Wolfy – Gregoire Solotareff

        Wolfy – Gregoire Solotareff, Gecko Press, (9781776571567), 2017

Format: Hardcover Picture book

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

What did you like about the book? A young rabbit who has never seen a wolf and a young wolf who has never seen a rabbit. Not knowing they are supposed to be enemies, the two become fast friends teaching each other new things that would help each survive. One day, however, Wolfy scares Tom the rabbit so badly that Tom runs to his burrow and refuses to come out. Lonely, without Tom, Wolfy goes off in search of a new friend finally learning why rabbits are afraid of wolves. He will win Tom back. Very bright, large and simple illustrations enhance this story of friendship.

Anything you did not like about this book? Not a thing.

To whom would you recommend this book? A nice choice for storytime when one does one that is wolf-themed or friendship.

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.

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

Date of review: 12/11/2017

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Release – Patrick Ness

  Release – Patrick Ness, Harperteen, 9780062403193, 2017

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:  YA Fiction

What did you like about the book? Adam Thorn’s story is very powerful. He is the gay son of a preacher, struggling against his family’s beliefs, trying to ward off the sexual advances of his boss, and working through some serious heartbreak… all in the space of one day. The book manages to cover sex, love, friendship, family and loss in so few pages, and in such a moving way.

Adam’s chapters are hard-hitting, beautiful and sad. His ultimate realization towards the end of the book carries with it that certain bittersweetness that only comes with the letting go of someone you loved deeply.

Anything you didn’t like about it? I didn’t enjoy the experimental style of some of the chapters. I’m sure it was supposed to be deep and meaningful, but the choice to add it felt cold and intellectual in a book that was otherwise so emotionally tense.

I would hesitate before recommending this book. Though Adam’s story was compelling and his character so well-drawn, a lot of this short book is taken up with metaphoric wanderings into the weird and – sometimes it seemed – nonsensical. But maybe smarter people than me will appreciate it. Otherwise, I recommend reading Silvera’s History Is All You Left Me instead.

To whom would you recommend this book? High school readers

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: 12/12/17

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   Pig Has A Plan – Ethan Long

    Pig Has A Plan (I Like To Read) – Ethan Long, Holiday House, (9780823438808), c2012, 2017

Format: Paperback

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

Genre:  Beginning Reader

What did you like about the book?  This easy reader takes place on a farm where “Pig wants to nap.” Unfortunately, the other farm animals are being quite noisy. What are they busy doing?  They are putting together a birthday party for pig.  The bright illustrations, created with Black Prismacolor pencils on bristol board and colored digitally, are full of fun.  One the page that reads “Cow wants to gab,” readers are treated to the cow gabbing on a cell phone.  Pig’s expressions turn from dismay to anger to resignation.  This is sure to bring a smile to beginning readers with its easy text and funny illustrations.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No

To whom would you recommend this book? This is the perfect level for a very beginning reader.

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

Where would you shelve it? Easy Reader

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:  12/12/17             

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Lightfoot – Nicholas Jennings

   Lightfoot – Nicholas Jennings, Viking Canada, (9780735232556), 2017

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre: Biography

What did you like about the book? Gordon Lightfoot was born in 1938 in Orillia, Ontario. He began singing at a very early age and music became his life. This is not just a biography of Lightfoot but also a musical history of the 1940s up through the present day. Though recognized as a folksinger, he was involved in many genres of music having belonged to a barbershop quartet in high school. He encountered many, many of the most famous names in music from Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen to Bing Crosby. He was a prolific songwriter. Many different singers from around the world have recorded his songs. The story here is fascinating for all of its musical history and a voyage through time.

To whom would you recommend this book? Teens who grew up influenced by music from their grandparents and the folk/music scene would really enjoy this book.

Who should buy this book? Public and high school libraries

Where would you shelve it? Biography

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? If you really like Gordon Lightfoot, then yes.

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

Date of review: 12/10/2017

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Moxie – Jennifer Mathieu

   Moxie – Jennifer Mathieu, Roaring Brook Press, 9781626726352, 2017

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:  YA Realistic Fiction

What did you like about the book?  Vivian is a high school junior in small-town Texas.  She keeps her head down, does her work, and focuses on graduating and getting out.  Motivated by her mom’s past as a punk rock Riot Grrrl rebel, she finds she can no longer ignore the institutionalized sexism in her town and school.  She secretly creates and distributes her Moxie zine in the hopes that some other girls in her community are also sick of having their accomplishments sidelined, being ignored in class, and being mauled in the hallways.  Worried that she may be alone, she soon finds that the Moxie concept provides the courage and solidarity the East Rockport High girls (and some boys) have needed in order to come together and make some positive changes.

Vivian is a completely believable and likable character.  She has no superpowers – Any young reader could identify with her and see herself taking up the reins and making something happen in her own community.  It is also terrific that Mathieu doesn’t stereotype the girls or the boys.  There are beautiful feminists and decent football dudes and the Moxie movement has room for everyone, regardless of clique.  The emphasis is on working together.

This is a book that got better and better as the pages turned.  I just wanted to keep reading.  It was a pleasure to watch these young characters figure themselves out and take action.

Anything you didn’t like about it? Mathieu loves Bikini Kill!  There are so many great bands of the Riot Grrrl era.  Teens reading this book will get that Kathleen Hanna was (is!) badass, but the dropping of this one name became repetitive.  The story would have benefitted from a broader spectrum of musical influences.

To whom would you recommend this book?  High school students

Who should buy this book? High schools and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? YA

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Given that sexual assault is all over the news these days, yes.  This is a book that could empower young women to speak out if they have been hurt or have witnessed someone else being hurt.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State:  Robin Shtulman, Athol Public Library, Athol, MA

Date of review:   11 December 2017

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The Girl Who Saved Christmas – Matt Haig, illustrations by Chris Mould

   The Girl Who Saved Christmas – Matt Haig, illustrations by Chris Mould, Alfred A. Knopf, (9781524700447), 2017

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:  Fantasy

What did you like about the book?  This companion book to A Boy Called Christmas can be read on its own or as a sequel.  The author aptly combines Dickenisan realism with wondrous fantasy and humor to create a new holiday classic.  Father Christmas is readying for his second annual Christmas trip when his home of Elfheim is attacked by trolls.  The previous year, Father Christmas was able to bring joy to children all over the world due to the hope of one little London girl. “Without that one child, that eight-year-old girl called Amelia Wishart, hoping so hard for magic to be real, Christmas would never have happened…she was the one who saved it. The dream of magic.”  But by this second Christmas Eve, Amelia has lost all hope, the trolls have destroyed Elfheim and Father Christmas is unable to bring his magic and joy.  Father Christmas, his elves, and reindeer are determined to make Christmas happen the following year; they just need to find Amelia.  The pen and ink illustrations ranging from thumbnail to full-page, perfectly capture the tone of the story. Filled with humor, adventure, magic and hope this is sure to become a holiday classic.  

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No

To whom would you recommend this book? Readers of A Boy Called Christmas will love this sequel.  Hand it to readers who enjoy Lemony Snicket and Roald Dahl books.

Who should buy this book?  Public Libraries

Where would you shelve it? Fiction

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:   12/10/17             

 

 

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My Brigadista Year by Katherine Paterson

 My Brigadista Year by Katherine Paterson. Candlewick, 2017.  9780763695088

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:  Historical fiction

What did you like about the book? A 13-year-old girl from Havana convinces her parents to let her participate in the historic Cuban Literacy Campaign of 1961, when young people worked to abolish illiteracy throughout the country. I love that a fascinating event in Cuban history is given attention in this middle grade novel. Readers will identify with Lora as she navigates unfamiliar territory as a city girl in the country, and having to teach adults as a child. The Bay of Pigs invasion and other events in the history of Cuba are background as Lora narrates her story. At the end, the reader learns that Lora is writing as an adult looking back. I like that she acknowledges that Cuba has “yet to embody the ideal of liberty that José Martí dreamed of.” Along with the author’s note and other back matter, the complicated legacy of the Cuban revolution is given a thoughtful and realistic portrayal. An added visual bonus is the lovely book cover, different from the jacket, illustrated by Rafael López.

Anything you didn’t like about it? Paterson’s description of Lora’s year amongst the campesinos is excellent; I would have loved a little more about her inner life.

To whom would you recommend this book?  This is excellent historical fiction for readers who have enjoyed Margarita Engle’s fiction on Cuba.

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

Where would you shelve it ? Fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, if only to fill in gaps in your knowledge of the events of 1961 in Cuba.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: December 10, 2017

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