The Mushroom Fan Club – Elise Gravel

 The Mushroom Fan Club – Elise Gravel, Enfant/ Drawn & Quarterly, (9781770463226), 2018

Format: Hardcover, graphic

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

What did you like about the book? How many informational books are also incredibly cute and funny?  Well, this one is! Elise Gravel loves mushrooms.  She and her kids go mushroom hunting frequently.  “I’m obsessed with bizarre creatures, and mushrooms are certainly strange! They look like aliens from outer space.” And on the two-page spread that accompanies these words Elise illustrates more than twenty-five different mushrooms.  Giving each eyes makes them all the more fun, real and intriguing.  How can you deny the personality of a being with eyes?  She describes the parts of a mushroom, explains how they reproduce (spores), telling us that there are “millions of fungus species around the world.”  She then goes on to describe just a few:  the Bolete, the Chanterelle, the Morel, the Polypore, the False Morel, the Lactarius Indigo, the Puffball, the Coral Mushroom, the Fly Agaric, the Dog Stinkhorn and the Destroying Angel.  She supplies just some of the beautifully poetic names that mushrooms have.  I’ve always been entranced at the huge variety of mushrooms I see on my walks and this book makes me want to jump up and go look for them (unfortunately we still seem to be having winter weather here in New Hampshire).  The illustrations of the mushrooms are wonderful; there is much color, black type on white pages and often some very large words like MUSHROOM FACTS.  Do NOT miss this book.

Anything you did not like about this book?  Not a thing!

 To whom would you recommend this book?  This is a great book for a parent to share with a child to get them interested in mushrooms and likewise for a teacher to use in the classroom.

 Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it? 579.6

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes, even if you are not that interested in mushrooms!

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

Date of review: 4/19/2018

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Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration – edited by Rose Brock

     Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration – edited by Rose Brock, Philomel Books, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4167-9

Format: hardcover

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

Genre: essay collection

What did you like about the book? I really loved this book. There is a great deal of pain but there is also tremendous honesty in this book, and the thread running through each essay, memoir or story is hope. Different pieces will speak to different people, and it’s not necessarily a book to sit and read cover to cover, but ultimately this book will encourage the reader to keep going, keep trying, ask for help, acknowledge problems, be true to him or herself, seek answers, not settle, refuse to accept things the way they are, and work for change. There are stories of personal struggles and those that call for social action and justice. For me, the stories that most resonated were by Libba Bray and Angie Thomas, but I believe anyone seeking hope in a world that can be bleak and confounding will find strength and solace here.

Anything you didn’t like about it? I wish there had been even just one story of faith, which is a bedrock of hope for many of us.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Read Alikes? Recommend particularly to young adults and adult readers who enjoy young adult novels. But even readers who are unfamiliar with the authors here should still enjoy this collection.  Recommend it to any teen or adult who needs encouragement.

Who should buy this book? High schools and public libraries should definitely purchase this book. Also, consider buying it as a gift for a teen. It could be a get well gift, graduation gift, or just a “don’t give up hope” gift.

Where would you shelve it ?  Young adult non-fiction

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

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Renée Wheeler, Leominster Public Library, Leominster, MA

Date of review: April 18, 2018

 

 

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Beyond the Fence by Maria Gulemetova

Beyond the Fence by Maria Gulemetova, Child’s Play, Inc., 9781846439315, 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?  This is a stark and effective tale of friendship and captivity.  Who is a friend? Is it someone who always ‘knows’ what is best for you and what you two should do next?  Or is it someone who encourages you to be yourself and likes you for who you are?

Piggy lives with Thomas in a grand house – the illustrations highlight Thomas’ self centeredness and Piggy’s growing despondence, while the text has few words, appropriate to a young audience.  One day, Thomas has a cousin come to visit, and Piggy is free to wander. Piggy meets a wild pig, whose freedom and joy make Piggy’s thoughts wander, too.

Reading this may spark some good discussion, even with little ones, about what makes a fun and healthy friendship.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No.

To whom would you recommend this book?  This could be part of a friendship story time, perhaps paired with Marshall’s George and Martha stories, Willems’ Elephant and Piggie tales, or even Frog and Toad by Lobel.

Who should buy this book? Public Libraries, preschools, elementary schools.

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:  Robin Shtulman, Athol Public Library, Athol, MA

Date of review:  6 April 2018

 

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Stomp! Stomp! – Sebastien Braun

      Stomp! Stomp! (Can You Say It, Too?) – Sebastien Braun, Nosy Crow, an imprint of Candlewick Press, (9780763699345), 2018.

Format: Board Book, Lift-the-flap

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

What did you like about the book? Starting with the question, “Who’s that behind the bush?,” young readers are encouraged to lift flaps to discover dinosaurs, such as the triceratops that is found behind the flap made from a big green bush. There is also a diplodocus “beside the trees”, a pterodactyl “in the clouds”, and t. rex “next to the rock”. The dinosaurs, even the predators, are cute and smiling. Colors are cheerful and bright. The flaps feel sturdy enough to stand up to repeated use by little hands.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Preschool teachers could use this adorable book to familiarize toddlers with dinosaurs.  A blurb on the back suggests that the book is perfect for children who are just starting to talk.

Readalikes: Others in the Can You Say It, Too series, such as, Moo! Moo!, Quack! Quack!, and Arf! Arf!

Who should buy this book? Day care centers and public libraries.

Where would you shelve it?  Shelve with Board 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:  4/16/18

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Bark Park! – Trudy Krisher, illustrated by Brooke Boynton-Hughes

        Bark Park! – Trudy Krisher, illustrated by Brooke Boynton-Hughes, Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, (9781481430753), 2018.

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

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

What did you like about the book? Two dogs, a big Great Dane and a little Chihuahua, accompany their owner to the dog park. Short rhyming sentences describe how the throng of dogs at the park enjoy themselves, “Dogs chewing bones. / Dogs licking cones. / Dogs in the sun. / Dogs on the run.”  Afterwards, the tired dogs return home for baths, drinks, supper, and then settle down to sleep and dream. Dream about what? Going back to the park, of course! Illustrations are rendered in pastels, with plentiful white space. Author and illustrator do an excellent job of conveying a love of dogs and their antics.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommended for children from toddler through grade 1, especially those who love animals.

Who should buy this book? Day care centers, elementary school libraries and 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?  Yes, especially if you have a soft spot for dogs.

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

Date of review:  4/15/18

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Galaxies, Galaxies – Gail Gibbons

  Galaxies, Galaxies – Gail Gibbons, Holiday House, (9780823439652), c2007, 2018

Format: Hardcover

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

 What did you like about the book? First published in 2007, Gail Gibbons, the ultimate best author of non-fiction books for younger children, has updated the information in this new release.  Her bright, colorful illustrations explain to young children, in simple, easy-to-read and understand, language, just what a galaxy is.  She explains the difference between a Spiral galaxy, a Barred Spiral galaxy, a Lenticular galaxy and an Irregular galaxy and provides examples of each.

Anything you did not like about this book?  No.

 To whom would you recommend this book?  This is an excellent beginning point to reach out from for the young reader and/or anyone who wishes simple and easy-to-understand information before moving on to that in more depth.  If your library does not own the previous editions of the book, then you should purchase this new one.

 Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries

 Where would you shelve it?  523.112

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  For beginning knowledge on galaxies, yes.

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

Date of review: 4/15/2018

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The Escape Artist – Brad Meltzer

  The Escape Artist – Brad Meltzer, read by Scott Brick and January LaVoy, Hachette audio, (9781478949350), 2018

Format: cd audiobook, 11 discs

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

Genre:  Mystery

What did you like about the book? When Jim “Zig” Zigarowski, a mortician at the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware begins to prepare a soldier’s body for burial, he gets a shock.  The tag says the body is Nola Brown but Zig knows Nola Brown and this is not she!  Many years ago Nola saved Zig’s then 12 year-old daughter’s life so he has always felt a special bond with her (his daughter is now dead) though he has not seen her in 14 years.  Thus begins the mystery that Zig is determined to unravel.  The deception goes very deep, divulging along the way, Nola’s horrendous childhood. Noted narrator Scott Brick represents the voice of Zig while January LaVoy captures Nola.  This is a thriller where the reader (listener) keeps wondering just what will happen next.

Anything you did not like about this book?  Not a thing.

 To whom would you recommend this book? You might recommend this one to those who liked Spencer Quinn’s The Right Side.

 Who should buy this book? Public and high school (11-12thgrades) libraries

Where would you shelve it?  Audiobooks, Mystery

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  If you like a thrilling mystery with a military bent, then yes.

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

Date of review: 4/14/2018

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