Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Key to Extraordinary

From the Publisher
Everyone in Emma's family is special. Her ancestors include Revolutionary War spies, brilliant scientists, and famous musicians--every single one of which learned of their extraordinary destiny through a dream.

For Emma, her own dream can't come soon enough. Right before her mother died, Emma promised that she'd do whatever it took to fulfill her destiny, and she doesn't want to let her mother down.

But when Emma's dream finally arrives, it points her toward an impossible task--finding a legendary treasure hidden in her town's cemetery. If Emma fails, she'll let down generations of extraordinary ancestors . . . including her own mother. But how can she find something that's been missing for centuries and might be protected by a mysterious singing ghost?

With her signature blend of lyrical writing, quirky humor, and unforgettable characters, Natalie Lloyd's The Key to Extraordinary cements her status as one of the most original voices writing for children today.

We Came to America

From the Publisher
"From the native Americans who first called this continent their home, to the millions of people who came in search of better futures, America is a land of diversity. Whether driven by dreams and hope, or escaping poverty or persecution, our ancestors--and the faces of America today--represent people from every reach of the globe. And each incoming person brought with them a unique gift--of art and music; of determination and grit; of ideas and strength--that forever shaped the country we all call home. Vividly evoked in Faith's sumptuous colors and patterns, WE CAME TO AMERICA is an ode to every American who came before us, and a tribute to the children who will carry its message into our future."

Under A Pig Tree A History of the Noble Fruit

From the Publisher
The publisher and author of Under a Pig Tree seem to be having communication issues. The author has written a clear, no-nonsense history of figs. But the publisher is sure she meant pigs. After all, what's the difference between two measly letters? What results is a hilarious illustrated history of pigs, from the earliest times ("Pigs were presented as 'medals' to the winners of the first Olympics") to the present day ("There is nothing better than enjoying a cup of tea or glass of milk with one of those famous Pig Newtons"). The author, needless to say, is not happy about this "little mix-up" and makes her feelings very clearly known--by scrawling all over the book!

With sticky notes from the publisher, angry scribbles from the author, wrinkles, and pages askew, Under a Pig Tree is a playful peek into a book in "midproduction" and a humorous look at the consequences of small mistakes, by industry pro Margie Palatini and up-and-coming talent Chuck Groenink.

The Bear and the Piano

From the Publisher
One day, a bear cub finds something strange and wonderful in the forest. When he touches the keys, they make a horrible noise. Yet he is drawn back again and again. Eventually, he learns to play beautiful sounds, delighting his woodland friends.
Then the bear is invited to share his sounds with new friends in the city. He longs to explore the world beyond his home, and to play bigger and better than before. But he knows that if he leaves, the other bears will be very sad . . .
This gorgeously illustrated tale of following one's dreams reminds us of the value of friendship, wherever we go.

Frank and Lucky Get Schooled

From the Publisher
Newbery Medalist and bestselling author Lynne Rae Perkins introduces a boy (Frank) and a dog (Lucky) in this celebratory, wry, and happily unconventional introduction to the subjects children encounter in school. This beautifully illustrated, humorous, and insightful picture book offers a new twist on the classic boy-and-his-dog story!
On a rainy day, Frank's parents take him to the shelter to get a new dog. That's how Frank finds Lucky, and from that moment on, they're inseparable. As Frank and Lucky venture out into the world around them, they discover they both have a lot to learn. Exploring their neighborhood teaches them about biology: Lucky learns all about squirrels, deer, and—unfortunately for Frank—skunks. Sharing a bed teaches them about fractions—what happens when one dog takes up three-quarters of the bed, or even the whole thing? They even learn different languages: Frank makes a friend who speaks Spanish and Lucky tries to learn Duck! Who knew you could learn so much without ever setting foot inside a classroom?

The Gingerbread Man Loose at the Zoo

From the Publisher
"Is there anything more fun than a class trip to the zoo? The Gingerbread Man and his classmates don't think so, and they get to solve riddles on a WILD scavenger hunt. They meet giraffes, monkeys, and even a fox (especially scary for a Gingerbread Man!). But a zoo full of critters is a tricky place for a tasty cookie:even a very fast one:and the Gingerbread Man ends up separated from his friends. He needs to solve all of the riddles to catch up with his class and help someone else who is lost. I'll be a detective. I know that I can! I'll solve all these clues. I'm the Gingerbread Man! Animals galore and a trail of clues make the Gingerbread Man's latest adventure his wildest one yet."

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Isabel Feeney, Star Reporter

Gr 4–6—Chicago in the 1920s provides the setting for this fast-paced mystery. Isabel Feeney is the spunky protagonist who makes friends, young and old, while hot on the trail of a killer. Isabel sells copies of the Chicago Tribune on the city streets to supplement her single mother's salary. When Isabel hears a gun fire, she runs toward the sound to an alley where she sees Miss Giddings, the kind and pretty young lady who regularly buys newspapers from her, kneeling over a dead man. Isabel is quickly involved in the investigation and befriends Maude Collier, a famous Tribune reporter whom she admires for her reporting excellence. Isabel has always aspired to be a female crime reporter, just like Maude, and now is her chance to investigate a real crime with her writing hero. Fantaskey keeps the chapters short and snappy, with each one ending on a mini-cliff-hanger, enticing kids to read on. There are guns and gangsters, future movie stars, glamour, sibling rivalries, bullet proof cars, polio, several possible suspects, and a host of eclectic personalities. Isabel is fearless but expresses her vulnerability in her desire to have friends. The author's historical note explains the inspiration for the novel: five real-life female reporters who wrote for the Chicago Tribune in the 1920s. VERDICT A not-to-be-missed novel for middle graders looking for a satisfying mystery with a daring female heroine.—Helen Foster James, University of California at San Diego Copyright 2015 Reed Business Information.