (or those who didn’t!) this gives character profiles, timeline, cover art from original editions, interviews with the author and colorist, Steve Hamaker, and more. A necessary addition to collections with the Bone books. P7Q
Smith, Jeff and Tom Sniegoski. Bone Tall Tales. Graphix/Scholastic, 2010. $22.99. 978-0-545-14095-9. 108p. Ages 10-14:
Smith goes back to the beginning of Boneville by Big Johnson Bone, the explorer who founded the place. The first chapter gives a brief history, and the other four tall tales show Big Johnson as a fearless Davey Crockett-like character. Action and color are the highlight of this series with its simply-drawn, white, big-nosed creatures Fone, Phoney, and Smiley. This will hold Bone fans until the first book of a new trilogy comes out later this year. P9Q8
TenNapel, Doug. Ghostopolis. Graphix/Scholastic, 2010. $24.99. 978-0-545-21-27-0. 268p. Ages 11-14:
Ghosts, walking skeletons, a young boy, terrible bee creatures, a wash-up ghost wrangler and his beautiful girlfriend—these are only a few of the memorable characters in this journey to the after-world. From the beginning scenes when Frank Gallows is breaking into a home to find the ghost of Benedict Arnold to the grand finale when an estranged man and his daughter reconcile their differences, the bright colors and action-packed sequences are a non-stop read. The plot surrounds Garth Hale, suffering from an incurable disease, who mistakenly goes to the ghost land while he’s still alive, an accident that allows him to fight the dastardly evil ruler of Ghostopolis, Vaughner, so that Tuskegee Joe, an airman and a god-like figure, can keep the ghosts moving to their final resting place. School Library Journal gave the book a star, and Booklist describes the story as “a good blend of creepy, grotesque, and wacky.” They left out humor! Although the planned film adaptation isn’t needed to make the book popular, it will make Ghostopolis famous. P9Q9
YoYo. Vermonia: Release of the Red Phoenix. Candlewick, 2010. $9.99. 978-0763647858. 208p. Ages 11-15:
In the third of the Vermonia series, skateboarders Naomi (who has merged with her warrior spirit), Doug, and Jim band together to free Mel who is trapped in a bubble by the General Uro. Great manga artwork highlights the story of these four who hold the fate of three worlds in their hands. P7 Q8
Cypress, Leah. Mistwood. Greenwillow, 2010. $16.99. 978-0-06-195699-7. 304p. Ages 11-14
As in many fantasies, a king (this time that of Samorna) depends on someone else’s magic to keep him safe. The delightful twist in this novel is that Isabel, the immortal Shifter, cannot clearly remember the past; instead memories come back to her in small pieces, keeping her always in danger. Another twist in the plot is that the assumed king-to-be is not actually the heir presumptive. Thus Isabel is torn between protecting the Crown Prince Rokan and the one who, biologically, should assume the throne. The complexity of this fantasy, which includes the killing of the only one who could help her, combined with quality writing makes this book a delight for readers searching for more unpredictable books in the genre. The romance, uncertain at times, adds to the interest in this suspenseful debut which received a star from Kirkus. P8Q9
Friesner, Esther. Sphinx’s Queen. Random House, 2010. $17.99. 978-0-375-85657-0. 352p. Ages 12-15:
Nefertiti is on the run, trying to escape from the cruel heir-apparent to the Pharaoh to the protection of her parents and the Pharaoh himself. In this sequel to Sphinx’s Princess, Friesner provides an exciting look at ancient Egypt and its dangers, but human and environmental. Her descriptions of life during that time, both at the royal palace and in the wild hills along the Nile’s west bank, provide an interesting background, but the writing about Neferti’s emotions are sometimes a bit overdone. The cover also shows an attractive young woman who could be a twentieth-century American girl. Lovers of historical fiction and mythology will enjoy this. P6Q7
Kvasnosky, Laura McGee. Zelda and Ivy: The Big Picture. Candlewick, 2010. $14.99. 978-0-7636-4180-1. 42p. Ages 5-7:
Beginning readers will delight in this chapter book with three new episodes about the fox sisters and their friend Eugene as they go to a movie (Zelda tells Ivy not to be afraid but is actually afraid herself), investigate their neighbor as secret agents to find out why she’s wearing goggles (the neighbor invites them in for cookies), and camp IN when the rain ruins their campout. Deeply-colored gouache illustrations complete the stories. A great book for early readers. P8Q8
Tanner, Lian. Museum of Thieves. Delacorte, 2010. $16.99. 978-0-385-73905-4. 312p. Ages 11-14: Imagine a place where children are never afraid because they are attached to their loving parents with a chain until they are twelve years old. This is the tyrannical world of Jewel. But Goldie hates following the orders of the “Blessed Guardians” and desperately looks forward to “Separation Day.” Unfortunately it is canceled because of bomb, so Goldie strikes out on her own, a decision that leads to the Museum of Dunt where she meets a co-conspirator, Toadspit, discovers the terrible secrets that have kept the children in thrall, and uses her talent for thieving to stop the leader of the Blessed Guardians from destroying Jewel. In Book I of The Keepers Trilogy, the Australian author satirizes our culture’s need for complete safety at the cost of freedom, a desire that can lead to an evil dictatorship, all in a book of great daring adventure. P8Q9
Book Reviews by C.B. NIS/INMS
Bauer, A.C.E., Come fall, Random House, 2010, 231 pgs., $15.99, ISBN:9780375858253, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 8,
Lu Zimmer wants to take part in the designated buddy program at her school this year. A D.B. Is a person that the school appoints to help new students all year. Lu’s D.B. had been so good to her last year she can’t wait to be someone’s buddy too. Enter Salman Page the new boy in class and who has
been assigned to Lu’s as his designated buddy. The only thing is Salman just wants to blend in and not draw attention to him. He has been in as many different schools as he has foster homes and has learned to blend in really well. What Lu learns through this whole process is what a true friend is. The author has always loved William Shakespeare’s play, “A Midnight Summer’s dream” as in the play she has also included another story. Salman was the child of a handmaiden to Queen Titania who sends Puck, in the form of a crown, to watch over Salman. This causes the King to be jealous who then tries to hurt those around Salman. Students who like realistic fiction with a twist of magic will love this story.
Carroll, Michael, Super Human, Philomel, 2010, 325 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:9780399252976, Gr. 7+, P 8, Q8,
4,500 years ago the Fifth King disappeared off the balcony of his palace. This king was a ruthless leader who dealt harshly with his subjects. In our world today, the United States, a group known as the Helotry is determined to bring this king, who is also godlike, back into the world. A plague, is created by the Helotry, which affects all the grown ups of the world it is up to and weakens the superheroes of the world too. The super heroes, are the best defense against the Fifth Kings reappearing in our world today. With them sick it is the newly formed group of young super heroes, teenagers, who have to come to the worlds rescue. This is fast paced story which will appeal to older students.
Enderle, Dotti, Crosswire, Calkins Creek, 2010, 142 pgs., $17.95, ISBN:9781590787519, Gr. 6+, P 8, Q 8,
This historical fiction story takes place in 1883 Texas which is going through one of the states worse draughts. Jesse is 13 years-old and lives with his family on a farm where the crops are dying and water is dwindling daily. The only thing that is saving the farm is the water stored in a water tank on the farm. Jesse’s family finds the barbed wire fence cut one morning and water missing. There is soon a struggle between the ranches, who have always had access to the land that is now fenced , and farmers who are determined to survive and not be driven out. The family’s money was taken by his Jesse’s older brother Ethan and their father kicks him out of the house. A stranger comes one day and brings with a mystery that will endanger Jesse’s life but also promises to bring an end of the fighting between the ranchers and the farmers.
Falls, Kat, Dark life, Scholastic Press, 2010, 297 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:9780545178143, Gr. 7+, P 8, Q 8,
A series of earthquakes has caused devastation in our world which is covered mostly by water. Those who live on little bit of land available are in high rises built on top of each other. Many have chosen to be pioneers and have turned to the sea to make live their lives. Ty is a 16 year-old boy, the first born under the sea, to his scientist parents. Ty has a remarkable talent; he is able to send sound waves out, as dolphins and whales do, and which enables him to see the ocean floor, in a world which is dark. Ty discovers an abandoned submarine which has blood but no passengers aboard. Except another diver, Gemma, who has also found the submarine. Gemma, who is running away from the crowded life she has on land, is searching for her brother who has been reported to live in the ocean now. They were separated years before and Gemma is determined to find him. Together what Gemma and Ty discover is that illegal medical experiments were performed in a facility in the ocean and was funded by the Commonwealth Government. These experiments were performed on the children, in an effort to try and duplicate the same natural abilities that pioneer children are displaying. This underwater adventure is one that will appeal to older children.
Muchamore, Robert, Cherub: The recruit, Simon Pulse, 2004, 346 pgs., 16.99, ISBN:9781416999409, Gr.8+, P 8, Q 8,
James Choke is 11 years-old boy who lives in London, England with his mom and little sister, Lauren. James mother is very obese and though James loves her he is embarrassed to be seen with her. She runs a black market operation from their apartment and can usually get her kids the latest gadget or any video game they may want. Lauren’s has a different father than James and though her mother and father are divorced she must visit him. When their mother suddenly dies Lauren and James are separated Lauren gong with her father and James to a foster house. Lauren’s father doesn’t like James and has returned to the family’s apartment selling off their anything of value and looking for the mother’s money, made from her black market dealings. James while living at the foster house doesn’t obey the house rules and is soon in trouble. Arrested after be caught doing something illegal he is drugged and taken to a secret location and here finds that he is being recruited by a secret organization, CHERUB. He is given the choice of becoming a CHERUB member or to return to London and going to back to jail. A fast paced adventure that is sure to capture older children’s interest and is a book that they won’t be able to put down.
Simmons, Jane, Beryl: a pig’s tale, Little, Brown and Company, 2008, 216 pgs., $14.99, ISBN:9780316044103, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 9,
What is a friend? What is a family? This book answers those two questions when Beryl , a farm pig escapes from a truck which is on its way to market. Beryl has always been told that a wild pig could not be trusted, she has believed this too. The first thing she encounters in her new found freedom is Amber, a wild pig and soon he best friend and sister. It also starts an adventure where things that Beryl faces her first real family and trip that brings cruelty, despair and finally love to this little pigs life. This is a great book that should be read aloud to all classes. It is sure to start discussions on what friendship and families truly are.
Sparkes, Ali, Frozen in time, Egmont, 2009, 312 pgs., $15.99, ISBN:9781606840771, Gr. 4+, P 9, Q 9,
In 1956 two children, Freddy and Polly Emerson disappear and their father Dr. Emerson always comes up missing. The police think the father has done something with them and defected to Russia with the findings from his secret experiments. Flash forward to 2010 England where Ben and Rachel Corder are staying with their Uncle Jerome border to death as even the TV is on the blink. With nothing to do until the rain finally stops the two can’t wait to get outside. What they find in the garden is a buried vault that holds two frozen children, Freddy and Polly. By accident Ben and Rachel bring these two out of cryogenic stasis and the adventure begins. Chased by unknown individuals, threatened by complications of being in cryogenics so long and trying to adjust to a world of microwaves, television and cell phones the reader of this story is on the edge of their seats waiting to see the out come of this adventure.
. Toft, Di, Wolven, Scholastic Press, 2010, 322 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:9780545171090, Gr. 4+, P 7, Q 7, Nat Carver lives in England in a village near a mysterious forest, with his grandparents. The forest has always had tales of government experiments taking place at Helleborine and Nat is afraid to venture to far into the forest. His grandparents have promised him a dog so he will have some companionship. His grandfathers friend has a dog that he is giving away and Nat is at first not sure that this is the dog for him. When he receives a telepathic message from the dog, Woody , he takes him home and soon finds his life in chaos. Woody is not really a dog he is a Wolven and the last of his kind. The government had taken his clan away from France and brought them to England where horrid experiments were done to them in an effort to try and duplicate their powers. Sought by the evil Dr. Gabriel Gruber, Nat and Woody are soon caught up in this series of events that cumulates in a surprise ending.
Wagner, Hilary, Nightshade city, Holiday House, 2010, 261 pgs., $17.95, ISBN:9780823422852, Gr. 8+,P 8, Q 9,
Deep, deep beneath a modern day city in the catacombs resides a realm of intelligent and remarkable rats. The leader is Minister Killdeer who won his position through a bloody takeover. With the help of Billycan, mean, vicious henchmen, he has run the catacombs for years. The young male orphans of this coup have been inducted into Killdeer’s army and the female orphans go to the kitchens. If you have a guardian this fate does not happen as you have a family and will not become a ward of Minister Killdeer. The opening scene is of two brothers, Vincent and Victor, fleeing from those who have come to induct them into the army, their guardian has died. By accident these two young men find the resistance and join them in fight to bring down Minister Killdeer and Billycan and establish a new city called Nightshade. From the start this is a fast paced story that draws the reader in to this rat world and is one that leaves the reader clamoring for more.
Watson, Renee, What Momma left me, Bloomsbury, 2010, 226 pgs.,$16.99, ISBN:9781599904467, Gr. 6+, P 8, Q 8,
Serenity is 13 years-old the year that she and her brother Danny go to live with their grandparents. Their father had killed his wife and then fled leaving his two children behind. The grandparents help with love and support as they face a new school, friends, neighborhood and church. Serenity is given a journal which she uses to reflect on her life; how to help a friend with her abusive father, her brother, and Jay a young man she is sweet on but who is headed down the wrong path. Through out the story Serenity tells little more about how her mother is killed. A quote from Maya Angelou or a Bible verses is used at the start of each chapter.
West, Jacqueline, The shadows, Dial Books for Young Readers, New York, 2010, $16.99, ISBN:9780803734401, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 8,
Olive Dunwoody is the eleven year- old daughter of Mr. And Mrs. Dunwoody. She has always felt that like the third wheel to her parents who are devoted to each other and who are mathematically minded. So when they move into a really old Victorian home, that even comes furnished she notices however that something just doesn’t feel right. The pictures can’t be taken off the wall and she thinks that she can even see things in them. A talking cat warns her that she really needs to be careful or something bad may happen. Olive is even more aware of this sinister home. When Olive finds some glasses while going some drawers she knows that she is seeing things in the pictures. These are magic glasses that let her into the pictures where she finds some of the things that the house wants t kept secret. Is it the house or something else even more appalling that watching her. It is up to Olive to come to the rescue by learning the truth of the house and the mysteries it holds.
Cullinan,Bernice, and Wooten, Deborah, Another jar of tiny stars, Wordsong, 2009, 133 pgs., index, $19.95, ISBN:9781590787267, Gr.3+, P 8, Q8,
A collection of 15 poets and examples of their poetry are included in this book. A quote is included by each poet that tells something about themselves or about their work. The illustrations by Bates are of the poets and are black and white watercolor prints that have captured the poet’s personality for the reader to see. This is book would be great to use in a poetry unit where poets or poetry was being studied.
Kay, Verla, Whatever happened to the Pony Express, illustrated by Kimberly Bulcken Root and Barry Root, G.P. Putman’s Sons, 2010, unp, $16.99, ISBN:9780399244834, Gr.3+, P 8, Q8,
Through a series of letters, written between the years of 1851-1870, between a sister, Kay, and brother, Thomas, the story of the Pony Express comes to life. Written in a prose format the different aspects of the development of this long distance mail service are explored. From stage, to camel, to finally the orphans who rode for the pony express are presented with scenes from history. Using warm colors of yellows, browns, and oranges the illustrations are done in variety of methods, ink, pencil and watercolor to show the journey of the letters that flowed between the brother and sister.
Krull, Kathryn. The brothers Kennedy: John, Robert, Edward, illustrated by Amy June Bates, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010, 40 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:9781416991588, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 8,
Krull, in this book has used snippet events from each of the brother’s lives to demonstrate the compassion and love that they had for each other, their country, life and other people. She does mention Joe in the very first of the book but is truly just a mention and then it was on to the others. The water color and pencil illustrations show the love of life and adventure these brothers all shared.
Krull, Kathleen, and Brewer, Paul, Lincoln tells a joke: how laughter saved the president (and the country), illustrated by Stacy Innerst, Harcourt Children’s Books, 2010, unp., ISBN:9780152066390, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 9,
When I ask school children who their favorite president is, it is usually Lincoln or Washington. When researching a president it is again these two presidents that books are asked for. Krull has captured a side of President Lincoln, his humor and tells how he used it through his life, debates, Congress and during the war as President. The only time he didn’t use it was after the death of his two sons. The books states it took him a long time to be humorous again. The curious and even odd acrylic illustrations were perfect for this work. My favorite was the White House with HA HA’s above it and to the right a single window with a Lincoln laughing while in a rocking chair rocking. This is a book that should be included in all elementary and middle school libraries.
McCarthy, Meghan, Pop! The invention of bubble gum, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010, unp, $15.99, ISBN:9781416979708, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 9,
Who hasn’t ever blown a bubble from gum then had a friend reach over to “POP!” it. What fun would gum be if we could never have been able to pop that bubble or even to blow it? We need to thank the little known Walter Diemer for having the fortitudeinto sticking with his work till he came up with the formula for this wonderful gum. The acrylic paintings of buggy-eyed people, who are often seen chewing gum, have so much humor that the reader will find themselves just giggling. The author has included facts about gum at the end of the book.
Sobol, Richard, Breakfast in the Rainforest: a visit with Mountain Gorillas, Candlewick Press, 2008, 44 pgs., glossary, $7.99, ISBN:9780763651343, Gr. 5+ , P 8, Q 8,
Sobol has used photographs to tell the story of the amazing mountain gorilla. He ventured into
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park located in Uganda, Africa where the remaining gorillas are protected by rangers who roam their protected reserve. Sobol takes you on this journey as he comes face to face with the great silverback gorilla. He also shows cultural aspects of this country and continent. War, drought, and poachers and man are all encroaching on the few remaining wild gorillas.
Sylver, Adrienne, Hot diggity dog: the history of the hot dog, illustrated by Elwood H. Smith, Dutton Children’s Books, 2010, unp., $16.99, ISBN:9780525478973, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 7,
Kids and adults all love a good hotdog with all the fixings or with just mustard or ketchup. Sylver has collected facts and the history of the hotdog and presented it in fun and humorous way. The illustrations by Smith add to the over humor of the book. Sidebars are also included with cartoon style art that has fun facts about different hotdogs across the world. This book will leave your mouth watering for a hotdog or two.
Yolen, Jane, Lost boy: the story of the man who created Peter Pan, illustrated by Steve Adams, Dutton’s Children’s Books, 2010, unp., $17.99, ISBN:9780525478867, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 9,
The life of James Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, is presented in this well written biography. Barrie who was born in Scotland used to put on plays that he wrote, for his friends and years later he used them as the basis for some of his characters. Yolen uses quotes from Barrie’s various works to introduce the main idea for each chapter. The illustrator Steve Adams captured these quotes or ideas with his paintings which are full page illustrations. On the opposite side a simpler illustration, painting appears along with text. This is a book that will appeal to elementary and middle school age students.
Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers
J.K. – Lincoln County Juvenile Detention Center
The following reviews were written and submitted by a student incarcerated at the juvenile detention center:
Dean, Carolee. Take Me There. Simon Pulse, 2010. 325 p. $8.99. paperback. ISBN: 978-1-4169-8950-9. Gr. 10 – young adult. P8/Q7.
I thought the book was very good! I could not put it down and loved reading it! I think high school students should read it. But I got real pissed about how it ended! I hated the ending! I liked the book because it was very action-packed. I hated the ending because the main character, Dylan, ended up going to jail after everything happened and isn’t even with his true love.
Hutchinson, Shaun David. The Deathday Letter. Simon Pulse, 2010. 240 p. $9.99 paperback. ISBN: 978-1-4169-9608-8. Gr. 9 – 11. P6.5/Q5.
I think it was a pretty good book. It makes you really think about what you would do if you only had 24 hours to live. I think that kids between the ages of 14 and 16 would enjoy this book. It seems like it’s only meant for young readers, but it also has some more ‘mature’ parts. The only part I didn’t really like is the way he died at the end of the story.
November 2010 Reviews
Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers Reviews by M.D. ASPIRE Center
McClements, George. Dinosaur Woods, Can Seven Clever Critters Save Their Forest Home?, Beach Lane Books, 2009. $16.99. ages 3-7. 40 pgs. 978-1-4169-8626-3.
George has created several picture books (Ridin’ Dinos with Buck Bronco, Night of the Veggie Monster, ect.) At the back of the book is a “blue print” for building your own dinosaur with no power tools necessary. It is a cute finger puppet made from any kind of paper. The pictures are a set of cute collage paper characters that have a 3 D look to them. The story has little phrases that the animals say that are funny and add to the main story. The story is a little confusing–it jumps around a bit and may be hard for young readers to follow. The animals are losing their home in the woods and then build a dinosaur to protect their home. There is a camera crew and a possible factory that will take over their home in the woods.
Ryder, Joanne. Illustrated by Peter Catalanotto. My Mother’s Voice. Harper Collins, 2006. $16.89. ages 3-5. 30 pgs. 978-0-06-029510-3.
This is a story about a mother and her young daughter and their relationship. The words are in a type of poetry format and the pictures are warm and beautiful. I think this story might be for an older child as they can connect with the differing feelings and words of a mother.
Feiffer, Kate. Illustrated by Diane Goode. President PennyBaker. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2008. $16.99. ages 4-8. 30 pgs. 978-1-4169-1354-2.
Luke wants to watch TV but he has to do some chores first and then he is still unable to watch TV. He decides life is unfair and he wants to change things and wants to run for president. He became the youngest boy to ever run for president. He chose Lily his dog as his running mate. The story has very cute drawings and the story moves along in a fun and quick simple manner. It is a funny story with Luke telling a reporter that he is in the Birthday Party not the Republic or Democratic Party. The story is very silly with the dog ending up as the president in the end.
Burleigh, Robert. Illustrated by Beppe Giacobbe. Clang! Clang! Beep! Beep! Listen to the City. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2009. $16.99 ages 2-5. 30 pgs. 978-1-4169-4052-4.
The illustrator explains his creative process in the notes at the front of the book. The final pictures are created on the computer by drawing with a digital pen. The colors are a nice bright contrast and are very eye catching. The words rhyme and there are very few on a page. It is a story of all the different sounds in the city.
Lauren Child. We are Extremely Very Good Recyclers. (Charlie and Lola series.) Dial Books for Young Readers, 2009. $16.99 2-9. 30 pgs. 978-0-8037-3335-0.
This is a Charlie and Lola book as seen on Disney Playhouse. The text was based on a script written by Bridget Hurst and the illustrations are from the TV animation produced by Tiger Aspect. The book was printed in an environmentally friendly way and has fun end papers with suggestions for how to save the environment – such as, “Sometimes, if I can, take a shower instead of a bath.” There is also “a completely useful and good recycling poster inside.” The pictures are made of a mixed media with different pieces of fabric and papers. The story has a definition of recycling “a way for people to reuse old things in a different a newish way.” My favorite page is a picture of a heap of trash bags that have real trash littered all around. I really like this book because it has great pictures and a message.
Lauren Child. I Will Be Especially Very Careful. (Charlie and Lola series.) Dial Books for Young Readers, 2009. $16.99. ages 2-9. 30 pgs. 978-0-8037-3379-4.
This is a Charlie and Lola book as seen on Disney Playhouse. The text was based on a script written by Anna Starkey and the Illustrations are from the TV animation produced by Tiger Aspect. I like these books because the pictures are so different and they use many kinds of media–photos, drawings, paper cut outs, pictures of items. The text changes with the different words and helps to make certain words pop out. The story is about how Lola borrows her best friend’s new white fluffy coat and loses it. They are in the park and her friend is crying when Minnie comes and is wearing the coat. Minnie found it at the library. Lola wants to borrow her friend’s pencil case and she says, “No.” I like that she stood up to Lola and said no.
Bluemle, Elizabeth, Illustrated by Randy Cecil. How Do You Wokka-Wokka? Candlewick, 2009.$15.99. ages 3-6. 28 pgs. 878-0-7636-3228-1.
The end papers are very interesting with several tall city buildings. This is a story with many nonsensical words by a African American young boy. It may be hard to read and understand because they are made up words such as croakie-yocka. It is a story about some young friends dancing in the city streets.
Stoeke, Janet Morgan. Minerva Louise on Halloween. Dutton Children’s Books, 2009. $16.99.ages 3-5. 25 pgs. 978-0-525-42149-8.
This is a cute story from the point of view of a chicken, Minerva Louise. The chicken is used to the farm and is a little confused by all of the things happening around Halloween. I wish the name of the chicken was simpler as it may be confusing to a young child. The pictures and words are simple and easy to understand. This is a very cute Halloween book for very young children to enjoy with a funny ending.
Ditterlizzi, Tony & Angela. Adventure of Meno, Book Three: Yummy Trip! Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010. $9.99. ages 1-5. 15 pgs. 978-1-4169-7150-4.
The author also has written the Spiderwick Chronicles. The back cover even has a website planetmeno.com and you can meet the author and illustrator at KIDS.SimonandSchuster.com. The front cover explains that the book is written in “delicious meno-color.” The end of the book has a pronounciation menu and a meno-speak. It is a good thing because the words in this book make very little sense because it is about aliens. It could be confusing to some young children who are just learning to speak. The pictures are very bright and colorful and fun to look at.
Ditterlizzi, Tony & Angela. Adventure of Meno, Book Four: Uh-Oh Sick! Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010. $9.99. ages 1-5. 15 pgs. 978-1-4169-7153-5.
These books are written by a husband and wife team. The colors in this book are not as cheerful but it is a story about being sick in bed. They make a reference to person named Eddie Vedder, not sure who this is or if children will know who this is.
Ransom, Candice F. and illustrated by Jenny Mattheson. The Old Blue Pickup Truck. Walker & Company,rk. 2009. $16.99. ages 2-5. 30 pgs. 978-0-8027-9591-5.
This book has very simple bright colorful pictures to go with the fun story of a little girl and her dad who do all kinds of errands in their old blue pickup truck.
Dunbar, Polly. Where’s Tumpty? A Tilly and Friend Book. Candlewick, 2009. $12.99. ages 2-5. 20 pgs. 978-0-7636-4273-0
The pictures are cute and simple with a few words. I like the coloring and story but some of the names of the characters are unusual such as “Pru”.¨ It is a cute story about elephant who tries to hide under a box and behind a tiny plant which is humorous.
Udovic, Jane Morris and illustrated by David Udovic. Aunt Matilda’s Almost-Boring Party. Front Street, 2009. $16.95. ages 2-5. 15 pgs. 978-1-59078-653-6.
This is a cute story about a little boy who falls asleep at his Aunt Matilda’s fancy party and dreams about starting a food fight with cream pies. The pictures are beautiful, intricate and colorful. It is a bit of a challenge to find the little boy amidst all of the party goers.
Bennett, Kelly. Illustrated by Paul Meisel. Dad and Pop: An Ode to Fathers & Stepfathers. Candlewick, 2010. $15.99. ages 2-6. 15 pgs. 978-0-7636-3379-0.
This is a very simple and cute story about a little girl who has a father and a step-father. I enjoyed the bright and cheerful pictures. The story is a little too simple and only talks about how they are different but both love her. No details about one being a father and the other a stepfather that is just mentioned in the title of the book.
Cabera, Jane. Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush. Holiday House. New York. 2010. $16.95. ages 2-5 . 20pgs. 978-0-8234-2288-3.
This book has darling end papers with bright colorful characters from the book. The story is told to the tune of “Here we go round the mulberry bush.” It is about a family of dogs doing things on a frosty morning. This would make a great read aloud book for a group of children. The pictures are bright and cheerful paintings. It would ends with the mother dog reading a book to her children at bedtime and settling down so it would make a great bed time story as well.
Tarpley, Todd. Illustrated by Liza Woodruff. How About a Kiss for Me? Dutton Children’s Books, 2010. $16.99. ages 2-5. 20 pgs. 978-0-525-42235-8.
The story is of a little boy asking do you like to kiss different animals, so this would be a fun book for a toddler to learn and point at different animals. The text is in a rhyming pattern so it would be a fun read aloud book. It ends with the little boy getting a good night kiss from his father so it would be a perfect bed time story. The words and pictures are simple, bright and cute. It has a fun thing for adults as well– the last page has a picture of a mop and says “p.s. stop kissing mops” so it made me laugh.
Hills, Tad. How Rocket Learned to Read. Schwartz & Wade Books, 2010. $17.99. ages 3-7. 30 pgs. 978-0-375-85899-4.
This is a great story and very captivating–it would make a great read aloud for a classroom of students who are just learning to read. It is about a dog that is taught by a bird to read. He is reluctant in the beginning so the bird reads aloud and then Rocket wants to know the ending to the story and he shows up for class the next day to find out how the story ends. It talks about practicing the alphabet and sounding out words and spelling. I think adults and children alike will enjoy this bright and cheerful book.
Ruddell, Deborah. Illustrated by Robin Luebs. Who Said Coo? Beach Lane Books, 2010. $16.99. ages 2-5. 30 pgs. 978-1-4169-8510-5.
This would be a fun good night story about a little pig who is trying to go to sleep but an owl and pigeon are making noises outside her window. Lulu gets mad and yells at the birds but then apologizes after they cry. It also has repeat phrases that a child could say along with the reader.
Kerby, Johanna. Little Pink Pup. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2010. $16.99. ages 2-5. 30 pgs. 978-0-399-25435-2.
The dedication is to all children who think that they are different from the rest of their families. It reminds them that remember your family loves you just the way you are. The pictures are actual photographs of a little piglet who lives with a litter of dachshund puppies. The dachshund is referred to as a foster mom–a great story to read to a young child who is in foster care. At the end of the story is a letter written by the author about how their family raises 4-H pigs and what 4-H is and a picture of Tink the dog and Pink the pig all grown up together in the barn.
Boyd, Lizi. I Love Grandpa. Candlewick Press, 2009. $8.99. ages 1-5. 15 pgs. 978-0-7636-3727-9. The pages are made of a sturdy cardboard so it would be a great book for toddlers. The story is about a little frog boy and his frog grandpa and the many games and adventures of their day. I especially like the little different games they play and I think it would give a grandfather some great ideas of things to do with his grandchildren. It has very simple pictures with details that can be discussed while reading the story aloud.
Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers Reviews by student O.D.
Stratton,Allan. Borderline. Harper Teen, 2010. $ 16.99 ages 6th grade and up. 298 pgs ISBN 978-0- 06-145111-9 p 9/ q 9
Borderline is a book about a Muslim boy whose life takes an unexpected turn when his dad is accused of helping a terrorist. I liked this book because it had unexpected turns and was really interesting. This book kept you interested and would be good for kids who like mysteries and also for kids who have problems fitting in. Sammi fights to be himself and stand up for his dad when things get tough.
Moses, Shelia P., Joseph, McElderry Books, 2008. $8.99. ages 6th & up 174 pages. 978-1-4169-9442-8 p 8/ q 8
Joseph is about a boy who’s struggling to hide his life from the kids at school. He’s struggling to survive because his mother spends all her money on drugs and never spends time with him. He wants to live with his aunt but he worries about who will take care of his mom and doesn’t want to leave her. Joseph tries to keep strong and works through all the tough times. I liked this book because it made me think how lucky I am to have what I want and made me better understand kids who are unfortunate like Joseph. Kids who are struggling with there parents doing drugs or are just wishing they had more then they had would enjoy reading this book.
Ehrenhaft, Daniel, Friend is not a Verb, Harper Teen, 2010. $16.99. ages 7th grade & up 241 pages. 978-0-06-113106-6 p 8/ q 8
When Henry’s sister goes missing his parents start acting weird. He’s missing his sister and the only friend he trusts is Emma, his best friend. Hen is trying his hardest to figure out why his sister left and if she’s ever coming back. He and Emma have always just been friends but he’s started dreaming about her and he isn’t sure why because he know they’re just friends. This is a good book it is very interesting and surprising this book is good for kids who like a little bit of romance and also an intense mystery.
Lyga, Barry, Goth Girl Rising, Houghton Mifflin, 2009. $17.00. ages 8th grade & up 390 pages. 978-0-547-07664-5 p 7/ q 7
Kryas’ dad can’t take care of her so after Krya gets back from a mental health center that her dad sent her to she comes to find that her best friend Fanboy isn’t who he used to be. Her heart is torn; her mother’s died and her best friend has changed and moved on from being her friend. She tries to get revenge on Fanboy but as she does she realizes her dad didn’t tell him where she was and so he didn’t forget about her, he just had no idea how to contact her and that her dad had erased all emails he sent her. After figuring this all out she forgives him and becomes someone else. I like this book because it really shows the struggles a person can have after losing their mother and then having their father send them off to a mental health place because he can’t just help her out himself.
Scott, Elizabeth, The Unwritten Rule, Simon Pulse, 2010. 16.99 ages 6th& up 210 pages. 978-1-4169-7891-5 p/8 q/8
Sarah has one problem with the guy she likes–it’s her best friend’s boyfriend. She tries to ignore him when he’s around but he seems to be paying more attention to her and she doesn’t know what to do. But when Sarah and Ryan end up alone things happen and she feels so guilty but still wants more. I liked this book because I could see it happening to someone and its totally real. I would suggest this to girls who like romance and maybe girls who are struggling with trying not to like the same person their best friend likes.
Quigley, Sarah, tmi, Dutton, 2009. 16.99 6th & up 302 pages. 978-0-525-47908-6 p/7 q/7
Tmi is a book about a girl who thinks her blog online won’t be read by anyone. But when everyone at her school finds out about her blog and starts making fun of her she regrets typing her feeling on a blog. Becca sticks through the hard times and tries to ignore the kids around her. I liked this book because it kind of related to me because I sometimes say too much so I enjoyed reading and thought it was something that could totally happen.
Fantaskey, Beth, Jessica’s guide to dating on the dark side, Harcourt, 2009. 17.00 7th& up 354 pages. 978-0-15-206384-9 P/9 q/9
When Lucas, an exchange student, starts telling Jessica that she’s a vampire and that she’s supposed to marry him she starts to think he’s a freak. He’s hot though and she tries to ignore him but he’s always following her around and is always way protective of her. But she begins to get to know him and learns about his past and why he’s there. She’s too slow though and right as she starts falling in love with him he leaves so she fighting to get him back. I liked this book because it was intense and was very interesting. I would suggest this book to anyone who likes mystical surprising books.
Beck, Nina, This Girl Isn’t Shy She’s Spectacular, Point, 2009, 16.99 7th & up 208 pages. 978-0-545-01705-3 p8 q/8
Samantha’s tired of being a good girl so she decides to break out of her shell and do something she’s never done. When she meets back up with a friend from a camp she learns high fashion and how to party. But her friend Riley introduced her to her other best friend D and Samantha can’t stop thinking about him. She’s not supposed to like D but she can’t help herself. I liked this book because it was fun and it showed that people need to have fun. I also thought that people have that problem a lot and people accidentally fall in love with people when they’re not meaning to. I really enjoyed it.
Stone, Hanlon Mary, Invisiblegirl, Philomel, 2010, 16.99, 7th & up 279 pages. 978-0-399-25249-5 p/9 q/9
Annie is ashamed of who she is and her mother who has abused her forever. When one night after getting beat by her mother she looks and sees that her mother has packed all her things and is leaving. Even though her mom has treated her badly since she can remember she still doesn’t want to see her go. After her mom walked out on her and her father he tells her that she’s going to her aunts to live there until he figures things out. When she arrives she realizes that she’s not going to fit in; that all the people around her are rich and have a good life. Having to lie about her identity, she gets caught up in a fake life. Will she ever fit in by just being who she is? She questions what kind of person she really is. This is an amazing book it would be good for people who are struggling with who they are and are embarrassed by their life. I liked this book because it showed exactly the way people with abusive parents might be acting and how they struggle in their life.
First Thursday Book Reviews By K.R. WHS
Emma Clayton, The Roar. Chicken House: 2008. To stick to your gut feeling and what you believe, and to do whatever it takes to succeed is the theme of The Roar. This SciFi novel is the story of Mika and Ellie, after Ellie is kidnapped by Mal Gorman. In order to save/find his sister, Mika joins a gaming competition. Both Mal and Ruben play antagonists and set up to lose against a scientific bureaucracy that intends to implant Ellie so she will be under its control. In the battle, of good v. evil, good eventually wins, but it is an uphill battle all the way. E.W., who reviewed the novel, was so impressed with it, he’s asked me to read it to the entire class. P 8 Q. 9
De la Pena, Matt, We Were Here. Matt de la Pena, 2009.
Miguel, the protagonist, is thrown into Juvenile Hall with Rondell, a tall, black teen, and Morg, a small Chinese. Given the opportunity, the three escape from a Group Home only to find themselves desperately trying to reach the Mexican border with authorities on their trail. When one of the characters is killed, the other two decide to return to their cell and take their punishment. There’s nothing extraordinary about the novel or its characters. Even the theme, “Learn from your mistakes and keep going,” has been done better by others. P. 7 Q. 7
Bray, Libba, A Great and Terrible Beauty. Delacorte Press, 2003. When Gemma’s mother receives a letter from a woman named Circe, and calls Gemma home, the girl refuses to be obedient and instead runs off. Before they can be reconciled, Gemma’s mother “commits suicide” [revealed in the next book to actually have been murdered]. Haunted by images of her mother’s death, Gemma is sent to The Spence Academy in England where she is supposed to get a proper education. But here, too, Gemma runs into problems as she has visions, the interpretations of which affect her relationships with her friends and teachers as well. Unfortunately, the second book in the series is essential to understanding the first. P. 7 Q. 8
Brooks, Kevin. The Road of the Dead. Scholastic Inc., 2006.
This novel, about a murderous rampage, is a departure for Brooks from his more sensitive, insightful novels. I suspect everyone has two books inside us, and if what Brooks shows here is true, one of them is based on the Spaghetti Western genre. Ruben gets a sense that his sister is being murdered and so he goes looking for her only to be confronted by local gangs of hooligans. Eventually, Ruben gets the upper hand and attacks them. The story ends with all the good guys literally “driving off into the sunset.” MM says, “It’s definitely entertaining, but not a masterpiece by any means. K Good enough piece of reading.”
Chima, Cinda Williams, The Demon King. Disney Hyperion, 2009.
JW said, “I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading fantasy stories with action, good humor, and romance. The book kept me interested throughout the entire time and the ending really brought everything together while making me want to read more! I really enjoyed this book and I’m sure that other people who like fiction books will like it as well.” Demon King is told from the points of view of two distinct characters, Han Alister, a young man who doesn’t know he is the son of the Demon King and has magical powers, who is constantly followed by bad luck; and Raisa ana’Marianna, a stubborn princess who is also blunt, abrasive, and committed to her own agenda. Han Alister crosses a powerful magician and the result is that his family dies; Raisa ana’Marianna is unwillingly betrothed to this same magician–an illegal and treaty-breaking act. The author’s smooth writing style gives voices to the two characters equally and brings them together at a climax when they both need each other the most. P. 9 Q. 9
Ness, Patrick, Chaos Walking. (a 3-novel series) is exciting and one of the most adventure-filled stories I have ever read. The story concerns a group of settlers from another planet who confront the earlier peoples (aliens?!) in a fierce war. The story begins with the after-effects of the war where the aliens have developed a virus that causes men¡¦s thoughts to be constantly expressed out loud. Noise is everywhere except with the women (most of whom are amazingly strong role models) who have an almost tangible silence about them. The men in Prentisstown have decided to conquer the other settlements on the planet which have about the same technology that we had in 1830-1847. What makes this conflict terrible is the psychopathic leader who can mind-control others and who has no conscience. I am thoroughly enjoying this series. My only qualification is that it tends toward lots of violence (PG-13) though much of the worst cruelty actually happens off page. Nevertheless, I would keep my recommendation for high school students rather than middle schoolers. P9 Q9+ [Editor’s note: Chaos Walking, book 1: The knife of never letting go, Candlewick, 2008. Chaos Walking, book 2: The ask and the answer, Candlewick, 2009. Chaos Walking, book 3: Monsters of men, Candlewick, 2010.]
C.S.- Siletz Public Library Reviews
Brendler, Carol. Ard Hoyt, ill. Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2009. $15.99. ISBN 9780374384401. Unp. Ages 4-8.
Winnie Finn is a bright, endearing, entrepreneurial girl who teaches us how to make a worm farm. A nice twist in this book is that even though she can’t win a prize at the fair (there is no prize for best worm), Winnie helps others succeed in winning their own prizes. The illustrations are great- the expressions on her face and the face of her cat are priceless. My story group of 4-6 year-olds really liked this book. Some of them are worm fans too! There is a page of worm facts at the end of the book. P9Q9.
Cronin, Doreen and Menchin, Scott. Stretch. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2009. $15.99. ISBN 9781416953418. Unp. Ages 3-6.
This book is a great read-aloud for young children. The text is rhyming and funny, and makes children move. The illustrations are bright and clean, and I liked how the display of the text shows a lot of movement, for example getting long and thin or curving along a giraffe’s neck. The endpapers are good too. Nice book. P9Q9
Engle, Margarita. Julie Paschkis, ill. Summer of Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian. Henry Holt and Company, 2010. $16.99. ISBN 9780805089370. Unp. Ages 5-9.
This a gorgeous book about Maria Sibylla Merian, who was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1647. She had a fascination with butterflies (called Summer Birds in those days) and insects from an early age, and studied their life cycles (this interest was dangerous in those days- too curious a person could be accused of witchcraft). She was blessed with an artistic family who encouraged her studies and her artistic nature. She grew up to be a famous scientist, writer and explorer, all things that she hoped for as a child. The language is easy to understand, but rich in description and the illustrations are lovely. P9Q9
Mumbly, Hector. Bagel’s Lucky Hat. Chronicle Books, 2007. $15.95. ISBN 9780811848756. Unp. Ages 4-8.
This book is an adventure- we follow Bagel’s (the dog’s) efforts to remember where he left his lucky hat. The story is hard for his friend Becky (the cat) to believe, but in the end his story is proved true. The illustrations are in muted browns and greens, and at first I didn’t like them (the bug-eyed Bagel seemed kind of creepy). However, as I read the story I really began to appreciate the skill of the author/ illustrator and liked the pictures a lot by the end. I think children will enjoy this wild story, and will find a lot to look at in the pictures. P9Q9
Switching on the Moon: A Very First Book of Bedtime Poems. Collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters. G. Brian Karas, ill. Candlewick Press, 2010. $21.99. ISBN 9780763642495. 96 pgs. Ages 4-8. P8Q8.
This book of 60 bedtime and bathtime poems will be a hit with many children. The pictures are soft and comforting, and the poetry ranges from sweet and soothing to silly. The poets selected include Langston Hughes, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Sylvia Plath, Jane Yolen and many others. I am sure that this book will be constantly checked out of our library by parents looking for bedtime reading.
Oregon Coast Preview Book Review
JK -Juvenile Detention Center
Henry, Nathan L. Good Behavior – A Memoir. Bloomsbury, 2010. $17.99 hardback. ISBN 978-1-59990-471-9. 260 pages. High school readers. P10/Q10.
A true story based on the author’s youth, this book has been hugely popular with our kids in detention. Given Nate’s home environment with a father who is paranoid and violence obsessed after a stint as a soldier, and a mother who “was the Buddha. She never killed a thing in her life…”, it’s really no wonder he ended up in county jail. The wonder is that he survived lock-up and came out of it a better and wiser person for it. This is the message I hope our detention readers will come away with after reading this book. Many of our students HAVE read the book and enjoyed the correlation to their own lives. Whether the hopefulness of it sinks in, only time will tell.
The following books were read and reviewed by incarcerated students at the Lincoln County Juvenile Detention Center:
Blank, Jessica. Kharma for Beginners. Hyperion, 2009. $16.99. ISBN 978-142311751-3. 305 pages. Ages 14 – 18. P8/Q8.
“This book started off really slow! And it went on like that for quite some time, but if you stick with it, it gets pretty good. Overall, I didn’t think it was too bad. I actually liked it. I didn’t like how slow it was, but I still had a pretty good time reading it. I think that ages between 14 and 18 would be best for reading this book. That is if they don’t get too bored at first and stop reading it.”
Davis, Sampson, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt, with Sharon Draper. We Beat the Streets, Dutton, 2005. Advance, uncorrected proof. $16.99 paperback. ISBN 0-525-47407-2. 184 pages. Middle school through High school. P10/Q10.
“This was an extremely great story. It’s for sure one of my favorite books now! It shows how if you really want something, you can achieve it. Dream big and chase those ‘cause if you really want it, you can get it! This is a very inspirational book! I feel like everyone from beginning middle schoolers to seniors in high school should read this! This book has definitely made an impact on my life.”
(Based on a true story about 3 teens from the streets who make a pact to better their lives, and become doctors. They then return to their neighborhoods to treat patients there.)
Neri, G. Surf Mules. Putnam, 2009. $16.99 hardback. ISBN 978-0-399-25086-6. 270 pages. 8th +. P10/Q8.
“A gripping, suspenseful coming-of-age adventure, Surf Mules is as action-packed as it is affecting – a read not to be missed.”
I, personally, have not read it, but this book has been read and enjoyed by several of our students. They have recommended it to each other and it has made the rounds, not only in detention, but in the shelter as well. That’s very high praise in a place like our facility where students are usually jaded non-readers.
Book Reviews by C.B. NIS/INMS
Davis, Tony, Roland Wright: brand-new page, illustrated by Gregory Rogers, Delacorte Press, 2008, 138 pgs., $12.99, ISBN:9780385738026, Gr. 4+, P 7, Q 8,
The further adventures of Roland Wright, finds Roland now a page to king at Twofold Castle. Here he is met with difficulties that complicate his life at the castle. First the queen hates mice and there fore Nudge, his pet mouse has to go. Second he is blamed for letting the king’s new elephant loose in the castle. Finally on older page, Hector, believes that Roland should not be there as he is just a poor peasant and not from a royal household. The madcap adventures of Roland will appeal to a younger audience and will leave the reader cheering for Roland as he overcomes all his problems.
Giff, Patricia Reilly, Storyteller, Wendy Lamb Books, 2010, 166 pgs., $15.99, ISBN:9780375838880, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 8,
Elizabeth’s world consists of only her father and herself. Her mother died several years before leaving just her and her father to continue on their own. Her father is an artist who must go to Australia so that he can show and possibly sell some of his carvings. While this is great for him it means that Elizabeth will have to stay with her mother’s sister, Aunt Libby, an aunt that she hardly knows. Her father feels that this is the perfect opportunity for Elizabeth to get to know her aunt. What Elizabeth finds is an aunt that she grows to love and also a bit of her family’s history. Elizabeth finds a picture hanging on the wall of her aunt’s home that looks almost exactly like her. Elizabeth is determined to find out more about Zee the woman in the picture before her father returns from Australia.
Haworth, Danette, The summer of moonlight secrets, Walker & Company, 2010, 273 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:9780802795205, Gr. 5, P 8, Q 8,
The Meriwether is a grand old hotel located in the middle of Florida and where Allie Jo lives with her mother and father, who are the managers of this now dilapidated hotel. To Allie Jo the Meriwether still breathes and is seeped in history. It is a place that she knows like that palm of her hand and loves even more. This is summer that brings changes to Allie Jo which is seeped in mystery and intrigue. She must with the aid of her new friends, Chase and Sophie, find out more about Tara a runaway girl who is hiding in the Meriwether. What they find is that Tara is really a selkie and she is hiding from the man who has taken her skin. Tara must find her skin so that she can return the ocean.
Lore, Pittacus, I am number four, Harper, 2010, 440 pgs., $17.99, ISBN:9780061969553, Gr. 8+, P 9, Q 9,
The first question I had to ask myself is how could, Pittacus Lore be the true author of this book as he is suppose to be an alien who is 10,000 years old. After some research I found the true authors are James Frey and Jobie Hughes. These two have comprised a story that takes us from planet, Lorian which has been attacked by the Mogadarians, to planet Earth. Here there are nine aliens who as children were sent in a space ship to Earth and are the doomed planets only hope. Here on Earth the 9 are to grow up under their adult protectors and teachers, who accompanied them from Lorian, until they develop their powers called Legacies. For John Smith, number 4, who has recently moved to Paradise, Ohio from Florida it is his first chance to lead a life as a normal boy. Both John Smith, now 15 years-old, and his teacher Henri know that John, is next to be hunted down by the followers of the Mogadorians as one, two and three are already dead. A mysterious circle has appeared on John’s ankle each time one of the others has died. The Mogadorians know that they must be killed in order as a protective spell was cast on the nine just before leaving their planet. John with the aid of Henri and his new friends must fight the Mogadorian’s hench men and survive to reunited with the five remaining aliens who walk among us. This is a science fiction adventure that will appeal to older readers.
Lowry, Lois, The birthday ball, illustrated by Jules Feiffer, Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Boston, MA, 2010, 185 pgs., 16.00, ISBN:9780547238692, Gr. 6+, P 8, Q 8,
When Princess Patricia Priscilla turns 16 there will be a big ball thrown for her in her kingdom. All the eligible royal men from far and near will be invited for on her 16th birthday she must marry and produce a heir to the thrown. Knowing all the suitors Princess Patricia Priscilla does not want to marry any of them. Trading places with her maid she escapes the castle to go to school where she can be one of the poor peasants. What she finds is a life that she has only been able to see from the castle windows and always wanted to take part in. The princess must come up with a solution that will enable her to escape marriage from the suitors presented at the ball and will allow her to instead to choose the one she really loves. The character sketches by Jules Feiffer add greatly to this humorous fairy tale adventure. This is fairy tale that will appeal those who love a sweet ending.
Osborne, Mary Pope, A ghost tale for Christmas time, illustrated by Sal Mardocca, Random House, 113 pgs., $12.99, ISBN:9780375856525, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 7,
Due to budget cuts in our county we have had to close schools and move students to other schools. I now have a much younger school group and have students asking for “Magic Tree House” books. I was greatly relieved to finally find one that I could read. Mary Pope Osborne uses Jack and Annie to fulfill another mission from the legendary magician Merlin. With the aid of a magic tree house they are transported back to Victorian England where they must discover what is wrong with time and correct it. In this story it is that the author Charles Dickens has given up hope and doesn’t think that he can write anymore. With the aide of Jack and Annie he realizes that he can still write when they use his own writing of a Christmas tale to jolt him back to writing.
Paulsen, Gary, Masters of disaster, Wendy Lamb Books, 2010, 102 pgs., $12.99, ISNB:9780385739979, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 8,
The “masters of disaster” are three young friends, Henry, Reed and Riley, who think up stunts that the average person would avoid. Henry is the brains behind these misadventures and it is usually Reed who is the one who carries out the dangerous situations. Riley is the assistant and takes notes and assists in collecting all the data. These adventures take the reader on a bicycle ride from the top of a gable roof, solving a 100 year-old mystery and anything else that Henry feels needs to explored, created or solved. Their hilarious adventures will have the reader laughing, cheering and wondering what else these three will think of next to do.
Taylor, Theodore, Billy the kid, Harcourt, 2005, 208 pgs., $17.00, ISBN:0152049304, Gr. 6+, P 8, Q 8,
Billy the Kid was a notorious gunslinger in the 1881. The author makes William H. Bonney a more charming and gentle outlaw. Billy, now 19 years-old, robs a train with some other outlaws near McLean, Texas and comes up against a posse that is being led by his good friend, from childhood, Sheriff Willie. Billy breaks away from the other outlaws, taking the stolen money and goods, and returns to his friend’s ranch. Here Billy turns himself in and hopes that they will let him go since he returned all that was taken from the robbery. The author does a great job of describing the times that Billy the Kid lived in. If you like to read a book of historical fiction than this is the book for you.
Holter, James, Dirt bike racers, Enslow Publishers, 2010, 48 pgs., glossary, index, 23.95, ISBN:9780766034839, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 7,
Dirt bike racing is a popular sport that younger children are getting more involved with. The most important topic of this book is safety, which is all ways stressed and comes through loud and clear to the reader. The author has included safety tips that range from what gear to wear, size of bike and some hints on how to ride safety. Other topics include are the history dirt bike racing, crash tales, who famous racer are and how this sport effects the environment. This is sure to be a hit among those who love sport books.
Jones, Jen, Oprah Winfrey : celebrity with heart, Enslow Publishers, 2011, 128 pgs., index, $31.93, ISBN:9780766034068, Gr. 6+, P 7, Q 8,
Oprah Winfrey has become one of the most recognized stars in the world. An endorsement by her can mean money in the bank for an author or inventor. It is nice to see a book that gives biographical information but concentrates more on her charities and humanitarian efforts that she accomplished during her life.
Kimmel, Eric, The spider’s gift: a Ukrainian Christmas story, illustrated by Katya Krenina, Holiday House, unp., $16.95, ISBN:9780823417438, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 7,
This Ukrainian folktale tells the tale of Katrusya’s family who are so poor that one Christmas they can’t even get a Christmas tree. Katrusya’ begs her family for a tree, one from the forest. Soon Katrusya and her family are making homemade ornaments to decorate the tree. The tree has a spider within it’s branches which Katrusya finds and leaves, as the spiders web helps to decorate the tree. The thankful spider leaves gifts for the family which they find after church on Christmas day.
Murphy, Jim, A savage thunder: Antietam and the bloody road to freedom, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2009, 103 pgs., index, $17.99, ISBN:9780689876332, Gr. 5+, P 7, Q 10,
During the Civil War, the battle that took place at Antietam, between the North and the South, was one of the bloodiest of the war. Jim Murphy has brought the horrors of the battle field to life in the pages of this book. When General Lee, for the South, crossed the Potomac River on September 5, 1862 he cut telegraph lines and blew up railroad bridges as he made his way into Maryland. He reached his goal at Fox’s Gap and stationed his men in strategic areas to best combat the Union forces. When the Union forces under General McClellan arrived the fighting started. Using black and white photographs and drawings from this era the battlefield and men who fought are brought into focus for anyone who is researching the Civil War battles. This is a book that should be included in all middle and high school libraries.
Osborne, Mary Pope and Boyce, Natalie Pope, Rags and riches: kids in the time of Charles Dickens, Random House, 2010, 117 pgs., index, $4.99, ISBN:9780375860102, Gr. 2, P 8, Q 7, Written as a companion to the book “A ghost tale for Christmas time” Mary Osborne along with her sister Natalie Pope Boyce has researched the1800’s and how people of this time lived. The use of black and white photographs which will help those students studying these times to gain a better understanding of how adults and children of this time survived the many harsh conditions of this era.
Pirotta, Savior, Firebird, illustrated by Catherine Hyde, Templar Books, 2010, unp., $18.99, ISBN:9780763650766, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 8,
With the acrylic paintings by Hyde the legend of the firebird is retold once again. King Vaslav’s palace is robbed on night taking one of the king’s prized golden skinned apples. This happens night after night till the king’s third son Prince Ivan tells his father he will catch the robber. The king’s other sons have failed in this quest but Ivan is able to stay awake and sees a firebird take one. He is determined that he will capture the firebird. What happens instead is a journey across many kingdoms and promises to many in exchange for the firebird. The paintings spotlight the journey through night and woods as Prince Ivan seeks to find the Firebird. The front cover states that this the book is celebrating 100 years of the world famous Russian Ballet.
Silverstein, Alvin and Virginia, Dung Beetles, slugs, leeches and more the yucky animal book, illustrated by Gerald Kelley, Enslow, 2011. 48 pgs., glossary, index, $23.93, ISBN:9780766033177, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 7,
This book should have a warning label on the front that would read “Whatever you don’t read this book before you eat.” Yucky is the right adjective to have used in the title however. If you want to be grossed out read this book. Filled with colored photos and topics that include taste for blood, sloppy eaters, creepy crawlies and cleanup crew the reader’s attention is sure to be caught.
Simon, Seymour, Tropical rainforests, Smithsonian, Collins, 2010, 32 pgs., glossary, index, $16.99, ISBN:9780061142536, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 9,
Geared for a younger audience Seymour has used full color photographs on one page and text on the opposite side to grab the reader’s attention. This biome of many species of animals and fauna is written in a clear and defining way that will appeal to this younger audience. He has also included a section on the clearing of this region is so catastrophic to the environment and how many plants and there uses are still be discovered.
Watanabe, Ken, No problem! An easy guide to getting what you want, adapted by Sarah L. Thompson, illustrated by Elwood H. Smith, Viking, 2009, 70 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:9780670012039, Gr. 5+ , P 8, Q 8,
How do you find the answer to what is bothering you? Ken Watanabe shows how to break down problems that are bothering you into simple terms and methods that should answer this question. Watanabe also uses charts and diagrams to help break down the problem even further. All of his methods seem to be simple and straight forward so that any reader will understand.
December 2010 Reviews
Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers Book Reviews
Reviews by S.J. and the students of Isaac Newton Magnet School
Jennifer Lynn Barnes. RAISED BY WOLVES. Egmont USA, 2010. ISBN 978-1-60684-059-7. 418 pgs. $17.99. Gr. Young Adult.
Bryn or Bronwy, has been raised by a pack of werewolves since another unknown werewolf that she calls “the Rabid” killed her parents. Callum is the pack’s Alpha and her father/uncle figure. Bryn’s mother figure since she was six is Ali along with Ali’s husband, Casey, they make up her adult foster family. Ali is pregnant with werewolf pups, which is dangerous for a human. When Ali goes into labor, Bryn runs to Callum’s house and discovers Chase, a boy, just like her. Chase, like Bryn, was attacked by the Rabid, only he was changed into a werewolf. By the time Bryn and Chase put the pieces of the Rabid’s puzzle together their lives have already been changed by the bond that Bryn has created. Together with Bryn’s werewolf friends, Devon and Lake, they create a plan to take down the Rabid. P: 8, Q: 7
Cynthia DeFelice. SIGNAL. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009. ISBN 978-0-374-39915-3. 151 pgs. $16.99. Gr. 4 – 7.
Owen’s mother died last year and now he lives with his alcoholic father. While out walking his dog one day, Owen finds Campion, an alien who is homeless. He agrees to make a signal with her during the next full moon and try to contact her home planet so she may be rescued. He secrets her in an abandoned farmhouse while he works on the signal. Much to his dismay, the entire adventure is a hoax when it is revealed that Campion is a regular human being. All readers will enjoy this novel. It contains character and plot elements that will appeal to a variety of middle school readers. P: 8, Q: 8
Chris Grabenstein. THE HANGING HILL. Random House, 2009. ISBN 978-0-375-84699-1. 322 pgs. $16.99. Gr. 4-7.
A fantastic story, told from several points of view, about the supernatural world of theater and ghost-sightings. When a simple play derived from a top-selling childrens series goes to the stage of the famous Hanging Hill Playhouse, it is actually a cover for a scandalous ritual of necromancing. The playwright’s son must try and save the day. A great mystery/paranormal book for young readers who like to delve into the supernatural. P 9, Q 10
Carolyn Hennesy. PANDORA GETS LAZY. Bloomsbury, 2009. ISBN 978-1-59990-198-5. 280 pgs. $14.99. Gr. 3 – 7.
Pandora is searching for laziness, one of The Evils she accidentally released from the group. She must find ways to meet up again, get laziness, and convince Atlas to pick up the sky! People from ages 9-13 will enjoy this book. P 7, Q 8
Devin Jordan. THE DRAGON’S PEARL. Simon and Schuster, 2009. ISBN 978-1-4169-6410-0. 341 pgs. $16.99. Gr. 5 – 9.
This is the tale of Marco Polo. All Marco’s life he has yearned for adventure, but instead of adventure he’s being groomed for the life of an accountant. When his father disappears in Asia and is presumed dead, Marco and a trusted servant go forth to rescue Niccolo Polo. I think 7th – 8th grade would like this book. P 9, Q 10
Kathryn Lasky. HANNAH (DAUGHTERS OF THE SEA). Scholastic Inc., 2009. ISBN 978-0439783101. 176 pgs. $16.99. Gr. 4 – 7.
Hannah, a 14 year old, is an orphan at the Boston Home for Little Wanderers. She is slated to be sent out into the world on “Go Forth” day which is a cross between an eviction and a graduation. Adults deem she’s not ready to enter “so-sigh-a-tee” so she’s shipped off to Kansas. The climate there does not suit Hannah and eventually she makes her way back to the East Coast to scullery maid for the Hawley family. Hannah is driven from the home by the oldest daughter, Lila, who is extremely cruel to the young maid. After her escape from the Hawley house Hannah tries to live within two worlds, eventually forced to live in one. P: 7, Q: 7
Robin Merrow MacCready. BURIED. Dutton Books, 2006. ISBN 0-525-47724-1. 198 pgs. $16.99. Gr. 8 and up.
This is a very thought-provoking book about a teenage girl, Claudine, whose mother is an alcoholic. At the beginning of the book, Claud’s mother leaves for who knows where, but Claud lies to both herself and the support group she goes to for kids with alcoholic parents by telling them her mom is in rehab. As the story develops, Claud begins to realize her issues run deeper than her mother although they all start with her. I would recommend this book to older readers (7th to 9th graders), because of the issues it deals with. It is a good novel for both boys and girls. P: 9, Q: 8
Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin. SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE BAKER STREET IRREGULARS: IN SEARCH OF WATSON. Orchard Books, 2009. ISBN 0978-0-439-83671-5. 195 pgs. $6.99. Gr. 4 – 7.
Watson is missing! It’s up to Sherlock Holmes to solve the crime. He warns the Baker Street Irregulars away from the case. Unfortunately, Holmes goes missing too. Then the Irregulars must get involved. They face many dangers as they try to track down Watson and Holmes. In the end the Baker Street Irregulars discover that they were the unwitting accomplices in a bigger crime than kidnapping! P: 8, Q: 9
Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin. SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE BAKER STREET IRREGULARS: MYSTERY OF THE CONJURED MAN. Orchard Books, 2009. ISBN 978-0-439-83667-8. 196 pgs. $6.99. Gr. 4 – 7.
The Baker Street Irregulars, a group of 12 street urchins, are once again called in to assist Sherlock Holmes as he solves another mystery. Elsa’s Aunt Greta died during a séance with the famous medium Konstantine. Elsa wants Holmes and the Irregulars to investigate how her aunt died and how Konstantine is swindling people. This book is an engaging novel for fourth through eighth grades where young characters are pivotal in solving the mystery. The Irregulars gather the clues, face danger, and resolve the mystery. P: 8, Q: 9
Laura Williams McCaffrey. WATERSHAPER. Clarion Books, 2006. ISBN 978-0-618-61489-9. 218 pgs. $16.00. Gr. 7 and up.
Margot may be a princess, but she does not feel loved. Orrin arrives in her kingdom to trade from his lands and Margot falls in love, finally thinking she has found the acceptance she seeks. Instead he rejects her, scorning her, and locking her away. With help from the Storyteller’s son, Bird, Margot eventually escapes. During her escape she discovers that her mother had the ability to shed her sealskin and live in the sea. Now Margot must choose if she will live on land or in the sea. P: 8, Q: 10
Tricia Rayburn. SIREN. Egmont, 2010. ISBN 978-1-60684-074-0. 344 pgs. $17.99. Gr. 9 – 12. Vanessa and Justine are best friends even though they’re sisters a year apart. Justine has always been braver and more courageous. It starts out like any other Maine summer in Winter Harbor. There’s swimming, diving, and picnics with the Carmichael boys, Caleb and Simon. But it all goes wrong very quickly when Justine’s body is found washed up on the beach. Her death and a chain of suspiciously related deaths cause Vanessa and Simon to investigating the secret of the Sirens. Along the way, they rescue Caleb, befriend an old man who holds the key to the secret, and come up with a brilliant plan to rid Winter Harbor of Sirens permanently. P 8, Q 9
James Richards. THREE RIVERS RISING: A NOVEL OF THE JOHNSTOWN FLOOD. Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. ISBN 978-0-375-85885-7. 289 pgs. $16.99. Gr. 8 and up.
Told in poetry form, this is the story of the Johnstown flood by various narrators. Celestia’s point of view is the one the reader hears most often. During her family’s annual summer vacation Celestia meets Peter and the two fall in love. Her parents see only the pitfalls of their daughter becoming involved with a servant, so they forbid the relationship to continue. Celestia runs away to be with Peter in Johnstown. The dam breaks and the valley floods when Celestia’s father tries to rescue her. P: 7, Q: 9
Steven Sheinkin. WHICH WAY TO THE WILD WEST? Roaring Brook Press, 2009. ISBN 978-1-59643-321-2. 260 pgs. $19.95. Gr. 5-9.
A long time ago, the American West was very different from what it is today. This book tells us of all the amazing journey Americans set out on. Indians, the gold rush, pioneers, mountain men, farmers, cowboys, the most difficult railway ever built, and deadly grasshoppers?! All this and much more was in the west, and this book is probably the most entertaining, hilarious way you’re going to learn about it! This book is great for ages 8 and up, I think. Even if you’re having this read to you, its awesome! People will be learning but they’ll forget that they are, great book, definitely recommend it! P 10, Q 10
Jordan Sonnenblick. AFTER EVER AFTER. Scholastic Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-439-83706-4. 260 pgs. $16.99. Gr. 6 – 9.
A truly touching story of two 8th grade boys that will rock your whole world until your axis flips. Two cancer survivors try to make it through middle school while dealing with the after affects of years of transplants, chemo-therapy, radiation, hair loss, and a whole lot of permanently damaging drugs that hurt more than just cancer. But as brave Jeffery and Tad would say, “It’s N.B.D.” Written to be relatable to middle schoolers across the country, After Ever After is a great book for everyone to read, even if you’re an advanced reader who just wants a quick read. It’s a phenomenally touching book written from a GUY’S point of view, so there’s no extra mush. P 10, Q 10
Gary Soto. PARTLY CLOUDY: POEMS OF LOVE AND LONGING. Harcourt, 2009. ISBN 978-0-15-206301-6. 112 pgs. $16.00. Gr. 6 – 9.
A medley of poems written of love, loss and longing for angsty pre-teens. This books is full of metaphors and similes, just waiting to help young teens through their first steps in the highly confusing world of romantic relationships. This book is great for 5th through maybe 7th, early 8th, grade students both male and female. But it is extremely young for most readers in 8th grade or above. P 8, Q 9
Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. BARNABY GRIMES: CURSE OF THE NIGHT WOLF. David Fickling Books, 2008. ISBN 978-0385751254. 224 pgs. $15.99. Gr. 5-8.
Barnaby, a skilled highstacker in Victorian era London, works for Professor Cornelius Frimley who works with undertakers. After taking a shortcut through a graveyard, Barnaby spies someone rising from the grave. Barnaby must solve the mystery of Firejaw O’Rourke and quell the warring zombies in this engaging adventure novel. Middle schoolers in grades 4 – 8 will enjoy this novel. It’s fast-paced and suspenseful. P: 7, Q: 9
David Whitley. THE MIDNIGHT CHARTER. Roaring Brook Press, 2009. ISBN 978-1-59643-381-6. 319 pgs. $16.99. Gr. 6 – 8.
Mark is apprenticed to a doctor during an epidemic. He encounters a servant who encourages him to help others. Mark opens himself to a greater world of possibilities when he meets Lily. Together they discover the Midnight Charter and their government’s attempts to keep secrets that the people have rights to know. Mark and Lily become responsible for sharing that there are other worlds out there besides their own.
Michael Winerip. ADAM CANFIELD WATCH YOUR BACK! Candlewick Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0-7636-2341-8. 329 pgs. $15.99. Gr. 5 – 7.
Adam Canfield is a normal middle schooler. He writes for his school newspaper, The Slash, and enjoys sports. This issue of The Slash will not be an ordinary one; Adam will investigate some possibly racial tension between the zoning board and the Willows. The Willows are trying to save a 300-year-old climbing tree. The Slash will also include a “biggest bully” poll. How will Adam ever manage all this? He won’t; unless he has the help of his friends: Jennifer, Shadow, Danny and the barely helpful Phoebe. I’d recommend this book for 4 – 6 graders. P: 9, Q: 7
Diane Zahler. THE THIRTEENTH PRINCESS. Harper, 2010. ISBN 978-0-06-182498-2. 243 pgs. $15.99. Gr. 4-8.
This is the story of a young girl who was born the 13th daughter to a king who wanted sons. She is cast away to the servants quarters upon birth, and she is raised as a kitchen maid oblivious to her rightful role. When all twelve of her sisters fall ill it is up to her to discover why and save the day. This book has a great appeal to independent girls with a love of strong female lead characters, mystery, secrets, magic, and just a touch of romance. P 8, Q 9
Book Reviews by A.G. Title IV Indian Ed Advocate
Yaccarino, Dan. Lawn to Lawn. Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. $17.99 32 pp. ages 4-8 ISBN 978-0-375-85574-0 P8/Q7
When a little girl named Pearl moves, her parents don’t bring along the lawn ornaments, abandoning them to potential disposal by the new owners. The ornaments, ranging from a lamp jockey to a garden gnome, leave in search of Pearl and her new home. On their journey they uncover a class-consciousness that impedes them. The story quietly points out that lawn ornaments of various sorts on various scales belong in many yards, across cultures (the colorful end papers get that across). The wandering garden gnome & co. find Pearl and end in an interestingly anachronistic scene where the ornaments are more real than the people. The illustrations have a flat, bold retro style matching the period of pink flamingos and garden gnomes’ start.
Potts, Professor. The Smash! Smash! Truck. David Fickling Books (Random House), c. 2009, pub. 2010. $16.99 31 pp. ages 5-9 ISBN P7/Q8
This book is subtitled: “Recycling as you’ve never heard it before.” The smash smash truck is the recycled glass carrier. The sound of tinkling broken glass today, the book points out, used to mean something was mistakenly broken. Now it’s the sound of a lot of glass recycling. The big picture on recycling and why it’s done is presented in a simple and understandable way for the age level. The reading and concepts are probably closer to 6 or 7 years old where the title seems to aim at a younger group, so it’s unclear how it will play out in appeal.
Cyrus, Kurt. Big Rig Bugs. NY: Walker & Co., 2010. $16.99 30 pp. ages 3-6 ISBN 978-0-8027-8674-6 P8/Q7
Certain insects are cast in the role of large construction vehicles, “big rigs”. When a passerby throws out the remains of a sandwich, the bugs spring up and deal with the waste. The colorful, bold illustrations get across the message that these very small things have proportionately huge strength and purpose. In addition, there’s the message about littering and recycling/reusing. The text is very abbreviated, being 4 to 6 words per page which utilize rhymes. My consulting Child Psych. preschool helper thought that the cover and the concept would appeal to preschoolers.
Waber, Bernard. Illus. by Paulis Waber. Lyle Walks the Dogs, A Counting Book. Houghton Mifflin, 2010. $12.99 22 pp. ages 3-7 ISBN 978-0-547-22323-0 P8/Q8
Lyle the Crocodile is back with his endearing, simple, broken-line illustrations. In this story, Lyle gets a job walking dogs which he needs to count to make sure they’re all there. Each of the dogs looks different & has a name, which should help engage the young reader. A high school preschool helper assured me that the children he reads to would love this book.
O’Malley, Kevin. Illus. by Carol Heyer & Scott Goto. Once Upon a Royal Superbaby. Walker Children’s, 2010. $16.99 31 pp. ages 4-8 ISBN 978-0-8027-2164-8 P9/Q9
From the creators of “Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude”, this story once again presents the difficulties of writing a story that appeals to different authors as well as audiences. The girl’s story is illustrated with misty realistic fantasy style that suits its tone, while the boy’s take on the story is a brightly colored, super-hero comic style featuring monsters and motorcycles. Although the gender-related interests may be a bit stereotyped, the hyperbole in this story emphasizes the absurdity of them. By the end of the two authors’ collaboration, they had at least agreed that both the girl and boy had to change diapers. This book is designed to get picked up by reluctant young boy readers.
Paul, Chris. Illus. by Frank Morrison. Long Shot: Never Too Small to Dream Big. Simon & Schuster, 2009. $16.99 ages 4-8 29 pp. ISBN 978-1-4169-5079-0 P7/Q7
The author is an NBA player who, at 6’ tall, is more than half a foot shorter than the average NBA player. This book tells the story of his trying out for the basketball team when he was young and no doubt shorter than he is now. Rather than using his diminutive size as an excuse, he works harder to be faster and better. When choosing the team, it turns out the coach doesn’t just look at size. The lesson often has to be taught to boys, who often take quite a while to start growing and rarely get as tall as 6’7”. The illustrations are bright, interesting, and have character.
Schertle, Alice. Illus. by Aaron Renier. An Anaconda Ate My Homework. Disney Hyperion Books, 2009. $15.99 35 pp. ages 4-8 ISBN 978-142311354-6 P8/Q8
Kids age 4 to 8 don’t have a lot of homework, and rarely 11 pages of it, but nevertheless they’ve all heard of the excuse that “my dog ate my homework”. This gives that tired old story a twist into tall tale-dom as the procrastiinating student recounts just why he didn’t do the homework, and why he doesn’t have to. It takes it so far into hyperbole, that it’s not likely the reader will ever try an excuse like that. The illustrations in a bright, comic book style underline the unlikeliness of the story. This might be a good way to introduce Tall Tales to a class that needs a fresh take on it.
Hill, Susanna Leonard. Illus. by Mike Wohnoutka. Can’t Sleep Without Sheep. Walker & Co., 2010. $16.99 25 pp. ages 3-7 ISBN 978-0-8027-2066-5 P8/Q7
Kids often have a hard time calming down enough to fall asleep. The visualization of counting sheep can be helpful, but in this story the sheep revolt and try to find a replacement. Other animals just don’t pan out. The illustrations are colorful, compelling and funny, and the font is easy to read. This will probably be popular with the early ed. crowd.
Duddle, Johnny. The Pirate Cruncher. Templar Books (Candlewick Press), 2009. $15.99 30 pp. ages 4-8 ISBN 978-0-7636-4876-3 P8/Q7
Greedy pirates get suckered by a fiddler’s song of treasure across the sea. The cruncher is a very big sea monster, and the greedy ones get what they deserve (spoiler: the fiddler & the parrot/macaw survive). The artwork is great fun, done in “digital media”, and has enough to offer to span many readings. The word choice and difficult font makes this very difficult for an early reader to read themselves, but should be fun for a read-aloud, especially after a reading or two. The black letters on very dark blue will be quite a challenge to read at bedtime; I’d recommend good lighting & reading glasses.
Winter, Jonah. Illus. by Red Nose Studio. Here Comes the Garbage Barge. Schwarz & Wade Books (Random House), 2010. $17.99 ages 4-8 32 pp. ISBN 978-0-375-85218-3
This story is based on a true story of a barge loaded with many tons of garbage from a Long Island, NY town. The barge floated the seas for months looking for a place that would take the garbage. The story is a little insipid, but would work to reinforce a lesson on recycling or understanding infrastructure of cities. The author’s shortening of “captain” to “Cap’m” I found very irritating, as the contraction should by all rights end in an “n”, not an “m”. The big boss’s Italian American vernacular is also a little stereotyped, but at least the foreign ports use the appropriate language. Kids will likely find the story unremarkable, but used to emphasize a lesson it will be OK. There is an author’s note in the beginning (you’ll have to look for it) that explains the history of the real event. The illustrations for this tale are quite unique. The illustrator constructed three dimensional “sets” of models and a lot of junk and then photographed them. The author/illustrator shows the steps it took to make the illustrations on the inside of the cover, so libraries will want to make it possible to slip the book cover off in order to look at it.
Wiles, Deborah. Countdown. Scholastic Press, 2010. $17.99 382 pp. ages 12 up ISBN 978-0-545-100605-4 P8/Q9
This novel based in 1962 focuses on the Cold War experience in America as exemplified by the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Civil Defense activities that were held in the US during that time. Eleven-year-old Franny tells the story; she lives with her family on an air force base near Washington, DC. Having lived through this period myself (about the age of her younger brother, who is inseparable from his Civil Defense book on how to stay alive), I found it very realistic. (I think I still have a little Civil Defense booklet that I read every night about Nuclear Fallout). The book apparently began as a visual history, and it still has quite a bit of factual material and photos from the period, covering Civil Rights, protest singers, popular culture, and all those things that bring a bit of history alive. This could be a valuable adjunct to US History classes in high school which usually cover the Cold War era, as an additional reading. The book also provides a bibliography for further reading. The story is entertaining, as well as educational.
Howard, Ellen. The Crimson Cap. Holiday House, 2009. $16.95 177 pp. ages 10 up ISBN 978-0-8234-2152-7 P7/Q9
The French explorer La Salle made a final expedition in 1687 to find the mouth of the Mississippi River. It wasn’t much of a success, as boats and most of the voyagers were lost and the leaders eventually murdered by their own men. But like many of those early forays to North America by Europeans, a few survived by living with the Indians of the area. This story focuses on a real person, Pierre Talon, who was only 10 when he went with La Salle, along with his family. The book captures the experiences and emotions that must have accompanied such a difficult journey. Much of the story is of Pierre’s living among the Hasinai tribe in the area of Nagadoches, Texas (the tribe themselves ended up dispersed and no longer live there). The writer’s interpretation of the people’s attitudes toward other tribes, orphaned white kids, and the French and Spanish newcomers rings true. An afterword recounts the sources that document the life of Pierre Talon.
Haines, Lise. Girl in the Arena. Bloomsbury, 2009. $16.99 324 pp. ages 12 up ISBN 978-1-59990-372-9 P7/Q7
This modern-day fantasy invents a corporate-driven bloodsport based on Roman gladiators. Fighting to the death, the neo-gladiators are trapped into bad contracts. Lyn is being groomed as a Glad Wife, a kind of 1950’s-type adornment to the fighter. Her mother has outlived 7 gladiator husbands, and Lyn doesn’t see much of a future for herself. The story focuses on how she handles her future in the face of overwhelming force of corporate greed and blood lust of the public. The excesses of this alternate future aren’t too hard to believe; the goal of the story seems to be how to prevent such outrages from ever happening. The characters are believable, and the reader cares about them, but I had to stop reading several times in fear of the horrors of the projected “sport”. For the squeamish, I can assure them that they will be able to handle the ending, though I won’t spoil it here.
Scieszka, Jon. Illustrated by David Shannon. Robot Zot. Simon & Schuster, 2009. $17.99 37 pp. ages 3 up ISBN 978-1-4169-6394-3 P9/Q9
Robot Zot is from outer space and is ready to destroy Earth. Or at least some kitchen appliances. This book is fun to read aloud and has nice irony which is not stated but implied by the illustrations. I read it with a high school student who said it was his favorite book, ever. The illustrations are bright and lively. The vocabulary is a bit high (in places) for a young reader, but read aloud to them it will work.
Cook, Michelle. (various illustrators) Our Children Can Soar. Bloomsbury, 2009. $16.99 30 pp. ages 3 – 8 ISBN 978-1-59990-418-4 P7/Q8
This “Celebration of Rosa, Barack and the Pioneers of Change” would be a great book for Black History Month, as well as inspirational at any time of year. Beginning with slaves and soldiers of early years of America and continuing through George Washington Carver through Barack Obama, the book profiles one famous historical Black figure per two pages, giving only a few words about each but illustrating their achievement in the pictures. At the end of the book are paragraphs about each of the historical figures as well as information about the illustrator for each figure. The message is that each person did something that laid the groundwork for the achievement of the next person.
Shelton, Paula Young. Illustrated by Raul Colon. Child of the Civil Rights Movement Schwartz & Wade Books, 2010. $17.99 40 pp. ages 4-8 ISBN 978-0-375-84314-3 P7/Q9
Unusual for its perspective, this book chronicles the Civil Rights Movement in America. Taken from a child’s perspective, it shows the movers and shakers in the light of family members as they talk about what their goals are and what they want to do. The illustrations are done in pastel (or colored pencil?) and tend toward realism, enough so that the various people can be recognized. A page in the back gives further biographical notes about each of the civil rights workers mentioned. The author was really there: She is Andrea Young, daughter of Andrew Young, US Ambassador to the UN. A great book both for inspiring biographies and for Black History Month.
Shelton, Paula Young. Illus. by Raul Colon. Child of the Civil Rights Movement. Schwartz & Wade Books, 2010. $17.99 40 pp. ages 4-8 ISBN 978-0-375-84314-3 P8/Q9
The organizing and people behind the Freedom Marches against Jim Crow laws in the south in the 1960’s are illuminated by this personal story told by someone who was there, the daughter of Andrew Young, Paula, who was 4 years old at the time. She’s in a unique position to tell the story from a child’s point of view. It’s easy to follow, direct, and doesn’t overstate the case. It makes it clear why they protested, yet doesn’t get hateful or personal about those who might have opposed them. The book is appealingly illustrated in a textured sort of oil pastel in a realistic style. This book deserves a place on the school library shelf, to be particularly called on during the observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday, as he is prominent in the story.[My daughter, 21 and a tutor of an 8-year-old, gave this book a big thumbs up.]
Giblin, James Cross. Illus. by Erik Brooks. Did Fleming Rescue Churchill? A Research Puzzle. Henry Holt & Co., 2008. $16.95 64 pp. ages 9-12 ISBN 0-8050-8183-6 P7/Q8
Introducing intermediate students to doing historical research with published material can be a very dry lesson. This book makes it into a story, of fifth grader Jason who is assigned in Social Studies to write a biography about Alexander Fleming. He’d never heard of him (he discovered the antibiotic activity of penicillin mold). Jason goes through the steps of student research, and the story does not ignore the fact that he has other things to do outside of school. The research is not all easy, and in the end he has to figure out how to handle interesting but untrue material. Following the conclusion of the story (where the class is riveted by his paper read out loud), the author gives a number of tips for doing research as well as the sources she had Jason use in the story. This book would work as a read-aloud to an intermediate grade class that was going to do a research paper.
Clement-Moore, Rosemary. Hell Week (series Maggie Quinn: Girl vs Evil). Delacorte Press (Random House), 2008. $16.99 327 pp. ages 13 up ISBN 978-0-385-73414-1 P7/Q7
Maggie Quinn is a college freshman who sees herself primarily as a journalist. On an assignment to uncover the secrets of sorority Rush, she encounters (of course: the series is about evil) a sorority that seems to have made a pact with the devil. The heroine is competent and someone the author makes you care about, and the plot is OK. What will make this book compelling to some is if they have some sort of interest in the Greek (sorority/fraternity) life. Personally, it was not a compelling or quick read for me, but I think that a young girl would find it fascinating to get a glimpse at what goes on with Rush.
Houtman, Jacqueline. The Reinvention of Edison Thomas. Front Street, 2010. $17.95 189 pp. ages 10-15 ISBN 978-1-59078-708-3 P8/Q8
Eddy is a very bright, inventive middle school student, but has little social intelligence. When he enters the science fair, he is cocky that he will win. When he doesn’t, it turns him upside down. His concern for pedestrians after the crossing guard job is eliminated inspires him to come up with a new invention, which brings its own set of puzzling social responses. The story is well written, and the main character is just the right combination of familiar and intriguingly strange. Eddy ends up understanding that “gracious professionalism” (to borrow from the FIRST robotics competition slogan) is as important as winning. The story provides a supportive atmosphere for pursuing science, technology and engineering, and gives a down-home view of engineering a solution to an every-day problem. Along the way, it provides a glimpse at some peoples’ approach to dealing with school culture.
Gavin, Jamila. See No Evil. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2008. $16.95 198 pp. ages 12 up ISBN 978-0-374-36333-8 P7/Q7
Nettie has lived a charmed and gracious life with her parents Vlad and Peachy in their old mansion in London. When ghostly pranks start up, Nettie finds that they are due to a real boy, and for once in her life she makes a friend. He helps her discover why her beloved tutor suddenly disappeared, but the answers they find are far from comfortable. While not getting graphic or violent, this novel treats the evils of human trafficking in a pointed way, while not particularly blaming those who innocently profit from the trade. Nettie is young, prepubescent, but her age is immaterial to the plot. More than anything, the book’s genre is mystery, but deals primarily with organized crime.
Book Reviews by NHS Student Reviewers
Guy, Ginger Foglesong. Bravo! Illustrations by Rene King Moreno. Greenwillow Books, 2010. $16.99. 978-0-06-17318-8. Unp. Ages 2-5.
The illustrations look like they are in crayon. The words are big enough for little children to see. The book helps you learn Spanish and English. I think little kids will like the pictures more than the words. P6 Q5 Review by V.M., 10th grader
Lewin, Betsy. Where is Tippy Toes? Atheneum, 2010. $16.99 ISBN: 978-1416938088. 32p. Ages 4-8.
The point of view is a little boy telling a story of where his cat, Tippy Toes, wanders. The illustrations are bright and the design of the pages is witty. The sentences, rhyme, and story flows well and it’s an adorable book: easy to read, with cute, appealing characters. P10 Q9 Review by B.T., 12th grader and D.D., 10th grader.
West, Callie. My first love. Delacorte Press, 2010. $7.99. 978-0-385-73946-7. 169p. ages 13-17:
My first love is about a girl named Amy and she falls in love with a boy named Chris. Her mom doesn’t like it because she wants her daughter to get good grades and go to college on a swimming scholarship. Then her grades start to fall and her swimming gets bad and she is worried that she won’t get to swim or go to the nationals. P8 Q8 Review by V.M., 10th grader
Christopher, Lucy. Stolen. The Chicken House, 2010. $17.99 ISBN: 978-0545170932 304 p. Gr.9-12 Stolen is about how a girl gets stolen and taken to a place that there is no escape from. It talks about her struggles and attempts at escaping. Her captor has planned the whole thing and just wants her to fall in love with him. In the end, I think they are both surprised. I liked this book; it keeps you on your toes the whole time, wanting to know what is going to happen next. P6 Q7 Review by K.N., 10th grader
Henson, Heather. Here’s How I See It – Here’s How it Is. Atheneum, , 2010. $7.99 ISBN 978-1416997733 270 p. Gr 6-9
The story centers around Junebug, a 12-year-old girl who who believes she’s destined to become a theatre actress. Unfortunately, her role at the Blue Moon Playhouse (a summer theater her parents own) is nothing more than a prop manager and offstage gopher. This summer, she’s determined to get a real role, but with her parents splitting, her overly-dramatic sister being a ‘star in the making’, and a new boy already filling her place, she’s got a lot more to worry about. This book is very believeable. The characters aren’t just characters, they are real people. You don’t always know how they’re going to act or what they’re going to do. The people are real, the comedy is real, and the drama is real. P5 Q8 Review by L.M., 10th grader
Downing, Erin. Kiss it. Simon Pulse, 2010. $9.99 ISBN-13: 978-1416997009 288 p. Gr. 10-12
A girl named Chaz has a constant want to lose her virginity. She almost loses it twice and thinks herself to be 80% virgin. A new guy in town, Sebastian, is a confusing young man. They eventually fall in love and in the end they lose their virginities to each other. I did not like this book; it has very mature content and discusses a sensitive topic very graphically. P5 Q7 Review by C.D., 10th grader
Benway, Robin Audrey, Wait! Razorbill, 2008. $8.99 ISBN-13: 978-1595141927 320p. Gr. 9-12
A girl breaks up with her boyfriend and then he writes a song about her. It makes the top 100 songs and ruins her life. I liked this book, it’s easy to read, flows nicely, and is full of drama. P8 Q9 Review by L.C., 12th grader
Schrefer, Eliot. The Deadly Sister. Scholastic, 2010. $17.99 ISBN: 978-0545165747 352p. Gr.9-12 This book is about a girl who always takes care of her drug-addicted little sister. But when she comes across the body of a boy the whole town adores she panics, as she finds her sister’s cell phone at the scene of the crime. This book is an easy page turner. P9 Q9 Review by L.C., 12th grader
McBride, Kristina. The Tension of Opposites. Egmont USA, 2010. $16.99 ISBN: 978-1606840856 280 p. Gr.9-12
Tess’s best friend, Noelle, went missing in the middle of the day – and wasn’t seen again for two more years. To get by, Tess isolates herself and puts all effort into her photography. When Noelle is found, Tess has to cope with a lot of emotional shifts and tension from everyone around her. Slowly, she gets a grip on her life and on her perspectives, learning what is important and who to keep by her side. This book deals with a taboo subject: kidnapping isn’t easy to discuss. From the girl’s best friend’s point of view, it was easy to see their different experiences and thoughts on what happened to Noelle. P8 Q9 Review by C.L.L., 12th grade
Stapleton, Rhonda. Flirting with Disaster. Simon Pulse, 2010. $9.99 ISBN-13: 978-1416974659 256 p. Gr. 8-12
This is about a girl in high school named Felicity and her everyday girl problems: boys, friends, hair, prom, clothes….and her secret life of being a cupid! Oh, I forgot to tell you that she is also a matchmaker for Janet, the boss of all the cupids. I loved this book and I think if you’re an average girl looking for a good book this is it; it’s easy and fun to read. P8 Q8 Review by M.S-O., 12th grade
Childs, Tera Lynn. Goddess Boot Camp. Speak, 2010. $7.99 ISBN 978-0142416655 272 p. Gr. 9-12 Phoebe didn’t know she was descended from Nike (not the shoe, the goddess) until recently, unlike most of her classmates. It is even harder for her to control her powers because she is just the great grandchild of Nike, unlike most of the hematheos (descendants of gods), who are mostly 8th generation descendants. Things are starting to cool down when she finds out she has to take a test to prove she can control her powers. Will she pass or will she get smote to Hades like her father? I liked this book; I really didn’t know much about Greek gods and goddesses, but this book taught me a lot of facts about gods and their powers. This is an easy to read book and you learn a lot. P5 Q5 Review by M.S-O., 12th grade
Lieb, Josh. I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I want to be your Class President. Razorbill, 2010. $16.99 ISBN-13: 978-1595143549 270p. Gr. 7-10
This story is from the point of view of Oliver Watson, Jr., the richest, smartest, and evilest child in the world. It is the story of how he tries to manipulate the school election to earn father’s respect. This book was very humorous and engaging. P8 Q9 Review by N.C., 9th grade
Funke, Cornelia. Reckless. Little Brown Young Readers, 2010. $19.99 ISBN-13: 978-0316056090 400p. Gr. 9-12
Reckless is an epic adventure of two brothers’ journeys into a mirror world. I liked the book; it’s an adventurous story with plot turns and twists and fantastic characters, easy to read and hard to put down. P5 Q9 Review by N.T., 12th grade
Mora, Pat. Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems about Love. Knopf books for Young Readers, 2010. $15.99 ISBN-13: 978-0375843754 165 p. Gr. 6-12
When I first saw this book I thought it was just going to be sappy love poems about traditional relationships but this book is much more. When we think of love we just think about romantic love, but why don’t we think about the love we get from or feel for grandparents, food, parents, animals? This book is about the love we share with many things, in easy to read and relate to poetry. P7 Q5 Review by M.S-O., 12th grade
Veasey, Nick. X-Treme X-ray. Scholastic, 2010. $9.99 ISBN-13: 978-0545218474 48 p. Gr. 4-9
This book is about what x-rays are and why we use them. It answers every question you might have about them and more. It talks not just about x-rays but has fun facts about bones and much more. I liked this book: it’s easy to read and understand and you learn a lot about x-rays. P6 Q9
Review by M.S-O., 12th grade
Valentino, Serena How to Be a Zombie: The Essential Guide for Anyone Who Craves Brains. Candlewick, 2010. $14.99 ISBN-13: 978-0763649340 272 p. Gr. 9-12
This book explains the history of the zombie horde in our culture. It studies the origin of the word “zombie” as well as the many different types of zombies. It shows how to make a multitude of ghoulish Halloween treats and terrifying costumes/disguises. In short, this book explores every aspect of the undead horde in a funny (and bloody) way. I liked this book because it is a fast, fun, and informational read about the greatest of all undead….zombies! Includes index and T of C. P7 Q7
Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers Reviews by M.D.
Abdel-Tattah, Randa. Ten Things I Hate About Me – Who Am I ? Jamie or Jamilah? Orchard Books, 2006. $16.99. ages middle & high school. 297 pgs. 978-0-545-05055-5.
Jamie/Jamilah is trying to hide her real identity because she is a Muslim and her school friends make rude comments about people’s nationalities. She is conflicted because she like being in her darabuka drums in an Arabic band. She dyes her hair and is ashamed of her parents and don’t claim them. Her brother is aloud to do what ever he wants because he is a boy but she has to be home right after school and can’t go out on the weekend. In the end she is happy to be who she is and learns to stand up for herself and her family. I really enjoyed this book because I think most students can relate because we all have to figure out who we are and where we belong.
Mechling, Lauren. Dream Life…Secrets are never safe. Delacorte Press, 2010. $16.99. ages middle & high school. 325 pgs. 978-0-385-73523-0.
The cover of this book does not do it justice – I don’t think it would appeal to students. It was also hard for me to get into this book because the plot and characters were not very engaging – but if one had more time to read the book in big chunks of time I think it would be more enjoyable. It is a book about Claire’s ability for her dreams to be prophetic. There is a secret group of society girls who do “good” pranks on a large scale like fix the city clock. I enjoyed the intrigue and spy quality of the story.
Thompson, Alicia. Psych Major Syndrome. Disney Hyperion Books, 2009. $16.99. ages high school. 330 pgs. 978-142311457-4.
Leigh has decided to study psychology when she goes to college. She and her boyfriend have been together for 2 years can their relationship last into college. She is stressed out because the upper classmen make all psychology students be a part of their little study group. Nathan her boyfriend’s roommate seems to hate her but not really he can’t believe that she is with a guy who is so mean to her. I love the ending because she ends up with the right guy and stands up to the mean girls. Very fun and quick read. I think girls who are in bad relationships would benefit from this.
Kwasney, Michelle D. Blue Plate Special. Chronicle Books, 2009. $16.99. ages high school. 366 pgs. 978-0-8118-6780-1.
I love this book but it was a little hard to follow but if I can figure it out any reader will be able to keep up with the characters and plot. In the end you see how all three of the different women are related – grandmother, mother and daughter. It is a story about love, families, dreams and how things come full circle. Each chapter has the title of the different characters and “Desiree’s” story is written in poem form. The content of the story deals with being a sexual crime victim and in the back of the book there is an author’s note that gives the reader a hotline and website to get help.
Zarr, Sara. Once Was Lost. Little, Brown and Company, 2009. $16.99. ages middle and high school. 217pgs. 978-0-316-03604-7.
Sam is a pastor’s kid and is sick of her father ignoring her and pretending everything is fine with her mother. Her mom is in rehab after DUI and has not called Sam in days. A young girl in their town goes missing and her father has no time for her as he is helping the family look for their daughter. The book does have a good ending as she is reunited with her mother and the girl is found. This story is a little edgy as it deals with abduction and family relationships.
Todd, Pamela. The Blind Faith Hotel. Margaret K. MeElderry Books, 2008. $16.99 ages middle and high school. 312 pgs. 978-1-4169-5494-1.
Zoe who is fourteen and dealing with her father leaving again to fish, her mother deciding to move the whole family without him is having a hard time. She makes a bad decision and ends up having to do community service in a works program where she meets a boy. I was a little disappointed in the ending as I wanted Zoe and Ivy to be able to stay friends but Ivy just disappears because of abuse from his father. It is a very fast read and riveting story. The story deals with family issues, body image, stealing, and juvenile system.
Sherry, Kevin. Acorns Everywhere! Dial Books for Young Readers, 2009. $16.99. 1-2 ages. 978-0-8037-3256-8.
This is a very bright colorful simple story about a squirrel and bear saving food for the winter. I loved the pictures they seem 3-D and some of the nuts and berries are actual photos. Each page only has one or two words.
Inches, Alison, Illustrated by Mark Chambers. Little Green Books… The Adventures of an Aluminum Can… A Story About Recycling. Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2009. $3.99. ages k-3 grade. 978-1-4169-7221-1.
This is a flimsy book and might not stand up in a library situation but would be excellent to read in a classroom setting where they are studying recycling. It feels a little like a cartoon book or a diary with diary entries from the alumina with dates. The pictures are cute and engaging, but the text jumps all over the page and may be hard for a young reader to figure out what to read next.
Bazer, Gina and Renanah Lehner, Illustrated by Andrew Day. Now Hiring:White House Dog. Walker & Company,. 2009. $16.99. ages k-2 grade. 978-0-8027-8486-5.
This is a very cute story about the first daughters trying to find a new dog after they move into the White House. No names are used for the First Daughters or Mr. and Mrs. President but the dogs have names and types. It also has funny names of dignitaries that are coming to the party at the White House. It also talks about how one of the girls is allergic to dogs and how they choose a hypoallergenic dog.
Berger, Joe. Bridget Fidget and the Most Perfect Pet! Dial Books for Young Readers,New York. 2009. $16.99. ages k-3 grade. 978-0-8037-3405-0.
This book has really cute and engaging pictures and word bubbles that make the story very engaging. Bridget Fidget wants a perfect pet – “ a unicorn called Thunderhooves.” She gets a box in the mail and hears noises and thinks this is her pet – but no it is a coco clock. Lucky for her there is a little ladybug inside the clock and makes the perfect pet for her. This is a fun, cute nonsensical story.
Love, Maryann Cusimano and Maria Van Lieshout. Sleep, Baby, Sleep. Philomel Books, 2009. $16.99. ages pre-school. 978-0-399-24753-8.
At the back of the story there is an author’s note that tells how she came up with this story. It is a lullaby she would sing to her own children to the tune of Mother Goose. It is the perfect bedtime story and talks about encouraging children to soar and dream with courage and strength.
Agee, Jon. Mr. Putney’s Quacking Dog. “Michael Di Capua Books” Scholastic, 2010 $16.99. k-3 grades 978-0-545-16203-6.
The pictures are very simple and the book starts out like it might be an alphabet book but soon you discover it is kind of a joke book. Silly kids would love this and then they could tell the jokes to their
friends. One page asks “Who is building Mr. Putney’s hot tub? The second page answers “ A Boa Constructor” – younger children might not get the jokes, but it is very entertaining.
Taxali, Gary. This is Silly. Scholastic Press, 2010. $17.99. ages 1-2 978-0-439-71836-3.
The colors and characters are really unique and different. It has the feel of a book from the 1950’s. The story has rhyming words and very few words per page. The story uses some words children will not know the meaning of “tomfoolery”. But the last page has a reflecting “mirror” that the reader can be silly in as well.
Crews, Nina. Sky-High Guy. Henry Holt and Company, 2010. $16.99. ages k-2nd grade. 978-0-8050-8764-2.
I loved this story because the child has a small toy “ Guy “ that he plays with. The pages are pictures overlapping to add three dimensions to the story. It also has the feel of a comic book with picture blocks and bright bold words such as “Zoom!” Jack makes a parachute for his toy and I enjoyed this because I used to do the same thing as a child. This is a great story for fostering imagination.
Leuck, Laura Illustrated by Marc Boutavant. For Just One Day. Chronicle Books,2009. $16.99. ages k-2 grade. 978-0-8118-5610-2.
I loved the drawings – the characters have really big eyes that draw in the reader. The story has a cute rhyming way about it with a little boy wishing he could be different things like a crocodile and what he would do if he were one for a day. At the end is a surprise mirror for the child to look into and be glad they are them.
Book Reviews By C.E @ NIS
Harper, Charise, Cupcake , a journey to special. Illustrated by Harper, Charise. Hyperion Books, 2010. unpaged. $14.99, ISBN: 978-142311897-8 Grade: K +, P7 Q7
Hand drawn illustrations in pastel colors bring this story of a lonely cupcake to life. The jacket cover of this book is has a glittery look and feel, which makes it more appealing than the actual book itself. A story of loneliness and being unwanted until this cupcake finds a new friend who happens to be a candle, two plain items that compliment each other. This would be a good read a loud book for story time in a library or a small group or classroom.
Hanson, Warren, The Sea of Sleep. Illustrated by LaMarche, Jim. Scholastic Press, 2010. 32p. $16.99, ISBN: 978-0-439-69735-4 Grade: 2+, P8 Q8
A lovely bedtime poem that takes the reader away, across the beautiful, calm waters of the ocean. The Sea of Sleep brings the beauty of all the ocean has to offer as a bedtime story. The beautiful illustrations, of acrylics and pencils on watercolor papers, wrap the reader in a soft pastel dream and
takes them away. Wonderful illustrations of sea otters follow each and every page of this soothing story. Lay back and enjoy the “Sea of Sleep!”
LaMarche, Jim, Lost and Found. Chronicle Books, 2009. 48 p. $17.99, ISBN: 978-0-8118-6401-5 Grade: K+, P8 Q8.
Three dog stories in one lovely book. Molly, Ginger and Yuki are all heroes in their own way. Beautifully written this book tells the stories of these 3 wonderful dogs and how each dog is special to their owners. These stories are of being lost or found and just finding their way. The wonderful illustrations in this book are done in warm autumn colors and made from acrylic and pencil washes. I recommend this book to any dog lover of any age.
Thompson, Lauren, Wee Little Bunny. Illustrated by Butler, John. Simon & Schuster Books, 2010. 32 p. $14.99, ISBN: 978-1-4169-7937-1, Grade Pre-K +, P8 Q8
Beautiful illustrations done in acrylic paint and colored pencils bring this little bunny and all his friends to life in this story of a little bunny’s busy day. Packed with adventure and excitement, this will be a great story for anyone who loves bunny stories. It would also make a great read aloud for the younger kids!
Slater, Tedd. Smooch Your Pooch. Illustrated by Howard, Arthur.: Scholastic, 2010. 32 p. $14.99, ISBN: 978-0-545-16736-9, Grade Pre-K +, P8 Q8
Written in rhyme is this wonderful story of how you can show your dog how much you love him. From playing catch to snuggling on the couch there are many ways to show your dog the love you have for him. The big, bright, bold illustrations of this story will make this a favorite of all ages. A great book for any dog lover! It would also make a great read a loud too.
George, Lindsay. Maggie’s Ball. Greenwillow Books, 2010. 32 p. $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-06-172166-3 Grade Pre-K-1st , P8 Q8
I love the illustrations in this book. Brightly colored illustrations make the story come to life. This is a wonderful adventure that leads this little dog around town looking for her ball. Maggie encounters lots of interesting things along the way. Large print and bright pictures will make this a great read aloud for pre-school kids.
O’Malley, Kevin. Animal Crackers Fly The Coop. Walker and Company, 2010. 40p., $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-8027-9837-4 Grades 4-+ P8 Q8
What a book! Written like the Wizard of Oz, this book has a great twist. Feed up with laying eggs this chicken wants something different. This hen’s adventure brings her together with other animals looking for the same thing she is looking for. Together will they find what they want? Written with a play on words, this comical story is packed with lots of old famous jokes and tails. The illustrations in this book are wonderful too. Done in black ink and assorted pencils makes these pictures an added asset to this book. The drawings are very detailed even though they are done in dark, bold colors. Together this makes for a great book. I would recommend this book for any library for any age group.
Book Review By D.T. LCSD Substitute
Child, Lauren. Who Wants to be a Poodle? I Don’t. Candlewick Press, 2009.
This picture book is about a poodle named Trixie Twinkle Toe who, unlike her careful and oh-so manicured master Verite Brulee, wants to roll in the mud and get messy. The poodle’s master, who doesn’t even want to get her shoes wet let alone roll in puddles of mud, sends the poodle to a dog psychiatrist. It ends well, and the poodle teaches her master the joys of mud puddles. The writing is poetic and the illustrations are all unique and charming collages.
First Thursdays Book Review Group
L.R. for Siletz Library
Couloumbis, Audrey. Jake. Random House, 2010. 159 pgs. Ages 9-12. ISBN 9780375856303 $15.99 P6Q6
A slip on December ice leaves Jake’s mom with a broken leg and no one to take care of the ten year old. Jake explains to a hospital administrator that there is no one close to the family, except a neighbor, Mrs. Buttermark, and a granddad that Jake never sees and rarely talks to. But those two disparate characters accept the responsibility and challenge of taking care of Jake and a new family is formed. This is a gentle, uplifting story with some interesting characters.
Mass, Wendy. The Candymakers. Little, Brown and Co., 2010. 453 pgs. Ages 10-14. ISBN 9780316002585 $16.99 P7 Q8
I have to admit that the first 121 pages of this book did not impress me. I thought it was a poorly executed rip-off of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The characters, who are all viewed through the eyes of the 12 year-old son of a candy factory owner, seem dimwitted and cartoony. I didn’t know how I was going to get through the remaining 332 pages of the book. But the author switches to telling the viewpoint of the plot through the eyes of the other 3 main characters and it gets a whole lot more interesting. It turns into a mystery, where the characters are not at all what they seemed to be. If the reader can make it past that first section, they will find the rest of the book quite enjoyable. The cover, depicting a candy machine disgorging colorful goodies is quite enticing, but the potential reader may be discouraged by the heft of the book.
Rudnick, Elizabeth. Tweet Heart. Hyperion, 2010. 264 pgs. Ages 12-16. ISBN 9781423135289 $7.99 P6 Q5
The author came up with an interesting format for this book: it is all dialogue through tweets, blogs and e-mails. It is too bad that she didn’t come up with a more interesting plot. This story, of a teen boy who is enamored with a friend of the opposite sex, and his efforts to make her see that he has the qualities she is looking for, has been told in books, operas, plays and songs over and over. The singer Taylor Swift has a hit called “You Belong With Me,” that tells the same story. Readers will pick it up because of the tweeting aspect and will probably enjoy the language, the texting shorthand and the references to current music and high school milieu, but if they are looking for something of substance they won’t find it here.