Monday, December 31, 2012


BLUEBIRD by Bob Staake. Schwartz and Wade, 2013.

There are almost no words to describe this book. The book itself is textless and relies on mostly black and white stylized illustrations to tell the tale of a boy who is befriended by a tiny blue bird (it is the only source of real color throughout the story). This story of a unique friendship also deals with the immediacy of loss as well. Below is a double page spread from the interior to give you some sense of the design of the book. Nothing can prepare you for its impact. <693>

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Birds of a Feather

AS THE CROW FLIES by Sheila Keenan with illustrations by Kevin Duggan. Feiwel and Friends, 2013.

even though we might not notice them in small numbers, crows are here, there, and everywhere. They will steal food, splatter a car, and make a raucous noise if given half the chance. Rhyming verses sound almost like the rhythm of flapping wings in this celebration of all things crow. <689>

I WILL KEEP YOU SAFE AND SOUND by Lori Hasking Houran with illustrations by Petra Brown. Scholastic 2013.

Robins, rabbits, bears, and other creatures protect their young. Simple rhythmic text is accompanied by watercolor and gouache illustrations demonstrating a mother's love for her young. <690>

LUCKY DUCKLINGS by Eva Moore with illustrations by Nancy Carpenter. Orchard/Scholastic 2013.

Based on a true story. A mother duck is walking her new ducklings when suddenly one by one they fall through a grate in the sidewalk. With the assistance of firemen and a tow truck driver, the ducklings are rescued and reunited with their mother. <691>

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Motifs and Archetypes, oh dear!

THE ANT AND THE GRASSSHOPPER by Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley. Roaring Brook Press, 2013.

The familiar tale of the ant and the grasshopper takes an interesting turn in this bright and bold re envisioning. Ant is carrying home a heavy load when she hears music. The music makes it easier for her to move, lifts her spirits. She goes in search of the source to find a grasshopper and his band beating out cool music. When the ant asks how she can repay the band for helping her get her food home, the grasshopper knows just what to ask. <687>

PRINCESS PUPPY by Bernette Ford with illustrations by Sam Williams. Scholastic 2013.

Princess Puppy always wants to play dress up and pretend to be a princess. She has a tough time keeping her new friend Molly who sometimes just wants to play and get dirty and NOT be a princess. Can Princess Puppy learn how to be "normal"? Does she even want to be normal? <688>

Thursday, December 27, 2012

There's more than one way to tell a story

NOBODY ASKED THE PEA by John Warrne Stewig with illustrations by Cornelius Van Wright. Holiday House, 2013.

Imagine the story of The Princess and Pea told from the viewpoint of the Pea (and some of the other players in this fairy tale). Point of view is really important, isn't it? The Prince, Queen, King, Pea, and Princess all have turns at telling their version of what is happening. <685>

THE PRINCESS AND THE PEAS by Caryl Hart with illustrations by Sarah Warburton. Nosy Crow, 2013.

Lily-Rose May does not wish to eat her peas. In desperation, her father calls for a doctor who declares that Lily-May must go live at the palace if she is ever to be cured. At first, life at the palace is grand and no one makes her eat peas. But we all know this cannot last. <686>

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

We are family

SWEET BABY FEET by Margaret O'Hair with illustrations by Tracy Dockray. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2013.

Feet on tippy toes, feet in the tub, and feet sounding out a beat: follow baby all day long with his sweet baby feet. <679>

THE GRANDDAUGHTER NECKLACE by Sharon Dennis Wyeth with illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline. Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, 2013.

Passed down for generations, the granddaughter necklace is a loving family tradition. The necklace is given to a granddaughter at an eventful moment in her life. The author recounts the women in her family who have worn and then handed down this family heirloom. <680>

MISSING MOMMY by Rebecca Cobb. Holt, 2013.

Subtitled A BOOK ABOUT BEREAVEMENT, the story centers on a child who has lost his (it could very well be a her, too) mother. Sadness, fear, guilt: all the conflicting emotions are here in the family as they mourn the loss of Mommy. <681>

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Finding things


In Littleland, there are lots of things to find. Help the residents find clothes to get dressed in the morning. Go to the grocery store and help shop, etc. <679>

TRIXIE by Sarah Massini. Meet Trixie, the cutest and most fashionable of her family. She has none pesky brothers and sisters and longs for some place where all is quiet. She soon discovers, though, that the noise means her family is nearby. THAT is a good thing. Clever finger print illustrations will no doubt lead to some art by readers. <680>

CAN YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? OUT OF THIS WORLD by Walter Wick. Cartwheel Books/Scholastic, 2013.

Picture puzzles ask readers to search for certain objects and solve some riddles as well. Take a trip here through time and space. <681>

Monday, December 24, 2012

NF for young readers

BECOMING BABE RUTH by Matt Tavares. Candlewick Press, 2013.

Tavares' lovingly illustrated biography of Babe Ruth takes the giant down off the pedestal and makes him truly human despite his athletic ability. Through arduous practice and perseverance, Ruth became an iconic part of baseball and American history. <674>

WHO PUT THE COOKIES IN THE COOKIE JAR? by George Shannon with illustrations by Julie Paschkis. Holt, 2013.

How does the cookie get to the cookie jar in the first place? Shannon takes readers into the process that eventually results in a cookie. Not just ingredients, but where the ingredients come from are part of the story. This book might just be step one in a lesson on economics for kids who will come to realize all of the work and workers responsible for bringing goods to market. <675>

LOOK! by Ted Lewin. Holiday House 2013.

An I LIKE TO READ book, the simple text will be a child's introduction to animals of all kinds, including a boy reading a book surrounded by stuffed versions of the animals brought to life through Lewin's watercolor and pencil illustrations. <676>

MILLIONS, BILLIONS, & TRILLIONS: UNDERSTANDING BIG NUMBERS by David A. Adler with illustrations by Edward Miller. Holiday House, 2013.

Math teachers rejoice! Here is a book that shows young readers the enormity of big numbers. Lots of analogies and colorful illustrations help make something that is rather abstract a tad more concrete. <677>

YUMMY! GOOD FOOD MAKES ME STRONGER. by Shelley Rotner and Shelia Kelly with photographs by Shelly Rotner.

Involving kids in all phases of food including preparation leads to healthier choices being easier to make. From growing veggies in a garden, to preparing simply salads for lunch and more, the colorful photographs capture the fun of eating well. <678>

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Make Your Mark!

! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. Scholastic, 2013.

Okay, how could an English teacher not love the cover of this book? EXCLAMATION MARK is about someone who stood out from the outset. This was not a good thing as he wanted to fit in with everyone else. Eventually, though, he discovers his true purpose and heads out to share the GOOD NEWS! Written on paper with lines that looks very much like an old Big Chief Tablet, this book provides a teachable moment. However, I hope more will elect to read it aloud and see what happens. <673>

Saturday, December 22, 2012

No Dogs?

THE NO DOGS ALLOWED RULE by Kashmira Sheth with illustrations by Carl Pearce. Albert Whitman, 2012.

More than anything else in the world, Ishan wants a dog. But his parents are adamantly opposed. Mother is afraid of dogs. Ishan decides to go on a campaign of being the kind and obedient son, offering to help out, cooking and painting, too. Of course, there are some disasters along the way. How can Ishan show how good a dog owner he will be? Warm family fun is certainly at the heart of this story which also gives some insight into Indian culture. <671>

Friday, December 21, 2012



Here is another of the books shortlisted for the YALSA Excellence in Nonficiton Award. Sheinkin won the award last year for THE NOTORIOUS BENEDICT ARNOLD (run out and read this one if you have not already). Once again, Sheinkin brings his storytelling talents to history as readers learn about the inner workings of the development of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Physics and espionage combined to make this undertaking one of immense danger. Sheinkin walks readers through the story with careful attention to detail. Suddenly the scientists trying to come up with the design of the bomb are more flesh and blood, more human. Fast paced and fascinating, Sheinkin shines a light into all the corners of this monumental period of history. <670>

Thursday, December 20, 2012

We've Got a Job

WE'VE GOT A JOB: THE 1963 BIRMINGHAM CHILDREN'S MARCH by Cynthia Levinson. Peachtree, 2012.

Here is one of the shortlisted books for the 2013 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award. The story of this momentous time in history is told through the lenses of four people who were children involved in the marches for Civil Rights in Birmingham. These 4 were among the hundreds and thousands of children arrested for their part in the movement. They marched, carried signs, sat down on buses, and stood up for their rights. Their efforts were a catalyst for what was to follow. Their actions also placed them at great risk. They were arrested, beaten, shot at by water cannons. A few lost their lives in the church bombings and other acts of violence. Levinson's book demonstrates the power of even the small and young to achieve great goals. From a visual perspective, I must also note that the layout and typeface and page designs are masterful and add to the overall effect of the book. <669>

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Solving Problems

LULU WALKS THE DOGS by Judith Viorst with illustrations by Lane Smith. Atheneum, 2012.

Lulu wants to make some money. She decides to go into the dog walking business. Of course, she knows nothing about walking dogS, but how hard can it be? Fleischman will come to the rescue but Lulu ignores his desire to help until things get way out of control. <665>


Everyone in Zeke's class in enamored of the puppet pals, little animal puppets that fit onto the fingers. Zeke thinks they are rather stupid and would rather be playing games. But the putrid puppet pals seem to have turned all of his friends into puppet zombies. Can he convince his friends to abandon their collections? What is the appeal anyhow? <666>

THE MILO AND JAZZ ADVENTURES: THE DIAMONDS IN THE DEAK by Lewis B. Montgomery with illustrations by Amy Wummer. The Kane press 2012.

When Milo discovers a diamond necklace in his desk at school, he immediately thinks of the recent jewelry store heist. Could the robbers be using the school as a hide out? Is his teacher in cahoots with the gang? He and his pal Jazz must follow the clues to solve the crime. <667>

JASPER JOHN DOOLEY: STAR OF THE WEEK by Caroline Adderson with illustrations by Ben Clanton. Kids Can Press 2012.

Jasper is psyched to be the Star of the Week at school. It comes with some great benefits including getting to wear a star all day. But if he gets into trouble will it mean the end of his stardom? Jasper is concerned. <668>

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

GNs for Beginners


Toon Books are comic books/graphic novels for emerging readers. Here readers can journey with Mouse as he and his owner sail to the bottom of the world. There is much to be seen but Mouse is eager to arrive and then to return home. <660>

BENNY AND PENNY IN LIGHTS OUT!by Geoffrey Hayes. Toon Books, 2012.

When the sun sets, it is time to read. But Benny has left his favorite cap in the playhouse. The dark is a little frightening. How will the two deal when the lights are out and the noises and shadows are scary? <661>

MAYA MAKES A MESS by Rutu Modan. Toon Books, 2012.

Maya's manners are atrocious. She eats with her hands, slurps, burps, and is generally an embarrassment. Her parents warn her that if she were to behave this way in front of the Queen, it would be the end of her. However, the Queen rather admires Maya's lack of convention when it comes to eating. <662>

Monday, December 17, 2012

Awesome Adventures

SLIMY SALAMANDERS! DANNY AND ESTER FORTUNATE ADVENTURES by Renee McCuen with illustrations by David Hemenway. McCuen, 2012.

When Danny and Ester make a wish, it can sometimes come true. This adventure has then turning into salamanders and having a pond adventure. Lots of science to be gleaned here. <663>

CAPTAIN AWESOME TO THE RESCUE by Stan Kirby with illustrations byGeorge O'Connor. Little Simon 2012.

Eugene McGillicuddy has a secret identity: in times of great need, he becomes Captain Awesome. He might just need his super abilities when the class hamster goes missing when Eugene is in charge of taking care of it. <664>

Sunday, December 16, 2012

All about the Animals

BIG BAD SHEEP by Bettina Wegenast with illustrations by Katharina Busshoff. Eerdmans, 2012.

There seems to be an opening for a Big Bad Wolf. One sheep decides to apply. After all, a job is a job. In this send up of familiar tales, the sheep who takes on the job is changed once he slips into the costume. Can his friend save him from a total transformation? Lots of sly humor here which might escape young readers. Offer it instead as a read aloud to middle grade readers along with Scieszka's TRUE STORY OF THE THREE LITTLE PIGS and other variations on fairy tales. <655>

DUCK FOR A DAY by Meg McKinlay with illustrations by Leila Rudge. Candlewick Press 2012.

Abby has a new teacher, one who comes accompanied by Abby is entranced by the duck who comes and sits on her feet sometimes during class. She fervently hopes that one day she will be permitted to take the duck home with her for just one night. <656>

FOLLOWING GRANDFATHER by Rosemary Wellswith illustrations by Ch. Candlewick Press 2012.

and her Grandfather are inseparable. He teaches her to button buttons, tie shoes, and also how to cook special dishes for the family restaurant. The mouse family lives contentedly in Boston behind the walls of some of the finest hotels and restaurants and shops. Pair this one with Ben and Me. <657>

MONKEY AND ELEPHANT by Carole Lesa Shafer with illustrations by Galia Bernstein. Candlewick Press 2012.

Monkey and Elephant are good friends in this first book in the series.But this one day, both of them are too grumpy to stand each other. Could this ruin their friendship? <658>

PENNY AND HER SONG by Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow 2012.

Penny has a new song to share with her parents. But the babies are sleeping and Penny has to be quiet. How can she keep quiet when the song needs to be sung out loud? <659>

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Easy Reading

DIXIE WINS THE RACE by Grace Gilman with illustrations by Jacqueline Rogers. Harper 2012.

Part of the I Can Read series, Level 1, this easy to read book is about Dixie who just cannot stand on the sidelines while her owner is running a relay race. <648>


Here is another I Can Read book, this one meant to be a shared reading experience (read aloud to a child). Henry and his family travel through the snow and ice to go skating. <649>

MITTENS AT SCHOOL by Lola M. Schafer with illustrations by Susan Kathleen Hartung. Harper 2012.

This I Can Read Book (Level 1) shows what happens when Mittens the cat gets loose before show and tell and wreaks havoc at school. <650>

TICK TOCK CLOCK by Margery Cuyler with illustrations by Robert Neubecker. Harper 2012.

This I Can Read book is good for reinforcing phonics in emerging readers. Twin girls wear out their guardian for the day with all of their antics around the clock. <651>

NEVER TRUST A TIGER: A STORY FROM KOREA by Lari Don with illustrations by Melanie Williamson. Barefoot Books 2012.

The Early Reader series offers some folk tales from other countries like this one from Korea. A good Samaritan rescues a tiger from a pit. The tiger then decides to devour his rescuer. Fortunately, all ends well (at least for the Samaritan). <652>

THE TORTOISE'S GIRFT: A STORY FROM ZAMBIA by Lari Don with illustrations by Melanie Williamson. Barefoot Books 2012.

From Zambia comes the story of a remarkable tree that holds food for all the animals of the jungle. In order to call the fruit forward, though, one must call the tree by name. One by one, animals set off to learn the name of the tree. The plodding tortoise is the one who is ultimately successful. <653>

TUGG AND TEENY: THAT'S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR by J. Patrick Lewis with illustrations by Christopher Denise. Part of the I Am a Reader series, this book tells of the friendship between Tugg the gorilla and Teeny the monkey. <654>

Friday, December 14, 2012

Going Graphic

KILLER APP by Michael Dahl. Stone Arch Books, 2012 (Capstone)

The new app, Ravenwing, is a killer app all right. Open it and suddenly flocks of ravens are descending, wreaking havoc. This nod to Poe's "The Raven" would serve as a wonderful introduction to the work of the master of horror. And don't forget, all are rescued by a librarian here. <646>

TREASURE IN THE GRAVEYARD by Roberto Pavanello. Stone Arch Books 2912 (Capstone)

The first book in ECHO AND THE BAT PACK series of graphic adventures introduces readers to a family of sleuths who team up with a bat to solve the mystery of who is haunting the graveyard in search of treasure. <647>

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Family and Friends, Part two

THE YEAR OF THE BOOK by Andrea Cheng with illustrations by Abigail Halpin. Houghton Mifflin, 2012.

Fourth grade is turning out to be a tough one for Anna. Her best friend, Laura, is hanging out with someone else and does not make much room for Anna to join them. She is being forced to take Chinese lessons which are NOT much fun at all. The only consolation in Anna's life are her books; they are her best friends. <644>

NIKKI AND DEJA: WEDDING DRAMA by Karen English with illustrations by Laura Freeman. Clarion Books, 2012.

Nikki and Deja's teacher is getting married. She has two invitations for members of her class. Luckily, Nikki and Deja are the two names drawn to attend this event. Deja is elated at first, but later grows concerned when she learns her Aunt has lost her job. How can they afford to buy the teacher a gift, get a dress. and attend the wedding? <645>

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Friends and Family, Part two

IVA HONEYSUCKLE DISCOVERS THE WORLD by Candice Ransom with illustrations by Heather Ross. Disney Hyperion, 2012.

Iva will explore
Following her grandfather
And the clues he left. <641>

Chad is the bat boy
for Pine City Porcupines.
Can he break their jinx? <642>

PIPER REED FOREVER FRIEND by Kimberly Willis Holt with illustrations by Christine Davenier. Holt, 2012.

Piper has to move
AGAIN!But she will make friends
And keep her old ones. <643>