Saturday, January 20, 2018

Little Pinto and the Wild Horses of Mustang Canyon by Jonathan London - OPTIONAL

London, Jonathan  Little Pinto and the Wild Horses of Mustang Canyon  Illustrated by Daniel San Souci  PICTURE BOOK Candlewick Press, 2017.  $6.99  Content: G.  

A little pinto foal is born in the desert.  His family is a band of mustangs led by the stallion, White Face.  They go to find water, but while there a plane tries to round them up and the little foal falls into the river.  The foal is able to get himself up to the other side, and his mom goes to get him.  White Face leads the band back to the mountains and they are able to stay together.  

The illustrations of the horses and canyons is the best part of this book.  The story line reads choppy and almost like a poem.  My second grade son who loves horses didn’t love this book-I think it was confusing to have the plane chase the horses without any understanding and it doesn’t say where the plane went or how the horses got away.  There is an explanation at the back about how there used to be 2 million wild mustangs, but they were ruthlessly slaughtered until their number faded to seventeen thousand and the government stepped into protect them.  There is also a glossary.  

EL (K-3) – OPTIONAL.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.

Dog Man and Cat Kid by Dav Pilkey - ADVISABLE

Pilkey, Dav  Dog Man and Cat Kid, 253 pgs.  GRAPHIC NOVEL  Graphix, 2018 (Scholastic).  $9.99  Content: PG.  

Petey tried to clone himself and made an adorable kitty that Dog Man adopts, while Dog Man is at work, a babysitter is supposed to be watching the kitty, but the babysitter is really the evil Petey in disguise.  Also, Dog Man is going to be made into a movie and the stars have been cast.  When the real Dog Man causes catastrophes the director kicks him off the set.  When Dog Man and his kitty work together they are able to uncover the evil Petey and his plot to ruin the movie.  

As an adult, I think this series is ridiculously stupid.  However, my second and third grade sons love this series so much they asked for it for Christmas and when they drive with their friends in carpool they sit and talk about Dog Man and laugh.  The illustrations are bright and attractive the plot is easy to follow and there is a slap stick humor throughout.  The rating is PG because one of the robot bad guys has his pants pulled down and his illustrated bare bum is on page.  Also they say words like “dumb jerk” and use potty humor.  If you want a book that all the boys will be waiting to check out this is it.  

EL (K-3) – ADVISABLE.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.    

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich - NO

Dietrich, Cale. The Love Interest, 373 pgs. Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan Publishing Group), 2017. Language – R (104 swears, 23 “f”), Mature Content – PG13 (hetero- and homosexual content); Violence – PG13; 

412 has been in training at a private secret spy service, LIC, for several years now, and his chances for being chosen as a Love Interest for a mission are getting slimmer. Finally given his chance to be a Nice and make his Chosen fall in love with him, 412 is named Caden and is taken to Viriginia to compete against a Bad for his Chosen. But there comes a point when lies become detrimental to oneself as well as others, and Caden has to decide what—and who—he values most.

Caden’s story was definitely not what I expected when I started reading, but that’s not a bad thing—unfortunately, it also was not necessarily a good thing, in that the surprise did not make me more fond of this book. My favorite thing about The Love Interest is the discovery of self that I experienced with Caden; it’s hard to feel comfortable being you when you accept how someone else defines you. However, the distraction of language throughout the entire book made for an overall bad impression. 

HS – NO. Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier - ESSENTIAL

Maier, Brenda The Little Red Fort, pictures by Sonia Sanchez.  PICTURE BOOK.  Scholastic Press, 2018.  $18.  9780545859196

A little girl wants to build a fort and none of her brothers are willing to help.  She works her way through each step, asking them each time, but they still are not interested.  When the fort is complete, the brothers want to play, but their sister says no – until they make an effort to show they care.  Then they can all play together.

Maier has crafted a neat, positive twist to The Little Red Hen story – one that makes it even better than the original.  The act of the children apologizing through actions speaks to a need to not only speak kind to be kind.  Perfect for a great story time discussion.

Pre-K, EL (K-3), EL - ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Friday, January 19, 2018

Beautiful Blue World by Suzanne LaFleur - OPTIONAL

LaFleur, Suzanne  Beautiful Blue World (Beautiful Blue World, #1), 240 pgs.  Wendy Lamb Books, 2016 (Random House).  $16.99  Content: PG.  

Mathilde lives in a country under attack during an unnamed war.  Food is scarce and she loves her two little sisters, parents and best friend, Meg.  When the government comes looking for children who can help in the war effort, offering compensation, Mathilde takes the test to see if she qualifies.  

This book explores what war would feel like to a young girl.  The main character is likable and it’s an interesting idea but sometimes parts of the plot feel vague because of what is going on with the countries.  This is a middle reader war story.

EL, MS – OPTIONAL.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.      

Threads of Blue by Suzanne LaFleur - OPTIONAL

LaFleur, Suzanne  Threads of Blue (Beautiful Blue World, #2), 203 pgs.  Wendy Lamb Books, 2017 (Random House).  $16.99  Content: PG.  

Mathilde has been separated from the other children in her military mission, so she has to find a way back to them.  Using her military I.D. and resourceful ways she gets herself to Eilean, a safe place away from the attacks on her country.  As she looks for her military unit, she waits in a refugee camp and gets to see different sides of the war. She learns of her strength and what she needs to do to be true to herself. 

Mathilde is a likable character and I like the minor characters as well.  I guess my frustration with this book is the warring countries don’t seem defined and so the war seems pointless and there isn’t a good or bad side.  The ending is also not very believable or satisfying.  I wanted to like this book, but it just didn’t grab me.  The content is PG because people are loss to the war.  

EL, MS – OPTIONAL.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.  

House of Ash by Hope Cook - OPTIONAL

Cook, Hope House of Ash, 308 pages.  Amulet (Abrams), 2017.  $18.  Language: R (100+ swears, 32 ‘f’); Mature Content: R (drinking, body touching); Violence: R (deaths, brutal fighting)

Mila is a typical Victorian girl, but there is something super-creepy about her new stepfather; she is determined to protect herself and her little sister, Wynn, at all costs.  Curtis knows that his father is crazy – but so far he has been able to get him to take his pills and has kept his sister Sage from the worst of it all.  Though decades and a violent fire separates the two, Curtis and Mila’s fates are entwined.  If they can’t figure out how to break the curse of Gravenhearst, more than they are doomed to destruction.

Cook has written a gripping gothic horror novel.  Unfortunately too much of the language comes off as thrown in, but a reaction to stress or dire situations. 

HS – OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

I Love Cats! by Sue Stainton - ESSENTIAL

Stainton, Sue and Bob Staake I Love Cats! PICTURE BOOK.  Katherine Tegen (Harper), 2017.  $18.  9780062438829

How much do you love cats?  Probably as much as this little girl.  Sweet little rhymes that flow, exuberant illustrations combine for a cheerful and lively celebration of cats.  Don’t try to sell this one to dog lovers.

PRE- K, EL(K-3) – ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen - ADVISABLE

Gaughen, A.C.  Reign the Earth, (Elementae, #1), 432 pgs.  Bloomsbury, 2018.  $17.99  Content: Language: PG-13 (27 swears) Mature Content: PG-13; Violence: PG-13.  

Shalia is to marry Calix even though they come from warring kingdoms.  Shalia wants to be able to love and trust her husband, but Calix tortures and kills Elementae people who Shalia believes are good people.  After Shalia and Calix marry, Shalia hopes that she can help the kingdom grow stronger and that she can protect Elementae, but she isn’t expecting to find hidden power within herself or to care for Calix’s siblings.  

I couldn’t put this book down.  I love Gaughen’s writing and her characters are so easy to like.  I can’t wait for the whole series-I would read it today.  The mature content talks about them on their wedding night and is off page sex.  The violence is upsetting including torture and brutal acts and pushes it to the high school level and advisable instead of essential.  

HS – ADVISABLE.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.

Who's Who: An A to Z of Disney Characters by Brooke Vitale - OPTIONAL

Vitale, Brooke Who’s Who: An A to Z of Disney Characters, 428 pgs.  Disney Press, 2017.  $11.99  Content: G.  

This book is about the Disney characters and their personality traits.  It is full of interesting facts about the movie.  Each page has a picture of the character and a paragraph long character analysis.  

I liked this book because the facts were interesting and it had a lot of movies-including the new movie Coco, so it wasn’t a small collection (Even though it is missing Tarzan).  This is definitely for Disney lovers, not necessarily every library needs this unless you have a lot of Disney fans.  

EL, MS –OPTIONAL.  Gift-ADVISABLE.  Student Reviewer, Isabelle.  

Christmas Carol and the Defenders of Claus by Robert Fouch - ADVISABLE

Fouch Robert L. Christmas Carol and the Defenders of Claus, 244 pages.  Sky Pony, 2017.  $16.  Content: G (some danger). 9781510724525

You would think that living with an uncle who sells toys for a living would be a kid’s dream come true, but Carol’s uncle is kind of a Scrooge.  That doesn’t stop Carol from loving Christmas, though.  When she visits a Christmas village and touches a reindeer, something very strange happens – the reindeer seems to fly.  Then Carol is contacted by the Defenders of Claus – a super secret group that protects Santa Claus and Christmas from those who want to do him harm and abolish the holiday.  Carol’s dad even used to be a member.  There’s no time for Carol to practice with her new powers, because the Masked Man is in pursuit of Carol in order to stop her from rescuing a lost Defender.

Super, super cute!  For anyone who still adores Christmas and Santa Claus – the idea of standing up to defend him is a great device.  I can’t wait to hear more about the Masked Man – there just has to be a sequel!

EL – ADVISABLE.  Cindy, Library Teacher