The Haunted Serpent by Dora M. Mitchell Published June 5, 2018 Sterling Children's Books 234 pages Middle Grade Fiction Review copy provided by publisher Goodreads Summary Spaulding Meriwether, Thedgeroot Middle School's new resident weirdo and son of questionable television ghost hunters, just wants to fit in. But after a revenant chases him through the woods, Spaulding suspects there’s something afoot in Thedgeroot. (At least he thinks it’s a foot. Maybe it was a hand. It’s hard to tell when you’re running away.) Then he notices the chimneys of the abandoned factory at the edge of town puffing smoke—and his dead next-door neighbor materializes, along with David, the missing pet boa constrictor that supposedly ate him. Spaulding can’t help wondering if these strange happenings have anything to do with his undead friends in the forest. Of course, Spaulding just has to investigate—but he may be biting off more than he can chew.
My Thoughts Just in time for Halloween, a fun middle grade mystery! The characters are interesting and the story line will have students trying to solve the mystery right along Spaulding and his friends. The book is spooky without being too scary, and who doesn't want to read a book with a giant snake, a grumpy ghost-man and an exciting adventure! There are illustrations sprinkled throughout that readers will enjoy. I would recommend adding this fast-paced mystery to your collection!
Eraser by Anna Kang Illustrated by Christopher Weyant Published Sept. 1, 2018 Two Lions Hardcover Picture Book Fiction Goodreads Summary Eraser is always cleaning up everyone else’s mistakes. Except for Ruler and Pencil Sharpener, none of the other school supplies seem to appreciate her. They all love how sharp Pencil is and how Tape and Glue help everyone stick together. Eraser wants to create so that she can shine like the others. She decides to give it a try, but it’s not until the rubber meets the road that Eraser begins to understand a whole lot about herself.
Inspired by a school essay their daughter Kate wrote in the third grade, the author and illustrator behind Theodor Seuss Geisel Award–winner You Are (Not) Small have created a desktop drama about figuring out who you are, finding happiness, and the importance of second, third, and maybe even fourth chances.
My Thoughts This book tackles the themes of finding ones purpose and value and puts it in the cutest book! Poor eraser thinks that she meant for more than just being on the "cleanup crew". She is snubbed by some of the other school tools for not being creative so she decides to leave and ends up in the trash bin. There she meets several rough drafts who sing her praises and show her how valuable she really is. I really enjoyed this story and I think kids will too. It reminded me a lot of one of my favorites, Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal where exclamation mark feels that he is inferior to all the other forms of punctuation. This story lends itself to lots of discussion or debate with young readers. The illustrations are fabulous with each school tool character having a unique personality. Pencil feels superior since he is called upon to create. Glue sneezes a lot because he is all "clogged up", and scissors makes sure to always walk. The ending is very satisfying as the team of tools works together to create a great project.
Am I Yours? by Alex Latimer Published Sept. 1, 2018 Peachtree Publishers Hardcover Picture Book Fiction Review copy provided by publisher Goodreads Summary A heartwarming story of community, family, and finding your way home A group of friendly dinosaurs helps a lost egg search for its parents after it's been blown out of its nest. But if the little egg is to be reunited with its family, first they must discover what kind of dinosaur lies inside. What does that egg look like inside its shell? Surely, there must be a way to tell! This fun and unique tale featuring Alex Latimer's signature bold art style will keep dinosaur lovers and fans of Are You My Mother? enthusiastically following along and guessing who is inside the shell.
Poor little dinosaur egg just wants to find his parents. But time after time he is found by other kinds of dinosaurs. Told in rhyming verse, it makes for a fun and interesting read aloud. Alex Latimer exposes young readers to rich vocabulary throughout this tale. For example, they will read words like beneath, lovingly, trotting, and ambled. Each dinosaur describes themselves to the little egg. Some have crests, long necks and LOTS of teeth, but none of them look like the dinosaur inside the little egg. Kids will be on the edge of their seats to see if baby dinosaur finds his folks. The illustrations are bright and colorful with mixed textures.The dinosaurs are not scary, but not overly cutesy.
Image from http://peachtree-online.com/staff/seasonal/pdfs/Yours30440.pdf
I would recommend this book for grades K-2. It would make a great companion to Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman.
Goodreads Summary Sammy loves Halloween: the candy, the pumpkins, the scares. So when he gets the chance to be in charge of the family’s next haunted house, he gets right to work—even though it’s only November. Suddenly Sammy’s inventions are scare-ifying his family day and night, even on Christmas and Easter! Sammy knows he’s on his way to making a spooktacular haunted house, but his family isn’t so sure they can take a full year of his tricks…
My Thoughts Oh boy does Sammy love Halloween! He is determined to make Halloween last all year long and goes a bit overboard with some of his scary tricks. After he puts out the 4th of July barbecue with water while pretending to be Frankenstein, his family has finally had enough. His siblings decide that not all of his ideas were bad and they team up to work together to create the best haunted house by Halloween.
The cartoonish illustrations will be very appealing to young readers. The characters have big heads and eyes on thinner bodies and the pages are filled with bright color.
I would recommend Sammy's Spooktacular Halloween most for grades 1-3.
Delivery Bear by Laura Gehl Illustrated by Paco Sordo Published September 1, 2018 Albert Whitman Company Hardcover Picture Book Fiction 32 Pages Review copy provided by publisher Goodreads Summary Zogby wants to work for Fluffy Tail Cookies as a delivery animal—but he’s a bear and all the other animals are cute bunnies. Zogby tries to pretend to be a bunny by wearing bunny ears, putting on whiskers, and adding a fluffy tail. But he still scares the customers! When Zogby realizes being himself is best, can he find a way to stand out and get the job?
Poor Zogby has wanted to be a delivery animal since he was just a cub. When he spots an advertisement for Fluffy Tail Cookies, he quickly applies. Although he does not fit the mold, Zogby is undaunted and tries to be the best delivery bear he can be. Unfortunately his mere presence scares the small animals he delivers to and they scream and run away. Can Zogby prove that he is not a scary predator, but just a harmless deliver bear? The illustrations are fun and colorful. The characters are all very sweet and appeal to young readers who will be rooting for Zogby for sure. I would recommend Delivery Bear most for grades K-2.
It's Show and Tell Dexter by Lindsay Ward Published July 17, 2018 from Two Lions 32 pages Fiction Review copy provided by publisher Goodreads Summary Dexter T. Rexter is going to school. But will anyone like him? Tomorrow is the biggest event ever in Dexter’s life: his best friend, Jack, is taking him to school for Show and Tell Day! Dexter has been getting ready for weeks. But now he’s a little nervous. What if the other kids don’t like him? So Dexter decides to come up with a plan. He’ll wear a costume. Dinosaurs in bunny ears look good, right? He’ll recite state capitals starting with…uh…ah…er. Then he realizes something. He can’t dance. He can’t recite things. He doesn’t have ANY skills. What’s a dino to do? This comical, interactive tale of belonging, friendship, anticipation, and first-day-at-school jitters lets readers experience the excitement and nervousness along with Dexter—and even offer him a little advice along the way.
This is "Dexter" book #2. I wrote about Don't Forget Dexter a little while back and just loved it. Now Dexter is back and is getting ready for show and tell. Well at least he hopes that his boy, Jack, will choose to bring him to share at show and tell. Dexter gets himself all worked up trying to find just the right costume, dance, other thing to better his chances of getting chosen. You will get no spoilers from me, but I will tell you that readers will be happy with the ending. This book offers young readers an opportunity to explore feelings such as worry or anxiety. It would lend itself to meaningful discussions.
I would recommend It's Show and Tell Dexter for grades K-2.
If Polar Bears Disappeared by Lily Williams Expected publication Aug. 28, 2018 Roaring Brook Press 40 pages Nonfiction Review copy provided by publisher Goodreads Summary The freezing ecosystem in the far north of the globe is home to many different kinds of animals. They can be
Strong, like a walrus Tough, like a lemming Resilient, like an arctic fox
But no arctic animal is as iconic as the polar bear. Unfortunately, the endangered polar bear is threatened with extinction due to rapid climate change that is causing the ice where it hunts/lives to melt at an alarming rate. This book uses accessible, charming art to explore what would happen if the sea ice melts, causing the extinction of polar bears, and how it would affect environments around the globe.
There is a lot of talk about "climate change" and "global warming" in the news. These terms can be hard for kids (and some adults) to understand. This book takes a look at what could happen if enough polar ice melted so polar bears would become extinct. Readers will learn about the ripple effect of too much melted ice including the impact on other species and the land. The information is not glossed over, but is presented honestly using the appropriate scientific terminology. The text is long enough to provide information, but is not too wordy and is accompanied by illustrations of polar animals and polar ecosystems. Diagrams and cross sections of the land showing where animals live, help readers to understand the information. The back matter includes a glossary, more information about the arctic and ways to help save polar bears. I think kids will enjoy learning about what could happen if one species became extinct. I would recommend If Polar Bears Disappeared for ages 7-10.
National Geographic Books has an excellent new series. Each book is dedicated to presenting information on a single topic including animals, sports and other things in science. Each book is chocked full of interesting facts, stats, diagrams, flow charts and other text features. These features accompany the amazing photographs and illustrations. This series has something for every reader. Here are the first 4 titles.
Learn everything you've ever wanted to know about soccer in an eye-catching, page-turning book for aspiring experts, featuring exclusive content from a real Major League Soccer referee, Mark Geiger! Score! Can't get enough of your favorite super sport? This action-packed book is chock-full of awesome facts and fun for soccer fans! Join real-life Major League Soccer and Olympic referee Mark Geiger to get the latest, most up-to-date soccer intel around, plus fun facts and awesome trivia. Out just in time for the World Cup!
Kids who have a laser focus on dolphins will learn everything they've ever wanted to know about them in an eye-catching, page-turning book for aspiring experts, featuring exclusive content from a National Geographic explorer currently in the field. Hey, dolphin fin-atics! Get ready to dive into the world of your favorite fabulous marine mammals in this action-packed book chock-full of awesome facts, photos, and fun! Join National Geographic explorer and dolphin expert Justine Jackson-Ricketts to get the latest, most up-to-date dolphin intel straight from the field, plus fun facts, in-depth info, and awesome trivia about every kind of dolphin under the sun (and beneath the waves). It's the ultimate book to help YOU become an absolute expert on one of your favorite topics.
Tear through tons of facts, figures, timelines, and the most up-to-date intel straight from the field, with National Geographic explorer and paleontologist Steve Brusatte as your expert guide, in this cool book all about dinosaurs. Have you met Pinocchio rex? Meet this fascinating dino along with favorites, such as Tyrannosaurus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Velociraptor, Apatosaurus, Ankylosaurus, and Giganotosaurus. Plus, check out some weird or newly discovered dinos you may not know about. See how fossils are formed. Learn about the epic, earth-shaking extinctions that paved the way for life today. Find out whether dinosaurs really had feathers, and so much more! All this, along with special features, awesome illustrations, sidebars, wacky trivia, and facts from experts in the field, make this the ultimate book to help YOU become an absolute expert on one of your favorite subjects.
Get expert insights from National Geographic explorer and volcanologist Arianna Soldati in this lava-hot book, exploding with the most up-to-date geological intel straight from the field.
Plunge deep beneath Earth's crust to find out how volcanoes form. Get up close to clouds of ash and molten lava. Learn about the biggest, most extreme volcanic eruptions to date. On the hunt for incredible volcanoes, you'll travel around the globe, dive into the depths of the oceans, journey into space...and so much more! History's most famous volcanic eruptions are all included: Mount Vesuvus, Mauna Loa, Stromboli, Mount Etna, Olympus Mons, and more. With special features, sidebars, wacky trivia, and more, it's the ultimate book to help YOU become an absolute expert on one of your favorite subjects.
Young readers are sure to love these fact-filled volumes as they become "experts"!
Lost in the Library by Josh Funk Illustrated by Stevie Lewis Expected publication August 28, 2018 Henry Holt/Macmillan Fiction Picture book 40 pages Review advanced copy provided by publisher Goodreads Summary Holt has bought Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience and Fortitude, written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Stevie Lewis, about the two lions who faithfully guard the New York Public Library. When Patience goes missing, Fortitude realizes the secret to Patience's disappearance may be within the Library itself. Lost in the Library is the first picture book that Macmillan plans to publish in partnership with the New York Public Library; it’s scheduled for publication in 2018.
As a book nerd, I hope to have the opportunity to visit the New York Public Library one day. After reading this book I feel like I have been able to get a bit of a peek inside of it. It is obvious that Josh Funk and illustrator Stevie Lewis know the library well. Clearly they have done their research and include illustrations and descriptions of the different and well-knownrooms, statues and artwork inside. I have read most of Josh Funk's books and one of his hallmarks is incorporating higher level vocabulary within rhyming verse. Readers will be exposed to rich vocabulary such as, impeccably, adorning, ensued, and cherished as they watch Fortitude look for his companion Patience. Young ones will enjoy how the suspense builds with each turn of the page. Will Patience be found before people start arriving so they both can take their posts outside the library? The illustrations are great! The soft colors and light make it feel like the library might feel very early in the morning.
Image from https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250155016 I would recommend Lost in the Library for ages 4-8.
A Round of Robins by Katie Hesterman Illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier Published March, 2018 Nancy Paulsen Books Hardcover Poetry 40 pages Review copy provided by publisher Goodreads Summary Sixteen fresh and funny poems welcome a new batch of robins to the world! Food Fight Jumble, jostle, rumble, squirm; Dad has landed with a worm. Game of tug-of-war begins-- Biggest bossy baby wins.
Mama's a skillful architect, constructing a sturdy nest, while Dad's a champion turf defender. And those hatchlings! Such fluffs of plump perfection! Katie Hesterman's vibrant verse celebrates this awesome circle of bird life, as we follow a pair of robin parents from nest-building and egg-laying, to raising their hungry hatchlings, and finally sending off their flying fledglings. Sergio Ruzzier's brilliant, candy-colored art pays tribute to all these stages of a robin's life cycle, reminding us that while robins may be common, they are also extraordinary! My Thoughts This book chronicles Mama and Papa bird's journey to raise their little brood from nest construction to becoming empty nesters. The book is written mostly in rhyming quatrains that are fun to read aloud. They are set in a variety of formats around the pages surrounded by the excellent illustrations. Some pages contain wide landscapes full of color from edge to edge. Others show more of a close up view of isolated illustrations. The birds are adorable and kids get to watch their development from inside the egg to their first flight. What a great way to learn about the life cycle of robins!
Image from: https://www.amazon.com/Round-Robins-Katie-Hesterman/dp/0399547789 I would highly recommend A Round of Robins for your classroom, school or public library. It would be an fabulous addition to a poetry collection, part of a life cycle or bird unit. Pair with other fiction and nonfiction about robins.
Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal Published April, 2018 Candlewick Press Picture Book Hardcover Fiction 32 Pages Goodreads Summary What's in a name? For one little girl, her very long name tells the vibrant story of where she came from — and who she may one day be. If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to Daddy for an answer and learns of Sofia, the grandmother who loved books and flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; José, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes, too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all — and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell. In her author-illustrator debut, Juana Martinez-Neal opens a treasure box of discovery for children who may be curious about their own origin stories or names.
It was not until I reached adulthood that I finally began to appreciate my name. People call me Gigi because that is the nickname my grandmother gave me when I was born. She thought my parents had given me a name that was too long for a baby. My given name is Georgianna. My kindergarten name tag was really long and I had a hard time learning how to spell it. My classmates had names like Kimberly and Nichole or Julie. I was ashamed of my long name that was so different. I was named after a lovely longtime friend of the family and I can now appreciate where my name came from and I like that it is not like everyone else. However, I could totally relate to little Alma who wasn't happy with her long name.
I love how her father described each ancestor for whom she is named and Alma's reaction as she learned more about them. The names did seem to fit after all. The author gives the reader so much to examine in the illustrations. In each ancestor illustration there is a resemblance or a mannerism that can be seen in Alma.
This book could spark some interesting discussions about names and how they originated with children at home or with students at school.
Front Desk by Kelly Yang Published May, 2018 Scholastic 286 Pages Fiction Hardcover
Goodreads Summary Front Desk tells the story of 10-year-old Mia Tang. Every day, Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel while her parents clean the rooms. She’s proud of her job. She loves the guests and treats them like family. When one of the guests gets into trouble with the police, it shakes Mia to her core. Her parents, meanwhile, hide immigrants in the empty rooms at night. If the mean motel owner Mr. Yao finds out, they’ll be doomed! Based on the author's life, the story follows Mia — the daughter of first generation Chinese immigrants.
Oh my goodness, I loved this book so much. Yang creates characters that you care about and root for. I love how Mia finds the power of writing and how her words can change people's lives. I truly felt for Mia, her family and all of the immigrants. Their stories were very real and it was heart-wrenching to read about the injustices they faced. The author's note reveals that many of the events were based on Yang's childhood in California. Mr. Yao, the hotel owner, is someone readers will love to hate. He is just awful and I shudder to think that he is based on a real person. Yang presents prejudice and bigotry in a way that young readers will understand. I read Front Deskrather quickly because I just had to find out what was going to happen to Mia, her family and the other characters. It would make a great read aloud and offers many opportunities for deep and important discussions.
Lions and Liars by Kate Beasley Illustrated by Dan Santat Published June, 2018 Farrar Straus Giroux
Advanced Reader's Copy provided by publisher
Frederick Frederickson has a food-chain theory about life. There are lions, like the school bully. Gazelles, like the bullied kids. There are meerkats, and the fleas that live on the butts of meerkats. Frederick's a flea. Fifth grade is off to a terrible start when Frederick is sent to a disciplinary camp for troublesome boys. His fellow troop mates—Nosebleed, Specs, The Professor, and little-yet-lethal Ant Bite—are terrifying. But in between trust-building exercises and midnight escape attempts, a tenuous friendship grows between them. Which is lucky, because a Category 5 hurricane is coming and everyone will have to work together—lions and fleas alike—to survive!
Frederick Frederickson is WAY down on the social food chain of 5th grade. Even his so-called friends are pretty quick to tell him how much of a loser he is. He feels like if he could just win something, then he would finally be popular. Through a series of events, he ends up going down a river alone on a boat with no motor and washes ashore at a disciplinary camp for boys. He is mistaken for another boy, Dash, who is infamous within the circle of boys for being reckless and dangerous. With this new identity comes instant respect and a good amount of fear from most of the campers who bend over backward to impress him or just give him anything he wants. He begins to enjoy this newfound power and popularity and doesn't want to go back to his old life. When his calm, law-abiding personality begins to shine through, some of the boys begin to doubt the validity of Dash's reputation and start to challenge him more verbally and physically. Just when Frederick is ready to call his parents to come get him, a powerful hurricane hits. This experience is a turning point in the story as he, and one of his friends, face the dangerous storm together. While I read the ARC, which did not have all of Dan Santat's illustrations, it did have a few which were excellent. This sprinkling of illustration will help middle grade readers understand the story and, let's face it, many middle graders still want to look at pictures in a book. I would definitely add this one to your grade 3-5 library. I can think of many of my former 4th graders that would love it.
Wonderland by Barbara O'Connor Expected publication: August 28th 2018
by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
From Barbara O'Connor, the beloved author of Wish, comes a big-hearted story about the meaning of friendship, the challenges of growing up, and one lovable runaway dog. Mavis Jeeter is fearless and bold, but she has never lived in one place long enough to have a real best friend. Her flighty mother has uprooted them again to another new home and taken a job as a housekeeper for the Tully family. Mavis wants this home to be permanent--which means finding herself a best friend. Rose Tully is a worrier who feels like she doesn't quite fit in with the other girls in her neighborhood. Her closest friend is Mr. Duffy, but he hasn't been himself since his dog died. Rose may have to break a few of her mother's many rules to help Mr. Duffy--and find someone who really understands her. Henry has run away from home, but he craves kindness and comfort--and doesn't know where to look for them. When Mavis and Rose hatch a scheme to find Mr. Duffy a new dog, their lives and Henry's intersect--and they all come to find friendship in places they never expected.
I am so happy this story brought Mavis and Rose together. Mavis is as bold as Rose is timid. She is loud, she interrupts, she says the wrong things at the wrong time and I love her! It is so fun to watch Mavis rub off on Rose who is afraid to break any rules because of her strict mother.
I also enjoyed the relationship the two girls had with Mr. Duffy, the gate keeper of the private community. Mavis is relentless in her pursuit to help Mr. Duffy feel happy again after the death of his Beloved dog, Queenie. Through constant badgering, she tries to convince him that getting another dog will cheer him up. He is not easily swayed even after they find Henry, a stray dog, living in the nearby woods. Will Henry stay with Mr. Duffy? Is Rose the best friend Mavis has been wishing for? Will Rose ever stand up to her overbearing mother?
The story takes the reader on twists and turns in the story until it all comes together in just the right way. I would recommend it for grades 4-5 as an independent read. It would also make a fabulous read aloud for grades 3-5.
Snail Mail by Samantha Berger Illustrated by Julia Patton Published May, 2018 Running Press Kids 32 pages Fiction Hardcover Review copy provided by publisher Goodreads Summary A long, long time ago, before email and texting, the mail was delivered in a much slower way-it was called Snail Mail (because some thought it was delivered by a snail). Although it took much longer, everyone agreed that letters were a little more special when they were delivered by Snail Mail. They might be handwritten. They might include a drawing. They might even contain a surprise inside! One such letter was sent by a Girl to the Boy she loved, and it was up to four special snails to deliver her card across the country. The snails trek across the country-through desert heat and dangerous blizzards, across mountains and plains, through cities and forests-and along the way, they find that taking time to slow down and look around makes the journey all the more beautiful.
Snail Mail's playful and educational story encourages kids to have slow living, and to approach life with determination and wonder. Julia Patton's rich illustrations showcase America's diverse terrain and national monuments from coast to coast. Kids and parents alike will delight in this celebration of America's beauty and the power of a simple handwritten letter.
This fun book takes a silly look at "snail mail". These dedicated snails know that some things are just better send through snail mail and will stop at nothing to deliver their precious packages. They recite the Snail Mail promise, "Neither rain, nor snow, nor heat, nor hail will stop a snail from bringing the mail.". The 4 snails in the book work together to slowly navigate deserts, canyons, maintains and forests. I like how they stop to notice important and interesting sights along the way. This serves as a reminder to kids and adults that sometimes we may miss important things it we are always rushing. The illustrations are great! Each snail is unique and has their own personality. Julia Patton pays careful attention to detail and each page offers something new for the reader to discover.
Image from http://www.samanthaberger.com/books_snail_mail.html
It may be hard for many kids to realize that, not too long ago,to send someone an item, card or letter people had to send things through the postal service or what is commonly referred to as "snail mail". After reading this book it will be almost impossible NOT to send a handwritten letter to someone special.