Student Reviews

Abrahams, Peter. 2011. Quacky baseball. HarperCollins Publishers(Harper). [email protected], (202-207-7000). 30 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-122978-7. Illustrated by Frank Morrison.

This book tells the story of Thumby Duckling and his first baseball game of the season. The story is told as if it were a real baseball game, giving a play by play of the whole game. Students who may be fans of baseball or play the game will love this story as it is brought to life with vivid colors. Thumby Duckling is a character to whom students can relate. He knows the pressure of doing something new and wanting to do it well. Because the book is filled with single words and not complex sentences, children of any age can use this book to work on their reading skills, read out loud, and take on the role of narrator. Ages 3-8. (IWT) 

Alexander, Claire. 2012. Back to front and upside down. Eerdman’s Publishing Company (Eerdman’s Books for Young Readers). [email protected], (800-253-7521). 26pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-8028-5414-8.

This book is about a student named Stan and his classmates who are making surprise birthday cards for their principle, Mr. Slippers. As much fun as this seems, for Stan it is a different story. Stan is struggling with his writing and is afraid to ask for help. This story is particularly good for teaching children that there is nothing wrong with asking for help. The illustrations are also colorful and the arrangement of text is playful, which creates a child-friendly and inviting feeling for readers. This particular book would be best fit for pre-school to mid-elementary age students and would be suited for children of all interests. (KN) 

Alexander, Elizabeth. 2009. Praise song for the day. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-06-192633-1. Illustrated by David Diaz.

Written as a commission for President Barak Obama’s inauguration, the words of Elizabeth Alexander ring strong and true. In this children’s book, illustrator David Diaz captures the audience with vivid illustrations of people of all walks of life. The poem centers around the connection every human has between each other, emphasizing the word love. Not only does this book have the potential to teach children how to “love thy neighbor as thyself,” it also educates our students of the importance of acceptance and challenges us all to dream of a better world for all. Recommended for ages 6-10. (HRD) 

Anderson, Derek. 2011. Story country here we come!. Scholastic Inc. (Orchard books). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-16844-1.

Ever wonder how a farm gets started? Story country here we come! explains the process with the help of Farmer, Dog, Pig, Chicken, and Miss Cow. This includes pouring mud for fields, planting favorite foods for crops, and applying lipstick on the scarecrow. A hilarious spoof of farming, this book provides both teaching opportunities and entertainment for elementary aged children, as well as inspiration for imagination! Recommended for ages 3-7. (HRD) 

Baker, Keith. 2012. 1-2-3 peas. Simon and Schuster (Beach Land Books). [email protected], (800-233-2336). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-4551-2.

This counting book is targeted to young readers in the early elementary grades. In this book, there is nice rhyming and a natural flow when read aloud. However, the progression of this book would be confusing to young readers. It starts out with numbers 1-10 counting in ones, and then switches to counting by tens, without telling the reader that this change is going to occur. The illustrations in this book are bright and engaging, while still clearly illustrating the numbers in the book. (HS) 

Bang, Molly, and Chisholm, Penny. 2012. Ocean sunlight: How tiny plants feed the seas. Scholastic Inc. (Blue Sky Press). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 48pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-545-27322-0.

This book describes how sunlight and tiny plants feed the seas in an exciting and interesting way. This is a good book for younger students to understand basic science concepts. The questioning and vocabulary in the book prompt readers to think and predict, while the various texts and intriguing illustrations make the book enjoyable for all ages. (ARD) 

Bardhan-Quallen, Sudipta. 2011. Hampire!. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-06-114239-0. Illustrated by Howard Fine.

This is a humorous book for young children that is appealing for the humor and rhyming words. The story is also about animals, which young children enjoy. This story is suspenseful with a twist at the end that will leave the reader laughing. It makes a great read-a-loud story around Halloween time. Ages 4-8 (PNS) 

Barnett, Mac. Extra yarn. 2012. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer + Bray). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-195338-5. Illustrated by John Klassen.

This children’s picture story book takes place in a dreary setting where a little girl, Annabelle, finds a box of colorful yarn that never seems to run out. Everyone loves the sweaters she creates with her yarn, even the archduke who wants to take her yarn away from her. The contrast between the bright colored yarn and the dreary town behind it add to the setting and allow the story to come to life. This endearing story is a great read for children ages four to eight. (LND) 

Beaty, Andrea. Hide and sheep. 2011. Simon and Schuster (Margaret K. McElderry Books). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $15.99. ISBN978-1-4169-2544-6. Illustrated by Bill Mayer.

In this story, Farmer McFitt sleeps in just a little too late, allowing all ten of his sheep to run away on adventurous trips instead of getting trimmed. Now Farmer McFitt must find all of his sheep and trim them before the day is over. This is a fun and lively story told through rhymes and filled with energetic illustrations. Not only do readers get to enjoy a great, quick read, but the countdown from ten allows a little extra counting practice for young children. This story is great for children ages four to eight. (LND) 

Bently, Peter. 2012. The great sheep shenanigans. Lerner Publishing Group (Andersen Press). [email protected], (800-328-4929). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-8990-3. Illustrated by Mei Matsuoka.

This is an excellent poetic story of a wolf who wants to eat the sheep but cannot seem to outwit them and another surprising character. The shape of the text adds to the visual elements of the story. It is a great story for beginning readers who are interested in the rhythm of the poetic structure. (TW) 

Biggs, Brian. 2011. Everything goes: On land. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer + Bray). [email protected], 212-207-7000. 56pp. $14.99. 978-0-06-195809-0.

Everything goes: On land is a vibrantly illustrated book about how cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and buses function. A father drives his son through New York City to pick up the boy’s mother from the train station. Along the way, he explains different types of land transportation. While the story is not complex, illustrations alternate between a city scene and a close-up of a mode of transportation, including terms such as ignition, transmission, and axle. The cluttered and overwhelming illustrations of the city scene in combination with the chaotic text layout could be very hard for beginning readers to follow, especially readers who are just beginning to grasp layout of print. While the complexity of the illustrations and terms suggest an older audience, the simple story line may not appeal to older readers. Readers who are interested in cars and trucks may enjoy this book with the help of an adult to explain pictures, especially readers between the ages of 4 and 8. (EE) 

Bingham, Kelly. 2012. Z is for moose (that’s me!). HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-079984-7. Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky.

Z is for moose (that’s me!) is an alphabet book that tells the story of Moose in his desire to be included in this version of an alphabet book. The plot gives this alphabet book a larger age range and the ability to be adapted for use with older children. The illustrations are bright and colorful, directly connecting to Moose’s story and reflecting his feelings throughout. This story is a great choice for children who are learning the alphabet or phonics skills. This is a fun and enjoyable book for children as they watch Moose jump from page-to-page before finally finding a spot as Zebra’s friend. Recommended for ages 3-7. (AG) 

Blake, Robert J. 2011. Painter and Ugly. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Philomel), [email protected], (212-366-2000). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24323-3.

Two sled dogs named Painter and Ugly are living a carefree and joyful life during the summer season on an island on the Yukon River. Painter and Ugly are inseparable and spend every minute of the day together. As racing season approaches, the dogs are transported to the mainland for training. Painter and Ugly are the fastest of all the local dogs and are anticipating to lead the team and their trainer, Jake, in the upcoming Junior Iditarod Race. Little do they know, they are being sold to different owners and will be separated. Painter and Ugly now have to adapt to new teams as well as to being apart. As the Junior Iditarod gets underway, Painter and Ugly are able to reconnect through sending the sound of yip through the cold Alaskan air. Though they are now leaders of different packs, Painter and Ugly are determined to finish the race together. This story of unbreakable friendships is geared toward young readers between the ages of four and eight. (CCB) 

Bleiman, Andrew, and Eastland, Chris. 2012. ABC ZooBorns!. Simon and Schuster (Beach Lane Books). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 40pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-4371-6.

This fun book is great for very young readers. For teaching the alphabet, it is certainly effective because of the consistency with showing and describing the animal that corresponds with the given
letter. It is also interesting because the animals themselves can sometimes be less than common, which make for great initiatives for brief lessons about those animals. Its detailed pictures, as well as
fun commentary that accompany those pictures, make it enjoyable for young students and the teachers or parents sharing it with their students. (CB) 

Bliss, Harry. 2011. Bailey. Scholastic (Scholastic Press). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-545-23344-6.

Bailey is a dog who attends school with all humans. He takes the reader through a typical school day, and the reader learns that Bailey enjoys chasing squirrels, eating his own homework, using his tail instead of a paintbrush in art class, and, of course, lunch and recess. This story is simply illustrated, but thought bubbles coming from characters’ heads may remind a young reader of their own drawings. This book would be perfect for children between the ages of 3 and 6 to ease any uncertainties of what to expect at school. (EE) 

Buckley, Richard. 2012. The greedy python. Simon and Schuster (Simon Spotlight). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 24pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-4577-2. Illustrated by Eric Carle.

This book is labeled a Level One book of Simon Spotlight Ready-to-Read books because of its simple plot and use of easy sight and sound-out words. Children will enjoy the various animals the python eats and be captivated by the simple rhyming words. While children enjoy the colorful animal illustrations, they will also be learning about the consequences of greed. (ARD) 

Bunting, Eve. 2012. Ballywhinney girl. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-55843-1. Illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully.

This book for elementary readers, Ballywhinney girl, is great for readers who like mystery and predicting what will happen next. The narration is in first person, told by a little girl named Maeve. The author used a lot of imagery through the whole book, which helped show what Maeve was going through when they found the body. This also helps readers understand the main points of the book while reading. The brush strokes and vibrant colors help explain the emotions and sincerity of the young girl throughout the book. Adventure and appreciation are the predominant themes in this tale. This book will grab young readers’ attention and spark their interest in history, archaeology, and creativity. (JMP) 

This is an eerie picture book that shows how a young Irish girl, Maeve, is able to identify with a mummy that she and her grandfather discover in the bog in Ballywhinney, Ireland. The Ballywhinney mummy is brought to life in Maeve’s imagination, and Maeve is constantly evaluating how the mummy would feel either in the bog or on display in a museum. The illustrations use color, lines, shape and light to portray the different moods of the book. Some of the situations described in the picture book will have to be read by a mature reader. Although there is not an age recommended for readers, I would say that this would be suitable for Ages 8-11. (AJS) 

Bunting, Eve. 2011. My dog Jack is fat. Marshall Cavendish (Cavendish Children’s books). [email protected], (914-332-8888). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-7614-5809-8. Illustrated by Michael Rex.

Carson and his dog Jack are best friends, and readers will easily relate to this dynamic duo. The theme is staying healthy by eating right and exercising. This book is an applicable example for elementary teachers in the first through third grade range to teach their students how to be healthy people. Ages 6-9. (MTB) 

Bunting, Eve. 2011. Tweak tweak. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 40pp. $14.99. ISBN978-0-618-99851-7. Illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier.

This is the perfect book for curious young children. As the little elephant explores the jungle with Mama, he learns all about the special talents of others as well as his own. Readers will relate to this theme of everyone being special in their own way. The illustrations are soft and welcoming, and complement the feel-good nature of this book. (Ages 3-8). (KMB) 

Burkert, Rand. 2011. Mouse & lion. Scholastic (Michael Di Capua Books). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 32pp. $17.95. ISBN 978-0-545-10147-9. Illustrated by Nancy Ekholm Burkert.

This is a beautiful retelling of a classic fable by Aesop. A mighty African lion threatens to eat a meek field mouse, who begs for forgiveness. The lion spares the mouse, and the mouse promises that he will pay the lion back someday. Later, the lion finds himself vulnerable in a hunter’s trap. As it is a fable, children can discuss and respond to an important moral, this one being about an unlikely pair of characters who show kindness to one another. The ink and brush illustrations in this rendition are incredibly detailed, textured, and realistic. Ages 4 and up. (MMC) 

Calkhoven, Laurie. 2012. Boys of wartime: Michael at the invasion of France 1943. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Dial). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 231pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3724-2.

This novel takes the reader through Nazi-occupied France during World War II. Twelve-year-old Michael and his friend Jacques resist the Nazis in every little way they can, but they want more. The boys join the French Revolution, where they help aviators and other members of the Allies. This proves to be a dangerous decision because of German spies that can send the boys to concentration camps. This life-risking novel takes the reader on a ride with a boy trying to help his country reach freedom. Ages 10-14. (LJM). 

Carlbone, Elisa. 2012. Heroes of the surf. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Viking). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 40pp. $16.99. 978-0-670-06312-3. Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter.

A fictional tale, based on true events, that is certain to capture the attention of a young adventurer! The story is told in the first person perspective. Carlbone chose to write the story in present tense, seemingly following the events in the story as they occur. The language is informal, told from the point of view of a young boy. Illustrator Nancy Carpenter seems to use line to focus the reader’s attention on a particular area of the image, contrasting with the rest of the piece. The illustrations also utilize lines by indicating shadows and motion, such as the rain and wind. Despite the frightening events in the book, the protagonist and his friend maintain a love of the sea and begin to idolize the organization, what later becomes known as the United States Coast Guard, who aided in their rescue. (CH) 

Carlson-Voiles, Polly. 2012. Summer of the wolves. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. [email protected], (800-597-6127). 343 pp. $15.99. ISBN978-0-547-74591-6.

This novel is about a young girl, Nika, who goes through various adventures that lead her to discover who she is. Growing up in foster homes, Nika finally gets the chance to live with her uncle that she hardly knows, but she is not that excited to leave. He lives in northern Minnesota and studies wolves; not exactly a thrilling life for Nika. However, Nika soon discovers that life up north with her uncle is not all that bad. In this story, as Nika bonds with the wolves, she not only learns to take care of them but also realizes what is important in her life. This story is great for children ages ten to fourteen. (LND) 

Carman, Patrick. 2011. Floors. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 261pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-25519-6.

Leo Fillmore, age 10, lives with his father in the basement of the Whippet Hotel, an eccentric hotel filled with mysterious floors of ducks, robots, and magic. The owner and creator of the hotel, Merganzer D. Whippet, mysteriously disappears without so much as a note. Furthermore, it seems that the building is under sabotage by an unknown party. It is up to Leo to save this unique hotel as he encounters strange and colored boxes that direct him to uninhabited floors of the hotel. This novel’s elements of fantasy are sure to enchant and engage the creative minds of young readers. Ages 9 and up. (MMC) 

Chabon, Michael. 2011. The astonishing secret of awesome man. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer + Bray). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 40pp. $17.99. ISBN978-0-06-191462-1. Illustrated by Jake Parker.

This book is intended for children from pre-K through second grade. Awesome Man is a superhero that protects the world from evil villains. Readers with vivid imaginations and who enjoy reading about superheroes will be motivated to read about this topic. Ages 4-8. (MTB) 

Chall, Marsha Wilson. 2012. A secret keeps. Lerner Publishing Group (Carol Rhoda). [email protected], (800-328-4929). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN978-0-7613-5593-9. Illustrated by Heather M. Solomon.

A secret keeps is a great educational, family friendly book. In this book, a little boy, who is very close to his grandpa, goes sneaking around trying to figure out what the secret is that his grandpa is keeping. Not only does this children’s book teach kids about secrets, but it also identifies which animals live on a farm. This book captivates its audience because of its use of rhyme throughout the book. Ages 5-8. (MEW) 

Choldenko, Gennifer. 2011. No passengers beyond this point. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Dial). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 244pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3534-7.

Choldenko takes three realistic children and turns an ordinary situation into a madcap struggle to get home. Fourteen-year-old India is as self-absorbed as any teenager, 12-year-old Finn is the worrier, and 6-year-old Mouse is described as “Einstein on a sugar high”. When the three siblings are forced to move when their house is sold, they end up in Falling Bird, a place that seems to defy logic and an easy way back home. Choldenko, author of Al Capone does my shirts, handles kids’ characterizations realistically and balances out the bizarre with realistic emotion. The book can be confusing, but the kicker of an ending makes the strange journey worthwhile. Recommended for middle school readers (MC). 

Christopher, Lucy. 2011. Flyaway. Scholastic Inc. (Chicken House). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 328pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-31771-9.

Flyaway is a novel about Isla and the challenges of having a parent who is in the hospital. Her father’s love of bird watching leads her to meet a lone swan who has been separated from her flock. This swan becomes the inspiration of her art project analyzing flight. Through this project, she learns about her grandfather and more of her own father’s passion for bird watching. This is a good book that discusses some of life’s challenges such as illness and belonging. Isla is a dynamic character that learns how to face these difficult challenges and someone students easily relate to while reading. Recommended for students ages 12-15. (AG) 

Cleary, Brian P. 2012. Feet and puppies, thieves and guppies: What are irregular plurals?. Lerner Publishing Group (Millbrook Press). [email protected], (800-328-4929). 31 pp. $16.95. ISBN978-0-7613-4918-1. Illustrated by Brian Gable.

This book introduces readers to using irregular plurals. The book tells readers how to use the irregular plurals as it tells the story. Students will be able to look at the illustrations for examples and figure out how to use the irregular plurals. The author does a great job of slowly introducing the harder plurals and helping students reflect on what they had learned in the previous pages. This would be a great book for any student working on irregular plurals or a student who is still struggling to grasp on to how to use them. The book lays out the directions for irregular plurals in a very easy and accessible way. Student will have fun reading this book as well as learning the irregular plurals. Ages 7-11. (IWT) 

Coats, J. Anderson. 2012. The wicked and the just. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Children’s Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 352pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-547-68837-4.

The wicked and the just takes place in Wales just after it has been conquered by the English in the 13th century. Cecily, the young daughter of an English Lord, has just been uprooted from her home and moved to Wales. Her father is now the lord of a manor that used to be the home of Gwenhwyfar, a young Welsh girl who is now sentenced to be Cecily’s servant. Cecily is horribly self-centered and rude, especially to her servant Gwenhwyfar. Gwenhwyfar, who is still mourning the loss of her father, is strong and courageous but bitter with her servitude. This book is historical fiction and deals with the struggle of good and evil and the grey area that lies in between. This story does have some challenging vocabulary and would appeal most to readers ages 12 and above. (EE) 

Codell, Esme Raji. 2011. Fairly fairy tales. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 30pp $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-9086-4. Illustrated by Elisa Chavarri.

Sparking reader’s imagination, this book is fun and creative. By taking cherished fairy tales and simply adding one new element, the whole story can change. One’s imagination will go wild! The vivid and bright illustrations add a whole new level to the story. With a cute ending, kids will love this book as a regular bedtime story. Ages 4-8. (KES) 

Corcoran, Jill. 2012. Dare to dream: Change the world. EDC Publishing. [email protected], (858-456-0540). 40pp. $15.99. ISBN978-61067-065-4. Illustrated by J. Beth Jepson.

This book is a collection of poems that have been inspired by people who have made a difference or have been an inspiration for change. Each poem or pairing of poems is accompanied by a brief biographical statement about the person that inspired the poem and why their story is significant. The illustrations use vivid colors and images to support the important aspects of each poem. Teachers in history or English could use this book in a creative and unique way to engage students in learning about these individuals. (HCW) 

Corey, Shana. 2012. Here come the Girl Scouts!. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 40pp. $17.99. ISBN978-0-545-34278-0. Illustrated by Hadley Hooper.

This book is a biography telling the story of Juliette Gordon Low (Daisy), the founder of the Girl Scouts. It is told from the third person and takes the reader on a journey through the development of the Girl Scouts and the history of this worldwide organization. The book is supported by historical facts and quotations taken from the original, How girls can help their country: Handbook for Girl Scouts. The illustrations and use of quotations within the illustrations help create the time period and a sense for what the Girl Scout Organization represents for girls in the past and into the present. (HCW) 

Covell, David. 2012. Rat and Roach: Friends to the end. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Viking). [email protected], (212-366-2000).40pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-670-01409-5.

This book is written for young children who are just learning to read or still have adults reading to them. The overarching theme of the book is friendship, and this is supported by different conflicts in the plot that relate to the struggles of being friends and getting in fights. The illustrations provide details that are not included in the text, which help to support the overall theme of the book. Young readers will enjoy the vibrant colors, fonts, and images that support and help to build the story. (HCW) 

Cronin, Doreen. 2012. The legend of Diamond Lil: A J.J. Tully mystery. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer + Bray). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 144pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-06-177996-1. Illustrated by Kevin Cornell.

In this adventurous tale of J.J. the search and rescue dog, there are problems a plenty for him to deal with. New faces appear in town with the arrival of a new dog next door, Diamond Lil. A possum is also on the loose, and J.J. has the task of keeping the chicken coop safe from the possum while also dealing with the new dog in town. Illustrator Kevin Cornell adds a great dynamic with his drawings that connect the reader to the scene. This humorous story is great for kids who enjoy plot twists, excitement and some imagination. Ages 7-11. (LJM). 

Cummins, Julie. 2012. Women explorers. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Dial). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 48pp. $17.99. ISBN978-0-8037-3713-6. Illustrated by Cheryl Harness.

Women explorers is a historical children’s book with short biographies of several women explorers. This educational book is useful for children who are doing research or just want to know more about women explorers. Upper elementary students will be intrigued by the short biographies. Ages 11-15. (MEW) 

Damico, Gina. 2012. Croak. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH Children’s Paperback). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 320pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-0-547-60832-7.

Lexington Bartleby may seem like an ordinary delinquent adolescent, but after her junior year of high school, she discovers that her violent fits of rage are actually a symptom of a unique power she possesses. When Lex’s parents send her to live with her Uncle Mort in the tiny town of Croak for the summer, she anticipates boredom and cows. Instead, Lex discovers that she has the special ability to Kill (a necessary process that separates a dead body from its soul) and that Croak is a portal to the afterlife. As she finds her sense of purpose, Lex develops a fondness for the town and its people. In the same way, this strange little novel becomes increasingly charming with each page-turn and will have readers waiting anxiously for the sequel. Filled with eccentric language and teen-flavored wit, this book will appeal to imaginative readers grades 7-10. (HOH) 

Davies, Jacqueline. 2011. The lemonade crime. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 152pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-547-279671.

In this sequel to The lemonade war, siblings Evan and Jessie find their hard-earned lemonade money missing…and Scott Spencer looks very suspicious. To solve the problem, Jessie puts together a trial with their fourth grade class. What the first book did with marketing, this book does with the justice system: each chapter is named after a legal term and includes its definition. The book is short and easy to read, and it can be read and enjoyed without knowledge of its prequel. Recommended for late elementary reluctant readers. (MC) 

deGroat, Diane. 2011. Ants in your pants, worms in your plants! (Gilbert goes green). HarperCollins (Harper). [email protected], (202-207-7000). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06176511-7.

An eco-friendly and heartwarming tale for readers ages 4 to 8, deGroat’s book explores things children can do to help protect the environment. Readers will learn that even the smallest gestures can have a big impact on our environment. The illustrations are really vivid and beautiful, pulling the reader even further in to Gilbert’s quest to find a project to present for Earth Day. Students will love it and learn great reasons for protecting the environment. (RAW)

Detorie, Rick. 2011. The accidental genius of Weasel High. Egmont USA. [email protected], (212-685-0102). 197pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-1-60684-149-5.

Larkin Pace documents his life for a freshman English assignment and tells readers all about his insufferable sister, his woes about being short, his best friend and possibly girlfriend Brooke, and his quest to become a filmmaker. Told in words and graphics, the novel is reminiscent of Diary of a wimpy kid, but geared for an older audience. Larkin’s adventures are genuinely hilarious and completely convincing. Freshman boys—or anyone, for that matter—will easily relate. Recommended. (MC) 

Drummond, Ree. Charlie the ranch dog. 2011. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-199655-9. Illustrated by Diane deGroat.

Ree Drummond creates a comical, yet delightful story about a ranch dog named Charlie. Charlie has long, droopy ears and big paws. Charlie likes to think he contributes to the daily work that has to happen on the farm; however, the reader sees differently. Charlie’s favorite things to do are to sleep and to eat bacon. He is a working dog who doesn’t do much work. There is another dog named Suzie who works on the ranch. Charlie lets Suzie chase the cows away from the vegetables or help Mama fix the garden. The reader is taken on an adventure and learns what a dog does in a day on the farm. Very enjoyable book! Recommended for ages 4 – 8. (SS) 

Egan, Tim. 2011. Dodsworth in Rome. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. [email protected], (800-597-6127). 48pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-547-39006-2.

Tim Egan’s short chapter book is centered on a mouse, Dodsworth, and his sideick, Duck, as they explore the tourist attractions in Rome. There are both humorous and intense parts of the fantasy piece that Egan also illustrates with attractive watercolor pictures. Egan chooses to use grays, dark greens, dark reds, and dark yellows to help create a warm mood for the story. It is ironic that the duck is bright white, because the color white conveys innocence, and Duck is anything but innocent; Eagan does this purposefully to help the duck stand out in each illustration. Egan’s creative writing sets the book apart from other short chapter books. His use of word play, simple dialogue, and funny misunderstandings make Dodsworth in Rome highly recommendable. Age 6 and up. (KW) 

Engle, Margarita. 2012. The wild book. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Children’s Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 133pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-547-58131-6.

A doctor diagnoses a young girl, Fefa, with word blindness and told her that she would never be able to read or write. The young girl’s mother thought differently and bought her daughter a blank book to write down her thoughts. Soon Fefa filled the pages with words, and the more she wrote the better she got; Fefa writes about her life, including the ups and downs. The dynamic words flow off the page and the text brings the story to life. This is a great book for children that have been diagnosed with dyslexia, because it gives them hope. Grades 2-5 (SRC) 

English, Karen. 2011. Nikki & Deja: Election madness. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 108pp. $14.99. ISBN978-0-547-43558-9. Illustrated by Laura Freeman.

It is Carver Elementary School’s first ever election for student body president, and Deja believes she is the perfect candidate. Deja names her best friend Nikki as her campaign manager. In the heat of the election Deja loses sight of what it means to be a good friend, and jeopardizes her relationship with Nikki and others at her school. This story is about friendship and contains great characterization. It is a great, realistic read for kids of color. Grades 2-5 (SRC)

Fagan, Deva. 2011. Circus galacticus. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 291pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-58136-1.

Trix’s parents always told her she was special. But when they died in an accident, leaving her with a meteorite to protect and at the mercy of a snotty boarding school, she begins to doubt her worth. Fagan employs the trope of an orphan joining a circus in a whole new way, making the circus troupe intergalactic aliens! Trix is soon immersed in the Big Top and learns to get along with a whole new set of friends and enemies. The plot is fast-paced and there are extra helpings of imagination that are sure to please. However, the characters aren’t memorable enough to resonate for long once the book is done. (MC) 

Figley, Marty Rhodes. 2012. Emily and Carlo. Charlesbridge. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 32pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-58089-274-2. Illustrated by Catherine Stock.

This book tells the story of Emily Dickens and her dog, Carlo, who was her true companion. This book is informative and sheds a different light on Dickens, who was normally seen as shy and reserved. When Carlo was alive Dickens seemed bright, and some of her best work was done during the time of his life. The book introduces readers to an arrangement of Dickens’ poetry and writings. The illustrations are very detailed, and accompany the text quite well. Grades 2-5 (SRC) 

Florian, Douglas. 2012. Poem runs. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Children’s Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-547-68838-1.

Combining poetry with America’s favorite pastime, this book is perfect for all sports enthusiasts. Each poem is about a different position on the baseball team and uses great imaginative word choice. The illustrations perfectly accompany the stylistic writing choices of the author and provide a whimsical look at the game of baseball. (Ages 7+). (KMB) 

Floruab, Douglas. 2012. Unbeelievables: Honeybee poems and paintings. Simon and Schuster (Beach Lane Books). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN978-1-4424-2652-8.

Unbeelievables is an extremely colorful and fun book providing the reader with information about all aspects of a honeybee colony. From the role of the queen bee to the anatomy of a honeybee, each page provides a short, rhyming poem containing captivating facts of the honeybee world. The playful rhythm of the words correlates with the whimsical and colorful paintings printed on the opposite page. An additional feature to this book is the use of short passages on each page containing more specific and scientific information pertaining to the concept to which the poem refers. Aimed to gain reader’s interest in honeybees and inform young children about the Colony Collapse Disorder, this book creatively weaves poetry, painting, and science into a fascinating book. Readers age five and up are sure to enjoy this creative piece. (CCB) 

Gennari, Jennifer. 2012. My mixed-up berry blue summer. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 119pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-547-57739-5.

This chapter book is based on the life of 12-year-old June Farrell. She loves baking, spending time in her mom’s shop, and swimming in the lake with her best friend Luke. June’s town is not accepting of the new law allowing same-sex marriage. This directly affects June’s family because of Eva, June’s mom’s special friend and fiancé. This story goes through many twists and turns, and girls going into their teens can easily relate to the book. Readers will think about their actions as a human being and learn about topics to which they may not usually be exposed. (NES) 

George, Kristine O’Connell. 2011. Emma dilemma: Big sister poems. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 48pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-618-42842-7. Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter.

This collection of poems illustrates a struggle between a big sister and her little sister. The poems flow in a story-like manner and are told by big sister, Jessica, about the many adventures with little sister, Emma. George does a great job capturing the frustrations, bonds, and annoyances of having a little sister. Nancy Carpenter helps George capture these different emotions through tenderly drawn scenes and facial expressions of the girls. The last few scenes that entail the most emotion of the entire poem collection are illustrated beautifully and really add to the intensity of the final events of the story. The collection of poems is written simply with lots of sight words that kids of all ages can understand and appreciate. Age 6 and up. (KW) 

Godbersen, Anna. 2011. Beautiful days. HarperCollins Publishers. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 368pp. $17.99. ISBN 987-0-06-196268-4.

The place is New York City. The year is 1929. Best friends Astrid Donal, Cordelia Grey, and Letty Larkspur seek adventure, romance, and fame as they socialize with New York’s finest. Astrid basks in the glamour of her engagement to a handsome, rich bootlegger; Cordelia anticipates the opening of her own speakeasy in Manhattan; and Letty dreams of singing her way to fame. The girls, as do most bright, young things, encounter heartbreak, jealousy, and risk—but in this book, everything transpires in the dazzling light of the Roaring Twenties. An exciting read that is both indulgently entertaining and historically accurate, this book would appeal to girls ages 12 and up. (HOH)

Goldstein, Margaret J. 2011. You are now on Indian land: The American Indian occupation of Alcatraz Island California, 1969. Lerner Publishing Group (Twenty First Century Books). [email protected], (800-382-4929). 160pp. $28.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-5769-8.

Covering Native American history from pre-colonial times to the present day, this work of nonfiction explores important (and sometimes not well-known) civil rights issues involving American Indians. While the book mainly focuses on the American Indian Occupation of Alcatraz Island in 1969, it mentions other instances of minority solidarity, such as the National Indian Youth Council’s 1961 “fish-ins” in Washington State and the Third World Strike at UC-Berkeley. Photographs accompany much of the writing, and the book includes a timeline, glossary, and index, biographies, and a list of suggested further reading. This book is recommended for all readers fifth grade and up, and it is a good introduction to nonfiction for reluctant readers. (HOH) 

Golenbock, Peter. 2012. ABC’s of baseball. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Dial). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 48pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-8037-3711-2. Illustrated by Dan Andersen.

Peter Golenbock’s ABC book for children ages 3-6 about America’s favorite pastime explains the very basics about the game that every fan should know. Every letter in the book has at least one fact about baseball accompanied by illustrations helping to provide context about the fact to the reader. This book is really well done and a great read for kids who are interested in sports. ABC’s of Baseball would be a great book for fathers to share with their sons. Also, this would be a good book for teachers to use to get students interested in reading. (RAW) 

Grady, Cynthia. 2012. I lay my stitches down: Poems of American slavery. Eerdmans Publishing Company (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers). [email protected], (800-253-7521). 34pp. $17.00 ISBN 978-0-8028-5386-8. Illustrated by Michele Wood.

This is a collection of American slavery poems. The poems are each about different aspects and events from the time of slavery. A great asset to this book is the historical connection at the end of each poem. This collection is great for students interested in poetry and history. (TW) 

Gray, Luli. 2011. Ant and Grasshopper. Simon and Schuster (Margaret K. McElderry Books), [email protected], (800-223-2336). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-5140-7 Illustrated by Giuliano Ferri.

Ant and Grasshopper gives an interesting twist to a classic Aesop’s fable. During the summer months, Ant is busy stocking food for the upcoming winter months while Grasshopper spends his time dancing and making music. Ant believes this activity to be ridiculous and extremely irresponsible as the cold is fast approaching. When the leaves begin to fall, grasshopper asks for refuge in Ant’s house, but Ant refuses. Eventually, Ant feels guilty leaving Grasshopper outside of his front door, so he invites Grasshopper inside. The two become extremely compatible roommates and enjoy each other’s company. This story of acceptance and companionship is encouraging and uplifting for children of ages 4-7. (CCB) 

Green, Tim. (2012). Pinch hit. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207 -7000). 311pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-06-201246-3.

This is the story of Trevor and Sam, two boys living in California who are unsatisfied with their everyday lives. Trevor is a wealthy actor, living what seems to be any kid’s dream. He has everything, except his own dream of playing baseball on a real team. Sam, on the other hand, is living Trevor’s dream. After meeting by chance, naturally, the two decide to switch places. Oddly enough, they look enough alike to get away with it. Sam pulls off the switch with his surprising acting ability, while Trevor struggles to live up to Sam’s baseball talent. The two boys experience lives which are opposite from their own, with one living in a mansion and the other a trailer. After finding out that they must be twins separated by adoption, the boys begin to search for their birth mother. This story is sports fiction, with elements of adventure and self-discovery branching off and making the plot a little deeper. This book will be favorable to young readers interested in baseball but will be able to support readers with interests beyond sports. Ages 8-12. (EKB) 

Griffith, Helen V. 2012. Moonlight. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-203285-0. Illustrated by Laura Dronzek.

This picture book tells the story of Rabbit, who is eagerly waiting to see the moon but goes into his burrow too early in the night and falls asleep. The moon comes out and shines into space and onto the earth, where its presence graces the mountainside, the trees, the streams, and even sneaks into Rabbit’s burrow. The moonlight wakes up Rabbit, and he goes outside to enjoy the moonlight with the other animals. The book uses a metaphor of the moon as butter, which coats everything it touches. It is written in prose, and its rhythm is perfect for lulling young children to sleep. This book is recommended for children ages 2-5 and is a perfect story to read at bedtime. (ANT) 

Gudeon, Adam. 2011. Me and Meow. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-06-199821-8.

A little girl and her cat are the main characters in Adam Gudeon’s Me and Meow. The two friends eat, play, sleep, and even do chores together. It is a typical day in the life of the little girl and her cat. The illustrations are somewhat abstract but stand out because of their bold colors. The little girl in the story never has hands, and the scenes are not actual scenes, but rather objects on a bright background. The audience of the book would be pre-readers, but it would give early readers an opportunity to practice sight words paired with a few complex verbs. Ages 2-5. (KW) 

Gutman, Dan. 2011. The genius files #1: Mission unstoppable. HarperCollins (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 293pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-182764-8.

Twelve-year-old Coke and Pepsi McDonald’s summer is turned upside down the moment they learn they’re part of a select group of kids in the Genius Files. The McDonald family’s trans-America road trip becomes a race for the twins’ lives as they outwit bad guys, decipher cryptic messages, and learn a little more about the mysterious group of which they are a part. This page-turner takes readers to such whimsical places as the Museum of Pez Memorabilia and the world’s largest ball of twine. Filled with quirky facts and fun challenges from the author, this book will entertain both boys and girls in late elementary and early middle school. (HOH) 

Harris, Teresa E. 2011. Summer Jackson grown up. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-06-185757. Illustrated by AG Ford.

Summer Jackson is seven and tired of being a child. She wants to wear a blazer and high heels and carry a brief case just like her mom; Summer wants to be a grown up. Her parents agree to this and give her responsibilities around the house, while they pretend to be kids. Summer starts to realize that being a grown up is not everything she hoped and wants to be treated like a seven-year-old again. The illustrations in this book are phenomenal; they are bright and realistic. The font size is bigger so it is easier for young children to read. This book is great for younger children because at some point, all children want to be grown-ups. This book portrays the fun and importance of being a child. Recommended for children 4-8. (SO) 

Haskell, Merrie. 2011. The princess curse. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 325pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-200813-8.

Every night, a Romanian king’s twelve daughters disappear from their bedroom tower and the next day their shoes are full of holes. The young, aspiring herbalist Reveka is determined to discover the cause of the curse, but she is soon plunged into an underworld with a monstrous creature who cannot be easily pegged as either good or bad. Based on the Romanian fairy tale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” and embellished with Greek mythology, this fantasy tale will delight fans of Gail Carson Levine and other fairy tale retellings. With a likeable heroine, an unpredictable plot, and promise of a sequel, this book hits the right marks. Recommended for late elementary school to middle school readers. (MC) 

Hauth, Katherine B. 2011. What’s for dinner?: Quirky, smirky poems from the animal world. Charlesbridge. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 48pp. $7.95. ISBN 978-1-57091-472-0. Illustrated by David Clark.

What’s for dinner?: Quirky, smirky poems from the animal world is an educational, fun book for children. This book is filled with poems that inform readers about what certain animals eat. There are many elements in the book such as rhyme and flow, which draw children’s attention. Ages 5-10. (MEW) 

Helfer, Ralph. 2012. The world’s greatest lion. Penguin Group. (USA), Inc. (Philomel). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 40pp. $17.99. 978-0-399-25417-8. Illustrated by Ted Lewin.

This is an inspiring true story about an orphaned lion cub, christened Zamba, rescued to live in a sanctuary in the United States. The story follows Zamba’s journey, in the third person, to the sanctuary and how his new life was threatened by a natural disaster. Ted Lewin’s brilliant illustrations provide emotional depth to the text, without depicting the animals with human-like expressions or gestures. The book is recommended and appropriate for young readers. (CH) 

Henkes, Kevin. 2012. Penny and her song. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books). [email protected], (212-207-700). 32pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-06-208195-7.

Great for beginning readers, this book is simple and elegant. Penny has made her own song and wants to share it with her parents. However, she has to wait until the time is right. Penny uses patience, and in the end it was worth it. Readers will learn the importance of being patient. Kevin Henkes’ beloved illustrations go hand in hand with the wonderful story. Ages 4 and up. (KES) 

Hirsch, Jeff. 2011. The eleventh plague. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 278pp. $17.99. 978-0-545-29014-2.

This young-adult novel is set in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic culture with a plot to match. Due to its thick violence, it is appropriate for middle and high school readers. The narrative is told from first person by 15-year-old Stephen Quinn, whose family was able to survive a vicious strain of influenza that killed over two-thirds of the American population. As they salvage and trade their findings, Stephen’s grandpa becomes ill and passes away. Shortly afterwards, his father falls into a coma following an accident. Settler’s Landing becomes Stephen’s new home, where he meets Jenny and discovers that this too-good-to-be-true community has its faults – faults that, in the end, take a turn for the worse. Recommended for ages 12 and up. (HRD) 

Hopkinson, Deborah. 2012. Titanic: Voices from the disaster. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 289pp. $17.99. ISBN978-0-545-11674-9.

This book is a perfect read for young readers who are interested in the history of the Titanic. This book follows the story of the Titanic by putting together the stories of real Titanic survivors and witnesses to the disaster. The book is full of historical details, along with quotes and pictures from the Titanic. Not only is this book enjoyable to read, but it is also a history lesson that will keep young readers wanting to know more. Ages 8 & up. (PNS) 

Horowitz, Anthony. 2011. Legends: Battles and quests. Macmillan Publishing (Kingfisher). [email protected], (646-307-5151). 133pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-7534-6632-2 (Original copyright 1985). Illustrated by Thomas Yeates.

Horowitz retells classic legends from around the world with excitement, sharing stories from the Greeks and the Romans, as well as the Chinese, Inca, Bororo Indians, and Celts. All five stories are easy to comprehend and entertaining, and Yeates’ illustrations will appeal to young boys or anyone interested in a gripping action story. The inclusion of diverse, non-Western cultures is a refreshing change from many classic legend anthologies. Recommended for students eight to twelve. (MC) 

Horowitz, Anthony. 2011. Legends: Beasts and monsters. Macmillan Publishing (Kingfisher). [email protected], (646-307-5151). 133pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-7534-6632-2 (1985). Illustrated by Thomas Yeates.

Readers can confront the Sphinx, the Gorgon, a dragon, a river serpent, and a giant in the five legends that Horowitz retells and Yeates illustrates. Horowitz ensures excitement for modern readers without taking too many liberties with the tales. While these stories are all Western tales, his other “Legends” volumes include Eastern tales, and Beasts and monsters includes a Cheyenne Indian tale for some diversity. (MC) 

Horowitz, Anthony. 2011. Legends: Death and the underworld. Macmillan Publishing (Kingfisher). [email protected], (646-307-5151). 133pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-7534-6542-4 (1985). Illustrated by Thomas Yeates.

Horowitz retells six stories from West Africa, Greece, Norway, and India with plenty of action and humor to captivate the modern reader, while doing the original stories justice. The retellings may leave readers hungry for more folktales and legends from around the world. (MC) 

Horowitz, Anthony. 2011. Legends: Heroes and villains. Macmillan Publishing (Kingfisher). [email protected], (646-307-5151). 165pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-7534-6546-2 (1985). Illustrated by Thomas Yeates.

Young readers can read all about Gawain and the Green Knight, Achilles’s dratted heel, Odysseus and the Cyclops, and more in the six tales Horowitz adapts. The humor, action, and illustrations will keep modern readers entertained , although this volume of the Horowitz’s Legends adaption is more Western-oriented than others; four of the stories are Greek and only the Polynesian legend about catching the sun is from the eastern hemisphere. However, Horowitz’s exciting retellings will enthuse students about legends from around the world. (MC) 

Houston, Gloria. 2011. Miss Dorothy and her bookmobile. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 30 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-259155-6. Illustrated by Susan Condie Lamb.

This story is about Dorothy, who always wanted to be a librarian in a fine, brick library, just like the one from her childhood. However, when she moved to her new home in North Carolina as an adult, she soon found out there was no library. Dorothy’s desire to be a librarian is so strong that she decides to personally deliver books to the people in her town. This is based on a true story of the author’s idol as a child. The moral of this story teaches children that they can be whoever they want to be, no matter where they are. Ages 6-9. (SJC) 

Iggulden, Gonn. 2011. Tollin’s 2: Dynamite tales. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 188pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-06-173101-3. Illustrated by Lizzy Duncan.

Tollin’s 2: Dynamite tales is made up of three different but interconnected books. These books explore the life of Tollin people and tell the different adventures that they experience. The stories are fun, exciting, and adventurous and would entertain children of all ages. The illustrations are life like and really help the reader to understand what the Tollins people look like and show what the world is like from their point of view. All ages (KE)

Jane, Pamela. 2011. Little goblins ten. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. &16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-176798-2. Illustrated by Jane Manning.

Pamela Jane creates a wonderful Halloween tale in the children’s book, Little Goblins Ten. She uses rhyming words and captures the reader’s attention from the first paragraph because her story is almost like a song. The words flow and connect from page to page. Jane also incorporates counting the numbers one through ten. From the first little monster one to little skellies eight to little goblins ten, children will visually enjoy counting up the little creatures. Jane nicely puts a spin on the concept of Halloween, which at times may be scary to little children. She mentions Halloween characters in a positive light and highlights their “scary” attributes in a comical sort of way. To go with Jane’s descriptive words, the illustrator, Jane Manning, draws round, soft characters. This reflects a caring, approachable side to the characters within the story. All in all, this children’s book is an excellent Halloween read. Recommended for ages 3-7. (SS) 

Jenkins, Steve. 2012. The beetle book. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 40pp. $16.99. 978-0-547-68084-2.

This informational picture book on beetles would be a great addition to any elementary or science classroom. Each page is different and highlights interesting strengths that certain beetles acquire. The illustrations are playful and realistic by giving texture, color, and movement to the different beetles in each section of the book. The beetle book could be used for any age group due to its mass amount of information regarding the many different types of beetles. (LS) 

Jennings, Patrick. 2011. Lucky cap. Egmont USA. [email protected], (212-685-0102). 213pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-60684-054-2.

Many people have a “lucky” article of clothing, but it is unlikely anyone has ever had one as lucky as Enzo’s cap. After he acquires it and has it signed by famous athletes while traveling with his Dad, who sells sportswear, Enzo’s life at school becomes lucky. He becomes starter for the basketball team, is elected class president, and his popularity level soars. When his cap goes missing, Enzo knows someone stole it. He has to find his cap—or find his own luck. Jennings captures middle school’s craziness in this novel, which is an easy read and would interest students in late elementary school or early middle school. (MC) 

Jensen, Dana. 2012. A meal of the stars: Poems up and down. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Books for Children). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-39007-9. Illustrated by Tricia Tusa.

This is a book of poems about ordinary events or situations which are brought to life. Some of the poems are to be read starting from the bottom of the page and others starting at the top of the page. These poems will challenge readers to decide how to read the poem in such a way that it makes the most sense. It would be great for students who like to read aloud. The illustrations are colorful and add energy to the poems. Simple words are used with no punctuation, which would make this a good fit book for early readers. (SL) 

This is a simple poem book, with vertical poems that either begin at the top of the page or the bottom. Each page has a different poem and it is the reader’s job to figure out where it begins. The poems are about thoughts and activities displayed in the illustrations next to the poems. Recommended for children ages 5-7. (SO) 

Johnson, D.B. 2012. Magritte’s marvelous hat. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-55864-6

Magritte takes a liking to a hat that does not pinch ears or muss up hair, and he is able to paint marvelous pictures better than his best when he is wearing it. As Magritte becomes consumed in his paintings, he forgets about his hat’s playfulness. His hat wants to go out in the world, so it hides…will Magritte ever find his marvelous hat and be able to paint again? This cute story was inspired by the surrealist paintings of Belgian artist Rene Magritte. Ages 2-10+. (HD)

This book was inspired by a French surrealist painter named René Margritte. The story follows a dog named Margritte and his brand new floating hat that has given him a new sense of imagination. Margritte is now able to paint wonderful pictures with the hat on his head, but without the hat Margritte struggles to be imaginative. Due to the lack of fluency in Johnson’s style of writing in this particular book, the story would be difficult for some younger children to follow. Therefore, this book would be best suited for children in upper elementary. The illustrations however are eye-catching and filled with vibrant colors that bring them to life. This book would be best suited for children who are interested in different artists and their works. (KN) 

Johnson-Shelton, Nils. 2012. Otherworld chronicles: The invisible tower. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 335pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-06-207086-9.

The first book in his Otherworld chronicles, Johnson-Shelton’s The invisible tower is an exciting and action-packed modern-day King Arthur tale for children ages 10 and up. Johnson-Shelton’s new novel, complete with vivid details, interesting characters, and magical spells, is impossible to put down until the final page, leaving the reader begging for more. The invisible tower would appeal students who are interested in magic, King Arthur, or fantasy. Also, it would be a great supplement for an English unit on King Arthur. (RAW) 

Jordan, Deloris. 2012. Dream big: Michael Jordan and the pursuit of Olympic gold. Simon and Schuster (Books for Young Readers). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $16.99. 978-1-4424-1269-9. Illustrated by Barry Root.

This is a good story for children and athletes to see the type of hard work it takes to become successful. It is a great look into the drive and motivation Michael Jordan had from early in his life to become a great basketball player. It is a great story that even students in lower elementary grades could read. The illustrations depict the events described in the story well and show young Michael with a basketball in his in hand in just about every scene to convey Michael’s obsession with the game. However, Root could have put more detail into the illustrations of Michael Jordan. After all, he is a legendary athlete and a very recognizable figure, yet even in the illustration of him on the Olympic team, it was difficult to identify the character outside of the context. Still, it is a powerful story for any young athlete or sports enthusiast. (CD) 

Kalman, Maria. 2012. Looking at Lincoln. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Nancy Paulsen Books). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN978-0-399-24039-3.

Maria Kalman takes the reader on a journey to meet President Abraham Lincoln in this book for younger readers. Focusing less on his political career, Kalman explores Lincoln’s personal life, starting with his childhood and ending with a look at his assassination. She even tells readers Lincoln’s favorite cake! Her illustrations are beautiful and vivid, helping the reader connect even more with Lincoln. This book would be great for teachers looking for books about Lincoln for a unit on the Civil War or U.S. presidents. (RAW) 

Kasbarian, Lucine. 2011. The greedy sparrow: An Armenian tale. Marshall Cavendish (Cavendish Children’s Books). [email protected], (914-332-8888). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN978-0-7614-5821-0. Illustrated by Maria Zaikina.

Originally an Armenian oral traditional tale, The greedy bird is a fable about a bird that uses selfishness, dishonesty, and trickery to gain something bigger and better from someone else. Will his selfishness get him to where he wants to be? Readers will learn an important lesson learned by the greedy bird. Ages: All. (HD) 

Katz, Alan. 2011. Mosquitoes are ruining my summer! And other silly dilly camp songs. Simon and Schuster (Margaret K. McElderry Books). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-5568-9. Illustrated by David Catrow.

This book is filled with poems about a child’s camp experiences. The poems are filled with rhythm and beat because they are set to match a song’s tune. Readers will connect with fun camp experiences and enjoy exploring reading by song. The humorous illustrations are a little out of the ordinary but fit well with the poems. This book would be great to have in the classroom to get students singing and laughing together as a class. Ages 4-8 (KE) 

Kay, Verla. 2012. Civil War: Drummer boy. Penguin Group (USA) Inc. (G.P. Putnam Son’s). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-388-23992-2. Illustrated by Larry Day.

This is a powerful picture book—particularly because of the simple yet emotional poems that make up the book. Students studying the American Civil War in the late elementary school grades would benefit greatly by its message. The poems capture the pain of war, the confusion about the purpose of war, and the strangeness of returning home after witnessing such tragedies. The art is also highly effective in telling the story in itself, and it acts as a great complement to the poetry. (CB) 

Keating, Frank. 2012. George: George Washington, our founding father. Simon and Schuster (Paula Wiseman Books). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-5482-8. Illustrated by Mike Wimmer.

This is a biography telling about the life of George Washington from his childhood to when he becomes the first president. Within the book there are also rules that George had written to for himself to live by. This is an interesting biography that would engage kids in the journey and life story of our first president. The illustrations in this book are very realistic and allow readers to feel like they are witnessing the actual event. This book could be a great inspiration to many children and would be great to use within a history class. Ages 6-9 (KE) 

Kinerk, Robert. 2012. Clorida plays baseball!. Simon and Schuster (Paula Wiseman Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-689-86865-8. Illustrated by Steven Kellogg.

Clorinda is a cow with a big dream. She loves baseball and hopes one day to play for the Red Hats in Bosstown. As she practices, friends gather to play and among them is a boy named Deke. Deke is naturally talented at the game and Clorinda helps him train until the day when a Red Hat scout finds him and brings Deke to Bosstown. Though playing baseball for the Red Hats is Clorinda’s dream, she remains true to her friend when he is in need. This is a fun book with a good story of friendship. The illustrations add to the enjoyment of the book as we see animals and people interact in different settings. Recommended for ages 4-8. (AG) 

Kinerk, Robert. 2011. Oh, how Sylvester can pester! And other poems more or less about manners. Simon and Schuster (Paula Wiseman Books). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 28pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-3362-5. Illustrated by Drazen Kozjan.

This collection of poetry focuses on the different rules of manners and etiquette that children must learn. Children will read about what to do – be on time, say the ‘magic words’, and clean their rooms. They’ll also read about what not to do – don’t interrupt when others are talking, be a picky eater, or talk while you chew food. The poems are short and spunky, and the illustrations complement this lively text well. These clever poems are a great way to introduce etiquette to young readers in a creative and enjoyable way. Ages 4-8. (MMC) 

King, Caro. 2011. Seven sorcerers. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 324pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-2042-7.

Nin wakes up to find that her younger brother Toby no longer exists, yet she can still remember him. In her quest to find out what happened, Nin becomes enveloped in an alternate world steeped in magic—and danger. A surprisingly helpful bogeyman, a mud creature that Nin herself creates, and a boy named Jonas join Nin as she ventures into the horrifying House of Strood. The plot takes several fresh turns that keeps it from wheeling down the basic “normal child in a fantastical world” narrative, and Nin is an immediately likeable heroine. However, in the end, success comes from a group effort. While the book doesn’t finish with a neatly-wrapped ending, fantasy lovers should enjoy Seven sorcerers. Recommended for late middle school and high school students. (MC) 

Kirby, Matthew J. 2011. Icefall. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 325pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-27424-1.

This chapter book is sure to engage a young reader who is intrigued by mystery and action. Following a young girl that struggles with her worth in the world and to her family, Icefall brings forth the idea that everyone has worth; it just might not be where you are looking. This book is filled with twists and turns and keeps readers on the edge of their seats until the last page. (TW) 

Kloepfer, John. 2011. The zombie chasers: Sludgment day. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 213pp. $15.99. ISBN978-0-06-185310-4. Illustrated by Steve Wolfhard.

The zombie chasers: Sludgment day is the third book of The zombie chasers series. In this children’s book, the kids go on an adventure to take down zombies. The fun, cartoon illustrations keep the audience engaged and help readers to envision what is happening. Ages 9-13. (MEW) 

Kozlowsky, M.P. 2011. Juniper berry: A tale of terror and temptation. HarperCollins Publishers (Walden Pond Press). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 227pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-06-199869-0.

What if your biggest wish was handed to you in a balloon? When Juniper Berry’s parents are offered their dreams to be famous movie stars, they jump at the chance but end up paying a horrible price. Juniper Berry, hurt by her parents’ new callous attitude, investigates with Giles, a neighbor friend. Together they embark on a horrifying journey down a tree where they are both tempted by their own dreams and desires. Reminiscent of Coraline, the story is genuinely creepy with a compelling premise. Recommended for late elementary and middle school-aged readers who enjoy spooky stories. (MC) 

Levin, Mark, and Flackett, Jennifer. 2011. The family Hitchcock. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 277pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-06-189394-0.

This young adult novel is perfect for readers who like adventure and mystery. When the Hitchcock family plans a relaxed and cost efficient trip to Paris, they never imagined it would lead them running for their lives. French phrases are inserted amongst the English text, but it is easy for readers to understand the phrases based on the context of the story. Readers can relate to the characters, as they develop throughout the story and are the same age as the target audience (Ages 9+). (KMB) 

Levine, Gail Carson. 2011. A tale of two castles. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 328pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-122965-7.

Elodie’s dreams of becoming a mansioner, or an actress, fall short when she reaches the town of Two Castles and is too poor to become a mansioner’s apprentice. Instead, she is taken in by an intelligent dragon and sent on a mission to protect an ogre king from a would-be murderer. Elodie must discover who to trust and who to avoid and learns how to put her mansioning talents to use in an entirely new way. Levine’s writing is witty and Elodie is a character worth rooting for. Fans of Levine’s previous works will likely eat up her latest tale. (MC) 

Levine, Gail Carson. 2012. Forgive me, I meant to do it: False apology poems. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 80pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-06-178725-6. Illustrated by Matthew Cordell.

Inspired by William Carlos Williams’s poem “This is just to say,” author Gail Carson Levine puts her own funny twist on Williams’s poems. The book includes a collection of false apology poems, from poems about Pinocchio to ones about Cupid. Matthew Cordell brings illustrations that are witty and playful and that capture each poem’s individual story. This book is great for any reader looking for a clever poem and a good laugh. Ages 6-9. (LJM). 

Levine, Kristin. 2012. The Lions of Little Rock. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 298pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-399-25644-8.

Growing up in the town of Little Rock, Arkansas in 1958 during the heart of integration, Marlee struggles to find her voice. Her brother left for college, and her sister was recently sent to her Grandmother’s in order to attend high school. Extremely shy, Marlee finds herself struggling in social situations without the comfort of her family members. Liz, a new student at school, instantly befriends Marlee, and helps her feel comfortable talking in front of others. Just as Marlee and Liz’s friendship becomes unbreakable, Liz unexpectedly transfers schools. Word around town is that Liz is an extremely fair-skinned African-American, who posed as a white student to attend Marlee’s school. The book continues with the life of Marlee as she struggles with her intense but forbidden friendship with Liz; Little Rock’s segregation issues; and Marlee’s family struggles. This extremely inspirational story is great for students in the upper elementary grades and middle school. Readers are informed, however, that situations like Marlee’s were extremely rare, and standing up against segregation was a serious and risky action. This historical fiction book is great for supplementing a unit on segregation during the 1950’s and ‘60’s. (CCB) 

Lewis, J. Patrick. Edgar Allan Poe’s pie: Math puzzles in classic poems. 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Children’s Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 37pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-547-51338-6. Illustrated by Michael Slack.

This book is made up of a collection of poems based off of well-known, classic poems. The poems in this book have been rewritten to incorporate a math puzzle into each poem. Not only does this book allow children to relate these poems to the actual famous ones, but it allows them to become involved with the poem by having them solve various math problems. The illustrations throughout this book go along with each poem and add on to each math puzzle. Also, the back of the book provides some brief information about the original poets of the poems in the book. This book is great for children around middle school age due to the math problems that can be a little tricky. (LND) 

Lewis, J. Patrick. 2012. Edgar Allen Poe’s pie: Math puzzlers in classic poems. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Children’s Books). [email protected] (800-597-6127). 40pp. $16.99. 978-0-547-51338-6. Illustrated by Michael Slack.

This book is composed of 14 different mathematical poems. It incorporates different poets and twists together words and equations for students to solve. The wording is fun, and a classroom teacher may want to read a poem in the morning to get the students’ brains jogging. It is enjoyable but would have to be at an age group that can divide, multiply, understand fractions and other higher math equations. Therefore, this is most appropriate at a 7th to 8th grade level. Overall, it has well-drawn illustrations, connections to the poets at the end of the book, and great brainteasers that will have readers giggling throughout the entire book. (TB) 

Littlewood, Kathryn. 2012. Bliss. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 374pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-208423-1.

The Bliss family lives above their bakery in Calamity Falls. However, it is not just a normal bakery because Albert and Purdy Bliss secretly are magical bakers. They are called to help in a neighboring town for a week, and they leave their four children at home with instructions to run the bakery and keep the special family cookbook safe and hidden. However, when long-lost Aunt Lily shows up, the Bliss children want to impress her, so they attempt to create some magical recipes. Their recipes go amiss, and the town ends up in chaos. Aunt Lily saves the day and then runs off to New York with the family cookbook, hoping to become famous. In the end, the Bliss children realize that they do not need magic to be happy; all they need is a loving family. This book is recommended for ages 8-12, as it is a relatively long chapter book. However, the fantasy themes, fast paced action, and large print make it very readable for students of these ages. (ANT) 

Ljungkvist, Laura. (2011). Follow the line to school. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Viking). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 26pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-670-01226-8.

Trace the line throughout the illustration and text in this introduction to school. The line takes the reader from room to room, describing each subject and what objects can be found in the classroom. Questions are asked along the way about what might be learned in each subject. The illustrations are photos of real objects, giving new students a sneak peek into what can be found in the school. This book is recommended for children about to enter school, specifically kindergarten. The descriptions make school seem fun and interesting, putting to rest any anxiety felt by the soon-to-be student. Ages 4 and up. (EKB) 

Long, Loren. 2011. Otis and the tornado. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Philomel). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 40pp. $17.99. 978-0-399-25477-2.

Otis and the tornado is a very exciting and potentially frightening story for young readers! Through this book, readers will learn the importance of kindness, selflessness, and safety through the actions demonstrated by the main character, Otis. The lack of bright and cheery colors adds a suspenseful and eerie sense to each illustration as the plot thickens. Long creates a realistic experience for the reader by creating a story dealing with a tornado, which is one of nature’s most destructive forces. Otis and the tornado perfectly demonstrates how kindness and selflessness can change our peers for the better. (LS) 

Lowry, Lois. 2011. Gooney bird on the map. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 125pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-547-55622-2. Illustrated by Middy Thomas.

The beloved Lois Lowry has done it again. She has written another wonderful story about the infamous Gooney Bird. Even though most of her class is gloomy because they have to stay home for the February break while a few others get to go on vacation, Gooney Bird comes up with an idea that saves the day! This great story will keep readers going till the superb end. Ages 6 and up. (KES) 

Lyons, Kelly Starling. (2012). Ellen’s broom. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-399-25003-3. Illustrated by Daniel Minter.

Ellen is a young slave girl who was recently freed, along with her family. During these times, slaves were not allowed to marry so that the men and women could be sold separately without the bonds of the law. After attaining freedom, all of the couples from Ellen’s church, including her parents, are planning to get legally married. Prior to freedom, men and women had their own ceremony involving jumping over a broom together to symbolize their marriage for themselves and for God. This story follows Ellen and her family on their journey, ending in gaining the right once denied to them. Themes of culture, tradition, and values run throughout the book. This story would be a good addition to a culturally diverse classroom library. Ages 4-7. (EKB) 

MacLachlan, Patricia. 2012. Kindred souls. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 119pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-06-052297-1.

This story illustrates the deep bond between family and the importance of preserving the memories of the past. Readers are instantly submerged in the relaxedness of rural living when they are introduced to the characters of the story. Billy is Jake’s eighty-eight year old grandfather, and he only wants one thing in his old age: to rebuild the sod house in which he grew up. When Billy declares Jake will build the sod house for him, Jake struggles because he feels he has no choice in the matter. When Jake finally starts the process of constructing the sod house, he realizes its importance and the gift he is giving to his grandfather. At times the narrative seems poetic and timeless, almost as though it is flowing with the prairie wind. This is truly a touching story that shows a deep connection between two “kindred souls.” Ages 7-11. (AJS) 

MacLachlan, Patricia, and MacLachlan Charest, Emily. 2011. Before you came. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-051234-7. Illustrated by David Diaz.

The MacLachlan mother-daughter duo writes of a connection between mother, child, and nature in Before you came. A loving mother tells her child everything she had before the child was born, which include several parts of nature such as a river, birds, bugs, a garden with flowers, a cat that brought the mother kittens, and a dog that chases squirrels. When the child is born, the mother explains that everything she once had now belongs to her child. David Diaz beautifully illustrates the sweet story with a gentle romantic feeling. The rich colors bring a feeling of warmth to the story that helps emphasize the loving relationship between mother, child, and nature. Ages 4-8. (KW) 

Maloney, Peter, and Zekauskas, Felicia. 2011. One foot two feet: An exceptional counting book. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (G. P. Putnam’s Sons). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 43pp. $12.99 ISBN978-0-399-25446-8.

This book labels itself a counting book, from 1 to 10, but it also teaches children about singular and plural nouns. There is no real pattern and no rhyming, but rather, it gives examples for exceptions in the English language (hence why the title is written, “An EXCEPTIONal…”). It is enjoyable and points out the obvious plurals that kids could find confusing, i.e. goose to geese, octopus to octopi, and ox to oxen. It is not certain if the book conveys counting very well, though the authors did make a conscious decision to place the numbers that had already been displayed in the book on the next page in a number line format. This book is at early reader level, maybe preschool to kindergarten. (TB) 

Manning, Maurie J. 2012. Laundry day. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 40 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-24196-8.

This book is a great one for fourth graders through middle school students. This book barely has any words in it, so it will cause readers to fill in the blanks with their own words based on what the picture tells them. The only words in the book are what the boy and the other characters speak. The illustrations are very important for this book. Without them, the reader would not understand what is happening. The illustrator and the author bounce off each other with the story line. This book would make a great assignment where the students have to write the rest of the story and then read it to the class. This book also has some words in it that come from different non-English languages, which causes the reader to think about what the word means from the context clues. The author gives the real meanings of each of these words at the end of the book. These words would be great at testing how well students understand context clues by having them guess what the meaning of the words based on the context clues that surround the. (WF) 

Marcus, Kimberly. 2011. Scritch-scratch a perfect match. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 31pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25004-0. Illustrated by Mike Lester.

A simple flap of a flea on a dog’s back starts off this action-packed book which is full of sound effects and fun language. The author uses rhyme that makes readers laugh and want to keep reading. The cartoon-like illustrations are full of movement and are great for younger children. Before this book, a person would never guess a flea could help bring friends together. (ARD) 

Markle, Sandra. (2012). Waiting for ice. Charlesbridge. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 32pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-58089-255-1. Illustrated by Alan Marks.

Waiting for ice is an inspirational story about survival and beating the odds. A small polar bear cub, less than a year old, is separated from her mother during fall of an unseasonably warm year. The polar bears have little food to hunt until winter returns to freeze their Arctic Ocean. Polar bears hunt seals and whales from chunks of frozen ice reaching out into the ocean. This story follows this orphaned cub as she overcomes the obstacles of finding food and learning how to survive on her own. Based on a true story, this book can be used to learn facts about polar bears and an issue very prevalent in the world today: global warming. Young readers will get a sense of strength from the theme running throughout the story of someone small overcoming a large obstacle. Ages 4-8. (EKB) 

Marrin, Albert. 2011. Little monsters: The creatures that live in us and on us. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Dutton). [email protected] (212-366-2000). 152pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-525-462262-4.

This book allows readers to gain a more in depth look at the small creatures that share the world with them. It provides detailed descriptions on the organisms but at the same time keeps the vocabulary at an understandable level. The illustrations vary between diagrams of lifecycles and real photographs, which make it easy for the reader to connect the descriptions to the illustrations. Ages 10 and up. (HMF) 

Marsden, Carolyn. 2012. The white zone. Lerner Publishing Group (Carol Rhoda). [email protected], (800-328-4929). 183 pp. $17.95. ISBN978-0-7613-7383-4.

In modern-day Iraq, the lives of two boys, Nouri and Talib, are very similar except for one major difference: one is a Shiite and the other is a Sunni. The relationships and lifestyles of these two boys explore many topics that are important to the lives of children today. Talib and Nouri experience friendship and family differences, loss and war, and overcome obstacles. The reader learns of the boys’ devotion to religion and Allah, different Muslim traditions, and also social class. Children, as well as adults, will form strong opinions about both boys and the hardships that this war has caused Iraqi people. This is a great book to teach current events in addition to the topics listed above. Ages 9-13. (IWT) 

McDermott, Gerald. 2011. Monkey: A trickster tale from India. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Children’s Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-15-216596-3.

This tale from India is perfect for young tricksters. Monkey will do whatever it takes to get his mangoes, so to ensure Crocodile does not eat him, he has to use his tricky skills to help him. Monkey and Crocodile’s relationship is humorous, and the creative acts of Monkey will surely please readers. The illustrative texture details make Monkey and Crocodile stand out amongst the brightly colored pages and make them look life-like. (4+). (KMB) 

McDonnell, Christine. 2011. Goyangi means cat. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Viking). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-670-01179-7. Illustrated by Steven Johnson and Lou Fancher.

When Soo Min moves to America from Korea to live with her adoptive parents, she finds a friend in their cat, Goyangi. But what happens when Goyangi goes missing? Readers can relate to the theme of friendship and the sad feeling of a pet going missing in this book. Korean words are inserted amongst the English text, but the words are accompanied with the English translation, so it is easy for readers to follow along. Korean lettering symbols are embodied in the illustrations to show a connection between Soo Min in America and her Korean homeland. (Ages 3+). (KMB) 

McMullan, Kate. 2012. I’m fast! HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer + Bray). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 40 pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-06-192085-1. Illustrated by Jim McMullan.

This book introduces students to the importance of trains. The words are written as if they are on a train track and readers are following along on a trip with the train. The story compares the train to a car and students can learn about different modes of transportation. The book is also filled with words representing the sounds that the train makes. The book also explores the obstacles a train my face on its journey across the country as it delivers different goods to various places. By looking at the colorful illustrations, students can learn about the names of the different cars of the train and what the train may be carrying. This is a great book to help students realize that there are many forms of transportation and all of them are very important. Ages 4-8. (IWT) 

Meloy, Colin. 2011. Wildwood. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer + Bray). [email protected], 212-207-7000. 541pp. $17.99. 978-0-06-202468-8. Illustrated by Carson Ellis.

A considerable amount of buzz precedes this book written by the singer and songwriter of The Decemberists, and the result is what the Chronicles of Narnia would be like if it was set in modern-day Portland. Prue ventures into the Impassable Wilderness beyond Portland to rescue her baby brother, who was captured by crows, and soon she and her tagalong friend Curtis find themselves in a complicated political situation amongst the human and animal residents of Wildwood. The illustrations and the story arc hearken back to a simpler time, and children will enjoy the adventure. However, at 541 pages, the book is overly long and sometimes the vocabulary is unnecessarily sophisticated. Still, Meloy creates an interesting villain and a wide range of exciting characters, and he places them in an enjoyable world. (MC) 

Meloy, Maile. 2011. The apothecary. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 353pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25627-1.

In the midst of the Cold War, Janie moves from Hollywood to London after her parents are thought to be communists. At first she is miserable in post-Blitz London, but then she becomes embroiled in spying with a school friend, Benjamin. This becomes all the more complicated when they acquire a book on alchemy that allows them to turn into birds and possess other magical qualities, like invisibility. The story successfully blends historical realism and magic together, the resulting in a fast-paced tale with two likable protagonists and a satisfying conclusion. Young readers might need to gain some historical background on the time period to avoid confusion. Recommended for readers ten and up. (MC) 

Meng, Cece. 2011. I will not read this book. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-04971-7. Illustrated by Joy Ang.

I will not read this book is a children’s book that consists of repetition, which makes for interaction between the reader and the listeners. In this children’s book, the little boy refuses to read and comes up with a long list of excuses. This book is suitable for a younger audience because it addresses how some children aren’t comfortable with reading, and that it’s important to read with someone else. Ages 5-8. (MEW) 

Metzger, Steve. 2011. Detective blue. Scholastic Inc. (Orchard Books). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 25pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-17286-8. Illustrated by Tedd Arnold.

Young Mother Goose lovers, ages 4 to 9, will enjoy a great spin on an old tale. The familiar character Little Boy Blue has become Detective Blue and has a case to solve. While he asks around, the reader can apply previous knowledge of the tale to predict the outcome. He meets plenty of characters from other nursery rhymes. After questioning each character, the reader can help solve the case with Detective Blue to solve the mystery and find the culprit, one character with two names. (NES)

Metzger, Steve. 2012. Pluto visits Earth!. Scholastic, Inc. (Orchard Books). scholastic.custhelp.com, 212-343-6100. 32 pp. $ 16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-24934-8. Illustrated by Jared Lee.

This book is the story of Pluto and the fact that it is no longer a planet. This book is from the perspective of Pluto and discusses how Pluto would feel about being called a dwarf planet instead of a real planet. The illustrations have dark backgrounds when Pluto is traveling through space, which give the reader the real essences of what space looks like. The illustrations are not one hundred percent accurate to the real description of space because each picture has something on it that is not space related. These unnatural pictures give some different aspect to what people know about space. For example, the illustrator hints that Pluto is cold with a snowman or that Mars might have Martians with all the Martians flying around having a party. This book would be perfect for second or third graders, especially if the teacher is having a unit on space. This book ties in different aspects of what people know about space, and it could lead to some great discussions about space. (WF) 

Mitchell, Margaree King. 2011. When grandmamma sings. HarperCollins Publishers (Amistad). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-17563-4. Illustrated by James E. Ransome.

Belle’s grandmamma can sing. She has a voice that uplifts her audience and brings people together. When Grandmama gets the chance to tour the South with a jazz band, she enlists the help of her young granddaughter Belle, one of the few literate members of her family, to accompany her in their first journey outside of Pecan Flats, Mississippi. Grandmama’s tour starts out slowly. Only seventeen people attend her first concert, but Grandmama perseveres, even singing without pay, and word soon catches on that Grandmama has a beautiful voice. As people flock to Grandmama’s shows all around the South, Belle reads her grandmother the ‘Whites Only’ signs that prevent the tour group from getting a decent meal, hotel, or any kindness from locals. Grandmama tells Belle that her biggest wish for her granddaughter is a world in which all people can be together, and Grandmama’s beautiful voice works toward this goal.

This book is touching, thoughtful, and beautiful in both story and illustration. A perfect book to teach children about the importance of acceptance, compassion, determination, and fighting for what is right. Readers aged 7 and up will connect with the characters and humanity of this wonderful book. (EE) 

Mitchell, Saundra. 2012. The springsweet. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. [email protected], (800-597-6127). 288pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-60842-6.

When seventeen-year-old Zora Stewart is left devastated by the death of her fiancé, she flees Baltimore and all of its haunting memories to start a new life on the frontier. She distracts herself by laboring on her widowed aunt’s meager homestead and caring for her toddler-aged cousin in West Glory, Oklahoma. Zora begins to see herself anew at the discovery of her unique gift—she is a springsweet who can feel water flowing below the ground—and she meets Emerson, another springsweet in whom Zora senses the possibility of finding happiness again. However, despite Zora’s attempt to leave her past behind, a suitor from home follows her to West Glory, offering a love that Zora cannot accept. Readers ranging from late middle school to early high school would enjoy this story of heartbreak, adversity, transformation, and growth. (HOH) 

Montgomery, Sy. 2012. Temple Grandin. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 148 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-547-44315-7.

Temple Grandin is an amazing woman who has embraced autism and used her “quirks” to change the world for animals. Readers will learn so much about autism and the life of a person overcoming the obstacles associated with the disease. Temple went from being an unresponsive toddler to a professor at a university. She used her love of animals to better the living conditions of animals. This is an easy-to-read, thoughtful biography that will grab reader’s attention within the first few pages. Ages 14 and up. (NES) 

Moore, Elizabeth, and Alice Couvillon. How the gods created the finger people: A Mayan fable. 2011. Pelican Publishing Company. [email protected], (800-843-1724). 30pp. $18.99. ISBN 9781589808898. Illustrated by Luz-Maria Lopez.

This dual-language (English & Spanish) story book tells a traditional Mayan fable of the gods’ efforts to create humans companions out of clay, wood, and gold, but these companions did not last. The Good-Hearted God realized that humans must come from part of a god, so he cut off his fingers. When they hit the ground, they turned into people that were warm and compassionate. This is a great multicultural book for young readers with a colorful storyline and beautiful traditional illustrations. Ages 4-8. (SJC) 

Morris, Gerald. 2012. The adventures Sir Balin the ill-fated. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 94pp. $14.99. ISBN978-0-547-68085-9. Illustrated by Aaron Renier.

This book is intended for a reading level of third through fifth graders. Sir Balin is a knight who is prophesied by a witch that many good events would happen to him, but in exchange bad events would happen to people who he cares for. Adventure is the dominant theme in this story filled with traditional fantasy characteristics. Many young readers will enjoy reading about the adventures of a noble knight. Ages 8-11. (MTB) 

Morrissey, Dean. The wizard mouse. 2011. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], 212-207-7000. 32 pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-6-008066-2. Illustrated by Dean Morrissey.

This story is a charming tale about a small field mouse, Rollie, who encounters a wizard who lost his magic. The wizard is having trouble remembering his spells, so Rollie offers to help memorize his spells in exchange for letting him stay in the castle. Rollie is determined to help the wizard get his magic back and goes to find the magic fish that can help the wizard to restore his magic. This story is a great example of how people can help each other so that everyone can live happily. The illustrations in this story are very detailed, but are at the same time, almost dreamlike. The pictures allow the reader to imagine the story and the magic within it. This story is great for children ages five to nine. (LND) 

Moses, Will. (2011). Mary and her little lamb. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Philomel). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 40pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-399-25154-2.

Everyone is familiar with the old nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” This song comes alive in the true story of Mary’s little lamb. Mary nursed a sick little lamb back to health, spending a lot of time with it and becoming friends. One day, the lamb followed Mary to school. The children giggled as Mary tried to hide the lamb under her desk, but naturally the teacher discovered the secret. A visitor in the classroom, John Roulstone, thought it was a funny situation, so he wrote Mary a poem. This poem is now the well-known song children sing today. This book is interesting to read because it reveals the little-known origin of the nursery rhyme we all know. Ages 5-9. (EKB) 

Muir, Leslie. 2012. C.R. Mudgeon. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-7906. Illustrated by Julian Hector.

C.R. Mudgeon is a hedgehog who doesn’t like surprises. He likes having the exact same supper every single night: celery root soup and a cup of dandelion tea. C.R. Mudgeon likes things to stay the same and he doesn’t like excitement. However, this all changes when C.R. Mudgeon gets a new neighbor. This new neighbor loves color, spices, and excitement. Through the book, the neighbor introduces C.R. Mudgeon to the exciting side of life. Leslie Muir creates an enjoyable read about friendship, stepping out of one’s comfort zone, and having fun. C.R. Mudgeon learns to embrace life, and both characters learn to accept each other’s differences. Recommended for ages 4-8. (SS) 

Munro, Roxie. 2011. Hatch! Marshall Cavendish (Cavendish Children’s Books). [email protected], (914-332-8888). 40pp. $17.99. ISBN978-0-7614-5882-1.

“Can you guess whose eggs these are?” This book will have readers guessing which birds go with which egg. This informative book will allow readers to learn about different types of birds and their habitats. Will you be able to match the egg with the correct bird? Read Hatch! to find out! Ages: 3-10+. (HD) 

Murray, Alison. 2010. Apple pie ABC. HarperCollins Publishers (Hyperion-Disney). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 25pp. $16.99. ISBN978-142313694-1.

Alison Murray’s humorous ABC book about making and enjoying apple pie is great for readers ages 2-6. Although not a specific step-by-step instruction book on how to make apple pie, it tells a funny story about how amazing one of America’s favorite desserts can be. This book would be great for students just learning how to read, as the sentences are simple and the pictures are fun to look at, making it a very enjoyable reading experience. (RAW) 

Myers, Walter Dean. 2011. We are America: A tribute from the heart. HarperCollins Publishers (Collins). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 40pp. $16.99 ISBN 978-0-06-052308-4. Illustrated by Christopher Myers.

Targeted at older readers, We are America: A Tribute from the Heart is a wonderful tribute to the story of our country. With abstract illustrations, the pictures and text can be great discussion pieces in a classroom setting. (TW) 

Neimann, Christoph. 2011. That’s how!. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-06-201963-9.

Christoph Neimann, an artist who lives in Berlin, Germany and New York City, uses his creativity to conceive this book. It invites readers to use their imagination along with the boy and girl characters. The girl asks how a vehicle works, and the boy replies with, “Hmm, let me think,” and “that’s how.” Neimann proceeds by illustrating various animals inside the machine working, for example, a lion pedaling for a truck. By having crazy explanations for simple objects, this book encourages young students to brainstorm their own whimsical explanations. Who knew that a steam roller is run by two bears getting tickled? Recommended for ages 2-5. (HRD) 

Nelson, Jessie, and Karen Leigh Hopkins. 2011. Labracadabra. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Viking). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 36pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-670-01251-0. Illustrated by Deborah Melmon.

Zach has a growing friendship with his special dog, Larry. Zach starts to notice all the things Larry can do with his tail. This story is a great way for children to appreciate the uniqueness and differences between people and animals. The theme of this book is to show that not everybody is the same and that it is okay to be different from other people. Illustrations show all the neat things that Larry’s tail can do and create a sense of humor that goes along with the rest of the book. Ages 7-9. (KE) 

Nelson, Vaunda Michaeux. 2012. No crystal star. Lerner Publishing Group (Carol Rhoda). [email protected], (800-328-4929). 188 pp. $17.95. ISBN978-0-7613-6169-5. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie.

This book tells the story of Lewis Michaux, a Harlem Bookseller born in the early 1900s. This story is told both through the eyes of Lewis’s family and with his own words. The book takes on the feel of a documentary because each page has a different person’s voice. This book touches on the important issues of the 1920s and what many people had to overcome. Throughout the book, there are photographs and articles from this time period showing who Lewis Michaux was. This is a great book for students to begin looking at history through the eyes of a person who actually grew up then. Students will learn how to jump from narrator to narrator and come up with their own version of what happened in the story. The added photographs and articles make this book a great teaching tool when talking about the issues of the 1900s. Ages 12-18. (IWT) 

Nesbet, Anne. 2012. The Cabinet of earths. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 260pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-06-196313-1.

A fantasy novel for middle school readers, The Cabinet of Earths is an enchanting tale about a pair of siblings, Maya and James, who find themselves caught up in very old magic. With the help of a new friend, Valko, Maya uncovers surprises shrouded in her family tree. Maya learns that her very own brother may be in serious danger. Maya must tackle the magical underbelly of Paris. Ages 10 & up. (SJC) 

Newquist, H.P..2012. The Book of blood: From legends and leeches to vampires and veins. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 160pp. $17.99. ISBN978-0-547-31584-3.

This book explores the mysterious and most often intriguing stories of blood, from ancient history to modern science. The book includes everything from the reason blood is red to the undead creatures known as vampires. I found this book highly interesting and stimulating, and it is a must-read for middle school-aged students. The book of blood will captivate those looking for biological data or for a gory tale. Ages 10 & up. (SJC) 

Nielsen, Jennifer A. 2012. The false prince. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 342pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-28413-4.

The false prince is the exhilarating first book in a new trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen. This book is filled with action, humor, danger, treachery, and hidden identities that will take the reader on an adventure from the first page to the last. The story takes place in a make-believe kingdom called Carthya, which is ruled by a king and a queen. However, there is a hidden plot to upturn the king and crown a new subject in his stead. Many nobles, council members, and citizens would like the crown. The story revolves around the battles the main character, Sage, faces on his quest to gain his own identity and turn past wrongs into rights. Taken from an orphanage, Sage competes against two other orphans to impersonate a long-lost prince. Deceit, lies, and sword-fighting intermingle with each boy’s quest at gaining the crown. The reader will be surprised when truths are revealed at the end of the book. The complexity of the text and the notions the story creates makes this book more suitable for middle school students. (SS) 

Noe, Katherine Schlick. 2011. Something to hold. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 250pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-55813-4.

Kitty and her family move—again—to a new home, this time on an Indian reservation in Oregon. When Kitty begins attending the reservation school, she befriends her classmates and realizes how they are ignored or prejudiced against by white people. When her friend’s abusive white stepfather grows increasingly dangerous, Kitty must do the right thing. Noe draws from her own experiences of living on a reservation as a white girl to write this novel, which addresses important issues about the relationship between whites and natives without simplifying or cheapening the long and complicated history. Recommended. (MC) 

Novesky, Amy. 2012. Georgia in Hawaii: When Gerogia O’Keeffe painted what she pleased. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Children’s Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-15-205420-5. Illustrated by Yuyi Morales.

This is a picture storybook about Georgia O’Keeffe’s trip to Hawaii. While in Hawaii, O’Keeffe was asked to paint a pineapple for a company, but she did not want to be told what to paint, and therefore painted other beautiful things Hawaii had to offer. The elaborate colors and use of line in the illustrations brings O’Keeffe’s paintings to life. This story is excellent for gaining knowledge about Hawaii’s wildlife, as well as Georgia O’Keeffe, a great American artist. Grades 2-5 (SRC) 

Nye, Naomi Shihab. 2011. There is no long distance now: Very short stories. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 201pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-201965-3.

From poet Naomi Shihab Nye come forty “very short stories” about divorce, war, friendship, travel, death and life. The stories and characters are diverse and Nye’s writing is as beautiful as ever, but sometimes the “very short” narrative structure feels limiting and doesn’t give Nye time to tell a full story. If readers think of the stories as snapshots rather than full tales, however, they will likely enjoy them, especially students in junior high or early high school. (MC) 

O’Brien, Anne Sibley. 2012. A path of stars. Charlesbridge. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 40pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-57091-735-6.

This is a whimsical and heart-touching story of an immigrant family from Cambodia. Dara’s grandma, Lok Yeay, describes in wonderful detail her homeland of Cambodia, making her stories come alive in Dara’s imagination. A tragedy at the end helps bring the family closer together and introduce new traditions and cultural practices to the reader. The use of color, shape and texture in the illustrations gives the reader the sense of culture and family portrayed in the picture book. This book is intended for readers age 8 and up. (AJS) 

Ode, Eric. 2012. Dan, the taxi man. EDC Publishing (Kane Miller). [email protected], (858-456-0540). 32pp. $14.99. 978-1-61067-072-2. Illustrated by Kent Culotta.

This picture book is targeted to beginning readers. This book uses rhyme and repetition to its advantage, making the characters and their instruments come to life. The illustrations are bright and colorful, and they accurately represent the instruments that are described. In addition, the illustrations in this book have a good balance between male and female characters and characters of different ethnicities. This book would appeal to students who show interest in musical instruments or are interested in music in general. (HS) 

Okorafor, Nnedi. 2011. Akata witch. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Viking). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 349pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-670-01196-4.

American-born Sunny moves back to Nigeria with her parents and soon learns that she has magical powers. With a group of three friends, she starts learning about magical history and spells of all kinds. Okorafor turns a classic coming-of-age fantasy template into a fresh story full of Nigerian myths and original concepts. While darker than a lot of young adult fantasies, Okorafor handles her characters well, and the Nigerian backdrop makes this story far beyond run-of-the-mill. Recommended for fantasy lovers in junior high and high school. (MC) 

Palatini, Margie. Hogg, Hogg, & Hog. 2011. Simon and Schuster (Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers). [email protected], (800-222-2336). 32pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-0322-2.

This modern-day fable highlights the concept of right versus wrong. Hogg, Hogg, and Hog are business partners who leave the farm for the big city. While in the city, these big, country pigs become famous because they get everybody oinking. These pigs are the trendsetters of the city. However, what happens when oinking isn’t “in” anymore? In order to maintain their business, Hogg, Hogg, and Hog look back on their life at the farm and come up with new ideas based on other farm animal sounds. These sounds generate new fame and wealth for the three pigs until the other animals back at the farm hear that their own animal sounds are becoming famous. Margie Palatine creates a good story, highlighting the importance of fairness and one doing the right thing. She also creates a children’s book that showcases aspects of the big city and the business world. This book is a good fable for many ages. Recommended for ages 4-8. (SS) 

Parker, Steve. 2012. Scholastic discover more: Ocean and sea. Scholastic Inc. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 107pp. $15.99. ISBN978-0-545-33022-0.

This is an informative book on the ocean and the sea, which would be good for upper elementary and middle school readers. The book is filled with facts about how the ocean was formed, the animals that live there, how it is used by humans, and the threats it is under. This is an excellent book for readers interested in oceans and science. The table of contents, glossary, and page headings make the book easy to navigate. There are diagrams, charts, and photographs that engage the reader in the facts. The vibrant colors and real life pictures give the reader a sense of wonder and awe. (SL) 

Other Scholastic discover more titles include:

Arlon, Penelope, and Gordon-Harris, Tory. 2012. Scholastic discover more: Farm. Scholastic Inc. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 32pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-0-545-36571-0.

Arlon, Penelope, and Gordon-Harris, Tory. 2012. Scholastic discover more: Penguins. Scholastic Inc. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 80pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-545-33024-4.

Arlon, Penelope, and Gordon-Harris, Tory. 2012. Scholastic discover more: See me grow. Scholastic Inc. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 32pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-0-545-34513-2.

Gifford, Clive. 2012. Scholastic discover more: Technology. Scholastic Inc. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 112pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-545-38373-8.

Green, Dan. 2012. Scholastic discover more: The elements. Scholastic Inc. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 105pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-545-33019-0.

Sparrow, Giles. 2012. Scholastic discover more: Night sky. Scholastic Inc. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 112pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-545-38374-5. 

Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw. 2012. The horse and the Plains Indians: A powerful partnership. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 112. 17.99. 978-0-547-12551-0. Photographs by William Muñoz.

This historical fiction book, The horse and the Plains Indians: A powerful partnership, discusses the partnership between the Plains Indians and their horses. This book starts by talking about using dogs as helpers to get horses from the Spanish. The pictures within the book are actual photographs from the late 1800s. These photographs help explain the time period, bring the reader back into this time period, and bring the stories to life. This collection of information about the Plain Indians is excellent for students who enjoy horses, and it will spark their interest about history. This book is excellent for upper elementary or middle school readers. (JMP) 

Pelley, Kathleen T. 2011. Raj the bookstore tiger. Charlesbridge. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 29pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-58089-230-8. Illustrated by Paige Keiser.

Raj is a bookstore cat, who not only looks like a tiger but also believes he is a tiger. He spends his days at the bookstore basking in the sun and cuddling with the children. That is, until Snowball starts coming to the bookstore every day, with the manager. Snowball is mean to Raj and convinces him that he is just a plain old cat. This upsets Raj and makes him doubt his inner tiger, so he sulks around while Snowball gets all of the attention. Finally, Raj’s owner reads him a poem about a tiger, which gives Raj the courage to face Snowball and once again embrace his inner tiger. This book is recommended for children ages 5-8, but it can also be useful to help older children with friendship, problem solving, building character, and dealing with bullies. (ANT) 

Perlman, Willa. 2011. Good night, world. Simon and Schuster (Beach Lane Books). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-0197-6. Illustrated by Carolyn Fisher.

Good night, world is an excellent book for adults to read to young children. The variety of deep, smooth colors is visually appealing to the readers, as they witness a canvas of blues and greens intermixed with other colors. The text itself slopes up and down as the reader progresses through the story, as if to portray a movement in and out of dreams during sleep. Some of the words may be too difficult for young children to sound out on their own, so an adult is recommended to help pronounce the words and to establish the flow of the poetic verses. This book can be used effectively as a bedtime story, so that children may fall asleep thinking about the different scenes in nature illustrated within the book’s entrancing pages. Ages 2-5. (CBH) 

Peters, Andrew. 2011. Ravenwood. Scholastic, Inc. (Chicken House). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 350pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-30550-1.

Peters blends science fiction and fantasy in this tale of Arborium, a thriving city of trees housing people who live and work amongst the branches. When the city is threatened by the industrial city of Maw, only a 14-year-old plumber named Ark stands in the way. The story infuses a classic quest narrative with an imaginative setting and lots of action, although some of the more violent scenes could be too gruesome for the age group this book seems to target. Nevertheless, Ravenwood carries an important message about environmental conservation without being too didactic and will be an exciting read for young fantasy lovers in late elementary or middle school. (MC) 

Plourde, Lynn. 2011. Only cows allowed. Down East Books. [email protected], (800-685-7962). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-89272-790-2. Illustrated by Rebecca Harrison Reed.

This is a picture book for young developing readers. The animals are coming to the barn and the cows do not want to share their space. Readers are introduced to many common farm animals in a cheeky, repetitive story. (TW) 

Polacco, Patricia. 2012. The art of Miss Chew. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25703-2.

This story is great for readers who know what it’s like to have trouble with taking tests. The first-person narration of Trisha, who struggles with test taking, can be appealing to readers who go through the same troubles. This is a relatable story for readers of all different ages. The theme of inspirational teachers and their effect on their students is an eye opener for teachers-to-be after reading this book. Ages 5-8. (PNS) 

Porter, Sarah. 2012. Waking storms. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Children’s Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 400pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-574-48251-4.

In this second installment of the Lost voices trilogy, 14-year-old Luce deserts her mermaid tribe after breaking mermaid law to save a human boy. She and the boy, Dorian, fall in love despite the complications of him living on land and her unable to leave the sea. Meanwhile, FBI agents contact Dorian in an attempt to confirm their suspicions of mermaid existence, and Luce meets Nausicaa, a 3,000-year-old Grecian mermaid who explains the origin and history of mermaids. As winter sets in on the Alaskan coast, Luce must find warmer waters and leave Dorian until spring. Set in the icy Bering Sea, the story lends itself to beautiful metaphors, mystical imagery, and a dreamy tone—an enjoyable read for girls especially, ages 12 and up. (HOH) 

Prelutsky, Jack. 2012. I’ve lost my hippopotamus. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 142pp. $18.99. ISBN978-0-06-201457-3. Illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic.

Have you ever seen a flamingoat or a dozen buffalocusts? If not, you are in luck! This book is filled with more than 100 silly poems about animals. Get to know these animals and the stories that they tell. Readers will enjoy both the imaginary and real animals in this story. Ages: All. (HD) 

Raskin, Ellen. 2011. The tattooed potato and other clues. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Puffin). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 170pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-14-241699-0 (Original copyright 1975).

When aspiring artist Dickory Dock begins working for the mysterious and seemingly phony Garson, she encounters handfuls of eccentric characters and strange mysteries. Dickory begins helping Garson in solving mysteries, but eventually the little mysteries lead to the bigger mystery of Garson himself, and the menacing tenants he houses below his studio. Originally published in 1975, the story feels as fresh as if it were written in 2011. Recommended for students who enjoyed Raskin’s best-known work The Westing game, or for anyone who wants to read a mystery that is both amusing and heartfelt. (MC) 

Reger, Rob, and Jessica Gruner. 2012. Emily the strange: Piece of mind. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 280pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-145238-3. Illustrated by Rob Reger and Buzz Parker.

The fourth book in the Emily the strange series, this novel follows Emily as she tries to solve another mystery. This book is difficult to understand at first for readers who have not read the previous books in the series. The story weaves the character and the plot together in a way that keeps readers engaged. The book provides a very independent young female character, with whom readers can connect. This is an intriguing mystery that will keep readers involved and guessing till the end. Ages 13 and up. (HMF) 

Rennison, Louise. 2011. Withering tights. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 274pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-179931-0.

Fans of Rennison’s George Nicholson series will absolutely love Withering tights, starring Georgia’s cousin Tallulah. In this stand-alone book, fourteen-year-old Tallulah leaves her home for the summer to attend a performing arts camp in England’s Yorkshire region. As is characteristic of Rennison’s previous works, chaos ensues as Tallulah meets new friends and attempts to harness her creative talents with hopes of acceptance into the institution’s formal performing arts program. Readers will enjoy Tallulah’s rambunctious antics as well as root wholeheartedly for her success in both the arts and in romance. The ending is left open, promising an equally hilarious sequel, if not more so. Rennison kindly includes a vocabulary index for American readers who are not familiar with British terms used in the book. Middle schoolers seem to be the target audience of Withering tights, but any Louise Rennison fan will be delighted with it. (ARS) 

Rex, Adam. 2012. Cold cereal. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer + Bray). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 421pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-206002-0. Illustrated by Adam Rex.

Cold cereal is an interesting read that will intrigue the minds of early adolescent readers. The plot is a clever mix of fantasy and science fiction, and it features teenage protagonists as well as mythical creatures on the sides of both good and evil. Passages are at times supplemented by black and white illustrations that give great imagery as to what is occurring in the story. Unfortunately, the story is frequently hindered by distracting details in plot and inadequate writing in the story itself, as it often contains annoying errors in punctuation by the author. Had these issues been fixed, this book would have been an excellent read for young adolescents, as it possessed challenging words and a promising concept in plot. Ages 8-12. (CBH) 

Richards, Jasmine. 2012. The book of wonders. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 400pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-201007-0.

Where wizards and magic are forbidden, there is still hope for what seems to have been lost. Zardi dreams of going beyond Arribitha to explore the unknown while her best friend, Rhidan, craves to find his true identity. As they go on their very own quest to defeat the evil sultan once and for all, they find themselves in many unusual situations. Through finding magic still exists to fighting for their lives, Zardi and Rhidan’s friendship shows comradery. With help from some magic, Zardi and Rhidan find their own powers and strengths that can be used in the face of danger. This novel will take the reader on an action-packed adventure through many realms while learning the importance of family and friendship. Ages 8-12. (HD) 

Robinson, Michelle. 2012. What to do if an elephant stands on your foot. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Dial). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-33985. Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.

This book is for lower to middle elementary school readers. The book uses humor to tell the reader how to react upon encountering various jungle animals. If a mistake is made while trying to avoid an animal, it can lead to encountering another dangerous exotic animal. This story is great for readers who are interested in jungle animals. The illustrations use vibrant colors that add to the excitement of the story. (SL) 

Rockwell, Anne. 2011. First day of school. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-050191-4. Illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell.

As the last days of summer draw to a close, Nicholas and all of his friends are preparing for school. Some see the barber for haircuts while many go shopping for needed school supplies. This year is a little different. Nicholas is bigger and in need of new shoes while none of the children are nervous like the first day of school last year. This story reflects an aspect of life that many children encounter while showing some of the traditions of the first day preparation. Its colorful illustrations help narrate the story and show the excitement for the day. This is a fun book to read close to the first day of school and can stimulate the students’ sharing of how they prepare for the day. Recommended for ages 3-6. (AG) 

Rodman, Mary Ann. 2012. The roller coaster kid. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Viking). [email protected], 212-366-2000. 40pp. $16.99. 978-0-670-01150-6. Illustrated by Roger Roth.

This is a good story for middle to upper elementary students about facing fears – a very relevant theme to children of all ages. The main character is a young boy who faces his fear of riding a roller coaster in order to help cheer up his grandpa after the loss of his grandmother. The illustrations in this book really convey the emotions of the story. You can feel all the textures and the excitement of an Oceanside amusement park as well as grandpa’s sadness from losing grandma and the fear and eventual enjoyment of the boy while riding the roller coaster. (CD) 

Roman, Dave. 2012. Teenboat!. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127) 140pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-63669-6. Illustrated by John Green.

Teenboat! is what the title says it is. It is a graphic comic about a teen boy who also can transform into a boat. The readers learn of TB’s (TeenBoat’s) struggles through high school, from fitting in with the popular kids to dealing with getting his crush to like him. From the cover this would look like a fun read for upper elementary or middle school kids. However, due to the mild swearing, all the girls drawn with big busts, over the top stereotypes and inappropriate references to Skinemax, wet dreams, marijuana, drinking and smoking, this is not a book for young children or even teens. The main character is somewhat of a jerk who has a shallow interest in girls. In this book, he does not learn any lessons and stays shallow throughout. The concept of this book is odd and does not work. Ages high school and up, if that. (KES) 

Rosenthal, Betsy R. 2012. Looking for me… in this great big family. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin). trade_specialsal[email protected], (800-597-6127). 166pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-547-61084-9.

Written in small vignettes, this collection of poetry is written from the perspective of eleven-year-old Edith Paul, who has as many siblings as she does years of age. She struggles to find her place and identity within her very large family, and she expresses the difficulties of such a family – from always wearing hand-me-downs to not having enough attention from her parents. She is an easy character to relate to, especially for children who have multiple siblings. Set in 1937, this book provides a historical context of the Great Depression and a cultural picture of a Jewish family during that time period. Ages 8 and up. (MMC) 

Rusch, Elizabeth. 2012. The mighty Mars rovers: The incredible adventures of spirit and opportunity. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 80pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-547-47881-4.

This book follows the true story of Steve Squyres and his space team who are on a mission to Mars with their robots, Spirit and Opportunity. The book recounts everything from the inventing of the robots to the discoveries that were made during the mission to Mars. The real photographs make this book a credible source and also make the mission to Mars come to life for readers. This book would be most appropriate for children who are in upper elementary grades or young adolescents. Children who have an interest in science would find this book appealing. (KN) 

Ryan, Candace. 2012. Moo hoo. Macmillan Publishing (Walker & Company). [email protected], (646-307-5151). 32pp. $12.99 978-0-8027-2336-9. Illustrated by Mike Lowery.

A picture book aimed at kindergarten and pre-school students, Moo hoo focuses on the concept of making new friends. Anyone who reads this book will be able to relate with one of the characters because there has been a point where we all have had to make new friends. Each page is filled with simple, rhyming words that young readers will be able to comprehend and recognize due to the repetition throughout the book. The illustrations are simple yet intriguing for the reader, which makes this picture book aesthetically pleasing and easy to follow. With its calming colors, simple shapes, and adorable animal characters, children will feel comfortable and pleased when reading this book. (LS) 

Salas, Laura Purdie. 2012. A leaf can be…. Lerner Publishing Group (Millbrook Press). [email protected], (800-328-4929). 32pp. $17.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-6203-6. Illustrated by Violeta Dabija.

This is a vibrant, informative picture book about the many different functions of leaves. It also uses poetry to explore the changing functions throughout the year. The colors as well as whimsical use of line and shape help the reader to visualize the poetry and make connections throughout the season changes. As a bonus, the end of the book supplies more information about leaves as well as defining expressions used in the rhymes. Ages 5-8. (AJS) 

Sayre, April Pulley. 2012. Go, go, grapes!: A fruit chant. Simon and Schuster (Beach Lane Books). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-3390-8.

This book gives the readers a cheer to remember different kinds of fruits. Many of the parts of the cheer have to deal with the fruit that the author is telling about. The illustrations are realistic pictures of each of the fruits listed on that page. By doing this, the illustrator helps the reader understand what the fruits look like. The illustrations help the reader understand why the author might use the words she chooses to describe the fruits. This book could be shared with early elementary students and will help them learn about different kinds of fruits. This book might even make the readers interested in trying each of the fruits mentioned. (WF) 

Scanlon, Liz Garton. 2011. Noodle and Lou. Simon and Schuster (Beach Lane Books), [email protected], (800-223-2336). 30pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-0288-1. Illustrated by Arthur Howard.

This book demonstrates to young children the importance of friendship through an unlikely pair of friends. The story is told through rhyming text that makes the experience of reading aloud more entertaining. Bright, comic-like illustrations enforce the happy themes within the text. This is a great read to allow children to make comparisons to their own friendships and life. Ages 2-6. (HMF) 

Scattergood, Augusta. 2012. Glory be. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 202pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-33180-7.

This historical fiction book is set in Hanging Moss, Mississippi during the summer of 1964. Glory is eager to turn twelve and to celebrate the Fourth of July, but when a bunch of “Freedom Fighters” move into town to try to help the African Americans get a better life, nothing goes as she had planned. The town council does not want these Yankees or the blacks using their pool or library. Glory writes a letter to the editor of the newspaper, proving that even though she is just a girl, she understands what is going on and she does not like it. Glory stands up for what she believes, and even though it does not turn out like she wanted, she keeps persevering with the hope that one day everyone can live together in peace. Told through the eyes of eleven-year-old Glory, this book is recommended for ages 8 and up, as it introduces segregation and the problems that occurred during the desegregation process in a way that can easily be understood. (ANT) 

Schone Kerstin. 2012. Monsters aren’t real. EDC Publishing (Kane Miller). [email protected] , (858-456-0540). 32pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-1-61-67-073-9.

This book for early elementary readers, Monsters aren’t real, is great for readers who like to predict what will happen next. This book is about a monster who is hearing that people do not believe monsters are real. The soft brushstrokes and colors in the illustrations give the reader the idea that the monster is not mean or frightening. At the end of the book, it leaves readers in suspense and they are able to create their own ending. This will help the reader with creativity. Each page throughout the book has a natural rhythm that would be enjoyable to hear spoken out loud. This book will help readers understand similes and repetition, since the author uses them within whole book. (JMP) 

Schroeder, Alan. 2012. Baby Flo. Lee & Low Books. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 40pp. $18.95. ISBN 978-1-60060-410-2. Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu.

This book tells the story of Florence Mills, who was raised in Goat Alley, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. She loved to sing and dance, and began performing at age three. She won dance competitions and was even paid to perform for some of the wealthiest people in D.C. Then, one night, her daddy told her that someday they would see her name up in lights on the theatre sign. When she was seven years old, she participated in a dance contest at the theatre, and though she did not win, the audience loved her. She was offered a weeklong job singing and dancing during intermissions. When she went outside, there was her name, up in lights on the theatre sign. The book ends with an author’s note, with additional information about Florence Mills. The illustrations help make the biographical story even more powerful. This book is recommended for ages 6-11. This biography is a great way to introduce children to one of the stars of the Harlem Renaissance. (ANT) 

Scott, Elaine. 2012. Buried Alive!: How 33 miners survived 69 days deep under the Chilean desert. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 80pp. $17.99. 978-0-547-70778-5.

This is a non-fiction book about the Chilean miners that were trapped in August of 2010. This book is filled with terminology of mining and defines those terms accurately in the text, in addition to providing a glossary. This book is illustrated with the pictures of the miners and their families during the event, in addition to diagrams of the tools used to rescue the miners. This book does a nice job of balancing the story with good and bad, showing that though the rescue was successful, in reality it harmed many of the people involved. This book is good for older readers as it is very information-heavy. (HS) 

Scotton, Rob. 2012. Secret agent Splat!. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-197871-5.

This is the most recent installment of a series of Splat the cat books by Rob Scotton. Splat the Cat notices that something is amiss when his toy ducks start disappearing. Inspired by his favorite detective television show, Splat decides to go undercover and become “Secret Agent Splat” to solve the mystery of the disappearing ducks. This is a fun and quirky story with vibrant and charming illustrations. Ages 3-7. (MMC) 

Scotton, Rob. 2011. Splish, splash, Splat!. Harper Collins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-197868-5.

This book for young children tells the story of Splat and how he thinks water is horrible. Splat is a cat and he doesn’t like how water makes him wet and soggy. The story is humorous, and the illustrations add to the story and help show kids Splat’s emotions. By using animals as characters, the author will keep children engaged in the story. In the end, Splat and his friend Spike overcome a fear. Young readers will see that they too can overcome their fears. Ages 3-7. (PNS) 

Selznick, Brian. 2011. Wonderstruck. Scholastic Press (Scholastic, Inc). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 637pp. $29.99. ISBN 978-0-545-02789-2.

Two stories set 50 years apart intertwine in Wonderstruck, a book that follows the same style of Selznick’s The invention of Hugo Cabret. One story, told in pictures, tells of Rose, a deaf girl who travels to New York City to visit her mother, an actress too busy for her daughter. The other story, told in words, takes place 50 years later in 1977, in which Ben loses his mother and travels to New York City on his own as well. By the end, Selznick has woven both stories together in a natural and beautiful way. Wonderstruck manages to surpass Hugo Cabret with its unique storytelling and painstaking illustrations; this is an instant classic that will resonate with all who are trying or who have tried to find their place in the world. (MC) 

Shange, Ntozake. 2012. Freedom’s a-callin me. HarperCollins Publishers (Amistad and Collins). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-133741-3. Illustrated by Rod Brown.

Told through a series of poems, this book allows readers to learn about slavery in a unique way. The illustrations are all paintings that use deep colors and rich textures to display the emotions of the poems and of the time. The paintings show the reader the pain, the strength, and the hope of the slaves. The poems themselves have any easy rhythm that when read aloud is very powerful. This book of poetry is a great way to get children interested in history, poems, and art but also to help make comparisons between past and present and to analyze what slavery really was like. Ages 8-12. (HMF) 

Shore, Diane Z, and Alexander, Jessica. 2011. This is the game. HarperCollins (Harper). [email protected], (202-207-7000). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-055522-1.Illustrated by Owen Smith.

This is the game is an insightful children’s book that documents some important historical events in American baseball. It is written in a poetic style in which each verse begins with “This is…” and concludes with a specific aspect of baseball and its history. The book’s playful word choice and use of ABCB rhyming is appealing to young readers and will inspire them to sound out the verses themselves as they read. The realistic illustrations and authentic colors put the readers into the historical context of the book so that they can truly experience the culture of the early United States. This book is perfect for young readers that have an interest in baseball and would like to learn about its early American roots. Ages 3-8. (CBH) 

Sidman, Joyce. 2012. Swirl by swirl: Spirals in nature. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children). trade­­­[email protected], (800-597-6127). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-31583-6. Illustrated by Beth Krommes.

Swirl by swirl: Spirals in nature demonstrates the many places spirals can be found in nature. From snakes to flowers to ocean waves, Sidman shows the reader the beauty of this shape. The contrasting of colors against the black gives the illustrations dimension and sense of unity. The use of labels throughout helps the reader identify the spirals in these real world examples. This is an excellent book to help children begin finding shapes in the world around them. It teaches about many different animals, insects, and plants that children find exciting and interesting. Recommended for ages 3-6. (AG) 

Singer, Marilyn. 2012. A stick is an excellent thing. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-12493_3. Illustrated by LeUyen Pham.

This book is a collection of poems about outdoor play and games. Many of the poems give ideas about what to do outside and what kind of games there are to play. All of the poems rhyme and are enjoyable for all children of different ages. The illustrations show many children from different parts of the world playing together, which is positive for children who are reading the book to see. This book on poetry is an excellent way for children to learn about what they can do outside and hopefully get them to go outside and try these things. Ages 4 & up. (PNS) 

Sonnenblick, Jordan. 2012. Curveball: The year I lost my grip. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 285pp. $17.99. ISBN978-0-545-32069-6.

This book is intended for a reading level of sixth through eighth graders. Peter is a fantastic baseball player until he suffers a career-ending baseball injury. Due to the injury, Peter struggles to find something meaningful in his life until he turns to his grandfather, who serves as his role and introduces him to photography. The theme of this book is dealing with the ups and downs life throws at you and making the most of your life. This book is an excellent book for young teenagers to read as they get ready for high school and face new life challenges. Ages 11-14. (MTB) 

Spinelli, Eileen. 2012. A big boy now. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-008673-2. Illustrated by Megan Lloyd.

A little bunny is growing up and learning to become a big boy. He makes his own lunch and helps his dad wash the car. His final challenge of riding a bike without training wheels might just prove to be too difficult. The clear and vivid colors in the illustrations give the reader a great opportunity to see just what kinds of things this little bunny is accomplishing. Young readers will be excited about growing up and becoming more independent and will also be reminded that they are never too old for some help from mom. Ages 4-8. (LJM) 

Stanley, Diane. 2011. The silver bowl. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 307pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-157543-3.

Scullery maid Molly could save the entire kingdom with the information she gains from a magical silver hand basin. When she polishes it, visions tell the story of a curse that threatens the royal family. Soon tragedy strikes the court, and Molly flees with Prince Alaric and two of her friends. In the end, Molly must enter the silver designs herself to fight off the curses. Stanley weaves together mystery, fantasy, and a likeable narrator. Fans of fairy tales and fantasy will enjoy this tale. (MC) 

Stevens, Janet, and Stevens Crummel, Susan. 2011. The little red pen. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Children’s Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 48pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-15-206432-7.

The little red pen is a colorful book about personified desk supplies. The little red pen is trying to grade student’s papers before the morning and accidentally rolls off the edge of the desk with no way to get back up. It is up to the other desk supplies to rescue the little red pen and grade the papers before morning. This book uses different font sizes and colors to represent which desk supply is talking. It is a product of creativity with humor throughout. Recommended for children 8 and up. (SO) 

Stratton, Allan. 2012. The grave robber’s apprentice. HarperCollins Publishers. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 277pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-06-197608-7.

The grave robber’s apprentice is an adventurous and thrilling chapter book. It follows a young countess, Angela, and a grave robber’s apprentice, Hans, on their dangerous journey to save Angela’s parents, the Count and Countess, from the evil Archduke Arnulf and his highness Necromancer. Throughout their journey, they discover Hans’ real identity and create lasting friendships. The thrill and excitement from this book is sure to have children on the edge of their seats wanting more. Recommended for children 10 and up. (SO) 

Strohm, Stephanie Kate. 2012. Pilgrims don’t wear pink. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Graphia). [email protected],( 800-597-6127). 208pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-0-547-56459-3.

Fashionista and history geek Libby Kelting is off to Camden Harbor to intern at Maine’s Oldest Living History Museum for the summer. Dressing in hoopskirts and receiving attention from a poetry-reciting sailor every day, Libby thinks that her dream of living in a Jane Austen novel may finally be coming true. Of course, not everything is picture perfect. In addition to people in Camden Harbor thinking she is too petty and blonde to work for the museum, Libby also has to live in a tiny compartment on a boat with a dorky, ghost-hunting reporter. Libby must follow her heart and stand up for herself as she faces these challenges and makes some tough decisions. A spunky story that incorporates both self-discovery and romance, this book would entertain female readers ages 12 and up. (HOH) 

Suzuma, Tabitha. 2011. Forbidden. Simon and Schuster (Simon Pulse). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 454pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-1995-7.

The premise of Forbidden, a romance between a brother and sister, will make many cringe, but Suzuma miraculously convinces the reader to care for the doomed protagonists. Lochan and Maya struggle through high school, caring for their younger siblings since their alcoholic mother is nearly always absent. Their stressed existence and abnormal family life leads them to fall in love. Suzuma brings up interesting questions about societal taboos and expectations while creating genuine sympathy and even hope for Lochan and Maya, until everything falls apart at the tragic ending. Forbidden will stay with the reader long after it’s through. Not recommended for those younger than high school, due to strong sexual content. (MC) 

Teague, Mark. 2011. LaRue across America. Scholastic Inc. (Blue Sky Press). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-91502-1.

Through Mark Teague’s clever way of telling a story, this book will spark one’s imagination and sense of humor. Through postcards, one learns that Ike the dog is forced into a road trip with his owner and two cats. The cats belong to Mrs. Hibbins, to whom Ike writes the postcards explaining the mishaps along the trip. Mark Teague’s lively and fun illustrations add to the humor of Ike’s silly complaints. Kids will love this book and giggle along with the story. Ages 6 and up. (KES)

Torrey, Richard. 2011. Because. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-156173-3.

Jack has a way of answering questions to everything and anything. The answer for Jack is always “because.” Jack believes that it is the perfect answer for everything, from why he ate all the cake, to why he is covered in band-aids. The bright colors paired with great detail in the illustrations help guide the reader through all of Jack’s adventures. All readers will enjoy this fun story of Jack and his adventures. Ages 4-8. (LJM) 

Tusa, Tricia. 2011. Follow me. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Children’s Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 29pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-27201-6.

Colors make up our world, as this book carefully explains using illustrious language. A young girl is shown swinging and daydreaming. As she jumps, she experiences nature through her imagination of the colors, going from brown leaves to blue sky to green grass. The author uses simple words and short phrases, making it simple for beginning readers to understand and inviting them to soar into dream land. Recommended for ages 4-10. (HRD) 

Twohy, Mike. 2011. Poindexter makes a friend. Simon and Schuster (Paula Wiseman Books), [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $15.99. ISBN978-1-4424-0965-1.

Sometimes Poindexter doesn’t make friends well; he finds himself reading to his stuffed animals instead of playing with the neighborhood kids. One day while Poindexter assists the librarian at his favorite spot in town, the public library, an unexpected visitor stops by. A shy turtle named Shelby asks Poindexter for help finding a book about making friends. While reviewing the book, How to make a friend, Poindexter and Shelby find themselves interacting and enjoying the book. Soon enough, the pair leaves the library with a book titled How to play with stuffed animals with the intention of reading it together. This adorable tale about overcoming shyness and making friends is great for those struggling with similar issues. Children ages 4-8 would enjoy this heartwarming tale. (CCB) 

Ursu, Anne. 2011. Breadcrumbs. HarperCollins Publishers (Walden Pond Press). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 312pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-201505-1.

Ursu takes Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale “The Snow Queen” as inspiration for this modern story that pulls Hazel, a girl who doesn’t belong, into a magical winter forest to search for her missing friend Jack. Hazel is experienced with the worlds of Narnia and Hogwarts and knows her way around fairy tales, so she accepts the magic around her without question; however, the way to her friend and to the Snow Queen is full of obstacles and perils. Hazel must navigate the forest and learn more about herself in order to rescue her friend and thaw his frozen heart. The prose of Breadcrumbs pulls the reader in like a fairytale would but keeps the characters and plot snappy to fit the modern take, altogether creating a very enjoyable modern fairy tale. Recommended for late elementary and middle school readers. (MC) 

Van Allsburg, Chris. 2011. The chronicles of Harris Burdick. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 195pp. $24.99. ISBN 978-0-547-54810-4.

What happens when 14 acclaimed authors, including Lois Lowry, Stephen King, M.T. Anderson, Sherman Alexie and Kate DiCamillo, write a story based off of a question-filled picture by illustrator Chris Van Allsburg? A book that will appeal to children as well as literary lovers, the stories in this collection range from creepy to sweet, mind-bending, and thought-provoking. The illustrations are so full of possibilities that readers might be inspired to create their own stories and scenarios once they’re finished. (MC) 

Van Camp, Katie. 2011. Cookiebot!: A Harry and Horsie adventure. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer + Bray). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-197445-8. Illustrated by Lincoln Agnew.

This story is a problem-solving mystery gone wrong for children from ages 3 to 6, a story that may especially appeal to young boys. Harry and Horsie find a perfectly “logical” way to get cookies from the cookie jar: a cookie-loving robot. When Cookiebot needs more cookies, he creates a problem that could ruin the entire town’s cookie stash. This book will allow listeners to hypothesize, criticize and respond to what might happen next in the story. (NES) 

Van Rynbach, Iris, and Shea, Pegi Deitz. 2010. The taxing case of the cows: A true story about suffrage. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0547236315. Illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully.

In 1869, the struggle of suffrage was still far down the road, but this picture book tells the true story of two fiery old women who took matters into their own hands in a time when women had no say in government dealings. Abby and Julia Smith refuse to pay a tax that exploits single female landowners and demand the right to vote. What starts as a local matter turns into a national battle. McCully’s watercolor illustrations are colorful and full of movement, and Rynbach and Shea’s retelling of the event is accessible. This story would be interesting for students in late elementary school as well as to adults who were not familiar with the inspiring women who paved the way for future suffragettes. (MC) 

Vernick, Audrey. 2012. Brothers at bat. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-38557. Illustrated by Steven Salerno.

A great story for any sport enthusiast, especially baseball players, Brothers at bat is an appropriate book for middle to upper elementary students. It is a truly unbelievable story of brotherhood that reinforces family values, as all of the brothers support one another through both good and bad times. The cool yet vivid colors used in the illustrations draw in readers and cause them to feel the warmth of an entire family who cares for each other as they indulge in “America’s favorite pastime” each spring. (CD) 

This book tells the true story of the longest-playing, all-brother baseball team in history. In the 1920s and 1930s, the twelve boys in the Acerra family created their own semi-pro team and took turns playing against other New Jersey teams, with their dad as their coach. Then, when World War II hit, six of the brothers enlisted. All of the Acerra boys were lucky, and when the war was over, they returned home safely and began playing baseball together again until 1952. Then, in 1997, the Acerra boys were honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame, where an Acerra uniform and glove still sits on display in the same museum that honored Babe Ruth and other baseball greats. This is an excellent nonfiction book that is recommended for children ages four and up. Readers who love baseball would especially enjoy this book. (ANT) 

Warren, Andrea. 2011. Charles Dickens and the street children of London. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Brooks for Children). [email protected], (800-587-6127). 156pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-547-39574-6.

This informational biography of Charles Dickens uses vivid language and images that bring the reader on a journey through Victorian England. The lenses used to tell the story humanize the poor and demonstrate why Charles Dickens was motivated to help give the poor a voice through his writing. Color and simple black-and-white images aide in telling the story and helping the reader visualize the possible sights in England. This book would be recommended for stronger readers due to vocabulary. Ages 9 and up. (AJS) 

Waxman, Laura Hamilton. 2012. What are the Articles of Confederation? And other questions about the birth of the United States. Lerner Publishing Group. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 48pp. $30. ISBN978-0-7613-5330-0.

Waxman delves into the birth of the United States in this book for upper middle school readers by looking at six questions surrounding the founding of the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution of the United States. The pictures inside are beautiful and help the reader connect to what they are reading about – especially historical figures like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. The author also defines new and unfamiliar words, making it easier for readers to understand. This book would be great for students interested in learning more about the founding of the United States. In addition, this book would be a great way for teachers to introduce a unit on the American Revolution and the Constitution. (RAW) 

Westerfeld, Scott. 2012. The manual of aeronautics: An illustrated guide to the leviathan series. Simon and Schuster (Simon Pulse). [email protected] (800-223-2336). 64pp. $19.99. 978-1-4169-7179-5. Illustrated by Keith Thompson.

A manual for the science fiction Leviathan trilogy, the book goes into great detail through illustrations and words that make readers believe this phenomenon could have happened once in history. Illustrator Keith Thompson’s imagination, paired with past knowledge of history, helps give the book a realistic sense. More explanation as to who came up with the Leviathan theory, how it came about, and what it means in today’s society would be welcomed. Scott Westerfeld did a stupendous job on the research, had the knowledge of each section that makes up the Leviathan trilogy, and was able to capture the reader by giving descriptions in greater detail. This book would be appropriate in levels of higher middle school to all ages in high school. This book is recommended for students with a love of science fiction or of war. (TB) 

Wheeler, Lisa. 2011. Spinster goose: Twisted rhymes for naughty children. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 41pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-2541-5. Illustrated by Sophie Blackall.

Spinster Goose is the mean sister of Mother Goose. When children are too naughty for Mother Goose, she sends them to her sister, Spinster Goose. This book has many poems about naughty children. The poems have all the same characters as Mother Goose rhymes but with different situations. The poems have the same beats and rhythms, although they use different words. The poems are very descriptive with illustrations to match. They are funny and very clever. This poem book would be great to read to children or students to remind them that certain behaviors are not acceptable, but it also says this in a nice way. This book is sure to make children laugh. Recommended for children 5 and up. (SO) 

Wick, Walter. 2011. Can you see what I see?: Toyland express. Scholastic, Inc. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 40pp. $13.99. ISBN978-0-545-24483-1.

This book is by the same author as the I spy series. Brilliant photographs fill the pages and allow children to fantasize about toys. Each double page spread has a different theme, but at the same time a train, the Toyland express, ties the pages together. The text has definite rhythm and allows students to match pictures with words. This is a great, beautiful book that will definitely aide in students’ cognitive development. Grades 1-4 (SRC) 

Willhems, Mo. 2011. Hooray for Amanda and her alligator!. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer + Bray). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 72pp. $17.99. ISBN978-0-06-200400. Illustrated by Mo Willhems.

Hooray for Amanda and her Alligator! features six loveable stories about a young girl and her stuffed alligator. The plot in each story is simple enough for young children to read by themselves and possesses light humor that greatly appeals to that same audience. The lightness of the colors of each object, as well as the outlines seemingly drawn by crayons, reflect an easygoing mood and a portrayal of childhood innocence. Young children will become quite fond of Amanda and Alligator as they teach each other the values of friendship and loyalty.

Ages 4-8. (CBH)

Williams, Heather. 2011. Farmer boy goes west. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 311pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-06-124251-9.

This sequel to Farmer boy and prequel to the Little house on the prairie series explains the childhood of Almanzo Wilder, the future husband of Laura Ingalls. Farmer boy goes west highlights the Wilder family’s exploration of Spring Valley, Minnesota. Originally, the family lived in upstate New York and tended a prosperous farm, but as their relatives started to move west, the Wilder family became curious about what Western life entailed. While his big brother and oldest sister stay back to care for the farm, Almanzo joins his father, mother, older sister, and baby brother for the trip to visit Uncle George and Aunt Martha in Minnesota, where the majority of the book takes place. This historical fiction novel brings together historically accurate details from the 1870s and topics that concern young boys today such as schoolwork, chores, and talking to girls. As a character, Almanzo is pretty static throughout most of the book, as the reader sees him experience many different things rather than change as a person. The move west, going to school, the passing of a family member, and a basket social are some of the highlights of Almanzo’s youth illustrated in the novel. (KW) 

Winter, Jonah. 2012. Jazz age Josephine. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 40 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-6123-9. Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman.

This historical fiction book is about a young African American girl, Josephine, from St. Louis and how she overcame racism and other obstacles in the 1920s by dancing her way into the heart Paris. The story is filled with bright and vibrant pictures and told in an upbeat rhyme that is sure to captivate even reluctant readers. In Jazz age Josephine, children not only learn about the 1920s, but also that it is possible to overcome adversity. Ages 4-8. (SJC) 

Wolf, Karina. 2012. The insomniacs. Penguin Group (USA) Inc. (G. P. Putnam’s Sons). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $13.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25665-3. Illustrated by The Brothers Hilts.

This is an excellent picture book for young readers, most appropriate for students in second and third grade. The story is both educational and entertaining, and it expands the imagination about why people
sleep and what affects that sleep. The theme of darkness is intricately dispersed throughout the book, which makes for a great example when teaching literary elements to young students as well. Because of the unique artistic depiction of people and animals, as well as of strange night creatures, this book can be a great way to expand students’ minds and teach about the world at nighttime. (CB) 

Wolfe, Myra. 2011. Charlotte Jane battles bedtime. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Children’s Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-15-206150-0. Illustrated by Maria Monescillio.

Charlotte Jane has formidable oomph. Her swashbuckling parents can sense this soon after her birth. But when Charlotte’s love for all things to do with pirates couples with her disdain for sleep, she realizes that her oomph is no longer so formidable. When everyday adventures like ‘fantastic feats of daring’ and a morning glass of cackle fruit juice fail to make up for the sleep she has lost, Charlotte enlists her parents in a hunt for her missing oomph. Soon, Charlotte Jane realizes that while bedtime may not be so fun, her adventurous dreams are, and her formidable oomph is soon restored.

Charlotte Jane battles bedtime is a beautiful illustrated and cute story, and could be an ideal read for children who are fascinated with a Captain Hook lifestyle. However, big words like formidable and hearty, and pirate terms like doubloon and swashbuckling could make this story confusing for young children. First or second graders may find the story line easier to understand. (EE) 

Wolff, Ashley. 2012. Baby bear sees blue. Simon and Schuster (Beach Lane Books.) [email protected], (800-223-2336). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-44241-3061.

This is a picture book for children ages 2 to 6; a perfect story for young listeners and picture lovers. Mama Bear and Baby Bear wake up in the morning to the yellow sun that warms Baby Bear. The pair goes throughout their day with Baby Bear asking questions and learning colors from Mama Bear. Finally, the two return to their den and fall asleep to the color black. This story provides children with a good way to observe colors and predict what happens next in the story. (NES) 

Yankovic, Al. 2011. When I grow up. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 25pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-192691-4. Illustrated by Wes Hargis.

This is a book of a young boy’s many ideas of what he wants to become when he grows up. The book has a fun rhyming flow to it and sets a humorous mood for the reader. The illustrations help add to the sense of imagination and creativeness that is portrayed throughout the story. This would be a great book to have children read or one that could be read aloud to them. Readers will learn that you can do whatever you set your mind to. Ages 4-8 (KE) 

Yoo, Taeeun. 2012. You are a lion!: And other fun yoga poses. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Nancy Paulsen Books). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-399-25602-8.

An illustrated book for elementary children, You are a lion!: And other fun yoga poses describes simple yoga poses. All of the poses relate to well-known animals, and in one pose, even a mountain. The author’s descriptions encourage the reader to pretend to be the animal (or the mountain) while holding the pose. While the author describes specifics about the pose and what the young yoga learner should imagine, the illustrations demonstrate the appropriate pose. Phrases and instructions are brief, avoiding disruption of flow and encouraging the relaxation yoga should provide. The book would be most effective read aloud. (CH) 

Yorinks, Arthur. 2011. The invisible man. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-156148-1. Illustrated by Doug Cushman.

Sy Kravitz is a loving, caring man who loved fruit, turned invisible, and became visible once again because of fruit. The theme within this book is that time, and fruit, can heal all wounds. This book is an extreme example of how important fruit is to one’s life, but the main concept of fruit being important for one’s health is valuable for the purpose of the book. Ages 6-9. (MTB) 

Young, Ned. 2011. Zoomer’s summer snowstorm. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-170092-7.

This book provides a humorous escape into the imagination for readers. Though the story is about a personified puppy, Zoomer, children will still be able to relate to him and his wild creativity. This creativity is beautifully displayed in the illustrations, which use a wide variety of textures, line shape, and vibrant colors to help with the whimsical mood. This is an entertaining read that encourages children to use their own imaginations. Ages 3-7. (HMF) 

Zadoff, Allen. 2011. My life, the theater, and other tragedies. Egmont USA. [email protected], (221-685-0102). 282pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-60684-036-8.

High school has not been kind to Adam Ziegler. On top of being an acne-ridden theater techie who has trouble talking to girls, Adam has recently suffered the loss of his father.

As he works the lights for the school’s production of A midsummer night’s dream, Adam deals with an assortment of dilemmas. He has feelings for an actress despite the ongoing schism between the actors and the techies; he wants to work his way to the top of the production team, but the haughty student production designer hates him; he has developed a fear of the dark since his dad died, so he must constantly be around light. In this tale of loyalties—to his friends, to the production, and to himself—Adam learns that being a hero sometimes means simply being confident in yourself and doing what you love. Recommended for grades 6-10. (HOH)