Full of Beans – Jennifer L. Holm

51Vt+ledqUL  Full of Beans – Jennifer L. Holm, Penguin Random House, (9780553510362), 2016.

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5:  5

Genre:  Historical fiction

What did you like about the book? The Depression has hammered the residents of Key West, Florida, including ten-year-old narrator Beans Curry. The town is bankrupt; the garbage men haven’t been paid, so garbage rots in the street. Poppy, Beans’ dad, heads for New Jersey to look for work.  Beans introduces readers to a large cast of the town’s colorful characters. Everyone has a nickname and Beans knows them all: Johnny Cakes, Too Bad, Kermit, Pork Chop.. Then, an outsider shows up with a proposition to save the sleepy town by turning it into a tourist destination. Julius Stone, Jr. has funds from Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation for materials, but the labor must come from residents. Beans believes that all grownups are “lying liars”, but slowly he (and the rest of the town) begin to buy into Stone’s vision. A section at the end provides background about the historical events on which the book is based.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  Modern children might find the wacky sayings kids used in the 1930’s to be pos-i-tute-ly incomprehensible and a pain in the bungy.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommend to readers who would enjoy being guided through a Depression success story by a spunky streetwise narrator with a heart of gold.

Read-a-likes: Turtle in Paradise

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

Where would you shelve it?  Shelve with Historical fiction if you have Genre shelving.

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:  8/28/16

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Madeline Finn and the Library Dog – Lisa Papp

51n80SUCyWL   Madeline Finn and the Library Dog – Lisa Papp, Peachtree, (9781561459100), 2016.

Format:  Hardcover picture book

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

What did you like about the book? A beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Madeline Finn who does not like to read; she never receives a Star in school, only a Heart for keep on trying. One day her mother takes her to the public library where on Saturdays a read to a dog program is happening. Madeline gets to read to a large white dog, Bonnie, who listens very patiently and sympathetically. Coming each week to the library to read to Bonnie is the turning point for Madeline Finn’s progress in reading. Many libraries are introducing this program with great success.

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

To whom would you recommend this book? Recommend this one to kids who are just learning to read but doing so reluctantly and/or with difficulty. Pair it with I Don’t Like to Read by Nancy Carlson.

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

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

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

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

Date of review: 8/26/2016

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La Madre Goose: Nursery Rhymes for Los Niños by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

61YCrE4x3gL    La Madre Goose: Nursery Rhymes for Los Niños by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal,  Putnam, 2016. ISBN 9780399251573

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:  Picture book

What did you like about the book? Classic Mother Goose nursery rhymes are re-imagined, with Spanish words sprinkled throughout. The artwork, acrylics with colored pencils and graphite on handmade textured paper, is rendered in warm pleasing colors, with plump, rosy-cheeked, multi-ethnic tots and animals animating the rhymes, and really makes the book. Reminiscent of the children’s books illustrations of the 1960’s by Joan Walsh Anglund. Families looking to add Spanish to their small child’s vocabulary will enjoy this. Spanish words are in bold. Includes a glossary.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  Occasional awkward combinations of traditional English rhyme and Spanish words, such as “Baa, baa, black oveja, have you any lana?/, sir, , sir, three bags llenas.

To whom would you recommend this book? For readers looking for Spanish bi-lingual picture books

Who should buy this book? Public libraries and day care centers

Where would you shelve it ? With foreign language books, or in 398.8 with Nursery rhymes

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

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

Date of review: August 27, 2016

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The Copy Crocs – David Bedford and Emily Bohan

61mOFcfLIbL     The Copy Crocs – David Bedford and Emily Bohan, Peachtree, (9781561458851), 2015

Format:  Paperback picture book

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4.5

What did you like about the book? One crocodile out of a very large group is the innovator, the unique one who does things differently. Finding his super crowded pond just too cramped, he heads off alone finding the most wonderful muddy little pond which he has all to himself – until the others crowd him out. Falling asleep alone while sunbathing soon resulted in a large crowd of sunbathing crocodiles and so on it went. Of course you can foresee that when he finally finds a nice quiet place to himself – he is lonely. Very vibrant colorful, even garish, crocodiles fill the pages. A super-cute fun story about the plight of the leader.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No.

To whom would you recommend this book? Good storytime selection about the values of friendship.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries and child care centers, also kindergartens and first grades.

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

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

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

Date of review: 8/26/2016

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Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

51vF3a1RfzLSimon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda  by Becky Albertalli, Balzer + Bray (Harper Collins Publishers), 9780062348685, 2016

Format: paperback

Rating: (1-5) 5 is a starred review 5

Genre:  fiction, mystery, adventure

What did you like about the book? This William C. Morris Debut Award winning book is a current book with real characters and situations that other 16-year-old students will be able to identify with. Not so openly gay Simon, spends lots of energy hiding his sexuality. As typical of high school drama, things swing out of control when there’s a secret, social media, emails, and love. This book hits on very real topics that high school students experience right down to the language high schoolers use (lots of the f word).

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

To whom would you recommend this book? High school reluctant readers will love this book as it is a book they will be able to relate to. It’s also a great addition to a diverse English course curriculum.

Who should buy this book? All libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Chapter 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, Gardner, Massachusetts

Date of review: August 27, 2016

 

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The Fletcher Family Takes Rock Island by Dana Alison Levy

61oLWteBjAL  The Fletcher Family Takes Rock Island by Dana Alison Levy, Delacorte Press, 9780553521306, 2016

Format: Hardcover

Rating: (1-5) 5 is a starred review  4

Genre:  fiction, mystery, adventure

What did you like about the book? The Fletcher family piles into their car with their pets, beach toys and their memories of all the years they had spent on Rock Island. In their eyes, this idyllic island was the perfect place for a family with four boys, a dog and a cat to stop time and just enjoy the wonders of the island, from the awesome light house next door to the millions of crabs on the shore to catch. Once they got there, they were confronted with CHANGE! There was a chain link fence surrounding the lighthouse with a sale pending sign on it. There were new neighbors. There was a fast driving car. And there was an ice cream truck. The island had succumbed to the outside world. There was also a bad man! This book reminds me of a Hardy boys book, with adventure, a mystery and a happy ending. It is much more current, though, and would appeal to current kids. There is even a part of the book where their cat video goes viral.

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

To whom would you recommend this book? Children in the upper elementary grades, 4-6 will enjoy this book. It’s also a great alternative to the Hardy Boys books.

Who should buy this book? All libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Chapter 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, Gardner, Massachusetts

Date of review: August 26, 2016

 

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Sleepyheads – Sandra J. Howatt, illustrated by Joyce Wan

6107H9joivL Sleepyheads – Sandra J. Howatt, illustrated by Joyce Wan, Simon & Schuster, (9781481461429), 2016.

Format: Board Book

Rating: 1-5:  5

Genre:  Bedtime story

What did you like about the book?  This board book version of a previously released picture book features soothing, repetitive text and muted soft illustrations of sleeping animals. In rhyme, the reader is urged to, “See the moon? It’s sleepy time. / Let’s look for little beds / and find where all the little ones / lay their sleepy heads.” The animals (bear, otter, duck, rabbit) are all called “sleepyheads” which gives readers the chance to name what each one is.  Near the end, in a bedroom in the house, “I see a blanket, soft and warm. / But where’s the sleepyhead?” allows young readers to chip in with the answer as the missing “sleepyhead” is located on the last page. It’s a baby, “Asleep in Mama’s arms!” What an ideal way to help little ones feel safe, loved, and best of all, drowsy!

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommend to anyone trying to lull a baby or toddler to sleep using a bedtime story.

Who should buy this book? Child care centers, public libraries and new parents.

Where would you shelve it?  Shelve with other board books.

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:  8/26/16

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