Luther College Student Reviews: Mixed Voices (Significant Others II)

Agee, Jon. 2012. The other side of town. Scholastic Inc. (MDC Books)., (212-343-6100). 32pp. $17.95. ISBN 978-0-545-16204-3. Illustrated by Jon Agee.

With the feeling of a Dr. Seuss type of book, The other side of town, takes the reader to the other side of the universe! It is written about a cab driver that is asked to drive to the other side of town, to a place that is very different than what he knows. The book uses interesting illustrations when in the other side of town and intrigues the reader as to how the cab driver could not know about this place that is not too far away. This book has a cute and funny storyline that intertwines new vocabulary that is opposite of the vocabulary that the reader has come to know but is very common on the other side of town. Overall, the book teaches the concept of how different things can be but how similar they really are, even though they don’t seem that way. This book is recommended for ages 4-8. (PWM) 

Anaya, Rudolfo. 2013. The old man’s love story. University of Oklahoma Press., (800-627-7377). 184 pp. $19.95. ISBN978-0-8061-4357-6.

This semi-autobiographical tale focuses around an old man’s journey in grief after the death of his wife. The story is no strict narrative, as the narrator infuses the journey with spirit lore learned through a lifetime of listening to and reading many culture’s traditions. Definitively set in his beloved New Mexico, the tale features Anaya’s stylistic mix of cultures, spirits, and memories drawn from travels with his wife around the world and through stories. Time moves differently through this book, at times jumping months in a page but always slowing the reader down to match the old man’s pace. Each chapter, a story in of itself, chronicles the old man’s steps into grief, guided by the spirit of his wife.

A story of the elderly, The Old Man’s Love Story is also a story for the young, and anyone on a journey of love. Read at any stage of life to glimpse that which mortals cannot know. (JL) 

Arlon, Penelope, Tory Gordon-Harris. 2012. Scholastic discover more: Bugs. Scholastic Inc., (212-343-6100). 80pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-545-36574-1.

This is a book with close-up images combined with many facts about each bug. The book looks at natural history and how some bugs change through their life cycles. The book covers land invertebrates like spiders, centipedes, worms, and snails. The book also goes into prehistory to show the ancient ancestors of today’s creatures. This is a great book for any child with an interest in bugs or nature. It would be appropriate for upper elementary students because of the detailed descriptions of each insect/animal and the technical terms used throughout the book. (KMK) 

Averbeck, Jim. 2013. The market bowl. Charlesbridge. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-58089-368-8.Illustrated by Jim Adverbeck.

This tale is one of a little girl and her journey of learning what it takes to be able to sell soup in the market place. By overcoming her lack of patience and pride, she learns that you get what you work for and the harder you work, the more you will receive. The less you work, the harder life will be for you. This is a great book for children who tend to disregard what their parents say as unimportant or that the parents don’t know what they are talking about. Ages 5-8. (CAR) 

Bauer, Marion Dane. 2012. Dinosaur thunder. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press)., (212-343-6100). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-590-45296-0. Illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine

This is a good book for pre-K and younger elementary students. It discusses the topic of thunderstorms and how kids can deal with being afraid of them and their loud noises. It is a somewhat silly book that follows a little boy’s struggle with being afraid of thunderstorms and how each family member tries to help him. The book is a good one to read to younger kids who do not know yet how to read or to also help a younger elementary student learn to read with the large print and different colored words throughout the story. It is an imaginative story that will allow kids to think about thunderstorms in a less frightening way. Recommended for ages 3-6. (KMK) 

Berenstain, Stan, and Berenstain, Jan. 2012. Nothing ever happens at the South Pole. HaperperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 40pp. $10.99. ISBN 978-0-06-207532-1. Illustrated by Mike Berenstain.

Nothing ever happens at the South Pole is an engaging picture book from the minds behind the Berenstain Bears series. The plot follows an energetic penguin eagerly searching for adventure in his (actual gender is unspecified) Antarctic homeland, intending to document his conquests in a newly acquired journal. The protagonist’s first-person narrative is full of excitement and rhyme accompanied by Mike Berenstain’s sharp, line-driven illustrations. As indicated by the title, the penguin believes himself unsuccessful in a quest for writing material, but readers will not fail to notice the danger he unknowingly encounters and foils in the form of larger animals, none of which would actually be found in the South Pole. However, despite this factual error, young readers will undoubtedly enjoy the story and potentially be inspired to seek adventures of their own. Ages 4-8. (WMN) 

Berk, Ari. 2012. Nightsong. Simon and Schuster. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 48pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-7886-2. Illustrated by Loren Long.

This fictional book is about a baby bat, Chiro, and his exciting journey through the night without his mother. He uses his echolocation, or “singing,” to find his way and observes different creatures and places in the night. Most of the illustrations throughout the book are very dark and black except for Chiro, who is a warm orange, and the things he sees using his echolocation that are illuminated. This book provides the themes of bravery, courage, and observation and would be excellent for any students ages 4-8. (LYSP) 

Bishop, Nic. 2012. Snakes. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Nonfiction)., (212-343-6100). 48pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-20638-9.

From facts about a snake’s scaly skin to its unusual eating habits, this story accurately illustrates many important details about the life of a snake. Readers will be hooked on the interesting details that Nic Bishop writes about and will take away many different facts about this stealthy creature. The vivid photographs further develop the information presented and help to develop further understanding about the life of the snake. The strong vocabulary and detailed imagery give even more insight into the little details about this creature. This informational book would be appropriate for ages 6-10. (CHA) 

Biggs, Brian. 2012. Everything goes: In the air. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer +Bray). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 56pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-06-195810-6.

The book Everything goes: In the air is the perfect concept book for introducing the concept of flying and describing details about things that venture into the air. The story is driven by the main character Henry and his inquisitive questions about the world and history of flying. Along with Henry and his family’s venture through the history of flying vehicles, there are many other smaller storylines that can provide fun and entertainment while also aiding in the understanding of a new concept of flying. The book’s illustrations show many types of planes and other vehicles on more informational pages, and on others, chaotic, crammed airport scenes stimulate the reader through the use of various colors and many shapes and drawings. With the many activities and details that the book provides about planes and the process of flying, this book is perfect for the young reader ages 4-8! (PWM) 

Bliss, Harry. 2012. Bailey at the museum. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press)., (212-343-6100). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-23345-3. Illustrated by Harry Bliss
Ages: pre-K to 2nd grade

This is a good book for kids just learning to read because of the short lines of text combined with speech and word bubbles. Younger children will enjoy looking at its cartoonlike illustrations, and the main character “Bailey the Dog” is a great main character to which the children will connect. There is a combination of information and humor used throughout the book, and Bailey’s humor will have the children laughing. (KMK) 

Braunstein, Leslie. 2013. I’m in love with a big blue frog. Charlesbridge (Imagine!). [email protected] (800-223-3214). 28pp. $17.95. ISBN 978-1-936140-4. Illustrated by Joshua S. Brunet.

This a perfect book for those loners who feel like they don’t belong and that they are unwanted. It shows the contrast of living a happy life and the lives of those around who are being judgmental. The theme shows the importance of being patient and sticking to what you believe. Ages 4-7. (CAR) 

Brocket, Jane. 2013. Circles, stars, and squares: Looking for shapes. Lerner Publishing Group, Inc. (Millbrook Press). [email protected], (800-328-4929). 32pp. $29.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-4611-1.

This is an informational and educational piece, encouraging students to learn about and find shapes in their everyday lives. The photography is interesting and vibrant – it feels as if the objects will jump right out of the page! A variety of shapes are introduced and applied to the everyday life of the reader. This could be a great way to introduce shapes to students, with encouragement for them to find other objects that have similar shapes! Recommended for ages 4-8. (RND)

Brown, Calef. 2012. Pirateria: The wonderful plunderful pirate emporium. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-7878-7.

This book informs readers of the wonderful, plunderful pirate emporium, Pirateria. Through the book, Brown uses “pirate lingo” and arranges the text in a poem-like format full of rhyming. The illustrations are very engaging and detailed. The variety of colors ranging from dark to light and warm to cold provide a nice complement to the text of the story. Any students ages 4-8 would enjoy this exciting read on the #1 pirate store, Pirateria. (LYSP) 

Brown, Ruth. 2012. Monkey’s friends. Kane/Miller Book Publishers. [email protected], (858-456-0540). 28pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-1-610670045-6.

This book is intended for young readers ages 3-6 based on the simplicity and playfulness that can be found throughout the book. In this book a monkey says hello in some form to different animals he calls his friends. Readers can open up flaps in the book to reveal what different animals the monkey meets, and this can get young children involved in the reading of the book. The illustrations are colorful and detailed to get children’s attention. The importance of friendship and openness to diversity can be shown through this book, which is good for children who like animals. (BM) 

Buzzeo, Toni. 2012. One cool friend. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Dial). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3413-5. Illustrated by David Small.

This story of a young boy and his journey to not only learn to have fun but also to make a friend brings readers to a place where as long as you know where to look, fun can be found. It presents a theme that anyone can be fun. Readers will relate to the idea that friends can be found in the most unusual of places sometimes. Ages 5-8. (CAR) 

Chast, Roz. 2012. Marco goes to school. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8475-7.

Marco the bird is off to school! Marco is nervous to begin his first day; however soon after his mother drops him off there are plenty of exciting activities in which he can participate. He is most eager about building a block tower to the moon. Marco soon realizes his plans are too ambitious but is comforted after he realizes he has done more than play with blocks: He has made a friend. This book is recommended for children ages 4-8. (CB) 

Cleary, Brian P.2012. A dollar, a penny, how much and how many?. Lerner Publishing Group, Inc. (Millbrook Press). [email protected], (800-328-4929). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-8225-7882-6. Illustrated by Brian Garble.

This is an informational poetry book for ages 5-9 explaining what money is, the different types of money used, different scenarios of how money is used in our world, and different ways to count money. Great for students who are just beginning to explore the significance of money and the math that is involved as well. The poetry throughout the book, along with fun illustrations, makes the reading flow smoothly. Math concepts are basic and easy for students to understand and apply to their life. (KLN) 

Cleary, Brian P. 2012. Madam and Nun and 1001: What is a palindrome?. Lerner Publishing Group, Inc. (Millbrook Press). [email protected], (800-328-4929). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-07613-4919-8. Illustrated by Brian Garble.

This book by Brian P. Cleary is a perfect way to introduce the idea of palindromes to elementary students. The story shows a variety of names and words that children may encounter each day that are examples of palindromes. Because the story rhymes, it catches the reader’s attention. This story is good to read when learning what palindromes are. (Ages 7+). (MF) 

Daly, Niki. 2012. The herd boy. Eerdmans Publishing Company (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers). [email protected], (800-253-47521). 32pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-8028-5417-9. Illustrated by Niki Daly.

Appropriate for ages 6-10, this book is a wonderful motivational story emphasizing the importance of how it doesn’t matter where you came from to accomplish your dreams. This is the story of a herd boy, Malusi, and his adventures with his sheep and friend, Lungisa, throughout the rural mountains. Through his displays of responsibility and cleverness, the reader will learn to love the character of Malusi and his dream of being President. This is a great relatable and inspirational story for students to realize that great leaders can come from many different kinds of backgrounds. (KLN) 

Dorison, Guillaume. 2012. The little prince: The planet of music. Lerner Publishing Group, Inc. (Graphic Universe). [email protected], (800-328-4929). 56pp. $26.00. ISBN 978-0-7613-8753-4. Illustrated by Didier Poli, Lucy Mazel, Jerome Benoit, and Paul Drouin.

Adapted from the famous book, The little prince, this version written by Guillaume Dorison is geared towards a younger audience. Its friendly comic book format is full of bright colors and short quips of dialogue between the characters. It is the third book of a series featuring “The Prince” and his many adventures. In this particular book, The Prince meets a Diva who sings in order to bring peace to the people of the land. Once the Diva loses her ability to sing, the Prince has to find a way to keep peace throughout the land. Through his many adventures, The Prince leads readers on an epic escapade. This book keeps readers hooked and is full of exciting twists and turns. This book is wonderful for students who struggle reading chapter books and would enjoy a story that includes many different illustrations. Appropriate for ages 8-13. (CHA) 

Ferris, Jeri Chase. 2012. Noah Webster and his words. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Books for Children). [email protected] . (800-597-6127). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-39055-0. Illustrated by Vincent X. Kirsch.

This book is a true story about the man who started the popular Webster dictionary. It is a biography and also gives informative information. It is very great at showing vocabulary. When difficult words come along, the definition is in parentheses. Children can become interested in this book by the definitions and will want to get involved. It gives them a head start to more complex vocabulary. This book shows a real storyline of a man and transforms it into a story children can relate to. It is intended for children 4-8 years old. (BM) 

Fleming, Denise. 2012. Underground. Simon and Schuster (Beach Lane Books). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 40pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-5882-6.

This book takes children underground to examine what goes on beneath the dirt. Author Denise Fleming uses a rhythmic voice and bright pictures to effectively portray a variety of animals’ adventures underground. The back of the book features an extensive picture glossary that gives additional information of each of the animals included throughout the book. This book is recommended for children ages 3-7. (CB) 

Florian, Douglas. 2012. Poem runs: Baseball poems and paintings. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Childrens Books). trade­[email protected], (800-597-6127). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-68838-1.

Poem runs by Douglas Florian is a collection of poems about the sport of baseball! An engaging book about the intricacies of America’s pastime sport, the book goes through many of the positions played in baseball with quick and easy-to-read poems that skillfully paint the picture of what each position does. Each poem has a painting that goes with it that also helps to tell and describe each part of the game using over exaggerated sizes and shapes. The poems’ rhymes and rhythms are aided by the use of humor that helps to connect the reader to sport of baseball as well. The text itself is shaped by what the poem’s words are saying; leaps and plummets are printed in a way that helps the reader to understand the words that much more. This book is appropriate for early readers and can especially be used to introduce poetry within the classroom. Uses could be found in grades 1-4. (PWM) 

Florian, Douglas. 2012. Shiver me timbers!: Pirate poems & paintings. Simon and Schuster (Beach Lane Books). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-1321-4. Illustrated by Robert Neubecker.

This witty collection of poems about pirates is a great read-aloud for children. Neubecker’s colorful illustrations add to the clever poems, leaving children laughing out loud when reading or listening to the variety of different poems. Florian incorporates an assortment of poetry styles throughout the collection, which effectively introduces children to poetry. This book is recommended for children ages 6 and up. (CB) 

Foreman, Michael. 2012. Friends. Lerner Publishing Group, Inc. (Andersen Press USA). [email protected], (800-328-4929). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-4677-0317-8. Illustrated by Michael Foreman.

This book is intended for children 4-8, however, it depicts the theme and meaning of friendship, which is appropriate for all ages. It is a fictional story about a cat’s true friendship with a pet goldfish; Cat takes his friend, Bubble the goldfish, through a journey where he is able to see the world outside of his everyday fish tank. This is a wonderful story to show students the meaning of true friendship even if only between a cat and fish. (KLN) 

Frazee, Marla. 2012. Boot & Shoe. Simon and Schuster (Beach Lane Books). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-2247-6. Illustrated by Marla Frazee.

Boot and Shoe are twin dogs who do everything together. Boot and Shoe eat together, sleep together, and even go to the bathroom together. This story is about how important it is to have loyalty to develop a strong relationship. This book is very repetitive, which engages children and helps them develop reading skills. The illustrations enhance the text with drawings that describe exactly what the text is saying. This will help the students follow along. Boot & Shoe would excite children who are interested in animals. Boot & Shoe will also make children laugh due to the humorous trouble the squirrel gets the dogs into. Ages 4-8. (LMH) 

Freedman, Russel. 2012. Abraham Lincoln & Fredrick Douglass: The story behind an American friendship. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 128pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-547-38562-4.

This book is a biography of two significant historical figures, Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass, and their little-known friendship. It tells of the lives of both men and brings them together in the context of telling about important events and opinions during the Civil War. Interesting and well-chosen primary source documents are shown throughout the book. (HEV) 

Gaiman, Neill. 2013. Chu’s day. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-201781-9. Illustrated by Adam Rex.

This picture book for young children is about a little panda named Chu whose sneezes are problematically large. Children will enjoy the repetition in the story and colorful illustrations of the other animals in Chu’s community, as well as the effects of his sneeze. (HEV) 

Gherman, Beverly. 2012. First mothers. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 64pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-547-22301-8. Illustrated by Julie Downing.

This book is filled with fun facts and stories, as well as colorful illustrations about the women behind the White House, the presidents’ mothers. The book lists the mothers in chronological order starting with the first president’s mother, Mary Ball Washington, and ending with the mother of the current president, Stanley Ann Dunham. The information presented in this book is presented in an engaging way that is easy to read. This book would be excellent for those students who are ages 8-12 years of age, and with some modifying could be used for students of younger ages. (LYSP) 

Gliori, Debi. 2012. What’s the time, Mr. Wolf?. Bloomsbury Publishing Inc. (Walker). [email protected], (646-307-5151). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-3432-7.

For 4-8 year-olds, this book includes some characters from other common stories such as the Three little pigs and Little red riding hood. It is good for helping children develop a sense of time as well as practicing reading. This book also shows responsibility since the wolf goes through the routines he needs to get things done. Also at the end, lots of characters show up to surprise Mr. Wolf for his birthday. The illustrations follow the words and do not create one big illustration on a page but a couple smaller pictures. This book is great for children who already know the typical story characters. (BM) 

Godbersen, Anna. 2011. Beautiful Days. HarperCollins Children’s Books. ISBN987-0-06-196268-4.

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

Goldstein, Margaret J. You are now on Indian land: The American Indian occupation of Alcatraz Island California, 1969. 2011. Lerner Publishing Group (Twenty First Century Books). [email protected], (800-328-4929). 160pp. $28.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-5769-8. .

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

Golio, Gary. 2012. Spirit seeker: John Coltrane’s musical journey. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 48pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-547-23994-1. Illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez.

This story about John Coltrane is a good book for upper elementary readers, especially students who enjoy music. Coltrane has an inspiring approach to life, and students can learn many things from him. The breathtaking paintings by Rudy Gutierrez immediately capture the reader’s attention. Readers of any ages would enjoy this story, as it shows that if you put your mind to something, you can achieve anything. (Ages 9-12). (MF) 

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

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

Hale, Christy. 2012. Dreaming up: A celebration of building. Lee & Low Books. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 40pp. $18.95. ISBN 978-1-60060-651-9. Illustrated by Christy Hale.

This poetry style book helps children see that what they are dreaming up when playing can become real one day. This story compares pictures of kids playing to real life photos. Children can also learn about many different buildings around the world. The words in the story are written in a style which represents the illustrations on the page. This helps engage the reader and lets them read the story in a different way. (Ages 2-8). (MF) 

Hardy, Edward. 2010. Martha, no!. Egmont USA. [email protected], (212-685-0102). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-60684-266-9. Illustrated by Deborah Allwright.

As Martha gets a new nanny, she encounters many fun adventures. However, Miss Hirrignton-Chive is in for a surprise when Martha gets into trouble throughout the day. Martha’s crazy antics capture the reader’s attention. Martha is close to the age of the children reading it so they can relate to her. (Ages 7+). (MF) 

Harris, Trudy. 2012. The royal treasure measure. Lerner Publishing Group, Inc. (Millbrook Press). [email protected], (800-328-4929). 32 pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-6806-9. Illustrated by Ivica Stevanovic.

This book is a comical, illustrated tale of how the “foot” measuring unit was created. The use of bright colors and amusing drawings of characters enliven the story. Children will enjoy the characters and the remarks they make throughout the story. This is an enjoyable tale that gives a unique perspective of how people began to measure using the “foot.” This book also gives some thought to history and past theories of how this unit of measurement was created. Recommended for ages 5-8. (RND) 

Hayes, Karel. 2011. The summer visitors. Down East Books. [email protected], (800-685-7962). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-89272-918-0.

The Summer Visitors is a book for young readers. The book has few words but the illustrations are engaging for children of all ages. Hayes shows the relationships between a bear family and a human family at a summer cabin. The story is also humorous as it shows bears doing humanlike things. Children can relate to this story as it illustrates many summer activities that people enjoy, like swimming, boating, camping, and eating. (Ages 4+). (MF) 

Henkes, Kevin. 2013. Penny and her marble. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books). [email protected] (212-207-7000). 48pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-06-208203-9.

This book is a children’s chapter book that is broken down into small chapters about a young girl named Penny and her adventure with a beautiful, shinny marble. Penny is out on a walk one afternoon with her doll, Rose, and they are pretending they are experiencing different adventures; while on their adventures they walk past Mrs. Goodwin’s house and find a shinny blue marble laying in her neighbor’s yard. Intrigued by the marble, Penny picks it up and carries it back to her house, however, once she gets to her room, she cannot stop thinking about the marble and how Mrs. Goodwin might be missing the marble. Penny starts to feel bad and worries that Mrs. Goodwin will be mad that Penny took the marble without asking. In the end, after Penny continues to worry into the night, she decides to return the marble back to where she found it. This book is based off of an experience that a majority of children encounter, which is guilt that follows from inadvertently taking something that isn’t theirs. Furthermore, the author does a good job of conveying to the reader that children know right from wrong, however, children need to learn for themselves how to solve the problem. (K- Gr 2). (AS) 

Hosford, Kate. 2012. Infinity and me. Lerner Publishing Group, Inc. (Carolrhoda Books). [email protected], (800-328-4929). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-6726-0. Illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska.

This is a touching and thought-provoking piece about a young girl, Uma, as she tries to understand the meaning of “infinity.” This book has a strong theme of perspective, as Uma finds her own meaning of infinity. Children will be able to relate to Uma and her confusion and eventual resolution. The illustrations are unique, with detailed characters, bright colors, and interesting patterns. It is a thoughtful piece that could be an excellent discussion starter. Recommended for ages 5-10. (RND) 

Jakobsen, Lars. 2012. The Sante Fe jail: Mortensen’s escapades. Lerner Publishing Group, Inc. (Graphic Universe). [email protected], (800-328-4929). 48pp. $41.9. ISBN 978-0-7613-7886-0.

This story, organized in a comic book style, tells of the mystery of a genius scientist who has been kidnapped by time travelers. Mortensen, the book’s main character, has been given the assignment to locate the scientist and deliver a ransom to the Santa Fe Jail. Running into many obstacles along the way, Mortensen overcomes these issues and eventually solves the mystery. This book is in a great style for middle school to high school aged children who may prefer more illustrations instead of full text. It is also a great developed mystery that is both suspenseful and dense, and it will appeal to an older crowd, especially because of its complexity. (AEL) 

Joyce, William. 2012. The sandman. Simon and Schuster (Antheneum). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 48pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-3042-6. Illustrated by William Joyce.

This story is the second in the series: The guardians of childhood. It is the story of the legendary Sandman and how he came to be a ‘Guardian’ of children, specifically of children’s dreams. The illustrator’s use of vivid colors and detailed drawings of mystical creatures creates a whole new world for young readers (ages 4-8). A child can get lost in this story and feel like a part of the Sandman’s world. At the end, a moral is unveiled to remind the readers that the Sandman will give them pleasant dreams each night, and if they have nightmare to remember that it is not real. Overall, it is a wonderful piece of literature that engages children and feels them with a sense of hope and wonder. (BDW) 

Kontis, Althea. 2012. Enchanted. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Children’s Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 320pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-64570-4.

Sunday Woodcutter, a young girl who writes enchanted stories, plays heroine in this compiled retelling of fairy tales. Essentially, Enchanted retells the classic story of “The Frog Prince,” but other fairy tales make charming appearances scattered about. While the plot becomes a little jumbled at times, juggling so many tales at once, readers can count on meeting a myriad of delightful, intriguing characters, including Sunday’s seven sisters who are each named for a day of the week. Through page upon page of beautifully written prose, a captivating story of romance and whimsy unfolds, suitable for creative readers ages 12 and up. (HH) 

Lewin, Ted and Betsy. 2012. Puffling patrol. Lee & Low Books. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 55pp. $19.95. ISBN 978-1-60060-424-9.

This book tells the story of authors Ted and Betsy Lewins’ real-life experience with The Puffling Patrol. Ted and Betsy travel to the Westman Islands, off the coast of Iceland to witness the countless number of puffins that take up residence there. While they are there, Ted and Betsy also get to take part in what is known as The Puffling Patrol, in which Icelandic children save the baby puffins that are not able to make it to sea on their own. While this story is very engaging and fun to read, it is also very informative with additional pages of factual information and vocabulary words. The illustrations are also very interesting, portraying life-like characters and events. Ages 8-10. (KAY) 

Lo, Ginnie. 2012. Auntie Yang’s great soybean picnic. Lee & Low Books. [email protected], (212-779-4000). 32pp. $18.95. ISBN 978-1-60060-442-3. Illustrated by Beth Lo.

This book is a story about a Chinese girl named Jinyi and family who travels to go see Auntie Yang each year in Chicago. Jinyi’s mother and her Auntie Yang, who came from China, bring the family together to keep their Chinese culture alive. The family finds a soybean farm nearby and has their first soybean picnic. The author includes words in Chinese and provides a glossary for definitions. Also included is a small informational section on the author’s family and how it is related to the story. The illustrations in the book are authentic and colorful as well. They are drawn to look like a plate to connect to the ‘picnic’ aspect of a story. This book is great for children ages eight through twelve who enjoy books about culture, history, and family life. (BMB) 

Liu, Na. 2012. Little white duck: A childhood in China. Lerner Publishing Group, Inc. (Graphic Universe). [email protected], (800-328-4929). 96pp. $21.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-6587-7. Illustrated by Andres Vera Martinez.

This book is a collection of eight short stories based on the author’s life in China. It is a great way for children to understand how growing up in China may differ from their own lives, especially during this important time in China’s history. Organized in a comic book-like style, this book, which is appropriate for ages 9-13, provides descriptive illustrations and is suitable for children who enjoy reading through pictures rather than full text. Touching on some sad times in China’s history, this book contains a complex plot within its eight stories that allow for an understanding and appreciation of those who may have grown up in China. (AEL)

Magoon, Scott. 2013. The boy who cried Bigfoot!. Simon and Schuster (Paula Wiseman Books). [email protected] (800-223-2336). 48pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-1257-6.

Ben loves to tell stories. Even if sometimes they are not true. However, when one of his stories end up being true, no one believes him, and Ben is caught in a pickle. This story puts a fun spin on the classic tale The boy who cried wolf. Readers will enjoy the illustrations and the texture that makes the setting and characters come to life. It also conveys a very important theme to always tell the truth, which is a great message for its intended audience of 4 to 8 year olds. These students will enjoy this story from the basic beginning to the twist ending. (BDW) 

Markel, Michelle. 2013. Brave girl: Clara and the shirtwaist markers’ strike of 1909. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer +Bray). [email protected] (212-207-7000). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-180442-7. Illustrated by Melissa Sweet.

This book is a picture biography of a young girl named Clara who comes to America with her parents to escape the hardship from her home country. However, in America, Clara soon realizes that women and young girls aren’t treated fairly in the work force. Determined to create a better working environment for young girls, Clara stands up against the factory to create a union and ensure better working conditions and pay. This book focuses on Clara’s activism in the United States during the 1900’s and how she used her determination to help future generations of women and factory workers receive better working environments. This book contains a variety of illustrations that are inviting for students to read and gain interest in the Garment Industry and the activism Clara had within the United States. (K – Gr 3). (AS) 

Markel, Michelle. 2012. The fantastic jungles of Henri Rousseau. Eerdmans Publishing Company (Books for Young Readers). [email protected], (800-253-7521). 34pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-8028-5364-6. Illustrated by Amanda Hall.

This book tells the story of self-taught artist Henri Rousseau. Although Henri experiences many harsh critiques of his artwork, he perseveres and is eventually recognized for the great work he created. This book would be good to use as a simple introduction to the reading of biographies for young children. It reads like a traditional children’s book and may dramatize certain parts of Rousseau’s life, but with the author’s and illustrator’s notes at the end, credibility is added. Hall’s beautifully crafted illustrations also enhance the reading experience. Ages 5-9. (KAY) 

McCarty, Peter. 2012. Chloe. HarperCollins Publishers. (Blazer + Bay.) [email protected], (212-207-7000). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-1142991-8. Illustrated by Peter McCarty.

This book is written for children in grades kindergarten through second. The little rabbit girl encounters a family destroyer, the television. The illustrations make it easy to understand the emotions that go through the main character after a brand-new television takes over the precious “family time.” This book helps the reader understand the importance of spending quality time with family members and not letting things like modern television and technology change the meaning of family time. (MEH) 

McNamara, Margaret. 2012. Apples A to Z. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press)., (212-343-6100). 40pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-439-72808-9. Illustrated by Jake Parker.

This book is a fun, informational and engaging alphabet book focused around apples. It gives great information about apples or objects dealing with apples for each letter of the alphabet. At the end of the alphabet, the book contains jokes about apples, fun activities to do with apples and other great information children would love reading pertaining to apples. The illustrations in this alphabet book are very warm and inviting, including animal characters with which children can respond and connect. This book is exceptional for children ages 2-6 that enjoy connecting with fun and lively characters to make learning the alphabet exciting. (MMN) 

Meyer, Eileen R. 2012. Who’s faster?: Animals on the move. Mountain Press Publishing Company. [email protected], (800-234-5308). 36pp. $12.00. ISBN 978-0-87842-592-1. Illustrated by Constance R. Bergum.

Which animal is the fastest of all? This book is about various animals and how many miles per hour they travel. The book continually asks and answers the question, “Who is faster?” At the end of the book, additional information is given on each animal. A graph is also provided for comparing speeds. The illustrations in this book are realistic and colorful, giving the reader an excellent idea of what the animals are like. This book has a great format that is easy to follow and makes the information interactive for children. This book is excellent for children ages six through eleven who love animals, informative reading, and action. (BMB) 

Miller, Debbie S. 2012. Survival at 120 above. Bloomsbury Publishing Inc. (Walker). [email protected], (646-307-5151). 40pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9813-8. Illustrated by Jon Van Zyle.

This informational book tells about the animals that live at temperatures over 120°F (50°

C) in the Simpson Desert of Australia. The brightly illustrated pictures help tell the stories about all of the different kinds of animals that live in these harsh conditions as well as providing the readers with what a desert looks like. The narration is easy to read and offers numerous describing words to help get information across. The pronunciation of difficult words is offered in parenthesis as well as any metric measurements equivalent to English system measurements. This is a very informative book suitable for upper elementary students that love to learn about animals. (EMM) 

Mitchell, Saundra. 2012. The springsweet. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. [email protected], (800-597-6127). 288pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-547-60842-6.

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

Murphy, Jim. 2012. The giant: And how he humbugged America. Scholastic Inc., (212-343-6100).112pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-439-69184-0.

With the discovery of a ten-foot-tall giant in upstate New York in 1869, spectators flocked to view such a strange sensation and to discover the origins of this giant. This lengthy book captures that event as it happened in the 19th century, while also conveying the ideas about the importance of media when it comes to spreading news. Author Jim Murphy does a wonderful job of cultivating ideas for readers about one of the greatest hoaxes to brace America. This book is very factual and accurate in telling the story. It is an excellent book to use for read-aloud and to help children discuss hoaxes while also learning more about United States history. Appropriate for children ages 9-13. (CHA) 

Murphy, Jim, and Blank, Alison. 2012. Invincible microbe: Tuberculosis and the never-ending search for a cure. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected] (800-597-6127). 160pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-618-53574-3.

Invincible microbe is an expansive account of one of the world’s deadliest infections, tuberculosis. Accompanied by photographs, newspaper articles and warning advertisements, the book explains the world’s history with the disease and describes the massive effects population and culture experienced because of it. Easy to read and full of engaging images, this book is a great fit for anyone interested in learning about pandemics and the influence of paranoia surrounding them. Ages 9-14. (WMN) 

Nelson, Kadir. 2013. Nelson Mandela. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 40pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-178374-6.

This picture book biography, written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson, is a wonderful way for children to learn about Nelson Mandela’s life and his influence on the history of South Africa. Kadir’s illustrations are realistic, communicate mood, and are visually appealing. The text explains the historical events accurately without making it too complicated for young readers, and the author’s note goes into more detail about Nelson Mandela’s life. This book is excellent for students who are interested in civil rights movements and equality. Ages 4-9. (HEV) 

Newquist, HP. 2012. The book of blood: From the legends and leeches to vampires and veins. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Children’s Books Group). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 160pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-547-31584-3.

This book is about the significance of blood and interesting information about it. The book is formatted into chapters, each discussing a different topic from what ancient peoples believed blood symbolized to what we now know about how blood works in our bodies. The book contains many pictures and diagrams to give readers a better sense of the written information and aids those who are visual learners. This book is excellent for students ages 10-15 who enjoy anatomy or mysteries ancient people held or for those who are interested in comparing animals to humans. (MMN)

Patterson, Stacey. 2012. Fidget’s folly. Mountain Press Publishing Company. [email protected], (800-234-5308). 36pp. $18.00. ISBN 978-0-87842-594-5. Illustrated by Vadim Gorbatov.

This book is a story about two peregrine falcons who are learning to fly and capture food and how humans are helping the peregrine falcons to no longer be an endangered species. Will the peregrine falcons be saved and be taken off the endangered species list? This book is informational, yet also follows an adventurous and fun storyline about peregrine falcon siblings. The author includes some brief information about incubating the falcons as well. The illustrations are realistic and really accent the beauty in the world of the falcons. This book is excellent for children ages eight through twelve who love animals, the earth, and factual reading. (BMB) 

Rostoker-Gruber, Karen. 2011. Ferret fun. Marshall Cavendish (Cavendish Children’s Books). [email protected], (914-332-8888). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5817-3. Illustrated by Paul Ratz de Tagyos.

Fudge and Einstein are the two pet ferrets of Andrea. These two ferret friends love to sleep in their hammocks, play tag, and eat raisins. However, one day the ferret friends get a new companion. Careful, IT’S A CAT! Marvel, enjoys naps, milk, and eating ferrets. Are Fudge and Einstein going to be in trouble? Or will it all work out in the end? This book is written both in narration and comic book form with brightly colored pictures. This is a funny book that teaches a lesson about friendship and getting along with others. Appropriate for children preK – grade 3. (EMM) 

Rubin, Adam. 2012. Those darn squirrels fly south. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected] (800-597-6127). 32 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-67823-8. Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri.

This book is an enjoyable, fictional book about squirrels flying south to follow the lively and very colorful birds. Many children would enjoy reading this book, which has ideas that could only happen in their imagination, such as squirrels building aircrafts to follow the birds or a grumpy old man who has a long neck letting the squirrels drive his car. The illustrations show much color and have curvy lines, which add to the humor and safe feeling of the storyline. This book would be superb for children ages 3-6 who enjoy reading about animals with human qualities and also for those who find much entertainment in inventive stories with simple plots. (MMN) 

Rylant, Cynthia. 2012. Mr. Putter & Tabby dance the dance. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Children’s Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 40pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-15-206415-0. Illustrated by Arthur Howard.

This early elementary book is a great way to get children involved in reading an exciting short chapter book. When Mrs. Teaberry asks Mr. Putter to go to the Crystal Ballroom and dance, he does not think he would like it. However, when they take their cat and dog, Tabby and Zeke, to the Ballroom, they find many fun surprises ahead. The story is relatable to young readers as it shows what happens when friends get together. (Ages 6+). (MF) 

Sandall, Ellie. Birdsong. 2011. Egmont USA. [email protected], (212-685-0102). 23pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-60684-193-8.

Birdsong is a fun story to get children engaged. The author uses rhyme to add rhythm to the story. This story is a read aloud for early readers. As more and more birds land on a branch, they find out it cannot hold all of them. The bird sounds can get the readers engaged by repeating the words as it is being read to them. The illustrations are bright and colorful to draw reader’s attentions as well. (Ages 2-6). (MF) 

Scanlon, Liz Garton. 2012. Think big. Bloomsbury Publishing Inc. (Books for Young Readers). [email protected], (646-307-5151). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-611-9. Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton.

Art isn’t just crayons and paintbrushes anymore. Think Big teaches about all different kinds of art such as painting, cooking, playing instruments, and acting. Young readers will love all of the adjectives and sounds put together to create descriptions of different forms of art. The words partner with the illustrations to help express creativity and providing readers with the desire to go and discover new ways to be creative. This book is appropriate for children aged 3-6. (EMM). 

Schmid, Paul. 2013. Perfectly Percy. HarperCollins Publishers. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 40pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-180436-6.

An innocent story written for children in grades kindergarten through third grade, this book helps children understand the importance of solving problems on their own. This book invites the reader to describe porcupines, which leads to the solution the young porcupine faces. The illustrations in this book help the reader clearly understand the problem the young porcupine must solve. Creativity, ingenuity, and imagination are attributes that are emphasized in this book. (MEH) 

Sendak, Maurice. 2013. My brother’s book. HarperCollins Publishers (Michael di Capua Books). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $18.95. ISBN 978-0-06-223489-6.

This book incorporates a style that brings to life the conflict two brothers experience after they are abruptly separated. Definitely written for readers in upper elementary (fourth-fifth grade), the poetic and mysterious styles require the reader to go beyond the text. Detailed illustrations help the reader understand where the characters are and how they feel. The most important aspect of this book is the ability to help students cope with the loss of a loved one. (MEH) 

Shepard, Sara. 2011. Twisted: A pretty little liars novel. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 320pp. $16.99. ISBN 9780062081018.

Aria, Spencer, Hanna, and Emily are now seniors in high school. With the appearance of a new, mysterious “A,” who sends the girls threatening texts, the pretty little liars’ darkest secrets are at risk of being revealed, and they have more secrets than ever! Aria’s envious side is put to a test when her boyfriend’s exchange student turns out to be a girl, Spencer discovers some surprising news about the boy who will soon be her stepbrother, Hanna’s modeling job turns into a twisted scheme against her father’s Senate campaign, and Emily finds out how far she will push her boundaries to get a swim scholarship for college. On top of all this, the girls are hiding the biggest secret of all: what exactly happened last spring break in Jamaica. A thrilling story full of drama, this book would appeal to girls ages 14 and up. (HH) 

Smith, Charles R., Jr. 2013. Brick by Brick. HarperCollins Publishers (Amistad). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp, $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-192082-0. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper.

This picture book is about how the towering symbol of America, the White House, was created. Created by human hands working towards their freedom, the slaves partook in constructing an important building today. The events in this book are poetically spoken, like the sound of a hammer striking a stone. Occasionally the lines rhyme, creating more emphasis on the work put in and the little pay. The colors are mainly brown, with some blue symbolizing hope and freedom. This wonderful book is filled with understated but powerful emotions. By the end of this book we will learn that the White House is a beautiful place, but it is not as beautiful as the thought of freedom. Ages 5-8. (AMJ) 

Spinelli, Eileen. 2013. When no one is watching. Eerdmans Publishing Company (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers). [email protected], (800-253-7521). 26pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-8028-5303-5. Illustrated by David A. Johnson.

This book is a story about a young girl who is very shy. When she is all by herself she is very expressive and vibrant, dancing and cheering among other things. When “everyone’s watching,” though, she becomes very introverted and fades into the background. Luckily, she is able to find a friend, who is also shy, who she can be herself around. Author Eileen Spinelli uses simple, rhyming phrases throughout the book that make it fun to read. The text also conveys the positive message that it is okay to be who you are, shy or otherwise. David A. Johnson’s use of contrast between bright and muted colors in the illustrations also help to engage the reader. Ages 4-6. (KAY) 

Stanbridge, Joanne. 2012. The extraordinary music of Mr. Ives: The true story of a famous American composer. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 32 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-23866-1.

This early elementary story makes music come to life as children can relate to the noisy, everyday sounds they hear. Mr. Ives shows how loud noises can turn to musical sounds. This story also talks about the history of the Lusitania in 1915. While children are engaged in the melodic words and captivating images on the pages, they are also learning about history. (Ages 4-9). (MF) 

Stephens, Helen. 2012. The big adventure of the Smalls. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1442450585.

This story is a concept book that highlights different adjectives that describe Paul and Sally Small’s house and the adventure they embark on. The author creates a fast-moving an entertaining plot that will engage the young reader from the beginning. The reader follows Paul and Sally in their search for Paul’s teddy bear, Mr. Puddles, on the night of their parent’s biggest party, The Small Hall Grand Ball. The use of bright colors attracts the readers’ attention, while the use of soft shapes and fluid lines creates a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere when reading. This story is a great way to teach young students (ages 4-8) to read and about different describing words. In the end they will be hooked to find out if Paul and Sally find Mr. Puddles or not. (BDW) 

Tate, Don. 2012. It jes’ happened: When Bill Taylor started to draw. Lee and Low Books. [email protected], (212-779-4000). 32pp. $17.95. ISBN 978-1-60060-260-3. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie.

An autobiography for younger readers, this book allows its audience to see the life of a slave and view it as if they experienced it themselves With the bold and dynamic style of Tate’s visual elements, the reader is able to see the pictures come to life. The narration is in third person as it outlines Bill Taylors’ life. This book is excellent for elementary students to learn about an important person (artist) and enjoy the book in the process. Ages 6-10. (AMJ) 

Thomas, Joyce Carol. 2012. In the land of milk and honey. HarperCollins Publishers (Amistad). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-025383-7. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper.

In the land of milk and honey is an autobiographical account of author Joyce Carol Thomas’ move to California from Oklahoma with her family in 1948. The title alludes to the biblical idea of paradise, which is emulated by Thomas’ recount of fresh opportunities and experiences in her new homeland. Floyd Cooper’s rich illustrations take the reader through Thomas’ westward journey across the nation, an immersion into the then fruitful region. Strong themes of belonging and beauty echo throughout the book. Thomas’ family and their sense of unity enhance these themes and provide a relatable read for anyone who has moved to start anew. Ages 4-8. (WMN) 

Thomas, Rich, Jr., adapter. 2013. Wolverine: An origin story. Disney Book Group (Marvel Press). (877-318-6990). 48pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-142315401-3. Illustrated by Val Semeiks and Hi-Fi Design.

This action-packed tale of the beginnings of the Marvel hero Wolverine is a great book for any child interested in superheroes. This book explores interpersonal relationships, along with growing as a person and accepting who you are. The illustrations in this book are bright and realistic, adding to the action. This tale is appropriate for children ages 6-10. (JLD) 

Thompson, Mary G. 2012. Wuftoom. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Children’s Books). [email protected], (800-597-6127). 256pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-547-63724-2.

Even though Evan is only in sixth grade, he must face a decision that will affect humanity, his struggling single mother, and an entire species of creatures. Evan is transforming into a Wuftoom, a wormlike creature soon to be at war with the Vitflies. Completely alone and confined to his bed for years, Evan accepts a bargain with the Vitflies to let his mind remain free of his metamorphosing body. As war begins between the Wuftoom and the Vitflies, it becomes clear that the Wuftoom need Evan to transform completely if he is to help protect his species. However, the Vitflies have turned their bargain into blackmail, and they threaten to eat Evan’s mother if he joins the Wuftoom’s force. This original, chilling fantasy about human will and internal conflict will provide a thought-provoking story for readers 12 and up. Wuftoom does contain graphic and disturbing images that may frighten younger children. (HH) 

Walsh, Joanna. First published 2012, United States 2012. The perfect hug. Simon and Schuster (Paula Wiseman books). [email protected], (800-233-2336). 32pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-6606-7. Illustrated by Judi Abbot.

The world is full of all sorts of hugs, and the panda bear in this story searches to find the perfect hug. As he travels to many different places and hugs many different creatures, he finds the true meaning of a hug. The perfect hug has colorful pages, patterns, and illustrations that attract a child’s attention. It has many different animals – some real and some imaginary. It vaguely describes some of the characteristics of certain animals throughout the panda bear’s search. The adjectives are displayed on the page in a way that enhances their meaning and the features of the characters. Read The perfect hug and find out what exactly makes a perfect hug! Ages 4-8. (LMH) 

Willis, Jeanne. 2012. Fly, chick, fly!. Lerner Publishing Group, Inc. (Andersen Press). [email protected] (800-328-4929). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-4677-0314-7. Illustrated by Tony Ross.

This book tells of the life style of a family of owls as the chicks develop from babies to being able to fly. Especially inspiring for children ages 4-7, this story models an obstacle that all children face: overcoming fears and taking risks. The illustrations portray a calm feeling and include pastel-like colors to add a sense of comfort to the story so children can model the chick and overcome a fear of their own. (AEL) 

Wilsdon, Christina. 2012. Wonderful world of sharks. Disney Book Group (Disney Press)., (877-318-6990). 64pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-142316849-2.

This informational book about sharks is entertaining as well as educational. Infused with characters from Disney’s Finding Nemo incorporated with real-life pictures, the book presents information in an entertaining way that would not overwhelm a child. The book deals with topics ranging from types of sharks (including prehistoric sharks) to shark’s diets and pups. This is a good source of information for any child from 6-10 years old. (JLD) 

Willems, Mo. 2012. Let’s go for a drive! An Elephant and Piggie book. Disney Book Group (Disney-Hyperion)., (877-318-6990). 64pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-142316482-1. Illustrated by Mo Willems.

Elephant and Piggie are at it again in this charming addition to the Elephant and Piggie series. This book centers on the two best friends planning a road trip. This is a good book for early readers because of its simple words and repetitive (sometimes singing) nature. The cartoon illustrations are comical and not overwhelming. This is an excellent addition to the Elephant and Piggie series intended for children ages 4-8. (JLD) 

Yolen, Jane. 2012. Waking dragons. Simon and Schuster (Books for Young Readers). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-9032-1. Illustrated by Derek Anderson

Waking dragons is a very fast and rhythmic story. A child has the responsibility of waking up the dragons which he rides to school. This rhythmic story engages a child’s sense of wonder and imagination. The dragons have humanlike needs and get ready as a child would for school, with activities such as brushing their teeth. Children can relate to this story because they themselves get ready for school each morning. The illustrations are filled with bright colors and pictures that are magnified to show how big dragons are compared to human objects. The text throughout the book emphasizes the adjectives by manipulating the letters to show the action. Students who enjoy dragons, fantasy, and adventure will thoroughly enjoy this book. Ages 4-8. (LMH) 

Yoon, Salina. 2012. Penguin and pinecone. Bloomsbury Publishing, Inc. (Walker Books for Young Readers). [email protected], (646-907-5151). 40pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-2843-2.

This book is intended for pre-school through second grade, as it is about friendship. The moral of this story is anything or anyone can be your best friend. The illustrations are kid-friendly with bold colors and straightforward pictures. This book has pictures that will be visible when reading to an audience. This lovely story is about a caring and unselfish friendship. Ages 4-8. (AMJ)