Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Vanishing Coin

Booklist (April 1, 2014 (Vol. 110, No. 15))


Grades 3-5. So far, fourth grade is not the fresh start Mike wanted. Despite new “strategies,” he still cannot sit quietly in class. Worse, he now spends every afternoon with Nora, his academically gifted new neighbor, from whom he couldn’t be more different. Whereas Nora succeeds at everything, Mike feels like he’s a constant failure. That is, until they stumble on a strange magic store, and the owner teaches Mike—and only Mike—a magic trick. Soon he’s hooked and practicing all kinds of tricks to impress his friends and confound the class bully. Yet he wonders if all the magic in the shop is just an illusion. Could some of it be real? The slightly older protagonist, ample line spacing, cartoon illustrations, and accessible vocabulary make this a good choice for middle-grade students reading slightly below grade level. And if the quick pace, well-developed characters, and humor-laced story aren’t enough, Lane, a magician himself, and Egan include instructions for four simple tricks. A solid new series for school and public-library collections.



 

Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue!

 Booklist (April 1, 2014 (Online))


Grades 4-6. At McQuarrie Middle School, the war against FunTime (the euphemistically named standardized test-prep program) continues, but it seems the Origami Rebel Alliance’s previous victory may be short-lived. Despite Principal Rabbski’s promise to replace FunTime with extracurriculars, it’s still being shown in class! Desperate times call for desperate measures, and someone has decided to take matters into his or her own hand puppet. Princess Labelmaker makes her daring debut by stealing the rebels’ secret case file and giving it to the principal, an act that could prove their salvation or their demise. Plastered with Labelmaker’s commentary, the latest file offers insight into the nobility of the rebels’ cause and the self-serving designs of FunTime’s creators. This continues the characteristic spirit and humor readers have come to expect of the Origami Yoda series. In what may be their greatest challenge yet, Angleberger puts the Alliance to the test in more ways than one. But perhaps the greatest mystery of all is this: Just whose hand is behind Princess Labelmaker? HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: These books are more popular than a working droid on Tatooine. Expect the usual army of young Jedis to come out swinging for a copy.



Nine Words Max

From the Publisher: A sharp and humorous tale of a prince who talks too much and his brothers' misguided solution.


Maximilian is a prince who loves to talk: No topic is too small, no story too boring. Max's brothers are the opposite--the less said the better. When the king and queen go on a trip and leave the brothers alone, the 3 princes put a spell on Max that limits him to speaking only 9 words at a time. The brothers are delighted: peace and quiet at last! But when a fearsome dignitary arrives, they realize the true value of their brother's insatiable need for information. A cautionary tale and a tongue-in-cheek tribute to trivia buffs, Nine Words Max is also a sly satire of our modern world's obsession with media--the 3 reticent princes spend a lot of time sending silly messages, lying around watching puppet shows and speaking in 140 characters or less... This book is a funny, quirky and madcap tale with fantastic illustrations from illustrator David Huyck.

Hi, Koo!

 Booklist (December 15, 2013 (Vol. 110, No. 8))


Preschool-Grade 3. First introduced in Zen Ties (2008) as Stillwater the panda’s nephew, Koo is alone in the narrative world of this verse collection, until a boy and girl from the neighborhood knock on his door. They share good times throughout the seasons, whether throwing snowballs, reading aloud to sparrows, or skipping stones. And sometimes Koo enjoys reflective moments alone, “becoming so quiet / Zero sound / only breath.” These very short poems, ranging from fresh to poignant to prosaic, are enhanced by the beautiful watercolor-and-ink illustrations on every page. Reflecting the brevity and imagery of the verse, the spare fall and winter pictures seem particularly fine, while their relative simplicity contrasts effectively with the profusion of color in the spring and summer scenes. Besides pointing out the subtle trail of alphabetically arranged capital letters in each poem throughout the book, the author’s note expresses Muth’s rationale for not restricting himself to “the five-seven-five syllable pattern that many of us grew up learning haiku must be.” Haiku or not, this collection is worth reading.



Happy Birthday Babymouse

From the Publisher: NEW YORK TIMES bestselling and Newbery Honor winning author Jennifer Holm teams up with Matthew Holm to bring you a fully illustrated graphic novel series packed with humor and kid appeal--BABYMOUSE!




With multiple Children's Choice awards and over 1.7 million books in print, kids, parents, and teachers agree that Babymouse is perfect for fans of Junie B. Jones, Ivy and Bean, Big Nate, Dork Diaries, and the Ramona chapter books!



You are cordially invited to the birthday event of the year!

Babymouse is having a birthday and she wants it to be BIG! Mount Everest BIG. Eiffel Tower BIG. Tyrannosaurus rex BIG. (Okay, maybe inviting a T. rex isn't such a good idea). Will all of Babymouse's birthday dreams come true? Will she have a five-hundred-tier cupcake? Find out in Happy Birthday, Babymouse--the 18th hilarious, action-packed installment of the beloved Babymouse graphic novel series!



Here's what people are saying about Babymouse!



The Chicago Sun-Times:

"Move over, Superman, here comes Babymouse!"



Starred Review, The Horn Book:

"Nobody puts Babymouse in the corner!"



Booklist:

"Cute, smart, sassy Babymouse is fun and funny, and this book, like its predecessors, will draw reluctant readers as well as Babymouse fans."



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Kung Pow Chicken Let's Get Cracking!

Kirkus Reviews starred (October 15, 2013)
Can Kung Pow Chicken and Egg Drop beat the bad guys and be home in time for dinner? Second-grade chicken Gordon Blue and his still partially egg-bound little brother Benedict are mild-mannered chicks until they fall into a vat of toxic sludge in their uncle Quack's lab. Suddenly, Gordon has birdy sense that tingles when danger is near. He can flap superfast, and his clucks are louder than any chicken's ("His bok [is] worse than his bite"). He promises to use his powers only for good (and to keep his room tidy). Since he's never met a bad guy, he has to do normal chicken things...until everyone starts losing their feathers at the Fowl Fall Festival in Fowladelphia. Could it be Granny Goosebumps' yucky glowing cookies? She's making money wing over fist selling itchy sweaters to all the naked chickens. Soon Kung Pow Chicken is "locked in a battle of knits" with the nefarious Granny and her knitting needles. When she escapes, can Kung Pow Chicken overcome his self-doubt and save the City of Featherly Love? First of four to be released over the course of the next year and part of Scholastic's Branches line of heavily illustrated easy chapter books, Marko's debut is a perfectly puntastic page-turner. Hybrids of comics and traditional pictures, the goofy all-color illustrations propel the fast-moving, high-interest story. "Ham and eggs!"--you don't want to miss this! (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 5-7)

The Hueys in It Wasn't Me

Booklist (January 1, 2014 (Vol. 110, No. 9))
Preschool-Grade 1. The Hueys (first introduced in The Hueys in the New Sweater, 2012) are back—in a bigger format and with a new quandary. The opening endpapers show our round, resolute friends having a conversation about how to address a pesky fly (the conversation, in typical Jeffers fashion, happens in pictures, not words). The story continues with five differently colored Hueys enthusing about all manner of flying objects, but soon, out of nowhere, discord arrives and an argument ensues. Just when things are at their most out of control, Gillespie Huey asks what everyone is fighting about. No one knows, so they decide to go look at a dead fly, content and collegial once more. Jeffers is a master of this sort of wry humor, with his deeply expressive gestures; generous, empty backgrounds; and quirky charm. The explosion of the argument—and stillness of the solution—resonates on just the right frequency, distilling complex emotion into something manageable and entertaining. Kids will recognize themselves here, over and over again.