Friday, October 9, 2015

Stink and the Shark Sleepover (Stink #9) by Megan McDonald -ADVISABLE

McDonald, Megan Stink and the Shark Sleepover (Stink #9) 157 pgs. Candlewick Press, 2014. $4.99 Content: Language: G Mature Content: G Violence: G CHAPTER BOOK
Stink and his family are sleeping over at an aquarium! One that has sharks! His friends are going too, and his nemesis. Stink learns a ton about different creatures at the Aquarium, enjoys a scavenger hunt, and tries to prank his big sister Judy. The big question is..will Stink be able to sleep!?

This is a fun and easy read for a chapter book and its surprisingly stuffed with fun facts and information without seeming teachy. Stink is an authentic character is a fully realized world. My only complaint is that the author chose to delve into the Bloody Mary myth and I think 1-2grade is way too young for that. I was scared of mirrors for years after hearing about it when I was in 6th grade, I just don’t think younger readers are ready for it.
EL (K-3)  –ADVISABLE Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Switch by Ingrid Law - ADVISABLE

Law, Ingrid Switch, 356 pgs. Penguin (Dial) 2015. $16.99. Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG.  

13 year old Gypsy is trying to control her savvy - the ability to see someone’s future or past - and is quickly realizing that she has no control over changing anything that she sees about to happen.  Then, when the family gets the news that Poppa’s mother, Grandma Pat, will be moving in with them - in Grandpa Bomba’s room - everyone’s savvy changes to its opposite.  Samson, who used to be able to become invisible, now causes fires, perfect momma has become clumsy, and little Tucker, who hasn’t even got his savvy yet, suddenly grows into a giant when he gets mad.  And Gypsy, well, she can stop time. But getting it started again is a problem.  

Book #3 in the Savvy series is just as magical as the other 2.  Continuing the story of the Beaumont family, with their impossible savvies and the improbable situations make for a delightful fantasy read, and this time, there are people outside the family involved.  How will they ever keep the secret safe?  Don’t try this one without reading Savvy and Scumble first.  

EL, MS - ADVISABLE  Lisa Librarian

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Magic Box (Ghost and Max Monroe Case #1) by L.M. Falcone -OPTIONAL

Falcone, L.M. The Magic Box (Ghost and Max Monroe Case #1) 87 pgs. Kids Can Press, 2014. $12.95 Content: Language: G (0 swears but quite a few Hecks); Mature Content: G Violence: G CHAPTER BOOK
Max is not excited to stay with his grandfather, that is, until he finds the closed down office of the Monroe Detective agency in the backyard. Turns out it used to be owned by his great Uncle Larry before he died, and he hasn’t quite left yet. Max and Larry’s ghost take their first case together, quite by accident, and suddenly Max’s new move doesn’t seem so bad after all.

As an introduction to a series, I didn’t feel like I got to know the main characters very well at all, and even less so once the mystery solving started going. A little girl is missing and no one tells her parents or calls the police, the main character Max, a young boy himself, determining that it must have been an inside job not a kidnapper. Add to this quite a few ‘hecks’, given that this is a short chapter book, and you have a story that doesn’t work for my school library.
EL (K-3)  –OPTIONAL Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Dressed to Frill (Sew Zoey #12) by Chloe Taylor -ADVISABLE

Taylor, Chloe Dressed to Frill (Sew Zoey #12) 170 pgs. Simon Spotlight, 2015. $6.99 Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G Violence: G
Zoey’s best friend Libby is going to have a Bat Mitzvah and has asked her to design her dress. In fact, all her friends want her to design their outfits for the event. But then Libby’s mom doesn’t like the design that Zoey has come up, a new thing for Zoey! Zoey must also deal with her brother’s breakup with Allie, a friend of hers.
I still really enjoy the Sew Zoey series and its been a fun addition to the library collection. Combine this series with some history of fashion and Kiki magazine and you have a future fashion designer! But I am not adding more to my collection, most student readers check out two or three and are ready to move onto other things. I do like the continued internet safety lessons (like cropping out the face of her friend for privacy reasons.
EL –ADVISABLE Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

The Royal Cup (Last Man #2) by Balak and Michael Sanlaville and Bastien Vives -ADVISABLE

Balak and Sanlaville, Michael and Vives, Bastien The Royal Cup (Last Man #2) 207 pgs. First Second, 2015. $9.99 Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: R Violence: PG GRAPHIC NOVEL
Adrian and Richard are getting closer to the championship cup as they face a variety of contestants. Despite Adrian's lack of skill and Richards complete lack of magical ability, the two are making headway. In the meantime Richard is romancing Adrian's mom and that is confusing for him. When Richards travel pack is stolen, will it derail him from his goal of winning the cup?  
I loved the first book, and the second book is a great read as well, but it goes in the R rating zone for mature content with nudity and sex. This series is going to have to be public only, its totally not appropriate for a school. That being said, If I was a public librarian in the teen section I would question adding it there and would consider putting it with the adult graphic novels. It is odd to follow the adventures of cute little boy but then get hit with a ton of adult romance. Too bad.  
PUBLIC/ADULT  –ADVISABLE Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Iron Rails, Iron Men, and the Race to Link the Nation: The Transcontinental Railroad by Martin W. Sandler - ADVISABLE

Sandler, Martin W. Iron Rails, Iron Men, and the Race to Link the Nation: The Transcontinental Railroad NON FICTION 211 pgs. Candlewick Press, 2015. $22.99. Language: G (0 swears) Mature Content: G; Violence: G.  

The great race to link the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by railroad in the 1860s is masterfully described in this beautifully presented book.  Lots of photographs, maps, biographies of the key players, side bars and information. Sandler covers the organization of both the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads, the difficulties and successes; the corrupt organizers, politicians and shareholders; the hardworking Irish and Chinese immigrants, the brilliant designers, surveyors and inventors, trouble with mother nature, deserts, mountains and indians.  The whole story is here.

So well put together, I couldn’t put it down. A great read. Includes an index, bibliography, source material and photography credits. 

EL - Optional MS, HS - ADVISABLE  Lisa Librarian

Saturday, October 3, 2015

How to Babysit a Leopard by Ted and Betsy Lewin - ESSENTIAL

Lewin, Ted and Betsy How to Babysit a Leopard NON FICTION 136 pages. MacMillian (Roaring Brook Press) 2014. $22.99. Language: G (0 swears) Mature Content: G; Violence: PG. (Bullfighting described, also animals killing and eating other animals)  

Ted and Betsy Lewin, authors of over 200 books have traveled the world together since the 1970s.  This book is full of short vignettes and stories about their many experiences with people, animals and places all over the globe. From the african jungles to the Mongolian desert, we learn about interesting animals, giant bugs, the best way to eat something gross, what is making that strange noise, how to get your driver to stop for a drink of water when he doesn’t speak your language, where giant mushroom grow over night, and how to babysit a leopard.  

It’s like having these two for dinner and they regale the dinner party with their great and interesting experiences. A perfect book to pick up for a minute, and then put down (if you can.) Illustrated with sketches, drawings, photographs, and maps.