Ecton, Emily. The Ambrose Deception. With illustrations by Gilbert Ford. Disney-Hyperion, 2018. $16.99. ISBN 9781484788387. 359 pages. Ages 9-12. P7 Q8
Three students from three different Chicago schools are chosen to participate in a scholarship competition. The students are given lists of questions to answer to be eligible to win the competition. They need to figure out the clues and take pictures of the answers. The first student to successfully complete the challenge wins. Even though it is an individual competition, once the participants figure out something is not right, they work together to figure out what is going on. If you read the book closely, you will notice clues along the way. It is interesting that the children they picked to enter the competition had families that struggled a bit more, emphasizing that struggles build resilience. It also shows that given a chance, children can accomplish anything they set their minds on. The book is written in short chapters from each person’s perspective. It is captivating right to the end of the book.
Verdict: The moral of the story is that all people have different strengths and while not all children will excel in academics, all children have skills that are equally important. This book would be great for middle school libraries.
February 2018 review by Tami Harris.
Kang A.N. Papillon Goes to the Vet. Disney Hyperion, 2017. ISBN 978-148472881-9. $16.99. Unpaged. Ages 3-5. Q9P9
I love the detail in the artwork of this book! A true cat’s house with paw prints on the floor and scratch marks on the furniture. Surpassing the artwork is the positive messages and learning experiences portrayed. Papillon has swallowed a cat toy while playing with his best friend, a little red bird, and has to go to the Vet. The pictures depicting the treatment at the vet’s office are very similar to what actually happens at a Vet’s office, but more so what happens at a human doctor’s office (I’ve never seen a veterinarian use a tongue depressor.) When Papillon has to stay overnight, the author shows Papillon sad and lonely while surrounded by other cats.
However, once Papillon felt better, he was able to play with the kitties in the clinic proving scary situations can turn out for the best. I love that Papillon’s name is a dog breed and his best friend is a bird!
Verdict: So many positive messages in 40 pages! Nice job Ms. Kang! A beautiful book for all ages!
December 2017 review by Terri Lippert.
Higgins, Ryan T. Bruce’s Big Move. Disney/ Hyperion, 2017. Unpaged. $17.99. ISBN 9781368003544. Ages 5-6. P8Q9
Bruce the grumpy bear is mother to four geese. He and his geese children live with three messy, noisy mice who make Bruce crazy. He tries everything to make the mice leave, but they won’t take a hint. When Bruce and the geese finally move away to escape from the mice, the geese are very sad without their friends! I loved the end, where a moving van arrives and the mice pile out with the furniture! The illustrations are really funny and full of character. You can see Bruce’s curmudgeonly attitude, but also sense that he’s not really so cranky inside.
VERDICT: I haven’t read the other Bruce books, but I think I’ll put them on the purchase list for my library.
December 2017 review by Carol Schramm.
Bross, Lee. Tangled Webs. Disney/Hyperion, 2015. $17.99. 304p. 9781423184232. Ages 14-16. P7Q7
Trained as the mysterious Lady A, orphaned Arista gathers secrets from wealthy Londoners at high-society parties so that her handler, Bones, can blackmail them. She makes him a fortune, but the imprisoned girl is trapped in this life until her protector, another orphan named Nic, gives her a chance to get away. She ends up with a wealthy middle-class family where she falls in love with the older son who offers her a chance to leave England on the high seas. Yet even her masquerade as a boy can’t keep her safe as Bones, thought to be dead in a fire, seeks her to retrieve the secrets that she stole. When excitement is high, the romance is a fun read.
April 2016 review by Nel Ward.