Monday, June 30, 2008

Outcast

Paver, Michelle Outcast, 336 pgs.Harper Collins-Katherine Tegen Books; Language~G, Sexual Content~G; Violence~PG

When readers last saw Torak, he had been branded as a Soul Eater. He must keep this tattoo hidden or he will become an Outcast. After a heated argument with a member of the Boar Clan, Torak’s tattoo is revealed. Now as an Outcast anyone of any tribe that comes across Torak, must kill him. He attempts to remove the tattoo, but the remaining three Soul Eaters are still after him. Torak becomes soul-sick and begins to drive away everyone he cares about even wolf. Paver continues to deliver outstanding storylines that hold the reader tightly until the end. Readers will be begging for her next installment. MS/HS. Essential if you have the others in the series. Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Friday, June 27, 2008

Melting Stones

Pierce, Tamora Melting Stones, Audiobook; Produced by Full Cast Audio; Language~PG, Sexual Content~G; Violence~G
For the first time, Tamora Pierce has written a novel that was produced first as an audiobook and then a year later, Fall 2008, the traditional written book will be published. Characters from Pierce’s Circle of Magic series are again brought to life in a new adventure. Evvy, from Street Magic, Rosethorn, and Myrrhtide are sent to evaluate and assist a village on a far off island Starns. The villages are reporting their plants and forests are dying of an unknown ailment. Unknown to Evvy, she and her companion Luvo will be instrumental in saving the island from the destructive forces of the volcano spirits Flare and Carnelian. Readers will thoroughly enjoy listening to this adventure. With many voices, including Tamora Pierce herself, the story comes alive and readers become connected to the characters in a way different from that of silent reading. Upper EL/MS/HS; Advisable

Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Unseen Companion

Orenstein, Denise Gosliner Unseen Companion, pgs.368 Harper Collins-Harper Teen. Language~PG-13, Sexual Content~PG-13; Violence~PG-13;
Bethel, Alaska is a place not many have heard of. It is a small town on the western edge of the state. This story begins in the Spring of 1969. The story centers around a young man named Dove Alexie. Alexie mysteriously disappears from the Bethel jail. Told by several individuals, each chapter of the story gives you a glimpse into their lives and how they are connected to Alexie. Unfortuately, the story is very disjointed and the importance of these separate storylines is unclear. The author attempts to portray the persecution and bigotry of whites against the native Alaskan Eskimos living in Bethel, however, because the story is so disjointed no clear message is given. Disclaimers: The use of curse words is common throughout the story. There is a rape scene between a school counselor and student resulting in a pregnancy. HS. No. Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Ghost of Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen

Mikaelsen, Ben Ghost of Spirit Bear, 160 p. Harper, 2008. Cole and Peter’s year on the island is over and now the two, who overcame so many challenges on the island, are thrust back into the wilds of the American high school. Scorn, ridicule and abuse are heaped upon the both of them and Cole has to make difficult choices in order to keep himself out of prison. Cole’s biggest challenge awaits him. Touching Spirit Bear was a huge hit and my school uses it as one of its teaching novels. My teachers will be thrilled to read this hard-hitting sequel that makes it point without swearing. Now that’s a miracle! MS – ESSENTIAL

Evernight by Claudia Gray

Gray, Claudia Evernight, 336 p. Harper, 2008. Bianca’s parents have accepted jobs at a very exclusive private school and Bainca is desperate to not attend. Inevitably, she finds herself there the first day of classes, surrounded by beautiful people and just a few misfits – including Jared, another loner with whom Bianca feels an immediate connection. Bianca, her family and the school are all hiding very deep secrets and so is Jared. Those secrets may tear Bianca and Jared apart forever. Wihtout giving too much away, just let it be said that your Twilight fans will very much enjoy this novel, the beginning of a series. There are less than 20 swears, and no “f’s”. MS – ESSENTIAL

The Seance by Iain Lawrence

Lawrence, Iain The Séance, 272 p. Delacorte (Random), July 2008. Scooter’s mother is a clairvoyant during the Roaring Twenties. When Harry Houdini comes to town, murder follows and alsoa challenge to all mediums in town to prove their powers or be drummed out of business. Scooter catches the eye of the famous man and the two are drawn into a devious plot that may end in their deaths. Lawrence has peppered this book with all of the slang and sights of the 20’s and a beind the scenes look at the business of mediums, magicians and stunts. I found it fairly heavy going; I thought the history was very in-your-face. But my daughter, 14, loved it. MS - OPTIONAL

How to Ditch Your Fairy by Larbalestier

Larbalestier, Justine How to Ditch Your Fairy, 320 p. Bloomsbury, October 2008. Charlie has a parking fairy, which might be great if she were 16, but she’s only 14. And since she was a baby, she’s been dragged around from car to car so that everyone one around her can find a great place to park. She will do almost anything to rid herself of this bothersome fairy, even if it means cozying up to Fiorenza, her archenemy, who has the ultra-cool all-boys-like-you fairy. The premise is great and parts of the book are down-right hilarious, but the execution is a bit confusing. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy Mitchell: Library-Teacher

Believing by Wendy COrsi Staub

Staub, Wendy Corsi Lily Dale: Believing, 256 p. Walker (Bloomsbury), 2008. Calla has started feeling at home in Lily Dale and with her own psychic abilities. High School has just started and Blue, the BMOC is definitely paying attention to Calla, but Calla has affections for Jacy Bly. To complicate matters, her psychic powers are drawing her on the path to finding a killer, putting her life in danger. More good things with ghosts and danger from Staub. Is there a third Lily Dale book in the offing? I certainly hope so, because I certainly have questions! MS – ADVISABLE

Out of the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst

Durst, Sarah Beth Out of the Wild, 260 p. Razorbill (Penguin), 2008. Since the Wild was banished back underneath her bed, Julie’s life has been fairly tame. Than one day one of the Three Blind Mice goes into the Wild and Julie’s father, Rapunzel’s Prince, comes out, sending the entire world into chaos, strengthening the Wild and sending Julie on a fast-paced trip across the United States, vainly attempting to do damage control. At times the action is so fast paced that it can be a bit confusing, but at the same time, I felt compelled to read on, working my way to a very satisfying ending. EL, MS - ADVISABLE

Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson

Johnson, Maureen Suite Scarlett, 368 p. Scholastic, May 2008. Scarlett’s family owns a hotel in the heart of New York City, with loads of charm and old-time appeal, but on the verge of bankruptcy. An eccentric former actress moves I for the summer, right into the suite for which Scarlett is responsible and soon Scarlett is intimately involved in all sorts of weird dealings. And just from the guest; Scarlett’s brother is also in the midst of a major deception. Only with a lot of maneuvering, quick thinking and some major distractions could Scarlett help her brother, her new friend and perhaps find love. I don’t think I can call Suite Scarlett a masterpiece, but it certainly a fine new entry into Johnson’s body of work. Teen girls who have already found Johnson will not be disappointed and the cute cover (not pink) is sure to get plenty of others to pink it up. There are a handful of swear words (no “f) to be aware of and a bit of drinking. MS – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Cindy Mitchell, Library-Teacher.

Well-Witched by Frances Hardinge

Hardinge, Frances Well Witched, 400 p. Harper Collins, May 2008. Ryan and his friends just want to get home safely from a bad part of town, so Josh, the brave one steals money from the old wishing well. Now new, strange powers plague all of them and they finding themselves compelled to do the well-witch’s business – attempting to grant the wishes of the coins they stole. The powers, however are a bit warped, as are the secrets behind many to the wishes. Lives, including their own, are in danger unless the trio can find a way to stop the witch. I feel like I have read this book before, but many years ago. I certainly liked it much better than this author’s first book, Fly By Night. If you need a kind of creepy book for a younger audience, by all means get this one! EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Cindy Mitchell, Library-Teacher.

Shifty by Lynn Hazen

Hazen, Lynn E. Shifty, 188 p. (approx.). Tricycle Press, September 2008. Shifty has moved to a new foster home complete with a little sister and baby brother. For all the best reasons, Shifty is constantly breaking the rules and putting his new sister’s life in danger. A new, very strict case worker is just looking for an excuse to shut down that foster home, increasing the tension. And Martha, the foster mother has been very distracted lately, increasing Shifty’s chances at unintentional mischief. Shifty is not the brightest bulb in the bunch, but he does have a lot of heart and some street smarts, both of which he will need to surmount his little family’s challenges. While comparisons to The Pinballs are inevitable, this is The Pinballs all grown up and moved into the modern world. I can't say its my favorite cover, but you really need to see past that! Only one swear word. MS – ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Shooting the Moon by O'Roark

Dowell, Frances O’Roark Shooting the Moon, 163 p. Atheneum (Simon), 2008. The child of a career Army man, Jamie, 12, is proud when her big brother volunteers for duty in the Vietnam War. She can’t understand why her dad tries so hard to talk TJ out of it. When TJ’s letters start arriving, all Jamie gets are rolls of film, which she must learn to develop. As the war unfolds through TJ’s camera lens, Jamie learns almost too much about war and its consequences. Dowell has written a book that younger students can use to get inside the idea of war, without being inundated with violence and death. I am worried that it will have trouble finding its audience, as the title lends nothing to the experience and only becomes clear after the fact. So, librarians, you may need to baby this one along. EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Found by Margaret Haddix

Haddix, Margaret Peterson Found (The Missing: Book 1), 320 p. Simon and Schuster, April 2008. Jonah is a regular kid in a suburb dealing with a bratty younger sister and a slightly pushy new friend. He has long ago come to terms with his adoption. Then two mysterious letters appear in his mailbox – and in Jonah’s, who is also adopted. Their search for answers leads them down a twisted path that leads not only 13 years back into the past, but may also lead to a jump through time into the future. Two opposing forces have their own plans for the children. I think time travel is one of the most difficult things to write about and I applaud Ms. Haddix for making the leap. She has created one the better takes on the whole thing, geared towards younger students. This first book is a big set up for a few more titles ( I don’t know how many; I hope not one for every child), but you won’t feel too short-changed at the end. I am curious whether these will be as popular as the Hidden Children series. MS – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Saga by Conor Kostick

Kostick, Conor Saga, 367 p. Viking (Penguin), 2008. Welcome back to the world of Epic. The game has been shut down on Erik’s world, but a new game has taken its place. What Erik and his friends don’t know, however, is that this new gaming world is populated by self-actualized electronic intelligences, controlled by a Dark Queen who is determined to enslaved a world of fleshy bodies to do her bidding. TI her surprise, however, the character Cindella, left over from Epic, is more than happy to thwart her plans. Most of the point of view is from the computerized characters’ perspective, especially Ghost, a young street punk who survives by breaking rules. She and her gang of friends are key to the solution of Saga. You can tell that Kostick knows video games, especially role-playing games, whether medieval or modern. Gaming fans will have a great time, but so will others. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Itch by Michelle Kwasney

Kwasney, Michelle D. Itch, 236 p. Henry Holt, 2008. 

Itch is all out of sorts. Her beloved grandfather has died and now her grandmother has moved has household from sunny Florida to a trailer park in frozen Ohio. Plus, Gram has decided to sell Gramps car; Itch isn’t sure she can take much more. She meets a popular girl at her new school who seems friendly enough, but soon realizes that everything is not right in Gwendolyn’s life, either.      In fact, her problems may be so big that Itch is afraid to say a word to anyone who might be able to help. 

While this book deals with death and loss, it also covers the idea of taking a chance and asking an adult for help when you know that something is wrong. Younger students who are fans of Frances O’Roark Dowell or Betsy Byars should enjoy this selection. 

EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Mead, Richelle Frostbite, 327 p. Penguin, 2008. Lissa and her guardian Rose have returned to St. Vladimir’s after their time on the run, but that doesn’t make life any easier. Rose has too many feelings for her much older tutor, Dmitri, the kinds of feelings that would interfere with her life’s work. She also has jealousy issues when the sister of Lissa’s beau appears and offers Dmitri a seemingly irresistible offer. Feelings aside, danger also lurks; when the usually singular Strigoi orchestrate a mass assassination of a family of Moroi and their Guardians the entire Moroi society is put on high alert. Rose and here group may be young, but they may also have vital skills and the intuition to help avert a greater tragedy. While Frostbite and its predecessor Vampire Academy are probably right up the alley of Twilight fans, be aware that there are almost 50 swears (one “f”). The romance and action don’t quite make up for that. MS – OPTIONAL, HS – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Cindy Mitchell, Library-Teacher.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Off to ALA

Thanks goodness Allison is holding down the fort! I have been between vacations and packing for all of my family to go in different directions. I'm still reading, but I have massive amounts of reviews to catch up on! Well, my computer is going with me, so maybe I will have some down time?! Ha!

I'll be back the second week of July - with, of course, lots of great things to say about my trip to Anaheim!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Stealing Heaven

Scott, Elizabeth Stealing Heaven, pgs.307 Harper Collins-Harper Teen. Language~PG-13, Sexual Content~PG; Violence~G;

Before readers get to turn the first page, Scott grabs your interest with this sentence. “My name is Danielle. I’m eighteen. I’ve been stealing things for as long as I can remember.” Danielle’s mother became involved in burglary as a young woman and when her partner is arrested, she waits until Danielle is old enough and they become a team. They move from town to town, city to city. Leaving soon after a job is completed. Up next for the pair is Heaven. Heaven is a beach front community full of ‘old’ money. Danielle and her mother settle in a rental beach house and begin to scan Heaven for possible targets. What Danielle doesn’t expect to find in Heaven is a friend. She also finds herself involved with Greg, a cop no less! She knows that if people get too close, she will lose her ability to remain nameless and unknown. As the date for the job approaches Danielle begins to have second thoughts; is this really what she wants to do for the rest of her life? Stealing Heaven is a wonderful novel about a young woman deciding what she wants from life. Deciding whether or not she can leave all she has ever known behind for a different kind of life. There are brief references to sex, but no descriptive passages. The ‘f’ word is used 2-3 times but other than that the swearing is almost non-existent. MS/HS –ESSENTIAL. Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

The King of Attolia

Turner, Megan Whelan The King of Attolia, pgs.387 Harper Collins-Eos. Language~PG, Sexual Content~G; Violence~PG; Masterfully crafted, this latest novel in Turner’s Attolia series will leave readers yearning for more when the last page is turned. Eugenides has surprised all of Attolia and Eddis and has married the woman who cut off his hand, becoming Attolia’s supreme ruler. The young thief faces ruling a country that doesn’t respect or like him. Regardless of the title most of the story is told from the perspective of a young member of the Queen’s guard, Cortis. You meet Cortis as he is awaiting punishment for assaulting the King. As his punishment, instead of the death he fears, Cortis is assigned to be the King’s personal guard. Through his eyes we come to know the role that Eugendies fills in the Queen’s court and also the resentment of the guard and its leaders toward the would be king. Readers will become impossibly entangled in this story of castle politics and treachery.
MS/HS –Essential. Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

Circle of Blood

Fergusson, Alane Circle of Blood, pgs.238 Viking Juvenile. Language~PG, Sexual Content~G; Violence~PG-13;
In the third title of her forensic mystery series, Fergusson plunges her readers back into the gore and science of forensic detective work. The book begins at the scene of a car accident where the driver, not wearing his seatbelt, has been decapitated. Ferguson picks up the story of Cameryn Mahoney where she left off in Angel of Death. This book focuses more on the sudden appearance of Cameryn’s mother who until recently, she thought was dead, and a girl named Mariah who suddenly turns up dead after being seen with Cameryn’s mom. The autopsy scenes while graphic are intriguing, but may be too much for those reader’s with weak stomachs. Ferguson leaves the reader dangling, leaving readers begging that her next installment come sooner rather than later. MS/HS –Advisable. Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Queen of Attolia

Turner, Megan Whelan The Queen of Attolia, pgs.362 HarperCollins-Eos. Language~PG, Sexual Content~G; Violence~PG; This is the second book in a trilogy by Turner. Eugenides, thief to the queen of Eddis, is finally caught after months of secretly spying and stalking the Queen of neighboring Attolia. Once caught, the queen takes her revenge and cuts off Eugenides’ right hand. For a professional thief nothing could be worse. This begins a 3 way war between Sounis, Eddis, and Attolia. Turner brilliantly weaves a story of betrayal, loyalty, and love in the world she has created. There are some that say that readers do not need to be familiar with the first title in this series, but I am not one of them. This story has unexpected twists and turns that keep the reader guessing. This is a must read.MS/HS – Essential. Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

Monday, June 16, 2008

Undone by Brooke Taylor


Taylor, Brooke Undone, 320 p (app.). Walker (Bloomsbury), August 2008. Serena isn't sure why bad girl Kori befriended her that day in eighth grade, but the two have been inseparable since. She knows that Kori has secrets and issues, and a drinking problem, but Serena has never been one to pry. Now, however, Serena is only left with questions and grabs onto the idea of fulfilling one of Kori's English assignments - a list of 5 ways in which Kori wanted to tempt fate - as a way to connect with her friend and hopefully find some closure. As with most secrets, however, the answers Serena finds may not be anything that she actually wants to hear. For all the interesting dark potential this book had, it is all wasted, at least for school libraries, on massive amounts of swearing (23 'f" and more than 50 other swears) and sexual references. NO

Poison Ink by Chris Golden


Golden, Chris Poison Ink, 288 p. Delacorte (Random House) July 2008. Late one night, five best friends hatch a crazy plan to cement their bond by getting matching tattoos. Being underage, they have to find someone willing to ink them without their parents' approval. At the last minute, one of the friends chickens out. Now she watches in horror as her former friends start behaving more and more outrageously and dangerously. She is stunned by their brutal behavior towards her and the community until she sees that the original tattoo itself has grown and evolved and Sammi begins to think that the impossible may be actually possible. Someone is controlling her friends trough the tattoos. From at interesting idea to a very faulty execution. Usually I can just lay back and enjoy the ride, but this all I could think was - what's the motivation??? Th details about Sammi and her friends are all there and the over-described enactments of her friend's descents are there, including the brutal fights and slutty actions, but we learn virtually nothing about the puppetmaster and his part in the whole thing, making the book, for me, very flat and unappealing. Call this a potential horror book gone bad. Oh and the overdescribed sexiness and violence, too. Toss in a few swears. NO

Fashionistas: The Interns by Chloe Walsh


Walsh, Chloe Fashionistas: The Interns, 320 p. Harper, May 2008. Meet the promising photographer, the wallflower copywriter, the aspiring designer and the socialite forced to take a summer job. These four compromise the latest foray into the life of an intern at the hottest fashion magazine. All four seem hell-bent on destroying themselves and each other as the claw their way to whatever type of fun, prestige or status it is that they want. The opening blurb for chapter 14 beings with this quote "I loathe narcissism, but I approve of vanity" and then proceeds to a fake blog rant about name-dropping. All of this I find exquisitely ironic from a book that prides itself on how many names it can drop. Tis is book is as superficial as they come, has close to 100 swears (surprisingly, no "f") and paints four girls on mutually self-destructive courses. Someone please find me a point in all of this!! Whoops - no point to be found here. NO

Making a Splash by Jade Parker #1 and #2


Parker, Jade Making a Splash: Robyn (256 p.) and Caitlin (240 p.). Scholastic, 2008. Best friends Robyn and Caitlyn have secured jobs at their favorite hangout spot - the local waterpark. Caitlyn has the hot job, watching the wave pool with all its bronzed bodies, while Robyn is stuck watching the kiddie pool and babysitting the new girl, Whitney, whose only dedication to work is to work on her tan. And Caitlyn's supervisor is Sean, Robyn's older brother - who, until this year, has always just been there. But now, suddenly, Caitlyn is beginning to see him an too too new light. In #2, Robyn has been burned once already by a summer romance. Now handsome Michael Romeo is in the picture, but so is Jasmine, Robyn's original rival. Circumstances keep throwing them together, but Robyn keeps trying to resist. If you have a need for light summer fun, this trilogy (Whitney's story is forthcoming) perfectly fits the bill. As sweet and safe as you could possibly ask for! MS - ADVISABLE

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Atherton: River of Fire


Carman, Patrick Atherton Rivers of Fire, pgs.303 Little Brown and Company. Language~PG, Sexual Content~G; Violence~PG; In this sequel to Atherton: The House of Power, Carman resumes the story where he left off. The Highlands is continuing to sink and the Cleaners are coming ever closer to Tabletop. This book did not grab me as strongly as the first one did. I felt it dragged in places and was confusing in parts. I would recommend it to any who liked the first Atherton, since this book completes the story. However, I wouldn’t recommend it as a stand alone novel. MS/HS – OPTIONAL. Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

The Floods: Good Neighbors

Thompson, Colin The Floods: Good Neighbors, pgs.210 HarperCollins Childrens books. Language~PG, Sexual Content~G; Violence~PG; This is the first book in a new series. This family’s story is a mix between The Series of Unfortunate Events and the Adam’s Family. The Floods are almost the exact copy of the Adam’s Family. The family consists of a beautiful dark haired mother, a slightly dumb father, and several weird children one of which is completely covered in hair like Thing.
Opposite of what the title suggests, the Floods are not good neighbors. Their neighbors begin to bother them so much that they come up with creative ways to get rid of them. This book is full of gruesome dark humor and the Flood’s neighbors have such terrible manners and treat each other horifically. This book will be enjoyed by those who can set aside reality and ethics and can just enjoy the dark humor. EL/MS – Optional. Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Colonial Voices by Kay Winters

Winters, Kay Colonial Voices: Hear Them Speak, illustrated by Larry Day. Dutton (Penguin), 2008. PICTURE BOOK. Through the voices of a variety of townspeople, Ms. Winters gives us a collage of the nights before the Boston Tea Party. Not all of the voices are of patriots; loyalists are also represented. It is at once a look at life in the colonies and at the variety of opinions surrounding the rebellion. This is, however, not a first person account; the vignettes are instead composites based on a huge amount of historical research. The illustrations are complimentary, without being distracting. This picture book could be used in many ways by a clever teacher at any level. EL, MS - ADVISABLE

Fleas! by Jeanne Steig

Steig, Jeanne Fleas! Illustrated by Britt Spencer. Philomel (Penguin), 2008. Quantz' good deed - giving a dog a scratch- leaves him with a reward of fleas. When Quantz trades his fleas for an annoying uncle, his problem continues to get worse and worse, in an "Old Lady Swallowed a Fly" manner, until it reaches a very pleasant conclusion. Vivid pictures an a quirky story with a very satisfying ending will delight children of many ages. EL - ESSENTIAL.

Maybelle in the Soup by Katie Speck

Speck, Katie Maybelle in the Soup, Illustrated by Paul Ratz de Tagyos. Henry Holt and Company, 2007. Maybelle is a cockroach who lives with the Peabodys. She follows a set of rules like: "When it's light, stay out of sight; if you're spied, better hide; and, most important of all, never meet with human feet." But just once she would like to take food before it hits the floor! When the Peabodys have the Snodgrasses over for dinner, Maybelle gets her chance. Unfortunately she falls into the turtle soup and is discovered. A romp ensues. Maybelle and her flea friend hatch a plan to avoid the exterminator and all works out in the end. This delightful book will be enjoyed by all. 1-4 --- ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Susan huff, Area Library Media Specialist.

Soroity 101 by Kate Harmon

Harmon, Kate Sorority 101: Zeta or Omega?, 257p. Penguin Group- Language: PG-13 (couple of "f" and a few assorted, Sexual Content: G, Violence: G- Roni, Lora-Leigh, and Jenna thought college was not going to be fun. Each one didn't know that they would soon be best friends. They start going to sorority meetings to find out which one they liked best of all. Scared that they may be rejected, they figure out that it was also the thrill of their lives. But Roni, Lora-Leigh, Jenna are in a tight spot, Omega or Zeta? This book was very cute! I loved how it made you wonder what was going to happen next. It makes you want to be excited for college life. MS, HS- ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: CW

Harmon, Kate Sorority 101: The New Sisters, 256p. Penguin Group- Language: PG-13 (couple of "f" and a few assorted), Sexual Content: G, Violence: G- Roni, Lora-Leigh, and Jenna have just found out that they are new Zeta Zeta Tau sisters. They are ecstatic about it, yet all of them have other things to deal with. Jenna has to control her Diabetes and balance her schedule. Roni has to let go of her parents dislike towards her choices in life. Finally, Lora-Leigh has to settle the argument with her mother. Can they do that and Zeta Zeta Tau? A great sequel to the first. You couldn't stop reading because you wanted to know what happened. The book was like a drug to me that I couldn't let go of. MS, HS- ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: CW

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa by Silverman


Silverman, Erica Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: School Days 43 p. Harcourt, Inc. In the first chapter, much to her horse Cocoa's dismay, Cowgirl Kate leaves him to go to school. He follows the bus like Mary's little lamb until the driver stops and sends Cowgirl Kate back home with her horse. Next, Cocoa feels their friendship is threatened when Cowgirl Kate brings a friend home from school, but he soon realizes she is his friend too. Cocoa poses for a painting in one chapter and helps Cowgirl Kate with her report on horses in another. The delightful watercolor illustrations and bright colors against the white background make this a very inviting chapter book for beginning readers. The characters are believable and their friendship shines through in each story. This series would definitely find an audience in elementary school. Grades K-2 - ESSENTIAL (If not the whole series, at least a sampling) . Reviewer: Debbie Herget, Elementary Library-Teacher

Forever Rose by Hilary McKay

McKay, Hilary Forever Rose, 291p. McElderry Books, Language: G, Sexual Content: G, Violence: G- Rose Casson has the strangest family. Her father is in London, Caddy, her sister, is in her hometown, but won't come home. All she really wants is her family to be back together. All she has to comfort her now is her friends. But when they make her do something stupid, she doesn't know what to do. Will her family start leading a normal life? This book was really cute and charming. The way the Casson's are so odd made this a book one that I just had to read. The last book in the Casson Series. MS, HS- ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: CW

Twenty Hearbeats by Dennis Haseley

Haseley, Dennis Twenty Heartbeats, illustrated by Ed Young. Roaring Brook Press, 2008. PICTURE BOOK. Ed Young's illustrations never let you down. They are so rich and convey a diversity of emotions. This story and the evocative pictures bring tears to the eyes. A man loves his horse so much that he hires the best painter in the country to draw his horse. The years pass and the picture is not produced. The horse and his master age, and finally the master goes to the painter in anger and demands his picture. The artist complies and sits and quickly draws the horse. The master is angry, but all is not as it seems. He soon discovers the secret behind the painting. This memorable book is a perfect combination of words and art. Anyone - ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Susan Huff, Area Library Media Specialist

Triple Shot Betty

Gehrman, Jody Triple Shot Betty, 255, Dial Books, Language: PG (no "f"); Violence: PG; Sexual Content: PG 13; Review: Geena has the summer all to her self with her two best friends, Amber and her cousin Hero. They have never met each other but Geena counts on them hitting it off right away. The problem is they don't. A love triangle appears the second Hero gets to town. Amber loves John, while John wants Hero, and Hero loves Claudio. In a summer as eventful as this one, if all three girls don't unite they will have to face impending consequences. There are a few sexual references and actually this is the first book to almost have an actual fight that I have reviewed so far. I really liked it! HS - ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: AA

Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs

Childs, Tera Lynn Oh. My. Gods. 264 p. Dutton (penguin), 2008. Phoebe's life is pretty great until the day her mom a new fiancée and move to a remote island in Greece. Kicking and screaming all the way, Phoebe survives the trip to the island, only to discover that the exclusive private school her new "dad" is the headmaster for is totally populated by the mortal children of the Greek gods and goddesses - mortal, but with magical powers of their own. Now her evil stepsister hates her and has the power to make it matter, plus most of the other students resent a "nothos", or non-god-descendant being at thir school, including the members of the cross-country team, Phoebe's only source of solace. The nine months of Phoebe's senior year isn't a life time, it may only feel like it! Totally cute and totally great. While a reader may not gain an in-depth understanding of the Greek gods from this read, they still will have had a fun read that will keep their attention. MS - ESSENTIAL

Potato Joe by Keith Baker



Baker, Keith Potato Joe 34 p. Harcourt, Inc. PICTURE BOOK. This counting book in rhyme features potatoes with real personality. The illustrations are simple but expressive and flow with the text. The potatoes count up to ten then back down again with additional rhyming comments thrown in. Children will enjoy this book. Grades 1- 3 ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Debbie Herget, Elementary Library-Teacher

Monday, June 9, 2008

Maybelle in the Soup by Katie Speck


Speck, Katie. Maybelle in the Soup, Illustrated by Paul Ratz de Tagyos. 57 pgs. Henry Holt and Company, 2007.


Maybelle is a cockroach who lives with the Peabodys. She follows a set of rules like: “When it’s light, stay out of sight; if you’re spied, better hide; and, most important of all, never meet with human feet.” But just once she would like to take food before it hits the floor! When the Peabodys have the Snodgrasses over for dinner, Maybelle gets her chance. Unfortunately she falls into the turtle soup and is discovered. A romp ensues. Maybelle and her flea friend hatch a plan to avoid the exterminator and all works out in the end. This delightful chapter book will be enjoyed by all.

1-4 --- Essential. Reviewer: Susan huff, Area Library Media Specialist.

Keep Your Eye on the Kid by Catherine Brighton

Brighton, Catherine. Keep Your Eye on the Kid; The Early Years of Buster Keaton. Roaring Brook Press, 2008.

Buster Keaton was a star of the silent movie era known for his slapstick comic tumbles and falls and his straight face. This story recounts some of the adventures that Buster talked about, including being sucked out a window by a tornado and deposited on the sidewalk unharmed. The title refers to the fact that Buster started out in Vaudeville in an act where his father would throw him across the stage and yell, "Keep your eye on the kid." The illustrations evoke the turn of the century era but struggle to capture the Keaton stunts they illustrate. There is an author’s note on Buster Keaton at the end, which provides more information about the man. Kid’s today are so far removed from the idea of silent pictures, Vaudeville, and slapstick comedy, that some background may be called for so that the children can appreciate the story.
3-5 – Optional. Reviewer: Susan huff, Area Library Media Specialist.

Twenty Heartbeats by Dennis Haseley


Haseley, Dennis. Twenty Heartbeats, illustrated by Ed Young. Roaring Brook Press, 2008. Ed Young’s illustrations never let you down. They are so rich and convey a diversity of emotions. This story and the evocative pictures bring tears to the eyes. A man loves his horse so much that he hires the best painter in the country to draw his horse. The years pass and the picture is not produced. The horse and his master age, and finally the master goes to the painter in anger and demands his picture. The artist complies and sits and quickly draws the horse. The master is angry, but all is not as it seems. He soon discovers the secret behind the painting. This memorable book is a perfect combination of words and art.
Anyone – Essential. Reviewer: Susan huff, Area Library Media Specialist

Hogwash by Arthur Gelsert


Geisert, Arthur. Hogwash. Unpaged. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008.

Ever wonder how pigs get so muddy? Well it is no easy task. This wordless book shows us how it happens. Then it shows us exactly how they get all cleaned up! Any you won’t believe your eyes. The illustrations certainly tell the fun story. They are complex and speak a thousand words.
K-3 – Advisable. Reviewer: Susan Huff, Area Library Media Specialist.

Pearl Barley and Charley Parsley by Aaron Blabey


Blabey, Aaron. Pearl Barley and Charley Parsley. Unpaged. Front Street, 2007.

Pearl and Charley are different in every way. For instance, Pearl Barley likes to “run amok,” and Charley Parsley likes to “sit and think.” But they are best friends and comfort each other and cheer each other up. This book is sprinkled with humor that fits the fun illustrations. It will cheer anyone up and if it doesn’t, Pearl will “dance up a storm.”
K-2 – Essential. Reviewer: Susan Huff, Area Library Media Specialist.

Sam's New Friend by Thierry Robberecht


Robberecht, Thierry, Sam’s New Friend, illustrated by Philippe Goossens. Unpaged. Clarion Books, 2007.
Sam is tough and brave and he only likes playing with the boys. But his mom brings her friend’s daughter over for the evening and the night and Sam has to play with her and share his room with her. When she cries in the night, it is Sam who helps. Sam is still strong and brave, but he plays with his new friend, Ellie. Great illustrations. Several good topics for discussion like divorce, sharing, and playing with girls! The same message could be conveyed a little more subtly.
K-2 – Advisable, Reviewer: Susan Huff, Area Library Media Specialist.

Sam is Not a Loser by Thierry Robberecht


Robberecht, Thierry. Sam is Not a Loser, illustrated by Philippe Goossens. Unpaged. Clarion Books, 2008.
Sam likes to play but he doesn’t like to lose. Sometimes he throws fits when he loses. He likes to play games with grandma because he ALWAYS wins. He chooses to skip a soccer game because the other team is bigger and his team will probably lose. Grandma convinces him that if he doesn’t play, he doesn’t have a chance to win and he ends up playing. The illustrations are bold and bright with color, but the story seems preachy.
K-2 – Advisable, Reviewer: Susan Huff, Area Library Media Specialist.

Sovay by Celia Rees

Rees, Celia Sovay, pgs.416 Bloomsbury USA Children's Books. Language~PG-13, Sexual Content~PG-13; Violence~PG-13; Sovay is not your average young lady especially in 1783 England. In order to seek revenge against her former fiancé, Sovay dresses up as a highway man and begins to hold up carriages and travelers. The story segues into the more important battle going on in France. This is the time of the French revolution and Sovay’s brother and father are in France, and haven’t been heard from.
This book’s cover is extremely attractive, but that is the best part of the package. The story is disjointed and stagnant in spots. While this is a time of violence and darkness in Europe’s history, the presence of a of child prostitution Madame and one of the boys involved seems out of place in a book aimed at teens. This title is not one I will be recommending, even with its stunning cover. HS – NO. Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library