Saturday, February 6, 2016

Display: Presidents' Day

Duck for President
By Doreen Cronin
When Duck gets tired of working for Farmer Brown, his political ambition eventually leads to his being elected President.

Grace for President
By Kelly Dipucchio
When Grace discovers that there has never been a female U.S. president, she decides to run for school president.

George Washington: Our First President
By Ann Gaines
Looks at the life and presidency of the first president of the United States.

Madeline at the White House
By John Bemelmans Marciano
Madeline and the other orphans of the vine-covered house in Paris spend Easter at the White House visiting with the President's daughter.

Abraham Lincoln : America's 16th president
By Steven Otfinoski
A biography of the sixteenth President of the United States.

Madam President
By Lane Smith
A little girl imagines what her day would be like if she were President of the United States.

The First Pup: The Real Story of How Bo Got to the White House
By Bob Staake
Once upon a time, a man named Barack Obama ran for president of the United States. On the night of his victory, he made a very important announcement ... his daughters would get a puppy!

Mr. President Goes to School
By Rick Walton
When the President finds the many pressures of his job to be overwhelming, he disguises himself and returns to kindergarten, where he is reminded of the important lessons he learned there.

By Jonah Winter
The extraordinary story of African-American senator and president, Barack Obama.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Mother Bruce


Mother Bruce
by Ryan T. Higgins
Disney Hyperion, 2015. Unpaged. Picture Book

     Bruce is a bear who lives by himself and is grumpy. The one thing that cheered him up was to eat eggs to which he had helped himself from various nests in the neighborhood. He cooked them up in a lot of different ways using recipes he found on the internet. But Bruce is surprised one day when he leaves some eggs on the stove to boil, and they hatch. What to do with those goslings who think he is their mother? Chicks on toast, maybe? Instead, Bruce takes care of them from when they are annoying little things, through when they are surly teenage things, to when they are grownups and should be off on their own. Bruce thinks when it is time for the birds to fly south he will be free from the responsibilities of his unexpected family, but they don't know how or why to fly south and they keep coming back. How Bruce "solves" his goose problem will delight youngsters and their significant elders alike.  Great illustrations, too.



by Joan Bauer
Viking, 2016.  297 pgs. Fiction

     Jeremiah was a foundling - left in the break room at Computer Partners, Ltd., where he was found by Walt Lopper who adopted him. He had nothing with him but a tiny stuffed eagle, the clothes on his back (and bottom), and a note asking for Walt to take care of him. When he was three, Jeremiah contracted a virus that damaged his heart to the degree that he had to have a transplant. Now he and Walt are temporarily moving to Hillcrest, Ohio, where baseball, Jeremiah's favorite sport, is King--or maybe even Emperor. But just after Jeremiah arrives, a tragedy and a scandal essentially shut down high school baseball in Hillcrest. Jeremiah has to fight hard to get a Middle School team going.  He can't play, so he coaches. Joan Bauer is reliably funny.  Okay, really funny. Her characters are likable and sympathetic. Okay, charming. Kids who like baseball will love this book, but kids and grownups who like a good story where good people work hard to help and care for each other and get a happy ending for their trouble, will like Soar as well.

Dragons Love Tacos

Dragons Love Tacos
By Adam Rubin
Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012. Picture Book

Did you know that dragons love tacos? Well they do, a lot. They love all kinds of tacos.Bbeef or chicken, large or small, they really really love them. Their favorite toppings are lettuce, tomato, and cheese, but be sure to leave out the spicy salsa. Spicy salsa is nothing but trouble for dragons, you can imagine why (fire breath). Dragons also love parties, especially taco parties. Robbie decides he is going to throw the dragons a taco party. When the dragons of all shapes and sizes arrive they are ready to dig into their delicious tacos, but wait, Robbie didn't read the fine print on the "Totally Mild Salsa" bottle label that read, "now with spicy jalapeno peppers". He tries to stop the dragons from taking another bite but it's too late and fire breathing panic ensues.

This picture book is just plain goofy, but a New York Times best seller nonetheless. Rubin's text is sure to bring giggles to readers young and old.  The watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil cartoon illustrations are simply perfect for the silly story line. Salmieri does a great job adding fun little details such as a taco party invitation, "A guide to Dragon Cuisine" cookbook, and dragons adorning "I love taco" t-shirts at the party. The absurdity of this tale will be a big hit to anyone with an affinity for dragons, or tacos.

The Extra Yard

                                            The Extra Yard - Lupica, Mike

The Extra Yard
by Mike Lupica
Simon & Schuster, 2016.  292 pgs. Fiction

     Teddy Madden is a bit of a schlub until his friend Jack takes him in hand, helps him get into shape, and then finds him a spot as a catcher on his school's baseball team. But Teddy wants to play football. He makes the team on the strength of a one-handed grab in the end zone at tryouts and surrounded by friends Jack, Gus, and Cassie he looks forward to a great football season with the Walton Wildcats. But then his long-absent father shows up. His friends tell him to stop hating on the man, and Teddy makes progress until his Dad (a former quarterback) shows up on the sidelines and starts coaching. Predictably, the starting quarterback (Jack) goes out for the season with a shoulder separation, and Teddy steps in at quarterback, only to discover that his father actually has some good ideas. The team goes undefeated into the championship game, where things turn out a little differently than one might expect, but all's well that ends well, nevertheless.  I am a big Mike Lupica fan - his books, including this one, are filled with likable characters wise beyond their years and excellent descriptions of skills, games, and tactics. "The Extra Yard" is a little unsettling, however, because with our growing understanding of the consequences of playing football, especially for young people, it seems a little off that Lupica revels in the violence of the game, and encourages his readers to follow Teddy's example of not being afraid to "play hurt." Young sports fans and football players will love this book; their parents maybe not so much.  Plus Teddy's dad really is a cluck.

The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle

The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle
By Christopher Healy
Walden Pond Press, 2013. Fiction. 479 pgs

After a year’s hiatus, the League of Princes reunite to reclaim their hero status as they set out to rescue Prince Liam; he’s been kidnapped by Briar Rose, who plans to force him to marry her. But things don’t go as planned (it’s the League of Princes we are talking about--what else do you expect?), and they end up having to battle enemies on all fronts. Trolls are back, as well as the Bandit King, and a new nemesis is stalking them as well. Secrets are revealed, jealousies arise, and humor abounds in this entertaining sequel to A Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom. Once again Bronson Pinchot amazes me with his talent as he comes up with so many distinctive voices for the multitude of characters the book contains. Available on Overdrive.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Magnificent Lizzie Brown and the Mysterious Phantom

The Magnificent Lizzie Brown and the Mysterious Phantom
By Vicki Lockwood
Capstone Young Readers, 2015. Fiction. 197 pgs

After finally managing to escape the clutches of her abusive, drunkard father, Lizzie Brown finds herself taken in by the kind performers and crew of a traveling circus. When a crime wave hits Victorian London, people are beginning to say it is a "phantom" and not a person who is committing the seemingly impossible thefts. Lizzie, who suffers from unusual visions, finds herself knowing in advance where and when the phantom is going to strike next. This puts both her and her new circus friends in grave danger. Part mystery, part paranormal adventure, The Magnificent Lizzie Brown will have readers at the edge of their seats--and desperate to read the next book in this fabulous series.

Books for Cat Lovers Display

By Marty Crisp
NorthWord Press, 2003. Informational. 63 p.
This fun informational book uses a question-and-answer format to present a variety of information about cats.

By Nonny Hogrogian
Roaring Book Press, 2009. Picture Book
Cool Cat's neighborhood isn't so cool. It's barren and brown, littered with rusty cans and broken bottles. No problem. With an old paint box, a troop of helpful animals, and lots of imagination, Cool Cat turns the world around him into a Rousseau-style masterpiece. An enchanting story of resourcefulness and positive thinking.

By Ursula LeGuin
Orchard Books, 1988. Intermediate. 39 p.
Four young cats with wings leave the city slums in search of a safe place to live, finally meeting two children with kind hands.

By Jef Czekaj
Blazer Bray, 2011. Picture Book
Important secrets about how best to live a cat's life will be revealed only to those who can prove that they are genuine cats.

By Elizabeth Coatsworth
Aladdin, 1930. Newbery. 88 p.
In ancient Japan a struggling artist is angered when his housekeeper brings home a tiny white cat he can barely afford to feed. As the artist and cat get to know each other, the artist comes to realize that cats are truly noble creatures.

By Elizabeth Schoonmaker
Aladdin, 2011. Picture Book
Eulah the cat is square and, while she longs to be round like other cats, her friends show her the benefits of the shape that she has.

By Nick Bruel
Roaring Brook Press, 2012. Intermediate.142 p.
Kitty decides to run for President of the Neighborhood Cat Association.

By Kevin Henkes
Greenwillow Books, 2004. Caldecott. Picture Book
When Kitten mistakes the full moon for a bowl of milk, she ends up tired, wet, and hungry trying to reach it.

By Beverly Cleary
Marrow, 1973. Fiction. 156 p.

The happy home life of Socks, the cat, is disrupted by the addition of a new baby to the household.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Roller Girl

Roller Girl
By Victoria Jamieson
Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, 2015. 240 p.

Astrid and her friend Nicole go with Astrid’s mom to “evenings of cultural entertainment”. Usually these evenings are outings to museums or poetry readings and the like. But one night they go to watch a roller derby. Astrid is in love. She wants to become a roller girl and go to roller derby camp. Only Nicole doesn’t. Nicole would rather go to ballet camp. As Astrid has to navigate friendships and a tough new sport—her ego (and her body) get a few bruises.

This is a great new comic book. It touches on a few important issues—like all the fears that come from the unknown of heading into middle school or the questions of friendship and can friendship survive different interests. And although Astrid does take a fall or two (which is basically inevitable when learning how to roller-skate), readers will cheer on this feisty, blue-haired girl who is navigating through her journey of self-discovery. And as a bonus, readers can learn more about the roller derby sport—which is quite awesome as well.

Roller Girl is a Newbery Honor book for 2016.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

All Year Round

All Year Round
Written by Susan B. Katz
Illustrated by Eiko Ojala
Orchard Books, 2016. Picture Book.

All Year Round is a simple picture book with a simple concept that works really well. For each month of the year, a shape is introduced using clever rhymes and unique cut-paper style illustrations. Rich and vibrant colors fill each page as the reader learns to associate a specific shape with each month of the year. One of the final pages acts as a review by displaying a collection of all twelve shapes with a cropped illustration of the month associated with the shape. This book is an effective way to introduce or reinforce the twelve months of the year and twelve different shapes as well as the changing of the seasons.