Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Still Life (Tune #2) by Derek Kim –NO

Kim, Derek and Illustrated by McClaine, Les Still Life (Tune #2) 208 pgs. First Second, 2013. $9.99 Content: Language: PG (0 swears); Mature Content: R Violence: G. GRAPHIC NOVEL
The continuing story of Andy, a twenty something who has gotten himself into an unusual situation. He has signed a binding contract to be an exhibit in a zoo, on an alien planet. This was an ideal job for Andy as he has trouble with ambition and motivation. The problem is that Andy didn’t read the fine print, and he is stuck forever in the zoo exhibit. He finds an ally, makes friends with a native, and is joined by the girl of his dreams that is all wrong.
I actually really liked this story and it can function as a read-alone. But I really think that high schoolers will have trouble relating to this story: the free-fall that occurs after high school, when self-motivation is required over pushing parents and legally required school attendance. The artwork is great! There is some imagery and a lot of potty humor that would make it inappropriate for a school library. This would be a great addition to a public library collection though.
HS –NO Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

The Cute Girl Network by Greg Means and MK Reed –NO

Means, Greg and Reed, MK and Illustrated by Flood, Joe The Cute Girl Network 182 pgs. First Second, 2013. $17.99 Content: Language: R (20+ swears); Mature Content: R Violence: G. GRAPHIC NOVEL
This is the story of early 20 year olds, living on their own, but still working menial jobs and scraping by. Jane is a skateboarding girl who meets a cute guy named Jack, who works at a soup cart. They have a great time together…until one of Jane’s new girl friends contacts the Cute Girl Network. Now Jane is meeting a plethora of ex’s from Jacks past. There is no end to the embarrassing and cringe worthy stories about his behavior. Will Jane learn from other people’s mistakes or make her own?
This is actually a fantastic story, for high school graduates. It true to life, interesting, funny, and well written. There is just too much swearing and sex talk for this to work for a high school library. Even in a public library setting, this story might be hard for high schooler’s to relate to. Takes a bit of life experience for this story to really make sense and be fully appreciated.

HS –NO Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Amelia Earhart: Lady Lindy (The Treasure Chest #8) by Ann Hood -NO

Hood, Ann Amelia Earhart: Lady Lindy (The Treasure Chest #8) 176 pgs. Grosset & Dunlap, 2014. $6.99 Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: PG Violence: G.
Maisie and Felix use the Treasure Chest to travel back in time to the jungles of the Congo. Although they are trying to find someone, instead they find themselves in grave danger and leave their friends, the Ziff twins behind! Now the twins take off for Kansas, during the time when airplanes are first being shown off. They meet two little girls and encourage them to be brave and go for their dreams.  
Although I would love for this series to be a stand in for a more sophisticated Magic Tree house type of series, it’s a giant mess. There are a ton of characters, most of them really uninteresting. The parts about their parents love life are cringe worthy. The time travel and plot in this book made no sense. They start in the Congo, and its a really long drawn out thing referencing like 5 characters from past books. But this didn't really gel with the flight/Amelia Earhart plot. That portion of the book was also confusing and strange. This is the fourth book in this series I have read and I think I am done giving it a chance.

EL –NO Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Charlie Bumpers vs The Teacher of the Year by Bill Harley -ADVISABLE

Harley, Bill and Illustrated by Gustavson, Adam Charlie Bumpers vs The Teacher of the Year 160 pgs. Peachtree Publishers, 2013. $13.95 Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G Violence: G.
Charlie is a bit worried about starting school this year since he was assigned to a teacher that he didn't want. He had trouble with her in the past, accidentally hitting her with his shoe, so she probably already has it out for him. Worse yet, he has heard rumors about how strict she is, especially in organization –his worst fault. But his parents won’t switch him because this teacher won teacher of the year! Can Charlie survive fourth grade?
This book has amazing artwork and an appealing cover. I love the sticky situations that Charlie finds himself in by mistake. I think this book is a pretty sneaky way to for students to learn about keeping an open mind and understanding that changing is possible all while being entertained by a very easy character for boys to relate to.

EL (K-3), EL –ADVISABLE Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Mia: Fashion Plates and Cupcakes (Cupcake Diaries #18) by Coco Simon -ADVISABLE

Simon, Coco Mia: Fashion Plates and Cupcakes (Cupcake Diaries #18) 160 pgs. Simon Spotlight, 2014. $15.99 Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G Violence: G.
Mia is a busy girl! She has Cupcake Club, soccer, visits to her Dad, and homework! Now she is interested in being a part of the Fashion Club, which is just getting started. It’s a lot more work than she expected, especially since one of the members is a girl Mia doesn't get along with very well. They are planning a big fashion show, and it might just turn out to be a big disaster!
The Cupcake Diaries series is growing on me, I really look forward to reading them. I am a bit confused why its called Diaries. Each book features a different girl’s perspective, but it’s not in a journal format. In any case, I really like how the girls face different challenges, like in this one, Mia must learn to work with someone that is very difficult to work with. Overall in the series there is general focus on learning about playing to your own strengths and trying for a balance in activities and commitments. I think it’s a bit childish for middle school students though. Fun series to add to your collection!

EL –ADVISABLE Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy Bennett - OPTIONAL

Bennett, Cindy C. Rapunzel Untangled, 293 p. Cedar Fort, 2013.  Content: G.  

Rapunzel has been protected by her mother for all of her life.  Because of her genetic disorder, if she goes outside, she might contact someone else’s sickness and die.  Rapunzel uses the internet for her home schooling, though and one day decides to contact a boy she met on Facebook.  Then her life begins to change - Fane, the boy, wants to meet and when they do, Rapunzel can’t stand to go back to the way her life was before.  She wants answers to her question about her life, but she doesn’t want to hurt her mother, either.  How can she be who she wants if her mother always treats her like a little girl?  

I admit it - I had a grand time reading this book.  I shoved all of the glaring questions (how can Rapunzel’s mother not know about the Internet, how can the first person Rapunzel ever spoke to besides her mother not be a creepy stalker, etc.) to the back of my head and just enjoyed.  Pure fun, romantic, fluff.  Great for reading on a hammock or at the beach.  Get this in paperback only.  

MS, HS - OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Pinkalicious: Eggstraordinary Easter - ADVISABLE

Kann, Victoria Pinkalicious: Eggstraordinary Easter PICTURE BOOK. Harper Festival, 2014, $5.99. 

Pinkalicious is at it again this time with her close and personal friend, Edgar the Easter Bunny. Edgar sends the Pinkerton’s on a scavenger hunt to find their Easter surprise. This a must for Pinkalicious fans. Plus it comes with a page of stickers!

EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE. Reviewer SM