Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dream On

Cover image for Dream on
Dream On 
(Whatever After #4)
By Sarah Mlynowski
Scholastic, 2014. Ficton. 157 p.

Abby is having her first sleep over party in her new home with her new best friend, Robin. Robin inadvertently triggers the magic mirror in Abby's basement and is transported into the story of Sleeping Beauty where she accidentally pricks herself on the evil fairy's spindle and falls asleep.  Abby and her brother, Jonah, must then find a way to wake Robin up and help the real princess fall asleep so she can be rescued by a prince and fulfill her destiny.  It is not an easy task, especially with 13 hard-to-please fairies involved.  This is the fourth in the popular "Whatever After" series.  Abby and Jonah are plucky and endearing characters, and Mlynowski always seems to work in a simple life lesson into each story. This is a great choice for a child who is ready to move on from the "Magic Tree House" series.

Monday, March 23, 2015


Cover image for Honey
By Sarah Weeks
Scholastic, 2015. Fiction. 152 p

Melody's mother died when Melody was born.  Since then the ten-year-old has been wishing that her father could find someone new.  One day she overhears her father call someone "honey" on the phone and she begins to hope that her wish will come true.  Now she is on a quest with her best friend, Nick, and the pesky little neighbor girl, Teeny, to discover who this "honey" is.  In the process she makes a new friend and learns a little more about her own biological mother.  This sweet family story is told from the point of view of three characters:  Melody, Bee Bee, a new hair dresser in town who is obsessed with bees, and Bee-Bee's dog, Mo.  Weeks does a good job of tying the three points of view together to keep the reader engaged with the story and eager to figure out several little mysteries along the way. This is a good choice for early or middle grade readers who enjoyed Junie B. Jones or Clementine but are ready to move on to something a little longer.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


By David Bouchard
This is a one-of-a-kind fairy. No gauzy dresses or flowing tresses for her. No delicate wand with a sparkly tip. She rides a Harley and brandishes a wand of leather. Her hair flies behind her in long braids. Her job is to look after the magical need of the children on the street. And no child needs to worry when she is around!

Jethro Byrd Fairy Child
By Bob Graham
Annabelle finds a family of fairies in the cement and weeds, and they sing and dance for her when she gives them tea.

Sylva and the Fairy Ball
By Margaret McNamera
Sylva Bell is not old enough to attend the Fairy Ball with her sisters Clara, Rosy, and Golden, but when a horde of trolls crashes the ball, Sylva bravely comes to the rescue.

The Hunter’s Moon
By O.R. Melling
Two teenage cousins, one Irish, the other from the United States, set out to find a magic doorway to the Faraway Country, where humans must bow to the little people.

The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies
By Ammi Joan Paquette
This book takes the reader on a journey to look for signs of fairies living nearby, from hiding places in tulips to a lookout post in a tree.

Forest Fairy Crafts
By Lenka Vodicka-Paredes
Design your own fairies and accessories while learning to sew.

My Little Book of Space

Cover image for My little book of space
My Little Book of Space
by Peter Grego
QEB Publishing, 2014. Nonfiction

Many children, even fairly small children, are interested in space, but many nonfiction books about space have to much text for younger readers.  Here is a new informational book about space, that is formatted like a "big kid" book about the universe, but with much less text.  Each spread deals with one topic, such as "The Solar System" or "Jupiter."  It has a few photographs or diagrams about the topic, and a few interesting facts.  There are no more than 25 or 30 words per page, so it won't overwhelm young scientists.  New or difficult terms are explained in a glossary at the back of the book. The illustrations are nicely done, and are set against a black background that make the colors pop. This is a great STEM choice on a first or second grade reading level or for parents to share with an even younger child.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Spots in a Box

 Cover image for Spots in a box
Spots in a Box
by Helen Ward
Templar Books, 2014. Picture Book

There once was a guinea fowl who was born without any spots. The determined fowl decides to order some for himself, but when he opens the boxes they come in, they are not what he expects. Some spots are too big and some are too small.  Others are flashy or splashy, or not even spots at all.  Will the poor bird ever find the right kind of spots so he can look like his friends?   Ward's fun, snappy, story is written in rollicking rhyme reminiscent of Dr. Seuss.  The style of the illustrations are almost photo-realistic, but Ward uses crazy "camera" angles, dye cut holes, and other add-on's to make the pictures match the silly mood of the text. This book would make a great read aloud for a crowd or would be a good choice for a younger reader who is becoming confident with early readers.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Dark Inheritance

Cover image for A dark inheritance
A Dark Inheritance 
By Chris D'Lacey
Scholastic, 2014. Fiction, 291 p.

Michael Malone lives with his mother and sister, but his father disappeared while on a business trip a few years earlier.  One day on the way to school Michael happens to save a dog who is trapped on the edge of a cliff.  When he does, something supernatural happens that alters Michael's reality a little.  No one else seems to notice that there was a change.  Michael finds out that he has the ability to jump between multi-verses into parallel realities.  He also discovers there is an organization that monitors this kind of thing call the Black Unicorne and that the organization is mixed up in his father's disappearance.  Michael agrees to help them solve the mystery of the dog on the cliff in return for information about his father. This is an engaging psychological thriller by the author of the successful Last Dragon series. D'Lacey uses fast pacing, murky quirky characters, and sudden plot twists to build just the right amount of suspense and trills for adventurous tween readers. This is the first in what looks to be a promising series.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Cover image for Waggers
by Stacy Nyikos
Illustrated by Tamara Anegón
Sky Pony Press, 2014. Picture Book

Waggers has the longest, waggiest tale a dog ever had.  When Waggers gets excited and wags his tale, disasters happen.  The cookie dough, the lamp, the curtain, or whatever is nearest goes flying.  Moni and Michael love their dog, tail or not, but after a while Mom and Dad decide that their house can't stand one more wag.  Waggers must be sent back to the animal shelter. On Wagger's last night at home, Mom and Dad let Michael and Moni sleep outside with their dog and discover that Wagger's tail does have some good uses. Wagger's story is told with simple text and funny, action filled, illustrations. Getting used to a new dog is not easy for children or adults. This book encourages young readers, and their parents, to be patient and look for the good in any new situation. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Penguin Named Patience: a Hurricane Katrina Rescue Story

 Cover image for A penguin named Patience : a Hurricane Katrina rescue story
A Penguin Named Patience: a Hurricane Katrina Rescue Story
by Suzanne Lewis
Illustrated by Lisa Anchin
Sleeping Bear Press, 2015. Picture Book

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was one of the greatest natural disasters in our country's history.  Much has been written about the human toll of the hurricane, but here is a story about how some of the animals survived the disaster. Patience is a penguin at the Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans. Patience and her 18 penguin friends are in danger when the power goes out and their climate control and water filtration systems stop working. The Aquarium arranges to have them transported to the Monterey Bay Aquarium where they stay for nine months until their habitat can be repaired. Patience has to be patient, but finally makes it back home. The simple story is illustrated with child friendly,  light filled watercolors. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Display: Old MacDonald Had a Farm

Tractors in Action
By Peter Brady
Discusses the history, function, and workings of tractors.

The Funny Farm
By Michael Dahl
A compilation of jokes about dogs, cats, duck, snakes, bears and other animals.

An A-Maze-ing Farm Adventure
By Jill Katz
Use your finger to find your way out of several farm mazes without getting hung up in the hay or detoured by the cows.

Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm
By Jon Katz
Contains photographs and stories of Rose, Izzy, Frieda, and Lenore, four dogs that perform various jobs on Bedlam Farm.

Tuttle’s Red Barn: The Story of America's Oldest Family Farm
By Richard Michelson
In 1632, John Tuttle set sail from England to Dover, New Hampshire and there he set up a farm on seven acres of land. From those humble beginnings the Tuttle family story became America's story.

Origami Farm Animals
By Lisa Miles Learn basic folding techniques and common bases while creating ducks, pigs, roosters, and more out of paper. Fun tidbits about each animal accompany the step-by-step instructions and colorful photographs of each real animal -- and its origami lookalike.

Farm Animals
By Lisa Regan
Part of the I Love Animals series this book talks about cows, chickens, sheep, and other farm animals.

Farm Animals: Learn to Draw 21 Favorite Subjects, Step by Easy Step, Shapes by Simple Shapes!By Jilkie Torres
Provides step-by-step instructions for drawing a variety of farm animals, including roosters, sheep, cows, goats, chicks, ducks, and donkeys.

Display: Poetry

Wham! It’s a Poetry Jam
By Sara Holbrook
A guide to performing poetry alone and in groups; includes guidelines to set up poetry-performance contests.

American Poems
Edited by John Hollander Contains a collection of poetry that spans two centuries and provides a diverse point of view of American life.

Animal Poems
Edited by John Hollander
The writers include Blake, Dickinson, Tennyson, Yeats, Wordsworth, and Keats. The captivating paintings by Simona Mulazanni make every page a delight. And the subject—animals, big and small, wild and tame— has an irresistible appeal to children.

By Alan Katz
A collection of humorous poems for children.

Once Upon a Tomb: Gravely Humorous Verses
By J. Patrick Lewis
Clever puns and elaborately detailed, surreal artwork illuminate a collection of comically grim verses that can't help but tickle the funny bone.

William Blake
Edited by John Maynard
A collection of illustrated poems enjoyable for children selected from the works of William Blake.

Awful Ogre’s Awful Day
By Jack Prelutsky
In a series of poems, Awful Ogre rises, grooms himself, dances, pens a letter, and goes through other activities as the day passes.

Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant
By Jack Prelutsky A collection of seventeen poems introduces a vast array of colorful characters, who are part creature, part inanimate object, from the ballpoint penguin to the spatuloon.

Book Speak! Poems About Books
By Laura Purdie Salas
Illustrator Josee Bisaillon's mixture of collage, drawings, and digital montage present page after page of richly colored spreads filled with action and charm. Together, Salas and Bisaillon deliver a unique collection brimming with ideas as much about book spines and dust jackets as they are about adventure and imagination.

Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse
By Marilyn Singer
A collection of short poems which, when reversed, provide new perspectives on the fairy tale characters they feature.