Significant Others II (Luther Student Reviews)

Reviews are sorted alphabetically by author’s last name.

2013. Much ado about Juliet. Disney Books Group (Disney Press). disney.go.com, (877-318-6990). 126 pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-142317268-0.

Best friends Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck continue their adventures by participating in a production of Romeo and Juliet at “Mouston Central School”. Minnie and Daisy face a variety of challenges throughout the story including issues of trust, facing their fears, discovering talents, and working through problems with their friends, classmates, and crushes. This book is a chapter book that consists mostly of dialogue between the characters, with pictures on most pages, bolded phrases in the text, and many vibrant colors. This book will appeal especially to young girls, and it will be a good fit for students who are just beginning to read chapter books. (JLB)

Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem, and Raymond Obstfeld. 2013. Sasquatch in the paint. Disney Book Group (Hyperion Books). disney.go.com, (877-318-6900). 272pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-423-117870-5.

This contemporary reality fiction novel for middle school age students tells a story about self-discovery, the struggle of new friend groups, and living in single parent household. The protagonist, Theo, an African American student, is at a crossroads in his life and he is forming new friend groups and wondering who he is. The development of the main character appeals to middle school readers as he tries to figure out who the new “Theo” is, and what clique he fits in with. This provides important messages, such as the support of family, hard work, and the importance of academics. The one parent household and African American culture found in the book show a success story in a usually marginalized or poorly represented demographic. This book is a good example of how to be proactive and positive about self-discovery. (MJK) 

Ajmera, Maya, Elise Hofer Derstine and Cynthia Pon. 2014. Music everywhere!. Charlesbridge. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 32 pp. $17.95. ISBN 978-1-57091-936-7.

This book is a collection of photos from around the world of children playing different musical instruments. This book would be perfect for any young readers who have an interest in geography or music. The photos depict many different cultures, which will allow the reader to grasp the musical traditions of many different places around the world. (AL)

Anderson, Julie. 2013. Erick the red sees green. Albert Whitman & Company. [email protected], (800-225-7675). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8075-2141-0. Illustrated by David Lopez.

A story explaining color blindness, this will be an excellent tool to use in the elementary classroom or with elementary aged students at home. It could be used to explain to a student who is colorblind what is special about them, or could serve as an excellent lesson on acceptance and compassion. With a theme about being different or an outcast, many students will be able to connect with Erik’s character and this story. (ST)

Angelini, Josephine. 2013. Goddess. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 421 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-201203-6.

Goddess is the final book in the “Starcrossed” trilogy, taking place in a modern world where Greek mythology is very much alive. Goddess resolves the ongoing love triangle of Helen, Lucas and Orion. This series could be described as one-part Percy Jackson and one-part Twilight, with romantic intrigue and mythology galore. Fans of Starcrossed and Dreamless will enjoy the way the story builds and the high stakes of this third and final installment. (MC)

Arlon, Penelope and Tory Gordon-Harris. 2014. Discover more: Dolphins. Scholastic Inc. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 32 pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-0-545-62738-2.

This informational book is a great resource for students to learn about dolphins. It contains a lot of information, but is still easy for young children to read and will be a great read for 3rd or 4th grade students. Each page explains a different concept about dolphins and is accompanied by actual photographs of dolphins in their natural habitat. The photos help to further show the concept that is being explained on each page. In the back is a glossary that will aid students with their comprehension of the book; if there is a word they don’t know, they can look it up in the book itself. (RAF) 

Armstrong, Jennifer. 2013. The true story behind Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin). [email protected], (800-233-2336). 87pp. $15.99. Illustrated by Albert Lorenz.

This historical fiction brings life and interest to the life and events leading to Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. The story is great for upper elementary students, to learn more about the life and sequence of events of the civil war. The author does a great job of condensing many historical events into an easy to follow and engaging story line. This book is perfect to use along with social studies texts to enhance the students’ knowledge on Lincoln and the civil war. (MJK)

Bardhan-Quallen, Sudipta. 2014. Duck, duck, moose! Disney Book Group (Hyperion). disney.go.com, (877-308-6990). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-142317110-2. Illustrated by Noah Z. Jones.

A bunch of ducks are cooking, cleaning, and preparing for a party for Moose, but Moose keeps ruining it. Throughout the book, the only words are “duck” and “moose,” so the illustrations play an important role in telling the story. All the images are colorful, featuring cartoon animal characters who are given human traits. The illustrations are simplistic when the ducks are the focus but more chaotic and detailed when Moose is present. This book will appeal to young children. (JLB) 

Barrett, Judi. 2013. Cloudy with a chance of meatballs 3: planet of pies. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum). [email protected], (800-233-2336). 32pp. $17.99 ISBN 978-1-4424-9027-7. Illustrated by Isidre Mones.

This comedic realistic fiction is great for development of reading skills in the mid-elementary grades. The contrast from black and white to color, in the illustration, when the plot enters the dream world helps elaborate the fantasy of traveling to another planet. This story is light-hearted and displays ideas of non-typical family ties and imagination. (MJK) 

Barry, Holly M. 2013. Helen Keller’s best friend Belle. Albert Whitman & Company. [email protected], (800-225-7675). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8075-3198-3. Illustrated by Jennifer Thermes.

A delightful tale of young Hellen Keller’s love for her dog, this is a great story for early to intermediate readers. This book tells the story of Hellen Keller learning to communicate with her world, and the support she received from her dog Belle along the way. With its soft illustrations to help the reader along, this book is an inspirational tale for all children, especially those who love their pets. 

Berkes, Marianne. 2014. The swamp where gator hides. Dawn Publications. [email protected], (800-545-7475). 32 pp. $8.95. ISBN 978-1-58469-471-7. Illustrated by Roberta Baird.

In her book, The Swamp Where Gator Hides, Marianne Berkes cleverly uses poetry that builds upon itself to depict the swampy habitats of Florida and the vast number of creatures that live within that ecosystem. The rhyme scheme of the poem will capture the attention of young readers, as it seeks to engage them in the story itself by encouraging them to make predictions about what will come next. The multitude of green and brown hues and the realistic illustrations also serve to engage the young readers and to draw them into the physical world of the swamp. Children may even find excitement in trying to find the alligator hiding among the images! The Swamp Where Gator Hides is a perfect book for children who love science, but it is an especially excellent book for teaching children about the natural world around them. (KNB) 

Bernard. Romily. 2013. Find me. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen). [email protected], (217-207-7000). 320 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-222903-8.

This fast-paced young adult mystery novel tells the story of a girl named Wick Tate. Wick and her sister Lily are foster children living with the perfect couple. Lily adjusts very well to her new life on the rich side of town, but Wick refuses to accept that this change could be permanent and continues running a computer-hacking business. One day she finds the diary of an old friend, Tessa, who has just committed suicide. The diary is emblazoned with two words: “FIND ME.” Now Wick must use her hacking skills to find Tessa’s tormentor as described in the diary before he finds a new victim. Along the way, she faces challenges like the return of her delinquent father and a group of snooping detectives, but along the way she also gains an unlikely partner and friend. With its many twists and turns, you won’t be able to put this book down! It will be a perfect read for young adults who enjoy mystery and suspense! (MH) 

Black, Yelena. 2013. Dance of shadows. Bloomsbury Publishing (Children’s Books). [email protected], (646-307-5151). 384 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-599990-940-0.

When a dancer named Vanessa is accepted into into the prestigious New York Ballet Company, she goes to look for her missing sister and finds a string of other missing girls along the way. Despite hints that something dark and supernatural could be interfering, Vanessa becomes caught up in the world of dance, backstabbing, and potential love. Unfortunately, the plot contains a few holes that will leave readers with questions that don’t get satisfying answers. For example, if dancers have been disappearing for years, why has nobody noticed or investigated? (MC) 

Boyle, Bob. Rosie & Rex: A nose for fun!. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 40 pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-06-221131-6.

This book about two very different friends trying to figure out what they should do for fun will be great for early readers. The two friends find a strange cone and disagree about what it possibly could be. The colorful, cartoonish illustrations help to add humor and wit to the story. This book is relatable to any child who has ever been in a disagreement, or has ever experienced the imaginative curiosity involved in trying to find the purpose of a novel object. (RL) 

Brett, Jeannie. 2014. Wild about bears. Charlesbridge. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 32pp. $17.95. ISBN 978-1-58089-418-0.

This is an informational book perfect for 2nd-4th graders with an interest in bears and their habitats. It informs readers about why certain bears look the way they do through explanations of their size, color, and layers of fur, as well as their behaviors. It also informs readers about each bear’s habitat and is complete with a glossary. The use of fine lines and watercolors provides an accurate vision of each bear species in their natural habitat through visual elements, such as the texture of the bears’ fur. (MPH) 

Brown, Don. 2013. The great American dust bowl. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 80pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-547-81550-3.

Written in the style of a comic book, this book will offer upper elementary students a chance to learn about the Dust Bowl era without having to do extensive research. Not only does the audience learn about the events of the Dust Bowl, they learn why and how it happened, who it affected, and what the outcomes were. Brown does not try to hide the tragedies that occurred during the time but instead gives factual information that is necessary for students to know. The audience connects with the story as they are allowed to experience the heartache of the characters within the story. (ST) 

Brown, Jeffrey. 2013. Star wars: Jedi Academy. Scholastic Inc. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 160 pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-545-50517-8.

This graphic novel tells of the awkward humor that comes with starting middle school with a Star Wars twist. Roan’s only dream is to be a pilot but he is rejected from pilot school and has to go to Jedi Academy instead. Even though the pictures are only in black and white, the text is very colorful. This book would be great for new middle school students as they transition and make new friends in their new school, especially in residential schools where they are away from their families. (EGL) 

Brown, Teri. 2013. Born of illusion. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer + Bray). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 373 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-218754-3.

In 1920s New York, many people believe that Anna, a young magician, is Harry Houdini’s illegitimate daughter, but nobody knows that Anna actually possesses psychic abilities. When Anna meets a mysterious young man who somehow knows about her powers, she is caught up in a mystery and is exposed to a threatening society who wants to study psychics like her. The concept of the novel is fascinating, but the love triangle romance feels a bit bland and unnecessary. Despite this, readers will feel immersed in the story and transported to the 1920s with this novel. (MC)

Bunting, Eve. 2013. Big Bear’s big boat. Houghton Mifflin. Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 32 pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-618-58537-3. Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter.

Written for beginning readers, this book will capture the senses through the colors and textures in the images. The vivid imagery and detail of the illustrations help to guide the reader through the story. This book teaches students that they should follow their dreams no matter what obstacles may stand in their way. (KNG) 

Burg, Ann E. 2013. Serafina’s promise. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 304pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-53564-9.

Readers will learn about Haitian culture and poverty while reading Serafina’s Promise, a story written in verse. This realistic fiction novel centers around a young girl who dreams of going to school and becoming a doctor. Early middle school students will relate to the idea of following one’s dreams while dealing with the dynamics of family. Students will also gain an appreciation for life in Haiti. (BEST) 

Burt, Marissa. 2013. Story’s end. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected] (212-207-7000). 368 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-202054-3.

In this sequel to Storybound, Burt keeps up her smart writing and pace as Una, Peter and Indy work to defeat the Enemy. Readers get to see more of the world of Story as Una and her friends travel through it. The action and suspense is enough to keep the pages turning, and the overall message of good defeating evil still feels fresh. Readers will root for the strong female characters Una and Snow. This tale comes to a satisfying conclusion. Recommended for middle school readers who are fans of fairy tales or fantasy. (MC) 

Carson, Rae. 2013. The bitter kingdom. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 433 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-202654-5.

The last in “The Girl of Fire and Thorns” trilogy finds protagonist Elisa and her companions trying to rescue Elisa’s guard, not knowing that bigger things are at work. Elisa’s kingdom is in revolt and under attack, and Elisa is still struggling to use the full potential of her divine-given Godstone to defeat the invading Inviernos. Elisa’s character growth from the first book to this one feels both natural and substantial, and seeing her finally reach her full potential is very satisfying. At the climax Elisa finds she is still able to succeed without the Godstone by using her wise political diplomacy and strength to prevail. This trilogy ranks high in quality YA fantasy, and is highly recommended for fans of the genre. (MC) 

Caravantes, Peggy. 2013. Daughters of two nations. Mountain Press Publishing Co. [email protected], (800-234-5308). 138pp. $14. ISBN 978-0-87842-610-2. Illustrated by Carolyn Dee Flores.

This series of biographies are an excellent resource for students interested in learning about the lives of Native Americans and how their ways of life changed when America was becoming a nation. Each biography represents one influential Native American woman and shows the trials their cultures endured during the time period. These biographies are an excellent research resource and they also provide wonderful female role models. Children who are just beginning to read would enjoy reading these short but meaningful stories. (ST) 

Castle, Jennifer. 2013. You look different in real life. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 355 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-198581-2.

Justine and four of her classmates have been featured in two documentaries: Five at Six and Five at Eleven. Now, five years later, the two filmmakers are back to make Five at Sixteen, but things aren’t quite coming together. Justine and Rory aren’t speaking, Felix and Nate are awkward around each other, and Kiara seems aloof around all of them. When Kiara leaves to find her missing mother, however, Justine is the one who decides to take the video camera and leaves the filmmakers and their agenda behind. Through the camera lens, Justine discovers secrets, sees friendships repaired, and sees assumptions corrected. By the end of the story the reader will feel attached to all five characters, whose struggles and personalities are both endearing and very realistic. The book provides interesting commentary on how people act when others are watching, and how others’ expectations can have significant influence on who they become. Recommended for high school readers. (MC) 

Chainani, Soman. 2013. The school for good and evil. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 488 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-210489-2. Illustrated by Iacopo Bruno.

Agatha and Sophie are complete opposites. Sophie loves pink and tries to help people, while Agatha lives in a graveyard and avoids everyone. When they are chosen to attend the “School for Good and Evil”, it seems obvious which category each girl will be placed in. So when Agatha is put in the school for Good and Sophie in the school for evil, they are certain there is a mistake. The friends try to fix the switch, but as the story progresses, it becomes more obvious that this wasn’t a mistake at all. Agatha is selfless and kind, while Sophie is selfish and will stop at nothing to get what she wants. The School for Good and Evil plays with traditional fairy tale tropes, using humor and fast action. In the end, Sophie and Agatha destroy the school’s status quo of Good and Evil, finding something in between. Fans of fairy tales will quickly get pulled into the tale. (MC) 

Cheng, Andrea. 2013. The year of the baby. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 176 pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-547-91067-3. Illustrated by Patrice Barton.

The Year of the Baby is the sequel to The Year of the Book and is great for students who are more independent with reading and are comfortable with chapter books. The books touches on themes of adoption and inability to thrive in a new environment. Anna, the protagonist, works hard to solve issues with her new sister and is determined to figure out what is wrong. Since the story is aimed toward older readers, there are very few illustrations, but the ones present help to emphasize the important points in the story. (ES) 

Christelow, Eileen. 2013. Five little monkeys trick-or-treat. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 33 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-85893-7.

In the newest installment to the Five Little Monkeys series by Eileen Christelow, Five Little Monkeys Trick-or-Treat, the well-loved little monkeys are up to their mischievous antics once again, this time as they collect their Halloween goodies. As the story is read-aloud, the monkeys’ light-hearted prank will undoubtedly have toddlers and young children giggling and squealing with delight and leave adults smiling knowingly. In addition to the storyline, the brightly colored, cartoon-like illustrations also make the story appealing to young readers – so don’t be surprised when it is the first book taken off the shelf night after night. This story is sure to be a new favorite among children and adults alike who already love the Five Little Monkeys books and even for those who are experiencing the series for the first time. Guaranteed, it won’t take long for the bindings and pages of this book to become well worn. (KNB) 

Cleary, Brian P. 2013. A second, a minute, a week with days in it: a book about time. Lerner Publishing Group (Millbrook Press). [email protected], (800-328-4929). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-8225-7338-3. Illustrated by Brian Gable.

This informational book on the different ways we tell time teaches young kids how our different measures of time add together. The tempo of the writing is upbeat and happy, which pairs well with the fun and comedic illustrations. This is a great book to use when learning about telling time in elementary school and offers a great literary source to pair with school content. (MJK) 

Cleary, Brian P. 2013. What is a fish?: Catfish, Cod, Salmon, and Scrod. Lerner Publishing Group (Millbrook Press) [email protected], (800-328-4929). 32pp. $26.60. ISBN 978-0-7613-6211-1. Illustrated by Martin Goneau.

This informational book about different types of fish is great for young kids just learning about the different types of marine animals and vertebrates. The tempo of the writing is upbeat and happy which pairs well with the fun and comedic illustrations. This is a great book to pair with early science classes when learning about marine life and the difference between vertebrates and invertebrates. (MJK) 

Cocca-Leffler, Maryann. 2013. Theo’s mood. Albert Whitman & Company. [email protected], (800-255-7675). 24pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-8075-7778.

This book about emotions for young readers describes a wide variety of feelings and why the kids feel that way. The illustrations go along perfectly to provide extra content into the moods. This book is great for young readers who have just had a sibling like the main character of the book. This also can be a great book for students in early social skills classes, learning about which emotions are appropriate and why. (MJK) 

Coleman, Janet Wyman. 2013. Eight dolphins of Katrina: A true tale of survival. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-71923-8. Illustrated by Yan Mscimbebe.

This book will be good for 3-5th graders with an interest in learning about dolphins. It is historical fiction and uses Hurricane Katrina to show the harmful effects of natural disasters. It shares the exciting tale of a group of dolphins who escaped into the Gulf of Mexico during the extremities of the storm, focusing on themes of courage and perseverance when the trainers lose the dolphins during the storm and must go look for them. This story emphasizes the person vs. nature conflict in how the trainers must face a powerful natural disaster. The illustrator uses thin lines and color washes to help represent the devastating impact of the hurricane that took place in 2005. This book also contains a scrapbook portion with information on the actual trainers and dolphins to give readers a more accurate depiction of the scenario. (MPH) 

Conrad, Lauren. 2013. Infamous. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 277 pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-06-207984-8.

Book 3 in “The Fame Game” series continues to follow Madison, Kate, and Carmen as they try to reach fame in Hollywood. The book begins as season 2 of the reality show “The Fame Game” starts up, and the girls are suddenly flung back into drama and gossip. Readers who enjoyed Conrad’s series “L.A. Candy” or fans of reality TV may enjoy Conrad’s latest trilogy of drama, backstabbing and gossip. Fans of the first 2 books may, however, be disappointed with the anticlimactic end to this series, which feels stagnant and at times, dull. (MC) 

Cooke, Lucy. 2013. A little book of sloth. Simon and Schuster (Margaret K. McElderry Books). [email protected], (800-233-2336). 64pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-4557-4.

This is an informational book for intermediate readers. Through its clever and witty descriptions, the book explains the nature of sloths and introduces the reader to the sloths at the sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica. With many photographs of these adorable creatures, the reader learns more about these relaxed animals. This is a great book for all children who want to learn more about animals or who have ever wanted to “chill out” like the sloths do. (RL) 

Cooper, Susan. 2013. Ghost hawk. Simon and Schuster (Margaret K. McElderry Books). [email protected], (800-233-2336). 336pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-442224-8141-1.

Historical fiction meets fantasy in this tale of tradition and change. Little Hawk is a young Native American trying to save what is left of his tribe. One fateful day, when trying to rescue a child from the Plymouth colony, John Wakely, he is killed by colonists. His spirit lives on and guides John Wakely, teaching him the ways of his tribe. Through its strong imagery and compelling storyline, this is a great book for middle and high school students. (RL) 

Cooper, Susan. 2013. Green boy. Simon and Schuster (Margaret K. McElderry). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 208pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-8081-0 (2002).

Reflecting issues that plague the modern world, this book asks a young audience to consider the harmful effects humans have on planet Earth. Readers are allowed to connect with the main characters as they share common characteristics and emotions. The story reflects valuable lessons to be learned and strives to attract the attention of a young audience to a very real problem in the world today. (ST) 

Cooper, Susan. 2013. Victory. Simon and Schuster (Margaret K. McElderry). [email protected], (800-236-2336). 224pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-8079-7 (2006).

In this story of two children with parallel lives in two different time periods, Susan Cooper attempts to show connections between the past and the present. The individual stories are well developed and fascinating. In one story, Sam is kidnapped from his family farm and forced into working on the HMS “Victory,” and what follows is a mysterious adventure. In the other story, Molly, like Sam, has lost her childhood and is dealing with loss and loneliness. However, the link between the two is vague and does not seem to follow a pattern in the rest of the story. While pre-teen readers may enjoy the historic high seas adventure, the whole novel lacks consistency. (BEST) 

Crowder, Melanie. 2013. Parched. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 160 pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-547-97651-97651-8.

With such a unique style, this book quickly draws in its audience. Written from multiple perspectives of different characters, the plot becomes increasingly more intriguing as the reader advances through the book. Each chapter leaves the reader wanting to continue to learn more about what is happening to these main characters. In addition, the book teaches wonderful life lessons that a young audience would appreciate. Readers who are beginning to read chapter books would enjoy this book. (ST) 

Crum, Shutta. 2013. Dozens of cousins. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarison Books). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 32 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-618-15874-4. Illustrated by David Catrow.

This book depicts the wonderful story of a big, crazy, family reunion. Anyone with a lot of relatives will have an easy time relating to the fun and mischief that the family engages in. Crum’s rhythmic writing style makes reading this book aloud a delight. The illustrations are caricature-like and filled with bright, happy colors which bring the story to life. (KMG) 

Cyrus, Kurt. 2014. Motor dog. Disney Books Group (Hyperion). disney.go.com, (877-318-6990). 40 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-142316822-5. Illustrated by David Gordon.

This fictional story is about a boy who orders a remote control dog named “Motor Dog.” The story tells of the difficulties the boy has with the technology of Motor Dog, and shows him coming to the decision that he just wants a normal dog. The story has a good rhythm and some rhyming in the text which makes it easy and fun to read. The bright colors in the story help augment the high energy and intensity in the plot. This book will be great for students around 2nd grade because it is an exciting modern story that most students would enjoy. (NA)

Dean, James. 2014. Pete the cat: Old MacDonald had a farm. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32 pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-06-219873-0.

Pete the Cat takes readers through the song ‘Old MacDonald Had a Farm’, featuring chickens, cows, pigs, and all of the barnyard animals kids love. This book is good for younger children because the animal noises and “E-I-E-I-O” lyrics are bolded and colorful, and the images are cartoony. The vibrant colors and fun characters will appeal to young children and help them to gain a sense of rhythm because of the musical quality of the story. (JLB) 

Dean, Kimberly and James Dean. 2014. Pete the cat: Too cool for school. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-211076-3.

This book is good for early readers looking for a better understanding of how to be themselves in a school setting. The students will learn how to be cool while being themselves through Pete and his adventure of finding the right outfit for school. The visual elements of this book show the readers how Pete begins to find what he likes to wear and how that helps him feel better about school. (KJP)

Dempsey, Kristy. 2014. A dance like starlight: One ballerina’s dream. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Philomel). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25284-6. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper.

A little girl dreams of becoming a ballerina in this heartwarming tale, A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina’s Dream. The girl’s heart swells with hope when she attends the performance of Miss Janet Collins, the first non-caucasian prima ballerina. This uplifting story, with its poetic rhythm and its soft, warm illustrations will leave any 2nd-4th grader feeling inspired to have a dream of their own. (MAK)

DePalma, Mary Newell. 2014. Two little birds. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers). [email protected], (800-253-7521). 34 pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-8028-5421-6.

This book uses repetition to make the plot easy for readers to understand and follow. The presence of varying colors reflects the mood of the story, telling students when the birds are sad or when they are hopeful. The illustrations also depict a variety of different places and give students an idea of how far a bird can travel. The theme of the story will comfort students and teach them that one can always return home after they leave. (KNG) 

Einhorn, Edward. 2014. Fractions in disguise. Charlesbridge. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 32 pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-57091-773-8. Illustrated by David Clark.

The world of fractions is made easier with Fractions in Disguise! 2nd-4th graders will see fraction reduction in action as the story follows Mr. Factor, a young genius who is determined to find the missing and disguised “5/9” fraction. The illustrations show a concrete idea of fractions in many forms, and they contribute to the entertaining, and even dramatic storyline. After reading this math story with a fun twist, children will be able to see fractions everywhere in their lives. (MAK)

English, Karen. 2013. Nikki & Deja: Substitute trouble. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books. [email protected], (800-225-3362). 108 pp. $14.99 ISBN 978-0-547-61565-3. Illustrated by Laura Freeman.

 Best friends Nikki and Deja grow concerned when the troublemakers in their class plot to take advantage of their new substitute teacher. Soon more students join in the plot and Nikki and Deja wonder what they should do. This book’s illustrations contain good depiction of how the girls feel about the trouble in their classroom. This book is perfect for students who may need to develop their problem solving skills and will help teach them how not to give in to peer pressure. (JMM) 

Erskine, Kathryn. 2013. Seeing Red. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 352pp. $16.99 ISBN 978-0-545-64440-6.

This contemporary reality fiction novel for high school readers gives a unique perspective to the civil rights movement. The book answers the question posed by the protagonist “why is history important?” The book explains why history is so important through the development of the young boy, Red, through the growth of his characterization and self-identity. This book is a great fictional first-hand account of southern racism meeting the civil rights era through the eyes of a boy. This book would be a terrific addition to a United States history class or American literature class because young high school students can connect with the main character and handle the real world language and make the historic connections. (MJK) 

Esbaum Jill. 2014. I hatched!. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Dial). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 40 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8047-3688-7. Illustrated by Jen Corace.

This book contains a witty story perfect for early readers. It follows the journey of a newly hatched bird trying to learn about the world through exploration. The delightful illustrations use line to take the reader on an adventure with the young hatchling and to show the reader the world as this bird sees it. Through its poetic text and the childlike point of view of the young bird, this book will be a fantastic choice for any child who is curious about his or her world. (RL) 

Fairlie, Emily. 2013. The magician’s bird: a Tuckernuck mystery. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 288 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-211893-6.

Laurie, Misti and Bud are three rising seventh graders on a mission to produce a fun scavenger hunt for the new sixth graders when they stumble upon a secret room and an unsolved mystery in their school. This tells a story of friendship filled with magic, murder, and more as the children work to solve an ancient mystery. A mysterious mechanical bird causes some trouble, but the kids work together to solve this mystery at their school. (EL)

Fallon, Jimmy. 2014. Snowball fight!. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Dutton). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-525-47456-2 (2005). Illustrated by Adam Stower.

This is an engaging picture book with bright illustrations that bring the simple and fun story to life. It is the story of a boy who takes part in a snow ball fight when school is closed for the day. The plot is very simple, with the only conflict occurring when the boy runs out of snowballs during the fight. This will be great book to be read aloud or to be given to younger starting readers. (MJK) 

Farrey, Brian. 2013. The vengekeep prophecies: The shadowhand covenant. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 375pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-6204931-5. Illustrated by Bree Helquist.

Jaxter Grimjinx becomes very suspicious when magical artifacts go missing, along with Master thieves known as the Shadowhands. To make matters worse, the High Laird has unexpectedly begun to imprison the peaceful Sarosans. Readers follow Jaxter as he investigates buried secrets to solve this mystery. The Shadowhand Covenant is book two of the Vengekeep Prophecies series and is a great book that will engage readers through an exciting storyline. (KL) 

Floca, Brian. 2013. Locomotive. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 64 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-9415-2.

This is a good book for young readers who are interested in trains and would like to learn more about them. The readers will be able to see how the locomotive gave people a better mode of transportation and how it gave them a better way to live. Readers will become engaged with this book through the simple illustrations and the sound words that create a better picture for the readers to see, hear, and truly experience the locomotive coming down the tracks. (KJP) 

Florian, Douglas. 2014. Poem depot: Aisle of smiles. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Dial). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 154pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-4042-6.

This collection of poems is most suitable for 3rd-5th graders, introducing children to different types of poetry such as limericks. The poems are full of humor with an emphasis on puns and rhyming. They also put silly spins on popular nursery rhymes. The simple, humorous illustrations utilize rounded lines to help readers realize that the poems are meant to be funny and are not to be taken literally. (MPH) 

Fry, Jason. 2014. The Jupiter pirates: Hunt for the hydra. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 241 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-223020-1.

A tale of adventure, this is a great book for middle school readers. This book tells the story of twelve year-old Tycho and his family. They are technically not pirates, but privateers: people who work for the Jovian Union to capture Earth ships to claim as their “prize.” However, a strange encounter with an Earth freighter ship brings light to a galactic scandal. Through its rich description and space-pirate jargon, the reader feels like a part of this futuristic galaxy, making it a great book for any person who has a little inner-pirate. (RL) 

The Ghost, Derek. 2013. Scary school: The northern frights. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 272pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-196098-7. Illustrated by Scott M. Fischer.

In this addition to the Scary School series, Charles and his friends go from Scary School to Scream Academy as exchange students. Among the scary monsters at the Academy is the Ice Dragon. Charles must deal with life at Scream Academy and battle the Ice Dragon in this funny and exciting chapter book. The story is narrated by Derek the Ghost, and the black and white sketch-like illustrations give the story visual appeal. Scary School: The Northern Frights will appeal to students in the 3rd grade. (JLB) 

Gill, Shelley. 2014. Prickly rose. Charlesbridge. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 32 pp. $17.95. ISBN 978-1-57091-356-3. Illustrated by Judy Love.

This adorable fantasy picture book will appeal to children who feel that an older sibling overshadows them. When Prickly’s sister, Sitka, goes on a grand adventure, Prickly feels left out and forgotten, so she decides to take an adventure (or misadventure!) of her own. The rhyming patterns throughout the book are fun and interesting to read out loud, and the illustrations of Prickly’s adventures are vivid and engaging. Prickly’s mishaps will surely make young children smile, while the reconciliation of the two sisters at the end of the story will warm the hearts of all audiences. (BEST)

Gownley, Jimmy. 2014. The dumbest idea ever!. Scholastic Inc. (Graphix). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 236 pp. $11.99. ISBN 978-0-545-45347-9.

This graphic novel will appeal especially to upper elementary and middle school students. It is an autobiography written in simple language with vivid, comic-book-style pictures that will capture the attention of adolescents. It is a relatable story about a young teen who is trying to find his place in the world and does so through writing comic books. This book is empowering for adolescents who are struggling with identity and figuring out what their talents are. The vivid detail and the occasional sarcastic humor will grab the attention of any reader. (BEST) 

Guion, Melissa. (2014). Baby Penguins love their mama!. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Philomel). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-16365-4.

This is a picture book for children in preschool or early elementary school. The protagonist is mama penguin, who teaches her baby penguins how to do things like swim, slide, and waddle. Even though the baby penguins will someday not rely on their mama, she will always be there for them. This story leaves a heartwarming message with all children who read it. (DLN) 

Gutman, Dan. 2014. The genius files #4: From Texas with love. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 273pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-182773-0.

The fourth book in the Genius Files series, From Texas With Love continues the entertainment for its eight to twelve year old audience. The reader travels with the characters on their strange and mysterious journey. The story requires the reader to continually predict what will happen next and to expand their imagination to visualize the crazy events that occur throughout the book. Although mostly fictional, the story occurs in real places that lets the students map out and visualize where the story is occurring. This adds another way for students to be actively engaged in the story. (ST)

Hale, Kathleen. 2014. No one else can have you. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 382pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-221119-4.

When a small-town Midwestern girl named Kippy Bushman discovers that her best friend was found murdered in a field, she is horrified. Who, in the small town of Friendship, Wisconsin, would kill Ruth? And who would have the guts to kill her in such a gruesome way? Armed with Ruth’s diary, Ruth’s big brother who suffers from PTSD and her tenacious best friend, Kippy set off to find the killer. However, in a quiet town like Friendship, anyone could be the killer. For grades 10 and up. (EMM)

Harper, Charise Mericle. 2013. Just Grace and the trouble with cupcakes. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 208 pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-547-87744-0.

This new addition to the “Just Grace” series is geared towards upper elementary school readers. Readers who enjoy “Junie B. Jones” and “Judy Moody” will love this fun story told from Grace’s third-grade perspective. Themes revolving around issues that are relatable for the average elementary school child such as friendship, disappointment and working well with others will send great messages to children. (KMG)

Harrison, Hannah E. 2014. Extraordinary Jane. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Dial). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 40 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3914-7.

Jane is a dog who doesn’t fit in at the circus. She tries and tries to find her place while constantly comparing herself to the other circus animals. For students who are struggling to find a place in their classrooms or to find their special talents, this book will be a great motivator and will encourage them to figure out how to find their place. It also teaches students the very important lesson that everyone is different. The illustrations are very vibrant and realistic and accompany the text of the story well. This book is aimed toward younger readers and would be good for students who may be having issues with their self-image. (RAF) 

Heling, Kathryn and Deborah Hembrook. 2014. Clothesline: Clues to jobs people do. Charlesbridge. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 40 pp. $7.95. ISBN 978-1-58089-252-0 (2012). Illustrated by Andy Robert Davies.

This book contains a collection of illustrations of various clothing that provide hints about the job of the person wearing them. The series of clues presented are meant to help young children to guess what job is being described. The illustrations are done beautifully and fit the descriptions written by the authors. This book will be excellent for young children to help develop their skill of inference. (JMM)

Henkes, Kevin. 2013. Penny and her marble. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 44 pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-06-208203-9.

This book is one of a collection of Penny Books and is a good book for children who are learning to read chapter books by themselves. The lessons present in this book about honesty and having a clear conscious are ones that all children can connect to. When Penny finally told the truth at the end of the story she was relieved and felt better, and she was rewarded for doing the right thing. The illustrations, which emphasize the contrast in Penny’s emotions by using bright colors when she is happy and dark colors when she is scared or worried, provide compelling visual appeal to the story. This book teaches the value of good morals and is a fun read for any child. (ES) 

Hicks, Barbara Jean. (2014). An amazing snowman. Disney Book Group (Disney Press). disney.go.com, (877-318-6990). 40 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-142318514-7.

An Amazing Snowman is a story for younger children, preschool and early elementary school age. Olaf is a snowman who is special in many different ways. He has many dreams that he would like to see come true someday. An endless imagination and big heart are two of his best features. The use of vibrant and cool colors in the illustrations gives this story an exciting and friendly feel. Children can relate this story because everyone is unique in their own way. (CG) 

Horvath, James. 2014. Build, dogs, build: A tall tail. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 40 pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-06-2189-67-7.

This book contains a cute story about a bunch of dogs who are tearing down an old building in order to put a new one in its place. Appropriate for 2nd or 3rd graders, it depicts and explains the process of creating a building. The dogs in this story are personified and act like construction workers who are all working together to erect the new building. However, the author has also incorporated things dogs might actually do into this book as well such as playing fetch. The illustrations that accompany the text are very vibrant and have nice, bright colors that catch the eye.This book will be a good read for any student who is interested in building things. (RAF) 

Hunter, Erin. 2014. Seekers: Return to the wild, book 4: Forest of wolves. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 271pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-199643-6.

In this fantasy novel, extended personification is used as bears and other forest creatures overcome major human innovations that are destroying their habitat. Children who have read the first three books in this series will especially enjoy this new addition, but the book can stand alone as well. Late elementary schoolers and early middle schoolers will enjoy learning about the forest habitat and the roles the animals play in it while also learning about the dangers humans inflict on those habitats. (BEST) 

Hunter, Erin. 2013. Warriors: The ultimate guide. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 222pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-06-224533-5. Illustrated by Wayne McLoughlin.

This guide provides more information behind the Warriors series. It tells about the four clans, members within each clan, and stories that are not included in the series. There are many pictures depicting each of the members of the clans and maps in the beginning of the book of the forest, lake, and gorge. The visuals and details about the clans and characters give the Warriors series more depth. This guide would appeal to anyone reading the Warriors series. The reading level is suitable for 4th grade. (JLB) 

Jahn-Clough, Lisa. 2013. Nothing but blue. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 224 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-618-95961-7.

How can a person carry on after they’ve lost everything? Blue doesn’t remember her actual name or why she’s lost on a road with the menacing chant of “All dead. No one survived” running through her head. On her journey to home, she finds kindness on the fringes—through a magical stray dog, train-hoppers, and hoboes. Jahn-Clough alternates between Blue’s journey to try to find home and her memories of who she used to be: an unhappy, bored girl in a superficial relationship. By losing everything, Blue comes to realize who she actually is and finds herself learning how to live. Recommended for junior high and high school readers. Contains sexual content. (MC) 

Jeffers, Oliver. 2014. The Hueys in it wasn’t me. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Philomel). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25768-1.

With simple illustrations and child-like handwriting, this book will appeal to students who are beginning to learn how to read. The child-like illustrations, resembling art the children could draw themselves, will allow students to relate to the book. The juvenile handwriting and conversational banter will entice students and encourage them to have fun reading. The underlying theme that arguing does not solve anything will teach students that fighting is not the answer to their problems. (KNG) 

Jinks, Catherine. 2013. How to catch a bogle. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. [email protected], (800-225-3362). 320pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-544-08708-8.

In this novel, readrs will join Birdie on her hunt for monsters. She uses herself as bait to capture monsters, and her life is constantly in danger. This spooky story will spark an interest in reading among its audience. (KL) 

Jones, Allan. 2013. The six crowns: full circle. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 166 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-200639-4.

Trundle and Esperanza are almost at the end of their quest for the six crowns in this exciting final installment in the series. Along with their friend Percy, the duo solve the riddle that accompanied the fifth crown and journey to the far end of the sky to an island that no one knew existed. They encounter pirates, ravens, and an evil aunt who are also on a quest for the crowns, but they escape only to be thrown into a twist ending that will have readers at the edge of their seats until the very last page. This is a great book for fourth or fifth graders about friendship and loyalty. (EL) 

Kalman, Maira. 2014. Thomas Jefferson: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of everything. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Nancy Paulsen Books). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 40 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24040-9.

This book is good for young readers who seek a better understanding of the life of Thomas Jefferson. The readers will gain a well-rounded understanding of Thomas Jefferson and the influences he made during his presidency. The readers will be able to apprehend the life of Thomas Jefferson and other historical information of prominence during this time period. The vibrant visual elements engage young readers and their interest to read about this significant historical period. (KJP)

Karp, Jesse. 2013. What we become. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 424 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-55500-3.

What We Become is tagged as a companion novel to the dystopian thriller Those That Wake, but it really functions as sequel. It continues to follow the teenagers Mal and Laura after they have destroyed an evil corporation as they face a new threat known as the “Old Man.” The concepts of corporate greed and high levels of surveillance in this dystopian world are used well, but the characters and the setting continue to feel flat. With such potential, readers may feel frustrated by the novel’s slow paced and meandering plot. (MC) 

Kerley, Barbara. 2014. A home for Mr. Emerson. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 48 pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-545-35088-4. Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham.

A book for late elementary school age children, A Home for Mr. Emerson takes the reader on a life-long adventure as Mr. Emerson builds a life full of creativity, community and friendship. This story will be perfect for young readers who are beginning to discover what their passions are and demonstrates that anything is possible. (KL) 

Khoury, Jessica. 2014. Vitro. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Razorbill). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 360pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-59514-605-2.

After receiving a strange e-mail from her scientist mother, Sophie returns to her childhood home of Guam, where her mother had been working on a top-secret project on an island off the coast. Only one person is willing to fly her there: her childhood best friend, Jim. Once they arrive, Sophie and Jim realize that Sophie’s mother is part of an organization that raises embryos in test tubes and modifies these embryos, called Vitros, to have unique skills. One of these Vitros happens to be Sophie’s twin sister, Lux. Delve into this face-paced adventure told from three points of view and find out what happens when science goes too far. Good for ages 12 and up. (EMM) 

King III, Martin Luther. 2013. My daddy: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. HarperCollins Publishers (Amistad). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32 pp. $17.99. 978-06-028075-8. Illustrated by AG Ford.

This picture book memoir of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. tells of the special bond between the father and son of an important historical family. The remembrances made in this book show both Luther’s loving and supportive family and the momentous “I Have A Dream” speech and the resulting consequences. Martin Luther King III was one of the four kids mentioned in the speech and in this memoir that son tells of the background story of his hero, who is both his father and a major civil rights leader. The colors in the book illustrate the severity of the historical events but then it switches back to the home life where a happier mood is juxtaposed with the reality of the outside world. A valuable lesson that can be learned from this book is the importance of family and how even if there is outside turmoil, a home with a family is a safe and respectful place for all. (EGL) 

Kloepfer, John. 2013. The zombie chasers: Empire state of slime. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected] (212-207-7000). 208 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-223095-9. Illustrated by David Degrand.

This book is a fictitious adventure where a group of teenagers are confronted with a city full of zombies. They must make their way through the city to find some sort of antidote. The plot is tailored for readers that enjoy action and fantasy. The illustrator includes pencil sketches throughout the book that provide the reader with a great vision of what the zombies look like. This book, and series, is perfect for late elementary students who like fiction and zombie stories. (AL) 

Kloepfer, John. 2014. The zombie chasers: nothing left to ooze. Harper Collins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 212 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-223098-0. Illustrated by David Degrano.

This is the fifth book in a series about a group of kids trying to rid the world of zombies. They travel all across a zombie-infested North America, struggling to eradicate the zombies. This book’ themes of friendship and determination are apparent in the kids’ drive to accomplish their goals and their determination to stick together. This is a great book for fourth grade students, containing some higher level vocabulary, but it is also very humorous and engaging. (MJK) 

Korman, Gordon. 2013. The hypnotists. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 240pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-50322-8.

This Science fiction novel for middle school students brings fantasy to the idea of self-discovery. Jax, the protagonist of the book discovers he has a special talent and goes away to a school to learn how to use it. Jax struggles with the idea of right and wrong with the use of his talent and has to overcome the abuses of it. This book is very relatable to middle school students going through the same self-discovery, they can follow along as Jax develops and discovers the importance of his talent and how to use it to benefit others. (MJK) 

Kraatz, Jeramey. 2013. The cloak society: Villains rising. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-270-7000). 320pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-209550-3.

Fallen heros and rising villains unite in this exciting novel. Alex is introduced to a whole new perspective of the world when he meets Kirbie the Junior Ranger. The two must act quickly in order to stop the cloak society. This is a great novel that will engage young readers by providing a more challenging text that will allow them to grow as learners. (KL) 

Krosoczka, Jarrett J. 2013. Platypus police squad: the frog who croaked. HarperCollins Publishers (Walden Pond Press). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 226pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-06-207164-4.

A tale of excitement, mystery, and root beer floats, this is a great book for readers who are transitioning from picture books to chapter books. Rick Zengo is a young platypus just starting as a detective on the Platypus Police Squad. He gets a case dealing with illegal synthetic fish, but must first learn that being a detective means more than throwing boomerangs at the “bad guy.” With its adventure and humor, this is a fantastic read for those who love action-packed books. (RL) 

Krovatin, Christopher. 2013. Gravediggers: Terror cove. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 357pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-207743-1.

Action packed and full of danger, this is an excellent book for upper elementary students to read for entertainment. The book is filled with scary situations that entice the reader to keep turning the page. Each chapter is narrated by a different main character allowing the audience to get to know the characters and the plot from many different perspectives. This fiction book encourages a young audience to stretch their imaginations and to try to put themselves in the characters shoes. (ST) 

Krull, Kathleen. 2013. Lives of the scientists: Experiments, explosions (and what the neighbors thought). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Book for Children). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 96pp. $20.99. ISBN 978-0-15-205909-5. Illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt.

Although this book is a collection of biographies, the audience is entertained throughout the entire book. Both students who are interested in science and those who are not will enjoy reading this book, as Krull tells entertaining but true stories of these scientists’ lives. This book will be an excellent way to peak students interest in science, as they have a way to connect personally to these scientists’ lives. (ST) 

LaFevers, Robin. 2013. Dark triumph. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 387 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-547-62838-7.

This sequel to Grave Mercy follows a different character than the first book, but Sybella shares a link with Ismae, Grave Mercy’s protagonist. Both women are daughters of Mortaine, or Death, and are trained in assassination. Set against the backdrop of 15th century Britain, LaFevers creates a world that feels half-historical and half-fictional. Those who enjoyed Grave Mercy will find Sybella to be a much darker and more troubled character than Ismae, but her story is certainly no less compelling as she escapes from the monstrous man who has raised her. Paired with a fierce and daring soldier named Beast, Sybella fights to keep the duchess Anne safe from betrayal and French invasions. Readers are thrust directly into the world of Sybella’s life, so readers wishing to try this series may want to read the prequel first. Recommended to high school readers who love fantasy, adventure, and historical fiction. (MC) 

Lawler, Janet. 2014. Love is real. Harper Collins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32 pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-06-224170-2. Illustrated by Anna Brown.

This younger-reader picture book is built on the theme of parents’ love for their children. Lawler’s use of personified animals makes the characters both gender-neutral and race-neutral, allowing the story be easily accessible to all. Illustrator Anna Brown’s use of soft lines, colors and textures give the book a gentle and nurturing feel. This book will be ideal for adults to read to pre-K children. (MJK )

Lee, H. Chuku. 2014. Beauty and the beast. HarperCollins Publishers (Amistad). [email protected], (212-208-7000). 32 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-688-14819-5. Illustrated by Pat Cummings.

This retelling of the Beauty and the Beast is told in first person from Beauty’s perspective. The story explores concepts of love, promise, betrayal, and the idea that what matters most is what is on the inside. The basic plot is similar to other versions of the story, but with a stylistic focus on African culture. The illustrations depict clothing and decorations significant to African culture and provide a unique cultural experience for the readers. This book will appeal to students of a variety of ages because the plot line is beautiful and familiar, and the illustrations are vibrant and will appeal to both young and old students. (JLB)

Lennon, Tom. 1993, 2013. When love comes to town. Albert Whitman & Company. [email protected] (800-255-7675). 304 pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-8075-8916-8.

‘Tom Lennon’ is the pen name of a Catholic school teacher from Dublin who wrote When Love Comes to Town in 1993. Because the story is about a gay teenager finding himself, he had to choose a pen name in order to keep his job. 20 years later, this edition is the first one available in the US. LGBTQ life and culture has changed a lot in 20 years, but the story of the protagonist, Ian, still resonates strongly. The book is refreshingly realistic, as Ian pines for a boy and gets into a messy relationship in which each person has different expectations. As he comes out, his family and friends all have different reactions. Ian makes mistakes, forms strange friendships, and suffers extreme loneliness. Any teenager (gay or not) will be able to relate to this story. The American edition also has a handy glossary of Irish and Dublin slang that Americans may not know. Recommended for high school readers. (MC) 

Levy, Debbie. 2013. We shall overcome: The story of a song. Disney Book Group (Jump at the Sun Books). disney.go.com, (877-318-6990). 32 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-142311954-8. Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton.

This book tells of the racism in the United States from the time of the Civil War to the present. Despite the long history of racism and struggles that black people have faced, they have been able to maintain a loud voice and persevere. The power of music and song through the course of time is shown emphatically in this book, especially with the song “We Shall Overcome.” The lyrics that are written in the book describe how far we have come as a country but also how change is never done and we continue the struggle to overcome our problems. (EL)

Levy, Janice. 2014. Thomas and the toadilly terrible bully. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (Eerdmans books for Young Readers). [email protected], (800-253-7521). 34 pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-8028-5373-8. Illustrated by Bill Slavin and Esperanca Melo.

This anti-bullying-themed picture book will be great for children in early grade school. The story shows that brains beat bullies and that it is better to be loved than to be feared. The colors and lines give an organic feel to the book and the texture makes it feel as if you can reach out and touch the soft grass. The development in the main character will speak especially to children at the beginning of the discovery-of-self stage and will show them a fine example of how to find the good in themselves. (MJK) 

Lewis, Catherine. 2013. Thrice told tales. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum Books for Young Readers). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 144pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-1-4169-5784-3. Illustrated by Joost Swarte.

Thrice Told Tales is a delightful and comical resource for middle and high school grammar students. Catherine Lewis riffs on the tale of the Three Blind Mice in order to display and define over seventy-five literary techniques, grammar terms, and English language essentials. This book in its entirety is perfect for high schoolers, who will appreciate the pages regarding swear words in literature and the more difficult literary techniques like Leitmotif or Ambiguity. Middle school teachers would benefit from keeping a copy on hand and picking and choosing pages to show to their students. Students will appreciate the witty use of a familiar story to teach the often dry subject of grammar. All students will appreciate how Lewis displays each term through a short excerpt and brief, semi-formal definition on its page. This book also contains an extensive Appendix with very detailed explanations of each term. This book is a must-have for middle school and high school English or writing teachers. Grammar buffs and college students will also applaud Catherine Lewis’ hard work in portraying a sometimes loathed subject as newly fresh and funny. (ARS) 

Littlewood, Kathryn. 2014. Bite-sized magic. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 418pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-208425-2.

In the second installment of the Bliss series, children will enjoy the idea of edible magic as they learn about some of the dangers of big corporations pose to small businesses. Adults will enjoy reading along because of the political satire that lies beneath this fun tale of a twelve-year-old who single-handedly saves her family’s business and the world from the dangers of the Mostess Snack Cake Company. Pre-teens will find empowerment in the young girl who takes responsibility for her family’s wellbeing. The humor that is sprinkled into this tale will appeal to many young readers. (BEST) 

Liu-Perkins, Christine. 2014. At home in her tomb: Lady Dai and the ancient Chinese treasure of Mawangdui. Charlesbridge. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 80 pp. ISBN 978-1-58089-370-1.

This is a very interesting book for middle school and early high school readers. This book is about Lady Dai of Mawangdui’s body and tomb. Her tomb is like a time capsule that reveals many ancient truths about China. Every artifact tells a different story about what it was like to live in China many, many years ago. There are several realistic visual elements that help readers understand the context of the story. This is a very informational book about Lady Dai and the Ancient Chinese Treasures of Mawangdui. (CG) 

London, Johnson. 2014. Froggy gets a doggy. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Viking). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-670-01428-6. Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz.

This book is one of many Froggy Books. It is good to read aloud or for children who are just beginning to read. This story teaches kids that getting a pet is a big responsibility, and is a familiar story to any children who have gone through the process. The bright, entertaining illustrations add dimension to the characters in the book. (ES) 

Lorenzi, Natalie Dia. 2014. Flying the dragon. Charlesbridge. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 223 pp. $8.95. ISBN 978-1-58089-435-7 (2012).

This book describes the coming of age of two cousins, Hiroshi and Skye, as they deal with their grandfather’s terminal cancer. Both cousins are Japanese, but Skye was born in the United States whereas Hiroshi moves to the States from Japan with his family so that his Grandfather may receive more intensive medical treatment. Skye and Hiroshi often fight with each other and blame the other for the changes and problems they experience while coming of age. This is a good book for middle school aged students because it deals with death, coming of age, and friendship developing in unlikely situations. (EL) 

Macaulay, David. 2013. Cathedral. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Children). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 80pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-544-10000-8 (1973).

Cathedral by David Macaulay is a great story that takes readers back in time to fourteenth-century Europe, where dreams are put to the test. This book describes the hardships encountered during the time period and allows readers to imagine living the life of such a people. Published in dozens of languages, Cathedral is an engaging tale that exposes children to classic literature in a creative way. (KL) 

Maccarone, Grace. 2013. The three bears abc: An alphabet book. Albert Whitman & Company. [email protected], (800-255-7675). 32pp. $16.99. 978-0-8075-7904-6. Illustrated by Hollie Hibbert. 

This re-telling of a familiar story featuring the alphabet as the theme throughout will engage young readers. Most know the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears already, but telling it through the alphabet provides a new and engaging twist that will keep young readers interested. Some of the writing becomes a little contrived in order to fit the context of the alphabet, but the illustrations are colorful, engaging, and adorable.This book will serve as a fun and different review of the alphabet for children who already know it, but probably should not be used to teach the alphabet for the first time. (BEST) 

Mader, C. Roger. 2013. Lost cat. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-547-97458-3.

Lost Cat is a short story that is perfect for beginning readers who are looking for an exciting adventure. This story is relatable and easy to understand, with very detailed illustrations that enhance the meaning of the story itself. The images also provide a new perspective, and since the story is being told from Slipper the cat’s point of view, this will help introduce many skills to a new reader. (KL) 

Malnor, Carol L. 2014. On Kiki’s reef. Dawn Publications. [email protected], (800-545-7475). 32 pp. $8.95. ISBN 978-58469-477-9. Illustrated by Trina L. Hunner.

On Kiki’s Reef is a beautifully illustrated short story that introduces early readers to ocean life. The bright colors and soft lines provide the reader with a clear image of what living in the ocean would be like. This book will a wonderful tool to educate little ones and spark further interest in Kiki’s underwater home. (KL)

McNamara, Margaret. 2014. The fairy bell sisters: Clara and the magical charms. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer + Bray). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 118 pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-06-222811-6. Illustrated by Julia Denos.

This is a fictional chapter book about a fairy named Clara. Throughout the story, Clara must deal with many problems involving the Valentine’s Games. Clara must choose whether or not to use magic to help someone in need, even though she is not supposed to. Throughout the story the readers will see Clara grow as a person as she learns a valuable lesson. This book will be a good read for students around 4th grade because it is exciting, interesting, and suspenseful. (NA) 

McNeal, Tom. 2013. Far far away. Random House (Alfred A. Knopf). [email protected], (212-782-9000). 384pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-365-84872-5.

Jeremy Johnson is a boy from a small-town who has lived through many hardships. His mother abandoned him as a child, and ever since then, his father has not left the house. However, Jeremy has a special gift: he can hear ghosts. In particular, he listens to the ghost of Jacob Grimm, the narrator, who has sworn to protect Jeremy from the Finder of Occasions, an unknown person that is predicted to harm Jeremy. Mysterious but heart-wrenching, this is a fantastic book for all young-adult readers who have ever wished to go far far away. (RL)

McQuinn, Anna. 2014. Leo loves baby time. Charlesbridge. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 24 pp. $9.95. ISBN 978-1-58089-665-8. Illustrated by Ruth Hearson.

Although it is aimed at a younger audience, families who already love the Lola series by Anna McQuinn will fall quickly in love with Lola’s younger brother Leo as they read the first installment of McQuinn’s spinoff series, Leo Loves Baby Time. As children listen to the story read-aloud, they will be captivated by the brightly colored illustrations and the simple, direct sentences that comprise the story. Children will also be able to relate to the story as they recognize the activities that Leo does, from eating breakfast and putting on his jacket to singing songs and making new friends. While the ending feels a bit abrupt, this minor flaw may be one that can instead be adjusted with a simple, positive spin. Have your child tell you what comes next in the story and revel in the answers that you receive! (KNB) 

Mead, Richelle, Leigh Dragoon (adapter). 2013. Shadow kiss: A vampire academy graphic novel. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Razorbill). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 160 pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-1-59514-431-7. Illustrated by Emma Vieceli.

The third in its series, Shadow Kiss: A Vampire Academy Graphic Novel is an action-packed fantasy for teenagers who enjoy the exciting world of vampires and other fantastical characters. Rose Hathaway is a vampire with the life-long duty of being a guardian to royalty. Teens will be drawn to follow her adventures, and will easily be able to relate to the high school drama. This story is filled with friends, emotions, and (of course) boys. The colorful graphics add a sense of action and emotion to the already exhilarating plot line. Shadow Kiss is a quick, easy read that is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats. (MAK) 

Meltzer, Brad. 2014. I am Abraham Lincoln. Penguin Groups (USA), Inc. (Dial). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 40pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-4083-9. Illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos.

Kindergarteners through 2nd graders will love this biographical story on the life and views of Abraham Lincoln. The author tells the story in a way that is relatable to children through obstacles they may face such as bullying. It tells of an important figure in American history by emphasizing Lincoln’s views through in terms of of fairness and equality. The illustrations make the character of Abraham Lincoln relatable to children through his childlike stature, showing that even children can make a difference and stand up to the bullies that exist in the world. The illustrations are also reminiscent of comic books, especially with the use of speech bubbles for dialogue.(MPH) 

Meltzer, Brad. 2014. I am Amelia Earhart. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Dial). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 40 pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-4082-2. Illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos.

This biographical picture book about Amelia Earhart will mostly appeal to first or second grade students. Earhart’s story is made relatable to younger children through the use of anecdotes from her childhood and simple, childlike language to tell her story. Amelia is shown as a young girl through the entirety of the book even though some of her accomplishments clearly took place when she was older. These illustrations transform her into a spunky character that young children can easily relate to. (BEST) 

Meyer, Walter Dean. 2013. Invasion. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 224pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-545-38428-5.

This historical fiction gives great insight into the early years of World War II, particularly Omaha beach and the French invasion. This book is perfect for high school age readers due to the language and vivid description of the realities of war given by the author through a soldier’s eyes. This book is perfect as a literary aid to social studies curriculum giving a firsthand account of the events of World War II, and adding emotion to the events that students can empathize with. (MJK) 

Montgomery, Sy. 2013. The tapir scientist: Saving South America’s largest mammal. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 80pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-547-81548-0. Photographs by Nic Bishop.

The elusive tapir is explored in this non-fiction picture book. The pictures are beautiful and story is engaging. This is an informative book that follows scientists out in the field looking for the tapir, and it also contains a lot of information about the Pantanal, the largest wetland in the world. Not many people know much about tapirs, but this book follows the adventures of the scientists in the wetlands, rather than providing actual facts and stats on tapirs. It may be a little long for younger readers, but they will love the large pictures. Older elementary readers will find it informative, but somewhat difficult to read without the support of an adult. (BEST) 

Morris, Taylor. 2014. Giada de Laurentiis’s recipe for adventure: Hong Kong. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Grosset & Dunlap). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 141 pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-448-46258-6. Illustrated by Francesca Gambatesa.

This book from the “Recipe for Adventure” series tells the story of Alfie and his sister Emilia traveling the world with their Aunt Zia through the discovery of new international foods. In this installment, the kids magically travel halfway around the world to Hong Kong where they become acquainted with Chinese culture and cuisine. From this book, children will learn that traveling and trying new foods is a great experience, but so is enjoying a home-cooked meal with their own family. (KMG) 

Moses, Sheila P. 2014. The sittin’ up. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 226 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25723-0.

In this book, set in the southern United States a few generations after the end of American slavery, racial segregation is a part of everyday life. The protagonist, Bean, along with his family and friend Pole, break down those barriers of color. This is a story of young Bean coming of age and being old enough to attend a “sittin’ up” for the closest person he has to a grandfather, Mr. Bro. Wiley, when he passes away. Death is a big theme in this book, but there is also a love aspect as Bean comes of age. These two opposing themes balance each other out perfectly in this book. (EL) 

Murdock, Catherine Gilbert. 2013. Heaven is paved with oreos. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. [email protected], (800-225-3362). 201pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-62538-6.

This contemporary reality fiction novel for middle school readers is based on the development of the protagonist, Sarah Zorn. Sarah goes on a trip with her grandma and in that time learns more about herself after the breakup with her boyfriend. The self-analysis modeled in the book is a positive tool for all teens, and Sarah models it perfectly. As she develops from an innocent girl into a girl who wants to have a real boyfriend she learns more about herself and the aspects of relationships. This book also displays positive socialization for teens like respecting family and the consequences of taking love to far. This is a great book for teens in the self-discovery phase. (MJK) 

Nelson, Marilyn. 2014. How I discovered poetry. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Dial). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 103pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3304-6. Illustrated by Hadley Hooper.

In this book, Marilyn Nelson shares pieces of her childhood with readers through intimate poems. Spanning age four to fourteen this book focuses on many historical events such as the Civil Rights Movement. This collection of poems will be a great tool to engage young readers in the world of poetry. (KL) 

Nesbet, Anne. 2013. A box of gargoyles. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 357pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-210425-0.

In this sequel to The Cabinet of Earths, Maya Davidson is feeling good because she is on her fall break and enjoying life in Paris without worrying about the purple-eyed man. However, stone gargoyles begin talking and flying, women appear to be singing as if they are in a trance, and a human-sized creature made of leaves and dust appears. Maya receives a letter that confirms her fear that the purple-eyed man is back and intends to trade Maya’s life for his own. This sequel proves to be an exciting addition to Maya’s story. (JLB) 

Nesbo, Jo. 2012. Doctor Proctor’s fart powder: The magical fruit. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin). [email protected], (800-233-2336). 320 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-9342-1. Illustrated by Mike Lowery.

This is a hilarious book for upper elementary and middle school students that follows three unlikely heroes on their adventure. Throughout the story, they use their wit to save Norway from bankruptcy, but not without help from the quirky inventions of Doctor Proctor. The narrator uses witty commentary and his personal addresses to move the plot along. The simple, doodle-like style of the illustrations helps keep the reader interested and make it the perfect book for any child who enjoys a hard laugh. (RL) 

Oliver, Lin. 2014. Little poems for tiny ears. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Nancy Paulsen Books). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-16605-1. Illustrated by Tomie dePaola.

The colorful illustrations in this poetry collection provide a cheerful complement to the text that is aimed at a young audience. From poems about toes, sneezes, peekaboo, and diaper time, children will be laughing with joy and adults will also giggle at the fun rhymes. The light-hearted way of describing the basic life routines of babies is enjoyable and the pictures are very kid-friendly. To make this book even better, there are stickers in the back, which make it the perfect book for crafty kids. (EGL)

Osbourne, Sharon. 2013. Mama Hook knows best: A pirate parent’s favorite fables. Disney Book Group (Disney Press). disney.go.com, (877-318-6990). 40pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-142318035-7. Illustrated by Massimiliano Narcisco and the Disney Storybook Artists.

Captain Hook’s mom, Mama Hook, tells stories about Captain Hook’s pirate adventures. She uses the stories to teach young pirates and the readers lessons called “Mama Hook’s Golden Rules.” The illustrations are detailed and take up most of the page. This book will be best for early elementary students. (JLB) 

Osterlund, Anne. 2013. Salvation. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Speak). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 288 pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-0-14-241770-6.

Beth has had a crush on Salvador for years, but it’s not until he’s placed in AP English that he notices her. Salvador, or Salva for short, has everything going for him. He wants to make his family proud and go to a state university, but Beth sees his potential and pushes him to aim for even better schools, and a romance inevitably begins to bloom. For the most part the story plays out like a typical high school romance novel, but with a refreshing representation of characters. Salvador has Mexican immigrant parents and Beth lives in a trailer with her recovering alcoholic mother, so both seem to see education as their salvation. While it’s great to see a Mexican-American as a main character in a YA romance, a car crash at the end feels tacked-on and emotionally manipulative, making the book feel altogether lackluster. (MC) 

Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw. 2013. Homesteading: Settling America’s heartland. Mountain Press Publishing Co. [email protected], (800-234-5308). 47 pp. $12. ISBN 978-0-87842-605-8. Photographs by William Muñoz.

This book describes life on the homestead following the Homestead Act of 1862. It includes a brief history about the Great Plains including Native American relations and the move westward. Readers then learn how homes were built, how farms were started, the work and daily life of frontier families, types of food and meals on the Great Plains, how their children were educated, and even about how the families had fun and celebrated. The book was separated into sections that described each of these topics, and each was supplemented by real-life photographs with captions. This book will appeal to older students who are interested in learning more about life on the frontier and farming. (JLB) 

Paver, Michelle. 2014. Gods and warriors: The burning shadow. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Dial). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 291pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3880-5.

Outsider Hylas continues his search for his missing sister in this second book of the Gods and Warriors series. He is captured and sold into slavery where he must face many evils and plan his escape. With the help from a lion cub and a runaway girl, he faces many dangers on his quest, including his enemies the Crows. This chapter book filled with adventures and excitement will appeal to students 5th grade and older. (JLB) 

Pennell, Christopher. 2013. The mysterious woods of Whistle Root. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. [email protected], (800-225-3362). 224pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-79263-7. Illustrated by Rebecca Bond.

Older elementary readers will have fun reading this magical, mystical, and not-too-scary novel about an orphan who only sleeps during the day. Anyone over the age

of 10 may have a hard time staying with the story, since it’s plot is heavily simplified. Each chapter utilizes many formats of storytelling, which is unusual in a children’s book, and may be confusing if used as a read-aloud. Younger readers will definitely get more enjoyment from this novel than older ones. (BEST) 

Pizzoli, Greg. 2013. The watermelon seed. Disney Book Group (Hyperion Books). disney.go.com, (877-318-6990). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0142317101-0.

This story is about an alligator who likes watermelon but worries that one will grow inside him when he accidentally swallows a seed. The color scheme of the book consists of green, pink, black, and white like a watermelon. The fonts vary throughout the book, which adds an interesting visual element. This book will appeal to younger children due to the relatively simple plot. (JLB) 

Rex, Adam. 2013. Moonday. Disney Book Group (Hyperion Books). Disney.go.com, (877-318-6990). 40 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-142311920.

This book will be great to read aloud with young children and may provide a good challenge for early readers. It tells a fantastical tale of the moon landing in a child’s backyard and daytime never arriving as a result. The beautiful illustrations present realistic images that capture the imagination and express the sleepiness that overcomes the town. Young children inspired by curiosity over outer space will learn some characteristics of the moon, while also receiving a fantastic bedtime story that ensures a good-night’s sleep. (RL) 

Rhatigan, Joe. 2014. People you gotta meet before you grow up. Charlesbridge (Imagine!). [email protected], (800-225-3214). 128 pp. $14.95. ISBN 978-1-62354-004-3.

From farmer to local historian, this book includes many occupations that children should be exposed to before they grow up. Each page has an introduction to the job, strategies for students to find a person with that occupation, questions to ask them in order to start a quality conversation, a few websites, and finally a person who has that career. This is a great informational book for kids to browse but is a bit dry to read straight through. It has amazing information and will be a great introduction to many possible careers. (EL) 

Rex, Adam. 2014. The cold cereal saga: Champions of breakfast. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer+Bray). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 350pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-206008-2.

Children who enjoyed the first two books in this trilogy will surely love the conclusion to The Cold Cereal Saga. The blunt and sarcastic language and the allusions to mythology will appeal to middle school readers the most. In this installment, the three kid-heroes fight to save the magical other-England world, known as Pretannica, from a dragon and ultimately from the Goodco Cereal Company. This humorous adventure will surely appeal to pre-teen boys and girls who have enjoyed other mythological novels. (BEST) 

Riordan, Rick. 2013. The heroes of Olympus, book four: The house of Hades. Disney Book Group (Hyperion). disney.go.com, (877-318-6990). 597pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-142314672-8.

The conclusion to the Heroes of Olympus series, The House of Hades continues to intrigue readers with its interesting style and engaging plot line. Appropriate for advanced chapter book readers, this story, like its precursors, creates a new world of imagination for the audience. Each chapter is told from the perspective of one of the main characters. This gives the reader a sense of what the story looks like through many perspectives. (ST) 

Riordan, Rick, adapted by Robert Venditti. 2013. Percy Jackson & the olympians, book three: the titan’s curse: the graphic novel. Disney Book Group (Hyperion). disney.go.com, (877-318-6990). 128 pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-142314530-1. Illustrated by Attila Futaki and Greg Guilhaumond.

Fast-paced and action-packed, The Titan’s Curse: The Graphic Novel is a flawless rendition of Rick Riordan’s best-selling Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. Fans of both the written and film series are sure to be captivated once again by Percy’s adventures as his story is told in its newest medium. The rich colors and realistic imagery beautifully capture the intensity and emotions of the characters and events of the story, much like classic superhero comics. Without taking anything away from the original written version in regards to dialogue and character development, the graphics maintain the intensity throughout and keep the action clipping along. As a result, readers will find it nearly impossible to set down, making it the perfect book for reluctant readers of all ages. (KNB) 

Robinson, Sharon. 2014. Under the same sun. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 40 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-16672-0. Illustrated by AG Ford.

Soon it will be Grandma Bibi’s eighty-fifth birthday and her seven grandchildren are excited to celebrate the special day with her. Bibi and Aunt Sharon have traveled all the way from the United States to Tanzania for the big surprise party. The family goes on a safari and walk on the beach to celebrate Bibi’s birthday and they visit places that are tied to the ancestors of the family and the slave ship to America. This book is the perfect combination of history and the story of a fun family trip with detailed illustrations. The content in this book makes it perfect for upper elementary aged children and displays the difficulties of having a family on two different continents. This is a great family story and would be a welcome addition to any household. (EGL) 

Rockwell, Anne. 2013. Hey Charleston! The true story of the Jenkins orphanage band. Lerner Publishing Group (Carolrhoda Books). [email protected], (800-328-4929). 32 pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-7612-5565-6. Illustrated by Colin Bootman.

Reverend Daniel Joseph Jenkins lived through both the Civil War and World War I in the United States. He was a pastor with a huge heart and always looked for a way to turn the bad into good. He took in many orphans throughout his life and started an orphanage for them. There were so many orphans at the time, however, that they started a band in order to make more money for food. The band had a unique type of music called “rag” and soon they were traveling to New York and Europe and people who listened to them learned the Charleston dance. Throughout this horrible time in United States history, Reverend Jenkins and his band truly found a way to turn bad into good. (EL) 

Rosengren, Gayle. 2014. What the moon said. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 217pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-16352-4.

This historical fiction novel follows a family who experiences many hardships during the Great Depression. The young girl in the novel is excited when a move from the city to a farm becomes necessary for her family. Deep into superstitions, this girl and her mother try to predict what is next for the family. Middle school children will appreciate and understand the ideas of loyalty to family, as well as gain a deeper understanding of life during the Depression. Readers will also enjoy the themes of friendship and the adventurous spirit found throughout. (BEST) 

Rundell, Katherine. 2013. Rooftoppers. Simon and Schuster (Books for Young Readers). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 277 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-9058-1.

Sophie was orphaned in a boat crash, but she believes that her mother survived, and with her adoptive guardian Charles, she journeys to Paris in hopes of finding her lost mother. Sophie and Charles make a unique pair; they eat food off of book covers, write on the walls of their apartment, love to climb, and “never ignore a possible.” During Sophie’s quest for her mother, she meets a new group of friends who live in the sky. They take her around Paris in a very special way and display true acts of friendship. This book deals with loss of parents and the value of friendship. (EL) 

Rusch, Elizabeth. 2013. Eruption! Volcanoes and the science of saving lives. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 80 pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-547-50350-9. Photographs by Tom Uhlman

4-6th graders will be drawn into the world of volcanoes with Eruption: Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives. This non-fiction book is not only brimming with information but also tells the stories of members of the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program, or VDAP. New and challenging words are defined in the back of the book, and pictures on every page provide the reader with a more vivid reading experience. Each chapter is sure to capture imaginations, fill minds with new knowledge, and may even inspire a future volcanologist! (MAK) 

Rylant, Cynthia. 2013. Mr. Putter and Tabby drop the ball. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Books for Children). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 44 pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-15-205072-6. Illustrated by Arthur Howard.

This early reader chapter book is perfect for young readers that want to move onto a chapter novel. The chapters are short and manageable. The plot is simple to follow, and would be appropriate for young students. The illustrations provide the reader with colorful representations of the characters. This book would be great for early elementary aged children. (AL) 

Savage, J. Scott. 2013. Case file 13 #2: Making the team. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 272 pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-06-213331-1.

In the second volume of the Case File series, the three “Monsterteers” team up with three girls to solve yet another dangerous mystery. Instead of fighting zombies, however, they must learn the history behind a creepy castle-school called Sumina Academy, whose principal seems to have a hidden secret in the school’s basement. Nick, Angelo, Carter, Tiffany, Angie, Dana and their new friend Jake need each other to save their friend/bully Cody from the monstrous school and the evil Mr. Dippel. This book describes the coming of age of these young adults as they realize that life will never be the same after they solve this case. (EL) 

Sax, Aline. 2013. The war within these walls. Wm. B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers). [email protected], (800-253-7521). 175pp. $17. ISBN 978-0-8028-5428-5. Illustrated by Caryl Strzelecki.

This easy-to-read fictional story will take readers on a very powerful journey through the eyes of Misha and his Jewish family in a time when German Nazis invaded their country. This book provides a perfect way to introduce younger children to the horrors that occurred during the holocaust. The illustrations really bring these events to life, helping the reader to travel back in time and truly immerse themselves in history.(KL) 

Schindler, Holly. 2014. The junction of sunshine and lucky. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Dial). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 240pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-08037-3725-9.

Auggie Jones is excited for her first day at her new school, only to find that her best friend Lexie has left her for the fabulous and rich Victoria. That is only the beginning of her problems. The City Council started a Beautification Committee, creating requirements that simply cannot be met by Auggie’s poor neighborhood. Told from Auggie’s point of view, this book is a spunky story of hope and community written for late elementary and middle school readers. (RL)

Schmid, Paul. 2013. Oliver and his alligator. Disney Book Group (Hyperion). disney.go.com, (877-318-6990). 40 pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-142318437-0.

This book is for early readers who are often intimidated by surrounding people in the classroom. This book will help readers have a better understanding of how social interactions benefit the students in the classroom. Readers can relate to Oliver and how he is nervous to be around people that he does not know. The visual elements show the readers how Oliver feels in a school setting and how it changes throughout his experience during the school day. (KJP) 

Schneider, Josh. 2013. Bedtime monsters. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 32 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-544-00270-8.

Bedtime Monsters is a cleverly written short story that addresses the topic of scary monsters that may be lurking in your bedroom. As the story progresses, more and more “scary” monsters come out from hiding and express their own fear of bedtime monsters. This all leads up to an unexpected plot twist when the monsters become fearful of young Arnold whose room they live in. Overall, this book will be a wonderful tool to ease a young reader’s fear of monsters hiding under the bed. (KL)

Schreiber, Joe. 2012. Perry’s killer playlist. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 209 pp. $16.99. 978-0-547-60117-5.

Perry’s Killer Playlist follows Perry, an average high school senior with a not-so-average life. The first book, Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick, showed Perry embroiled in action related to a foreign exchange student named Gobi, who turned out to be a secret agent. The sequel finds Perry with a girlfriend and a European tour lined up with his band. If the scenario sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. Perry soon becomes caught up in the dangerous life of Gobi yet again. Like the first book, each chapter title is the name of a song. The story is heavy on action and light on credibility, but fans of the first book will find this an entertaining read. (MC)

Shannon, George. 2013. A very witchy spelling bee. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Children’s Books). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 32 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-15-206696-6. Illustrated by Mark Fearing.

This bewitching tale of a unique spelling bee will surely capture the attention of upper elementary students. The use of illustrations to show “anagram spells” being cast will surely make readers of all ages giggle. Cordelia, the young protagonist in the story, explores adding and taking away letters from words to change their meaning completely. The ending to the story is heartwarming; Cordelia’s action of changing a “fiend” into a “friend” shows the idea that friends can be found anywhere, even in the most unlikely of places. (BEST)

Sidman, Joyce. 2013. What the heart knows: Chants, charms and blessings. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 65 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-544-10616-1. Illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski.

Appropriate for 6th-8th graders, this book is a collection of classic chants, charms, and blessings rewritten to apply to life in the twenty-first century. When read aloud, these poems come alive with beautiful rhythm. Included in this collection are chants, charms, spells, invocations, laments, remembrances, praise songs and blessings. Accompanying each poem is an illustration that depicts the topic of the poem. (RAF)

Silverstein, Shel. 2014. A giraffe and a half. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 48 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-025655-5 (1964, 1992).

This is a book of rhymes about a boy and his giraffe. Each new rhyme builds on the others that came before it, and then works backwards until the book ends with the same line that it started with. The rhymes are all well-styled and have a steady rhythm that readers will enjoy listening to. The black-and-white illustrations in the book use lines and shapes that make the pictures engaging. This book will be great for students around 3rd grade. Children reading this book will no doubt have fun trying to read through all the rhymes aloud without messing up. (NA)

Singer, Marilyn. (2014). Rutherford B., who was he?: Poems about our presidents. Disney Books Group (Hyperion). disney.go.com, (877-308-6990). 56 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-142317100-3. Illustrated by John Hendrix.

This book is a collection of poems about the United States’ Presidents. There is a poem about each President from Washington to Obama. Each poem brings the president to life and are fun to read aloud. The illustrations are very vibrant and engaging. This is a great book for students who want to learn more about the presidents of the United States in an exciting and poetic way! (CG) 

Sobol, Richard. 2014. Elephant twins. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Grosset & Dunlap). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32 pp. $3.99. ISBN 978-0-448-47921-7.

This book describes the life of a pair of elephants that were born in Thailand; the only known set of elephant twins in the world. The writing and illustrations work together to show the importance of the relationship between the twins and their mother. Students can relate to the elephants through the relationships in their lives. (JMM) 

Sutcliffe, Jane. 2014. Stone giant: Michelangelo’s David and how he came to be. Charlesbridge. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 32 pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-58089-295-7. Illustrated by John Shelley.

This book shows the history of the production of Michelangelo’s famed statue of David. The facial expressions of the characters present in the illustrations reflect the difficulty of persuading an artist to take a job and the difficulty of completing their tasks. This book will spark students’ interest in history and will teach them that art is a pivotal part of history. (JMM) 

Swenson, Jamie A. 2014. Big rig. Disney Book Group (Hyperion). disney.go.com, (877-318-6990). 32 pp. $16.99 ISBN 978-142316330-5. Illustrated by Ned Young.

This book contains an informational story about a semi-truck’s journey, how he is built, and the cargo he carries. In this story, Frankie the semi encounters many conflicts with the unforgiving environment along his journey. The bright and vibrant colors in the illustrations present a friendly and energetic mood that will make it more engaging for young readers. This book will be a good fit for lower elementary students because it is an easy read that will be interesting and educational for young children. (NA) 

Tapia, Jeff. 2013. Hippomobile! Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 240pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-9.

A great choice for intermediate readers, this book tells the story of twins Jimmy and Stella who are the only children in their town, Wymore. Upon learning that Maybel’s, the town’s diner, is closing down, the twins embark on a quest to resurrect the Hippomobile, a historic machine beloved by the town. Told from the point of view of both twins, this book uses many Wymore colloquialisms to tell a story great for anybody who likes to read about how small children can make a big difference. (RL)

Topp, Patricia S. 2013. The wonderland clock. Blue Dolphin Publishing. [email protected], (530-477-1503). 71 pp. $13. ISBN 978-1-57733-224-4.

On her thirteenth birthday Diana receives an old clock as a present from her grandmother. She finds it an odd gift but winds it up every night just to show that she cares about it. But later, Diana learns that this clock is no ordinary clock. Instead of running clockwise at the normal fast pace, this special shamrock-covered clock runs backwards very slowly, and while she sleeps, it gives her life advice in her dreams. With the clock’s help, she learns a little bit more about how the universe works with quantum and annual motion. In this coming of age book, Diana deals with friendship, boys, religion and school. (EL) 

Trine, Greg. 2013. The adventures of Jo Schmo: Shifty business. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Children’s Books). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 112 pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-547-80796-6. Illustrated by Frank W. Dormer.

Revolving around fourth grade superhero Jo Schmo, the plot of this story has many unexpected twists and turns that will keep readers engaged. The simple black and white illustrations allow students to picture the scene in their minds. The positive and relatable way Jo and her dog, Raymond, are characterized will have students rooting for them to conquer evil and save San Francisco. It is a simple, yet exciting book for middle elementary school aged students. (KNG) 

Turner, Pamela S. 2013. The dolphins of Shark Bay. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 76pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-547-71638-1. Photographs by Scott Tuason.

This nonfiction story is full of information that will provide the reader with interesting facts about dolphins. It is filled with useful vocabulary words that will help young readers grow as researchers and also become more inquisitive about the world around them. 

Urey, Gary. 2013. Super Schnoz and the gates of smell. Albert Whitman & Company. [email protected], (800-225-7675). 156 pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-8075-7555-0. Illustrated by Ethan Long.

Andy Wiffler is a fifth grader who has an impeccable sense of smell which comes in handy when the evil corporation, Environmental Clean Up (ECU), plots to destroy everyone’s plans for summer vacation with disgusting smells buried beneath the school. Will ECU take over Denmark, or will Super Schnoz and his gang be able to save summer? This novel will be perfect for young readers who are beginning to gravitate towards chapter books. (KL) 

Ursu, Anne. 2013. The real boy. HarperCollins Publishers (Walden Pond Press). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 352pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-201507-5.

Oscar is a young boy who lives in the little island town of Asten and works for the most powerful wizard in the forest, Barrow. When disaster strikes the town, Oscar needs to leave his comfort zone in order to save the island. There is a map in the beginning of the book that gives readers the layout of the island. The Real Boy is written in third person and is an exciting fantasy tale that is enjoyable for 4th to 6th grade students. (JLB) 

VanHecke, Susan. 2014. Under the freedom tree. Charlesbridge. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 32 pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-58089-550-7. Illustrated by London Ladd.

A historical fiction picture book for upper elementary school readers, Under the Freedom Tree will be a great classroom resource for teaching children about the Civil War. The poetic structure of this book makes the text interesting to read and the addition of the author’s note at the end amplifies the educational aspect of the tale. The transition between dark and light colors in the illustration suits the tone of the text and gives the story even more depth. (KMG) 

Vernick, Audrey. 2013. Bogart and Vinnie: A completely made-up story of true friendship. Bloomsbury Publishing (Walker Books for Young Readers). [email protected], (646-307-5151). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-2822-7.

This story of an overly loving dog that meets a peaceful rhino will definitely have children of all ages laughing immediately. Young children will find the dog’s short and forward sentences funny as he exclaims, “Hi! I love you! Do you love me? You are the best!” Older children will further understand the story of the rhino that “wants nothing more than to be left alone.” The colorful pictures and humor will enthrall and engage readers of all ages. The characters are well developed, making this an excellent read-aloud. (BEST) 

Wallace, Chad. 2014. The mouse and the meadow. Dawn Publications. [email protected], (800-545-7475). 32 pp. $8.95. ISBN 978-1-58469-482-3.

This book is a wonderful story that reads in the style of a poem. The words are descriptive, and they flow nicely together. This is wonderful to read aloud because it has great rhythm and flow. The illustrations are incredibly detailed and they provide the reader with a flawless snapshot of the author’s words. This book is suitable for middle to late elementary aged students due to the sometimes complex vocabulary about nature. (AL) 

Wallace, Carey. 2013. The ghost in the glass house. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 240pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-544-02291-1.

This story is about a 12 year old girl named Clare who discovers a glass house behind her new summer home and meets a ghost boy named Jack whom she falls in love with. Jack and the house provide an escape from Clare’s difficult family and social life. However, Clare starts to struggle with growing up and a variety of other problems like coping with the death of her father, her mother’s potential affair, and lies from Jack. This chapter book will be great for 7th grade students. (JLB) 

Watson, Tom. 2013. Stick dog wants a hotdog. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 224pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-06-211080-0.

In this sequel, Stick Dog and his four friends, PooPoo, Mutt, Karen, and Stripes, search for ways to steal food from a food cart. The five dogs face many obstacles during this pursuit which they must work together to overcome. The story is told by an omniscient narrator who created Stick Dog and his friends. He addresses the readers directly at times, and he tells the story of his characters in a style that includes a lot of dialogue. The illustrations are simplistic; black and white stick figures. The story and illustrations appear to be written on notebook paper which adds a personal and relatable element to the story. This book will appeal to mid and upper elementary students, and it will make a good first chapter book. (JLB) 

Weiss, David R. 2013. When God was a little girl. Beaver’s Pond Press. [email protected], (952-829-8818). 32 pp. $18.95. ISBN 978-1-59298-955-3. Illustrated by Joan Lindeman.

This book tells the story of a daughter, Susanna, and her father in a car ride. She wants her father to tell her a story about God to pass the time during the long car ride. This story would be good to tell to a child who is learning about God and would make a good bedtime story. The illustrations add a nice touch to the story by adding color and imagery to bring the words to life. The illustrations show the colors described and can be used to teach colors. (ES) 

West, Kasie. 2013. Pivot point. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen). [email protected], 212-207-7000. 352pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-211737-3.

Growing up in a secret facility where people with unique abilities reside, Addison Coleman has always had her life laid out for her. Addison is divergent, and when faced with a difficult decision, she can see down the path her choices will lead her on. When her parents tell her they are getting a divorce, Addison must choose to stay with her mother in the Compound or leave the Compound with her father and reside in the normal world. Delve into Addison’s mind as she searches the two worlds that her choices could lead her to. Told in alternating chapters, explore Addison’s two different lives and all the “what ifs” that could happen in this page-turner. Suitable for grades 8 and up. (EMM) 

Williams-Garcia, Rita. 2013. P.S. be eleven. HarperCollins Publishers (Amistad). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 274pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-193862-7.

Written about young African-American girls growing up the in 1960’s, this book is an excellent resource for students learning about the events of that decade. P.S. Be Eleven offers upper elementary students the chance to practice changing perspective, as the audience is along for the ride with these girls through that turbulent decade. Along with experiencing the events of that time, this book also offers meaningful life lessons to its young audience. These lessons are as applicable today as they were during the time when these girls were living. (ST) 

Winter, Jonah. 2013. JFK. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-179807-1. Illustrated by AG Ford.

This biography is an excellent book for intermediate readers. It tells the inspirational story of President John F. Kennedy and the power of words. Acknowledging both the good and the bad side of Kennedy, this book paints a fairly realistic picture of this man and his life. Its use of beautiful and realistic illustrations helps bring history to life. This is a great book for any child interested in history or wishing to learn how to make a difference in the world. (RL) 

Winters, Kay. 2013. The bears go to school. Albert Whitman & Company. [email protected], (800-225-7675). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-08075-0592-2. Illustrated by Katherine Kirkland.

This is a delightful tale for beginning readers. It tells the story of Pete and Gabby, two mischievous bear-cubs who find an elementary school. They explore the school and create many hilarious mishaps and messes along the way. The colored pencil illustrations help show the chaos that ensues as the bears discover that a school can be a fun place for cubs to play. This is a great book for any child that enjoys humorous stories about animals where they do not belong. (RL) 

Wood, Maryrose. 2013. The incorrigible children of Ashton Place book 4: The interrupted tale. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer + Bray). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 385pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-179122-2.

A delightful tale of mystery and wit, this book is a great fit for intermediate readers. Penelope Lumley is a governess for the Incorrigibles, three siblings raised by wolves. Penelope brings them to her alma mater Swanburne Academy to give a speech. However, there is something mysterious about the newest member of the board of trustees, Judge Quizney. With the narrator’s clever asides this book is a fantastic fit for any person who likes a little mystery and a lot of satire. (RL) 

Zuckerberg, Randi. 2013. Dot. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $17.99 ISBN 978-0-06-228751-9. Illustrated by Joe Berger.

This short story will expose early readers to the dangers of technology and how it can consume our lives without us even knowing. It serves as a clever reminder of how much we miss out on when we become distracted with the ever changing culture we belong to. (KL)