Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Easter Egg by Jan Brett


Brett, Jan Easter Egg 32 pages, Penguin Group (USA); Language~G, Sexual Content~G; Violence~G

It is almost Easter and the bunny rabbits are working to complete their eggs for the Easter Bunny to hide. Every year the rabbits worked hard to make the best, most beautiful egg. If the Easter Bunny chooses their egg then they get to help him hide eggs on Easter morning. This is Hoppi’s first year competing to win the coveted prize. He visits all his neighbors to observe them and get some ideas. Hoppi stops in the forest to think about what he will do when a bright blue robin’s egg falls from a tree into a nearby clump of moss. The egg is not damaged but there is no way to get the egg back up to the mother robin. Hopi decides that he must keep the egg warm until it hatches. He takes very good care of this egg. Time passes and he continues to care for the egg. Finally, it is the day the Easter Bunny will arrive. He comes in a magnificent carriage pulled by very plump hens. He looks over all the eggs. . .. has Hoppi missed out?. . . you will have to read the book to find out!

This is another delightful book from renowned author/artist Jan Brett. In traditional Brett artwork, the story is told framed in Springtime flora.


ELM ESSENTIAL Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Chalk by Bill Thomson


Thomson, Bill Chalk 40 pages, Marshall Cavendish Children's Books; Language~G, Sexual Content~G; Violence~G

On a rainy day a group of children come across a bag of chalk. One child decides to use it and draws a sun. Magically, the sun immediately appears. The children then realize that this is magic chalk. Each child takes a turn and their drawings come to life as well! This is fantastic until one child decides to draw a dinosaur with sharp teeth. All of a sudden the children are running for their lives across the playground. They duck into a cement tunnel to hide. How are they going to escape? One child takes the chalk and draws a rain cloud with raindrops. The rainstorm returns and washes away the scary dinosaur and all is well. This is a beautifully drawn wordless picture book. The cover is especially appealing.

ELM ADVISABLE Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Going Bovine by Libba Bray


Bray, Libba Going Bovine pgs. 480 Delacorte Books for Young Readers Language~R, Sexual Content~R; Violence~PG-13

Author Libba Bray has done a complete 180 in writing styles with her new book and Printz Award winner Going Bovine. Cameron is your less than average 16 year old trying to get through high school with as little effort as possible. Then he contracts the human equivalent to Mad Cow Disease, a fatal & incurable disease that causes the nerve cells in your brain to die. This is where the story goes from kind of weird to EXTREMELY weird. From his hospital bed, Cameron is visited by a beautiful punk angel. She promises him that there is a cure for his disease and that he must attempt to find it. Joined by Gonzo, a hypochondriac dwarf, Cameron embarks on the journey to save his life. Now is this story really happening or is it just one big hallucination? You will have to decide, but hold on. . . this story takes so many unexpected turns you will need a seatbelt!

This book contains graphic and coarse language. It also contains recreational drug use, sex, and underage drinking. I have told many of my teen readers that this is the funniest and weirdest book I have read in a long time, but that it is also the raunchiest book I have read in a VERY long time. This is not for middle schools and should only be housed in a high school if you are willing to defend it, because it will be found offensive.

PUBLIC ONLY –NO Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

Will You Still Love Me? by Carol Roth


Roth, Carol Will You Still Love Me?, 24 pages, Albert Whitman & Company; Language~G, Sexual Content~G; Violence~G

The news that a new baby will be arriving soon can bring up many questions in the mind of a child. Accompanied by adorable color illustrations, many different animal mothers are asked questions about what will happen when the new baby comes. Each child is then assured in loving words that they will still be loved when the new baby comes. The final child is a human child whose mother assures him that he too will be loved. . ."more than ever" when their baby comes. This is a sweet book that will charm any who pick it up.

ELM ADVISABLE Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

You and Me and Home Sweet Home by George Ella Lyon


Lyon, George Ella, You and Me and Home Sweet Home. Atheneum Books for Children. 2009. PICTURE BOOK. Down on their luck and living at the back of her aunt’s place with their clothing in sacks, a young girl and her mama dream of a place to call their home. But when some people from the local church offer to build them a home, their dreams become a reality.

A touching story about how much the gift of service can mean to someone. Readers will be forever changed by this heartwarming tale of service, friendship, and family. EL(1-2). ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, HUN Public Library

NO! by David McPhail


McPhail, David. No! Roaring Brook Press. 2009. While trying to deliver a letter, a young boy witnesses acts of war. When he learns to say no to a bully, he realizes how much power one person can have. The illustrations in this book are wonderful. There is only one word in the whole book, but it comes at a very powerful point in the book. The author has done a great job of illustrating his point in this empowering and touching story. PreK/EL(PreK-1). ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, HUN Public Library.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pink Me Up by Charise Mericle Harper


Harper, Charise Mericle Pink Me Up, 40 pages, Knopf Books for Young Readers; Language~G, Sexual Content~G; Violence~G

The invitation has been on the fridge for months and the day of the Pink Girls Pink-nic has finally arrived. But when mom wakes up she is too sick to go. What will happen now? Fortunately, Dad steps in. But can Dads wear pink? Of course! Dads look smashing when they are pinked-up by their daughters! This is a delightful story that takes the idea that pink is only for girls and turns it on its head.

ELM ADVISABLE Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Sit-in: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sittitng Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney


Pinkney, Andrea Davis Sit-in: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sittitng Down, 40 pages, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Language~G, Sexual Content~G; Violence~G

In 1960 four students sat down at the counter of Woolworth’s and started a revolution. Taking Dr. Martin Luther King’s words of peace and non-violence to heart, these teens sat at the “WHITES ONLY” counter and waited, and waited, and were ignored until the store owner closed early as a way to get them to stop.

This act of non-violent demonstration kick-started a movement that spread to counters across America. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of this event, renown author/illustrator team Andrea Davis and Brian Pinkney have given readers a beautiful and moving story about this event in history. In addition, included in the back matter is a Civil Rights timeline and a brief authors note about the history behind this book. This is one that should not be missed by any age group!


ELM/MS/HS ESSENTIAL Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Muddy As A Duck Puddle and other American similies by Laurie Lawlor


Lawlor, Laurie Muddy As A Duck Puddle and other American similies, 32 pages, Holiday House; Language~G, Sexual Content~G; Violence~G

Do you remember the definition of a simile? For those who don’t remember here is a basic definition: “a figure of speech that compares two different things, actions, descriptions, or feelings. Most similes are introduced by as or like.”(definition provided by Muddy As A Duck Puddle)


This book takes the reader through an alphabet of similes. Some are familiar and others are confusing. However, even if you don’t quite get the simile, the wonderful illustrations by Ethan Long help you to understand what is being compared. This book will be an excellent tool for anyone teaching similes, but I don’t see it gaining wide appeal among your average reader.


ELM OPTIONAL Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Otis by Loren Long


Long, Loren, Otis. Philomel Books. 2009. PICTURE BOOK. Otis loves being a tractor, but most of all he likes being needed by his farmer. When a bigger, seemingly better tractor comes to the farm, however, Otis feels like he’s no longer needed until one day his baby calf friend gets stuck in the mud. The new, big tractor scares the young calf and no one can get it out of the mud, Otis must put the calf first and find a way to save it. A touching story about remembering that everyone is unique and helpful in their own way. A great read-aloud for young children. Pre-K/EL (PreK-1) ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira M, HUN Public Library.

Princess' Blankets by Carol Ann Duffy


Duffy, Carol Ann. The Princess' Blankets. Templar, 2008. Once upon a time there was a princess who was always cold. Her parents called far and wide for anyone who could help. One night, a seemingly cruel man shows up and says he can cure the princess. His price: the girl’s hand in marriage. The princess tries to fool him by comparing herself to different natural landmarks that are part of the earth (i.e. mountains, oceans, earth). Soon it is discovered that all of these landmarks have disappeared across the land. Will someone find a way to make the princess warm and stop the evil stranger? This book is beautifully illustrated and the text is characteristic of a well-done fairy tale. This book would probably make a good read aloud or stand alone book for anyone who likes princesses, romance, and fairy tales, but isn't as good as other fairy tales that have been written. Would recommend if you have some extra funds for fairy tales. EL(K-3). OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, HUN Public Library

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Insect Detective by Steve Voake

Voake, Steve. Insect Detective, illustrated by Charlotte Voake. Candlewick Press, 2010. $16.99. PICTURE BOOK. How can you tell if a bug is an insect? All insects have six legs. This book is a brief introduction to the world of insects discussing their social life, what they eat, where they live, and how they are born. There is a main narrative in a large font, as well as factual tidbits in smaller fonts. The last two pages give ideas on bug finding projects and an index. The pen and watercolor illustrations have a subdued palette. EL –ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

The Bicklebys' Birdbath by Andrew Perry

Perry, Andrea. The Bicklebys’ Birdbath, illustrated by Roberta Angaramo. Atheneum, 2010. $16.99. PICTURE BOOK. A book about a chain reaction told backwards. A mailman fell into the birdbath because he was chased by a goose, which was frightened by a moose, which was stung by a bee, who was sneezed on by a boy, who had a runny nose from the freshly mowed grass. Luckily, the mailman brought a new birdbath for the Bickleby’s. A great book to read aloud. The acrylic illustrations are expressive and colorful. EL– ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Miss Brooks Loves Books! (And I Don't) by Barbara Bottner

Bottner, Barbara. Miss Brooks Loves Books! (And I Don’t), illustrated by Michael Emberley. Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. $17.99. PICTURE BOOK. Miss Brooks the librarian loves book and wears costumes while she reads them to the class. A young girl doesn’t like books. No matter how hard Miss Brooks tries to get the girl interested in different subjects. For Book Week, each child must share a book that they love and wear a costume. The young girl tells her mom that they need to move. Her mom responds that “there’s a librarian in every town.” Miss Brooks loads the girl’s backpack up with books. The girl finally finds a book she is interested in, Shrek. She loves ogres that have warts and snort. The book explains that everyone can find something that interests them at the library. The pencil and watercolor illustrations are bright and playful against a plain white background. A book that librarian’s will love and kids should enjoy. EL–ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

The 13th Reality: The Hunt for the Dark Infinity by James Dashner

Dashner, James. The 13th Reality: The Hunt for the Dark Infinity, 504 pgs. Aladdin, 2009. $7.99. Sexual Content-G; Language-G; Violence-PG. The second book in The 13th Reality series, Atticus Higginbottom and his two friends and fellow realitants Sofia and Paul, have waited all summer long for a summoning from Master George. Finally, they receive a message and a short movie that explains that there has been a plague of insanity throughout the realities. The three friends go to a grave yard so that they can be “winked” to the meeting place, but there they are accosted by Tick’s science teacher Mr. Chu who puts something on the wrists. The three young teens are winked to another reality where they are given a series of clues that their very lives depend on. Meanwhile Mistress Jane is given a new barrier wand and message by Reginald Chu…kill Atticus Higginbottom. Fans of Harry Potter will adore this fast paced adventure series. EL/MS–ESSENTIAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Roland Wright: Future Knight by Tony Davis




Davis, Tony, Roland Wright: Future Knight. Delacorte Press, 2007. Language: G, Violence: G, Sexual Contents: G.


Roland Wright is the youngest son of the best armorer in the kingdom, but has always wanted to be a knight. When the king’s messenger comes to town and tells the village that Wright Armor saved the king’s life, he tells Roland’s father that , as a show of gratitude, one of the Wright sons will be taken on as a page, which is only a few steps away from being a knight. To be fair, Roland’s father sets up a series of test to decide which son will be the armorer and which will be a page. After visiting the village lord and knight, Sir Gallawood, Roland decides to act chivalrous, kind, knightly, and true to himself no matter what happens at the tests or what his father decides. How can Roland be all those things, however, when his older brother, Shelby doesn’t play by the rules? Will Roland achieve his dream of being a knight?
A slightly humorous, unique story with well-thought out characters and an important lesson for any who read it. Readers will be happy when Roland does good, will feel bad for him when he lose, and will relate well with the character, especially if they are a younger sibling. Readers who like castles, knights, middle ages, and fantasy will enjoy this book. EL(2 to 3). ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira, Youth Services Librarian, HUN Public Library.

Mouse and Mole: Fine Feathered Friends by Wong Herbert Yee

Yee, Wong Herbert Mouse and Mole: Fine Feathered Friends 48 pgs. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2009. EARLY READER. $15.00. Mouse and Mole are a delight to read about! In this new adventure of theirs, Spring is just arriving and they decide to go bird watching. They set out with their sketch pad and crayons, ready to draw away! They soon realize that birds are harder to watch than you think! With no luck of sketching any birds, they devise a new plan....they will dress like birds because birds aren't scared of birds! Readers will be enthralled as they watch the transformation of Mouse and Mole into fine feathered friends! The illustrations are fabulous and the detailed text is perfect for those early readers. EL-ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thank Goodness for Friends!

Long time readers of this blog know that I rarely add anything personal to this blog - it is all about the books for me. But, I have been pretty silent for awhile, personally, so I thought I would apologize and let you know what is up.

If you have ever followed the "Reviews Master List" link, you may have noticed that the look has changed dramatically . Just before CHristmas I switched from a PC to a Mac. Since the website software I used originally was from dinosaur days (Claris HomePage, anyone), I thought it was time I tried something new. I never loved the look of that site anyway! So, I have been learning a new computer, learning new software and trying to update a HUGE site - we're talking more than 2000 non-blog reviews that need to be moved and linked, plus all of the documents and such. I am only up to the "G" reviews - still lots of work to do.

Now I am the throes of a school-wide service project - and then I jump right into Student Body Officer elections (not just a librarian - also nurturing those wild 7, 8, 9th graders!). SO - I am just making a whole bunch of excuses about why i have read lots of books and not written any reviews. I will do it! I promise. Spring Break is approaching.

Thank goodness for my student reviewers and my fearless co-reviewers - we are still publishing new reviews for you. SO - please forgive me, personally - I will overload you soon!

--CINDY

Rose's Garden by Peter H. Reynolds


Reynolds, Peter H. Rose's Garden 34 pgs. Candlewick Press, 2009. PICTURE BOOK. $15.99. This is a beautiful book with exquisite illustrations. Rose travels in her teapot all around the world, gathering seeds from each place she visits. When her teapot is brimming with seeds, she decides it is time to find somewhere to plant them. She stops at a city and finds a plot of land that looks like it needs some color and life. She plants her seeds and waits....and waits....and waits.... People from all around hear about this girl with so much faith in her little seeds to grow. They bring her paper flowers to keep her little seeds company. Eventually the tiny seeds she planted are in full bloom amidst the array of paper flowers that are already there. Everyone gets to enjoy their beauty!
As mentioned, the illustrations are incredible. They start in black and white and the first splash of color is seen when the first girl gives Rose a paper flower. After that the pages fill with color as more people donate flowers for Rose's garden. This is a sweet story about working together to make create something and to make something beautiful. Everyone was willing to help out and Rose was willing to share the fruits of her labors with everyone around. Good connections to service and working together. EL-ADVISABLE. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Martha Says It with Flowers by Susan Meddaugh

Meddaugh, Susan Martha Says It with Flowers 27 pgs. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010. PICTURE BOOK. $12.99. Martha, the talking dog, wants to do something to make up for the fact that she ruined grandma Lucille's favorite hat. Luckily, grandma's birthday is coming up so Martha decides to get grandma a present...the trouble is finding the right one! After going through a muddy birthday card, a half-eaten apple with a worm in it, and bacon, Martha is just about ready to give up on finding the perfect present. Then she realizes what the perfect present would be...flowers! Everything is ready for the big day, but after a series of events throws the perfect plan out of order everything seems to be going suddenly wrong. In the end, things turn out all right as grandma realizes that not everyone is so lucky to have such a considerate dog!
I've never seen this show on PBS, but I thought that the book was cute and liked the premise of the Martha Speaks series. Along with the bright illustrations, kids will love the silly things Martha does! EL-ADVISABLE. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pantaloon by Kathryn Jackson

Jackson, Kathryn. Pantaloon, illustrated by Steven Salerno. A Golden Book, 2010. $17.99. PICTURE BOOK. Pantaloon the poodle loves the bakery. One day he sees a “Help Wanted” sign and offers his assistance. The baker declines his help because he thinks poodle likes to eat more than bake. Pantaloon dresses up as an old lady, but is caught out. The baker goes for more sugar and trips over Pantaloon’s bike. Pantaloon helps the battered baker to his bed and finishes all of his baking and deliveries. Customers clamored for Pantaloon so the baker had to come up with a plan to bring Pantaloon back. The story was originally published in 1951, but has been re-released with new tasty illustrations that look good enough to eat. EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.


Paris in the Spring with Picasso by Joan Yolleck

Yolleck, Joan. Paris in the Spring with Picasso, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman. Schwartz & Wade Books, 2010. $17.99. PICTURE BOOK. The author imagines a day in Paris with notable nineteenth century authors, poets, and painters. Guillaume Apollinaire strolls in the avenues and gets the idea for a poem. Max Jacob’s sleeps late because he was up late writing. Pablo Picasso paints Two Nudes. They all come together that night for dinner and a soiree at Gertrude Stein’s. The end of the book includes a paragraph biography of each person. The story is disjointed and hard to follow. Several characters, many places, and occasional French phrases with only the soiree that night tying them all together. The illustrations by Marjorie Priceman are brightly colored and reminiscent of Modern Artists like Picasso. EL – OPTIONAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.


We Planted a Tree by Diane Muldrow

Muldrow, Diane. We Planted a Tree, illustrated by Bob Staake. A Golden Book, 2010. $17.99. PICTURE BOOK. A beautiful concept story about the difference you can make by planting just one tree.
People and trees all over the world are illustrated with vibrant and colorful cartoon illustrations. The story highlights how trees grow and change during different seasons and the benefits the earth receives from trees. The text also highlights how humans have cleaner air, better soil and food from trees. EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.


Tummies! by Sarah Albee

Albee, Sarah. Tummies! illustrated by Christopher Moroney. Random House, 2010. $5.99. BOARD BOOK. Targeted for tot’s ages 6 months to 12 months, this charming book about tummies is sure to tickle their fancy. Baby versions of Sesame Street characters talk about the different things that tummies do like grumbling and tickling. The last page includes a furry touchable tummy. PreK – ESSENTIAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.


Jamaica Is Thankful by Juanita Havill


Havill, Juanita Jamaica Is Thankful illustrated by Anne Sibley O'Brien, 32 pgs. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2009. PICTURE BOOK. $16.00. Jamaica's friend Kristin brings over a surprise in a red box....a kitten! Jamaica thinks little Puffy is the best thing ever, but she is worried she can't keep the kitten because her brother, Ossie, is allergic to dogs and cats. She keeps Puffy in the red box in her closet until she can ask her parents if she can keep her. She doesn't get a chance to ask though before Ossie starts sneezing and rubbing his eyes. Oh no!! Jamaica is sad she can't keep Puffy, but she realizes she has other things to be thankful for! Not my favorite book ever. The story line just didn't connect for me. Kids who like animals might take an interest in it. The illustrations using watercolor and pastel are great. EL-OPTIONAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Have You Ever Seen a Stork Build a Log Cabin? by Etta Kaner

Kaner, Etta Have You Ever Seen a Stork Build a Log Cabin? illustrated by Jeff Szuc, 32 pgs. Kids Can Press, 2010. NON-FICTION. $14.95. What a fascinating book! I like this "Have You Ever Seen" series! This book is filled with fun, unique, and interesting facts about how animals build their homes. Some of the animals talked about include: a stork, a hornet, a mouse, a crawfish, a polar bear, a fish, and a termite. The illustrations make this a fun and eye-catching book. This can be just a fun book to read, but kids will simultaneously be building their knowledge of animals habitats. It would be a great book to use as part of an introductory lesson to animal habitations. EL-ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hailstones and Halibut Bones by Mary O'Neill

O' Neill, Mary Hailstones and Halibut Bones illustrated by John Wallner, 60 pgs. Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 2009. NON-FICTION. $16.99. This is a wonderful and vibrant book depicting, through poetry, 12 basic colors. It was first printed in 1961, but has been reprinted over and over since then. And it is no wonder why. The author takes us through these colors that we see everyday, but she helps us better recognize that "each has a taste, and each has a smell, and each has a wonderful story to tell..." I loved the simple but descriptive poetry and found myself changing what I thought my favorite color was based on each colors description. Accompanying the poetry are rich drawings that heighten the emotion felt with each poem. This would be a wonderful book to use for a poetry lesson or even a lesson on colors. EL/MS-ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Thirteenth Reality: The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner


Dashner, James. The Thirteenth Reality: The Journal of Curious Letters,
492 pgs. Aladdin, 2009. $7.99. Sexual Content-G; Language-G; Violence-PG. Atticus Higginbottom (called Tick) doesn’t have any friends except his science teacher Mr. Chu. He is picked on at school by Billy “the goat.” One day he receives a mysterious letter postmarked from Alaska and signed by a “M.G.” Tick has the choice to burn the letter or to receive 12 clues that could change the course of reality. Tick and his dad travel to Alaska and learn the names of Master George and the evil Mistress Jane. Tick also receives another clue and meets Sofia, who is a tough Italian pre-teen who is also receiving the letters. Eventually four young teens are whisked through the realities and meet Master George and are given their first task. Harry Potter and Percy Jackson fans will be delighted with Tick and the Realitants. A new exciting science fiction series that will fly off your shelves. EL – ESSENTIAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.

A Good Night for Ghosts by Mary Pope Osborne

Osborne, Mary Pope. A Good Night for Ghosts, 112 pgs. Random House, 2009. $11.99. Sexual Content-G; Language-G; Violence-G. In #42 of the Magic Treehouse Series, Jack and Annie visit New Orleans in 1915 to help encourage the young teen Louis Armstrong to follow his musical abilities. They arrive on the eve of All Saints’ Day and learn that New Orleans is haunted. They find Louis who is called Dipper. They try to talk to him about music, but he is too busy working to help support his family. Jack and Annie help Dipper do odd jobs all day long. That night they visit Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop where they are surrounded by pirate ghosts. They play jazz music to calm the ghosts and get rid of them. After they show Dipper a music history book and tell him how he will become the King of Jazz. Dipper decides to make time in his life for music. Magic Treehouse fans will be jazzed about this new adventure and learn a little history too. EL – ESSENTIAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.


The Pickle King by Rebecca Promitzer

Promitzer, Rebecca. The Pickle King, 416 pgs. Chicken House (Scholastic), 2010. $17.99 Sexual Content-G; Language-G; Violence-PG-13. Bea’s dad is dead and her mom is insane. She lives with her mom’s friend Bertha in Elbow—a place where it rains all summer. Most kids leave during the summer, but the ones who stay end up on a list called Summer Club. They are supposed to do things together and report about it when they get back to school. Bea and her best friend Sam rename the club the “Raintown Convicts.” One day her friend Sam tells her to bring her camera. He takes her to see a dead body. She takes pictures of the body that is missing an eyeball. Bea and Sam meet and initiate the other three Raintown Convicts, namely: wealthy Madison, not-so-inventive Eric, and friendly Butterfly. For Butterfly’s initiation she has to open the purse that Sam’s dog Jellybean stole from a violent man named Mr. Jeeks. She finds human intestines inside. They think the intestines are from the man whose body Sam and Bea saw. They decide to solve the mystery of his murder; little do they know that their very lives are on the line. A good mystery that is definitely gruesome. EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.


Every Bone Tells a Story by Jill Rubalcaba


Rubalcaba, Jill & Robertshaw, Peter Every Bone Tells a Story, 185. Charlesbridge, 2010. Language- G(0 swears, 0 “f”) Sexual Content- G; Violence- G; Turkana Boy, Lapedo Child, Kennewick Man, & Iceman, 4 archaeological finds, are described in full detail, along with the stories of their discoveries, debates on evolution inspired by them, & how they died. I thought this book was very interesting & informative, the stories captivating, and the dialogue well-written. MS-HS-ESSENTIAL. A.W.

One Wish by Leigh Brescia


Brescia, Leigh One Wish, 311 pgs. WestSide Books,2009. Language - PG (2 swears, 0"f"), Sexual Content - PG; Violence - PG; Wrenn wants only one thing: to be pretty and popular. Wrenn though, is an overweight nobody at school only has her one friend Zoe. When Zoe convinces Wrenn to try out for the school musical Grease, will Wrenn get sucked into the popular crowd like she's always wanted? I really enjoyed this book because it's fun, exciting, and always has something going on. With the drama Wrenn gets on stage, at home, and with her new friends there is never a boring moment. MS - ADVISABLE. Reviewer: CCH.

To Come And Go Like Magic by Katie Fawcett


Fawcett, Katie Pickard To Come And Go Like Magic, 261 pgs. Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. Language - G, Sexual Content - PG; Violence - G; Chili wants nothing but to get out of her small town and explore. Especially when their house gets over crowed. But will this goal ever be accomplished? In this book Chili mostly recalls memories and experiences she's had in her small town. I didn't find it very interesting because the memories weren't very exciting and I was expecting more action than it had. EL, MS - OPTIONAL. Reviewer: CCH

Surf Mules by G. Neri


Neri, G. Surf Mules, 270 pgs. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2009. Language PG-13 (27+ swears, 9+ "f" in the first 20 pages), Sexual Content G; Violence PG; I read the first two chapters of this book, found the swear words and decided I didn't want to put up with 250 more pages of swearing like the first 20. NO. Reviewer: CCH

Legends of the Shadow World by Jane Johnson


Johnson, Jane Legends of the Shadow World
, 1111 pgs. Simon & Schuster, 2005. Language - PG (8 swears, 0"f"), Sexual Content - G; Violence - PG;n Ben has his heart on buying two fish from the pet store and has saved all his money for weeks to get them. When he finally goes to buy them, he gets a talking cat named Iggy instead. With his new pet he discovers a whole new world of unicorns, fairies, selkies, dragons, centaurs, and many more. And not only that, but he is part of a prophesy and needs to save this new world. I always enjoy reading books with mythical creatures in them, and this one is now one of my favorites. I love reading adventures and how the heros get themselves in and out of tight situations. I also really like the personalities that add so much to the story, like Iggy and Ellie that make it all the more interesting. EL, MS - ADVISABLE. Reviewer: CCH

The Comeback by Marlene Perez


Perez, Marlene The Comeback, 193 pgs. Point, 2009. Language PG-13 (27 swears, 0 "f"), Sexual Content PG-13; Violence PG; Sophie is Miss Popularity with the school musical leads and a hot boyfriend. But this all changes when Angie transfers schools, gets the lead in the new play, snags Sophie's boyfriend, and thus takes Sophie's spot in school. Now Sophie is all but ignored at school with only a couple loyal friends and is desperate to be back on top. What will Sophie do to back where she was? Or, better yet, what will Sophie not do to get back up? I really liked the storyline for this book and the enjoyed every up and down the book took. I got swept up by every word and the powerful personality that defines Sophie. I also liked the story's fitting ending. MS - ADVISABLE. Reviewer: CCH

Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles


Elkeles, Simone Rules of Attraction, 302 pgs. Walker, 2010. Language - PG-13 (39+ swears, 5+ "f" in the first 46 pages), Sexual Content - PG-13; Violence PG; Carlos doesn't want rules to follow or any other restraints on life. He wants to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. So, when he gets shipped off from his house in Mexico to live with his brother in Colorado, life for him changes drastically. I read the first 46 pages and decided that I didn't want to put up with 256 more pages of Carlos' swearing or any more sexual content that was revealed in the first few chapters. MS, HS - NO. Reviewer: CCH

Camille McPhee Fell Under the Bus by Kristen Tracy


Tracy, Kristen Camille McPhee Fell Under the Bus, 293. Delacorte Press, 2009. Language- G (0 swears, 0 “f”) Sexual Content- G; Violence- G; Camille McPhee’s life is classified in the “unfair” category; with her parents fighting, her cat missing, being made fun of due to a larger-than-normal-sized head and having fallen under the bus, and having her friend move to Japan and not give her any letters, Camille still tries to see the bright side of things. I really enjoyed reading this book. The various messages it gave were fantastic, and the book was well-written to fit the personality of a fourth-grader and to glimpse some of life’s hard problems. EL-MS - ADVISABLE. A.W.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mattoo, Let's Play! by Irene Luxbacher

Luxbacher, Irene Mattoo, Let's Play! Kids Can Press, 2010. 32 pg. PICTURE BOOK. $16.95. Boisterous Ruby loves to play with her cat, but her cat is just so shy...or at least that is what she thinks, but the pictures tell a different story! It looks like Ruby just might play a little too rough with her shy cat. But that all changes when one day Ruby and her friend Clemente go on a safari in Ruby's bedroom. Who is that mysterious, fierce, spotted creature in the jungle?! I absolutely love the illustrations in this book. The majority of pages are black and white with a few color accents. The contrast of light and dark is amazing and it just makes the color really pop! EL-ADVISABLE. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Willow's Whispers by Lana Button

Button, Lana Willow's Whispers illustrated by Tania Howells 32 pg. Kids Can Press, 2010. PICTURE BOOK. $16.95. This is a sweet story about a little girl named Willow whose voice is never louder than a whisper. Because no one can hear what she is saying, she never gets what she asks for at school. After her dad gives her some encouraging words at night, she comes up with a plan....a MAGIC MICROPHONE! She tries it out the next day and it works! Everyone can hear Willow so she gets apple juice instead of orange juice; she gets to be the line leader finally! But all of her excitement at being heard comes crashing down when her microphone breaks....can Willow still find it in her to be heard?? The illustrations weren't my favorite. They are very simple and basic, but still add color and detail to the story. I did love how the fonts and the size of the words made you feel as if you could actually hear what was going on in the story. Everytime Willow spoke, the text would be very small, but when she used her magic microphone, it was big. The book also makes me wonder if the quiet, shy kids at school are really trying to be heard?! EL-ESSENTIAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

All Around the Seasons by Barney Saltzberg

Saltzberg, Barney All Around the Seasons 26 pg. Candlewick Press, 2010. PICTURE BOOK. $12.00. Beginning with Spring and ending in Winter, this book highlights each of the seasons. It identifies through rhymes what one might expect to find in each season. For example, "Spring. Chicks are hatching; cool melting snow. Digging a garden, seeds in a row." The illustrations are colorful and detailed. This is an easy-read book that would be a fun introduction to learning about each season. EL-ADVISABLE. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Happy Belly, Happy Smile by Rachel Isadora

Isadora, Rachel Happy Belly, Happy Smile 32 pg. Harcourt Children's Books, 2009. PICTURE BOOK. $16.00. Louie gets to visit his grandpa's Chinese restaurant every Friday night to enjoy all of the hustle and bustle. He looks forward to it each week and watches as the chef's prepare all sorts of Chinese culinary treats. The eye-catching illustrations are created using a blend of collage and oil painting. Using both text and illustrations, students will learn more about Asian dishes as well as cultural symbols. EL-ADVISABLE. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

Brenda Berman, Wedding Expert by Jane Breskin Zalben

Zalben, Jane Breskin Brenda Berman, Wedding Expert illustrated by Victoria Chess 48 pg. Clarion Books, 2009. FICTION. Language-G; Sexual Content-G; Violence-G. $16.00.

What girl doesn't dream about the perfect wedding?! Well Brenda has dreamt of being the perfect bridesmaid since she was 5 years old, and she knows exactly what she wants. But it doesn't turn out the way she had planned when her favorite uncle Henry announces that he is getting married. Everything is completely wrong from the bride, to the bridesmaid dresses, to the niece of the bride-to-be. It isn't until it is all over that Brenda realizes that things don't always go as planned, but they can still turn out pretty great!

EL-OPTIONAL. Whitney, Library-Teacher.

A Taste for Red by Lewis Harris



Harris, Lewis A Taste for Red, 169, Victor Rivas, 2009, Language: G, (no swears, no "F") Violence: PG, sexual content: G.  

Svetlana is a vampire, but not the type you expect. She sleeps under her bed, (coffins are like, soo last century!) and eats only red foods. As far as she knows, there's been no urge to drink blood so that's a myth too. Soon she finds that she's not alone. Is her science teacher a vampire too? She certainly seems like one. Soon, strange accidents start happening, and a group of girls go missing from Svetlana's school. Is Ms. Larch behind all of this? Read the book and find out! 

I enjoyed this book, even though I couldn't sympathize with the main charactor. (She hates chocolate!) It wasn't exactly as scary as I had expected, so that may have influenced my decision. 

EL, MS - ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: BT

Devoured by Amanda Marrone


Marrone, Amanda Devoured, 287pgs. Simon Pulse, 2009. $9.99. Language- R(89 swears 2 "f"s) Sexual Content- PG-13, Violence- PG-13. Megan has been haunted by her twin sister, Remy ever since the car accident when she was seven. One day Remy showed Megan a vision of a girl dressed in an old-fashioned snow white outfit with a huge hole in her chest. This scared Megan because she was trying out for the Snow White role in "The Land of Enchantment" theme park. Luckily Megan meets Luke who might be able to help her because he also can see Remy. Soon Remy gets crazy violent and murder mysteries are left unsolved. I loved this scary book with a great twist at the end. It kept me turning the pages wondering what was going to happen next. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a thrill but can handle violence. HS – ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: AS

C’mere Boy by Sharon Jennings


Jennings, Sharon C’mere Boy, illustrated by Ashley Spires. Kids Can Press, 2010. $16.95. PICTURE BOOK. This book puts a spin on the traditional relationship between a boy and a dog because in it Dog sets off to find a boy. However, Dog’s mother asks Dog who would take care of the boy. Nevertheless, Dog decides to search for his boy and the book tells of that quest. Spires’s illustrations are fun to look at and the text is clever and interesting. Re-imagining the relationship between owner and pet could easily inspire readers to re-imagine other aspects of life that they take for granted. The book allows for discussions about “outside the box” thinking. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Brent Smith, Reading Teacher.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Emma Chichester CLark


Chichester Clark, Emma Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Candlewick Press, 2009. $14.99. PICTURE BOOK. This book is a straight-forward retelling of the classic story, where three bears go out for a walk and Goldilocks enters their house to explore. The illustrations are excellent and the author adds description and dialogue that is not in the traditional story. And while these additions add some humor to the story, they also cause the book to seem long at times and the use of the word “stupid” might not be appropriate for especially young readers. Older readers can learn new words because Clark uses excellent word choice that can improve vocabulary. EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Brent Smith, Reading Teacher.

Waiting to Score by J.E. MacLeod


MacLeod, J.E. Waiting to Score. 198 pgs. WestSide Books, 2009. Language - R (110 swears, 0 "f"), Sexual Content - R; Violence - PG; Zach is new in town and plays hockey. After he tries out for the local hockey team he sees Jane at the arena and falls for her. The problem is that she doesn't like hockey players. It started out as a good book, but I had a hard time reading it after page 43 because of the sexual content. I forced myself to finish it, but am ashamed that I ever picked it up and put the sexual content into my head. HS - NO. Reviewer: CCH

Grk Smells a Rat by Joshua Doder



Doder, Joshua Grk Smells a Rat, 202 pgs. Delacorte Press, 2008. Language - G, Sexual Content - G; Violence - G; 

Tim and his family are in India for a tennis competition. When Tim, Grk, Natascha, and Mr. and Mrs. Malt go to see Taj Mahal, Natascha buys Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from a boy on the train, named Krishnan. She soon finds out that it's not a real copy. When Tim and Grk follow Krishnan to get her money back they find a secret hideout across the train tracks. There they find Krishnan with 18 other boys. Tim and Grk find out that these kids are enslaved in the Blue Rat Gang and that Krishnan needs help rescuing his sister from forced labor. I thought this was an alright book, but I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone in 8th grade or above. 

EL - OPTIONAL. Reviewer: CCH

The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart by Jesse Bullington


Bullington, Jesse The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart, 425 pgs. Orbit, 2009. Language - PG-13 (48 swears, 16 "f"), Sexual Content - PG; Violence - PG; Hegel and Manfried are sons of an infamous robber. Hegel and Manfried are the worst of the worst and when they decide to go into the "family business" they start off by settling a score with Heinrich. They kill his family, burn down his house, and take supplies, they leave him tied up on the ground and go on into the forest. Heinrich is found latter by some village people and they pursue the brothers to get rid of them forever. I didn't really enjoy reading this book; it was too boring. It didn't catch my interest so I spent the whole time reading the words and falling asleep but not getting anything out of it. MS, HS - OPTIONAL. Reviewer: CCH


Friday, March 12, 2010

King of the ScrewUps by K.L. Going


Going, K.L. King of the ScrewUps Harcourt 2009, 310 pgs. Language-Pg13 (31 swears 5 "f") Sexual Content-PG13. Liam has always been a screw up. Or at least is father says so. When Liam messes up one too many times his father tries to ship him off to his grandparents house. Liam, not wanting to go, calls his Aunt Pete and ends up staying with him. His ultimate goal? Be unpopular. I loved this book. There were some crude parts but over all it was amazing. It was well written and had a jolly sense of humor. I'd have to say my favorite was how the emotional parts are so very well written. MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: CRH