Alborough, Jez. 2013. Nat the cat’s sunny smile. EDC Publishing (Kane Miller). [email protected], (800-475-4522). 32 pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-1-6107-177-4
Through rhyming verse, readers will experience the power of a smile. Nat is excited about picnicking with her friends, Billy Goat and Hugo Hare, but they are too gloomy to join her. This affects Nat’s cheerful mood and she loses her enthusiasm for the picnic. Eventually all of the animals are happy, all because of Nat’s infectious smile. Although the narrative is didactic, young readers ages 3 – 6 may identify with the moods of the friends and reflect on days when a smile transformed their lives. (DLN)
Angleberger, Tom. 2013. Crankee Doodle. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-81854-2. Illustrated by Cece Bell.
This whimsical pastiche of Yankee Doodle Dandy, is more than a story about a cranky Patriot. Through the comical conversation between a pony and a bored Crankee Doodle, readers learn the real definition of the word “macaroni,” from the original lyric from the tune Yankee Doodle Dandy who “stuck a feather in his hat and called it macaroni.” This books appeals to not only young children, but to history and music teachers as well. (DLN)
Anthony, Jessica, and Corral, Rodrigo. 2012. Chopsticks. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Razorbill). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 304pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-1-59514-435-5.
Glory is a musical genius. At the age of 15 she performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City. When her mother became ill and died, Glory retreated into her music. Now raised by her father alone, his ambitions for her exceeded her emotional limits. Lonely and depressed, Glory seeks refuge in a new neighbor, Frank, who is also an artist. Frank becomes a reality she has never experienced and she soon becomes “lost” in him. Eventually she reverts to her childhood experiences and plays only “chopsticks”. Glory soon disappears, leaving the reader with questions as to the outcome of her life. Beautifully Illustrated. (BNS)
Ashman, Linda. 2013. Peace, baby! Chronicle Books LLC (San Francisco). [email protected], (800-759-0190). 32pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4521-0613-7. Illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff.
Young children, ages 3 – 6, will clearly understand that this book is written to tell them peace is a choice. Readers will learn that peace is a preferable option to fighting, cheating, greed, and pushing. Although extremely didactic, the message is a valuable one to share with everyone, young and old alike. (DLN)
Barron, T.A. 2011. Merlin: The book of magic. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Philomel). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 160pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24741-5. Illustrated by August Hall.
The legend of Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table cannot be complete without a clear understanding of Merlin’s influence. This book contains maps with descriptions attesting to the source of Merlin’s magic. The reader will discover the deep secrets of Merlin’s world. One needs a strong sense of imagination and an appetite for adventure in order to adequately appreciate this novel’s imagery. But the unexpected surprises are a magical asset!! A good read for young ones! (BNS)
Berkes, Marianne2013. Over in a river: Flowing out to sea. Dawn Publications. [email protected], (800-545-7475). 32pp. $8.95. ISBN 978-1-58469-330-7. Illustrated by Jill Dubin.
Over in a river: Flowing out to sea, joins a plethora of other books by Marianne Berkes that use the rhythm and the tune of the nursery rhyme Over in the meadow. In Over in a river, children ages 4 – 9 learn about habitats, animals, and geography. Maps highlight each United States river that flows to various seas. Other books about habitats that can be sung to the tune of Over in the meadow, include Over in the ocean: In a coral reef, Over in the jungle: A rainforest rhyme, Over in the Arctic: Where the cold winds blow, Over in Australia: Amazing animals down under, and Over in the forest: Come and take a peek. (DLN)
Berkes, Marianne. 2013. What’s in the garden? Dawn Publications. [email protected], (800-545-7475). 32pp. $8.95. ISBN 978-1-58469-190-7. Illustrated by Cris Arbo.
This is an excellent book to use with young children, ages 3 – 8, to develop prediction skills. A fruit or vegetable is described on one page and when readers turn the page, they see the illustration and a recipe youngsters can make (with supervision) using the fruit or vegetable. Cooking directions are included as end notes, but one important basic element should be modified. One key point states: “Read the recipe with an adult to see if it is something you would like to try together.” However, adults should always work together with young children when cutting fruits and vegetables, baking, or roasting! (DLN)
Bolger, Kevin. 2011. Zombiekins. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Razorbill). [email protected], 212-366-2000. 208pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-59514-367-9. Illustrated by Aaron Blecha.
The imaginative thoughts of a young boy come to a curious ending as Stanley visits a yard sale and buys a stuffed animal unlike anything he has seen before. Stanley fails to read the instructions that accompanied the stuffed creature. This compromises the calm nature of the little town Dementedville, which rapidly changes as this stuffed creature takes control of Stanley. The action that takes place not only livens up the town, but also puts Stanley and his best friend Miranda, in danger. This book is perfect for energetic children; fast paced and funny! (BNS)
631932Buckley, Richard. 2013. The greedy python. Simon & Schuster (Little Simon). [email protected], (800-223-2336). $12.99. 24 pp. ISBN 978-1-4424-8991-2 (1985). Illustrated by Eric Carle.
This oversized book version of The greedy python, is ideal for youngsters ages 0 – 3. Readers will find the greedy python as gluttonous and avaricious as in 1985, first swallowing a mouse, then a frog, bat, fish, bird, porcupine, monkey, leopard, buffalo, and finally, an elephant. Children can count the animals swallowed, and those regurgitated – and in the end, they may predict the final effect of greedy behavior. (DLN)
Cassonva, Mary. 2007. The kingfish code. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Sandpiper). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 227pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-547-74447-6.
This book represents some of the sharpest description and poignant insight of a country under Nazi occupation. The story begins in 1942. Marit and her brother must live with their grandfather when their parents join the resistance movement. The novel explores how Norwegians strove to preserve their freedom. Facts such as deportation of Norwegian teachers who refused to teach Nazi propaganda reveal some of the challenges facing that nation during World War II. A fast paced novel revealing courage and independence…highly recommended. (BNS)
Church, Caroline Jayne. 2013. Ruff! And the wonderfully amazing busy day. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 987-0-06-201498-6.
Ruff, a dog, likes to be busy and thrives on hard work, but he is also lonely. However, Ruff accidentally destroys the house of a mouse while digging a backyard pond. Since a remorseful Ruff is willing to build Hubble a new house, the mouse agrees to stay. Eventually, another animal, a duck, joins Ruff and Hubble to make a very happy, contented trio. Ruff concludes that his day has been wonderful, amazing, and busy. And he is no longer lonely! Children, ages 4 – 8, may be able to relate to Ruff’s initial sense of loneliness, Hubble’s loss, and the duck’s unhappiness. (DLN)
Delacre, Lulu. 2013. How far do you love me? Lee and Low Books. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 40 pp. $11.95. ISBN 978-0-60060-882-7.
Traveling through the seven continents of the earth, adults answer the question posed by youngsters “How far do you love me?” Originally a game Lulu Delacre played with her daughters, the book adaptation may prompt readers to ask each other about the places they associate with the concept of “love.” (DLN)
Donovan, Gail. 2011. What’s bugging Bailey Blecker. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Dutton). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 197pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-525-42286-0.
Life for Bailey Blecker is a disaster. As a fifth grader, she had to start the school year in a new campus without her best friend, Olivia. Initially, Bailey rejects the idea of making new friends, but when she is forced to cut her hair because of lice infestation, she begins to learn the art of compromise without compromising herself. A very good story for those who need to move on and meet new friends. (BNS)
Draper, Sharon M. 2012. Clubhouse mysteries: The backyard animal show. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 128pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-5023-3.
Ziggy, Rashawn, Jerome, and Rico are back in the saddle once again. This time the plot starts with a rescue. A fawn, eventually named Dino, is orphaned as the result of local construction. Having to care for Dino gets the kids thinking about natural habitats. Since the boys know they cannot keep Dino forever, they decide to raise money for the Ohio Wildlife Rescue Center, which is paid to support lost or orphaned animals. To generate funds for animal rescue support, the four friends look to their classmates. Many provide their pets for a public backyard showing, and all for the low admission of one dollar. The idea seems like a good one, until rain falls and people/animals just can’t keep their dirty paws off things! There are some good ideas, but it’s an unrealistic read overall. There is not much value in this as a stand-alone read aloud, but Clubhouse Mystery fans might disagree. Recommended. Grades 3-6. (ADA)
Draper, Sharon M.. 2012. Clubhouse mysteries: The space mission adventure. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin). [email protected]@simonsandschuster.com, (800-223-2336). 102pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-4225-2 (2006).
Friends Ziggy, Jerome, Rico, and Rashawn have an important job. Together they become Team America when they rocket off to space camp together. Their experiences may be simulations, but regardless of their contributions, all successful missions depend on the crew and the seriousness at hand. All but Ziggy seem to understand their mission: blast into simulated space, go into simulated orbit, do the simulated experiments, and make a simulated safe landing. Unlike his friends, Ziggy’s has fantastical, purple, three-headed Martians on his mind. Especially after he finds a bright, shiny (and mysterious) object. Readers may deem Ziggy’s ideas infactual and immature, but NASA astronaut Ms. Denise Washington doesn’t believe so. In fact, she praises Ziggy for pushing his imagination, but mostly, she is grateful for his keen eye. A good, short, read aloud book with a decent message. Self-contained classrooms might best benefit, if read in 10-15 minute increments. Good discussions are potential. Recommended. Grades 3-6. (ADA)
Draper, Sharon M. 2012. Clubhouse mysteries: Stars and sparks on stage. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin). [email protected] (800-223-2336). 144pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-5459-0 (2007).
Out of the whole series, this Clubhouse Mystery is the best. The Clubhouse kids want nothing other than to win the $200 first place prize at their school’s talent show. The boys’ singing is heard, but the music isn’t right when a musically-talented girl could use the money for better reasons. There is, no doubt, a good lesson learned. But, a schoolhouse lesson versus a Clubhouse Mystery may ultimately lead to a disappointing ending. Recommended. Grades 3-6.(ADA)
Drummond, Ree. 2013. Charlie goes to school HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 40 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-221920-6. Illustrated by Diane deGroat.
Charlie, the Ranch Dog, is a busy pup. He supervises the activities on the ranch, and then after observing the homeschooling activities of his family, he decides to start a school for the ranch animals. Animals, however, are not people, and this educational experiment is a fiasco. Charlie’s response to the chaos is quite predictable but humorous! (DLN)
Emery, William. 2012. Kododu. Heyday Books. [email protected], (510-549-3564). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-59714-173-4. Illustrated by Hanae Rivera.
Based on the true story of Kenichi Horie, a young Japanese boy, this fictional tale shares his 1962 solo adventure of sailing across the Pacific Ocean from Japan to San Francisco. Themes of courage, perseverance, determination, commitment, imagination, creativity, and self-discovery dominate the story, intended for readers of all ages. (DLN)
English, Karen. 2013. Dog days (The Carver Chronicles Book 1). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. [email protected], (800-597-6127). 128pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-547-97044-8. Illustrated by Laura Freeman.
This is a book about a boy named Gavin. Gavin has a friend, Richard, and a sister, Danielle. One day Gavin and Richard are playing, and they break Danielle’s not-as-important-as-she-wants-people-to-believe snowglobe. Gavin’s punishment is to pay the money to replace what was broken. Gavin gets a job walking his aunt’s dog, Carlotta. There is no keen intimacy between Gavin and Carlotta. In fact, he is nothing but annoyed with the dog and the situation. One day, however, Carlotta goes missing under Gavin’s supervision. Nervous about losing the dog and suffering his aunt’s wrath, Gavin begins troubleshooting. A young audience could pick up a good understanding of cause/effect and problem/solution from this book. Recommended. Grades K-5. (ADA)
Epstein, Adam Jay and Andrew Jacobson. 2013. Starbounders. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 304pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-212022-9.
It’s finally time for Zachary Night to follow in the footsteps of his family members and he couldn’t be more excited! As a new trainee, Zach will be shipped off to an academy called Indigo 8—a secret compound in the Adirondack Mountains for the Interplanetary Defense League (IPDL). Armed with his hand-me-down Starbounders’ warp glove, Zach and two friends, Kaylee and Ryic, survive a deadly alien vreek unleashing only to find themselves in another “accident” when their first off-planet mission goes awry. Suddenly Zach and company find that their ship has been hijacked by a few delinquent interstellar hooligans. After crash landing onto Si roco, Zach and his buddies teeter on the verge of being disposable. Little do the IPDL members realize their field-mission mayhem is the least of their problems. It takes a Qube glitch, malfunctioned stun balls, a suspiciously unlocked terrarium, and a sabotaged starbox for Zach to glean that a computer wants his team, and any others caught in the crossfire, dead. This book has a rocket strapped to its back. It zips from accidents to malfunctions to surprises galore. Readers will like the fast pace and black and white illustrations of this sci-fi space adventure. It would make for a great whole-class read aloud. Highly recommended. Grades 5-8. (ADA)
Fletcher, Susan. 2013. Falcon in the glass. Simon and Schuster (Margaret K. McElderry Books). [email protected], (800-223-2336). 300pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-2990-1.
An excellent sentimental journey is set in 1497 Venice, where a young glassblower-in-training named Renzo tries to ready himself to fulfill his father’s wishes. Renzo knows how to work, and with a lot of it, he can become a success. Working late at night after his regular shift seems to be the best way to perfect his signature product: a beautiful glass blown bird. Then a girl named Letta gets in his way. She is seeking shelter for herself, her falcon bird, and several other children with birds. The risk is great if Renzo’s boss catches him harboring people, but Letta agrees to help Renzo perfect his glass bird. Trouble brews when Letta and the children are accused witchcraft. The authorities find and incarcerate Letta. Using his brains and glassblowing abilities, Renzo risks his life and pulls a tricky switch-a-roo. A book for all ages—delving into 15th century Venice where glassblowing is rare and revered, witchcraft is believed and condemned, and assassins seek out and follow through. History, geography, and literature students will enjoy and learn from this book. Recommended. Grades 7-12. (ADA)
Green, Dan. 2011. Human body Macmillan Publishing (Kingfisher). [email protected], (646-307-5151). 128pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-7534-6628-5. Illustrated by Simon Basher.
Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564) worked to dispel myths about the human body. Through his efforts, “facets” about the human body were actually discovered to be inaccurate. Human Body dissects the known facts about male and female bodies. The book also discusses various body parts, functions, and identifying characteristics of each gender. A dynamic discovery for early learners. (BNS)
Hale, Bruce. 2013. Clark the shark. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-219-226-4. Illustrated by Guy Francis.
Clark is a big, boisterous, and brawny fish in Theodore Roosterfish Elementary School, the top school in the ocean. He loves everything about his school, teacher, friends, lunch, and recess, but he is overly vivacious and has trouble tempering his enthusiasm for life at school. But he changes and teaches a new classmate, Sid the Squid, how to moderate his behavior to get along with others in school. Thankfully, readers, ages 4- 8 also learn there is a time and a place one can be loud and active. (DLN)
Hale, Bruce. 2013. Monsters on the loose! A seek and solve mystery! HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32 pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-0-06-223706-4. Illustrated by Dave Garbot.
In 2012 Bruce Hale and Dave Garbot collaborated for Santa on the loose!. Although designed to appeal to readers around Hallow’s Eve, Monsters on the loose, which is similar in style to the I spy and Where’s Waldo books, will fascinate readers who like to look for details among full-spread, colorful and frenetic illustrations. In Monsters on the loose, Frankenstein’s monster suspects one of six characters of stealing all of the Halloween candy. Readers must search for clues in the pictures, then decide which of the six characters, Vampire Bob, Willy the Wereworlf, Rowan the Witch, Nefertiti, Igor, or Joey Bones, stole every last piece of candy. (DLN)
Harrington, Tim. 2013. This little piggy. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer + Bray). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-06-221808-7.
What parent hasn’t done the Nursery Rhyme, “This little piggy went to market and this little piggy stayed home”? I can hear the giggles now as we did it on their toes…But what about the other toes on the other foot? The author comes up with fun-loving adventures for the other toes. What a fun delightful story to read to young children before they go to bed. Creative minds will enjoy making up their own continuation of the classic tale. (DJL)
Heide, Florence Parry and Roxanne. 2013. Spotlight club mysteries: Mystery of the bewitched bookmobile. Albert Whitman & Company. [email protected], (800-255-7675). 128pp. $5.99. ISBN 978-0-8075-7685-4 (1975). Illustrated by Seymour Fleishman.
A book at a local bookmobile is a hot commodity—someone will do anything to get their hands on it. There is no suspect, but there is suspicious activity. P. Nelson made a sign, which was discovered to have some sort of code on it. Dr. Drummond and Aunt Margaret could be involved somehow. And who is this Olga Ratchett? She seems to be unknown to some and anger-inducing to others. It looks like the Spotlight Clubbers are open for business with this mystery. If the characters can see the writing on the wall, another mystery will be solved. Teachers looking for a book that meets all the requirements for a good mystery will certainly benefit by using this title. Assign students to study this book—to really, really study it. It is a good example of mysterious elements and detective work for young readers. Recommended. Grades 3-6. (ADA)
treasureChestHood, Ann. 2013. The treasure chest: Crazy Horse: Brave warrior. Penguin Group (USA) Inc. (Grosset and Dunlap). [email protected] (212-366-2000). 192pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-448-45728-4.
Twins Felix and Maise are going to Bitsy Beal’s March Madness dress up party. A search for an old-fashioned dress steers Maise to a treasure chest of dresses. Among hundreds of phrases etched into the chest, Felix finds a stray feather. Eventually the twins time warp into a real-life Lakota Indian village. Felix suddenly feels compelled to return the feather to its rightful owner, Crazy Horse: Brave Warrior. By reading this book, students will gallop into a great historical fiction ride where fate must be sealed. Complete with visual quests, dangerous battles, and Crazy Horse fun facts. The Minnesota State Department of Education requires its teachers to teach American Indian Studies to their students. This would be a good book to use in class to meet these state standards. Recommended. Grades 3-7. (ADA)
Horowitz, Dave. 2011. The pretty pretty bunny. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 31pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25276-1.
According to Narcissa, she is the prettiest bunny. In fact she is awesome! She makes fun of the forest animals: beaver’s silly teeth and goofy tail, turtle being a bump on a log, and moose’s crazy antlers. But only until she meets a magic frog that grants her one wish. Making the frog angry by laughing at him and calling him an ugly dude, she has the misfortune of acquiring the animal parts that she mocked. Realizing what she has done, she realizes she’s a terrible bunny. She looks in the mirror and says, “I wish I could do it all over again.” The story ends the way it began, with Narcissa boasting, “I’m so awesome!” This would be a wonderful book to share with students at the beginning of the year in a unit talking about how we are alike and different. We are all special in our own way. Be careful! Words can hurt feelings. (DJL)
Hunter, Erin. 2013. Survivors: The hidden enemy. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 271pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-210260-7.
A pack of feral dogs has put Lone Dog Lucky, once again, in the position to help littermate Bella and her gang of Unleashed misfit dogs. Just as Bella wants to stake claim on a territory with green grass, bountiful food, and clean waters she discovers the land has already been claimed. Unfortunately, Bella and the other unleashed dogs discover it’s not so easy to find a similar place. Rather than leaving, Bella schemes and scams. Lucky reluctantly agrees with Bella’s plan, which includes him getting “accepted” into the new fierce and feral pack. Once accepted and trusted, Lucky will act as a spy and report back to Bella any information that will help her capture the land for her and her pack. The smart, brave Lucky learns about pack fights, fights his way up the pack “ladder”, and eventually grows to enjoy his new life. True to his word, however, Lucky follows through with the original plan only to get bit in his behind a few times—once from his new wolf pack and again from his own littermate! An overly large cast could cause confusion for new readers of this animal adventure series. Established fans of this series will want and need this book. House a copy in your library. Highly recommended. Grades 5-8. (ADA)
Jahn-Clough, Lisa. 2013. Nothing but blue. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 224pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-618-95961-7.
How do you carry on after you’ve lost everything? Blue doesn’t remember her actual name or why she’s lost on a road with the chant of “All dead. No one survived” running through her head. On her journey to find home, she finds kindness on the fringes—through a stray dog, train-hoppers, and hoboes. Jahn-Clough enriches Blue’s journey to try to find home by incorporating memories of her previous life as an unhappy, bored girl in a superficial relationship. In losing everything, Blue comes to realize her true identity and learns how to live. Recommended for junior high and high school readers. Contains sexual content. (MC)
Jinks, Catherine. 2012. The paradise trap. Egmont USA. [email protected].com, (212-685-0102). 352pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-60684-273-7.
Eleven-year-old Marcus is about to embark on a freaky adventure that no videogame can recreate. Marcus’s mom, bent on eliminating his video gaming, takes her son to a trailer on Diamond Beach. Upon arrival, Marcus befriends Edison, the son of his mom’s childhood friend. The ho-hum summer seems to slink by until Marcus and Edison find a secret cellar door in Marcus’s trailer. The ho-hum dissipates, leaving a land of dream vacations. The problem? The trailer “underworld” may seem like a place where dreams come true, but once entered, there’s no turning back. Marcus, Edison, and their families soon discover that endless spa theme park plus nightclub visits supervised by a witch equals nightmares. Marcus must wisen up if he wants to save his friends and family from the tenacious grips of dangerous cats, psycho robots, and an evil mythological being. The overall cast of characters is enough to digest, and the fast-paced action sequences are aplenty. The length may be off-putting for some readers, where the irony of a video/computer-gaming medium may appeal to others. A book with enough appeal for teachers to read and then push on their students. Library material as well. Recommended. Grades 5-8. (ADA)
Johnson, Terry Lynn. 2012. Ice dogs. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 288pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-89926-8.
This action-packed Alaskan adventure swooshes from exciting main event to exciting main event and features 14-year-old sled dog racer Victoria Secord. A routine sledding route brings Victoria and her eight dogs to the scene of a snowmobile accident. Victoria wants to help the injured Chris find his way back home, but a whiteout covers the trail and snowmobile tracks. With favored dog Bean in the lead, Victoria must find familiar ground. A torrent of swirling snowflakes cause the two kids and dogs to start a fire, consult a map, and rest for the night. Blizzards of calamity ensue when the map goes up in flames, the snow doesn’t let up, and the humans and dogs need food. To make matters worse, hypothermia is a constant threat. Things look promising when Victoria and Chris find a cabin in the woods, but it’s a short-lived solution. The two travelers must get back home. A happy ending is in sight, but hunger and instinct plunge the whole crew, dogs and all, into an icy predicament. An avalanche of actions in this wilderness survival story will keep readers’ attention all the way through. An excellent resource to teach any student some survival strategies, or simply keep the book in your school library and “mush!” students down there to pick up a copy. Highly recommended. Grades 5-8. (ADA)
Kasza, Keiko. 2012. Silly goose’s big story. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25542-7.
Goose has a good imagination and loves telling stories to his friends: Beaver, Porcupine and Squirrel. They love acting out the stories during play except Goose is always the hero. One day in arguing over this, a hungry wolf sneaks up on them and yells, “Hello, Lunch!” See how Goose comes up with the best story yet to trick the wolf and his friends become the heroes of the day. This story would be a great lead into a writing activity, “Once upon a time, there were…” What will be the next adventure for Goose and his friends? School social workers could use the story to lead into a discussion about friends and getting along. (DJL)
Kingsbury, Karen and Alex Smith. 2013. Go ahead and dream. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-168625-2. Illustrated by Greg Banning.
Bestselling author Karen Kingsbury and NFL quarterback Alex Smith team up to write a story based on the true childhood dreams of two best friends. Alex’s dream is to become a professional football player and Bobby’s is to be a pilot. Alex’s grandfather offers support and encouragement to the boys over the years as they grow up. He sings a song, “Go ahead and dream, however big it seems, work hard, believe, and don’t give up. Yes, go ahead and dream.” This was a wonderful, heartwarming story about two friends who never gave up on their dreams even when at times it seemed impossible. This book was written for ages 4-8, but would make a great graduation gift for a highschool senior. Guests could sign on the pages as they come for an Open House. With hard work and dedication, some encouragement, never giving up, believe in yourself… Dreams can come true! (DJL)
Kirk, Daniel. 2013. Ten things I love about you. Penguin Group (USA) Inc. (Nancy Paulsen Books). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0399-25288-4.
Rabbit absolutely adores his friend Pig. Rabbit decides to make a list of all the things he loves about Pig. Pig is busy and gets frustrated when Rabbit continues to bother him. Rabbit and Pig bounce ideas off one another and Rabbit finally completes his list. Only then does he find out that Pig has also made a list about Rabbit. Number ten on each list is the other’s friendship.
What a fun writing assignment this would make during a Friends Unit… or “10 things I love about School” or “10 things I love about Mom/Dad”. (DJL)
Kramer, Stacy and Valerie Thomas. 2012. From what I remember. Disney Book Group (Disney-Hyperion). disney.go.com, (877-318-6990). 480pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-142315508-9.
A fun, entertaining read that touches on life from many angles: crime, homosexuality, immigration, family struggles, and that unavoidable and unsavory phase of underage drinking typical of teenagers. Kylie Flores is the academically serious and smart valedictorian of her too-big high school. When her laptop, equipped with valedictorian speech and screenplay, is stolen, Kylie looks to the hunky Max Langston for a set of wheels in chasing down the thieves. Not so unwittingly, Kylie and Max end up crossing the Mexican border. Kylie is seen slinking around in a truck full of stolen electronics in search of her stolen computer. Rather than doing the chasing, Kylie and Max find themselves running from thieving thugs. For a job well done, and now with Kylie in tow, Max (a kid characterized as a “Good Time Charlie”) decides to treat himself to a nice, cold, relax-inducing drink. Ironically, the bar ends up being owned by Kylie’s relatives. This is a cause to celebrate, first at the bar then at the relatives’ quaint and cozy home. More problems ensue: an originally hot-and-cold relationship blossoms, a best friend is called upon for help but is slow to pan out, and a jealous girlfriend’s scorn sprouts. An awesome, fast-paced adventure tale unfortunately has little educational value in the classroom. However this read always has the motor running and a foot on the gas pedal. Readers looking to vicariously let loose from a school day’s grind, will enjoy this fictional ride. Highly recommended. Grades 9-12. (ADA)
Krull, Kathleen and Brewer, Paul. 2013. The Beatles were fab (and they were funny)! Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt). [email protected], (800-225-3362), 40 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-50991-4. Illustrated by Stacy Innerst.
With the surge in demand for non-fiction titles prompted by expectations of the Common Core curriculum, readers and teachers searching for interesting titles will happily embrace this short, humorous, researched history of the Beatles (1960 – 1970), a popular rock band from England. Although the Beatles, consisting of Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey), John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison, disbanded in 1970, their recordings continue to entertain listeners and inform the compositions and performances of contemporary musicians. (DLN)
LaFevers, Robin. 2013. Dark triumph. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 387pp. $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 assassins. Set against the backdrop of 15th century Brittany, LaFevers creates a half-historical and half-fictional world. Those who enjoyed Grave Mercy will find Sybella to be a much darker and more troubled character than Ismae, but her story in no less compelling as she escapes from the monstrous man who has raised her as her father. Paired with a fierce and daring soldier, Beast, Sybella fights to keep the duchess Anne safe from betrayal and French invasion. Readers are thrust into the center of Sybella’s life, so readers wishing to try this book will want to read the sequel first. Recommended to high school readers who love fantasy, adventure, and historical fiction. (MC)
Landstrom, Lee Ann, and Shragg, Karen I. 2013. Nature’s yucky! 3: The eastern United States. Mountain Press Publishing Company. [email protected], (800-234-5308). 48 pp. $12.00. ISBN 978-0-87842-601-0. Illustrated by Rachel Rogge.
Interesting, revolting facts of sixteen different animals found in the Eastern United States will intrigue or disgust readers, 5 – 10+, in this colorful informational book. After a repulsive fact is stated, the authors explain the rationale for the behavior (e.g., white tailed deer eat the velvet off their antlers to get the nutrition they need for cold, harsh winters). Other animals in the book include black widow spiders, bobcats, giant swallowtail butterflies, ant lions, walking sticks, river otters, dragonflies, opossums, leopard frogs, nighthawks, spotted salamanders, brown pelicans, red-spotted purples (butterflies), northern fulmar chicks, and American toads. End notes provide additional information about each animal. While the authors include a recipe, bird-poop caterpillar pretzels, and an activity, constructing a fur wildlife journal, the recipe should include a cautionary note about hot baking chips and directions to attempt the concoction only under the supervision of an adult. Readers will appreciate the section of resources, websites, books for adults, juvenile nonfiction, and picture books they can access for more information about animals mentioned in the story. (DLN)
Ludwig, Elisa. 2012. Pretty crooked. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 358pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-206606-0.
Kids can be cruel, so when sophomore Willa and her mother move to the ritzy Paradise Valley in Arizona, Willa is nervous about starting at her new prep school. Classmate Cherise takes Willa under her wing, so to speak, and easily gets Willa into a popular and elite social group called the Glitterati. Since Willa’s mom has earned a windfall by selling a few of her paintings, Willa has no trouble spending her somewhat extravagant allowance doing what the Glitterati do best: shopping. Things go smoothly at first, but then Willa discovers her new gal pals are responsible for writing nasty, condescending (and untrue) blogs about a few girls less fortunate than the Glitterati. With good ideas and good intentions, Willa recruits the hunky, ex-thief Aiden to share his thieving secrets. Willa learns the ropes of thievery and makes some generous deliveries by basically stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. Willa executes her plans without qualms until the police start their investigation and her mom begins to question Willa’s seemingly good intentions. Much can be learned about setting from this novel. There are rich versus poor and good versus evil themes and a reflection of how societal issues inundate our schools. Plus, it’s a fun and entertaining read. History, geography, and literature teachers could all find something in this book to teach in the classroom. Recommended. Grade 9-12. (ADA)
12117019Manders, John. 2011. The really awful musician Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-32820-1.
All is not well in the “kingdom”. The musicians perform so badly that the King banishes them. Anyone caught playing music is fed to crocodiles. This is an almost true account of how musical notation evolved. Ancient instruments and collaborating characters give this book its charm. (BNS)
McFarlane, Marilyn. 2012. Sacred stories: Wisdom from world religions. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin). [email protected], (800-233-2336). 178pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-5870-334-3 (1996).
Sacred Stories is a collection of narratives from seven of the world’s religions and belief systems. The book offers thirty-five narratives pertaining to each faith/belief system. Key elements include creation, visions, and miracles. The chapters conclude with a ”Did you know” paragraph. An easy to read book, especially to those who want a quick snapshot of our world’s religions. (BNS)
McKay, Hilary. 2011. Lulu and the dog from the sea. Albert Whitman & Company. [email protected], (800-255-7675). 112pp. $13.99. ISBN 978-0-8075-4820-2.
Seven-year-old Lulu and her cousin Mellie hit the road with Lulu’s parents to a vacation house by the sea. Upon arrival, Lulu spots a stray dog and wants to befriend it. All the other vacationers feel that the dog is nothing but trouble. Convincing others that the dog is more special than just being disaster-prone proves difficult until an injured Mellie needs help. This book for very young animal lovers offers the lesson that people should not judge others (or animals) so hastily. This is library material. Recommended. Grades 3-5. (ADA)
Messner, Kate. 2013. Hide and seek. Scholastic, Inc. (Scholastic Press). scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 256 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-41975-8.
Young readers, ages 8 – 15, who enjoy adventure and mystery books with a social justice theme will appreciate Kate Messner’s (Capture the flag, The brilliant fall of Gianna Z.) latest novel, Hide and seek. The main characters José, Anna, and Henry will appeal to both male and female readers as will the multiple themes, including friendship, trust, and preservation of cultural artifacts. (DLN)
Meyer, Carolyn. 2012. The wild queen: The days and nights of Mary, Queen of Scots. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Children’s Books). [email protected] (800-225-3362). 384pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-15-206188-3.
The Wild Queen depicts the courageous life of Mary, Queen of Scots. She was only an infant when crowned queen. As political relations transpired, Edward, son of Henry VIII, was her intended spouse upon both achieving the required age. Edward, a sickly child, died and Mary was shipped to France to marry the Dauphin. The telling of her experiences in first person narrative allows the reader to actively engage in her tragic but eventful life; a life Mary was determined to pilot in order to maintain her identity and achieve power. Highly recommended!! (BNS)
Myers, Walter Dean. 2013. Darius & Twig. HarperCollins Publishers (Amistad). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 199 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-172823-5.
Darius and Twig are best friends living in Harlem with different talents and ambitions. This coming of age novel is suitable for all teen readers, ages 15 – 18, who are trying to understand themselves and the world around them. The most stellar aspect of the book is the development of the characters, who face multiple challenges in their lives while holding onto their dreams of graduating from high school and entering college to pursue their goals. (DLN)
Ness, Susan. 2013. Missy’s super duper royal deluxe field trip. Scholastic, Inc. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 80 pp. $4.99. ISBN 978-0-545-43854-4.
In this fourth book of the Missy’s super, duper, royal deluxe series, the class is off to the state capitol for a field trip. When Missy discovers the capitol building does not have a gift shop, she grabs her field trip partner and they try to find the governor to complain. According to Scholastic, the book appeals to 1st and 2nd graders with a reading level at grade 2. This raises questions about the field trip, because taking a group of 7- or 8-year-olds to tour a capitol building may be developmentally inappropriate. They do not have the maturity or background to understand the significance of the information or the place. (DLN)
Newell DePalma, Mary. 2012. Bow wow: Wiggle-waggle. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers). [email protected], (800-253-7521). 32pp. $14.00. ISBN 978-0-8028-5408-7.
Although the pictures are not endearing, very young children will be able to follow the sequence of events as the plot unfolds through the literary device of onomatopoeia. With the exception of the words that reflect sounds, this is a wordless picture book about the adventures and distractions of a lively dog playing “catch” with a young boy. (DLN)
Numeroff, Laura. 2012. Lots of lambs: A touch, feel, flip, and fun book Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH Books). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 20 pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-547-40203-2. Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger.
The majority of youngsters, ages 1 – 3, will be able to relate more than a handful of concepts and events in this delightful story about lambs: happy lambs, grumpy lambs, lambs in an oversized overcoat, grandpa lambs, lambs on a boat, morning lambs, nighttime lambs, lambs in a plane, sitting lambs, standing lambs, lambs under an umbrella in the rain, cruel lambs, friendly lambs, lambs in the snow, city lambs, country lambs, lambs on a stage, outdoor lambs, indoor lambs, lambs on an older phone, singing lambs, quiet lambs, lambs all alone, lambs upstairs, lambs downstairs, lambs flying a kite, playful lambs, sleepy lambs, and lambs tucked safely in bed at night. Although aspects of the book may not survive the constant pulling and tugging from developing young hands, the plot and the characters will appeal to younger children regardless of the condition of the flips and the flaps. (DLN)
O’Connor, Jane. 2013. Fancy Nancy: Fanciest doll in the universe. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-06-170384-3. Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser.
This latest Fancy Nancy book joins more than a dozen other books about this charming youngster who loves descriptive vocabulary, e.g., “despicable = worse than bad,” “indelible” = “permanent” = “won’t ever come off.” The sequence of events includes a variety of conflicts, and the resolution is satisfying to young readers, primarily young white girls with enough money to take their dolls to a fancy gala. (DLN)
Park, Linda Sue. 2013. Xander’s panda party Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 40 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-55865-3. Illustrated by Matt Phelan
Young Xander (“Zander”) wanted a panda party but he was the only panda in the zoo. After thinking about the problem, he decided to invite all the bears to his party, but when he mistakes the marsupial koala for a bear,Ó he changes the list to include all mammals. But the rhinoceros refuses to attend unless his bird, an oxpecker, is also invited. Readers may predict the next scenes and the solution to Xander’s problem with the guest list. The author’s note informs readers, ages 4 – 8, about pandas, extinction, the relationship between rhinoceroses and the oxpecker bird, and one theory of reptiles evolving into birds. (DLN)
Pate, Ginger. 2013. Look left, look right, look left again. Greene Bark Press, Inc. [email protected], (610-434-2802). 28 pp. $8.50. ISBN 978-1-880851-30-2. Illustrated by Rhett Ransom Pennell.
The title explicitly conveys the plot and theme of the book. Young Wally Waddlewater must learn the correct technique for crossing any street without traffic lights by himself. After practicing crossing the street several times with his mother, Wally finally has the skill and the experience to cross roads by himself. This book, written to help teach youngsters ages 3 – 6 how to cross streets safely, should be part of any conversation with children learning about the rules of the road. (DLN)
Patrick, Jean L.S. 2011. The baseball adventure of Jackie Mitchell, girl pitcher vs Babe Ruth. Lerner Publishing Group (Graphic Universe). [email protected], (800-328-4929). 31pp. $8.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-7072-7. Illustrated by Ted Hammond and Richard Pimentel Carbajal.
Women have participated in sports for more than 100 years. Thousands of women played baseball, not softball. This book follows the story of Beatrice”Jackie” Mitchell. In 1930 she played on a girls’ team in Chattanooga which struck out men from semi-professional teams. She signed a minor league contract under Joe Engel which rendered her status “professional”. When the New York Yankees came to town, she faced and struck out the legendary Babe Ruth.
Jackie Mitchell is a wonderful example of a young woman who succeeded in a field dominated by men. She is a reminder that women can accomplish anything, even though doors are often shut because of gender. Highly recommended. (BNS)
Pedersen, Laura. 2011. Unplugged: Ella gets her family back. Tilbury House Publishers. [email protected], (800-582-1899). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-88448-337-3. Illustrated by Penny Weber.
The message is obvious in this story: reserve time in the week for family events, in this case, Saturday mornings and Sunday evenings. Until Ella confiscates all the electronic devices of her parents and siblings, life in her household revolves around cell phones, video games, and laptop computers. While the theme is transparent, readers may reflect on their use of electronics and the effect of the devices on interpersonal, face-to-face relationships. (DLN)
Pennell, Christopher. 2013. Mysterious woods of Whistle Root. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Young Readers). [email protected] (800-225-3362). 224pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-79263-7. Illustrated by Rebecca Bond.
Protagonist Carly Bean Bitters is proof enough that this book is a fantasy-themed installment. Eleven-year-old Carly is medically challenged, sleeping during the day and awake all night. Her strange biological clock allows her to meet a musically talented rat named Lewis. But Lewis and the rest of his orchestra mates are in trouble: owls are wreaking havoc on their community located in the roots of a Whistle tree. When a torrential downpour causes a raging river that threatens her Whistle Root friends, Carly seeks the help of classmate Green Pritcher. Carly never would have thought that Green’s recommended reading would have helped stop an owl invasion, bring down the dangerous Griddlebeast. A good mystery and mythology book that should be read in 3-5 long sittings. Any sittings stretched longer than that might break the book’s magic and be tough for the mind to fit the plot puzzle pieces together. Complete with excellent black and white photos. Recommended. Grades 3-5. (ADA)
Probst, Jeff, and Chris Tebbetts. 2013. Stranded. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Puffin Books). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 192pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-14-242424-7.
Nothing will help a blended family get to know each other better than a 5 day vacation surrounded by nothing but water on a boat called the Lucky Star! Taking place in the South Pacific (Hawaii), a storm suddenly hits Vanessa (13), Buzz and Carter (11), and Jane (9). The foursome finds themselves separated from the two adults in charge of the expedition. Now that the kids have washed ashore, survival jumps to the top of the to-do list. Food, water, and staying ashore and afloat are a must. Each child contributes positively: brains, athleticism, tech savvy, and uncanny problem solving skills. The characters are a bit underdeveloped, but the readers’ general understanding of the need to survive will bring the characters, setting, and plot into sharper focus. Sequel ready in the book world, and survival unit ready in the school world. Thank you to Jeff Probst for giving teachers and students this reading and teaching opportunity. Highly recommended. Grades 3-7. (ADA)
Repka, Janice. 2011.The clueless girl’s guide to being a genius. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Dutton). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 218pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-525-42333-1.
One plus one is simple mathematics, but what does one math prodigy plus one baton twirler plus a classroom full of boneheads equal? According to this “math” book, the sum equates to flying frogs and a friendship, with love filling the spaces between. Many classroom teachers will say that good middle school comedy books are rare. Thirteen-year-old math prodigy Aphrodite Wigglesmith will solve this problem! On a scale of 1-10 ribits, 10 ribits being the best, this book gets an 11. Female readers will gravitate to this book naturally, while male readers will easily be convinced. Teach the book in math, encourage this book in English, or shelve the book in your library—it will hold its own! Highly recommended. Grades 5-8. (ADA)
Rinker, Sherri Duskey, and Lichtenheld, Tom. 2013. Steam train, dream train. Chronicle Books LLC (San Francisco). [email protected], (800-759-0190). 40 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4521-0920-6.
The rhyming text complements the plot and setting of this nighttime story. Various animals load boxcars with different toys and food at night. When young readers, ages 3 – 8 realize the sequence of events is actually a dream, they can ask themselves if the toys and animals in the story belong to the boy sleeping in his bed. They might also ask if the ice cream in the dream reflects the boy’s fondness for this treat. Of particular note, is the open book in the hand of one of the crew, a purple elephant, as he sleeps after a long night of loading the boxcars of the dream train. (DLN)
Singer, Marilyn. 2013. Tallulah’s Nutcracker. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 48 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-84557-9. Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger.
Tallulah is dancing again, this time as a mouse in a professional production of The Nutcracker. As with other Tallulah dance adventures, she learns a lesson or two about character and performance. Fans of Tallulah will welcome this new tale to other books starring this young dancer, including Tallulah’s tutu, Tallulah’s solo, and Tallulah’s toe shoes. Unfortunately, Singer does not seize the opportunity to mention the composer of the score, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, or the fact the libretto is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. (DLN)
Smith, Greg Leitich. 2012. Coronal engine. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-226-3362). 192pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-60849-5.
Coronal Engine, a time machine VW Bug, is the real star of this dinosaur time travel fiction. Set on a ranch near the Colorado River, eighth grade twins Max and Emma and their older brother Kyle are staying with their scientist grandfather. When Emma is kidnapped by some whack-a-doodle stranger on a mission, the boys, along with the housekeeper’s daughter Petra, travel about 75 million years into the past to find the kidnappers base of operations, rescue Emma, and cruise themselves out of there. This is good stuff for time travel and dinosaur fans. Dinosaurs as big as elephants (who want to eat people), dinosaurs the size of horses (who want to eat people), and dinosaurs the size of elephants (who, this time, want to trample people) must be avoided. Teachers could use this book as a message to students: Avoid anything that is bigger than you that moves! (After you rescue the kidnapped). Recommended. Grades 5-8. (ADA)
Stern, Al. 2011. Frankly, Fannie: Funny business. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Grosset & Dunlap). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 129pp. $12.98. ISBN 978-0-448-45541-9. Illustrated by Doreen Mulryan Marts.
Frannie is a headstrong girl with ideas of her own. This presents a problem for both her and her family during their vacation. What Frannie does not realize is that rules are in place for the benefit of the entire family unit. Frannie’s interests seem to oppose what her parents planned for their time in Florida. For example, she is more interested in what is happening inside the hotel rather than the planned trip to a theme park. A business conference is taking place at the hotel and Frannie wants to attend. The events surrounding her participation eventually cause problems for everyone. A witty book with unusual word usage. (BNS)
Tuck, Pamela M. 2013. As fast as words could fly Lee and Low Books. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 32pp. $18.85. ISBN 978-1-60060-348-8. Illustrated by Eric Velasquez.
The author bases the story on the experiences of her father, Moses Teel Jr., during the 1960s. The main character in the book, Mason Steele, is fourteen years old helps his father’s civil rights group by writing and, eventually, typing letters on behalf of the organization. Typing is one of Mason’s strengths, and he is a model for all as he works hard and rises above the challenges of racism, segregation, and prejudice. (DLN)
Weston, Robert Paul. 2013. Prince Puggly of spud: And the kingdom of spiff. Penguin Group (USA) Inc. (Razorbill). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 256pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-59514-567-3.
It’s crazy, it’s zany, it’s wacky, it’s woo! All readers should pick up this book, but most especially, you. Prince Spud is a fashionista, and a muddy one at best. Princess Francesca of Spiff wants nothing to do with her father’s fixation on fashion. It’s been a while, but the Spiffian Century Ball is due to happen. Apparently opposites attract, because when Prince Spud and Princess Fran meet, court is in order. Two snazzy wardrobes collide to make one moldy mess pranked out. Poetry and literature teachers alike will benefit from the figurative language, versed and rhythmic repetitions, and trendy storyline. Finally, a book that can be used to teach the parts of poetry. Assign chapters as homework. It’s engaging enough for kids to get the reading done on their own time. Highly recommended. Grade 5-12. (ADA)
Weulersse, Odile. 2013. Nasreddine. Eerdmans Publishing Company (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers). [email protected], (800-253-7521). 34 pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-8028-5416-2 (2005). Illustrated by Rebecca Dautremer.
According to the historical note at the end of the book, stories about Nasreddine are reportedly based on a man living in Turkey during the Middle Ages. In this story, Nasreddine is a young boy who learns about the power of listening discriminately. The tale is silly, and serious, with a valuable lesson or moral for readers of all ages. Nasreddine’s father eventually tells Nasreddine: “It’s up to you to decide if what you’re hearing is wise, or if it’s only a silly and hurtful remark.” (p. 32). His statement provides an excellent opportunity to discuss the differences between harmless teasing and bullying. (DLN)
Wiesner, David. 2013. Mr. Wuffles. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). [email protected], (800-225-3362). 32 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-618-75661-2
Mr. Wuffles, the cat, rejects all toys except the one completely out of his reach. Each panel in Wiesner’s latest wordless picture book contributes to the plot with multiple conflicts, themes, setting as mood with interesting symbolisms, and characterization. Mr. Wuffles is a determined cat, but he is no match for the cunning, wit, and talent of the other characters in this delightful story for readers of all ages. (DLN)
Zoboli, Giovanna. 2013 . I wish I had … Eerdmans Publishing Company (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers). [email protected], (800-253-7521). 26 pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-8028-5415-5 (2010). Illustrated by Simona Mulazzani.
Strengths of animals are the focus of wishful thinking in this book: keen eyes of a blackbird, stealthy steps of a tiger, quick responses of a mouse, wings of a goose, long tail of a lemur, serenity of a dog, thoughts of a deer, the voice of a whale, pitch black coat of a panther, gaze of an owl, agile legs of a hare, the appetite of a bear, the ears of an elephant, and the neck of a giraffe. Illustrations capture the essence of each wish and reflect the strengths of every animal in the book. After reading the story, children can write their own “I wish I had” book. (DLN)