Tuesday, October 18, 2016

My Dad at the Zoo

PopK-Gr 2—What a charming book! This is a story of role reversal with an energetic father who gets up on Sunday mornings raring to go to the zoo. He wakes up his sleepy son and "does the galloping camel" all the way. Dad hates to wait in line, squirming, bouncing, and trying to cut the line. Once inside, the son has all he can do to keep up with his rambunctious dad. He plays with all the animals…until he disappears. Finally he is discovered in front of the ice cream vendor, throwing a tantrum because he wants an ice cream. Son, like many good parents, realizes he needs to find a way to distract Dad and says there is an escaping porcupine. The two give chase, until they come across Dad's favorite animal, the elephant. The father behaves like any excited child, barely under his son's control. This is a delightful topsy-turvy look at parenting and the joys of being a child. And the father's antics are very funny. His favorite elephant steals his hat (one of many he keeps on a coatrack in the background), and the son complains about how many hats his father has lost at the zoo. The text and the illustrations are playful and well done—the overall effect is greater than the sum of its parts. Expect this book to generate recognition of naughty-child behavior and perhaps a discussion about the roles parents must play. VERDICT This book is pure joy to read and should be a first purchase for most collections.—Mary Hazelton, formerly at Warren & Waldoboro Elementary Schools, ME Copyright 2016 Reed Business Information.

Inspector Flytrap

Publisher Description
From husband-and-wife team Tom Angleberger, creator of the New York Times bestselling Origami Yoda series, and Cece Bell, author/illustrator of the Newbery Honor graphic novel El Deafo, comes the start to a funny and clever illustrated chapter-book series about a mystery-solving Venus flytrap. With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, this early-chapter-book series is a must for beginning readers.

Inspector Flytrap in the Da Vinci Cold introduces kids to the humorous and wacky world of Inspector Flytrap's Detective Agency, home to the world-renowned solver of BIG DEAL mysteries. The plant detective works tirelessly with his assistant Nina the Goat on his community's unsolved cases. There's no case too big, but there are definitely cases too small for this endearingly self-important plant detective.

Celebrating the disabled yet enabled, the character of Inspector Flytrap is wheeled everywhere (on a skateboard, of course) by his goat sidekick as this mystery-solving duo works on cases such as "The Big Deal Mystery of the Stinky Cookies" and "The Big Deal Mystery of the Missing Rose."

On his first caper, Inspector Flytrap heads to the Art Museum's Secret Lab to discover what important message lies in a mysterious glob on a recently discovered Da Vinci flower painting. The ingenious solution: Da Vinci was allergic to flowers, and the glob is, er, evidence of that ancient sneeze.

Combining wacky humor and a silly cast of characters with adventure, friendship, and mystery, the powerhouse team of Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell have created a uniquely engaging series that is perfect for newly independent readers and fans of Ricky Ricotta, Captain Underpants, and the Galaxy Zack series. Also included in these books are some graphic novel-style pages that will attract reluctant rea

Have you seen Elephant?

PreS-Gr 2—A game of hide-and-seek is the basis of this story, but with a humorous twist. An enormous elephant and a boy with scribbly brown curls are the players. Before they begin, the elephant discloses, "I must warn you though. I'm VERY good." Readers will easily spot Elephant on each spread as he attempts to disguise himself behind the drapes, under a comforter on a bed, and under a lampshade. Children will revel in being able to spot the elephant while the boy searches fruitlessly. Attentive readers will notice the boy's dog sniffing the elephant out in every spread. The mixed-media illustrations work masterfully to tell the story alongside the brief text, which consists exclusively of dialogue. The dynamic backgrounds are splashed with watercolor, and the figures are given soft edges, lending a dreamy quality to the story. The impressive use of light and shadow and incorporation of reds, oranges, and purples add a richness to the pages that will transfix children. In the final pages, a new character and a funny twist will entertain kids. VERDICT This amusingly absurd story paired with the warm and wonderful illustrations will have kids coming back again and again.—Kimberly Tolson, Medfield Public Library, MA Copyright 2016 Reed Business Information.

Ada's Violin

Gr 2–5—Hood tells the story of a real child growing up in an actual place—Cateura—a community of people who live and feed themselves by picking through the tons of trash generated by the capital city of Asunción, Paraguay, and salvaging items to recycle and sell. Despite her bleak surroundings, Ada Ríos liked to imagine each garbage truck was "a box of surprises. One never knew what might be inside." When Ada was 11, a man named Favio Chávez started to hold music classes for the local young people. Since there weren't enough instruments to go around and they were too precious for the kids to take them home to practice, the project seemed doomed to be short-lived. Watching the children play amid the rubble gave Señor Chávez an idea. He enlisted the help of the gancheros (recyclers), and they fashioned cellos from oil drums, flutes out of water pipes, and guitars from packing crates. Ada chose a violin made from an old paint can, an aluminum baking tray, a fork, and pieces of wooden crates. Through hard work and long hours of practice over time, she and the rest of the ragtag crew of kids formed the Recycled Orchestra, and the rest is history, as they've grown and made a name for themselves internationally. Comport's mixed-media collages are nothing short of brilliant as she plays with light and dark throughout. The spreads capture the look and feel of the cramped and stinking landfill, the oppressive heat, and the hardscrabble lives of the residents. They also convey the resourcefulness and warmth of the families and the aspirations of the children. The scenes of the kids embracing their instruments and sharing their joy at making music are absolutely transcendent. "With her violin, Ada could close her eyes and imagine a different life. She could soar on the high, bright, bittersweet notes to a place far away. She could be who she was meant to be." VERDICT A virtuoso piece of nonfiction, gloriously told and illustrated.—Luann Toth, School Library Journal Copyright 2016 Reed Business Information.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Six Dots A Story of Young Louis Braille

From the Publisher
An inspiring picture-book biography of Louis Braille--a blind boy so determined to read that he invented his own alphabet.

Louis Braille was just five years old when he lost his sight. He was a clever boy, determined to live like everyone else, and what he wanted more than anything was to be able to read.

Even at the school for the blind in Paris, there were no books for him.

And so he invented his own alphabet--a whole new system for writing that could be read by touch. A system so ingenious that it is still used by the blind community today.

Award-winning writer Jen Bryant tells Braille's inspiring story with a lively and accessible text, filled with the sounds, the smells, and the touch of Louis's world. Boris Kulikov's inspired paintings help readers to understand what Louis lost, and what he was determined to gain back through books.

An author's note and additional resources at the end of the book complement the simple story and offer more information for parents and teachers.

Praise for Six Dots:
"An inspiring look at a child inventor whose drive and intelligence changed to world--for the blind and sighted alike."--Kirkus Reviews

"Even in a crowded field, Bryant's tightly focused work, cast in the fictionalized voice of Braille himself, is particularly distinguished."--Bulletin, starred review

"This picture book biography strikes a perfect balance between the seriousness of Braille's life and the exuberance he projected out into the world." -- School Library Journal, starred review

Penguin Problems

From the Publisher
A penguin levels with human readers about what penguin life is really like--and it isn't all fun and games. A hilarious first collaboration from Jory John (All my friends are dead. and Quit Calling Me a Monster!) and Lane Smith (The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales).

Have you ever considered running away to Antarctica? Of course you have! Because it's a land free of worries and responsibilities! All of your problems will surely be blown away by the icy winds of that lawless paradise! . . . Won't they?

Think again, my friend. This penguin has come to tell you that his life down there is no more a picnic than yours is here. For starters, it is FREEZING. Also, penguins have a ton of natural predators. Plus, can you imagine trying to find your mom in a big ol' crowd of identical penguins? No, thank you.

Yes, it seems there is no escaping the drudgery of your daily grind, whatever it might be. Or perhaps we've just learned that grumps are everywhere. . . .

Jory John and Lane Smith let us decide. This book is sure to tickle kids' funny bones and will elicit appreciative sighs from the adults reading it aloud.

Hamster Princess Ratpunzel

Rapunzel gets a rodent twist in book three of the critically acclaimed and uproariously funny series that's perfect for fans of Princess in Black and Babymouse

Princess Harriet Hamsterbone does not like sitting around at home. How's a princess supposed to have any fun when her parents are constantly reminding her to be careful and act princessly? So when her pal Prince Wilbur needs help finding a stolen hydra egg, Harriet happily takes up the quest. The thief's trail leads them to a wicked witch and a tall tower, occupied by a rat whose tail has more to it than meets the eye!

The third book in the award-winning comic hybrid Hamster Princess series will make you look at rodents, royalty, and fairy tales in a whole new light.