The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked & Found by Martin W. Sandler

     The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked & Found by Martin W. Sandler, Candlewick Press, 9780763680336, c2017.

Format: Hardcover

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

What did you like about the book? A lost pirate ship, wrecked off of Cape Cod along the Massachusetts seacoast full of pirate loot, discovered over 250 years after it sank, what’s not to love?!

This well written story of The Whydah goes back from the ship’s history as a slave ship starting in 1715, to its historic life as a pirate ship, to one of the most valuable salvages ever discovered, in 1984.

The Whydah was one of the fastest ships on the seas and that made it valuable for all the trade it could carry swiftly. Sadly, it’s first cargo was human beings, Africans stolen from their homelands to become slaves in the New World. The author does not gloss over this part of the ship’s history, but delves into it. We also learn about the myths and truths of the seafaring life and the lives of pirates in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Included in the story are sidebars about specific topics, like slavery, Cyprian Southack, a map maker and early hunter for The Whydah, and preserving artifacts, to name but a few.

This is an excellent book and it will keep young and old readers interested up until the last page.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  Anyone who enjoys an adventure story with a local background and, of course, pirates will love this book!

Who should buy this book? Middle and High School libraries will want this and so will Public libraries!

Where would you shelve it? Non-fiction in Dewey, either 910.45 or 974.492

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

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Maria Touet, Pope John XXIII High School, Everett, MA

Date of review: March 26, 2017

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Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean – edited by Kirsty Murray, Payal Dhar, & Anita Roy

 Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean – edited by Kirsty Murray, Payal Dhar, & Anita Roy, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 9781481470575, 2017

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre: Fantasy (Anthology)

What did you like about the book? Authors and illustrators from Australia and India combined forces to create an empowering collection of feminist stories.  That summary alone is a lot to live up to, but “Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean” is as beautiful in content as its cover.  Though not every story will appeal to every reader, there is no penalty to skipping to a new story, which will appeal greatly to busy teens.  At less than 200 pages,16 unique tales visit a variety of worlds that showcase friendships, family relationships, and self-love.  Readers who enjoy the introspective nature of short stories will be able to find a favorite here (for me, it was most certainly “Cast Out”).

Anything you didn’t like about it?  As mentioned in the Introduction, many of the selected authors stepped outside of their comfort zone with either the genre of speculative fiction or the idea of collaboration.  Some of these stories exhibit this with a fantastic idea and awkward execution; this is sometimes a symptom of the format of a short story itself, but a star was deducted none-the-less.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Readers who have enjoyed the new wave of strong feminist tales will find this collection just as satisfying (such as the poetry collection “the princess save herself in this one”).  Others partial to the format of short stories (such as “The Curiosities” series) will also enjoy this book.

Who should buy this book? Teen library collections (public and school) in areas where short stories are popular

Where would you shelve it ? YA fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Not necessarily.  This format will not appeal to all, but a flip through some of the stories may be a fun treat.

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

Date of reviewMarch 25, 2017

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Sweet Dreams, Peter, – Beatrix Potter

  Sweet Dreams, Peter – Beatrix Potter, Penguin Random House, 9780241275993, 2017

Format: Board book

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

What did you like about the book? This Peter Rabbit lullaby book is a calming bedtime book that very young children will love. Written in rhyme, it is a sing-songy lullaby that shows all different animals settling down to bed. Everything about the book is calming, from the pastel colors of the illustrations to the pictures of beds and nests and burrows.

Anything you didn’t like about it? For children learning to read, it might be confusing as there are words written in cursive on each page. I don’t see the purpose of it, as there doesn’t seem to be a reason why some words are written in cursive and some aren’t.

To whom would you recommend this book?  It is recommended for children ages 3 and up.

Who should buy this book? Public school libraries.

Where would you shelve it ? Children’s Books

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

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Sandra Pacheco, ESL teacher, Washington, D.C.

Date of review: March 24, 2017

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Ready, Set…Baby! – Elizabeth Rusch and illustrated by Qin Leng

 Ready, Set…Baby! – Elizabeth Rusch and illustrated by Qin Leng, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780544472723, 2017

Format: Hardcover

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

What did you like about the book? This is a must-have book for parents who are going to bring a new baby into an already established family with older siblings. Anna and Oliver are two children who appear to be about 4 and 6 years old. This book is a manual told from their perspective of the whole process of having a baby from the time mom is pregnant until the baby becomes a part of the family. I especially liked how there are two resource pages at the end of the book for the new parents with tips, websites and books on life with big kids and new babies. The entire book is child-centered and attempts to allay fears of older children when they are shocked by the sight of the umbilical cord or are freaked out by the baby spitting up on them. It is comprehensive and fun and makes the older children feel included in the whole process of raising this child.

Anything you didn’t like about it? I liked everything about this book.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Children ages 4-8 who are having a new baby come into their family will love this book. All public libraries with children’s rooms should buy it.

Who should buy this book? Public school libraries.

Where would you shelve it ? Children’s Books

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

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Sandra Pacheco, ESL teacher, Washington, D.C.

Date of review: March 24, 2017

 

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Play With Me by Michelle Lee

   Play With Me by Michelle Lee, G.P Putnam’s Sons, 9780399546013, 2017

Format: Hardcover

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

What did you like about the book? Pip and Nico are friends. Pip brings a wagon full of toys to Nico and asks him to play. Nico agrees to play, but then proceeds to bring out his cello to play. When Pip tires of Nico not playing with him, and only playing his cello,  he storms off. Nico finally realizes that it’s more fun to play music with someone than alone, and he includes Pip. They finally come up with something fun to do together. The illustrations are simple, yet clever as Michelle Lee shows all the ways Pip tries to engage Nico. He ties one end of the rope to the cello in order to play jump rope, or he puts dress up clothes on Nico as he continues to play the cello. The book has a nice message of friends finding common ground to play together.

Anything you didn’t like about it? I liked everything about this book.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Children ages 3-5 will love the illustrations and the simple text. This is also a good book to read to preschools and kindergarten classes about the give and take of play.

Who should buy this book? Preschools, daycares and elementary school libraries.

Where would you shelve it ? Children’s Books

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

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Sandra Pacheco, ESL teacher, Washington, D.C.

Date of review: March 24, 2017

 

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This house, once by Deborah Freedman

  This house, once by Deborah Freedman, Author & Illustrator, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 978-1-4814-4284-8, c2017.

Format: Hardcover

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

What did you like about the book? This lovely picture book tells the tale of a house and how it came to be built–the door from an oak tree, the foundation of stones, the bricks that make the walls, and sand that is melted to become the glass windows.

The muted unusual colors, mostly in the purple hue, are very calming, the illustrations are sweet and they fit the story perfectly.

There are small colorful touches on each page from autumn leaves to small yellow birds. Seasons and time come and go from blizzards that nearly block out the house to a starry sky night.

It’s a wonderful book that would be perfect at bedtime.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  Home by Carson Ellis (2015)

Who should buy this book?  Public libraries and daycare centers will enjoy this for story time.

Where would you shelve it? Picture Books

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

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Maria Touet, Pope John XXIII High School, Everett, MA

Date of review: March 19, 2017

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Ants Rule: The Long and Short of It – Bob Barner

  Ants Rule: The Long and Short of It – Bob Barner, Holiday House, (9780823436606), 2017.

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

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

What did you like about the book? You can throw away your rulers. There’s a new mode of measurement in town — ants! As part of their preparations for the Bug Jamboree, adorable ants measure other bugs using themselves as the unit of measurement. A ruler composed of ants runs along the bottom of many of the pages. Their findings, displayed in a chart, make it easy to see that a caterpillar is four ants long, but the bee is only two ants long. Vocabulary for comparing sizes is introduced, “Who is longer? Caterpillar or Bee?”  Other ways to organize data (pie chart, table) are shown, too. All the bugs are so cute and cheerful. At the end, the ants reveal the wonderful surprise they made – a big roller coaster Buggy Go Round for all the bugs to use that is so large, it takes up a double set of foldout pages!

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommend to anyone who would like to teach beginning math concepts to young children in a fun way. The large, clear images on white background and short text make this a winner for storytime.

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

Where would you shelve it?  Shelve in 530.8.

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:  3/24/17

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