April 2008 Reviews
First Thursday Book Review Center
April 2008 Reviews-Jane Cothron
Springer, Nancy. The case of the bizarre bouquets : an Enola Holmes mystery.
(Philomel, c2008): 170 p. ISBN 9780399245183 $14.99 Ages 12-up. P7Q7
Enola, the younger sister of Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes, investigates the mysterious disappearance of Dr. Watson. Through her astute observations of the Watson household and deciphering the contents of an ominous, anonymously delivered flower arrangement, she unravels the threads of the mystery.
Throughout the book, mention is made of the power of husbands to commit wives to insane asylums, the power of sons and husbands to limit the choices
of girls and women, of the limited choices granted women in Victorian England. Enola's disguise-a pretty, fashionably dressed young woman- elicits comments on the ways in which male response to perceived femininity and class limits female options, and mention is made of the restrictive quality of skirts on her physical behavior.
Vaught, Susan. Big fat manifesto. (Bloomsbury, c2008): 308 p. ISBN 1-59990-206-0 / 9781599902067 $16.95 Ages 14-18. P8Q8
High school senior Jamie Carcaterra is fat-really fat-and her family is not rich. So, her strategy for college is to win the National Feature Award by writing a series of Fat Girl features for the high school paper. She is
also in the school production, The Wiz, as Evillene, the wicked witch. When her overweight boyfriend decides to have bariatric surgery to lose weight before he graduates, she supports his decision and comes to face her own fears. The Fat Girl articles are interspersed throughout the text, creating an interesting tension between the first person observations and the flow of the story.
Singer, Marilyn. Eggs. Illustrated by Emma Stevenson. (Holiday House, c2008): 32 p. : color illustrations. Includes glossary, source notes, list of resource organizations with web sites, and index. ISBN 9780823417278 / 0823417271 $16.95 Ages 7-11. P8Q8
An illustrated introduction to the variety of animals that lay eggs, accompanied by illustrations of many of the animals and the eggs. The two-page spread illustrating the development and hatching of a bird embryo is an excellent example of the clean layout and clear captioning found throughout the book. Highly recommended for elementary school and public
Urbigkit, Cat. The shepherd's trail. (Boyds Mills Press, c2008): 32 p. : color illustrations. ISBN 9781590785096 $16.95 Ages 7-9. P8Q7
An introduction to a year in the life of a Wyoming sheepherder and the flock, with color pictures of sheep, landscapes, dogs, and the men and women
who work them. Captions to the illustrations are informative. I found myself both wanting more information and wondering at the length of some of
the entries-possibly too long for the audience; however, the cuteness factor of the lambs will carry the book. Recommended for elementary school and
public library collections.
Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers
April 2008 Reviews by N.W
Nivola, Claire A. Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai. Farrar, 2008. $16.95. 978-0-374-39918-4. unp. Ages 5-8: “Remember what millions of hands can do.” This is the legacy left by the winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize and founder of the Green Belt Movement. Despite personal danger, she persuaded first the women and then other Kenyan citizens to replant the destroyed trees and save the remaining Kenyan forests. The delicate and detailed watercolors and lyrical narrative provide a story which shows that everyone can make a difference and regenerate a country from devastation—without government assistance. This necessary lesson comes from the person who understands the need to save the land so that it will care for the people. P9Q9
Shields, Charles J. I Am Scout: The Biography of Harper Lee. Holt, 2008. $18.95. 978-8050-8334-7. 246p. Ages 13+: Much to the amazement of its citizens, two famous writers from the twentieth century, Truman Capote and Nelle Harper Lee, came from Monroeville, Alabama, a small sleepy Southern town. Shields has abridged his adult biography of the author of To Kill a Mockingbird and added some definitions for younger readers to market it for this audience. Sadly, the result is somewhat stuffy and dull, particularly tragic because Lee is a strong, unconventional person who followed her own path in life. An extensive index will make this useful for schoolwork or for lovers of her only novel who wish to learn about parts of her life. P4Q7
Horowitz, Dave. Twenty-Six Princesses. Putnam, 2008. $15.99. 978-0-399-24606-4. unp. Ages 3-6: In this alphabet book, 26 unsuitable princesses attend the ball put on by His Highness the Prince, a frog. Drawings, meant to be humorous, and brief rhyming statements (i.e., “Princess Nell. What is that smell?”) all present negative aspects of the princesses, and the collection culminates in their being “a royal pain in the alphabet.” Fortunately, there are hundreds of other alphabet books. P8Q3
Bernheimer, Kate. The Girl in the Castle inside the Museum. Il. Nicolette Ceccoli. Schwartz & Wade Books, 2008. $16.99. 978-0-375-83606-0. unp. Ages 4-8: Lovely ethereal illustrations of acrylics, clay, photos, and digital media, provide the background for a thin, story about a princess who lives in a castle inside a glass globe inside the museum and dreams of visitors. One page invites the reader to “leave a picture of yourself here for me.” Her first children’s book, Bernheimer has published two novels for adults. The illustrator’s awards include the Andersen Prize, honoroing her as the best children’s book illustrator in Italy. With their unique perspectives and complex, dreamy qualities, the pictures in this book show a great talent. P7Q7
Breen, Steve. Violet the Pilot. Dial, 2008. $16.99. 978-0-8037-3125-7. unp. Ages 5-9: An inventor with a flair for the air but unpopular at school, Violet Van Winkle hopes that a blue ribbon from an upcoming Air Show will change their minds. With the help of her dog, Orville, she embarks on the project only to fail—because she saves an entire Boy Scout troop caught in the river’s rapids. Watercolor and pencil illustrations enhanced by Photoshop bring out the gentle humor of Violet’s adventures in a charming fantasy. P8Q8
Drummond, Alan. Tin Lizzie. Farrar, 2008. $16.95. 978-0-374-32000-3. unp. Ages 5-8: Lively watercolor/line drawings and prose combine the history of the car and the problems caused by today’s motor-obsessed world when Grandpa gives his four grandchildren a trip in his carefully preserved Model T Ford. Small, sketch illustrations make this book more suitable of individual reading rather than group presentation, and safety doesn’t seem to be an issue when the dog almost jumps out of the moving car. Grandpa’s positive belief that “you gotta have wheels” and his statement that the children need to work it out themselves for their future doesn’t provide a model attitude for the young ones, but the book does provide food for thought about our dilemma.
Liao, Jimmy. The Blue Stone: A Journey through Life. Adaptation based on trans. Sarah L. Thomson. Little, 2008. $16.99. 978-0-316-11383-0. unp. Ages 4-8: A large blue stone peacefully lying in a forest is cut in two, starting its journey as its heart breaks every time it is carved into another—and smaller—creation. As it passes from one incarnation to another, its presence affects those around him until all that is left is minute particles which return to the forest and join the remaining half of the stone. Rich vibrant watercolors provide the quality of the book; the adaptation is the weaker part. P8Q8
Rodriguez, Edel. Sergio Makes a Splash! Little, 2008. $15.99. 978-0-316-06616-8. unp. Ages 3-7: For everyone who loves water—but not the deep kind!—Sergio shows the way to overcome this fear: it just takes one splash. Teal, gold, and black woodblocks combined with lots of humor from the penguin species provides a great lesson for all—just jump in! P9Q9
Millard, Glenda. Kaito’s Cloth. Il. Gaye Chapman. Philomel, 2006. [First American edition in 2008] $15.99. 978-0-399-24797-2. unp. Ages 5-8: When the butterflies disappear, Kaito takes a long journey with few in her basket to see the Lord of Flight, hoping that he might give them life for one more flight. Because he cannot grant her wish, she returns home to create a simulated feeling of flight with cloth and silk thread. Lucious Asian-influenced watercolors cause a fantasy world of butterflies, castles, and mountains with a large teal insect Lord of Flight to soar above the narration. P7Q7
Hague, Michael. In the Small: The Will to Survive Is All That Remains…. Little, 2008. $12.99. 978-0-316-01322-2. 124p. Ages 12+: In a chilling future world, a mysterious blue light flash shrinks all of humanity to less than six inches tall while everything else stays the same size. The change brings out the best and worst of people as a teenage brother and sister take the lead in the quest to overcome the dark force while the ending promises a sequel. P9Q8
Avi. The Seer of Shadows. HarperCollins, 2008. $17.89. 978-0-06-000016-5. 202p. Ages 9-12: A photographer’s apprentice, 14-year-old Horace, finds himself able to photograph ghosts in portraits and becomes embroiled in his master’s plot to defraud a wealthy society woman in 1872 New York. The deceit turns on the man when Horace discovers from an African-American servant that the supposedly “beloved” daughter was neither daughter nor loved, that her aunt and uncle had starved her to death. The plot moves quickly despite the for the somewhat formal language, but the details break down sometimes, i.e., the lack of filth that the two teenagers accumulate despite entering a house through a coal chute. The appeal is to lovers of historical fiction and moderately mystic fiction. P7Q7
Beaufrand, Mary Jane. Primavera. Little, 2008. $16.99. 978-0-316-01644-6. 260p. Ages 13+: The violence of the Italian Renaissance, the tyranny of the Medici family during the late 1400s, and the cruelty of society toward women at this time are the backdrop for a story about the wealthy banking family, Pazzi, who were caught up in an assassination conspiracy. The narrator is the youngest daughter, Flora, who falls in love with one of her father’s soldiers while her older sister is marked for fame when she is painted by the famed artist Botticelli. In this debut novel, the author has skillfully woven the intrigues of Italy’s states with the brutality resulting from the power struggles of the time while delineating the coming-of-age angst of a young girl, despised by her mother, who fights her family’s directives of going to a convent. P7Q8
Staples, Suzanne Fisher. The House of Djinn. Farrar, 2008. $16.95. 978-0-374-39936-8. 207p. Ages 13+: Contemporary Pakistan is the backdrop for the sequel to Shabanu and Haveli, as Mumtaz, Shabanu’s daughter, discovers that her mother is alive, forced to live in a pavilion atop a house in hiding from her murdering brother-in-law, and that Jameel, Mumtaz’s friend and cousin from America, is destined to be her husband and the new tribal leader. Staples’ prose is rich in description of setting and character as well as thorough in providing the background for Pakistani history and patriarchial culture. P7Q9
Yep, Laurence with Dr. Kathleen S. Yep. The Dragon’s Child: A Story of Angel Island. HarperCollins, 2008. $16.89. 978-06-027693-5. 133p. Ages 8-12: The famed Chinese-American author who has written many books about the struggles of the Chinese who came to the United States in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has collaborated with his niece to tell about his father’s trip from China in 1922. Traveling with his father to San Francisco in 1922, nine-year-old Gim Lew Yep is terrified that he may not get into the country because he is left-handed, he stutters, and, most of all, he may not pass the strict immigration test administered at Angel Island. Simple language tells of the courage needed to face the obstacles that immigrants coming to the country’s east coast were not forced to endure. Poignant but not maudlin, the novel provides an important part of American culture. P5Q8
Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers
April 2008 Reviews by M.D.
Ephron, Delia. Frannie in Pieces … Save the Blues for Last Drawings By Chad W. Beckerman. Laura Geringer Books Harper Teen. . New York.978-0-06-074717-6 2007. $ 17.89 Grades 7-10th 374 pgs. P7/Q6
Frannie’s father dies and she is cleaning out his apartment when she finds a hand made jigsaw puzzle in a beautifully carved box with her name carved on the cover. She spends every free minute working on the puzzle. The later she stays up the more strange things happen. She becomes part of the puzzle and is transferred to Italy the landscape of the puzzle and figures out that her parents conceived her while they were in Italy. She learns to come to terms with her father’s death and tolerate her mother and his new husband. She finds a boyfriend at the summer camp she is working at for her summer job. The format of the story is very difficult to read because it flips back and forth from dream state to real life. It was a hard book to follow and finish
Paratore, Coleen Murtagh The Cupid Chronicles – The Wedding Planner’s Daughter Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. New York.978-1-4169-0867-8 2006. $15.95. Grades 6-9th 207 pgs. P7/Q7
Willa a thirteen-year-old wants to save the Bramble, Cape Cod library and works with her friends to plan and pull off dances to earn money for the save the library fund. Her mom and step dad now runs a bed and breakfast and help with the monthly dances. Some of the more wealthy patrons give lots of money to help save the library. She matches up perfectly with a junior boy who is her new boyfriend. The book was a fun quick read and would be enjoyed by most young girl readers.
Pagliarulo, Antonio. The Celebutants – On the Avenue Delacorte Press. New York.978-0-385-73404-2 2007. $9.99. Grades 8-12 P8/Q8
Madison, Park and Lexington Hamilton the triplets are heiresses to a billion dollar Media Empire and are part of the New York’s social scene. They are sixteen and are involved in a murder mystery of Zahara Bell the fashion icon is found dead in the coat closet. They figure out how to clear their names and start their sister’s new clothing line despite all of the negative publicity. This was a very fast enjoyable read. I was able to read this book in just one day during a car ride.
Allen, Joy. Baby Signs pictures by Joy Allen. The Penguin Group. New York. 978-0-8037-3193-6 2008. $6.99. 1-4 ages. 13 pgs. P7/Q8
This is a card board sign language book for babies with simple words in bright colors. The book also tells the reader how to make the sign and a little drawing of what the sign would look like is included. Fun cute pictures are part of this book.
Wilson, Sarah. Friends and Pals and Brothers, Too illustrated by Leo Landry. Henry Holt and Company. New York. 978-0-8050-7643-1 2008. Pre-school to Grade 2. 20 pgs. P7/Q7
The illustrations are cute and fun depicting two African American brothers. The story is written in short rhyming sentences. It talks about petting strange cats which may be an unsafe example for some young readers. It talks about how the brothers are different and alike and how that is ok.
Robberecht, Thierry Sam Tells Stories illustrated by Philippe Goossens. Clarion Books. New York. 978-0-618-73280-7 2005. $12.00. Grade k-3rd P7/Q7
Sam just moved to a new school and makes up lies so people will like him. He tells lies to his brother and parents. After awhile he feels bad about it and decides to stop lying and only tell the truth. He tells his friends that it wasn’t true and they still play with him. I liked how the story showed the consequences of misbehavior and how he fixed his problem
Book Reviews April 2008 A.G.
Jones, Patrick. Chasing Tail Lights. NY: Walker Books, 2007. 304 pp ages 14 up ISBN 0-8027-9628-1 P8/Q8
Christy is part of a family that goes beyond the average dysfunction. One brother is in prison for gang activities. Her mother is a somewhat flat character, alcoholic and not present even when she is at home. Her father died 8 years before the story takes place, and she has no one to defend her against Ryan, her exceptionally abusive big brother. The story is about how she grows to the point where she has to take control of her life and not just “chase tail lights”. It goes back and forth between present day and various critical parts of her past (which chapters were printed in italics and a bit hard to read page after page). The book is pretty fast-paced, and is a page-turner to the very last line, which gives a satisfying conclusion.
Birney, Betty G. Surprises According to Humphrey. NY: GP Putnam, 2008. $14.99 135 pp. ages 8-10 ISBN 978-0-399-24730-9 P7/Q7
Humphrey is a golden hamster kept by a third grade (?) class. He’s smarter than the average hamster, taking notes with a little notebook and learning the class material along with the kids. His trips home with different students on the weekends provide for a change of scene. This is one of a series of stories about Humphrey. They are designed for the early chapter book reader. The theme is surprises, including getting a substitute janitor or a new hamster ball. Most of the story’s message regards how students get along with each other.
Ferguson, Alane. The Circle of Blood. NY: Viking, 2008. $15.99 236 pp. ages 14 up ISBN 978-0-670-06056-6 P8/Q8
This forensic mystery should appeal to the Crime Scene Investigators fans; it’s a forensic mystery involving a teenage assistant to the coroner (who happens to be her father) in a small Colorado town. The details of the crime scenes and autopsies give a modern relevance to science. At the same time, the murder story that unfolds is true to the police procedural genre. The story is fast-paced and involving. As a Patricia Cornwell fan, I found the book similar but a much faster read and more potentially appealing to the teen reader. The ending is a cliffhanger, a la horror movies, and will make the reader want to rush out and find the next book in the Cameryn series.
Plummer, Louise. Finding Daddy. NY: Delacorte Press (Random House), 2007. $15.99 165 pp. ages 14 up ISBN 978-0-385-73092-1 P7/Q7
What looks like it might be another problem-of-the-week novel ends up being a horror story. Mira, age 15, has always wondered about her father. Her mother and grandmother say only nice things about him, but he is entirely out of their life, and they won’t give any more detail. Mira determines to find him on her own. As in all classic horror movies, the reader wants to scream, “Don’t do it you idiot!” The story moves along, keeping the interest of the reader, and also provides a story-based guideline about contacting people through the internet.
Gutman, Dan. The Homework Machine. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2006. $15.95 146 pp. ages 8-12 ISBN 976-0-689-87678-3 P7/Q7
This large-print chapter book tells the story from many people’s points of view, some of the entries being only a couple of paragraphs long. The story follows a brainy student who invents a “homework machine”: They scan in a homework page and it prints out the answers. Even some good students who hook into it find themselves relying on the machine, freeing them to use their time in other ways. Eventually there’s the foreshadowed crunch that makes them wish they hadn’t used it. The story has drama (how will they be found out? will it matter?) and the characters are familiar types, and they do show some personal growth over the course of the book.
Goodman, Susan E. & Doolittle, Michael J. Motorcycles. [Step into Reading Step 3] NY: Random House, 2007. $3.99 48 pp. ages 6-8 ISBN 978-0-375-84116-3 P9/Q9
This early reading book is lavishly illustrated with lively and colorful photographs of people riding different kinds of motorcycles. It is not so much a book about the technology as a reading book with a high-interest subject. Every primary classroom and library should get a copy of this one: It will appeal to a portion of the class which is hard to convince to read fluffy bunny books. Young students seeing it have grabbed it out of my hands.
Broyles, Anne. Illus. by Anna Alter. Priscilla and the Hollyhocks. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2008. $15.95 30 pp. ages 6-9 ISBN 978-1-57091-675-6 P7Q7
This is a touching story of a black slave girl in the early 1800’s in the southeastern US. All she has to remember of her mother, who was sold down the river, is the hollyhock plants she loved. Priscilla collects the seeds and plants them whenever she has to move, creating a bit of familiar comfort wherever she is. The exceptional part of this story is that she ends up with a Cherokee family and is forced on the Trail of Tears with her masters. It tells a bit of history while focusing on the way that people cope with hardship. The illustrations are a bit primitive, a’ la Grandma Moses, and the language is such that it will probably have to be read aloud to the young student.
Cirrone, Dorian. Prom Kings and Drama Queens. NY: Harper Collins, 2008. $17.89 200 pp. ages 12-15 ISBN 978-0-06-114373-1 P8/Q7
There must be a subgenre of teen novels about Prom. This one at least takes it in a slightly different direction, promoting an alternative to the conformist, expensive prom tradition. The protagonist, Emily, is a student journalist who is competing in tandem with "nerd" Daniel with others for the expected promotion to co-editor of the school paper. To get the post, they must come up with an original treatment for the annual Prom story. Most of the novel is about social climbing vs social enlightenment, with the non-conformist grandmother of heart throb jock Brian next door providing the ideal of thinking for oneself. The book will probably appeal more to middle school than high school.
May 2008 Reviews
First Thursdays Book Review L.R. for Siletz Library
Laser, Michael. Cheater. Dutton Children’s Books, 2008. 231 pgs. Ages 14-18. ISBN 9780525478263 $16.99 P6 Q8
Karl Petrofsky is one of those students for whom academics has always been easy. The other students in his high school call him “Einstein,” and “the geek god.” So he has never considered cheating on a test or had any reason to. This changes when a group of “cool” kids pressure him to help them cheat. In a rash moment of rebellion and lust for one of the girls in the cool group, he agrees and goes through with it. The plot thickens with an evil, over-zealous vice principal and the story gets pretty interesting. The characterizations of the teens are very good and most of the adults are reasonable, but the vice principal comes off as being positively Disney-ish. There must be hopes of turning this into a screenplay. But it is a good read, and one that boys and girls would enjoy. I would buy it for a library.
Moeyaert, Bart. Dani Bennoni: Long May He Live. Front Street, U. S. edition 2008. 93 pgs. Ages 15 and up. ISBN 9781932425970 $16.95 P2 Q7
Belgian Bart Moeyaert has excellent prospects as a playwright. Unfortunately, Dani Bennoni is a short novel and the reader is left wanting to see the characters to interpret the enigmatic actions. We know that the main character, Bing, is a 10 year old boy who misses his conscripted soldier brother desperately. Because his brother was a good soccer player, he wants Dani, another soccer player in town to teach him to play. Dani refuses, and Bing and his friend use devious methods to try to get him to change his mind. But who is using who in this story? By the end, you have the hint that Dani is a sexual predator, or at least a deviant, who is using the two boys. The book jacket tells us that the story takes place in 1939, in Belgium, but the book doesn’t tell us that, and gives us no clues by description of dress or everyday items, except for mention of a Ford truck---this could be Montana for all we know. It is sparse, intense writing, but probably won’t be a popular read with youth. It might be a good acquisition for the adult section of the library.
Cummings, Pat. Harvey Moon, Museum Boy. HarpersCollins Publishers, 2008. unpgd. Ages 3-7. ISBN 9780060578619 $17.89 P9 Q9
The author is the illustrator for this book and, though the story isn’t bad, she is definitely a talented illustrator. It is a very simple story of a young boy who goes to a museum (definitely based on the Brooklyn Museum---I was just there!) and gets locked in for the night. Of course, the exhibits come alive and he narrowly escapes with his life.(A plot we’ve seen before!) In the humorous ending, his story is made into a movie, but everything is changed. The adults will enjoy that little twist. The pictures are just wonderful and there are lots of fun things a reader can point out to a young child. It will make a great storytime book, or a lapsitter book. Buy it.
Weatherford, Carole Boston. Before John Was a Jazz Giant. Il. Sean Qualls. Henry Holt and Company, 2008. unpgd. Ages 3-6. ISBN9780805079944 $16.95 P2 Q4
This short picture book is about John Coltrane as a small boy and how listening carefully to all the sounds of life going on about him contributed to his musical genius. The colors in the illustrations are mostly muted, jazzy blues and the renderings of the people are unusual. The main characters have big heads and little, almost stick-like bodies, and people in the background are mere shadows. This book is okay, but there are much better books about jazz available. Several have been reviewed in our own group. I would spend the $17 on one of those other books.
Oregon Coast Preview Center for Young Readers
May 2008 by S. E. Grandparent Volunteer
McMullan, Margaret, When I Crossed No-Bob. Houghton Mifflin Co. NY. 2007. 209p. ISBN 13 9780618717156. $16.00. Ages 10-14. Addy is abandoned by her parents and is taken in by a newly married school teacher and his new bride. It takes place post civil war and it is catch as catch can for youngsters abandoned by parents who can no longer afford to feed or care for them. Addy’s kin are looked down on in the town for being low life and thieves and Addy is forced to try to make it on her own and to get past the bad name of her kin. The KKK is becoming more and more outspoken and when she witnesses a killing by the Klan, her father is one of those that she has to testify against. It is a beautifully written story of a young girl coming of age in a country just emerging from the ravages of the Civil War and who has to rise above her family’s bad name and prove herself worthy. I would like to see this book in the middle schools. It is a story of courage and will and warmth and it shows how young people can survive anything that has come before them. Q9P8
Soman, David and Jacky Davis. Ladybug Girl. Dial Books for young readers, Published by the Penguin Group NY. 2008. ISBN 9780803731950. Ages K-1. $16.99. Lulu and her dog Bingo have nothing to do and after being put down by her older brother who is going to play baseball, she has to invent something that she and her dog can do besides being bored and so she becomes...Ladybug Girl...who can help ants cross a great rock and can help repair a crumbly old wall and finds she can have more fun than her brother who is playing ball and arguing with his friends. It is a good read aloud book. Q8P8
Rohmann, Eric, A Kitten Tale. Alfred A Knopf, an imprint of Random House Inc. NY. 2008. ISBN 9780517709153. Ages k-1. $15.99. A very cute read aloud book about four kittens, three of whom are dreading the first snow and the fourth just can’t wait. When it finally snows, the fourth kitten is outside having lots of fun and the other three can’t stand watching him have so much fun and go out and join him. I’d like to see this in our schools. It shows how just one can influence the many. Q8P8
Geras, Adele, Il. Shelagh McNicholas, Little Ballet Star. Dial Books for Young Readers, A division of Penguin Young Readers Group. N.Y. 2007. ISBN 9780803732377. Ages K-3. A wonderful story about a young girl who aspires to being a ballerina just her aunt. She practices and does what she is told and when her aunt’ big night comes to do the part of Sleeping Beauty, the whole audience applauds after her performance at which time she introduces her niece to the audience and does some twirls and gives the young ballerina the impetus to become more. A very easy and nice read and will be popular among the young ballerinas at every school. Q8P9
Banks, Kate, Il.Boris Kulikov, Max’s Dragon. Douglas & McIntyre Ltd. 2008. ISBN 9780374399214. Ages K-3. Max is a young boy who likes to rhyme when he talks. His brothers laugh at him and make fun of him when he says he is talking to his dragon...his brothers tell him there is no such thing as dragons until they look up in the sky to where Max is seeing his dragon being chased by a dinosaur cloud and his brothers see it too. The sky gets dark and the rain comes and it starts storming and Max tells his brothers that the only way they can save the dinosaur is to rhyme their words too. So they all start rhyming and they save the dragon. They also start playing with Max. Q8P8
Book Reviews May 2008
B.R. Yaquina View Elementary
Jenkins, Martin. Ape. Ils. By Vicky White. Candlewick Press, c2007. ISBN 0763634719. Unp. $16.99. PreS.-3rd. (Q8, P9)
A very simpley written book about the orangutan, bonbo, gorilla and chimp. It does not give much information, but enough for the younger students. The pictures, done in black and white with a few shades of brown and grey, are also very simple without a lot of other items on the pages. A good book for the beginning of a report.
Bunting, Eve. Mouse Island. Ills. by Dominic Catalano. Boyds Mills Press, c2008.
ISBN 1590784472. Unp. $15.95. PreS-3rd. (Q8, P8)
An enchanting story about a lonely mouse, who does not know he is lonely. Mouse lives on an island all by himself. Although he is happy something is missing. One day a passing ship sinks and Mouse saves a creature from drowning. He had saved a CAT! But Cat is grateful and the two learn to live together.
Madison, Alan. The Littlest Grape Stomper. Ills. by Giselle Potter. Schwartz & Wade Books, c2007. ISBN 0375836756. Unp. $16.99. PreS-2nd. (Q8, P7)
Having six toes, Sixto had trouble finding shoes that fit, but he can really kick a ball. When the devious Boss Boombatz, who owns the local grape juice factory, sees Sixto, he wants him to stomp grapes for him. Sixto was allowed to do nothing but stomp grapes all summer. He finally grew tired of not having any fun with his friends and tried to quit. Boombatz convinced him to stomp one last tub. The tub was so big that it took six days and six nights to complete. When the cork came out the bottom of the tub all the juice flowed out making the Great Lakes. This is a funny tall tale to read to children.
Hamilton, Kersten. Red Truck. Ills. by Valeria Petrone. Viking, c2008. ISBN 0670062758
Unp. $15.99. PreS-1st. (Q7, P6)
When the school bus gets stuck in the snow, it is the Red Truck to the rescue. A charming story with bright colorful illustrations will entice young children to pick up this book.
Issa,Kobayashi. today and today. Ills. by G. Brian Karas. Scholastic Press, c2007.
ISBN 0439590787. Unp. $16.99. 1st-3rd. (Q7, P5)
Although Issa Kobayashi died in 1838 his haiku poems live on in this beautifully illustrated book by G. Brian Karas. This book tells of a year in one family’s life, expressing both joy and sorrow.
Merz, Jennifer J. Playground Day!. Clarion Books, c2007. ISBN 0618816968. Unp. $16.00.
PreS-2nd. (Q8, P9)
A romp through the playground, this book makes a simple guessing game interesting, with verses such as “Stretching, swaying, jungle playing, I climb like a …” The collage art work, made from cut and torn paper, makes one want to touch the pages to see if it has texture.
Young, Amy. Belinda Begins Ballet. Viking, c2008. ISBN 0670062448. Unp. $15.99.
PreS-2nd. (Q8, P7)
Belinda was a tiny girl except for one thing. Her feet were very big. She was excellent at many things, skiing without skis, reaching the cookie jar on her tip toes, even playing soccer. There were things that were hard to do, jumping rope, playing hopscotch, and shopping for pretty shoes. Still Belinda was okay with her long feet until Mrs. Rhino, her teacher, cast her as the clown in the school talent show. One day Belinda saw a ballerina practicing, she went home and practiced. Soon she became good and when she preformed in the talent show, she was superb. This story is about self-confidence and learning to turns lemons into lemonade.
Siy, Alexandra. One Tractor, a counting book. Ills. by Jacqueline Rogers. Holiday House, c2008. ISBN 0823419231. Unp $16.95. PreS-K. (Q8, P7)
With its rhyming text and colorful artwork this book takes one little boy through the numbers in a most fantastical way. Counting the airplanes, cranes, trucks, trains as they push, scrape, doze, roll etc. will keep children happy as they learn their numbers.
Capucilli, Alyssa Satin. Biscuit and the Little Pup. Ills. by Pat Schories. Harper Collins, c2008. ISBN 0060741716. Unp. $17.89. PreS-1st. (Q8, P8)
Biscuit finds a small puppy in the park and wants to play but the little pup doesn’t want to come out. Trying to entice little pup out Biscuit offers share his ball and then his bone. Still little pup does not come out. Finally he plays hide-and-seek and little pup comes out. This book has simple sentences for new readers, a high-interest level. A great way for that new reader to develop into reading chapter books.
Adler, David A. Bones and the Math Test Mystery. Ills. by Barbara Johansen Newman. Viking, c2008. ISBN 0670062626. 32 pgs. $13.99. PreS-2nd. (Q8, P8)
Bones, the detective, has lost his math test and his teacher wants him to redo it. Since Bones does not like doing math, he decided to put his detective brain in working order and find the missing test. He does find the test but realizes he had done a horrible job on the test the first time he does redo it. This is a Level 2 book and has short sentences and simple dialogue which helps young children learn to read.
Grahm, Christine. Three Little Robbers. Ills. by Susan Boase. Henry Holt & Company, c2007. ISBN 0805080945. 63 Pgs. $16.95. PreS-2nd. (Q8, Pp8)
Jo, Flo and Mo are three little robbers who rob everyone who comes down the lane. Soon nobody comes down the lane so they decide to rob the old lady who lives on the hill. When they break down her door and find she has nothing to take they develop a plan help her. The three little robbers soon realize it is fun and makes them feel good to do good things to help people.
A really great illustration of no matter how bad off one is that someone out there may be in more need and it feels good to help.
First Thursday Book Review Center
May 2008 Reviews—J.C.
Bar-el, Dan. Such a prince. Illustrated by John Manders. Clarion Books, c2007. ISBN 9780618714681 / 0618714685 $16.00 Ages 4-8. P8Q7
You all know the story—the first and second sons (or daughters, for that matter) are rude to the fairy (witch, wizard, etc.) that they meet in the wood, and are punished for their arrogant ways. The, the youngest son, who is polite and persistent, does the fairy a favor, perseveres through the myriad tasks set by the princess’s father, and wins her hand in marriage, along with half (or more) the kingdom. Although text-heavy, the amusing illustrations and improbable solutions perk up this retelling of the traditional fairy tale. Recommended for elementary and public library collections.
Gall, Chris. There’s nothing to do on Mars. Little, Brown, c2008. ISBN 0316166847 / 9780316166843 $16.99 Ages 4-8. P7Q7.
Relying on the pictorial style of mid-20th century comic books, stylized illustrations depict the adventures of Davey Martin, a bored boy dragged from Earth to dusty, stormy Mars by his parents. Davey and his robot dog Polaris head out on his flying scooter to hunt for real, live Martians, and in the process, discover the secret of the ancient Martian canals. Designed to appeal to boys. Recommended for elementary school and public library collections.
Bauer, Joan. Peeled. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, release date May 2008. Review from Advance uncorrected proof. 256 p. ISBN 9780399234750 $16.99 Ages 14-up. P7Q8
High school reporter Hildy Biddle investigates the ghostly shenanigans around the old Ludlow house, discovering links to a big-city corporation trying to steal family farms in order to build a haunted house theme park. Small town independence and dogged persistence save the day. Bauer’s depiction of Midwestern rural and small town life is, as usual, spot-on. Recommended for public, middle and high school libraries.
Thomson, Sarah L. Dragon’s egg. Greenwillow Books, c2007. 267 p. ISBN 978006128487 $16.99 “Ages 8-12.” P7Q8
Mella, the inn keeper’s daughter, is a dragonkeeper, heir to her grandmother’s talent, and keeper of the inn’s flock of egg-producing dragons. When she finds an unusual stone—actually, a dragon’s egg--in the forest, a giant, fire-breathing, ‘mythical’ dragon, dying of his wounds, gives her the task of delivering the egg to the dragons’ enclave high in the mountains. With the help of Roger, a squire, Mella manages to keep the egg safe from dangers posed by humans as well as the physical rigors of the journey. An engaging, well-written fantasy. Recommended for public, elementary and middle school libraries.
First Thursdays Book Review Group
S.G. for Siletz Library
Kay, Julia. Gulliver Snip. Amelia May Anderson. Henry Holt and Company, 2008. unpgd. Ages 5-8. ISBN 9780805079920 $16.95. P8Q8
The children at my story time really liked this book. It is a story about a young boy who believes his bathtub is actually a clipper ship. As the “bath” progresses, so do Gulliver’s adventures. His ship sinks (bathtub overflows) and he ends up in the family room living out his imaginary voyage where he climbed a tree to escape a fierce tiger (the tree is really a lamp). Parallel pictures show the two different accounts of the story. The right page shows what is actually happening- playing in a bathtub, while the left page shows what is happening in Gulliver’s imagination- sailing his clipper ship in the vast sea. Most children can relate to pretending to be or doing something other than taking a bath. Julia Kat dedicated the book “to those who take adventures instead of taking baths,” which I believe sums up Gulliver Snip.
Macken, JoAnn Early. Flip, Float, Fly: Seeds on the Move. Pam Paparone. Holiday House, 2008. unpgd. Ages 5-8. ISBN 9780823420438 $16.95. P9Q8
The children at my story time LOVED this book. The story follows different kinds of seeds through various weather patterns to show how seeds are spread around the world. The book boosts poetic descriptions with detailed, accurate drawing of actual plants, trees, and seeds. Maple seeds whirl and twirl in a breeze- like shiny green helicopters, spinning and spinning. Every child at the story time had thrown a Maple seed and experienced this same sensation. Lots of discussion came from this book’s language and pictures. The book also ends with a picture glossary that named and defined the different parts of a plant, as well as, seeds, nuts, fruits, and seedpods. This truly is a book where science meets poetry and children can experience both.
Fleming, Denise. Buster goes to Cowboy Camp. David Rogers. Henry Holt and Company, 2008. unpgd. Ages 4-6. ISBN 9780805078923 $16.95. P5Q5
The children at my story time were slightly confused by this story. The story is told by a dog (Buster) and is about his time at an overnight doggie camp (Cowboy Camp). Initially Buster isn’t very happy about going to Cowboy Camp and leaving his home, his friend (Betty the cat), and Brown Shoes (his owner). Buster begins to enjoy pawing painting, chasing balls, and collecting firewood for the big campfire. The back cover also includes a glossary for the cowpoke words used within the story. The children were confused by the concept of an overnight camp for dogs while their owners are away, as well as, the cowpoke words used throughout the story. While the children liked the pictures, the story itself wasn’t one of their favorites.