A friend for all seasons. Hubery, Julia. Simon & Schuster (Atheneum), 2006. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 26pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-2685-6. Illustrated by Mei Matsuoka.
Robbie Raccoon loves his home, especially old father oak, the tree where he was born. One day as he is scampering about in old father oak’s branches, he notices father oak’s leaves are all falling to the ground. He and his friend, Chip, think father oak is crying and try to cheer him up. Robbie’s mother finds them singing father oak a happy song and explains that father oak is not sad, he is just getting ready for winter and that they, too, must begin making their winter preparations. The raccoons begin gathering leaves for their beds, eating as much as they can and tucking away acorns in the soil for spring surprises. When Robbie awakens in the spring he sees the five acorns they planted in the soil have grown into baby acorn trees that will grow and become big trees for generations to come. Young children will enjoy this cheery story while also getting an introduction to hibernation. The illustrations in this book help tell the story to young readers and make the characters relatable. (LB)
Across the wide ocean: The why, how, and where of. Young, Karen Romano. Harper Collins Publishing (Greenwillow Books), 2007. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 80pp. $19.89. ISBN 978-0-06-009087-6.
The ocean is a vast area full of mystery and intrigue and this book takes readers on an exploration of this colossal area. Children will delve into the journeys’ of a sea turtle, a shark, a whale, a submarine and a container ship as they travel the Atlantic Ocean. This book immerses readers in factual information about the ocean and those that inhabit and traverse its waters. The text is complemented with many photographs, maps and illustrations, to help teach children about oceans. Older children will enjoy reading and learning about oceans with this book’s fun presentation of this immense topic. (LB)
The American Indian: Past and Present. 6th Edition. Edited by Roger L. Nichols.
University of Oklahoma Press, 2008. [email protected], (405-325-3200). 448pp. $39.95. ISBN 978-0-8061-3856-5
This book, comprised of nearly 2 dozen essays, provides the reader with a brief glimpse of the innumerable hardships that many, if not most, American Indians have had to face over the last 300 years. The major strengths of The American Indian lie in its broad geographical coverage and historical depth. Whether tracing the origins of the “Red Man” identification in the Southeastern United States or discussing the impact of Nixon’s administration on American Indian policy, the essays seek to provide the reader with the means to better understand the influences that shaped the experiences of American Indian people. Although this title is best suited for readers that have some knowledge of American Indian culture, history and politics, it will be equally interesting to anyone with an interest in American History. (CL)
Art from her heart: Folk artist Clementine Hunter. Whitehead, Kathy and Shane W. Eans. Penguin Group, Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2008. [email protected], (800- 631-8571). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24219-9. Illustrated by Kathy Whitehead and Shane W. Evans.
“When Clementine decided to paint pictures, she didn’t wait for the perfect art studio. Nor did she wait for the world to find her art. “ With some encouragement and supplies from the plantation owners, Clementine was able to document her life from present experience and memory. The imagery in her paintings included backbreaking labor as well as celebratory times.
Art from her heart is a beautifully illustrated time capsule of Clementine Hunter, the first self-taught African American woman artist to capture national attention during the time of segregation. (JFJ)
Babies can’t eat kimchee!. Patz, Nancy and Susan L. Roth. Bloomsbury, 2007. [email protected], (212-674-5151). 26pp. $16.95. ISBN 1-59990-017-3.
Babies cannot each kimchee. They also cannot eat popcorn or dance and they do not know what an elephant is! Luckily, they will learn all of these things and more as they grow and get bigger. Soon they will even be able to play and whisper secrets to the older siblings that help them grow and learn each day. Readers with younger siblings will be able to relate this book to their own experiences with younger brothers and sisters. (LB)
Ballerina dreams. Thompson, Lauren. Macmillan Publishing (Feiwel and Friends), 2007. [email protected]usa.com. (646-307-5151). 36pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-312-37029-6.
All children, even those with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, can realize ballerina dreams. The ballerinas in this book have all overcome physical obstacles to realize their desire of dancing onstage. With the help of a dedicated physical therapist and helpers for each child, the students were able to perform and show off their new skills in front of an enthusiastic audience. The photographs in this book and personal introduction of each ballerina give this book an intimate touch that makes it a true inspiration to readers of all ages. (LB)
Batty about Texas. Smith, J. Jaye. Pelican Publishing Company, 2009. [email protected], (800-843-1724). 30pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-58980-528-8. Illustrated by Kathy Coates.
Bo is a Mexican free tailed bat from the state of Texas. In this book he takes readers on a journey through his state while educating them about the importance of bats and their benefits for humans. Readers will gain valuable insight into the importance of bats and the important role they play in our ecosystem. The illustrations in this book help to convey the story to the reader while drawing them in to the pages. Young elementary children will enjoy meeting Bo and learning about his species. (LB)
Bear’s day out. Rosen, Michael. Bloomsbury, 2007. [email protected], (212-727-8300). 25pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-59990-007-6. Illustrated by Adrian Reynolds.
Bear is all alone. He walks on the beach, splashes in the waves and sings all by himself. One day he hears the noise from a nearby city and is lured there by the tempting sounds. He visits the market, sees the tall buildings, and swings in the park. Soon, he finds himself sitting on a bench alone again, until a group of children discover him and lead him back to his home. Bear is happy when they all play in the waves, and sing and sleep in his cave together. The repetitive text and bright illustrations draw young children into this simple story of loneliness and finding friendship. (LB)
Bear’s picture. Pinkwater, Daniel. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 30pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-75923-9. Illustrated by D.B. Johnson.
Bear is a self assured artist who remains true to his vision despite the ongoing unfavorable critiques he receives from two passing gentleman. Contrasting illustrations with splashy vibrant, painterly shapes and color against sharp edges and grey scale create a visual parallel to the story line.
Bear’s Picture is a good choice to compliment children in their artistic endeavors. In addition to being a great introduction to abstract art, the story reinforces the idea that their creations are theirs alone regardless of the perception of those around them. (JFJ)
Beyond the billboard. Gates, Susan. Harcourt Inc., 2007. [email protected], (212-592-1023). 210pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-15-205983-5.
Firebird spends her days staring at the billboard that shields her family from the outside world. Their home is isolated from the nearby city, in a swamp where her father provides for the family by trapping eels and selling them to the local smokery. Firebird and her brother, Ford, are forbidden to have any contact with the outside world, not even to attend school. Ford is content to learn the eel business from his father and looks forward to his future in the swamp; while Firebird is intrigued with the outside world and spends much of her time creating purses made from eel skin. When Firebird discovers all of her purses are missing, she begins to question what her father and grandmother have told her about their family and the life they lead. Her search for the truth and what she learns will have a drastic impact on her life and the people she loves. Middle school readers are apt to enjoy reading about the lifestyle of the family in the swamp while also relating to the characters and the struggles they face. (LB)
Big words for little people. Curtis, Jaime Lee. Harper Collins Publishing (Joanna Cotler Books), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 30pp. $17.89. ISBN 978-0-006-112759-5. Illustrated by Laura Cornell.
“Although you are small, you can use Big Words too”. Big Words is another successfully written and illustrated book by Jaime Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell encouraging vocabulary expansion. Each “Big Word” is presented with its own anecdotal storyline that many children and adults can identify with directly.
The language presents teaching springboards for parents and teachers about proper behavior without being didactic in nature. Big words for little people celebrates the ability of our children to learn and demonstrates the fact that it is never too early to introduce new more demanding vocabulary to our young people. (JFJ)
Black indians: A hidden heritage. Katz, William Loren. Simon and Schuster (Simon Pulse), 1986. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 208pp. $11.99. ISBN 978-0689809019
Black Indians is a brief glimpse at some of the relationships between Native Americans and Africans, whether they were free men, freed men, or runaway slaves. Katz does a good job of providing the context behind many of the anecdotes he uses to highlight the types of interactions that characterized their experiences. While some runaway slaves sought refuge with Native American peoples, they even became respected war leaders and head men within their societies, others faced far different circumstances. Black Indians is an easy and informative book with plenty of pictures and illustrations to provide a clearer sense of how these cultures co-existed. I would recommend it to any young readers interested in Native Americans, especially those in the southeastern United States. (CL)
Blown away. Harlow, JoanHiatt. Simon & Schuster (Margaret K. McElderry), 2007.
[email protected], (800-233-2336). 258. $15.99.ISBN 1-4169-0781-5..
Set in the Florida Keys in 1935, the first half of this historical novel moves slowly. The second half turns into a fast-paced, page-turner when 13-year-old Jake Pitney, his parents, and his ill sister, struggle to survive the hurricane that destroys their home. Inspired by the real-life Labor Day hurricane in Florida, the author does well recreating the time and place and portraying convincing emotions through Jake and his family. Students grades 5-12 will finish this book with a good idea of a storm's destruction and an appreciation for modern day weather tracking. Recommended. (ADA)
The cat, or how I lost eternity. Richter, Jutta. Milkweed Editions, 2007. [email protected], (800-520-6455). 63pp. $14.00. ISBN 1-57131-676-0. Illustrated by Rotraut Susanne Berner.
Christine is late for class again and Mr. Hanke is not pleased. How can she possibly explain that the reason she is tardy is because she has to stop and talk to the cat? The white cat speaks to her every morning and she cannot continue on her way until the cat is finished. The cat is wise and tries to teach Christine the ways of the world. Christine finds herself struggling to decide whether she should listen to the cat or her own instincts. Upper elementary students may relate to Christine’s struggle to find answers for herself when no one else is able to understand her problem. (LB)
Chase. Hass, Jessie. Harper Collins Publishing (Greenwillow Books), 2007. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 250pp. $16.99. ISBN 0-06-112850-3.
Chase takes place in Pennsylvania coal country about 10 years after the civil war. The countryside has its problems. The Molly McGuires, a secret society of Englishmen, have replaced unions and are killing coal mine supervisors. Chase has witnessed one such murder and must now move quickly through farmland and forest to escape a mysterious man named Fraser. The story's beginning may be a little tough to follow for readers without a coal-mining, post-civil war background. But, the story gains momentum when Phin is forced to use his instinct and survival skills to survive. Language and content is appropriate for grades 6 and up, but an older reader may be able to appreciate the historical aspect more. (ADA)
Cherry heaven. Adlington, L.J.. Harper Collins Publishing (Greenwillow Books), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 458pp. $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-143181-4.
Having grown up in war-torn City Five, Kat and Tanka J are no strangers to brutality and prejudice. To escape a gene-war, Kat and Tanka, along with their adoptive parents, relocate to Cherry Heaven in the New Frontier. The New Frontier boasts of peace and equality for all its citizens, no matter what their genetics. Readers will immediately sense Cherry Heaven is too perfect, which will keep them turning pages in a frantic search to discover the truth behind this mysterious, utopian society of the New Frontier. This book is unusual, mixing science fiction with fantasy, but it is satisfying nonetheless. Reading the prequel Diary of Pelly D is recommended, but not mandatory. Grades 8 + (ADA)
Dani Bennoni. Moeyaert, Bart. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-932425-97-0. Publishing date: March 2008. Category: Fiction.
It is the summer of 1939 in Belgium. Ten-year-old Bing wants nothing more than to be with his brother Mone. But Mone has been drafted, and the threat of the war hangs heavy on the minds of all the locals, including his mom. To pass the time, but primarily to impress Mone upon his return, Bing begs soccer star Dani to teach him to play. When Dani refuses, Bing is forced to get creative to get his soccer lessons. It will take a patient reader to get through this story. It is slow-paced and disconnected. Recommended for a discussion class in college (maybe), but not recommended for a middle school or high school library. (ADA)
Don't talk to me about the war. Adler, David A.. Penguin Group, Inc. (Viking), 2008. [email protected], 800-631-8571. 216pp. $15.99.
Thirteen-year-old Tommy Duncan lives in the Bronx in New York. Like other boys his age, he likes baseball, radio, and friends. But the year is 1940, and war talk dominates the airwaves, the newspapers, and the local gossip. When stress leads to his mom's ailment, Tommy begins listening to the stories of a Jewish Friend at school. Gradually the war becomes more real to Tommy. As he begins to understand the gravity of the times, he learns to be more concerned about others rather than himself. This novel uses good historical detail and moves the reader quietly through the 1940s, a time when radios and newspapers held the attention of many people. (ADA)
Down to the bone. Dole, Mayra Lazara. Harper Collins Publishing (Harper Teen), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 367pp. $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-084311-3.
Seventeen-year-old Laurie feels abandoned, heartbroken, and confused. She is a lesbian, and this is reason enough for her to be kicked out of her Catholic school as well as her own home. When Laurie's ex-lover Marlena decides to go straight and marry, Lauri begins to wonder if she should do the same. If she did, she would be allowed back to school and regain her family's acceptance. Author Mayra Dole has written an intense and authentic novel where the characters seem honest, admirable, and down-to-earth. Students will find themselves cheering for protagonist Lauri with the turn of each page. Grades 9 +. (ADA)
Dragon's keep. Carey, Janet. Harcourt Inc. (Magic Carpet Books), 2007. [email protected], 407-345-2000. 302pp. $7.95. ISBN978-0-15-206401-3. .-
Author Janet Carey went all out to write an absolutely riveting fantasy book that narrates the tale of a fourteen-year-old princess named Rosalind. The story takes place in the year 1145 AD. According to prophecy, Rosalind is to be the next Queen of Wilde Island. But Rosalind has a deep, dark secret – a secret that requires her to wear gloves and a secret that only she and her mother can know. When Lord Faul, a dragon terrorizing the island, captures Rosalind and takes her high into the mountains to care for his motherless pips, the prophecy may be jeopardized. Instead, Rosalind learns of her dragon blood and forms an unexpected alliance with Lord Faul and his young. This story cannot be any more captivating. The action is non-stop. Highly recommended for ages 12 and up. (ADA)
Finding a fallen hero: The death of a ball turret gunner. Korkuc, Bob. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2008. [email protected], (405-325-3200) 256pp. $24.95. ISBN 978-0806138923
Finding a Fallen Hero is the story of one man’s efforts to learn the truth surrounding the events that lead to his uncle’s death, burial and reburial during World War II. Anthony “Korky” Korkuc was the ball turret gunner in a B-17 Flying Fortress that was shot down over Wilmandingen, Germany in February of 1944. Korkuc’s B-17 was just one of hundreds of bombers to fly over Germany during the “Big Week”. Unfortunately, his bomber would not return to its home base at Ridgewell Airfield, in England. Battling mechanical problems, the B-17 dropped out of formation and came under attack from German fighters, crashing in the countryside near Wilmandingen.
This is a really captivating and personal account of one man’s efforts to learn as much about his uncle and his experiences in the war. Finding a Fallen Hero recounts the years of requesting documents, searching, and interviewing that Mr. Korkuc undertook to tell the story of his uncle Anthony. Along the way, the author finds – and meets face-to-face – several of Anthony’s crew members on that fateful mission, as well as German residents of the town of Wilmandingen who were present as events unfolded. This is an excellent book for anyone who is interested in World War II. Not only does it vividly recount some of the experiences of World War II veterans, but it also provides many insights into how you could go about tracing your own relative’s story during the war. Finding a Fallen Hero will surprise you with the wealth of knowledge that is there to be found and tempt you to start your own search as pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place. (CL)
Finn's going. Kelly, Tom. Harper Collins Publishing (Greenwillow Books), 2007. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 278pp. $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-121454-7.
Danny and Finn are identical twin brothers. They lead a normal life until a terrible, unexpected accident leads to the death of 10-year-old Finn. Struggling to cope with the loss of his brother, Danny runs away from home. The time away allows Danny time to grieve as well as get away from painful reminders. This book moves slowly and is littered with British slang. Students in grades 5-8 could read the book, but not all students would be able to connect to the text. (ADA)
Fly, monarch, fly! Wallace, Nancy Elizabeth. Marshall Cavendish (Cavendish Children’s Books), 2008. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5425-0.
All are welcome to join Bert the Butterfly Man at Butterfly Place. There you will find Minna, Pip and their parents hunting for butterfly eggs, caterpillars and learning from Bert about the metamorphosis of monarchs and their migration.
Nancy Elizabeth Wallace’s cut paper and origami illustrations lend well to the sunny late summer atmosphere of the cycle of monarch butterflies. Fly, Monarch, Fly! is a perfect supplement for practical metamorphosis exploration in the classroom. In addition to guidelines for planting your own butterfly garden, creating monarch magnets and resources for learning more about monarchs, readers will discover what is inside Bert’s Big Blue Bag! (JFJ)
Frannie in pieces. Ephron, Delia. Harper Collins Publishing (Laura Geringer Books), 2007. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 374pp. $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-074717-6.
Frannie couldn’t be more traumatized when she finds her artist father slumped over, dead on the floor of his bathroom. While going through his belongings after his death, she discovers a mysterious 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle her dad fashioned. Convinced that the puzzle holds a message from her father, she becomes obsessed with putting it together. Ultimately the puzzle becomes the one thing that helps Frannie come to terms with her dad's death and understand her own existence. This book is imaginative and insightful. It is sure to enlighten students about relationships and life. Ages 12 and up. (ADA)
From slave to soldier: Based on a true Civil War story. Hopkinson, Deborah. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin Paperbacks),2007. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 44pp. $3.99. ISBN 978-0-689-83966-9. Illustrated by Brian Folca.
Johnny hates being a slave and more than anything he yearns for his freedom and the freedom of his uncle. When the Union Army passes by him as he is tending to his master’s mule, he makes the decision to join them and fight for the freedom he so desires. He learns that being in the army is difficult, especially at this young age, and he wonders if he has made the right choice. He is tested one night when the army needs him to deliver food to the soldiers and he must face this demanding challenge on his own. He is able to successfully complete this task and this helps him to realize that joining the Union army was the right choice and he cherishes his new friends and freedom. Although the story of Johnny is fictitious, it is based on the story of an enslaved boy named John McCline who joins a group of Union soldiers during the Civil War. Elementary children will enjoy this story of heroism while gaining insight into what it meant to be a slave and fight for your freedom. (LB)
Heat wave. Spinelli, Eileen. Harcourt Inc., 2007. [email protected]. (212-592-1023). 30pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-15-216779-0. Illustrated by Betsy Lewin.
Every man, woman, child and animal in the city is trying to cool off during the heat wave. Women have stopped turning on their ovens, men are taking long soaks in the bathtub, animals are waiting for a cool breeze and children are squirting each other with hoses. Unfortunately, none of these tactics are working and each day continues to get hotter. Then one evening as darkness falls, people take their pillows and quilts down to the riverbank, hoping to find relief from the incessant heat. Soon, everyone falls asleep and has the same dream; a rain shower comes and breaks the heat wave! Young readers will enjoy this book through both the text and the illustrations that help to bring the characters and their feelings to life. (LB)
Horse song: The naadam of Mangolia. Lewin, Ted and Betsy Lewin. Lee & Low Books, 2008. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 44pp. $19.95. ISBN 978-1-58430-277-3.
Mangolia is home to majestic mountains and dense forests, friendly people, and the Naadam festivals, held every summer all around Mangolia. The Naadam is a time when the people of Mongolia come together to celebrate their culture and heritage. One of the highlights of these festivals is a horseracing event in which boys and girls race half-wild horses for honor and glory. In this book Ted and Betsy Lewin have traveled to Mongolia to see the brave children in person and witness this great race. The Lewins are welcomed into the home of one of these children and get to experience not only the Naadam first hand, but also their way of life. Young readers will enjoy the excitement of the horse race while learning about a new culture. The colorful and detailed illustrations help the reader relate to the text and bring this fascinating book to life. (LB)
I love you mouse. Graham, John. Penguin Group, Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 30pp.$15.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25079-8. Illustrated by Tommie de Paola.
The moment a child first exhibits the ability to care and nurture another entity is a heartwarming one. Tommie de Paola’s signature illustrative style accentuates this endearingly childlike verse as a young boy tells a myriad of baby animals that he loves them and how he would specifically care for them, if he were of the same species.
Page after page the reader is introduced to the concept of nurturing another in addition to picking up tidbits of animal behaviors as the boy interacts with a puppy, a bear cub, an owlet and more. (JFJ)
I want to be free. Slate, Joseph. Penguin Group (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2009. [email protected], (800-631-8751). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24342-4. Illustrated by E.B. Lewis.
A slave’s one wish is to be free before he dies, but his master repeatedly tells him “you belong to me.” He takes matters into his own hands, and runs away from the plantation despite the consequences he will face if he is caught. Along the way, he encounters an orphaned slave boy and despite the risk, takes the boy with him on his journey. He cares for the boy throughout the long trip, and continues on refusing to give up on his dream. When at last he reaches his destination, he finds that he not only earned his freedom but the love and gratitude of the boy he helped. The illustrations compliment the simple yet powerful text in this book. Young children will find the words easy to understand and the pictures a compelling storyteller. (LB)
Impulse. Hopkins, Ellen. Simon and Schuster (Margaret K. McElderry), 2007.
[email protected], (800-223-2336). 666pp. $16.99. ISBN 1-4169-0356-9. .
Impulse is a book of free verse poetry that presents and develops the dark side of human nature. It describes the lives of three teenagers who share a history of suicidal behavior. Each of the teenagers is given a second chance at life when they unwittingly stumble into one another at Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital. Together they learn the importance of human bonds, but is it enough to keep them from following the one deep, dark impulse they all share? Although the book is over 600 pages, its free verse poetry format makes it a quick read. Bouncing back among issues of abuse, abortion, and homosexuality, this book is sure to impact, however minimal, a student's life. Recommended for Grades 9-12. (ADA)
Inside all. Mason, Margaret H. Dawn Publications, 2008. [email protected], (800-545-7475). 28pp. $8.95. ISBN 978-1-58469-112-9. Illustrated by Holly Welch.
Beginning with the great starry universe and step by step on a nesting doll-like journey the reader is taken to the nestled heart of a child. Vibrant mixed media illustrations in combination with natural easy rhyme convey that we all have a safe place in the often overwhelming expanse of our surroundings. We belong inside all, connected to nature. (JFJ)
It’s time to sleep, my love. Metaxas, Eric. Macmillan Publishing (Feiwel and Friends), 2008. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 30pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-312-38371-8. Illustrated by Nancy Tillman.
Fishes crooning. Tigers whispering. Turtledoves cooing.
Breathtaking illustrations accompany this warming lullaby. As bedtime approaches and eyes grow heavy It’s time to sleep, my love shows creatures in varied locations and seasons settling down for the night with a common refrain.
Imagine snuggling into a panda’s fur atop a eucalyptus or being softly bundled on a personally sized sleigh pulled by a caribou. The images are ethereal, magical and inherently loving which make them fitting to be the last that one sees before settling down for a period of rest.
It’s time to sleep, my love will entice dreams and encourage “closing eyelids quick” of the most resistant sleepers while enchanting those who have later bedtimes. (JFJ)
Ivy and Bean take care of the babysitter. Barros, Annie. Chronicle Books, 2008. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 123pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-5685-0. Illustrated by Sophie Blackall.
Bean has a new babysitter and she is not happy about it. Her parents have entrusted her big sister Nancy to take care of her for the afternoon. Bean’s unhappiness with this arrangement leads her to enlist the help of her friend Ivy. Together the two friends bend the rules, which gets them into trouble and teaches not only them some valuable lessons but the babysitter as well. Young readers are drawn to Bean’s energetic character and empathize with her emotions when things go wrong. The illustrations bring the story and characters to life in this cheerful tale. (LB)
The John Hancock club. Borden, Louise. Simon & Schuster (Margaret . McElderry), 2007. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-1813-2. Illustrated by Adam Gustavson.
Sean is a third grade student and he is nervous about learning to write in cursive. Every student in his class that is able to master this skill will be inducted into the John Hancock Club. The third graders practice writing letters in their spare time, trying hard to get the loops and curves exact! When at last the entire class has perfected this skill, their teacher holds a special induction ceremony complete with a quill pen and cake! Older elementary students will relate to the difficulty Sean faces in learning a new skill and the apprehension that often accompanies such a task. (LB)
Kiss of the Fur Queen. Highway, Tomson. University of Oklahoma Press, 2008. [email protected], (405-325-3200). 310pp. $21.95. ISBN 978-0806139333.
Kiss of the Fur Queen traces the lives of and experiences of two Cree boys, from their youth in Northern Manitoba to their adult lives as pianists, dancers, social workers, and playwrights. The story begins in the 1950s when Jeremiah and Gabriel Okimasis- the novel’s protagonists – leave home to attend boarding school. The book follows each boy as he grows to adulthood, recounting their actions, emotions, and dreams as they attempt to determine their place in a world ruled by non-Indian people. Tomson does an amazing job of exploring the idea of what it means to be Native American, or in the case of the Okimasis – First Nations, in today’s society. At its most basic level Kiss of the Fur Queen is about the life and trials of two Cree brothers, on another level it is about how our culture and experiences shape the choices we make and the way we live our lives. Tomson’s prose is nimble as he effortlessly switches between characters and their circumstances. This is a great read for anyone interested in Native American and First Nations people but I would also recommend to anyone looking for a dramatic, poignant, and ultimately touching story about life. It is worth mentioning that this title is best suited for more mature readers as there is a substantial amount of adult material (i.e. rough language, graphically sexual situations, and related to sexuality) that may not be suitable for certain readers. (CL)
Matisse: Dance for joy. Rubin, Susan Goldman. Chronicle Books, 2008. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 22pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-6288-2.
The youngest of readers will be introduced to Henri Matisse and his works while celebrating human expression through dance with this board book. Matisse’s brilliant works of art will capture the attention of infants and toddlers while complementing the book’s exuberant text. This is a fun, eye-catching book that young children will enjoy independently or hearing read-aloud. (LB)
Millie in the snow. Steffensmeier, Alexander. Walker & Company, 2007. [email protected], (212-727-8300). 24pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9800-8.
Millie is not just an ordinary cow, she is a mail cow! Her job is to help deliver mail, and during the holidays that is a big responsibility. After helping the mail carrier deliver all the cards and gifts, he sends her home with a pack full of gifts intended for her, the farmer and other animals on her farm. Millie soon finds herself walking in circles, lost in a sea of snow and unsure of how to get home. After trudging through the snow for quite some time Millie finds her way and is able to make her final delivery to the animals and people in her own farmyard. Young children will be able to empathize with Millie as she searches for her home and rejoice with her when she finds it. The illustrations bring the story alive and help convey the text to young readers. (LB)
My mother the cheerleader. Sharenow, Robert. Harper Collins Publishing (Laura Geringer Books), 2007. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 288pp. $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-114897-2.
It is 1960 in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Thirteen-year-old Louise Collins thinks her life is pretty dull, even when her "cheerleading" mother yanks her out of school as protest to desegregation. Louise never gave any thought to her mother's sudden to pull her from school. When Louise befriends, Morgan Miller, a charismatic yet mysterious man from New York, her attitude begins to change. Only when Louise begins to analyze herself, her mother's actions, and the world around her does she discover the ramifications of hate and prejudice. Students are sure to gain insight in 1960 politics with this powerful, thought provoking read. Grades 7 + (ADA)
My very first book of motion. Carle, Eric. Penguin Group (Philomel), 2007. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 20pp. $5.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24748-4.
Swim, fly, slide, or waddle; which animal in these pages performs each motion? This board book takes an interactive approach to reading as toddlers turn the pages to an animal and then flip through the bottom half of the pages to find that animals corresponding motion. The signature Eric Carle illustrations are bright and cheerful for infants and toddlers and get their attention focused on the book. (LB)
Name that style: All about isms in art. Raczika, Bob. Lerner Publishing Group (Millbrook Press), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 32pp. ISBN 978-0-8255-7586-3.
What is the difference between Cubism and Pointillism? What is Surrealism? The basics of fourteen different styles of art spanning 1430-1970’s are explained and accompanied with examples of artists who created in each style.
Name that style is a wonderful teacher’s aide that can be used in a multitude of ways. Students and teachers may use it as a brief overview of style differences for introduction or reference or as a springboard for further research of a targeted style or artist. (JFJ)
Niner. Golding, Theresa Martin. Boyds Mills Press (Front Street), 2008. [email protected], 800-490-5111. 208pp. $16.95. ISBN978-1-59078-549-2. .
Twelve-year-old Macey knows she is different. Her birth parents, two foster mothers, and her adoptive mother have all abandoned her, she only has nine fingers, and her skin is a different color than her sister’s. When Macey finds a broken locket in her yard, she is convinced that it is a clue leading to all the unanswered questions she has about her past. With the help of her sister and father, Macey’s family secrets unravel to reveal racial prejudice, homelessness, and mental illness. No loose end is left untied in this book, where the protagonist takes her readers on an emotional journey. This book is recommended for grades 5-8. (ADA)
Now you see her. Mitchard, Jacquelyn. Harper Collins (Harpertempest), 2007. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 200pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-06-111683-4.
This story is a typical thriller. Fifteen-year-old Hope Shay has a seemingly happy life. She is smart and beautiful, she has a supportive family, and she has just landed the break-through acting role in a prestigious arts prep school, where handsome Logan is her onstage Romeo. But Hope is abducted – she has the bruises, the trauma, and the dramatic story to prove it. Nothing is at it seems in this story where Hope finds it difficult to separate reality from fantasy. Readers will be kept guessing as to whether or not Hope realizes the gravity of her situation. Probably not a good book to teach in the classroom, since some content is sexual in nature. Engaging enough to be kept on the shelves in the library. Grades 9 and up. (ADA)
Off to first grade. Borden, Louise. Simon and Schuster (Margaret K. McElderry Books), 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 37pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-689-87395-9. Illustrated by Joan Rankin.
Today is the day that twenty-three kids will start first grade in Mrs. Miller’s class. She has her room all ready and is eager for the students to arrive. The students are all at home anxiously awaiting the moment when they will enter her classroom. Some are feeling excited, some are apprehensive, and some are sad to be done with kindergarten. The children are anxious to read, play sports, do artwork and learn English. It is a big day for both Mrs. Miller and her students! Elementary children will relate to the characters in this book and the many feelings this book conveys to the reader. The illustrations enhance the story and bring the characters and their emotions to life. (LB)
The Oklahoma land run. Townsend, UnaBelle. Pelican Publishing Company, 2009. [email protected], (800-843-1724). 32pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-58980-566-8. Illustrated by Emile Henriquez.
Nine-year old Jesse is his family’s only hope to claim land during the land run. Pa fell the week before and broke his arm, which has left him unable drive their team of horses and stake a claim in the Oklahoma Territory tomorrow. Despite the crowd and aggressive actions of others, Jesse is able to handle their horses and wagon and find the perfect plot of land for his family’s home. The illustrations help to convey the text to the reader and bring the story and characters to life. Elementary students will enjoy Jesse’s story while being introduced to a small piece of American history. (LB)
Over in the Arctic. Berkes, Marianne. Dawn Publications, 2008. [email protected], (800-545-7475). 26pp. $8.95. ISBN 978-1-58469-110-5. Illustrated by Jill Dubin.
Cut paper illustrates amazing Arctic animals one by one in this rhythmic counting book. Readers will learn about arctic animals and their specific behaviors in addition to the arctic tundra in which they live.
Berkes and Dublin both include tips, resources and additional activities for readers. Berkes offers tips on extended activities relating to the arctic while Dublin the illustrator provides guidelines on creating paper collages. Over in the Arctic is much more than a typical singing counting book. (JFJ)
Peiling and the chicken-fried Christmas. Chen, Pauline. Bloomsbury, 2007. [email protected], (212-727-8300). 134pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-59990-122-6.
Peiling feels left out. Her family has lived in the United States since she was a small child, but they have never celebrated Christmas. With the Christmas season upon them, she convinces her parents that this is the year they should have presents under a tree, stockings on the mantel, and a traditional Christmas dinner. Her parents reluctantly agree, but their idea of a Christmas celebration does not live up to Peiling’s expectations. Through this experience Peiling comes to realize that her home and family are what is really important and they are what make a celebration truly special. Upper elementary and middle school students will be drawn to Peiling’s character and relate to the struggles she faces as she learns to accept herself for who she truly is. (LB)
Prince of underwhere. Hale, Bruce. Harper Collins Publishing, 2008. [email protected], (212-2007-7000). 166pp. $16.89. ISBN 978-0-06-085125-5. Illustrated by Shane Hillman.
Zeke, his twin sister Stephanie, their neighbor Hector, and Hector’s cat Fitz have a big job ahead of them. They must work together to help Zeke, who according to ancient prophecy, is to free the Undies from the rule of the sinister UnderLord. Will Zeke destroy the UnderLord’s throne and become prince? Students grades 3-6 would enjoy reading to find out. This is a brief read with mildly amusing underwear and wedgie puns. Reluctant readers would find the part novel/part comic book format attractive. (ADA)
Prom kings and drama queens. Cirrone, Dorian. Harper Collins Publishing (Harper Teen), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 200pp. $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-114373-1. .
Emily Bennet is a teenage Drama Queen with a busy schedule and high aspirations! She has dedicated her junior year in high school to landing her long-time crush Brian Harrington, going to some sort of prom, and becoming editor and chief of the school newspaper. Carrying through with her plans is easy at first, but following through becomes increasingly difficult when she realizes she's wired for goodness, rather than spite. In a story where raising money for a good cause and discovering that her editor-in-chief rival is kind of cute, Emily is forced to go against her premeditated plans. This book will keep a middle school audience wanting to read more. Trivial problems and character emotions are exaggerated, but they make for a good comedy. Ages 12 and up. (ADA)
River of dreams. Talbott, Hudson. Penguin Group (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2009. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 39pp. $17.99. ISSBN 978-0-399-24521-3.
The Hudson River has a long and symbolic history in the United States. It has served our country economically as a trade route, strategically as a military post and a launching point for environmental activism. This book chronicles these many events and more as it travels through time and explores the countless roles the Hudson River has played throughout our country’s history. This book encompasses numerous detailed illustrations, maps and timelines that enhance the text and convey this book to the reader. (LB)
Rotten school: The rottenest angel. Stine, R.L. Harper Collins Publishing (Parachute Press), 2007. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 112pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-06-078827-5. Illustrated by Trip Park.
Bernie Bridges is having a great time at Rotten School. He has a room to himself, each morning another Rotten School student brings him his breakfast in bed and he has great friends. This all changes drastically when a new student, Angel Goodeboy, arrives. Suddenly Bernie has to share his room, get his own breakfast and watch helplessly as Angel manipulates his friends. Even the teachers and his pets seem to be turning on him. Bernie makes it his mission to prove that Angel is not an angel and get everything back to the way it should be. Upper elementary students will enjoy the humor in this book while also relating to Bernie’s struggles with school and friendship. (LB)
Rufus the scrub does not wear a tutu. McEwan, Jamie. Darby Creek Publishings, 2007. [email protected], (614-873-7955). 64pp. $14.95. ISBN 978-1-58196-060-3. Illustrated by John Margeson.
Rufus will do anything to be a better football player, even take ballet lessons. He tries to hide his ballet classes from his teammates, but in time, they discover that he is leaving football practice early to take dance lessons with a bunch of little girls! They laugh and make fun of him, but when his new dance skills pay off for the team no one is laughing.
Young children will like the humor in this book as well as the simple message it delivers. Readers will relate to Rufus and his desire to himself. (LB)
Saints of Augustine. Ryan, P.E.. Haper Collins Publishing (Harper Teen), 2007. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 308pp. $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-085811-7.
Sam and Charlie were best friends, or they used to be. While Sam tries to deal with his dad's, and his own, homosexuality, he feels it best to cut his ties with his best friend Charlie. Charlie could use a good friend to help him cope with his mom's death, his dad's newfound alcoholism, and his own escape from drugs. Saints of Augustine deals with several key issues teenagers must deal with eventually. Reconciliation, wrong assumptions, and discovering oneself are among some of the themes that will captivate readers right through the end. This book has realistic language and convincing characters. Grades 9 + (ADA)
Samsara dog. Manos, Helen. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2007. [email protected], (800-968-0989). 34pp. $17.95. ISBN 978-1-933605-51-7. Illustrated by Julie Vivas.
Dog lived many times. Each of his lives came and went, and with each life came a new role for him with new lessons to learn. Along the way he was a dog on his own with nobody to love, a rescue dog in the cold mountains, and a family pet with four girls who adored him. In his final life he learned his greatest lesson when he came to live with a boy and learned to love him more than he loved himself. Young readers will enjoy following Dog’s journey through his many lives and the lessons he learned on the way. The illustrations tell the story of Dog’s journey and convey Dog’s many adventures to the reader. (LB)
Simply Sarah patches and scratches. Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Marshall Cavendish, 2007. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 74pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5347-5. Illustrated by Marcy Ramsey.
Sarah prides herself on being a problem solver, but her friend Peter has a problem that seems impossible to resolve. He wants a dog for a pet, but Granny Belle will not let him have one because they are too much work. Sarah tries to convince Peter that another pet can be just as much fun as a dog, but he rejects every animal she brings to him. As a last resort, Sarah brings a cat to Peter and Granny Belle and has to convince them both that it is the perfect pet for them. Elementary students will enjoy reading this book and relating to the characters of Sarah and Peter, while also trying to solve the problems with Sarah as she encounters them in the book. (LB)
Sir Lancelot the great. Morris, Gerald. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008. [email protected], 617-351-5000. 92pp. $15.00. ISBN978-0-618-77714-3. Illustrated by Aaron Renier.
Author Gerald Morris has written a truly engaging and very humorous story about the fearless, brave, and oh-so-shiny knight, Sir Lancelot. As long as Lancelot is able to take his naps, he will have the energy to outwit any of his antagonists. Readers will not only laugh while reading this novel, but they will also learn about the Legend of King Arthur. The text is easy to read, lighthearted, and appears to adhere to traditional versions of the story. This would make a great read-aloud to upper elementary students and reluctant readers. Illustrated and highly recommended. Grades 3-7. (ADA)
Slam dunk. King, Donna. Houghton Mifflin Co. Kingfisher Publications), 2007. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 145pp. $5.95. ISBN 978-0-7534-6155-6.
Ashlee Carson has all the ingredients of being a perfect basketball player. She has the height, the talent, and the determination to be the best. When she gets the chance to compete for a place on the National Youth Basketball Team, she convinces herself to betray her mom and contact her deadbeat father. This is a quick read where the action never slackens. It opens a door into the high-pressure world of sports, where just being good at the game isn’t enough. Recommended for grades 5-8. (ADA)
Something happened. Logsted, Greg. Simon and Schuster (Simon Pulse), 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 202pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-4169-5078-3.
Billy is struggling with the death of his dad and looking for someone who can understand his emotions. When his English teacher, Miss Gate, reaches out to offer the support he so desperately needs he gladly accepts her help. They begin to spend more and more time together and their friendship starts to develop into more than what Billy was searching for. Now he must figure out how to resolve his feelings about Miss Gate while still trying to cope with his Dad’s death and get back to being a regular teenager. This book contains mature themes and would be best suited for older readers. (LB)
Sophie and the next-door monsters. Case, Chris. Walker & Company, 2008. [email protected], (212-727-8300). 30pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9756-8.
Sophie is nervous! She is convinced the new neighbors are monsters and her mother has invited them to her house for dinner tonight! She puts on a brave face and heads downstairs to meet them. During dinner she discovers that she is enjoying the youngest neighbor and even takes him up to her room to play. When their evening comes to an end she realizes that meeting new people, or monsters, can be fun even if they are different from you. The illustrations help to bring Sophie and the monsters to life and help capture the emotions in this book. Young children will relate to Sophie’s character and learn from her bravery as they face new situations in their own lives. (LB)
Spin the bottle. Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody. Penguin Group, Inc. (Dial), 2008. [email protected], 800-631-8571.
239pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-8037-3191-2. .
Middle school is a whole different world, and the students in it are a whole different breed of people – the girls are glamorous and the boys are strange and quirky. Protagonist Phoebe Hart, aspiring actress, struggles to find a group into which she will best fit. The stakes are high when Phoebe discovers she may have to ditch her ever-dependable friend Harper to partake in the Drama Club's opening-night tradition of Spin the Bottle. Readers will laugh and relate to the truths of middle school drama in this personal narrative. Recommended for grades 5-8. (ADA)
Stricken field: The little bighorn since 1876. Greene, Jerome A. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2008. [email protected], (405-325-3200) 352pp. $34.95. ISBN 978-0806137919
Greene’s book is a complete accounting of the history of the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. While he does not spend an inordinate amount of time discussing the events and actions that were popularly referred to as “Custer’s Last Stand”, Greene does paint a fairly detailed picture of what transpired on that hallowed ground in 1876. Yet Stricken Field is about more than just the story of Custer, Reno, and Benteen or the Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne people. This book traces the development and increasing sophistication of the federal government and the National Park Service’s efforts to preserve and interpret the site’s legacy for the public. Stricken Field is intended to be read as an institutional history of the monument; accounting for all the research, collections, construction, and interpretation that has occurred at the monument since the early 1890’s. It is an excellent story of how the National Park Service has responded to rapidly changing cultural, social, and historical currents. (CL)
Stuff: The life of a cool demented dude. Strong, Jeremy. Harper Collins Publishing (Harpertempist), 2007. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 231pp. $15.99. ISBN 0-06-084105-2. Illustrated by Matthew S. Armstrong.
Fourteen-year-old Simon (aka Stuff) has got his hands full. He struggles to accept his new stepmother and her prissy, know-it-all daughter. In addition, he works hard to avoid being attacked by a giant rabbit, and to make matters worse, he wants to break up with his current girlfriend for the more cool and stunning new girl in school. The characters in this book are honest and believable. The text and comic-style panel work together to make a humorous storyline all readers (especially males) can relate to and enjoy. This book needs to be taking up shelf space in all middle and high school libraries. (ADA)
Summer beat. Franco, Betsy. Simon & Schuster (Margaret K. MElderry), 2007. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-1237-1. Illustrated by Charlotte Midleton.
From the clackity-clack of a skateboard’s wheels on the sidewalk, the swish swoosh of a hammock swaying in the breeze, and the sizzle of burgers on a grill, the sounds of summer are highlighted in this book. The sounds that are highlighted are complemented by both rhyming text and bold illustrations. Young readers will enjoy hearing this read aloud again and again. (LB)
Those darn squirrels. Rubin, Adam. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008. [email protected] (617-351-500). 32pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-547-00703-8. Illustrated by Daniel Salmeri.
Old man Fookwire was grumpy. He hated pie. He hated puppies. He really hated squirrels. The only thing Fookwire liked was birds. He liked bonga birds, baba birds, and yaba birds, to name a few. He really liked painting pictures of birds.
While building extravagant bird feeders to entice the birds to stick around in the winter, Fookwire finds himself in battle with the “cleverest of all woodland creatures”, the squirrels. The reader observes the strategic planning on both sides of the feeder, so to speak, fueled by cottage cheese and pepper or cherry cola with salt and vinegar chips.
These delightfully whimsical illustrations enhance the wry quirky storyline and language will delight the most ardent squirrel lovers and haters alike. Squirrels, are after all “fuzzy little geniuses”. (JFJ)
Three cups of tea. Mortenson, Greg, David Oliver Relin. Penguin Group, Inc. (Dial), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 209pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3392-3.
When Greg Mortenson wandered into a tiny Pakistani village after becoming lost on a mountaineering expedition, he had no idea that it would change the entire course of his life. He was so touched by the villagers’ hospitality that he vowed to return the favor to them by building a much-needed school for their children. That one school soon turned into over sixty schools throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan. Despite the many challenges he faces, he continues to risk his life to provide educational opportunities to this area of the world and in doing so hopes to promote peace and equality for women. Based on the best selling novel, this book has been adapted for younger readers. The story of Greg Mortenson is inspiring for all ages and this version has an interview with Greg’s twelve year old daughter that will intrigue children in her age group. (LB)
Three Plays. Momaday, N. Scott. University of Oklahoma Press, 2007. [email protected], (405-325-3200). 177pp. $24.95. ISBN 978-0806138282.
The title of this book pretty much says it all. Momaday uses historical and cultural references to produce 2 plays and one screenplay. Three Plays is an amazing collection of stories that will make you laugh, cry, and think. It requires no former knowledge of Kiowa culture or historical events, only an interest in Native American culture. It is an excellent book for young and old readers alike.
The first play, “The Indolent Boys”, takes place at the Kiowa Boarding School in Anadarko, Oklahoma and is based on events that took place in the winter of 1891. During that winter 3 boys at the school ran away, attempting to return to their villages, they were overcome by exposure to the elements and their deaths led to conflict at the school. Momaday tells the story primarily through the eyes of the white school teachers and superintendent, using their words to convey the sense that although they had the best intentions, white people still did not understand the values and cultures of Indian people. While the teachers may not understand, Momaday uses two Kiowa characters, John Pai and Emdotah, to identify the sources of tension between the two cultures.
The second play, “Children of the Sun”, is somewhat allegorical. It takes the form of a Grandmother telling stories to children of the times when animals could talk and the earth and Kiowa people were taking shape.
The final play “The Moon in Two Windows” is also based on historical events and centers around the experiences of Luther Standing Bear at the Carlisle Indian School. This is the strongest of the three plays, written in screenplay form, Momaday does an amazing job of setting up each scene and using dialogue to expound on the experiences of Native American boys at Carlisle and what affects that had on their lives. (CL)
The trouble with dragons. Gliori, Debi. Walker & Company, 2008. [email protected], (212-727-8300). 24pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9789-6.
Our planet and the life it sustains is the trouble! The dragons are chopping down forests, consuming too much food and water and exhaling their hot air into the atmosphere. When the other wildlife start disappearing and the land begins to disappear under water, the dragons realize it is time to make a change that will save their planet! The rhyming text utilized in this book makes it a fun story for small children while teaching an important lesson at the same time. The colorful illustrations help tell this story and the lessons it teaches. (LB)
Uncle Montegue's tales of terror. Priestly, Chris. Bloomsbury, 2007. [email protected], (212-727-8300). 240pp. $12.95. ISBN 1-59990-118-8.
Creepy, mysterious Uncle Montegue shares ten supernatural tales with his young visitor, Edgar. Readers looking to relax and be entertained will find the tales suspenseful and absorbing. Readers frowning upon superstitions and the supernatural might find themes of murder, adultery, and deceit somewhat offensive. Priestly does an excellent job creating the mood of this literary work. Chunks of the book could be used in the classroom to teach the mood, setting, and characters of an effective scary story. Grades 6-8. (ADA)
The very best daddy of all. Bauer, Marion Dane. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin), 2007. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 30pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-2736-5. Illustrated by Leslie Wu.
Daddies do many different jobs. Some sing to you, some build you a house and some play with you. Toddlers will appreciate the simple text and the accompanying animals that correspond to each job that a daddy does. The pastel illustrations accentuate the text and give the story a peaceful feeling that is perfect for bedtime. (LB)
The virtual life of Lexie Diamond. Foyt, Victoria. Harper Collins Publishing (Harpertempest), 2007. [email protected], (800-242-7737). 310pp. $16.99. ISBN 0-06-082563-4.
The life of fourteen-year-old Lexie changes abruptly with the death of her mother and the immediate remarriage of her father. Lexie spends copious amounts of time surfing the web to escape the trauma of her real life. When Lexie unwittingly contacts her mother on the web, she learns that her mother's death may not have been an accident. Naturally, Lexie attempts to solve the mystery behind her mother's death. Reluctant readers will find themselves returning this book for a more traditional murder mystery. In addition, each page is leaden with undefined computer jargon, making good readers that are less techno-savvy toil through this book. Readers well-versed in computer terminology might find this a good, quick read. Grades 7 and up. (ADA)
Wave. Lee, Suzy. Chronicle Books, 2008. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 36pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-8188-5924-0.
A girl and a wave play cat and mouse. Suzy Lee creates another spellbinding wordless picture storybook. Her use of charcoal and acrylic paint in a deceptively simple manner capture a curious girl and a playful wave on a sunny day at the sea.
A flock of five seagulls join in the fun and reflect the actions of the wave accentuating the visual dynamic of the elongated pages. The gifts both girl and wave receive at the end of the chase leave the reader with a poignant respect for the seas. (JFJ)
William Clark: Indian diplomat. Buckley, Jay H. University of Oklahoma Press, 2008. [email protected], (405-325-3200). 320pp. $29.95. ISBN 978-0806139111.
Unless you were born and raised in Missouri, the name William Clark, probably only calls to mind the expedition of Lewis & Clark. Buckley sets out in William Clark, Indian Diplomat to give us a detailed account of Clark’s life and service to the country and its Native American inhabitants. No biography of William Clark would be complete without some discussion of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, but Buckley goes so much deeper; tracing Clark’s earliest service in the Revolutionary War to his many years of service as Missouri’s territorial governor, Indian Agent, and Superintendent of Indian Affairs. It is truly astonishing just how much of the history of American expansion and settlement west of the Mississippi River is connected to Clark.
William Clark: Indian Diplomat is an excellently written biography with an exceptional (but not excessive) amount of notes and bibliographic references. It is the story of a man who had extensive relations with dozens of Native American tribes and an invaluable history of American Indian Policy. Buckley resists the urge to beatify Clark, yet makes a strong case for his inclusion as one of the key figures in 19th Century American History. This title is a must read for anyone interested in American History, the fur trade, Indian-White relations, or the geography of the trans-Mississippi West. Several chapters in this title would make excellent readings for both high school and college-level history courses. You will be amazed, for better or worse, by Clark’s contributions to our country. (CL)
The winter visitors. Hayes, Karel. Down East Books, 2007. [email protected]. (207-594-9544). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-89272-750-6.
When summer turns to autumn, a vacation home’s owners pack their things and leave their house to sit empty until warm weather returns. What they do not know is that as they leave their home, a new family moves in for the winter, a bear family! The bears make themselves at home to live, sleep, play and celebrate throughout the cold season. In the spring, when the humans return, it is the bears’ turn to leave the home behind for its new inhabitants. Young readers will appreciate this story of few words through the watercolor illustrations. (LB)
Worldweavers: Gift of the unmage. Alexander, Alma. Harper Collins Publishing (Eos), 2007. [email protected], (800-242-7727). 389pp. $16.99. ISBN 0-06-083955-4.
This is the first book in the Worldweavers trilogy. Thea is a Double Seven, a seventh child born to two seventh children, and is expected to possess great magical powers. When Thea seemingly has no extraordinary powers, her father sends her on quest in search of them. Along with omniscient Cheveyo and wise Grandma Spider, Thea takes her readers on an unforgettable magical journey where she learns to weave light to save her world. There are a few lulls in the plot’s action, mostly in the middle of the book, but elements of fantasy, folklore, and mythology littered throughout the book will keep readers looking forward to reading the second book of the Worldweavers trilogy. Grades 7 and up. (ADA)
Worldweavers: Spellspam. Alexander, Alma. Harper Collins Publishing (Eos), 2008. [email protected], 212-207-7000. 436pp. $18.99. ISBN978-0-06-083959-8.
Readers who enjoyed the first book in the Worldweavers trilogy are sure to enjoy this second installment. Thea is in her second year at the Wandless Academy, a school for the magically challenged. When otherwise harmless e-mails are infected with spells, Thea must recall her worldweaving powers to demonstrate that good trumps evil. There is an overly large cast of characters, and the plot sometimes drags a bit. Regardless, this magical fantasy book maintains the same suspense and appeal as the first book. Readers won't regret the time invested to read this book from beginning to end. Grades 7 and up. (ADA)