Duck, Death and the Tulip – Wolf Erlbruch

41shrxzlsol Duck, Death and the Tulip – Wolf Erlbruch, Gecko Press, (9781877579028), c2007, 2011.

Format: Hardcover Picture book

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

What did you like about the book? Duck has a feeling that he is being followed. It is Death who has been following him for a long time. Death carries a purple tulip, wears long shapeless clothes and has a skull for a head. Duck and Death become friends, visiting the pond, which makes Death cold, and discussing what happens when you die. When Duck does die, Death is very gentle, placing Duck on the water to float away with the purple tulip resting on top of him. This is an odd story, of course, but rather beautifully and gently told with sparse illustrations, mainly of Duck and Death.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No.

To whom would you recommend this book? If a child has lost someone close to them, it would be a nice selection to read to them to explain death. Or when children reach that age, when they are curious about death, it would also be very beneficial.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries and those dealing with the death of a family member, be it human or animal.

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

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

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Moderator, Youth Services Book Review

Date of review: 12/4/2016

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Girl on a Plane – Miriam Moss

41whylfe09l Girl on a Plane – Miriam Moss, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, (9780544783997), 2016.

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre: Historical fiction

What did you like about the book? The year is 1970. Fifteen-year-old Anna is leaving Bahrain where she has been spending the summer with her parents and two younger brothers to return to boarding school in England. Her father is in the Armed Forces so they move frequently but England is home. Soon after her flight takes off, it is hijacked by Palestinian guerrillas and forced down into the Jordanian desert. The hijackers will release their hostages if their demands are met. It is very hot – though cold at night – and there is little food and water. The suspense is tangible as Anna ponders whether she will ever see her family again. The story is based on an actual experience of the author when she was fifteen.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No.

To whom would you recommend this book? Give this to teenagers who might want a true story of strong, courageous people their own age.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries, Middle and high-school libraries

Where would you shelve it? Middle school and YA fiction

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No, not the top but a good and informative read.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Moderator, Youth Services Book Review

Date of review: 12/2/2016

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Jack’s Path of Courage: The Life of John F. Kennedy – written by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Matt Tavares

51vcncfkuml   Jack’s Path of Courage: The Life of John F. Kennedy – written by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Matt Tavares, Disney Hyperion, (9781484749616), 2016.

Format: Paperback

Rating: 1-5:  4.5

Genre:  Picture book biography

What did you like about the book? Following the format of her previous picture book biographies (Helen’s Big WorldLady Liberty), author Rappaport uses three avenues to convey information about John F. Kennedy: text containing biographical information, full-page paintings created by Matt Tavares, and numerous quotes that serve well to reveal Kennedy’s personality. Starting with his childhood in a competitive family, Kennedy is shown maturing through his experience in World War II, as a young senator, and then finally as president. Missteps (authorizing the Bay of Pigs invasion) and tragedies (his assassination) are included, but handled in an age-appropriate manner. Excellent source notes, timeline, and end notes round out this offering. Starts and ends with quotes in oversized text on the end pages.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  Wear and tear will likely take a toll on the paperback cover. Given that the topic has lasting appeal, spring for the hard cover edition, especially if buying for a library.

To whom would you recommend this book? Recommend to elementary school readers as an exemplar of both an inspiring life and of narrative non-fiction. Readalike: There are a number of picture book biographies authored by Rappaport. They are all of superior quality.

Who should buy this book? Elementary school libraries and public libraries.

Where would you shelve it?  Shelve with your other picture book biographies.

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes, if you enjoy reading inspiring narrative non-fiction.

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

Date of review:  12/4/16

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The Snake and the Ghost – Tim Jackson

81hdh-re7xl    The Snake and the Ghost – Tim Jackson, HaggusArts Publications, (9780996854405), 2016

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre:

What did you like about the book? This is a rather unusual story starring Haggus the snake who has a little sister named Lizzie. Haggus wants to explore the world beyond his field. Some bigger snakes tease Haggus because he is small, daring him to visit the haunted house that is filled with ghosts. The illustrations are done in very gloomy colors that perfectly suit the mood of the story. Haggus enters the house where three persons are very frightened of him but they are not ghosts. He finds the ghost crying upstairs, a grandmother, who wants to make contact with her grandson. Haggus finds a way to save the day by painting a picture on one of the windows. He is captured by the father and put outside far away. When his sister finds out, she knows he is finally realizing his desire to travel. I really liked the illustrations and the ingenuity that Haggus displayed. A unique story that hopefully will lead to more Haggus adventures.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No.

To whom would you recommend this book? Public libraries.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No, but it is quite unique and intriguing.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Moderator, Youth Services Book Review

Date of review: 12/3/2016

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Chicken Story Time – written by Sandy Asher, illustrated by Mark Fearing

511wfgjp2xl Chicken Story Time – written by Sandy Asher, illustrated by Mark Fearing, Dial Books and Young Readers, 9780803739444, 2016

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review4

Genre:  Picture book

What did you like about the book? We’ve had dinosaurs and dragons and lions in the library, so why not chickens?  In this latest silly book about libraries and the trials of librarians, chickens begin to join in for storytime.  The librarian doesn’t mind (at first) as everyone listens and enjoys the story.  But quiet quickly becomes chaos when too many feathered foul join them!  This brightly illustrated picture book is accompanied by sparse, repeating text that will appeal to young readers and give them a giggle.  The creative solution also demonstrates just how great (and flexible!) a library can be for its patrons whether they are children or chickens.

Anything you didn’t like about it? The diversity of the children is very lacking.  A big chance for representation was missed here, especially in large group illustrations, given the theme of inclusion of this book.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommended for young readers (pre-K to K)!  Pre-readers will easily be able to decode the story from illustration.  Budding readers will enjoy the escalation of the book and words.  The conclusion would make this a fantastic book to support a lesson on creative problem solving.  Try pairing with “Whale in My Swimming Pool” by Wan for another silly story with compromise.

Who should buy this book? Childrens’ library collections (public and school)

Where would you shelve it ? Picture book collection

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No.  But consider it for a short storytime of your own!

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Melissa McCleary, Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, MA

Date of reviewDecember 3, 2016

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The Yule Tomte and the Little Rabbits – Ulf Stark and Eva Eriksson

51y1zzqsc7l    The Yule Tomte and the Little Rabbits – Ulf Stark and Eva Eriksson, Floris Books, (9781782501367), c2012, 2015.

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5+

Genre: Fantasy/Folklore/Holiday

What did you like about the book? Grump the Tomte lived in a converted doghouse on the grounds of a deserted house. His friend, the Bee, lived with him. A ways away lived the Rabbit family, snug in their burrow under an enormous oak tree. There was Mother, Father, Aunty Bunty, Uncle Nubbin, Grandfather Rabbit and a bunch of children. The young rabbits had never experienced winter or snow. When Binny and Barty go outside to see if it has snowed yet, they find the hat and mittens of the Tomte that blew off his clothesline. They also find the sign that had hung on the gate where the Tomte lived which read Tomte Co as a squirrel had nibbled off the rest of the word “cottage”. Grandfather Rabbit decides that the sign mean Tomte Coming and the squirrels knew about Christmas so it must be the Yule Tomte! All the animals in this area of the forest prepare to welcome the Yule Tomte when he comes.   They wait and wait but he does not come so Binny and Barty go to look for him.

Anything you didn’t like about it? Not a thing!

To whom would you recommend this book? This would make a wonderful read aloud story for older children.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it? This is an oversize book, filled with wonderful illustrations on every page. It could go in juvenile fiction or maybe picture books.

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

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Moderator, Youth Services Book Review

Date of review: 12/3/2016

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Who Is Stevie Wonder? – by Jim Gigliotti, illustrated by Stephen Marchesi

51ggj3kdful  Who Is Stevie Wonder? (Who Is…?) – by Jim Gigliotti, illustrated by Stephen Marchesi, Grosset and Dunlap, (9780399542435), 2016.

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5:  4

Genre:  Non-fiction, Biography

What did you like about the book? Stevie Wonder, a blind musician with a trademark smile that shows how much he loves what he does, overcame a number of disadvantages to even learn how to play an instrument. Despite this, his talent was so prodigious that he first auditioned and was signed to a recording contract at age eleven! By definition, Stevie Wonder’s story is also the story of the rise of Motown and r&b music. Concepts that readers might not know (Braille, synthesizers, Billboard charts) are explained in one to two page inserts.  At the end, there are two timelines: Stevie’s life and major world events from the forties to the present. A Bibliography completes the offering. Like the rest of this series, this book conveys a lot of information about the subject though the total length is just over one hundred pages and illustrations are all black-and-white pencil sketches.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Give this to young people in third to sixth grade with an interest in music and to those who like to read about real people successfully overcoming obstacles in their life.

Who should buy this book? Elementary school libraries, middle school libraries, and public libraries.

Where would you shelve it?  Shelve with your other biographies.

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes, if you like to read quick narrative non-fiction stories.

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

Date of review:  12/3/16

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