Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night – Rob Laidlaw

 Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night – Rob Laidlaw, Pajama Press, (9781772780390), 2018.

Format: Hardcover

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

What did you like about the book? For a fairly slim volume (48 p.), this book contains so much information about bats! Taking a global perspective, Laidlaw presents details about a surprising number of the 1,300 species of bats that exist, including physical characteristics, habitats, raising their young, threats, and the benefits of preserving a healthy bat population. There are repeated calls to contribute to bat conservation efforts, and numerous examples are provided of young people, nicknamed “bat citizens”, who have already stepped up to help. Every two-page spread contains text about bats, a box of “Bat Facts”, a profile of a young “bat citizen” and between four and eight photos. It is fascinating to see photos of so many different bats and the young people involved in saving them. End pages include lists of ways to help bats and bat conservation organizations, a glossary, and index.

Anything you didn’t like about it?   A drawback to having so many photos on each page is that the photos sometimes seem smaller than optimal in order to fit.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommended both as a topic for animal-related research projects and for display at Halloween time for readers in upper elementary and middle school.  For additional batty information aimed at this age group, pair with Bat Scientists from the Scientists in the Field series or Hanging with Bats by Karen Taschek.

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

Where would you shelve it?  599.4

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Top half of the pile if non-fiction animal topics interest you, but don’t be surprised if you wind up putting up bat boxes in your backyard afterwards.

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

Date of review:  7/16/18

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Don’t Tell – written and illustrated by Tom Booth

     Don’t Tell – written and illustrated by Tom Booth, Feiwel and Friends, 9781250117373, 2018.

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:  Picture book

What did you like about the book? From the first page the reader is drawn into this story because the characters are ‘talking’ directly to us. The illustrations are sweet and distinctive.

A young girl asks the reader who told them about this secret book, her animal friends join her until it’s discovered who actually revealed the secret. Kids will love the animals in this story.

The author did include a special note on the verso page about kids and keeping secrets.

Anything you didn’t like about it? Nothing.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Readers of the author’s first book, Don’t Blink will enjoy this one, too.

Who should buy this book? Definitely public libraries and daycares, parents may want to read with kids as well, particularly if they are discussing keeping and telling secrets.

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: July 16, 2018

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Walrus in the Bathtub by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Matt Hunt

       Walrus in the Bathtub by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Matt Hunt, Dial Books for Young Readers, 9780803741010, 2018.

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:  Picture book

What did you like about the book? A new home for this family includes a walrus in the bathtub. He’s messy and loud and he’s taken over. But when the family tries to move out, the walrus tries to change so they will stay. Silly fun is what this book is about. Every page is full of sweet and funny images.

This is the perfect book to have kids looking for different objects on each page; there is so much on every page to see. It’s like a book and a game all in one.

Anything you didn’t like about it? It is almost too distracting with so many images on every page.

To whom would you recommend this book?  If kids like books about sea creatures or making a mess, this is your book.

Who should buy this book?  It would be good for story time at public libraries, fun for older kids to search for images.

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

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

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

Date of review: July 16, 2018

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Mechaboys by James Kochalka

by James Kochalka. Top Shelf, 2018. ISBN 9781603094238

Format: Paperback

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

Genre:  Graphic novel/science fiction

What did you like about the book? Impending high school graduation impels two misfit boys to create a robot suit out of an old lawnmower. Zachery (call him “Zeus”) has delusions of domination, whereas sweet Jamie seems to go along for the ride.  Zeus derides superhero comics while trying to be an anti-hero in the suit. He assumes that Jamie will be his sidekick, but Jamie has a hidden side. When the boys crash a party in the mecha-battle suit, things don’t go quite as planned. Hilarious commentary on cliques, comics and teen angst made me laugh on every page. The prom night finale is a unique send-up of archetypal prom drama. Kochalka’s minimalist black and white art perfectly communicates the all-or-nothing world view of teens. I especially liked the girls’ Fat Bitches Club – they get themselves and the boys better than I ever did. I loved it!

To whom would you recommend this book?  Offer this to teens who like riffs on superhero comics and to adults who like reading about teens.

Who should buy this book? High schools and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Teen and/or adult graphic novels

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? It is so entertaining, especially if you have ever been or loved a teen.

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

Date of review: July 15, 2018

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I’m Sad – by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

  I’m Sad by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781481476270, 2018.

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:  Picture book

What did like about the book? A little girl and her two companions, a potato and a hot pink flamingo hang out together. The flamingo is sad. No reason, he just feels sad. There is nothing wrong with feeling sad, even the little girl says that sometimes it feels good to be sad. The three go off and have fun, and eventually the flamingo feels a little better but is still sad.

This is a great book to show kids that feeling sad is not a bad thing or a wrong feeling. Everyone feel sad sometimes.

The illustrations are bright and vivid and full of fun. It’s a great book to read aloud with little ones and for older kids to read themselves.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No.

To whom would you recommend this book? Fans of Ohi’s and Black’s other works will love this one, too.  The first one of this series is I’m Bored.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries can use this for a really fun story time and daycares would benefit from having this in their collection, too.

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: July 15, 2018

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Did You Eat the Parakeet? – Mark Iacolina

   Did You Eat the Parakeet? – Mark Iacolina, Farrar Straus Giroux, (9780374305888), 2018

Format: Hardcover Picture book

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

 What did you like about the book? The audience is always in the know in this story which will make kids love it.  A cute, happy little green bird flies out of his cage and lands on a plant unknown to the little girl who has a little pink mouse in her pocket.  She looks at her cat and asks, “Did you eat the parakeet? He was right there on his tiny seat!” The bird has now settled on the little girl’s head.  “He was singing a tune just an hour ago.  Did you eat him?  I want to know!”  The mischievous bird is taking full advantage of the poor cat’s dilemma by acting out the girl’s emotions while sitting on her head.  The mouse in her pocket is doing the same.  Stick-figure characters outlined in black perfectly complement this wonderful, funny, rhyming story.

Anything you did not like about the book?  Perfect!

 To whom would you recommend this book?  This is a great readaloud for storytimes, especially if you are doing a humor-themed one.

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

 Where would you shelve it?  Picture books

 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: 7/11/2018

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Sterling, Best Dog Ever – Aidan Cassie

  Sterling, Best Fork Dog Ever – Aidan Cassie, Farrar Straus Giroux, (9780374306144), 2018

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:  Picture book

 What did you like about the book? Sterling is a very cute, homeless dachsund.  He really wants a home and is determined to succeed in the next one he is offered. He enters a factory that is packing up silverware for shipment and manages to be added to a box of forks.  Arriving at a house, the children are thrilled to find him with the forks, the parents not so much.  Sterling is determined to be the best fork ever so that he can stay in this home.  He does everything a fork would do like laying on the napkin waiting to be used and getting in the dishwasher but nothing that a dog would do like fetching or walking on leashes.  Though the little girl begs him to sleep on her bed with her Sterling knows that “forks never sleep on beds.  Sterling was sure of it.”  When Sterling sees the family eating with their fingers, he tries to be other useful things like a whisk, a rolling pin or a lamp.  When the girl takes Sterling to a dog park, he thinks she wants him to be a stick that the other dogs play with. Nope.  “He wanted to make the girl happy, but he didn’t know how.  Then he saw it.  It had been in front of him the whole time.  Sterling leaped onto the girl’s bed and into her arms.  He could see it in her eyes; she just wanted him to be himself.” This is the cutest story ever with the cutest illustrations of Sterling doing his best to act and look like a fork.  Inside cover illustrations also show Sterling in various poses as a shoe, fire hydrant, pogo stick and more!

Anything you did not like about the book?  Perfect

 To whom would you recommend this book?  Of course this is a story about just being yourself, not trying to be like anyone else.  It would be fun in a pet or dog-themed storytime.

 Who should buy this book? Public libraries, day-cares and K-2 classrooms.

 Where would you shelve it?  Picture books

 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: 7/15/2018

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