My Lady Jane – Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

51ThGv-7p+L    My Lady Jane – Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows, HarperCollins, (9780062391742), 2016.

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5:  5+

Genre:  Alternate History, Fantasy, Humor, Romance

What did you like about the book? Just before young King Edward died, he appointed his cousin, Lady Jane Grey as his successor. Jane ruled England for a total of nine days until Edward’s half-sister, Mary, staged a coup. Using these facts as a starting point, the authors (there are 3!) have set the action just prior to Edward’s death in an alternate England in which many people are able to transform into animals. (Jane discovers after her wedding that her new husband turns into a horse every morning.) Narration shifts between Edward, Jane, and Jane’s husband, Gifford, with plentiful humorous interjections from the authors. This highly entertaining blend of history, fantasy, humor, and romance will likely inspire readers to find out Jane’s true story which is, unfortunately, a lot less fun than the book’s version.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  In the initial chapters, it appears that Edward (who is narrating at that point) is fated to die a slow, painful death. Some readers may not want to stick around to suffer through that with him.

 To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommend to middle school and high school girls who would enjoy a witty, engaging story featuring strong female characters.

Who should buy this book? Appropriate for middle schools libraries, high school libraries, and public libraries.

Where would you shelve it?  Shelve with fantasy? Romance? Humor? Historical fiction? It could go almost anywhere, but it probably won’t spend much time on the shelves anyway.

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:  7/24/16

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Lucy – Randy Cecil

51wz+GroqvL   Lucy – Randy Cecil, Candlewick, (9780763668082). 2016

Format:  Hardcover Picture book

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

What did you like about the book? Lucy is a little white dog who lives in a crate in an alleyway after having gotten lost while on a picnic with her former caregiver. Her former life was wonderful, full of good food and her favorite toy, a stuffed cat. Now she eats scraps and waits for a little girl to lower down food to her from an upper window in an apartment building. There is an aura to this story, uniqueness, an old-fashioned Parisian feeling with the illustrations all being in shades of black, grey and white.

Anything you didn’t like about it? A perfect book!

To whom would you recommend this book? This one would be best as a one-on-one with a child that likes a bit more substance and mystery in their picture books.

Who should buy this book? All public and elementary school libraries.

Where would you shelve it? Picture books, I think, though it is smaller in size than the usual and quite long. It is not quite a 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: 7/23/2016

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This is not a picture book! – Sergio Ruzzier

81o7yVLn3qL  This is not a picture book! – Sergio Ruzzier, Chronicle Books, (9781452129075), 2016

Format:  Hardcover Picture books

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

What did you like about the book? A little creature that could be a young duck or even a chick has discovered a book with no pictures. Angry, she kicks it away but then feels bad, picks the book up and says, “I’m sorry, book.” Friend bug comes by and asks what it is. “It’s a book with no pictures.” “Wacky. Can you read it?” “I’m not sure. “The creature discovers that it does indeed, know some of the words and discovers the travels one can take with such a book, some are funny and some are sad, some are wild and some are peaceful – and they all “carry you away, they bring you home where they stay with you forever.”

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

To whom would you recommend this book? Recommend this one to kids learning to read but resisting it a bit.

Who should buy this book? All public and elementary school libraries.

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: 7/23/2016

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Gorillas Up Close – Christena Nippert-Eng, photographs by John Dominski and Miguel Martinez

51HcrbnM2bL  Gorillas Up Close – Christena Nippert-Eng, photographs by John Dominski and Miguel Martinez, Macmillan, (9781627790918), 2016.

Format: Hardcover

 Rating: 1-5:  5

What did you like about the book?  This excellent non-fiction offering conveys an astounding amount of information, mainly about gorillas in zoos but also in the wild. It is well structured to hold interest in over forty short chapters of ten pages or less and brimming with photos each more appealing than the last. Readers will become familiar with gorillas’ personalities, their habits, and their family relationships. Anecdotes about specific gorillas personalize them and show how each gorilla in a modern zoo is part of a carefully orchestrated effort to make sure gorillas in captivity are kept healthy and happy. The author, a sociologist and college professor, states that the book was created as part of one of her college classes where students observe, record data, and communicate what they see with the goal of suggesting improved design concepts to the zoos. The book was created using a total team of six contributing students plus Nippert-Eng which helps to explain how it obtained its breadth of photos, information, and insight.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No.

To whom would you recommend this book? Recommend to middle school students interested in gorillas for reports or for browsing.

Who should buy this book?  This would be an excellent addition to the non-fiction animal section in middle school libraries and public libraries.

Where would you shelve it?  Shelve with other books about gorillas in 599.884.

 Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes, if you are interested in the topic.
 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Mary Melaugh, Marshall Middle School Library, Billerica, MA
 Date of review:  7/24/16
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MARTians by Blythe Woolston

41k7KOXu13L  MARTians by Blythe Woolston. Candlewick, 2015.  9780763677565

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 4.5

Genre:  Fantasy

What did you like about the book? Zoe Zindelman is the last girl, and she has just graduated to the prospects of employment at one of two mega-stores that supply all consumer products. In this dystopian future, there are few jobs, government is crap and the land has turned to dust. Zoe teams up with other parentless and homeless teens and they try to be the family they don’t have. With black humor and unexpected twists, the author presents us with an unbearable future in which young people have to wrest a living from the ruins of their parents’ world.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Teens who liked M.T. Anderson’s Feed  or Anna Smaill’s The Chimes (adult fiction, but a crossover) would like this.

Who should buy this book? Public and high school libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Teen fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? If you like dystopian fiction, it’s chilling and funny.

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

Date of review: July 23, 2016

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Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow – Written by Kathryn Kemp Guylay, Illustrations by Alexander Guylay

916JMbWUwnL     Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow – Written by Kathryn Kemp Guylay, Illustrations by Alexander Guylay, Healthy Solutions, (9780996532839), 2016

Format:  Hardcover

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

What did you like about the book? This is an incredibly attractive book, with great, shiny color photographs of fruits and vegetables. The rainbow cover of fruits and veggies is impossible to resist. The book explains how the different color of each fruit and vegetable provides something different for your body: Red fruits and veg are good for your heart and your mind; orange and yellow ones help your vision and keep you from having a cold; green ones make strong teeth and bones; blue and purple give you energy; white ones are good for your tummy. Each color is followed by a tiny quiz. The attractiveness of this book should appeal to both children and adults and help kids realize that these items are much better for you than cookies and candy.

Anything you didn’t like about it? The rhyming is very awkward, forced and does not read well.

To whom would you recommend this book? Put on shelf display, this book would be hard to miss or dismiss. It is an excellent choice to use with children who may be reluctant to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries, parenting sections of libraries and child-care centers with the same.

Where would you shelve it? 641.5

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: 7/22/2016

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Darth Vader and Friends – Jeffrey Brown

3542766        Darth Vader and Friends – Jeffrey Brown, Chronicle Books, (9781452138107), 2015.

Format:  Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3.8

Genre: Graphic comic book

What did you like about the book? This is the third in Jeffrey Brown’s spoofs of the Star Wars stories. I think the first, Darth Vader and Son was far and away the best but I am not a Star Wars insider so I may be wrong. What this one does have is Many of the Star Wars characters including young Luke and Leia along with Han and Chewie and even R2-D2. Even if you can’t really understand the humor – like me – the illustrations are stellar!

Anything you didn’t like about it? I think you need to be very familiar with the Star Wars stories to understand much of the content and humor.

To whom would you recommend this book? A good one to give to Star Wars fans.

Who should buy this book? Public land Middle school libraries

Where would you shelve it? Graphic novels or 741.5

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Not necessarily.

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

Date of review: 7/21/2016

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