Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett--OPTIONAL

Pratchett, Terry. I Shall Wear Midnight, 368 pgs. Harper Collins, 2010. $16.99. Sexual Content: PG; Language: PG (20+ swears, mostly a repeated phrase on a couple pages); Violence: PG-13 (abuse). The last book in the Tiffany Aching series is darker than previous books. Tiffany is a witch and that means a lot of unpaid work. Tiffany is tired from constantly helping people and taking away their pain including an abused daughter and the old baron. Despite all of her hard work, people aren’t comfortable around her. Falsehoods and rumors circulate about her. When the baron dies, Tiffany is accused of stealing money. Tiffany must find out whom or what is causing the mischief. Tiffany will face her greatest adversary yet, a cunning spirit from centuries past. Terry Pratchett’s quirky writing style with footnotes and off-the-wall characters will definitely appeal to his fans. Purchase if the series is popular at your library. MS/HS – OPTIONAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.

The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill S. Alexander--ESSENTIAL

Alexander, Jill S. The Sweetheart of Prosper County, 212 pgs. Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan), 2009. $16.99. Sexual Content: PG; Language: G (2 swears); Violence: G. Austin Gray is determined to be a hood ornament in the No-Jesus Christmas Parade. Once she’s in the parade she’ll be somebody, not just little Austin Gray whose daddy died or the butt of Dean Ottmer’s jokes. Austin decides to be the Future Farmers of America sweetheart and that means keeping livestock and winning blue ribbons. Her mom buys her a chicken for Christmas and she names Charles Dickens. She takes care of her chicken, joins the FFA, and even goes grappling, but will it be enough to become a beauty queen? Author Jill S. Alexander creates well-rounded characters that you’ll love and others who you’ll hate. The novel themes are universal and will appeal to teen girls who are figuring out who they are and what they want to be (even if they aren’t hood ornaments). MS/HS – ESSENTIAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pocket Cats by Kitty Wells-ADVISABLE

Pocket Cats: Paw PowerWells, Kitty, Pocket Cats. Random House Books, 2010. Language: G, Violence: G, Sexual Content: G

Maddy has always wanted a cat, but her brother, Joshua is allergic to them. When she goes to an antique market, she finds three ceramic cats that catch her eye. When she gets them home, however, they come to life. The leader, Greykin, reveals that they have been sent to help Maddy with her school bully problem. Will Maddy find the courage to confront her school bully problems? Will Maddy be able to keep the cats or will they have to leave once she solves her problem?

A cute, fun read for cat fans. The characters are fairly well-developed for an early chapter book. The plot does a good job of holding the reader’s interest. Readers who like cats, realistic fiction, and school stories will enjoy reading this book. EL (K-3). ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.

The Newsy News Newsletter by Karen English-OPTIONAL

Nikki and Deja: The Newsy News Newsletter
English, Karen, The Newsy News Newsletter. Clarion Books, 2010. Language: G, Violence: G, Sexual Content: G

While walking home from school, Nikki and Deja come up with the brilliant idea to start their own neighborhood newsletter. The first newsletter goes great and they’re able to sell quite a few of them to their neighbors. When it comes time to write their second one, however, the two are having trouble coming up with stories. With more questions than stories to write, can Nikki and Deja find a way to be able to write their second issue?

The text is simple and almost too young for the age for whom it is written. The characters, however, are cute and fun to read about and the story idea will appeal to kids who’ve always wanted to find a way to make money. Readers who like realistic fiction, friendship, and school fiction may enjoy reading this book. EL (K-3). OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.

Dragon of Trelian by Michelle Knudsen-ADVISABLE

The Dragon of TrelianKnudsen, Michelle, Dragon of Trelian. Candlewick Press, 2009. Pgs. 407. Language: G, Violence: PG, Sexual Content: G

Calen is an apprentice mage, but he’s not very skilled at magic. While hiding from his strict master, he meets Meg, a princess who is hiding in order to catch a peek of her sister’s fiancĂ©, an enemy prince, as he’s arriving at the castle. She also has a secret. She has found an orphaned dragon who is beginning to be able to enter her mind. Confused and not sure what to do, she turns to Calen. They soon discover that there is an deadly plot to kill Meg’s sister on the eve of her wedding, thus starting back up the hundred year war. Will the trio be able to combine and master their magic in time to stop the deadly plot?

A fun, fantasy adventure for dragon fans. The characters are entertaining. The plot starts off a little slow, but keeps the intrigue, adventure, and mystery high. Readers who like fantasy, dragons, and adventure will enjoy reading this book. EL (4-6), MS. ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.

Scumble by Ingrid Law-ESSENTIAL

ScumbleLaw, Ingrid, Scumble. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2010. Pgs. 400 Language: G, Violence: G, Sexual Content: G

Ledger Kale has been waiting all of his life to find out what his Savvy. In Ledger’s family, on your 13th birthday, you have a power magically appear. Sometimes, they’re useful, other times they’re more of a problem than their worth. On Ledger’s birthday, he discovers that his power is destroying everything. In an attempt to help the Ledger master his powers, his parent take them with them to the family ranch for a wedding and leave him there for the summer. On the way, however, he attracts the attention of the extremely stubborn and nosy, Sara Jane, who knows there is something about his family worth writing a story. Will Ledge find a way to control his powers? Will he find a way to stop Sara Jane from exposing his family and their powers?

A funny, entertaining adventure. The characters are likable and well-developed. The shortness of the chapters and the way the plot is crafted is great for reluctant readers and will do a good job of holding reader's interest. Readers who like fantasy, adventure, superheroes, or has ever wished they had a superpower will enjoy reading this book and its prequel, Savvy. EL (4-6). ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.

Hampire by Sudpita Bardhan-Quallen - OPTIONAL


Bardhan-Quallen, Sudpita Hampire, illustrated by Howard Fine.  Harper, 2011.  $17.  PICTURE BOOK.  The barnyard animals are frightened every morning by the red, dripping evidence of the nightly forays of Hampire.  When Duck craves a midnight snack, he rouses the entire barnyard as he runs, with an armload of snacks, from the predator.  But don’t judge someone that you’ve never met.  Hampire is a little reminiscent of Chicken Little, but with a definite Halloween twist.  EL (K-3) – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher.

The Crossing by Donna Jo Napoli


Napoli, Donna Jo The Crossing, illustrated by Jim Madsen.  Simon, 2011.  $17.  PICTURE BOOK.  Gorgeous illustrations accompany the musings of baby Jean Batiste as he accompanies his mother, Sacajawea, and Lewis and Clark on their journey to the west coast.  While the writing is evocative, it is not very engaging for a young reader.  This book would probably be best appreciated by an American History teacher or Lewis and Clark buff.  I wish the writing had been more informational, because these illustrations are so beautiful that I want to want to share this with my teachers, but I doubt they would use it in the classroom.  EL – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Ghost Hands by T.A. Barron - ADVISABLE


Barron, T.A. Ghost Hands, illustrated by William Low.  Philomel (Penguin), 2011.  $19.  PICTURE BOOK.  When T.A. Barron visited the Cueva de las Manos (Cave of the Hands) in Patagonia, he was inspired by the 100’s of hands and one left foot that decorate the cave walls.  Because there is no explanation for the hands and foot left from history, Mr. Barron postulated his own story about a brave boy who wants to be a hunter like his father and saves an old man’s life in the process.  Low’s illustrations and T.A.’s narrative work perfectly together to create a charming story of bravery.  They have done a great job of creating a plausible story to explain the mystery – at least it is good enough to enjoy and inspire.  EL (K-3), EL – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Purple Little Bird by Greg Foley - ADVISABLE


Foley, Greg Purple Little Bird.  Balzer & Bray (Harper), 2011.  $15.  PICTURE BOOK.  Purple Little Bird LOVES the color purple – in fact is whole house, inside and out, is done up in shades of purple.  But he feels something is missing, so he sets out on a journey to discover the missing piece, traveling through a world of color on his journey back home.  Bird’s journey of discovery will feel familiar, but is still fresh and fun and adorable.  Pre-K, EL (K-3) – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Chick ‘n’ Pug by Jennifer Sattler


Sattler, Jennifer Chick ‘n’ Pug.  Bloomsbury, 2010.  $14.99  PICTURE BOOK.  Chick, inspired by his favorite book, The Adventure of Wonder Pug, leaves the boring hen house in order to seek excitement.  When he finds his own pug, however, things aren’t quite as exciting as he imagined them to be. While the illustrations are absolutely adorable, the adventures don’t quite live up to the promise.  A bit funny, but not compelling.  EL (K-3) – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher.

I’m Not by Pam Smallcomb - ADVISABLE


Smallcomb, Pam I’m Not, illustrated by Robert Weinstock.  Scwartz & Wade (Random), 2011.  PICTURE BOOK.  The little brown dragon’s best friend, Evelyn, is everything that she is not – decorator, artist, circus performer, etc.  But together, the two friends make for a dynamic pair who can do and be together.  A great read aloud for an elementary classroom.  EL (K-3) – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Pirates go to School by Corinne Demas - ESSENTIAL


Demas, Corinne Pirates go to School, illustrated by John Manders.  Orchard (Scholastic), 2011.  $17.  PICTURE BOOK.  Be careful teachers!  If you read this book to your students, you will be hearing pirate talk for the rest of the day (maybe longer) – but what a cute way to introduce a kindergarten class – or even an older class that needs a refresher – to the ins and outs of what goes on at school.  Rhyming words and bright, fun illustrations are a perfect package for part of a pirate themed class! EL (K-3) – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mia in the Mix (Cupcake Diaries series #2) by Coco Simon–ADVISABLE

Simon, Coco Mia in the Mix (Cupcake Diaries series #2), 160 pgs. Simon Spotlight, 2011. $5.99.
Club Cupcake is back, this time from Mia’s perspective. Since Mia’s parents are divorced and she lives in a new town with her mom, she had to make new friends. That’s where the trouble starts. Mia has her old best friend from Manhattan, her new best friends in Club Cupcake, and is finding she has a lot in common with the dreaded popular girls club members. When Mia’s mom puts on a fashion show that Club Cupcake is catering, with strictly limited tickets, Mia will have decide who to invite and who her real friends are.
A second book that is both fun and sweet, this story offers the perspective of a girl from a divorced and step family. She has to deal with a new home, new friends, a future step brother, and her dad dating. The problems are all realistic, but fuzzy and happy all the same. I recommend for older elementary students.
Elementary – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate.

Katie and the cupcake cure (Cupcake Diaries series #1) by Coco Simon–ADVISABLE

Simon, Coco Katie and the cupcake cure (Cupcake Diaries series #1), 160 pgs. Simon Spotlight, 2011. $5.99.
Katie is starting junior high, but things are much different than she expected. Her very best friend, Callie, has totally ditched her for the popular girls club (self-named) and getting used to the lockers and classes isn’t easy. When she meets Mia, a girl from Manhattan, Katie realizes that maybe its time to make new friends. Turns out Katie’s hobby of making cupcakes with her mom is going to help her makes friends and her mark on the school.
This book was almost as sweet as the cupcakes that are frequently described. Would be appealing to older elementary students who are nervous for the upcoming change to junior high. But I definitely junior high students would not like these, as the plot and the characters are very tame and slightly glossed over. Memorable characters, fun and danger free plot, and the extremely hunger inducing addition of cupcakes= advisable!
Elementary – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate.

Good as Lily by Derek Kirk Kim –Not Recommended

Kim, Derek Kirk and Illustrated by Hamm, Jesse Good as Lily, 256 pgs. Minx, 2007. $13.25. Language-PG (Swear Count: 0); Violence-G; Sexual Content-PG).
Grace Kwon is a high school girl who loves to act and has a great group of friends who care about her. When a strange twist of fate saddles her with 3 versions of herself: a child self, an adult self, and an elderly self –she has a lot more on her plate than she’s used to. She juggles keeping them hidden while trying to save her school play. Each of them interferes and something profound must happen for them to disappear.
I think Grace is supposed to change her life by overcoming the issues in her past and future, via confronting those other selves. Its overly complicated, not to mention with the addition of her own issue –her sister Lily that passed away. The art is fun, the characters are distinct, but I got bogged down in all the ‘life lessons’. I think students would be irritated with this as well, as it comes across almost preachy. Not recommended.
HS – NOT RECOMMENDED. Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate.

The Covens Daughter by Lucy Jago –ADVISABLE

Jago, Lucy The Covens Daughter, 256 pgs. Hyperion Book CH, 2011. $13.25. Language-PG (Swear Count: 0); Violence-PG; Sexual Content-PG).
This period piece follows Cecily, a lowly poultry girl, as she tries to discover what happened to her missing friend William. Cecily puts herself in harms way more than a few times and discovers there is something sinister afoot. It is at this time that Cecily finds out that she is a witch, something she is not too excited about. Will her growing powers and those of the coven be enough to stop tragedy from befalling all of England?
Traditional wiccan style “magic” that is far from over the top, allowed the author to set a wonderful stage for character driven ingenuity, bravery, and luck. The pacing is just fast enough to keep the reader interested, while still allowing them to get to know the people and places. Students will enjoy the both the many mysteries and the refreshing look at magic found in this book.
MS, HS – Advisable. Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith-ESSENTIAL

BlessedSmith, Cynthia Leitich, Blessed. Candlewick Press, 2011. Pgs. 480. Language: G, Violence: PG-13, Sexual Content: PG-13

Quincy is a vampire and she has a lot on her plate. With her parents dead, she’s busy running a restaurant and trying to save her undead life. Her best friend, Kieran, a hybrid werewolf, has been accused of murder and needs her help clearing his name. To make matters worse, Bradley Sanguini, the evil vampire who “blessed” Quincie, is channeling the spirit of Drac Prime, the original count, to create a vampire army and to take over the world. Can Quincie save her friend, herself, and everyone else from a life (or after-life) that no one would want?

A fun, action-filled vampire book for paranormal fans. The characters are intriguing. The story is a little long, but fans of this genre as well as apocalyptic fiction will relish reading this book. MS, HS. ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Jessica M, Library Media Specialist, Olympus Jr. High


The Project by Brian Falkner-ADVISABLE

The ProjectFalkner, Brian, The Project. Random House Books, 2011. Pgs. 304. Language: G, Violence: PG, Sexual Content: G
After pulling a school prank, Luke and Tommy get caught and are punished by having to do a research project. When word of a quick rising flood is going to ruin the library’s books in the basement, the two volunteer to move all of them. While doing so, they discover an old book entitled Leonardo’s River. Enthralled and intrigue by the book and its pages, the two begin to wonder if this book has more to it than meets the eye. When they come back that night to steal the book, however, they aren’t the only ones after it.  The others seek the secret within and they don’t want to share. Can Luke and Tommy figure out the mystery of Leonardo’s River before it’s too late? Why are so many interested in this book?

A great action-filled mystery for reluctant readers. The plot is a little far-fetched, but well-developed. The twists and turns are intriguing  and do a great job of holding reader’s interest. Readers who like action, adventure, mystery, science fiction, and old secrets will enjoy reading this book.  EL(4-6), MS, HS. ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Jessica M, Library Media Specialist, Olympus Jr. High.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness-ADVISABLE

Monsters of Men: Chaos Walking: Book Three
Ness, Patrick, Monsters of Men. Candlewick Press, 2010. Pgs. 608. Language:PG-13 (various swears no “f”s), Violence: PG-13, Sexual Content: G

As a world-ending war rages on between two human factions, the world’s only hope lies with two people: Todd and Viola. Their only hope is to get Mayor Prentiss, the tyrant government leader, to compromise with Miss Coyle, the terrorist healer bent on overthrowing the mayor. Attempting to them to compromise, however, is impossible. The two only want peace if it is in their favor. Things only get worse, however, when the Mayor starts using “Noise,” a way to influence male humans mentally into his way of thinking. As “Noise” begins to try and suppress the desperate will of many and the Mayor’s army of Spackles is looming over the valley, things begin turning ugly. Can Todd and Viola find a way to bring peace to their world, or will Mayor Prentiss succeed?

An action-packed adventure for reluctant readers. The characters are well-developed. The plot is intense and holds the reader’s interest. Readers who like science fiction, dystopic fiction, and war fiction will enjoy reading this book. HS. ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Jessica M, Library Media Specialist, Olympus Jr. High.

Sammy Keyes and the Night of Skulls-ESSENTIAL

Sammy Keyes and the Night of Skulls
Van Draanen, Wendelin, Sammy Keyes and the Night of Skulls. Alfred A. Knopf Books, 2011. Pgs. 320. Language: G, Violence: PG, Sexual Content: G

On Halloween, Sammy Keyes and her friends decide to not only dress up as zombies, but also cut through the graveyard. When they cut through the graveyard, however, they find themselves caught in the middle of a chase. The person being chased by a car, whom they deem El Zarape, drops a bag that the group takes home. When they get home, however, the bag turns out to not have candy, but two real skulls instead. Now Sammy and her friends have their hands full being chased by a shovel-wielding maniac and a vampire, accused of digging up old graves, and Heather, Sammy’s boyfriend’s sister, trying to get the group in trouble. To top it all off, people are disappearing, specifically two individuals. Could the skulls and the disappearance be connected? Why are Sammy and her friends being chased by a vampire and a shovel man?

A fun, hilarious mystery for reluctant readers. The characters are well-developed. The plot is entertaining and suspenseful. Readers who like humor, mysteries, Halloween, and realistic fiction will enjoy reading this book. EL (4-6), MS. ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hacking Timbuktu by Stephen Davies–ADVISABLE

Davies, Stephen Hacking Timbuktu, 272 pgs. Clarion Books, 2010. $11.12. Language-PG (Swear Count: 2); Violence-PG13; Sexual Content-G).
Danny is a hacker and an avid Parkour participant. Both hobbies/ways of life offer him freedom, which as a 16yo old living on his own, is treasured. When the opportunity to find a long lost treasure literally comes crashing down on him, Danny’s best friend Omar talks him into seeking it out. They are not the only ones after the treasure though, and before they know it they are in serious danger, which only increases when they travel to Mali on their quest.
Students will love both of the popular hobbies of the main character, which blend in a cool juxtaposition. Though schools may not encourage hacking, promoting the learning and understanding technology is a plus. Parkour was an interesting and intriguing addition, and is quite popular right now. The relationship between the two friends feels authentic and their banter is fun. The pacing was just fast enough to keep things moving without being too frantic. Overall a great read!
MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio –NOT RECOMMENDED

DiPucchio, Kelly and Illustrated by Campbell, Scott Zombie in Love, 32 pgs. Atheneum, 2011. $10.39.
Mortimer is a zombie who wants to be in love. He tries all his normal routes with normal girls, like giving one a real bloody heart, but he isn’t finding success. Mortimer decides to pin all his hopes on a personal ad, and waits for responses at a dance. Will he ever find someone who appreciates he unique charms.
Zombies are a popular topic right now, especially at libraries, where Zombies ‘invade’ and walk to support funding. However I don’t think this book will appeal to younger elementary students, too much romance for some, too gross for others. I am not sure if parents will approve of the included idea of taking out a newspaper personal ad for romance as well. (not to mention that it’s a bit outdated anyway..what with internet dating and all:). Buy for your favorite Zombie lover, but not for your library.
EL –NOT RECOMMENDED. Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate.

Charlie and Lola: My Best, Best Friend based on characters by Lauren Child -OPTIONAL

Based on Characters by Lauren Child Charlie and Lola: My Best, Best Friend (Based on the original Charlie & Lola stories), 32 pgs. Dial, 2011. $11.55.
Lola and Lotta are best friends, they do everything together, especially looking at the school fish pond. When a new girl comes to school, named Evie, it appears that Lola might be losing her best, best friend. When big brother Charlie intervenes, it looks like Lola might just find a way to get her best friend back.
After my glowing review of another Charlie and Lola, I was incredibly disappointed. I then realized this book was based on the characters by Lauren Child, not written by her. That explains a lot. The ‘lesson’ here lacked subtlety, the artwork had a clip art feeling, and intervention by Charlie to help Lola was actually quite awkward. It lacked the artistry, creativity, and fun of a real Lauren Child book. I only recommend buying if you have a following for the series at your school.
EL –OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate.

Rrralph by Lois Ehlert -ADVISABLE

Ehlert, Lois Rrralph, 32 pgs. Beach Lane Books, 2011. $12.23.
Ralph is a talking dog, or so his owner says. The young narrator demonstrates the things that Ralph says in order to prove it.
Full of large text, bold and colorful collage illustrations and fun sounds –this book is perfect for story time. Youngsters will love that idea that the sounds dogs normally make, might in fact be their own way of talking!
Pre-K, EL –ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate.

Itsy Mitsy runs away by Elanna Allen -ADVISABLE

Allen, Elanna Itsy Mitsy runs away, 40pgs. Atheneum, 2011. $12.40.
This is the story of a run away! Itsy Mitsy doesn’t want to go to bed. She will do anything to get out of it, including leaving home! Each time she tries to leave her Dad kindly reminds her of something she had forgotten. Each time Mitsy corrects the problem and attempts to leave again. Will she ever be prepared to leave her home and set out on her own?
This adorable story has a cute central character who isn’t your typical girl, in fact her favorite toy is a dinosaur. Her Dad is a smart and funny character as well. The plot and wording are great fun! The artwork has a dated feel, but it’s still cute and the scene shots are really creative.
Pre-K, EL –ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate.

Flip by Martyn Bedford –ADVISABLE

Bedford, Martyn Flip, 272 pgs. Wendy Lamb Books, 2011. $11.55. Language-PG (Swear Count: 0); Violence-PG; Sexual Content-PG13; Mention of drug use).
14yo Alex wakes up one morning to an incredibly scary situation, he finds himself in some else’s body! At first Alex doesn’t know what to do, and stumbles through as best he can -by pretending to be this boy, Phillip, and mostly just messing up a lot. When Alex begins to research and try to figure out what is going on, he discovers that time is running out. Can Alex get his old life back?
I could not put this book down! The plot was interesting and full of vibrant characters, not to mention being downright chilling. The writing was wonderful –featuring authentic emotions and actions. I think that students will relate the main character and be intrigued by the concept.
MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate.

Firelight by Sophie Jordan–OPTIONAL

Jordan, Sophie Firelight, 336 pgs. Wendy Lamb Books, 2010. $9.43. Language-PG (Swear Count: 0); Violence-PG; Sexual Content-PG).
Jacinda isn’t a normal teenager, she grew up on an isolated compound with her family and others like them. A place where dragons that shapeshift into humans spend time their flying in the myst. But there are dangers there, both from hunters and her own kind, which force her and her family to flee to a regular city. Now Jacinda must pretend she is a normal teenager in order to survive. That alone is difficult enough, but when she encounters a young dragon hunter, one whom she recognizes, she has a hard time keeping her dragon self hidden. When her life starts to spin out of control, who can she turn to?
Firelight presents an interesting and fun new concept for the plot. The imagery is wonderful and the characters are well constructed. My only peeve with this book is the very stereotypical love story of the ‘want but should stay away’ variety. When that starts to overwhelm the book, I was disappointed, since the characters lose themselves to sentiment and interesting side plots are forgotten. Also ends on a bit of a cliffhanger.
MS, HS – OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Genius of Islam by Bryn Barnard -ADVISABLE

Barnard, Bryn The Genius of Islam-How Muslims made the modern world, 40 pgs. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2011. $12.23.
This book provides a brief history of Islam the religion, but really delves in into the contributions of the Islamic culture itself. Full of facts and beautiful illustrations regarding contributions across the board –from Medical, Mathematical, Agriculture, Music, Architecture, and more.
This book might be bit complex for an older elementary student, but I still think they will be able to distill useable information for research and reports. Islam is so complex, and I believe this author did a wonderful job distilling the important facts and presenting the information in an intelligent way. However, the book is too simple and childlike looking for Junior High students. In a time of confusion and hostility towards Islam, this book is the perfect way to introduce students to the culture and contributions of Islam in a light that is both positive and interesting. Teachers will enjoy this book as a teaching tool.
Elementary -ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate.

Agent Q or the smell of Danger by MT Anderson –NOT RECOMMENDED

Anderson, MT Agent Q or the smell of Danger (Pals in Peril), 304 pgs. Beach Lane Books, 2010. $11.89.
The story follow the attempt of a group of monks to get three children, Lily, Katie, and Japser, home to New Jersey. Unfortunately the ruler of Delaware, Autarch of Dagsboro, is trying to stop them. This is because the children and the monks know where the monastery and its treasures have moved to. Using his agents of the Ministry of Silence, the Autarch will stop at nothing to apprehend the group. When they meet up with Taylor Quizmo, they think they have found a way to safety, but things have a way of getting a mixed up in this adventure.
This book is in my bottom three book I have reviewed to date. It was overly complicated, action packed with little direction, whimsical to the point of total nonsense, and featured incredibly annoying extra details –like asides and notes. As a continuation of a series, little effort was made to allow me to get to know the characters or endear me to their situation. A teacher would dread reading this book aloud as many of the character names and places are without vowels. Students would have a hard time with this book because of the frantic and often ADD-like complexity of the story.
EL – NOT RECOMMENDED. Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Plan B by Charman Simon-ADVISABLE.


Plan B (Surviving Southside)Simon, Charman, Plan B. Darbycreek, 2011. Pgs. 104. Language: G, Violence: G, Sexual Content: PG-13

Lucy and Luke has been dating for over 8 months. They plan to go to the same college together, get married, and start a life together. Things change, however, when Lucy ends up getting pregnant. Lucy is afraid to tell her boyfriend for fear that he’ll leave her. She’s worried what her mother will think. Will she keep the baby?

A great book that doesn’t put rose-colored glasses on the issue of teen pregnancy. The plot is believable. The characters are realistic and easy to relate to. Readers who like urban fiction, school stories, and relationship fiction will enjoy reading this book. MS. HS. ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library. 


Beaten by Suzanne Weyn-ADVISABLE

Beaten (Surviving Southside)

Weyn, Suzanne, Beaten. Learning Publishing Company, 2011. Pgs. 100. Language: G, Violence: PG-13. Sexual Content: PG-13

Keah Robinson is the head cheerleader and is dating the star running back of Southside High’s football team. The two almost seem fated to be a couple. However, the stress of college and getting picked for a college team are starting to get to Ty. He’s become verbally and physically abusive towards Keah. He even gets arrested for assault. To make matters worse, the school is spreading rumors about her deserving Ty’s abuse. Stress and pressure make Keah want to forgive him and make things work, but how can one make it work when you flinch away from your boyfriend when he gets angry? Will Keah find the courage to figure out what she needs and achieve it?

A hard book to read, but an important read for any girl who’s dating. The characters are memorable. The problems are portrayed realistically. Readers who like realistic fiction, books about relationships, and urban fiction will enjoy reading this book. MS, HS. ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.