The Island and the Bear – Louise Greig & Vanya Nastanlieva

flo  The Island and the Bear – Louise Greig & Vanya Nastanlieva, Picture Kelpies,(9781782503682), 2017

Format: Paperback

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

Genre: Picture book

What did you like about the book? When a big brown bear shows up on a small island in the Hebrides, the islanders are understandably upset and frightened. The bear, however, has merely wandered off course, finds himself in an unknown place and is very hungry. Two people show up with whom the bear lives, sad at the loss of their bear. All the islanders help them look while the bear sneaks some apples and sandwiches. At last the bear is reunited with his people and sails off home with them. The story has a rather ethereal feeling about it, like a folk tale though based on a true story from the Scottish Hebrides. The soft, beautiful illustrations create a lovely tale.

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

To whom would you recommend this book? This might make a nice bedtime story or one a teacher might read to K-1 about the possibilities of the true story.

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 very intriguing and well done.

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

Date of review: 5/24/2017

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My First Scottish Opposites – Kate McLelland

        My First Scottish Opposites – Kate McLelland, Wee Kelpies, (9781782503705), 2017

Format: Board Books

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

What did you like about the book? Slow/fast, hot/cold, over/under, quiet/loud, wet/dry, small/big are the opposites illustrated in this cheerful, colorful book for a young audience.

Anything you did not like about this book? Only that the audience might be affected by having “Scottish” in the title when the opposites would include any English speaking country.

To whom would you recommend this book? A good choice for young children learning about opposites.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries

Where would you shelve it? Board 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: 5/23/2017

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My First Scottish Weather – Kate McLelland

       My First Scottish Weather – Kate McLelland, Wee Kelpies, (9781782503712). 2017

Format: Board Book

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3.5

What did you like about the book? Although the book is titled “Scottish” weather, it would apply to a great many places: rainy, snowy, windy, sunny, foggy, rainbow. There is only the one word on a page with bright colorful illustrations. A good choice for children just learning about weather.

Anything you did not like about this book? My only complaint is that it might be overlooked by calling it “Scottish” weather, which will limit its appeal.

To whom would you recommend this book? This is for a very young group: ages 2-4.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries

Where would you shelve it? Board 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: 5/24/2017

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Gem & Dixie – Sara Zarr

 Gem & Dixie – Sara Zarr, Balzer + Bray, (9780062434593), 2017

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre: Realistic contemporary family fiction

What did you like about the book? Gem is 17 and her sister Dixie, 14. They live with their mother who is seldom home, forgets to buy food or pretty much anything else. Gem has been taking care of her sister fort as long as she can remember, particularly after their mother ordered their father out for the last time. Gem is anti-social, plain with no friends while Dixie is pretty, popular and even has a relationship with their mother. The only solace Gem has is talking with the guidance counselor at school, but she is breaking and cracking. When their father returns and stashes a backpack full of money under their bed, Gem sees this as the means to escape – which she and Dixie do. This story is realistic and painful. As Gem says, she is not being physically or sexually abused – she is being emotionally abused and can take no more. The bond between the sisters is strained and real.

Anything you did not like about this book? No.

To whom would you recommend this book? Give this one to fans of Sara Zarr, Laurie Halse Anderson and Sarah Dessen.

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

Where would you shelve it? YA fiction

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: 5/24/2017

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Princess Cora and the Crocodile – Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Brian Floca

  Princess Cora and the Crocodile – Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Brian Floca, Candlewick, (9780763648220), 2017

Format: Hardcover Picture book

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

What did you like about the book? When Princess Cora was born, her parents were thrilled but very concerned about raising her to be a Queen. By the age of seven Princess Cora was having three baths per day (to stay clean), studying boring books about how to run a kingdom under her mother’s tutelage and jumping rope with her father in the old prison. Her life was a nightmare.   In desperation she writes to her fairy godmother for a pet to keep her company. What her fairy godmother sends is a huge impudent crocodile. Together they hatch a plan to have the crocodile dress up in her clothes while the princess is finally free to do whatever she wants for the entire day. The delightful, enigmatic crocodile reigns supreme over the nanny, the queen and the king. All, of course, works out for the best with Princess Cora finally getting the life she needs and deserves with a dog – and the crocodile. Brian Floca’s illustrations done in ink, watercolor and gouache could not do a better job of showing us Princess Cora’s before and after life.

Anything you did not like about this book? Perfect.

To whom would you recommend this book? This would make a wonderful selection for storytime.

Who should buy this book? Public and lower elementary school libraries and day-care centers

Where would you shelve it? Picture books or beginning chapter books.

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

Date of review: 5/23/2017

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Bean Stalker and Other Hilarious Scarytales, Kiersten White

 Bean Stalker and Other Hilarious Scarytales, Kiersten White, Scholastic Press, (9780545945868), 2017

Format: Uncorrected Proof

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

Genre: Fantasy

What did you like about the book?  In this very twisted fairy tale collection favorite characters have undergone some creepy changes.  Snow White is a vampire, Cinderella and Prince Charring are pyromaniacs, Red Riding Hood is a thug and Goldilocks is a zombie hunter.  Linking all ten short chapters is the Stepmother who tries to keep all of these creepy kids in check.  Humor appears in some mistaken wordplay.  Jack mistakes p-e-a for p-e-e, making for a quite disgusting version of The Princess and the Pea (Pee?)   Each chapter ends with a twisted nursery rhyme such as “Rock-a-bye baby, In the treetops/Who put you up there? Let’s call the cops.  The cops are all zombies, So is the town/You’re safe up there, We won’t get you down.”  The narrator also adds some fun by directly speaking to and warning the reader:  “This is getting scary. Let’s skip ahead.  The baby was born, covered in blood. Babies are gross. You were warned.”  The book  will include artwork that was not yet finalized.  This is sure to appeal to readers who like a little horror with their fairytales.  

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No

To whom would you recommend this book?   Readers who enjoy twisted fairy tales and wordplay will enjoy this collection of scarytales.  Sure to appeal to fans of R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps series.

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

Where would you shelve it? Fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this at the top of our “to read” piles? Yes if you like twisted fairy tales.

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

Date of review:  5/20/17             

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Heartwood Hotel: The Greatest Gift – Kallie George, Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin

    Heartwood Hotel: The Greatest Gift – Kallie George, Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin, Disney Hyperion, (9781484732342), 2017.

Format: Paperback ARC

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

Genre: Fantasy/Animal fiction

What did you like about the book? This is the continuing adventure story of Mona the mouse and the residents of Heartwood Hotel which began in A True Home. The winter hibernating guests have arrived at the hotel. The feast of St. Slumber has all the staff sitting around the table opening their gifts. Mona is overwhelmed especially because she did not know about it, not getting gifts for anyone. Duchess Hazeline, a beautiful rich rabbit, rabbit appears; Mona is put in charge of preparing her room. The Duchess demands that the carpet in the foyer be brought to her room. It is ruined when she gets angry but Mona now knows what her gift can be: she will make a new rug for the hotel. The intrigue thickens when food begins to disappear from the pantry and soon there is nothing left. Mona discovers that a rat has been taking it to feed the orphans in his care so she brings them all to the Hotel. What will happen now with no food and so many mouths to feed? This is a sweet story filled with kindly characters. Mona is a true and modest heroine. As this was an arc, I did not see the illustrations by Stephanie Graegin, which I’m sure, will enhance the story even more.

Anything you did not like about this book? Perfect.

To whom would you recommend this book? This is a fast-moving book that flows beautiful. Give it to children who like reading and appreciate a good animal fantasy.

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? Yes!

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

Date of review: 5/22/2017

Posted in *Starred Review, Animal fiction, Book Review, Fantasy | Tagged | Leave a comment