Duck in the Truck – Jez Alborough

 51Zu2knxUuL     Duck in the Truck – Jez Alborough, Kane Miller, 2008

Format: Paperback

Rating: 5

What did you like about the book? The illustration are not only bright, expressive and exuberant, suiting Duck and his friends very, very well, they are accompanied by rhyming text that is fun to read.   An excellent addition to the “Duck” books!

What didn’t you like about this book? N/A

To whom would you recommend this book?  There are at least seven other stories starring the inimitable

Who should buy this book? Public libraries, lower elementary grades and day-cares.

Where would you shelve it and why? Picture books

Should we (librarians/Readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Excellent choice for storytime!

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Gardner High School

Date of review: 11/10/2014

                    

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Saving Turtles: A Kid’s Guide to Helping Endangered Species – Sue Carstairs

  81zMI42KBlL   Saving Turtles: A Kid’s Guide to Helping Endangered Creatures – Sue Carstairs, Firefly Books, 2014.

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 5

What did you like about the book? Endangered turtle species around the world and the dangers they face is addressed in this wonderful expose. Fascinating and invaluable information is accompanied by excellent photography.

What didn’t you like about this book? N/A

To whom would you recommend this book?  Turtles: the animal answer guide by Gail Gibbons could be paired with this one.

Who should buy this book? Public and school libraries

Where would you shelve it? In non-fiction with books on turtles, 597.92

Should we (librarians/Readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Gardner High School

Date of review: 11/20/2014

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In the Forbidden City – Chiu Kwong-chiu

 81WF2pWhMdL In the Forbidden City, by Chiu Kwong-chiu, Designed and illustrated by Design and Cultural Studies Workshop, Translated by Ben Wang, China Institute in America, 2014

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 5

What did you like about the book? Written as an instructional book about one of China’s most famous landmarks, this book helps readers tour this structure and discover the secrets of this amazing building. It traces the beginnings of the history of the building and tells about each emperor who stayed there. The illustrations are pen and ink and very tiny. However, there is a magnifying glass at the end of the book that is provided for closer look at the illustrations. It is an amazing book and one that both informs and entertains.

What didn’t you like about the book? I liked everything about the book

To whom would you recommend this book?  Any person who wants to have a history of China at their fingertips. Both adults and children will find this book fascinating.

Who should buy this book? All libraries

Where would you shelve it and why? 950s with Chinese history

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, it is a beautiful book.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Sandra Pacheco, Gardner Public Schools

Date of review: Nov. 20, 2014

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Flora and Ulysses: the Illuminated Adventures – Kate DiCamillo and K.G. Campbell

51whi5u8GDLFlora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by K. G. Campbell, Candlewick Press, 2013

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 4

Genre:  magical realism

What did you like about the book? The characters are the heart of this story, particularly sweet squirrel Ulysses (gifted with amazing powers and perception after a violent encounter with a vacuum cleaner) and the deeply wounded children who become his friends.  Flora, a self-described cynic, is hurting over her parents’ separation and her mother’s emotional distance. William Spiver, who is temporarily blind, is coping with the loss of his father and adjusting to a new stepfather. We learn Flora and William’s stories slowly through a series of wild adventures with Ulysses (one of which involves a waitress named Rita with “monstrous hair”). The wonderful pencil-sketch illustrations add richness to the story. Ulysses’ poetry is heartfelt without feeling treacly. In fact, that’s what sets this book apart: the deep emotions conveyed without becoming overly sentimental. And the wonderful ending.

Anything you didn’t like about it? It did not reach out and grab me initially, in spite of the fun premise and Kate DiCamillo’s  noteworthy  talent. This book might require some patience on the part of the reader. Encourage kids to stick with it.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Readers who enjoyed The Tale of Despereaux, Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little should enjoy this book.  For readers looking for more squirrel stories, recommend Gooseberry Park by Cynthia Rylant and Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins.

Who should buy this book? Every elementary school and public library should purchase it.

Where would you shelve it? Juvenile fiction, and we have it in our Newbery section as well.

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, because it won the Newbery medal if for no other reason. Some young readers love award-winning books, while others shy away from them. Librarians should read this title so that we can steer the right readers to it.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Renee Wheeler, Leominster Public Library

Date of review: November 19, 2014

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A Garden for Pig – Kathryn K. Thurman and Lindsay Ward

51eBu9fZ38L     A Garden for Pig by Kathryn K. Thurman, illustrated by Lindsay Ward, Kane Miller, 2010

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Rating: 4

What did you like about the book? This book introduces the concept of organic gardening in a fun and unexpected way. Talk about a twist that children will love! It is particularly fun because it is based on a true story, which the author explains at the end of the book. I love the illustrations, which cleverly include some collages that look to be made from old recipe books and farm manuals.  Pig is very cute and his facial expressions are priceless as he tries to devise a way to add some variety-and some vegetables-into his boring diet of apples, apples, and more apples.

Anything you didn’t like about it? Personally, I am not a huge fan of bathroom humor, but I can put that aside because it is handled tastefully and also because it is there to demonstrate how the squash seeds got planted. And, because I know most kids will love it.

To whom would you recommend this book?  This would be a fun storytime book for preschoolers. It would be great paired with several other gardening books for a spring or summer story time. Grandpa’s Garden Lunch by Judith Caseley, and And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano come to mind. Neither one is as humorous as A Garden for Pig, but they might work well together.

Who should buy this book? I believe it would be popular in the preschool collection of public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Picture books.

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Not right on top, but it is a quick and clever read so it deserves a perusal. In the unlikely event that a parent is concerned about the pooping pig, it’s always good to have read the book and be prepared to talk about it.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Renee Wheeler, Leominster Public Library

Date of review: November 19, 2014

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Weird Birds – Chris Early

 3449298     Weird Birds – Chris Early, Firefly Books, 2014

 Format: Hardcover

Rating: 5

What did you like about the book? Incredible photography of the world’s most unique birds accompanied by equally interesting details makes this book a positive delight.

What didn’t you like about this book? N/A

To whom would you recommend this book?  Pair this with Bird Talk: What Birds are Saying and Why by Lita Judge

Who should buy this book? Public and school libraries

Where would you shelve it? With non-fiction birds, 598.

Should we (librarians/Readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Gardner High School

Date of review: 11/19/2014

                    

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Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines – Paul Fleischman

  51o3oX8LNTL    Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines by Paul Fleischman, Candlewick Press, 2014

Format: Hardcover

Rating:  5

What did you like about the book?  Paul Fleischman delivers a sobering message about the state of the world’s environment along with a thorough description of how we have arrived here. Although others have been sounding the same warnings for some time now, Fleischman uses particularly thoughtful and well-articulated arguments and examples. Along with everything else it does right, this book provides an excellent example of how to thoroughly document sources in its forty-five pages of source notes, bibliography, and index.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  I would have preferred color illustrations, but the black-and-white images fit with the book’s message of minimizing impact on the environment.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommend especially to middle school science teachers for its masterful exposition of the many factors that have led to climate change. Anyone teaching critical thinking skills would also find it useful.

Who should buy this book?  Public libraries, middle school libraries and middle school science teachers

Where would you shelve it? File in non-fiction in the 363’s with other books about climate change

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes – this is exemplary middle school non-fiction about an important topic!

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Mary Melaugh, Marshall Middle School Library, Billerica, MA

Date of review: 11/18/14

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