Thursday, December 8, 2016

Armstrong : The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon

From the Publisher
A long time ago a mouse learned to fly . . . and crossed the Atlantic. But what happened next? Torben Kuhlmann's stunning new book transports readers to the moon and beyond! On the heels of Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse comes Armstrong: A Mouse on the Moon--where dreams are determined only by the size of your imagination and the biggest innovators are the smallest of all. The book ends with a brief non-fiction history of human space travel--from Galileo's observations concerning the nature of the universe to man's first steps on the moon.

Giant Squid

From the Publisher
The giant squid is one of the most elusive creatures in the world. As large as whales, they hide beyond reach deep within the sea, forcing scientists to piece together their story from those clues they leave behind.
An injured whale's ring-shaped scars indicate an encounter with a giant squid. A piece of beak broken off in the whale's belly; a flash of ink dispersed as a blinding defense to allow the squid to escape-- these fragments of proof were all we had . . . until a giant squid was finally filmed in its natural habitat only two years ago.
In this beautiful and clever nonfiction picture book about the giant squid, Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann explore, both visually and poetically, this hidden creature's mysterious life.

Little Penguins

From the Publisher
Newbery Medal-winning author Cynthia Rylant and Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Christian Robinson pair up to tell this wintry story about five little penguins enjoying a snowy day.

Snowflakes? Many snowflakes. Winter is coming. So begins this ever-so-simple story. As the snow starts to fall, the excited penguins pull out scarves, mittens, heavy socks, and boots, and Mama helps them bundle up. But when it's time to go out, one timid penguin decides to stay home. Filled with waddling baby penguins, playful text, and delightful illustrations, this book feels like a young picture-book classic in the making.

"Visually stunning. . . . Pair with Ezra Jack Keats's classic The Snowy Day." --Booklist, Starred

"An excellent tale for the very young. A very warm and satisfying bedtime book and a paean to penguins and winter delights." --Kirkus Reviews
Winners of the National Parenting Product Award

Word of Mouse

From the Publisher
James Patterson's newest illustrated middle grade story follows the illuminating journey of a very special mouse, and the unexpected friendships that he makes along the way.

What makes Isaiah so unique? First, his fur is as blue as the sky--which until recently was something he'd never seen, but had read all about. That's right--Isaiah can read, and write. He can also talk to humans...if any of them are willing to listen! After a dramatic escape from a mysterious laboratory, Isaiah is separated from his "mischief" (which is the word for a mouse family), and has to use his special skills to survive in the dangerous outdoors, and hopefully find his missing family. But in a world of cruel cats, hungry owls, and terrified people, it's hard for a young, lone mouse to make it alone. When he meets an equally unusual and lonely human girl named Hailey, the two soon learn that true friendship can transcend all barriers.

The Bad Guys

School Library Journal (November 1, 2016)
Gr 2-4-Be prepared to hear laughter, and lots of it, as students plunge into this graphic novel hybrid. The story opens with Mr. Wolf speaking directly to the audience. Despite his "big, pointy teeth," his "razor-sharp claws," and his suspicious rap sheet filled with familiar "Three Little Pigs" and "Little Red Riding Hood" references, he implores readers to believe he is not a bad guy. Mr. Wolf is on a quest to persuade his carnivorous friends to be part of the Good Guys Club. Their first mission is to rescue a cat from a tree, and even though his friends think Mr. Wolf has lost his mind, they agree to help. Illustrations exaggerate the animals' sharp teeth and wide smiles as they stare up at the terrified kitty. After a few bumps in the plan (namely, Mr. Snake eating Mr. Piranha), an accidental success ensues and they move on to their grand plan of freeing 200 dogs from the pound. Expressive illustrations and typography will captivate budding readers' attention and aid in comprehension. Witty and slapstick humor coupled with menacing animal faces on a bright orange cover ensures this book will appeal to a wide audience. VERDICT Reminiscent of Aaron Reynolds's Carnivores and Jon Scieszka's The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, this humorous title is highly recommended for all libraries.-Beth Parmer, New Albany Elementary Library, OH © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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.

Babymouse Goes For the Gold

Babymouse has big dreams . . . and wet whiskers. She has joined the swim team and is ready to dive in. Next stop, the Olympics! But competitive sports aren't really her strong suit. Will hard work and determination earn her a gold medal?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tulip and Rex Write a Story

Publisher Description
In Tulip and Rex Write a Story, the dance-loving duo from Tulip Loves Rex finds a new passion--collecting words and using them to tell a story. The writing theme makes this book a must for classroom libraries, parents looking for reading and writing activities to do at home, or anyone who loved Tad Hill's Rocket Writes a Story or Kate Banks and Boris Kulikov's Max's Words.
Alyssa Satin Capucilli, beloved author of the bestselling Biscuit books, has written a sweet story perfect for preschool and early elementary school readers. Sarah Massini's illustrations burst with texture, energy, and tenderness.

Tulip and Rex's "word walk" and their subsequent imaginative play convey the subtle message that you don't have to be able to read or write yet to love words and storytelling, and you don't have to be behind a school desk to write a story--all you need is the world around you and a big imagination.


Dear Hank Williams

 

The World In A Second

What if you could see what is happening all over the world right now, in this one second? What are they doing on the other side of the world from you? What are the animals doing in places that have never seen human beings? Author Martins imagines scenes from all over the world, including New York, Mexico, Angola, Greece, Hungary, and South Africa—an elevator gets stuck, a driver honks impatiently, a volcano erupts, an old woman goes to sleep, boys watch as a soccer ball careens towards a glass window … A lot can happen in the world in one second! “The book's extra-large trim is the perfect format for this mesmerizing vision of a thrillingly expansive world” (KIRK).

Wandering Whale Sharks

 

The Book Itch Freedom, Truth & Harlem's Greatest Bookstore

When Lewis's dad Lewis Michaux Sr. opened a bookstore in 1930s Harlem, he created more than just a space to read and purchase books. He provided his African American community with a place to gather, share ideas, and learn from one another. With visits from famous people like Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X, the bookstore became a prominent fixture in the civil rights movement. Bold text that cries out “Knowledge is power” and rich paintings depicting a strong neighborhood during a troubled time in American history bring this true story to life for young readers. “From the author's heart to America's readers: a tribute to a man who believed in and lived black pride” (KIRK).

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Wild Robot

Can a robot survive in the wilderness?

When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. She has no idea how she got there or what her purpose is--but she knows she needs to survive. After battling a fierce storm and escaping a vicious bear attack, she realizes that her only hope for survival is to adapt to her surroundings and learn from the island's unwelcoming animal inhabitants.

As Roz slowly befriends the animals, the island starts to feel like home--until, one day, the robot's mysterious past comes back to haunt her.

From bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator Peter Brown comes a heartwarming and action-packed novel about what happens when nature and technology collide.

I Really Like Slop!

Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.
Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.
Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.

Gerald and Piggie are best friends.
In I Really Like Slop!, Piggie invites Gerald to try her favorite food . . . slop. But Gerald is not so sure he's going to like it. At all.

Before I Leave

How do you say goodbye to your best friend?
When a little hedgehog's family tells her they're moving far away, she and her anteater best friend decide to play one last time, like nothing is changing. And though it's hard, they discover that while some things have to change, the most important things find a way of working out.

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.

A Beetle is Shy

Aston and Long follow A Butterfly Is Patient and other collaborations with a poetic examination of the vast insect order of beetles. As in the previous books, brief phrases (“A beetle is kaleidoscopic,” “A beetle is colossal”) introduce various characteristics, explored in crisp, accessible text that can be both general and species-specific (“ flash their signals to attract a mate, defend their territory, and warn away predators”). Long’s watercolors capture the vibrant details of the rainbow stag beetle, dead-nettle leaf beetle, and other striking specimens in a sparkling homage to a diverse category of insect. Ages 5–8. Author’s agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Apr.)

The Mechanical Mind of John Coggin

When budding inventor John Coggin learns that his last living relative, Great-Aunt Beauregard, plans to make him and his six-year-old sister permanent employees of the family’s coffin business, he grabs his sister and runs away. After joining up with a circus performer named Boz, the trio must flee the troupe to avoid being found by Great-Aunt Beauregard, who is hot on their trail. Author “Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both … A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish” (KIRK).

Fable Comics

 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Pax

Gr 4–7—A viscerally affecting story of war, loss, and the power of friendship. Pennypacker, author of the exuberant "Clementine" series (Disney-Hyperion) and the charmingly morbid Summer of the Gypsy Moths (HarperCollins, 2012), here displays not only her formidable writing skills and a willingness to stretch her storytelling into increasingly complex narrative forms but also her ability to tackle dark and weighty themes with sensitivity and respect for the child reader. Set in an intentionally undefined time and place that could very well be a near-future America, the novel opens with a heartbreaking scene of a tame red fox, Pax, being abandoned at the side of the road by his beloved boy, Peter. Perspectives alternate between the boy and the fox, and readers learn that a terrible war rages in this land. Peter's father is about to leave for the frontlines, and while he's away, Peter must live with his grandfather out in the country—and his father makes it clear that there is no place for Pax in Peter's temporary home. Almost as soon as he arrives at his grandfather's, Peter is overcome with guilt, and he sets off under the cover of darkness to trek the 300 miles back to his home, where he prays he'll find Pax. The loyal fox, meanwhile, must figure out how to survive in the wild—though never losing hope that his boy will return for him. As the protagonists struggle to reunite in a world in the grip of violence and destruction, they each find helpers who assist them on their respective journeys: Peter breaks his foot and is rehabilitated by Vola, a hermit suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, while Pax is taken in by a leash of foxes who teach him the basics of foraging and hunting. Pennypacker doesn't shy away from some of the more realistic aspects of war, though she keeps most of the violence slightly off-screen: in one scene, the wild foxes define war for the naive Pax as a "human sickness" that causes them to turn on their own kind, akin to rabies; later, as the battle creeps closer, several creatures are maimed and killed by land mines. Black-and-white drawings by Klassen offer a respite for readers, while adding to the haunting atmosphere.With spare, lyrical prose, Pennypacker manages to infuse this tearjerker with a tender hope, showing that peace and love can require just as much sacrifice as war. VERDICT A startling work of fiction that should be read—and discussed—by children and adults alike.—Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal Copyright 2015 Reed Business Information.


Audacity Jones to the Rescue

 

Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color

Swatch is a free-spirited young girl who loves to chase and manipulate colors, teaching them to dance and do magic. But when she begins to capture the colors and collect them in jars, Yellowest Yellow, the final unconfined color, reminds Swatch that colors are meant to be free and wild. With bright swirls and splatters of watercolor, pen, ink, and pencil on white backgrounds, author and illustrator Denos creates a bold celebration of colors and the joys of freedom. “Denos' text is fierce and crisp, her color-characters wondrous … For color wranglers and windblown spirits everywhere” (KIRK).


The Secret Subway

K-Gr 3—This picture book tells the story of Alfred Ely Beach, whose Beach Pneumatic Transit was an early version of the New York subway, which was eventually abandoned to the shadows of history. The story begins, "Welcome to New York City—the greatest city on earth!" The fervent pace continues throughout. The artwork is intriguing: photographs of puppetlike polymer figures are shown talking while cartoon ideas emanate from their mouths. Often, white text is set on a black background, creating an underground feel. A fact spread is appended, revealing more of Beach's life. Keen artwork combines with inviting language, illuminating an obscure part of New York City's history. VERDICT Perfect for young subway enthusiasts, especially those with an interest in New York City.—Anne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 2016 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal.


Miss Mary Reporting

Gr 2–4—A heartfelt, informative, and thoroughly engaging picture book biography about groundbreaking sports reporter Mary Garber (1916–2008). Garber became a sportswriter at a time when there were few women in the field, when women were not welcome in the press box, in the locker room, or on the sidelines. Her love of sports, her fierce determination, and her independent spirit gave her the tools she needed to succeed. She became known for reporting on teams and people who were out of the mainstream, athletes whom other sportswriters wouldn't even consider, such as African American individuals and college teams. Her admiration of Jackie Robinson inspired her to face her detractors with stoicism and grace and to go about doing the best job she could. In Macy's adept hands, Garber comes to life, from her childhood antics on the football field to her important work giving a fair shake to kids and athletes she thought deserved more attention. Payne's mixed-media art lends itself well to the topic. His paintings fill the pages with movement and humor, and the characters' expressions draw the eye and complement the tone of the narrative. Pair this entertaining biography with a few about other women journalists, such as Nellie Bly, for a more in-depth examination of an area that is often overlooked in children's literature. VERDICT An excellent and welcome addition to any elementary biography collection.—Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA Copyright 2016 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal.


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

If You Plant a Seed

School Library Journal (April 1, 2015)
PreS-Gr 2-A fuzzy, brown rabbit and a tiny notch-eared mouse plant tomato, carrot, and cabbage seeds and then wait for the plants to grow and produce. As they bide their time, the two sit in the rain, nap, and read books. Readers will notice the sky beginning to fill with birds, which the rabbit and mouse don't see until the fruits-or vegetables-of their labor are ready to eat. Then five winged creatures descend and look expectantly, in a priceless illustration, at the two farmers that try to protect their bounty from the intruders. A verbal argument and scuffle ensue until they all reach an understanding. After the seed of cooperation is planted among the seven characters, peace reigns and friendship grows. Nelson's charmingly realistic illustrations skillfully show the passage of time and humorously accurate emotions and body language. The textures shown in the fur and feathers and the small details in the large oil on canvas paintings create images for study (and framing). The message, so clearly read in the illustrations, is a universal truth-you reap what you sow and when shared with others, your joy will be magnified. VERDICT A timeless and delectable picture book choice.-Maryann H. Owen, Children's Literature Specialist, Mt. Pleasant, WI © Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Mother Bruce

Booklist (December 1, 2015 (Online))
Preschool-Kindergarten. Bruce the bear is a grump. He doesn’t like company. Or sunshine. Or rain. What he does like is eggs and finding new fancy ways of preparing them—yes, Bruce has the Internet and a stove. He is a very modern bear. Readers will no doubt start giggling as they see Bruce push his shopping cart through the forest to collect the necessary ingredients—honey straight from the hive (“He liked to support local business”), salmon, and, of course, goose eggs. Having obtained everything he needs, he heads home and gets ready to cook. But, then, wouldn’t you know it? The eggs hatch! This results in the grumpiest Bruce yet, and hilarity ensues as he attempts to get the baby geese, who are convinced he is their mother, to leave him alone. Comic illustrations range from full-page paintings to spot illustrations and panels that combine to show Bruce’s schemes to rid himself of the geese, culminating in a silly but sweet conclusion. This case of mistaken identity will lend itself to a fun-filled storytime.


I Don't Like Snakes

Booklist (September 1, 2015 (Vol. 112, No. 1))
Grades K-3. In this slithery tale about overcoming fears, a girl with an aversion to snakes has the misfortune of belonging to a snake-loving family. Using knowledge as an antivenin to her phobia, her parents explain how snakes move—giving details about their markings and skin, which is not slimy—and describe how these reptiles use their tongues and eyes. Her brother tries to scare her by relating how snakes capture their prey. In the end, for this youngster, to know them is to “really, really, reeeeealllly LIKE THEM!” Most of the double-page spreads feature pleasant cartoon drawings of the family on the left and realistic drawings of snakes and their distinctive qualities on the right. A different font is used to distinguish the family’s dialogue from the information about the snakes, clearly separating fact from fiction. Although this might not cure ophidiophobia, its duo design will let it slide easily into a storytime setting or into the hands of older readers looking for more detailed information about snakes.


Daylight Starlight Wildlife

School Library Journal (May 1, 2015)
PreS-Gr 2-This gorgeous picture book provides a look at animals that are active during the day (diurnal), those who come out at night (nocturnal), and a few that appear at sunrise or twilight (crepuscular). Minor relies on simple, lyrical text ("Speedy gray squirrel scurries all day in search of acorns to store for winter.") and stunning, full-color paintings to share characteristics of each creature, as he takes readers from day to night and back again. Many of the critters will be familiar to children (rabbit, deer, skunk), while several are lesser known (opossum, flying squirrel, luna moth). The use of comparisons and contrasts will be especially helpful in classroom settings, but browsers will also be attracted by the appealing, realistic illustrations. There are two pages of "Fun Facts" appended, which include thumbnail illustrations of the 22 animals, along with some interesting additional information for the most curious. VERDICT This lovely title should find a spot in all collections and will likely inspire greater outdoor observation and appreciation.-Sara-Jo Lupo Sites, George F. Johnson Memorial Library, Endicott, NY © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

The Book Itch

School Library Journal (September 1, 2015)
Gr 1-4-Taking an imaginative leap into the past, Nelson describes the role of the National Memorial African Bookstore in Harlem, which opened in the 1930s and became a place where all kinds of people came to read, talk, and buy books about African American history. Told from the point of view of Lewis Michaux Jr.-the bookstore owner's son and the author's relative-this title clearly explains what made this bookstore unique. Lewis Michaux Sr. had a passion for sharing books with others, which was reflected in his words "Knowledge is power./You need it every hour./READ A BOOK!" He welcomed his customers and allowed them to stay as long as they wanted to and made a platform available outside the store so that people could speak their minds; among the speakers were Malcolm X and Michaux himself. Christie's bold, colorful paintings help readers envision this landmark bookstore and the surrounding neighborhood. Back matter includes additional information about Lewis Michaux Sr. and an author's note in which Nelson describes her interest in the subject, the sources she used for her research, and her use of perspective. Nelson and Christie's Coretta Scott King Honor No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller (Carolrhoda, 2012) is aimed at older readers; this picture book explores Michaux for a slightly younger audience. VERDICT A strong endorsement of the power of books and reading, an excellent choice for history and biography collections, and a strong choice for educators emphasizing the importance of community.-Myra Zarnowski, City University of New York © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Wild Ideas

Publisher Description
From the creators of You Are Stardust comes a new informational picture book that brings the big ideas of their first book down to earth. Wild Ideas looks deep into the forests, skies and oceans to explore how animals solve problems. Whether it's weaving a safe place to rest and reflect, blowing a fine net of bubbles to trap fish, or leaping boldly into a new situation, the animals featured (including the orangutan, humpback whale and gibbon) can teach us a lot about creative problem solving tools and strategies.Like You Are Stardust, this book uses lyrical text grounded in current science alongside wonderfully detailed art to present problems as doorways to creative thinking. Wild Ideas encourages an inquiry-based approach to learning, inviting readers to indulge their sense of wonder and curiosity by observing the natural world, engaging with big ideas and asking questions. An author's note at the end delves deeper into the research behind the text.