Monday, October 16, 2017

La La La by Kate DiCamillo - OPTIONAL

DiCamillo, Kate  La La La Illustrated by Jaime Kim  PICTURE BOOK  Candlewick Press, 2017.  $17.99  Content: G.  

A little girl sings out “La La La” and waits for someone to answer.  When no one answers she keeps trying and she wanders around in nature hoping that someone will respond.  She gets tired and falls asleep for a nap, and then she is awoken by the sun singing “La La La” back to her.  

This is mostly a wordless picture book—the only words are “La La La”.  The illustrations are beautiful and the little girl is endearing.  There are notes from the author and illustrator at the ending about putting ourselves out there and trying to find a friend.  Once I read their notes and had a better understanding of the message I loved the book, until that point though I was confused.  

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

Reunited by Colleen Houck - OPTIONAL

Houck, Colleen  Reunited, 451 pgs.  Delacorte Press, 2017.  $17.99  Content: Language: G; Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG-13.  

Lily wakes up one morning with no memory of her adventures with the three Sons of Egypt, the two people living in her head, or her love for Amon. One day a man named Dr. Hassan comes and tells her that she has lost her memory of all of her adventures and tells her that she is to become Warset, the goddess whose destiny is to defeat the evil god Seth. He trains her and soon she is ready to leave. Lily, Nana and Dr. Hassan raise Ahmose. Can Lily and Ahmose save the brothers Amon and Asten and defeat Seth? 

I thought this book was okay. I liked the fantasy part but at times it go a little out of hand. I felt like there were a lot of characters and it was hard to keep track of them all. I enjoyed the action, I thought that the author was creative. I was a little disappointed in the ending. I have read Collen Houck’s first series, Tigers Curse and I thought that Tigers Curse’s final book had a more satisfying ending.  

MS, HS-OPTIONAL.  Reviewer, Isabelle (8th grade). 

Seraphina and the Splintered Heart by Robert Beatty - ADVSIABLE

Beatty, Robert.  Seraphina and the Splintered Heart.  355 pages.  Disney Hyperion, 2017.  $16.99.  Language: G. Sexual Content: G.  Violence: PG.
The third book in the Serafina series (Serafina and the Black Cloak and Serafina and the Twisted Staff), starts with Serafina waking up and realizing she is buried alive.  She fights her way out of the coffin only to find that no one else can see her or hear her.  She's been split into three: her spirit, her human body, and her black panther form.  Even worse, her friend Braedon has put on the black cloak which is evil.  She discovers that her old enemy Rowena can hear her.  Rowena says that she’s changed and will now help them fight her father, Uriah the conjurer.  But can she be trusted?  How can they defeat a man who cannot die?

Fast-paced from the first paragraph to the final conclusion.  Rowena shows the most character development by showing it is who we choose to be, rather than who we once were, that determines our future.  Serafina continues to be a strong female protagonist in both wits and grit.  Author, Robert Beatty does a great job of tying in elements from the first two books into the storyline and resolving them in this third story.  Recommended for libraries where the first two books were popular.      
EL-ADVISABLE.  Samantha Hastings, MA, MLS. 

Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1962 by Brimner - ADVISABLE

Brimner, Larry Dane Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1962, 97 pages. NON-FICTION.  Calkins Creek, 2017. $19. 

In May 1961, thirteen people, both black and white, boarded two buses in Washington D.C. to test federal laws from 1947 that don’t allow segregation in bus terminals for interstate buses.  On the fifth day of the journey things start to get difficult and by the time they get to Alabama, the entire United States knows about their mission and the Klan has pulled out all their stops to give them a “welcome” they won’t forget.  Segregation was the way of life in the South and there was no way any uppity whites and blacks from the North were going to tell the South how to treat its blacks. 

Brimner clearly and simply delineates the precedents and events of these days in the early 1960’s.  I’ve read other books and seen documentaries about the Freedom Riders and I found this one to be clear and powerful enough for students to really gravitate to.

MS – ADVISABLE.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Miss Little’s Gift by Douglas Wood - ADVISABLE

Wood, Douglas Miss Little’s Gift: a heartfelt memoir about ADHD and learning to read.  PICTURE BOOK.  Illustrated by Jim Burke.  Candlewick, 2009, 2017.  $7.  REPRINT.  9780763698379

Douglas was already in trouble all of the time for his behavior at school, but now his teacher, Miss Little, wanted him to stay after school every day to get help learning to read better.  Darn!  But Miss Little found books that appealed to the adventurer in Douglas and little by little he actually learned to enjoy reading – so much so that when he grew up he became a writer.

I enjoyed this when it first came out in 2009 and enjoy it again.  I still think it is a great present for a new or even a veteran teacher.

EL – OPTIONAL, GIFT – ADVISABLE.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Life on Surtsey by Loree Griffin Burns - ESSENTIAL

Burns, Loree Griffin Life on Surtsey: Iceland’s Upstart Island (Scientists in the Field), 68 pages.  Houghton Mifflin, 2017  $19.  Content: G

In 1963, a volcano erupted off the coast of Iceland and when things finally calmed down three years later, a new island had been born.  Named after the Iclandic god of fire, Surtsey was declared off-limits to tourists and for 54 years has been inhabited only by scientists.  Erling Olaffson has spent parts of 45 years studying life on Surtsey.  He and other scientists have spent years analyzing how life migrates to and survives on this new land.

This is Burns fourth book for this series.  Like the many others of the set, she shows how modern scientists are tackling challenges and bringing new, important information to our world.  I still thinks this series would make excellent textbooks for a science class on any level.

EL, MS – ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Secrets of the Sea by Kate Baker - ADVISABLE

Baker, Kate Secrets of the Sea, 82 pages.  Illustrated by Eleanor Taylor.  PICTURE BOOK.  Big Picture Press (Candlewick), 2017.  $25.  9780763698393

At first you will probably glance at this book and think, as I did, “why didn’t they use photos for the illustrations?”  But then you will immerse yourself in Taylor’s luminescent drawings and think, “othing else could be more perfect”.  Though arranged as a factual text about a wide variety of sea/ocean organisms, this feels more like a vast coffee table book that a reader could lose themselves within for hours.  I want to cut this up and display most of the illustrations on my wall as art pieces, but even though they are worthy, I won’t, because I want this available for students to love.  This is more a book for an individual to check out, not really something  a teacher might use in the classroom.