Braud, Alexis. 2016. Parade. Penguin Random House LLC (Pelican Publishing Company). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-455-62148-4.
A little mouse decides to lead a musical parade and is joined by other animals with their instruments. The illustrations complement the setting, plot, and mood of the story. Red, yellow, and orange hues create a sense of high energy complementing the concepts of movement and action found in the text. Diagonal lines found repeatedly throughout the text also suggest instability and uncontrolled motion to the reader. Horizontal lines found on some pages help to establish a sense of occasional stability. However, the lack of a climax or obvious problem in the story may leave some young readers unsatisfied. The accumulation of more animals joining in on the parade will help the reader recognize a sequence of events. Intended for ages three through eight, this book could be used in those age levels to help children identify primary colors, distinguish between a lot and a little, and locate rhyming words. Concepts of friends, music, and overcoming a challenge will also appeal to children ages five through eight. Cross-curricular connections could be made with this text through exploring musical elements of beat, rhyme, and instruments. (LAA)
Chibbaro, Julie. 2015. Into the dangerous world. Penguin Random House LLC (Viking). 333pp. 17.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3910-9. Art by JM Superville Novak.
Ror has only two things she can count on in her life: her family and her art. Self-taught with her Dado as her guide, Ror finds her way through the long days at the commune by expressing herself artistically. Her father’s commune consists of her immediate family and a set of rules. Don’t allow yourself to give in to pleasures such as sugar or TV, and most of all, don’t trust anyone, especially the government. But after Dado sends himself up in flames, and the homestead along with him, Ror’s family has no choice. It’s either let the government help them get back on their feet or live on the streets with nothing. Although Ror’s independent spirit yearns to roam free on the streets of Manhattan, part of the deal with their social worker is to complete high school. Unable to let out her fear and frustration, Ror makes a home for herself within her drawings. School is rough for Ror. Unlike her older sister, people consider Ror an outsider. Until she meets Trey, the leader of a spray-painting “crew”. At first, Trey looks at Ror the same way everyone else at the school does; but when Ror catches a glimpse of Trey and his crew painting their beautiful logo in an abandoned building, she knows this is something she has to be a part of. Although her Dado encouraged her to study classical drawing, she is pulled in by the bright colors and the adrenaline of defacing property with art. What Ror doesn’t know is that being in the crew will cause trouble beyond what she has faced. There is no other way for Ror to express herself unless she breaks some boundaries. But will she go too far?
Read the novel to find out. I honestly adored this novel. It was heartbreakingly real. I would highly recommend to students 15+, for language. (RJM)
Clark, Platte F. 2015. Good Ogre. Simon & Schuster (Aladdin). 384pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-5018-9.
This book is both magical and mythical. Good Ogre takes you to a wonderful world filled with different mythical creatures and magical spells. I have read other adventures books such as Harry Potter and this book is amongst them. The characters are so vivid, vibrant and they come alive in your mind.The book was very engaging and it was very difficult to put down. This book is attractive since the author puts spine-chilling situations in the story but then always ends with humorous lines. I am sad this is his last book. Good Ogre makes you surprised and makes you laugh. This is one of my favorite adventure books. I really enjoyed reading this fascinating book. (AN)
Constantine, Robin. 2015. The secrets of attraction. HarperCollins (Balzer + Bray). 380pp. $17.99. ISBN 9780062279514.
Madison and Jesse are both still reeling from unexpected breakups. Jesse’s girlfriend ran off with his bandmate and Madison and her boyfriend were never exactly the closest couple. Brought together through Jesse’s band on the rise to fame, the pair quickly take a shine to each other. Although Jesse is still unsure how he stands with his ex-girlfriend, he knows that there is something that he has with Madison that was never there with Hannah. After the shocking reveal that her real father has actually been living with her and her mother for years, Madison doesn’t know how to handle this information. Although she is determined to push everyone away, Jesse still moves closer. Through the twists and surprises in Madison’s life, Jesse is the only constant. However, Hannah suddenly decides that Duncan isn’t good enough for her and that she’s still in love with Jesse. Jesse is unsure how to respond to what he always thought he wanted.
I didn’t particularly care for this book. The plot line was just a little redundant. This would be suitable for 13+. (RJM)
Freitas, Bethany V, adapter. 2016. Curious George Discovers the Stars. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 30pp. $6.99. ISBN 976-0-54465-164-7.
I really enjoyed this book. One reason is because I like Curious George, and the other reason is I like to learn about stars. One time when we were camping, my dad took me out in the middle of the night to look at the stars. There were so many of them! I did not know that the stars were in shapes called constellations like a bear. I think other kids would like this book. (NAJ)
Fowley-Doyle, Moira. 2015. Accidents happen. Penguin Random House LLC (Kathy Dawson Books). 291pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-525-42948-7.
Cara and her family are used to the accident season. Nearing October, they learn to be cautious to avoid the mysterious accidents that seem to be inevitable during that time of year. Fortunately, they haven’t recently had a bad one like when Cara’s dad died. Alice, Cara’s sister, is skeptical the accident season even exists, unlike their mom. Although it’s hard, Cara and her family have always been able to make it through. But this season nothing can stop the stream of events that will surely change their fate forever. After the disappearance of an odd girl named Elsie, whom can be found in ALL of Cara’s photos, Cara begins to wonder how exactly that could be. Elsie doesn’t want to be found, however. Cara’s best friend Bea is sure it’s merely coincidence at first, but soon doubts herself. Dragging along Sam and Alice with them, Cara and Bea trespass in a deserted “witch’s hideaway”, where it seems perhaps there is a bit of magic still lingering. After days of digging and strange signs from the missing Elsie, Cara may have found a link between the elusive accident season and Elsie. The budding feelings for her stepbrother Sam, Alice’s concussion, and her mother’s sudden weariness are certainly not aiding in their search for the root of the accident season, so in an attempt to raise their spirits, Bea and Cara plan a Halloween party at the witch house. The party is exactly what they needed, and more. They’re one step closer to the cause behind the accident season. But is the accident season really happening, or have they made it all up in their minds?
I honestly adored this book so much, it was intense and crazy and fantastic. It was enlightening and perfect for wandering souls. Highly recommended for 13+. (RJM)
Garvin, Jeff. 2016. Symptoms of being human. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer + Bray). 330pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-238286-3.
Riley is used to being stared at. It kind of comes with being a congressman’s child. Unfortunately, most of the staring is due to the fact that people are trying to figure Riley out… Whether Riley is a girl, or a boy. No one knows yet, but Riley is genderfluid. Some days they feel more like a girl, some days like a boy, and sometimes neither. So, to avoid any assumptions, Riley dresses as gender neutral as possible. After switching schools a while after an incident, Riley thinks maybe this is a chance to be open and accepted. Contrary to Riley’s beliefs however, public school is not much better than private school. Riley’s anxiety flourishes in a new environment where it feels like it may never get better. Heeding their therapist’s advice, Riley decides to start an anonymous blog where they can share their thoughts about being genderfluid. It goes surprisingly well, and Riley shares their high school experience, crushes, bullies, and generally how tough it is being a genderfluid teen. Shortly after starting the blog, Riley meets Bec after a rough lunchroom encounter. Their friendship grows until Riley isn’t sure if they’ve become something more. What if Bec finds out Riley’s secret? How will she react? Along with their blooming romance, Riley makes friends with some unlikely people. But can Riley stay in the closet forever? What happens if someone at their school finds out? I personally loved this book, I couldn’t put it down. It really opened me up to a new perspective. I only wish the world could be accepting of people who are different. I would highly recommend this book to students 14+. (RJM)
Gervay, Susanne. 2015. Being Jack. EDC Publishing. 167pp. $5.99. ISBN 978-1-61067-379-2. Illustrated by Cathy Wilcox.
I think this book was good, especially the first part where the dog peed on the floor. I was not very happy about what those boys were doing to Jack and his friend Christopher. That kind of made me mad, they should call the police. It made me want to punch them in the face when they spit on Jack in the shower. I would tell my dad if someone was doing mean things to me. Jack went looking for his real dad, but I don’t think he should have. I like how it ended when he called Rob ‘dad’, because he really was his dad. (NAJ)
Howland, Leila. 2014. Nantucket red. Disney Book Group (Hyperion). 288pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-1423161400.
Cricket has everything going for her. She has her dreams and her sweet heart but one day she breaks up with her boyfriend. She only has her dreams left, but will she let them go to break all her rules? Will it crush her dreams? Will she ever get them back? Find out in Nantucket Red. (ALA)
Hudson, Tara. Hereafter. 2011. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen). 432pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-0-06-202678-1.
Mysterious River and mysterious bridge that holds a lots of secret. One ghost, one boy, and a small town with one big mystery. Amelia and Joshua have a great challenge ahead of them. Come and join them in Hereafter. (ALA)
Hughes, Devon. 2015. Unnaturals: The Battle Begins. HarperCollins Publishers. 335pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-225754-3. Illustrated by Owen Richardson.
Unnaturals: The Battle Begins was a favorite among many books that I have read. With imagery, precise wording, and detailed character development descriptions, this book provides an adventure no matter where you look on a page. With constant excitement and mystery, a story unfolds as a dog from the streets is transformed into the hero of the arena. Being in a fight with the most feared monster in the ring, Castor fights his way to victory. Nothing can stop this Unnatural, except the lingering doom that leads up to his daring plan. (LAA)
Katcher, Bain. 2016. The Improbable the theory of Ana and Zack. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books). 352pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-0062272782.
Ana is your typical straight A student who has a lot of responsibility. Zack is your typical student that doesn’t make good grades and likes to slack off. Is it true opposite attract, or it just a theory? (ALA)
Krisp, Caleb. 2015. Anyone But Ivy Pocket. HarperCollins Publishers. 382 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-236434-0. Illustrated by Barbara Cantini.
Anyone but Ivy Pocket was really hilarious. Filled with adventure, murder, and witty humor, this middle grade book was hard to put down. The ignorant Ivy Pocket is given a task by a dying duchess to safely deliver a large diamond. With many plot twists and unexpected turns, this book had me on the edge of my seat every chapter of the way. (LAA)
Lehrman, Maggie. 2015. The cost of all things. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer + Bray). 416pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-232074-2.
Ari’s boyfriend, Win, has died. She was given a power to erase him from her memory. But the power come with a cost, a dangerous cost. One which can cause a dangerous rift between her, her friends, and Win, who she can’t remember. How will she get out of this one find out in The cost of all things? (ALA)
Lies, Brian. 2016. Gator Dad. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 30pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-544-53433-9.
The best part of this book was when the dad let the kids smell what was rotten in the fridge. And I liked the part where they got in trouble by walking on the tree that had fallen. I love to do things with my dad. I think he would like this book. We have made forts in the living room just like they did in the end when they tore the house up. We used chairs and a blanket. (NAJ)
Murphy, Julie. 2015. Dumplin’. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer + Bray). 369pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-08-232718-5.
Willowdean Dickson is not your average girl. With a passion for Dolly Parton, a confident demeanor, and a perfect best friend, Will doesn’t exactly fit into the category of “normal”. After Lucy, Will’s aunt, dies suddenly, Will and her mom struggle to make financial ends meet. Hoping to create some kind of stability, Will gets a job at Harpy’s, where she’s welcomed with open arms (even if she can barely squeeze into the uniforms). There she meets handsome and mysterious Bo, whom she’s sure will never pay her any attention. Contrary to her beliefs, Bo and Will develop a connection and start seeing each other in secret. However, when Will realizes Bo has been keeping things from her, she simply can’t stay in the closeted relationship. Unfortunately, ending the meetings with Bo leaves Will feeling vulnerable and doubting herself. Determined to prove her worth to herself and her town, Will enters the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet pageant, much to her mother’s dismay. Manager of the pageant, Willowdean’s mom is reluctant to let her compete. She’s afraid Will’s weight will make her into a laughing icon, but Will is insistent on showing everyone that you don’t have to be thin to deserve a crown. Entering the pageant creates some unexpected barriers for Will. She loses her best friend and gains some new ones in the process. Is the pageant really worth all the confusion and heartbreak?
This book was empowering, it was really relatable and I was able to connect with the characters on a certain level. I hope anyone who reads this realizes that different is not bad. It’s what makes us unique. Highly recommend this book for teens 13+. (RJM)
Perez, Monica, adapter. 2016. Curious George Discovers Plants. 32pp. $6.99. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-54465-163-0.
This was a funny book. I saw the cartoon of this story on TV so I knew how it was going to end. I thought it was so funny that George took vegetables from his house and planted them in the garden. That was tricky. I liked the experiment of the bean sprout, we did this at my house and it worked until my mom pulled it out of the cup to plant it and the roots came off! (NAJ)
Platt, Cynthia. 2015. Curious George Joins the Team. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 22pp. $13.99. ISBN 978-544-46500-8. Illustrated by Margaret H.A. Rey.
The man with the yellow hat took George to the playground to meet a friend. She had wheels so the playground was special. She went down a special slide. The kids at the playground were playing basketball. The best part of the book was the end when George learned how to play and they asked him and Tina to join the team. (NAJ)
Reedy, Trent. 2014. If you’re reading this. Scholastic Inc. (Arthur A. Levine Books). 352pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-43342-6.
In If You’re Reading This, the main character's father is killed in the Afghanistan war. Then, almost 8 years later, letters from his father are sent to him. With each letter comes a goal for Michael. While figuring out who the mystery sender is, Michael awaits his letters and achieves his goals, going on a journey in which he finds thing out about his family and his father. His descriptions were beautiful and contributed to the mood and setting of the story, and the characters are well developed. Many ideas in this book are relatable. (LAA)
Sauer, Tammi. 2016. I love Cake!. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06227-894-4. Pictures by Angie Rozelaar.
This book was about a lie. Moose ate all the cake at his friend’s party and tried to hide it, but there were crumbs on his sweater and he burped and it smelled like cake. That was my favorite part when porcupine said, “I smell cake”. My brother and I read this book over and over. (NAJ)
Stanton, Elizabeth Rose. 2015. Peddles. Simon & Schuster (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers). 40pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1481416917.
Peddles is a humorous picture book written about a pig who thinks about the world a little differently than other pigs. Peddles has big ideas and ends up trying to dance in cowboy boots. When he fails, the other pigs come to help Peddles on his dancing feet. The soft lines, light blue, and soft pink colors create a calm feeling throughout the story. Illustrations enhance the text and help develop the characterization of Peddles. The picture book is intended for ages four through eight, levels preschool through grade three. Early readers can listen to the words and connect with the illustrations. The idea of family, friends, and fitting in also appeals to readers at the younger age. The warmth developed through lines, color, and story line in Peddles is comforting for all readers, young and old. (LAA)
Stevens, Robin. 2014. Murder is bad manners. Simon & Schuster. 336pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-1-4814-2212-3.
When I first looked at the title, “Murder is Bad Manners” I was immediately intrigued. This book is a “children’s murder/thriller”, which is fascinating because it’s really hard to write a children's book involving murder. Yet Robin Stevens is very successful, the details and descriptions of the characters and places are well written, and makes the book a very pleasant read. The excitement, the murder, the clues, and the never-ending friendship were weaved into the story which made it an amazing book. I enjoyed reading this book, It was difficult to put it down. This book was very well thought through-- characters, places, clues and suspense all weaved together in an engaging manner. This book was one of my favorite books, and I am very happy that she has more coming. (JN)
Torday, Piers. 2014. The last wild. Penguin Random House LLC (Viking). 322pp. $16.66. ISBN 978-0-670-01554-2.
The Last Wild was a terrific book about a terrific journey and a suspenseful plot that was broken every so often with backwards-humor that lightened up the story. I could not put this book down, no matter how hard I tried. It was like some superglue held my eyes to the pages, forcing me to read the book. I was pleased with the ending. The suspenseful endings to the chapters begged me to turn the page and read to the very end. The cover is very relevant to the plot, and it is very eye-catching. It has the four most important details in the story, plus the center of the comedy. Piers did a great job crafting this book, and telling the story without dragging on or racing past. I find that very difficult to do. (LAA)
Velde, Vivian Vande. 2012. Deadly pink. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Children’s Books). 304pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-73850-5.
Deadly Pink is a fascinating story about two sisters, One of the sisters, Grace, is forced to go into a Virtual Reality game that her other sister, Emily, has trapped herself in. Along the way they learn thing about themselves and Grace realizes many things about her sister. The characters were really developed, and the story wasn’t super – fast paced or dragging slow and boring. In my opinion, Vivian Velde did a fantastic job writing this story. (LAA)
Wilhelm, Doug. 2015. Treasure town. Long Stride Books. 72pp. $5.99. ISBN 978-0985783648. Illustrated by Sarah-Lee Terrat.
Treasure town is a beginner reader chapter book about children looking for a pirate’s buried treasure in their town. A person against person struggle surfaces when two out-of-town gold diggers come to Sandy Feet, Florida. Appropriately written for children seven to nine years old and grade levels two through four, the book uses text and illustrations to engage a beginning reader in the plot. The history of pirates at the end of the story, and illustrations provide children in the age range of seven through nine immediate perceptions and realistic details. The concept of overcoming difficulties and finding success found in Treasure Town is also suited for the intended audience. Illustrations are in black and white and contain mostly organic shapes and curved lines indicating motion and some unpredictability. This book encourages interaction through a map, a list of humorously defined vocabulary in the story, and interesting depictions of characters. Characterization is enhanced by the illustrations and helps the reader to visualize and understand the pirates. (LAA)