Saturday, November 30, 2013

Monstrously Yummy!

MONSTER CHEFS by Brian and Liam Anderson. Roaring Brook, March 2014.

The Monster King demands his four chefs find him something new to eat as he is tired of eyeballs in ketchup. Each chef travels to the ends of the world seeking new food. Only one is successful. What tiny treat has he discovered?

Friday, November 29, 2013


PINK CUPCAKE MAGIC by Katherine Tegen with illustrations by Kristin Varner. Holt, January 2014.

Zoe loves cupcakes.
So do brother and his friends.
She solves this problem.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A House Divided

MONDAY, WEDNESDAY, AND EVERY OTHER WEEKEND by Karen Stanton. Feiwel and Friends, February 2014.

Henry Cooper and his dog Pomegranate split their time between Mom's apartment and Dad's house. Sometimes it is more confusing for Pomegranate who heads "home," the house where the family lived before the divorce. The sharing of different residences is presented quite matter-of-factly. The parents work together to find Pomegranate when he is lost.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dinner with the Highbrows

DINNER WITH THE HIGHBROWS: A STORY ABOUT GOOD (OR BAD) MANNERS by Kimberly Willis Holt with illustrations by Kyrsten Brooker. Henry Holt, April 2014.

When Bernard is invited to dinner with the Highbrow Family, his mother schools him in proper etiquette and manners. Unfortunately, Mother has not met the Highbrows who escort Bernard into a limo and head off to their favorite restaurant. Great good humor and some important lessons about manners are at the heart of this picture book.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


GRAVITY by Jason Chin. Roaring Brook, April 2014.

Gravity works to
Keep us all anchored to Earth
To keep Earth on course.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Knock, knock! Who's there?

KNOCK KNOCK: MY DAD'S DREAM FOR ME by Daniel Beaty with illustrations by Bryan Collier. LITTLE BROWN, 2013.

When Dad disappears, his son wonders who will help him learn life's lessons, who will be there to teach him to shave? This brief spoken word poem is lovingly illustrated by award winning artist Collier making the reading a multi-layered experience. No matter why fathers are absent, this is a book that might just help fill up the empty hole in a child's life.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


DOT by Randi Zuckerberg with illustrations by Joe Berger.

Dot loves computers
But learns she can swipe, tap,share
In the real world, too.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Making Mischief

THE MISCHIEVIANS by William Joyce. Atheneum 2013.

Want to know where that errant sock disappears when you think it is in the dryer with its mate? Ever been concerned about belly button lint? How about where homework disappears when you know for certain you did it? Look no further. Here is a compendium of The Mischievians, creatures who are responsible for all of the odd things that befuddle and annoy humans. Terrific illustrations emphasize the humor within the text. Look for an APP and a short animated feature from Moonbot Studios shortly.

Friday, November 22, 2013


AXEL THE TRUCK: ROAD RUNNER by J.D. Riley with illustrations by Brandon Dorman. Greenwillow, 2013.

Axel is a truck
That, though small, can really go
Anywhere he wants.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Burning Sky

BURNING SKY by Sherry Thomas. Balzer and Bray, 2013.

Iolanthe is already an accomplished mage. She can control much, but there is still much to learn from her tutor and guardian. However, Prince Titus has other plans for her, plans that might help him destroy the powerfully evil Bane. There is a prophecy that ties Titus to Iolanthe, a strong tie that might put them both in mortal danger. Titus transports Iolanthe to London to Eton where she masquerades as one of the boys at his school. This subterfuge might allow Titus to continue Iolanthe's training. But there is more between Titus and Iolanthe than prophecy. A budding romance might just cause them to forget their troubles or it might mean they will become careless. Neither is wise.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


GENIUS by Seagle and Kristiansen. First Second Books, 2013.

Physicist Ted Marx was a wunderkind, a true genius, one of whom great things was expected. Now that he has reached his 30s, though, things are not the way they were planned to be. His wife is ill; his father-in-law lives with the family; his kids are in the throes of adolescence. Worse still is the pressure on Ted at work to come up with something new or lose his job. Though written for a more adult audience, there is much here to appeal to mature teen readers.

As an aside, I will point out that the reading level of this book is 3rd grade. It is worth one point on an AR test.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Why OH Why?


What are there 365 days in a year? Why is the sky blue? Why are babies and puppies considered universally cute? Answers to these and a multitude of other questions are contained in this terrific book for browsing. Tie in EVERY 60 SECONDS ON EARTH.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Look into the crystal ball

NANCY CLANCY SEES THE FUTURE by Jane O'Connor with illustrations by Robin Preiss Glasser. Harper, 2013.

Nancy sees future.
Or at least she thinks she does.
How will it turn out?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Horrible Home

HOME SWEET HORROR by James Preller with illustrations by Iocopo Bruno. Feiwel and Friends, 2013.

Dad thinks a new home will help Liam and his sister Kelly recover from their mother's death. What Dad did not count on was the house being quite as creepy as it is. At first, Liam and Kelly try to convince themselves that this is simply the nature of old homes. But there is something more malevolent lurking within the walls of this new house, something that threatens Liam's life.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Loony Situation

LOONIVERSE: DINOSAUR DISASRTER by David Lubar with illustrations by Matt Loveridge. Scholastic, 2013.

Careful of wishes
As they might come true bringing
Dinosaurs to life.

Friday, November 15, 2013



Walker is not dealing well with the loss of his older brother, Noah. His mother is wrapped in her own grief. Walker stands outside one evening and asks for help for his mother. When he returns to his bedroom, Jesus is there waiting for him. In spare free verse, the give and take between Walker and Jesus reveals the heart of loss, the true nature of grief, and the power of faith. Koertge's language is rich and powerful. In a phrase he can create an image, summon a memory, or provide assurance that things do get better.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


SPACEHEADZ: SPDHZ 4 LIFE by Jon Scieszka with illustrations by Shane Prigmore. Simon and Schuster, 2013.

The weapon is just about perfected. All it needs is one more brainwave to become fully functional. Unfortunately, there is a fly in this evil ointment: a resistant child whose brain is not so easily manipulated. Michael K. is left to his own devices for defense since everyone else is either under the spell of the Brainwave or off on wild goose chases trying to track down the chief. Can Michael K. persevere?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Merry Days

SANTA CLAUS AND THE THREE BEARS by Maria Modugno with illustrations by Jane and Brooke Dyer. Harper, 2013.

This variation of Goldilocks has the bears head out of the house while their pudding cools. Enter Santa who spies the pudding. In quick succession, you have the eating of the pudding, the breaking of the chair, and the snoozing in the bed. Kids will enjoy this whether they know the story of Goldilocks or not. (Hint: if they do not, remedy that).

DEAR SANTASAURUS by Stacy McNulty with illustrations by Jeff Kaminsky. Boyds Mills Press, 2013.

Ernest begins a year long correspondence with Santasaurus, assuring the jolly dino that he (Ernest) is being a good boy. Of course, the illustrations and asides prove that Ernest might just be omitting some details. All's well by Christmas Eve, though.


Zoomer and his brother pups are using their telescope to keep an eagle eye out for Santa. When a flying saucer touches down in Zoomer's back yard, he and his siblings enjoy some fun with the extraterrestrials. And Zoomer even lends a hand in helping repair their ship. Of course, he is rewarded for his good deed by Santa.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

No Digas Nada, Mama

DON'T SAY A WORD, MAMA (NO DIGAS NADA, MAMA) by Joe Hayes witl illustrations by Esau Andrade Valencia. Cinco Puntos Press, 2013.

Text in English and en Espanol present two sisters whose love for one another sometimes causes some hilarious results.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Facing our fears

FRAIDYZOO by Thyra Heder. Abrams, 2013.

A family trip to the zoo seems impossible given that Little T is afraid to go. Unfortunately, she cannot recall which creature causes such a fearful reaction. So, the family acts out all the various animals hoping to find the one that keep Little T from wanting to join the rest of her family at the zoo. Terrific surprise ending will delight readers.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bunny, very bunny

BATTLE BUNNY by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett with illustrations by Matthew Myers. Simon & Schuster, 2013.

Parody and satire are high forms of humor, and BATTLE BUNNY is one of the best full out parodies I have seen. Basically, Scieszka and Barnett created a vapid book about a special birthday bunny a la Golden Book fame. Then, the book was decimated with many additions transforming a rather dull book for an action packed book with murderous bunny. Be sure to visit this site: where you can create you own Battle Bunny book.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Carrots and Peas

YOU ARE THE PEA AND I AM THE CARROT by J. Theron Elkins with illustrations by Pascal Lemaitre. Abrams, 2013.

Gentle rhymes accompany pencil drawings as two friends talk about how they are bonded through their shared experiences. He is the peanut to her butter; she the salsa to his chip.

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Grumpy Book

GRUMPY CAT: A GRUMPY BOOK. Chronicle Books, 2013.

Who has not loved the various photos of Grumpy Cat roaming the Internet? This book displays cat in all his grumpy best. There are tips for forming the perfect grumpy frown, mazes that are meant to keep pesky dogs from food, and even a Grumpy Cat shopping list. This book is perfect for reluctant readers as well as for fans of the Grumpy Cat.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Poetic views

GOD GOT A DOG by Cynthia Rylant with illustrations by Marla Frazee. Beach Lane, 2013.

I read the poems in this collection when they originally were in GOD WENT TO BEAUTY SCHOOL. I loved the poems that showed the human side of God enormously. Here, with Marla Frazee's illustrations that range in mood and tone, the poems are reborn. God cooks spaghetti for herself; he gets the chance for a one-up at a doctor's visit. The language is ordinary on the surface, but the poems are profound when considered carefully. Brilliant.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Happy Holidays

Celebrate Christmas with some old favorites (Olivia) and some new characters (Fuddles).

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

By the Sea

OCTOPUS ALONE by Divya Srinivasan. Viking, 2013.

Octopus hides so that he is not bothered by the sea horses. Thankfully, he can blend in with his surroundings or squirt black ink to escape. At the end of the day, though, he decides he enjoys the merriment of the sea horses and returns home.

A SINGLE PEARL by Donna Jo Napoli with illustrations by Jim LaMarche. Disney Hyperion, 2013.

A tiny grain of sand is confused when it is sucked into an oyster. Slowly, the grain is coated with layer after layer. One day, a diver pries the pearl from its shell making it feel vulnerable. But when the pearl is given to a young girl, the pearl feels her warmth and love and knows it is, at last, home.

Monday, November 4, 2013

easy reading

THE VELVETEEB RABBIT CHRISTMAS by Maria Barbo with illustrations by Michael Hague. Square Fish, 2013.

Level 1 of the My Readers imprint offers simple stories for emergent readers. Here the Velveteen Rabbit prepares to celebrate Christmas with his owner.

MUMMY MYSTERIES: TALES FROM NORTH AMERICA by Brenda Guiberson. Square Fish, 2013.

This nonfiction book describes how the discovery of mummies had led to other discoveries about man and how he lived. Simple and direct nonfiction can lead students to other books about this topic.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Various and Sundry

THE BLUE BOOK OF FAIRY TALES illustrated by Gordon Laite. Golden Books, 2013.

Originally published in 1987, this book features three familiar tales: Rapunzel, Beauty and the Beast, and Toads and Diamonds.

WHERE IS CATKIN? by Janet Lord with illustrations by Julie Paschkis. Peachtree, 2013.

Originally published in 2010, this is the story of Catkin who seeks out animals he cannot see but only hear.


When last we saw Leo Geo, he was working in his lab. As the story opens, he gets word that a comet is on its way to the space station where his brother, Matt Data, is working. At the space station, Matt Data learns that Leo's computer will turn on him while he is in space. This remarkable book can be read from front to middle and then flipped to read the story from the other perspective.

Friday, November 1, 2013


SPIKE, UGLIEST DOG IN THE UNIVERSE by Debra Frasier. Beach Lane, 2013.

Poor Spike, his owner entered him in an ugly dog contest, and Spike won! Now he is a laughingstock. To make matters worse, his owner abandons Spike. Forlorn, Spike wanders to a neighbor to see if he can find a new home and the love he needs. Collages built from a wide array of fabrics add texture to the illustrations. A lovely surprise at the end will enchant readers.