Tuesday, October 21, 2014

365 Days of Wonder by P.J. Palacio - - ADVISABLE


Palacio, P.J. 365 Days of Wonder, 432 pgs. Alfred A. Knopf, 2014. $14.99. Language: G; Violence: G; Mature Content: G. 

In this companion to Wonder, Mr. Browne has made a compilation of his precepts. 1 for each day of the year.  Each month is preceded by an essay introducing the theme for that month, or a follow-up story about the characters from Wonder, like Auggie and Julian.  The “words to live by” are short, attributed and simple.  Some were contributed by children.  

As “page a day” inspirational books go, I enjoyed this one.  As a teacher, I could relate to Mr. Browne, and, having read Wonder I appreciated the “rest of the story”.  I will certainly give this as a gift to my teacher friends as a resource for their classrooms,  but I’m not sure it would get checked out much in the library by students.   

EL, MS - - GIFT ADVISABLE Lisa Librarian

Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger - ADVISABLE

Messenger, Shannon  Let the Sky Fall (Let the Sky Fall, #1), 404 pgs.  Simon Pulse, 2013.  $17.99  Content: Language: PG-13 (19 swears); Mature Content: PG-13; Violence: PG-13.  

Audra is a sylph, a person who can control the wind, and she is in charge of being Vane’s guardian.  She has been watching over him for ten years, ever since their parents were lost in a tornado, because he is the last Westerly (west wind sylph).  Vane is supposed to be the answer to a war among the different winds and if Audra can keep him safe and teach him how to control all four directional winds, then he should be the next king in the Gale kingdom.  Audra doesn’t expect to have feelings for Vane and it’s hard to keep her promise as a guardian when she is the only one protecting him.  

This is an interesting series with well-developed main characters. The beginning was a bit slow because of the explanations of the winds and Audra kept flashing back to what happened during the tornado, but not giving the whole story.  But once the world was built it was fast paced and I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to the characters.  The climactic battle was excellent and satisfying, but the future of the characters is left open ended because this is the beginning of a series.  

MS, HS-ADVISABLE.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.   

Owl Diaries: Eva's Treetop Festival by Rebecca Elliott - ESSENTIAL

Elliott, Rebecca Owl Diaries: Eva’s Treetop Festival, 72 pgs.  Branches, 2015  $15.99  Early Reader Content: G.  

An owl named Eva loves to be crafty and plan things.  One day her friend gives her an idea to do a Bloomtastic Festival at school that has a talent competition, cupcake contest, fashion show and an art show.  She has troubles getting everything done in time on her own, so she has her classmates help her.  Eva thought she didn’t plan very well, but it actually turned out good.  

I LOVED the illustrations, the owls were adorable.  I think it had a good moral to the story, with the lesson that it’s okay to ask for help.  I want the next book because it was so good.  

EL(K-3)-ESSENTIAL.  Reviewer, Isabelle, age 10.   

Mr. Wayne's Masterpiece by Patricia Polacco - ESSENTIAL

Polacco, Patricia  Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece  G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2014.  $17.99  PICTURE BOOK Content: G.  

This story is about a girl named Patricia who has troubles speaking up in class.  Her teacher introduces Patricia to the play director to see if the director can help her speak up.  For awhile she does stage crew and learns every line in the play.  One day, the main character in the play moves.  Everyone thought Patricia should be the new lead.  On opening night, Patricia gets to be the lead and although she is scared she sings and knows every line.  She has so much fun.  

I liked Patricia Polacco’s illustrations.  The book sucked me in with what was going on.  I like that the character overcame her fear and she had fun.  

EL (K-3), EL -ESSENTIAL.  Reviewer, Isabelle, age 10.  

Einstein: The Class Hamster and the Very Real Game Show by Janet Tashjian - OPTIONAL

Tashjian, Janet  Einstein: The Class Hamster and the Very Real Game Show, 162 pgs.  Illustrated by Jake Tashjian  Henry Holt and Company, 2014.  $12.99  Content: G.  

Einstein is the class hamster, and he wants to be a game show host.   He finds out from a boy named Ned, who can understand him, that Ned’s class would be competing in a game show called Kids Know Stuff.  Ned and some of his friends decide to sneak Einstein and the other class pet, Marlin, into the game show.  The game show host has to leave the show, and Einstein is offered the job, but he is too nervous.  Einstein eventually gets to host a game show in Ned’s classroom.  

I think the pictures were awesome in this book.  I liked how there were facts throughout the book that were interesting.  There are funny parts in the book.  

EL-OPTIONAL.  Reviewer, Isabelle, age 10. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Poem Depot: Aisles of Smiles by Douglas Florian - - ADVISABLE

Florian, Douglas Poem Depot: Aisles of Smiles, 154 pgs. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2014. $16.99. Language: G; Violence: G; Mature Content: G. POETRY

Silly verses about everything from Animals to Zero, these short, funny, illustrated poems are reminiscent of Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky.  The pen and ink drawings are as clever as the poetry.  Simple (and easy to memorize) this fun collection would be a great addition to the poetry section of an elementary school. A bit too silly for older readers.  

EL -- ADVISABLE  Lisa Librarian

Hunt for Jade Dragon by Richard Evans - ESSENTIAL

Evans, Richard Paul Hunt for Jade Dragon (Michael Vey), 319 p. Mercury Ink (Simon), 2014.  $19.  Content: PG (lots of danger, some deaths, nothing graphic).

Michael and his friends have escaped the Elgen in Peru, but unfortunately Dr. Hatch survived the explosion of the Ampere.  The Electroclan is on the run for Taiwan, where the Elgen have a deaf, mute genius imprisoned - who also happens to be a child.  The Electroclan will rescue her from Hatch’s clutches, even if it means all of their lives.  

Evans has toned down the violence, but not the adventure in his latest installment of the Michael Vey series.  I actually had a boy squeal and do a happy dance around the library when he got his hands on on elf my first four library copies the day after release.

MS - ESSENTIAL.  Cindy - Library Teacher