2013 Reviews

Book Review January 2013 C.B. NIS/INMS
Non Fiction:
Bishop, Nic, Snakes, Scholastic, New York, 2012, 48 pgs. index, glossary, 17.99, ISBN:978-0-545-20638-
9, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 9 +,
When I think of snakes I remember the ones that were held to my face by two brothers who liked to tease
me, rather cruelly I think. So I was reluctant to even read this book, but Nic Bishop colored photographs
captured my attention and I was soon engrossed in the book. The main text is simple and clear, so that
younger students can easily understand it. There are also side bars that provide more facts on the snake
that are pictured. I have presented this book to my classes at school and I again have waiting list for one
of Mr. Bishop’s books.

Claybourne, Anna. 100 deadliest things on the planet, Scholastic, New York, 112 pgs. $7.99,
ISBN:978-0-545-43437-9, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 7,
This book is broken in to four different sections; Animals that attack, Killer reptiles and fierce fish,
Bloodthirsty beasties, and Disasters, poisons, and deadly diseases. They are suppose to be the most
deadly of all things on the earth. In the first section the animals that are listed, such as a lion, a cheetah,
and a tiger, are ones that the normal human will not run into. The information is clear and precise with fact
boxes for additional information. The cross and bones are used as a scale, from one to five, which is titled
the “deadly degree” to show how dangerous the creature is. The section that I found most interesting was
the deadly diseases in which Small Pox and the Black Death were discussed and pictures were provided.
Overall it is an interesting book that provides good up to date information.

Stewart, Melissa, Animal Grossapedia, Scholastic, New York, 2012, 112 pgs. glossary, index, $8.99,
ISBN:978-0-545-43348-8, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 7,
Prepare to be grossed out by what animals use to defend them with, to heal with and move with.
Everything from saliva, poop, puke, pee and much more are used in variety of means, that we will find
gross. Each page of text is accompanied by bright colorful photographs that are guaranteed to help gross
you out.

Picture Books:
King, Martin Luther, I have a dream, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, Schwartz & Wade Books, New York,
1963, unp. CD, $18.99 ISBN:978-0375-85887-1, Gr. 2+, P 7, Q 9,
In August of 1963 I was a nine year-old girl who sat in front of a black and white television and heard a
speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I remember a very large crowd of people stretching out from the
Lincoln Memorial towards the Washington Monument and people speaking about equal rights. Did I
understand fully what this gathering was really about, a little but not fully? I do however remember the “I
have a dream” speech and the voice that spoke of a peaceful way to communicate the need for “equal
rights” for all people. The CD that accompanies this book brings that resonating voice back to the reader,
me once again. The book has only part of the speech while the CD delivers the entire speech. The color
illustrations are oil paintings that some have a blurry or hazy quality, as if you really are having a dream.
The pictures are also time appropriate with dress and hair styles. This is a book that should be in all
school and public libraries.

Matheis, Mickie, Bedtime for Boo, illustrated by Bonnie Leick, A Golden Book, New York, 2012, unp,
$10.99, ISBN:978-0-375-86991-4, Gr. 1+, P 8, Q 7,
Once I read this book I saw a great read a-loud for elementary students. Then when one of my older
students saw and then read it they felt that anyone who likes Halloween would of course love this book.
Boo is the youngest ghost is a family who gets to go “A-haunting” for the first time. It is not a scary book
as Boo’s family is not one that goes out to cause havoc in the community. When his time is up Boo must
go to bed and of course he hears all the sounds of a sleepy house, creaking, squeaking, cackling and
rattling till he finally falls asleep. The illustrations are dark acrylics that are not scary or alarming but help
in the telling of this rhyming adventure story.

Bachmann, Stefan, The peculiar, Greenwillow Books, New York, 2012, $16.99, ISBN:978-0-06-219518-0,
Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 9,
A war was fought between the humans and beings, fairies, gnomes, and wizards from another world. The
humans have won and now will kill anything magical. Bartholomew Kettle and his sisters Hettie are the
children of a human mother and fairy father. They are changelings who are called Peculiars who must
stop the fairies from taking over the earth. This fantasy novel will have the reader in it’s grip to the exciting
and unexpected ending.

Creech, Sharon, The great unexpected, Joanna Cotler Books, New York, 2012, 226 pgs. $16.99,
ISBN:978-0-06189232-5, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 9,
It was hard to determine just what genre this book belongs in, mystery, ghost story or realistic fiction. I
finally decided it is all three and much more. This is a story that takes you on an adventure from the
United States to Ireland. The two orphan girls, Naomi Deane and Lizzie Scatterding, are best friends and
are totally different from each other. When Finn Boy, falls literally from a tree there are subtle changes in
their relationship. Naomi is in love with Fin Boy and she thinks that Lizzie is trying to steal him away.
Through out the story and Naomi and Lizzie have up and downs but by the end everything comes right.

O’Connor, Barbara, On the road to Mr. Mineo’s, Farrar Straus Giroux, New York, 2012, 181 pgs. $16.99,
ISBN:978-0-374-38002-1, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 8,
Stella and her best friend Gerald, the boy next door, are determined to catch a one legged pigeon. Stella
has never been allowed to have a pet of her own and the pigeon is going to be her pet, she just knows
that her parents will let her keep the pigeon. Her older brother and his friends are determined that the
pigeon will be theirs. Meadville, South Carolina if the setting for this funny book of who will catch the
pigeon first. Thrown into the mix and adding even more confusion is the owner of the bird who wants to get
his pigeon back.

Pyron, Bobbie, The dogs of winter, Arthur A. Levine Books, New York, 2012, 303 pgs., $16.99,
ISBN:978-0-545-39930-2, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 8,
Through out time there have been stories about wolves taking in young children and raising them as one
of the pack. Ivan is just such a boy who is rescued by dogs and with their aid he survives for two years, in
Russia. As a young boy, Ivan hears his mother’s boyfriend kill her. It is this same man who takes him to
another city, by train, and leaves him there on his own. He becomes part of a group who steals and begs
money so that they can survive. When the group breaks up it is the dogs who take him and together they
survive for nearly two years.

Stephens, John, The fire chronicle, Alfred, A. Knopf, New York, 2012, 437 pgs., $17.99, ISBN:978-0-375-
86871-9, Gr. 4+, P. 8, Q. 9+,
This book is the sequel to the Emerald Atlas and boy was I not disappointed!! Kate is now 15 years-old,
Michael 13, and Emma 12 they are back in another orphanage, a place that Dr. Pym feels they would be
safe. But no place is safe and the children are separated when Kate uses the Atlas powers to go back in
time, 1899 New York. Stuck here she must find a way out and here she also discovers who has been
searching for them and the Atlas. The other two siblings must follow clues to find the next book while also
trying to find Kate. The book is action packed from start to finish with twists in the plot, that had me
reading late into the night.

Book Reviews January P.D. Oceanlake
Picture Books
Rebecca Kai Dotlich; Illustrated by Mike Lowery; What Can A Crane Pick Up? Alfred A. Knopf, New York:
2012; ISBN 978-0-375-86726-2; #$16.99; Gr. K – 1 (Reviewed by E, Coulter 5th Grader @ Oceanlake
This book is about a person describing what a crane can pick up. It also talks about a littler crane trying
to work as hard as the big one. I liked the part where the little crane tried to pick up a load and he finally
got it. I like it because it reminds me that you are not so small to carry something big. P. 9, Q. 9.

Devon Kinch; Pretty Penny comes Up Short. Random House, New York;
ISBN 978-0-375-86978-5; $3.99; Gr.1-3; (Reviewed by C. Tolan 4th grader @ Oceanlake Elementary)
The book is about when the farm named Doodles Animal Farm needs donation to keep it running. Penny
decides to make an outdoor movie theater where they raise twenty nine dollars twenty two cents to give
to the farm. I liked when Penny hires Isis her pig to be the concession stand person but at the end he
buys food with all the money and Penny explains that the money was for the farm. P.8, Q.8.

Laura Hulbert; Who Has This Tail?; illuatrated by Erik Brooks; Henry Holt and Company; New York:
2012; ISBN 978-0-8050-9429-9; $ 16.99; Gr. K-1.
Identify the tail and find out who it belongs to and what they use it for in this book all about tails. The
book finished with a gatefold page showing all the animals featured in the story. Watercolor illustrations
accompany this story of tails. P. 8, Q. 9

Nadia Shireen; Hey, Presto!; Alfred A. Knopf; New York: 2012; ISBN 978-0-375-96905-8; $16.99; Gr. K
– 2
Presto and Monty are friends headed to the carnival to become famous. Together they decide to take
turns performing, but while Presto waited patiently Monty continued to perform not allowing Presto to
have a turn. Monty was getting very famous but also rude, demanding and bossy with Presto. When
Monty is offered a big show Presto has had enough and leaves the carnival and his friend for good.
When his big show didn’t go as planned Monty realized what a terrible friend he had been. Presto
returned to save the show and they found that together they were great. P.9, Q. 9.

Deb Lund Illustrated by Howard Fine; Dinosoaring; Harcourt; New York: 2012; ISBN978-0-15-206016-9;
$16.99. Gr. K – 2
All aboard this rhyming, soaring dinosaur adventure. Once off the ground and in the blue they find writing
in the sky. Off to the air show they soar. While doing tricks upside down they end up going quickly
towards the ground. Ripcords pulled, shuts deployed, they land safe and sound. Colorfully illustrated
story of high flying dinosaurs. P.9,Q.9

Bernard Waber; Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile Storybook Treasury; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: New York;
1962,1965,1966,2010; ISBN 978-0-547-51618-9; $ 10.99;
Four stories about Lyle the crocodile who lives in a house on East 88th street are included in this
storybook treasury. When the Primms move in they hear SWISH, SWASH, SPLASH, SWOOSH, and
meet Lyle for the first time. Soon he is a member of the family to the dismay of their neighbor Mr. Grump
and his cat Loretta. In the second story Mr. Grump has Lyle sent to the zoo. He is rescued by Signor
Valenti and on their way home they find Mr. Grump’s house on fire. Lyle does not hesitate he rushes in
and saves them both finally they are friends. There is a party in the third story and Lyle is walking dogs in
the fourth story. Bonus features include Count with Lyle! and author biography. P. 9, Q. 9.

Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers
February 2013 Reviews by M.D. ASPIRE
Halpern, Julie. “Have A Nice Day.” Feiwel and Friends. New York. 2012. 325 pgs. High School.
$16.99. 978-0-312-60660-2 p 8/q8
The audience should be more mature because the book has many curse words. Anna has just come
home from her stay at the mental hospital and misses her hospital crush Justin. She’s having a hard
time in school because she is worried what everybody’s thinking. Anna is trying to deal with her
parent’s separation and her anger toward her mother for putting her in the mental hospital. There is
also another book in this series called “Get Well Soon.” This would be a great book for students who
are suffering mental health issues, difficulty with parents and how to ignore peers in school.

Roy, Jennifer. “Cordially Un Invited.” Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. New York. 2012.
250pgs. Middle School. $15.99. 978-1-4424-3920-7 p8/q7
This book is from the point of view of Claire who is an eleven-year-old junior bridesmaid in a royal
wedding. The funny thing about this book is it matches exactly Prince William and Kate’s wedding
but the names have been changed. The only difference seems to be the fact that this is a fictional
story where Claire is trying to stop the great-aunt and junior bridesmaid who are trying to ruin the
wedding. Any student who is excited about the royal family would enjoy this mystery book.

Gordon, Amy. The Shadow Collector’s Apprentice.” Holiday House. New York. 2012. 202 pgs. Middle
School. $16.95. 978-0-8234-2359-0 p8/q8
This is a creepy thriller about a man who collects shadows from unsuspecting shoppers. Cully a
young boy who is the shadow collector apprentice is trying to figure out why his dad took off and what
Batty is really up to. This is a really fun mystery for middle school kids who like using their

Prose, Francine. “The Turning.” Harper Teen. New York. 2012. 246 pgs. middle school. $17.99. 978-
0-06-19996-6 p8/q8
This is a very enjoyable and fast paced mystery about a teen boy who takes a summer job as a
nanny for two children who live on an island. There is a hidden story about the previous nanny and
Gardner and a very strange card game they used to play with the children. There are ghosts,
murder, mystery and a locked room in the big black house that make for a very suspenseful story.
The ending left me handing a bit as Jack ends up crazy in a mental hospital and trying to figure out if
the summer was a bad illness or truth. This book has twists and turns and I felt like I was right on the
island with Jack.

Oregon Coast Preview Book Centerfor Young Readers
February 2013 Reviews by N.W.
Ali-Karamali, Sumbul. Growing Up Muslim: Understanding the Beliefs and Practices of Islam. 2012.
213p. Delacorte, $16.99. 978-0-385-74095-1. Ages 8-13: With the increasing hostility in the
country against people who follow the Islam religion, this gentle book about its culture, history
religious beliefs, traditions, and rituals is very timely. In a conversational tone, the author talks
about her growing up in southern California as a Muslim and describes both her experiences and
Islam’s diversity around the world. By showing the differences in the way that Muslims follow their
religion, the book explains how different people celebrate their religion. The most important piece
of the book is its debunking of the belief that all Muslims are terrorists, that, in fact, their holy book,
the Koran, decries violence and murder. Anyone interested in Muslim American life from diet to
prayers should read this book as a beginning. Highly accessible and sometimes humorous, the
book should be included in all middle-school libraries. P6Q8

Byrd, Robert. Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin. 2012. unp. Dial,
$17.99. 978-0-8037-3749-5. Ages 8-14: When one considers the vast number of volumes that
have been written about the famous man of Colonial America, it is hard to image a fresh
approach—but Byrd has managed to achieve this. Instead of a balding old man, the Franklin in
this slim, illustrated book is a teenager, finding his way as writer, printer, and publisher before he
escapes his brother to go from Boston to Philadelphia where he comes into his own as inventor
and statesman. Byrd’s passion for his subject and his clear narration displays Franklin’s energy
and brilliance. Four columns of print across the two-page spreads frequently broken up by fullcolor
artwork and inset Franklin quotations are reminiscent of the two-columned early newspapers
that the subject would have printed. A feel for the times—politics, literature, lifestyles, customs,
and ideologies—are combined with biographical facts. The book is a true delight! P6Q9

Coury, Tina Nichols. Hanging off Jefferson’s Nose: Growing Up on Mount Rushmore. Il. by Sally
Wern Comport. 2012. unp. Dial, $16.99. 978-0-8037-3731-0. Ages 7-10: When renowned sculptor
Gutzon Borglum died before he could complete the 14-year project of carving four 60-foot-tall
presidential monuments on Mount Rushmore, it was his son, Lincoln, who took over because of
his father’s training. Through Lincoln’s experiences, Coury describes Borglum’s dream, his
approach to the project, the problems and the changes that he was forced to incorporate. A bonus
to the information is the relationship between father and son and their perseverance together.

Darcy, Dame. Handbook for Hot Witches: Illustrated Guide to Magic, Love & Creativity. 2012. 200p.
Holt, $15.99. 978-0-8050-9379-7. Ages 10-15: What a potpourri! From palm reading to accepting
other people, Darcy moves through five types of witches–enchantress, bard, pagan priestess,
mystic and seer—and lists various activities and/or advice. The book is actually one of young
woman’s empowerment clothed in a fun approach that uses graphic narratives, crafts, feminist
fairy tales, recipes, and other cool things to do. The author uses the term “hot” to describe
powerful, creative girls who use their talents and unique abilities to better life for themselves and
others around them. Young women will delight in the directions on banjo playing, belly dancing,
palm reading, and much more. Although an end space encourages pasting in photos, the book will
be popular in libraries. As one review wrote, “I forsee at a lot of sleepovers in this book’s future!”

Ferris, Jeri Chase. Noah Webster & His Words. Il. by Vincent X. Kirsch. 2012. unp. Houghton,
$16.99. 978-0-547-39055-0. Ages 7-10: Webster’s life of writing teaching materials that
culminated in his dictionary ends with a timeline of significant events during his lifetime and more
information about his life. The oversized balloon-like heads balancing precariously on small bodies
provides humor as does the style of hyphenating longer words as in a dictionary, especially
because these are followed by the parts of speech and definitions. Yet it is this stylized approach
to the narrative that makes this less suitable for reading aloud than other picture books. Webster’s
life is also not particularly exciting although the part of his life as an activist, working for the
country’s common language, adds some interest. P5Q7

Gherman, Beverly. First Mothers. Il. by Julie Downing. 2012. 64p. Houghton, $17.99. 978-0-547-
22301-8. Ages 8-12: Who would think that mothers of the presidents could be so interesting and
diverse! These short vignettes give fascinating insight into the women who birthed or brought up
the 43 men who have become the President of the United States. Gherman frankly presents the
personalities of these women with all their peccadilloes, and Downing provides watercolor and
colored pencil portraits in their home settings, including humorous touches to highlight their
eccentricities. Readers will learn about the presidents’ diverse backgrounds from humble
backgrounds to those of more privilege. This may be the first book about all the presidential
mothers for young readers. P6Q9

Murphy, Jim and Alison Blank. Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a
Cure. 2012. 149p. Clarion, $18.99. 978-0-618-53574-3. Ages 9-14: Collaborating with his wife for
his newest book, Murphy tackles the subject of tuberculosis that can cause readers to question
every cough they have. Although the general appearance of the book is somewhat bland, the
facts are quite frightening. After chronicling the history of TB and its fantastical “cures,” the authors
explain that the disease is still a serious problem throughout the world with no known cure, a
disease that becomes only stronger as new medications are developed. The book would be of
interest to adults also because of details about famous people who contracted TB. The authors
include an Edvard Munch painting depicting the death of Munch’s 16-year-old sister from the
disease and a drawing that shows death coming for Irish-born author Laurence Sterne. P5Q8

Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw. The Horse and the Plains Indian: A Powerful Partnership. Photos by
William Munoz. 2012. 98p. Clarion, $17.99. 978-0-547-12551-0. Ages 9-12: Before the Spaniards
brought horses to North America in the 16th century, Native American tribes used dogs as beasts
of burden. Patent describes the difference in life between the days when the tribes hunted buffalo
on foot to the time after the Indians were able to steal horses or capture those that escaped to
change their world. By carrying larger loads faster and longer, they could cover more territory and
use the horses in battle. The book’s emphasis on the spiritual connection between Native
Americans and horses is enhanced by black-and-white historic photographs from the 19th century.
The author also tells of the years when the whites killed the Native Americans and forcibly
removed them to crowded reservations, taking their horses to control them. P7Q8

Reef, Catherine. The Bronte Sisters: The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne. 2012. 230p.
Clarion, $18.99. 978-0-547-57966-5. Ages 11-15: Some of the most famous books of the first half
of the nineteenth century were written by three sisters, who lived in the obscurity of the English
countryside and used male names on their manuscripts because of the high disdain for women
writers during the time. Authors of Jane Eyre (Charlotte), Wuthering Heights (Emily), and Agnes
Grey (Anne) all died at an early age, yet their writings have left an enduring impact on readers
around the world. Reef details not only the stories of their lives but also that of their drug- and
alcohol-addicted brother as she relates their lives to the times in which they lived. Although the
authors were criticized for their harsh view of life, their own lives were even worse starting with the
abuse they suffered in schools after their mother died, leaving six children ages six and under.
These unconventional sisters refused to give in to the gender demands of their time while they
detailed subjects that many Victorians accepted. Carefully researched, this biography is an
excellent companion to their novels despite its depressing nature. P5Q8

Dewdney, Anna. Llama Llama Time to Share. 2012. unp. Viking, $17.99. 978-0-670-02133-6. Ages 3-
5: In the sixth Llama Llama book, the new neighbors, Mrs. Gnu and her two children, visit, and
Llama Llama is sent to play with Nelly while their mothers have tea. They start to share the toys,
but Llama Llama ends up in a tug of war because Nelly wants to play with the Fuzzy Llama doll
resulting in a torn appendage. Mama Llama solves everything by sewing it back on, and the
children end of sharing. The positive message is delivered, as usual in this series, through cheery
poetry. The brief narrative easily reads aloud, and little ones will enjoy the book’s warmth as much
as the earlier five books. P8Q8

Picture Books
Bracegirdle, P.J. The Dead Family Diaz. Il. by Poly Bernatene. 2012. unp. Dial, $16.99. 978-0-8037-
3326-8. Ages 5-8: The tradition of the Day of the Dead is flipped on its head when skeletons in the
Land of the Dead excitedly celebrate el Dia de los Muertos with the Living. Everyone except
Angelito because his older sister has terrified him with stories of the monsters with horrifying bulgy
eyes and soft squishy skin. Separated from his family, the young masked boy is petrified until he
makes a new friend, also masked, who turns out to be one of the horrible living beings. The
vibrant colors of the Tim Burton-esque art gives strength to this narrative about facing one’s fears
and accepting differences in others, and the Spanish terms add to the content about this holiday’s

Cabatingan, Erin. A Is for Musk Ox. Il. by Matthew Myers. 2012. unp. Neal Porter, $16.99. 98-1-
59643-676-3. Ages 4-8: Like Z Is for Moose, this quirky alphabet book is monopolized by an “M”
animal who explains to a zebra why every letter can be represented by the musk ox. He starts by
eating an Apple and describes himself as Awesome before Ox turns the last letter over to Zebra
while running away with a baby picture of the irate zebra. The ox’s swagger is admirable, and his
knowledge adds to the hilarity and education of the readers. The tall slim volume has heavy pages
suitable for small hands, and heavily sprinkled with whimsical illustrations.

Covell, David. Rat and Roach Friends to the End. 2012. unp. Viking, $12.99. 978-0-670-01409-5.
Ages 4-7: Two unlikely friends, one sloppy in his gray flannel shirt and the other tidy in his
pinstriped vest, share a home “under Avenue A.” As might be expected, they disagree about
almost everything through the minimalist illustrations highlighted in neon chartreuse and pink, the
strength of the book. Although appreciating the message of getting along, most adults will be
disgusted by the protagonists while little ones will love the humor and lack of sentimentality. P9Q8

Jeffers, Oliver. The Hueys in the New Sweater. 2012. unp. Philomel, $10.99. 978-0-399-25767-4.
Ages 3-6: “The thing about the Hueys … was that they were all the same.” But Rupert, one of the
identical egg-shaped penciled characters in the first of a series, wants to be different so he knits
himself a bright orange sweater. The story is quite simple: being different becomes all the rage,
and bright orange sweaters pop up on all the little eggies. The few words in the narration force the
reader to find the plot in the illustrations, great for pre- and early-readers. Rupert does, however,
have a solution to being the same as the others again. Author of Stuck, about a boy who keeps
throwing items in a tree to get his kite free, Jeffers wrote on his website, the Hueys “explore
subversion through knitware.” And they do it very well! P9Q9

Woodson, Jacqueline. Each Kindness. Il. by E.B. Lewis. 2012. unp. Nancy Paulsen, $16.99. 978-0-
399-24652-4. Ages 6-10: Most message books have a happy ending as to teach the importance of
good behavior; Woodson’s latest book avoids that. In this story about the cruelty of grade-school
children, she uses diva Chloe as narrator to tell about how her group ignores Maya, the new girl
whose second-hand clothing indicates that she live up to Chloe’s standards. Although the narration
shows some teasing, the theme is the cruelty of shunning when the children, especially Chloe, merely
ignore all of Maya’s overtures to be friends. After the teacher shows the similarity of acts of kindness
and ripples in the water after a stone is dropped in, Chloe decides to befriend Maya, but it’s too late.
Maya is no longer in the school, and Chloe is left alone to throw pebbles in the stream. Although
Lewis’ watercolors don’t dominate the book, their perspectives highlight the vulnerability and
loneliness of both Maya and Chloe and the relationships among the characters. P7Q9

Graphic Narratives
Brewer, Heather. Eighth Grade Bites. [The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: A Graphic Novel, #1]. Adapt.
by Tony Lee; il. by Julia Laud. 2012. Dial, $12.99. 978-0-8037-2811-9. Ages 11-13: After the
publication of the five books of this series, the new graphic series brings the tale of the adolescent
vampire to a new audience through this graphic presentation. Vlad, 13, shows the struggles of a
vampire in school (can’t eat the school lunch and must have blood) and in his personal life (both
his human mother and vampire father are dead). With a thin plot, this book is better suited to its
new format and certainly a younger audience that doesn’t expect full-blown vampireness. For
example, he has only sampled a friend, Henry, and that was five years earlier. Otherwise his need
for blood is satisfied by the discontinued red stuff that his guardian Nelly brings from the hospital.
The problem of the first of the series is the substitute teacher, who turns out to be a vampire, and
Vlad’s inability to read his father’s journal which may contain secrets to save Vlad’s life. Middleschoolers
will enjoy the angst of school life and the excitement of being a vampire. P8Q8

Giallongo, Zack. Broxo. 2012. 239p. First Second, $16.99. 978-1-59643-551-3. Ages 10-14: The
adventures of barbarian Broxo and runaway princess Zora as they travel the dangerous woods of
Peryton Peak begin a new, exciting graphic series. Accompanied by Broxo’s huge pet Migo and a
wayward witch, Ulith, the spoiled girl and the impulsive boy engage in acerbic banter and more
heartfelt exchanges. Toss in Ulith’s ferret familiars, the cowardly sinister Gloth, a ghostly
grandmother, and terrifying zombie-ish creepers, and there’s plenty of fast-paced excitement,
complemented with humor. The art in this sword-and-sorcery graphic novel, with Zora’s furry
boots and winged headband and Broxo’s mail shirt and fur cape, are dark grays, browns, and
greens with the feel of a swamp. There’s the obligatory ancient prophecy that will lead Broxo and
Zora in sequels. Lovers of “Dungeons and Dragons” will appreciate Giallongo’s debut. P8Q8

Halliday, Ayun. Peanut. Il. by Paul Hoppe. 2013. 206p. Schwartz & Wade, $15.99. 978-0-375-86590-
9. Ages 12-14: Wanting to be popular at her new school, sophomore Sadie Wildhack invents a
deadly peanut allergy. Although her ploy turns out to be a success, it gets her into trouble, causing
her to lose the friends, maybe even her new boyfriend. Skillfully-executed gray, lined cartoons for
this graphic novel highlight the protagonist with a coral-red. The artwork is superior to the
predictable story: obviously Sadie will end up in trouble because she can’t continue the farce, and
the theme is mildly preachy. The cover is the best part. It has no title, just a peanut in a field of
blue. P8Q7

Kibuishi, Kazu. Prince of the Elves. [Amulet, #5]. 2012. Graphix, $12.99. 978-0-545-20889-5. Ages
10-13: Max Griffin steals the Mother Stone for the Elf King who creates new amulets for the
purpose of destroying Windsor while Emily, her friends, and the soldiers of the Cielis Guard try to
stop then. When Emily’s brother Navin and friends become fighter pilots, Emily makes a long fall
into the “void” where she is challenged to a fearsome chess match. Both story and art move at
breakneck speed—massive explosions and the addition of a flying giant spider that Max Griffin
rides into battle. Meanwhile Emily discovers that the Voice of her Amulet is actually sinister. An
exciting addition to the series. P8Q8

Kim, Derek Kirk. Vanishing Point. [Tune, Book 1]. 2012. 155p. First Second, $16.99. 978-1-59643-
516-2. Ages 14+: After Andy Go drops out of art school in his final year, his parents pressure him
to get a job and move out of their house. No one has any respect for Andy’s artwork, he has an
impossible crush on fellow art student Yumi, and he cannot find a job—until he gets an offer to
work at a zoo. The offer is soon after he accidentally sees Yumi’s diary and discovers that she has
also had a crush on him. The job? The offer is by aliens who want to take him to another
dimension here he will stay in a cage. Realism and science fiction blend with Andy’s everyday
experiences and all his angst of searching for a career and girlfriend. Andy began life in a Web
comic in December 2010 with 18 chapters posted; Tune: Vanishing Point presents the first ten, so
the avid reader can look ahead into Kim’s tale. Derek’s artwork is reminiscent of Gene Luen
Yang’s work, characters and movements that give a feeling of reality. Although the cover gives the
feel of a book for younger readers, the sometimes frank content makes it more suitable for high
school and college readers. P9Q9

Inzana, Ryan. Ichiro. 2012. Houghton, $19.99. 978-0-547-25269-8. Ages 12-16: Fantasy and reality
blend in the graphic novel told from the point of view of an American son of a Japanese immigrant
and an American soldier killed in combat who stays with his grandfather in Japan while his mother
works at her new job there. Ichiro struggles with the racism that he learned from his American
grandfather in New York City but begins to absorb Japanese history and legends. While they visit
the house where his grandfather had lived, Ichiro chases after a tanuki, a Japanese raccoon dog,
that evolves into a surreal journey into Japan’s mythic realm. Through his odyssey, Ichiro sees the
war between the lands of Ama and Yomi that parallels the opposition between Japanese and
American culture. The art is a blend of American cartoon and Japanese classic brushwork, yet
lacking any manga appearance. Through the grandfather’s dialog with Ichiro, Inzana writes about
the horrors of World War II for the Japanese, the complicated nature of war, and the need for
tolerance. As the grandfather says, “Heaven and hell are in the hearts of all men.” P8Q9

Rex, Michael. The Birthday Part of Dream. [Fangbone: Third-Grade Barbarian Book 3]. 2012. 122p.
Putnam, $5.99. 978-0-399-25523-6. Ages 7-10: Humor abounds in the simple series featuring an
alien from another world being pursued because he contains a thumb that evil creatures need to
complete the one who will destroy his home world. Friend Bill has a larger role in this graphic
novel: marked by a curse intended for Fangbone, he’s being sought by the Crusha, a monster.
Lord Drool also creates chaos by sending other monsters such as Turtle Gator. All this while they
have to create an invention to keep Bill’s teacher from contacting his parents about his failing
grades. A delight for younger readers. P8Q8

Siegel, Mark. Sailor Twain; or The Mermaid in the Hudson. 2012. 399p. First Second, $24.99. 978-1-
59643-636-7. Ages 14+: In part history and part magic, the author/illustrator uses charcoal with its
occasional mist to produce the mystical time of 1887 when the country is recovering from the Civil
War and diving into the Industrial Revolution and the Gilded Age. Steamboat Captain Twain
discovers an injured mermaid and takes her into his cabin where he nurses her back to health.
During the time when their relationship grows, he also uncovers correspondence between the
womanizing owner of the steamboat line and writer C.G. Beaverton who turns out to be a woman.
The term “twain” is used in a number of ways: the relationship between the captain and the
womanizer, the ambivalence that Twain feels for the mermaid, the dual nature of Beaverton, the
contrast between the real and the fantastic, and the split that Twain suffers when he goes into the
Hudson River to find the mermaid. Siegel’s skill at unfolding his moody, emotional story through a
balance of words and charcoal drawings started two years ago when he serialized the book in the
style of nineteenth-century authors like Charles Dickens. The atmosphere could come straight out
of Edgar Allen Poe. This book is one of the finest of last year’s graphic novels. P8Q10

Barnhill, Kelly. Iron Hearted Violet. Il. by Iacopo Bruno. 2012. 424p. Little, $16.99. 978-0-31-05673-1.
Ages 9-13: In a reverse of classic storybook tales, protagonist Princess Violet, 13, has unruly hair,
freckles, and mismatched eyes. But as in the current tradition, she is both bright and brave: she
and her friend, Demetrius, end up responsible for saving her dragon-seeking father from the
Mountain King as well as the entire kingdom. The book’s evil comes from Nybbas, the 13th god
who is literally heartless to keep him powerless, and Violet’s goal is to make the last dragon in
their world whole. Violet’s fascination with a painting and mysterious book lead her to the answers,
but her wish to become beautiful leads her into trouble. Barnhill provides an uneasy blend of need
for acceptance, poor self-esteem, and the power of having a heart with the criticisms of storytelling
over action. Yet her relationships are true, and the adventures exciting. Bruno’s black-and-while
drawings add to the narration, and the cover’s view a wild-eyed girl riding a massive, dark dragon
will be inviting to potential readers. P7Q7

Bauer, Joan. Almost Home. 2012. 264p. Viking, $16.99. 978-0-670-01289-3. Ages 10-13: Known for
books of compassion and understanding toward female protagonists in difficult circumstances,
Bauer has come up with another memorable protagonist, featuring sixth-grader Sugar Mae Cole.
Forced to move away from everything familiar when her mother dreams of finding a job in a faraway
city, Sugar works at staying upbeat while coping with her mentally-ill mother. Sugar’s notes,
emails, and poems augment her first-person narration. Bauer shows how weak parents can
demand parentification of children, the agony of homelessness, and the dilemma of deciding
between a good foster home and a life with a mother. The perfection of Sugar’s dog, Shush, and
the way that Sugar can keep the dog no matter what is somewhat unrealistic, but it makes the
novel into a feel-good story, a tale showing that good will out. P8Q7

Cameron, Sharon. The Dark Unwinding. 2012. 318p. Scholastic, $17.99. 978-0-545-32786-2. Ages
12+: Not quite steampunk, not quite Gothic, not quite romance, this Cinderella story uses the
same time period as Dickens’ novels with some of the same social issues combined with a view of
the treatment for the mentally ill. Protagonist Katharine’s wretched aunt sends the 17-year-old
orphan to the estate owned by her father’s brother in order to have him declared a lunatic. In that
way, the aunt can take over the family fortune for Katherine’s disgusting cousin. Pragmatic,
Katherine agrees to do this because she thinks she will be destitute if she doesn’t. Cameron
details an amazing world at Stranwyne with its gasworks, kiln, foundry, and two villages occupied
by about 800 people who were rescued to support Stranwyne. Uncle Tully is probably autistic,
although this was not identified during the nineteenth century, but he is a brilliant inventor. During
the 30 days that Katherine promises to stay before incarcerating her uncle, she falls in love with
the place and very possibly the charismatic Lane, Tully’s caregiver. The suspense keeps twisting
and turning as Katherine starts to have serious mental issues, Katherine’s aunt appears, and the
entire estate is at danger of being blown up. The rich details of this world was sometimes drawn
from actual places and technology of the era. Despite the melodrama and exaggerated
characterizations, on the edge of being stereotypes, the people are fascinating and real in this
coming-of-age tale about finding freedom. A complex fun read. P8Q9

Cooper, Michelle. The FitzOsbornes at War. [The Montmaray Journals, #3]. 2012. 552p. Knopf,
$17.99. 978-0-3750-87050-7. Ages 12-15: Completing the trilogy about the royals from an
imaginary kingdom set on an island between France and Spain, the journals of Her Royal
Highness Princess Sophia, aka Sophie FitzOsbourne, tells of her life in Great Britain during World
War II. As in the two earlier books, the narrative weaves historical figures—in this case Winston
Churchill and John F. Kennedy’s sister Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy—with the fictional characters.
Brother Toby, also the king, disappears for part of the book when his position in the Royal Air
Force takes him behind the lines in Europe, and sister Princess Veronica also has secrets from
her position in the Foreign Office. Assigned to the Food Ministry, Sophie is bored and frustrated
regarding her crush on Simon. A bit too much about war deprivation, but Sophie weaves it all
together. P7Q8

D’Lacey, Chris & Jay. Rain & Fire: A Companion to the Last Dragon Chronicles. 2010, 2012. 282p.
Orchard, $16.99. 978-0-545-41453-1. Ages 11-14: The seven books of the Last Dragon
Chronicles are covered in this compendium of plot recaps, mythology explanations, characters,
and terms with D’Lacey’s biographical information as written by his wife. The book is a welcome
addition for places where the series is popular. P7Q8

Grisham, John. The Accused. [Theodore Boone, #3]. 2012. 271p. Dutton, $16.99. 978-0-525-42576-
2. Ages 9-12: Theo Boone, aspiring attorney son of two attorneys who helps others with their legal
issues, is accused of a serious theft. Although the beginning alludes to an on-going plot from the
first two books about a man who is accused of murdering his wife and has gone on the lam, but
nothing is done with that particular thread. It is almost as if this book takes a breather before
moving on with the original plot. Theo seems almost too good, too bright, too educated to be real.
His failure to report the vandalism on his locker and his bicycle also appear unrealistic. Even so,
the book is an easy read. P8Q6

Hicks, Deron R. Secrets of Shakespeare’s Grave. [The Letterford Mysteries, #1]. Il. by Mark Edward
Geyer. 2012. 273p. Houghton, $16.99. 978-0-547-84034-5. Ages 9-12: A new author has
appeared on the scene of middle-school mysteries: lawyer Hicks has created a wealthy Georgia
family with publishing roots in England starring bright 12-year-old Colophon Letterford, her
obnoxious older brother Case, and their odd cousin Julian. Their goal is to discover the literary
treasure that will save the family’s publishing house from nefarious relatives who wish to destroy
it. Humor, satire, clues, and excitement abound as brother and sister travel around and between
the continents to find the treasure, sharing the point of view. The prologue set in 1616, relating the
concealment of the object, is somewhat slow, but the pace picks up as Colophon takes over the
action. Delicate ink drawings that introduce each chapter provide hints to upcoming events, and
the enticing cover invites readers to delve into the fast read. Villains are dastardly, and children
solve the mystery. What more could you want! This could make a good read-aloud with the adult
explaining some of the more sophisticated elements about the literary world. The sequel is due
out in the fall. P7Q8

Horvath, Polly. One Year in Coal Harbor. 2012. 216p. Schwartz & Wade, $16.99. 978-0-375-86970-9.
Ages 9-12: At the end of Horvath’s earlier book Primrose Squab, Newbery Honor winter
Everything on a Waffle, her parents have returned from being lost at sea. Now one year later in
book time and over a decade later in author time, 12-year-old Primrose is happily living in a British
Columbia fishing village, peopled with a collection of quirky, delightful characters including
Primrose’s uncle, former foster parents, restaurant owner Miss Bowzer, and newcomer Ked, who
is a ward of the state. With great humor, Primrose misunderstands many events as she tries to
promote romance between her uncle and Miss Bowser, write a cookbook with folk—and
sometimes disgusting—recipes, and develop a friendship with Ked. Filled with both light and dark
times, the book stands on its own but will also lead readers back to the previous novel as it vividly
depicts places and people. P7Q8

Kindl, Patrice. Keeping the Castle. 2012. 261p. Viking, $16.99. 978-0-670-01438-5. Ages 12-15: A
Regency romance meets Jane Eyre with a strong touch of sardonic realism in Kindl’s first book in
ten years. Althea Crawley, a smart 17-year-old old responsible to save her family through
marrying well, does also not suffer fools, and her plain-spoken manner eliminates possible suitors.
She lives with her twice-widowed mother, two rather nasty stepsisters, and the four-year-old heir
to their crumbling castle on unstable cliffs, but they have no money for repairs. Her one chance
might be the recently arrived Lord Boring, but his friend, assumed to be poor, is always hanging
around. The plot is predictable—of course, Lord Boring is not the answer for her—but the path to
the culmination is filled with silly, witty comedy that speeds the reader through the events. The
delight comes from Althea’s sense of compassion for those around her. P8Q8

Kinney, Jeff. The Third Wheel. [Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #7]. 2012. 217p. Amulet, $13.95. 978-1-4197-
0584-7. Ages 8-12: Drawings and journal entries from anti-hero Greg Heffley are again featured in
this seventh book of Kinney’s highly popular series. This one ridicules parents who try to produce
geniuses and the boy who fails to understand the ridiculousness of his strategy to get a Valentine
Day dance date. In between are school elections, chocolate-bar fundraisers, family-style
restaurants, and Greg’s view of his life in the womb and ensuing shock of his being born.
Throughout it all, Greg is self-serving and naïve, failing to understand his many mistakes. Another
funny book for those who enjoy the slapstick-like middle school humor. P8Q8

Larkin, Jillian. Diva. [The Flappers]. 2012. 306p. Delacorte, $17.99. 978-0-385-74041-8. Ages 13-15:
Gangsters, racial bigotry, danger—all these and more are shown through narration by four
characters. Gloria is looking for a way out of prison after shooting the man who tried to kill her
fiancé, her cousin Clara leads the high society life after boyfriend Marcus dumps her, Lorraine
gets into one problem after another, and African-American Jerome struggles with his engagement
to Anglo Gloria. The action-packed plotline tends to be predictable, the characters are
stereotyped, and the writing filled with dangling modifiers, but the language gives a guilty pleasure
for those who love reading about the fabulous 1920s, especially those who enjoyed the two earlier
books, Vixen and Ingenue. Although this book may be the last of a trilogy, it has enough of an
open ending that the author might return to her characters. P7Q6

Lawrence, Theo. Mystic City. 2012. 397p. Delacorte, $17.99. 978-0-385-74160-6. Ages 13-15: In this
first of a series, class warfare rages between the wealthy who live above the waterline in
Manhattan while the poor, many with dreaded mystical powers, are forced into the swampy
depths. Aria Rose, the sole daughter of a wealthy, powerful man, is the key to overcoming a feud
with another ruling family so that together they can keep political control. The magic is a main
point of the plot as the magic is drained from the mystics to keep them powerless and provide the
electrical power to run the city. At the same time, Aria is told that she had overdosed when her
family is actually trying to destroy her memory. Creative descriptions of the setting are
accompanied by rather bland characters except for Aria and Hunter, a mystic determined to save
Aria from losing her memory. Think politics from Romeo and Juliet set in a SF future. The novel
has all the marks of a debut with occasional awkward pacing and predictable plotting. Yet both
Aria and Hunter are likable, and readers will look forward to the sequel, Renegade Heart. P8Q7

Longshore, Katherine. Gilt. 2012. 406p. Viking, $17.99. 978-0-670-01399-9. Ages 13+: The wives of
Henry VIII, father of Queen Elizabeth, always provide great fodder for historical fiction, and his fifth
wife, Catherine Howard or Cat for short, is one of the most glamorous—and short lived. The
author takes a little-known character, Katherine (aka Kitty) Tilney, as the foil and protagonist. Cat
is all glitter and not substance; Kitty is mousy and loyal. Both from poverty, the two girls rapidly
climb before Cat takes both of them down with her wandering eye away from the old, sick, fat
king. The details of the times are rich and the characters thin cardboard, but readers fascinated by
the descriptions and events won’t care as the plot races along. This guilty pleasure is a book that
is either loved or hated. The bits of romance will add to the interest. Readers familiar with the
queen’s quick demise will not mind knowing the end as she charms all around her until she loses
the king’s favor. P7Q7

Meyer, Carolyn. The Wild Queen: The Days and Nights of Mary, Queen of Scots. [Young Royals].
2012. 420p. Harcourt, $16.99. 978-0-15-206188-3. Ages 12-15: Anyone familiar with the history of
the Elizabethan era knows that the woman who threatened Queen Elizabeth for the English throne
was beheaded at the age of 44 after almost nine years in prison. The magic of this book is that its
devotes most of the narrative to Mary’s childhood in France, caught in royal intrigue while trusting
the wrong people, and her later romances after she is sent back to Scotland after her young
husband, King of France, died. Always headstrong and impetuous, Mary is shown as bringing
difficulties down on her head, but Meyer also paints her as a charming, loving young woman who
was never taught to lead. Although the seventh book in the series, Meyer writes about different
royal women without connecting them. Those who enjoy historical romance will delight in this
detailed novel about royal life in the sixteenth century. P7Q8

C.S- Siletz Public Library
February 2013 Reviews

Bliss, Harry. Bailey at the Museum. Scholastic Press, 2012. $16.99. ISBN 9780545233453. Unp.
Ages 3+. P8Q7.
Bailey the dog goes on a trip to a museum with his class (of children). He isn’t sure how to
behave and gets in some trouble- the dinosaur bones are too much to resist and he has to
have a taste! The illustrations and text are very cute- we know what Bailey is thinking as he
listens to the guide, and his super sensitive nose gets him out of more trouble when he and a
museum guard lose the class. My story time group enjoyed this book and I expect it to be a
popular choice at the library.

J Fiction:
Knowles, Jo. See You at Harry’s. Candlewick Press, 2012. $16.99. ISBN 9780763654078. 310
pgs. Ages 10+. P8Q8.
See You at Harry’s tells the story of a family coping with the tragic loss of a child. The siblings
are close, and all have troubles and frustrations- the family business is a restaurant, and the
father always has a crazy, embarrassing scheme for advertising. The oldest daughter Sarah is
killing some time before going to college, and has relationship troubles with her boyfriend.
Holden is next, and is trying to find a way to get people to accept that he’s gay. Fern is in the
middle, and she just wants a normal life. Then there’s three year old Charlie- the family’s life
revolves around him. When Charlie is killed in an accident, everything falls apart for the rest of
the family, including the mother, who is paralyzed with grief. The story is a real tear jerker. The
author is skillful at handling those difficult but common situations that teenagers have to deal

DiCamillo, Kate and McGhee, Alison. Tony Fucile, ill. Bink and Gollie, Two for One. Candlewick
Press, 2012. $15.99. ISBN 9780763633615. 77 pgs. Ages 6+. P8Q8.
Bink and Gollie are best friends even though they are almost totally opposite physically and in
temperament. The state fair is going on and Bink and Gollie go. The book is divided into three
chapters, each with a different adventure at the fair. Friendship is the theme throughout- it’s
about being friends even though you are very different, and about supporting friends through
disappointments. The illustrations are bright and fun, and there is only a small bit of text on
each page. This fast paced book will be good for reluctant readers, and kids who are looking
for a bit of fun.

Spinelli, Jerry. Third Grade Angels. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2012. $15.99. ISBN 9780545387729.
133 pgs. Ages 7+. P8Q8.
This is a prequel to Jerry Spinelli’s Fourth Grade Rats. The titles of these books come from a
schoolyard rhyme, “First grade babies! Second grade cats! Third grade angels! Fourth grade
rats!” Suds is a third grader who gets involved in intense competition to win a coveted “halo”
from his teacher (by doing good deeds and generally behaving in an angelic fashion). Suds
has to ask himself some hard questions along the way (ie. does he have to be nice to his sister
when nobody is looking?). This is a fun, warm book that will be popular with younger readers.

Peirce, Lincoln. Big Nate on a Roll. Harper, 2011. $12.99. ISBN 9780061944383. 216 pgs. Ages
8+. P8Q7.
Big Nate is one in a series of story/ comic books that relates the adventures of Nate, a kid
whose adventures get him in trouble. Nate’s Timber Scout troop is selling wall hangings as a
fund raiser. Nate wants to sell the most so he can win the grand prize (a customized
skateboard) to replace the one he lost in an accident. His rival is a kid named Artur, who is
annoyingly popular and successful at school. The story is light and hilariously funny in places.
Readers who enjoy the Wimpy Kid stories find themselves laughing out loud as they read this

First Thursday Book Reviews
February 6, 2013—JC
Bray, Libba. The diviners. Little, Brown, 2012. 578 p. $19.99 ISBN 9780316126113 Ages 15-up.
Libba Bray’s novel, The Diviners, is a huge, cinematic panorama of New York City in the 1920’s, told
through multiple points of view, though chiefly through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Evie O’Neill,
whose brief forays into psychic phenomena forced her exile from small-town Ohio. The addition of a
creepy nursery rhyme, haunted house, museum of magic and the occult, a backwoods religious cult,
and serial murders makes this hybrid mystery-historical-supernatural-horror story one of the more
engrossing works of the year. Highly recommended for high school and public library collections.

Cashore, Kristin. Bitterblue. Dial Books, 2012. 563 p. $19.99 ISBN 9780803734739 Ages 14-up.
Eight years after the death of her father, Queen Bitterblue finds that King Leck’s influence remains
strong, though her advisors insist that the only way forward is to forgive all past misdeeds and forget
her father’s terrible acts. Wearing a disguise, she begins secretly exploring the city and finds that not
only are her advisors lying to her, but that her kingdom is dying under the weight of secrets. Though
this is the sequel to Graceling and a companion work to Fire, Bitterblue stands alone, though readers
will want to pick up the other books in the series after reading it. Highly recommended for high school
and public library collections.

Wein, Elizabeth. Code name Verity. Hyperion, 2012. 343 p. Includes bibliography. $16.99 ISBN
9781423152194 Ages 14-up. P7Q9
Paired journals form the basis of this historical thriller set in World War II occupied France. An
unnamed young British woman captured by the Gestapo trades her recollections for the small comfort
of lack of torture and the occasional article of clothing. Her story dovetails with that of her friend,
Maddie, a woman pilot/mechanic sheltered by the French resistance after her plane is shot down.
This is the story of courage and wit, love and friendship set in stark contrast to torture and the
inhumanity of war. Highly recommended for middle, high school, and public libraries. [Reported in
September 1st Thursday reviews.]

Schwartz, John. Oddly normal : one family’s struggle to help their teenage son come to terms with his
sexuality. Gotham Books, release date November 2012. 304 p. $26.00 ISBN 9781592407286.
[Description from advance reading copy]. Ages 12-up. P7Q9
In a memoir, John Schwartz, national correspondent at the New York Times, reflects on the
intersections of culture, biology, and psychology in the lives of his family, especially of his youngest
son, Joe, who, at the age of 13, came out to his classmates and then returned home to attempt
suicide. In the aftermath, John and Jeanne Schwartz became activist parents, seeking ways to
ensure a safe, engaging learning environment despite the lack of resources available in the middle
school Joe attended. Includes extensive endnotes as well as a list of online resources for LGBTQ
teens and parents. Highly recommended for middle school, high school and public libraries.

February Book Reviews
Spinelli, Eileen. Cold Snap. 2012. 36p. Alfred A. Knopf, $17.99. ISBN: 978-0-375-85700-3. Ages 5
and up. P7Q6
This is a great winter time book. Not scientifically accurate, but I like that each day the icicle on the
statue of Toby Mills grows longer as the weather gets colder. The town of Toby Mills is in a cold snap
and everyone is cold and bored. Miss Dove saves the town from its doldrums by building a bonfire
and making sugar-on-snow candy to raise everyone’s spirits. The boys and I can’t wait to try Miss
Doves recipe that can be found in the back of the book.

Arlon, Penelope and Gordon-Harris, Tory, Dinosaur., 2012 80p. Scholastic Inc., $12.99. ISBN: 978-
0-545-36572-7. Grade 2 and up, P9Q9
Love the outer cover of this book. This book has everything: interesting facts, great pictures,
pronunciation guide, glossary, and index. The pictures were a mixture of real artifacts and life-like
computer generated. The boys were in awe of the pictures of the dinosaurs next to a man to show its
height. This is a must have book for any library.

Arlon, Penelope and Gordon-Harris, Tory, Bugs. 2012 80p. Scholastic Inc., $12.99. ISBN: 978-0-
545-36572-7. Grade 2 and up, P9Q9
This book is put together like the dinosaur book. Has front pages of “How to Discover More” where
you can research online. The book has a unique code that you can use on its website. My favorite
pages were the collection page, where 50 plus creatures are featured in life-size pictures.

Stewart, Melissa. Creepy, Crawly Jokes About Spiders and Other Bugs. 2012. 48p. Enslow,
$23.93. ISBN: 978-0-7660-3966-7. Grade 2 and up, P6Q6
Nice library binding. This book features 17 creepy crawlies, pages on how to write your own jokes,
words to know, how to have your jokes posted online, and an index. This book uses high vocabulary
and interesting facts. Jokes are pretty lame and most of them my second graders didn’t understand
or think that they were funny.

Ross, Gary. Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind. 2012. 92p. Candlewick Press, $17.99.
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4920-3. Grade 2 and up, P8Q9
This book is wonderfully illustrated. I love how the chapter’s number is included in the art work. The
story is about a boy who goes on an adventure with his bed sheet and a very big wind. He spends
time with pirates, a boy named Densy, and others who have been carried by the wind. When he
returns home to his parents they ground him and nail his window shut. But they don’t stay mad. “…the
best thing a mom or a dad ought to do was to let kids take off and let go of their hand, and just watch
them fly…’cause they already can.” This book would be great for any library, but would also make a
good graduation gift.

Leeds, Constance. The Unfortunate Son. 2012. 302p. Viking, $16.99. ISBN: 978-0-670-01398-2.
Grade 5 and up, P9Q9
Reading the back cover I thought that this story was going to be about pirates, but was happy to learn
that it was much more. Luc was born in the late 1400’s to the second son of Count de Muguet. His
father was obsessed with perfection and when he learned that Luv only had one ear he became
furious. Luc ends up being raised by his nursemaid and has no idea who he is or his father
(nursemaid’s husband) doesn’t like him. He sets off on his own where he lives and works for a fishing
family. One day while fishing he is captured by pirated and sold as a slave in Africa. His owner
teaches Luc how to read, write in Arabic, and eventually his trade which was medicine. This is a
wonderful story about love and loss. Through Luc’s trials, we learn to never give up on love and
learning. I would recommend this book to any library.

Kennedy, Emma. Wilma Tenderfoot: The Case of the Fatal Phanton. [series] 2012. 359p. Penguin
Group, $16.99. ISBN: 978-0-8037-3542-2. Grade 3 and up, P7Q8
This third book in the series reminded me a lot of Clue. Old mysterious house full of quirky people,
villains seen and unseen and hired help that is up to something. Of course, Wilma right away
believes the butler did it. Wilma is now enrolled in the Academy of Detection and Espionage. She is
studying hard to be a detective and learning to use her knowledge from her course work.
Unfortunately she usually quotes the book out loud,”That must be the butler. My textbook says butlers
are generally not to be trusted.” My students have been waiting for Wilma’s next adventure.

Tanner, Lian. Path of Beasts. [series] 2012. 339 p. Delacorte Press, $17.99. ISBN: 978-0-385-
73907-3. Grade 5 and up, P8Q7
The third book in the Keepers Trilogy finds Goldie and Toadspit back in their home city of Jewel.
Jewel has been taken over by a villain by the name of Fugleman. A man they know from their past to
be a murder and a thief. He wants the museum and its contents destroyed. Goldie and Toadspit are
Keepers of the museum and find a way to stop Fugleman. This book is a wonderful adventure of
facing your fears and relying on your friends. I already have a list of students who want to read this

Moulton, Erin E. Tracing Stars. 2012. 233p. Penguin Young Readers, $16.99. ISBN: 978-0-399-
25696-7. Grade 4 and up, P7Q8
Indie Lee Chickory is about to be in the sixth grade. It is the summer before and she is at odds with
her older sister and her parents. When she was younger, they were inseparable. She could easily
make her sister laugh with the many fish faces that she could make. Now her sister is focused on
“networking” and trying to get a lead roll in the next play. She finds Indie to be immature and is out to
ruin her reputation. So Indie decides to join the theatre group to make her sister happy. She finds new
friends (that her sister doesn’t approve of) and learns something about herself and her sister. This is
a great book about love, loss, and finding the right path to take in life. I would recommend this book to
any of my students.

Bourreau, Clara. On the Run. 2012. 120p. Delacorte Press, $14.99. ISBN: 978-0-385-74276-4.
Grade 3 and up, P7Q7
The main character, Anthony, believes his dad is wildlife photographer. He finds out that his dad is
really on the run from the law. Anthony just wants to be with his dad and would rather just be on the
run with him, then without him. Anthony tricks his dad into taking him with him and gets to know his
dad a little better. The law eventually catches up with him, but his dad gets away and Anthony goes
back to live with his mom. This is a great book, told from the child’s point of view. From his reaction to
finding about why his dad was always gone to how is friends reacted when they found out. I have
students who would relate to this book.

Carman, Patrick. 3 Below: A Floors Novel [series]. 2012. 234p. Scholastic Press, $16.99. ISBN:
978-0-545-25520-2. Grade 4 and up, P8Q7
This second book to the Floors series finds Leo and Remi with a task to save the Whippet Hotel from
back taxes and Ms. Sparks. The Whippet isn’t an ordinary hotel. It is alive and ha wonderful rooms to
spark the imagination and invention of its creator. Ms. Sparks wants control of the Whippet to make
her fortune by tearing down the Whippet and creating the grandest hotel on the block. Leo and Remi
find a way to stop her by going on an adventure below the floors of the Whippet Hotel. I had a
student, who loves Patrick Carmen, also read this book and he loved it.

Stine, R.L. Goosebumps Most Wanted #1: Planet of the Lawn Gnomes [series]. 2012. 160p.
Scholastic, $6.99. ISBN: 978-0-545-41798-3 Grade 3 and up, P9Q4
I love garden gnomes and hoped this book wouldn’t change my mind about the jolly creatures.
Fortunately the writing was so formulaic that my love for the gnomes still stands. This book has a
beginning (badup), a middle (badup), and an end (badup). Jay moves to a new neighborhood where
he learns that not only does his sister not exist, his dog talks, his new friend is a malfunctioning robot,
and the garden gnomes rule the night. The best part of this book was the Prologue where scary
humor was shown. “Don’t worry about the giant scorpion…He’s been my pet ever since he ate my
dog. …He only craves flesh when he is hungry…Did I feed him today?” My students love these
books, why…I am not sure. I guess I can’t complain. The kids are reading!

Neff, Henry H. The Tapestry: The Malestrom [series] 2012. 465p. Random House, $16.99. ISBN:
978-0-375-85707-2. Grade 5 and up, P9Q8
Max McDaniels is one of Rowan’s elite Warriors. He is back home ready to defend his city. In this
fourth book of the series, Max finds himself hunted by the Atropos and his city is under attack. This
book references to mythology, science fictional characters, war, and love. This book has it all! I was
confused with some of the mythological creatures. It had references to a few Greek creatures, but
then others that I didn’t know. The back of the book has a Pronunciation Guide/Glossary. After
reading the glossary, I learned that a lot of the beast is based on Celtic/Irish folklore. This is a great
series and now I will have to read the first three books.

Powell, Laura. The Master of Misrule [series] 2012. 363p. Alfred A. Knopf,$16.99. ISBN: 978-0-375-
86588-6. Ages 12 and up, P8Q8
“A world within a world.” The author was fascinated with the concept of people being lost in another
world by way of video games or in their head. Never a fan of Dungeons and Dragons, I wasn’t sure if
I would like is book. This is the second book in this series and the Master of Misrule is about the four
main characters trying to fix what they had undone in the first book. They freed the Master of Misrule
and now the game is collapsing and he is slowly taking over the real world. This book was creatively
written and I would like to read the first book.

Morpurgo, Michael. Farm Boy [sequel to War Horse] 2012. 122p. Scholastic Press, $14.99. ISBN:
978-0-545-46006-4. Ages 8 and up, P8Q8
The sequel to War Horse is a wonderful book about a boy and his grandpa. Told threw the eyes of
the grandson, this book explores their relationship with each other and what it means to be a “farm
boy.” His grandpa can’t read and wants his grandson to teach him. Perseverance and determination
are ebbed in this story. This is a great book to add to my library. This book also includes an interview
with the author in the back of the book.

O’Connor, Sheila. Keeping Safe the Stars. 2012. 304p. Putnam, $16.99. ISBN: 978-0-399-25459-
8. Ages 10 and up, P7Q8
This book reminded me of the Gypsy Moths, but a little more deeper. Gypsy Moths had moments of
humor and helped the reader deflate the stress of the subject that they were reading. This book
stressed me out. I had to read the end, before I would continue with the book. I need to know that
the grandfather would survive and the Stars would be okay. The Stars are orphans who live with her
grandfather who ends up in the hospital. The children have to find a way to take care of themselves,
an 83 year old lady who had a stroke, and evade social services. I can see students relating to this
book, but it was a hard read for me.

Book Review February 2013 – C.B. NIS/INMS

Picture Books:
Barton, Bethany, The monster needs a haircut, Dial Books for Young Readers, New York, 2012, unp.
$16.99, ISBN:978-0-8037-3733-4, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 8,
In the 60’s and 70’s, when I was in high school, the boys wore their hair long. Today in 2013 boys are
again wearing their hair short and wonder at those young men who dared to have long hair. Stewart
is a monster who dares to wear his hair long. As time goes by his long hair gets longer and as it drags
behind him things become entangled in it. His hair grows so long that it frightens his fellow monsters.
Stewart has to come to a decision to cut his hair or to leave it long.

Bowman, Patty, The amazing Hamweenie, Philomel Books, New York, 2012, unp. $16.99, ISBN:978-
0-399-25688-2, Gr. 1+, P 8, Q 8,
We have always had a cat in our home, ones that went through my children dressing them up and me
rescuing them when I heard their cries. Hamweenie is an extraordinary cat who dreams of a life
totally different from the one he has. Instead of being dressed up, washed, and idolized by one
determined little girl he bemoans his fate and wants world adoration and freedom. The illustrations
rendered in pen and ink and watercolors on watercolor paper help the reader to see the determination
of Hamweenie to escape from the clutches of his owner.
Golio, Gary, Spirit seeker John Coltrane’s musical journey, paintings by Rudy Gutierrez, Clarion
Books, Boston, Massachusetts, 2012, unp. $17.99, ISBN:978-0-547-23994-1, Gr. 4+, P 7, Q 9,
In our school we have a band that starts in 6th grade. As this class becomes more popular there is
more interest in books on musicians. John Coltrane is just such musician, of whom I knew nothing
about. John’s life is filled with music, a secure home life until his father and others die. It is music that
he turns to, to help him through this time and eventually leads him to a life in music. The story of this
remarkable man is written using free verse. The acrylic paintings by Rudy Guiterrez are wonderfully
bright colored swirls that parade through the pages showing the effect music had on John’s life.

Jamieson, Victoria, Olympig! Dial Book for Young Readers, New York, 2012, unp, $16.99,
ISBN:978-0-8037-3536-1, Gr. , P 8, Q 8,
I love the Olympics the completion, the countries, the different events and the coming together in
peaceful way. This is a book that would be great to use in many different ways, encourage
sportsmanship, training, dreams, encouragement, and many other topics. Boomer the pig is in
training for the Animal Olympics. He dreams of Olympic glory but when he doesn’t win any event that
he has entered, he proves to be a poor sportsman. Boomer has to pull it together and do his best on
the last and final event. Victoria Jamieson’s illustrations in acrylic paint demonstrate the fun
completion that goes on and how well Boomer deals with defeat and finally acceptance of what it all
really means.

Schwartz, Corey, The three ninja pigs, illustrated by Dan Santat, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York,
2012, unp. $16.99, ISBN:978-0-399-25514-4, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 8,
If you are planning a unit in school on fairy tales, nursery rhymes or fables this would be a great book
to read after you have read original version of The three little pigs. If you are looking for a book that
you could use for rewriting a story then this is the one to use. The three Ninja Pigs are set to take the
big bad wolf on, after studying to be Ninjas, some who have study more then others. The comical
illustrations help to show the determination of the Ninja pigs to win when the big bad wolf comes to

Blume, Lesley, The wondrous journals of Dr. Wendell Wellington Wiggins, illustrated by David Foote,
Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2012, 243 pgs. $16.99, ISBN:978-0-375-86850-4, Gr. 4, P 8, Q 8,
Dr. Wendell Wellington Wiggins, a paleozoologist, embarks from his home in 1850 to find the ancient
creatures of the world. For the next 35 years he travels the world and he keeps a journal of his
remarkable finds. In the journal he often contemplates on the thoughts of his mother adding a
humorous quality to the book. The illustrations are created by using a Victorian dip pen and black ink
on paper showing the many strange finds of Dr. Wendell Wellington Wiggins.

Griffiths, Andy, What body part is that? Illustrated by Terry Denton, Feiwel and Friends, New York,
2011, 180 pgs. index, $12.99, ISBN:978-0-312-36790-9, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 7,
This is a book that will appeal to students who like wacky funny facts about the body. The book is
written in two parts with three sections and deals with skin, muscles, eyes, skeleton system and much
more. The zany black and white illustrations are very detailed that show the workings of the body.

Kinsey-Warnock, Natalie, True colors, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2012, 242 pgs. $15.99,
ISBN:978-0-375-86099-7, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 8,
It has been ten years since Blue was left on the doorstep of the widow, Hannah Spooner. Hannah
named Blue for the color of her skin when she was found. In those ten years Blue has dreamed of the
day that her mother will come for her down the dirt road that runs past her house. Ten years that she
wonders who she really is and who her parents are. It takes a tragedy for Blue to learn the truth about
herself and what a family really means.

Lorentz, Dayna, No safety in numbers, Dial Books, New York, 2012, 263 pgs., $17.99.
ISBN:978-0-8037-3873-7, Gr. 7+, P 8, Q 8,
Four teenagers all separately choose to go to the mall on the same night. The teenagers go with their
families, some to meet friends and others to work. This choice on this night binds the four together
and all the rest that are in the mall located in New York for seven days. Seven days that they are
locked in, lied to and ends in death for many. A dirty bomb has been let off into the air duct system of
the mall all who are in it could now be carriers of the disease that they have been exposed to. Yes,
there is a sequel planned and one that I plan to read.

McDowell, Beck, This is not a drill, Nancy Paulson Book, New York, 2012, 216 pgs., $17.99,
ISBN:978-0-399-25794-0, Gr. 8+, P 8, Q 8,
In December there was a school shooting in Connecticut and we “Again” are arguing about gun
control. Maybe what we need to do is to have the United States Senate and the House of
Representatives read this book. Then they could understand how very realistic a situation like this
could be in a school. This story is written in alternating chapters by Emery, a sixteen year-old girl and
Jake, a 17 year-old boy, who is in a first grade classroom when a father comes in demanding his
child, Patrick. From there the crisis in the room escalates into the father returning to the classroom
and brandishing a gun and holding classroom hostage. A very realistic and compelling story that held
me spellbound till the end of the story.

Peacock, Carol, Red thread sisters, Viking, New York, 2012, 236 pgs. $15.99, ISBN:978-0-670-
01386-9, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 8,
I have an uncle who was adopted when he was 12 months old. Being only 10 years older than me he
always tells people he feels more like my brother instead of my uncle. When I got married it was he
who gave me away. In China Wen and Shu Ling dream of being adopted and have promised each
other that if one gets adopted before the other, they will work to get the one left behind adopted. They
are best friends and sisters and each has always been there for the other. Shu Ling was born with a
club foot is deemed unadoptable. When Wen is adopted by an American family it is up to her to get
Shu Lu adopted. This story offers a look into the many children who are available for adoption in
foreign countries and in the United States as well.

Rhodes, Morgan, Falling kingdoms, Razorbill, 2012, 412 pgs. ISBN:978-1-59514-584-0, Gr. 6+, P 8,
Q 8,
This is the first fantasy adventure novel of three that author plans to write. The story is told through
four main characters that take turns, through alternating chapters, telling the story. Their world
consists of four countries that are soon engaged in a war that becomes steeped in magic. The
characters are all well developed and have a plot that keeps the reader involved till the end of the

Rodda, Emily, The golden door, Scholastic, New York, 2011, 264 pgs., $16.99. ISBN:978-0-545-
42990-0, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 9,
Of all the books that I read this month this one was the one that I enjoyed the most. From the first
page I was hooked and by the end of the story I couldn’t wait for the next one planned in this trilogy. It
is a fast paced fantasy adventure that had me cheering for the Rye and the cities princess. They are
on a quest to find why dragons have become so abundant and to destroy them before their city is

Schmidt, Gary, What came from the stars, Clarion Books, Boston, Massachusetts, 2012, 294 pgs.,
$16.99, ISBN:978-0-547-61213-3, Gr. 6+, P 8, Q 9,
Death has come to the family of Tommy Pepper of Plymouth, Massachusetts leaving his family trying
to cope. His mother’s death has left each of them searching for answers and acceptance. On another
planet in another solar system there is a race that fighting for it’s very survival and also trying to save
their culture. They do this by sending an orb to Earth which Tommy finds and he picks it up. The
adventure starts that brings Tommy and his family solace, acceptance and finally togetherness.

Sullivan, Mary, Dear Blue Sky, Nancy Paulsen Book, New York, 2012, 247 pgs., $16.99,
ISBN:978-0399-25684-4, Gr., P, Q,
We have many young men and women who have enlisted in the military and who in the past ten
years have fought in either Iraq or Afghanistan. The families of these soldiers who are left behind
aren’t talked about very much. In Dear Blue Sky one American family, whose son Sef enlists in the
military, is torn apart. All are affected by Sef’s leaving as if it was Sef was the one holding everyone
together. At the same time in Iraq a young girl’s blog brings a better understanding to Cass, Sef’s 12
year-old sister, of how the war is affecting Blue Sky’s country and her life.

Webb, Philip, Six days, Scholastic, New York, 2011, 336 pgs. &17.99, ISBN:978-0-545-31767-2, Gr.
5+, P 8, Q 9,
In Earth’s future there will be a war that destroys most of humanity. The winner, the Russians, have
the citizens of London searching for a lost artifact that is rumored to hold great powers. Cass and her
brother Wilbur are two of the scavs who are digging for the lost artifact. Wilbur who always has his
head in a comic book thinks he knows where the artifact is and is always taking off to find it. He
follows clues he finds in the comic books. On one of his escapades his life is endangered and Cass
comes to his rescue. Only this time she also meets a young boy, Peyto, from space who also has to
find the artifact to save his failing spaceship which is circling the world. This dystopia book is written
for a younger audience which will become engrossed in the many plot twists as Cass, Wilbur, Peyto,
and Erin, a girl from space, as they all race to find the lost artifact before the Russians do.

Non Fiction
Asim, Jabari, Fifty cents and a dream : young Booker T. Washington, illustrated by Bryan Collier,
Little, Brown, and Company, New York, 2012, unp., $16.99, ISBN:978-0-316-08657-8, Gr. 2+, P 8,
Q 8,
Booker T. Washington was born a slave who dreamed of learning to read. When freedom came
Booker still was unable to afford to go to school. Written in free verse Booker learns to read and then
takes a journey to Hampton Institute with only 50 cents in his pocket. He works at the school to pay
for his tuition. The illustrations are watercolor and collage that show Booker T. Washington’s dreams
and determination to learn.

Faulk, Michelle, The case of the flesh-eating bacteria, Enslow Publishers, Berkeley Heights, New
Jersey, 2013 $26.60, ISBN:978-0-7660-3945-2, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 8,
The students of my school are asking for books on weird and bizarre diseases, the creeper the
better. This book uses Agent Annie Biotica who uses scientific measures to identify each disease,
after they have looked at the evidence, and then what you can do to cure it. There are five different
scenarios’ that the author gives the reader to solve, some more complex then others. This is a book
that will appeal to those students who are looking for that creepy bizarre disease.

Ford, Christopher, Stickman Odyssey Book two, the wrath of zozimos, Phiolmel Books, New York,
2012, 228 pgs. $12.99, ISBN:978-0-399-25427-7, Gr. 6+, P 8, Q 8,
Having read the first Stickman Odyssey book I was glad to see that there was another that would
finish the story. Zozimos finally returns to his kingdom of Sticatha where he finds that all that he was
told was not necessarily the truth. This Greek tragedy is written as a graphic novel in which Zozimos
battles golems, Cyclops, finds his now blind sister and saves his kingdom. The black and white
drawings are very simple that help to tell this fast paced adventure that will make you laugh and
celebrate Zozimos achievements.

McKissack, Patricia, McKissack, Fredrick, Frederick Douglas : fighter against slavery, Enslow
Publishers, Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, 2013, 24 pgs. glossary, $21.26, ISBN:978-07660-4098-4,
Gr. 3+, P 7, Q 7,
Biographies for younger age students are to find. This book while it introduces the life of Frederick
Douglas it is not in depth look. It is a book that will start them out but they will have to go somewhere
else for a more in depth look of this remarkable man.

Townsend, Michael, Michael Townsend’s where do presidents come from? : And other presidential
stuff of super-great importance, Dial Books for Young Readers, New York, 2012, 156 pgs. $14.99,
ISBN:978-0-8037-3748-8 Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 9+,
This is a wonderful presentation of presidents, their duties, how they are elected, what powers they
have, animals that were in the White House and much more. What is so appealing about this book is
the humor and actual facts that are blended together to present what I always felt was a boring
subject. Boy was that opinion changed after reading this graphic novel. Mr. Townsend has a annoying
pink rabbit who wants to be president popping up through out the book. I found myself looking for it
and was disappointed when he wasn’t on the next page. This graphic novel is definitely one that all
middle and high school libraries should have in their collection.

Jordan, Denise, Walter Dean Myers : a biography of an award-winning urban fiction author, Enslow
Publishers, Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, 2012, 104 pgs. index, $26.60, ISBN:978-0-7660-3990-2,
Gr. 6+, P 7, Q 8,
I have always enjoyed Walter Dean Myers as an author; he is one of the favorite authors at my school
especially among the older boys. This biography of his life is an intimate look into a life that was quite
different from mine and those that I know. Walter Myers mother died when he was only 3 years old it
was his father’s ex-wife who took her own daughter and then him to raise. Separated from his father it
would be years later before he saw him again. Walter later took the Dean name to honor those who
taken care of him and encouraged him all his life. With the support of teachers and his mother he
went on to become a very talented and recognized author around the world.

March 2013 Book Reviews
NHS Student Reviewers
Greenwald, Lisa. Sweet Treats & Secret Crushes. Amulet, New York, 2011.
$7.95 ISBN: 978-1419700293 The story is about 3 girls (Georgia, Katie and
Olivia) who are life-long friends and are stuck in their apartment on Valentine’s
Day due to a blizzard. They are all boy crazy and in love. They decide to use
their crazy day by making fortune cookies at Georgia’s parent’s restaurant
downstairs. They start handing cookies out in the apartment building, trying to get
the other occupants to become friends. All of the girls go find the boys they like
and they go out to dinner and have the special fortune cookies. I liked this book,
but I would say it was more dreamy than believable. It was easy to read, though
it jumped a lot between characters. P6 Q8 p. Gr.9-12 Review by AW, NHS 11th

Silas, Lucy. Experienced; A Beautiful Americans Novel. Razorbill, New York,
2010. $7.95 ISBN: 978-1595142931 Four American students are studying in
Paris. Each one of them has a secret. Two girls don’t like their host family so
they fake suicide to escape, but another girl goes back to get her friends. One of
the friends is hiding that he’s gay and another is hiding that she has a college
boyfriend. The story is filled with lots of secrets and when they return to America
they realize that secrets get them in trouble. I did like this book and found it
believable because it relates well to high school. It shows relationships, partying,
worrying about grades, bullying, and suicide. P8 Q8 Gr.9-12 Review by AW,
NHS 11th grader

Tracy, Kristen. Lost It. Simon Pulse, New York, 2007. $7.99
ISBN-13: 978-1416934752 288 p. Gr. 9-12 Tess Whistle is a Junior this year.
She’s a shy and smart girl, but when she meets an extremely cute boy she starts
to look more into her sexuality. When Tess’ parents decide to move away to
attend a program to help “find themselves” and leave Tess alone with her
wealthy grandma things get a little crazy. On top of all this, her best friend is
making a bomb to blow up a poodle. Tess’ life seems out of control. I really
liked this book, and found it very believable. Tess is easy to relate to, she goes
through problems that every teen faces in their lives and the raw romance she
has is what every teenage girl wants.

Paratore, Coleen M. The Funeral Director’s Son. Simon & Schuster, New York,
2009. $6.99 ISBN-13: 978-1416935957 144 p. Gr. 5-8 This book is about a
boy named Kip whose family runs a funeral home. His dad’s side of the family
has passed it down for generations. The only problem is that Kip doesn’t want to
be the next funeral director, and he’s the only boy in the family. But Kip’s biggest
problem is that he can talk to the dead and helps them pass through to the
afterworld. Kip must face his fears and accept his “gift.” I didn’t really like this
book; while it’s written for a younger audience, it doesn’t explain enough about
Kip’s gift for others to understand.

Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers
March 2013 Reviews by M.D.

Gonzalez, Christian Diaz. “A Thunderous Whisper”. Alfred A. Knopf. New
York. 2012. 309 pgs. Middle and High School. $16.99. 978-0-375-86929-7.
This is a historical fiction story about a twelve year old Basque girl and a fourteen
year old German Jew in Guernica. Ani and Mathias become friends even though
Basque people are looked down on but he has very few friends because he just
moved to Guernica because of the war. Mathias family is part of the spy network
and as war is exploding everywhere Ani and Mathias figure out a way to be apart
of the spy network. The things that these children grow threw are very intense
because of the war and there parents. Ani becomes an orphan and has to leave
to America. Students will like this because they will feel empowered because
they can make a difference even though they are young.

Cooner, Donna. “Skinny” Point. New York 2012. 260 pgs. Middle and High
School. $17.99. 978-0-545-42763-0. p8/q8
This is a very intense book about body image and weight control. This story is
told from the view of a obese teenage girl who hears “skinny” in her head who
tells here horrible things about herself and how she is able to quiet the “skinny”
voice as she makes changes in her life. Ever decides to get gastric-bypass
surgery and her best friend “Rat” goes to the surgery with her and continues to
help her make changes. This story also has a Cinderella type theme as Ever has
a wicked step mother and step sister who really are just reacting to Ever and her
horrible behavior. I loved the way this story ends with Ever and Rat falling in
love, Ever loosing weight and becoming friends with her step sister as she peels
away her negative behavior.

Gold. V. Martha. “Learning about the Nervous System” Enslow. New
Jersey. 2013 48 pgs. Elementary and Middle School.$22.00? 978-0-7660-
4160-8 p7/q7
This is one for four books about the human body systems. This book focuses on
the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. The information is very elementary but would
make a great resource for students writing a beginning level research paper.
The book has pictures, diagrams, chapters, bold key words, photos, text boxes
with questions and short facts. Also included is a glossary of key terms, further
reading and an index. I think this book would be great for a student who is
struggling with this subject because it is explained in very simple terms with
simple diagrams.

Battersby Katherine. “Brave Squish Rabbit”Viking. New York. 2012.25 pgs.
$12.99. Pre-school. 978-0-670-01268-8 p8/q8
The pictures in this book are very simple and imaginative as some of the things
like the chicken are created by a collage of feathers. Squish is a little rabbit who
is afraid of many things including the dark. He likes to play with his friend Twitch,
a little squirrel but he braves the dark when Twitch is missing. A few of the pages
tell the story without words but with simple characters it is easy to understand
what is happening. Squish feels better when he is brave while he is looking for
his friend in the dark. This is a good story about facing fears.

Love Maryann Cusimano and Satomi Ichikawa. “You Are My Wonders”
Philomel Books. New York. 2012.
30 pgs. $16.99 Pre- School. 978-0-399-25-293-8. p7/q7
This is a story of a stuffed elephant teacher and her many stuffed toy students.
The format is different and it really doesn’t make sense, so for some children it
will be very confusing. For example on one page it says “I am your calm; you are
my thunder”. The pictures are cute but fall short when describing the differences
between the teachers and the students.

Bramsen Cavin. “Hey Duck” Random House. New York. 2013. 25 pgs.
$17.99. Pre –School. 978-0-375-86990-7. p8/q7
A baby duck meets a cat who he thinks is a duck. The cat tries to tell the duck to
scat because he is a cat. There are a few words that are used for rhyming sake
such as “now leave me so that I can sup” which might not make sense to young
children. The other different thing is the duck asks to play canoe- this may be
confusing because I have never heard of a game canoe. The nice thing about
this book is that the illustrations are bright, simple and cute. In the end the cat
misses the duck and become friends.

Simpson, Lesley. Illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss. “A Song for My Sister.”
Random House . New York. 2012. 20 pgs. $16.99. pre-school. 978-1-58246-
427-5. p7/q8
This children’s book has a Jewish theme as the baby will be named on the eighth
day of life at a ceremony called a “simchat bat”. The story is about a little girl
who wishes for a baby sister and gets one four years later but this baby sister
only cries and cries and doesn’t have a name yet. Another interesting thing was
the Rabbi was a woman and I didn’t know Rabbis could be women. The baby
was named “Shira” because she and her big sister started to sing together at the
simchat bat and Mira was happy because Shira rhymes with Mira.

Mahy, Margaret and Polly Dunbar. “The Man from the Land of Fandango.”
Clarion Books. Boston. 2012.
30 pgs. $16.99. pre-school. 978-0-547-81988-4. p7/q8
This is a silly make believe story about a drawing that two little children of a man
from fandango who only comes every five hundred years so you better be home
when he calls. The words are placed on the pages in swirly ways to match the
rhyming of the words. The story has dinosaurs, monkeys, ox, and kangaroos
and is a fun book with crazy things happening. I think this is a story to spark the
imagination of the young reader.

Smith, Maggie. “Pigs in Pajamas.” Alfred A. Knopf. New York. 2012. 25
pgs. $15.99. pre-school. 978-0-375-84817-9. p9/q8
I like the pictures as they are a mix of drawings and photos of the food so it
makes for an interesting page design. The words all start with “p” so it is a fun
play on words with a bunch of pigs in pajamas going for a spend the night party.
There is also some adult humor with a little mouse saying in a word bubble “ heyno
z’s this book is about the letter p!” when all of the pigs have fallen asleep. At
the end of the story there is a fun page that encourages the reader to find other
objects that begin with the letter p in the book so it becomes a fun game to play
with the book.

Gaiman, Neil. Illustrated by Adam Rex. “Chu’s Day.” Harper. New York.
2013. 20 pgs. $17.99. pre-school. 978-0-06-201781-9. p8/q8
Chu is a baby panda bear with a big sneeze and bad things happen when he
sneezes. His mother and father take him different places such as the library,
diner, and finally the circus where he finally sneezes and things fall completely
apart. The circus tent is brought down and all of the animals are strewn
everywhere. I like the way the pages switch back and forth from a white simple
background with only a few words to the more complex color pictures when he is
visiting the library, diner and circus. This is a fun book with wonderful illustrations
and the author has a picture at the back of the book of when he was able to have
a baby panda sit on his lap when he was in China.

Marshall, Linda Elovitz. Illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss. “The Passover
Lamb…based on a true story.” Random House. New York. 2013. 25 pgs.
$17.99. pre-school & elementary school . 978-0-307-93177-1. p7/q8
This book has an author’s note at the back which explains how the author came
up with the idea for this book from her own life and her children’s experience on
their farm. In this story the little girl is trying to get all the chores done on the
farm so they can leave for her grandparent’s house for the Seder meal. She has
been practicing to sing the Four Questions – which relate to the story telling of the
Jewish holy day and Passover. Just before they are to leave one of the sheep
has three lambs and the mother will not feed the third lamb. Miriam decides to
bring the lamb with her to the Seder meal and they name the lamb Moses and
they were able to celebrate the Feast of Freedom with their grandparents. This
is a great way to start a discussion with children about the Jewish traditions and
Passover. The authors note also explains more about the importance of the four

Heilbroner, Joan. Illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre. “A Pet Named Sneaker.”
Beginner Books A division of Random House. New York. 2013. 30 pgs.
$8.99. pre-school-elementary school . 978-0-307-37580-5. p8/q8
This is a Cat in the Hat Beginner book for young readers. It is a fun story about a
pet snake and how he finally gets to go home with a boy and becomes his
companion even at school. In the end the snake saves a baby who is drowning
in a pool and sneaker the snake is a hero. This story is funny and will help
expand a child’s imagination as the snake learns to write at school. This is a
simple book for beginning readers.

Helquist, Brett. “Grumpy Goat.” Harper. New York. 2013. 25 pgs. $17.99.
ages 4-8. 978-0-06-113953-6. p7/q8
This is a funny story about the friendliest farm in the country until a grumpy goat
arrives. The goat chases all of the other animals and eats everything in his path.
He finally stops at the top of the hill when he gets to a tiny flower – which is really
a dandelion. The goat sits and stares at the flower for days and then something
happens the seeds all fly away and he is so sad. The other animals check on
him and then one day the field is covered in dandelion flowers and he is happy
and the farm becomes the friendliest again. This is a fun story about friendship
and helping bullies by reaching out to them.

Buehner, Caralyn. Pictures by Mark Buehner. “Snowmen at Work.” Dial
Books for Young Readers. New York. 2012. 30 pgs. $16.99. pre-school and
elementary school. 978-0-8037-3579-8. p8/q9
This is a fun book with beautiful colorful pictures about snowmen and what they
do when everyone goes to sleep. The little boy thinks his snowman cleared the
sidewalk while he was asleep and then he thinks about all of the other things
they do when people aren’t looking like do to the dentist, bakery, school and
magicians show. At the end of the book the author has a note that explains that
each page has hidden pictures for older children and adults. The good thing is
inside of the book jacket is the key for the hidden pictures so this would be a
difficult book for a librarian to cover as the reader needs to be able to remove the
book jacket if they are having a hard time finding the hidden pictures.

Berger, Joe. “My Speical One and Only.” Dial Books for Young Readers.
New York. 2012. 30 pgs. $16.99. pre-school. 978-0-8037-3410-4. p7/q8
Bridget looses a tooth and gets a gold coin that she wants to spend at her
favorite toy store. The funny thing is at the beginning of the story there is a bug
flying around and in small print it says that this is her pet ladybug and not the
tooth fairy. Bridget has a fun stuffed toy Captain Cat who she brings with her to
the toy store but she looses him. She ends up freaking out and running around
the store looking for favorite toy but ends up in the window display and see’s her
Captain Cat in a little girl’s basket. She gets him back and asks her mom for
more money to buy her friends their own cat toys for there help in finding her
Captain Cat. I think little girls will really enjoy this as it from the point of view of a
little girl and I like the way she solved her problems.

Telchin, Eric. “See A Heart Share A Heart.” Dial Books. New York. 2012. 25
pgs. $12.99. pre-school and elementary school. 978-0-8037-3894-2. p8.q8
This looks like a children’s book but it really can be an inspirational book for any
age. At the back of the book the author tells how he started taking pictures of
hearts and how he started a website and a book with hearts. This could be seen
as an art book, photography, and journal of sorts. The author finds hearts
everywhere he looks and he never composes or retouches his hearts he just
keeps his eyes open to find them where ever he looks. This would be a fun
assignment for a photography class project or a group therapy study. The words
are simple on each page and this is kind of an activity book as the children can
look at the pictures and try to find the heart shapes.

Burleigh, Robert. Paintings By Wendell Minor. “If you Spent a Day with
Thoreau at Walden Pond.” Henry Hold and Company. New York. 2012.
25pgs. $17.99. pre-school and elementary. 978-0-8050-9137-3. p8/q8
The end papers have a beautiful map of Walden Pond and the site of Henry’s
House and a scale in feet measure as well. The illustrations are beautiful life like
soft pictures that match the feel of Walden Pond. This is told from the view of a
small boy visiting Henry at his home on Walden Pond and doing some of the
things Henry did while he lived there. The story talks of some of the activities
Henry would have done such as picking huckleberries and “dreaming awake”
and remembering that little things matter as much as big things. At the end of
the story is a section entitled “more things to know about Henry David Thoreau”.
One of the most interesting things was that by today’s standards’ his house
would have cost $800 to build. The book also includes an address for the
Thoreau Society if students want to write and find out more about Henry. The
book ends with “observations by Thoreau”with moreder interpretations added my
favorite is “That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.”… (To live
simply and cheaply makes a person most happy, and in a sense, most rich.”)
This book has beautiful pictures and would make a great addition to any library.
It would also help with any student who was writing a book report about Thoreau.

Book Reviews
Tavares, Matt. Becoming Babe Ruth. 2013. 40p. Candlewick Press, $16.99. ISBN: 978-0-
7637-5646-1. Ages 5 and up, P7Q9
It is baseball season yet again. Matt Tavares explores Babe Ruth’s younger years and how he
became a great baseball player. This is not a complete biography, but a wonderful start if you
want to learn about the soft side of Babe Ruth. I love the pictures and the scrapbook format of
some of the pages. This is a great book for baseball season.

Wick, Walter. Can You See What I See? Out of This World, [series] 2013. 35p. Scholastic,
$13.99. ISBN: 978-0-545-24468-8. Ages All, PQ
“I love these books,” said a 7th grader. I had asked him if he has ever enjoyed a Walter Wick
book. He quickly grabbed the book and started thumbing through the pages. It can be hard to
set an age limit on these books. Out of This World is about a robot who meets a princess. The
princess looks to the future in her crystal ball and the robot takes a trip to the past in his
spaceship. Overall, I loved the pictures in the book and the fun time with my boys reading it.

Rex, Adam. Unlucky Charms [series]. 2013. 382p. Harper Collins Publishers, $16.99. ISBN:
978-0-06-206005-1. Ages 8-12, P7Q8
Goodco Cereal Company is plotting to take over the world by slipping intellijuice into its cereals to
make a highly intelligent zombie army of kids. In this book, they find that Merle Lynn is
responsible for the instability of the magical creatures of Pretannica. These creatures are losing
their magic and popping up into our world. Scott and his friends try to find a way to right a wrong,
but in the end are not able to complete their mission. This is the first book of this series that I
have read and I believe that it is not a stand alone book. I often felt lost and that I was missing
something. Character development had me lost and there were too many main characters to
keep track of who was who and why were they important.

Kessler, Liz. Emily Windsnap and the Land of the Midnight Sun. [series] 2012. 272p. Candlewick
Press, $15.99. ISBN: 978-0-7636-5824-3. Grade 4 and up P7Q8
Readers who loved Rick Riordan’s fast paced, action packed, mythological creatures infused
might not like Emily Windsnap and her mermaid friends. This is a low key adventure that many
would describe as sweet. Emily must go on a mission for King Neptune and ensure the safety of
the planet. She learns to trust her friends and her instincts about who people are and how they
behave. I have several readers in my class that will love this book.

McNamee, Eoin. The Ring of Five: The Unknown Spy I [series] 2011. 311p. Random House
Books, $16.99. ISBN: 978-0-383-73820-0. Grade 4 and up, P8Q8
Danny Caulfield is an unusual boy who goes to a spy school in the lower world. Danny and his
friends must save the Treaty Stone and keep it from the evil Ring of Five. He does not succeed
in his mission and the treaty between the two worlds dissolves. The Ring of Five takes over and
creates havoc. I had two students read this book and loved the action packed adventure. This
was my first book of this series and I didn’t feel that I was missing anything.

Beil, Michael D. The Red Blazer Girls: The Secret Cellar [series] 2012. 274p. Alfred A. Knopf,
$17.99. ISBN: 978-0-375-86741-5. Grade 4 and up, P8Q8
Love the Red Blazer Girls. Nancy Drews has competition. These girls are smart and real. I love
how Beil challenges the reader to think about mysterious clues and learn from them. Most clues
involve math, famous works of art, literature, and riddles. Vermeer’s method of using a camera
obscura can also be found in credits page, which appears to be written backwards. I would
describe this book as a clever mystery that makes you think. I have plenty of students that are
already hooked on the Red Blazer Girls.

Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers Reviews by N.W

Berne, Jennifer. On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein. Il. by Vladimir Radunsky. 2013.
unp. Chronicle, $17.99. 978-0-8118-7235-5. Ages 4-7: “The important thing is not to stop
questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” This quote by Einstein on the back
of this thought-provoking book sets the tone for the story of the great inventor’s life that
provides no facts about his age, his birthplace, or other specifics that are often included in
biographies for young children. The early pages will catch the attention of children who
believe they are different from others when the text declares that Einstein had not said a
word by the time that he was two years old. Other revelations about Einstein—that he
hated wearing socks and enjoyed getting in his small sailboat with no direction—also show
his willingness to be who he wanted to be. Raw art with gouache, pen, and ink follow
Einstein’s joy in exploring the world around him and the possibilities that might exist. The
text has a sense of reverence for the subject as well as an element of the humor that
Einstein exhibited. Much more than a biography, this book is a way of thinking that
emphasizes the value of curiosity and nonconformity. P8Q9

Bryant, Jen. A Splash of Red: The life and Art of Horace Pippin. Il. Melissa Sweet. 2013. unp.
Knopf, $17.99. 978-0-375-86712-5. Ages 7-11: Understated text allows the artwork in this
portrait of self-taught African-American folk artist Pippin (1888-1946) to shine through
simple colors of “brown, amber, yellow, black, white and green” as described in the artist’s
own words. Pippin worked as a child to help support his family before winning his first art
supplies in a contest. A military injury in World War I threatened his ability to draw, but he
changed to wood burning, “using his good arm to move the hurt one” before he transitioned
back to painting. Sweet incorporates Pippin’s quotations about suffering from war to show
how he used his art to bring greater understanding to the world. The back matter of
historical note, author’s note, illustrator’s note, and references add to the value of the book.
Bryant and Sweet produce a glorious paen to an artist little known in the twenty-first
century. P8Q9

Fradin, Dennis Brindell and Judith Bloom Fradin. Zora! The Life of Zora Heale Hurston. 2012.
180p. Clarion, $17.99. 978-0-547-00695-6. Ages 10-13: Proud and confident as she grew
up, this African-American writer was an important part of the Harlem Renaissance of the
early twentieth century until her popularity waned, and she became a housekeeper before
temporarily disappearing in history. The Fradins communicate her gifted, energetic
approach toward her craft, showing the vicissitudes of her turbulent life—three short
marriages, anthropological research, and her friendship with Langston Hughes that ended
in estrangement. P6Q8

Freedman, Russell. Abraham Lincoln & Frederick Douglass: The Story Behind an American
Friendship. 2012. 118p. Clarion, $18.99. 978-0-547-38562-4. Ages 9-13: Meeting only
three times in their lives, these two men, racially different, had many parallels—selfeducation,
childhood poverty, and their work to free slaves. Freedman points out that they
both read the same book, Caleb Bingham’s The Columbia Orator, at the same time and
includes an excerpt “Dialogue between a Master and Slave” in an appendix. Through the
description of this relationship between Douglass and Lincoln, the book follows the debate
regarding slavery leading to war from the Missouri Compromise to the Kansas-Nebraska
Act and the Dred Scott decision. Illustrations include black and white photographs,
engravings, political cartoons, and posters; an appendix gives a brief history of the Civil
War. P5Q8

Jenks, Andrew. Andrew Jenks: My Adventures as a Young Filmmaker. 2013. 224p. Scholastic,
$19.99. 978-0-545-41727-3. Ages 12+: “Fake it till you make it. Don’t hear no. Adapt.” This
is the advice that 27-year-old Jenks gives his readers in this charming, engrossing book
about his adventure that led him from selling a film about living in a senior home to HBO
when he was 19 to getting $1 million from ESPN to make a movie about Bobbie Valentine
in Japan when he was 21 before he got his own MTV show. Jenks doesn’t sugarcoat the
advantages that he has had with an important affluent family, but his details about his work
shows the efforts that he expends to get the results. To get his first commercial film, he
personally lived in the home 24 hours a day. Later he slept on the streets with a
“houseless” woman to get one MTV segment and in the home of a 20-year-old autistic man
for another. Anyone wanting to be a filmmaker needs to read about how much work
required to not only film but also edit a film. The book heavily illustrated with photographs is
a delight to read, and Jenks’ personality stands out. It’s a great book for a biography
assignment or for just pure joy. P8Q9

Orgill, Roxanne. Footwork: The Story of Fred and Adele Astaire. Il. by Stephane Jorisch. 2007,
2013. 64p. Candlewick, $4.99. 978-0-7636-6215-8. Ages 6-10: At the age of four, this
famous dancing movie star began his career with his sister, three years older. This reissue
in a chapter format details the hard work as Fred kept working to improve himself in his
craft while his sister drew more applause. The quirky, colored illustrations complete with
vintage clothing give a great feel of the first 30 years of the twentieth century before Adele
married a British lord and Fred moved into films. Although children may not know who Fred
Astaire is, the book will give them a good feeling of how hard their peers of a century ago
had to work before child labor laws. P7Q7

Stone, Tanya Lee. Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell. Il. by
Marjorie Priceman. 2013. unp. Christy Ottaviano Books/Holt, $16.99. 978-0-8050-9048-2.
Ages 5-8: Young girls today who don’t know that there was a time when they would not be
allowed to be doctors are in for an eye-opener when they discover that the first woman
doctor in the United States was rejected by medical schools 28 times. Stone’s depictions of
Blackwell’s buoyant and tenacious manner is clearly delineated not only through the lively
text but also in the bright cartoonish gouache and India ink illustrations depicting her
adventures and the arrogant people who ridiculed her dreams. An author’s note follows
Blackwell’s career as she and her sister, also a doctor, start a women’s clinic before she
opens a medical school for women and then returns to her native home in England to help
start the National Health Society. P7Q8

Uman, Jennifer. Jemmy Button. Il. by Valerio Vidali. 2013. unp. Templar/Candlewick, $16.99.
978-0-7636-6487-9. Ages 4-7: In the early nineteenth century, British explorers took a small
boy from Tierra del Fuego back to England so that he could be educated and Christianized.
On the island, the boy was called Orundellico, but his English name came from the pearl
button they used to purchase the boy from his parents. Spare text and superb oil and
collage artwork depicting the boy’s adventures climbing tall trees, watching the stars, and
listening to the ocean in his native land compared to his new life with sterile buildings
“stacked in towers” and a surrounding that made him feel “very small indeed.” The British
returned him to his home, hoping that he would educate its natives, but he simply says, “My
name is Orundellico and I have come home.” The use of silhouettes gives a power to the
presentations in each place. P8Q10

Snyder, Laurel. The Longest Night: A Passover Story. Il. Catia Chien. 2013. unp. Schwartz &
Wade, $17.99. 978-0-375-86942-6. Ages 4-8: A young Jewish slave girl tells her personal
experiences through the ten plagues and exodus from Egypt that is the basis for the Jewish
holiday near the Christian celebration of Easter. The rhyming couplets of her biblical story
combine with textured watercolors to bring the girl into the hopeful sunlight. P7Q9

Picture Books
Baker-Smith, Grahame. Farther. 2013. unp. Templar/Candlewick, $17.99. 978-0-7636-6370-4.
Ages 4-8: A lonely house lings to rocks on the edge of the sea, and a father who dreams of
flying fails to return from war, leaving his son. The palette of these sophisticated fantasy
illustrations, reminiscent of Leonardo da Vinci, enhances the images of magical machines
in a strange organic fashion, “the feathers of a thousand hopeful wings.” Pathways of red
poppies and a white goose create wonder about the boy who wants to follow his father’s
path and then passes his vision to his own son. Judges described the winner of the Kate
Greenaway medal as “a clever picture book with a dream-like quality. It is beautifully
designed with a wealth of detail, conveying dark emotions, storms of war and weather, and
a powerful sense of loss and bereavement.” Those who enjoy the works of Peter Sis and
Shaun Tan will be drawn to this transport into another world. P9Q10

Boyd, Lizi. Inside Outside. 2013. unp. Chronicle, $15.99. 978-1-4521-0644-1. Ages 4-8: Only
gouache images on brown Kraft paper provide the story of a contented lone boy and his
projects, but indoors and outdoors, throughout the seasons. Die-cut windows give clues
about the next two-page spread from the opening of winter, for example moving into the
melting snowman of spring. Indoor details, such as bird mobiles and houseplants, indicate
nature in the outside world. Fascinating for small readers, too, are the boy’s abilities as he
sculpts, paints, gardens, and crafts as he is always ready for new activities. P8Q8

Browne, Anthony. One Gorilla: A Counting Book. 2012. unp. Candlewick, $16.99. 978-0-7636-
6352-0. Ages 3-6: One gorilla moves to two orangutans and so forth throughout the book of
primates up to ten lemurs, all formally arranged with close-up head and upper body and all
set against a stark white background . Unlike many alphabet books of appeal to older
readers, this one is perfect for the youngest set because of large, colorful, standard
numerals. Older readers can enjoy the multitude of intelligent expressions: sweet, sly, wise,
understanding, playful, etc. Variegated but brilliant hues will draw in readers of all ages.
Browne finishes with his theme: All primates. / All one family. / All my family… / and yours!”

Fleischman, Paul. The Matchbook Diary. Il. by Bagram Ibatoulline. 2013. unp. Candlewick,
$16.99. 978-0-7636-4601-1. Ages 5-8: Imagine that you cannot write and must keep the
story of your life in the objects that you collect. This is the premise behind a man meeting
his great-granddaughter for the first time and introducing her to his early life in Italy and the
frightening immigration to the United States when he was a child. The sepia background of
the calm illustrations show the two people together interspersed with close-ups of antique
matchbooks and their contents—an olive pit, 19 empty sunflower hulls to represent the
days on the ship, a tooth that boys knocked out his mouth, etc. The immigration story of
poverty and perseverance is told through muted black-and-white illustration with the
essence of photographs. P7Q9

Klausmeier, Jesse. Open This Little Book. Il. Suzy Lee. 2013. unp. Chronicle, $16.99. 978-0-
8118-6783-2. Ages 4-8: The “little book” is concealed within five larger books, each in a
different color and each becoming progressively smaller. The book begins with the purple
one featuring a rabbit and then moves onto a red book about a ladybug, etc. The tiny book
in the center shows all the characters from the other books and all who bond because of
their love of reading and their willingness to help the giant whose hands are too large to
read the “little book.” Once Klausmeier has taken the readers to the center, she moves
back out again, giving directions to “close this book.” The final page shows a tall bookcase
and the animals again reading with a variety of other creatures. The giant’s hand is seen to
the side. This version of the Russian nesting dolls will entrance young readers over and
over. Again, Suzy Lee has created a spellbinding book that continues the unexpected
nature of reading. Klausmeier developed the concept of the book when she was five. P9Q9

Rosenthal, Amy Krouse. I Scream Ice Cream! A Book of Wordles. Il. Serge Bloch. 2013. unp.
Chronicle, $16.99. 978-1-4521-0004-3. Ages 4-8: Witty wordplay and woodcut cartoons,
photographs, and drawings highlight these groups of words that sound the same but mean
something different. Rosenthal stretches the wordles a bit—for example “Me, cloud” and
“Meek. Loud,” but young people will enjoy guessing these and making up their own. P9Q8

Tan, Shaun. The Bird King: An Artist’s Notebook. 2013. 128p. Arthur A. Levine, $19.99. 978-0-
545-46513-7. Ages 10+: The creator of such amazing books as Tales from Outer
Surburbia, The Red Tree, and The Arrival is providing his fans with “material from the past
twelve years, ranging from fairly precise drawings to scruffy scribbles”—monsters with
tentacles, drawings of pre-Columbia artifacts, tiny scribbles, full-color paintings, full
storyboards—pieces from his publishing history. This cross-section of his work is evenly
divided into four sections. “Untold Stories” is followed by “Book, Theater, and Film.”
“Drawings from Life” and “Notebooks” complete the book. Compact and intriguing, this
small book shows the beginnings of Tan’s genius, the worlds that compose his books.

Zulio, Germano. Line 135. Il. Albertine. 2013. unp. Chronicle, $18.95. 978-1-4521-1934-2. Ages
4-8: “It is possible.” This is the final statement in this short, wide minimalist book showing a
sleek orange and lime train carrying a child across delicate black ink landscapes to her
grandmother’s house. The white background with the black line of the train tracks gives a
great feeling of depth to both the train and the scenery. Throughout the journey the child
expresses thoughts about wanting to travel and being considered too small to travel the
entire world. As the train moves on, the city changes to swamps filled with strange plant life
and creatures. There is a more sophisticated feel of Donald Crews Freight Train. The
meditative impression of the book makes it suitable for the youngest set just starting to read
and older ones who still have a sense of wonder and desire for independence as they set
out on their life journey. P7Q9

Graphic Narratives
Holm, Jennifer L. and Matthew Holm. Extreme Babymouse. 2013. 96p. Random House, $6.99.
978-0-307-98160-3. Ages 7-11: The pink format about the title character and her collected
creature associates continues when Babymouse’s most recent obsession, snowboarding,
leads her to the inevitable disasters. Fresher than ever in the 17th of the series, the one
adds a new character, the flamingo snowboarding instructor, and concludes with a
surprisingly more mature Babymouse when she calmly rejects the dangerous Half-Pipe
Alley for a cupcake, saying, “I guess it’s sometimes good not to be like everyone else.” As
always, easy-to-read dialog, imaginary episodes, and comments from an unseen observer.

Grine, Chris. ChickenHare. 2006/2013. 157p. Graphix/Scholastic, $10.99. 78-0-545-4808-1. Ages
9-12: The title got it right: the protagonist of this series, originally published in black and
white by Dark Horse, has the body of a rabbit and the feathers and legs of a chicken. That
makes him a prime candidate, along with the bearded turtle Abe, to be sold to an evil
taxidermist, Klaus, who kills his exotic pets because they won’t stay with him otherwise and
he likes them “for home décor purposes.” The darkness continues when the two friends
meet two other victims, Meg and nasty monkey Banjo. Their escape from the house of
horrors only leads them to the Shromphs, cute little beings with razor teeth who like to eat
humans and other species. Only Buttons, Klaus’s dead goat whose eerily-white ghost
wears a top hat and monacle, can save the four buddies on the lam. The silly dialog rings
true real and fun, the twisted adventure moves quickly, and the mysterious ending
promises another part in this gruesome Bone-like offering. Sony has picked up the series
for an animated movie. P9Q8

Smith, Cynthia Leitich. Eternal: Zachary’s Story. Il. Ming Doyle. 2013. 155p. Candlewick, $19.99.
978-0-7636-5119-0. Ages 11-14: When reckless Zachary, the guardian angel ordered to
save royal vampire Miranda, breaks the rules, he gets demoted to human and becomes the
princess’s personal assistant. Black-and-white panels vividly illustrate this graphic version
of the novel. The story, a mix of a little gore and a little romance, is simple enough that it
translates well to a graphic novel format. P8Q8

Yolen, Jane. Curses! Foiled Again. Il. Mike Cavallaro. 2013. 160p. First Second, $15.99. 978-1-
59643-619-0. Ages 9-12: After the book covers the first in this series, Foiled, the plot starts
with Aliera Carstairs, the last Defender of Faerie, battles the trolls, one of whom is Avery
Castle, Aliera’s love interest and vassal. They battle the Dark Lord in a brilliantly-colored
world of Faerie, contrasted with the muted green-grays of reality. The author and illustrator
may have decided to overlook Aliera’s color-blindness in the first of the series. Each
chapter is named for a fencing move although only those familiar with the sport will realize
that, and the slow beginning of the graphic narrative has too much dialog for its adventure
theme. Perhaps the author should stay with her non-graphic books. Best for graphic
narrative readers who are not put off by the early leisurely pace and more reading
demands. P5Q7

George, Elizabeth. The Edge of Nowhere. 2012. 440p. Viking, $18.99. 978-0-670-01296-1. Ages
13+: Another well-known author of adult books has entered the world of writing for a
younger audience, and as usual with mixed results. Strongly mystery with a bit of
paranormal, this novel, set on the author’s home of Whidbey Island (WA), is filled with a
variety of points of view and at least one stereotyped character. The story is simple: Becca
King, sent to live with her mother’s friend because her stepfather wants to kill her, has to
find her own way because the friend dies. She meets a number of people, some who want
to help her and others who don’t trust her. Because she hears the voices of people around
her, she uses static sound to help her concentrate. The plotting can be slow, particularly for
the last third of the book, and her friendship with the boy who ends up in a coma has no
motivation. The solution to his injury is unrealistic, and the ending, which promises a
sequel, is annoying. There is also a dated feeling to the teenagers’ characterizations, with a
feel of the 1980s, that is not saved by mentions of cell phones and computers. Teen
readers will probably prefer mysteries written by YA authors, and George might want to
return to her adult audience. P5Q8

Haines, Kathryn Miller. The Girl Is Trouble. 2012. 325p. Roaring Brook, $17.99. 978-1-59643-
610-7. Ages 11-14: Many times a second book in a series tends to be weaker; the reverse
is true with Haines’ sequel to The Girl Is Murder. Teen detective Iris Anderson returns to
help her father solve mysteries in New York City of the early 1940s, and she pursues the
question of how her mother died after seeing photos from the crime scene of a supposed
suicide. At the same time, she thinks more about her own Jewish heritage after the Jewish
Student Federation employees her to find the person leaving anti-Semitic notes in student
members’ lockers. Bad-boy Benny adds a bit of romance to Iris’s formerly humdrum life.
Haines shows the racism and poverty of the time as Germans were rejected during World
War II while developing Iris’s character. P7Q8

Lane, Andrew. Black Ice. [Sherlock Holmes. The Legend Begins.] 2011. 278p. Farrar, $17.99.
978-0-374-38769-3. Ages 10-13: Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective returns as a
teenager in the third of the series, this time trying to solve a murder mystery to save his
brother Mycroft, both in London and then in Russia. Those who enjoyed the first two will
want to follow Holmes’ adventures although the beginning seems very slow. Unexpectedly,
the pacing goes into an almost frenzied episode before slowing down again. The plot
seems flatter than the first two books, and Holmes appears much younger than when he
interacts with his tutor’s daughter, Virginia. Descriptions of London and Moscow, however,
are vivid. I’ll hope better for the fourth, Fire Storm. P7Q7

Larson, Kirby. Hattie Ever After. 2013. 230p. Delacorte, $16.99. 978-0-385-73746-3. Ages 11-14:
Montana, 1919. The protagonist of Hattie Big Sky, now 17, decides to head to San
Francisco to become a journalist. The reader shares Hattie’s vivid impressions of the exotic
city in the beginning of the twentieth century after the earthquake with all its excitement,
bewilderment, and heartache when two different love interests fail to succeed. Another
problem is her disillusionment with a women who had been the sweetheart of Hattie’s
uncle. But Hattie knows that she has only one direction—ahead—as she competes in a
male-dominated profession. P7Q8

Pastis, Stephan. Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made. 2013. 294p. Candlewick, $14.99. 978-0-
7636-6050-5. Ages 9-12: Step over, Wimpy Kid—Timmy Failure has arrived. Clueless yet
self-confident, the 11-year-old runs his own detective agency with a massive polar bear
called Total and the Failuremobile (his mother’s Segway that ”borrows”). The reader
delights in knowing more than Timmy. When Timmy’s friend Gunnar hires him to find
missing candy, they see Gunnar’s younger brother in bed, his face covered with chocolate
and his bed covered with candy wrappers. Timmy has no idea who might have taken the
candy, but he keeps searching. The reader also understands that Timmy is very lonely, that
the Total probably doesn’t exist, and that his life is very painful. With all his foibles, Timmy
is Every Boy: he keeps getting grounded, he doesn’t care for his mother’s boyfriend, he
absolutely hates Corrina Corrina, his nemesis. But even Timmy’s arrogance doesn’t keep
the reader from enjoying the adventures. Great pacing, whimsical drawings, and humor
assures a first-rate series. P9Q8

Pratchett, Terry. Dodger. 2012. 360p. Harper, $17.99. 978-0-06-200949-4. Ages 12+: Pathos,
humor, danger, masterful, ebullient, delightful, vibrant, fresh—these are some of the words
used to describe this stand-alone novel from a master of plot and character. Dodger, a
street kid in nineteenth-century London, gets involved with rescuing a fair maiden which
takes the bright protagonist into proximity to author Charlie Dickens, social reformer Henry
Mayhew, and Prime Minister Ben Disraeli. Even Queen Victoria briefly appears. With skill
and sensitivity, Pratchett weaves the problems of an abusive husband and the extremely
income inequality of Victorian England as Dodger moves from elegant dining rooms to the
city sewers, experiencing a variety of eccentric characters. P6Q9

Reeve, Philip. Scrivener’s Moon. [Fever Crumb #3]. 2012. 339p. Scholastic, $17.99. 978-0-545-
22218-1. Ages 13+: After the more subdued flavor of A Web of Air, Reeve takes his
protagonist and her mother during the last month of summer (Scrivener’s Moon) into the
desolate North of a future England to search for breeches into a structure that holds the
mystery to the Ancient technology. After Fever’s mother is killed, the teenager joins the
tribe that roams the country on mammoths and finds her love in another person who also
unknowingly suffers an experimental transplant in her head that makes her see visions of
the new moving city of London that will come to attack them. The epic journey, expanded
cast of characters, and interwoven storylines of technology and primitive life reveals the
origin of the Scriven species and the psychopath who continues to pursue Fever—
potentially into the next book of the series. Rich writing and vivid description with fast-paced
adventure makes this a compelling read. P7Q9

C.S. – Siletz Public Library Reviews

Schachner, Judy. Skippyjon Jones: Cirque de Ole. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012.
$17.99. ISBN 9780803737822. Unp. Ages. P9Q8.
This is the newest adventure of Skippyjon Jones, aka Skippito Friskito, the acrobat-ito. I
love both the language (lots of Spanish vocabulary and playful rhymes) and the
wonderful, colorful illustrations. In this wacky story, Skippyjon and his friends los
Chimichangos sneak into the circus and clown around. I found this story hard to read
aloud, but with a little more practice, I might get good at it and stop tripping over my

Bruchac, James & Joseph. Jeff Newman, ill. Rabbit’s Snow Dance/ A Traditional Iroquois
Story. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012. $16.99. ISBN 9780803732704. Unp. Ages 3+.
This is a retelling of a traditional Native American story. Rabbit (who has a very long and
elegant tail) is very impatient and tends to think mostly about himself. This story tells of
how he does a very effective snow dance when he wants snow in summer, against the
advice of the other animals. Consequently, Rabbit loses most of his tail and learns a
valuable lesson about patience. The ink and watercolor illustrations are unusual and help
the story flow. This is a good book for a readaloud.

Robinson, Michelle. Peter Reynolds, ill. What To Do if an Elephant Stands on Your Foot.
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012. $16.99. ISBN 9780803733985. Unp. Ages 4-7. P9Q8.
This is a funny “guide” to the jungle for young adventurers. Through humorous
illustrations and conversational how-to’s, kids encounter elephants, tigers, rhinos,
snakes, crocodiles, and monkeys. Each step of the way, our hero gets into deeper
trouble. I read this one to my giggling, snorting story time group and already have a
waiting list to check it out.

Dewdney, Anna. Llama Llama Time To Share. Viking, 2012. $17.99. ISBN 9780670012336.
Unp. Ages 3-6. P8Q8.
Sharing is the message in this addition to the popular Llama Llama series. Llama Llama
is excited about his new friend Nelly Gnu until he realizes that he will have to share his
toys with her when she comes over to play. He soon finds that sharing isn’t SO bad, but
then Nelly wants to play with his favorite Fuzzy Llama! A tussle ensues and Fuzzy
Llama’s arm gets torn off. Mama fixes it, and eventually the two friends make up and
have fun sharing. The warm, colorful illustrations are delightful, and the simple rhyming
makes this an easy book to read aloud.

J Fiction:
Parish, Herman. Lynn Avril, ill. Amelia Bedelia Unleashed. Greenwillow Books, 2013. $15.99.
ISBN 9780062095008. 145 pgs. Ages 6+. P9Q8.
This Amelia Bedelia story is a fun chapter book for young readers. Amelia (a child again)
wants to get a dog and does some research to find out what kind to get. As usual, her
language and understanding of language is extremely literal, which leads to funny
situations. Young readers will find this book entertaining.

YA Fiction:
Khoury, Jessica. Origin. Razor Bill, 2012. $17.99. ISBN 9781595145956. 393 pgs. Ages 12+.
Scientists have created something impossible- a girl who can’t bleed, can’t get sick, and
might live forever. Pia was genetically engineered and raised in a laboratory camp deep
in the Amazon forest. All activity in the camp revolves around her and she doesn’t
question her odd life or the scientists’ ultimate plans for her (to breed an immortal race).
On Pia’s seventeenth birthday, she leaves camp through a hole in the electric fence and
discovers life and love outside. She begins to learn some of the dark secrets the
scientists have been hiding from her all her life. This novel is full of suspense and
excitement. As Pia uncovers these secrets, she also begins to understand the
consequences of immortality.

Lawrence, Theo. Mystic City. Delacorte Press, 2012. $17.99. ISBN 9780385741606. 399
pgs. Ages 12+. P8Q8.
In this urban, dystopian fantasy, Aria Rose is the daughter of a rich and powerful
Manhattan family. Like other rich families, they live high up in skyscrapers called the
Aeries, while the poor and “mystics” live far below in the Depths in poverty and squalor.
This arrangement keeps society separated- and those who have power can easily keep
it. The mystics, people with magical powers, are “drained” regularly and their power used
to keep the city functioning. Aria wakes from a supposed drug overdose to be told that
she is in love with the son of a rival family, Thomas Foster. The problem is that she can’t
remember anything about it. As the story develops, Aria begins to understand that
something is very wrong with the story her family and others are telling her. She meets
the mystic rebel, Hunter, and eventually realizes that he is the key to regaining her
memory and unraveling the mysteries around her family and their power. There’s a bit of
Romeo and Juliet in this book, but Aria isn’t meek or one to sit around and wait for
something to happen to her.This book is fast paced and has a lot of twists and turns that
keep the reader interested. I think teens will enjoy this book.

Neff, Beth. Getting Somewhere. Viking, $17.99. ISBN 9780670012558. 411 pgs. Ages 12+.
In Getting Somewhere, four troubled girls are given the choice of serving time in a
juvenile detention center or working on a farm. They all choose the farm, for various
reasons. Their time is spent doing hard physical labor on the farm, attending counseling
sessions, and interacting with the all-female staff and each other. The work is very hard
for them, but there are opportunities for fun, learning, and lots of self growth. They each
begin to explore the complicated situations (abuse, neglect, anger) that led them into
trouble with the law. One of the four makes a very bad decision to try to destroy the
program and the women who run it, and tries to involve the other girls in her plan. A lot of
dark issues are explored- drug abuse, prostitution, incest, homophobia, poverty, etc.
Three of the girls grew a lot- they began to see that life can be about more than just
survival, and that trusting others can make you stronger. Teenage girls will like this
book’s exploration of some of the dark themes that are such a problem for teens today.

C.S.- Siletz Public Library Reviews

Picturebooks (Fiction):
Boudreau, Helene. Serge Bloch, ill. I Dare You Not to Yawn. Candlewick Press, 2013.
$15.99. ISBN 9780763650704. Unp. Ages 4-8. P8Q8.
I enjoyed this cute book about how yawns can catch you when you don’t expect themthe
result is always that you get sent to bed. The author offers funny advice on avoiding
yawns. The illustrations are simple and effective. I think every child who resists going to
bed at night will like this story.

Donaldson, Julia. Axel Scheffler, ill. The Highway Rat. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2011. $16.99.
ISBN 9780545477581. Unp. Ages 4-8. P8Q8.
This lively picturebook tells the story of the Highway Rat (inspired by the poemThe
Highwayman?), a roguish swashbuckling rat who robs travelers on the road. He steals all
the food he sees, once even stealing his own horse’s hay. Eventually he gets tricked into
following is own voice into a tunnel which passes under a mountain. By the time he
emerges on the other side, he is a reformed rat, now humble, who gets a job sweeping
up crumbs in a cake shop. I really enjoyed the illustrations- they’re richly colored and
have a great humor in them. My storytime group enjoyed these and the rhyming “verses.”

Picturebooks (Non-fiction):
Butterworth, Chris. Lucia Gaggiotti, ill. How Did That Get in My Lunchbox? Candlewick
Press, 2013. $5.99. ISBN 9780763665036. Ages 5-8. P7Q8.
Many kids these days don’t have much understanding of where the food they eat comes
from. This non-fiction picturebook looks at typical foods that kids find in their lunchboxes
and talks about all the activity that goes into producing these items. Foods like bread,
cheese, clementines, and chocolate chips are followed from the beginning of their
journey to the lunchbox. The author chose healthy foods to explore, and told about their
journeys in an interesting, lively way. The colorful illustrations are very helpful in tracing
the paths of these foods.

Beginning Chapterbooks:
Henkes, Kevin. Penny and Her Marble. Greenwillow Books, 2013. $12.99. ISBN
9780062082039. 48 pgs. Ages 4-8. P7Q8.
This beginning chapterbook tells the sweet story of Penny, who covets a shiny blue
marble that isn’t hers. She can’t resist and takes the marble, then feels guilty about it until
she makes it right.

Toon Books, Level 2 Readers.
Hays, Geoffrey. Benny and Penny in Just Pretend. Toon Books, 2008. $4.99. ISBN
9781935179269. 31 pgs. Ages 4-8. P7Q8.
Coudray, Philippe. Benjamin Bear in Fuzzy Thinking. Toon Books, 2011. $4.99. ISBN
9781935179252. 31 pgs. Ages 4-8.
Hayes, Geoffrey. Benny and Penny in The Toy Breaker. Toon Books, 2010. $4.99. ISBN
9781935179283. 32 pgs.
This series of books is for beginning readers. These comic book-format books aren’t
really chapterbooks, but they would be a good addition to a section of books for emerging
readers. The stories are simple with basic vocabulary and lots of repetition and the
illustrations give good clues that help with following the storyline.

J Fiction:
Ferraiolo, Jack D. The Big Splash. Amulet Books, 2008. $6.95. ISBN 9780810997127. 277
pgs. Ages 10+. P8Q8.
I loved this funny, quirky novel about Matt Stevens, 7th grade private eye. “The Frank”
(Franklin Middle School) is a hotbed of criminal activity (black market candy, forged hall
passes, etc.), all controlled Vincent “Mr. Biggs” Biggio. Everyone who gets on Mr. Biggs’
bad side finds him or herself encountering a water-gun wielding “assassin” like Nikki
Fingers (previously known as Nicole Finnegan). After Nikki Fingers has finished with you,
everyone will think you have peed your pants and you will be finished socially at The
Frank. The language is sounds like it comes from film noir detective movies (“Dickie was
all over him like hair on an old man’s ear”). Kids may not find the humor in this connection
to old movies, but they will surely find the setting and characters funny, and most will
identify with the difficulties of junior high life.

Book Review 2013 – C.B. NIS

Cooney, Caroline, Janie face to face, Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2013, 345 pgs.
$17.99, ISBN:978-0-385-74206-1, Gr. 6+, P 8, Q 8,
This is the last book of five that Caroline Cooney wrote about a young girl who sees her own face
on a milk carton of children who were abducted. Never suspecting that she was kidnapped as a
child it wasn’t till Jane was in high school that she discovers her true identity. She is now in
college the parents who raised her are living in assisted living and she has started to bond more
with her biological parents. College is back east, she goes by her biological parents name so no
one will know who she is. What she finds is a world where her past does not define who she is,
but there is always a twist in the plot and she comes to realize she can not leave her past in the

Gardner, Sally, Maggot moon, Candlewick Press, Berryville, Virginia, 2013, 279 pgs. $16.99,
ISBN:978-0-7636-6553-1, Gr. 8+, P 8, Q 9,
Standish Treadwell has dyslexia, he also has one blue eye, one brown eye, and his teachers
think he is stupid as he can’t read or write. Standish is unique how ever and he see’s the world
differently, something that can be dangerous to do in the Mother Land. According to the dictates
of the Mother Land Standish should not even be alive as he is seen as being slow. His parents
have disappeared and he lives with his grandfather who cares for him in a dilapidated home on a
street that was bombed in the war. Standish and his grandfather find a family living in his parents
old home and they are soon living together to survive the winter and those who are searching
those in hiding. A truly insightful look to what life could have been like in the cold war. It is also a
story that deals with strength of character and standing up against evil.

King, Wesley, The Vindico, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 2012, 298 pgs., $16.99,
ISBN:978-0399-25654-7, Gr. 6+, P 8, Q 8,
Good vs Evil seems to be the theme in the books that I read this month. Good, The League of
Superheroes, the Evil, The Vindico both out to conquer the other. The Vindico are aging and they
need replacements so they kidnap a group of children some with powers others who do not. All
are trained and given a potion that will help their powers develop stronger and faster with the
insight that they too will become evil. Or will they each has to at the climax of the plot decide what
they will do when Evil vs. Good.

Mack, Jeff, Clueless McGee, Philomel Books, New York, 2012, 238 pgs. $12.99. ISBN:978-0-
399-25749-0, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 8,
P J MCGee dreams of becoming a great detective, a sleuth who will solve the world’s greatest
mysteries. He writes letters to his father who he thinks is on a secret mission, but I think he is
some where else, telling of his daily events. McGee is determined to find out who stole the
school’s Mac and Cheese. The book is illustrated by the author using simple black ink drawings
which show McGee in various different situations that develop through the story.

McDonald, Megan, Stink and the freaky frog freakout, ill. By Peter H. Reynolds, Candlewick
Press, Berryville, Massachusetts, 2013, $12.99, ISBN:978-0-7636-6140-3, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 8,
This is the very first Stink book that I have read in the Stink series by Megan McDonald. Stink is
the younger brother of Judy B. Jones and is always on some adventure, this time it is with frogs.
Frogs that are appearing all over town even in the town’s swimming pool where Stink is
swimming. As time goes by Stink is sure that he is mutating into a frog. There are facts on frogs
scattered through the story which add to the appeal of the story. The book illustrations were
created digitally are black and white and come in various formats: cartoon panels, single picture
and groups all of which help in the telling of this story.

Salane, Jeffrey, Lawless, Scholastic Press, New York, 2013, 274 pgs. $16.99, ISBN:978-0-545-
45029-4, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 8,
M. Freeman has never been in public school she has been home schooled. Her mother is an
expert on old paintings as was her deceased father. Together they have traveled the world
verifying that paintings are real and not forgeries. There have been great changes in her
relationship with her mother after her father’s death six years before, she hardly sees her
anymore. At the age of 12 M is to be interviewed by the Lawless school, her mother and fathers’
old school. This is the school for kids on the wrong side of the law. M fits right in and soon
discovers how much her home schooling has prepared her for the school. She also discovers that
there is a mystery that only she can solve. There are plots twists all through the book and when
you think you solved the mystery there is another twist.

Wells, Dan, Fragments, Balazer and Bray, imprint of HarperCollins, 2013, 576 pgs, $17.99,
ISBN:978-0-7636-5352-1, Gr. 7+, P 8 , Q 9,
This book has already been read by three other staff members at my school and I have two more
who are waiting to read it. The second book in this dystopia series finds the characters separated
going different directions in this devastated world. Two are determined to cross the waste lands
seeking information on their creation. Three are together trying to find peace with the partials who
have restarted the war between human and partials. Women are again having babies believing
that a cure has been found so that their babies won’t die. This sequel is fast paced with plot twists
throughout the story. I can’t wait for the next book in this series.

Wells, Rosemary, Ivy takes Care, ill. Jim LaMarche, Candlewick Press, Somerville,
Massachusetts, 2013, 199 pgs. $15.99, ISBN:978-0-7636-5352-1, Gr.4+, P 8, Q 8,
Set in 1949 on a ranch near Reno, Nevada two sixth girls, best friends lives are to change as
summer approaches. Two girls who lives are very different from each other. Ivy’s family works on
a ranch where her father is ranch hand and her mother helps to cook for the ranch hands. Annie’s
family is rich and she is soon to leave for a summer camp back east. Three different stories are
included in the book and all deal with Ivy caring for pets, avoiding Billy Jo Butterworth, and
earning money to buy Annie a bracelet. Ivy, Annie and Billy come to learn what friendship is and
how their changing lives will affect all of them.

Picture Books
Bromley, Nicola, Open very carefully, Ill .O’Byrne, Nicola, Nosy Crow an imprint of Candlewick
Press, 2013, unp, $15.99, ISBN:978-0-7636-6163-2, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 8,
What is a story teller to do, when in attempting to tell the story of The Ugly Duckling a crocodile
eats the words of your story? He doesn’t stop there he devours whole sentences and the story
teller must device ways to make him stop. He rocks the book side to side and even drawing on
the crocodile to make him stop. The story finally ends when the crocodile chews his way out of
the book, leaving a hole in the back of the book. The mixed media illustrations are sure to make
you laugh as you see the crocodile scampering and eating his way through the book!

Talbott, Hudson, It’s all about Me-ow, Nancy Paulsen Books, imprint of Penguin, New York, 2012,
unp. $16.99, ISBN:978-0-25403-1, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 8,
When three new kittens join the older cats house hold he decides to give cat lessons on how to
gain control of the house to them. The lessons range: from human and cat anatomy, why being a
cat is so cool, a cat walk through history, how purr therapy helps the family, and all of this
designed to help the cat loving family. The illustrations are done in watercolor, colored pencil and
ink on water color paper and show case this brilliant cat and his lessons. Prepare your self as you
will laugh so hard that your stomach will ache.

Ford, Carin, The Civil War’s African-American soldiers through primary resources, Enslow
Publishers, Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, 2013, 48 pgs. glossary, index, ISBN:978-0-7660-
4125-7, Gr. 6+, P 7, Q 8,
During the Civil War many slaves left the south and made their way to the north. They were
encouraged to join the union army to fight against the south. Many joined and then languished as
the debate to let Negroes fight was debated. Not all African-Americans fought against the south
there were many who were free and choose to fight for the south. The author has used historical
pictures, maps, fact boxes and a time line to help get his point across.

Gonzales, Doreen, The frigid Arctic Ocean, Enslow Elementary, Berkeley Heights, New Jersey,
2013, 48 pgs. glossary, index, $23.93, ISBN:978-0-7660-4087-8, Gr. 4+, P 7, Q 8,
This is a simpler written book that holds great information for a younger reader seeking
information on the Arctic Ocean. The author has used clear and precise information to engage
the reader. Fact boxes provide more information for the reader and the colored pictures are clear
and up to date . The history of the region and the effects of global warming are two of the topics
that are included in the book.

Laliberte, Michelle, What are the 7 wonders of the ancient world, Enslow Publishers, Berkeley
Heights, New Jersey, 2013, $23.93, 48 pgs. glossary, index, ISBN:978-0-7660-4151-6, Gr. 6+, P
8, Q 8,
Each of the seven ancient wonders of the world is in this book. Using maps, diagrams and
pictures each is discussed. The history, building material, methods that they used to build and
how they were destroyed are subjects that the author hits upon. While I don’t have much on this
subject in my media center I have students who have asked for information about the Seven
Wonders of the World.

Lewis, J. Patrick, World rat day, ill. By Anna Raff, Candlewick Press, Somerville, Massachusetts,
2013, 36 pgs. $15.99, ISBN:978-0-7636-5402-3, Gr.2+, P 8, Q 8,
A poetry book that celebrates obscure holidays some of which I had never heard of. They are fun
from the start to the end of the book and the illustrations also show case the humor of the poems.
I missed March 15, Worm Day but tomorrow April 4 I am going to share with my students that it is
World Rat Day. I hate rats too but there might just be one person who will be glad to celebrate
this day. This is a quirky book that will be a great addition to my libraries poetry section.

Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers Reviews by N.W.

Losure, Mary. Wild Boy: The Real Life of the Savage of Aveyron. Il. by Timothy Basil Ering. 2013.
169p. Candlewick, $16.99. 978-0-7636-5669-0. Ages 8-11: In the late 1700s, a ten-year-old
boy living in the woods of southern France was taken into a small town where people tried to
teach him civilized ways. Minimalist language based on factual information blends with raw
shaded pencil sketches that show the boy, named Victor, crouching in the forest and then
being marched through the village square. Without any maudlin tone, Losure shows her
compassion for her subject as he is moved from one place to another, always a subject of
study as if he were a speciman, before ending up in the Institute for Deaf-Mutes in Paris. The
simplicity of the book makes it an easy, although painful, read, particularly for reading aloud.
The boy’s treatment makes for interesting discussion. P7Q9

Wolfe, Mike with Lily Sprengelmeyer. Kid Pickers: How to Turn Junk into Treasure. 2013. 113p.
Feiwel and Friends, $18.99. 978-1-250-00848-0. Ages 7-10: Bright orange backgrounds and
cartoon illustrations highlight the black and white photos of children “pickers” ages 8 to 11
who love collecting things that many people might consider junk. With respect and
consideration, the author and star of History Channel’s American Pickers gives directions on
getting started, deciding what and where to pick, researching finds, and making money off the
selections. This book can give great direction to young people looking for a simple and
inexpensive hobby. P7Q8

Picture Books
Bozzi, Riccardo. The World Belongs to You. Il. Olimpia Zagnoli. 2013. unp. Templar/Candlewick,
$14.99. 978-0-7636-648-6. Ages 4-6: Extremely brief narrative and clear graphics bring the
message of the title in a self-help book for the youngest that sometimes appears enigmatic:
“You are free to be loved/Or not” may not translate well with the young audience that the
book seems to aim for. The visuals show a window with a pot of plants, followed by the
shuttered window—a stretch in connecting it with the narrative. There is a strong “greetingcard”
feel to the book with great style and a shortage of substance. P6Q4

Cobb, Rebecca. Missing Mommy: A Book about Bereavement. 2013. unp. Holt, $16.99. 978-0-
8050-9507-4. Ages 4-7: Unbelievably painful and wonderfully supportive, this book is vital for
all children who lose one or both parents. Children suffering this loss will feel alone and
isolated, as if no one else has the same experiences of fear, anger, and self-blame. The
sensitivity of a small child searching everywhere for her mommy is matched with the family’s
strength as they each try to deal with their grief. Empty space in the watercolor and crayon
artwork shows the blanks in the small child’s life leading up to the child sharing stories and
memories. Most of the books dealing with death use animals; this one directly approaches
the heart of the matter. The gender of the child is not identified in the text, allowing the book
to be applicable to both small boys and girls. Highly recommended. P9Q9

DiCamillo, Kate and Alison McGhee. Bink & Gollie: Best Friends Forever. Il. Tony Fucile. 2013.
80p. Candlewick, $15.95. 978-0-7636-3497-1. Ages 6-9: The two improbable friends are back
in three more humorous adventures and again struggling to mesh their very different
personalities. Gollie thinks she’s a queen, which briefly separates them, and Bink buys a
machine to make her taller, which results in lots of laughter. The first Bink & Gollie won the
Geisel Award and appeared on the New York Times Best Illustrated children’s Book list. The
exaggerated artwork with black outlines are reminiscent of Saturday-morning cartoons, and
the details invite exploration. A blend of graphic narrative, picture book, and early chapter
book will be popular with young readers. P9Q9

Gravett, Emily. Again! 2013. unp. Simon & Schuster, $17.99. 978-1-4424-5231-2. Ages 3-6: What
happens when a little green dragon doesn’t get a beloved nighttime story read—again?
Temper ends up in breathing fire as shown by the charming die cut in the back of the book.
The delightful text shows the parent dragon’s dilemma in not being able to stay awake. The
text of the dragon’s book changes with each reading, and young readers will easily relate to
the interaction between parent and child. Illustrations show great character, detail rendered in
a simple fashion as usual with those from Gravett. A super readaloud with listeners joining in
the roaring. P9Q9

Raschka, Chris. Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle. 2013. unp. Schwartz & Wade, $16.99.
978-0-375-87007-1. Ages 4-7: Rather blobby watercolors in blue/greens highlighted with read
on a creamy background show the efforts of learning to ride a bicycle from training wheels
and just plain bravery. The background uses be-spectacled helper in a green tie ensuring the
little girl’s safety while adding helpful suggestions and encouragement. Young children
undergoing this rite of passage will appreciate the commonality of their travails. Reading the
book with little ones can include a discussion of other pieces of growing up. P9Q8

Graphic Narratives
Knisley, Lucy. Relish: My Life in the Kitchen. 2013. 173p. First Second, $17.99. 978-1-59643-
623-7. Ages 13-17: The daughter of a chef and gourmet, the cartoonist shows how she
loves food herself through her series of “taste” memories and a collection of vignettes.
Blended into each episodes of her life are lessons about cookery and life completed with an
illustrated recipe. This coming-of-age memoir about the child of divorced parents who are
still good friends shows the importance of savoring life as well as food. A particular
advantage of the book is that although it delights in quality food, it also demonstrates an
appreciation of simple foods such as spaghetti carbonara or huevos rancheros.
Inspirational to the book is Images a la Carte, watercolors of restaurant dishes from Claes
Oldenburg and his wife Coosie van Bruggen. P7Q9

Krosoczka, Jarrett J. Lunch Lady and the Video Game Villain. 2013. unp. Knopf, $6.99. 978-0-
307-98-79-3. Ages 8-10: Unlike Babymouse which will evidently go on and on, this series
plans only ten books; Video Game Villain, the ninth in the series, gets readers ready for the
finish in the plot line about the school making big changes in the cafeteria, the focus of this
series. Many readers will miss this series. P8Q8

Larson, Hope. Who Is AC? Il. Tintin Pantoja. 2013. unp. Atheneum, $21.99. 978-1-4424-6540-4.
Ages 13-16: A new super-heroine has appeared on the scene with the ringing of a cell
phone and a cascade of rose petals. By day quite ordinary, new-girl-in-small-town 15-yearold
Lin who just wants to write her ‘zine is reluctantly transformed into Rhea Ironheart,
fighter-of-evil. Trying to catch geeky Trace, Lin’s nemisis possesses the mind of a gorgeous
wealthy girl. Meanwhile Trace courts another teen, Mel—also of interest to the villain–on
her blog. Pantoja’s large eyes in bold black and white artwork with purple highlights
showing fantasy scenes are reminiscent of manga and anime. Action-packed sequences
mixed with the teen relationships with parents help the narrative’s pacing: Lin’s father is
gentle while her friend Trace’s parents are less understanding. It’s a graphic narrative that
uses current technology and the binary code to create the excitement generated by a new
female character. P8Q9

O’Connor, George. Poseidon: Earth Shaker. [Olympians]. 2013. 76p. Neal Porter/First Second,
$9.99. 978-1-54643-738-8. Ages 8-12: God of the Sea and the Greek god that creates
earthquakes narrates the fifth in this series, describing such gory adventures as when Odysseus
had to put a stake through Polyphemus’s eyes in order to escape Poseidon’s son. Always
resentful, he tells about how Athena and his other Olympian relatives defeated him and his
unsuccessful rebellion against Zeus. In comparison to other stories about Poseidon, he comes off
as the good guy; even the villain Minotaur is presented as more sympathetic. Strong visuals and
vivid storytelling make this a good read for those who love a sense of adventure. P8Q8
Yakin, Boaz. Jerusalem: A Family Portrait. Il. by Nick Bertozzi. 2013. 382p. First Second, $24.99.
978-1-59643-575-9. Ages 13-16: Three generations are caught in the chaotic war and
nation-creation during and immediately following World War II as the author tells about his
family living in Palestine at this time. The way in which sons of two Israeli brothers are torn
apart after their father’s estrangement parallel the struggle between the Arabs and Jews to
fight for control of Jerusalem. The darkness of their stories is echoed by the grey, black,
and white illustrations as Boaz and Bertozzi demonstrate the violence resulting from unjust
inequality. P6Q9

Honeyman, Kay. The Fire Horse Girl. 2013. 321p. Arthur A. Levine, $17.99. 978-0-545-40310-8.
Ages 12-16: The curse of being born in the year of the Fire Horse, giving her a fiery
temperament, causes 17-year-old Jade Moon to remain scorned and single in her rural
Chinese village. Through a series of coincidences, she immigrates to the United States in
1923, where she escapes the detention of Angel Island holding prospecting immigrants by
posing as a man. In first-person, she tells of her involvement with a Chinese gang and her
adventures when rescuing immigrant women forced into prostitution in the San Francisco
Chinatown. The historical perspective of racism and hardship for Chinese immigrants
mixed with the excitement of the gang violence and Jade Moon’s danger make this an
exciting read. A bit of potential romance with the con man, Sterling Promise, who was
instrumental in her immigrating adds a touch of lightness. Hopefully, debut novelist
Honeyman will provide a sequel to highlight Jade Moon’s adventures in her new world.

Boyne, John. The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket. Il. Oliver Jeffer. 2013. 277p.
Knopf, $16.99. 978-0-307-97762-5. Ages 8-12: Normal is the most important part of the
Brocket family, and 8-year-old Barnaby is decidedly not normal because he can’t keep his
feet on the ground—literally. Disturbed by the presence of their floating child, they send him
to The Graveling Academy for Unwanted Children, where Barnaby won’t embarrass them,
but the school burns down. Their solution is to let him float off into the sky off the coast of
Australia—the Terrible Thing—which sets him off on a series of madcap adventures with an
elderly lesbian couple piloting a balloon to their home in Brazil, a disinherited artist who
cleans the Chrysler building windows, a badly burned journalists, and a peculiar group of
astronauts. All these people are also rejected by their families because they are not
“normal.” Drawings of Barnaby’s family, including the dog Captain W.E. Johns, add to the
wry whimsy, and Boyne’s message speaks to young people: “Just because your version of
normal isn’t the same as someone else’s version doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong
with you,” says Marjorie, one of the balloonists. Young readers who loved The Boy in the
Striped Pyjamas will grab Roald Dahl meets Quentin Blake novel. P8Q9

Meyer, Carolyn. Victoria Rebels. 2013. 266p. PaulaWiseman/Simon & Schuster, $16.99. 978-1-
4169-8729-1. Ages 12-16: Using Queen Victoria’s personal journals, Meyer fictionalizes the
monarch’s life from age eight through her marriage to Prince Albert and birth of their first
three children five years after Victoria is crowned in 1838. The journals’ content is
questionable because Victoria’s mother insisted on reading them until Victoria was 17 and,
as Queen of England, could escape the oppressive control of her mother. Those who think
that being royalty is easy will find interest in the political maneuvering of the lover of
Victoria’s mother and the conflict between him and Victoria’s uncle, George IV. Through
first-person narrative, Meyer provides extensive descriptions of the culture and life in
Victorian England. A bibliography, list of websites, and notes about the Victorian Age are
included. P7Q8

Whelan, Gloria. All My Noble Dreams and Then What Happens. 2013. 260p. Paula
Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, $15.99. 978-1-4424-4976-3. Ages 10-14: The conflict
between Britain and India as colonial India to free itself is continued in this sequel to Small
Acts of Amazing Courage about Rosalind, an English girl who distresses her British father,
an official in India, who cannot understand why Indians would want to be independent from
England. In these 1921 adventures, Rosalind dances with the Prince of Wales during his
visit to Calcutta and delivers a letter from Gandhi begging for the country’s freedom.
Poverty and English oppression, aka the “White Man’s Burden,” is shown through
Rosalind’s rescue of an Indian girl from an arranged marriage and a child from being sold
to a street beggar who would have crippled the boy to obtain sympathy and money. Her
aunts represent the two sides of the conflict with one of them stiffly maintain British
standards in India and the other one embracing her new home’s culture so thoroughly that
she turns down a marriage because she would have to return to England. P7Q8

Book Reviews P.D. Oceanlake

Kiki Thorpe, Illustrated by Jana Christy, The Never Girls – in a blink, Random House, New York,
2013, ISBN 978-0-7364-2794-4, P. 118, Gr. 2-4,
When the little fairy blinked they found themselves on the island of Never Land.
Kate, Mia, Lainey and Gabby excited to be in Never Land and have to stay until the fairies can
figure out how to get them home. The girls don’t want to leave without having a fantastic
adventure, so with the help of fairy dust they get to fly. Kate is missing when it is time to go home
and found just in time to try but with a blink, they open their eyes to be still in Never Land. Book
one of an early chapter book series with more adventure to come. P. 9 Q. 9.

Rachelle Mead, The Golden Lily: A Bloodlines Novel. #2, Razorbill, New York,
2013, ISBN 9781595146021, P.432. Age 12-17. $18.99.
Sydney Sage belongs to a group called the Alchemists. The Alchemists protect vampire secrets
and humans, Sydney’s job is to protect Moroi Princess Jill Dragomir from assassination. The
closer Sydney get to those who help protect Jill the more muddied her world becomes. Her
Alchemist beliefs and her idea of family as well as feeling like she belongs get all mixed up. A
first boyfriend and being drawn to someone forbidden confuse her even more. Sydney struggles
to create a balance between work, friends and what her heart is telling her. This is the second
book in The Bloodline series so it took awhile to want to finish it, but it ended well with an
understanding of the story. . P.9, Q. 9.

Cori McCarthy. The Color of RAIN. Running Press Teens, Philadelphia, 2013,
ISBN 978-0-7624-4821-0, P.352. 13 yrs +, $6.74
Rain knows hardship and loss all too well. Living in Earth City and caring for her “touched”
brother, she dreams of escaping to the stars and to the Edge, where there may be a cure for her
brother. A dark handsome spaceship captain named Johnny offers her passage in trade for
being his girl. Once aboard ship Rain soon learns Johnny’s true nature and “business”. Her quest
for escape leads to more hardship, but she will do anything to save her brother. Many twists and
turns as you travel through space to the Edge and back. P. 8, Q. 8.

Natasha Friend. My Life In Black and White. Viking, New York, 2012, ISBN 978-0-670-78494-3.
P. 294, 12-17 Yrs. $8.99.
Lexi is beautiful with perfect features, a best friend, a boyfriend and a possible modeling career
until she goes through a windshield. As the scars from the crash and from what she saw, that
caused her to get into the car in the first place heal, she hides from the world she knew before.
Returning to school without a boyfriend a best friend and her beauty changed forces her to look
inward for the strength that she needs to learn that she is more than a pretty face. With the help
of her un-cool big sister and a new friend who is also recovering from a trauma she begins a
journey that is rewarding and she sees life around her in a whole new way. This story is a
powerful journey of one young woman after a terrible accident changes everything about her. P.
9, Q. 9.

Picture Books
Cynthia Rylant, Illustrated By Arthur Howard; Mr. Putter & Tabby Dance the Dance. Harcourt
Children’s Books. New York. $14.99. 2012 ISBN 978-0-15-206415-0. Gr. K – 2
Mr. Putter and his cat Tabby are friends with Mrs. Teaberry and her dog Zeke. They do many fun
things together, one day Mrs. Teaberry suggests they go dancing. Mr. Putter says he has two left
feet but agrees to go anyway. They all go dancing and have a lot of fun, Zeke most of all. This is
an easy to read early chapter book with colorful characters. P. 8, Q. 9.

Amy Hest, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. Charley’s first Night. Candlewick Press,
Massachusetts, 2012. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-4636-4055-2. Gr. K 3.
The first night in a new home can be hard for a puppy. Henry’s parents are clear about who is
responsible for Charley. Henry hears crying in the middle of the night, he runs to take care of
Charley. Henry walks Charley around he ouse telling him what things are and puts him back to
bed under the kitchen table. The next time Henry gets up to comfort Charley he takes him to his
room and they accidentally fall asleep together in Henry’s bed and that is where Charley stayed
on his first night. P. 9, Q. 9.

Suzzy Roche, Illustrated by Giselle Potter. Want to Be In A Band? Wade Books, New York. 2013,
$17.99, ISBN 978-0-375-86879-5. Gr. 2-4.
This is the story about the youngest of three sisters wanting to be in a band and she takes the
reader along the steps that are taken to make music with her two older sisters. A story about how
a determined girl made music with her sisters throughout her life. P.8, Q. 8.

Maryann Cocca-Leffler, A Vacation for Pooch. Henry Holt and Company. New York. 2013. ISBN
978-0-8050-9106-9.$16.99. G. 1 – 3.
Violet is going on vacation but Pooch can’t come along. Pooch will have his own vacation at
grandpa’s house. Violet packs a bag for herself and on for Pooch, but finds that they get
switched. Worried that Pooch would not have fun without his things violet call grandpa to find that
Pooch is just fine on his vacation too. Brightly colored illustrations accompany this story. P.9, Q.

Jon Katz. Lenore Finds a Friend – A True Story from Bedlam Farms. Henry Holt and Company,
New York. 2012. ISBN 978-0-5080-9220-2. $15.99. Gr. K-3.
New to the Farm Lenore just wants a friend but the other animals on for farm don’t want to be her
friend. One day Lenore meets Brutus, a grumpy ram, she gives him a kiss on the nose. The next
day Lenore waits for Brutus and again shows that she wants to be his friend. Rose, the Border
Collie, who’s job it is to take care of the sheep chases Brutus back to the herd. Lenore does not
let Rose chase her away from her friend again instead joins her with the flock. Lenore finally has
a friend, this give her the idea to bring a biscuit and a toy to rose, now Rose has a friend too.
Great photographs accompany this story of a dog making friends on the farm. P. 9, Q. 9

Steve Metzger, Illustrated by Ann Kronheimer. Lincoln and Grace – Why Abraham Lincoln Grew
a Beard. Scholastic Inc. 2013, $6.99. ISBN 978-0-545-48432-9.
Gr. 2-4.
Eleven year old Grace Bedell lived in a small town in 1860 during the Lincoln presidential
election. At a time when women cold not vote at the country was divided by the slavery. When
Grace saw a picture of Mr. Lincoln she thought that he would get more votes if he grew a beard
and decided to write him a letter suggesting just that. Lincoln received her letter and replied.
When he became president he stopped by Grace’s town on his way to Washington, D.C. Grace
could not believe what she saw, he had whiskers. He stepped off the train and asked Grace to
come forward. He shook Grace’s hand and told her that he had let his whiskers grow for her. A
copy of Grace’s letter and President Lincoln’s response as well as insert pages adding some
history of the time are included in the this story. P. 9, Q. 9.

C.S.- Siletz Public Library Reviews

Picturebooks (Fiction):
Reynolds, Aaron. David Barneda, ill. Pirates Vs. Cowboys. Alfred A. Knopf, 2013. $16.99.
ISBN 9780375858741. Unp. Ages 5-8. P8Q8.
When a gang of stinky, rough pirates meet up with a posse of equally smelly cowboys,
trouble ensues. The pirates don’t understand cowboy and the cowboys don’t understand
pirates, and both sides assume the worst about each other. It takes Pegleg Highnoon
(who can speak to both) to settle them all down. The story finishes with a “peaceable−
and sweet-smelling− end.” I loved the simple illustrations and humorous use of language.

Children’s Non-fiction:
Montgomery, Heather L. Wild Discoveries: Wacky New Animals. Scholastic, Inc, 2013.
$6.99. ISBN 9780545477673. Ages 7-10. P8Q7.
This book is full of information about newly discovered animals, some of them very
strange. Along with the bright and engaging pictures, there are lots of facts about the
qualities and abilities of the various animals. I found the book interesting, but a little
predictable- there are many books like this. However, I think it will be popular with kids.

Markle, Sandra. Howard McWilliam, ill. What if You Had Animal Teeth? Scholastic, 2013.
$3.99. ISBN 9780545484381. Ages 4-8. P8Q8.
What would happen if you grew animal teeth after losing your baby teeth? This funny and
informative book describes different kinds of animal teeth and what you could eat if you
had them. The illustrations are fun and are sure to make kids laugh while learning
something new.
Beginning Chapterbooks:

Kvanasnosky, Laura McGee. Zelda and Ivy: The Runaways. Candlewick Sparks, 2006.
$3.99. ISBN 9780763666354. 42 pgs. Ages 5-9. P8Q8.
The fox sisters, Zelda and Ivy, have three adventures in this lively chapter book: they
have to run away to protest the injustice of being given cucumber sandwiches again for
lunch, they put their most valued possessions in a time capsule for the children of the
future, and finally deal with Zelda’s problem finding something to write about. The stories
are simple but entertaining, as are the illustrations. This book won the Theodor Seuss
Geisel Award. The following two books are by the same author, in the same series. Both
are very cute and will be popular with kids.
Kvanasnosky, Laura McGee. Zelda and Ivy: The Big Picture. Candlewick Sparks, 2010.
$3.99. ISBN 9780763666378. 42 pgs. Ages 5-9. P8Q8.
Kvanasnosky, Laura McGee. Zelda and Ivy: Keeping Secrets. Candlewick Sparks, 2009.
$3.99. ISBN 978076366361. 42 pgs. Ages 5-9. P8Q8.

Michalak, Jamie. Frank Remkiewicz, ill. Joe and Sparky Get New Wheels. Candlewick
Sparks, 2009. $3.99. ISBN 978076366415. 42 pgs. Ages 5-9. P8Q8.
Joe the Giraffe and Sparky the Turtle are good friends with very different personalities.
This 4-chapter book follows them on their adventures on a day when Joe has won a car.
They go for a drive and cause a hubbub everywhere they go. Children will find this book
very funny- I found myself laughing out loud in places.

J Non-Fiction:
Arlon, Penelope & Gordon-Harris, Tory. Scholastic Discover More: Rainforest. Scholastic,
2013. $12.99. ISBN 9780545495622. 80 pgs. Ages 7-10. P8Q8.
Rainforest explores tropical rainforests in various parts of the world. It looks at plant and
animal life in these interesting areas, as well as the different groups of humans who live
in them. The photography is beautiful and the pages are packed with pictures and text
exploring the diverse forms of life in equatorial rainforests. There is a section on why
rainforests are important, what is happening to them as a result of human activity and
climate change, an interview with a conservationist in Sri Lanka, a glossary, and
information about a companion digital book that readers can access online. This book
would be useful in a science classroom or children’s room at a public library.

Doyle, Oliver. Strange Mysteries of the Unexplained. Scholastic, 2012. $6.99. ISBN
9780545478243. 96 pgs. Ages 8+. P8Q6.
This book briefly touches on mysterious creatures such as bigfoot, water monsters, and
aliens, along with mysterious phenomena like the Bermuda Triangle, and ancient sites
like the Great Pyramid and Stonehenge. There have been many books like this, but kids
who have a fascination with the unexplained will enjoy it.

YA Fiction:
Pauley, Kimberly. Cat Girl’s Day Off. Tu Books, 2012. $17.95. ISBN 9781600608834. Ages
12+. P8Q8.
References to Ferris Bueler’s Day Off and a girl who can understand what cats say make
this a really fun novel. 10th grader Natalie (Nat) comes from a family with unusual talentsxray
vision, the ability to know when someone is lying, levitation, etc. Her parents both
work for the Bureau of Extrasensory Regulation and Management. Nat is embarrassed
by her ability to understand the speech of cats when she thinks about the talents of her
siblings. Along with her friends Melly and Oscar, they solve a mystery involving a
celebrity blogger and a famous actress and Nat’s talent comes in very handy. I liked this
book for its clever dialogue, interesting characters, and unusual, funny storyline. It was a
quick read, and I think teens, especially girls and cat lovers, will enjoy this book.

First Thursday Book Reviews

Leathers, Philippa. The black rabbit. Candlewick Press, 2013. Unpaged. $14.00. ISBN
9780763657147 Ages 3-6. P8Q8
A young rabbit is distressed when, on a sunny day, he is followed by a large, black rabbit—his
shadow. Fortunately, the wolf who chases the young rabbit out of the forest is also frightened by
the large black figure and all is well. Young children will appreciate figuring out for themselves
who the black rabbit is and the cheerful ending of the story will allay any possible fears. Leathers
succeeds in her first picture book through very simple watercolor illustrations and a charming
story. Recommended for preschool and public libraries.

Yaccarino, Dan. Doug unplugged. Alfred A. Knopf, 2013. Unpaged. Ages 4-6. P8Q8
In this gentle parable, a young robot spends the time while his parents are working plugged in
and downloading information. One day, while downloading facts about the city outside the
window, the robot unplugs and goes out into the city to learn about the world through his own
experiences. Yaccarino’s use of color and line drawings quickly point up the contrasts between
the orderly robotic world and the chaos of the living city and after making a friend and learning to
play, the robot returns home to his parents. Recommended for preschool, elementary, and public
libraries, this book could be used in STEM curricula for illustrating differences in types of data.

Nonfiction picturebooks
Helfer, Ralph. Illustrated by Ted Lewin. The world’s greatest lion. Philomel Books, 2012.
Unpaged. $17.99. ISBN 9780399254178 Ages 4-7. P7Q8.
Not your ordinary celebrity biography, an orphaned lion cub rescued from the African bush
becomes the most recognized animal actor in the world: Leo the MGM lion. Zamba comes to live
on a wildlife sanctuary in California. Socialized to live with other animals, he grows up to act in
movies, television shows, and countless commercials. When a flash flood threatens the wildlife
refuge, Zamba rescues many of the other animals, leading them home safely. Told by the man
who trained him, Zamba’s story is paired with the incomparable paintings of Caldecott winning
illustrator, Ted Lewin. Recommended for elementary and public library collections.

Spinner, Stephanie. Illustrated by Mielo So. Alex the parrot : no ordinary bird. Alfred A. Knopf,
Unpaged. $17.99. ISBN 9780375868467 Ages 7-9. P8Q8
Charming watercolor illustrations bring the story of a thirty-year relationship between graduate
student Irene Pepperberg and an African grey parrot she bought at a pet store for a study of bird
intelligence. Alex (short for Avian Learning Experiment) astounded the scientific world with his
abilities. At the time, most scientists believed that only animals with large brains could attain an
understanding of language. Alex proved them wrong, learning and understanding hundreds of
words, recognizing shapes, colors, and sizes, counting, adding and subtracting. Pepperberg’s
study of Alex changed the way people think about animal intelligence. Highly recommended for
public libraries and elementary school science collections.

Young adult fiction
Korman, Gordon. Ungifted. Balzer + Bray, 2012. 280 p. $16.99. ISBN 9780061742668 Ages 10-
14. P7Q8.
Fortunately for him, sometime troublemaker and lackadaisical student Donovan Curtis finds
himself assigned to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction (ASD) just in time to avoid the
consequences of his latest accident. Though Donovan is definitely not gifted academically, his
presence becomes a catalyst for the students in the ASD robotics club and it is his strategy of
bringing his very pregnant sister to class for experiential sex education that will allow the other
students to graduate. Unfortunately, Donovan’s teachers figure out that he doesn’t belong at
ASD and the school superintendent finally catches up with the prankster who destroyed the
gymnasium floor. Gordon Korman has published seventy books since the first one written as an
English class assignment. His books are often hilarious and Ungifted is no exception.
Recommended for middle, high school, and public library collections.

Pauley, Kimberly. Cat Girl’s day off. Tu Books, 2012. 334 p. $17.95. ISBN 9781600608834 Ages
12-16. P7Q7
Natalie “Nat” Ng has a minor talent: she understands and talks with cats. The rest of her family is
super-Talented and her older sister and parents work for BERM, the Bureau of Extrasensory
Regulation and Management. Who would have expected that Nat would be involved in solving a
celebrity kidnapping? Especially one involving a blogger, an actress, a pink cat, and the filming of
a movie based on Ferris Beuller’s Day Off? Add two star-struck best friends and a shapeshifting
villain and you have an action-packed, funny, suspenseful, mildly romantic mystery caper. Tu
Books is to be commended for publishing books with minority characters. Nat is Korean
American and her friend Oscar is a young gay man. Recommended for middle, high and public
library collections.

First Thursday Book Reviews 2013—JC

Hoban, Russell & Quentin Blake. Rosie’s magic horse. Candlewick Press, c2012. Unpaged.
$15.99 ISBN 9780763664008 Ages 4-6. P8Q8
Published after Russell Hoban’s death in 2011, this story of a girl, whose parents worry that they
won’t be able to pay bills, and a discarded ice-pop or popsicle stick leads to a treasure hunt,
pirates, and a clever disguise that saves the day. The story of a wish fulfilled pairs perfectly with
Quentin Blake’s brilliantly colored, almost cartoonish illustrations. Highly recommended for
preschool and public library collections.

McDonald, Megan. Stink : the incredible shrinking kid, ill. Peter H. Reynolds, Candlewick Press,
Somverville, Massachusetts, 2005, 2013, 103 pgs. $12.99, ISBN:978-0-7636-6388-9, Gr. 2+, P 8,
Q 8,
Stink is Judy Moody’s younger brother and he one of the shortest students in his class. Every
morning he has his sister measure him to see if over night he has grown. No, is the answer that
he always gets back until the night he is measured again and he has shrunk a quarter of an inch.
This is horrible to Stink who becomes obsessed with things that are short. For Presidents Day he
writes a report on James Madison the shortest of all the presidents. James Madison is a feature
in the book and many facts were provided in the story about him. What is fun about the book is
the dynamics of the relationship between sister and brother. The illustrations are simple black and
drawings that help in the telling of the story. There are also small cartoon strips that add more
detail to the stories.

Osborne, Mary Pope, Stallion by starlight, ill. Sal Murdocca, Random House, New York, 2013,
109 pgs. $12.99, ISBN:978-0-307-98040-3, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 8,
This is the 49th book I the “Magic Tree House” series where once again Jack and Annie are on a
magic trip in to the past. This time they travel back to ancient Macedonia where they meet a
young Alexander the Great. Prince Alexander is not humble at all, a fact that irritates Jack and
Annie. Still they help him to ride a horse, he later names Bucephualus. Bucephualus becomes
Alexander’s horse who goes with to all the lands that Alexander later conquers. The illustrations
by Sal Murdocca are black and white of Jack, Annie and Alexander as they learn to ride

Schrefer, Eliot, Endangered, Scholastic Press, New York, 2012, 264 pgs. $17.99, ISBN:978-0-
545-16576-1, Gr. 7+, P 8, Q 9,
Sophie, is a 14 years-old girl who is half Italian-American and half-Congolese. Her mother and
father are divorced and she is visiting her mother for the summer in Democratic Republic of the
Congo. Her mother runs a sanctuary for Bonobo gorillas. This is to be an adventure that Sophie
and her family never expected, for a military coupe takes place over throwing the government.
Sophie, hides with an orphaned bonobo, that she rescued, in the compounds sanctuary as the
military kills the workers. Sophie struggles to get to safety with Otto her bonobo as the world
around her is torn apart.

Reese, Jenn, Mirage, Candlewick Press, Somerville, Massachusetts, 2013, 356 pgs. $16.99,
ISBN:978-0-7636-5418-4, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 8,
This is the second book in the “above world” series and it is just as fast paced and with as many
plot twists as the last book. I think that the characters that were in the first book are even more
well developed in this book, as they are now learning to trust each other and forming closer
relationships. The group, is of varied human species, who are still looking for the evil scientists,
Karl Strand who is trying to conquer the world and become the ruler of all. Going into the desert
new human species are found, Centaurs and Snake people who together help to defeat Karl
Strand’s clone.

Non Fiction:
Brown, Don, Henry and the cannons: an extraordinary true story of the American Revolution,
Roaring Brook Press, New York, 2013, unp. $16.99, ISBN:978-1-59643-266-6, Gr. 2+ P 8, Q 9,
During the American Revolution George Washington needed canons to route the British from
Boston. The problem they were 40 miles away at Fort Ticonderoga, New York. It was winter and
it was hard to transport anything during this time of the year. Henry Knox said he would do it and
did. First floating the canons in boats, landing they loaded them onto wagons and trudge through
mud, slush and snow to cross frozen lakes that were unable to carry the weight of the cannons.
Knox was able to after 50 days bring the cannons to General George Washington where the
cannons were manned and pointed into the city of Boston. The 9,000 British soldiers left the city
leaving behind 250 canons of their own. The watercolor illustrations are blue, whites and browns
that strongly emphasize the sense of winter. They pictures are also done in panels and full page
spreads helping to tell the story.

Brown, Monica, translated by Adriana Dominguez, Tito Puente : Mambo King : Rey del Mambo,
illus. Rafael Lopez, Rayo an imprint of HarperCollins, New York, 2013, unp. $17.99, ISBN:978-0-
06-122783-7, Gr. 2+, P 8,Q 8,
A this bilingual book offers a look at the Mambo King Tito Puente well known for his Latin Rumba
songs. He was a musical prodigy who grew up on the streets of Harlem and went on to earn 5
Grammies. The illustrations are bright and colorful showcasing Tito as he grew to be an adult.

Burnie, David, Disasters, Scholastic, New York, 2013, 11o pgs, glossary, index, $15.99,
ISBN:978-0-545-47973-8, Gr. 5,P 8, Q 8,
The subject of natural disasters is part of my schools 4th and 5th grade curriculum and I have
teachers who are looking for up to date information. Scholastic delivers to with this book. The
book subjects are 1.Covering weather: tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning, 2.The unstable earth:
earthquakes, lava flows, mud slides, 3.Trouble waters: flooding, tsunamis, monsoons, 4.How
people cause disasters: global warming, pandemics, malaria, 5. The threat from space: asteroids,
solar storms. Through out the book colored photographs capture the might of nature in all of the
above subjects learn more about what is happening on the earth. The only thing that I found
lacking from the book was the new technology that has been developed for skiers during an
avalanche. This new safety item is a back pack that inflates during an avalanche that propels a
person to the top of the snowpack. At the beginning of the book there are websites that students
can go and they can use a secret code to gain more information.

Burnie, David, Sharks, Scholastic, New York, 2013, 80 pgs. glossary, index, $12.99,
ISBN:978-0-545-49561-5, Gr. 5, P 8, Q 8,
Ever since the movie Jaws came out in the 1970’s people have become more aware and afraid of
sharks. Maps, fact boxes, and diagrams are all used to help students understand the true facts
about sharks. At the beginning of the book there are websites that students can go and there is a
secret code that is given so that they can access more information. Up to date colored
photographs are also used to show the many different sharks that exist.

Callery, Sean, World War II, Scholastic, New York, 2013, 112 pgs. glossary, index, $15.99,
ISBN:978-0-545-47975-2, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 8,
Events that occurred during World War II are discussed by using several different formats: time
lines, pictures, maps, interviews and fact boxes. The major conflicts and happenings that are
covered are what a student would use when starting a report. More in depth information can be
accessed by a going to the web site scholastic.com/discovermore and entering a code that is
provided in the book.

Coudray, Philippe, Benjamin Bear in Bright ideas! Candlewick Press, New York, 2013, 32 pgs.
$12.95, ISBN:978-1-935179-22-1, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 8,
Having read the first Benjamin Bear adventures I was glad to see this one. Written in one page
comic strip style Benjamin Bear goes through a series of adventures. In some he is so clever and
the next I was thinking what is he trying to do, but in all of them I was chuckling. The illustrations
of Benjamin Bear show this zany bear in many different situation, yhey help not only in telling the
story but help to convey the humor as well.

Davies, Nicola, Deadly! :The truth about the most dangerous creatures on Earth, Illus. Neal
Layton, Candlewick Press, Somverille, Massachusetts, 2012, 61 pgs. index, $14.99, ISBN:978-0-
7636-6231-8, Gr. 4+,P 8, Q 8,
When I think of deadly dangerous creatures my first instinct is not to laugh but when I read this
book I laughed. What a fun way to introduce a subject that I am not really attracted to. From the
first page my attention was grab with such phrases “Stabbing, and strangling, poisoning and
drowning, electrocuting, exploding, dive-bombing, and even death by gluing! No this isn’t a
description of a horror movie – it’s some of the ways animals kill one another.” Yep, this is a sure
winner for my students I know they will be reading this book. The illustrations by Neal Layton
were done in ink and digitally colored which show many of the animals hunting, eating or with
other animals.

Gerber, Carole, Seeds, bees, butterflies, and more! : poems for two voices, illus. Eugene Yelchin,
Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2013, unp. $17.99, ISBN:978-0-8050-9211-0, Gr. 2, P 8, Q
My husband and I spent an evening reading the poems in this book. It was fun hearing a male
voice making buzzing and wheee sounds. We even reread the poems so that it would sound
better because we practiced it. Then we changed so I read what parts he had read before. Fun!
is the term that comes to mind as we read the poems in this book. The illustrations are of graphite
and gauche on watercolor paper and are bright colors that add to reading of these poems,

Hamlisch, Marvin, Marvin makes music, illus. Jim Madsen, Dial Books for Young Readers, New
York, 2012, unp. $17.99, ISBN:978-0-8037-3730-3, Gr. 2+, P 7, Q 7,
Marvin Hamlisch entered Julliard School at an early age. He went on to become to a great
composer and conductor. This picture book depicts the young boy’s life on eventful day when he
interviewed and preformed before the Julliard school judges. Hating the old masters it was his
father who made him realize that the Mozart and others had great merit. There is a CD included
with the book which has the lyrics to “Music in My Mind.” Enhancing the story are very rich
realistic illustrations of Marvin as a young boy.

Lewis, J. Patrick. When thunder comes: poems for civil rights leaders, illus.Jim Burke, R. Gregory
Christie, Tony Engel, John Parra, Meilo So, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, 2013, unp, $16.99,
ISBN:978-1-4521-0119-4, Gr. 5+, P 7,Q 9,
I thought this book was going to be about the civil rights of America so I was surprised that the
people were from around the world. It is however about the civil rights of the world and how each
country had to deal with this problem. If you are planning units on civil rights make sure to read
these poems out loud to your class. The poems are sure to spark discussions on not only on our
civil rights problems but also of the world. The illustrations are rendered in oil, acrylic and
watercolor which show the people who helped change the injustices of the world.

Osborne, Mary, Boyce, Natalie, Horse Heroes, Random House, New York, 2013, 124 pgs. $5.99,
ISBN:978-0-375-87026-2, Gr.3+, P 8, Q 8,
This is the nonfiction companion book that goes along with Mary Osborne’s new book, Stallion by
Starlight which is the latest in the magic tree house series. The history of horses, how they were
tamed, and famous horses are chronicled in time are some of the topics that are touched upon in
this book. The various subjects are aided by the use of the black and white illustrated drawings.
There are also black and white pictures of a variety of people and events.

Parker, Marjorie, Colorful dreamer : the story of artist Henri Matisse, illus. Holly Berry, Dial Books
for Young Readers, New York, 2012, unp. $16.99, ISBN:978-0-8037-3758-7, Gr. 2 +, P 7, Q 9,
A bleak village scene is the opening page of this book and what the village that Henri Matisse’s
grew up in looked like. Henri was a young boy who dreamed of colors, an exciting life and parents
who grew anxious as to how he would earn a living. Law was the answer and off Henri went to
Paris. This was his break, ill he was hospitalized and asked his mother for some paints. Henri’s
life was changed for ever. He painted into his 80’s and until he became ill again. At age 80 Henri
became ill again and he was unable to stand at easel. Henri changed his medium to brightly
colored paper that he made collages out of. The illustrations were created using colored pencils,
acrylic paint, watercolors, ink and collage on rag paper. The illustration are dull during his early
life and then brightly colored pictures are used for his later life.

Robinson, Sharon, Jackie Robinson American hero, Scholastic, New York, 2013, 48 pgs.
glossary, $16.99, ISBN:978-0-545-56915-6, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 8,
Sharon Robinson’s book about her father is very well written and geared towards a younger
audience. She has used family and professional black and white pictures to help tell how her
father broke the color barrier in professional baseball. Jackie Robinson not only endured the jeers
of the crowds he also endured kicks, spiking, insults, death threats and physical attacks from
other players as he played professional baseball and helped to knock down the color barrier.

Watson, Renee, Harlem’s little blackbird: the story of Florence Mills, illus. Christian Robinson,
Random House, New York, 2012, unp. $17.99, ISBN:978-0-375-86973-0, Gr. 2+, P 7, Q 8,
There are no know recordings of Florence Mills voice. Born in 1896 she became known in
Harlem, New York for her singing voice that they say sound like a bird. She saw and experienced
racism and though she was given the chance to go to Europe she choose not to. Instead of
becoming an international star she instead stayed in Harlem and helped other African-American
performers. She also became known as a person who helped the poor. The illustrations have a
folk-art quality to them and are made from cut paper and ink. The tones are rich and colorful
helping to tell about the life of Florence Mills.

Picture Books:
Bean, Jonathan, Building our house, Farrar Straus Giroux, New York, 2013, unp. $17.99,
ISBN:978-0-374-38023-6, Gr. 1+, P 8, Q 9,
The author in a note at the end of the book states that he has based this story on his own
experiences as a young boy. A young boy and his parents pull up to a vacant lot in an old car
which is pulling even older looking trailer. Here they will live till the house is built through all the
seasons and the years. The illustrations show the family together through all the phases of
building a house. I plan on giving this to my daughter who teaches 2nd grade. She does a writing
lesson that students write on how to do something step by step. I know that she will use it as a
read aloud and example of this process.

Gall, Chris, Awesome Dawson, Little Brown and Company, New York, 2013, unp. $16.99,
ISBN:978-0-316-21330-1, Gr. 1+, P 8, Q 8,
Awesome Dawson explodes on the pages of this book equipped with a side hanging tool belt,
huge goggles covering his eyes and more ideas than he knows how to deal with. Clutter, junk,
and tools are all he needs to create some of the most bizarre creations that originate in his
imagination. Students will spend time exploring each page that is illustrated using full page
spreads and panels. I found that I too had to explore the brightly colored illustration on each

Underwood, Deborah, The quiet book, Illus. Renata Liwska, Houghton Mifflin Books for Children,
Boston, Massachusetts, 2010, unp. $12.95, ISBN:978-0-547-21567-9, Gr., P, Q,
Baby animals explore how to be quiet, what situations to be quiet in, and where to be quite. I am
going to read this to my classes who just don’t get the idea of what quiet is or means. The
illustrations have a soft quality to them of muted colors and are done in pencil and colored

Wyeth, Sharon, The granddaughter necklace, illus. Bagram Ibatoulline, Arthur A. Levine Books,
New York, 2013, unp. $16.99, ISBN:978-0-545-08125-2, Gr. 2+, P 7, Q 8,
I have always been interested in my families’ history. I have wanted to do research to find where
we came from and if there are any stories that could be written down. What a treasure this book
is to read and to see a piece of jewelry that has been passed down from one generation to the
next. Each generation at some time gives this necklace to the oldest girl in this African-American
family. The illustrations are done in rich tones by using acryl-gouche to show each preceding

Book Reviews by A.G
Landman, Tanya. I am Apache. Cambridge, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2008.
$17.99 306 pp. Ages 9 up. ISBN 978-0-763-63664-7 P7/Q7
This historical fiction novel centers on the coming of age of a girl in the
Apache tribe during the early 1800’s. The girl is unique in deciding to take the
path of a warrior, with a skill set more like that of the boys than of the girls. While
she crosses gender roles in daily activities, she is not lesbian or transgender.
The story gives a reasonable background to the thinking of the Apaches as they
dealt with incursions of Mexicans and Americans into their land, and their
natural/cultural reactions to being hungry, having their children killed in front of
them, their land moved in on, etc. While it has a historical verisimilitude, it avoids
speaking about the real events, leaders and bands of the Apache, so has limited
use in learning about the history, and is also missing some of the essence of the
culture—humor, for instance. There is also doubt in my mind that the Apache of
that day were unfamiliar with guns—the Spanish brought guns very early to the
Southwest. For someone outside of the culture (the author is English), it makes
a reasonable effort at interpreting a time of Indian history, but falls short of being
a great book.

Oates, Joyce Carol. Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You. NY: Harper
Collins, 2012. $17.99 277 pp. ages 13 up ISBN 978-0-06-211047-3 P8/Q7
This book talks about the feelings and thoughts of girls left behind by a
classmate who d**s (yes, the D word is asterisked out during the entire book—
emblematic of the avoidance the characters have of the idea). The main
character’s death is announced by page 7, so there’s not a lot of drama leading
up to “will she or won’t she kill herself?” What suspense there is rests in how
her girlfriends will deal with it, primarily her closest friend, Merissa. They all
attend an expensive and exclusive girls’ school in New York (what’s with all the
YA novels lately that are set in such places? Clearly the vast majority of readers
won’t share their experiences), able to buy Gucci bags to ameliorate their pain,
and trying to survive the angst of parents whose success haunts them in some
way. The story jumps around in time. It does a pretty good job of going through
girls’ minds as they struggle with their self-identity, and try to alleviate psychic
pain. By the end, all we know is that Tink is dead, her friends remember her, and
they’re trying to move on.

Arnold, Tedd. There’s a Fly Guy in My Soup. NY: Cartwheel Books (Scholastic),
2012. $6.99 30 pp. ages 5-8 ISBN 978-0-545-31284-4 P9/Q9
This early “chapter book” should appeal to anyone, with its upbeat story with a fly
as its main character, and the bright and lively (and humorous) illustrations. The
theme is one of perspective: You may find a fly floating in your soup disgusting,
but the poor fly is going to have to take a bath after that, too. Flies as pets are, of
course, absurd, but that’s what makes the story fun.

Zink, Michelle. A Temptation of Angels. NY: Dial Books (Penguin), 2012.
$17.99 435 pp. ages 13 up ISBN 978-0-8037-3726-6 P8/Q6
This ponderous novel deals with an imagined Earth where a group of people
have been born to protect against the depredations of a growingly powerful group
called the Dictata which has been sworn to destroy the “angels”. Helen has no
idea she is one of the ‘chosen’ until her house and parents are burned by the
Dictata and she unites with more of her group. The paranormal romance aspect
is …OK… but the story moves slowly and it took me many months to actually
finish the book. The author crafted it as “steampunk”, so it’s not heavy on
science fiction or gothic horror, but is somewhere in between. I found the conflict
not compelling enough to require so many pages, but it was well enough written
that someone who is captured by the particular concept might find it flavorful
enough to spin out that long.

Linko, Gina. Flutter. NY: Random House, 2012. $16.99 342 pp. ages 12 up
ISBN 978-0-375-86996-9 P8/Q8
Emery is a 17-year-old with a life like no other’s: She is often confined to a
hospital while her father directs the “team” to research what is happening to her.
Suddenly Emery’s eyes will flutter and she will “seize” and be gone to another
world—perhaps the future, perhaps who knows? Intriguing clues emerge, and
finally she tires of being a test subject whose health is worsening and escapes
the hospital to hide out in a small town far away. A young man shows up and
becomes her helper, and love interest, and together they try to figure out what’s
going on with her. This mystery and adventure is truly a mystery right til the end,
and keeps the pages turning. The ending is a surprise. It’s not a humorous
book, but neither is the story scary or too dark, and its paranormal aspects are
subtle. It will probably appeal more to older teens, but is appropriate for any age.

Woodworth, Chris. Ivy in the Shadows. NY: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2013. $16.99
198 pp. ages 8-12 ISBN 978-0-374-33566-3 P7/Q8
Ivy’s mother is newly divorced from her second husband, a musician who never
seemed to care much for Ivy. Strapped for money, her mother begins a waitress
job that leaves Ivy and her little brother home alone after school. Next they take
in a boy Ivy’s age whose parents dump him while they go on to a new missionary
job in another state, intending to return. Ivy does not like him. The story is
primarily about coping with expectations of friendship and family, and knowing
who is a real friend and who is not. Ivy eventually gets her priorities straight, and
there’s a happy ending. The theme of girls using their “friends” as tools to climb
a social ladder is perhaps overused in such books, but is nevertheless relevant to
most. Caleb’s oddities (he’s ADD and perhaps something else) are found to be
valuable in the right situation, which is a good thing to point out. Certainly many
children today have to cope with changing family groups, and this book might
provide a way to give them some perspective.

Frederick,Heather Vogel. Once Upon a Toad. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2012.
$16.99 263 pp. ages 8 – 12 ISBN 978-1-4169-8478-8 P7/Q7
Middle-schooler Cat has to go live with her father in the middle of the school year
when her mother (an astronaut) is suddenly chosen to go to the Space Station.
The story takes place in Portland, OR near Forest Park. Cat has to learn how to
live with and get along with her “evil” stepsister, Olivia. When she calls for help
in dealing with Olivia, Cat’s great-aunt Aby shows up and grants her wish, but in
a completely unconventional way: Every time they speak, toads come from Cat’s
mouth and diamonds come from Olivia’s. In dealing with the problems that
causes, the two girls eventually learn to work together and value each other.
The story is amusing and well-written, improbable as it is. The theme of blended
families is a constant one in this day and age, and will likely resonate with

George, Elizabeth. The Edge of Nowhere. NY: Viking, 2012. $18.99 440 pp.
ages 12 up ISBN 978-0-670-01296-1 P9/Q9
Her mother abandons Becca on Whidbey Island after Becca’s slick-but-slimy
stepfather threatens them and she has to find a way to survive while hiding her
identity while her mother heads off to Canada to find a place for them to land.
She makes new friends, but when one of them is severely injured and in a coma
she tries to uncover how it happened and try to evade suspicion herself. The
book is fast-paced and a good mystery, with well-drawn characters. The location
on Whidbey makes reading it fun for a Pacific Northwesterner, with its familiar
flora and so on. My only complaint is that it ends with no resolution about her
parents; is there going to be a sequel?? I’d read it!

Ashby, Amanda. Fairy Bad Day. NY: Speak (Penguin Group), 2011. $7.99 336
pp. ages 10 up ISBN 978-0-14-241259-6 P9/Q9
Burtonwood Academy is a school for very special teens: They can see the
mythical invaders from another realm that threaten humanity, and learn to
dispatch them. Every student is eventually assigned a particular type that they
are equipped to kill, and Emma is sure that she will be designated a dragon-killer
like her mother. The day comes, though, and she is assigned to kill….fairies.
There’s never been a fairy-killer before, and she finds it quite demeaning, and is
completely jealous of the boy who’s assigned to dragons. The story is
humorous, yet deals with a very real quandary of adolescence: Being labeled
and required to do something you don’t think is “you”. Eventually it becomes
clear that being a fairy-killer is an awesome skill which will save mankind, if
Emma can make it work through her quick-thinking and inventiveness. She just
needed to have faith. There is a love interest, but the relationship doesn’t
progress beyond kissing, and the story is definitely appropriate for the lateelementary
and middle school crowd.

Poblocki, Dan. The Ghost of Graylock. NY: Scholastic Press, 2012. $16.99
264 pp. ages 8 up ISBN 978-0-545-40268-2 P8/Q8
There seems to be several books out now which deal with evil institutions. This
one is about a mental hospital for young people that has long ago gone out of
business after a series of students died by drowning in a nearby pond. New to
town, Neil meets a boy who tells him about the place and the legend of haunting
that surrounds it. Naturally, Neil can’t resist exploring, and the two of them and a
girl sneak in. This ghost story is fast paced and exciting, and has an expected
twist. It should capture the imagination of reluctant readers—who can resist a
good ghost story?—without scaring them to death or being particularly
gruesome. While written about teens, there’s nothing in it that would put off a
younger reader.

Springstubb, Tricia. Mo Wren, Lost and Found. NY: Balzer + Bray (Harper
Collins), 2011. $15.99 248 pp. ages 8-12 ISBN 978-0-06-099039-7 P8/Q8
After Mo’s mother died, her father had a hard time figuring out what to do with his
life. When this story begins, he has decided to sell her childhood home and start
a restaurant in an old building in another part of town. Mo has to leave
everything she’s familiar with and make the new life work. Everyone is skeptical
that the formerly lazy father will pull it together, and in the end everyone has to
help out to make it a success. Mo has to make new friends, but more than that
she has to appreciate the virtues of having a little sister. The story is well-crafted
and the reader comes to care about Mo and her family, and appreciate the
difficulties of getting along with other people, whether they are a “bratty” little
sister or an odd boy. The story ends with a good feeling, lessons learned.

Scaletta, Kurtis. The Tanglewood Terror. NY: Alfred Knopf, 2011. $16.99 264
pp. ages 8-13 ISBN 978-0-375-86758-3 P8/Q7
This mystery/action-adventure story centers on a 13-year-old boy, Eric, who discovers unusual mushrooms growing in the woods near his house. The story includes a girl, who’s run away from a disciplinary boarding school, who Eric helps. The mystery and adventure are exciting enough to keep the pages turning, but the author has completely dismissed any sense of mycology from his imagining of ‘killer mushrooms’. He’s kept certain recognizable aspects (for example, it is true that there are some fungus that glow in the dark, notably the ‘jackolantern mushroom’, and it’s also true that the largest organism in the world is a honey mushroom mat in eastern Oregon), but in other
ways he’s thrown science to the wind (such as claiming a “heart” of the organism which, if destroyed, would destroy all of the mushrooms). The solution to the threat is for another fungus to attack the pervasive one, and it’s true that some fungi are parasitic on other fungi, but he’s got the form and the rate completely unbelievable. Since most people don’t know anything about mushrooms, this lack of credibility will perhaps not be an obstacle to their enjoyment of the story. This might be a book which appeals to male reluctant readers.

Vivian, Bart. Imagine. Simon and Schuster, 1998. $14.99, 32p. ISBN: 978-1-
58270-329-9. Ages 5 and up, P8Q8
Loved the artwork in this book. The black and white pictures of the dreams, to
the colored pictures of the imagination. Vivian’s book is about using your
imagination to dream big and believe that anything is possible. This book will be
a great closing piece for the fifth grade and a wonderful and inspiring writing
prompt. I can’t wait to use it with my students.

J.T. NIS June Reviews
Norwich, Grace. I am George Washington [series] Scholastic Press, 2012. $5.99,
127 p. ISBN: 978-0-545-48435-0. Age 7 and up, P7Q8

Norwich, Grace. I am Harriet Tubman [series] Scholastic Press, 2013. $5.99, 127
p. ISBN: 978-0-545-48436-7. Age 7 and up, P7Q8
I am always searching for books that have great information on historical figures
for The Night of the Notables. These are great books for this project and very
easy to read. Each book includes a timeline, brief summary of his/her life and
accomplishments, interesting facts, a glossary, places to visit, bibliography, and
index. This is a great resource for a student who wants to learn about George
Washington and Harriet Tubman. Plus interesting facts that I never knew. Did
you know that Harriet Tubman led men into battle?

McMann, Lisa. Infinity Ring: The Trap Door [series] Scholastic Press, 2013.
$12.99, 190 p. ISBN: 978-0-545-38698-2. Age 8 and up, P7Q7
Dak, Sera, and Riq travel back in time to repair the break in 1850 during the time
do the Underground Railroad. The SQ has been breaking the Underground
Railroad apart and replacing friends with slave traders. Riq, an African American
boy has to decide to fix the break, but in so doing deletes his own history. He
decides to fix the break, as a historian he feels he needs to do what is right. This
is the third book in the series and quite a few of my students are hooked. If you
have students who like 39 Clues or historical fiction, they will love this series.

Lerangis, Peter. Seven Wonders: The Colossus Rises [series] Harper Collins,
2013. $17.99, 348 p. ISBN: 978-0-06-207040-1. Grades 4 and up, P8Q8
The next big series is here. Jack and his friends are descendants of the Lost City
of Atlantis. The clock is ticking and they must find the seven Loculos and restore
them to their original home before they die. Being a descendants gives them
super abilities that if not treated can kill them. They succeed in finding one of the
Loculos, but in the end Marco, one of the select, steals it. Now they are faced
with finding the other six and tracking down Marco. I thought that 4th grade
would be a great place to start with this series, because I think the dream
chapters and vocabulary would confuse a third grader.

Blundell, Judy. The Diary of Minnie Bonner: A City Tossed and Broken [Dear
America Series] Scholastic Press, 2013. $12.99, 222p. ISBN: 978-0-545-31022-
2. Grade 4 and up, P7Q8
Minnie’s parents lose their tavern and she has to become a maid to the wealth
family that caused her family’s downfall. They move to San Francisco in 1906,
when tragedy hits and the earthquake kills her employers. Mistaken for her
employee’s daughter, Minnie has to decide whether she will tell the truth and be
alone in a big city or pretend to be the wealthy heiress and restore her own
family’s loss. This is a great historical novel that explores right and wrong and the
consequences of people’s actions.

Bartoletti, Susan. The Diary of Pringle Rose: Down the Rabbit Hole. [Dear
America Series] Scholastic Press, 2013. $12.99, 250p. ISBN: 978-0-545-29701-
1. Grade 4 and up, P7Q8
A girl who becomes orphaned after her parents are killed in a carriage crash,
must find a way to take care of her Down syndrome brother in 1871. Her uncle
and aunt are abusive and want to send her brother to a special school. Pringle
runs away, finds a job, and is able to uncover the truth about her parents death.
Another great historical novel for my students who keep asking me for more
books to read. I love how they wove Alice in Wonderland throughout the book. It
definitely describes how Pringle felt after her parents death and how like Alice
was able to find her way home.

Kladstrup, Kristin. Garden Princess. Candlewick Press, 2013. $15.99, 260p.
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5685-0, Grade 4 and up, P7Q8
Princess Adela is a princess that loves to spend her free time in the garden. She
convinces her friend Garth, the gardeners son who gets invited to a garden party
hosted by Lady Hortensia, to let her come with him. She has heard of Lady
Hortensia’s garden and wants to see it for herself. The lady turns out to be a
witch then bewitches the young mentor to serve her and turns all female guests
into flowers. This is a wonderful story about bravery and kindness and how
beauty isn’t everything.

DeVillers, Julia and Roy, Jennifer. Triple Trouble [series] Aladdin, 2013. $16.99,
234p. ISBN: 978-1-4424-3405-9, Ages 9-13, P8Q7
Emma and Payton have met their match in a set of identical triplet boys. Dexter,
Oliver, and Asher refer to themselves as the “Super-Twins” and challenge the
girls to a twin-off at the Multipalooza event. The girls support each other and
even though they lose to the triplets, they have fun and make memories. The
cover on this book is interesting. The main characters are twin girls and triplet
BOYS, but the cover shows twin girls and triplet GIRLS. Weird! My favorite part is
at the end of the book when the sisters are sent to bed, but relive their
adventures by talking into the night. Reminds me of my own sons.

Holub, Joan and Williams, Suzanne. Goddess Girls: Pheme the Gossip [series]
Aladdin, 2013. $15.99, 257p. ISBN: 978-1-4424-6138-3, Ages 8-12, P8Q7
I have many Goddess Girl books on my bookshelf, but never have read one. This
book was easy to read and had a good message about gossiping. Pheme learns
that gossiping can be hurtful and learns that not every event should be repeated.
I have many students that love to read these books. The double spacing bugs
me, but the girls really enjoy these books.

Starkey, Scott. The Call of the Bully [series]. Simon and Schuster, 2013. $15.99,
264p. ISBN: 978-1-4424-5674-7. Ages 8-12, P8Q8
The second book in Starkey’s series is full of dumb luck for Rodney Rathbone.
Rodney is sent to Camp Wy-Mee with Josh who bullied him all year. Rodney
accidentally pile drives Josh on the trip to camp and Josh becomes a friend.
Rodney’s target for bullies and dumb luck doesn’t stop on the trip to camp. In the
end he is able to save the camp and stop the bullies. This is a funny story and I
know that my students will like this second book.

McAlpine, Gordon. The Misadventures of Edgar and Allan Poe: The Tell-Tale
Start [series] Viking, 2013. $15.99, 180p. ISBN: 978-0-670-78491-2. Grades 4
and up, P8Q8
This cleverly crafted tale of twin boys is a great tell-tale start. There are many
types of twins; fraternal, identical, and then there are the Poe twins. Descendants
of the poet these twins are not only identical in their looks, but thoughts as well;
too smart for their own good. Edgar and Allan have an evil scientist that wants to
study them and hopeful discover the secrets of quantum entanglement. Basically
he wants to kill one twin and have the other twin speak to the world beyond. This
evil scientist just doesn’t want to rile the world, but also rule the dead. This is a
wonderfully written series and I can’t wait for the next book. I have Poe fans in
my classroom that are going to love Edgar and Allan.

Shurtliff, Liesl. Rump:The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin. Alfred A. Knopf, 2013.
$16.99, 264 p. ISBN: 978-0-307-97793-9. Ages 8 and up, P9Q8
I am now a fan of Rumpelstiltskin! Shurtliff takes Rumps story from when he was
a kid and before he discovered his magical gift of weaving straw into gold. It is all
in the name on the Mountain and Rump only knows his first half of his name,
because his mother died before speaking his whole name. Taunt and teased for
his half name, Rump is determined to find his name and his destiny. I loved this
book and how the author included other tales within this one, but she didn’t make
them too obvious. Little Red Riding Hood is just Red and Snow White is that poor
girl that the evil witch tried to poison.

Sheinkin, Steve. Lincoln’s Grave Robbers. Scholastic Press, 2013. $16.99,
212p. ISBN: 978-0-545-40572-0. Grades 5-8, P7Q7
Coney’s (people who make confederate money) are upset that their best
engraver has gone to prison for 10 years. They are losing money without Ben
Boyd. Their solution…kidnap Lincoln’s corpse and hold it for ransom at $200,000
and the release of Ben Boyd. In the end they get caught and Lincoln’s body is
better protected. I thought Swanson did a better job at writing. This story is
interesting, but I am not sure that the writing will hold the interest of a 5th grader.

By K. R.
Gardner, Sally. Maggot Moon. Candlewick Press, 2012. 279 pages. Grades 6-8.
P(7) Q (7)
First, a warning: This book contains violence (e.g., a boy is beaten to
death and the protagonist’s mother has had her tongue cut out) and language.
However, it is also a real page-turner and carries several strong messages.
Standish is an intelligent boy who has dyslexia so he is constantly criticized by
his teacher. He is fortunate when Hector Lush moves in next door because
Hector willingly accepts Standish’s imagination and his creativity. The two boys
soon find themselves enmeshed in government secrets about space travel within
a Nazi-ish society. Lots of danger and intrigue. Readers will relate to the two
boys’ and their close friendship and will learn that it is important to never take
things at face value. They will also be faced with the deaths of some important
characters and have to consider the question: at what point is a sacrifice too

Corrigan, Eireann. The Believing Game. Scholastic Press, 2012. 376 pages.
High School. P (6/7) Q (6)
I had a difficult time getting through this book largely because I could not
relate to any of the characters. Teens, on the other hand, may know people just
like Greer, Addison, their friends, and Joshua. Greer has been sent to rehab
because of her eating disorder, because she is a shoplifter, because she enjoys
sex w-a-y too much, and because her parents really don’t care about her very
much. There she meets Addison, who is physically nearly perfect, and yet who
struggles against addictions of his own. He is indebted to a homeless man,
Joshua, who has brain-washed Addison, and who tries to do the same to Greer
and their friends. What he wants is to take away their ability to choose, have free
sex for himself, and initiate a war against vegetarians. I found the book ridiculous
on many different levels and with the language and sex, it was just too
disagreeable a read to enjoy.

Rubens, Michael. Sons of 613. Clarion Books, 2012. 305 pages. High School.
P(6/7) Q (7)
“Isaac’s parents have abandoned him for a trip to Italy in the final days
before his bar mitzvah. And even worse, his hotheaded older brother, Josh, has
been left in charge. An undefeated wrestler, MMA fighter, and bar brawler, Josh
claims to be a “Son of the 613”—a man obedient to the six hundred and thirteen
commandments in the Tanakh—and he has the tattoo to prove it. When Josh
declares there is more to becoming a man than memorization, the mad “quest”
begins for Isaac. From jumping off cliffs and riding motorcycles to standing up to
school bullies, and surviving the potentially fatal Final Challenge, Josh puts Isaac
through a punishing gauntlet that only and older brother could dream up. But
when Isaac begins to fall for Josh’s girlfriend, Leslie, the challenges escalate
from bad to worse in this uproarious coming-of-age comedy.” (From the book
I am not certain I would call this book a comedy because it is actually very
intense for the reader who can relate to Isaac who is ruthlessly punished by his
older brother. Sure there is some humor in the guise of the friends who
participate in Josh’s life, but not enough to make this book “funny.” In fact, I am
concerned that students who are not familiar with Jewish traditions will simply
gloss over or ignore the significance of the experiences Isaac is having. Actually,
in most respects it is an effective story reflecting the relationships between Isaac,
Josh, and Leslie. Readers who are aware of aspects of a Bar mitzvah, who have
older, stronger, and more charismatic brothers might relish the plot turns and the
theme of growing into adulthood.

Johnson, Angela. A Certain October. Simon and Schuster, 2012. 158 pages.
High School. P (7) Q (6/7)
Although A Certain October was written by a three-time Coretta Scott
King Award Winner, I don’t believe that it is her best piece of writing. Like so
many YA books, this is a “coming-of-age” story that involves rough language and
many references to sex. Students will be able to handle these aspects better
than most parents. The relationships between the characters is akin to what I see
in most high schools; however, the drama of having a friend die in an accident is
an all-too-common device used in YA literature. My favorite character, was not
Scotty, the protagonist, but her friend, Falcone, who only happens to be gay; the
important parts are his true feelings of friendship and comforting wisdom that he
shares among all the cast. Students looking for a quick read will be rewarded by
a simple plot and an over-simplified summary of the lives of the characters. But
maybe that’s all they are looking for. I had hoped for more depth.

Valponi, Paul. Response. Speak (Penguin) 2009. 195 pgs. High School. P (7) Q
One of the outstanding features of too many YA novels is their reliance on
flat characters or stereotypes. In this case, the author has gone a step further
into caricature which made this book a frustrating read for me. Noah, who is
Black and two of his friends, enter into an Italian-American neighborhood to
boost a car. Instead of finding success, they are attacked by 3 boys wielding a
baseball bat. Noah is the only one who is injured and seriously. The attackers are
quickly rounded up and sent to jail to await trial. I am sure the author, who has
had experience with juvenile courts and youths in detention, is frustrated by our
justice system. He is also evidently angry with school teachers who, in his novel,
are portrayed as bigots (to the extent that would never be allowed in public
school today). While I certainly had compassion for Noah, a 17-year-old father,
who was trying to do his best under difficult circumstances, I was bitter about the
way the rest of the characters were portrayed in the novel. Maybe it is best to
exaggerate the cruelty of others to get a point across, but I hate to think that
teens are so simplistic in their thinking that they need to be fed this kind of novel
in order to inspire them to oppose injustice.

Burak, Kathryn. Emily’s Dress and Other Missing Things. Roaring Book Press,
2012. 228 pages. Middle-High School Readers. P (7/8) Q (7/8)
Here is a novel with an unusual plot that might be very attractive to early
to middle teens who can relate to loss in all its forms. Claire has recently moved
to Amherst, Massachusetts, where she lives near the Emily Dickinson home. She
frequents it regularly and loves the class discussions about the poet’s works.
Unfortunately, Claire was the last person to talk to her mother before she died
and her best friend before she disappeared and so she suffers a sort of PTSD
that leaves her with illusions, fear, and anger. Fortunately, she is befriended by a
student teacher who seems to understand and helps the girl unravel the her
feelings and supports her through the theft of Emily Dickinson’s white dress.
While the plot is purely fantasy, the character’s feelings are honest and I liked the
way the author wove Dickinson’s poetry through the novel. My only concern was
the close relationship between the student teacher and his student; as a teacher I
felt he crossed the line in their friendship, though, fortunately, it was not a sexual

Kinney, Jeff. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel. Amulet Books. 2012. 217
pages. 3rd -6th grades. P (8/9) Q (8/9)
This was my first experience with the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and I
found that I liked the graphic novel’s style and sense of humor. I can see how
these books would be attractive to young readers. This time, Greg, aka. The
Wimpy Kid, is challenged to find a date for the Valentine’s Day dance. I mean,
really challenged. The story begins with his own beginnings and shows the way
he was expected and treated by his well-meaning but clueless family. That he
has inherited their genes is quickly evident as he tried unsuccessfully to develop
relationships with girls. Of course, he wins out in the end, but the reader is left
knowing that this series of repeated failures and last-minute successes is going
to continue throughout his life. The illustrations are about two levels above stick
figures and add some of the humor to the story. Hopefully, this book (and,
perhaps, the others) will encourage kids who never seem to “get it” to continue to
work at the challenges they face.

Woodson, Jacqueline. Beneath a Meth Moon. Nancy Paulsen Books, 2012. 182
pages. High School. P (8) Q (8)
Is it just me, or are YA books as a genre opting for the simplest way to tell
a story without making students think? Perhaps this is why students are having
such a difficult time with the class reading assignments of such works as To Kill a
Mockingbird or Siddhartha. Few of the novels I have read lately require much
thought and are plot-heavy without much character development. If there is any
of the latter, it seems to come too quickly and without a gradual growth and
meaningful development over time that is fulfilling to this reader. Anyway, just by
the title, one can imagine the plot in Woodson’s novel. This time, it is a girl,
named Laurel, who moves to a new area, suddenly becomes very popular and is
elected to the cheer squad. T-Boom, the co-captain of the basketball team,
introduces her to the drug scene and she is quickly addicted to “moon” a drug
that makes her forget the loss of her mother and her friends back home. One
scene follows another as she tries to forego her addiction after she moves out.
She is not successful the first or even second time. Luckily for her, she meets a
young man who is drawing murals devoted to kids who have died from drugs and
it is his friendship that helps her find her way through to happiness again. Sound
familiar? I thought so. Nevertheless, students seem to thrive on such plots today
and I think this is probably one of the better-realized novels of this type that I
have read recently. The best parts of the novel are its recognition that it isn’t
always the first time one tries to recover that works and that it usually takes a
special friend to help find success.

Ward, Lindsay. When Blue Met Egg. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012.
Picture Book. P(8) Q (9)
Blue is a foolish, but kind-hearted bird; Egg is a snowball. They have all
kinds of adventures while Blue tries to find “Egg’s” “mother.” When she can’t, the
two of them spend the winter together until spring comes, when Egg melts.
However, the story has a happy ending because Blue discovers that Egg has
“bloomed” into a pretty pink flower. The illustrations, that look like watercolor
wash over ink, add depth to the story. For example, the author does not need to
tell the reader that Egg is really a snowball because the illustrations show
children playing in the snow. The author does not need to say what the two
characters do during the winter because the illustrations are there. Children are
introduced to dramatic irony because they know something that Bird does not
and the anticipation of wondering what is going to happen makes this an
attention-getting story.

Catchpool, Michael; Ill. Jay, Alison. The Cloud Spinner. Alfred A. Knopf, 2010.
Picture Book. P(8) Q (8)
“There was a boy who could spin cloth from clouds,” begins this story
about taking care of our world. He has made himself a cap and a scarf which the
king sees and wants one for himself. The boy tries to dissuade him, but the king
will not relent and so the boy spins. As he meets the king’s ever-increasing
demands for the amazingly soft cloth, fewer and fewer clouds appear in the sky
until a drought begins. It is the king’s daughter who realizes what has happened
and brings her clothes to the boy so he can “unspin” them into clouds for rain.
The illustrations are interesting to look at for a couple of reasons. First, as the
reader looks at the clouds, many of them have the appearance of recognizable
animals. Second, the hills of the kingdom have “faces” made by the appropriate
placement of flowers, sheep, and even squirrels with long tails. And third, the
people and animals have an old folk art look to them with extra big tummies and
long legs. The story may have an obvious plot, but the illustrations make this
worth looking at.

Shannon, David. How Georgie Radbourn Saved Baseball. The Blue Sky Press
(Scholastic) 2012. Picture Book. P (9) Q (10)
William Shakespeare used the weather to reflect the emotions of his
characters; David Shannon has done a gifted job in doing the same thing in
Georgie Radbourn. The story is about a mean baseball player, Boss Swaggert,
who, when he strikes out and is embarrassed by the crowd, determines to
destroy the culture of baseball. As a successful entrepreneur and bully, he
makes baseball and everything about it—including words, phrases, and even
diamond shapes for years until Georgie Radbourn is born. The boy only speaks
in “baseball” sentences and phrases which, of course, have been outlawed. One
day, as a nine-year-old he is over heard by the Factory Police is arrested and
brought to trial before Boss Swaggert. The people negotiate a deal where the
boy is to pitch three balls; if he can strike out the former ballplayer, baseball will
be reinstated as a national pastime. The illustrations have the same tone one
would expect of a book about the Nazis taking over a community. Boss Swaggert
is appropriately mean-looking with his bulbous red nose and fleshy body.
Georgie is not as clearly illustrated, perhaps leaving the reader to imagine what
this small talented boy might look like. A good fiction read aloud and discussion
topic for older children, maybe 2nd through 4th grades.

Snyder, Betsy. I Haiku You. Random House, 2012. Picture Book. P (7/8) Q (8/9)
“Who do you ‘haiku’? Cherry expressions of love take flight in this
delightful haiku collection. Both the young and the young at heart will enjoy
sharing these simple poems of affection and appreciation.” (Book cover) Snyder
has used the Americanized version of haiku with its syllable pattern of 5-7-5 per
line to share her love of simple things such as a new friendship, a teddy bear, a
bicycle, and even a grape popsicle. None are particularly deep or clever, but like
the simple illustrations, they make the reader smile—just as an American
Greetings card might.

Guion, Melissa. Baby Penguins Everywhere! Philomel Books, (Penguin), 2012.
Picture Book. P (9) Q (9)
Once there was a lonesome penguin who finds a top hat from which spill
lots and lots of little penguins (much like a magician’s hat produces rabbits). The
simple water color illustrations combine the black and white birds with bright balls
and ribbons and show how happy, but busy the little penguins are. The first
penguin finds at last that though she needs company, she also needs some time
to be alone, but being together is much more fun. I think that parents will
appreciate this much more than children!

Foley, Gregg. Make a Wish Bear. Viking, 2012. Picture Book. P (7/8) Q (7)
“Early one evening, a little bear made a wish on a little star.” As the bear
sits waiting for his wish to come true, his friends come along with all kinds of
advice: stand on one foot, hold your breath, don’t say it out loud, etc. Finally, as
each one arrives, more stars appear in the sky until Bear’s wish is fulfilled: to be
able to spend time with his friends. Very simple story, cute illustrations. Definitely
for younger children.

Van Dusen, Chris. If I Built a House. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012.
Picture Book. P (9) Q (8/9)
This book made me wish that Dr. Seuss had illustrated it; after all, it’s
written in “his” rhyme scheme with many of the same “asides” as if the narrator is
talking directly to the reader. The book starts with some blue sketches of a
variety of futuristic houses an architect might invent and as the story begins, it is
evident that the boy, Jack (as in “This is the House that Jack Built”?) has been
trying to come up with a house he would like to build. From working with tinker
toys and lego-like blocks, he has come up with a frame, but needs to take his
mother on a tour of what his future house would be like complete with Racetrack
Room, Flying Room, Kitchen-o-Mat, a Scrub-a-Dub-Dub in the bathroom, and so
on. Evidently, there is another book by this author, If I Built a Car, that I suspect
has the same enterprising character at work. A good book for
parents/guardians/teachers who want to encourage creativity and who enjoy Dr.

Tao Nyeu. Squid and Octopus. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012. Picture
Book. P (7/8) Q (7)
First there was Frog and Toad; now there’s Squid and Octopus. The four
short chapters in this collection show how two good friends can survive a quarrel,
reinforce each other’s dreams, encourage their creativity, and face an uncertain
future together. (That part’s for the adults.) For the children there are nice
illustrations done in turquoise, green, gold and yellow as well as minor characters
who comment on the chapters’ plots. I particularly liked the story about the “hat”,
a cowboy boot that floats down to the ocean floor. At first Octopus thinks it is a
hat, but other characters suggest it might actually be a flowerpot, a soup bowl,
and a doorstop. But evidence of a true friend is one who sees your world the
same way you do; Octopus has a hat (cowboy boot) that matches Squid’s and so
they are happy together. My only frustration with the book is that Octopus and
Squid are drawn so nearly alike, that it may be difficult for readers to distinguish
between the two characters. One is spotted green and the other is spotted blue,
but I don’t think their differences are adequate for youngsters.

Rubin, Adam. Illustrated by Salmieri, Daniel. Dragons Love Tacos. Dial Books for
Young Readers. Picture Book. P (6/7) Q (7/8)
Unfortunately this is one of those picture books that many parents dislike.
The problem has to do with the title and the plot. Essentially they are the SAME
THING and so the parent wants to know, why bother with reading it in the first
place???? I remember a children’s book called A Fish Out of Water that was
popular years ago. In it a little boy is warned not to feed the fish too much
because, “Something might happen-you never know what.” Of course the boy
feeds the fish too much, it grows too big for the swimming pool, and the pet store
man has to work magic to make it small again. The same pattern works for this
book which, although more colorful, seems a lot more repetitive and less
interesting. The dragons love tacos. The dragons don’t like hot sauce or spices.
The boy gives them hot sauce. The dragons’ fiery breath burns down the house.
The dragons repair it. Why? Because they love the tacos they get for break time.
I’ve decided the illustrations are much more interesting and clever than the plot
deserves. Even a recipe for tacos would have helped create more interest.

McBratney, Sam. Illustrated by Charles Fuge. I Love It When You Smile. Harper,
2005. Picture Book.
P (5/6) Q (4/5)
I am probably a curmudgeon when it comes to children’s books—largely
because they don’t meet my expectations or they send the wrong message. This
one fits the latter case. Little Roo wakes up very grumpy one morning and so his
mother kangaroo tries all kinds of silly actions to make him smile even a little bit
because, she says, “I love it when you smile.” Of course nothing works until she
accidentally stumbles into a muddy puddle. When SHE is dirty and messy, THEN
Roo starts to laugh. See what I mean about the wrong message? I’m sure there
are better books about parent-child relationships than this one.

Slater, Dashka. Illustrated by Docampo, Valeria. Dangerously Ever After. Picture
Book. P (10) Q (10)
THIS book is a keeper! Besides being about a very independent young
Princess, it is also about facing fears and dealing with surprises. What’s more,
the illustrations fit snuggly with the story. WOW!
“Princess Amanita loved things that were dangerous. She loved her pet scorpion,
and her brakeless bicycle, and her collection of daggers and broken glass. She
loved leaning out of the topmost turret in the castle, and walking blindfolded at
the edge of the moat. But most of all she loved her garden, which was said to be
the most dangerous in the world.” Next to this beginning, we have a picture of the
princess, in her colorful garden. There are sharp points everywhere, a Venus
flytrap garden, and deadly mushrooms. What’s more, her ponytail, which curves
up to her forehead looks exactly like a scorpion’s tail. She meets a prince who
brings her flowers; she likes the thorns. His gardener mails her “Nose” rather
than Rose seeds which grow and irritate her so she returns them after going
through a frightening forest. She is entirely capable of taking care of herself and
the prince is still able to be friends. This is MY kind of children’s book. Wish there
were more books like this one!

Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers
June 2013 Reviews by N.W.
Picture Books
Covell, David. Rat and Roach: Rock On! 2013. unp. Viking, $14.99. 978-0-670-
01410-1. Ages 4-7: The two improbably best friends—sewer mates—are back
again, still bickering, this time about the costumes for a hot gig. Roach
persuaded Rat to let him be the lead singer, but the down-and-dirty Rat draws
the line at the fancy duds that Roach designs. The grit of the city comes
through the shine of the Elvis-like outfits as Roach saves the day, despite the
fact that he’s hopeless at singing. Bold digital artwork complete with
“Dumpster Dive” smudges accompany the minimal text which leaves space
on the white and gray pages. P9Q8

Higgins, Ryan. Wilfred. 2013. unp. Dial, $16.99. 978-0-8037-3732-7. Ages 3-5:
Big, lonely, hairy Wilfred confronts problems in a village with hairless people.
He wants to make friends, but they just want to get covered up because
winter is approaching. Persuading Wilfred that he needs to shave himself, the
townspeople get what they want, but Wilfred is on the edge of freezing to
death. In this timeless story, Wilfred rescues a small boy who then rescues
Wilfred. The solution to the conflict of sewing the townspeople’s wigs back
together to cover Wilfred is a bit improbable, but the puppet-like colored penand-
ink illustrations bring the tale to life and give it the necessary humor.

Long, Loren. Otis and the Puppy. 2013. unp. Philomel, $17.99. 978-0-399-25469-
7. Ages 4-7: The playful, loving little tractor has returned in the fourth of this
series, this time showing a vulnerability that readers will understand. After the
affection between Otis and the new puppy builds, the addition to the farm
disappears in a game of hide-and-seek. Afraid of the dark, Otis still plunges
into the dark woods to discover his new friend. The plot is predictable, but the
writing shows great warmth and the artwork, as in the past books, is grand.
The dark landscape watercolors are lightened with the occasional charming
views of the puppy’s play, especially the last one when the little one rides on
Otis’s hood. P9Q9

Matteson, George and Adele Ursone. The Christmas Tugboat: How the
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Came to New York. Il. by James E.
Ransome. 2012. unp. Clarion, $17.99. 978-0-618-99215-7. Ages 5-8:
Husband-and-wife writing team tell about their adventure with their daughter
in taking a tugboat up the Hudson River to pick up the ship bringing the tree
to the Rockefeller Center. Smudgy close-up acrylics vary with the majestic
night and dawn vistas of their trip. The authors use the daughter for the firstperson
narrator as she tells about their adventures, including her briefly
handling the tugboat through the New York Harbor. The story might be a bit
long, but it provide interesting details about the tugboat operation. P7Q7

Pett, Mark. The Boy and the Airplane. 2013. unp. Simon & Schuster, $15.99.
978-1-04424-5123-0. Ages 3-8: A curly-haired boy receives a package on the
first page of the book; inside is a red toy airplane. Unfortunately, the airplane
is stuck on a roof. After some creative ideas of getting his toy, such as a short
ladder, the boy plants a tree and waits for it to grow before, as an old man, he
climbs the tree and rescues his long-lost toy. The muted rust red against the
sepia-toned pages are a perfect foil for the wordless action that culminates in
his presenting a package to a young girl. Younger readers, seeing the
drawings of time passing as the boy stands beside the tree through the years,
will wonder why he didn’t just ask an adult to get a longer ladder and rescue
the airplane when he was a child. This would make a much better addition to
adult collections or a coffee-table book. P4Q9

Snicket, Lemony. The Dark. Il. by Jon Klassen. 2013. unp. Little, $16.99. 978-0-
316-18748-0. Ages 4-7: Two masters of their craft have joined to create this
book that gives the fearsome dark a persona, something that lives in the
basement until the boy’s nightlight fails. To protect himself from The Dark,
however, Lazlo must go into the basement to find the bulbs. With a feeling of
mystery and adventure, Klassen (I Want My Hat Back) gives an architectural
feel to the gold and dark drawings of the house that concentrate on the
Lazlo’s bedroom, the stairs, and the old dresser in the basement where the
bulbs are stored. Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events) provides The Dark
with dialog to direct Lazlo to the light bulbs. “’Bottom drawer,’ said the dark.
‘Open the bottom drawer.’” Together the visual and verbal artists give a sense
of safety to the once fearsome dark and a sense of empowerment to the child
who solves the problem by himself. P9Q9

Staake, Bob. Bluebird. 2013. unp. Schwartz & Wade, $17.99. 978[-0-375-87037-
8. Ages 3-8: Geometric shapes set in an array of grays with blue of the bird
leading into more blue in sky and water set a child on his way to friendship
from his isolation in the city. The wordless plot continues in the frightening
woods where a gang of bullies kill the bluebird before the saddened boy is
lifted into the sky by a flock of colored birds where he finds his bluebird again.
The open ending leaves much to the imagination. P9Q9

Yokococo. Matilda and Hans. 2013. unp. Templar/Candlewick, $16.99. 978-0-
7636-6434-3. Ages 3-7: Matilda looks sweet, a cat with hair bows and polka
dots. Hans, dressed in black like a bandit, is considered naughty. That’s the
action throughout, but is Matilda really the “nice” one of the two? And are
there really two? In the end, Hans has a thousand-dollar bounty on him after
he turns all the animals in the zoo loose, but it’s really Matilda in the hat,
mask, and whiskers. Mixed-media-and-watercolor illustrations with clean lines
complement the short, clean sentences of the text. Children will love the
mahem; adults may not approve. P9Q8

Graphic Narratives
Almond, David. Mouse Bird Snake Wolf. Il. by Dave McKean. 2013. unp.
Candlewick, $17.99. 978-0-7636-5912-7. Ages 9-12: Having created a safe,
peaceful world, the toga-wearing gods just lie around, doing nothing and
admiring each other’s creations. Three children, however, see gaps in their
world and set out to fill these from basics such as wool and leaves and
twigs. Ben makes a mouse, Sue a bird, and Harry a snake. It is the wolf that
they created that should have gotten the attention of the gods, who
continued to sleep throughout the events that the children set into motion.
Almond’s eloquent language mixes with McKean’s comic-book-style panels
that cause a sense of action as well as blending together the grays of the
gods and the colors of the children. P8Q9

Holm, Jennifer L. and Matthew Holm. Squish: Game On! [Squish #5] 2013. 91p.
Random House, $6.99. 978-0-307-98299-5. Ages 7-10: The lovable
amoeba is back, this time suffering from an addiction to gaming, specifically
“Mitosis.” He spends his birthday money on it and then fails to do any
homework while going without sleep to catch up to the levels where his
friends, Pod and Peggy, have reached. As always, thick-lined drawings in
shades of green through the boredom of watching Squish do nothing but
play his game. The authors draw in another of their highly popular series as
Squish and his dad attend a comics convention featuring the “creators of

Schwarz, Viviane. The Sleepwalkers. 2013. 93p. Candlewick, $9.99. 978-0-7636-
6230-1. Ages 7-10: In this weird adventure, the safe animals of dreams
retire, leaving a team of apprentices—fearful bearBonifacius, sock monkey
amali, and headless crow—to fight off the tentacles, oceans, and armies of
mice. The new team manages to fight off nightmares and provide a sense of
optimism in a series of strange graphic adventures. P8Q8

White, Jamie, adapt. Martha Speaks Canine Comics: Six Daring Doggy
Adventures. 2012. 109p. Houghton Mifflin, $9.99. 978-0-547-86784-7. Ages
7-10: Six of television series featuring a talking dog and based on
characters created by Susan Meddaugh have been adapted into short
graphic stories. As usual, Martha gets in trouble because of her naivety,
including taking part in a theft from the meat store, getting lost inside a
computer, and participating in a dog show. Lovers of the Martha books will
enjoy reading about her again. P8Q7

Child, Lauren. Ruby Redfort: Take Your Last Breath. 2012. 406p. Candlewick,
$16.99. 978-0-7636-5468-9. Ages 9-13: Fantasy blends with mystery as
intrepid Spectrum agent Ruby trains at a dive school, despite her terror of
the claustrophobia and sharks, before she returns home to participate in the
rescue of her wealthy parents who have been abducted by pirates. The
affection in the book comes from the pseudo butler, another agent, the
devoted housekeeper, and Ruby’s best friend Clancy. A great intro to
James Bond for pre-teens with a female who solves the problems. Funny
and real. P7Q8

Cushman, Karen. Will Sparrow’s Road. 2012. 216p. Clarion, $16.99. 978-0-547-
73962-5. Ages 9-12: Known for her rich, historical novels of Elizabethan
England, Cushman matches such award-winning titles as Catherine, Called
Birdy and The Midwife’s Apprentice in language, plotting, and detail. Sold to
an innkeeper by his father, Will runs away when the man threatens to sell
him to a chimney sweep for stealing food, an act that sets him on the road
where he meets a series of shysters who take in the naïve boy. The last in
these is Master Tidball, who cons people out of their pennies with his
fraudulent oddities, including a girl advertised as a cat and a dwarf. Slowly,
Will’s antagonism and distrust builds a friendship with his compatriots as he
loses faith in the man who cheats him. The one flaw in the book is the
protagonist who doesn’t seem to come alive. This is the first time that
Cushman has used a male instead of a female; she excels with the latter.

Klise, Kate. Hollywood, Dead Ahead. Il. by M. Sarah Klise. [43 Old Cemetery
Road #5]. 2013. unp. Harcourt, $15.99. 978-0-547-85283-6. Ages 7-10: A
wealth of fictional letters, newspaper articles, postcards, memos, photos,
ads, and other ephemera provide the basis for the fifth in this series about
the trio at the Spence Mansion: Ignatius B. Grumply, son Seymour Hope,
and house-owner ghost Olive C. Spence. Letting Moe Block Busters make a
movie about 43 Old Cemetery Road turns out to be a disaster, but ghostly
happenings block the corrupt corporation owner from owning the
threesome’s home. As always, fast-paced and hilarious for those who enjoy
a variety of formats in their reading. An additional character, 92-year-old
former star Ivana Oscar, may return for an appearance in future books. PQ8

Kurtz, Chris. The Adventures of a South Pole Pig: A Novel of Snow and Courage.
Il. by Jennifer Black Reinhardt. 2013. 278p. Harcourt, $16.99. 978-0-547-
63455-5. Ages 7-11: Poignant, yet funny, the tale of a plucky piglet who
wants to join a sled team starts with her being food on a ship before it’s
shipwrecked off Antarctica. Throughout her journey, Flora builds her team,
first befriending lead sled dog Oscar before they leave and then gaining the
support of grumpy, arrogant cat Sophia. Aleric, the cabin boy, joins Flora
and Sophia in killing rats on the ship because of threats from the cook. But
the crowning achievement in saving her life is Flora’s saving the captain’s
life. Together they face possible starvation and hypothermia, but Flora helps
save the day. Charming black and white drawings match the humor and
personality of the characters. This debut novel is great for reading aloud.

Sepetys, Ruta. Out of the Easy. 2013. 346p. Philomel, $17.99. 978-0-399-25692-
9. Ages 14-17: The danger of the New Orleans French Quarter of 1950
comes alive through the experiences of 17-year-old Josie, a prostitute’s
daughter who lives above a bookstore where she works. The characters of
this mystery are compelling—the madam Willie, for whom Josie also works
cleaning rooms; Charlie Marlow, the bookstore’s owner who is slowly going
mad; Charlie’s son who runs the bookstore; Cokie, who acts both as taxidriver
and Willie’s chauffeur; Jesse, who has dropped out of high school to
work as a mechanic; and the mob, including Josie’s mother’s violent
boyfriend. The plot surrounds the death of a tourist from Tennessee and
Josie’s unexpected friendship with a wealthy girl who attends Smith College
and inspires Josie to aim toward attending there. Class divisions, dreams,
the Big Easy atmosphere, danger, romance, and history blend in an actionpacked,
yet thoughtful and satisfying novel. P8Q9

Velde, Vivian Vande. Frogged. 2013. 198p. Harcourt, $16.99. 978-0-547-94215-
5. Ages 8-11: The basis of this fractured fairy tale is the thirteen-chapter
book The Art of Being a Princess, a gift that Princess Imogene rejects until
she kisses a frog, thinking that he will become a prince, and becomes a frog
herself. Refusing to put anyone else into the same frog state, Imogene
works at changing back into the person who she had previously disliked.
Excellent dialog, humor, and pacing—just what we expect from Velde.

Zarr, Sara. The Lucy Variations. 2013. 304p. Little, $18. 978-0-316-20501-6.
Ages 13-16: At 16, promising pianist Lucy Beck-Moreau quits, refusing to
touch the piano because her grandmother dies and her parents and
grandfather betray her. Ten-year-old brother Gus takes her place, complete
with a young, interesting teacher. Highly privileged because of her wealthy,
prestigious family, Lucy is spoiled and finds herself becoming attracted to
older men, first her English teacher and then Gus’s teacher. The slow plot
wanders from one problem to another, never finding a resolution until the
very end when it seems to come magically out of nowhere, and the
characters surrounding Lucy never reach realization. P7Q5

Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers
June 2013 Reviews by Melinda Dye
Polansky,Daniel .“The Vietnam War”. Scholastic Inc. New York. 2013. $6.99.137
pages. middle and high school. 978-0-545-48855-6. p7/q8
This book has an introduction, contents page, timeline, glossary, index and
bibliography. This would make an excellent review for the Vietnam War or a
great start for a research paper. I learned a great deal and each chapter focuses
on a different person and how the effected the Vietnam War. There are pictures,
maps, quick fact blocks about the different leaders and an early life section on
each person as well. This would make a great book for low level learners as

Gewirtz,Rishe Adina.“Zebra Forest”. Candlewick Press. Massachusetts. 2013.
$15.99.199 pages. middle and high school. 978-0-7636-6041-3 p8/q8
The cover of this book is very interesting, it even has raised print. The cover
represents the forest by Annie and Rew’s house where they go to escape their
depressed grandmother who they live with. Things get very interesting when
there is a prison break and their father who has been in jail shows up and takes
them hostage. The characters and story are very easy to follow and interesting.

Coley, Liz.“Pretty Girl-13”. Harper Collins. New York. 2013. $17.99. 350 pages.
high school. 978-06-212737-2 p8/q 8
This is a story of a sixteen year old girl who was abducted when she was
thirteen. Angie just shows up back at home and doesn’t remember any thing
from the last three years. Angie must work with a counselor who helps her
discover the many personalities she has developed to survive the abuse she has
experienced. This is an interesting book for people who are studying psychology
as well as someone who enjoys reading suspenseful stories. If a student has
experienced abuse this may be a difficult book to read.

Resnick, Patricia. “Olivia Measures Up. Simon Spotlight . New York. 2013.
$15.99 . 30 pages. beginning readers. 978-1-4424-5974-8 p8 q 8
This is a Ready to Read level one book about Olivia the pig and her brother Ian.
I like this character because she figures out how to get what she wants. She
wants to be tall for the school photo so she decides to wear high heels. She is
worried that her brother Ian is going to end up taller than her but her father
reminds her that she will always be his big sister.

Wiley, Melissa. Illustrated by Ag Jatkowska. “Inch and Roly and the Very Small
Hiding Place”. Simon Spotlight. New York. 2013. $15.99. 30 pages. beginning
readers. 978-1-4424-5281-7. p7/q7
This is a funny little story about bugs that hide in a whole to be safe from a bird.
I’m not sure I would buy this book for my child because it wouldn’t be a book I
would want to hear over and over again as they were learning to read.

Capucilli, Satin Alyssa.“Katy Duck and the Tip-Top Tap Shoes”. Simon Spotlight.
New York. 2013. $15.99. 30 pages. beginning readers. 978-1-4424-5246-6.
This is a cute story about a duck girl who wears the wrong shoes to dance class
and her friend lets her borrow the right kind of shoes. This is a fun cute ready to
read level one story that children will enjoy. It may be a little confusing as the
dance teacher is named Mr. Tutu.

Coffelt, Nancy. Illustrated by Scott Nash. “Uh-Oh, Baby!” Aladdin. New York.
2013. $16.99. 30 pages. pre-school. 978-1-4169-9149-6. p8/ q8
Rudy is a little toddler who wants to give his mom a wonderful gift and he is
actually really talented despite all of the messes he makes. This story is in the
form of a comic strip with some of the pages being composed of several blocks
of pictures that tell the story. This is a very fun colorful story for very young
children who will enjoy a story read by a caregiver.

C.S. – Siletz Public Library
June 2013 Reviews

• Dominguez, Angela. Let’s Go, Hugo. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2013.
$16.99. ISBN 9780803738645. Unp. Ages 3-5. P9Q9.
This is a sweet book about Hugo, who is a little different. He says he
prefers walking to flying, but find out that the truth is, he’s afraid to fly. With
the help of friends he overcomes his fear and embraces adventure. The
mixed media illustrations (by the author) are really charming and help the
story teach a good lesson in a gentle way.

• Engle, Margarita. Mary Morgan, ill. When You Wander: A Search-and-
Rescue Dog Story. Henry Holt and Co., 2013. $16.99. ISBN 9780805093124.
Unp. Ages 4-8. P8Q8.
I enjoyed this warm story told by a search and rescue dog. It is a very
lyrical introduction to what search and rescue dogs do, and gives a young
child advice about what they should do if they get lost. The end of the
book has a page called “Dog Nose Facts” and advice for parents and
teachers. The illustrations are very soft and reassuring. This will be a
popular book with elementary aged children and parents of those children.

• Magoon, Scott. The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot! Simon and Schuster Books for
Young Readers, 2013. $16.99. ISBN 9781442412576. Unp. Ages 4-8. P8Q9.
My story group loved this fun story, inspired by The Boy Who Cried Wolf.
Bigfoot is the narrator (offstage for the first half of the story) and tells about
Ben’s stories (okay, lies) about seeing Bigfoot. His family is weary of this,
but Ben is tenacious (kids will know this word by the end of the story).
When Bigfoot borrows Ben’s bike (and his dog), Ben can’t get a reaction
from his family. The author points out the importance of being honest, but
also admires Ben for his tenacity and creativity. I really like the
illustrations- especially the shifting background colors that show the light
changing with the time of day.

• Judge, Lita. Red Hat. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2013. $16.99.
ISBN 9781442442320. Unp. Ages 2-5. P8Q9.
This is a nearly wordless story about a red knit hat on a clothesline, some
baby animals, and a very fun time. Through colorful watercolor and pencil
illustrations, the author takes us through a fun romp that ends with the
unraveled hat being remade by its owner. The only words are sound
effects, so this will be a fun book to use with small children who can tell
the story themselves. This delightful story will be very popular!

• Kaplan, Michaie B. Stephane Jorisch, ill. Betty Bunny Didn’t Do It. Dial Books
for Young Readers, 2013. ISBN 9780803738584. Unp. Ages 3-6. P8Q8.
This book looks at the value of honesty through the eyes of a preschool
bunny. She discovers the use of blaming someone else to keep herself
out of trouble, then learns several lessons about why lying is wrong and
telling the truth is good. I found the watercolor illustrations very sweetthey
convey the humor of the characters very well. A colleague wondered
if Betty really felt bad about lying, or just about being caught. I think this
book will be useful when talking to young children about honesty, lies,
white lies, etc.

YA Novels:
• Fama, Elizabeth. Monstrous Beauty. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2012. $17.99.
ISBN 9780374373665. 295 pgs. Ages 16+. P7Q7.
The beautiful Syrenka falls in love with Ezra- her feelings for him are so
strong that she gives up her life as a mermaid to marry him. There are
horrible consequences to this union for the couple and a family curse that
will affect their ancestors for generations. The dark ghost story comes with
a lot of historical detail from the 1870s, and the author links this historical
romance to the modern day ancestor of Syrenka, Hester. I enjoyed this
dark, well written novel a lot- Hester is smart and feisty, and the mermaids
aren’t the Disney sort at all. They are dangerous, cold, unpredictable, and
jealous, and make for some very tense moments. There are some very
violent episodes, including a rape scene, which will make this a book for
more mature readers.

Book Review April 2013 – C.B. NIS

Cooney, Caroline, Janie face to face, Delacorte Books for Young Readers,
2013, 345 pgs. $17.99, ISBN:978-0-385-74206-1, Gr. 6+, P 8, Q 8,
This is the last book of five that Caroline Cooney wrote about a young girl who
sees her own face on a milk carton of children who were abducted. Never
suspecting that she was kidnapped as a child it wasn’t till Jane was in high
school that she discovers her true identity. She is now in college the parents who
raised her are living in assisted living and she has started to bond more with her
biological parents. College is back east, she goes by her biological parents name
so no one will know who she is. What she finds is a world where her past does
not define who she is, but there is always a twist in the plot and she comes to
realize she can not leave her past in the past.

Gardner, Sally, Maggot moon, Candlewick Press, Berryville, Virginia, 2013, 279
pgs. $16.99,ISBN:978-0-7636-6553-1, Gr. 8+, P 8, Q 9,
Standish Treadwell has dyslexia, he also has one blue eye, one brown eye, and
his teachers think he is stupid as he can’t read or write. Standish is unique how
ever and he see’s the world differently, something that can be dangerous to do in
the Mother Land. According to the dictates of the Mother Land Standish should
not even be alive as he is seen as being slow. His parents have disappeared and
he lives with his grandfather who cares for him in a dilapidated home on a street
that was bombed in the war. Standish and his grandfather find a family living in
his parents old home and they are soon living together to survive the winter and
those who are searching those in hiding. A truly insightful look to what life could
have been like in the cold war. It is also a story that deals with strength of
character and standing up against evil.

King, Wesley, The Vindico, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 2012, 298 pgs.,
$16.99, ISBN:978-0399-25654-7, Gr. 6+, P 8, Q 8,
Good vs Evil seems to be the theme in the books that I read this month. Good,
The League of Superheroes, the Evil, The Vindico both out to conquer the other.
The Vindico are aging and they need replacements so they kidnap a group of
children some with powers others who do not. All are trained and given a potion
that will help their powers develop stronger and faster with the insight that they
too will become evil. Or will they each has to at the climax of the plot decide what
they will do when Evil vs. Good.

Mack, Jeff, Clueless McGee, Philomel Books, New York, 2012, 238 pgs. $12.99.
Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 8,
P J MCGee dreams of becoming a great detective, a sleuth who will solve the
world’s greatest mysteries. He writes letters to his father who he thinks is on a
secret mission, but I think he is some where else, telling of his daily events.
McGee is determined to find out who stole the school’s Mac and Cheese. The
book is illustrated by the author using simple black ink drawings which show
McGee in various different situations that develop through the story.

McDonald, Megan, Stink and the freaky frog freakout, ill. By Peter H. Reynolds,
Candlewick Press, Berryville, Massachusetts, 2013, $12.99, ISBN:978-0-7636-
6140-3, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 8,
This is the very first Stink book that I have read in the Stink series by Megan
McDonald. Stink is the younger brother of Judy B. Jones and is always on some
adventure, this time it is with frogs. Frogs that are appearing all over town even in
the town’s swimming pool where Stink is swimming. As time goes by Stink is
sure that he is mutating into a frog. There are facts on frogs scattered through
the story which add to the appeal of the story. The book illustrations were created
digitally are black and white and come in various formats: cartoon panels, single
picture and groups all of which help in the telling of this story.

Salane, Jeffrey, Lawless, Scholastic Press, New York, 2013, 274 pgs. $16.99,
ISBN:978-0-545-45029-4, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 8,
M. Freeman has never been in public school she has been home schooled. Her
mother is an expert on old paintings as was her deceased father. Together they
have traveled the world verifying that paintings are real and not forgeries. There
have been great changes in her relationship with her mother after her father’s
death six years before, she hardly sees her anymore. At the age of 12 M is to be
interviewed by the Lawless school, her mother and fathers’ old school. This is the
school for kids on the wrong side of the law. M fits right in and soon discovers
how much her home schooling has prepared her for the school. She also
discovers that there is a mystery that only she can solve. There are plots twists
all through the book and when you think you solved the mystery there is another

Wells, Dan, Fragments, Balazer and Bray, imprint of HarperCollins, 2013, 576
pgs, $17.99, ISBN:978-0-7636-5352-1, Gr. 7+, P 8 , Q 9,
This book has already been read by three other staff members at my school and
I have two more who are waiting to read it. The second book in this dystopia
series finds the characters separated going different directions in this devastated
world. Two are determined to cross the waste lands seeking information on their
creation. Three are together trying to find peace with the partials who have
restarted the war between human and partials. Women are again having babies
believing that a cure has been found so that their babies won’t die. This squeal is
fast paced with plot twists throughout the story. I can’t wait for the next book in
this series.

Wells, Rosemary, Ivy takes Care, ill. Jim LaMarche, Candlewick Press,
Somerville, Massachusetts, 2013, 199 pgs. $15.99, ISBN:978-0-7636-5352-1,
Gr.4+, P 8, Q 8,
Set in 1949 on a ranch near Reno, Nevada two sixth girls, best friends lives are
to change as summer approaches. Two girls who lives are very different from
each other. Ivy’s family works on a ranch where her father is ranch hand and her
mother helps to cook for the ranch hands. Annie’s family is rich and she is soon
to leave for a summer camp back east. Three different stories are included in the
book and all deal with Ivy caring for pets, avoiding Billy Jo Butterworth, and
earning money to buy Annie a bracelet. Ivy, Annie and Billy come to learn what
friendship is and how their changing lives will affect all of them.

Picture Books
Bromley, Nicola, Open very carefully, Ill .O’Byrne, Nicola, Nosy Crow an imprint
of Candlewick Press, 2013, unp, $15.99, ISBN:978-0-7636-6163-2, Gr. 2+, P 8,
Q 8,
What is a story teller to do, when in attempting to tell the story of The Ugly
Duckling a crocodile eats the words of your story? He doesn’t stop there he
devours whole sentences and the story teller must device ways to make him
stop. He rocks the book side to side and even drawing on the crocodile to make
him stop. The story finally ends when the crocodile chews his way out of the
book, leaving a hole in the back of the book. The mixed media illustrations are
sure to make you laugh as you see the crocodile scampering and eating his way
through the book!

Talbott, Hudson, It’s all about Me-ow, Nancy Paulsen Books, imprint of Penguin,
New York, 2012, unp. $16.99, ISBN:978-0-25403-1, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 8,
When three new kittens join the older cats house hold he decides to give cat
lessons on how to gain control of the house to them. The lessons range: from
human and cat anatomy, why being a cat is so cool, a cat walk through history,
how purr therapy helps the family, and all of this designed to help the cat loving
family. The illustrations are done in watercolor, colored pencil and ink on water
color paper and show case this brilliant cat and his lessons. Prepare your self as
you will laugh so hard that your stomach will ache.

Ford, Carin, The Civil War’s African-American soldiers through primary
resources, Enslow Publishers, Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, 2013, 48 pgs.
glossary, index, ISBN:978-0-7660-4125-7, Gr. 6+, P 7, Q 8,
During the Civil War many slaves left the south and made their way to the north.
They were encouraged to join the union army to fight against the south. Many
joined and then languished as the debate to let Negroes fight was debated. Not
all African-Americans fought against the south there were many who were free
and choose to fight for the south. The author has used historical pictures, maps,
fact boxes and a time line to help get his point across.

Gonzales, Doreen, The frigid Arctic Ocean, Enslow Elementary, Berkeley
Heights, New Jersey, 2013, 48 pgs. glossary, index, $23.93, ISBN:978-0-
7660-4087-8, Gr. 4+, P 7, Q 8,
This is a simpler written book that holds great information for a younger reader
seeking information on the Arctic Ocean. The author has used clear and precise
information to engage the reader. Fact boxes provide more information for the
reader and the colored pictures are clear and up to date . The history of the
region and the effects of global warming are two of the topics that are included in
the book.

Laliberte, Michelle, What are the 7 wonders of the ancient world, Enslow
Publishers, Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, 2013, $23.93, 48 pgs. glossary,
index, ISBN:978-0-7660-4151-6, Gr. 6+, P 8, Q 8,
Each of the seven ancient wonders of the world is in this book. Using maps,
diagrams and pictures each is discussed. The history, building material, methods
that they used to build and how they were destroyed are subjects that the author
hits upon. While I don’t have much on this subject in my media center I have
students who have asked for information about the Seven Wonders of the World.

Lewis, J. Patrick, World rat day, ill. By Anna Raff, Candlewick Press, Somerville,
Massachusetts, 2013, 36 pgs. $15.99, ISBN:978-0-7636-5402-3, Gr.2+, P 8, Q 8,
A poetry book that celebrates obscure holidays some of which I had never heard
of. They are fun from the start to the end of the book and the illustrations also
show case the humor of the poems. I missed March 15, Worm Day but tomorrow
April 4 I am going to share with my students that it is World Rat Day. I hate rats
too but there might just be one person who will be glad to celebrate this day. This
is a quirky book that will be a great addition to my libraries poetry section.

Carol Schramm, Siletz Public Library
Summer 2013 Reviews

Beginning Chapterbooks:
Howe, James. Marie-Louise Gay, ill. Houndsley and Catina. Candlewick Press,
2006 (Paperback 2013). $3.99. ISBN9780763666385. 36 pgs. Ages 5-7. P8Q8.
Houndsley and Catina learn about finding their talents, and about the importance
of liking what you do. The illustrations are soft and very sweet, and beginning
readers will enjoy working their way through the story.

Howe, James. Marie-Louise Gay, ill. Houndsley and Catina. Candlewick Press,
2006 (Paperback 2013). $3.99. ISBN 9780763666392. 42 pgs. Ages 5-7. P8Q8.
This beginning chapterbook is meant for new readers. The lively story will keep
children interested as they read about how Houndsley was sad because he didn’t
know when his birthday was, how Catina becomes sad when she thinks about
this, and what happens as a result. I enjoyed the description of their friendship,
and how they discovered that they really think alike.

Capucilli, Alyssa Satin. Henry Cole, ill. Katy Duck and the Tip-Top Tap Shoes
(Ready To Read Level 1). Simon Spotlight, 2013. $15.99. ISBN 9781442452466.
Unp. Ages 4-6. P8Q8.
This is a Level I reader which has large, clear type and easy to follow
illustrations. The basic story emphasizes sharing and helping out a friend. This
book would be useful in a collection for new readers.

Wiley, Melissa. Ag Jatkowska, ill. Inch and Roly and the Very Small Hiding Place
(Ready To Read Level 1). Simon Spotlight, 2012. $15.99. ISBN 9781442452817.
Unp. Ages 4-6. P8Q8.
This is another Level I reader from the Ready To Read series. The vocabulary
would be useful for teachers looking at particular sounds or letter combinations.

Schneider, Josh. The Meanest Birthday Girl. Clarion Books, 2013. $14.99. ISBN
9780547838144. 48 pgs. Ages 6-9. P9Q8.
I liked this funny book about Dana, a girl who enjoys being mean. It’s her birthday
and she thinks that means she can do anything she wants, especially if it’s
something mean. When she receives an elephant as a present, she begins to
change her attitude. Over the course of the story, Dana goes from being a bully
to someone who gets a taste of her own medicine. The humorous illustrations
add a lot to the story. This will be a popular book at our library.

Numeroff, Laura. Lynn Munsinger, ill. Lots of Lambs. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,
2012. $9.99. ISBN 9780547402062. Unp. Ages 1-3. P7Q7.
This is a very simple, rhymed story in the format of a board book. There are lots
of textures to feel, and pull-outs to play with. Munsinger’s illustrations have a lot
of humor in them, and I expect small children at story time to like this book. The
book has a very sturdy feeling to it but the pull-outs will limit its lifespan at our
public library.

Platt, Cynthia. Greg Paprocki, ill. Margaret and H.A. Rey’s Where is Curious
George? A Look and Find Book. Illustrations in the style of H.A. Rey. Houghton
Miffliln Harcourt, 2013. $9.99. ISBN 9780547914169. Unp. P8Q6.
This Look and Find Book has illustrations in the style of the old Curious George
books. Children should read the rhyming sections on the left of each spread and
look for the items indicated. The illustrations are bright and cheerful and have
some of the feel of the traditional ones, but don’t really have the charm of the

J Fiction:
La Valley, Josanne. The Vine Basket. Clarion Books, 2013. $16.99. ISBN
9780547848013. 252 pgs. Ages 9+. P8Q9.
The Vine Basket is a lovely book that deals with the idea of loss- loss of a
culture, loss of a way of life, loss of a language, loss of one’s pride, loss of a
beloved family member. Mehrigul is a young Uyghur girl (from a minority group in
NW China) whose family has experienced a lot of difficulty, mostly due to the
oppressive rule of the majority Chinese. Her brother has had to leave because of
political trouble, and this loss has sent her mother and father into deep
depression. Mehrigul has had to leave school to help on the family farm, and is
now at risk of being sent to southern China and forced to work in a factory. She
finds some hope when a foreign woman buys a basket she has made and wants
to buy more. The novel is really sad- life for many Uyghur people is really
turbulent- but the author manages to help us see the beauty that is also to be
found in a harsh life. Even though the setting is very exotic, I think young readers
will find this book accessible and very interesting. I couldn’t put it down once I got
a few pages in.

Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers
Summer 2013 Reviews by Melinda Dye
Shaw, Natalie. “Olivia Sells Cookies”.Simon Spotlight. New York. 2013. $3.99. 15 pgs.
pre-school. 978-1-4424-5965-6. p 8/ q8
This version of the book is a paperback therefore the price so it would not last long in a
library. This story of Olivia is how she learns to share her lucky tights with her baby
brother. The thing about Olivia that could be a bad example for children is that she is
trying to one up her friend Francine by selling the most cookies, but in the end Olivia
learns to share so maybe that is the bigger example. This would be a good book for
starting a conversation about how to respect others and not interrupting and sharing.

Dempsey ,Sheena. “Bye-Bye Baby Brother”. Candlewick Press. Massachusetts. 2013.
$15.99. 30 pgs. pre-school. 978-0-7636-6241-7 p 7/q8.
This is a great story for children who have new baby siblings in the home and are
feeling left out. Ruby is bored and wants her mother’s attention but mom has to take
care of Oliver. Ruby dreams of ways to get rid of her baby brother but in the end she
builds a rocket ship to send him to the moon but just in time for her mom and baby
brother to finally play rocket ship with her. In the end she decides she wants to keep
her brother and her mother reads a story to her when her brother goes down for a nap.
This is a great story to start the conversation about sibling issues.

Marsden, Carolyn. “My Own Revolution”.Candlewick Press. Berryville, VA. 2012.
$16.99. 174 pages. High school. 978-0-7636-5395-8. p8/p8
I enjoyed this historical fiction book about the Communist in occupied Czechoslovakia.
Patrick and his ant-communist family live in fear of being found out but Patrick is an
impulsive teen boy and he and his girlfriend take it too far when they deface the Lenin
statue. This is a quick read and helps students understand the daily life of those who
had to live under communist rule, therefore this would be a great book for a history

Young, Suzanne. “The Program”. Simon & Schuster. New York. 2013. $16.99. 405
pages. High school. 978-1-4424-4580-2. p9/q8
This was a very popular book my teen daughter and her friends as they all read it this
summer. I enjoyed this book because it reminded me of reading 1984 during my high
school years. In this story there is an epidemic of suicide and the state decides to stop
it by taking away the youth and reprogramming them. When the teens are taken they
come back different with all of their memories erased and they don’t know their friends.
Sloane and her boyfriend try to keep it together so they are not erased she doesn’t want
to forget her brother who committed suicide. Things take a turn for the worse when her
own mother turns her in for being depressed. This book would make a great classroom
read and discussion about the government and their responsibilities and rights.

Averertt, Edward. “Cameron and the Girls”. Clarion Books. New York. 2013. $16.99.
220 pages. High school. 978-0-547-61215-7. p8/q8
This is a very interesting story about mental illness and psychologist. Cameron stops
taking his medication and starts to hear voices of different people and their conflicting
ideas. He wants a girlfriend so he refuses to take his meds because one of the voices
he hears is a girlfriend to him. I always enjoy reading stories that deal with mental
illness and how they resolve the issues. In the end Cameron has to take his meds, visit
the doctor regularly and learn how to deal with his schizophreniform disorder. This book
would be a good book for students to read who are required to take meds for a mental
illness because they could see how this boy is severely effected when he doesn’t take
his meds.

Blythe, Carolita. “Revenge of a Not-So-Pretty Girl”. Delacorte Press. New York. 2013.
$16.99. 319 pages. High school. 978-0-385-74286-3. p8/q8
This is a very intense story of a 14 year old African American girl who robs an elderly
woman and almost kills her in the process. The story is set in 1984 in Brooklyn, New
York. Faye’s mother works all the time and after she is brought home by the police her
mom makes her go to a babysitter every day after school. This is a very interesting
story about how she feels guilty for hurting the old woman and after three days of her
lying on the ground she helps nurse her back to health. In this story Faye finds herself
and decides to change her friends and stand up for herself.

Davis, Lane. “I Swear”. Simon & Schuster. New York. 2012. $16.99. 279 pages. High
school. 978-1-4424-3506-3. p8/q8.
This is the ultimate story of bullying. In this book Leslie kills herself because of the
intense bullying and her parents sue the teens involved in her bullying. I think this
shows the severity of our words and actions on others and how important it is to stand
up to the ring leaders and not follow along with such cruelty. In this story the bully
doesn’t do her own dirty work she gets her little followers to do it all so I would also
consider this book a bit of a mystery as things are unfolded in the depositions. This
would make a great book for a class to read and discuss about the problems of bullying
and the ramifications.

Lynch, Chris. “Iceman”. Simon & Schuster. New York. 1994. $16.99. 152 pages. high
school. 978-1-4424-6002-7. p 8/q8
Eric who is 14 is a ruthless hockey player who is out of control on the ice and goes for
the blood every time. We find out that his dad seems to only have joy in life when he
watches Eric nearly kill other players on the ice. His mother only talks to him about his
problems and blames him for everything. In this story Eric tries to figure out how to meet
his own needs and those of his parents without loosing himself. Eric has a friendship
with a man who runs a mortuary, this creates some disturbing scenes. McLaughlin
does some weird things with the dead bodies so I don’t think this story is really for the
very young student even though Eric is 14 years old.

Mitchell, Saundra. “The Springsweet”. Harcourt. New York. 2012. $16.99. 278 pages.
Middle and high school. 978-0-547-60842-6. p7/q8
I enjoyed this historical fiction book about a young woman who moves from Baltimore to
the Oklahoma Territory in the late 1800s. Zora is only 17 years old when she starts to
experience the joys and hardships of pioneer life when she moves in with relative and
daughter after her husband has gone missing. Their days are filled with chores and
fetching water from miles away. Zora quickly realizes she has a gift for “seeing water”
and knowing where ranchers should dig their wells. She is hired out as a “springsweet”
who promises to find water for people but in the process she falls in love with a young
land owner who also has his own special gift. This story might not be enjoyed by all
teens because of the time period it is set in and the old ways of the pioneers.

Salerni, Dianne K. “The Caged Graves”. Clarion Books. New York. 2013. $16.99. 326
pages. Middle and high school. 978-0-547-86853-0. p7/q8
This is another historical fiction book that takes place in Pennsylvania in 1778 and is
about Verity and how she fights the small town to stop their delusions of witchcraft.
Verity who is only 17 is determined to find out why her mother and Aunt were buried
outside of the graveyard and have a cage around their graves. This is a story of
mystery as Verity gets to the end of the story and finds a solution to the previous
misdeed. This story is about secrets, grave robbers, proposals of marriage, hidden
treasure and more.

Monninger, Joseph. “Finding Somewhere”. Delacorte Press. New York. 2011. $17.99.
224 pages. Middle and high school. 978-0-385-73942-9. p8/q8
This story is about two girls and a wild road trip with a horse they are trying to save from
the “glue factory”. Hattie is 16 and her friend Delores is 18 and they have decided to
steal the horse, take a car and bring the horse to the real country so he can have the
chance to run free before he dies. The only thing about this story is the illegal things
they do such as taking the horse, the car and driving across country. I know girls who
love horses will be able to relate to this story about saving a horse and themselves in
the process.

Dooley, Sarah. “Body of Water”. Feiwel and Friends. New York. 2011. $17.99. 324
pages. Middle and high school. 978-0-312-61254-2. p8/q8
This is a very interesting story about what it is like to be homeless and try to attend
school at the same time. Ember is 12 years old and after her parent’s trailer burnt to the
ground they end up living at a local campground. Summer has just started so it really
isn’t a big deal other than she has to swim in the lake in a big pair of sweat pants that a
local church gave them. When school starts things get a bit more intense but her
brother who is in college quits, gets a job and buys her an outfit to wear to school but
she only has one. She has a hard time making friends and finally is able to connect
with another girl who turns out to be homeless and living at the campground with her
mother. Unfortunately this would relate to many of the students who live here on the
coast as several of them are homeless.

Gratz, Alan. “Prisoner B-3087”. Scholastic Press. New York. 2013. $16.99. 260 pages.
High school. 978-0-545-45901-3. p8/ q8
Unfortunately this book is based on the true story of Ruth and Jack Gruener and their
survival of the Nazi occupation of Krakow, Poland in 1939- 1942. Yanek is only
eleven when is taken away to a concentration camp and ends up surviving ten different
camps before he is liberated from Dachau. His arm is marked with the tattoo B-3087
and he is forced to do unspeakable things during his time at the camps during World
War II. This is truly a story of hope and perseverance despite all odds and he is able to
keep his will to live strong through the ordeal. I think this is a great book for the history
student to read to get a better understanding of this time in history.

Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers
Summer 2013 Reviews by Nel Ward

Fleming, Candace. Papa’s Mechanical Fish. Il. Boris Kulikov. 2013. unp. FSG, $16.95.
978-0-374-39908-5. Ages 7-9: This fictional account of Lodner Phillips, nineteenthcentury
eccentric inventor, is from his daughter’s, Virena, perspective and he thinks
and plans but never succeeds. It is Virena’s question of whether he had considered
being a fish that sets him on the path to develop a submarine. Detailed, playful
illustrations show close-ups of fish, Phillips underwater, and diagrams of his
inventions. Readers will be entertained by the gigantic fish and the family’s skeptical
bulldog. The bibliography encourages further research about the inventor and his
creation, the Fool Killer. P9Q9

Goossens, Jesse. Jumping Penguins. Il. Marije Tolman. 2013. 59p. Lemniscaat, $19.95.
978-1-93-95432-3. Ages 7-10: Gorgeous artwork accompanies the bizarre and
sometimes disgusting facts about fifty animals in a combination of fantasy
watercolors and information. The combination of the two satisfies all the needs of the
readers. P9Q9

Goossens, Jesse. A Thousand Things about Holland. 2v. Il. Charlotte Dematons. 2013.
95p. Lemniscaat. 978-1-935-95428-6; 978-1-935-95429-3. Ages 10+: One volume
uses small illustrations about Dutch traditions, history architecture, people, etc., and
the other one has illustrations in two-page spreads with no words. The unusual
details of the country would probably appeal more to adults than youth, but the book
is extremely thorough in its research. P4Q9

Kessler, David A. Your Food Is Fooling You: How Your Brain Is Hijacked by Sugar, Fat,
and Salt. 2013. 283p. Roaring Brook, $9.99. Ages 12-14: Adapted from The End of
Overeating, Your Food Is Fooling You, the book uses guilt to convince teenagers
that all their eating habits are bad. Repetitive and condescending, the text uses
boldface sentences to restate the message of the previous paragraph. The first three
sections are so depressing that readers may not continue to the rest of the book with
ideas for rehabilitation. Even that piece continues to lecture; for example, the
complete direction on retraining your brain is the mandate “to change the way you
‘see’ food.” Just tell yourself you’re not hungry. The book’s audience won’t be
interested. P4Q4

Look, Lenore. Brush of the Gods. Il. Meilo So. 2013. unp. Schwartz & Wade, $17.99.
978-0-375-87001-9. Ages 5-8: When attempting to develop skills of calligraphy, the
young Wu Daozi finds that his brush produces dots and squiggles that become trees
and “eyes, then pigs, and monkeys.” His work eventually becomes famous
throughout China, and then it comes to life—first the butterfly that flits off into the
distance and then everything else. Vibrant and detailed pencil, ink, and watercolor
artwork brilliantly show ancient China and its art in a fantasy of art bursting from the
end of a brush. Called Flying Sleeves because of his speed in painting, Wu Daozi
walks into his palace mural masterpiece and disappears. P9Q9

McCarthy, Meghan. Daredevil: The Daring Life of Betty Skelton. 2013. unp. Simon &
Schuster, $16.99. 978-1-4424-2262-9. Ages 5-8: The creator of City Hawk: The
Story of Pale Male describes the life of a famous woman flyer who started her career
in the 1930s before she soloed on her 16th birthday. The adventurous Skelton, 1926-
2011, raced cars, rode motorcycles, and jumped out of planes, breaking records on
land, sea, and air. Later she flew jets, helicopters, gliders, and blimps. The energetic
acrylic artwork, with its googly eyes, is reminiscent of her Seabiscuit the Wonder
Horse. P7Q7

O’Reilly, Bill. Kennedy’s Last Days: The Assassination That Defined a Generation.
2013. 315p. Holt, $19.99. 078-0-8050-9802-0. Ages 13+: Again O’Reilly has adapted
his adult book into one suitable for young adults, this time Killing Kennedy: The End
of Camelot. From beginning to end, the book is a puff piece about how wonderful
John F. and Jackie Kennedy were and how awful a person Lee Harvey Oswald was.
He even takes a swipe at single mothers, blaming Oswald’s problems on losing his
father despite the fact that his brother turned out just fine. Beyond that, there is no
revelation of the reason behind the murder other than Oswald just wanted to do it.
Gone are the problems of Jackie Kennedy, the womanizing by John Kennedy, and
the humiliation of Lyndon Johnson by the Kennedy brothers in the original book; all
that is left is the former president’s heroism. Also missing is the chance of more than
one killer, a connection to the CIA, and a tie-in to Fidel Castro, the all shown to be
possible since the recent release of materials not provided to the Warren
Commission almost 50 years ago. It’s a safe, conventional book that has nothing
new—just dumbed down for a younger crowd. P7Q4

Rusch, Elizabeth. Electrical Wizard: How Nikoka Tesla Lit Up the World. Il. Oliver
Dominguez. 2013. unp. Candlewick, $16.99. 978-0-7636-5855-7. Ages 7-10:
Without alternating current, the world would never have the source of electricity that
it does. Thanks to the “mad scientist” Nikola Tesla’s work during the last half of the
nineteenth century, Thomas Edison’s direct current method was overcome, and the
world moved forward. Although this picture book gives an interesting view of the
differences between the two methods and it shows the struggle between the two
giants of electricity, much of Serbian-born Tesla’s wacky personality and fascinating
background has been omitted. Rusch does include the spectacular wiring of the
1893 Chicago World’s Fair and simple inventions although she doesn’t adhere to the
facts surrounding Tesla. For example, his standing under Brooklyn Bridge when he
arrives in New York from Europe would have been impossible because the bridge
wasn’t opened until the next year. Teachers and parents will appreciate the
extensive list of resources and the warning about not working with electric current,
and the book introduces a fascinating man who was long neglected. Gouache,
graphite, ink, and acrylic illustrations show Tesla’s passion and patience for
discovery. A good beginning book for explorations in science. P7Q8

Williams, Marcia. The Romans: Gods, Emperors, and Dormice. 2013. unp. Candlewick,
$16.99. 978-0-7636-6581-4. Ages 6-9: Dormeo—gladiator, dormouse, and guide—
leads the reader through single and two-page spreads of ancient Rome’s history
from the collections of goddesses and gods to family life, class structure, children,
the Gauls, etc. Frm Romulus and Remus in the founding of Rome to the death of
Julius Caesar, the book gives inside glimpses through quirky cartoons with amusing
tidbits from Dormeo. appear in the founding of Rome. P7Q9

Picture Books
Boldt, Mike. 123 versus ABC. 2013. unp. Harper, $17.99. 978-0-06-210299-7. Ages 5-8:
Pointy numbers compete with rounded letters of the alphabet as they argue about
which of them is more important to learn. Complete with cartooned eyes, lips, teeth,
and tongues, they’re all ready to fight until the alligator shows how one alligator with
a name beginning with “a” can bring the two sides together until the end when a
character at the end says, “I’m supposed to be in a book about colors.” Colorful
digital illustrations are full of humor highlight the message that “This is a book about
Numbers…and Letters.” Readers will love the interaction with the numbers and
letters. P9Q9

Davies, Matt. Ben Rides On. 2013. unp. Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, $16.99. 978-1-
59643-794-4. Ages 4-7: Caricature art in gentle watercolor highlight the story about
bullying as Ben loves the freedom of riding his new bike to school before Adam
Underbite takes it away from him. Although the story has been done before—victim
saves bully from trouble and bully changes into a nice guy—the sweetness of Ben’s
travels to school through the countryside where he pretends the creek has sharks
gives a different dimension to the usual story. Although such statements as “How
extraordinarily terrible” might seem a bit stiff, the language also adds to the humor of
Ben’s devilish grin as he contemplates leaving Adam hanging from a branch. The joy
of the ending when Adam steals the bike a second time only to secretly return it
repaired, almost, overcomes the Ben’s sadness after the loss of his beloved bicycle.

Escoffier, Michael. A Mammoth in the Fridge. 2013. unp. Il. Matthieu Maudet. Gecko
Press, $16.95. 978-0-877579-50-9. Ages 3-6: Maudet uses 1960s’ flat four-color
illustrations and abundant white space to depict the French writer’s story of a
mammoth that jumps out of the family fridge to escape into a tree. The firefighters
leave in disgust, and the family’s father proclaims that it’s not their problem. No one
but the reader knows that the mammoth belongs to Elsa, the family’s sweet small
daughter, who rescues the mammoth after dark with a bunch of carrots before she
takes it back to her room. “Kitty” sleeps on the rug beside the unicorn, sea monster,
and dinosaur. A lovely absurd tale that young readers will love. P9Q9

Evans, Cordelia, adapt. Olivia and Grandma’s Visit. Il. Shane L. Johnson. 2013. unp.
Simon Spotlight, $3.99. 978-1-4424-4586-4. Ages 4-7: Ian Falconer’s famous piglet
has led to a television series of over 30 episodes. In this one, Olivia wants to sleep
in the same room with her grandmother during Grandma’s visit, but the snoring
drives her back to her own room. As always, Olivia is charming, and the illustrations
colorful, although lovers of the original will miss the great white spaces and the
simple black illustrations highlighted in red on the white background. Also missing is
Olivia’s strong feminist bent: I remember the photo of Eleanor Roosevelt behind her
bed. Yet this is charming, and young people who watch the series will also enjoy a
re-run of the episode. P8Q5

Farley, Brianne. Ike’s Incredible Ink. 2013. unp. Candlewick, $16.99. 978-0-76736-
6296-7. Ages 3-7: The hero, an inkblot complete with spindly legs, a dome head,
and a broad smile, is a blocked writer, following the pattern of procrastination. First
he must find a special pen. Then he has to do some cleaning before he makes his
own ink from mysterious ingredients such as the dark side of the moon, requiring his
building a rocket ship and leading the reader to the conclusion when he sits down to
write his story. Adults might become impatient with Ike’s roundabout path to writing,
but young readers will love the humor, such as leaving the lid off the blender when
he mixes his ink. Digital collage and black ink follow Ike through his almost solitary
experiences through the artistic process. P9Q9

Gerstein, Mordicai. The First Drawing. 2013. unp. Little, $17. 978-0-316-2047-1. Ages
5-8: This Caldecott Medalist used 30,000-year-old drawings in the the Chauvet-
Pont-d’Arc Cave of southern France for his narrative about a young boy with a pet
wolf who wanted to communicate to his family the horses, bears, lions, and
mammoths that he sees. Acrylic, colored-pencil, and pen-and-ink mixed media
depict the boy picking up a charred stick to make the creative illustrations.
Connecting the far past to the present is a boy with his dog looking for inspiration on
a large piece of paper. The pacing moves from peaceful to more and more frenetic
as the boy from long ago grows more excited in his ability to show everyone his
powerful images. P8Q9

Holub, Joan. Little Red Writing. Il. Melissa Sweet. 2013. unp. Chronicle, $16.99. 978-0-
8118-7869-2. Ages 5-8: All the pencils have been given a school assignment to write
a story about “Pencilvania” based on their novelty erasers, and Little Red chooses
bravery “because red is the color of courage.” From there she faces the dilemma of
what to write, with the help of 15 red words from the teacher. During her adventures,
the author gives hidden directions for storytelling that everyone can use. Sweet
combines whimsical calligraphy, pencil drawings, and watercolors to follow Little Red
as she foils the Wolf 3000 pencil sharpener. A solid book for teaching writing without
and discussing stories such as Little Red Riding. P9Q9

Pinkney, Jerry. The Tortoise & the Hare. 2013. unp. Little, $18. 978-0-316-18556-7.
Ages 3-6: In the same spirit as Pinkney’s earlier The Lion & the Mouse (2009), he
uses another Aesop for inspiration, this time the mantra “slow and steady” as the
creatures from the title set off across the Southwest desert to the inevitable
outcome. In this book, the bold-sized, muted earth-tones of the illustration are
enhanced by the personalities given the protagonists—an engineer’s cap and
kerchief on the tortoise and the checkered vest on the hare. The story begs rereading
to search for such details as the pocket watch hidden behind a rotten tree
trunk and the behavior of the many animals that accompany the duo. In spite of
tortoise’s victory, the hare remains friends. Another amazing book from a master
author/illustrator. P10Q10

Say, Allen. The Favorite Daughter. 2013. unp. Arthur A. Levine, $17.99. 978-0-545-
17662-0. Ages 5-8: Say returns with his gentle watercolors in a story about blonde
Yuriko, a biracial young girl who wants an “American name” after she is teased at
school after she takes a photograph of herself in a kimono for a school assignment.
Her father works to combine Japanese culture and Western reality by helping her
change a frustrating art project into a success—a replica of the Golden Gate bridge
from chopsticks and cotton for fog. Family photographs show Yuriko from a toddler
to a young woman. The divorced father and artist enjoys every part of his shared
custody and his part as coach through what could have been a boring art
assignment by taking the girl to all the places in San Francisco that she loves.
Almost entirely told through dialog between father and daughter, the story
demonstrates cultural pride, self-esteem, and problem-solving. P7Q9

Sullivan, Mary. Ball. 2013. unp. Houghton Mifflin, $12.99. 978-0-547-75936-4. Ages 3-6:
Nothing comes much closer to the definition of “joy” than a dog chasing a ball. This
almost wordless book, with “Ball” the only term throughout the narrative, follows the
dog from playing in the morning with its curly-headed owner through the day’s
dreams. In every subdued pencil and pale digitally-colored illustration accented by
the bright red ball, Sullivan’s debut picture book demonstrates boredom and singlemindedness
of the plump pooch with the drippy snout as language bubbles with
changing size, typeface, and punctuation accompany shifting facial expressions and
body language identifying frustration, disappointment, boredom, and euphoria to
show a great variety of emotions.

Timmers, Leo. Bang. 2013. unp. Gecko Press, $17.95. 978-1-877579-18-9. Ages 3+:
The entire book is a series of fender-benders beginning with a deer in a bowler hat
driving into a dustbin and throwing his load of books into it. The force of ensuing
collisions always throws the load forward—chickens in a red jalopy followed by the
giraffe’s new clothing that then dress the chickens. Only the word “bang” is repeated
throughout the book except for the final “eeeeeeeeeeeeee,” but the details of the pig
honking a klaxon and the long scarf around the giraffe’s neck speak volumes. The
final touch is the stack of paint cans driven by a gecko that creates the impetus for
the quadruple foldout showing all eight collisions heightened by the paint’s color—
some of it rainbowed. Between each collision is a double spread of the word “Bang!”
circled by the object featured in the next complication. No injury to people or major
damage, just hilarity. P9Q9

Van Hout, Mies. Friends. 2013. unp. Lemniscaat, $17.95. 978-1-935-95423-1. Ages 3-6:
In the same manner as Happy, childlike jewel-like scratching against a black
background show the diversity of friendship through pairs of different creatures
beginning with “play” illustrated by a yellow doggy being and a turquoise horned
monkey grin at each other. Not all friendship is positive: “bore” leads to “tease” and
moves on to “fight” before the two monsters reconcile. In “trust,” a very small
creatures balancing on the nose of the snout of a very large creature possessing
many teeth. Absolutely exquisite. P9Q10

Willems, Mo. That Is Not a Good Idea! 2013. unp. Balzer + Bray, $17.99. 978-0-06-
220309-0. Ages 3-7: Using the dialog framed in a black background of a silent movie
motif, this repetitive book features the villainous fox in a top hat and the innocent
goose in a blue scarf. As the fox lures the duck into the “deep, dark woods,” the six
yellow goslings in the audience shout a version of “That is not a good idea!” Great
for reading aloud because of the bold lines and the minimal text as well, this can
lead to discussions of fairy-tale and fable styles. The twist at the end, showing that
the fox was the pursued (for a bit of soup) and not the pursuer, creates delight in
those who love the fractured fable. P9Q8

Graphic Narratives
Bolton, Chris A. Smash: Trial by Fire. Il. Kyle Bolton. 2013. 146p. Candlewick, $18.99.
978-0-7636-5596-9. Ages 9-12: A 9-year-old boy, unexpectedly given the
superpowers of his beloved superhero through a bizarre accident, still keeps the
personality of his age with fear of heights and refusal to accept help—until he learns
that he has no choice if he’s going to save the town. Readers will delight in watching
Andrew develop his skills in exciting cartons while maturing after having been a
dorky kid in a homemade outfit because he’s just like them. He still has to go to
school, face parental rules, and cope with bullies. Yet there’s also the Magus,
archvillain who will do anything to get Andrew’s powers. With banter, action, and
easy-to-follow panels, Andrew (aka Smash) battles robots and other obstacles into
this debut’s ending that allows for sequels, especially with his admission that he
needs help from a retired superhero.

Craddock, Erik. Stone Rabbit: Robot Frenzy. 2013. 96p. Random House, $6.99. 978-0-
375-86913-6. Ages 7-10: A huge shark robot is the vicious opposition in Stone
Rabbit’s eighth graphic adventure after he and his friends Henri Tortoise and Andy
Wolf reprogram the robot rabbits to make friend Judy’s float terrifying instead of cute.
During the parade, one of the robots changes into the shark full of flame-throwerbearing
robotic teddy bears and attack everyone watching the parade. As always in
the series, the story is goofy, the cartoons colorful, and the ending satisfying. P9Q8

Hinds, Gareth, adapt. Romeo and Juliet. 2013. 134p. Candlewick, $12.99. 978-0-7636-
6807-5. Ages 13+: In this Shakespearian version, the artwork is fabulous, and the
wording is abridged from the original, resulting in a stunning visual experience with
hard to read text. The change from Italian character in this watercolor/digitally
illustrated graphic drama is intriguing: Juliet and the Capulets are east Indian, and
Romeo and the Montagues are African. The racial difference allows for easier
understanding of the rivalry between the two families. Fortunately, most young
people will know the story which makes the book easier to navigate, and the artistry
make it well worthwhile. P7Q8

Lieberman, AJ. The Silversix. Il. Darren Rawlings. 2013. 188p. Graphix, $10.99. 978-0-
545-37098-1. Ages 10-13: After her parents died with ten others in a shuttle
accident, 12-year-old Phoebe Hemingway lived on her own until she got caught and
put into child welfare. The orphanage is horrible, and she escapes with five others to
a verdant moon, a great contrast to the bleak Boston environment. There they
discover that their parents all died in the same explosion and that the company that
owned the shuttle needs to capture the children because they might find out too
much. Fun SF, quick dialog, non-stop action, and likable diverse characters make for
a good read from in the first youth graphic tale from the author and illustrator.
Colorful cartoons will also appeal to an older audience. P8Q8

Emerson, Sharon. Zebrafish. Il. Renee Kurilla. 2013. 117p. Atheneum, $19.99. 978-1-
4169-9708-5. Ages 11-14: After Vita discovers that a girl in her rock group Zebrafish
has leukemia, she decides to raise money and awareness for a children’s research
hospital. The book has slow pacing, largely focused on attempts to keep the band
functioning. The appearance of the graphics seem to be for a younger audience,
partly because of the lack of detail and the buggy or pinpoint eyes of the characters.
The characters, however, are older, in the first year of high school, making the
audience for the book uncertain. There is also a large number of characters who are
sometimes difficult to keep track of. More for devotees of graphic novels. P6Q6

Ottaviani, Jim. Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and
Birute Galdikas. Il. Maris Wicks. 2013. 133p. First Second, $19.99. 978-1-59643-
865-1. Ages 9-13: Like Feynman, this informational book presents science in
humorous graphic format that shows the necessary patience and isolation to make
discoveries. All three subjects in the book were employed by Louis Leakey because
he believed that women, with their nonthreatening nature, did a better job observing
primates. Highlights of these women’s accomplishments, as well as their diverse
personal and professional lives, are set against the depiction of the African
wilderness. An epilogue treats Fossey’s unsolved murder and suggests that it came
from her conflict with poachers. Goodall’s account of her childhood makes this
accessible to younger readers, and the other two can be very funny in their personal
stories. This book is a great introduction to more in-depth study of these three
women. P7Q9

Phelan, Matt. Bluffton. 2013. 223p. Candlewick, $22.99. 978-0-7636-5079-7. Ages 9-13:
Taking a very different tone from the darker graphic novel The Storm in the Barn,
Phelan sets his stage decades earlier in a small resort town on Lake Michigan where
Buster Keaton summers with his family and crew. Protagonist Henry delights in the
excitement that the vaudeville star—later to become a comic figure in silent
movies—brings to the rather drab life of the early twentieth century. Pastel
watercolor panels show Buster’s deadpan look and stunts (he was known as the
“Human Mop”) while some of the vignettes hint at problems such as Buster’s father’s
alcoholism and the police pursuit of the family because of Buster’s nontraditional
childhood. Henry’s mild sense of envy leads him to participate in the local show
business scene 20 years later as shown in the epilog. The author uses the Actors’
Colony at Bluffton for inspiration in this graphic novel about the intersection of
seemingly ordinary and glamorous show life. P7Q9

TenNapel, Doug. Tommysaurus Rex. 2013. 138p. Graphix, $10.99. 978-0-545-48383-4.
Ages 9-13: The traditional story of boy and dog finds a twist in this tale after the dog
dies and is resurrected as a tyrannosaurus rex, first in a miniseries through Image in
2004 and then as another collection in 2008. The latest version has been recolored.
Shy Ely has golden retriever Tommy as his faithful companion until the dog gets run
over by a car. Traumatized, Ely is sent to Granpa’s farm where he discovers Tommy
reincarnated into a T-Rex in a cave but has to cope with bully Randy. This graphic
novel is simpler and more compassionate than TenNapel’s Ghostpolis and Bad
Island, possibly because it is actually an earlier work.

Castor, H.M. VIII. 2013. 422p. Simon & Schuster, $17.99. 978-1-4424-7418-5. Ages 14-
17: Young people who know anything about England’s Henry VIII might know that he
had six wives and beheaded two of them. The famous court painter Hans Holbein
depicted him as fat and mean. Yet before he became this morally corrupt monster,
he was a handsome athlete who tried—and failed—to earn his father’s love. As
Castor explored the transition from one to the other, she called him “Hal” to separate
the idea from the stereotype as she tells about his pain following the death of his
older brother who should have been the king instead of Henry. The first person
narrative describes how his sensitivity was crushed at an early age by a hostile
father, uncaring mother, and hateful grandmother so that his entire goal was to take
back France to put under English rule. Throughout his life he dealt with treachery,
real and imagined, and focused only on bearing a male son, changing religious
beliefs and destroying five women in the process. The heavy superstition of the
sixteenth century is clear as Hal continually sees the ghost of a dead boy, possibly
that of his uncle supposedly killed in the Tower as a child, and firmly believes that he
is truly God’s Chosen as the king. This novel is historical fiction for youth at its
richest. P6Q9

Gensler, Sonia. The Dark Between. 2013. 344p. Knopf, $16.99. 978-0-375-86702-6.
Ages 14-16: The author of The Revenant stays with the paranormal but moves her
action to spiritualism at the turn of the twentieth century in Cambridge. Three very
unlike teens—illegitimate Kate, frail Elsie, and skeptical Asher—solve the murders of
the dead bodies piling up around them. The investigation into the charlatan mediums
sets the tone as Kate has actually pretended to be one of these apparitions at
seances and Elsie actually sees them. The danger of intrigue and paranormal mix
with romance as Elsie fixes her sights on the wrong person and Asher fixes his eyes
on Elsie.

Morris, Paula. Unbroken: A Ruined Novel. 2013. 291p. Point/Scholastic, $17.99. 978-0-
545-41641-2. Ages 13-16: In the sequel to Ruined, Rebecca Brown returns to visit
New Orleans where she can see the ghosts and helps them find a resolution to their
death. Handsome Frank had found her in New York before she left and asked for
her help in finding a locket. As in the earlier book, a boy in New Orleans tries to
block Rebecca to the point of trying to kill her as she enlists friend Ling, who has
gone on the visit with her, to rescue the locket and allow Frank to rest at peace. The
plot and events are a bit overdone, but the details of the city and surrounding area
are well-done. Rebecca’s love interest, another resident of New Orleans, has a
smaller part in this book, but Morris fills in enough back information for Rebecca to
satisfy readers who begin with this book. P8Q7

Ross, Elizabeth. Belle Epoque: A Novel of Beauty and Betrayal. 2013. 327p. Delacorte,
$17.99. 978-0-385-74146-0. Ages 12-15: In the late nineteenth century, 16-year-old
Maude runs away from her rural home in France to escape being married off to an
old abusive man but finds herself starving because she cannot find a job. Her only
opportunity seems to become a repoussoir, plain or ugly women hired to make
wealthy women look more beautiful. In Maude’s case, she is hired to steer a
debutante, Isabelle, into a successful engagement, but Isabelle thinks that Maude is
just a good friend. To make the plot more complex, rebellious Isabelle doesn’t want
marriage; she wants to attend a university. The unusual basis for the plot, the
historical detail, the class war, the conflicts that develop the characters, and the bits
of romance as Maude finds herself caught up in her fantasy of belonging make this
book a fascinating read. Although the ending may seem contrived, it is satisfying.

Ruby, Lois. Rebel Spirits. 2013. 292p. Point/Scholastic, $17.99. 978-0-545-42623-7.
Ages 13-16: Resentful about her forced move to Gettysburg from Philadelphia, 16-
year-old Lori Chase doesn’t mind her new life in their bed and breakfast after she
meets the ghost of a Union soldier who 150 years earlier. The action in the book
comes from Lori’s hiding her relationship as she tries to help him solve the mystery
of his death despite family feuds, treason, and a missing ring owned by Abraham
Lincoln. They have only a few days for the task before the July 3 deadline when he
disappears for a year. Another love interest with Evan, the teen groundskeeper, and
the ever present elderly housekeeping couple expand the collection of characters.
The author is evidently not aware of how much work a B&B requires, and the book is
mysteriously named “rebel” although the soldier is from the Union side, but romance
lovers will enjoy the excitement and love interests. P7Q7

Voigt, Cynthia. Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things. Il. Jacopo Bruno. 2013. 366p.
Knopf, $18.99. 978-0-307-97681-9. Ages 10-14: The mysterious disappearance of
Max’s parents sets into motion the events of the novel as he help earn a living
because he stays with his librarian grandmother while finding his parents. The
Newbery winner author has established a fascinating set of characters, especially
the 12-year-old protagonist who is able to play different roles with the help of
costumes that his theatrical parents left when they supposedly went to maharajah to
start a theater. Deciding to advertise himself as a “solutioneer,” Max solves problems
by finding a lost dog or valuable spoon. His solutions are not simple: for example,
the lost dog doesn’t want to be found, and he doesn’t want to return the animal to an
abusive owner. Each answer, however, is satisfying in this first of a planned trilogy.
Detailed black and white illustrations extend the novel’s setting at the turn of the
twentieth century. Voigt writes well about children searching for parents as shown in
her series beginning with the classic Homecoming, published over 30 years ago.

Weyn, Suzanne. Dr. Frankenstein’s Daughters. 2013. 250p. Scholastic, $17.99. 978-0-
545-42533-9. Ages 13-16: This extension of the Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, first
published in 1818, uses alternating journal entries from twins Giselle and Ingrid,
supposedly the orphans of Victor Frankenstein who created the mythic monster. The
opposite nature of the twins—Giselle cares only about clothes and society while
Ingrid reads her father’s science journals—plays well in their inherited castle set in
the damp Orkney Islands off the coast of Scotland. The necessary mysterious
adventures and romance occur as Giselle sleepwalks and Ingrid falls in love with a
neighbor, young Lieutenant Walter Hammersmith, who suffers from “a disease of the
nervous system.” Together they try to solve the mystery of the murders in the area.
Wildly improbable but an exciting roller-coaster ride. P8Q7

Book Reviews
Jo Train
Thomas, Joyce Carol. In the Land of Milk and Honey. 2012. 32p. Harper Collins
Publishers, $16.99. ISBN: 978-0-06-025383-7. Ages 4-8, P7Q8
This poetic true story is about a girl who travels to California from Oklahoma in 1948.
The artwork is warm and inviting. I can see this book in a primary library. This book
also includes an Author’s Note where she describes her journey and what brought her
family to California.

Hughes, Langston. Lullaby: For a Black Mother. 2013. 30p. Harcourt Children’s
Books, $16.99. ISBN: 978-0547-362656. Ages 4-8, P8Q8
This beautiful book incorporates Langston Hughes poem with Sean Qualls illustrations.
This book could be used in a poetry unit or for Black History month. This book also
includes a note about the poet, where it gives a brief history of Langston Hughes. It
also a section for further reading.

Grey, Mini. Toys in Space. 2012. 32p. Alfred A. Knopf, $16.99. ISBN: 978-0-307-
97812-7. Ages 4-7, P6Q6
This is the second Mini Grey book that I have picked up and didn’t like. The first was
Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey. In this adventure the dolls make believe that
they go to space, where they meet an alien that has lost his toy. I love the artwork of
the book, but the story line was weak.

Yankovic, Al. My New Teacher and Me! 2013. 34p. Harper Collins Publishers, $17.99.
ISBN: 978-0-06-219203-5. Ages 4-8, P7Q8
This is a great book for teachers to use at the beginning of the year. I can see a writing
prompt that would follow this book, “What do you want to learn this year?” I loved the
artwork in this book and the creative mind of Billy. I have had students who would tell
stories like Billy and I would question, “Is this true?”

Robinson, Sharon. Jackie Robinson: American Hero 2013. 48p. Scholastic Inc.,
$4.99. ISBN: 978-0-545-54006-3. Ages 8 and up, P7Q7
This informative book was written by Jackie’s daughter Sharon. It not only describes her
father’s role in baseball history, but also his role in the civil rights movement. Jackie
was an incredible athlete that was not just good at baseball, but lettered at UCLA in
football, basketball, track, and of course baseball. This is a great book for young
students to read that would like to learn more about that man that broke the color barrier
in baseball.

Norwich, Grace. I Am George Lucas[series] 2013. 127p. Scholastic Inc., $5.99.
ISBN: 978-0-545-53379-9. Ages 8 and up, P7Q8
My many Star Wars fans will love learning about George Lucas. This book covers from
childhood to present day. When George was young he loved to drive fast and listen to
loud music. Education didn’t matter to him until he was in a car crash that should have
taken his life. This turning point turned him around and he determined to get a degree
and make something of himself. This is another great “I Am” book to add to my

Gigliotti, Jim. I Am Roberto Clemente [series] 2013. 127p. Scholastic Inc., $5.99.
ISBN: 978-0-545-53381-2. Ages 8 and up, P7Q8
This “I Am” book is about baseball hall of famed, Roberto Clemente. Roberto Clemente
was baseballs first major league Latino playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was an
awesome baseball player, but also a humanitarian. He died in 1972 in a plane crash
that was traveling to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. I love how
these books include an introduction told in first person, important people in the person’s
life, timeline, interesting facts and a glossary of vocabulary words.

Stout, Glenn. Good Sports: From Hardships to Championships. 2013. 127p.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $5.99. ISBN: 978-0-547-88735-7. Ages 8 and up, P7Q7
This is a great nonfiction book about five baseball players who have persevered through
baseball. This would be a great resource for students wanting to learn more about
Babe Ruth, Jimmy Piersall, Ron LeFlore, Joe Torre, and Torii Hunter. These men were
able to turn around their lives and become champions. This book would be great for a
fifth grade classroom or a library.

Rex, Michael. Icky Ricky: Toilet Paper Mummy.[series] 2013. 121p. Random House,
$4.99. ISBN: 978-0-307-93167-2. Grades 1 and 2, P8Q6

Rex, Michael. Icky Ricky: The End of the World. [series] 2013. 121p. Random House,
$4.99. ISBN: 978-0-307-93167-2. Grades 1 and 2, P8Q6
Please, oh please, may I never have an Icky Ricky in my classroom. This kid would put anyone into an early retirement. These books would be perfect for a first or second grade library. Random stories and happenings in Icky Ricky’s life include gluing sleeping bags to the ceiling with string, peanut butter, and catsup to writing his homework on slices of cheese.

Holt, Christopher. The Last Dogs: The Vanishing. [series] 2012 369p. Little, Brown
and Company, $6.99. ISBN: 978-0-316-20004-2, Grades 4 and 5, P8Q7
Book one of the last dogs series starts with Max, a yellow lab, who is determined to find
his humans. All of the humans have disappeared and Max and his friends go on a quest
to find them. I liked this book better than the Erin Hunter animal series. Christopher
Holt’s writing is engaging and suspenseful. This book will definitely be a favorite among
my fifth graders and a good edition to any library.

Sullivan, Laura L. Delusion. 2012. 341p. Harcourt, $16.99. ISBN: 978-0-547-68836-
7, High School, P7Q7
This book is about two girls who are from a family of Magicians, but when the war starts
they are sent out to the country to live. They find themselves in a boring town that
doesn’t know that they’re being controlled by real magicians. The girls make it their
mission to convince the people of the town and the magicians to fight against the Nazi’s
and protect their town from invasion. I would recommend this book for the high school
library. There are times when content is more appropriate at the high school level.
There are references to rolling in the hay and using their “boobs” to win a war.

Oliver, Lin and Baker, Theo The Shadow Mask. [series] 2013 363p. Scholastic
Press, $16.99. ISBN: 978-0-545-19694-9, Grade 5 and up, P8Q7
This is a sequel to Sound Bender. Leo is having issues with his sound bending gift, but
hopes his abilities will save him from his Uncle sending him away to another school. He
has to keep his ability a secret from his uncle, but he finds it difficult to conceal his ever
changing power. His worst fear comes true when his uncle figures out Leo’s secret. This
is a great second book to the series and my fifth graders will be happy to finally have
the next book. This is not a stand alone book and I would recommend that new readers
start with book one, Sound Bender.

Ferris, Jean. Thrice Upon a Marigold: A Royal Kidnapping Caper. [series] 2013 250p.
Harcourt, $16.99. ISBN: 978-0-547-73846-8, Grade 4 and up, P7Q7
This is the third book in the trilogy, and I now have to buy book one and two. King
Christian and Queen Marigold have a new baby girl, Princess Poppy. She is kidnapped
by two men seeking revenge. The heroes of the book are the villain’s children that
despise the father’s evil ways. This book is a great book to teach about judgments,
friendships, and trust.

Willner-Pardo, Gina. Prettiest Doll 2012. 234p. Harcourt, $16.99. ISBN: 978-0-547-
68170-2, Grade 6 and up, P7Q7
I usually tell my students to not give up on a book until they have read 20 pages. This
book took 40 pages. I was very close to giving up, but I am glad that I didn’t. Liv is a
pageant doll. Her mother works two jobs to keep her in the pageant industry, but 13
year old Liv is lost in a world that only thinks of her as a pretty doll. In the end she finds
her confidence to stand up to her mama and learns that she is more than just a pretty

Yolen, Jane. Curse of the Thirteenth Fey: The True Tale of Sleeping Beauty 2012.
290p. Philomel Books, $16.99. ISBN: 978-0-399-25664-6, Grade 5 and up, P7Q7
The true tale of sleeping beauty is not so much about sleeping beauty, but about the fey
that does her bidding. Gorse is the thirteenth fey. She is clumsy, but forever told she is
“the one” that will save the family from the curse of the bidding. This is a great story
about courage, family, and love. If you are looking for a story about sleeping beauty,
this is not your story. This will make a great edition to an intermediate library.

Paratore, Coleen. A Pearl Among Princes 2009. 195p. Penguin Group, $16.99.
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3301-5, Grade 5 and up, P8Q7
Gracepearl lives on the island of Miramore. She feels a calling to leave the island, but
knows that in order to do that she must marry a prince. Her heart belongs to the stable
boy and she knows that she will have to make a choice: true love or her calling. In the
end of the book she gets both, which is a predictable story. Did not enjoy the main
character giggling all the time, but I was able to look past this and enjoy the story.

Nix, Garth and Williams, Sean. Trouble Twisters: The Mystery.[series] 2013. 296p.
Scholastic Press, $16.99. ISBN: 978-0-545-25899-9, Grade 4 and up, P7Q7
Twins Jack and Jaide have to battle Evil yet again! With their grandmother in the
hospital and the twins turn to their father for help. Surprise! Dad has an evil twin and
pretends to be their father, but in the end the twins save the day. My students
recommend that these books are not read at night. Too scary, but they love them
none- the-less.

Bach, Shelby. The Ever Afters: Of Witches and Wind. [series] 2013. 386p. Simon
and Schuster, $15.99. ISBN: 978-1-4424-3149-2, Grade 3 and up. P8Q7
My first Ever After book. This series doesn’t have to be read in order, but once you
read one…then you will want to read the others. The concept for the book is a lot like
Percy Jackson’s demigods. Instead of demigods, story book characters. Once you
are found, then you must attend school to figure out what story book character you will
be. Rory and her friends have to face the Snow Queen and save the school. This was
a wonderful book and I can see my students wanting more.

Williams-Garcia, Rita. P.S. Be Eleven [series] 2013. 274p. Harper Collins, $16.99.
ISBN: 978-0-06-193862-7, Grade 3 and up. P8Q8
Three sisters find themselves back in Brooklyn where life is quickly changing.
Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern’s Uncle comes back from the Vietnam War, their dad gets
married, and Big Ma moves back home. This book takes place in the late 1960’s
where the Jackson 5 makes their debut and the Black Panthers want a change. This is
a wonderful sequel to One Crazy Summer. A great historical fiction novel for this time
period and would be a wonderful book to add to my collection.

Goelman, Ari. The Path of Names. 2013. 339p. Arthur A Levine, $16.99. ISBN:978-
0-545-47430-6, Grade 4 and up. P7Q7
13 year old Dahlia wants to go to Magic camp, but instead is sent to Jewish camp.
There she uncovers a mystery and the 72nd name of God. I was confused at times in
this book, but my knowledge of the Jewish religion is limited. I’m not sure if students
would get “hooked” by this book. The front cover could be better and more appealing to
the upper grades.

Columbus, Chris and Vizzini, Ned. House of Secrets. 2013. 490p. Harper Collins,
$17.99. ISBN: 978-0-06-219246-2, Grade 4 and up. P8Q8
The three Walker children move into their new home after the dad’s mysterious illness.
The house is possessed by a bloodthirsty witch who wants the Walkers to find a book
that will make her whole and rule the world. In the end, the Walkers are able to defeat
the witch and get back to their parents. This action packed book will be a great edition
to any library. This will be the next series that my students will fight over.

Cole, Steve. Z-Apocalypse. [series] 2012. 278p. Philomel Books, $16.99. ISBN: 978-
0-399-25255-6, Grade 4 and up. P8Q7.
Fans of dinosaurs and video games will love this series. I have a waiting list in my
classroom for these books. Adam’s dad has created a virtual reality program that was
bought by Geneflow. Geneflow then created hyper-evolved dinosaurs that are program
to kill humans. Adam finds a way to stop Geneflow and live another day.

Thompson, J.E. The Girl From Felony Bay. 2013. 375p. Walden Pond Press, $16.99.
ISBN: 978-0-06-210446-5, Grade 3 and up. P7Q7
After Abbey’s father’s accident, she is forced to live with her alcoholic Uncle Charlie.
Uncle Charlie is the reason that her father is in a coma and facing criminal charges.
Abbey exposes her uncle, makes a new friend, and stands up to a bully. This is a
wonderful book on perseverance, friendship, and love.

Book Review September 2013 – Carol Bernardi
Egan, Tim, Dodsworth in Tokyo, Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Boston. 2013,
unp. $14.00, ISBN:978-0-547-87745-7, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 8,
Dodsworth and his friend duck have been all over the world together so it is now time to
visit Tokyo, Japan. Duck has promised to be on his best behavior and Dodsworth is
going to hold him to it. A young Japanese girl leaves behind a toy that is found by Duck
and Dodsworth they are determined to return it to her. The two take tours where Duck
tries to be good but always in some way goofs up. The tour introduces the reader to the
culture, historical places and Japanese words. By the end of the story they have found
the young girl, in a huge crowd who owns the toy. The illustrations are bright colors of
ink and watercolor that showcase these two unique friends on their visit to Japan.

Graff, Lisa, A tangle of knots, Philomel Books, New York, 2013, 233 pgs, $16.99,
ISBN:978-0-399-25517-5, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 9,
Cady, is an eleven year-old orphan who has a special talent for baking cakes. She
dreams of the day that her special person will find her and adopt her. She has already
had six parent visits, but she is always returned no matter how hard she tries. The story
is told by many of the characters, which resound in all of their dreams, wants, failures
and finally success. This is a slightly magical world where most people find they have
one special gift.

Horwoitz, Anthony, Oblivion, Scholastic Press, New York, 2013, 590 pgs. ISBN:978-0-
439-68004-2, $17.99,ISBN:978-0-439-68004-2, Gr. 8+, P 8, Q 8,
Oblivion is the fifth and final book in the Gatekeepers series. It was a long book and had
extremely small font making the book hard to read. Do I see this as a draw back to the
book no, as again Anthony Horowitz captured my attention from the first page. Other
readers however may not appreciate it. There are alternating chapters in which each of
the gatekeepers tells parts of the story. There are plot twists from the first chapter to
end which in the last few pages the reader is again given a very surprising plot twist.
This book is written for older students.

Patterson, Valerie, Operation Oleander, Clarion Books, Boston, 2013, 187 pgs. $16.99,
ISBN:978-0-547-24437-2, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 8,
There have been several books written about the United States military involvement in
Afghanistan. This is one of the best books that I have read about the effects of this war
on the families that are left behind. Jess and her family live on a military base along with
her friends Meriwether and Sam. Jess is in the ninth grade and has started to collect
donations for an orphanage in Kabul. Adopted herself, Jess keeps collecting items but
Meriwether is tiring of doing it. The orphanage is bombed in Kabul killing Meriwether’s
mother and wounding Jess’s father. The dynamics of the war are looked at in the pages
of this book and they affect the families that are left behind. The characters in the story
at times seemed flat to me and I would like to have them developed more.

Paulsen, Gary, Vote: the theory, practice, and destructive properties of politics, Wendy
Lamb Books, New York, 2013, 131 pgs. $12.99, ISBN:978-0-385-74228-3, Gr. 5+, P 8,
Q 8,
Kevin Spencer is determined to become class president just to get the attention of a girl.
She is backing Cole, a handsome football player. A closer look into the voting strategies
of high school age students, of course there has to be plot changes that for Kevin
always seems to be predictable and spell doom for him. This is the fourth book in a
series and the ending of the story brought a smile to my face.

Stohl, Margaret, Icons, Little, Brown and Company, New York, 2013. 428 pgs. $18.00,
ISBN:978-0-316-20518-4, Gr. 7+, P 8, Q 8,
Aliens have attacked the Earth and in one day billions of people die. This dystopia novel
set in California where the survivors of Earth who work for a corrupt government down
in the Hole. The worlds hope centers on four children the “Icons” who powers that now
at the age of seventeen are just awakening. The government has been searching for
them for years and now all together it is to their group that will bring the aliens down.
This fast paced novel will appeal to older students.

Wissinger, Tamera, Gone fishing, illustrated by Matthew Cordell, Houghton Mifflin,
Bostn, 2013, 120 pgs. $15.99, ISBN:978-0-547-82011-8, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 8,
What’s a man, er boy, to do when his little sister decides to go fishing too. Nine year old
Sammy and his father have gone fishing together and all of this is about to change.
Written in verse the sibling rivalry that takes place between nine year-old Sammy and
his sister Lucy will have the reader howling with laughter. The excitement of the day,
that Sammy feels to his disappointment are featured against Lucy’s excitement of going
fishing. The illustrations are pen, ink and watercolor that add humor of the different
situations that occur during this one day fishing adventure. At the end of the book the
different forms of poetry and terminology are included. If any teacher is looking for a
book to read aloud or to introduce a poetry unit this is the book for them.

Picture Books,
Heos, Bridget, Mustache baby, illus. Joy Ang, Clarion Books, New York, 2013, 38 pgs.
$16.99, ISBN:978-0-547-77357-5,
When Baby Billy, was born his family noticed the “mustache” right away. The family
exclaimed what does this mean and they are told: “They will have to wait and see if he
will be a good-guy mustache or a bad-guy mustache.” He starts out as a good-guy but
as the mustache their worst fears are realized he becomes a bad-guy. Thrown into jail,
a playpen, his mother rescues him and he finally meets someone he can relate too. The
illustrations are digitally created and portray the antics of Baby Billy.

Olshan, Mathew, The mighty Lalouche, illus. Sophie, Blackall, Random House
Children’s Books, New York, 2013, unp. $17.00, ISBN:978-0-375-86225-0, Gr. 3+, P 8,
Q 8,
I believe we all have dreams and we wait for the time and opportunity to have them
happen. The postman Lalouche loves his job and he is good at it. One day after years
of being a postman he losses his job to a car that is to faster than someone who walks.
What is he to do, he knows he has to find a job and seeing a poster for a boxer that is
what he decides to do. Lalouche, is a tall skinny little man and the boxers are large and
powerfully built men. They all laugh at him, but once in the ring he wins that bout and
every one after that. But he dreams of being a postman again and when the car doesn’t
work out he is offered his dream job back. The illustrations are ink and watercolor on
arches hot press paper that are arranged in layers. They show Lalouche determination
as a boxer and a postman.

Paquette, Ammi-Joan, Ghost in the house, illus. Adam Record, Candlewick Press,
Somerville. Massachusetts, 2013, unp. $15.99, ISBN:978-0-7636-5529-9, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q
Boo! Is the first word that a little ghosts hears in the creepy haunted house. Then a
groan is heard in the creepy haunted house and out comes a mummy. Each new sound
introduces a new character who joins the group in the creepy haunted house. “The
creepy haunted house” is a phrase that is repeated through the story. The digitally
created illustrations show the growing collection as they creep about the house. If you
are looking for a Halloween book to read aloud this would be a great book to read

Sauer, Tammi, Nugget & Fang : friends forever – or snack time? Illus. Michael Slack,
Harcourt Children’s Books, Boston, 2013, unp. $16.99, ISBN:978-0-547-85285-0, Gr. 2
+, P 8, Q 8,
Nugget, a minnow, and Fang, a shark, are best friends that swim every where together.
The day comes that Nugget has to go to the Mini Minnow School and the friendship
changes. Minnow learns that Fang the SHARK has minnows for super, lunch and
breakfast. Fang, is determined that he will win Nuggets friendship back. Hilarious bright
colored illustrations show that lengths that Fang will go to get Nugget back as a friend.
This would be a great book to read aloud to younger schools. It could also great to be
used when talking about what a “friend is.”

Spellman, David and Lutz, Lisa, How to negotiate every thing. Illus. Jaime Temairik,
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, New York, 2012, unp, $16.99, ISBN:978-
1-4424-5119-3, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 9,
A young child realizes that crying and throwing a fit will not get him what he wants.
Instead he learns to be rational, to negotiate, to deal, manage his expectations, not to
overreach his goals, but to be persistent, and by doing all this he can reach his goal. I
also think that this could be used for new parents in dealing with their children. So is this
a manual for children or parents, it is both. The color illustrations are digitally rendered
featuring a young boy as he comes to understand how to get what he wants.

Yolen, Jane, Romping monsters, stomping monsters, illus. Kelly Murphy, Candlewick
Press, Somerville, Massachusetts, 2013, unp. $14.99, ISBN:978-0-7636-5727-7, Gr. 1+,
P 8, Q 8,
Monsters of all sizes and shapes while in the cities common park, go through a variety
of activities and are presented with very simple words that identify each activity. My
favorite was the “monsters in three-legged races fall upon their monster faces.” The
message that came through was though we are different we do many things the same.
These frolicking monsters are illustrated using oil, acrylic and gel medium on paper.

Arlon, Penelope, and Gordon-Harris, Tory, Reptiles, Scholastic, New York, 2013, 80
pgs. glossary, index, $12.99, ISBN:978-0-545-50509-3, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 8,
Arlon, Penelope, and Gordon-Harris, Tory, Weather, Scholastic, New York, 2013, 80
pgs, glossary, index, $12.99, ISBN:978-0-545-50516-1, Gr. 4+, P 8, Q 8,
Both of theses books are part of a new series “ Scholastic discover more.” The use of
up to date colored pictures adds to the appeal of these books. The author has also used
personal accounts, diagrams, text boxes and maps to teach the students about the
components of weather. Each book is also web based where they have to supply a
password to access the page. I tried this but the web page had to down loaded to their
computer. This is not allowed on our schools computers, but they can access it from a
home computer.
The reptile book book uses the same format, there are no personal accounts. They
author has chosen instead to include the habitat, types of different reptiles, and how
they protect themselves. It to has a web page and password included for further
Both books are a starting place for students they will have to use other books for a more
in-depth study of both topics.

Fenton, Corrine, Queenie: one elephant’s story, illus. Peter Goudthorpe, Candlewick
Press, Somerville, Massachusetts, 2013, unp. $16.99. ISBN:978-0-7636-6375-9, Gr. 3+,
P 8, Q 8,
Queenie was a young baby elephant living in India when she was captured and taken to
a zoo in Melbourne, Australia. At the age of 9 she was taught to carry people on her
back and did so for the next 40 years. She became an icon for the zoo with memorabilia
be sold with her image upon it. When World War II broke food became rationed and
there was not enough to feed the beloved Queenie, this led to her having to be put to
sleep. This remarkable elephant’s life is shown through the illustrations that are acrylic
paintings. This book is sure to spark discussions of how animals are treated in the

Goldstone, Bruce, That’s a possibility! A book about what might happen, Henry Holt and
Company, New York, 2013, 32 pgs. $16.99, ISBN:978-0-8050-8998-1, Gr. 3+, P 7, Q 8,
Probability was a hard math concept for me in the third or fourth grade reading this book
would have me understand the concept better. This brightly colored illustrated book
makes this concept so much easier to understand. By using a variety of manipulatives
and questions that are aimed at the reader the reader is presented a fun and
entertaining way to understand probability.

Krull, Kathleen and Brewer, Paul, The Beatles were fab (and they were funny), Harcourt
Children’s Books, Boston, 2013, unp. $16.99, ISBN:978-0-547-520991-4, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q
The text is easy to read and understand and shows the humor that this group had. The
author discusses things: such as their first fan clubs, performing before the queen,
coming to America for the first time and hitting big here. The illustrations of ink and
acrylic show this wonderful singing group from their rise to stardom to end of what was
to become know as Beatlemania. A time line at the end of the book gives important
dates for the Beattle.

Markel, Michelle, Brave girl : Clara and the Shirtwaist Maker’s Strike of 1909, illus.
Melissa Sweet, HarperCollins children’s Books, New York, 2013, unp,$17.99,
ISBN:978-0-180442-7, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 8,
Clara Lemlich and her family came to America from Europe in the 1903. While Clara’s
father was unable to obtain work she was. She worked in a shirt waist factory with three
hundred other women who worked in deplorable conditions. Deductions were made to
their pay if they got blood on the items they were sewing or if they were late to work.
Clara talked to some women and they agreed to strike with her. The first attempts didn’t
work but when Clara spoke at a union meeting where tens of thousands of women
agreed to strike. This strike became known as the Shirt Waist Factory Strike of 1909.
The illustrations show this diminutive young woman’s determination to change the
working women’s working conditions and their pay.. The illustrations are done in water
color and different media (collages, newspapers and sewn materials)

Stanbridge, Joanne, The extraordinary music of Mr. Ives : the true story of a famous
American composer, Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Boston, 2012,unp.$16.99,
ISBN:978-0-547-23866-1, Gr. 3+, P 7, Q 8,
The music of Mr. Ives became popular 13 years after his death. He was a quite man He
was an unassuming man who went to work every day where he add and subtracted
figures. Walking to work every day this quite man heard the sounds around the streets
and from them he developed his music. At night in the quietness of his home he would
write his music down. There was passenger ship the Lusitania which was sunk and
affected Mr. Ives tremendously and also affected his music. There is an author’s note at
the end of the book that speaks of this in more detail. The illustrations which are mostly
of the people’s reaction to the sinking of the Lusitania are done in ink and water color.

First Thursday Book Reviews
October —JC
Burningham, John. Tug-of-war. Candlewick, 2012. Unpaged. ISBN 9780763665753
$16.99 Ages 3-6. P8Q8
Originally released in 1968, with story retold by Letta Schatz and illustrated by John
Burningham, a Nigerian folktale of the contest between the rabbit, the elephant, and the
hippopotamus, now has a story written by Burningham, reissued with his original
illustrations. Simple, vibrant, and lively illustrations bring the clever rabbit to a new
generation of readers. Highly recommended for preschool, elementary and public

Mahy, Margaret. Illustrated by Steven Kellogg. The green bath. Arthur A. Levine
Books (an imprint of Scholastic), 2013. Unpaged. $16.99 ISBN 9780545206679
Ages 4-6. P8Q8
Steven Kellogg’s exuberant illustrations pair with Margaret Mahy’s rollicking story of a
boy, a magic bathtub and their adventures with a sea serpent and a ship full of dirty
pirates, all in the time it takes for Sammy to get clean for his grandmother’s visit.
Recommended for public, preschool and kindergarten collections.

Young, Jessica. Illustrated by Catia Chien. My blue is happy. Candlewick, 2013.
Unpaged. ISBN 9780763651251 $15.99 Ages 4-7. P8Q8
A young girl finds her own interpretation of colors, linking them to emotions, and
comparing them to the meanings other people ascribe. Simple, engaging illustrations
pair the color discussed and the meanings assigned to each. Many books introduce
colors to children. Lots of them associate emotion with color, but this is the first book I
have seen which does both and then gives the child permission to choose her own
meaning for colors. This is a valuable resource–a good starting point for discussing
feelings as well as the psychology of color with young children. Highly recommended
for preschool, elementary and public libraries.

Easy Nonfiction
Huber, Raymond. Illustrated by Brian Lovelock. Flight of the honey bee. Includes
index. Candlewick Press, 2013. Unpaged. $16.99 ISBN 9780763667603 Ages 4-7.
New Zealand author and illustrator share facts about honeybees, following the first flight
of a worker bee as she leaves the hive and searches for flowers, then returns and
informs the other bees of the nectar using a locational dance. Vividly colored
illustrations show the bee’s-eye view, perfectly complementing this introduction to the
world of this important social insect. Highly recommended for public, preschool, and
elementary school libraries.

Juvenile Fiction
MacLachlan, Patricia. The truth of me: about a boy, his grandmother, and a very
good dog. Katherine Tegen Books (imprint of HarperCollins), 2013. 114 p. $16.99
ISBN 9780061998591 “Ages 6-10.” P7Q8
Robbie has two best friends—his dog, Ellie, and his grandmother, Maddy—and is
looking forward to spending the summer with his grandmother while his musician
parents are touring. Long summer days teaching Ellie to respect the forest animals,
combined with his grandmother’s stories about his mother, give Robbie the courage and
confidence to deal with his fears. MacLachlan, a Newbery-winning author, excels at
writing the quiet, psychological fiction of which this is an example. Recommended for
elementary and public libraries.

Miller-Lachmann, Lyn. Rogue. Nancy Paulsen Books (Penguin), 2013. 230p. ISBN
9780399162251 $16.99 Ages 12-16. P8Q9
Academically advanced, but unable to understand other people’s emotions, 13-year-old
Kiara is prone to temper tantrums—one of which gets her expelled when she attacks a
girl in the school cafeteria. Kiara identifies with Rogue, a comic book superhero villain
turned good, and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the characters and story. When a
new family moves in next door, Kiara tries to befriend the boy and his little brother. Her
father—now acting as a single parent while Kiara’s mother sings in far-off Montreal—
plays music with the boys’ father. Though her father fails to see it, Kiara discovers that
the new family is cooking methamphetamines. Told in the first person with little
emotional coloring, Kiara’s story pairs an excellent introduction to the world of a girl with
Asperger’s syndrome with an outsider’s view of BMX cycling, and a description of
children exposed to chemicals used in cooking methamphetamine. Includes a graphic
description of a house explosion and an attempted suicide. Very highly recommended
for middle school and public libraries.

Young adult fiction
Vande Velde, Vivian. Deadly pink. Harcourt, 2012. 276p. $16.99 ISBN
9780547738505 Ages 12-up. P8Q8
When her brilliant older sister hides inside a frilly virtual reality game intended for young
girls, Grace Pizzelli volunteers to go into the game in hopes that she can persuade
Emily to leave before she dies. Grace’s sarcastic wit and cleverness come up against
a virtual world that seems set against her rescue attempt and she must work to discover
Emily’s secrets while completing the quest in the limited time left to save her life.
Recommended for public, middle and high school libraries.

Whitney, Daisy. When you were here. Little, Brown, 2013. 261p. ISBN
9780316209748 Ages 14-up. P7Q6
Danny’s mother died of cancer just weeks before his high school graduation and Danny
uses the prescription drugs she left behind to help him cope with the worst of his grief.
Danny’s only companions are his ex-girlfriend Holland and his dog. When he receives a
letter from his mother’s best friend in Tokyo, Danny buys a plane ticket and leaves
everything behind. What he finds in Tokyo helps him resolve some of the grief over his
mother’s death—and ends his prescription drug abuse—but only talking with Holland
about his feelings can resolve the complexities of their relationship. That and the help
of Kana, a Japanese girl who becomes Danny’s friend. Danny is in many ways a
spoiled, rich, American teenager. He travels to Tokyo to find out why his mother
stopped taking her medication—and to find out who is responsible for that. The
descriptions of Japanese life and of Tokyo are worth the price of the book, despite a
largely unlikeable main character. Recommended for high school and public library
collections as an additional purchase.

Young adult nonfiction
Bascomb, Neal. The Nazi hunters: how a team of spies and survivors captured
the world’s most notorious Nazi. Includes bibliography, extensive source notes,
and index. Description from uncorrected proof. Arthur A. Levine (imprint of
Scholastic), 2013. [256p.] $16.99 ISBN 9780545430999 (jacketed hardcover) “Ages
12-up.” P7Q7
The exciting story of the worldwide hunt for Nazi war criminal, Adolf Eichmann, who,
though responsible for planning and implementing the Jewish Holocaust during World
War II, managed to evade capture and live anonymously in Buenos Aires for 15 years
following the war. This meticulously researched work echoes the author’s previous
book, Hunting Eichmann, now out of print. The author’s prose reminds me of Readers’
Digest condensed books—as though the material had been excerpted for young
readers. Nevertheless, this work brings to light information from the trial which exposed
the extent of the Nazi war against European Jews and seared that knowledge into the
world’s psyche. Highly recommended for public, middle and high school libraries.

Perkins, Mitali, editor. Open mic: riffs on life between cultures in ten voices.
Candlewick Press, 2013. 127 p. $15.99 ISBN 9780763658663 Ages 12-up. P8Q8
Ten authors of young adult works tell stories of growing up between cultures in America.
Combining fiction and nonfiction, the stories range from personal essays to humorous
riffs on race, from narrative poetry to Gene Luen Yang’s graphic explanation of the
problems with The Last Airbender movie. Each work uses humor and is written from
the perspective inside the “other” culture. Highly recommended for public, middle, and
high school library collections.

Carol Schramm, Siletz Public Library
October 2013 Reviews

Levine, Arthur A. Sarah S. Brannen, ill. The Very Beary Tooth Fairy. Scholastic
Press, 2013. $16.99. ISBN 9780439439664. Unp. Ages 3-5. P8Q8.
Zach is a good bear who listens to his mother. She tells him to stay away from
people because they are dangerous, but one day he wanders too close to a camp
site and overhears a family talking about a loose tooth and the tooth fairy. Zach has
a loose tooth too, and he is now concerned that the tooth fairy might be a person,
not a bear, and therefore someone to avoid. He tries to keep from losing his tooth,
but in the end, the tooth comes out and he encounters the tooth fairy. The
illustrations are simple and uncluttered, and accompany the story well. I think many
children will identify with Zach’s fear (maybe not the fear of the tooth fairy, but the
fear of something unknown).

Beginning Chapterbooks:
Haas, Jessie. Alison Friend, Ill. Bramble and Maggie: Horse Meets Girl.
Candlewick Press, 2012. $3.99. ISBN 9780763662516. 51 pgs. Ages 5-8. P8Q8.
This beginning chapterbook tells the story of Maggie and Bramble, and how they
find each other and learn about each other. Any child who knows a horse will
recognize some of the behaviors that Bramble demonstrates, and Maggie’s
attempts to learn about her new horse are really sweet. The pleasant illustrations
are soft colored gouache, and give a gentle, peaceful feeling to the book.

Michalak, Jamie. Frank Remkiewicz, ill. Joe and Sparky Go to School.
Candlewick Press, 2013. $15.99. ISBN 9780763662783. 41 pgs. Ages 5-8. P8Q8.
This chapterbook is a little more advanced than the others I reviewed this time. It is
divided into 4 chapters, and tells the story of Joe (a giraffe) and Sparky (a turtle)
who accidentally hitch a ride on a school bus from the zoo to a school, where they
spend the day. Friendship is the main theme. The illustrations are colorful and
humorous, and will be popular with early readers.

J Misc
Barss, Karen. Based on the characters created by Susan Meddaugh. Martha
Speaks: Funny Bone Jokes and Riddles. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. 24
pgs. Ages 5-7. P7Q7.
This is a simple joke book based around dogs. Young children will find some of the
jokes funny, but many of them have been around the block more than a few times.

YA Fiction:
Noyes, Deborah. Plague in the Mirror. Candlewick Press, 2013. $16.99. ISBN
9780763659806. 306 pgs. Ages 16+. P7Q6
I had mixed feelings about this historical/ paranormal/ romance novel. It has an
interesting set up- Seventeen year old May is spending the summer in Florence
with family friends while her parents work out the details of their divorce. May is
drawn into another time by her “double” through a portal in her bedroom- it leads to
Florence in 1348 when the Black Death is devastating the city. Cristofana looks just
like May but has a darker and more dangerous personality. May has to make a
choice about whether to help Cristofana or not- it involves great personal danger
and sacrifice. The author does a pretty good job of setting up an intriguing situation
and a rich atmosphere, but it takes a very long time for the story to get anywhere. I
found some of the details about two different romances that May is involved in a bit
hard to believe. There is a fairly explicit sex scene, which would make this book
suitable for older readers.

Book Reviews
Jo Train
Eaton, Jason Carter. How to Train a Train 2013. 40p. Candlewick Press, $16.99.
ISBN: 978-0-7636-6307-0. Ages 4 and up, P8Q8
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a pet train? This helpful book
tells you everything that you need to know from catching that perfect train to training
your train to do tricks. Loved the concept of this book. This would be a great to read to
a class for a creative writing piece and then have the students write their own “How to
Train” book. I can see this book read to little kids and reading it again and again.

Corderoy, Tracey and Berger, Joe Whizz Pop Granny Stop [series] 2013. 32p.
Nosy Crow, $14.99 ISBN: 978-0763665517Ages 3-7, P8Q8
Another great adventure with Granny. Granny Trouble helps make her granddaughters
birthday a big success. I love the colorful artwork in this book. My boys love to see
what Granny is up to and can’t wait for her next adventure.

Simon, Coco. Cupcake Diares: Mia in the Mix [series] 2011. 146p. Simon and
Schuster, $15.99. ISBN:978-1-4424-7491-8. Grades 4 and up, P7Q7
Four friends decide to unite and form the Cupcake Club. They make cupcakes to earn
money and have fun. In this book Mia is making friends with some of the popular girls.
She quickly realizes that they are superficial gossips and that her cupcake friends are
true. This book is relatable to upper elementary students and easy to read. I can see
my emergent readers enjoying this series.

Simon, Coco. Cupcake Diares: Emma on Thin Icing [series] 2011. 150p. Simon
and Schuster, $15.99. ISBN:978-1-4424-7492-5. Grades 4 and up, P7Q7
Emma is trying to earn money to pay for a dress and spreads herself to thin. She
decides that she can handle everything and not ask for help. In the end she learns that
asking for help is okay and admitting that you are way over your head is the right thing
to do. A great message to show balance of responsibilities in professional and
personal aspects of a young teens life.

Simon, Coco. Cupcake Diares: Alexis and the Perfect Recipe [series] 2011. 137p.
Simon and Schuster, $15.99. ISBN:978-1-4424-7493-2. Grades 4 and up, P7Q7
Alexis is the brain of the Cupcake Club. She does all of the calculations and keeps her
friends organized. What she can’t figure out is the equation to get a boy to like you.
Alexis learns that some changes are good, but you need to remember who you friends
are and that crushes shouldn’t come between you and your friends.

Simon, Coco. Cupcake Diares: Mia a Matter of Taste [series] 2013. 133p. Simon
and Schuster, $15.99. ISBN:978-1-4424-7480-2. Grades 4 and up, P7Q7
Mia has to get braces and feels her life is ruined. But wait…there is more. She also
learns that glasses are in her near future. Known to be cute and stylish, Mia has to
come to terms with her new look. She also has to learn that what is on the inside is
what counts the most. A great book for any student who is coming to terms with braces
and glasses.

Dixon, Franklin W. Hardy Boys Adventures: The Vanishing Game [series] 2013.
134p. Simon and Schuster, $15.99. ISBN: 978-1-4424-7344-7. Ages 8-12, P7Q7
The Hardy Boys have been updated! Joe and Frank are hired to figure out a mystery at
their friends Daisy’s amusement park. A new ride G-Force has opened at the park and
two kids have mysteriously disappeared. They solve the mystery and the bad guys go
to jail. What is interesting about this book is the cliff hanger. Happy ending? Nope.
Daisy and the boys ride G-Force one last time. Unfortunately Daisy disappears…to be
continued. This Hardy Boys is more relatable to this generation. I believe that my
students will enjoy this short mystery.

Brodien-Jones, Christine. The Glass Puzzle 2013. 319p. Delacorte Press,
$$16.99. ISBN: 978-0-385-74297-9 Grades 5 and up, P7Q7
Zoe and Ian are cousins who have to save the town of Tenby from the Scravens who
are creatures from a different world. The Scraven’s world was accidently discovered in
a glass puzzle that their grandpa had recently purchased. They must rid the Scravens
from Tenby and seal the glass puzzle. I read the Cupcake Diaries as I read this book.
It was a slow read for me. Not entirely painful, but I couldn’t wait for it to be over.

Holub, Joan and Willaims, Suzanne. Goddess Girls: Persephone the Daring
[series] 2013. 247p. Simon and Schuster, $15.99. ISBN: 978-1-4424-8158-9
Ages 8-12, P8Q7
Voted “Most Dependable”, Persephone tries to prove everyone wrong and prove that
she can be undependable. In the end, she realizes that there is nothing wrong with
being dependable and that being dependable leads to great friends. My students will
be pleased with another Goddess Girl book going on the bookshelf.

Patterson, James. Treasure Hunters 2013. 451p. Hachette Book Group, $14.99.
ISBN: 978-0-316-20756-0 Grade 5 and up, P8Q7
Bick, Beck, Tommy, and Storm have lost their dad in a terrible storm at sea. Now they
must carry on with their dad’s treasure hunting business and find a way to get their
parents back. These siblings learn that they each have a part to play and they can
always depend on each other. This is a great adventure book that I know my students
will love.

Brown, Tami Lewis. The Map of Me 2011. 160p. Farrar, Straus and Giroux,
$16.99 ISBN-10: 0374356556 Ages 8-12, P7Q6
This book is about a 12 year old girl that finds her mother has left. “I have to go” said
the note on the fridge. Determined to get her family back together, the girl steals her
father’s car, kidnaps her little sister, and tries to find her mother. In the end she doesn’t
find her, but realizes that her mother needs to find herself. This book seems
underdeveloped to me. I would have liked to seen more about the mother, maybe
glimpses of why she would leave. It was very unclear.

Book Review October 2013 – Carol Bernardi

Giff, Patricia Reilly, Super surprise, illus. Alasdair Bright, Wendy Lamb Books,
New York, 2012, 62 pgs. $12.99, ISBN:978-0-385-73890-3, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 8,
This is the 6th book, in the Zigzag Kids series where the kids are meeting in the zigzag
afternoon center. Here Destiny hears that Ms. Katz is going to be let go. She is
determined to save Ms. Katz. Despite the fact that she has a hard time reading and
writing, Destiny plans to have everyone write poems about Ms. Katz. Everyone will read
how wonderful she is and keep her at the Zigzag center. What is so wonderful is that
Destiny realizes that she can write poetry. The black and white drawings show the
students in this endeavor to save Ms. Katz.

Golden, Laura, Every day after, Delacorte Press, New York, 2013, 211 pgs. $15.99
ISBN:978-0385-74326-6, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 8,
Lizzie Hawkins has always been proud of her daddy, even when he leaves and doesn’t
come back she is still proud of him. Set during the depression Lizzie is determined to
not lose her house and also her mother. If Lizzie can’t draw her mother out of the deep
depression that she has fallen into she could be placed in an orphanage, another thing
that Lizzie will not let happen. It takes this determined girl and her friends to make
everything right and for Lizzie come to the decision that her daddy was not right in what
he did.

Henkes, Kevin, Penny and her marble, Greenwillow Books, New York, 2013, 48
pgs. $12.99, ISBN:978-0-06-208203-9, Gr. 2+, P 8. Q 8,
Penny, a young mouse is only able to go to Mrs. Goodwin’s, her neighbor’s house
before she must turn around and return with her doll stroller to her own house. When
she spots a blue marble in the Mrs. Goodwin’s yard she pick it up and puts it her pocket.
The rest of the day and night she is bothered by her own actions and must come to term
with what she has done. This book is written for a younger audience that teaches right
from wrong.

Hill, Kirkpatrick, Bo at Ballard Creek, illus. Leuyen Pham, Henry Holt and
Company, New York, 2013, 278 pgs. $15.99, ISBN:978-0-8050-9351-3, Gr. 3+, P 8,
Q 8,
Set in the 1920’s two gold miners adopt a baby girl, they name Bo, who is given to them
by her mother as she about to board a ship. Bo and her two fathers work in a gold
mining camp in Alaska. Bo is always on an adventure, helping to cook, visiting people,
and riding in a dog sled with Big Annie or planning a dance. Bo learns to speak Eskimo
and her best friend is a young Eskimo boy who is a year older than her. I was reminded
of Little House on the Prairie books when I read Bo as this book lets you experience
Alaska during the 1920’s.

Patten, E. J, Return to Exile, illus. John Rocco, Simon & Schuster Books for
Young Readers, New York, 2011, 500 pgs. $16.99, ISBN:978-1-4424-2032-8, Gr. 5+,
P 8, Q 8,
This is the second book of the Hunter Chronicle Series, I didn’t read the first book so
this one does stand on it’s own merits. I do however plan on buying the first one now
that I have read this second one. It it has been 11 years since Sky Weathers, Uncle
Phineas had rescued him. During this time Uncle Phineas has trained Sky to be a
teenage monster hunter, though Sky didn’t know this. Now he knows why his uncle was
training him as the monsters he discovers start to hunt him. Sky with the aide of some
student hunters must save the world from the monsters.

Strasser, Todd, Fallout, Candlewick Press, Berryville, Virginia, 2013, 258 pgs.
$16.99, ISBN:978-0-7636-5534-1, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 9,
In 1962 I was only 8 years old and I remember hushed voices, and catching phrases
that were whispered rather loudly, radiation, bombs, bunkers and blockades. This book
resonated back to the 6o’s and the Cuban Missile Crises as a “what if” book. What
could have happened if the bombs would have been dropped? There are also
alternating captures that go back in time and then back to what is happening in the
bunker. The characters in the book are welled developed and easy to believe. From the
first page the author had me and I had to finish reading it before going to sleep.

Yansky, Brian, Homicidal aliens & other disappointments, Candlewick Press,
Berryville, Virginia, 2013, 325 pgs. $16.99, ISBN:978-0-7636-5962-2, Gr. 7+, P 8, Q
The life as we know it on Earth has vanished; people were killed by aliens who have
invaded Earth. The few peopl that remain become slaves and they develop the ability to
communicate with their minds. The survivors decide to revolt and send the aliens back
to where they came from. In small groups across the world people start to gather,
organize and fight the invaders. One, seventeen year-old Michael becomes know as the
chosen one who will lead everyone to victory. Seeped in Native American lore, Michael
who has visions, of what is to take place in the future, must come to the realization that
is he is the chosen one that will lead them to victory.

Berry, Lynn, What floats in a moat? illus. Matthew Cordell, Simon & Schuster
Books for Young Readers, New York, 2013, unp. $17.99, ISBN:978-1-4169-9763-4,
Gr. 3+, P 7, Q 8,
Archimedes- Archie the goat has a delivery date to the castle that is surrounded by a
moat. His side kick the Skinny Hen helps Archie as he measures, maps, and sketches
and scrawls a plan to launch the SS Buttermilk across the moat to the drawbridge. The
SS Buttermilk is a barrel full of buttermilk that Archie launches and it promptly sinks.
Two more attempts are tried and with the third one he finally makes it across the moat.
The keg was now empty, the Skinny Hen had swallowed all the buttermilk, and now it
could float. The now empty keg “SS Ballast” helps to teach a simple physics lesson
without the reader even knowing it. The illustrations are rendered in pencil, ink with
watercolor which are soft pastel colors that show Archie’s and the Skinny Hen’s
determination to “float the moat.”

Brown, Peter, Mr. Tiger goes wild, Little, Brown and Company, New York, 2013,
ump. $18.00, ISBN:978-0-316-20063-9, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 9+,
A young tiger yearns to break conformity; not to have to wear certain clothes, to dress a
certain way, or to walk instead of run. This is something that is just not heard of until Mr.
Tiger does go wild, back to the jungle where he can run wild. With no one to talk to he
returns back to the city where to his amazement things have started to change. The
monochromatic illustrations are in green and blacks with orange Mr. Tiger sticking out
from the beginning of the story till the end of the story..

Freeman, Tor, Olive and the bad mood, Templar Books, Somerville,
Massachusetts, 2013, $16.99, ISBN:978-0-7636-6657-6, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 8 ,
Olive, the cat is in a bad mood and the rest of the day she ruins everyone’s mood that
she comes in contact with. At a local candy, Olive sees her favorite candy and buys
some this surly will sweeten her sour disposition. It works and she is so happy that she
offers it to her now moody friends. The surprise is she can’t understand why they are so
upset with her. The offer of candy is sure to make them feel better and it to works. Poor
Olive however is not happy with an empty sack. The colored illustrations show Olive the
mood swings that Olive goes through.

Hartford, Martin, Where’s Waldo? In Hollywood, Candlewick Press, Somerville,
Massachusetts, 2013, unp. $16.99, ISBN:978-0-7636-4527-4, Gr. 3+, P 9, Q 8,
This is the second Where’s Waldo book that has been revamped into this new “Deluxe
Edition. Each page has a check lists and a fold out page which makes it easier (?) to
find Waldo. I still had to spend a long time trying to find him. The illustrations take the
weariness of looking for Waldo away as you also focus on the other hilarious

Heidbreder, Robert, Black and bittern was night, illus. John Martz, Kids Can
Press, Tonawanda, New York, 2013, unp. $16.95, ISBN:978-1-55453-302-2, Gr. 3+,
P 8, Q 8,
Written in free whimsical verse a group of Skul-A-Mug- Mugs have ruined Halloween.
They have invaded the town and frightened the adults so much that they cancel trick-ortreating.
NO WAY! The children say and escaping from their houses they gather
together in costumes and frighten the Skul-A-Mug-Mugs away. This nonsense verse
threw me and I didn’t understand the book. That is until some of my students read it
aloud, they loved it. The artwork which was done using Photoshop helped to add even
more humor to the story,

Long, Greg, and Edmundson, Chris, Yeti, turn out the light! Illus. Wednesday
Kirwan, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, California,2013, unp. $12.99, ISBN:978-
1-4521-1158-2, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 8,
As night draws neat the very tired Yeti lets out a Yawn that is heard over all the forest.
He just can’t wait till he is home and can go to bed and sleep. He is however kept
awake by the different shadows, shadows that are very scary. I too have been
frightened in the dark and I found myself cheering for the Yeti as he overcomes his fear
of the dark. The colorful illustrations are of shadows and forest creatures who join the
Yeti in bed as they are frightened too.

Messner, Kate, Sea monster and the bossy fish, Illus. Andy Rash, Chronicle
Books, San Francisco, 2013, unp. $16.99, ISBN:978-1-4521-1253-4, Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 8,
There is a new fish starting school today at Lake Ernestamke Elementary School and
dragon fish thinks this great. That is until the new fish starts to brag and strut about with
a swagger telling every one how great his old school is. He likes to brag about himself
and makes up nick names for the other fish that are mean and demeaning. The
dinosaur fish is perplexed when the new fish starts a exclusive club, he is president of,
and only certain fish are allowed to join. The next day dinosaur fish, who narrates the
story, starts a new club, the Friend Fish Club that everyone can join and have fun in.
New fish wants to join and when he told yes he also states he will be president. How to
treat others is the moral I found in this story. The illustrations are combined in Adobe
Photoshop are of gouache and India ink show how to be a true friend.

Reynolds, Aaron, Carnivores, illus. Dan Santat, Chronicle Books, San Francisco,
2013, unp. $16.99, ISBN:978-0-8118-6690-3, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 9+,
What a book! A group of meat eating animals declare that they will become vegetarians
as they want to be accepted by the other animals and not feared. They go so far as to
disguise themselves so that they can fit into another species gathering. Nothing works
at one of their meetings, which made me think of a of AAA meetings, they invite the
“Wise” owl is speak. His motivational speech tells them they should be proud of whom
they are “Meat Eating Animals” and with these words their attitudes take a swift change.
The concept of an AAA type of meeting I feel is too old for young students to get, but as
an adult I was laughing all the way through it. The illustrations of mixed media are what
help to carry the story as these poor miserable beasts come to be proud of what they
truly are “ Carnivores”

Non Fiction:
Curto, Rosa, Fun and easy drawing storybook characters, Enslow Publishers,
Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, 2014, 35 pgs. $22.60, ISBN:978-0-7660-6043-2, Gr.
2+, P 8, Q 8,
The reader is introduced to 14 simple drawings for beginning artists. A very simple text
gives step by step directions to the artist. By using the same shape they can see how
easy it is to make many different characters. There are a few tips included in the front
of the book for the budding artist. The end of the book features a section call “The
language of art.” Two figures side by side are used to compare how simple lines can
change the message of the artist.

Fawcett, Jack, Dinosaurology, Candlewick Press, Somerville, Massachusetts,
2013, unp. $19.99, ISBN:978-0-7636-6739-9, Gr. 3+, P 9, Q 8,
What if in the world somewhere dinosaurs still roamed the earth. Dinosaurology, does
just that; you are on a trip to an island where dinosaurs still exist. A journal, of one of the
lost explores, is discovered and has been recreated using information found within the
journal. The illustrations are a variety of colored, and black and white pictures of the
explorers, natives and dinosaurs. Also included are black and white photographs of the
men and women paleontologists who did discover dinosaur remains. Like another of the
“Ology” books this one is already being requested to check out.

Grimm, Jacob, & Grimm, Wilhelm, Cinderella : a Grimm’s fairy tale, illus. Ulrike
Haseloff, Floris Books, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2011, unp. $17.95, ISBN:978-086315-
948-0, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 8, (Originally printed in Germany)
Cinderella was translated from German to English, there are many difference in this
story compared to other Cinderella stories that I have read. This version her mother dies
leaving her to live with her step father who remarries within a year. Cinderella plants a
Birch tree by her mother’s grave and it is here that she comes and cries. This is also the
place where she calls out asking for a ball gown of silver and gold. A bird brings it to her
from the limbs of the tree, there is no fairy godmother. This beautifully illustrated story in
which gold sparkles on Cinderella’s ball gown on the cover and inside. The other
illustrations have a soft quality to them even when stronger bright colors are used.

Leppanen, Debbie, Trick-or-treat : a happy haunter’s Halloween, illus. Tad
Carpenter, Beach Lane Books, New York, 2013, unp. $16.99, ISBN:978-1-4424-
3398-4, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 8,
What a great way to celebrate Halloween, fifteen spooky poems. Each poem has a
layout of two full pages, in which the illustrations are digitally created with bright bold
colors. I had to laugh at the humor that was found in both the illustrations and the
poems. From the mummy’s, ghosts and monsters the reader will enjoy all of these

Sander, Martin, The impossible rescue, Candlewick Press, Somerville,
Massachusetts, 2012, 163 pgs. $22.95, ISBN:978-0-7636-5080-3, Gr. 7+, P, 7 Q 9,
Whaling was big business back in 1897 the year that eight whaling ships and three
hundred sailors became stranded in the ice packs around the Arctic Ocean. One ship
made it out of the ice and sailed to America where the largest rescue of the time was
organized. The text includes the importance of the role that the natives and reindeer
played in the survival of these men. Black and white photographs showcase this daring

Segarra, Mercedes, Tasty desserts : little chef recipes, illus. Rosa Curto, Enslow
Publishers, Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, $22.60, 2013, unp. ISBN:978-0-7660-
4261-2, Gr. 3+, P 7, Q 8,
This early how to cook book, offers younger children simple instructions and recipes to
make. Before cooking even begins the author has 12 safety tips for students to follow.
The illustrations are numbered and are correlated to each step of the recipe. The
illustrations also show what the ingredients are for each recipe.

Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers
Oct. 2013 Reviews by Melinda Dye
Scott, Elizabeth. “Miracle”. Simon Pulse. New York. 2012. $16.99. 217 pages.
Middle and high school. 978-1-4424-1706-9. P8/Q8.
Megan a senior in high school has just been found after being the only survivor of a
horrible plane crash. She can’t seem to remember the crash and everyone is asking all
about it because they believe she is a living “miracle”. She doesn’t want to play soccer
anymore and tries to avoid her clueless parents and friends. She starts to remember but
has a difficult time when what she sees is like it was from a horror movie. The only
person who seems to understand is the boy next door. I do like the ending because she
is able to get her family to realize she needs help and is not a “miracle”. I think this
would be a good read especially for teens that may have people who don’t understand
what they are feeling.

McMann, Lisa. “Crash…Visions Book One- She Can’t Believe Her Eyes”. Simon
Pulse. New York. 2013. $16.99. 233 pages. Middle and high school. 978-1-4424-
0391-8. P8/Q8.
Even though this book is number one in the “Visions” series it was a stand alone story. I
felt satisfied with the ending. With the rivalry between the two pizza making families and
the young lovers who are forbidden for seeing one another I felt like it had a Romeo and
Juliet feel to it. Jules who is seventeen starts to see a recurring vision that depicts her
rival’s restaurant and their son being killed in a horrible accident. This book is a bit of a
mystery and she tries to figure out how and when the crash will take place. She tells
Sawyer of her vision and he of course thinks she is a bit of a stalker. In the end she is
able to save everyone’s life but they must decide how they will continue with their
forbidden relationship. This definitely is a fantasy story because of the vision thing but a
great read.

November 2013 Book Reviews
Doug Hoffman Retired Librarian
Blagden, Scott. Dear Life, You Suck. Harcourt, 2013. 310p. ISBN 9780547904313.
$16.99. Interest Level: 10-12. Reading Level 4.6 P8Q9 !
Cricket Cherpin’s life sucks. He lives in a group home in northern Maine and the
shrinkidinks think he has a bent prop, knots in his net, and is thin in the chowda… a
danger to himself and others. The reader is immersed in the voice of Cricket from the
first line until the final page and throughout the story the reader feels the tension of
impending suicide.
I throughly enjoyed Blagden’s first novel because it was edgy and real, but also
because of the development in his characters. You learn that people are complex,
multi-faceted, and that their weaknesses can become strengths. So, does life suck
enough to end it? As a foreshadow the book begins: “Crickets, like all other insects, are
cold-blooded. They take on temperature of their surroundings. – Wikipedia.

Rosoff, Meg. There is No Dog. G.P. Putnam’s Son. 2011. 272p. ISBN 9780399257643.
$17.99. Interest Level: 9-12 Reading Level 5.1 P7Q8
A totally different way to look at God and his relationship to his creation… and it was a
challenge for me to “get it”. God is a Bob, a teenage boy who got Earth when his mom
won a poker game. Like most teenage boys he is lazy and doesn’t attend to detail and
most of his thoughts revolve around sex. The plot moves a long and the characters
have some depth, so some readers may find this story interesting.

Book Reviews
November 2013
Patty Dodson

Picture Books
James Preller, Illustrated by Greg Ruth: A Pirate’s Guide to Recess; Feiwel and Friend,
New York, 2013. ISBN 978-1-250-00515-1; $16.99; K- 2
A pirate adventure during recess for Molly and Captain Red. When Captain Reds crew
would not step up to Molly’s challenge he replied “Ye will fight, or walk the plank!’
Captain Red’s crew turned against their captain when Molly asks him to play nice he
replies “No never” and is put adrift on the open sea. An imaginary game of pirate at
recess. P. 8, Q. 8.

Tara Lazar, Illustrated by James Burks; The Monstore; Aladdin, 2013, ISBN
978-1-4424-2017-5; $16.99 K-2.
Zack needs a monster to keep his little sister out of his room. A visit to the Candy
Shoppe, through the trapdoor and a bag of squirmy worms and he is in. The Monstore
has a monster for every need except Zack’s monster doesn’t work. Zack tries to return
him but there is a no refund, no return, no exchange policy. Zack tries monster after
monster and nothing works. Soon his room is full and he has to move to the basement
but when his sister has something scary in her room she asks Zack if he will takes care
of the scary thing his sister says he is the best brother ever. Maybe Zack doesn’t need
the monsters anymore, but what to do with them? At the back of the bike shed there is a
trap door, knock five times hand over a bag of squirmy worms and you too can go into
The Monstore 2. Brightly illustrated story of brother and sister troubles solved. P. 9, Q.

Sam McBratney, Illustrated By Ivan Bates; There, There; Templar Books, 2013; ISBN
978-0-7636-6702-3;$15.99; Gr. K – 2;
Soft fall colored illustrations help tell the story of little Hansie Bear as he goes through
his day of play. Sand in his eyes and bumps on the head are all soothed by father bear,
who is always nearby. When father bear comes slowly through the gate with a hurt foot,
Hansie knows just what to do. With a tight hug and the words “There, There”, that he
learned from his father Hansie makes him feel better.
P. 8, Q. 8.

Alison Reynolds , Heath McKenzie; A Year With Marmalade; Little Simon, 2012;
ISBN 978-1-4424-8105-3; $15.99; K-2
Ella’s best friend Maddy has to go away for a year and asks Ella to look after her cat
Marmalade. At first Ella and Marmalade don’t know what to do without Maddy. Ella
tries to get her to play but she stays away. Then one morning things change and
Marmalade is sleeping on Ella’s feet. Marmalade and Ella played together until Maddy
came home, then the three of them were together again. A story of friendship illustrated
in nice fall colors. P. 8, Q. 9.

Bob Graham; The Silver Button; Candlewick Press, 2013; ISBN 978-0-7636-6437-4;
$16.99; Gr. K – 2
At 9:59 Jodie is putting the last of the buttons on her drawing of a duck, at the same
time her little brother pushes himself to his feet for his first steps. Ink and watercolor
illustrations show what else is happening universally in the minute that it takes for Jodie
to draw the last button and for her little brother to take his first step. P. 8,, Q. 8.

Andy Pritchett; STICK; Candlewick Press, 2013; ISBN 978-0-7636-6616-3; $15.99; Gr.
K – 1;
Puppy has a stick and now needs to find someone to play with. One word per page tells
the story as he meets other animals and wants them to play. When he gives up and
throws the stick away it comes back, another puppy is as excited as about the stick.
The other animals from the story rejoin the two puppies to play. This story would be
good paired with a lesson on exclamation and question marks.
P. 8, Q. 8.

Hallie Durand, Illustrated by Tony Fucile; Mitchell Goes Bowling; 978-0-7636-6049-9;
$15.99; K-3
Mitchell likes to knock things down. One Saturday Mitchell’s dad takes him to the
bowling alley. Mitchell likes this place with all its special things. Then it came time to
throw the ball and knock things down. Mitchell really wants an X like his father and
continues to try then his father has a brilliant idea they become a team and throw the
ball at the same time and STRIKE so they both did the stemin’-hot potato dance. This
is a very nice story of father and son having fun together at the bowling alley.
P.8, Q. 9.

Jane O’Connor, Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. Fancy Nancy; Fanciest Doll in the
Universe. Harper, 2013; ISBN 978-0-06-170385-0; Gr. K – 2
Nancy’s little sister Jojo is a handful and paints a tattoo on Nancy’s doll Marabella’s
tummy. Nancy is very upset with her sister. Nancy’s mother tries to console her by
taking her to a doll gala. At the gala Nancy’s doll gets mixed up with another and the
tattoo actually helps Nancy get her doll back. Nancy finds out that other Marabella
owners have had problems with their sibling mishandling their dolls too.
On the way home from the gala Nancy’s mother reminds her that Jojo won’t always be a
handful when she is a bit more grown up and responsible. P.9, Q.9.

Gretchen Geser, One Bright Ring; Henry Hold and Company,2013; ISBN
978-0-8050-9279-0; Gr. K – 2;
It begins with one smile, one ring , one hole in a pocket and one brave little girl who tugs
her mother along to find the man with the hole in his pocket that dropped the ring. A
counting book as they make their way to the park where the brave little girl drops the
ring for the smiling man so he can propose to his love on the park bench. P. 8, Q. 8.

Joseph Delaney: The Last Apprentice: Slither; Greenwillow Books, 2013; ISBN
978-0-06-219234-9; $17.99; Gr 5+; p.397
The haizda Mage, Slither has made a trade with Old Rowler. Upon his death, Slither will
take possession of his farm and his eldest daughter, Nessa, in trade for safely delivering
his two youngest daughters to the aunt and uncle. While travelling south they
encounter severe weather and take shelter with more of Slither’s kin. They try to take
Nessa and her sisters from him. Slither must kill many to fulfill his trade to Old Rowler
and becomes the hunted himself. With the help of the witch assassin Grimalkin he
defeats those hunting him to return to his home in the ghanbala tree at the border of his
territory to replenish his magic, gain knowledge and strength for the time when he will
come face to face with the witch Grimalkin once again to fight to the death, but his
thoughts return to Nessa, the human female who had saved his life twice during their time
together. This the eleventh book in this series but works as a fast paced stand alone
story. Many bloody battles to the death for the beings in this story. P. 8, Q. 9.

Mary Hoffman; Stravaganza ; City of Ships: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc; 2010; ISBN
978-0-59990-491-7; $17.99; Gr. 4+; p.356
Isabel has always lived in the shadow of her twin brother Charlie until the day she
Stravagates to Talia. Isabel falls asleep holding a velvet bag of mosaic pieces that she
found and awakens in another world. She is expected as the next Stravagante and
soon learns that she has a role to play in the upcoming battle. Her experiences in Talia
change her in her world, she grows more confident, classmates begin to notice and
other Stravagante students soon connect with her and tell her the history of Talia and
their experiences there. This group have all played a part in Talian history. Together
they support Isabel as she does what she needs to in Talia. Isabel survives the battle
and attends the wedding of two friends in Talia. This is the fifth book in a series it would
have been helpful to have read the others to have background for characters in this
story. The story moves quickly as Isabel stravagates between present day and Talia.
The series comes to a nice conclusion. P.8, Q. 8

Sarah Prineas; Winterling; Harper Collins, 2012; ISBN 978-0-0+-192103-2; $16.99; Gr
4+; p.248
The Way has been opened and Fer feels its pull but does not know why. Finding an
injured boy by a pool of clear water Fer takes him home to Grand-Jane so that she can
use some of her herbal magic to heal him. Many questions are raised when Grand-
Jane at first refuses to help him and after she does what she can sends him away. Fer
finally gets Grand-Jane to tell her about her missing parents and knows that she must
return to the pool. Rook, the boy her grandmother helped is waiting to take her to the
lady on the other side. Things are not as the seem when they arrive in Rook’s world,
Fer can feel it. She learns as much as she can from those around her and soon finds
out that the Lady is not what she seems. Spring will not come to any lands, her own or
this new world, blood has stained the earth. Fer discovers that the Lady of the land Is
truly The Mor, a wildling who stole her place by killing her parents. Fer knows she must
make things right and does. She is the true Lady of this land and will continue to protect
her fallen mother’s lands. P. 8, Q. 9.

Bryan Chick: The Secret Zoo – Secrets and Shadows; Greenwillow Books, 2011; ISBN
978-0-0+-198925-4; $16.99; Gr 3+; p.266
This is the second book and returns the scouts (Noah, Megan, Richie and Ella) to the
Secret Zoo for a visit with Mr. Darby. Mr. Darby invites the scouts to become Crossers
to help protect the secret zoo from danger inside and outside. The scouts accept the
invitation and start their lessons, they are only told what they need to know but Noah
wants to know more. He does a little investigating on his own down in the Grotto’s
where they were told not to go. When he returns to the Grotto to continue his
investigation he is caught in the polar bear exhibit and the zoo is opening. With the help
of the two polar bears and the rest of the scouts Noah is only seen by a few people.
Ending up in the Giraffe Jam exhibit of the Secret Zoo the scouts and their trainers ( the
Decenders) come face to face with the sasquatches who have escaped and are
threatening the safety of the secret Zoo. After defeating four sasquatches and the others
retreated Noah gets some more answers about the Descenders. With the scouts
thinking about the other threat (the Shadowist) the book ends leaving the readers to
wonder how the story is going to continue. P. 8, Q. 7.

Wonda Coven, Illustrated by Priscilla Burris; Heidi Heckelbeck Goes to Camp; Simon &
Schuster, 2013; ISBN 978-1-4424-6480-3; $15.99; Gr. 2-4; p.113
Heidi is excited to go to camp for the first time with her best friend Lucy. When they
arrive Lucy is greeted by two friends that she went to camp with the previous year.
Heidi begins to feel left out and that these two have taken over her best friend. Heidi
finally talks with their cabin counselor and with the girls. For the rest of their time at
camp there are four friends instead of three with one left out. Large type with black and
white illustrations will make this a popular first chapter book. P. 8, Q. 8

Sylvia Vanden Heede, Illustrated by Marije Tolman; Wolf and Dog; Gecko Press; 2013;
ISBN 978-1-877579-47-9; $16.95; Gr. 5+ p. 94
A tale of cousins wolf and dog. They visit one another always remembering that they
are quite different. A wolf bites and and a dog barks and no matter what a wolf is wild
and a dog is tame. This story is translated from the original Dutch language published in

Kathryn Fitzmaurice; Destiny Rewritten; Katherine Tegen Books, 2013; ISBN
978-0-06-162501-5; $16.99;Gr. 3-6; p.335
Emily’s mother believes in fate and destiny and that is what guides you through life.
Named after Emily Dickinson, Emily’s mother believes she will become a great poet just
like her namesake. After Emily’s poetry book in which her mother had made margin
notes throughout her life, accidentally gets donated the search is on. Emily’s mother
had finally told her that the book contains the name of her father that she has never met
or known. Her mother believes that things happen when they are suppose to and you
can’t rush them. Emily tries bookstore after bookstore with no luck in her search for her
book. Thinking that she can change her destiny by changing her routine Emily starts to
do things that she wouldn’t normally do. One of her classmates who’s truly a poet buys
her book unknowing that it belongs to Emily. Emily finally does get her book back but
her friend has used a white out pen on all the margin notes. When Emily least expects
it she comes across who her father is and brings him together with her mother. Finally
she has a happy ending like the Danielle Steel novel ending that she copies down. P. 9,
Q. 9

M.M. Vaughn; The Ability: Margaret K McElderry Books; 2013; ISBN
978-1-4424-5200-8; Gr 4+; p. 330; $15.99
Christopher has had a hard life since losing his father. He has to take care of his
mother and at only 12 years old his mother should be taking care of him. On the day
that he is being expelled for stealing Christopher is approached by a representative
from an exclusive academy. After his interview he is invited to go to the academy.
Christopher is told that he has a certain ability and the academy will teach him how to
use it. Along with five other students Christopher learns what his ability is and what the
academy needs from them. The students at the academy are not the only ones to have
this ability there are those who will use it to harm others, Christopher begins to feel like
he has finally found a place where he belongs and people he can call true friends. After
they accomplish their task Christopher returns home to find that his mother had not
changed while he was away, he walked away to wait for school to begin after winter
break. The ending leads to believe that there will be another book in this series. P. 8, Q.

Lincoln Peirce; Big Nate Flips Out; Harper Collins, 2013; ISBN 978-0-06-199664-1; Gr.
3+; p.216; $13.99
Best friends Nate and Francis are total opposites. Nate is really messy and unorganized
and Francis is as neat as a pin. Francis is co-editor of the school yearbook, Nate and
Francis decide that the yearbook needs more candid photos and set off to find Mrs.
Godfrey to barrow a school camera. Francis allows Nate to use the camera but it turns
up missing. Nate and Francis get into an argument about the lost camera and tempers
raise and Nate accidently shouts Francis’ biggest secret, their friendship could be over.
Nate knows he needs to be more organized and that he did not lose the camera,
someone must have taken it from his locker. When Nate changes and he finds the
camera his friendship with Francis is repaired and all is well. Part graphic novel, part
text makes this book a popular read. A nice story about friendship. P.9, Q. 9.

Alan Silberberg; The Awesome, Almost 100% True Adventures of Matt & Craz; Aladdin,
2013; ISBN 978-0-4424-5182-4; $16.99; Gr. 3-6; p.329
Pals Mat and Craz work on cartoons together. They really want to get one published in their school paper but the editor keeps shooting them down. While working together one day after school at Matt’s house and not coming up with any good ideas, Craz thinks that maybe they just need new cartooning supplies. They search the internet and find the perfect cartooning kit but encounter pop ups and try to shut down the computer. Before they can enter any
shipping information the computer shuts down. The cartooning kit arrives at Matt’s house both boys are amazed to find a fancy drawing pen and ink in the kit. This turns out to be not just an ordinary pen and ink. Their cartooning gets a little bizarre when the cartoons come to life. They soon find themselves in trouble because they have run out
of ink and can’t draw a fix for things that are happening. At the last minute Matt comes up with a plan that saves the day and they decide to get rid of the new cartooning kit.  They also figure out how to get their cartoons out for others to enjoy. By changing things about their families they find that many more problems arise. Matt and Craz
grow as friends and learn what family means. P. 9, Q. 9.

Non Fiction
Stuart A.P. Murray; Score with Football MATH; Enslow Publishers, 2013; ISBN
978-1-4645-1179-0; $23.93; Gr. 3 -4 Reviewed By F. Ramos 5th Grader @ Oceanlake Elementary
This book tells about how coaches need to know math. Every sport needs math. It has
questions, explains football player positions and talks about the top 10- NFL
quarterbacks with 500 or more passing yards per game. It tells what you can do on
defense and offence positions and how players need math too. I like the book because
it tells you what to do playing football and I can learn more about football. I would
recommend it to a friend to read. P. 7, Q. 7.

Scholastic Discover More Series: This series of books have sturdy pages with real
photography complete with contents, glossary and an index. Each volume has the
opportunity to download a digital companion book.

Andrea Pinnington snd Tory Gordon-Harris. Animal babies; Scholastic 2012; ISBN
978-0-545- 36568-0; Gr. K-4 p. 32; $7.95
Real photography accompanies information about animal babies. Life cycles,
babies, habitat and special names for baby animals are covered in this early
reader. Students enjoy learning about animals, great information for early report
writers. P. 9, Q. 9.

Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers
November 2013 reviews by Anna Rodgers

Gidwitz, Adam. In a Glass Grimmly. Dutton Children’s Books, 2012. 314p. $16.99.
978-0-525-42581-6. Gr. 5-8. P9Q9.
In a Glass Grimmly is the stand-alone companion novel to Gidwitz’s lauded
debut, A Tale Dark and Grimm. In this book, the author mixes references to traditional
fairy tales with original plot development to tell the story of Jack and Jill, cousins who go
on a quest to find the Seeing Glass. The plot is exciting and quick-moving, the two
main characters are believable and relatable, and the references to fairy tales (some
obvious, some obscure) are fun to pick out. Gidwitz often brings minor characters back
into the plot later in the book in fun and unexpected ways, and he does an excellent job
of leaving none of his many story threads hanging. Jack and Jill learn an important
lesson about not relying on other people to make you feel valued and important, a story
moral which Gidwitz only hits the reader over the head with a little bit. Perhaps the best
part of the book, though, is the author’s narration. Reminiscent of Lemony Snickett, he
is dryly hilarious, and he helpfully warns the reader whenever a bloody scene is coming
up. Unless he forgets. But then he’s sure to apologize for forgetting afterward.

Kowitt, H.N. The Loser List: Jinx of the Loser. Scholastic, 2013. 197p. $9.99.
978-0-545-50794-3. Gr. 4-6. P5Q3.
This contrived Diary of a Wimpy Kid knock-off will only appeal to the most diehard
illustrated novel fans. The plot is unbelievable yet predictable, the characters are
complete stereotypes with no attempts made at variation, and the humor falls
completely flat. The writing style, which is supposed to sound like the 7th grade
protagonist wrote it, sounds unnatural and overly proper. The book was clearly written
by an adult, and young readers will not be fooled. It is even divided into chapters, rather
than days, like a real diary would be. This novel will only appeal to those children who
read Diary of a Wimpy Kid solely for the pictures; and even then, The Loser List’s
illustrations are of much lower quality.

Mull, Brandon. Spirit Animals: Wild Born. Scholastic, 2013. $12.99. 201p.
978-0-545-52243-4. Gr. 3-7. P8Q8.
Scholastic has already come out with two “multiplatform” series, The 39 Clues
and Infinity Ring. These series feature books written by a variety of famous children’s
authors as well as an online game linked to the story. Spirit Animals is the newest
series to follow this successful formula. Brandon Mull writes the first installment, which
introduces the four main characters as they first call, bond with, and train with their spirit
animals. Each of the protagonists, two boys and two girls, comes from a different
background and has a different personality, so each reader should find someone to
identify with. The plot moves along at a brisk pace, so even with four characters to
juggle it doesn’t drag. There’s nothing groundbreaking about the fantasy world, but it’s
unique enough not to feel like a complete rehashing of other books. The game adds a
fun layer of complexity for those children who want to stay in the fantasy world longer,
although the book can stand alone.

Parish, Herman. Amelia Bedelia Means Business. Greenwillow Books, 2013. 149p.
$15.99. 978-0-06-209497-1. Gr. 1-4. P7Q7.
This book is the first in the revived Amelia Bedelia series, originally written by the
author’s aunt, Peggy Parish. In the original series, Amelia Bedelia was a maid; in this
new one, she’s a young girl. The defining character trait of Amelia is the same in both
series, however: Amelia takes every word literally. In the book, Parish creates some
cute jokes and situations based on Amelia taking English idioms at face value. The
book is well-written, with a humorous plot and some slapstick situations that children
should enjoy. Their enjoyment will rest, however, on whether the reader understands
the concept of idioms, and therefore sees the humor in how Amelia misinterprets them.
There is a glossary in the back, which should help, but young readers might be
confused unless the book is used as part of a lesson on idioms.

Parish, Herman. Amelia Bedelia Unleased. Greenwillow Books, 2013. 146p. $15.99.
978-0-06-209500-8. Gr. 1-4. P7Q7.
The second book in the revived Amelia Bedelia series, this book has the same
virtues and flaws as its predecessor. It is cute, has humorous situations that young
readers should enjoy, and is filled with well-drawn cartoons. The comedy arises mainly
from Amelia taking idioms literally, and the confusion that that causes. The back of the
book has a listing of the idioms in the book and explains their meanings, which should
help. But readers who do not understand idioms might find the book confusing.

Carol Schramm
Siletz Public Library
November 2013 Reviews

Evert, Lori. Per Breiehagen, ill. The Christmas Wish. Random House, 2013. $17.99.
ISBN 9780449816813. Unp. Ages 3-7. P7Q6.
Anya (pronounced on-ya) really wants to help Santa at Christmas, so she begins a
long trek to his home in the far north. She is helped on her journey by various
animals: a bird, a musk ox, a polar bear, a caribou, etc. The colorful photographs
are the interesting part of this book- they give a lot of information about traditional
Scandinavian culture by showing clothing, buildings, and landscapes (including one
picture of the Aurora Borealis). This simple story is a nice vehicle for introducing
children to an interesting culture. By the way, the child in the photographs is the
author’s daughter.

Golden Books, Gordon Laite, ill. The Blue Book of Fairy Tales. Random House,
2013. $9.99. ISBN 9780385383639. Unp. Ages 2-6. P7Q8.
This is a reprint of three 1950’s Golden Books: Rapunzel, Beauty and the Beast,
and Toads and Diamonds. Fans of Golden Books will love the illustrations, which
have a lot of blue in them. I had forgotten how beautiful the illustrations in these
books could be. The larger size will make this a good book for read-alouds.

Ashman, Linda. Joanne Kew-Vriethoff, ill. Peace, Baby. Chronicle Books, 2013.
$15.99. ISBN 9781452106137. Unp. Ages 3-5. P8Q8.
This is a book about choosing peaceful actions over violent or angry ones. At first, it
seemed overly sweet, but as I read through it, it grew on me. The author uses
rhymes to describe situations where children are annoyed or frustrated or angry and
could respond in an angry way, and then suggests a peaceful way instead. Each
situation ends with the refrain “Peace, baby.” The illustrations in cool blues, greens,
etc. add to the feeling of peacefulness. This is a book that would work well as a
read-aloud, with the children calling out “Peace, Baby.”

Baker Bradley, Kimberly. Margaret Miller, ill. Pop! A Book about Bubbles. (Let’s Read
and Find O Science, Stage 1) Harper Collins, 2001.$5.99. ISBN 9780064452083.
33 pgs. Ages 4-8. P9Q8.
This is a basic science book about the physics of bubbles. It and has clear and
pleasing photographs that illustrate the author’s basic points. These photos and the
simple writing style make this book appealing to beginning readers. At the end there
are several pages of bubble experiments that children can try. I think this is a useful
book for both elementary school libraries and children’s collections in public libraries
as well. We get requests from parents of young children for simple science themed
books with good illustrations. This book will please that crowd.

Beginning Chapterbooks:
McDonald, Megan. G. Brian Karas, Ill. Ant and Honey Bee: A Pair of Friends.
Candlewick Press, 2013. $14.99. ISBN 9780763657123. 60 pgs. Ages 5-9. P8Q8.
Candlewick Press, 2013. $14.99. ISBN 9780763657123. 60 pgs. Ages 5-9. P8Q8.
I found this early chapterbook gently funny and sweet. Winter is coming and best
friends Ant and Honey Bee want different things. Honey Bee wants to hibernate but
Ant isn’t ready for months of being alone just yet. Children will like this book’s
emotion- they will understand about when a friend doesn’t want what they want,
and they will identify with the efforts Ant makes to change Honey Bee’s mind. The
illustrations are subdued but humorous, and I think will have children laughing out

YA Fiction:
Marrillier, Juliet. Shadowfell. 2012, Alfred A. Knopf. $16.99. ISBN 9780375869549.
410 pgs. Ages 12+. P7Q7.
Neryn is a 16 year old who has gone through some hard times and is now alone in
the world. She has a magical ability that puts her at great danger in her society and
because of this is living on its margins. She encounters Flint, whom she wants to
trust but doesn’t completely. Fans of traditional fantasy will find a lot to like in this
book: romance, danger, fairies, and resistance to a corrupt regime. I have enjoyed
Marrillier’s adult fantasy novels, but found Shadowfell hard to get into, despite the
beautiful language and themes I usually enjoy. The book moves slowly, and at times
felt like it was more of a description of grueling survival than development of a plot.
Despite these problems, I will probably read the second in the series (it is planned
as a trilogy).

Angelique Little
Siletz Public Library
November 2013 Reviews

Richter, William. Tiger. Razorbill, 2013. $17.95. ISBN9781595144584. 330 pgs.
Ages 12+. P7Q7
This is the second in the Dark Eyes series. The protagonist is Wally, a young
woman with a recently tragic past who is searching for her long lost brother. It takes
place in the city, presumably New York though it doesn’t play a major role in the
story, where Wally works, lives in an apartment, goes clubbing and works out –
mostly to learn how to defend herself. She quickly gets embroiled in an adventure
that involves falling for a guy who needs her help, killing a man in self-defense and
involving friends from her days on the street in the mystery of who is trying to kill
her. The mystery is complicated enough but not terribly satisfying in the end. It’s a
quick read that easily drew me in with fairly interesting and likeable characters but
ultimately, I wanted more development in the relationship and motivation of the
characters. Much of the book is movie-like action of hand to hand combat,
explosions, and car chases. The fact that it involves a young woman makes it
somewhat unique and would probably intrigue young readers. The “F” word is used
a few times but the language is otherwise tame. There are two non-explicit
references to sex among young people over age 18.

Sheinkin, Steve. Lincoln’s Grave Robbers. Scholastic Press, 2012. $16.99.
ISBN9780545405720. 214 pgs. Ages 10+. P8Q10.
A historical story painstakingly researched and entertainingly told. The writing is both
easy to follow and highly enjoyable. While there is a large cast of characters and goings
on, the author does an excellent job of introducing each new person and event so that
they are easy to remember. The characters are well-drawn and the scenes are
cinematic in their detail. There is so much great historical information packed in here, I
was continuously thinking, “Wow! I didn’t know that!” I want to read more books like this
and can’t wait to recommend them to my nephews. Sheinkin takes very serious subjects
and reports on them accurately and factually, adding enough description to keep the
reader hooked but not so much that it becomes commentary. Emotions are not added to
the tale, it is simply told as the facts dictate, though where the players’ states of minds
are known, through letters and diary entries, they are shared. The writing and dialogue
keep the reader in the time period and “new” words are instantly understandable in their
context. I am highly impressed by this book. A quick and fascinating read, it should be
immensely popular with teachers and kids alike.
– Review by Angelique Little

Vicki Lott Taft 7-12 Lincoln City, Oregon !
Part 1
• Author: Falkner, Brian
• Title: Task Force: Recon Team Angel 2
• Publisher: Random House, Inc.; New York
• Copyright: 2012
• Price: 17.99
• ISBN: 978-0-449-81299-0
• Number of Pages: 277
• Glossary: Yes
• Ages of Audience: 12 and up
• Popularity rating: 4, mostly for a specific genre of readers
• Quality: 7, Well written, no cussing or sexual scenes or language !
Part 2
• Fiction:
The story takes place on New Year’s Day in Australia in 2031. The
Bzadian’s world was dying and they came to Earth in gliders by the
thousands. They could land but they could not leave. The first few to
arrive were greeted with helpful hands and open hearts by the Humans. It
soon became clear, though, that the Bazadians had other ideas than
soon became clear, though, that the Bazadians had other ideas than
peaceful coexistence. The Bazadians began a war to conquer and the
Humans fought a war for survival. The Angel and Demon teams,
teenagers trained in Bazadian language and culture and in military tactics
and skills and altered physically to look like Bazadians, infiltrated enemy
lines to destroy vital targets. Politically, using teenagers like this was
unacceptable. But the human race was at stake!
This story is believable in large part because the technology of the aliens
is not so advanced as to make it hopeless for the humans, and as the war
goes on, the humans adapt and acquire better technology. The story is
presented from both the Bazadian and Human points of view, so it is clear
that the Bazadians respect but are annoyed by the Human ability to adapt.
The characters are believable also because the reader is lead to like and
empathize with members of both species. Also, both species are
represented by races, cultures, and languages from across their planets.
• Impression: The cover is attractive in an adventurous, war themed sort of way;
the book size is manageable
• Format appeal: The print size was adequate for old eyes and young and the font
added to the military report style of writing; there was a map at the beginning
which helped in understanding where the attacks were going to take place, but it
would have been good if the artist had included all of Australia so the reader
could get an idea as to where the place was located; the paper was a little rough
to the touch which also added to the military appeal
• Language: The book is easy to read and flows smoothly with a quality of
language that is highly creative and entertaining
• Point of View: The story is told in the third person and is written as a military
report from the future
• Comparison in genre: I have read a number “aliens attack and end the world”
books and this one ranks near the top as far as intrigue, action, believability,
originality within the theme, and character building
• Does this book work? I loved this book and bought the first one so that the
second would make sense. As it turns out they could stand alone, but the story
makes much more sense and the reader associates better with the characters if
volume 1 is read first. I recommend it highly for any school library.

Book Reviews
Jo Train
Steinhofel, Andreas. The Spaghetti Detectives 2010. 167p. Scholastic Inc., $16.99.
ISBN: 978-0-545-28975-7. Grades 4 and up, P8Q8
You have heard of child prodigy’s, but have never heard of a proddity. Rico is a child
proddity. Not the sharpest student, but he tries to help his memory. This book is set in
Berlin where Mr. 2000 is kidnapping children and holding them ransom for 2000 euros.
Rico’s new friend is kidnapped and he must find his friend before it is too late. Rico is a
character that you have to love. His honesty and perseverance are what make this
such a wonderful book. My students will love Rico.

Brodien-Jones, Christine. The Scorpions of Zahir 2012. 369p. Delacorte Press,
$17.99. ISBN: 978-0-385-73933-7. Grades 4 and up, P7Q7
After reading Brodien-Jones last book, The Glass Puzzle, I wasn’t jumping to start this
book. But…I liked it. Zagora is a true adventurer and a fearless leader. She is fulfilling
her dream and traveling with her archaeologist father to the deserts of Morocco to
deliver an artifact that could raise a lost city and save the Azimuth tribe. I believe that
both boys and girls will enjoy this book and recommend it for any library.

Stone, Phoebe. Romeo Blue [series] 2013. 346p. Scholastic Inc., $16.99. ISBN:
978-0-545-44360-9. Grades 5 and up, P8Q8
Finally the second book is here. After reading The Romeo and Juliet Code several
years ago, my students have been waiting far to long. There was a waiting list for the
first book and Phoebe Stone did not disappoint her readers. This second installment is
about Flissy Budwig’s family who are spies in the WWII. Her daddy-uncle (see first
book) is going over to save her mother and her uncle-daddy (really read the first book).
Flissy’s daddy-uncle is successful and her mother gets to come home. Awesome
second book!

Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers
November 2013 Reviews by Nel Ward

Adkins, Jan. What If You Met a Cowboy? 2013. 48p. Roaring Brook Press, $17.99.
978-1-59643-149-2. Ages 7-11: The Wild West is full of myths, that Adkins skillfully
debunks in this detail information about “the real cowboy.” Lightly colored sepia penand-
ink illustrations accompany the sometimes whimsical facts about types of
cowboys, saddles, barbed wire, and activities. A useful glossary contains
pronunciation for even the simplest terms such as “bedroll.” A past cowboy in
Washington state, Adkins has provided an fascinating addition to his other
informational books, including the “What If You Met” books such as pirate and knight.
A nice browsing book. P8Q8

Beckman, Wendy Hart. Harlem Renaissance Artists and Writers. [Inspiring Collective
Biographies]. 2014. 112p. Enslow, $31.95. 978-0-7660-4165-3. Ages 11-13:
Originally published as Artists and Writers of the Harlem Renaissance, this collective
biography briefly covers ten creative people during the 1920s and 1930s when
Harlem (NY) was the place to go for blacks interested in music, writing, poetry, and
social commentary. A good addition to black collective biographies. P5Q5 !
Berger, Melvin & Gilda. 101 Animal Babies. 2013. 112p. Scholastic, $8.99.
978-0-545-56321-5. Ages 8-11: Author of other “101” books about animals, the
couple has organized these creatures in alphabetical order with a standard formula
for each page: brief information, headline using language from the description, and
two colored photographs—one large and one small. The quality is what readers
have come to expect from this publisher, and the information is accurate. An index is
useful in finding groups, such as cubs and fry (fish). P8Q6

Colson, Ray Scott. Bone Collection: Animals. Illus. Sandra Doyle, Elizabeth Gray, and
Steve Kirk. 2013. 96p. Scholastic, $14.99. 978-0-545-57628-4. Ages 8-12: Skeletons
are a never-ending fascination for young readers, and the large collection of them
from tiny creatures to elephants and whales’ tales will require long examination of
each page. Photography enhances the visual spreads to show the animal when fully
covered. Pages show related species to one skeleton in a category, shared
characteristics, and ways that the skeleton allows them to function. Because the
book was written in Europe, some of the information may be confusing. For
example, the moose is indeed “also called the elk” in Sweden, but not in the United
States. Use of sepia background for some of the pages gives this volume a timeless,
expensive feeling. P9Q9

Cummins, Julie. Flying Solo: How Ruth Elder Soared into America’s Heart. Illus. Malene
R. Laugesen. 2013. unp. Roaring Brook, $17.99. 978-1-59643-509-4. Ages 6-9:This
addition to picture books on women in early aviation features a woman who shared
the ambition of her contemporary, Amelia Earhart, to be the first female pilot to cross
the Atlantic. Cummins emphasizes the feminine aspect of her subject, writing about
how she “never lost her … lipstick.” The author’s spirited account matches Elder’s
personality and bravado as the 23-year-old set forth across the ocean after only a
few flying lessons. Fortunately, they were picked up by a ship after a gas leak forced
them to abandon their aircraft. Illustrations attempting to fit the feel of the 1920s and
1930s give the book a static feeling. An author’s note fills in the rest of Elder’s life
until she died in 1977. P6Q7

Hill, Laban Carrick. When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip
Hop. Illus. Theodore Taylor III. 2013. unp. 978-1 -59643-540-7. Ages 6-10: Few
people know that an immigrant from Jamaica is considered the father of hip hop,
now part of mainstream music. During the 1970s, Clive Campbell moved to the
Bronx, where he gained his nickname from “Hercules” because of his height. As a
DJ at block parties, Kool Herc played music back to back instead of breaking
between songs, giving non-stop action. He also developed the practice of calling out
DJ at block parties, Kool Herc played music back to back instead of breaking
between songs, giving non-stop action. He also developed the practice of calling out
to the best dancers through spontaneous riffs from his background of Jamaican
toasting and chanting. Through the energy and passion shown through both lyrical
narrative and earth-toned visuals, it makes a great read-aloud about the person who
“put the hip hip hop, hippity hop into the world’s heartbeat.” P7Q8

Krull, Kathleen. Benjamin Franklin. Illus. Boris Kulikov. [Giants of Science Series]. 2013.
121p. Viking, $15.99. 978-0-670-01287-9. Ages 10-14: Not just another book on the
famous Founding Father, this biography concentrates on Franklin as “natural
philosopher,” the phrase used for scientists over 300 years ago. Krull also brings out
the truth of his famous scientific experiments such as flying a kite in the rain. (He
was a bit more cautious than that.) The introduction provides the times of Franklin’s
life when medical doctors had almost no training, and the casual, easy narrative
follows his curiosity as he moved from place to place before spending many years in
Europe. Whimsical drawings accompany the gentle humor as Krull pokes at
Franklin’s idiosyncrasies. A nice addition to Franklin lore. P5Q9

MacLeod, Elizabeth and Frieda Wishinsky. A History of Just about Everything: 180
Events, People and Inventions That Changed the World. Illus. Qin Leng. 2013. 123p.
Kids Can Press, $21.95. Ages 10-14: From 6,000,000 BCE to the Japanese tsunami
of 2011, the authors have presented their 180 items in chronological order. A timeline
in the back repeats the events under four divisions: Inventions & Discoveries;
Science, Mathematics, & Medicine; Arts, Architecture, & Language; and History,
Politics, & Religion. The world outside Europe and North America receives short
shrift, and even major events such as the English Civil War and the American Civil
War are not present as “events.” One of the events repeats the inaccuracy that the
first humans were “descended from apes,” and the Japanese tsunami is listed as
earthquake, less of a world change than the water movement that it caused. Most of
the event descriptions, that vary in length, are accompanied by a watercolor
illustration, and boxes describe “ripples” spreading from the event. Some ripples are
imaginary, such as the humans developing closer relationships from fire because
they gather close to it for warmth. Another one is that photography led to abstract art
because artists no longer needed to be representational.

Marcus, Leonard S. Randolph Caldecott: The Man Who Could Not Stop Drawing. 2013.
64p. FSG, $24.99. 978-0-374-31025-7. Ages 9-12;Adult: The Caldecott Medal turns
75 this year, an award for illustrations in a children’s picture book. The medal was
named after a bank clerk born in 1846 who moved to becoming a full-time artist
because his former job bored him. He died at 39; among his works are 16 children’s
books that provide the focus for this well-illustrated biography. Marcus includes
historical background of Caldecott’s time as the steam engine changed the culture of
England as well as his innovative techniques such as more widely spacing of the
text, developing visual stories, and asking for royalties instead of flat fees. With its
rich feel because of its 19th-century reproductions, antique typeface, and thick paper,
the book may be a collector’s item rather than a children’s book. (Ironically, the
person who wins the award named after an English illustrator must be a U.S. citizen
or resident.) P5Q9

Wyckoff, Edwin Brit. The Woman Who Invented the Thread That Stops Bullets: The
Genius of Stephanie Kwolek. Genius Inventors and Their Great Ideas Series]. 2013.
48p. Enslow, $23.93. 978-0-7660-4141-7. Ages 8-10: This chemist’s biography is a
great addition to collections of feminist books for young readers, as the author traces
her perseverance and curiosity in developing the groundbreaking Kevlar used for
body armour. This little known hero, whose invention saved many lives, became the
185th member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame a decade ago when she was
80 years old. P6Q7

Picture Books
Cooper, Elisha. Train. 2013. unp. Orchard Books, $17.99. 978-0-545-38495-7. Ages
5-8: Luminous watercolors highlight trains from close-ups to distance as they cross
the country starting with a red-striped Commuter Train and moving on to other trains
with a variety of colors—the blue Passenger Train, orange Freight Train, dark green
Overnight Train, and “the sleek and white High-Speed Train.” Cooper incorporates
the many geographic features of America—plains, mountains, cities, etc.—as well as
the passing of time during the day. The detail and smaller panels make this suitable
for individual reading as well as sharing with small groups, and her language shows
the variety of train movements: clatters, powers forward, thundering, inches up,
shoots through, and schwoooshhhh before ending with a “gentle thunk.” Readers will
truly experience the journey from waiting to boarding through the service on a long distance
ride. The transitions are skillfully done by a pause before each page-turn as
Cooper reveals more information and excitement. Her brief author’s note states, “I
rode a lot of trains for this book.” Her attention to the smallest part of train-ride
shows her dedication. P10Q10

Raschka, Chris. Daisy Gets Lost. 2013. unp. Schwartz & Wade, $17.99.
978-0-449-81741-4. Ages 3-6: After her Caldecott win, Daisy comes back, still
getting in trouble. This time a spontaneous squirrel chase during a game of fetch
leaves the dog lost in the woods. Only the text of a mournful howl and the young
girl’s cries of “Daisy” accompany the almost abstract blob-like watercolors to show
the variety of emotions as Daisy goes from the joy of the chase to the fear of the
forest. Full-page illustrations vary with smaller panels to move the action as dog and
owner joyfully reunite. P9Q9

Seeger, Laura Vaccaro. Bully. 2013. unp. Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, $16.99.
978-1-59643-630-5. Ages 3-6: Boldly-lined flat-colored illustrations against cream
background accompany 18 words to follow the repetition of a small bull who follows
a big bull’s rejection by yelling at a sequence of friendly rabbit, chicken, and turtle
who want to play. After shouting insulting names at them, he continues with a series
of other creatures, growing so large that the last image is of only his hoof. The
situation is reversed when a goat yells “Bully” and stalks off. Simple and clear, the
situation is reversed when a goat yells “Bully” and stalks off. Simple and clear, the
book communicates the message that bullying is unacceptable because the tables
may be turned on the perpetrator. P9Q9

Young, Cybele. Ten Birds Meet a Monster. 2013. unp. Kids Can Press, $16.95.
978-1-55453-955-0. Ages 4-7: The black-and-white etchings of birds from the earlier
counting book, Ten Birds, return to cope with a shadow appearing to be a fearful
creature to the ten avians. The ten birds start to create their own monster, each bird
building on the before with a different fearsome name, but they only succeed in
building a series of sculptures of clothing, shoes, and other accessories. It is the
“easily distracted” bird that wanders off and accidentally discovers that the horrible
creature is actually a glove. Great energy and charm. P9Q9

Graphic Narratives
Ruth, Greg. The Lost Boy. 2013. 190p. Graphix/Scholastic, $12.99. 978-0-439-82332-6.
Ages 9-13: The narratives of this graphic novel cover a span of 50 years as Nate,
newly moved to a small town, discovers a tape recorder left by the outcast ‘tween
Walter who mysteriously disappeared. Neighbor Tabitha helps Nate as he is caught
in the midst of a supernatural battle, set in the woods filled with toys, insects, and a
tree creature. Although the first part of the book seems slow, the artwork will keep
serious readers caught up in the story that beings with small-town scenes evocative
of Norman Rockwell to deep horror—all in delicate black-and-white lines and
shading. The two timelines are shown with black margins for Walt and white margins
for Nate. The ending leaves room for a sequel. P7Q9

Seagle, Steven & Teddy Kristiansen. Genius. 2013. 126p. First Second, $17.99.
978-1-59643-263-5. Ages 13+: A child prodigy grows into a middle-aged man who
will lose his think-tank job if he doesn’t come up with “something big.” Discovering
that his senile father-in-law has memories of Albert Einstein swearing him to never
reveal a secret concept, he browbeats the old man into breaking his pledge. The
graphic novel explores the “chasm between knowledge…and knowing” as Ted copes
with his beautiful wife with seriously recurring headaches, genius daughter blaming
her father for being a social outcast, and horny son sworn to only masturbate in
return for a used car. The artwork is more striking than the plot as the reader feels
only disgust for Ted’s treatment of his father-in-law. Gray and sepia tones have a few
bursts of color showing memory, and Ted’s epiphany and Einstein’s secret explode
in full pages of abstract art. Chunks of dialog use different colored background to
identify speakers. The sadness of aging, both in Ted and the father-in-law, might
have more appeal to adults. P5Q8


Fletcher, Susan. Falcon in the Glass. 2013. 300p. McElderry, $16.99.
978-1-4424-2990-1. Ages 11-14: The poverty and miserable living conditions of late
fifteenth-century Murano and Venice (Italy) are front and center in this novel about
11-year-old Renzo, who is determined to salvage his family’s honor after his father is
killed. In order to become a glassblowing apprentice, Renzo must pass the test, but
he keeps failing to teach himself all the necessary skills. Only after he coerces Letta,
a homeless girl responsible for her six siblings, into helping him does he get better,
but then he is forced to help protect all the children. The secret power of Venice’s
“Ten,” their unfair imprisonment of people including the children’s grandmother as a
witch, and the danger to Renzo and his family after his father’s brother returns are
set against the frigid damp of home and business and the inability of people to help
themselves. As always, Fletcher’s words are magical as they paint the picture of
medieval life with the deep conflict of a boy, almost a child, who wants to protect his
family and still keep his new charges alive. A sad, yet inspiring story. P7Q9

Gleason, Colleen. The Clockwork Scarab: A Stoker & Holmes Novel. 2013. 350p.
Chronicle, $17.99. 978-1-4521-1070-7. Ages 11-14: Time travel, vampires, relatives
of Bram Stoker and Sherlock Holmes, and steampunk collide in this fast-paced
adventure co-narrated by Mina, Holmes’ niece, and Evaline, Stoker’s sister. With
highly contrasting personalities, the two young women partner to discover the
reason behind the deaths of young wealthy women. Each has her quirks and
personal issues: elegant vampire hunter Evaline has trouble getting out of the house
and fears blood, and stiff arrogant Mina has low self-esteem. But joining the cult that
worships the Egyptian Ankh and tries to reimpower the goddess Sekhmet leaves
them little time, especially with the interference of a young man who has
mysteriously been transported to 1889 from contemporary times, a common thief,
and the know-it-all Inspector Grayling. Sometimes the romantic interest on the part
of the girls is a bit overdone and the ending is a bit weak, but the book satisfies and
may develop at the series continues. P8Q7

Klimo, Kate. The Dragon at the North Pole. Illus. John Schroades. [Dragon Keepers
Series]. 2013. 164p. Random House, $15.99. 978-0-375-87066-8. Ages 8-11: In the
sixth book about ten-year-old cousins, Jesse and Daisy, secretly raising a dragon,
the seven-month-old creature, the size of two elephants, decides she wants to travel
to the North Pole to meet Santa. Her two keepers follow her with the help of magical
snowshoes and find first an enchanted place at the top of the world and then a
ghastly environment after the enchantment wears off. Once again, the three of them
fight against Beowulf, who wants to grow dragons so that he can live off their blood.
A fun contrast between dreams and nightmares, the adventure is more intense and
well-paced that earlier books. The book makes for light reading with its humor and
easy ending. P8Q8

Smith, Alexander McCall. The Mystery of Meerkat Hill. Illus. Iain McIntosh. [A Precious
Ramostswe Mystery for Young Readers]. 2013. 90p. Anchor/Random House,
$12.99. 978-0-345-80458-7. Ages 8-11: The popular author of the adult No. 1 Ladies’
Detective Agency series has diversified into juvenile fiction about the protagonist as
a young girl. This sequel to The Great Cake Mystery and Precious and the Puggies
follows Precious as she befriends to new impoverished classmates who made a
a young girl. This sequel to The Great Cake Mystery and Precious and the Puggies
follows Precious as she befriends to new impoverished classmates who made a
funny pet out of a meerkat. Through whimsical line drawings and exciting
adventures, the book includes vignettes such as the meerkat defeating a cobra while
Precious helps the family solve the mystery of a disappeared cow. The charming
narrative has the feel of an older time as Smith sometimes directly addresses the
readers. P7Q9

Van Leeuwen, Joke. The Day My Father Became a Bush. Trans. by Bill Nagelkerke.
2013. 104p. Gecko Press, $16.95. 978-1-877595-48-6. Ages 10-14: In danger after
her mother leaves and her father enlists as a soldier in the war in “the south,” Toda is
sent to cross the border to live with her mother. The child’s perspective shows the
stress of the unidentified war and the frustration of trying to read strangers’
motivation as Toda moves through forests and welfare homes in the care of unhappy
adults. The pen-and-ink sketches add to the childhood impressions about the
combination of family and war. Toda’s adventures will appeal to young readers who
have the same lost feelings. P7Q9

Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers
Nov. 2013 Reviews by Melinda Dye

Merchant, Natalie and Barbara McClintock. “Leave Your Sleep…A Collection of Classic
Children’s Poetry”. Frances Foster Books. 2012. $24.99. 978-0-374-34368-2. 48 pgs.
Pre and elementary school. P7/Q8.
The book includes full-length CD with songs based on a collection of poems that singer
Natalie Merchant with her daughter often at bedtime. The CD has a compartment that it
fits in in the rear of the book so I believe with care it will not be separated from the book.
The introduction is interesting. It’s about how this beautiful book came to be. I love the
soft pictures and poems that were chosen for this collection. At the end of the book is a
photo of each author and on the pages with the poems it shows the authors birth and
death dates. I hadn’t heard of many of the poems but the cover depicts the one poem I
was familiar with “The Blind Men and the Elephant”. The book also has a section for
credits and permissions for the poems and music. This is definitely a classic collection
to share with children.

Muller, Gerda. “A Year Around the Great Oak”. Floris Books. 2013. $17.95.
978-086315-946-6. 35 pgs. Elementary school. P8/Q8.
This story was first published in 1991 in Germany under the title Unser Baum. Gerda is
the illustrator of many other Seasons board books and the pictures are soft and
inviting which help to tell the story. There are a few words used that children may need
more explanation of such as bracken and den. This is a great story about an old oak
tree and obedience as the young boy disobeys and almost gets hurt by wild boars. This
story has several good moral examples intertwined with its simple story.

Morales, Yuyi. “Niño Wrestles the World”. Neal Porter Book. 2013. $16.99.
978-1-59643-604-6. 40 pgs. Pre & elementary school. P8/Q8.
The inside covers have great facts and drawings of other foes of Niño’s There are also
many Spanish words used as part of this story of imagination of a little boy who has
been playing with his action figures. The drawings are simple but interesting and remind
me of an old time book. The little boy defeats his many foes with funny moves such as
tickling and popsicle slichs. His biggest foes are his twin sisters as they awake from
their nap. At the end of the story is an author’s note explaining more about Lucha libre a
theatrical style of wrestling which is popular in Mexico.

Smith, Charles R. Jr. “I am the World”. Atheneum Books for Young Readers. 2013.
$17.99. 978-1-4424-2302-2. 45 pgs. Pre & elementary school. P8/Q8.
This is a book by an award winning poet and photographer Charles R. Smith Jr. The
photos and words are simple and powerful as they celebrate the diversity of our world. I
also appreciate the fact that some of the children depicted in the photos have
disabilities. This story will help children to be proud of who they are and where they
same from there are words used to describe some of the cultures that will be unknown
to most children for example “calypso” and will need to be explained. It also has other
languages all saying “hello”. The glossary at the back will aid in explaining and defining
words. I think this would be a great book for teachers doing a unit on diversity.

Illustrated by Ernie Kwiat. “Here Comes Super Grover…123 Sesame Street…Brand
New Readers”. Candlewick Press. 2013. $14.00. 978-0-7636-6655-2. 40 pgs. Preschool.
This book has great tips for helping your brand-new reader on the first page. It is am
miniature chapter book with contents and introductions for each section that helps with
comprehension. I think young children will love that the stores have Grover and many of
their other favorite characters from Sesame Street. The size of the book will also be
easy for small hands to hold.

Illustrated by Ernie Kwiat. “Abby Cadabby Up and Down…123 Sesame Street…Brand
New Readers”. Candlewick Press. 2013. $14.99. 978-0-7636-6652-1. 40 pgs.
Preschool. P8/Q8.
The book starts with tips for adults on how to “help your brand-new reader”. There is
also a content page with mini chapters. There are also introduction pages that help the
adult ask questions to check for comprehension as they are learning to read. I think little
children will love that Elmo is also part of the story. Beautiful, bright, simple illustrations
and stories that have problems that need to be solved.

Muldrow, Diane. “Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book”. A
Golden Book. 2013. $9.99. 978-0-307-97761-8. 45 pgs. Adults and children. P7/Q8. !
There is a forward written by Diane the longtime editorial director at Golden Books
about the life lessons from these little children’s books. This is a format for adults with
actual pictures and phrases from previous Golden Books. This would be a great gift
item book. It would also be enjoyable for grandparents who could read it to their
grandchildren. The nice thing is that each picture has in small print where the original
work can be found, the title of the book, illustrator, and year. It is also humorous. For
example the bit of advice says “…Get dressed first thing. (Sweatpants are bad for
morale. Put on something nice!)” I have the perfect friend to share this book with. What
a fun read.

Book Reviews November 2013- Devonee Trivett
Myers, Walter Dean Darius & Twig Amistad, New York, 2013, 199 pg.s, $17.99
ISBN978-0-06 172823-5 Gr. 9-12 P 9 Q 9
This is a book about two best friends living in modern day Harlem, Darius and Twig. The
writing is very accessible to teens, in that it doesn’t talk down or leave out the gritty
details of life as a struggling high school student who may or may not achieve their
dreams. Darius, the main character is a writer whose latest short story was not
accepted in a literary magazine, but was sent back to him with a note saying that it
showed promise. Because he hasn’t been published his high school advisor is cautious
about his chances to get a scholarship. Darius’ best friend is the best distance-runner in
the school, but they both have serious problems in their neighborhoods and families that
threaten their ability to follow their dreams. The friends help each other stay on track,
and the ending doesn’t sugar coat the reality of their situations. At the end of the book
Darius has rewritten his story and improved it for possible publication, neither kid knows
whether they will be able to attend college or not, but they do both know that they will
always have problems in their lives. With each other’s help, each finds their own way to
keep inspired to follow their own dream, without trying to live the dreams that others
might have for them. Many teens will be able to relate to the main characters lives. !

Singer, Marilyn. The Superheroes Employment Agency, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publishing Company, 2011, 40 pg.s, $17.02 ISBN-10: 0547435592 , Gr. K-7 P 6
Q 5
This takes a humorous look at would-be superheros who are unemployed because of
their unconventional superpowers, like Stuporman who can put villains in a stupor, or
Blunderwoman who shuts down technology wherever she goes. Everything is quite
irritatingly written in forced rhyme. This has a niche for some kids who may themselves
see themselves as not fitting in, but needing to have someone appreciate their own
Blunderwoman who shuts down technology wherever she goes. Everything is quite
irritatingly written in forced rhyme. This has a niche for some kids who may themselves
see themselves as not fitting in, but needing to have someone appreciate their own
special abilities. There are comedic illustrations on each page, and it does hold the
attention of younger kids, but is best for one on one reading aloud.

Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers

October 2013 Reviews by Kim Kellison and English 9-12 Students

Watt, Melanie. Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween Kids Can Press, Toronto,
Canada. 2013. 62 pages. 17.95. ISBN: 978-1-894786-87-4 Grades 4-6 P7 Q6
This chapter book is all about Halloween and how Scaredy Squirrel likes to celebrate.
There are eight chapters each that speak to different aspects of the holiday from
decorations to costumes to safety. The book is hardback and has interesting
illustrations, however it seems a little busy to me at times. Scaredy Squirrel has lots of
suggestions and tips that might give readers fun ideas for celebrating this holiday.

Patrick, Cat & Young, Suzanne. Just Like Fate. Simon & Schuster, New York, 2013. 304
pgs. $16.99, ISBN: 989-1-4424-72711-6 Gr. 8+ P9 Q9
Caroline’s grandmother is dying. Natalie won’t stop calling Caroline a runner, her
mother is in tears, her brother is being all too nice, and she doesn’t know what to do.
Natalie is right. Caroline is a runner, and when things get bad, that is what she does
best. When her parents got divorced, she ran to her grandmother’s house. Standing at
her grandmother’s bedside, waiting for her to pass, Caroline can’t decide what to do.
Should she stay and watch miserably as her beloved grandmother dies, or should she
go out to a party and try to forget what is happening? She can’t decide which choice is
the right one. In Just Like Fate, you get to see what will play out with either decision, but
they both lead to the same place.

Ohlin, Nancy. Thorn Abbey. Simon & Schuster, New York, 2013. 295 pgs. $16.99, ISBN:
978-1-4424-6488-9. Gr. 7+ P7 Q5
Tess would be considered a little above average, but only for her brain. She’s
insecure and doesn’t seem to quite grasp the concept of life. Devon should not have the
right to claim herself as a “friend” to anyone. Max seems to be just using Tess, although
he will deny it to the very end. Throughout the novel Thorn Abbey Tess fails to make
any healthy lasting friendships, and jumps into a relationship with a boy she barely
knows that is doomed from the beginning. Tess want’s her relationship to work, though.
Becca, on the other hand, is still in love with Max, but she’s dead. The writing was good,
but not great. The plot was choppy and sloppily paced. The ending was predictable and

Terril, Cristin. All Our Yesterdays. Hyperion, New York, 2013. 368 pgs. $17.99, ISBN:
978-1-4231-7637-4 Gr. 7+ P8 Q9
Marina is absolutely and terribly in love with James, but in the future, that love
plummets when James invents Cassandra. In the future, Em (Marina) turns love into
hatred, and with Finn’s help she’s determined to go back in time. And, she does. Fifteen
different times she tries to stop him, each time, she leaves herself a letter of instructions
on what to do next. This time, she has to do it right and kill James before he can hurt
her and ruin the world. The plot is fast paced and wonderfully written. With each word,
Finn and Marina’s story comes to life a little more.

Dawson, Nick and Benson, Patrick. North: The Amazing Story of Arctic Migration.
Candlewick Press, 2011. 55 pages. $7.99, ISBN: 978-0-7636-5271-5. Grades 2-4. P7
North is a beautifully illustrated book that allows students to experience animals and
other elements of the arctic. The book has a soft cover, which might impact its longevity
in a library, but this book would be an excellent addition to a classroom. I donated this
book to our second grade class because they study the Iditarod race every year. The
illustrations in this book are magnificent and would appeal even to adults. They give an
accurate representation of the animals found in the story and do not have cartoon

Book Reviews by Julie Morris /Taft 7-12
Taub, Melinda.(2013). Still Star-Crossed. Delacourt Press. 354 pages.
ISBN: 0385743505 Grade level: 9-12 P7 Q8
This is an enjoyable, fast paced novel that is written as a sequel to Shakespeare’s
Romeo and Juliet. Beginning three weeks after the tragedy that occurred in Verona, the
Montagues and Capulets are once again feuding and Prince Escalus is trying to find a
way to resolve the feud once and for all. He decides to have Benvolio, Romeo’s older
cousin, marry Rosaline, who is Juliet’s older cousin. Of course, the two want nothing to
do with his plan, but are forced to agree to it anyway. While they are trying to find a way
out of their betrothal, there is treachery afoot in Verona. Someone is conspiring to take
Escalus’ throne with the help of a madwoman who wants revenge on both families.
This is a book that I would promote to the English classes as an extension activity after
reading the play or for anyone who enjoys a well-written, entertaining historical novel.
There is some use of Shakespearean language, but it is neither clumsy nor contrived
and should not impede the average reader.

Medina, Meg. (2013). Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass. Candlewick Press. 274
pages. ISBN: 978-0-7636-5859-5 Grade level: 10-12 P9 Q9
“Piddy”, short for Piedad, Sanchez is the new girl at her high school when Yaqui
Delgado decides to bully her unmercifully. Piddy doesn’t know who Yaqui is or why she
is suddenly Yaqui’s target. As the bullying escalates though, Piddy becomes terrified
and changes herself to try to become tougher and more like Yaqui as a defense , but it
causes her to give up everything she once thought was important. Can she find her way
back to her true self when she has become someone she doesn’t recognize? Piddy has
to decide who she really is, a victim, a “chusma”, or a girl with the inner strength to
This is a graphic, poignant novel that provides an eye-opening look at bullying, some of
the reasons bullying occurs, the fear and helplessness of the victims, and of the
psychology of the bully and victim. It is a fascinating, haunting, and sadly realistic story
that is very pertinent today’s teens. I would not recommend it to younger readers
because of the graphic language, violence, and some sexual situations.

McGowan, Jennifer. (2013). Maid of Secrets. Simon and Schuster. 406 pages.
ISBN: 978-1-4424-4138-5 Grade level: 8-12 P7 Q8
Meg is a member of an acting troupe in Elizabethan England. To supplement the
troupe’s income, most of the younger members are also pickpockets. When Meg picks a
nobleman’s pocket, she gets caught and is blackmailed into becoming a spy in Her
Majesty’s service. She is one of five Maids of Honor who get training in spying to protect
Elizabeth and England. The court is full of Spaniards, Scots, French, and others who
want to see the young queen fail and Meg has her hands full with assignments.
Watching a handsome Spaniard who is passing mysterious letters proves to be
particularly difficult when he keeps distracting her. Meg also learns that she is a
replacement for a maid that was murdered and that the murderer is probably still at
court. With a fast moving plot and lots of action, this is a satisfying read for those who
like a good mystery and some light romance. This is likely the first book in a series
about the other Maids of Honor.

Book Reviews December 2013- Devonee Trivett

Myers, Walter Dean Darius & Twig Amistad, New York, 2013, 199 pg.s,
$17.99 ISBN978-0-06 172823-5 Gr. 9-12 P 9 Q 9
This is a book about two best friends living in modern day Harlem, Darius
and Twig. The writing is very accessible to teens, in that it doesn’t talk down
or leave out the gritty details of life as a struggling high school student who
may or may not achieve their dreams. Darius, the main character is a writer
whose latest short story was not accepted in a literary magazine, but was
sent back to him with a note saying that it showed promise. Because he
hasn’t been published his high school advisor is cautious about his
chances to get a scholarship. Darius’ best friend is the best distance-runner
in the school, but they both have serious problems in their neighborhoods
and families that threaten their ability to follow their dreams. The friends
help each other stay on track, and the ending doesn’t sugar coat the reality
of their situations. At the end of the book Darius has rewritten his story and
improved it for possible publication, neither kid knows whether they will be
able to attend college or not, but they do both know that they will always
have problems in their lives. With each other’s help, each finds their own
way to keep inspired to follow their own dream, without trying to live the
dreams that others might have for them. Many teens will be able to relate to
the main characters lives.

Singer, Marilyn. The Superheroes Employment Agency, Houghton Mifflin
Harcourt Publishing Company, 2011, 40 pg.s, $17.02 ISBN-10:
0547435592 , Gr. K-7 P 6 Q 5
This takes a humorous look at would-be superheros who are unemployed
because of their unconventional superpowers, like Stuporman who can put
villains in a stupor, or Blunderwoman who shuts down technology wherever
she goes. Everything is quite irritatingly written in forced rhyme. This has a
niche for some kids who may themselves see themselves as not fitting in,
but needing to have someone appreciate their own special abilities. There
are comedic illustrations on each page, and it does hold the attention of
younger kids, but is best for one on one reading aloud.

First Thursday’s Book Reviews
Jann Pope

Author: Jon McGoran
Title: DRIFT
Illustrator: None
Publisher: A Forge Book
Tom Doherty Associates, LLC
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010 !
Copyright Year: 2013
Price: $24,99 ($28.99 CAN)
ISBN: 978-0-7653-3470 (hardcover)
978-1-4668-1524-7 (e-book)
Pages: 384
Index: None
Copyright Year: 2013
Price: $24,99 ($28.99 CAN)
ISBN: 978-0-7653-3470 (hardcover)
978-1-4668-1524-7 (e-book)
Pages: 384
Index: None
Suggested Reader Ages: 13 – 18
9; Quality- Excellent, but not perfect.
General Review:
This was a good read told in the first person. I lost track of time one night reading well into
the wee hours of the morning – 4AM. Not once, but twice! !
The premise of the book is intriguing and frightening to consider – genetic modification of
our food sources for nefarious uses. Set in a Midwestern rural community there is mystery,
crime, murder, drugs, lies and deceit, some police procedure, and a love story. Who could
resist this? There were a couple of inconsistencies (the main character started out
barefoot, and ended up walking to his car in “squishy shoes” without apparently picking up
his shoes along the way). However, This didn’t interfere in the overall plot of story.
Character development was good and leaves room at the end of the story to continue with a
I really like the cover of the book – pleasing colors and simple but appealing art work. It’s a
good size to handle – not too thick to be intimidating but substantial enough for a good
read. A crime/mystery novel, not too complex compared to some I’ve read, but has enough
depth to keep the reader guessing and interested to keep reading to the end. The story line
works and is all-too-believable. My grandfather would be turning in his grave to think of
what farmers are doing to the earth and the food crops that feed us!

Vicki Lott Taft 7-12 Lincoln City, Oregon
Part 1
• Author: Falkner, Brian
• Title: Task Force: Recon Team Angel 2
• Publisher: Random House, Inc.; New York
• Copyright: 2012
• Price: 17.99
• ISBN: 978-0-449-81299-0
• Number of Pages: 277
• Glossary: Yes
• Ages of Audience: 12 and up
• Popularity rating: 8, mostly for a specific genre of readers
• Quality: 7, Well written, no cussing or sexual scenes or language
Part 2
• Fiction:
The story takes place on New Year’s Day in Australia in 2031. The Bzadian’s world was
dying and they came to Earth in gliders by the thousands. They could land but they could
not leave. The first few to arrive were greeted with helpful hands and open hearts by the
Humans. It soon became clear, though, that the Bazadians had other ideas than peaceful
coexistence. The Bazadians began a war to conquer and the Humans fought a war for
survival. The Angel and Demon teams, teenagers trained in Bazadian language and
culture and in military tactics and skills and altered physically to look like Bazadians,
infiltrated enemy lines to destroy vital targets. Politically, using teenagers like this was
unacceptable. But the human race was at stake!
This story is believable in large part because the technology of the aliens is not so
advanced as to make it hopeless for the humans, and as the war goes on, the humans
adapt and acquire better technology. The story is presented from both the Bazadian and
Human points of view, so it is clear that the Bazadians respect but are annoyed by the
Human ability to adapt. The characters are believable also because the reader is lead to
like and empathize with members of both species. Also, both species are represented by
races, cultures, and languages from across their planets.
• Impression: The cover is attractive in an adventurous, war themed sort of way; the book size is
• Format appeal: The print size was adequate for old eyes and young and the font added to the
military report style of writing; there was a map at the beginning which helped in understanding
where the attacks were going to take place, but it would have been good if the artist had included
all of Australia so the reader could get an idea as to where the place was located; the paper was a
little rough to the touch which also added to the military appeal
• Language: The book is easy to read and flows smoothly with a quality of language that is highly
creative and entertaining
• Point of View: The story is told in the third person and is written as a military report from the
future races, cultures, and languages from across their planets.
• Impression: The cover is attractive in an adventurous, war themed sort of way; the book size is
• Format appeal: The print size was adequate for old eyes and young and the font added to the
military report style of writing; there was a map at the beginning which helped in understanding
where the attacks were going to take place, but it would have been good if the artist had included
all of Australia so the reader could get an idea as to where the place was located; the paper was a
little rough to the touch which also added to the military appeal
• Language: The book is easy to read and flows smoothly with a quality of language that is highly
creative and entertaining
• Point of View: The story is told in the third person and is written as a military report from the
• Comparison in genre: I have read a number “aliens attack and end the world” books and this one
ranks near the top as far as intrigue, action, believability, originality within the theme, and
character building
• Does this book work? I loved this book and bought the first one so that the second would make
sense. As it turns out they could stand alone, but the story makes much more sense and the reader
associates better with the characters if volume 1 is read first. I recommend it highly for any
school library.

Author: Brown, Jeffrey
Title: Star Wars: Jedi Academy (Graphic Novel)
Illustrator: Brown, Jeffrey
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Copyright Year: 2013
Price: 12.99
ISBN: 978-0-545-50517-8
Pages: 160
Index: No
Suggested Reader
8-12; but adults will enjoy it, too!
General Review:
Star Wars: Jedi Academy is a takeoff of Luke Skywalker’s journey of becoming a
Jedi. It is a wonderfully crafted story of Jedi school from the point of view of the
main character, Roan, who really wanted to be a pilot but was invited to the Jedi
Academy instead. It includes adeptly handled lessons in how to deal with bullies,
the importance of homework, overcoming fear of trying, making friends, and dealing
with everyday school life. Through incredible art in the form of cartoons and comics
and masterful use of a variety of storytelling techniques, from journal entries to
comics, the reader is transported to another world. To children, it is a beginning to
the Star Wars story and a hopeful guide through life. For adults, it is a humorous
reminder of the lessons of youth through the parody of a beloved story. !

Book Reviews December 2013 -A. Goddard
Froley, Margaux. Escape Theory: A Keaton School Novel. NY: Soho Press, 2013. $17.99 269
pp. ages 13 up ISBN 978-1-61695-127-6 P8/Q8
Sixteen-year-old Devon is in her third year at a prestigious boarding school, and is chosen to
pioneer a new peer counseling program. Right away she has to handle a crisis: A boy who she
really liked from freshman year has just died. Everyone thinks he committed suicide, but she
has other ideas. She’s manipulated by faculty and students, and her only real allies seem to
be the owner of the nearby vineyard and two students who fit in even more poorly than she
does. The mystery drives the novel as it bounces between present day and freshman year.
The events aren’t completely improbable, and the characters are sympathetic. The social
climbing of boarding school people will be not be an experience that our students will have
had, or will likely relate to, but the plot will keep the reader’s interest. As a whodunit, the
novel keeps the mystery tight until the very end. It is intended as the first in a series.

Lynch, Chris. Pieces. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2013. $16.99 168 pp. ages 13 up ISBN
978-1-4169-2703-7 P7/Q8
Eric was very close to his older brother Duane. So when Duane is suddenly killed in a
motorcycle crash, Eric knows he has to find a way to deal with his overwhelming grief.
Duane’s death from a brain injury, while at a young healthy age, meant that he was able to be
a multiple organ donor. This story deals with Eric’s attempt to reconcile himself with his grief
by meeting the recipients of the organs. Naturally, getting Duane’s organs does nothing to
change the personality of the recipients, and some of them are not very nice. Some are
downright annoying. But interacting with them, Eric begins to get a perspective on Duane,
himself, and what makes people who they are. It’s a quick read, and interesting, but not
exactly an action adventure, more an introspective dealing with grief.

Coben, Harlan. Seconds Away. NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2012. $18.99 338 pp. ages 13 up
ISBN 978-0-399-25651-6 P8/Q8
Micky Bolitar, a sophomore in high school, lives with his uncle since his father died and his
mother is in rehab. This is the second book in the Bolitar series, and it certainly stands
alone. The mystery involves Micky’s father’s death in a car crash, the paramedic who took
his body away and who looks just like an evil Nazi called the Butcher of Lodz, and an
enigmatic old lady who lives in an old house and survived the Auschwitz death camp. The
story is well written, the characters are sympathetic, and the action moves quickly. It should
appeal to readers who tend to get bored by slow-moving fiction, to fans of mystery/action

Smith, Jennifer E. This Is What Happy Looks Like. NY: Hachette Book Group, 2013. $17.99
404 pp. ages 14 up ISBN 978-0-316-21282-3 P8/Q8
This romance begins with an accidental contact on the internet: Ellie gets an email asking if
she can do pet-pig-care, by mistake. She responds, and an honest, sometimes humorous longdistance
relationship develops. It turns out that the boy on the other end, Graham,
unbeknownst to Ellie, is a film star and talks the producer into shooting in Ellie’s home town.
The problems of fame get in the way. Of course, there’s a dangerous plot twist that provides
a climax. The story is fast-moving, and satisfying, and may appeal to more than the usual
romance-genre fans.

Metger, Lois. A Trick of the Light. NY: Balzer + Bray (Harper Collins), 2013. $17.99 194 pp.
ages 14 up. ISBN: 078-0-06-213308-3 P8/Q8
There seems to be a run of books on the topic of anorexia, but this is the first I’ve
seen that is about a boy, and the first that tells the story from the point of view of the voice
he hears in his head. At first, I thought the story would be about a schizophrenic, but
perhaps that’s the point: Disembodied voices can characterize more than one disorder. The
things that set Mike, a normal sophomore kid, on the path of the eating disorder include his
parents arguing and then divorcing while spending no attention on him (and he has no
siblings), and falling in with a girl who has an eating disorder and is an enthusiastic missionary
for Thin. The voice Mike hears in his head has an ego of its own, and is a difficult enemy to
defeat. In the end, after going through an in-patient treatment program, Mike begins to look
for ways to defeat his voice, and I like the author’s metaphoric treatment of that battle.
Since an estimated 10% of anorexics are male, that does comprise a group of people who
need to have their own story told, both for their own sake and to educate the public. Since it
appears that social interactions have an influence on this disease, it’s good to know what
might be helpful, and what might not. This book is a fast read, easy to grasp, and not at all
intimidating despite its topic of disorder. It would make an excellent addition to a book list
of enriched reading for a health class. The story is followed by an author’s note and a

Pierson, D.C. Crap Kingdom. NY: Viking, 2013. $17.99 360 pp. 14 up ISBN
978-0-670-01432-3 P9/Q9
It’s not often that YA novels are successfully funny, but this one hits it on the head. It tackles
the angst and self esteem issues of teen boys in a totally novel way. Tom is a great fantasy
novel fan, and constantly dreams that his life will one day be magically transformed when
someone from a distant kingdom shows up and informs him that he’s the Chosen One who will
change their destiny. Then one day it happens. Like many fantasies, this one doesn’t really
live up to his ideals, and he is sooo unimpressed that he turns down the job. That doesn’t
stop his friend from accepting and making a good deal of the job, benefiting the kingdome.
The book capitalizes on the normal teenage angst felt by many boys, which in combination
with low self-image leads to low achievement. But readers can take heart that, with some
with low self-image leads to low achievement. But readers can take heart that, with some
effort, Tom can be the hero he always wanted to be. Between the message, the humor, and
the action, this book delivers a good time.

Grabenstein, Chris. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. NY: Random House, 2013.
$16.99 288 pp. ages 8 up ISBN 978-0-375-87089-7 P9/Q9
There couldn’t be a more amusing way of learning the classification system used in
libraries than the game devised by Mr. Lemoncello on the opening of the town’s new library.
In order to escape the building, the children have to solve riddles and puzzles relating to the
location of things in the library. The story moves quickly, and isn’t as nerdy as it might seem
it would be. The main character is 12 years old. The story doesn’t include love interests,
rebellion or any dire circumstances, it’s just a pleasant story that happens to teach about the
library at the same time.

McDonald, Abby. Jane Austen Goes to Hollywood. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2013.
$17.99 321 pp. ages 14 up ISBN 978-0-7636-5508-2 P8/Q8
Sisters Grace and Hallie couldn’t be more different in personality and approach to life,
but they’re stuck in the same quandary when their father (divorced and remarried) dies
suddenly without leaving a will. Their stepmother is an ice-queen, completely self-involved,
who throws them and their mother out of the house they’ve always lived in. Penniless, Grace
tries to figure out how to keep things together, but in the end a distant relative who’s a
made-for-TV-movie director takes them into his Hollywood mansion. The book reads like a
Danielle Steele novel for youth: Earnest, quality people encounter big obstacle but overcome
it while living high on the hog. I’m not an Austen fan, so can’t speak to the parallels, but the
author never mentions Jane Austen past the title of the book. There is satisfactory personal
growth of the characters, and it will appeal to girls looking for a romance novel.

Anonymous. Letting Ana Go. NY: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster), 2013. $17.99 279 pp.
ages 14 up ISBN 9778-1-4424-7223-5 P8/Q8
A teen girl on the cross country running team is assigned the task of keeping a food
diary because students were using the sport to cover for their eating disorders. (It being a
diary, the girl’s name doesn’t get used. “Ana” refers to “anorexia”.) Ironically, paying so
much attention to what she ate led to an obsession. Contributing to the problem was a
girlfriend who was anorexic and anxious for company, and difficult times at home as her
parents’ marriage broke down. Other than that, the girl had no real problems other than
those she created for herself. The story (which is in the form of a diary spun off from the
original food diary) details the self-delusions, the secrets, the lies, and the treatments as well
as the stimulants for her anorexia. In the end, despite a hopeful future with a boyfriend and
college plans, the girl collapses while running to her friend’s house. A slightly-censored report
by a nurse talking about “the decedent” on whom CPR was useless. We don’t learn the cause
of death, but it’s pretty sure that she died of a heart attack caused by her self-starvation. A
quick and easy read, the book creates this character and makes the reader sympathetic to her
as a person but at the same time makes her magical thinking show as clearly mistaken. For
anyone who has wondered what motivates such behavior, this book can inform. Hopefully it
will also impress those who are tempted to starve themselves that the end result is not one
they want. Looking good in that dress in the coffin really isn’t worth it. This book could be
valuable extra reading for a health class, as well as for anorexics, and definitely has a place
in the high school library.

Pinkwater, Daniel. Illustrated by Adam Stower. Mrs. Noodlekugel and Four Blind Mice.
Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2013. $14.99 90 pp. ages 6-9 ISBN 978-0-7636-5054-4
Short chapter books are a necessary step in learning to read, and this one is ready to teach
the reader new words. A charming fantasy, the story depicts one day in which the old lady
(Mrs. Noodlekugel–good luck saying that, children) goes to the eye doctor (oculist; probably a
correct term but one I’ve never used) to have her four mice’s eyes checked. She brings along
the cat in a carrier. One thing leads to another, and by the end of the story the mice have
glasses, the cat has found his long-lost father, and Mrs. Noodlekugel has a new policeman
friend. The illustrations are black and white line drawings that are friendly (they remind me
of the ones in the old book “Homer Price”) and keep the pages from seeming too long and
gray. The book might best be read aloud to a young reader first; I don’t know how many
children will understand the phrase “make a three-mile grade” as referring to a steep hill.
For readers who hate to have things oversimplified or be talked down to, this book should fit
the bill.

Tubb, Krislin O’Donnell. The Thirteenth Sign. NY: Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan), 2013.
$16.99 262 pp. ages 8 up ISBN 978-0-312-58352-1 P8/Q8
This fast-paced adventure book follows Jalen (a middle school-aged girl) as she
tries to conquer the 12 signs of the zodiac and solve the mystery of how and why her father
disappeared when she was 9 and close to death. She finds and unlocks a book about the
zodiac which includes a 13th sign: Ophiucus the snake. Thence begins a mission to find
Ophiucus and her healing birthstone so Jalen can save the life of her dying grandmother. The
plot uses each zodiac sign to illustrate the character traits and their extremes, and how they
can come together in a person. The change in signs (and so personality) for many people when
the 13th sign is included motivates the character, to change them back by overcoming the
various challenges of the signs. By the end of the book, the central character has come to
understand a balance, both in solving the central mystery of her father, and in coming to
terms with her own self and how she deals with others. It’s unusual for a book for this age
group to talk so specifically about character traits, and how choice still remains with the
person to control or express those traits. I found the story’s emphasis on altruism also
refreshing. The action moved quickly, and was energizing without being morbid or gory, and
showed respect for the opponent (except for those with selfish motivations). Whether or
not the reader believes in astrology, the story will be thought-provoking and an entertaining

Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw. Photos by William Munoz. The Horse and the Plains Indians: A
Powerful Partnership. NY: Clarion Books, 2012. $17.99. 98 pp. Ages 8 up. ISBN
978-0-547-12551-0 P8/Q8
This nonfiction book traces the historic relationship between the Plains and Plateau
Indian tribes and the horse. It is richly illustrated with modern photographs as well as photos
of horse-related art and artifacts, historic photos, and historic Indian art relevant to horses.
The narrative is of an easy conversational tone, and steers clear of stiff terms (such as
“Native American”) and utilizes an easy level of vocabulary without being condescending.
The point of view is that of the tribes, an unusual perspective with most children’s
nonfiction, and is entirely acceptable to a modern Indian ears. It should be of interest to
horse fans and to Indian youth and those studying Indian culture.

Johnson, Maureen. The Madness Underneath: Shades of London, book two. New York: G.P.
Putnam’s Sons, 2013. $17.99 290 pp. ISBN 978-0-399-25661-5 P8/Q8
This fantasy is essentially about ghost-busters, the second in a series (I didn’t read the first
one, and still found this to be self-contained and enjoyable). Rory and a secret group of
other people can see ghosts and have the task of getting rid of them. New in this volume is
that Rory has suddenly acquired an amazing ability to destroy ghosts just by touching them.
Unable to see who is her friend and who isn’t, though, adds extreme danger to her life. The
story is action-packed, the fantasy is interesting, and the reader will look forward to the next
installment, though this story does reach a reasonably satisfying conclusion.

Hubbard, Kirsten. Wanderlove. NY: Delacourt/Random House, 2012. $17.99 338 pp. ages
14 up ISBN 978-0-385-73937-5 P8/Q8
This coming-of-age romance novel features a recently-graduated girl who has been
dumped by the boyfriend on whom she’d pinned all her future plans. She wanted to go to art
school; now she can’t even make herself draw. To get perspective, she decides to take a
travel tour to Mayan ruins in Mexico & Guatemala. Soon, though, she escapes the tour group
to head off on her own with interesting youthful backpackers. The story explores her
contradictory feelings, and the complications that lying or hiding things can bring to
relationships. She discovers herself by making her life difficult and trying new things, but
mostly through her budding relationship with a boy she meets on the road. Fans of actionadventure
will probably find this too tame, but it will please romance and travel genre fans.

Hasak-Lowy, Todd. 33 Minutes…Until Morgan Sturtz kicks my butt. New York: Aladdin
(Simon & Schuster), 2013. $15.99 210 pp. ages 8-12 ISBN 978-1-4424-4500-0 P8/Q8
Sam and Morgan are in seventh grade and used to be best friends, but their lives have
taken different paths, and Morgan has become a jock and Sam a nerd. Pretty soon Sam gets
his feelings hurt when Morgan laughs at him, and Morgan gets his feelings hurt when Sam says
he’s dumb. With humor, amusing illustrations, and realistic drama, Sam and Morgan work it
out. The writing will take the reader back (like it or not) to their own middle school years
(ones most would not care to repeat), and take heart at how kids manage to grow out of the
awkwardness. This is a funny and readable book that should appeal to that often hard-toplease
group, 7th grade boys, as well as others.

Hopkinson, Deborah. Illustrated by Bethanne Andersen. A Packet of Seeds. NY: Greenwillow Books
(Harper Collins), 2004. $16.89 28 pp. ages 5-10 ISBN 0-06-009090-1 P6/Q7
This gentle and touching story is told from the point of view of a little girl whose family moves west to
the prairies in the 19th century. Her mother didn’t want to go, and after having a baby in the new land she
gets depressed. The little girl figures out that a flower garden is what might cheer her up, and she and her
brother go to work planting one with packets of seeds that they brought with them that were gifts from
their old neighbors. The illustrations have a sedate, sensitive feel. The book could be used in a 4th or 5th
grade history class when discussing the movement west, or as a seasonal story for spring.

Winter, Jonah. Illustrations by Sean Qualls. Dizzy. NY: Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic), 2006.
$16.99 43 pp. ages 5-10 ISBN 0-439-50737-5 P6/Q8
One of many illustrated biographies of jazz musicians that have come out in the last few years, this one
of Dizzy Gillespie is good. The typeface is obvious and easy to read for a young reader. The story
reaches into his childhood (which was harsh) and the origins of his desire to blow trumpet in a new and
different way. An accompanying CD has the book read aloud by the author. If using this biography with
a class, I’d suggest playing one of his performances, e.g. one on YouTube of Gillespie playing on the
Muppet Show, or one of him in a duet with Louis Armstrong. Only by hearing the music can you really
understand what was wonderful about him, but this book does give insight into him as a man and

McCarthy, Meghan. The Story of Charles Atlas, Strong Man. NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007. $15.99 32
pp. ages 5-10 ISBN 978-0-375-82940-6 P7/Q7
There was a time when every magazine and comic book contained an ad from Charles Atlas about
getting in shape. Atlas was the progenitor of the modern physical fitness movement. This book covers
his life, from immigration to America with his family (his birth name was Angelo Siciliano) through the
infamous “bullies kicking sand in his face” incident to his eventual fame as a strong man and his effect on
American culture. The illustrations are cute, but don’t really inspire one to sculpt their body; fortunately
there is one real photograph of Atlas at the end, along with a small-print biography for adult readers and
some exercises to try to get in shape.

Dunbar, Joyce. Illustrated by Jimmy Liao. The Monster Who Ate Darkness. Cambridge, Mass.:
Candlewick Press, 2008. $16.99 54 pp. ages 3 up ISBN 978-0-7636-3859-7 P9/Q9
This funny story about a boy who was afraid of the dark is one of the cutest that I’ve seen in a while.
Jo-Jo’s fear that there’s a monster under the bed is elaborated upon: the small monster is hungry and loves
to eat darkness. As the insatiable monster eats he gets bigger and bigger. Finally it culminates in the
monster taking a different turn: he embraces and soothes the little boy, and the story ends with the boy
embracing the darkness monster as he sleeps, now just a tiny thing. The story is inventive in dealing with
this common childhood fear. The illustrations are strong, bright and compelling, and the typeface is
easily read. It should become a classic.

Ellison, Elizabeth Stow. Flight. NY: Holiday House, 2008. $16.95 about 248 pages ages 10 up ISBN
978-0-8234-2128-2 P7/Q8
Freshman Evan is having a hard time at school and at home. He’s a great artist, but his classes aren’t
going well, and he’s starting to act out. Only his younger sister is his confidante, and it isn’t for a long
time that he finally admits to her that his real problem is that he can’t read. As the story unfolds, we find
out his parents’ history and some of the things that have been behind how they act. It finally takes Evan’s
younger sister, Samantha, to cut through the pretense and encourage Evan to build on his strengths while
he asks for help with his reading. This book shows how it is possible for illiteracy to still exist in our
current society, and how it affects both the individual and the family. The story is a quick and easy read,
and might be particularly helpful for families (or professionals) trying to come to grips with the reality of
the problem.

Schwabach, Karen. The Hope Chest. NY: Random House, 2008. $16.99 272 pp. ages 10 up ISBN
978-0-375-84095-1 P7/Q8
In 1917, eleven-year-old Violet decides to look for her older sister Chloe who traded her traditional
hope chest for a motor car. The search takes her on trains, to big cities and rural areas, ending up in
Tennessee where zealots on both sides of the women’s suffrage movement have gathered to help sway the
vote toward giving women the right to vote. The story is action-packed, and includes detail not often
covered about the suffrage movement, especially the states’ votes. Not only does it offer historic detail,
but the story is all about empowerment, including the power of a young girl to help get out the vote. (this
book has been previously reviewed by this site)

Katcher, Brian. Playing with Matches. NY: Delacorte Press, 2008. $15.99 294 pp. ages 12 up ISBN
978-0-385-73544-5 P7/Q7
High school junior Leon has never had a date. He’s smitten with a popular, beautiful girl, Amy, who
never notices him. When locker changes mean the unpopular, burn-disfigured girl Melody has a locker
near his, Leon begins to readjust his attitude toward what makes a girl interesting. Eventually there’s a
showdown of loyalties when Amy gives him a chance. The book has humor, moves along nicely, and
gives a good message about what is worthy in a person, and it isn’t looks. !

Snyder, Zilpha Keatley. The Bronze Pen. NY: Atheneum Books, 2008. $16.99 200 pp. ages 8-12
ISBN 1-4169-4201-7 P7/Q7
Audrey likes to write. When she gets a magical bronze-colored pen to write with, things begin to get
really strange: What she writes seems to become reality. Only her friend Lizzie knows. It all seems
rather scary and pointless until Audrey’s father (who has been bedridden since being diagnosed with a
heart problem; this takes place some decades in the past) gets some welcome news, perhaps with the help
of the pen. The perpetual question of fantasy wish-fulfilling stories emerges: Exactly how do you phrase
your wish? And how do you know when it’s going to come true? The story is fun without getting too far
into fantasy, and should prove a quick read for this age group.

Fine, Anne. Illus. by Georgina McBaine. Frozen Billy. NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005. $16.00 175
pp. ages 8-12 ISBN 0-374-32481-6 P7/Q7
Clarrie and Will are stuck living with their theatrical uncle Len in England while their father tries to
find the family a new situation in Australia and their mother is wrongfully imprisoned in Ireland. They
don’t like their uncle’s behavior (he’s an alcoholic) or his ventriloquist’s dummy, Frozen Billy. No matter
what they do, it seems like they will spend forever in this bad situation until Will comes up with a new
strategy: pretend to be a dummy himself and join the act. Even that doesn’t help until Clarrie gets a new
idea. The story is interesting and the typeface big so it will be a fast read. The author wrote the story that
the movie “Mrs. Doubtfire” was based upon, and like her this story originally came from England. While
the situation portrayed in the story is unique, many of our students, with their own hard luck stories, may
relate to the children’s unhappiness and be delighted by their resourcefulness.

Brian, Kate. Privilege. NY: Simon Pulse, 2008. $9.90 291 pp. ages 12 up ISBN 978-1-4169-67590
Arianna is not the most likable protagonist; she’s snobbish, bitchy, and has murdered at least one
guy (the list lengthens it seems as the story progresses…) In fact, there’s not a single major character in
this book that is a worthy role model. However, the twists and turns and red herrings in the story make it
hard to put down, and as much as I didn’t like the way it was going, I had to find out what happened. The
cover and title made it sound like it would be another in the high-school-social-climbing genre, but by the
time I’d finished the book I’d more likely put it in the Horror genre. It puts a whole new spin on the
concept of serial killers. This is the first in a new series by the author of the Private series. I hate to see
the body count by the time the series concludes.

Clement-Moore, Rosemary. Highway to Hell (Maggie Quinn: Girl vs. Evil series). NY:
Delacorte Press, 2009. $16.99 357 pp. ages 12 up ISBN 978-0-385-73463-9 P7/Q8
This lively story about two teen girls, one with some extrasensory powers and the other with a
flair for studying spells, has something to offer for lots of interests: mystery, romance, horror,
magic, and travel (in this case, the desert of Texas) & subcultures. Maggie (who characterizes
herself as Psychic Girl Detective) and Lisa (“amateur sorcerer”) go on a road trip and end up
stuck in a little town in Texas when their car crashes into a cow mysteriously dead and slashed in
the middle of the road. Soon the animal (and people) body count rises, and the mythical
chupacabra gets blamed. Maggie and Lisa manage to both locate the “culprit” and potential
allies to defeat the Evil. The story is fast-paced and the reader can’t help but care about both the
heroines and their mission. While it is technically a horror-type story, it isn’t the kind of story to
give one nightmares, and it is humorously enough written to make it a fun read. I could hardly
put it down.

Monninger, Joseph. Baby. Asheville, NC: Front Street, 2007. $16.95 173 pp. 12 up ISBN
978-1-59078-502-7 P7/Q7
Baby is a teen girl who has come to her last chance for a foster home. These foster parents, though,
don’t give up on kids. Shortly she finds out why: They raise sled dogs and racing and taking care of the
dogs is enough to get a kid back on track. This story takes her through her discovery of a “straight” way
of life, including going back and checking out her old boyfriend and figuring out that his way won’t work
for her. The dog racing has its hazards, and almost kills her, but she turns out to be a hero in her own way.

Farley, Steven. The Black Stallion and the Shape-shifter. NY: Random House, 2009. $15.99 263 pp.
8 up ISBN 978-0-375-84531-4 P6/Q6
Being a long-time fan of the Walter Farley horse books, I may have gone into this one expecting his
expertise. His son is not a bad writer, but the book doesn’t have quite the same mysterious attraction that
his father’s had. This book includes the classic Black Stallion and his owner/rider Alec Ramsey. It takes
place in Ireland and features the Celtic mythology of kelpies. The fantasy angle is new to the Black
Stallion series as far as I remember, and gives it a different flavor, and not a bad one. It’s an interesting

Sanchez, Alex. Rainbow road. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2005. $16.95 243 pp. ages 14 up ISBN
978-0-86565-7 P8/Q7
The Rainbow Boys series has been popular in our school, and this is the 3rd of the series. Here the 3
protagonists set out for a road trip to California where one of them has been asked to speak about his
experiences to a newly opened school. The format is a chapter from each of the boys in turn, and
explores their feelings about the various experiences on their trip. At the end of the book are a variety of
useful resources for gay teens. It’s a fun read.

Schrefer, Eliot. The School for Dangerous Girls. NY: Scholastic Press, 2009. $17.99 341 pp. ages 14
up ISBN 978-0-545-03528-6 P7/Q7
There seems to be a run on stories that deal with corrupt residential “treatment” programs, and this is
one of them. Certainly there have been a number of such programs come to light recently and closed
down or staff members prosecuted, but the point of this story seems to be less an imperative for
institutional change as an illustration of what an individual who is victimized by a system can do to deal
with it. A teenage girl who doesn’t go along with her parents’ wishes is sent away to a private boarding
school claiming to help “dangerous girls”. Once there, the girl discovers that it is a safety trap at best and
a hellish prison at worst. Dealing with the other girls and the rules and rulers, Angela finds that she’s
more of a leader than she thought, and ends up learning to use her “dangerousness” in a positive way.
The story is active and the characters sympathetic enough to keep the reader’s attention for the many
pages it takes.

Spires, Elizabeth. I Heard God Talking to Me: William Edomondson and His Stone Carvings. NY:
Frances Foster Books (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), 2009. $17.95 56 pp. ages 14 up ISBN
978-0-374-33528-1 P6/Q8
This art book is a wonderful combination of quality black and white photos of the artist and his
works paired with short free-verse poems which try to capture what he was thinking, even to the absurd
(“Why did you give me all this hair when you know that I was bald?”) The artist was the son of two
former slaves who started carving in his late fifties. His primitive work was so captivating that he became
the first Black artist to have a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Beginning with
gravestones and memorials, he branched out to other kinds of sculpture, but all made from limestone with
rough hand tools. The book would be an asset in an art department’s collection, giving inspiration to
young artists who think they don’t have the skill to start carving but need to capitalize on their
visualization and motivation and learn the skills as they go.

Sandler, Martin W. The Dust Bowl: Through the Lens. NY: Walker Books for Young Readers, 2009.
$19.99 96 pp. ages 12 up ISBN 978-0-8027-9547-2 P7/Q8
It’s sometimes hard for young people to understand the impact of weather on history, especially a
period that was long enough ago that they may not have family that remembers it. However, the dust
bowl of the 1930’s continues to be taught (rightly) in History classes, and this book will make a valuable
addition of visual interpretation that may catch the students’ attention. The black and white photos are by
a variety of artists, including, of course, Dorothea Lange, and the way they got involved in taking the
pictures is discussed. Each topic is treated in a one-page discussion (e.g. “Black Sunday”) facing a
photograph which illustrates it. This book will be a good classroom addition to high school history
classes, as well as interesting to anyone who likes photography, and students will come away with a sense
of perspective for things like the WPA.

Wooding, Chris. Malice. NY: 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.

Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody. Suddenly Supernatural: Unhappy Medium. NY: Little, Brown & Co., 2009.
$10.99 277 pp. ages 8 up ISBN 978-0-316-06687-7 P8/Q8
Although containing a lot of pages, the typeface on this is large and reads quickly, and should be a
quick read. This series features Kat, who comes from a psychic family and is just learning to use her
powers, which are limited to being able to see and talk to dead people and help them on to the next world.
While staying at a hotel, Kat comes into contact with a ghost of a woman from the Victorian era who is
convinced that SHE is the medium and Kat is the dear departed. Once that is straightened out, the mystery
is who was murdered in the hotel (in the long past) and how to get the negative energy to leave the place.
Kat is a likable heroine, and the other characters are well-drawn. Although clearly written for the younger
readers, the plot is interesting enough to engage even a high school reader.

Paulsen, Gary. Mudshark. NY: Wendy Lamb Books (Random House), 2009. $12.99 80 pp. ages 8-13
ISBN 978-0-385-74695-4 P7/Q7
A somewhat mysteriously named boy, Mudshark, is good at finding things and figuring out
mysteries. Mudshark has put up his shingle as a Detective and sets about to solve several mysteries in his
(apparently elementary) school. Each chapter begins with an increasingly long and strident
announcement by the principal relating to several ongoing problems, from mysteriously difficult
plumbing to a lost rodent. While a mystery, it’s also funny. The typeface is large and the story
sufficiently active that it should capture a young reader’s attention.

Fox, Mem. Illus. by Dillon, Leo & Diane. The Goblin and the Empty Chair. NY: Bench Lane Books,
2009. $17.99 26 pp. ages 5-8 ISBN:978-1-4169-8585-3 P7/Q8
The story line for this book is interestingly subtle, and ripe for discussion. There’s been a death
in a family, but the reference to it is oblique. After an introductory storyline about a goblin who tries to
hide his ugly face to avoid scaring people, and dedicates himself to helping others, we see him identifying
when others are sad and finding a way to secretly help them out. The reader is given to stand in the end
that, as a result, he gains the family’s friendship and acceptance. The illustrations and layout of this book
are really wonderful. There’s just two or three lines of easily-read font at the bottom of each page, which
should make it easy for a beginning reader to follow along as it’s read aloud.

Peirce, Lincoln. Big Nate Strikes Again. NY: Harper Collins, 2010. $12.99 216 pp. ages 7-12 ISBN
978-0-06-194437-6 P8/Q7
This chapter book will read about as quickly as is possible, filled as it is with illustrations. Just
short of a graphic novel, the text tells the story but the comic strip illustrations make it lively and funny.
The story of sixth grader Nate and his class project, paired with a girl he “hates”, makes a good point:
People have different skills and things to contribute, and you shouldn’t reject them outright. By the end
of the book, both Nate and Gina have learned that they could not have gotten a good grade on their report
without the skills of the other person, and their team could not have won the game without the
unpredictable abilities of someone otherwise seeming to be not an asset.

Michaels, Rune. Nobel Genes. NY: Atheneum, 2010. $16.99 181 pp. ages 12 up ISBN
978-1-4169-1259-0 P8/Q8
This novel is told first person singular, so familiarly that after many pages it suddenly dawned on me
that the protagonist was a boy. His name isn’t prominent. His mother, obviously emotionally disturbed,
is a single parent who’s told him that he was the result of artificial insemination from a sperm bank of
Nobel Prize winners (hence the title of the book). As time goes on, though, he doesn’t exhibit exceptional
intelligence or in fact anything exceptional except artistic ability. The book chronicles his discovery of
not only just how disturbed his mother (and his life) is, but how his own life began. In this day and age of
single parenthood, many children wonder about their fathers. This book is not going to quell their fears,
but may serve as a starting place for discussion. It’s a quick read, and well done.

Hawkins, Emily. Illustrated by Maggie Kneen. Little Snow Goose. NY: Dutton’s Children’s Books (1st
pub by Templar Co.), 2009. $16.99 22 pp. ages 3 up ISBN 978-0-525-42166-5 P8/Q7
This story about a fox who takes care of a goose egg in the north country, hatching it without intending
to, illustrates a wild version of imprinting. In the story, it’s the fox who imprints as the gosling’s parent,
rather than a human, though he acts like a human animal lover might. The fox teaches the gosling what it
needs to know, then encourages it to fly south with the flock. Other than the probably too-optimistic
relationship between traditional predator & prey, the story is sweet. The best part of the book is the
embossed illustrations (on suitable cardstock doubled over). They would suit tactile learners as well as
blind students, and are fun for everyone.

McElligott, Matthew. Even Monsters Need Haircuts. NY: Walker Pub. Co. (Bloomsbury), 2010.
$14.99 ages 5-8 ISBN978-0-8027-8819-1 P8/Q8
Just a fun story, this book also depicts a career (barber) and overcomes fear of monsters. Making the
monsters everyday, the story has the kid barber doing the late-night shift at the barber shop, which he
enjoys. There’s a maturity that he shows that’s admirable. At the same time, it illustrates the concept of a
“niche market” for entrepeneurs. The illustrations are bright and engaging, with fun endpapers.

Markle, Sandra. Photos by Dr. Simon Pollard. Insects: Biggest! Littlest! Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills
Press, 2009 $16.95 ages 6 up ISBN 978-1-59078-512-6 P9/Q9
This beautifully illustrated book engages the reader in learning about a variety of insects by contrasting
their size, both their overall size and that of their body parts. Along the way, the reader learns some
vocabulary as well as ecological strategies that some insects have developed. It would not be as useful
for doing a report on a particular insect so much as developing a passion for science and insects in
particular. A glossary and list of further reading and websites follows the text. Students too busy-minded
(or young) to read the text have been excited by the photographs, so any age could enjoy the book.

Wilson, Hannah. Illustrated by Steve Weston. Dinosaur Park. NY: Kingfisher, 2009. $ 17.99 ages 3
up ISBN 978-0-7534-6383-3 P9/Q8
This combination book, pop-up book, and punch-out figures will intrigue the young child.
Dinosaurs are quite popular with kindergartners, and this will fit that age nicely. The center of the book
has three pop-up scenes, each with a central dinosaur and with questions that point to another dinosaur
(talked of in the accompanying book). The book has a dinosaur per page, 9 total, including pronunciation
of their name, what they eat, their size and weight, and footprints. Working from the questions, the reader
can find the dinosaur that “goes with” the ones depicted in the pop-ups. This would be a difficult book to
keep whole in a library setting, but should be fun in a classroom and definitely fun as a gift to a
preschooler or kindergartner.

Littlefield, Sophie. Banished. NY: Delacourt (Random House), 2010. $16.99 293 pp. ages 13 up ISBN
978-0-385-75892—1 P7/Q8
Hailey lives in “Trashtown” with her mostly undesirable family (she likes her little brother). When
she and her boyfriend get in a car wreck and he’s mortally injured, she discovers that she has a gift of
healing (though bringing back the dead turns out to be a definitely bad idea). It turns out that there are
others like her, related genetically, and a certain group of Bad Guys are trying to track them down, leading
to Hailey’s running. Something of a thriller, the book is hard to put down.

Kramer, Stacy & Thomas, Valerie. Karma Bites. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2010 $6.99 (paperback)
340 pp. ages 10 up ISBN 98-0-547-56301-1 P7/Q7
Twelve-year-old Franny is way into popular chic, but has to deal with her “hippie” grandmother
who’s just moved in. Turns out that granny has some things that Franny finds useful, namely a book of
“recipes” that will work magic. The magic has consequences, though (thus the title “Karma”), and she
has to learn how to rein in her desires. It’s a fun, quick read.

Heide, Florence P.. Illus. by Carson Ellis. Dillweed’s Revenge: A Deadly Dose of Magic. Boston:
Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin), 2010. $16.99 $16.99 42 pp. ages 7 up ISBN 978-0-206394-8 P8/Q8
This is a rather morbid, twisted tale that has something charming about it. The rich son has
parents who go on fabulous vacations but leave him behind with the servants. The servants make him do
all the work, and he hates them. His weird sidekick, Skorped, is liked by no one but him. In the end, he
has magically gotten rid of both servants and unloving parents, and he and his Skorped get along great.
The illustrator lives in Portland, OR.

Hesse, Karen. Illus. Wendy Watson. Spuds. NY: Scholastic Press, 2008. $16.99 28 pp. ages 5-8 ISBN
978-0-439-87993-4 P6/Q8
This simple story seems to harken from a previous era, such as the Great Depression. Three
children see their mother looking tired and decide to help her—by stealing potatoes from a farmer’s field.
Getting them home, it turns out they weren’t as smart as they thought they were. Their mother’s straight
ethics and the farmer’s compassion end the story on a positive note. As a ‘teaching story’, it’s not overly
preachy, but does make the point that doing things straight forward and honestly has greater rewards than
the alternative. The illustrations are in earthy tones (watercolor) and give a plain, calm feel, and help
define the era of the story.

O’Connor, Jane. Illus. Robin Preiss Glasser. Fancy Nancy and the Fabulous Fashion Boutique. NY:
Harper Collins, 2010. $17.99 31 pp. ages 4-7 ISBN 978-0-06-123592-4 P8/Q7
For children whose biggest challenge is to select new clothes and find something fun to do
indoors when it’s raining, Fancy Nancy has the answer. The ‘fancy’ name seems to come from her
recurring expressions where she uses a three syllable word and then defines it by saying, “That’s fancy
for…” The fact that Nancy does not bother to so define ‘ensemble’ points even harder to the fact that the
intended audience is pretty well off. This book makes a startling and nice contrast to the previous one
(Spuds), and might create a nice classroom example (for any age students) of “compare and contrast”.

Johnson, Mo. Illus. Anabelle Josse. Noah’s Garden. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2010. $15.99
30 pp. ages 3-7 ISBN 978-0-7636-4782-7 P8/Q8
Subtitled “When someone you love is in the hospital”, this lovely book centers on Noah’s time
waiting in a hospital garden for his baby sister to get out of the hospital. The wait is long, and during it he
imagines all sorts of activities. The story is based on a real story from Australia where a baby daughter
was born with a heart defect. Donor’s who establish and pay for upkeep of hospital gardens should get
this book, but it also helps a young child to cope with a hospitalized sibling.

McKissack, patricia. Illus. Cozbi Cabrera. Stitchin’ and Pullin’ a Gee’s Bend Quilt. NY: Random
House, 2008. $17.99 39 pp. age 6 up ISBN 978-0-375-83163-8 P7/Q8
There is a town, Gee’s Bend, where patchwork quilts were made and then became famous as art
pieces. This story highlights the art by following a girl as she designs and makes her first quilt. Each
patch recalls a story, either a family story from the person who wore the clothes made of that fabric, or a
bigger story represented by a patch. The book effectively tells important stories of black history, both
personal and historic. A lengthy author’s note talks further about quilting at Gee’s Bend.

Yoo, Paula & Wang, Lin. Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story. NY: Lee & Low Books, Inc,
2009. $17.95 age 8 up ISBN 978-1-60060-259-7 P6/Q8
This is the biography of early film star Anna May Wong. The illustrations, realistically done,
give a good feel for the life and times she lived in. From her Los Angeles home helping with the family’s
laundry to European debut, the story follows her ethnic origins and quandaries. Some people have felt
that she helped maintain the Asian stereotypes with her parts, but the story points out how she helped
bring more accurate roles to the screen.

Clinton, Catherine. Illus. Sean Qualls. Phillis’s Big Test. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008. $16.00 30
pp. ages 6 up ISBN 978-0—618-73739-0 P6/Q8
This biography of Phillis Wheatley illustrates the fact that Black women have contributed to
American culture since the country’s beginnings. In 1773, she published a book of poetry which was
well-received, but some felt that she could not have written it herself. The test she had to pass was to
prove to the governor, lt. governor and 4 other men that she could have been the author of the poetry. The
book is straight-forward enough to speak to young children, and will hopefully inspire them to do what
they have the talent for, no matter what their background.

Zindel, Lizabeth. A Girl, a Ghost, and the Hollywood Hills. NY: Viking (Penguin), 2010. $16.99 302
pp ages 13 up ISBN 978-0-670-01159-9 P7/Q7
Holly is home from boarding school, back to her rich father’s house where she assumes they are still
mourning the passing of her mother less than a year ago. Instead she finds her mother’s sister talking of
being engaged to her father. The woman is hard to stand, being self-centered and acquisitive, but Holly is
warned by the ghost of her mother that the aunt is even worse: She killed Holly’s mother. If the plot
doesn’t sound awfully familiar, a further hint is given on the book flap: “something is twisted in the state
of Cali”. Hmmm. Other than a distinct lack of swordplay and blood, this take-off on Hamlet follows the
usual lines. It’s written first-person. Personally, if I wanted to read the story I’d read Shakespeare; this
one is a little lame, but will probably appeal to those who like “social dramas”, less to those who are
partial to “paranormal” stories, as the ghost makes few appearances.

Benson, Amber. Among the Ghosts. NY: Aladdin, 2010. $15.99 244 pp. ages 8-12 ISBN
978-1-4169-9405-3 P8/Q8
Nohleen-Ann gets sent to a boarding school in the summer, having a family connection with the place,
while her father works. Once there, she is surprised to find that she can visit with students who aren’t
actually enrolled; they’re dead. As if that’s not interesting enough, it seems that something odd is
happening and some of these ghosts are disappearing ‘before their time’. Noh takes on solving the
mystery. The book is a quick read, and is interspersed with a few illustrations (including ants crawling
across the pages in many places).

Smith, Roland. Storm Runners. NY: Scholastic Press, 2011. $16.99 ages 10 up 143 pp. ISBN
978-0-545-08175-7 P9/Q8
This slim volume is packed with action. Teenager Chase Masters lives alone with his dad; his mom
died. After his father got hit by lightning, he gave up his job and went to work in construction repairs
after disasters. The two of them chase storms in order to help people repair the damage, so Chase moves
to new schools a lot. This particular story takes place in Florida where a hurricane is coming. The
characters are likable, and something can be learned from the way the author talks about storms,
predicting them and surviving them. It’s a fast read, and quite exciting; my only objection is the
disappointment that the story doesn’t end with the book. You’ve got to get the sequel.

Reeve, Philip. No Such Thing as Dragons. NY: Scholastic, 2010. $16.99 186 pp. ages 8-12 ISBN
978-0-545-22224-2 P8/Q8
The mythology of dragons is strong, yet this book puts forth that, even in ‘the day’, not everyone
believed in dragons. This story follows a 10-year-old boy, Ansel, who could no longer talk after his
mother died. His father sells him as a servant to a traveling “dragonslayer” who’s all too aware that
people didn’t believe in the dragons he says he killed. A mute servant couldn’t tell people the reality.
Regardless of belief, though, they end up in a place where there really are dragons, and Ansel ends up
being far more useful than his master. The story is empowering, and moves along at a good pace. It
should make for good free-reading for a middle school student.

Goodman, Susan E., & Doolittle, Michael J. Monster Trucks (Step into Reading Step 3). NY: Random
House, 2010. paperback $3.99 ages 6-8 ISBN 978-0-375-86208-3 P9/Q8
This little book is part of the Step into Reading series graded for the student’s ability level. The
monster truck theme is bound to appeal to a large portion of young people, boys and girls but especially
those hard-to-reach boys. Reading it aloud to a student should take up a good 15 minutes, including
looking at the many fascinating photos. Parts of the trucks are labeled in one illustration. Most of the
vocabulary is very basic, with the “hard” words including “monstrously” and “backflip”, so even early
readers will be willing to tackle the book.

Tokunbo, Dimitrea. Illus. by Lisa Cohen. The Sound of Kwanzaa. NY: Scholastic Press, 2009. $16.99
21 pp. ages 3-8 ISBN 978-0-545-01865-4 P6/Q7
There’s always a place for covering diversity in celebrations in curriculum for the first and second
grades, and this book fills the niche for African American winter celebration. The illustrations are bright
and plain. The author’s note explains that Kwanza means “first fruits” in Swahili, and was created in
1966. The book follows each of the themes of the seven days of the celebration, focusing on the sounds,
like “banging hammers and sweeping brooms” for Ujima, “collective work and responsibility”. Since
few teachers are going to know the details of the celebration, this book will help fill them in. In addition
to the author’s note, there is included a recipe for “no cook brownie bites.”

Riggs, Kate. Speedboats. Mankato, MN: Creative Education, 2010. $16.95 20 pp. ages 5-8 ISBN
978-1-58341-915-1 P8/Q8
This photograph book focuses solely on speedboats, their design and how fast they go. The colorful
full-page-plus photos give an immediacy to the topic. The text will be challenging to early readers, but
the topic should lead them to be inspired to learn the new technical words (the font is large and easy to
read, at least).

Derting, Kimberly. Desires of the Dead, A Body Finder Novel. NY: HarperCollins, 2011. $16.99 258
pp. ages 14 up ISBN 978-0-09-177984-8 P9/Q9
Violet, age about 16, has an ability she’s told virtually no one about: She can find the dead bodies of
people (or animals) who died unnaturally. They want to be found, hence the title of the book. In the first
novel of the series, she apparently discovered her ability, but this novel stands alone quite well. In this
story, she first locates a missing boy and comes to the attention of a special agent for the FBI. Further
novels will no doubt put her together with that character again along with her “team” of people with
special abilities. This story is essentially a murder mystery, but it also has a lot of romance and social
drama aimed at teens. Although exciting, it’s not overly graphic. It’s certainly a page-turner, and I read it
completely in less than 12 hours, wanting to know how it ended. [I nearly didn’t find out, as the pages of
the final chapter were poorly bound and came completely loose; hopefully it was only this copy that had
that problem.]

Stanley, Brenda. I Am Nuchu. Lodi, NJ: WestSide Books, 2010. $16.95 339 pp. ages 13 up. ISBN
978-1-934813-47-8 P8/Q8
Carl, a 17-year-old from Spokane, has to move with his family to the Ute Reservation at Fort
Duchesne, Utah, when his parents get divorced. His mother’s father still lives on the reservation. and the
family goes to stay with him. Carl has never identified with his Indianness, and bitterly resents having to
move at all. Slowly he discovers what history has led to his parents’ behavior. The story is a mystery in
that he has to do some investigating to discover the secrets, but it’s also a coming of age novel. As the
story progresses, people who seem to be enemies turn out to be something else. There is a big element of
racism and prejudice that Carl has to contend with, as well as general bullying and the problems of being
a “new kid”. While the author clearly is not Indian, it’s OK for this story because the protagonist does not
really identify with the fact that he is Indian anyway. Many of the characters and other elements of the
story are authentically portrayed; the author did live on the reservation she writes about. The book gives
some insight into the kind of experiences someone like Carl has, and at the same time is an interesting
mystery where the reader can cheer for the heroes.

Giles, Gail. Dark Song. NY: Little Brown, 2010. $16.99 292 pp. ages 13 up ISBN
978-0-316-06886-4 P8/Q8
This story is divided into two parts, essentially “Life is good” and “Life got really bad”. From riches,
15-year-old Ames goes to poverty after her father (an alcoholic) steals money from the company. They
move to their grandparents’, who Ames really despises. Then Ames meets an older boy who seems to be
her protector. The book ends in an unexpected way (no spoiler here). The theme of adolescent rebellion
rings true, and the book is a quick read.

Choldenko, Gennifer. No Passengers Beyond This Point. NY: Dial Books (Penguin), 2011. $16.99
244 pp. ages 10 up ISBN 978-0-8027-3534-7 P8/Q8
In this fantasy novel, Finn and her little sister Mouse (and Mouse’s invisible friend Bing) are shipped
off to an uncle’s house to live when their family situation falls apart. They don’t want to go. While on
the plane ride, they experience severe turbulence, and the next thing they know they’re going to a town
called “Falling Bird” where everything is completely unreal. It takes some maturing and resolving to do
the right but difficult thing, but in the end Finn makes the decision to try to get out of the seeming
paradise of Falling Bird. As yet another novel dealing with change and death, this one explores a fantasy
“heaven”. It’s a quick read, and completely suitable for even younger ages.

Rothstein, Barry & Rothstein, Betsy. Eye-popping 3-D bugs. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2011.
$19.99 61 pp. comes with 2 pr. 3-d glasses. ages 5-9 ISBN 978-0-8118-7772-5 P8/Q8
This picture book features red/blue separated 3-D photographs that are entirely impossible to
appreciate without the 3-D glasses. The information in print, however, can be read and used without the
glasses, and is interesting and informative about certain arthropods (scorpions, cockroaches, moths, etc.)
The text is interesting in itself, but could also be used for an elementary school student to write an animal
report. There is also a section on “how 3-d works”, and a couple of pages presenting “stereo pair” images
to try using homemade tubes. Because the glasses could (and probably will) be lost, this may not be the
ideal book for a library, but for home or classroom use it will be a good resource.

Hassett, Ann & John. Too many frogs. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2011. $16.99 29 pp ages 3-7 ISBN
978-0-547-362991 P8/Q8
There are many picture books which count to 10; this one counts to 100 using little frogs. The story
line has Nana Quimby baking, and while she is getting her cake ready she’s invaded by frogs. Too many
frogs. Ten, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 100 frogs come at once, and the pictures actually illustrate that many so the
young reader can verify the number by counting them. It makes a nice visual statement of what that many
frogs would look like if you saw them at once. The illustrations are simple, not overly colorful, but with
character, and the frogs are fun. This would be ideal for a youngster who was just learning about tens.

Parkinson, Siobahn. Long story short. NY: Roaring Book Press, 2011. $16.99 151 pp. ages 13 up
ISBN 978-1-59643-647-3 P8/Q8
An Irish teenage boy narrates how he and his little sister came to be homeless and in trouble. The
presentation has an authentic kind of voice, with its false starts and emotional tone. What the narrator is
trying to communicate is that he was neglected and abused by his mother, and trying to save his sister, not
kill his parent. The cop in the last part of the story is believable but you just want to shake him to make
him drop his cynical attitude, probably something that happens all the time in juvenile criminal cases.
The reader begins to understand the homelife challenges of some children. It’s a short, fast read, and has
consequently not a long plot line. As in real life, not everything is great by the end of the story, but at
least it is concluded. This should interest students with challenging home situations, who like gritty
drama in books, or who just need something fast to read.

Shaw, Susan. Tunnel vision. NY: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2011. $16.99 255 pp. ages 12 up
ISBN 978-1-4424-0839-5 P8/Q8
The witness protection program gets a lot of coverage in TV dramas, but what would it be like if you
were a teen forced into it? Liza is stuck in a park tunnel and accidentally witnesses a murder, and when
she emerges and runs to her mother, her mother is shot dead. Unsure what she’s seen, Liza thinks she’s
just going to miss her mother, but soon it is clear that bigger forces are at work and in fact she is the
target. She and her dad have to quickly disappear. The story follows their desperate attempt to remain
out of sight while bad guys hunt them down; who the bad guys actually are is something to be discovered.
were a teen forced into it? Liza is stuck in a park tunnel and accidentally witnesses a murder, and when
she emerges and runs to her mother, her mother is shot dead. Unsure what she’s seen, Liza thinks she’s
just going to miss her mother, but soon it is clear that bigger forces are at work and in fact she is the
target. She and her dad have to quickly disappear. The story follows their desperate attempt to remain
out of sight while bad guys hunt them down; who the bad guys actually are is something to be discovered.
There’s lots of tension and drama in the story, and I found I couldn’t put it down, but as in real life there
isn’t an actual ending to her difficulties.

Kirby, Jessi. Moonglass. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2011. $16.99 232 pp. ages 12 up ISBN
978-1-4424-1694-9 P9/Q9
For a teen struggling with the suicide of a loved one, this is an unthreatening but helpful book
exploring the story of a teen girl whose mother killed herself. Trying to understand why her father is so
distant and wanted to move back to where he met her mother is part of what the girl must unravel. It’s a
quick read, and comes to a pretty satisfying conclusion.

Weatherly, L.A. Angel burn. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2011. $17.99 449 pp. ages 12 up
ISBN 978-0-7636-5652-2 P9/Q9
This is a really different kind of fantasy, complete with evil angels. While a romance, it is also
dramatic, suspenseful, and involves some interesting fantasy ideas. It explores the potential pitfalls of
mass religious movements, hypothesizing that at least some of them have evil intent; in this case its
entirely other-worldly. This is the first of a trilogy which I am motivated to read completely.

Selfors, Suzanne. Smells like treasure. NY: Little Brown & Co., 2011. $15.99 407 pp. ages 8-13
ISBN 978-0-316-04399-1 P7/Q7
Homer Pudding has an unusual fixation: He loves maps, and really really wants to find buried treasure.
He’s got a wonderful dog who has an unusual nose, and some allies with unusual skills (read “fantasy”).
Homer gets involved with a kind of club. The story got a bit bogged down, for me, and frankly I couldn’t
get really excited about the treasure part, but for a child who is fascinated by dogs or buried treasure this
may meet their interest.

Tanner, Lian. City of Lies. NY: Delacorte Press (Random House), 2011. $17.99 278 pp. ages 8 up
ISBN 978-0-385-73906-1 P7/Q7
Second book in the Keepers Trilogy, this appears to have first been published in Australia (though it isn’t
stated in the publication info). The fantasy takes place in a medieval-like world where cities are their own
countries and follow quite different laws and traditions. When Goldie’s friend’s kid sister is kidnapped,
she and her friends jump into action and sail the seas to land at the City of Lies. It’s their annual festival
where no one is allowed to tell the truth, complicating the children’s search. Politics and magic are
essential parts of the story. The book is self-contained, but would be much easier to get involved in if
one had read the first in the series.

Mass, Wendy. 13 Gifts. NY: Scholastic Press, 2011. $16.99 341 pp. ages 10 up ISBN
978-0-545-31003-1 P 8/Q8
The summer after 7th grade, Tara is in trouble for a prank at school and isn’t allowed to travel to
Madagascar with her parents. Instead, she’s headed to Willow Falls. She loses her valuables on the train,
and has to do some extraordinary things to try to set things right again, finding out some deep dark secrets
and magic along the way. The story is engaging and flies by, and should appeal to those who enjoy magic
and a mystery but not heavy-duty tales of horror and fear.

Acompora, Paul Rachel Spinelli Punched Me in the Face. NY: Roaring Brook Press, 2011. $15.99
168 pp. ages 10 up ISBN 978-1-59643-548-3 P8/Q8
Zachary, 14, and his father decide to leave Colorado after the mom leaves them. Trying to get acquainted
in a new town is always hard, and Zachary is pleased when ready-made friends come from across the
street. Rachel and he become close, but she has a temper and when anyone criticizes her odd brother she
loses it (hence the punch in the face). The story concludes with Rachel discovering that Zachary has a
point, her brother isn’t all that unable to take care of himself, he’s just a little different. Meanwhile,
Zachary struggles with his mother’s abandonment as well as learning what makes him special.

Parkinson, Siobhan. Long Story Short. NY: Roaring Brook Press, 2011. $16.99 151 pp. ages 10 up
ISBN 978-1-59643-647-3 P /Q
Jonathan has to help his sister: Their dad’s gone, their mom doesn’t feed them and has just hit Julie hard
in the face, and their Grandma is now died. They decide to run away, and the story follows all the
problems they encounter as a result of that decision. The story might provide a starting point for a
conversation about child abuse and depression; it is a good read in any event.
It takes place in Ireland and is written by an Irish writer.

Berk, Ari. The Secret History of Giants, or the Codex Giganticum. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick
Press, 2008. $16.99 ages 8 up ISBN 978-0-7636-4047-7 P8/Q8
Older children and adults will probably be the target audience for this “scholarly” and well-illustrated
fantastic guide to giants. I have no idea where the information is drawn from; surely much of it is from
European folklore, but its inclusion of the “Mayan bat” indicates that it is arising primarily from the mind
Jonathan has to help his sister: Their dad’s gone, their mom doesn’t feed them and has just hit Julie hard
in the face, and their Grandma is now died. They decide to run away, and the story follows all the
problems they encounter as a result of that decision. The story might provide a starting point for a
conversation about child abuse and depression; it is a good read in any event.
It takes place in Ireland and is written by an Irish writer.

Berk, Ari. The Secret History of Giants, or the Codex Giganticum. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick
Press, 2008. $16.99 ages 8 up ISBN 978-0-7636-4047-7 P8/Q8
Older children and adults will probably be the target audience for this “scholarly” and well-illustrated
fantastic guide to giants. I have no idea where the information is drawn from; surely much of it is from
European folklore, but its inclusion of the “Mayan bat” indicates that it is arising primarily from the mind
of the author. The sections are short so the book can be picked up and put down quickly. There are
several “mini-books” pasted into the book and some fold-out pages (which might be vulnerable in a
library situation). When I set this out at camp, many adults picked it up and said that they found it quite
interesting and entertaining. The language would be rather difficult for most young elementary students,
but with someone reading it to them small children like the book. The cover is heavy and embossed, and
glitters with a coppery celtic-like pattern and a gnarly illustration of a giant’s face that should attract

Kelly, Tara. Amplified. NY: Henry Holt & Co., 2011. $16.99 293 pp. ages 14 up ISBN
978-0-8050-9296-7 P8/Q7
Getting started with a life after graduation, especially going against your successful parent’s
wishes in the career you choose, can be a battle. Seventeen-year-old Jasmine Kiss of Redwood City,
California, loves to play guitar and after years of playing with her best friend in the basement, she’s
sure she’s bound for playing gigs with a rock band. Of course it isn’t that easy. First she’s got to get
over terminal stage fright. The story is told first person, and the author does a good job of finding
the character’s voice, making the reader care about and even admire her. The author speaks
convincingly about the way the music is put together, and I found myself imagining music probably
closer to what I might like than would be possible had the story been told in, say, the video medium,
and enjoying the moment of “experiencing” the band come together. . The coming-of-age would not
be complete, of course, without a romance, and that is a driving thread through a lot of the book.
Virginity is not lost, and it’s not graphic, but there is passion, and drama. I read the book quite
quickly and got thoroughly drawn in to the story.

Dunrea, Olivier. Old Bear and His Cub. NY: Philomel Books, 2011. $16.99 ages 3-7 ISBN
978-0-399-24507-7 P7/Q7
This book started out very repetitive, in multiple ways—the theme, the pictures, and the two bears’
argument “no I won’t/yes you will”. But then it shows the similarities between the two bears, how,
the child is almost a mirror image of the parent. What you put out to them they will mirror back and
do to you. The book is about caring about each other, to remain healthy and safe (eat your food, wear
your scarf, etc). At first it’s about the Big Bear caring about Little Bear, telling why he should do
particular things. But towards the end, it’s about Little Bear encouraging Big Bear to take care of
himself. As a lesson, it shows there’s a reason for big people to ask children to do certain things, that
it’s all about caring. Throughout the story, their love is repeated. Even though they have their
conflicts, they still love each other. Some might think they just argue all day, but at the end it is
about kissing on the head and holding all through the night; it’s purely about caring. The book is
meant to be read to children (it’s repetitive, and listeners could join in). It could be read for any age
from preschool to 7 years, though the younger children won’t maybe get as much of the point. The
illustrations are likable, made with colored pencils and goache. They’re simple, and centered, and a
have generally sweet sense. They’re detailed but not overly so.

Day, Alexandra. Carl and the Kitten. NY: Square Fish (Macmillan), 2011. $15.99 28 pp (listed as 32
pp) ages 4-7 ISBN 978-0-312-68196-8 P7/Q6
Good Dog Carl, a Rotweiller, returns in this book for early readers (the first Carl book was
published in 1985). Carl helps a kitten who’s climbed a tree and can’t (won’t) get down. As he piles
things higher to climb closer, the predictable happens and they fall together, but the kitten is safe and is
returned to its mother. The story is very, very brief and uncomplex, and as a story it has only one aspect
(will he fall?). This means that is really suited only to the very beginning reader who can’t handle much
more. The type face (very large, serif) is appropriate to that level. The illustrations are simple, and will
appeal to those who like dogs and cats.

Bardhan-Quallen, Sudipta. Illus by Ward Jenkins. Chicks Run Wild. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2011.
$15.99 ages 2-6 ISBN 978-1-4424-0673-5 P8/Q8
Baby chicks are too wild for their mama, and she can’t get them to bed. In desperation, she shows
them how to dance and wears them out enough that they beg to go to bed. The story is in rhyme, with
repeating phrases that listeners can join in on. It may not be particularly effective as a cautionary tale, but
children can probably relate to the behavior. The illustrations are colorful but simple.

Gall, Chris. Substitute creacher. NY: Little Brown & Co., 2011. $16.99 32pp ages 6-9 ISBN
978-0-316-08915-9 P9/Q9
A harried teacher gets a unique substitute “creacher” to teach the students how to behave. The cover,
with its reflective illustration, will attract readers. The illustrations are colorful and eye-catching. All of
the conversation balloons for the Creacher are a dripping, poisonous green. The story has a happy
ending for all. This would make an appropriate read-aloud for a class.

Harper, Charise M. Henry’s heart. NY: Christy Ottaviano Books (Henry Holt & Co), 2011. $16.99
ages 6-9 ISBN978-0-8050-8989-9 P6/Q7
Henry is a little boy who, like all people, has a heart. In this book, though, the heart is
anthropomorphized into a red ball with a smiley face and cut off blood vessels sticking out of it. The
story emphasizes what makes a heart beat fast, like exercise—or love. The importance to a person’s
A harried teacher gets a unique substitute “creacher” to teach the students how to behave. The cover,
with its reflective illustration, will attract readers. The illustrations are colorful and eye-catching. All of
the conversation balloons for the Creacher are a dripping, poisonous green. The story has a happy
ending for all. This would make an appropriate read-aloud for a class.

Harper, Charise M. Henry’s heart. NY: Christy Ottaviano Books (Henry Holt & Co), 2011. $16.99
ages 6-9 ISBN978-0-8050-8989-9 P6/Q7
Henry is a little boy who, like all people, has a heart. In this book, though, the heart is
anthropomorphized into a red ball with a smiley face and cut off blood vessels sticking out of it. The
story emphasizes what makes a heart beat fast, like exercise—or love. The importance to a person’s
health of moving and raising the heartbeat and eating the right things is a part of the story. The
illustrations are flat and simple. The disembodied heart with a mouth and eyes is a little creepy. For
lessons in PE or Health, this might make a good introduction for young children.

Winter, Jonah. Illus. by Kimberly Root. Born and bred in the Great Depression. NY: Schwartz &
Wade, 2011. $17.99 ages 5-9 31 pp. ISBN 978-0-375-86197-0 P5/Q6
This picture book fills something of a gap: It talks about the experiences of a rural family during the
Great Depression of the 1930’s. The perspective is of an older person talking “to” their parent who had
described their experiences. It gives detail of daily experience, such as many children sharing a single
bed, and whether or not he went hungry. The illustrations are muted and reminiscent of the style of the
period, but not particularly compelling. The book may be useful to introduce children to the idea of their
ancestors experiences, but I found the style of writing less than compelling, and I think it may lose the
children’s interest.

Reynolds, Aaron. Illus. by Andy Rash. Superhero school. NY: Bloomsbury, 2009. $16.99 ages 7-10
ISBN 978-1-59990-166-4 P8/Q8
Many kids can’t see how math relates to everyday life. This story focuses on a young boy who is
different from other kids, and moves to a new school—one for students with superhuman powers. The
new teacher, Blue Tornado, didn’t teach them superhero feats, though: He focused on math facts. It
wasn’t until they had to “go into the field” that they found out how math can help even superheros, and
they were then satisfied with their curriculum. The illustrations are comic-book-like, suiting the subject,
and colorful. The story has action and adventure while still demonstrating how multiplication and
division would help in the fight against ice zombies. This should be of some help to a teacher introducing
the concepts to a class (probably third grade) as they begin to study multiplication and then division.

Frazier, Sundee T. Brendan Buckley’s Sixth-Grade Experiment. NY: Delacourt Press (Random
House), 2011. $16.99 280 pp. ages 9 up ISBN 978-0-385-74050-0 P8/Q8
Can a kid be popular and meet his father’s expectations to be “tough” and still be interested in
science? In this second book of what will apparently be a series, Brendan is headed into 6th grade and
working on his keen interest in science. A girl is complicating his life, friends cause more problems than
they help, and he’s struggling with how to fit in and still be a good student. The science contest that he
and his “girlfriend” enter gives an opportunity to show how science fair experiments can be selected and
pursued. The book offers a positive model for dealing with fatherly expectations while being true to one’s
own talents and interests, and is particularly welcome as a story which shows how being actively involved
in science does not make a kid lame, unpopular, or a loser. Quite the opposite: Brendan gets recognition
for the success of his experiment, gets the girl, and works out his father’s seeming lack of interest in his
academic success. The story reads well, is active, and has a sound conclusion, as well as afterwords that
give information for young readers (about how to keep an anole lizard as well as more information about
biogas that relates to Brendan’s science experiment). This will be a welcome addition to intermediate
and middle school library collections.

Leonard, Julia Platt. Cold Case. NY: Aladdin (Simon & Schuster), 2011. $15.99 281 pp. ages 8 up
ISBN 978-1-4424-2009-0 P8/Q8
Oz is 13 and his family owns a fancy restaurant. Early one morning he comes to clean and finds
a dead body in the walk-in freezer. From there, he and his friend try to solve the case, skipping the police
because the case seems to involve his dead father’s reputation. It’s a classic murder mystery, but without
the racy sections that publishers seem to find de rigeur in adult mysteries. While it is certainly
appropriate for the younger readers (and its large print makes the pages fly), it should also appeal to high
school readers, as none of the content is specific to a particular age. As a mystery fan, I found it
interesting and read it in a few hours. The plot involves nuclear secrets and the New Mexico area, so
readers will get a passing acquaintance with the importance of Los Alamos in the development of nuclear
energy and armaments.

Weatherly, L.A. Angel Fire. Somerville, MA: Candlewick, 2011. $17.99 638 pp. ages 13+ ISBN
978-0-7636-5679-9 P8/Q8
The second of a series (there’s got to be more coming…), Angel Fire takes up the day after Angel Burn
leaves off. It has so little back-filling on the story that it appears that the original manuscript was just so
enormous that the publisher simply divided it into bindable volumes, and this one is at about the
maximum possible. The science fiction story is dynamic, original and exciting, and despite its size it is a
The second of a series (there’s got to be more coming…), Angel Fire takes up the day after Angel Burn
leaves off. It has so little back-filling on the story that it appears that the original manuscript was just so
enormous that the publisher simply divided it into bindable volumes, and this one is at about the
maximum possible. The science fiction story is dynamic, original and exciting, and despite its size it is a
quick read. Angels, in this story, are alien beings who feed off human energy, a kind of energy vampires.
This volume makes it clear that the angels in the first volume are not necessarily in line with those in
power from their other world, and that their negative and callous disregard for human life does not align
with the ruling angels’ vision of “sustainable energy”. Willow, the half-angel, meets her male counterpart,
and the extent of half-angel powers is explored further. The ending leaves so many questions that there’s
no doubt that there will be a sequel, a book which will be anxiously awaited by all who read the first two

Beckman, Thea. Crusade in Jeans. NY: Lemniscaat, 2011. (copyright 1973) $9.95 (paperback) 311 pp.
ages 10 up ISBN 978-1-935954-07-1 P8/Q8
This Dutch classic, which won a prestigious book award when first published, is a time-travel story set
in 1212 AD. A modern Dutch teen goes back in time in his scientist father’s experimental time machine,
intending to return 24 hours later. Thwarted from standing on the appropriate rock to return by the
presence of children marching on a crusade, Dolf is forced to remain in the Middle Ages. With nothing
better to do, he joins with the teen whose life he saved from robbers and travels with the thousands of
children. His natural leadership skills come into play, and his caring nature encourages him to stay with
the children to protect them. (A 2006 movie based on part of the story changes the plot quite a bit.) It’s a
fast read despite its apparent length, and would be a good illustration of medieval life for a 7th grade class
studying medieval Europe. The novel, being clearly fiction, is able to avoid the debate among historians
as to whether the thousands who went on this crusade following Nicholas were young children (some
modern historians believe that they were, in fact, young men), but the author does throw doubt on the old
stories that there were 30,000 in that march (guessing that it was probably about a third that number), and
also intimates that the crusaders were the poor and unattached Germans who went on the crusade. There
are many medieval sources that mention the “children’s crusade”, so it is likely that it actually happened,
but the time-travelling version offered here gives an opportunity to illustrate the kinds of conditions and
mentality of the time without having to debate the facts of the old stories. It is a readable and actionpacked
adventure story that will appeal to both boys and girls.

Amato, Mary. Edgar Allan’s Official Crime Investigation Notebook. Maple Vail, PA: Holiday House,
2010. $16.95 140 pp. ages 7-11 ISBN 978-0-8234-2271-5 P7/Q7
This mystery for young readers involves the theft of a class pet, a goldfish. Edgar keeps the clues
to the crime in a notebook (an artifice that is actually less conspicuous than the title implies). As other
items disappear from the classroom, Edgar’s detection of verbal clues is pitted against Patrick’s detection
using forensic science (aided by his detective father). The book explores personal relationships, and the
fact that clues to people’s internal lives are sometimes misread but present. The essence of the clues and
solution, though, is poetry (spoiler alert….. the thefts turn out to be a stunt by the English teacher to
introduce a poetry unit). While the book would be a recreational read, it could also be read aloud to a
classroom in the same way that the teacher in the book leaves clues for the students to solve, opening
discussion about poetry as well as understanding people and their motivations.

Murdock, Catherine. Front and Center. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2009. $16.00 254 pp ages 12 up
ISBN 978 -0-618-95982-2 P9/Q9
Books featuring sports are often dry histories, picture books, or something other than dramatic fiction.
This one, the third of a series about a girl jock, is closer to a coming-of-age story, complete with romance.
The series began with DJ as an underclassman, wanting to play football with the boys and the
awkwardness of realizing her dream. The second featured her interfacing with her brother who had been
paralyzed with a football injury. This volume deals with her senior year playing basketball, and the fears
and tensions around being recruited to play for college. The characters are believable and the writing
seamless; I read it cover to cover in just a day or two. Both boys and girls should find the story
interesting, whether or not they are jocks.

Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers
December 2013 reviews by Anna Rodgers
Lester, Helen. Lynn Munsinger, ill. It Wasn’t My Fault. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. Unp.
$8.99. 978-0-544-00323-1. Gr. 1-3. PQ.
Originally published in 1985, this book has been rereleased in the Laugh-Along Lessons
series. It Wasn’t My Fault aims to teach about taking responsibility. The story tells about a
clumsy boy who constantly gets into scraps. One day, a bird lays an egg on his head. The bird
claims it wasn’t his fault because an aardvark screamed and scared him. So begins a chain of
animals claiming that they aren’t to blame for what they did. The lesson of taking
responsibility is a bit opaque, but coupled with a discussion or other readings, this book could
help develop understanding about not blaming others.

Lester, Helen. Lynn Munsinger, ill. A Porcupine Named Fluffy. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,
2013. Unp. $8.99. 978-0-544-00319-4. Gr. 1-3. PQ.
This book, part of the Laugh-Along Lessons series, teaches about being yourself. Young
series. It Wasn’t My Fault aims to teach about taking responsibility. The story tells about a
clumsy boy who constantly gets into scraps. One day, a bird lays an egg on his head. The bird
claims it wasn’t his fault because an aardvark screamed and scared him. So begins a chain of
animals claiming that they aren’t to blame for what they did. The lesson of taking
responsibility is a bit opaque, but coupled with a discussion or other readings, this book could
help develop understanding about not blaming others.

Lester, Helen. Lynn Munsinger, ill. A Porcupine Named Fluffy. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,
2013. Unp. $8.99. 978-0-544-00319-4. Gr. 1-3. PQ.
This book, part of the Laugh-Along Lessons series, teaches about being yourself. Young
porcupine Fluffy struggles to deal with his name, trying many different and humorous ways to
become Fluffy. Then he meets a rhinoceros named Hippo, and they help each other
understand that we shouldn’t try to change who we are. This story would best be coupled
with other books or lessons about being yourself, to give more depth to the topic.

Lester, Helen. Lynn Munsinger, ill. Listen, Buddy. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. Unp.
$8.99. 978-0-544-00322-4. Gr. 1-3. PQ.
Buddy the rabbit has huge ears, but he doesn’t use them to listen. He’s always getting
his parents’ instructions confused in very funny ways. Then one day, he meets the Scruffy
Varmint, and he learns the importance of listening. This book is part of the Laugh-Along
Lessons series, and its goal is to teach about learning to listen. The message is clear, and
readers (or listeners) should pick up on it fairly easily. The book is quite funny, and kids
should enjoy the ways that Buddy twists the directions and gets them wrong.

Callery, Sean. Titanic: Disaster at Sea. Scholastic, 2013. 32p. $3.99. 978-0-545-57272-9.
Gr. 1-3. PQ.
This non-fiction account of the Titanic covers all the basic facts of the disaster, and
includes a lot of great text features. There are several quotes from Eva Hart, a young girl
who survived the shipwreck, which do a great job of introducing young readers to primary
sources. New vocabulary is introduced throughout the text by giving sentences with context
clues, rather than just definitions. There is also an effort made to use that new vocabulary
several times in the text. At the end of the book, a section called “What do you think?” asks
readers to form their own opinions about what went wrong and what should have been
changed. At times, the pages felt a bit busy, with too many pictures, captions, and pullouts
crowded onto them. Overall, though, this is a good non-fiction book for beginning readers.

May, Kyla. Mika: My New Life. Scholastic, 2013. 90p. $4.99. 978-0-545-44519-1. Gr. 1-3.
This book is the fourth installment in the Lotus Lane series, which features diaries
from different young girls who are all friends. This diary belongs to Mika, who just moved to
the United States from Japan. She worries about making new friends, and also about a
newspaper project for school. These worries are very age appropriate, and young readers
should connect with the realistic portrayal of their own daily concerns. The book introduces
a few cultural details about Japan, including a popular cartoon style, “kawaii,” with many
drawings on the pages. It also has a good message about how to deal with girl drama.
Although the book never goes very deep into these issues, it does deal with them in a simple,
age-appropriate way.

Preller, James. Home Sweet Horror. Feiwel and Friends, 2013. 97p. $5.99.
978-1-250-01887-8. Gr. 2-4. P8Q8.
Two children and their father move to a new town after their mother passes away.
They move into a fixer-up house that quickly proves to be more than meets the eye. There
are a few gaps and confusing parts in the plot, but overall it is well written, with a relatable
protagonist. The frightening parts of the book should be enough to send shivers down young
readers’ spines, without scaring them too badly. The creepiest parts of the book are the
marvelous, eerie line drawings by Iacopo Bruno. Overall, the presentation, which includes
gray instead of white pages and several instances of word art, is superb.

Polansky, Daniel. War Spies. Scholastic, 2013. 143p. $6.99. 978-0-545-57655-0. Gr. 4-7.
War Spies has six short biographies of people who engaged in espionage: Sir Francis
Walsingham, Benedict Arnold, Belle Boyd, Virginia Hall, Allen Dulles, and Kim Philby. The
biographies are very straightforward, focused on dates and facts. They can be dry, taking
what should be an exciting life story and distilling it into a sometimes boring list of events
and people. They can also feel rushed, trying to cram too many details into a short space.
Both of these faults are probably due at least partly to how short the biographies are, only
about 20 pages each. The book does do a good job of getting the important information
across, and for students who already enjoy nonfiction and biographies, they are a good
gateway between easy reader books and longer biographies about only one person.

Kowitt, H.N. The Loser List: Take Me To Your Loser. Scholastic, 2013. 230p. $9.99.
978-0-545-50795-0. Gr. 4-7. P8Q5.
Both of these faults are probably due at least partly to how short the biographies are, only
about 20 pages each. The book does do a good job of getting the important information
across, and for students who already enjoy nonfiction and biographies, they are a good
gateway between easy reader books and longer biographies about only one person.

Kowitt, H.N. The Loser List: Take Me To Your Loser. Scholastic, 2013. 230p. $9.99.
978-0-545-50795-0. Gr. 4-7. P8Q5.
The fourth installment in the Loser List series continues in much the same vein as the
first three. It exaggerates middle school life, sometimes humorously, through the words of a
“loser” named Danny. Danny wants to get out of a wrestling tournament in P.E., so he decides
to run for class president. Events conspire in only slightly believable ways to get him elected
to the position, and a great deal of trouble ensues. The plot is clearly meant to be funny
rather than realistic, and it sometimes succeeds. Less sophisticated readers should
appreciate this Diary of a Wimpy Kid knockoff, even though its parodies and jokes are
significantly less developed, and its drawings sometimes feel like an afterthought.

Kinney, Jeff. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck. Amulet, 2013. 217p. $13.95.
978-1-4197-1132-9. Gr. 4-7. P10Q9.
Kinney continues to deliver with his eighth Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. In this one,
Kinney goes back to what he does best: an overarching plot that fades into the background as
he paints one hilarious scene after the next. These minor incidents are the meat of the story,
and they are used masterfully to reveal the protagonist Greg’s weaknesses and foibles.
Perhaps this subtle irony is lost on younger readers, but that won’t stop them from enjoying
the exaggerated situations in which Greg finds himself. Also enjoyable are the pictures, of
which there are one to two on every page. These illustrations actually contribute to the plot,
helping to move it forward rather than just supplement it.

Jarzab, Anna. Tandem. Delacorte, 2013. 428p. $17.99. 978-0-385-74277-1. Gr. P8Q8.
There are innumerable universes parallel to our own. In each of these universes, a
person might have an analog, a person who looks exactly like them. Sasha, an ordinary girl
from Chicago, has an extraordinary analog on the planet Aurora: the princess of the United
Commonwealth of Columbia. Unfortunately for Sasha, the princess has gone missing on the
eve of her big wedding. So the King’s Elite Service steps in to bring Sasha to Aurora to fill the
missing princess’ shoes. Sasha must convince an entire country that she’s someone else if she
ever wants to return to her real life. The premise in Tandem is intriguing and well-developed.
It allows for plenty of drama and romance, with a hint of intrigue. Unfortunately, the
characters are not as well-developed. Sasha in particular seems to react to situations based
more on what will create interesting plot development, even if it means straying from the
character that was described at the beginning of the novel. Jarzab spends more time telling,
rather than showing, what the characters are like. Even so, the interesting plot and setting
make up for the weak characterization and provide an enjoyable read.

Book Review Julie Morris
Shusterman, Neal. (1995). Scorpion Shards. Simon and Schuster. $17.99. 227 p.
ISBN: 978-1442-45836-9 P 6 Q 6 Grades: 9-12
This book was first published in 1995. Six teenagers have various afflictions and powers that
dominate their lives and make them outcasts. They discover that each of them has a part of
the soul of a star that went supernova before they were born. The “shards” of the Scorpion
star give them superpowers of various kinds, but it also makes them attractive to demons that
twist the teenagers’ abilities and will eventually kill their hosts.
This is a convoluted novel that is well written in some places, but, at times, borders on the
ludicrous. Students that read for “action” may find it slow-going at first, but will enjoy the
descriptions of destruction and mayhem throughout the story.

GROUP. 2011. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25154-2. PAGES 39. PRE-K THRU
The famous nursery rhyme and song Mary Had a Little Lamb is actually a true story based on a
little girl named Mary Elizabeth Sawyer. Mary saved the life of a little lamb that went with her
everywhere. Mary wrote her story down and later distributed it in a little pamphlet. Will Moses
took her story and rewrote it and painted the pictures himself. Besides the story of Mary and her
lamb, in the back is the song with a brief history of how Mary’s story inspired a poem turned
popular nursery rhyme song. The illustrations are painted beautifully in Will Moses’ famous folk
art style. Kids would really be surprised and enjoy the fact that this rhyme they know is actually
a true story. What fun for teachers to also read this story aloud to the class and explain the
history of Mary and her little lamb, and the people involved that helped make this so popular.
Also a great way to demonstrate beautiful artwork.

978-0-374-37348-I. PAGES 23. INFANT – TODDLER AGE. P5/Q7
This is a charming book about a mother and her baby and his sweet feet. The illustrations are
lively and the rhyming in the story is fun. It is about a baby and his mother. I could see a parent
reading this to their baby or toddler. A family would enjoy this book, but not sure how
entertaining it would be to a school aged child.

978-0-8050-9317-9. PAGES 25. PRE-K THRU ELEMENTARY AGE. P7/Q8
This is the second book about Suryia the Orangutan. Suryia is a real life orangutan and lives in a
wildlife preserve in South Carolina. The book uses real life photography showing Suryia’s life
and friends. Many of her friends swim or play in the water and so she decides to jump right in as
well. It tells the process of how she learns to swim and shares her encounters with humans and
other animals. The photos would keep young children engaged and the story is educational and
entertaining for elementary students to read themselves.

HOLT AND COMPANY, LLC. 2012. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-8050-8732-1. PAGES 29. PREK
With its big print, bright colors and vivid pictures, this makes a fun and festive way to learn
counting forwards and backwards from 1-10. It could be a great book for silent reading time for
a child to choose from. The cheerful cover with glitter words and snowman makes it eye
appealing to put out in a classroom during the holidays and even winter time. The texture of the
cover is fun for kids as well.

978-0-8234-2336-1. PAGES 29. PRE-K THRU ELEMENTARY AGE. P4/Q7
What a fun take on a classic story. This is the story of the Night Before Christmas with a sea
theme. It follows the same story line and pattern as the traditional but with sea creatures, sand
dollars, and briny waves. There are fun pictures of a “seal” Santa riding in a giant conch being
led by 8 colorful sea horses. Kids may really enjoy a different take on something familiar.

YOUNG READERS GROUP. 2012. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3712-9. PAGES 30.
This is a book that a toddler would enjoy hearing with the fun and silly rhymes. For a 1st grader
or 2nd grader the rhyming makes it an easy read that is still entertaining and fun. The book has
bright pictures and the word print is simple, big, and bold.

HOLIDAY HOUSE. 2012. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-8234-2408-5. PAGES 31.
Mouse has quite an adventure from being swept out of his warm toasty house into the cold snow!
This is a book that a toddler would enjoy hearing with the fun and silly rhymes. For a 1st grader
or 2nd grader the rhyming makes it an easy read that is still entertaining and fun. The book has
bright pictures and the word print is simple, big, and bold.

HOLIDAY HOUSE. 2012. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-8234-2408-5. PAGES 31.
Mouse has quite an adventure from being swept out of his warm toasty house into the cold snow
and losing his gumdrop. He befriends some cold birds who help him get away from the house
cat. He plays in the snow then starts to get chilly and hungry and goes back into the house to
nibble up the children’s cookie crumbs. He doesn’t forget about his bird friends and shares the
crumbs with them as well. The beginning of the story has Mouse concerned and wanting to find
his lost gum drop but at the end of the book he never finds it but is much happier knowing he
made some new friends and shared his crumbs. This is an exciting story for young readers to
hear or to read to themselves. The illustrator has done a nice job filling up the pages with color
and animated pictures with great texture.

978-0-316-19692-5. PAGES 309. AGES 14-18. P8/Q8
This book has it all: mystery, love, intrigue, and a great twist ending. It is a modern spin off of a
classic, Wuthering Heights. The story is about Chelsea who discovers her mother, Catherine,
never died but has disappeared. Chelsea decides to go find her and meets Hence, a person from
her mother’s past and also discovers old journals when her mother was young. The story
switches back and forth between Catherine’s stories 20 years ago to the present with Chelsea.
Chapters change from Catherine’s life told by her journals and to the present with Chelsea trying
to figure out what happened to her mother. After reading this book, I wanted to read the original
Wuthering Heights. It is a great take on a classic and could be a beneficial way to get young
readers more engrossed in the classics.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s