Priscilla Gorilla – Barbara Bottner, Illustrated by Michael Emberley

          Priscilla Gorilla – Barbara Bottner, Illustrated by Michael Emberley, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 9781481458979, 2017

Format: Hardcover,

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

Genre:  Children’s Picture Book

What did you like about the book? The story creatively walks a fine line between encouraging Priscilla’s creative free expression  and passion for gorillas but balances it  with rules for appropriate social interaction in her classroom and with her  teacher Mr. Todd. Eventually Priscilla remembers that gorillas are social animals that get along with others, and she adjusts her behavior to match. It was a charming empowering girl tale, with realistic parents and teacher Mr. Todd delivering great punch lines in this  comical story. The artwork was so engaging and expressive that the gorillas leapt and danced off the pages.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  Primate lovers, naturalists and children that love animals.

Who should buy this book? Elementary School librarians, gift shops at any zoo.

Where would you shelve it ? Children’s picture book

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

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State:Diane Neylon, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 

Date of review: 4/28/17

 

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The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli

 The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli, Balzer & Bray/Harperteen, 9780062348708, 2017

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

What did you like about the book? Molly and her sister, Cassie, are pretty inseparable twin sisters. They have two moms, enjoy a good party, and are delightfully outgoing. Molly, though, is in an endless funk because she’s terrified of rejection. Cassie is constantly hooking up with her crushes, while Molly stands on the sidelines, waiting for someone else to make the move.

After reading the side jacket, I was dreading reading this book a little bit. After the first thirty seconds though, I fell in love with Molly’s dry sarcastic wit. This book was great for the humor alone. I really liked Molly’s character, although the self-deprecation and fat-shaming was a bit much at times. This was a sweet, feel-good, sort of story and I think high school readers will enjoy it. 

Anything you didn’t like about it? It was really long — 336 pages to be exact, but I did finish it in one sitting.

To whom would you recommend this book? High school readers who like a love story with a lot of humor shoveled in.

Who should buy this book? Public and school libraries

Where would you shelve it? YA fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Kasia Piasecka, Falmouth Public Library, Falmouth, MA

Date of review: 4/28/17

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Porridge the Tartan Cat and the Brawsome Bagpipes – Alan Dapre, illustrated by Yuliya Somina

 Porridge the Tartan Cat and the Brawsome Bagpipes – Alan Dapre, illustrated by Yuliya Somina, Young Kelpies, (9781782503552), 2017

Format: Paperback

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3

Genre: animal/family fiction

What did you like about the book? When Porridge was a wee kitten, he toppled into a tin of tartan paint. Not wanting to lick it off or have it washed off, he became a tartan cat. He lives with the McFun family which consists of Gadget Grandad, Groovy Gran, Mini Mum, Dino Dad, Roaring Ross and invisible Isla. When Ross and Isla go to spend a week with Grandad, Porridge goes along to join in many a zany adventure. Grandad has gadgets of every sort and an arch-enemy, Fergus McFungus. There are illustrations on nearly every page and the action, related through the eyes of Porridge, never stops.

Anything you did not like about this book? No.

To whom would you recommend this book? Recommend to kids who like very zany fast-moving stories with equally wacky characters.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it? Juvenile fiction

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No.

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

Date of review: 4/23/2017

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Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel – by Kimberly Willis Holt

            Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel – by Kimberly Willis Holt, Henry Holt and Company, (9781627793247), 2017.

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

What did you like about the book?Stevie (named for singer Stevie Nix) has just lost her parents in a tragic car accident. As her story opens, she is on a bus, leaving her formerly idyllic life, and heading to meet and live with her mom’s father, a man her parents led her to believe had died long ago.  The grieving girl arrives at his motel to discover it is a rundown facility populated by eccentric locals while her granddad is aloof and cranky. Stevie is a particularly likeable narrator as she uses the life lessons her parents taught her to discover her grandad’s hidden goodness, connect with the people she meets, and convert her losses into a blooming new life. Gardening terms label the sections (seedling, sow, cultivate, transplant) and match up to Stevie’s stages of adjustment. Stevie’s efforts to understand why her parents kept their families a secret from her (she discovers an aunt, uncle and cousins on her dad’s side, too) adds drama to the tale. Kudos to the publisher for commissioning the gorgeous jacket art by Jackie Denos that will help draw readers and well represents the beautifully written story.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommend to girls in about 3rd to 7th grade who are fans of realistic books with exemplary main characters and an old-fashioned feel. Readalikes: Heidi

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

Where would you shelve it?  Shelve in Fiction.

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

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

Date of review:  4/28/17

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The Giant Jumperee – Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

     The Giant Jumperee – Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, Dial Books for Young Readers, (9780735227972), 2017

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre: Picture Book

What did you like about the book?  This is a perfect combination of text and illustration from two bestselling and highly regarded authors.  One day as Rabbit approaches his burrow he hears a loud voice from within saying,”’I’m the GIANT JUMPEREE and I’m scary as can be!’” Frightened Rabbit flees and meets Cat.  When Cat hears of the predicament she feels that she can conquer the intruder, but she is also frightened away when the voice threatens to “squash you like a flea!”  Bear tries, but turns away when told “I’ll sting you like a bee” and Elephant is told “I’m taller than a tree!”  The repeated refrain makes this a great read aloud.  The illustrations in this large picture book fill the pages with color, humor and expression.  Finally, all four animals run into Mama Frog and tell her about the terrifying creature in Rabbit’s burrow.  Mama Frog seems nonplussed and approaches the burrow.  The voice tells her  “‘I’m the GIANT JUMPEREE and you’re terrified of me!’”  Mama Frog tells the voice that she’ll give it to the count of three to come out.  Readers will be right in guessing that the ferocious creature is actually Baby Frog!  Just perfection!

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  This is the perfect story time read aloud.  A fun story about facing one’s fears and a little trickster.  Pair it with The Great AAA-OOO!  by Jonny Lambert and Jez Alborough’s Watch Out! Big Bro Is Coming!  

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

Where would you shelve it?  Picture Books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this at the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Date of review:  4/28/17             

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Who Was Princess Diana? – Ellen Labrecque, illustrated by Jerry House

Who Was Princess Diana? – Ellen Labrecque, illustrated by Jerry House, Grosset & Dunlap,  (9780448488554), 2017

Format: Hardcover

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

What did you like about the book?  This new title in the Who Was series recounts the short but influential life of Princess Diana.  The book covers her childhood, her marriage to King Charles, motherhood, her influence of the modern royal family and her tragic death.  Plentiful line drawings based on famous photos fill the pages.  The book also includes side notes on such related topics as “The Royal Residences,” Diana’s Wedding Dress,” “The Order of Succession,” and “AIDS.”  A timeline of Diana’s life and the world plus a bibliography are included.  A good choice for a report or for children interested in the royal family.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No

To whom would you recommend this book?  This would be a good source for a biography report. Readers interested in the royal family will enjoy this look at the mother and grandmother of the future kings of England.

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

Where would you shelve it? Biography

Should we (librarians/readers) put this at the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Date of review:  4/28/17             

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Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo – William Joyce

 Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo – William Joyce, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, (9781481489478), c1988, 2017

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

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

What did you like about the book? Originally published in 1988, the classic returns to delight yet another generation. The story has no problem being just as wacky and wonderful as it was twenty-nine years ago. The eccentric Lazardo family is firm believers in the education and thrills that travel provides. While traveling in Africa, young Scotty Lazardo brings a dinosaur into camp, one that appears to be a brontosaurus. The family is thrilled, throwing open their arms to embrace this newest member of their family that they name Bob. Once back home, however, some of the neighbors object to Bob so the family decides to move somewhere that Bob will be welcome. But they miss their home in Pimloco Hills and Bob, of course, finds a way to save the day.

Anything you did not like about this book? One of those rare perfect ones.

To whom would you recommend this book? If you have not read the book, then you are in for a super treat and so are all the children to whom you read it. And if you have read it, you can visit an old friend.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries and child-care centers.

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: 4/23/2017

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