Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Marvel Avengers: Shake to Assemble

Marvel Avengers: Shake to Assemble
by Calliope Glass
Illustrated by Richard Isanove
Marvel Press, 2015. Picture Book

Here is the perfect interactive book for the very young superhero aficionado.  Hawkeye is trying to assemble the Avengers team, but he needs help from the reader.  He asks the reader to tap, shake, poke and turn the book in different ways to make the Avengers team members appear.  Each time the child turns the page, they can discover the affect of their action. The illustrations are in true marvel style and the ending will make even parents chuckle. After the style of Tullet's Press Here and Matheson's Tap the Magic Tree, Glass has made a book that kids will beg to read over and over again.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

It's Tough to Lose Your Balloon

It’s Tough to Lose Your Balloon
Jarrett J. Krosoczk
Knopf Books, 2015. Picture book.

The premise is simple. The author first introduces a sad childhood event like, “It’s tough to lose your balloon.” And then on the next page offers a positive idea to counter that: “But it’ll make Grandma smile from the sky” when she sees it floating past her airplane. Including experiences that all children have dealt with, such as melting ice cream, broken toys, and scraped knees, this book offers a new way to look at things with resiliency and positivity. A great resource for parents and teachers who want to help children gain a new perspective on life’s disappointments.

Ragweed's Farm Dog Handbook

 Ragweed’s Farm Dog Handbook
By Anne Vittur Kennedy
Candlewick, 2015. Picture book.

Ragweed offers a crash course on how to be a good farm dog and the many temptations that come with it: “Don’t wake the farmer. You will really, really want to wake the farmer. But don’t wake the farmer.” On the next page we see the grinning and incorrigible Ragweed doing exactly what he just warned against, and calculating the chances of getting a biscuit for each behavior: “If you DO wake the farmer, you can get a biscuit just to go away.” And that, of course, is the farm dog’s main job: to get biscuits! A rambunctious and hilarious day on the farm.


By Gordon Korman
Blazer + Bray, 2015. Fiction.

Eli lives in Serenity, New Mexico. A town that continuously wins awards for being the best town to live in, and why would it not--it is perfect. There is no crime, every house has a pool, and no one lies. Well, Eli thought no one lied until one day after he and his friend Randy venture out to the town limits to go exploring and Eli’s world comes crashing down. He discovers things are not quite as they seem and that he is among the ten “special” kids that the community is keeping a close eye on. What makes them special? Why are they living out in the middle of nowhere? And why has he been taught that the Boston Tea Party was a meeting in Boston where a bunch of men came together to have tea to calmly discuss things, when it was really, as he discovers when his computer glitches during an electrical storm, a violent beginning of a revolution?

First book in a thrilling series by Korman, with a new twist on the dystopian genre. Told in multiple viewpoints, it brings the individual characters’ personalities and struggles to light as they realize that the world they grew up in might not be so perfect after all.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Display: Great Series Exploring Hobbies for Girls

Canterwood Crest
By Jessica Burkhart
New student Sasha Silver is accepted into the amazing Canterwood Crest Academy, an elite school housing highly competitive equestrian riders. However, she is met with resistance from three popular members known as the "Trio" (Heather, Julia, and Alison), who view her as a threat to their social status.

Cinderella Cleaners
By Maya Gold
Behind the counter at Cinderella Cleaners, Diana watches the clothes come and go. She loves to imagine the exciting events where the different outfits might be worn. Then one day, Diana reaches into the pocket of a fancy coat–and finds an invitation to a glittering gala in New York City. Since the coat's owner is out of town, Diana gets a wild idea. With the help of some friends, one dress, and a lot of improvising, Diana makes it into the party! Will she be discovered, or will her disguise come off without a hitch?

Camp Confidential
By Melissa J. Morgan
Summer camp means lots of things: new friends, roommates, bug bites, bathroom duty...But it's also a chance to be on your own and to reinvent yourself. A shy girl can become the belle of the ball, and a jock might find new competition. Natalie, Jenna, Grace, and Alex have all found themselves at Camp Lakeview for different reasons. And each is keeping a secret. But if everyone is hiding something, how will they ever become friends?

Confectionately Yours
By Lisa Papademetriou
Hayley's parents have divorced, her mom lost her job, and Hayley and her little sister, Chloe, are stuck sharing a bedroom in their grandmother's apartment. Things only get worse when Hayley and her best friend, Artie, start disagreeing about everything. Even though her cupcakes are flying off the shelves, Hayley realizes that it's going to take more than sugar and spice to make things in her life nice again.

Charmed Life
By Lisa Schroeder
Caitlin would stay at summer camp forever if she could. Her new best friends in the world, Hannah, Mia, and Libby, are there. And at home? Everything's different: Her dad is worried he might be losing his job; her mom is repainting the whole house and making the kids volunteer at a soup kitchen; and Caitlin is starting sixth grade at a new school, where none of the girls are as fun or friendly as her Cabin 7 BFFs. But Caitlin has a good-luck charm--or a good-luck charm bracelet anyway. The Cabin 7 girls bought it together, and Caitlin is taking the first turn wearing it. She's sure it will help turn her luck around...but when?

Cupcake Diaries
By Coco Simon
Four unique girls form a cupcake club as a way to navigate through the wild terrain that is middle school. Four friends plus cupcakes turns out to be the icing on the cake.

Sew Zoey
By Chloe Taylor
Zoey’s quirky style makes her a bit of a misfit at middle school, but her Sew Zoey blog quickly gains a dedicated following. Real fashion designers start to read it! Yet even as her blog takes off, Zoey still has to deal with homework, crushes, and P.E. class.

Tommy Can't Stop

Tommy Can't Stop
By Tim Federle
Illustrated by Mark Fearing
Disney Hyperion, 2015. Picture Book.

Tommy can’t keep still. He likes to bop, bounce, kick, hurdle, and clomp everywhere he goes. His family tires of his antics and tries to come up with a plan to tire Tommy out, but none of them work until his sister suggests tap class. At first he refuses, but then he realizes that here he can jump, leap, and stomp all he wants. Tommy finds a place where he belongs and everyone is happy, especially Tommy.

Fedrele’s author blurb in the back says best what Tommy Can’t Stop is about—“once you put tap shoes on, you are no longer stomping around causing mayhem—you are dancing around causing art.” A funny picture book to share with your active little one.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Sonya's Chickens

Sonya’s Chickens
By Phoebe Wahl
Tundra Books, 2015. Picture book.

One day, Sonya’s father brings home three baby chicks and gives her the responsibility of raising them. Week by week she carefully tends to them and finds joy in being a “good mama.” But one night a fox steals one of her precious chickens and she is distraught. Her father comforts her and explains that, even though it doesn’t take away the sadness, it helps to understand that the fox is not evil but simply trying to care for its own.

“You did everything you could to make sure your chicks were happy and had full bellies and a warm place to sleep. Because you love your chicks like I love you. The fox is no different. He loves his kits too. So even though it’s sad for us, we can understand why he did it.”

At the end, one of Sonya’s brown eggs hatches a new baby chick, with a new promise of life and love. A tender, cozy story to help children understand the circle of life, with wonderfully warm and homey illustrations.

The Copper Gauntlet

The Copper Gauntlet
(Magisterium #2)
by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Scholastic, 2015. 264 p.
This second adventure of Callum Hunt begins with the young mage spending an uneasy summer with his father and his chaos-ridden wolf, Havoc. Callum's father does not approve of his decision to stay at the Magisterium, but Callum fears his father has further reason to distrust and even hate him. When he discovers that his father is planning on doing something terrible to Havoc, Callum runs away from home and joins his friends at the Magisterium.  Later, when his father is accused of stealing a powerful magical tool, Callum must decide where his loyalties lie.  Will he stay at school and let his father be hunted down, or try to stop his father from doing something they will both regret?

Few authors are as good at writing fantasy action/adventure as Ms. Black.  The book contains non-stop thrills and excitement, but somehow amid the action Black also manages to create fully realized and sympathetic characters. The Magisterium series, which began with The Iron Trial (Scholastic 2014) is a great choice for those who like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.  This title is available at the library in print, on CD, and as a downloadable audio-ebook.

Oyster War

Oyster War
By Ben Towle
Oni Press Inc., 2015.
Graphic Novel, 159 p.

Oyster War is the swashbuckling graphic novel full of pirates, adventurers, a sea serpent, a selkie, and bareknuckle boxing. A rag tag bunch of sea-faring adventurers, led by Commander Davidson Bulloch, must brave monsters, magic and the unforgiving sea in order to stop a group of pirates and their evil plan of harnessing the unimaginable power of the sea. With a wonderful cast of characters, riveting action sequences and a good dose of humor Oyster War is a great read. Using colorful ligne claire-style illustrations and face-paced panels, Ben Towle successfully creates an exciting adventure that is sure to thrill readers.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Kurdles

The Kurdles
by Robert Goodin
Fantagraphics Books, 2015. Comic Book.

Sally Bear is thrown out of a car by her ill-behaved owner and lands in a bizarre forest community called Kurdleton. She is greeted by a posse of odd miniature creatures who live nearby. The Kurdles' problems are more important than Sally's, though -- namely their house coming down with an illness that causes it to grow thick purple fur. Sally joins forces with this band of weirdos, and in trying to solve their dilemmas, finds both new friends and a new home.

The Kurdles reads like something between a one-off comic and a graphic novel (a graphic novella?). It's an adventure that leaves the door wide open for future installments, but is immensely satisfying in its own right. Goodin's writing is dryly comic, bordering on the macabre at points, but his illustrations are gorgeously rendered in a classical ink style. It's reminiscent of classic adventure comics (think Uncle Scrooge) with a tone not unlike Baum's Oz stories or Little Nemo comics. This is a wonderful, wistful story, and here's hoping that Goodin creates more in this world.