Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Pip and the Paw of Friendship by Gill Lewis - ADVISABLE

Lewis, Gill Pip and the Paw of Friendship (Puppy Academy #3).  128 pages. CHAPTER BOOK.  Henry Holt and Company (Macmillan), 2016.  $5.99.  Content: Language: G (0 swears) Mature Content: G  Violence: G.

This is the third book in the Puppy Academy series.  Each book spotlights a puppy at Sausage Dreams Puppy Academy who is learning to become a working dog.  In this book, Pip, a Labrador retriever is learning to be an assistance dog. However, he has to earn his Resist Temptation badge and unfortunately, he is easily tempted by ball games.  During a trial period at the training center for assistance dogs, Pip meets Kayla, a girl in a wheelchair.  He must prove to her and himself that he is a worthy assistant pup. 

Filled with lots of black and white illustrations, this book will appeal to any animal lovers out there.  I think readers will enjoy learning about how dogs are trained for different jobs.   Information about assistance dogs and a spotlight on a real life assistance dog is included at the end of the book.

EL (K-3) – ADVISABLE. Reviewer:  Nancy W.

Bob and Tom by Denys Cazet - NO

Cazet, Denys Bob and Tom.  PICTURE BOOK.  Atheneum (Simon), 2017.  $18. 

Bob and Tom are two not very bright turkeys who spend their days puttering around the farm.  How dimwitted are they?  During they day they “lose” their names and think that swimsuits are what help you swim. 

I’m having a hard time understanding the humor in these short vignettes that make up a look at the turkeys’ day.  They read like very elementary Amelia Bedelia books without the actual laughs.

NO – Cindy, Library Teacher

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Romeo, Juliet and Jim by Larry Schwarz and Iva-Marie Palmer –NO

Schwarz, Larry and Palmer, Iva-Marie Romeo, Juliet and Jim 278 pgs. Henry Holt, 2017. $17.99 Content: Language: PG (20 swears: 10A, 10FrechforS) Mature Content: PG13 (Sex w/o details, teen drinking); Violence: G
Romeo and Juliet are already secretly dating in this modern day re-telling. They live in Paris and are the scion of competing enemy fashion houses. They are both wealthy, popular and good looking. They wish they could share their romance with the world, but must keep things secret, sleeping together in seedy motels and using a secret email account. Then just when they are about to be caught, they are saved by a new student to their school, Jim. But it was not accident that Jim was there, and now he questions his loyalties as he starts to fall for Juliet and she for him.
This was hands down one of the worst books I have read for this blog. It was trite, cheesy, shallow, and overly long. Honestly I was to the point where it would have only been more amusing if Jim and Romeo had also fallen in love. Where was the true beautiful longing, the angst, the unfulfilled desire? It was not here. Lots of references to consummated sex (no details), swearing in French, and teenage drinking. Not for a school library, despite the draw of the re-telling.  

HS –NO Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

The Guardians of the Whills (Star Wars) by Greg Rucka –NO

Rucka, Greg The Guardians of the Whills (Star Wars) 234pgs. Disney, 2017. $12.99 Content: Language: G (0 swears) Mature Content: G; Violence: PG
Chirrut and Baze find their life on the planet Jedha very much change after the Empire invasion. Now they just try to survive, and mostly to help an orphanage in whatever way they can. When they join a rebellion, they find their cause in much more need, more children becoming orphans each day. They decide they must move their children off planet, and it won’t be easy, as the rebellion has the empire on high alert.
I was thrilled to get to review this book, I am big fan of this author and his star wars story Smugglers Run was an incredible read. Sadly this was one of the most dry, boring, serious as a tomb, and depressing star wars stories I have ever read. The vocabulary level would make it a better fit for middle school, but I am not sure any student would stick with this story. I feel like the ‘save the children’ plotline is overused in all formats and is especially unappealing to students who haven’t quite hit that mothering/fathering protection phase of their life. If this was a realistic fiction story it would be about an accountant, yawn. So disappointed.

MS –NO Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Golden Legacy by Leonard S. Marcus - GIFT

Marcus, Leonard S. Golden Legacy : The Story of Golden Books, 245 pgs. Penguin Random House, 2007. $40.00. Content: G.  

The history of the Golden Book Empire is well documented in this fully illustrated (more pictures than text actually) coffee table book. From its early beginnings as a small printer in Racine Wisconsin, to its huge nation wide presence in more than just inexpensive picture books, this is a thorough story - people, places, and problems all take center stage.  

If you remember Golden Books as a child, you will find a lot of book covers full of memories and nostalgia, and some great stories about the authors and illustrators.  This is not a children’s book, however, the use of some very advanced vocabulary made it a challenging read.  

ADULT - GIFT  Lisa Librarian

Saturday, August 12, 2017

As Red as Blood by Salla Simukka - OPTIONAL

Simukka, Salla. As Red as Blood, 244 pgs. Crown Books (Random House), 2013. $17.99 Language – R (46 swear, 8 “f”), Mature Content – PG13; Violence – PG13; 

Lumikki likes being on her own, going to school where she no longer has to see the girls who tormented her. As long as Lumikki minds her own business, everyone else leaves her alone. But what if interfering is the right thing to do? What if she finds thousands of euros hanging up to dry in the school’s darkroom? What if that money is drying because blood has been washed off?

The only accurate word that I can use to describe this book is “intense.” As Red as Blood is a thriller that has left me worried and uncertain about what could possibly happen in the rest of the trilogy—but in a good way. Throughout the story, Simukka is continuously changing the point of view being told. The shifts were somewhat confusing, and I wish that Simukka had conveyed more information, i.e., who was now telling the story; however, that confusion did eventually lessen as I became more familiar with the characters. 

HS – OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

Every Color by Erin Kono - ESSENTIAL

Kono, Erin Eitter Every Color. PICTURE BOOK. Dial Books For Young Readers (Penguin), 2016 $16.99.  

Bear is lonely up north where it is white as far as the eye can see.  His winter animal friends devise a plan to cheer him up.  Bear needs some color.  His friend Seagull sends for a little girl to come and take Bear on a colorful world-wide adventure.  When Bear returns to his northern home of white, he realizes it was full of color all along, he just needed someone to help him see it.  

This story not only introduces the different colors of the rainbow, but shows children the different animals living in northern climates.  It even gives children a great introduction to some famous destinations around the world. The illustrations are beautifully drawn and matched to highlight the places Bear visits with a color that best represents what you will see there.  

Pre-K, EL (K-3)--ESSENTIAL Gina, Media Specialist

Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor - OPTIONAL

Taylor, Billy Thieving Weasels, 250 pgs. Dial Books (Penguin Random House), 2016. $17.99 Language – R (97 swears, 1 “f”), Mature Content – PG13; Violence – PG13; 

Skip is living the life he has always wanted: a normal life. Unfortunately, Skip’s family found him and are trying to trap him in their thieving ways again by threatening Skip’s new life—unless he participates in another scam. While Skip tried to leave behind everything he learned from his criminal family, his skills in conning and thieving quickly come back to him, leaving Skip to wonder if a “normal life” will ever be possible.

Thieving Weasels was a quick, fun read for me. The premise is entertaining, and Skip’s inner conflict about using his skills versus trying not to sink to his family’s level of trickery presents surprisingly relatable trains of thought. As much as I enjoyed reading it, I felt that Skip made presumptuous leaps in his logic that I, as the reader, could not always follow during the falling action and resolution of the book. This made the conclusion feel too fast for me. 

HS – OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen