Death of a Ghost – M.C. Beaton

 Death of a Ghost – M.C. Beaton, Hachette audio, (9781478938958), 2017

Format: cd audiobook

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

Genre: Mystery

What did you like about the book? Police Sergeant Hamish Macbeth goes to investigate what he has been told is a haunted castle. He thinks it will be teenagers committing mayhem and just like in all the old stories he decides to spend a night in the castle with his policeman Charlie. They do not find a ghost or teenagers but they do find a dead body in the cellar – which disappears. This is the thirty-third entry into the series and proves to deliver the same amount of expected humor and shenanigans as those that come before.  Expertly and lovingly read by Graeme Malcolm.

Anything you did not like about this book? No.

To whom would you recommend this book? Obviously Hamish Macbeth fans will be delighted.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries

Where would you shelve it? Audiobooks, Mystery

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? If you are a dedicated Hamish Macbeth fan, then yes.

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

Date of review: 4/23/2017

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Holly’s Day at the Pool – written by Carol Arrow, illustrated & conceptualized by Benson Shum

   Holly’s Day at the Pool – written by Carol Arrow, illustrated & conceptualized by Benson Shum, Disney Hyperion, 9781484709382, 2017

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:  Picture book

What did you like about the book? Holly worries about the “What if”s of life so much so that she may miss out on a lot of fun things!  Luckily, her father is there to reassure her and offer solutions.  Being brave and bold may be hard, but Holly is willing to face fears by the end to be a heroic big sister!

Shum utilizes the full-page to tell the story, even incorporating white space well to highlight Holly’s imaginative mis-adventures.  The bright colors of this book are eye-catching and the animal characters are endearing with their expressive faces.  The story itself is very simple but relatable to children who also have anxieties surrounding everyday activities.  Young readers or listeners will be able to easily draw their own conclusions to the parallels between her father’s reassurances and Holly’s own actions by the end of the story.

Anything you didn’t like about it? The story seems to be too big for the book and feels condensed at some points (such as the first page, where the title coincides with the beginning of the story).  This is forgivable, however, as the text and images play so well together at most points.

To whom would you recommend this bookRecommended for families hoping to ease fears or anxieties of a very young one (ages 2-4).  This can also be recommended for a toddler who loves stories of hippos or sisters.  A great storytime addition for summer!

Who should buy this book? Childrens’ library collections (public and school)

Where would you shelve it ? Picture book collection

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes!  A quick read from the “Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase.”  I would highly recommend reading “Bug Zoo” by Andy Harkness from this same collection.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Melissa McCleary, Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, MA

Date of review: April 27, 2017

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Belle’s Library: A Collection of Literary Quotes and Inspirational Musings – Brittany Rubiano, art by Jenna Huerta

     Belle’s Library: A Collection of Literary Quotes and Inspirational Musings (Disney’s Beauty and the Beast),  Brittany Rubiano, art by Jenna Huerta, Disney Press, (9781484780992), 2017

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:   Fairy Tale

What did you like about the book?  For bibliophiles, the best part of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is when Belle is given a huge library.  This title imagines which books would be found on the shelves of this library. “Belle’s Book List,” begins with Aesop’s Fables and proceeds chronologically to include Chaucer, Jonathan Swift and Shakespeare among others.  The next section is “Belle’s Literary Journal,” which consists of a double page spread with a quote from one of the classic books on the left hand page and Belle’s musings on the quote on the right.   For instance, we begin with a quote from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet.”  Belle’s reflection is: “No truer words have been spoken.  Whatever the name, the label applied – odd, funny, beast – it does not matter.  It is one’s essence, what’s on the inside that counts.”  Small pastel-toned illustrations appear on Belle’s pages and the book includes a red ribbon bookmark in the binding.  The “Appendix” concludes with information on the books quoted, including the edition used and the literary and historical significance of the work.  

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  This is the perfect book for a young bibliophile, especially one who loves the Disney movie.  The little snippets may encourage older readers to read the classics that are referenced.

Who should buy this book?  Public libraries

Where would you shelve it?  Fiction

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

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

Date of review: 4/26/17             

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Flash the Fish – written by Paul Kor

  Flash the Fish – written by Paul Kor, translated by Annette Appel, Dial Books for Young Readers, (9780735227460), 2017.

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

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

What did you like about the book? Unlike the others in the large school of his family, one tiny silver fish named Flash likes to swim by himself, “faster and farther than the others.” One day, he finds a giant black thing that turns out to be a baby whale that has gotten lost from her parents. Flash gets his family to swim off in many separate directions to search for the missing parents while he keeps the baby company. In short time, Mama and Papa Whale are found. After that, Flash and the baby whale are friends and play together. This was originally published in 1990 and translated from Israeli.

Anything you didn’t like about it?   The shiny silver of Flash and his family might have been an innovative design at the time, but everyone is familiar now with the same design element (only more colorful) in Rainbow Fish.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Youngsters in preschool to first grade might enjoy this.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries.

Where would you shelve it?  Shelve with picture books.

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

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

Date of review:  4/27/17

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The Emperor’s Riddle – Kat Zhang

   The Emperor’s Riddle – Kat Zhang, Aladdin, (9781481478625), 2017

Format: Advanced Reader’s Copy

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

Genre:   Mystery

What did you like about the book?  Eleven year old Mai is not happy about spending a month of her summer vacation visiting relatives in China. She and her older brother Jake, have travelled with their mother and her Aunt Lin to stay in the old family home.  Aunt Lin is happy to share stories of growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution. Lin had been sent to the countryside where she and a young man named Ying. heard stories of a young emperor and a hidden treasure. The morning after a surprise visit by Ying, Aunt Lin has disappeared.  Soon Mai and Jake are on the hunt tom find her and the fabled lost treasure.  The key is found in a set of riddles and a map with blank spaces.  To solve the mystery and rescue their aunt they must learn more about China and it’s history.  Filled with adventure, mystery, Chinese lore and family, this is a great read for middle grades.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  This is a book for readers who love mysteries, especially when set in a different country.  Readers interested in ancient and modern China will find much to enjoy.  

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

Where would you shelve it?  Fiction

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

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

Date of review: 4/26/17             

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Not Quite Narwhal – Jessie Sima

   Not Quite Narwhal – Jessie Sima, Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, (9781481469098), 2017

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:   Picture Book

What did you like about the book?    Kelp is a baby unicorn who is born in the ocean among the narwhals.  The enchanting illustrations in undersea tones of blue and green show the newborn Kelp, complete with diving bubble,  lying within a clam shell.  Kelp knows that he is different from the other narwhals but no one seems to mind.  One day, a strong current bring Kelp to the surface of the ocean where he finds land and a herd of unicorns, “Land Narwhals!”  The land illustrations are filled with rainbow colors and lots of green and yellow.  Kelp enjoys his time with the unicorns, but misses his narwhal friends.  So Kelp returns to the ocean, but he keeps thinking of the land.  “Did he want to be a land narwhal with the unicorns or a sea unicorn with the narwhals?  Kelp couldn’t decide.  But then he realized that maybe…just maybe…he didn’t have to choose.”  The final double page spread is a joyful beach scene filled with narwhals and unicorns having fun together.  This is a great story with adorable illustrations that teaches children to be happy with who they are.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No

To whom would you recommend this book?   This is a book that most children will love.  It would also be great to read t a child who spends time with two different families, perhaps due to divorce.  

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

Where would you shelve it? Picture Books

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

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

Date of review: 4/26/17             

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Olivia the Spy – Ian Falconer

     Olivia the Spy – Ian Falconer, Atheneum/ Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, (9781481457958), 2017

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:   Picture Book

What did you like about the book?  The irrepressible Olivia is back in her eighth title. Olivia overhears her mother talking about her on the phone, “‘I’m at the end of my tether.’”  She decides to become a spy to find out what else people are saying about her.  For Olivia, blending in is very difficult as she is usually the center of attention.  The illustrations of filled with hilarious shots of Olivia trying to camouflage herself, peeking though a keyhole, wearing a zebra outfit on a zebra rug and even posing as a lamp.  Of course, Olivia ends up misinterpreting a conversation and thinks she is in for a huge punishment, when she s actually getting an outing to the ballet.  Olivia fans will be quite happy to have their rambunctious friend back to her usual antics.  

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No

To whom would you recommend this book?  Fans of Olivia will not be disappointed in her new adventure.

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

Where would you shelve it? Picture Books

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

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

Date of review: 4/26/17             

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