Horns /Coats / Scales / Wings – Katrine Crow

Horns – Katrine Crow, Flowerpot Press, 9781486716609, 2019

 Coats – Katrine Crow, Flowerpot Press, 9781486716616, 2019

  Scales – Katrine Crow, Flowerpot Press, 9781486716623, 2019

   Wings – Katrine Crow, Flowerpot Press, 9781486716593, 2019

Format: Board book

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

Genre: Picture

What did you like about the book? When I was reading through these books all I kept thinking about was that they would be a huge success at a toddler story time. When first opened, the book asks a question about a particular feature of an animal and then we see a glimpse of that animal (this is the fun part because it gives children an opportunity to guess). Then the page is turned and we see a full spread of the animal in its natural environment. Each book focuses on different features such as horns, coats, scales, and wings. However, these are shown in more detail than maybe most people would observe. Some examples include the clear wings of the dragonfly, the hairy scales of an armadillo, the slick coat of an otter, and the ridged horns of a gazelle. I could even see there being further discussion as to what other animals have stripes on their fur, colorful scales, or bright wings.

The photographs also show a little of where this animal lives and that can open up discussion on why they need that particular feature — slick coat on an otter that lives in water.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  Nothing really but there were a few animals that might not be as common to children — alpine ibex, markhor and the pangolin. However, the features on these animals can be found on some more common animals so that might be something to talk about while reading these books.

To whom would you recommend this book? Perfect for children between the ages of one and three.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries, preschools, daycare centers, anyone who works with children between the ages of one and three.

Where would you shelve it? Board books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, any book that has kids guessing in a huge hit.

Reviewer  Kristin Guay, former youth librarian

Date of review: July 19, 2019

 

Posted in *Starred Review, Animals, Board book, Book Review | Tagged | Leave a comment

Finn’s Fun Trucks: Heavy Haulers /Finn’s Fun Trucks: Mail Movers – Finn Coyle, illustrated by Srimalie Bassani

Finn’s Fun Trucks: Heavy Haulers – Finn Coyle, illustrated by Srimalie Bassani, Flowerpot Press, 9781486716470, 2019

  Finn’s Fun Trucks: Mail Movers – Finn Coyle, illustrated by Srimalie Bassani, Flowerpot Press, 9781486716487, 2019

Format: Board book

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

Genre: Picture

What did you like about the book? I think both of these books will be a hit because so many children love anything that moves. These colorful board books feature five different trucks (tanker, dry van, bull hauler, refrigerator van, auto hauler) and five different ways to deliver mail (truck, snowmobile, boat, bicycle, motorcycle). In the heavy haulers book, the left side of the book asks if the child can guess what the truck carries based on the type of truck. The right side shows the different parts of the truck and then this entire page flips open to show exactly what function the truck performs. In the mail movers book, the right side asks where mail would be delivered using a certain type of mail mover. Examples included are Italy (boat), United States (mail truck), Netherlands (bike), Japan (motorcycle), and Canada (snowmobile). This book explains why this particular mail mover is needed in that country.

The books have very sturdy flaps so they will stand the test of time with young children. The illustrations are colorful and there are some other interesting details in the pictures that will appeal to children. I think the fact that it asks a question first will keep children engaged.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  Nothing

To whom would you recommend this book? Perfect for children between the ages of one and three.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries, preschools, daycare centers, anyone who works with children between the ages of one and three.

Where would you shelve it? Board books

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

Reviewer  Kristin Guay, former youth librarian

Date of review: July 19, 2019

 

Posted in *Starred Review, Board book, Book Review, Transportation | Tagged | Leave a comment

 Un poco perdido by Chris Haughton

 Un poco perdido by Chris Haughton. Translated by Salvador Figueirido.   NubeOcho, 2019. 9788417673130

71j7y8ZamCL._AC_UL436_Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:  Animal fiction

What did you like about the book? Chris Haughton’s riff on the classic lost mother story, Little Owl Lost, is translated into Spanish. Little Owl falls out of the nest, and various other animals help her find her mother. Based on Baby Owl’s descriptions, different candidates are presented – a bear, a hare, etc. Finally, Frog notices that Little Owl’s mommy has been looking for her everywhere and baby and mommy are reunited. Mommy Owl invites all the animals over for cookies. The last page shows Little Owl sleepily tipping out of her nest once more. It’s an adorable story, with rhythm and a familiar and accessible problem to solve. The pencil and digital art is done in deep colors. I love that the squirrel is pink and the frog is blue.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  For Spanish speaking kids, ages 2-6, who like gentle humor with their animals.

Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public library Spanish language collections

Where would you shelve it ? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Read it in Spanish or English

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

Date of review: July 19, 2019

Posted in Animal fiction, Author, Book Review, Chris Haughton, Picture Book, Spanish | Tagged | Leave a comment

A Giant from a Tiny Town: A Story of Angus MacAskill by Tom Ryan, illustrated by Christopher Hoyt

A Giant from a Tiny Town: A Story of Angus MacAskill by Tom Ryan, illustrated by Christopher Hoyt. Nimbus, 2019. 9781771086547

91sVMUj-nUL._AC_UL436_Format: Hardcover

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

What did you like about the book? The 19th century giant from Cape Breton is profiled in this quiet picture book biography. Originally from the Scottish Hebrides, the family emigrated to Canada. The art communicates the long journey, which would be hard to explain to children, through several views of the ocean. I also like how the artist uses the frame of the page to show how tall MacAskill grew (to 7 feet, 9 inches!), showing him bent under the right angles of the page. Views of P. T. Barnum’s circus, where he ended up working, will please young children. A photograph in the biographical note at the end shows MacAskill next to Tom Thumb.

Anything you didn’t like about it? There’s not much drama in the telling.  The author misses an opportunity in describing Angus’s adventures as travelling to “new places” and seeing “new things.” Even little kids like details! The art, while portraying the setting well, does not do justice to children, who look like short adults.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Collections with Canadian populations may enjoy learning about this man. If it’s strong men you crave, I prefer Elise Gravel’s graphic novel biography The Great Antonio or Nicolas Debon’s picture book biography The Strongest Man in the World, Louis Cyr. For kids ages 3-6.

Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Children’s biography

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: July 19, 2019

Posted in Author, Biography, Book Review, Picture Book, Tom Ryan | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Bridge of Little Jeremy– Indrajit Garai

     The Bridge of Little Jeremy– Indrajit Garai, Published by Indrajit Garai, (9781987423617), 2019

Format: Softcover

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

Genre: Realistic fiction

 What did you like about the book? Jeremy is a twelve-year-old boy living with his mother and his best friend, Leon, a German Shepherd, in a Paris apartment.  The relationship between Jeremy and Leon is beyond close; they talk to one another.  They are very poor, his mother sometimes working seven days per week or double shifts at a nursing home.  Jeremy has recently had surgery to repair a heart valve and may need an additional surgery. He is an accomplished artist whose sketches are good enough to be sold on the street.  One day he finds an old painting down in their cellar; it is damaged so Jeremy decides to restore it so that it can be sold to make money that will help them survive.  Jeremy is a very reflective individual who cross-examines himself constantly, exploring a situation from every angle possible before he makes up his mind.  At times, I tried to decide whether this constant examination was just too much, but I don’t think so.  At times I felt the story was repetitious, meandering but I don’t think so.  This is such a unique story; Jeremy is such a unique character.

Anything you did not like about the book.  Frequently the translation was lacking and/or awkward.  I was also rather upset with the ending…

 To whom would you recommend this book? I think this might make a good middle-school read; there are so many ways to interpret what is happening that it would certainly make for very interesting discussions.  I think it is meant also for the mature reader.

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

Where would you shelve it? Juvenile/Middle school fiction

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? This story is very unique; it may have a particular audience.

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

Date of review: 7/15/2019

Posted in *Starred Review, Book Review, Realistic fiction | Leave a comment

1919: The Year That Changed America – Martin W. Sandler

   1919: The Year That Changed America – Martin W. Sandler, Bloomsbury Children’s Books,  9781681198019, 2019

Format: Hardcover

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

What did you like about the book?  Six seminal events that occurred in 1919 are described here by award winning middle grade non-fiction author Martin W. Sandler. Together, the events add up to describe a truly remarkable “year that changed America”. The six scenarios are: the Great Molasses Flood, passage of the Nineteenth Amendment that gave women the right to vote, fear of Communism, labor unrest, “Red Summer” attacks on African Americans, and the beginning of Prohibition.  Sandler displays his usual knack for choosing captivating details. He refuses to gloss over difficult topics. Instead, he provides enough age-appropriate background material to enable middle school readers to understand even complicated material, like the Red Scare and the rise of the labor unions.  Well-chosen photos and illustrations ably assist the text.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  The Prohibition chapter is a little long, and in most cases, I skipped the extensive timelines that appear at the end of each chapter.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommend to readers in sixth grade up through high school who enjoy narrative non-fiction about American history. This would also work well  to research reports on any of the six topics.

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

Where would you shelve it ? Shelve in 973.91 with general books about American history.

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

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

Date of review: 7/17/19

Posted in Book Review, History | Tagged | Leave a comment

This Might Hurt A Bit – Doogie Horner

  This Might Hurt A Bit – Doogie Horner, Simon Pulse; (9781534427174), 2019

Format: hardcover

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

Genre: realistic fiction

What did you like about the book? It’s the first anniversary of Kirby’s sister’s death and his parents have found the notebook he uses as emotional catharsis. They haven’t opened it…yet. They want him to explain himself the next day.  Angry, Kirby goes out at midnight with his two best friends, Jake and PJ, to work off some steam and play a prank at a local farm. Things quickly get out of hand. The consequences in the next 24 hours could be severe. The three boys are on the run from some of the school’s biggest bullies (along with some monster horse-size dogs). Will they survive?

At times this book is laugh out loud funny and ridiculous. The book comes across as fresh and original and the author plays up the rural setting for all its worth. Kirby is struggling to understand himself and his loss; running from bullies with his two friends seems to help him in some strange way.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Students who are looking for a funny book full of pranks, misfortunes and mischief.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  I could not get into this book! Kirby’s interior monologue was interesting, but it became repetitive after a while. The secondary characters don’t feel fully fleshed out and the wait to find out how Melanie died and what is in the notebook feels interminable. I was much more interested in the emotional arc of the story than the run from the bullies, which was the main focus of the novel. A small quibble: occasional fantasy sequences aren’t demarcated by a different type of text (like italics) so it may confuse the reader.

Who should buy this book? High school libraries

Where would you shelve it? realistic fiction

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

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Dartmouth, MA

Date reviewed: July 16, 2019

Posted in Book Review, Realistic fiction | Tagged | Leave a comment