Good Night Sleep Tight:  Eleven and a Half Good Night Stories with Fox and Rabbit – Kristina Andres

  Good Night Sleep Tight:  Eleven and a Half Good Night Stories with Fox and Rabbit – Kristina Andres, Translated by Sally-Ann Spencer, Gecko Press, 9781776571437, 2017

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

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

Genre:  Picture Book

What did you like about the book? Fox and Rabbit live together in a cozy house beyond the edge of town.  In these eleven and one half short and absurd stories, they try a variety of ways to get to sleep.  They play with vocabulary, go night sledding among the flower petals, camp on a high hill, and treat each other with kindness,

Fox and Rabbit have a recurring cast of friends and neighbors:  Elephant, Kangaroo, Lottie the big sheepdog, and the dreaded wolf in the leather jacket.  There is a nice balance of male and female characters, and the author manages to stay away from gender stereotypes.  

Some of the illustrations are expansive, stretching across the 2 page spread.  Some are tiny decorations.  Some are full color, some are quietly grayscale.  This nicely complements the stories being told.  All show plenty of motion and action.  (For a book of bedtime stories, this gets pretty wild!)

The stories, simply titled ‘first story,’ second story,’ etc., are only a few pages long and very silly.  They are perfect for the child who begs for ‘just one more bedtime story!’  It is especially satisfying that the half story comes towards the middle of the book, and not at the end.

Children listening to this will want to try many of the things that Fox and Rabbit do – be ready to count goodnights, sleep like bats, and to talk them out of swinging from the light fixtures.

There’s a sweet twist at the end that reveals how the book got written.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommended to readers who enjoy silliness!  For kids who like the humor of Amelia Bedelia and the Wise Men of Chelm, and the friendships in Winnie the Pooh and Frog and Toad.

Who should buy this book? Preschools and public libraries.  This would be a lovely gift for families with toddlers and preschoolers.

Where would you shelve it ?  Picture Books.

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes, especially if your library has a strong call for more bedtime stories.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State:  Robin Shtulman, Athol Public Library, Athol, MA

Date of review:  22 February 2018

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Penelope Marsh is Melting by Jeffrey Michael Ruby

  Penelope Marsh is Melting by Jeffrey Michael Ruby. Delacorte, 2017.  9781524718282

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:  Fantasy

What did you like about the book? What begins as a typical kid’s angst about middle school and bullying, ends with a triumph over a force of evil in the guise of a shape shifting sea entity. Whew! A lot is going on in this fast paced novel. Penelope lives in Glacier Cove, which is an island iceberg in the middle of the sea, with her brother Miles and her father. The dominant food is turnips, which is the author exploits to comic ends. There is foreboding early on, however, of terrible happenings beneath the island, and Penelope learns of an ancient sea spirit named Makara Nyx who is causing Glacier Cove to melt. A multitude of characters provides lots of possibilities for who is in cahoots with the baddie, and the suspense builds until a final apocalyptic showdown. I like that the characters have emotional depth and diversity, and that there are tobacco-chewing female penguin SEALs.

Anything you didn’t like about it? The epic battle between Penelope and Makara Nyx is underwhelming, quick and lacking in detail, so it is a bit of a letdown.

To whom would you recommend this book?  The quirkiness factor reminds me of The Mysterious Benedict Society. Offer to kids ages 7-10 who like humorous fantasy.

Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Children’s fiction

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: February 22, 2018

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I Am Harriet Tubman – Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos

   I Am Harriet Tubman (Ordinary People Change the World) – Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos, Dial Books for Young Readers, (9780735228719), 2018.

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre: Non-fiction, Biography

What did you like about the book? In first person voice, Harriet Tubman explains to readers the evils she and others experienced as slaves. Overcoming steep odds, Tubman escaped to freedom in the North. Then, incredibly, she returned thirteen times to free nearly seventy family and friends with the help of the Underground Railroad. Tubman’s exploits did not end with her role leading slaves to freedom; she also served as a spy for the Union Army during the Civil War and campaigned for women to have the right to vote. Despite the harsh subject, the tone is lightened through the use of cartoony dialog bubbles. The book ends by encouraging readers to follow in Tubman’s footsteps by doing the right thing even when it is hard, provides photos and a timeline of Tubman’s life, and provides a short list of sources.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  I found the decision to portray Tubman as a child even as she grows up and grows old to be disconcerting. I suspect that kids will either love it because it makes Tubman seem more like them or be confused by it.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommended for second to fourth grade.  Suggest to readers who are not yet ready for the Who Was… series.

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

Where would you shelve it?  Shelve with biographies.  

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes, if you work with children in elementary grades, you should become familiar with Meltzer’s Ordinary People Change the World series.

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

Date of review:  2/22/18

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Every Color Soup – written and illustrated by Jorey Hurley

       Every Color Soup – written and illustrated by Jorey Hurley, Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, (9781481469999), 2018.

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

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

What did you like about the book? Through the process of making Every Color Soup, Hurley introduces young readers to colors, vegetables, and cooking. Double page spreads contain large images of one or several ingredients (mostly vegetables). A single word on each spread names the color of the ingredient.  Among others, colors include purple (eggplant), yellow (onion and corn), orange (carrots), clear (water), white (garlic and salt), and black (pepper). After the ingredients are gathered, it’s time to ‘chop’ them up, ‘drop’ them into the pot, and ‘bubble’ them together at a boil. Finally, the colorful soup is put in a bowl, and it’s time to eat – ‘yum’. The fresh, healthy ingredients, beautifully rendered in bold primary colors, pop from the white background on which they are displayed. The last two pages show and name all the ingredients on one side and provide the recipe for making Every Color Soup on the other.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommended for preK to first grade to teach colors and vegetables, and to possibly start the ball rolling on a lifetime of healthy eating.

Readalikes: 1 Big Salad

Who should buy this book? Day care centers 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?  No.

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

Date of review:  2/22/18

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Sukaq and the Raven – Roy Goose and Kerry McCluskey, artwork by Soyeon Kim

    Sukaq and the Raven – Roy Goose and Kerry McCluskey, artwork by Soyeon Kim, Inhabit Media, (9781772271393), 2017

Format: Hardcover picture book

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

What did you like about the book? Inhabit Media publishes books about the Inuvialuit culture in the Northwest Territories of Canada.    Sukaq’s favorite story, that his anaana told him at bedtime, was about the Raven and how he created the world. Sukaq would imagine himself riding on the huge raven’s back across the night sky. It soothed him to put himself into the story. Beautiful two-page illustrations complement and bring the story to life.

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

To whom would you recommend this book? Share this with those who are looking for creation stories from cultures that are much neglected.

Who should buy this book? Public Libraries

Where would you shelve it? Picture books or creation stories

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No, but a unique offering and much needed.

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

Date of review: 2/19/2018

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Perfect Pillow – Eric Pinder, illustrated by Chris Sheban

   Perfect Pillow – Eric Pinder, illustrated by Chris Sheban, Disney Hyperion, (9781484746462), 2018

Format: Paperback galley

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

Genre: Picture book

What did you like about the book? A sweet, beautifully illustrated – in watercolor, colored pencil and pastel- done in shades of nighttime blue create a lovely bedtime story. Brody, just adorable with a tiny body and an oversized head, is in a new bed in a new house and cannot sleep even with his stuffed dragon, Horst. He goes to his parents’ room but his mother tells him to go back to bed. What to do? Climb out the window with Horst looking for a new place to sleep. The squirrels don’t want him. Horst is cold in the cloud bed. The owl’s bed is overcrowded. The frogs are too noisy. Brody and Horst make their way back home where Horst becomes Brody’s perfect pillow…

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

To whom would you recommend this book? A very nice addition to bedtime stories for young children.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No, but a very nice choice for a bedtime story.

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

Date of review: 2/19/2018

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Ferryman – Claire McFall

 Ferryman – Claire McFall, KelpiesEdge, c2013 (Templar), (9781782504344), 2017 (Floris)

Format: Paperback

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

Genre: Mystery/Romance/ ?

What did you like about the book? Very difficult picking a genre for this book. It could be fantasy but does not really feel like it. So I chose Mystery and Romance. 15-year-old Dylan is on her way by train to visit a father she does not know. The train crashes in a tunnel and Dylan wakes up to find herself the last of the survivors to get off the train – Only she is not a survivor, she is dead and is met by Tristan, the ferryman, who will guide her across the dangerous wastelands to heaven. On the way, she falls in love with him. He is not human so this is a very tricky deal. He cannot leave the wastelands and she cannot stay there. Since she is dead, Dylan no longer needs to eat or sleep but she gets dirty, tired and can be hurt. She must find a way for them to stay together. The story is very intriguing but the suspension of belief one must carry, seems a little over the top.

Anything you did not like about this book? It felt like an inconsistency that Dylan got dirty and tired but did not need to eat or sleep.

To whom would you recommend this book? Teens may not be bothered by the things that bothered me as an adult and could be deeply involved in Dylan’s and Tristan’s story that continues in Trespassers.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries, Middle and High school libraries

Where would you shelve it? Middle/High School fiction

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: 2/19/2018

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